Up to the close of the Civil war, one common phrase, "They have moved away up into northwestern Iowa," had not been coined, as the territory including that now known as Lyon County was yet an unsettled domain, up to 1866, and was but little known to white men, save an occasional hunter, trapper, or explorer.  It was more than a third of a century ago that  the hopeful and adventurous pioneer left his home in central Iowa, or farther east in one of the middle states, and took up a "claim" in this northwestern country which locality was then little less than a desolate prairie-land wilderness.  At that date no network of railroads, providing a royal highway over which the iron-hearted, steaming monster could speed his way rapidly, by day and by night, year in and year out, had been projected.  The prairie sod was then unturned; the rivers and creeks unbridged and almost impassible roads was the rule everywhere.

"Thirty years ago, my country,

        You were fair - yes, very fair;

There were no furrows on your brow,

        No silver in your hair.

The blush of early womanhood

        Was on your rounded cheek,

The wild flowers on your bosom

        Exhaled their fragrance sweet."

A few brave sons of toil had the hardihood to face the privations incidental to frontier life, and came on in advance of railroads, high culture and fancy styles!  They brought no better titles to their lands than that they were among American citizens, which had already come to mean much to one who sought to build for himself a home with naught save hard days' work.  "They came--they saw--they conquered," and soon the car of advanced civilized life caught the inspiration and wended its way to this goodly country where men at once grew healthy and wealthy.  

The settlers multiplied; its soil produced far more than the people here could consume, and it was not long before capitalists saw money could be no better invested than in giving an outlet for the annually increasing crops by the construction of great systems and branches of railways, scores of miles and numerous systems of which cross and recross the beautiful domain of which this is a history.  It is the object of this volume to give something concerning the county before it had entered into the railroad era, as well as that of later and present times, the contrast of which is wonderful.

Let us hasten then to record the words, as they fall from the lips of the few surviving pioneers; let us speak of the grand and heroic deeds of early settlers in Lyon County, Iowa, that their actions may find their merited niche in the chapter of history, where they justly belong.  Let their words and deeds build for them a monument that shall outlive the stone and bronze, which must ere long mark their last resting place.  Let there an epitaph be inscribed, "They builded better than they know."

But before taking up this pleasurable duty of writing of pioneer settlers and of modern times, let us record a few facts concerning this county as it existed "down through dim and misty vista of time before man was," and see what foundations were here laid by a wise creator in the geological and surface formations--the soil, the grasses, the forests, the meandering streams and beautiful prairie lands.


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Webization by Kermit Kittleson - Aug. 2006