Chapter 3 - Settlement and Organization.


    The pioneer settlement of Richland county was commenced scarcely a dozen years before the county, as a separate organization, had an existence.  The first white man who ever attempted a settlement within its borders was John Coumbe, of whom the following account was written for a previous publication, by the late Dr. R. M. Miller, who knew Mr. Coumbe well:  "Captain John Coumbe was born in Devonshire, England, March 25, 1808.  His boyhood days, or a portion of them, were passed in the city of London, where he received his education.  During the year 1823, then being twenty years of age, he, in company with his father and family, immigrated to America.  They first settled in the state of Ohio.  Here the young man did not stay long, for, feeling dissatisfied with that country, he pushed on, following the ‘course of empire,’ and finally arrived in the then pioneer city of Galena, in the falloff 1835.  Early the next spring, as soon as the snows had melted, he started for the lead mines in Grant county, Wis.  Here he remained until in the summer of 1838, when he, in company with two young companions, John La Rue and Frank Hubbard by name, crossed the swift Wisconsin river in an Indian canoe, landing near where the town of Port Andrew is now located.  The party at once went to work and erected a cabin for themselves, which stood about two rods east of the stone bridge in that now thriving village.  Here all was then a primeval wilderness, the hunting ground of the wild Indian and the home of the hardly less savage beasts.  These young men, having some idea of a settlement in their minds, christened their embryo village Trip Knock; but their hopes of then being colonists were blasted---nipped, as it were, in the bud.  Just how long they tarried here cannot now be ascertained with any degree of accuracy, but finding the Indians, who, it was generally supposed, had been removed by the government to reservations west of the Mississippi river, were likely to prove troublesome neighbors, they deemed it prudent, at lest, to vacate and return to the mines, thinking, no doubt, discretion the better part of valor.

    "But John Coumbe had had his eyes blessed with the sight of the promised land, and he felt a strong desire to again enter upon the possession of this western Canaan.  Therefore, in June, 1810, he determined to make another trial, and this time was more successful.  He was accompanied on this expedition by his brother, Edward.  On one of Captain Combe’s first visits to Richland county, he was accompanied by a Mr. Popejoy.  After landing, they located about half a mile west of where Coumbe and his companions had built their first cabin, two years before.  Here John remained, a tiller of the soil, and one of the most highly respected men among the pioneers who immediately followed in his footsteps, until the day of his death, which occurred May 2, 1882.  He was married in May, 1849, espousing a daughter of Thomas Palmer, one of the band of early pioneers of Richland county."

    At the time of Captain Combe’s settlement here, this region was a dense forest, inhabited by Indians and infested with wolves, wildcats, deer, and other animals; but he lived to see the forest lands almost entirely cleared of their timber, and beautiful, well-cleared and excellent farms take the place once occupied by timber and marsh in nearly endless extent.

    Captain Coumbe was soon followed by other pioneers, among the names of whom are found Matthew Alexander, Wiley H. Waters, Samuel A. Waters, William Smiley, Thomas Water, James Andrews, Capt. John R. Smith, Thomas Matthews, Robert Boyd, Capt. Stephen Estes, Thomas J. Parish, Hardin Moore, Vincent Be. Morgan, and Samuel Swinehart.

    It was in July, 1840, that Mathew Alexander came into the county, locating a claim about six miles east of the land of Coumb, near where Eagle Corners has risen in later days.  Mr. Alexander brought his family with him, and as Mr. Coumbe, who by the way, was at that time a bachelor, has the honor of being the first white man in the county, Mrs. Alexander can also claim her just dues to being the first woman who settle in these wooded wastes.

