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Earliest County Record; First Marriage Record; First Records of County Court; First County Warrants; First Statement of Treasurer and Collector's Accounts; Miscellaneous Orders and Warrants; Court House Contracts; Ferry Licenses; Township Organizations, History of Paint Creek Township.
As we have said, there remains not the scratch of a pen relating to the official acts of the old County Commissioners of this county, and there is no election record previous to the year 1856. In view of these facts it will be seen that the task was ro easy one to prepare the foregoing list of officers, and a great deal of time and labor have been given to it. Taking one fact (of no importance in itself) from one source and another, and so on, and combining or comparing them, we can form very accurate conclusions in many cases, and we believe this list will be found quite useful for future reference.
The very earliest record we have been able to find in the county offices is in a book of naturalization of aliens, and is as follows:
“STATE OF Iowa, Allamakee County:
"Be it remembered that on the 9th day of July, A. D. 1849, Patrick Keenan, an alien, has this day filed in this office his declaration to become a bona fide citizen of the United States, took and subscribed an oath required by law.
Clerk of the District Court. There is nothing whatever to indicate in what part of the county the office of the clerk was situated, but it is supposed to have been at the old mission, or in that vicinity.
The first marriage record is as follows: “Be it remembered that upon the 23d day of November, A. D. 1849, that a license was issued from this office authorizing any person qualified by law to solemnize a marriage between Elias J. Topliff and Anna Reed.
"Clerk of the District Court." "This certifies that on the 6th day of December, A. D., 1849, I, Grove A. Warner, a Justice of the Peace, united the above named Elias J. Topliff, aged 22 years, and Anna Reed, aged 18 years, in the holy bonds of matrimony.
Witness my hand at Allamakee county this 6th day of December, A. D. 1849.
GROVE A. WARNER,
Justice of the Peace,
After these early specimens there appears nothing of interest, except similar documents, until we come down to the time of the establishment of the County Court, in 1851, the very first records of which we find to be the following:
"Minutes of the County Court commenced and held in the town of Columbus, the 18th of September, 1851, by Elias Topliff, County Judge.
"It appearing to the Court that no tax has been levied for the year 1851, it is therefore ordered by the Court that the following tax be levied and collected to-wit:
"For State revenue 3 mills on a dollar, and for poll tax 50 cents; for county tax, 6 mills on a dollar; for tax for support of schools, 11 mills; road poll tax, $2; road property tax, 1} mills."
At the October term, 1851, an order was made for a special election, to take place Nov. 18, to decide whether a tax be levied to raise $250 for the purchase of suitable books for the use of the county, and a county seal. At such special election all vacancies in the several township offices were to be filled. But no civil townships had been organized at that date, as near as we can ascertain.
At the November term, on motion of A. J. Ellis, W. C. Thompson was appointed a commissioner to view the location of "Road No, 2," proposed to be established from near Thompson's place in Lafayette southwesterly, "crossing Paint Creek at Riley Ellis' grist mill, thence southward to W. F. Rosses on the divide between Paint Creek and Yellow River, thence on the nearest and most practical route to Esquire Sutter's, south of said Yellow River, thence southward to county line between Allamakee and Clayton counties," and report to the Court. Mr. Thompson reported unfavorably at the following January term, and another route was eventually adopted. It was while on this prospecting tour, and not expecting to meet any white inhabitants except at the points mentioned, that Mr. Thompson ran across Reuben Sencebaugh, who had erected a log hut and was hard at work making a "clearing” in the heavy timber. He staid over night with him, and tried to persuade his host to abandon his attempt to make a farm in the woods and take a claiin on the prairie where there was an immense "clearing' already prepared by nature, but Mr. Sencebaugh was too used to a woody country to act upon his advice. He also discovered J. C. Smith, over in the Yellow River valley; and relates how pleasant it was to meet a white man in those days when the settlements were so scattered.
At the December term, 1851, Thos. B. Twiford was appointed to view proposed road No. 3, "from Columbus up the valley of Village Creek to Geo. C. Shattuck's, and thence to the Winneshiek County line, near James Cutler's."
Ezra Reid was appointed to view a proposed road from a point at or near where the State road from Paint Rock to Fort Atkin
son crossed the west line of the county, to school house in Ezra Reid's district, thence (northerly to intersect the Lansing road.
County warrant No. 1 was issued December 2, 1851, in favor of Lester W. Hayes, for services as sheriff in summoning Grand and Petit Jury.
Warrant No. 2 was issued to Wm. M. and Jas. C. Smith for laying out a road "from opposite Monona to the old county seat, in June 18 0," and "two days clerk of election in Franklin Township on the first Monday in May, 1851."
0. S. Conkey gave bond as deputy sheriff under L. W. Hayes.
At the January term, 1852, the county officers presented their accounts and were allowed pay as follows: E. Topliff, County Judge, to January 1, 1852...
$58 77 Jas. M. Summer, Recorder...
58 77 Thos. B. Twiford, District Clerk (for seven months).
64 92 J. W. Remine, Prosecuting Attorney :..
15 00 Jas M. Summer, account as County Commissioner.
15 00 Jas. M. Sumner produced a statement of his accounts as Treasurer and Collector as follows:
Whole Amount Charged. State tax.
