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fayette and westfield  iowa 
time-line of history



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Of Westfield and Fayette, Iowa, to 1851-1859     


In 1851,  Fayette county had been separately organized only one year. It had been a part of Clayton county. There was no court house, no jail, no board of supervisors, and there were no school houses. 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 fourr 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.

Robert Alexander, in July, laid out the town of Westfield, in the northeast quarter of Section 29, Twp. 93, R 8, and the plat filed for record July 18, 1851.  

Of Fayette and Westfield:   In January, 1855, the town of Fayette, in the northwest quarter of Section 28, Twp. 93, R. 8, was laid out by Samuel H. Roberton. However, he first birth of record where Fayette is now situated was that of Florence Robertson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Robertson, which was on October 25, 1850. Thus the Robertson families were claiming land in the Fayette area of the Valley about the same time that the land just over the hill to the west, and within the same Volga River valley. Thus land was being claimed and utilized, by the late 1840ís, or at least by 1850, in both areas, Westfield and Fayette.

Other towns were being platted in the county.  Taylorville (about 3 miles to the north of present Arlington), Volga City, presentLima (which of course is gone except for the Lima Church and cemetery) and Auburn. 

In several years a sawmill, store, flour mill, and several dwelling would be added at Westfield.

Settlement around the present north end of main street Fayette would also be occurring at the same time. Two groups of pioneers would in the short span of about five years set up a livelihood around a couple of mills and stores on the Volga River in the Fayette valley.

The County Commissioner system was abolished by the State and the first county judge was voted into office and the first written county records are preserved.

Fayette county issued its first marriage licenses.  The bride was not mentioned in the first three cases.

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. It is not sure if a man drowned in the mill stream as tales tell  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.)  R.W. Hunt, in 1938, assures that the saw mill established near Big Rock in a very early date was Cole's mill.  Some ruins of the old butments for the dam could 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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The first school in the Fayette Valley was a log structure, 16x18’, on West Clark St.

Westfield was the older brother of Fayette, not only in age, but also in business. Robert Alexander began the erection of a saw-mill in Westfield in 1850, and in 1851 the plat of Westfield was laid out and recorded. Westfield grew rapidly during 1852 and 1853.

EAGLE POINT---George S. Hartman (1938) 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 (1938)  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 (1938) 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 in the late 1850's to mid-1860's,  and lived in a house out toward Westfield, came to see Mr. Burget. They got to talking of early days and Col. 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.

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.  O.W. Stevenson, 1938, writes,  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 woods, wading the river at Noble's Ford.


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Walter E. Hunt (1938) 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?"  We 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.


Fayette was surveyed
, being finished in 1855.

Suttter and Astell started a store at Westfield.  

The first post office in the area would be at Westfield, and would serve here until moved to Fayette in 1861.

Elizabeth Alexander, a pioneer woman living near Fayette, proposes the idea of a college, as she wanted to know the cost to send her daughters to college and discovered it was too expensive . Money and land were donated for a start.

Licille Whitely writes (1938): 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. Marvinís first mill would have been off to the north of that hill and on the creek in the valley.)  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 in 1938 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).


In January, 1855, the town of Fayette, in the northwest quarter of Section 28, Twp. 93, R. 8, was laid out by Samuel H. Roberton. However, he first birth of record where Fayette is now situated was that of Florence Robertson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Robertson, which was on October 25, 1850. Thus the Robertson families were claiming land in the Fayette area of the Valley about the same time that the land just over the hill to the west, and within the same Volga River valley. Thus land was being claimed and utilized, by the late 1840ís, or at least by 1850, in both areas, Westfield and Fayette.

Isaac Templeton and Sam Leroy, started a flouring mill at Westfield.

On June 16, 1855, Samuel II and Sabra Robertson appropriated 10 acres of land for college grounds.

On December 1, 1855, J.B. Rogers organized the First Congregational church. The church would not be completed until 1871.

Dr. C.C. Parker came to Fayette in 1855 as the first physician to locate and continue active practice in the valley. He died in 1905 and his son Dr. J.D. Parker continued as a successful physician in Fayette until his death. Other doctors would include Dr. Dixon Alexander, Dr. J.A. Aldrich, Col. Brown, Dr. J.W. McLean and his son Dr. Ray McLean, Dr. M.Y. Baker and his son Dr. Frank L. Baker.

Construction begins on a main building which would be known  as College Hall, The Seminary, and now Alexander-Dickman Hall, using native limestone blocks, the thick  walls being laid to the top of the first story before winter set in. College Hall when completed would house classrooms, administrative offices, the president"s quarters, and student rooms on the upper floor. 

