The History of Keokuk County, Iowa
DES MOINES: UNION HISTORICAL COMPANY.
1880.

POLITICAL.

There is perhaps not another county in Iowa whose political experience has been more varied. When the county was first organized time great impending question in American politics was that growing out of slavery, and from whatever State in the Union the early settlers had come they were as a rule opposed to the extension of the peculiar institution of the South into the territory yet unpolluted by it. There was, of course, a difference of opinion as to the best methods to be adopted for this end, but all were agreed that any movement toward the abolition of slavery would result in a disruption of the Union. There were few, if any, abolitionists in the county during the first years of its history. There were the Whig and Democratic parties, but while they were separated on questions of finance, tariff and banking, they were agreed that slavery should not be molested in the States where it existed. From the organization of the county until 1856, when the question of abolition became the dividing line in polities, the Democratic party controlled the county and unless there were local questions to modify the condition, a Democratic nomination was equivalent to an election.

The exciting contest between A. C. Dodge and Gen. Lowe for the office of territorial delegate will be remembered by the first settlers of the county and also the contest in which Richard Quinton was elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention.

The contest between J. B. Whisler, the Democratic nominee, and Sanford Harned, the Whig candidate, has already been alluded to in the account of the county-seat controversy. Although the Democratic party was largely in the majority, and Whisler was the nominee, he was defeated by Harned by reason of the popularity of the Whig candidate, and because of' the modifying influence of the county-seat war, Mr. Whisler being the leader of the Lancaster party.

One of the most exciting elections of early times was the contest for representative in 1846. Upon time members of the legislature was to devolve the duty of electing two United States Senators for the new State just to be admitted into the Union. The Whig candidate was Nelson King, while the Democrats were so unfortunate as to have two candidates, L. B. Thighes and William Webb. Mr. King, of course, was elected and for years afterward lie was accustomed to boast about the result, saying: "I beat two Democratic opponents and believe I could have whipped a half dozen of them."

Upon the assembling of the legislature, in the following November, King was in attendance, and before the adjournment of that body he had achieved a notoriety throughout the State. The circumstances were as follows:

Owing to a complication of circumstances, the Democrats, who really were in a large majority in. the State, failed to organize the House, and so evenly were the two parties balanced upon holding a joint session of the House and Senate, that it was exceedingly doubtful whether they would be able to elect their candidates to the United States Senate. Dodge, of Burlington, and Jones, of Dubuque, were the Democratic nominees for the Senate, and their friends spared no effort to secure their election. One vote gained by the Democrats would make a tie, and prevent an election, while two votes would enable them to elect their men.

King having been elected by a plurality vote over his two Democratic opponents, and representing a county largely Democratic, was thought by some to be a proper subject to operate upon; and as a first inducement a paper was gotten up and circulated through the county and signed by a majority of all the voters in the county, instructing him to vote for a Democrat. This move being known by the Whigs, and they fearing that King might be influenced by such instructions, caused them to watch him very closely and show him special attention; and for a while King commanded more attention from both parties than any other man in the State.

S. T. Marshall, of Lee county, having previously been well acquainted with King as a citizen of his own county, and having been employed by him as an attorney to defend him in a case in which he had been arrested, in his attempts to influence King in his votes made a little too free with his old client while under the guardianship of the Whig politicians.

On the afternoon of the 9th of December, the legislature then having been in session ten days, and the members thus far having almost entirely been engaged in canvassing and electioneering, as soon as the house was called to order, King, with a hurried step approached the clerk's desk and laid upon it a five dollar bill and two pieces of paper, and said he wished to make a statement.

These movements surprised most of the members of the House, and not knowing what the conduct of King meant, and from a curiosity to hear, unanimous consent was given fur him to proceed. He said that he had been approached by several members relative to the casting of his vote for United. States Senator, and several distinct propositions had been made to him. He stated further, that S. T. Marshall gave him a five dollar note on the State Bank of Ohio and promised him one hundred dollars additional if he would vote for Dodge. That lie also gave him two receipts of indebtedness.

The following is a correct copy of the receipts which King laid upon the clerk's desk, and which he claimed was a part of the bribe offered by Marshall:

"WEST POINT, Nov. 26, 1846.

