In the various public affairs, excitements and early developments in the county, the Scrub Poet has quite occasionally and persistently gotten into the ring. Many of these effusions have been neither original, Shakespearean nor classic, and scarcely poetic. Nevertheless they have at times hit off sundry mile heats in county doings. The poetic critic will, therefore, disarm himself before bombarding. A place is given to this novice poet laureate with the thought that the reader will enjoy a little spice, even though they did at times hit local happenings. They are often selected from both sides of the sundry questions, from this historic spice box, and not to hit this or that at the present late date now. For instance, this little couplet:

"Primghar jumped up,
County seat pup,"

was the expression of Editor Caleb G. Bundy, an early 1881 drastic and sarcastic writer, as a then sort of sneer at Primghar, either in the Primghar Times, just as he left Primghar, or in the Paullina Times, as a parting salute, in sarcasm, when he moved that paper to Paullina.
Some six or eight of the little parodies in this chapter were written by Jonathan A. Stocum, a large farmer and early attorney in Sanborn. He moved there from Chicago with the town in 1878, and, with John Lawler of the Milwaukee road, had laid out and platted Stocum and Lawler's addition to Sanborn. Among the same years, or a little later, W. A. Mickey, the father-in-law of Jacob H. Wolf, of the Bell, platted Mickey's addition to Hartley. Mr. Stocum had been a lecturer for years in Bryant & Stratton's Commercial College in Chicago and was much of a punster. In his musings over the wild prairies, and in observations on the then large herds of cattle roaming on the wild range of prairie pastures, with the cows lariated out in the towns and streets, and of the verdant and pioneer appearance of the then two little burgs set down in the prairie grass, with their first wooden business shacks, many unpainted, made him use the expression below jingled:

"Hartley and Sanborn,
Lariated out,
Prairie grass growing,
Wolves all about."


Mr. Stocum also jingled the little parodies, "Tig, Tag, Toe," "Intry Mintry Cutery Corn," "Old Mother Hubbard," "Humpty Dumpty on the Wall," and some other Mother Goose parodies. The Scrub Poet almost invariably runs to the parody and imitation. This will be observed in the numerous parodies herein given, which have appeared in one form or another during these thirty years.
The parody on "Jack Sprat," relating to Hartley, Moneta and Plessis, was gotten off by a wag commercial traveler in the Park Hotel in Hartley, some time after the Rock Island road was built. He was chinning a fellow runner as to whether it would pay in his line of goods to run down to Moneta, that little burg just then springing up. The other runner sarcastically replied that inasmuch as his chum's business was so extensive he surely should not fail to make Plessis also. Then the first runner got off this parody found herein on Jack Sprat, how Hartley, the big town between, licked the platter clean, by doing all the then trade in that territory. Other wags, editors and squibblers from time to time have perpetrated other of the poetic shots. The reader will perhaps not at all times be versed in the vernacular or idioms of the earlv pioneer, to fully appreciate all the items, but the main expressions had an early-time meaning. We can simply enjoy them as part of the humors of the early day.

"O'Brien county
Will bring you bounty."


We look up to Osceola,
We look down on Cherokee,
To Clay county we look eastward,
Sioux, down towards the sun down sea.

We squint up cornering to Lyon,
Then to Dickinson on the lakes,
South to Plymouth, Beuna Vista,
At our southern corner stakes.


Floyd township, Franklin, Lincoln,
Hartley, Omega, Grant;
Carroll township, Summit, Center,
Half told you say? Yet scant.


For Sheldon town, a township is.
Complete within its zone,
Though not congressional in size.
Complete it stands alone.

Down to Baker, Dale and Highland,
Caledonia, Union scan.
Banner of Liberty held up,
By our oldest Waterman.


Gone are the days when the prairies burned away.
Gone are the friends' of the early homestead day.
Gone from this land to a better land I know,
I see those prairies burning, crackling,
Old Black Joe.
Prairies burning, Black earth turning.
While my head is bending low,
I hear those homestead angel voices calling,
Old Black Joe.


The haytwister twisted his haytwisted twist,
A wrist twisted, fist twisted hay twisted twist.
He twisted it twisting a hay twist— You tryer!
He twisted that hay stack straight into the fire.


I have seen the homesteader almost in tears.
As the hopper harvested his unharvested ears.
And all this, too, in successive years.
Now happily all passed by.


Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward.
Right from the west they came,
More than six hundred.


