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History of Adair
County, Iowa,
and its People.  1915.

Volume 1.

  
 

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A Prefatory Remark

To the patrons and readers of this history we desire to explain our connection with its production

The manuscript of the general history was prepared by Mr. Gordon K. Miller, a man of much experience in similar work in other places, and its promotion and publication was undertaken by the Pioneer Publishing Company of Chicago, which has been in the business of publishing histories for many years.

We were asked by the advance agent to verify and supervise the manuscript of the history in the light of our experience of nearly fifty years' continuous residence in Adair County and the years in which most of its development has taken place.  We have endeavored conscientiously to perform the task and to assist in securing facts which are creditable to the present generation and which should be recorded for the benefit of generations yet to come.  The biographical volume should be especially interesting in years to come to the descendants of those who have made history in these earlier times.  The teachings of the fathers and pride in their achievements have been mighty factors in the world's advancement.  The pioneers who builded states were not the products of chance, but came from strong and vigorous ancestry whose history their descendants should be proud to record and perpetuate.

That much has been omitted which should have been preserved is probable, that some statements have not been sufficiently extended is likely, and that some generally accepted facts may not accord with individual experience and preconceived notions is possible; but the men who have prepared the work have done the best they could with the means of knowledge at their command.

History is not like mathematics, an exact science.  Witnesses in court who see the same things rarely see them from the same angle or testify alike as to the exact facts.  Much of history is tradition; tales passing from mouth to mouth, from sire to son, from generation to generation, and the truth never gains in the transmission of these tales.  We accept as facts a great deal of history which doubtless never occurred; much that in the light of the larger experience of our time we know cannot be true, but we take it with allowance and glean from it what we can.

The public and written records are reliable as far as they go, but are often defective or incomplete.  The recollection of actors in past events are of value as history, but their credibility must be taken with regard to the accuracy of their observation and memory, the soundness of their judgment and their reliability to relate the facts unbiased by preconceived notions of personal interest.

From all available sources the historians have sought to gather the facts for this work.  The development of Adair County covers less than three-fourths of a century; most of it has been accomplished in the last fifty years.  Fifty years ago there were four post offices in the county, served with a triweekly mail carried by stage coach from Des Moines to Council Bluffs.  Now the mail is delivered daily in proximity to every farmhouse.  Then there were only one or two buggies in the county; now they are numbered by the thousands, not counting the vast number of automobiles which have become the property of Adair County residents.  Twenty-five years ago there was not a telephone in the county, except two or three toll stations on a new line just built; now nearly every farmhouse in the county is connected with all the world.  This wonderful progress almost equals the imagination of the "Arabian Nights."

But in the brief space of time which history covers, the early settlers who have made history have nearly all gone.  Many of the pioneers moved on to newer scenes when population, as they felt, began to crowd them.  They were not content to be other than pioneers.  The most of the first generation of settlers on the wild prairie are dead.  They were too busy making a living to leave much record of their doings in the early times, and so the historian has to gather as he can the materials for this work; and however incomplete his record of the development may be, it will prove of value to generations yet to come.  We hope it will prove on completion all that its projectors have promised and that its subscribers will appreciate the work that has been accomplished.  All our judgment of our fellowmen and of their work may follow the old adage:  "Be to their faults a little blind:  Be to their virtues very kind."

LUCIAN MOODY KILBURN,

Supervising Editor.

Greenfield, Ia., May 5, 1915
 

 

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Kinyon Digital Library,
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