History of Benton - History

History of Benton - History

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(PG: T. 1033; 1. 202'; b. 72'; dr. 9'; s. 5.5 k.; cpl. 176; a. 2 9" S. B., 7 32-pdr. S. B., 7 42-pdr. R. )

Benton, a former center-wheel catamaran snag boat was converted to an ironclad river gunboat by James B. Eads, St. Louis, Mo., in 1861 and commissioned 24 February 1862, Lieutenant J. Bishop in command.

Benton served as flagship of the Mississippi Squadron (1862~S ) . She took part in the capture of Island Number 10 (15 March-7 April 1862), attack on Fort Pillow Tenn. (10 May); Battle of Memphis, Tenn. (6 June), bombardment of Vicksburg, Miss., and escape of CSS Arkansas ( 1~16 June >; Yazoo River Expeditions ( 1~23 August and 2~28 December), during the second of which her commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander W. Gwin was mortally wounded, one man killed, and 10 wounded, running of the Vicksburg batteries (16 April 1863); bombardment of the Grand Gulf, Miss., batteries (29 April)
capture of Fort DeRussy, Ark. (9 May), attacks on the Vicksburg batteries (1~22 and 27 May, 3 and 20 June); Red River Expedition (12 March-16 May 1864); and capture of CSS Missouri at Alexandria, Va (3 June 1865). Decommissioned 20 July 1865 at Mound City, Ill., Benton' was sold 29 November 1865.

History of Benton - History

Compiled and prepared by Deloris Shockley, former Court Historian.

History of Benton | Coal Mining | Benton Today | Benton Federal Buildings | Library Resources | ILSD History | East St. Louis Library

Two Frenchmen, Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, were credited with being the first to actually explore the Franklin County area in 1673. The French maintained interests in the region into the latter part of the eighteenth century, mostly through explorations and trade, but there was very little settlement by any white men. However, science has identified remnants of Indian tribes such as the Illinois and Shawnee predating that time. After the signing of the Peace of Paris, marking the end of the French and Indian War, the British regained control of the area. King George proclaimed the entire southern portion of Illinois as a perpetual hunting preserve for the Indians in 1763, forbidding settlement by white men, and fostering fur trade with the tribes. That lasted until the American Revolution ended British rule.

During the early nineteenth century, the Native Americans were warring with each other over control of this area. In 1802, the Kaskaskias and Shawnees waged a major battle, in which the Shawnees were triumphant, near what is today the town of West Frankfort (six miles south of Benton). In 1804, a group of white men came from Tennessee seeking land for their families to farm. Finding suitable land southeast of what is now Thompsonville (6 miles east of Benton), they built a fort for protection, and began to cultivate the land which outraged the Indians. Native American hostility, fed by the loss of hunting grounds through competitive land claims with the white man peaked during the War of 1812, when the Indians sided with the French, and went on the warpath against the settlers who had, in their minds, stolen their land. Many whites continued to move into the area, establishing homes and farms, putting more pressure on the Indians forcing them to move west. The former hunting grounds of the red man now became communities for this new population, where white men could supplement their agricultural livelihoods with hunting, fishing and trapping.

Illinois finally gained its statehood in 1818, with Franklin County being created that same year. Early settlement in the county was mostly along the waterways until the railroad was built in the late 1800s, creating a rush by land hungry white men. On March 1, 1841, Benton, named after Thomas Hart Benton, a Missouri congressman, became the county seat of Franklin County, and was incorporated in 1902.

The first area school, the Benton Academy, opened in 1841, and the first church was organized during the same year. A small building was erected as a County Courthouse that year and stood until 1843, when fire destroyed it. A new brick building was built in the center of the public square in 1845, which was used until the present structure replaced it in 1875. Several additions and modernization projects have been made to this building, and it serves the county today as a historical reminder of the past and hope for a brighter future. By 1870, Franklin County had become well known as an agricultural area. It became a fertile source of winter wheat, corn, oats, tobacco, potatoes, and beans, in addition to honey, sorghum, fruit, pork, wool and butter.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Benton and the other small communities in Franklin County were prospering, and with the eve of the coal boom approaching, the future promised great things and a changing landscape on the hillsides and prairies began.


Benton was a farming community until the early 1900s when the Zeigler Coal Company hoisted its first coal in Franklin County. For nearly a century, Benton was a mining town experiencing the growing prosperity of the coal boom. By 1918, state wide coal production of 90 million tons was the highest ever. In 1926, Franklin County had its highest production of 15.7 million tons of coal with its highest employment of 15,234 people in 1927.

There was a heavy cost in human lives during the development of prosperity in the coal industry. Underground coal mining is the most dangerous profession in the world, causing the loss of 51,000 human lives since 1870.

In April 1905, fifty-four men lost their lives in an explosion at the Zeigler Coal Company. In November 1908, fire broke out in the mine and the state mining-inspector ordered the shaft closed for 90 days. In January 1909, 90 days later, mine officials sent a clean-up crew underground. An explosion followed and 26 men were killed. In January 1909, the state mining-inspector ordered the Zeigler mine closed until further notice.

During the 1920s, under the powerful leadership of John L. Lewis, the members of the United Mine Workers of America went on strike at the Southern Illinois Coal Company strip mine in Williamson County. On April 1, 1922, the coal company continued to strip coal with union permission and dismissed its union miners. On June 15, 1922, fifty strikebreakers and mine guards, imported from Chicago, took over the operation of the strip mine. On June 16, 1922, the coal company made the erroneous decision to ship sixteen cars of coal in defiance of the strike.

Despite attempts by prominent citizens of Williamson County to avert violence, angry striking miners surrounded the mine on June 21, 1922. In the ensuing gunfire, two strikers were killed, a third fatally wounded. The state officials from the Adjutant General's Office at Springfield tried to affect a truce and believed they had succeeded. One day later, June 22, 1922, the strikebreakers surrendered. In the massacre that followed, nineteen were killed, one fatally wounded.

A grand jury convened in Marion to investigate the murders. On August 30, 1922, the grand jury returned its first indictment, charging a man who was a farmer and miner with murder. Illinois miners pledged one percent of their total monthly earnings for the defense of the men indicted for the Herrin murders. The grand jury recessed after having brought in 214 indictments, including 44 for murder.

Five men were tried for the murder of one of the victims of the Herrin Massacre. All five defendants were acquitted by the jury. Later, six men, including two of the defendants in the first case, went on trial for killing another man in the Herrin Massacre. A verdict of not guilty was returned.

The remaining indictments were processed and a committee of the Illinois House of Representatives, appointed to investigate the Herrin Massacre, held its first session at Springfield on April 11, 1923. On the last day of the legislative session, June 30, 1923, the House Investigating Committee presented majority and minority reports. A House Bill providing for a new investigation failed for want of Senate action.

The worst human tragedy for Franklin County happened at Orient No. 2 coal mine on Friday night, December 21, 1951. The miners had started the last shift before Christmas break when a methane explosion filled the tunnels 500 feet below the frozen surface. Families waited at the mine entrance and the makeshift morgue at the local junior high for word of fathers, husbands and brothers. The blast killed 119 workers, 38 from the Benton area, 49 from West Frankfort the rest from small towns nearby. It was called Black Friday, but most families remember it as Black Christmas.

The tragedy was credited with hastening the passage of federal and state safety regulations that helped save lives in the decades that followed. That summer, President Harry S. Truman signed the Federal Coal Mine Safety Act, giving inspectors for the first time power to close unsafe mines. The state legislature passed the Illinois Mining Act of 1953, mandating better ventilation in underground mines and better testing for methane.

A fire in a Centralia mine in 1947 killed 111 prompting new rules requiring better tests for methane and rock dust. In 1962, one other mine disaster occurred in Southern Illinois at Herrin, when 12 miners were killed.

It takes a special type of person to go underground into a black, damp, dirty, dangerous environment to work eight hours without sunlight day after day. The miners have their own honor system under ground—they are a family and look out for each other. A brotherhood and an emotional bond develops between them that lasts their lifetime. For their biological families, they served not only as the "breadwinners" but as role models exemplifying the hard-work ethic, providing the funds and inspiration for their children and grandchildren to acquire a better education, to attain a better livelihood in the workplace as professionals.

In 1948, the first continuous miner began operation revolutionizing the methods of coal's extraction by eliminating the four-step process of mining coal. This involved cutting or picking the coal loose at the bottom of a seam and then drilling holes and blasting (with compressed air or explosives) before loading the loosened coal into a coal car. The continuous miner merged these four steps into one: a broad drum with carbide-tipped teeth now ripped the coal from the seam and passed it along a conveyer past the operator and into a waiting shuttle car (or "coal buggy") the coal buggy then carried the coal to a coal car or a moving conveyer belt, which carried the coal out of the mine. The advent of the continuous miner changed the daily life of thousands of miners by largely eliminating two of the most dangerous practices of traditional mining: blasting, and making the "cut" along the base of a coal seam before blasting. The cut caused the loosened coal to fall at the bottom of the seam instead of being hurled back at the miners or otherwise scattered about by the blast. Unfortunately, blasting with explosives was an inexact science that could bring down the roof as well as loosening the coal and was especially controversial when it involved "shooting on shift"—was carried out while the mine was full of workers other than blasters. The continuous miner also eliminated many jobs outright.

In the mid-1960s miners could earn $7,500 per year or double that in the mid-70s, provided, of course, that their machines didn't dig more coal than industry could use, and that their unions didn't go out on strike. During this period, Judge James L. Foreman was faced with wildcat strikes between the union members and coal company officials since the cases were filed in the Benton federal court. Judge Foreman was unfamiliar with the coal mining industry but he soon became an expert, hearing a minimum of three hearings per week and sometimes one per day.

In 1990, the coal industry continued its reign as "King" in Franklin County when production was 6.9 million tons of coal providing jobs for 937 people with the entire state producing 61.7 million tons providing 10,129 people with jobs. But the "kingdom" changed with the passage of the federal 1990 Clean Air Act, which limited sulfur emissions from power plants. That, in turn, limited the demand for high-sulfur Illinois coal.

Although the Clean Air Act was the focus of the miners' rage, it was not the only problem they faced. Mining companies spent heavily to improve the productivity of their mines resulting in machines replacing men in both underground and strip mines. In 1981, the average miner could mine 14 tons of coal a day compared to 23 tons a day (almost double) in 1991.

By 1998, Illinois coal production had dwindled to 39.7 million tons and 4,259 jobs as a result of the closing of more than half the state's 43 coal mines. Even though coal production continued throughout Illinois from 1998 through 2001, there was no coal production in Franklin County during those years. The miners and their families suffered the tremendous loss of paychecks which had climbed to approximately $40,000 per year. Jobs were almost impossible to find. Some laid-off miners found work in other producing mines located in areas surrounding Franklin County, causing a long daily commute by car. Others found work in jobs that never paid as well as the mines. The loss to the local economies was devastating creating a chain reaction that eventually affected all local businesses and town governments.

Illinois floats on a sea of coal. The rich green swamp that covered the state 300 million years ago left a sheet of organic matter that time and pressure transformed into bituminous coal. The coal seams, some too low to mine, others as high as nine feet, cover two-thirds of the state. More than 30 billion tons of recoverable coal are known to rest in the earth, although the actual figure may be much higher with Illinois estimated to have enough coal to last until the year 2,500. Today, state and government officials continue their efforts to revitalize the Illinois coal industry. The people in Southern Illinois look forward to the renewed development and progress of their coal industry as a future supplier of energy.

Benton has an estimated population of 8,000. An additional 276,000 residents live within a thirty-five mile trade area. The tourism industry is a rapidly growing source of employment in this area with over four million tourists visiting the area annually since the development of Rend Lake with its 162 miles of shoreline and 19,000 acres of water area, offering boating, water skiing, marinas, camp sites, picnicking areas, swimming beaches, fishing, hunting and golf.

Currently, Benton has two industrial parks with diverse businesses located in them, one of which is Bombardier Motor Corporation, manufacturer of water recreational vehicles, and small plants manufacturing tools, water-well bits, and other items. Government jobs at the city, county, state and federal levels—in which the U.S. District Court plays a major role—employing over 300 people.

To help replace the loss of the coal mining industry, Benton is designated as an Enterprise Zone, beneficiary of the Illinois Enterprise Zone Act of 1982, which builds a coalition between state and local government to stimulate economic growth at the local level. With the goal to provide better livelihoods for their citizens, Benton city officials continue searching for new industries.


On March 4, 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as President of the United States. Roosevelt took office at the worst moment of the greatest economic catastrophe in American history known as the Great Depression. Fifteen million people were unemployed. Stock prices were one-quarter of what they had been in 1929 and industrial output had been almost halved. 5,504 banks had closed since 1930. The New Deal was not by any means completely successful at putting people back to work and revitalizing the economy, but it restored hope and staved off political extremism.

Thus began a presidency which would transform the United States and many of its institutions. Among these would be the federal courts including the Benton term of court established in a statute by Congress on August 12, 1937. Since there was no federal courthouse in Benton until 1958, attorneys in the area found it necessary to file their cases in the other Eastern District courts in East St. Louis, Danville or Cairo.

In June 1949, Congress passed the Public Buildings Act of 1949. This bill was amended on July 22, 1954, as Public Buildings Purchase Contract Act of 1954. Section 411 (Lease-Purchase Provisions) was added which authorized the Administrator of General Services "to acquire title to real property and to provide for the construction of certain public buildings thereon by executing purchase contracts. . ." Under this law and its amendments, the Benton Federal Building was constructed: Specifically, on June 6, 1958, the Benton Federal Building Construction contract was awarded to J.L. Simmons Company, Inc., Decatur, Illinois, in the amount of $755,400 with a completion date of August 27, 1959.

Four months after the award of the construction contract—October 23, 1958—the Cornerstone Laying Ceremony for the Federal Building to house the U.S. Post Office and Court House was held. Keynote speaker was Congressman Kenneth J. Gray, 25th District, Illinois. Other distinguished guests were U.S. Senator Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois U.S. District Court Judges: Hon. Casper Platt, Chief Judge Hon. William G. Juergens and Hon. Fred B. Wham (Ret.). The Benton Federal Building currently bears the name "Kenneth Gray Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse."

In December 1973, a press release was issued by U.S. Congressman Kenneth J. Gray, 24th District, Illinois, Washington Office, in which he and Congressman Melvin Price, D-East St. Louis, called on the General Services Administration in Washington to make an immediate space needs survey of the antiquated federal court building in East St. Louis, pointing out that the courthouse was built in 1910 resulting in malfunction for present day needs, very expensive to maintain as well as inadequate parking facilities. . . . Congressman Gray, who is retiring after this term, said, "With the completion of new federal buildings in Benton, a new Eastern District courthouse in East St. Louis will give Southern Illinois a well-balanced building program comprising modern structures that are functional for the needs of the approximately one million citizens who reside in the two Congressional Districts affected."

In November 1987, after four years of serious planning, Chief Judge Foreman made the announcement that his dream of expansion to a full-service court complex in Benton would soon become a reality. Working with General Services Administration and postal service officials, Chief Judge Foreman was instrumental in getting a new post office, paving the way for the bankruptcy court to occupy the vacated space in the federal courthouse.

Approximately three years later, on March 27, 1990, the dedication ceremony of the new post office building located at 301 North DuQuoin Street was held.

The workload in many offices at the federal court continued to increase. In 1990, Chief Judge Foreman stated the need for additional space to house the federal court and ancillary departments and began negotiating with GSA to build or purchase a building to house these departments. In 1991, a news conference unveiled plans for a new 20,000-square-foot office building to be constructed across from the federal courthouse on West Main Street. The two-story building would be made of steel and concrete, to be owned by PHT Inc. of Carbondale and leased to the General Services Administration as a federal office building. In addition to the new building, estimated to cost more than $1 million, another $3 million would be spent for courthouse renovations and the construction of a new addition to the federal courthouse.

On November 13, 1991, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Federal Office Building at 302 West Main Street (across the street from the U.S. Courthouse). The construction and move was completed in July 1992. The new occupants were: U.S. Probation and U.S. Attorney offices, Mine Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Trustees.

Early in 1992, a base bid dated October 10, 1991, in the amount of $1,958,500 for the construction of the bankruptcy courtroom/chambers, U.S. Marshal's renovation and the U.S. Court's conference room in Benton was awarded by General Services Administration to Korte Construction Company. That same year the remodeling and construction of Senior Judge Foreman's Chambers on the second floor of the Benton Courthouse was finished and move accomplished December 12-17, 1992.

Also in 1992, the Benton branch of the Federal Public Defender's office relocated to new permanent quarters at 112 North DuQuoin, approximately three blocks west of the U.S. Courthouse, completing the building and renovation of the Benton Federal Buildings Complex, fulfilling Chief Judge Foreman's dream since he was named judge in 1972.

Due to continued growth in the federal judiciary during the past ten years, the Benton employees find themselves again faced with cramped working conditions with no available space for expansion in these buildings—problems to be solved in the foreseeable future.

Benton Co. History: The Story of the Once Thriving Benton City

ST. CLOUD -- You can&apost call Benton City a ghost town, because hundreds of people still live there, but it is definitely a forgotten city for most of us.

Mary Ostby is the Executive Director for the Benton County Historical Society. She says they have records showing the first deed filed in Benton County was for Benton City in 1850, but people were already living there a good ten years before that.

In fact, an article in 1856 in a St. Paul newspaper talks about the boat landing stop on the river prior to arriving in Sauk Rapids.

You now know Benton City as the east side of St. Cloud. The 68-acre village stretched from Sauk Rapids all the way to the Benton and Sherburne county line.

Ostby says Sauk Rapids - which was established a year later in 1851 - worked as a sister city with Benton City up until the devastating tornado of 1886.

Because of the tornado, St. Cloud was pushing for the annexation of both communities (Sauk Rapids and Benton City).  Sauk Rapids was extremely against it.  But, Benton City - also known as East St. Cloud - because of financial issues caused by the tornado, and because St. Cloud needed East St. Cloud, they agreed to it.

Ostby says east St. Cloud was desirable for St. Cloud because it had the rail line and the railroad depot. She says there started to be a transition from calling it Benton City to referring to it as East St. Cloud once the railroad came in the 1860s and they called their depot the St. Cloud depot, even though it was located in Benton City.

So what you see between 1865 and 188 is the slow transition that everyone calls the railroad the St. Cloud depot and that&aposs when you see East St. Cloud cropping up in the newspaper article at the time, even though it wasn&apost incorporated as that.

In 1885 St. Cloud passed an ordinance requiring saloons to close on Sunday, however, the saloons in Benton City didn&apost have such an ordinance and became very popular.

In February of 1887, a St. Cloud delegation met at the courthouse and let it be known their wishes to annex Sauk Rapids, Benton City, and Haven Township into St. Cloud. In March of 1889, a bill passed both houses of the Minnesota State Legislature to make east St. Cloud a part of St. Cloud.

In 1890 the East St. Cloud Fire Company was established with its first foreman a man by the name of Frank Beaudreau, whose family opened Beaudreaus Bar in East St. Cloud.

Benton County, Arkansas History

The following section of this website is based upon History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas published in Chicago, Illinois in 1889, and several other manuscripts interspersed throughout. A list of works consulted for this history is located at the bottom of this page.

The county of Benton lies in the extreme northwestern corner of the State of Arkansas, and is bounded north by McDonald and Barry Counties in the State of Missouri, east by Carroll and Madison Counties in Arkansas, south by Washington County in the same State, and west by the Indian Territory. The meridian of longitude 94 west from Greenwich, England, or 17 west from Washington, passes through the eastern part of the county near the village of Garfield, and the parallel of latitude 36º and 20′ north, passes east and west through the county near its center. The boundary lines of the county are described as follows, to-wit: “Commencing on the State line between Missouri and Arkansas at the northeast corner of fractional Section 8, Township 21 north, Range 27 west thence south to the southeast corner of Section 8, Township 18 north, Range 27 west thence west eight miles to the southwest corner of Section 7, Township 18 north, Range 28 west thence south two miles to the southeast corner of Section 24, Township 18 north, Range 29 west thence west eighteen miles to the northeast corner of Section 25, Township 18 north, Range 32 west thence south five miles to the southeast corner of Section 13, Township 17 north, Range 32 west thence west three miles to the northeast corner of Section 21, in the same township and range thence south three miles to the southeast corner of Section 33 thence west nine miles (more or less) to the southwest corner of the county at the corner, to Townships 16 and 17, and Ranges 33 and 34 thence north on the eastern boundary line of the Indian Territory, on a bearing of about 10º west, twenty-nine miles, more or less, to the northwest corner of the State thence east on the State line to the place of beginning.”

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.

History of Benton - History


The Kinkeads were among the first settlers of Benton County and this picture was taken at the turn of the century. The late Roy Kinkead is sitting on the fence and standing are his parents, Belle Halley Kinkead and Albert Jr. Kinkead, and "Uncle Jodie" Kinkead. Other children of Albert and Belle Kinkead were George Kinkead, who now lives east of Spring Grove Church and Hallie Nash of Kansas City. After Belle' s death, Albert remarried and their children were E. B. Kinkead and Faye McCubbin. This house was built on land purchased by Milton Kinkead from the Indians for $9 and the family lived in a wigwam until it was constructed. It was located near a fine spring. Milton Kinkead came to Benton County from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, by ox team. He was accompanied by John Graham, who settled on what was later known as the Forest Wilson Farm, now part of the Kaysinger Dam project. George Blanton, Milton Kinkead's brother-in-law, settled up the creek on what later was known as the Hunter and Price Gregory Neil farm, now owned by Roy Cole. It also is in the Kaysinger area. Estel Kinkead, Warsaw stock man and well-known resident, is a son of Jodie Kinkead, the little boy sitting on the fence.

They said, "Let's tarry a while. They did. And with this book, the dust of memory stirs again around their homestead.

DRIPPING SPRINGS are located 3/4 mile to a mile upstream on Big Tebo Creek, from the mouth of Clear Creek on the Benton and Henry County line. Water runs out of the ground on the creek bank and pours over a limestone rock overhang. It falls some eight to ten feet to the ground below, near the water of the creek. The creek was up when this picture was taken, according to B. W. Chastain. It was taken looking out toward the creek. The springs will be covered up by the water of Kaysinger Lake. A Mr. Proctor, one of the first settlers in this area, built a cabin not far from the Dripping Springs. He came to Benton, then went back to Kentucky in 1837 and told Jacob Chastain how fine the country was--and the latter moved here with family and slaves and settled in the same area.

The first recorded white men in the Benton County area were Philip Renault and Claude DuTisne in 1719. Others came soon after them, the traders bringing implements, powder, lead, clothes, trinkets and often whiskey which they traded with the Indians. French traders, American hunters and trappers kept a thin line of commerce up and down the Osage River basin until the old Missionary Trail from Jefferson City to the Indian Mission at Harmony in Bates County was established in 1821. By 1830 the river was an artery of immigration. In 1825 the government had established the military road from Palmyra in east Missouri thru Cole Camp, Warsaw and Springfield to Fort Smith, Arkansas and beyond. Warsaw was the crossroad of western Missouri. The earlier settlements were located in valleys at the edge of timber and the condition which usually determined the location of a home site was that it be near a spring of running water, The settlers in that early day mostly were from Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas where they didn't know how to make a field unless it was hewn out of a forest. So they'd locate a spring on a branch, clear 3 or 4 acres of land for a field, costing them more labor than it would have to cultivate a 40 acre field of prairie. The pioneers were for the most part farmers of Scotch-Irish, German and English extraction. They were a restless, adventurous and enterprising lot, brave to a fault. These won the struggle of the wilderness. They came from north, east and south. Only the west contributed nothing but beckoning bounty in the development of Benton County. And The first settler was Ezekiel Williams in what is now Cole Township.

They used their inventive wits. Doors were made of clapboards, floors of mother earth, bedsteads with one leg were fastened to the walls at the corners of the houses, wagon grease was made of honey which was only 25 cents per gallon or about 1cent per lb. in the comb. A family really felt civilized when it had good puncheon floors and 2 bedsteads. Bread was scarce and what crops were made were liberally divided so that all could have a little bread. There was very few hogs but lots of wild game, so with the faithful dog and flintlock, everyone had plenty. Meal was made by pounding the corn in a stump mortar, the coarsest for hominy and the finest for bread, and very dark at that. Men then worked for 50 cents per day. Neighbors were few and far between, but everybody was friendly and willing to divide the last mouthful. One of the first tasks for the pioneer was to throw together some sort of rude shelter for his family then next came making a mortar for reducing corn to particles small enough to serve as food. The best mortars were made in the standing stump of a post oak or white oak tree (most were made in logs). Such hard work was the fashioning and the farmer Who boasted a well proportioned and deep mortar in a solid post oak stump congratulated himself on his industry and good fortune. Fire was used to aid the axe so bread usually was very dark. With a hand made wooden pestle the corn was laboriously pulverized before being sifted thru a thin bit of muslin. The coarser bits were used for hominy and finer for meal or cornbread. Most of these contrivances were followed by a "sweep pestle", muc h heavier than could be worked by hand and hung on a balanced pole after the fashion of a old fashioned well sweep. A single blow from the machine was equal to a dozen from a hand-worked pestle and many farmers continued to use the sweep-pestle after mills were established in the area.

(Name and Date of Arrival)
Benton County, Missouri

Boeschen, John and Gesche 1833

Carter, Maniel, Elijah and Edmond 1832

Donaghe, (hunter and trapper) 1834

Fouche, ---- Prior 1830
(hunter and Trapper)

Graham, John, Sr. 1832
(first census taker)

Harrisons, 1834
(Tavern near Breshears Store)

Hogle, John F. Prior 1820
(Indian agent)

Rippetoe,William 1832
(first white resident on Pomme deTerre)

Shipton, John ----
(first miller)

Williams, B. H. & John M. 1834

Wright, John B. & Montgomery 1833

Yeager --- 1832
(store at Bledsoe's Ferry)

The first settlers in what is now Benton County were John F. Hogle, a German, and Narcisse Pensineau, a Frenchman. The Pensineaus were among the earliest of the French settlers about Cahokia, Ill.-noted fur traders in the Northwest. Hogle has his name perpetuated in the name of Hogle Creek. It was at the mouth of this stream that Hogle and Pensineau established a trading post. It cannot be ascertained what year they came, but it was long before the earliest pioneer settlers followed them into the dark wilderness. Hogle became Indian agent of the government. They came seeking the barter and trade with the Indians, and fixed their trading post at the mouth of this creek, where was the largest Indian village in what is now Benton County. This was the first non-Indian settlement, and theirs the first store.

In 1832 Thomas J. Bishop, the first county and circuit clerk, came as a clerk for Hogle. He was a bright, energetic young man, a fine scribe, and he succeeded to the ownership of the trading post, and for some time the only point of supplies for many miles was "Bishop's Store," as the place was called. The store was discontinued in 1838, soon after the Indians left, and Bishop moved to Warsaw. He had come from Philadelphia, Pa. and had bought the store after serving as clerk. It is believed Ezekiel Williams was the first Anglo-Saxon settler in Benton County. He came in the fall of 1830 or the spring of 1831, He first settled on the Fordney place, afterward on the place widely known as the Williams place, southwest of Cole Camp. He had been one of Lewis and Clark's men in their early expeditions to the Northwest. The next was Oliver L. G. Brown, soon after Williams. In the same year two men named Ross built their cabin near the mouth of Ross Creek. In February, 1831, Mannen Duren came and built his cabin at the mouth of Duren Creek. He brought stock from Pettis County, and wintered his animals on the bottom grasses. His next neighbor was William Kelley, who settled the Marcellus Jeans place. In the latter part of 1831, Lewis Bledsoe settled on the Osage River about half a mile above Warsaw, on the old military road from Palmyra to Springfield, and established a ferry. The spot where he built his cabin on the river bank is now in Dr. Crawford's field. In a short time a man named Yeager opened a store at Bledsoe's ferry.

In 1831 Stephen A. Howser settled where Warsaw now is. His cabin was near where the Gilbert mill and later the railway depot stood on lower Main St. and the river front. It is said he purchased the right of Indians. The Indians as well as Howser had been attracted by the fine spring, near which was Charles Wall's house near the intersection of Briggs-Jefferson Sts, The Wall house was torn down in 1930 because of backwater from Lake of the Ozarks created by Bagnell Dam. It was a two story brick. In 1832 George H. Hughes, Levi Odineal, Thomas Moon and a man named Alsup came from Cooper County to engage in raising stock, expecting to winter them on the rich bottom grasses. They settled on the old Tyree place. A severe winter met them, and much of the stock perished. In 1832 Sympkins Harryman and Daniel Nave were added to their neighbors. William Ripetoe, this year, became the first settler on Pomme de Terre River. In 1832 Judge George Alexander settled on Turkey Creek, on the place afterward Mrs. Thurman's. He engaged in traffic with the Indians. In 1835, after the Indians left the west side of Pomme de Terre, he moved across and bought the Indian claim, where they had a village, giving them $60 for the right. The place became in time the property of his son, John H. Alexander. Capt. John Holloway and his wife, Nancy and family came in April 1832, a Kentuckian, but latterly from northern Illinois, where he had been in the Black Hawk War. He settled at Heath's Bend, on the Osage River. C. G. Heath, after whom the bend is named, was his son-in-law. He bought the Holloway farm when the family moved to California during the Gold rush.

In 1832 the first settlement was made on the Little Tebo, by Milton Kincaid, John Gresham, Sr., and George Blanton, with their families. Kincaid purchased of the Indians a clearing, later the farm of Albert Kincaid. Gresham built near Spring Grove Chrueh, John H. Howard and Lewis Johnson, the same year, settled on the Osage River below Warsaw. Hon, James H. Lay says these comprise all the immigrants who came prior to 1833, the year when the great tide of immigration set westward. The information as to where and by whom settlements were made between 1833 and 1836 are as follows: Three free negro brothers settled near Fairfield, Edmond Carter on the Crabtree place in the bottom, and the other two, Lige and Manuel Carter at what was named "Free Nigger Springs," on the Hosmann place southeast of town. Crabtree settled on the Pomme de Terre: Peter and Nathan Huff on the E. K. Bailey place Alexander Breshears and Sampson Norton settled on Breshears' Prairie, and above them were the Joneses and Brookshires, more fully referred to in the Turk-Jones affray, or "Slicker War." In this s ettlement were Samuel Weaver and Samuel Daniels on the prairie north were Isaac Saulsbury and Edward P, Bell across the Pomme de Terre, now in Hickory County, were Judge Joseph C. Montgomery, Samuel Judy and John Graham.

Of the first settlers on Hogle Creek was James M. Wisdom. It is said that Wisdom had to go to Niangua to find help to raise his house. The first settlers on Turkey Creek were Samuel Weaver, Duvald Beck, Walter McFarland, W. H. Barnett, B. H. Williams, Joseph Hooper, David Kidwell, Jacob Dawson, John Scaggs, Mr. Hudson and William Kays, who built the first mill in Benton County, on the Osage River, a little above the mouth of Turkey Creek. A man named Elmore was the first settler on Deer Creek, about two and a half miles above its mouth. On this creek also were Elijah Doty, Jonas Dawson and George Richardson. John M. Williams and William Denton were the first settlers on the Osage below Warsaw. They made their improvements on what is known as the Denton land. Isaac Nicholson settled near Howard and Johnson, above mentioned. Above these were William Jeans and the Donaghe's.. Above Warsaw in the Shawnee Bend were John B. and Montgomery Wright, James and John Roberts, on the old Balliette place Isaac Wickliffe, James Browder, above a short distance and John and William Dean. at Dean Island, and Emanuel Case.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Thomas Breshears are seated.
Daughters, standing behind them, Lillie Johnson, in white blouse, and Emma Wright. Sons, from left to right, are Perry, James T., John H., Jasper W.

With Mary Mabel and Harley Taken Early 1900's

TAKEN ABOUT 1900, this photo shows Mr. and Mrs. John Franklin Poague of Lincoln. They were parents of John William Poague

OLD-TIME HOME, a few miles northwest of Warsaw, was this residence built in 1840 by the Neace family, Benton County pioneers.
An old family cemetery is on the property, owned by Gene Gibson when the home was taken down in 1967.
The house was made of logs with walnut siding and put together with pegs.

The first settlement on Grand River was at the Bettie Foster Ford by the Fosters and Anglins, On the big Tebo were first Adamson Cornwall Joshua Graham and Cabel Crews. On the Little Tebo were Elias Hughes, Judge John W. Lindsay, one of the Limas, Henry Davis, Andy Bryant, Judge William White, Davis Redd, Adam Neas, On Cole Camo Creek in addition to those already named. were John Tyree, (the county's first casualty in the Civil War), Jacob Carpenter, George Cathey, Travis Cox, Wesley Holland, Albert Nichols, John W. Eastwood, Samuel Fowler and Champion Helvey.

