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"CHATS WITH OLD TIMERS"
of Fayette, Iowa
Organized by years
by O. W. Stevenson, published in the
Fayette Leader, 1938-1943
information extracted by Barry Zbornik 1999/2000,
for the Fayette County Historical Society

A group picture of the "elders" at the Methodist Church on the Hill was taken in the early Spring of 1927, and includes many of the offspring of the first pioneers in the Fayette Area, and names mentioned in Chats.  Magnified digitals from this one photograph will be put on another page.  If you can identify anyone, please email me.  Both of sets of my GGrandparents on my mother's side are present; the Hunt's and Strayer's.  W.E. Hunt was a close  "chat" friend of O.W. and shared many tales with him.  W.E. is in the upper left hand corner of the pic below.  Val Strayer is on W.E.'s left.  Both GGrandmother's, Amanda Thompson Hunt and Mary Parsons Strayer are in the pic on top.  I know a few more,but lets name some others.  I need old pictues like this to take magnified digitals of to use online.  Help!  If you have any get them to me for processing and then returning to you.

Site page links: 
[] Fayette History Index   []  Iowa Z Sitemap  []  Email  []

Note:  Chats is not a comprehensive view of the history of Fayette, but rather just a serious of topics O.W. randomly wrote about or received local information from his friends.


NOTE before you start down into "Chats"  take a look at the HINT below. "Chats" and pages like it in this site are huge.  The FIND feature built into Microsoft Internet Explorer can save a great deal of time locating topics and words.

SUPER HINT for FINDING WORDS on a WEB PAGE: 
Most of the pages on this site are very large informational pages regarding genealogy, history, motorcycles, etc.  You may be hunting for a specific name or term in hundreds of lines of text.  Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) has a neat "find" feature which is quick and easy to use for any web page you are navigating around in.  Try it a few times so you get into a habit of using the feature.  

FIND PROCEDURE: 
1.  Look up to the top left hand corner of this browser window if you are using IE.  
2. Click on the "Edit" button, to open a pop-up window.
3. Select the "Find" command and click on it to open another pop-up window.
4.  In this window you will find a line where you can key/type in the word you want to locate.
5.  Note that you can just keep clicking to find your word all through the page.
6.  You can also key in a new word in the same pop-up for other searches.

7.  A faster way to open the "Find" box is to use hot keys.  Hit the "Ctrl" key, and then the "F" key at the same time to open the Find Box.

FIND FEATURE USE:  A couple of good examples of how to use the find feature within this site would be trying to locate a surname or town on one of the large genealogy/history pages, or finding a word like brake on one of the big motorcycle pages.  A very good example of using the "find" feature would be surfing into a page with old census data trying to find out if a relative is there.  Let the find feature find all the surnames or given names you are trying to locate.  Learn to use the find feature by practicing it a few times on a consistent basis so you remember it is available.


 

Chats with Old Timers of Fayette, Iowa, by O.W. Stevenson, 1938-1943

Time-line Indexclick on the date to drop down the page to the area indicated.
In the Beginning Dates of the first villages. Why if Fayette located here?
1840-1844 Pioneers before 1850. Teagarden Massacre.
1845-1849 Wadena early settlers. Fish stories. Postal service.
1850-1854 Westfield. Mills. Fayette County starts. Early census reports. Gravel pit. How land ownership occurred. Dead Man’s Gulch. Early farmers. Typical farm. Newspapers. Lima. Teachers. Cole’s Mill and Inn, Corn Hill and stage stop. Eagle Point. Frog Hollow. Holmes’ Pasture. Log houses.
1855-1859 College Hill. Brick Yards, Charles Hoyt letter regarding farming. Albany. Frog Hollow school. West Union. Fayette businesses, Hobson’s pottery and farming. The dugout house. Marvin’s Mill, Moses Davis Hotel. The Old Stone Plow Shop. Taxes and records. Big Rocks. Letter by Charles Hoyt. Letter from a Fayette resident. Carriages and Wagons. Migrations and removals. Sidney Cobb’s letter about moving to Kansas.
1860-1864 Bridges. Blacksmiths. Horse barns, stables, racing, tracks. Robert Alexander and a wild cat. First sheep and hogs. Businesses in Fayette. Fayette House Hotel and Captain Kingman. Transporation and merchandising. Fry’s and Bull’s Head Taverns. Bartering. Nurseryman. First Railroad. Grub Church. Fisherman and the Volga. Flowers.
1865-1869 Doctors, health, medicine. Hunting and fishing. Hops yards. Gooseberry Island. Hopson’s (Parson’s) Grove. Rail fences. The Robertson’s Girls’ Diary. Steamboat transporation.
1870-1874 Butment Bridge. Canada. Hunting and fishing. Horses and road racing. Fayette letter by Mrs. Dixon Alexander. Railroads. The Cut.
1875-1879 Debow letter about farm life in Smithfield Township. Parson’s Grove.
1880-1884 First waterworks. Klock’s Island. Sewing machine. Women’s Clubs.
1885-1889 Liberty Poles. Grant Dean caught many wildcats. Hardware store.
1890-1894 Wild flowers. Bicycles.
1895-1899 (no postings)
1900’s Houses.


"CHATS WITH OLD TIMERS"
of Fayette, Iowa

 

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CHATS WITH OLD TIMERS by O. W. Stevenson, 1938-1943, was originally published in the Fayette County Leader, at Fayette, Iowa. This is EXTRACTED INFORMATION from "Chats" by Barry Zbornik, (originally from Fayette, Iowa) 625 N. Section, Hannibal, MO 6340.  Spelling and sentence structure have been kept basically original.  The information from Chats is duplicated in two forms, the first being chronological by relative dates, and the second by general topics. Please, please, if you have any information that can be added and saved for everyone’s enjoyment, post to me. Latest editing of Chats, 12/11/2000/BZ    Eventually the completed "extraction" will be available at the Fayette Library and the Historical Society at West Union. Chats are uploaded, online and linked from http://www.angelfire.com/ia/z/sitemap.html along with some other historical information regarding Fayette, Iowa.

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WHO WAS O.W. STEVENSON (Oliver William)
"I am an attorney at Fayette; a son of William B. Stevenson and his wife "Lizzie"; a grandson of Thomas W. B. Stevenson, and also of Loren M. Stranahan, both of whom came to Fayette County, Iowa, and "entered government land" in the 1850's. My wife, who’s interest and industry are very helpful about this column, is Imogene ("Genie") Cobb, daughter of Sidney Cobb who came to Fayette in 1857, and of Emogene ("Gene") Holmes, whose father, Allen Holmes, came to Fayette in 1868. While our ages are yet close to sixty, and we are busy folks, we are interested in getting and preserving, during the next few years, what we can of the history of Fayette folks and affairs."


Oliver William Stevenson on the left (original author of "Chats"),   and
Reuben Wrench and Laura Farr Holmes Hunt, circa 1940, Fayette, Iowa



Oliver William Stevenson is on the left, and was in a family  picture with some of my relatives. The Holmes family of Fayette where on his side and the Holmes Family was linked by marriage to the Hunt's.  He was also close to the Hunt's and Holmes' families as all were members of the Methodist Church.  His father William B. Stevenson entered land around Fayette at the same time as all of the pioneer members of my family and therefore would have been working and living in close friendship to one another, as would all of the "first" families of the valley.   My gguncle and aunt by marriage, Reuben Wrench and Luara Farr Holmes Hunt, are on the right.  Reuben Wrench eventually  farmed all of the area to the south of the road to Wadena and to the east of college hill, both the land on the flats and over the hill to the south. My ggrandfather Walter Eugene, quoted a number of times by O.W. Stevenson, ran the funeral and undertaking business on the N.W. corner of Main and Water Street during the last quarter of the 1800's, and then moved to a farm to the south of College Hill. Their father Reuben Hunt Sr., came to Fayette in 1855 to work as one of the head stone masons on the building of the College Seminary.  He bought three lots in 1855, the year Fayette was platted by James Roberston, which ran from from the Wadena road, along old Hwy. 150, to just below College hill.  The railroad track would cut his lots when it came through in 1873.  Oliver W. Stevenson would know the Hunt elders and other men who were the actual "builders" of the initial community of Fayette,  because of the relationship they had with his father William.

 

VALUE OF OLD THINGS
Fayette some day will be an older place than New England towns are now. It is the gateway to one of the most scenic areas in the great Mississippi valley, and is probably destined to grow in value as a tourist and resort section. Perhaps Fayette cannot save any of its such investments for the future. O.W.S, 1938.
Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.



In the Beginning

---The first Villages in the County---The early platted villages in Fayette county were: West Union-June 1850, Westfield-July 1851, Auburn-1851, Volga City (Lima)-Oct 1851, Taylorsville-Feb 1852, West Auburn-Sept 1853, Centerville (adjoining Taylorsville)-May 1854, Albany-July 1854, Elgin-Feb 1855, Fayette-June1855.

---Why is Fayette Located Here?
John Orvis said he remembered when there were big old rotten stumps of other trees on the ground at Klock's Island. He was telling a good blue racer (A species of snake that all little Fayette boys endear, as they were just sure a blue racer could run them down without a head start; bz/2000.) story and did not realize that his mention of old stumps was of even more interest to me. I have a theory that the trees that grew on those stumps may have been one important factor in the starting of a village at Westfield, and the locating of Fayette where it now is instead of at another near by point on the Volga river ('some distant away'). Does anyone know why Fayette is located where it is?


  1. 1840 – 1844

  2. ---Pioneers Before 1850

    Between 1840 and 1850 there were people who lived in Fayette county, for a while at least, whose names did not appear in the census list recently printed in the column for 1858. Most of those folks had moved away by 1850. A few who continued to live here may have been skipped by the census taker. The names of some of such earlier settlers may be found by searching the history of Fayette county, published in 1878. Others may be secured from a series of twenty-eight newspaper articles, "Fayette County in the Forties" contributed by T.D. Peterman to the West Union Argo in 1901. Those works were written while folks were still living who could remember back to those earlier years.

    Peterman’s First Pioneer List of the 1840’s--- ? Atwood, ? Baker, W.H. Bailey, James Beatty, Horace Bemis, ? Bonham, Samuel Barazelton, Benjamin Brooks, Henry Brooks, Hiram Brooks, Jessie Brooks, Nelson Brooks, (their father) Brooks, ? Chlson (spelling?), Samuel Connor, George cook, James (Jimmie) Crawford, Sam Crane, George Culver, Amos Cummings, Goodson Cummings, Lewis Delzene, Joseph Dickinson, ? Downs, Lorenzo Dutton, Robert Gamble, John Giles, Charles Glidden, ? Hadley, A.J. Hensley, Joe Hewitt, Moses Hewitt, ? Hyde, Charles Jones, Henry Jones, E.A. Light, ? Lucklow, Hyler Lyons, ? Messenger, ? Mullign, Major ? Mumford, John Nagle, Earl Newton, Royce Oatman, William Orrear, Jacob Ourey, John Paddleford, William Paddleford, Willima Palmer, Reuben Perkins, Zopher Perkins, ?2 Pettit, ? Piper, John Randall, ? Rausdell, Ben Reeves, David Ring, William Ring, J. W. Rogers, William M. Rosier, ? Ryan, ? Sackett, Moses C. Sperry and father, ? Spofford, James Stevenson, T.R. Talbot, ? Teagardner, ? Tombs, William Van Dorn, Kitten Voshell, Isaac Webster, Franklin Wilcox, Nathan Wilcox, Sanford Wilcox.

    Total for Earliest Families--- The Peterman list, and the 1850 census list contain a total of about 290 names as possible heads of first families in Fayette County. There are about 215 different family names found in the two lists.
    Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.

     

    ---TEAGARDEN MASSACRE (March 25, 1843)

    Location of the Teagarden Cabin---Walter Beall, of West Union, once remarked that perhaps the "Teagarden Massacre" had an interesting historical appeal to more folks that any other single event in our county history. When anybody starts marking more local historical spots it may be proper to put something at this spot, or in the road near to it. March 25, 1943, will be the one hundredth anniversary of that harrowing event.

    Peterman Found the Disputed Spot---The published histories indicate some uncertainly once as to just where the cabin stood. I though William F. Pfeiffer was the only living man who knew and I had him take me recently to the location. We went to the Mary Jones farm where Sammie Sheperd lives, southeast of Fayette. The house is on SE 1/4 of SW 1/4 of Sec. 31 of Westfield township, about one and one half miles west from the Pioneer cabin location sign on the paving. Then we went across the road, almost straight south of the Shepard house, to a spring in the first slough. It is near some willow trees and a lot of boulders. Shepard was mowing hay nearby. He said Marion Dennis had helped dig at the old cabin site once. When asked about it Marions said T.D. Peterman hired him and Rob Chapman to go out there once and dig for evidence of the old site. Peterman seemed to know where to dig. He probably looked for a low mound scraped up by neighbors over the spot after the fire. Digging not more than eighteen inches they found evidence of the old cabin site, and Peterman took an old rifle barrel and several other articles uncovered, to put in the log cabin at the county Fair ground. Marion remembers that the spot was between six and eight rods northwest of the spring which would put it almost straight south of the house where Sammie Shepard now lives. I print this to preserve a record of the exploration.

     

    ---Rivers and Creeks As Memorials to Early Wild Animals---I was interested the other day while looking at an old map of Fayette county to note how many streams, especially in the east part of the county were named for birds or animals. Some of these streams may have been named before the white settlers came. I wonder how the names were given, or acquired. In Smithfield and Illyra we have Bear Creek. Can anybody tell how that name originated?
    Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.


    B. 1845 – 1849

    ---Our Oldest Fish Story---An account of a big fish that did not get away, which I saw in Mr. Sperry’s letter to the West Union Gazette for January 1st, 1868, may be the oldest recorded big fish story for Fayette county. Milton C. Sperry, father of Mrs. John (Jennie) James, was the president of our first county historical society, organized at the Fayette Hotel, in 1868. From his article published I took the following notes, and quotations:

    M. C. Sperry Came in 1846---Writing about the early settlement of Illyria township Sperry refers to Hewitt and Culver trading post in the spring of 1846 on the Volga river one half mile east of Wadena. "In fall of same year Milton Sperry and Nathan Culver moved in and built a house on the Volga about three miles west of Wadena. The following winter they got out timber intending to erect a saw mill, but finally abandoned the undertaking."

    Indian Lame Jim and His Spear---"The Volga at that time was a favorite resort of the Indians (Winnebagoes) who encamped along the stream for the purpose of hunting and fishing. The writer of this well recollects standing on the shore of Hewit’s and Culver’s trading house and seeing an Indian named Lame Jim spear a fish which measure six feet in length."

    Some ‘49ers Near Wadena---"The Indians were removed in June, 1848. In the month of April, 1849, Thomas Markley, Eden Hummell, Henry Hummell, and Nathan Hummell moved in and built a house two and one-fourth miles east of Wadena. The broke three acres of ground the same season and harvested eight bushels of corn to the acres. Mr. Markley still resides here, and takes great pleasure in relating incidents of frontier life."---M.C. Sperry.

    ---Prices of Farm Products in 1849---On October 24, 1849, the Dubuque Miner's Express published the following: "Dubuque Market"--The weather, for the last few days has been delightfully pleasant, and business on our streets has very much revived. On Saturday last we observed more wagons from the country than for a long time previous. The roads are in a tolerably good condition at this time, and farmers are improving the opportunity to bring their produce to market. WHEAT is in demand at from 55 to 60 cts a bu. A tolerably good supply at this time, but a ready cash market for all that is brought. CORN, Old 25 cts/bu, New 20 cts/bu. OATS, 18 to 20 cts/bu. Hay, 5.50 per ton. PORK, a small quantity coming into market, prices range from 3 to 3.50, BUTTER 12 to 15 cts per lb. HIDES, green 2 to 2 1/2, dry 5 5/8. Wood $2 to 2.50 per cord.

    ---POSTAL SERVICES

    Our Postal Service in 1938---Postmaster E.A. Billings, at Fayette, sold about 15,000, 1 1/2c stamps during the recent Christmas season, mostly for greeting cards. With our present government mail deliveries almost at out front doors daily it may be well to think a moment about mail troubles as one of the experiences of our first settlers.

    It was Different for the Pioneers---Some idea of the postal service rendered the first of the immigrant families in Fayette County (numbering 154 in the 1850 census) may be secured from a few sentences out of an editorial in the Dubuque "Miners' Press" for October 10, 1949. This was just a few months after the Robert Alexander family came and began to acquire land around what is now Fayette. The Andrew Hensley and a few other families had been in the eastern part of the county for several years. Speaking of recent actions taken extending a mail route to Monona, in Clayton County, the editor said: "The counties of Fayette and Winneshiek and Blackhawk, which are filling up with greater rapidity than any other portion of the whole west, are entirely destitute of Post Offices."
    Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.

    They Were Demanding Service---The editor continued: "More than three thousand persons have gone into these counties within the lst four months. They are demanding, and have a right to demand, those privileges and benefits, which were intended for the people in the establishment of the general Post Office System. They have left their homes and friends, to purchase and inhabit the lands of the General government, and have shut themselves out, and unless the department will do something for them must continue to be shut out from all communication with those they have left behind."

    About Fifty Miles to Post Office---"We are now sending papers, addressed to Vinton P.O. in Benton County, for persons living at the Forks of the Cedar in Blackhawk, forty-eight miles from the office, where they secure them. The people of Fayette and Winneshiek are still worse off….The people have petitioned, but their petitions have been disregarded. Let the Quasqueton mail route be extended west to the Forks of the Cedar, in Blackhawk county, and let the Colesburg route be extended, through Fayette to old Fort Atkinson in Winneshiek, and the benefits accruing will be greater than any act of the department for the people of Iowa."

    To Ead's Grove (Manchester) for Mail---Ead's Grove, now Manchester, in Delaware County, was made a post office in July, 1849. Being on the route to Dubuque his probably was for a while the most convenient post office for the earliest of the pioneers into what may now be called the Fayette community.

    Postal Service---On October 10, 1949, the postal service was coming as close to Fayette as Eads Grove in Delaware county. The Dubuque Miner's Express writes: "New Post Office: We are gland to learn, that a new post office has been established at 'Ead's Grove,' in Delaware county, in this state. This was much needed, as many in that section of the county have bee deprived of the advantages of taking a newspaper, owing to the distance from a post office. The circulation of our paper in Delaware county is rapidly increasing. William Eads, Esq., the post master at the above office, is spoken of as every way qualified for the station."
    Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.


  3. 1850 – 1854

---OF WESTFIELD
And Pioneer Families "Got Their Start"---
In 1851 Fayette county had been separately organized only one year. It had been a part of Clayton county. There was no courthouse, no jail, no board of supervisors, and there were no schoolhouses. I think there were no county bridges, and no laid out roads that were graded. At Westfield, just this side of the present town park, Robert Alexander had erected a saw mill and had platted a four block town, in which practically no lots had been sold. There was no town of Fayette. In all of Fayette county there were only a few more than one thousand white settlers. The government was giving land free to old soldiers, and selling it to others at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. It was during those early years that most of the older Fayette county families "got their financial start," or received a chance for it as a gift from the United States government.

---OF MILLS
The Fanning Mill Industry:
Here is another advertisement in an issue of the Pioneer for April 14, 1856. I was amazed at the extent of the local fanning mill industry, and I wondered who this Mr. Irvin was and where his factory was located. Can anybody tell us about it? Is there one of the mills left in the county? "FANNING MILLS, 200 Fanning Mills will be manufactured at Westfield this spring and summer. Mills always on hand and at low prices for cash or on time. Thomas W. Irvin

FLOUR MILLS
Elijah Gregory was once interested in the Westfield flouring mill business, his daughter was Mrs. E.C. Fussell of Fayette

SAWMILLS
Ruel Streeter has just opened (1938) a gravel or sand pit on the "Williams'' property purchased, lying south of Primary Highway and on the bank of the "race" that served the old Westfield flouring mill, being just east of the Park, or Klock's Island. There is a point of interest for us in this. The written county history, and the deed records too, show that in 1850 Robert Alexander located a sawmill almost on this very spot. There was then no town of Fayette, and I am not sure that there was even a town of Westfield. The natural resources of that location, suitable for building construction work, have evidently not all been exhausted during the last ninety years. And this prompts me to write a paragraph about sawmills.

Probably the first manufacturing enterprises established in this region were the sawmills. The men who brought in the machinery and equipped such mills, with steam or with waterpower, were our first local industrialists. They have their faith in the future of this country (area, Z), and they had their problems of several kinds. They must have been unusual and interesting men and there surely are many things that ought to be recorded about them and their enterprises. Their establishments must have been early community centers where things happened and about which tales were told.

I recall now the names of Alexander, Cole, Rawson, Marvin, Grannis and Hendrickson. There probably were others connected with that early industry. Some of the names were connected with the business more than one generation.
Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.

--THE START OF FAYETTE COUNTY
And Pioneer Families "Got Their Start"---
In 1851 Fayette county had been separately organized only one year. It had been a part of Clayton county. There was no courthouse, no jail, no board of supervisors, and there were no schoolhouses. I think there were no county bridges, and no laid out roads that were graded. At Westfield, just this side of the present town park, Robert Alexander had erected a saw mill and had platted a fur block town, in which practically no lots had been sold. There was no town of Fayette. In all of Fayette county there were only a few more than one thousand white settlers. The government was giving land free to old soldiers, and selling it to others at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. It was during those early years that most of the older Fayette county families "got their financial start," or received a chance for it as a gift from the United States government.

County Expenses in 1854---Taken from the July 26, 1854, issue of the Fayette County Pioneer, and I think the oldest available financial Report for Fayette county. For the year ending July 1st, 1854, received in county tax $303.69, county officers' salary $728.02, equals $1031.71. Expenditures, outstanding orders $225.19, books and stationery $28.38, officers' salary $1050.00, total $1303.57, minus receipts, equals county debt of $271.86. Assets, notes for sale of lots in West Union $343.99, cash on hands $250.00, county lots not sold $450.00, due in delinquent tax $374.09, for a total of $1418.87 in total assets. As a comparison, in 1937 the Treasurer cashed warrants drawn by the Auditor for county expenses amounting to $441,576.01.

The first Villages in the County---The early platted villages in Fayette county were: West Union-June 1850, Westfield-July 1851, Auburn-1851, Volga City (Lima)-Oct 1851, Taylorsville-Feb 1852, West Auburn-Sept 1853, Centerville (adjoining Taylorsville)-May 1854, Albany-July 1854, Elgin-Feb 1855, Fayette-June1855.
Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.

---CENSUS REPORTS
Northeast Iowa Was a Wilderness in 1849---
Nearly all of Northeastern Iowa was then a wilderness. In scanning old newspaper files among the state archives I found in the Miners Express, published at Dubuque January 2, 1850, this statement as to the 1849 population of several counties according to some census that had been taken: Allamakee-277, Benmton-212, Buchanan-406, Clayton, then including Fayette-2500 (Fayette County's population probably would have been around 250, plus or minus 25, in 1849,z), Delaware-1500, Dubuque-9185, Winneshiek-275.

A 1850 Census Report---Between September 26 and October 9, 1850, Eliphalet Price, living in Clayton county, made a census enumeration for Fayette County, which had that year been set off from Clayton County. He probably traveled on horseback to reach the one hundred fifty four families or houses which he found and listed for this entire county in 1850. I traveled to Des Moines for a day to secure his information from the state archives.

The Census of 1850 is Stimulating to the Imagination---As one studies the old fashioned handwriting of Mr. Price, and scans the names of the several hundred men, women and children he listed, it is easy to let the imagination go and try to take in fancy that trip with the enumerator over the unbroken hills and prairies and through the original forests of Fayette County---the prairies with their tall waving native grass and flowers, and the forests with only an occasional log cabin sheltering some pioneer family.

Some First "Old Timers'---When the publication of this column was suspended, on January 5, 1939, a few references had been made to the census of Fayette County taken in 1850. Now that we are having a Centennial celebration it may be of special interest and value to publish a list of the different families found here in (Fayette County) in the summer and fall of 1850 by the Census taker, which was 10 years after the first white settlement in the county.

Heads, or other Representative of Families Found Listed in Fayette County, Iowa, Census of 1850---The census taker started in the southeast corner of the county and worked back and forth toward the north. Thus the number by each name indicate the approximate location in the county from south to north, with the lower numbers being in the south part of the county. Likewise, consecutively or close numbers were from the same "neighborhood." When a number is in parenthesis another person has been listed as apparent head of the house. Where one family name applies to two or more persons only the name of the apparent husband, or of the oldest of the named group is given.
Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.

Heads of Familes, Fayette County, Iowa, 1850---Robert Alexander 31 (Note, he was operating on a sawmill on the southwest portion of Westfield in the Fayette valley, therefore numbers close to him are in the Fayette area,z) , Noah Alexander 34, William Anderson 9, Horace Andrus (?) 48, Wilcox Aquilla (?) 64, Peter Alsern (38), James Austin 147, Solon W. Barnes 6, Henry H. Baker 15, William Bartlett 141, Charles Bell (96), Margaret Berk 61, Solomon Bishop 63, Joseph Bradshaw 11, Harvey S. Bronson 124, Chansey Brooks 5, David Brooks 5, John Brooks 25, Mattison Brown 52, Oliver Brown 126, Martin Burdick 151, Harrison Butler 32, Absolom Butler 128, Caleb D. Carlton 117, James Carrol 84, Washington L. Case, 107, William P. Cavenaugh 62, Lukins Clark (?) (129), Chester Clestern (?) 105, Margaret Connor (76), John Conner85, Matthew Connor 90, Samuel Connor (90), Joseph Crawford 129, Thomas Crooks (49), Thomas Crooks 49, Franklin Crosley 20, James Davis 154, Joseph Deford 78, Lewis Deloynie 152, Benjamin Dimond 87, Thomas Douglas (38), John Downey (114), David H. Downs 142, Morris Earl 137, Hiram Earl (137), James Earl 138, John Eddy 137, Rudolphus Eddy 144, Charles Ellis (129), Dempsey Elrod 64, Ely Elrod 129, Sarah Elrod (129), Isaac Enders 143, Knud Everson 82, Ambier Everson (92), William Fetch 67, Daniel I. Finney 9, Isaac Fitch 60, Thomas Follett 51, Elipholet Follett 112, Simon Follett (112), Edwin Follett (117), Rebecca Forbes (87), Simeon B. Forbes 88, Joseph Forbes 89, Joseph Foster 140, Robert Freeman 19, William Frasier 76, John Frasier 82, William Fussell 28, David E. Fussell 30, Oliver P. Gallaher 55, Ephrom Gardner (151), James Garrison (55), Helen Gear (47), David German 8, William Gibblin 53, Levi Gifford (136), Calvin Gitchell 150, Stephen Greenup 125, Nathaniel Hall (119), John Hannah (38), Elisha Hartsoff 132, Samuel Hatton 56, John Hendershott 108, Michal Henmon 42, Andrew Hensley 45, Abraham Holing 149, Jacob Hoover 131, Henry Hopkins 40, Lysander Hopkins (137), Elizabeth Hopkins (137), Lyman Hord 127, Oley Houson 94, Bent Houson (94), Sarah Huff (114), James Hughson 148, Sarah Hunt (15), Charles Hyler 95, Lemuel Iliff 118, Benjamine Iliff 122, Hiram Jackson 103, James Jennings 29, John Johnson (106), Henry Johnson 106, Jason Johnson 111, Elf Johnson (111), Anson Kellogue (3), John Kellogue (31), Thomas Kerr 119, John Kerr (119), Hannah Kirkpatrick (129), Chaunsey Leveritt 110, Jacob Librand 68, Crotus A. Light 46, Harry W. Light 43, Remembrance Lippencott 72, Hugh Lockard 7, Gabriel Long 102, Monroe Lott (87), Robert K. Lounsburg (13), David Lowe 18, Stephen H. Ludlow 47, William Lumsden 50, Alexander Lumsden (50), Clark Lukins (129), Joseph Lyon 104, Ermina Lyon (104), Dorcus McCameram (80), Daniel McDuffy 145, Joseph McGee 36, Thomas McKinley (26), William McKinney (13), George McKinney 14, Joseph McLaughlin 57, Andrew Martin 116, John Matthew 117, John Matthews 108, America Mattews (99), Avril Miller 23, George Miller (43), Wilson Miller 66, Eugene Moine 22, John P. Moine (22), Evleine Morkley (2), William Morris 49, George Morrison 123, Russell Moron (147), Alexander Mussleman 120, George W. Neff 33, Palmer Newton 21, William E. Newton (21), Jerod Nutting 100, Eren Oleyson (93), Jacob Orey 74, Mary Ottercreek (87), Betsey Ottercreek (90), Sirenius Packard 99, Francis Palmer 97, Albert Palmer (97), Asa G. Park 4, Woodman Perkins (1), Calvin Perkins 12, John Philips 105, Ebenezer Piper (137), Alonzo Randel 54, Stephen Reeve (88), Samuel Rice 73, Richard Richardson 26, Phroney A. Rickell (71), Jacob W. Rogers 65, Jacob Rosier 133, George Rosier (133), William Root 77, Ely Root 79, Emily Root 81, George Rowley 106, Nickolas Russell 58, Charles Sawyer 113, Allen Sawyer 114, James L. Sawyer 115, Thomas Scott 41, Sylvester Seward 3, Conwright Sheeley (31), Chansey S. Smith (23), Thomas J. Smith 39, Henry F. Smith 71, George Smith 83, David Smith 136, Charles Smith 139, Asa South 129, George Stansbury 75, james B. Stephenson 86, Samuel Stevens 98, Susan Stobough (57), Philip Stobough 59, Thomas B. Sturgis 38, David Tailor 1, Silas Tailor 10, Willima Thompson (69), Anthony Thompson 96, John Turner 130, Francis Vosial 16, Peter Vosial 17, Marrion Warner (117), Edwin C. Watters (or Wotters) 153, Levy W. Watrous 44, Lucy Welch (4), William Wells (68), Matthew Wells 69, Sarah Wells (69), David Wells 70, Joshua Wells 80, George L. Whitley 24, Arson Wickham 146, Aquilla Wilcox (64), James Wilson 137, Thomas Wilson (146), Joseph Woddel 39, Thomas Woodel 37, Benjamine Woods 27, Jimerin Woodson 13.
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---GRAVEL PIT
Ruel Streeter has just opened (1938) a gravel or sand pit on the "Williams' property purchased, lying south of Primary Highway and on the bank of the "race" that served the old Westfield flouring mill, being just east of the Park, or Klock's Island. There is a point of interest for us in this. The written county history, and the deed records too, show that in 1850 Robert Alexander located a sawmill almost on this very spot. There was then no town of Fayette, and I am not sure that there was even a town of Westfield. The natural resources of that location, suitable for building construction work, have evidently not all been exhausted during the last ninety years. And this prompts me to write a paragraph about sawmills

---LAND
How did land ownership occur? Where did the pioneers come from? Why did they come to Fayette County?
Nearly all of the pioneers whose names appear in "chats", as well as thousands more who came here during the 50's, were farmers or wanted to farm and were seeking cheap land. Men who had served in the Mexican war were given "land warrants" entitling them to receive free certain areas of government land which they might select. These warrants could be sold and men who wanted to come west and get cheap land often bought the warrants from the soldiers in the East and used them to pay the United States government for farms.

