Marriage Records Research in Palo Alto County

Were They Married in Webster County?

by Matt O'Dell

Why are the early marriage records of Webster Co., important to Palo Alto county researchers ? Because there are no other known civil records of early marriages recorded any where else from the first settlements in Palo Alto [1855] until after the establishment of a local government system 20 December 1858. Actually, the first marriage was recorded early in 1860.

The Third General Assembly of the State of Iowa established 49 new counties January 15, 1851. Palo Alto was among those new counties. The county was named after the first battle of the Mexican war - at Palo Alto, near Brownsville, TX in 1846. There was no settlement in the northwest corner of Iowa, however, and Palo Alto was attached to Boone Co. in 1853, and to Webster Co., in 1855, "for election, judicial and revenue purposes." Local government was established in Palo Alto Co., Ia., late in 1858, with the election of Judge James Hickey, et al, on Dec. 20, 1858, following a failed election of October 2, 1858.

Elected with Judge Hickey were Clerk of District Court Felix McCosker, Treasurer & Recorder John Mulroney, Drainage Commissioner John Shea, County Surveyor James McCosker, Coroner Orrin Sylvester, and to be the first Sheriff Thomas H. Tobin. - P 64, History of Palo Alto Co., McCarthy- 1910

Thus county records could not possibly be relied upon until at least 1859 when supplies and paper arrived to allow for recording of civil transactions. In fact the first marriage in Palo Alto co. was that of Thos. H. Tobin to Miss Ellen Loughlin, Jany. 7th, 1860. -P 14 Martin's 1876 History of Palo Alto.

As for church records, there was no church in Palo Alto county at that time. From Father Smith's manuscript in the 1910 Semi Centennial book, where he wrote about the first pioneers to the county, we read:

It was decided to locate on the east bank of the Des Moines river on the land afterwards owned by Martin Coonan and Dan Kane. Their first buildings were the sod shanties(4) and this little colony then called the "Irish Settlement",became the nucleus of our large and prosperous population. It was the seed sown on good soil(5) which has increased a thousand fold. Having always in mind their spiritual as well as their temporal welfare one of the first things they aimed to provide for was a church. With this end in view in 1857 they entered a land claim(6) of eighty acres in the name of the Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Dubuque.(7) It was the south half of the southeast quarter of section 24 of what is now Emmetsburg township. Arrangements were at once made to build a church thereon. Work was already begun, logs were collected, part of the walls raised, and quite a supply of material was on the ground to complete the building.

(6) Bishop's name. Bp. Loras died Feb. 19, 1958. Bp. Clement Smyth (Dubuque) consecrated May 3, 1857.* Since there was extremely bad weather in the spring of '57 and because of the evacuation of the "Irish Colony" after the return of the Relief Expedition from the Spirit Lake Massacre site (the troop arrived back in Ft. Dodge about Apr. 10, 1857) and, since the settlers followed the troop to Ft. Dodge - not necessarily the same day - but shortly thereafter - and stayed at least a month in Ft. Dodge; we would expect this land to be listed in the name of Bp. Clement Smyth, Dubuque. Record has not been found.[Matt O'Dell's History of Assumption Church]

In an unfortunate hour on a Sunday afternoon in the fall of 1859, John Pender, who had a claim on the river bottom in what is now Great Oak township, was making a firebreak around his log cabin. The fire got away from him and furiously made its way north consuming everything in its path. The partly completed church building with all the material on the ground was entirely swept away. At the same time the Pender home was burned. It was on the shore of Medium Lake where the Saunders residence now stands(8). Thus the first church building of any denomination raised in the county was that log structure erected in 1859 where Mr. A Scott Ormsby's residence may now be seen.(9)

Footnotes: (9) NW Corner of Palmer and 7th Streets, Call's Addn. This is a high point at the SW end of the Lake, a commanding position, and a fine first choice for the church. We have found no record of what happened to the property, the original deeds - etc. Ormsby built a fine home there - still standing - now listed in the National Register as Rosemount and in 1989 it is a Bed & Breakfast. (It IS in Sec. 24, Twsp. 96Nx33W and the description given by Fr. Smith agrees geographically: [Extracted from Matt O'Dell's History of Assumption Ch. Palo Alto co.]

So, we realize that by 1859 the log church under construction from 1857-1859 by the Catholics of Palo Alto came to a fiery end in the Pender prairie fire, fall of 1859.