On Indian Creek was John Shipton. He built the first mill in this part of the county, and it was a noted place for years, as it supplied the surrounding northern country for many miles. The place was once platted and made a village, with the serious intention of becoming a village.

On Lake Creek the first were James Q. Carrico, Joseph Lebow, Allen Morgan and C. C. James. Carrico's and Lebow's names appear among the first land entries, and they are probably among the first settlers in the county . Other early comers on this creek were Gesche' and John Boeschen, Henry Holsten, John Eifert, John Goetz, N. D. Jack and Jacob Limkin, The Boeschens opened a store. Near the store were Richard Williams, Solomon Crabtree, Joseph Thouvenal, James Allard, Samuel McCulloh, John Brown and James D. Murray. There was on the old road running north and south James Godwin, who opened a tavern, and he and Harrison as landlords were noted for their entertainment of travelers.

On the head of Brush Creek were first Jeremiah Bess and his brother in-law, Carter. In 1835 a colony came from Bourbon County, Ky., and located in this neighborhood, In this colony were Roland McDaniel and sons, Elias, George, Benjamin and William also Henry Y. Elbert and his sons, Roland, Henry and John, and also Thomas C. Warren, John Cleavland, William Peak and Robert Leach. Among the early settlers, but not of the colony, were Chastain Cock and Zachariah Fewell.

On Clear Creek were Jacob Chastain, Richard Glover, Levy M. Rizley, William Simpson, Samuel Rippin, Washington Dorrell and Samuel B. May.

The first settlers who ventured out on the prairies were George W. Rives, Stephen H. Douglas, R. S. Coates, Hiram P, Casey, Stephen H. Davie, on North Prairie Samuel Orr, James and Wiley Vinson settled near Lincoln James H. Lay, C. L. Perry, Lindsay Bowman, Johnson Shobe were on Little Tebo Alexander Davidson, Markham Fristoe and Samuel Parks, on Clear Creek.

In addition to the above, among the immigrants during the 30's may be noted the following: Andrew S. Bryan, Robert Pogue, Billington Johnson, C. Elinon, Stephen L. Bowles, Caleb W. Barr, Marshall Bowman, Peter Burns, H. S. Chalmers, Pemberton Carson, John Dunn, Jacob Dobkins, C. W. Fanthorpe, Micajah Gentry. Allen Ghee, Richard and Aquilla Glover, George R. Herndon, Alexander Hannah, R. C. Henry, Britton Holland, John Keaton, Thomas A. Lea, James H. Lay, Thomas McCaul, Anderson Prewett, Samuel Rippin, Robinson Ruddle, Joseph Redd, William Sally, James Vinson, James A. Weymouth, Henry A. Willis, Montgomery Wright, John Wynoms, Lewis Dillon and John B. Clark.

Mrs. Charles Walls, of Warsaw, daughter of James W. Smith, a pioneer of the county, came with her parents at the age of twelve years, in 1836. Her recollections of the first settlers and their customs were very distinct. The nearest post office at first was Boonville, and for some time the nearest mill. The first postmaster in Warsaw was Adamson Cornwall, and for years the mails were carried on a pony express weekly. In a short time the people could cease grating their corn meal and grind their corn at a horse-mill, five miles east of Warsaw. The first preaching she heard, and about the first in the county, was in a grove near Warsaw by a man named Duncan. People would go many miles, the whole family in an ox cart, if they heard there was to be preaching. Soon after the horse-mill was built, two stills were in operation, one north and the other south of the river.

The lands in Benton County were not surveyed and sectionized until 1836, and therefore no entries could precede this date. Richard Williams, it will be seen by the list below, made the first entry. There were nine entries in 1836. The following, with descriptive numbers, show the 12 particular localities in the county:

Township 43, Range 20: Jacob Timkin, July 27, 1839, southeast quarter of Section 9 John Timkin, March 23, 1839, east half of the northeast quarter of Section 22 Henry Khors, October 14, 1837, westhalf of the northwest quarter of Section 25 Gesche Miller. June 19, 1839, east half of the northwest quarter of section 22 Peter Miller, June 19, 1839, southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 22 Gesche Boeschen, March 2, 1839, east half of the northwest quarter of Section 10 James Q. Carrico, August 22, 1837, northwest quarter of Section 9 Joseph Lebow, December 10, 1836, east half of the southeast quarter of Section 5 Benjamin Mcf'arland, February 8, 1837, south half of the northeast quarter of Section 5 John Eifort, July 3, 1839, southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 3 Conrad Ringen, October 14, 1837, northeast quarter of the southwest quarter and the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 14 John Gerken, October 14, 1837, southeast quarter of the southwest quarter and the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 14 Peter Gerken, August 14, 1839, southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 14 Henry Holzen, October 14, 1837, east half of the northwest quarter and west half of the northeast quarter of Section 14, east half of the southwest quarter and west half of the southeast quarter of Section 11 Oelrig Jagles, March 29, 1839, northeast quarter of Section 11 John Boeschen, March 23, 1839, east half of the southeast quarter of Section.

Township 40, Range 20: John M. Williams, August 9, 1836, southwest quarter of Section 14, Charles A Hayden, June 6, 1839, southeast quarter of Section 15 Rodham K. Pogue, April 5,1837, southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 15 Thomas Robinson, April 25, 1840, southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 15 John L. Holly, May 23, 1839, northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 15 Isaac Nicholson, July 10, 1836, southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 8 John H. Howard, August 4, 1836, northeast quarter of Section 7 Virgil Newsom, July 30, 1836, southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 6.

Township 40, Range 21: Smith B. Howard, November 15, 1839, northeast quarter of Section 4 Samuel Sapp, South point, northeast quarter of Section 5 Elijah Cherry, January 14, 1840, southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 5 William Donaghe, December 24, 1839, southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 6 James C. Blankenship, December 3, 1839, northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 6.

Township 40, Range 23 Nathaniel G. Brown, December 16, 1839, southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 9 James Foster, December 3, 1839, northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 9 William Foster, December 4,1839, southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 5 David Menice, January 18, 1840, southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 9 John C. and Isaac H. Lusk, November 2, 1839, northeast quarter of Section 24 John Halloway, October 4, 1839, southwest quarter of Section 15 Daniel Martin, November 21, 1839, southeast quarter of Section 14 John B. Wright, in August, 1839, south half of Section 11 William Porter, November 20, 1839, southwest quarter of Section 12 John Stewart, November 20, 1839, west half of the northeast quarter of Section 12 David L. Hamilton, November 20, 1839, northwest quarter of Section 12.

Township 41, Range 21: John Lemon, November 12, 1839, southwest quarter of Section 5 Daniel Nave, March 2, 1841, southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 7 Alexander R. Russell, January 7, 1841, northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 7 Edward Moore, November 4, 1839, southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 22 Jacob Byler, August 26, 1839, northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 22 Thomas Dillon, November 4, 1839, northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 28 Thomas C. Burgis, November 11, 1839, east half of the northwest quarter of Section 28.

Township 41, Range 22: John S. Lingle, November 2, 1839, west half of the southeast quarter of section 10 George W. Crabb, November 9, 1839, west half of the northeast quarter of Section 10 Alfred W. Morrison, October 26, 1839, northwest quarter of Section 10 Charles S. Halloway, October 24, 1839, southwest quarter of Section 5 Samuel Orr, Jr., October 24, 1839, south half of Section 9 William Harley, November 4, 1839, southeast quarter of Section 8 John B. Clark, December 13, 1839, southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 20. Township 41, Range 23: Elias Hughes, October 10, 1839, northeast quarter Section 25 John Graham, October 25, 1839, east half of the southeast quarter of Section 25 Daniel Lynn, October 10, 1839, southeast quarter of Section 15 Joseph D. Redd, October 15, 1839, east half of the southeast quarter of Section 2 Zachariah Fewell, December 13, 1839, west half of the northeast quarter of Section 10 Alexander Davidson, December 4, 1839, east half of the northeast quarter of Section 10 James H. Miller, October 25, 1839, northwest quarter of Section 2 Eber H. Taber, October 25, 1839, north half of the northeast quarter of Section 3 Joshua Graham July 2, 1848, southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 27 Cabel Crews, November 5, 1839, west half of the southwest quarter of Section 21-

Township 42, Range 20: Richard Williams, February 26, 1836, southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 5 Seymour Crabtree, September 2, 1836, west half of the southwest quarter of Section 2 Joseph Thouvenal, March 27,1836, northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 2 W. and J. D. Hay, June 9, 1837, east half of the northwest quarter and west half of the northeast quarter of Section 15. Township 42, Range 21: Albert Nichols, October 23, 1839, West half of the northwest quarter of Section 11 Albert Nichols, November 4, 1839, southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 2 Jacob Carpenter, November 5, 1839, south half of Section 4 and north half of Section 9 Stephen W. Howser, November 4, 1839, east half of the southwest quarter of Section 5 Allen Carpenter, November 4, 1839, north half of the southwest quarter of Section 8 Vincent F. Berry, October 23, 1839, west half of the northwest quarter of Section 8 Travis Cox, October 19, 1839, northeast quarter of Section 7 Albert Rood, November 14, 1839, northeast quarter of Section 7 Albert Rood, November 14, 1839, east half of the northwest quarter of Section 18 Barnett S. Furnish, December 10, 1839, east half of the northwest quarter of Section 19 William T. Dyer, November 27, 1839, east half of the southwest quarter of Section 19 Elisha Davis, May 23, 1837, southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 20 Jonathan Lamb, October 23, 1839, east half of the southeast quarter of Section.20 Cornelius Huett, November 16, 1839, north half of the northwest quarter of Section 29.

Township 43, Range 22: John and James Dunn, November 25, 1839 southwest quarter of Section 34 Alfred Head, November 19, 1840, west half of the southeast quarter and east half of the southwest quarter of Section 26 Wesley Holland, November 4, 1839, southeast quarter of Section 15 Zachariah Bowman, November 4, 1839, northwest quarter of Section 29 Isaac J. Aylsworth, December 10, 1839, southwest quarter of Section 29 James W. Blakely, December 11, 1839, southeast quarter of Section 30 Robert Ferguson, December 11, 1839, east half of the northeast quarter of Section 30 George Ramsey, December 11, 1839, west half of the northeast quarter of Section 30 and east half of the northwest quarter of Section 30 Joh Priestly October 27, 1839, east half of the southwest quarter of Section 30 James Dupree, December 11, 1839, west half of the northwest quarter of Section 31 David Bridgeform, October 25, 1839, north half of the southwest quarter of Section 29 James Dunn, October 24, 1839, east half of the northeast quarter of Section 33 John Dunn, November 25, 1839, east half of the northwest quarter of Section 34 Marcellus Dunn, May 9, 1840, northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 28 William Manning, October 13, 1839, southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 28.

Township 42, Range 23: Ennis McDaniel, October 26, 1839, west half of the southwest quarter of Section 29 George C. McDaniel, October 5, 1839, Jeremiah Bess, October 26, 1839, east half of the northeast quarter of Section 17 William Hickman, November 18, 1839, north half of the southwest quarter of Section 17 George Carter, November 6, 1839, southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 17 Christian Cock, October 26, 1839, west half of the northwest quarter of Section 20 Zachariah Fewell, February 4, 1840, west half of the southeast quarter of Section 30 Richard Fewell, December 13, 1839, northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 32 Richard R. Fewell, October 19, 1839, southeast quarter of Section 31.

The pioneers were Virginians and Kentuckians mostly. The places where they settled shows that they sought for the timbers of streams and springs of flowing water as points of advantage. They knew nothing of the nature or value of prairie land. The first cabins in the bottoms were nearly all washed away in a few years when the great freshets came. A cabin and a few acres for bread and truck patch were the nature of many of the first farms the wild game gave abundance of meat. Often the ordeal was the first year before a crop of bread stuffs could be raised. No settlers ventured into the prairie prior to 1840. Senator Tom Benton had notified the world that the desert commenced sixty miles west of St. Louis, and government surveyors had reported the prairies as unfit for cultivation. These errors could but gradually wear away. It was the truck wagon age, when plows were made from a forked sapling. No schools, churches or courts existed, and every family's wearing apparel was made at home. In the minds of most of these silent adventurers the destructive as well as food game were the deer, turkey, possum, coon, elk, bears and panthers, Indians, etc. On the prairies were the green head flies in animal destroying legions. Boys often grew almost large enough to go "sparking" before they had shoes or trousers. Many a garment of wear has been made from the wild nettle of the bottoms-the lint being treated like flax. Men often wore moccasins for foot covering in winter. The next imperative want, marking even the tendency to luxury of the pioneer fathers, after a saw and grist mill would be often a still, and then would follow the school and church. As a class they were a frugal, hard-working, plain and good people, in which was, of course, an admixture of the rough and turbulent element. Fights and bitter feuds were not uncommon, and in rare cases nearly the whole people became involved in the bloody vendetta, and cruel punishment followed, and human life became cheap indeed.

In the Williams Cemetery of the Union Church, about 3 1/2 miles south west of Cole Camp, lie the remains of Ezekiel Williams, pioneer, trapper, explorer, one of the first Anglo-Saxon settling in Benton County. His resting place is marked by two venerable old cedars, which were, no doubt placed on his grave by members of his family to mark the site, until a more lasting monument was erected in his memory, in 1963.
Ezekiel Williams' birth place and birth date are uncertain. He is thought to have been born about 1775, and by his own statement was raised in Kentucky. However, in view of the fact that Daniel Boone and five companions made their first explorations of Kentucky in 1767, but did not establish their first settlement until 1775, when Boonesborough was settled, and in the interim on June 16th of 1774 James Harrod and forty associates from Monogahela County established the first permanent colony in Kentucky, it is most certain that Ezekiel came into Kentucky as an infant, or was born there soon after his parents' migration. An Ezekiel Williams was in the Revolutionary Virginian Army, so that it is probable he was either father or uncle of the pioneer. Ezekiel was married in 1795, and in 1797 his only child, a son Sam. was born. There is a strong probability that his wife died before 1800, as later records indicate he was unmarried in that year. The next trail of Ezekiel is located in 1807 when he appeared at the present site of St. Louis, and with twenty other trappers organized a trapping venture to travel the Lewis and Clark trail to Fort Mandan, and near there establish a trading post, from which they could operate their own trap lines as well as barter with the Indians. "Captain" Williams was elected leader of the band. Each trapper was responsible for his gear, food, supplies, weapons and traps. In addition to mounts and pack animals for each, pack animals for wares to barter with Indians were included. The trip to Ft. Mandan was made without incident. There the chief "Big White's" of the Mandans assisted them ,and they built their store in what is now Montana. One of the fur traders, Manuel Lisa, was placed in charge of the station with the assistance of one of the party. The remainder started a trapping, expedition south along the eastern slope of the mountains. After sixty days of travel, they reached the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Having found an ideal spot for a camp, in excellent fur country, they set up headquarters. They found the spot too good to be true, as early season trapping seemed perfect. But as winter set in, Indians arrived to stay in great numbers, the large, hot, Poncha water Spring being the attraction that caused the Indians to claim that as their winter quarters. The Indians were not too hostile, but thievery was so extensive that by spring, it was evident that the trip was a failure. The band divided and half went over the Divide, at what is now Monarch Pass. The remainder with half of what furs remained, started down the Arkansas Valley. After a few days journey they met Indians who had traveled from Ft. Mandan. They reported that the trading post had been attacked and destroyed, after the death of Manuel Lisa and his assistant. The fire was actual, but the agents later were found to be alive, but captive. The fur party then decided not to return to Montana, and all but Williams and one man turned south into New Mexico. Williams and his companion made a large canoe and with 12 bales of fur attempted to descend the Arkansas, hoping to return to Missouri. Along the way his companion was killed by Indians, and Williams was taken captive, while all of the furs were stolen. After months of captivity, the U. S. Army rescued Williams, since friendly Indians had reported a captive white man was held at this village. After his return to Missouri he settled on a farm between Franklin and Boonville. In 1813 when William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) was named governor of the Missouri Territory, Ezekiel told him the story of his capture by the Indians and the loss of his 12 bales of fur. Clark, who was a long time friend of Williams (also born in Virginia in 1770 and moved to Kentucky in early childhood), decided to punish the Indians by having them appear at a military post to receive their annual government payment, and have Williams hide in an adjoining tent, to be called to appear before them at an opportune time. After preliminary procedure, and proper smoking of peace pipes, Ezekiel entered, and facing the same chiefs who had held him captive, made his charges against them. They stoutly denied ever having seen him, until some of the soldiers appeared bearing some of the bales of furs the bindings of which were identified by initials "E. W." They then said Ezekiel had lied, in that they only took the six located bales, and, there were no more. But as soldiers kept appearing with new bales, or their identification, the number grew to eleven. Since they could find no more, Ezekiel agreed to settled for the value of his eleven bales, so after proper adjustment, the Indians received the remainder of their payment. Historian Frederick Volkner says that was one more bale than they had stolen, since Williams had found that there was insufficient water on the lower Arkansas to float his load, so he had cached several bales prior to his capture by the Indians. In 1814 Ezekiel and three' other men left Franklin for Colorado to bring back the cached furs. They found them, and having loaded their pack animals, started the return to Missouri. On the way Indians scattered the group with two men and half the furs going south, and Williams, his companion and half the furs going north and East. Much later it was learned the men escaping to the south were murdered and their furs stolen. Ezekiel's companion was also killed later by Indians. He arrived at Franklin with his furs a while later, but there were fewer than he remembered and their condition was such that the trip was a failure. In that same year 1814, Ezekiel was married at Franklin, to Mary Nancy Jones, widow of James Jones, and mother of six children. The ceremony was performed by a Baptist minister living on a farm adjacent to the Williams farm.

Thinking he might settle down after his marriage, he was named Ranger and Defender of the Territory and was stationed at a fort south and east of Arrowrock, In 1818 the Federal government planned to build a military road from Palmyra, Mo. to Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Ezekiel Williams and three others were commissioned to layout the segment of the road that would extend from Franklin, Mo. to the crossing of the Osage river. The "Franklin Intelligencer" states that the road started at the boundary line of Ezekiel's farm, crossed the river near Booneville, passed Lamine and continued thru what is now Cole Camp and the "Old Road" by the Union Cemetery where Williams was buried, down the Williams Creek valley thru Williams Township and to the Osage River crossing near Warsaw. This pleasant valley so impressed this much traveled man, that he then stated he would like to live there. However, he still had the wanderlust, and it was eleven active years before he became Benton County's first settler. The Franklin Mo. "Intelligencer" reports on Aug. 14, 1821 that a comp any of 17 men met at the home of Ezekiel Williams for the purpose of forming a trading company to traffic with the peoples of Santa Fe, New Mexico. William Becknell was named captain. Each person making the trip would furnish his own mount, pack animals and merchandise. Any persons wanting to make the trip should meet at the ford near Arrow Rock at sunrise on Aug. 18th, 1821.

A later issue of the same paper states that only four men made the trip but does not name the traders. It is not known whether Williams made the trip or not, but it is probable since he is reported to have made the trip four times. On May 15th, 1827, a company of 105 men met at Blue Springs, near the Missouri-Kansas line, to organize a trading caravan headed for Santa Fe, New Mexico. The train was the largest ever to travel the route. Ezekiel Williams was elected Captain by the participating merchants. No information is available as to details of the trip. However, the "Franklin Intelligencer" reports that on Sept. 30, 1827 the party returned, with 60 men and a herd of 800 horses and mules, valued at $28,000. The profit from the expedition netted 40%. The Federal census of 1830 shows Ezekiel living in Booneville. That fall, about 55 years of age, he made trips to Benton County, carving out a crude homestead on the lower bottoms of Williams Creek. By spring he had completed his move. After a year's residence here, he was convinced that at last he was through roaming. So he moved up the creek a mile, to a site more to his liking, and built for permanency, As others followed to settle near him, he selected a site for his son, Sam, now 37 years of age, whom he scarcely knew, (since he was a mere child when his father left Kentucky). Sam, his wife, Polly, and nine children moved to Missouri in 1834, the same year that saw such heavy traffic into the new county.

The first post office in this area was opened up in Zeke's home. It operated there until 1839, when it was moved to the present town of Cole Camp when Dr. Hosea Powers started the nucleus of the present town. Ezekiel's home was the polling place for White Township elections, until 1839. The first official act of the first County Court of Benton County was to issue a merchants license to Ezekiel Williams (Feb. 16th, 1835). In 1842 the area near "Zeke" had become so populated, that a church was deemed necessary. The neighbors decided to organize a Methodist Episcopal Church.

They selected the following (most of whom still have relatives in Benton County) for their board: Isaac England, John Eastwood, Jacob Carpenter, Albert Nickols, Thomas Moon, John Jenkins and Edward Witall. On May 28th, 1842, Ezekiel Williams and his wife, Nancy, sold to the new church organization, the present cemetery and lot of the present Union Church. Two years later, the slave question caused such dissention that Methodism became divided on the question, and resulted in Methodist Episcopal South and North Methodist. This naturally resulted in a changed affiliation of the church, which eventually became a Union Church. Two years after selling the plot to the church, on Dec. 24, 1844 Ezekiel passed away, and was buried at the Williams Cemetery, at the church. It was his desire, not fulfilled by many of his companions, to die with his boots off, and to be laid away in a spot he had selected, twenty-six years previously, in an idyllic wilderness, then uninhabited by white men.

"Mountain Man"--and one of the county's first settlers. Mrs. Hettie Henry, a great-granddaughter of Williams, was seated in the front when this picture was taken in 1963. She was a great-granddaughter of Ezekiel Williams and was born on the old Williams place, spending nearly all her lifetime in Benton County, except for two years when she and Mr. Henry operated a hardware store in Lawrence, Kansas. Mr. Henry, a direct descendant of Patrick Henry, died in 1939. All of Mrs. Henry's living children were in this picture: left to right, Mrs. Oliver "Bob" White of Warsaw (Leona) Lawre nce Henry of Lincoln Clark Henry of Windsor Truman Henry of Lee's Summit Kenneth Henry of Aberdeen, Maryland Rayburn Henry of Holden Mrs. J. L. Atwood Odella) of Lincoln Oren Henry of Clinton. Occasion was the placing of a monument on the grave of Ezekiel Williams--119 years following his death. The marker bears the inscription:

In Memory of Ezekiel Williams
Circa 1775-1844
Western Mountain Man Memorial Placed by Descendants 1963
It is in Union Cemetery--the Union church and cemetery were located on the old Williams place.

GREAT-GRAND Children OF EZEKIEL WILLIAMS are shown in this picture taken when they gathered for a sad occasion, the funeral of their father, Sam Williams.
Front row, left to right, are these children of Samuel and Mary Williams: Fannie Williams Cook (mother of Mrs. Fred Harvey of Warsaw, later Springfield), Hettie Williams Henry, Ellen Williams Freund, Dora Williams Stevens, Dell Williams Nickel. Back row, left to right, Matt Fields, raised by Samuel Williams and a nephew of Mrs. Williams, Baker Williams, Harvey Williams, Earnest Williams and George Williams.

Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Drennon celebrated their sixty-second wedding anniversary on December 20, 1922. The son of Thomas Drennon, who came from Ireland, Mr. Drennon was born in Tennessee and came to Missouri by covered wagon. He was a Union soldier and once walked practically all the way from Texas to Missouri. Mrs. Drenon was Millie C. Dodd before her marriage and was born in 1843 in Pulaski County, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Drennon had 12 children.

Confederate soldier in O'Kane's Warsaw battalion at Battle of Cole Camp. Was born to the Rev. Jeptha M. Kelly and Mary Isabel Kelly, both of whom are buried in the old Warsaw Cemetery. The Rev. Kelly was one of the early pastors of the Warsaw Methodist Episcopal Church, South. At 13 John Smith Kelly worked in a Warsaw store during 1854-1855, later doing farm work for $5.00 per year. He fought during the war for Governor Jackson and General Price, being shot through the body at Carthage. After surrendering with the confederate army at Shreveport, he returned to his father's farm near Warsaw. In 1869 he went to Windsor, serving as Henry County judge. He died and is buried in Henry County at Windsor.

John A. Baldwin was born in Madison County, New York, December 24, 1819, the same day and year that Queen Victoria of England was born. Early in the year 1840 he started for the state of Missouri arriving in Benton County March 4th, 1840. The first night he stayed in Benton County was with the father of Alonzo Failer at the edge of the Lay Flat. The green grass was tall enough to wave in the wind and being from New York he thought he had reached Paradise. He journeyed to where the town of Fairfield now stands and was employed by George Alexander. When the first bridge was built across the Pomme de Terre at Fairfield he worked on the bridge abutments. Early in the forties he married Sarah Duren of North Lindsey Township. To this union five children were born, William, James, Thomas, Mary. and Ann, William and James were old enough to serve in the Union Army. John witnessed one of the early slickings in the Slicker War between the Turks and the Jones'. In 1854 he was elected surveyor of Benton County and when the Civil War broke out in 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army and served sixty three days. He resigned -from the army at the request of Governor Gamble to take the job as sheriff and Collector of Benton County. He served in that office till 1865 and was again elected surveyor of the county. When the war broke out the owners of the bank that was located where the county jail now stands returned to St. Louis and left the closing out of the bank to John Baldwin. His granddaughters still have some of the papers from the old bank. After the death of his first wife in the late sixties he married Sarah Miller and to this union were born two sons, one dying in infancy, the other Lewis A. living to be ninety five years old and spending the greater part of his life on what was known as the Dick Smith Farm nine miles North of Warsaw on the old Jefferson city Springfield Road where his daughters Fyrn and Helen Baldwin still live. It has been told by old timers that John was one of the best revolver shots that was ever a resident in the county. John A. Baldwin passed away January 15, 1908 in his 89th year

Some settlers wanting title to land had a long wait. When Missouri was admitted to the Union in 1821, government surveys had been run into only one township of Benton County: No. 43 Range 20 in northeast part of the county. Townships 40, 41 and 42 were surveyed in 1823, these lands then being in Howard County and the Land Office in Fayette. They probably were put on the market immediately and sold, but the first land of Benton County was not registered at Fayette until February 26, 1836, it being made by Richard! Williams living near Boeschen's Store north of Cole Camp. In the latter part of 1837, George Lewis, deputy U. S. surveyor, directed a surveying party sectionizing the land west of Range 20 north of Township 39. Completing the survey in June, 1838, were Howell Lewis, forward chainman and a great nephew of George Washington John S. Lingle, rear chainman and later chief clerk in the famous Atkisson shipping firm at Warsaw Iradel Davis, marker, a Mr. Bush who was flagman, cook and camp keeper.

These lands were immediately sold and were followed within a year by more land sales, all in Township 40 north and in the Fayette District. The Springfield Land Office was established June 26, 1834 and it was to that place settlers had to file to secure title until 1843. The Clinton office was then established and all land west of Range 20 had to be entered at that place. It closed in 1854 and was moved to Warsaw. Warsaw's Land Office was continued until Fremont's Army burned the town in November, 1861. Mark L. Means was the registrar during this time with N. B. Holden and A. C. Marvin, receivers. In 1840 it was housed in a building later the Lemon's Hotel. After the fire, the Warsaw district was consolidated with Boonville.

Each settler was allowed 160 acres by law and as the county was unsurveyed as they flooded in from the east, most lay claim to large bodies of land merely by staking them off and building pens of poles about them. Their claims generally were respected. Each sale of land brought a "boom": the 1830's, the 1840's and the 1870's after the Civil War. It was recorded that on Thursday, December 3, 1857 the Warsaw Land Office reported a land boom, stating that from September 15 to 30 of that year, 62,800 acres of land were sold, and during October 84,226 more acres were sold. Cash was paid for a total of 44,724 acres while the remainder were obtained through warrants, While the first settlers during those very early days came mostly from Kentucky, the Carolinas and Tennessee, after the Civil War the tide was strangely enough from Kansas, some of those who had poured west to Kansas returning. Many of them had hurried through Warsaw on route west in their oxen-drawn wagons, but they remembered the lush growth along the Osage, and its scenic beauty, to return to make their home there in the post-war years. The echoes along the mighty Osage after 1880 reverberated and a mighty people rested and grew strong awaiting their time to grow again with the harnessing of Osage power by Bagnell Dam in 1930 and by Kaysinger Dam in 1970's.


Henry Thomas Breshears was one of fourteen children of Henry Breshears who came into Benton County and settled in 1838. In this picture are: seated, Uncle Tom (Henry Thomas) and his wife, Sabrina standing is their son, Perry Breshears and a daughter, Lillie Breshears Johnson. Standing at far left is Della Morton, a family friend. This house, torn down in 1906 when a new one was built, was just east of the Church of the Brethren in Breshears Valley. Henry Thomas Breshears donated the land for the church and cemetery.


(Letter From H. B. Lindsey) Commerce, Hunt County, Texas January 2, 1894 County Clerk, Benton County, Mo.
Dear Sir:
You may think it presumptuous in me to write to you but I want to know if any of James Ramsey's family are living in Benton. I have been closely allied to the family, having married the second daughter in March, 1837. She died at Greenfield, Mo. in 1850.

I will give you the names of the Ramsey children and who they marr ied. Elijah married a Kennedy. George married a Kinkead, who lived on the Lexington road on Tebo Creek. George died on the road to California in 1849, Henry died in Titus County, Texas, unmarried. Andrew was killed by the Federals on his farm in 1862. His wife's maiden name I have forgotten. Elizabeth married in Howard County, her husband's name was Padget, They never lived in Benton. Mary, my wife, died as above stated.

My name is Horace B. Lindsey. Sallie married Jonathan Martin, who died some years after the war. Nancy married a Green, don't know if he is yet living. Julia Ann married a Kilbuck and was living on the old Ramsey farm 11/2 miles north of Warsaw lived there during the war and was taken prisoner by Fremont's army when it passed to Springfield then turned loose. Martha married Andy Sheppard, who was a merchant in Warsaw when he was burned out by the Federals. He took his family and went to Connecticut, where he was raised and his wife died shortly after he got there.

The old man, James Ramsey, died long before the war and was buried at Warsaw. The old lady has been dead many years. The last letter I got from any of the family was in 1879, written by Elijah from Warsaw. He stated he would move to the Jeans farm, four miles before Warsaw.

I have no sinister motive in making this inquiry. There is no es tate to hunt up. It is because of the ties of affinity. I was always strangely attached to the family and spent many pleasant hours with them.

I will here give you a little history of our first settlement in Benton County. My father, G. W. Lindsey, moved to Benton in 1834, then Pettis, and finally settled three miles northwest of Warsaw on the Lexington road on what I believe is now known as the Linn place. After the great flood on the Osage in 1837, he sold out and bought a place south of the Osage and died in 1840. Benton County was organized in 1835. Election was held and Zach Fewell was elected representative Wm, White, J. C. Mongomery and J. W. Lindsey, county judges T. J. Bishop, clerk, and A. Cornwall, sheriff.

The first circuit court held in the county was presided over by C. H. Allen. Next was at the forks of the Boonville and Lexington road, at the house of Mark Fristoe. The grand jury had to meet out doors under the shade of an oak tree about 100 yards from the court house. In 1837, I saw the commissioners stick the stake about where the courthouse was built for the county seat.

My father had the honor of naming it and called it Warsaw. The county entered 160 acres of land and had it laid off in town lots. First sale of lots was in January, 1838. Proceeds of sale were applied to public buildings. I was only a boy when we moved there and am now 77. I well remember the first sermon I heard there it was preached by old man Fristoe, Mark's father. It was in my father's lot in the shade. His text was: "Come see a man that told me of all things I have ever done. Is not this the Christ?" After the sermon, Maj. Foster demanded baptism and the old man took him to the creek and baptized him. I could write many things about the new county-but am -in feeble health. Have been in Texas since 1866, stopped in Grayson County and stayed there until 1888.

My family are all married off and am living with my fourth son, who has fixed me up with a nice room and am very comfortable. I had four sons who, with me, were in the Confederate Army. The oldest one was in Price's army. Mr. Lincoln administered on my estate and wound it up insolvent, leaving me the costs to pay, so there was not use in Johnson taking out letters "de bonis non."

