Daniel J. Tubbs, son of Hiram and Sarah Johnson Tubbs, was born in Steuben County, New York, December 24, 1825. When he was twelve years old the family moved to Tioga County, Pennsylvania. His father was a farmer and Daniel received a country common school education only. Nature did more for him than schools giving him good judgment and a head for figures. He engaged in lumbering early; after he was 21 followed it exclusively for several years, buying and rafting lumber from the head waters of the Susquehanna to tide water or to Columbia, some thirty miles above. He had achieved a position as lumber dealer at the great mart of Columbia, and could find credit and backers for any undertaking in which he might engage when the western fever brought him to Minnesota.
In the summer and fall of 1854 he built a mill for Chauncey Leverich at the point where the Campbell mill now stands. Austin Nichols, whom Leverich bought out still lingered on the town site and Leverich and Robert Dobbins, whose log house was near the south bridge on the Bolcome addition, were the only other settlers when Tubbs came.
In 1855 and 1856 he built mills at Mitchell and Lime Creek in Iowa, and in the winter of 1856-7 built a mill for himself on the Turtle, some two miles southwest of Austin, near the city of Two Rivers, where Leverich had determined to found a city, after selling out his interest in the town of Austin. Mr. Tubbs ran this mill for about a year, but the ice going out with very high water in the spring, swept away his mill and dam, as well as those at Cedar City and others along the Cedar.
During the summer and fall of 1858 he took a contract for grading ten miles of railroad, a part of it just below Austin and part above Blooming Prairie, near the then famous city of Oak Glen. This proved disastrous to all engaged in the enterprise from the total failure of the state bonds based on the bonds loaned by the states to the railroads, commonly called the five million loan. It was flat money based on the faith and credit of the state. There was property enough in the state to pay them many times, but no disposition to levy taxes for that purpose or to pay the interest and the money became worthless. Mr. Tubbs built most of the bridges in this part of the county as long as they continued to be wood frame. The most expensive one was across the Cedar by the mill in Austin. These bridges remained unphased by high water till destroyed by wear and age, when they were replaced by the present iron structures.
During the years of 1864 and 1865 he was virtually Sheriff, as Grummon's, of Frankford did not see fit to move over to Austin during his term of office, but appointed Tubbs his deputy and left most of the business to him. He was an efficient and faithful officer and was elected successor to Grummons and held the office two years more, when he was supplanted by his deputy, Allan Mollison.
In 1868 he took the contract for building the old courthouse, with jail beneath, on the southeast corner of block 12, fronting the public square. This was occupied by the county officials from September 1868 till 1884, when the present courthouse on the public square was completed. He also built the schoolhouse that burned down nearly two years ago, at a cost of $35,000, turning it over for occupation in the winter of 1871. He took the contract for the stonework of the present courthouse for $9,200, and has continued to take contracts for many public and private structures up to this time.
He was married in Pennsylvania, July 17, 1849, to Miss Elizabeth Ellsworth.
After building Leverich's mill, he went east and returned in April 1855, with his wife and two children, Warren and Alice.
Warren now lives in Nebraska and Alice married to Clinton Smith, at Fargo. Their children born in Minnesota, Marian, Elmer, Jessie, and Daniel, Jr., are all married except the last, and all are residents of Austin, except Jessie. Marian married J.C. Belding, Jessie married Frank Smith and lives in Fargo, Elmer is married and settling down to hunting except summers, which he occupies with carpentering. Daniel Jr., also inherits the building instinct and works at carpentering.
Daniel J.'s father, Hiram, removed to Minnesota from the east in 1865, and lived a few miles south of Austin. He will be remembered as a very earnest and fervent Methodist. He was happy in dying only two weeks after the death of his wife, in the summer of 1878.
Daniel's younger brother, David Tubbs was a resident of Austin a few years, but moved to Iowa in the early sixties. He married the widow Leverich.
(Added notes- Hiram Tubbs b. 1801 of Steuben Co. NY, was the son of Benjamin and Lurana nee' Searles, Tubbs)
Transcribed by Kathy Pike