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ing to retrace their steps to the camp. After proceeding some distance the party was confronted in a narrow path by some Indians. Suspecting that the Indians meant mischief, the white men quietly turned about and walked in the opposite direction. Presently there was the sound of a discharged rifle and the men heard the bullet whiz past their ears. The white men turned about to see from whence the shot came, and beheld an Indian runping ont in the grass and bushes as if looking for some game that he had shot. He had evidently fired either to scare or kill some of the white men, and his looking for the supposed game was simply a quickly improvised scheme to divert suspicion. The Indians who inhabited the western part of the county from 1842 till 1845, were, in the main, peaceable, but, nevertheless, were the occasion of many disturbances. But the Indian was destined to create no further disturbances upon
the soil which the white man had marked for his own. In accordance with the stipulations of sacred treaties and likewise agreeably to the demands of the times the alloted time had now come for the red man to move westward again on his roving mission and add one more proof that his race is fast passing away and must eventually disappear before the restless march of the Anglo-Saxon race, as did the traditionary Mound-builders give place to the predatory red man of later times.
· And did the dust
Thus as those traditionary Mound-builders were forced to give way to the plundering red men of later times, so must he give place to his palefaced successor, and his night of ignorance and superstition in which he so delights to revel, must give place to the approaching light of intelligence and civilization as truly as the darkest shades ot' midnight are dispelled by the approaching light of day. When the last barrier of restraint was thus removed, the tide of emigration, so long held in check, began to come in at a rapid rate over these prairies, and thus has it continued to roll, wave after wave, until it has reached the western shore, carrying with it the energy and talents and enterprise of nations; and washing to the surface the gold from the mountains and valleys of the Pacific slope, it has enveloped our land in the mighty main of enterprise and civilization.
Importance of First Beginnings--Character of the First Settlers-The Red Rock Line-First
Settlements East of the Red Rock LineExtinction of the Indian Title-Rush of Claim Seekers—The United States Dragoons, The Memorable Night of October 11--First Settlements West of the Red Rock Line.
Every nation does not possess an authentic account of its origin, neither do all communities have the correct data whereby it is possible to accurately predicate the condition of first beginnings. Nevertheless, to be intensely interested in such things is characteristic of the race, and it is peculiarly the province of the historian to deal with first causes.
Should these facts, as is often the case, be lost in the mythical tradition of the past, the chronicler invades the realm of the ideal, and compels his imagination to paint the missing picture. The patriotic Roman was not content till he had found the “ First Settlers,” and then he was satisfied, although they were found in the very undesirable company of a she bear, and located on a drift, which the receding waters of the Tiber had permitted them to preempt.
One of the advantages of a residence in a new country, and the one probably least appreciated, is that we can go back to first beginnings. We are thus enabled to trace results to their causes and grasp the facts which have contributed to form and mould those causes. We observe that a State or county has attained a certain position, and we at once try to trace out the causes which have produced the conditions, in its early settlement and surroundings, in the class of men by whom it was peopled, and in the many chances and changes which have wrought out results in all the recorded deeds of mankind. In the history of Marion county, we may trace its early settlers to their homes in the Eastern States and in the countries of the Old World: We may follow the course of the hardy woodman of the “Buckeye” or the Hoosier ” State on his way West to “grow up with the country,” trusting only to his strong arm and willing heart to work ont his ambition of a home for himself and wife, and a competence for his children. Yet again we may see the path worn by the Missourian in his new experience in a land which to him was a land of progress, far in ad. vance of that southern soil upon which he had made his temporary home in his effort to adapt himself to new conditions. We may see here the growth which came with knowledge, and the progress which grew upon him with progress around him, and how his better side developed. The pride of Kentucky blood, or the vain glorying of the F. F. V.'s, was here seen in an early day only to be modified in its advent from the crucible of democracy when servitude was eliminated froin the solution. Yet others have been animated with the impulse to “move on," after making them. selves a part of the community, and have sought the newer parts of the extreme West, where civilization had not penetrated, or returned to their native soil. We shall find much of that distinctive New England character which has contributed so many men and women to other portions of our State and the West; also we shall find many an industrions native of Germany or the British Isles, and a few of the industrious and econoinical French-all of whom have contributed to modify types of men already existing here. Moreover we shall find that these results have to a large extent, been brought abont by representatives of an European people, who by the exercise of the most indomitable courage and industry, succeeded in driving back old ocean from its ancient bounds and making out of the bed of the sea a fruitful and prosperons land. Much of the enterprise of Marion county was inported from beyond the dykes of Holland.
