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

the Catholics and Methodists, for the rising generation by way of religious instruction, Sabbath schools, etc. Both have commodious church edifices, the Catholics who are also the most numerous denomination in the County, having the largest building at present completed within its limits. on the 11th day of June a mission was commenced in the Catholic Church by two pious priests, Revs. Father Hennebery and O'Neil, of the Order of the Precious Blood, for the "revival of faith and morals among the people," and continued for 11 days with powerful and effective preaching, exhortation, prayer, and the administering of the sacraments, and hundreds were brought to repentance. At the close of a discourse on temperance, on the evening of June 19th, by Father Hennebery, and at his request, 500 people arose at one impulse and, with uplifted hand, pledged themselves forever to abstain from all intoxicating drinks; and on succeeding evenings, others joined the ranks to the number of nearly 700 in all.

     The preaching of the mission closed on Wednesday evening, June 21st, with a most impressive ceremony, when over 700 people, with lighted waxen candles held aloft in their hands, renewed their baptismal vows. The Catholics, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists and Lutherans are all the church organizations we find of record, the two former, only, having church edifices, but the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Cambellites or Christians, Adventists, Unitarians, Spiritualists, Univeralists and Jews are also represented among our people.


     The total products of the County in 1859, with the exception of a few minor items of vegetables, was 2,507 bushels of corn, and 2,695 bushels of potatoes; while in 1875 the yield of the four great staples was as follows: potatoes, 21,713; wheat, 23,208; oats, 46,859, and corn, 142,957 bushels, making a grand total of 234,737 bushels, besides

thousands of bushels of buckwheat, flaxseed, rye, barley and vegetables.
     In 1869, our total assessed valuation was $256,004, and in 1875 it was $946,055, and in 1876, will exceed one million dollars.
     In 1868-9 our warrants sold for about 30 cents on the dollar, and three years later, as before stated, our debt was about $50,000, while to-day our warrants are worth between 80 and 90 cents, and about $29,000 would pay the last farthing of our outstanding indebtedness, and with an annual revenue of about $51,000, though there is much to be done in the line of needed public improvement, it is to be hoped the above debt will soon be absorbed, and we believe our public officers, as well as citizens, are determined that it shall be.


 The County seat, near the center of the County, at the foot of Medium Lake, the nucleus of which was removed here, having been formed at the Riverdale Farm which was platted for a town by its former owner, Martin Coonan, has only existed on its present site about 18 months and has over 400 inhabitants, and a large number of business houses, shops, mills, hotels, factories, etc., and two weekly newspapers, both flourishing, one having a Gordon job press in connection running to its utmost capacity. Four stages, one from each of the cardinal points, arrive and depart daily and its Post-office has just been made a money order office. Emmetsburg has also been lately erected into an Independent School District, (the first in the county) and has a new school building, costing about $1,600 nearly completed. The prospect for a junction of the Des Moines Valley and McGregor & Missouri River Railroads at this point, in the near future may be reasonably and confidently looked for, the latter road having only about twenty-five miles to build into this town, which it is expected to do the present season.
     With clear purling streams and limpid lakes, and most delightful atmosphere the health of Palo Alto's

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