History of Palo Alto County, Iowa
By J.L. Martin as prepared for the Celebration at Emmetsburg
July 4, 1876

were being issued for current expenses, and very little revenue obtained. In 1863, ten thousand dollars in warrants were sold at 25 cts. to 45 cts. on the dollar to raise bounty for volunteers or substitutes, so that in the early part of 1872 about 200,000 acres of our best lands (aside from school and college grants) had been disposed of for public improvements, for which $15,000 had never been realized, and the County had, including interest due, about $50,000 indebtedness.

     About this time the people began to see where they were drifting and called a halt, and so great was the revulsion, that some cried "repudiate!"-"repudiate the debt!" But to the honor of Palo Alto be it said, the popular voice demanded that the debt be paid. Since that time there has been a general effort to retrieve the credit of the County, and it has been in a great measure accomplished, though there is much yet to be done. In this connection a brief mention of a potent agency in every good work should be made, namely,


The first weekly paper published in the County was the Palo Alto Democrat, established by James P. White, and the first number issued about Dec. 4th, 1869. It was suspended in 1873. Next came the Palo Alto Advance, established by McCarty & Hartshorn and Burnell & Harrison, known at that time as H.L. Burnell & Co. Its first issue was in June, 1870 and it was published until August, 1873, when O.C. Bates bought the Company out, brought the first printing press into the County and established the Palo Alto Patriot which was purchased by the Palo Alto Printing Company in May, 1874, and the Palo Alto Pilot first made its appearance on the 11th of June following, and is still extant and prosperous. In the years 1873-4 a monthly paper known as the Enterprise was published by Burnham, Ormsby & Co. In June, 1875, the Palo Alto Reporter

was established by Henry Jenkins, with a complete new press and outfit, the second in the County, and is still living and prosperous.
     Having taken this rapid review of our peoples progress in pursuit of wealth and worldly refinement, and in the midst of which many of them have passed off the stage of action, it may be well to inquire if they have had any thoughts of a future existence, and what have been their


    The first public worship in the County was held at the house of James Hickey in 1861, by Rev. Father Elwood. The visits of clergymen were few and far between for the first twelve or fourteen years, during which time a bi-monthly, or semi-annual, or annual visit of a dispenser of the mysteries of the Gospel was something hailed with pleasure by those piously inclined. During these years, an occasional Catholic missionary (for a majority of the people were Catholic) was sent sixty or more miles to hold divine services in Palo Alto. Among those missionaries were Fathers Elwood, Marsh, Butler, Delaney, Monahan, Lenihan and others, till 1871, when a church was built and Rev. J.J. Smith placed in charge of the congregation.

     About the year 1867, meetings began to be held among other Christian denominations, the most prominent being the Methodists, Baptists and Congregationalists, and Reverends B.C. Hammond, J.E. Rowen, D.S. McComb, Woolery, Webster, and others labored to arouse the people to a sense of their duty: and in the years 1872, 1873, 1874, and 1875, the Methodists, under Revs. Rowen, Woolery, Hamilton, Robinson and others, the Baptists under Rev. H. Kettlewell and others, and the Congregationalists, under Revs. Coleman, Fisher adn others, but more especially the Methodists, had extensive religious revivals, and many were added to the churches. Much has been done also, especially by

<Previous     Next>