It is with a mingling of both pride for
the locality of one's birth and a sincere desire to preserve the annals of its
community that the writer has undertaken the authorship of this volume. It may
perhaps be a source of regret that the work has not been performed by abler
hands; and especially by some one who has seen with his own eyes the procession
of events as they have transpired. However, in proportion to the disadvantage of
being of a later generation, the writer has endeavored, by special pains and
untiring application, to attain the same result as that which would have been
achieved with less difficulty by one whose life has been a part of the history
of Monroe County from its earliest organization down to the present time.
No words of surprise need be uttered at the mutations which time has wrought within the comparatively brief period of the county's life.
That Monroe County should, in the course of time, become one of the garden spots of earth, was a natural sequence. Already it has been verified in part; and the most sanguine dreamer may fail to see through the mist of the future the full grandeur of that which is yet to be.
The annals of a community should not be classed as something trivial or common place. The history of a county ought to be preserved, in order that some day it may offer to the historian, whose field is of wider scope, details to augment the sum total of the State's, or even of a nation's history.
Another reason why it should be preserved; it sets up to posterity examples of exalted manhood and womanhood, as revealed in the lives of the pioneer settlers. They were men and women with brave hearts and unclouded hopes. Their hands were willing and their faith was strong. They "blazed" out the lines of their habitations in the forests, and broke the violet studded sod of the prairie, in good faith of a future home.
They built their "claim pens" in the "New Purchase," not that they intended to acquire the land for purposes of speculation and trade, but that they might mark the places
of their homesteads as soon as the Government placed land
upon the market.
And there was still another "claim pen" built by the early settler, which stood as a monument of his faith and as a testimony of his intention to remain and occupy the land; it was a small enclosure built about with fence rails to keep out the wild animals or the tread of careless feet; it was the tabernacle of the young father's and mother's parental love, set up in the wilderness, with the wild rose and the violets as the vessels of the sanctuary; it was the little grave of perhaps their first born infant. They did not carry the little rudely constructed coffin with its precious treasure back to their old home for burial, but they planted it beneath the wild sod of the prairie, or in the lonely forest glades, knowing, as they planted a wild rose for a head stone, that some day a marble shaft would take its place, that some day the tangled forest would disappear, and that through the embellishing touch of civilized life the little tomb would be ranged with others in avenues of flowers and rows of marble and granite in the village cemetery.
For accuracy of statement, the author, in many instances, has relied solely on the memory of old settlers, which, in a few cases, may lead to slight error. He has also assumed the liberty of incorporating a few personal reminiscences, anecdotes, and personal allusions, without consulting the wishes of those whom their narration would involve in publicity. These reminiscences he has regarded as already belonging to the public, and they have been assigned a place in this volume merely to afford the reader any pleasure he may derive from their perusal.
The roster of the Monroe County soldiers who served in the War of the Rebellion has been compiled from the Adjutant General's Reports, mainly. The Reports themselves contain frequent inaccuracies, which have been corrected in this volume, wherever the errors concerned the Monroe County volunteer. The roster is complete, yet is possible that a few names have been omitted, owing to the fact that occasionally a volunteer enlisting from Monroe County gave his post office address as in some adjoining county. This frequently occurred; and the Adjutant General's Reports thus fix his residence in some other county.
This fact will account for any omissions on the part of the author.
At the close of the war many of the non
commissioned officers were promoted in rank, and their promotion was never
reported or recorded in the office of the Adjutant General. Owing to this fact,
the roster herein may not in every case give the promotions, as they were made
at a late period, by the Governor of the State.
In the preparations of this volume the author has done the very best his limited ability would allow, and hence feels that he need not consume space by inserting apologies.
Albia, Iowa, September 1, 1896.