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no business, and the court was again adjourned one day. W.C. Thompson was Sheriff, and R. Ottman, Deputy Clerk, acted in the absence of his superior, L. B. Hodges. Much delay in the business of the court was occasioned by the fact of jurors and witnesses having been summoned to appear at Columbus.
On the 8th, "the Sheriff returned into court with the Grand Jury," and the court was opened, Judge Thos. S. Wilson, of Dubuque, presiding. From old files of the Lansing Intelligencer, we find that he arrived at Lansing on the 7th, on the steamer, West Point, and on the following morning (Wednesday) formally opened the term at the Court House, in Waukon (then spelled Wawkon invariably). That building is described as being a new log cabin, small and rather inconvenient, but, considering that the official whose duty it was to provide suitable accommodations (evidently referring to Judge Topliff) for the transaction of public business had refused to do so, and that the structure was erected by private enterprise, as good as could be expected." This difficulty arose from the unwillingness of Judge Topliff and Hodges, •who were interested in the town site of Columhus, to surrendər the county seat from that place, and the matter was brought into court at that term, as will be narrated in the chapter of county seat matters.
L. B. Hodges, Clerk of the County Court and acting Clerk of the District Court, not appearing at his post, the Sheriff was dispatched in pursuit of him, and he was brought into court. He immediately resigned his office, and no action was had in reference to him, as the resignation was considered satisfactory. L. W. Hersey was appointed County Clerk in his stead. The court was adjourned, after disposing of some forty-five cases, to the 8th of October.
The county lots at Waukon were offered for sale by County Judge Topliff, on the 6th of September. Each had been appraised and the price fixed. One-fourth of the purchase money was required in hand, the balance in twelve months. The county gave a bond for deed, the property being "school lands."
At an election held on the first day of August, 1853, the several townships cast the following ballots: Lansing ..
.47 Union Prairie.
.32 Paint Creek.
.21 Union City Taylor....
It will be seen that but two-thirds of the eventual number of townships then possessed an organization, and the dates of organizing some of these it is now impossible to ascertain.
The first record we find of a formal organization in this county of the followers of a designated political faith bears date, December 10, 1853, when the following notice was circulated. To the Democratic Voters of Allamakee County.-Fellow Citizens:
You are hereby notified that a meeting will be held at Waukon on Saturday, Dec 24, 1853, for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of an immediate organization of the Democratic party in our county. Also for the further purpose of appointing delegates to the State Convention, etc.
W. C. THOMPSON,
M. B. LYONS,
"Resolved, That the Democrats of the county of Allamakee ought to and hereby do organize themselves into a regular political party, according to the time-honored usages of the same, both in the State and nation, and as auxiliary thereto."
The central committee consisted of Archa Whaley, Reuben Sencebaugh, Wm. H. Morrison, Edward Eells and A. J. Hersey.
The township committees wereUnion City-Geo. Spence, Wm. Dennison, G. W. Carver. Lansing-Richard Luckins, A. J. Tillotson, Jas. P. Hughes. Lafayette-W.C. Thompson, R. Ottman, O. S. Conkey. Makee-C. Paulk, T. Minard, Aug. Hersey. Union Prairie-J. E. S. Morgan, Lorin Eélls, George Merrill. Ludlow-E. Reed, Luther Howes, Henry Beaver. Jefferson--W. S. Ross, Henry Coffman, H. Burgess. Paint Creek-Andrew Mitchell, Thos. Anderson, Geo. Watkins. Taylor-David Harper, Michael Dignan, Otto Langfield. Linton-Allen Scott, L. W. Hays, Henry Johnson. Franklin-John Brisco, Austin Smith, John S. Clark. Post-James Arnold, Reuben Smith. Wm. H. Morrison, S. A. Tupper and J. W. Flint were appointed delegates to the State Convention.
The convention thereupon "resolved" to authorize the central committee to fix the ratio of representation; "that we have undiininished confidence in the administration of the general government, and will continue to give our undivided support;" the state government “merits our approbation and continued confidence;" our senators, "for their uniform attachment to Democratic principles, are entitled to the cordial support of every true Democrat," and the "gratitude, influence and support of every true friend of western interest," etc.
