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it is plain that until the expiration of the ten years there could be no reversion, and the State, not the United States, must control them until the grant should expire by limitation. The United States authorities could not rightfully require the Secretary of the Interior to certify directly to the companies any portion of the lands already certified to the State. And yet Congress, by its act of June 2, 1864, provided that whenever the Davenport & Council Bluffs Railroad Company should file in the General Land Office, at Washington, a map definitely showing such new location, the Secretary of the Interior should cause to be certified and conveyed to said company, from time to time, as the road progressed, out of any of the lands belonging to the United States, not sold, reserved or otherwise disposed of, or to which a pre-emption claim or right of homestead had not attached, and on which a bona fide settlement and iinprovement had not been made under color of title derived from the United States or from the State of Iowa, within six miles of such newly located line, an amount of land per mile equal to that originally authorized to be granted to aid in the construction of said road by the act to which this was an amendment.
The term "out of any lands belonging to the United States, not sold, reserved or otherwise disposed of, etc.," would seem to indicate that Congress did intend to grant lands already granted, but when it declared that the Company should have an amount per mile equal to that originally authorized to be granted, it is plain that the framers of the bill were ignorant of the real terms of the original grant, or that they designed that the United States should resume the title it had already parted with two years before the lands could revert to the United States under the original act, which was not repealed.
A similar change was made in relation to the Cedar Rapids & Missoun Railroad, and dictated the conveyance of lands in a similar manner.
Like provision was made for the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad, and the Company was permitted to change the location of its line between Fort Dodge and Sioux City, so as to secure the best route between those points; but this change of location was not to impair the right to the land granted in the original act, nor did it change the location of those lands.
By the same act, the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad Company was authorized to transfer and assign all or any part of the grant to any other company or person, "if, in the opinion of said Company, the construction of said railroad across the State of Iowa would be thereby sooner and more satisfactorily completed; but such assignee should not in any case be released from the liabilities and conditions accompanying this grant, nor acquire perfect title in any other manner than the same would have been acquired by the original grantee."
Still further, the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad was not forgotten, and was, by the same act, empowered to receive an amount of land per mile equal to that mentioned in the original act, and if that could not be found within the limits of six miles from the line of said road, then such selection might be made along such line within twenty miles thereof out of any public lands belonging to the United States, not sold, reserved or otherwise disposed of, or to which a pre-emption claim or right of homestead had not attached.
Those acts of Congress, which evidently originated in the "lobby," occasioned much controversy and trouble. The Department of the Interior, however, recognizing the fact that when the Secretary had certified the lands to the State, under the act of 1856, that act divested the United States of title, under the vesting act of August, 1854, refused to review its action, and also refused to order any and all investigations for establishing adverse claims (except in pre-emption cases), on the ground that the United States had parted with the title, and, therefore, could exercise no control over the land.
May 12, 1864, before the passage of the amendatory act above described, Congress granted to the State of Iowa, to aid in the construction of a railroad from McGregor to Sioux City, and for the benefit of the McGregor Western Railroad Company every alternate section of land, designated by odd numbers, for ten sections in width on each side of the proposed road, reserving the right to substitute other lands, whenever it was found that the grant infringed upon pre-empted lands, or on lands that had been reserved or disposed of for any other purpose. In such cases, the Secretary of the Interior was instructed to select, in lieu, lands belonging to the United States lying nearest to the limits specified.
AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE AND FARM LAND. An Agricultural College and Model Farm was established by act of the General Assembly, approved March 22, 1858. By the eleventh section of the act, the proceeds of the five-section grant made for the purpose of aiding in the erection of public buildings was appropriated, subject to the approval of Congress, together with all lands that Congress might thereafter grant to the State for the purpose for the benefit of the institution. On the 23d of March, by joint resolution, the Legislature asked the consent of Congress to the proposed transfer, By act approved July 11, 1862, Congress removed the restrictions imposed in the "Fivesection grant," and authorized the General Assembly to make such disposition of the lands as should be deemed best for the interests of the State. By these several acts the five sections of land in Jasper County certified to the State to aid in the erection of public buildings under the act of March 3, 1845, entitled: "An act supplemental to the act for the admission of the States of
Iowa and Florida into the Union," were fully appropriated for the benefit of the Iowa Agricultural College and Farm. The institution is located in Story County. Seven hundred and twenty-one acres in that and two hundred in Boone County were donated to it by individuals interested in the success of the enterprise.
By act of Congress approved July 2, 1852, an appropriation was made to each State and Territory of 30,000 acres for each Senator and Representative in Congress to which, by the apportionment under the census of 1850, they were respectfully entitled. This grant was made for the purpose of endowing colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts.
Iowa accepted this grant by an act passed at an extra session of its Legislature, approved Sept 11, 1862, entitled: "An act to accept of the grant, and carry into execution the trust conferred upon the State of Iowa by an act of Congress entitled 'An act granting public lands to the several States and Territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agricultural and the mechanic arts, approved July 2, 1862.” This act made it the duty of the Governor to appoint an agent to select and locate the lands, and provided that none should be selected that were claimed by any county as swamp lands. The agent was required to make report of his doings to the Governor, who was instructed to submit the list of selections to the Board of Trustees of the Agricultural College for their approval. One thousand dollars were appropriated to carry the law into effect. The State having two Senators and six Representatives in Congress, was entitled to 240,000 acres of land under this grant, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining an Agricultural College. 'Peter Melendy, Esq., of Black Hawk County, was appointed to make the selections, and during August, September and December, 1863, located them in the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Sioux City Land Districts. December 8, 1864, these selections were certified by the Commissioner of the General land Office, and were approved to the State by the Secretary of the Interior December 13, 1864. The title to these lands were vested in the State in fee simple, and conflicted with no other elaims under other grants.
