Adams County History Articles

Roger Cox - Spring Lake, MI

Elijah Walters First Settler Adams County

The first white settler in Adams county was Elijah Walters, a Kentuckian emigrating to Missouri, and thence to Iowa in 1846.

With his wife Nancy, a son Isaac and daughter Mariah, Walters settled on Section 29, Township 72, Range 34, about two miles south of Quincy, on land later known as the Ankeny farm.

Here the family lived on game, nuts and acorns and corn meal brought along from Missouri.

A small creek ran near the family cabin and was named Walters' Creek.  The creek still carries the name and is the area which is part of a Walters Creek watershed development.

Walters was a stalwart hunter, standing six feet, four inches in height and was a Hercules for strength, with a heart as large and as free as his person was immense.

To the worn and weary immigrant his latch string was ever out and his table a festal board; and no man ever went from his door hungry if deer, elk or turkey and corn bread would assuage his appetite.

In his early habitation of Adams County, Walters found the places of the ancient camp fires, the wigwams and stone battle axes of the Indians.  An occasional Red Man would return to look over the deserted camps and graves and silently depart.

One season Walters' corn was burned up by fires set by the Indians and his family came near to starvation.  The family secured its food at Svanah, Missouri, selling the furs and skins of wild animals.

In 1849, the family moved to the present site of Carbon, securing a 40 acre mill site.  Here Walters erected first a grist mill to grind corn and later a saw mill.

The millstones were made of boulders picked up off the prairie.  The boulder for the upper stone of the pair was hauled by oxen from near the Missouri line, about 35 miles.

Walters secured his tools to dress the mill buhr or stones at Savannah, Mo., and when they became dull he was compelled to travel to Savannah, 90 miles, to get them sharpened.

The mill soon became headquarters for sports, politicians, and itinerent ministers and the place was noted far and near for hospitality and sociability.

The boulder buhrs cracked the hard corn to the tedious turn of the ponderous water wheel, while the settlers spun their yarns inside the mill in endless variations.

Other early Adams County families included those of Morgan Warren, Samuel Hardisty, Adam Poor, Henry and John Oyler, Samuel Baker and son A.J. Baker, R.H. Schooling, Tucker, L.N. Poston, Smith McMaines, J.M.B. Miller, Nancy Henry, Thomas Shuman, John Colvin and son John H. Colvin, R.B. Lockwood, John Hown, Lewis J. Jeffery, Sprague Farris, T.H. Davis, Jacob Harader, Fees, and others.

Isaac Poston lived in a small log house just west of Quincy.  His oldest son was the first boy born in Adams County and a daughter the second girl born in the county.

In the newly created town of Quincy, Jacob M.B. Miller built a house during the summer of 1853 and it was here that the first girl was born in the county, Ellen Miller, in February 1854.

In this same household, death made its first appearance in the county.  Mr. Miller died in November 1854, and was buried in the "Old North" cemetery, a site he contributed to the Quincy cemetery.

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