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Full text of "History of Clayton County, Iowa : from the earliest historical times down to the present : including a genealogical and biographical record of many representative families, prepared from data obtained from original sources of information"

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LIVING in this beautiful county, bordered by the Father of Waters, 
with its majestic hills, its castled rocks, its swiftly running 
streams, its wooded slopes, its fertile fields, its happy homes, 
its staid and enlightened civilization, it is difficult to realize that this 
is but the eightieth anniversary of the coming of the first, real 
American Pioneers. And yet, so young is our state, when meas- 
ured by the pendulum of centuries, that Clayton is one of the very 
oldest counties within its borders, and its history is contempora- 
neous with, and typical of, the history of Iowa. 

The story of these wonderful years should be a source of pride 
and of inspiration, and the better known the story, the more familiar 
the names and the deeds of the strong and sturdy men and courageous 
women who founded and nurtured and perfected its civilization, the 
stronger will be our love of home; and, in the last analysis, love of 
home is Patriotism. 

The institutions of which the people of Clayton county are so 
justly proud; the well-tilled farms, the cosy, comfortable homes, the 
flourishing business concerns, the schools, the churches, the very roads 
they travel, are not the results of nature, not spontaneous growths, but 
each represents toil and energy and thought and sacrifice and hard- 
ship and self-control. 

The pioneers were a stalwart, two-fisted, hard-headed race. They 
were inured to hardship ; they were adventurers in the best sense of the 
term. They were rough and ready, quick to defend their rights, com- 
bative, turbulent, if you will, but inspired, through it all, with a splen- 
did sense of justice and a real love of law and order which is the 
highest expression of Americanism. 

Hardly had they set foot in this new wilderness before the rudi- 
ments of government were established and courts and schools and 
churches followed quickly. It is to the lasting credit of Clayton 
county that, throughout its history, and in spite of the presence of a 
bold, adventurous people and the absence of judicial machinery, it is 
one of the very few counties of Iowa which has never been the scene 
of mob violence. 

While the mere struggle for existence was the first problem con- 
fronting the pioneers, it was not their ambition nor their goal, and, in 
a surprisingly short time, we see the evidences of the refinements of 
civilization, the desire for culture and the strivings of a strong intellec- 
tual, as well as of a sturdy physical life. 

A large percentage of the earliest pioneers were college bred men ; 
graduates of Yale and William and Mary's and the universities of the 
old world. These were men driven by the call of the West, the same 
call which sent their sons to California and to Pike's Peak, and their 
grandsons to the Dakotas and Nebraska to fill the west with the rich, 
red blood of Iowa. 


And, added to this tide of Americanism, there came, but a few 
years later, the very pick and flower of foreign immigration. Not the 
dregs of Europe, but the very best and strongest of its civiUzation. 
Wearied of the oppression of monarchies, eager for the wider oppor- 
tunities of the newest of the new lands, from Germany and Ireland 
and Norway and all the countries of northern Europe, came the 
strongest and bravest of their peoples. This engrafting, under perfect 
conditions of freedom and equality, of the stability and thrift and 
frugality of the Old World, upon the alertness, the nervous energy 
and the indomitable spirit of the New, has been one of the most suc- 
cessful and most upbuilding processes in the evolution of mankind, 
and nowhere has it shown better results than in Clayton county. 

Back of the pioneers we come to the mysterious, romantic shadow 
land of history. Across the screen are thrown dim pictures of a wild 
and untamed land, of herds of buffalo and droves of deer, of red- 
skinned warriors and rude Indian villages, of bloody massacres and 
dangling scalps. 

Following, in rapid succession, we see the stately, saintly 
Fathers, soldiers of the Church, meeting the showers of savage 
arrows with the emblem of the Cross. Upon the broad bosom of the 
Mississippi we hear the lilt of French songs, as strong-backed row- 
ers send the canoes of early explorers to marvel at the beauties of 
the Iowa shore. 

Floating on the swift current of the Wisconsin come the Canadian 
voyageurs, the traders, the trappers ; here, on the borders of Iowa, to 
meet the adventurous brother who had made the equally long and 
arduous journey from New Orleans, for this juncture of the rivers 
was the natural meeting point of the civilizations which came from the 
north and east and from the south. 

Every wave of war which swept over Europe plashed, finally, 
upon the banks of the Upper Mississippi. It was here that the French 
made their last stand against the aggressiveness of Great Britain and 
sought by superior cunning to maintain commercial supremacy, even 
after the fortunes of war had deprived them of the great Dominion. 

Even as a child might play with a diamond, unwitting of its value, 
so this great region became the plaything of Europe's kings, and these 
headwaters of the world's greatest river became the last skirmish line 
on which the British, the French, the Spanish and, finally, the Ameri- 
can struggled for mastery; and thus the known history of Clayton 
county reaches back for more than two centuries and a half. 

And, back of all this, is the unknown history of long forgotten 
races ; a history unwritten, save in the mounds and bones found on the 
majestic bluffs which guard the Mississippi, 

It is the purpose of this history of Clayton county, therefore, not 
to be a reference book, only; not a mere compilation of names and 
dates and statistics, however valuable and necessary these may be, but 
to present, to the favored sons and daughters of old Clayton, the story 
of their past, as an inspiration for their future, and to preserve for 
them a readable account of the great events, the great lives, the great 
struggles, the great hardships which have made possible the still 
greater blessings of to-day. 



Preface iii-iv 

Chapter One — Earliest History, 1673-1833 17-46 

Chapter Two— Log Cabin Days, 1833-1840 47-57 

Chapter Three— Clearings, 1840-1850 59-76 

Chapter Four— Progress and Poverty, 1850-1860 77-127 

Chapter Five— Antebellum Days, 1860-1861 129-137 

Chapter Six— War History, 1861-1865— Events at Home. .139-155 
Chapter Seven— War History, 1861-1865— At the Front. . .158-174 

Chapter Eight — Domestic History During War 175-193 

Chapter Nine— Reconstruction Period, 1865-1870 195-206 

Chapter Ten— Development Period, 1870-1880 207-238 

Chapter Eleven— Improvement Period, 1880-1890 239-277 

Chapter Twelve— The New Century, 1900-1916 279-312 

Chapter Thirteen — Beginnings 313-323 

Chapter Fourteen — Present View of County 325-370 

Chapter Fifteen — Banks and Banking 371-377 

Chapter Sixteen — Catholic Church History 379-387 

Chapter Seventeen — Biographies of Noted Citizens 389-411 

Chapter Eighteen — Reminiscences of Pioneers 413-429 

Chapter Nineteen — Historical Writings by Clayton County 

Men 431^kS4 

Chapter Twenty — Tables of Elections, etc 465-494 



Boardman, Ellsha 59 

Brownson, H. D 59 

Davis, James 59 

Davis, Timothy 77 

Cooley, A. S 59 

Edgewood, Church 313 

Journal Block 313 

Eiboeck, Joseph 77 

Elkader, Catholic Church 379 

County Asylum , . , 417 

County Jail 417 

Courthouse 465 

Elkport, Main Street 313 

Farmersburg-, High School 313 

Street Scene 313 

Francis, J. K 59 

Gifford, Asa 59 

Gifford, Rev. H 59 

Gillett, John W 59 

Guttenberg, Birdseye View of 279 

Public Schools 279 

Henderson, Cyrus 59 

Howard, "Freed" 59 

Jones, James 59 

Kauffman, Jonathan 59 

Knight, Willard 59 

McGregor, Main Street 232 

View of 195 

Merrill, Gov. Samuel 77 


Monona, High School 349 

Parochial School 349 

Murdock, Samuel 59-77 

Newberry Springs 157 

Noble, Reuben 77 

North McGregor, Birdseye View of 232 

C, M. & St. P. Ry. Yards 232 

Pontoon Bridge 195 

Olmsted, P. P 59 

Osterdock, Creamery 313 

Paddelford, John 59 

Peck, Samuel 59 

Price, Major A. T 157 

Price, Eliphalet 59-77 

Price, Real to E Frontispiece 

Price, V. V 157 

Ryan, James 59 

St. Olaf, Church 313 

Main Street 313 

Shadow Lake 195 

Stence, Mike 59 

Strawberry Point, Soldiers* Monu- 
ment 157 

Street Scene 157 

Updegraff , Thomas 77 

Uriell, Michael 59 

Wadsworth, S 59 

Walker, Thomas 59 

Williams, E. H 77 


Abd-El-Kader 237 

Adams, S. K 268 

Agricultural Fair, First 99 

Agricultural, Fourth Fair 117 

Agricultural Fairs, 1866-1869 201 

Agricultural Fairs 211 

Agricultural Fair, Strawberry Point 212 

Agricultural Fairs, 1880-1900 253 

Agricultural Society, Organization. 89 

Agricultural Society, 1856 110 

Agricultural Society, 1857 113 

Agricultural Society During War. . 181 

Agricultural Statistics 289 

Andros, Dr. Frederic 274 

A. O. U. W. Conventions 254 

Appleman, G. A 272 

Automobile, First 285 

Automobile Tax, First 283 


Citizens State Bank, Monona.... 377 

Clayton County Bank 376 

Clayton Savings Bank, Clayton. . 377 

Elkader State Bank 374 

Elkport Savings Bank 376 

Farmersburg Savings Bank 374 

Farmers Savings Bank, Edgewood 377 
Farmers Savings Bank, Garber. . 376 
Farmers State Bank, GarnaviUo. 377 

Farmers State Bank, St. Olaf 377 

_ Farmers State Bank, Volga 377 

<^ First National of McGregor 372 

First National of Elkader 372 

First National Bank, Sti-awberry 

Point 375 

* GarnaviUo Savings Bank 375 

Guttenberg State Bank 374 

Llttleport Savings Bank 376 

Luana Savings Bank 375 

^, Monona State Bank 374 

/y North McGregor Savings Bank.. 376 

^^ St. Olaf Savings Bank 375 

State Bank of Edgewood 375 

State Bank of McGregor 374 

Strawberry Point State Bank... 372 

Volga Savings Bank 376 

Baleff. Victor 276 

Balka, Joachim 266 

Base Ball. First 218 

Bar of 1857 118 

Bar, Membership 1862 190 

Barron, B. R , 277 

Baugh, D 125 

Becker, Carl F 288 

Becker, Casper 276 

Bevins, Capt. A 145 

Beulah ^n 

Beyer, Henry 294 

Bismarck, Town of 315 

Bixby, S. N 269 

Blackhawk Purchase 44 

Blanchard, O. B 275 

Blaul, Otto 266 

Bleidung, Alex 225 

Bloody Run, Story of 462 

Boardman, Capt E 147-150-154 

Boardman, Elisha, Death of 196 

Boardman, Elisha 401 

Boardman Township 313 

Borman, August 276 

Bothmer, H. P. W 272 

Bowland, Murder of 291 

Bradshaw Jos 272 

Brazil, Martin 269 

Bridges, First County 93 

Bridges, Controversies Over 94 

Brinkhaus, George 270 

Bronson, Horace D 401 

Brown, Alonzo, Report of 126 

Brown, Alonzo, Death of 197 

Brownson, Daniel 274 

Buena Vista, 1853 82 

Buena Vista Township Organized. . 52 

Buena Vista Township 314 

Buffalo Farm at Luana 286 

Campbell, J. F 266 

Carter, Maj. E. V 406 

Carter, H. B 276 

Carver, Jonathan 22 

Casey, Thomas 268 

Cass Township 314 

Cass Township Churches 457 

Cass Township, Early Settlers.... 458 
Cass Township, History and Tradi- 
tions 449 

Cass Township Mills 455 

Cass Township Mission Road 452 

Cass Township Schools 456 

Cass Township Postofflces 454 



Census of 1836 • 

Census of 1838 

Census, 1840-1850 °l 

Census of 1856 J^^ 

Census of 1865 

Census of 1870-1875 ^l» 

_ .-Census of Towns *° 

^^^^rensus of Townships ^»j» 

Ceres. Town of 

Chapman, Ingle 

CHURCHES— „ • . Oft, 

Baptist Church. Strawberry Point 363 

Catholic Church ^JZ 

Buena Vista ^°^ 


Cox Creek ^«J 

Elkader ^°^ 

, Elkport 386 


V Guttenberg ^°^ 

.,^y^<^Gveeor •••• ^^^ 

Monona • • ooc qr? 

Strawberry Point ,0! 

Volga City *'«♦' 

Christian Scientist, McGregor. . . 356 
Congregational Church, Edgewood 327 
Congregational Church, Elkader. 331 
■Congregational Church, McGregor 355 
■'^ Congregational Church, Monona. 349 
Congregational Church, Straw- 
berry Point 363 

Evangelical Frieden's Church, 

Elkader 332 

Free Methodist Church, Monona. 350 

Lutheran Church, Elkport 337 

Lutheran Church, Farmersburg. . 338 
U Lutheran Church, Garnavillo (St. 

I Peter's) 340 

--4 Xiutheran Church, Garnavillo (St. 

\ Paul's) 339 

Lutheran Church, Guttenberg (St. 

John's) 344 

Lutheran Church, Littleport 348 

Lutheran Church, Marion (Nor- 
wegian) 361 

Lutheran Church, Monona (St. 

Paul's) 350 

Lutheran Church, Norwa^-, Wag- 
ner Township (Norwegian). 361 
Lutheran C h ur c h. Strawberry 

Point 364 

Methodist Church, Edgewood 328 

Methodist Church, Giard (Ger- 
man) 342 

Methodist Episcopal Church, Gut- 
tenberg 344 

- Methodist Church, McGregor. . . . 355 

Methodist Church, No. McGregor 360 

Methodist Church, Volga City. . . 370 
Presbyterian Church, Volga City 369 

Clayton, 1853 84 

Clayton, Boom Days at 93 

Clayton, Grain Shipments at 100 

Clayton in 1865 188 

Clayton, Town of 325 

Clayton Center, Description of, 1856 107 

Clayton Center 322 

Clayton County Insurance Co 219 

Clayton Township 314 

Clues, Rebecca 62 

Clydesdale Company 321 

C. M. & St. P. Ry. Yards, North 

McGregor 359 

Collins, Lemuel G 221 

Commissioners, First 51 

Commissioners, Last 78 

Commissioners, Acts of 1840... 60, 62 

Commissioners, Acts of 1841 63 

Commissioners, Acts of 1842 65 

Communia, Description of, 1856.107-322 

Cook, A. P 268 

Coulee de Sioux 109 

County Assessment, 1853 89 

County Asylum 247 

County, Business in, 1853 87 ' 

County Business Men in 1856 105 

County Bond Issue 285 

County, Conditions in, 1857 114 

County Expenses 217 

County Finances, 1853 91 

County Finances, 1860 133 

County, Financial Condition of . . . . 289 

County Government, 1865-1870 201 

County Government, 1880-1900 245 

County Government 281 

County, History of, 1882 48 

County, Immigration, 1853 88 

County Improvements 99 

County in 1850 75 

County in 1853 93 

County in 1855 102 

County in 1856 106 

County Jail 136 

County Markets 99 

County Officers 326 

County Organization and Bounda- 
ries 31 

County, Pioneers of 47 

County Poor Farm Election 133 

County Poor Farm, Purchase of . . . 136 

County Poor Farm Opened 193 

County Population, 1856 110 

County Population, 1890-1900 280 

County, Proposed Division of 184 

County, Present View 325 

County Supervisors 135 

County Resources in 1853 81 

County Taxes for 1915 284 

County Under Mulct Law 248 

County, Wealth of 281 

County Seat at Prairie La Porte. . . 54 

County Seat, First Election 73 

County Seat to Elkader 103 

County Seat Election, 1857 112 

County Seat Election, 1857 113 

County Seat Election, 1858 120 

County Seat Election, 1860 13a 



Courts, First 51 

Courts, Early Sessions 56 

Courts, Early District 68 

Courts, Early Probate 67 

Courts Under Judge Wilson 74 

Courts in the '40s 74 

Court House, Beginning of 136-7 

Court House, Appropriations for. . 199 

Court House Completed 216 

Cornell Murder 257 

Cox Creek Township 315 

Creameries 254 

Crosby, J. 112, 124, 301 

Cyclone of 1899 250 

Davis, L. D 271 

Davis, Timothy 398 

Death Roll, 1900-1916 301-307 

Democratic Party, 1854 95 

Diamond Joe 178 

D'Iberville, Pierre Le Moyne 20 

Dickens, Mrs. Ann 421 

Dickens, Edward 273 

Dinan, Patrick 277 

Draft, Enrollment for 148 

Draft, Avoidance of 151 

Draft Ordered 152 

Draft, Supplementary 153 

Drips, Capt. A. W 146 

Drips, T. G., Attack on 96 

Drips, Capt. T. G., Death of 198 

Downie, John 196-268 

Dubuque Road 460 

East Elkport 322 

Eberhardt, J. M 266 

Edgewood 327 

Eiboeck, Joseph 

124, 125, 126, 132, 149, 215, 305 

Election, First 53 

Election of 1842 68 

Election, Special, 1853 87 

Election, 1853 89 

Election, August, 1856 110 

Election of 1857 116 

Election, 1858 122 

Election Results, 1858 123 

Election County Poor Farm 133 

Election of 1864 152 

Elections, Tables of 465-489 

Elkader, Contests for County Seat. 73 

Elkader, 1853 86. 

Elkader Wins County Seat 103 

Elkader, Description of 1856 107 

Elkader, County Seat at 130 

Elkader Mill Fire 134 

Elkader in 1865 188 

Elkader Woolen Factory Project. .. 200 

Elkader "Firsts" 200 

Elkader, 1870-80 235 

Elkader Bridge 189-246 

Elkader Fair 253 

Elkader, 1880-1900 261-264 

Elkader Opera House 292, 293 

Elkader Band 292 

Elkader, Events, 1900-1916 292-297 

Elkader School Building 295 

Elkader Beginnings 313 

Elkader Postmasters 314 

Elkader City Government 330 

Elkins Murder 256 

Elkport 53, 189, 322, 336 

Elk Township 315 

Enfield, Town of 220 

Enlistments in 1862 147 

Eno, William P 275 

Everall, John 216 

Everall, Richard 270 

Explorers, Early French 17-20 

Falconer, Alex 271 

Farmersburg 315 

Farmersburg City Government. . . . 337 

Farmersburg Township 316 

Farmers' Institutes 286 

Fenianism 2OO 

Ferry, First Steam no 

Flaherty, Thomas 268 

Fleck, Maurice 270 

Floods of 1865 192 

Floods, 1866 196 

Floods, 1880-1895 248 

Floods of 1896 249 

Flood Record, 1900-1915 289 

Flood of 1916 290 

Fisher, M. L. 101, 112, 184,225 

Forbes, B. F 117 

Fox, B. F 270 

Frenchtown 315 

Frese, G. Henry 275 

Froehlich, Henry 276 

Froelich, Town of 317 

Fur Traders 34-38 

Garnavillo, Name Changed 70 

Garnavillo, Lots Sold 73 

Garnavillo, 1853 85 

Garnavillo, Description of, 1856... 107 

Garnavillo In 1865 188 

Garnavillo 316 

Garnavillo City Government 339 

Garnavillo & Guttenberg Railroad. 287 

Garber 322 

Garber City Government 337 

Garber, John 269 

Gates, LB 227 

Giard, Basil 23 

- Giard, Giant 23 

Giard Postofflce Established 100 

Giard Grant Litigation | 123 

Giard in 1865 189 

Giard 342 

Giard Township 317 

Giard Village 317 

Gifford, George L 276 

GifEord, Rev. Henry 266 

Gilchrist, W. J 270 

Gillett, John W 224 

Goddard. A. M 267 

Gold, Discovery of 123 

Gold, Second Discovery of 219 

Golden Circle, Knights of 150 



Good Roads Movement 284 

Good Templars 132 

Grand Meadow Convention 98 

Grand Meadow Township 317 

Granger. H, S 79. 98, 99 

Grant, Judge James 75 

Guttenberg, Beginnings of 69 

Guttenberg, 1853 83 

Guttenberg, Improvements at 90 

Guttenberg, 1856 106 

Guttenberg Wins County Seat 113 

Guttenberg County Seat Election. . 120 

Guttenberg in 1865 187 

Guttenberg, Growth of 259 

Guttenberg City Government 343 

Hagensick, Christ 267 

Hagensick, C. W 267 

Hagerty Murder 198 

Hamilton, Dr. H. H 266 

Hamilton, Norman 267 

Hardin 104, 321 

Hartge, Fred 223 

Hartge, Murder of 71 

Hartrich, Mrs. C 292 

Hatch, Judge L. 273 

Heckel, F. B 281 

Hennepin, Father 19 

Henry Creek Postoffice 104 

Highland, Town of 100 

Highland Township 317 

Hill, James M 271 

Hoffbauer, Dr. Wm 271 

Hofer, Adam 271 

Holtzbecker, Henry, Killing of 65 

Hop Industry 200 

Hunt, B. T., Death of 236 

Hunt, William 270 

Huntting, W. F 271 

Indian History 32 

Indian Wars 38-40 

Indians at McGregor 120 

Iowa, Birth of 29 

Iowa, Census of, 1836 31 

Iowa, Settlement of 45 

-Jacksonville, Founding of 66 

Jacksonville 316 

Jail, County 136 

Jail Deliveries 258 

Jail, First County 70 

Jefferson Township 317 

Jordan, A. J 221 

Karberg, Peter 268 

Kellner, Henry 267 

Kerosene First Advertised 133 

Kinsley, Guy 425 

Knapp, Buel 276 

Knight, Willard 226 

Kreibs, John P 227 

Lahontau, Baron 20 

Larkin, John 272 

Leach, J. M 272 

Le Suer, Pierre Charles 20 

Licenses, Ferry 61 

Licenses, First 54 

Lincoln, Death of 154 

Linton, Dr. John 222 

Little, Dr. Samuel 407 

Littleport in 1865 189 

Littleport City Government 347 


A. O. U. W., Strawberry Point. . . 367 

Auto Club, Elkader 96, 334 

Auto Trails Association, Mc- 
Gregor 357 

Boy Scouts, McGregor 356 


Edgewood 329 

Elkader 334 

y,Guttenberg 346 

vr^„McGregor 357 

Monona 353 

North McGregor 359 

Volga City 369 


Elkader 335 

•McGregor 357 

Community Club, Guttenberg. . . . 344 

Coterie Club, Elkader 336 


Elkader 336 

Guttenberg 346 

Monona ZZZ 

McGregor 357 

Strawberry Point 366 

Frauen "Verein, Littleport 348 


Elkader 333 

Monona 351 

Strawberry Point 365 


Elkport 337 

Garnavillo 340 

Guttenberg 345 

Monona 352 

Strawberry Point 365 

Ingleside Club, Guttenberg 344 

Knights of Pythias, Edgewood... 329 
Ladies' Tourist Club, McGregor... 357 

Edgewood 329 

Elkader 332 

Farmersburg 338 

Garnavillo 341 

Guttenberg 345 

Monona 352 

McGregor 357 

Strawberry Point 366 


Elkport 3S7 

Farmersburg 338 

Littleport 348 



Monona 353 


Edgewood 330 

Elkader 333 

Elkport 337 

Farmersburg 338 

qp^Garnavillo 341 

Guttenberg 345 

Monona 353 

McGregor 357 

Strawberry Point 365 

Mystic Workers, Guttenberg 347 

P. E. O., Elkader 334 

P. E. O., Strawberry Point 367 

Pythian Sisters, Edgewood 328 

Rebekah Lodge, Elkader 335 

Rebekah Lodge. Garnavlllo 342 

Rebekah Lodge, Osterdock 360 


Guttenberg 347 

Farmersburg 339 

Littleport 348 

Strawberry Point 367 

Volga City 369 

urn Vereln, Garnavlllo 342 

Women's Court of Foresters, El- 
kader 335 

Woman's Relief Corps, Edgewood. 328 

Woodman Circle, North McGregor. 359 

McGregor 357 

, North McGregor 359 

/ Lodomlllo Township 318 

Louisiana Purchase 25 

Louisiana Under American Rule. .26-29 

Lowry, Rev. David 221 

Luana Buffalo Farm 286 

Luana 321 

Luana City Government 348 

Luana Consolidated School 348 

Mails, Early Stage Lines 91 

Mails, Pioneer Carrier 92 

Mallory Township 318 

Marais, Chevalier 314 

Marin, Pierre Paul 21 

Marion Township 319 

Marquette, Father Jacques. . .17-18-19 

McGonigle, C. L 274 

McGulre, James 267 

McGregor, Alexander ^-^ 403 

IWCGregor, James, Death of .V. 197 

McGregor In 1865 187 

McGregor in 1870-75 232 

McGregor in 1900-1916 297 

McGregor Land Titles ...115, 129, 177 
McGregor, Methodist Chautauqua 

at 254 

McGregor, Progress of 203 

McGregor Progress 1880-1900 260 

McGregor, Prosperity of 90 

Mederville 315 

Medical Association Formed 219 

Mendon Township 319 

Mentzel, Chas 274 

Merrill, S 125-186-204-212-405 

Mlllville— First Settled 48 

Millville. 1853 85 

Mlllville Township 320 

Mining, 1853 88 

Mining, Lead 90 

Mississippi, Discovery by Mar-.. 

quette 17 

Mississippi, Freedom of the 24 

Mississippi, Rafting on the 180 

Mississippi, Traffic 1852 86 

Mississippi, Traffic 1865-70 199 

Missouri Territory 28 

Missouri, Admission of 29 

Monlux, Geo 416 

Monona, Beginnings of 321 

Monona In 1853 8« 

Monona in 1865 189 

Monona, Progress of 203 

Monona City Government 349 

Monona Township 320 

Morasser Township, Establishment 

of 104 

Motor 322 

Murdock, Louisa 424 

Murdock, Samuel 124, 277, 392, 413 

National 104 

National Park 300 

National Park Association, Mc- ^ 

Gregor 3*57 

Neutral Ground 41 

Newberry, Hon. B. W 449 


Advertiser, Elkader 133 

Clayton County Democrat, Elka- 
der 331 

First 79 

In 1858 119 

In 1859 125 

Journal, Edgewood 327 

McGregor, City Government 354 

McGregor, City Indebtedness 23*1'' 

McGregor During the War 179 i> 

McGregor, Early Incident in 459 - 

,,J^cGregor, Early History o^. ..110-111 

lacGregor, Golden Days of 175' 

McGregor, Hard Times of 1857/'.. 117 

McGregor, Incomes in 1868 197 

McGregor in 1853 83 

McGregor in 1854 96 


McGregor, Beginnings of...V.-. ... 319,«V- Journal, The Clayton County... 123 

Leader, Monona 349 

Mall Press, Strawberry Point. . . 363 

News, Volga City 369 

Nord Iowa Herold, Elkader 331 

North Iowa Times, McGregor 108-354 

Press, Guttenberg 344 

Register, Elkader, Founded 236 

Register & Argus, Elkader 331 

Tribune, Elkader 110 

Tribune, Garnavlllo 339 



Nlcklaus, Jacob, Death of 195 

Noble, R 92, 101, 104, 108, 118, 125 

131, 135. 183, 186, 204, 214, 276 
North McGregor City Government 358 
North McGregor, Beginnings of... 319 

North McGregor, Fire at 232 

North McGregor in 1857 118 

North McGregor, Pontoon Bridge 

at 179 

North McGregor, Progress of 203 

Norwegians, Coming of 116 

Oathout, George 421 

Oathout, S. H 268 

Odell, Elijah 220 

Old Settlers' Edition 287 

Old Settlers' Reunion 227 

Old Settlers' First Reunion 228 

Old Settlers' Second Reunion 230 

Old Settlers' Reunions, 1880-1900.. 250 

Olmsted, P. P 419 

Osterdock City Government 360 

Osborne 315 

Otis, Geo. H 260 

Paddelford, John 274 

Partch, James T 277 

Patch, Luther 269 

Peace Party, 1863 149 

Pearl Button Industry 298 

Pearson, Richard, Probate Judge.. 67 

Peet, S. R 223 

Penfleld, Wm. A 273 

Perrot, Nicholas 19-20 

Pictured Rocks 300 

Pike, Lt. Zebulon M 28 

Pike's Peak 300 

Pike's Peak, Rush to 133 

Pioneers of Clayton County 47 

Pioneers 1840-1844 59-60 

Pirates Captured 120 

Place, R. C 270 

Pond, Peter 22 

Politics in 1854 95 

Politics, Conventions of 1854 97 

Politics, Influence in State 101 

Politics in 1856 109 

Politics in 1857 116 

Politics, Campaign of 1858 121 

Politics in 1859 123 

Politics, Campaign of 1860 130 

Politics in Wartimes 182 

Politics, Campaign of 1862 184 

\ , Politics, Peace Party 1863 184 

Politics — Second Lincoln Campaign 185 

' Politics, Campaign of 1865 186 

Politics After the War 203 

Political Campaign of 1868 204 

Politics, Campaign of 1869 205 

Politics, 1870-1880 212 

Politics, 1872 213 

Politics, 1873 213 

Politics, Hays-Tilden Campaign.. 214 
Politics, People's Party in 1874... 214 

Politics, Greenback Party 215 

Politics, 1880-1900 240 

Politics — Free Silver Campaign... 244 

Politics of the 20th Century 307 

Politics — Roosevelt Campaign.... 308 

Politics, Election of 1908 309 

Politics, Primary, First 309 

Politics, Murphy-Haugen Contest. 310 

Politics, Campaign of 1912 310 

Politics, Election of 1914 311 

Politics, Primary of 1916 311 

Politics, Suffrage Election 312 

Poor Farm Murder 219 

Potter, Murder of 124 

Potts, John W 224 

Prairie La Porte — 

First Commissioners Meet at. . . 51 

First County Seat 54 

Prayer, Day of 145 

Price, Eliphalet, 49, 67, 68, 95, 112, 


Price, Mrs E., Death of 193 

Price, R. E 242 

Pritchard, Murder of 203 

Primary, The First 309 

Prohibition Amendment Election. 241 

Quigley, Jos. B 268 

Quigley, Rev. J. J 270 

Railroad, Davenport & Northwest- 
ern 210 

Railroad, Iowa Eastern 208-211-261 

Railroad Projects, 1857 112-201 

Railroad, Reaches River 115 

Railroad, River Road Constructed. 207 

Railroad, West of McGregor 176 

Railroad, Volga Valley Line 210 

Rangers Go to War 144 

Read, Robert R. — 

Appointed Clerk 65 

Death of 190 

Read, Mrs. R. R., Death of 197 

Read Township 104-321 

Rechfus Murder 255 

Reese, Polly, Auction of 65 

Reugnitz, Carl, Sr 266 

Reugnitz, Chas 307-240 

Reuther, Louis 227 

Reminiscences of Pioneers 413 

Reynolds, "Diamond Joe" 178 

Richardson, Col. A. P 108-120-131 

Richardson, Rufus 271 

Ringling Bros 233 

Rivers and Streams, Origin of 

Names 431 

Rounds, J. C 271 

Rural Free Delivery 286 

Sacs and Foxes 32 

St. Olaf, City Government 361 

Sanitary Fair 152 

Sanitary Society 150 

Sand, Mosaics 299 

Schneider, Hy 267 

Schoch, Chas., Sr 272 

School System, Progress of 181-287 

Schuette, H. L 266 

Shelhammer, J. B 277 



Sherman, Edward 271 

Sherman, P. "W 269 

Sherman, M. B 276 

Shoulte, J. H 276 

Slgel, P. O. Established 190 

Skinner, W. A 269 

Smith, Rev. W. B 273 

Snedigar, Fielding 270 

Soldier, First Killed 145 

Soldiers' Cenotaph 197 

Soldiers' Cenotaph Society 148 

Soldiers, Homecoming of 154 

Soldiers' Monuments 285 


3rd Infantry I57 

9th Infantry . 15g 

12th Infantry ."".', igo 

21st Infantry 160 

27th Infantry " 163 

1st Cavalry 165 

6th Cavalry jgg 

7th Cavalry Ig7 

8th Cavalry 168 

2nd Infantry Igg 

2nd Veteran Infantry I68 

5th Infantry I69 

6th Infantry I69 

13th Infantry ][ I69 

15th Infantry I69 

16th Infantry I69 

34th Infantry I69 

37th Infantry ' 169 

38th Infantry I69 

44th Infantry 169 

46th Infantry 169 

47th Infantry 169 

48th Infantry 169 

2nd Cavalry 169 

4th Cavalry 169 

5th Cavalry 169 

9th Cavalry 170 

1st Battery 170 

3rd Battery 170 

4th Battery 170 

Engineer Regt. of "West 170 

15th Missouri Infantry 170 

3rd Missouri Cavalry 170 

4th Missouri Cavalry 170 

5th Missouri Cavalry 170 

12th Illinois Infantry 170 

43rd Illinois Infantry 170 

2nd Kansas Cavalry 170 

6th Wisconsin Infantry 170 

7th Wisconsin Infantry 171 

U. S. Colored Infantry 171 

Soldiers' Relief Work 143 

Soldiers' Reunions 251 

Soldiers, Roll of Honor 171-174 

Spanish-American War 264 

Sperry Township 322 

Sterns, Elder D. M 267 

Stephens, W. H 269 

Stewart, E. W 276 

Stoneman, J. T 131-216 

Strawberry Point. .104-189-212-314-362 

Street, Joseph M 41-2 

Stuben Guards 148 

Supervisors, First Board of 135 

Supervisors, List of 489-492 

Supervisors, System Changed 137 

Sweeney, Mildred. Death of 291 

Taft, George 266 

Tapper, James 269 

Tax Ferrets 282 

Teachers' Institutes 124-202-212 

Telephones, First 259 

Temperance Issue, 1875 214 

Third Iowa Infantry, Dept. of 142 

Thoma, Fred 272 

Thoma, J. P 266 

Thoma, William 221 

Towns, 1880-1900 258 

Towns, When Platted 492 

Townships, Organization 52-53 

Townships, Early Precincts 69 

Townships, Ten Named 72 

Townships and Towns Beginnings 

of 313-323 

Traders. Early American 21 

Turkey River, Steamboats on 96 

Turkey River, Navigation of... 195-446 

"Union Party" 182 

Uriell, Michael 411 

Updegraff, Thos, 104-124-147-186- 

Volga City, 1853 85-189-322-368 

Volga Township 322 

Volunteers at McGregor 141 

Volunteers, Response of 139 

Wagner, P. O. Established 190 

Wagner Township 323 

West McGregor 297-32ft- 

Wayman, W. W 62-63 

Windsor, Founding of 106 


Origin 34 

Treaties with 42 

In Iowa 43 

Winkley, Alonzo 266 

Winter, Ira P 270 

Williams, Judge E. H. .. 78-123-210-390 

Wilson, Henry, Death of 297 

Wilson, Judge T. S 57 

Witmer Homestead Case 265 

Women in the War 145 

Woodward, John, Death of 198 

Woodward, S. T 189-267-415 

Yankee Settlement, Founding of... 104 

In 1865 189 

Young, P. C 269 







WITH swift, strong paddle strokes, two heavily laden birch bark 
canoes glide down the broad current of the Wisconsin. It is the 
17th of June, 1673. The sky is fair, the hills on either side are 
covered with thick woods, the grass is bright with a myriad of flowers. 
Day after day, the explorers had pursued the journey, led on by the 
vague reports of Indian warriors, of a great river, the greatest river 
of them all, that had its sources in the frozen northland and emptied 
into some unknown sea. 

In the prow of the foremost of the frail craft, sits a Father of the 
Brotherhood of Jesus Christ. He is a young man, but frail, and, with 
his priestly garb, his mild and not un-Christlike face, he seems 
strangely out of place in this rough wilderness. The leader of the 
other canoe is his exact antithesis, alert, wiry, inured to hardship, 
versed in all the skill of woodcraft; an ill-assorted pair, perhaps, but 
combining just the qualities which were to give their beloved Church 
and their beloved France the most fertile empire the world has ever 

Suddenly, a shout of joy and praise arises, for, before their 
enraptured gaze, appears the river of their quest ; broader, swifter, 
stronger than even they in their fondest dreams had imagined; the 
mightiest river in the world. And as they looked over the broad 
expanse their eyes rested upon mile after mile of great majestic hills, 
rising sheer from the water's edge, with wooded slopes and crowned 
hy sentinel rocks, towering like castles on the Rhine. Then it was, 
that for the first time, the eye of a white man beheld Iowa, the Beautiful 
Land, and, at that moment, began the known history of Iowa, and of 
Clayton county. 

In the great river. Father Jacques Marquette and his companion, 
Louis Joliet, saw the fulfillment of their mission, and knew that they 
had opened to the world, a new and wonderful field of endeavor, but 
even they could not have foreseen the splendid civilization which, 


to-day, has transformed this wilderness into a veritable paradise of 
happy homes. 

Urging his boatmen, and directing their course across the more 
than mile-wide river, Marquette stood in the canoe, gazing upon the 
approaching shore, and, in mid-stream, he raised the emblem of the 
Cross, and gave to the river the name so near his heart, the name so 
often on his lips, and called it the river of the "Immaculate Concep- 
tion." They disembarked on the opposite shore, a short distance 
below the mouth of the Wisconsin, and thus, in Clayton county, was 
set the first white foot that ever trod the soil of Iowa. 

It is not the purpose of this work to relate the history of America, 
or of the United States or of the state of Iowa, except as they relate, 
directly, to the history of Clayton county. Nevertheless, so closely 
interwoven is the history of Clayton county with the history of the 
United States, that it will be necessary to dwell upon those facts which 
shall fix the relationship of the county to the nation as a whole. 
Again, all the changes in government, all the great events of national 
history, affected, intimately, the lives of the pioneers, and Clayton 
county's proper place in history cannot be appreciated without some 
knowledge of the larger events which brought it into being and con- 
trolled its destiny. 

Marquette and Joliet lingered but a short time upon the shores of 
Clayton county. They encamped, killed game and caught fish. They 
climbed the rugged blufifs and saw, spread at their feet, the wonderful 
panorama of the Upper Mississippi. Opposite them, on the Wisconsin 
shore, were rolling prairies covered with tall grass that waved in the 
June breeze. Deer and elk were grazing on the meadow. Around 
about them, were lofty, wooded, rocky hills and deep gorges, gay with 
rich foliage and flowers ; chasms cut by the gushing torrents of pre- 
historic times. In the river were beautiful, low- lying islands, gleam- 
ing in the bright sunlight like emeralds upon the bosom of the waters. 
Back of them, the wavering lines of trees and bushes marked the 
courses of creeks and streams which cleft the billows of the broad 
and ocean-like expanse of prairie. 

Father Marquette, speaking of this expedition of discovery, tells 
of the "joy which he could not express" and describes the Iowa high- 
land as "a large chain of very high mountains." 

For the purpose of this history, it is needless to follow Marquette 
and Joliet in their long journey which took them to the mouth of the 
Arkansas river and back to the Great Lakes by way of the Rock river ; 
Marquette to remain with his beloved Indians for the short span of 
life remaining to him and Joliet to return to Montreal in a perilous 
journey, during which the priceless records of the expedition were lost. 

Marquette represented the highest type of the Christian mission- 
ary and pioneer. He came with nothing but love and friendship in his 
heart and it is to the credit of the aborigines that they met him in the 
same spirit, and that, in spite of their savage state, their natural fear 
of these unknown whites and the bloody wars in which they were 
engaged among themselves, they greeted the great missionary with 
hospitality and warm expressions of friendship. 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1 673- 1 833 I9 

One can but feel that had all the white men come into the west 
with the same high purpose shown by Marquette, the frightful tales of 
bloodshed, and of massacre need never have been told. In the light 
of subsequent events the words of the Indian chief in welcome to 
Marquette are pathetic. The chief said: "How beautiful the sun is, 
O Frenchman, when thou comest to visit us. All our village awaits 
thee, and thou shalt enter all our cabins in peace. How good it is, my 
brothers, that you should visit us." 

There is something pathetic in this welcome, when the squaws 
hastened to build the fires before the tepee doors, when the venison 
steaks were broiled, when the pipe of peace was presented, and, in the 
name of the Great Spirit, the chiefs welcome their white brothers to 
their homes. Could Manitou have told them what the future had in 
store, could they have foretold that their tribes were to be scattered, 
that their council fires were to be quenched, that the wild deer were to 
be driven from their hunting grounds and that, at last, they were to 
remain a beggarly, illkempt, despised remnant; living, without hope, 
upon the generosity of a conquering race, what would their reception 
have been? 

The next traveler along the shores of Clayton county was Father 
Hennepin, who, under the direction of La Salle, explored the upper 
reaches of the "Meschasipi." The members of this expedition fell 
into the hands of the Indians but were ransomed by Du Lhut, the great 
wood ranger, and conducted, by him, back to Montreal by way of the 
Wisconsin river. While Father Hennepin was a great missionary, 
this party, under the auspices of La Salle, went largely for the purpose 
of exploration and for trade with the Indians. This was in the 
year 1680. 

The vast regions of the northwest were of no value to the white 
man except for the rich furs obtained from the Indians in trade. This 
fur trade was highly profitable, great companies, backed by large capi- 
tal, being formed in France, in England and later, in America. ) They 
obtained grants and concessions which made them almost absolute 
monarchs of the western country. These powers, they, in turn, dele- 
gated to their representatives who sent traders and voyageurs to the 
very limits of the continent, into the frozen northlands, beyond the 
Arctic Circle, throughout all the woods of the lake region, up and 
down the Mississippi, across the prairie, ascending the Missouri until 
the Rocky mountains barred their path. 

( Over the red men, these traders and factors held, virtually, the 
power of life and death. According as they were honest or dishon- 
est, just or unjust, scrupulous or unscrupulous, depended the Indian's 
fate. Nicholas Perrot was appointed "Commandant of the West" in 
1685. He came to the upper Mississippi by the Wisconsin river route, 
established forts, opened trade with the Indians and, on May 9, 1689. 
took formal possession of this region in the name of the King of 
France. Some writers claim that he established a post on the western 
bank of the Mississippi, some twelve miles below the mouth of the 
Wisconsin river. To him, also, came reports of rich lead mines located 
in the Dubuque-Galena district, and it is certain that he established a 
post in that vicinity. These things indicate that, more than two cen- 


turies ago, the Mississippi river, along the stores of Clayton county, 
was the great highway, a center of trade and traffic and that Indians 
from many leagues around glided down the waters of the Turkey and 
the Volga with canoes heavy laden with the rich pelts of the many 
wild animals with which the woods abounded. 

Pierre Charles Le Sueur was another of these early adventurers. 
He came first to this region in 1683 and, again, in the summer of 
1700. On this journey he made the voyage up the Mississippi with a 
felucca and two canoes manned by nineteen persons. One of the 
members of this party describes the voyage, and, concerning this dis- 
trict, he says: "We found upon the right and left mines of lead which 
are called to this day the mines of Nicholas Perrot, which is the name 
of the man who discovered them. Twenty leagues higher upon the 
right, we found the mouth of a big river called the Ouisconsin. Oppo- 
site its mouth there are four islands in the Mississipy and a mountain 
opposite to the left, very high, half a league long." The name 
"Perrot's Lead Mines" was appHed to a large region, long after the 
discoverer's departure from the west, when trade was diverted south- 
ward down the Mississippi to the loss of the Canadian traders. 

Another traveler in this region was Baron Lahontan. He also 
traveled the Wisconsin river route and the Munchausen-like account 
of his wonderful discoveries was a "best seller" in Europe in about the 
year 1700. Another interesting relic of the early days is a map of 
Louisiana and the course of the Mississippi, published by William 
De LTsle, the French map maker, in 1703. This map indicates, by 
two fine parallel lines, a trader's trail, commencing at the Mississippi 
river, a few miles below the mouth of the Wisconsin river, and run- 
ning westward across northern Iowa, through the Iowa lake district 
and as far, probably, as the present city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

Up to this time, the traders and explorers along the upper Mis- 
sissippi had been directed from Canada, but, in 1699, Pierre Le Moyne 
D'Iberville arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi and became the 
father and the Governor of Louisiana. His kinsman, Le Sueur, was 
perhaps the first French voyageur to ascend the Mississippi from its 
mouth and, in the years that followed, a bitter trade was carried 
on between French traders, having St. Louis and New Orleans as 
their base and French traders hailing from Montreal. This situation 
was complicated by an uprising by the Renard, or Fox, Indians, who 
opposed the encroachments of the French and who, for the next fif- 
teen years, pillaged and harassed the traders and made their business 
unprofitable by preventing friendly Indians from trading with them. 


In 1 7 12, the French Government, finding this new world only a 
source of trouble, conferred on Crozat, a rich Parisian banker, the 
exclusive trade of Louisiana and, for five years, this territory, of 
which Iowa is but a portion, was under the control of one man. 
Crozat made some attempts at colonization, but, in 171 7, he tired of 
his bargain and gave up the privileges conferred upon him. John Law, 
with the famous "Mississippi Bubble," with which he gulled the people 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 21 

of France, created an era of wildest speculation and finally bank- 
rupted a nation, was the next ruler of the Mississippi Valley. The 
colony then fell into the hands of the "Company of the Indies" and, 
in 1731, it reverted as a direct dependency to the King of France. 

