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ter having been previously pretty well understood. Some of the claims were pretty large, more in fact than the law allowed the claimants to hold; the new-comers were not unmindful of the wholesome advice of the Hoosier mother who possibly lived in an earlier day, but whose council to "git a plenty while you're gittin" was followed to the letter and to which the claimants added “and git the best.”
Few persons now reside in the county who took part in that memorable night's proceedings and the story of one who was there is well worth repeating. He says: “Precisely at midnight there were heard loud reports of fire-arms which announced that the empire of the red man had ended forever, and that of his master race had begun. Answering reports rang sharply on the night air, in quick succession, till the signal was conveyed for miles around, and all understood that civilization had commenced her reign in central Iowa. The moon was slowly sinking in the west and its beanis afforded a feeble and uncertain light for the measurement of claims, in which so many were engaged.
* Ere long the landscape was shrouded in darkness, save the wild and fitful glaring of torches, carried by the claim-makers. Before the night had entirely worn away, the rough surveys were finished, and the Indian lands bad found new tenants. Throughout the country thousands of acres were laid off in claims before dawn. Settlers rushed in by hundreds and the region lately so tranquil and silent, felt the impulse of the change and became vocal with sounds of industry and enterprise."
Thus had come at last the much desired day bringing to the pioneer the privilege to choose from all the goodly land before him his future home. Before many days had passed the curling smoke was seen rising through the tree-tops from many a hopeful happy home; and within these homes were found thankful hearts, cheerful faces, welcome voices and liberal hospitality; the great work of the settlement and cultivation of this fertile land had actually begun all over the present territory of Marion county and there was assurance that this work of improvement and civilization would be carried on to the western territory beyond the Missouri.
At the time to which we have just been referring that beautiful region of country surrounding the present site of Pleasantville, the most delightful in the county and a more productive than which there is none in the State, was first thrown open for settlement. Among those who first located claims there we mention the following: D. Halsey, L. Reynolds, T. Reynolds, J. P. Glenn, W. S. Glenn, Samuel Glenn, D. Vansel, L. Young, P. Prater, Wm. Young, G. B. Greenwood, J. Lewis, Marion Clifton, James Clifton, R. Miller, D. Shonkwiler, S. Tibbett, Robert Logan, H. Logan, Y. Spalti, W. F. Miles, W. Jordan and Daniel Davidson.
It is said that Lewis Reynolds broke the first prairie in that region, and that he in connection with Jordan and Logan planted the first orchards. Jordan was the first owner of the site of Pleasantville.
Further south, Nathan Nichols, Peter Row, A. Hewland, William Frazier, John Clark, D. F. Smith and J. W. Hightree settled.
Still further sonth beyond Whitebreast Creek, the following persons settled: Nicholas Helins, with his four sons, William Willis, Thomas Kirton, Henry Wagoner, J. Bauer, Hiram Teakle, A. Bauer, Henry Goring, H. Hartsman. Jacob Smith, Josiah Willey, John Asher, Wm. Clear, Wm. Hunt, H. Larkin, three persons named Pershall, Wm. and John Agan, John Statz and Andrew Reed.
North of Pleasantville the following, among others, settled soon after the sommer of 1845: C. W. Thomas, W. H. Palmer, Jesse Johnson, James Crabb, John Firman, Jesse Walker, H. Freel, Wm. Bundren, D. Hant, A. Schirner and John Butcher Still further north beyond the river were the following: H. Gay, J. Linsey, Chas. Owen, Asa Hughes, R. Allison, J. McWilliams, S. Waterman, Peter Brons, Mordecai Yearns, Alfred Vertrice, Thomas Carr and others.
The Pioneer's Peculiarities-Conveniences and Inconveniences—The Historical Log Cabin
Agricultural Implements-Household Furniture-Pioneer Corn-bread-Hand-mills and Hominy-blocks-Going to Mill-Trading Points--The Pioneer Stock-dealer-Hunting and Trapping-The California Gold Excitement—The Western Stage Company-Claimclubs and Club-laws—A Border Sketch-Surveys and Land Sales—The First Records, Growth of the County–Table of Events.
