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


Jones County has been, since 1856, a Republican County. The new party movement in 1874, called the Anti-Monopoly movement, formed an alliance with the Democratic party, which, in 1873, elected their ticket by from 300 to 400 majority. Some of those on the ticket had previously been Republicans. They were opposed, however, by the regular Republican nominees, and their success was, of course, a defeat to the opposite party.
The formal organization of the Republican party was on the 5th day of January, 1857, at a meeting held in Anamosa on that date, of which C. L. D. Crockwell was Chairman, and George Higby, Secretary.
A committee to report plan of organization was appointed, composed of A. H. Marvin, of Monticello; Thomas S. Hubbard, of Castle Grove; W. S. Niles, of Madison; H. O. Brown, of Clay; and J. S. Dimmitt, of Fairview. The following resolution was reported and adopted:

WHEREAS, We have full confidence in the national organization of the Republican party, and believe that we should use all honorable means for the triumph of its principles; therefore,
Resolved, That the Republicans of Jones County adopt the following course for an organization in said county: First, That there be a Central Committee of three appointed, residents of Anamosa, who shall constitute a Board, whose duty it shall be to call meetings, conventions, etc., in this county, and shall attend to the distribution of tickets at elections; second, that an Executive Committee of one from each township be appointed to co-operate with the Central Committee, and to call meetings in their several townships; third, that the Central and Executive Committees shall elect from their number a President, Treasurer and Secretary.

W. J. Henry, C. L. D. Crockwell and J. S. Dimmitt were chosen Central Committee.
The Township Executive Committee was appointed, composed of Milo Q. Thompson, of Cass; George Higby, of Castle Grove; John Russell, of Clay; Pratt R. Skinner, of Fairview; Thomas Goudy, of Greenfield; C. F. Lewis, of Hale; M. H. Byerly, of Jackson; John Niles, of Madison; A. H. Marvin, of Monticello; Jas. Kent, of Oxford; A. G. Brown, of Pierce (now Wyoming); Barrett Whittemore, of Richland; Dr. Carpenter, of Rome; John E. Lovejoy, of Scotch Grove; G. C. Mudgett, of Wayne.
A. H. Marvin and W. S. Holmes were first delegates, chosen to represent Jones County in the Republican State Convention of 1857.
The Greenback movement has not elicited many supporters in Jones County. Forty-four votes were cast for Peter Cooper in 1876, which is probably a fair measure of the strength of the soft-money element at that time. They have no newspaper organ in the county, and have never ventured to nominate a county ticket.
The Presidential vote of each campaign is a pretty good index to the political bias of a community. We give the returns in Jones County since 1852: 1852-Pierce, 338; Scott, 266; Hale, 22; 1856-Fremont, 964; Buchanan, 663; Fillmore, 10; 1860-Lincoln, 1,453; Douglas, 1097; 1864-Lincoln, 1,530; McClellan, 941; 1868-Grant, 2,400; Seymour, 1,277; 1872-Grant, 2,285; Greeley, 1,237; O'Connor, 4; 1876-Hayes, 2,591; Tilden, 1,763; Cooper, 44.
An abstract of votes at the election of 1876 and 1878 will be a matter of interest.

VOTE OF 1876-78


R.B. Hayes

S.J. Tilden

J.A.T. Hull (R)

E.M. Farns-worth (D)

B.H. White (R)