Louis XIV dreamed vague dreams and squandered fortunes for 
the establishment of a mighty empire in the western world, but he was 
hampered by the great and growing unrest in his own country and by 
continual war with other countries, so that, at one time, all the sta- 
tions on the Mississippi, from the south, were abandoned and even the 
traders returned to their far Canadian homes, leaving this territory in 
the undisputed control of the Indians. 

In 1727, the governor of Canada authorized Boucher to establish 
a trading post in southern Minnesota. Together with Fathers 
Michel Guignas and Nicholas de Connor, Boucher came, by the Wis- 
consin route and ascended the jMississippi and one of the expedition 
describes the river as flowing "between two chains of high, bare and 
very sterile mountains." Boucher became involved in many difficul- 
ties with the Indians. There were massacres and much fighting and, 
in March, 1729, the French abandoned their post and, as soon as the 
ice disappeared in the Mississippi, withdrew in their canoes, accom- 
panied by seven pirogues of Kickapoos. The Foxes were at this time 
at war with all their neighbors and the Sac Indians were also in a 
desperate condition. This caused them to unite their forces and to 
seek refuge across the Mississippi, in this district. Their main village 
was at the mouth of the Papsipinicon river and they hunted through 
all this country. 

We will not attempt to follow all the ups and downs of Indian 
tribal warfare. Suffice it to say that the whole country was in turmoil 
and the lives of French traders and the interests of France were so 
endangered that the Governor General sent Pierre Paul, Sieur Marin, 
into this country to restrain the Indians. There is reason to believe 
that Marin built and maintained a fort, from 1738 to 1740, below the 
mouth of the Wisconsin, at the head of Magill's Slough, on the Iowa 
bank of the Mississippi : early French settlers knew and spoke of it as 
Marin's Fort. Marin remained in this region, and was its virtual 
ruler, for a number of years. Fort Beauharnois was built in the 
Sioux country, was abandoned, rebuilt and finally deserted in 1756, 
when all French troops were needed to fight the British. By 1760 all 
this region had been abandoned by the French. 

In 1759 the great stronghold of Quebec was captured, France was 
humiliated, the Canadas were lost, and it was feared that an English 
fleet might capture New Orleans and thus take away the last vestige 
of French control in America. To prevent this, Louis XV made a 
secret treaty with Charles III of Spain by which New Orleans and all 
the country west of the Mississippi were ceded to the latter govern- 
ment. This treaty was made in 1762, but not acknowledged until the 
treaty of Paris, January i, 1763. 


It was in the last years of the French occupation, that the 
American colonists made their first appearance in the Mississippi Val- 


ley. As early as 1760, before the appearance of British troops, 
English colonial traders established themselves on the Rock river and, 
four years later, thrifty Dutchmen, from Albany, were prospecting for 
trade in the Wisconsin country. Jonathan Carver, a Yankee shoe- 
maker from Connecticut, was one of the first Americans to operate in 
this region. He reached Prairie du Chien in 1766, and tells of that 
place as a "great mart, where all the adjacent tribes, and even those 
who inhabit the remote branches of the Mississippi, annually assemble, 
about the latter end of May, bringing with them their furs to dispose 
of to the traders." 

This brief description gives us a vivid picture of Prairie du 
Chien as the great trading center and one may well imagine the river 
dotted with Indian canoes and the smoke rising from scores of Indian 
wigwams on both sides of the Mississippi. Carver, indeed, saw the 
advantage of trade on the Iowa side and he made his residence upon 
the banks of the little stream which the French called "Le Jaun 
Riviere" and which Carver translated as "Yallow river." He spent 
two years in this vicinity and afterward published an account of his 

Another American trader, a Yankee, and likewise an historian, 
was Peter Pond. He followed the Fox-Wisconsin waterway and 
reached the Iowa shore in 1773. 

Pond gives a picture of Prairie du Chien as a place where "the 
French practiced his billiards and the Indian his ball. Here the boats 
from New Orleans come. They are navigated by thirty-six men who 
row as many oars. They bring on a boat sixty hogsheads of wine on 
one, besides ham, cheese, etc. — all to trade with the French and 

These were the years just preceding the American Revolution. 
The British had acquired Canada and were pushing their garrisons 
out to command the frontier. The Mississippi was the western 
boundary of their domain. The Spanish had just come into the pos- 
session of Louisiana, which included everything west of the Missis- 
sippi. The American colonists, as we have seen, were beginning to 
send forth adventurous spirits into the western wilds. The French 
still had the largest control of the commerce of the country, but had no 
government back of them and yielded scant loyalty either to England 
or to Spain. The Indians were still in their original state. They had 
not become so debauched by whiskey as they were at a later date. 
Their condition was, however, most unfortunate ; they were at war 
among themselves, were easy victims of the epidemic diseases and 
were considered legitimate prey to be robbed and cheated, disciplined 
and terrorized, by Britons, Yankees, French and Spaniards alike. 

It was not until 1768 that the Spanish made any real effort to 
strengthen their hold upon their newly acquired territory of Louisiana. 
Posts were established at the mouth of the Mississippi and they made 
eiiforts to prevent the encroachments of the British ; who, in turn, were 
doing all in their power to win the Indians away from Spain. Within 
a few years the colonists were at war with England and the Revolution 
reached even to the shores of Iov»'^a. The British attempted to enlist 
the Indians against the "Bostonians" and, in 1779, Gautier, a French 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 2$ 

Canadian, headed a command of two hundred and eight Indian aUies 
in an attempt to drive the Americans from IlHnois. In this year, also, 
Spain declared war against England. The English now proposed a 
campaign with a double purpose, one to harass the Americans and the 
other to drive the Spanish from the Mississippi and their great trading 
post at St. Louis, Accordingly an expedition of seven hundred and 
fifty men ; soldiers, traders, and Indians, proceeded down the Wiscon- 
sin to Prairie du Chien. Here they were joined by other traders with 
bands of friendly Indians. That this warfare extended to Clayton 
county is evidenced by the fact, that, in April, 1780, an American trad- 
er's armed barge-load of goods and provisions, with twelve men was 
seized and plundered off the m.outh of Turkey river on the Iowa side. 
The Indian allies soon deserted the British, however, and the proposed 
attack on St. Louis never developed into more than a foray which 
terrorized the upper valley of the Mississippi. 

Freed from the British yoke, the American colonists soon showed 
their adventurous disposition by efforts to control the fur trade of the 
west. They were hardy woodsmen and adapted themselves to the life 
of the wilderness. They were able to ingratiate themselves v/ith the 
Indians and soon became a real menace to Spanish power in America. 
Above all things, the Americans demanded the free navigation of the 
Mississippi. So active were the colonists that, in 1794, Baron de 
Carondelet reported "a general revolution threatens Spain in America 
unless it apply a powerful and speedy remedy." To counteract British 
and American influences, Spain sought to strengthen its power by 
granting concessions both to settlers and traders. It was in this way 
that Andrew Todd, a hardy Irishman, obtained, as a concession, a grant 
to carry on the exclusive trade of all the upper Mississippi, for this 
privilege paying a duty of six per cent. Todd died of yellow fever in 
1796 and the English and Canadian traders were left in possession of 
the field. 


Carondelet was a governor of much ability and foresight, and had 
Spain been in position or had the inclination to back him in his efforts 
to develop the Mississippi Valley, the subsequent history of Louisiana 
might have been very different. 

It was in pursuance of his plan of encouraging actual settlers that 
Don Carlos Dehault Delassus, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, 
made, in November, 1800, a grant of 6,8o8i/2 arpents, or about 5,860 
acres, to Basil Giard, a French Canadian friend of Julien Dubuque. This 
is the celebrated "Giard grant" from which so many titles run in Clayton 
county. This grant was one of the two Spanish land grants in Iowa 
which were recognized by the United States, this being done in 1816. 
Giard erected cabins on the present site of the city of McGregor. The 
tract was six miles long, east and west, and a mile and a half wide. 
Giard lived on this tract, from 1796 to 1808, and had a portion of it 
under cultivation. He was also a trader and dealt profitably with the 
Sioux and Sacs and Foxes, who then had this territory as their hunt- 
ing grounds. Giard died about the time that his claim was recognized 
by the United States, leaving as heirs, two daughters, Lizette and 


Mary, and a grand daughter, Felicite who was the child of Angelie 
Suptiennee Giard. The heirs sold their interest in the entire tract to 
James H. Lockwood and Thomas P. Burnett, of Prairie du Chien and 
it is said that the consideration was three hundred dollars. The grant 
was patented by the United States Government, July 2, 1844. The 
title of Lockwood and Burnett was contested by James McGregor, Jr., 
and others and was under litigation for many years, and will be dealt 
with later in this history. 

Another Spanish land grant was claimed by Julien Dubuque. 
This was based on a concession given by De Lassus to Francois 
Cayolle, dated August, 1799, and was for 7,056 arpents of land just 
north of the Giard tract, and described as follows : "between the mouth 
of the river Jaune (Yellow) and another river (Bloody Run) which 
empties into the Mississippi about one league lower down said Mis- 
sissippi, so as the said tract make a quantity equal to a league square, 
but to include both rivers." Witnesses appearing before the United 
States land commissioners testified that they had seen a large house and 
a garden upon this tract and that it had been occupied for eight or nine 
years. Dubuque's claim was not allowed, however, 


The hand of Spain fell heavily upon the frontiersmen of the Mis- 
sissippi. It was an alien government with which they had no common 
ties nor common interests, and for which they had no patriotism. The 
Spanish rule was characterized for the most part, by cupidity and arbi- 
trary acts. The channel of the Mississippi was the only outlet to the 
outside world and, so long as Spain controlled the mouth of the river, 
the frontiersmen were at her mercy. Spain recognized that the Mis- 
sissippi Valley was essentially one and made every effort to detach that 
portion of the valley to the east of the river from its allegiance to the 
United States. The British aided in this, and there were several at- 
tempts to promote conspiracies against America. Coercive measures 
were also used to make the settlers feel that it would be to their benefit 
to unite their interests with Spain. This was done by levying duties 
upon all goods shipped up and down the Mississippi and these duties 
were imposed according to the whim of the individual Spanish official, 
who took all, or part of the goods as he saw fit. While the pioneers of 
the valley were hardy and self-sustaining, and while forest and stream 
provided the absolute necessities of life, all manufactured articles came 
by way of the Mississippi and the free navigation of that stream was 
absolutely essential to their welfare. 

Despite this powerful weapon, Spain was unable to drive the pio- 
neers upon their loyalty to the United States. The question of the 
free navigation of the Mississippi was the subject of diplomatic nego- 
tiations for a number of years. In 1786, John Jay, patriot though he 
was, came very near yielding to Spain by offering to recognize Spanish 
control of the river for twenty years, providing Spain would concede 
the right after that time. This treaty was repudiated and, in 1788, 
Congress declared "that the free navigation of the Mississippi river is 
a clear and essential right of the United States and that it ought to be 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1 673- 1 833 2$ 

enforced." As a result of this declaration war seemed imminent and 
President Washington prepared for the conflict. Spain finally recog- 
nized the danger, but still delayed action. In 1795 the United States 
forced a treaty, by which the middle of the Mississippi was made the 
western boundary of the United States, from the thirty-first degree of 
latitude to its source, and navigation was made free to its mouth. 

But now another monarch was raised up in France ; mightier than 
Louis XIV, more aggressive, more rapacious, and far more capable, 
then his Bourbon predecessor. The great Napoleon rushed through 
Europe like a mighty hurricane of power, uprooting old dynasties, 
almost depopulating vast regions, and changing the map of the civilized 
world. It was one of the dreams of Napoleon to restore the French 
empire in America and he compelled Spain to cede, to France, all of 
the province of Louisiana. This treaty was made October i, 1801. 

In the same way, however, that Louis XIV was stricken down by 
the English hand of fate, so was Napoleon to feel the strength of Brit- 
ish arms. Just as the Bourbon king was forced to cede his American 
possessions in order to keep them from falling into the hands of the 
British, so the French emperor was forced to give Louisiana into the 
hands of the new American Nation to save it from English invaders. 


The story of the Louisiana Purchase need not be retold here in 
full. It was first proposed by Napoleon ; the ofifer, however, includ- 
ing only New Orleans and territory east of the Mississippi. Thomas 
Jefferson was quick to grasp the opportunity and appointed Robert 
R. Livingston and James Monroe as plenipotentiaries to conduct the 
negotiations. With one of those sudden flashes of genius, which 
enabled the great Napoleon to forsake one cherished object, in pursuit 
of another still more cherished, he suddenly turned the course of the 
negotiations and offered to the astonished Americans the entire French 
possessions in North America ; although for a sum largely in excess of 
that which they had been instructed to pay. Fifteen million dollars 
was the price — a huge sum in those days, although Clayton county, not 
the thousandth part of those possessions, could not be purchased for 
many times that price, to-day. 

To the credit of the Americans let it be said that they realized the 
magnificent opportunities opened by this offer almost at once. They 
did not hesitate ; no quibbles as to authority or constitutionality were 
allowed to interfere, but, with characteristic American energy, the great 
transaction was concluded, rushed through Congress, and the purchase 
made, before the French Emperor had time to change his mind. 

While Napoleon parted with this vast region for a song, it was an 
act of wisdom on his part. The money filled his depleted treasury at 
a time of urgent need, and an overpowering English fleet had already 
been detailed for the capture of New Orleans, and the consequent 
wresting of Louisiana from the French, when the cession was made 
known. It was thus, on April 30, 1803, that this region became an 
integral part of the United States. 

The territory secured by the Louisiana Purchase contained 1,171,- 


931 square miles, exceeding, in size, by 344,087 square miles all the 
former territory of the United States. Discovered by Spanish adven- 
turers in 1542, held, alternately, by Spanish and French for more than 
two hundred and fifty years, this region was still largely unexplored 
and unexploited, the white population did not exceed fifty thousand, 
while the exports amounted to but two million, one hundred and fifty- 
eight thousand dollars and the imports to two millions and a half. 


The treaty by which Spain had ceded Louisiana to France, was a 
secret one and the fact of French ownership was utterly unknown to 
the people of New Orleans and the Mississippi Valley. It was neces- 
sary, therefore, that a double transfer be made. To complete the terms 
of the sale, Spain must transfer the government to France and France 
turn it over to America. M. Maussat was the French commissioner 
appointed to carry out this double change of government. He pre- 
sented his credentials to the Spanish authorities at New Orleans. The 
keys of the city were handed him, the Spanish flag was lowered and, 
for twenty days, the French flag again flew over Louisiana. Then 
came the American commissioner, Governor Claiborne of Mississippi 
territory and General James Wilkinson of the United States army, and 
they received the new territory in behalf of the United States. The 
transfer was made with much pomp and military display, but, while 
the transfer was very pleasing to the Americans scattered along the 
Mississippi Valley, it was utterly distasteful to the French inhabitants 
of New Orleans and it was many years before their hearts became 
loyal to America. 

The first act of Governor Claiborne was to declare the power of 
Spain, and of France, at an end and that of the United States of 
America established. Similar ceremonies took place at St. Louis the 
next .spring, when Don Carlos de Hault de Lassus, the Spanish 
Lieutenant-Governor, transferred the government of Upper Louisiana 
to Captain Amos Stoddard, representing both France and the United 

Captain Stoddard was the first civil commandant of Upper Louisi- 
ana and the first American to have direct authority over the territory 
which included Clayton county. He issued a circular in which he 
assured the people of "the justice and integrity of President Jefiferson; 
that the acquisition of Louisiana would perpetuate his fame to poster- 
ity ; that he had the most beneficent views for their happiness ; that 
they were divested of the character of subjects, and clothed with that 
of citizens ; that they would have popular sufifrage, trial by jury, a con- 
firmation of their land titles, a territorial government, to be succeeded 
by their admission as a state into the Federal Union ; and he indulged 
in the hope that Upper Louisiana would become a star of no inconsid- 
erable magnitude in the American constellation." 

However auspicious the opening of American rule, and however 
glorious its present, it must be confessed that the first twenty-five years 
were years of failure and disappointment so far as Iowa was con- 
cerned. It was the dark age of Iowa history ; even the slight hold 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 2/ 

maintained by France and by Spain was relaxed and the country, 
reverted almost to its aboriginal state. This was due to several causes. 
First there was an immense area east of the Mississippi to be devel- 
oped; Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were in their 
infancy, and there were millions of acres open to settlement before 
the Mississippi was reached. Second, the dark shadow of slavery 
already fell malignantly over the land and Louisiana was only anxious 
for the development of what might, probably, become slave territory. 
Third, and strangest of all, Iowa was regarded as a barren, inhospitable 
land not capable, owing to the infertility of the soil, of supporting 
a stable population. As a reason why the boundaries of the proposed 
state of Missouri should include a large portion of what is now Iowa, 
it was stated that this was necessary simply for the maintenance of out- 
posts to ward off Indian attacks and that this state of Iowa was com- 
posed of barren tracts and that "ages must pass before it would be 
inhabited." This belief, that Iowa was an uninhabitable wilderness, 
led to its being set apart as an Indian reservation, much as Indian 
territory was in later years. Indeed, had it not been for the warlike 
Black Hawk, it is probable that Iowa would have remained still longer 
a "terra incognito." 

In the history of this period there are three things to be con- 
sidered: First, the act of the government of the United States to 
control and develop its new territories, together with the various 
changes of administration which Iowa underwent on its road to state- 
hood; second, the fur trade through which the Americans came in 
contact with the Indians and gained their first real knowledge of this 
region ; and, third, the condition and history of the Indians themselves. 
The purchase of Louisiana presented at once, a new phase of the great 
slavery question which was to divide our country until finally settled 
by the Civil War. Under French and Spanish dominion, Louisiana 
was slave territory and New Orleans was a great slave market. At 
the same time slavery had generally come under the ban and was pro- 
hibited in the Northwest Territory, by the Ordinance of 1787. The 
treaty with France provided that property rights were to be respected, 
and it was held that this included property rights in slaves, making 
the new purchase slave territory. Others demanded the prohibition 
of slavery in the new domain. Congress then began the long series 
of compromises which characterized its treatment of the slavery ques- 
tion up until the time of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Louisiana was divided into two parts, the thirty-third degree, 
north latitude, being the boundary. The south part was called the 
Territory of Orleans with a government similar to that of Mississippi 
which permitted slavery. The north part was called the District of 
Louisiana and it was added to the territory of Indiana and the laws 
of Indiana governed it. William Henry Harrison as governor of 
Indiana Territory was, on October i, 1804, escorted into St. Louis, 
and proclaimed governor of the District of Louisiana. This act 
placed the northern half in free territory, but this did not long con- 
tinue. Many residents of St. Louis came from New Orleans and were 
slave owners and they objected seriously to any interference with 
slavery. Yielding to this demand Governor Harrison, and the judges 


associated with him, passed "a law respecting slaves" in the District 
of Louisiana and this act extended the institution of slavery from the 
Gulf of Mexico to the British boundaries. At the same time and, by 
the same authority, all of the Louisiana Purchase north of the Missouri 
River was constituted the District of St. Charles, and the Giard grant 
appeared in state papers as located in St. Charles county. 

The District of Louisiana as an annex to Indiana Territory lasted 
but nine months and, on July 4, 1805, it became Louisiana Territory 
and General James Wilkinson was the first governor. It was under 
Governor Wilkinson's direction that Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike 
headed an exploring expedition to the sources of the Mississippi. Pike 
and his party left St, Louis, August 9, 1805, and, on the first of 
September, they reached the mines of the Monsieur Dubuque, who 
"saluted them with a fieldpiece and received them with every mark 
of attention." The mines were in a prosperous condition, yielding 
from twenty to forty thousand pounds of lead a year. On the fourth 
of September, Pike reached Prairie du Chien and on September 5th 
he crossed to the present site of McGregor and selected a height as "a 
commanding spot, level on top, a spring in the rear, most suitable 
for a military post." This is the beautiful bluff now known as "Pike's 
Peak" and is included in the area which, it is so properly urged, should 
be set apart as a National Park. Pike found one of the three chief 
villages of the Fox Indians located in Clayton County near the mouth 
of Turkey river. He estimated the total number of Fox Indians at 
1,750, four hundred being warriors, five hundred women and eight 
hundred and fifty children. The Sacs were more numerous, having 
a total population of about 2,850. A map drawn from the notes of 
Lieutenant Pike shows the general contour of the Mississippi. Back of 
the river a trail is indicated, following the river closely, from Fort 
Madison to Prairie du Chien. A small dot indicates a lead mine and 
on the Illinois side of the river is the designation "M. Dubuque's route," 
just north is shown a space marked "Prairie." The Turkey river is 
next indicated and at its mouth is marked "Fox Village." Prairie du 
Chien and the Ouisconsin river are shown and, opposite them, are 
marks indicating a settlement together with "Cayard river," "Yellow 
river" and "Painted Rock." In the account of his expedition Pike 
mentions the settlements of Giard, Dubuque and Tesson as the only 
white settlements in Iowa, along the Mississippi river. 

In 1812, Orleans Territory was organized and admitted as the 
state of Louisiana. This necessitated a new name for the Territory of 
Louisiana and it was called the Territory of Missouri, its boundaries 
remaining as before. William Clark was governor of Missouri Ter- 
ritory and Edward Hempstead the delegate to Congress. The west 
developed very rapidly during this period but the increase in popula- 
tion was not felt in Iowa, which was still regarded as fit only to be 
the home of roving Indian bands. Illinois was admitted into the Union 
in 1818 and this hastened the desire for statehood on the part of the 
people of Missouri. The memorial sent to Congress from Missouri 
stated that the "population was little short of one hundred thousand 
souls, was increasing daily with a rapidity almost unequaled and that 
the territorial limits were too extensive to admit of convenient gov- 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 29 

«rnment." The north boundary asked for the new state was a line 
drawn due west from the mouth of the Rock river. As the justifica- 
tion for this large state the memorial adds : "To a superficial observer 
these limits may seem extravagant, but attention to the topography of 
the country will show they are necessary. The districts of country that 
are fertile and susceptible of cultivation are small, and separated from 
each other at great distances by immense plains and barren tracts, 
which must for ages remain waste and uninhabited. These frontier 
settlements can only become important and respectable by being united, 
and one great object is the formation of an effectual barrier against 
Indian incursions, by pushing a strong settlement on the Little Platte 
to the west, and on the Des Moines to the north." 

The question of the admission of Missouri agitated the whole 
country for many months, the entire question hinging on whether 
it should be admitted as free or slave territory. The legislatures of 
northern states passed resolutions demanding the prohibition of 
slavery, and the southern states were equally insistent that slavery 
should be recognized and permitted. Many slave owners in Missouri 
held public meetings and denied the right of Congress to interfere. 
During this long debate the southern portion of Missouri was formed 
into the territory of Arkansas, in which slavery was recognized. This 
was done in 1819. We will not follow the long course of the Missouri 
Compromise by which the admission of Maine as a free state was made 
contingent upon the admission of Missouri as a slave state. It was this 
compromise which greatly strengthened the hold of slavery upon the 
nation and which was the next step toward the great Civil War. The 
boundaries of Missouri were reduced nearly to their present line, as 
Senator William A. Trimble of Ohio, urged that the valley of the Des 
Moines be left to whatever future state there might be formed from the 
territory north of Missouri. 


Missouri was admitted into the Union in 1821 and, with a singular 
lack of statesmanship, all of the territory from the Missouri line to the 
British boundary and west to the Rocky Mountains was left practically 
without a government of any kind. It is true that there was a pro- 
vision for the prohibition of slavery and certain laws regulating traffic 
with the Indians, but Iowa was left an outcast orphan, nameless, dis- 
organized and abandoned to the aborigines. President Monroe in 1824 
and President Jackson in 1829, urged that the Indian tribes east of 
the Mississippi be transferred to this territory and that it be constituted 
as a huge Indian reserve. From 182 1 to 1834, Iowa existed as an unor- 
ganized territory without government except of the most general 
nature. By June 1833, the purchase of Indian lands in eastern Iowa 
was completed and the great rush of settlement began. Hundreds of 
men were waiting in western Wisconsin and Illinois, for the signal 
that settlement would be permitted across the Mississippi, and the 
eastern counties filled up very rapidly. 

This sudden transformation of the wilderness into a busy settle- 
ment was, very naturally, attended by strife and contention. There 


was an eager rush for choice locations for town sites and water 
rights and it soon became apparent that some system of law was neces- 
sary even though the first settlers were remarkable in their fair dealing 
with each other. A petition was forwarded to Congress asking that 
the laws of the United States be extended to this territory. A bill 
was introduced establishing the territory of Wisconsin which was to 
extend from Lake Michigan to the Missouri river. In the meantime 
the necessity for courts and some code of laws became more and more 
imperative. At Dubuque, Patrick O'Conner was murdered by George 
O'Keaf, and it was found that there was no court having jurisdiction 
to try the murderer. A citizens' court was formed and judicial forms 
were followed as nearly as possible. O'Keaf was given a fair trial, 
found guilty and sentenced to death. The murder was committed May 
19, 1834 and O'Keaf was executed on June 20, showing a speed which 
might well be emulated by more formal courts. In recognition of these 
appeals for some form of government the territory north of the state 
of Missouri, lying between the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers was 
attached to the territory of Michigan, although it was understood that 
this was only a temporary makeshift. This action was hailed with 
delight, for the sturdy pioneers were stalwart American patriots and 
were glad to feel themselves more closely united to the stars and stripes. 
To Nicholas Carrol, an Irishman living near Dubuque is given the credit 
for raising the first Star Spangled Banner vtpon Iowa soil, and strangely 
enough, this flag was made by a black woman, who was a slave. 

An extra session of the legislative council of Michigan territory 
was convened at Detroit September, 1834. In his message to this 
assembly Governor Stephen T. Mason, said, concerning Iowa : "The 
inhabitants of the western side of the Mississippi are an intelligent, 
industrious, and enterprising people, and their interests are entitled to 
our special attention. At this time they are peculiarly situated. With- 
out the limits of any regularly organized government, they depend 
alone upon their own virtue, intelligence, and good sense, as a guaranty 
of their mutual and individual rights and interests. Spread over an 
extensive country, the immediate organization of one or two counties, 
with one or more townships in each county, is respectfully suggested, 
and urged. A circuit and county courts will also be necessary, making 
a special circuit for the counties west of the Mississippi, as it would 
be unreasonable to require the attendance of inhabitants of that section 
at courts east of the river. I rely upon your diligence and wisdom for 
the measures demanded by the annexation of the new territory to the 
limits of Michigan." 

In pursuance with this suggestion of the governor, the territory 
west of the Mississippi was divided into two counties, Dubuque and 
Demoine, and each was made a township, the first, Julien ; the second, 
Flint Hill. A Hne west from the lower end of Rock Island was made 
the boundary between the two counties. County courts were estab- 
lished and the laws then enforced in Iowa county, were extended to the 
new counties across the river. Iowa county laid upon the east shore of 
the Mississippi and was closest to the newly formed counties, and the 
fact that its laws were extended to them caused them to be known as 
the Iowa District and this fact, undoubtedly, played some part in 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1 673- 1 833 31 

naming the state at a later date. The first judge named for Dubuque 
County, of which Clayton County was a part, was John King, of 
Dubuque, founder of the Dubuque Visitor, the first newspaper pub- 
lished in Iowa. In 1835, George W. Jones was elected as territorial 
delegate from Michigan. He secured the passage of a bill creating the 
Territory of Wisconsin, and this new territory included Iowa and 
portions of Minnesota and the two Dakotas. Henry Dodge was 
appointed governor and David Irwin an associate justice, to preside 
over the courts of Dubuque and Demoine counties. 

A census was taken in September 1836, and it was found that 
Dubuque and Demoine counties had a population of 10,531. They were 
thus entitled to six members of the council and thirteen members of 
the House of Representatives in the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature. 
Dubuque county, at an election held in October, 1836, sent to the coun- 
cil Thomas McCraney, John Foley and Thomas McKnight ; to the 
House, Loring Wheeler, Hardin Nowlin, Hosea T. Camp, Peter H. 
Engle and Patrick Quigley. This first legislative session in which the 
people of Iowa had a part, convened October 25, 1836, at Belmont 
which was the temporary capital. Peter H. Engle, of Dubuque was 
elected Speaker of the House. This legislature chartered the Miners 
Bank at Dubuque, this being the first bank in Iowa. Belmont proved 
to have but poor accommodations for the legislators and the capital of 
Wisconsin was removed, temporarily to Burlington, where the second 
session of the legislature was held, in 1837. This legislature memorial- 
ized Congress to pass an act organizing a separate territorial gov- 
ernment in that part of Wisconsin lying west of the Mississippi river. 

The question of the rights of pre-emption, by actual settlers, on 
government lands, was a burning issue and the memorial to Congress 
relative to this matter stated: "Twenty-five thousand people have 
settled on lands in Wisconsin Territory, west of the Mississippi river, 
in what is called the Towa District,' improved farms, erected build- 
ings, built towns, laid out cities and made valuable improvements, but 
have not yet been able to secure any kind of title to their homes and 
farms. Congress is urged to enact the law authorizing all bona fide 
settlers to pre-empt for each actual occupant for land, who has shown 
his good faith by making improvement, the right to enter a half section 
of land before it shall be offered at public sale." It was at this session 
of the Wisconsin Legislature, held at Burlington, in 1837, that the 
county of Clayton was named and organized and the county seat fixed 
at Prairie La Porte, afterward named Guttenberg. The county, as then 
organized, had the same eastern and southern borders as at present but 
its northwest boundary was fixed by the so-called "Neutral Ground" 
and included a portion of what is now Allamakee county and did not 
include the northwest corner of the present county of Clayton. 

It has often been, mistakenly, stated that Clayton County extended 
over all of northern Iowa and included large portions of Minnesota and 
the Dakotas. This was not the case. Fayette County was estabHshed at 
the same session of the Legislature, and, as the border county, it was the 
one which included this vast territory. However, Fayette County was 
unorganized for some time and was "attached" to Clayton County for 
governmental purposes, so that, while Clayton County at no time in- 


eluded this large territory within its borders, it did exercise jurisdiction 
over the entire territory included within its own boundaries and the 
vast area included in the first boundaries of Fayette County. In June, 
1838, the bill dividing Wisconsin Territory and creating a separate 
government for that portion of it west of the Mississippi, passed Con- 
gress and, on July 3, 1838, Iowa emerged triumphant from the chaos 
of the past and had a name and an identity of its own. 


Having related the political history of this region under the French 
and Spanish and under the various jurisdictions of the United States, 
after the purchase of Louisiana, it is now fitting that we should con- 
sider the actual conditions existing during this period. It is an un- 
deniable fact that government has much more to do with the general 
welfare of the people than is generally conceded, and the influence of 
governmental changes can be readily traced in the history of north- 
eastern Iowa. To understand Iowa during this period one must know 
something of the numerous Indian tribes which inhabited it, but, as 
these tribes had no written history, as they lived chiefly by hunting 
and trapping over large areas, and as the most pretentious of their 
villages were but temporary affairs, this history is difficult to write. 
From the time when the Europeans, of whatever nationality or colony, 
arrived upon the shores of America, there was a constant pushing 
back of the Indians, in the face of the oncoming tribes of pale faces. 
The Sacs and Foxes, who inhabited this region just prior to its settle- 
ment by the whites, were not indigenous to this soil. In common 
with other Indians they were driven back by the colonists and weakened 
by wars with hostile tribes. They were, although linked together in 
later times, originally separate and distinct nations. Their homes were 
in the east along the Atlantic coast. Both were unsuccessful in war 
and were driven westward. They emigrated from New York to the 
lake regions, and finally, settled, if that word can be applied to people 
who never settled, in southern Wisconsin and Illinois. They doubtless 
crossed the Mississippi, but this was not their favorite hunting ground. 
It was before their coming to Illinois, that the two tribes practically 
united, for purposes of defense and offense, and while, at all times^ 
they maintained a large degree of individuality, they were closely allied 
in many ways. 

The true conception of the Indian is found midway between the 
heroic figure pictured in the novels of Fenimore Cooper and the 
whiskey debauched brute which he was made by the unscrupulous 
traders. Many of the ideas, and many of the customs of the Indians, 
in their native state, before they were polluted by contact with the 
whites, were beautiful. From the folk-lore of the Fox Indians there 
are preserved to us many things worthy of a high-minded and intel- 
lectual race. Some of these legends are both prophetic and pathetic, 
as, for instance, their account of the creation of the Fox race, which is 
as follows : "The Fox was the first of men on earth. He came before 
all other. He was red at the face, at the hands, at the legs, all over 
his body, everywhere. He was red, like the color of the blood within 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 33 

him. Such was the way he was made by Wisaka, and such was the 
way he looked when his maker let him step forth on earth among the 
Manitous. Among the Manitous he mingled. He was present at their 
councils, and had the right of speech. The Manitous looked upon 
him with wonder, and made comment when he passed in and out 
among them. He was very much of a Manitou. Afterwards, came 
other Foxes, Manitous like the first. By and by they grew great in 
number. As time went on, they took the form, the looks, and the 
nature of the people that they now are. Things have changed 
since those times. The people are now in distress. They no longer 
reap the good of the land which is theirs ; little by little, it is slipping 
from their hands. Bird and animal-kind is vanishing, and the world is 
not as it was in the beginning. With all this the Manitou is displeased. 
On some day in the future the Manitou will take upon himself to 
destroy this earth. He will then create it anew, and place his chosen 
to dwell there once more. In that day the Fox will look as he did 
in the beginning; he will be red all over the body, red as the blood 
within him." 

Concerning death could any nation have a more beautiful belief 
than this? "It is natural for one to die, and hence there is nothing 
unusual about it. It is the same as going on a far journey, and I like 
the thought of making it as a journey here in life. I know that yonder, 
behind the west, somewhere in the great distance, there flows a river, 
that over the river is a bridge for me to cross, and that there on the 
farther shore awaits one who will give me welcome. I do not know 
what my life in the spirit-world will be like. I concern myself little 
about the thought of it. I simply rest confident that I shall find it 
natural and simple, the same as here. Such are my notions about death, 
and I have yet no good reason to change them." 

The Indian also had high ideals as to hospitality. It is not of 
record that the white people were at any time greeted ungraciously 
or that the Indians were malignant until they found that the whites 
were aggressive, wished to occupy lands which they had every reason 
to regard as their own and until they were victims of the white man's 
greed and injustice. Father Marquette, traveling practically alone and 
unarmed, was greeted with the utmost kindness. 

While the Indians were possessed of many high ideals, it must be 
confessed that their code of warfare was on no higher plane than that 
of the civilized warfare of today. It is true that they did not use poison 
gases, nor drop bombs upon innocent women and children, nor attempt 
the wholesale starvation of a race, but with their limited resources they 
did the best they could to make war terrible. The^ believed, just as 
European countries seem to believe today, that the ultimate design of 
war was to exterminate the enemy, root and branch. With this idea 
in mind, they were not particular as to whether they shot an enemy 
in the face or in the back, whether they lured him to death in the 
ambush or crept upon and killed him in his sleep. Women and children 
were as legitimate prey for the tomahawk, as they now are for the 
bomb. Giving no quarter, the Indian expected none ; he met death 
with stoical bravery. 

Speaking roughly there were but three great Indian nations which 


left an impress on the history of northeastern Iowa. The Sioux were 
the most cruel and warlike. Their range was to the north and west. 
They were fonder of the prairie than of the woods and streams. They 
favored the pony, rather than the canoe. 

The Sacs and Foxes, one tribe of which was called the lowas^ 
were less savage and less nomadic than the Sioux. At the beginning" 
of the nineteenth century they confined themselves chiefly to southern 
Wisconsin and northern Illinois. 

The Winnebagoes belonged to the Dakota or Sioux group. They 
were found in Iowa at an early date, but migrated eastward. They 
were allies of the British and took part in the battle of Tippecanoe and 
the massacre at Fort Dearborn. They also fought with Black Hawk, 
their habitat being in Wisconsin. They were the last Indians to come 
to this region and the last to leave it. 

Northeastern Iowa, with its many streams, its wooded hills, its 
bounteous supphes of rich fur bearing game and its easy accessibility to 
market, over the great Mississippi highway, became a coveted hunting 
ground for all the western tribes, and the fact that it was so rich in 
all that satisfied the Indians' wants, made it a bloody battle ground. 

The generous hospitality accorded Marquette was soon changed 
to suspicion by the crafty tricks of French traders, the white man's 
firewater brought degeneracy and drunkenness, the policy of the gov- 
ernment in the distribution of inadequate supplies, in payment for rich 
tracts of land, led to pauperism, indolence and helplessness; the injus- 
tice of many of the treaties and the lack of good faith shown by the 
white man in many instances, induced hatred and a desire for revenge. 


The surrender of Canada brought British influences to the head 
waters of the Mississippi and brought about the sharp competition 
between the English, French and Spanish. The only product of this 
region for which the Europeans cared was the product of the chase. 
The Indians were expert hunters and trappers and the white men 
wished to exploit their craft. For this purpose the British, following 
the example of the French, formed vast companies, financed in the 
old country, managed at Montreal or Quebec and reaching throughout 
the northern half of the continent. The Hudson's Bay Company 
operated in the far north while the Northwest Company and the Mich- 
ilimacinac Company controlled the region to the south, the latter com- 
pany with headquarters at Mackinac, confining its operation to the Up- 
per Mississippi valley. Goods of English manufacture were shipped, via 
Montreal to Mackinac and thence, by the Fox- Wisconsin route, fol- 
lowed by Marquette, to the mouth of the Wisconsin ; thus Prairie du 
Chien became the great distributing point from which the traders 
departed, following the Indians to their hunting grounds, and to which 
the Indians, for a territory of several hundred miles, brought the spoils 
of the season's hunt. 

The close of the Revolutionary War and the treaty of Paris, in 
1783, brought a new factor into the Upper Mississippi regions. 
Whereas the commercial struggle had been twofold it was now three- 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 35 

fold, but the British occupied the north and continued to frequent this 
region after the close of the war, because the American Government 
made no determined effort to enter its northwest territory. The British 
traders were canny enough to make use of the old French voyageurs 
and the most of the employees of the British companies were French 
Canadians, who already had established intimate relations with the 
Indians. Thus Jean Baptiste Faribault, as an employee of the British 
company, penetrated as far as the Des Moines valley and maintained 
a post there for several years. This whole region abounded with 
beaver, otter, deer, bear and other wild animals. A description 
written by Faribault gives some idea of the trader's life. He says: 
"The wages of a good clerk at that time was $200 per annum ; in- 
terpreter $150, and common laborers or voyageurs $100, and the 
rations allowed them were of the simplest description. But the 
abundance of game more than compensated for any deficiency in food. 
The articles used in the trade with the Indians were principally 
blankets, cloths, calicos, tobacco and cheap jewelry, including wampum, 
which latter served in lieu of money, as a basis of exchange. During 
the winter the traders and their men ensconced themselves in their 
warm log cabins, but in the early spring it was required of them to 
visit the various Indian tents to secure the furs and pelts collected 
by the savages in their hunts. Goods were not then given on credit, 
but everything was paid for on delivery." 

Perrin du Lac, a French traveler in this region, in 1801, urged 
Napoleon to contend for the commerce of the upper Mississippi. He 
asserted that the British had no claim to this trade because their Indian 
customers hunted game entirely on French soil and then repaired, with 
furs and skins, to their rendezvous at Prairie du Chien. Goods shipped 
from New Orleans in flat bottomed boats, he declared, could reach these 
places at an increase of cost from 10 to 12 per cent. English mer- 
chandise must be transported from Montreal to Mackinac at a cost of 
25 per cent, with 7 per cent additional for transportation to Prairie du 
Chien. The French traders, he declared, thus had a decided advantage, 
and especially as the English boats were too small to carry heavy 
loads as compared with those of the French; and it required four 
months for the journey from Montreal to Prairie du Chien and but 
one month from New Orleans to Prairie du Chien. The magnitude 
of the fur trade at this time may be seen from the statement of Du Lac 
that the Sioux annually sold two thousand five hundred bundles of 
skins to the English traders, while the Sacs and Foxes and the lowas 
furnished several hundred packs more. 

Thomas Jefferson was the first President who saw the possibilities 
of the Northwest as a trade center. He urged exploration and in- 
stituted the Lewis and Clark expedition. Lewis urged the establish- 
ment of a post at Prairie du Chien to trade with the Sacs and Foxes, 
whose hunting grounds were described as along both sides of the 
Mississippi, between the Wisconsin and the Illinois. William Henry 
Harrison, as Governor of Indiana, made the first treaty with the Sacs 
and Foxes which affected this country. By this treaty the Indians 
relinquished all title to lands east of the Mississippi. It was this 
treaty, which the Indians claimed was signed by drunken and 


irresponsible chiefs, which was the cause of the Black Hawk war. 
This treaty also provided for Government trade with the Indians. In 
April, 1806, Nicolas Boilvin was appointed as the first Indian agent 
in the Iowa country with instructions to visit Prairie du Chien, to con- 
ciliate the Indians, to suppress the liquor traffic, and to instruct the 
Indians in agriculture and especially in the raising of potatoes. Boilvin 
removed to Prairie du Chien, to replace agent John Campbell, who was 
killed in a duel with Redford Crawford. 

In the great contest for the Indian trade now developed between 
the British and the Americans, the British had the advantage as they 
had been longer in the business, had established relations with the 
Indians, knew their wants, and, for some reason, supplied them with 
better goods. It was, however, the settled polic}'- on the part of the 
United States to drive out the British traders. A government factory 
was established at Fort Madison, and in 181 1 Boilvin urged the found- 
ing of a factory at Prairie du Chien. Boilvin called particular attention 
to the rich lead mines, saying that, during the season, the Indians had 
produced four hundred thousands pounds of that metal. During all this 
time the British were using every effort to cripple and embarrass the 
young American nation, this, not only at sea but on land. They did 
everything possible to incite the Indians against the Americans. They 
employed a Winnebago chief to get all the nations of Indians to De- 
troit, to see their fathers, the British, who told them "they pity them in 
their situation with the Americans, because the Americans had taken 
their lands and their game; that they must join and send them off 
from their land; they told the savages that the Americans could not 
give them a blanket, nor any good thing for their families." Many of the 
Indians went to Detroit and the Sacs and Foxes were aroused against 
the Americans. Following the great victory of Harrison over the 
Indians at Tippecanoe the Winnebagoes raided the traders' camp in 
the lead mine district, tearing the men limb from limb and stripping 
their bones of all flesh. A messenger was sent from Fort Madison to 
Prairie du Chien to notify that post of the Tippecanoe victory and the 
massacre at the Spanish mines. In 1812, the friendly portion of the 
Sacs and Foxes migrated to the Missouri river to get out of the war 
zone between the British and the Americans. 

War was declared by the United States against Great Britain in 
June, 1812; among the grievances recited being the Indian disturbances 
in the Northwest. The Winnebagoes and the Sacs under Black Hawk 
attacked Fort Madison and rendered that fort well nigh untenable. 
Governor Howard urged that a campaign against the Indians as far 
north as the Wisconsin river, and the erection of a fort at Prairie du 
Chien were necessary. 

During the winter of 1813-14, the French traders at Mackinac, 
who sympathized with the British, planned an attack upon the Amer- 
ican trading post at Prairie du Chien. In May 1814, the Americans 
ascended the Mississippi with a gunboat and barges, carrying one 
hundred and fifty volunteers and sixty regulars. Just north of Prairie 
du Chien they erected Fort Shelby and equipped it with six cannon to 
co-operate with the fourteen cannon on the gunboat. Governor Clark 
left the new fort under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Perkins 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 37 

and, in July, 1814, the fort was attacked by a force consisting of 
British officers, traders, employees and several hundred Indians. The 
gunboat, stationed between McGregor and Prairie du Chien, was 
attacked, and although the cannon responded valiantly, the gunboat 
was driven down stream, pursued by the French and Indians in canoes 
as far as Rock Island. Perkins was obliged to surrender, and Fort 
Shelby became Fort McKay and was held by the British and their 
Indian allies. The British considered this fort of great importance, 
as did also the Americans. Two efforts were made by the Americans 
to recapture the fort. One expedition under Lieutenant Campbell was 
repulsed by the Sacs and Foxes under Black Hawk, while Major 
Zachary Taylor with a force of three hundred and fifty men was met 
and defeated at Rock Island by a force of British and Indians. The 
great victory of General Jackson at New Orleans finally decided the 
possession of the Mississippi in favor of the United States, but the 
British traders, using Fort McKay as their base, continued to control 
the commerce with the Indians, whom they incited to take American 

At the conclusion of the war of 1812 the British demanded free- 
dom of navigation on the Mississippi, but the treaty contained no such 
provision, although this was not known at Fort McKay until May 
1815. This treaty practically ended British control of this region, 
although many British traders remained, and for a number of years, 
the Indians received presents and supplies from Canada. In the 
meantime serious competition had arisen against the British traders 
through the company founded by John Jacob Astor. In 1800, Astor 
had come into prominence in the Montreal fur market by reason of a 
great corner on muskrat skins. Eight years later he incorporated the 
American Fur Company, later he secured control of the Mackinac 
Company which he rechristened the Southwest Company, with Prairie 
du Chien as its principal frontier post. Joseph Rolette was one of the 
owners of this company and for a number of years he had charge of 
the Astor interests at Prairie du Chien. He was the dictator of all this 
region, and was known as "King Rolette." During the time when 
the English were in the ascendancy and, afterwards, when French and 
English free traders were numerous, Astor was a great advocate of 
the Government factory, but as soon as the British were driven out 
and his own company grew to be the first American trust, he was very 
anxious for the abolishment of Government trade and that the whole 
Indian problem be left to private enterprise. 

