History / Kiron, Iowa / History of Ida County.

Source: "History of Ida County." Atlas of Ida County, Iowa 1906: 75-79.

Science has dug into the rocks and delved into the earth, and buried cities have yielded up their treasures of stone and tablet and roll, all engraved with some story of the human race; but with all the advantage of this research, millions of people have inhabited the earth of whom we have scarcely any knowledge, and the facts concerning their existence will forever remain a profound mystery.

The race or races who occupied this beautiful prairie county before the advent of the whites from Europe had no literature, and therefore have left no history of themselves. Not even traditions to any extent, have been handed down to us. Hence, about all we know of the Indians, previous to the exploration by the whites, is derived from mounds and a few simple relics.

The mounds were erected by a people generally denominated Mound Builders, but whether they were a distinct race from the Indians is an unsettled question. Prof. Alex. Winchell, of the Michigan State University, as well as a number of other investigators, is of the opinion that those who built mounds, mined copper and iron, made elaborate implements of war, agricultural and domestic economy, and built houses and substantial villages, etc., were no other than the ancestors of the present Indians, who like the ancient Greeks and Romans, were more skilled in the arts of life than their successors during the middle ages. Most governments have their periods of decline, as well as those of progress. The Persians, Hindoos and Chinese although so long in existence as distinct nations, have been for ages in a state of decay. Spain and Italy do not improve, while Germany and America are the foremost nations of the world, and now have their turn in enjoying a rapid rise. Similarly, the Indians have long been on a decline in the practical arts of life. The decline of this race of "noble" red men, as described by Fenimore Cooper, seems to have begun and has been very rapid since the advent of the white races in this country, and despite their close contact with the highest order of civilization, they have become the victims of the vices and crimes as inculcated into their lives by the teachings and practices of that same civilization, until they have degenerated into savages.

The whole story of the treatment of the Indians by the whites from the time that Captain Weymouth, on an exploring tour along the coast of Main, in 1605, very treacherously kidnaped five of the natives and took them back to England, to the Spanish conquest, the Indians have been deceived, mistreated and robbed. In evidence of this statement it is only necessary for a person to read the details of the heartless expeditions conducted by DeSoto and Coronaco, into the heart of the modern Louisiana purchase.

When DeSoto, in marching westward, crossed the Mississippi river a little above Memphis, and Caciques, or chiefs of the various tribes, tendered him their homage, villages, provisions, women--shared with his soldiers everything they possessed, nay, denied themselves that the strangers might be comfortable. The bloody past of the Spaniards east of the "great river" was unknown to the natives, and so the greetings came from the heart. But the Spaniards at once began to impoverish the country, desecrate the native temples, scorn the simple, yet sincere, religious ceremonials, debase the native women, make slaves of the people; though even yet, so highly were the strangers regarded, they were offered obedience and subjection. The nobility of the Caciques shown in all their doings, glittered in sparkling contrast to the diabolical designs of the bloodthirsty Spaniards.

The narrative shows that in every instance the savages were the more civilized and the civilized the more savage. The noble dignity and splendid hospitality of Casquin and Capaba were the wonderment of the braze and treacherous representatives of His Most Catholic Majesty, the King of Spain. Five hundred hungry and unscrupulous men, several hundred head of horses, as many swine (all swine, in fact) and several hundred camp followers, unfortunate natives impressed at the point of the sword to do menial duty in the Spanish camp--all quartered for months upon a tribe, meant the debasement of the people, the consumption of their stores of provisions, the appropriation of their supplies of clothing, furs, etc., and the exhaustion of their reserves of patience and forbearance.

From the moment the army of DeSoto crossed the Mississippi until his whipped and slinking survivors hurriedly reached the mouth of that river in their flight to Mexico, it is probable that not one of the participants gave a solitary glance at that object of the expedition which provided for the establishment of a permanent colony. Comprising as it did the proudest cavalier blood in all Spain, the army gave to colonization not the glimmer of a thought. They were in pursuit of riches and fame--and they received both with a vengeance. Their corpses made just as good compost as those of the humblest plebeians; better, if as claimed their blood was richer. Perhaps the instructions from the Spanish crown to colonize were merely meant to conceal the design of conquest and murder. The conquest of Mexico and Peru had turned every brain to fire and every heart to stone. The ring of gold was the slogan that swept through the Moresque corridors of Spain, and by that heartless and bloody battle-call she lost the fairest land the sun ever kissed with fragrance and loveliness.

In the province of Guachoya, near the mouth of Red river, DeSoto died. He had left a trail of desolation, cruelty, wickedness and murder, which no pen nor prayers of the the present day can wipe out. His successor, Moscoso, encountered the same friendship and submission from the tribes he visited. Kind words and simple gifts brought guides, servants and provisions; swords and bullets brought war clubs, poisoned arose and a bravery, even from the women, that challenged the unfeigned admiration of the iron cavaliers and knights. Was there ever better ground for the seeds of Christianity? If there was merit in the Cross carried by the Spanish priests, here was the opportunity for its glorious exemplifications upon this sin-sick earth. But the Cross was in ignorant and unclean hands; the simple beauty of the Nazarene's teachings never glorified the footsteps of DeSoto's army. The beatitudes were forgotten by the grandees who were on fire with the searing flames of fame and gold. The sincere religious observances of the natives, that recognized a Supreme Being, were unfeelingly spurned by the priests instead of adroitly tornado in the path of Christ. While the priests were chanting unmeaning mass to the bewildered natives, the troopers were cutting throats in the adjacent thickets. The butcheries of the soldiers were a poor fulfillment of the boundless promises of the priests. The untutored mind of the savage unbecomingly associated the atrocity with the religion, hence the priests made no proselytes in the Louisiana purchase. The savage preferred the religion of the worshiping winds and the emerald plains spread out forever.

If the expedition of DeSoto was valueless to Spain, that of Coronado was both valueless and villainous. The avowed object of the expedition of Coronado was the conquest and subjugation of the famous "Sevent Cities of Cibola," in order that the reputed golden stream might be turned into the exhausted coffers of the rotting Spanish crown. The golden promises prompted the ready acquiescence of Church and State (the two being united) in the nefarious expedition. Again, as in the case of DeSoto's army, the forces of Coronado were composed of court favorites, ambitious sons of the grandces, high born yet unprincipled adventurers, self-constituted Mexican exquisites, who had sprung up like mushrooms from the ashes of the Aztec and Peruvian ruins and from the dried blood of innumerable and unforgivable murders. The purpose of the expedition was mostly murder, and the priests were taken along to grant absolution to the butchered natives. Perhaps also the confessional might be prostituted to compel the expiring savages to reveal the hiding places of their gold and precious stones. One unfortunate chief was kept in irons for many months because he would not reveal the supposed concealment of alleged golden bracelets. The candor of Texas Querechos in exhibiting their stock of valuable robes, their only wealth, was met by the heartless appropriation of them all. Everywhere the Indians were compelled to support the army. If a contribution was not forthcoming, a sword thrust succeeded the delay or omission, and the priests were hurriedly called to dangle the Cross before the fading eyes of the expiring wretches. If there was ever a hell upon earth, it followed the swish of the swords of Coronado's army. If ever civilized man should burn with shame, he should do so at the mention of the name of Coronado.

The Spanish story from beginning to end is one of heartless cruelty, unmitigated avarice and distressing and unprovoked murder. The chanting of the priests and the gleaming of the Cross were the letters of marque from Beelzebub to despoil the savages and cut their bronzed throats. The open boast of conquest was the last jarring blast from the dark ages--rendered doubly dark and terrible by the perversion of Christianity and the substitution therefor of the hideous interpretation of the cowled and mistaken priests. Every attempt of the Spaniards to penetrate the interior of the American continent was unworthy of the name of civilized man. But what could be expected of a civilization that had been nurtured by the thumbscrew of the Inquisition and the sword of the bloodthirsty cavalier? An order of human affairs that crushed learning and enlightenment; that lent dignity, nobility and glory to conquest; that blessed servility and crowned hypocrisy; that fostered cant and idealized insolence; that degraded labor and transformed the laborer into an ox; that murdered for gold or power without compunction or remorse; that surrendered the fairest land God ever smiled upon because it could not glorify with gold and fame the ambitious nobles and grandees--was not the order that could build up among the masses and teeming empire and myriads of happy homes. No wonder such a nation died in the blaze of modern sunlight. No wonder the gilt of the cavalier looked poor and pale when compared with the gleaming glow of the hardy and honest colonist. But in her ignorance and barbarism Spain made the sacrifice. She had met the splendid provision to claim and possess the land now peopled with millions and golden with the triumphs of man and the glories of God. Her wretched civilization failed to comprehend the wonderful wealth of the sun, the rain, the soil, the forests with their whispering lullabies, and the streams with their melodious laughter. So she surrendered without regret a realm bursting with the blossoms of beauty, an empire of possibilities which the kind years through the grace of God have transformed into castellated homes more substantial than dreams of gold.

For the Indian it has been an unequaled struggle, this battle with the tireless and ever-increasing forces of civilization which have forced him from the scene of his happy hunting grounds and from this beautiful country forever, until step by step he has journeyed toward the setting sun, the remnant of his tribe, the last of the mighty race.

