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to inquire for the cause of this; wherefore this remarkable and exceptionable purity of the county judge? Was it because the people were unusually particular in the selection of good men for this office? Men whom the fust for gain could not corrupt and the consciousness of power could not render haughty? Perhaps this was the case, but we believe it is the desire of the people to select such men for all the offices, and we cannot believe that they had any better facilities for estimating the qualifications of the men who were candidates for the county judge's office than of the men who were candidates for other positions. We believe there are other reasons whereby the purity and honesty of the county judge may be philosophically accounted for. It is a law of our being that we are more careful and discreet when trust and confidence are absolutely confided than when they are conditionally reposed. When a man finds that the trust and confidence of a people are absolutely confided in him and in addition to this is the other condition of his being the only as well as the absolute custodian of trust, then will a man who has a spark of honor or is the least ambitious of a good name, be especially careful, discreet and scrupulous. He who listens for a moment to the voice of the tempter, and where is the poor, frail specimen of humanity who can help but listen, will be slow to yield when he remembers that he alone must bear the odium of guilt; but should he remember that there are others who will be compelled to share his guilt, the remembrance of this fact will furnish an inducement to yield; the feet of an individual are slow to go alone in the way to do evil, but swift to go with the multitude.
Two large, well written books of over one thousand pages-books of which any county or county official might well be proud-contain the records of Judge Joseph Brobst and Judge F. M. Frush.
"Joseph Brobst, county judge elect in and for said county, qualified by taking the oath of office before J. Smith Hooton, Esq., notary public, on the 12th day of August, 1851, which said oath and certificate was filed in the office of the treasurer of said county."
The record of the same day says that S. C. Conrey, supervisor elect, Claiborn Hall, recorder elect, Isaac H. Walters, elected high sheriff, produced their bonds and were qualified to enter upon the duties of their respective offices.
On the following day the record begins as follows: "COUNTY COURT,
"MARION COUNTY. Always considered open for business.
"JOSEPH BROBST, County Judge."
On the same day the following order, showing that even at that early day there were persons who desired to be relieved of the burdens of taxation, was made:
"R. S. Lowry produces a certificate from Dr. S. C. Conrey that said Lowry is not an able-bodied man to perform labor on the public highways; thereupon the court orders that the said Lowry shall be exempt temporarily in payment of his full tax."
The following record made December 29, 1851, shows that even in pioneer days they had the poor with them:
"John Lloyd makes application by the trustees, report from Red Rock township, Marion county, Iowa, alleging that Elizabeth Lloyd, a poor person belonging to said county, is in need of relief; the report of the township trustees to the county judge is awarded at the rate of seventy-five cents per week from the 20th day of September to the 20th day of December, 1851; amount, $9.00; the above amount is ordered paid by the county judge.'
This probably was the first instance in which the public funds were appropriated for the relief of the poor of Marion county. In those days none were rich and all being comparatively poor there was no disposition to apply for assistance.
Mention has already been made of the fact that the county supervised the several ferries in early days. The following record made in July, 1852, will afford some idea of the manner in which this was done then:
"Marion County Court, July Term, 1852:
Applications having been made by Samuel H. Wilkin and John D. Bedell and Sampson Mathews for a license to keep a ferry at Red Rock, in said county and State, and now on the first judicial day of said term come said applicants by their attorneys, and proofs and allegations of said applicants were submitted to the court, upon which the court determined to whom of said applicants license should be decreed to keep a ferry at Red Rock as aforesaid. And after hearing the evidence of said applicants adduced in support of their several applications, and hereupon the court adjourned until to-morrow morning at nine o'clock. Now, on Tuesday morning the court met pursuant to adjournment, and the said court having examined and weighed the evidence, proofs and allegations of said applicants, it is ordered, adjudged and directed by the court that license be granted to Samuel H. Wilkin to keep a ferry at Red Rock, Marion county, Iowa, with exclusive privilege for the space of one mile up the Des Moines River, and one mile down the same river, from the said town of Red Rock, for the term of three years from and after the eighth day of July, 1852."
These franchises soon became very valuable and a contest of this kind was by no means of unfrequent occurrence.
The accompanying order will show the conditions upon which the license was granted:
"At the July term of the Marion county court, 1852, it was decided by said court that Samuel H. Wilkins be permitted and licensed to keep a ferry at Red Rock, in said county, for the term of three years from and after the 8th day of July, 1852, and exclusive jurisdiction and right of ferry for one mile up and one mile down the Des Moines River from the center of the present ferry at Red Rock aforesaid, and that he receive and be permitted to take the following toll for his services; to wit.,
In July, 1852, there was a record made by the county judge of the county census as follows:
Among this number there were 33 colored persons, all in Indiana township. There were 869 aliens distributed as follows: Dallas, 26; Perry, 1; Lake Prairie, 802; Red Rock, 40. There were 1,144 voters and the militia numbered 1,095.
It has already been stated that the location of the seat of justice was fixed by the commissioners appointed for that purpose in 1845, and that shortly after the organization of the county the commissioners ordered a portion of the land, selected as the site of the county seat, platted and surveyed. At first there was a fair demand for choice lots but many of the lots belonging to the few blocks laid out were a drug on the market and it was not till September, 1852, that there was a sufficient demand for lots to warrant the surveying and platting of the rest of the town quarter. The survey of the entire town quarter was ordered on the 28th of September, 1852. The following is the order:
"This day, I, Joseph Brobst, county judge of the county of Marion, State of Iowa, do hereby appoint F. M. Frush county surveyor, to run out the balance of the town quarter into whole blocks; and the said F. M. Frush to complete the survey with Joel Stanley, E. G. Stanfield, Isaac Anderson and Luke McKern's assistance and make seven blocks which is the balance of said town quarter, numbered as follows: Numbers 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54 and 55; and that lot number 49 is set apart by Joseph Brobst for burying purposes. Also the county judge appointed appraisers to appraise the above six blocks, being sworn and appraised as follows; to-wit., lot 50, at thirty dollars; lot 51 at forty-five dollars; lot 52, at fifty-five dollars; lot 53, at fifteen dollars; lot 54 at sixty-five dollars; lot 55, at fifty dollars."
