During the county's early days, people dwelt in a security of person, and, except horses, of property that is now (the historian regretfully records) practically too much of the past. Unlike many counties on the south and west, Clinton County was not long or seriously infested by local 
desperadoes or wandering marauders. Highway robberies and burglaries were for many years so rare as to scarcely be dreaded. This was partly due, not only to the fact that suspicious characters could, where people were so well acquainted, be readily noted and watched, but to there being so little money and so few valuables to tempt rascals. Accordingly, when the men of the scattered pioneer households were at work in distant fields, or gone many miles to market, leaving women and children, guarded only by perhaps a faithful dog, the former suffered no anxiety, and the latter no apprehension. People slept with unfastened doors, without fearing that among the wayfarers might be desperate ruffians, ready for a trifle to become murderers, robbers or incendiaries. Then women alone in houses felt safer, and actually were more secure from insults or violence in the most solitary farm-houses, than they now are, even in the suburbs of cities, since the highways have been thronged by the horde of lawless vagrants, furnished by the criminal classes of Europe, and developed by the license of civil war, like the wandering Thugs of Hindostan, to swarm over the country, wherever led by the instincts of rapine or plunder. The short shrift and long rope, or ready bullet, that would then so quickly have avenged any of the crimes that now fill the criminal bulletins, were also a salutary deterrent to desperadoes, who might have otherwise sought to spoil the farmers of Clinton of their valuables. To this day, burglars give a wide berth to portions of this county. The risk is too great. A little booty would be small compensation for the chance of falling into the strong, and, to criminals, merciless grasp of the yeomanry, who have what Bret Harte so happily terms "a strict attention to detail, likely to prove unpleasant in a difficulty." Of course, in regard to horses, absolute security could not be hoped for in a new, open, and, in many places, trackless country. But, as elsewhere noted, the evil was as far as possible eradicated with a summary vigor that proved a most salutary example to not only horse-thieves, but other evil-doers as well. Hence, though a river county, and therefore on the line of travel for the worst possible characters, ever since its settlement, the criminal record of Clinton County has been so comparatively clear, as to bear the strongest testimony, not only to the high character of her citizens, but their energy in preserving order.

SOURCE: Allen, L. P., History of Clinton County, Iowa, Containing A History of the County, it's Cities, Towns, Etc. and Biographical Sketches of Citizens, War Record of it's Volunteers in the late Rebellion, General and Local Statistics, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, History of the Northwest, History of Iowa, Map of Clinton County, Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters, &c, &c., Illustrated. Chicago IL; Western Historical Company, 1879


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