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Story of Nevin (Iowa)

by J. Loran Ellis (1901)


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Chapter IV, 1858 (continued)

Uncle Mack || "Sir" Richard || The Congregational Church || The Harris's || Carl and Hebron || An Honest Dutchman || First Fair at Quincy


The family of Mr. James McDougall came to the New England Colony, from the old Maine home, on the 23d of September, 1858.  The family consisted of Mrs. McDougall and their three children, Mary Ann, Phebe and David.  They soon moved into their new farm house.  Mr. McDougall, familiarly  called "Uncle Mack," farmed, and grew a fine grove of timber.  The daughters were school teachers.  Mary Ann taught the first school held in the first Nevin school house.  She taught also at other places.  Phebe taught near Hazel Green, and later she married Elisha Day at the mill.  She died March 21st, 1861.  Mary Ann in after years went to Wisconsin, and married later; where they are still living.  In September, 1873, she came and took her half-crazy mother home with her.  Mr. McDougall died in December, 1874.     The bodies of Phebe Day and Uncle Mack lie peacefully within Rose Hill cemetery.


Richard Hargrave, a younger brother of Mrs. Sarah Hoskins, came to Nevin with the Hoskinses in June, 1858.  He lived a while with the Chamberlains, attending school one or more winters.  An incident is remembered in connection with that school term.     Judson Harris, also attended, and at an evening literary exhibition young Hargrave and Harris were on opposite sides in a debate.  This debate is suggestive of the time in later years, when, in Chicago, Mr. Hargrave married Miss Mary Buell, the intended of Mr. Harris.  Richard, after his school days were over, went to Pennsylvania, and at about seventeen years of age he enlisted in the army service.     He came back safely from the war, and later went to Chicago, where he married Mary Buell, who had been a teacher there.  They then went back to the oil regions, working near Mr. Ed. Hoskins.  In June, 1868, they, with one child, came to Nevin again, having traveled with team overland.

In their Nevin farm life they lived at different places, at one time owning an 80-acre farm west of the J. Hoskins farm.  Later on they moved to Kansas.  Again they moved, and settled on a small fruit farm in southwestern Oregon.  After this he was accidentally killed in a well.  Mrs. Hargrave remarried.  They are still in that place, as also are the five living Hargrave children, two or more of whom are married.


On Saturday, October 30th, 1858, the Congregational church at Nevin was formed, in the Chamberlain household.  Rev. Penfield of the Quincy church was in charge of the meeting.  The following persons then became members:  P. P. Chamberlain, his wife, Sarah, and their daughter Phebe, A. T. Harlow, his wife, Augusta, and their daughter Julia, C. E. Austin and his wife, Amanda, Mrs. Almira Beath, Mrs. Theresa M. Ellis, A. Buell, his wife, Harriet N., and his daughter Mary, Mrs. Sarah Hoskins, Mr. and Mrs. M. J. Hazeltine, and Miss Katie Harris.  Messrs. Chamberlain and Harlow were chosen deacons.  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Harris did not become actual members till the following year.


Mr. Henry Harris and family, after farming in Nevin a few years, and having two girls born to them, removed to a fine farm near Winterset, where he stock farmed.  They had but the three children, all girls, one of whom became in after years, a missionary in India, under the direction of the Baptist Board of Missions.  She died a few days after her return home.  Mrs. Harris and another daughter have also died.

Judson Harris, nephew of Henry, became a minister, and was pastor of a Baptist church in Omaha, having wife and children there.  He in later years removed to Chicago, where he was in some land business about that time.  His sisters, Lydia and Olive, married and settled in or near New York state.  Joseph, on the mutual consent of the three, married another man's woman, at Greenfield, in December, 1876.  The next March, between two days, the two slid out from his father's Nevin farm--for Kansas.     They never after came back to Nevin.


During the year 1858, after the new mail route between Winterset and Quincy had been operated awhile, a postoffice called "Carl" was located about three miles east of its present location.  Mr. C. Robinson was postmaster.  Later, a postoffice at Schwers, or Hebron, on the same route was also established.  The new "Hebron" office was kept by Mr. N. Finney.  Later on, or about the fall of 1861, Mr. Finney, shoemaker, exchanged land property with Mr. A. T. Harlow of Nevin, when the Harlow and Norman families moved to Hebron, and one of them became the Hebron postmaster, and operated it until they all moved to Des Moines.