What are Land Patents?---The U.S. government after the Fayette county land had been surveyed into sections offered it for sale at $1.25 per acres, cash. Some lands were given by the U.S. to the State of Iowa as "school land" and these lands were sold by the state of Iowa at prices ranging close to $1/25 per acres. The U.S. or the Iowa gave purchasers of lands special deeds called "patents" for land, and with these government "patents" all private titles for our lands in Fayette county originated.

Men "Hunted" Land in the 1840-50's---Especially during the 1850's thousands of men tramped over Fayette county looking for land that pleased them for which they could go to the government land office at Dubuque and make "original entry" and get the certificate entitling them to a "land patent." For these "entries" they paid cash or turned over land warrants. The patents of record at West Union for most lands show whether cash was paid or land warrant turned in to the government. If a land warrant was used the patent shows the name of the soldier and the military service for which it was issued.

Searching for Land, the Alden Mitchell Letter---From Delhi, Delaware County, Iowa, May 20, 1855, Dear Wife: When I wrote you last I expressed some fears in regard to my pay of Morgan but I got it at last but not until the 14th of April and the 16th we started for Iowa we went aboard of a Steamer at Alton in the evening and sailed up the Mississippi River 450 miles and arrived in Dubuque, Iowa on the 22nd (a six day journey), but we stopped at Keokuk one night and at Davenport 24 hours, all three of the last named Towns are on the west bank of the River and in Iowa. Explored Fayette County From Delhi---I went to the Land Office in Dubuque and found the land all sold for 40 miles west of the River, we then went to Delhi and made short trips out from this place in every direction for more than two weeks and I have at last bought a quarter section of prairie which contains 160 acres in Fayette County. It is thirty miles from the River at the nearest point, and sixty miles northwest of Dubuque. There is woodland three miles north of my land and a good supply of timber in four or five miles and can be bought from 10 to 16 dollars per acre (prairie farmers all needed a source of firewood and building wood so they obtained timber land as close to their farms as possible, z). Plans for Improvements---I can see no reason why this should not be a healthy Country. The streams are clear with gravel bottom and numerous springs of good water
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I have agreed with a man to plough ten acres at 3 dollars per acre in the month of June, so that I can have some land to cultivate next spring. I intend to build a house early next fall of some kind but I fear it will be small for the want of money to build such an one as I should like, the people near my land advise me to build a frame house they say it will cost very little more than a log cabin. Land is Not the Main Cost---The price of the land here to make a farm is but a small part of the expense of getting ready to live, building a house and fences, and stock which is very high now, and some kind of a shelter for livestock when we must buy our provisions for 8 months at least, a stove and some furniture besides farming tools. I am thinking that all those things put together will cost more than I shall be able to pay unless I have some help from George or some other source. Have you heard from George yet, if so let us know all about it, if not I want you to write to Gifford or Charles Buntin half brother of P. Pease Capt. of Minerva. Work and Wages in 1855---We are in rock Ville now at work on the abutment to a bridge the job I think will last 10 or 12 days we have worked 3 days and I get $2 a day and Lyman $1 and board rock Ville is 30 miles west of Dubuque and Delhi is 40, we shall go to Delhi when we leave here, it is the County seat of Delaware Co.---they are building considerable there this season and I think we shall find work for a month or two, when you write direct it to Delhi, Delaware County, Iowa. Warm Clothing is needed---Write as soon as you receive this and let us know how you are getting along and what all the girls are doing this spring. I wonder if they are preparing to move to Iowa next fall if they are they had better get a good stock of thick shoes and stout warm clothing for the wind blows on those big Prairies harder than it does among the high hills in Massachusetts. We have been well since we left Hillsboro and I hope we shall continue to be so for I do not know what we should do if we were to be sick, may theses lines find you all enjoying the blessings of health and happiness, give my love to all the girls and accept a share for yourself. Yours truly , Alden Mitchell. Note: Mitchell is from an Old Pioneer Family---A little additional interest may be found in this letter of an original Fayette pioneer if one knows that he was named Alden because he was a sixth generation descendant from John Alden and Priscilla of Massachusetts fame. This is the reason why his great granddaughter, Marjorie Stranahan Moulton, of Fayette calls here little eighteen months old daughter Priscilla.

Land Office Sales---From the Dubuque Miner's Express, January 2, 1850, an article show how the land office was postponing land sales to enable settlers to get funds to buy land and what rates of interest were charged for money loaned: "Postponement of Land Sales"---Our friends in Allamakee will be gratified to learn that the Land Sales which were to have taken place at Dubuque on the 7th and 21st of January have been postponed. A further extension of time will enable them to prepare for the entry of their lands, without subjecting them to the necessity of borrowing money at twenty or twenty-five per cent, or being in danger of losing them altogether.

---DEAD MAN'S GULCH
Clark Older says the gully or ravine running down to the Volga River from the west---a short distance below by the river flow, but northwest by the compass, from Big Rock, was once called "Dead Man's Gulch." Grant Dean, who has lived across the river east, for many years, don't think so. Does anybody else know anything about such a name?

Mrs. Fannie Coleman Holmes writes from Oelwein. I believe I can give some information as it was told to me many years ago by Jule Dennis, who formerly owned the Cole's mill and the farm my father later owned. Dead Man's Gulch is now called Orr's Ford and is north of the old Cole's mill site. Jule Dennis told, the man found dead in the gulch was a peddler, selling spectacles and his body was found by hunters or trappers. It was never identified or claimed by anyone. (Does anybody know when this happened? (OWS)
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---FARMING
Farming around Fayette in the late 1840's/early 1850's---
The history of the Fayette community as a permanent settlement, like that of most local histories, begins not with a town but with farmers and farming, (and the merchants/tradesman that follow and support the farming endeavor, z). What kind of farming is generally left to the imagination. In the old 1850 census report I found what I think is the early farming conditions available for Fayette and Fayette County. On a page for that purpose of his report Mr. Price listed eight Fayette county farmers and statistics relating to their land, machinery, live stock, crops, etc.

What Eight Farmers Owned and Produced---These eight farmers owned property as follows: 1569 (average of 196 acres each,z) acres of land, of which 585 (average of 73 acres each,z) acres were improved (improved land was land that had been cleared of timber and brush, was either capable of being plowed or utilized for grass pasturing,z), and all valued at $9080 (1135each,z). Farm implements and machinery valued at $864 (108 each,z). Live stock valued at $2205 (275 each,z), consisting of 18 horses ( about two each), no asses or mules, 19 milch cows (about two each), 25 working oxen (three each), 32 cattle (4 each), 60 sheep (12each), and 190 swine (14 each, pigs were allowed to run in the open lots and timber and easy to raise as wild hogs).

Total Production---These eight farmers in total, during 1849, produced crops estimated as: wheat-485 bu, rye-0 bu, Indian corn-5000 bu, oats-484bu, tobacco-300bu, wool-198lb, peas and beans-8bu, potatoes-222bu, buckwheat-115bu, butter-1510lb, hay-183tons, grass seed-2bu, maple sugar-1950lbs, molasses-39gal, beeswax and honey-1238, home manufactures valued at $48, slaughtered animals-$241.

The eight 1849 Fayette County Farmers showing in Mr. Price's 1850 Census---They were the farming ancestors that "led all the rest."

Jerod Tailor (or Taylor) Farm (three miles northeast of Arlington,z)---On March 31, 1849, Taylor entered (claimed) 120 acres of land in Fairfield township, 40 being in Section 14, 40 in Section 15, and 40 in Section 23,92-7 (This land is exactly two mile north and one mile east of present Arlington, or one mile north of the Talyorsville Cemetery, z). Seventy if his acres were listed as improved land (capable of cultivation or pasturing,z), machinery-$100, 1 horse, 2 milch cows, 2 working oxen, 5 other cattle, 6 sheep, 22 swine, total value of livestock-$219. Produced: 60bu wheat, 200bu oats, 25lbs wool, 1bu peas and beans, 15bu potatoes, 100lbs butter, 30 tons hay, 2 bu grass seed, 1200lbs maple sugar, 30gals molasses, 50lbs beeswax and honey, slaughtered animals-$15. Tailor's name was not on the 1855 Fayette County tax record (apparently he had moved on, which was often the case with pioneer families, settle for a few years and move west hoping for better conditions,z).

Chaunsey Brooks Farm (three miles south of Fayette,z)---60 acres of improved land, farm machinery-$50, 3 horses, 3 milch cows, 5 other cattle, 8 sheep, 25 swine, livestock value of $266. Produced: 80bu wheat, 200bu corn, 50 bu oats, 100lbs butter, 15ton hay, 50lbs maple sugar, 60lbs beeswax and honey, $50 in slaughtered animals. On May 24, Chauncey Brooks entered 160 acres of land in Section 12-92-8, now Smithfield township (This farm would have been 2 1/2 miles south of Grandview Cemetery at Fayette or 1 1/2 miles north of the Maynard corner, along the west side of present Hwy. 150 on the creek that is visible from the highway,z). That neighborhood is still called (in 1940) by old timers, The Brooks neighborhood.
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Solon Barnes Farm (five miles southeast of Fayette in the Korn Hill area)---35 acres of improved land, $5 machinery, 1 milch cow, two working oxen-$40. Produced: 300bu corn, 30bu oats, 200lbs tobacco, 50lbs butter, 4 tons hay, 310lbs beeswax and honey, $10 animals slaughtered. Barnes was not found among entrymen prior to 1850. In 1855 tax record indicated assessed on 80 acres in Sec. 1-97-7, now Fairfield township (This farm was five miles southeast of Fayette on the actual Korn Hill area, or five miles northwest of Arlington. Korn Hill itself about 3 1/2 miles east of Fayette and one mile south off the present blacktop road called Korn Hill Road,z).

John Brooks Farm (Korn Hill area)---40 acres improved land, $75 farm machinery, 2 horses, 3 milch cows, 4 working oxen, 9 other cattle, 3 sheep, 10 swine, total value of $345. Farm products: 80bu wheat, 200bu corn, 30bu potatoes, 300lbs, butter, 20tons hay, 100lbs maple sugar, 3gals molasses, $30 slaughtered animals. John Brooks on My 24, 1848, entered 160 acres in Section 7-92-7, which is nor Fairfield township. This was in the same area of Korn Hill that Solon Barnes hand entered.

William Fetch Farm---40 acres improved land, $100 farm machinery, 1 horse, 3 milch cows, 4 working oxen, 8 other cattle, 5 swine, total value $246. Farm products: 10bu peas and beans, 150bu potatoes, 100lbs butter, 30tons hay, 300lbs maple sugar, 1gal molasses, animals slaughtered $21. Fetch was not found among the entrymen records prior to 1850, and his name was not on the 1855 tax records. The location of his farm is thus unknown, z.

George L. Whitley Farm (three plus miles north of Fayette on Hwy 150)---100 acres of improved land, $50 in farm machinery, 5 horses, 2 milch cows, 2 other cattle, 13 sheep, 12 swine, total value $649. Farm products: 75bu wheat, 3000bu corn, 190bu oats, 47lbs wool, 60lbs butter, 7tons hay, home made manufactures $30, slaughtered animals $30. No record was found of any entry by Whitely of government land prior to 1859. This was probably "Lemon"(George Lehman) Whitely who in the 1855 tax book was assessed on 240 acres in Section 26-93-8, now Westfield township. I wonder if some of the Whitely (or Whitley) descendants still plow corn where their ancestor raised that bumper crop of 3000 bushels. This George L. would be great-great-grandfather to Harold Whitely's children, I think.

William Wells Farm (the northern part of present West Union)---200acres of improved land, machinery $400, 4 horses, 4 milch cows, 13 working oxen, 3 other cattle, 30 sheep, 25 swine, total value $697. Farm products: 200bu corn, 70lbs wool, 14bu potatoes, 60bu buckwheat, 500lbs, butter, 70tons hay, 300lbs maple sugar, 5gal molasses, 818lbs beeswax and hone, slaughtered animals $35. William Wells on December 5, 1849, entered 160 acres of land in Section 17-94-8, now Union township. William Wells started the town of West Union.

Remembrance Lippencott Farm (on the northeastern outskirts of present West Union)---40 acres improved land, $75 farm machinery, 2 horses, 1 cow, 10 swine, value $177. Farm products: 40bu wheat, 700bu corn, 15bu oats, 100lbs tobacco, 56lbs wool, 3bu peas and beans, 13bu potatoes, 55bu buckwheat, 300lbs butter, 7 tons hay, value of home manufactures $18, animals slaughtered $50. I do not find any original entry of land by Lippencott prior to 1850. In 1855 he was taxed on 280 acres in Sections 9, 10, 15 of township 94-8, now Union Township, are the three section around the northeastern outskirts of present West Union).

Why Were Only Eight Farmers Listed in the 1850 Census of Price?--- Why Barns, Fetch, Whitely, and Lippencott appear on this list of farm operators and do not appear yet to have entered any government land; and why data is given for none of the other 146 households found in the summer of 1850 by Mr. Price., in which homes all but a few of the men were listed as farmers, is something some of you may wonder about, as I have. Can anybody throw any light on this subject?
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Comments About the Eight Farmers---For the eight farmers for whom the 1850 census gave property and products data these facts appear: Tailor let in oats, maple sugar, molasses and diversity in stock and products. Cash value his farm $1000.

C. Brooks though high in cattle did not lead in any one respect. Value farm $1000. Solon Barnes let in wheat and tobacco. Value farm $180. J. Brooks let in cattle (except working oxen). Value farm $800. Fetch let in potatoes. Value farm $300. Whitely let in horses. Value farm $2500. Wells led in total live stock, wool, hay, beeswax and honey. Value farm $3000. Lippencott probably made the best showing of diversified farming for improved acres. Value of farm $1300.

I think most of the residents enumerated in 1850 had come too late to raise a crop in 1849, (and that is why they did not show on the farm census). Some of the older residents were probably "settlers" on government land which they expected to acquire but for which they had not yet secured a legal title.

z---Keep in mind there were 154 families shown on Prices 1850 census of Fayette County.

Fayette County is 6 townships wide and 6 townships "tall." Each township is 6x6 miles or 36 square miles per township. Total square miles in Fayette County therefore is 36x36 or 1296 square miles, which when divided by the 154 families mean there was only one family for every 8.5 square miles.

Not all of these families were farming, as one of the first tradesman to follow farmers into a pioneer area are millwrights who would set up sawmills on the Turkey and Volga Rivers. Plus traders and merchants were always pushing into the frontier. Assuming about 100 of the families were setting up farming claims and perhaps attempting to plow or pasture 60 acres each, which would probably be generous at this early date, only one growing season after the land was officially opened to farmers, only 6000 acres of the 83000 acres in Fayette County were being farmed. Within ten years almost every inch of the county would start to be exploited in some fashion by the rush for land and a living on the frontier.

Thus a typical farm in 1850 Fayette County consisted of (z)---About 200 acres of land, which when rounded off is a square of land about 950yds by 950 yards. About a third of the land was cleared and plowed with a one furrow (blade) plow walked behind and pulled behind two or three oxen (steers) as they were easier to control and could work longer than horses. Oxen would do much of the heavy work as they are stronger than horses and do not require supplemental grain in their diet like horses. However draft horse being more agile and faster working would be a trade up when possible. Not all of the improved land was plowed and planted (by hand) because pasture and hay would be needed for the livestock. It took a lot of hay and grain to over-winter livestock in the long northern winters. Planting, harvesting and preparing grain crops was very labor intensive so small field of only a few acres (5-10 were often interspersed around the farm on the better hill or bottom land soils. Wet slough land was too hard to work; upland hilltops often were very nutrient poor soils. The best field were often on the river and creek edge lands. A ten acre field would be about 200 by 200 yards, a five acre field about 150 by 150 yards. A 100 by 100-yard field would be a little over 2 acres, while a football field 100 by 50 yards would be is just over one acre. There were many of these small fields, and if fenced often with split logs or "split rails" until barbed wire, which was expensive was brought in by teamsters (haulers by wagon) from either the Dubuque are by way of the Mission Road, or from the McGregor area over the Timber Road. Each farm had a couple of horses, used to pull a wagon, thresher, and reaper if the equipment was owned. Much of the early harvesting would have been by hand methods. Hand picking corn and throwing it into a wagon. Hand shocking corn, oats, barley, and wheat for later hand thrashing. Horses would pull wagons and carriages and sometime be ridden. Often the horses where large draft strains like the Belgium's. Each farm would have 1-3 milk cows and a few head of cattle raised for meat or to sell. You could not keep a many cattle or other livestock around for long as food harvesting to over-winter would be prohibitive. Farms also relied on a small flock of 10-20 chickens, and sometimes other small domestic animals. Many pioneers would also rely heavily on local game, generally procured by flintlock guns of the day. Farming was still done mainly with iron and wood hand tools. Draft animals could pull a small one-blade plow and a harvesting wagon, but most of the work was still done my hand, by manpower. All buildings were put up from native logs cut, shaped and secured by hand. Log houses, small barns, woodsheds, chicken coups, smoke houses, etc. Everything was hauled on the farmer's own wagon to start the very first pioneer farms. There were no teamsters or business, or mills yet. Support tradesman would follow several years after the first pioneer farm families. One man generally could not make it alone because of the human power needed to survive the amount of farm work to be done. A small flock of sheep, perhaps 6-12 was often kept to supply wool, and of course mutton. But a source of warm clothing was needed. And for pioneers that generally meant wool yarn spun and knitted or woven. Some animal skins could and would be used but wool was better and more reliable. Swine were quite easy to care for and generally allowed to run fallow or wild in the timber and to fend for themselves until "rounded" up, or just hunted and shot. Farmers could handle 10-20 or more head of pigs quite easily. They were "home" butchered in the fall when it was cold. The stomach made into bacon and legs made into hams. The remainder of the meat could also be soaked in a brine solution and smoked in a slow burning hickory fire or smokehouse and would keep well into the summer months. If large amounts of salt were available the meat might me made into salt pork by rubbing salt into the tissue and packing it in salt to preserve the pork. Thus pork became one of the easiest and first meat products capable of transport to villages to the east and sold or exchanged for the few basic necessities the pioneers needed. Other farm commodities would need to be produced in excess for transport by wagon to market in McGregor or Dubuque 2-5 days away, if Fayette County farming was to be successful. This was farming in the wilderness where the major markets were themselves frontier towns of a few hundred to a thousand new people themselves on the frontier.
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---NEWSPAPERS
My reason for writing ('Dr. R.G. Rich')about early day racing in Fayette county is partly to introduce Abe Winrott ('remember he raced Black Prince on his velocipede at the county fair'), who was editor of a newspaper at Fayette and just back before him was Mr. Greely Vines who edited the same Fayette paper. This Mr. Vines (Sr.) was the most lovable and picturesque man of whom I have any recollection. One needs to have seen Mr. Vins personally or a picture of him to form a true conception of the man. Perhaps there is a photographic plate among the others in Mr. Orvis' storeroom.

From the Dubuque Miner's Express, 1849-1850---There being so little available about early Fayette history from the first Fayette papers, I have sought in old newspaper files in the state archives at Des Moines for items that might be of some local interest here. The Miner's Express was started in Dubuque in 1847. It was the first paper published in northeastern Iowa, and perhaps first in Iowa. I have gleaned a few items showing some topics of public interest in the summer and fall of 1849, and spring of 1850, when Robert Alexander and his son-in-laws, the Robertson's came to this locality. This was the beginning of rapid settlement in Fayette County.
Iowa vs. California in 1849---This item, May 16, 1849, shows that the first competition for settlers between Iowa and California started in 1849: "We were apprehensive that the tide of emigration setting towards the golden regions of California, would have the effect to deprive Iowa of the usual spring accessions to her population. We are glad to perceive, however, that such is not the case. The fertility of her soil, and the salubrity of her climate, are too well known to be neglected. Thousands are leaving the sickly climate of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri, or the worn out soil of the eastern and southern States, to seek a home of comfort, health and happiness upon the beautiful prairies of Iowa. A very considerable addition will be made to the population of Clayton county the present spring. The same may be said of the North of Iowa generally; and we learn that a large number are locating in the Valley of the Des Moines River."

Many immigrant Wagons---How rapidly people were going west and how they were traveling appears from this item, May 30, 1849: "Up to the May 18, 1849, 2850 emigrant wagons had crossed the river at St. Joseph, and at several landings thence to Council Bluffs, 1500. There is an average of four persons and eight oxen or mules to each wagon. Whole number now on the Plains from St. Joseph and points above, 4359 wagons, 17,499 men, and 4,800 animals.

Land Warrants for Sale---this advertisement for sale of land warrants, June 6, 1849. "Important to Settlers and Emigrant": The Bounty Land Warrants issued to the soldiers and volunteers in the Mexican War, have come into general use in entering government Lands and a great saving is thus gained to the settler, as the warrants can be obtained at prices which reduce the cost of U.S. Lands to one dollar per acre. These Warrants can be used by settlers in locating lands upon which they have made improvements, or upon which they have acquired a preemption right; and can be placed on 160 acres of Land, adjoining in any legal subdivisions, such as four forty acre tracts, two eighty acre tracts, etc. The subscribers will keep a supply of warrants constantly on hand, which they will sell as low for cash as they can be purchased in the West. They will also supply warrants by the quantity to those engaged in the business at low rates. Dubuque, March 20, 1848, Robertson and Holland, Land Agents."

---OF LIMA (Volga City)
Volga city was platted in 1851. The promoters of the plat were Winslow Sterns, Daniel H. Mller and Cornelius Lacy. Before filing of this town plat the locality was known as Lightville. In May, 1851, Lightville came near to becoming the county seat of Fayette county. West Union won the elections by a majority of only thirty-five votes in a contest with Lightville, It is now Lima, the name having been changed by an act of the Legislature in 1853.
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---OF TEACHERS
Some of the neighbors did not like the name Frog Hollow, however. Alfred J. Thorp (father of Mrs. Stearns) was one of the strongest objectors, and for some time he tried to get the name "Hazel Dell" used instead. That debate must have been at least seventy years ago (1860 or so). Although there never was a post office there by that name, a letter addressed to Bell Martin (now Mrs. Ocker) at Frog Hollow, Iowa, reached her when she was teaching there, years ago.

Merton A. Hutchinson thought he had heard somewhere that the originator of the name Frog Hollow was a school teacher, or visitor, with a literary turn of mind who had read something once about a place by that name, and who was reminded of it by this pioneer neighborhood. If anybody can add to this accounting for the name, let us hear about it.

Mrs. Stearns also tells that her father, Alfred J. Thorp, is supposed by the family to have been the first school teacher in Fayette county. When he was eighteen years old he taught a school in the lean-to, or kitchen part of his mother's home which was located on the north part of what is now the Merton Hutchison farm in Frog Hollow. This would be in Section ten of Westfield township, and as Mrs. Stearns figures it, from her father's birth year, would have been in 1851. She says Dr. Daniel M. Parker tried once to find some record to prove this was the first school in the county. He and the county school superintendent wee never quite sure whether the honor of being first teacher belonged to Mr. Thorp or another party, whose name has not been given to me.

---COLE'S MILL and INN
Cole's Saw Mill was located apparently in the 1850's across the river and north from present "Big Rock." Cole had a dam in the river near what was the "Coleman" house in the first decades of the 1900's, and in what was called "Parker's Camp" during the 1920's-30's. The mill was gone by the 1870's and there may have been some trace of the old logs and butment where the Cole dam was located, probably on the west side of the river not far from where there was a suspension bridge constructed and present in perhaps the 1920's.

Fannie Coleman Holmes writes, that the old house on Cole's farm (in which the Coleman family lived and owned by Grant Dean owned in the 1930, and was just at the base of the present Big Rock hill road, 1999) was built for the purpose of workmen at the mill. Its front was to the north and it was called Cole's Inn. I never heard of the man being drowned in the millstream but later a child's body was found there by fishermen. On the hillside, east of the old Cole house was a famous Indian camp. Many flints, arrows and tomahawks have been found there, even after my father owned the land. (This is the area rising to the east from "The Big Rock" up the slope above hill or cliff to the north of Dean's Rock. Very few people are left that actually know where these landmarks are. Coming within the next year will be some maps and digital pics to record this information. 7/20/99/Z).

Was Cole's Mill, not Toles Mill? Several, including R.W. Hunt, whom I have formerly quoted on the point, assure me now that the sawmill established near Big Rock in a very early date was Cole's mill and not Toles mill. Some ruins of the old butments for the dam may still be seen on the west side of the river northwest of Big Rock.

Cole's Mill: Frank Francisco writes, I have a memory of Cole's Mill years ago. I had to go there for the cows. The house was vacant and the land was not farmed. Then Jule Dennis got married, fixed up the house and lived in it for a long time. Jule married a girl by the name of Lillie Wing. They lived there quite a while before the Waterburys started to tunnel through the hill to get more power for the mill.
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---CORN HILL
About the oldest popular farm name in Fayette County today is that of "Corn Hill." It may not be recorded with such names in the county recorder's office, but all old settlers in the county know where the farm is and the neighbors call it "Corn Hill Farm."

Corn Hill--Frank T. Jones tells me that his wife's uncle, A.J. Hensley, once told him how Corn Hill farm got its name. He said that in early days before they were removed in 1848 from Fayette county, the Indians had a field and raised corn there. The first settlers either took the name from the Indians, or gave the place that name on account of its use by the Indians for the growing of corn.

Was Stage Coach Station--Several persons agree that Corn Hill was once a stage coach station, where horses were changed. Mrs. Cora Hubbell Kugler writes from Okawville, Ill.: "On our way to Arlington (Brush Creek then) fair, about fifty years ago (1890/z) my father pointed out some buildings that used to be used as the stage coach barns. They were near the top of Corn Hill." The buildings are now all on the west side of the road, at the top of a very high hill, about five miles southeast of Fayette on "The Old Diagonal Road" to Arlington. This is near the northeast corner of the S 1/2 of the NE 1/4 of Sec. 1-92-8. Maude Hall Erwin owns the land now and William E. Ash has been tenant for about eight years.

The Original Buildings Gone---the present house was originally built by Marcelia Toutsch, a daughter of Fielding Snedigar who owned the place for many years after 1868. Mr. Ash says that a part of the old stage route barn (which was east of the road) was moved across and used in the present barn. There are traces of three old house cellars around the yard. Ash, after he moved onto the place tore down the old house which probably included the old stage stations and inn. Mrs. Lida Stranahan describes a wedding of one of here aunts, Ellen Mitchell, to e. Burton Snedigar in an old log house that formerly stood near the road.

Mrs. Butts Remembers Old House---Clara (Mrs. Arthur) Butts says that she and Arthur were married in the old house on this farm by Z.C. Scobey, in 1888. Here father, Thomas L. Boots, was for four years tenant of Mr. Snedigar of Elkader. The old house was south of the present one, and closer to the road. In here day the old large log two-room part, running north and south, had been added to on the north, and all of this increased by an extension full length on the east. On the east or roadside of this long house there was a long narrow porch. I wish we had a picture of the old house. Mrs. Butts helped me draw a floor plan of it.