F. M. Frush and his four assistants received the sum of $8.75 for completing the survey of the town quarter, cheap work even for that day. In early times county officials appreciated the importance of churches, as will be seen from the following order, dated January 21, 1853:
"On this day a petition of E. G. Stanfield and forty others is presented praying the county judge to grant to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church two lots lying in the town of Knoxville, in this county, the same being the property of this county. After hearing said petition and
having examined the said matter and being fully advised in the premises it is,
Ordered, That said petition be granted; and it is further ordered by the county judge that the following named lots be donated to the said Methodist Episcopal Church; provided, that the said church will build a church in the said town of Knoxville; to-wit., lots 6 and 7 in block 28, in the said town of Knoxville.
JOSEPH BROBST, County Judge."
During the time that the county commissioners managed the county, from 1845 to 1851, the county was subdivided into civil townships, and when the county judge system was introduced in 1851, the county consisted of twelve civil townships as follows: Knoxville, Washington, Dallas, Indiana, Liberty, Clay, Lake Prairie, Polk, Red Rock, Union, Perry and Pleasant Grove. This arrangement of civil townships continued till early in 1853, when, by the order of the county judge, Perry township was subdivided and Swan township was organized. The following is a copy of the order:
"February 28, 1853. On this day come Eli Vanderford and thirty-eight others, and present a petition praying that Perry township in this county. be divided, and a new township to be called 'Swan' be formed from a part of said township of Perry, for the convenience of the citizens of the south side of the Des Moines River. Whereupon the court has
Ordered, That the township of Perry is hereby divided, and that a new township, hereafter be known by the name of Swan be formed from a part or portion of Perry township commencing at the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section twenty-four, in township seventy-seven, of range twenty-one, and running thence north to the Des Moines River, thence west along the meanderings of said river until it meet the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of section No. 7, in township and range aforesaid, thence running south to the southwest corner of the southwest quarter of section thirty-one, in township and range aforesaid; thence running east to the southeast corner of the southeast quarter of section thirty-six, in township and range aforesaid; thence north to the place of beginning, and that Jacob Haynes of said township of Swan, be, and is hereby directed to give notice that an election will be held at the house of Charity Groom, in the said township, on the 4th day of April 1853, for the purpose of electing officers for said township of Swan, and to do all things pertaining to said,election, according to the provisions of the law made and provided. JOSEPH BROBST, County Judge."
The next township which was formed was Summit, the order having been made March 3d, 1854, as follows:
"On this day came Jacob Pendroy and sixty-one others and presented a petition to this court, praying this court that Red Rock township, Marion county, Iowa, be divided, and that a new township, to be called 'Summit' township be formed out of a part of said township, for the convenience of the voters of said township. Upon examination of said petition, and the court being fully advised in the premises,
Ordered, That the said township of Red Rock be divided, and that a new township hereafter to be known by the name of Summit township, be formed from the east side of Red Rock township, to be bounded as follows: composed of township 77, range nineteen west. And it is further
Ordered, That John Donnel of said township be hereby directed to give notice that an election will be held on the first Monday of April, 1854, for the purpose of electing the following named township and county officers; to-wit., two justices of the peace, two constables, three township trustees, one township clerk, one township assessor, one district judge, one superintendent of public instruction and one school fund commissioner as county and State officers. Warrant issued and put into the hands of John C. Donnel. JOSEPH BROBST, County Judge."
The next change made in the subdivision of the county into civil town
ships was in February, 1855, upon the or ganization of Franklin township. The order in relation to this is dated February 28, 1855, and is as follows: "On this day comes John Miller and twenty-three others, and present a petition to the court, praying this court that Dallas township, Marion county, Iowa, be divided, and that a new township, hereafter to be known by the name of Franklin township, be formed from the northern part of said township of Dallas, and to be bounded as follows; to-wit., and composed of township No. seventy-five, range twenty-one, west. And it is
Ordered, That John Miller, of said township of Franklin, be and hereby is directed to to give notice that an election will be held at the house of John Clark, in said township of Franklin on the first Monday of April, 1855, for the purpose of electing the following named township and county officers; to-wit., two justices of the peace, two constables, three trustees, one clerk and one assessor; also, one district judge, for the Fifth judicial district, one commissioner of Des Moines River improvement, one register Des Moines River improvement and one Register of the State Land-office, as State officers. Warrant issued and put into the hands of the above named Jacob Miller.
JOSEPH BROBST, County Judge."
This was the last change made in the name and number of the townships. The boundaries of some of the townships have been slightly changed since then, but no new townships have been formed since 1855. This early crystallization of the civil town ships seems remarkable and it is unprecedented; there is most probably not another county in the State whose civil townships have undergone no change in their organization since 1855. This is one of the many evidences which may be found going to establish the fact that Marion county is one of the most conservative in the State. Conservatism may not always be for the best, it certainly is never an evidence of enterprise, but in such matters as these it is better for all persons that the county be conservative.
From assessors' returns as recorded by the county judge, July 18, 1855, it being the first assessment after the county became subdivided into townships as at present, we find that there was the followingnumber of persons in the respective townships subject to poll-tax:
In 1852 the number of polls was 1,172, an increase of 975 in three years.