Despite Astor's opposition the Government established a factory 
at Prairie du Chien which was now called Fort Crawford. Although 
the law provided that no licenses to trade with the Indians were to be 
granted to foreigners, the President was given discretion and he per- 
mitted Indian agents to issue licenses. This power was not always 
used with wisdom and, as a result, licenses to trade were issued to 
men of vicious character, who cheated and despoiled the Indians and 
plied them with whiskey. The factor at Fort Crawford complained of 
this swarm of private traders who exploited the Indian on every hand. 

In 1818, all licenses were refused to others than Americans, and, 
the foreign traders having been driven out, Astor turned his attention 


toward ending the competition given him by the Government factories. 
In this year, 1818, the situation was further comphcated by war which 
broke out between the Sioux and the Sacs and Foxes. The latter went 
on the warpath, killed forty Sioux and brought thirty women and 
children prisoners to Prairie du Chien, where, under the very guns of 
the fort, they indulged in a wild celebration of their victory, parading 
the river bank with their bloody trophies. The Sioux had much 
difficulty in getting their relatives back, and this war lasted inter- 
mittently for nearly twelve years. The traders, however, generally, 
acted in the interests of peace, for the wars interfered sadly with 
the chase. By 1822 the machinations of the American Fur Company 
effected the abolishment of the factory system, the store at Fort Craw- 
ford was closed, and the Indians were left to the mercy of private 
traders. The fur company did not, as a rule, act directly through 
agents. It sold outfits of merchandise to traders to be paid for in pelts, 
and these traders' went out, keeping in touch with the Indian hunting 
parties, securing the highest possible price for their goods and paying 
the lowest price for fur. They also established an extensive credit 
system with the Indians, outfitting them for the hunt and expecting 
their pay in furs when the hunt was over. They charged enough for 
their goods so that they made sufficient profit if the Indians paid one 
third of their account. 

As late as 1822, Boilvin, Indian agent at Fort Crawford, com- 
plained that the English were still interfering with the Indians and 
that many of them were in the habit of visiting British posts at Maiden 
and other Canadian points, where presents were given them and where 
they received supplies. The illicit trade in whiskey was one of the 
greatest evils of the Indian traffic. So bad had this become that all 
boats of traders passing Fort Crawford was searched for liquor. The 
agent states "the melancholy truth is that no law or regulation, will be 
sufficient to prevent the Indians residing immediately on our borders, 
from obtaining ardent spirits in any quantity they may desire." The 
year 1823 marked a great revolution in river traffic, for in that year the 
steamboat "Virginia" ascended the river, during high water, as far as 
Fort Snelling. 


vThe tribal wars between the Indians continued all through these 
years, and, in 1825, a determined effort was made to bring about a 
peace between the Sioux and the Sacs and Foxes. Representatives of 
the hostile tribes gathered at Prairie du Chien from all parts of the 
northern Iowa country, and a boundary line was fixed which should 
mark the hunting grounds of the various tribes. This boundary com- 
menced at the mouth of the Upper Iowa river and crossed the state 
south and west. The tribes participating in this treaty were the 
Chippewas, Sacs and Foxes, Menominees, Winnebagoes and a portion 
of the Ottawas and Pottawatomies. In reality the Indians paid but 
little attention to this imaginary line and the conflict between the tribes 

The Winnebagoes made their first appearance in Iowa in 1826. 
They left their hunting ground in Illinois and invaded northeastern 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 39 

Iowa. Their foray was marked by the massacre of Francis Methode 
and his wife and children. The murdered family had pitched their 
tent upon the Yellow river to make sugar, and when they failed to 
return to Prairie du Chien a search party of officers and soldiers was 
sent from Fort Crawford and their bodies were found. Twelve Win- 
nebagoes were imprisoned for this offense. 

The American Fur Company now had virtual control of all the 
trade of this district. George Davenport, who proved himself a very- 
astute agent for the Astor trust, was a power along the Mississippi. 
He had control of trade from the mouth of the Iowa river to the 
Turkey river, while "King Rolette" bought furs north of the Turkey 
river, with headquarters at Prairie du Chien. 

(One of the bloodiest episodes of the Indian warfare in northern 
Iowa took place off the shores of Clayton County. The account of 
this battle as given in Cue's History of Iowa is as follows: "In 1828 
the Sioux and the Winnebagoes, then in alliance, sent an invitation to 
the Sac and Fox chiefs near Dubuque to meet them in council and 
forever bury the hatchet. The Fox chiefs, unsuspicious of treachery 
started toward the place of meeting. On the second evening, as they 
were in camp for the night, on the east shore of the Mississippi near 
the mouth of the Wisconsin river, they were fired upon by more than 
a thousand Sioux warriors. Rushing from their hiding place the 
treacherous Sioux killed all but two of the Foxes who plunged into 
the Mississippi and swam to the west shore, carrying news of the 
massacre to their village. Stung to desperation by the act of treachery 
the Foxes prepared to avenge the murder of their chiefs. A war 
party was organized, led by the newly elected chief, Ma-que-pra-um. 
They embarked in canoes and stealthily landed in the vicinity of their 
enemy, concealed by the dense underbrush. Toward midnight they 
swam the river and crept silently upon the sleeping foe. Nerved with 
the spirit of vengeance, they silently buried their tomahawks in the 
heads of seventeen Sioux chiefs and warriors and crept to their 
canoes without the loss of a man." ^ 

Another account of this Indian battle, which was the most im- 
portant ever fought in this vicinity, is as follows : "I visited Prairie 
du Chien, and was a guest of Joseph Rolette, agent of the American 
Fur Company. One evening we were startled by the reports of fire- 
arms on the Mississippi, succeeded by sounds of Indian drums and 
savage yells. About midnight we were aroused by footsteps on the 
piazza and by knocking on the doors and shutters. Mr. Rolette went 
out to ascertain the cause, and was informed that a bloody battle had 
been fought, and the visitors were the victors, and called on their 
traders to obtain spirit-water for a celebration. Their wants were 
supplied. The warriors kept up a horrible pow-wow through the 
night with savage yells. In the morning we heard the particulars of the 
fight, and during the day witnessed a most revolting exhibition. On 
the day before the battle, some twenty Sioux joined by a few Menom- 
onees, encamped on an island opposite Prairie du Chien. The Sioux 
had information that a party from the Fox village at Dubuque were to 
visit Prairie du Chien, and would encamp for the night near the 
mouth of the Wisconsin river. That afternoon the Sioux party 


descended the Mississippi and hid in thick bushes near where their 
victims would encamp. Between sunset and dark, the unsuspecting 
Foxes — one old chief, one squaw, a boy of fourteen years, and fifteen 
warriors — came up and disembarked. After they had landed and 
were carrying their effects on shore leaving their guns and warclubs in 
the canoes, the party in ambush sprang to their feet and fired upon the 
Foxes. All were slain, except the boy, who escaped down the river. 
Hands, feet, ears, and scalps were cut off, and the heart of the 
chief cut from his breast, as trophies. The next day the victors, 
accompanied by a few squaws, paraded the streets with drum and 
rattle, displaying on poles the scalps and dismembered fragments of 
their victims. The whole party was painted in various colors, wore 
feathers, and carried their tomahawks, warclubs, and scalping knives. 
Stopping in front of the principal houses in the village, they danced 
the war-dance and the scalp-dance with their characteristic yells. The 
mangled limbs were still fresh and bleeding; one old squaw carried 
on a pole the hand with a strip of skin from the arm of a murdered 
man, she keeping up the death-song and joining in the scalp-dance. 
After this exhibition, which lasted two or three hours, the warriors 
went to a small mound, about two hundred yards from Mr Rolette's 
residence, made a fire, roasted the heart of the old chief, and divided it 
into small pieces among the warriors, who devoured it. 

"This occurred in a town of six hundred inhabitants, under the 
walls of the United States garrison, within musket shot of the fort. 
Neither civil nor military authority made any effort to prevent it. In 
the afternoon the Sioux embarked in their canoes to return to their 
village. Not long afterward a war party formed in the Fox village 
to avenge the murder. Wailings and lamentations for the dead gave 
way to savage yells. With blackened faces, chanting the death-song, 
the party entered their canoes. Arriving at the bluffs opposite Prairie 
du Chien they discovered a Menomonee encampment spread out on the 
ground, nearly under the guns of Fort Crawford. The Foxes lay in 
ambush till midnight, when, girded with tomahawk and scalping knife, 
they swam the river and stole upon the foe. In the first lodge an old 
chief sat by a smouldering fire, smoking his pipe in sleepy silence. 
They dispatched him without making a disturbance, and pursued their 
bloody work from lodge to lodge, until the whole encampment, with 
the women and children, met the same fate. Then with a yell of sat- 
isfaction and revenge they took to the canoes of their victims, bearing 
aloft the trophies of victory. Upon reaching their village, they held 
their orgies and danced the scalp-dance. But fearing a swift retalia- 
tion, they concluded to abandon their village, and seek a safer place 
among the bands of their tribe, and near the Sacs. They settled where 
the city of Davenport now stands. Eye-witnesses reported seeing 
them as they came down past Rock Island, their canoes lashed side by 
side, the heads and scalps of their enemies set upon poles. They 
landed with shouts of triumph, singing war-songs, displaying the 
scalps and ghastly faces of the slain. The new village was called 
Morgan, after their chief, a half-breed of the Scotch and Fox blood." 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 4I 


1 This continued warfare proved that the boundary Une was totally 
ineffective as a barrier and, at the same time it made it more difficult 
to bring the Indians together for any friendly settlement of their 
troubles. This was at last arranged, however, and the chiefs of all 
the Indian tribes of this region were assembled in one of the greatest 
Indian gatherings ever held in the northwest, at Prairie du Chien, in 
July, 1830. The great council preceding this treaty lasted for several 
days and was accompanied by feasting, dancing, games and races. 
The councils were held with all solemnity and with rigid adherence to 
Indian etiquette. The council was presided over by General William 
Clark and not only the Indians, but the foremost men among the trad- 
ers were present. As a result of this gathering the Sacs and Foxes 
ceded to the United States a strip twenty miles in width south of the 
imaginary boundary line which commenced at the mouth of the Upper 
Iowa and extended across the state, and the Sioux ceded a twenty- 
mile strip, north of the same line. This gave the United States pos- 
session of a strip forty miles wide which came to be known as "The 
Neutral Ground." 

The Neutral Ground played an important part in the history of 
Clayton county, it was the northern boundary of the county as first 
formed, and it included a portion of the county as it now is. While 
the United States came into ownership of this land, it was with the 
understanding that it was to be devoted entirely to the use of the 
Indians, the purpose being, as the name indicated, to have a tract, 
owned by the government, which should serve as a barrier between 
the hostile tribes. ) It was predicted that game would disappear from 
this district within a short time and the United States agreed to pay 
each of the contracting tribes from $2,000 to $3,000 annually for 
ten years. It was further agreed that agriculture was to be promoted, 
the Indians supplied with blacksmiths, iron, and farm implements, and 
their children were to be educated. Nathan Boone, son of the famous 
Daniel Boone, headed the party which surveyed this tract, beginning 
their work in April, 1832, and completing the northern line in about 
two months. He had just started on the southern line and had pro- 
ceeded some two miles west of the Mississippi, when the outbreak of 
the Black Hawk war caused him to stop and the work was not finished 
until the latter part of 1833. 

Joseph M. Street, Indian agent, accompanied the surveying party 
for a time and he writes the first intimate description of Clayton 
county of which we have record, giving a picture of the county as it 
was before the inroads of American settlers, Mr. Street says: "I 
passed through the country, and joined the surveyors near the Red 
Cedars river. Went to the extreme western boundary of the cession 
at Red Cedar, and examined the country on that river, the Wa-pee-sa- 
pee-nee-can, and Turkey river, and its two principal branches, the 
Yellow and Gerrard (Giard) rivers. Taking a ride through the coun- 
try south of Gerrard river, between the Mississippi and Turkey rivers, 
I was out seventeen days, during which time I saw a part of the pur- 
chase from the Sioux and passed through the (Black Hawk) pur- 


chase from the Sacs and Foxes in numerous directions. "On Turkey 
river, and the whole distance to within a mile of the Mississippi, is a 
fine agricultural country, and the prairies not very large. There are 
considerable bodies of valuable timber on Turkey, Yellow and Gerrard 
rivers, and the shores of the Mississippi. I never rode through a 
country so full of game. The hunter who accompanied me, though 
living most of his time in the woods, expressed his astonishment at the 
abundance of all kinds of game, except buffalo ; and the surveyors 
saw and killed many of these about thirty or forty miles west of Red 
Cedar, on the same purchase. Elk and deer are abundant in the 
prairies, and bear in the woodland. The sign of fur animals, particu- 
larly rats and otters, is considerable on all the streams and ponds, and 
very abundant on the Wa-pee-sa-pee-nee-can and Turkey rivers. It 
is a beautiful and fertile country, and, with a little attention to agricul- 
ture, is capable of sustaining the whole Winnebago nation ; and if the 
proper measures are pursued, and inducements held out to the Indians, 
in a few years many hundreds will be settled in that country, producing 
thousands of bushels of grain and potatoes, and the cry of distress will 
no longer assail the ears of the government. The country abounds with 
fine mill streams, and situations for mills with abundance of rock are 
frequent. If a mill was built, and the Indians learnt to raise wheat, 
they would in a few years grow a sufficiency in this country for the 
sustainance of the whole nation and live in great plenty." 

In 1832, prior to this trip by agent Street, a treaty had been made 
with the Winnebagoes, who were dissatisfied with their reservation 
east of the Mississippi and where the lands were coveted by the 
settlers. By this treaty the Winnebagoes were to occupy the Neutral 
Ground as far west as the Red Cedar. After having made this treaty 
the Winnebagoes were dissatisfied with its terms and wished to remain 
in their old homes. In this course they were encouraged by "King 
Rolette" who feared the loss of trade for the fur company. There 
was sharp dissension between Street and Rolette and the latter sought 
to impugn Street's motives. He wrote to the governor of Michigan 
Territory urging that the Winnebagoes be allowed to remain on the 
Wisconsin, and saying that Street was interested on account of the 
fact that his son owned a store at Prairie du Chien which would be 
benefited. Street was in reality an earnest, honest man and a real 
friend of the Indians. He proposed the building of a school-house 
and a model farm for the benefit of the Indians and stated "that the 
rapacious hands of the traders and the heartless speculators had 
reduced the Winnebagoes to slavery." The fur company agents 
together with the whiskey vendors vowed Street would be defeated in 
his program but, in August, 1833, an order was issued for the building 
"of a comfortable log school-house, west of the Mississippi, out of 
reach of the fatal whiskey traffic." In the autumn of 1833 Winnebago 
families numbering sixty-eight persons established themselves at an old 
Sac village near the Mouth of Turkey river, and others settled farther 
north. In the meantime white settlers were seizing the best sites for 
farms and towns, and both the Sioux and the Sacs and Fox Indians 
objected to any strangers occupying the Neutral Ground. The Winne- 
bagoes were, therefore, frightened away and returned to their old home 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 43 

across the Mississippi. In 1835 several hundred Winnebagoes 
re-occupied the territory but they left again in 1836. During the next 
few years the Winnebagoes lingered on the east bank of the Mississippi 
in a state of idle drunkenness, loitering about the villages, committing 
depredations upon the settlers, stealing horses and killing cattle and 
hogs. In 1839, some progress had been made in transferring the Indi- 
ans to Iowa. Two Shilling's band lived near the new Winnebago 
school on the Yellow river; and Little Priest's and Whirling Thunder's 
bands were near the new farm fifteen miles west. It was not until 
1840, that the government took energetic measures to force the Winne- 
bagoes to move to the Neutral Ground. General Henry Atkinson was 
commissioned for this work and a post was established near the mouth 
of Spring Creek, Winneshiek county, and named Camp Atkinson. 
Company F of the Fifth U. S. Infantry furnished the garrison which 
was soon increased by Company B of the First U. S. Dragoons, making 
the garrison of Fort Atkinson number about 160. Substantial buildings of 
stone were erected and the military road which runs through the north 
part of this county was constructed from Fort Atkinson to the Missis- 
sippi river opposite Fort Crawford, at a cost of $90,000. The presence 
of this military force was deemed necessary not only to transfer and 
control the Winnebagoes, but to protect them from the whiskey of the 
whites and the tomahawks of the Sioux and the Sacs and Foxes. More 
than forty Winnebagoes were murdered by the Sacs and Foxes in this 
region during this time. Rev. David Lowry who, with agent Street, 
was a real friend of the Indians, was established as head of a govern- 
ment school in the neighborhood of Fort Atkinson. This school was 
established by Street in 1835. When four yoke of oxen and two 
horses were brought to the farm near the Winnebago school, south of 
the Neutral Grounds, near the Mississippi river, the machinations of 
Street's enemies caused his removal, and it was not until 1837 that any 
progress was made on the farm. David Lowry reported the crops for 
1838 as consisting of 500 bushels of corn, 1,000 bushels of potatoes 
and 1,500 bushels of turnips. This farm, and the school under Rev. 
Lowry, grew to considerable proportions and were of great value to 
the Indians. Lowry was removed by President Tyler in 1844, and 
James McGregor, Jr., became the agent at the station near Fort Atkin- 
son. He found the Indians very generally under the influence of 
whiskey and in a state of great insubordination: they had largely 
exchanged their annuity provisions for liquor and had shot two cows 
and an ox not belonging to them. It was not until 1847 that the Win- 
nebagoes were induced to sell their Iowa land, and it was not until 
1849, eleven years after this county was organized, that the Winne- 
bagoes were removed to their new home in Minnesota and Fort Atkin- 
son was abandoned. While Fort Atkinson was not in this county and 
while, in 1837, the Indians had surrendered their rights over the 
Neutral Ground for the twenty miles just west of the Mississippi, 
nevertheless their presence and their depredations affected all the white 
settlers in this county during the first years of its history and greatly 
retarded the settlement of the north tier of townships. The fine mili- 
tary road, however, was a legacy of the Indian times which greatly 
aided in the prosperity of McGregor and Clayton at a later date. 



All that part of Clayton county not in the Neutral Grounds was 
a part of the Black Hawk Purchase. At the beginning of the century, 
the Sacs and Foxes dominated western Illinois and southern Wisconsin 
and eastern Iowa. Their main village was at Rock Island, and Illinois 
was their favorite hunting ground. In 1804 certain chiefs of the 
nation entered into a treaty with the United States at St. Louis by 
which all their lands east of the Mississippi were ceded to the United 
States for a paltry sum. The government always contended that this 
was a bona fide treaty and insisted that the Indians live up to its terms. 
The Indians claimed that this treaty was signed by a few unauthorized 
chiefs who were purposely made drunken at the time, that the com- 
pensation was wholly inadequate, that the United States violated the 
treaty by the establishment of forts on the west side of the Mississippi 
and by taking possession of land in Illinois before the time set by the 
treaty, and that no such cession could have been made without the 
knowledge and consent of all of the chiefs. 

It was dissatisfaction over this treaty, of 1804, which led Black 
Hawk and many of the Sacs and Foxes to join with the British during 
the war of 1812. In 1816, Black Hawk signed a treaty but again 
insisted that the terms were misrepresented and that he did not know he 
was to relinquish his village in Illinois. Matters came to a head in 
1 83 1 when Black Hawk undertook to reoccupy the old home in Illinois 
from which he had been driven. Regular soldiers and volunteers 
under General James took the Indians by surprise, defeated them and 
forced the treaty ceding all lands east of the Mississippi. Black Hawk 
was forced to cross to the west side of the river but, in 1832, he again 
entered Illinois at the head of a large number of braves. Black 
Hawk's army was well disciplined and he showed great generalship and 
succeeded in defeating the Americans under Major Stillman. This 
defeat caused great consternation throughout the entire country and a 
strong military force was sent against Black Hawk. In a fierce 
engagement, fought at Bad-axe, on the Rock river, the Indians were 
badly defeated, losing 300 killed. Black Hawk with a party of twenty 
braves retreated up the Wisconsin river, but the Winnebagoes, under 
the direction of the One-eyed Decorah, captured him and deHvered him 
to his enemies. This ended the Black Hawk war and made effective 
the treaty of 1832. 

In this Black Hawk war the whites lost about 200 killed and the 
Indians about 500, men, women, and children. Black Hawk was 
retained as a hostage and was in prison for several years, while 
Keokuk, who was hated and despised by Black Hawk's followers, was 
rewarded with a large tract of land known as "Keokuk's Reserve." 

By the terms of the treaty of 1832, the Sacs and Foxes ceded a 
strip of land fifty miles wide, from the northern boundary of Missouri 
to the mouth of the Upper Iowa. The western boundary paralleled 
the Mississippi and the whole tract contained about 6,000,000 acres. 
The consideration was the payment of $20,000 annually for thirty 
years and the payment of the indebtedness of the Indians to Davenport 
and Farnhan, representatives of the American Fur Company. The 

EARLIEST HISTORY — 1673-1833 45 

government also gave thirty-five beef cattle, twelve bushels of salt, 
thirty barrels of pork, fifty barrels of flour and six thousand bushels of 
corn to the women and children whose husbands and fathers had fallen 
in the Black Hawk war. This treaty was concluded at Davenport, 
September 21, 183c; it was ratified February 13, 1833, and took effect 
on the first of June following. It was in this wise that the United 
States completed its title to the ownership of what, later, became east- 
em Iowa. This was gained, first, by the Louisiana Purchase from the 
French, and second, by the Black Hawk Purchase, from the Indians. 


\ After years of strife and warfare the Indians had been subdued 
and had yielded the rich lands west of the Mississippi to their con- 
querors. It was known that these lands were to be had for the asking. 
Many adventurous spirits had already crossed the river, both as pros- 
pectors and as traders. They had brought back with them glowing 
accounts, which we know, now, were not exaggerated, of the rich and 
fertile soil, the abundance of animal life, the splendid forests and the 
beautiful streams. 

What wonder is it then, that the eastern shores of the Mississippi, 
from Prairie du Chien to a point opposite Fort Madison, were lined 
with people eagerly awaiting the opening of the new territory. These 
men, many of them with their families, resided in temporary quarters 
ready for the rush to the Black Hawk strip. It was a time such as 
was later witnessed in Oklahoma when the lands of the Indian territory 
were opened for settlement ; and, just as in those days, there were 
"Sooners" who could not wait for the formal opening and who wished 
to gain advantage by having the first choice of location. As soon as 
the treaty was made, in 1832, white settlers pushed their way across 
the river, although it was known that the treaty had not been ratified 
and would not go into efifect until later. Many of these settlers made 
improvements, and deemed it a great hardship and injustice when the 
United States troops compelled them to recross the river. Moreover, 
none of these lands had been surveyed and those who first came were 
unable to make any definite location, and were mere squatters upon the 
land. In some counties this caused much trouble and led to organiza- 
tions of squatters, pledged not to bid on each other's claims when they 
were sold as government lands. This coming of the settlers before the 
lands were to be relinquished under the terms of treaty, was very dis- 
tasteful to the Indians, who regarded it as a breach of faith and who 
resented it by many overt acts against the settlers. At Dubuque partic- 
ularly, was it difficult to restrain the whites who were eager to get 
possession of the veins of lead ore. As it was known that these min- 
eral deposits also existed along Turkey river it is safe to presume that 
this region, also, was prospected over and possibly located upon, before 
the time fixed for settlement by the United States. This country has 
been the scene of many such wild rushes for land, but never was any 
country settled more quickly and by a better and more law-abiding 
people, than was eastern Iowa. ^ 

It has been the eflfort of the preceding pages to follow the history 


of Iowa, as a whole, and of Clayton county, in particular, from the date 
of its discovery by Marquette to the time when, through the processes 
of law and of nature and of warfare, it was ready to step forth into the 
glorious sunlight of American citizenship. It has been the effort to 
picture the virgin forests and the unruffled prairie and to recall to life 
the wandering redskin, the devout missionary, the crafty traders and 
the valiant men at arms who struggled, at this very outpost of civih- 
zation, to maintain the honor and glory of the flag for which they 
fought. Looking upon the quiet waters of the Mississippi, devoted 
now to ways of commerce and of peace, it is hard to realize that its 
current was reddened by the blood of Frenchman and Spaniard, Briton 
and American and that it was the scene of massacre and Indian 
treacheries : that grim forts frowned from its shores, that gunboats 
plowed its waters, that its hills resounded with the shouts of war par- 
ties and its bosom was bright with gaudily decked canoes. And, now, 
we have come to a time no less picturesque, and of much greater value 
to mankind. We are to see the log cabin where stood the wigwam, we 
are to hear the shouts of the woodsman take the place of the warhoop, 
the sound of the axe and the crash of falling trees, are to supplant the 
sharp crack of the Indian rifle, the grist mill is to stand upon the site 
of the beaver dam and out of the chaos and the wreckage of the past 
is to arise a great, intelligent and powerful civilization, born in hard- 
ship, nursed by toil, cultivated by self-denial, strengthened by adver- 
sity, matured by experience, cemented by the blood of Civil War and 
perfected by the love of God and country. 


LOG CABIN DAYS— 1833-1840 






THE first of what may be called the genuine American settlement 
of Clayton county occurred in the years 1832 and 1833. The 
Black Hawk Purchase was not open for legal settlement, and no 
claims could be definitely located until after the government survey 
which was completed in the fall of the latter year. 

Before the treaty with Black Hawk was ratified, however, the 
eastern shore of the Mississippi was fairly lined with eager pioneers, 
excited by the reports of the richness of Iowa soil, and each desiring 
to obtain for himself the best location. These would-be settlers 
awaited at Prairie du Chien, at Cassville, which expected to become 
the great metropolis of Wisconsin, at Galena, at Rock Island and all 
down the river to the Missouri line. 

It is impossible to believe that these men tamely abided on the east 
bank of the river with only the stream between them and the promised 
land, without making many trips of exploration. We have a record of 
a few of these incursions into Iowa soil, but as they were under the ban 
of the United States which wished to protect the Indians until the time 
agreed upon for them to leave their land, these bold, but peaceful, invad- 
ers took more pains to suppress the record of these trips than to make 
them public or to preserve them. There were clashes between troops and 
would-be settlers in the vicinity of Davenport and Dubuque. At these 
places the whites were driven back across the river in 1832 and the 
cabins which they had erected were destroyed. The white man who 
visited Clayton county in 1832 did so at the peril of his life, for he was 
subject to attack both by the troops and by the Indians who fiercely 
resented the coming of the white man. 

It is for the above reasons that it is particularly hard to say who 
was the first settler in Clayton county. Those coming in 1832 gave the 
matter no publicity ; and, in 1833, there was a grand rush of settlers to 
every portion of the Black Hawk Purchase, including Clayton county. 
We know that James L. Langworthy, later a prominent citizen of 


Dubuque, crossed the river, in 1829, and, with two young Fox guides 
explored all the region between the Maquoketa and Turkey rivers, but 
he was attracted chiefly by the lead mines and for some time. Col. 
Zachary Taylor, later President of the United States, who was then 
stationed at Fort Crawford, had his hands full in keeping the white 
men from the Indian mines. Jefiferson Davis, later the President of 
the Confederacy, was another officer, stationed at Fort Crawford, who 
patroled this region to prevent white settlement. It is recorded of 
Davis that he was mild in his treatment of the settlers and was able, 
in most instances, to get them to move back across the river without 
resorting to force. While these clashes between the troops and settlers 
occurred chiefly at Dubuque it may be taken for granted that settle- 
ments were prevented in Clayton county as well. 

In 1882, a very excellent history of Clayton county was published 
under the direction of a committee of the Pioneer Society of the 
county. The committee having this in charge consisted of such men as 
Samuel Murdock, Michael Uriell, Reuben Noble, Alva C. Rogers, 
Benjamin P. Rawson, James O. Crosby and James Schroeder. There 
were also a number of men interested in each township and this work 
may be taken as authority, except where the record brings new facts to 
light. It is a splendid commentary upon the value of such history that 
no copies of this work, now thirty-four years old, are for sale and 
that they can only be borrowed upon binding promise of return. There 
are but comparatively few copies of this book in existence and it is, 
frankly, one of the purposes of this later day history to preserve, in 
new form, the best of the old history and to complete it and bring it 
down to date. No apologies are offered, therefore, for quoting this 
older history freely and for using it as authority. 

There is much question as to who was the first actual settler of 
Clayton county. There seems to be no question but that the first settle- 
ment was made in the vicinity of Millville on the Turkey river, and 
the date is 1833. The history of 1882 credits William W. Wayman 
as the first permanent settler and states that he settled on what was 
afterwards known as the Lander farm, on the north side of Turkey 
river, about four miles from its mouth, nearly opposite Millville. It 
is stated that Robert Hetfield and W. W. Wayman located here and 
that Wm. D. Grant located nearby, on what was afterward known as 
the Pearson farm. It is stated, however, that previously there had 
been a cabin at the mouth of Turkey river. This cabin was used as a 
ferry house and the name of the owner is not known. 

Senator Robert Quigley, of McGregor, is authority for the state- 
ment that his father, Joseph B. Quigley, migrated from Amherst, Ohio, 
and reached Cassville in 1832, and that in that year he crossed the Mis- 
sissippi and prospected for a location near Millville. In 1833, he 
located at Millville, having with him R. H. Hetfield, Dan Beasley and 
William Grant. The four men worked together and Quigley and 
Grant being fine mechanics they soon had a log cabin erected and a 
sawmill in operation on the Turkey river. Later a grist mill was 
built. Mr. Quigley returned for a brief time to Cassville and then 
came to his new cabin home bringing his young wife with him and 
together they shared the many hardships of the pioneer days. Among 

LOG CABIN DAYS 1833-184O 49 

those who settled near him at that time were Col. Landers, Capt. 
Springer, Henry Redmon, and Solomon Wadsworth. 

Eliphalet Price first came to the county in 1834, returning in 1835 
with C. S. Edson, the first surveyor of the county. In 1836, the erec- 
tion of a sawmill on the Little Turkey is told, built by a Mr. Finley, 
and Luther Patch is mentioned as the sawyer. Thomas Clinton, and 
Martin, Moses and Jacob Van Syckle came to the county, in 1833, 
settling in Mallory township. Cyrus Henderson was also one of the 
early settlers, coming to Clayton county, in January, 1835, and settling 
in Millville township. His brother John wh/O accompanied him to 
this county, in 1835, died in 1836 and is said to have been the first 
white man buried in Clayton county. Among the men who arrived in 
1836, and who left a deep impress upon the history of the county were 
the following : Dr. Frederick Andros, Dr. Andros was the first settler 
in Garnavillo township. He was a native of Massachusetts and came 
here from Dubuque. He resided at Garnavillo until 1865 when he 
removed to McGregor. He was a strong and capable man and a skill- 
ful physician and his name will appear many times as we proceed with 
this history. Another man destined to be prominent in the county was 
John W. Gillett. Elisha Boardman, the founder of Elkader, came to 
the county, in 1836, together with Horace D. Bronson, and a Mr. 
Hastings. Hastings began the erection of a sawmill on Otter creek 
near the present town of Elgin, but he was soon driven away by the 
hostile Winnebagoes and left the country. Boardman staked a claim 
and built a cabin where the depot at Elkader now stands. Here he 
lived with his intimate friend H. D. Bronson for a number of years. 
The township of Boardman is named in his honor and he and his 
descendants were honored men in this county for many years. 

Willard Knight was another of the strong men who came in 1836, 
as was a Mr. McMaster who came to the county with Gillett and was 
in partnership with him for several years. Samuel B. Peck was a 
pioneer of 1836, settling in Mallory township on the Turkey river, at 
what was later known as Peck's Ferry, as he ran the first flat-boat 
across the Turkey river at that point. Levi Springer was one of the 
pioneers of Millville township, coming in 1836. He was prominent in 
the early history and was one of those who enlisted in Captain Parker's 
company of mounted infantry which was stationed at Fort Atkinson, 
during the Mexican war, to take the place of the regulars who were 
sent to the front, and to guard against Indian depredations. Jacob 
Springer also came to Millville township, in 1837, and was also a mem- 
ber of Captain Parker's company. 

The year 1838 witnessed the coming of additional pioneers. 
Among them were John Downie who settled in Boardman township 
and who was one of the first county commissioners. J. A. McClellan 
was an 1838 arrival. He lived near Garnavillo and had been a captain 
in the War of 1812, serving under Gen. Harrison in the battles of 
Tippecanoe and Fort Meigs. He served a stormy year as clerk of the 
District Courts in 1847. Jo^^ Post and Elias Meisner settled in Read 
township, in 1838. 

It was in the spring of 1839 that there came to this county a family 
destined to have a powerful influence upon this history. This was the 


family of Mrs. Mary Uriell. Mrs. Uriell was a brave Irish widow and 
with her three sons, Patrick, Michael and John, she came to America 
with bold confidence in God, in the opportunities of the new land and 
in the strong right arms of herself and her stalwart boys. The descend- 
ants of this notable family are now scattered throughout Clayton 
county and are numbered among our best citizens. Michael Uriell was 
a powerful factor in the later history of the county. Asa W. Gifford 
and his wife, Hulda, came to Boardman township, in 1839, bringing 
with them their son G. L. Gifford who was to become a prominent citi- 
zen of Littleport. Another man destined to become prominent and 
very dearly beloved, who came to the county in 1839, was Robert R. 
Read of whom we shall hear much later and a sketch of whose life 
will appear in this volume. William Schulte was among the earliest of 
the German pioneers settling in Garnavillo township in 1839 ; he him- 
self was prominent in the affairs of the county until his death in 1878 
and his descendants are among our honored citizens. Allen E. Wanzer 
also came in 1839 ^^^ established himself on the farm which he called 
"Bogus Hollow". He was better known as a landlord than as a 
farmer, however, and he was "Mine host" at the Banfill Hotel at Gar- 
navillo and at "Father's House" at McGregor, and his taverns were 
noted for good cheer. 

In 1834, Iowa was a part of Michigan Territory. In 1836, it was 
a part of Wisconsin Territory and at this time a census of the territory 
was ordered. As Clayton was the northern-most county, all the unor- 
ganized territory was included, in this census, under the head of Clay- 
ton county, and in all the vast territory which was attached to Clayton 
county for governmental purposes and which extended north to the 
British boundary and west to the Rockies, the total population was 
given as three hundred and fifty-four. Among the other settlers prior 
to 1840 may be named J. W. Jones and Henry Redmon, Isaac Preston, 
Cap. Park, Robert Campbell, George Jones, Warren Cooley, Henry 
Sanders, Ambrose Kennedy, John Griffith, Edward Dickens, Jack 
Cortright, whose murder was one of the first crimes to stir the county, 
Richard Holtzbecker, who, as sheriff, was killed in a duel with 
James A. McClellan at Prairie la Porte ; Frank Emerson, Dudley Peck, 
James W. Walker, Herman Greybill, the pioneer of Prairie la Porte 
and the Olmstead Brothers who were the pioneers of Monona, and 
D. F. Bickel, Herman Schnsider, Conrad Helwig, Henry Froelich, 
Conrad Hartwig, Charles Hemple, pioneers of Giard township. 

These men and others whose names are not now known, together 
with their families, constituted the dramatis personae of the great 
miracle play by which the wilderness was transformed into the Clayton 
county as we know it today. 

One of the earliest settlers in Iowa speaks in this wise of the char- 
acteristics of the pioneers : "Mostly young men, without families, who 
have left the paternal roof in the older states in search of homes on the 
frontier, there to work out their own way in life's battles and toils. 
The young pioneer is not encumbered with extra baggage ; with a gun 
and knife, a bake-pan, tin cup, some corn meal and bacon, all packed on 
his back, he explores the country on foot. He selects his claim, builds 

LOG CABIN DAYS — 1833-184O 5 1 

a rude log cabin, cooks his coarse food and freely shares his scanty 
supply with any traveler who came along." 


There is practically no written history of Clayton county prior to 
1838. All that we have are the reminiscences of early settlers which 
will be given in added chapters, and these reminiscences are, with the 
best of intent, apt to be contradictory and confused, for no two men see 
events alike nor is the human memory infallible. 

First Courts. — During these first years Iowa passed from the con- 
trol of Michigan Territory to that of Wisconsin Territory and in 1838, 
the Governor appointed John W. Griffith, as sheriflf of Clayton county 
with instructions to summon jurors for a term of the District Court to 
be held at Prairie la Porte, Clayton county, Wisconsin Territory, on 
May 4, 1838. Hon. Charles Dunn presided at this first court of justice 
in Clayton county. William H. Banks was attorney for the United 
States and James Churchman was district attorney. F. Andros acted as 
clerk and was later appointed Clerk of the District Court. The grand 
jurors were Elisha Boardman, foreman, Ava Dunn, William D. Grant, 
C. R. Hill, W. W. Wayman, Allen Carpenter, H. D. Bronson, William 
Rowan, Luther Mead, Daniel Bugley, G. W. Jones, S. Wadsworth, 
H. Redman, Edward Dickens, David Springer, Dean Gay, and 
Eliphalet Price. The petit jurors were William McDowell, Ambrose 
Kennedy, A. S. Cooley, Nathan Springer, Andrew Whitaker, Martin 
VanSickle, Herman Graybill, Mathew Peck, Baldwin Olmstead, David 
Hastings, Willard Knight, Eliot Adams, William Walker, Samuel 
Goss, C. S. Edson, Samuel McMasters, D. C. VanSickle, William 
Harper, William Beasley, John Gillett, H. T. Lander, Dudley Peck, L 
H. Preston, and Robert Hatfield. These comprised nearly all of the 
mature and reputable population of the county and there is little won- 
der that there was no business to be transacted, except to draw the 
necessary warrants for the payment of those in attendance. 

Several of the pioneers did not respond to the summons of the 
sheriff, among them being James Henderson, Nahum Dudley, Robert 
Campbell, and James Brown. These men were solemnly fined ten 
dollars each for contempt of court, which fines were as solemnly remit- 
ted at the September, 1838, term of court, over which Judge T. S. 
Wilson presided. This was the first court held in this county after the 
territory of Iowa was formed. 


In the vault of the county auditor there is an old leather bound 
volume still well preserved but with pages yellow with age. It contains 
the first record of the county commissioners of Clayton county and 
the first entry is dated at Prairie la Porte October 15, 1838, and merely 
states that a meeting of the commissioners was held. 


William D. Grant, Robert Campbell, and George Culver were the 
first county commissioners for Clayton county. Their first work was the 


appointment of John W. Griffith as assessor and of George W. Jones, 
Allen Carpenter and Baldwin Olmstead as "rode" commissioners. For 
election purposes, precincts were organized, the first embracing prac- 
tically what is now Buena Vista township, so that this may rightly be 
considered the first township in the county, although it was then 
unnamed. Elections in this precinct were to be held at the house of 
Henry Holtzbecker. The second precinct included the present town- 
ships of Millville, Mallory, Elk, Volga, Jefferson, Read, Garnavillo and 
part of Clayton and the elections were to be held at the house of Her- 
man Graybill, at Prairie la Porte. The third district included the north 
part of Clayton township extending west to include Farmersburg, Wag- 
ner and Marion townships and thence north and east along the line oi 
the Black Hawk Purchase to the Mississippi river thus making it in- 
clude all of the north part of the county, not included in the Neutral 
Ground, and a portion of what is now Allemakee county. Elections 
were to be held at the home of Jesse Daudly. The fourth election pre- 
cinct embraced the six townships in the southwest part of the county 
and elections were to be held at Boardman's Mill. Ambrose Kennedy 
(or Canada, as it is spelled in the original record), was appointed com- 
missioner of common schools for the first precinct, Herman Graybill for 
the second, Jesse Daudly for the third and John Downie for the fourth. 
This meeting of the commissioners saw the county fairly organized; 
court had been held, there was a sheriff and an assessor and provisions 
had been made both for the holding of elections and for schools. 


This meeting of the commissioners was held subsequent to the 
taking of the first census of the county by J. W. Griffith. According 
to this census, taken in May, 1838, there were 181 males and 93 
females living in Clayton county, giving a total of 274. The following 
is the list of the heads of the families and male adults, and this must 
be taken as the most authentic statement of the pioneers living in 
Clayton county at that time. The list is as follows : 

J. W. Griffith, Robert Campbell, Elias Miller, Dudley Peck, David 
Springer, Luther Patch, Eliphalet Price, Henry Redman, Thomas 
VanSyckle, S. Wadsworth, James Henderson, George W. Jones, 
Luther Mead, H. T. Lander, S. L. Tainter, A. S. Cooley, A. Kennedy, 
William Harper, C. S. Edson, Herman Graybill, William Warner, 
Patton McMullen, Robert Hatfield, Reuben Decus, H. D. Bronson, 
Frederick Andros, S. McMasters, Allen Carpenter, David Lowry, 
Bradford Porter, Jacob Lemmons, Henry Johnson, John Frost, Henry 
Warner, Jesse Daudley, E. Boardman, William W. Wayman, Nathan 
Dudley, E. R. Hill, Baldwin Olmstead, D. C. VanSyckle, William D. 
Grant, Samuel Johnson, Mr. McCraney, E. E. Oliver, William Walker, 
Jacob F. Redman, F. L. Rodolph, Charles Latrance, S. La Point, Peter 
La Point, Mr. Burns. 

This census was followed by an election Sept. 10, 1838. There 
were two polling places, one at Winchester, at the mouth of the Turkey 
river and one at Prairie la Porte. The first county officers were. 
Commissioners, William D. Grant, Robert Campbell and George 

LOG CABIN DAYS 1833-184O 53 

Culver; Treasurer, Ambrose Kennedy; Recorder, Frederick Andros; 
Sheriff and Assessor, John W. Griffith; Probate Judge, S. H. 
McMasters ; Supreme Court Commissioner, WiUiam W. Wayman ; 
Surveyor, C. S. Edson ; Coroner, J. B. Quigley. Concerning the first 
election Hon. Eliphalet Price, many years later gave the following 
amusing account : 


The first election held in that part of Dubuque county now known 
as the County of Clayton, took place on the first Monday in September, 
1836, at the residence of Robert Hatfield, on the Turkey river, which 
residence was situated about three miles from the mouth of the river, 
looming up with log cabins' stateliness, solitary and alone, in the very 
heart of the town of Winchester. Among the many proprietors of 
the town of Winchester, was the Hon. John S. Horner, who was at 
that time acting Governor of Wisconsin, whose boundaries then 
embraced the present State of Iowa. At this election a delegate to 
Congress and five members of the Territorial Legislature were to be 
chosen. The candidates for Congress were George Meeker and George 
W. Jones. Both of these persons resided upon the east side of the Mis- 
sissippi. The judges of the election were Edward Dickens, John H. 
Griffith and Henry Redman : the clerks were William W. Wayman and 
Eliphalet Price. It was believed that every voter residing at that time 
in what is now known as the County of Clayton, was there on that day, 
and exercised his right of suffrage. The whole number of votes cast 
was thirty-one : of these Meeker received twenty-eight and Jones three. 
Nearly every voter was dressed in buckskin, and appeared upon the 
ground with a rifle upon his shoulder : and of the whole number that 
voted, but seven had ever exercised that right on any previous occa- 


Whatever may be said of the voters, they at least knew what they 
wanted and the elections were entirely nonpartisan. At a called meet- 
ing of the commissioners held in November a tax was levied, bonds of 
county officers approved and the following election officers appointed 
for the ensuing year: David Springer, H. T. Lander, Henry 
Holtzbecker, for precinct one. John Gillett, Patton McMullen and 
Baldwin Olmstead for number two. Jesse Daudley, Allen Carpenter 
and C. S. Edson for number three. No election officers were appointed 
for precinct four. 

At the meeting of the board held in January, 1839, two important 
actions were taken. What are now known as Elk and Volga town- 
ships were set aside as election precinct number five, elections to be 
held at the house of George Culver and the officers to be George 
Culver, W. W. Wayman and Baldwin Olmstead. Horace Bronson 
was made a judge in precinct two to replace Olmstead who was in the 
new fifth precinct. The second, and more important, act was the 
ordering of the road commissioners to meet with the road commission- 
ers of Dubuque county at the home of Martin VanSickle to lay out 
the territorial road where it crossed the county line. Dean Gay acted 


as clerk of the board at this session. His name does not appear in the 
census list of 1838 and he is rarely mentioned by the pioneers, although 
he seems to have been clerk of the board for a short time. We know, 
however, that he was at one time a sergeant in the regular army and 
stationed at Fort Crawford. 

The first license for the sale of ardent liquors in this county was 
issued by Dean Gay, as clerk, to Peter Legree on March 19, 1839, and 
was granted "according to the last act of the Wisconsin Legislature". 
Clayton county was at that time a part of Iowa Territory and not of 
Wisconsin and it is an open question as to whether Gay did not know 
of this, or whether, in the absence of an Iowa statute governing, he 
was forced to use that of Wisconsin as the best that he could do. 

April 8, 1839, ^he board met and appointed Nathan Dudley, asses- 
sor ; it also ordered the road commissioners to meet in June and locate 
a road from the south line of the county to Prairie du Chien, and C. S. 
Edson was ordered to survey the same. This was the first road ordered 
by the county commissioners. 