West Union would acquire a steam mill for the grinding of grain into cattle feed and flour.

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 (Mississippi) 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.
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 shal continue to be so for I do not know what we should do if we were to be sick, may these 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 her little eighteen months old daughter Priscilla.




Auburn at this time was a formidable rival of West Union and was a larger town, with flouring mills, plow factory, furniture factory, the only pottery in northeastern Iowa, a brewery.  Other breweries were operating at Elgin, Clermont and Fayette.   Hops was grown and stored in the county in hop houses near the breweries. images/hophouse.JPG (7497 bytes)

Maxon and Griffith, Budlong and North, opened stores in what is now Main Street in Fayette.

The "Stock" was begun by the Volgar Hotel Stock Company (later to become the "Fayette House" hotel.   The Volga Hotel Stock Company, with  H. Budlong, Secretary, as a corporation had a nominal capital of $4,000.

The first meeting of Board of Trustees for the college is held and the articles of incorporation are adopted.

A well-nigh-tragic accident occurred at the Seminary building in the fall of 1856. Charles West and his brother, Stephen, were engaged on the carpenter work of the building, and were standing on a scaffold on a level with the cornice, which gave way. Charles caught on the staging, lower down, which also gave way with him, and he fell heavily to the ground. He was picked up, senseless, with two ribs broken. Stephen caught with one arm on the cornice, and was pulled up by James Percy to a safe footing on the wall.

The Fanning Mill Industry in Westfield.  An advertisement in an issue of the West Union Pioneer for April 14, 1856.  "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."

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 (1938) (I spend youthful days visiting Mrs. Hoyt, in the 1940's.  She was friendly with a neighbor kid and always had cookies and a cozy home. z/2000) shows one 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 Congregational 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 enquires 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 enquires 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 buisness. The old on 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 to the West do not fail to visit me when I can give you much more information than I can in writing. Yours, C. Hoyt

COLLEGE HILL--- How did College Hill got that name?  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, 1938.   (This would be the area east and south  of the  1938 arched entrance to Grandview Cemetery.  Sometime, probably in the early 1900's, this knowledge became faint and the highway road up the hill from the old railroad via-duct  became known as "College Hill.") Weather this was before or after the "Old Seminary" building was erected on the present campus seems to be a matter of some doubt. It has been  stated both ways.
The College Hill Boom---Walter E. Hunt, 1938, says he can remember while picking wild strawberries in the 1860's,  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, 1938, and occupied by Chas. R. Proctor.  Dr. J.D. Parker, 1938, 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.

West of Holme's Pature (later Klock's Island)---
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 (Klock's) Island. (This would have been in the valley to the west, just across the Volga River from the sandy beach area.  The original pioneer road went up the valley across from the beach and not up the present route, 2000, of Hwy 93, west.  There are still limestone foundation blocks in this valley.)
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 foot of the "Long Hill" (the present, 2000, Hwy 93 hill, west out of Fayette) 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, (1938) who came to Fayette at age eight, with his parents, on Nov. 23, 1863, 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.
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, 1938,  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. (Widger's Field was owned and  farmed by my grandfather Walter Reuben Hunt from about 1935-1977, and in the middle of this field was a fairly large conical mount which was the site of the brick yard buildings.  There were still brick working out of the soil upon each plowing.  Widger's field was sold off by the next owner's of the farm and in the 1990's became Fayette's sewage lagoon :((ah, progress and land use.

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).  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. (Marvinís 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 Hiram 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.

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 river 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 used.)
A much-talked of incident, which occurred while Marvin was operating the mill, was related to me by Mr. T.R. Parker (1938), 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 drowned  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.

Moses Davis and  his hotel property at Fayette was  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. The 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, Administrator, March 4, 1856, tf."



On June 1, 1857 the Methodists held their meetings in the seminary building. By the end of the year a house and lot were purchased for a parsonage and church, and Fayette would become a "station" in 1858. The Methodist Church would not be started until 1876.

The Fayette Journal was established and in time had multiple name changes: North Iowa Observer, Public Record, back to North Iowa Observer, Fayette Journal, Volga Valley Times. Other papers started up for short periods of time.

Classes begin at the college on January 7, in what called "Fayette Seminary of the Upper Iowa Conference."

Public school was moved into the Seminary (College Hall) for a short period.

June 10, 1857, the difference between the Volga Hotel Stock Company and Alfred Lasher was arbitrated by William Bonine, B.B. Allen and Thomas Harper, who awarded $200 to Lasher.

Reapers and Threshing Machines in 1857, Fayette, County---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.

