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Story of Nevin (Iowa)

by J. Loran Ellis (1901)


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Chapter IV, 1858 (continued)

Hoskins Family || Nevinville Postoffice || Ten New Comers || Independence Day || A License to Marry || The Beaths


On the 20th of June, 1858, Nevin became the tarrying place of Mr. Joseph Hoskins and his wife Sarah, with their two sons,  William and George.  Mr. Hoskins, born and raised in England, was by profession, a painter and a plumber.  He came to Boston in 1846, and in 1847, he was in the United States service in Mexican waters.  He the same year, after his return to Boston, married the elder sister of Richard Hargrave, who was Nova Scotia born.  Before starting for Iowa Mr. Hoskins bought the 40-acre lot where he is now living.  He had no funds to use in building, so they rented rooms, in the starting village, for awhile; and he found some employment in working for others, but was not able to improve his farm.

In August, 1862, he himself, went to the new oil fields in Pennsylvania where his brother Edwin, was then employed.  Later, his family followed him there.  In March, 1867, his wife died there.  His second wife, the present Martha, was married to him in 1875, at Warren; and about 1880, they, with their son "Bert," born there, came to Nevin again; where he bought an additional 40-acres, and where they have pursued farming to some extent.  Bert is married, and operates the farm.

William and George, Sarah's sons, are married, and have made Nebraska their home, many years.


The Nevin settlers were twelve miles from Adair, the nearest postoffice.  They in 1856, and again in 1857, petitioned the postoffice department for an office nearby; but both petitions were refused, on account of the extra expense of supplying the office from Mr. Lock's mail route.  In 1858, a new mail route was established to run from Winterset, by way of Nevin to Quincy and back, weekly; commencing July 1st.  So the 1858 petition was granted, except that the office was named "Nevinville," instead of Nevin as asked; from the reason that there was already a postoffice called "Nevin," in Ohio.  The office was located in the southwest quarter of section 2, township 73, range 32, Adams county.  The national administration being then Democratic, under President Buchanan, Mr. Reuben Stephenson was made postmaster at Nevinville.  The first out-going mail, containing thirty-seven letters, was sent Wintersetward on July 8th.


The latest newcomers to Nevin from the old Bay state during 1858, was a party of ten from Boston, who arrived on Thursday, September 30th.  Their names were:  Mr. Ivory Harlow, his wife Olive, and their son John; Mrs. Abram Buell and two children, Daniel and Mary; Mrs. George; Miss Kate Harris; Miss Julia Harlow, and Mrs. Almira Beath.     The latter, however, was from Michigan, since leaving Boston.


The glorious "Fourth of July" was observed on Monday, July 5th, by these Yankee settlers.  Early in the forenoon quite a number, both of women and men, took teams and drove to South grove, quite a stimulating prelude.  They brought back poles, forked stakes and leafed boughs of trees; which were taken to the common, where an ample awning or shade was erected; under which the celebration was held.  A spread-on-table dinner was laid.  The "Boston" ladies had brought their finest table linen and silverware with them from the "Hub"; it was all here displayed in fine array on the dinner tables.  The viands were quite satisfactory; though it must be remarked that owing to a limited supply of dry beans in the place, there was but one pot of the proverbial "Boston Baked Beans" on the dinner tables, and as a result little Fannie White went from the table crying for more beans.

Sixty-five persons, old and young, all at one sitting, took their dinners here.     After dinner a hastily arranged literary program was carried out as follows:    An opening prayer was offered by Mr. Henry Harris.  Then came the singing of "America," led by Mr. Hazeltine.  After this, all present listened to an address by Mr. Chamberlain, the Sunday school superintendent, which was especially to Sunday school children.  Then came more music.  After that Mr. C. Jones read the "Declaration of Independence."  Speeches followed.    Toasts were given, and responded to by Mr. John Bixby, Mr. George White, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Peter Chamberlain, Mr. Arad Harlow and others.  Towards evening the people again had refreshments at the dining table.  In the early evening they had a display of "fireworks" -- homemade of course -- they had to be.  The painter (Mr. Hoskins) had some spirits of turpentine on hand and Mr. Stephenson had plenty of candle-wicking balls in his store.  These two articles were utilized.  The balls of wicking were thoroughly saturated with the turpentine, then were set on fire as needed and thrown heaven-ward, by hand, a feat severe on the hands.  In this, Mr. Ellis's skill was more useful than any after dinner speech he might attempt.


