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"JANUARY 20, 1858.
"Now, this day comes R. S. Patterson and shows that he has been appointed an agent to pursue David Stanfield, a fugitive from justice, and also produces a written opinion signed by R. P. Lowe, Governor, to the effect that the county judge of Marion county, Iowa, could with propriety advance $100 toward the expense in pursuing and apprehending said David Stanfield, under a requisition made by said Governor, and the county judge being advised in the premises, and having the utmost assurance through J. E. Neal that if the said fugitive were arrested and returned that the entire expense thereof would be audited and paid by the State of Iowa, he, J. E. Neal having been so assured by said Governor, therefore, believing that if the said David Stanfield were apprehended and returned said State of Iowa would reimburse to the said county any amount advanced in defraying the expense of his arrest, it is hereby
Ordered, That a warrant issue in favor of R. S. Patterson for $100 to be paid out of the county fund in order to enable him to pursue and arrest the fugitive aforesaid. F. M. FRUSH, County Judge."
Mr. Stanfield, it seems, returned in the meantime and the case being taken into the courts, judgment was rendered against him and his bondsmen for the full amount of the defalcation. Mr. C. G. Brobst, Stanfield's assignee, soon after turned into the treasury cash and notes to the amount of $2,206.93, leaving a balance due the county of $2,339,27.
Mr. Stanfield afterward removed to Kansas, the balance of the judg ment remaining against his bondsmen. It afterward became known that Mr. Stanfield was living at his new home in abject poverty and the belief became general that he had not profited by the missing funds; there was a reaction in his favor and petitions were circulated throughout the county and numerously signed asking the board of supervisors to release him and his bondsmen from any further liability on the judgment rendered on the bond. The petition was presented to the board of supervisors in 1867 and it appearing that the majority of the voters and tax-payers of the county had signed it, the petition was granted and the principal as well as the sureties were released from all other liability.
We now proceed to make an exhibit of the resources, expenses and taxlevies of the county for the year 1879.
For the sake of comparison we give the amount of levy in other counties, choosing such counties as are very nearly equal to Marion in wealth and population. We take Boone and Warren which have less wealth and population than Marion, and Polk whose wealth and population exceeds it:
The total tax levy in Washington county for the same year was $123,
In Keokuk county it was $141,315.06.
We see that in Warren and Boone counties, of less wealth and population, the aggregate of tax levy was less for 1870, while in Washington and Keokuk counties which have less wealth and population, the levy has been greater. We now come to Polk whose wealth and population exceeds that of Marion, and whose tax levy is enough to appall the reader to say nothing of the payer.
The current county expenses for 1879, as shown by the report of Auditor Robinson to the board of Supervisors on the 1st day of January, 1880, was as follows:
The county expenses in Warren county for the year 1879 amounted to the sum of $41,158.10; of this amount the sum of $12,390.34 was for court expenses.
The county expenses in Boone county for 1879, amounted to $46,051.28. The regular county expenses of Washington county for the year 1878, were $31,869.39.
The county expenses in Keokuk same year were $32,063.16.
The regular county expenses of Polk county for the year 1879, amounted to $76,051.28, of which amount the sum of $39,064.21 was for court expenses alone.
No better evidence of the prosperity of Polk county could be adduced than the fact that the people are able to bear the burdensome taxation to which they are subjected.
In early days the people of Marion county did not trouble themselves much about political matters. They seemed to care more about the settlement of the country and the increase of worldly goods than for office. One reason for this doubtless was that the pay was nothing extraordinary. There were doubtless many persons then, as now, who looked not lightly upon the honor and dignity of office, but then, as now, the emoluments were the mainspring of office-seeking, and with no money in the treasury the inducement was small.
The trouble in those days was to get men to take the office. Now, however, the trouble is to keep dishonest men and incompetent men out of office. For several years after the organization of the county, persons were elected to office more on account of their qualifications and popularity, than for political reasons. In those days the office emphatically sought the man, and not the man the office. We find in several instances when the opposing candidates belonged to the same party, and sometimes when the county was entitled to two Representatives to the Legislature, a division was made and a Democrat and a Whig were elected. The foregoing is true of political parties in the first settlement of all Iowa counties, and Marion was no exception to the rule, except in that party issues were raised and partizan lines were drawn earlier than in most other counties of central Iowa.
Until 1850, and even for several years afterward, Marion county was reliably Democratic, the majorities, however, were not sufficiently decisive to make a hasty nomination always equivalent to an election. Many a hard fought political battle was waged prior to 1850, and sometimes when the Whigs had a very popular candidate they elected their man. Among the veterans of those fierce campaigns some of the more prominent ones still are Democrats and their hands are yet ever ready to bear aloft the standard of the party; they are still heard from in various parts of the county; the old ship carried them into good position during the days of prosperity, and during the last twenty years of clouds and storms they have clung to the craft with a pious devotion, and now they are, as it were, standing on the foremost front of the prow, confidently and hopefully expecting the dawn of better days.
There is scarcely anything to be found in the county records from which to determine, at this late day, the exact condition of political affairs, but enough is known that in 1848 and 1849 there were heated contests, and the Democrats came off victorious.