RVTV: Greenfield vs. Fontanelle Rivalry Runs Deep

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GREENFIELD, Iowa -- Greenfield versus Fontanelle goes back to the moment of Greenfield's creation. You see, Fontanelle had the coveted county seat and Greenfield wanted it more than the Cyclones and Hawkeyes want the CyHawk Trophy.

In March 1858, Greenfield put in its first formal request to have the county seat location put up to a popular vote. The County Court denied this, but eventually, Greenfield would get their voting chance, three times actually. Fontanelle won over Greenfield in 1865 and 1869, but relentless Greenfield finally won the vote in 1874.

However, Fontanelle asked Judge Chester Cole for an injunction, which he granted, halting the physical moving of the county seat upon further review. Greenfield challenged his injunction to the Supreme Court, but before that Court rendered its decision, a different judge, Judge Mitchell, granted a writ that the Supreme Court would decide the legitimacy of the vote. In March, the Supreme Court ruled against Judge Cole`s injunction, but the latter issue remained undecided.

Just like you and me, nobody understood what this meant, so the people of Greenfield assumed they won! Two-hundred and fifty men and 75 wagons headed for Fontanelle to remove the records and furniture to Greenfield. This was so surprising that the people of Fontanelle didn't even put up a fight as the doors themselves were literally ripped off their hinges to be taken to Greenfield.

But it is not over yet, Judge Mitchell refused to take court in Greenfield saying Fontanelle was still the legal county seat. He then ordered the Sheriff to go to Greenfield and bring all the stuff back!

When the Sheriff got to Greenfield, the chairman of the board of supervisors told the sheriff that he, the chairman, had not issued an order to take the records so he could not issue order to take back the records.

Word was sent to Des Moines and General N.B. Baker was dispatched. The General was able to "convince" Greenfield it was time to return the items to Fontanelle.

In June 1875, the issue finally came to an end when the Supreme Court announced the election had been sufficient to move the county seat legally to Greenfield.

To this day, this county seat war is in the blood of the people in Greenfield and Fontanelle, but even they can put that past them.

So when you are watching the Iowa/Iowa State game this weekend, remember that at least your rival friends haven't ripped your doors off their hinges and taken them back to their house. It could be worse.

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