Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

able terms, and the board at the June session resolved to erect the bridge forthwith. Advertisements were inserted in the county papers asking for sealed proposals and at the appointed time the contract was let to č.C. Collins for $10,259.

The location of the bridge is at Horn's Ferry, on the mainly traveled road from Knoxville to Pella. Work is now rapidly progressing on the structure and it will not be long, possibly before this book is in print, till the bridge will be completed. This enterprise, like all others of public character, has called forth much bitter criticism. That the facts relating to the letting of the contract and the character of the structure may become generally known and pass down to the future as a part of the permanent history of the county, we give the following facts:

The contract was originally let for $10,259; the contractors entered into bonds in the penal sum of $21,000, signed by C. C. Collins, A. J. Kerr, R. H. Underhill, T. S. Cathcart and N. H. Bitten bender, and duly acknowledged in presence of D. 0. Collins, notary public, for the faithful discharge of the contract.

Subsequent to letting the main contract some changes were ordered as follows: "The second pier from the south side is to be of stone instead of iron, and $2,781 is to be paid the contractor, "said suin being net sum to be paid by county for pier after deducting price of iron pier. This contract was made July 27.

August 9, another change was made, providing for six ice-breakers and also for rip-rapping to the extent of one hundred loads of loose stone at base of each pier. The compensation allowed for this extra work is $3,672.52.

A third additional contract provides for oak floor and joists instead of pine, and the “first pier from the south bank” to be of stone instead of iron. Additional cost $1,075.

These three items of additional cost amount to $7,528.52, which added to the $10,259, cost of the bridge as specified in the original contract, makes the total cost $17,787.52.

CHAPTER VII.

ADDITIONAL COUNTY AFFAIRS.

Courts, Marriage Licenses--County Finances-Political--Official Directory.

The first court was held in Marion county in March, 1846. In most counties throughout the State the first court was held the same year the county was organized. In this particular Marion county furnishes an exception to the rule, no court having been held here till the year following the organization. We might possibly account for this on the hypothesis that the people of the county were exceptionally peacable, but a better reason appears in the fact that the Second judicial district, of which Marion county originally formed a part, was so large that the judge could find no spare time to bold court here till the time mentioned. There was as yet no place at the county seat suitable for holding court, and when the court finally was held it met at Conrey's claim-pen, before mentioned as the place where the county commissioners held their first meetings. However it must not be supposed that the absence of courts during the first year of the county's history can be accounted for from the fact that there was no suitable place to hold court. Courts in those days were independent of court-houses.

[ocr errors]

There is every reason to believe that had the judge found time to visit the county in an official capacity the absence of a court-room would not have presented an insurmountable obstacle. In certain counties the first courts were held in private houses and there is at least one instance in the old Second judicial district where court was held out of doors. In the old county of Slaughter Judge Irwin tried a case under the shade of a grove of cottonwood trees, and when the evidence was all in and the judge had given his charge, the jury retired to an adjoining slongh to consider a verdict.

As before remarked the first term of court was held in Marion county in March, 1846. The following is from the record: “TERRITORY OF Iowa,

" MARION COUNTY. “At a District Court in and for the county of Marion, in the Territory of Towa, begun and holden at Knoxville in said county, on the thirtieth day of March, A. D. 1846; present the Hon. Joseph Williams, judge of the Secone judicial district in and for the said Territory, and Thomas Baker, for the United States, district attorney, and John B. Lash, for the United States, marshal of said Territory, L. W. Babbitt, clerk of the District Court, and Thomas Baker, district attorney for the Eleventh district of said Territory, and James M. Walters, sheriff in and for said county; whereupon said sheriff returned his venire for a grand jury on the part of the Territory, and the marshal aforesaid returned into court his venire for a grand jury on the part of the United States, whereupon the following persons; to-wit., John B. Hamilton, Asa Koons, Samuel Buffington, Edward Billups, J. S. West, Ose Mathews, James Chesnut, John N. Bras, Samuel H. Robb, Nelson Hill, Martin Neal, Stanford Doud, Alexander May, William Carlysle, C. Sharp, David Gushwa, Thomas Gregory, L. G. Terry, John T. Pearce, Garrett W. Clark, Christopher Cox, M. Livingston and Conrad Walters, all good and lawful men, being duly elected, impaneled, charged and sworn on the part of the United States and Territory of Iowa, retired in charge of Allen Lowe, who being duly sworn as constable in charge of said grand jury, to consider of such matters and things as may come to their knowledge and charge; and the sheriff aforesaid, return his venire for petit jury, whereupon the following persons; to-wit., Robert Hamilton, Nathan Bass, George Gillaspy, Claiborn Hall, Alfred Vertrice, John Williams, John Whitlatch, William Buffington, Mathew Ruple, Joseph Clark, Nathan Tolman, James Botkin, Moses Long, Elijah Wilcut, Reuben_S. Lowry, David Sweem, Benjamin Spillman, John Wise and Andrew Foster, all good and lawful men, appeared and answered to their names as petit jurors for said court.