Corn Hill Was a Post Office---My sister, Nellie, hands me an old letter addressed to L.M. Stranahan, Corn Hill, Fayette County, Iowa, written from near St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 13, 1857. Littleton Cockrell wrote his son-in-law, L.M.S., that "Negroes have hired with us this year, from 200 to 250 dollars per head, and are selling from 1000 to 1500 dollars." Sister Nellie also reports that in the record of burials in Grandview cemet4ery she finds the following names listed as residents of "Corn Hill": Joseph Hawn, Feb. 28, 1879; Michal Hawn, Jan. 24, 1905.
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Hysham & Perkins at Corn Hill---Henry Bassett, a son of Herman Bassett, who lived in Putnam township, repeats a story told him in Dakota in 1884 by Hiram Hysham, then living about twenty miles northeast of Huron. His Hysham lived in or near the Brooks neighborhood, close to Corn Hill. "Cal" Perkins lived about a mile north of Taylosrville. Hysham had a yoke of steers (oxen/z) Perkins, who had no team, arranged with Hysham to take them to mill, at Clermont, with corn, at Perkins' expense on the trip. They had nothing to eat but cold Johnnycake and they camped on the trip. Reaching Corn Hill on the trip home Hysham declared he was going to get a breakfast. Perkins wanted to go on home with the steers and leave Hysham, who threatened to "smash his head" if he did. After Hysham went into the sort of hotel being kept, and began to eat, Perkins came in, refused to sit at the table and have a breakfast but pulled out more frozen Johnnycake to eat.

Earliest Owners---Bassett figures this stop of Hysham and Perkins at Corn Hill to have been about 1844. I have not checked on date. The land may have been occupied by some "settler" then but original entry for U.S. Title was not made until 1851. On April 4, 1852, H.W. Sanford entryman, gave special warranty deed to R. Richardson, who as R.R. Richardson, on Sept. 4, 1853, conveyed to Samuel Hendrickson. On Sept. 7, 1868, Hendrickson conveyed to Fielding Snedigar. Who operated the stage stations in those early days, if not these owners of the land (except Sanford, a Dubuque capitalist, I think) I do not know.

---EAGLE POINT
George S. Hartman tells that Sam Breisford (who once owned interest in the big Westfield flouring mill, and who afterward lived in a hermit's shack on the railway right of way up near Eagle Point) told him, when a small boy, that early in the 1850's a couple of boys shot an eagle at what is now called Eagle Point. Hartman thinks that Breisford knew who the boys were, but cannot remember the names now (in the 1930's).

Miss Mayme Hurd, writes from Des Moines that she seems to remember "having a tree pointed out at Eagle Point---a straggly tree over a rock---which was supposed to contain an eagle's nest."
Justin E. Miller says as a boy of about nine, he was working in the garden of his grandfather, John Burget, at Fayette, when Col. Aaron Brown, who owned a farm south of Eagle Point and lived in a house out toward Westfield, came to see Mr. Burget. They got to talking of early days and brown told that he had shot an eagle and had named the place, or was going to name it, "Eagle Point." It must have been in about 1877 that Miller heard this talk
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---OF FROG HOLLOW
Why is it called "Frog Hollow"?
I have often wondered how "Frog Hollow" got its name, as a neighborhood. Something about those words seemed to suggest an old story of some kind, and some unusual events in a literary way. Can anyone give us light on this question? Just what territory is referred to by that unusual name? What stories are there about that neighborhood, and its folks? Somebody ought to be able to write or tell something good about this.

Through suggestions from Merton Huchison, R.Orion, and Mrs. Belle Thorp Ocker, I was directed finally to Mrs. Joe (Lydia) Stearns for an explanation of the origin of Frog Hollow. Mrs. Stearns gives us the story as it was told many years ago by her mother, Bashemath (Mrs. A.J.) Thorp. In the earliest days there was a cooper's shop, for the making of tubs, and barrels, etc., that had been converted into a school house where the Frog Hollow school house now is located. When the present schoolhouse was build the old one was moved away and part of it is now on the Lydia Stearns farm. There were many small cabins around through the woods there and families must have been large for at that time they had about sixty pupils in that country school. The folks held local lyceums and literary society meetings, in the old school house.

At one of these meetings there was a lively debate over the question: "Which is more pleasing to the eye, Art, or Nature?" In the course of the argument some local orator to clinch some point with a patriotic local appeal, exclaimed: "What could be more pleasing to the eye than to stand on Mrs. Solomon's bluff, and view Frog Hollow in all its glory?" This tickled the crowd and the name spread. There was a little stream in the valley and no doubt there were some frogs. Some of the neighbors did not like the name Frog Hollow, however. Alfred J. Thorp (father of Mrs. Stearns) was one of the strongest objectors, and for some time he tried to get the name "Hazel Dell" used instead. That debate must have been at least seventy years ago (1860 or so). Although there never was a post office there by that name, a letter addressed to Bell Martin (now Mrs. Ocker) at Frog Hollow, Iowa, reached her when she was teaching there, years ago.

Merton A. Hutchinson thought he had heard somewhere that the originator of the name Frog Hollow was a school teacher, or visitor, with a literary turn of mind who had read something once about a place by that name, and who was reminded of it by this pioneer neighborhood. If anybody can add to this accounting for the name, let us hear about it.

Mrs. Stearns also tells that her father, Alfred J. Thorp, is supposed by the family to have been the first school teacher in Fayette county. When he was eighteen years old he taught a school in the lean-to, or kitchen part of his mother's home which was located on the north part of what is now the Merton Hutchison farm in Frog Hollow. This would be in Section ten of Westfield township, and as Mrs. Stearns figures it, from her father's birth year, would have been in 1851. She says Dr. Daniel M. Parker tried once to find some record to prove this was the first school in the county. He and the county school superintendent wee never quite sure whether the honor of being first teacher belonged to Mr. Thorp or another party, whose name has not been given to me.

---HOLMES' PASTURE
|"Klock's Island" was known as Holmes pasture long before Mr. Klock took over with his woolen mill, though he did preserve the walnuts. I expect that "Cora" Seeley, Scott Templeton, brother Chas, Orvis and I knew the location of every worth while walnut tree from Col. Brown's, across from Eagle Point, to Cole's Mill at Big Rock,--and I have shagged up most of them and backed many a sack home--from John Orr's woods, wading the river at Noble's Ford.

---LOG HOUSES
Everett Bogert says he was born and remembers living in a large two story log house standing where the west part of the F.O. Turner house (on NW 1/4 of NE 1/4 of Section 27) in Smithfield township now stands. This log house was built by Alden Mitchell, Everett's grandfather and I have been told by some one that, as they remember, it was the farthest out from the woods, on the prairie of any of the log houses of Smithfield township. Who can tell me where other log houses were built in that township and who lived in them? Does any one have any picture or drawings of any of those early houses? When was the last such house discontinued as a dwelling place?
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D. 1855 – 1859

COLLEGE HILL

When I asked how College Hill got that name, several told me that it was because in a very early day a large building for a university was started on the highest point east of the road and just south of R.W. Hunt's present house (This would be the area east/southeast of the old arched entrance to Grandview Cemetery. Sometime, probably in the early 1900's, this knowledge became faint and the highway road up the high became known as "College Hill.", Z).

Weather this was before or after the "Old Seminary" building was erected on the present campus seems to be a matter of some doubt. I have heard it stated both ways.

The College Hill Boom---Walter E. Hunt says he can remember while picking wild strawberries seeing town lot stakes, relics of that boom, out on the prairie as far south of college Hill as near where the buildings now are on the farm owned by Dan Hall and occupied by Chas. R. Proctor. Dr. J.D. Parker says that when his father came to Fayette there were town lots staked out for a considerable distance south of where Grandview cemetery now is.

---BRICK YARDS

J.S. Briggs wrote from Sumner, March 2, 1938, "I was told years ago by one whom I considered good authority at the time, it may have been Charley West, that a man by the name of Gregory, I believe, hired this same Charley West to plant the Island with nuts, black walnut and butternuts, about half and half, and whoever told me stated the amount that it took of each kind. Possibly it was Isaac Ashbaugh who told me. He at one time had a brick yard across the river west of the Island. Who was the first brick-maker in Fayette? Where did he make brick? Where were the brick used? What became of the men and the businesses?
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I did find Isaac Ashbaugh came from LaGrange county, Indiana, to Fayette in 1856, where he engaged in the manufacture of brick for six years when be bought a farm in section four of Harlan township, on which he built a good brick house and a big stone barn. He became a farmer and stock man on quite a large scale. Early in the 1890's he moved to Fayette into the new house he had build on Water street, occupied by the F.A. Lewis family in 1938. He thus remained until his death a near neighbor of his old farm neighbor, William Taylor. Isaac Ashbaugh was evidently one of "the builders" of Fayette county.

L.L. Cole and R.W. Hunt both say that there was once a brick yard on what is now Peter Widger estate land northeast of Fayette; that the yard was close to the present road to Big Rock and that the flat place, and perhaps traces of brick, ought to be discernible now. Does anybody know when that yard was operated or who operated it?

John J. Ovis sends in a letter to his sister, about the question regarding the old brick yard west of Klock's Island. There was a family by the name of Rodgers who lived in the brick house at the food of the "long Hill", we used to call it. I believe Dan Rodgers built it. He used to have a brick yard there. He and his wife and family always went to the M.E. church. The children were Elizabeth, Ella and Frank. They went to school when we did and walked from the house at the foot of that hill to College Hall where services were help in the old chapel. Mrs. A.D. Allen, Sumner.

Lewis W. Coates, who came to Fayette at age eight, with his parents, on Nov. 23, 1963, writes: I was personally acquainted with the Rodgers family who had the brick yard west of town. Mr. Rodgers and his son, Frank, did mason work for me at different times.

---Charles Hoyt Wrote About Farming----In 1859 Charles Hoyt was establishing a farm south of Fayette, where Chris Knos now lives. He probably did not then dream that he was to become the county surveyor, whose finely made records are still praised, and to be the first Mayor of the incorporated town of Fayette. Nor is it probable he then dreamed that his young son, William, by a former marriage, who was in school in New York state would years later come out here and become one of Fayette’s leading citizens, as lawyer, banker, and college trustee, and that he would even become a District Court judge. Mrs. Mary Hoyt hands me a letter she finds written from this father to this sone, and it contains so much information about early farming conditions that I shall print it in full, with some paragraph headings of my own. Though Fayette was started in 1855, it would appear from Charles Hoyt’s letter that in 1859 the post office was still at Westfield. There were several years of contest over that matter between the two towns.

Letter of Charles Hoyt, Westfield, June 28, 1859, Dear Son: Yours of 18th inst. Is received---we also duly received yours of 14th ultimo. Owing to the usual pressure of business I have not found time conveniently to answer until now.

Rental Terms---I have let my farm the present season to the same man who had it last year, on much the same terms to wit: I furnish all the seed, team, farming implements, &c, also board him during the farming season---he to do all the work and deliver me two thirds of the products. I took this course in order to have more liberty to attend to fencing and putting up some outbuildings &c., but I still find so much to do that I hardly have any leisure.
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Fencing a Farm a Problem---Fencing a farm in this country on the prairie some distance from timber is a very tedious and expensive process, and a very common practice is to let cattle run at large and depend upon cows coming home statedly to be milked but they frequently stay out nights and when pasture on the prairies gets tough in the latter part of the season they stray into the timber where it is very difficult to find them. I was so troubled this way the first two years of my farming that I resolved to have a pasture lot fenced in for my cows if possible and the past winter proving favorable for lumbering I succeeded in getting not only some ten thousand feet of logs to the saw mill but also a god ;supply of fencing stuff to my farm and have made a pasture lot of about 17 acres and have also nearly completed another field of 40 acres, a portion of which I am now engaged in breaking.

Breaking of Prairie Described---A common practice here at the west has been to break raw prairie, as it is called, with a team of 4 or 5 yoke of oxen and a plow that will cut a furrow from 22 to 30 inches wide and the charge for breaking is about #3 per acre and the proper time for doing it is from the 25th of May to the 10th of July in order that the sod may become thoroughly rotted by the following spring. I had 25 acres broke in 1856 and the same area in 1857 but concluded to break some this year myself and purchased a 12 inch plow of new pattern costing $20 with which I am now breaking with my own single team of horses.

Some Family News---I have also to inform you that you have a second Hawkeye sister here with us nor five weeks old. She is well and hearty and your mother also. Inclosed you will find a lock of hair from each of your western sisters. You will see that your sister Mary’s has lost none of its original lustre. I regret much to hear of the death of your grandmother but probably she rejoiced to be released from suffering.

Penmanship of Future Judge Hoyt---I am pleased to hear of your close devotion to your studies and if you have made as much progress in every branch as you have in penmanship I am well satisfied with the school your friends have chosen for you. I have not had a letter from your grandfather or anyone else in Cleveland (New York) since you left there. You will please excuse this hasty scrawl as I have stolen an hour after dinner and it is now time to resume my work of breaking up the virgin prairie. Let me hear from you again soon and I will try to find time ere long to address you more at length. Your mother joins me in love to yourself, Mrarcia and all other relatives in Oswego. In haste your father, C. Hoyt. P.S.—Your mother requests you to suggest a name for your youngster.
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---OF ALBANY
Albertson's Store at Albany:
A little breeze of the national political winds that were blowing in 1856, and something to stimulate some memories of the more glorious days of our neighboring village of Albany, come to us out of this old advertisement found in the Pioneer commencing March 17, 1856. "KANSAS MUST BE FREE:" 1000 volunteers wanted immediately, to meet at Albany, armed with the "needful," to buy at Prime Cost Albertson's large and extensive stock of clothing, dry goods, groceries, glassware, hardware, woodenware, hats and caps, boots and shoes, paints and oils, dyestuffs, drugs, and medicines, notions, trimmings, etc. Having determined to emigrate to Kansas the present season, I now offer my entire stock of merchandise at Prime Cost, for "Pay Down," or approved paper on time. A good opportunity is offered to a person wishing to engage in the mercantile business. For particulars, inquire of C.A. Newcomb, West Union, or the proprietor, at Albany. All those indebted to the subscribe either on notes or accounts due, are requested to call and settle immediately. Albert Albertson, Albany, March 17, 1856.

Who was Albertson? Where did he come from? What is remembered about him? Where was his store? What became of it? If he went to Kansas whet became of the family? What other stores, or other lines of business were there at Albany about that time, and who were the most active citizens around there?

Albany was the third town started in Westfield township. The original proprietors of the town plat, and the main promoters of the town were Albert Albertson and Edwin Smith. A Mr. John Dollarhide apparently started into the venture with them but sold out to Albertson and Smith before the plat was recorded. Albany became quite a thriving and aggressive village.

Indian Politics at Albany---There may be some political inspiration abut the valley at Albany. I believe the folks over there for many years were the predominating political group in Westfield township. When Lamont Perry, one of my school mates, in abut 1898, I think, prepared his high school graduating speech he discussed his subject with me, which was something about the Indian life in Fayette county. I remember his telling me some of the things that his uncle (by marriage) Andrew J. Hensely, who came to Fayette county before the Indians were moved away, had told him. The only point I remember now was that once there was a meeting of Indians in the valley at Albany, at which meeting they chose a chief. I have never seen this in any history.

Albertson a Promoter of Albany---The advertisement of Albert Albertson in the Pioneer made me curious about the man. I find no biography in any county history. The deed records and old newspapers, however, indicate that he was one of the most enterprising of our local pioneers. He was one of the first investors and business men at West Union. From December 14, 1853, to May 17, 1854, he ran one of the largest advertisements in the Fayette County Pioneer for his General Merchandise store in West Union, in which he referred to the business as The Arcade Saving Bank. As one of the first advertisers in the county he surely "praised himself highly." May 24, 1854, Levi Fuller and H. Chandler began advertising their opening of a wholesale and retail hardware "stand" at West Union in "the well known stand formerly occupied by Albert Albertson as a store room."
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His Later Career---May 30, 1855, there was published a dissolution notice (dated May 3rd) of the firm of Albert Albertson and Edwin Smith at Albany and it was announced that Albertson would continue the business. In the March 17, 1856, issue of The Pioneer Albertson began running his closing out ad printed before in these columns. Dec. 6, 1856, he asked debtors to meet him at C.A. Newcomb's office in West Union between Jan. 1 and Jan. 6th, 1857, to pay their accounts. Whether this Albertson who was an early booster in two Fayette county towns did, as advertised, go to Kansas, I do not know. The last trace of him I find is a quit claim deed, for a West Union lot, executed Nov. 21, 1865, in which his residence is given as Chicasaw county, Iowa. Did he move a little further west from Fayette county and pioneer more towns or enterprises?

---OF SCHOOLS

Mrs. Stearns gives a little description of the old school house made out of the Frog Hollow cooper shop, where for a while sixty pupils, ages 5-12, were accommodated. There were no desks or tables. Pupils sat closely together on benches made of slabs with peg legs and without backs. And the benches re as close together as they could be put, to accommodate the crowd, making many rows of seats in a small room.

The three Chauncey Smith girls---Mesdames King, Conkey and Miller---in their recent talk referred to the part of that old school house building, now used as a granary on the Stearns farm, in which some of the old school day writing on walls could still be found. It was in that old cooper shop-school house-grannary room that the speech was made that started the name "Frog Hollow."

Another First School?---Roy R. Fussell tol me, last April (1938), that his father, Martin H. Fussell told, believed the first school in Fayette county was on a spot a few rods southeast of the Susi Hensley Potter farm home, east of Lima, on the SE 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Sec. 13-93-8. Roy has been told that there is a trace of a depression in the ground indicating where a building may have stood. He thinks this was a public school house.
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---WEST UNION

Fayette's Early Rival was West Union---The early history of Fayette involved intense rivalry with West Union in several respects---especially over location of the county seat. Just as it may not be possible to fully understand the spirit of a young town without some knowledge of its neighbors and rivals.

Fayette's Neighbor Town Heard From---The letter in the Weekly North Iowa Times from "Little Fayette" which we published last week brought fourth some letters to that paper from "Big West Union." Because it further reveals the spirit, the interests, some personalities and some of the activities of another leading Fayette county pioneer town. I will print the first of these letters, as I found it, except for a few heading inserted.

West Union Correspondence, Mary 18th, 1859---Mr. Editor: Having noticed in the Times, various epistles giving sketches of "little" villages and accounts of the doings therein, I came to the conclusion that a few inklings from this place, might not, perhaps, prove uninteresting to your many readers. We are not yet a city, technically speaking, the corporation extending to and embracing only the Court House and Public Square, which are incorporated by a tasty and substantial fence. Our sidewalks may not compare very favorably with those of Broadway, but for regularity and evenness, they excel those of Chicago at present.

A Puff for West Union---As to substantial buildings, West Union is certainly not surpassed in the North West. Its progress has ever been steady and onward in all the essentials of prosperity---Strangers are not brought here by glowing prospectuses, and then find they have been "taken in." But they come---see for themselves---and the beautiful location, our schools and churches, mail facilities, together with the business aspect, which characterizes our place, are sufficient inducements for farseeing men to locate here. For temperance, and morals in general, and for a beautiful supply of the fair sex, we may safely challenge comparison with any of our sister towns.

Newspapers and Amusements---We have two newspapers, the PIONEER and the REVIEW, both of which are edited with marked ability, yet their Editors would not doubt succumb to "Pat" of the TIMES, when it comes to the insertion of an original item of lager. (Oh you divil!---Pat.) As to amusements, we have two Billiard Saloons and one Ten Pin Alley. We have no "Phelans" among our Billiard players, however. The usual run made is 20 cents, which is run out of the elected candidate’s pocket! Fishing is a recreation not much indulged in with us, and when we do fish, we don't catch big "mackerels", but small and beautiful "little fishes"---similar to those put up in the "lie."

Business and Progress---Business seems to be brightening up considerable. Our merchants are receiving per "mule express," #c., large supplies daily and are dealing them out on the "pay to-day and trust-to-morrow principle." Messrs. Rickel and Juffman, two of our most esteemed business men, are about locating at McGregor, to carry on the book business. They are men of correct business habits, and bear with them the best wishes of our citizens for their success. There will doubtless be many substantial buildings erected here during the summer; among others which will be the best private residence in town. The county seat question seems settled; Fayette having lost its 'Press', has no organ to agitate the matter in her behalf, and Barnard doesn't seem to care, as he has all he can attend to supply his hundreds of customers with goods, &c. We have here five physicians and seven lawyers, besides several of the latter in an embryotic state; enough, one might suppose, to rid the country of physical and moral ills, were such a thing possible by such instrumentalities.
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Cowles' Brass Band---Our Brass Band is certainly worthy of mention here. Its members have progressed beyond the expectations of their most sanguine friends. A few evenings ago, they gave a general serenade, and while serenading the Editor of the PIONEER, that gentleman evinced strong poetical symptoms, and the result was a short poetical effusion in his last issue, but as the last note of the "toot horn died away, the inspiration left hem, and we do not look for any more poetry from his pen until---"more music." Even the intellectual, staid and sever Editor of the REVIEW, fell to rhapsodizing, as may be see by today's issue, under the head of "Gaily, the Troubadour, &c." Surely it can not be denied that the "Band" is "some." Among the many notabilities of our town the "Corvette" a 6&8 sheet, should not be forgotten, "J.H. Gharky, Captain, Mate, Owner &c., &c. It was launched yesterday, with a picture for a heading, looking marvelously like a river Steamboat! Our farmers are again trustingly and coaxingly beseeching "Mother Earth" for a supply of here bounties, notwithstanding here seemingly unnatural treatment of them last year, and her promises thus far are, to say the least, very fair. Adieu, BIG WEST UNION

---Local Business Men if 1858---The earliest Fayette newspaper view of Fayette, Westfield and Albany, as business centers which I have seen is an old copy of the Fayette county Journal, owned by Mrs. Lida Stranahan. The paper published by C. O. Meyers, at Fayette, June 4, 1858, is as large as the present Fayette paper (1938), but is more than one-half advertising. Not only local concerns, but many from West Union, Chicago, Dubuque, McGregor and elsewhere were patrons. This was in the first Fayette boom days,---just after the Seminary had opened. The town of Fayette was only three years old but Westfield and Albany were older.

The Advertisers---In this old newspaper I find advertisements for the following business concerns at Fayette, Westfield and Albany, form which I have taken enough to indicate general lines of business .

---Business of Fayette in 1858---

Drs. C.C. Parker and D. Alexander---Had their firm office on Washington street, between Water and State streets, for the practice of medicine and surgery.

A. E. Sawyer---Watchmaker and jeweler, at No. 56 Main street, who also had a card as Public.

David C. Sperry---Notary Public.

Joseph Hobson---Notary Public, Collector and land agent. Prairie and timber land and town lots.

R.B. Hayward---Painter, grainer, glazier and paper hanger. Paints and oils. Two doors south of Fayette House.

A.M. Barnard and Co.---Wholesale and retail dealer in dry goods, groceries, clothing, boots and shoes. "At Maxon's old stand on the bank of the Volga. Firm was A.M. Jasen, and W.W. Barnard and J.B. Sperry.

S.E. Pettingill---Manufacturer of boots and shoes. Adjoining Barnard's Store.

I. Templeton and G. Brier---New firm at N. E. corner of Main and Water streets. Dry goods, clothing, groceries, boots, carpeting, mattresses, etc.
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E.A. Halleck---Manufacturer and dealer in wagons, carriages and sleighs. Corner of Kind and State streets.
Fayette House---J.D. Gray, Prop. (formerly of Washington House, Dubuque) now open to public "offers accommodations unsurpassed by any hotel in Iowa. A large and commondious barn is connected with the establishment."

Budlong and Norton---"At the old stand" have for sale smoked hams and shoulders and a large lot of pickled pork. Also cast steel plows. Have retired from other mercantile business.

  1. Goodrich---Has opened a new meat market, "next door to Barnard's store."

  2. H. Marvin---Lumber for sale at his mill three times below Fayette, on the Volga.

    M. H. Root---Lime at the kiln south of town. Also stone mason and stone quarry available.

    E.R.W. Emmons---Manufacturer of boots and shoes. Prices: men's stogies $3.50 and $4.00; kip $4.50 and $5.00. Women's Booties $2.00.

    A.R. Field---Land Agent. Office at Fayette House.

  3. Rembold---New cabinet shop in Fayette for making tables, chairs, bureaus, bedsteads, stands, secretaries, settees and sofas. Musical instruments made to order and for sale: pianos, melodeons, dulcimers, guitars, accordians, banjos, etc.

E.C. Howe---Big ad. for new store; Hardware, stoves, tinware, etc., features "Emperor Elevated Oven"; "Morning Star Air Eight," warranted "not to cut in the eye, or no sale".

H.W. Waterbury---Drugs, medicines, glass, groceries, books. Etc.

Benj. Burch and Cortez Paine---Fruit and ornamental trees at the Fayette nursery.

J.E. and H.S. Nobel---Blacksmiths, "Water street, upper part of town." "Particular attention paid to horse and cattle shoeing." We work first for those that pay the best, and after that we will work for the rest."

Wm. H. Derby---Harness shop, on Main street, one door north of the new hotel. Manufactures: saddles, harness, trunks, valises, whips, etc. Carriage trimming and repairing.
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---Business of Westfield in 1858---

N.H. Moulton---At Westfield, manufactures and sells breaking plows, cultivators, shovel plows, etc.

Westfield Mill---Brier and Templeton, proprietors; pay highest market prices for wheat. Flour and feed always on hand.

F. Kelly---At Westfield. Tailor. "Prepared to make all kinds of garments in my line in the best style."

Lime for Sale---15c per bu, at Westfield mill-dam.

P. Cassiday---At Westfield, stone cutter, mason and plasterer.

H.N.Sutton---At Westfield. Dry goods, leather goods, hdwre, crockery, clothing, boots, etc. Also John Deere's Moline plows, and some of home manufacture. Wants 5000bu of wheat in exchange for goods.

Isaac Brier---At Westfield. Has opened a general family grocery and provision store.

Luffkin and Colman---At Westfield. Lumber for sale. And sawing done at Westfield steam mill at $7 per M. Sell oak lumber $16 to $18 per M and basswood at $20. Lath $4.50 per thousand.

---Business of Albany 1858---

Northern Iowa Cabinet and Turning Shop---At Albany, Iowa, operated by E.E. Chandler, advertises their workmen among the best in the county; announce to citizens of Fayette county, and the rest of the world, they will furnish all kinds of cabinet furniture, bedsteads, bureaus, tables, whiffle-trees, neckyokes, hubs, etc.

F. (Fleming) Jones---at Albany, has in operation a chair factory and is prepared to furnish on shortest notice chairs of all descriptions, warranted for one year, and delivered at any place within four miles.

James K. Kent---at Albany, was still to be found at the old shop. Blacksmith, horses shod $2.75 per span, or $3.25 on time. All other work for cash in proportion. Oxen shod for $3.25.
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---HOBSON'S POTTERY and HOBSON'S FARMING
Many years ago father told me that in early days a man named John W. Hobson operated a pottery on what is now the Eugene ("Jim") Paul estate farm in Section 21 of Smithfield township. Who can tell us anything about the old pottery and abut the Hobson family by whom it was operated. Was Hobson, the potter, the man who bought and preserved "Parsons Grove?"

Mrs. Eugene Paul, who with her husband and family, have owned this farm since November 2, 1891, says that when they moved onto the farm the old pottery kiln was in a dilapidated condition but was still there. A thicket of brush and trees had grown up in and around it. The Paul’s cleaned out the ruins of the old kiln, scattering the debris on the farm. Mrs. Paul wishes she had saved some of the old crocks, jugs, vases, etc.

Martha Chittenden Knight writes that her first knowledge of the Hobson pottery business "was of his harum-scarum lads going past farm houses." :They had been after potter's clay and how they did make themselves known singing and shouting on their way home." Mrs. Knight mentions: park, Edward and John Harr (nicknamed "Durf") who married Ada Knight, her sister-in-law. She also says "There was a helper who came with them named Barney Lynch. He was from England, I understand, a quaint, droll character."
Lee Dresser, at Sioux Falls, SD, read the inquiry about the Hobson pottery, and drove out into the country there to interview Ed Hobson. J.W. Hobson located in Auburn, Iowa, and went into the pottery business for a number of years. Then he moved to Smithfield and started up his business again, making all kinds of jugs, bowls, jars, churns, cuspidors, and sold them in a radius of fifty miles each way. They delivered them with team and wagon and would sell to anyone along the road while they were en route to the town where they sold the merchants. In about 1873 (deed records show Sept. 20, 1877--O.W.S.) they sold out the farm to Nathan P. Ames, and he sold to Jim Paul. After selling the Hobsons went west where they got land and were Ed, J.W.'s son, is still living on the same land. While he is eight years old now he and his wife live on the farm all alone. He has helped to put up two hundred tons of hay this season, runs the mower, rake, cocks up hay, in fact he makes a hand and is spryer than a lot of men at sixty.

