LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY
"Old Settlers Day" has come to be in almost every part of the country west of the Mississippi river, a universally observed day and is looked forward to with by far more interest among older men and women than any of our regular state and national holidays. And the reason of this is good. Friendship and early associations, 'midst poverty and hardship, while battling for an existence at home building, create ties that are seldom broken. The cloak of charity is thrown over, many a fault and even sin, by those who stood beside the pioneer camp-fire-by the log cabin door and within the neighborhood of any given 'early settlement,' whether it was in Lyon County or older earlier settled portions of the West. And well that it is so. What an old soldiers' reunion is to the battle-marked veterans, the old settlers reunions are to the pioneers. These annual meetings, where assemble the old and the young and where is reviewed and for the time being life lived over again--early days recalled and memories revived of incidents long since almost forgotten are valuable to society and are usually an index true to the life and character of any people. It is upon such occasions that men and women unbend, as it were, and throw off the garb of caste, society, church, and political belief; a day when all meet and never refer or seldom think of former petty differences. Here men lay aside their helmets and reveal to one another the grace and amity of their hitherto stern countenances. Here among old time friends is true happiness and rest.
It was more than a third of a century ago that the vanguard of civilization turned their faces, with hope and expectancy toward northwestern Iowa, many of them young and in their prime--leaving father and mother and schoolmates behind them in pleasant homes in someone of the older sections of Iowa, Wisconsin or possibly farther east. Many, too, were the soldiers who had but a short time prior stacked arms at the close of the Civil conflict and sought first a blushing bride and net a home on some of the unbroken domain of Uncle Sam. The Homestead Act of 1864, and their military service entitled them to many of his rich, broad acres in this county--hence they, too, swelled the number who sailed over these wild, sea-like prairies in no better craft than an ox-team "prairie schooner," or four-horse stage coach. The summer's heat and fearful winter blasts were both arrayed against them, but their daring souls had faith; they had constancy; they had perseverance, but they lacked cold cash, generally. Their faith triumphed over fear, or they never would have come hither. The pioneer's life has always been too busy, too earnest, for him to stop long enough to tell the world of himself. He makes history, but leaves it for other to write. He, the sturdy pioneer, lays the foundations; he organizes society and frames constitutions, and then steps aside and leaves others to the details and routing of further administration. The pioneer comes to dig and delve, to plant and saw, to hew and build, the crooked to make straight, the rough to make smooth.
Neither the river, the lake, the sea or mountain chain, or the vast wilderness have insurmountable obstacles for him. Pioneers are born--not made. Not every man, or woman has the harihood and sterling qualities to become a pioneer; as sentinels upon the outer walls, they have stood for many years, eye to eye.
Through this finer sense of pioneer sentiment, the old settlers of Lyon County, Iowa, in the autumn of 1903--a few of them--met and organized what is known as the "PIONEER'S ASSOCIATION," whose officers were elected as follows:
George Monlux President E.C. Roach Secretary F.M. Thompson Historian
Township Vice Presidents
Sioux A. Parker Larchwood W.H. Bradley Allison David Merrill Riverside I.W. Woodburn Midland W. Maher Ells Elgin W.T. Greaves Grant Henry Kelso Liberal M. Halloran Rock O.P. Miller Cleveland Milton Ladd Logan M.C. McMullen Centennial Monroe Rahnson Lyon J.H. Webb Richland W.H. Skewis Doon Chas. Shultz Garfield W.W. Reynolds Wheeler J.H. Rith Dale Conrad Krahling
Their first re-union was held in June, 1904.
During their first meeting, Hon. J.M. Parsons offered this: Resolved, "That an association be organized to be known as the Lyon County Pioneer Association, all persons of twenty-one years of age having resided in the county twenty years to be eligible to membership, and that the president appoint a committee from each one of the townships to meet at call of president to draft and adopt articles of association."
This resolution was passed, and the foundation stones set for what will doubtless prove of much good and unalloyed pleasure to the people of the county, as the years shall come and go.
The publishers of this book had not finished collecting data for the work, when this association began to take shape and soon the officers saw the opportunity and embraced it, to cooperate with the publishers and through their efforts the volume has been greatly enlarged and much valuable matter, in way of local contributions, has been added, making it the authentic history, as well as biographical record of the county and is placed before the public as coming under the auspices of the "Pioneers' Association.
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