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1890 Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Story County, Iowa

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fairs. It is not a matter for surprise, therefore, to note that the records of the early county business should be somewhat informal, and that omissions of substance should occur. There is no record of the formation of the two precincts, Indian and Story (or Skunk River). But within the year the county was formally divided into five townships, as follows: First, Indian Creek, which then comprised also the territory of what is now Collins Township; second, Washington, which covered also the west half of Grant, and the present townships of Union and Palestine; third, Franklin, to which the west half of Milford then belonged; fourth, Lafayette, in which was the west half of Howard; fifth, Nevada, which included all the remainder of the county, or seven and a half Congressional townships.

In 1855 Union Township was organized, and included the present area of Palestine. In 1857 the east half of Indian Creek was set off as the township of Collins. In 1858 Palestine, Milford and Howard were established; also New Albany, which then included nine sections from the east side of Nevada Township. In 1866 Lincoln was organized; and in 1867 Grant and Sherman were set up with their present boundaries. Warren and Richland were not organized until 1872; and at the same time the boundaries of all the sixteen townships were made to conform to the boundaries of the Congressional townships.

It is among the traditions that in 1853 W. W. Utterback, Nathan Webb and J. P. Robinson were the township trustees of Indian Township, and in the new organization and division are responsible for the appropriate names of Indian Creek and Nevada, as township names.

Thus it is seen that by the election of April 4, 1853, the result of which was declared by a regular canvass of the votes five days later, and by the election of August following, the county was provided with a full corps of administrative and executive officers. But as there was then no central seat of county government, there could be no concert of action, nor even consultation on public affairs. The judge lived in a cabin on the east side of and contiguous to Skunk River, in what is now Franklin Township, very close to the Milford Township line. The other officers lived in the settlements on Squaw Creek, near to the west line of the county. There were no books of record. Memoranda of necessary business transacted were made on loose papers by the county judge, and carried on his person, filed away in convenient crevices in the cabin; desks and cases with pigeon holes duly labeled had probably rarely been seen by any of the honest men who were now entrusted with public affairs. The new judge, with much labor and exposure, traversed his jurisdiction on horseback and on foot, and made various visits to the land office at Des Moines, and no doubt some to the State capital, at Iowa City, in the public interest. He probably reimbursed himself for expenses out of the receipts for town lots in the new county seat, but for his labor and exposure, it is fair to presume that he had little compensation.

The first real conveniences and safeguards obtained by the judge for the public use were the privileges accorded by T. E. Alderman in his noted establishment, the Nevada Pioneer Store, erected in the fall of 1853, facing north toward the southwest corner of the court-house square. Here the judge says he kept the records and papers in a box in which dry goods had been transported. It was probably as accessible to others as to himself, and the books and stationery were such as he felt able to supply from an incipient treasury. Those now in existence certainly do not comport with the present styles. But the judge soon built a

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© 2012 Mark Christian
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