    Wiley H. Waters told the story of his introduction to Richland county at a meeting of the Old Settlers’ Association, and it was in substance as follows:  He came to Grant county in June, 1833, when he was bout fourteen years of age.  He stopped about three miles west of Platteville, and in 1837 or 1838, went to Iowa county and located a short distance west of Highland.  In the fall of 1840 Mr. Waters, his brother, Samuel A., and William Smiley, crossed the Wisconsin river just below Muscoda, at Parish landing.  At that time Matthew Alexander and family lived three and a half miles below what is now Orion.  The place is now called Pilling’s Mills.  Capt. John Coumbe was keeping bachelor’s cabin near his present residence.  At this time Mr. Alexander and Captin Coumbe were the only actual settlers in Richland county.  Mr. Waters, his brother and Mr. Smiley remained with Mr. Coumbe during the winter of 1840 and 1841.  In the spring of 1841 Mr. Waters and brother located upon a tract of land a short distance west of Bird’s creek, built a long house, cultivated some of the land, and Mr. Waters’ father, Thomas Waters, and family, occupied the premises for three years, and sold out to James Andrews, a brother of Captain Andrews. In the spring of 1841 Captain Smith and Thomas Matthews established a ferry between Muscoda and Orion, which they gave the name of Richmond.  They soon laid out a village plat and were the first settlers in Orion.  In the season of 1841 one Robert Boyd located on Mill creek where Rodolf’s mills were afterwards located, with the view of erecting a saw-mill.  He afterward sold his interest to Capt. Stephen Estes and Thomas J. Parish.  They built a new saw-mill and a "corn crusher" grist mill the following year, which were the first mills in Richland county.

    Capt. John Smith was born in Kentucky, about 1790, and there grew to man’s estate.  While yet a young man he moved to Illinois.  He there enlisted in the Black Hawk war and served as captain.  He worked at his trade, which was that of millwright, in Illinois until 1838, when he moved to Wisconsin and located in Iowa county, and there engaged in the lead mines, remaining there until 1841, then removed to Grant county, and settled in Muscoda, where he worked again at his trade.  He was employed on the first mill ever erected in Richland county, on Mill creek to which county he came in 1842, remaining here till the time of his death, which occurred in 1851.  Thomas Matthews was a son-in-law of Captain Smith, and with him the pioneer settler of Orion.  He was born in Tennessee, May 7, 1814.  When he was three years of age, his parents moved to Illinois and settled in Montgomery county, where they remained but a short time, then removed to Morgan county, and thence to McDonough county.  Thus, as will be seen, his younger days were spent in a new country, where the opportunities for acquiring an education were very limited, yet such as there were he turned to profitable account, and being naturally studious, improved his evenings, which he spent at home, and in that way acquired sufficient knowledge for practical purposes.  He lived with his parents until 1836, then came to Wisconsin and worked in the lead mines in that part of Iowa now known as LaFeyette county.  He remained there two years, then went to Platteville, Grant county, and engaged in mining one year, and from there to Pecatonica diggings, Iowa county.  In the year 1840 he was married to Catherine Smith, and moved to Muscoda.  In company with Captain Smith he took a contract to build a dam across Mill creak for Parish Mill.  They continued to live at Muscoda till 1842, moving from there to Richland county, settling on the site of the present village of Orion, and built the first log cabin in the town.  Their cabin though humble, was one were strangers ever found the "latch string out," and many procured food and shelter there.  Mr. Matthews was later engaged in various enterprises.  Among others he kept a hotel for several years.  He was the first white man to go up Pine river in a canoe as far as the natural bridge.  He also, in company with Captain Smith cut the first road from the Wisconsin river to that place.

    Hardin Moore accompanied Robert Boyd in the spring of 1841, and located on the land which constituted part of the McClary farm, more recently owned by Marvin Briggs.  Mr. Moore put up a large cabin and put in a basswood puncheon floor.  He started a blacksmith shop, the first in the county.  He had no family, and only one room in the cabin.  That summer he raised some cabbage, potatoes and other vegetables.  He put them in the cellar, and in the fall turned his attention to his trade, using his cabin for a shop.  There were but two horses, owned by Captain Andrews, in the county.  On a bitter cold day in that latter part of 1841, Captain Andrews and Wiley H. Waters (the latter of who frequently told his anecdote) took the horses to Mr.. Moore for the purpose of having them shod.  One of them was taken in the cabin and held by Mr. Waters.  He braced himself well, taking hold with both hands to hold steady.  Captain Andrews held up one of the fore legs while Mr. Moore took his drawing-knife (for want of something better), squared himself around facing Captain Andrews, placed a piece of board on the floor and rested it against his shoulder while Mr. Andrews held the toe of the hoof against the board and Mr. Moore began to pare the hoof.  The horse became restless and began to struggle till he finally floundered and plunged himself into the cellar among the cabbage and potatoes.  After the horse became quiet, a second platform of puncheon was arranged and with leading, pulling and boosting the horse was brought out.

