Bridge matters could not have been easy for the county supervisors in June, 1884. Even as the bridge fund was at $7,500 and growing fast with April’s appropriations, the board confronted new bridge petitions and Auditor Ezra Brownell had a fresh packet of warrants for materials and labor to be approved. 

Related to the need to control costs, the question of what exactly county-line bridges were and the responsibilities of maintaining them came into focus. If you read Covered Bridge News but skip the minutes below, you will miss a very interesting account of the joint meeting between the supervisors of Madison and Warren counties. 

I am intrigued about the newly petitioned and approved bridge near the rural Jackson Tp. schoolhouse. It was not uncommon for petitioners to cite access to schools as a reason for new bridges, and the appearance of rural schoolhouses in greater numbers contributed to the need for safe and dry crossings throughout the county. 

Did you know that, just last year, a book was published on the history of Madison County’s rural schools? The Rural Schools of Madison County: a Vanishing Heritage (2019), by Ronald Howell, is available at the Winterset Public Library. It is a beautiful, well-illustrated, and comprehensive resource if you want to learn about the history of education in our area. If you know Mr. Howell, please commend him on having produced a fine work that will inform generations to come about the educational experiences of our connected past. From pouring over written accounts of board proceedings, 19th-century newspapers, and other government documents, I can attest that community schools – along with churches and township offices – were main strands of rural county life.

And there it was: Hogback Bridge. See warrant #386 drawn by J.W. Donovan. A rich set of bridge matters from June, 1884, indeed. 

June 2-AM: Ordered that the bridge built near the line of Adair County by Madison County some two years ago west of Section 6 Jackson Tp. Madison County Iowa be taken up and rebuilt on a creek crossing the highway now located on the south line of the SE ¼ of Section 6 Jackson Tp. Madison County Iowa under direction of Supervisor Shaw. 

(385) A.M. Hart, labor on Wight Bridge, $24.00 (386) J.W. Donovan, labor on Clark Bridge, $15.00 (387) A. Brock, labor on Drake Bridge, $5.00 (388) A.D. Drake, labor on Drake Bridge, $2.00 (389) Joseph Atcheson, labor on Drake Bridge, $5.00 (390) Samuel Krett, labor on Drake Bridge, $3.90 (391) J. Pope, labor on Drake Bridge, $4.50 (392) E.C. Drake, labor on Drake Bridge, $.45 (393) C.N. Gaymond, labor on Drake Bridge, $2.50 (394) B. Johnson, mdse. for Bevington Bridge, $10.60 (395) Wm. Payton & Co, mdse. for Wight Bridge, $6.95 (396) J.F. Jones, labor on Clark Bridge, $15.00 (397) Haskins & Co, lumber for Gillaspie Bridge, $12.14 (398) King & Twist, tubing for Clark, $398.66 (399) New Haven Lumber Co, lumber for Broadhorn Bridge, $37.94

Petition of M.A. McCorkle H.F. DeVault George Rose and others for a bridge about 60 rods west of School House No. 3 Jackson Tp. granted. 

June 4-AM: (400) C.W. Thompson, comm. on bridges, $9.25 (401) Cal Lake, labor, $27.00 (402) Howell & Merrell, lumber for bridges, $182.27 (403) Anderson & Blakeman, castings for bridges, $32.42 (404) B. Johnson, lumber for bridges, $609.32 (405) George Duncan, comm. on bridges, $9.45 (406) J.F. Tate, mdse. for bridges, $44.56 (407) New Haven Lumber Co, lumber, $18.79 (408) S.S. Morgan, lumber, $7.84 (409) Adam Bush, piling for bridges, $31.50 (410) Andrew Bennett, piling, $15.00 (411) F. Cooley, lime for bridges, $1.80 (412) J.M. Browne & Co, spikes for bridges, $1.88 (413) John Peppard, labor, $8.00 (414) S. McLain, labor, $3.00 (415) Smith Lake, labor, $36.00 (416) D. Clearwater, labor, $24.00 (417) John Arnold, labor, $21.00 (418) George Duncan, labor, $3.00 (419) Arthur Duncan, labor, $4.50 (420) Wm. Kale, labor, $14.00 (421) E.B. Thomson, labor, $3.00 

Ordered that the iron bridge near Bevington be moved to the Widow Spurgeon Ford on North Clanton Walnut Tp. under direction of Supervisor Duncan. 