Texas is a very large state and a very poor one in regard to grass and timber. We buy nearly everything we use, even our bread, meat, fencing, lumber and farm tools, and pay for it with cotton. Yet men will say how prosperous the state is. Most every county has a bonded debt. Poor place for a poor man. Better not come.
H. B. Lindsey

The Howerys were among the early settlers of Benton County. George W. Howery, died at the age of 88, at his home near Cole Camp in 1913. His family came here from Betecourt County, Virginia (where he was born April 3, 1825), when he was only 13 years old, in 1839. Mr. George Howery was a tanner in earlier years, then a farmer. He was in the Civil War, enlisting in the 8th Cavalry, Regiment of the State Militia, and was in on the Shelby and Price raids. The Peals were another early family. The 1913 Enterprise files carried an item about William H. Peal of Peal Bend being a frequent visitor in Warsaw. He was 81 on February 12 of 1913 and had been in Benton County since 1839, when he came with his parents. The Peals made the trip from Tennessee in the winter, with horses and oxen. The father's name was Levi Peal and Peal Bend was named for the family. The Peals made their first crop planting a few acres of corn on what was later the George Laird place. The 1913 Enterprise described 81-year-old William H. Peal in this manner: "He is sparsely built, tall and straight, his mind clear and nerves stead y a farmer who never weakens in braving the elements. He said this week there was one job he thought he would stop doing-the shucking of corn mornings in the open cribs.

Lon Kreisel said that most of the people who lived in Feaster district came from Kentucky about 1832. He named the families as Frisch, Hedgpeth, Swearngin, Horn, Bowers, Foster and two Rank families. Harve Rank, one of twelve children, said that their old home place, which was just about 1/2 miles from the Feaster school, is now Sycamore Valley Resort. He said his grandfather, who came with his brother from Pennsylvania (he thought the first name was Tom, but was not sure) had a tan yard in Warsaw some where along the town branch. His father, Ezra Rank, was born on the Old Drake place in the late 1840's or early 50's as he was in his teens during the Civil War, and hauled supplies for the soldiers. He also went to California with a bunch of cattle when 16. Mearl Campbell said his grandfather, James A. Campbell, came from Virginia in 1889. He spent the first night at the old Hotel in Warsaw, then went on to Fristoe. Mr. Campbell's father, Charles S. Campbell. was thirteen at the time. When the Campbell family was getting settled, Chris Davis, Mrs. Mearl Campbell's grandfather, came to see if they had every thing necessary to get along. So the two families got to be friends. Mr. Campbell's mother was a Crawford. Her father, Jim Crawford, lived where the Houston Johnsons live now. Mr. Campbell said that Miss Miloh Feaster's father, Col. W. P. Feaster, was an auctioneer and held a public sale at his Grandfather Campbell's place. W. W. Wisdom, Jr. writes from Tipton where he now resides that he has many memories of his childhood trips to Warsaw to visit his grandfather, A. J. Wisdom, merchant and builder of several business houses and a residence there, "I recall with pleasure hearing him talk with Judge Lay, "Cap" Petts, Mr. Jones, Abe Riddle, The Whites at the Enterprise (two generations of them), Tony Calbert, Ben Gallaher, Capt. Coney, Walter Morgan, Bud Hastain and others, "I was a member of the Butterfield Overland Mail Route centennial committee for Benton County. My research on the Butterfield stage route indicated only one original Butterfield stage stop building remains

It is now the Reser Funeral Home brick building in Warsaw. It is my hope that the building can be saved for posterity and be made a national monument commemorating the daily mail services from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans

By Dena Wright
John (Johnny) Tindle came with his mother and two sisters, from Kentucky, to Benton County when he was a small boy, and they were among some of the earliest settlers in the county. His mother's maiden name was Polly Hess, she was a widow and she was over 90 when she died and was buried in the Tindle family cemetery, on the old home place. He married Sarelda Kennedy and they had four children:
1. Sarah Ann, born in 1852, and who married Jimmie Short, who was a Union soldier
2. James B., born 1855, who married Lett Van Hoozier and they lived north of where Leon Mellon now lives, on the old Alex Campbell place. James B. had two girls. Etta married Will Hayter and they were the parents of Clay Hayter. Janie married Jack McCubbin. Both girls died young and they are buried at Clear Creek.
3. Nancy Jane, born 1857, and who married Dan McMellon of Illinois. They had six children, Perry, who died when he was a year old Blanche, Cora, Sarelda, Jessie and Dan., .Ir., and they lived east of where Buddie Hartle now lives. After Dan died, Nancy Jane married William Gant, a Union soldier, and their four children were John, Myrtle, Ira and 'Tressie. They lived by the Union school. The McMellons are buried at Martin's cemetery.

4. Mary Catherine, who was born in 1859, and married William (Bud) Sellers. They lived across from McQueen's house. They had five children Eva, who married Frank Dundas Bessie, who married Lawrence Dawson, John Sellers, who lives in Johnston, Colorado Charlie, who married Ruth Slapper, Charlie and a baby sister are buried at Clear Creek.

Sarelda Tindle, first wife of John, died in 1864 and is buried in the Tindle cemetery. His second wife was Mary Jane (Sellers) Duke, widow of Sam Dukes. Sam and Mary Jane had been married in Tennessee when she was 15 and they left for Missouri the day they were married. His sister, Jane Dukes and Andy VanHoozier were married the same day and came, too. Calvin Sellers, brother of Mary Jane, also made the trip with them. His wife was Malissa Parker and they both were born in 1832 in Tennessee.

Sam Dukes was a Union soldier, was stationed at Syracuse, Mo., where he was wounded, died and is buried there. He and his wife had a son, Andrew Dukes, who was about a year old when his father was wounded. Mary Jane took the baby and went by horseback to Syracuse to see Sam before he died. Mary Jane lived, at the time, in a school house. Judge Sam Parks walked there and carried the little coffin to the Baugh cemetery, where baby Andy was buried.

Sam and Mary Jane had another son, Samuel, who was born January 22, 1863. Mary Jane lived in the school house and neighbor ladies came in to care for her and the baby, "Kitty Bob" Fristoe, wife of John Fristoe, being one of them. Mary Jane was fearful of the panthers and wildcats around in the area and said she was afraid they'd get in and eat the baby, and she moved in with her husband's parents. The Dukes' place was south of Tindles and near the Chastain's. Although "Matt Dukes didn't approve and didn't want to give up baby Sam, Mary Jane married John Tindle in 1865 or 1866. And John Tindle raised the baby as his own and was a good father to him, as Mary Jane was a good mother to his children. They had four of their own that lived: John F., born in 1867 Henry Matt, born in 1869 Martha 'born in 1871 and who died about 8 and is buried in the Tindle cemetery Moses Hess,. born 1873, and Sarelda Bell, born February 14, 1875.

Of these children, John didn't marry. Matt married MaeBelle DuVall and they had five children (Minnie, who married John Downing Grace who married Edgar Davis Floyd who married Mary Raines Ruby, who married Harvy Martin, and Camni, who died when nine months old.) Matt's wife Maebell died when the baby Camni was five months old. In 1917, Matt married Maude Griffith, widow of Dave Griffith and they lived on the Baugh place. Hess Tindle married Hettie Morgan, a daughter of John Morgan, who came from Kentucky to Missouri in 1881. They had three children, including Vatelle, who married Marvin Chastain.

The Hess Tindle family lived on a farm on Clear Creek and Vatelle .and Marvin still live there. It is the only farm left of the old Tindle land that hasn't: been purchased for Kaysinger Dam and it will be bought later. The old Clear Creek schoolhouse was built on this property, out of logs. Sarelda Bell, daughter of John Tindle and Mary Jane, married Sneed C. Lain in 1898--they had been classmates at Baugh school, and he was the youngest son of Thomas and Annie McNew McLain and had been born in Tennessee. They had five children: Horace, who died when only 3 James Theodore of New Mexico Ermal (Tass) of Kansas City Dena, Mrs. Albert Wright of Warsaw and the youngest, Lena (Mrs. Paul Palmer) of Wheatland.

Judge Samuel Parks came to Missouri from Kentucky, with his parents, when he was just a boy. They settled in Cooper County, where he grew up, and where he fell in love, courted and married Miss Christiana B. Clark. They established a home and were soon on the road to affluence. About 1840, Mr. Parks sold his holdings in Cooper County and bought a large tract of land on the west line of Benton County and along the old Missouri road which ran from Jefferson City to the Osage Mission in Benton County. - On this land, Mr. Parks built what probably was the largest and most pretentious house in the county and, at the time his family moved into it, he and his wife had four children and had enough slaves to indulge in regular southern plantation living. Five more children were born after they moved to Benton County, making a family of nine--six girls and three boys. The eldest--James--went to California when he was a young man, became interested in gold-mining, did well, established a home and lived to a ripe old age. Five of the Parks girls found husbands in Warsaw, two marrying merchants, one a real estate dealer, one a doctor and one a lawyer

H. W. Fristoe's account of the Parks family, which he gave when Tom Parks died in 1917 at the age of 61-from which this is being written, goes on to say: .- The only thing that prevented the Parks family from continuing to live in what we might call regular colonial style were the hazards of war that brought many changes in our country and brought desolation to many a home. Soon after the close of the Civil War, the judge sold their old home and several hundred acres of land but retained several hundred acres of the best land, upon which he built another splendid house and moved his family in the later 60's.

Being bereft of their slaves did not deter the Parks family from undertaking the job of running the farm and each went heroically at his or her, task as the case might be. Judge Samuel Parks lived but a few years, after establishing their new home, and when the end came he was serving Benton County as its representive, and died at his post of duty in Jefferson City. As the Judge had always been the executive head at the farm, Alec and Tom often found themselves "at sea" about the problems that required a solving. But it was the good fortune of the family that the judge had wisely provided for them by leaving a competency that placed them beyond the point of struggling for existence, and yet they persisted in doing and continually adding to the storehouse of their treasures. Tom Parks was my childhood playmate, my country and college schoolmate and among the last of my closest lifetime friends and associates.

We will not say that Tom did not have a fault, but his character was so sublime and his virtues so numerous that his faults, If he had any, were never discovered, But what else would you expect of a boy (and man) whose only sweetheart was his mother and whose. chief thought was her comfort, Some twenty years ago when his mother's step grew feeble and her home duties on the farm a burden, Tom provided a comfortable home at Windsor to which he, with his mother, sister and brother removed, and there resided until a few days ago when the Death Angel called him to a better world. During his fatal illness he bore his sufferings with christian fortitude and every expression of sympathy was for the loved ones at home with no apparent thought of himself. The mother passed on to the better world several years ago so that now there remains in the home Miss Sue and AIec and to them, am the remainder of his sorrowing relatives and friends we extend our most profound and heartfelt sympathies

Dr. M. T. Chastain of Marshall, a former Benton Countian, wrote the following letter to Mr. Fristoe in 1917, concerning the Parks family am others in the area: I knew JUdge Samuel Parks and every member of his family. We were frequent visitors to their hospitable home. as they were to ours. We may not be aware that when my father and mother and their two children--Mrs, Sandidge and myself--came to this state, we spent some time in the neighborhood of the Perrys, Garretts, Walls, Fewells, Coopers and Drapers (am a splendid community it was, too) before we visited my father's uncle, Jacob Chastain on Clear Creek in Benton County.

Judge Parks and the Chastains were neighbors and warm personal friends. How well can I remember how Mrs. Parks would feed us little folks on goodies between meals., And_her. "dinners" surpassed in menu and elegance those of Delmonico in New York and on one occasion, while taking dinner at this noted hostelry, a friend said to me: 'Did you ever partake of such a sumptuous repast?" My reply was: "Yes-ev en better at the home of Judge Parks in Missouri."

My father purchased the Dr. Purnell farm some four or five miles east of Judge Mark Fristoe's, your grandfather, and my mother held her membership in the Clear Creek Baptist Church, then located between Judge Parks' and the Chastain's, some three miles west of your fathers Mr. Henson Fristoes, making it some seven or eight miles to church: My mother would always go horseback and take me behind her to lhe buslneas meetings on Saturday, as well as those on Sunday.

On one occasion I met Judge Parks there, and we were both outdoors (Saturday) - and he had me to sit down by him. He said, "Tandy, are you going to school now? "No," I said, "There is no school near us," nor had I ever attended school a day until after I was ten years old. "You can't read, can you?" "Oh yes. I can read in McGuffey's third reader, and spell every word in Webster's old elementary spelling book by heart," "Do you study arithmetic?" FIethen got a walnut. hickory, and oak leaf-" Do you study arithmetic?" " Yes. I am in addition, multiplication, it being in the timber-- and requested me to name each, which I did. He asked me to explain the difference, securing two or three different kinds of grass, requested me to name them. Then gathering several wild flowers requested me to name them.

I had often been in crowds of men but this was the first man of any prominence, aside from homefolks, who had taken me in on such familiar and confidential terms. I told my mother about it, and it pleased her very much. Said she, "Judge Parks is a very highly cultured gentleman, always treat him with due courtesy and respect, pattern after him and you can learn much. and be greatly benefitted by his advice and example." His oldest daughter who married Mr. Spencer. like your mother (Miss Davidson) before her marriage, would frequently spend the weekend at our home. It was a most remarkable coincidence to me that Mr. Spencer and Mr. Fristoe would visit us on Saturday evening after the ladies came. remaining over night, accompanying them home on Sunday evening. but when I became of more nature years. I thought I could solve the mystery.

In the 1830's the Breshears families from Lawrence County, Tennessee joined with other pioneers to make the trek to Missouri in ox-drawn wagons to carve a new and better life for their families. Henry and Alexander Breshears selected a fertile valley on the Benton-Hickory county line for their new homes. The tract of land, approximately 6,000 acres was bounded on the east and north by the Pomrne de Terre River and on the south and west by high hills. Alexander's wife, Margaret, was Henry's sister. Alex and Margaret (Peggy) settled on the east side of the valley and Henry and Atsey settled on the west. Accor ding to Judge Lay's History of Benton County, Squire Alexander Breshears was called upon to settle disputes during the Slicker War in the 1840's. He performed wedding ceremonies and held court in his home. He was a respected leader of the people. Alex's wife, Margaret died in 1864, and he later married Mary Jane Murray, a widow with two children.

Henry and Atsey (Etheridge) were the parents of 14 children. Henry was a farmer and parttime blacksmith. He died during the Civil War. We wonder at the trials and tribulations of Atsey Etheridge Breshears, as she made the long journey to a new home with her family from Tennessee. She was 32 years old and already the mother of 7 children, ages 3 to 15 years. Her 8th child. Henry Thomas, was born in Missouri in 1838. Court records in Tennessee show that they sold their property in April of 1838. The bill of sale of Aunt Roda, their only slave was dated April 10, 1838 and reads as follows: -- Rec'd the 10th day of April, 1838 six hundred dollars for in considera tion of one Negro woman slave named Roda, Sound as far as I know and a slave for life Age about 20 years given under my hand date above in presence of Thomas X Etheridge. Thomas Breshears.

Aunt Roda spent her entire life with the Henry Breshears family and was beloved by all the family. She is buried in the Henderson Cemetery near Henry and Atsey. In addition to their own children Henry and Atsey raised William Carroll Green Breshears as their own. He was 13 years old when he was orphaned on the trip to Missouri and joined the Henry Breshears family. William Carroll Green Breshears died while a soldier in Company C, Osage County Home Guard, during the Civil War. Court records show that his widow, Mary Orleana Rice Breshears, was given an 80 acre homestead May 20, 1873.His children were: Ike, Wm, Carroll Jr. Francis Marion, Martha Jane, and Peggy.
William Marion Breshears, son of Henry and Atsey, was wounded and died later in the battle at Cole Camp June 18, 1861. He was nursed by an old German couple and buried at Cole Camp. Court records lists his heirs as follows: Andrew J., Rachel J., and Salley Breshears. Andrew Jackson Breshears (Jack, son of Atsey and Henry at the age of 15 years, served for 60 days near the end of the Civil War. His future wife's brother, George Parsley, was killed during the Civil War. George was survived by his Wife, Amanda, and the following children: Charles, Thomas, James, Andrew, Benjamin, George, and Mary.

Henry Breshears plow and single tree 1.00
Wm Breshears 1 pears of hames and chains 1.50
Henry Breshears 1 pear of geers 1.50
James Wallen 1 pear of geers 1.55
Wm Henderson 1 handsaw, 2 augers, 2 chisels 3.15
James Williams 1 pick 3.15
Henry Breshears 4 slategats, and 1 hatscit (hatchet) .85
John Mitchner 10 harer teeth .85
Materson Breshears chaines and bridel 2.25
Mansfield Burnard 1 set of britchin 1.25
Wm Paxton 1 rifel gun 3.30
Henry Breshears 1 sadel 13.00
John Breshears 1 bell and coller 1.40
Isaac Salesburry 1 pear of bites and lethers 1.25
Wm Henderson 2 shovel plows 1.15
Henry Breshears 1 plow 80
James Williams 1 log chain 75
Henry Breshears 1 plow 1.00
Stephen H. Davis 1 plow 3.50
Mansfield Burnard 1 plow 1.85
Benj. Hines 1 half bushel and clevis 70
Sam Henderson 1 ax 1.00
Sam Henderson 1 corn knife 25
Wm Henderson 1 wagon 40.75
C Tareton? 1 basket 70
James Williams 1 bridel 25
Henry Bresheaars 6 bee guns 1.20
Wm Mitchner 1 bead 7.50
Henry Breshears 1 lot of boards 2.40
Wm Breshears 6 head hogs 20.50
Henry Breshears 1 cow 8.50
Wm Teurpin 1 cow 11.50
Henry Brooks 1 cow and calf 17.30
Eli Morton 1 cow and calf 18.25
Joel Searky (Kirby?) 1 cow and calf 17.85
Johanathan Scarberry 1 cow and calf 15.00
Henry Breshears 1 so (sow?) 20.00
E W Baker 1 so 17.00
H H Breshears 1 yoak of oxen 51.00
Pleasant Bird 1 yoak of oxen 74.25
I H Johnson 1 yoak of steer 26.75
H H Breshears 2 yearlins 22.00
Sam Henderson 1 bool and steer 26.75
Henry Breshears 1 heafer 9.00
Levi Breshears 2 yerlin steers 18.00
I Langford 2 yearlin steers 9.00
Eli Morton 1 yearlin bool 14.00
R H Edwards 1 cow 20.75
Sarah Breshears 14 head sheep 5.00
Henry Brooks 5 head hogs 1 cream collered mear and colt 98.25
Harrison Zimmerman? 1 mear 140.00
Harrison Zimmerman 1 mear and mule colt 150.00
Mathew Brown 1 horse 101.00
A Turpin 1 horse 15.00
Henry Breshears 1-2 year old filly 130.00
Materson Breshears 1 horse and mear colt 135.00
Eli Morton 1 horse 51.00
Wm H Williams 1 yearlin colt 40.00
H H Dode (?) 1 yearlin colt 51.00
Eli Morton 1 mule 80.50
Eli Morton 1 mule 100.00
Mathew Brown 1 mule 81.50
Henry Breshears 1 mule colt 41.00
Final Amount $1837.20

="center"> Amount of appraise bill $2162.15
Final Settlement July 26, 1860
Sale Bill of James A. Breshears July 15, 1857, Henry Breshears, Administrator, Thomas H. Alexander, Clerk of the Sale.

Thomas H. Alexander says that was the clerk of the sale made by Henry Breshears, Administrator of the estate of James Breshears, deceased and that the foregoing is the account of the sale.
Thomas H. Alexander
Sworn Subscribed before me the 16th day of July 1857 W. W. Cox

BRESHEARS FAMILY GET-TOGETHER---Mr. and Mrs. James T. Breshears are seated, and their daughter, Hazel Williams, is the little girl in white seated between them, Lucille Henderson, a granddaughter, is the little girl in the black dress, and baby in the white dress, to the right, is Ralph Tipton, with his brother, Raymond Tipton standing behind him . In the back row, left to right, are William and Nancy Henderson with their baby Imogene, who died in infancy Joe and Hattie Holler Prue Breshears Graham Iva Breshears Bird Paul Breshears Bernie Breshears Johnnie and Alice Tipton, and Pete and Evie Crabtree. This was on the occasion of Mr. and Mrs. James T, Breshears' 34th wedding anniversary and a big dinner for family and friends was held at the home about a mile and a half northeast of the Henry T. Breshears' home.

    The Joseph Miller family settled in Benton County in 1852, coming from Green County, Kentucky. Some of the daughters were married but their husbands came along, all but the oldest daughter Celia and spouse. A great-granddaughter of Joseph Miller is Ethel L. Wilson of Cucamonga, California, who lived on a farm near Warsaw until she was seven. She gave us the following items about the Miller family: When Joseph Miller decided to move to Missouri, he sold all his horses except Burry Ann (the name came because she was always getting burrs in her mane and tail), packed a few belongings and hired an old man with an ox team to take the family to Green River. The family left Kentucky by flat boat down the Green River to the Ohio thence by river steamer down the Ohio and up the Mississippi past: St. Louis where they changed boats, and thence up the Osage River. They disembarked at Linn Creek where Joseph mounted "Burry Ann" and rode for some one to move them to their new home. They located about eight miles north of Warsaw, on a bluff above the Little Tebo River. There were sugar maples and they made maple sugar. The spiles were elderberry. The troughs held a gallon, They also made sorghum molasses, and raised corn, wheat, tobacco and vegetables. They bought their first cook-stove, called a step-stove in 1860. They used trundle beds with strawticks, in the summer time they ate and cooked in a separate kitchen, but cooked in the shed in winter time. When I think of these wonderful pioneers, I am reminded of W. D, Gallagher's poem:

Our forest life was rought and rude,
And dangers closed us round
But here, amid the green old trees,
Freedom was sought and found.
Oft through our cabins, wintery blast,
Would rush with shrieks and moan
We cared not. Though they were but frail,
We felt they were our own.
Oh, free and manly lives we led,
Mid verdure or mild snow
In the days when we were Pioneers:
Full Two hundred years ago.

The wild flowers in the woods, blackwalnuts and hickory nuts in the fall. Wild strawberries that I used to pick on my way horne from school, and put in my lunch pail, a think it was a lard bucket), wild grapes, and blackberries. Mother making sorghum, and the picnic lunches we had under the trees where she made it, and pigs that rolled in the scum she removed from the sorghum. In the winter time. the apples that we had buried in the ground, how good they were, sorghum candy. 'popcorn balls, parched corn, and ice cream mother made from hail. Mother reading to us. The time Daddy was building the barn and Grandpa Miller looked at it and yelled, "Good Lord Almig hty. George Miller, that barn's crooked. didn't I raise you better than that." And how Otho Jackson used to sing folk songs to us--"the preacher and the bear." and "the bumble bee's wedding."

As of 1960 all thatwas left of the second Joseph Miller horne was just the stones of the fireplace and the foundation. And. on up the hill, only a few stones marked the location of the George Miller horne, but they still showed the outline of the house and a search turned up a stove leg and door. piece of an old iron kettle and some pieces of crockery. Little left of these old homes. But the flowers still grow in the yards, including Easter lilies at the second Joseph Miller place. Allison Frizzell, in the 1960's believed that the place he lived was the original Joseph Miller horne. When they carne there, he said, there was a log horne with a shed room and a spring and a huge tree by it.

Between September 24 and October 1, 1830, an emigrant party of at least 29 people started north from Greene County, Kentucky to establish new homes in western Illinois. Pleasant McCubbin was the leader of the group, which also included his brother, David, both their families, and William H. Rupe, whose wife was the former Eleanor McCubbin. (Rupe and Pleasant McCubbin had married each other's sister.) They did go to Illinois. But both the David and Pleasant McCubbin families in the early 1830's carne to Benton County to settle, David first, then, in 1836, Pleasant and his family. The Rupes also carne to Missouri.

Dave McCubbin built the log house now owned and occupied by Theodore D., Chance. The latter is composed of two separate buildings, connected and covered with one roof, about eight or ten feet apart. Each log room had a large fireplace. Logs for these fireplaces were dragged to the space between the buildings, called the entry,putinthe desired door and dragged in to the fireplace needing them. Tradition says that Dave McCubbin invented the first metal plow. It was not well accepted as farmers were sure it would poison the earth to the extent that crops could not be raised. David McCubbin died in 1908 and was about 94 years old. Pleasant McCubbin (born September 19, 1804) died on October 6, 1863 and was buried in a cemetery near Warsaw. The Pleasant McCubbin family settled in the neighborhood of the old Sterret homestead, west of Warsaw. Shortly after moving here, Pleasant helped build the first house in Warsaw.

THIS HOUSE WAS BUILT By David Franklin and Agnes Alexander in the early 1850's and was a stage stop for the Hannibal, Boonville, Joplin stage line.
Picture was taken in 1964, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Robb occupants of the house. It's located around three miles south of Warsaw.

Thomas and Yeureth Alexander were born in North Carolina in 1773 and 1776, moved to Kentucky, then to Tennessee and came to Benton County in 1816. (There's no written proof of this date but the family does know that they came just after a son, George Alexander, married Nancy Morton, which was in December of 1815.) They went back to Tennessee after five years, then returned here in 1830. Thomas and Yeureth had eight children, some of whom were born in Kentucky and others in Tennessee. .

The children, although grown, came to Missouri with their parents, with the exception of one who died, noted in courthouse records as "Squire" Alexander. They were: Judge George Alexander, Sarah Alexander (Mrs. Asa McKenzie), Nancy Alexander (Mrs. William Stewart or Stuart) Mary "Polly" Alexander (Mrs. Valentine Hammond)LouannaAlexander (Mrs. James Morton) Thomas Harrison Alexander (whomarried Eliza Norton) Emily Alexander (who married Isaac Weaver).

"Squire" Alexander's son, George Madison, also came to Missouri with the family and later served in the Mexican War. He was married to two Nancy's, Nancy Weaver and Nancy Blackwell, and is buried in Dade County. The family first settled on Turkey Creek, then moved into the Fairfield area. They purchased land from the Indians and had extensive land holdings. George Alexander was the most prominent of the Alexander sons. He was the County's first south side judge, serving two terms. He had numerous slaves and tradition says they did most of the rock work on the first bridge at Fairfield. He also owned the Fairfield mill at one time.

George Alexander and his wife Nancy had eight children--James Madison, who died during the Mexican War and whonever married Amy, who married William Williams Emeline, wife of William Bishop (no relation to Zebulon and Thomas Bishop, as far as can be ascertained) Mary Ann who married Zebulon Bishop and whodied before he went on to Oregon David Franklin, who married Nancy Wright, then married Agnes Zook George Thomas, who was shot in the back at Osceola by Union Soldiers--he was a Confederate soldier-his wife was named Temperance but we don't have her maiden name Mariah, who married Seth Howard John Haywood, who married Dicey Cox. Mrs. Nora Quick of Warsaw, a great-granddaughter of Judge George Alexander, had these recollections about the family in early days.

On his first trip to Missouri about 1816, the Judge brought his bride, Nancy and 143 head of horses from Tennessee. They crossed the Misaissippf River onic e 18 inches thick. The Judge went first, his wife bringing up the rear. The ice began to break with the last horse. Judge Alexander yelled at his wife to jump from the horses and come on, but she stayed on her horse, which, plunging from ice flow to ice flow, made it safely to shore.

Nancy's father had given her a Negro slave name Syl as a wedding present. Syl stayed with the family and she lived to be 103. By the time the Judge returned to Tennessee, he owned more than his father-in-law. Nancy Alexander, the Judge's wife, was, like many early pioneer women, skilled in taking the place of doctors when none were available. She assisted many women, colored and white, in childbirth. She was an excellent horsewoman, once rode 150 miles to get a draft for making wool coverlets. Mrs. Quick has a counterpane she made back in 1818. When the family again came to Missouri, they crossed the Mississippi on a ferry. A yoke of oxen, Buck and Bright, became frightened and their prancing was proving a threat. Someone suggested gouging their eyes out but the problem was solved by tying a red handkerchief over their eyes. On this trip, the women brought out their wheels ani would spin wool rolls while their teams rested. Mrs. Quick's grandmother, the late Amy Alexander Williams, said she could remember turning the wheel, altho only three years old at the time. The Judge's son James Madison was a 1st Lieutenant in the Mexican War. He contracted measles and got up too soon.

He had a set-back and died and was buried in santa Fe. When he left home, he went laughing, and did not return. Several of his buddies and kinsmen left crying, but came back alive. Marlar, the oldest daughter, ran off and married Seth Howard. After she died, Judge Alexander raised her three boys, Billie, Frank and John Howard. Her sister, Amy Williams, took Marlar's daughter Mary and raised her. John Howard (Lena Wilson's father) was the Judge's oldest grandson, and was just six months younger then the Judge's youngest son, Jolin. He was favored by being given a farm and this good fortune did not come to all the grandsons. Tom, a Confederate soldier, was captured enroute to Osceola in the Civil War, had his hands tied behind him, and was shot in the head (this was believed to have happened some where between Fristoe and Warsaw.) He was captured by Union Captain Webb, who had been his friend. Amy Alexander had warned her brother never to give up to Capt. Webb, but he told her: "Oh, me. he is my good friend, he'll stand by me." 'The Alexanders were told that, when captured, Tom told Capt. Webb: "A good friend told me never to give up to you." To w hich Webb replied: "If I knew who that good friend was, they would go just like you are going." That is why Amy Williams and other Alexanders had such hatred for Republicans during their lifetime.

Mary married Zeb Bishop and had a son named George. When his mother died, Judge Alexander took him to raise. It is believed that he may have taken Alexander for his last name, as he was his grandfather's namesake. The Judge sent him to school in St. Louis. He was very handsome, attracted female attention but didn't pay much attention to all the fluttering about him. He was killed when he was working on a building, fell off the scaffolding and broke his neck. Nancy married Bill Bishop, no "kin to Zeb" Bishop. They had a daughter, Victoria. Nancy died and Bill married again and had two other girls. Judge Alexander took Victoria and raised her. Her daughter was Hattie Bartsche of Wheatland, who passed away a few years ago. Amy married William Harrison Williams and they had 10 children, Joe died of brain fever when he was 7, Frank died young, of membraneous croup. Besides raising her own still-large brood, Amy had a hand in raising her niece and nephews, children of her older sister, Marlar, In addition, she raised three grandchildren, children of her son Zebedee, whose wife died of quick consumption when the children were aged 6, 3½ and 14 months. When Amy was 12, her youngest brother John was born. He was made. administrator of his father's estate and it took him three days and nights to count up all possessions and net worth. Frank Alexander, Lena Glenn's father, was John's oldest son and he said he could remember his grandfather counting out $12,000 silver dollars, in addition to all his land holdings. The Judge was the richest man in Benton County.

When he lived on the old Howard place, later owned by Lena Wilson, he had 23 Negro slaves. That manpower was used to build the bridge and mill at Fairfield. The Judge's house was a double log construction, with open hallway between, puncheon floors, low ceilings and one and a-half stories. Each winter, he would kill 16 beef and 32 hogs to feed the household. One of the slaves, Jonas, used to hide his bacon and meat in a hollow log to keep a fellow slave, Wilse (father of Jonas Alexander of Warsaw--still living) from taking it. Judge Alexander went to the South and purchased a slave named Charles who was only six years old, deciding to make a preacher out of him. Price was $600. There was much grief when he was torn from his mother's arm and the youngster was taken away. He had an intestinal upset, and the Judge took him off his horse (he rode sitting behind the Judge), took his clothes off, washed them in a creek, then hung them on the bushes to dry. While they were drying, he fashioned a diaper out of a bandanna handkerchief for the little boy. Frank, crippled in the war, spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair. He was baptized shortly before his death, six years after he was shot, and they cut the ice in the river, wheeled him in his chair to baptize him. John married Dicie Cox and had ten children, one dying in infancy. Among the other children were Frank, Mollie Suiter, Ida Grace, Elsie Iiams, Tempa Murray, Myrtle Holley, John Lee, Zebedee (who took his own life), and Wallace.

Another son, David Franklin Alexander, married Nancy Wright and they had two children, John W. and Mary Ann. John W. operated one of the three fer ries in Warsaw, was active in the Democratic party and was a delegate to the Democr atic National Convention. In 1884, when he was postmaster, he published a list of names of people who had not called for their mail in The Enterprise.