Let civilization today carve from the purest and whitest Cararra stone the heroic form of a savage after the noblest type of Cooper, and place him in the Temple of Fame. Clothe him in his robes and furs, arm him with bow, arrows and war club, crown on his corrugated brow the sunlight of dawning civilization and nobility, and cut deep at the base his beautiful greeting to the whites: "The sun was never so bright, the winds were never so kind, the fields were never so green, the streams never laughed so merrily, as on the day that saw thy coming, O, white man."

Nearly all modern authorities unite in the opinion that the American continent was first peopled from Eastern Asia, either by immigration across Behring's Strait or by shipwrecks of sailors from the Kamchatkan and Japanese coast. If mankind originated at the North Pole, and subsequently occupied an Atlantic continent, now submerged, it is possible that the American Indians are relics of polar or Atlantic races.

The ancient race which built the towns and cities of Mexico and the Western United States is called the Aztec, and even of them is scarcely anything known save what can be learned from their buried structures. The few inscriptions that are found seem to be meaningless.

Indian mounds are found through the United States east of the Rocky mountains, but are far more abundant in some places than others. In this State they abound near the principal rivers. They vary in size from a few to hundreds of feet in diameter, and from three to fifteen feet or more in height.

They are generally round, or nearly so, but in a few notable exceptions they bear a rude resemblance in their outline to the figure of some animal. Their contents are limited, both in quantity and variety, and consist mainly of human bones, stone implements, tobacco pipes, beads, etc. The stone implements are axes, skinning knives, pestles and mortars, arrow points, etc. The human bones are often found in a mass as if a number of corpses had been buried together, and indicate that their possessors were buried in a sitting posture. Judge Samuel Murdock, of Elkader, this State, who has made this subject a special study for many years, is of the opinion that these remains are not of subjects were inhumed as corpses, but of persons who, under the influence of savage religion voluntarily sacrificed themselves by undergoing a burial when alive.

In the process of evolution which was characterized the wonderful growth and development of the Western World, Iowa was first a part of a French province, then a part of the celebrated Louisiana purchase; then a part of Wisconsin Territory. It was organized as a Territory of Iowa, July 4, 1838, and its knock at the door of Statehood was answered eight years later, on December 28, 1846. The eastern portion, was first opened to settlement, was known for some time as the Black Hawk purchase--presumably from the fact of Indian title having been purchased from the celebrated chief of that name. The western portion, purchased at a subsequent date, was known to the emigrants as the "New Purchase." As admitted into the Union, the State comprised a little over 55,000 square miles; or in round numbers 35,229,000 acres. It is an elevated table land lying between those two great rivers, the Mississippi and the Missouri, which form its eastern and western boundaries, respectively. Away to the north of it the gently rolling prairies of Minnesota wear their golden grains, and on the south, fair Missouri sleeps 'neath the summer sun.

The transformation, growth and development of this part of Iowa was the product of the Omnipotent. But yesterday an unbounded wilderness--a vast unknown expanse--the abode of savagery--the playground of the bison--the happy hunting grounds of the nomads of the plains who reigned in peace serene. In one brief generation we have looked with amazement at the flight of vast herds of wild game and the advancing caravans of immigrants, saw the locomotive climb chamois-like over cliffs and the very crest of the Rocky mountins; saw a web of steel spread over the wilderness by the great spiders of commerce; the tepees of the Indians swept away to make room for the factory, church and the schoolhouse, and the trail of the '49-ers marked by the decaying bones of both man and beast. Amid the roar of the mill wheel, the din of the factory whistles and the clatter of wheels of trade, the people of the East have swept with their telescopes the far West for the glitter of gold and the broad domain of the Western States for the fruits of agriculture alone, and this County of Ida--in this State of golden groups of grain and great herds of cattle, has caught the eye of the East, and the query comes, What wonders have Nature's storehouse given to enrich? Turn the leaves of time backward but the part of a century and the reader would observe a landscape of great beauty, selected and governed by the red men as a vast camping ground. These rolling hills and broad level fields presented a far different appearance than they do now. Where the Indian's camping ground stood we see beautiful homes, churches, commercial facilities and educational advantages.


The climate is all that could be desired. The peculiar dryness of the air makes this section of Iowa one of the healthiest localities to be found in the United States. Spring and fall are mild and pleasant. Changes in temperature are not so sudden as is the case in the East. The summers are warm but not sultry, as there is generally a light breeze.

Early History

In writing the early history of Ida County it is, of course, similar to the general history of the western part of the State at that time. There were same hardships and privations and at the same time the joys of hospitality that was always enjoyed by the early settlers, the kind that was genuine and open. The traveler always found a welcome at the pioneer's cabin. It was never full. Although there might be a guest for every puncheon, there was always still "room for one more," and a wider circle would be made for the newcomer at the big fire. To his neighbors the pioneer was equally liberal. If a deer was killed, the choicest meats were sent to his neighbor, though half a dozen miles away perhaps.

The log cabins of the early pioneer were built of logs cut about 16 feet in length and about even size, then hauled to the building place. Then the neighbors would gather for a "house-raising." as it was called. Four good choppers with heavy axes would each take a corner, where a log was rolled up, cut out a notch to fit the "saddle" previously [end of page1] cut, then two men would fit the saddle and notch together, continuing this until the walls were high enough; then put the next log in three feet, then another end log each running in three feet until the ends were topped off; this left it ready to cover with clapboards, which were four feet long, and made by cutting down a long, straight-grained tree, sawing in four-foot lengths These logs were then split into "bolts," the heart taken out and with a "flow" and mallet made into boards, half an inch in thickness and 10 inches wide. Those were laid on the cross logs already described, breaking joints until a corner was laid, and over this a small log or pole to hold the boards firmly down, continuing this until the roof was completed. These roofs were fairly good for turning the rain, but many a time when sleeping in the loft, as the upper floor was called, the "boys" would feel the snow blowing between the board of the roof; however, they would cover up their heads and sleep soundly to find in the morning that their beds were covered with snow. Talk of hardship, it was nothing of the kind, and was considered real fun by the youngsters, and they were a much healthier and robust lot than those who today are coddled and reared in steam-heated houses.

The stairs were pins driven into the logs and were ascended through a hole cut in the floor. The door was made of clapboards fastened to a frame with wooden pins. The hinges were made of wood, the latch and the fixtures of wood, a strong buckskin string was fastened to the latch, then passed up through a hole in the door; to open was simply to pull the string, and to fasten the door to pull in the string, which was seldom done; hence the saying, "The latchstring is always out for you" There was always genuine hospitality in those good old days.

The chimney to the Western pioneer's cabin was made by leaving in the original building a large open place in one wall, or by cutting one after the structure was up, and by building on the outside, from the ground up, a stone column or a column of sticks and mud, the sticks being laid up cobhouse fashion. The fireplace thus made was often large enough to receive firewood six to eight feet long. Sometimes this wood, especially the "backlog," would be nearly as large as a saw log. For a window, a piece about two feet long was cut out of one of the wall logs, and the hole closed, sometimes by glass but generally with greased paper. Even greased deerhide was sometimes used. A doorway was cut through one of the walls if a saw was to be had; otherwise the door would be left by shortened logs in the original building. In the interior over the fireplace would be a shelf called "the mantel," on which stood a candlestick or lamp, some table and cooking ware, possibly an old clock, and other articles; in the fireplace would be the crane, sometimes of iron, sometimes of wood: on it the pots were hung for cooking: over the door, in forked cleats, hung the ever-trustful rifle and powder-horn; in one corner stood the larger bed for the "old folks," and under it the trundle-bed for the children; in another stood the old-fashioned spinning-wheel, with a smaller one by its side; in another the heavy table, in the remaining was a rude cupboard holding the tableware, which consisted of a few cups and saucers, and blue edged plates, standing singly on their edges against the back, to make the display of table-furniture more conspicuous; while around the room were scattered a few splint-bottomed chairs, and two or three stools.

The simple cabins were inhabited by a kind and true hearted people. They were strangers to mock modesty, and the traveler seeking lodging for the night, or desirous of spending a few days in the community, who was willing to accept the rude offering, was always welcome, although how they were disposed of at night the reader might not easily imagine; for as described, a single room was made to answer for kitchen, lining room, sitting room, bedroom and parlor, and many families consisted of six or eight members.

The bed was often made by fixing a post in the floor about six feet from one wall and four feet from the adjoining wall, and fastening a stick to this post about two feet from the floor, on each of two sides, so that the other end of each of the two sticks could be fastened to the opposite wall; clapboards were laid across these, and thus the bed was made complete. Guests were given this bed, while the family disposed of themselves in another corner of the room or in the loft. When several guests were on hand at once they were sometimes kept over night in the following manner: When bedtime came the men were requested to step out of doors while the women spread out a broad bed upon the mid floor, and put themselves into bed in the center, then signal was given and the men came in and each husband took his place in bed next his own wife, and single men outside beyond them. They were generally so crowded that they had to lie "spoon" fashion, and whenever anyone wished to turn over he would say "spoon," and the whole company of sleepers would turn over at once. This was the only way they could all keep in bed.

