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1890 Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Story County, Iowa

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the floor to be covered with men as " close as sardines in a box," so that when turning out in the morning those near the door first gathered boots and wraps and donned them outside, followed in turn by others, thus making cooking and eating possible within. Many of the oldest inhabitants found their earliest shelter for themselves and families under the hospitable roof of Mr. Alderman.

On the second day of her home-life in the coming town, Mrs. Alderman tells that the " good man of the house " went down under a chill, followed by a raging fever. Tall grass was on every side. Water must be had for the parched throat and for domestic uses. No prospecting had yet been done for that necessary article. Pail in hand she took the trail made by hauling the logs for the house and found water at the crossing of the creek. At the first practicable hour the low ground southeast of the house was investigated with the spade. At a moderate depth the under-flow was found, probably the reservoir which supplies the public well, and pure water was had in sufficient quantity to satisfy all the needs of the town.

It was not till the summer of the following year that another house was built. During the long winter the first one afforded shelter to the entire population, both permanent and transient, of the city. As dwelling, storehouse, hotel, offices, parlor, kitchen, chambers, it was destined to be the scene of numerous pioneer events. Here the first child was born. Here occurred the first death. It was a house of feasting under a reign of hospitality that knew no limit except its capacity. Anon it was a hospital, in which at one time were no less than four patients prostrated with typhoid fever. Again it was the scene of marrying and giving in marriage. During these years it was the center of no small amount of traffic in things both great and small, and for two years it represented every postal facility which was afforded to the entire county.

The second house in Nevada was built by John H. McLain, who arrived on the 7th of August, 1854. It stood on the northeast corner of Block 10, corner of Chestnut and Sixth Streets. The body was of logs, and it was finished in native lumber. An addition was attached on the west side. This made quite a commodious hotel, to which subsequent additions were also made, and it was kept in good form. Mrs. McLain was a woman of energy, a good cook, and is kindly remembered for her patient discharge of hospitable duties.

During the fall of 1851 George Childs built a residence. The house still stands on the southeast corner of Block 10. The sheeting is of black walnut, and was brought from a mill on Four-Mile, in Polk County. The flooring was from the first log sawed at Josiah Chandler's mill at Cambridge. George Childs and S. S. Webb built the first frame building, which they used for a general store. It stood just north of the present court-house. The lumber was partly obtained at Webb's mill, near Iowa Center, and partly from the mill on Four-Mile. A stranger employed Mr. Alderman to erect a house for business purposes just east of the Webb & Child's building, near the entrance to the post-office. It was in this building, not finished, nor with even the spaces between the logs chinked up, the second term of the district court for Story County was held (August 14, 1854). McFarland was judge. The houses of Alderman and McLain were the only ones occupied by families. The jury retired for consultation to the open prairie.

During the late summer and fall of 1854 the families of T. J. Adamson and Isaac Romane

Page 133 of 460

© 2012 Mark Christian
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