    In the fall of 1843 Mr. Waters, his brother, James Andrews and Vincent B. Morgan first visited Pine river valley.  They came up the Wisconsin river from Port Andrew to Pine river, then up Pine river and Ash creek, and landed a short distance below where Brimer’s carding-mill was afterward located, and where they remained some time hunting bees and killing game, which were plentiful.

    About this time Samuel Swinehart, Mr. Palmer, Mr. French and Mr. Greene established a logging camp on Pine river, section 22, in the town of Rockbridge, a short distance from the present town hall.  They cut and put into the river several hundred pine logs and floated them down to Muscoda. They had no team and were obliged to do everything by hand.

    During the same year a trapper by the name of Knapp also built a cabin on the creek that now bears his name, in the town of Richwood.

    These rugged and hardy pioneers were soon followed by others, who settled all along the northern shore of the Wisconsin river.  They came to build for themselves homes and make farms in the new country which was then, among Eastern people, considered to be in the far West, and on the frontier of civilization and settlement; and so it was, at the time, the now known western country being a vast uninhabited tract, occupied only by the American Indian and an  occasional trader, who had ventured so far from the center of settlement, for the purpose of barter among the tribes that swarmed over the region.  Among those who made a settlement here, during those early ears, are also found the names of Stephen Taylor and Capt. James B. Estes, in 1841; Robert Akan, Hiram Palmer, Nathaniel Greene and John Youst, in 1843, some of whom had penetrated up the Pine river as far as Rockbridge, and engaged in logging in that place.

    Samuel Swinehart gave an interesting account of those early days at a meeting of the old settlers of Richland county, a number of years ago, which, summarized, was about as follows:  He first crossed the Wisconsin river, October 10, 1843, in a canoe, a short distance above Muscoda, landing near the mouth of Indian creek.  He then made his way along the north shore of the Wisconsin to the mouth of Pine river, and pitched his camp on its east bank, but was soon compelled to remove it by the Winnebago Indians, who were inclined to appropriate everything to their own use. The latter part of October and first of November were occupied in exploring the valley of the Pine as far up as Rockbridge, where the west branch passed through the rocks.  He passed through the aperture in a little canoe made of a pine log, and so light he could easily carry it on his back or pass it over or under a log or other obstruction in the river.  He established a camp under the east sides of the shelving rock near the southern extremity.  Two hackberry trees stood close by, and upon one he cut his name.  This was in November, 1843.  A week or ten days were occupied in making explorations in the vicinity, the chief object being to find pine timber near the river.  After satisfying himself, the next important consideration was whether logs could be floated down the Pine into the Wisconsin.  In order to ascertain this, it was necessary to go the whole length of the river in a boat.  For this purpose, about November 15, he embarked at Rockbridge (the name he had given it) in his tiny boat to explore the river, which he found to be of good depth, without shoals or rapids—a beautiful stream, but quite crooked, having many acute angles.  About the fourth day he reached the mouth of Willow creak, where he found an old Indian village, many of the wigwam poles still standing.  He found places where the Indians had smelted lead oar by making a shallow basin in the ground, placing flat stones on the bottom, then the ore on the stones, and a fire on the ore.  Proceeding on his journey, two days more brought him to the mouth of the Pine.  On this journey he had with him his gun, two dogs, pair of blankets, a hatchet, a frying-pan and some hardtack.  He subsisted chiefly on game, which was abundant.  He proceeded to Galena, procured an outfit, and returned in December of the same year, accompanied by John Youst, Nathanial Green, Hiram Palmer and a Mr. French.  An attempt was made to reach Rockbridge, by the way of Indian creek, with a sled drawn by two yoke of oxen.  The snow was deep, and after a trial of two days they were obliged to burn back to Muscoda.  A hand-sled for each man was constructed, and tools, provisions and camp equipments placed theron, and the party set out in high spirits upon the ice on the Wisconsin river, and the mouth of Pine river was made with little trouble.  The party went up the stream to within two miles of Ash creek; the weather grew warmer, the ice thin, and in many places the current had cut it out, rendering it almost impossible to proceed.  A few days were spent in hunting coons, which were plentiful.  Here the party passed the holidays, which were properly observed, the bill of fare consisting chiefly of roast coon.  The weather became colder and a forward move was made.  From this point to the rocks on the east side of the river, a mile above where Bowen’s mills were afterward established, the journey was very laborious; the ice in many places was nearly gone, the sleds were hauled through the deep snow, over logs, through the brush and numerous swamps, but by energy and perseverance, after fifteen days of great hardship and fatigue, they reached the rocks, and it was decided to go into camp.  When they reached the pines, a day or two later, they found a bee-tree, and after feasting on wild honey and the lunch they had with them, Mr. Swinehart proposed to fell a majestic pine standing near the bank of the river, to which the others agreed, and the sound of the white man’s ax resounded in those woods for the first time.