EARLY COUNTY SCHOOL MATES: Ed Hobson, son of J.W. Hobson of the pottery business related to Lee Dresser at Sioux Falls: When Jennie Smith was the teacher, the pupils he went to school with were Will and Jay Stevenson, Charles and Hattie DeBow, Polk and Chas. Smith and the Pauls. He knew "Nat" and "B" Williams and Cronks, who were Neighbor; also the smiths, Maynards, and Barnses who lived in Maynard.
My uncle Jay M. Stevenson in Torrance, Calif. (O.W.S.) sent a letter dated Aug. 13, 1938, that Joe and John Hobson were located on farms when in 1857 father (Stevenson) and mother, Amanda, Mary, your pa and I settled in the log house on the S.W. corner of the SE 1/4 of Sec. 15-92-8. I was only about two years old then and all I write about during the years 1857-1862 or 3 is from what I remember of what I heard older members of our family tell when I was old enough to remember.

FIRST SCHOOL IN JOE HOBSON HOUSE: Jo (as everybody called him) Hobson built a frame house and lived in it. There being no school house he taught school in his own house until he was elected Clerk of Court. (Think he opened a law office first at Fayette--O.W.S). Then he went to West Union and his house was idle only it was used for a school house for a few years until a school house was built 40 rods south of there and on the east side of the road. Moved in 1879 to where it now is. I attended (Jay M. Stevenson) school in Jo's house with sister Mary (later Mary Ellen Babcock--O.W.S.) for teacher. If she did not make me go straight then my memory is no good. I was five years old. I had to be an example for the others. I complained to ma but it availed me nothing and it was the same as long as I attended district school under Jennie Smith and then Mr. Edgar, than Emma Potter, daughter of Ira Potter. Jo. Hobson sold his farm, the S1/2NE1/4 and NE NE Sec. 21-92-8 and it was finally occupied by Mr. and Mrs. R.A. DeBow and their family. Their descendants still have it I think.
John w. Hobson lived on his farm until 1873 or 5 (that's my guess) the records would show. Then he sold it to N.P. Ames and it is now the Eugene (Jim) Paul estate. John, his wife and wife's brother, Barney Lynch, Park the oldest boy, Harr (nicknamed Durf), Nora, Edward and two younger bros. Made up the family. Having a large family and his brother-in-law Lynch always with him, he had plenty of help and only a medium sized farm. He did a good deal outside of farming.
The First McCormick Reaper---John Hobson was the first in that vicinity to buy a McCormick Reaping and Mowing Machine. Father after cradling a crop or two fell in with the rest and hired Mr. Hobson to cut it with his machine. But he had so much to do that some grain got too ripe and wasted before he got around, so father bought a John P. Manna and in a few years R.A.DeBow got a John H. Manna machine.

The First Threshing Machine---John Hobson, after buying the McCormick Reaper, would then buy a threshing machine and had a monopoly on that job until Richard.A. DeBow (grandfather of our grocer, Roy C. Debow---O.W.S.), followed his example and went to threshing.
The Pottery Started---The Hobsons' next move was to build a shed and kiln made of brick to bake pottery in and hauling clay from the banks of Bear Creek near where Walter Rawson had a saw mill, and wood for fuel from within two miles of Wadena, began turning out pottery. He had learned the trade young.
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The Workmanship---As for workmanship his wares were OK and the boys loaded it in wagons and distributed it among the merchants in all the towns where the merchants sold it for them within a radius of 50 miles or more. I never heard anything against it only it was a medium grade of earthenware and after the novelty of a home product had worn off people began to go to the use of more stoneware, even at a much higher cost.

Operated About Ten Years---I remember hearing good business people saying they could not see how he ever dared attempt the business and haul both wood for fuel, and the clay, so far. But they seemed to make it pay expenses for quite a while (perhaps 10 years). Then they sold the farm and went to S. Dak. And settled near Sioux Falls I thing. That ended the pottery business. The kiln was there yet that last time I saw the place 50 years ago (about 1890).
Church and War Record---He and his wife and Mr. Lynch was active members of the M.E. Church. Mr. J. W. Hobson was drafted to go to the Civil War, but hired a substitute. No one could blame him for that surely with so much depending on him at home. To raise the %500 he turned out 80 acres of land, i.e. the S 1/2 of the SE 1/4 Sec. 21-92-8. I don't think that 80 was ever broken up until he sold it.

First Center School Boys to UIU---Harr Hobson and your pap was the first from Center school district to attend UIU and roomed together.
Some Members of the Hobson Family---Elizabeth DeBow Bills, if still on hand, would be able to tell more about the Hobsons as Grove's sister, Helen, married Park Hobson. And Austin Knight, who was the last I knew of him living at Waucoma, Iowa, as his sister, Ada, married Harr Hobson. Noal Hobson was more than average in intelligence and good looks and married R.R. Pember of Maynard. She died of pulmonary consumption before middle life and left several sons.

Need for Printed Family Histories---The need already arising for printed family records is shown by the fact that Ed Hobson and Mrs. A.N. (Judge) Hobson say that Joseph Hobson and John W. Hobson were brothers. Mrs. Martha Chittenden Knight writes that they were cousins; that Joseph was son of a John Hobson and John was son of Joseph Hobson---two brothers. No county history record throws light on the matter. Joseph Hobson entered Smithfield land Apr. 4. 1855, and on May 12, 1857, conveyed part of it to John W. Hobson.

---THE DUGOUT HOME
Walter E. Hunt had me stumped when he said: "I'll bet you, now I'll bet you sir, you did not know there was a dugout in Fayette once. Now did you?" I thought he meant a sod house, but he didn't. He told me that east of the campus, just about east, he thinks, of where Mrs. Collett's house now stands (1938), there was a deep hole dug out into the sloping ground and the hole was covered with poles and hay. He remembered, as a boy, looking down into it through an opening and seeing folks living it---a women and some children he thought. He does not yet remember the family name, but thinks sickness developed and the family was moved out of the humble living quarters.
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---MARVIN'S MILL

Licille Whitely writes: The Marvin family probably has been engaged in the saw-mill and grist-mall business more years than any other family that has lived in Fayette count. Hiram Marvin, whose name sometimes appears as D.H. Marvin in very early records, was one of the early settlers of Westfield township. June 8th, 1854, he "entered" the SW 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Sec. 11-93-8, now owned by Ralph Dickinson. (In 2000, this would be on the valley creek, just to the north of the old road which runs to the west up the hill from the Albany horse campground. For those old enough to remember the town of Albany, the road to Fayette off the north end of Albany led up the steep hill to the west. Marvin’s first mill would have been off to the north of that hill and on the creek in the valley.) November 5th 1856, he acquired from John P. Davis, then of Allamakee county, the SW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Sec. 23-93-8, at a cost of $210. (Marvin’s second mill location was very unknown in modern time. In 2000, the old Albany bridge is still standing across the Volga River. If you were to leave the Albany horse campground and go across the bridge to the south, and walk the old road which then led up the hill to the south, looking off the west you would see the Volga River running directly along a steep bluff before coming out into the flats along the long road. It was in the junction area of the bluff and flats that Hirum Marvin built his second mill.z/2000.) It is on this latter forty above Albany that Marvin's saw-mill and grist -mill was located for many years. Mr. Marvin was born in New York state, in 1806; married Abigail Taylor, also a resident of New York, in 1826, and came to Fayette county in 1854, after nineteen years' residence in Michigan. Whether he had engaged in any milling business before coming to Iowa we do not now know.

His first mill was a failure. Frank Jones and Thomas R. Parker say that Mr. Marvin first build a mill on the Burns Creek, or Frog Hollow Creek (to the northwest of Albany, now the Albany campground on the Volga Lake Recreational Area in 1999), near where Ralph Dickinson is living (in 1938). This first mill was far from successful, due to insufficiency of waterpower. Undaunted, he moved his equipment to the Volga on the forty in Section 23, probably after 1857, and a few of the foundations stones of the old building may be seen a short way up the river from where Frank Holtzman now lives (1938), (this would be the area downriver about a half mile from the old Albany bridge which is still standing in 1999, Z).
Two men, Chandler and Ward, in early days operated a furniture factory in a building on Marvin's land and connected with his mill, using the mill shafting to run their turning lathes. They went to the (civil) war and were both killed. Marvin then used the furniture factory building for his mill purposes. Chandler and Ward owned land nearby. For this mill Marvin made a deep mill pond, this time getting sufficient power to do a thriving business, securing feed grinding and wood sawing business from many folks living on the prairie around (and to the west of) Fayette. In those days Marvin's Hill, now so seldom ventured upon by the traveler, was a busy thorofare for traffic, with its loads of logs, lumber, grain and grists. The heavily wooded hill across the served as a source of lumber for those who contemplated a barn or house "raising."
Marvin's Road: The long rocky road which extends up the side of the bluff to the east of the mill site, and which is not topped by Doc Sperry's rustic little "cabin in the woods", was dug out and put through by Marvin himself, and was, at that time, known as "Marvin's Hill." (This would eventually become the road leading into Albany from the south when the Albany bridge was built. Until that time river fords were uesd.)
A much-talked of incident, which occurred while Marvin was operating the mill, was related to me by Mr. T.R. Parker, who stated that he used to live right beside the mill, and that he used to spend a great deal of his leisure time fishing at the base of the mill. A team drowns in the mill pond. A fine team of horses was left untied outside the mill by a farmer, living at that time near Hawkeye, who had come to have some feed ground. The team, probably thirsty, started down the bank to the deep mill pond. The owner, seeing them and being aware of the possible outcome of such a step, grabbed the lines in an attempt to guide them back up the bank. The strain on the lines was too much and one them broke, letting the team fall into the pond. The owner of the horses could not swim, and Marvin dared not go into the cold water because of a very recent recovery form illness, so there was little to be done but watch the horses flounder and finally give up the losing battle and drown. Mr. Parker speaks of this as a time of great excitement to hem, and of his desire to get (take) his father's dinner to the Marvin sugar "bush" (sorghum fields) where he was working in order to be the first with the news. The sugar "bush" was located near the first spot where Marvin started in the milling business.
Marvin as a public officer. In addition to his milling and farming, Marvin served five or six years as Justice of the Peace and supervisor from the Albany area. Mr. Marvin acquired considerable land around his mill property, owning at one time about 200 acres.

In 1883, the Marvin mill property was conveyed to Erastus ("Broad") Hammond, of Fayette, a stone mason, and also a bee keeper who was seeking a better place than in town for his bees. In exchange for the mill and some farm property Mr. Hammond conveyed to Marvin the town lots and brick house which are still in possession of the Marvin family, being the property now occupied by Lloyd Marvin just north of the Main street bridge (this property was the brick house just across the old 150 bridge to the north of the road. When the new bridge went in during the 1980's the highway went through the old Marvin property and the house was to the south of the highway. The flood of 1999 has lead to the condemning of all properties to the north of the river (in Canada) and all building will be torn down in the flood plain, Z).
It is told that George Earle operated the old (Albany) mill after H. Marvin quit. We find no record yet that he owned the land and we wonder if he leased the mill outfit from Hammond. The mill business was discontinued about 18??, and the old building was moved away to become a hay barn.

The Iowa Postal Card (newspaper) for May 9, 1890, mentions the death of Hiram Marvin at Fayette, on may 6, 1890, at eighty-four years of age, and the editor, O.C. Cole, said this of him: "He was for many years owner of what was once Marvin's Mills, a couple of miles down the Volga, and has had varied interest in the bank, the elevator and other property, at various times. We have know Mr. Marvin for thirty-four years and can bear testimony that he bore the reputation of an honest man, a reliable friend, and a good neighbor. In his later years, he became an ardent believer in the doctrines of Modern Spiritualism. He has always been a good friend to the writer.

As a mill owner Joseph H. Marvin, son of Hiram, will probably be the subject of a separate sketch.
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--MOSES DAVIS HOTEL

I wonder who can tell us anything about Moses Davis and abut his hotel property at Fayette referred to in the following advertisement found in an issue of the Fayette county Pioneer, published at West Union, March 4, 1856. The town plat for Fayette (not for Westfield) was filed for record June 16, 1855. This Davis Hotel may have been the first one in Fayette. Where was it located and what has become of it?
Administrator's Sale---The valuable and well known hotel, belonging to the estate of Moses Davis, deceased, is for sale, together with the necessary stabling and outbuildings. There are three acres of land attached which will be sold with it, if desired. Said property is situated in the enterprising village of Fayette, Fayette County, and is a first best locations for business. The above property was appraised at twenty-four hundred dollars. Terms: One thousand dollars in hand, the balance on or before the first day of October next, with interest. For further particulars, inquire of E.A. Keaser, on the premises, or of the subscriber at West Union. Curtis R. Bent,

---OLD STONE PLOW SHOP
No doubt many have noticed the "old stone barn" east of and close to the paving on the West Union road (Old highway 150; now torn down when the new Volga Bridge was built in the 1980's, another Fayette landmark gone. Z) as you drive thru "Canada," as that part of Fayette north of the river is called. It is south of the Waldo Walker stone residence. In recent years it has often been used as a barn but it was never built or intended for such purposes. D.J.N. Walker, who was Waldo's grandfather, erected that building (beside the stone house) and in it conducted a plow shop and blacksmith ship in very early days. I suppose it was one of Fayette's first important industries. In a county plat book for 1879 the building is still designated as a "plow shop." I have heard a rumor that the old stone shop may be wrecked because the woodwork in it is getting so old and rotten.

Note: My grandfather Walter Reuben Hunt lived on the farm at the west end of Big Rock road from the 30's until the late 70's, and tells of his grandfather Reuben Hunt, the youngest brother of several, migrating to America as he stood little chance of inheriting into the Inn business of the family around Oxfordshire County, England. Reuben apparently was a master stone mason by the time he arrived in Fayette in 1852. My grandfather stated that Rueben had his hand into the construction of almost any building where large shaped limestone was used, such as College Hall and the Old Stone Plow Shop. Family stories indicate he may have been a head stone mason on College Hall and also built the Old Stone Plow Shop. In the 1940's on, W. R. Hunt rented the pasture land and "Old Stone Barn" from Waldo Walker and used such for raising and feeding beef cattle, while the dairy cattle were kept in the barn at the farm house. 7/20/99/Z
Fayette some day will be an older place than New England towns are now. It is the gateway to one of the most scenic areas in the great Mississippi valley, an are probably destined to grow in value as a tourist and resort section. Perhaps Fayette cannot save any of its such investments for the future.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1935, we found that one of the popular eating places was the lot on which stood a shop, and where grew the spreading chestnut tree under which "the village smith stood." In New England in such a place as this "Old Plow Shop" somebody would try to run a summer wayside station. They might sell flowers, pottery, baskets, or other handcrafted products; they might serve tea or lunches; they might collect old curios for display to add a historic interest and help draw business. Even an old blacksmith shop will soon be a curio. There would be some interesting sort to a sign out that would arrest the attention of the tourist, even on a busy thorofare.

The Old Walker Place: Frank Francisco writes, I have played around the old plow shop in "Canada" when it was in use. The home stone house had heavy doors at each window, to keep the Indians out. I used to be over there to play with Jerome Walker and gather butternuts and walnuts in their woods. The we would stop at the Broad Hammond place and he would give us a cake of honey to eat. (as stated in the H. Marvin article recently, Hammond, the beekeeper, lived in the brick house North of the Volga Bridge, and Hammond would exchange this property for the Mill property at Albany in 1883).
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Mr. Fransciso mentions Indians in connection with the Walker House. Let me say now that those Indians probably were not very fierce ones. After the Winnebago tribe was moved (displaced,Z) out of this territory, in about 1848, there were small bands who came back occasionally. Lida Stranahan told me recently that her father (Isaac Bogert) built and lived in the house that stood on the side of the hill just a few rods northeast of the house in which Ben Juhens now lives, just northwest of the Walker place. The house was torn down by Kuhens a few years ago. The Bogert family, especially the women, used to annoyed by the presence of Indians at times on the hill above and near the house. Young men from the nearby brewery used to go up and torment the Indians. In those days folks probably feared the Winnebago Indians more on account of a reputation for begging and for stealing, than for their savagery.

Some of the fear the early settlers had of small roving Indians bands may have been due to reports of their stealing white children. The Fayette County Pioneer, published June 19th, 1856, contained the following news item of a very disquieting nature: We learn from the Prairie du Chien Courier that a white female child, apparently 7-8 years of age, had been offered for sale by some Indians at McGregor, for the sum of $8. It had been most cruelly whipped and abused, in Indian fashion, and its captors finally owned up to have taken it from Whitewater, Wis., about five years ago. It is now being cared for and every effort made to restore it's memory which it totally gone.

---TAXES

Mrs. Alfred J. Thorp Stearns has an old tax receipt showing that the then owners in 1852 paid eighty cents as the tax for 1851 on one hundred thirty four acres of the farm she now owns in Frog Hollow. That land was purchased seventy-five years ago by her mother, Bashemath Thorp, whose maiden name was Smith. I venture to guess that this is the oldest tax receipt in existence on Fayette county land.
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---TAX RECORDS

The compilers of "Fayette County History, 1878" suggested that tax records prior to 1872, or at least early records, were burned in the court house fire of that year. Subsequent writers of county history evidently have assumed that those early records were lost, or thought they were uninteresting.

I have had the pleasure of locating some Fayette county tax records beginning with 1855, and we will find them very helpful in some of our work. One of the numerous delights we have experienced in connection with the conducting of this column was the unexpected discovery, in the court house attic, one day last summer of a big, dirty, abused looking old book containing a list of all the real and personal property assessments for Fayette County, by townships, made for the year 1857.

The land records had seemed to be about the only place to go for preparing a list of all the early Fayette County families. To get the list there involved an almost impossible amount of labor. Names of landowners could be secured but whether they ever lived in the county could only be determined, and then not very certainly, by an examination of records of individual deeds. In these early county tax records most of the names of early families can be found listed in the township of their place of residence. Land owned by non-resident owners apparently was listed separately by description of land, without name of owner. Non-tax-paying residents are not listed in these books.

And from the 1857 listing of real estate and personal property considerable can be learned as to the various kinds of property in the county, its owners, its location and its value. For example take the subject of early grain reapers and threshing machines. Since the information may now interest many families and has never been published before I will print as I find it, the 1857 tax assessment record of reaper and threshing machine ownership for all of Fayette County. We will list it by townships.

Reapers and Threshing Machines in 1857---PLEASANT VALLEY: A.P. Bartholomew- half a thresher $100, James Connor Sr.- threshing $250, Joseph Forbes-threshing $100, James Kinyon-threshing $250, Jacob Laymon-threshing $100; FAIRFIELD: Vernon Arbuckle-half threshing $60, Selly Sherman-half threshing $60, Robert Ward-threshing $150; PUTMAN: Stephen Wescott-reaper $80; WINDSOR: John Bare-half threshing $80, Abraham Bare-half threshing $80, B. Craft-threshing $160, Abraham Craft-reaper $65, Hance Cummings-reaper $100, Thomas McMarry-half reaper $40, Thomas Turner-thresher and reaper $250; RICHLAND (now BETHEL), AUBURN, CLEMONT, JEFFERSON, BANKS, FREMONT, ILLYRA, AND EDEN: none; WEST UNION: Jesse Dollarhide-half reaper $50; DOVER: Elijah Pierce-reaper $50; ORAN: James Hurd-threshing $150, David Simpson-threshing $50; WESTFIELD (which then included the present townships of CENTER, HARLAN, SMITHFIELD, and SCOTT: Edwin Cave-reaper $90, John V. Dunham-threshing $90; TOTAL FOR THE COUNTY: Threshing machine=13, Reapers= 8, Total+=21.
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Some Questions: There were many farmers at this time owning land and living in all of the different townships. It would be interesting to know why Windsor Township in 1857 had one third of all the reapers and threshing machines in Fayette County. Did some good machinery salesmen cover that particular territory? Were the farmers there more progressive? Ws more grain then grown there than elsewhere in the county? What kind of reapers and threshing machines could our farmer ancestors buy in 1857?

--BIG ROCKS

The first reference to Big Rocks was recorded on the back of an upstairs closet door at the old James E. Robertson house in the edge of Robertson's Woods, apparently by the girls in the family, who evidently kept for several years a record of important social events for them, beginning in 1968. Entries for Big Rock were: Oct. 8, 1868, "All went to The Big Rocks", Aug. 13, 1868, "Leap year picnic at The Big Rocks", July 4, 1870, "Old Maids' Picnic at the rocks".

Deed records show in 1854 Robert Alexander and Samuel H. Robertson acquired title to the land around Big Rocks. In June, 1857, they deeded it to L. Cadmus and Julia Ann Toles. Cadmus conveyed his interest to Roles in March, 1858. In April, 1858, Toles deeded some land close by to Clerment (Clemont?) C. Cole and the deed recited: "The said Toles reserves the right of dreening the Volga." In Sept., 1858, Toles deeded to A.E. Chambers a small lot (which includes big Rock and the spring) and the description ended thus: "thence on the bank of the Volga as it now is since the dam make below east to the place of beginning, containing 3 acres, more or less". In 1861, this tract was included in land deeded by A.E. Chambers, I.M. Chambers, M.A. Spatcher and Thomas Spatcher to Ransom N. Soper. The land was sold at tax sale in 1869 (for $2.10 tax unpaid) to P. T. Crowell who secured his tax deed in 1872. In 1938 it was part of the Fred Holmes estate farm.

In an abstract to the Holmes farm, O. W. Stevenson had made a note, that in the early 1930's, R. W. Hunt had said, "Toles had an old mill on 'Coleman place'." The mill dam evidently was built before September, 1858.

?Was the old saw mill Toles' Mill, or Cole's Mill?
?How long was it used for saw mill purposes?

?When Toles , in 1858, reserved "the right of dreening the Volgy", was he thinking of building a tunnel where years later Waterbury started one, and diverting the course of the river away from where "The Big Rocks" were?

?Was the ford at "Big Rock" every called Spatcher"s ford? ('Later to be referred to as Orr's Ford')

Chauncy Smith was one of the early settlers in Westfield township. It was Smith who had charge of the blasting work when the Rock Cut was put through at the depot. He also did the actual work of blasting and excavating part way through the "backbone" on the Volga river above Big Rock for what was known as the "Waterbury Tunnel" project. His daughters tell that Chauncey Smith, who evidently was the best powder blaster around here in an early day, was also a great rail splitter. He would go out and make 25 rails before breakfast. In 1867 he worked splitting rails all winter for $25, and boarded himself, eating mostly "Johnny Cake." He could make 300 rails per day. The Smith daughters remember that in 1871 Winslow Stearns sold 400 rails for $12. Can anybody tell us when the first wire fences wee built around here?
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---LETTER FROM 1856 by Charles Hoyt---

Letters written to folks in the East by early settlers are always valuable as sources of local history material. Mrs. Mary Grannis Hoyt shows me one which I find of special interest. This one was written in 1856 , while the Seminary was under construction and the Fayette House (our present hotel, 1939) was being promoted. The letter is from Charles Hoyt, who became in 1874 Fayette's first mayor. He was twelve years a county surveyor, or assistant surveyor. He was the father of Judge W.A. Hoyt, for many years one of our leading citizens. He was the first clerk of the Fayette Conhgregational Society. The tax records for 1855 and 1857 indicate he owned about 700 acres of land near Fayette. This exceedingly well written letter gives us a picture of Fayette in 1856 and reveals something of the personality of our early local pioneers.
A Letter by a Pioneer With Vision, Charles Hoyt, 1856, from Westfield, Iowa---to V.A. Allen, Dr Sir, Yours of 24th ultimo, was rec'd on Friday last and by the same mail I also rec'd one from your daughter, Emma written from Homer with which I was very highly pleased. It was exceedingly well written and well composed. She also inquires about the west and seems very anxious that your should conclude to move hither. I will answer her letter in a day or two. In answer to your inquiries I will very cheerfully state some of the changes that have taken place since I wrote you last and the prospects of future improvements. Winter of 1856-57---We have had here in common with you and the rest of mankind a very severe winter commencing early in December and continuing to the first of March since which we have had very pleasant weather for the season. The month of March was nothing like as severe as it was last year. The snow has left us and the roads are becoming settled. Saw Mills and Emigrants---Since the first of March I have been engaged in our steam sawmill and we are now making from 2000 to 3000 feet of lumber per day but cannot begin to satisfy the demands of the community, every one being in haste for building and fencing materials. Emigration to the North and West has commenced and families are daily passing through our town. Seminary, Hotel, Etc.---The Directors of the Seminary (UIU) lately held a meeting here and resolved to have the building in readiness for the reception of students next winter and the stone cutters are now at work. A stock company has just been formed with a capital of $4000, to build a public house near the Seminary which will be commenced very soon. I am informed that two or three stores, two cabinet shops and I know not how many dwellings are to be put up this spring as soon as lumber for the same can in any way be obtained. Selling Town Lots Daily. Mill and Crops---The proprietor of the village plat is making sales of lots daily. The flouring mill is in successful operation. Much more wheat will be sown in this vicinity this spring than every before. I intend to have 15 acres of my breaking put into wheat and the rest (10 acres) in corn. I am not fully posted as to the quantity of the various kinds of grain that can be produced to the acre but I think it safe to say wheat 20-25, corn 40-60. I cannot say anything of other crops, but I think the soil as good as in most other western places. It is intermixed with black sand in this vicinity with clay subsoil. Farm Rental 1856---I could have rented my breaking at $3 per acre but preferred having it cultivated on shares. The men who have taken it have to furnish all the seed and do all the work and deliver me one third of the crop. I expect to fence in 50 acres this spring. If you come on a viewing excursion I shall expect you of course to come to this place and think you would be pleased with the country. Doctors C.C. Parker and Aaron Brown---A physician moved into the place last fall and is now doing a very good business. The old one of whom I wrote you before (Dr. Brown) resides 2 miles from the village but is now on a visit to Kansas to attend to the affairs of his brother who was so shockingly murdered a few weeks ago by the "border ruffinas." Demand for Land and Prices---I have recently had two letters from my brother Bates who appears determined to come west and who states that mother has offered her place for sale and if she makes a sale she also will move west. I have had repeated offers for portions of my timber land but decline selling thinking some of my friends may conclude to move here and want timber and prairie land both. Buel Knapp made me a visit some two months ago. I think he is doing very well in Elkader. The land that he bought here about a year ago (80 acres) he holds at $5 per acres. He bought at $1 and I bought 80 acres adjoining it in June last. Some Personal Matters---I hope you will not consider me as troubled by the receipt of your letters, as it affords me pleasure to give my friends all the information I can respecting the country and its future prospects and like very much to be informed of the events that transpire in Cleveland. I regret that Caroline cannot find time and inclination to answer the letter I wrote her a long time since but shall expect her to account for the neglect when I see here which I hope will be next fall. Transportation Facilities---We now have a stage passing through our place (Westfield) daily each way and generally loaded with passengers. A railroad is building from Dubuque to Dyersville 26 miles nearly west of Dubuque, which will be finished this season and probably a branch from the latter place will at no distant day be continued to St. Paul (it would not be until 1874 that the railroad would arrive from the south to Fayette,z) and if so it must go not far from this place---at all events said road will be extended west to Independence which is 27 miles south of us. Let me hear from you again soon and when you take your tour t the West do not fail to visit me when I can give you much more information than I can in writing. Yours, C. Hoyt.
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---LETTER FROM a Fayette Resident, 1859

Fayette Correspondence, Monday Morning, April 18 1859---Allah be praised! We are coming out of the gloom into sunshine and spring. Last night the stars sang together and the tree-toads down in somebody's timber, gave an uproarious concert in honor of the first pleasant evening of the season. Perhaps, or may be, some swamp-singing Piccoiomina led off a new orchestra out back of sundown, and so set the troupe in motion. It was a gladdening sound anyway, and by the melody in their throats Lent is most over with these bar-musicians.

Fayette Street Scene, Spring of 1859---But Monday morning the streets are filled---not with herds of cattle and Pike's Peak teams but with all creation out of some hurried errand of business or pleasure. Men picking up their crumbs and old felt hats keep a lively march to the Hotel, Post office and Barnard's office which is mostly monopolished by ladies in the weather, and girls from the country praying all the time for good crops and new gowns next Fall which may heaven send. There is a noisy rat-tat-tat which Dan and Fannie imitate with hammer and tongs just across the garden at Gage's new store, where hereafter, worlds of candies and pockets full of raisins are t make glad their precious hearts. Also Yankee Notions and Groceries, tobacco and codfish and columns of et-ceteras are to be findable and saleable for that scarce commodity, cash.

Up in Westfield---Way up in Westfield, bales, barrels and boxes are disgorging their contents and taking up short residence on Brier's groaning shelves. The river got quite high at the general caving in of winter-ice but Walton took it down with a serene face before anything went off. So that if we have our short comings we can't be said to be a floating population.

