Page County, Iowa - history by E.C. Fishbaugh
(World-Herald, Omaha, Neb., March 30, 1941, Sunday)

Delves Into Early History
Banker at Shenandoah Writes 165 Friends
(The World-Herald's News Service.)

Shenandoah. Ia., March 29— Stories of Indians, covered wagons, early hardships and pioneer homes have been received by E. C. Fishbaugh, Shenandoah banker, whose hobby is early history, in response to 165 letters sent to oldtimers, asking them to write about incidents, legends or stories of Shenandoah's early days.
"I believe it is important to accumulate and preserve this material," Mr. Fishbaugh said. "First, as a reference for writers who may want to weave the material into stories, and second, I have an idea they might be published in book form and any profit from the venture used as a nest egg for the formation of a Shenandoah Historical society."
Page county is believed to have been settled a century ago, but even this date is disputed and that is one of the things Mr. Fishbaugh hoped to "keep straight."
Some histories say George W. Farrens of Jackson county, Missouri, pioneered here in 1840, and returned a year later. Other historians say the first white settlers took part in colorful Missouri-Iowa boundary disputes and give 1843 as the year of first settlement.

Remembers Hail Storm

At present the responses are coming to Mr. Fishbaugh's desk and he chuckles as the oldtimers tell what they remember or what the folks "told them."
The "big hail storm of 1883" was one of the incidents related by W. S. Henderson, retired mail carrier, who came in a covered wagon with his parents in April. 1867. They saw Mormons and others going west in covered wagons "by the hundreds."
A. F. Lake, whose father, D. S. Lake, founded the first nursery here in 1870, recalled: it was on the old Latimer place, with Jeff Williams as a partner of his father. Bert LeBarron and Joe O'Day, oldest native citizens, have not yet written their "memories."
Clarence Welch, 75, another nurseryman recalls his family came here in 1869 and lived 25 miles from a railroad. They "broke prairie, chopped sod with an ax, planted corn and raised what they ate." There was no such word as "unemployment."
The ghosts of Indians crushed by the cruel and heedless pioneers haunted the Porters, who came in the '40's, and happened to build their home near an Indian mound into which they dug for a cellar and found skeletons, according to E. R. Ferguson's recollections of stories told him.

Henry Field believes old news­papers would "be more factual and complete" as the source of early-day incidents.

The Balloon Burned

The memory of W. E. Gaston runs back to the early '60's in Fremount [sic] county, especially Tabor, where his old home is a land­mark.
Truman Gait recalls how his father, M. H. Gait brought a wagon load of bacon to the Mentaer Brothers store and took a due bill to "trade it out."
Rev. Peter Jacobs of Tabor will contribute many early-day facts.
Pat Mentzer's "balloon ascension" on the Fourth of July, 1881, which disappointed a huge crowd when the balloon burned while being filled with gas, was dramatically told by W. E. Irwin.
W. Grant Rubey's parents came here in an ox cart.
The "discouraging winter" of 1872, when Mrs. Hamilton Duffield, now of Omaha, settled in the new town of Shenandoah, is also told.
Frank Coykendall writes of the visits by Indians to Locust Grove, where many farms were "taken up" as early as 1870.
C. N. Marvin, veteran editor, who has lived here 54 years, told about Dr. A. H. Warren and establishment of the first waterworks.