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Troxell's Mill - Raising
and Breakdown

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Pages 374-375, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



Rowe's horse-power mill, previously mentioned, was the first and only mill of any kind in the county until the erection of Troxell's mill on Cedar Creek, near the present crossing of the Chicago and Southwestern Railroad, in 1840. The raising of this mill and the events associated with it was an occasion the old settlers will not allow to be forgotten. It was regarded as the first event of any great importance, socially and otherwise, in this part of Iowa, and many things are remembered as happening "about the time Troxell's mill was raised." Everybody within fifty miles was invited to the raising. Socially, it was intended to be a great fete, and men and women came from Mt. Pleasant, Keosauqua and every other point within reach. But, notwithstanding the great distances from which they came, and the numbers present, there were only two unmarried females in all the crowd. One of these was a daughter of Troxell, a dashing madcap, full of fun and reckless of speech.

Troxell and his good wife prepared a great "lay-out" for the occasion. The "bill of fare" was unsurpassed for the times. It included everything the "market afforded." Chickens were cooked by the score. Venison, wild turkey, wild honey -- in fact, everything to be had was prepared for the feast. Table-room and dishes were inadequate to the number of guests, and, from necessity, were dispensed with. So were knives and forks. Ladies and gentlemen governed themselves accordingly, ate from pots, plates, platters and pans -- just as it happened.

In those says, arrangements and preparations for a raising were not complete without a sufficient quantity of whisky "to see them through." Troxell provided a barrel of the fiery liquid. The raising commenced on a Saturday, and was followed by dancing. The dancing commenced on Saturday night and lasted, withouti ntermission (sic), until Monday. Several amusing episodes occurred during the festivities, one or two of which are here related.

Troxell was a fiddler, and furnished the music for the dancers. At one time his daughter was solicited to dance with one of the elderly guests, and, when they had taken their position on the floor, she turned to her father and said: "Give us something quick and devlish, dad, while I take a trot with this 'ere old hoss. I'll make him sweat." At another time, while she was appeasing her appetite with a potato in one hand and a chicken leg in the other, one of the guests made some remark she did not like, when she turned upon him with scornful eye and remarked: "Look out, and don't say that again, you goggle-eyed old kangaroo, or I'll hit you on the head with this 'tater." He "looked out," and the dance went on.

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