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"In the winter of 1848 the Legislature passed an act authorizing the organization of the county, and appointed Thomas C. Linton, who owned the old mission property, as organizing sheriff; and as this county then belonged to Clayton County it required him to appear at her county seat, file his bond, take the oath of office, and make due returns of his doings thereto. We have been unable to find any written record of that organizing election, and after much inquiry by correspondence and otherwise have through the kindness of Mr. J. S. Deremo of Fairview township, obtained the particulars as he gathered them the past week from Mr. Moses Van Sickle, one of the participants in that election. It was held under the call of Mr. Linton, at his house, in August, 1849, about fifteen votes being cast, and resulted in the election of the following persons:
"County Commissioners---Thomas Van Sickle, Daniel G. Beck, Thos. B. Twiford.
"County Clerk--James Haney.
Thomas Van Sickle died in Nebraska about 1878. Daniel G. Beck died in Missouri about 1866. Thos. B. Twiford moved to Minnesota and was the founder of the town of Chatfield. James Haney lives at this time in Wisconsin. Stephen Holcomb died at the Mission about 1851. Moses Van Sickle is living at this date in Fairview township. Elias Topliff died in Waukon in 1860. Thomas C. Linton lives in Oregon.
"Lester W. Hays was for several years before his death a county charge, living sometimes at the county farm, and sometimes in Fairview township where he had a little log hut hardly high enough to stand erect in, nor large enough to afford room for many visitors; and being about eighty years old and too infirm to labor, he was allowed from the poor fund the pittance of one dollar per week, and this with the charity of kind neighbors kept life in the old man until last Christmas night, the coldest night of the year, when the mercury ran down to thirty-three degrees below zero, he perished. The next morning some of the neighbors went to the hut and found the old man lying on his rude cot, with legs and arms frozen. The county furnished a coffin, and poor Hays is no more.
'Rattle his bones over the stones,
For he's but a pauper whom nobody owns.' "This election gave the County a legal and working existence. In 1849 she had two hundred and seventy-seven white inhabitants, men, women and children.
"The county records of those early times as left by the commissioners, are either lost, mislaid, or were made in so transient a
manner as to preclude their being handed down to posterity, and so much as we have gathered has been obtained from other official records, the personal recollection of our early settlers, and has taken much time and labor, and as the years roll on these items of early history are more and more difficult to obtain in consequence of the death, removal or incapacity through age or infirmity of the parties participating in them.
"From Elias Topliff I learned that the first tax list was put into his hands for collection; that the gross amount of it was about ninety dollars; that he traveled all through the eastern part of the county to collect, and that after doing his best, collecting about one half of the list and making his returns to the Commissioners, they charged up to him the uncollected portion and took it from his compensation as Treasurer."
In a carefully preserved copy of the North Iowa Journal, pub lished at Waukon, in the summer of 1860, we find a sketch of the previous history of the county, from which we shall find occasion to make a few extracts. In regard to the County organization we find:
The county was organized by an act of the Legislature, approved January 15, 1849, and taking effect March 6th, 1849.
Thomas C. Linton was appointed organizing Sheriff; the first election being held by the order of the Sheriff on the first Wednesday of April, 1849. The officers elected were:
County Commissioners-James M. Sumner and Joseph W. Holmes.
Sheriff-Lester W. Hays.
The officers elect qualified at the house of Thomas C. Linton, April 10th, 1849.
The second election was held the first Monday of August, 1849, and the following officers were elected:
County Commissioners-James M. Sumner, Thomas A. VanSickle and Daniel G. Beck.
Clerk of Commissioners' Court-G. A. Warner.
It will be seen that there is a discrepancy between this account and that in Judge Dean's paper, as regard the time of the first election and the lists of officers elected thereat. We are inclined to take the Journal account to be authoritative, for the reason that it was published week after week for several months in succession, apparently without question, and that at a time only elev
en years after the events narrated; and further, we have reason to believe that the facts there stated were gleaned at the time from a sketch of the county history, prepared by Mr. Dean while County Judge in 1859, a copy of which was deposited in the corner stone of the Waukon Court House after being read to the people there assembled to witness that ceremony. The original has been missing for many a year, as Mr. Dean tells us. On the other hand, the account as it appears in his later narrative is based largely upon the recollections of individuals, after a lapse of over thirty years, and no matter how honest their intentions are, it is quite likely they have erred by means of the incidents of two or more elections becoming intermingled in their memory.
The sketch we last quoted then continues: "On the first Monday of August, 1851, Elias Topliff was elected County Judge, succeeding the County Commissioners; he served as Judge until August 25, 1857, when George M. Dean was elected. In 1859, J. A. Townsend was elected, and is now acting Judge.
"James M. Sumner was elected Recorder and Treasurer in 1851. Since then the following gentlemen have served the county in that capacity: T. C. Linton, J. J. Shaw, L. 0. Hatch and Elias Topliff, the present officer.
"In August, 1851, Leonard B. Hodges was elected Clerk of the District Court. Lewis Hersey and C. J. White has since served. C. J. White is the present Clerk. At the same election Wm. C. Thompson was chosen Sheriff. John Laughlin succeeded him and John A. Townsend next served for two successive terms in that office. Wm. C. Thompson was again elected in 1859, and is now the acting Sheriff.
"In August, 1856, James Brysou was elected as a Representative to the Legislature.
