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History of Adair
County, Iowa,
and its People.  1915.

Volume 1.


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The development of railroad facilities in Adair County has been very slow, owing to many circumstances.  Many unsuccessful attempts were made during the early days to get a road to run a line through Adair County and on the 3d of September, 1866, the board of supervisors passed a resolution appropriating about $800 toward making a railroad survey through the county of Adair and appointed three of their number, A. P. Littleton, F. M. Corr and James McMasters, as a committee to fix the time of the beginning of the survey, superintend its execution and pay the bills.  Nothing tangible came of this, but in the year 1867 the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific laid out a road along the line dividing Adair from Guthrie County and partially in both of them.  This, which was built the following year, became a great transportation medium for the stock and produce of the county.  This road continued alone in the county until 1879, when the branch of the Burlington road was constructed from Creston, entering the Town of Fontanelle in April, 1879.  In the year 1884 the line was projected on through Cumberland in Cass County and completed in the year 1885.  Numerous attempts have been made in the last fifty years to run east and west lines through or into the county, but railroad rivalry has had largely to do with the failure of these enterprises.  Also, several interurban lines have been proposed, but for one reason or another have been abandoned.

A railroad was projected from Creston to Macksburg in Madison County, through Orient and Union townships in Adair County, in the early years of the '00s.  After many discouragements the farmers along the proposed way determined to secure the desired outlet.  A tax was voted in Union Township, Adair County, and Grand River Township, in Madison County, and a company of farmers formed to build the road.  The Burlington road, with whom they were compelled to make connection at Creston, refused any accommodation or assistance, but the officers of the new road, notably A. L. Lynn and Jerry Wilson and sons, were men of intense energy and they succeeded in putting it through at large personal sacrifice.

In 1902-03 a promoter at Des Moines organized a company with the avowed object of building a railroad from some point on the Great Western south of Des Moines to Greenfield via Winterset.  A survey and location was made and right of way secured, taxes voted through Harrison, Grove and Lee townships, and property bought in Greenfield for depot grounds in the north part of town.  When it looked as if it might be accomplished the Rock Island Railroad Company surveyed a line parallel to it and a few miles south of the line chosen by the Des Moines Southern, and purchased the right of way through Greenfield by way of Grand River and Lee townships.  They accumulated a large amount of material and to all appearances were about to commence building, when the bottom dropped out of the whole project;  the promotes of the Des Moines Southern had sold out to the Rock Island and the latter had accomplished its object of preventing a new road.


The growth of the telephone system in Adair County has been remarkable in the last score of years.  Now practically every person in the county has telephone connection with the entire world, either from his own telephone or public one.  The first local telephone system established in Greenfield was a private line connecting Ed A. Teague's residence and his store.  It was put in by A. Rivenburgh and consisted of two cigar boxes and a string of wire.  Some time later a telephone line was strung between Creston and Macksburgh, and later a line from Creston to Spaulding.  The latter line was taken out and the line extended from Spaulding to Greenfield and then on to Fontanelle, Stuart and Winterset.  C. E. Hall from Davenport engineered the work.  A. Rivenburgh and others assisted.  The first long distance office was at the Teague drug store on the west side of the public square and E. A. Teague was the operator.  Later on, as business increased, and Teague had moved to California, the Bell telephone moved the office to a small building on the southeast corner of the square where William Romesha conducted a news stand and that gentleman, assisted by his daughters, operated the system.  This building burned and the long distance office was again moved and later conducted b Beatrice Romesha in connection with the Lincoln Mutual Company.

The first local system was established by A. Rivenburgh in the year 1896 and began operation in July of that year.  It was a 50-drop system and the office was at the Rivenburgh residence, the operator being Myrtle Rivenburghg.  This system operated for two years and one month, when the expense of keeping up the phones and lines became so heavy that it was discontinued.  There were only four patrons the first month, J. G. Culver, Darrah & Culbertson, O. A. Tuttle and the depot.  The number increased to twenty telephones and about thirteen patrons.  Several residence telephones were included in this number.

The Hawkeye system and W. E. Rivenburgh, its first manager, took charge fro 1902 to t909.  His successor, Clyde Miller, served after him until the present manager took charge, Mr. Belt.  C. E. Hall, who engineered the putting in of the first long distance telephone line, later became manager of the whole southern Iowa system.

The first rural telephone company was the Farmers' Mutual, formed at Adair to build a line south seven or eight miles.  This company was incorporated January 26, 1900.  The next company was the Hawkeye, which built a line from Stuart to Greenfield with a center at the latter place.  They also built several rural lines.  The next company to be incorporated was the Lincoln Mutual in 1902.  There were twenty-eight different companies and individual lines returned for taxation in September, 1914, aggregating 912 miles and assessed at $38,575.25.  As this assessment is supposed to be at less than one-fourth of the real value and as the value of the telephone instruments, of which there are several thousand in operation, is not included, it is reasonable to suppose that there is at least $200,000 invested in the telephone systems in the county.


One of the most notable facts concerning Adair County is that all of the bridge and road work is done by the county itself;  the bridges are constructed and placed, paid for, and the roads improved by county labor and money.  It has been with no little profit to everyone who lives in Adair County to know that officials of the state in bridge and road work have selected this county as the main one that is up-to-date and leading the procession along these lines, and have sent the officials of several other counties of the state to Greenfield to investigate the methods used here and view the county plant for the manufacture of concrete culverts.  To the members of the board of supervisors and to Charles Lehmkuhl, county engineer, also superintendent of the work, much credit should be given for the saving to the county of thousands of dollars.  The system has been in operation for six years and during the first five years' operation 390 bridges were constructed.  In this time $111,562 was spent for bridges, but a great part of the money went to citizens of the county for labor given.


In the early '70s the Patrons of Husbandry had a remarkably successful run in all the northern states of the republic, and especially in Iowa hundreds of granges were formed and almost every township in Adair County had at least one.  S. C. Vance of Greenfield, Thomas Ewing of Richland, C. N. Schnellbacher of Grand River were prominent in grange work.  Co-operation in buying supplies was undertaken to a limited extent, but the social features were the most important.  There were several conditions which combined to destroy the efficiency of the order and which caused the granges to surrender their charters, though one or two continued for a number of years.

In the early '80s a new order, the Farmers' Alliance, took the place of the grange.  This was not a secret order, but its object was to consider and discuss in public meetings those things which would make for the best interest of the agricultural community.  There were several alliances in this county which did good work in advancing public opinion.  The many co-operative insurance companies, creamery associations and mercantile establishments in Iowa sprang from grange and alliance teachings.

When the Knights of Labor were at the zenith of their prosperity about 1890, several lodges were formed in Adair County, but they were never very popular among the farmers and did not long survive the drain for dues exacted by the supreme officers of the order.

The American Protective Association had a flourishing organization in the northeast part of the county about 1894 and built a hall for meetings in the south part of Jefferson Township near Turkey Creek.  This order never extended to other parts of the county.


The early settlers of Adair County were seriously handicapped for building material on account of the lack of stone, and the distance to haul brick for the foundations and flues of houses.  There was limestone along Middle River, but nowhere else in the county was there any stone to be found except a few scattering boulders left by the glacial drift, and these were worn so smooth and round as to be practically useless for any purpose.  The first houses were of logs, with stick and mud flues.  When native lumber became obtainable the houses were built on blocks of oak or walnut and the blues mostly stove pile, as stoves had then come into use.

