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41 Years Ago in Bowen's Prairie
Reminiscent Notes
from the
Anamosa Eureka
April 19, 1866
to May 3, 1866


Mr. Otis Whittemore, under date of April 3d, writes some interesting reminiscences of early history on Bowen's Prairie, from which we quote:

This part of the county of Jones, called Bowen's Prairie, has as early a history as any portion of the county. On the 1st day of May, 1836, Hugh Bowen, in company with Joshua Johnson, came and struck their tent, being the first white settlers upon this Prairie, and in honor of Mr. Hugh Bowen it was given his name by the old settlers. In 1838 or 1839 the first meeting was held in the cabin of Barrett Whittemore for the purpose of orgnizing the county of Jones. The first election that was held in this county was held in the same cabin and the vote cast was eleven. This was the sum total of all the votes cast in the county at their first election for delegates to represent them in the Territorial legislature. A number of those voters came from the south side of the Wapsipinicon river.

In 1840 Barrett Whittemore built the first school house in the county. It was on his premises and he opened school with some sixteen scholars June 21st, 1841. The first term of this school was thirty-five weeks, and the series of books used was McGuffey's.

The township lines were run near this date, and three or four of the northern townships were included in our precinct for elections, which were held at the cabin of Joseph Green, about a half mile west of the present village of Bowen's Prairie. The elections were held at the same place up to the time Iowa became a state. Forty votes was about an average at that time in the precinct that now comprises the townships of Castle Grove, Monticello and Richland.

Mr. David Graham built the first brick house in the county.

Bowen's Prairie, in or about the year 1837, was surveyed by the Government and after the township lines were run, Township 76, north 2 west of the Principal Meridian took the name of Richland, and included most of the seettlers of Bowen's Prairie.

In June, 1840, the land sales took place at Dubuque. Barrett Whittemore was selected to bid off the lands here for the old settlers. Two sections of land were bid off by him at a time. No jumping of claims was allowed by the old settlersof this part of the county.

The first frame barn was erected by Hugh Bowen in the year 1844. The same year Otis Whittemore and J. H. Eaton put up the first frame house in this part of the county. The number of heads of families now comprising Richland township, are as follows, being residents here before Iowa became a state. They were: Wm. C. Johnston, Moses Collins, Charles Johnston, Thomas Dennison, Wm. Moore, Thomas Dixon, John O. Sullivan, John Williamson, Robert Snowden, George Snowden, William Brazelton, Frank Dawson, Fletcher Burnight, William Tibbits, Mr. Van Sant, David Graham, Mr. Allaway, William Hines, Samuel Hines, James Miller, Alexander Laughlin, George White, Otis Whittemore.

The single men were: Hugh Bowen, Barrett Whittemore, Joshua Johnston, John Taylor, J. H. Eaton, Gillaspie Laughlin, J. P. Tibbits, James Henderson, William Mickeljohn, Asa Allaway, William Dawson.

Anamosa Eureka, 12 Sep 1907
Submitted by Mary Kay Kuhfittig.

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