On the 24th day of May, 1839, William D. Grant and Robert 
Campbell met, as commissioners, to survey land for the location of the 
county seat. During the remainder of the official year no official busi- 
ness is recorded, save the issuance of licenses to James A. McClellan 
for the sale of groceries and liquors, "not less quantity that a quart" 
at Prairie la Porte. Fifteen dollars was the sum charged. The first 
ferry licenses were issued by this board. The first issued was to 
William Walker to "keep a ferry across from the mouth of Turkey 
river to Cassville for the sum of $5 for one year." The second was 
issued to Louis Massey of St. Peters "to keep a ferry across the Mis- 
sissippi one mile above Fort Snelling, for one year for the sum of $10." 
This license was issued on the petition of F. Andros and it is probable 
that the party was unknown to the commissioners and that Dr. Andros 
acted for him. This is one of the acts of the commissioners which 
gave ground for the erroneous belief that at one time Clayton county 
included a vast territory within its boundaries. It has already been 
pointed out, however, that this territory was simply "attached" for gov- 
erning purposes and was not included in the county limits. 

At an August session, Herman Graybill was licensed to keep a 
tavern and grocery at Prairie la Porte for the sum of $55 a year. In the 
meantime L. D. Tompkins had taken the place of Dean Gay as clerk of 
the board and issued this license. 


An election having been held, the new board, consisting of Patton 
McMullen, H. T. Lander and W. W. Wayman met for organization on 
August 12, 1839. Prior to this time the record simply shows that the 
board met at Prairie la Porte, but at this time the following entry is 
found, "the commissioners agree with Herman Graybill to furnish a 
room for holding court and rooms for the grand and petit juries for the 
sum of $5 per day." Thus Graybill's tavern seems to have been the first 
county seat. At the September session there are evidences of some 
dissension between the board and the clerk, for Charles E. Bensell was 

LOG CABIN DAYS — 1833-184O 55 

appointed clerk "during the option of the commissioners ;" and L. B. 
Thompkins writes his resignation into the record. The new board 
appointed Baldwin Olmstead, William Walker and Herman Graybill 
as road commissioners, and Ambrose Kennedy, Herman Graybill, 
Horace Mallory, John Downie and Jesse Doudley as school commis- 
sioners and election officers. In October, 1839, a road was ordered 
from "the Colony to the sawmill on Elk Creek, thence to Elisha Board- 
man's, thence to the territorial road," and "from the mouth of the 
Turkey river to Millville or Price's Mill," and the commissioners were 
ordered to meet at the house of William Walker to carry out these 
orders. Among the first roads of the county was one from Prairie la 
Porte to Hatfield's Mill and another "from Prairie la Porte to the 
nearest and best point to intersect the territorial road toward Turkey 

The vexed question of the county seat concerned the board at its 
session in October, 1839, and notices were ordered posted for "letting 
out the building of a court house and other buildings at Prairie la 
Porte, the county seat," also a deed was drawn up between the county 
commissioners and Herman Graybill and John Meyers, "the latter re- 
linquishing all their right title and claim to their claim to Prairie la 
Porte." The board adjourned to meet October 19, for the purpose "of 
letting out buildings." At the October 19, meeting, however, all of the 
above actions concerning county buildings were rescinded, and in lieu 
thereof, the commissioners decided to "meet at the Washington Hotel 
in the town of Dubuque, on Thursday, the twenty-fourth day of 
October, for the purpose of proving the pre-emption right to the 
northeast quarter of section seventeen, township 92, range 2, west." 

The board made the intended journey to Dubuque and the follow- 
ing entry is made of the Dubuque meeting: "Agreeable to previous 
notice the board of county commissioners met at Dubuque, October 24, 
1839 ; present, H. T. Lander, W. W. Wayman and Patton McMullen. 
The board having organized, proceeded to land office and proved pre- 
emption to N. E. Qt. of S. 17, R. 2, W. Town 92 north, for the benefit 
of Clayton County, the above being fractional quarter of 94 acres. 
Amount paid for receipt of land office $118.62." 

The board met at Prairie la Porte October 29, but owing to the 
absence of one of the commissioners, county seat matters were not 
taken up, although other business was transacted, including the estab- 
lishment of the following roads, "commencing at Prairie la Porte and 
running to the south end of Prairie la Porte, then crossing the creek 
and running to the bluflF, then down the bluff to the deep hollow, then up 
the deep hollow to third ravine, then up the third ravine to the ter- 
ritorial road," and, also, a road with an equally technical description as 
follows, "commencing at the mouth of Turkey river and following the 
bank of Turkey river to the mouth of Bluebelt to intersect the ter- 
ritorial road, then following the territorial road until back of Holtz- 
berger's, then to near the mouth of Little Turkey, then up the mouth 
of Little Turkey until up to Price's new house." It was also ordered 
that each "free male white citizen" be compelled to work five days on 
the roads. 

At a meeting, November 12, H. D. Bronson was appointed clerk, 


vice Charles E. Bensell, resigned ; C. S. Edson was employed "to survey 
the county land into town lots and to be to all expense for survey and 
drawing three plats for sum of $150." At this session, also, is found 
the first reference to a Justice of the Peace, the bond of Henry H. 
Sibley being "excepted" and filed. 

The board was in session four days in December, 1839. The com- 
missioners were allowed $3 per day for three days, for their trip to 
Dubuque, together with their expenses, making a grand total of $51. 
Relative to the county seat it was "ordered that there be a court house 
built on the public square, at Prairie la Porte, by the first of September, 
next, size and quality of building to be hereafter mentioned; also that 
the sale of town lots take place on the first Monday in April next; 
also, that the furnishing materials, and building of said court house on 
the public square in Prairie la Porte to be finished by the fifteenth oi 
September. Resolved, further, that the sale and building be advertised 
in the Iowa News for three months." This ended the work of the 
county board for the first decennial and the next session was held 
January 6, 1840. 


In the meantime other branches of government had not been idle. 
In April, 1839, a term of the District Court was held at which Edwin 
Reeves acted as United States Attorney and Hiram Loomis as 
Marshal. This was the first term of court at which actual business 
was transacted. The first cause called was an attachment suit of Her- 
man Graybill vs. Edward E. Oliver, and judgment was rendered by 
default. The second was that of W. W. Chapman vs. H. T. Lander 
for trespass, this also went by default. The first divorce case was 
that of Thomas Walker vs. Mary Walker. As the defendant was a 
non-resident, notice was ordered published in the Iowa News of 
Dubuque, which was the only newspaper in all this region at the time. 
The petit jurors for this term were Robert Hetfield, Eli Carlin, Wil- 
liam Deans, Patton McMullen, David Hastings, E. Boardman, Samuel 
Peck, A. S. Cooley, H. Redman, Martin VanSickle, James Brown, 
James Henderson, L. B. Thompkins, William W. Wayman, Solomon 
Wadsworth, William Harper, and Michael Stents. The panel being 
incomplete the sheriff called in the following by-standers to 
complete it : E. Price, H. T. Lander, E. R. Hill, C. S. Edson and John 
Wilkinson. The first indictment returned by a Clayton county grand 
jury was against Daniel Beezley. The case was continued and the 
defendant held under bond of $400 furnished by Joseph B. Quigley. 
The first jury trial was in the case of C. M. Price vs. H. Graybill, an 
attachment suit. This case the jury decided in favor of Price. Pierre 
la Grois was tried before a jury for selling liquor to the Indians, was 
found guilty and fined $80 and costs. The case against Daniel 
Beezley was also tried before a jury and Beezley was found "not 
guilty." At this term of court, also, James Crawford was admitted to 
the bar on motion of J. B. Barrett. Mr. Crawford never made his 
home in this county. 

LOG CABIN DAYS — 1833-184O 57 


Judge Thomas S. Wilson, who presided over the early courts of 
Clayton county was the first territorial judge for Iowa, and he presided 
over the courts here until 1847, when the judicial district was changed 
by the constitution of 1846. In 1852 he was elected judge of the ninth 
judicial district which did not include Clayton county. He served in 
the legislature in 1866 and 1868 and died in Dubuque at a ripe old age. 
He was an excellent judge and his honesty and just decisions did much 
to establish confidence in the court and to instil respect for law in 
Clayton county. 


^^mc UBHAftY 




CLEARINGS— 1840-1850 

— W. W, WAYMAN — BOARD OF 1 84 1 -2 — ELECTION OF 1 842 — FOUNDING 



WITH the year 1840 we have passed the crudest of the pioneer 
days. There were many who felt themselves at this time to be 
old settlers. Certain men were rising above the level of their 
fellows, showing by their ability and energy that they were to be the 
leaders of the county. During the decade from 1840 to 1850 the county 
was to see many changes. During the first of this decade emigration 
continued as it had, but with diminishing volume. In 1838 the popula- 
tion was 274, in 1840, 1044, in 1844 it had increased but little, the pop- 
ulation being 1200. In 1846 it was 1500. At this time began the early 
German immigration and, by 1847, the population had grown to 2176, 
by 1849 it was 3000, and in 1850 it had increased to 3873. The first 
period of what may be called purely American settlement, although 
there were many foreigners included, lasted from 1833 to 1846, after 
which the county underwent a transformation by the infusion of much 
German blood. 

The newness of the first period with which we have already 
dealt is shown by the fact that William Grant, one of the first com- 
missioners, and John Downie, also one of the first officials, did not 
become citizens of the United States until June 27, 1842. 


Among the newcomers during the first part of this period who 
afterward became prominent and respected citizens were Douglas Peck, 
noted as a hunter, who came in 1841 ; William Schulte, who settled at 
Garnavillo in the same year, and who was one of the very first German 
immigrants. He was noted for his great physical strength and he and 
his sons were prominent throughout the history of the county. John S. 


Lewis, an inventor, as well as a farmer, settled in Volga township, in 
1842. Henry Graybill came as a lad to Prairie la Porte the same year. 
S. H. F. Schulte, another German, destined to be prominent, was bom 
in Garnavillo township, in 1842. Frederick Hartge and Asa Gifford 
and his son George were also among the newcomers in 1842, Hartge 
locating on the present site of Elkport. About this time Michael and 
John Stence, Joel Post, John Roberts, H. H. Singer, P. R. Moore and 
Alex Paul joined the settlement near Boardman's Mill. Cyrus Hender- 
son, Robert Bunker, William Foster and Joseph Heinrich were Buena 
Vista pioneers. Joseph Hewett began trade with the Winnebagoes on 
the Cass township line, in 1844. Orin Keeler and James Co well estab- 
lished a ferry at the foot of Sny Magill and endeavored to establish a 
town, christened Keeleroy, in 1846. Phillip Cox, who gave his name to 
Cox creek, was an 1842 settler, remaining only long enough to fasten his 
name upon the stream and township. A German family by the name 
of Falldorf came to this township in the same year, but were driven out 
by the Indians and endured many hardships. The place of their resi- 
dence is still known as Dutch Hollow. William Bente and Captain 
Douglas Quigley settled in Cox Creek in 1844 and 1845, respectively. 
In 1843, Garnavillo became the home of three men who proved them- 
selves to be among the giants of Clayton county. These men were 
Samuel Murdock, Reuben Noble, and E. H. Williams. James Watson, 
who later donated to the county the present site of Garnavillo, also 
came to the county about this time. In Giard township the settlers 
during this period from 1840 to 1845 were James Tapper, Samuel A. 
Goth, William Clement, Hugh Graham, and Ira B. Briggs. 

The settlement of Lodomillo township did not begin until 1844 
when a Mr. Lyon settled on section 26. The real pioneers of what 
became known as the "Yankee Settlement" were Horace Beavis, Isaac 
Preston, and William C. and F. C. Madison, who settled there in 1845. 
P. P. Olmstead and David Olmstead were the first white settlers in 
Monona township, settling near the Indian village connected with the 
government station. S. Cummings, John Rowe, A. T. Depew and C. 
B. Gray followed them in 1841-42. Among the other settlers in this 
period in Monona township were John Roberts, E. Bonnel, E. D. 
Button, P. R. Moore, John Zimmerman, John Bull, C. B. Guy, a black- 
smith, Robert Tucker and Mr, Bushnell and family. Rev. Father 
Joseph Cretin, afterward bishop of St. Paul, found a sufficient number 
of his faith in the county so that he made missionary visits through 
the county, holding services at the homes of church members, in 
1841-42. John Paddle ford and his brother Leverett and John Mayville 
made their first visit to Sperry township in 1842 and Mr. Paddleford 
made it his permanent residence in 1845. 


The county commissioners with H. D. Bronson as clerk resumed 
its sessions in January, 1840, and it is noted that Isaac Preston was 
granted a license for "keeping grocery," and that E. Price was paid for 
services for "the organization of county commissioners, August 12, 
1839." The board considered plans for the new court house, but in the 

CLEARINGS — 184O-185O 61 

meantime continued to rent quarters of Mr. Graybill. Adjournment 
was taken on March 30, to meet at H. D. Bronson's, at Prairie la Porte. 

On April 8, 1840, the board met and "ordered that the sale of 
lots of the county land is open and sales commenced and stand until 
5 o'clock P. M. and that the sales be registered." On the next day 
the sale of lots made to G. M. Price were approved and, from the 
proceeds, the commissioners drew for their expenses for the trip to 
Dubuque, with 20 per cent interest. Robert Hetfield was appointed 
public agent for disposing of the land at the county seat. 

On May 12 the contract for the new court house was let to 
Bronson and Jones. 

A bond was drawn up on which William D. Grant was security. 
The county was to pay $2,500, "at 15 per cent interest from the time 
the same notes are drawn and not paid." The building was to be 
erected by November i. The first bill for a coroner's inquest was 
allowed William Walker, Esq., at the July session of the board ; this for 
holding inquest on the body of a person, unknown, drowned in the 
Mississippi river. At this time, July, 1840, the old election precinct 
number three was discontinued and a new precinct formed which 
included what are now Giard, Mendon, Farmersburg and the north 
half of Clayton townships. There seems to have been no provision 
for an election in the four northwest townships of the county. Showing 
the wide jurisdiction of Clayton county at this time are the following 
entries, "Ordered that the settlement at the outlet of Lake Pepin be 
composed as an election precinct, to be called the sixth precinct and 
that Charles Sweet, Oliver Cratt and James Wells be appointed first 
judges and election held at the home of Oliver Cratt." 

A similar order was issued for an election precinct at the mouth 
of the St. Peters river to be known as precinct seven. At this term 
Asa Gififord was appointed a road commissioner "in the place of S. 
B. Olmstead who refuses to act." 

The necessity for a building for the safe-keeping of records was 
felt and the board contracted with Robert Hetfield for the delivery of 
the "stuflf" necessary, and with David Hastings for the erection of a 
building, 14 feet square, for this purpose. Horace D. Bronson resigned 
as clerk of the board and Alfred Northan succeeded him. J. W. 
Griffith was allowed $40 for assessing Clayton county for the year of 

Ferry Licenses — Ferry license was granted to Thomas P. Park to 
keep a ferry across Turkey river at Mead's Branch. The license fee 
was $2. And the tolls were fixed as follows: "For each person, 123/2 
cents; each horse or mule, 25 cents; wheel carriages, each wheel 12^/2 
cents; every head of cattle, 25 cents; swine or sheep, 634 cents; every 
cwt. of freight over 5 cwt., 5 cents." 

A license was also issued to William Walker at this session for a 
ferry at or near the mouth of Turkey river across the Mississippi river, 
the fee was $5 per annum and the rates just double those allowed on 
the Turkey. At an adjourned meeting, held October 26, 1840, at the 
house of Herman Graybill, the following bonds were approved: Fred- 
erick Andros, Recorder; Ambrose Kennedy, Treasurer; William 
Sackett and David Springer, Justices of the Peace; William Walker, 


Coroner, and David Hastings and Thomas P. Park, Constables, and 
Edwin Lyon, Assessor. On the next day the bonds of Nathan Springer 
as Constable and Robert Campbell as Justice were approved. H. C. 
Munche was allowed $31.50 for services as messenger from the judges 
of election at the St. Peter precinct. At the October election Elisha 
Boardman succeeded Patton McMuUen as a member of the board and 
he acted as a commissioner for the first time on December 31, 1840. 
In January, 1841, Eliphalet Price was appointed clerk of the board 
and Daniel Beezley, road supervisor, was instructed "to call upon the 
citizens in his district to work a good wagon route up the hill from 
Mr. Lander's on the territorial road." In February the assessor was 
ordered "to assess the people of St. Peters and all intermediate points 
between the county seat and that place." A road was ordered 
at this session to commence "at the termination of the Dubuque road 
at the Colony from thence to Elk creek, through the Boardman settle- 
ment to intersect the territorial road to Prairie du Chien. Evidently 
the court house was not completed, for quarters were rented from Her- 
man Graybill for the year 1841. 

Rebecca Clues — It is at about this time that we find the first of a 
long series of appropriations for the care of Rebecca Clues who was the 
first "county charge." W. W. Wayman was a member of the board and 
it is said that he was responsible for her coming to the county and 
just how it happened that he allowed her to be maintained at county 
expense is not explained. Eliphalet Price, who did more than any 
other man to preserve the history of the county and who wrote in a 
delightful vein that was real literature, has this to say of Rebecca 
Clues: "She was for many years a county charge, and all this time 
passed for a white person. Formerly she was a dark mulatto, and the 
slave and property of Governor Clarke of Missouri who emancipated 
her after her change of color. This change of color from a mulatto 
to a white took place immediately after her recovery from a severe 
attack of biUious fever. She was the head, or principal, cook in the 
family of Governor Clarke, who lived in great style in St. Louis, and 
was the owner of many slaves. As a cook she had few superiors. 
When she first came to the mines she could speak the French and 
Spanish languages as well as the English, but in after years she lost all 
knowledge of the French and Spanish, and began to speak the English 
with the Negro dialect. Aunt Becky, as she was called, had exper- 
ienced many of the vicissitudes of frontier life. She had been a slave 
and a free woman; a mulatto and a white woman; she could speak 
at one time three languages; she was the first woman that came into 
Clayton county, and, after a residence here of twenty-four years, was 
the first woman in the county who died a pauper, after having attained 
the age of about eighty years." 

Wayman himself seems to have been an odd character, although 
he was much respected and did good work as a member of the board. 
Relative to him the history of 1882 speaks as follows : 

W. W. Wayman — Colonel William W. Wayman, the first settler 
of Volga township and Clayton county, was a native of New Hamp- 
shire, a man of liberal education and polished manners. In his habits 
and the expression of his face, it was easy to detect one of those 

CLEARINGS — 184O-185O 63 

freaks of human nature that occasionally appear among the descendants 
of the pilgrims of New England, disturbing the purity of the Saxon 
blood by portraying in lineament and contour that of the Narragansett 
of the Wampanoag. Among white men he was reticent, watchful and 
restless ; in the society of the Indian he was authoritative, stern and 
commanding. He never performed any manual labor other than that 
which pertained to the indoor affairs of his house. The Indian and 
the half-breed regarded him as a mysterious being. They would toil 
and labor for him without any other reward than the pleasure of being 
near his person. The largest portion of his lifetime had been spent 
upon the frontier, in the society of the Indian and the hunter, and 
yet he could never be prevailed upon to give any information con- 
cerning the manners, customs or traditions of the Indians. Intimacy 
and social intercourse with him for many years upon the border only 
seemed to render more impenetrable the shield of mystery that he had 
woven around the events of his life. He was the father of a half-breed 
daughter, whom he educated at Prairie du Chien. Little more is known 
of this strange life, whose story died with him. 

Hon. Eliphalet Price gives an account of the circumstances attend- 
ing his death : "In the fall of 1848, about the midnight hour of a 
dreary night, our dog drove an Indian to the top of a hayrack that 
stood leaning against the dooryard fence. Upon going to him he 
handed us the following communication : 'Come quick ; I am dying ; 
Ann will give you my keys. W. W. Wayman.' We hastened to him, 
but he was dead when we reached his residence. The keys unlocked, 
in part, the history of a strange, adventurous life, and told us that 
his name was William Wallace Hutcherson, a descendant of the May- 
flower." Colonel Wayman, however, was hardly a settler of Volga 
township. He was an Indian trader, and kept a trading post at the 
mouth of the Volga, on the Turkey. 

Board of 1841 — During the year 1841 a license was issued for a 
ferry across Turkey river at Millville and a road from Millville was 
located on the most direct route to Dubuque. At a meeting held April 
5, 1841, which was also attended by Henry Holtzbecker, who had 
succeeded John W. Griffith as sheriff, a ferry license was issued to 
Thomas P. Burnett and Alexander McGregor, "to keep a ferry across 
the Mississippi river from Cooley de Soo to Prairie du Chien." This 
license was for two years at $5 per annum and rates were as follows : 
Single man, 25 cents ; wheel carriage, per wheel, 25 cents ; horned 
cattle, per head, 50 cents; horses, 50 cents; hogs, 12^/2 cents; sheep 
and goats, 6^ cents ; mules, 50 cents ; freight, not contained in 
vehicle, 123^ cents per cwt. The first mention of a county bridge 
is on April 6, 1841, when it is ordered that "Eliphalet Price be allowed 
the sum of $45 for building a bridge across Little Turkey river at 
Millville and the same bridge be accepted as the property of Clayton 

A new election precinct was created, elections to be held at the 
house of David Lowrie with H. D. Bronson, John B. Thomas and 
David Lowrie as judges. This precinct was at the "new mission" and 
the bounds were designated "by the bounds of the Neutral Grounds." 
The session of April 28, 1841, was evidently a heated affair for the 


following entries are found : "Whereas the assessor (Edwin Lyon) of 
the county of Clayton has neglected and refused to perform his duty 
as assessor, and a statute of Iowa provides that the board of com- 
missioners shall fill such a vacancy by appointment, be it, therefore, 
ordered that Thomas P. Park be appointed to fill the vacancy 
occasioned by the neglect and refusal of such assessor and that the 
assessment roll be delivered to the said Thomas P. Park for 1841." 
And below this comes the ominous entry : "Ordered that Daniel 
Justice be fined the sum of $2 for contempt of court." 

The commissioners were evidently subjected to considerable criti- 
cism for, on July 6, 1841, the following entry was made: "We the 
undersigned, through the medium of the records of the board of 
county commissioners, do declare and make known that we herewith 
resign, each of us, the office of county commissioners of Clayton county 
— reserving the right to perform the duties of said office until our suc- 
cessors are duly elected and qualified for said office according to law." 
Signed, H. T. Lander, Elisha Boardman, W. W. Wayman. The 
record book now contains the bonds of William Weatherwax, William 
H. Post, W. W. Wayman, David Springer and James A. McClellan as 
Justices of the Peace, Graham Thorne, constable and Ambrose Ken- 
nedy, Treasurer. The report of commissioners appointed by the leg- 
islature to locate a territorial road between Iowa City and Prairie du 
Chien was accepted and L. M. Strong and Israel Mitchell were paid 
for their services as commissioners. 

On August 23, 1841, the new board, consisting of E. Price, A. S. 
Cooley and Thomas Linton, qualified and Charles S. La Grave was 
elected clerk, Edgar Griswold acting in his absence. The bonds 
of Griswold as assessor and of Anson Rudesill as public administrator 
were approved. Thomas P. Parks was allowed $100 for services ren- 
dered in assessing the St. Peters country in 1841. 

A posting of the books from October, 1839, to August 26, 1841, 
showed that the county expenditures were $3,054.72, and the receipts 
$2,096.59, making the indebtedness of the county $959.13. Having 
accumulated a county debt, it will be seen that Clayton had reached 
an advanced stage of civilization. A contract was made with Herman 
Graybill for the purchase of a frame building situated on the public 
square at Prairie la Porte for county purposes and for the use of the 
building then occupied by the county court, "for the use of all 
town, county or public meetings, whatsoever." It was in this year that 
the territorial road was established from Dubuque to Fort Atkinson. 
Calbert Roberts, Samuel S. Clifton and Joseph Hewitt were the com- 
missioners appointed by the territory. The county paid for their serv- 
ices but charged a portion to the county of Fayette, as there were 
20^4 rniles of this road in Clayton and 29^ miles in Fayette. 

An entry which is interesting but the details of which are not 
known reads as follows : "Ordered that the petitions received for and 
against an election be considered not a fair representation and that 
the petitions for and against an election at the next meeting of the 
board will be acted upon by the board and that the majority of the 
people of Clayton county proper, within 50 miles, including the mission 
precinct." The above is very ambiguous and does not state the reasons 

CLEARINGS — 184O-185O 6$ 

for such petitions nor the nature of the election desired. It shows, 
however, that the commissioners considered everything within 50 
miles of Prairie la Porte as belonging to "Clayton county, proper." 
It was in this year that James A. McClellan shot and killed Henry 
Holtzbecker, the then sheriff of the county. This tragedy occurred at 
Prairie la Porte. The two men got into a personal quarrel and it is 
claimed that Holtzbecker went to his house and obtained a pistol for 
the avowed purpose of shooting McClellan, and that, when McClellan 
saw him approaching with his weapon drawn, McClellan, who had a 
loaded rifle at his side, fired and killed Holtzbecker instantly. Asa 
Griswold presided as Justice of the Peace at the preliminary hearing 
which followed McClellan's arrest, at which time McClellan was 
acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. Holtzbecker was succeeded 
by J. W. Griffith as sheriff. In January, 1842, an accounting was 
made with the treasurer, Ambrose Kennedy, and it was found that a 
balance of $991.69 was due the county. This was promptly paid, how- 
ever, and the account balanced. 

Polly Reese was the second person to be cared for by the county 
and is described as an "insane female without relatives or friends." 
On the fifth day of February, 1842, Polly Reese "was offered to the 
lowest bidder and struck off to James Henderson at the sum of $2,871^ 
per week." Mr. Henderson evidently found he had made a poor 
bargain for he soon turned Polly back to the county and later, many 
bills were allowed different people for her board and care. 

The first record of a bounty is found under the date of March 7, 
1842; for black or gray wolves $1.50 was offered; for cubs 75 cents; 
for prairie wolves $1, and for cubs 50 cents. 

It was April 4, 1842, that Robert R. Read succeeded E. B. Lyon, 
as clerk of the board. Mr. Read afterward served the county in official 
capacities until the infirmities of age forced him to resign. Read town- 
ship is named in his honor and he was one of the most popular men in 
the county. A sketch of his life is given elsewhere. At this session 
of the board H. M. Rice was licensed to keep a ferry across the 
Mississippi at what was known as Doucmans Ferry at Prairie du 
Chien. At this time Millville precinct was extended to include the 
south part of Jefferson and Mallory townships ; at the same time Elk 
Creek precinct was extended "to include all persons residing between 
the waters of Turkey river and Elk creek in the county of Clayton, and 
all persons residing in the county of Fayette." Wanzer precinct was 
divided and a new precinct called the Yellow River precinct was 
created, the boundaries of which were as follows : "From the mouth 
of Bloody Run, following its stream five miles, thence to Yellow river, 
eight miles up said river, thence to the Painted Rock." Mission pre- 
cinct was attached to Yellow river precinct. Williard Knight was made 
supervisor of a new road district which was to include all persons 
living south of Dr. Andros's and north of Robert R. Read's, The 
board met on July 4, 1842, but no official recognition of the day is 
made. Part of the business transacted that day was to change the 
voting place of Boardman precinct from the "Dry Mill" to the home 
of Elisha Boardman. 



In August, 1842, the board canvassed the votes of the preceding 
election and entered results on the minute book. This is the only 
election during the 40's of which we have any complete record. The 
vote was as follows: Sheriff — Ambrose Kennedy, 71, John Linton, 54^ 
Thomas P. Parks, 20; Commissioner — A. S. Cooley, 137; Clerk — 
Robert R. Read, 133, E. B. Cornish, 3 ; Recorder — Charles E. Ben- 
sell, 8, E. B. Cornish, 60; Coroner — Robert Campbell, 59, William 
Walker, 12, James King, 31, John W. Gillett, 36; Surveyor — C. S. 
Edson, 65, H. D. Lee, 70 ; Assessor — Horace D. Bronson, 107, Charles 
Sawyer, 25 ; Treasurer — H. T. Lander, 59, David Springer, 20, John 
Downie, 36. 

The vote by precincts will be of interest as indicating the density 
of population. It was as follows : Wayman : Justice — Asa W. Gif- 
ford, 15; Constable, Edward Dickens, 15. Prairie la Porte: Justice — 
Benjamin F. Forbes, 20, James Watson, 15, Dean Gay, 6, Patton Mc- 
Mullen, I ; Constable — Abraham Van Doren, 15, Joseph Read, 3, John 
W. Gillett, I. Yellow River: Justice — Daniel G. Beck, 9 ; Constable — 
James Jones, 8, Jud Barker, 2. Boardman : Justice — Elisha Boardman, 
10, Horace D. Bronson, 10, John Downie, i, Peter Wittlewattle, i ; 
Constable — Elias Meisner, 9, Charles Sawyer, 8. Wanzer : Justice — 
P. P. Olmstead, 25, A. E. Wanzer, 14, William Pigeon, 13, David 
Olmstead, 12; Constable — Graham Thorne, 28, Richard Jones, 27, A. 
E. Wanzer, i, J. B. Briggs, i, J. Blazedell, i. Millville: Justice — Jesse 
Briggs, 25, D. D. Walker, 7; Constable — Nathan Springer, 27, John 
Gardener, 22. 

At a meeting of the board in October, 1842, the salary of James 
Crawford, district attorney, was fixed at $100 per year, and a new 
election precinct was created to include the county of Fayette and so 
much of Clayton county lying within the lines 10 miles distance and 
running parallel with the boundaries of Fayette. Elections were to be 
held at the house of F. Wilcock. In 1843, Eliphalet Price seems to 
have had the board all to himself. He met and adjourned on six 
different days, in January and February, before another member of the 
board met with him and business could be transacted. A financial 
statement of the county was made February 14, 1843. The expen- 
ditures from August 25, 1842, were $1,605.24, prior indebtedness 
$959.15, revenue $1,927.69, indebtedness $625.28. 

Founding of Jacksonville — 184^ — It was in 1843 f^''^^ the county 
seat prepared for the first of its many moves. The territorial legis- 
lature appointed a committee to locate the county seat of Clayton 
county. The first mention of this on the county records is as follows : 
"Ordered that the clerk be instructed to notify William Jones of Jack- 
son county and Hardin Newlin of Dubuque county, that David More- 
land, one of the commissioners appointed by the legislature met at 
Prairie la Porte, the first Monday of April, to relocate the county seat 
of said county and adjourned until the fourth Monday of the present 
month (April) at Prairie la Porte." 

On May 22, the commissioners reported to the board as follows : 
"Gentlemen: According to an act of the legislature assembly of the 

CLEARINGS — 184O-1850 67 

territory of Iowa, passed February 15, A. D. 1843, to relocate the 
county seat of Clayton county : We, David Moreland, of Delaware 
county, and Hardin Newlin of Dubuque county, met at the town of 
Prairie la Porte, in said county, on the first day of ]\lay, inst., and after 
being duly sworn, proceeded to examine the situation of said county 
and the local advantages of different sites. We have selected and 
located the seat of justice of Clayton county, territory of Iowa, on the 
north 80 acres of the S. E. Y^ Sec. 18 Town. 93 N., range 3 W. The 
name of the seat of justice of Clayton county, located as above, shall 
be Jacksonville." 

This record is followed by an indenture by which James Watson 
donated the land chosen, to the county on condition that the proceeds 
of the sales of said land be used for public buildings and for no other 
purpose. Subscriptions for the new court house are entered as fol- 
lows : James Watson, 80 acres of land ; John W. Gillett, $50, in work ; 
Angus P. McDonnell, $15, in work; Richard Onl)% $50, in hauling; 
Timothy Killam, $10, in hauling and work ; George A. Whitman, $50, 
in work or money. The territorial commissioners were allowed $75 
for their services and James Watson was allowed $3 for driving stakes 
in the town of Jacksonville. A general election was ordered to be held 
at Jacksonville the first Monday in October, 1843, ^"^ Charles E. Ben- 
sell, Asa Griswold and J. Watson were the first election officers. 
Luther Patch, John Downie and Ambrose Kennedy were instructed to 
appraise the town lots of Jacksonville. 

The first meeting of the board at the new county seat was on 
October 2, 1843, ^'^^'^> ^t that time, it was ordered that it be publicly 
advertised that the next term of the district court would be held at 
Jacksonville. The new board which met in October, 1843, consisted 
of James King, A. S. Cooley and E. M. Barber. 

Probate Court — During these years the probate court had com- 
menced to transact business. Although the country was young, death 
was not unknown and estates though small had to be dealt with. 
Richard Pearson was the probate judge, from 1838 to 1842, when he 
was succeeded by Eliphalet Price. The first estate administered was 
that of Betsy Campbell and the first record was dated October 26, 1840. 
The next estate was that of Thomas Whishart and the third that of 
William D. Grant, one of the first county commissioners. Elisha 
Boardman was administrator of this estate which seems to have been 
considerable for those days and out of which grew extended litiga- 
tion. The estate of Henry Holtzbecker, who was killed, was one of 
the first administered by Eliphalet Price. One of the acts of Richard 
Pearson was the appointment of David Lowry as guardian of a 
half-breed Winnebago girl. In November, 1841, Anson Woodsell gave 
bond as the first public administrator. 

To give an idea of values in 1840 some of the items of the 
Thomas Whishart estate are given. Claim situated on Turkey river 
and the appurtenances thereon erected and known as Walker's claim, 
valued at $30. Movables in said house, $7; axe, 75c; 2 oxen, $40; 125 
bushel potatoes, in the ground, $12.50; plow, $8; corn hoe, 50c; four 
hogs, $18. The inventory of the estate of William G. Stearns made in 
1843 is also of interest as showing values. Among the items are the 


following: One horse, $50; rifle gun and rigging, $7; pair of boots, 
$2.50; ax, $1; string of bells, $2.25; buffalo skin, $3; buck skin, 50c 
mineral tools, $7.35 ; one canoe, $2 ; one ferry boat, $8. From the 
invoices of these, and other estates, it is noticeable that all tools and 
metal objects were of high value, whereas wood products and agricul- 
tural products were cheap. This is found particularly in the estate of 
Herman Graybill, the pioneer of Prairie la Porte, who died January 4, 

1843- . 

District Court — The district court also, under Judge Wilson, 
showed increased activity. There were numerous cases against 
different individuals for illegal sales of liquor to the Indians. It seems 
that the settlers had considerable sympathy with the violators of this 
law as convictions were difficult and the usual verdict of the jury was 
"not guilty." The McGregor's were among those most frequently in 
court and the first entry in the celebrated case involving the ownership 
of the Giard grant was made in June, 1842, this being an appeal in the 
case of Thomas P. Burnett and Alexander McGregor vs. Benjamin 
Blazedell. The first record of the naturalization of a citizen was that 
of John Downie, granted in June, 1842, and the second of William 
Grant. Christian Wise and Patrick Uriell were naturalized at the 
same term of court. John Ryan, George Humphrey and Jacob F. Rib- 
man were among those naturalized at this time and Daniel Weller, a 
native of Germany, Fox, a native of "Upper Canada," and Angus P. 
McDonnell, a native of "Lower Canada," were among the first to 
declare their intention of becoming citizens. In January, 1843, Judge 
Wilson issued a writ of habeas corpus to Captain Summers, com- 
mandant of the garrison at Fort Atkinson, for three men wanted by 
the court. There must have been considerable excitement in the county 
when a number of the county officials were indicted, in 1844, for 
gaming and fined $20 each. James Pappin and Michael Uriell were 
naturalized in October, 1844. The proceedings of the board and of the 
court are practically all the written history of this period and it is true 
that they but form a skeleton of history. The records of the com- 
missioners are filled largely with the dift'erent acts connected with the 
laying out of roads. Many mistakes were made and there were the 
usual petitions for alterations, based largely on personal interests, and 
every step was attended by considerable overhead expense, but, in the 
main, the commissioners did well and many of the roads established in 
the 40S are the ones used today. The commissioners paid considerable 
attention to the upbuilding of the new county seat at Jacksonville. In 
June, 1843, Eliphalet Price is paid for his services in laying out the 
town of Jacksonville, and, in October, John Downie appraised the lots 
of the new town. In January, 1844, the board fixed grocery 
licenses at $25 per annum, bar license connected with a tavern for $25, 
and it was ordered that no license be issued for the sale of liquors 
within five miles of the Winnebago lands. In February, 1843, the 
indebtedness of the county was $1,040.99. At this time the board re- 
served lots at Jacksonville for county purposes and two lots were 
donated to John BanfiU. On February 15 a special meeting was held 
to receive the public buildings from James King, contractor, and he 
was given credit for $675 and his bond released. 

CLEARINGS — 184O-185O 69 

Early Election Precincts — There were six election precincts out- 
lined in 1844, and they were known as Millville, Jacksonville, Bloody 
Run, Yellow River, Boardman, and Wayman precincts. In 1845, the 
Bemis precinct was created, including Lodomillo and the west half of 
Elk township and in 1846 the precinct of Guttenberg was designated, 
with elections to be held at the home of Christian Wise. 

A public sale of lots at Jacksonville was held on the 17th of April, 
1844, and among the purchasers were Gerrard Forbes, of Grant county, 
Wisconsin, one lot for $21.75 ; Dan B. Barber, Anson Rudesell, Daniel 
D. Walker, Charles Sawyer, Levi Dobson, Thomas Graybill, Frederick 
Hertrich, Charles Glidden and James M. Thompson. The purchase 
money was charged to James King and at the same time a lot was 
donated to Charles Guy, providing he would erect and operate a black- 
smith shop for the term of one year. In August, a lot was set apart for 
cemetery purposes. In October, a lot was deeded to Calvin Jackson 
and one to Reuben Noble and the sum of $18 for these was charged 
to the account of John Banfill, with whom the board had contracted for 
lathing and plastering the court house. 

In October, 1844, is the first record of a quarrying permit, which 
was given to Abraham VanDoren, he to pay three cents per perch for 
the rock. By June 1845 the indebtedness of the county was 


It was shortly prior to 1845, that the Western Settlement Society 
of Cincinnati, a society which was formed for the purpose of aiding 
German immigrants who were leaving that country on account of 
the troublous times, bought land north and south of Prairie la Porte, 
which had been pre-empted by the county in 1839. The first party of 
these German settlers arrived at the new colony March 8, 1845, ^"^ 
consisted of Charles Nieman, Henry Telzemeyer, B. H. Overbeck, 
Charles Trepahne and John Ehrhardt together with their families. 
Prairie la Porte had been deserted as the county seat and there remain 
there only the old county buildings and the old Graybill tavern. It was 
prior to the coming of these German pioneers that the county con- 
tracted with Christian Miller, as agent for the Settlement Society, to 
sell the Prairie la Porte tract for the sum of $2,000. This contract 
was later carried out. 

In April, 1845, we find reflection of the political strife which was 
stirring the nation, for at that time the board ordered that the names 
of three streets in Jacksonville called Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson 
streets be changed to Watson, Rutland and Niagara. Among the 
orders of this year is one appointing John W. Gillett as assessor to 
fill vacancy; one granting a liquor license to Benjamin F. Forbes at 
Jacksonville ; and one, that Daniel Walker still retain the office of treas- 
urer until the next general election. A lot in Jacksonville was donated to 
John Tully to maintain a blacksmith shop. At this time a contract was 
entered into for the building of a "gaol" and the following bids were 
received: Alfred Kiney, $557; Benjamin F. Forbes, $385; Abraham 
Van Doran, $500; David Clark, $248. The contract was awarded to 


Clark and he was to receive half of his pay in town lots and the 
balance from the sale of town lots. 

The County Jail — The specifications for the jail were as follows: 
On the 5th day of November, 1845, the county commissioners resolved 
upon the erection of a "public goal," according to the following speci- 
fications: 'Tt shall be built of hewed square oak timber, laid close 
together ; the walls are to be one foot thick and twelve feet high ; the 
room fourteen feet square in the clear on the foundation, and nine 
feet in the clear between the floors. Floors to be laid with oak timber 
one inch thick, and the upper floor to have a trap door, three feet 
long and two feet wide ; the inside walls of the lower room are to be 
planked with two-inch oak planks on the sides and the bottom floor the 
same way. These planks are to be filled with nails not more than one 
inch and a half apart ; to the side next to the wall, then spiked fast to 
the wall with four-inch spikes, the spikes not more than fourteen inches 
apart ; the bottom floor to be finished in the same way. There are to be 
two grates fourteen inches square to be put in the walls of the room as 
high as the upper floor will admit, to be made of one-inch bar 
iron, the frame of the grate to be made of heavy flat bar iron ; 
there is to be left on the frame of the grate, a zell, or tenant, of three 
inches above and below to sink it in the timber, and then to be well 
spiked on to the wall. The upper floor is to be laid with one-inch plank ; 
the trapdoor is to be made of double two-inch oak plank doubled and 
riveted together with twenty- four rivets, fastened to the floor by long, 
strong staple hinges, a bolt three-fourths of an inch thick to run 
through the floor riveted to the hinge, the hinge to extend across the 
door, then to fasten by two staples and two substantial locks, the 
keys to fit their own locks only. The house is to be sided up or inclosed 
with good oak or basswood siding. It shall be shingled with good oak 
or pine of fourteen inch shingles, not laid more than four and a half 
inches to the weather. The gable ends and roof are to be close sheeted 
before siding or shingling. There is to be a good strong flight of stairs 
to be built on the outside at one end, leading to the door of the gable 
end, running by the side with railing and a platform to be left at the 
top of the stairs, three feet square. The above building is to be well 
underpinned with a stone wall, at least one foot thick ; the corner or end 
of each round of timber is to be pinned with one-and-a-half -inch pins, 
and the plates are to be pinned in four places in each log." David 
Clark was later given the contract to fence the court yard with a 
fence to be made of oak boards, one inch thick, the fence to be five feet 
high with six boards and a cap. By January, 1846, the county debt 
had grown to $2,269.69^/^. Among the curious documents are found 
two orders to the sheriff to notify individuals to leave the county. 

At Garnavillo — 1846 — On April 15, 1846, the following entry is 
found in the county records: "Whereas, by an act passed and ap- 
proved January 13, 1846, by the council and house of representatives 
of the legislative assembly of the territory of Iowa authorizing and 
impowering the county commissioners of Clayton county to change the 
name of Jacksonville, the county seat of said county, by majority of 
said board and that the name when so changed, shall be and remain 
the name of said town. It is therefore ordered by said board, unan- 

CLEARINGS — 184O-185O 7 1 

imously, that the name of said town of Jacksonville shall be changed 
to Garnavillo, and hereafter all transactions of business with the board 
shall be dated at Garnavillo as the present county seat of Clayton 
county." In August, 1846, Daniel D. Walker was elected treasurer 
and his bond was approved. In September Joseph B, Quigley and John 
Downier qualified as county commissioners, A. S. Cooley being the other 
member of the board. H. T. Lander was given a lot in Garnavillo for 
services as auctioneer in "crying off" lots at the auction in 1843 5 ^"^l 
a second sale of lots was ordered. 

Hartge Murder — In the same month, October, 1846, is found the 
first mention of Reuben Noble as prosecuting attorney. This was in 
connection with the trial of George Humphreys and an Indian named 
Konago for the murder of Louis Hartge. The history of 1882 gives 
the following account of the crime: "Early in the spring of 1846, a 
squad of Indians came to the vicinity of Elkport, and there camped. 
Among the number was George Humphreys and Konago, the latter 
an untutored son of the forest, the former being possessed of a good 
education received in a college at Alton, 111., from which institution he 
had graduated. The wild and free life of the Indian had too many 
charms for Humphrey, and as soon as he graduated from college he 
returned to his tribe and the life of his youth. Like all other Indians, 
this squad of Winnebagoes was fond of "firewater," and, on camping, 
they immediately went in search of the same. George Humphrey and 
Konago called at the house of Lewis Hartge, and made demand for 
liquor, which was refused. A quarrel then ensued, and in the fracas 
Konago was shoved out of the door, when he immediately raised his 
rifle, and although Humphrey attempted to stop him, he shot Lewis 
Hartge and instantly killed him. Humphrey and Konago were 
instantly arrested, and indictment found against them at the May, 1846, 
term of court. The case was called and a change of venue was asked 
and granted to the Dubuque court. The trial subsequently took place 
at Dubuque, the Indians being prosecuted by Stephen Hemstead and 
Reuben Noble, and defended by Samuel Murdock and Piatt Smith. 
George Humphrey was acquitted, and Konago convicted. An appeal 
was taken to the supreme court, and pending the appeal Konago 
broke jail and escaped. He was never afterwards heard from." 

In 1843, certain Indians, among whom was Wau Kon, were in- 
dicted for murder and brought to the county seat for trial. On account 
of the alleged sentiment against them in this vicinity their attorney, 
James Grant, obtained a change of venue to Dubuque county. In 1847 
the commissioners allowed bills to the following for "guarding Indians 
in 1843:" John W. Gillett, $10.75; Williard Knight, $10; Charles Ben- 
sell, $10; James Stevens, $10; EH Carlin, $10; William Oliver, $6; L. 
V. Harris, $4; Thomas Graybill, $16.50; Ambrose Kennedy, $33.30. 
James King was also allowed $65.50 for "conveying Indians from Fort 
Atkinson to Prairie la Porte and back to the fort, and also conveying 
said Indians from Fort Atkinson to Dubuque." 