To witness the various processes of cooking in those days would alike surprise and amuse those who have grown up since cooking stoves and ranges came into use. Kettles were hung over the fire, suspended with pot hooks, iron or wooden, on the crane, or on poles one end of which would rest upon a chain. The long handled frying pan was used for cooking meat. It was either held over the blaze by hand or set down upon the coals drawn out upon the hearth. The pan was also used for baking pancakes, flapjacks, also better cakes etc. A better article for this, however, was the cast iron spider or skillet. The best thing for baking bread in those days, and possibly even in these latter days, was the flat bottomed bake kettle, of greater depth, with closely fitting cast-iron cover, and commonly known as the Dutch oven, With coals over and under it, bread and biscuits would be quickly and nicely baked. Turkey and spare-ribs were sometimes roasted before the fire, suspended by a string, a dish being placed underneath to catch the drippings.

Hominy and samp were very much used. The hominy, however, was generally hulled corn--boiled corn from which the hull or bran had been removed by hot lye, hence sometimes called lye hominy. True hominy and samp were made from pounded corm. A peculiar method of making this as well as real meal for bread, was to cut out or burn a large hole in the top of a large stump in the shape of a mortar, and pounding the corn in this by a maul or bectle suspended by a swing pole like a well sweep. When the samp was sufficiently pounded it was taken out, the bran floated off, and the delicious grain boiled like rice.

The chief articles of diet in those early days were cornbread, hominy or samp, venison, pork, honey, pumpkin (dried pumpkin for more than half the year), turkey, prairie chicken, squirrel and some other game, with a few additional vegetables a portion of the year. Wheat bread, tea, coffee and fruites were luxuries not to be indulged in except on special occasions.

Besides cooking in the manner described, the women had many other arduous duties to perform, one of the chief of which was spinning. The big wheel was used for spinning yarn and the little wheel for flax. These stringed instruments furnished the principal music for the family, and were operated by our mothers and grandmothers with great skill, attained without pecuniary expense, and with far less practice than is necessary for the girls of our period to acquire a skillful use of costly and elegant instruments. But those wheels, indispensable a few years ago, are now all suspended by the mighty factories which overspread the country, furnishing cloth of all kinds at an expense many times less than would be incurred at that time.

Prairie Fires

One of the risks to home and property, encountered by the early settlers was the prairie fire. These fires originated in many different ways; sometimes they were set out by Indians or settlers purposely and sometimes permitted through carelessness; sometimes a careless rider over the vast prairie after lighting his pipe would toss the burning match amid the tall grasses at his side, at first a spark, a tiny blaze, then a flame leaped upward, was caught by the wind and with the speed of a race horse the northland was on fire. These fires would occur every autumn and settlers could not always succeed in defending themselves against the destroying element. Often a fire was started to bewilder game, or to bare a piece of the ground for the early grazing of stock the ensuing spring, and it would get away under a wind and soon be beyond control. Violent winds would often arise and drive the flames with such rapidity that riders on the fleetest steeds could scarcely escape. On the approach of a prairie fire the farmer would immediately set about "cutting off" supplies for the devouring enemy by a "back fire." Thus by starting a small fire near the bare ground and letting it burn back against the wind he could keep it under control and thus burn off a strip around him which would prevent the attach of the oncoming flames. A few furrows or a ditch around the farm were in some degree a protection.

An original prairie of tall and exuberant grass on fire, especially at night, was a magnificent spectacle, enjoyed only by the pioneer. To a person who has ever witnessed a prairie fire at night, though it may have been long years ago and in his boyhood days, the impressions made upon his memory of that event can never be affaced or forgotten.

Sometimes these fires would start hundreds of miles distant in the northland and the first sign of them would be a red, livid sky at night away to the north and the old settlers would know that a fire, though far away, was coming upon them. The next day perhaps it would be "smoky" and the next night the whole northern sky would be all aglow with a fierce and lurid light and finally when the roaring, leaping flames came in view a great line of fire extended along the horizon, and great torrents of flame curled and leaped along in resistless splendor, while dark clouds of crimson smoke swept over the sky until moon and stars were almost obscured. Then the rushing, crashing sounds, like roaring cataracts mingled with thunder, were almost deafening, while danger and death glared around and screamed for victims.

Too much credit cannot be given to the "old settlers," the brave men and women who experienced the privations and trials of pioneer life and of making a home on the wild and wind-swept prairies of the West. There were many long days of sadness and distress. The endearments of home in another land had been broken up; and all that was hallowed on earth, the home of childhood, and the scenes of youth, were severed.

Many of the settlers had nothing to begin with, save the hands, health and courage and their family jewels, "the pledges of love," and the "consumers of bread." It was not easy to accumulate money in the early days of the State, and the "beautiful prairies," the "noble streams," and all the romance and poetic imagery did not prevent the early settlers from becoming discouraged.

To offset all the discouragements, however, was the open hospitality, social equality and freedom of spirit that was found nowhere else and among the few that now remain, who lived in the days of the old regime, they sometimes sigh for the old times once more.

The following poem was written by marie Louise Follett, of LeClaire, Iowa, and used as a recitation at the pioneer settlers' annual meeting at the Scott County Fair Grounds, 1893:

The old times are left far behind us, 
The old times so jolly and free;
Only memories bright now remind us,
How merry in old times were we.
	Bring back; bring back the old times to me.

We had house-raisings, choppings and huskings,
And quiltings and wool-pickings, too;
Only think of the dance in the evenings;
Was there ever such pleasure in view?
	Bring back; bring back the pleasure to me.

Quail pie and corn-pone in the oven,
Prairie chickens, a dish for a king.
Venison, turkeys and squirrels at 'even,
With pride would our hunters home bring.
	Bring back; bring back the wild game to me.

Potatoes that caused us to wonder;
Colors, purple and pink, blue and white;
Prairie flowers that grew the ground under,
When cooked they were mealy and light.
	Bring back; bring back the "taters" to me.

And such smearease and greens in the spring-time,
And butter so golden and sweet;
All sorts of wild fruits in the summer;
In old times we had dainties to eat.
	Bring back; bring back the dainties to me.

Flowers, purple and yellow and crimson,
White daisies and star blossoms blue;
Sure a rainbow had painted the prairie,
So varied and brilliant in hue.
	Bring back; bring back the wild flowers to me.

We had preaching sometimes at the schoolhouse
God's spirit shown down from above;
And the singing school all through the winter,
We learned music and lessons in love.
	Bring back; bring back the lessons to me.

All hail; and farewell to the old time;
We'll cherish the years that remain;
As each autumn returns in her beauty,
Please heaven we'll all meet again,
	Meet again, greet again; in heaven we'll all meet again.

Ida is in the fourth tier of counties from the northern boundary of the State and is the second east from the Missouri river. It is composed of twelve townships, containing 432 square miles, or 276,480 acres. It is bounded on the north by Cherokee County, on the west by Woodbury, on the south by Crawford, and on the east by Sac.

The county is mainly watered by Maple river, which flows southeasterly from the north boundary to a point about in the center of the county, and thence southwesterly, taking its exit in the southwest corner. It receives several small affluents within the borders of the county, the largest of which are Battle, Odebolt and Elk creeks. The former drains a small area to the north and west of the Maple, and the two latter a more considerable tract to the eastward. Soldier river rises in the southwestern portion of the county, gathering its waters through innumerable "draws" and leaving the county before it has gained the dimensions of a good-sized brook. In the extreme northwest the Little Sioux and two or three small tributaries collect the drainage of the greater portion of two or three townships in that quarter. Besides those enumerated, there are many small watercourses, and innumerable lateral ravines intersect the uplands in every direction, completing one of the most remarkable and effective systems of surface drainage.

The county lies just within the Missouri drainage. Its surface is more or less rolling and in some places the land is indeed quite broken, rising into eminences of considerable elevation. But in general the uplands are not so rolling and are everything desired for agricultural purposes.

The valleys are deeply cut into the superficial deposits in which their beds wholly rest. That of the Maple is one of the finest in the West. The stream winds through a level bottom land, the average width of which is about half a mile; it is bordered by deep banks ten to fifteen feet high, and its rapid fall affords very good water power. In places the bed of the river is composed of gravel, but for the greater part of its course in the county it flows over a bed of mud and quicksand.

The bordering upland declivities gain the bottoms by graceful slopes broken here and there by more abrupt descents, and now and then opening into equally beautiful valleys, which border the lower courses of many of the tributaries. These little valleys are often flanked by moderately elevated benches, which constitute an interesting feature in the scenery of this beautiful region. At the conflux of the Odebolt, one of these terrace-like formations crowds out into the valley, of which it commands a charming view, looking both up and down its course.

In the vicinity of Ida Grove, near the center of the county, the bottoms lie at about 200 feet below the general upland level. To the eastward, in the divide between the Odebolt and Elk creeks, there are isolated ridges which rise to a still greater height and probably attain an elevation of 1,500 feet or more, being of even greater altitude than the watershed divide in Sac County, twelve or fifteen miles east.

The scarcity of timber had much to do in retarding settlement in the early days, but it was by no means the chief obstacle that operated against its earlier development.

On the completion of the east and west railroads through this section of the State large tracts of the best lands in the county were thrown into market at reasonable prices by the railroad corporations, so that the general settlement of the county dates back to about that time.