Also in that year, he received a letter from his uncle, H. B. Wright, which notified him that Wright was half-owner of a silver mine in Bellvue, Idaho, which had plenty of pay ore in sight and an offer to purchase for $500,000 cash. John later moved to Washington state. Letters indicate that most of his family died of tuberculosis. John suffered a fatal hemmorage while on a ship bound for Alaska, forcing the ship to return to Seattle. Last heard of any of this branch of the family was in 1907 when his son, Frank, wrote to relatives here, telling them of the deaths in his family. Frank, at that time, was working for Western Union. David Franklin Alexander's first wife, Nancy Wright, died young and is buried in the Wright cemetery in Shawnee Bend. Frank then married. Agnes Zook who had come here with her mother, Temperance Zook. They had two sons, Walter Henry and James Madison. Walter moved to California where he operated a clothing store in Woodland, later working for the railroad in Oakland, where he was hit by a train and killed. His son, Ernest, at the time of his death, was vice-president of the Angle-London-Paris-National Bank, now operated under another name. Another son lived in Sacramento, Walter married three times: first, Laura Huddelson, who was Ernest's mother then a Roseberry, from Woodland, California and their son was Walter Franklin Alexander the third wife "Mug" Wilson.

Another son of David Franklin Alexander, James Madison II, known as Matt, married Mary Elizabeth See, daughter of Edmund See. They were parents of Lorn, Clarence, Ed, Fred, and James Madison Ill, also Annie Laird, Leota Ray, and Laura Price (for General Price) Allen.

David Franklin Alexander and his wife, Agnes, built a house on the old Fairfield road, about three miles south of Warsaw (the Sam Robb house.) It was used as a stage stop for the Hannibal-Boonville Springfield stage line. The 15-inch-white-pine-boards used in the ceilings were hauled here from Arkansas by ox team. The barn and slave cabins are no longer standing but the stones were used for foundations in the present barn. James Madison Alexander II was born in this house in 1857 and. on his 83rd birthday went back to "slide down the bannister one more time." He did---head first.

David Franklin Alexander fought in the battle of Cole Camp, as a Confederate, and. one of his grandsons, one of James Madison Alexander Ill's sons, in Iowa, still has the watch he carried through the battle.

A listing of family names of people descended from Thomas and Yeureth Alexander Grandchildren, Great-grandchildren, down to perhaps nine or ten generations, includes the following family names: Owen, Shull, Holly, Williams, McKenzie, Iiams, Suiter, McLerran, Harper, Copp, Cobb, Crawford, Dietz, Crosswhite, Matthews, Green, McCracken, Ketchum, Tipton, Breshears, Christy, Tavener, Eidson, Mullins, Glen, Huntress, Waisner, Ashinhurst, Rhodes, Mulkey, Harris, Howard, Drake, Suiter, Love, Wilson, Coates, Bailey, Craig, Eickoff, Laird. Bartsche, Wisdom, Murray, Weaver, Dickerson, Quick, Cunningham, Holloway, EUdell, Grace, Campbell, Henderson, Meader, Wisdom, Downing, Duke, Button, Shinn, Wright, Morton, Hedgpeth, Dull, Jenkins,. Hunziker, Stroud, Miller, Turpen, King, Watkins, Hubbard, Foster, Sweeney, Jones, Haseltine, Crabtree, Davidson, Meyers, Byer, Cox, Boring Ferguson Moree, Powell, Williams, Thurmon, Guenther, Gabriei Stover, Sartin, Bird, Lapp, James, Hotchkiss, Ramp, Mitchener, Burnfin, Logan, Antwiler, Walthall, Tweedy, Allen, Woirhaye, Bell, Adams, Tucker, Root, Kindle, Carter, Satterfield, Benningfield, Suggs, Glenn, Ray, Hogue, Wayne, Austin, Nelson, Edge, Smith, Scott, Moore, Young, Thomas, Cain, Beard, Hutchen, Parsons, Johnson,Sites, Thompson, Gross, Hill, Ralston, Easter, Dickey, Dial, Levan, Hale, Bassett, Cramer, Harvey, Bowman, Hearn, Robinette, Gregory, Hudson, Bennett, Mellies, Engard, Smith, Mays, Bentley, Salsman, Montgomery, Keith, Lockhart, Coffman, Blais, Maner, Lesure, Hollingsworth, Palmer Kettle, Gardner, Cutsinger, Shepherd, Shireman, Handlen, Wallen, Stiltz, Kimble, Wagner, Dean, Hart, Swopes, Biggs, Evert, Berryman, Harbitt, Neal. Scholp, Plummer, Samson, Webster, Mothersbaugh, Quint, Klinger, Cowan, Cochran, Hill, Gowens, Belk and undoubtedly still others.

DAVID FRANKLIN ALEXANDER, who was shot bushwackers during the War Between the States, and never was able to walk again and died six years later. He was a Confederate soldier and was shot when coming home on leave and met up with the gang in the Peal Bend area. David Franklin Alexander was one of the sons of Judge George Alexander. He was the father of the late Matt Alexander, also Walter, John and Mary Ann Alexander, who married Smith Bailey, He was first married to Nancy Wright, then to Agnes Zook, He was born June 6, 1822 and died March 11, 1869.

the wife of David Franklin Alexander, She was born in 1831, lived for many years in Benton County and died November 15, 1915, while on a visit to California. She was a niece of Thomas and Zebulon Bishop.

TEMPERANCE BISHOP ZOOK, whose daughter Agnes married Franklin Alexander. She was a sister of Thomas Bishop, first recorder of Benton County and of Zebulon Bishop, also an early county official. Zebulon went from Benton County to Oregon in 1851 and became Speaker of the House of the Oregon legislature. Temperance Zook was born in Connecticut, later lived in Pennsylvania, married adoctor, who died, and probably came to the County because her brothers were here. Her mother, Martha Bishop, also came here and was buried in the Wright cemetery, with the grave later moved to Shawnee Bend. Temperance Bishop was born March 25, 1803 and died March 31, 1891.

THE GRAVESTONE OF THOMAS ALEXANDER, who lies next to his wife Youreth, in the Weaver cemetery, near Fairfield.
Thomas and Youreth were born in North Carolina prior to the Revolutionary War and came first to Benton County in 1816, returning in 1830. They have hundreds upon hundreds of descendants and the surnames of many of their great-and great-great, etc. grandchildren are listed in this book.

(right) JUDGE GEORGE ALEXANDER, a son of Thomas, and his wife, Nancy, are buried at Weaver cemetery. Their son, George Thomas, killed by Capt. Webb, is buried under the stone at right. George Thomas, a Confederate soldier, was on his way to Osceola when captured by Webb, a Union soldier.

At Home On the Hillside Amy and Myrtie, My dear little daughters, Weare reasonably well and hope you are the same. Mantie, and her family are well, but have not been over yet. We have our "inyens" (onions) pulled,of which there are five bushel. Mother has young chicks galore, and right now she is out after them. We have had plenty of rain and everything on the farm looks well. Hay all stacked, millet sowed, and my, the katydids are making their usual summer racket! The good old-fashioned sunflower is in bloom and every kind. of flower is in sympathy with each other and is trying to look its best. The cows are giving oodles of milk and even the locust is letting us know he is alive by his shrill cry. The bees are showing their usual industry and the quail are calling all around us for "Bob White." The little humming-bird is busy sucking sweetness from 1he flowers. Our turnips are almost big enough to eat and everything is so fine I would like to live here on Deer Creek a hundred years yet. Even your good mother is chanting an old religious hymn. Be good girls, learn your lessons well, get the best certificate possible and everything will work together for good. Your " Pa," W. W. Hockman

(This letter was written to W. W.'s daughters, Amy and Myrtle, who were attending Teacher's Institute at Stanberry, Missouri, in 1893. Amy, later Mrs. M. T. Steckel of Santa Paula, California, was 21 and Myrtie, who became Mrs. Bennie R. Smith, was 19 years of age. Contrast the language of the past with that of the father of today, as he might write a letter of encouragement to beloved daughters who were away at college, and note how his own homesickness for them showed in every line. Myrtie Smith was the mother of Buford Smith, now of Littleton, Colorado Minnie, now Mrs. Harrison Arnett, of Warsaw, Missouri Violet, now Mrs. H. I. Waisner of Lincoln, Missouri and two other sons, Herschel and Leland, both deceased. Copied from original, July 6, 1969. V.M.W.

W. W. HOCKMAN (from Goodspeed History 1889)
W. W. Hockman. Among all classes and in every calling in life may be found those who excel in whatever they undertake," whether of a professional, agricultural or commercial nature, and prominent among them stands the name of Mr. Hockman, who is closely associated with the farming interests of the county. He was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, in 1834, and is the son of Jacob D. and Angeline (Cummins) Hockman, natives of Woodstock, Va., and Preble County, Ohio, respectively.The father was of German descent, and a cooper and farmer by occupation. lie immigrated to Boone County, Ind. in 1844, and was among the first settlers of that county. He located at Thorntown. and there died in 1849. The mother was of Irish descent. After the death of her husband she married John Hughs. She died in 1881. W. W. Hockman was the third child born to his parents, and remained at home and managed the farm until the death of his mother. In 1853, or when nineteen years of age, he married Miss Jane Wallace, a native of Ohio and the daughter of John Wallace, In 1855 Mr. and Mrs. Hockman moved to .Northwestern Iowa, where they resided two years, and then returned to Indiana, and settled in Clinton County, where they remained until 1862. In August of that year Mr. Hockman enlisted in the One Hundredth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, serving as orderly-sergeant of Company 1 until 1863, or up to the surrender of Vicksbnrg, when he received a sunstroke, which disabled him from service for some time. He then returned home, remaining there four months, when his health improved, and he again enlisted, in the Fifty-first Indiana Volunteer Infantry, as a private, and participated in the Hood and Thomas campaign. He was in the battles of Pulwaski, Franklin, Columbus and Nashville, being in the various charges of .the last-named place. He was discharged at Victoria, Tex., in September, 1865, and then returned to Indiana. Later he sold out and moved to Ford County, IIl., where he remained four months, and then moved to Dade County, Mo. After a residence there of five years he moved to Fort Smith, Ark., where he lived two years, and then moved to Pettis County Mo., where he also remained two years. He then came to Benton County, where be has resided ever since. He is the owner of 400 acres of land in Benton County and a tract of land in Camden County. To Mr. and Mrs. Hockman were born eight children: Angeline (deceased, wife of William Jones she died in 1881, leaving two sons), Theodore a farmer and carpenter of Benton County, and a minister in the Methodist Protestant Church Margaret, wife of E. Gibbs, of Texas County Samantha, wife of Cyrus Newman, of Camden, lumberman at Climax Minie, at home Amy, now attending school at Frankford College, Indiana Myrtie, at home, and Morton. Mr. Hockman is a member. of the A. F. & A. M., also a member of the G. A. R., and is one of the prominent and much esteemed citizens of the county..He takes an active interest in politics, and is president of the Republican club is a great reader, and is well posted on all subjects. He is one of the most enterprising men of the county has spent much time and money in inducing immigration, making two trips East for that purpose.

PIONEER DAYS (Newspaper Files Of 1888)
George M. Blanton, who has been a resident Of Benton County 53 years, assisted to clear the court-house square nearly fifty years ago. Mr. Blanton says the reason the first settlers preferred to make their homes in the woodland was because, at that time, few of them had much stock to work with, many families having only one horse. The loamy, rich bottom land was covered with large trees and brush, and the former could be easily girdled and the hazel brush cleared out. And then, in the loose soil, a crop could be easily raised with one horse, while the tough sod of the prairies required three or four yoke of oxen to break, and then it was necessary to have rails from the timber for fencing. The settlements in the woods were also less exposed to the wind and wild game abounded. Mr. Blanton is now 77 and few men can hope to have so good use of mind and body at that age. The old settlers of the county should have a yearly meeting and picnic. It would be a great pleasure to them and prove interesting to their friends

An early pioneer in eastern Lindsey Township near Duren Creek on the old "Warsaw to Cole Camp Turnpike" road. Zachariah Davis was born in North Carolina, January 13, 1792 he served in the military service during the War of 1812 in Capt. Wade's Tennessee Militia, and was discharged May 13, 1815. He married December 20, 1816 in Wilson County, Tennessee, Miss Elizabeth Hill, who was born in Virginia in the year 1800. They made their home in Wilson County, Tennessee until about the year 1838 when they moved to Barren County, Kentucky. Zachariah and Elizabeth Davis arrived in Benton County, Missouri in 1842. Several of their children accompanied them to Benton County, the rest followed later. Zachariah Davis obtained a Military Land Grant of 80 acres in Benton County in 1852 from the U. S. Government for his military service in the War of 1812. He died August 21, 1852 in Benton County. His widow, Elizabeth Hill Davis, died June 10, 1871

Their children were:
1. John H. Davis (1818-1875) married Mar. 20, 1845 in Wilson Co., Tennessee, Miss Lucy Ann Frazer (born 1828), they later lived in Hickory County, Missouri.
2. Priscilla F. Davis (1821-1886) married in 1841 in Barren County, Kentucky, Mr. Marcus M. Walker (1815-1899), they later lived in Hickory County, Missouri, and were associated with the old "Primitive Baptist Church at Antioch.
3. Martha Ann Davis (1824 - ? ) married Nov. 16 1842 in Wilson Co., Tennessee, Mr. William Jackson Taylor (1817-1898), they remained in Benton County, Missouri.
4. William C. Davis (1825-1853) married Mary ?, she later remarried Mr. James Feaster, March 13. 1856 in Benton Co., Missouri.
5.Braxton B. Davis (1825- ? ), married Elizabeth Winford they moved to DeWitt, Carroll County, Missouri.
6. Judy Green Davis (1832 - 1923) married Feb. 13, 1851 in Benton Co., Missouri, Mr. John Hopson Chastain, they remained in Benton County, Missouri.
7. James C. Davis (1834 - ?) married Feb. 27, 1859 in Benton Co., Missouri, Miss Catherine A. Head. They later moved to Vernon County, Missouri and later to the state of Oregon.
8. Marcus W. Davis (1837-1906) married June 10. 1856 in Benton Co., Missouri, Miss Mary Jane Bird (1835-1874) and married 2nd Mrs. Arsena Belt, Sept. 27, 1880 in Benton County, Missouri, they remained in Benton County, Missouri.
9. Zachariah Tompkins Davis (1839-1921) married Sept. 4, 1860 in Benton County, Missouri, Miss Mary Amelia Orr (1844-1911), they lived in Benton County, Missouri. He later moved to Vernon County, Missouri where he married Mrs, Permielia J. Belcher in 1914.

An early pioneer on Brush Creek in eastern Lindsey Township. Section 6, T-41, R-23. He was born in Botecourt County, Virginia, June 23, 1807. Samuel Carleton was the eldest child of six children born to Rev. William Carleton, Jr. (1772-1822) and Magdalin Prince (1783-1863), the others being:
John Carleton (1810-1879). married Elizabeth Hartman (181_? -1865).
Hannah Carleton (1812-1874) married David Short (1806- ?),
Esther Carleton (1815- ? ) married George W. Short.
Elizabeth Carleton (1817-1900) married Samuel B. May (1808-1875).
James Carleton (1820-1892) married Isabelle Priestly Glover (1828-1898).

Saumel Carleton married in Washington County, Indiana, October 9, 1834, Miss Sidney Ellen Baker (1818-1865), the daughter of Col. Valentine Baker (1793-1859) and his wife Nancy Overton (1792-1830), William Carleton, Sr. (1735-1813) was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. He married Esther Brown (1739-1806) in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1762. Samuel Carleton and his family were accompanied to Missouri by all of his brothers and sisters, also his widowed mother, Magdalin, Following is a letter written to Col. Valentine Baker by Samuel and Sidney Carleton after they had reached Howard County, Missouri on the last leg of their journey from Washington County, Indiana:

To Col. Valentine Baker
State of Indiana
Pashing City Salem
October the 16th, 1840
Most affectionate I take this opportunity to inform you that we are all well at present, hoping that these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. We landed in Howard County on the 29th day of September. We took a trip on the south west of this state. We were in thirteen miles of the Indian Boundry, The land's rich and fertile. I can't find no objections to 1he soil. Timber is scarce the land is about two thirds prairie. The growth is oalf,- hickory, walnut. elm and locust. We have selected a half a quarter of land a piece on the Tebo River about five miles of the Osage River, for a home. The half quarter that I have selected has three springs on it. I expect to start tomorrow to enter it. As soon as I return I expect to move, if we all keep well. It is about eighty miles from where we now live. There is plenty vacant land joining. I will give you a true history of the country when I get settled. No more at present.
Signed: S. (Samuel) Carleton

Dear Mother and Father,
I must send my best respects to you all. I have had lonesome hours on the road but since we have landed we have company plenty. There is six families living in one yard. We would be happy hearing from you all but I can't tell you at this time where to direct your letters. I will tell you in the next letter. No more at present but still remain your daughter, until death, farewell. Signed: Sidney E. Carleton

The above letter was post-marked at Rocheport, Missouri.

The children of Samuel and Sidney Carleton were:

1. Lousiana Elizabeth Carleton (1836-1902) - June 16, 1852 in Benton Co. married Benjamin Hardin Osburn (1831-1900).
2. Lewis Oliver Carleton (1838-1907) - May 26, 1859 in Benton, County - married Margaret Millissa Tindell (1838-1930).
3. Sarah Jane Carleton (1840-1872) - November 26, 1860 in Benton Co. - married Nicholas A. Scott (1837-1868), - Sept. 5, 1870 in Benton Co. - married second John B. Fewel (1831 - ?).
4. Thomas Hart Benton Carleton (1842-1866) - March 13 1864 in Henry Co. - married Sarah Elizabeth Parker (1844-1920). '
5. Martha Ellen Carleton (1844-1847).
6. Nancy Magdaline Carleton (1847-1879) - August 21 1864 in Benton Co. - married John M. Surrett (1842-1913).
7. William Baker Carleton (1850-1936) - November 18 1874 in Henry Co. - married Jennie A. McWaters.
8. Mary Francis Carleton (1853-1856).
9. Pricilla Carrie Carleton (1854-1884) - October 1 1871 in Henry Co. - Married Samuel A. Means (1850-1917).
10. Aquilia B. Carleton (1857-1858)

SUSAN ELLEN LANGFORD COCHRAN and her son, Merritt Cochran. The Langfords were among the early settlers of Benton County and lived in the Johnson cemetery area in what is now Fristoe township. John Langford, Susan's brother, was a tobacco grower. The Langfords married into the Gist, Cochran and Salley families. They were descendants of a Lord Langford of Ireland and England. His grandson, Jordan, settled in the Blue Ridge of Virginia and was a dentist and shoemaker for the soldiers at Valley Forge. He had eight children, including William T., who married Sarah Bailey, (Mrs. Marion Francis Cochran) Susan Langford Cochran, in this picture, is their daughter-John Langford, the tobacco grower, was their son. They had eight other children. Sarah Bailey, who married William T. Langford, was a second cousin of John Quincy Adams, her mother being a first cousin. Marion Cochran, husband of the lady in the picture, was the son of James and Sarah King Cochran. His sister, Melvina Jane, married John Abram Salley, a son of Dandridge Salley.

Mr. and Mrs. Dandridge P. Salley, seated in front spent many years of their married life as a Benton County farm family on Turkey Creek. Dandridge Salley was one of the sons of Abram Salley, who came here from Louisville, Kentucky in 1831. Dandridge had one sister, Nancy Lee, and three brothers, Abram IT, Steven and Charles. Abram and his younger brother, Charles, went to California--Charles returned but Abram was never heard of again. Later, Charles was murdered along the road between Warsaw and Lincoln, presumably by parties who believed he was carrying gold from his California sojourn. The other brother, Steven, moved to Illinois. This picture was taken in the latter part of the 1890's, in front of Dandridge Salley's son John's log house on Turkey Creek. Another son, Henry Salley, a minister, holds the baby in his arms. Behind him is Mettie Salley Short and her husband, Pink Short. In the front row, with suit coat on and holding the little boy by the shoulders is William (Billy) Salley. His wife, Aslsinda Christy Salley, stands at his side and to her left, with suspenders and hat and folded arms, is Isaac Salley, who never married. Gentleman wearing the black hat--between and behind Henry and Billy--is John Salley. Curtis Salley wears the straw hat and black vest, at left, and the little girl, peeking out beside him is Rosetta Salley, later Mrs. Louie Eaton. Palmer Salley, her brother, killed in World War I, is the little boy wearing the straw hat and standing just next to Grandpa Dandridge Salley. An item about Dandridge Salley appears elsewhere in this history, in which Enterprise editor T. B. White termed him the kind of fine, honorable old gentleman he hoped many of the county's younger men would become. Dandridge Salley's wife was Minerva Dodd.

Abram Salley came to Missouri from Kentucky in I830 and, after a year in Lincoln County, came to Benton. They temporarily settled where Warsaw now is located, then moved to Turkey Creek, in the Hockman community. His son, Dandridge, was born in Kentucky but came to Missouri when he was just nine years old. Dandridge, at the age of 18, married Minerva Dodd and they settled on Turkey Creek. Abram Salley's daughter, Nancy Lee, married Billington Johnson when she was just 15. When she was 17, they homesteaded what was later known as the old Johnson place. Dandridge Salley and his wife had eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, seven of whom were still living when he died in 1901. Surviving then and living with him at the time of his death were I. N. and J. W. Salley. The Rev. Henry R. Salley and Rev. W. E. Salley also lived in Benton County. Daughters were Mrs. M. E. Hines of Dallas County, Texas, Mrs. S. F. Greghy of Henry County, and Mrs. H. C. Gragg of Lincoln. One son who preceded Dandridge Salley in death was Abram Jackson Salley. He married Melvina Jane Cochran following the war. Melvina Jane was the daughter of James and Sarah King Cochran. They had been married in Little Rock, where his parents had emigrated from Tennessee. Following their marriage, they operated a warehouse on the White River--were raising four children--and prospering, as settlers had to have supplies and would journey to the river warehouses to get them. Supplies were brought in by flat boats operating up and down this river. Things went along nicely until war broke out. James Cochran sided with the North, because of his trade with eastern river boats, but one night a close friend, a Confederate, warned him: "Jim, load up your family and most necessary belongings and get out before daylight. They' re comin up the river, slaughtering northern sympathizers and burning their property." Jim Cochran did just that. He drove that team along all night, with his family, until he came upon a detachment of Union soldiers and found they weren't alone. There were many settlers there awaiting to be escorted out in safety The contingent finally arrived in Benton County, where some settled and some stayed. Jim Cochran stayed, buying land south of Warsaw that was later known as the Old Reeder Place. His north parcel of land adjoined the Reeder place on the west and later was known as the Pate place. Jim Cochran died rather early in life but his widow lived on for many years. Their daughter, Melvina Jane, after the war, married Abram Jackson Salley, son of Dandridge. They had seven children, only four surviving. John Abram Salley was the oldest, Mettie Salley Short, Henrietta Salley Holloway and William Preston Salley being the other three. Both parents died before their family could be raised. John Abram's uncle, the Rev. Henry Salley, undertook to raise him he was only 11 at the time. Two years later, a man with a covered wagon, headed for the Oklahoma territory, camped at the road side, He had two kegs of whiskey in his wagon and a herd of ponies and persuaded John Abram, 13 by this time, to accompany him and herd the ponies, until they were traded to the Indians. The man promised John Abram a horse and saddle if he'd do this. Everything went along nicely until one evening in the Territory. They'd made an early camp on the Sac and Fox reservations and the man told John Abram to take the smooth bore rifle and go to a nearby river bottom to get some fresh meat for supper. "That," says Leland Salley of Hemet, California (a son of John Abram and the gentleman who gave us this account) "that was the end of the line for my father." When he arrived back in camp, the camp was empty. The trader had apparently arrived where he was going and had no further use for the 13-year-old boy. There was no horse and saddle, either. So there he stood 13 years old, at nightfall barefooted, with an empty single shot rifle in one hand and a wild turkey in the other. And no matches. Soon he came upon a band of Osage Indians, hunting, and they took him in and, at the end of the hunt, took him north to the Osage Reservation, where a family of Cherokee Indians, named Billy and Millie Rogers (Billy was a first cousin of Will) cared for him. He also spent time with a Delaware Indian named Sam White turkey, who had a white wife, and learned to speak Cherokee as easily as English. After seven years had passed, he saddled his horse and, with his belongings tied behind the saddle, headed for Benton County and Warsaw. Times had changed during his absence. A good many more people had moved into the county, including a family named Simmons, who had a pretty dark-haired daughter named Laura Jane. In time, they were married. They were parents of Leland Salley, a sixth generation descendant of Abram, who came to Benton County in the 1830's. They moved to the Indian territory when Leland Salley was only two years old.

JACOB CHASTAIN (1783-1873)
A PIONEER An early settler in Lindsey Township on Clear Creek a mile north of Tebo Creek, in Section 17, Township 41 N, Range 23W. Jacob Chastain was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, September 6, 1783, the son of Rane and Martha Chastain. He was one of eleven children the others being Joseph, Isham, Rhoda Hudnall, Elizabeth Jones, John, Lewis, William, Mildred Ayres, Martha Moss, and Judith. The father, Rane, was the grandson of the progenitor of this family in America, Pierre (Peter) Chastaing (Chastain), who was born about 1660 at Charost, Province of Berrie, France and died October 3, 1728 at Manakin-Towne, Virginia, in King William Parish. Peter Chastain was a member of the French Protestant Refugees (more commonly known as Huguenots) whose caped from France during the religious wars, about 1685, when the wholesale escape of the Huguenots from France took place with the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes of that year. He took up residence at Yverdon, Canton Vaud, Switzerland, and was- known to be a surgeon, later becoming interested in the new colonies of America. He moved his young family to London. England, in 1698. In April 1700 aboard the ship "Mary Ann" along with 205 other French Refugees they set sail from Gravesend, England, for their new land and home. After thirteen weeks voyage they arrived at Hampton, Virginia, on the James River July 23, 1700. This small group settled and established a frontier village and community 20 miles west of Richmond above the Falls of the James River. The village was known as Manakin-towne and the community was known as King William Parish. Jacob Chastain grew to manhood in Buckingham County and married there February 10, 1808, Judith Elizabeth Ayres, the daughter of John and Jane Salle Ayres. They were the parents of three children which were born to them in Virginia: Nancy Ann, Mary Anna and Joseph. He entered military service in Capt. John Gannaway's Company, attached to the 8th Regiment, Virginia Militia and was discharged at Camp Carter, Virginia, February 18, 1815. After the death of his young wife, Judith, Jacob moved with other members of his family to Logan County, Kentucky. He married December 21, 1818, in Logan County, Miss Ellenor Britt, the daughter of William and Dolly Davis Britt. To them were born three children John Hopson, Susan and Ellen, During the 1830's a great migration was taking place to the western country, especially to Missouri where the Government had opened thousands of acres of land for the able bodied pioneer to settle and take Patent on. Jacob and his family were caught in this fever. Therefore, along with the influence of an old friend, Thomas Proctor, who had earlier gone to Missouri and returned to Logan County to convince Jacob this was something he couldn't pass up. In the spring of 1837 Jacob Chastain arrived in Benton County. He located upon available Clear Creek bottom land. During the next several years, he received patents to seven tracts of land which together amounted to 360 acres. One of these 80 acres tracts was given to him by the U. S. Government for his Military Service in the War of 1812, previously mentioned. Upon this was built a large log home, blacksmith shop, barns, sheds and several slave quarters. Accompanying Jacob to Missouri were his wife, Ellenor, there three small children John Hopson, Susan and Ellen his son, Joseph and his wife, Sarah Jane his daughter, Mary Anna, and her husband, George R. Herndon and their small children also James D. Acock and his wife and probably others. Three nephews followed him to Benton County in 1848. They were Willis Wilson, Joseph Edmund and Benjamin Edward Chastain .. Children of Jacob Chastain:

1. Nancy Ann Chastain (1809-1891) married August 5, 1824 in Logan County, Kentucky, Churchill Payne Moseley (1800-1875), in 1829 they moved to Mercer County, Illinois,
2. Mary Anna Chastain (1810-1863) married January 23, 1825 in Logan County, Kentucky, George R. Herndon (?-1844) they came to Benton County with her father. She married second, Edward H. Powers (17951856), June 11, 1846, in Benton County. Mr. Powers owned and operated a Ferry across the Osage River which was located on his property at the southwest edge of the Town of Warsaw from 1841 to 1856. Mr. Powers also held the position of a Justice on the County Court of Benton County from 1853 to 1856.
3. Joseph Chastain (1812-1906) married October 12, 1835 In Todd County, Kentucky, to Miss Sarah Jane Crouch (1816-1886), they came to Benton County with his father and Patented two tracts of land. Joseph held the appointments in Benton County as Election Judge, Road Overseer, he administered several estates and was ordered to view and mark a road thru the northern part of the county. He later moved to Henry County, Missouri.
4. John Hopson Chastain (1830-1902) married February 13, 1851 in Benton County, Missouri, Miss Judy Green Davis (1832-1923) the daughter of early Benton County pioneers, Zachariah Davis and Elizabeth Hill Davis. John "Hop" came to Benton County when he was 7 y ears old. He lived and remained on his father's homestead all his life.
5. Susan A. Chastain (1833- ?) married April 1, 1852 in Benton County, Missouri, John C. Arthur (1819-1895). They made their home in Warsaw, Missouri, across (north) from the northeast corner of the Courthouse square. Mr. Arthur served as Sheriff of the County Court of Benton county from 1854-1859.
6. Ellen Chastain (1836-1914) married January 28, 1854 in Henry County, Missouri, Mr. Mortimer Hukell (1817-1881). Ellen was less than a year old when her parents brought her to Benton County in April 1837. In 1849 Mr. Hukell went overland to California and returned to Missouri in 1853. After his marriage to Miss Chastain they made their home in and around Calhoun, Missouri. At one time they operated the old Calhoun Hotel.

History of Benton - History

Benton County is one of the largest counties in the central portion of the State, containing twenty Congressional townships and an area of 720 square miles.

The surface is generally a beautiful and gently undulating prairie, and presents to the eye an extremely attractive appearance, enhanced by the numerous groves of native and planted timber which dot the face of the country. The soil in the lowlands near the river is sandy, but, as the prairie rises, the coil becomes a deep, black vegetable mold of surpassing fertility. The county is well-watered, and is peculiarly adapted to stock raising.

Rivers and Streams

Cedar River, a beautiful stream, which rises in Minnesota, enters Benton County at the northwest corner of Township 86, Range 10. Its general course is nearly south until it reaches Section 16, Township 85, Range 9, when it flows in a general easterly direction to the county line, in Section 13, Township 84, Range 9. Its course is very crooked, however, and it flows about forty miles in Benton County. It is a clear stream with a rapid current. On its banks in numerous places, a variety of fossil shells, corals, agates, carnelians and petrifactions are found.

The Iowa River flows about two miles across the southwest corner of the county, In Sections 31 and 32, Township 82, Range 12.

Big Creek, which flows northeast into Black Hawk County, runs across and waters Bruce Township (86󈟜). Rock Creek, Pratt Creek, Crooked (now Hinkle) Creek, Mud Creek, Opossum Creek, Wild Cat Creek, Little Bear Creek, Dry Creek, are all tributaries of the Cedar, which waters Benton County on the west and south of that river, and Bear Creek and several others on the east side.

Prairie Creek, another tributary of the Cedar, flows nearly across the southern tier of townships in the county. Buckeye Creek, a tributary of the Iowa River, in Township 82, Range 12, Iowa Township Salt Creek, another tributary of the Iowa, waters Homer Township.

Timber and Groves

The various kinds of oak, hickory, maple, walnut, ash, basswood, elm, cottonwood, willow and hackberry flourish in the rich soil of Benton County.

"Cedar Timber," the timber skirting the Cedar River, especially on the north and east, in Polk, Harrison, Taylor and Benton Townships.

"Big Grove," a large grove of several thousand acres, in Township 84, Range 11, Big Grove Township.

"Scotch Grove," in northeast part of Township 82, Range 9, Florence, and extends into Linn County.

"Parker’s Grove," on Sections 26, 27, 33 and 34, Township 84, Range 9 (Canton).

"Ure’s Grove," on Prairie Creek, in Sections 14 and 18, Township 82, Range 9 (Cue, now Florence Township).

"Darnell’s Grove," on Prairie Creek, in Sections 20 and 21, Township 82, Range 9.

"Cue’s Grove," on Sections 16 and 17, Township 82, Range 9.

"Buckeye Grove," extends for several miles on the west side of Buckeye Creek, in Iowa, Township 82, Range 12.

"Van Meter’s Grove," on Section 32, Township 83, Range 11 (Union Township).

"Lost Grove," Sections 31 and 32, Township 84, Range 9 (Canton Township).

"Crab Apple Grove," Sections 31 and 32, Township 83, Range 9 (Fremont Township).

"Wild Cat Grove," Section 8, Township 84, Range 9 (Canton Township), a continuation of "Cedar Timber."

"Round Grove," Section 12, Township 84, Range 11 (Big Grove Township).