    Harvey Cole, a lumberman of Galena, became interested in the lumber interests in that immediate section, and during the summer of 1845 a saw-mill was erected, but not completed till the following spring.  In the fall of 1845 Mr. Swinehart with a party of men opened the first wagon road from Orion to Rockbridge, and the following winter, under contract, cut out Pine river, eighteen feet wide, of all logs, trees and brush above the ice.  Mrs. Minerva Culver, the wife of Mason Culver, a millwright who worked on the mill, was the first woman who came to Rockbridge.  Mr. Cole afterwards disposed of his interest in the mill to James Vineyard and James More, of Platteville.  Thomas Matthews named Indian creek, and Mr. Swinehart named Ash creek, by reason of the heavy ash timber upon the ridge near by.  Rocky branch being the only stream running into the Pine, which has a gravel bottom, it was thus given its name.  What is now known as Center creek was called Camp creek, by reason of its being a camping ground; Brush creek, because it was filled with brush; Horse creek, because a horse in crossing became mired and died; Fancy creek, for its resemblance to a stream of that name in Sangamon county, Ill.; Buck creek was near the Creeds, and Soule’s creek was so-called because James J. Soule built a cabin and manufactured shingles in its valley.

    Thomas Andrews, usually called Captain Andrews, was born near Quincy, Ill., in 1823.  His parents were natives of Ireland, but were reared in South Carolina.  The father died and the mother married again, and in 1830 came to Wisconsin and settled near Mineral Point.  There Thomas followed mining until 1841, when he crossed the Wisconsin river and settled at the port which afterward took his name.  Captain Andrews served as pilot on the river and afterward purchased the boat Wisconsin.  He next built the Zouave, which he traded for the Minnehaha.  He spent most of his time upon the river until the time of his death, March 22, 1880.  He was a man of but little education, and in his later life often regretted the fact, but he was a good citizen and respected by all.  On June 4, 1848, he was married to Charlotte Coumbe, a sister of John Coumbe, the first settler of Richland county.

    James J. Soule came to the county in June, 1848, and first stopped at Rockbridge, where he worked in a saw-mill.  He also run lumber on the Pine river.  About two years after settling in the county, in partnership with W. H. Joslin, he purchased of James Baxter a claim in the town of Henrietta, and engaged in making shingles, establishing a settlement, with the nearest neighbor three miles distant.  In November, 1851, he and his wife were driven away by the Indians, and they removed to Rockbridge, where they lived until the following spring.  Then in company with another family they moved back to Henrietta and resided there till the fall of 1852, when they moved down Pine river.  In 1855 they settled on Little Willow, and in 1857 moved to Pine river valley, where Mr. Soule resided until his death in 1905.  He was born in Lafayette county, Wis., February 1, 1828, and resided there and in Jo Daviess county, Ill., previous to coming to Richland.