Out from the forest and glade,
"Charge for the corn," they said.
Then for the fields they made.
More than six hundred.
Fields to the right of them.
Fields to the left of them.
Fields to the front of them,
Pillaged and plundered,
Naught could their numbers tell,
Down on the crop they fell,
Nor left a stalk or shell,
More than six hundred.
Flashed all their red legs bare,
Flashed as they turned in air,
Robbing the farmers there.
Charging an orchard, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the smudge and smoke,
Right through the corn they broke,
Hopper and locust;
Peeled they the stalks all bare.
Shattered and sundered;
Then they went onward—but
More than six hundred.


In eighteen hundred and seventy-nine
(The last year of the hoppers)
O'Brien's county's sun doth shine;
We've reached the land of corn and wine,
Prosperity's rich and golden mine.
Spreads wide its treasures, grain and vine
These troubles past, we'll now consign
To relics of Ye Olden Time.


Intry, Mintry, Cutery Corn.
Strung on the Central to adorn,
Calumet, Gaza, and Primghar then,
With Archer all going up to Sheldon again.


Old Mother Hubbard, she went to the cupboard,
To get "The Northwestern Line"
Shestrung on the fish,
Sutherland a menu dish,
While for a straight westliner,
Put Paullina on the diner,
For supper as you wish.


Jack Sprat Plessis could eat no fat,
While Moneta could eat no lean,
And so betwixt them both,
Hartley licked the platter clean.
On the Rock Island,
Rock O Bye fine land.


We are farming today on the old prairie ground,
Where we camped, where we tented when we came,
With the old covered wagon, and a four-ox team,
Breaking for the sod corn grain.
Farming today.
Tenting today,
Farming on the old prairie ground.
We are autoing today where we mired in the mud,
Where we then dug a well in the slough,
With big gang plows, the planter then in line,
Waiting the season through.
Farming today,
Tenting today,
Farming where we mired in the mud.
We are farming today on the tiled out land,
Beyond the dream of the homesteader in the early day,
With grain elevators and four-horse teams abreast,
In the big modern house all so grand.
Farming today,
Tenting today,
Tenting in the modern house so grand.


I aint got long to stay here,
And what little time I've got,
I'd rather be contented to remain,
The angels there will welcome us,
Over on that Golden Shore,
My old haytwisting neighbor,
And my wife who's gone before,
From that little old sod shanty on the claim.


Eney, Meney, Miney, Mo,
I went to Primghar with my beau,
We got a license,
The job was done.
Plural number,
We are one.


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind,
Should the old O'Brien be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne,
For auld O'Brien, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


How dear to this heart are the scenes of that homestead.
When fond recollections present them to view,
The old shack, the musket, the deep tangled slough grass,
And every loved spot which that homesteader knew.
The wide spreading prairie, the hay stacks upon it,
The wheat and the oats where the grasshoppers fell,
The shack of my father, the haytwister nigh it.
And e'en the old musket, hanging where we dare not tell,
The old rusty musket,
The back kicken musket.
And e'en that old musket, hanging where we dare not tell


Way down upon the Little Siou-ax,
Sadly I roam,
Still sadly over my memory "Too Lax,"
Warrants and the Stub Books gone.
No more I hear the
County Rats writing,
Log Court House gone,
No more the letting humbug bridges,
Down in Old O'Brien home.
All the Swamp Lands are sad and dreary,
Skeeters hardly blink, Bosler, Cofer, Tiffey ever weary,
Done gone over Hades' brink.

Old O'Brien was the first county seat. It was Bosler, Cofer and Tiffey who were largely responsible for the old debt. Old O'Brien was on the Little Sioux. The above was McCormack's way of pronouncing the Siou-ax.


Work for the night is coming.
Work yon son of a gun.
(Pete Swenson said, not in fun),
Or "over the hills you will go,"
As soon as the poor house is done.


Twinkle, twinkle little school.
How I wonder what the rule.
Up above this soil so grand,
By O'Brien learn to stand.


Humpty. Dumpty on the wall,
Grasshoppers on that field did fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men,
Couldn't put those gay grasshoppers back here again.


O for a thousand tongues to sing,
O'Brien county's praise.
I'll raise more corn, an auto buy,
A thousand hogs I'll raise.


In all this grand country, Iowa's Northwest,
May O'Brien there shine as the erandest and best.


Old O'Brien,
Still a sigh'en
Eighteen sixty.
Just for fun,
Oldest town,
First begun,
Saddest tale.
Tongue or pen.
Story of what,
Alight have been.

Sheldon started,
First railroad town.
What to do.
Railroad breeches
All made up,
Mighty good start.
Thrifty pup.
Sioux City road,
July third.
Hit the town.
Early bird.
July Fourth,
Natal day,
Folks all there.
Sheldon gay.
Governor Miller,
Speeched the speech.
First railroad engine.
Screeched the screech.