Mr. Joseph Beath furnishes the following account of how a young couple in the year 1858 obtained a license to marry:

Mr. Loren Richmond and Miss Celia Whitney, from Cass county, had both been working at Stephenson's hotel most of the late winter and spring, and had thus became acquainted with each other.  They decided to get married.  Herewith went a story of the good old times, when everything was right and easy, according to modern philosophers.

The couple had arranged to be married on the morning of July 4th, and to go the same day to Whitneyville, the home of her brother, the late Frank Whitney of Atlantic, where friends were to meet them.  A necessary article in the program was a license; but on the day they were to go for it, there came one of those "dews" that were so common that summer, which sent the water of the river just west of the village from bluff to bluff.  As the "steamboat" had not yet arrived (except on paper), it looked as though there would be no wedding.  Saturday morning the water was inside the banks, but the bridge was gone.  So a number of us took a team and wagon, and two other horses, which Mr. Richmond and Mr. R. Stephenson, his witness, were going to ride.     After finding a suitable place to cross, we took the wagon box for a boat to run the two men over in; but the witness was afraid to venture.  Mr. Richmond then asked the others if there was any one that would go with him, and the writer offered his services.  Then we could get only one old mare to swim; so, on the trip, we had to "ride and tie," turn about.  Westly Homan was then living in a log house, near where Mr. Kirkpatrick now lives, in Carl township.  Mrs. Homan was asked for the use of a horse to ride to Quincy and back.  She said that the neighborhood was out on a wolf hunt, but that there was a horse in the stable, which we could have after it was fed.  Then we asked if we could get dinner there.  She said yes.   We had coffee, chicken and corn bread, the best she had.  After dinner we bridled and saddled our horses, were into the road and were ready to mount when a man about forty rods away, coming towards us, hallooed, -- "Where are you going with that horse?" we answered back, --To Quincy.  "No you don't," said he.   We then waited until he came up, then told him the urgency of the case.  He said he couldn't help it; they had run down their horses after the wolf and had left him while they got dinner and fresh horses; and he was going to have that horse.  I always thought that, as we were strangers to him, he mistrusted that we might never return the horse.  So we had to renew our "ride and tie" business.  The road by the present Cummins place was where it now is, and I was riding when we came to the first slough west.    The mare stopped in the middle of it up to her knees in mud.  I clucked and coaxed; but no go.  I sat there a long time, dreading to get off into the mud.    Finally, I made up my mind and had raised my foot to get off, when the mare raised hers and walked off.  We finally reached Quincy and found the county judge could not get there from "Simpson" later, Brookville, now, Brooks.  Good luck, however, struck us here at Quincy, for Uncle Bennie Neal was just going to Simpson in a wagon and he said we could ride with him, there and back.   So we secured the license, came back and got supper with Uncle Bennie, the hotel keeper.  Then Richmond said that he was given out, and it was no use talking, he could not walk to Nevin, nor half way there that night.  So he laid his case before the hotel keeper and told him he had only $2.50 with him, but would give him that if he would get him to the river west of Nevin that night.  "Uncle Bennie" told his hired man that he would give him half of the money if he would go, which he did.   We got there about midnight.    We found one of the stringers of the low bridge, over which we crossed after turning the old mare loose.  The hired man returned to Quincy and was sick for a week after.

The next day bright and early, Justice Stephenson made Loren and Celia man and wife, and they with thankful hearts went to their new Cass county home.  This marriage was the first in Colony township, and the second wedding within Nevin limits.


In the summer of 1858, Mr. Joseph Beath bought lot No. 1 in block I, and in September commenced to put up a small building thereon; later on, it was enlarged.  Here his family lived until April, 1860, when they moved to a 100-acre farm that he had bought from a Mr. Norton, at the South grove.  Here he did some farming and a little blacksmithing.  Some years later, the farm was sold to Henry Whipple; when, or a few years later, they obtained a 40-acre farm southwest of Quincy.  In 1875 they sold out and bought the first 40 acres of his present nice farm in Washington township.  Mr. and Mrs. Beath retired from active farm life and moved to Corning, a few years ago, where they now live in their own quiet home.  Their five children; Julia, Jennie, John, Frank and Lura, are all married and have children, all of the children but one, are on Adams county farms.



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