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this western world; men whose sterling worth and integrity have contributed very largely to its present high position.
The whole history of this county is one of surpassing interest, and the more it is studied the clearer does it become that underlying its records are certain truths which afford a clew to the causes that have contributed so powerfully to bring it to its present marked prominence. They will be found identical with those which have influenced the history of the nations during many centuries. Albeit, they do not possess that far-reaching influence which groups the centuries into eras, yet to those immediately interested they are not a whit less tragical. To narrate these facts is the objects of these pages; with what success this has been done we do not presume to say. It has been our aim to learn and present the truth without favor or prejudice.
It has heretofore been possible for the scholar, with leisure and a comprehensive library, to trace out the written history of his county by patient research among voluminous government documents and dusty records, sometimes old and scarce; but these sources of information and the time to study them are not at the command of most of those who are intelligently interested in local history, and there are many unpublished facts to be rescued from the failing memories of the oldest residents, who would soon have carried their information with them to the grave; and others to be obtained from the citizens best informed in regard to the various present interests and institutions of the county which should be treated of in giving its history. This service of research and record, which very few could have undertaken for themselves, the publishers of this work have performed; while a few unimportant mistakes may, perhaps, be found in such a multitude of details, in spite of the care exercised in the production of the volume, they still confidently present this result of many weeks labor, as a true and orderly narration of all the events in the history of the county which were of sufficient interest and value to merit such a record.
Authenticity is always difficult in history; much passes for history which is mere anecdote, and that domain is always doubtful. Other facts, again, come to us through the prejudices and colours of personal narration. Great care has therefore been necessary to prevent publishing misconceptions as history. There has been admitted no statement of fact without ample authority, and mentioned not even the slightest incident without the support of creditable testimony. Attention is called to one feature considered of special value—the introduction of the original records for all transactions directly affecting the interests of the county. Concerning the first records aud the facts they teach, little or nothing need be said. Of this period in the county's history there have been explored for evidence every known early document, and where not muti
lated they have been presented in full. If among the pages devoted to early settlers and settlements, the sentences seem short and broken, and the method of treatment faulty, it should be borne in mind that the nature of the data renders any other method of presentment impossible. Accuracy, rather than finish, has been the object held steadily in view.
In the preparation of this volume the oldest residents and others have cheerfully volunteered their services in the undertaking, adding largely to the value of the results obtained. Special thanks are due to the following named persons, who have not only aided us by placing at our disposition much valuable matter, but have themselves devoted much time to searching records, and afforded every opportunity in their power to perfect the chronological sequence and accuracy of the data used: County Auditor, S. C. Osborn; County Recorder, M. H. Byers; Seth Dean, Surveyor; A. D. French, Treasurer; J. E. Robinson, Clerk; William Aiton, Deputy Recorder and abstractor; A. J. Hight, Deputy Auditor; William Kempton, Esq., Hale, Stone & Proudfit, a firm of legal gentlemen; Miss M. Maude Archibald, county superintendent of schools; William H. Taft Mrs. J. W. Coolidge, Mr. Charles Croney, of The Glenwood Opinion; Mr. Sherman, of The Journal; and to The Hastings Plaindealer, Mills County Chronicle, Mills County Republican, Pacific Function Gazette, for numerous favors and notices. Throughout the county are many impossible to name here, who have freely given what of history they had. The clergy and other church officers, and those of civic associations, have been universally obliging in placing at our command the needed statistics of their several societies.
Under the sway of cause and effect, historic events cannot stand alone, --thev form an unbroken chain. The history of so limited a territory as a couny in Iowa has its roots not only in remote times, but in distant lands, and cannot be justly written out without consulting the influence of such a foreign element; nor can such a county history be understood in all its relations, without a historic review of at least the state of which the county is a part; hence, we feel that in giving such an outline we have been more faithful to the main purpose of the work, while we have added an element of independent interest and value. We little doubt that this book will be a welcome one to the inhabitants of the county, for all take a just pride in whatever calls to mind the scenes and incidents of other days. It is presented in the assurance that the work done will meet with the heartiest approval of our readers; and if, through that commendation, it awakens an earnest spirit of enterprise and emulation among the younger citizens of the county, it will be a source of just pleasure and congratulation to
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