First Settlers


Cory Family

     The Francis MaGuire Cory family was part of a company of five families who became the first pioneers settlers of Sac County.
     In the spring of 1854, F.M. Cory, wife, Isabelle Hitchcock Cory and seven sons started from Hardin County, Ohio.  They traveled with two yolk of oxen on one wagon, making the journey by easy stages, hunting and fishing on the way, and taking in the sights of the new and strange country.  They crossed the Mississippi River at Clinton, Iowa on July 4th.  Near Anamosa the family stopped six weeks, waiting for other families who were preparing to come to this new country.
     On the 4th day of September, 1854, the first installment of settlers arrived and went into camp at the big springs east of where Sac City now stands.   The company, consisted of the families of F.M. Cory; Joel Austin; Jacob McAfee; David Metcalf and Joseph Austin, an old bachelor; and Henry A. Evans, a young man who accompanied "Uncle Joe".  A few days later W.V. LaGourge and family, Carl Crawford, who were not ready to start from Jones County when the others left there, arrived.  These families comprised the only white residents of Sac county in the winter of 1854 and 1855.
     The Sunday following their arrival, Mrs. Cory crossed the river and climbed the hill to the site of the present Methodist Church.  There she knelt in prayer and asked God to send His gospel and plant His church in this new land.
     Mr. Cory took up his land near the present location of the Cory Grove Cemetery.  They immediately built a small log cabin; every stick and piece which went into the construction was hewn out by hand.  Much of the furniture was made by hand from branches and boards smoothed by the adz.  This cabin was replaced the following year by a much larger log dwelling.  The week following their arrival the first furrow was turned in this new land.
     That first winter was very mile or the early settlers could not have survived.  The trading point was Fort Des Moines, where they bought their supplies.  A few years later, they could go to Fort Dodge for supplies.  In the winter, they took grain on hand sleds to Grant City to have it ground into meal.  It took them one day to go and one to return.
     Game was plentiful but hard to get in the winter.  They ate boiled wheat and corn which they had cracked in a hollow stump.  They also used the wild fruits gathered in the summer and preserved in large open jars.  Wood was also hard to get in the winter and sometimes corn was burned for fuel.
     The first two years, the early settlers had to get their mail from Fort Dodge.  Two men were chosen each week for this task.  In pleasant weather they could go horseback, but in the winter they had to walk.
     The Sioux Indians were friendly with the white settlers and many times Mrs. Cory cooked great kettles of corn or hominy for the Indians.  As they entered the cabin they would hand Mr. Cory their guns to be stacked in the corner before they sat down to eat.
     F.M. Cory was among the first members of the Grand Jury to receive a warrant.  The first election was held at Ross's Grove, four miles south of Sac City, 7 April 1856, the following officers were elected:  S.L. Watt, County Judge; F.M. Cory, Treasurer and Recorder combined;  W.V. LaGourge, Sheriff; F.M., Ayers, Clerk of District Court; Wm. Kromer, Superintendent of Schools;  H.C. Crawford, Prosecuting Attorney; and Jacob McAfee, Drainage Commissioner.
     Mr. and Mrs. Cory's family consisted of seven sons who came with them, namely: Isaac A.: William; Hugh M.; Harvey W.; George I.; Joseph H.; and John O.; and a daughter, Francis I. born 16 March 1856.  She was the first white girl born in Sac county.  One daughter Mary E, died before they came and later a son, Abner born here and died when small.
     Isaac taught the first school located in a two room log cabin in 1856-1857.  He also taught singing school which was held in the log school house.
     On 25 March 1877, he and George Cory began publishing the Sac County Democrat, the third newspaper to be published in Sac city, and continued until 1891 when he sold it to C. Everett Lee.  After the death of his wife, he moved to Bellingham Washington with his daughter.
     William, Hugh and Harvey served in the Civil War; William and Harvey serving in the same company.  They were with Sherman on his march to the Sea.   The other boys were to young to serve.  William moved to Texas where he spent the rest of his life.
     Joseph taught school at various schools, at the same time writing for newspapers.  He published the Early Enterprise until 1887, then moved the plant to Storm Lake.  Later, he published the Early News until he moved to the state of Washington in 1905.
     John Cory came to Sac County when one year of age, spent his boyhood here and in 1872 moved to Nebraska, where he lived until his death in 1928.
     Frances married J.S. Tiberghien in December 1871 and moved to a farm two miles southeast of Sac City where they resided for 46 years.  J.S. Tiberghien was the son of pioneer settlers who came here in 1856 when he was 15 years of age.  They were the parents of ten children.
     Hugh married Alice LaGourge in 1867.  She was the daughter of W.V. LaGourge, first sheriff of Sac County.  After returning from he War, he purchased the old family homestead, where they lived until they moved to Sac city.   They were the parents of six children, namely; Francis M., Nora, Dora, Leon, Ella, and William Victor.  Hugh Cory served as school director and road supervisor and was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge and a comrade of William Sherman Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.
     George Cory was untied in marriage 17 January 1875 with Frances Helen Whitney.  She was born 7 August 1859 in Sac City, being the first white girl born in Sac City.  She was the daughter of Oscar F. and Martha Esther Whitney, who migrated for the state of New York in 1856.  Mr. Whitney was one of the pioneer stage drivers and carried the mail on a Star-route for a number of years.  Immediately after the wedding, Mr. and Mrs. George Cory moved into a log cabin on their farm in Coon Valley Township, where they resided until 1882 when they moved to Early and conducted a store with his brother Joseph.  In 1884, he again returned to the farm for two years, then moved to Sac City and purchased the Sac County Democrat in partnership with his brother, Isaac.  Their office was located across the street west from the old Court House at the time the Court House burned.  In 1889, he became City Marshall.  He served as City Marshal and Deputy for more than 25 years.  He also served as City Water Commissioner for several years.
     He was a charter member of I.O.O.F. and Rebekah Lodges and a member of the Knights of Pythias.  Mrs. Cory was also a Rebekah and both were members of the Methodist Church.
     George Cory had two children, Isabelle who died in 1820 and Philo who died in 1914.


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