Therefore, if you want to find possible marriage records, you may wish to look in the group found below.



1853 - 1859

These mariages, in Book I, were recorded by Mindy Natte in August of 1974;checked by Roger B. Natte and certified by Laurance W. Murray. (*)indicates license was issued, but not returned. Date(underlined) indicates out of sequence.

After copying this list into WordPerfect format Matt O'Dell checked and re-checked the list in 1992, adding line numbering to the list.

Groom's name                          Bride's Name                                  Date

Abbott, Daniel S.                     Deborah Nichols                             12 Aug 1856

Addams, Darin                         Sydin Bibler                                       1 Jun 1856

Alcorn, Robert                        Charity Hise                                     10 Sep 1857

Anderson, Robert                    T. Elenor Griffith                                 1 Jan 1857

Arthur, William                        Orma L. Potter                                17 Dec 1856

Atherton, John Wesley              Julia Rosetta Sweet                         23 Dec 1858

Atherton, Samuel D.                Mary A. Vandevender                        8 Aug 1858

Auker, William                        Orma S. Potter                                 15 Dec 1855*

Ballard, John                           Emily Everhart                                  30 Aug 1855

Barr, Henry                             Hannah M. Vander Ornber               15 Feb 1857

Beach, Alexander                    Sarah Jane Ewing                             10 Nov 1859

Beach, David                           Jane Graw                                        15 Jan 1857

Beck, Hirem                           Hannah Jackman                                12 Mar 1858*

Beecher, Hezekiah                  Pauline E. Morrison                            13 Dec 1858

Bell, Isaac                               Sarah Ann Stark                                26 Aug 1855

Bell, Terlonzo                          S. J. Neece                                       17 Aug 1854

Berkley, Granvil                       Z. I. Meservay                                    2 Aug 1855

Bernet, Levi                           Angeline Bush                                     22 Oct 1855*

Blood, Martin                         Cilma J. Todd                                     13 Feb 1858

Books, Henry                        Euretha A. Clark                                 28 Feb 1856

Booth, Frederick                   Helen Ann Ruggles                               13 May 1858

Bowman, William                   Maria Martin                                       29 Sep 1858

Brackschynke, Casper           H. Mary Kirchner                                16 Jul 1857

Bradshaw, John J.                  Martha Griffith                                     10 Apr 1855

Bremer/Brewer, Jackson        Hariett Frakes                                     11 Aug 1854

Brooks, Harvey                      Euretta S. Clark                                  28 Sep 1856

Brugotti, Christopher               Eliza L. Andrews                                10 Nov 1859

Brundage, James N.                Angeline Beem                                      5 Dec 1858

Caligan, Thos. T.                    Catharine Kinniard                              28 Jan 1858

Callehan, Barney                    Delia Haley                                           1 Feb 1858*

Calligan, Thomas T.               Catherine Kinniard                               28 Jan 1858

Carhin, Joshua                        Laraha Carral                                      22 Mar 1855

Chambers, Hugh                     B. A. Downing                                       9 Dec 1856

Chancy, Hiram                        Mary A. Shamers                                   6 Sep 1855

Childress, Henry J.                   Sarah Pointer                                     16 Jun 1858

Clark, Joel                               Nesta L. Mead                                   19 Jun 1859

Clark, John B.                          Cindrilla A. Douglass                          29 Apr 1857

Clegg, Richard                          Eliza Litts                                             5 Jun 1855

Collins, Hugh                           Catherine Russell                                   9 Feb 1859

Cooper, George                       Johanna Stanley                                    9 Nov 1855

Corbin, Albert G.                    Clarissa L. Spring                                 21 Jan 1858

Craphart, Eli D.                       Mary Michaels                                       1 Jun 1856

Crombic, John                        Mary Jane Clark                                   13 Sep 1855

Cronin, Bartholomew              Margaret Smith                                    26 Mar 1859

Crouse, Alexander E.              Eve Ann Gonzer                                   28 Apr 1857

Dean, James                            Lydia Todd                                         25 Dec 1858

Deck, Jurah                            Ann Millurn                                          11 Apr 1856

Dewitt, John Harrison             Mary H. Crouse                                    11 May 1858

Dillow, Joseph                        Louisa McFarland                                   6 Jun 1857

