CHARITON, a post-village of Lucas county, Iowa, about 110 miles W. S. W. from Iowa City. (Baldwin's New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States..., 1854)
CHARITON, the county seat [Lucas County, Iowa], is a flourishing town of 1300 inhabitants. It is situated near the centre of the county, about one-half mile from the Chariton River; and is a point in the chartered line of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad.
The public buildings of Chariton consist of a large brick court house, erected in the public square, at a cost of about $20,000, and a substantial brick jail. It has one large brick church completed, and two others in course of completion; and also two frame school houses. There are four teachers employed in the public schools, which are in a flourishing condition. In 1850, several houses were built in Chariton. Wescoatt built a store-house, and opened a store; Henry Allen built a hotel, and in this year the celebrated log court house was built, on the east side of the public square. This house answered for church, school house, town hall, ball-room and law offices for several years. Here the Rev. Barker expounded the Scriptures; and in the same spacious hall the youths of the new colony were amused and delighted by slight-of-hand shows.
The members of Rev. Barker's church seem to have been very liberal and tolerant in their views; as it is said that the announcement of a dance at the close of religious services was not an unusual occurrence, nor was it considered anything out of place. Shooting matches were the most popular amusements, and were usually held on each Sabbath on the public square. Barker often preached in the country, and the announcement of his appointment was a signal for the gathering together of all persons who owned fast horses, and those who wished to witness a horse race, which generally took place immediately after services. (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)