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painted the figure of an animal and the word "Tiger," with some names and other symbols. Judge Murdock said the painting was there in 1843, and looked ancient at that time; and, as far as we have been able to ascertain, the question of when or why it was put there, or by whom, has ever been a matter of speculation without a satisfactory answer. From various facts it is very
evident that this was the point at which the southern boundary line of the “neutral ground” of 1830 touched the river, one of the proofs of which is as follows: At the session of the County Commissioners of Clayton County, held April 4th, 1814, the boundaries of various election precincts were defined, and one precinct was established as follows: "Yellow River precinct. (No. 4), commencing at the Painted Rock on the Mississippi River; thence down said river to the corner of township ninety-five, range three, west of the fifth principal meridian; thence down said river two miles, thence due west on section line west side of township ninety-five, range four, west; thence north to the neutral line; thence following said line to the place of commencing, at Painted Rock." This fact being established, what more reasonable to suppose than that the authorities at Prairie du Chien should cause this prominent cliff-this natural * bulletin-board" as it were-to be so plainly marked as to designate the boundary line in a manner not to be mistaken by the natives; and what more natural than that the subordinates who performed the duty should decorate the rock with representations of wild animals and strange figures, the more readily to attract the attention of the Sioux hunting expeditions as they descended the river in their canoes and warn them that they had reached the limit of the hunting grounds permitted to them. Neither is it strange that they should take the opportunity of placing their own names where they might become famous, though they have long since become illegible. The only wonder is that some enterprising patent nostrum vendor was not on the spot to make his words immortal.
In the election precinct above described, "the house of Thomas C. Linton, on Yellow River", was designated as the place for holding the elections. So that undoubtedly the first election in the present boundaries of this county was held at that place long before the organizing election of 1819. From this it will be seen, too, that the Old Mission was not established within the boundary line of the Winnebago reservation, but a couple of miles to the south of that boundary, and in Dubuque County-after 1837 in Clayton County.
In the second General Assembly an act was passed organizing the county of Allamakee, and approved by Gov. Ansel Briggsthe first state governor-Jan. 15, 1819. Under this act the first election was held -as heretofore stated. Commissioners were also appointed to locate the county seat of said county. And they
performed their duty by selecting a location in Jefferson township, about a mile and a half northwest of the present village of Rossville, on the road from there to Waukon, near the Pettit place. It has ever since been known as “The Old Stake."
In April, 1851, the people of Allamakee County voted upon the following three points for the county seat, viz: Vailsville, on Paint Rock Prairie (now Harper's Ferry), “Smith's Place, sec. 12," in Post township, and Columbus, at the mouth of Village Creek in Lansing township. As neither point received a majority another vote was taken on the first Monday in May following, between Columbus and Smith's Mill, resulting in a small majority -14 it is said-for Columbus. We have no means of ascertaining the number of votes cast; neither do we know how many polling places there were in the county at that time; but if we are not mistaken Reuben Smith's place (one of the contesting points) was one of these. He stated in the fall of 1877 that a county seat election in '51 was held in a log cabin of his, and that voters came there from a distance of many miles, of whom he remembered Shattuck and Bush from what is now Makee, among others.
Since that time no less than nine more county seat elections have been held, which will be spoken of more at length in their appropriate chapter.
To return to some of the earlier incidents of the county's settlement and history. About 1840 or '41 a trading post was established near what is now Monona, just off the reservation, by one Jones, who sought to replenish his treasury by supplying the Indians with "fire water.” Another individual by name of Thorn instituted a like concern near by, and by a happy application of the eternal fitness of things these institutions were called "Sodom" and "Gomorrah” in the vernacular of those days. One of the results of their establishment was probably the first murder in our county, the particulars of which we find in the Decorah Republican, in 1875, substantially as follows: A party of Indians were living on a tributary of the Yellow River (thought to be Hickory Creek) four or five miles from Monona. An old Indian visited Jones' den at Sodon, and as many a pale face has done since then traded all his worldly effects for whisky, even to the blanket from his shoulders. On his way to his lodge he died from exposure and cold. The next morning his son found his body naked and frozen in the snow. Thirsting for vengeance, he visited the whisky den at Gomorrah and shot the first white man he saw, it happening to be an inoffensive man named Riley. The young Indian was captured by a detachment of troops under Judge D. S. Wilson of Dubuque, then a Lieutenant at Ft. Atkinson, but before the time for his trial he escaped and was never recaptured.
First Entries of Government Lands; First Importation of Lum
ber; First Grist Mill; First Postoffice; Interesting Reminiscences; First Official Seal; First Terms of Court and List of Grand Jurors; First Party Organization; Systems of County Management; List of County Officers; State Senatorship and Representatives from Date of Organization to Present Time; the Circuit Court.
Although the Indian title was extinguished, and the county was open to settlement in 1848, the lands were not put upon the market until about the first of October, 1850. The earliest entry of Government land we have found upon the records is that of the southeast quarter southeast quarter section 19, and three forties in section 30, all in Paint Creek Township, to Geo. Watkins, October, 7, 1850.
In 1851 or '52, Porter Bellows located in the valley of the Upper Iowa, and a few years later erected a grist mill near the mouth of French Creek, known as the McMillan Mill.
In June, 1851, G. W. Carver came to Lansing with a stock of lumber, the first in the County. He furnished the lumber for the first buildings erected on Makee Ridge. We believe he became the pioneer settler on Portland Prairie, north of the Iowa, in May, 1852. He made large claims of school lands under the State laws, and held the same until it reverted to the Government, as the Commissioner had selected too much land for school purposes. His claims were in litigation from 1858 until 1872, when by special act of the Legislature he was awarded $3,000 damages.