About 1868 a couple of small kilns of brick were made in Jackson Township about three miles west of Fontanelle.  The whole thing was crude in construction, but enough brick were made to supply material for flues to the houses then being built.  A company with H. Grass as the head worked one summer at Fontanelle and burned several kilns of brick and constructed the brick block north of the square, which was the first brick building in the county.  The county hired a geological expert to investigate as to the condition of the various soils and their adaptability for use.  Some beds of sand were found underlying the surface soil, which was generally a black clay loam of varying depth, but the sand was mostly too fine for cement manufacture, although considerable has been used for plastering and building chimneys.  The clay which composes the substance of the soil to a depth of several hundred feet was not workable to any large extent for manufacturing purposes.  Pockets of varying extent were found which, under expert workmanship, made fairly good brick and tile.  About 1890 J. H. Day manufactured brick for several years southeast of Fontanelle which supplied the local demand for the product.  About the same time several kilns of brick were made at Greenfield and brick construction became the rule for business houses.  A little later J. W. Darby was extensively engaged in making brick and tile for six or seven years in Greenfield.  None of these efforts to make clay products have been financially successful.  A large business in brickmaking has been carried on in Bridgewater for several years.  More of the brick industry may be found in the geological chapter of this volume.


In the early days there were few located roads;  the trails followed as much as possible along the divides, which considerably increased the distance between places.  With the exception of the increased distance, they made good roads with very little work.  When compelled to cross streams and sloughs they were bad, except during the dryest weather.  With the advent of the farmer the roads were forced upon section lines, which meant hills and sloughs.  Had the early authorities had the good sense and foresight to locate roads as the railroads do, where the ground was naturally adapted to good roads, an immense cost would have been saved and all future generations been benefited.  As it is the roads have at large cost been gradually improved and cement culverts gradually taking the place of the log and lumber ones and steel bridges being constructed until the roads of the county are very creditable.


Iowa has always been liberal in its encouragement of agricultural fairs and has given aid to county fairs for more than fifty years.  In the early years of Adair County an annual fair was held in the schoolhouses of Fontanelle and Greenfield, alternately.  After the removal of the county seat to Greenfield, land was rented in the east part of town and some buildings and a race track constructed and for several years the fair was held there.  Later this was bought and laid off into lots by Martin & McCollum, and no fair was held until 1892.  In the summer of that year the project was revived and an association formed of which D. A. Patterson was president;  T. M. Neely, vice president;  A. E. Teague, secretary;  and A. R. Oldham, treasurer, with directors from the different townships according to the number of shares held by the people in them.  Between three hundred and four hundred shares at $10 each were sold and forty-two acres of land northeast Greenfield purchased, permanent buildings constructed and a good race track laid out.  For a number of years very successful fairs were held, with good exhibits of stock and agricultural products, pantry stores and exhibits of school work.  The county contains a large number of excellent cattle, hogs and horses and a good representation of these have always been exhibited at the Adair County Fair.  For several years the fair had hard luck owing to rainstorms and fell considerably into debt, but in the winter of 1914, 240 additional shares of stock were sold, the floating debt cleared off and the association is in good shape for future action.


About 1890 some of the progressive farmers of the county formed as association to hold an institute of several days' duration at Greenfield.  A very successful session, with President Chamberlain of the State Agricultural College, Henry Wallace and others prominent in agricultural education present, was held.  This association continued for several years to hold a successful institute, but farmers found it difficult to get the time from their work and attend in sufficient numbers, and with the feeling among the townspeople that the institute did not belong to them, caused it to be discontinued, although the state offered generous support.

For two or three ears since 1910 the people at Adair and Fontanelle have held an annual corn show and institute which has aroused considerable interest in the territory tributary to these towns.


Previous to the coming of the railroad, the Rock Island on the north and the Burlington on the south, in 1869, where had been very little interest in crop production, the distance from market making the raising of surplus grain a burden rather than an asset.  The people lived in, or in close proximity to, the strips of timber along the streams and most of the vast prairie land was unbroken.  Land sold from two and one-half dollars to ten dollars per acre.  With the coming of the railroad settlement rapidly extended to the prairies, which were found to be more desirable than the timber and rougher land near the streams.  The first settlers depended entirely on wild hay and let their cattle range unrestrained, fencing their small cultivated plats with rails.  It was the accepted opinion of the early settlers that the cultivated grasses would not grow on the prairie soil and could not survive the rigor of winter freezing.  But there are always skeptics, and soon some of the farmers found it necessary to find a substitute for the wild hay and began to experiment with the tame grasses.  J. H. Hulbert in Washington Township, L. M. Kilburn in Summerset, and others, found that this was one of the best counties for tame grasses in all the world, just as natural for the cultivated as for the wild grasses.  Blue grass, the best of the pasture grasses, came in naturally with civilized settlement until it covered all the land not in cultivated crops;  while clover and timothy meadows have practically crowded out the wild grasses, and in some seasons a large surplus of hay has been shipped for use elsewhere.  The main crops raised at first were spring wheat, oats and corn, with sufficient potatoes for local use;  corn next to grass being the most important crop, largely consumed on the farm and shipped out in the shape of cattle, hogs, horses, butter and cream.  In the last few years winter wheat has become a very important crop, proving the most remunerative for its cost of any crop raised.  With the cultivated crops, however, came evil weeds, formerly unknown, which like the last state of man in the parable makes things worse than the first.  Dandelions cover the hills with a yellow bloom in the spring and defy all efforts at eradication;  the varieties of dock and cockleburr are ever increasing in persistent occupation of the soil;  while the native varieties of ragweed, foxtail, wild morning-glory and many others increase the farmer's labors to preserve his crops;  and yet the average product per acre is considerably more than fifty years ago, owing to better implements and more intelligent culture.  Almost every settler put out a grove of forest trees for a windbreak and a small orchard about his dwellings.  David Coffeen in Washington Township, Jacob Bruce of Jefferson, L. C. Elliott of Harrison and J. Bush of Grand River were among the first to have bearing orchards in the county.  While many apples, plums, grapes and some peaches have been raised in the county and while it is little trouble for any family to grow more than they can consume of any of these fruits, together with all the small fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and currants, the conditions are not the best for tree growing.  High winds, lack of sufficient moisture and other conditions unite to dwarf the size, and shorten the life of both orchard and farm trees, except in close proximity to flowing streams.

In the early days the sloughs, of which there was an abundance, were very wet and such land was accounted almost worthless.  Most of these sloughs have been drained, some of the first with ditches which proved a failure, and later with clay tile which has made the slough land the most productive of all.  With the coming of the years and better improvements the value of land has advanced until an average of one hundred dollars an acre is a very conservative estimate.


Every person in the West understands the danger of being overtaken by snow storms in thinly settled country, where the ordinary landmarks of the more thickly settled regions, houses, barns, fences, groves and cultivated lands, are found only at long intervals.

There have been several such cases attended with fatal results in Adair County, but the most interesting case of the kind, although not attended with serious consequences, occurred in the Town of Fontanelle in the winter of 1850.

The town in question at the time referred to was very thinly settled, the number of houses perhaps not exceeding twenty, and placed at long distances from each other.

The block north of the present public square is block 16, and near its southeast corner stood the public house kept by J. C. Gibbs, and in the same block a few feet west of Mr. Gibbs' residence was the dwelling of Cal Ballard.  Near the northwest corner of block 20, which lies immediately west of the square, was a store originally build by J. K. Valentine, but at the time referred to was used by Ballard as a storeroom.  The public square at that time was treeless and unenclosed and a liberty pole stood in its center.

On the site of the present residence (Frank Sears, 1915) of E. H. Fuller (this was written in 1873), D. Mulford Valentine, now chief justice of Kansas, lived, and the lots being then unfenced, he had his stable near the spot where Isaac Cade's stable afterwards stood.

Colonel Nichols, at that time, lived in a residence afterward occupied by Mr. Drake about one-quarter of a mile from Ballard's store.  Gibbs' Hotel was about eighty rods form the store.

On the afternoon of a cold winter day A. B. Smith, now of Winterset;  James Minert of Eureka Township;  Joe Clary, now in Washington Territory;  J. S. Ellis, Marion Ammon and Colonel Nichols and several others dropped into Ballard's store and whiled the afternoon away in conversation, jokes and story telling.  In the middle of the afternoon the breeze from the northeast which had been blowing all day grew into a heavy storm accompanied by a heavy snow.  The wind and snow had become so dense as to darken the air, and as no business could be done Ballard proceeded to close his store.  The mud and snow beating with great force on his front door, which faced the east, made it necessary for the company to retire through the back door at the west end of the building.  The company, including Mr. Ballard, left the building together and all but Nichols proceeded in the direction of Gibb's Hotel, where most of them boarded.