In January, 1847, ^7 means of the sale of real estate, the county 
indebtedness had been reduced to $757.50^. At the April session, 
1847, Clayton county went "dry," and the following order is made 
by the board : "Whereas by an act of the legislature of the state of 


Iowa, approved February i6, 1847, requiring the qualified electors in 
each county in this state at the township election to be held on the 
first Monday, the fifth day of April, A. D. 1847, to decide by vote 
whether the county commissioners shall grant licenses for retailing 
intoxicating liquors in their respective counties or not ; and, whereas, by 
the returns of Clayton county from said election, being this day opened 
by the board of county commissioners as required by law, and the 
votes being duly canvassed, that the number of votes for and against 
license as follows, to wit : For granting license, 81 ; against granting 
license, 207; leaving a majority for no license, 126 votes. Therefore, 
it is ordered by said board that the clerk is hereby instructed not to 
issue permits or licenses for retailing intoxicating liquors in said county 
from the date hereof." 

Ten Townships Named — In 1847, at the April term of the county 
commissioners court the county was divided into townships in order 
that it might avail itself of its share of the school fund of the state. 
The following is the record of boundaries : 

Township No. i, Millville — Fractional township 91 north, range i 
and 2 west, and fractional township 91, range i and 2 east. 

Township No. 2, Mallory — Township 91 north, range 3 west, and 
the southeast quarter of township 91 north, range 4 west. 

Township No. 3, Lodomillo — The west half of township 91 north, 
range 4 west, and township 91 north, range 5 and 6 west. 

Township No. 4, Hewitt — Township 92 north, ranges 5 and 6 
west, with Fayette county attached thereto, east half of township 92 
north, range 5 west, attached to Volga township. 

Township No. 5, Volga — Township 92 north, range 4 west, north- 
east quarter of township 91 north, range 4 west, southwest quarter of 
township 92, range 3 west, and the east half of township 92, north, 
range 5 west. 

Township No. 6, Jefferson — Southeast quarter of township 92 
north, range 3 west, and fractional townships 92 and 93 north, range 
2 west. 

Township No. 7, Garnavillo — North half of township 92 north, 
range 3 west, township 93 north, range 3 west, the south half of town- 
ship 94 north, range 3 west, and the east half of township 93 north, 
range 4 west. 

Township No. 8, Boardman — The west half of township 93 north, 
range 4 west, township 93 north, ranges 5 and 6 west, the south half of 
township 94 north, range 5 west, the southwest quarter of township 94 
north, range 4 west, and the southeast quarter of township 94 north, 
range 4 west. 

Township No. 9, Mendon — The north half of township 94 north, 
ranges 3, 4 and 5 west, and the south half of township 95 north, 
ranges 3, 4 and 5 west. 

Township No. 10, Mononah — The north half of township 95 
north, ranges 3, 4 and 5 west, and township 96 north, range 3 west. 

The voters of the townships were notified that an election would 
be held for township officers and "particularly for one school inspector 
for each township". On April 22, James A. McClellan entered upon 
bis duties as clerk of the district court, giving a bond with Samuel 

CLEARINGS — 184O-185O 73 

Murdock and Ambrose Kennedy as security. Reuben Noble also gave 
bond as prosecuting attorney, Samuel Murdock and Gilbert Douglas 
signing his bond. The lots of Garnavillo having sold very well a new 
subdivision was surveyed and placed on the market by the board. 
Robert R. Read was elected recorder in August, 1847, and according to 
law he acted also as treasurer and ex-officio collector. 

In 1848, the town lots remaining unsold at Garnavillo were 
ordered to be placed on sale, "lots to be sold for county orders." 
These lots were sold July 4, 1848, for a total of $868.50. At this time 
the boundaries of several townships were altered, the east half of town- 
ship 92, range 5, was taken from Hewitt township and added to Volga, 
and 12 sections were taken from Garnavillo and added to Jefferson 
township. McClellan remained in office but a year and, in August, 
1848, Frederick Andros resumed his old place as clerk of the district 
court. Andrew S. Cooley, James Tapper and John W. Potts consti- 
tuted the board for the years 1847-48. The office of school fund com- 
missioner had been created, Eliphalet Price was elected for that office 
in 1847 and re-elected in 1848 and 1849. I" October, 1848, the board 
fixed his salary at $200 per annum. This was an important office hav- 
ing to do with funds received from the sale of school lands and from 
the state. As a result of the sale of lands what was known, later, as 
the "permanent school fund" was obtained. This fund was loaned 
under the direction of the auditor, at a later date, and in many counties 
was the source of much favoritism. In 1849, there seems to have been 
a change from the rigid prohibition attitude and a number of "grocery" 
licenses were issued. In 1849, ^^^o, a ferry license was issued for a 
ferry across the Mississippi from the town of Keeleroy. 

First County Seat Election — 184^. In April, 1849, the first of the 
long series of elections for the relocation of the county seat was held. 
The vote was Garnavillo, 254, Guttenberg, 177, Elkader, 113. No 
town having received a majority of all votes cast, another election was 
ordered to take place in May. Elkader receiving the lowest vote in 
April, was excluded from the May contest. The May election 
resulted, Garnavillo, 279; Guttenberg, 245, and it is declared that Gar- 
navillo "be and remain the permanent county seat." 

It was at this April election, 1849, that Elkader made its first bid 
for the county seat. A number of citizens agreed to contribute pro- 
viding Elkader won. The following is a list of subscriptions: 
Thompson, Sage and Davis $500, also 8 lots to be selected by county 
commissioners, lots valued at $30 each ; E. G. Rolf, $30; Amos Warner, 
$50; H. D. Bronson, $50; Elisha Boardman, $50; A. Z. Fuller, $10; 
A. D. Griswold, $25; W. M. Keys, $10; E. V. Carter, $10; Adam 
Keen, $30 ; A. G. Park, $10 ; John Downie, $10. January 8, 1850, upon 
petition of William Alloway and others, the township of Cass was cre- 
ated, elections to be held at the home of James Alloway. The bound- 
aries of the township were the same as at present. 

Some idea of the credit rating of the county is found in the follow- 
ing entry, dated January 9, 1850: "Whereas the county was indebted to 
the state the clerk was requested to dispose of orders sufficient to raise 
the amount, according to the instructions the clerk sold orders to 
Alonzo Petton, of Prairie du Chien, one hundred and fifty dollars, for 


seventy-five dollars in cash." The county indebtedness at this time 
was $3,412.04!/^. 

In April, 1850, on petition of S. B. Forbes, township 94, range 7, 
was created a township under the name of Pleasant Valley. This town- 
ship lay wholly within Fayette county and shows the wide jurisdiction 
held by the commissioners of Clayton county. At the same session, a 
road was authorized from West Union, in Fayette county, to 
McGregor's Landing. At this session, also, the boundaries of Jeffer- 
son and Garnavillo townships were again changed and Garnavillo was 
made to extend to the Mississippi river. The last minute recorded in 
the old ledger which served the county for a dozen years is that order- 
ing the payment of $20 to Frank Emerson as advance payment for 
assessing Clayton county. 


Judge T. S. Wilson presided over the courts of the county so long 
as Iowa was a territory. In 1846, Clayton was placed in the second 
judicial district together with Buchanan, Cedar, Clinton, Delaware, 
Dubuque, Fayette, Jackson, Jones, Muscatine and Scott counties ; 
Allamakee and Winneshiek were added to this district in 1847, 
Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, and Grundy in 1851, and Chickasaw and 
Howard in 1853. Over all this large territory Judge James Grant was 
the presiding judge. At this time there was not a railroad in his entire 
district. The journey from county seat to county seat was made over- 
land and the judge was accompanied by a retinue of attorneys who 
followed him, from point to point, joining with the local bar in the trial 
of cases. The sessions of the court were of necessity far apart. Judge 
Wilson held his last term of court here in May, 1846, and Judge Grant 
held his first term in June, 1847. The coming of the court was, there- 
fore, a great gala time for the entire county. It was the time to which 
all the attorneys looked forward and there was a great clashing of wits 
which was hugely enjoyed by the crowds which filled the rude benches 
in the court room. In those days attorneys were expected to be com- 
bative. If they did not display a great degree of firey hatred for 
opposing counsel the client felt that he did not get the worth of his 
money. Every lawsuit was a battle, witnesses were brow-beaten, law- 
yers abused each other roundly, and addresses to the jury were long and 
fervid. But, this constant sword-play of wits produced keen intellects. 
The man who could not thrust and parry had no place at the bar, and 
the result was that these backwoods courts produced some of the braini- 
est lawyers this country has ever known. Abraham Lincoln must for- 
ever stand as the highest product of these old time courts ; but in this 
county they produced such men as Reuben Noble, Samuel Murdock, 
Elias H. Williams, J. O. Crosby, Thomas Updegafif, Eliphalet Price, 
L. O. Hatch, John F. Stoneman, and many others. During these court 
sessions lodgings were at a premium at the little county seat town. 
There were grand jurors, and petit jurors, litigants and witnesses. The 
judge had the best room at the tavern, which, after the court had 
adjourned was the scene of many jovial parties. Outside of the court 
room and court hours, the pioneers indulged in good natured horse 
play and tests of strength. Sometimes embittered litigants carried 

CLEARINGS — 184O-185O 75 

their troubles outside and there were fistic encounters which called for 
more work by the courts. Prisoners were not pampered in those days, 
anyone reading the specifications for the county jail will note that it 
was simply a strong box, built solely for security, without provision for 
sanitation and with almost no provisions for light and air. Prisoners 
were manacled with heavy home-made irons, fit to have chained an 
elephant. Sometimes, the chains were riveted to the floor. They were 
taken to and from the court room in chains and these were worn on the 
long overland journeys to the penitentiary at Fort Madison where the 
cells were little less than tombs. Court week was a great time for the 
merchants of the county seat, for men from fifty miles around were 
there and there was much buying to be done. 

Judge James Grant — Judge Grant was of southern origin and is 
described as having a broad forehead and small features, he was fond 
of outdoor sports and was a great student of the classics, as well as of 
law. It is stated that he left the south because he did not wish to live 
in a slave state. He came to Iowa, in 1838, after having acted as prose- 
cuting attorney for the sixth district of Illinois. In 1841, he was a 
member of the House of Representatives in the Iowa territorial legis- 
lature, and was a member of both the first and the second constitutional 
conventions. Governor Chambers appointed him as prosecuting attor- 
ney and under the state constitution he was elected judge, which office 
he held for five years. His subsequent life was spent at Davenport and 
he was one of the prominent jurists of the state. 


With this we may close the history of the county's development 
up to 1850. We have seen the beginning of things. Guttenberg, under 
the direction of the Western Settlement Company had become a strong 
and vigorous German settlement, the most important town along the 
Mississippi between Dubuque and Prairie du Chien. Coming direct 
from the old country the Germans brought with them their language 
and customs and Guttenberg seemed like a bit of the old world, dropped 
into the very center of the new. On account of the difference in lan- 
guage, these people had as yet little in common with the balance of the 
county. The great melting-pot of Americanism was at work, but up 
to that time the process had been slow and the Germans were as sus- 
picious of the strangs customs of America as the Americans were of the 
peculiar ways of the "foreigners." 

Garnavillo was a typical, inland, county seat town. It was fos- 
tered and boomed by the county. At that time, when there were no 
railroads, it was on a par with every other town, and while not in the 
center of the county it was in the center of population. It was located, 
and is today in one of the finest and most prosperous agricultural sec- 
tions in all Iowa and it is this which makes it unique as the most pros- 
perous inland town in Iowa, today. 

Owing to the fact that the Indians still ranged, freely, in the north 
part of the county, the settlement of that portion was retarded. Up to 
1850, McGregor contained but a few buildings. Although the first 
ferry was established by Alexander McGregor in 1836 it was still little 


more than a landing. Elkader was but a few years old. It grew up 
around, and because of, the excellent water power and the building of 
the mill. John Thompson, Chester Sage and Timothy Davis had the 
town laid out in 1845. They built a dam and erected the largest mill 
in the county. This made Elkader a good market place and gradually 
attracted merchants, blacksmiths and wagon-makers. Backed by men 
of enterprise and capital, it had a vigorous growth and, as we have 
seen, in 1849, ^^ was a contender for county seat honors. 

The other post offices in the county were more of the nature of 
settlements than of towns. The pioneers were beginning to cluster 
together for the advantage -of schools and sociability. Along the edge 
of the Indian territory there was an undesirable class of citizens. 
Liquor traffic with the Indians was very tempting as it offered large 
profits, for the Indians were willing to part with valuable government 
stores for the sake of a little of the forbidden fire-water. The whiskey 
venders crowded as near the five-mile limit as possible and the border 
was the scene of considerable outlawry. Sodom and Gomorrah were 
two saloons situated near the present town of Hardin, in Monona town- 
ship, and it is said that they fully lived up to their names. For some 
time this neighborhood was supposed to harbor a nest of counterfeiters. 
As soon, however, as the Indians were removed and the country opened 
for settlement, the character of the population changed; the outlaw 
followed his prey, the Indian, and the earnest, honest pioneer took pos- 
session of the land. 

























THE decennial period from 1850 to i860 was one of varied for- 
tunes for the pioneer. The first years were boom years, immi- 
grants both from the eastern states and from foreign countries 
rushed to the county by the hundreds ; traffic on the Mississippi was the 
heaviest it ever was and, possibly, ever will be. The towns of Gutten- 
berg, Clayton and McGregor became important points, not for this 
county alone but for all northern Iowa. Owing to the wildcat cur- 
rency, money was plenty and prices were inflated. The outstretching 


fingers of railroads were drawing nearer and nearer and the possibility 
of the future appealed strongly to the imagination and led to an era of 
speculation. The reaction came during the later years of this period. 
The wild cat money became almost valueless and this carried with it 
an uncertainty and destruction of values which paralyzed all industry. 
These were among the hardest days the county has ever known. They 
were also days of great political unrest and fierce partisan strife. The 
old Whig party broke up and disappeared to be replaced by the 
Republican party. The question of slavery became a vital issue divid- 
ing the people of even this northern county. The Abolitionist, the 
Free Soiler and the Know Nothing flourished in these days. The begin- 
nings of secession stirred the nation and it was the time when the pas- 
sions were aroused which made the Civil War inevitable. These great 
events of the coming years were, mercifully, concealed from the pio- 
neers and they entered upon the year 1850 with bold courage and high 
confidence, pursuing the every day work with assurance of success. 


These were the last years under the county commission system, the 
minutes of the board showing but little of interest. In 1850 Joseph 
Hewitt took the place of J. W. Potts on the board, and the entries have 
to deal largely either with matters of new roads or with the ordinary 
expense bills of the county. The first order for the sale of land for 
delinquent taxes was made in January, 185 1. One of the last acts of 
the commissioners was to fix the tax levy for 1851 and with this and a 
few other minor entries the old commission went out of existence, on 
July 28, 185 1. 

County Judges — Under the new law, adopted by the legislature, in 

1850, the county judge held the most important office ever intrusted to 
one man in the history of an Iowa county. He took the place of the 
county commissioners and of the probate judge, and had jurisdiction 
in many matters which did not rise to the dignity of the district court. 
The county judge was the sole arbiter as to all the questions which had 
come before the commissioners, he settled with county officers and was 
in fact responsible for the entire conduct of county aft'airs. In such 
a position it was of the greatest importance that the officer be a man of 
the highest integrity, and Clayton county was indeed fortunate in this 
respect. Elias H. Williams was the first county judge. He was suc- 
ceeded by Eliphalet Price who was followed in turn by O. W. Crary 
and John Garber, and all of these men distinguished themselves for 
their honesty and ability and were, for many years after their incum- 
bency of this office, among the county's most distinguished and honored 


The first official act of Judge Williams under date of August 13, 

1851, is an order to the sheriff to give bond for $5,000. The judge was 
the great matrimonial bureau of the county and it speaks well for the 
growth of the county that, between August 13 and October 6, 185 1, he 
issued no less than 16 marriage licenses. In 1852 expense bills were 


allowed for surveying roads from Anamosa to Garnavillo and from 
Quasqueton to the north boundaries of the state of Iowa. The settle- 
ment for election expenses for the April election, 1852, shows the 
following townships, Sperry, Monona, Boardman, Mallory, Cass, 
Mendon, Jefferson, Volga, Millville, and Lodomillo, and it was ordered 
by the judge that Elkader be attached to Boardman township for elec- 
tion purposes. In March, 1853, the county judge announces the bound- 
aries of the townships as follows: Mendon, including what is now 
Giard and all of Mendon in township 95, range 3 ; Monona, the present 
townships of Monona and Grand Meadow; Wagner, present townships 
of Wagner and Marion ; Farmersburg, present township and south part 
of Mendon and north half of Clayton, Garnavillo, townships 93, Yz 
and ^ of 4 which would include parts of what are now Jefferson, 
Clayton, Garnavillo and Read townships; Boardman, west ^ of 
Boardman and Highland; Sperry, west ^ of Cox Creek and Sperry; 
Volga, east 3^ of Cox Creek and Volga; Jefferson, township 92, range 
2 and 3, which would be the same as at present except two north tiers 
of sections and with one tier added to the west ; Buena Vista, same as 
at present ; Millville, same ; Mallory, same as present and east J/2 of 
Elk township; Lodomillo, west ^ of Elk and Lodomillo; Cass as at 


In 1853, Clayton county took a long step in advance when its first 
newspaper "The Clayton County Herald" was published in Garnavillo, 
Jan. 28. It was a four-page, six-column, paper and, being published 
before the day either of ready prints or of stereotype plates, all of the 
reading matter was set at home. Despite the many difficulties, the 
scarcity of exchanges, the lack of facilities and the ever present pov- 
erty which harassed these early publishers, the pioneer newspapers 
were excellent. They give to the history of the county that intimate 
touch of friendly relationship which is absent from the cold-blooded 
official record. This first paper was published by H. S. Granger, who 
came to Garnavillo from Ohio in 1850. He studied law under Judge 
Murdock and was admitted to the bar in 1851. He began the pub- 
lication of the Herald, in 1853, ^"d continued with the paper for a year 
and a half, when he sold to A. W. Drips. Mr. Granger was school 
fund commissioner from 1852 to 1855. He moved to McGregor in 
1856, was taken with the gold fever in i860 and made a prospecting trip 
to Colorado. Three days before his return he was elected clerk of the 
district court, which office he held for twelve years, making his home 
at Elkader. 

The first page of these pioneer papers was devoted to literary 
matter, which consisted of verses, short stories and the most blood- 
curdling accounts of murders and accidents. No matter how important 
the news it was seldom given a place on the first page. One reason 
for this was that the presses used would print but two pages at a 
time, the process of printing was slow, and, as it was customary to 
print the outside first, it was, necessarily, several days older than the 
inside pages. Newspapers were scarce and furnished almost the only 
reading matter which reached the homes. The editors were bitter par- 


tisans, and abused each other as roundly in their columns, as the law- 
yers abused each other in court. At the same time they were friends 
at heart and had much fellow feeling. It was not uncommon for an 
editor to call another editor a rascal or worse in one issue, and to style 
him "our esteemed friend" in the next. Obviously there was but 
little local news in a village of the size of Garnavillo in 1853, ^^^ the 
means of getting news from other parts of the county was limited. 
The surprise is that these papers were so good ; coming in many ways 
up to present standards. Editorial was given much more prominence 
than it is today and the pioneer papers of Iowa exerted a tremendous 
influence throughout the state. The day of modern display advertising 
had not come and advertisements were uniformly of single-column 
width and, with the exception of a few lines of black type, were set 
in the ordinary type of the paper. It was also before the day of so- 
called advertising ethics, and newspapers published, freely, advertise- 
ments which would not now be allowed in print ; these included lot- 
teries, patent nostrums and the wildest kind of fakes. The first issue 
of the Herald contains the professional cards of Samuel Murdock, 
Reuben Noble, E. H. Williams, lawyers ; Andros and Linton, doctors ; 
also the card of the Western Hotel; of R. C. Drips, Justice of the 
Peace ; of Drips and Holladay, blacksmiths, and of Clark and Rogers, 
warehouse men in Clayton. The Garnavillo Cash Store, D. G. Rogers, 
proprietor, announces that he sells as cheap if not cheaper than any 
one else and (in italics) "the river towns not excepted." Mr. Rogers 
also announces that he takes daguerreotypes with neatness and dis- 
patch. E. P. Atkins, advertises many patent medicines and his stock 
of general merchandise and there are lengthy exchange advertise- 
ments for such publications as the Saturday Evening Post, Godey's 
Lady's Book and Graham's Magazine. There is but one local item 
in this first newspaper and that is concerning a young man, name not 
given, who was killed by a falling tree while chopping wood near 
Millville. Notices of two lodges are given, the Odd Fellows, with H. 
S. Granger, E. Hurd, R. Noble and R. R. Read as officers and the Sons 
of Temperance, headed by T. G. Drips and L. Angier. 

The postal news shows mail twice a week, from Dubuque to Garna- 
villo, and from Garnavillo to Prairie du Chien. Also weekly mails 
from Garnavillo to Hardin and from Patch Grove, Wisconsin, to 
Garnavillo. The southern mail, from Tipton to Prairie du Chien via 
Anamosa, Delhi, Elkader and Garnavillo arrived on Sunday, from 
Tipton, and returned on Monday from Prairie du Chien. The county 
officers are given as follows : Elias H. Williams, county judge ; Robert 
R. Read, recorder and treasurer; Dr. F. Andros, clerk; S. Murdock, 
school fund commissioner; Joseph McSperrin, supervisor; Ezra Hurd, 
surveyor ; Thomas Drips, sheriff ; O. F. Stevens, attorney. 

Succeeding issues contain advertisements of B. S. Forbes' Cash 
Store, at Garnavillo, the New York Store, kept by Thomas Cole & 
Bros., at Colesburg; H. D. Evans, general merchandise at McGregor's 
Landing. The pages are enlivened by a lengthy debate between Mur- 
dock and Professor Craig, relative to "Mind and Matter," and Pro- 
fessor Craig also contributes lengthy series of articles on geology and 
spiritualism. Very naturally, the new paper dwells at considerable 


length upon Clayton county and its various communities. No better 
picture of the county as it was in 1853 could be given than is presented 
by these articles which are quoted, at length. 


This county contains an area of 792 square miles or 506,880 acres. 
On the first of January, 1853, there were about 431,880 acres purchased 
from government and about 75,000 remaining unsold. According to 
the best information we have been able to obtain, there is not over one- 
tenth part of the purchased land which is now under cultivation. This 
makes 43,180 acres, leaving a balance in the county of 463,692 acres as 
yet uncultivated. Deduct from the total amount one-fifth part for 
waste and timber land — which we think quite sufficient, in as much as 
the timber lands compose a large portion of what is now denominated 
waste land — and we have left, 405,504 acres of arable land, or nearly 
ten times the amount now under cultivation. The present population 
of the county is at least 7,000, being an increase in the last two years of 
78 per cent, or 36 per cent per annum. We can hardly expect this 
increase of population to continue for the next ten years ; but suppose 
it amounts to 25 per cent, on the average, our population will amount 
on the first day of January, 1863, to nearly 25,000, equal to double the 
present population of Dubuque county, city inclusive. We learn that 
the surplus, in wheat alone, for the last year, will not be less than 40,000 
bushels, or 8,000 barrels of flour. Assuming then, that our former 
calculation is correct, and we shall have a surplus, in the article of 
wheat alone, of 400,000 bushels, when all the land is once under cul- 
tivation. Adding at least one-half for superior culture, and we have 
a surplus of 600,000 bushels, or 120,000 barrels. As a large portion of 
the county is well adapted to growing stock, there is no doubt but the 
future surplus will consist more of beef, pork, horses, sheep, etc., and 
less of the one article (wheat) which now forms almost the entire 
article of export. We nearly overlooked the fact that there will be 
some 15,000 or 20,000 bushels of oats and as much corn sent away in 
the coming spring. Our water power is abundant and of the best 
quality; and our timber will compare favorably with any portion of 
the west. 

There is, perhaps, no county in the state which possesses more 
manufacturing advantages than this. Turkey river, which meanders 
the county from northwest to southeast, will furnish (when the 
capital and business of the country will warrant its improvement) an 
almost unlimited water power. There are also several important 
branches putting into said river, which furnish water power but little 
inferior to the main stream. Several mills have been already erected, 
and others are being built on the main river and its tributaries ; but 
we shall speak more particularly of these under the head of Towns 
and Villages. In the east and northeastern portions of the county 
are several smaller streams upon which a number of mills have been 
erected, and an abundance of power remains unimproved. Our com- 
mercial advantages are at least inferior to no other county in the state, 
except it may be Lee county. The Mississippi river — which forms 


the great natural commercial channel for our exports and imports — 
washes our entire eastern boundary, upon the western shore of which 
are already situated four enterprising and rapidly growing towns. 
These towns must, at no distant day, necessarily, furnish, in a great 
measure, the commercial exchanges, not only for this, but for the 
contiguous counties, especially those in a western direction. And here 
we would call the attention of these counties, not only directly west 
of us, but of those also in a southwest direction to the fact that they 
are several miles nearer the Mississippi river in this county than 
at any other point. For instance: Independence, in Buchanan county, 
is t\venty-five miles nearer the river at Guttenberg, Clayton or Mc- 
Gregor than at Dubuque. But we are digressing. 

Our prospects are soon to brighten by the completion of the rail- 
road to the Mississippi river, opposite Dubuque, when we shall be in 
direct communication with the eastern markets. This will not only 
add largely to the emigration here, but will furnish a larger scope for 
our surplus produce, etc. We learn from an authentic source that the 
Milwaukee and Mississippi road has now fixed its western terminus 
opposite Dubuque. Undoubtedly the present policy of the company 
dictated the precise course which has been pursued, otherwise their 
wisdom would have sought a different location; but that the wants 
of this portion of the state and the western portion of Wisconsin will 
at no distant day call for a road commencing not over twenty-five 
miles either above or below the mouth of the Wisconsin river, and 
thence running east to connect either with the Milwaukee road at 
Madison, or the Chicago road through the Jaynesville, Beloit and 
Belvidere road, appears to us as absolutely certain. This once com- 
pleted, and ten hours' ride will bring us to either Milwaukee or 
Chicago, and two and a half days to New York, Boston, Philadelphia 
or Washington City. 

Tozvns in i8j^ — After this glowing discription of the county as 
a whole the early numbers of the Herald give descriptions of the 
various towns of the county. These are as follows : 

Buena Vista — This town is situated on the Mississippi river in the 
southeast part of the county. It was laid out October 31, 1848, by 
William H, Stevens, who subsequently sold it to H. H. Day, the present 

Francis Cole, of Colesburg, a flourishing inland town situated in 
Delaware county, erected the first frame building at Buena Vista, 
which was used for a store house ; but owing to the sparse settlements 
in its immediate vicinity, the town did not improve much until the 
summer of 1851. Early in the summer of 1851, William H. Stevens 
and Tobias Walker accidentally discovered a vein of lead ore just 
back of the town, which soon changed the scene to a kind of second 
California. Miners flocked in from all directions, and steam boats, 
which rarely called at the place before, were now loaded with miners, 
merchants, mechanics, speculators and pickpockets, all in search of the 
almighty dollar. The town, which before only contained a population 
of about a dozen more or less, now (1851) numbered about five 
hundred — the price of fare varying according to the size of the tree 
against which, if you were lucky enough to be in season, you might 


lean at night. On the first of October, 1851, Messrs. Brady, Lubeck 
and others, laid out an addition to the town, called Upper Buena 
Vista. Lots sold at enormous rates, and the town improved in a rapid 
manner. On the twenty-second of June, 1852, Charles Brady laid out 
another addition, called Middle Buena Vista. After the first excite- 
ment incident to such mining towns was over, the place continued to 
improve ; business settled down into its proper channels, and the town 
at this time is in a prosperous and flourishing condition. Chauvette, 
Day and Little, we believe, have the principal leads at this time. What 
yield of mineral they are getting we do not know, but should like to 
be posted up on this and any other matters relative to the place, by 
some one of its citizens who may feel an interest in doing it. 

McGregor — This town is situated in the northeastern portion of 
this county, on the Mississippi river, and directly opposite Prairie du 
Chien. It has been long known as a point for storing government 
supplies destined for Fort Atkinson, and goods for the Indian traders, 
up to the time the Winnebago Indians were removed to Crow Wing 
river, in Minnesota Territory. The town was surveyed in the summer 
of 1846, but like most of the towns in this county, did not improve 
very much previous to the year 1850. Since that time the improve- 
ments have been of that steady and firm character which characterize 
all our river towns, and argue well for their future prosperity. The 
road from McGregor to Fort Atkinson (distance 49 miles) follows 
one unbroken divide, or ridge of land, and in natural advantages 
probably is not surpassed by any route in northern Iowa of the same 
length. Nature formed the road, leaving man but little to do beyond 
appropriating the same to his own use and behoof forever. The town 
has a good steamboat landing, and has several stores, which are doing 
a good business. H. D. Evans (whose card will be found in our 
columns) is doing a large business, and also wholesaling a considerable 
amount to the back country. We believe there are two public houses at 
this place, and a steam saw-mill being erected, together with several 
mechanic shops of the different trades, etc., etc. On the whole the 
town is in a thriving condition, and no doubt is destined to reach a 
position far beyond the speculations of the can'ts and standstills, who 
wonder if that fine edifice just erected is not the last which will ever 
be built, or if the last discovery in science or the mechanic arts is not 
the ultimatum of human perfection. 

Giittenhiirg — This town, which was formerly called Prairie la 
Porte, (meaning Door of the Prairie) is situated on the west bank of 
the Mississippi river, in Town. 92 north, range 3 west. The prairie 
upon which the town is situated comprises about one thousand acres, 
a portion of which was originally purchased from the government by 
the county commissioners of this county, and surveyed into lots, a part 
of which were sold for the benefit of the county, and the whole were 
subsequently sold to the Western Settlement Society of Cincinnati, 
Ohio. Said society, after laying out a large addition to the town, and 
getting the name changed to Guttenberg, sold the lots in what were 
termed sections, each comprising three lots and an acre lot, said acre 
lots being situated on the bluffs, and designed principally for resi- 
dences. We have never witnessed a more picturesque view of the 


Mississippi river than from this part of the town. That portion of the 
town along the brink of the river rises some fifteen feet above high 
water mark, and gradually descends towards the bluffs. Had the land 
naturally ascended from the river in proportion as it descends, it would 
have been one of the best town sites on the river, between St. Paul and 
St. Louis. This natural defect will in a great measure be remedied, in 
time, by building dikes, filling up, etc. ; in fact, the corporation has 
already expended a considerable amount for this purpose. The town 
was incorporated by an act of the legislature in 1850, and an enter- 
prising spirit is manifested by its citizens, truly commendable, in levy- 
ing taxes for the purpose of grading roads to render the place easy of 
access from the surrounding country, and for other purposes. 

Mining is carried on to a considerable extent in the vicinity, and 
must be paying extremely well at the prices for mineral. There have 
been two smelting furnaces erected on Miners' branch. This stream 
also furnishes water power sufficient for manufacturing purposes. 
The town contains a population of from five to six hundred ; has a 
good steamboat landing, two public houses, and several stores, some of 
which are doing a large business. The county seat was first located 
here, and at that time — Iowa being but a territory, under the immediate 
jurisdiction of the Federal Government — the costs incident to litigation 
were drawn from the pockets of Uncle Sam. The parties litigant, 
juror.s, etc., like all others who feed at the public crib, were not in the 
habit of dispatching business on the locomotive principle ; although, if 
the legends of trading can be relied on, the application of steam was 
occasionally made to facilitate their operations. 

Clayton — The town of Clayton is the youngest of all the rising 
towns of Clayton county. It was surveyed in the fall of 1849 — the 
present site of the town being a dense forest of timber previous to that 
time. The place is situated on section i, township 93 north, range 3 
west ; it is six miles from Garnavillo and fifteen miles from Elkader. 
The beginning of business at the place was made by Frank Smith & 
Co., who, in the fall of 1849, erected a warehouse and store and com- 
menced the mercantile business. The town did not improve much until 
the fall of 185 1, when it took a start, and has steadily improved until 
the present time. There are now three stores in the place, and another 
is soon to be opened by the enterprising house of Clark & Rogers, now 
of Garnavillo. There is also a fair complement of mechanics of 
various trades, and from the preparations made by some of them, 
we conclude that manufacturing to a considerable extent will be car- 
ried on there, especially in wagon and plow making. Some idea of 
the business of the place may be obtained from consideration of the 
fact that Clark & Rogers and Frank Smith & Co., have purchased 
about forty thousand bushels of grain, mostly wheat, which amount 
has nearly all been obtained since the first day of January, 1853, neither 
of those firms being prepared to purchase to any extent previous to 
that time, for want of warehouse room. Messrs. Frank Smith & Co. 
will complete their large steam sawmill in June or July next and Messrs. 
Linton and Douglass have their sawmill, situated on Read's creek, 
nearly completed. These mills will largely increase the business of the 
place, and will be of great benefit to the surrounding country. Clayton 


has heretofore carried on a considerable commerce in steamboat wood, 
obtained principally from the islands of the river near the place. These 
islands are swamp lands, and have recently been given to the county 
by the state. The county judge — in pursuance of a plain duty imposed 
by law — recently made a descent on the wood choppers engaged in 
despoiling those lands of their timber, and we learn that — either in 
consequence of his warnings, or of the recent thaw — the wood 
choppers have desisted, at least for a season. Clayton has a good 
steamboat landing, excellent timber in its vicinity, good building stone, 
and, like all the river towns of Clayton county, a good country back 
of it, and like all of them a bright prospect for the future. 

Garnavillo — This town is situated near the geographical centre of 
the county, on a high, rolling prairie, and six miles from the Missis- 
sippi. The county seat was formerly located at Prairie la Porte (now 
Guttenberg) but for the last ten years has been at this place. It can 
hardly be expected that we should boast very highly of either our com- 
mercial or manufacturing advantages, although we are in close prox- 
imity to both. We are only six miles from the Father of Waters, and 
have a stream only two miles distant, which afifords admirable water 
power. A sawmill was built on this stream last fall, by our townsman 
B. F. Forbes, who intends building a flouring mill at no distant day. 
There is another sawmill being erected by Corning & Brothers a 
short distance below the former. There is a Court House (such as 
it is) at this place, one public house, five stores, four churches and 
one printing office, (the Herald). There are the county offices also, 
and several mechanic shops of the dififerent trades. There will be 
several buildings erected this season, providing lumber can be obtained 
and we think it high time, where an ordinary log cabin rents for forty 
dollars a year payable semi-annually, in advance. 

Volga City — This town is situated on the Volga, a branch of 
Turkey river, and is nine miles from Elkader and 25 miles from the 
Mississippi. It was laid out into town lots in the summer of 1852, 
and quite a number have been improved. The enterprising proprie- 
tors, W. H. and A. L. Gould, have already erected a sawmill and are 
now building a flouring mill at this place. A portion of the water 
power has already been applied to other mechanical purposes. It is 
situated on one of the main thoroughfares, leading from the interior 
portion of the state to the river, and will, beyond doubt make a thriv- 
ing village. 

Elkport — This town is on Turkey river, 15 miles from the Mis- 
sissippi. It was laid out in 1853, but we are not in possession of 
sufficient information relative to the place to state with accuracy the 
amount of improvement which has been done. A belief has been 
entertained that steamboats would some day ply regularly between the 
mouth of the river and this place and even as high up as Elkader, but 
in this age of railroad progress it is very doubtful whether it would 
pay to make the necessary improvements to render the river available. 
Millznlle — Is on Turkey river and possesses some indications of 
a town, although at present it is in about the same predicament that 
the sun was directly after the commands of Joshua. The town busi- 
ness is done here, and there is a flouring mill, post office, etc. It was 


formerly a kind of tributary to the great town of Winchester, the 
whereabouts of which may be learned from some of the old maps of 
Iowa in about 1837, when Cassville was aspiring to be the capital of 

Monona — This place is situated on a high prairie, 12 miles from 
McGregor and on the main road to Fort Atkinson. It has a public 
house, two stores, several mechanic shops ; and is surrounded by a 
beautiful country. We have seen no place in Iowa where the beauty 
of the landscape in summer was more attractive than this place. 

Elkader — This town is on Turkey river about 16 miles from the 
Mississippi at Clayton, and 18 at McGregor. It was surveyed into 
lots in the summer of 1846. The almost unlimited water power at 
this place forms a nucleus around which, at no distant day, a populous 
and enterprising village is sure to grow, as the country around it is 
sure to advance in population and wealth. The enterprising firm of 
Thompson, Sage & Davis improved the water power, and erected a 
saw and flouring mill here at an early day. The latter will compare 
favorably both in size and workmanship, with any in the middle or 
northern states. We understand that they have bought this season, 
upwards of 30,000 bushels of wheat, which was raised in the vicinity 
and west of the place — the most of the crops raised in the eastern 
portion of the county being sold at different points on the river. 
Chester Sage retired from the firm last spring, and we have been 
informed that T. Davis, of Dubuque, has purchased the entire interest 
of John Thompson and will move there during the coming months. 
Carter & Co. and Freeman & Lawrence, are each doing an exten- 
sive mercantile business. There are one or two smaller establish- 
ments in the place, also a foundry, wagon and carriage shop, plow shop 
and many other kinds of mechanical business carried on, which, from 
appearance, we should think were doing well. 


A picture of the eager activity of the time is given in the Herald 
of April 22, 1853. It says : "The river is now open to St. Peters, and 
boats are making their regular trips. The late rains have raised the 
river so that there is no difficulty in the largest boat running over the 
rapids and no hindrance need be anticipated for some time to come. 
Several boats have been through heavily loaded with freight and 
crowded with passengers. Most of the passengers, thus far, have 
been destined to the upper country, although many have stopped at 
different points in this county. Those who have come here report 
themselves as only the advance guard to what are coming this season, 
and, if we mistake not, many who have gone to the upper country for 
the purpose of locating farming lands will yet return to northern Iowa 
before making their investments. 

"Many of our merchants are in the cities making their purchases, 
and some have already returned with heavy supplies, and are deahng 
them out at low figures. Every department of business seems to have 
received a new impulse, and is generating strength from day to day. 
Especially is this true of our river towns. The call for tenements of 


different kinds was never before equal to this ; anything that will pass 
for a house, brings a large rent, and the supply nowhere equals the 

The same issue gives the vote of the county as follows : For regis- 
ter of Des Moines improvement, H. R, Warden, 177; George Gillaspy, 
265 ; for commissioner, Des Moines river improvement, Uriah Biggs, 
83 ; Josiah H. Bonney, 285 ; for drainage commissioner, John M. Gay, 
107; E. H. Hiett, 553. About half the votes of the county was polled. 
Testing seed corn is not such a recent fad as some may think for this 
paper tells that "William Schultz, one of our large and classical farm- 
ers, has shown us a sample of the corn which he saved for seed, and 
which he has tried, and every kernel has come well. He says that he 
is careful to pick his seed before the first frost, and secure it in a 
proper manner, and his seed has never failed since he has been in 
Iowa (12 years)." 

Business Conditions — Business continued to boom and in May the 
Herald sounded a note of triumph as follows : Strangers are contin- 
ually coming among us seeking locations, and real estate is changing 
hands rapidly. The Excelsior, that model boat as her name indi- 
cates, has just passed up the river with a heavy load of freight and pas- 
sengers. We understand that over one hundred passengers left the 
boat at the different river towns in this county, most of whom were 
in search of locations for farming purposes, and hailed from the Key- 
stone State. The Excelsior is but one of six or seven first class boats 
(besides several smaller ones) which run in the upper trade this sea- 
son, and nearly all come loaded to the guards with freight and pas- 
sengers, a large proportion of which are prepared to make permanent 
settlements among us. Our merchants generally have bought much 
larger stocks than usual ; the most of them are just receiving their 
goods, some are yet absent making their purchases, and one firm, who 
b't very early, have already ordered and received in store a large addi- 
tional supply from New York by express. Our villages have thrown 
off their old garments, (not very old they were, either, but still nearly 
old enough for some of them to become hide-bound in) and have gone 
to work in earnest to improve their appearances, not in the way of 
selling lots at exorbitant prices, but with the trowel, plane, saw, and 
brush. J\lany large and permanent buildings are being erected, which 
would do credit to any town in the northwest. In short, business of 
all kinds has received an additional impulse approaching one hundred 
per cent over any former precedent. That which was considered 
doubtful yesterday proves tenable to-day and requires an increase 
to-morrow ; and so it will doubtless continue until some great crash in 
the monetary affairs of the commercial system shall put a check to 
the wheels of progress for the time being, and which may come next 
year, or perhaps not in the next ten years, and possibly not even then. 

The ever increasing activity is shown by the establishment of a 
semi-weekly stage between Guttenberg and Garnavillo which was 
hailed with great delight. The mining interests at Guttenberg were 
considered of much importance and the prospects were thought to be 
most promising, as is shown by the following statement : "We are 


informed by Mayor Kriebs that the mines in the bluff directly back 
of the town are being worked to good advantage, Dr. Lodowick hav- 
ing raised as much as fifteen hundred pounds of mineral in one day. 
This is pretty good, with the price of mineral at $25 and $30 per 1,000 
lbs. We are told that this mineral yields 82 per cent of lead. The 
diggings on Miners Creek are yielding sufficient to pay well for work- 
ing them. The smelting furnaces are both doing a good business. Mr. 
Kriebs also informs us that the people of Guttenberg have voted a tax 
for the purpose of building a large schoolhouse, costing from $2,000 
to $3,000 ; proposals for building will be advertised for in a week or 
two. The diggings on Miners Creek are paying fair wages. We were 
told by Mr. Holmes, that he had a prospect from which he and a hand 
were taking out from five to seven hundred pounds a day. We under- 
stood that Guttenberg corporation scrip brings ninety cents on the 
dollar, with the prospect of bringing dollar for dollar in a short time. 
So far as we had opportunity for observing, the mechanics, the labor- 
ers, the farmers, miners and merchants are prospering, business is 
flourishing, and every thing gives evidence of a favorable business 

Immigration — The Herald gives a glowing account of the times 
saying, "there never was a time in any portion of the west, when the 
country was settling with greater rapidity than northern Iowa is at 
this time. The whole country, from 60 to 100 miles west of the Mis- 
sissippi, is literally alive with immigrants ; where the buffalo and other 
wild game roamed in comparative security today, tomorrow the cabin 
of the pioneer, is seen rising in their midst, and ere they become set- 
tled upon new grounds, they are again frightened from them by the 
rising of domiciles of the settlers. New farms are being opened in 
every direction, and where government holds the title today, tomor- 
row may be seen unmistakable signs of a farm, a village, a mill, or 
something else which denotes the immediate transposition from the 
cradle to the advanced stage of civilization. Close after the pioneer, 
who opens his farm 60 miles from market in 1853, follows the capi- 
talist to invest his surplus in building a railroad to transport the sur- 
plus product of the farmer to market in 1854 ; and forsooth, while the 
older inhabitants of the older states hear of a new section of country 
brought into the market, and the sturdy settler bending his way thither, 
from associations of ideas relative to the many sufferings incident to 
the settlement of a new country when they were young, drop a tear 
in sympathy for their affliction, which, ere it dries, finds them sur- 
rounded by all the necessaries and often many of the luxuries of the 
older states. There never was a time before in this country, when 
every legitimate business seems so prosperous as at present. It seems 
as if the magic wand of the conjurer had passed over us, and pro- 
duced a perfect commotion in all the departments of business, unparal- 
leled perhaps, in the annuls of the west. We learn from the most reli- 
able authority that there are in this, Allamakee, Winneshiek and 
Fayette counties at least 40 saw and flouring mills to be built this sea- 
son, or as soon as labor sufficient can be procured. At present there 
is a great scarcity of mechanics, especially carpenters, joiners, masons, 


and millwrights and unless some can be procured from abroad, much 
of the building will have to be deferred. 


In July, 1853, the Herald began a campaign for the organization 
of an agricultural society. This was continued from week to week 
and finally resulted in a meeting held at Garnavillo on Friday, August 
5, at which the first steps were taken for the organization of the soci- 
ety which has proved so helpful to the county. E. H. Williams was 
chairman and H. S. Granger secretary. The committee to draft a con- 
stitution and solicit members was as follows : T. Davis, chairman, 
Robert Smith, Dennis Quigley, J. C. Tremain, Jon. Noble, John W. 
Potts, John Barnett, J. W. Griffith, Eliphalet Price, F. A. Olds, M. L. 
Fisher, L. Bigelow, P. P. Olmstead, and Joshua Jackson. On Sep- 
tember 10 a meeting was held at Garnavillo at which the constitution 
was adopted, giving as one of the purposes the holding of an annual 
fair and Samuel Murdock was elected president, H. S. Granger, secre- 
tary, and L. S. McHollister of Farmersburg, treasurer. 