Mr. Wilhelm Schwers and his family were Dutch, but they could talk English fairly well.     He had bought timber land on Grand river, and they had settled thereon before the summer of 1856.  In the fall of that year, he and his grown son Reinhart introduced a steam saw-mill on his land.  Running short of money late in November, they hired $300 from Mr. Ellis, then in Greenfield helping Mr. Nichols build a stage barn for Mr. Clark.   Mr. Ellis, quite fresh from Massachusetts, was so unbusinesslike, that he extracted no mortgage security for the money loaned them, -- just a simple promissory note was taken.  Interest was at the rate of 30 per cent per year, due after ninety days.   One month's interest was paid in advance.    They presumably expected that before the ninety days had expired, they would be sawing and selling lumber.  When the time was out they had no money to pay the note with; in addition to this their creditors on the saw-mill were calling for a payment.    Mr. Schwers, however, on the day after maturity, found a neighbor (Mr. Augustine), who kindly loaned him some gold coin that he had on hand.  So, the note was largely paid then, and the balance was paid in the following spring, without trouble.

Soon as Mr. W. Schwers could get lumber in quantity sawed, he built them a roomy dwelling, where they lived, and where they entertained the traveling public that happened that way.  Early-day Nevin people, who sometimes had occasion to stop there, remarked upon their accommodating hospitality.  Mrs. Schwers was brisk with fun and sociability.  They were very honest, -- even in a certain jug of honey with its rag stopper, that Mrs. S., once on a time, sent to Nevin for the Stephenson family.     Their table fare, of fried pork, potatoes, corn bread, hot saleratus biscuit, and black coffee, was abundant.  The furnishings and beds, in Nevin folk's estimation, were not alarmingly free from extraneous accretions; though there was no extra price charged for the animate visitors, that were wont to enliven ones body at night, with their nimble operations in surgery.


The new Adams County Agricultural Society held its first annual fair, on a lot southeast of the public square, Quincy; owned by Mr. E. Y. Burgan; the the 20th of October, 1858.  The day was beautiful.  The exhibit was very good for a first start; and the attendance also was good as could be expected.  The Nevin colony people were present in impressive numbers.  Among the teams from that place was that of John Bixby, --a two-horse farm wagon--packed full of folks; and that of Alonzo Norman, --a two-horse vehicle--also full of people.  The Nevinites brought no exhibits this year; but please wait until next year and the following year to see what can come "out of Galilee."

The finances of the society were very limited.  Among the premiums awarded was one of 75 cents, to John Barnett, as first premium, and one of 50 cents to A. J. Russell, as second premium; on short-horn grade bulls.  Peter H. Lawrence was awarded 50 cents on best 2-year old bull.  Gid. Bristow was awarded 75 cents on best cow, and J. Jones $1 on best yoke of work oxen.  Premiums of 50 cents and of 25 cents were awarded to J. P. Osborn, L. Fry, G. Bristow, H. B. Clark and J. Deere, on other stock.  There seemed to have been no horse premiums.

The Nevin people that day went to the hotel kept by Mr. and Mrs. Benj. Neal, for their dinners, and were given a separate table.  The good people of the house had heard much of the Yankees that were settling near the northeast corner of the county, but had seen but few of them, --especially of the women.  The hostess was so engaged in serving food, while at the same time watching her Yankee guests' movements to see if they expected napkins, and to notice how they used their knives and forks, that when proceeding to pour their tea (the Nevinites had previously called for tea rather than coffee), from her tea pot, there came a stream of pure, colorless hot water:  (she had forgotten to put in the tea).  This brought her to her normal condition of mind.

In the afternoon the society elected officers for the next year as follows:  Judge John Barnett (re-elected), president; P.P. Chamberlain, vice president; B. F. Allen, secretary; J. L Ellis, treasurer; J. W. Morris, B. O. Stephenson, Samuel Larimer, H. B. Clark, W. A. Shields, Gid. Bristow and R. Perigo, to be a committee of arrangements for the year 1859.  After that the premiums were paid; when all went home quite satisfied.



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