Dancing, Music and Lectures---Gray has a new dancing hall and assembly room, and Edmonds a long bow which he flourishes well, dancing to his own inspiriting music. We have nothing to boast of in the way of lectures. Clement read us one and Miss DeForce one on Spiritualism in the which she gave that "shaky" institution, the church, some one sided knocks which doubtless at will survive.

"Term" Starting at Seminary---The bell held its tongue pretty much throughout vacation, but today )Thursday it revives. Sign of life, young life, are manifest around the premises up there. Spruce looking boys which portly trunks and satchels filled out like an Alderman's pocket, are wending thitherward and jaunty little bonnets with pretty faces inside. Here the rollicking colts are to be broken to harness through the day and turned out afterward to graze on the villager common. Dear old Seminarly! It was under your cavedropping roofs that we acclimated in the coldest weather know to the oldest inhabitants. Here we sang our first morning hymn of praise beyond the giant Mississippi.

Living in Sem Building---Here we ate our first bacon in the Steward's Hall. How baby laughed and crowed and rattled down the tottlish stools and dodged the corners of the tables---how the wind, the sleet, the snow, the hail and thunder and lightning altogether shook the window of our room. How it friz and thew and friz again till our ideas of the "Italian climate of Iowa" set forth in documents, left us in possession of the shivering fact that it was all an egregious fallacy. How we explored the nooks and crannies of the temple of Science and clambered over fallen plaster and rubbish, snuffing the fresh paint and mortar.

The Old Stage, and Housekeeping---How we wrote letters and watched through stormy seas for that old white-topped stage and wondered where the everlasting prairies began and if they had an end or reached out to the twilight of futurity. How we cracked bowls full of hazel nuts for want of something bigger, and laughed and cried alternately, and "worried" about unforwarded trunks which came one auspicious day and blockaded the halls like the barricade of a military fortress. And then we went to housekeeping and the remembrance of past pains and perils was lost in the consuming anxiety of studying "hop risen" authorities and experimenting in fermentation, our only capital in trade being a slice of stale bread. Yours, Mr. Editor---here, there and everywhere. LITTLE FAYETTE. P.S.---Since writing the above I have received the TIMES, and resume my pen to say that Waterbury and Burch have a fine assortment of writing paper and that resources for literary correspondence are acceptable to all without the aid of missionaries. The "Sabbath School is not in a saw mill" and "does not go by water." We did not keep the Governor's fast because we have enough to eat and we see no reason why you should not be as well circumstanced. L.F.
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---CARRIAGES AND WAGONS

Old and New Conveyances---As the winter of 1938-39 comes upon us and we enjoy our comfortable travel in glass enclosed, heated, and sometimes radio equipped automobiles, it may be interesting to examine the records we can find as to the means of transportation our grandfathers, or great grandfathers had here in 1857, about eighty-two years ago.

Interesting Tax Record Found---From an old county tax record for 1857, which I have found in an unexpected place, some information can be secured. Carriages and wagons were assessed to the owners and valuations carried in special columns.

Westfield Was a Big Township---At that time Westfield Township for purposes of taxation and civil government included more than the present Westfield township and the then unincorporated town or village of Fayette. It included also what is now the townships of Center, Smithfield, Harlan, and Scott.

Carriages in 1857, Westfield---In Westfield township, as above described, for January 1, 1857, the record shows that the following residents were assessed for carriages: Harrison Auger $30, Nathaniel Burr $40, Aaron Brown $30, H.S. Bronson $35, Thos. R. Bass $30, J.W. Butler $25, Thomas Benge (buggy) $25.

Carriages in Illyria---Franklin H. Chapman $20, William Frost $30, Gilson and Johnson $40, Samuel Holton $40, Abner Strong $60, William Welsh $50.

Carriages in Fairfield---Z.G. Allen $25, James P. Carlton $30, D.J. Finey $20, William Gable $65, Jacob Hill $24, Ernest Kowp $15, M.B. Olmsted $15, Calvin Pekins (two) $40, Roberts Powers $20, O.R. Robbins $30, William Stephenson (three) $270, David Stratton $30, Lott Sutton $20.

Wagons not all listed---From my examination of the assessments listed for the various townships of the county in this 1857 record I am of the opinion that the above items "carriages and vehicles" for Illyra and Fairfield townships show only carriages, and that wagons were not there listed for taxation. In fact for the entire county it is only for Westfield township that wagons are shown clearly to be listed. It would appear to me that only a few of even the farmers in what was then Westfield township had wagons, or were assessed on wagons.

Some Wagons of 1857---As a clue to the names of some of the early local families the following list of 1857 wagon owning residents of what was then Westfield township, and what is not Fayette, Westfield, Center, Smithfield, Harlan and Scott townships, is published: E.D. Ash $80, Robert Alexander (three) $170, Harrison Butler (two) $60, Fauntley Ball $60, Hunting Barnes $40, Barker $35, Alfred Currier $40, C.C. Cole $60, John Dollarhide $70, Peter Davitt $60, John Douglass $35, Sion Dean $45, Joel Epps $25, D.E. Fussell $35, Jas. D. Fitch $35, A.R. Fields $75, E.R.W. Emmons $35, J.A. Griffith $100, David Gage $40, John Hanna $60, S.D. Helms $30, Abram B. Hershey $60, Ebenezer Hyde $60, John Kerr $50, John Mulhiehi $35, Hiram Marvin $65, J. H. Maxon $40, Foster Mitchell $30, Clark Newcomb $50, D.G. Parsons $120, Levi Bass $30, James E. Robertson $35, Samuel Robertson $70, M.H. Root $35, William Robins $40, R.S. Smirles $15, J.E. Smirles $40, Albert P. Staples $45, J.B. Sperry $45, Winslow Sterns $30, H.N. Sutton $90, Edwin Smith $30, A.E. Sawyer $40, Geo. W. Tyler $40, Joel H. Thorp $40, Asa Walker $30, David Watrous $40.

May have been others---It may be that one wagon for each farmer or teamster was then, as now, exempt from taxation and not listed. If so the above listed wagon owners were not farmers or teamsters, or they were owners of more than one wagon. The tax exemption laws for 1857 have not yet been examined
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---OF MIGRATIONS AND MOVING ABOUT

Moving about was the "spirit" of the pioneers. The reference to Kansas, and a closing out sale by Mr. Albertson at Albany, in the 1856 advertisement quoted last week, is one of many evidences that can be found to show the moving about spirit of the 1850's in Iowa. L If a family did not like its present location, or opportunity, there always appeared to be plenty of new places to go and start again. The government was continually offering new land, almost free, to induce movements of population.
Conversations, family letters and newspaper articles of those days were much given to discussions of the various new "Promised Lands." "Beulah Land," with its line, "my Heaven, My Home, For-ever-more," referring to a spiritual abiding place, was no doubt a very popular pioneer religious song because it indirectly expressed a current longing for a more comfortable temporal home.
But moving was not always easy. Through there were plenty of places to go for a new start the getting there was often a rather long and trying experience. If any readers have saved old family letters that describe the experience of their ancestor in coming to Fayette county I would be glad to have copies of them, or extracts from them. There ought to be many things in such letters that are not only of strictly family value but of some general interest.
Parts of a letter written to Sidney Cobb by a brother-in-law describing one family's experience on the way from northeast Iowa to Kansas and Missouri in 1858. Dear friends, Feb. 14, 1858, from Westport, Mo, I have thought best to give you a little description of our journey. The day we left Orlando's in Independence, Ia, we traveled across the prairie most of the day, some of it so rocky it looked like a flock of sheep at a distance. The next day we crossed the river at Cedar Rapids. It's quite a smart town. I bought five sacks of flour--paid three dollars per sack.

We went on about ten miles and camped by a little stream of water. In the night it rained and four of McCollough's horses broke loose and went off. We started in the morning in different directions and we hunted the country all over. It was just one week before we found them. By that time I had fed what corn I took with me and could not get any more, so I bought five bushels of wheat---paid a dollar a bushel. I made that last until we got to Kansas. We could not get any hay on the road, no not even one spear---but the teams stood the journey very well.

We passed through some very handsome country and considerable broken country. When we got in Missouri I sold four sacks of flour for six dollars per sack. As we traveled on sometimes we stopped a day or two and rested and baked and washed. We had a good fiddler and plenty of music and tolerable good times. Finally after traveling and traveling we reached St. Joseph on the Missouri river and camped there all night. Found provisions cheaper than we expected. Flour worth $3.75 per hundred, bacon $13 per hundred. We bought plenty of eggs along the road. Lived high and slept still higher up in the wagons.

The next morning we all started early to cross over to the promised land. But such a river---it looked like a mud hole in a pig pen. We all got safely over and for the first time set foot on such a country as never man saw before. I suppose I need not describe it for you particularly as you have seen it all in the papers than they have seen here. Still they have seen some things here they never saw before---no doubt about that. There is some of the country in Kansas as handsome as I ever saw, but the best part of it belongs to the Indians. We came on to Leavenworth City. Could not find our things. Mr. McCollough found his and took them two miles from Leavenworth where we all camped for four days.

They opened their boxes. They had all been in the water somewhere. He had paid $80 freight on them and they were not work $10. They had five nice feather-beds, all rotten. Any quantity of clothing and new cloth for clothes of every description. The cloth would hardly hold its own weight and the carpets you could tear to pieces with two fingers.

We sent from there about twelve miles to the Stranger river---there were three empty houses there---we unloaded two wagons. I took one of mine and one man and went to Lawrence. It is a very handsome little town. Went into Johnson county from there ---we went to the Neosho river---one hundred twenty miles and looked there a few days and bought a claim on Rock Creek. Four acres broke, plenty of timber and stock water with bottom land. I went back to Leavenworth, bought some provisions and we moved out there. Thought we would camp at a man's house, where we could get good water, while we built a house. We had been there two days. That night there was a heavy thunder shower. I had my horses on the prairie, staked out with ropes about forty feet long. As soon as it was light I went out and one of them had got snarled up, round his head, neck and legs, and was almost dead. It gook me about a week to get him so that I could leave him.
Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.

By that time my wife, Orrenda Cobb, was taken sick, just as she was in Elgin, Illinois, so I had to spend two weeks with her. Then Oscar had the ague for a week. He got better. By that time my wife began to sit up a little. Then Eunice was taken with the chills, but she was so gritty she could not shake. Well, what next? The old man began to shake the old fashioned way. I could shake the chinking loose in the old log house. I broke the chills but the next week I was shaking again. Broke them again but was so weak I could not do anything.

Finally when we had been there about two months and I thought we couldn't stand it to ride we started for this place and my wife was sick most of the way. Eunice had a chill every other day and I had the shakes as often. When we got within a day's drive of here I had to stop three days for I was completely tired out. Then we came here and rented a house. In a few days Eunice was taken very sick. We had the doctor. In a few days she got better and now she is quite fleshy. Doctor's bill $12. Board bill on the Neosha $65.

When we got here I broke the ague. I felt quite smart. We went ten miles from here to cut some hay. I mowed one day and then had to give it up and shake. Then I broke the ague again, then shook again---so it has come and gone like the old woman's soap. I have not had it now for about two weeks and am getting quite smart but you can't think how poor I am.

Corn is worth from 40-50cts a bushel, potatoes $1 a bushel, apples $1 a bushel. I bought ten bushels of apples after we came for 50 cts per bushel and 15 bushels of potatoes for 50 cts, butter 20lb for 35cts, pork is worth $4 to $6, flour $4 per hundred, hay is worth form $15 to $20.

Where we lived on the Neosha we saw from ten to fifty Caw Indians every day. They dress with a britch-cloth and blanket. The squaws dress some like white women. They lived in cloth tents and bark huts. The Shawnee live in Johnson county, Kansas, joining this county, Jackson. They dress as well as the whites.

Leavenworth City is three years old in 1858, and is as large as Independence, Ia, West Union and Fayette, and there is more business done there in one month than there is in the other three in a year. Kansas City is a great business place. Westport is quite a town---25 stores, steam mill, 3 large hotels and other things accordingly. Yours, Norman Gladding.

--- OF MIGRATIONS AND MOVING ABOUT

Moving about was the "spirit" of the pioneers. The reference to Kansas, and a closing out sale by Mr. Albertson at Albany, in the 1856 advertisement quoted last week, is one of many evidences that can be found to show the moving about spirit of the 1850's in Iowa. L If a family did not like its present location, or opportunity, there always appeared to be plenty of new places to go and start again. The government was continually offering new land, almost free, to induce movements of population.
Conversations, family letters and newspaper articles of those days were much given to discussions of the various new "Promised Lands." "Beulah Land," with its line, "my Heaven, My Home, For-ever-more," referring to a spiritual abiding place, was no doubt a very popular pioneer religious song because it indirectly expressed a current longing for a more comfortable temporal home.
But moving was not always easy. Through there were plenty of places to go for a new start the getting there was often a rather long and trying experience. If any readers have saved old family letters that describe the experience of their ancestor in coming to Fayette county I would be glad to have copies of them, or extracts from them. There ought to be many things in such letters that are not only of strictly family value but of some general interest.
Parts of a letter written to Sidney Cobb by a brother-in-law describing one family's experience on the way from northeast Iowa to Kansas and Missouri in 1858. Dear friends, Feb. 14, 1858, from Westport, Mo, I have thought best to give you a little description of our journey. The day we left Orlando's in Independence, Ia, we traveled across the prairie most of the day, some of it so rocky it looked like a flock of sheep at a distance. The next day we crossed the river at Cedar Rapids. It's quite a smart town. I bought five sacks of flour--paid three dollars per sack.
Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.

We went on about ten miles and camped by a little stream of water. In the night it rained and four of McCollough's horses broke loose and went off. We started in the morning in different directions and we hunted the country all over. It was just one week before we found them. By that time I had fed what corn I took with me and could not get any more, so I bought five bushels of wheat---paid a dollar a bushel. I made that last until we got to Kansas. We could not get any hay on the road, no not even one spear---but the teams stood the journey very well.

We passed through some very handsome country and considerable broken country. When we got in Missouri I sold four sacks of flour for six dollars per sack. As we traveled on sometimes we stopped a day or two and rested and baked and washed. We had a good fiddler and plenty of music and tolerable good times. Finally after traveling and traveling we reached St. Joseph on the Missouri river and camped there all night. Found provisions cheaper than we expected. Flour worth $3.75 per hundred, bacon $13 per hundred. We bought plenty of eggs along the road. Lived high and slept still higher up in the wagons.

The next morning we all started early to cross over to the promised land. But such a river---it looked like a mud hole in a pig pen. We all got safely over and for the first time set foot on such a country as never man saw before. I suppose I need not describe it for you particularly as you have seen it all in the papers than they have seen here. Still they have seen some things here they never saw before---no doubt about that. There is some of the country in Kansas as handsome as I ever saw, but the best part of it belongs to the Indians. We came on to Leavenworth City. Could not find our things. Mr. McCollough found his and took them two miles from Leavenworth where we all camped for four days.

They opened their boxes. They had all been in the water somewhere. He had paid $80 freight on them and they were not work $10. They had five nice feather-beds, all rotten. Any quantity of clothing and new cloth for clothes of every description. The cloth would hardly hold its own weight and the carpets you could tear to pieces with two fingers.

We sent from there about twelve miles to the Stranger river---there were three empty houses there---we unloaded two wagons. I took one of mine and one man and went to Lawrence. It is a very handsome little town. Went into Johnson county from there ---we went to the Neosho river---one hundred twenty miles and looked there a few days and bought a claim on Rock Creek. Four acres broke, plenty of timber and stock water with bottom land. I went back to Leavenworth, bought some provisions and we moved out there. Thought we would camp at a man's house, where we could get good water, while we built a house. We had been there two days. That night there was a heavy thunder shower. I had my horses on the prairie, staked out with ropes about forty feet long. As soon as it was light I went out and one of them had got snarled up, round his head, neck and legs, and was almost dead. It gook me about a week to get him so that I could leave him.

By that time my wife, Orrenda Cobb, was taken sick, just as she was in Elgin, Illinois, so I had to spend two weeks with her. Then Oscar had the ague for a week. He got better. By that time my wife began to sit up a little. Then Eunice was taken with the chills, but she was so gritty she could not shake. Well, what next? The old man began to shake the old fashioned way. I could shake the chinking loose in the old log house. I broke the chills but the next week I was shaking again. Broke them again but was so weak I could not do anything.

Finally when we had been there about two months and I thought we couldn't stand it to ride we started for this place and my wife was sick most of the way. Eunice had a chill every other day and I had the shakes as often. When we got within a day's drive of here I had to stop three days for I was completely tired out. Then we came here and rented a house. In a few days Eunice was taken very sick. We had the doctor. In a few days she got better and now she is quite fleshy. Doctor's bill $12. Board bill on the Neosha $65.

When we got here I broke the ague. I felt quite smart. We went ten miles from here to cut some hay. I mowed one day and then had to give it up and shake. Then I broke the ague again, then shook again---so it has come and gone like the old woman's soap. I have not had it now for about two weeks and am getting quite smart but you can't think how poor I am.

Corn is worth from 40-50cts a bushel, potatoes $1 a bushel, apples $1 a bushel. I bought ten bushels of apples after we came for 50 cts per bushel and 15 bushels of potatoes for 50 cts, butter 20lb for 35cts, pork is worth $4 to $6, flour $4 per hundred, hay is worth form $15 to $20.

Where we lived on the Neosha we saw from ten to fifty Caw Indians every day. They dress with a britch-cloth and blanket. The squaws dress some like white women. They lived in cloth tents and bark huts. The Shawnee live in Johnson county, Kansas, joining this county, Jackson. They dress as well as the whites.

Leavenworth City is three years old in 1858, and is as large as Independence, Ia, West Union and Fayette, and there is more business done there in one month than there is in the other three in a year. Kansas City is a great business place. Westport is quite a town---25 stores, steam mill, 3 large hotels and other things accordingly. Yours, Norman Gladding
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---STAGE STATIONS AND STAGES

There must be considerable interesting material available. Frye's Tavern and Bull Head Taverns, the former being in Fayette County, were stage stations. I think Corn Hill was one such station.


 

E. 1860 – 1864

---1861---Officers, privates, and recruits in Co., C of 12th Regiment Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry was organized at Fayette in 1861.

---OF BRIDGES

In the minutes for the meeting of the Fayette County Supervisors on June 2, 1862, it was reported that the bridge across the Volga at Fayette had just been completed. Prior to that date river fords were used.

In very old deeds for the Westfield mill property there is reference to a point near the south end of a bridge that crossed the Volga river. This was where the Lovers' Lane road that comes down to "Vansyckle" mill on the east side of Westfield (and goes north to "Lynch" place, where house recently burned) formerly crossed the river, passing up the hollow there on north side of river, and going out north toward West Union. I feel quite sure that was the only bridge across the Volga here until 1862 when the Fayette Main street bridge was built. The village of Westfield 5 years older than the town of Fayette.

---BLACKSMITHS
Lewis W. Coates, who came to Fayette at age eight, with his parents, on Nov. 23, 1863, writes: John Nobels and John Knight Sr., grandfather of Ed Knight, the hardware man, operated a blacksmith shop in 1863 in a small log building that stood where the Catholic church stands now (Lambert feed mill in 1999, on the north wide of Water street, between Main and Washington).

---HORSES, BARNS AND STABLES

The Dr. Rich reference to Smith brothers and their racing horses opened several points for discussion. Some remember about a Geo. A. Smith who was a horse man, but do not remember a brother. There has been some discussion about his barn, or barns (the brother, Z). There is no doubt but that among other properties in Fayette G.A. Smith owned the "Burkholder" lots on Main street, with a small barn thereon on which lots Rowland now lives and the Standard Oil station stands (in 1938, Amoco in 1999, one the northeastern corner of the second block of Main, Z). This Smith also owned the "Bunnell" lot south of the present Masonic Hall (which is on the southeastern corner of the second block of Main, Z). It is quite possible that the Smiths did not operate a "livery barn" but they had two black trotting stallions averaging 1200 lbs. Each, which they trained and drove in races at the County Fair and other places." "These horses were also used for breeding purposes and the Smiths operated a sales barn. (I) believe the barn was torn down or moved away. This (sales) barn was north of the Robertson Hotel, which stood where Mr. Rathbun built the house now occupied by the McCormaks. There was quite a large barn back of the Robertson Hotel. This last barn may have been used by Mr. Benge.

Smith's Barn: Frank Franciso writes, first I want to say I cannot remember a Smith barn facing west. The first barn he had faced the south opposite the John Ware barn. Then he bought the Pepper barn on Main 'street and operated it until he passed away.
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---HORSE RACING AND RACE TRACKS

No doubt it will be news to some of us who may have forgotten that horse racing was ever a popular local sport. In a letter, Dr. R.G. Rich writes; Having recently been at Churchill Downs---I was reminded of early day racing---in the 1870's in Fayette county, Iowa.

Mr. Hunt Barnes, living at Fayette, had a small circular track upon the hill east of the lime kiln ('the lime kiln was located on the north side hill and road leading down to what we presently call Langerman's Ford, 1999, or at the start of the road known as the Korn Hill road')---on the road leading out to the Whitley and Fussell neighborhood.

The smith Brothers, of Fayette, had a livery barn---located abut where the Fayette opera house or Masonic Hall now is. Mr. Barnes and the Smith Brothers owned and trained several trotting horses and took them, in September each year, to the County Fair at West Union.

The County Fair was always one of the big days at West Union. During the 1870,s the fair grounds were much smaller that at present (1939) and the track was very narrow and only one-third of a mile long. The entrance was at the northwest corner, almost west of where the present grandstand is now located. There was no bridge across Otter creek on south Vine (main) street at that time. The judges' stand and starting point for races was located on the south stretch of the track and would hold only two or three persons. There were no seats for spectators except on an outside fence across the track from the judges' stand. The east end of the track was so sandy that it almost slowed the horses down to about a six minute gait and the west end of the track passed through a narrow cut on a side hill; the hill being covered by trees and brush. This cut was nearly always wet and soft. The track was so narrow in several places that horses hitched to high wheeled sulkies could pass each other only at certain places. Mr. Barnes had quite a famous trotting mare called Mountain Maid---when he first moved to West Union to live and a Mr. Dorland of West Union had a very popular trotting horse by the name of Black Prince. Black Prince was a feature of the County Fair for a number of year.

One of the big attractions of the fair was a race between Black Prince hitched to a sulky and Mr. Abe Winrott on a high wheeled velocipede. If Mr. Winrott did not take a header in the sand or mud and if Mr. Dorland did not drive black Prince too fast we had quite an exciting race. R.G. Rich

I can remember that in the 1890's there was a track on what is lot 6 of block 5 of J.E. Robertson's addition to Fayette, being now the R.R. Fussell land southeast of the old brick "Cornelius" place in which the White family is living. F.S. (Ves) Walker and J.M. (Jim) Edmunds at that time had a race horse hobby and I think they fixed up and used the track there. We found folks, when bicycles were a new type of vehicle (and cost $100) used to go down there to ride and occasionally to race. Will Baker, Earl Ferris and Geo Hoover had fine tandems, and used to favor some of the girls with great rides there, as well as over the town streets and the rough country roads.
J.E. Miller tells me he thinks there was an old race track on this Fussell land before the one fixed up in the 1890's by Walker and Edmunds. He called the spot "Fort Sperry". R.W. Hunt and May Grannis Hoyt have also, in conversations with me, referred to that spot as "Old Fort Sperry." The locations seems to have gotten that name because it was in early days Sperry's land and there was a house on it down close to the railroad. It was the house that really was "Fort Sperry." I can just remember it, east of the west side of the old race track and near the curve in the track north of the old bridge in the railroad grade that was filled in two or three years ago (mid 1930's, Z).
Reuben W. Hunt told me one day, when we were up there, that at one early time there was a race track laid out on his land, south of the high point, which is college hill (old 150 hill up the cemetery area, Z)

(Regarding) PD Gardner and "The Ring": I am now inclined to believe that the old racetrack south of the top of College Hill was the first race track in Fayette county. Walter E. Hunt remembers when it was built, about 1859 or 1860, and he does not remember of any other track around the county at the time. He tells some interesting things about it. It was a half mile track that was first carefully measured and staked out by a surveyor. The land belonged about one-third to S.H. Robertson and two-thirds to J.E. Robertson. W.E. Hunt says: "You wouldn't have thought 'Old Sammy' and 'Old Jimmy' would have had anything to do with horse racing, would you?" Probably they leased the land to P.D. Gardner and others who built the track.

Building the first Race Track: A man by the name of Slaberg (as W.E. Hunt pronounces it) broke up the sod very carefully in narrow furrows. His first name if forgotten but he had two sons, John and Charles. He was a teamster (man who hauls heavy goods by wagon using oxen or horses, often between pioneer villages in the mid 1800's, Z), and he lived in a small house that formerly stood near the foot of college hill, on the east side of the road and south of the street running east. In that house Charlotte (Mrs. Noah) Alexander last lived in Fayette. Slaberg came from over east, "Wadena way," (states W.E.H.). After the sod was broken the ground was dragged to a smoother surface and worked down. Mr. Hunt says they tried to get some boys to keep driving a heard of oxen around on it, but he does not think that was accomplished.
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P.D. Gardner, Hunt says, had a wonderful bay stallion, rather slow to start but with great endurance. Gardner used to run races with him from the Hotel on Main street out on the road and up College hill to the old guide post at the old highway corner south east of where the buildings now are on the Clothier (Herz) farm southeast of the cemetery. Hunt remembers one Gardner race along this course with a smaller bay mare from Independence. At the foot of the hill which was much steeper and more winding (in the 1860's) than now (in the 1930's), and quite stony, the Independence sorrel was ahead. The Gardner horse, they claimed could trot up hill as fast as on the level. On the hard way up the hill it passed the sorrel and won.

Some man from near Wadena brought in a tall gray horse to run with Gardner for a $50 stake. Gardner had no cash to bet so he put up a yoke of oxen against the $50 of the Wadena man. The Wadena man won, took home the oxen leaving Gardner about broke.

From the Fayette County Pioneer, published at West Union, May 14, 1869: P.D. Gardner of Fayette has one of the best horses in this part of the state. He is called "Express", is a grandson of Black Hawk on the sire's side, and of Green Mountain, the 2nd or the Hale horse on the mother's side. He is a beautiful, chestnut horse, unmatched for speed and bottom in Fayette county, if not in Northern Iowa. Aug. 13, 1960: Under this head the Fayette Observer says there will be a race over the course at Fayette, on the 28t, between James Thompson and P.D. Gardner's trotting mare. Thompson to run once around the track while the mare trots twice around, the distance being half a mile. Sept. 3, 1860: The Ring: Last Thursday being the day that the match was to come off between P. D. Gardner's fast trotting mare to trot around the track, which is half a mile, twice while Mr. Thompson ran once around, many of our citizens as well as those around Fayette in other directions, had business at that place on that particular afternoon, and quite a large number of persons congregated there to be disappointed. The trot between the mare and the man did not take place. Mr. Gardner preferring to render up the forfeit of $10. A match was made up between Mr. Thompson and Edwin Harkins, a young man of perhaps 18 years, who is quick of foot, has long wind and sound bottom, but lacks practice in running, and hailed fresh from the grain fields, Mr. Thompson to give Mr. Harkins 3 seconds of time. Mr. Thompson came in ahead 10 seconds, going around the ring in 2:25. A foot race of a hundred yards was run, in which considerable interest was taken and good time made.
A trot of the two best miles in three was next gotten up between a horse owned by Mr. John R. Smith and one of J.J. Welch's (the sheriff) cream colored trotters, for an amount just sufficient to make it interesting, taken by the friends of Mr. Welch and his horse, and not by himself. The cream beat the black two heats in succession, time, 3:20 and 3:15. One gentleman wisely remarked that if any person stole a hoarse it must be a fleet one it he avoids being overtaken by Jack. Now a purse of $12 was raised to be trotted for by the fleetest horses on the ground, to wit' P.D. Gardner's mare, and a little sorrel owned at Independence. The Independence animal won the first two heats, time 3:19.

Apples, melons and other refreshments were on the ground, which sold at reasonable prices. Some jumping and wrestling was done, in which no small amount of strength, activity ad skill was shown by the different young men who participated in those sports. A track like that at Fayette would be an addition to our fair grounds (at West Union), and afford our farmers a chance to compare the speed of their horses. It would also be a good place for the several stallions that it is expected will remain in the county the next year to be exhibited and have their joints supplied. The horses of this county have been very much improved within a few years and we now have some stock of that kind that we need not be ashamed of, but they are susceptible of still further improvement.

Feb. 18, 1861: Sheriff Welsh disposed of his cream colored horses and a cutter for $440. They are very fast travelers and have good bottoms. Thieves can now steal horses with impunity. Jack cannot overtake them.
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---Robert Alexander and a Wild Cat---You may be surprised but a I am going to close this chat about wild cats with a reference to Robert Alexander, one of our community founders. It is well known that Mr. Alexander loved to hunt. His granddaughter, May R. Troy, wrote me this: "I have been told by Aunt Kate Alexander Scobey that grandpa Alexander while out hunting killed a large bob cat and brought it home on his shoulders---a heavy burden which warmed him up considerably, resulting in a severe cold which was the final cause of his death." Mr. Alexander died in November of 1862, and was living in the house in Westfield by the old ford, where the saw mill is now. The burned ruin of the house can still be seen. So the wild cats deserve a page or two in our local history.

