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In 1837 the boundaries of Delaware county were defined but it was still attached to Dubuque County for judicial, revenue and election purposes until its organization in 1841. Various settlements were made throughout the county as early as 1836 or '37. Three Commissioners were chosen early in 1840 to organize the county and locate a county seat. But they did not meet until October of that year.
They visited different locations such as Ead's Grove, Bailey's Ford, the Lake and Big Spring. One of the men suggested that they flip a dollar. This they did and the county seat was located in the southern part of Ead's Grove. All the other settlers of the county were very dissatisfied over this choice except those living right near Ead's Grove.
So a mass meeting was held at Penn's Grove and the decision of the commissioners was denounced as very unfair. A petition was presented to the Territorial Legislature asking that the citizens of the county be allowed to choose the county seat. So in the spring of 1841 another mass meeting was held at Penn's Grove and a committee of seven men was chosen to select a proper location to be voted upon. A few days later four members of the committee, Joel Bailey, Roland Aubrey, William Whiteside and Leroy Jackson met and proceeded to the geographical center of the county which is a short distance west of the present town of Delaware. That was not satisfactory so they went to a point southwest of Spring Branch. They followed the Spring Branch stream to where it flowed into the Maquoketa river. Still all were not satisfied and they determined to visit the lake.
All the men decided that this might be a very satisfactory location , so while riding leisurely along, and when crossing the "run" in the westerly part of our area a large deer sprang up and stood looking at the party. As the settlers were few, the deer was not very timid. The party stopped and Aubrey, who like a true frontiersman, always carried his trusty rifle, dismounted. And as he aimed, Jackson exclaimed, "Now, Aubrey, kill that deer and where he falls we will stick the county seat stake." The deer ran a few rods and fell dead. The spot was marked and later became the location of the first Court House in Delaware County.
Now that the location of the county seat had been chosen, a name for the town must be chosen. Several names were suggested and Joel Bailey and John Keeler proposed inasmuch as Delhi was the county seat of Delaware County, New York, that Delhi would be a suitable name for the seat of justice in Delaware County, Iowa. A vote was taken on January 18, 1842 and the name Delhi was officially chosen.
The people of the county had selected a quarter of a section of wild prairie for their county seat site. There was not a single cabin on it and the nearest settler was two miles away. But, in February or March of that year, 1842, the settlers gathered at Delhi with their teams and axes to build the Court House. The location was a beautiful spot, a few rods west of the lake now known as Silver Lake.
The first family to settle in the new town of Delhi was that of Charles W. Hobbs, who settled here in the summer of 1843. He made his claim and erected a log cabin, where the Hobbs Chimney still stands as a mute reminder of those early days. They were the only inhabitants of Delhi for two years, Then in 1845 the population of the town was increased by the arrival of the families of A.K. Eaton, John W. Clark, William Phillips, Thomas Norris, and Joseph Mitchell.
In the fall of 1843 the first Post Office of the county was established at Delhi in the Hobbs Cabin and Mary E., wife of Chas. Hobbs, was appointed postmistress. As Mr. Hobbs was a commissioner, he could not hold any other office. The office was supplied with mail once a week by William Smith of Dubuque, who had the first mail contract through the county via Delhi to Quasqueton in Buchanan county. He carried the mail on horseback.
Thomas W. Hobbs, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hobbs, was the first white child born in Delhi.