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Wm. C. Pane was elected justice of the peace in this precinct, receiving twenty-one votes; Elias Williams was elected constable.
In summing up, the following were the successful candidates elected to fill the several county offices:
Commissioners-Conrad Walters, William Welch, David Durham.
Probate Judge-Francis A. Barker.
Sheriff-James M. Walters.
Treasurer-David T. Durham.
Recorder Reuben Lowry.
Surveyor-ac B. Power.
Assessor-Green T. Clark.
To sum up the whole result the vote cast was as follows:
The officers named above, chosen at the election on the first Monday in September, held their places till the next regular election, which occurred in August, 1846. One exception should be made, Stanford Doud, who was elected commissioners' clerk, did not qualify, and Lysander W. Babbitt was appointed in his stead.
LOCATION OF THE COUNTY SEAT.
The county commissioners held their first meeting at the newly selected county seat, September 12, 1845. Prior to this time, in August, Joseph Robinson, of Scott county, and James Montgomery, of Wapello county, two of the commissioners appointed by the Legislature to select a location for the seat of justice met at the house of Wilson Stanley and proceeded to visit various places in the county, which were suggested as proper locations for the county seat. They finally agreed upon the northwest quarter of section 7, township 75, range 19, the present site of Knoxville; the report embodying their decision was dated August 25, 1845. The commissioners could not definitely make the location which they had chosen, as that part of the county had not yet been surveyed; the township south, No. 74, had been surveyed however, and they could tell very nearly the location of the quarter of the section which they had designated. The locating commissioners gave the newly selected town the name of Knoxville, which was acceptable to all save Mr. Babbitt who during the next session of the Legislature succeeded in having the name changed to Osceola. When the action was made known, many people in the county were very indignant. A petition was immediately circulated asking the Legislature to restore the former name. A bill was introduced and passed, repealing the name of Osceola, but owing to an oversight the name of Knoxville was not restored. Then for a time the county seat of Marion county had no name at at all. Some time after the matter was fixed by the passage of still another bill restoring the name of Knoxville.
FIRST MEETING OF THE COMMISSIONERS.
The board of county commissioners met on the 12th of September 1845 at the newly selected site of Knoxville. The house in which the first official business of the board was transacted, was a very primitive sort of a structure. It was constructed of lind poles, was about sixteen feet square, was covered with clap-boards, and a square hole cut out of one of the sides, without sash or glass served for a window. The building was located on what is now block 33, and was part of a claim belonging to L. C. Conrey.
The first record of the proceedings of the honorable board as made by Lysander W. Babbitt, their clerk, was as follows:
"Be it remembered that on the 12th day of September, 1845, Conrad Walters, David Durham and William Welch, county commissioners, duly elected and qualified, within and for the county of Marion, in the Territory of Iowa, met at Knoxville, the seat of justice for said county, for the purpose of holding a called session of the county commissioners' court of said county."
The business of this meeting had reference chiefly to the surveying of the town site of Knoxville, and arrangements for the platting of the town and sale of lots.
The second meeting of the commissioners occurred on the second Monday in October. The most important action of the board at this meeting had reference to a negro woman, who with her husband had located in the south part of the county. In order to reach this particular case a general order was made by the commissioners, requiring that all blacks or mulattoes residing in the county should appear before some justice of the peace and give bonds for good behavior or be expelled from the county. În attempting to carry out the provisions of this order there resulted complications both tragic and comical. A full account of this matter will be given elsewhere.
In accordance with an order of the board, Isaac B. Power, county surveyor, laid off and platted a portion of the town site, and George Gillaspy was appointed auctioneer to sell lots. The first sale of lots occurred October 21, 1845. The proceeds of this sale were all applied in liquidating the expense incurred in locating the seat of justice, in surveying the town site and other matters immediately connected with the town site.
The eagle side of a twenty-five-cent United States coin constituted the first county seal. This was used until the county commissioners concluded the county was rich enough to have a better one, and one was ordered made. It was made of iron, about the size of a six-ounce weight, plain on one side and on the other two circular grooves, one near the border and the other farther within. Between the two grooves are the words: "County Commissioners' Seal of Marion County." Within the circumference of the inner groove is a plow and the word "Iowa." The manner of using the seal was as follows: It was carefully laid upon the document which was to be sealed, then a wooden peg or stick was carefully placed horizontally upon it, then the end of the stick was struck with a mallet, and by this means an impression of the seal was made upon the paper. This seal having served its official career was replaced by one of more modern device. The old seal is now in the possession of Mr. Francis Barker and is a relic well worth preserving.
At the meeting of the commissioners on the 2d day of March, 1846, the county was subdivided into election precincts as follows:
Lake Precinct-Township 77, range 18, and all of townships 75 and 76 range 18, lying north of the Des Moines River; elections to be held at the house of Samuel Peters; judges, Samuel Peters, Asa Koons and Jacob C. Brown.
Red Rock Precinct-Township 77, range 19, township 76, range 19, and all of township 77, range 20, east of the old Indian boundary line and north of the Des Moines River; elections to be held at the house of Robert D. Russell; judges, James Chesnut, Claiborn Hall and Reuben Mathews.