The soil through the county is mainly of Bluff origin. It consists of a buff-colored, exceedingly finely comminuted silicious earth, with an admixture in favorable situations, as in the drainage depressions, and in the valleys, of the humus, which gives it its dark color, the same as in the loamy soils of eastern Iowa. Upon the higher points the soil contains comparatively little humus, for the reason that it is swept down by the rains as fast as it is accumulated by the decay of the herbage and deposited in the beds of the ravines and in the valley bottoms, where is often formed a deposit of rich black earth, several feet in thickness. In the sides of the deep valleys there are gravelly plots, though of small extent. The soil in the bottoms consists of a dark mould, the sand being coarser than that in the upland soil, and probably was derived largely from the Drift Deposits, although it is mixed with the washings from the hillsides to a very considerable extent, besides the sediments deposited by the floods upon the lower bottoms contiguous to the streams. There is not an acre of bottom land in the county, neither is there any portion of its surface, but that may be made available for agricultural purposes in one way or another. The uplands yield a thick growth of short herbage and in the valley of the Maple the finest meadow lands occur, giving enormous crops of hay.

Upon one of the high ridges in the vicinity of Ida Grove, an extensive Indian encampment was for a long time pointed out by the abundant remains of the carcasses of the buffalo, elk, deer and other game which thickly covered the surface or lay half-buried in the soil over an area of many acres. From this spot a magnificent view of the surrounding country can be obtained, taking in miles of the rich and beautiful valley at a glance.

The course of the deeply-worn trail, known as the "War Path," is said to be still visible in some places and which at one time was the great highway communicating with the extreme southeast and northwest portions of territory now embraced in the State of Iowa.

As an agricultural and stock-raising section, Ida County is unsurpassed by any region of the same extent in the State.

The first authentic account of the early settlement of Ida County was that, in 1854 Robert Townsley and Edward Smith built a cabin and raised a small crop of sod corn. During the same summer Samuel King settled about a mile further down the valley and broke up a small farm. These, however, proved to be but transient settlers. The first permanent settlement of whites in Ida County was made in Ida Grove, on Maple river, in 1856. The settlers were E. Comstock, from Michigan, and Judge John H. Moorehead, descendants of whom still reside at Ida [end of page 2] Grove.

The county was organized in 1858. The first election was held at Ida Grove in August of that year, when the following officers were elected: John H. Moorehead, County Judge; J. S. Loveland, Treasurer and Recorder, and B. Warren, Clerk of the District Court.

At this time the population of the county was only about forty persons. The county was originally divided into four townships, vix.: Douglass, Silver Creek, Corwin and Maple. On June 6, 1876, Battle was detached from Douglass and Blaine from Corwin. On June 27, 1877, Griggs was detached from Douglass, and Galva and Logan from Silver Creek, and Hayes from Corwin. On June 25, 1878, Grant was detached from Maple, and on January 4, 1881, Garfield was detached from Maple.

The county seat of Ida County was, previous to the arrival of the railroad in the fall of 1877, situated on the north side of the Odebolt river. After the appearance of the railroad at this place, a new town sprang up on the south side of the river, which was christened Ida Grove, afterward made the county seat.

The following is a copy of a report made by the Commissioners after locating the county seat of Ida County:

In accordance with the directions of His Honor, A. W. Hubbard, as given by a commission, 
dated October 15, 1860, we, T. J. Stone, Richard Stebbins and E. Criss, have this day 
located the county seat on the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 15, Township 
87, Range 40, 5 P. M.

	Ida, December 17, 1860

			Richard Stebbins,
			E. Criss,
			T. J. Stone.

The first postoffice established, and the only one in the county for many years, was located at Ida, at Judge Moorehead's house, which was also used for courthouse and hotel.

The first regular meeting of the board of supervisors was January 1, 1866. There were present J. H. Moorehead, A. J. Teal, M. G. Aldrich.

The first courthouse of Ida County was built in the town of Ida in 1871, and was nearly completed before another building was begun on the town site.

January 12, 1877, the courthouse was burned, together with most of the contents, including the court records, etc., and for three years afterward, the county offices were kept in small buildings rented by the county.

During the latter part of the year 1879 the second courthouse was built on a contract by which the county had the privilege of renting or buying at certain figures. The Clerk removed to the new buildings in December, 1879, and the other offices followed in June.

The county purchased the building in 1880.

The Press

The ida County Pioneer was the first paper published in Ida Grove. During the winter of 1872 Robert Wilkinson, Frank Burns, C. P. Lund, C. C. Brown, George E. Johnson, H. H. Campbell, W. J. Wagoner, W. P. Evans, W. Wilkinson, C. Hathway, Isaac Bunn and E. B. West formed themselves into a stock company for the purpose of purchasing material and publishing a newspaper at Ida Grove. The necessary funds were raised and W. P. Evans took charge of the publishing. The first number then was called the Ida County Pioneer, and the first issue was on Thursday, March 3, 1872, from the upper story of the courthouse. The paper was a six-column folio, Republican in politics and commenced with a circulation of 150. It was printed in long primer type upon an old poster press, known among older Iowa journalists as "Old Muley," the press upon which J. N. Dixon, the "blind editor," published his first paper, the Indianola Journal. It has also done service in the early days of DesMoines journalism on the Iowa Statesman and State Register. Immediately after the first sheet of the Pioneer was printed, it was taken by E. B. West, the County Auditor, downstairs and presented to the Board of Supervisors, who were then in session, and was made by them the official organ of the county. Within two or three months after the first issue of the paper, W. P. Evans purchased the shares from the stockholders and became sole proprietor. On the 27th day of August, 1874, Evans sold the Pioneer to C. B. Chaffee and George T. Williams, who enlarged the paper to a seven column folio. In the spring of 1876 Chaffee & Williams sold an "Amateur" press and purchased a large stock of job type and a new quarto-medium "Star" jobber and in 1877 purchased a new Washington press. April 4, 1878, the Pioneer was enlarged to an eight-column folio. In the spring of 1881 Chaffee & Williams sold the Pioneer to Theron Aken, who suppressed the paper.

About April 1, 1881, W. P. Evans reestablished the Pioneer, purchasing a large office with four presses. Later, George T. Williams, who for almost twenty years was one of the best-known and successful newspaper men in the State, became proprietor. Mr. Williams sold the paper in 1887 to a stock company and Charles S. Macomber, a prominent attorney, was its editor for a year. Scanlan & Chapin then bought the paper and ran it for about a year, after which George S. Witters bought it. Witters ran it a short time and sold out to John Watts, who in turn sold to G. E. Bishop. Bishop really represented George T. Williams, and in 1893 Williams bought the plant back and ran it until his death in March, 1902. Mrs. Williams ran the paper for about six months and then sold out to Frank P. Clarkson, a member of the Clarkson family that for years owned and conducted the Iowa State Register at Des Moines. Mr. Clarkson took possession of the Pioneer on March 1, 1903.

The Maple Valley Era was started by L. Stanfield and C. N. Clark, August 22, 1877. The paper was started as a five-column quarto, but October 18, 1877, it was enlarged to an eight-column folio. March 22, 1879, L. Stanfield sold his interest to the junior partner, C. N. Clark, who changed the day of publication from Wednesday to Friday. Mr. Clark then added to the office a quarto medium Gordon jobber and a new invoice of type. In March, 1880, the paper was again enlarged, this time to a nine-column folio. July 1 the publisher purchased a new power press and enlarged the paper to a seven-column quarto. L. T. Chapin purchased a one-half interest in the Era January 1, 1882.

In 1883 Mr. Clark sold his interest to Will Finch and about five years later Mr. Finch sold to Bateman and Clark, who sold to L. H. Bock, who in turn sold to Brown Brothers. In March, 1904, the Bateman Brothers sold their entire interest to Harry Hazlett, the present editor and proprietor.

The business of Ida Grove may be classified as follows: General stores, 3; boots and shoes, 1; hotels, 1; bakeries, 3; hardware, 3; agricultural implements, 2; grain warehouses, 3; livery barns, 4; land offices, 2; private bank, 1; dentists, 2; photographers, 2; harness shops, 4; insurance agencies, 12; express offices, 1; groceries, 3; saloons, 3; clothing, 2; restaurants, 6; cigar factory and store, 1; barbers, 3; drug stores, 3; lumber yards, 3; blacksmiths, 2; real estate, 2; banks, 3; millinery stores, 2; factories, 3; flouring mills, 2; newspapers, 2; meat markets, 2; wagon shop, 1; merchant tailor, 1; furniture stores, 3; racket store, 1; jewelry, 3; dry goods, 1; abstract offices, 3; carpenters and builders, 5; plumbers, 2; transfer and express, 8; coal dealers, 3; loan agencies, 2; printing offices, 3; attorneys, 6; physicians, 8.

The Early History of Ida County, by Dr. Giles C. Moorehead

Ebenezer Comstock and family came to Ida county in the year 1856. They were the first permanent settlers in the county, and moved here from Lake City, Iowa. Mr. Comstock brought with him $3,000 in gold, and bought the farm now owned by Frank Hadlock, four miles down the river. Mr. Comstock was preceded by the families of Townsend and Ed Smith. Townsend was a trapper, and built a shack in the grove. Ed Smith, who is a cousin of Miss Nettie Eels, of this city, built a log cabin where Mr. Henry Dickson now lives. He was a typical frontiersman, could talk the Indian language, but remained here only a short time, moving to Woodbury County, where he founded the village of Smithland.

