LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY: The Compendium
At an early day, it was thought doubtful by some whether corn would be a paying crop, so far to the north and west, in Iowa, as this county, but a few of the early pioneers, who took "homesteads," believed it could be profitably produced and hectice experimented and soon it was known that corn was the best paying of all crops and from then until this day the larger portion of tillable soil is planted to corn. At first, while prairie breaking was going on, flax was much raised and was profitable, but of late years but little is raised.
Something of the prosperity of the county may be seen by reference to the United States census report of 1900, in which it is shown that Lyon County had property subject to taxation amounting to $5,034.413, of which $578,000 was person tax values; farming lands, $3,937,000. These figures represent the taxable values, but the same report shows that the actual value of Lyon County lands was $13,916,386, all produced in three decades, or from 1870 to 1900.
As an evidence of the fertility of the soil, and speedy growth of the settlement, from the first, when the county was composed of but four civic townships, the following abstract of census taken for 1872, is here given:
No. Dwellings Voters Acres Improved Bushels Wheat Oats Corn Lyon 51 44 3,110 13,390 4,691 4,394 Doon 106 121 2,877 6,324 7,550 12,225 Rock 59 59 1,816 2,633 3,785 3,105 Larchwood 15 10 661 3,164 729 940 Total 237 234 8,464 25,511 16,755 20,664
To inform the reader as to vast productions of this county, as the later developments were made, a copy of the shippers' books is here given for 1889, with other facts:
County shipments 3,378 cars Shipments from Rock Rapids alone 761 cars Shipped to Rock Rapids alone 871 cars Year's improvements alone 652,000 Bank exchanges alone 1,750,000 Real estate deals alone 1,007,641
To show the growth attained by garden products the following is given from the Review of October, 1883: "A few days since, Henry Kelso, of Grant Township, left at this office a striped-leaf, purple topped turnip, weighing twelve and one-half pounds. What Iowa county can discount this? He also left us four huge Irish potatoes, the combined weight of which was seven pounds; and other vegetables of enormous growth including a Marblehead squash. The exhibit is magnificent, and is proof of what Lyon County soil will do when properly cultivated."
In 1883, from ninety-two acres of flax Clark & Pierce threshed 1,228 bushels; from sixty acres of wheat, 833 bushels; from 112 acres of oats, 5,800 bushels; twenty acres of barley, 600 bushels; from forty acres of timothy, 190 bushels of seed. The above was put in and harvested by hired help--it cost for seeding and planting, $704; for threshing, $600; cutting and stacking, $744, making a total cost of $2,848.
Frank O'Niel, of Grant township, raised, the same year, 3,158 bushels of flax seed and 2,000 bushels of oats from fifty acres and Henry Bowen raised 428 bushels of flax seed from thirty-five acres and his oats yielded fifty bushels.
In the first issue of Rev. Bristol's first newspaper in the county, in 1871, speaking of grasses, he said: "In township ninety-eight, range forty-five, the headwaters of the west branch of the Floyd river, we crossed a slough, where we, horse and buggy, disappeared--not in the mud, but in the tall grass. Stopping our horse, we got out and tied some of the grass over her back. Getting back into the buggy, let the top down and drove under--buggy, driver and all--and did not break the grass arch made by us. We were careful, of course, stooping to conquer, and then, for fear of being disputed, we got out and cut the grass and took it to H.D. Rice's home and there found it measured eight feet and six inches tall. "How is that for high?"
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