. . . Barnet Devine . . . received their naturalization papers at the October 7, 1859, term of court. [Vol.


Riverdale Township

Three substantial settlers located during the year 1856. They were Barnet Devine, who chose his location

on section 24, on the east side of the river; Addison Fisher, who settled by the river on the northern

boundary of the township, and Grishington Jones, who selected a tract on the river on section 11. He built

his cabin on the west side in the grove. The other two also had cabins for their families. Both Devine and

Jones found claimants of the tracts ahead of them who they had to satisfy with money before they (Devine

and Jones) could get possession. Devine still owns his tract, but those of the other two have passed into

other hands. With the Jones family came several sons and George W. Blottenburger, a son-in-law. Some of

these took up claims and settled in the vicinity. The John Devine family located just south of Barnet

Devine's and John Maher just across the river on the west side. [Vol.1/575]

Barnett Devine was called the cattle-king for a quarter of a century, on account of the size of his herds and

financial success he made of that line of enterprise. His accumulation of land was another evidence of his

good judgment and business qualities. [Vol. 1/577]

Barney Devine: ‘Cattle King of Northwest Iowa’

Irish Boy Tries Panama and California

By Denny Waller

Excerpt of the undated copy from the Algona Public Library

“The Cattle King of Northwestern Iowa.” It was a title Barney Devine earned and enjoyed for over a

quarter of a century.

When Barnet W. Devine died on November 16, 1915, he was known for his keen business mind and his

success as a cattleman and farmer. During his adult years he was the Rockefeller of Irvington, but his youth

reveals an even more interesting story.

. . . [see page 1]

On May 3, 1856, Barney married Abigail Batterson of Washington County, in the southeastern part of the

state. [Daughter of James Batterson and Mary Squires] Looking for good land someone suggested the

Upper Des Moines River region had plenty of good, cheap land. . . .

Barney and his young wife arrived by a team of recently purchased oxen in 1856. They lived in their

covered wagon in Irvington (Riverdale) Township for three months. It was here that Barney Devine

realized the potential of the great grazing pastures for livestock.

The range was free and the hay belonged to the first one who mowed it. Barney bought cattle as soon as he

could afford them. . . .

He earned a reputation as being an honest, liberal buyer of steers, which he sold on the Chicago market.

Since this was before the railroads had reached the area, the only market for settlers was for cattle, hogs and

grain. There were no elevators, no scales, no quick method of transportation or financing. Dealing was done

by gentleman’s agreement.

The livestock was driven by Ft. Dodge or other points for loading. All deals were cash. Barney kept his

aggressive business policy of buying more and more cattle and succeeded in buying land. He was to

eventually own over 2,000 acres of Kossuth land.

. . .

Mrs. Devine packed food in barrels for the herders and it was delivered to them every other week. Later the

Devines had a chuck wagon where the food was prepared on the grounds.


Rachel (Scherf) Levine

Page !

of !