---The First Sheep and Hogs---Dear nephew: You seem to think my memories of the Hobsons helped some, so will try again. When the south part of Fayette Co. was new all the oldest settlers were along the edge of the woods. The Henderson, McGees, Whitleys, Fusells, Brooks, Babcocks, Moines, etc., and they were the first to get hog and sheep tight fences. As the grazing was not so good as on the prairie they went in for raising corn and sheep more than horses and cattle. Our folks kept nothing but horses and cattle until the early 1860's when sheep became the fashion.

Poor Quality of Early Sheep---Perhaps in 1862 or '63 they bought 50 sheep of a Mr. Anglemier who lived on an improved farm about one mile northeast of Brush Creek (name changed to Arlington about 1895). Anglemier had purchased a large drove of sheep that where said to be from Ohio I thing. Our folks soon found that there were a good many of what they called "pelter"; that is, old, shedding front teeth, covered with ticks and had the scab (a contagious disease of sheep that affects the skin causing the wool to shed in spots) (mites/z).

Raised Tobacco for Use on Sheep---We planted tobacco in a rich spot in the garden and it did find as it was the one thing the sheep would not eat. They often shied in and cropped the sweet corn, beans and peas. They used the tobacco to make a tea to wet the sheep with just after shearing. Some put it in a vat and dipped them all over in it. I don't remember how my folks did it, but they got rid of the scab. Saving all the lambs and turning off the old ones by using them for mutton when they could get them fat enough and by killing them for the pelts if they lost all their teeth, they finally after three or four years, got down to a flock of 25 or 30 real nice healthy sheep.

Sheep Would Stray Away---Then after a few more years, having tried every other trick the sheep pulled this one: One fine summer day they strayed away. After hunting several days we found them three miles or more from home at the edge of the woods on the old Killerlain farm north of Corn Hill, a mile or so, on the road to Marvin's mill, mixed with another drove of abut the same size. Ours and theirs were all unmarked. The other owners, Eli Thompson's two sons, John and Henry, would not pick theirs so we could only get what we could positively identify. We went the second day to try again and their uncle Morris Thompson happened to be there and he was more liberal and we got within 3 or 4 and called it settled. Those two young men, John and Henry went to school, took law courses, and hung out their sign in Brush Creek.

Country Justice Work---By that time Brother Will Stevenson had become Justice of the Peace and had his office in the north room of mothers' house, called the parlor. He married several couples of his friends and had some law suits. When a German by the name of Went was sued for trespass by one Mr. Chesler who should he get for counsel but John and Henry Thompson. The German's vocabulary of English was very limited and Henry had a lot of trouble to get him to tell his story so that W.B. could be supposed to understand it. After much parley Henry got the German to tell it as he wanted him to, then he said to the Dutchman "I see you do know something after all." The German straightened up and beaming on everybody said "Ya, I knows ebrything, in mine own language."

DeBow a Sheep Expert---Well, this talk don't have much to do with sheep. Mr. Richard DeBow, an expert with sheep, bought 500 and brought them to his farm. Built some nice sheds using straight poles from the woods and good boards for the side. He built his sheds so as to form the west and part of the north side of his feed yard and high board fence for the rest of the feed yard. He put in self feeders and racks for hay. He covered his shed with slough grass (tall, course native wet prairie grass/z) on the north and ran his straw pile against and over the west end. He was justly proud of it. The school boys, and I among them, went there to play noon’s for awhile until the teacher shut down on it. Mr. DeBow cut hay on the commons (unclaimed slough and prairie lands/z) to feed them in winter and herded them on the commons in the summer. But others did the same and his venture was what got us into the sheep business.

Fayette Men Raised Sheep---Several men in and around Fayette did the same as Mr. DeBow, hauling the hay to town to winter them. They used to come out to the north line of your farm to cut hay but they did not stay in the business long. They said sheep did not do well in large droves as our Iowa winters were so long. The sheep could not stand so much confinement. Don't publish any of this until you see C.H. DeBow and his sisters and verify my off-hand talk. It occurred to me that the sheep try-out in Iowa was a greater thing than the pottery business and so thought to call your attention to it. Then nest will some the time when they went to bringing cattle there to hear. Jay M. Stevenson.
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---SHEEP
Parker and Lakin in the Sheep Business---
Dr. J. D. Parker says his father, Dr. C.C. Parker, and J.H. Lakin were among the Fayette men who ventured into the sheep grazing and feeding business when sheep were introduced in a large way into Fayette county. They had large sheds on the Parker place, which is now known as the Fred Hoyt home north of the Fayette bridge and east of the Lima road. There sheep were "dipped" and wintered. And like many of the local folks, who then bought imported sheep extensively, they lost money.

Hiram Sweet a Sheep Dealer---Hiram Sweet is remembered as one of the men who imported many sheep from Wisconsin. By selling to the right farmers or feeders and by collecting efficiently Mr. Sweet is reported to have prospered on his ventures in the sheep business.

Sheep Made Trouble---I have gotten the idea somewhere that the introduction of diseased or aged sheep, and sale of same to local farmers or feeders was the cause of considerable trouble, and even litigation, in early days. There were, I thing, no inspection or quarantine laws then to protect against the importation of diseased stock. Dealers who went out of the state to buy were frequently imposed upon, and perhaps innocently passed their bad luck along to local buyers from them.

Renting Out Sheep---In Iowa in the early 1860's sheep were sometimes leased out for care instead of being sold. One old 1863 contract I have seen referred to provided for putting out 50 sheep for two years on these terms: the owner to get two-thirds of the wool and one-half the increase delivered to him: wool to be washed and delivered to the owner.

"Common" in the Early Days---Younger readers my not know that originally in Iowa cattle, including hogs and sheep, could run at large and property owners had to fence their own crops or land against them. In the 1850's some counties began to adopt laws to restrain the running at large of hogs and sheep locally. It was much later before the running at large of other cattle was generally restrained by law. Unfenced land in early days was referred to as "commons", and horses, cattle, hogs, and sheep ran freely thereon.

---OF BUSINESSES IN FAYETTE

Lewis W. Coates, who came to Fayette at age eight, with his parents, on Nov. 23, 1863, writes about some Fayette business men of 1863. At that time William Derby operated a harness shop south of where the Postoffice is now (in the 1930's the post office was two buildings south of the Bank in 1999,Z). Robert Gaynor operated a butcher shop on the corner where the service station (the DX station in the 1940's-1960's) is south of the city hall (northeast corner of Main and Water streets). I think the building now stands just west of the fox furniture store. Elijah Gregory was operating the Westfield flouring mill at that time---later he had a grocery store just north of where the Bargain store is, I believe (midsection of the west side of the first block of Main street from the Water street corner). Thomas Fowells had a shoe shop on the corner across the street south of the hotel at that time or soon after and "Yankee" White, as we called him, worked there. Scot Waterbury had a drug store on the west side of Main street and his father was postmaster. His father could not speak above a whisper, but regained his speech some years after that.

---FAYETTE HOUSE HOTEL
Lewis W. Coates writes, I was just eight years old when I came to Fayette, November 23, 1863, with my parents. We stayed at the hotel five days. The hotel was operated by a man by the name of Severance. Shortly after that he traded it (the hotel) to "Elder" H.S. Bronson for the farm just west of the Isaac Claxton farm in Center township. My first occupation the first eight years in Iowa was heading a small band of sheep so there was no school for me in the summer time and only a few short months in the winter. We lived some distance in the country and only made occasional visits to Fayette.

An Old Picture of the Fayette House---An old picture of the Fayette House taken by Minnie Humiston when she was a little girl about seven years old,, shows the old street platform where stages, buggies, wagons, and busses stopped to load and unload passengers and baggage. The two cottonwood trees in front and coming up through the platform were small in diameter and not much higher than the hotel. One of the cottonwood group left now in the rear of the lot is five or six feet in diameter (1939) and its lowest great branches are about as high as the hotel roof. What stories this old tree could tell if it could only speak!
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---FAYETTE HOUSE AND CAPTAIN KINGMAN
Dr. Rich writes: Early hotels were "Ports of Entry." Is it possible that sometimes things and people are too near us for us to fully evaluate them? One such could be Captain Kingman, the long time efficient clerk and assistant manager of the Fayette House, in Fayette. Early day hotels were very intriguing to the children of the communities as they were about the only ports of entry from and exits to the outside world. There one contacted the prominent political and social dignitaries as well as the ever present traveling salesmen or drummers, as they were called. The arrival of the stage coach was an event to any man's life, and when it swung up to the hotel platform with its usual flourish, there was always a sizeable audience to welcome the coach, transient travelers and the weekly mail from Chicago. The travelers were usually a more fruitful source of information and news than were the city papers.

Captain Kingman: Among others, I (Dr. Rich, as a youngster) was a frequent spectator at the hotel and was much impressed by the pompous, courtly and friendly way with which the master of ceremonies, Captain Kingman, extended felicitations. I lingered, when possible to hear the Captain, drummers, and other guests match wits with each other to see who could tell the most sensational story or bit of news. After several years of eavesdropping at the hotel I had committed to memory most of Captain Kingman's many stories of the seas, foreign ports and sailing vessels upon which he had help commissions and was frequently tempted to prompt him when he hesitated or changed his version of such tales. His repertoire was full of such works and phrases as, She, spanker, Fore and Aft Mizzenmasts, Yardarm, Jib and Jib boom, Bowsprite, Starboard, Larboard, Reefing Pins and furling sails. Also dropping and weighting anchor. It required considerable time for me to discover that the above terms all pertained to sailing vessels and not to persons.

Many will remember that Captain Kingman was large, rotund, bewhiskered, with fog-horn voice, rolling gait and seemingly "as busy as a cranberry merchant." He occasionally reminded one of a "a tempest in a teapot" but withal harmless. He barked but did not bit. The Captain's personality dominated about everything about the hotel. However, I was also much interested in the couple of dozen spick and span candles and immaculate candlesticks which where always places with military precision at the end of the counter in the office. By patient waiting and close observation I found that these candles when lighted, were used to escort guests up dark stairways and through darker halls to their rooms and were left with the guest as his sole illumination for the night.

The Hotel Register: Another time of interest, upon the office counter, was a large book. On several occasions I observed people, mostly men, writing in the volume. I was too short to see the pages while standing upon the floor but finding the office deserted, one day, I placed a chair in a position where I could stand upon it and part of the mystery was solved. After due deliberation I decided that they might like to have me write my name there also and did. Just as I had finished but was still standing upon the chair, pen in hand, the north office door was opened---yes, you have guessed it all, the person who entered, what he said and did, and I was firmly convinced that the big book was for the use of guests only.

The Captain and Dining room Etiquette: In later years I was frequently a guest at the Fayette House and recall one occasion when Miles Riley of West Union and I were passing through Fayette just at noon on a day when the temperature was well above a hundred degrees. We decided to stop at the Fayette House for dinner. On account of the extreme heat, we rode our horses into Robertson's Woods, where they could rest in the shade, returning to the hotel afoot. After dolling up in the hotel washroom we started for the dining-room where we expected to do full justice to the good dinner which we knew was awaiting us. At the dining-room door, one of those "tempests in a teapot" struck us. Mr. Riley had lift his coat tied to his saddle and said saddle was a long ways from the hotel, also the day was very hot. Captain Kingman stepped in front of Mr. Riley and informed him that he could not enter the dining-room without wearing a coat. This came near precipitating a situation requiring skilled diplomacy. However, the Captain solved the problem himself. In those times nearly all men and women owned and wore linen ulsters (a long loose overcoat, Z) during hot and dusty weather. The Captain had his own ulster hanging on the coat rack, near the dining-room door, and tendered the temporary loan of it to Mr. Riley.

Mr. Riley was young, short and very slender while the Captain was fairly tall and very corpulent (fat, obese, Z). The latter statement reminds me of the very ample, colored woman who was holding up traffic at a narrow door to an old style passenger coach. An old colored man who was anxious to enter the coach, himself, before the train started, called out "Aunty, turn sidewise." Aunty replied, "Laws sakes, Mose, you-all knows I hain't go no sidewise." Neither had Captain Kingman. Mr. Riley submitted to the putting on of the ulster. The sleeves were rolled up to the shoulders of the garment and said shoulders came done to his elbows. The waist line was sufficient to extend around the victim three times. Mr. Riley had to hold up the skirt of the Ulster with both hands to keep from stepping on it. It is needless to say Mr. Riley was very much embarrasses and in consequence his appetite for food had completely vanished. Other guests in the dining-room were about evenly divided in their reactions, between amusement and pity.

An Old Story Teller: In later years Captain Kingman became less active, more subdued and mellowed. He would sit in his big arm chair by the north office window and seem to be living again and thinking of the distant past but could be easily roused from his revere for friendly greetings and be persuaded to retell stories of his experiences upon many ships and seas. To those of us who had known the Captain for years and who had heard him tell the same stories many times, it was considered that his stories were like music, i.e., subject to frequent variations. Upon a number of occasions, after the passing of Captain Kingman, I was permitted to go to sea on various boats and saw spouting whales in the north, flying fish and flamingoes in tropical waters and the large old four masted sailing vessels anchored in Hampton Roads and Charlestown harbors. Many times I wished that Captain Kingman could have been sitting by my side, on deck, where he might have retold the stories of long ago and compared early day sea lore with the more modern conditions and practices. The paramount virtue of Captain Kingman's life was his kindliness. In his passing---may he have found only calm seas, peace and contentment. July 9, 1938, R.G. Rich.

(Kingman) was the Hotel Clerk about twenty years (O.W.S.). From E. N. Humiston, at the Fayette Hotel, I learned that Capt. W.E. Kingman came to Fayette county about 1880, as time keeper for his brother, who was a contractor on building the railroad from Wadena to West Union. After the road reached West Union Kingman clerked a short time in James Lisher's Hotel there. Hiram s. Canfield brought him to Fayette, where he died at the Fayette House and was buried in Grandview Cemetery, Feb. 18, 1901. In the cemetery record, furnished by Secretary R. B. McCormack, (town barber 1920's-50's, Z), it is written that Kingman came from Boston. George Hartman (clothier, west side of first block of Main, late 1800's-1950's, son Curt still owns building in 1999, Z), tells that one evening the old Captain took him up to his room and showed his a box of personal things, among which was an old Boston newspaper announcing the Captain Kingman's ship was in port, with a cargo from the Indians
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---EARLY TRANSPORTATION and MERCHANDISING
Dr. R.G. Rich writes: Before railroad days in Fayette county hauling goods to and from other markets was being done by teams of horses and oxen, mostly between McGregor and various local places in the county. The teamsters were a rough and ready lot of men. With loads, it took two days to drive from West Union to McGregor and the same returning with loads. However, with horses, and empty they drove the 40 miles in 10-14 hours. The oxen required two days, regardless of whether the wagons or sleds carried loads or not.

---FRY'S AND BULL'S HEAD TAVERNS
Dr. R.G. Rich writes: They had two rather notorious stopping places between West Union and McGregor consisting of hotel rooms, feeding barns for teamsters' horses and oxen/ but the main attractions were the "bars" where much drinking and gambling were carried on. One tavern was called Grey's and was located six miles N.E. of Clermont--in heavy timber and the other was called Bull's Head Tavern and was located several miles out of McGregor on the road to West Union. Frequent fights occurred between drunken teamsters at these places--mostly caused by arguments over the gambling tables. Several men lost their lives--one from West Union.

---LITTLE CASH AND MUCH BARTER (with hogs)
The West Union merchants received very little cash for their merchandise---but were paid mostly with whatever of value the consumer had. The most common subjects of exchange were dressed hogs (often hogs were allowed to run farrow or wild in the timber and then rounded up, killed and dresses, Z). The farmer would kill and dress the hogs at home and, in winter, hand them up to freeze before bringing them to town to pay their debts and trade for needed goods. In N.E. Iowa during the 1860's and 1870's there was a lot of snow and much zero and below, weather from the middle of November each year to April first---with an occasional period of warm weather in January. This was known as the "January thaw."

STACKED HOGS IN THE STREETS
The merchants would set the frozen dressed hogs up on their hind legs in the middle of the street in front of their places of business, where they remained until the price of pork--McGregor-- was passable. Frequently there were four feet of snow---on the level---for months at a time. I have seen the streets, surrounding the courthouse square, nearly blocked with the stacks of dressed hogs---which were often covered over by huge drifts of dirty snow. This was especially true of the street on the south side of the square.

Problem of Shipping West
Before the railroad came to West Union it was quite a problem to deliver nursery stock to "out of the county" purchasers. During the winter---A.E. Rich spent considerable time selling nursery stock of spring delivery, in counties west of Fayette, going as far west as Webster City. Of course, the deliveries had to be made by team.'

How Nurseryman Rich Solved Problems
In order to help pay the cost of delivery A.E.R. decided upon a plan which proved satisfactory and often profitable. There was a wagon factory (or shop) operated and owned in West Union by Peck--Wimber and Heiserman. They built lumber wagons and also light spring wagons and very good ones too, at from $37.50 to $60.00 each. The $37.50 wagon had only a single box and no seat or brake. The $60.00 wagon had a double box, two spring seats and a brake. Each spring A.E.R. would buy a big span of draft horses, new farm harness and two new double boxed wagons. Both wagons were loaded with nursery stock and fastened tandem ready for the drive, which required ten days to two weeks. While making the delivery he always managed to sell the team, wagons, and harness--at a good profit and frequently sold other new wagons for future delivery.
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The First Railroads
Then the railroads came. The first completed railroad in Fayette county was the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern passing through Independence, West Union, Elgin, Clermont and Postville. However, there was a railroad grade constructed--in an early day--coming into the county near Wadena, Lima, and then west through or near Sumner and Waverly. The grade did not go from Lima to West Union but turned west from Frog Hollow and crossed the Fayette to West Union wagon road on the side hill just south of the burying ground three miles north of Fayette.

The Abandoned Grade
This Wadena/Frog Hollow grade was very noticeable for many years and can be still found in places. No large bridges were ever built--no ties or rails laid. The farmers around Dunham Grove and west did the grading west from the Fayette and West Union highway but when the grade was abandoned the contractors failed to pay for much of the work done by the farmers. I frequently talked with Messrs. Howard, Dunham, Claxton, Homes, Ashby and others but so long ago that I have forgotten much of the history of this early road that was not completed.

Effect of the B.,C.R.&N.
I saw much of the grading and track laying through the northern part of Fayette count. Rapid progress was made until the hills were reached southeast of West Union. However, slow progress was made through the swamp land just east of West Union, a distance of about a mile. Through this wet strip the grade was made by cutting out square blocks of thick sod, which was loaded in wheel barrows, and wheeled to the grade over planks laid for that purpose. In the grade the squares of sod were placed in much the same way that cakes of ice are in an ice house. When the sod was removed from the low ground the resulting holes were immediately filled with water to within a few inches of the top.

The railroad ties were secured from the heavy timer north and east of West Union. The rails were small and light and not steel--as at present. The completed track resembled the later street car tracks. However, the railroad immediately began to take people and things places.

Ship Fence Posts to Western Iowa
A.E.Rich began extending his nursery sales to western Iowa, and in making deliveries using the railroad. In order to get low rates he always shipped in full carload lots. If the nursery stock did not completely fill the car--he used the extra space for oak fence posts which were delivered at the station in West ;Union for from 3 to 5 cents each. There was a good market for posts in western Iowa at from 15 to 30 cents each.

At present railways seem to be in a bad way. However, they were a wonderful help for many years. R. G. Rich.

---Grub Church---Mr. W.E. (Ed) Donat of Randalia furnishes a sort sketch about the Center Grove Church, commonly called Grub Church. Early Unite Brethren in Christ Church by W.E. Donat, 1942, My early recollections, E.P. Donat’s and William Taylor’s moved from N.E. Indiana to Iowa in the fall of 1857, settling on section 4, Harlan township, my father (Elias P.) settling on the N. E. ¼ of sec. 4, uncle William just west of him. About the year 1862 a school house was built on the N.E. corner of my father’s farm. From the time until 1877, both U.B. and Methodists held meetings there. The U.B.’s held some meetings at a school house 3 miles N.W. Some of the early U.B. preachers were M.S. Drury and son, Marion, of Castalia. They were later connected with Western college at Toleado, Iowa. Other preachers at the Donat school house were D. Wenreich, Israel Shaffer, a colored man by the name of Brown also preached there a while. For a few years before the Center Grove Church was built meetings were held in the old stone school house at the corner where Westfield, Smithfield, Center and Harlan Townships meet. Some of the ministers there were R. Laughlin,

R. D. McCormick, A.C. Zabriske, John Walters, Enock Fothergill, also one of the older ministers, M.M. Taylor.

Some of the families belonging to the church while in the Donat school house were William Miner, Spencer, Hotchkiss, E.P. Donat. While having services at Stone School House so many more joined that we had a good attendance. So the spring of 1880h they concluded to build a church and finally decided on the location where the Center Grove Cemetery is now located. Father dying very suddenly on the 19th of June, 1880 between 12 and 1 a.m. with some kind of heart failure, having plowed corn on Friday, the day before. The members of the church with considerable help from the outside, put up the church. Corner stone laid July 14, Church dedicated Nov. 14, 1880 g, by Rev. T.D. Adams of Toledo.

Some church trustees in 1880 were Wm. Miner and Martin DeJams. Warren Hotchkiss was the first Sunday school Superintendent. The writer served as S.S. Supt. For several years and there were others for shorter periods of time. Other trustees were: Ruliey Knight, Henry Burlingame, W. E. Donat, Dow Conrad, John Waterpaugh. Other preachers were Perley Jennison, George Vance, Mrs. Neudigate, J. B. Sullivan and Richard Swain. Some of the families whose members attended were: Josiah Davis, Sr., Riley Knight, Henry Burlingame, D.B. Cannell, Wm. Miner, W.E. Donat, Martin Hummell, Vern Dye, Spencer Hotchkiss, Peter Capro and George Watenpaugh.

The night of June 22, 1908, the church was struck by lighting and burned. The 16th of Sept., starting to rebuild Center Grove church. Church dedicated Jan. 31, 1909, by Elder or Supt. Patterson. January 14, 1931, selling the Center Grove Church to Solon Hanchett. He wrecked it for a barn. Thus ended the U.B. Church services in this vicinity.
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---FISHERMAN AND THE VOLGA
We all know Justin Miller is quite a fisherman, and this time of the year his mind is likely to run strong that way. One thing about the old mill lake, and the repair of the race dam by Holmes, which he has told me, concerned fish. When the dam went out the mill race bottom, he says, was left covered with a great number of fine bass and other fish, and that many town folks went up there and helped themselves. Who have been the leading fishermen at Fayette throughout its history?

John J. Orvis, nominates Dr. Jerry M. Dorman and his fishing partner, Ed C. Howe, as the best fishermen and top notch sportsmen. From them I gathered the idea that a real angler never took a small fish--never speared or illegally fished in or out of season. John Noble was a skillful and consistent bass fisherman--in fact his son, George, was "whang" at it. Al Burch was good. Al was son of Ben. Burch, "Young Ed" Howe, Frank Cragin, "Cora" (Jerome) Seeley, Milt Childs, Frank Hayward were considered good bass fishermen. The common fault was to see who could catch the most rather than who would bring in the largest. Most of them have passed on but I visualize each one in action on the river. There certainly were none more active in preserving the future catch than Ed. Howe, Sr, and Doc. Jerry Dorman. If there were more anglers using their code of angling ethics, streams would never lack good sport.

John H. Budd writes regarding "Blitzy" Rodgers: Your group of skilled fishermen, whether for largest number, largest fish, or just a "mess" would be incomplete without the name of one small boy, "Blitzy" (Walter) Rodgers, son of Ben, a blacksmith operating in the stone building later occupied for many years by the Iowa Postal Card. Fishing was a vocation with John Noble, but "Blitzy" could outcatch hem on any basis. Rising early, with worms and grasshoppers he was in the stream, took his fish, carried them home, then appeared late at school, barefooted, hatless, soiled, and with a wonderful smile gave his teacher a handful of wild flowers which he "had gone expressly to find for her." I wonder now if Doc. Dorman, Ed Howe and the others used any such "psychology" when delayed on their return from a fishing trip.

Did Robert Shaffer Catch the Largest Bass? Robert Shaffer, a son of David Shaffer, is visiting his sister Tracia (Mrs. Chas.) Ash in Fayette. He left Fayette in 1879, when nineteen years of age, and now lives at Marshalltown, Iowa. With other reminiscences he tells of his catching what is claimed to be the largest black bass every caught here in the Volga river. One October morning 66-68 years ago (1860), after a heavy frost he and a boy friend, Frank Doolittle, whose father ran the hardware store in what is now the Graf building, wanted to go fishing. Ed Howe, who was then an expert on fishing told them there was no use going then, for the fish would not bite. But the boys went over the hill west of town (there was no rock cut then) to the head of the old Westfield mill dam, near Plum Island. They caught a few small fish and then Shaffer landed a great big black bass. They rushed to town and to the store. Mr. Doolittle threw the fish on the scales and it weighted 7 1/4 pounds. He declared, "Bobby that is the biggest bass I ever saw," and he called Ed Howe down stairs to see it. Ed Howe and Mr. D. then wanted to go fishing. They and the boys went over to (mill) pond that evening but not a bass would bite. All they could get was a bucket full of bullheads out of the old lily pond back of Plum Island. Robert says his brother, "Link", or L.D. Shaffer, who was a good fisherman, just a year or two before his death was talking about this fish and he declared that it was the biggest fish that had ever been caught here. What do some of our other fishermen think about it?

---FLOWERS
While we were admiring the "Paine Girls' " flowers we were shown two roses of very old stock, and told of another of interest. Miss Amy Paine then furnished us the following as a contribution toward history of Fayette flowers.

It is June again and "Rose Time." What do you know abut the roses of Fayette? Did you know that Iowa's oldest rose, that is, the rose that has remained in the same place the longest time, is the white rose on the gave of Mrs. Samantha Kent, in the Grand View Cemetery? It was planted there my Mrs. J.L. Paine, and Mrs. H.B. Hoyt in 1862. Its history was printed in the Iowa Rose Bulletin in January, 1930, and its seniority was not questioned.

Another rose whose stock dates back still earlier is a pink rose that was in Cortez Paine's nursery in the late 1850's. Cortez Paine had a nursery, probably the first in this section (of the state,Z), on the property afterward owned by Miss Mayme Thomas. It is the place now owned by Mr. Crain. The pink rose was moved from the nursery to what is now the Margaret Paine garden. It was later moved to the farm and later back to town. Another rose, a dark red, "George the Fourth" is also in Miss Pain's garden. Its stock dates back to the 1860's but it has been moved several times.

---THE VOLGA
Walter E. Hunt told a group of men one evening last year (1937) that in early days there was much more water here in the Volga River and in it were many fine fish. He said that the banks were generally grassy with big trees of the woods growing right up to the water's edges. I wonder if during high water it carried anywhere nearly so much dirt, sand and gravel as now, and if the nature of the river bed shifted about like it has in recent years. Were the floods so high?
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F. 1865 – 1869

---DOCTORS, HEALTH, MEDICINE
Lewis W. Coates, who came to Fayette at age eight, with his parents, on Nov. 23, 1863, writes: I well remember Dr. Aldrich. He brought me through the worst epidemic of typhoid fever that ever hit that part of Iowa--it was in the winter of 1865-1866. Some time after he sold his practice to Dr. McLean. He died about 1910 in Denver, Co. at the age of 90 years

Buffalo and Elk---On Friday, Oct. 12th, 1838, "several sporting fellows" from Bellevue and the mines (Dubuque vicinity) went to hunt elk and buffalo at the head of the Maquoketa and Turkey rivers. That was about ten years before the Indians were removed from this territory, and abut two years before Franklin Wilcox built the first permanent residence in this county near where Fayette is now located. I got this from old newspaper items mentioned in "The Palimpsest" for October, 1938.

Lynx Were Plentiful---A news item in the West Union Gazette for February 27, 1869, stated that five lynx had been killed near Auburn within a few days. Evidently fur bearing animals had become plentiful for the editor said "a railroad is needed to carry off the pelts." William Pettit, one of our leading local old time trappers, still here, told me once that he never caught a lynx, but he heard of one being caught, in his trapping days, by some one else.

Our Oldest Fish Story---An account of a big fish that did not get away, which I saw in Mr. Sperry’s letter to the West Union Gazette for January 1st, 1868, may be the oldest recorded big fish story for Fayette county. Milton C. Sperry, father of Mrs. John (Jennie) james, was the president of our first county historical society, organized at the Fayette Hotel, in 1868. From his article published I took the following notes, and quotations:

Wild Cats Along the Volga---About two years ago I asked in this column if there were ever wild cats along the Volga, and if so what anybody could tell us about them. I had lived most of my life in the county and did not remember having ever read or heard of them, until about hat time I saw a reference to the subject by Mr. Fred Smale of West Union. I learn that there were wild cats here in early days. Two spots near Fayette were once known as "Wild Cat Dens". One was on the old Marvin Mill farm, now owned by C.R. Fleenor, on which Frank Holtzman lives, in east part of Section 22 of Westfield. The other was at Orr’s Bluff, in west part of the same Section, at southeast corner of farm now owned by Mr. Charley Clark.

