Jones logo

The 1879 History of Jones County Iowa was transcribed by Janet A. Brandt.



A book has been written about one of Jones county's most famous citizens, Edmund Booth: Deaf Pioneer, published by Gallaudet University Press. Booth fit perfectly the mold of the ingenious pioneer of 19th-century America,
except for one difference— he was deaf.
You can read more about Booth at the Library of Congress American Memories site, including his diary and letters chronicling his overland crossing; prospecting at Feather River, Hangtown, and Sonora; visits to Sacramento, Columa, Columbia, and Stockton; and return voyage via Nicaragua, 1854. Also see his BIOGRAPHY and OBITUARY on this site.

The great economic value of these quarries deserves special mention. Those first opened to any considerable extent are upon the Buffalo, about two miles from Anamosa. They were first opened about twenty-five years ago, or in 1853, when stone was taken out to build what has been known ever since as Fisher's Mill, a grist-mill on the Buffalo, about a mile from the town. About that time, John Burheim, familiarly known as "Dutch John," bought a tract of land of 120 acres, and soon after commenced quarrying stone upon it, and this has been his chief employment ever since. During the time that has elapsed, he has taken out thousands of wagon loads of stone, furnishing the railroads, building purposes in Anamosa and surrounding country. He has also furnished large quantities of lime from this quarry. Eighty acres of this tract have recently been purchased by the State, and the Chicago and North-Western Railway Company have just completed an extension of their road to these quarries; and the State is now at work, with convicts, taking out stone for the Penitentiary. In the month of September and fourteen days in October (1879), Mr. A. E. Martin, the Warden, informs the writer, there were taken out sixty-seven car-loads, at a valuation of $2,023.40, more than twice paying for the eighty acres purchased by the State, in forty-four days. The stone for the completion of the Penitentiary will be largely taken from these quarries.
J. A. Green, Dr. Clark Joslin and others own land in this locality, that is underlaid by stone presumably as good as any; and, now that railroad facilities are furnished, will most likely be developed at no distant day.
On the Wapsipinicon River, about two miles west from Anamosa, on the old Dubuque & Southwestern Railroad, is a quarry that was operated some years ago by Krause, Shaw, Weaver & Co. They took out a large amount of stone and shipped to different parts of the State. They also manufactured a considerable quantity of lime; but stone found elsewhere proved to make a better article, and it was discontinued. This quarry is the first one bought by the State, and the State commenced taking out stone in 1872. From Mr. A. E. Martin, we obtained the following figures. The number of car loads of stone taken out from 1872 to 1879, is as follows: 1872, 218 car loads; 1873, 226 car loads; 1874, 337 car loads; 1875, 221 car loads; 1876, 304 car loads; 1877, 130 car loads; 1878, 384 car loads; 1879 to May, 224 car loads; total, 2,044 car loads; average value per car load, $16.28, making a total value of $33,376.32; total from both quarries, 2,111 car loads, with an aggregate value of $35,297.72. Besides this, the State has sold quite a large quantity of stone, but we were unable to secure the exact figures. The stone of this quarry is not exhausted by any means; but it requires so much more stripping that, for the present, other places furnish stone with less expense in this respect. With the above figures, it will be seen that the State has some substantial advantages in having the Penitentiary located so near this building material.
As we pass along the Wapsipinicon, about one-fourth of a mile, we come to the first quarry opened to any extent in this locality. It was opened by Henry Dearborn, he having taken out stone here to build himself a dwelling in Anamosa, also furnishing others for a like purpose. The quarry subsequently passed into the hands of Haines & Lewis, who owned and operated it for many years, making improvements in the way of building, etc., out of the stone taken from the quarries. They opened at two or more localities, and took out vast quantities of stone that went to different parts of the State. The quarries are now owned and operated by Martin Heisey.
About a half-mile from these quarries, near the railroad bridge across the Wapsipinicon, are the quarries owned by H. Dearborn, know as the "Stone City Quarry," opened in 1869. Mr. Dearborn owns 120 acres, a large portion being quarry land. He has shipped 500 car loads in the past year, and an average of 250 car loads for the years previous. He has furnished stone for the State Blind Asylum at Vinton; Insane Asylum, at Independence; Government Works, at Rock Island, and many buildings in Cedar Rapids and other places in the State. Mr. Dearborn has erected for himself a fine residence at this place, and is the Postmaster of "Stone City" Post Office.
We now cross the railroad bridge over the Wapsipinicon, and a short walk brings us to the famous "Champion Quarries," owned and operated by J. A. Green, consisting of over thirty acres, more than two-thirds of it quarry. Mr. Green opened this quarry in 1868, and can furnish stone in any desired form or shape, either rough, or dressed and polished. In 1876, he put in a machine, run by an engine, called a rubber, for the purpose of polishing stone. The height of this quarry, from where he commenced to the top of where he is now at work, is some eighty or ninety feet. For the years 1878 and 1879, he has shipped 2,000 car loads per year; the other nine years, the average production has been 800 car loads. Mr. Green has furnished large quantities of stone for the Government Works at Rock Island; Insane Asylum, Independence; Deaf and Dumb Asylum, at Council Bluffs; Anamosa Penitentiary, railroad companies, etc. In fact, he has furnished stone at points from Chicago to Dakota, from Minnesota to Nebraska, and some to Wisconsin.
Mr. Webb has a quarry a little further west, that has been worked for many years and has furnished some very excellent stone.
The quarries mentioned are the principal ones worked. Many more may be developed in the near future, and the supply is considered by good judges absolutely inexhaustible.


