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further rapid increase had raised it to 16,250, although much retarded during this decade by the war. The same ratio of increase would place the population at this time, July 4, 1876, at not less than 23,000, and it is, perhaps, even higher.
In 1870 there were 118,218 acres of unimproved lands, and 232,724 acres improved. There were 5,292 horses and 1,590 mules; 761 sheep, 19,706 hogs, and 7,810 cattle. The productions of the soil are treated of in another place.
The county is traversed by four important lines of railroad, which are treated of in detail in a separate chapter.
The following are the towns in Mason county, and the date of their surveys, and names of proprietors, so far as has been ascertained: Name. Surveyed.
Proprietor. Havana. ..1835..
..0. M. Ross . 1836..
John Kenton Moscow
Joseph Adkins Sedan
1871.: Long Branch.
.Gatton & Ruggles Kilbourn. ..1870..
.J. B. Gum Poplar City.. .1873..
Martin Scott Biggs .1875..
.P. G. Biggs Easton.
.J. M. Samuels Teheran
.Alexander Blunt 1857
... Geo. Straut Sangore...
.1858. Dillon Morgan, Parker & Kidder Natrona....
Conklin & Co. Walker's Siding Topeka..
Thomas Eckard Bishops. Forest City ::.
Dearborn & Kemp Manito..
Cox and others Union .. Conover
. 1875. Peterville
Peter Thronburgh Lynchburg ..
.P. and G. May
C. W. Andrus, Esq., one of the oldest and most substantial residents; made his home in Havana, in 1836, since which time, a period of forty years, he has been prominently identified with the interests of
By his courtesy, we are permitted to give to our readers a copy of the poll book below. The reader will bear in mind that this was then included in the limits of Tazewell county.
“Poll book of an election held at the town of Havana, in Havana precinct, in the county of Tazewell, and State of Illinois, on the 7th day of August, 1837. For County Clerk, John H. Morri
For Probate Justice of the Peace, Joshua C. Morgan. For County Treasurer, Lewis Prettyman. For Notary Public, Wm. H. Sandusky.”
Each of the above received twelve votes. The names of the voters on the poll book are
Daniel Adams, Henry Shepard, O. E. Foster, N. J. Rockwell,
B. F. WIGGINGTON,
Clerks. “At an election held at the house of O. E. Foster, in Havana precinct, in the county of Tazewell, and State of Illinois, on the 7th of August. 1837, the following named persons received the number of votes annexed to their respective names, for the following offices, to-wit:
John W. Morrison, twelve votes, for County Clerk. Joshua C. Morgan, twelve votes, for Probate Justice of the Peace. Lewis Prettyman, twelve votes, for County Treasurer. Wm. H. Sandusky, twelve votes, for Notary Public.
Certified by N. J. Rockwell, Henry Shepard and David Adams, Judges of Election.
I, N. J. Rockwell, do solemnly swear that I will perform the duty of Judge; and I, B. F. Wiggington, do solemnly swear that I will perform the duty of Clerk of Election, according to law, and to the best of our abilities, and that we will studiously endeavor to prevent fraud, deceit or abuse in conducting the same.
B. F. WIGGINGTON. Sworn by me, at Havana, Aug. 7, 1837.
The original document, of which the above is an exact copy, is now in the possession of Mr. Andrus. Mr. John H. Havighorst was also present at the above election, but had not yet attained his majority, nor was he naturalized. He is still a resident of this city.
POSTOFFICES IN MASON COUNTY.
i Havana, in fall of 1829, O. M. Ross, P. M. 2 Bath, in 1842, B. H. Gatton, P. M. 3 Long Branch, in 1872, N. S. Philips, P. M., (discontinued.) 4 Kilbourn, in 1872. 5 Biggs, in 1873, Wm. Buchanan, P. M. 6 Poplar City, in 1873, S. A. Poland, P. M. 7 Easton, in 1873, E. Terrell, P. M. 8 Teheran, in 1874, W. T. Rich, P. M. 9 Mason City, in 1858, A. A. Cargill, P. M.
.M. 10 Sangore. II Altoona. 12 Topeka. 13 Bishop's. 14 Forest City. 15 Manito. 16 Saidora, in 1868, N. C. Bishop, P. M. 17 Sny Carte. 18 Leases Grove, (discontinued in 1867,) and 19 Changed to Crane Creek in 1868. 20 Quiver, Samuel Patton, P. M., discontinued. Stage route to Mason City, discontinued, 1867. Mail route, by railroad, to Urbana, established in 1873. Mail route, by railroad, to Springfield, established Dec., 1873. Mail route, by railroad, to Petersburg, established June, 1873.