The agricultural lands were approved to the State as 240,000.96 acres; but 35,691.66 acres were located within railroad limits, which were computed at the rate of two acres for one, the actual amount of land approved to the State under this grant was only 204,309.30 acres, located as follows: In Des Moines Land District....
6,804.96 acres. In Sioux City Land District.
59,025.37 In Fort Dodge Land District.
138,478.97 By act of the General Assembly, approved March 29, 1864, entitled, "An act authorizing the Trustees of the Iowa State Agricultural College and Farm, to sell all lands acquired, granted, donated or appropriated for the benfit of said College, and to make
an investment of the proceeds thereof," all these lands were granted to the Agricultural College and Farm, and the Trustees were authorized to take possession and sell or lease them. There was then under the control of the Trustees, lands as follows: Under the act of July 2, 1852...
304,309.30 acres. Of the five-section grant..
3,200.00 Lands donated in Story County.
721.00 Lands donated in Boone County.
....208,430.30 acres. The Trustees opened an office at Fort Dodge, and appointed Hon. G. W. Bassett their agent for the sale of these lands.
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. The germ of the free public school system of Iowa, which now ranks second to none in the United States, was planted by the first settlers. They had migrated to the "Beautiful Land" from other and older States, where the common school system had been tested by many years' experience, bringing with them some knowledge of its advantages, which they determined should be enjoyed by the children of the land of their adoption. The system thus planted was expanded and improved in the broad fields of the West, until now it is justly considered one of the most complete, comprehensive and liberal in the country.
Nor is it to be wondered at when it is remembered humble log school houses were built almost as soon as the log cabin of the earliest settlers were occupied by their brave builders. In the lead mining regions of the State, the first to be occupied by the white race, the hardy pioneers provided the means for the education of their children even before they had comfortable dwellings for their families. School teachers were among the first immigrants to Iowa. Wherever a little settlement was made, the school house was the first united public act of the settlers; and the rude primitive structures of the early time only disappeared when the communities had increased in population and wealth, and were able to replace them with more commodious and comfortable buildings. Perhaps in no single instance has the magnificent progress of the State of Iowa been more marked and rapid than in her common school system and in her school houses, which, long since, superceded the log cabins of the first settlers. To-day, the school houses which everywhere dot the broad and fertile prairies of Iowa are unsurpassed by those of any other State in the great Union. More especially is this true in all her cities and villages, where liberal and lavish appropriations have been voted, by a generous people, for the erection of large commodious and elegant buildings, furnished with all the modern improvements, and costing from $10,000 to $60,000 each. The people of the State have expended more than $10,000,000 for the erection of public school buildings.
The first house erected in Iowa was a log cabin at Dubuque, built by James L. Langworthy and a few other miners, in the Autumn of 1833.
Mrs. Caroline Dexter commenced teaching in Dubuque in March, 1836. She was the first female teacher there, and probably the first in Iowa. The first tax for the support of schools at Dubuque was levied in 1810.
Among the first buildings erected at Burlington was a commodious log school house in 1834, in which Mr. Johnson Pierson taught the first school in the Winter of 1834-5.
The first school in Muscatine County was taught by George Bumgardner, in the Spring of 1837, and in 1839, a log school house was erected in Muscatine, which served for a long time for school house, church and publio hall. The first school in Davenport was taught in 1838. In Fairfield Miss Clarissa Sawyer. James F. Chambers and Mrs. Reed taught school in 1839.
When the site of Iowa City was selected as the capital of the Territory of Iowa, in May, 1839, it was a perfect wilderness. The first sale of lots took place August 18, 1839, and before January 1, 1840, about twenty families had settled within the limits of the town; and during the same year, Mr. Jesse Berry opened a school in a small frame building he had erected, on what is now College street.
The first settlement in Monroe County was made in 1848, by Mr. John R. Gray, about two miles from the present site of Eddyville; and in the Summer of 1844, a log school house was built, and the first school was opened. About a year after the first cabin was built at Oskaloosa, a log school house was built.
At Fort Des Moines, now the Capital of the State, the first school was taught in the winter of 1846–7.
The first school in Pottawattamie County was opened at Council Point, prior to 1849.
The first school in Decorah was taught in 1853. In Osceola, the first school was opened by Mr. D. W. Scoville. The first school at Fort Dodge was taught in 1855, by Cyrus C. Carpenter, since Governor of the State. In Crawford County the first school house was built in Mason's Grove in 1856, and Morris McHenry first occupied it as teacher.
During the first twenty years of the history of Iowa, the log school houses prevailed, and in 1861, there were 893 of these primitive structures in use for school purposes in the State. Since that time they have been gradually disappearing. In 1865, there were 796; in 1870, 336; and in 1875, 121.
Iowa Territory was created July 3, 1838. January 1, 1839, the Territorial Legislature passed an act providing that "there shall be established a common school, or schools, in each of the counties in this Territory, which shall be open and free for every class of white citizens between the ages of five and twenty-one years.