During the decade which comprehends the first ten years of its history the settlement of Marion county was in its earliest stage of pioneer life. All that can be known of this period in ust be drawn chiefly from tradition.
In those days the people took no care to preserve history—they were too busily engaged in making it. Historically speaking; those were the most important years of the county, for it was then the foundation and cornerstones of all the country's history and prosperity were laid. Yet this period was not remarkable for stirring events. It was, however, a time of selfreliance and brave, persevering toil; of privations, cheerfully endured through faith in a good time coming The experience of one settler was jnst about the same as that of others. They were almost invariably poor, they faced the same hardships and stood generally on an equal footing.
All the experience of the early pioneers of this connty goes far to confirm the theory that, after all, happiness is pretty evenly balanced in this world. They had their privations and hardships, but they had also their own peculiar joys. If they were poor they were free from the burden of pride and vanity; free, also, from the anxiety and care that always attend the possession of wealth. Other people's eyes cost them nothing. If they bad few neighbors, they were on the best terms with those they had. Envy, jealously and strife had not crept in. A common interest and å common sympathy bound them together with the strongest ties. They were a little world to themselves, and the good feeling that prevailed was all the stronger because they were so far removed from the great world of the East.
Among these pioneers there was realized such a community of interest that there existed a cominunity of feeling. There were no castes, no aristocracy, except an aristocracy of benevolence, and no nobility, except a nobility of generosity. They were bound together with such a strong bond of sympathy, inspired by the consciousness of common hardship, that they were practically communists.
Neighbors did not even wait for an invitation or request to help one another. Was a settler's cabin burned or blown down, no sooner was the fact known throughout the neighborhood than the settlers assembled to as. sist the unfortunate one to re-build his home. They came with as little
hesitation, and with as much alacrity, as though they were all members of the same family, and bound together by ties of blood. One man's interest was every other man's interest also. Now this general state of feeling among the pioneers was by no means peculiar to this country, althongh it was strongly illustrated here. It prevailed generally throughout the West during the time of the early settlement. The very nature of things taught the settlers the necessity of dwelling together in this spirit. It was their only protection. They had come far away from the well-established reign of law and entered a new country where the civil anthority was still feeble, and totally unable to afford protection and redress grievances. Here in Marion county the settlers lived for quite a time before there was a single officer of the law in the county. Each man's protection was in the good. will and friendship of those about him, and the thing any man might well dread was the ill-will of the community. It was more terrible than the law. It was no common thing in the early times for hardened men, who had vo fears of jails or penitentiaries, to stand in great fear of the indignation of a pioneer community. Such were some of the characteristics of the early settlers of Marion county.
HOUSE AND HOME COMFORTS.
The first buildings in the county were not just like the log cabins that immediately succeeded them. These latter required some help and a good
a deal of labor to build. The very first buildings constructed were a cross between "hoop cabins" and Indian bark huts. As soon as enough men could be got together for a “ cabin raising" then log cabins were in style. 'Many a pioneer can remember the happiest time of his life as that when he lived in one of these homely but comfortable and profitable old cabins.
A window with sash and glass was a rarity, and was an evidence of wealth and aristocracy which but few could support. They were often made with greased paper put over the window, which admitted a little light, but more often there was nothing whatever over it, or the cracks between the logs, without either chinking or daubing, was the dependence for light and air.
The doors were fastered with old-fashioned wooden latches, and for a friend or neighbor or traveler the string always hung out, for the pioneers of the West were hospitable, and entertained visitors to the best of their ability.
It is noticeable with what affection the pioneers speak of their old log cabins. It may be doubted whether palaces ever sheltered happier hearts than those homely cabins. The following is a good description of these old land-marks, but few of which now remain:
“ These were of round logs notched together at the corners, ribbed with poles and covered with boards split from a tree. A puncheon floor was iben laid down, a hole cut in the end and a stick chimney run up: A clapboard door was made, a window opened by cutting out a hole in the side or end about two feet square, and finished without glass or transparency. The house was then chinked' and daubed' with mud made of the top Boil.
“ The cabin was now ready to go into. The household and kitchen furniture adjusted, and life on the frontier begun in earnest.