Ordered that a bridge be built across Burr Oak Branch Ohio Tp. at or near the North East corner of the South East quarter of Section 31 under the direction of Supervisor Duncan. 

Petition of S.W. Barrows and others for a bridge over North Branch at the Smith Ford Jefferson Tp. granted and bridge ordered built under direction of Supervisor Storck. 

Ordered that a bridge be built near F. Hazen’s in Section 3 Jefferson Tp. under direction of Supervisor Storck. 

Ordered that Supervisor Duncan and Auditor Brownell be a committee to confer with Board of Supervisors of Warren County and arrange an equitable division if possible of the county bridge work on the line between the two counties and report at September meeting. 

June 5-AM: Ordered that the auditor contract with King & Twiss (?) for one bridge length 45 feet at $315.00; One bridge length 6 by 60 feet at $570.00 to be put up on Jones Creek; One at Rutherford Ford and one at Carman Ford, iron piers under bridge at Rutherford Ford; bridges to be built under direction of George Duncan, supervisor. 

June 6-AM: (422) Wallace Bros, mdse. for bridges, $3.32 (423) M.C. Shaw, comm. on bridges, $20.00 (424) Geo. Storck, comm. on bridges, $18.98 (425) Geo. K. Foster, labor, $200.00 (426) Geo. K. Foster, labor, $62.50 

Ordered that auditor draw warrant in payment of hardware for Clark Bridge when certified by H.P. Jones.

Ordered that a bridge be built on line between Warren and Madison Counties across south Gopher Creek near the North East corner of Section 36 Lee Tp. under direction of Supervisor Storck. 

Ordered that auditor draw warrants to pay for roofing Clark Bridge upon certificates of H.P. Jones. 

Ordered that auditor contract with V.L. Callison agent of the Berlin Iron Bridge Co. for one low truss iron bridge and piers seventy-five feet long. To be delivered at Winterset on or before Sept. 1, 1884. Contract to be signed by V.L. Callison agent and George Storck Chm. B. of S. 

Treasurer’s report on Bridge Fund: Total tax collected $9,796.52 + sale of old bridge timber $8.50 + amount received of Warren County $168.75 = $9,973.77 

By balance Jan. 7, 1884: $83.92, Warrants paid $8,918.17, amt. refunded $13.14, for new balance of $958.24

June 10-AM: The Board of Supervisors of Madison County met the Board of Supervisors of Warren County gathered in joint session this day at Indianola, Iowa, and agreed as follows. That a new iron bridge shall be put on the county line at Bevington at the crossing of Middle River. Each county to pay one half the cost thereof. The material now ordered by Madison County viz. an iron bridge 102 ft. long. The lumber and piling for same, and other material that may be now ordered to be accepted at the prices contracted therefor. The construction to be under the joint supervision of George Duncan of Madison County and J.W. Jones of Warren Co. who are hereby authorized to make all the necessary arrangements therefor. Madison County to take the iron bridge now at Bevington and allow Warren County $300.00 in full payment of their interest in said old bridge in the settlement of the cost of the new bridge. 

Signed: J.P. Jones, Chairman of the Board, Warren County; George Storck, Chmn. of Bd. Madison Co. 

It was further agreed that the McGinness Bridge across Clanton Creek near the line of the two counties should not be considered a county line bridge but belong to and be maintained by Warren Co. 

Ordered by the B. of S. of Madison County that hereafter no bridge more than 100ft. from the county line at its nearest point shall be considered at county line bridge.