"MR. NELSON KING—Sir:—Please to pay S. T. Marshall or bearer ten dollars and fifty cents on my account, and oblige,

"William Stotts."

"Received payment.

"S. T. MARSHALL."

"I, S. T. Marshall, hereby release and relieve all my right, title and claim or claims which I may have against Nelson King for legal services done heretofore, and this shall be his receipt.

"S. T. MARSHALL."

Upon this statement by King, and the evidence of the receipts, the house immediately appointed a committee to investigate the charges of bribery, and authorized the speaker to issue his warrant for the arrest of Marshall.

The committee continued in session and prosecuted their investigations till February. There was a large number of witnesses called on behalf of the prosecution, and, as an effort was made to injure the character of King he, too, had witnesses summoned. It was claimed by the Democrats that King had stolen bacon when living in Lee county, and that this was the offense for which Marshall had defended him. A. H. Palmer, editor of the "Capital Reporter,"had published this charge and King, meeting him afterward, made an assault upon him, and gave him a severe beating. Mr. Crocker and S. A. James, from this county, were at the capital at this time for the purpose of laboring with their representative, and King took advantage of their presence to have them subpoenaed as witnesses to establish his character.

The committee finally made a report, which consisted of only the testimony taken, without any recommendation; the report was laid on the table, and this ended the whole affair.

The legislature, after several ineffectual attempts, failed to elect United States Senators, and late in February adjourned without an election. Thus, for the first two years after organizing a State government, Iowa was not represented in the United States Senate.     

At the fall election in 1846, when King was elected to the legislature, affairs seem to have been very much mixed. There were three candidates for representative to the State legislature, six candidates for Governor, and four candidates for representative to the United States Congress. For the other offices there were but the two candidates—the Whig and Democratic. The following is the abstract of the vote as cast:

GOVERNOR.

Ansel Briggs  .......…………….………………………………………………..   214
Thomas McKnight  .......………………………………………………………   158
R. Lucas  .......………………………………………………………………….     10
— Bailey  .......………………………………………………………………....     10
T. B. Wright  ........……………………………………………………………..       6
A. Jones  ........…………………………………………………………………       4

SECRETARY OF STATE.

James H. Cowles  .......………………………………………………………..    167
Elisha Cutler  ........……………………………………………………………    212

STATE TREASURER.

Egbert Smith  ........……………………………………………………………    166
Morgan Reno  ........…………………………………………………………..     199

STATE AUDITOR.

Eastin Morris  ........…………………………………………………………..     159
Joseph T. Fales  ........………...………………………………………………    208

REPRESENTATIVE TO CONGRESS.

Joseph H. Headrick  .......……………………………………………………     165
C. R. Mitchell  ..........…………………………………………………………     163
S. C. Hastings  ........………………………………………………………….     221
Shepherd Leffler  ........………………………………………………………     239

STATE SENATOR.

S. B. Sheladay  .............………………………………………………………     158
R. R. Harbor  ........…………………………………………………………..      240

STATE REPRESENTATIVE.

Nelson King  ….........…………………………………………………………    160
William Webb  ..........…………………………………………………………     124
L. B. Hughes …….........……………………………………………………..       95

     The following is an abstract of the votes cast at the election in August, 1847:

REPRESENTATIVE TO CONGRESS.

William Thompson  .......………………………………………………………   357
Jesse B. Brown  .......…………………………………………………………..   295

BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS.

George Wilson  ..........………………………………………………………….    210
W. Sample  .........………………………………………………………………    322
Charles Coskery  ........…………………………………………………….......      40

STATE TREASURER.

P. B. Fagen  ........……………………………………………………………...     211
Paul Bratton   .......…………………………………………………………….     329

SECRETARY OF STATE.

Charles Coskery  .......………………………………………………………..      309
Madison Dagger  ......………………………………………………………..      291

JUDGE OF PROBATE.

Joseph Kellum  ......………………………………………………………….      287
Joseph Adams  .......………………………………………………………….      178
Sanford Harned  ........………………………………………………………..          1

SHERIFF.

B. Mitts  .......………………………………………………………………...      239
James Robison  .......……………………………………………………........      310

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.

Ebenezer Johnson  ......………………………………………………………      310
R. Alexander  ......…………………………………………………………...       205

COMMISSIONER'S CLERK.