    Robert Akan left on record a very amusing as well as instructive account of those times which graphically depicts the mode of life then in vogue.  It is as follows:

    "When we arrived at Rockbridge, November 5, 1845, there were sixteen men working at the mill.  All the provisions had to come from Platteville, seventy-five miles away, and no road from Orion to Rockbridge.  Two men of some experience were sent to blaze the trees, and three men started for Orion on November 10 to cut a road so that we could get through with a team and load.  I went with the men to get the cattle and sleds, and the men at the mill commenced to cut the road to meet us.  It was a good day’s walk to Orion.  On the third day after we got there, we had our loads on and started on our expedition to Rockbridge; camped the first night on Indian creek, at the spring where M. McIlhatten’s widow lives.  A deer made it appearance; three or four started in pursuit, each eager for a shot.  I was the first to fire.  At the crack of the gun, the deer bounded off and I lost sight of it and returned to camp, while some of the others still pursued.  In about half an hour they returned, bringing the deer, which had fallen dead after running a short distance.  We roasted, broiled and stewed it, and got up in the night to eat of it, and not one slice of that deer was left when breakfast was over next morning.  We doubled teams up-hill and passed over to south Ash creek.  At Booth’s farm, one of the men found a bee-tree, and we got a washtub full of honey.  We camped at the spring where Thompson lived.  Some of the men had cut and put up hay for their teams, if all things went on all right at the mill.  Some went to cutting stringers for a bridge across Ash creek, while others made puncheons for the cover, which took all day.  The men went out to hunt, and one of them brought in a fine buck.  Next day we camped a Durfee Bovee’s farm; the timber was awful.  The following night we got to Klingler’s spring; this we called the Ash swamp, for the cattle mired.  Got to Rocky branch the next night.  Stopped there until the men cut the road to Muddy branch or Center creek, a day and a half.  My partner and I went to Center creek with the men in the morning, who were cutting the road.  We followed the blazes to Brush creek, and the men thought they would make it that night.  We killed a deer, back of where Herbert Downs lives, and undertook to drag it to camp down through the brush.  I thought it was five miles, so we hung it up and struck out for camp; it was dark when we got in; we could see the smoke, but the brush and vines were awful to make our way through.  Here our oxen went back on us; they run back to Orion.  We sent two men after them, who brought the back, which took three days.  We had, in the meantime, cut the road to Fancy creek, where the others meet us, and there we had a jollification and a regular old pioneer drunk, as we had with us a barrel of whisky.  This must not shock the extremists, for it was fashionable, in those days, to got on a jollification drunk once in a while.  We got to the mill, however, all sound.  The next day Samuel Swinehart and I went to Orion for provisions.  They had a dance at Captain Smith’s.  We got there about dark, and the boys and girls began to assemble for the festivities of the evening.  The music, such as it was, was soon in full blast.  Captain Smith and another man had a jug of whisky hid in the room, where I, being tired with my day’s tamp, had laid down to rest.  They had come in three or four times and taken a nip, but Mrs. Smith saw that they were getting full, came in and took the jug and hid it, and put in its place one like it filled with coon oil.  In about twenty minutes they came in again.  Captain turned the jug up and took a swig, but said nothing, handing it to his companion, who also took a swallow.  The first work was: ‘H--l, what’s this?’  Captain was silent for a moment, but tasting it said: ‘Coon grease!’ and swore roundly.  This was more than I could stand, so had to laugh outright.  He went for me, but I dodged him and got into the ball room to avoid further trouble.  Presently in came the men---coon grease on their mouths and beards.  This second party’s wife wiped it off with her handkerchief, but he was terribly mad and never forgot it; always blamed me, as I would not explain and tell on Captain Smith’s wife."

