Search Surnames

1890 Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Story County, Iowa

Story Co. Home Page
Page 106 of 460

parts of Section 34 in Nevada Township, June 12, 1850; Isaac M. Hague made entry of eighty acres in Section 30, Nevada Township, August 26, 1850; Curtis J. Brown entered the southeast quarter of Section 4, Indian Creek Township, November 13, 1850; George N. Kirkman entered his farm April 8, 1851; Jeremiah Cory entered in Section 9, Indian Creek Township, August 20, 1851; Nathan Webb, Milton Arnold, Isaac S. French, John Broughard, Robert John Harmon, Nelson S. Harmon, George Dye and James Sellers entered lands in Indian Creek Township in 1852; Levi Hopper, Nicholas Kortright, W. S. Rodman, Lewis Burge, John Lockridge, C. P. Hempstead, F. D. Johnson entered lands in Nevada Township in 1852; John Neal, Amy Heald, Sam McDaniel, W. W. Utterback, Adolphus Prouty, Elisha Alderman and Judiah Ray entered their lands in 1853.

Meantime pre-emptions or claims were made upon many desirable selections, and direct entries as well as those on time, through agents of capitalists, continued to be made, and the country was overrun by home-seekers and speculators. The capacity to find section corners on the prairie, or to follow a blazed line through the timber, constituted the early settler a guide and land agent, and put many quickly earned dollars in his pocket. Some of these men became the agents of those who entered the lands, paid their taxes, watched against depredations on their timber, and thus turned an honest penny by which they got cash with which to pay their own taxes. In some cases these entries and purchases proved more profitable to the agent who was fortunate enough to negotiate them than they did to those who furnished the money that lay at the base of the transaction. Non-residents who made such entries were called speculators, and were regarded by the settlers with such disfavor that they sometimes had scarcely fair treatment. Their possessions were occasionally rated high on the assessment rolls for taxation, and low on the rolls for confiscation for public purposes where that was practicable. But their entries of timber lands fared the worst. These were not only the prey of those who needed fire-wood in winter, and who might be excused for appropriating that which was most convenient, but even the well-to-do farmer, with a timber lot of his own more convenient, has been known to chop viciously upon the trees of the outlawed " speculator," and to seem to have immense enjoyment in his toil. If they had only known what would be proven by the lapse of a score of years, the " speculator " would not have been so much envied. The many years of depressed prices which followed the booming years of the early fifties more than made things even against the non-resident land-owner. Taxes and interest in course of time took his margins, and then his principal, and may finally have impoverished him and his heirs ; and if, to crown all, his estate consisted of stumps and brush lands from which the valuable timber had been robbed, the owners were left poor indeed. Such, however, is the short-sighted policy as well as indifferent honesty by which, at times, the plainest problems are observed, that one is content to injure the public, and by that means himself, to gratify an unworthy selfishness.

Meantime the settlers drifted in. Some came with capital sufficient to make themselves comfortable as rapidly as the necessary labor could be performed. Others there were who had merely enough to secure a footing that would keep their heads above water for a time. Some of these managed to find solid ground, while others had the sand swept from under them, and drifted with the tide. Others still sought the new country with only hand and,

Page 106 of 460

© 2012 Mark Christian
[Search Surnames] [Introduction] [Story Co. Home Page ] [Table of Contents]