Primghar jumped up.
County seat pup.
Eighteen hundred
Prairie wild,
Hove in view.
No railroad,
Only jailroad.
Court house and jail,
No cars, no rail.

Eighteen hundred,
Milwaukee road.
Passed the gate.
Road went "Shop"ping,
For a town.
Railroad shops. Then staked down.
Sanborn, Hartley,
Lariated out.
Raw prairie,
Wolves all about.

Central railroad.
Primghar gladdened.
Hope of heaven.
Sheldon thribbled,
Railroad size.
Archer born
Wipes its eyes.
Gaza hustles.
Street carsrun,
Calumet bristles.
"Get your gun."


Nineteen hundred,
Century ending,
All then complete,
Our railroad building.
Rock Island road
Brings a shout,
Hartley bustles,
Another way out.
Moneta southeast,
Plessis northwest,
Wipe off your chin,
Pull down your vest.

Lest we forget.
And be so lax,
To omit Evander,
Or Little Max.
And Germantown,
Parochial school,
Big German church,
Pipe organ stool.

Rich farms, cattle,
Horses and sheep,
Houses ample,
Eat and sleep,
Towns all built,
Firm as the ground,
Proud of the county.
"Round all round."


Tig, Tag, Toe,
Three towns in a row.
Hartley, Sanborn and Sheldon too,
On the Milwaukee, a straight shot through.


We will camp out upon our farms,
We will not pay this debt,
We'll get out an injunction quick.
Let the bondholders sweat.
We will not pay one cent of tax.
We have no dollars to spare,
To be mixed up in such a deal.
Would make an angel swear.
We'll hang the first official up.
To the nearest wagon tongue.
Who dares to make a levy or tax,
By a neck-tie will be strung.

The discovery of the enormous debt by the homesteaders when they arrived, during and following the year 1870, and later its confirmation by the


examination and report of the debt made by George W. Schee, county auditor, at the January session of the board of supervisors for 1877, caused much excitement and discussion. The above righteously indignant sentiments were in fact specially expressed at a taxpayers' picnic which might almost have been styled an indignation meeting, held in Grant township in 1878 to discuss same, and later appeared in the verse above.
As seen elsewhere, however, owing to the fear on the part of the people of the odium of bankruptcy fastening itself upon the county and injuring it, and the further conclusion of its impracticability of defeat, the whole debt was paid except sundry thousand referred to below. An injunction suit was in fact instituted by the Taxpayers' Association by A. P. Powers and many others against the treasurer, and payment of the debt was stopped for a number of years by the court.


We'll look into these bonds somewhat.
We'll stop in part this ire.
Before the board an inquest hold,
We'll hold a big bon(d) fire.

The report of George W. Schee showed in fact on paper an outstanding debt of two hundred and seventy-three thousand seven hundred and twenty five dollars. He, however, showed all possibilities. There were some bonds actually signed up and outstanding for which no record could be found. On closer investigation it was found that those gentry who brought suit against the county and took judgment in some cases had seen to it that the county warrants sued upon were not cancelled, and had in sundry cases actually withdrawn them from the court records and sued them a second time. This all made much labor and required patience.
John Dickinson, a traveling man for a Des Moines stationary house, who sold supplies to the county, presented in 1881 one of these bonds for one thousand dollars which had come into possession of this supply house. When so convinced that no record could be found, the house cancelled and surrendered same to the county. Mr. Dickinson, who was known all over Iowa as a hale fellow well met in the various court houses, then came before the board of supervisors with this bond for one thousand dollars and which, with interest, then amounted to as much more, and held, as he gleefullv termed it, an inquest and bon(d) fire. It was burned before the board during a


session during the incumbency of J.L.E. Peck, the writer hereof, as county auditor, and a record by resolution was made of same.
This incident ended up a number of thousand dollars of this class of bonds. This, together with the county warrants sued upon twice as stated, and sundry sums paid in meantime during Mr. Schee's term of office accounts for the apparent discrepancy between reports.
This statement is about correct without going into details, namely : That from the date of Mr. Schee's report in January, 1877, forward, that the sum of two hundred and forty thousand dollars was paid or rebonded, and that from the date of the rebonding in 1881 during Air. Peck's term that two hundred and thirty thousand was disposed of, namely, thirty thousand dollars in cash and the two hundred thousand dollars in new bonds issued at seven per cent. It must be remembered that during all those years payments were made from time to time and the amounts as stated would vary according to the time computed from.