Mr. N. S. Noble, of Anamosa, may properly be styled the pioneer tobacco raiser of the State of Iowa. He is said to be the first to engage in the cultivation of the tobacco-plant to any considerable extent, and the first who has made a success in the business. Mr. Noble was born and raised in Massachusetts, and early taught how to cultivate the tobacco-plant. From there he emigrated to Jones County in 1855. In 1857 he was elected and served as Sheriff of the county one term. Soon after arriving in the county, he purchased some ground and began to raise tobacco. From that time to this, he has been engaged in the business. One of the greatest hindrances to a success in the business has been to overcome the prejudice against Western tobacco in the markets of the East. By a careful attention to securing quality and not quantity, Mr. Noble has succeeded in making his tobacco sell in their markets at the same prices as the products of the tobacco raisers of the East. In 1875 Mr. Noble associated with himself his nephew, Mr. George Noble, who was likewise educated to the business, and the two have continued the business together since that time.
They have under cultivation twenty-nine acres of land, one-half only being in use at a time. After two, or at most three crops, the half in use is set aside and seeded to clover and timothy, and the other half brought into requisition for tobacco raising. The crop of grass, the last year before using for tobacco is plowed under, and thus the land is kept in a good state of cultivation. This is without doubt the cause of the success of Messrs. Noble. They do not exhaust the resources of their land and then expect to get good crops without restoring the fertility of the soil.
Their house for curing tobacco is a frame building 204x36 feet, with 14-foot posts, erected with special reference to good ventilation. The amount of the crop raised each year is about twelve tons.
They have devoted some attention to manufacturing here-at one time the whole crop, and more or less each year-but the major part is usually kept over one year and then sold in the Eastern markets.
Through the influence of the success of Messrs. Noble, others have been induced to cultivate the tobacco-plant, and its cultivation promises to make tobacco an important product of Jones County.
As is well known, under the statutes of the State of Iowa, no license is granted to sell, as a beverage, any spirituous or fermented liquors, except native wines and lager beer. For a time, it was surmised by many that the statutes were being violated in this particular at Anamosa, as they knew they were in other parts of the State.
On Wednesday, March 1, 1871, at the above place, Sheriff Crane and Deputies P. O. Babcock and S. D. Parks, with several assistants, made a concerted descent upon five saloons, for the purpose of searching for whisky, brandy and other liquors condemned as beverages by the statute. The "raid" was successfully planned and as successfully carried out.
At each saloon, more or less "contraband beverages" were found and duly confiscated. The result was salutary, and the effect of its influence felt for a long time.
The second marriage at Anamosa was that of a couple who ran away to get married. The young lady was the daughter of Clement Russell, who lived at Fairview. The young man was a tailor who happened to be living at Russell's for a short time, and the young couple met, fell in love and resolved to be married. One Sunday morning they came on foot to Anamosa (then only one house, belonging to G. H. Ford; the house, the one built by E. Booth, who sold it to Ford), and the Justice, Lathrop Olmsted, was there, and out in the road, ten rods or more from the house, Lathrop married them. The parents of the young lady were incensed, and the newly married pair took their departure for Illinois.
To write the history of Anamosa and omit the name Edmund Booth, would be to do injustice to a man of rare intelligence, extended information, broad and liberal culture, with clear and concise opinions on all important questions, and one whose long public life of industry and usefulness has extended over the entire period from the time of the early settlement of the county to the present moment, and one whose voice, directly or indirectly, has been heard on almost every question affecting the administration of the public affairs of the county, and one whose unflinching integrity has secured for him the full and complete confidence of all who know him, and which has made him an oracle one very disputed point in the early history of the county. In fine, to write the history of Jones County, particularly that portion pertaining to Fairview Township, with the name Edmund Booth omitted, would be as unsatisfactory as "the play of Hamlet with the Prince of Denmark left out."
