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houses in the county. Mr. Wise was born in Virginia, and Mr. Barker was a native of New York. Mr. Barker was one of the most enterprising citizens of the county in early times, and in later years was called upon to discharge the duties of office, both in the county and State government. He was the first probate judge of the county, and his son Francis C. Barker, at present editor and proprietor of the Knoxville Journal, still has in his possession the old county seal which was used during the time his father was incumbent of this office.
Near the Barker homestead was the residence of Matthew Ruple, who came in 1843. On the 23d of July, 1843, Frances Ruple, afterward Mrs. Albert Spare, was born, and thus is Mr. Ruple accredited with the honor of being the father of the first white child born in Marion county.
Another early settler in this region, Williams by name, probably planted the first orchard in the county, and to him belongs the credit of being the father of one of the most important and most flourishing industries of the county.
The English Settlement was one of the most reputable neighborhoods in the county in early days and among others who were identified with it either immediately or more remotely were Thomas Kistan, John Linpod, John Harsin, Thomas Gregory, David Gushwa, A. C. Sharp, Sarah Clark, S. B. Zane and Jasper Koons. In 1849 the settlement was scourged with the small-pox, from which disease two of the settlers, Gregory and Foster, died.
In 1842, one year before any settlement was made in the county, three of the above mentioned settlers visited in the region where they afterward located.
In the vicinity of the present site of the town of Marysville and along Cedar Creek, both north and west, were numerous settlements at an early day. Among the early settlers in that region were Martin Neel, Horace Lyman, David Haymaker, Silas Brown, Alexander May, Thurston Day, Andrew McGruder, Lewis Jones, William Shanks, Samuel Cooley, Allen Lowe, George Henry, William Carlysle, Noah Whitlatch, Isaac Willsley, James Rousseau, Benjamin Spillman, S. Doud, David Gushway, Jacob Hendricks, William Simons, William Bridges and H. H. Mitchell.
Mr. Neel was probably the first man who settled in that part of the county. He was a native of Kentucky and came to this country, it is thought, sometime before the white man was authorized to settle here. Mr. Neel afterward removed to Missouri.
Mr. Lyman was born in the State of New York. He afterward lived successively in Kentucky, Ohio and Van Buren county, Iowa, locating in Marion county in 1843. In more recent times he removed to Mahaska county. Mr. Doud came to the county in company with Mr. Lyman.
May's Settlement was some distance northwest from the present site of Marysville, north of Cedar Creek. It took its name from Alexander May, who settled in the county early in the year 1843. He was born in Kentucky, and prior to his coming to Marion county had lived a number of years in the State of Indiana.
Marysville was laid out by James Rousseau; it received its name, it is said, from the number of ladies in the vicinity by the name of Mary.
West of Marysville and north of Cedar David Sweem, James Cade, Isaac Kelsey, Lewis Pierce and John Bonebrake settled at an early day. North of the Des Moines River, directly opposite the mouth of White
breast Creek, was originally a very beautiful and in every way desirable country. This was a favorite region among the early settlers and here many of them located and opened up farms. This neighborhood always went by the name of the Whitebreast Settlement.
Further down the Des Moines River, and on the opposite side, Richard Watts settled during the spring of 1843. He was a native of Ohio and had resided in Indiana, Illinois and Jefferson county, Iowa, previous to coming to Marion county. His original claim included the present site of Coalport. John Babcock also settled here at an early day.
Among other settlers who located along the river in the Whitebreast Settlement, and between there and Coalport, were the following: A family by the name of Stevenson, M. S. Morris, George Billaps, George Wilson, Alexander Caton, Warren D., Frank and John Everett, William Karr, Robert Etheringten, George Wilson, Andrew and George Karr.
North of the Whitebreast Settlement the following persons located in early times: James Price, a family by the name of Wilson, David and Allen Tice, Andrew Metz, J. S. West, a family by the name of Harp, I. N. Crum, James Deweese, S. S. Roberts, Alexander B. Donnel, Allen Lawhead. Price was from Ohio originally. The Wilson family consisted of four sons and two daughters. Alexander Donnel was born in Pennsylvania; came to the county in 1845, and some of his descendants still reside in that neighborhood.
The foregoing is a brief summary of the early settlements east of the Red Rock line. We will now pass to notice the first settlements
WEST OF THE RED ROCK LINE.
The Indian title to the land lying west of the Red Rock line expired at midnight, October 11, 1845. Many of those persons who had previously settled in Marion county east of the line had decided to make claims in the western part of the county, and many new settlers had temporarily located on the border lands awaiting the memorable night when they would be allowed to cross over and possess the goodly country. Those expecting to settle on the the new purchase were forbidden to come to the reserve till the time mentioned. Dragoons were stationed all along the border, whose duty it was to keep the whites out of the country till the appointed time.
For some weeks previous to the date assigned settlers came over into the new country, prospecting for homes, and were quietly permitted to cross over and look around, so long as they were unaccompanied by wagon and carried no ax. This last mentioned agent of civilization was sometimes placed without a handle in the knapsack of the traveler, and an impromptu handle fitted in with a jack-knife when necessity called for its use. During the last few days prior to the 11th of October the dragoons relaxed their strict discipline and an occasional wagon slipped in through the brush. The night of October 11, found many of the new-comers on the ground, who had previously prospected the country and had mentally decided what claims they would make...
As it neared midnight settler after settler took his place on the border of his claim with his bunch of sharpened stakes and a lantern or blazing torch, and when it was thought that midnight had arrived there was some lively surveying by amateur engineers in the dark. The claims were paced off, and strange as it may seem there were but few cases of dispute, the mat
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 beams 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 had 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 south beyond Whitebreast Creek, the following persons settled: Nicholas Helms, 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 summer of 1845: C. W. Thomas, W. H. Palmer, Jesse Johnson, James Crabb, John Firman, Jesse Walker, H. Freel, Wm. Bundren, D. Hunt, 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 Brous, Mordecai Yearns, Alfred Vertrice, Thomas Carr and others.
The Pioneer's Peculiarities-Conveniences and Inconveniences-The Historical Log CabinAgricultural 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 RecordsGrowth 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 must 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 county 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 had few neighbors, they were on the best terms with those they had. Envy, jealously and strife had not crept in. A common interest and a 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 community 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 assist the unfortunate one to re-build his home. They came with as little