June 16, 1856, John H. Moorehead and family arrived and from then on for many years the history of Ida centers around their home. They came with a three-seated carriage drawn by horses and two wagons drawn each by two yoke of oxen. With the family came Mrs. Mary A. Good, Mrs. Moorehead's mother; a girl, Mary Mercer, better known as Mary Bohemia, from her nationality, and three workmen.

As this small caravan came over the hills and down into the valley they beheld a scene of unusual beauty. It was one of those delightful June evenings, the unending mantle of green grass was broken only by the Smith cabin and this having a dirt roof planted to bright flowers, was scarcely noticeable but for the white wood smoke that curled from the stick chimney and carried the odor of cooking to the new arrivals. As they approached the river and the sun sank behind the grove, a drove of deer assembled on the crest of the hills and stamped their feet impatiently at the invaders.

Great maple trees skirted the river and from their branches innumerable and vari-colored birds, half tame, filled the air with their chirps. Wild ducks and geese lazily swam in the river, the water of which was so clear that schools of fish could be seen on the hard, clean sandy bottom.

The family occupied the Townsend shack which was built at the foot of the hills where the timber creek flows into the Maple--a more comfortable log house was then built where the Moorehead house now stands, and Mrs. Moorehead, who was from Virginia, gave to the new home the name of Ida Grove. During this summer a girl baby was born to Mr. and Mrs. Smith and they named her Ida. She was the first white child born in the county. Giles C. Moorehead was born on November 2 of the same year and was the first white boy born in the county.

The winter of '56 and '57 was the coldest ever known in Iowa. The snow was so deep that travel was suspended.

A Dr. Benine and wife, who had been traveling for his health, attempted to get cast from Sioux City, but finding the snow too deep for the buggy, they abandoned the conveyance and rode horseback to the Moorehead home, which now was known as Ida Grove, and here put up for the winter. Mr. Moorehead had sent two ox-teams to Council Bluffs for provisions, but owing to the early snow their return had been delayed. Finally the men returned on snow shoes and stated that they had gotten the wagons to a point near where Schleswig is now located. All hands turned out to bring in the much-needed provisions and after a hard and tedious trip they reached home, but the exposure had told on the men. Two of them had their hands badly frozen and the third his feet. All these cases required amputation. The snow-bound doctor now came in handy and with a butcher knife and hand saw successfully performed the first surgical operation in Ida County.

Other travelers came and stayed that winter and a family of twenty lived in that log house.

The next spring (1857) Mr. Moorehead built a dam in the river where King's mill now stands and put in a saw mill and burrs to grind corn. They had just completed the work, sawed a little lumber and ground some meal when a big flood came and carried the mill miles down the stream. It was not rebuilt.

October 12, 1856, a county government was organized and officers elected as follows: J. H. Moorehead, Judge; Bushrod Warren, Clerk; Joseph Loveland, Treasurer and Recorder; hart D. Warner, Drainage Commissioner; N. Edwards, Assessor.

In 1869 Rev. L. H. Woodworth, a boy preacher, organized the first church in the county with ten members, the original members being Mrs. Robert Wilkinson, James Wilkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Vroman, Mr. and Mrs. Everett, Mrs. O. Waterman, Mrs. Comstock. James Wilkinson was elected trustee. About the same time Mr. Woodworth organized the Battle Creek Church with the following members: Lon Teal and wife, Frank Teal and wife, E. B. Webb and wife, Charles Brown and wife, James Havens and wife, Miss Alvira Smith and Miss Etta Heath.

Before this Ida had been attached to Woodbury County for judicial and revenue purposes, it having been organized by act of the Legislature January 15, 1857, and named Ida upon the recommendation fo the Surveyors, who, when working in the eastern part of the county, camped on what is now Ed Benedict's farm and at night seeing the bright camp fires of the Indians on the hills west of the town suggested to them the story of Mount Ida of Greece. This Indian camp had been abandoned when the first settlers arrived, but there remained evidences of an extensive Indian town which extended from the point of the high hill north of the long bridge far back toward the head of the timber, one place covering several acres was used as slaughter grounds, and for many years the bones of deer, elk and birds covered the grounds so deeply that the grass could not grow. From here remains of a trail can be seen leading down to a spring in the timber.

After leaving these villages the Indians roamed over this county hunting and fishing, but showed no ill will to the early settlers until 1857, when a messenger arrived from Smithland notifying them of a raid. The settlement was all gathered into a wagon and driven to Deloit for safety. After a few days they returned, no depredations having been committed. About 1859 a town site was surveyed and lots staked out on the land west of the Badger and extending down to Mr. Sam Edson's. No houses were built, the town having been laid out in anticipation of the railroad lines being built down the Maple river. However, the North-Western secured the privilege of building down the Boyer valley and at the same time a grant of all the land in Ida county that had not yet been bought by the early settlers. This act took out of the market practically the entire county and the few families here settled down to living by themselves without much prospect of additions being made to their number for an indefinite future. They found game plentiful, the elk being as plentiful as cattle are here today. At one time when the floating ice filled the river, the elk traveling north gathered on the land now covered by Ida Grove in such numbers that they covered the ground and extended south as far as could be seen by the settlers across the river. Deer were plentiful and Mary Bohemia, who came with the Mooreheads, caught one in the front yard and in a snowdrift and killed it with a knife. Wild turkeys were abundant and were caught in rail pens constructed for the purpose. Prairie chickens were almost tame and were trapped and shot at pleasure. Quails were as abundant as sparrows today. The pure, clear water of the Maple was filled with pickerel and catfish weighing from three to nine pounds. Ducks, geese, culews and sandhill cranes rested in the ponds and bayous and in the spring and fall flights literally covered the water. The crane could be domesticated and Judge Moorehead had one for a pet. It stood about four feet high and would follow a wagon like a dog. It would enter the house and eat from the cupboard, to the great annoyance of the family.

Trapping was a favorite sport. Beavers were so numerous that they had dams across the river and Odebolt creek wherever the opportunity was offered to build one. Otter and mink were plentiful, muskrat houses were as numerous as corn shocks on the bottom west of the Avenue. Wildcats infested the timber and annoyed the settlers. Panther and lynx would gather about the house when an elk or deer had been killed and fairly thrust their noses in the doors; wolves in small packs preyed upon the poultry and small animals.

Bands of Indians came and went constantly, a favorite camping ground being under the great elm tree a mile up the river, near the Mead bridge.

Trains of covered wagons now began to pass through the county to the Missouri valley. These needed grain, hay and provisions, and the settlers thus found a market for all they could produce at remunerative prices. The mail was carried by chance travelers, and groceries and dry goods were bought at Des Moines and Council Bluffs.

Then, as now, the education of the children was uppermost in the minds of the settlement, and in 1861 a schoolhouse was built on the hillside above King's mill. The building was after many years moved and is now used as a dwelling and is situated just west of the long bridge on the Smith ranch.

Miss Vanarsdall was employed to teach the first term of school in Judge Moorehead's home. Here she met W. J. Wagoner and was married, thus setting the precedent which has been faithfully followed by Ida County teachers ever since of not refusing a good offer. Miss Flora Atwood, of Ohio, was employed and following the example of her predecessor, married the young express agent on the stage coach line that had just been established and ran from Fort Dodge to Sioux City, Mr. William Marsh. This was the second marriage in the county, the first being Mary "Bohemia" to Henry Cleveland, the ceremony being performed by Squire Comstock in 1860.

The advent of the four-horse stage now brought the settlement closer to civilization, a postoffice was established in 1861 and Judge Moorehead appointed postmaster. Rev. Landan Taylor, the first Presiding Elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church of Northwest Iowa, made occasional trips from settlement to settlement and held religious services in the people's homes. The first death that occurred in the county was that of Mrs. Hart Warn, in 1862. They lived with mr. Warn's parents on the farm now known as the Smith ranch. She had been married but a short time before her death. Her remains were interred on the hillside west of the Moorehead homestead. Later Mrs. E. Comstock died and was buried near her, and a monument marks the place, the remains never being removed. Mrs. Comstock is spoken of by all the early settlers as a woman of a beautiful character and her death was deeply mourned by the settlement.

The ten years from 1860 to 1870 were years of but little change in the county. An occasional addition was made to the settlement by the arrival of a new family and young adventurers seeking their fortune passed through the county. Among these young men who remained here were Peter Lloyd, T. S. Snell, S. V. Carr. Peter Lloyd became a banker and died a few years ago, leaving a large estate; S. V. Carr was elected the first Mayor of Ida Grove and now lives in the city; T. S. Snell has always been prominently identified with Ida county politics and business.

During these years great trains of emigrants traveled the old Fort Dodge and Sioux City road which passed by Judge Moorehead's house and skirted the edge of the timber. The soldiers passed through here who were used to protect the frontier during the troublesome times of the Rebellion. In 1863 a company of twelve soldiers and two officers under the command of Sergeant Lyman were stationed near where King's mill now stands.