J.L.E. Peck that mule did ride.
Bare back, with naught but halter.
Scared like hell,
With a midnight yell,
Lustily ringing an old cow bell,
To rouse the people far and wide.
That Primghar might yet there abide,
As a county seat and save its hide.
To make report,
And hold the fort.
And hold down its Gibraltar.

This item went the rounds of the press in various forms after the Sanborn county-seat raid in 1882. Mr. Peck was the only official present, and in fact sent out parties all over the county to rouse the people up.


Friends, please stop one moment.
Your everlasting bragging,
While I tell you not of what you've done.
But of that martyred wagon.


I know you came to Sanborn,
Brave men without once fagging,
You get the praise, but never speak.
Of that poor martyred wagon.

That wagon, as you no doubt know,
No work had ever done.
Till on its wheels was put a sate
That weighed a round two ton.

But those hurried men who put it there
Were sure it safely there would ride,
If ax and hatchet had not been
So womanly applied.

But ax and hatchet were applied.
The game thev were for winning,
Until that wagon did give way
For lack of underpinning.

If those Primgareans had done naught else
But stamp, and swore and raved.
The spokes of that poor wagon would
Undoubtedly have been saved.

But that wagon new was soon hewn down.
In the city's broadest way.
The Sanborn men‐what else to do‐
Went off and let it lay.

There stood that martyred wagon.
Till the birds their songs had sung
Then came the folks from far and near.
And took that wagon tongue.

They put that wagon tongue on high.
Right near that wagon's grave.
It was soon afloat on the morning breeze,
The Stars and Stripes to wave.


Give three long cheers for the wagon,
As loud as you are able,
It has a glorious resting place
Upon the center table.

That wagon, friends, was all chopped up,
And scattered far and wide,
Its parts adorn those center tables,
E'en to the ocean's tide.

There may it rest in peace for aye,
Its fellies, hubs and spokes,
And may he get his pay for it.
Its owner, Mr. Stokes.

This is the wagon on which the county treasurer's safe was loaded, in the public square, during the raid. The Primghar people had pulled the nuts off the wagon during the melee and disabled it and it never got to Sanborn.


What is it that hustled the Primghar lads
And stood nearly all of them onto their heads
And made Colonel Pumphrey come down with the scads?
The County Seat.
What made them gather around in a bunch
At Tifft's saloon for his free lunch
And close it up with a bowl of punch?
The County Seat.
What made old "Samul" so short and sharp
And on his land and his taxes harp
And cause him so much to fret and carp ?
The County Seat.
What made the county dads so long
In session, when they to their farms belong
And to swallow such camphor to make them strong?
The County Seat.
What made Clark Green get up on his ear
And swear about Sheldon far and near.
With a string of adjectives swift and clear?
The County Seat.


What was it made such a busy sight
And hustled all Primghar around in the night,
Working for life with main and might?
The County Seat.
What was it sent Sanborn boys away
To Primghar, and be there day after day.
And made things lively during their stay?
The County Seat.
What is it that won't let Primghar sleep,
But will keep her uneasy and make her weep?
Something she's got, but never can keep
The County Seat.
What was it made Barrett so slow to tell
That he worked so hard and worked so well?
But passed in our checks and gone to h—ll.

The writer of this history never ascertained the author of the above. The "Samul," named in the poem, however, referred to "Old Uncle Samuel Hibbs" who lived to be one hundred and one years of age. He first homesteaded the southwest quarter of section 8, in Highland, in 1870. Later, for many years, he was an enthusiastic squatter, but failed out, in that he got onto the Milwaukee land. He was a typical scrapper and pioneer, honest in every detail, and had much to say about the Sanborn raid. A rough and tumble for possession, physically if necessary, was his forte. Everybody knew he existed and was on earth. His last fifteen years in life's close were spent in total blindness, he having lines or rope cords stretched around his residence yards to guide his footsteps. The above poem referred to that raid in 1882. He lived many years in Sanborn, where he died in 1910.



One little incident occurred just now as I write, which brings out seriously to the editor of this book the prominent fact that so much of the past of O'Brien county is passed forever. While in the very act of gathering items at my desk one day, E. C. Brooks, an old homesteader on the southwest quarter of section 24, in Floyd, stuck his head in the door and commenced to talk abruptly. He had been away from O'Brien county thirty years. Like Rip Van Winkle, he had been in Oklahoma and asleep to O'Brien county. He broke out: "Say, Peck, where is that mule you rode in the Sanborn raid?


Where is that black beard you used to wear? I can't find any of the old doings. I just came down from Sheldon. I tried to look up that old angling road down at Primghar. It was all gone; no prairie, no prairie grass; can't take a big look across the prairie like I used to; there is no prairie. The big groves, and fences, and fields and barns, and squared roads and houses and crops blot it all out. I did find my old homestead shack in the back yard."