Having to face the cutting wind and the blinding snow that prevented one seeing an object even at a distance of a few feet, they had proceeded but a few steps when they became separated and realized that they were lost and helpless.  This conviction, to which was added the suffering of several of them who lost their hats or scarfs which had been carried away by the wind, induced a fright which took away their presence of mind.  They at once began calling to each other for help and were finally rallied around the liberty pole in the center of the public square by one who happened to reach it first.  When once congregated here various plans were suggested for reaching Mr. Gibbs', which they knew to be distant not more than fifty yards, among others the plan of separating short distances within sight of each other and swinging around the pole;  but the panic they had already experienced prevented this or any other plan from being adopted.

In the meantime Joe Clary and two or three others had succeeded in retracing their steps to Ballard's door and breaking in a window entered the building, where they remained all night, suffering considerably with the cold.

A. B. Smith, however, retained his presence of mind, and being able to keep the location of the various houses, took charge of the party.  He first took Ballard to his residence a few yards form the pole.  Ballard was so bewildered that when he reached his home he failed to recognize it and was only convinced when Smith, opening the door, pushed him into the house.  Smith then taking charge of Colonel Nichols, whose house was a fourth of a mile distant, safely piloted him home.

On his return from this duty he came across D. M. Valentine.  On the approach of evening this gentleman had left his house to go to his stable, which situation has been described.  In going the distance of eighty rods he had lost his direction and could not find his stable or regain his house and he had wandered off in the face of the storm about a half-mile from his residence and would probably have perished but for the timely assistance of Mr. Smith, who conducted him home.  After all the party were safely hosed except Clary and his companions, who had found their way back to the store, Mr. Smith hunted them up, but they were fearful of entrusting themselves to his guidance, preferring to remain where they were for the night.


The rich rolling lands of Western Iowa, less than three-quarters of a century ago, supported immense herds of buffalo, deer and elk.  The first of these to disappear was the buffalo, for within the recollection of the earliest settlers none of these ruminants were found in Adair County when they came here.

It is generally believed that the last wapiti, or elk, was killed in Adair County by John Loucks in the winter of 1856.  The facts as given by John B. Wilson are as follows:  The elk was discovered by Mr. Louck in Mr. Wilson's cornfield.  There had been a heavy fall of snow which had become coated with a heavy crust.  Pursuit was made by Messrs. Wilson, Loucks and P. Glunt and after an exciting chase of two hours, during which time much powder was burned and the elk lost much blood by the snow crust lacerating his legs, the game was finally brought down by Mr. Loucks, which went far towards establishing his reputation as a  marksman, from the fact that he never used the hind sights and shut both eyes when he pulled the trigger.  The elk was very poor and exceedingly tough.


The privations to which the early settlers of our county were subjected to and the dangers which they encountered are but faintly realized by us who enjoy the benefits of their labors and sufferings.  One of the early settlers of Adair County was John Cears.  Of course every old settler in the county knew Mr. Cears and every person in the vicinity of Fontanelle, which was his trading point, and near which was his home for many years.  Mr. Cears came to Adair County at a very early date and settled in Jackson Township.  As many of the old settlers will remember, the winter of 1856-57 was one of uncommon severity, with heavy falls of snow.  At this time Mr. Cears was keeping a stage station upon the stage road running from Des Moines to Council Bluffs by Winterset, Greenfield, Summerset and Lewis.  In the latter part of December it became necessary for him to go to David Thompson's for the purpose of obtaining a supply of meat.  Thompson lived two miles east of Pearson's mill, which was situated four miles north of Stuart.  Having obtained his supplies, he left Mr. Thompson early on the morning of Tuesday, December 20th.  At the time he started it was snowing heavily and there was a stiff breeze from the southwest.  Thompson remonstrated with Cears for starting in such a storm, but he was anxious to reach, as he had left his three young children in charge of strangers.  Besides, it was his intention to stop at Jacob Bruce's on Middle River, which was twelve or fourteen miles distant.  In going from Thompson's to Bruce's he would have the wind directly in his face.  The storm increased in fury after Mr. Cears started and he was unable to see 200 yards on account of the heavy fall and drifting of the snow.  The road even in summer was not very well marked and was entirely obliterated by the snow in a very short time.  The ordinary landmarks could not be seen for the storm and the only guide left for Mr. Cears was the course of the wind, which was blowing from the southwest.  Before reaching Mr. Bruce's the wind changed to the northwest and imperceptibly the course of Mr. Cears was changed also.  After the lapse of a few hours Mr. Cears knew he was lost and realized fully the danger of his position, but his anxiety for himself was much less than that for his little children at home.  He had reason to believe that, like persons lost in the snow, he sometimes crossed his own track, but from the fact that he continued to face the storm he finally found himself so far from his starting point that his course was quite direct.  The storm raged with fury and without cessation.  Day and night from Tuesday morning until Friday noon following and during the entire time there was no landmark visible by day nor stars at night to reveal to him his course or position.  During the daytime he continued to travel as well as he could, but the weakness of his horse, his own fatigue, as well as the excessive darkness, rendered traveling impossible.  When he left Thompson's he had one bushel of corn for his horses.  Of course this small amount was soon consumed, and as neither browsing or dry grass could be had, the horses soon showed signs of weakness.  After the corn was gone the horses ate the entire sides of the wagon made of yellow poplar.  During this entire time Mr. Cears had no food whatever.  He had fortunately supplied himself with a pint of whiskey before leaving Mr. Thompson's, which was his only support during this time.  Mr. Cears was for many years a stage driver and a hard drinker, but he said this was the only time in his life when whiskey proved of any benefit to him whatever, and from that day until his death never drank a drop of intoxicating liquor.  Mr. Cears knew that his only hope lay in keeping his horses alive, and to do this they must be exercised.  Each horse had a blanket.  During most of the nights Mr. Cears kept his horses moving, leading them to and fro.  While not engaged in this occupation he sat wrapped in his only protection from the storm, his buffalo robe, and listened to the wolves howling upon all sides of him.  At such times, although it was "blue" cold, yet the anxiety for his children would often induce a profuse perspiration.  Ad the snow was at times accompanied by rain, before long the wheels of the wagon became a solid mass of ice, not a single spoke being visible, and long icicles hung from the horses' bellies and from the wagon.  As the horses became weaker and weaker they often stumbled and fell while crossing the gullies which could not be seen and avoided on account of being filled with snow.  From the first time that Mr. Cears discovered that he was misled by the wind and lost he had no notion as to where he was, but felt that his only safety was in moving on.  As he afterward discovered, he had changed his course and had traveled northwest parallel with Middle River, but never so near it as to see the timber on account of the snow.  As he had matches with him, he could have made himself comfortable had he reached the timber, but where he was on the divide he was not able even to light a pipe.  At about 2 o'clock on Friday afternoon the storm had ceased to rage and the sun came out.  Mr. Cears saw at some distance a high hill crowned with a single tree.  Hitching the one horse to the wagon, he mounted the other and rode to this point.  From here he saw a shanghai fence, which was a very certain indication that a house was not far distant.  Going back for the other horse, he left his wagon and made his way to the enclosure.  Here he found a turf house, well known at that time as Gopher Station.  It was one of the stage stations on the line from Des Moines to Council Bluff's and was kept by a Quaker named Betts.  It was situated on Bear Grove, near the headwaters of Middle River, about twelve miles north of Adair County.  Mr. Betts brought the wagon to the station.  Of course after such privations both Mr. Cears and his horses were prostrated.  Mr. Cears had an awful appetite, but could retain no food upon his stomach for some time.  One of his horses recovered, but the other died within a few days after reaching the station.  Mr. Cears froze several of his fingers and both of his heels.  On Monday morning following, with a stage horse kindly lent to him by Mr. Betts, and his stronger horse, he took the mail route to Anita and reached home Tuesday afternoon.  On Wednesday he returned to Gopher Station, to return the borrowed horse, expecting to return on the one he left, but in the meantime the horse had died.  On Thursday Mr. Cears returned home on foot, coming by way of Jacob Johnson's near Casey and taking dinner at Mr. Ray's, who lived where Mr. Westman later lived.  No one but a person of imperturbability, bravery and indomitable resolution would have escaped from such peril with his life.


