History and description of Harrison County, Iowa

During the time I was proprietor of the Western Star printing office, I commenced (in the Western Star) the publication of a history of Harrison County, by townships, with a promise to notice each townships separately - to correct and tribute the same in pamphlet form, with a map of the county, and gratuitously distribute among the paying patrons of the Star. The present volume is designated to fill that promise.

I have, at no time, supposed that a book of the kind would be sought after, like a thrilling romance, or as a book of narrow escapes or bold adventures. In fact the people are principally of those who, with scanty means, left older settlements seeking homes beyond the bounds of densely populated countries. When they left they left behind friends and relative, who are continually inquiring about this, their new home. This book is designed for an answer to all these inquiries. Therefore, I have taken as much pains as possible to describe the land, water, timber, health, &c., &c.

Feeling a lack of ability which a more experienced writer would possess, I can claim but one virtue, in describing the country - that of truthfulness. True, I may have fallen short of conveying a full idea of the native wealth of the county, but I have in no case exaggerated.


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The eye of man never beheld a valley or tract of land more inviting to the agriculturist or grazier than the Boyer Valley, and here in this township it displays all its beauty. Strange as it may seem, 11 years ago, while men further east were working poor, mean land, the Boyer Valley, in this township, was unmolested by civilized man, except a few wag on roads (and perhaps but one of them) crossing it. In the latter part of 1856, or the beginning of 1857, three settlers located here and built themselves temporary houses, and commenced opening farms. The names of these three pioneers are James Welch, Henry Olmstead and Nathan Brown Settlers now began slowly to come in, and in two years after a brick school house was built near Mr, Olmstead's, and is now the residence of Mrs. Olmstead The first teacher was Miss Cole. The same year the Congregationalists organized a church of seven members with Rev. H. D. King (formerly of Gustavus, Trumbull Co.; Ohio) for their paster. And here allow me to digress in personalities of Rev. King. It is said, and perhaps with too much truth, that many of the preachers who came west clothed in lambs clothing in those early days cared more for the almighty corner lot and choice quarter section of land than they did for the salvation of the immortal soul, or the Being they pretended to serve, and many a man suffered by misplaced confidence in these-,ore than infidels.