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Linn County-A Sheriff's First Duty

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A Sheriff's First Duty

When Judge James Clark was sitting shortly after the organization of Linn county, he had to adjourn court at Holland's cabin because the chimney was too small for the fireplace and became choked. As the judge walked out of the cabin the sheriff who was new to his office came up and told him there was a fight in progress between two farmers. He wanted to know what was his duty in the premises. "Your duty," said the judge excitedly. "It is your duty to show me where the fight is. I want to see it."

Early settlers formed habits of economy which sometimes went too far. Notably this was true in the matter of writing paper.- They used backs of envelopes, half sheets of foolscap, flyleafs out of books, almost any old thing in the shape of paper. The county court of Henry in an early day, was prompted to adopt an order in. the interest of the preservation of records to meet this custom of the pioneers:

"It is ordered that all papers presented to this court hereafter must be on not less than a half sheet of foolscap paper, and that the court will not act on any paper less in size than the above, notes, receipts and vouchers of settlement of estates excepted."

When David Barton went up the Missouri to organize Howard county he held court at Hannah Cole's Fort, where Boonville is now. Stephen Cole was justice of the peace. He did something in court which caused judge Barton to impose a fine for contempt. Cole protested but paid the fine of one dollar. Court adjourned for dinner. After dinner Cole organized his court at a convenient log in front of the fort. Barton came out from dinner and leaned against a tree observing what Cole was doing. He had a pipe in his mouth, Cole looked at him sternly and said, "Judge Barton, I fine you one dollar for contempt of my court for smoking in its presence." judge Barton pulled out a dollar, paid it to the clerk and went on to open his own court.