Sedley C. Harris  .......……………………………………………………….       296
Elijah Shockley  .......………………………………………………………..       253

PROSECUTING ATTORNEY.

Joseph Casey  ........…………………………………………………………..      248
Sanford Harned  ........………………………………………………………..        13

CLERK DISTRICT COURT.

A. James  ........……………………………………………………………….      313
S. E. McCracken  ........…………………………………………………........      171

TREASURER AND RECORDER.

Joel Long  .........………………………………………………………….......      288
Robert Galbraith  ........………………………………………………………      149

SURVEYOR.

John Baker  .......…………………………………………………………….      286
David T. Vittetoe  ........……………………………………………………...      121

CORONER.

Jacob Payton  ........………………………...…………………………………     318

INSPECTOR OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.

C. M. Wood   ........……………………………………………………………     363
Jacob Shaver  ........…………………………………………………………..        29

At this election there was an approximate vote cast of six hundred and fifty, and the Democrats had a clear majority of seventy, votes. Four years afterward, at the August election, there were nearly eight hundred votes cast, and the Democrats had a majority of one hundred.

The following is an abstract of the votes cast at said election:

COUNTY JUDGE.

George Pinkerton  .......……………………………………………………….     102
J. B. Whisler  .......…………………………………………………………….     293
John Baker  .......………………………………………………………...........     373

TREASURER AND RECORDER.

Ben. P. Shawhan  .......……………………………………………………….      394
R. F. Weller  ........…………………………………………………………….      327

SHERIFF.

Joseph Butler  .......…………………………………………………………..      337
Green Atwood  ........…………………………………………………………      102
W. A. Blair  .........……………………………………………………………      237

COUNTY SUPERVISORS.

Maxon Randall  ..........………………………………………………………..      191
James Carr  ........…………………………………………………………….      295
Jacob Payton  .........………………………………………………………….        37
Owen Monahan  .........……………………………………………………….      189

COUNTY SURVEYOR.

George Cuspin  .........………………………………………………………..      537
George Gray  ..........………………………………………………………….        31

CORONER.

M. G. Driskill  ............…………………………………………………………    179
Obed King  ...........…………………………………………………………….    205
John Pennington  ….......………………………………………………………     56
Scattering  …........……………………………………………………………..     16

At the election held in August, 1852, for Congressman, State officers and county officials, the following was the result:

REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS.

Bernhart Henn  .........…………………………………………………………..   442
Philip Viele  ............……………………………………………………………..   194
J. S. Stephenson  ..........………………………………………………………...     30
Scattering  ..........……………………………………………………………….       8

SECRETARY OF STATE.

Geo. W. McCleary  .........……………………………………………………...   337
J. W. Jenkins  ..........……………………………………………………………   173
T. M. Clagget  .........…………………………………………………………...     21

TREASURER OF STATE.

Martin S. Morris  .........……………………………………………………….    336
Hosea B. Horn  .........………………………………………………................    172

AUDITOR OF STATE.

William Pattee  .........…………………………………………………………    335
Asbury B. Porter  ..........………………………………………………………    172

CLERK OF DISTRICT COURT.

D. N. Henderson  .........………………………………………………………    259
Andrew Alexander   ..........……………………………………………………    407
John J. Franklin  ...........……………………………………………………….        1

PROSECUTING ATTORNEY.

M. M. Crocker  ...........………………………………………………………..    423
A. P. Moody  ............………………………………………………………….        5
A. J. Stevens  ............………………………………………………………….        3
Rowley Martin  .............……………………………………………………….        1

RECORDER AND TREASURER.

Sedley C. Harris  ............……………………………………………………...    305
Harvey T. Smith  ............…………………………………………...................    403
Solomon Sharp  ............………………………………………………............         5
A. Smith  .........……………………………………………………...................        2

SHERIFF.

James McGrew  ........……………………………………………….................   309
Joseph Butler  ........………………………………………………...................      29
Isaac Whitacre  ........……………………………………………….................      26
J. B. Butler  ..........…………………………………………………..................        2

The political complexion of the county can best be determined by reference to the vote on Congressman, Henn being the Democratic candidate, and Viele being a Whig. In addition to being on the popular side in politics, Mr. Henn was personally very popular, he having been connected with the land office in early days, and having made the first plat of the county.

