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civil townships and there was a new arrangement of the voting precincts in the territory to the west and north, temporarily attached to that county. The following is an exact copy of that part of the official action of the commissioners of Mahaska county which had reference to the unorganized territory now composing Marion county:
Ordered, That the unsurveyed township which is south of the Des Moines River shall be known by the name of English River township.
Ordered, That congressional townships 76 and 77 north, 18 west and that part of 75 north and 18 west, which lies north of the Des Moines River shall constitute a township to be known by the name of Lake township. The place of holding elections to be at the house of Levi Bainbridge.
Ordered, That all the unsurveyed part north of the Des Moines River shall constitute a township to be known by the name of Whitebreast township. Place of holding elections to be at the house of Mr. Phillips.
The authorities of Mahaska county doubtless expected to retain jurisdiction over Marion county for sometime. It was to the advantage of these older counties to retain control of this additional territory as considerable revenue was derived therefrom and the additional expense incurred was very small. This condition of dependence was not satisfactory, however, to the people of Marion county and before the people of Mahaska had a chance to derive much profit or honor from this dependent constituency a successful attempt was made by the Marion county settlers to set up in business for themselves.
The cause which led to the agitation of the question of a separate organization was two-fold. In the first place the people of the county had little hope of opening up roads, building school-houses and erecting bridges so long as they were dependent on the commissioners of Mahaska county; in the second place there were then, as now, many persons anxious to hold office and by the organization of the county into a separate county there would be created a demand for a full complement of county officers. Thus it was that at the very time the officers of Mahaska county were busying themselves about the levying of taxes and organization of election precincts for the people of Marion, the latter were busying themselves in laying plans for severing the connection and which plans were soon to render useless and inoperative the legislation of the former.
The first organized effort for the purpose of securing a separate county organization occurred in the spring of 1845. The meeting was held at the house of Nathan Bass, in section 19, township 76, range 18. There were some fifteen or twenty persons present, the most active and influential of whom were Lysander W. Babbitt, George Gillaspy, Reuben Mathews, Homer Mathews, David T. Durham, Nathan Bass, Joseph Drouillard, John Williams, Levi Bainbridge, Isaac N. Crum, Simon Drouillard and John W. Alley.
Simon Drouillard was appointed chairman and Col. Alley secretary.
Joseph Drouillard was selected as candidate for organizing sheriff, and arrangements were made for circulating a petition to be sent to the Legislature, then in session, praying for the passage of a special act authorizing the organization of the county.
The petition was industriously circulated and extensively signed by the settlers. This petition was sent to the Legislature, whereupon a bill was introduced authorizing the organization of Marion county. The following
extracts from the journal, dated May 5, 1845, will show what action was taken in the matter:
"Mr. Selby, from the committee on the judiciary, to which was referred H. F. No. 61, a bill to organize the county of Marion, reported the same back to the council, with amendments to which the council agreed.
"On motion of Mr. Coop, the 13th rule was suspended and the bill was read a third time.
"A motion was made by Mr. Hempstead, that Marion' be stricken out and the word 'Polk' inserted, which passed in the negative.
"Yeas 4-nays 8.
"The yeas and nays being demanded
"Those who voted in the affirmative were-Messrs. Abbe, Hempstead, Summers and Mr. President.
"Those who voted in the negative were-Messrs. Bradley, Brattain, Briesly, Coop, Lefler, Selby, Stephenson, Thompson.
"The bill was then agreed to.
"Ordered, That the secretary acquaint the House of Representatives therewith."
The following is a copy of the bill as passed:
"AN ACT to organize the county of Marion.
"SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Iowa, That the following shall constitute and be the boundary of a new county to be called Marion; to-wit., Beginning at the northwest corner of Mahaska county and running west on the township line dividing township seventy-seven and seventy-eight north, to the northwest corner of township seventy-seven, range twenty-one west, thence south to the southwest corner of township seventy-four north, of range twentyone west, thence east along the township line dividing townships seventythree and seventy-four north, to the southwest corner of Mahaska county, thence north along the range line dividing ranges eighteen and seventeen to the place of beginning.