“Ordered that the court now adjourn until nine o'clock to-morrow morning

“J. WILLIAMS, Judge. “Tuesday morning, nine o'clock, March 31, 1846, court met pursuant to adjournment; present saine judge. “UNITED STATES Vs:

Appeal. " HENRY HALL.

“This cause came on for trial and on motion of the defendant's attorney this cause is dismissed and the said defendant go hence without day.

1

"On motion of the district attorney it is ordered by the court that James Trillie be appointed bailiff in attendance upon the grand jury in addition to the one heretofore appointed."

"UNITED STATES

V8.

"F. M. CLIFTON.

Recognizance to keep the peace.

"This cause came on for trial, and being heard by the court, it is ordered that the defendant be discharged on payment of costs of this prosecution. It is therefore adjudged by the court that the plaintiff recover of said defendant the costs of this prosecution, taxed at seventeen dollars and fourteen and three-fourths cents, and that execution issue therefor."

"EDWARD H. THOMAS)

V8.

"THE BOARD OF COM

MISSIONERS FOR THE

COUNTY OF MAHASKA. J

Appeal.

Change of venue from Mahaska County.

"And this day the transcript and papers in this suit were filed in open

court.

"Tuesday Morning, March 31st, 1846; present, the Hon. Joseph Williams, judge, etc. And this day this cause came on to be heard, and thereupon came the plaintiff and the defendant, by its attorney, as also a jury of twelve good and lawful men of the county; to-wit., Robert Hamilton, Nathan_ Bass, Claiborn Hall, John Williams, William Buffington, Matthew Ruple, Joseph Clark, Nathan Tolman, James Botkin, Moses Long, Elijah Wilcut, John Whitlatch, who were duly sworn, weli and truly to try the issue joined between the parties.

"And the allegations, proofs and arguments of counsel being heard the said jury thereupon retired in the custody of a proper officer, duly sworn, to consider of their verdict, and afterward, on the day aforesaid, the said jury returned into court the following verdict:

"We, the jury, find for the plaintiff, and assess his damages at three hundred and twenty-five dollars."

"Whereupon, it is adjudged by the court that said plaintiff have, and recover from said defendant, his damages in this assessed at three hundred and twenty-five dollars; as also his costs by him in this behalf expended, taxed at twenty-three dollars and six cents, and that execution issue therefor."

According to the docket of this term of court the bar was represented by the following galaxy of legal luminaries: Alley, Baker, Peters, Temple, Chapman, Olney, Gray, Summers, Wright, Ross, Calkin, Stanfield and Bissell. Some names in this list have since become very familiar to the people of the whole State; at least one of the number became a member of the Supreme Court and two of them became judges of the District Court. The persons summoned as petit jurymen were as follows: Robert Hamilton, George Gillaspy, Claiborn Hall, Alfred Vertrice, John Williams, John Whitlatch, William Buffington, Matthew Ruple, Joseph Clark, Nathan Tolman, James Botkin, Moses Long, Elijah Wilcut, Reuben S. Lowry, David Sweem, Benjamin Spillman, John Wise, Andrew Foster.

During the early days when the country was half civilized and half sav

age, when but an imaginary boundary line separated the Indians from the whites, and such a wide extent of country was entirely unsettled and uninhabited, quite a number of vicious and dishonest characters infested the country. Among the number of such there was no one who gained a wider notoriety or figured more extensively in the courts of the county than Jonas Casner. His name is to be found on the first court records of the several counties in Iowa, and it seems that he figured in the first legal proceedings here, as witness the following:

[blocks in formation]

"This day comes Jonas Casner, who is sued by the name of James Casner, one of the defendants in this cause, and files his plea in abatement for misnomer, which plea is sustained by the court, and leave granted to said plaintiff to withdraw the papers in this cause, and judgment rendered against said plaintiff and in favor of said defendants for their costs in this behalf expended, taxed at eighteen dollars and forty-eight and three-fourth cents."

