The History of Dallas County, Iowa

In presenting this work to the people of Dallas county, we have reason to believe that we are placing it in the hands of its friends. A friendly disposition was manifested toward our representatives during its compilation, and we trust the volume in its complete form may be in no sense a disappointment, though we by no means claim for it perfection. If we have accomplished nothing more, we have, at least, rescued much important matter from oblivion. Ten years more would have made the record of many important facts and incidents, which are herein presented, an impossibility, for much of it was recorded only in the memory of the early settlers," and must have passed away with them sooner or later, unless recorded in some more enduring form for future generations.

The first settlers of Dallas county have passed the mountain tops of life. Memory is one of the first faculties of mind which shows signs of decay, and even among those of the old guard still living, another decade would have found many a link rusted out from their chain of recollection.

More than thirty-three years have come and gone since white men came to occupy and develop the highly productive lands of Dallas county. These years were full of changes and interesting history, and had more of the vigorous minds and ready pens of the early settlers been directed to the keeping of a chronological journal or diary of events during the earliest days of settlement, as a very few have done through the later periods, it would be a comparatively easy task now to write a much more full, interesting and correct history of the county. In the absence of such records the magnitude of the undertaking is very materially increased, and rendered still more intricate and difficult by reason of the absence of so many of the pioneer fathers and mothers who were first to make settlements in the county and were eye-witnesses to these various changes and events, and who themselves were the important actors in the scenes. In this history we have endeavored to present to the reader a picture of the past and present of Dallas county, noting also many of the more important changes intervening. We have labored to introduce him to the wigwams of its aborigines, to seat him by the hearth-stone of its pioneers, to trace the history of the county's organization, to complete a sketch of its leading institutions, as also of its towns and townships from their organization and establishment, and to represent the condition of the county while entering the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

This has not been so much the work of ourselves as that of Dallas county's own citizens. We have compiled what many of these men and women have long known, and placed it in permanent form for the present generation and for those to come. We have not the confidence to presume that the work will contain no mistakes, for the fallibility of memory produces a hundred conflicting statements, and dates are slippery things to handle. Names will get twisted, and not a few things met with in preparing such a work are exceedingly crooked by nature so that they are unruly things to spread on paper. On these accounts errors will creep in, even with the best of care. Some of these will belong to our informants and some to ourselves. But we trust that a charitable public will not forget that "to err is human."

The sketches on the Northwest, and the articles, descriptive and historical, on Iowa, embracing the first two hundred and fifty-six pages of the work, were prepared by A.B. Fulton, of Des Moines, and we doubt not will prove highly interesting and instructive, as showing the steps by which, within the present century, a vast region, inhabited by savages, has developed into mighty States.

In our "War Record" we have endeavored to give, in epitomized form, the part taken by individual soldiers from Dallas county, with a full record of those who engaged in the service from this county during the late war.

The especial value of much we have presented, particularly in our biographical department, will be patent a generation hence. It will, we trust, be endeared to hundreds of firesides.

With regard to the important facts and incidents in the early history of the county we are especially indebted to Judge Lloyd D. Burns for the most valuable and reliable information given by important documents and verbal statements, and especially by his Centennial History of Dallas county, which he had prepared by appointment of the Governor of the State for record, and a large portion of the first of which had been published in the Dallas County Gazette, 1877. On this important document we have relied for the principal information concerning the early history of the county. And it is exceedingly fortunate for all parties concerned that such a document was in existence, otherwise much of the early history would have been lost, and especially the political record during the first three or four years, as the records of those years are most imperfect, and Judge Burns is the only one found in the county who has kept anything of a fall record of that period. Articles of a similar character also were prepared by Mr. Benjamin Greene, and published in the Dallas County News a year previous to the others above mentioned, from which, also, we have received important information, but were unable to get access to more than three numbers of the paper.

We wish thus publicly to express thanks for these favors and for this valuable work in thus presenting the early records and history of the county, which service is not less valuable to the readers than to the publishers of this work. We desire, also, thus publicly to express our appreciation of the kindness which has been shown us in this enterprise. To the several hundred citizens who have co-operated with our representatives in securing the information which made the accompanying work a possibility, we tender our hearty thanks to the Press of the county, especially to editors of the New Era and Dallas County News, for the use of files of papers and for general information; to Judge Jeremiah Perkins for Masonic history and important information regarding his town and the political matters of the county; to Mr. Cole Noel for aid in pre- paring the list of county officers, and other valuable assistance and information; to Mr. Thos. C. Walsh for generous aid and valuable statistics so freely rendered; to Mr. L. Swearingen, the county auditor, for free access to the records and for such liberal kindness displayed to all our representatives; to all the county and town officials for similar acts of kindness and aid rendered; to the various pastors and officers of churches for the numerous and valuable sketches and statistics regarding their several churches; to the county superintendent, Captain Amos Dilley, and the various principals and teachers of the county, for educational reports and statistics, and to the various citizens in towns, townships and county who so kindly and willingly rendered us important aid in furnishing statistics and particulars regarding the early history and present condition of their respective towns, townships and localities, to all such we tender our heartfelt thanks.

 

Table of Contents

HISTORICAL.

The Northwest Territory
History of Dallas County
War History Cities and Towns
Townships
ILLUSTRATIONS.
LITHOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS.
BIOGRAPHICAL TOWNSHIP DIRECTORY.
ABSTRACT OF IOWA STATE LAWS.
MISCELLANEOUS.

 

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At the time the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were pending a number of the States held, or claimed, large tracts of territory not now included in those States. New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, all held such territory. Virginia claimed all that vast region which now embraces the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and that part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi river. That State had made provision, by legislative enactment, to dispose of her lands to settlers. Certain States, claiming that the unoccupied western lands were rightfully the common property of all the States, insisted on limiting the area of those States claiming western territory. This was a subject of warm and protracted discussion in the adoption of the Articles of Confederation. The delegates from Maryland, under instructions from the General Assembly of that State, declined, in the Congress of the Confederation, to sign the Articles of Confederation until provision was made for restricting the boundaries of the States, and vesting the soil of the western territories in the Confederation for the common benefit of all the settlers. Virginia had remonstrated against this course. On the 25th of November, 1778, the act of New Jersey for ratifying the Articles of Confederation was presented in the Congress. Her delegates were directed to sign the articles "in the firm reliance that the candour and justice of the several States will, in due time, remove as far as possible the inequality which now subsists."