"SEC. 2. That the county of Marion be, and the same is, hereby organ, ized from and after the first Monday in August next, and the inhabitants of said county shall be entitled to the same privileges to which by law the inhabitants of other organized counties of this Territory are entitled.
"SEC. 3. That for the purpose of organizing said county, it is hereby made the duty of the clerk of the District Court of said county, and in case there shall be no such clerk appointed and qualified, or for any cause said office shall become vacant on or before the first Monday in August next, then it shall be the duty of the sheriff of Mahaska county to proceed im mediately after the first Monday in August to order a special election in said county for the purpose of electing three county commissioners, one judge of probate, one county surveyor, one county treasurer, one clerk of the board of county commissioners, one county assessor, one sheriff, one coroner, one recorder, and such number of justices of the peace and constables as may be directed by the officer ordering the same, he having due re gard for the convenience of the people, which special election shall be on the first Monday in September next, and that the officer ordering said eleotion shall appoint as many places of election in said county as the convenience of the people may require, and shall appoint three judges of election for each place of voting in the county, and issue certificates of their ap
pointment, and the officer ordering said election shall give at leat ten days' notice of the time and place of holding said election, by three advertisements, which shall be posted up at three of the most public places in the neighborhood where each of the polls shall be opened.
"SEC. 4. That the officer ordering said election shall receive and canvass the polls, and grant certificates to the persons elected to fill the several offices mentioned in this act; the officers ordering each of said elections shall discharge the duties of a clerk of the board of county commissioners until there shall be one elected and qualified for said county.
"SEO. 5. Said election shall in all cases not provided for in this act be conducted according to the laws of this Territory regulating general elections.
"SEC. 6. The officers elected under the provisions of this act shall hold their offices until the next general election and until their successors are elected and qualified.
"SEC. 7. The officer ordering the election in said county shall return all the books and papers which may come into his hand by virtue of this act to the clerk of the board of county commissioners of said county forthwith after said clerk shall be elected and qualified.
"SEO. 8. That it shall be the duty of the sheriff of Mahaska county to perform the duties required by this act until the first Monday in September next, and until a sheriff shall be elected and qualified for said county of Marion, and the said sheriff shall be allowed the same fees for services rendered by him under the provisions of this act that are allowed for similar services performed by the sheriff in similar cases.
"SEC. 9. That the clerk of the District Court of said county of Marion, may be appointed by the judge of said judicial district, and qualified at any time after the passage of this act, but he shall not enter upon the duties of said office prior to the first day of August next.
"SEC. 10. That all actions at law in the District Court for the county of Mahaska commenced prior to the organization of the said county of Marion, where the parties or either of them reside in the county of Marion shall be prosecuted to judgment or decree as fully and effectually as if this act had not been passed.
"SEC. 11. That it shall be the duty of all justices of the peace residing within said county, to return all books and papers in their hands appertaining to said office to the next nearest justice of the peace which may be elected and qualified for said county, under the provisions of this act, and all suits at law which may be in the hands of such justice of the peace, and unfinished, shall be completed and prosecuted to final judgment by the justice of the peace to whom such business or papers may have been returned.
"SEC. 12. That the county assessor elected under the provisions of this act for said county shall assess the said county, in the same manner and be under the same obligations and liabilities as now is, or may hereafter be, provided by law in relation to the county assessor.
"SEC. 13. That Ezra M. Jones, of Van Buren county, Joseph Robinson, of Scott county, and James Montgomery, of Wapello county, be and they are hereby appointed commissioners to locate and establish the seat of justice of Marion county. Said commissioners or a majority of them shall meet at the house of Wilson Stanley, in said county, on the second Monday in August next, or at such other time in the month of August next as may be agreed upon by them, in pursuance of their duties under this act.
