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The first record of the proceedings of the honorable board as made by Lysander W. Babbitt, their clerk, was as follows:

“Be it reinem bered 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. In attempting to carry out the provisions of this order there resulted complications both tragic and comical. A full account of this inatter 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 circunference 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 hav- . ing 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, Samnel Peters, A.sa 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 ånd Reuben Mathews.

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Gopher Prairie Precinct - All west of the old Indian boundary line and north of the river; elections to be held at the honse 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; elec. tions 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 honse of Alexander May; judges, Alexander May, John T. Pierce and Jereiniah 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 connty was subđi. vided 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, Sanuel 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; Job 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 coinpared with the present road districts which now are abont 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

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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,

County Surveyor." “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.

6 R. L. LOWRY.
“G. W. CLARK."

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 wonld be of utility to the publick in general. Given under our hands this 26th day of September, 1846.

« JOHN CONREY.
"J. B. HAMILTON."

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 inore 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

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quently occured as to the ownership and identity of stock. To remedy this difficulty as inch as possible it was provided by law that the owner of stock might choose any particular ear-mark not already registered and after that no one else was allowed to nse that particular mark. Of course it was equivalent to theft for any individual to to put his ear-mark on any stock which did not belong to him and such an offense was punishable by heavy penalty. After an ear-mark had been registered with the board of commissioners, it was prima facie evidence of ownership when found on a horse, cow, hog or any other animal. Deeming this explanation sufficient we proceed to give a number of ear-marks as registered. “TERRITORY OF Iowa,

“MARION COUNTY. “ANNY JONES, recorder of ear-mark.

“On the sixth day of January, 1846, Anny Jones made return of her earmark for hogs, cattle, etc., to be recorded, which is as follows; to-wit., a swollow-fork in the left ear.

“L. W. BABBITT,

"Clerk Board of Commissioners. “John Jones, recorder of ear-mark.

“On the sixth day of January, 1847, John Jones made return of his earmark for hogs, cattle, etc., to be recorded as follows; to-wit., an under-bit in the left ear and a slit in the right ear.

“L. W. BABBITT.

Clerk Board of Commissioners. * John M. Jones, recorder of ear-mark.

“On the sixth day of January, 1846, John M. Jones made return of his ear-mark for hogs, cattle, etc., to be recorded, which is as follows; to-wit., a swallow-fork in the left ear and a square-crop off the right ear.

“L. W. BABBITT,

Clerk Board of Commissioners. LANDON J. BURCH, recorder of ear-mark.

“On the fifth day of February, 1846, Landon J. Burch made his return of his ear-mark for cattle, hogs, etc., to be recorded, which is as follows; to-wit., a smooth-crop off the left ear and an under-bit in the right ear.

“L. W. BABBITT,

Clerk Board of Commissioners. “ MARTIN NEEL, recorder of ear-mark.

“On the first day of April, 1846, Martin Neel made return of his ear. mark for cattle, hogs, etc., to be recorded, which is as follows; to-wit., a crop off the right ear.

“L. W. BABBITT,

Clerk Board of Commissioners." It seems that Mr. Babbitt was not only a county official but also a stockbreeder, he not only registered ear-marks, but was likewise an owner of earmarks, as witness the following: “L. W. BABBITT, recorder of ear-mark.

“On the fourth day of April, 1846, L. W. Babbitt made return of his earmark for cattle, hogs, etc., to be recorded, which is as follows; to-wit., an upper-bit in each ear.

: L. W. BABBITT,

Clerk Board of Commissioners." Another part of the business of the commissioners was the licensing of groceries and ferries. The term “grocery,” had a specific meaning in early days. A license to keep & grocery carried with it the permit to sell whisky. Groceries were usually licensed for a period of three months at a time and a fee of two dollars was charged.

In those days there were no bridges and in crossing the larger streams the traveler had to depend on ferries. It not only required considerable capital to eqnip a ferry, but necessitated quite an outlay to maintain it. In order to protect the owner of a ferry froin ruinous competition and the traveler from exorbitant charges it was customary for the board of county commissioners to license a certain individual, giving him the exclusive right to operate a ferry at some important point and prescribed the rate of ferriage to be charged. A ferry license usually cost two dollars and the schedule of prices to be charged were generally as follows: One footman .....

67 cents. One man on horse.

123 cents. One wagon and two horses.

25 cents. One wagon and four horses.

50 cents. Cattle per head.

5 cents. Hogs and sheer per head.

3 cents. By this manner of supervision the county realized considerable revenge from licenses and the traveling public were protected from avaricious and grasping ferrymen. Some of these more important ferries along the Des Moines River in the county still retain the names of their former owners. Among others we mention the following: Wilson's Ferry, Keables’ Ferry, Horn's Ferry and Durham's Ferry, the last being on the direct road from Knoxville to Oskaloosa.

SECOND ELECTION.

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The first officers of the county, as has already been intimated, were chosen at a special election and held their positions only till the next regular elec. tion. This occurred August 3, 1846, consequently the first county officials served less than a year for their first term of office. Prior to the time for holding this election, on the fifteenth of July, L. W. Babbitt, clerk of the board of county commissioners, wrote the following, addressed to the various judges and clerks of election; it will be seen by perusing the document that Mr. Babbitt did not presume much on the knowledge of the persons addressed: "To the judges and clerks of election:

"When the hour arrives for opening the polls, if all of the judges are not present those present will appoint a justice of the peace to act as judge, but if there be no justice present then the judge or judges will appoint some discreet person or persons, having the qualifications of electors, to act as judge or judges. He will then take and subscribe to the oath on page seven of the poll-book. The oath will be administered by some person au

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