In August, 1853, there was a sheriff, treasurer, recorder and coroner elected. The following is an abstract of the vote:

SHERIFF.

Morrison F. Bottoff  ........…………………………………………..................    253
James McGrew  .......……………………………………………....................     181
Joel Long  ........…………………………………………………….................     117

TREASURER AND RECORDER.

Harvey L. Smith  .........…………………………………………….................     400
Daniel D. Slaughter  .........………………………………………....................        1
Pail Seever  ..........………………………………………………….................         1

 

SURVEYOR.

N. Henderson  ..........………………………………………………................       87
Elijah A. Lathrop  ............…………………………………………..................     157
A. Lathrop  .............…………………………………………………................       15
Elijah Lathrop  ............……………………………………………..................       44
S. C. Harris  ............………………………………………………..................       19
Scattering  ............………………………………………………….................       11

CORONER.

John Pennington  ...........…………………………………………...................      52
G. A. Tally  .............………………………………………………....................      45
Scattering  ............…………………………………………………..................      31

At the election in 1854, Andrew Alexander was elected clerk of the District Court, J. T. Axtele, prosecuting attorney, and Joel Crossman, surveyor.

Abstract of votes given for the offices of county judge, recorder, sheriff, surveyor and coroner, and for and against the removal of the county-seat, at an election held on the first Monday of August, 1855:

COUNTY JUDGE.

Sanford Harned  ......……………………………………………....................     707
George Crispin  .......…………………………………………….....................     537
Scattering  .......………………………………………………….....................         4

RECORDER.

J. Batluff  .........................................................................................................     550
A. C. Romig  ....................................................................................................     593
A. B. Cuny  ......................................................................................................       85
Scattering  ........................................................................................................        6

SHERIFF.

C. D. McCalley  ...............................................................................................     621
W. Whited  .......................................................................................................     464
Scattering  ........................................................................................................       14

SURVEYOR.

Joel Crossman  .................................................................................................     716
J. W. Morgan  ...................................................................................................     316
Scattering  .........................................................................................................        5

CORONER.

John Pennington  ..............................................................................................    447
Isaac M. Hughes  ..............................................................................................    110
Scattering  ..........................................................................................................        1

FOR COUNTY-SEAT.

Lancaster  .........................................................................................................     758
Sigourney  .........................................................................................................     531

In April, 1856, there was an important election held at which it was decided who was to be school-fund commissioner, whether Sigourney or Lancaster should be the county-seat, and whether hogs and sheep should be restrained or allowed to run at large. It will be seen from the following abstract of that election that the people had materially changed on the last question:

SCHOOL-FUND COMMISSIONER.

Wm. H. Brunt  .................................................................................................    1021
Benjamin Parrish  ...........................................................................................      797

COUNTY-SEAT.

Sigourney  ........................................................................................................      982
Lancaster  ........................................................................................................      930

RESTRAINING HOGS AND SHEEP.

For restraining  ................................................................................................       427
Against restraining  .........,...............................................................................     1284

In 1856 the people of the county were very evenly divided on the questions of national politics. Samuel A. Curtis and Augustus Hall were the candidates for Congress, and of the fifteen hundred and seven votes cast Curtis received seven hundred and eighty-four and Hall seven hundred and twenty-three. The great reaction had come which transferred the State from the Democratic to the opposite party. The tidal wave which carried James W. Grimes into the gubernatorial chair and which was so unexpected as to cause astonishment among the most sagacious party leaders throughout the Union, occurred in 1854; but then, as now, the people of Keokuk county were not easily diverted from the old political landmarks. The change came, it is true, but gradually, and the verdict of that change has never been so emphatic and unequivocal as to invest either or any party with the ownership of its offices. Ever since 1854 hard work and good behavior have been requisites to political preferment in Keokuk county.

At the August election, 1856, the following were elected:

Representative, A. C. Price; clerk of district court, A. S. Alexander; prosecuting attorney, E. S. Sampson.

Abstract of election in October, 1857:

GOVERNOR.

Ralph B. Lowe  ...............................................................................................      879
Ben. M. Samuel  .............................................................................................      780

LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR.

