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


     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 domain.
     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 declared void.
     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 5th Dist.

     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

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