"Where is my Poor Dog Schneider?"

Woodman, spare that prairie
Plant not so many trees.
They blot out all the old scenes,
Prairie grass, like billowy seas.


Oh, O'Brien, the Gem of the Prairie,
When proud Iowa's form stands in view.
The old soldier on taps on his homestead,
Once more fighting his battles anew.
Life's mandates make heroes assemble.
On those broad plains of heaven's review.
Homesteader, old soldier, together, forever.
Borne out o'er that heavenly blue.
Three cheers for the wild red sweet william.
Three cheers for the white prairie flower.
Waiving grass for this blue prairie union,
Three cheers for the Red, White and Blue.


Nine sprigs of hair.
Leaves an old bald headed squatter,
Away up in the air.


There was on old squatter and his name was Uncle Ned.
He lived long, long, long ago,
His hair had no "possession" on the top of his head.
The place where the wool ought to grow.


An Old Haytwister lived so very, very old,
Doctor Longshore pulled his teeth out free.
He had no teeth for to eat the corn cake.
So he had to let the corn cake be.
Then lay down the shubbel and the hoe.
Hang up the twister and your dough.
There's no more hard work for poor Uncle Ned.
He's gone where the good squatters go.


John Ker was an active squatter in Baker township, on the southeast quarter of section 15. He was incessantly in the fight. He was a wit. He made at least a score of trips to the land office at Des Moines in 1896-97 on his own and others' fights. Often more than thirty homesteaders and witnesses would go down on one train to the hearings. His witty get-offs and hits on the old settler and squatter would keep the whole car roaring with laughter. He got off the above "Nine Points of Possession" squib. That phrase "away up in the air" had a very serious meaning to those people who were in the courts for then twenty years. He often expressed it. "Boys, we're still away up in the air."
It seemed all but pitiful that he should have fought out with the rest his twenty-year fight and won out with the rest, but so persistently did the railroad contract man pursue the settler through all the courts, state and federal, that even as late as about 1904 this contract man got after him unawares, then an old man well in his dotage, when he actually signed up a contract on his claim for two thousand dollars and paid it off. As one can see, that was more than the whole land was worth when he commenced the long fight in 1884. But the old man was gritty. The homesteaders had no money. As the old man also got it off, that all he could do was to
Take possession
And fight.


The squatters and old homesteaders of 1870 were very much intermingled in these various fights. In fact, the pioneer, the homesteader, the


squatter and old soldier, it will be noticed, are at times used promiscuously. They were all fighting for free lands in this new country. It may seem at times that too much space is spent thus, but early times and these four individuals are somewhat synonymous.

When I can read my title clear,
Way down in Washington,
I'll hold down tight this homestead dear,
The best is just begun.
Lift up your heads, O Israel,
Land agents tell no lies,
It's all so good, the truth speaks out,
So wipe your weeping eyes.


The pioneer is going gone.
By auction, what's your bid?
The old machine has had its day.
Old iron must be rid.

The homestead shack held down the claim,
Now stands in the back yard,
We let it stand just over where
They tried out fat and lard.

Wild zigzag prairie fires roared.
Like lightning streaks on land,
Bolting up to heaven soared,
Gone! Stamped on heaven's strand.

Angling roads on prairies vast,
Running everywhere.
Squared up farms their ruin worked,
They've done gone round the square.

Breaking plow long since gave way
To gang plow on the farm,
Prairie sod to mellow soil,
By farmer's strong right arm.


"Poor Injun," like the prairie sod,
Could stand no pale face plow,
His range broke up, the deer shot down.
That deer gave place to cow.

The wild prairie chicken soared.
With yellow throat did "Oo,"
Upward, skyward on he went,
And bade his last adieu.

The pioneer is going gone,
Some with their debts and all,
'Twas but a part of "bitter sweet,"
The bitter sweet with gall.

Old double shovel plows gave way,
Hand planters stood on end.
The wire stretcher lands the drop.
The corn in rows extend.

Rut e'en the debts are gone for aye,
Public and private all.
Lift up your heads, ye sons of guns,
And make a show, "play ball."

All plenty prairie pasture then,
All plenty prairie hay,
But autos roam and horses lounge
In clover all the day.

The rosin weed grew stout and tall.
The child chewed rosin gum.
But now the penny slot machine
Makes that boy a chewing bum.

The squatter, too, is growing old.
He laughs his railroad joke.
He takes "possession" on the cars.
And sues if neck is broke.


The price of land was then a joke.
Two dollars fifty then.
But now the joke, it will be soon,
Two hundred fifty, "Ben."