$195 23 County tax.
497 96 School tax..
97 61 Road tax.
527 61 Amount Collected to this Time. State
$ 97 21 County.
232 43 School.
48 60 Road....
96 60 Report filed for thorough examination at the next March term.
At the April (1852) term, we find a warrant was issued to 0. S. Conkey for services as Deputy County Recorder. D. W. Low resigned as Deputy Assessor May 7th; John Sutter appointed Deputy Assessor by Sheriff Hayes.
June term, ordered that Columbus town lots be advertised for sale, on the terms, one-third down, balance in one year, and the proceeds be applied to the erection of suitable county buildings at that place, then the county seat.
At the July term the county officials, it appears, found themselves entitled to a small increase of back pay, as follows:
"It appearing from the census returns of 1851 which have recently been produced by the Sheriff that the population of this county on the first day of August, 1851, was 1117, it was adjudged by this Court that the salaried county officers were entitled to receive $200 per annum instead of $150 as had been hitherto supposed; consequently it is ordered that they be permitted to draw upon the county for as niuch as will bring their salaries to the legal allowance of $200 per annum.
At the August term T. B. Twiford was appointed deputy Assessor by Sheriff Thompson. Who was the County Assessor at this time we have been unable to ascertain. We find several references to a deputy Assessor, and at the July term, 1853, "Assessors all present but those of Taylor, Fayette, and Paint Creek townships." In the election register we find that John B. Sutter was elected County Assessor at the April election, 1857; but this is the only record in any shape, of such an election.
September 14th, 1852, "petitions were presented by P. P. Cady, John S. Clark, Benjamin Clark and Thos. B. Twiford, asking to be discharged from their liability on the official bond of James M. Sumner, as Recorder and Treasurer of Allamakee County, and the Court being satisfied that the petitioners had good ground of apprehension, ordered that a notice be served on the said James M. Sumner requiring him to file new bonds by the 25th day of Sept. inst., or his office would be declared vacated." What these grounds of apprehension were will sufficiently appear from the fact that one of the very first indictments found by the first grand jury, at the first term of District Court, at Columbus, July 12th, 1852, was against Jas. M. Sumner, for wilfully neglecting and refusing to make report, etc., and it was ordered that process issue against defendant, returnable at next term of court.
On the 23d of September Sumner saw fit to resign his office, and the vacancy was shortly after filled by the appointment of James Bell, who held the office but a few months and at a later year went to Tennessee, and has not been heard from since the war that we know of.
On the 26th day of November, 1852, an order was made that notices should be issued as follows:
"Notice is hereby given that a contract for building a court house on the County square of Allamakee county, in the village of Columbus, in said county, will be let to the lowest bidder on the fifteenth day of December next, at ten o'clock, at my office in said village. Approved securities will be required for the faithful performance of said contract. Sealed proposals will be received until that day. Any person wishing said contract will be furnished with a plan and specifications of said building by calling at my office. “Given under my hand this 26th day of November, A. D., 1852. [Signed]
County Judge. On the day specified the contract was let to Thos. B. Twiford, with W. C. Thompson and J. M. Rose as security, his being the lowest bid with security. The amount of the contract is not stated.
The following spring the county seat was located at Waukon, as elsewhere narrated, and to accommodate the District Court, which was to sit in June, the residents of that place put up a
temporary court house in the shape of a small log cabin, in which the court was held. And at the September term of the County Court for that year a contract was made for a new court house, as follows:
“On this 6th day of September, A. D. 1853, being the day (by previous arrangement) for entering into a contract for putting up à county building, the proposition of William Ramsdall being the lowest bid, it was ordered by the court (by said Ramsdall giving sufficient security) that the said William Ramsdall should have the contract, which contract was entered into for the amount of three hundred and twenty-five dollars."
This was the first of the two small frame buildings on the east side of Allamakee street, the second of which was built alongside of it in 1857. About this time the town lots of Waukon were offered for sale.
At this term a license was granted to Wm. C. Thompson to establish and run a ferry between a point on the west side of the Mississippi river, generally known as the "Red House Landing, (in the south part of Section 22, Fairview township), and the east side of said river, at or near Prairie du Chien.
October 2d a license was granted to Jas. Brookman to ferry across the Iowa river on the southeast quarter of section 15, township 100, range 4.
The county records are very incomplete as to the organization of the civil townships, and in some instances further light is thrown on the subject by consulting the township records. The substance of all we have been able to ascertain in the limited time at our disposal will be found as follows:
Post Township was organized in 1851.
At the February—1852—term of the County Court, Judge Topliff, a petition was presented praying for the organizatiun of the township of Lansing and defining its boundaries.
At the March term, 1852, a petition was presented for the organization of the township of Makee, and in accordance therewith a commission was issued to Israel Devine to call an organizing election on the first Monday in April following.
At the same term a commission was issued to Ezra Reid to call an election for the organization of Ludlow township.
Also a commission to call an election on the first day in April Union Prairie township for its organization. The court record fails to give the name of the party to whom the commission was issued, but by those who recollect the circumstances it is said to have been Geo. Merrill.
A commission was issued to Ensign Chilson to organize Union City township, by an election on the first Monday in April.