Josiah Morrow had the distinction of having been the first white man to settle on Deer creek. He was also during
his life one of the most influential men in this part of the county and the memory of hies life remains as one
of the most notable monuments of the best use of many years of which the community can boast. He was born in Parke
county, Indiana, May 28, 1819, the son of John and Jane (Garvin) Morrow. The parents after their marriage in South
Carolina, their native state, went to Parke county, Indiana, and later to Peoria, Illinois. There John Morrow died,
and the mother made her home with a daughter, Mrs. Daniel Prince, in Fort Scott, Kansas, where she died.
Josiah Morrow came to Iowa in 1840 and was the first white man to seek to make a home on Deer creek in Johnson
county; Travelers and strangers came but infrequently to the region, and women almost not at all, for it is said
that Mrs. Morrow had been three months at their place before she saw another white woman. It was a difficult life
in the new country, with very little alleviation of any kind. The Indians were the only other humans, and of necessity
a bond of friendship sprang up between them and the white settlers. Mr. Morrow seemed to know how to get on with
them; he learned to speak their language and won their confidence. In October, 1848, Mr. Morrow forsook that section
for Washington county, still in the first stages of development but closer to the world of men than was the little
home on Deer creek. In Washingon county he took up a government claim of one hundred and sixty acres near Wellman,
upon which his son Edwin still lives. Among the treasured possessions of the family are two deeds, one signed by
Franklin Pierce, the other by Zachary Taylor, confirming Mr. Morrow's ownership of this piece of land. Both the
farm and the deeds have remained in the family and form the nucleus about which a healthy tradition has already
begun to gather.
Mr. Morrow was three times married. His first wife was Miss Sarah Ann Bouton, who bore him seven children. When
he married the second time he chose Miss Sarah Ann Blandin for his helpmeet, who became the mother of four children.
Her sister, Miss Susan M. Blandin, became Mr. Morrow's third wife and is the mother of the two sons, Dewitt T.
and Vaughn G., who cultivate the home farm of one hundred and forty acres. Mrs. Morrow, the widow, was born in
Steuben county, New York, the daughter of John and Parthenia (Fisher) Blandin. The parents came to Iowa in 1860,
locating in Lime Creek township, Washington county. where they made their home until their death. Mrs. Morrow is
a high school graduate and for some years before her marriage devoted her talents to instructing the young. She
is an accomplished woman, endowed with a nature that in its cheerful sunniness is like a tonic to her friends.
During his life Mr. Morrow was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church and was most diligent in furthering
its work and interests. The local Masonic lodge also included him upon their roll call, and his brothers in the
society found him a staunch friend upon whom they might depend in time of need. When occasion required he gave
his support to the republican candidate as the representative of the political party whose platform most nearly
coincided with his views. But his influence was ever thrown on the side of right and justice, and the weight of
his opinion was not inconsiderable, for his was a strong personality, and he was a man of breadth and depth beyond
the ordinary. The community was the better for his having lived in its midst, and the friends to whom his cheerfulness,
courage and general lovableness endeared him were often refreshed and given new heart for the life that was before
them by his sunny smile or his laugh of good comradeship.
History of Washington County, Iowa
From the First White Settlement to 1908
BY: Howard A. Burrell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Washington County, IA
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