Wm. Werhan came into the county in 1851, and in company with P. M. Gilson erected a grist mill on the Yellow River, in Franklin township, in 1854.
The first postoffice is thought to have been the one established at Postville in January, '49. A postoffice was established at Lansing in the summer of 1849.
A postoffice was early established at the Eells place, but the date of establishment is unknown. This was on the road from Lansing to Decorah, and a popular stopping place for travelers between these points.
The first physician in the central portion of the county was J. W. Flint, who located on Makee Ridge in '52 or '53.
From some interesting reminiscences contributed to the Waukon Standard, in 1877, by Ď. B. Raymond, we make some quotations that here find their appropriate place.
"Standing on the Lansing Ridge about six or eight miles out from the river and looking over the valley of Village Creek and
to the north where the ridges and ravines with their rippling streams are lost in the view, toward the Upper Iowa River, I think it is as romantic as any view ever beheld by the writer; the more so, as my first view was when not a living white man had a house in this region save what I call to mind in these papers. I believe that I am correct when I say that Mr. John A. Wakefield was the first who put up a dwelling on the ridge out from Lansing; at least we found him ensconsed in a good house with some improvements at our first advent there (1852). He was a man of considerable avoirdupois and went by the title of Colonel or Major. He had a great desire for prominence and office, and was subject to many hard hits from competitors. As he often gloried in his valorous deeds in the war with Blackhawk; the keen, cutting sarcasm of J. W. Remine, the Lansing lawyer, and some others, drove the old Colonel almost to frenzy on some occasions. As he was indeed a pioneer, he sold out and moved to Nebraska in the summer of 1854. He was quite enterprising in improvements, and had a water-ram in operation several rods below his house to force the water from a nice spring to his dwelling, which was considered a great luxury on the ridge; as every one reading these lines that knows Lansing Ridge will bear me witness that it is a dry expanse, the elevation carrying the traveler many feet above some good springs on either side. Thus my memory reverts to the many draughts of cool water from the pipe at the Colonel's place and can only think of him as a true benefactor.
"The next dwelling out from Col. Wakefield's was, I think, Mr. Judson Hersey's, where we found this true Yankee behind a counter selling goods to the passing emigrants. The first impression of this man was lasting, and can only think of him as a genial gentleman with genuine enterprise. I regard him as the pioneer merchant of Makee and all the country west from Lansing at that time.
"The settlement formed in 1852 by the Herseys and Pratts at the western termination of Lansing Ridge was at that time a prominent place, as it was characterized by great enterprise, but when the commissioners drove the stake for the future county seat, the enterprising residents of Makee, like a flock of sheep, followed the bell weather to Waukon and became pioneers in building up this beautiful village within plain view of the first scenes of their labors.
"As we approached the level country eighteen or twenty miles west from the river-I say level because near the river the bluffs and ravines were so unlike what I was used to in Ohio that the country at the head of the streams running back from the river was to my mind level, although it was all rolling and interspersed with miniature ridges and ravines—when we reached Union Prairie after traveling through two or more miles of "openings" from Hersey's store, what a beautiful scene was presented to view! The
open prairie gently rolling like waves of the sea, all covered with grass, apparently as even as a floor; the frequent flutter of prairie chickens as they rose from the wagon path; and the bright crimson waves of the sun towards evening glittering over the waving grass; such a sight can never be seen again in the same place and under the same circumstances. In my mind I can see it now; but years have wrought many changes.
Mr. Raymond was of the opinion that the name of Village Creek was taken from the great number of Indian villages at one time located along its beautiful valley.
In the year 1853 Jesse M. Rose built, probably, the first grist mill, with bolt, in Allamakee and Winneshiek counties. It was located on Village Creek, where the village of that name now is, in the western edge of Lafayette township. Farmers brought their grists to this mill from Winneshiek County and from over the line in Minnesota; and it is said even from Clayton County. It did a large business, running day and night, only being delayed in order to make repairs. Azee Pratt and other Makee carpenters assisted in its construction. Mr. Rose went west about 1875.
The first newspaper published in the county was the Intelligencer, at Lansing, by Wm. H. Sumner. The first number was issued Nov. 23, 1852.
The first seal used by the county court is now in the possession of J. A. Townsend. Mr. Dean describes it as follows: Instead of the convenient and handsome seal of the present day, it was a piece of brass with the proper inscription cut thereon, and was used by making a rail fast at one end to something solid, then placing the seal upon the paper on a desk at the proper distance; then the rail was laid across the seal and the County Judge got his leg over the other end of the rail and soused it down a few times and the impression was made on the paper."
The first term of District Court for the county was opened at Columbus, then the county seat, on Monday, July 12, 1852. Hon. Thos. S. Wilson, of Dubuque, Judge; Leonard B. Hodges, Clerk, and Wm. C. Thompson, Sheriff. The following named persons were empaneled as the First Grand Jury: Wm. H. Morrison, Foreman; Edward Eells, John Clark, H. R. Ellis, R. Woodward, Jesse M. Rose, W. W. Willson, Darius Bennett, G. A. Warner, Hedry Botsford, Tremain Stoddard, Wm. Smith, A. J. Ellis, Jeremiah Clark, T. A. Winsted. The Petit Jury consisted of Reuben Smith, A, W. Hoag, B. D. Clark, David Miller, John Stull, Charles R. Hoag, A. L. Barron, Thos. Cosgrove, and H. M. Willson.
The first term held in Waukon was set for Monday, June 6, 1853; but we find from the record that "The presiding Judge in order to give time for the preparation of a suitable place at Waukon, the newly selected county seat, by written order, directed the court to be adjourned till to-morrow.' June 7th, there was