"Garrison’s Grove," in Sections 19, 29 and 30, Township 85, Range 11 (Jackson Township).

"School Grove," on Sections 15, 16, 17 and 22, Township 85, Range 11.

"Helm’s Grove," on Section 13, Township 85, Range 11.

"Yankee Grove," on Sections 15 and 22, Township 85, Range 12 (Monroe Township).

"Brush Grove," on Section 31, Township 86, Range 12 (Bruce Township).

"Spencer’s Grove," on Sections 2, 3 and 11, Township 86, Range 9 (Polk Township).

The southwest has but little timber, except in Iowa Township and along Prairie Creek, where there are some small groves. Added to this amount, nearly every farmer in the county has planted a grove of cottonwood, silver-leaf maple, or other fast-growing wood, which have now reached a sufficient size to be extensively used for the ordinary purposes of fencing and fuel. The broad prairies of the county are thus dotted over with cultivated groves, which not only beautify an adorn the face of the county, but form an attractive feature to travelers and emigrants seeking a home in the State, and add very materially to the real wealth of the county.

Building Stone

An excellent quality of building stone is found in several portions of the county, but the best quarries are at Vinton and along the Cedar River. These quarries are inexhaustible in extent, and the quality of the stone is equal to any found in the West. When first taken out, the rock is of a brown color, and so soft that it is easily molded into any desired shape but by exposure to the atmosphere, the color is changed to a white, closely resembling marble, and becomes perfectly hard and lasting, as its durability has been fully tested. The main buildings of the Iowa State College for the Blind, at Vinton, are built of this stone, taken from quarries situated some two and a half miles northwest of its location. Excellent quick line is made from these stone, while an abundance of good sand and brick clay is found in all parts of the county, and at Shellsburg an extensive business in the manufacture of earthenware has formerly been carried on. Coal has been found at Blairstown, Belle Plaine, and some other places, but not in quantity or quality to justify working. This county is also in the section known as the "drift region," as granite boulders of all sizes are found scattered over its surface, although not quite so plentifully as in some of the counties further north.

The banks of the Cedar River are full of fossils, and fossil corals, shells, etc., abound in the rock.

The elevations of a few places in Benton County above the level of the sea are given herewith: Norway Station, 780 feet Blairstown, 850 feet summit east of Buckeye Creek, 913 feet Buckeye Creek at C. & N. W. crossing, 820 feet Belle Plaine Station, 832 feet water in Cedar at Vinton, about 790 feet.

The County Surveyed

Township 82, Range 9, was surveyed by A. L. Brown, Deputy U. S. Surveyor, in 1843. Townships numbered 83, 84, 85 and 86, in Ranges 9, 10 and 11 west, were also surveyed in 1843, by Isaac N. Higbee, Deputy Surveyor. Townships 82󈟚 an 82󈟛 were surveyed by A. L. Brown, in 1844. Townships 82, 83, 84, 85 and 86, Range 12, were surveyed in 1845, by James Fenning.

Civil Divisions

Benton County contains twenty Congressional townships, viz.: townships 82, 83, 84, 85 and 86 north of Ranges 9, 10, 11 and 12 west.

In 1878, there were 21 civil or political townships in the county, viz.: Florence (82𔃑) St. Clair (82󈟚) LeRoy (82󈟛) Iowa (82󈟜) Fremont (83𔃑) Eldorado (83󈟚) Union (83󈟛) Kane (83󈟜), Canton (84𔃑) Eden (84󈟚) Big Grove (84󈟛) Homer (84󈟜) Benton (85𔃑) Taylor (that part of 85󈟚 not embraced within the corporate limits of the city of Vinton) Vinton (the territory embraced by the corporation of Vinton City) Jackson (85󈟛) Monroe (85󈟜) Polk (86𔃑) Harrison (86󈟚) Cedar (86󈟛), and Bruce (86󈟜).

It has been stated that an election was held in Benton County, in 1843, at which the settlers voted for Linn County affairs. If there was such, no records were preserved, and the Auditor of Linn County, under date of July 25, 1878, certifies that " I have examined the records as desired, and found nothing whatever pertaining to Benton County officers if Benton County was ever a part of Linn County, there is no record disclosing the fact. The fact that the county was not open to settlement until the 1 st of May, 1843, squatters here prior to that time being trespassers upon Indian domain, would seem to indicate that there could not have been election held in the county as early as the August following. It is more probable that a Justice of the Peace might have been appointed by the Governor of the Territory, and the appointment of Constables by him might have given rise to the tradition of an election ."

County Boundaries Defined

Section 9 of an act of the Territorial Legislature of Iowa, entitled " An act to establish new counties and define their boundaries in the late cession from the Sac and Fox Indians, and for other purposes ," approved February 17, 1843, provided " That the following boundaries shall constitute a new county and be called Benton, to wit: beginning at the northwest corner of Linn County, thence west to Range 13 (thirteen west thence south on said line to the corner of Townships (81) eighty-one and (82) eighty-two, of Range (13) thirteen and (14) fourteen west thence east to southwest corner of Linn County, thence north to the place of beginning. "

Tama County was established at the same time, and Benton and Tama and the territory west were attached to Linn County for judicial, revenue and election purposes.

Section 12 of the above act provided as follows:

That so soon as the treaty made by Governor Chambers with the Sac and Fox Indians shall have been ratified by the United States Senate, and the Indians removed from the late purchase the Board of County Commissioners of each organized county to which any of the new counties is attached, for judicial or other purposes, shall have the boundaries of any of the new counties surveyed and marked out as near as may be to correspond with the spirit and meaning of this act which boundaries shall remain as the county boundaries until the county is surveyed by the United States, and that the township lines shall remain and be the county boundaries thereafter.

The Governor of the Territory was authorized by Section 13 of the same act, to appoint as many Justices of the Peace as he deemed expedient, in any of the new counties established by the act, and elsewhere within the boundaries of the Territory of Iowa, except in organized counties. Such Justices were appointed for two years, and each Justice so appointed was empowered to appoint two Constables.

The treaty with the Sacs and Foxes was made by Governor Chambers, October 11, 1842, and ratified by the United States Senate, March 23, 1843. The Indians were to retain possession of the ceded lands until May 1, 1843, and the territory west of a line drawn north and south through Redrock, until October 11, 1845. (See page 179).

While much of the larger part of Benton County was in the possession of the Sac and Fox Indians until May, 1843, a small portion of the territory now included in the county was included in the 1,250,000 acres purchased of the Indians in 1837. (See treaty of 1837, page 162). The west line of this purchase crossed the Cedar River near the west line of Benton Township, and included very nearly one tier to townships on the east side of the county. Township 86, Range 9, was included in this purchase, and the earliest settlers, in 1839-40, were very near the Indian line.

Early Settlement

Early in 1839, George Wright and John Smith, two young men, located on Section 24, in Township 84, Range 9 (Canton), built a cabin and broke some prairie. This was probably the first cabin built by white men in Benton County. About the same time, James Scott came in and built a cabin. A little later in the same year, Samuel M. Lockhart, with his family, settled in the northeast part of the county, on Section 34, Township 86, Range 9. Shortly afterward, probably in 1840-41, James Downs, Thomas Way, Thomas Kendrick and Price Kendrick settled near Lockhart, and the little pioneer hamlet was called "Hoosier Point" until, in 1847, a town was laid out and called Marysville. Beal Dorsey came with Wright, Smith and Scott, but settled first, it is said, in Linn County. Charles Hinkley is supposed to have been a squatter in Benton County as early as 1839.

In 1840, Samuel K. Parker settled in Township 84, Range 9, near a grove since called Parker's Grove. Jacob Bonsall settled in the county in 1840, but after two or three years moved away. Gilman Clark located in the same year about a mile and a half southeast of the present village of Shellsburg. Stedman Penrose came in the same year also A. D. Stephens, J. W. Filkins, Joseph Remington, and perhaps others.

It has been said that Reuben Buskirk settled here in 1840, east of Vinton, near the county line that he died October 10, 1842, being the first death in the county that there was no lumber with which to make a coffin, and the few settlers felled a linn tree, cut a log of the proper length, split it and laid one-half of it in the grave, and on this the body of the deceased Buskirk was laid, suitable blocks placed at his head and feet, and the other half of the log laid over him and the grave filled, and that there were five men and three women at the funeral. Mr. Lyman D. Bordwell, who was one of the five men present at the funeral, states that this is all correct, except that Buskirk settled just across the line, in Linn County.

In April, 1842, Jacob Cantonwine settled and built a cabin on the site of the future village of Shellsburg. Mrs. Bordwell came with his family. September 13, 1842, Lyman D. Bordwell, familiarly known as "Black King",* arrived at the frontier settlements in Benton County, purchased the claim and improvements of Wright and Smith, settled and lived there until 1849, when he removed to Sections 21 and 22, Township 85, Range 10, where he still resides. James Rice settled in 1849.

John Mason, George Sanders, John Royal and others came about 1842-3.

For eight or ten years after these first settlements, the population of the county increased very slowly, but it is to be noted that nearly all who came became permanent settlers. No records show the dates of settlement, and it is hardly possible to be literally correct, as men's memories of events that occurred thirty-five years ago are not always accurate. Below will be found the names of a few of the pioneers who came to Benton County between 1843 and 1851, with the date of their arrival as nearly as can be ascertained: Hyrcanus Guinn, Hugh Brody, F. Bryson, Stephen Brody, Joseph Bryson, William Mitchell, Jesse Brody, Josiah Helm, Joseph C. Rouse, 1843 S. R. Price, George McCoy, 1844 J. R. Pratt, David S. Pratt, L. W. Hayes, Chauncy Leverich, Stephen Holcomb, all in 1845 John Alexander, 1846-7 A. H. Johnson, 1846 David Jewell, John Renfrew, 1846 George Sanders, 1847 James Leverich, 1845-6 Daniel Harris and John S. Epperson, 1847 Elijah Evans, 1847 Charles N. Moberly, 1847 C. C. Charles, 1848 J. S. Forsythe, 1848 John C. Traer, 1851 Russell Jones, 1850 James Harmely, Martin Webb, Amos Anderson, James Pooley, Thomas Mahin, Samuel Rosebury, Alexander Moody, Elias Doan, John Leard, Abel Cox, Aaron Webb, James F. Beckett, D. S. Brubacher, James Chapin, W. C. Stanbury, John R. Speak, William Riley, David Fonts, Dr. C. W. Baffum, G. B. White, M. D. L. Webb, Francis Sander and six sons Caleb Chapin, Stephen Chapin, James Wood, W. O. Sanders, William Bell, William Cline, I. D. Simison, J. F. Young, James Crow, Thos. Beckett.

According to the best information now available, it appears that the first birth in the county was that of William Penrose, son of Stedman Penrose, who was born in August, 1841 and the next, Mary North, daughter of Loyal F. North, January 8, 1843 and the next, Lucinda, daughter of Lyman D. Bordwell, July 5, 1844.

The records of Linn County indicate that the first couple married in the territory of Benton County was Charles Hinkley, aged 30 years, and Mary Helm, aged 45 years, by Perry Oliphant, in 1839. Oliphant made two trips to Marion for the license. They were married about midnight, in a log house, with no witnesses except the officiating Justice. Afterward, Henkley had one leg amputated by Dr. S. H. Tryon, and in 1848 was convicted of arson. She petitioned for divorce. John Alexander was her attorney, and succeeded in procuring a decree, with the assistance of some of the boys, with whom, however, he refused to divide his fees. As Benton County was not created until 1843, it is a little doubtful whether this marriage should be credited to it.

The first marriage license, after the organization of the county, appears to have been issued by David S. Pratt, Deputy Clerk of the District Court, to Joseph Onstott and Miss Sarah Patch, aged about 42 years, respectively. These parties were married June 20, 1847, by Lyman D. Bordwell, Justice of the Peace.

The first death was that of Christian Kensinger, Mrs. Bordwell's father, who came to the county in the Fall of 1843, and died May 5, 1844.

The first school house erected in the county, so far as can now be ascertained, was built of logs on Section 25, Township 86, Range 9, and known to the early settlers as the "Johnson School House." It was built in 1845-6, and the first school in the county was taught in it in 1846-7, by Francis James Rigaud, who was an educated man who "wrote a magnificent hand." Rigaud lived in a little log cabin near the present site of Wilmington. He died in 1847-8.

*Mr. Bordwell says that in earlier days, in some difficulty he had with Mr. Holcomb, he told that gentlemen that he (Bordwell) would show him that he (Bordwell) was "King of the Prairie." I. D. Simison, who was present thereupon called him the "Black King."

First Entries

Polk township (86𔃑), Abner N. Spencer, part of Sections 2, 10 and 11, September 27, 1848 Malinda Lockhart, southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 24, May 1, 1846 Barney D. Springer, south half of the southeast quarter of Section 26, June 15, 1846 Joseph Remington, west half of the northeast quarter of Section 34, April 7, 1846 William Mitchell, part of Section 34, June 19, 1846 Jacob Remington, October 3, 1846 Caleb S. Hendrys, southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 36, November 3, 1845 Samuel M. Lockhart, west half of the northwest quarter of Section 36, November 17, 1845.

Harrison Township (86󈟚), William Hendrickson, northeast quarter of Section 28, June 13, 1849.

Cedar Township (86󈟛), John Houx, southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 25, July 16, 1851 Stephen King, part of Section 25, August 2, 1852.

Bruce Township (86󈟜), Lewis M. Carlisle, parts of Sections 31 and 32, June 29, 1853.

Benton Township (85𔃑), George W. Brice, part of Section 1, May 6, 1846 Hugh Brawdy, June 26, 1856 Edwin B. Spencer, part of Section 7, November 1, 1845 Charles Cantonwine, part of Section 31, December 10, 1845.

Taylor Township (85󈟚), William A. Bryson, part of Section 1, June 20, 1846 Samuel Morse, part of Section 10, March 10, 1846 John Renshaw, Samuel K. Parker, Joseph R. Strawn and Gideon B. White entered in 1846.

Jackson Township (85󈟛), William Helmes, part of Section 15, June 26, 1848 Sarah Harris, part of Section 12, October 11, 1848 Ebenezer Mulinick, part of Section 29, June 26, 1848.

Monroe Township (85󈟜), Grenville C. Slader, part of Section 15, June 30, 1851.

Canton Township (84𔃑), Daniel Ousted, part of Section 3, April 20, 1846 Charles A. Belnap, part of Section 11, May 13, 1846 Loyal F. North, part of Section 12, February 7, 1846 Stedman Penrose, Edward Karlsback, part of Section 12, December 30, 1845.

Eden Township (84󈟚), Elias Doan, part of Section 7, May 31, 1849.

Big Grove Township (84󈟛), Hans Hanson, part of Section 11, April 11, 1848.

Homer Township (84󈟜), Benjamin Kunkle, part of Section 29, October 23, 1854.

Florence Township (82𔃑), John Ure, part of Section 14, April 1, 1846 Hiram Usher, part of Section 18, February 14, 1846 William Thomas, part of Section 22, February 19, 1846.

Fremont Township (83𔃑), Edward Connolly, part of Section 32, March 12, 1853.

St. Clair Township (82󈟚), William T. Scott, part of Section 26, October 18, 1852.

Eldorado Township (83󈟚), James S. Easley, part of Section 26, September 8, 1854. Nearly all of this township was entered in the Fall of 1854.

LeRoy Township (82󈟛), George Titter, part of Section 26, October 24, 1850.

Union Township (83󈟛), Sarah Ann Matsinger, part of Section 32, October 27, 1851.

Iowa Township (82󈟜), Hyrcanus Guinn, part of Section 27, September 3, 1851 Samuel Yeomans, part of Section 21, September 13, 1851.

Kane Township (83󈟜), Levi Marsh, part of Section 32, September 20, 1853.

Organization of the County

There appears to have been no uniform rule or custom in the Territory or State of Iowa for the organization of counties, the boundaries of which were previously established by statute. Benton County was declared to be organized by act of the Territorial Legislature and as these statutes are rare, the act may be valuable for reference if inserted here, as follows:

An Act For the Organization of Benton County

Section 1. -- Be it enacted by the Council an House of Representatives of the Territory of Iowa That the county of Benton be and the same is hereby organized from and after the 1st day of March next, and the inhabitants of said county shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges to which, by law, the inhabitants of other organized counties of this Territory are entitled and said county shall constitute a part of the third Judicial District of this Territory.

Sec. 2. – That there shall be a special election held on the first Monday in the month of April next, at which time the county officers for said county shall be elected, and also such number of Justices of the Peace and Constables for said county as may be ordered by the Clerk of the District Court for said county.

Sec. 3. – That it shall be the duty of the Clerk of the District Court in and for said county to give at least ten days’ previous notice of the time and place of holding such special election in said county, grant certificates of election, and in all respects discharge the duties required by law to be performed by Clerks of the Boards of County Commissioners, in relation to elections, until a Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners may be elected and qualified.

Sec. 4. – That it shall be the duty of the Clerk of the District Court in said county to discharge all the duties required by law to be performed by Sheriffs, in relation to elections, until a Sheriff for said county may be elected and qualified.

Sec. 5. – That the county officers, Justices of the Peace and Constables elected under the provisions of this act shall hold their offices until the first Monday in August, 1846, and until heir successors are elected and qualified.

Sec. 6. – That the Clerk of the District Court in and for said county of Benton may be appointed and qualified at any time after the passage of this act.

Sec. 7. – That all actions at law or equity in the District Court for the county of Linn, commenced prior to the organization of said county of Benton, when the parties or either of them reside in said county of Benton, shall be prosecuted to final judgment, order or decree, as fully and effectually as if this act had not been passed.

Sec. 8. – That it shall be the duty of all Justices of the Peace residing within said county of Benton to return all books and papers in their hands, pertaining to said office, to the next nearest Justice of the Peace who may be elected and qualified in and for said county under the provisions of this act and all suits at law or other official business which may be in the hands of such Justice of the Peace, and unfinished, shall be prosecuted and completed by the Justice of the Peace to whom such business or papers may be been returned, as aforesaid.

Sec. 9. – That the judicial authorities of Linn County shall have cognizance of all crimes or violations of the criminal laws of this Territory committed within the limits of said county of Benton prior to the 1 st day of March next Provided, prosecutions be commenced under the judicial authorities of said Linn County prior to the said 1 st day in March next.

Sec. 10. – That said county of Benton shall have cognizance and jurisdiction of all crimes or violations of the criminal laws of this Territory, committed prior to the 1 st day of March next, in cases where prosecutions shall not have been commenced under the judicial authorities of Linn County.

Sec. 11. – That the county of Tama and the counties lying west of said county of Tama be and the same are hereby attached to the county of Benton, for election, revenue and judicial purposes.

Sec. 12. – That the Clerk of the District Court in and for the county of Benton may keep his office at any place within said county, until the county seat thereof may be located.

Sec. 13. – That Joseph A. Se_rest, of Jones County, Lyman Dillon by Dubuque County, and Joseph A. Downing, of Cedar County, he and they are hereby appointed Commissioners to locate and establish the county seat of the county of Benton.

Sec. 14. – That said commissioners, or a majority of them, shall meet at the office of the Clerk of the District Court of the county of Benton, on the first Monday of May next, or at such other time, not exceeding thirty days thereafter, as a majority of them may agree.

Sec. 15. – Said Commissioners shall first take and subscribe to the following oath, to wit: "We do solemnly swear (or affirm) that we have no personal interest, either directly or indirectly, in the location of the seat of justice of the county of Benton, and that we will faithfully and impartially locate the same, according to the best interests of said county, taking into consideration the future as well as the present population of said county" which oath shall be administered by the Clerk of the District Court, or any other officer authorized by law to administer oaths within the county of Benton and the officer administering said oath shall certify and file the same in the office of the Clerk of the District Court of said county, whose duty it shall be to record the same.

Sec. 16. – Said Commissioners, when met and qualified under the provisions of this act, shall proceed to locate the seat of justice of said county of Benton and as soon as they shall have come to a determination, the same shall be committed to writing, signed by the said Commissioners and filed with the Clerk of the District Court of said county, whose duty it shall be to record the same and forever keep it on file in his office and the place thus designated shall be the seat of justice of said county.

Sec. 17. – Said Commissioners shall each be entitled to receive the sum of $2 per day while necessarily employed in the said location, and the sum of $2 for every twenty miles’ travel to and from the said county seat, which shall be paid by said Benton County out of the first funds arising from the sale of lots in such seat of justice.

Sec. 18. – The county of Black Hawk is hereby attached to said county of Benton for election, judicial and revenue purposes.

Sec. 19. – This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

Approved, January 17, 1846.

The First Election

It has been stated that there was an election in Benton County in 1843, on the first Monday in August, at which the settlers voted for Linn County officers. While the closest inquiry fails to substantiate the fact, it would seem that there must have been elections of some sort held prior to 1846, or the conclusion must be adopted that Justices of the Peace were appointed by the Governor, as it seems to be almost certain that the county had some Justices before its organization as an independent county.

Under the act organizing the county of Benton, the appointment of a Clerk of the District Court was provided for, presumably by the Judge of the District Court, but there are no records to show such appointment, or authenticate the statement that at the first election there was but one voting precinct in the county, and the only voting place was at Parker’s Grove, although it is probable that among the heterogeneous mass of papers in the vaults of the Court House, some record might be found. It is here to be remarked that the county of Benton owes it to itself to collect, revise and place in suitable condition the old papers alluded to, and record such as should be recorded. While the records and papers of the county for the last fifteen or twenty years, or since 1863, are well arranged and well kept, prior to that time the archives of the county are in a lamentably and inexcusably chaotic state. Many of the records are utterly lost, while numerous papers, many of them doubtless valuable, are scattered in a state of almost inextricable confusion in the "great vault." The County Commissioners’ records are all lost, unless they shall be found by a thorough re-examination and arrangement of the documents. If these remarks shall produce the needed reform, the historian will not have labored in vain.

Permitted by the county officers to rummage among these ancient documents, he found a package marked "Omnium Gatherum old papers." In this dusty package, securely hidden in a musty pigeon-hole among a lot of wolf bounty certificates of 1846-7, he found the original abstracts of the elections from April, 1846, to 1851, which are nowhere on record. Also the certificates of election, from which it appears that William J. Berry was the first District Clerk of Benton County appointed according to law. He also found one leaf (two pages) of the early Commissioners’ records, and some other valuable historical documents.

It is said that the first election was held at Parker’s Grove, and that Beal Dorsey, Stedman Penrose and Lyman D. Bordwell were the Judges, and David S. Pratt and John Royal were the Clerks. This is probably true.

Abstract of an Election

Held on the first Monday in April, A. D. 1846, in the county of Benton, Territory of Iowa, for the purpose of electing three County Commissioners, one Sheriff, one Commissioners’ Clerk, one Coroner, one Recorder, one Surveyor, one Judge of Probate, one Collector and Treasurer, one Inspector of Weights and Measures, one Assessor, three Justices of the Peace and three constables:

For County Commissioners – Edwin B. Spencer had 35 votes Samuel M. Lockhart, 22 Stedman Penrose, 35 Samuel K. Parker, 33.

For Sheriff – John Royal had 33 votes Lewis W. Bryson, 22.

For Commissioners’ Clerk – David S. Pratt had 42 votes.

For Recorder – Irwin D. Simison had 24 votes James Downs, 11 Jonathan R. Pratt, 5 D. S. Pratt, 3.

For Coroner – Fielding Bryson had 41 votes.

For County Surveyor – Irwin D. Simison had 20 votes David S. Pratt, 10 Francis J. Rigand, 16 Jonathan R. Pratt, 2 Beal Dorsey, 1 Jonathan Pratt, 1.

For Collector and Treasurer – Beal Dorsey had 35 votes Lewis W. Bryson, 6.

For Assessor – Isaac Onstrott had 27 votes Price Kendrick, 28.

For Inspector of Weights and Measurers – Davis S. Pratt had 39 votes.

For Judge of Probate – Jonathan R. Pratt had 37 votes James M. Denison, 14.

For Justices of the Peace – Fielding Bryson had 39 votes Irwin D. Simison, 21 Stephen Holcomb, 21 Charles Cantonwine, 30 Jonathan R. Pratt, 5 Gilman Clark, 14 Stedman Penrose, 7 George Miller, 1 -- Miller, 1 *Siven Hoken, 1 George Cantonwine, 1.

For Constables – Price Kendrick had 49 votes Samuel Stephens, 28 Samuel L. Morse, 28 Beal Dorsey, 38, George Cantonwine, 2 L. D. Bordwell, 2 V. M. Gray, 1.

(Signed) Wm. J. Berry,

Clerk of the District Court

Perry Oliphant

Hartzell Hittle,

Justice of the Peace.

(*Intended for Stephen Holcomb.)

From this abstract, which is a copy of the original document, it does not appear that a Clerk of the District Court was elected. In the vote for Sheriff and Assessor, it seems that fifty-five votes were polled at this important and doubtless exciting first election in Benton County.

Although Stephens and Morse had an equal number (nine) votes for Constable, Clerk Berry appears to have declared Stephens elected, as in a precept to the Sheriff he orders that officer to notify Stephens of his election. Stephen Holcomb was also declared elected Justice of the Peace on the 6 th day of April, 1846, although Simison had an equal number of votes. Sheriff-elect Royal took and subscribed the oath of office before Wm. J. Berry, Clerk of the District Court, April 8, 1846. Samuel K. Parker took the oath of office as Commissioner, April 8, 1846. Spencer a little later, and Penrose on the 13 th . It is noticeable that the Clerk, Mr. Berry, used an American quarter of a dollar for a seal attached to his certificate. The other officers-elect were also duly sworn, and entered upon their duties, the most of them in April.

Location of the Seat of Justice

But little can now be ascertained in relation to the action of Commissioners Secrest, Dillon and Downing in the location of the seat of justice of Benton County. They probably deposited in the office of the Clerk of the Court, if there was one at the time the location was made, if not, with the Commissioners’ Clerk, their determination in writing, as required by law but if they did, it is not preserved – at least it cannot be found.

From other sources of information and from the remembrances of those who were here at that time, the fact is established that the Commissioners met in May, 1846, as directed by law, and located the seat of justice of Benton County on the northeast quarter of Section 21, Township 85 north of Range 10 west of the Fifth Principal Meridian, and it is believed named it


The following copy of an order from the page of the County Commissioners’ records is proof positive that the first county seat was called Northport. The record is not dated but from other entries and from subsequent events it is reasonably certain that the order was passed by the first Board of County Commissioners in June or July, 1846, possibly in May.

" Ordered , by the County Commissioners, that the County Surveyor of Benton be directed to proceed and lay out the town of Northport, the county seat of Benton, on the northeast quarter of Section 21, Range 10 west, on the ground selected by the Commissioners appointed by law, and that the County Surveyor hire the necessary chain curriers and stake drives, and at the usual price, and at the expense of the county. The plat submitted by the County Surveyor this day is approved of."

Irwin D. Simison was the County Surveyor who made the plat mentioned in the order above. Mr. Bordwell, whose memory of events and dates is remarkably good, says that the town of Northport was laid out early in the Summer of 1846 that a sale of lots took place and several were bid off, but the sale was never consummated. The plat which was made was never recorded or if it was, no record thereof is now in existence.

The First Court House

Having a county seat, it became essential that a court House should be provided. The Commissioners were equal to the emergency, for the following order immediately follows the above:

Ordered . That the Commissioners’ Clerk cause notices to be posted at three places in the county for contracts to be received for building a hewed log Court House at Northport, in Benton County, of the following dimensions, viz: 20x24 feet, two stories high, eight feet between floors white oak, maple or ash floors – laid in a workmanlike manner – one door below, three windows, of twelve lights each, one in each side of the house and one in the end one pair of stairs three feet wide – joist white oak timber 4x7 inches, twelve in number, twelve sleepers of good, hard timber three twelve-light windows of the same size upstairs oak shingle roof with lath or sheeting. The upper floor to be divided by partitions into three rooms, and to each room a door and window plastered inside and out with lime. The letting of the contract will be by sealed proposals to be sent to the County Commissioners’ Clerk previous to Saturday, 24 (June 3), when the lowest bidder will be declared. Bond for the faithful performance of the contract will be required. For further information apply to the County Commissioners’ Clerk.

The Commissioners appear to have made three election precincts in the county, and appointed Judges of Election as follows:

No. 1 Precinct – E. B. Spencer, S. M. Lockhart and James Downs.

No. 2 Precinct – L. F. North, S. Penrose and G. Clark.

No. 3 Precinct – S. L. Morse, Jas. Smith, Sr., and I. D. Simison.

Immediately following this action is the following entry:

Ordered . That the court for receiving bids for the Court House be held at _______.

The fact that at the election, August 6, 1846, there were three precincts voting, and that very soon after the precincts were erected into townships, is a further indication that the above action was in June or July, 1846. The walls of the log Court House were laid upon the site selected at Northport in 1846 or 󈧳. The town plat was recorded February 12, 1848, by Samuel M. Lockhart, Loyal F. North and Thomas Way, County Commissioners I. D. Simison, County Surveyor (who laid out the town of Northport in 1846), and named Vinton, it is said in honor of the Hon. P. Vinton, a Member of Congress from Ohio, who sent $50 to be invested in town lots, provided the name of the county seat should be changed from Northport and called Vinton, which was done. ‘Squire Bordwell says the $50 was invested, but not in Vinton town lots. The plat of Vinton, as originally recorded, shows a nice public square, in the center of which is rudely portrayed, with a pen, what is supposed to be intended for the representation of the Scales of Justice. The term of court in September, 1848, was held, according to the record, in the log Court House at Vinton.

School Districts

The first Board of County Commissioners, evidently on the same day that the above orders were passed, also passed the following:

Ordered , That Town 86, Range 9, be School District No. 1.

Ordered , That Town 85, Range 9, be School District No. 2.

Ordered , That as much of Town 85, Range 10, as lies north of Cedar River be School District No. 3.

Ordered , That District No. 4 shall commence at northeast corner of Town 83, Range 9 west, then running west along said line two and a half miles then south to Parker’s Grove then east to the county line then north to the place of beginning.

Ordered , That District No. 5 shall commence at the southeast corner of Town 84 thence north along the line to Cedar River then west to the west line of Town 84 then south along the said line three miles then east to the place of beginning.

Ordered , That District No. 6 shall include all the settlement west of Town 84.

Ordered , That all settlements west of Range 9 west shall be considered as District No. 3.

The last order appears to have been an afterthought. On the same stray leaf of record are the appointments of Thomas Way, Supervisor of Precinct 2, and William Bellows and John Brody, Supervisors in Precinct 1.

Election of August, 1846

The officers elected in April could only hold until the first Monday in August following. The orders above quoted in relation to the survey of Northport, the county seat, could not be executed before that election, which resulted in placing in office an almost entire new Board of County Commissioners, as will appear from the following "Abstract of the votes polled at the August election in Benton County, for the purpose of electing county and precinct officers, August 6, 1846." At this election there were three voting precincts. No civil townships had yet been made:

For County Commissioners – S. M. Lockhart had 53 votes Charles Cantonwine, 31 L. F. North, 51 J. R. Pratt, 17 S. K. Parker, 12.

For Clerk of Commissioners’ Court – D. S. Pratt had 33 votes Stephen Holcomb, 22.

For Sheriff – James Downs had 37 votes John Royal, 20.

For County Surveyor – F. J. Rigaud had 35 votes I. D. Simison, 13.

For Coroner – Thomas Way had 39 votes F. Bryson, 11.

For Recorder – Irwin D. Simison had 10 votes Lester W. Hayes, 40.

For Collector and Treasurer – Beal Dorsey had 21 votes S. L. Morse, 23.

For Assessor – Price Kendrick had 37 votes I. D. Bordwell, 16.

For Judge of Probate – J. R. Pratt had 15 votes James Denison, 28.

For Inspector of Weights and Measures – Aaron Hain had 2 votes.

Precinct No. 1 – F. J. Rigaud had 23 votes L. W. Hayes, 20 – for Justices of the Peace, and were elected Price Kendrick, 20 James Smith, Jr., 20 – for Constables, and were elected.

Precinct No. 2 – I. D. Bordwell had 15 votes G. W. Miller, 10 Gillman Clark, 5 – for Justices of the Peace, and Bordwell and Miller were elected James A. Scott, 7 Beal Dorsey, 6 – for Constables, and were elected.

Precinct No. 3 – Stephen Holcomb had 6 votes Charles Cantonwine, 6 – for Justices of the Peace, and were elected Adam Kean, 6 Aaron Hains, 6 – for Constables, and were elected.

