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A listory of the County, its Cities, Towns, &c.,
Biographical Sketches of its Citizens, War Record of its Volunteers in the late Re.
Map of Polk County, Constitution of lowa,
Miscellaneous Matters, &C., &c.
AFTER months of persevering effort we have at last completed the history of Polk county; the result proves that we did not overestimate the importance and difficulty of the task. The importance and difficulty of the work result from the same cause, viz: the almost total lack of reliable data. This difficulty has, in a measure, been overcome by a systematic canvass of the whole county whereby we have been enabled to gather together, glean and compile into comprehensible and permanent form, what, until now, has floated about in the changing mists of tradition; the reader will readily realize how difficult has been this task, and how important, that the work is done at this comparatively early date. The first settlers who acted so important a part in the history of the county, and who heretofore have been the sole custodians of much material essential for such a work as this, are rapidly disappearing from among us, and those who remain become less and less reliable as year by year the memory of early times grows indistinct.
The importance of the work is enhanced by the fact that Polk county, owing to its location, is the center of the agricultural resources of the State, and further, by the recently developed fact that it contains the metropolis of the State. In order to devote that attention to the various interests of the county which its central importance seemed to demand, we supposed it would be necessary to make a book of from nine hundred to one thousand pages. The publication of such a book for a patronage limited to a single county, was a hazardous undertaking, viewed from a business stand-point. Much solicitude was felt on this account during the first stages of the enterprise; but what misgivings we may have felt have been dispelled by the generous patronage afforded by the people of the county. We have been so far encouraged by the patronage vouchsafed that the work has been extended far beyond the scope originally intended, and instead of a book of from nine hundred to one thousand pages, as promised in our prospectus, the book approximates eleven hundred pages. Our solicitude for the success of the enterprise in a business sense was natural, but it has not been our sole solicitude; we have likewise intensely desired to make the work reliable, full and attractive, and thereby to merit the public favor which the people of the county have extended to us. In presenting the work to our many hundred readers we have the satisfaction of knowing that they are of sufficient intelligence to appreciate merit when found, and of further believing that errors will be criticised with the understanding that book-making, like all other kinds of labor, has its peculiar vicissitudes.
We have been materially aided in the preparation of the work by many persons in the county who made no claim for compensation, and who expect no reward, except that which comes from consciousness of having aided in a worthy enterprise. Such persons deserve the thanks of their fellow-citizens in the county and different townships where they reside; as for the publishers, they avail themselves of this opportunity to thank all who have aided them in the preparation of the book; whatever of merit the history of Polk county may contain is due, in a large measure, to their assistance; without their friendly words of encouragement the enterprise would not have been entered upon, and it having been begun, could not have been completed without their valuable assistance. Among others to whom we are thus indebted we name the following: P. M. Casady, Hoyt Sherman, R. L. Tidrick, Barlow Granger, Thomas Mitchell, and Leonard Brown; these are all Polk county pioneers; and in reference to the history of the county, each one can truthfully say, "All which I saw and part of which I was."