Oran Faville  ....................................................................................................      881
George Gillispie  .............................................................................................      775

REPRESENTATIVE.

William McGrew  ............................................................................................      881
J. T. Sales  .......................................................................................................      767

COUNTY JUDGE.

Sanford Harped  ..............................................................................................      948
Maxon Randall  ................................................................................................      713

RECORDER AND TREASURER.

Alvin C. Romig  ..............................................................................................     1005
Morrison F. Bottuff  .......................................................................................       645

SHERIFF.

Joel Long  ......................................................................................................       962
A. H. Smith  ...................................................................................................       653
James McConnell  .........................................................................................         14

SURVEYOR.

Joel Crossman  ...............................................................................................       916
George Crispin  ..............................................................................................       714

CORONER.

James McConnell  .........................................................................................       767
P. L. Eckley  ...................................................................................................       745

At the October election in 1858, Samuel R. Curtis received 728 votes for representative to Congress, and H. H. Trimble received 689. For the office of clerk of the District Court there were polled 1388 votes, of which A. S. Alexander received 1388, there being at least one unanimous choice of the people of Keokuk county.

The following official directory is a correct list of the county officers elected during the twenty years, 1859 and 1879 inclusive:

1859.

County Judge—J. M. Casey.
Recorder—W. H. Brunt.
Sheriff—J. M. Adams.
Surveyor—B. S. Irwin.
Drainage Commissioner—R. C. Lypes.
Coroner—James McConnell.
Superintendent of Common Schools—James Frey.
Representative—H. Campbell.

1860.

Lincoln Presidential Electors  ........................................................................     1330
Douglas Presidential Electors  .......................................................................     1194
Breckenridge Presidential Electors  ..............................................................        14
Bell Presidential Electors    .............................................................................         2
Clerk District Court—J. H. Sanders.  

1861.

State Senator—Isaac P. Teter.
Representatives—John Wasson and Lewis Hollingsworth.
Treasurer—A. S. Alexander.
Sheriff—James M. Adams.
County Judge—John Rogers.
Surveyor—Joel Crossman.
Superintendent of Schools—D. V. Smock.

The questions of building a jail and levying a bridge tax were both decided in the negative.

1862.

Clerk District Court—J. B. Shallenbarger.

1863.

State Senator—John C. Hogin.
Representatives—Joseph Andrews and Roswell S. Mill.
County Judge—John Rogers.
Sheriff—W. B. Merriman.
Treasurer—Lycurgus McCoy.
Superintendent of Schools—D. V. Smock.

1864.

Lincoln Presidential Electors  ........................................................................     1149
McClellan Presidential Electors  ...................................................................      938
Clerk District Court—John A. Donnell.
Recorder—James E. Woods.

1865.

Senator—E. S. Sampson.
Representatives--T. A. Morgan, D. A. Stockman.
County Judge--John Rogers.
Treasurer—Lycurgus McCoy.
Sheriff—J. T. Parker.
Surveyor—J. B. Peck.
Superintendent of Schools—D. V. Smock.

1866.

Clerk of Court—Joseph Andrews.
Recorder—James E. Woods. Senator—John C. Johnson.
Representative—John Morrison.

1867.

Representatives—John Morrison, William Hartsock.
County Judge—William MeLoud.
Treasurer—J. Q. Howard.
Sheriff—John T. Parker. Surveyor—Joel Crossman.
Superintendent of Schools—A. J. Kane.

1868.

Grant Electors  ...............................................................................................     1938
Seymour Electors  ..........................................................................................     1503
Clerk of Court—J. M. Brunt.
Recorder—James E. Woods.

1869.

Senator—J. W. Havens.
Representatives—John Morrison, B. A. Haycock.
Auditor—L. Hollingsworth.
Treasurer—J. Q. Howard.
Sheriff—Andrew Stranahan.
Superintendent of Schools—J. A. Lowe.
Surveyor—J. A. Benson.

1870.

Clerk of Court—John M. Brunt.
Recorder—N. Warrington.
Members Board of Supervisors—W. F. Morgan, J. P. Yerger.

1871.

