On May 1, 1839, three Territorial commissioners were to report to Johnson County, with the assignment of picking the location for the new Iowa capital city. By mid-day, only one man – Chauncey Swan- had arrived, leaving the good people of the county seat of Napoleon wondering if the whole project would be lost. Thankfully, a 35-year-old farmer named Philip Clark saved the day! He mounted his horse, made a 35-mile trip through the wilderness, fetching a second commissioner – John Ronalds. They arrived in the nick of time – saving the future hopes of Johnson County before the strike of midnight.
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