Ye newer settlers give three cheers,
Sound out your sixteen guns.
Each township grand throughout the years,
Your son's and grandson's sons.


My county 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of homesteads free,
It brings good cheer.
I love its level land.
Its prairie fires grand.
My heart, it doth expand.
A prairie king.


Mine eyes have seen the glories of O'Brien county soil.
With its crops of com and wheat and oats, result of patient toil.
We have loosed the fateful corn plow, 'cross the field of growing corn.
While the corn rows are growing tall.
Glory! Glory! Hatchin' chickens.
Glory! Glory! Raisin' mules.
Glory! Glory! Feedin' cattle,
While the horse stands sleek in the stall.

'Tis an agricultural county, in an agricultural state.
Where the people ne'er go hungry, but work early, long and late.
Where at the chores they hustle. Oh, be jubilant their feet,
While the scales weigh the butter 'neath the beam

Glory! Glory! Crows the rooster,
Glory! Glory! Cackling hen,
Glory! Glory! Supper's ready
While the separator separates the cream.


The boys and girls are happy on O'Brien county farms.
The whole family in chorus, mother's baby in her arms,
The sons and daughters growing up at school throughout the day,
While the housework is moving all day long.
Glory! Glory! In the garden.
Glory! Glory! In the home,
Glory! Glory! Washing dishes,
Happy people with a happy, happy song.


This parody on "Marching Through Georgia," written by R. P. Jones, president of the Squatters' Union for all the years of that contest, was sung at the squatter sociables and gatherings. Every word in it could then be appreciated by them. On reading the Squatter chapter the reader, even if not conversant with the county, can likewise appreciate same.

(Air, "Marching Through Georgia.")
Come all ye merry squatters, we'll sing a glad, new song;
'Tis the glorious jubilee, sing it as 'twas never sung,
Sing it as if you meant it and sing it loud and strong,
While we go
marching to victory.
Hurrah! hurrah! another jubilee!
Hurrah! hurrah! victory we see!
Baker. Carroll, Floyd and Dale,
Together sing with glee,
While we go marching to victory.

O, how the squatters shouted when the news was spread around;
And how contractors spouted when they found themselves aground;
And how our wives and daughters send the chorus through the town.
While we go marching to victory.

"The darn fool squatters will never win the fight,"
Said the contract bosses, and in this they took delight:
They will be somewhat wiser, when they see the squatter's in the right.
While we go marching to victory.


Harken to the shouting o' the joyful sound;
How the children prattle as they hop and skip around;
See their beaming faces as their parents they surround.
While we go marching to victory.

Yes, I see old men and women shedding joyful tears.
When they hear the glorious news they have waited for. for years;
Now we hear the joyous greeting, ring out the glad cheers,
While we go marching to victory.

The lords of contracts tremble when they hear our joyous shout.
As we press on to victory and put them all to rout.
The trusts and pools and money kings, we'll whip the rascals out,
While we go marching to victory.

Now contractors don't turn pale, you needn't tremble so;
But then there is a thing or two which you will have to know;
Those who work against the right, will surely have to go,
While we go marching to victory.

We'll raise our fathers' banner, boys, and spread it out on high;
Beneath the sacred stars and stripes, all hail the power of right;
The hand is writing on the wall, "Go, cast the devils out!"
While we go marching to victory.


Let us all hark back to the old prairie days,
To the days of that old sod shanty home.
We will sing one song of the homestead days now past,
When we chewed the rosin gum. boy and chile'.
Let us sound one note to the prairie chicken wild.
As the prairie fire burned his nest away.
Let the haytwister turn the spindle shank around,
While we fill once more the stove with sticks of hay.
Weep no more, old soldier,
Old settler on the claim.
We will sing one song of that old O'Brien home,
While the better davs have come to stay the while.


In the county-seat contest of 1911, C.A. Babcock, then of Sanborn, now of Sheldon, espoused the side of the latter town energetically in some twelve successive letters in the papers from week to week during the ninety days contest. He was cartooned as dreaming in his bed under a patent quilt made from his letters and speeches on the county-seat question as "A Dreamer." in the following parody:

Last night as I lay sleeping,
There came a dream so fair (to me).
I stood in grand old Sheldon,
Beside the court house there.
I heard the children singing.
And even as they sang
Me thought the voice of angels
From heaven in answer rang,
Sheldon, Sheldon, Hamilton in the highest,
Sheldon will be your king.

And then me thought my dream was changed.
The streets no longer rang;
Hush'd were the loud hosannas
The little children sang
The Sun (Sheldon Sun) grew dark with envy,
The morn was cold and drear.
As the shadow of Primghar arose,
For lo, the court house was still there:
Primghar, Primghar, how the bell does ring,
Primghar is your king.