Walter Eugene Hunt Remembers Wildcats---Walter e. Hunt says that in very early times his father caught several. One escaped with a trap, after being caught in it, to be shot by two hunters. When he was thirteen years old (1864), Walter caught one in a trap and for a couple of hours tried in vain to coax his younger brother, Washington, to take it out. The boys finally shot the animal. To get cats alive out of traps the hunters put a gag in the mouth and tied the fore feet, which was not an easy thing to do.

Walker Caught a Big Wildcat---Walter Hunt remembers that in the spring of 1865 D.J.M. Walker caught a wild cat, weighing twenty-seven pounds, as big (tall,z) as a shepherd dog. The usual weight was twelve or fourteen pounds. He thinks there was a $3.00 bounty on the animals and that there was some value in the skins on the market.
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---HOP YARDS
Miss Elisie Sith, the abstractor at the West Union Court House, handed me a memorandum of something unusual she found recently in the county records. It is the record of a lease made July 15, 1867, by Minerva and William Hawley to Denison D. Palmer and Henry Childs for the three years 1867, 1869 and 1870 of "a certain hop yard containing about 800 hills on the place now owned by Minerva Hawley, situated on the corner of the NE 1/4 of the SW 1/4 of Sec. 23, twp.92, N, R 7 West, 18 rods to twentyfore, longest north and south." Total consideration for the lease was $37. This land is one-fourth mile east of old Taylosrville, three miles northeast of Arlington.

Local folks supply some information on the Hop Yards---Walter Eugene and Amanda K. Thompson Hunt, Susan King, G.O. Stone, Dr. R.G. Rich, Floyd Coleman, Charles Pooler, Henry Hettler and John Morf have all contributed some information on the Hop Yards in Fayette county. Evidently the hop growing business was established in Fayette county late in the 1860's and lasted only a few years. Early in the 1890's, I believe an occasional hop vine could be found in a back yard at Fayette, but there was no hop growing industry. The early establishment of several small breweries in the county may have promoted and sustained the industry for awhile. At first the business was quite profitable but competition soon cut the prices down so that the growers here quit. There was, and still may be, (1939), a wild hop growing along the rivers. Hop yards were generally from five to ten acres in area and near towns.

Two Hop Yards at Fayette---Walter Eugene Hunt remembers about two hop yards at Fayette. One was the tract of land that now lies between the railroad and the bluff south of town and west of the road up College Hill. This was one of the first tracts of ground around Fayette to be fenced in for farming purposes. A Mr. Everett is remembered as operating that hop yard and there may have been two or three others associated with him in the enterprise whose names are not now remembered. We do not know where the hop house for the yard was located.

On the north side of Water Street, out toward Westfield, in the field now owned by Charles Pooler at the southeast corner of which the state now has its road machinery station, there was a field of several acres in hops for a few years. A Mr. Schneider ran this yard and lived in the house into which Mr. Wells recently moved, known to "old timers" as the "Burget House". He had his hop house (according to Walter Hunt) on the lot where Mrs. Charles Hoyt now lives, that whole block being otherwise vacant at that time. Mr. Pooler says there was a hop house along the fence north of where the road machinery building is now, and that for years he picked up and removed stone from that place.
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Hop Yard at Arlington---It is not remembered that there were any other yards around Fayette, in town, or in the country. Mrs. Walter Hunt (Amanda Katura Thompson) originally from Brush Creek (Arlington) says that a Mr. Walrath had a yard near Arlington.

Hop Yard at West Union---Floyd Coleman says his grandfather, David Thompson, had a hop yard on what was later the Wm. Dullard farm about three miles north of what is now Echo Park. He remembers the old hop house and big pile of ironwood and hickory poles still on the farm when he was a very small boy. Floyd says his mother, Fanny Thompson Coleman, would never buy powdered tea because she always feared that in getting in it the dust, dirt, and worms might have been swept up and put into the box as was sometimes done at hop yards with hops. Dr. Rich locates a yard of five or ten acres in West Union on the west side of north Vine street. What he writes about that hop yard agrees very well with what Mr. Walter Hunt, Mrs. King and others tell of other yards, and I will quote from his letter: "The vines were planted in rows about ten feet apart and nearly the same distance in the row. The vines grew on poles from ten to fifteen feet high. At harvesting time many wooden boxes about 36 inches high and 40 inches wide and ten feet long were placed conveniently for the pickers. They were usually assigned by families, one family to each box, often 20 or 30 families or groups, working at the same time." "The supervisors of pickers would cut off a vine at the ground, two men would pull up the pole with the vine and lay it on two posts across and above the boxes lengthwise of the box so that the hops could be picked from either or both sides. As soon as the vine was picked clean the attendants would bring another pole and vine, removing the one just finished. Each night the hops in the boxes were weighed and the pickers paid by the pound." "The field has always been call 'Hop Yard Hill' even after it was completely covered with some of West Union's best houses." "Another similar hop yard was operated southeast of West Union just west of the present park and dam on Otter Creek. It was owned by a Mr. Seth Gurdy." "I presume the hops were used in making 'hop yeast' and possibly beer. I do not remember the sale price per pound."

Hop Yard at Eden---On account perhaps of nearness to a brewery at Auburn the hop growing business seems to have been followed more extensively near Eden than elsewhere in the county, so far as reported to me. Mr. G.O. Stone picked for a Mr. Alton who in abut 1877 was the last of the growers there. Other growers he remembers now were Mr. Hathaway, George Leslie, and Jacob Burnside. There probably were growers at Clermont and other points I the county. At Eden Mr. Stone says dances were held evenings, during picking seasons and "big times were held there." Fields were cultivated by old time one horse plows and hoes.

Hops Picking in Fayette Remembered---Mrs. King says she laughed when she read my inquiry about hops. She had forgotten that she picked hops at Seth Gurdy's yard in about 1873, and a whole flood of pleasant memories came back to her. At one picking box she and her sister, now Mrs. Geo. Conkey, had one of the four sections; two Bishop girls, Martha and Adelaide, and a second section; Emma South, who married John Smart, had a third section, and she forgets who had the fourth box. Each box held seven bushels (by cubic measure) and the girls were paid seven cents per bushel. The King girls earned from seventy-five cents to one dollar per day each, for which they walked barefoot about two and one half miles to work, and carried lunches of bread and butter, onion, and a piece of cake, or a dish of sauce. "Tommie" Cox cut the vines and brought the hop laden poles to lay down on the boxes for the girls to work on. The girls (and also Mr. Gurdy) used to laughingly warn Tom to be very careful in laying a full pole down so as not to shake off the heavy hops into the boxes and by so packing them down increase the work of girls in filling a seven bushel box. Occasionally the girls found big green worms, as large as a finger, on the hops, and Mrs. King still remembers those as the unpleasant experiences of her two years picking hops. They did not get sore hands but their backs got tired leaning over the boxes to pick. There were dances during picking season at some of the nearby homes for those who were "old enough" and cared to go. At the Gurdy yard most of the picking was done by women and girls and the pickers had a good time working and eating lunches together during the picking season of about two weeks before the first frost in the fall. Frost ruined the hops. The picked crop was taken to the rough she-like "hop houses" with slat loft floors and ventilators, and with stoves, where the crop was dried, then baled and shipped. Neighbor women used to come to the yard to get a few hops to make yeast for home use.

Hop Yards Were Beautiful---These hop yards must have been beautiful things to see. The vines during summer grew from the old root to cover the tall poles, branching out and twining about the poles to make a big green mass. And it remained green until the harvest before the first fall frost. Henry Hettler and John Morf report that in some of the valleys in Washington or Oregon, hop growing is still quite a business. I believe insect pests and imported and diseased roots helped put an end to the business around Fayette County. It was for a while a farmer's "get rich quick" scheme, but the growers soon turned to corn for their field crops.
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---GOOSEBERRY ISLAND
Clark Older sends word that Gooseberry Island was the name for a place below Grant Dean's present farm, some place where Jule Dennis used to live. I never heard of that place. Miss Mary Jones says gooseberry Island was south of Butment Bridge between the Volga and the creek running into it at the bridge from the southeast. That is the place I knew by such name. Miss Jones does not remember of Klock's Island ever being called Gooseberry Island. Does anyone so remember?

---HOBSON'S GROVE
(Later to be called The Parson's Grove)

Mrs. Martha Chittenden Knight from Simms, Montana wrote and recalled the year after year use of the ground for Sunday School picnics and believed the first harvest Home picnics were held there. On the platform used to gather beautiful singers, Henry Grannis, Erwin Comstock, many fine talkers, ministers and old settlers. They were all so proudly seated and to my childish eyes they looked grand--an event joyously looked forward to, and something always to be remembered.

Mrs. Kittie Holmes Banning, who lived as a girl in that neighborhood, says the Congregational Sunday school had picnics in Hobson's Grove, and that there was once a very fine, smooth croquet ground with boarded up sides at the east end of the grove. She thinks the croquet ground may have been put in by Fussells.

Roy R. Fussell says he also remembers playing croquet there. Just who built and equipped the croquet ground he does not remember. It may have been his father, Martin H. Fussell, who lived about three years in the house across the street, or it may have been Roy's grandfather, David E. Fussell, to whom martin sold the house. Fussells had a cow pasture of about six acres north of the grove.

Lewis W. Coates, who came to Fayette at age eight, with his parents, on Nov. 23, 1963, writes: In regard to the fourth of July celebration in Hobson's grove in 1867. I and my brother walked to Fayette, four miles. The procession formed on Main street, headed by the Flag, marshal and band. Albert Hulbert, one of the drummers. He lived west of the old stone school house that used to stand southwest of Fayette. The next year Fayette had a brass band of thirty one. Carley Childs was one of them. George Bar---?, Henry Harrison, Warren Emmons, Henry Boyce. H.J. Mott had a son that was in the band. Mr. Mott kept a restaurant near where Mr. McCormack's barber shop is now (in 1938, that was in the middle of the west side of the first block of Main going south from Water street).

Jean Orvis Allen wrote that, "We went to Fayette in the spring of 1870 and I remember the UIU Commencement Day exercises were held in the grove. Mr. Frank Robertson and sister, Amanda, son
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---RAIL FENCES
Chauncy Smith was one of the early settlers in Westfield township. It was Smith who had charge of the blasting work when the Rock Cut was put through at the depot. He also did the actual work of blasting and excavating part way through the "backbone" on the Volga river above Big Rock for what was known as the "Waterbury Tunnel" project. His daughters tell that Chauncey Smith, who evidently was the best powder blaster around here in an early day, was also a great rail splitter. He would go out and make 25 rails before breakfast. In 1867 he worked splitting rails all winter for $25, and boarded himself, eating mostly "Johnny Cake." He could make 300 rails per day. The Smith daughters remember that in 1871 Winslow Stearns sold 400 rails for $12. Can anybody tell us when the first wire fences wee built around here?

---ROBERTSON GIRLS' DIARY
The following are lead pencil entries on the unpainted side of a two-board wide closet door for an upstairs bedroom in the "James E. Robertson House" at Fayette, now owned by the Ladies' Professorship Association. The entries evidently were written by different Robertson girls. The door is to be preserved in the College Museum(?). Note: Items in parentheses followed by a Z, is information handwritten on an original Fayette Leader saved by my great-grandparents, Amanda Thompson and Walter E. Hunt. Following the Diary is a more extensive interpretation of some items by the Budd's.

Jan22,1868, Election Exhibition at West Union, also at Fayette on the 24th.

Feb4,1868, Leap year sleigh ride.

Feb15,1968, Skating Party.

Feb28, 1868, Zethegathian Oyster Supper.

Mar11, 1868, Aonia Festival.

Apr10,1868, Minnie Shaw Concert.
May23,1868, May Party at Mr. Webbs.

May30, 1868, Ride with Rev. Burgess.

June25,1868, Base Ball club

Aug6,1868,Went to Independence with WB,MB, and FEB.

Sept19, 1868, Auntie and cousins came.

Oct3, 1968, All went to "The Big Rocks".

Oct13,1868, "Leap Year Picnic" at "the Big Rocks."
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Oct15, 1868,Flag at West Union.

Nov27, 1868, Wedding party, Comstock.

Dec11,1868,Store burned, Sleigh ride party.

Jan1, 1869, new Years party at Mr. Webbs.

Jan11, 1869, Went down to Elkader, McGregor and Iona.

Jan29, 1869, Party at Mr. Ashbaughs.

Feb17, 1869, Good Templars Festival.

Feb19, 1869, Party at C.C. Coles.

Feb24,1869, Kisses from Burgess.

May13, 1869, Lew Newcomb marries.
May20,1869, Hank Harrison married.

July2, 1869, Went to West Union with H.?? (Sperry,Z), Miss Homes and WFB (William Boyce,Z)

July21,1869, Jerusha Cole married. (K.McGee,Z)

July30,1869, Went up to Mis Crowels (?).

Sept7, 1869, All went up to Aunt Hannahs (Chamberlain, Z)

Oct12, 1869, Runa (?) and Mattie were married.

Oct19, 1869, Julia (Robertson, Z) and Wilbur (Boyce, Z) were married.

Dec8, 1869, Mell (?0 and Cy (?) Brooks (?) were married.

Dec30,1869, Bub (?) and Isa (?) were married.

Jan22, 1870, Oyster Supper at West Union.

Feb2, 1870, Oyster Supper at Mr. Bronson's.

Feb11,1870, Oyster Supper at Commercial Hall.
Mar18, 1870, Went to West Union to Mr. Rogersons.

Apr19, 1870, Jim (Sakin, Z) and Sallie (Thompson, Z)were married.

May2, 1870, Blanche and Allen were married. (Mott, Z)
Where we went (Z)

June21, 1870, Jennie Cole and McGee were married.

June23, 1870, Commencement day.

July4, 1870, Old Maids Picnic at the rocks.

July6, 1870, Bro. Miller was married.

July6, 1870, Camp Meeting at Hazleton.

Nov2, 1870, Ministerial Association.
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Nov24, 1870, Charley (Wright, Z) and Carrie (Web, ?Z) were married.

Feb2, 1871, Hurd and Nett were married. (Bronson, Z)

Mar30, 1871, Frank Robertson was married.

Apr5, 1871, party at Lucretia Parsons

May10, 1871, Melville and Eva were married.

July5, 1871, We young folks went to the rocks.

Sep25, 1871, Flit (?) started for Farley.

Oct24, 1871, flit went to Dubuque.

Dec15, 1871, Flit left Farley for Fayette, stopped at (?).

Dec27, 1871, Flit arrived at Fayette.

Dec28, 1871, flit went to Aonia Festival.

Dec28, 1871, Donation at Fayette House.

1872, Netty (?) Barnard married to Will Smith.

1876, Sade Scobey and Mr. Dunkan.

1876, Miss Rasly and Muffet (?)

1876, May white and (?) Web (Luther L. Weeb) Tressa Vanorsdell.

1876, Miss Rasly and Muffet (?)

A tiger is freed.

Mar18, 1876, A sleigh riding with Aunt Emines (?) Folks.

Nov16, 1880, Nellie (Fussell,Z) and Horton (Wait?,Z)were married.

Dec2, 1880, Blance and Tompson were married.

Dec12, 1880, May Peebles married.

Eva Sallies (?) Party.

Jan29, 1881, Mrs. Whitney died.

Feb2, 1881, Pret. Brown married.

Feb18, 1881, Lawrance was married.

July10, 1881, Ed Burch was married.

July19, 1881, John Winston and Mary married.

July21, 1881, Lovilla Anderson married.
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July28, 1881, Mr. Wylie and Ophelia were married.

Sept26, 1881, E. Went to Marion.

Oct26, 1881, Bro. Peebles and Minta Johnson married.

May19, 1882, Mother went to Marion.

May24, 1882, Sidney and Carrie married.

May2, 1883, Joseph Cook's lecture.

May3, 1883, Porter and Walker married.

May5, 1883, Scobey and Kate got home from Ind.

Aug25, 1883, Mother and Maty started to Indiana.
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---INTERPRETATIONS OF ROBERTSON DOOR RECORD
By John H. and Marguerite Budd

Items May 30, 1868, Feb. 24, 1869, Nov. 24, 1870, all doubtless refer to Carrie Robertson, and Charles Burgess, whose children wee James M., May, who married J. Titus Wilson, Chloe, and I believe one other daughter.

Nov. 27, 1868: Rather significant, perhaps, in that Eva Robertson became the wife of Vanorsdell (see item May 10, 1871) and a good many years later, Eva daughter, Tressa, (see item 4th line 1876) who died not long after her mother's marriage to Comstock.

August 6, 1868: Initials given here might refer to Wilbur Boyce, his sister, Matte Bryce (Mrs. Gel. P. Scobey), but the F.E.B. cannot be imagined right now.

May 20, 1869: Henry Harrison, a carpenter, was commonly known as "Hank" and married a sister of Peieg, Charlie and John Jones. They had two sons, Fred, called "Chuffy" he was so fat, and a younger boy. Resided east of the campus prior to moving to Kansas or Nebraska. Believe they lived on a farm on West Union road prior to residence in town.--maybe once the Dennison property, or years earlier the Mott place--there or in that immediate vicinity.

Oct. 12, 1869: Runa Gibbs married Miss Rawson, a sister of Walter Rawson who had a farm and saw mill in the direction of Wadena. Their son was Myron. Gibbs was a Fayette merchant on his own account, and at one time associated with Robert Gaynor, the father of George Gaynor, if I recall correctly.

Oct. 19, 1869: Would refer to Julia Robertson and Wilbur F. Boyce.

June 21, 1870: Magee would be Cal, long a Methodist minister: family moved to Fayette to educate the boys, maybe around 1895. Think Cal, was with the David B. Henderson crowd leaving UIU for service in 1861 or little later.

July 6, 1870: "Brother" Miller may have been the man my people called "Doctor" miller who had a second wife. Dr. Miller was the father of Mrs. J.W. McLean. Through memory or records Mrs. McLean might verify this item.

May 2, 1870: Probably refers to Blanche Mott and Will Allen.

Feb 2, 1870: Henry E. Hurd and Nettie Brunson.

March 30, 1871: Frank Robertson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Robertson, and a cousin of the James Robertson girls.
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Second Line, 1872: Nettie Barnard was a daughter of the Royal Barnards, whose home was one or two doors from the old Charles Lyons home, and the Will Smith to whom she was married was S.G. Smith, very prominent minister for years in St. Paul.

1876: Sade Scobey and Mr. Dunkan refers to Sarah B. Scobey who married Alexander J. Duncan. Their daughters are Irene Duncan Tingle and Alexandra Duncan, both in Chicago.

Miss Rasley and Muffet. I have no remembrance of any Miss Rasly. In my earliest school experience there was an Evan Raesli, whose mother had married a second time, one Litchenstein, who had a grocery or maybe general merchandise, two or three doors north of John Dorman's present location. Emery and Oviatt operated there later, and still later Philo R. Woods in same location. Whether this has any connection with the "Rasly" on the door I do not Know. Minnie Canfield Humiston might tell you something of this, as Evan Raesli visited the Canfields from the Dakotas around 1890.

Dec 2, 1880: Doubtless refers to Blanche Barnard, the other daughter of the Royal Barnards.

Nov 16, 1880: Nellie Waite and Horton Fussell are the persons referred to here.

Dec 12, 1880: May Peebles (sister of Will and George) married Mr. Ensign. Her home for a time was in Long Beach, Calif., with Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Platt (a son of J.E. Platt) who had the M. E. Church in Fayette many years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting her there over a year ago, and I understand she has recently passed away.

Jan 29, 1881: May refer to Mrs. P. B. Whitney, mother of Grant Whitney, their home being just north of the Thomas Fowells property, and close neighbors to the Robertsons. On the occasion of the death of Grant Whitney's mother, I was with a group of boys playing in the Rogers blacksmith shop when Robt. Latimer came to take Grant home, and announced to him his mother's death.

Feb 2, 1881: "Pret" was the son of the Col. Aaron Browns, residing on a farm only a few miles on the way to Maynard.

Feb 16, 1881: Suspect that Lawrance means Lawrance Hulbert, cousin of Robertson girls. Mrs. Chauncey Hulbert and the 2d Mrs. Z.C. Scobey were sisters of the wives of James and Samuel Robertson, I believe.

July 10, 1881: Ed. Burch. Mary B. Jones should be able to give you information on this, as on many other things.

John Winston and Mary Hoyt (sister of Wm. A. Hoyt).

July 21, 1881: Lovilla Anderson. She was living in Oelwein only a few years ago. Maiden name was Winston, sister of John, and I believe she first married one John Anderson, a student at UIU; son Charles E. Lives in the southwest, perhaps New Mexico; daughter Mary resided a few years ago in Long Beach, Calif. Presumably this refers to her second marriage.
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July 28, 1881: Ophelia Fussel and Charles Wylie married.

Oct 26, 1881: Rev. Robt. W. Peebles, father of W.W., May and George, was married a second time, and probably this refers to R.W. Peebles.

Aug 25, 1883: Maty Robetson was the youngest or second from youngest daughter of the James Robertson's. Died perhaps around 1887.

May 3, 1883: Matthew Porter and Marietta Walker. Parents of Roy and other children. She a sister of Jerome Walker.

May 5, 1883: Z.D. Scobye, father of George, John, Charlie, Sarah B. Duncan, was twice married, and the second wife was familiarly known as Kate or Aunt Kate.

April 5, 1871: Lucretia Parsons was a teacher in Fayette schools. Family lived opposite the old school property in a place long occupied by the Van Sycles.

July 21, 1869: C.C. Cole, relative of Verne's father, possibly cousin, and believe brother of Martin e. Cole, many years a Chicago resident. C.C. Cole's daughter married McCausland. Jennie Cole who married Cal. McGee, was another daughter. They went to Sibley, Iowa, or vicinity, many years ago.

Dec 8, 1869: Mell (full name likely Melissa) Webb and Cy Brooks. Also resided in Sibley, Iowa, or that part of the state.

April 19, 1870: Im and Sallie presumably refers to James Lain and Sallie Thompson. Make inquiry of Dr. J.D. Parker on this, as they were relatives.

May 2, 1870: Will W. Allen was an attorney in Nebraska; got into U.S. senate or congress, and was credited with having make one of the longest winded speeches on record up to his time.
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---STEAMBOAT TRANSPORTATION
In 1865, grandmother Stranahan went from Fayette county, Iowa, to visit her (Cockerell) parents near St. Charles, in St. Charles county, Missouri, just northwest of St. Louis (on the Missouri River, it was a kick off point for almost all movement west from the 1820's-1830's, Z). The trip evidently was made by boat from McGregor. During the trip back to Iowa she wrote a letter to her husband, Lorin, which we print, hoping that it may encourage others to bring forth old letters that show conditions of pioneer life here (Fayette county).

Slow Boat on the Mississippi: "On board the Geneva near LaGrange, Mo, Nov. 11, 1865: My dear husband: I write you a few lines today so you may not get (worried?) about me. I started home Nov. 6th and waited at Cap an Gris til the morning of the 10th before I got on a boat. The captain says it will be 5 days if we have good luck before they get to Dubuque. Oh dear, you do not know how lonely it is on the boat but there is only three lady passengers and the old boat is such a slow boat. She has five barges taking them up the river so they do not make more than four miles an hour, she will not get up any further than Dubuque. I have three barrels of apples on board I shall have them put on one of the ----? And taken to McGregor. I did not think of taking the cars at Dubuque but will go to McGregor if I can get there. I received your kind letter a few days before I started. You cannot imagine the pleasure it gave me to hear from my loved ones how I wish I was with you and my loved ones today. You need not think I will go without you and the little ones very soon there is very little pleasure in going visiting all alone. There is none of my friends coming home with me I hope to get to McGregor about the 16th. If you have threshed your grain you can be drawing it to the river and if I am not there you can leave word with Mr. Flanders what I had best to do but I must stop writing now I am afraid you cannot read what I have written the boat shakes so. Sarah Stranahan."

Faster Travel Now (1930's): When grandmothers' son, Warren goes now from Fayette to Hurdland, Missouri, to visit his daughter, Bessie, he easily spins over the distance in one day, with his auto.


 

G. 1870 – 1874
--THE BUTMENT BRIDGE
How did the railroad bridge west of "The Rock Cut" happen to be called "The Butment Bridge?" All bridges of that size have butments.

Miss Mary Jones agrees with what James Shoemaker and somebody else has told me. They say that when the railroad came to Fayette the cut was dug out and roadbed graded to the river where great stone bridge butments were laid. No bridge was built, however, until several years later when the railroad was extended northwest to Calmar. During these years the Fayette folks took walking trips up to "The Butment's" as those stone bridge foundations were named. When the bridge was built it naturally took the name of "Butment Bridge." The original bridge was an interesting great high wooden structure, as I now remember it, much more imposing than the present low steel structure.

---CANADA
The area north of the Volga River Bridge was called Canada. Marvin's place and mill were in Canada, along with the Hoyt place. (Z).

---Hunting and Fishing
Sept. 14, 1939---the occasional rifle crack of the squirrel hunter in the thinning woods along our Volga river, the sight of occasional fish poles on the street, or sides of autos, and a remark occasionally heard about the approaching open season for pheasants, remind us of fish and wild game. A true old-time story of hunting and fishing may interest somebody.

L.K. Fox Found Old Article---Lawrence K. Fox, whose mother, Lottie Gillespie, once lived at Corn Hill, and who himself was once a student at UIU is now secretary of the South Dakota Historical Society at Pierre. A year ago Mr. Fox sent me a copy of the magazine, Forest and Stream, dated Dec. 10, 1874, in which he happened to note an account of a recent hunting trip to Fayette, Iowa, by a man from Davenport.
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Many Stories Have Been Told but Little Written---I find that in our two existing county histories fishing and hunting have only a part of one sentence dealing with the subject---a statement that "the forests abounded in wild game and wild honey, the streams were full of fish, and the prairie chickens were about the only inhabitants of the prairie (if we except the wolves), hence the opportunities for obtaining a livelihood were not then restricted by the high cost of living." (Fitch---p.111). I will therefore take from this old Magazine article "Iowa Shooting---1874", a few paragraphs and give them a new title:

Fishing and chicken Hunting at Fayette, Iowa in 1874---The writer has been shooting some in different parts of the State of Iowa, finding the best locality toward its northern line. On the 15th of August himself and Charley, taking the Davenport and St. Paul Railroad, started for the terminus of the road, 124 miles distant, to Fayette, in Fayette County. Reaching this point near sundown, there was no time except for a little amusement with the rod and fly among the bass of the Little Volga. Securing thirteen bass, we returned to our hotel, and retiring early to rest, were soon lured to sleep by the music of a neighboring mill dam and the plaintive notes of the whippoorwill.

We had a right royal breakfast upon our bass before the peep o’day, when with horses and machine we started for Wilson’s Grove, some ten miles due west. For four or five miles our was long the timbered Volga, when we reached the open prairie and trotted westward. We had with us two yearling setters, of good stock pretty well-house-broken, but strangers to game. Our primary purpose was hunting, not birds, but lands that belonged to the subscriber; but having flushed eight flocks of chickens along the road, we killed seventeen, and returned in time to renew a different sport on the Volga.

Fayette Folks Laughed at Fishing Tackle---Before the sun reached the horizon we were casting flies on the stream in the presence of quite a number of spectator from the village, who looked down from the bridge in laughing mood and remarked upon our attempt to hook bass with such bait. But when a three pounder struck, leaping wildly from the water, and the shout went up, "there, he’s go one,’ they were silent and respectful. You know success, right or wrong, scientific or otherwise, always commands respect. A few more were taken, and we adjourned, for the shades of twilight were creeping slowly over the western horizon.

Drive from Brush Creek---Early in the morning we returned southward to the next station---Brush Creek---where, from all accounts and reports, we expected glorious sport amount the pinnated grouse (prairie chickens---O.W.S.). But we were disappointed sadly, as the sequel will show. With a good team, and fair two seated hunting wagon, we struck westward some seven miles on the prairie. At this distance form the station town we had passed most of the cultivated farms, and reached the open, skirting prairie, where an isolated twenty to one hundred acre wheat stubble looked the very home of the bird we sought. The day being oppressively hot, we waited patiently the evening shooting, stopping at George Hazen’s who is a fair shot and lover of the sport. George is the owner of 160 acres of rich prairie land, a find farm, with handsome improvements and the grouse in every field and stubble.