In view of the heated political events of after days, we reprint, in full, the comments of the editor of the Mirror upon the foregoing record. He wrote:
"We have more than once expressed our views in regard to party organizations in this new country. We consider them impolitic, and with this view we must condemn the one noticed above, and we believe the majority of the people will coincide with us. And in making these remarks we do not infringe upon the strict line of neutrality we have adopted. These objections we should apply to the organization of any party here."
COUNTY OFFICERS, ETC. From the organization of the county, in the spring of 1849, to August, 1851, the management of county affairs was vested in a board of three commissioners, chosen by the people, and recognized as the Board of County Commissioners. The system of county management originated in Virginia, whose early settlers soon became large landed proprietors, aristocratic in feeling, living apart in almost baronial magnificence on their own estates, and owning the laboring part of the population. The county organization, where a few influential men managed the whole business of the community, was, moreover, consonant with their recollections or traditions of the dignities of the landed aristocracy of England, in their descent from whom the Virginia gentlemen felt so much pride. This system spread from Virginia through the South, and into some of the northern states.
In 1851 a County Court was created (see Code of Iowa, 1851, chap. 15). The act creating this Court gave the County Judge jurisdiction of probate affairs, and clothed him with all the powers previously exercised by the Board of County Commissioners. In short, it legislated the Commissioners out of existence.
On the 22d of March, 1860, the Legislature passed an act "creating a Board of Supervisors, and defining their duties.” (Rev. of Iowa, p. 48). This law went into effect July 4, 1860, and
provided for the election of one Supervisor from each civil township. When assembled together for the transaction of county business, these town representatives were known as the Board of County Supervisors. The township system had its origin in Massachusetts, and date backs to 1635. The first legal enactment concerning this system provided that, whereas, "particular towns have many things which concern only themselves, and the ordering of their own affairs, and disposing of business in their own town," therefore the freemen of every town, or the major part of them, shall only have power to dispose of their own lands and wards, with all the appurtenances of said towns, to grant lots, and to make such orders as may concern the well-ordering of their own towns, and not repugnant to the laws and orders established by the General Court. They might also impose fines of not more
than twenty shillings, and choose their own particular officers, as constables, surveyors for the highway, and the like." Evidently this enactment relieved the General Court of a mass of municipal details, without any danger to the powers of that body in controlling general measures of public policy. Probably, also, a demand from the freemen of the towns was feit for the control of their own home concerns.
Similar provisions for the incorporation of towns were made in the first constitution of Connecticut, adopted in 1639, and the plan of township organization became universal throughout New England, and came westward with the emigrants from New England into New York, Ohio and other western states. There being a large New England element among the population of Iowa, it is fair to presume that their influence secured the adoption of this system in Iowa, as created in the act already quoted.
It seems, however, that the township system did not continue in general favor with the people of the State. Objections were made that the body was unwieldy and expensive, and that the thinly populated townships, wielded an undue proportion of power in the Board compared with their actual voting strength, and in 1871, the system was so modified as to vest the powers of the former Board in a body to be composed of three or five Supervisors (Code, Title IV, Chapter 2). From the time of this law going into effect, the affairs of this county have been under the control of a Board of Supervisors consisting of three members, one of whom is elected annually, at the general election, for a term of
With these preliminary remarks we present as complete a list of our county officers, from the organization of the county to the present time, as it is possible to produce at this day, it being borne in mind that the early records are very incomplete and unsatisfactory in this point:
County Commissioners-James M. Sumner, Joseph W. Holmes, 1849 (April election). August election, 1849, James M. Sumner, Thomas A. Van Sickle, Daniel G. Beck. Whether any others served as Commissioners before the system gave way to that of a County Judge in 1851, we have been unable to ascertain.
Clerk of Commissioners' Court-Daniel G. Beck, 1849; Grove A. Warner, '49 to '51.