Gopher Prairie Precinct- All west of the old Indian boundary line and north of the river; elections to be held at the house of Asa Hughes; judges, Asa Hughes, Alfred Vertrice and Joshua Lindsey.
Pleasant Grove Precinct-All of Marion county and the attached portion thereof south of the river and north and west of Whitebreast Creek; elections to be held at the house of Wm. Glenn; judges, Wm. M. Young, John P. Glenn and William Glenn.
Knoxville Precinct-Township 75, range 19, and township 76, range 19, south of the Des Moines River and south and east of Whitebreast Creek, and all of townships 75 and 76, range 20, east of the old Indian boundary line; elections to be held at the place of holding the District Court; judges, Lawson G. Terry, Landon J. Burch and Moses Tong.
English Precinct-All of the county and attached portions thereof, west of the old Indian boundary line and south and east of Whitebreast Creek; elections to be held at the house of William Tibbott; judges, Wm. Tibbott, Elisha B. Ryan and Samuel Nicholson.
Round Grove Precinct--Township 74, range 19, and all of township 74, range 20, east of the old Indian boundary line; elections to be held at the house of Alexander May; judges, Alexander May, John T. Pierce and Jeremiah Gullian.
Cedar Precinct-Township 74, range 18, and all of township 75, range 18, south of the Des Moines River; elections to be held at the house of Jasper Koons; judges, Joseph Clark, David T. Durham and Francis A. Barker.
At a meeting of the commissioners in April, 1846, the county was subdivided into road districts as follows:
Township 77, range 18, and all of township 76, range 18, north of a line running west of the southeast corner of section 12, to constitute district No. 1; supervisor, Samuel Peters.
All of township 76, range 18, south of a line running west from the southeast corner of section 12 and north of the river, and all of township 75, range 18, north of the river, to constitute district No. 2; supervisor, Wm Welch.
District No. 3, Red Rock precinct; supervisor, Claiborn Hall. District No. 4, Gopher Prairie precinct; Joshua Lindsey supervisor. District No. 5, Pleasant Grove precinct; Wm. M. Young supervisor. District No. 6, Knoxville precinct; L. M. Pierce supervisor. District No. 7, English precinct; Wm. Tibbott supervisor: District No. 8, Round Grove precinct; David Sweem supervisor. District No. 9, all of townships 75 and 76, range 18, south of Des Moines River; John Wise supervisor.
District No. 10, township 74, range 18; Hugh Glenn, supervisor.
It may strike the reader that these were very large road districts, and they were when compared with the present road districts which now are about four sections square. But it must be remembered that in those days there were very few roads laid out and those which were laid out were very seldom worked. The whole country was open, and if there chanced to be a bad place in the road it was easy to go around it.
Among the first and most important business of the commissioners was the location of roads. One can scarcely overestimate the importance which attached to the location of the first county roads. They were more important in those days when they were the avenues for the conveyance of all
kinds of produce than they are now when wagon conveyance is but for a short distance, and railroads do the greater part of the work. These first roads were important, too, in that a road well located becomes a permanent thing; fields were laid off, farms shaped, buildings erected, and even towns. laid off with reference to it. It will, therefore, readily be seen that the matter of the location of some of the first roads in the county is of sufficient importance to be considered here.
The first county road laid out in Marion county led from the house of Samuel Nicholson to Knoxville. It run in a northwestern direction, and was some eight miles in length. It was viewed and surveyed according to the order of the county commissioners, the report of the view and survey being dated January 15, 1846.
The following are the reports, verbatim:
"January 15, 1846: I doo hear by assertify that the above is the true bearing and distances of the county road beginning at Samuel Nicholsons and terminating at Noxville the county seat of Marion county and that this is a true platte of the same.
"ISAAC B. Power,
"January 15, 1846: We, the undersigned, called on to vue and lay out a county road, commencing at Samuel Nicholsons, running to Noxville by the way of John Conrey's claime. We doo further more assertify that we have vued and layed out the above road which we believe to be of jeneral utility to the county of Marion and thear fore repoart favorabel.
"R. L. LowRY.
In the spring of the same year the board of commissioners ordered Isaac B. Power and Francis A. Barker to survey, and John Pearce, John Conrey and J. B. Hamilton to view a proposed road leading from the east line of Marion county to Knoxville. The following is a report of the viewers:
"This is to certify that we, John Hamilton, John Conrey, and John T. Pears, was appointed by the board of county commissioners of Marion county to view and locate a county road commencing at Joseph McPhearsons, near the county line of Marion and Mahaska counties to Knoxville. John Hamilton and John Conrey met according to the order of said board, after being sworn proseeded to view said road and believe it would be of utility to the publick in general. Given under our hands this 26th day of September, 1846.
Among the other duties of the commissioners was that of registering ear marks. This is something with which the people of the county have nothing to do at the present day and while it will be a matter of interest to the older settlers it will be necessary to make some explanation for the benefit of those who have come to the country in more recent times. During the first settlement of the country people were able to enclose with fence only a small portion of land, all of which was cultivated. Cattle, hogs and stock of all kinds were permitted to run at large. During this state of affairs it was of no unusual occurrence for stock to get together and disputes fre