"SEC. 14. Said commissioners shall first take and subscribe to the following oath or affirmation; to-wit., we do solemnly swear that we have no interest either directly or indirectly in the location of the county seat of Marion county, and that we will faithfully and impartially examine the situation of said county, taking into consideration the future as well as the present population of said county, and that we will take into consideration the best interests of the whole people of the county, and that we will not be influenced by any fee or reward or any promise thereof; which oath shall be administered by the clerk of the District Court, or by some justice of the peace of said county of Marion, and the officer administering the same shall certify and file the same in the office of the clerk of the board of county commissioners of said county, whose duty it shall be to record the same.
"SEC. 15. Said commissioners when met and qualified under the provisions of this act, shall proceed to locate the seat of justice of said county; and as soon as they shall come to a determination, they shall commit to writing the place so selected, with a particular description thereof, signed by the clerk of the commissioners in which such seat of justice is located, whose duty it shall be to record the same and forever keep it on file in his office, and the place thus designated shall be the seat of justice of said county.
"SEC. 16. Said commissioners shall receive the sum of two dollars per day, while necessarily employed in the duties assigned to them by this act, and two dollars for each twenty miles travel in going and returning, to be paid out of the first funds arising from the sale of lots in said seat of justice.
"SEC. 17. The county of Marion shall form a part of the Second judicial district, and it shall be the duty of the judge of said district to hold one term of said court in the same on the twelfth Monday after the first Monday in March each year.
"SEC. 18. This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
"JAMES M. MORGAN,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
"S. C. HASTINGS, "President of the Council.
In accordance with the provisions of this act, William Edmondson, sheriff of Mahaska county, proceed to organize the county. The territory composing the county was subdivided into election precincts, judges and clerks were appointed for the several precincts and notices of election posted up according to law.
We have been unable to find the official notice of the organizing officer, but from the poll-books of the election, we have been enabled to ascertain all the facts relating to the election which will be of interest to the general reader.
The county was subdivided into five election precincts which we designate as follows: Knoxville precinct, English precinct, Cedar precinct, Red
Rock precinct and Lake Prairie precinct. In the Knoxville precinct, the election was held at the house of Landon J. Burch. Richard R. Watts, William Burch and John Babcock were judges; Samuel H. Robb and Landon J. Burch, clerks of the election. In the English precinct the election was held at the house of Thomas Nichols; the judges were Thomas Nichols, Thomas Tong and David Durham; Joseph Clark and Elias Williams were clerks. In the Lake Prairie precinct the election was held at the house of Robert Stephenson; the judges were James Chesnut, Edward Billaps and R. D. Russell; Mordecai Yearns and Alexander J. Cayton were clerks. In the Cedar precinct the election was held at the house of Conrad Walters; the judges were Conrad Walters, David Sweem and Garrett W. Clark; B. Sherwood and J. B. White were the clerks. Lake precinct had its place of election at the house of Wilson Stanley; Asa Koons, Wilson Stanley and Levi Bainbridge being judges, and John J. Mudgett and John W. Deweese were clerks.
This being the first election in the county and being held at so early a period it cannot fail to be an event of great historical importance. We, therefore, will give a very full account of it, exhibiting the vote cast for each candidate, and giving the names of the persons who voted in the sev-. eral precincts
It will be remembered that this report of the first election is copied from official documents which the writer found after great difficulty, and the names of the voters as here given is the fullest and most authentic account yet published of the people who settled in the county prior to September 1, 1845.
The names of the voters in this precinct are as follows, given in the order in which they cast their votes: L. W. Babbitt, Wm. McCord, James W. Watts, John Babcock, Thomas Thomson, John P. Glenn, Nathan Bass, John M. Jones, J. Brous, Henry Hall, James Boakens, W. M. Blankship, John Johnson, Landon J. Burch, Samuel H. Babb, Richard R. Watts, Wm. D. Burch, Lossen G. Terry, A. C. Sharp, Isaac Walters, William D. Halsey, John Kinney, Elijah Johnson, James Walters, Wm. H. Garrison, Jeremiah Shepherd, John Essex, Hiram Pugh. Twenty-eight voters in