J.M.D. Joslin (D)
Castle Grove9199881059498
Scotch Grove1422681318230


In the early part of the month of December, 1857, Hiram Roberts, a reputed thief, counterfeiter and desperado, fell into the hands of the Vigilance Committee, about four hundred strong, near Red Oak Grove, in Cedar County. Roberts was brought into Walnut Fork, in Jones County, tried by the committee, found guilty and hanged.
We have made diligent inquiry in reference to the hanging of Roberts, and, from what we can learn, the parties engaged in the transaction deserve to be severely censured. It is stated by some who resided in the county at the time, and had a full knowledge of the facts, that before the arrest of Roberts could be made, he being armed at the time, a pledge was made to him that in case he would peaceably surrender, he should be taken to the county seat and there allowed a fair and impartial trial. If this be true, and there seems to be good reason for believing it, the action of the Committee was decidedly an outrage, for which they deserve to be severely reproached. We are told by one who was a member of the Committee, that the protest of many was entered at the time, but without effect. Whatever may have been the character of Roberts, the pledge of the Committee was binding and ought to have been so regarded. In justice to those who executed this man, it is proper to state that this portion of the State of Iowa was, at that time, infested with a set of outlaws and horse-thieves, and that severe measures were imperative to the end that the country might be safe, and purged of desperadoes. Again, it is affirmed that courts of justice had frequently been sought, but failed to be a means of redress. Juries feared to condemn men whom they believed guilty, lest they might soon suffer in loss of life or property.
Without doubt, the Vigilance Committee was a means of doing much lasting good in the country, but in the case of having made a solemn pledge, we can but think it incumbent upon them to have faithfully kept the same.
On Sunday, June 3, 1860, a most terrible tornado passed over Linn, a portion of Jones, Clinton and other counties in Iowa and Illinois, resulting in serious loss of life. Greenfield and Rome Townships were in the path of the whirlwind, in Jones County, where nine persons were killed.
The following account of the casualties were given in the Anamosa Eureka:
"W. Allen's family, living in the house of William Robinson, was killed, and the house blown to atoms. The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Allen, one boy, seven years old, and two little girls, aged five and two years. John Niles, of Cedar County, had stopped at Allen's house a short time before the storm, and was also killed. Mr. Allen and Mr. Niles were alive when found, but died shortly after. The others were instantly killed and horribly mangled. Mr. Allen was found about five rods north from where the house stood. Mrs. Allen lay twenty-five rods to the southwest; one girl thirty-three rods southwest, and the other, sixty-five rods to the southeast; the boy was about forty rods distance from the house, in the same direction. One of the sills of the house, sixteen feet long and eight by ten inches was found about thirty rods west, buried thirteen feet in the soil of the prairie.
"Here the storm was most destructive. The ground was literally plowed up, covered with rails, stakes, etc., standing upright, some of them buried half their length in the ground. The grass was cut shorter than it could have been with a scythe.
"Nine head of horses, thirteen head of cattle and twelve of hogs' were found dead on one eighty-acre lot, and nearly as many more were taken from the same land badly injured. Dead dogs, rabbits, cats, domestic and prairie chickens were also found.
"Charles Robinson's house was blown down, his property destroyed and his family injured to some extent. Andrew Pettit suffered the loss of his house. The family were saved by taking refuge in the cellar. Schoolhouses in Subdistricts No. 6 and No. 4, in Greenfield Township, were demolished. William Khol lost both house and barn, though the family escaped with but slight injury.
"G. W. Lattimer's house was blown down and his family severely injured. Jacob Cole was left homeless, and mourns the severe injuries of two children. E. M. Nickerson's dwelling was carried entirely from the foundations, but without injury to its inhabitants. M. H. Nickerson's house was carried away. The family were, fortunately, absent. Isaac Staffy's home was destroyed, and his family somewhat injured.
"In Rome Township, Mr. Piper's house was swept from its foundations, and two of his children killed. Mr. Piper suffered a double fracture in his arm, and his wife experienced some severe bruises. His barn was unroofed and almost completely destroyed. A heavy lumber wagon near his barn was entirely demolished, and the iron-work twisted and bent in almost every shape.
"Elisha Miller lost his house, crops, etc. His son, twelve years of age, was killed, and his wife badly injured. Samuel Cook, a young man living with Mr. Miller, was severely maimed. N. Bernard's house was entirely destroyed, and his family more or less afflicted by physical suffering. The houses of Mr. Scoles, William May and William Brockelhurst were completely demolished.
The following incident is taken from the Anamosa Eureka of February 24, 1860:
"Last week, a man hailing from Washington Township, in this county, called on the County Judge and presented a bill of $26 for burying a pauper. The Judge remarked that he thought the bill rather high, and asked for the items.
"The man said he paid $10 for the coffin, $2 for the shroud and $1.50 for digging the grave.
"What other expenses were there?' asked the Judge.
"We bought three gallons of whisky, some tobacco, coffee, tea and sugar.'
"Well,' said the Judge, 'I will allow you the amount of your claim for the coffin, shroud and digging the grave, but the other things cannot be paid for by the county.'
"The applicant replied that he was authorized by the Township Trustees to purchase the whisky and other article for a wake, and he thought the county ought to pay the claims.
"The Judge refused to make the allowance and the claimant departed, threatening to sue the Trustees for the amount."
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