Rivals race for first Austin platPublished 4:25pm Saturday, March 24, 2012
The county’s first supervisor, M.K. Armstrong, wrote an account of the history of Mower County and it was published in the Mower County Register on Aug. 23, 1866. He has a firsthand account of the race between two rivals to record the first plat of Austin, events which took place in 1856.
“The first town plat recorded was Austin; commonly known as ‘Yates and Lewis’ Austin.’ The ground now occupied by the village had been surveyed off the year previous but was not yet recorded. Therefore, Mr. Yates called me at High Forest, on the 14th of April and wished me to proceed with him speedily and secretly, next day to Austin; and by arriving in the night thus lay out his grounds in order to enable him to get his plat on record first, as the only village of Austin. We started next morning, on horseback; the distance was 30 miles, untraveled and uninhabited. The rain had been falling almost incessantly for the last week, and it continued to storm heavily throughout the day; but we reached the Cedar River at nightfall, as wet and hungry as wolves.
Here we stopped and I packed my papers and instruments in my carpet bag to prevent them from being seen and to give me the appearance of a traveler, while Yates secreted the tripod in an old hollow tree to avoid carrying it into town. We swam the river and went into the village. That night I examined the ground in order to make the plat for them to take for record in case of emergency. Yates recrossed the bridge and brought the tripod into town unseen. The next morning, when we were seen staking out lots nearly half a mile from the town, the old proprietors ‘smelt a rat.’ Vaughan and Mason started on foot, with their plat for the county seat, 27 miles distant. [Vaughan and Mason were recording the plat drawn by Leverich and Vaughan. Leverich was apparently otherwise occupied that day.] They had been gone two hours before Yates and Lewis saw the mischief, whereupon they immediately started on horseback with their plat, and arrived at Frankford 20 minutes in advance of their fellow racers. Judge Felch was sent for three miles distant to come and take their acknowledgement of the plats. When he got in town, Vaughan and Mason had arrived, and they slipped their plat into his hands first. He, however, considered himself employed by the other party first, and accordingly did so. Hence their map was filed for record as Austin First, at 7 o’clock p.m. and the other as Austin Second at 7 o’clock and 30 minutes.”
This Week at the HHH
Monday: Board of Directors, 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday: Social Concerns: Bullying in our Schools by Danielle Borgerson-Nesvold of Community Against Bullying at 10 a.m. Register at 433-4243 by Monday, March 19; Board of Trustees, 4 p.m.
Coming soon to the HHH
Peter Rabbit Story Time presented in cooperation with the Austin Public Library on Wednesday, April 4 at 11:30 a.m. Free, no registration required.
Stepping Out for Autism Walk at the Mill Pond on Saturday, April 21, part of Autism Awareness month. Walk and family picnic to generate funds for HHH autism programs. Contact the HHH office at 433-4243 for information.