History of Fayette County, Iowa,
A history of the County, its Cities, Towns Etc.
to H. F. Kett & Co.
|First Land Entries
|The first entry of lands in Fayette
County, as recorded, was made by Horace Bemis, who entered the northwest quarter of ne
quarter of Section 5, Township 92, Range 8 (Smithfield Township) Jan 17, 1847. There was
the claim of William Orrear and James Beeatty, and was the extreme northern limit
of the surveyed lands in the county. William Anderson and Chauncey Brooks
entered land in the Township in 1848.
John P. Moyne made the next entry, of
east half of southwest quarter of Section 17, Township 92, Range 7 (Fairfield
Township). Horace Bemis, Hiram Brooks and John Brooks entered land in Fairfield
in 1848 and Jared Taylor, Palmer F. Newton, Jesse Brooks and Martha Hunt in
Robert Alexander entered the southwest quarter of of Section 26,
Township 93, Range 8, July 9, 1849. Several other entries were made on the same
date. John W. Lane and Horace Andrus entered during 1849.
John W. Lane
entered part of Section 30, Township 93, Range 7 (Illyria Township) July 16, 1849.
George Culver entered parts of Sections 22, 26, and 27, by land warrant, June
25, 1849. Andrew Hensley entered Section 19, Oct 13, 1849.
entered the northeast quarter of Section 5, Township 94, Range 9 (Windsor
8, 1849, and J. R. Eddy entered land in the same township, Nov 21, 1849.
Wells made the first entry in Township 94, Range 8 (West Union Township) of the
northeast quarter of Section 17, Dec 5, 1849.
Thomas Woodle entered
part of Section 13, Township 93, Range 9 (Center Township) Jan 16, 1850. Philip Herzog
made an entry in the same township shortly after.
Samuel Conner entered
part of Section 14, Township 94, Range 7 (Pleasant Valley Township), Nov 26, 1849.
Waters, Sep 23, 1850, entered parts of Sections 4 and 5, Township 95, Range 9
Francis P. Rosier, L. Rosier, Jacob K. Rosier, George
N. Rosier and Thomas Turner made first entries in Township 95, Range 8 (Dover
Township) Sep 28, 1850.
Henry D. Evans entered part of Section 27,
Township 95, Range 7 (Clermont Township) Dec 27, 1850.
James Austin entered
part of Section 35, Township 95, Range 10 (Eden Township) Jan 27, 1851; and on the
same date the same man entered the north half of the northwest quarter of
Section 2, Township 94, Range 10 (Bethel Township)
Henry Maynard entered the
southwest quarter of Section 14, Township 92, Range 9 (Harlan), Mar 18, 1851.
William A. Sims entered the southeast quarter of Section 21,
Township 91, Range 10 (Oran Township)
Nov 3, 1851.
James Nelson Pitkin entered part of Section 35, Township 91,
Range 9 (Jefferson Township) May 9, 1851.
John C. Folsom entered the west
half of northwest quarter of Section 25, Township 91, Range 7 (Putnam Township) Nov 4,
Theodore WIilson entered part of Section 30, Township 93, Range 10
(Banks Township) Jan 6, 1852.
Thomas Rand entered parts of Sections 31 and
32, Township 92, Range 10 (Fremont Township) Jan 16, 1853.
Peter L. Moe entered
the south half of northeast quarter of Section 1, Township 91, Range 8 (Scott
Township) Oct 10 1854.
In November, 1848, snow fell to the depth of
eighteen inches, and remained until April, 1849. It was a cold, hard winter for
the settlers of Fayette as well as other sections of the state. In 1848-49,
before the surveys were completed, and before the lands were in market, the
settlers organized a Claim Society for the purpose of mutual protection against
By the re-apportionment act, approved January 15,
1849, the counties of Dubuque, Clayton (including
Fayette), Delaware, Buchanan, Black Hawk, Winnesheik and
Alamakee were intitled to two Senators, and the counties of
Dubuque, Delaware, Buchanan and Black Hawk. three
Representatives jointly, and the counties of Clayton, Fayette,
Winnesheik and Allamakee shall have one Representative.
April 23, 1849, William Wells, from Monroe, Greene
County, Wisconsin, came to Knob Prairie and purchased the claim and cabin of
David Smith, near the southwest corner of Section 17, occupied the premises and
built a substantial log house. Mr. Wells was a skillful bee hunter. Wild
bees were numerous, and this was a land literally "flowing
with wild honey," if not with milk.The groves were full of
"bee trees" and the pioneers always had plenty of honey and
wax. They made candles of the latter. Holding a cake of wax to
the fire until it became warm and pastic, thin slices were
shaved off with a sharp knife. This wax would be wrapped
around a piece of candle -wick (or when that was un
unobtainable luxury, a piece of cotton cloth was substituted)
and moulded into it by hand; more was was added to it in
layers until sufficient size was attained, and the log cabins
of the pioneers were illuminated with wax tapers that a king
The mode of finding bees was simple. The
hunter was provided with a small box, in the bottome of ehich
a piece of honey comb was provied with a lid in which a piece
of glass was set. There was also a slide by which the
honey could be shut from the bees in the top. Sometimes a
piece of bee bread was taken along to be burned to "toll" the
bees. Arriving at the scene of operation, the hunter
watched untill he found a bee on a flower, when he would
quietly approach with his open box, suddenly shut the lid and
the bee finding itself imprisioned would fly up against the
glass, the slide would then be closed until the insect became
quiet, when it would be gently opened and the bee would soon
drop down upon the honey and go to work. The box was then
opened and the bee rising in the air would circle round a few
times and then strike a "bee-line" for t's tree. It it was
near, it would be but a short time before there would be
several bees return to the treasures the first had found,
indicating some mode of communication bwtween these
industrious and intelligent insects; watch their flight, the
hunter was soon able to determine what diretion to take and
seldom failed to find the tree.
Mr. Wells was very
successful, and, says Judge Rogers, "would often have several
barrels of honey in his cabin at one time.
letter recieved at the new settlement was written by Simeon B.
Forbes, who was living where Elgin now stands, to his
brother-in-law, William Wells, in 1849, and was addressed to
the latter at "Knob Prairie." The messenger was Thomas Wells,
who carried back the answer addressed to Simeon B. Forbes,
"Shin Bone Valley."
In May, Henry F. Smith and Stephen
Bailey settled near "Knob Prairie. " Smith built a cabin on
the southwest corner of Section 9.
In July, Gabriel
Long and Joshua Wells located in the vicinity.
Brown settled in Township 94, Range 9, in May of the same
In May, Henry F. Smith and Stephen Bailey
settled near "Knob Prairie." Smith built a cabin on the southwest corner of
In July, Gabriel Long and Joshua Wells located in the vicinity.
Oliver A. Brown settled in Township 94, Range 9, in May of the same year.
Thomas Woodle, Thomas Douglass and Thomas B. Sturgis came and selected claims
near the geographical center of the county, on and near Section 13, Township 93,
Range 9, in 1849, and near "Gamble's Grove," and returned for
permanent settlement in the spring of 1850, when M.V. Burdick, Peter Osborn,
John Hanna and Phineas F. Sturgis settled near them.
In the spring of 1849
Harvey Light and Erastus A. Llight made a settlement on Section 13, Township 93, Range
8, where Lima now stands, and built a saw-mill that year, also a sort of
grist-mill or corn-cracker, and commenced grinding corn the next year."