An interesting statement showing the rapid growth of the county 
is found in a comparative table taken from the assessment roll. In 
1852, the county contained 1,227 horses, 5,060 cattle, 15 mules, 1,650 
sheep, 6,019 swine. The number of acres occupied by settlers was 
318,581 and the assessed value $707,323. In 1853, these had increased 
to the following figures, horses 1,560, cattle 5,267, mules, 23, sheep 
2,235, swine 8,353, ^^"d held, 343,933 acres, assessed value $1,007,665. 
This was an increase in value of 56 per cent in a single year. 

Vote of 185s — At the election held in August, 1853, Sanford L. 
Peck defeated John M. Gay by a close vote, the vote by precincts being 
as follows: 

Sanford L. Peck. John M. Gay. 

Wagner 22 10 

Sperry 20 27 

Monona 30 20 

Buena Vista 15 21 

Garnavillo 51 4 4 

Mallory rr.TT. 21 - 8 

Cass 17 10 

Farmersburg 28 35 

Mendon 14 30 

218 205 
The returns from the following townships were rejected on 
account of irregularity. 

Sanford L. Peck. John M. Gay. 

Jeflferson 47 19 

Lodomillo 18 18 

Volga 20 13 

Millville 23 14 

Boardman 66 39 

174 103 


The following officers received almost the whole number of votes 
cast : Sheriff, Thos. G. Drips ; Surveyor, Ezra Hurd ; Drainage Com- 
missioner, E. H. Hiett; Coroner, Alexander Blake. "The vote," adds 
the Herald, "was small, owing to the fact that election comes at the 
season when the farmers are engaged with their harvest, and will not 
spare the time to engage in politics." 

MC gregor's property 

The Herald for 1853, contains many items showing the growth of 
the county at various points. Concerning McGregor a contributor 
says : "You would be surprised at the improvement going on here. I 
have not time to particularize, but will tell you in time for next paper. 
H. D. Evans, I understand, is commencing to build a warehouse 100 
by 70 feet, four stories high. Mr. Carlin, of the Towa House,' is also 
building an addition to his house. About a mile from here, on the 
Garnavillo road, I fell in with Mr. Riley, who is a perfect specimen of 
an Iowa pioneer. On the loth of April last, he tented in the woods, 
now he has five acres under cultivation, with a first rate crop of corn, 
potatoes, turnips, etc., has a good log house, and conveniences, all 
accomplished by his own willing hands. He also manufactures a 
washing machine, which needs only to be seen to be appreciated." 


The progress of Guttenberg is shown by the following: "Every- 
body is busy, and the place looks prosperous. At the sale of the 
front lots on the i6ult., four lots were 'leased for a term of twenty 
years, for warehouse purposes,' at (as we understand) a rent of 
$40 per annum. Messrs. Fleck & Bros, have already commenced 
building a warehouse on the river bank, — in front of their store, — 
fifty by seventy-five feet, three and a half stories high. J. P. Kriebs 
also contemplates building a warehouse. The new school-house is 
under contract. It will cost $1,700 to $2,000. Several new dwelling 
houses are being erected and finished; the brick house of Mr. 
Treppahne and that of Mr. Rodemier being the two largest. The dig- 
gings in the bluff are not worked at present, on account of the warm 
weather. The furnaces were both out of blast ; but the Messrs. Fleck 
intended to commence smelting on Monday last. Mineral is purchased 
for both furnaces, at prices ranging from $25 to $30 per 1,000 lbs." 

Lead Mining — Mining was one of the important industries and a 
visit to Buena Vista made by the Herald editor tells of conditions there. 
"We paid a visit to Buena Vista last week. There is but little doing 
in the mines, owing to sickness among the miners. Mineral was sell- 
ing at $32 per 1,000 lbs. E. C. Forbes and B. White are both doing a 
pretty large business in the mercantile line, and the former is dealing 
extensively in wheat." It was during this year that a steam sawmill 
was built at Clayton b}' the enterprising firm of Frank Smith & Co. 
while Monona boasted a new hotel. This was called Egbert's Hotel 
and is described as new, large and commodious. 



The finances of the county at this time are shown by the following 
statement by Judge Williams : 

The total expenditures of Clayton county for 

the year ending July 4th, 1853, is $4,668.04 

The credits are : 

Taxes on property collected $5,118.98 

Taxes on property delinquent 4,118.29 

Poll tax collected 406.00 

Poll tax delinquent 62.00 

Due from Swamp Lands 95-50 

Fees of County Officers 1,237.42 


Assets on expenditure 2,670.15 

County debt, not including interest 2,277.59 

Including interest it will not exceed 3,000.00 

Estimated income of next year 9,300.00 

Estimated expenditure of next year 5,000.00 

A tax of five mills this year will enable the accounting officers to 
nearly, if not quite, wipe out the indebtedness of the county. We con- 
gratulate the citizens and tax-payers of this county upon the above 
favorable exhibit of the indebtedness of the county, which has been fur- 
nished us by the County Judge. The tax for this year will be 7^ mills 
on the dollar, as follows : five for county purposes, one and one-fourth 
for state, one for road, and one-half for school. Should the calcula- 
tion of receipts and expenditures for the next fiscal year prove correct, 
(and we think they may be relied on), Clayton county will no longer 
have to pay bonus on her credit, but when a dollar is issued to pay 
one, and not two dollars, being "salted down," drawing interest at six 
per cent, to be drawn out when they are at par value. 

Mails — The carrying of the mails was of vital importance. Dur- 
ing the navigation season, mail was brought up the river, but the main 
dependence for all the countryside was in the network of stage lines 
which, by 1853, had been developed into an extensive system. The 
rapid development of the county, with new settlements constantly 
springing up, made the addition of new routes frequently necessary 
and often times the settlers grew impatient because postal facilities 
failed to keep pace with their advancement. Throughout all of these 
earlier years the newspapers are constantly complaining of the mail 
service, suggesting changes of schedule and urging new routes. The 
condition of the mail service in 1853, may be gleaned from the follow- 
ing, taken from the Herald of October 7: "We notice that increased 
service has been asked for on the route from Monona to Lansing, and 
also that the route should be so changed as to connect either at Farm- 
ersburg or Garnavillo instead of Monona. The winter will soon be 
upon us, when mail service by the way of the river will be suspended, 
and there is no doubt but that the wants of the country are sufficient 
to justify the department in granting increased service, both on this 


and also on the route from here to Decorah. There is also a great 
want of a general revision of the mails in this portion of the state. The 
mails which we now have might answer a much better purpose than 
they now do, if they only connected in proper manner. For instance^ 
a man at Clayton wishes to send an important business letter to West 
Union, and it so happens that he wishes to send it on Monday. What 
are the mail facilities for getting it there ? He writes his letter, depos- 
its it in the Post Office and Saturday it comes to this place ; but the 
western mail went out on Friday, so it lays over here until the follow- 
ing Friday when it goes to Elkader ; but it does not get there until four 
o'clock, and the mail left for West Union in the morning; so it lies 
there until the following Friday, when lo and behold it arrives at its 
destination twenty-one days from the time it was written — a distance 
of only forty miles ! And in one week from the following Saturday 
he gets his answer, making in all precisely thirty days. During this 
time, if the writer should be expert at traveling, he may step over and 
pay his respects to Queen Victoria, and return in time to receive his 
answer and proceed to business." 

A Pioneer Mail Carrier — One of the earliest mail carriers in the 
county was Jeremiah Roser, who as a boy, under sixteen, carried the 
mail on horse back from Dubuque to Jacksonville in the winter of 
1844-45. He made the trip twice a week carrying the mail in his 
saddle bag. He followed the territorial road from Dubuque, almost 
his entire journey being through the timber, which was full of wild 
turkey, deer and wolves, while bear were not infrequent and often the 
sinister face of an Indian peered at the little messenger from the thick 
underbrush. There were but four post offices between Dubuque and 
Jacksonville. The first of these was Recordville, which consisted of 
a mortised hole in an oak tree by the roadside, into which Jerry placed 
the mail for the few timber dwellers thereabout. His next stop was 
at Floyd's Tavern and he then reached Clayton county, and, passing 
the Quigley sawmill at Millville, he went to the post office known as 
Turkey River, with Isaac H. Preston as post master. The messenger 
spent the night at Millville and then took the Indian trail through the 
brush to Prairie la Porte. Then northwest on the trail to Eli Carlin's 
and over the prairie road to Jacksonville. 

Reuben Noble was post master at Jacksonville at the time, and 
Mrs. Noble took good care of the little messenger at the end of his 
long journey. On one occasion he arrived with both hands and feet 
frozen. It speaks well for the honesty of the community that he was 
unmolested on these lonely trips except on one occasion when there 
was an attempt made to hold him up near the Turkey River postoffice 
one day when he was carrying $400 in gold from a Clayton county 
settler to the land office at Dubuque. The contract time called for the 
arrival of the mail at Jacksonville at 12 o'clock on Tuesdays and Fri- 
days, and the messenger was required to leave, on his return journey, 
at 2 o'clock of the same days. Prepayment of postage was not 
required and rates were high. An old envelope, still in existence 
shows the address, "Jacksonville, Clayton County, Iowa Territory." 
On the envelope is marked the amount of postage due, being 18^ 


Description of County — Mr. Granger, the Herald editor, made a 
lengthy journey in 1853, canvassing for subscriptions to his new paper. 
Speaking of McGregor he says, "Everybody was busy, building, repair- 
ing, cleaning, merchandising, ferrying, and everything else that tends 
to make a people happy, wise and rich. The amount of freight landed 
at this point is almost incredible, and the number of emigrants that 
cross the Mississippi at the ferry is really surprising. Leaving town 
we crossed the bluffs to the upper ferry wood, and this same crossing 
of the bluffs was an enterprise of no little difficulty and danger — diffi- 
culty in keeping the trail, and danger of getting tumbled into the turbid 
waters of Bloody Run. A large number of settlers are located on 
the road between the river and Monona, many of whom have good 
farms opened out, have considerable stock, and seemed to be living 
comfortably. George Shober presented us with some good apples 
grown on his farm ; he is one of the few who believes that apples and 
other fruit will grow in Clayton county. The merchants of Monona 
are doing a considerable amount of business ; the jNIessrs. Harding 
have erected and are now finishing a large building, and Mr. Egbert 
has removed his stock to the new store room adjoining the hotel. Tak- 
ing the old military road to Fort Atkinson, we passed a number of 
farms, on many of which houses are being erected and improvements 

Boom Days at Clayton — We cannot close this picture of the 
county as its first newspaper found it without including the further 
description of Clayton as given by Mr. Granger. "Three years ago, 
when we first saw the place, we were on a trip from St. Louis to St. 
Paul, and in search of a location for a home in the west. At that time 
Frank Smith & Co. had just opened a store in a part of the building 
they now occupy, and there was then but one family in the place. In 
short, it presented to a stranger the appearance of a small wood-yard, 
with no visible prospect of ever being anything more. At this time 
the above firm keeps a large stock and sells both at wholesale and 
retail, it also does considerable in the storage, forwarding and commis- 
sion business, has a steam sawmill nearly completed and intends erect- 
ing a steam flouring mill, perhaps, next season. It also has a good 
horse ferry boat which is kept busy. Park & Rogers have a large 
brick storage, forwarding and commission house, also a large 
wooden building. They also have a brick store and a large two-story 
brick dwelling house. There are two good hotels in the place. J. H. 
Duncan first built a two-story building, as a store and dwelling, but 
lacking room he has erected a dwelling and will use the first building 
for a store altogether. There are several brick dwellings and many 
substantial wooden ones, besides a large number of smaller ones. 
There is a wagon and carriage shop, sash, door and blind factory, 
blacksmith, tinner and cabinet shop. A little back from the street, 
among the trees and near a babbling brook, is the domicile of the peda- 
gogue, where a school is continued the greater portion of the year." 

Bridge Building — Toward the close of the year the question of a 
bridge across Turkey river became a "burning issue" in the county. 
The necessity for the bridge was recognized, but the location was the 
object of much strife. Judge Williams took the bull by the horns in 


1854 and announced that a tax would be levied for a bridge across the 
lower Turkey river, provided the citizens in the vicinity also sub- 
scribed. In a communication relative to the bridge question, "Tam O* 
Shanter" gives an interesting side light on county affairs. He states 
that "we have been laboring under an oppressive tax, levied to pay the 
debts of the county which consisted of county orders which were 
bought by capitalists at a discount of 50 per cent and presented at the 
treasury where they were cashed at par." John P. Kriebs signs an 
advertisement calling a meeting at Guttenberg of those interested in 
the bridge project. Elkader, however, did not propose to wait for 
any bridge, and this enterprising town began the building of a steam 
boat for the navigation of the Turkey. Concerning this the Herald 
says, "as novel as the idea may seem, it is nevertheless true that a 
steamboat is now being built at Elkader, Adam Keen, the energetic 
proprietor has been engaged for some years past in the foundry busi- 
ness at that place, with his brother, George Keen, and he is now 
embarked in this new enterprise. The whole boat is to be built there. 
He has superintended the building of the engine, which is nearly com- 
pleted and the contract is let for building the boat." 

Prosperous Years — Beginning a new volume of his paper Mr. 
Granger tells of conditions in the county, saying "we find everything 
in a highly prosperous condition in our own county and vicinity. The 
farmers are now selling their last year's crops at high prices, with no 
immediate prospect of a decline. Business of all kinds is becoming 
active ; almost everything has an upward and onward tendency. We 
can hardly hear from any portion of the county without hearing of 
improvements being planned and some already begun which are of 
the most permanent character. According to a statement published, 
in 1854, Clayton county was, in 1853, the thirteenth county in the 
state in point of wealth. 

Bridge Controversies — The bridge question continued to agitate 
the county. J. W. Griffith presided at a Guttenberg meeting. E. 
Price offered resolutions, whereupon, "an able and interesting discus- 
sion took place between Mr. Price and Mr. Noble, when said resolu- 
tions were withdrawn." Judge Williams was appointed as a commit- 
tee on location. Meetings were also held at the Colony House at 
which the location at Peck's ferry was advocated. At a meeting at 
Guttenberg, February 25, Judge Williams reported in favor of a loca- 
tion at Peck's Ferry. E. Price moved that the judge be requested to 
procure estimates of cost, but, "this motion was seized as an oppor- 
tunity by those dissatisfied with the selection to express their disappro- 
bation and was lost by a vote of more than two to one — a very large 
majority of the Germans of Guttenberg voting against it." At the 
close of this meeting Dr. H. Hoffbauer gave notice of another meeting 
in protest. This was held, F. W. Helmich presiding and Jacob 
Nicklaus acting as secretary. At this meeting a bridge" at Pearson's 
Place was favored and the following were among the resolutions 
passed : "That we will not apply our money, or a particle of it, to any 
other point on Turkey river, at this time, and that we will not hear any 
influence or inducements to any other point. That we have a better 
claim on the county money in Judge Williams' hands, as we are citizens 


of Clayton county, and the majority of the friends of Peck's Place are 
citizens of Delaware and Dubuque county. That we are ready to build 
a bridge — as is a bridge — across the Turkey river at Pearson's place, 

March 3, 1854, four new townships were added, Giard, Clayton, 
Highland, and Cox Creek. The boundaries were substantially as they 
are today. On March 17, the Herald sounds a note of joy, for the 
river is open. A boat is expected that week and Capt. Smith is daily 
expected at Guttenberg with a full load of emigrants — his new boat 
having been chartered at Cincinnati for that purpose. At this time 
A. Kinney reports that the road between Monona and the state line is 
thronged with new comers, and that the public houses are literally 
crammed full every night. 

Political Affairs — In 1854, Clayton county was first honored by 
the nomination of one of its citizens for a state office. Hon. Eliphalet 
Price was nominated by the Whigs for state treasurer. In a letter full 
of wit Mr. Price declines the nomination and he states that he can- 
not live on a salary of $400 a year, which is $100 less than is 
paid the treasurer of Clayton county. The election, held April, 1854, 
resulted as follows: Superintendent, J. D. Eads, 331; I. I. Stewart, 
281 : Clerk, R. R. Read, 506; E. H. Hiett, 183; School Fund Commis- 
sioner, H. S. Granger, 938; Drainage Commissioner, Joseph 
McSperrin, 41 ; David Mann, 23. 

Dr. F. Andros was at this time appointed as Government physi- 
cian to the Winnebago Indians in Minnesota and' the Minnesota News 
tells of his journey as follows: "Our old friend Dr. Andros, Garno- 
villo, Iowa, arrived in this city Saturday last, having traveled through 
from Iowa on the west side of the Mississippi with a span of horses 
and a buggy. This is, we believe, the first overland trip which has 
ever been made with a team on this route. With the exception of one 
night, spent at Chatfield they had camp fare the entire distance. They 
saw only one human being between Chatfield and Mendota, and that 
one was an Indian." 

Annals of 1854. — It is reported that "stock of every kind is selling 
at unprecedented prices. There has been quite an active demand for 
work cattle and milch cows for the country north of us, and some are 
to be taken as high up as the great bend of the St. Peters. Working 
oxen are selling at from $100 to $125 per yoke; cows from $25 to $40; 
and as for horses, there is no use naming a price, for neither love nor 
money will hardly buy one." Another glimpse of the prosperity of 
the time is found in an item relating to river traffic. It says, "persons 
have to remain in our river towns a week before they can get passage 
for themselves and a small lot of freight. Every boat that comes up 
is loaded to the guards with freight, and crowded with passengers. 
Emigration to and through this county has never before been equal 
to this season. Real estate is constantly changing hands. The emi- 
grants appear to be well off in this world's goods and of the right stamp 
for a new country." 

The Democrats had the only effective political organization in the 
county prior to 1854. At their convention held at Garnavillo, May 13, 
Thomas L. Freeman was chairman and H. S. Granger, secretary ; dele- 


gates elected to the congressional convention were J. P. Kreibs, A. C. 
Woodworth, Jacob Hoarsch, Daniel Lowe, S. R. Peet and B. F. Fox ; 
senatorial delegates were Maturin L. Fisher, Thomas L. Freeman, and 
Harvey Egbert. In June, 1854, appears the announcement and pre- 
mium list for the first county fair to be held in October. Premiums 
were offered for grains, vegetables, fruits, butter, cheese and live stock. 
There were also premiums for the best plow and the best wagon manu- 
factured in the county and also for the best woolen cloth and woolen 
yarns made in Clayton county. 

In June, 1854, the county was shocked by an attack upon Sheriff 
Drips, who was knocked senseless on the deck of the boat Henrietta 
when he attempted to serve papers on the officers at McGregor. He 
was set adrift on a log raft near Clayton and might have died but 
for three passengers who left the boat and rescued him. A new post- 
office was established at Grand Meadow, with Lynus Edson as post- 
master. Guttenberg was growing very fast ; among the improvements 
were a three-story warehouse by the Messrs. Fleck and a large stone 
store building by Mr. Alburtus. New stores on Front street were a 
cigar store, C. Scherling's harness shop, Falkenhainer's hardware store, 
Schmee & Nolte's general store and Ceilfus' clothing store. At 
McGregor things were booming. It is stated that there were, at one 
time, 150 wagons on the opposite side of the river waiting to cross. 
The boat running between McGregor and Prairie du Chien was taken 
down to assist, and even then the emigrants could not be taken 
across as fast as they arrived on the opposite shore. A settler living on 
the main road from McGregor to the back country counted, in one 
week, 329 wagons, 1,456 head of cattle, 50 span of horses, 480 sheep, 
324 hogs and 7 mules passing his house on the way westward. De- 
scribing this great rush of emigrants, the Crawford County (Wis.) 
Courier says : "There is a ferry across the Mississippi some five miles 
below here called the Junction ferry ; there is a ferry plying between 
the lower town of Prairie du Chien and McGregor; there is still 
another ferry which plies between the upper steamboat landing and 
a point below the mouth of Yellow river. Each of these ferries 
employs a horse-boat and is crowded all the time with emigrants for 
Iowa. Some times the emigrants have to encamp near the ferry two or 
three days to await their chance of crossing in the order of their 
arrival. They come in crowds a mile long — they come with wagon- 
loads of household fixings, with droves of cattle and flocks of sheep — 
they come from every land that ever sent an adventurer westward, and 
the cry is 'still they come.' " It is no wonder that with such an oncom- 
ing tide of settlers bringing wealth of all kinds with them that times in 
Clayton county were prosperous. 

Among the interesting items in the Herald of June 30, 1854, are 
the following: B. F. Forbes is improving the Western hotel; Mr. 
Keen has succeeded in running his steamboat down Turkey river as 
far as the dam at Hasting's bottom and back to Elkader. The sheriff 
has recovered and has amicably arranged his difficulties with the offi- 
cers of the boat. There are now three sawmills on Buck creek — 
Forbes', Coming's and Clark's ; a steam mill at Guttenberg and one at 
Clayton, and McCloud's and Sturm's on Sny Magill. The Lutheran 


congregation at Garnavillo installed the first church bell in the county 
and are erecting a parsonage for their preacher, who is just returning 
from Chicago with his bride. P. F. Walton was murdered by a knife 
wound by John White at McGregor. 


The first mention of the great controversy concerning slavery 
which was to divide the North and South appears in a little item on 
July 14, 1854, to the effect that "a convention of the people of Clay- 
ton county opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise will be 
held at Elkader tomorrow at i o'clock." 

On July 7 the democrats held their county convention at Gutten- 
berg; for candidates for the legislature the vote stood: Lafayette 
Bigelow, 19; Thomas L. Freeman (whose death occurred three days 
later), 8; John T. Kriebs, 7; S. R. Peet, 16, and J. W. Potts, 8. Bige- 
low and Peet were declared the nominees. Robert R. Read was the 
unanimous nominee for clerk. The "Anti-Nebraska" convention, held 
at Elkader, was attended by more than 200, fifteen townships being 
represented. J. T. H. Scott presided. Speeches were made by Tim- 
othy Davis, Reuben Noble and E. H. Williams. Lafayette Bigelow 
and Reuben Noble were nominated for the legislature. 


The preamble of the resolutions stated: "We, citizens of Clayton 
county, recognizing each other as members of different political creeds, 
have assembled here in mass convention upon the common platform 
of freedom to demand a restoration of that freedom bequeathed to 
the territories of Nebraska and Kansas by the solemn act of our fore- 
fathers. Resolved, that the repeal of the Missouri Compromise has 
aroused and strengthened the slave power of the South, who are now 
demanding a repeal of the act of congress prohibiting the importation 
of slaves from Africa, and who in their late triumphant exaltation 
unhesitatingly proclaim that slavery is the natural condition of a por- 
tion of mankind, and that it is destined, slowly, but with certainty, 
to override the free institutions of the Union wherever they may exist. 
That from this time forward we will make no concession to, nor com- 
promises with, the institution of slavery, but will demand, and con- 
tinue to demand of our law-making representatives, until obtained, a 
restoration of the Missouri Compromise and a repeal of the Fugitive 
Slave Law. That we will support no man for public office — let him 
be called Whig, Democrat or Abolitionist — who is opposed to the 
restoration of freedom to the territories of Nebraska and Kansas. We 
request the nominees of this convention to stump the county. We 
absolve ourselves from all issues of the different political parties with 
which we have formerly acted, and do now unite upon the common 
platform of freedom to all mankind." 

A Clayton county vigilance committee was appointed and con- 
sisted of the following members : V. R. Miller, Mendon ; Clark Wood, 
Farmersburg ; A. L. Fuller, Boardman ; C. P. Goodrich, Jeft'erson ; F. 


Hartge, Volga ; Jonathan Noble, Lodomillo ; Dr. Dunn, Sperry ; J. C, 
Tremain, Cass ; D. M, Zearley, Elk ; H. L. Schutte, Garnavillo ; John 
Beady, Grand Meadow ; B. White, Buena Vista ; L. V. Collins, Girard ; 
M. Stahl, Wagner ; J. Robbins, Highland ; A. Clark, Cox Creek ; Alva 
C. Rogers, Clayton ; Joseph McSperrin, Mallory ; J. W. Griffith, Mill- 
ville ; P. P. Olmstead, Monona, J. J. Kinzel and E. H. Williams were 
the secretaries of this convention. Thus spoke the voice of freemen 
for freedom. Ofif in the prairies and the woods of Iowa, their daily 
lives unaffected, they, nevertheless, 200 of them, left their homes and 
farms to issue this ringing declaration for liberty. These names, each 
and all of them, should be inscribed upon the roll of honor of Clayton 
county. That this was the birth of the Republican party in Clayton 
county is incidental, for, while others were slow to be aroused, within 
a few years the whole county stood shoulder to shoulder fighting 
together for liberty and union, with partisanship thrown to the winds. 
Mr. Bigelow had already been nominated by the Democrats, but his 
views were satisfactory to the convention. Reuben Noble following 
the instructions of the convention that its nominees should stump the 
county, at once issued a list of appointments, speaking at fourteen 
points in the county. 

Grand Meadow Meeting — The honor of holding the first conven- 
tion opposing the extension of slavery must, however, be accorded to 
Grand Meadow. A meeting composed of citizens of Fayette, Winne- 
shiek, Allamakee and Clayton counties was held in Grand Meadow 
township, near Postville, on July 8. John Laughlin was president and 
G. L. Henderson secretary. Stirring resolutions were adopted, includ- 
ing the following: "That as the people of the state of Iowa have 
declared in the first article of their constitution that all men are by 
nature free and equal, we are solemnly bound to stand by these declara- 
tions, come what may, by refusing to recognize the existence of any 
man as a slave upon the soil of Iowa. That that which is not just is 
not law and that which is not law ought not to be obeyed; there- 
fore the Fugitive Slave Law is deserving of neither obedience nor 
respect. We earnestly solicit all true Republicans to unite with us 
for the purpose of electing such men as will vote for and maintain 
the principles contained in these resolutions." In these resolutions the 
word "republican" as appHed to a political party appears for the first 
time in print in Clayton county. 

H. S. Granger, editor of the Herald had been a Democrat, but 
he stated editorially that "animation can never be restored to the two 
great parties until the seed of corruption becomes completely eradi- 
cated from what is now known as free territory, and until it becomes 
completely walled and hedged in to its own legitimate and constitu- 
tional limits. Its (slavery's) origin is most clearly traced to the devil 
himself, and hence it is full of iniquity, and justice demands Congress 
to say, 'Thus far shalt thou come, and no farther.' " 

Curtis Bates was the Democratic candidate for Governor, Stephen 
Hempstead for Congress and David S. Wilson for state Senator. On 
the Anti-Nebraska ticket James W. Grimes was the candidate for 
Governor, James Thorington for Congress and W. W. Hamilton for 
state Senator. O. F. Stevens was the Anti-Nebraska candidate for 


prosecuting attorney. The campaign was bitterly contested and the 
result in Clayton county was as follows : A sweeping victory for the 
Anti-Nebraska party ; for Governor, J. W. Grimes 687, Curtis Bates 
332; Congress, James Thorington 694, Stephen Hempstead 329; Sen- 
ator, W. W. Hamilton 689, D. S. Wilson 310; Representative, L. Bige- 
low 743, R. Noble 726, S. R. Peet 340. 

Current Events — In August, 1854, two of the prominent citizens 
of the county became involved in a personal altercation, as the result 
of which Harrison Boardman inflicted two serious knife wounds upon 
John Garber. Boardman attempted to escape, but was captured and 
Garber was taken to the public house kept by Mr. Killam. Mr. Garber 
afterward recovered. On August 11, H. S. Granger sold the Garna- 
villo Herald to A. W. Drips, who had been associated with him for 
some time as a printer. Mr. Drips continued the Herald and made it 
a splendid newspaper, considering the times and the opportunities. 
He was always loyal to his friends and to the community. Starting 
with limited means, it is fairly pitiful to see the brave struggle he made 
to be cheerful and optimistic as the hard times of the succeeding years 
closed in on him. He was one of the bright, brave spirits of the pioneer 
days and did his full share for the development of Clayton county. 

County Improvements — The county finances of this time were 
in excellent condition, the outstanding warrants amounting to but $1,- 
546.70, which Judge Williams declared would be entirely wiped out 
by the taxes of 1854. The persistence of the Germans at Guttenberg 
finally won out, for the Herald says : "We understand that an addi- 
tional force has been put to work on the bridge at Judge Pearson's 
place and we hope soon to hear of the rapid progress of the work." 
At the same time the citizens of Clayton were busy building a road 
through their hills to the back country, Alva C. Rogers, Frank Smith 
and John M. Ballou being the committee who advertised for bids for 
this work. Among the evidences of increased growth were the estab- 
lishment of a new mill route from Delhi to Garnavillo via Colesburg; 
the opening of a new postoffice, called High Grove, between Elkader 
and Highland, with Capt. A. H. Pool as postmaster ; the establishment 
of a new stage line, leaving Dubuque on Monday, Wednesday and 
Friday, and arriving at Garnavillo the same day. Among the improve- 
ments noted at Garnavillo is a dwelling by Mr. Spicer, the new office 
of Noble and Granger, located next to the Herald office, an addition 
to the hotel, the new Odd Fellows hall and the residences of Mr. 
Kurd, Dr. Linton and the Lutheran parsonage. 

First County Fair — The first county fair in Clayton county was 
held Oct. 3, 1854, just three weeks before the first Iowa state fair. 
The praise given for this first fair by the Herald was but faint. Among 
the ladies making exhibits were Mrs. P. M. Potter, Mrs. Drips, Mrs. 
J. B. Sargeant, Mrs. A. B. Scott of Clayton, Miss Lizzie Oldes and 
Mrs. E. H. Williams. Mrs. Murdock and Miss Drips won prizes in 
the preserved fruit department. The prize baby was Mary Stella, 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. H. Jacobs, of Clayton. Prizes for 
grain were won as follows: Wheat, George Pearson; barley, Wm. 
Schulte ; corn and potatoes, Michael Uriell. 

Marts and Markets — A statement of the amount of wheat pur- 


chased for the season at Elkader shows that Thompson & Davis bought 
44,000 bushels, at an average cost of 65 cents ; Freeman & Lawrence, 
7,000 bushels, at an average cost of 80 cents, and E. G. Rolf, 1,109 
bushels at 75 cents, making a total of $35,031.75 paid at Elkader. The 
Herald believes Clayton purchased twice that amount. Describing a 
journey through the county, the editor says of Elkader: "We found 
everybody busy and business of all kinds thriving. The foundry, we 
learn, is doing a very large amount of work. Squire Rolf and Carter 
& Co. are doing a heavy business. Some idea may be formed of the 
mercantile business transacted in Elkader when we state that since 
the 1st of April last there were sold nearly $100,000 worth of goods. 
Elkader has a cabinet-maker's shop, a chair and bedstead factory, tin- 
ner's shop, dauguerrean saloon, etc. The new store of Mr. Rolf, 
the brick store of Freeman & Lawrence and the stone building of 
Hobson & Davis are all handsome, durable structures." The Herald 
of Sept. 29 also notes that D. G. Rogers has sold the brick store at 
Garnavillo to C. W. Hagensick & Co. and that Rogers goes to Clayton 
to conduct business under the firm name of Rogers & Stoddard. 

Miscellaneous Events — The Methodist appointments for the county 
are given as follows : Garnavillo, Joseph Cameron ; Hardin, Isaac 
Newton ; Elkader Mission, Charles M. Session. By this time deer 
were scarce enough to be worthy of newspaper mention, and it is 
noted that H. H. Chesnut of Clayton township killed a fine buck 
weighing 209 pounds. In October a postofifice at Giard was established, 
with Isaac Mathew as postmaster. Clayton shows great business activ- 
ity, G. Douglas was doing good business with a sash and door factory ; 
L. Hodges conducted the "Gothic Hotel;" Nicholas Kriebs, J. G. 
Jerome, Rogers & Stoddard, Clark, Rogers & Co. and Frank Smith 
& Co. are mentioned among the merchants. The shipments of grain 
from Clayton are given as : Wheat 62,000 bushels, oats 24,000 bushels, 
barley 5,000 bushels, corn 9,000 bushels. From April i to October 25, 
1854, there were 508 steamboat arrivals, to which were sold 2,400 cords 
of wood and which landed 2,200 passengers. The steam sawmill 
employed ten hands, and there were other industries, all of which 
w^ere booming. Concerning Guttenberg, there are the following items : 
A steam sawmill was burned to the ground the latter part of October, 
but will be rebuilt at the mouth of Miners' creek ; Fleck & Bros, bought 
during the season 15,000 bushels of wheat, 2,500 bushels of oats, 1,500 
bushels of corn, 7,000 bushels of barley, 1,500 bushels of potatoes, 
3,000 dozen eggs at 9 cents per dozen, 9,000 pounds of butter and other 
produce. The leading exports were 300,000 pounds and the price be- 
tween $4 and $6 per hundred, 2,000 cords of wood were sold to steam- 
boats during the season. In the fall of 1854 began the great slump 
in prices which presaged the hard times of the succeeding years. The 
price of wheat at Clayton fell 20 cents in a single week, and the market 
quotations for Nov. 17, 1854, at Clayton, were: Wheat 55 cents to 
60 cents, oats 20 cents, barley $1, corn 25 cents, shelled 30 cents, butter 
18 cents, eggs 10 cents. 

Mention is made of the new town of Highland, 11 miles west of 
Elkader. It is said that this town was laid out by A. W. Holbrock 
in the summer of 1854. It had a public house, a store and a post- 

PROGRESS ANU POVERTY — 185O-1860 10 1 

office, and other buildings were contemplated. A semi-weekly stage 
from Elkader to West Union, passing through High Grove, Highland 
and Elyria, afforded the mail service. Judge Williams appointed B. 
F. Schroeder as swamp land commissioner, and the swamp lands were 
offered for sale in January, 1855. 

Clayton a State Power — The election, at which the free soil men 
of Clayton county rallied in such force, bore important fruit. In 
Congress no voice from Iowa had been raised against the extension 
of slavery until James Harlan and James Thorington took their seats. 
Elected by a union of the free soil, Whigs and Abolitionists, they 
were the first Iowa Congressmen to oppose the growing aggression of 
the slavery power. The fifth General Assembly, which met at Iowa 
City, was one of the most important sessions of an Iowa legislature, 
and Clayton county had the honor of having the presiding officer both 
in the House and in the Senate. Maturin L. Fisher of Farmersburg, 
a Democrat, was elected president of the Senate, and Reuben Noble of 
Garnavillo, was speaker of the House. It so happened that Mr. Noble, 
as speaker, played a very important role in the election of the United 
States Senator. Gue's History of Iowa gives the following story of 
this exciting contest: "On the 13th of December the General As- 
sembly met in joint convention to elect a United States Senator. Two 
ballots were taken without an election, when the convention adjourned 
till, the next day, at which time the convention adjourned to the 21st, 
without taking a vote on the election of Senator. A. C. Dodge and 
Edward Johnston received the votes of most of the Democrats, while 
the Whig and Free Soil members divided their votes among seven 
candidates, the most prominent of which were Fitz Henry Warren, 
James B. Howell, Ebenezer Cook and James Harlan. On the 21st 
three votes were taken for Senator. On the third ballot Harlan had 
37 votes. Dodge 43, Cook 7. On the fifth ballot Harlan received 45 
votes. Cook 44, scattering 8. The Democrats, being in a minority, had 
no chance to elect a member of their own party, and as Cook was a 
conservative Whig and Harlan a Free Soil Whig, most of them, on 
the fifth ballot, voted for Cook, hoping to elect him over Harlan. The 
convention now adjourned to January 5. On the seventh ballot Harlan 
received 47 votes. Cook 29, W. D. Browning 19. The convention then 
decided to proceed to the election of Supreme Judges. After several 
ballots were taken .without an election the convention adjourned to 
the next day, when the Senate (which was Democratic) met and, by 
strict party vote, adjourned to Monday, to avoid meeting the House 
in joint convention at the time agreed upon, proposing thus to inval- 
idate any election that might be made. When the time arrived to 
which the joint convention had adjourned, the Whig Senators entered 
the House and Reuben Noble, as speaker, announced that the joint 
convention was then in session. Mr. Samuels raised the point that 
the convention was not properly convened ; Mr. Noble overruled the 
point and ordered the roll called. Most of the Democratic members 
absented themselves or refused to answer to the call. Fifty-seven 
members answered, however, making a majority of the joint conven- 
tion. The president of the Senate, Mr. Fisher, being absent, W. W. 
Hamilton was elected to fill the position. A vote was then taken for 


United States Senator. James Harlan received 52 votes to four scat- 
tering and was declared elected for six years, from March 4, 1855." 

It was thus that the little mass convention called at Elkader con- 
tributed to the election of the first Senator from Iowa who dared to 
stand up and fight against the extension of slavery. 

Among the other important acts of this legislature, both branches 
of which were presided over by men from Clayton county, were the 
location of the state capital at Des Moines ; provision for a state 
geological survey ; the establishment of an asylum for the deaf and 
dumb; a prohibitory liquor law, and the establishment of a state land 

Approach of Hard Times — Clayton county began the year 1856 
with a glad heart and strong courage. Happily the dark clouds of 
the future were concealed from them. Crops had been bountiful, all 
of their little towns had been prospering, the tide of immigration had 
not been checked, new men and new money were constantly coming, 
prices were fair and the currency was still reliable and at par. Among 
the items of the year-end may be noted the following: "McGregor is 
improving fast. A large steam sawmill is being erected by Jones, 
Bass & Freck. Mr. McGregor is putting up a large building intended 
for a warehouse. There are three public houses and three stores 
doing a general merchandising business ; a wholesale and retail grocery, 
owned by W. H. Baker, a bakery, a tin shop, two blacksmith shops and 
a carpenter shop. McGregor's ferry connections make it a desirable 
landing for emigrants from the East, and it has a better natural road 
through the country than any of our river towns. Business is brisk 
at Elkader, E. Boardman, Jr., has leased the Elkader house; Mr. 
Clark is now merchandising in the building formerly occupied by Free- 
man & Lawrence ; Mr. Espy is in the new brick store at the end of 
the bridge, and R. Freeman is doing a land agency business ; Emerson 
& Border have the contract for carrying mail three times a week from 
Dubuque to Gamavillo and hope to establish a daily route to Decorah. 
There is a semi-weekly mail to Clayton, the citizens of Clayton paying 
for one trip and the government for the other ; a contract for a bridge 
over Little Turkey at Millville has been let, owing to the enterprise 
of B. White ; Monona is to have a steam sawmill. Rogers & Stoddard 
of Clayton have commenced work on a large steam flour mill. Large 
steam saw and flouring mills are to be erected at Guttenberg. The 
new warehouse of Beckman & Co. is completed. Eighteen bushels of 
wheat to the acre was reported to be the average yield, and George 
Pearson had a yield of 120 bushels on four acres. The population of 
the county, according to the census of 1854, was 9,337 and the num- 
ber of voters 1,689." 

The first note of the approaching hard times is found in an edi- 
torial in the Herald of Jan. 26, 1855, in which it states that "from 
one end of the East to the other the cry is of distress and hard times. 
That we feel somewhat the pressure of the times we do not deny." 
Among the other items of this issue are the following: That Dr. F. 
Andros is a member of the Minnesota legislature; that S. Murdock 
will give a lecture in the courthouse, subject, "The Earth;" that the 
agricultural society will meet and that a daily stage line is proposed 


between Clayton and West Union via Elkader. This paper also men- 
tions the wonderful discovery that paper can be made of wood pulp. 
The county seat question was again agitated and L. Bigelow, as rep- 
resentative, reports that 272 citizens have asked that the county seat 
be fixed by the legislature, that 448 citizens asked that commissioners 
be appointed to relocate and in case the county seat is changed that 
an election is first held, while 407 other citizens remonstrate against 
the appointment of commissioners and ask that an election be held. 
Under the circumstances Mr. Bigelow throws up his hands and decides 
to do nothing. Timothy Davis presided at a meeting at Elkport at 
which it was resolved to raise the funds and to build a bridge across 
the Volga. Samuel Murdock at this time announced his candidacy 
for district judge. 

Despite the hard times which were creeping over the nation from 
east to west, Clayton county, with its ever increasing tide of immigra- 
tion, continued to prosper during the year 1855 ; all of the towns 
increased in population, and especially was this true of the river towns, 
which grew rapidly in importance. Clayton and McGregor received 
the greatest benefit from the transient immigrant trade and attracted 
much eastern capital. During this year Eliphalet Price succeeded E. 
H. Williams as county judge; the other county officers were Benjamin 
F. Fox, recorder and treasurer ; Robert R. Reed, clerk ; H. S. Granger, 
school fund commissioner; Nicholas Kriebs, coroner; Murray E. 
Smith, surveyor; James Davis, sheriff; O. F. Stevens, attorney. Polit- 
ically the lines between the Democrats and the new party which was 
rapidly forming were more sharply drawn, the new party being in 
the ascendency in the county. Eliphalet Price was president of the 
agricultural society for 1855, and a second fair was held which was 
more successful than the first. The amount given in premiums at the 
first fair was $29; for the second fair the premiums amounted to 

Elkader Wins County Seat — Elkader had been growing both in 
population and ambition, and its friends circulated a petition asking 
for the removal of the county seat to Elkader. This petition was 
signed by 950 voters. The Elkaderites also founded a newspaper, 
called the Tribune, to aid in the fight for the county seat and the 
columns of the newspapers at Garnavillo and Elkader were filled with 
bitter editorials and contributed articles. The Tribune was branded 
as the "organ" of the "Company" and said to have been established 
simply to boom Elkader. The Elkader advocates issued a challenge 
for joint debates, and this challenge was accepted by Reuben Noble, 
who agreed to meet them at McGregor, Monona, Clayton and Gutten- 
burg. There is no record that these meetings were held, and the 
election took place in April and resulted in favor of Elkader by the 
following vote: Elkader 1,135, Garnavillo 964. Guttenburg people 
voted almost solidly for Garnavillo, thus paving the way for a peti- 
tion, notice of which was published on May 2, asking for another 
election, as between Elkader and Guttenburg. Judge Price immedi- 
ately issued the order for the removal of the county seat and stated 
that he had procured suitable rooms for the district court and that 
the county court would close at Garnavillo on Thursday, May i, 1856, 


and open at Elkader on the following Monday. At the April election 
the vote was also taken on the "hog law," which was defeated by a 
vote of 6i6 for restraint and 799 against. A school fund commis- 
sioner was also elected, there being three candidates, and the vote 
standing: I. Matthews 980, J. Nicklaus 522, J. O. Crosby 432. Mr. 
Matthews removed the office to Giard. 

Read and Morasser Townships — On March 14, 1856, Judge Price 
gave notice of the establishment of two new townships ; the first. Read, 
named after Robert R. Read, with the election to be held at the house 
of John Barrett; the second, Morasser, which was to embrace all of 
township 94, range 6. This name was not satisfactory to the people, 
as is shown by the fact in the published election table for the April 
election, the description is used and not the name. It is related that 
J. C. Rounds was bitterly opposed to the name Morasser, and that 
he made an agreement with Judge Price for the changing of the name 
to Marion, the consideration being that the vote of the precinct be 
delivered to Guttenburg in the next county seat contest. It is stated, 
further, that Judge Price carried out his part of the agreement, but 
that at the election, much to his chagrin, the new township voted solidly 
for Elkader. At the first election in this new township 29 votes were 
cast, and the election was held at the home of Ole Olson. Read 
township cast eighty votes. 

Events of 1856 — The following brief mentions, taken from the files 
of newspapers, give a good idea of the activities and growth of the 
county along many lines. The prominence of the county is shown by 
the fact that Reuben Noble was nominated as an elector at large, thus 
heading the first Republican state ticket ever put into the field, 
although, on account of private business, he declined to be a candi- 
date. Squire Peet tells of the establishment of Henry (Honey) Creek 
postoffice five miles southeast of Littleport with Mr. Marshall as 
postmaster. Yankee Settlement Center is the name of a new town 
platted by Joseph Gibson ; it is reported as containing a tavern, black- 
smith shop, two stores, steam sawmill, two doctors, two lawyers and 
a Congregational church, while the Methodists are building a church 
and from eight to ten other buildings are being erected. Mr. Gibson 
did everything possible to promote this settlement, giving one lot free 
to mechanics and selling them a second lot at from five to ten dollars. 
An addition to the town of Hardin was also platted and lots offered 
for sale. National had a new steam mill, owned by W. H. Harrah. A 
new postoffice was opened at Geisselman's ferry, on the Colesburg and 
Garnavillo mail route. From Strawberry Point comes a report of a 
large building erected by Stearns Bros. ; that a church and schoolhouse 
are being built; that Tremain and Blake occupy the former Stearns* 
store, and a Mr. Pearse has established a daguerrean parlor. In May, 
Robert R. Read resigned the office of clerk and Judge Price appointed 
the young man, Thomas Updegraff, as his successor. This was the 
first official position held by Mr. Updegrafif, who for many years was 
prominent in the county and later, as a member of Congress, a power- 
ful factor in state and nation. His biography will be found in another 

Garnavillo was hard hit by the removal of the county seat. Some 


wags unfeelingly rubbed in the defeat by removing the stone curb 
of the town well to Elkader. The Herald sees no fun in this and 
waxes indignant over the outrage. But the Herald itself was obliged 
to yield to circumstances, and on May 29, 1856, it makes its first 
appearance at Guttenburg in the hope that it will soon be the county 
seat. A. W. Drips continues as editor, and the Herald office is 
located in the Odd Fellows building. A new town, which should 
not be omitted from the list of the many established in the county, 
was that of Windsor, in Farmersburg township. This was laid out 
by J. C. Russell, and the surveying was done by Truman Beckwith. 
This is the present town of Farmersburg. 