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? Was more grain then grown there than elsewhere in the county? What kind of reapers and threshing machines could our farmer ancestors buy in 1857?

Deed records show in 1854 Robert Alexander and Samuel H. Robertson acquired title to the land around Big Rock. 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 1830'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?

The first reference to Big Rock 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 1868. 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".

(In 2000, nobody really remembers the Big Rocks. Those that remember at all, know of Big Rock, or the Big Rock at the edge of the Volga river bluff over the hill on the back side of the golf course clubhouse.  After the Conservation Dept acquired this area in the 1960's and over the last decades of successional growth, very few people to into the area.  In the early days of Fayette these two large rocks and a few smaller rocks that had split off the limestone bluffs were to become known as the "Big Rocks", and not Big Rock.  The term Big Rock evolved in the 1900's as the generations changed and the people just visited the Big Rock in the Volga. z/2000)

From an old county tax record for 1857.  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 Janurary 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 couty in this 1857 record I am of the opinion that the above items "carriages and vehicles" for Illyra and Fiarfield 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, Williar 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. Throp $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 wre owners of more than one wagon. The tax exemption laws for 1857 have not yet been examined


This was in the first Fayette boom days---just after the Seminary had opened.


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 advertisemens for the following business concerns at Fayette, Westfied and Albany, form which I have taken enough to indicate general lines of business .

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.

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 sourth 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.
E.A. Halleck---Manufacturere 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 acccommodations unsurpassed by any hotel in Iowa. A large and commondious barn is connected with the establishement."
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 merchantile business.
Goodrich---Has opened a new meat market, "next door to Barnard's store."
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.
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.

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.

The Baptists started services in 1858, and continued until 1877.

The Name of the college is changed on July 15, 1858, to "Upper Iowa University."


The public school was moved around wherever adequate room could be found in town, from about 1859-1867.

In June, 1858, Joshua Young Bragdon was drowned in the Volga River, at the dam of Hathornís mill (probably in the Big Rock loop, z), which was then in process of construction a mile or two below Fayette. He and Charles Clark were trying, with a small boat, to take a saw-log over the partly constructed dam in order to convey it to Marvinís mill below (in Albany, z). The water being high and very rapid, the boat was capsized, and Bragdon, though an expert swimmer, lost his life. A few persons were inclined to blame Carl, believing that he either purposely or wantonly allowed him to perish when he might have rescued him. But Clark demanded a Coronerís inquest, which exonerated him, the body being found a day or two afterward. Bragdon was a single man, and had recently come from the town of Wiscassett, in the State of Maine, where he had an excellent reputation. During his life, he had expressed a desire, in case of sudden death, to be buried by the Masons, of which order he and some of his relatives were active members. There being then no lodge at Fayette, the few Masons residing there preferred his request to the Lodge at West Union, which, though also small in numbers, turned out with all their force, John Ogsbury being Master of Ceremonies, and interred the body, with all the rites of that Order, in the cemetery at Fayette.

That there was bowling alley in Fayette in January, 1859, kept by Thomas J. Vennum, is of record, for he was charged with allowing gambling for money on his premises, and the evidence on the examination tending to establish the charge, he was committed to jail at Elkader, having declined to furnish the moderate bail of $50.

Charles Hoyt Wrote About Farming----In 1859 Charles Hoyt was establishing a farm south of Fayette, where Chris Knos now lives(1938). 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 Fayetteís 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 Hoytís 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.
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 Maryís 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. 

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 chuch, 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 adterward 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 snao, the hail and thrunder 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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SITE CONTENT USE STATEMENT---The material on this page is dedicated the Ancestors of the Fayette Valley and Area.  The Fayette and Westfield Timeline is a collection of notes from various sources with a significant amount of material from personal evaluation and background, including personal speculation and opinions.  Donation of materials has occurred but credits are generally not listed as the main purpose has been the personal piecing together of Fayette history, thus much of the material has been re-written. I want to make the info and pics available for genealogy and historical interests in a timely fashion so much of the material is being uploaded in rough draft form and then refreshed as editing occurs.  All pages are very large and will take a long time to load.  If they "time-out" try using the refresh button, as your browser will basically restart where it left off.   An attempt has been made to include ALL of the information with names so that those with genealogical interests might associate with the the history and lifestyles of their ancestors from the Valley.  Nearly every pic in the site has been taken with a Sony FD91 digital camera.  There will be hundreds of pics regarding the Fayette area available on albums uploaded to  You will find links into Photopoint albums sprinkled thoughout this site.  Learn to use Photopoint as there are many pics of interest to you there.  Any reproduction of this site or it's contents for other than personal non-profit genealogy and history use requires express written consent.

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