    Durfee Bovee, to whom belongs the honor of being the second settler in the territory which now comprises the town of Richland, made his first visit here in 1848, and at the time entered eighty acres on the southeast quarter of section 34.  He then returned to Boone county, Ind., and in June, 1849, removed his family, wife and three children, to Wisconsin and took up their abode on the land which he had previously entered.  It was covered with thick brush and timber and they had an extensive experience of pioneer life, before it was brought under cultivation, but Mr. Bovee was equal to the emergency and persevered.  He was born in Rensselaer county, N. Y., Feb. 27, 1812, and resided in his native state until 1836, when he immigrated to Indiana.  He there followed farming in Boone county, until he came to this state.

    There came to the region, in 1844, a number of families, among whom are to be found the names of Myron Whitcomb, John McKinney, Burrell McKinney, and perhaps others.  After the coming of these families, and subsequent to the year 1844, the lands were rapidly taken up and settled.  These pioneers, the advance guard of a new civilization in the wilderness, were the blood and brains of the Eastern states, which formed the main composition of this growing territory, whose fathers had educated their sons and daughters for the practical work of life, and they have, in turn, left their impress upon the country by their determination, energy, perseverance, thrift, and their stern political integrity and loyalty to government.

    Myron Whitcomb came to the county and soon selected land on sections 26 and 36, town of Richwood, which land was claimed by another man, to whom he had to pay $150 to release his claim.  In January, 1845, he brought his family, which consisted of a wife and three children.  His personal property consisted of an old horse, an old cow, a sow and three pigs, and twenty-five cents in cash; thus he started his pioneer life.  He was a good shot with a rifle, and in tramping over the hills be became well acquainted with the country, so that he proved a valuable assistant to newcomers who wished to enter land.  The first year he raised five acres of corn, a few potatoes and a small amount of other eatables.  He gave his principal attention to farming and as he was industrious and economical, he soon found himself in moderate circumstances.  But this required toil and he was obliged to undergo numerous privations. On June 12, 1852, he raised a barn, which was the first frame barn erected in the county.  Mr. Whitcomb was born in Onondaga county, N. Y., Aug. 30, 1817, and at eighteen years of age he bade his parents good-bye and for several years traveled in various parts of the United States.  He hewed the first stick of timber for the capitol building of the state of Texas.  In 1841 he removed to Jo Daviess county, Ill., where he followed farming one year, and then removed to Iowa county, Wis., and from thence to this county.

    Peter Waggoner, another of the early settlers of Richland county, was a native of Pennsylvania, born in Adams county, March 4, 1795.  When he was twenty-one years of age he immigrated to Ohio and settled in Stark county, where he was an early settler.  In 1835 he moved to West Virginia and lived there until 1851, when he returned to Ohio and lived in that state until 1854, then came to Richland county and settled in the town of Rockbridge, and purchased land on section 32.  He improved a farm and made his home there until 1871, his latter days being spent with his son, Peter W., at whose home he died on Jan. 16, 1883.  He was a man with a strong will and an iron constitution and retained his faculties in a remarkable degree until the time of his death.

    The Indians were disposed to be peaceful, observing their promises recently spoken in the treaties made with them.  No trouble whatever was experienced with them, except when under the excitement induced by the white man’s "fire-water," and this very satisfactory condition of peaceful associations continued unbroken until they bade a final adieu to the hunting grounds of their fathers.

    The growth and development of the country in this section of the state had, about the year 1850, become so marked that it was deemed prudent that the new county should be organized.  In this locality then, as well as now, resided men of energy, integrity, and determination, and they not only felt the necessity of a county organization, but saw the great advantage to the country of such a movement in case it could be carried out successfully.  They not only discussed the project, but gave such substantial assistance as finally completed and consummated the work, and made the organization of the county of Richland not only possible, but an established fact.

