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The Early History of Little Sioux

This information is from a newspaper article by T.B.Neely printed in "The Hustler," Little Sioux, IA on 15 February 1915 and has been extracted from a copy in possesion of the Harrison County Genealogical Society.

I, T. B. Neely, arrived at Little Sioux, Ia., on the 17th day of March A. D. 1851. The settlement consisted of only three families at that time, Silas Condit, Amos Chase, and Sisson Chase, being Latter Day Saints who came with that body west with the prophet, to build Zion and when I informed them that I was not a believer only a land seeker, they seemed quite surprised. They were very kind and when I told them, if I liked the place, I should locate and father and mother would also come. They urged me to locate, saying that Little Sioux was one of the best places in western Iowa, plenty of timber in the bluffs and along the rivers' the rivers teeming with fish and wild game in abundance, while the land was rich and fertile…

Condit told me he had sold his claim to a French trader for the purpose of laying out a town and had take another claim below on the river, but had a right to remain on the old claim until May before giving possession. I had to perform work on my claim to hold it under the law, so I exchanged work with Condit. We hewed a set of house logs and built a house (that is the sides) having the sky for a roof, then we built a log house for Condit on his claim, being where the town is now. Situated the house on what is now lot 7 B-4 orig. town, being the first house in town…

During the summer and fall of 1852 quite a number of new settlers had arrived in the county, and provisions had been made to organize the county. The Commissioners came from the counties below Kanesville, located the county seat at Magnolia and Michael McKinney appointed organizing sheriff, he divided the county in two districts, one east of the Boyer and one west, just two precincts which voted at the first election, at this election, Little Sioux did not turn out very well at the polls, only two men living on the river, T. B. Neely and S. W. Condit voting. They walked to Magnolia the day before to get there in time and be at the first election in Harrison county. But when the day came McKinney could not get across the river and he was the only one who had the right to organize the board of election, so we turned the election into a mass convention and nominated candidates and waited for McKinney until noon.

At the place of election, we agreed however, that Jacob Pate, James Hardy and S. W. Condit, should act as Judges and Edward Todd and T. B. Neely as clerks, but the next question who was to swear them in, waiving all minor difficulties, they agreed that T. B. Neely should be the man, so in the name of the good Lord, they were sworn to support the Constitution of U. S. and ofr Iowa, and faithfully perform the duties of the election board of Harrison County, etc. After all had voted the count was made showing 29 votes cast. Steven King was chosen judge, Wm. Dacon prosecuting Attorney on the east side; G. W. Cooper, Treasurer and Recorder; Alexander Hamilton, Sheriff; S. W. Condit and Edward Todd, Justices of the Peace, from the west side…

I, having located on the west side, of course had a great interest in Little Sioux. In August 1854, I was elected to the Legislature…During my absence a company was formed and town of Fountainbleau laid out, and they had gotten a post office and store and the stage line from Council Bluffs to Sioux City had a station there. They had 4j0 acres of my land in their townsite. I found no fault, believing they would do right, and I could settle the matter with them all right, but I was badly mistaken. Fountainbleau Town Co. consisted of Larpenteur, Michael Quinn, and his brother and Thos. And Wm. Flowers…They did not care for the injustice or hardship that it was to me…When I said anything about settlement the others would refer me to Quinn, he would reply "You have no right to complain, you claim joins the townsite which will make it valuable." I told him I was not complaining, I wanted justice. I had done him many favors and did not like the way he was treating me. I did not ask cash payment for the land, but an interest in the town. We always spoke of the great future of the town, it was a beautiful site for a town and was laid out partly on my claim and if they had treated me fair, I would not have done what I afterward did. Mr. Condit wanted to know what I was going to do, I told him "I would kill the town too dead to skin." "Why! You cant do it," he said, "it will take money to do it now." "But if it was done would you consent to have a town on your claim?" I said. He said he would, but would not take any part in the killing, as that would not be right so I sold him a claim for a townsite. At that time Iowa had but one member in Congress, Gus Hall, a good democrat. I asked him if he could get a post office located and a postmaster appointed without a petition. He said he could where he knew the parties, then I asked him to get the office removed from Fountainbleau to Sec., 24-81-45 and appoint S. W. Condit post master, and have the office changed to Little Sioux, and dispense with Larpenteur. Being well acquainted with the Congressman, he knowing the injustice done me, he acted on my suggestion, and the first thing Condit knew, or any of the rest of them at Sioux, S. W. Condit received the appointment as post master and a letter came from the Second Assistant Post Master General, that the bond was accepted and the commission issued and he directed to take charge and move it to Little Sioux, and order the mail stage to drive to the office on the next trip.

I will attempt to fill in this article at some time in the future. dec 04/11/02

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