« ForrigeFortsett »
were few and they soon knew each other. Happily, Mr. H. distinctly remembers the names and location of all the old settlers, and from him we gather the interesting fact that there were then twelve families living north of the Iowa River. These were,
George Ream, John Ream and James Cross. These all lived together in an old log cabin, still standing on what is known as the H. H. Horn farm.
David Kinnison, in Canoe, on the farm he still occupies.
David Bartlett, on the farm now occupied by Wm. Marlow. where he died.
Wells McIntyre, on the farm which his sons still occupy.
James Boyce, on the river bottom, forming a part of what has been known since as the “Filbert" and the “Ashmore" farm.
Aldrich, the miller, at the Spring mill.
There was at this time-August, 1850—but one farm opened. the Reams had one crop of about eight acres of winter wheat, which was cut and in shock, at the time. The winter previous had proved favorable, and the crop was a good one. The Holms bought of them and sowed winter wheat that fall, but it proved then as it has repeatedly since, a failure.
Rev. Mr. Adams mentions the presence, when the Days moved in, of these Reams and a man named Button; but as they did not remain they can scarcely be called pioneer settlers.
Mr. J. W. Holm helped dig the race for the Decorah mill, and hewed logs for the first dam that was built. They were cut from a burr oak grove that was standing close by on the north side of the river.
Mr. H. says at that time the postoffice used was McGregor, and thither they had to go to get their necessary supplies.
While writing these notes, circumstances favor us with an opportunity to consult another of these thirteen,
Mr. David Kinnison came to Iowa in 1849, but wintered down on the Yellow River. In March, 1850, he came up into this section. He passed through Decorah, finding the Day and Painter families on the east or south (?) side, Aldrich on the west side, and the Reams on their claim as above stated. He settled on the northwest quarter of section seven, in Canoe township, and claims, probably rightfully, that he built the first cabin erected in Canoe township; and so far as they then knew, or have ever been able to learn, there were no white settlers north of him, and west of the river, except at St. Paul. Bartlett, Johnson, Bryce, Brown, Klontz and Wilson came in May, following; and McIntyre arrived on the last day in June. Besides these, there was one James
Kelley-not mentioned by Mr. Holm- who came on the 10th of May, and settled on a part of what is now the Col. J. W. Taylor · farm.
Among others who joined these that year were two young men, named Gilbert and Lambert, who made a claim on the Iowa river above the Reams. They kept a kind of store. Bernard Harmon came in the fall, and made claim of the present Jacob Headington farm. George Smith was another neighbor, who moved in and occupied a piece of land on the Iowa, just over the line in Blufftown township (section_24) where he may yet be found. James Ackerson and B. L. Bisby were also among the '50rs. They pushed on to the front, the first getting over into Hesper and the other into the northeast corner of Bluffton township.
PIONEER NORWEGIANS. Norwegian enterprise and their work in pioneer service have had much to do in the development and prosperity of the county. Of their first settlers here, Mr. Baily, in his address, said:
So far as I can learn, Engebret Peterson Haugen, who died last year, was the original pioneer of this nationality.
He came to settle in 1850 but was here prospecting the fall previous, and bought the claim where he lived and died, and on which was the old Henry M. Rice trading post. In July, 1850, twelve Norwegian families came in from Wisconsin and found a home on Washington Prairie, a home where several of the fathers still live the heads of large and prosperous families. These twelve were represented by Nelson and Germund Johnson, Ole A. and Andrew 0. Lommen, Andras Hogue, Knudt Ophal, John Johnson, A. Holverson, Ole Tostenson and Mikkle Omlie. Other families followed them rapidly, and from that day, Norwegians, by their industry and frugality, have done a large share of the hard work which has made our best prairies to bud and blossom as the rose. Not alone as emigrants have they done service in multiplying the population. The earliest marriage records show that they did not think it good for man to live alone and also that they were more disposed to giving and taking in marriage than any other class. The first recorded marriage is that of one of those early pioneers. now that useful citizen of Madison township, Mr. John Evanson, and Catherine Helen Anderson. The ceremony was performed in February, 1852, by Rev. N. Brandt, then a wandering missionary from Wisconsin, and now pastor of the Lutheran Church in Decorah. I further find that of the first 1,227 marriages recorded in the clerk's office, that other pioneer and christian gentleman, Rev. V. Koren, officiated at 247, and I hasten to accord to him the position of champion marrier.
The sketches previously published, and from which we have quoted, say:
We have not met with the names of any Norwegians in researches prior to 1850, but in that year there came, if not the pioneers, a band of them who found on the West side of Washington Prairie the land that suited them, and made there homes which have given competence to all and wealth to several of them. They have been, too, among the best citizens of the county; generally founders of large families, with sons and daughters who are following in their worthy footsteps. This band consisted of twelve families, and became the settlers of what is known as Springfield township. The names of the heads of these families were as follows:
Nelson Johnson-died in 1881.
These came in two caravans. The first three left homes in Racine county, and the others were from Dane county, Wisconsin. The latter came directly through, but the three were encumbered by flocks and herds—a tendency some of them have not outgrown--and had to drive more slowly. One of these, Mr. Nelson Johnson, who furnishes us these names and facts, says his party arrived on the 2d day of July, 1850 nine days after the party from Dane county. They immediately commenced making the homes which grew into rich and valuable farms.
Mr. Johnson informs us that it was at his house, or log cabin, that the caucus or convention, was held which nominated officers preparatory to the first election of county officers. This was prior to, but a part of the work of organizing the county. It occurred in March, 1851. Decorah was not yet a hamlet of amazing importance, and Mr. Johnson's place was centrally located. This is The only reason he can give for its selection. The attendance was large--all the beginnings of settlements being well represented.
In this connection Mr. J. tells a little story of political aspirations nipped in the bud, worthy of record. Among the rest who came was a man named Minot, residing over east somewhere. He was ambitious for honors, and capable, besides willing, to serve the people in any place they might see fit to put him.