County seat talk is in the air,
Primghar's stirring in its lair.
Not a gun has yet been fired,
Not a man has yet expired.
All quiet down the line.

Old Prim's going it pell mell.
Says she'll build a new hotel;
Sheldon people do not groan,
Sheldon's waiting to be shown;
Only talking down the line.


In her sad and dismal plight,
Primghar talks electric light.
That town's cutting quite a caper,
Building lots of things on paper.
More talking down the line.

Primghar people can't refrain.
Talking of an extra train.
Talk is cheap and mighty thin,
Makes I. C. officials grin.
Chin music down the line.

When it comes election day.
When the people have their say,
Primghar's hubbies will be busted.
Cause the voters can be trusted.
Dense stillness down the line.


If the Schee substitute had been complete,
Primghar would keep the county seat.
But before the Senate got ready to go.
She killed it dead, and gave Sheldon a show.

Primghar is all right for the kind she has been.
But she had no hotels to shelter us in.
While Sheldon has four‐with a mortgage on some,
And plenty of room for all who may come.

When we think of the time that Prim's been the hub,
For forty years the dear people have stood the grand rub.
Now why shouldn't they vote to move it some day,
And place it where you can get there and away.

While Prim had her friends in the halls of our state.
To see that they didn't make any mistake,
They tackled amendments to the bills all in line.
And made it a special to apply only to O'Brien.


The House passed it through with amendments all straight,
But the Senate said "No, you're a little too late;
The petition is signed and filed by the clerk,
While Prim with remonstrance is still at her work."

The people have said with pen and with ink,
That they sure want to vote on their own county seat;
If Prim with remonstrance should then fail to delve,
We will move her to Sheldon in year nineteen twelve.

And when we get there with court house complete,
We won't go to bed any more with cold feet;
We will not go hungry, 'cause we at tables can line,
At places where dinner is always on time.

Now, Prim will not blame me I know the least bit,
For what I have written I've seen it in print,
But when later you come to our county seat fair,
We'll make you so glad, you'll be glad you've been there.


Next to the boys in the gray and the blue,
We cherish our works that no one shall outdo;
Among these tall trees forty years we have stood,
We have weather'd the blast 'mong the bad and the good.

We and our children all gladly unite.
To have and to hold this county seat by right.
Billy Boies and the Sun have had lots to say.
But they're not the whole cheese in this county-seat fray.

By the great big horn spoons, and healthy dutch cheese,
We'll hold the town down, when we sweat, when we freeze;
We'll anchor her down with the new Hub hotel.
Now &' 2"ive us three cheers and a county seat yell.


It was Dr. Clanning Longshore,
In the early homestead day;
A kid climbed to the cupboard‐
Concentrated lye! Dismay!

"My God!" the Doctor shouted,
"Open up his mouth and lid.
Pour down the lard right quickly;
Make a kittle of the kid.

"Stir up his fussen stomach,
Keep up your grit and hope.
Keep him wiggling, twisting, squirming.
And make it into soap."

The above was an actual occurrence in the family of homesteader John Griffith, on the southwest quarter of section 2. in Carroll township, with Doctor Longshore called suddenly five miles out of Sheldon. It was the actual prescription. The child was saved. The Doctor knew how to make soap and neutralize the deadly effect. This history is not a medical journal, but this prescription is donated free with the history, even as Doctor Longshore donated enough free practice in the early day. driving hither and thither, in day time and night time, enough to make a man rich if paid for at mileage rates. Those best acquainted with the sometimes eccentric doctor will fully appreciate the above as a characteristic item.


Good-by, old shack; time's relentless rigor
Has ground you up at last to shapeless dust;
But faithfully have you performed your trust.
And sheltered manly worth and moral vigor.

Good by, old shack; lead off as back yard slivers,
Shivered! Slivered! To hold the rubbish and the must,
So mournfully we will relieve you of your trust,
Thence to the modern house relieving us of shivers.


A graven image of a young lady mounted in the court yard at Primghar at expense of some liberal citizens did not meet with full approbation of the critically artistic members of the community and was finally returned to its former owners at Sheldon. Before its departure D. A. W. Perkins penned the following skit:

You're a daisy, a darling. Miss Primghar,
You are sweet as a full blown rose;
You're an angel in marble. Miss Primghar,
From your head clean down to your toes.

I believe you are in love, Miss Primghar,
Your sad look is only disguise;
Though silent, you're restless. Miss Primghar,
There's mystery seen in your eyes.