Dimler, Henry                          Eliza Page                                            11 Jun 1858

Donahue, Edward                   Mary Ann Maher                                  14 Jun 1859

Drake, Feromus B.                 Caroline E. Hart                                    12 Mar 1857*

Duncombe, John F.                 Mary Augusta Williams                         11 May 1859

Eberhart, A.C.                        Celia A. Eads                                        21 Sept 1856

Ebert, Ernest                           Ernestura Serfert                                   15 Feb 1857

Elis, Norman P.                       Maranda Clark                                     15 Nov 1855

Ewing, William S.                    Teressa E. Stall                                      23 Apr 1859

Farland, James M.                   Martha Ann Duckett                              25 May 1856

Faught, Henry                          Josephine Guard                                    15 Jun 1856*

Fisher, Richard                        Sarah Pemberton                                    12 Feb 1857

Fisher, William P.                    Lavina Eslisk                                          27 Dec 1856

Fitzgerald, John                       Ann Fienel                                                6 Jul 1856

Gage, Harvey                          Martha Jane Comly                                28 Mar 1858

Garmoe, Isaac                         Margaret Johnson                                  23 Nov 1856

Geige, Edward B.                    Martha McFarland                                 14 Feb 1856*

Giaryer, Benjamin F.               Calista E. Raad                                        8 Mar 1856

Goodrich, Benjamin B.             Elizabeth Galer                                        7 Nov 1858

Goodrich, John                        Jane McGuier                                          2 Sep 1854

Gray, Jesse                             Elizabeth Brundage                                 31 May 1857

Hall, Henry C.                        Celia M. Sherman                                     1 Jan 1857

Hall, James                             Charlotte Fisher                                        1 Jan 1858

Hammer, Benjamin                  Isabet Beeson                                         13 Jun 1856*

Hand, Ira                                Emily Douglass                                          8 Jul 1858

Hanson, Adolph                      Mary A.C.(?)                                          18 Nov 1854

Harden, Joseph                       Elizabeth McIntosh                                  28 Apr 1856

Hart, George D.                      Orlinda S. Moore                                    11 Nov 1858

Hase, George                          Julia A. Fisher                                          29 Jan 1857

Haslett, Charles                       Ester Lakin                                              28 Nov 1856

Hatch, Charles L.                    Filina A. Skinner                                      28 Oct 1855

Haynes, John                          Margarett Carbon                                      6 Sep 1854

Hepsheor, William                   Catherine McFarlin                                    -- Jan 1857

Hickey, James                         Margarett Hogan                                      13 Sep 1856

Himer, Marlin B.                      Sarah Coray                                               1 Nov 1855*

Hines, William                          Mary Jackman                                         28 Jun 1858

Hoel, Mathias                          Manika Schnider                                         3 Apr 1858

Hogan, T'ohm                          Mary Williams                                         29 Aug 1857*

Holehan, William                     Bridget Floyd                                           12 Dec 1858

Holems, John S.                      Emily Lyons                                              14 May 1853

Horn, Alfred M.                      Anna Pierce                                               8 Dec 1856*

Hull, James E.                         Ahienn Rees                                             11 Nov 1855

Jameson, Mordecai S.             Flora Lee                                                13 May 1859

Johns, Andrew                        Gustana Percodot                                    16 Sep 1853

Johns, John                              Margaret Hoadly                                     15 Aug 1858

Johnson, James                        Nancy Bell                                                7 Dec 1854

Jones, Charles                          Elizabeth Bell                                          28 Jun 1856

Kelley, James                          Menerva J. Dowd                                    11 Dec 1856

Kelly, James                            Minerva Dowd                                         11 Dec 1856

Kelly, Richard                         Catherine Knox                                            8 Jun 1856

Kent, William                          Mary C. Haviland                                      12 Nov 1857

Kent, William W.                     Harriet C. Woodward                              28 May 1856

Kischner, John A.                   Mary Jane Bicknell                                     17 Oct 1857

Larney, Patrick M.                  Ellen Ford                                                 26 Nov 1857

Lawrence, Benjamin                Alphea Bancroft                                        30 Nov 1858

Lincrun, Geo                            Clarisa Jane Williams                                28 Feb 1856

Martin, Reuben                        Mariah Harden                                           5 Apr 1854

Maudlin, William                      Julia Ann Beeson                                      29 Aug 1857