April 8, 1871, Judge Moorehead, W. J. Wagoner and Charles Hathaway laid out the village of Ida, and Isaac Bunn built the first house on the southeast corner of the town plat just east of where Robert Houston now lives. Two or three years before this Judge Moorehead built a store on the road north of where the water mill now stands. This was moved when the town was platted. The courthouse was built next year. The Fort Dodge & Sioux City railroad was surveyed and partly graded the next year. H. A. Moorehead and T. S. Snell surveying the line. It came down teh Elk and ran down the bottom near the Old Town, past Jacob's addition to where the railroad bridge crosses the river. The grade is yet distinctly marked in places, especially in the Northrop and Cobb pastures. Emigrants now began to pour in. Fran Burns, who had been employed on the Hathaway ranch, was elected County Treasurer. Henry Dickson located on the hill in Silver Creek Township that yet bears his name. Matt M. Gray located about this time and was the first attorney. Dr. F. D. Seeber was the first physician and the second year he was here took into partnership Dr. E. C. Heilman. Noah Williams opened a bank [end of page 3] in 1876. The Era was founded by C. N. Clark the same year. In 1877 the railroad was built and the town of Ida Grove was laid out. The influx of settlers was now phenomenal and in five years nearly every quarter section of land in the county was bought from the railroad, the purchase price varying from $3 to $15 per acre.

Sovereignty of Ida County

Ferdinand DeSoto discovered the Mississippi river in the spring of 1542, and Spain claimed country to the source.

About 1668 and 1669, after settlement of Canada, Father Jacques Marquette conceived the idea of exploring the Great River (Mississippi), and sent Nicholas Perrot to confer with the Indians at Sault Ste. Marie and he made a treaty with them in 1671.

In May, 1673, Father Marquette, as representative of the Church, and Louis Joliet, as representative of the State, started on a trip and came down the Wisconsin river to the Mississippi, and down it past Iowa, stopping near Keokuk; first known white man to touch Iowa, and went down to mouth of Arkansas river, and France claimed it.

Settlement commenced at mouth of Mississippi river in 1699 and in 1717, trade in the Mississippi valley granted by France to Western Company for twenty years, and was the great foundation of the John Law Mississippi Bubble, the first real estate boom in the valley.

1705--French built a fort up the Missouri river.

About 1760, when the English captured Canada, by treaty all east of the Mississippi went to England, except Louisiana and Florida, and France fearing England ceded all west of the Mississippi to Spain, so we came back to Spain.

October, 1801, by secret treaty Spain ceded this country back to France; April 30, 1803, France sold it to the United States.

French traders had to some extent gone up the Missouri river before the lewis & Clark expedition, but that expedition was the first occupation of Iowa in the Name of the United States.

1542--Spain claimed by discovery of the Mississippi.

1673--France claimed by discovery of the upper Mississippi, and also claimed its mouth.

1764--France ceded it to Spain.

1801--Spain ceded it to France.

1803--April 30 France sold it to us.

1804--October, all north of Louisiana made District of Louisiana and what is now the State of Louisiana made Territory of Orleans.

1812--Changed to Territory of Missouri.

1814--July 4, all south of north line of Arkansas cut off and rest remained Territory of Missouri.

1821--March 20, State of Missouri with its present boundaries created after a hard fight in Congress, and left the rest of the territory unorganized and only under military rule, and some settlements of whites to courts of State of Missouri south, and to Territory of Michigan east of recognition, but courts refused.

1834--June 28, this region made part of Territory of Michigan.

1834--July 4, Territory of Wisconsin created, including that State and all the country north of the State of Missouri and between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

1838--June 12, Territory of Iowa created, embracing all the same territory except the present State of Wisconsin, and in November, 1839, first Territorial Legislature met in Burlington, Iowa.

1845--Congress undertook to make Iowa State, bounded on south by State of Missouri, east by Mississippi river, on north by St. Peters river, Minn., and on west by meridian 17 degrees and 3 minutes west of Washington, or about 20 miles west of the city of Des Moines, but voted on and rejected by voters, who demanded same northern boundaries but must go to Missouri river, so we came near being some other State.

1846--December 28, Iowa with present boundaries admitted as a State, after a close vote of only 421 majority in a total vote of 18,528.

1851--Prior to this year all northwestern Iowa was regarded as Indian territory, and the State Government exercised no jurisdiction over it, and the United States Government had by treaties at this time divested the Indians of all claim of title, though the Indians continued to occupy it.

1851--January 15, Legislature created 49 new counties, including Ida, about one-half of the State, but nothing was done creating any government of civil jurisdiction in any of these counties, and Ida County and four counties wide across west of State made new 6th Judicial District.

1853--Authority given to organize Wahkah (Woodbury County), and ida County was attached to it for revenue, election and judicial purposes, and a new 5th Judicial District created, including Ida County, and April, 1853, Samuel H. Riddle was elected judge, and not being a lawyer, was ineligible, and so got admitted to bar, and in June, 1853, he was appointed judge to fill the vacancy. He was from Kentucky, an able man, and had killed his man.

Groves of trees were early used as settlements and as towns, and in acts of the Legislature, authorizing State roads and mail routes, are mentioned Coplan's Grove, Mason's Grove and Ida Grove.

1855--January 24, act of Legislature for a new State road from Homer, in Webster County, via Ida Grove and Lizzard Point, to Sargeant's Bluffs, in Woodbury County.

Probably a more peaceful tribe of Indians than the Sioux had inhabited northwestern Iowa before the 19th century, as mound builders have left their records in a few places, but the Sioux held sway when first whites appeared, though in southern central Iowa the Iowas, a more civilized tribe of Sioux, held sway, and by treaty, August 19, 1825, the Iowas were recognized and the boundary between the Iowas and Sioux fixed to run from northeast corner of Iowa, the second or upper southwest fork of Des Moines river, then to the lower fork (Rock river, in Sioux County) of the Calumet (Sioux river), and down it to its junction with the Missouri river; so we were not considered in Sioux territory, but, in fact, the Sioux occupied it, and the Omahas from across in Nebraska raided it, so we were in the border or fighting territory.

Woodbury County settlers who passed through Ida County: George Murphy , John Leavitt, by way of Ft. Dodge.

1854, spring, in a buggy; does not speak of Ida Grove, but was there. Went northwest to Correctionville. Last March, 1855, Geo. M. came again, same route nearly. No trail.

Geo. Boals, now of Dakota County, Neb.

Edmund Combs.

M. J. Combs, now of Woodbury County, came through Ida Grove in 1855.

Gibson Bates, February, 1855, from Green County, Iowa, came up the Coon river through Ida Grove. Were surrounded by Indians who saw their fire as they, Bates, camped in the grove. Indians wanted to know where they were going. After while one Indian jumped up and said, "How! How! How!" and all instantly departed. There were in the party Leonard Bates, Gibson Bates, 20; William Bates, 18; sisters Grace, now Mrs. Miller; Martha, now Mrs. Beck, and three younger brothers.

Horace Dutton, July 2, 1855; W. P. Holman, fall 1855; H. O. Griggs, fall 1855; Bronson; W. W. Ordway.

A. W. White, Horman D. Clark, 1856, went from Sioux City to Ida Grove and Sac County. Started on horseback, but could not cross the Sioux; walked to Ida Grove; got there in the night, and one house of one room there, and no other within 30 miles. They had no flour but cornmeal, and woman pulled bread pan from under the bed to mix some cornmeal, and the cat was in bread pan, and they ate corm bread and bacon. They went to Sac County, where were a number of settlers; stopped with Judge Criss, who drove them back to Ida Grove; cold storm and slept on prairie.

Wm. Webster, 1856; Wm. G. Webster, E. P. Webster, Reese.

Woodbury County People in Ida Grove:

1853--Leonard Bates.

1854--Algernon Dutton, Geo. Murphy, John Leavitt.

1855--Geo. Boals, Horace Dutton, W. W. Ordway, Wm. Bates, three Bates boys, Edmund Combs, Wm. P. Holman, Bronson, Grace Bates, M. J. Combs, H. O. Griggs, Gibson Bates, Martha Bates.

1856--H. D. Clark, E. P. Webster, A. W. White, W. G. Webster, Wm. Webster, Reese.

1857--James Hutchins, W. H. Hutchins, Saunders, merrill Saunders, Amos Parker, Addison Oliver.

Addison Oliver came through Ida Grove in spring, 1857; one cabin there, covered with dirt, and no one lived in it; just two houses between Ida Grove and Mapleton--one of these at Battle Creek, unoccupied, and the other just below Danbury; one house between Mapleton and Smithland.

Douglas Township, by H. P. Lasher

Douglas Township, the northwest corner township of Ida County, Iowa, varies in topography from gently undulating plain in the southeast to very hilly in the south and southwest portions, and also along the course of the Little Sioux river, which cuts three or four hundred acres of land from the northwest corner of the township.

To the proximity of the Little Sioux, the township doubtless owes the distinction of being amontg the oldest settled portions of Ida County, being settled prior to the year 1868. The exact date I have not been able to verify, owing to the short time allowed for preparation of this sketch, but know that settlements were made at or prior to that time by A. Moon on Section 7, followed by John and Cal. Irvin on Section 17 and by Mrs. Osborne and Samuel Guilliams on Section 18.

The first school house was built in the year 1868 on the northwest corner of the Osborne homestead, at a cost of $1,200, being built partly of lumber hauled overland from Denison and partly from cottonwood lumber from the Little Sioux.