In the spring of 1864 the eastern part of Adair County was much excited by the inroad of a wild animal whose presence was first made known by its depredations upon domestic animals of the farmers of Harrison and Jefferson townships.  It first made its appearance upon Middle River in Harrison Township.  The groves bordering the river were at that time much denser than now, and afforded it an excellent shelter and place of retreat from whence it sallied in search of something to devour.  The report of its depredations extended to the settlers upon the river, creating considerable uneasiness.  Before long the animal removed its quarters to Jefferson Township and at once made its presence known by the destruction of colts, calves, sheep and hogs.  Not long after its arrival it was seen and reported to be of a red color and as large as a small mule.  The animal was again seen by some women who were gathering some gooseberries.  It was lying stretched upon the dead limb of a tree about twenty feet from the ground.  The person who first discovered it gave the alarm and the party retreated.  She described him as larger than the largest dog she had ever seen.  Previous to this time, in addition to his numerous attacks on domestic animals, he had made the settlers aware of his presence by cries at night, which, except that they were louder, resembled the cries of a cat.  Doubtless it belonged to the same family of animals.  A hunting party at once sallied forth in search of the animal, accompanied by the young lady who had seen him, but without success.  Traces of him were evident in the remains of ten shoats which were discovered partly devoured.  Besides these another gentleman lost about forty pigs, some of them large enough to weigh 100 pounds.  The excitement aroused by the presence of such a dangerous neighbor having become universal, a grand hunt was organized to rid the country of his presence.  All the men, arms and dogs were in requisition.  After beating the bush for a considerable time the animal soon started from his lair, but breaking through the lines he was plainly seen, but was enabled to escape unhurt.  After this he was seen no more, nor, we believe, heard from, but the fear that he might be still lurking in the timber was for a long time the cause of alarm and annoyance and deprived the good people of Middle River country of many a gooseberry pie.

The animal was probably what is known as the American panther.  It is rarely found, and especially in the parts of the country so sparsely wooded as Adair County.


On the 1st day of August, 1856, I arrived at a small settlement in the eastern part of Adair County, one among the numerous paper towns in Western Iowa at that time.  This was the summer preceding the winter still remembered by the old settlers as the hard winter of 1856-57.  The seasons had been and were still very dry;  crops of all kinds were very light, prairie grass was exceedingly light, and still it was about all the chance a newcomer had out of which to make feed to winter his stock.  The first thing for a man of a family to do was to get a house to live in.  Having done this I thought, as land seemed to be on the rise, I would secure a piece of land on which to make a home.  Although I had before leaving Missouri, where I had lived fourteen years, bought of different parties military land warrants amounting in all to 420 acres, intending to locate them on the public domain in Iowa, unfortunately for me, when I arrived here the land offices were closed with little or no hopes of being opened soon, thus I was forced to pay my money for land instead of keeping it for other uses.  By the time I had selected and purchased what land I wanted haymaking was well advanced.  With scythe and pitchfork I commenced making hay for between thirty-five and forty head of stock, three head of which were only horses.  Winter setting in rather early, found me still unprepared in the way for shelter for my stock, and on the very first day of December the stormy weather began.  My cattle were only partially sheltered from the storm by my hayrick and they began to freeze to death.  The weather continued exceedingly cold and stormy all winter.  On the coming of grass in the spring I had only two head of cattle living out of about thirty-six, the others dying mostly for the want of shelter.  That spring corn sold for $1.50 per bushel and during the summer following flour for $7.50 per hundred.  Some time during the summer, I think it was June, I wanted to see a man living in the southwestern part of the county and knowing that he lived somewhere near Nevin, a small colony from New England, accordingly one morning I struck out on foot for that village.  I knew I could get there some time on foot and thought best not to start on horseback, knowing that the streams were bad to cross with a horse, and I had also found it to be very hard to find grain to feed an animal.  I had no guide but a pocket compass which I used to keep myself in the proper bearing when no house or grove could be seen, which would answer the same purpose, which was nearly all the time, however.  After I had gone some ten or twelve miles I could see Greenfield, or a barn and one house perhaps all told, which was a very good guide, as I knew that Nevin lay directly south from that town at a distance of about eleven miles.  Late in the evening, after wading several streams, and traveling without a road, sometimes through grass and weeds higher than my head, hungry and tired, I reached the colony where I remained until the next day.

I could relate similar incidents enough to fill a volume, but I shall relate but one more.  In the latter part of June,1858, I was called upon to survey a road from Schweer's mill, now Hebron, in Grand River Township, north to the line between Adair and Guthrie counties.  I ran the road through by the second evening without any unusual occurrence.  We stopped with a widow just across the line in the edge of Guthrie County, in quite a small log cabin, and I thought that I never heard it thunder harder or rain more than it did that night.  In the morning, after waiting for the water to run down, for some of the sloughs would swim a horse, we started homeward, but in a few miles we came to North River, which had overflowed its banks and spread from hill to hill.  Seeing that we could not possibly cross there, a man living near by informed us that a man some miles below owned a canoe.  So we started with very little hope of getting across to hunt the man with the canoe.  Sure enough, when we got there the canoe was gone.  We got our dinner and after further consultation I proposed to construct a raft that I thought we could cross on if we could find a dead tree of sufficient size and very dry and light, which would float well.  We soon found a tree which suited us and after cutting it down, cut off four lengths and placing them together side by side, fastened them together by pinning four pieces of a sapling, cut and split, laying flat side down upon the logs, holding them securely together.  We all took hold, drew it into the water until it would float, then with one of the men at a time with a pole about ten feet long I began ferrying our company across, until all were carried over but the teamster, who was to follow as soon as the stream became fordable.  This sketch illustrates but a part of my experiences for the first few years in Adair County.


It is claimed and probably correct that William Alcorn and John Gilson were the first settlers in the north part of the county, Alcorn making a claim and building a house on section 27 and Gilson making a claim and putting a house on section 35, situated in what is now known as Jefferson Township.  About the same time or soon thereafter Benjamin Alcorn claimed and built a cabin on section 33, same township.  William Alcorn remained upon his claim for several years, while Gilson, who had a child die, became discouraged and sold out to Daniel Vancil.  At the time that Alcorn and Gaston settled on Middle River in Adair County, their nearest neighbors were twenty-five miles distant.  We give the names of those settlers in the township previous to 1855 in their order:  William Alcorn, John Gilson, Benjamin Alcorn, ----- Crow, John Phebus, ----- Pettus, ----- Collins, William Hollingsworth, George M. Holaday, Mahundra Hollingsworth, Samuel Minert and Jacob Bruce.

The pioneers as a class of people were generous and accommodating, although deprived of many of the privileges and blessing of an older settled country, yet their hearts were warm and sympathetic, which was made manifest in sickness or in trouble.  They also kept the latch string hanging out to the wayfarer, that he might find shelter and food.  It was a custom of the earl settlers when one went to the nearest trading point to send word the day before to his neighbors so that they might send for what they needed.  The same in milling.  One would do the milling for several.  At that day there was no class distinction --- all were on the same level.  None rich, but all poor.  Thugh living twenty miles away the were our friends and neighbors.  Intemperance, profanity and Sabbath breaking was the exception.  The young men of that day were not walking arsenals, with their pockets loaded down with revolvers, slung shots and brass knuckles as at the present time, but they grew to be sturdy, industrious, self-reliant young men, the pride of their parents, esteemed by their neighbors and respected by all who came to know them.