Black Hawk Precinct (all of Black Hawk County) – S. W. Hanna had 4 votes E. D. Adams, 4 – for Justices of the Peace, and were elected John Melrose, 3 – for Constable, and was elected.

(Signed) D. S. Pratt,

Clerk of the Board of Commissioners

Charles Cantonwine,

L. D. Bordwell,

Justices of the Peace

The law required two Justices to act with the Clerk as a Board of Canvassers. There was only one, Cantonwine but Bordwell had been elected, and the Judges so declaring, was duly sworn by the Clerk, and acted as one of the Board. Black Hawk County voted for Benton County officers at this election, but its vote was not very large. There was no Clerk of the District Court elected at this election, and yet on the fourth Monday in August, 1846, when the first term of the District Court was appointed to be held, J. R. Pratt appears of record as Clerk, probably appointed by the Judge, as Berry had been. At the same election, forty-one votes were cast for the State Constitution, and seventeen against it.

The First Post Office

in Benton County was established October 1, 1846, and called Vinton. Stephen Holcomb was appointed Postmaster. From this fact it would seem that the name "Northport" was changed to Vinton about that time.

The First Deed

made in Benton County after its organization, and the first recorded on Page 1 of Book A, Benton County Records, was a deed made by William Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell, his wife, to Anderson Amos, conveying forty acres, being the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 34, Town 86, Range 9. The witnesses were Daniel Wilson and John Brody. The instrument was executed and acknowledged before F. J. Rigaud, Justice of the Peace, September 25, 1846, and recorded by Lester W. Hayes, October 12, 1847 (6), at 2 o’clock P. M.

The second was a warranty deed, executed October 15, 1846, by Charles A. Belknap and Elizabeth L. Belknap, his wife, to Levi Lewis, conveying forty acres of land, for a consideration of $1 per acre. The witnesses to this deed were John L. Shearer and Henry Nelson and all parties – grantors, grantee, witnesses and magistrates – lived in Linn County, but the land was in Benton.

The first record of sale of personal property recorded in the records of Benton County was a bill of sale of one yoke of oxen, one two-horse wagon, three log chains, one brown cow and one yearling calf, made by Charles Hinkley to S. H. Tryon. It was executed and recorded January 13, 1847, acknowledged before L. W. Hayes, a Justice of the Peace, recorded by L. W. Hayes, Recorder, and witnessed by L. W. Hayes and Joel Nation.

Immediately following is a receipt given by Tryon to Chauncy Leverich, in full of all demands against Charles Hinkley.

Vote for State Officers, October, 1846

Having held two elections in 1846, the settlers in Benton held still another, on the 26 th day of October, at which they cast their votes for State officers, the Constitution having been adopted. The abstract shows the following:

For Governor – Thomas McKnight had 28 votes Ansel Briggs, 13.

For Congress – Joseph H. Hedrick had 26 votes G. C. R. Mitchell, 21 S. C. Hastings, 18 Shepherd Leffler, 10.

For Secretary of State – James H. Cowles had 26 votes Elisha Cutter, Jr., 9 E. Cutter, 1.

For Treasurer – Morgan Reno had 10 votes Egbert T. Smith, 26.

For Auditor – Estin Morris had 26 votes Joseph T. Falls, 10.

We do certify the above to be a correct abstract of the votes given in Benton County, Iowa, October 28, 1846.

(Signed) Stephen Holcomb,

(Attest) D. S. Pratt Charles Cantonwine,

Justice of the Peace of Benton County, Iowa

A Model Judge of Probate

The following unique document is apparently in the handwriting of Judge Mitchell, except the certificate of the Clerk, and leaves the inference that Judge Denison had resigned or had not accepted the trust:

State of Iowa, Benton County, ss., You dew solomly sware that You will Well And Truly support The Constitution of The united States of America And of this State, And faithfully And impartially to discharge the duties Required of you by law As Judg of probate, so helpe you god.

This, the 9 th day of March, A. D. 1847.

(Signed) James Mitchell

Sworn and subscribed to before me this 9 th day of march, A. D. 1847.

D. S. Pratt,

Deputy Clerk of the District Court

The First Probate Court

Immediately after his appointment and qualification, as above, Judge Mitchell appears to have held a Probate Court, and appointed Irwin D. Simison Administrator of the estate of William Carter, late of Town 85, Range 10. It is proper to add that the early probate records were collected and accurately transcribed by Judge John S. Forsyth.

Judge Mitchell appears to have had a system of orthography and method of doing business peculiarly his own and the transcript of proceedings in the first case before him will be found interesting:

Probate Office, Fremont, Benton County, Iowa

A transcript of the proceedings had before James Mitchell, Judge of Probate for Benton County, Iowa:

Know all men by these Presen’s, That we, Irwin D. Simison, Samuel K. Parker and Beal Dorsey, are held and stand firmly bound unto James Mitchell, Judge of Probate, or his successor in office in the county of Benton, in the State of Iowa, in the sum of eight hundred dollars, to be void on these conditions: If the said Irwin D. Simison shall make and return in the said office of Probate Cort of said county, within thre months, A true inventory of all the real estate and all the goods, chattels, rights and credits of the said William Carter, deceasett, and the proceeds of all his real estate that may be sold for the payment of his debts, which shall at any time come to the possession of the said Erwin D. Simison, administrator of the deceaste William Carter, or to the possession of the said Erwin D. Simison, administrator of the deceaste William Carter, or to the possession of any person for him, and to render a firm oath, a true account of his administration within one year, and at any other times when required by the Judge of Probate to pay any balance remaining in his hands upon the settlements of his accounts, to such persons as the Judge of Probate shall direct and deliver the letters of administration into the Probate Coarte in case any will of the deceased shall be thereafter duly proven and alowd.

In testimony whareof, we have herunto set our hands and seals, March the 15 th , 1847.

(Signed) I. D. Simison, [Seal.]

S. K. Parker, [Seal.]

March the 19 th , 1847 Beal Dorsey [Seal.]

Fild and approved on the day and date above riten. James Mitchell, Judge of Probate of Benton County, State of Iowa, with his private [Seal] affixed, there being no public seal yet provided.

James Mitchell,

Judge of Probate.

State of Iowa, Benton County, ss., You dew solemnly sware that you well and truly administer the estate of William Carter, deseaste, late of said county, to the best of your skill and abilities, according to law, so helpe you god.

(Signed) I. D. Simison

Sworn to and subscribed before me, on the 19 th day of March, 1847. James Mitchell, Judge of Probate of Benton County, Iowa, with is private seal affixte (T. L.) thereto, being no public seal yet provided.

James Mitchell

Judge of Probate

Summons issued by the Judge of Probate of Benton County and State of Iowa, on the 19 th day of March, 1847, to the following effect, to wit:

State of Iowa, Benton County, ss., To the Sheriff of said county, Greeting, in the name of the United States of America: You are hereby commanded to summons John Hendershot, Charles Cantonwine and George Cantonwine to be and appear before me forthwith, to be sworn as appraisers of the estate of William Carter, deceaste, late of said county to prosede and apprase said goods and chattels of the said deceaste that may be found in said county. And of this writ make lagal service, and dew return, according to law. Given under my hand and Probate seal annexte, ther being know seal (S. L.) yet provided by the county.

James Mitchell

March 19, 1847 Judge of Probate of sad county

Returned on the 20 day, with the following indorsemente:

Served the within writ by reading to the within named persons, March the 20 th , 1847.

Beal Dorsey, Dept. Sheriff

Appraisors appeared on the 20 th day of March, 1847, and after being duly sworen acording to law, proceded to apprais the property of the deseast, and a return maid their of, as is hereunto annexte by the administrator of the estate.

An inventory and appraisment of the real estate and goods and chattels, rights, credits and effects which were of William Carter, late of Benton County and State of Iowa, deceased, taken on the 20 day of March, 1847:

The Clame of the deseased and improvements on the s. w. ¼ of Sec. 32, in To. 85 N. of R. 10 W. of the 5 th pr. mr., $100.00 three flour barrels, 75c 2 tight barrels 200 porke in barrel, 4.00 2 ½ acres wheat in field, 8.00 1 shot gun, 4.00 1 tin bucket, 50c. 2 small tin pans, 12 ½ cts. 1 large do do, 25 cts. 1 coffee pot and tin cup, 12 ½ cts. stone jar and lard, 50 cts. 1 skillet & lid, 75 cts. 1 small pot, 50 cts. 4 bushels of corn, 75 cts. 1 basket, 37 ½ cts. four sacks, 25 cts. 3 pecks buckwheat, at 25 cts. 25 lbs. salt, 37 ½ cts. 2 dozen candles, 20 cts. 1 muskrat trap, 25 cts. 1 bushel white beans, 50 cts. 1 doz. Chickens, 1.00 1 pike and ring, 25 cts. 1 bible, 1.00 1 hymn book, 25 cts. hunts history of Mormons 1 almanac, 10 cts. 1 ½ lbs. shot, 15 cts. 1 bar of lead, 5 cts. 7 flints, 7 cts. 1 powder & horn, 25 cts. one clawhammer, 16 cts. ½ lb. 4p. nails, 4 cts. 1 large box, 25 cts. 1 lb. saleratus, 12 cts. ½ paper, 6 cts. 1 not mall, 12 cts. 1 bushel corn, 20 cts. 11 head stock hogs, 17.00 one yoke oxen, 30.00 1 yearlin calf, 3.00 1 old ax, 25 cts. 9 saw logs, 3.00 1 choping ax, 25 cts. 1 iron wedge, 75 cts. 1 frying pan, 25 cts. 1 raisor, 50 cts. ½ set knives and forks, 25 cts. bed tick, 3.00 G. B. White’s note for eight and twenty-five cents, to be paid in breaking prairie, 8.25 cts. G. B. White’s note, braking 15 acres prairie, 22.50 cts. 1 pocketbook, 75 cts., 2 stands bees, 4.00 Samuel Braggleton’s note, for uncertain, 3.00 1 stirring plow, 4.00 1 pail, 12 cts. 1 pitchfork & sled, 1.25. Total amount of the hole inventory, 232.00. March 20 th , 1847. Appraisors’ names, Charles Cantonwine, John Hendershot and George Cantonwine.

Personally appeared Irwin D. Simison, and being duly worn, deposeth and sais foregoing inventory is according to the present value, as appraised by the foregoing appraisors, and all the goods, chattels, lands and tenements that has come to his knolledge, in said county, this 20 day of March, 184.

J. D. Simison,

Administrator of the said estate

Sworn to and subscribed to on the day and year above ritten, before me, James Mitchell, Judge of Probate of Benton County, state of Iowa, with his private seal affixte [Seal] there being no seal yet provided by the county.

James Mitchell,

Judge of Probate.

Ordered, by the Judge of Probate, That Irwin D. Simison shall give notice of his appointment as administrator of the estate of William Carter, Deseaste, late of Benton County, State of Iowa, within the time prescribed by law, by posting up three written advertisements in three public places in said county.

James Mitchell, Judge of Probate of Benton County, State of Iowa, with his private seal (S.S.) affixte, there being no seal yet provided by the county.

James Mitchell,

Judge of Probate.

The Judge also ordered the above-named Administrator to offer for sale the real and personal estate of the deceased, and then followed an inventory of his clothing and record of expense:

A inventory of the clothing and other private articles left in the hands of the administrator of the estate of William Carter, deseaste, of Benton County, State of Iowa, to be delivered to the legal Heirs, if called for, to wit: 1 blue broad Cloth coat, one uniform coate, cotton, one glugham Coate, one linen roundabout, one cotton vesting vest, one twilde cotton veste, one Casamir veste, one pair of pants, cotton tickin, one pair of linin pants, one neckties, three pare of Cotton drilling drawers, one Caronel frocke coate, one Close sack. This, the 14 th day of April, 1846.

I. D. Simison,

Administrator of the estate of the deceased.

State of Iowa, Benton County, William Carter, Dr.,

To John Hendershot, August, 1846:

To boarde three weeakes, when sick at my house 6.00

For work done and debt paid for said Carter to Green 5.00

For expense of keeping and waiting and attending on said

Carter in his laste sickness, in 1847 15.00

Hole amounte 26.00

Fees of Sheriff on summons for John Hendershot, C. Cantenwine

and G. Cantonwine, serving and milage to C. Cantonwine,

serving and milage to G. Cantonwine, serving and milage for

John Hendershot – for serving and milage for all 1.10

I do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true coppy of all the papers that came to my hands, in the office of Probate Court, in the case of Irwin D. Simison, Administrator of the estate of William Carter, deceased.

Given under my hand, this 20 th day of January, A. D. 1852.

John S. Forsyth

County Judge

The second and last act on record of James Mitchell, as Probate Judge, was the appointment of "Jackson Tailor" as guardian of "Lydia Ann Willard." Jackson Taylor was then a resident of Black Hawk County.

The first act of Judge D. S. Pratt, who succeeded Mitchell, is dated March 22, 1848, being the appointment of Samuel M. Lockhart, of Benton County, as Administrator of the estate of F. J. Rigaud, which inventoried at $221.01.

The next one is dated April 26, 1848, and was the appointment of Stedman Penrose as Administrator of the estate of Gilman Clark, which amounted to $253.90.

Special Election

Until this time, for some cause, the people of the county had not elected a Prosecuting Attorney, District Clerk or School Land Commissioner, but at the election on Wednesday, April 7, 1847, D. S. Pratt, the Commissioners’ Clerk, certifies that at an election on Monday, the 5 th , the following officers were elected, viz.: Prosecuting Attorney, Fras. Jas. Rigaud District Clerk, D. S. Pratt School Land Commissioner, E. D. Spencer.

But for some reason – either than the persons elected declined to accept, or that there was some serious informality that vitiated the election – a special election was held on the 28 th of April following, which resulted differently, as shown by the following:

Abstract of the votes cast at a special election held in Benton County, State of Iowa, on the 28 th day of April, 1847, for county officers, to wit: One District Clerk, one Prosecuting Attorney, one School Land Commissioner:

For Prosecuting Attorney – James Mitchell had nineteen (19) votes Stephen Holcomb had twenty-one (21) votes for Prosecuting Attorney, and Fras. Jas. Rigaud had three (3) votes.

For District Clerk – I. D. Simison had thirty-three (33) votes, and D. S. Pratt had twelve (12) votes.

For School Land Commissioner – John Royal had thirty (30) votes, and E. D. Spencer had four (4) votes.

May 5, 1847 Attest: D. S. Pratt,

Com. Clerk

I. W. Hayes

I. D. Bordwell

Justices of the Peace

Mr. Clerk Pratt made the memorandum that "certificate for Stephen Holcomb issued."

Contested Election

Notwithstanding the action of the Canvassing Board and the issue of the certificate to Holcomb as Prosecuting Attorney, Mr. Mitchell appears to have contested his right to the office, and successfully, too, so far as the Justice’s Court before which he brought his case, as appears from the following, which is an exact copy of the original:

We The Undersigned Justes of The peace’ of Benton Co. state of Iowa After examining All the Testimony perdused Before us on A case of the contesting of Alectun of Stephen Holcomb by James Mitchel do finde that the said Mitchel is duly Alected this the 12 day of May, 1847.

(Signed: L. W Hayes, J. P. [L. S.]

L. D. Bordwell, J. P. [L. S.]

Charles Cantonwine, J. P. [L. S.]

This document (which appears to have been written by Mitchell) was filed May 13, 1847. The case produced considerable excitement, and the little community of Benton County was greatly exercised over it. Precisely on what ground Mitchell contested, or what authority was vested in Justices of the Peace to annul a certificate of election, does not clearly appear, although it is clear that they took the responsibility. Mr. Bordwell, one of the Justices, states that the Black hawk County vote was solid for Mitchell – five votes. If they were counted, Mitchell was elected if not, then Holcomb’s certificate was valid. It would seem that the returns from Black Hawk had not been received when the votes were canvassed on the 5 th of May, and the question whether the canvass should be re-opened and the vote of Black hawk opened and counted, was the one that must be decided. It was decided, and the Black Hawk vote was received and counted, which changed the result, and Mitchell assumed to exercise the duties of prosecuting officer, although Holcomb still held his certificate of election.

Couldn’t Stand It

The following is a copy of a paper found among the wolf-scalp certificates, filed as "Security Resignation." It explains itself:

To the District Clerk of Benton County: You are hereby notifide that the undersigned, security for James Downs, as Sheriff of said county, will stand as such no longer. You will therefore notifide him according to law.

Dated this 8 th day of May, A. D. 1847.

(Signed) Thomas Way

The First Court

The first term of the District Court was appointed to be held at the house of Thomas Way, about two miles northeast of the present Court House, on the last Monday in August, 1846. It is said that Way's log cabin was then the best house in the county, and was selected as Court House for that reason. Grand and petit jurors were summoned, and on the day appointed James Downs, Sheriff, and Jonathan R. Pratt, Clerk of the Court, with eighteen grand and seventeen petit jurors, assembled at the house of Thomas Way but, for some reason not now apparent, the Judge, Carleton, did not put in an appearance, and the Clerk proclaimed an adjournment until the next day. On the second day the Judge was still absent, the Clerk adjourned the court without day, and the assembled settlers dispersed to their homes disappointed that the "show did not come off."

By an act of the first General Assembly of the State of Iowa, approved Feb. 17, 1847, it was provided that "the District Court in and for the county of Benton shall be held at such place within said county as the County Commissioners may direct." The county had a seat of justice, but there was no Court House or any other house there and, presumably, the County Commissioners directed court to be held at the house of Thomas Way for on the 31st day of May, 1847, court was opened there for the first time in Benton County. Present, Hon. James P. Carleton, Judge of the District Court James Downs, Sheriff James Mitchell, Prosecuting Attorney, and Irwin D. Simison, Clerk of the District Court. Way's cabin was in the midst of thick timber, and to make room for the august assemblage, Mrs. Way removed her pots, kettles and other household utensils to the shelter of a neighboring tree. Having done this, she coolly seated herself on a stump near the open door of the cabin, and gazed with respectful wonder at the collection of learned heads assembled within to administer the law to the backwoodsmen of Benton County. The judge was perched on a three-legged stool, behind a rough deal table (the only one in the house) at the farther end of the little room. At the left of His Honor, seated on a low mill-bench, with his books and papers spread out before him, was Simison, the Clerk. There were also present, Norman W. Isbell (subsequently Judge of the Supreme Court), Isaac N. Preston, John David, D. P. Palmer, John P. Cook and Stephen Whicher, members of the bar from other counties. Benton County had no lawyer then. The court was formally opened by the Sheriff, and dispatched business with a rapidity that would startle some more modern courts.

The grand jury summoned was sworn, as follows: Fielding Bryson, James Harmely, Joseph Remington, John Bryson, Charles Graham, Stephen Brody, Jesse Brody, Josiah Helm, David Jewell, William Mitchell, Samuel M. Lockhart, James Polly, Chauncy Leverich, Anderson Amos, James M. Denison, Joseph Bryson, Lyman D. Bordwell and Samuel Stephens. Samuel M. Lockhart was appointed foreman of the Jury, which, after being duly charged, retired to the timber to deliberate, in charge of Beal Dorsey, Bailiff.

The first case of entry is the State of Iowa vs. Joel Leverich, for passing counterfeit money, which appears to have been transferred from Linn County on change of venue. Leverich was a member of the band of outlaws that infested this region at the time, and he probably thought that he could get a good jury in Benton County. The case was continued to the next term, however, and Ambrose Harland, Elijah Evans, Adason Daniels, Lowell Daniels, Nathaniel Chapman, Isaac D. Worrall and John Perkins were held in $50 each to appear as witnesses. The accused was not present, and a capias was issued to the Sherriff of Linn County for his arrest, returnable at next term of court. Another indictment against Joel Leverich for having in possession counterfeiting instruments, was disposed of similarly.

On the second day of the term, the case of Samuel Finley vs. William Sturgis (of Black Hawk County), assumpsit, damage $100, which was the first civil case entered, was withdrawn by the plaintiff, having been amicably settled by the parties.

June 1st, the second day of the term, William Smyth (afterward presiding Judge for the same court) was hanging around the door of the court cabin, waiting for admission to the bar. The court appointed Messrs. Preston, David, Isbell and Palmer a committee to forthwith examine the said Smyth as to his proficiency in the law, with instructions to report the result. The committee with Smyth in charge, retired to the timber to discuss matters and things in general, and incidentally their duty-Smyth's legal knowledge, etc. Allowing a proper time to elapse, the committee, arm in arm with Smyth, returned into court and reported, whereupon William Smyth was duly sworn and admitted to practice in the courts of Iowa. Smyth remembered what was expected of him when court adjourned.

James Mitchell, Prosecuting Attorney, made application for admission to the bar, and Messrs. Preston, Palmer, Isbell and David were appointed to examine him. They reported that the legal attainments of the applicant were not such as to warrant his admission, and his application was denied.

Immediately afterward, Stephen Holcomb asked to leave to file information in the nature of a quo warranto against James Mitchell for intruding into the office of Prosecuting Attorney leave was granted the necessary papers were issued and served. Mitchell was summoned and appeared before the court by himself and by his attorney, I. M. Preston. The relator, Holcomb, appeared by Palmer & Isbell, his attorneys. Both parties waived a jury, and after a hearing, the court held that Mitchell was guilty, as charged, of intruding into the office of Prosecuting Attorney, and that he, the said Mitchell, should be ousted there-from. But, Holcomb, who expected to succeed the ousted officer, was disappointed, for, while he recovered his costs -- taxed at $1.87 ½ -- the court held that the relator was not entitled to the office, and appointed I. M. Preston to fill the vacancy.

The court adjourned Jan. 1, 1847, having been in session two days, and Mrs. Way resumed sway over her natural domain.

At the time designated for the September term, John Royal* was Sheriff, and Irwin D. Simison, Clerk, and were in attendance, but the Judge did not appear, and the court adjourned sine die. After the adjournment, the inevitable jug was produced, the contents of which soon disappeared, and of the assembled crow, many of them became very drunk.

*John Royal is said to have been the embodiment of the term "a hale fellow well met, " his funny bump being exceedingly large. This craving for amusement often led him to spend hours together in the bar-room, where 'frolic ran riot,' much to the discomfort of his good wife, who, after trying everything she could think of to break him of this habit, at last hit upon the following plan: C. C. Charles opened a saloon on the north side of the public square, in 1851. This became Royal's resort. One day, in company with her old friend, L. D. Bordwell, Mrs. Royal suddenly stepped into the saloon, and advanced to the counter on which the old Sheriff was perched, vigorously sawing discordant music from an aged and dilapidated fiddle. On discovering the visitors, his face presented a startling picture of amazement, shame and consternation, which first expression disappeared and lent its force to the remaining two, as his wife exclaimed, "Bring on the whisky, Mr. Charles! I tell you I am going to have a spree. If there is any enjoyment in this way of doing, I am going to participate. Gentlemen, walk up and drink. This is fine, ain't it?" "Huzzah! huzzah for the old Musquaka Chief, or any other man. Come up, Johnny, my dear, let us have another drink!" "Huzzah! for the Sheriff of Benton County, for him and his wife are both on a bender. Oh, this is nice!" Royal could stand it no longer. He dropped the old violin, and with sadness in his very motion, took his wife gently by the hand and with voice full of tenderness, said "Catherine, let us go home. This is no place for as good a woman as you are, let us go home, and I will stay with you hereafter." And he kept his word. He was an efficient officer, and respected by all.

Election of 1847

The abstract of the votes polled at an election held in Benton County on the 2 nd day of August, 1847, signed by D. S. Pratt, Commissioners’ Clerk, and Stephen Holcomb and Charles Cantonwine, Justices of the Peace, was as follows:

For Sheriff – Beal Dorsey had 20 votes John Royal, 33.

For Judge of Probate – D. S. Pratt had 42 votes E. D. Spencer, 1.

For County Commissioner – Thomas Way had 24 votes Samuel L. Morse, 14 L. W. Hayes, 15.

For Commissioners’ Clerk – D. S. Pratt had 42 votes E. D. Spencer, 1.

For Recorder – D. S. Pratt had 24 votes L. W. Hayes, 23.

For Surveyor – Irwin D. Simison had 47 votes.

For Coroner – Fielding Bryson had 19 votes E. B. Spencer, 17.

For Sealer of Weights and Measurers – Aaron Hains had 9 votes Thomas Lockhart, 11 D. S. Pratt, 5.

For Prosecuting Attorney – Aaron Hains had 11 votes John Hendershott, 1 Stephen Holcomb, 5 Samuel M. Lockhart, 13.

At this election, the vote for Representative to Congress was as follows: Thomas McKnight had 20 votes Shepherd Lefler, 34. Benton County was then included in the Second Congressional District.

County Debt Wiped Out

It is said that the county in those early times was deeply in debt. A pretty large amount of orders had been issued for various purposes until they were absolutely worthless, but were still evidences of indebtedness outstanding against the county. During the time that Way served as County Commissioner, it is also said that the county officers determined to make a new departure, destroy all the records, and begin anew. Way bought in the county orders. The price of a county order, whatever its face, was a rink of whisky. When they were all or nearly all purchased in this way, they were burned by Way, and the county was relieved from its indebtedness. Whether the records were destroyed is uncertain, but it is certain that they are not now accessible, except the few papers found by the historian, which have been freely used in this work.

Civil Townships

The Board of County Commissioners for 1847-48, it is presumed, created several civil townships but singularly enough, there is no record of the creation of a single one of them, either by the County Commissioners or the County Judge. At the time of the Commissioners’ Court in April, 1847, John Royal and George Cantonwine were appointed Supervisors of Canton Township, and directed "to open an work all legal laid-out roads in said township." Anderson Amos was appointed Supervisor in Township 86 north, Range 9 west, and David Jewell in Township 85, Range 9, and Thomas Way Supervisor on a certain road "commencing at the corner of Harrison’s field and running to Edward’s Ford across the Cedar River." Prior to 1851, three more townships, viz., Polk, Harrison and Taylor, were created.

In October, 1847, the secretary of School District No. 1, in Polk Township, reported to the School Fund Commissioners that there were twenty-six persons in that district between the ages of 5 and 21 years.

State Roads in Benton County

Section 5 of "An act for laying out and establishing certain roads therein named," approved February 18, 1847, appointed James Leverich, of Linn County, Charles Cantonwine, of Benton, and William Hunt, of Black Hawk County, Commissioners to lay out and establish a State road, beginning at Cedar Rapids, thence to or near the house of Mr. Strawn, in Linn County thence to the county seat of Benton thence to the Falls of the Cedar.

By act approved February 25, 1847, E. B. Spencer, Samuel M. Lockhart and William Belles were appointed Commissioners to establish a State road from the county seat of Benton County to Quasqueton, Buchanan County.

Section 10 of "An act to locate and establish certain roads," approved February 5, 1851, appointed James Allenworth, of Linn, John Alexander, of Benton, and David S. Pratt, of Black Hawk, to locate and establish a State road from Center Point to Marysville, Benton County thence by the residence of James Virden to the Big Woods, via John H. Messinger’s, to Rice’s old trading house.

Section 25, of the same act, appointed William Williams, of Muscatine, Isaac Cook, of Linn, and John Royal, of Benton, to locate a State road from Cedar Rapids, via Fremont (Vinton), in Benton, to Fort Clarke.

Section 45 appointed Samuel C. Trowbridge, of Johnson Andrew D. Stephens, of Benton, and C. C. Slocum, of Iowa County, to locate a State road from Marengo to Fort Clarke.

Section 30 of "An act in relation to certain State roads therein named," approved January 22, 1853, appointed George W. Vorees, of Marshall David F. Bruner, of Tama, and A. D. Stephens, of Benton, to locate a State road from A. D. Stephens’ to the southeast corner of Hardin County.

Section 49, of the same act, appointed E. A. Brown, of Black Hawk John Blunt, of Chickasaw, and W. C. Stanberry, of Benton, to locate a State road from Fremont to Waterloo thence to John H. Messinger’s in Bremer County thence to Bradford, in Chickasaw County.

Section 1 of "An act to establish certain State roads." Approved January 24, 1855, appointed James B. Kelsey and Thomas B. Stone, of Linn, and Harrison Bristol, of Benton, to locate a State road from Cedar Rapids via Bear Creek Mill, Vinton and Waterloo, to Cedar Falls.

Section 12, of the same act, appointed Andrew Stein, of Benton John Ross and David Bruner, of Tama, to locate a State road from Cedar Rapids to Toledo.

Section 9 of "An act in relation to State roads," approved January 28, 1857, appointed (Wesley) Whipple, of Benton James Barclay, of Black Hawk, and Thomas R. Talbot, of Fayette, to locate a State road from Vinton, via Barclay, Fairbank and Linn, to West Union.

Section 12 of the same act appointed F. A. Morgan, of Keokuk Martin Ballard, of Iowa, and S. P. Price, of Benton, to locate a State road from Sigourney, via Millersburg, Genoa Bluffs and Kosta, to Vinton.

Towns and Cities of Benton County

[The first town laid out in Benton County was in the northeast part of the county, in 1847 but, for convenient reference, all the towns in the county are inserted here.]

Marysville, located on the north twenty acres of the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 34, Township 86, Range 9, was laid out May 5, 1847, by F. J. Rigaud, County Surveyor Joseph Remington, proprietor. Plat recorded May 10, 1847, at 8 ‘clock A. M. This is the oldest town in the county, and was well known to the early settlers as "Hoosier Point." The post office at this point is now called Urbanna.

Vinton was located by the Commissioners to locate the county seat, 1846, on the northeast quarter of Section 21, Township 85, Range 10, and named Northport by the first Board of County Commissioners, and ordered to be surveyed in July, 1846 but a new Board was elected in August, and the record was delayed until February 12, 1848, when it was recorded by Irwin D. Simison, County Surveyor. The plat was signed by Samuel M. Lockwood, Loyal F. North and Thomas Way, County Commissioners, and by them named Vinton, in honor of a Member of Congress from Ohio who was anxious to perpetuate his name in this way. The town has no existence now, and its territory is included in the limits of the present city of Vinton.

Fremont, located on Lots 5, 6 and 7, of the west half of Section 16, Township 85, Range 10, "which point being voted for at the August election, 1849, by a majority, to be the seat of Justice of Benton County."

Shellsburg, on the southwest quarter of Section 11 and partly on the northwest quarter of Section 14, township 84, Range 9 surveyed by H. M. Drury, Deputy County Surveyor, June 16, 1854 Jacob Cantonwine, Christiana Cantonwine, Emanuel S. Fluke and Mary Fluke, proprietors.

Grand Gulf, o the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 17, Township 85, Range 10 surveyed April 17, 1854, by H. M. Drury, Deputy County Surveyor John Alexander and Nancy Alexander, proprietors. Now a part of the city of Vinton.

Geneva, on the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter and the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 3, township 84, Range 11 surveyed by Wesley Whipple R. N. Van Cleaf and Susanna Van Cleaf, proprietors. Plat filed for record March 20, 1855.

Wilmington, located on Section 4, Township 85, Range 9 surveyed by Wesley Whipple, November 9, 1855 Lewis Berry, Eliza Berry, Conrad Binkhart and Sarah Binkhart, proprietors. Plat filed for record, 1858.

Irving, on the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 6, Township 82, Range 12 October 10, 1855 Samuel Hutton, proprietor.

Benton City, located on Section 20, Township 85, Range 9, south of the river surveyed by Joseph Owen John Royal, Catherine Royal, John Graham and Lucinda Graham, proprietors. Plat filed for record June 16, 1856. This was then a thriving little town. John Graham built a hotel there in 1855-6. It was probably surveyed as early as 1854-5. Dr. S. E. Warner located there in 1855. W. C. Stanberry advertised in August, 1855, at Benton City, "the largest and best-selected stock of goods ever offered for sale in Benton County." Benton City A. F. & A. M. was instituted U. D. October 31, 1855, and chartered June 4, 1856, but was removed to Shellsburg prior to 1864. The line of the B., C. R. & N. R. R. was first located to pass through or near the town, but the location was afterward changed. The glory of the town long since departed, and it no longer exists save in history.

Eden, south half of the southwest quarter of Section 1, and part of Section 12, Township 85, Range 10 surveyed by Newell Colby, January 14, 1856 Jacob Leamer and Rebecca Leamer, proprietors. Plat filed for record January 19, 1856.

Guinnville, part of the northeast quarter of Section 30, Township 82, Range 12 surveyed by Wesley Whipple, October 30-31, 1856 John E. S. Gwinn and Caroline Gwinn, proprietors. Plat filed for record November 8, 1856.

Brooklyn, in Benton and Black Hawk Counties surveyed April 3, 1856, by N. Colby H. N. Brooks, proprietor. Plat filed for record March 13, 1857. Defunct.