The above named primitive work of art was one of the earliest triumphs of civilization that made its welcome appearance in Mason county. So very early was its advent, that but few of its contemporaries are in existence, and itself, like all else in this fleeting and transitory world, has passed away.
From the best information we have been able to obtain, this mill was built in 1831, by Mr. Mounts, on Crane creek, and it contained but one pair of burrs, or millstones, and they but seven inches in diameter.
The upper stone was stationary and the lower one revolved, to grind the corn. It ground corn only, and its most rapid work was one and a half bushels per hour, and the meal was exceedingly coarse. Owing to the scarcity of mills, in this then new country, it was patronized from a large extent of territory.
On the settlement of Mr. Scovil in Havana, they received their ground corn from Beardstown. The Falkner family, sometimes from Fulton county, and from Mackinaw, and from this mill in 1838 and '40.
What time it ceased to exist, we have been unable to ascertain, but having served its day and generation, like all else, it has passed away.
EARLY SETTLEMENT OF SALT CREEK TOWNSHIP. The early settlement of what is now the township of Salt creek was in and around what was then so generally known as Big Grove. For a long time the improvements were all near the timber. Land situated three or four miles from the timber was at a discount, and for a long time there were congress lands on the prairie, subject to entry, after all the land near the timber had been taken up. The original settlers never imagined that the time would
. come when they and their children could not have the benefit of all the prairies around Mason City for stock range. The first settler was Wm. Hagan, who came in 1830, and located on the bottom, near old Salt creek bridge, where he remained till 1850, when he sold out to Ephriam Wilcox, and removed to Missouri. None of his family have ever lived here since. The farm on which he lived is the one which has latterly been owned and occupied by Charles L. Montgomery.
Austin P. and Robert Melton came to Big Grove in 1832. Austin P. Melton settled on the farm afterwards owned by Geo. Virgin, where he remained a few years, and moved to Tazewell county and remained till 1862, when he moved to Walker's Grove, in this county, where he now resides.
In 1835, Daniel Clark, from Warren county, Ohio, settled in the immediate neighborhood of Mr. Hagan, and remained until his death, in 1854, leaving three sons, Daniel, now of Mason City (see Biography), Alfred, in Crane creek township, and William, in DuBuque, Iowa.
In 1836, the Virgin's, George, Kinsey, Abram and Rezin all came and settled in the Grove, and remained till they died, which occurred as follows: Kinsey, in 1853; Rezin, in 1872; George, in 1855; and Abram, in 1873; the latter, the only one who left any children living in this county. He left three sons and three daughters, all here, and the only ones of that name in the county. Kinsey Virgin left one daughter, the wife of James Hoyt, in Cass county, Iowa. George and Rezin had no children. George, for a number of years previous to his death, kept a store at this place, first in a small log house, and afterwards in a frame house built for the purpose, near which George Young erected a mill, John Pritchett a blacksmith shop, and Louis Bushong a shoe shop. To all of these, and the residences necessary for themselves and families, they gave the romantic name of “Hiawatha.”
For a number of years the place had some notoriety in the eastern part of the county, furnishing supplies to many of the inhabitants in the vicinity, but after the railroad was located through Mason City, instead of this place, as originally surveyed, notwithstanding the romance of its name, which, though of Indian origin, was said to have been suggested here by an eminent physician of the neighborhood, the town gradually dwindled away, till now Ed. Auxier's cornfield marks the site. Sic transit gloria mundi.
In 1837, Edward Sikes, John and Eli Auxier, John Y. Swaur and John Young, all from Ohio, came and settled near the grove.
Edward Sikes settled on the farm formerly occupied by Robert Melton, and now owned by F. Auxier, where he since died, leaving a numerous family. John Auxier settled in the eastern part of the Grove, where he acquired, by raising and feeding cattle, a large tract of land, where he died, in 1859, leaving a numerous family, who have since moved to Iowa. Eli Auxier had previously died, leaving a widow and two children, viz: Rev. E. E. Auxier, who now owns the site of the obsolete town of Hiawatha, and a daughter, the wife of Nelson Dody. John Young settled in the western part of the grove, near the farm of Col. Abner Baxter (who came a year afterwards), and died, leaving a numerous family, among whom were William, who settled on the north side of the Grove, and died in 1865, leaving a family, and where his widow (since married to Joseph Lemley) now resides; and George, who was engaged in the practice of law in Mason City, and died there, in 1873