Maulding, John S.                    E. Hogan                                                     9 Mar 1854

McCauley, George C.             Rachel Ticker                                               2 Feb 1859

McCauley, Robert                   Elisabeth Hughes                                       17 Dec 1858*

McDaniels, William                 Nancy Johnson                                           25 Feb 1858

McGuier, Blyath                      Rebeca Pierce                                           17 Aug 1854

McGuier, Francis                    Theby Baatryh                                            18 Jan 1855

McGuier, Wm.                        Emiline H. Scott                                         11 Jun 1853

McGuire, Francis                    Rebecca McGuire                                      22 Feb 1857

McNeely, Theulious                Euginia L. Clark                                          26 Dec 1859

McPheeters, Andrew              Adelia A. Mowrey                                      15 Mar 1859

Merphey, Michael Obrien       Mary Ann Baxter                                        20 Feb 1858

Merritt, H.D.                           Lavina Shaffner                                           21 Mar 1858

Miller, John                              Julia Condon                                                8 May 1858*

Mitchell, John                         Christiana Stark                                            26 Aug 1856

Mitchell, Warren G.                Louise A. White                                           18 Nov 1858

Montgomery, Albert               Mary Ann McBride                                       12 Nov 1857

Moore, Virgil                          Minerva Beach                                             10 Mar 1859

Morrissy, Michael                    Isabell Selley                                                 6 Jul 1857

Muldoon, Patrick                    Catherine McCartney                                    20 Nov 1858

Nichols, George                      Sarah Jane Baxter                                          14 Jul 1855*

Nolan, Patrick                         Johanah Conway                                           10 Oct 1857

O'Hara, Patrick                       Susan Mallon                                                26 Apr 1859

Payne, Henry R.                     Margarett Murphy                                          15 Jun 1855

Payne, Wm.                            Pally P. Crause                                              25 Oct 1855

Phetteplace, Banjamin             Harriet Moon                                                  7 Apr 1859

Pierce, Joseph C.                    M. E. Pierce                                                   30 Sep 1855

Pollock, William                      Mary Bates                                                    24 Dec 1857

Power, William                        Christina Carter                                              16 Aug 1856

Preston, William                       Julia M. Young                                                 1 Jan 1859

Qumland, Thomas                    Bridgit Fahey                                                  15 Aug 1857*

Rees, Franklin                          Emily Moonl ?                                                12 Apr 1858

Renolds, Wm. K.                    Melissa Grant                                                  21 Aug 1853

Richards, Charles B.                Mary I. Olcott                                                14 Jun 1857

Ridgeway, Squire C.                Elizabeth Jane Jameson                                   19 Oct 1858

Rogers, A.B.                            Saray Hymer                                                  29 Mar 1857

Rudy, Dunie                             Malisa Ann Frakes                                         27 Mar 1856

Russelland, Eleazur                   Margaret Buttlen                                            17 Oct 1856

Safferty, John M.                      Catherine Martin                                              3 Jan 1858

Schaller, J. Christian                  Eliza Hartman                                                30 Oct 1858

Scrivner, John                           Francis Decker                                              30 Dec 1854

Sherman, Charles A.                 Tirzan Vincent                                                15 Nov 1858

Sherman, G. B.                         Amaretta Vincent                                              9 Feb 1858

Smith, Francis                          Mary C. Young                                              10 Feb 1856

Smith, George P.                       Sarah Jane Hooke                                         27 Sep 1856*

Smith Shelden                           Mary ? Helmick                                             10 May 1858

Speer, John                              Susanna M. Douglass                                     25 Feb 1858

Strow, John D.                         Maria B. Fox                                                  31 Dec 1856

Taylor, Charmery                     M. A. Frakes                                                  12 Sep 1858*

Van Cleave, Silas                     Basanah Broadstone                                           1 Oct 1857

Vandevender, John                   Barbary C. Maberry                                       25 Oct 1857

Vigors, C. H.                            Ellen Corbin                                                   18 Mar 1858

Weeks. Eumenus                     Corintha E. Nelson                                          23 Jan 1858

Welch. Henry A.                      Rachael Ann Frakes                                        28 May 1857

Wells, Banager Edward            Mary Abigail Spring                                        10 Aug 1858

White, William.                         Mary Garaghty                                               11 May 1859