Perhaps you are homesick. Miss Primghar.
And long for dear Sheldon again;
Or maybe you're bashful. Miss Primghar,
And want to be hid from the men.

You're scantily clad, Miss Primghar,
A cold winter will follow this fall;
Have "Pomp" and the mayor, Miss Primghar,
Buy a bonnet, some gloves and a shawl.

You must be tired. Miss Primghar,
Your seat there is cold and hard;
Perhaps you'd feel better. Miss Primghar.
With a loving and lively "pard."


This leedle Deitcher poy so schmall,
Sendt to der schools by Mah,
He vas so very bashful dot
He vouldt only answer "Yoh."

Und ven der teachers schpoke him oudt,
Der poys said "Yes'em, yes sah,"
Der only clings dot he vouldt schpoke.
All he vouldt sav vas "Yoh."


He learndt some dings all day mit schools.
He schtored dem mit his headt,
He schtudied hardt, he learndt der rules.
At nichdt he vendt to bedt.

He grew up schtrong, der brimmers soon
Vas done, den bigger books,
Der teachers nnd der schkollars all
Schtared him mit jealous looks.

At nichdt he alvays vent schtrate home,
Und helped mit all der schores,
He fed the hogs und schlopped der cows,
Uud lockdt up dem barn doors.

He learndt to ride dot big gang plow.
Mit horses four apreast.
He huskt mit corn, a man he grew.
Made monies like der rest.

Den ven dot farm dem mans der sell,
Price one hundred fifty, Oh‐
He saved dem dollars, dimes und cents,
Und vonce more he saidt "Yoh."

He bot dot big O'Brien farm,
Und settled down, hoorah,
Und taught his childers on his knee.
How he always answered "Yoh."

The thrifty Germans form two-fifths of the population of O'Brien county. The German accent is much heard in the schools. The subject of this poem was a bashful little five-year-old German lad in one of the district schools of O'Brien county. For a whole month the only response the teacher could get from him was "Yoh." He later on became a proficient scholar.


We've often read of that old-old saw.
How possession is always nine points of the law.
When the squatter squatted his squat and "lit."
With his jaw set firm and his lips he bit.
Possession he took by his own good right,
And built his shack shanty even through a dark night.
Now let us right here make the best record mark,
Since Noah and kids came out of the ark.
Let us show those haughty, proud railroad galoots,
How a hayseed homesteader licks 'em out of their boots.
Now Congress had granted those lands as a prize
To the road that first built, that the country might rise.
But a clause therein said, they must build as they went,
And earn it all honest by an honest per cent.
For each mile of railroad ten sections of land
Would give them a title by patent to stand.
But the Sioux City road when it got to LeMars,
By astrology thought out a trick 'mong the stars.
As for the fool squatter, they never will count,
With their old hayseed breeches and shacks, "Turn 'em out."
And fool the fool Congress by this trick all so bold,
By leasing the Central‐You're "sold" all so cold.
But the squatter squatted his squat, as we've told,
And showed them a trick of true honesty old.
They went to the courts and showed up that lease;
The courts said to the railroads, "That fraud you must cease."
That first thirty days' right the squatter shall have.
The railroads may sputter and threaten and rave.
But the squatter is there by the right of his squat.
As said by decree in its supreme court hot shot.
The squatter thus turned a trick that was rare.
Like Kipling's "Fuzzy Wuzzy's," who first broke an English square.
Your old railroad contracts with such men as Gotleib Schwartz,
In a court stands as high as so many warts.
We'll cut you all off by surgical skill.
Let the law have its sway, the squatter his will.


Give the squatter a chance in this land of the best
As good as a home in that heavenly rest.
Call up R. P. Jones and your stanch M. D. Finch,
Representing the squatter who never did flinch.
And tell them they've got a good home without lie'n,
In the good of the goodest of grandest O'Brien.

Note‐Gotleib Schwartz was one of the main men who held a
large number of the railroad contracts against the squatter.



O'Brien soil‐
Let truth be told.
Its yellow corn
A mine of gold.

Its wheat and oats,
When harvest done,
A silver mine
Sixteen to one.

O'Brien pasture,
A diamond plat,
All a kicken
Mule at the bat.

Steer on first base,
Horse scores a run,
Hogs do rooten,
Sheep fans have fun.

O'Brien farm
Grows grain and kine;
Let all play ball,
A diamond mine.


Silver and gold have I none.
Neither zinc nor lead nor brass,
The metal is the soil itself
It's grain.
It's stock.
It's grass.

In squiblets and couplets
O'Brien we've told
As well as we could
Fifty-eight years old.

O'Brien County Iowa Genealogy - The IAGenWeb Project