the month of November, 1852, by way of the Jasper County trail, might have been seen a solitary and weary team crossing the county line about the head waters of the Wolf Creek branch of the Clear Creek fork of Indian Creek. This trail was not very far west of the residence of Mr. Parker, already referred to as the first settler in that part of the county. It was driven by Judiah Ray, and the wagon contained also his wife. He pursued a northwesterly course, in search of the cabin of Sam McDaniel, which was located near the center of Section 23, Town 83, Range 22. As he approached the Indian Creek timber, and could already see the smoke of the cabin sought for, he descried a man on the prairie whose course would presently intersect his own. In a short time he came face to face with a man of uncouth and forbidding aspect, who seemed disposed to make his acquaintance. On being told that he was looking for McDaniel's place, he was informed by his newly found acquaintance that his family occupied one of the apartments of the McDaniel cabins and his informant would be his guide. Mr. Ray found his companion so disagreeable to him that he gave him very scant courtesy and no confidence. For this he was chided by his wife, his conduct seeming to her to be an improper return for hospitable effort.
They reached the cabins, and found, in addition to the occupants, a number of very rough characters from a distance, some of them being from the Des Moines River settlements. They had a fire of logs near the cabins, around which they played cards and drank whisky far into the night. Mr. Ray declined the hospitalities of the cabins for his wife as well as himself, preferring to once more rely on the shelter of the wagon which had brought him in safety for several hundred miles. Mr. McDaniel was absent, having gone on a visit to Ohio, and the ostensible guardian and host whom Mr. Ray found in his place was no other than the notorious and villainous Barnabas Lowell, who had no doubt previously and in the most brutal manner murdered a former wife in Ohio, and who in less than half a year perpetrated the same crime on her who slept in his bosom at the time now mentioned. As early as possible the following morning Mr. Ray skirted the timber to the southwest, carefully avoiding his uncongenial companions of the previous night, and reached the home of Hiram Vincent, in Section 3, of what is now Indian Creek Township. He selected, for his western home, lands in the same section.
At that time (November, 1852) Joseph P. Robinson's was the only family on the east side of West Indian Creek. His place was near the timber, not far from the center of Section 29, in Nevada Township. Robinson was a hale old man, with several sons and daughters, mostly grown. The Robinson farm now belongs to the estate of W. R. Finley. Mr. Ray also remembers that when he came, in 1852, he found already located on East Indian, George Dye, Peter Gordy, Elisha Alderman, W. K. Wood, Adolphus Prouty, Hiram Vincent, Daniel and John Neal, Sam McDaniel and Barnabas Lowell. George Dye and Peter Gordy lived near the present site of the town of Maxwell. Dye afterward removed to a farm that is now owned by Samuel White, east of the Sam McDaniel farm.
Hon. William K. Wood then lived in Section 16, Indian Creek Township, near the site of his present residence, but nearer to the old ford across Indian Creek. He reached his place June 27, 1851, and was accompanied by his brother, Jesse R. Wood. Adolphus Prouty lived at that time southeastof Iowa Center, but afterward removed to a farm near the Elisha