“In 1857, G. W. Gray was chosen a member of the Legislature, J. B. Suttor, County Assessor; G. W. Gray, Drainage Commissioner; W. W. Hungerford, Surveyor; M. F. Luark, Coroner, and G. W. Camp, Prosecuting Attorney,
“In 1858, J. W. Merrill was chosen Drainage Commissioner; C. J. White, Clerk of the District Court; F. W. Nottingham, Coroner, and J. W. Flint, Superintendent of Common Schools.
"In 1859, Charles Paulk was chosen a member of the Legislature; G. L. Miller, Drainage Commissioner; John Ryan, Surveyor; J. W. Granger, Coroner, and R. C. Armstrong, Superintendent of Common Schools.
"The above list comprises the principal officers since the organization of the county. The records previous to 1856 are very incomplete, and we were unable to learn the dates of the elections of the various officers.
"The total amount of taxable property in the county was: In 1849, $1,729; in 1851, $8,299; in 1854, $100,794; in 1857, $1,827,766; in 1859, $1,967,899.
We have said that when the Indian Mission was established on Yellow River, it was placed in charge of Father Lowrey, a man exceedingly well adapted to the duties pertaining thereto. He was well known many years after in this part of the country and greatly admired.
David Lowrey, D. D., was born in Logan County, Kentucky, January 20, 1796. His parents were worthy members of the Presbyterian Church, but, like many other good people, were entrusted with little of this world's treasury. The widowed mother died when he was only a little over two years old, leaving him a penniless and friendless orphan. He was bound out to a family that, in course of time became very reckless and intemperate; but at a Cumberland Presbyterian camp meeting, held near his residence, he solemnly consecrated his heart and his life to God. This event happened when he was eighteen years of age. Shortly after his conversion he became a candidate for the ministry, under the care of Logan Presbytery, and his proficiency and usefulness were so great that he was soon licensed and ordained to the work of the ministry. On the 16th of December, 1830, he began the publication in Princeton, Kentucky, of the “Religious and Literary Intelligen
It was a weekly journal, ably edited, and was the first paper published under the auspices of that church. To him, therefore, belongs the honor of being the father of Cumberland Presbyterian journalism. Some years afterward he was editor of the "Cumberland Presbyterian," then published in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to his editorial duties he had the pastorate of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Nashville, which was then in its infancy; and for his year's labor he received, as compensation, the astonishing sum of one wagon load of corn in the shuck!
In the year, 1832, under the administration of his friend, President Jackson, he received the appointment of teacher to the Winnebago Indians. He arrived at Prairie du Chien with his family in the month of November, of the above year. Shortly after his arrival he organized a Military Church," and here was spread the first communion table in the Northwest.
Early in the spring of 1833, a council of Winnebago chiefs was called for the purpose of deliberating in reference to Mr. Lowrey's work. He made a brief statement of his object and plans, and then called for expressions from the various chiefs who were present. After brief speeches from others, Waukon rose up, and thus delivered his sentiments: "The Winnebagoes are asleep, and it will be wrong to awake them; they are red men and all the white man's soap and water cannot make them white." The result of the council, however, was favorable, and Mr. Lowrey entered on his work.
În 1840 the Yellow River mission was abandoned and the property sold by the government to Thos. C. Linton. At this time the Fort Atkinson mission was established and the Indians who
had heretofore received their annuities at Yellow River were thenceforth paid off at this post until they were removed to Minnesota in 1848. Besides the attempt to teach the red men how to till the soil successfully, their children were taught to read and write (or some of them were who would learn), and the girls were also instructed in sewing, cutting garments, etc. Rev. Lowrey was transferred to this Fort Atkinson charge (as was also farmer Thomas), and remained with the Winnebagoes the greater part of the time, until about 1861 or 1862, when the tribe was moved west of the Missouri River. At the close of the late civil war he removed from St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he was then living, to Clayton County, Iowa, near the scene of his early labors with the Indians. Some years prior to his death he removed to Pierce City, Mo., where he died in January, 1877, leaving an aged wife. He had two sons, both of whom he outlived.
As before stated, the Old Mission became the property of T. C. Linton about 1840; but we find it was transferred to the school lands from the government, and then contracted from the school fund by Mr. Linton in 1854. He sold it to Ira Perry in 1855. John Linton, a native of Kentucky, came to the mission in 1837 and remained some time. He died at Garnavillo in 1878.
Before the territory of Iowa was organized, the Legislature of Wisconsin passed an act, in December, 1837, establishing Clayton County, which was then attached to Dubuque County for judicial purposes. In the following spring the Governor of Wisconsin territory appointed the first sheriff of Clayton County, and the first term of court was held, and the first election. For judicial and election purposes this region of country, as well as all of what is now the state of Minnesota, was at that time attached to Clayton.
In 1838-June 3d—all of Iowa and most of Minnesota was formed into the Territory of Iowa. And on December 28, 1846, Iowa was admitted as the 29th State of the United States.
During the first session of the General Assembly of Iowa, in the winter of 1846-47, an act was passed defining the boundaries of several counties, among them Allamakee, which placed it within its present limits. Previous to this time the northern boundary of Clayton county was identical with the southern line of the neutral ground of 1830—a line that begun on the bank of the Mississippi twenty miles below the mouth of the Iowa, and extended in a west-southwest direction something over twenty miles; thence southerly about nine miles to the Turkey river; thence westerly again. On Newhall's map of Iowa, published in 1841, and apparently gotten up with the utmost care, this line is distinctly laid down as the northern boundary of Clayton and Fayette counties.
And this brings us to the question of the "Painted Rock," on Section 3, in Fairview township. On the face of a bold cliff, facing the river, and some half way up the bluff, was at some time