    As there has been no event of greater importance to the county or its people than that which gave it an organized existence, it is deemed proper that the essential portions of the enactment which created the county government should be given.  The act was passed, Feb. 7, 1850, and its first section reads as follows:

    "Section 1.  That from and after the first day of May next, the county of Richland in this state, shall be organized for judicial purposes, and shall enjoy all the privileges and immunities of the other counties of this state.  It shall form a part of the fifth judicial circuit, and the courts therein shall be held by the judge of said circuit."

    The name "Richland" is said to have been chosen at the time of the formation of the county by reason of the character of the soil, and the inherent fertility of the soil was also suggested by the names of Richland town, Richland Center, Richland City, Richmond and Richwood town. Richland was the thirtieth, in point of organizations, of the counties of Wisconsin, and the original territory of the county, as defined in the act creating it, has never been changed.  The legislature next made provision for the administration of the county affairs in the same act, as follows:

    "Section 2.  All writs, processes, appeals, recognizances, or other proceedings which shall be pending undetermined in the circuit court of Iowa county, on the said first day of May next, which originated in the courts of justice of the peace in said county of Richland, shall be removed back and determined in said county of Richland.

    "Section 3.  On the said first day of May, the clerk of the circuit court of the county of Iowa shall transmit all writs, process, appeals, recognizances, or other proceedings originating as aforesaid, together with a transcript of the records in each case, to the clerk of the circuit court of Richland county."

    The election of officers for the county was provided for as follows:

    "Section 4.  That for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this act, the legal voters of Richland county may hold a special election on the first Tuesday of April next, in the respective towns or precincts of said county, for the election of such county officers as are required by law to be elected at annual elections, whose term of service shall commence on the said first day of May next, and continue until said terms shall expire by law.  There shall also be elected by the qualified electors of said county of Richland, at a special election to be held at the several towns or precincts of said county, on the first Tuesday of June next, a county judge, who shall hold his office until the first day of January, A. D. 1854, and until his successor is elected and qualified."

    Section five provides for the holding of said elections, saying that they shall be conducted in all respects, and the votes canvassed and returned in the same manner as is now provided by law in relation to the election of county officers.

    Section six of the act provides that the judge of the said fifth judicial circuit shall hold courts in the said county of Richland semiannually; one term on the last Tuesday of April, and the other on the second Tuesday of September in each year.

    Section seven provides, "That at the annual election of 1854, the voters qualified, as hereinafter provided, shall deposit with the inspectors of the elections in the several towns or precincts in said county, a ballot, on which shall be printed or written, or partly printed and partly written, the name of the place voted for as the county seat of said county; and the place receiving a majority of all the votes cast at said election on that subject, shall be declared the county seat of said county:  Provided, That if no place shall receive a majority at said election, the question shall be submitted in the same manner at each succeeding annual election, until some one place receive such majority.  Every free white male inhabitant, who shall have resided in said county six months next preceding any annual election, shall be deemed a qualified voter at such election, for the purpose of permanently locating the county seat of said county"; and the act further provided, "that until the county seat of said county shall be located, as provided in the seventh section of this act, the courts for said county shall be held, and all county business shall be transacted at Richmond in said county."

    At that time there were but seven official positions in the county, the incumbents of which were required to run the gauntlet of popular approval and have their merits passed upon at the ballot box.  These elective positions were:  County clerk, register of deeds, clerk of the courts, county treasurer, sheriff, county judge, and board of supervisors.  The first election to fill these positions was held "on the first Tuesday of April," as ordered, and the balloting resulted in the choice of the following gentlemen, who were the first to don the official garments at the behest of vox populi in Richland county:  County clerk, John Rutan; register of deeds, Marvin White; clerk of the courts, A. B. Slaughter; county treasurer, D. H. Byrd; sheriff, John J. Matthews; county judge, J. W. Coffinberry; supervisors, John H. Priece, E. H. Dyre, and Adam Byrd.  And with the installation of these officials Richland county blossomed forth as a fully organized county.

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