Clerk of District Court-Stephen Holcomb, 1849-50; Thos. B. Twiford, 1850-51; Leonard B. Hodges, 1851-53; Lewis W. Hersey, 1853-56; C. J. White, 1856-64; J. G. Orr, 1864-66; Giles P. Ellis, 1866-68; John W. Pratt, 1868-74; H. 0. Dayton, 1874-80; L. M. Bearce, 1880-82.
Sheriff-Lester W. Hays, 1849-51; William C. Thompson, 1851-53; John Laughlin, 1853-55; John A. Townsend, 1855-59; W. C. Thompson again, 1859-61; James Palmer, 1861-65; J. A.
Townsend again, 1865-67: Robert Bathan, 1867-71; Jas. Palmer again, 1871-73; Geo. Hewit, 1873-81; Chris. A. Leithold, 1881-82, and present incumbent.
Recorder and Treasurer-Elias Topliff, 1849-51; James M. Sumner, 1851-52; James Bell, 1852-53; Thos. C. Linton, 1853; John J. Shaw, 1853-55; L. 0. Hatch, 1855-57; Elias Topliff, 1857-60; A. H. Houghton, 1860-61; L. H. Howe, 1861-died summer of '63; James Duffy, appointed to fill vacancy, 1863; Michael Healy elected 1863-65.
Judge of Probate Court-Stephen Holcomb, 1849—
Inspector of Weights and Measures-G. A. Warner, 1849—; in January session of Board of Supervisors, 1863, on motion, L. H. Howe was appointed Sealer of Weights and Measures for Allamakee County.
Coroner-C. P. Williams, 1849-; M. F. Luark, 1857-58; F. W. Nottingham, 1858-59. J. W. Granger, 1859-61; John Ryan, 1861-63; John Farrell, 1863-65; David Harper, 1865-66; Fred Bartheld, 1866-67; J. Farrell, 1867-69; A. G. Collins, 1869-71; L. B. Adams, 1871-73; W. D. Morgan, 1873-75; John Farrell, 1875 -77; D. H. Bowen, 1877-81; W. D. Morgan, 1881-2, present incumbent.
Surveyor—James M. Sumner, 1849. Between this date and 1857, L. B. Hodges, S. P. Hicks, John M. Cushing, Joel Dayton, and H. 0. Dayton. W. W. Hungerford, 1857-59; John Ryan, 1859-61; H. O. Dayton, 1861-65; Henry Dayton, 1865-69; John G. Ratcliffe, 1869-71; H. 0. Dayton again, 1871-74; James McAnaney, 1874–77; A. R. Prescott, 1877–79; Harvey B. Miner, 1879-82, and present incumbent.
Prosecuting]Attorney:- John W. Remine appointed in November, 1851, to serve until his successor be duly qualified after the April election of 1852;" Sewell Goodridge, 1852-54; John T. Clark, 1854, resigned June 30, 1857; Geo. W. Camp, appointed July 2, 1857, and elected that fall.
School Fund Commissioner.-Wm. F. Ross, 1851, until the office was discontinued in 1858.
County Judge.-Elias Topliff, 1851 to 1857; Geo. M. Dean, 1857–59; John A. Townsend, 1859-61; 0. S. Conkey, 1861–67; M. B. Hendrick, 1867 to '68, when the office of County Judge was discontinued and Judge Hendrick became ex-officio Auditor until the close of his term, December 31, 1869.
Drainage Commissioner.-A. J. Hersey, 1853–; G. W. Gray, 1857-58; J. W. Merrill, 1858-59; Geo. L. Miller, 1859-59.
Superintendent of Schools. This office was established in 1858, and J. W. Flint was elected that year. In 1859 R. C. Armstrong was elected, and served until he departed in 1861; J. Loughran appointed 1861; A. H. Houghton in 1861–62; John 0. Havens, 1863; T. C. Ransom, 1863-65; Theo. Nachtwey, 1865-69; Lenthel Eells, 1869-71; Thos. F. Healy, 1871-73, died May 31st, and the Board