A short biographical history is pre-eminently appropriate.
Edmund Booth was born at Springfield, Mass., on the 24th day of August, 1810. At the age of four years, he suffered an attack of that terrible disease, spotted fever, and, although his friends despaired of his recovery for a long time, the strong constitution inherited from his ancestors, who were of English and Scotch extraction, enabled him to survive the fever, but not without the loss of hearing and left eye. For a time, he was almost wholly deaf, and at the age of eight, his hearing was totally gone, and he has been entirely deaf from that time. It is owing to this fact that the life of Mr. Booth is so remarkable. Despite the loss of hearing, he continued to be able to speak for a time, quite well, and still is able to articulate so well as to be understood by those accustomed to hear him. It is with the pen, however, that he mostly makes known his opinions and purposes. His boyhood was spent on the farm at home. At the age of seventeen, he entered the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb at Hartford, Conn., and graduated there four years later, and was appointed a tutor in the Institution. Remained in the capacity of teacher seven years. In 1839, he resigned, and moved to this State. Next year, in partnership with Col. David Wood, a brother-in-law who had then just arrived, built the first house at Dartmouth, and the first frame house in the county. In the winter following, Col. Wood died. The lands on all sides being included in the Mill Company's claim, Mr. Booth moved to the prairie near Russell's, and secured forty acres for a farm.
In 1841, he was elected by popular vote County Recorder, receiving all the votes in three out of four precincts, those of the Fourth, Farm Creek, being given to John E. Lovejoy. Was elected a second time two years later, and a third time, two years after that. In the middle of the third term, he retired, the Legislature having so changed the law as to unite the offices of Recorder and Treasurer in one person. Was nominated to the dual office, but declined. In the spring of 1849, went with the great overland emigration to California, his family remained behind. Succeeded in California, and returned early in 1854. Opened another farm in Cass Township, but resided in Anamosa. In 1856, the Eureka was established, as described elsewhere, and he has since been on that paper, at first as editor, and afterward proprietor. Mr. Booth came West with little save a trunk full of books and one of clothing, his prosperity being the result of industry and good management. Previous to the establishment of a post office (Pamaho, a mile west of Russell's), he was in the practice of going on foot to Edinburg, and afterward to Rome for mail. Always returned with hands and pockets full of papers, and was always a subscriber of leading Eastern journals until the establishment of the Eureka.
The part taken by Mr. Booth in conjunction with the Eureka is related elsewhere. The leading editorials having mostly been from his pen, and he has ever spoken with no uncertain sound. At the outbreak of the late civil war, Mr. Booth placed himself squarely and unequivocally on the side of loyalty to the General Government, and bravely battled for the preservation of the Union, doing as effective service as any one on the battle-field.
His leaders compare, many of them, favorably with those of the leading metropolitan papers of the country.
Mr. Booth, now sixty-nine years old, is hale and hearty, and is as bravely battling in the warfare of life as at any time heretofore. His industry, skill and unfaltering perseverance, make him a glorious example of a true and genuine specimen of a Western man.
[space] [space] [space] [to home] [space] image

[Art Department]

© Copyright 1997-2013, The Art Department, © Copyright 2014-2018, Richard Harrison.
Last updated on Tuesday, 10-Apr-2018 14:44:14 MST