Williamsburg, on Section 11, Township 86, Range 10 surveyed by Wesley Whipple, March 20, 1857 William L. Jones, Abigail Jones, L. W. Bryson and Mary A. Bryson, proprietors. Plat filed for record March 31, 1857.

West Vinton, on the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 17, Township 85, Range 10 surveyed by Wesley Whipple, March 25, 1857 Edwin Humphreville, I. C. Rhodabeck, Hannah B. Stoughton and William Stoughton, proprietors. Plat filed for record March 30, 1857. Now a part of Vinton City.

Manatheka, parts of Sections 26 and 35, Township 86, Range 9 (near Marysville) surveyed by Wesley Whipple, March 31, 15857 William Remington, Elizabeth Remington, John Ferguson, Nancy Ferguson, Theodore Stevens and Lucy Stevens, proprietors. Plat filed for record April 4, 1857.

Belle Plaine, on the east half of and northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 14, Township 82, Range 11 surveyed by G. F. Kirby in the Spring of 1862 John I. Blair, proprietor G. F. Kirby, Surveyor. Plat filed for record May 12, 1862.

Blairstown, on the southwest quarter of Section 13 and the southeast quarter of Section 14, Township 82, Range 11 surveyed by G. F. Kirby in the Spring of 1862 John I. Blair, proprietor. Plat filed for record May 1, 1862.

Norway (now Florence), on the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 20, Township 82, Range 9 surveyed June 10, 1863, by P. P. Smith, County Surveyor Ormond Tuttle and Helen Sophia Tuttle, proprietors. Plat filed for record July 21, 1863.

Luzerne, on the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 82, Range 12, and partly on Section 19 B. B. Hent, Surveyor Isaac B. Howe and Hannah R. Howe, proprietors. Plat filed for record April 17, 1868.

Mount Auburn, on the south half of Section 14, Township 86, Range 11 surveyed by P. F. Randall Milton S. Hall, Sarah A. Hall, Thomas D. Lewis and Mary A. Lewis, proprietors. Plat filed for record June 19, 1871.

Benton, on Sections 28 and 29, Township 85, Range 11 surveyed by C. G. Johnson in April, 1873 Jonathan Barkdoll and Susan Barkdoll, proprietors. Plat filed for record July 22, 1873.

Watkins, on the southwest corner of Section 23 and the northwest corner of Sec. 26, Township 82, Range 10 surveyed by Hiram Lipe in may, 1874 Charles G. Turner and Eliza Turner, proprietors. Plat filed for record Aug. 16, 1874.

The Courts in 1848

April 24, 1848, the court was again held in the house of Thomas Way. James P. Carleton was Judge John Royal, Sheriff* John Alexander, Prosecuting Attorney I. D. Simison, Clerk and the court records show that I. M. Preston, S. A. Bissell, William Leffingwell and William Smyth were present as attorneys. The second grand jury was impaneled as follows: E. B. Spencer, John S. Forsyth, Jacob Remington, Samuel Osborn, Joseph Bryson, Beal Dorsey, Charles Cantonwine, Loyal F. North, George Cantonwine, William Ball, Stedman Penrose, Michael Cantonwine, Jacob Cantonwine, Elias H. Keyes, Michael Zimmerman and Frederick Zimmerman. John S. Forsyth was appointed Foreman, and the jury retired to the timber as before for consultation, in charge of the Bailiff, David S. Pratt.

At this term, the first petit jury was impaneled as follows: James Downs, Joseph Sanders, William Mitchell, James M. Denison, Price Kendrick, Lyman D. Bordwell, Thomas Lockhart, David S. Way, David Cantonwine, William Davis, John Hendershott, James Worley, Welcom Martin, George B. Pratt, Nathaniel Adams, Chauncy Leverich, Charles Hinkley, Thomas Way, Samuel Stephens, William Davis Jr., and John Mason.

The indictment against Joel Leverich for passing counterfeit money, continued from last term, was quashed. The other indictment against Leverich, for having implements for counterfeiting in his possession, was tried, but the jury brought in a verdict of "not guilty." Joel Leverich, although a member, it is said, of a gang of outlaws infesting the country at that time, was one of the shrewdest of the tribe, and never could be caught. He always "got off," as in this instance.

September 18, 1848, the third term of court was opened in the county, and was held, so says the record, in the log court house at Vinton, the first and the last term of curt ever held at the original county seat. Although the record declares that this term of court was held at the court house, the facts are that the court assembled there, but there was no roof on the building, no floor – nothing but the bare log walls. A seat was provided for the Judge in one corner by placing a piece of board across the corner in the crevices between the logs, and a shower coming up, some more pieces were thrust into the chinks over his head to protect him from the rain. Court was opened in this primitive "court house," and then adjourned to the cabin of William Davis, which stood on Section 15, where the business of the term was transacted. The grand jury occupied a log blacksmith shop in the vicinity.

At this term John Lewis recovered $300 of Samuel K. Parker for slander. Charles Hinkley, indicted for arson, was tired, convicted, and sentenced to pay a fine of one cent and be imprisoned in the State Penitentiary for one year. This was the first conviction for a criminal offense in the county.

*(In the early days of Vinton, two of the county officers agreed together to celebrate Christmas "in the good old way," had have a jolly time. It is said that when lawyer "Jack" came to Benton County he provided himself with a good supply of "Maynard & Noyes’" best black ink in quart bottles. These bottles were placed on the shelf in "the house that Jack built," and the neighbors, seeing a good opportunity to "borrow some ink till they could send and get some," some of the bottles, as a consequence, were soon emptied of their contents, but were replaced on the shelf along with the full ones. The two friends were greatly perplexed for something to put their whisky into. Suddenly Lawyer J. bethought him of the empty ink bottles, and seizing a couple of them, joined his friend, who was shivering in the cold, and together they washed them in the creek. They were soon filled with "corn juice." But the county officials could not rest content with it all in the bottles, so they transferred a generous portion of it to their capacious "bread baskets." The effect of all this was to produce a feeling of drowsiness, an for a time sought repose in a friendly fence corner become tired of this, they made their way to the house to sit by the fire. But Jack could find neither wood, matches nor shavings however, placing the bottles in their old places on the shelf for safety until he could raise a light. Not succeeding in this, he sought consolation in the "tanglefoot," and taking down a bottle, courteously handed it to his friend, who hastily swallowed a heavy draught but instead of peaceably handing it back to his waiting companion, he accused him of playing a trick o him by filling the bottle with something besides whisky, and threw the contents in Mr. Jack’s face and on his clothing the assaulted man rushed into the other room, and after some words they both settled down to rests. Early in the morning they were startled by the piercing scream of jack’s wife, who ejaculated that "there was a big nigger in her bed." A case of "mistaken identity" in the bottles was the cause, as was shown by the investigation that followed.

Mail Facilities

By joint resolution approved January 24, 1848, the General Assembly of Iowa asked for the establishment of a mail route from Tipton, Cedar County, via Pioneer Grove and Marion, to the county seat of Benton. Also of a mail route from Cedar Rapids, via the county seat of Benton, to the falls of the Cedar River in Black Hawk County.

Elections, 1848

At the election held April 3, 1848, Elias H. Keyes was elected School Fund Commissioner, receiving 38 votes John S. Forsyth, his competitor, received 34 votes. The votes of Taylor and Polk Townships for Justices of the Peace at this election were canvassed by the County Board. In Taylor, Stephen Holcomb had 14 votes Lester W. Hayes, 13 and Fleming Sanders, 12. In Polk, John S. Forsyth had 19 votes, and Edwin B. Spencer, 16.

The abstract of the votes for county officers at the election, August 7, 1848, is not among the papers found by the historian, but Elias H. Keyes appears to have been elected Clerk of the Commissioners’ Court, and Loyal F. North re-elected County Commissioner. For State officers, however, the abstract is preserved:

For Auditor of State – Joseph F. Fales had 44 votes William A. Warren, 26 – 70 votes cast.

For Secretary of State – John M. Coleman had 28 votes Josiah H. Bonney, 39 William A. Warren, 1.

For State Treasurer – Robert Holmes had 27 votes Morgan Reno, 42.

For Member of Congress – Timothy Davis received 29 votes Shepherd Leffler, 41.

From these returns it appears that the voting population of Benton County had not materially increased since 1847. One can scarcely realize, as he visits this rich and densely populated county in 1878, that only thirty years ago there were only seventy voters within its limits.

Grocery Bond

Among the curiosities of thirty years ago is a bond given by Chauncy Leverich, with G. A. Thompson for security, from which it appears that "Chancy," as his name is signed, took out a license on the 3 rd day of July, 1848, to keep a grocery for one year. The bond as in the penal sum of $100, and the condition was as follows: "now the condition of the above obligation is such, that if the said Chancy Leverich shall keep an orderly house, and will not permit any unlawful, gaming or riotous conduct in or about his house, then this obligation to be void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and virtue in law." That the keeper of a grocery should be required to take out license and give bond, sounds odd in these later days but it must be remembered that in those early days a grocery was a saloon as well as a grocery store, and Leverich drew around him the more reckless and lawless elements in a community that was then under the dominion of outlaws and horse thieves. The bond was given to comply with the forms of law and if it was violated, as it probably was hundreds of times, it was neither expected nor designed that it was to be enforced. If it was, there was no court to enforce it.

Scholars in 1848

Among a lot of old papers on the floor of the vault in the Court House, while searching for lost records the historian found two, from which the following statement is compiled. It is proper to remark that the inspectors reported "no schools":

November, 1848, L. F. North, School Inspector of Canton Township, reported the number of schools in District No. 1 to be 19 in District No. 2, 42, and District No. 3, 12. I. D. Simison, Inspector of Taylor Township in 1848, made a more elaborate report, and included the heads of families and the number of scholars in each family, as follows: District No. 1, William Mitchell’s family had 4 Albert Johnson, 1 Thomas Way, 6 Mrs. Smith, 4 Mrs. M. M. Way, 1 Michael Zimmerman, 5 David Wilson, 6. Total, 23.

District No. 2, John Edwards, 2 John Alexander, 3 Varnum Helm, 4 Daniel Carlisle, 1 George Adams, 4 Mrs. Chauncy Leverich, 1 William Davis, 1 John royal, 2 James Sanders, 4 Francis Sanders, 1 G. B. White, 4. Total, 28.

Re-Location of the Seat of Justice

The town of Northport was laid out in 1846 was re-surveyed and re-christened Vinton in February, 1848, on the northeast quarter of Section 21, on the spot where the County Seat Commissioners drove the county seat stake. During the following Summer an Fall, Chauncy Leverich, John Alexander and others interested in property lying nearer the river, where the present business portion of Vinton now stands, determined to make an attempt to move the county seat, and accordingly circulated a petition asking the Legislature to grant a re-location by a vote of the people. To prevent all opposition and make the thing doubly sure, a the same time when they circulated the petition they carried a remonstrance, which they asked all to sign who would not put their names to the petition. In that way they secured the signatures of nearly all the citizens of the county, and when obtained, they cut the names form the remonstrance and attached them to the petition. By this sharp practice, they were able to make a very strong showing to the General Assembly, and without opposition secured the passage of an act as follows:

An act to provide for the location of the county seat of Benton County

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa, That the legal voters of Benton County shall vote, at the next April election, for such pointes in said county as they may deem proper and if, upon canvassing the votes, it is ascertained that any one point has received a majority of votes over all others, then the point receiving such majority shall be and remain the permanent seat of justice of said Benton County but if no point shall receive such majority, then and in that case the said legal voters of said county shall vote for the two points receiving the highest number of votes at said April election, at the next August election, and the point receiving the highest number of votes at said August election shall be and remain the permanent seat of justice of said Benton County.

At the election held on the 2 nd day of April, 1849, the friends of removal came very near removing the county seat farther than they desired – to the other side of the river, two or three miles from the present Court House. One more vote for that location would have carried it.

The following extract from the abstract of the votes, made by E. H. Keyes, Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, and Fleming Sanders and David S. Way, Justices of the Peace, is an interesting item of history:

"The southeast fourth of the northeast quarter of Section three (3) in Township 85 north of Range 10 west of the 5 th P. M., received fifty-seven votes for the county seat of Benton County Lots No. 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the west half of Section 16, Township 85 north of Range 10 west of the 5 th P. M., as shown by the plat made by the Trustees of Taylor Township, in the county aforesaid, made on the 17 th day of March, 1848, had fifty-seven votes.

A Compact and Its Result

By the terms of the act, if no point received a majority of the votes at the April election, the people were required to vote again in August. But the closeness of the vote in April alarmed those who had anticipated no serious opposition to their scheme of moving the seat of justice from Northport (Vinton) to a spot nearer the river. In April, both points voted for, received an equal number of votes. Mr. Bordwell was unavoidably called away on that day. He, had he remained at home, would have voted, as he says, in favor of the location on Section 3 which would have moved the county seat some distance father than was desirable. Something must be done. "Uncle Tom" Way had control of seven votes. At the April election, he had voted the "seven" in favor of Section 3. Should he repeat the operation in August, the result might be fatal to the hopes of the west side people. At this junction, John Alexander and John Royal went over to Way’s and remained there a day and a night, and at last made a solemn compact with "Uncle Tom," that if he (Way) would attend the election and vote his "seven" in favor of Lots 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the west half of Section 16 for the county seat, they (Royal and Alexander) would exert all their influence to elect him (Way) to the office of Treasurer and Recorder. The compact made, the high contracting parties shook hands across the head of a whisky barrel, and Alexander and Royal, elated with their success, returned to the future site of the capital of Benton County, confident that the election, so far as their wishes and interests were concerned, would result as they desired.

On the day of the election, "Uncle Tom," with his crowd and with the inevitable whisky jug slung over his shoulder, appeared, voted his "seven" as he had promised, and the canvass of the votes by Clerk Keyes and Justices F. Sanders and Charles Cantonwine showed the result as follows: Lots 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the west half of Section 16, township 85, range 10, received sixty-two (62) votes the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 3, Township 85, Range 10, received twenty-five (25) votes. This settled the vexed question, and Vinton was no longer the county seat of Benton County.

Way had faithfully fulfilled his part of the contract. Were the other parties as faithful? The impartial historian is compelled to admit that the weight of evidence is against them for, upon counting the votes for Treasurer and Recorder, it was found that Way had received only thirty-six votes, while his successful competitor, Johnson, received forty-four votes.


In November following, James Leverich, who had purchased the claim of Chauncy, laid out a town on the lots above mentioned, and called it Fremont, in honor of Gen. John C. Fremont, which became the capital of Benton County.

The First Court House

was a small, two-story frame building, that stood on the southeast corner of the Public Square. The frame was put up, the roof covered, and the walls sided up before the town was platted (probably before he votes were taken as above), by Leverich and other friends of removal, as an inducement for the people to vote for that location. It thus stood, a mere shell, without floors, doors or windows, until 1851-2, when it was partially finished. A floor was laid in the lower story, doors and windows put in, so that the District Court could occupy it. The upper story was finished and divided into two rooms, in one of which the county offices were located. A flight of rough stairs on the outside of the building led to the second story.

The Election of 1849

On the 2 nd day of April, 1849, Joseph Rouse was elected Recorder and treasurer, probably to fill a vacancy, over Aaron Haines, by a vote of forty-seven to forty-two.

The election in Canton Township was held at the house of Jacob Cantonwine, and l. F. North had eight votes and Charles Cantonwine seven votes for Justice of the Peace. "David Cantonwine had six votes, E. R. Buchanan had two votes, William Fish had four votes, William Saws had two votes, P. Kislinger had one vote," but for what office does not appear.

The abstract of the number of votes at the election for county officers on Monday, August 6, 1849, shows a slight increase of voting population:

For recorder and Treasurer – James Johnson had 44 votes Thomas Way, 36.

For Coroner – George B. Pratt had 11 votes C. J. Pitts, 1 Charles N. Moberly, 10 James Hamting, 1.

For Sheriff – Cyrus C. Charles had 45 votes James Downs, 41.

For County Commissioners’ Clerk – James Johnson had 8 votes George B. Pratt, 25 A. Cantonwine, 6 E. H. Keyes, 14 J. T. Simison, 1.

For Prosecuting Attorney – John Alexander had 10 votes.

For County Surveyor – I. D. Simison had 60 votes D. Simison, 1.

For County Commissioner – Samuel M. Lockhart had 40 votes L. D. Bordwell, 16 I. D. Simison, 1.

For Clerk of the District Court – I. D. Simison had 45 votes.

For Sealer of Weights and Measures – William Ball had 20 votes.

For Judge of Probate – John Alexander was elected vote not given.


E. H. Keyes resigned the office of Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, October 1, 1849, which would indicate that George B. Pratt, elected as above, declined to accept. W. R. Johnson appears to have been appointed Clerk pro tem.

The First Mill

erected in Benton County was built on Mud Creek, about a mile and a half southeast of Fremont, in 1849. The enterprising proprietors were John Royal and Cyrus C. Charles.

Didn’t Ketchum

Some time in 1849, a stranger accompanied by a woman appeared in Vinton. He gave the name of Ketchum, and soon after his advent engaged in the saloon business. Erelong a woman came to town, and gave her name as Mrs. Ketchum, the lawfully wedded wife of the saloon keeper, whom she had come to see. She did not propose to tolerate Ketchum's weakness for getting married while she was still able to get around. She was rather an energetic woman, for she had a warrant for her husband's arrest placed in the hands of Deputy Marcus Webb within two hours after her arrival. Webb made the arrest, took his prisoner before Justice Brubacher, and, having other business to attend to, left him in the custody of Constables Stanbury and Bob Quail. Doctor Buffum was engaged by the prisoner to defend him, and had gone with him to Justice Brubacher's. Pending the appearance of witnesses, a jug of whisky was sent for, and the Justice and the attorney for the defense sat down to play a friendly game of "seven-up." Quail having been out late the night before, went into an adjoining room, lay down, and was fast asleep. About the time Brubacher was two points ahead in his second game with Buffum, Ketchum asked permission to leave the room a few minutes, which Brubacher considerately granted. That was the last ever seen of Ketchum in Benton County. He had made good time. Diligent search was made, but he was beyond the reach of the officers. Brubacher was indicted at the next term of the District Court for keeping a gambling house, and both he and Buffum were indicted for gambling but owing to informality in the papers, both were discharged.

In the Spring of 1850, Major Wood, of the regular army, encamped in the southeastern part of Iowa Township with two companies of dragoons and a detachment of infantry. The cavalry were commanded by Major Olmstead, and infantry by Major Johnson. The encampment was named "Camp Buckenough." This location was made a temporary depot of supplies which were being hauled form the Mississippi River to the stockade which had been ordered to be erected where Fort Dodge now stands. The command remained two or three months, when the battalion was divided, part being sent to Fort Leavenworth, and the remainder to Fort Dodge.

Elections of 1850

The Spring election in 1850 occurred on Monday, April 1. At this election, James F. Beckett was elected School Fund Commissioner and also Commissioners’ Clerk.

At the general election held August 5, 1850, the following county officers were elected:

County Commissioner – James Rice received 66 votes his competitor, E. H. Keyes, 39—total, 105.

Charles W. Buffum was elected Clerk of the District Court, having received 40 votes I. D. Simison, 26 William S. Read, 4, and John Brachen, 2, for the same office.

For Commissioners’ Clerk – James F. Beckett received 14, and James Johnson, 1.

For State Officers the vote of Benton County at this election was as follows:

For Governor – James L. Thompson received 46 votes Stephen Hempstead, 58.

For Secretary of State – Isaac Cook received 55 votes George W. McCleary, 51.

For Auditor of State – William H. Seevers received 51 votes William Patter, 54.

For Treasurer of State – Evan Jay received 51 votes Israel Kister, 55.

For Representative to Congress, Second District – William H. Henderson received 53 votes Lincoln Clark, 54: total vote for Congressman, 107.

The Indians

Although the Indians ceded a portion of the county to the United States in 1837 and the remainder in 1843, they roved over the country as late as 1854. They had a favorite camping place on the east side of the Cedar River, near Mr. Thomas Way's. The spot was chosen partly, perhaps, because "Uncle Tom" always had a good supply of fire-water. They came here every year and spent several days in celebrating some of their mystic rites, religious dances, etc. Upon one occasion, Mr. James Rice gave them a fine puppy, which they sacrificed to the Great Spirit with much ceremony, holding a war dance as a part of the exercises. The Indians were many times accused of committing depredations of which they were not guilty. They were very convenient scapegoats for horse thieves. Berry Way, "Uncle Tom's" renegade son, used to steal and run off their ponies during their annual encampment near his father's house. Stealing them during the night, Berry would always be at home the next morning, and when the "reds" entered complaint, he was on hand to assist them in efforts to discover the missing animals, but always sent them on the wrong trail.

Berry Way and another young man, well known thieves of Benton County, made a trip through Black Hawk County in March, 1846, stopping all night at a logging cabin, built by "Cedar" Johnson a year or two before, near Big Creek, then occupied by James Newell. The next morning they proceeded up the river to the vicinity of the Turkey Foot Forks spent that night with "Big Wave," a prominent Winnebago Chief, and to requite his hospitality, stole two valuable horses from him before daylight in the morning. About twenty of Big Wave's band pursued them, and found them at a singing school near Center Point. They threatened to shoot the trio, but the settlers interfered, and persuaded the Indians it would be best to place the thieves under arrest and let the law take its course. The scoundrels were accordingly confined in jail at Marion, but soon after escaped.

The Dark Ages

On the confines of American civilization, as its resistless tide swept onward toward the setting sun, and its waves broke against the boundaries of Indian territory only to gather new strength, overleap them and rush onward to the next barrier, there were always hovering, like spies in advance of an invading army, a swarm of bold, reckless, adventurous and enterprising spirits, many of whom were criminals. The broad, untroden prairies and the trackless forests furnished admirable refuges for those whose crimes had driven them from companionship with honest and law-abiding people, to seek both safety and immunity beyond the reach of Sheriffs and courts of law.

Hovering there, where courts and civil processes could afford but a weak bulwark of protection, or none at all, against their evil and dishonest purposes and practices, the temptation to prey upon the comparatively unprotected sons of toil, rather than to gain a livelihood by the slow process of honest industry, has often proved too strong to be resisted. Some of these reckless characters sought the outskirts of advancing settlements for the express purpose of theft and robbery some, because they dare not remain within reach of efficient laws others, of limited means, but ambitious to secure homes of their own, and with honesty of purpose, exchanged the comforts and protection of law afforded by the old, settled and populous districts for life on the frontiers, and not finding all that their fancy painted, were tempted into crime by apparent immunity from punishment, or driven to it for protection against their immediate neighbors. In new countries, the proportion of the dishonest and criminal has often been greater than in the older and better regulated communities where courts are permanently established, and the avenues of escape from punishment for wrongdoing more securely guarded.

When the whites first began to enter upon and possess "the beautiful land" west of the Mississippi, there were but two counties north of the State of Missouri and west of the "Missis-Sepo" – The Mighty River. These were Dubuque and Des Moines. They extended from the flag-staff at Fort Armstrong, fifty miles westward, and from Missouri State line northward to the line of the neutral ground, or Winnebago Reserve. It was a vast extent of country, which afforded secure concealment for a horde of outlaws and desperadoes who preceded permanent settlement, and sought abiding places on the extensive western boundary of these two counties, as near the Indians as they could dwell in safety.

And when the rich prairies, away from the immediate vicinity of the Mississippi, began to attract honest immigration, the earliest settlers generally found these characters in advance of them, and others came to remain for a season in the midst of the industrious, toiling pioneers, to prey upon their substance, knowing full well that in the then unorganized condition of society, they were sure of comparative freedom and immunity from detection and punishment.

In 1837, when the second Indian purchase in Iowa was made, again there was a gathering of these reckless, daring law-breakers on its western confines. About that time, the country began to be flooded with counterfeit money – in fact, it is said, there was more counterfeit money than there was of good. Occasionally – and the occasions were rather more frequent than angels’ visits – a horse would be stolen. No one could tell where the counterfeit money came from, not where the stolen horse was hidden. At last horse stealing became so general and was so successfully prosecuted that when a farmer missed a horse from his stable or his pasture, he never hunted for him beyond a half mile from his premises. It was useless, the gang was so well organized, and had such a perfect system of stations, agents, signs and signals.

As has been shown, a strip of land on the east side of this county, comprising about one Range (9 th ) of townships, was embraced within the limits of "one million, two hundred and fifty thousand acres" purchased by the government of the United States from the confederate tribes of the Sac and Fox Indians, at a treaty held at the City of Washington September 21, 1837. This part of the county was open for settlement, therefore, for about six years before the remaining portion was vacated by the Indians, May 1, 1843. The land was not surveyed, and very few settlers located in the county prior to 1843. Shortly after the Indians were removed, in May of that year, settlements began to increase, and as the county began to be more populous, a number of persons settled in Linn County, and some of them over the Linn County line, on the strip above mentioned, whose habits and practices gave rise to the suspicion that they belonged to a regularly organized gang of law breakers, horse thieves and counterfeiters. They had no visible means of support, and were almost constantly coming and going, wore good clothes – that is to say, they dressed better than the honest, toiling farm makers – had plenty of money, and were ready at all times and on all occasions to pay their way.

These people were shrewd, cunning and secret in their business maneuvers. To their immediate neighbors they were obliging, kind, and charitable where charity was needed. They wore an outward garb of respectability, and so hedged themselves as to escape detection and exposure for many years.

Nor was this bold and illegal organization of recent date, nor was it born on Iowa soil. During the Revolutionary war the lion-hearted colonists had not only to contend with the forces of George III and his Hessian mercenaries, but with a lass of craven spirits at home who fought on the side of the King, and were called Tories. These were seldom met in pen field, but their work was robbing, plundering and murdering the unprotected families of the patriot soldiers under Washington. Full of intense hatred against their rebel neighbors who were fighting for liberty and a government of their own, when the war ended and this became a free and independent nation, these Tories and guerrillas of Virginia and Pennsylvania sought refuge on the frontiers west of the Alleghenies, became outlaws and thieves, perfected an organization, and from that day until the present they and their descendants have gradually retired before the Westward march of civilization, preying upon the industries of the pioneers of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska in turn. About eighty years ago, a party of them removed to the frontiers of Ohio, and established their stations form the southeastern part of that State to Indiana nor did the gang become extinct there until about 1848.

About fifty years ago, John Brody, Bill Driscoll and others, driven at last form the Clear Fork of the Mohican River, in Richland (now Ashland) County, Ohio, about 1830-2, sought refuge in Steuben County, Indiana. In two or three years, however, they, in connection with others of the gang, became so notorious as to arouse the entire country against them, and they were again forced to leave a region that had become too warm for them, and flee Westward. About 1835 they found their way to the Rock River country, in Illinois, and Brody settled in a grove since and still known as Brody’s Grove, in Dement Township, Ogle County, Ill. For a time that entire region was completely under the control of the gang. They elected Justices of the Peace and Constables, and generally had supreme control of affairs. One of them, Charles Oliver, came very near being elected Justice of the Peace in Rockford, and in 1843, the same Charles Oliver was one of a party that robbed the store of David Bierer, in Colesburg, Delaware County, Iowa.

At last, however, the honest settlers organized themselves as Regulators or Vigilantes, determined to rid themselves of the gang. Two of the Driscolls were tried, condemned and shot by about 500 infuriated settlers, and Brody and other suspected members of the brood were warned to leave the county. They left at once, and, true to their instincts, they came west across the Mississippi and settled in the valley of the Cedar, establishing their stations in almost every settlement in the Territory. Brody and his sons, John, Stephen, William and Hugh, as stated in the History of Cedar County, "were among the first settlers in Linn County, in 1839, where their houses became refuges and hiding places for their accomplices in crime and villainy." In 1843, Stephen, Jesse and Hugh Brody and David Wilson, whose brother (a member of the gang) was shot by a party of settlers on the prairie in the southwestern part of Delaware County, and some others established themselves in Benton County. Of the Brody family who settled in Benton, Hugh alone had the reputation of being a decent citizen. "The principal thing against him," says an old settler, familiar with the history of the county, "was that he would sometimes go bail for his brothers when they were caught." But this was only natural.

In Cedar County, Squires, Conlogue, Stoutenberg (alias Case) and Gove were members of the band and in Linn, Joel Leverich was one of the leading spirits. Chancy Leverich, who built the first cabin o n the present site of Vinton, was also generally supposed to be intimately connected with it.

This gang operated over a large scope of country, and with so many members located in Cedar, Linn, Benton and other counties, such secure hiding places, and so many of the gang coming and going, it is but little wonder that the people came to live in constant fear and dread. But the villains worked so cautiously and secretly as to be almost past finding out. Horse stealing became so common that a man who owned a good horse never presumed to leave him over-night in an unlocked stable, and, in many instances, farmers and horse owners slept in their stables with their rifles by their sides.

These outlaws, systematically engaged in horse stealing and other illicit occupations generally indulged in by frontier banditti, acquired such power and influence in the county, as, for a time, to force a suspension of all law and judicial proceedings. The three or four years prior to 1851 are generally referred to by old settlers of Benton County as the "dark ages."

From the time of the assembling of the last court in 1848 until the first court in 18151, the horse thieves were in the ascendancy, and threatened summary vengeance on any and all persons who should dare to assist in any attempt to recover stolen property, and boldly asserted that no officer dared to enforce the law against them. They were found on the juries, they sometimes elected Justices of the Peace and Constables, and generally had their own way. Their open and bold defiance of law and their numerous depredations at last aroused the people, who, convinced that the law was powerless to protect them against the depredations of the gang, determined to protect themselves. Meetings were held in many of the counties, and in the counties of Clayton, Delaware, Buchanan, Linn and Benton, an organization was perfected called the Regulators, or Vigilance Committee. This, for a time, put some check upon the movements of the horse thieves but even this was soon defied, especially in Benton County, where there were but few members of the organization, and the condition of the people became deplorable indeed. There were no courts in the county for three years, and some of the leading men were doing all they could to deter Judge Carleton from coming to the county to hold court. The horse thieves defied law and Regulators, or "lynchers," as they came to be called, and the Regulators defied the horse thieves and took the law into their own hands. Every person visiting the county was spotted and watched. If he called at the cabin of any of the gang, or if suspected of sympathizing with them, he was promptly dealt with. The Vigilance Committee was organized for the purpose of aiding in the arrest and conviction of offenders but it was soon found that while it was easy to arrest them, they almost invariably escaped the just penalty of their crimes. Consequently, the Regulators soon wearied of the farce, took the law into their own hands, and inflicted swift, summary, and not always deserved, punishment.

During the "dark ages," the Sheriff of Linn County would frequently attempt to make arrests of desperadoes having their headquarters in this county, and numerous encounters, affrays and knock-downs are related. On one occasion it is related that the Sheriff had arrested one of them, who submitted quietly, but asked permission to go to his brother’s house for some clothes. The Sheriff, who seems to have been childlike in his confidence and unsuspicious of danger, granted the request, and accompanied the prisoner to the house but no sooner had he entered than the prisoner grasped a skillet-handle, with which the confiding Sheriff was knocked down and beaten nearly to death, after which the brothers coolly saddled their horses and rode off.

But statements of this character very soon lose their original truthfulness, and the careful historian, in sifting them, always finds more or less of additional tradition mingled with them.

After a time, it came to be that between the horse thieves and robbers on the one side, and the self-styled "Regulators" or "Vigilance Committees" on the other, no peaceable, law-abiding citizen was safe from molestation. For three years, courts were not held in the county, and some of the officials were suspected of being in sympathy with the thieves and robbers, while others wren known to be active members of the "Regulators." For a time, it was uncertain which party was the most damaging to the county, as both of them often prevented the peaceable administration of the aw, and under one pretext or another postpones the holding of courts and the performance of other official duties by the regularly elected officers of the county. While many of the best men were connected with and active members of the "Regulators," yet a number of the thieving gang joined them, the better to conceal their operations, and to obtain an opportunity of wreaking vengeance upon the heads of some innocent party who had thwarted them in their plans.

At last, the better class of people, who had brooded long over their wrongs and sufferings, determined to submit no longer. They held secret meetings, which finally resulted in the adoption of resolutions declaring themselves no longer bound by the Regulators, and publicly announced a meeting for the purpose of organizing a society for the protection of person and property. And for the furtherance of equity and justice. At this meeting, the date of which unfortunately has not been preserved, a society was organized and called

The Iowa Protection Company,

under the operation of which, society was much improved, although afterward it is said that acts were committed under the name of the association that could hardly bear the light of legal investigation. But it must be remembered that the laws hardly reached Benton County at that time, and something must be pardoned to the spirit of the times.

