Founding of Linn County

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Linn County.-A county in the northern part of the State, bounded on the north by Sullivan, east by Macon, south by Chariton, and west by Livingston and Grundy Counties; area, 394,000 acres. The surface
of the county alternates in tracts of timber land and prairie, the area being about equally divided between each. Along the courses of the streams are extensive strips of bottom land of great fertility. Much of this land in the early history of the section was swampy in character, but by a system of drainage has been converted into the most  productive of farm lands. The county is well watered and drained by numerous streams, the principal ones being Yellow, East Yellow, Long
Branch, Turkey, Muddy, Locust and Parsons Creeks, all of which have a general flow toward the south and sufficient fall to afford excellent water power at different points.
Narrow strips of timber land skirt nearly all the water courses, the most extensive tracts being along Locust Creek. There are numerous ponds and springs throughout the county. The minerals are coal, which under lies a great portion of the county; mineral paint, of which there are considerable deposits in the central part of the county near
Linneus; fire clay, brick clay and sandstone of excellent quality for building purposes. In the southwestern part is a mound covering an area of about eight acres and about forty feet in height, composed of solid sandstone. Here it has been extensively quarried for a number of years. Of the total area of the county, 90 per cent is under cultivation and in pasture, the remainder being in timber, consisting chiefly of the different varieties of oaks, hickory, white and black walnut, elm,
cottonwood, lind, basswood. The most profitable occupation of the residents is agriculture and stock-raising. The average production per acre of the different cereals are corn, 35 bushels; wheat, 15 bushels; oats, 30 bushels; rye, 20 bushels. Potatoes yield 100 bushels to the acre, and tobacco 1,000 pounds. The soil of the county is a black,
sandy loam in the bottoms and the prairies of considerable depth, and on the ridges in places light. According to the report of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1898, the surplus products shipped from the county were: Cattle, 14,938 head; hogs, 43,115 head; sheep, 2,246 head; horses and mules, 1,767 head; flour, 1,024,678 pounds; timothy
seed, 27,000 pounds; lumber, 61,800 feet; walnut logs, 60,000 feet; cross-ties, 7,364 feet; cord wood, 1,092 cords; cooperage, 14
cars; coal, 7,218 tons; ice, 14 cars; wool, 97,285 pounds; tobacco, 100,000 pounds; potatoes, 400 bushels; poultry, 707,642 pounds;
eggs, 277,350 dozen; butter, 68,880 pounds; dressed meats, 1,138 pounds; game and fish, 8,245 pounds; tallow, 5,237 pounds; hides
and pelts, 12 ,169 pounds; fresh fruit, 685 pounds; vegetables, 3,290 pounds; honey, 613 pounds; molasses, 300 gallons; nursery stock, 25,329 pounds; furs, 1,648 pounds; feathers, 5,585 pounds. The section now Linn County, owing to its prairies, woodlands and many streams, was noted as a hunting ground by the Indians, and when
venturesome white men first entered it the Sioux Indians were in possession, and roving bands remained in the county for a few years
after the pioneers had laid out farms and built cabins. In 1832 a number of families from Howard, Callaway and Chariton Counties settled in the central part, on Locust Creek, near the present site of Linneus.

They took up land along the streams like many other pioneers, preferring the timber to the prairie lands. The majority of the settlers were originally from Kentucky and Tennessee, and had slaves who did the work of clearing the land and tilling the soil. Hunting and trapping was the principal work as well as pastime of the pioneers, and "bee
hunting" supplied them with honey and beeswax, which, along with peltries, constituted their chief articles of export. Glasgow and
Brunswick were the two principal trading points for a number of years. Near the site of Linneus, on Locust Creek, a mill was built about 1837, and to this the settlers carried their "bread timber" to have made into meal.
For some years the population of the section was small; in fact, there were not more than seventy-five families living within the limits of the county when it was organized, January 7, 1837. The county was organized out of Howard County, and was named in honor of Dr. Lewis F. Linn, of Ste. Genevieve, who was United States Senator from 1833 until his death, which occurred in 1843.

When the county was organized the territory to the north, as far as the Iowa State line, was attached to it for civil and military purposes. At the first election held in the county only 100 votes were cast. The commissioners appointed to locate a permanent seat of justice selected a tract of land near the center of the county, where a small settlement had been formed in 1834. This was laid out as a town, which was called Linneus, the latinized name of Linn. There was no
rapid increase in population until 1857, when the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad was built, when there was an influx of immigrants from the Southern and Central Eastern States. The prosperity of the county was retarded temporarily by the outbreak of the Civil War. The majority of the residents of the county were conservative Unionists. Soldiers were supplied to both the Northern and Southern Armies, fully three times as many entering the Federal as the Southern Army.
Bushwhackers caused much trouble in different parts of the county. A number of good citizens, supposed to be Union sympathizers,
lost their lives. Among them were Judge Jacob Smith and William Pendleton, Linneus. Much stock was carried off and property de-
stroyed by the roving bands of guerrillas. When peace was restored Linn County again enjoyed prosperity and settled up rapidly.

Linn County is divided into fourteen townships, namely, Baker, Benton, Brookfield, Bucklin, Clay, Enterprise, Grantsville, Jackson, Jefferson, Locust Creek, Marceline, North Salem, Parsons Creek and Yellow
Creek. The assessed value of real estate and town lots in the county in 1899 was $4,115,598; estimated full value, $13,516,794; assessed value of personal property, $1,636,940; estimated full value, $6,547,760; assessed value of merchants and manufacturers, $180,-
360; estimated full value, $761,440; assessed value of railroads, $837,531. There are 65.93 miles of railroad in the county, the Chicago, Burlington & Kansas City passing from north to southwest of the center; the Hannibal & St. Joseph, from east to west, south of the center; the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, passing diagonally across the southeastern corner, and the Wabash, passing through near the southwestern corner. The number of schools in the county, in 1899, was 118; teachers employed, 185; pupils enrolled, 7,978; amount of permanent school fund, township and county, $67,ooo. The population of the county in 1900 was 25,503.