Field of Bus{)iess — Perhaps no better review of business condi- 
tions in the county can be gained than by glancing through the advertis- 
ing columns of the county newspaper. Thenasnowenterprisingmerchants 
and business men believed in publicity, and the advertisements form a 
fairly complete directoryof thebestbusinesshouses. Thescarcityof news- 
papers is evidenced by the fact that advertisements were inserted from 
many towns. In March, 1856, while still at Garnavillo, and before the 
removal of the county seat, the Herald contains the following business 
cards : At Garnavillo, the Garnavillo hotel, B. F. Forbes, proprietor ; 
Jacob Nicklaus, notary; Noble & Granger, E. H. Williams, Schuyler 
R. Peet, J. O. Crosby and Elijah Odell, attorneys ; John Linton, physi- 
cian ; R. C. Drips, justice ; O. McCraney, real estate ; Beach & Brown, 
shoemakers ; Daniel C. Forbes, tailor ; E. P. Atkins, grocer. There 
are ten business cards from Dubuque, including hotels and merchants. 
West Union and St. Louis are represented, as is also Galena. Henry 
Gififord advertises grain cradles for sale at Boardman's grove, three 
miles east of Elkader. Lots are offered for sale in Schroeder's addi- 
tion to Garnavillo by John Barnes and O. McCraney ; Keumpel and 
Stearns, of Clayton, announce their cabinet, chair and bedstead factory ; 
Buell Knapp has the "Premium" harness shop, over Carter's store 
at Elkader ; Barnes and Crawford, of Volney, announce the dissolu- 
tion of the firm ; Levi Angier asks all to settle up ; James L Gilbert 
advertises a public sale of stock ; Leonard B. Hodges offers for sale 
a two-story brick house in Hardin, also one hundred building lots in 
that town, which he advertises in most extravagant terms. There 
are many estray notices, one of which, concerning a "Verirrte Kuh," 
is printed in German, using English type. The fourth page of the 
paper is entirely devoted to advertisements. Randall & Jones' corn- 
planting machines are boosted. The North West Express Co., oper- 
ating teams from St. Paul to Dubuque, via Decorah and Garnavillo, 
is an advertiser. Among the Clayton advertisers are J. H. & William 
Grannis, general merchants ; the Clayton foundry, formerly of Elkader, 
run by Keen Bros. ; J. A. Brown, furniture ; Hoyt & Campbell, wagon 
makers ; Gark & Rogers, J. G. Jerome and Frank Smith & Co., general 
merchants. R. C. MacKinney & Co. have a furniture store at 
McGregor. The Guttenberg advertisers are the City hotel, formerly 
Gilmore house, by J. B. Lahr; G. F. Weist, hardware; Fleck & Bro., 
general merchandise, and G. Poetz, cabinet maker. Alex. McGregor 
inserts a half-column concerning the advantages of his ferry, and 
directly attacking statements made by Frank Smith & Co., of Clayton. 


To this the Clayton firm replies in a still longer advertisement accusing 
McGregor of misrepresentation and setting forth the advantages ot 
Clayton as a ferry point. The rivalry between these two towns for 
the immigrant trade is well illustrated by these counter statements. 
Among the other stores advertised are those of J. S. Belknap, at 
Lodomillo, and of A. C. Woodward at Volga City. Among the oddities 
is the advertisement of "French shirt bosoms, excelling all others in 
ease of ironing and durability. For sale by M. L. Wood." 

Dubuque View of Clayton — In the spring of 1856 Clayton county 
was visited by the editors of the Republican and of the Staats Zeitungof 
Dubuque. The description of the county and of its towns is very flattering, 
and a portion of it reads as follows : 'The traveler who first lands in Clay- 
ton county at Guttenberg, and seeks to penetrate into its interior from 
that point, at first encounters nature in its rough and primitive ma j esty . He 
ascends a gigantic bluff, step by step, until he attains a mountain 
elevation. Then at his feet he beholds the Mississippi, dotted with 
lovely islands and sparkling in the sun, rolling on its waste of waters 
to the sea. Before him spreads the forest, as it was a hundred years 
ago, beautiful in its grandeur. He journeys through it, and soon smil- 
ing farms greet him from the hilltops, and the country grows less 
rough. Five miles from Guttenberg he enters upon the most beautiful 
rolling prairie we have ever seen, which extends far on either hand, 
to within three miles of Elkader. This prairie is high and is broken 
into every imaginable variety of hill and dale. It is covered with 
farms, most of them in the very highest state of cultivation. The 
other portions of the county are almost equally as beautiful, and 
there is scarcely a foot of it but what is susceptible of perfect culti- 
vation. The Turkey river, a most beautiful stream, furnishing abun- 
dant water power, runs through the county diagonally, from its north- 
west to its southeast corner, and upon its banks and those of its 
tributaries, as well as along the Mississippi, which forms the eastern 
boundary of the county, there is an inexhaustible supply of timber. 

"Guttenberg — This is the largest town in the county, and contains 
a population of over 1,000. It was incorporated as a city some three 
years ago, and is governed by a mayor and five trustees elected 
annually. The inhabitants of Guttenberg are almost exclusively Ger- 
man, there being but four or five American families in the place. 
It is a significant fact that one of these few Americans was chosen 
mayor. The German mind is not absorbed by a lust for office. The 
site of Guttenberg is very handsome, strongly resembling that of 
Dubuque. Its houses are large, well built, and for the most part 
constructed of stone, of which there is any quantity close at hand. 
There is a better steam mill there than there is in Dubuque, and some 
of its buildings would do honor to Main street. Business is flourishing 
— a number of new houses are going up, and everyone appears to be 
making money. Socially the people of Guttenberg are above all praise. 
We spent about thirty hours there, and never were there thirty hours 
more delightfully engaged. Of a very high order of intelligence and 
gifted with an unusual knowledge of the world, their conversation is 
as charming as their hospitality is grateful. To our friends, Messrs. 
Nicklaus, Prignitz, Uhl, and many others, we owe most particular obli- 


gation. In Guttenberg there stands a three-story house constructed of 
stone in a very elegant, tasteful and substantial manner, which was 
built almost entirely by a man and his wife, who now own it. They 
were three years in accomplishing the job, and now receive a hand- 
some income from its rent. This extraordinary couple, of course, 
are German. All over the county we heard the warmest praise of the 
German settlers. The prominent American citizens spoke of them as 
ornaments in every way to the county, and extolled, glowingly, their 
intelligence, their industry, their patriotism, and the great increase of 
wealth which they produced. 

"Garuavillo — Ten miles northwest from Guttenberg, and in the 
heart of a prairie as beautiful as a garden, lies Garnavillo, a place of 
some five or six hundred people, and until lately the county seat. It 
wears an air of health, cleanliness and contentment that is very charm- 
ing, and seems to be in no way dispirited by the loss of the seat of 
government. It has a number of good stores, shops and dwellings, 
and is honored by being the residence of the Hon. Reuben Noble and 
E. H. Williams, two men of whom any state would be proud. 

"Elkader — Situated on both sides of the Turkey river, ten miles 
west of Garnavillo, and upon a bench of land designed by nature for 
a town, Elkader has peculiar and natural advantages which the enter- 
prise and sagacity of her citizens have not failed to improve. She 
is a young place, and has, as yet, scarcely begun to show what she can 
yet be made. Her inhabitants number some half a thousand, but we 
mistake greatly if they are not doubled e'er another year. There is a 
gigantic flouring mill here, owned by Timothy Davis, Esq., and which 
is a monument to the skill and wealth of its proprietor. There are some 
half-dozen excellent stores, a hotel, shops, school houses, etc. The 
site of Elkader is very beautiful, and when the town shall have 
spread over the high tableland which is designed to form the principal 
portion of the place, it will be hard to find a handsomer place in Iowa. 
The district court. His Honor Judge Murdock presiding, was in ses- 
sion when we entered Elkader, and the town was thronged to over- 
flowing by the lawyers and the "pares curiam" from far and near. 
Had it not been for the very acceptable hospitality and kindness of our 
friends there, we should have fared but badly, as every nook and 
corner of the hotel swarmed with human beings. To the kindness of 
Mr. Carter, Judge Williams and Mr. Havens we are deeply indebted 
for hospitality graciously and freely ofifered. 

"Clayton Centre — Five miles east of Elkader is a new town just 
out of the woods, and yet in its first days of infancy, which may 
make something yet. It is settled by a German colony, the most of 
whom have already built for themselves small stone houses. As this 
town is very near the center of the county, no doubt anticipations are 
entertained by some of its citizens of one day enjoying the honor of 
the location of the county seat. 

"Communia — Some six or seven miles south of Elkader is the site 
of what remains of the somewhat famous "Communia Colony," an 
association of Germans formed years since upon the principle of 
living in common. They have a beautiful place, and it is under the 
highest state of cultivation. The experiment of socialism, however. 


turned out to be a failure, and great have been the troubles of the 
colony. Many of its members have left it, and those v^ho remain are 
harassed by an infinitude of lawsuits about the property, which is now 
of great value. 

"Public Men — The last legislature of this state was presided over 
in each of its branches by a gentleman from Clayton county. Maturin 
L. Fisher was the president of the senate, Reuben Noble was speaker 
of the house. This extraordinary tribute to the pre-eminence of the 
public men of Clayton was not undeserved. She has within her boun- 
daries probably as much real talent as any other county of the state. 
The two gentlemen we have named, Timothy Davis, Judge Williams, 
Judge Murdock, Dr. Hoffbauer, and many others, are statesmen and 
jurists fitted for any post of honor and respectability. Well may the 
citizen of Clayton bless the fortune that led him to cast his lot on 
her fair bosom." 


October lo, 1856, is the date of the first issue of "The North 
Iowa Times," published at McGregor, with the proud motto, "We 
march with the flag, and keep step to the music of the Union." With 
this paper came a new factor into Clayton county in the person of 
Col. A. P. Richardson, who was the editor of the Times, F. W. Merrell 
being the publisher. Col. Richardson was a man of great ability and 
a terse, forceful and fluent writer. He came to Iowa as a man in the 
prime of life, already well versed in political affairs and having 
attained to high honors in the state of Indiana. He was born in Phila- 
delphia, May 28, 1818. His youth was spent in southern Ohio and 
his young manhood in northern Indiana. In this state he was promi- 
nent in Democratic political circles, serving one term in the Indiana 
state senate and having been appointed as a colonel of the state militia, 
from which appointment he gained the title by which he was familiarly 

He first came to Iowa as a guest of his wife's relatives, who lived 
at Monona, and he was so pleased with the country that he came to 
McGregor and established the Times. His reputation as an editorial 
writer was not confined to this section, nor to Iowa ; he was known, 
and his opinions were respected, throughout all the northwestern states. 
While a partisan. Col. Richardson was always a patriot. When the 
test came in 1861, no man was stronger in his utterances for the defense 
of the Union. He was the editor of the Times almost continuously 
for a period of fourteen years, dying at McGregor, December 5, 1870. 
Col. Richardson was on the ground several weeks before the first issue 
of his paper appeared. A prospectus was issued and many subscribers 
secured in advance for this paper, which was to be the organ not only 
of McGregor, but of the Democrats of the county. 

In the opening number the advantages and prospects of McGregor 
are dealt with at length, and the paper announces its advocacy of the 
election of Buchanan and Breckenridge. The advertising columns are 
almost evenly divided between McGregor and Monona. Noticeable 
among the McGregor advertisements is that of Lee & Kinnaird, suc- 
cessors to Lee & Nichols, bankers and land agents, at McGregor. This 


is the first advertisement of a bank in Gayton county, and, while 
doubtless others had done a banking business, it was the first professed 
institution of that kind in the county. 

The people of McGregor were intensely interested in railroad 
development, believing, mistakenly, that the extension of lines west of 
the river would add to its importance. In this relation the Times says, 
"the completion of the railroad to Prairie du Chien will give us all 
the eastern facilities possessed by any town in the state. The neigh 
of the iron horse cannot yet be heard, but we see the influence of his 
approach in the increased activities in every man among us." George 
E. Woodward, chief engineer of the McGregor, St. Peters & Missouri 
River Railroad, writes, for the Times, that the first preliminary survey 
is now completed to Clear Lake, in Cerro Gordo county, a distance of 
140 miles from McGregor. He also adds that "the carrying out of 
this project proclaims the most brilliant future for McGregor." 

For five days, October 12-16, inclusive, the river boats touching at 
McGregor numbered thirteen, as follows : The Fanny Harris, Galena, 
War Eagle, Greek Slave, Badger State, Areola, Ocean Wave, Jacob 
Traber, Fall City, Lady Franklin, Kate Cassel, City Belle, and Tisho- 
mingo. These boats landed 3,621 packages of merchandise, weighing 
328,477 pounds. 

F. W. G. IMerrell remained with the Times but two weeks, the 
paper passing entirely into the control of Mr. Richardson, who became 
more and more outspoken in his political attitude. The Times accused 
Seward, Sumner and other abolitionists of attempting to disrupt the 
Union, and supported the Fugitive Slave Law, saying, "after the north 
has found it convenient and profitable to sell their negroes to the south 
and thus relieve themselves of the reproach and the damage which 
slavery has caused us, is it right, is it manly, is it patriotic, is it in 
accordance with the Constitution to write upon the flag, pretending 
to be national, 'that fugitives from service or labor shall not be sur- 
rendered on claim'?" 

An interesting paragraph found in the Times is the following: 
"Coulee de Sioux is the old French name for the ravine or road that 
now leads westward from McGregor. It was once a celebrated Indian 
trail, and from its gradual rise, and the consequent facilities of sur- 
mounting the bluffs of the Mississippi on a westward march, it was 
established by the government as the best means of access from the 
east bank of the river to their more western fortifications. A ware- 
house is still standing here, built by the United States for the deposit 
of military stores. Four hundred teams per day now use this road." 
One of the peculiar institutions of that day, advertised in the Times, 
is the "Floating Palace, Steamship James." This was a store, on a 
river boat, which traveled from town to town, and which was then 
tied up, ready for business, at McGregor. 

County Politics — The Times began publication too late to take part 
in the campaign in 1856 to any great extent. In July the democrats 
nominated for senator Andrew S. Cooley, of Garnavillo ; for repre- 
sentatives, James Tappan, of Girard, and John M. Ballou, of Clayton, 
and for clerk, Robt. C. Drips, of Garnavillo. The republicans held a 
convention at Elkader, nominating H. B. Carter, of Elkader, for sen- 


ator; Lafayette Bigelow, of Mendon, and Francis Rodman, of Jeffer- 
son, for representatives ; Thomas Updegraff for clerk, and H. S. 
Granger for attorney. The result of the election was a complete victory 
for the republicans, the vote being, for congress, Davis (Rep.) i,o8i, 
Leffler (Dem.) 37; for senator, Carter (Rep.) 1,043, Cooley (Dem.) 
421; for representative, Bigelow (Rep.) 1,016, Rodman (Rep.) 982, 
Ballou (Dem.) 458, Tappen (Dem.) 499; for clerk, Updegraff 1,1 13» 
Drips 384. Granger, for attorney, had no opposition, and the majority 
for a constitutional convention was 295. 

Michael Uriell was president and F. Belfoy, the editor of the Elka- 
der Tribune, was secretary, of the agricultural society, and the fair for 
1856 was held at Guttenburg in September. Owing doubtless to the 
exigencies of the times, the Herald had no issue between September 25 
and October 30, 1856, and no details of the fair are given, except the 
premium list. At this time the population of Clayton county is given 
as follows : Boardman, 778 ; Buena Vista, 193 ; Cox Creek, 535 ; Clay- 
ton, 622; Cass, 629; Elk, 546; Farmersburg, 840; Garnavillo, 1,094; 
Grand Meadow, 417; Giard, 600; Highland, 460; Jefferson, 2,073; 
Lodomillo, 734; Mendon, 718; Monona, 811; Mallory, 736; Millville,. 
662 ; Morasser, 392 ; Read, 637 ; Sperry, 732 ; Volga, 532 ; Wagner, 520. 
Total, 15,361. Under the provisions of a prior election bridge 
projects were entitled to receive funds from the swamp land fund, 
if completed by April 8, 1857. There was a race between three bridges 
to be completed in time. The bridge over the Turkey river at Elkport 
was completed in November, 1856, and the bridges at Millville and 
Peck's Ferry were rushed through under high pressure. The bridge 
at Elkport broke down as soon as completed, much to the disappoint- 
ment of Guttenberg merchants, but it was immediately rebuilt. 

State elections were held in August and the presidential elections 
in November. Fremont carried Clayton county by a large majority, 
the vote being: Fremont, 1,520; Buchanan, 748; Fillmore, 67. Men- 
don, Mallory and Read were the only townships giving a democratic 
majority. The North Iowa Times rejoices over the national victory 
for Buchanan, and declares "the Union is safe." 

First Steam Ferry — November 13, 1856, the McGregor, the first 
steam ferry boat between McGregor and Prairie du Chien, tied up at 
the foot of the main street of the proud little city. This boat was 
built at Cincinnati at a cost of $12,000, and was of three hundred tons 
burden. The Times boasts that "it will compare favorably with the 
Brooklyn or Fulton line, and is the best ferry that has ever passed 
Dubuque." A grand excursion was given by the boat owners to promi- 
nent citizens of the twin cities, to Clayton, where a dance was held, 
and, on their return journey, resolutions were passed in honor of the 
enterprising proprietors. 

The Times of December 5 chronicles the killing of a bear by 
Mr. Sturn within two miles of McGregor, and states that four bears 
had been killed a few miles up the river. 

As a reward for his stalwart democracy A. P. Richardson was 
made postmaster of McGregor in 1857, succeeding V. R. Miller. 

Early History of McGregor — In celebration of the new year the 
Times devoted a page to the history of McGregor and a statement of 


its then condition, from which the following extracts are taken r 
"There is some difficulty in obtaining a correct history of McGregor 
from the earliest settlement, prior to the time the U. S. government 
had erected a garrison fort, at a point on the east bank of the Missis- 
sippi, nearly opposite McGregor. Prior to the year 1840 a warehouse 
had been built near the landing at McGregor by the general government, 
to store provisions and other necessaries for the soldiers. This ware- 
house still remains as a monument of the early days of McGregor. 
About the same time the government made a road from this place to 
Fort Atkinson, and built a fort at the latter place. The selection of 
this road by competent engineers conclusively proves the route from 
this place as the most feasible to the interior country west of it. The 
state road from this place is laid nearly on the same route. The 
country west was then inhabited almost exclusively by Indians ; but 
few white men having, prior to that time, penetrated this region of 
country ; nature, was then presented in her merriest mood, and in all 
her grandeur, ^^lexander McGregor was one among the earliest settlers 
at the place now known as McGregor. Some time in the year 1840 or 
1 84 1 a horse ferry boat was procured to run from this place to a 
point on the east bank of the Mississippi, at Fort Crawford, which 
has been continued up to this time ; prior to which time, canoes and 
skiffs had been used as the only means of crossing the river. In 1845 
James McGregor obtained a conveyance for the tract of land on which 
McGregor now stands. About this time Alexander McGregor built 
a house near the landing at the place near where the government 
warehouse still stands. There were but few other improvements worthy 
of note. 

The bluffs then presented a rugged range of hills, which might 
almost be classed under the name of mountains, and few that then 
beheld the site of McGregor dreamed that there could ever be even a 
respectable town, and none thought of there ever being a city. 

The population of McGregor has now fully reached 662. Had 
the census been taken two months since, the population would have 
reached eight hundred and upward. The following is the population 
at this time : Married persons ; males, 143 ; females, 143. Number 
of children under 10 years, 153. Number of children over 10 years 
and under 21, 271. The number of unmarried male persons is 151. 
The number of females unmarried falls below this number, being, as 
near as ascertained, 24; and their charms are such as to give them 
promise of a short life of single blessedness. 

The number of steamboat arrivals bound up, and discharging 
freight at McGregor, are as follows: April, 17; May, 116; June, 105; 
July, 89; August, 65; September, 62; October, 78; November, 83; 
December, 5. The amount of tonnage from October i to December 5, 
as reported in the North Iowa Times weekly, was 3,002,451 pounds, 
making an average for the season of 1856 of 1,500,000 pounds per 
month. The following statement shows the division of trade here, 
as nearly as can be ascertained : There are eight wholesale and retail 
dry goods and grocery stores, three wholesale and retail stove and 
tinware stores, six eating and oyster saloons, one meat market, one 
drug store, one bakery, one wholesale and retail hardware store, seven 


taverns, one saddle and harness shop, two sawmills, one window blind, 
sash and door factory, three blacksmith shops, one cabinet shop, one 
dealer in sash, door and blinds, one wholesale dealer in furniture, one 
printing office, five contracting plasterers, two shoe shops, one jeweler 
and watchmaker, five carpenter shops, one livery stable, one bank, one 
-railroad office, four physicians and surgeons." 

Judge Eliphalet Price — In January, 1857, Judge Price made an 
official statement as to the bridge fund of the county. There was 
realized from the bridge tax, $2,027, ^^^ this was used to assist in 
building twenty-six bridges, $300 going to each of three bridges across 
the Volga. The judge estimates the cost of these bridges at $5,500, 
the larger part of which was donated. He states that bridges are 
under construction across the Turkey river at Millville to cost $4,000 
and at Elkport to cost $3,400. These bridges to receive $1,000 each 
from the swamp land fund. 

The annual county seat fight began good and early in 1857, Judge 
Price publishing a notice that an election would be held between Gutten- 
burg and Elkader the first Monday in April. Perhaps it was to prepare 
for this that Clerk Updegraff announces that a special term of court 
will be held at Elkader on March 30, for the exclusive purpose of 
naturalizing foreigners. Maturin L. Fisher, who had gained prominence 
as president of the senate, was nominated by the democratic party 
as a candidate for state superintendent of public instruction. There 
had just been a scandal in this office, a former superintendent loaning 
himself a large sum from the school fund on his own note, which 
proved to be valueless. The knowledge that Mr. Fisher was a man of 
high integrity aided largely in his election, although the politics of 
the state were republican at the time. Mr. Fisher was elected, and 
proved one of the most efficient men who ever held that office, and it 
fell to him to select the nucleus for the library of the state university, 
and he traveled throughout the east on this mission. It was in 1857, 
also, that a postoffice was established at Read, with J. Louis Hagensick 
as postmaster. It was also in this year that the first map of Clayton 
county was published by J. O. Crosby, of Garnavillo. 

Railroad Projects — Guttenberg was greatly interested in a rail- 
road project at this time, and a meeting was held to advance the Turkey 
River Valley Railroad, it being proposed to connect by ferry with a 
road on the east bank of the Mississippi, north from Galena. The 
legislature had enacted a law empowering Clayton county to issue 
bonds in favor of the Dubuque & Turkey River Valley Railroad and 
the McGregor, St. Peter & Missouri River Railroad, upon a vote of 
the people. Judge Price issued a proclamation on this issue, and also 
a proclamation providing for a vote as to whether the swamp land 
fund should be used to aid bridges across the Turkey river, the erection 
of which had been delayed by inclement weather. A railroad meeting 
was held at Volga, at which M. M. Johnson, Alvah Bevens and W. H. 
Gould were appointed as a committee, which reported in favor of a 
route from Dyersville via the Yankee Settlement, Volga, Lima City 
and West Union. The railroad meeting at Guttenberg was largely 
attended. S. L. Peck was chairman and Francis Rodman secretary, 
and the meeting was called to order by Judge Price. They resolved in 


favor of a grant and that the Mississippi terminus of the proposed 
Turkey Valley Railroad should be retained in Clayton county. C. F. 
Remick, E. H. Williams, Judge Price, Reuben Noble and A. E. Wanzer 
were among the speakers. At the same time articles of incorporation 
for the Dubuque & Turkey Valley Railroad Co. were published, signed 
by Willis Drummond, M. M. Johnson and Jacob Nicklaus. 

Agricultural Society — Michael Uriell, as president of the Agricul- 
tural Society, presided at the meeting which was held in Elkader 
February 21. At this meeting Dr. E. Trescott was elected president 
and William Kees secretary. It was resolved that the executive com- 
mittee should select a permanent location. There was a hot contest 
for this location ; Clayton, Elkader, Read Township and Farmersburg 
entering the lists with various propositions. Farmersburg was first 
decided upon, but this was reconsidered, and Clayton Center won. 
This created much feeling in Farmersburg against Elkader, which was 
held responsible. 

Guttenherg the County Seat — So busy were the people with rail- 
road projects that it was not until late in March that the county seat 
fight warmed up. Thompson and Davis were accused of having with- 
drawn the $5,000 which they offered to donate to the county if the 
county seat was located at Elkader in 1856. This was indignantly 
denied by the Elkader Tribune in an article headed, "A Lie Nailed 
to the Counter." The fact that this offer had been made and that no 
step had been taken to build a courthouse, however, operated against 
Elkader. A paragraph from one of the "county seat" editorials in the 
Guttenberg paper illustrates some of the arguments used in this fight : 
"LOOK OUT for some magnificent offer on the part of Elkader about 
next Monday morning. In what shape it will make its appearance is 
not yet announced. Whether it will be another grand scheme like a 
bond or an engagement by Hon. Mr. Davis to make a slack water 
navigation the whole length of Turkey River, or a proposition to build 
a magnificent courthouse and present it to the people of the county, 
or some other benevolent operation, we do not pretend to decide. 
Maybe Congress can be induced, through the influence of Mr. Davis, 
to make an appropriation to build a marine hospital at that point in 
the basement of which the county can be furnished with offtces free 
of charge. Whatever shape it may come in, it will doubtless be fulfilled 
in the same manner the celebrated bond of last year was ; that is to 
say, over the left." At the city election in Guttenberg less than 200 
votes were cast, but for the county seat the vote of Jefferson town- 
ship was 565 for Guttenberg, Elkader none. At the same time the vote 
of all other precincts was extrem'ely heavy. Guttenberg won by a 
vote of 1.477 to 1,456, and Timothy Davis and others protested against 
John M. Kriebs being allowed to assist in the canvass of votes, charging 
that more than 100 illegal votes had been cast in Guttenberg, and that 
Kriebs "must have been knowing to, if not active in procuring the 
same to be done." At the same election the vote for railroad aid 
carried by 1,651 to 969, and for bridge appropriations by 1,685 *<> 649. 
The democrats carried the county, Maturin L. Fisher receiving a large 
complimentary vote, the result being Fisher, 1.511; Bugbee (Rep.), 
1,102. John W. Potts was elected county assessor. 


The protest on the part of Elkader came to nothing, and Guttenburg 
held a grand celebration when the county property was transferred 
to that city. The following is the account of the gala day: "The 
county property was brought to Guttenburg last Thursday, and the 
appearance of the big safe caused quite a sensation among our citizens, 
who gave vent to their enthusiasm by cheering, firing guns and rejoicing 
generally. All seemed to feel that it was a proud day for Guttenberg ; 
but none seemed to enter into the real enjoyment of the victory more 
than Farmer William Schoulte, of Garnavillo township, who was the 
standard-bearer on the occasion, and whose countenance expressed 
the delight he felt at being able to enter Guttenburg as the county seat 
of the county with the flag of his country supported by his sturdy arm, 
and waving in glorious folds over his noble head. In the afternoon 
the ladies presented Judge Price with a most beautiful bookcase as a 
token of their appreciation of his efforts in the campaign. In the even- 
ing a banquet was given at which toasts were responded to by Judge 
Price, Reuben Noble, Mayor Wiest, Thomas Updegraff, J. O. Crosby, 
E. Odell, J. P. Kriebs and William Schoulte. The county officers were 
quartered in the academy building, which was leased for three years 
for $ioo per annum." Judge Price announced that Clayton county 
would take $200,000 of bonds in the McGregor, St. Peters, Missouri 
Railway, and $200,000 in the Dubuque & Turkey Valley Railway, and 
Sheriflf Davis announced, on behalf of District Judge Murdock, that 
court would be holden at Guttenberg on May 18. 

Hard Times — As early as January, 1857, the hard times began 
to settle down upon Clayton county. From the reports of the varied 
activities of the county it has been seen, however, that this new terri- 
tory was affected less than almost any other portion of the United 
States. Money was not a necessity for the man who was not in debt. 
The soil provided a good living, and the surplus products of the farm 
could be exchanged for the few simple manufactured articles which 
the settler was obliged to have. But woe betide the man who was in 
debt. Interest rates were high. Twelve percent was about the lowest 
rate at which a farm loan could be obtained. The money price of 
produce was low. Added to this was the wildcat currency. The 
National bank had long since been abandoned, and, under lax state 
laws banks, almost without assets, had been allowed to issue currency. 
This currency floated at par, as a rule, when first issued, and the 
plentitude of money had inflated prices and encouraged speculation. 
The reaction came when these banks failed to redeem their currency 
and it dawned upon the people that the money which they had in their 
pocket was worth no more, or no less, than the worth of the individual 
bank by which it was issued. This led to suspicion, which was nearly 
always well founded, until things came to such a pass that no man, not 
even the best informed bankers, could be certain from day to day as 
to what these bank notes were worth. Just as the more modem 
"bucket shop" operator profited in grain deals by advance information, 
so financiers were able to profit by advance information as to the value 
of this state bank currency, and in every case it was the average man, 
the farmer, the laborer, who suffered. In January, 1857, the pinch 
was felt in Clayton county, but not so severely but that Colonel Rich- 


ardson could write of it in the following light-hearted way: "In the 
memory of the oldest inhabitant of this country times have not been 
so 'tight' as now. If we did not know by experience of rather a 
bitter character that times are in the habit of getting tight and recover- 
ing again we would conclude that commercial delirium tremens would 
supervene and upset the whole fabric of trade and dicker. Every man 
you see is demanding money of you, and the mails are now supposed 
to be carried only by Dun horses." Nevertheless the paper announces 
that from three to five hundred buildings will be erected in McGregor 
during the course of the year. On March 2, 1857, McGregor voted 
to incorporate, and on April 27 an election was held to vote on the 
charter proposed by a commission consisting of John T. Stoneman, 
J. H. Merrell and G. S. C. Scott. The charter carried, by a vote of 
35 to 21, and Judge Price declared the town incorporated and ap- 
pointed A. T. Jones, F. Durand and J. T. Stoneman as the first elec- 
tion judges. 

Railroad Reaches River — "Be it remembered that on Wednes- 
day, April 15, 1857, at 5 o'clock in the evening, the cars of the Mil- 
waukee & Mississippi railroad anchored on the banks of the great 
river. The shriek of the Lake Michigan locomotive was echoed by 
the blufifs and responded to by a shrill whistle of welcome from a 
Mississippi steamer just coming into port. Hundreds of persons were 
in attendance to witness the arrival of the first passenger train, and 
when the smoke of the engine became visible in the distance there was 
such an expression of anxiety as we have seen when a new and great 
actor is expected on the stage. As the train came in view, and the 
flags with which it was decorated were seen waving in the breeze, a 
shout of welcome broke forth from the gazers that told how many 
hopes of friendly reunions were awakened in the contemplation of 
an easy and speedy return to their eastern homes. One large banner 
carried on its silken folds the busy emblem of 'Wisconsin, the Bad- 
ger.' " This is the glad song of praise with which the Times an- 
nounced the coming of the first railroad train within sight of Mc- 
Gregor. There was feasting and rejoicing, and the high officials of 
the railroad visited McGregor and proclaimed it the "Gateway of 
Trade — the Thermopylae of North Iowa Commerce." McGregor 
held its first city election on May 9, 1857, and the first officers were 
A. T. Jones, mayor ; John T. Stoneman, recorder ; John H. Kinniard, 
treasurer; J. L. Dearman, assessor; D. Allen, marshal. The first 
trustees were A. E. Wanzer, G. S. C. Scott, R. McMorrine, C. A. 
Southmayd and J. B. Bass. The Times celebrated by enlarging to 
an eight-column sheet and by publishing a lengthy writeup of all the 
business houses in the city. 

Clouded Titles — One thing which seriously retarded the growth 
of McGregor was the fact that the land titles were in dispute, and 
no man could secure a clear title to his lot. This litigation in which 
the McGregors were involved, first as to the Giard grant, with the 
original owners, and later as brother against brother, dragged its 
weary course through the courts for many years. It was the hope 
of all McGregorites that this suit would be settled or compromised 
and in May, 1857, the Times mentions that "James McGregor, Esq., 


brother to Alexander, our townsman, and one of the parties to the 
suit involving the title to the townsite of McGregor, is now here. It 
is hoped by all that the matter at issue will be compromised by the 
brothers, and we are pleased to learn that there is strong ground to 
anticipate an amicable arrangement." 

It was at this time, in 1857, that old Fort Crawford, across the 
river, but which played such an important part in the early history of 
this county, was sold by the government to the settlers. There was 
hardly an issue of the Times during this year which did not con- 
tain a notice of a railroad meeting, and this was the headquarters 
of the McGregor, St. Peter & Missouri railroad, of which John Thomp- 
son was president and Jedediah Brown was secretary. June 19, 1857, 
the new banking and real estate firm of H. S. Granger & Co. was 
announced, and the threshing machine is first advertised to the far- 
mers of the county. 

Coming of Norwegians — This was the time of the great Norwe- 
gian immigration, and the picture of their coming, as given by the 
Times, is worth preserving: "On Saturday last the Northern Belle 
delivered at McGregor nearly one hundred emigrants from Norway. 
There was about the same number on board, bound for ports farther 
up. They were composed of middle age and young men and women 
and children, very few of the company looked to be over 35 or 40 
years of age. Boxes, wooden trunks and cases of all shapes and 
sizes, strongly banded with iron, painted and marked with hiero- 
glyphics to us indecipherable, w-ere carried from the boat to the levee 
until the wharf and road for several rods were completely blocked up. 
The appearance of some of the wooden trunks was very ancient, one 
of them we saw was marked 1707. There were others older in looks. 
The Norwegians are a most valuable accession to the state. They 
are frugal, industrious and honest ; some of them are most talented 
business men, and scarcely one can be found that approaches, either 
from bad habits or imbecility, the condition of a pauper. They usually 
settle in neighborhoods, and a steady improvement of the country 
marks their footsteps. Iowa and Minnesota are receiving the best 
mental stamina of the eastern and middle states, as well as the most 
valuable physical and moral force of Europe. No better evidence of 
the value of Iowa lands can be shown than the direct influences they 
exert on the middle classes of distant Europe. A journey of 7,000 
miles, or over one-quarter round the earth, is no light testimony in 
favor of the superiority of the Northwest." 

Politics in 18 j/ — The August election of 1857 resulted generally 
in a Republican victory, but it is also noteworthy that the proposition 
to strike the word "white" from the Constitution was defeated in this 
county by a vote of 239 for and 1,029 against. The vote of McGregor 
stood I for and 159 against. Judge Price, possibly owing to his activ- 
ities for Guttenberg, was defeated for county judge by O. W. Crary. 
Other county officers elected were B. F. Fox, recorder ; Alpheus Scott, 
attorney; James Davis, sheriff; M. E. Smith, surveyor; Nicholas 
Kriebs, coroner, and B. F. Schroeder, drainage commissioner. The 
attempt made by Farmersburg earlier in the year to take the county 
seat from Guttenberg died a-bornin', but immediately after the elec- 


tion Elkader announced that it would make the fight in the succeeding 
April, and petitions were also circulated for Garnavillo, Clayton Cen- 
ter and Farmersburg. It was in 1857 that Benjamin F. Forbes, the 
prominent citizen of Garnavillo, who has been frequently mentioned in 
this history, died, and the Masonic lodge of Garnavillo passed resolu- 
tions in honor of his memory, signed by A. W. Drips, secretary pro 
tern. Work had already begun on the railroad to extend west from 
McGregor. By September, 1857, contractors were at work on seven 
sections of the road, and North McGregor, for the first time, becomes 

For the fall campaign the Republicans met in county convention 
at McGregor and L. G. Collins and W. H. Stearns were nominated for 
representatives. The Democratic convention was held at National, 
and Charles Watkins of Farmersburg and Michael Uriell of Read 
were nominated for representatives. At this time Clayton county 
was entitled not only to two representatives of its own, but to a 
"floating" representative elected by Dubuque, Jones and Clayton coun- 
ties. For this position the Democrats of the county placed in nomina- 
tion Dr. F. Andros, who had returned from Minnesota, subject to the 
decision of the district convention to be held at Dyersville. Dr. Andros 
was not successful at the convention, the nominee being W. S. John- 
son. In the meantime the Republicans nominated John T. Stoneman of 
McGregor. The October election in 1857 resulted in the election of 
all Republican nominees. The following list of Democratic committee- 
men gives an idea of the political affiliations of many of the prominent 
men of the county. The committee was : Jefferson, B. F. Fox ; Mill- 
ville, John Kinney ; Mallory, John W. Potts ; Elk, John Wolf ; Volga, 
Isaac Otis ; Lodomillo, S. R. Peet ; Boardman, R. L. Freeman ; Wag- 
ner, Warren Hunt; Marion (Morasser), B. D. Worthing; Read, J. L. 
Gilbert ; Garnavillo, Dr. Linton ; Clayton, N. Kriebs ; Mendon, George 
L. Bass ; Monona, Horace Emery ; Farmersburg, T. G. Drips ; Cass, J. 
H. Grannis ; Grand Meadow, Alex Fay ; Sperry, Dr. Woodward ; 
Giard, J. Tapper. No committeemen were reported from Buena Vista, 
Cox Creek and Highland. 

The fourth annual fair was held at Clayton Center, and of it 
the secretary, William M. Keys, says that the weather was so unpleas- 
ant that few were able to attend. The exhibit was small but of good 
quality and the stock exhibit was very superior. 

Hard Times Reach McGregor — In October, 1857, the Times had 
the following to say concerning business conditions at McGregor: 
"Notwithstanding the uproar of bank, railroad and individual failures 
throughout the country, our little city keeps up an active business-like 
motion, and we happen to know that several of our largest dealers are 
selling a great many goods to Western Iowa and Minnesota merchants 
for PAY. The buyers who come here to replenish are dealing far 
enough west and northwest to feel the influence of the past season's 
emigration, and it matters little to them whether wheat is high or low 
in the eastern market. The newcomer has the GOLD, and he is com- 
pelled to spend it. Our streets are as full of people as ever, and 
though no grain is coming forward, we are having a good run of trade." 
Nevertheless, it is noticeable that the Times suspended publication 


for one week in order to collect sufficient to continue business, and, 
but a few weeks later, -tla»t paper makes a lengthy editorial statement 
relative to the times. It complains bitterly of the pressure to collect 
debts which is forcing many into the hands of the sheriff and adds, 
"the grain, upon which we rely for ultimate payment, will bring scarcely 
any price, and, even then, the farmers are required to receive in pay- 
ment for it the bills of banks which have set the first example of sus- 
pension. The patient is very sick and the remedy should be speedy. 
The severity of the money pressure is having some strange effects. 
Large numbers of persons anticipating destitution this winter on the 
seaboard are shipping back to Europe. Men who fear the winter 
are recruiting in the United States service as fast as their names can 
be written on the lists. All the discharged mechanics are going into 
the army. Telegraph stock is benefited, so great is the rush of bad 
news, that three times the number of wires would find employment. 
The boot and shoe trade is said to have suffered least. The lager 
beer saloons have suffered materially. Matrimony is said to have 
come to a dead standstill in eastern states." 

Coupled with the political unrest resulting naturally from these 
severe hard times was the great moral question of slavery, and the 
great political question of the perpetuity of the Union. The flames 
of dissension, which had blazed up during the Kansas-Nebraska con- 
troversy, had not died down, and even in 1857 there were many signs 
of the perilous times to come. It was a noteworthy fact that the first 
mention of disunion found in the McGregor paper is a discussion con- 
cerning a convention, called to meet at Cleveland, Ohio, to take into 
consideration the propriety of the dissolution of the Union. This con- 
vention was called by abolitionists of the northern states, and would 
make it appear that secession ideas were not entirely of southern 

The Times, of December 2, notes that Mr. Reuben Noble of the 
law firm of Noble, Odell & Drummond has taken up his residence at 
McGregor, while Mr. Odell remains at Guttenberg; that Judge Wil- 
liams and Mr. Peck have formed a lawpartnership at McGregor and 
that John Van Orman of Osage has moved to McGregor and hung 
out his shingle. 

At the close of the year 1857 McGregor is able to report that 
"since October, 1856, the village has more than doubled its population, 
and it has trebled in the length of its main street. Back country 
residents who have not visited the river since spring express their sur- 
prise now when they find themselves in town nearly one mile and a 
half from the river wharf. Not only is the coulee filling up with 
dweUings and business houses, but all the valleys intersecting the main 
road, the sides of the hills, and the uplands three to four miles in length, 
are being dotted with tasty residences, mechanic shops, houses of enter- 
tainment and small shops or provision stores. Notwithstanding the 
closeness of times improvements at North McGregor continue. A 
steam sawmill is erected, a large storehouse is finished, John Thomp- 
son of Clermont has the timber on the ground for a warehouse just 
below the mouth of Giard Creek ; Granger & Co. have sold a large 
number of lots which will be built on in the spring." 


The McGregor, St. Peter & Missouri River railroad issued $4,000 
in notes at 10 percent interest, which were expected to pass as cur- 
rency in McGregor. 

At the close of 1857 market prices at McGregor were: Wheat, 
40c to 45c; oats, 25c to 30c; barley, 50c; potatoes, 40c to 45c; corn, 
30c; cattle, 3c; fat sheep, $1.50 to $2 a head; hogs, $5 to $6; butter, 
20c ; eggs, 20c, but these prices were payable in a depreciated currency, 
and the market quotation contained the ominous statement, "Shin 
plasters not received on deposit." 

Events of 1858 — In January, 1858, there was formed at Elkader 
a "Female Temperance Society," the forerunner of the W. C. T. U. of 
today. Miss Griswold, Miss Mathews, Mrs. Warrener and Miss Dur- 
kee took part in this first meeting. 

By February, 1858, the Clayton County Herald, at Guttenberg, 
had succumbed to the hardness of the times. The Tribune at Elkader 
had proved but a short-lived affair, and the Times of McGregor was 
left as the only paper in Clayton county. 

In 1858 the census figures for 1856 had just been compiled, and 
the figures of the nativity of the county are of interest. Of the 15,187 
inhabitants of Clayton county there were but five paupers. The 
nativity of the people was as follows: Iowa, 2,567; New York, 1,722; 
Ohio, 1,545 ; Pennsylvania, 1,328; Illinois, 635 ; Vermont, 561 ; Indiana, 
344; Wisconsin, 278; Virginia, 219; Massachusetts, 188; Michigan, 
165; Connecticut, 126; New Hampshire, 119; Kentucky, 117; Mis- 
souri, 102. None of the other states furnished as many as 100. Of 
the foreign born, 2,375 were from Germany, 756 from Ireland, 343 
from Canada, 274 from Norway, 253 from England, 171 from Prus- 
sia, 155 from Hanover, 131 from Scotland, 120 from Switzerland, 82 
from Bavaria, 41 from France and others scattering. Counting Prus- 
sia, Hanover and Bavaria as Germany, and the total of German-bom 
citizens reached 2,783, or nearly 20 percent of the population. It has 
often been said that Maturin L. Fisher was the father of the common 
school system of Iowa and in many respects this is true. In 1858 
he presented to the legislature an entire recodification of the school 
law, and it was upon this that our school system is founded. Not 
all the provisions urged by Mr. Maturin were adopted, but he pro- 
posed a thorough system, which included the rural schools, high 
schools, normals and the state university, and to this Clayton county 
man must be given the credit for much of the good work done by 
our schools. 

About this time, in the spring of 1858, the papers began to fill 
with notices of sheriff sales, and in nearly every one of these is a 
tragedy, written with the heart's blood of some hard-working, dis- 
appointed pioneer and his brave and devoted wife and little family, 
to whom the long journey across the prairies, the breaking of old 
home ties, the hardships and the deprivations of log cabin days and 
the long hours of toil in field and wood, had ended only in failure, 
owing to conditions for which they were not to blame and over 
which they had no control. Some lost heart entirely, but it speaks 
volumes for their courage and manhood that the vast majority started 
anew, bare handed, and finally won their way to success. 


Third County Seat Fight — In 1858 Elkader made another try for 
the county seat, and Judge Oliver Crary ordered a vote to be taken 
at the April election. As there were no newspapers either at Gutten- 
berg or at Elkader, and as the McGregor paper maintained a neutral 
attitude, not much can be learned concerning the details of this cam- 
paign. The vote was Guttenberg 2,038, Elkader 1,706. At the same 
election Alonzo Brown was elected to the newly made office of super- 
intendent of common schools. The fact that Guttenberg cast 1,036 
of the votes in her favor at the election was the subject of much 
comment and of great dissatisfaction on the part of Elkader. The 
Times suggests that Garnovillo is the proper place for the county 
seat, and this suggestion was eagerly taken up by the people of that 
village, laying the foundation for the successful fight which was made 
the following year. 

Indians at McGregor — In March, 1858, McGregor was visited by 
a party of Indian chiefs and warriors under the conduct of J. R. 
Brown. They were Sisigons and Mudewakanpons, and among them 
were Chiefs Little Crow, Black Dog, Red Legs and others with un- 
pronounceable names. The fact that this delegation created much 
interest and excitement in McGregor shows that Indian visits were 
already becoming rare. 

