The Chariton Leader, Chariton, Iowa
Thursday, October 3, 1907
'THE FIRST SETTLERS'
Some History Given Not Heretofore Known by the General Public.
The following, by THOMAS BRANDON, was read before the meeting of the Old Settlers in Chariton, On Wednesday, September 25, 1907.
"At your request, I have written a few lines according to my best recollections, regarding the early settlement of Monroe and Lucas Counties. On May 10th, 1843, my father, JAMES BRANDON, and a Missourian by the name of WM. MOORE, and an old gentleman from Maine, we called him Captain HIGBY, and myself, landed where what is now known as Franklin Township, Monroe County. It was not surveyed at that time. Afterwards, when it was surveyed, we were in Kishkekosh County. MR. MOORE took for a claim what is now called Dodge's Point and proved to be in Appanoose County.
We had a team of oxen which we had hired from a man by the name of MILLER in Missouri. By the first half of June we had broken nine acres of prairie and two and one-half acres on MR. MOORE's place with those cattle, and planted it in sod corn. Our plow got so dull we could not break any more. About that time three men drove up to the camp, and said they had been out west looking at the land. They lived in Missouri also and we knew them when they drove up. They stated to us that they had crossed the Chariton pretty much west of a point we named Chariton Point. The timber growing up on the prairie showed grand for four or five miles east of there. They had got one of their horses down; it had got the single tree hook in its foot, and had lamed it so that they could not bring it. They told father that if he could go back and doctor it up he might have the horse. Next morning we started, and took their wagon back, and followed on foot until quite late in the evening when we came to where they had left the horse. I don't think the horse had lain down from the time he had got hurt until we found him. Father had on a wool hat which he gave me to carry some water to the horse. I had to go nearly a quarter of a mile before I found a slough hole where I could get the hat full of water. I carried two hats full and the horse seemed very thirsty, as it was a hot day. We tried to move the horse, but only succeeded in moving him about a rod. This was about a half mile east of the timber that we called Chariton Point. Some time afterwards we came up to see if we could tell anything of what became of the horse; we supposed though he was dead, and sure enough we found a pile of bones just about where we had left the animal when we went away. We called it twenty-five miles from where we first landed, to Chariton Point. Father looked around at the timber and admired the place as the timber came up so boldly to the top of the prairie, but he would not think of changing his place as he had such fine spring water.
This took place in the spring and summer of 1843. I was 17 years old the 27th of August, 1843. The last part of June '43 we decided we would see if we could find anybody in the country. So we turned the oxen on the grass and left Captain HIGBY, the man from Maine, to look after them. My father, MR. MOORE, and myself, started out pretty much north, taking an Indian trail that ran right through the grove my father claimed. We thought we were near the Des Moines River. When we started we each had a blanket and a little grub to do us two or three days. We traveled on till quite late in the afternoon, and we got out on the prairie just about where the public square is in Albia now. There was a pole with an elks head with two horns stuck on the top of the pole. We sat down there thinking it was too big a prairie to follow our Indian trail across that night. While we were still sitting and standing around, thinking of what do do, we discovered smoke northwest. We supposed it was some Indians camped there. We started out thinking it wouldn't be more than a couple of miles to walk, but we found it to be about four miles before we got there, and to our surprise, when we arrived, we found WAREHAM G. CLARK and JOHN CLARK, men whom we had been acquainted with from January until May when we started for Iowa, at which time each one took his course, and did not meet again until in June. We were very glad to find someone we knew and stayed with them that night. The next day we went back to camp. In the course of a month or six weeks we went back to MR. CLARK's and found him living in the same little shanty covered with hickory bark, and they were still breaking prairie with their oxen. It wasn't very far from the timber and we named the place Clark's Point, which name it goes by till this day. That was the first time I met DR. DUNGAN. I think he was there when I went there the second time. I think that was in August 1843. DR. LEVI DUNGAN died in 1846 and was buried at Clark's Point, Monroe County.
The CLARK boys were baching and seemed to have a good time. They were the closest neighbors we had at that time and were 20 miles from us, but afterwards we went in with them. We split open an oak log, about a foot and a half or two foot through and bored the flat side full of suger holes and drove in short pins and went to making our roads. We hitched three of four yoke of oxen on to that log and I believe we started from CLARK's to father's with the drag and it was a very good day's drive. We stayed all night at father's and went back to CLARK's the next day, going twice in the same track. This made us a very good road to travel in and I guess the road is there yet if someone has not fenced it. That was a nearer way to Clark's Point than to go by where Albia is now.
During the fall of 1843 or the spring of 1844, MR. MOORE had not come back to improve his claim, and a man by the name of JOHN BALLARD, from near Tippecanoe, Missouri, took his claim, or as we called it then, "jumped" his claim. He had quite a little family and we were very much pleased that he went on it, as we wanted more settlers. His stay with us wasn't long, as in '44 or '45, I am not positive which, he moved away, north and west from where he lived. Said he was going on English River. I understood when the counties were laid off he was in Lucas County. The last time I saw MR. BALLARD he came by our place. He said he lived in Missouri. I would be be pleased to hear from any of the family.
To Be Continued . . .
Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
September 1, 2004