Pioneers of Marion County
Hezekiah Gay was a bachelor, and is well remembered for his eccentricities. For some time after his settlement in the township, he lived by himself in a rude shanty near the present site of Bennington, and was much occupied with speculative ideas of manufacturing machinery to be operated by the water power of the Des Moines river. Full of his plans of constructing an immense woolen factory, he was often seen with a miniature trough filled with water, taking the level of the river, to ascertain what height he should build his dam to have sufficient power. But there was other power needed than water, and this Hezekiah had not, either in purse or in credit; so the water power was never brought into service. He then became interested in a shingle machine; and this involved him to an extent that subjected the property to an execution. About this time Hezekiah was seen on his way to "Tool's Point," (now Monroe,) to procure a rope as he stated to a neighbor, to serve as a belt for his machine. This was the last seen of him in Perry, and to this day his whereabouts is unknown.
George Gillaspy - Page 148 and 149
Among those who came to the county before the memorable First of May, was the no less distinguished personage, than George Gillaspy, and we proceed to open this chapter with a brief sketch of his history.
Mr. Gillaspy was born in Shelby county, Kentucky, July 15, 1814. At the age of 13 years his father moved to Johnson county, Indiana, where he remained about five years, and then returned to Kentucky. From thence he came to Iowa in 1840, and settled in Louisa county, and from thence to Marion county in the spring of 1843, stopping in the timber near Lake Prairie on the evening of the 24th of April. That night he took his wagon to pieces and covered it in different places to prevent the dragoons from discovering it, in which case it would have been subject to seizure and himself to expulsion from the territory.
As midnight ushered in the long desired first of May, Mr. G. marked out his claim, as did many others who had made selections and been awaiting the time to establish them legally. After securing his claim Mr. G. boarded for some time at Wellington Nossaman's, making rails for twenty-five or thirty cents per hundred. In the spring of '46 he was appointed assessor, and in August of the same year succeeded James Walters as sheriff,* and was re-elected to the same office in '48.
In "49 he was elected to the office of treasurer of the board of public works. On the 7th of October, '49, he moved to Ottumwa and took charge of the state land office. In '50 was re-elected to that post, and in '52 was appointed by Gov. Hempstead register of the state land office. In '53 (the legislature having made the incumbent of that office elective by the people) he was elected to fill it two years. At the end of this term he commenced mercantile business in Ottumwa, but two years later sold out and engaged in land speculation with considerable success. In '56 he was elected a delegate to the constitutional convention that came off during the year following. In the fall of '57 he was the nominee for lieutenant governor on the same ticket with Hon. Benj. M. Samuels; and in '69 headed the democratic ticket as candidate for governor.
Mr. Gillaspy still
lives in Ottumwa, engaged in buying and selling cattle and hogs, and
in packing pork in Chicago. In person he is a somewhat remarkable man,
being of almost giant proportions.
John P. Glenn was born in Pendleton county, N. C., September 1, 1793; moved from thence to Jackson county, Tenn., thence to Crawford county, Ind., thence to Sangamon county, Ill., from thence to Jefferson county, Iowa, in '38, and from thence to this county in the spring of '45, and settled in Polk, near Eagle Rock, where he remained one season, and raised a crop on a claim belong to F. M. Clifton. In the spring following he moved to and made a claim on what is now section 27, Pleasant Grove, where he remained till the day of his death, September 16, 1868, aged 75 years and 17 days. Mrs. Glenn survived him 15 months, and died December 5, 1869, aged 75 years and 25 days.
Mr. Glenn was for
many years a minister of the gospel, of the Christian denomination;
and in connection with Isaac Metcalf, an elder and local preacher of
the same order, organized societies in various parts of the township
in '48. He also preached and organized churches in Warren and Polk counties,
at an early date. James Gill also organized churches of the same order,
in the township, in '48-9. Wm. Knite, a brother-in-law to Samuel Tibbett,
a preacher of the M. E. Church, preached at Mr. T.'s, and organized
a church there at an early date. The first building erected for religious
services, was in Pleasantville, in '52, under the pastoral charge of
James Woods. The building now belongs to the Methodists.