Circuit Clerk Completes Big Task

Although recordkeeping success stories seldom make the news, we were delighted to find this one in the Skidmore New Era (Skidmore, Missouri) June 3, 1910 edition, page 1:

Circuit Clerk Completes Big Task

We clip the following from the Nodaway Democrat which shows some of the work which Eugene Rathburn has accomplished since his term of office.  Mr. Rathburn has made one of the best circuit clerks the county ever had.  We understand he will be a candidate for re-election and if he decides to let his name go before the primaries we believe he will be very popular with the people.  Faithful duty and hard work should be appreciated and we believe it will be in this instance. – Nodaway Democrat

Circuit Clerk E. Rathburn has completed the immense task he commenced more than two years ago — that of indexing the papers of the circuit court of Nodaway county.

Mr. Rathburn run across this system of filing papers in circuit clerk offices at Kansas City, St. Joseph, Warrensburg, and other places.  It was an almost impossible task to find old papers needed by attorneys and other people who had business in circuit court, owing to inadequate room and system.

Through Mr. Rathburn’s efforts the county court was interested, and arrangements made to secure more and better room for the work of the office.  The boxes containing the county’s circuit court papers number from 1 to 302 and there is, in all, two tons of paper in them.

The cases indexed number 15,372 and extend from the first session of circuit court in 1845, when Amos Graham held the office of clerk, on down to the present year of 1910.

By this system of indexing any paper or court record entry of a case may be found in two minutes’ time.  It is of inestimable value, not only to attorneys and parties concerned, but it is of great value to persons owning real estate in Nodaway county, as the papers in many cases affect title to land, and their loss would mean much to the abstracter and land owner.  We are informed that loans from Eastern loan companies have been refused because of failure to find papers affecting title to land on which a loan was desired.

On looking through this fine new arrangement of filing, we find that the business of the office was greatest from the years 1875 to 1890, gradually growing less.  It took thirteen file boxes to hold the papers for 1885.  And for the year 1908 it required but five boxes.

Does this mean that the spirit of contention is diminishing?  There are lots more people here than there were then.

Mr. Rathbun has rendered a great service to the county by the work he has just completed.