While it may be said truthfully that the pioneers of Adair County were a generous and hospitable people, it cannot be said that they always made the best of their straitened circumstances in the matter cleanliness, as the following incidents will substantiate.  Two young attorneys stopping with mine host of the ----- House, after retiring for the night, heard the hostess making inquiry of her daughters, who were in the kitchen, if they had "turned those chickens," which gave those young disciples of Blackstone visions of nice baked chicken for breakfast, which thought was transporting them to the land of dreams when their repose was disturbed by the mother making a loud call and the inquiry the second time, which elicited an answer in the negative.  They were then told to balance those chickens with that part which is last getting in over the fence, farthest from the flour in the barrel.  The announcement caused a cessation of saliva in the mouths of the young attorneys, which could be only started again by the frequent use of a pint flask.  On another occasion at the same place the travelers were awakened by the landlady pulling the children out of the trundle bed to get the sheet to do service as a table cloth.  And to show their down East friends how biscuits were manufactured in the West they carried a biscuit home, and the tenacity with which it hung together was due to the fact that a yellow dog had lost considerable of his hair whilst keeping watch over the flour barrel and meal box.  The reader must remember that this was before the days of patent flour and meal chests and when the family occupied one room of the house and dogs, cats and chickens the other.

We will relate one or two incidents which will show the spirit of accommodation that pervaded the hearts of the earl settlers.  On a certain time when it was very disagreeable in traveling, when houses were few and far between, and mine host had stowed away to the best advantage all the humanity that beds and bedding would admit, the landlord was heard to exclaim:  "No room for another unless he bunk with wife and me."  Hardly had the words been uttered when "Halloa!" was heard and a horseman claimed shelter and food.  The conditions were made known and accepted.  The belated traveler was fed and his clothes dried and then told to turn in, the host telling his wife to lay over next to the wall and telling the traveler to pile in, "but I swear you shan't sleep in the middle."

On another occasion, to show that where there is a will a way can be found to do good to others, in a room less than fourteen feet square sleeping room was had, although a little crowded, for ten full grown men, two women and three children, by the good wife putting the men, chairs and table outside, then spreading bedding on the floor from wall to door;  the men being admitted one at a time, were stowed away spoon fashion, which necessitated all turning at once when they wished to change positions, which caused considerable merriment which lasted well into the morning hours.

As there were many little incidents happening to the early settlers which were of considerable moment to them, and of which it is interesting for them in conversation to recall, it would be interesting  to relate them if space would permit.  However, I will close by saying that the happiest hours of my life were spent as a pioneer in Adair County.


The following quotation of one of the newspapers in regard to the severe winter of 1880,published at the time:

"The storm was the beginning of one of the longest and coldest winters on record.  It began snowing October 14th, and for three days the blizzard raged, blockading the railroads and highways everywhere.  The county was quite sparsely settled in this part of Iowa then.  The fine big barns and cattle sheds now so common were a rarity.  As a consequence the storm coming so early caught everyone unprepared.  Cattle and other stock perished by the thousands and many travelers caught unawares lost their lives.  There was no Indian summer that year.  The blizzard of October was followed by more snow and cold and there was almost no let up until April.  Many of the low, hay-thatched barns of that period were completely covered with snowdrifts and it became necessary to cut holes through the slough grass roofs to get feed and water to the animals within.  At other places tunnels were dug through the drifts to the doors leading to the stables.

"Fuel was scarce and corn and weeds were often burned in lieu of coal.  Corn husking and plowing was postponed till spring, when it was common to see farmers planting corn in one field and others husking in an adjoining field."


During the spring of 1908 the Redpath Chautauqua men induced the business men of Greenfield to lend assistance to inaugurate a chautauqua to be held at this place in August of that year.  This was the first movement in this direction ever taken in Greenfield.  It has never been materialized, however, until 1911, when, and each year since, the Redpath-Vawter Company has conducted successful sessions at which some of the best talent in the country has contributed.  In 1913 and 1914 Fontanelle has also had successful chautauqua sessions.


The first houses in the county were built of logs, but early a sawmill was built on Middle River near what is now Port Union and one on the Nodaway four or five miles west of Fontanelle, which worked up some native lumber, mostly oak or maple, with some basswood, elm cut along the streams.  The yielding nature of the soil along the stream banks and the immense volume of flood water causing the streams to overflow and spread over the bottoms in every big rain, made it impossible to construct dams of any permanency, so none of the mills were able to continue in business, although native lumber was supplied for a considerable number of buildings, the first courthouse and jail at Fontanelle being built almost entirely of native lumber.  Later portable sawmills made some lumber, but the pine shipped in from abroad was preferred to the hard wood of the forests and the demand for native lumber ceased.

In the days before the railroad the people had to haul their wheat for flour to Lewis, Cass County;  Mount Etna, Adams County; to Cromwell or Creston, Union County;  or to Pearson's, Guthrie County, which meant a drive of from twenty to thirty-five miles for almost all of the farmers of the county.

Upon promise of a bonus of $1,000 a man built a mill for grinding grain near where the depot now stands, the power to have been supplied by four huge wings after the style of the Holland mills, but the wind was too uncertain and too erratic to accomplish anything except to occasionally grind a little cornmeal.  A mill was built at Port Union, which did some business for a short time.

In 1881 Jacob Bahlman and Wendel Mathes, farmers living not far from Fontanelle, built a mill at that place, which cost about seven thousand dollars, which has been operated continuously since, doing good work.  This is now owned and operated by J. F. Dory.  Bahlman was postmaster at Fontanelle during the first Cleveland administration.  He afterwards emigrated to Argentina, where it is reported he died some years since.  Mathes has been living in retirement in Fontanelle for some years and owns a large farm in Jackson Township.

A grist mill was built at Greenfield several years ago, but soon failed, then sold and torn down.

A flour mill was built on Middle River, a mile east of Casey, near the county line, which did business for several years, but the uncertainty of water power compelled a shut-down of the plant.


At several different times efforts have been made to find coal in different locations in Adair County.  A number of prospect holes have been dug near Fontanelle, the deepest going down 400 feet from the surface without finding any workable vein.  Drilling was carried on to between two hundred and three hundred feet in Jackson Township without success.  The supervisors had offered a bounty of $300 for fifty bushels of coal mined in Adair County and delivered at Greenfield.  L. R. Cairns sunk a shaft in 1892 in Eureka Township six miles south of Adair Town and at a depth of 240 feet found a three-foot vein of good quality coal.  He claimed to have sunk a prospect hole forty feet deeper and found a vein four feet thick, but this was never developed.  From the state mine inspector's report there were mined 2,000 tons in 1893.  The report of the output for succeeding years is not available, but there was an increase for several years.  However, the depth of the mine and the distance from rail transportation prevented it from becoming a profitable business and accordingly mining operations were suspended indefinitely.


The following statistics show that the county as a whole has had a steady growth until the year 1900, at which time the number of people began to decrease and has continued to do so every year since.

The Town of Adair had 463 inhabitants in 1885;  in 1890 it had 722;  in 1895, 843;  in 1900, 879;  in 1905, 961;  in 1910 900.

Bridgewater had 365 inhabitants in 1910.

Fontanelle had 923 inhabitants in 1885;  in 1890, 830;  in 1895, 859;  in 1900, 853;  in 1905, 847;  in 1910, 789.

Greenfield, in 1885, had 1,100 inhabitants;  in 1890, 1,048;  in 1895, 1,244;  in 1900, 1,300;  in 1905, 1,445;  in 1910, 1,379.

The population of the county as a whole for different years has been:  In 1854, 150;  in 1856, 663;  in 1860, 984;  in 1863, 900;  in 1865, 1,097;  in 1867, 1, 594;  in 1870, 3,982;  in 1875, 7,045;  in 1880, 11,667;  in 1885, 14,102;  in 1890, 14,584;  in 1895, 15,504;  in 1900, 16,192;  in 1905, 15,110;  in 1910, 14,420.