Representatives—John Morrison, John F. Wilson.
Auditor—Lewis Hollingsworth.
Treasurer--John Q. Howard.
Sheriff—Andrew Stranahan.
Superintendent of Schools—T. J. Hasty.
Member of Board of Supervisors—C. B. Merz.
Surveyor—G. W. Halferty.

1872.

Grant Presidential Electors  ..........................................................................     1,852
Greeley Presidential Electors  .......................................................................     1,361
O'Connor Presidential Electors  ....................................................................        54
Representative—C. C. Wilson.
Clerk of Court—M. Wightman.
Recorder--J. M. Jones.
Member Board Supervisors—Joseph Merryfield.

1873.

Senator—H. N. Newton.
Representatives—David Archer, J. T. Harper.
Auditor—A. A. Davis.
Treasurer—John M. Brunt.
Sheriff—Andrew Stranahan.
Superintendent of Schools—H. D. Todd.
Surveyor—E. B. Kerr.
Member Board of Supervisors—G. W. Morgan.

1874.

Clerk of Court—M. Wightman.
Recorder—J. M. Jones.
Member Board of Supervisors—Levi Bower.

1875.

Representatives—B. A. Clevland, Sanford Harned.
Auditor—John Morrison.
Treasurer—L. Hollingsworth.
Sheriff—Andrew Stranahan.
Superintendent of Schools—H. D. Todd.
Member Board of Supervisors—William Jackson.
Surveyor—Nathan Warrington.

1876.

Hayes Presidential Electors  .........................................................................     2,366
Tilden Presidential Electors  .........................................................................     1,862
Clerk of Court—M. Wightman.
Recorder—J. M. Jones.
Member Board of Supervisors—Isaac E. Stanley.

1877.

Senator—Sanford Harned.
Representative—Matthew Williams.
Auditor—T. F. McCarty.
Treasurer—Levi Bower.
Sheriff—H. C. Adams.
Surveyor—E. B. Kerr.
Superintendent of Schools—H. D. Todd.
Member Board of Supervisors—D. C. Baker.

1878.

Clerk of Court—Joel Richardson.
Recorder—W. C. McWilliams.
Member Board of Supervisors—J. C. Winget.

1879.

Representative—C. H. Mackey.
Auditor—T. F. McCarty.
Treasurer—Levi Bower.
Sheriff—H. C. Adams.
Surveyor—E. B. Kerr.
Coroner—L. Hollingsworth.
Superintendent of Schools—John Bland.
Member Board of Supervisors—Daniel Dodge.

The following is an abstract of the vote cast at the October election, 1879:

GOVERNOR.

John H. Gear  ................................................................................................     2,017
H. H. Trimble  ...............................................................................................     1,918
Daniel Campbell  ...........................................................................................        151
R. Dungan  ....................................................................................................          22

REPRESENTATIVE.

S. Sampson  ..................................................................................................     1,996
C. H. Mackey  .............................................................................................     2,008
W. Huff  .........................................................................................................         78

AUDITOR.

Leslie Bassett  ...............................................................................................     1,933
F. McCarty  ...................................................................................................     2,068
James Thompson  .........................................................................................         98

TREASURER.

Elmer Moses  ................................................................................................     1,942
Levi Bower  ...................................................................................................     2,057
James Cline  .................................................................................................          96

SHERIFF.

John Morrison  ..............................................................................................     1,950
H. C. Adams  ................................................................................................     2,965
J. Barnhizer  ..................................................................................................          79

SURVEYOR.

E. B. Kerr  .....................................................................................................     2,041
J. P. Harris  ...................................................................................................     1,065

SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS.

J. K. Pickett  ..................................................................................................     1,984
John Bland  ...................................................................................................     2,011
H. D. Gortner  ..............................................................................................        106

CORONER.

L. Hollingsworth  ..........................................................................................    2,025
Harman Seaba  .............................................................................................    1,948
Sidney Sherwood  ............................................................................................     104

MEMBER BOARD OF SUPERVISORS.

Samuel McFarland  .......................................................................................   1,977
Daniel Dodge  ...............................................................................................    1,996
A. Warnock  ..................................................................................................        125

SHALL STOCK BE RESTRAINED?

Yes  ...............................................................................................................     1,984
No  ................................................................................................................     1,567

Transcribed by Pat Wahl. Thank you, Pat!

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