Towards four o’clock in the afternoon George called his dog, as pure and pretty a young pointer as can be seen, and took a seat in our wagon with his muzzleloader. We crossed the meadow and reached the stubble, when the dogs began winding, and then tracking birds. Charley in his eighteenth year, more eager for the sport than his seniors, leaped from the wagon and got two beautiful shots, bringing down his birds in elegant style. A large flock arose and settled several hundred yards distant in the rank prairie grass. We followed with our team, and soon the dogs reached a decided point; then your humble servant and George started from the wagon to participate in the sport, but better by far that George had remained comfortably seated.
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Charley Shot George---The dogs were on a dead stand, when up rose a bird, flying directly for George. Both had their guns on the bird; Charley pulled first, the bird fell, and George dropped his gun and struck for the wagon, saying "I’m shot; I’m killed." Running up to him quickly and seeing blood on his face, the writer asked if his eyes were injured, and upon receiving a reply in the negative, assured him that he was not wounded seriously, and began reproving the boy for carelessness. Immediately George, taking his part, said it was an accident; that he was looking only at the bird, and did not see him. But not another shot was fired. Though numbers of birds were stood, flushed, and some started from the grass by our returning wagon.

Giving George a good drink f generous stimulant, to relieve him from a nervous shock, and upon washing him and examining his condition, we concluded to return to town for surgical advice. Arriving in Brush Creek we found, as anticipated as asserted. That at fifty yards' distance no shot gun, with No. 8 shot, could well do mortal injury to man. This was in accordance with repeated assurance on the way; it required, however, several good drinks to inspire any confidence in the assurance. Leaving him in the car of a physician, with the promise of return in a week with a bottle of the best, we started homewards. Our hunt was a failure by reason of the accident, or, if you please, carelessness of an enthusiastic young sportsman who couldn't see a man beyond a bird.

City Man Got the Dog---A week subsequent, the writer and Charley returning, found George convalescent but with near one hundred pellets of No. 8 shot in his person. It was beyond question a double shot, bird and man; the pellets were penetrating, for they were discharged from a Parker breech loader, loaded with four drachms powder and one ounce shot, though the gun was not much for finish, metal, or style of workmanship. But "all's well that ends well." George, barring his carrying weight, was recovering, and again we called upon him with the joyful, and had a pleasant, successful hunt, killing thirty-four chickens in an evening's tramp. Charley killed fourteen, failing to lower his bird but twice. George and myself were mostly lookers on from the wagon. We admired, took a drink and felt from youthful indiscretion. Returning to Davenport we had a fair bag, and I have now in my kennel the pretty pointer recently belonging to George. Davenport, Iowa, December, 1874. J.H.B.
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Identification of the Above Author---An examination of the tax records of Banks township in Fayette county for 1874 shows that John H. Berryhill was assessed on 400 acres in sections 21 and 22. The deed records show that he resided in Scott county, Iowa. The Probate records show that he had a son, Charles. No doubt he was the author of the foregoing article. We had some pleasure figuring this out one day at the court house.

Little Girl Tried to Catch a Wildcat---Mrs. Lois Bing Davis tells me that her mother, Mrs. J.D. Bing, then Henrietta Cline, had an experience with wild cats. Etta lived with her grandparents, Mr. And Mrs. Clark Roberts, west of Fayette on the old Metzgar place. In the year 1873 when Etta was about 7 years old, when was permitted upon occasion to accompany here grandfather to the "mild spring" a stream of particularly fine, cold water which derived its name from the lime which gave it a clouded, milky appearance. One day, she went boldly by herself with herself with her little pail for some water. She was about to return home when she saw a "kitte" coming for a drink. She called it and tried to pet it. It spat and arched its back and was not friendly at all. Etta persisted in trying to catch it when she heard her grandfather calling her. He was very angry when he found that she had gone there alone, and not a little frightened. Gathering his neighbors together, he went to the spring and killed the "kitty" and her three kittens. Etta’s fondness for cats is still a passion with her, but she never was able to get another wild one.

 

---HORSES AND ROAD RACING
During the 1870's one of the principal sport events was racing against time with a pair of driving horses from West Union to Fayette. There was great rivalry among owners of carriage horse owners at West Union. They would start from Court House square at West Union and end at the Fayette House hotel in Fayette. The drivers would carry a passenger who kept track of the time of starting and arrival. These races were driven evenings--after four o'clock and always attracted a goodly number of spectators at starting and finishing points. The two most successful drivers were Attorney Oscar Rogers and Banker E.A. Whitney. At the finish the horses were usually in a lather of sweat and numerous grooms immediately unhitched the horses at the Fayette House barn and rubbed them dry, covered them with blankets and walked them around until thoroughly cool---a la regular race track procedure. It is needless to say that the drive back to West Union was at a more moderate gait. The owners of the teams made the biggest wagers. However, the spectators often indulged, more moderately. R.G. Rich
The horse racing on Main street in early days evidently was not all done by the West Union men driving from the Court House square there to the Hotel at Fayette, against time. Justin Miller tells me that he and Chas. Pooler have been discussing the early racing on Main street here, about fifty years or more ago (1890 and back, Z), in the evening, there were often driving horse races down Main street from the A.J. Duncan place corner (now end of paving on Main street) to the Water street corner, near the bridge. The street was closed of traffic for these races. According to their present recollection the fastest driving nag here then was a bay horse owned by
Earnest Holmes and J.E. (Erve) Graham.
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---LETTERS
Fayette Letters of January 13, 1871, by Mrs. Dixon Alexander
Between ourselves and the printer, last week, two houses were dropped out of our list, the stylish Gothic cottage of Alexander Goodrich, on Washington Street, and the new building of Charley Goodrich, near the Congregational meeting house.

Messers. Hume and Joy, having completed their painting of the European War, on Thursday evening, gave a private entertainment at Commercial Hall. The paintings are few, but better done than some traveling companies. Some are "views of Stratsburg and parts of Paris," "the Baloon ascent, the war dispatches," "the taking of the gun boats," and "the distributing of the iron cross, by the Crown Prince," all of which our seven year old knew on sight, from previous acquaintance with the splendid originals in EVERY SATURDAY. Considering the short time devoted to the work, and that this is their first attempt in this line, we may congratulate them upon their mechanical execution, and its general success.

The prospective manager, through excessive modesty, failing to appear, Mr. Cole, of the TIMES, kindly relieved the embarrassment by announcing the opening of the program, and the pictures moved. Mr. Joy telegraphing over the violin bows, to Mr. Hume, their names and antecedents, which Mr. Hume lined off to the audience. But all this did not hurt the music a bit, which was really exhilarating to steady people, like ourselves, and exasperating in the highest degree, to the dancing fraternity. Especially so, when having arranged for a little dance, you know; and just formed for a schottlsche, a messenger came from below with the tidings that the props of the floor, (counter-acted, perhaps by the theological and other pondersity of Prof. Brush, in the counting room,) were insecure. So there was no dance after all.

The reception of Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Burch, made one according to law, but, according to Henry's theory of woman's rights, still possessing dual individualities, was very cordial in our community, where both are so well know, and among personal friends and a large circle of relatives. Miss Preston, as a graduate of the college and at different times connected with our Public schools and Sunday school, carried off a large share of juvenile affection and friendship. We may point to here successful term in the Higher Department of the Public school, as evidence of the fact and reserved mental force of woman in matters of government. And as a positive contradiction of the popular adage, that it needs a man to make the big boys stand round.

We have most encouraging reports from the schools, which are moving on harmoniously under a full corps of teachers, and the board of Directors, who are determined to make the winter term a financial as well as literary success. We believe Mr. House has not visited the schools, and are not aware that any steps have been taken toward an exchange of the McGuffey series of school books. The college students are still coming in. The rooms occupied by them usually, are filled, and boarders in town are numerous.
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The snow is rapidly leaving us in a light rain and the slow dissolving thaw of January, which makes us anxious about the loads of translated swine, on their way to the McGregor market.

We hear it rumored that Capt. Swank is again in attendance upon the light-footed gentry, living at the expense of the county. The people are anxiously waiting but loyally, to know which is of the more consequence in Iowa, a span of horses, or one woman and three children. The lawyers will doubtless answer the question, on the theory, that "a live dog is better than a dead lion."
Social morals are sadly out of order; crimes are increasing fearfully; murders not traceable to insanity and drinking, but to cool and deliberate planning. We boast a refinement or civilization that borders on perfection, superabundant and self sustaining/ but the egotism of our civilization kills the spirit of religion, and like a ship all sail and no anchor, our national life whirls on, where, alas, where?

In the mean time our Millerite friends, so the eastern papers say, have appointed another day for final destruction, which should it accomplish its end, will save much bother and settle a good many vexed questions of theology and politics. The 11th day of February is the day beyond which, according to their theory, the year of grace is to go no farther, and eighteen seventy-one, is to have the honor of being the last of revolving cycles.

The world has been merciless in its ridicule of these children of prophesy, and the church at large, has not regarded them with a friendly eye; but there are worse doctrines daily enunciated than that which finds its warrant in the emphatic declaration of the Word, Be Ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh!"
---OF RAILROADS

Some Financing of the Railroad Into Fayette: the newspaper reports (in 1938) of the present taking up of the rails and ties, and of the sale of depots and bridges, etc., along the railway from West Union, thru Lima, Wadena, and other towns, toward Dubuque reminds some folks of the days when the railroads were built into this county.

George Hartman hands me a package of old notes (promises to put up funds to support the building of a railroad into Fayette, Z) found about thirty five years ago (shortly after 1900, Z) by Attorney Alexander Birss while cleaning out an old store room at the Fayette State Bank building (three story limestone building, middle, west side of first block of Main, Z). They are notes that were given by different parties to help secure construction of a railroad into Fayette. Some of them wee given about Feb. 1, 1869, and I will print here a copy of one such note.

Another Note Campaign in 1870, about the middle of June 1870 there appears to have been another campaign for railroad notes at Fayette. Notes signed from June 13th to 17th, 1870 have the conditions written in them (where parenthesis is used in copy) "and cars running to Fayette and depot building finished", or "In running order to Fayette, Fayette County, Iowa."

First Investors Lost: It would be interesting to publish the names signed to these old notes. I am not sure all of the notes were paid, however, and a few readers might object. No doubt most men of the community who wee able donated to get the railroad. Some family representatives may still hold old notes paid, or Stock Certificates. The original stock certificates were made worthless by bankruptcy proceedings soon after the road was finished. The trains continued to run, however, under new financial arrangement
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Stockholder's Conditional Notes: Among these old "donation" notes I also find one "Stockholder's Conditional Note" dated September 14, 1869. This note was given in Clayton County but no doubt similar notes were used at Fayette. I will also print herewith a copy of this stockholder's note.

First Train Into Fayette Was Photographed: In connection of this subject of building a railroad into Fayette, I would mention one more matter now. Jeannie Orvis Allen writes me that she has a photograph here father took of the first train that came into Fayette. There are some folks living who saw that train and may be in the picture.

The coming of the railroad introduced a new period in the history of Fayette and nearby townships. That history should be preserved. If you have any recollections (or good hearsay) abut those times, and events, and men, please send me something about them.

Copy of a Railroad Donation Note, 1869: In consideration of the benefits to me, derived from the construction of the Davenport and St. Paul Railroad, I hereby agree to pay to said Railroad Company the some of One Hundred Dollars, wherever said Railroad shall have been permanently located (and constructed from Davenport, Iowa, to the village of Fayette, in Fayette County, Iowa, and Depot buildings erected within 80 rods of said village). Dated this 28th day of January A.D. 1869. Five cent revenue stamp was attached to the note. The portion of the above note in parenthesis (inserted by O.W.S.) indicates the conditions that were inserted by writing in the regular printed form. The following printed clause of all these notes was canceled by a pen line: "But in case said railroad is not located within the limits above defined, then and in that case I agree to pay only ten per cent of the above mentioned sum".

Stockholder's Condition Note, No. 63, No. Shares 1, State of Iowa, Clayton County, Sept. 14, 1869: In consideration of One Share in the Capital Stock of the Davenport and St. Paul Railroad Co., I promise to pay to said company the sum of one hundred dollars, payable as follows wit: One per cent to be paid down, and four per cent, at any time after thirty days from the date hereof, upon call of the Board of Directors, and five per cent, per month thereafter, payable on the following conditions: Twenty per cent, thereof to be used for preliminary expenses, in preparing said Road, for contract, and in commencing the work thereon; the balance shall not be payable until said Railroad is permanently located at Strawberry Pt., grading commenced and the grading thereon has been actually commenced in Clayton County. And the work on said Railroad shall be in process of construction in said Clayton County, upon the located line thereof, during the continuance of said payments, unless said Railroad is sooner ready for the iron, in which case all installments thereafter becoming due, my be expended as the board of Directors shall deem for the best interests of said Company. Plummer's Globe Print, Davenport.
In July, 1938, Dr. R.G. Rich writes: I noticed in the paper that the Milwaukee railroad had sold its branch line--West Union to Turkey River, near Dubuque, the desirable wreckage was being removed and the right of way being abandoned.
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---THE RAILROAD CUT
Chauncy Smith was one of the early settlers in Westfield township. It was Smith who had charge of the blasting work when the Rock Cut was put through at the depot. He also did the actual work of blasting and excavating part way through the "backbone" on the Volga river above Big Rock for what was known as the "Waterbury Tunnel" project.


H. 1875-1879|
---Mr. Debow Tells of Farm Life---Charles H. Debow, son of Richard Debow, of whom Jay Stevenson wrote last week, has written me a letter that I think interesting because of its further light on early farm life on the Smithfield township prairie, and on account of his reference to the character of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Robertson, two of our local pioneers.

Arlington, Iowa, Oct, 14, 1938. Dear Sir: In checking up Jay's letter, I found it to be correct as I remember it. I took the letter down to my sister, Julia. Julia said she remembered most of the things mentioned.

Herding Sheep on "Commons"---I remember the number of sheep, for I was the boy that herded them. Would take them out to unoccupied prairie and remain with them during the day, and see that all sheep and lambs were brought back home at evening. At that early day there were numerous prairie wolves which would attack the sheep in the day time if left along.

Spinning the Wool---there were 7 children in my father's family and we used considerable wool. M mother had a spinning wheel and complete outfit for making the wool into year. Cards for carding the wool into rolls. My two oldest sisters did the knitting.

Winter Evenings on the Farm---When the fall work was done and the cold winds began to come down from the North, we would bring in the basket of wool after supper and every fellow had an evening job. Some one would card the wool into rolls. Mother would spin it into yarn and my sisters would do the knitting. The entire family were supplied with warm stockings and mittens, and how warm and comfortable they were. Our light consisted of candles which mother made from sheep tallow.

"Seeing the Sod Turn"---I have read but one article of "Chats with Old Timer." It spoke of the Hobsons leaving Smithfield in 1973 or '75. In September, 1877, I bought of J.E. Robertson and wife the W1/2 SE1/4 Sec. 16-32-8 and started breaking sod the following spring, Mar. 18th. The Hobson home being a short distance from my field, Mr. Hobson Sr. came out one morning and went around the field several times holding the plow, saying he loved to see the sod turn over. Well, a short time after they went to South Dakota---the spring of 1878.

Hard Times About 1879---I expect there are some who remember the panic of 1878 and '79. Just after I bought the Robertson land I sold my corn crop in the winter of '78 for 10 cts per bu. Oats bought 11c per bu. The top price for hogs was $2.20 per hundred. My father had a nice bunch of hogs and got that price. My hogs were not so good and I got $1.95. We sold them to John Orr, the local stock buyer. He lived N.E. of Fayette about one mine.

J.E. Robertson's as Creditors---The hard times coming right on I became discouraged abut the land and went to the Robertson home and wanted them to take the land back and give me my notes back. Mr. Robertson owned the land and the Mr. looked after the business. Well, they talked so encouraging to me. Said they would take no advantage of me on account of low prices and advised me to continue, which I did. They kept their word faithfully during the whole time and gave me every chance possible. Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Robertson wee certainly fine Christian people.

I trust you will excuse pencil writing and all other errors. My eyesight is failing, but a fellow who has had 82 birthdays and another close at hand, can't expect much else. Wishing you success with "Chats with Old Timers." I am, Very Respectfully, C.H.DeBow.
Return to Time-Line Index at the top of the page.

---THE PARSON'S GROVE
Some Fayette folks are grieved to see that Mr. U.J. Odell, who has purchased the property long know and occupied by George W. Parsons at the top of the Westfield Hill, has just cut down almost the last trees of what was sometimes called "The Parsons Grove."

This attractive park-like area, on all of block six of Alexander's Addition to Fayette, being across the street north from the find maple grove and ginseng beds of the Charles Pooler place, has been one of the nearest things we have had to a natural park within the platted and built up portion of Fayette.

I think I was told once that in early years this grove was used as a spot for public assembly. Will somebody give us the facts for a short obituary of this, our most recently deceased, local beauty spot?

Mrs. Mary Grannis Hoyt indicated that what was Parsons' Grove was first called Hobson's Grove. Several others have verified this name for the place.


I. 1880-1884

---The First Town Waterworks System---In an old picture of the Fayette House from Minnie Humiston, one can see in the street before the hotel, stands Mr. Hiram Canfield holding a hose into the air from which spurts a stream of water. The water came from a well under the platform in the street and was pumped by a force pump on the street platform. The pump looked like and worked up and down like the old fashioned railroad hand cars. I (O.W. Stevenson) can remember it, and doubtless many others can (1939).

---KLOCK'S ISLAND
Justin E. Miller says he remembers when there was a fair sized clump of burr oak trees in the northeast corner of the part of the Island (or park) south of the road. These being near the old grist mill were mostly cut out by Allen Holmes one time when he was rebuilding the mill race dam, at the mill, which had "gone out." He says there were formerly quite a few large cottonwood trees in the southeast corner of the
"Island," near the old "big dam," all but perhaps one of which have been cut away during the years, as also were the big soft maples and willows that were in the southwest corner of the "Island" near what is now the Loban (late 1930's) place.

In the southwest corner of the "island" there also used to be a fine bunch of wa-hoo shrub (burning bush) where Miller used to get bark for "dropsy medicine," first for his grandfather, John Burget, and later for several other folks.

Mr. Miller and Mrs. Nettie Newcomer Holmes, say that in earlier days what is now "The Park" was covered with brush, especially gooseberry bushes. Mrs. Holmes seems to think the place in very early days was called "Gooseberry Island."
When George Klock was here several years ago (early 1930's) and was talking the George Hartman about the mill lot he said when his father bought the mill, in 1886, the land was covered with brush and had more trees on it. He and his father cleared out the brush and cut nearly all of the trees except the walnuts and butternuts. It may be Mr. Klock's cutting that developed the present grove of nut trees.
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Somebody once told me that "The Island" or Park was once mostly clear ground and some man scattered a lot of nuts over it from which these trees came. Perhaps there was a first "bit timber" there which was cut off for saw logs and wood.

The recording this week (April 7, 1938) of a deed for the Park from the Fayette Civic Improvement Association to the Town of Fayette closes one chapter in a booklet of interesting activities of Fayette women that has not yet been published.

J.S. Briggs wrote from Sumner, March 2, 1938, "I was told years ago by one whom I considered good authority at the time, it may have been Charley West, that a man by the name of Gregory, I believe, hired this same Charley West to plant the Island with nuts, black walnut and butternuts, about half and half, and whoever told me stated the amount that it took of each kind. Possibly it was Isaac Ashbaugh who told me. He at one time had a brick yard across the river west of the Island."
The Nut Trees on Klock's Island. Clark Older says that at one of the last Harvest Home Picnics, always held at Klock's Island, he and Charles West were talking together when a man (speaker of the day) come along and began to comment on the fine grove. Then Mr. West said that he planted eight bushels of walnuts and six bushels of butternuts on the land there, for E. Gregory when he was operating the mill. He said the ground was then clear from brush, but there were a few trees around some edges of the lot. Mr. Older has no memory of any old stumps on the island when he came here. I have had a theory that original forest trees were on the land prior to about 1850.

John J. Orvis stated, that I have trooped over "Klock's Island" when there were few, if any walnut trees--certainly none old enough to bear, but plenty of old decayed stumps of other trees, which we delighted in kicking over. I recall tackling a big one that would not readily give in, and "old Jerome Seeley" put his foot against it for the final shove. Out came a bundle of blue racers--and we killed 23 by count. With our old ironwood poles we "mowed 'em down" as Charley McCarthy relays via Bergen.

Some of you will think I am "nuts" about those nut trees. With Chas. Earle and Kenneth Boyd, who were clearing away some wood last week, I measured a walnut stump by the spring brook bank on the Rob. Harvey place. The stump averaged about two feet in diameter, close to the ground. The circumference was about 82 inches, and we made a count of about 75 rings for annual growth. One evening later I measured circumferences of several of the larger walnut trees on Klock's Island. They averaged about 60 inches. A few are larger, the four largest found measured 765, 77, 78, 88 and93 inches. I doubt if more than one or two nut trees on the grounds are 75 years old, which would mean as old as 1863.
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---SEWING MACHINE
The First Sewing Machine in Fayette---
Martha Chittenden Knight says that "another of my correspondents tells of the first sewing machine that was in Fayette, owned by Mrs. Vansickle, mother of Orpha, Oscar and Howard. She said there was great excitement to see it work. Their home was on the corner where Will Kelly had a shop, across from the Masonic Hall, on northwest corner,"

I wonder when this machine came to Fayette, what sort of machine it was, who sold it, what it cost, and who else soon had such a machine.

---WOMEN'S CLUBS
Mrs. Hattie Aylesworth (L.H.) Metzgar said that there was a "Tourist Club" and her aunt, Bell Colegrove ( Warner B.) Aylesworth was an early member. She was certain the club existed along sometime between 1883 and 1886 or 1887. She did not know when it started or stopped. She believed Imogen Cobb Stevenson's theory that the club was started by Emma (John W.) Bissell was not improbable.



J. 1885-1889

---LIBERTY POLES
J.E. Budd writes, when I was real small, there was a liberty pole just in front of the street entrance on the east side of the old school grounds. I recall when a storm knocked it down and it was not replaced. A few years go in Verne's paper was, if I recall correctly, a reprint of a story some time previously of Ed. Hoe, Sr., of a liberty pole erected on Main street, the firing of a canon close to the Fayette House, etc. The subject of these two liberty poles might be of interest.

--Grant Dean Caught Many Wildcats---Grant Dean tells me that in his young days, beginning about 1884, he caught many wild cats, getting about fifty cents bounty and from twenty to fifty cents for most of the hides, though he did get seventy five cents for unusually big ones. He thinks they should have brought several dollars. On lands now belonging to Dean, Holtzman and Pooler (east of Fayette, in the Big Rock area of the Volga), Grant caught many cats and remembers once carrying four home in a sack. Once he led one home with a "jockey" (forked) stick strapped on the cat before releasing it from the trap. He thinks the Dean boys were about the only follows who trapped much successfully for cats, in his day.

The Size and Nature of the Animal---Dean says the cats were usually from twelve to twenty inches in height, but were seldom seen standing erect---generally crouched down ready to spring. They often sent into the trees. The animals did not bother cattle or poultry, and were not liable to attack a person unless "cornered." The caught many wild rabbits for their food.

Cat Baiting an Old Sport---Although the baiting or torture of animals was forbidden by law it was a sport to some extent indulged in here. Dean remembers that Abe Balentine caught a cat and a fight with Weltman’s bulldog was arranged for up at the "old brewery" (on the creek, on old Hwy 150 north, z), where Walt Nading now lives. There was a big crowd one afternoon and many bets wages on cat and dog. The cat was held by a chain, and when let out of a cage to fight was still handicapped by the chain being tied to the cage. No man would hold the chain. The cat got tangled up in the chain and the dog got on top and killed it.

Dean Wanted a Fair Fight----Afterward Grand caught a cat and brought it to the Walker blacksmith shop (stone building on paving in "Canada", ‘old 150 north,z’) A lot of folks wanted another fight but Grant refused to let his cat fight unless it could be turned entirely loose in the stone building with the dog. Many thought it could kill the dog in a free fight.

Hancock Twitted Hoyt About Fayette---Mr. Harry P. Hancock told me once that when he first came to West Union as a young lawyer he drove down to Fayette to visit William A. Hoyt, a young lawyer here at that time. North of Fayette he noticed a big sign out advertising a "cat baiting" to be held in a few days. Mr. Hancock twitted Mr. Hoyt about the prominent display of advertising for such unlawful sport in such a saintly village as Fayette was reported then to be.
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Cats and Coons---Sometimes on coon hunts the dogs would tree a wild cat. The cat would often jump from the tree and get away. If it struck a dog on the nose there would be four deep cuts, and unless the dog was a very valuable one it was the end of the dog.

Cats As Captives---Grant caught a wild cat once near the top of John Orr’s bluff. He took it home and in three weeks its three toes caught and injured in a trap, were well. There was considerable talk about arranging a free fight with a dog but it was never done. The boys kept the cat until corn plowing time then killed her. They fed the captive liver and parts out of hogs, which the butcher, Geo. Hill, gave them. They had no ice but kept meat fresh a couple of days in an outside cave. The cats would not eat tainted meat.

---THE HARDWARE STORE
The first Fayette business man of whom I have any personal memory is J.E. Budd. In the summer of 1888 we lived one mile west, across the fields, from the Q.C. Babcock farm in Smithfield township. One hot afternoon, after he had tied a package of nails for father at Budd and Montgomery's Hardware, the dignified, but pleasant, and long black-bearded Mr. Budd handed me a dime and asked me, when I got home, to go over and tell the Babcocks that the Budds were coming out next Sunday for dinner. This is the first money I have any recollection of earning. During the years since 1888 there have been many times when Montgomery, or Latimer, or Young, or Knight have tied a package of nails for me at that old counter or at the new one on about the same spot. More than once as I watched them I have thought of kindly old Mr. Budd and felt a bit of the thrill that dime gave me, in 1888. Fifty years later J.E. Budd's son, John, gave me another pleasant thrill when he sent me a letter telling of fisherman, Jim Tobin, the Liberty Poles, and some other things.


 

K. 1890-1894

---THE WILD FLOWERS

I overheard somebody at the café the other day speak of "wild-flowers." It's about the time of the year you used to begin to "go flowering" at Fayette. Where were the favorite spots to go, and what kinds of flowers did you find? Do the young folks still find the same kinds of flowers did you fins? Do the young folks still go to these places, and do they still find the same kinds of flowers there? Did the boys ever care much for the flowers, or did they just like to "go along" with the girls?

A.A. Carter says that last month (March, 1938), he picked wild-flowers on the western slope of the hill west of Grandview cemetery, where they picked them when his family moved here about thirty years ago. Growing on such stony places that flower seems to be protected from destruction by plowing. Perhaps it comes too early in the spring to be exterminated by pasturage. The coming of the automobile with more riding and less walking for entertainment or exercise may have reduced the old time "flowering" trips and contributed an unintended bit toward some preservation of the wild flowers.

Miss Jean Hunt tells us later that on the same Sunday, her father, Reuben, walked up the hill east of their homes (southeast of town) and brought wind-flowers back to her mother.

---BICYCLES
I can remember that in the 1890's there was a track (horse racing track, Z) on what is lot 6 of block 5 of J.E. Robertson's addition to Fayette, being now the R.R. Fussell land southeast of the old brick "Cornelius" place in which the White family is living. F.S. (Ves) Walker and J.M. (Jim) Edmunds at that time had a race horse hobby and I think they fixed up and used the track there. We found folks, when bicycles were a new type of vehicle (and cost $100) used to go down there to ride and occasionally to race. Will Baker, Earl Ferris and Geo Hoover had fine tandems, and used to favor some of the girls with great rides there, as well as over the town streets and the rough country roads.
Races for college class field meets were held on that track because there was no track on the campus. An up grade stretch at the southeast corner in getting to the top of "cut" (eat) portion of track, followed by a down hill stretch to the sandy northeast corner of the track made some grief for bicyclists. Harry I. Robinson still bells occasionally how I being then ahead, ran clear off the track at the latter corner in a wheel race with Frank E. Chesley. On that race some of the boys, pooling their funds, had a bet of fifty cents. That is why harry remembers it so long. He was one of those who pooled to bet the fifty cents on me, and he lost. All I lost was the race.
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L. 1895-1889


 

M. 1900’s

---HOUSES
Another old good house going. When in Fayette recently Dr. Riley Gilbert Rich of David City, Nebraska, stopped to look at the old brick house on lot 8 in block 4 of J.E. Roberston addition to Fayette, on the corner north of railway at foot of college hill. His parents lived there when they first came to Fayette, moving later to the frame house (Smith Place) across the street north, where he was born. Walter E. Hunt was setting out some walnut trees in front of that lost, on which a rude shanty, his father and family lived quite a time while building the stone house south by the railroad. The Hunt family has just bought the old brick house property and in his 89th year Walter intended to fix it up, removing paint and restoring old walnut front door and inside woodwork. The front entrance to this house, now so dilapidated, is one of several of the very early houses in Fayette that show some fine architectural qualities. Mr. Hunt tells me since that he finds the physical condition of the house now so bad that he does not think it worth while to spend money to restore it. He will wreck the property. It is one of several such early Fayette houses of which we took pictures. Some day somebody may be looking for these first Fayette houses, fail to find them, and be glad to see even a Kodak of them preserved.


 

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