The present population of Adair County (1915) is 14,069.  The following is the 1915 population of the townships and towns:  Adair (town), 1,007;  Bridgewater (town), 362;  Bridgewater, 29;  Casey (town), 107;  Eureka, 618;  Fontanelle (town), 860;  Grand River, 585;  Greenfield (town), 1,615;  Greenfield, 95;  Grove, 608;  Harrison, 667;  Jackson, 597;  Jefferson, 622;  Lee, 467;  Lincoln, 654;  Orient (town), 450;  Orient, 595;  Prussia, 635;  Richland, 604;  Summerset, 554;  Summit, 550;  Union, 545;  Walnut, 653;  Washington, 585.


In 1864 Abraham Lincoln received 199 votes in the county and George B. McClellan 47.

In 1872 U. S. Grant received 757 votes and Horace Greeley 211.

In 1876 Hayes got 1,334 and Tilden 593 in the county.

In 1880 J. A. Garfield received 1,606, W. S. Hancock 516, and James B. Weaver, populist, 519.

In 1884 Blaine received 1,814 votes and Cleveland 1,318.

In 1888 Benjamin Harrison received 1,883 votes, Cleveland got 1,178, and the populist ticket received 108.

In 1892 Harrison received 1,836, Cleveland 1,264.

1n 1896 William McKinley received 2,127 votes and William J. Bryan received 1,530.

In 1900 McKinley received 2,827 and Bryan 1,618.

In 1904 Theodore Roosevelt received 2,303 and Alton B. Parker got 895 votes.

In 1908 William H. Taft received 2,015 votes; William J. Bryan 1,323.

In 1912 William H. Taft received 1,248 votes;  Theodore Roosevelt, progressive, received 890;  and Woodrow Wilson, 1,195.


In the last part of the year 1887 a few of the farmers interested in mutual insurance met at Greenfield and organized a county association for the purpose of mutual assistance incase of loss by fire or lightning, and in March, 1888, the association first commenced business with an insurable capital of about sixty thousand dollars, which early in the year was increased to about one hundred thousand dollars.  The first officers elected by the association were:  L. M. Kiburn, president;  E. C. Crawford, vice president;  T. C. Heacock, D. J. Eatinger, E. C. Duncan, directors.  The board elected J. E. Brooks as secretary and O. A. Tuttle as treasurer.  Some years later G. G> Rechtenbaugh of Jackson Township became vice president in place of E. C. Crawford and upon his decease T. C. Heacock was elected to the place which he held until his removal to Kansas in the early years of 1900.  The directors have so far enjoyed the confidence of the membership of the association that vacancies have been made only by death or removal from the county in the twenty-seven years of active business.  The president, secretary and treasurer have occupied these positions since the beginning.  Other directors at present (1915) are:  C. J. Eatinger, vice president;  J. G. Hendry, Fred Rohner and Loren Sulgrove.  The company was incorporated in the year 1888 and reincorporated in 1909.  It has never had a "boom," but has maintained a steady, average growth of around one hundred thousand dollars a year in amount of its risks, until it now has over three million dollars in risks confined to Adair and adjoining counties.  It has paid over sixty thousand dollars in over six hundred different losses and has effected a saving of as much more to its patrons.  It is distinctly one of the live institutions of Adair County.


In the early days of settlement of Adair County, between 1850 and 1861, old John Brown had a line of "underground railroad" from Missouri to Canada, passing through this county, one station being kept by Azariah Root in the grove two miles west of Fontanelle.  Abner Root, son of Azariah, a young man, afterwards a soldier in the War of the Rebellion, and later sheriff of Adair County, once related the following incident of that eventful time which shows the high courage, self-sacrifice and devotion to a high ideal in some of the men of those days:

"A considerable part of the early settlers were pro-slavery in sentiment and the utmost secrecy had to be observed in passing fugitive slaves from station to station along the line through Southern Iowa.  On one cold mid-winter evening, when there was just enough snow on the ground to make good sledding, John Brown called at the door of my father's house with seven negroes.  He said, 'Take these people to --------'s at Winterset before light tomorrow morning.'  With these words he quickly drove away.  While father was hitching up the sled my mother took the cold and hungry negroes into the kitchen and gave them some hot food and coffee.  The sled once ready the negroes were deposited in the bottom in a prone position and then covered with heavy blankets, for fear some one would see them while en route to our destination.  In this manner we drove the thirty-six snow-covered miles to Winterset and deposited our human freight at the next station.

"At another time I took a load to Johnnie Pearson's, who was an old Quaker with a grist mill several miles beyond what is now Stuart in Guthrie County and whose house was another station on the route.  When I reached the mill the miller came to the wagon to unload, but I had the negroes covered and said that the grist was not for the mill but for Pearson alone."

If heroes ever lived, the man, who, living in a hostile neighborhood, defying a vicious law which, upon discovery, would subject him to a heavy fine and imprisonment, without hope of reward, would take long drives of thirty or forty miles on a lonely trail, on winter nights, to help his fellows from slavery to freedom, deserves to be called a hero;  and of such material the pioneers were made.


In the spring of 1864 occurred the murder of a soldier who was home on furlough in Adams County.  It was the result of a neighborhood feud of long standing, intensified by the war spirit of the times.  The murderer was arrested, claiming that the act was in self defense and justifiable, and was brought to the Adair County jail at Fontanelle to be kept until the trial.  As usual in such cases, the clan to which the dead man belonged determined, right or wrong, to avenge their comrade's death, without waiting for the law to dete8rmine the right of the matter.  They came across country on horseback to the jail at Fontanelle and against the earnest protest of John Shreves, the sheriff, who was powerless to resist the mob, they battered down the door to the cell, took the prisoner some distance out of town, and hanged him to a tree, also riddling his body with bullets.  Efforts were made to bring the ruffians to justice, but so terrorized were the people that no testimony could be secured against them.


The first marriage license issued in Adair County was dated May 6, 1854, and was issued to William Stinson and Elizabeth F. Crow.  The ceremony was performed on the next day, probably by Judge Holaday, although the records contain no record of the same.  The second license was issued June 9, 1855 to David McClure and Rheuhama Thompson, who were married the following day.  Licenses during the whole of the year 1855 were issued to the following couples:  D. M. Valentine and Martha Root;  Samuel Thompson and Sarah Garner;  Manoah S. Sullivan and Sarah A. Standley;  Isaac J. Farlow and Martha E. Bringham.  There were only six marriages in the county during 1856 and they were as follows:  Natheldron Thomis and Rebecca Tidd;  John Murphy and Amelia Friend;  William Torrents and Ellen Hodson;  Joseph W. Betts and Polly C. THompson;  John Johnston and Rebecca Davis;  Sion Murphy and Polly A. Roberts.  In 1857 the following couples received licenses in the county:  John Tomkins and Nancy A. Kerby;  Joseph L. Ellis and Theresa M. Trask;  Homer Penfield and Martha Campbell;  Philip Augustine and Sarah E. Wilaon;  J. K. Valentine and Ellen Root;  J. R. Pierce and Ruth Love;  Redington J. Shields and Mary J. Aldridge;  W. W. Starr and Elizabeth Aldridge.  Ten marriage licenses were issued during the year 1858 of which the following is a list:  Eri W. Chapman and Maria T. Richardson;  James Minert and Nancy J. McClure;  Jonathan Glossup and Cynthia Love;  William Hiatt and Pamelia Johnson;  G. W. Neal and Annie D. Zinman;  T. M. Moore and Francis Parr;  Leander Garrett and Emily J. Keen;  S. W. Armstrong and Celia Brainard;  Sylvester Bennett and Diadema Lee;  Henry Murphy and Susan Lucas.


The following records from the plat book of Adair County give the dates of the platting of the different towns and additions in the county.  Some of these towns were what is known as paper towns, having existed on paper only.

Summerset, now Fontanelle, was laid out during the month of May, 1855, and the plat recorded upon the 30th of the same month.  This belonged to the county.

Greenfield, the present county seat, was filed for record upon September 30, 1856, by Milton C. Munger.