As the constitution of this organization is a somewhat curious and important document, pertaining to the early history of Benton County, the historian has thought best to reproduce it with the names of the originators and members in this county.

The document reads as follows:

This Society shall be called the Iowa Protection Company.

Article 1. The object of this society shall be to protect the property of the members of this company, and particularly their horses, from the depredations of robbers and thieves, and also to trace out the perpetrators of thefts, rescue and restore property stolen, and assist in a due and faithful administration of law and justice.

Art. 2. The officers of this Society shall consist of a President, Secretary and treasurer, to be chosen viva vice at any stated meeting, and to hold their offices during good behavior.

Art. 3. It shall be the duty of the President to preside at all regular meetings of the Society, and, in his absence, the Society may choose a President pro tem. and it shall be the duty of the Secretary to record all the proceedings of the Society, and preserve the same and it shall be the duty of each member to pay to the Treasurer such sums of money from time to time as the Society shall dictate. He shall keep a correct book in which he shall enter the amount received and expended, and the purpose for which it was expended.

Art. 4. The Society shall appoint such committees as may be necessary to carry out the objects of the Society.

Art. 5. Each and every member shall sign the constitution and hold themselves subject to its provisions, and on revealing its proceedings in any respect, shall be excluded form its benefits.

Art. 6. This Society shall be convened at any time by notice from the President.

Art. 7. No person shall be entitled to vote unless a member of the Society.

Art. 8. This constitution may be altered or amended at any regular meeting, by a two-thirds vote of the members present.

Art. 9. No person shall be admitted a member of this Society who is under suspicion of horse stealing or any other theft, or for harboring thieves or robbers.

Art. 10. The regular meeting of this Society shall be the Saturday before the full of the moon, at such place as may be designated.

J. S. Epperson, W. W. Hopkins, Robt. Osborn, John S. Vanclave, John D. Vanclave, Alex. Wood, Joseph Remington, Abel Cox, S. M. Lockhart, Wm. Bells, Elijah Evans, Harrison Berry, Jacob Remington, Sanford Moberley, A. H. Johnson, Albert Johnson, Jacob Fouts, John McCoy, J. M. Broad, C. M. Moberly, Joel W. Miller, Thomas G. Lockhart, Groty Osborn, Elmyrrh Howard, John Osborn, Charles Stewart, John Sauks, Wm. A. Bryson, Hiram Roselle, Wm. A. Griffin, Wm. Riley, Spencer Johnson, James Downs, Charles Epperson, Alex. Johnson, David Jewell, George McCoy, John R. Speak, Lewis W. Bryson, Stephen D. Jewell, Davis Fouts, John C. Rouse, Martin Johnson, Lanslot Johnson, Edwin C. Hall, James Johnson, Hiram T. Epperson, and A. Taylor. The organization was perfected by the election of J. S. Forsythe as President, Elijah Evans, Secretary, and George McCoy, Treasurer.

From the organization of this company, the condition of the county began to improve. Many of the gang that had been so prominent, left the county for scenes of operation farther West, while those that remained generally abandoned their old habits and became respectable citizens. The "Lynchers" too, finding their occupation gone, quietly subsided and attended to their business.

Resumption of Judicial Authority

There is no record of any attempt to hold court in Benton County from September, 1848, until a term was appointed to be held in the Court House at Fremont on the second Monday after the fourth Monday in March, which was the 7 th day of April, 1851, when court was duly opened by the Sheriff, Cyrus C. Charles but the Judge was not present, and he adjourned until the next day, when, Judge Carleton still being absent, in obedience to a written order from His Honor, the Sheriff adjourned the court until the first Wednesday after the first Monday in June (June 4 th ), 1851.

Resignation of Buffum

"It was a difficult matter," says Mr. Rice, "to secure a competent person for Clerk of the Court in early times. Under the old County Commissioner system, then in vogue, it was of the utmost importance that the office of the Clerk of the District Court should be filled, as by a permanent vacancy in that office the county organization might be lost. Although there had been no court held in the county for several years, and it had been distracted by the lawless acts of both horse thieves and lynchers, the better class of the citizens looked anxiously forward to the time when civil authority should be resumed and honest men be called to the front, an they were anxious to maintain the county organization." Under these circumstances, Dr. Buffum had been elected Clerk of the District Court, in August, 1850, and James Rice, County Commissioner, C. C. Charles, Sheriff, and John Royal had become his sureties. But during the following Winter, Buffum became dissipated, and, becoming dissatisfied with his course, his sureties informed him that he must resign, which he finally did in march, 1581, only a few days before the time appointed for a term of court. But before he left the office, a large number of papers disappeared, among them indictments and other processes against some of the faithless Clerk’s friends.

At a special election held April 26 th following, Irwin D. Simison was elected Clerk of the Courts, and George W. Vandaman Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners.

On Wednesday, June 4, 1851, the District Court was opened in due form by Sheriff Charles in the Court House in Fremont, but Judge Carleton was absent, and by his written order the court was again adjourned to June 18 th .

When the Clerk of the District Court resigned, in March, 1851, he left the county records, bonds and public papers in a house then vacant, from which they were afterward stolen, and disappeared a short time before court was to meet. Judge Carleton had made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Benton County. The citizens had heard of the loss of the county papers, and determined to recover them an inflict summary vengeance on the guilty parties if they could discover them. Subsequently, the docket was found, but minus all the pages that had any reference to the recognizance of bonds in any manner in which the Clerk was interested but the perpetrators of the deed had carefully concealed all traces of their guilt, and consequently were never apprehended and made to answer to the law. The citizens, actuated by one common impulse, assembled at a place called "Hoosier Point" (Marysville) and, after several speeches had been made, it was unanimously voted that a letter should be addressed to Judge Carleton, setting forth their grievances and their forbearance, and praying him to use his authority and influence in their behalf. The letter is of historical value, worth of preservation as indicating the temper of the people, and is herewith produced:

To the Hon. James Carleton, Judge of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Iowa:

We, the undersigned, citizens of Benton County, would beg leave to inform you of our present situation, which is anything but enviable, owing to the management of some of our citizens. We have not, as you know, had any court here for nearly three years, and the officers who would do their duty cannot. If a judgment is rendered, it is taken to the District Court, there to remain for years. And, to cap all, ten days before court was to have been held in Benton County, the Clerk resigned without having the cases docketed, and left the docket and papers so that the most important part have been stolen and concealed or destroyed, and when we attempt to inquire into the matter, we are answered with taunts. We are completely without law. Honest men are kept out of their just rights. Besides that, there are acts of the basest character perpetrated with impunity, and the guilty parties cannot be brought to justice. We have done all that we could do to have a better state of affairs. We have hoped for the better. We have borne it with all the patience we were masters of. But there is a point beyond with forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and we are conscious that we have reached that point. We are a law-abiding people. We love our country and love to sustain the laws but we are as a branch cut off from the vine, and must wither without nourishment. We know of none to apply to but yourself. We call on you by all that is good, by all that binds man to his fellow-men, to assist us if it is in your power if not, to inform us where we can get our grievances redressed. If we are left as we are, we know not what may be the result. It may lead to mob violence, which we detest.

Signed by J. S. Forsyth and many others.

The next mail brought letters from Judge Carleton, in which he assured the people that he would be in Benton County on the 18 th of June, and requested the citizens to meet him at the Court House on that day, to assist in reorganizing the county. This time the people were not disappointed. Judge Carleton came, although it is said he came near losing his life while crossing Prairie Creek. With him came I. M. Preston, of Marion, W. Smith and N. W. Isbel, attorneys, and on the day appointed, for the first time in three years, there was a

Court in Benton County.

The people had assembled Sheriff Charles was present but there was no Clerk. Simison, who had been elected in April, intimidated, it is said, by sundry mysterious threats, had not qualified. He was induced to accept the officer, however, was sworn, and entered at once upon the discharge of his duties. The county was destitute of a Prosecuting Attorney, and the Court appointed Newman W. Isbell to act for the time. A grand jury was called and sworn, consisting of James Rice, foreman, David S. Brubaker, Lyman D. Bordwell, Abraham Garrison, Charles Epperson, Albert Johnson, H. Mahan, James F. Young, John Royal, James Johnson, Thomas Dudgon, Samuel Osborn, Charles N. Moberly, Samuel Alexander, Joseph Remington, James M. Mickle, Elijah Evans and Fleming Sanders.

The organization of this court was the commencement of a new era in Benton County. Justice was about resuming sway, and the reign of disorder, lawlessness and violence that had rendered Benton County a by-word and a reproach, and prevented its settlement and development, was practically ended. Judge Carleton had been importuned to hold court at Marysville, and had been informed that there were no honest men on the west side of the river that the county officers were in league with outlaws and thieves, and that it was useless to attempt to hold court there but that at Marysville, the headquarters of the Regulators, there could be some hope of obtaining an honest jury. Disregarding these efforts, Judge Carleton determined to hold court at the county seat, and energetically commenced the work of cleansing the Augean stable of Benton County. In this he was ably and earnestly seconded by Mr. Rice, foreman, and the other members of the grand jury, who found a large number of bills, notwithstanding the destruction of papers and mutilation of the docket. Among the indictments was one against "Uncle Tom" Way* for selling liquor to the Indians. This indictment appears to have been the result of an incident of the election in 1849. At that time, Berry Way had an old grudge against Tom Kendrick, and was only prevented from pounding him by his father. When Tom started for home, the vengeful Berry followed, overtook him near David Way’s cabin, and flogged him severely – might have killed him but for Mrs. Way, David’s wife, who interfered. For this aggravated assault, the pugnacious Berry was arrested, and was to be taken before Justice Forsyth, at Marysville but Uncle Tom made an arrangement with another Magistrate, ‘Square Cox, by which, if the case could be brought before him, Berry would plead guilty and be fined $5.00 and costs. This was accordingly done, and when the sentence had been pronounced the prisoner asked the Magistrate if he would receive county warrants, at their face, in payment. Fines were paid in to the school fund at that time, and the accommodating ‘Squire, supposing that he could turn over the warrants to the Commissioners, readily consented, although county warrants were worth only twenty-five or thirty cents on the dollar. The warrants were obtained, paid over, and the prisoner discharged.

(*Way appears to have been a "character" in the early history of Benton County, and fell under the ban of the lynchers, who suspected him of complicity with horse thieves but this suspicion appears to have been without foundation, farther than that one of his sons (Berry) was a horse thief and desperado, and that in his generous hospitality he treated all alike. His table and his jug were free, and he would entertain a Methodist minister or a horse thief with the same large-hearted liberality, never asking or caring what the occupation of his guests might be and when any pioneer came looking for hand, he was always ready and willing to go with and show him the best land in the vicinity. He had no connection with the gang of outlaws who infested this region. Like many other early pioneers, he sold whisky to Indians and whites alike, for both were equally fond of the intoxicating fluid. "But," says Mr. Rice, his old neighbor, "he was one of the most charitable, open-hearted, generous man I ever knew.")

But when ‘Squire Cox went to pay the fine to the School Fund Commissioner, then E. H. Keyes, the worthy Magistrate was very much disgusted when the county official refused to take the warrants and demanded payment in gold. He paid it, but he was angry, and waited for revenge until this term of court, when he procured Thomas Way’s indictment as above. Way was arrested, of course, and several of his neighbors readily became his bail. Before the day fixed for the trail, the next year, Way had decided to go to California, and his family had already started. Uncle Tom remained to await the trial but his friends, feeling satisfied that if he remained he would be convicted, persuaded him to go, assuring him that they would pay the bail if it came to that. He started but judge the surprise of his friends when, on the day fixed for the trial, they saw Uncle Tom ride up and dismount. In answer to queries, he said he could not go and leave anybody bound for him he had come back to be tried, and he should be acquitted. On the trial, the principal witness appeared to have lost his memory, and the first jury disagreed. James Harlan, who was Prosecuting Attorney, became convinced that there was not sufficient evidence to convict, and suggested to Judge Forsyth that it would be better to let him go, if he would pay the cost. The proposition was then made to Way, that if he would pay the costs, amounting to $25 or $30, he might go free, and he finally concluded to do so. As he mounted his horse his old friends and neighbors gathered around him, bade him good-by, and he rode away, never more to be seen in Benton County.

The reign of civil law and justice commenced in Benton County with the first term of court, in June, 1851, and from that period it rapidly emerged from the excitement, confusion and contempt for civil authority that marked the "dark ages." From that time those who had been foremost in attempting to regulate the affairs of the county by lynch law began to retire to back seats, where they have always remained. Upon closing the term, Judge Carleton urged upon the assembled citizens the supreme importance of calming the intense excitement under which they had been laboring for years to yield cheerful and earnest obedience to the constituted authority of the State, and to select men to fill the various county offices who could and would faithfully perform the duties devolving upon them, and assuring them that in such performance their officers would be sustained and supported by the State authorities.

An Important Election

The re-establishment of the court in June, and the election in August, 1851, mark the commencement of a new era in Benton County. By Chapter 15 of the Code of Iowa, approved February 5, 1851, the Board of County Commissioners was abolished, and the office of County Judge created. The County Judge was invested with "the usual powers and jurisdiction of County Commissioner and of Judge of Probate, and to be elected at the first election holden in August after the statutes had been in force thirty days." At the August election, the ordinary political issues were ignored. A majority of the people were determined that law and order should supplant the reign of terror that had prevailed during the "dark ages," and that horse thieves and desperadoes should no longer rule, and the anti-horse-thief party triumphed by a handsome majority.

The county had been organized five years, and it will be interesting to compare the abstract of votes with that of 1846, as follows:

For County Judge – John S. Forsyth received 75 votes D. S. Baker, 46.

For Treasurer and Recorded – J. P. Cline received 36 votes James Johnson, 76 William Cline, 3.

For Sheriff – William Remington received 39 votes C. C. Charles, 76.

For County Supervisor of Roads – L. F. North received 22 votes James Rice, 62 Samuel Osborn, 28 James Downs. 1.

For Coroner – H. Mahan received 57 votes L. D. Bordwell, 22.

For District Clerk – G. W. Vandaman received 78 votes J. F. Beckett, 19.

For Prosecuting Attorney – William Cline received 3 votes John Alexander 2 J. E. Vandaman, 5 J. J. Sanders, 5.

For County Surveyor – I. D. Simison received 56 votes John Shawver, 36.

It may be well to give one or two incidents connected with the "dark ages," not only to show how horse thieves were treated, but to indicate that the election of 1851 was by no means the final end of the trials of the Benton County people. These were published in substance in a brief history of Benton County in 1868:

One Berry Way and an associate, two reckless desperadoes, took two horses from Mr. Lebo, of Linn County, in the early part of May, 1851, and sold one in Iowa, which Mr. Lebo traced and recovered. The other was taken to Wisconsin, to which Mr. Lebo traced them and recovered possession of the second horse.

Way then stole two horses from some peddlers. They followed him, and, being overtaken, he dismounted and concealed himself in the woods. He was fired upon several times but managed to escape unharmed, the horses being recovered by their owners.

He then went to Clayton County, stole a span of horses and "lit out" for Benton County with them, and, being detained by high water, with a determination worthy of a better cause, swam the streams with both horses. He managed to reach the house of Moses Bates, in Black Hawk County, and remained concealed there several days.

The Sheriff of Clayton County, learning that Way was through that section, naturally suspected him, and, with four men, started for Benton County, directing their steps to Hoosier Point (Marysville), their sudden appearance there creating no little excitement. Upon making his mission known, however, he was soon provided with all necessary assistance. A systematic scouring of the country was then inaugurated, and a division of the party was made, one starting for Bear Creek and the other in another direction, gathering assistance as they proceeded. The water at this time was very high, and they were under the necessity of fording the creeks, one party being compelled to pass the whole night in their wet clothes the other party, however, were more successful, for they found Berry Way at his father’s, with one of the stolen horses. Arresting him, they proceeded to take him before a Justice of the Peace. On their way, they endeavored to elicit from him what he had done with the other horse, but no satisfaction could be gained. These hardy frontiersmen, however, were not to be trifled with, and they at once proceeded without ceremony to strop him and try the virtue of "hickory oil," as an "inducer." The effect was magical. The defiant and non-communicative horse purloiner of the moment before was changed "in the twinkling of an eye" to the supplicating confessor, and gave the desired information with alacrity, stating that he had left the other horse at the house of Moses Bates, in Black Hawk County whereupon, the Sheriff, with his posse went on to Bates’ house, the remainder of the party remaining to escort the prisoner back. Upon arriving at the house of Bates, the Sheriff demanded of him the horse, but he (Bates) denied all knowledge of the same, and tried to induce them to return, by saying that if any such horses had been that way he would have seen them. His wife, who was standing behind the door, here made signs to the party to go on, and upon their starting, Bates told them that it was useless, they could not cross the stream north of his place. The woman, however, as soon as an opportunity presented itself, told one of the party that if they would not tell anyone where they got their information, she would direct them to the horse. This they readily promised, whereupon she informed them where the horse could be found, and that Way had been there and remained several days. The party at once proceeded to the thicket, as directed, and there found the horse as Way had informed them. After securing the horse, they returned to the house, by Mr. Bates was not there. The party waited and soon had the pleasure of seeing Bates and his son approach, but this time armed with guns. With this, the Sheriff produced his revolver and leveled it at Luther and son, which caused their courage to drop, and with it their guns. The officer then demanded the return of the saddle taken from the horse. Bates offered to lead them to the place of its concealment, and the crowd followed him, but no saddle was there. This so exasperated a Dutchman, who was with the party, that he suddenly threw a rope around Bates and bound him to a tree, and proceeded to apply the "hickory" with a vigor that was only equaled by the vehemence of the words, "Tam tief Tam tief!" which were jerkingly ejaculated by the Dutchman, between the blows. Bates’ body was black and blue for weeks after this event.

The party then returned, overtaking the others. Way was then transferred to the Sheriff, who took him to Elkader, where he was tried, convicted and sentenced, by Hon. T. S. Wilson, to one year’s confinement in the penitentiary. After having been there for some time, he attempted to get into the confidence of one of the keepers, who allowed him to believe he was his friend. Way then wrote home and told his people that if they could raise him $100, he could get out. His mother raised the money and took it to him. Way then told the jailer that if he would let him escape, he would give him the $100. The jailer took the money, and as soon as court met took his prisoner into court and laid the matter before his Honor, T. S. Wilson, telling him of the bribe money, and asking what to do with it. The Judge ordered that the money be expended in defraying the expenses of Way’s trial. Way was taken back to prison, but grew morose and desperate, and finally broke jail, having never been heard of since.

Connected with the history of this "dark age" was an event which occurred on the 6 th of February, 1852, at Fremont – now called Vinton – it being the trial of four of its citizens who had assisted some time before in the arresting of a thief:

A man of the name of John Adams, from Illinois, came to Benton County having stolen two horses there. He was followed by the owner, S. Raber, with four other men, who, upon arriving at Hoosier Point, called for assistance, which was readily granted by three young men volunteering from that place. They proceeded to Fremont, and arriving there about night and learning that dams had been there, but had just left, and fearing their "bird" would escape, at once renewed the search, assisted by another young man form Fremont. They soon succeeded in finding his tracks in the new-fallen snow, and, upon examination, found he was occasionally turning, turning round to look back. The company then divided into small parties, and when about seven miles from town succeeded in capturing the thief. The next day, he was taken by Mr. Raber and his party to Illinois, where he was examined and tried and eventually indicted and tired, but got clear. He then returned to Benton County, and procuring the assistance of John Alexander, swearing out warrants for the whole nine men who had captured him, charging them with "kidnapping and lynching him." The four living in Benton County gave bonds for their appearance on the 6 th day of February, 1852. The day having arrived, the parties appeared: John Alexander, for the prosecution Messrs. Smyth & Preston, of Marion, for the defense. The case caused considerable excitement, and people from all parts of the county assembled around ‘Squire Mahan’s house long before the hour of trial – many of them strangers. It is asserted by some that as many as 200 people were present. Court was at last called and the prisoners arraigned, entering their plea of "not guilty." The attorneys for the defense then moved to quash the indictment, on the ground that it contained too many counts, which motion, after being argued at great length, was finally sustained by the Court and the young men discharged, much to the satisfaction of the crowd, as was evinced by the hearty cheering which immediately followed the decision.

But, if the reforms desired did not come all at once, they came, nevertheless. When it became unsafe to steal their neighbors’ horses, the gang adopted a new dodge that worked for a time. They stole form each other. One would take a horse, run it off and sell it, informing the owner of course, to whom he sold it, and dividing the proceeds with him. With a great show of search for the stolen animal and the thief, in due time the owner would find his horse and claim him. This, however, became so unsafe for the operator that it was finally abandoned about 1854.

At the commencement of a new era in the history of the county, before proceeding farther, it may be interesting to note some incidents not hitherto mentioned, which are without date.

There is one peculiarity to be noticed: that many of the early settlers, as is usually the case in a new country, were addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors, and when two or three were gathered together the "jug" was forthcoming, and they were bound to have a good time.

Among those who held commissions of Justices of the Peace, in early times, were L. D. Bordwell, L. W. Hayes, Charles Cantonwine, Thomas Mahan, David S. Brubaker, W. C. Smith, John Royal, Elijah Evans, James Rice, Samuel Osborn and others and Justices’ Courts were peculiar institutions, and some of their proceedings were amusing. The following, for instance, has the merit of being literally true as well as amusing, and occurred as late as 1853:

An Early Justice Court

One Mr. B_____ having run away with another man's wife, the parties were pursed. Mr. B. was captured and brought before the 'Squire Brubaker, who, after due preliminaries, proceeded to try the cause of "The People Vs. B." The witnesses and attorneys, however, not being on hand, the 'Squire, prisoner and Sheriff played cards and drank whisky.

After some delay, the parties appeared -- John Alexander for the State, and Dr. C. W. Buffum and James Wood, Esq., for the defense. The case was called and upon the appearance of each witness upon the stand, the counsel for the defense would object to them on the ground that they were incompetent, being two-thirds drunk, and the Justice would exclaim, "Sit down, G-d d-n you!"

The case had proceeded about half-way through, when the worthy 'Squire, thinking it somewhat dry, called for liquor but the jar was empty. He arose, staggering, to his feet, and delving his hands down into his capacious breeches-pocket, produced a quarter, with the exclamation "I (hic)go-goes a quar-(hic)-quarter who else (hic) goes a quar-quarter?" Upon being remonstrated with, he rose, and in all his dignity exclaimed, "Gentlemen, this case has proceeded far enough without liquor, and by G-d I adjourn this court until we have had some whisky."

After indulging again from the noted jar, which was replenished by the defendant, the case proceeded. The attorneys for the defense had been having their own way, when a witness was produced on the stand whose evidence would have proved fatal to their client, and one who had not indulged in the flowing bowl. They then used a stratagem worthy of a better cause. Taking the prisoner into an adjoining room, his counsel told him to come out and confront the 'Squire, shake his fist at him and tell him as follows: "'Squire, I have heard you said you would send me to jail anyhow now by G-d, you do it!"

The worthy magistrate was amazed. This was too much for his royal dignity. Slowly rising, he turned to the prisoner, with the exclamation: "You go to h-l!" At this, the prisoner started for the door, when the Sheriff intercepted his farther progress, and demanded of the Judge what he should do with the prisoner, when the still excited magistrate belched forth, "G-d d-n him! take him to h-l for all I care."

The Sheriff took his prisoner a short distance, and then returned to the court, saying, "'Squire, you told me to take the prisoner to h-l we are as near that place as I want to get. Prisoner, you are discharged."

It is to be added that Mr. Wood, who appeared as counsel for defense in the case, was then working at his trade – blacksmith -- in a shop on the bank of the river, the site of which is now a part of the river bed. Mr. Wood, who still resides in Vinton, says that the above statement is substantially true and adds that it was by his advice that the witnesses and Justice were fully plied with liquor, as he saw that was the only chance for escape his client had.

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Join us outside this summer at the History Center’s Penn Avenue lot for family-friendly activities that explore stories from our region!

Insider Tour of Meadowcroft Rockshelter

Enjoy an exclusive insider tour of Meadowcroft Rockshelter with James M. Adovasio, Ph.D., lead archaeologist on the site.

28th Annual History Makers Award Dinner

Now in its 28th year, the History Makers Award Dinner is a one-of-a-kind event in the city of Pittsburgh, presented by BNY Mellon & Citizens Bank.

Archaeology Day

As part of Pennsylvania Archaeology Month, Meadowcroft will partner with the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology for a day-long event for archaeology-lovers everywhere.

Insider Tour of Meadowcroft Rockshelter

Enjoy an exclusive insider tour of Meadowcroft Rockshelter with James M. Adovasio, Ph.D., lead archaeologist on the site.

Meadowcroft Fall Finale

As Meadowcroft’s 2021 season draws to a close, enjoy an autumn afternoon outside enjoying special, fall-themed programming.

Farewell, Cassandra

We here at HistoryLink are greatly saddened by the death of our dear friend Cassandra Tate, who we have had the pleasure of working with for more than 20 years. We are truly going to miss her joy, her sparkling wit, her passion for researching and writing history, and -- most of all -- the kind and peaceful friendship she shared with us all.

Cassandra was born in Idaho but grew up in Seattle, where she developed an interest in journalism. After spending a year at UW, she headed out on her own and worked as a reporter for various newspapers in Idaho and Nevada, where she met her husband, Glenn Drosendahl. After receiving a year-long Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, she returned to Seattle with Glenn and their daughter, Linnea, and worked at several local newspapers before returning to UW to get a Ph.D. at age 50. She turned her doctoral dissertation into her first book, Cigarette Wars: Triumph of "The Little White Slaver," published by Oxford University Press in 1999.

In 1998 Cassandra became one of the first members of our writing team, and she wrote several essays in preparation for our launch. Over the years since, she wrote 217 essays for HistoryLink on such topics as gold rushes, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Washington State University, abortion reform, and thumbnail histories of Seattle's Columbia City, West Seattle, and West Seattle Junction neighborhoods.

Cassandra also wrote many excellent and meticulously researched biographical articles. Some of the many people she wrote about include Wanapum spiritual leader Smohalla, geologist J Harlan Bretz, philanthropist Patsy Collins, environmentalists Joan Crooks and Hazel Wolf, activist Jim Ellis and his brother John Ellis, artists Michael Spafford and Elizabeth Sandvig, musician Ray Charles, actresses Frances Farmer and Peg Phillips, theater directors Glenn Hughes and Burton and Florence James, author Ivan Doig, astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, doctors Lester Sauvage and A. Frans Koome, Watergate co-conspirator John Ehrlichman, Seattle mayors Robert Moran and Gordon Clinton, King County Executive Ron Sims, state senator Bob Grieve, Congresswoman Catherine May, and Governor Dan Evans and his wife, Nancy.

One of our favorite stories Cassandra wrote was about the Three Kichis, Japanese castaways who ran aground on the northernmost tip of the Olympic Peninsula in 1834. Other favorites include her tour of Ice Age floods, her analysis of busing in the Seattle School district, her history of cigarette prohibition in Washington, her four-part history of the Seattle YMCA, her look back at Seattle's Lusty Lady 'panoram,' and her own personal account of seeing Elvis at Sicks' Stadium when she was 12 year old.

And finally, one topic that greatly interested Cassandra was the story of Protestant missionaries Narcissa and Marcus Whitman, who were attacked and killed by Cayuse Indians in 1834. After years of deep research, she turned this story into an acclaimed book, "Unsettled Ground: The Whitman Massacre and its Shifting Legacy in the American West." The book was published as Cassandra was nine months into her struggle with fallopian-tube cancer, but she still promoted it through virtual book readings and discussions. We are so grateful that she lived to tell this story, and to enjoy the book's stellar reviews.

News Then, History Now

Rails Across the Nation

On June 17, 1884, the first Northern Pacific train running between Tacoma and Seattle raised Seattle's hopes of a reliable transcontinental rail link, but the line proved to be a bust. The city turned its sights to James J. Hill, and after granting him a waterfront right-of-way and other concessions, the first Great Northern passenger train left Seattle for St. Paul, Minnesota on June 18, 1893.

Freedom Celebration

On June 19, 1890, African Americans from Tacoma and Seattle, many of them former slaves, gathered in Kent to celebrate the area's first Juneteenth. June 19, 1865, was the date news of Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Texas slaves.

A Daughter's Admiration

In 1909 Sonora Smart Dodd sat in a Spokane church listening to a sermon about motherhood. Having been raised with five younger brothers by her widowed father, Dodd felt that fatherhood also deserved a "place in the sun," and she took it upon herself to advocate a special day for dads. After receiving an enthusiastic endorsement from the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and the YMCA, the first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane on June 19, 1910. The concept spread, and by the 1920s Father's Day was commonly observed throughout the country.

Poet's Soiree

On June 17, 1931, Ella Higginson became Washington state's first poet laureate in a ceremony hosted by the Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs. Two decades earlier, Higginson served as campaign manager for Frances Axtell, who was one of the first two women elected to serve in the Washington State Legislature.

Into the Fray

On June 20, 1942, a Japanese submarine sank the freighter Fort Camosun near Cape Flattery, but with no loss of life. The next day, the same submarine attacked Fort Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia River, making it the only military installation in the continental United States to be shelled during the war.

Opening Day

June 23 marks the opening day of three major civic institutions in Seattle: Volunteer Park's Seattle Art Museum in 1933 the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in 1988 and the Experience Music Project -- now MoPOP -- in 2000.

In the History Books

Benton County was founded in 1840 and was named after Thomas Hart Benton. He was a lawyer and a member of the U.S. Senate from Missouri. He was a big proponet of pioneers and settlers in the West.

Benton County covers 406.30 sq. miles and like the first settlers, over 90% of the county is agriculture.

Benton County is steeped with rich history that includes: being known as one of Indiana's top agriculture communities, being known as the home of Dan Patch, Famous World Champion Harness Horse and now being known as the home of Indiana's First Wind Farm.

Nicknamed "Old Bullion", Thomas Hart Benton was a United States Senator

from Missouri. He was an architect and champion of westward expansion, a cause that became known as The Manifest Destiny.

Benton County, IN is one of 7 states to have counties named after him. Bentonville, Indiana was also named for the senator.

Thomas Hart Benton died in Washington D.C. on April 10, 1858. His descendants have continued to be prominent in Missouri life his great-grandnephew, also Thomas Hart Benton, was a 20th-century painter.

Dan Patch (April 29, 1896 &ndash July 11, 1916) was a noted American Standardbred pacer.

At a time when harness racing was one of the largest sports in the nation, Dan Patch was a major celebrity. He was undefeated in open competition and was so dominant on the racetrack that other owners eventually refused to enter their horses against him.

Dan Patch broke world speed records at least 14 times in the early 1900s. In 1905, he set a world's record for the fastest mile by a harness horse (1:55​1&frasl4) that stood unmatched for over 30 years. Unofficially, Dan Patch broke this record in 1906 with a clocking of 1:55.

He died on July 11, 1916. His owner Marion Willis Savage died just one day later.

Over the last couple years, the horizon of Benton County has been drastically changed. Visitors and residents now see hundreds of wind turbines among the seas of corn and soybeans fields.

Benton County is home to the first wind farms in Indiana. And among one of the largest single concentrated Wind Farms in the United States&hellip620 so far!

If you are wondering if you can tour a wind farm, the answer is YES! For more info click here.

Benton Farmers’ Market

Originally a large farming community, Benton further maintains a connection to its past through a weekly Sunday afternoon Farmers’ Market that kicks into gear this year on May 20. The market will be open, rain or shine, and is located on Simpson Street, right off Highway 3 (Benton Road). Parking is free and several ATMs are on location. The market opens at noon and closes at 4 p.m.

Opening day of this year’s market will feature live music from musician and former American Idol contestant Garrett Jacobs at 2:30 p.m. The first two Sundays of the market, Auntie’s Attic will also be open. Like most things in and around Benton, the market has grown in recent years.

Benton’s friendly residents are a large part of what makes the community unique. Feeling like the people who live next to you are actually your neighbors goes a long way in creating a safe and thriving society. The rest is owed to the charming businesses and eateries in Benton along with the close proximity to beautiful Cypress Black Bayou State Park, and the convenience of nearby Bossier City. Bolstered by its colorful past, Benton is perfectly positioned for a bright future.

Now that you know the history of Benton, are you looking for even more info on Bossier Parish history? Check out our blog on, 𔄝 Fascinating Facts About the History of Bossier Parish.”

Watch the video: Imposters Origin Story Chapter 1-4. Among Us Animation


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