Those who have noted the career of the descendants of those brave, strong men in subduing the wilds, overcoming the obstacles, and with standing the hardships of this country in early times, can but admit that they are worthy sons of illustrious sires.
With confidence that general results will prove that there is much of good in everything, and that a justice almost poetic has been meted out to the faults and follies, the integrity and virtue of the early settlers of the county, we may now enter upon an account of them.
As before stated, prior to May 1, 1842, the whites were not allowed to settle in any part of the territory now embraced by the bouudary lines of Marion county. At that time the United States came into the possession of territory before owned and occupied by the Indians. This new territory included part of Marion county, einbracing more than one-half of the county. The boundary line which separated the newly acquired territory from the Indian possessions is known in history as the Red Rock line. A short distance above the present site of the village of Red Rock, on the Des Moines River, are high bluffs, characterized by a peculiar formation of red sandstone; this location was well known to the Indians, and the government officials; and in the treaty whereby the Indians ceded to the gov. ernment all their lands in Iowa it was stipulated that the Indians were to retire west beyond a line running north and south through Red ck and transfer all their possessions east of the line to the United States, on the first day of May, 1843. All the country west of that line was to be in the sole possession of the Indians until October 11, 1845. It will thus be seen that there are two dates from which to reckon the first settlements of the county; the first, May 1, 1843, for that part of the county east of the Red Rock line, and the other October 11, 1845, west of that line. We shall first speak of the settlement
EAST OF THE RED ROCK LINE.
This line was surveyed by Geo. W. Harrison, a government surveyor, during the fall of 1843. An indefinite live had been theoretically estab. lished prior to this time and white men had settled in the present bounds of Marion county along the eastern border of the Indian reservation as early as the spring of 1843. Owing to disputes with regard to the precise location of the line and numerous difficulties between the settlers and the Indians, the line was carefully surveyed and definitely located by the erection of mounds or stone monuments at given intervals. The monument erected where the line crossed the Des Moines River was, as before remarked, a short distance above the present village of Red Rock, and by actual measurement exactly sixty-nine miles north of the Missouri State line.
Various persons visited this part of the county prior to May 1, 1843; claims were selected and some improvements clandestinely made, but no settlements were properly made before that date. Between May 1, and December 31, 1813, about seventy families became inhabitants of Marion county.
There is probably not a county in the State where the question of who was the veritable first settler, is not a subject of dispute. Marion county is no exception to the rule. The honor is claimed for various individuals and as there seems to be evidence equally conclusive in favor of each of the several claims we feel that it is safe to aver that there is no evidence soffi. ciently conclusive to substantiate any of the claims. If a hasty and clan. destine visit to the county and the selection of a location is to be regarded as a settlement then there are the names of several which might be sug. gested who eluded the vigilance of the dragoons and made incursions into the county as early as the summer of 1842; but if the erection of a permanent abode and the formal taking of a claim is, as we think, essential to a settlement then no settlement was made prior to the first day of May, 1843, and the fact is clearly established that several different individuals settled within the presents bounds of Marion county on that saine identical day.
Those who are familiar with the early settlement of Marion county, or in fact, any of the Iowa counties, are already aware that the first improvements were made along the various streams of water; not on the banks of these streams as a general thing, but in or near to the timber which grew only in the vicinity of these streams. Owing to the abrupt turns in the various streams, and especially at those places where they neared larger streams, the belt of timber spread out, and viewed from the wide stretch of prairie beyond, presented the appearance of detached groves; such places were in early times called "points" or groves, and at these places were the first beginnings of civilization. Here were the first settleinents and here the pioneer began the conquest of the wilderness; unintentionally, possibly, but none the less certainly making the first attack on the strongest part of the enemy's works.