Manchester was filed for record December 19, 1855, by Albert W. Mathews.

Nevins was filed for record August 17, 1857, by Roswell W. Turner and Richard B. Smith, both from Boston, Mass.

Rutt's Addition to Fontanelle was filed December 19, 1857, by Abram Rutt.

Arnold's Addition to Fontanelle was filed August 20, 1857, by Douglas F. Arnold of Madison County.

Ballard's Addition to Fontanelle was filed by Cal Ballard on May 14, 1860.

Casey was filed for record October 20, 1868, by A. G. Weeks and R. H. Marshall.

Union Addition to Stuart was filed by Henry Royce, B. F. Allen and Charles Stuart on December 29, 1870.

Adair was filed August 20, 1872, by George C. Tallman, of Brooklyn, N. Y.

Waggener & Morgan's Addition to Greenfield was filed May 20, 1875, by Judson Morgan and J. S. Waggener.

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company's Addition to the Town of Adair was filed October 28, 1873.

Second Union Addition to Stuart was filed August 3, 1874, by Charles Stuart, B. F. Allen and H. F. Royce.

Patton's Addition to Adair was filed February 23, 1876, by J. M. Patton.

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company's Addition to Adair was filed August 24, 1876.

Patton's Second Addition to Adair was filed October 18, 1877.

Southwest Addition to the Town of Greenfield was filed May 6, 1880, by B. M. McArthur, W. M. Rodgers and D. W. Church.

Heaton's Addition to Greenfield was filed October 30, 1880, by D. Heaton.

Myers' Addition to Greenfield was filed by E. V. Myers on June 20, 1881.

John Don Carlos' Addition to Greenfield was filed August 2, 1881, by John Don Carlos and O. G. Pratt.

Hunt's Addition to Greenfield was filed January 11, 1882 by C. B. Hunt.

Orient was filed for record March 12, 1879, by Charles E. Perkins.

Colby's Addition to Orient was filed October 21, 1880, by J. N. Colby.

Henderson's Addition to Greenfield was filed April 10, 1882, by Oliver S. Henderson, of Henry County, Ill.

Taylor's Addition to Greenfield was filed May 20, 1882, by Henry Taylor.

Manning's Addition to Greenfield was filed October 31, 1882, by Edwin Manning, of Van Buren County, Ia.

Clark's Addition to Adair was filed March 30, 1883, by Thomas M. Clark.

The original plat of Bridgewater was filed October 13, 1885,on land owned by C. E. Perkins.  The first addition to this town was filed on May 7, 1889;  the second on April 29, 1890, and the third on March 16, 1893.

Walsh's Addition to the Town of Adair was filed July 8, 1913.  Patten's Fourth Addition to the town was filed March 3, 1890.  Eby's Addition was filed September 7, 1896.  Patten's Third Addition to Adair was filed May 10, 1884.

The plat of the now defunct Town of Carbondale was filed October 12, 1892, by William S. and Caroline Chenoweth.  It was located on the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 33, township 77, Range 33.

Hetherington's plat of subdivision of out-lot 9 to Fontanelle was filed August 27, 1908.

Sprague's Addition to Orient was filed April 19, 1897, by E. H. and Martha A. Sprague.

Brown's Addition to Orient was filed August 9, 1901, by L. D. and Rebecca B. Brown.

Miars' Addition to Orient was filed June 19, 1902, by Isaac and Mary E. Miars.

Wiley's First Addition to Orient was filed April 27, 1900, and Wiley's Second Addition was filed April 15, 1910.

Martin & McCollum's First Addition to Greenfield was filed August 11, 1893;  Martin & McCollum's Second Addition was filed April 14, 1894;  Martin & McCollum's Third Addition was filed April 4,1895.  Littleton's Addition to Greenfield was filed August 23, 1897.  Littleton's Second Addition was filed November 9, 1899.

The plat of a town to be named Lieth City was filed July 22, 1902, by Charles L. and Mary Waltz, John D. and Hannah S. Showers.  This was located in township 74 north, range 30 west, between sections 20 and 21.


By Myrtle Rivenburgh

While in the employ of the Greenfield Transcript several months ago I became interested in a special way in the Greenfield Cemetery.  One day as I walked among the graves on a visit to the cemetery and read the inscriptions on the stones, they brought many questions to my mind which bore no answer, also expressed a new and curious meaning.  I spelled out the names of some of the boys and girls who had once attended school and skipped along these streets together.  Then there were others who had walked those paths with me in former days without the slightest thought that they would so soon be sleeping with the rest.  As I beheld the city of the dead on South Hill and the city of the living on North Hill, I wondered which of the two had the largest population.

Upon investigating the matter I found that there were over twice as many graves on South Hill as persons residing in the Town of Greenfield, on North Hill.

From the time of the first settlers until April 6, 1877, the citizens had used as a burial ground, with the permission of A. P. Littleton, a space of land south of where the county bridge yard now stands.  During the intervening years, January 22, 1871, the county supervisors had purchased forty acres of Mrs. Amy McWhinney, the land lying southeast of town, to be used as a county poor farm.  However, the supervisors decided later to buy northeast of town for this purpose.  They then sold thirty-five acres of the former tract to W. B. Martin, April 8, 1885, for $2,450, reserving five acres, the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 18-75-31, which was sold by warranty deed on April 6, 1877, to the Greenfield Township trustees for the sum of $85, the small tract to be used as a cemetery.

Of the bodies moved from the former burial ground were those of Isaac Myers (father), Mrs. Mary Vance (sister), Mrs. Valina Myers (sister-in-law), Prentice Myers (nephew), Ida Littleton (niece of Joe, ham and James Myers of this place), Doctor Edgington, Mrs. Dow Parker and child, Mrs. Perry Parker, Mr. Bagg and Mrs. Swan.  Other citizens give the information that there were probably not more than a dozen bodies buried at this place and so far as possible all were moved to the new location.

In the year 1891 the township trustees (Richard Smith, O. A. Tuttle and R. H. West) deemed it necessary to enlarge the boundaries and, in order to meet the required wants, it became necessary to condemn the following tract of land:  Commencing at the northeast corner of the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 18, in township north of range 31 west, and running west 50 rods thence south 64 rods, to the place of beginning; except so much of said land as is now occupied as a cemetery.  This proceeding was attended to at the November term of court, 1891.  The verdict of the jury set aside the sum of $917 as the price to be paid for the tract, which includes fifteen acres.  Since that date there has been no additional land purchased.

In June, 1892, County Surveyor Sargent and a force of men worked several days surveying and plotting the new part.  About four hundred lots, fourteen by twenty-six feet in dimensions, were plotted and the work of fencing began.  The cemetery now includes twenty acres of land and about one thousand two hundred lots, varying in size from ten to twenty-five.  A portion of it is not yet laid out in lots.


Like most of the other counties in the state the early settlers got the general idea that the "speculators," as the people who bought land which they did not improve were called, were legitimate objects of graft effected through taxation.  Many of the early contracts of county and township officers carried exorbitant bills for services rendered.  It is related as an instance of the way things were done under the old system of county government, when each township elected a member of the board of supervisors, and when each bill before approved should be sworn to by the party making it, that at one time the son-in-law of one of the members of the board put in a bill for $10 for work rendered the county.  The father took it and wrote 199 before the 10, but the son said that he could not swear to it.  When the bill came up for action the father said to the board, "Here is a bill not sworn to.  I move we cut it down $10 and allow it.  We will teach him not to put in a bill not sworn to."  The board promptly voted accordingly, thinking they had a good joke on the person presenting the bill.