The next year the remaining lands subject to homestead entry, situated in Sections 2 and 12 were taken up by John Kingen, Thos. Harvison, John Harvison, Samuel Allison and Henry Ashton. John Kingen pre-empted the northwest quarter of Section 2, and built the first dwelling house in northeast Douglas, a cabin of logs brought from the banks of the Little Sioux. John Harvison built the second cabin, also of logs, on the northeast quarter of Section 2. Samuel Allison built the third cabin, a sod one, on the southeast quarter of Section 2, and shared it with C. C. Zupp and family, who came in September of the same year, the latter buying the farm where he now resides, as no more lands were to be had subject to homestead entry. Henry Ashton took possession of the northeast quarter of Section 12 in June of that year, put up a stack of hay, and then went back to Monona County after his young wife, arriving again in November, built a dugout for his family and another for his team, and finally got them into it by blindfolding them, and lived as happy as clams till spring, when he built a cabin of logs. Zupp tells, however, that he (Aston) was not happy all the time, for he got snowed in during a terrific blizzard--the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth of the next March--and was buried for two days. He didn't go to a neighbor's to borrow a shovel to dig himself out, either, but had to dig out with no better tools than his own to hands.

Henry Ashton's adventurous pioneer spirit is not to be wondered at, as his father, Isaac Ashton, was the first white settler in Monona County, Iowa, and laid out the town of Ashton, which was the county seat until Onawa sprang up not far away, and the town of Ashton was used for farming purposes, robbing the pioneer of a city as his monument, but giving him the consolation of the whole township of Ashton as an everlasting memorial of his services to posterity.

Of all these sturdy pioneers of Douglas Township, C. C. Zupp and Henry Ashton and wife alone remain here with us to remind the younger generation of the good old times of those days more than thirty-seven years past.

Although advanced in years, Mr. Zupp and Mr. Ashton are both still "in the harness" earning an honest living, Mr. Ashton tilling his eighty-acre farm and caring for his stock and mr. Zupp with his bees, of which he keeps enough to keep him busy the year round. It seems good to see these old people exemplifying the adage that "rest is rust" and true happiness and health can only come from congenial employment, while we see on all hands people in the prime of life who are vain in the attempt to live their remaining years without work, and whose sole enjoyment seems to be in the being enabled to boast of having nothing to do, living as a fungus growth on the nation, of no use to themselves nor to the rest of the world. Again, I cannot but admire the example of these two pioneers of Douglas Township.

As a reminder to the present holders of these lands of what they owe to the adventurous spirit of these old pioneers, by comparing the value today with the value they set at that time on their new homes, I will add that John Kingen traded his quarter section of land, a good yoke of oxen, and a hog, to John Hittle for a team of work horses. That farm today is occupied by S. F. Kerns and would be a bargain at $12,000.

The following spring a dugout was built on the southeast corner of this farm, and the first public school of Northeast Douglas commenced with Mrs. Ashton as teacher at $40 per month. In the fall a frame school house was built, partly of cottonwood lumber, brought from the Little Sioux river, and partly from lumber hauled overland from Sioux City and Denison.

In the year 1871 Samuel Allison's name was on the first ticket ever printed for Ida County, as a candidate for sheriff, with the result that he was elected and served four years.

I wonder how many of us today realize the meaning of thirty-seven years, more than the average span of human life, and yet how short a time.

Thirty-seven years ago dugouts, log cabins and sod houses were the chief places of habitation in the township of Douglas.

Thirty-seven years ago wild turkeys were more plentiful here than tame ones; more farm work was done with oxen than with horses, and deer and elk were more plentiful than horses and cattle; Cherokee consisted of four buildings, and Ida Grove of three, and not a vestige of human habitation could be seen between there and Ashton creek.

Thirty-seven years ago there was not a sign of human habitation in the present townships of Griggs, Battle, Galva and Logan.

Thirty-seven years ago--but no, I will close by acknowledging that I have been but twenty years in Ida County, and am indebted wholly to the recollections and anecdotes of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ashton and of Mr. Zupp for the sketch here given.

Blaine Township, by I. N. Boyer

Blaine Township is one of the twelve townships of Ida County, Iowa, and is situated in the extreme eastern part of the county. On the north of it is found Silver Creek Township, on the east, Sac County, on the south, Hayes Township, whose early history is closely connected with that of Blaine Township, and on the west is Corwin Township, of which Blaine was formerly a part.

The land of Blaine Township is rolling prairie land. The soil is a very deep, black loam, with an underlying subsoil of heavy clay. It is a very fertile soil and produced abundantly a great variety of products. The township is well drained. Two fair-sized streams cross it from east to west in nearly parallel lines. The Odebolt crosses somewhat south of the central part, while the Elk crosses the northern part of the township. Both these streams have feeders from either side of them. In 1877 the township was set apart as a separate one, and the first election help in 1878, at the home of the first settler in the township, Edwin Benedict. The first trustees of the township were Dorris Corbin, D. Cain and Ed. Benedict, the first clerk being E. B. West.

The first school houses were two in number. One was situated on the south line of what is now the Johnny Jones farm, about three-fourths of a mile east of Ed. Benedict's. It was afterwards moved and is now known as Blaine No. 2. The other was situated east of V. Lindman's home and is now Blaine No. 8.

When Blaine was first settled there were very few roads or bridges; the settler simply struck out across country in the direction he would go, and would either make his team jump the streams or go up around their source. There was a military road crossing the northern part of the township from Sac City to Ida Grove. This the settlers of the northern part of the township from the Sac City to Ida Grove. This the settlers of the northern part of the township used in going to Ida Grove. There was a mail route from Ida Grove to Denison, also one from Storm Lake to Ida Grove, both crossing our township. All the travel between Storm Lake and Denison crossed the Odebolt creek at a ford near where Dennis Cain now lives.

The prairies were covered with a luxuriant growth of wild grass which made excellent feed and hay for stock. In many places there were also red roots which were used as fuel. The lowlands had a wonderful growth of blue stem and slough grass, often ten feet in length. These made excellent covering for barns and sheds. In the summer time the prairies were covered with beautiful and sweet smelling flowers, such as violets, crocuses, sweet williams, roses, larkspurs, golden-rod, and many others found in great abundance. The summers were pleasant but the winters usually very severe with heavy snowfalls.

The game was very plentiful and consisted of grouse, quail, rabbits, coyotes, deer, etc. The grouse, or prairie chickens, as they are best known, were here in great numbers. In the spring time, when the prairies were burned, or when the breakers were turning over the sod, many nests of their eggs would be found. These prairie chickens were comparatively tame then. In the spring and fall wild ducks, geese, brandts and cranes were here without number. Now it is all much changed and very little game is to be found. Only once in a long time is a coyote scalp taken.

The first permanent settler of the township was Edwin Benedict. He came here in 1872 from Minnesota, in a covered wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen. he also had a pony and about twenty head of cattle. These and $70.00 in money constituted all of his earthly possessions. Mr. Benedict first located where the Quail place now stands. Here he lived several years, then built where he now lives. He has seen many hardships since coming here, but notwithstanding all these he has wonderfully prospered. He has reared a large family of good boys and is now the owner of about 1,300 acres of Ida County's best land, much of which is worth from $75 to $100 per acre.

Hans Lund was one of the next settlers, he locating where J. R. Graham now lives. Mr. Lund has been quite a prominent figure in the county's history, and is at present a member of the Board of Supervisors. A man named Hoskins soon after settled where J. C. Love now lives.

Henry Case was another very early settler. He first lived in a dugout on what has long been known as the "Old Sheep Ranch." It is now owned by Jos. J. Smith, of Ida Grove. He then moved up on the corner of Edwin Benedict's place. here he lived until the railroad [end of page 4] came through in 1877, when he moved down near the proposed line, about three miles east of Ida Grove. He died in Nebraska a year or so ago.

Dennis Cain came into the township in the 70's and he has lived here ever since. He first located where the John Hemer homestead is, about 1876. After living here a year or so he moved to the place where he now lives. Mr. Cain has been closely connected with the history of Blaine township all through. It was he and R. L. Gaylord who gave it its name. As mentioned elsewhere in this reminiscence, he was one of the first trustees. During his residence in the township he has served as director, road supervisor and county supervisor.

R. L. Gaylord is still another of the very early settlers who still lives within the township borders. He first located on the old Gaylord homestead, just a short distance southwest of where he now resides, and has always taken a very active part in the affairs of the township, filling, very creditably, the different offices entrusted to him. He was secretary of the school board for a long term of years. He has gained quite a competency, now owning a large tract of fine land.

J. C. Waugh, a nearby neighbor of Mr. Gaylord's, came to Blaine township in the year 1877, first locating on the hill northeast of where the Center school house now stands. After remaining here a year or two, he moved to his present location. He was one of the first, if not the first, Scotchman within the township. He was also one of the first farmers to own a selfbinder and used to cut the grain for his neighbors far and near. Of late years he has been engaged chiefly in stock feeding.

The Graham brothers also came about the same time; Charles coming a short time before Robert. He located on the place now occupied by Victor Linman, but afterwards moved over north of the railroad to the place now occupied by H. P. Benedict. Here the Graham brothers "batched" it for a long time, and early made cattle feeding their principal business. For quite a while they and Ed. Benedict were the only large cattle feeders in the township. Chas. Graham was a very unique character, generous-hearted, full of jokes, a good judge of human nature and a splendid neighbor. A familiar greeting of his, no matter what the weather, was, "Fine growing weather." he at one time served as county supervisor, riding back and forth to the county seat on horseback to attend the meetings of the board. He was Blaine township's first Irish settler.