During the year 1843 settlements were begun at some seventy points in the county. This was a good beginning for the first year, and it is doubtful whether there is another county in the State which had a larger influx of population during the first year of its settlement. This fact only proves that owing to the abundance of timber and fertility of the soil Marion county was a favorite region of country in early days: its popularity has not dimished in later years and in wealth and population it continues to lead all the other counties in this latitude. The early settler was a good judge of land.
These first settlements will be noticed in detail in our chapter ou township history; at this place we propose to give but a general outline, and as the county at the time we now speak of was not yet subdivided into civil townships we shall here make no reference to township boundaries. In those times settlements were formed in groups and the people lived in neighborhoods or communities which were known by the name of some one of the leading settlers or from some physical characteristic of the country. Thus we have the English Settlement, the Tong Settlement, the Red Rock Settlement, etc. In speaking of the early settlements of the county, we have gleaned every extensively from a sinall work published in 1872, entitled, " Pioneers of Marion County," written by William M. Donnel, who has long been, and still is, a resident of the county.
In the vicinity of Knoxville, which was on the extreme western borders of the government_lands, one of the most prominent settlers of early times was the Hon. Lysander W. Babbitt. He was not one of the first settlers as he did not come to the county till probably one year after the first claims were taken. However, he acted a most conspicuous part in the organization of the county, and afterward became one of the leading politicians of the State. He was a member of the State convention which nominated the illustrious Joseph Williams Judge of the Supreme Court, of whom we shall have more to say hereafter. Mr. Babbitt is also remembered by the early settlers of Boone county in the limits of which county he spent the winter of 1842–3, engaged in trapping and hunting. He also devoted much of his time during that winter in the investigation of the remains of a prehistoric village on the right bank of the Des Moines River, in what is now called Rose's Bottom, in Boone county. He was the first clerk of the board of county commissioners, the first postmaster of Knoxville, several times meinber of the State Legislature, Register of the Land-office at Council Bluffs during President Pierce's administration, and is at present residing in the last named city.
George Henry was probably one among the first, if not the veritable first settler of the county. He was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, lived for many years on a farm near Knoxville and at present resides in the city of Knoxville.
At a very early tiine, probably contemporaneous with the settlement of Mr. Henry, came a family by the name of Jones. There were five men of this name, John M. being the first one to visit the county while in the employ of the fur company. In the first development of the material resources of the county there was no family which contributed more than the Jones family, and representatives of this original Jones family have since, till the present time, been prominently identified with the interests of
John Conrey, at a very early day, took a claim south of English Creek, in section 25, township 75, range 20, where he still resides.
Landon J. Burch, proprietor of Burch's mill on Whitebreast, about three miles north of Knoxville, located in the county in 1844. The mill, which still stands on its former site, was the first one erected in this part of the county. The mill was begun in the spring of 1845, and was not completed till late in 1846. It had a capacity of from fifteen to twenty bushels of corn-meal per day; it was not arranged for the manufacture of flour.
John R. Welch was another early settler in the vicinity of Knoxville. He is a most estimable man, and is now living at Butler, Missouri. His son, John A. Welch, is at present one of the leading merchants of Knoxville.
A. B. Miller, Esq., located in the county in 1846. He was one of the first clerks of the District Court, and has been in the active practice of law for more than a quarter of a century. Though now an old man he has not fallen behind the times and is still successfully pursuing his chosen profession.
Among others who were identified with the first settlements of the county in the vicinity of Knoxville, were William Burch, Conrad Walters, Elias Fuller, Tyler Overton, John Essex, L. G. Terry, Smith Hanton, R. S. Lowry, Christopher Cox, M. Wilcott, Michael Livingstone and Dr. E. C. Cunningham. "The latter was the first clerk of court, and died but re
We now mention a few persons who came some years later, but who