A. P. Littleton was born in Fayette County, Ohio, and drove from his home in Ohio to Greenfield with a single horse and buggy, arriving here in June, 1859.  He married Kate Myers of the County of Fayette, O., in Greenfield, in September, same year.  They were the first to be married in the town.  Mr. Littleton started the first store in Greenfield, which was located on the corner lot just north of the First National Bank.  At that time he bought the goods for his store in St. Joseph, Mo., driving an ox team, loaded with products grown here which he sold there, returning with a load of dry goods and groceries.  In this way it took two weeks to make the round trip.  For twelve years he had the only store in Greenfield and he continued in this line of business for a total of twenty years.  In 1880 Mr. Littleton was one of the organizers of the Citizens Bank, now the First National.  In 1898 he purchased the entire stock of this institution and on June 1, 1900, the Citizens Bank became the First National Bank, with Mr. Littleton as the first president.  In the early history of the town Mr. Littleton was often called upon to manage the affairs.  During the time the county seat was moved to Greenfield from Fontanelle Mr. Littleton was chairman of the board of supervisors and his position was a very important one during those stormy times.  He was also postmaster for several years during the early days, when the salary amounted to about ten dollars a year.  He also served as justice of the peace.  Mr. Littleton is still living at Riverside, Cal., having retired from business several years ago.

D. N. Dunlap was born in Sangamon County, Ill., on November 17, 1838, of English and Scotch stock.  He served during the Rebellion in Company B of the One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois Regiment.  He performed very meritorious service and saw much hard action.  In 1867 he married Mary A. Shannon of New York.  Mr. Dunlap lived for many years in Warrensburg and Decatur, Ill., where he was engaged in the grain business and farming and he then came to Fontanelle, while this country was still new.  He engaged in the grain business at Fontanelle and built the first elevator there.

Two of the most notable characters in the history of Adair County were Mrs. Nancy Fort and Mrs. Thankful Priddy, twin sisters, who were born in Hancock County, Ind., in the year 1821, July 21, and lived to be over ninety years of age.  They were married in their native county and then the two families came west and settled in Jasper County.  During October, 1867, they moved to farms in Adair County, where their families were raised to manhood and womanhood.

J. N. Haddock, an early citizen of Greenfield, was born in Philadelphia and in 1858 came to Iowa City, Ia., and there engaged in the study of law until 1861 when he returned to Philadelphia and served on guard duty.  In 1865 he returned to Iowa and completed his law course and was admitted to the bar.  He was married to Ann J. Smiley in May, 1862.  He came to Fontanelle in 1873 and to Greenfield in 1875 when the county seat was moved to the latter place.  At Fontanelle he formed a partnership with J. H. Bailey.  In 1878 he was elected clerk of the District Court of the county and served six years in this capacity.  After leaving the clerk's office he formed a partnership with A. L. Hager which continued until the latter's removal to Des Moines.  For a number of years he was member of the board of insanity.  He served as mayor of Greenfield for four years.  Mr. Haddock died July 1, 1911, at Cambridge, N. Y., at the home of his daughter.

James M. Gow, a native of Washington, Washington County, Pa., came to Adair County in the fall of 1870 in company with his brother, George L.  He first settled in Fontanelle and shortly started the Adair County Reporter in partnership with James C. Gibbs.  In 1875 this paper was moved to Greenfield, although Mr. Gow still resided in Fontanelle.  In 1881 he removed to the county seat.  In 1889 the Reporter was merged with the Transcript and the business was carried on by Mr. Gow in partnership with C. B. Hunt and afterwards with A. J. Schrader.  In 1900 the Transcript was sold to H. P. Gow and James M. Gow then devoted his time to farming interests until the time of his death.

Franklin Letts, one of the very first business men to come to Greenfield, was born in New York State in 1832.  He moved to Michigan and afterwards to Ohio and Illinois.  In 1858 he married Jane E. Raymond of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  In 1862 he enlisted in Company D, One Hundred and Second Illinois Infantry and in 1868 he came overland to Adair County and to Greenfield where he resided until his death on April 9, 1911.  When Mr. Letts first came to Greenfield the A. P. Littleton store was the only one in the town.  He pursued the blacksmith trade most of the time here, in company with Blakeley.

John J. Hetherington was a native of Pennsylvania and after he received his education, engaged in clerical work in Pottsville.  He served during the Civil war in the Twenty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry and by his valorous services won a medal from the state.  He was married to Rebecca Stilwell at Chicago on April 21, 1864.  To them were born four children:  Charles, Jessie, George and Bessie.  On March 17, 1863 he went to Atchison, Kan., where he spent four and a half months, then came to Fontanelle, this county, where he engaged in the abstract and land business and began the study of law.  He was admitted to the bar in 1869.  He had seen considerable service as deputy clerk when, in 1872, he was elected to the office of clerk of the District Court, serving therein three successive terms.  In 1875 he removed to Greenfield and there continued in the land and abstract business, the firm being Hetherington & McCollum.  He also filled the office of county judge, serving the unexpired term of his predecessor and one full term.  He engaged in the banking business with Mr. Bevington and A. P. Littleton and helped organize the Citizens Bank of Greenfield.  He remained in the banking business for seventeen years, and then retired, only to be appointed postmaster of Greenfield, which position he filled for four years.  He was the first worshipful master of the Crusade Lodge No. 386, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Greenfield.  Mr. Hetherington died in 1910.

Daniel Heaton, a Pennsylvanian, came to Adair County in 1875 and started the Adair County Bank at Greenfield.  It was the first bank in the county.  Mr. Heaton became sole proprietor of this institution in 1887 and then built the structure which at present houses the institution.  He was also one of the organizers of the Exchange Bank at Fontanelle and was at one time its president.  Mr. Heaton died at his home in Wichita, Kan., on June 17, 1907.

John G. Culver came to Fontanelle in the early '70s and took charge of the high school.  While teaching here he began the study of law with Galen F. Kilburn and after two years' time entered Kilburn's office and took charge of the land business.  On the removal of the county seat to Greenfield Mr. Kilburn took his office to that place, leaving it under the management of Mr. Culver, he himself going to Creston to reside.  Shortly afterward Mr. Culver was admitted to the bar and became one of the leading lawyers in the county.  His death occurred January 8, 1907, at the age of fifty-eight years.

James C. Gibbs was born in the State of New York on December 3, 1820.  He engaged in farming until 1855, when he determined to come west and seek a home.  In June he arrived in Adair County and as they were just laying out the county seat he decided to cast his fortunes in that place, then called Summerset, now Fontanelle.  He bought a lot and constructed a cabin and in August of the same year brought his family to his new home.  He was the first settler in the township.  He lived in the town for many yers, being engaged in the various businesses of hotel keeping, newspaper, mercantile and real estate.  In 1856 he was made postmaster of Fontanelle and held the position for two years.  In the spring of 1857 he was elected school fund commissioner and held this office also for two years.  He was deputy clerk at one time, county judge and in 1867 county treasurer.  In 1862 he raised a company in Adair County for service in the War of the Rebellion, which was afterwards known as Company D, Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry, of which he was commissioned captain, but after being in camp for about six months he was compelled to resign on account of sickness.  He was married September 9, 1846, to Phoebe L. Filer and to them were born seven children, five surviving him:  Josephine, Alanson O., Gertrude I., Lillian A. and Charles A., who were with him at the time of his death in 1907.  The deceased moved his family to his farm in Summerset Township in 1878 and lived there until the fall of 1890 when he and his wife came to Greenfield.  They lived here until the death of Mrs. Gibbs in 1894, after which he made his home with his many children.  He was a charter member of the Fontanelle Masonic Lodge.

William D. McCollum was born in Vermont in 1856 and when about eighteen years of age came to Jefferson Township, Adair County, where he remained one year and taught school during the winter months.  In 1875 he was appointed deputy county auditor and located in Fontanelle.  When the the county seat was moved he also came to Greenfield.  He was elected county surveyor in 1877 and served for two years.  At the end of this time he engaged in the land abstract business in Greenfield.  He served three terms as mayor of Greenfield, and was city treasurer at the time of his death on June 21, 1913.  He was married in 1877 to Myra Peat of Greenfield and four children were born to them:  Marian C., Howe D., H. Glenn and Fausta.  This wife died in 1898 and in 1900 Mr. McCollum was married to Mary Romesha of Greenfield.  Two children were born to them:  William D. and Mary Ellen.



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