On one occasion, when Fort Des Moines was still a government post, Jonas was arrested by order of Captain Allen, and tried by court-martial, on charge of stealing horses of the Indians. The charge could not be satisfactorily proved, so Allen handed Casner over to the Indians with instructions to whip him and let him go. A short time after receiving this castigation Casner stole a horse from a man by the name of Fish. Fish was returning from Keokuk with a load of goods and the horse was stolen while he was encamped for the night near the Des Moines River. Upon awakening in the morning and finding that one of his horses had been stolen or had strayed, Fish proceeded to an Indian encampment near by to inquire for the missing animal. Not finding the horse Fish prevailed upon the Indians to loan him one of their horses to ride while further searching for the missing animal. After having ridden for some distance, and just as he was emerging from a thick growth of timber, Jonas Casner came riding up to him, mounted upon the very horse he was searching for. He rode up along side the unsuspecting Fish and in a second, without betraying the least excitement, drew a large knife, cut the girth of Fish's saddle, and by a quick thrust threw the rider to the ground, and grasping the rein of the horse galloped away with both horses. As soon as Fish recovered from his fright and his wits returned he began to realize his deplorable condition. He returned to the Indian encampment and the aboriginies came very near killing him for not bringing back their horse. He was a veritable fish out of water, and tradition does not state how he managed to pacify the Indians and get his goods to their destination.

There were at this, the first term of court, eight cases in all tried. They were as follows:

Wm. M. Blakenship vs. John Johnson, Thos. Johnson, Wm. McCord. Thomas Johnson vs. Wm. M. Blakenship.

Elias Fuller vs. Jonas Casner, Henry Casner.

Josiah Allison vs. Asa Hughes, Samuel V. Hughes, Joshua Lindsey.

Levi Bainbridge vs. Isaac B. Power.

John Rods vs. Isaac Power; James Caldwell.

E. H. Horras vs. Board of Commissioners of Mahaska county.
United States vs. Robert D. Russell.

The second terin of court was held in the fall of 1846, beginning on the 21st of September. It appears that the judge was not present on the first day of the term and court was adjourned until the following day when the following record was made:

"Tuesday morning, nine o'clock, September 22, 1846, the court met pursuant to adjournment; present, Hon. Joseph Williams, judge of the Second judicial district in and for said Territory, and Thomas Baker, for the United States, district attorney, and John B. Lash, for the United States, marshal of said Territory, and Thomas Baker, district attorney for the Eleventh district of said Territory, and L. W. Babbitt, clerk of the District Court, and George Gillaspy, sheriff in and for said county; whereupon said sheriff returned his venire on the part of said Territory, and the marshal aforesaid returned his venire for a grand jury on the part of the United States, whereupon the following persons; to-wit., Jonas Casner, Thomas Morgan, G. B. Greenwood, Daniel Kyger, Elias Williams, Jesse Glenn, Walker Lindsey, James Clifton, Joshua Lindsey, Eli Furman, Mordecai Yearns, William Carlysle, Joseph Tong, John Riddle, John James, Thomas Thompson, John Camplin, Stanford Doud, Green T. Clark, J. S. West and Garrett W. Clark, all good and lawful men, being duly elected, impaneled, charged and sworn on the part of the United States and Territory aforesaid, retired (in charge of James Willis, who being duly sworn as constable in charge of said grand jury) to consider of such matters and things as may come to their knowledge and charge. And the sheriff aforesaid returned his venire for a petit jury, whereupon the following persons; to-wit., Thomas Tong, John P. Glenn, William G. Hughes, James M. Brons, Hezekiah Gay, Nathan Bass, Jacob Noftsger, John Babcock, Reuben S. Lowry, Joseph Clark, John T. Pearce, John Wright, Henry Hall, Samuel Glenn, Josiah Bullington, George Wise, Francis A. Barker, Samuel Tibbott, all good and lawful men, being called, answered to their names as petit jurors for said court."

The statement that Jonas Casner's name appears with a list of names which represent all good and lawful men may sound strange after what has already been said of Jonas. The statement, "all good and lawful men," was, however, used in a technical sense, and then, as now, was not unfrequently a striking misnomer.

The liquor question has ever played a prominent part in the courts of Marion county, and at this, the second term of the District Court, there was a batch of such cases which came up for adjudication, as witness the following:

"UNITED STATES

v8.

"ROBERT D. RUSSELL.

Selling spirituous liquors without license.

"Now comes the said defendant and files his plea in abatement in this cause, and the matters and things contained in said plea being argued by council and heard by the court, said plea in abateinent is sustained by the court. It is therefore adjudged by the court that the indictment and prose

« PředchozíPokračovat »