Others coming to the township at an early day were:

Ed. and Marvin Brown, who came in 1876, located on the north road, just west of Soll Noll's. Here also, on the opposite side of the road, lived the Jones family. Dorris Corbin came also in 1876. He located on what is now known as the old John Lindsay place. J. B. cooper, Ed. Ellis and Ed. Baker came in 1877. Baker and Ellis located in the northeastern part of the township. Mr. Baker still lives where he first located. He landed at Alta and drove across the country. His family came later to Vail, Iowa, and were met there by Geo. W. Ellis, who had come several years before. Baker and Ellis hauled their lumber from Alta for their buildings. There were just two houses on the trail they traveled and no bridges. These they made as they needed them and they traveled the greater part of the distance at night. At that time the prairie chickens were numerous and during the first few years the boys would borrow Mr. Baker's old army musket and kill them in great numbers. The year following Mr. Baker's arrival, Jake Noll, Wm. Colvin, Dillon Price, H. H. Tourgee and John Scott located in that part of the township. All these men have been prominent figures in making Blaine Township what it is today.

George Plumleigh located where Elmer Lundblad now lives, and in 1877 E. B. West settled where Wm. Burgoyne's residence was recently burned down.

John Kopp, a prominent figure in Blaine's history, landed in Ida Grove on the 23d of March, 1878, just the year after the railroad was put through. On The 2d day of May; following, he moved out to the place he now occupies and owns. On that day there was two inches of snow on the ground. Mr. Kopp tells us that the same year Willie Johnston, George Logan, Smith Dawson, D. C. Kolp, Wm. Drake and Joseph Riddle came to the township. Mr. Kopp owned the first threshing machine outfit in the township. The power to it was of the kind that let down onto the ground. His brother and Joseph Riddle used to help him run it. Later, Wm. Burgoyne, another early settler, who still lives here, became his partner and for a long time "Kopp and Billy" were the threshers. On one occasion, in an early day, they (the Kopp brothers and the Riddle) threshed late to complete a job and them undertook to go home in the dark. There were no roads to go by and, of course, they were soon lost. Joe Riddle had led the way and would call back to the others so they could follow. They finally wound up in some big weeds along Odebolt creek. Here they unhitched their horses and started for home. The others started before Mr. Kopp and he became lost again. He wandered about for a long time and finally saw Wm. Drake's light. This gave him his bearings and he soon reached home. When he arrived there he found the other boys sound asleep. At the time Mr. Kopp came here there were but two bridges in the township, one across the Odebolt, just north of his place, and the other across the Elk, near the Albert Williams place.

H. Woerter, the first German settler of the township, settled in 1878 on the place where he now lives.

A man by the name of Albert Johnson was the first Swede settler of the township. Some other early settlers who still remain are: J. C. Love, Wm. Burgoyne, the Morrisons, John Hemer and Joe Smith. The year 1876 will long be remembered as the grasshopper year. Where they came from or where they went to will never be known, but they certainly made a clean sweep. 1877 was a year of great rejoicing, for the Northwestern Railroad was that year extended from Maple River Junction to Mapleton.

Next came the awful winter of 1880. Who can forget it? In the spring before a great number of new settlers arrived. Then, on that memorable 15th day of October, when no one was ready or looking for it, that long to-be-remembered storm came. It snowed and blew with all fury possible for three long days and nights. Many had no shelter for their stock. Hardly anyone had any coal or had yet gotten their winter supply of clothing; consequently, great was the suffering. That surely was a long and severely cold winter. Coal was hard to get; the railroad was blockaded when a car of coal would arrive, part of its load would be stolen and many anxious ones awaited with their teams lined up to get a small share of what remained. Corn was burned for fuel. Wheat was ground in the coffee mills for food. Snow was melted for water and many other plans resorted to.

In those early days preaching services and Sunday-schools were held in the school houses. Rev. J. W. Southwell, of Ida Grove, and Rev. I. E. Boyer, now deceased, were among the early preachers.

J. M. Rees, now of Ida Grove, was the first school teacher in District No. q. Who the first one in the township was we did not learn.

As this is just a reminiscence of early days, I will not relate at length the later history of the township, but will only say that it is now thickly settled with prosperous farmers who have well improved homes; that it contains the thriving little village of Arthur, and is one of the best townships in Iowa.

Logan Township, by J. C. Kolb

This township was organized June 23, 1877, and was named by the County Supervisors in accordance with a petition by residents thereof. Whether it was named after the well-known general or after the Logan brothers, who were among the pioneer settlers of the township, is a matter of argument. Among the earliest settlers were Jas. D. Harrington, who was the first township clerk; E. A. Babcock, Pat. Toner, John Logan, George Schiller. The first election in the township settled very fast. The people were supplied by a mail service thrice a week, at the blacksmith shop located on the northwest quarter of Section 18, Silver Creek township. Chas. Rundlett, who was among the first settlers, started a sorghum mill on his farm in the southeast portion of the township. In 1879 Silas Gilmore, C. G. Kolb, F. H. Rea and John Hecht moved in and these, with the other old residents of the county, well remember the windy spring of 1880 when the grain was blown out of the ground after seeding, and the famous October snowstorm of the same year. After this snowstorm a number of deer were located along the banks of the Maple and many of the residents, including Allie Baxter and W. F. Hutton, now editor of the Holstein Iowa Advance, had the pleasure of feasting on venison for some weeks that winter. We understand that eighteen deer were killed along the Maple that winter. The township now is one of the best in Ida County. It is thickly settled by a good class of citizens, and the larger portion of them are land owners.

The winter of '80 and '81 was one of the hardest and longest in the history of the county. The snow lasted until April, and when the break-up came the bottoms were flooded and many stacks of unthreshed grain destroyed. During the spring flood a party named Hildebrand and a relative were drowned, together with a team of horses, in the river at what is known as the Ed. Bender bridge, in the south portion of the township.

Grant Township, by J. P. Hitchings

We settled in Grant Township, Ida County, in the spring of '82. The land was mostly raw prairie, worth from $7.30 to $9.30 per acre, owned by the railroad company. There were no bridges, except one across the Soldier river. People made their own roads and drove wherever they pleased, as there were no fences. The settlers were few and far between. Among them were Luke Walsh, E. Hadlock, Benj. Aiken, Richard Williams and John Spotts. There were only two school houses in the township.

Biography of John H. Moorehead

Judge Moorehead, as he was known to every resident of ida County, was born at Zanesville, Ohio, September 8, 1808. It was here at the old family home his boyhood was passed and the thorough practical education obtained that marked his success in life. When a young man he was employed to ship flour from the Muskingum valley, then the granary of Ohio, to New Orleans, floating down on flat boats and returning on horseback.

October 15, 1844, he was married to Miss Catherine Forrest Good, at her home in Charlestown, West Virginia. In 1851 he came to Iowa, making the trip by steamboat from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Muscatine, Iowa, and then by wagon to Iowa City, where he engaged in farming. After five years' residence there he removed to Ida County and founded the family home that has become historical and around which clusters the early history of Ida County.

His home was open to "the travel," and its liberal hospitality became known far and wide. A full biography of Judge Moorehead from the time of his settlement here down to the building of the railroad would be a complete history of Ida County.

He was elected the first County Judge and held other important offices, holding the position of Provost Marshal during the time of the Civil War. He was widely known and one of the most influential men of Northwest Iowa. A man of strong character and remarkable firmness of purpose, he possessed in a remarkable degree qualities necessary to enable him to overcome the obstacles and stand up under the privations of pioneer life. Twice driven from his home by the Indians, he returned undismayed, his hopeful and courageous spirit pointing to a future for his county that was full of promise. He lived to see the fruition of his hopes. Some of the stories told of him are characteristic of the man and the times.

During the early days, when the nearest trading points were Des Moines and Sioux City, travelers would frequently ask him how he managed when he was so far from market. His reply was that he was never so far from market as when he lived back East and had nothing to sell.

Another story is that of a Methodist minister who stopped over night, with his horse, but becoming snowbound remained some days. When ready to leave he asked what his bill was and was dumbfounded with astonishment when the Judge told him it was $21.50. He explained that he was short of money, but would pay part and send balance later. Mr. Moorehead then showed him his account, which he had carefully made out and itemized, amounting to the above total, but on the other side of the account were a number of credits for blessings asked at the table fifty cents each, and prayers one dollar each; one prayer offered on one knee was marked fifty cents. The credits came to $25.00 and the Judge paid him the balance of $3.50.

The Judge was a man of strange traits of character and marked individuality. He was somewhat chary in his selection of friends, but when once chosen they were friends for life. Open-hearted and generous, he was ever the friend of the poor, and scores of men can look back to the early days of Ida County and recall instances of Judge Moorehead's helpful generosity.

December, 1878, while visiting his daughter, Mrs. Woodworth, at Shenandoah, Iowa, he was stricken with apoplexy, from which he partly recovered but which ultimately caused his death, August 18, 1882.