History of Franklin Twp.

Source: Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951, section 4, page 2.

Flat Land Caught Eye of First Settlers

In the autumn of 1849 two men, brothers-in-law, rode along the Mormon trail from Monroe county in search of new homes. They were Robert Jamisonand John Kyte. The two men, Jamison with his wife and her brother, Robert, a single youth, had come west from Washington county, Indiana, and settled temporarily in Monroe county.

It is easy to imagine the trip of these men in the fall of 1849. The "Trace" leads through some rather umpromising country east of here and the high level land in Franklin township must have caught their fancy for several reasons.

Rich Soil, Wood,Water

To the south of the "Trace" the land lies almost level and was as rich as any in the county.To the north the terrain soon breaks off into the Chariton river hills which produced a plentiful supply of wood and water. If frost had colored the leaves of this timer the young men must have been awe struck by its beauty, as are present day citizens who drive through that part of the county.

At any rate the men staked out their claims and returned to Monroe county for the winter. On May 1 they arrived at their new homes in Clarke county.The farms adjoined, with the Mormon road running through them. Thus they became the first permanent white settlers in the county. There were a few squatters living in various parts of the county but none remained long.

The two hurriedly broke out as much sod as they could and planted it to corn. It produced a good crop of 40 bushels per acre and proved to be the salvation of their existence. A stream of immigrants was beginning to pass their cabin, some bound for Salt Lake and others for the famed Oregon and California countries. The corn sold readily for $1.00 per bushel to these travelers.

Kyte lived with his sister and brother-in-law until he was married in 1856 and moved to his own farm. There he built a house similar in many respects to that of his brother-in-law's. It is still standing. The farm is now owned by Don Slaymaker. Kyte was an uncle of the late George Kyte, whose widow, Avis Kyte, is the present county auditor.

The old homestead, occupied by Ashton Jamison and his hephew, Robert, must look today much as it did so many years ago. The old iron fence still marks the boundary of the front yard and old fashioned roses bloom around the yard.

Barm Still Stands

Across the road is the barn, built more than 80 years ago. The full inch pine siding must have been hauled in from the end of the railroad somewhere east of here for the barn was probably built before the rails came through Osceola. The massive oak frame is standing as straight as the day it was raised, the marks of the adz showing on every sill.

Mrs. Jamison died about 1900 and her husband in 1907. Both lived to see the greatest changes that came to this country, its complete settlement, the growth of its towns and schools, the coming of the railroads and the change from pioneer to comparatively modern living.

Corner Cupboard

Sumner Jamison, a grandson, lives in a house on the farm just across the road and a short distance west of the homestead. The brothers work the land together. He has in his possession a corner cupboard brought by his grandparents when they came to Iowa. It is the only piece of household furnishing that remains of the things they brought by ox team so long ago. The cupboard is of solid walnut and is in a remarkably good state of preservation.

The Jamison brothers often heard their grandparents tell about an Indian chief and his wife who died near them during the first years they were in Iowa. They were buried in the field just west of the house, along with all their weapons and personal effects. The site of the grave has long been lost, in fact the old folks could not remember exactly where it was located.

Sumner has the government patent issued to his grandmother on January 10, 1853. It was made out to David Blanchard, a soldier in the Mexican war and assigned to Mrs. Jamison.

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