But 'tis past, and our fertile
prairies continue to bloom as a garden, and we have reason to thank our
kind Father that greater calamities are spared us. The Colorado potato bug
gave us a passing call, but the chinch bug, the army worm, the weevil, the
plague and the fire and the flood that have laid waste the health and
substance of those in less favored localities, have never entered our fair
The first settlers received yearly a few
accessions to their numbers, but for several years the increase was small.
Miss Maggie Hickey, born Oct. 14th, 1856, was the
first white native citizen of Palo Alto County. The
in 1859 was 131, and in 1875 was 2728 and may now be
safely estimated at 3100.
In due process of time the early settlers became
tired of having their seat of County government 60 miles away, and
manifested to the proper authority their desire for the
of their own County as an independent political power.
Accordingly a precept was issued on the 23rd day of September, 1858, by
Luther L. Pease, County Judge of Webster County, ordering an election to
be held in the county of Palo Alto on the 2nd day of Oct., 1858, for the
purpose of electing County officers, James Hickey, James Nolan and
Washington Reed being appointed judges of the election, which was to be
held at the house of Thomas Downey.
The judges of election having failed to canvass
the votes or return the names of candidates voted for, the election was
Nov. 22nd a petition signed by James Nolan, Jason
R. Simmons, Richard M.J. McFarland, Thomas Downey, John Nolan, W.M.
Walters and G.S. Ringland, was presented to the County Judge of
Webster County asking for another order for an election in
Palo Alto County, which order was made on the same day, the election to be
held on the 20th day of December, 1858, same judges of election and place
as before. A new precinct was also established consisting of Townships 94
and 95 Range 31. James McCormick, Wm. Carter and Wm. D. Powers appointed
judges of election for said precinct, and the first election to be held at
the house of Wm. Carter; Washington Reed was by the court directed to post
up notices of the same in Palo Alto and Cylinder precincts 15 days before
the election. At this election held Dec. 20th, 1858, the votes being duly
canvassed by the proper officers of Webster County Dec. 24th, 1858, the
following officers were duly elected; James Hickey, County Judge; Felix
McCosker, Clerk, D.C.; John M. Mulroney, Treasurer and Recorder; John Shea,
Drainage Commissioner; James McCosker, County Surveyor; Oren Sylvester,
Coroner, and Thos. H. Tobin, Sheriff.
In 1859 another change was made in the
precincts or civil townships, and three subdivisions were mapped out and
named respectively West Bend, Nevada, and Palo Alto, the latter which was
the most northerly, was afterwards changed to Emmetsburg Township.
On Dec. 31st, 1858, the County Seat was established at Paoli on N. half of
Section 6, 95, 32, by C.C. Carpenter, John Straight and Wm. P. Pollock,
Commissioners appointed for that purpose by C.J. McFarland, Judge of the
Like all pioneers, the people had to attend to
their physical wants exclusively for a time, but they did not long neglect
the mental, but proceeded to provide means of
In June, 1859, the People volunteered to build a school
house, which they did, constructing it of logs on Daniel Howl's claim, and
Thomas Campbell covered it with bark, but no material