In April, 1858, Mr. Richardson sold a half interest in the Times 
to C. C. Fuller, who was with the paper for some time. McGregor 
was not a model town at this time, nor could it have been expected to 
be. There were hundreds of strange visitors, and but few of the old- 
timers had been there more than a few years; the river brought 
many roughs and desperadoes and, at North McGregor, there were 
large gangs of illiterate workmen. The most of these men of all 
classes were young and hardy, and each had his goodly measure of 
wild oats to sow. The streets of McGregor were lined with many 
drinking places and there were gambling houses and dissolute women. 
All this does not reflect upon the McGregor of today, nor upon the 
staid residents of the place at that time ; it was simply an incident of 
the rough pioneer time and but duplicated the scenes which have 
occurred in every border city. 

River Pirates Captured — In 1858, however, it was found that this 
was a rendezvous for a large, thoroughly organized band of robbers 
who operated from the head waters of the Mississippi clear to the 
gulf. There had been a number of thefts at McGregor and Prairie du 
Chien, but they were not traced to any organized gang until the 
thieves fell out among themselves and one of their number gave the 
startling information which opened the eyes of the authorities. S. L. 
Peck headed a posse which captured three who were camping on 
Big Island, opposite the mouth of Sny Magill creek. They learned 
that the leader of the gang was known as Dr. Bell, and that he had 
a boat, loaded with stolen goods, down the river. The authorities 
attempted to make the arrest and shots were exchanged in which Bell 
was wounded, but the officers were unable to capture him. Returning 
to McGregor a larger posse was gathered, the ferry boat, McGregor, 
secured, and a second attempt made to capture the pirate, but he had 
escaped. Two other boats loaded with plunder were found further 


down the river, and not less than $5,000 worth of property was dis- 
covered. A vigilance committee was formed, and at Prairie du Chien 
some of the pirates were roughly handled and made to confess some- 
thing of the workings of the gang. It was found that there were 
scores of river pirates connected with this outfit; that they operated 
both on the Mississippi and on the Ohio ; that they had agents at 
New Orleans, and that regular boats took the plunder to the Texas 
coast for disposal. In June, S. W. Carpenter of the Dubuque detective 
force eflfected the capture of Bell, who, under many aliases, was the 
captain of the pirate gang. The officer and his prisoner arrived at 
McGregor on the steamer Gray Eagle in the evening and, says the 
Times, "were escorted from the levee to the McGregor house by some 
hundreds of our citizens, who were looking anxiously for their arrival, 
as a dispatch had been received stating that Bell had been arrested 
and would be here that evening. The crowd was almost wild with 
excitement, and manifested their satisfaction at his arrest and appre- 
ciation of the services of Mr. Carpenter by giving that gentleman 
three as hearty cheers as ever were heard on the shores of the Missis- 
sippi." The pursuit of Bell was as exciting as any story ever told 
by Nick Carter. The officer traced him to many towns in Illinois, 
back to Iowa, at Davenport, thence across through Illinois to Chicago, 
being always just a little behind his man. A clue was followed to Glen 
Haven, Mich., and the arrest was made at Pier Cove, Mich., where 
he had found refuge with a gang of counterfeiters. Although there 
was much excitement, there was no thought of lynching at McGregor, 
unless an attempt at rescue was made and, on the following day, 
Deputy Sheriff Tuttle took the prisoner to the county jail at Garna- 
villo. Bell and other members of the gang were tried and the gang 
was broken up, but the light sentences given were very unsatisfac- 
tory to McGregor people. 

Another sensation which stirred McGregor and the whole of 
Clayton county was the assault of Alexander McGregor upon James 
M. McKinley. McKinley was counsel for James McGregor in the 
celebrated suit against Alex McGregor, and during one of the many 
trials had made remarks derogatory to Alexander. IMcKinley went 
to McGregor on business and Alexander McGregor met him on the 
street and assaulted him. It is stated that IMcGregor threw him down 
and continued striking him until the blood streamed down McKinley's 
face. McGregor justified his actions on the ground that McKinley 
had grossly insulted him by his remarks at the trial. 

Political Unrest — 1858 was the year of the great Douglas-Lincoln 
debates, a political duel which stirred the whole nation and which 
changed the course of American history. Viewing Lincoln as we do 
today, as the incomparable orator, as Avell as the great statesman and 
martyr, it is hard to realize that Colonel Richardson could have said 
what he did in his issue of June 30, under the caption, "Abraham 
Lincoln." The Times said: "This gentleman (Lincoln) is settled 
upon by the Republicans of Illinois to succeed Mr. Douglas as Senator, 
in case the legislature to be elected in November shall contain an 
opposition majority. Mr. Lincoln, in a speech comparing his qualifi- 
cations with those of his distinguished opponent, remarks that a living 


dog is better than a dead lion, and the admirer of this self -named 
living dog regards the canine illustration as evincive of a wit that 
should scintillate only in that most learned and dignified body, the 
Senate of the United States. Mr. Lincoln has the reputation of being 
a wag, but we did not know before that, from the confessed nature 
of the man, the waggery appertained to that portion of his organism 
which a real dog possesses. We have heard this man speak and, with- 
out flattering some very ordinary aspirants to oratorical honors to 
whom we have listened, we think Mr. Lincoln exceeds in dullness 
almost any stumper we ever heard. Douglas and himself being 
pitted against each other, it is expected they will canvass the state 
in company, and if the 'living dog' is not cur-tailed close up before 
the so-called dead lion gets through with him we shall drop all pre- 
tentions to prophecy. Who that has a particle of state pride or love 
of country would see, unmoved, the master spirit of American politics, 
the exponent of correct domestic principle and the defender of na- 
tional honor step out of his place in the Senate to admit a man 
whose tastes and sense combined could not prevent him from appro- 
priating to himself the title of a 'living dog.' A title, by the way, 
that will stick to him as long as he wears hair. IlHnois certainly can 
do better than to take such a man as this from his kennel." In justice 
to Mr. Richardson it must be said, at once, that within a few years 
he revised his opinion of Lincoln and was loyal to the Union. Doug- 
las was, however, at this time his idol, as he was of thousands of 
other people. 

Trip Through County — A side light upon county aflfairs is given by 
Mr. Richardson when he tells that on a recent trip through the county 
he found Elkader dull, with fishing in the Turkey river the chief 
occupation, that prairie chicken are plentiful and that hunters often 
kill 30, 50 and 60 in a day. Concerning the crop he says : "They are 
far below an average ; many fields of wheat straw were harvested 
with fire, some were given to the hogs ; the saved wheat will run from 
3 to 12 bushels to the acre. Oats is about a half crop in appearance, 
but it is said the grain is unusually light, not more than 20 pounds to 
the measured bushel. Corn looks unusually well, except that it shows 
a tendency to stalk. Grass is about parallel in excellence. Potatoes 
are said to be rotting. An early frost will play havoc with the corn." 

Election of 1858 — The lines were drawn for the political battle of 
1858 along still sharper lines than ever before. The Dred Scott de- 
cision, the Douglas-Lincoln debates, the growing feeling between 
North and South furnished the bones of contention. W. E. Lefiingwell, 
Democrat, was opposed for Congress by William Vandever of Du- 
buque, and they held joint debates throughout the district, which 
were attended by eager crowds of partisans. The Democrats nom- 
inated William McClintock for judge, Elijah Odell for prosecuting at- 
torney, William Pattee for member of board of education and the Re- 
publican candidates for these offices were E. H. Williams, Milo Mc- 
Glathery and A. D. F. Hildreth. Judge Price and Samuel Mur- 
dock were bitterly opposed to the election of WiUiams, and a num- 
ber of sharp letters were exchanged through the medium of the press. 
Robert R. Read declined the Democratic nomination for clerk, recom- 

PROGRESS AND POVERTY — 185O-1860 1 23 

mending the support of Updegraff, who had tied for a RepubHcan nom- 
ination with Dr. Hutchinson. 

In the Times of Sept. 29, 1858, is published a legal notice signed 
by James McGregor warning against trespass on the Giard claim. This 
is followed by a lengthy opinion of the Supreme Court, signed by Judge 
George F. Wright, in which the claim of James McGregor is sus- 
tained and the ruling is adverse to Alexander McGregor at every point. 
It was but a few months after this decision that Alexander McGregor 
died, his death occurring Dec. 12, 1858, and he was sincerely mourned 
by the people of the city. A biography of this pioneer citizen is given 
in another chapter. Alexander McGregor willed to the proprietors 
of North McGregor $5,000 to build a road to Monona, 12 miles west, 
and this work was begun in 1859. 

Journal Founded — In May, 1858, "The Clayton County Journal" 
was founded on the ruins of the old Herald, with Willard F. Howard 
as editor. This paper was published at Guttenberg, was Republican 
m politics, and took an active part in the defense of Guttenberg as the 
county seat. The Journal, as the county seat paper, contains, if any- 
thing, more of the news of the county than does the McGregor paper. 
Among other matters mentioned, in its issue of June 10, is the pros- 
pective establishment of a large woolen factory at Elkader and it also 
states, what was not published by the Times, that the railroad company 
at McGregor was forced to discharge all its men and suspend its 
operation on account of lack of funds. It was during this year that it 
was proposed to erect a county high school building at Garnavillo. The 
citizens subscribed $2,000, together with two blocks of land, and the 
county was to give $18,000 for the building. Later a decision was 
made that county funds could not be used for this purpose but the 
building was erected by private parties with the idea that it would be 
taken over by the county. This was not done and it was operated 
as a private academy until finally abandoned on account of lack of 

Gold Discovery — It was in 1858 also that there was great excite- 
ment on account of the discovery of gold at Strawberry Point. This 
was said to have been found on the farm of "Widow Massey," and 
also near Volga City. Not enough was found, however, to pay more 
than 50 cents a day and the excitement soon died down. 

This was a period of great activity in school work. There were 
school celebrations and picnics in the various parts of the county 
and the first term of the county high school was announced to open at 
Garnavillo, September 6, with J. Briggs as principal. At the close of 
the school term, there was to be a teachers' institute of one week. This 
school remained open but a few weeks, closing to await the erection of 
the proposed county building. At the election, all of the Republican 
candidates received majorities exceeding 300, except Judge Williams, 
who was defeated in this county by 330, but who was elected by the 
vote of the district. There had been a change in the judicial districts 
by the constitution of 1857, which legislated Judge Murdock out of 
office, and upon the election of Williams, to whom he was bitterly 
opposed, Judge Murdock instituted proceedings to retain his office for 
a longer period, but this he later abandoned and Judge Williams took 


his seat. Updegrafif was re-elected clerk, without opposition. Possibly- 
owing to the small attendance the preceding year the Agricultural 
Society took no steps toward holding a fair in 1858, but the people of 
Farmersburg held an independent fair, which proved quite a success. 

First Teachers' Institute — The first teachers' institute held in Clay- 
ton county convened at Garnavillo November 7, 1858. J. Briggs was 
the conductor, and lectures were delivered by Rev. L. T. Mathews 
and J. O. Crosby. Others taking part were Mrs. Preston, of Elkader ; 
Miss Smith, of Volga City ; Mrs. Morrow, of Volga City; Prof. Bugbee, 
of Fayette Seminary, and Superintendent Brown. A teachers' asso- 
ciation was formed with J. Briggs as president and W. H. Muzzy, of 
Elkader, as secretary. O. D. Eno was prominent in teaching circles, 
and announced a meeting to take place at Elkader in January, 1859. 
This meeting was addressed by E. A. Crary, and essays were read by 
Mrs. S. A. Angier and Miss Stebbins. 

Murder of William Potter — The county was again excited by a 
murder which occurred at Garnavillo. According to the story told 
by witnesses, a stranger, who gave his name as William Potter, went 
to the house of John Wentworth and demanded lodging. He was 
refused and returned to the house with an axe. Wentworth called 
William Gladdin to his aid and, as Potter rushed at Wentworth with 
the axe, Gladdin shot him. A coroner's jury heard the case, and 
Gladdin was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. 


In January, 1859, the directors of the county high school brought 
suit against the county judge to compel him to pay $3,000 to the 
support of that institution as it was claimed the law provided. Judge 
Murdock and J. O. Crosby appeared for the high school and Reuben 
Noble and Milo McGlathey for the town. The decision was against 
the high school. In February, 1859, the county seat question came to 
a head before the county court, the adherents of Guttenberg claiming 
that, under the law, there was no April election to be held. They also 
attacked the validity of the petition which was sworn to by Alonzo 
Brown, whereas it was claimed that it should have been sworn to by 
those who circulated the petition. Judge Crary decided to receive the 
petition, which was signed by 1,535 voters, and the election was 
ordered. On March i the Journal speaks of the lack of interest in 
the county seat contest, but there was no lack of interest when the 
election day approached, and Garnavillo was triumphant by a vote of 
i)905> to 1,747 cast for Guttenberg. The Garnavillo people went over 
to move the county belongings, and there was, at Garnavillo, a repe- 
tition of the scenes of rejoicing which had taken place at Guttenberg 
but a few years before. The same month the Journal migrated also, 
and it appeared, on January 26, under a Garnavillo dateline. The 
first mention of Col. Joseph F. Eiboeck, who was afterward to become 
such an important factor, first in Clayton county, then in the state, and 
afterward in the nation, is found in the Garnavillo Journal of May 10, 
1859, when he delivered an address on "Hungary" at the German 
school. With the location of the county seat at Garnavillo efforts 


•were made for the erection of a county building, and the grand jury- 
reported the jail as totally unfit and also recommended the erection of 
a building for county offices. There was too much jealousy throughout 
the county to permit of any building being done, but Garnavillo took 
on renewed prosperity with the coming of the county seat. 

Guttenberg was not long without a newspaper, and in May, 1859, 
the Mississippi Valley Register was founded by McBride, Tipton & Co., 
McBride having formerly been with the Herald. Tipton remained with 
the paper but a short time and, in January, i860, O. D. Eno became 
the editor. It was a democratic paper, and it suspended not long after 
the election of Lincoln, in i860. In August, 1859, the McGregor Press 
was started by George and S. S. Haisitt, and its editor was Orlando 
McCraney. Unfortunately no copies of these papers are now to be had. 
The people of Farmersburg were so pleased with the success of their 
fair in 1858 that they organized and held a second fair in October, 
1859, but on account of the excitement pertaining to the election, there 
was no account of it in any of the county papers. 

Politics — The campaign of 1859 was bitterly fought. Hon. Tim- 
othy Davis was president, and Eliphalet Price was vice president, of 
the Republican state convention which nominated S. J. Kirk wood for 
governor. The Democrats nominated A. C. Dodge, and the issues 
were joined. Joseph Eiboeck purchased the Journal, August 4, 1859, 
and at first attempted to conduct it as an independent newspaper, but 
he soon declared himself as a Republican. Mr. Eiboeck quickly showed 
himself to be a powerful writer and a clear thinker although he was 
apt to be carried away by his enthusiasms, and he entered at once 
into the campaign. At the Republican convention held at Garnavillo, 
Mr. Chesly acted as chairman. There was a contesting delegation 
from Sperry, and excitement ran high. John Garber, H. S. Granger 
and E. P. Olmstead were candidates for county judge, Garber being 
nominated. Jacob Nicklaus was nominated for recorder, W. S. Scott 
for sheriff, J. W. Van Orman for superintendent, R. G. McClellan for 
surveyor, Henry Schumacher for drainage commissioner, and F. \V. 
Sherman for coroner. For the legislature, Gilbert Douglas was nomi- 
nated for the senate and Samuel Merrell and D. C. Baker for repre- 
sentatives. This was the first political recognition of Samuel Merrell, 
who was afterwards to become governor of Iowa. The Democrats 
nominated D. Hammer for senator and A. M. Renwick and S. R. Peet 
for representatives. A third convention, by the so-called "People's 
party," was called at Clayton Center. A. E. Wanzer was at the head 
of this movement, and a full county ticket was placed in the field. 

Joint meetings were the order of the day, and the Journal tells 
of such a gathering at Garnavillo. A. C. Rogers, Republican, and 
Dr. F. Andros, Democrat, presided. D. Baugh, Democratic candi- 
date for county judge, was the first speaker. He was followed by 
Reuben Noble and, although approving the political portion of his 
address, Col. Eiboeck disapproved of the personalities with which he 
attacked Mr. Baugh. Mr. Odell also spoke for democracy. Mr, 
Eiboeck states that he thinks such meetings do no good and simply 
excite the people against each other. At this election the proposal to 
issue bonds for $15,000, bearing 10 per cent interest, for the erection 


of a courthouse, was voted upon and defeated. The result of the 
election was mixed. Hammer (Dem.) was elected for the senate by 
1 6 majority, and Merrell (Rep.) and Peet (Dem.) were elected repre- 
sentatives. John Garber was elected county judge by a large majority, 
as was also Jacob Nicklaus. Horace Emery (Dem.) was elected super- 
intendent, Ezra Hurd (Dem.) surveyor, John W. Potts (Dem.) drain- 
age commissioner, John P. Kriebs (Dem.) coroner and John Kauffman 
(Dem.) sheriff. 

It was just after this election that John Brown made his famous 
raid on Harper's Ferry. Both the Republican and the Democratic 
papers denounced John Brown in the strongest terms. Col. Eiboeck 
stated that "we hope they will send him (Brown) to the lunatic asylum 
for lifetime, or, if he has his senses, hang him at once. Men — nay, not 
men — Abolitionists, throughout the whole north, appeared to have 
co-operated with this Brown, and plans have come to light which, if 
they had succeeded, would have resulted in the death of many thou- 
sands, and perhaps in the destruction of this hitherto happy confed- 
eracy of the states of America." 

In November, 1859, Alonzo Brown makes his report as county 
superintendent. The number of persons of school age was 6,851, an 
increase of 489. The number of pupils attending was 3,695, and the 
average attendance 2,337. ^^^ hundred and eight schools were taught 
in the county, and there were eighty-five schoolhouses, varying in 
valuation from $5 to $3,500. Marion township had had no school, 
as it had no schoolhouses. Male teachers were paid from $4 to $9.50, 
averaging $5.50 per week. Female teachers were paid from $2.08 to 
$5 per week, averaging about $3. The superintendent thinks these 
wages too low. 


Closing this period, from 1850 to i860, we find a county that 
has been tried and tested by adversity but that has come through 
triumphant. The people have responded to the calls of civic life with 
splendid zeal and high courage ; bent, but not broken, by the hardships 
they were forced to meet. But this fiery test was but the preparedness 
for the supreme test of manhood and citizenship which was to come. 
They had won the victories of peace ; the victories of war were before 
them. The people of Clayton county approached the great crisis in 
the nation's history with eyes wide open. They had builded well. 
Their institutions were sane and sound. They had developed and 
maintained a healthy, sturdy manhood ; a manhood which was to go 
forth, unreservedly, in their country's service. Their consciences were 
clear and they were unafraid. The men of the south made their 
greatest mistake in that they did not take into account the quiet, 
undemonstrative, but no less determined and eifective patriotism and 
fighting qualities of just such men as these in Clayton county. The 
history of this decade can not be more fittingly ended than by using 
the prophetic words of Col. Eiboeck, in the Elkader Journal, to close 
the record of the dying year 1859. "Reader, wherever you may be, 
look a short distance into the future, and see what stirring events are 
before you. Let us all be prepared to meet them with becoming man- 


hood; let us all stand firmly forth in this country, determined to 
brave the impending blasts ; and Heaven grant that our proud and 
happy country may outride the storm. In America, the land of Wash- 
ington, Jefferson and Franklin, we see around us, everywhere, the 
signs of a desperate and terrible conflict, such a one as has never 
before been witnessed since the days of her revolution. Americans, 
a second great revolution is before you, as great as that which severed 
your connection with the mother country. On the one side is arraigned 
the free and independent thinker of the north, the offspring of New 
England bravery, the sons of New England revolutionists. Men who 
have depended upon their own labor and industry for all they are 
and all they expect to be, imbued with a courage and perseverance 
that are ever active, whether the danger is near or far off. Vigilant 
in the midst of peace, brave in the midst of danger, and when his 
principles are involved in the issue, he knows no compromise. For 
our own part we shall battle with the hosts of freeman, trusting to 
the rectitude of our principles and a just Providence for success." 





POLITICAL events were moving swiftly throughout the nation, and 
while the people of Clayton county were intensely interested in all 
that was going on round about them, they nevertheless pursued the 
even tenor of their way. The country was emerging from the 
bitter hard times, and the very intensity with which men grappled 
with the great moral issues seemed to be reflected in the business 
world. All of the various towns in the county were enjoying growth 
and prosperity and making many improvements. The influx of settlers 
was still great, although not so large as a few years previously. 
McGregor and Clayton were still great shipping points. There was no 
railroad to compete with them west of the Mississippi and north of 
Dubuque, and river traffic was still heavy. 

McGregor Land Titles — At McGregor there was much building, 
but this was retarded by the uncertainty as to titles. Having won a 
decision in his suit against his brother, James McGregor, Jr., had 
notices served upon the business men of McGregor that they must 
either buy at his price, or sell to him. or be prepared to stand suit. 
This course was deeply resented by McGregor citizens, who claimed 
that the title had not been fully adjudicated, and that, under any 
circumstances, they were not prepared to pay any price which McGregor 
might ask. Duncan McGregor, representing the estate of Alexander 
McGregor, encouraged the business men to disregard these notices of 
suit, and ofifered to defend them in case of court action. The citizens 
met at the office of Noble and Drummond and decided to make no 
bargains with any party until the case was finally out of court. Sen- 
ator Hammer, with the aid of Representatives Merrell and Peet, secured 
the passage of a law to protect settlers from loss in such cases as that 
at McGregor. Some compromise was finally effected between the 
McGregor litigants, and James McGregor, Jr., advertises that he will 
soon be ready to make perfect titles, and the commissioners appointed 
by court divided portions of the property between the contestants. In 
April, i860, the McGregor Land Company, composed of John Thomp- 
son, Jedediah Brown, Reuben Noble and O. C. Lee, with Willis Drum- 


mend as agent, offered lands for sale, guaranteeing perfect title and 
opening a new addition which was called "Brickyard Coulee." The 
litigation was not ended, however, and the matter hung fire for a long 
time before it was finally adjusted. The business men formed a close 
alliance, employing attorneys and pledging themselves, in writing, to 
act as a unit and not to make any personal settlement with James 
McGregor, Jr. 

Elkader County Seat — The first part of the year i860 was largely 
devoted to a settlement of the county seat question. Elkader was 
again in the field as against Garnavillo. Col. Eiboeck and his news- 
paper, the Journal, supported his home town, Garnavillo. The Register 
and the people of Guttenberg, embittered by their own defeat, sup- 
ported Elkader, just as Elkader previously supported Garnavillo, after 
its defeat by Guttenberg. McGregor took but little interest in the 
contest, the Times supporting Garnavillo, but in a mild manner. Among 
the leaders for Elkader were Judge Price, Mike Weaver, A. E. Wan- 
zer, H. D. Bronson, J. McBride and Lew Davis. The Garnavillo and 
Guttenberg papers were filled with editorials, contributed articles and 
burlesques on both sides. The election was held on May 2, and on 
that day the Journal publishes, in large black type, the following: 
"We understand that old Wanzer has been trying to mislead several 
voters, who happened to be Garnavillo men, as to the day of the elec- 
tion. Remember that the election comes off on Monday, the second 
day of April, i860." There was one good thing about this election: 
it was apparent that the people had determined that this would be a 
final contest, that the county seat should cease to be migratory, and 
that some suitable buildings should be erected. The vote was Garna- 
villo, 1,380; Elkader, 2,019. 

Immediate steps were taken for the removal of the county prop- 
erty. Judge Garber, Clerk Updegraff, Treasurer Nicklaus and Col. 
Eiboeck made a trip to Elkader to secure suitable quarters for the 
county seat. They describe Elkader, speaking of the large mill, and 
saying: "There are four stores in the place, one kept by H. Carter, 
one by Coates & Co., one by Mr. Boardman, and one by Mr. Ellsworth, 
recently of McGregor. There are two hotels. The judge was success- 
ful in procuring a building for the courthouse, which is a three-story 
brick house on First street, near the building that was formerly used 
as a courthouse." 

Garnavillo tried to stop the removal, and Judge Williams granted 
an injunction based on the alleged illegality of the petition under 
which the election took place. This injunction was speedily dissolved, 
however, and the removal was made. This election aroused very bit- 
ter feelings among the people of Guttenberg, Garnavillo and Elkader. 
Garnavillo people were especially incensed at Guttenberg, and this 
feud between the two possible contenders in future elections was a 
factor in making the county seat permanent, Elkader having retained 
the seat of government since i860, a period, now, of fifty-six years. 
The newspaper followed the county seat, and the Clayton County Jour- 
nal made its first appearance in Elkader on Monday, April 30, i860. 

Lincoln Campaign — The campaign of i860 has no parallel in 
American history. It was felt on all sides that the issues involved. 


not the presidency alone, but that the question of war or peace, union 
or disunion, was to be settled. The Democrats met in national con- 
vention, were deadlocked for a long period, and finally nominated 
Stephen A. Douglas for president and Benjamin Fitzpatrick, of Ala- 
bama, for vice-president. Fitzpatrick resigned, however, and Herschell 
V. Johnson, of Georgia, was substituted as vice-presidential candidate. 
A large number of Democrats seceded from this convention and Breck- 
enridge was also nominated on a Democratic ticket. In the meantime, 
the Republicans met at Chicago, in May, and after a spirited contest, 
Abraham Lincoln was made the nominee. In the light of history it 
might seem that the sentiment of the northern states was all one way, 
but this was not the case, and the campaign was hardly fought in every 
state. The influence of the Buchanan administration was thrown to 
the Breckenridge ticket. Col. Richardson, of McGregor, was a per- 
sonal friend and strong partisan of Douglass ; he was also postmaster 
at McGregor and, rather than follow the dictates of the administration, 
he resigned his office. There were meetings some place in Clayton 
county during almost every night of the campaign. Douglass spoke 
at Dubuque and Col. Richardson chartered a boat and headed an 
enthusiastic delegation from McGregor and Guttenberg. The Wis- 
consin Democratic state convention was held at Prairie du Chien, and 
prominent citizens of Wisconsin spoke at McGregor. Henry Gay 
Dean, one of the most noted orators of democracy, spoke at McGregor 
and at West Union. Ben Samuels, Democratic nominee for Congress, 
and Vandever, his Republican opponent, had a series of joint debates, 
speaking, in this county, at McGregor, Elkader and Guttenberg. It 
was the fashion, in those days, to belittle every eflFort of the political 
opponent, so that no fair judgment of these debates can be obtained 
from the newspaper accounts. At all the towns in the county meetings 
were held at which local leaders of both parties spoke. D. Baugh, as 
Democratic chairman, announced meetings at Giard, National, Monona, 
Garnavillo, Clayton City, Wagner township, Elkader, Cox Creek town- 
ship, Volga City, Strawberry Point, Yankee Settlement, Elkport, Read 
township and Guttenberg. The Republicans were no less active. Upon 
receipt of news of Lincoln's nomination, a ratification meeting was 
held at Elkader, with James Davis as chairman and T. Updegraff secre- 
tary. S. L. Peck, S. P. Adams, of Dubuque, and Reuben Noble 
addressed the meeting. 

A Lincoln Club was formed for Boardman township, with Charles 
W. Richardson as president, and a vigilance committee was named 
for each school district. At Strawberry Point, a Lincoln club was 
formed with Joseph C. Tremain as president and W. H. Stearns as 
secretary. Hon. R. E. Fenton, a New York Congressman, spoke in 
Strawberry Point. At Volga City the Republicans were addressed 
by Elijah Odell, before a crowded schoolhouse. The Republican 
county convention was held at Garnavillo. At this convention A. C. 
Rogers and William Leffingwell were candidates for clerk, but both 
withdrew in favor of H. S. Granger, who was nominated, although 
he was then in Kansas. James Davis, Reuben Noble, Elijah Odell, 
B. T. Hunt and Rev. Paul Stockfelt were among the Republican 
orators, and John T. Stoneman was one of the leaders of democracy. 


Men of statewide reputation came into the county to deliver addresses 
on both sides. Senator Seward spoke at Dubuque, and this was the 
great rally for northeastern Iowa. A pole raising was given by the 
Republicans of Elkport. This was attended by 800 Republicans, and 
a pole 120 feet high was erected, "exceeding in height the Douglass 
pole in that place by over 50 feet." 

The first rooster which ever crowed in the columns of a Qayton 
county newspaper appears in the Elkader Journal of October 18, i860, 
shrieking "Hurrah for Lincoln." This was in jubilation over the 
Republican success in the October elections in Pennsylvania and Indi- 
ana. There are a number of other small cartoons used in this issue, 
and the Journal boasts : "Those woodcuts in our paper this week were 
engraved by R. H. Copeland, our foreman. They are well executed, 
considering the tools he had, which were nothing but an old jack-knife." 
Thomas Updegrafif and Mr. Geyhorn held a joint debate at Elkport. 
The Guttenberg Register, Democratic, declared that Mr. Updegrafif was 
badly worsted, and the Elkader Journal, Republican, declared that he 
'"got much the better of Mr. Geyhorn." The Lincoln rooster was 
again called into requisition to celebrate the "Glorious News ! Lincoln 
Elected!" The vote of the county was: Abraham Lincoln, 2,089; 
Stephen A. Douglas, 1,572; John C. Breckenridge, 14. The rejoicing 
over the election, on the part of the Republicans, was tempered, how- 
ever, by the realization that the election of Lincoln meant southern 
secession and that secession meant war. During the last months of 
i860 this became more and more apparent, and the heat of the cam- 
paign was succeeded by a glowing fever of patriotism which gradually 
swept away all partisanship. By the close of the year it was seen that 
secession was certain. 

Events of i860 — Despite the excitement of the times there were 
many events of local importance, and the interests of the people were 
not entirely confined to political matters. The Good Templars were 
strong throughout the county and had many lodges. Total abstinence 
was their pledge, and the order had a large membership. On June 5 
a county festival was held at Elkader. 

A company of 30 German emigrants arrived at Guttenberg in 
i860, having bought a tract of land in Volga township. There were 
many improvements at Elkader. Clayton was still flourishing, although 
it was being outstripped by McGregor. 

The Fourth of July was generally celebrated throughout the 
county. At McGregor and Strawberry Point, particularly, were cele- 
brations held. G. L. Tremain was marshal of the day at Strawberry 
Point. The Odd Fellows had charge of the celebration at Garnavillo. 

In pursuit of the wary new subscriber, Colonel Eiboeck made a 
canvass on foot throughout the county, and he gives a splendid view 
of the countryside. Among other things he said, "In walking a dis- 
tance of seven miles, in Boardman township, we counted eight new 
buildings. We entered Cox Creek township and wended our way 
to Communia, or the old German Colony, as it is called. The society 
which settled that place is no more in existence, the members being 
scattered all over the country and the land, which in reality is of the 
very finest in the county, is 'in law' and is being eaten up entirely by 


law suits. At Communia there is a postoffice, kept by B. F. Weis, who 
keeps a good variety store. There is also a wagon and blacksmith 
shop and one tavern, the latter kept by Mr. Bauman. A good German 
physician, Dr. Kraft, is located here, and a superior school is taught 
by a well-educated male teacher." At Littleport, Colonel Eiboeck noted 
the new store building being built by Peick & Morath. The farm of 
"Squire Quigley" is said to be one of the best in the county. He 
speaks highly of Strawberry Point, of which he says, "They have 
a fine church, occupied by various denominations ; also two schools ; 
the stores in the place are doing a good business; M. O. Barnes and 
William H. Stearns are entered as merchants ; J. B. Miller as a new 
lawyer and E. P. Rawson as a proprietor of a hotel. 

Rush to Pike's Peak — It was during these years that there was 
great excitement concerning the gold discovery at Pike's Peak. Scores 
of men left this county for the long journey across the plains. They 
went from every portion of the county, and included not only the 
young, adventurous, free-footed, single men, but professional men and 
men with families. Mr. Kinniard of McGregor and H. S. Granger 
were among those to go. At one time a Pike's Peak ball was held at 
Garnavillo as a farewell to the many young men who were about to 
leave that vicinity. A vast majority of these men were disappointed 
and a large percent of them returned to the county. 

Judge John Garber reported the receipts of the county for the 
year ending July i, i860, as $19,936.49 and the disbursements as 
$19,635.90. The outstanding warrants were given as $1,068.02. In 
August the contract was let to Daniel Mohr to rebuild the bridge 
which collapsed at Elkport. Improvements were also made on the 
abuttments of the bridge at Elkader. H. Emery, county superintend- 
ent, announced a select school at Monona for teachers and engaged 
Judge Murdock and Colonel Eiboeck as lecturers. 

Concerning religious matters at Elkader, it is stated that "Rev. 
F. C. Mather of the M. E. Church is about to leave and that Rev. 
Norton of Volga City will preach in Elkader every two weeks." At 
this time the Universalists had the strongest protestant church organ- 
ization in the county, and a county meeting was held in Elkader in 
October, i860. In September the county was visited by one of the 
severest rainstorms ever known. Cattle were destroyed by lightning 
and the wind did much damage. The county fair was held at National, 
in October, under the direction of the farmers of Farmersburg town- 

A proclamation for an election for a one mill tax for the purchase 
of a poorhouse farm was issued by Judge Garber, but this proposition 
was defeated by a vote of 723 to 307. In October, i860, is found the 
first mention of kerosene oil as a lighting fluid. This is advertised 
by S. Ellsworth, and the Journal says of it : "We use it and find it a 
much cheaper and better light than can be had from any other oil or 
fluid, besides being very harmless." A portion of the advertisement 
consists of testimonials, S. I. Hess, B. S. Whitney, Lyman Tyler, J. 
Eiboeck and John Garber all testifying that they have used kerosene 
oil with most satisfactory results. A new paper. The Elkader Adver- 
tiser was started in i860, with Mr. Ellsworth as editor. The prob- 


ability of secession and war caused a great falling off in markets and 
prices at Elkader, Nov. 30, i860, are quoted as follows: Wheat 50c 
to 55c ; oats, 15c ; corn, shelled, 30c ; barley, 30c ; potatoes, 20c. Among 
the freak election bets should be noticed the one made in Guttenberg 
by which William Potter solemnly agreed that "if Lincoln is elected 
he will not drink to exceed four glasses of ardent spirits per day for 
one month." Eliphalet Price was the other party to this wager and 
also solemnly swore not to take to exceed four drinks per day if 
Douglas was elected. This document was sworn to before James 
Schroeder, justice of the peace. 

Elkader Mill Fire — On Thursday, December 20, Elkader suf- 
fered a severe loss when the mill, which was the center of all its 
industry, was destroyed by fire. The Journal gives the following 
account : "On Thursday night last the large flouring and grist mill in 
this place, owned by Messrs. Thompson & Davis, took fire and burned 
to the ground. There were from 8 to 10,000 bushels of wheat in 
the mill at the time, which were also consumed by the fire. The fire 
was discovered at about i o'clock at night, when the flames were seen 
bursting from out the third-story windows, on the east side of the 
building. It did not take long to arouse the citizens, but when they 
reached the spot they soon saw the utter impossibility of saving the mill, 
the fire having enveloped the whole upper portion of it in one sheet of 
flame. Notwithstanding this, the doors of the mill were broken open 
and nearly two hundred barrels of flour saved before the fire reached 
the first story. There was a strong breeze from the northwest when 
the fire broke through the roof of the mill, endangering the adjoining 
buildings ; in fact, the whole village. The wind blew sparks of fire 
as large as a walnut, clear into the lower part of the town, setting 
fire to haystacks, etc., but which were observed in time and extin- 
guished. Almost adjoining the mill is a stone building, in which is 
the Journal offlce and a cooper shop. This house was expected to 
take fire every moment, and, if it had, it would have been impossible 
to save it, and the entire block would have been swept away. Our 
office was saved by tremendous exertions on the part of our friends. 
Messrs. Alpheus Scott and A. F. Tipton were on the roof of the 
building when the heat from the fire was so intense that, to keep 
from burning to death they had to pour water on each other, while 
on the porch on the second story Messrs. H. B. Carter and Delos Mills 
were stationed, enduring equal hardships and working as heroically as 
men could to save the building. They have placed us under ever- 
lasting obligations. After the flour was taken out the fire enveloped 
the entire building, when the citizens on the east side of the river 
hastened home to protect their own homes from the havoc which the 
sea of fire that covered the sky was threatening. On most every 
housetop could be seen some person sprinkling water on the shingles 
to keep them from burning. The Davis house, which adjoins the Jour- 
nal office, took fire several times from the sparks that flew onto it and 
which were fanned by the wind. It was fortunate that the fire did not 
spread further, though this loss, as it is, is heavy enough. According 
to Mr. Thompson's estimate, $35,000 or $40,000 will scarce cover the 
damages. And not only will Thompson and Davis suffer from this 


loss, but the whole village will feel it heavily. Right in town, a num- 
ber of persons were thrown out of employment, while in the country, 
the farmers, who hitherto depended upon the mill for their market, 
will be compelled to go elsewhere and farther off. The loss is felt by 
all. The origin of the fire is something that no one has as yet been 
able to tell. There are rumors that it was set on fire, but whether 
it is true we are unable to decide. There was no insurance. Mr. Davis 
declares that before next harvest time another mill will be in running 

It was during i860 that it was seriously proposed to run a horse 
railroad through the Turkey Valley to Dubuque, and Richard T. Mor- 
gan went into details, giving cost of construction and operation and 
probable receipts. Nothing came of this project, however, but it was 
agitated from time to time. 

Board of Supervisors — In 1861 the new law went into effect by 
which the county judge was superseded by a board of supervisors. 
John Garber was the last county judge. The new board met January 7, 
1 86 1. They were elected one from each precinct, and they were 
among the most prominent men in the county. 

Frank Smith was elected president pro tem, and Robert Grant 
secretary. The first business was the election of a chairman. D. W. 
Chase defeating O. W. Crary for his position by a vote of 11 to 10. 
The board then drew lots for one and two year terms. Those drawing 
one year were O. W. Crary, Farmersburg; Martin Garber, Volga ; L. R. 
Gilbert, Read ; Philip Hunter, Millville ; Buel Knapp, Boardman ; E. 
Monlux, Wagner; G. S. Peck, Cox Creek; P. G. Bailey, Grand 
Meadow ; W. G. Stoddard, Buena Vista ; E. Wood, Jefferson ; D. W. 
Chase, Lodomillo. Those drawing two years were : S. G. Chase, Cass ; 
D. Daugherty, Giard ; R. B. Flenniken, Mallory ; R. Grant, Mendon ; 
Daniel Lowe, Highland ; P. M. Lown, Marion ; A. C. Mohrman, Gar- 
navillo; P. P. Olmstead, Monona; G. W. Porter, Elk; Frank Smith, 
Clayton, and A. Bevens, Sperry. 

The county judge submitted his final report, and turned the affairs 
of the county over to the new board. The most important action of 
the first session was the appointment of a committee to receive bids 
for building a bridge at Elkader. Aid was also voted for other bridges. 
This board also took up the matter of renting rooms for the county 
officers and the purchase of furniture for the courtroom. The financial 
report showed the county to be in good condition. The expenses for 
the six months preceding amounted to $6,520.65, the liabilities were 
$3,986.03, and the net assets, above liabilities, were given as $25,072.03. 

In February the contract for the Elkader bridge was let to Milo 

One of the first questions confronting the board was to make 
suitable provision to house the county officers, and arrangements were 
made with Bud Knapp to rent the brick building then occupied for 
$15 per month. In June it was agreed to rent the Stone Hall for $75 
per year, for use only for the court and when the board was in session. 
Joseph Ross was appointed "fireman," with instructions to light the 
room and attend, generally, upon the board. In November, Reuben 
Noble and other members of the bar petitioned that a railing be 


placed around the desk and bar in the courtroom and that "the aisles 
of said room be provided with straw mattresses and cozy and com- 
fortable seats for the jury." The board granted this humble petition, 
but limited the cost to $25. In 1862 a special committee reported that 
the poorhouse as then conducted was expensive and in bad condition, 
and the board ordered it closed, the property leased and the goods 
sold. Later it was found that the township system of caring for 
paupers was still more expensive and, in June, 1864, it was proposed 
to appropriate $2,000 for a poor farm, and a committee was appointed 
to make the purchase. In October this first committee was excused 
and S. R. Gilbert was appointed. In January, 1865, Mr. Gilbert reported 
the purchase of sixty acres of land in Read township for $1,500, and 
the partial agreement to buy forty acres of timber land in addition. 
This purchase was approved and $2,000 voted for poor farm buildings. 
Later the forty acres of timber were bought for $480 and, in January, 
1866, an additional $2,000 was voted for buildings. August Millen- 
hausen, of Guttenberg, was the first steward appointed. 

The County Jail — The difficulties encountered in relation to the 
Elkader bridge have already been recounted. Another matter which 
required the attention of the board was that of the county jail. 
Although the courts sat in Elkader, the jail was still located at Garna- 
villo, and it was insanitary and unfit in every way. This condition 
was recognized at the June session, 1862, when the board proposed an 
appropriation of $2,000 for a jail at Elkader, providing the city would 
contribute an equal amount in cash or its equivalent and provide a site. 
Elkader was not sure of the county seat, and did not respond to this 
invitation, and repairs were made on the Garnavillo jail and a tem- 
porary jail ordered at Elkader. In 1864 the proposal to vote a tax 
for building a jail was submitted to the people and defeated. A like 
proposition, in 1865, met with a like fate ; however, two sets of balls 
and chains were provided for the sheriff and handcuffs were purchased 
for every township in the county. In June, 1868, the grand jury 
reported that the jail was "a shame and a disgrace." Acting upon this 
report the board again submitted the question of erecting a $15,000 
jail, and this was carried. Following the election, E. H. Williams, 
John Garber and James Davis were appointed to secure a site. They 
reported in favor of the purchase of seventeen acres from L. A. 
Beardsley's addition to East Elkader, for the sum of $1,700, and this 
report was accepted. James Davis, John Garber and D. W. Chase 
were appointed as the building committee, work was commenced at 
once, and by the close of 1869 the foundations were completed. E. W. 
H. Jacobs was the architect, and he, with James Davis, made an eastern 
trip to obtain ideas on construction. The work was pushed rapidly 
in 1870, with J. A. Hysham as superintendent of workmen and J. H. 
Sandusky as head mason. The jail was constructed without letting 
a contract except for the steel work, and it stands as a monument 
to the honesty and good workmanship of the builders. The total cost 
of the jail, including site, was $24,679.58. Under the war history has 
been given a statement of the various acts of the supervisors relative 
to bounties and the relief of soldiers. 

Court House — In 1862, steps were taken looking toward the erec- 


tion of a permanent court house at Elkader. In June, it was voted to 
appropriate $2,000 for a building for the county officers, providing 
Elkader donated eight lots and $1,000 in cash, $2,000 was also voted for 
a court room, providing Elkader gave $1,000. Nothing came of it at the 
time, however, and the county continued to rent the Stone Hall. In 
June, 1863, a resolution was offered to rescind these appropriations but 
the motion was lost. Again in 1865, a motion to buy Stone Hall as the 
court was tabled and, instead, a proposition for a tax for a court house 
was submitted. This was defeated by nearly 600 majority and, in Jan- 
uary, 1866, urged by Elkader people, and by the very evident necessity 
for some permanent county home, the board took the bull by the horns 
and took the first step toward the erection of a court house by appro- 
priating $2,000 for a treasurer's office, providing the citizens of Elkader 
gave a suitable site. Two thousand dollars additional was voted to 
build a vault for the safe-keeping of the funds and records. The vote 
on this resolution, stood 13 to 6. According to law, $2,000 was the 
limit of the appropriations which the board might make without a vote 
of the people and these piecemeal appropriations were undoubtedly 
made for the purpose of circumventing the law. However, it would 
seem, in this instance, that the end justified the means, and no one 
today regrets the action of the board. Again, in June, 1866, $3,000 
was appropriated to build a recorder's and treasurer's office, providing 
a site was given. In September, the old court house at Garnavillo was sold 
at auction for $3,000 and at the same session it was moved that the appro- 
priation voted in June be rescinded and that the site offered by Elkader 
was not satisfactory. The motion to rescind appropriations was lost 
by a vote of 9 to 7, and that rejecting the site was lost on a tie vote, the 
chairman voting in favor of accepting the site. In 1867, an election 
was held on the county seat question and Elkader defeated Garnavillo 
by more than 700 and, following the canvass of the vote, the board 
appropriated $2,000 to finish the clerk and treasurer's office. In the 
summer of 1867, the site having been accepted, the actual work of con- 
struction was commenced. The work was well done and this is a part 
of the court house as it stands today. 

Supervision System Changed — The board had much to do with 
the sale of school lands and the so called swamp lands and, while today, 
it seems a pity that these were sold at prices ranging from $1.25 to 
$4.00 per acre, they did no differently than was done by the govern- 
ment and the state and other counties. This method of county govern- 
ment by the board of supervisors, one man from each township, was 
cumbersome and expensive and it was not regretted when, in 1870, 
the law was changed and the board reduced to three members. 









AS THE days passed between the election of Abraham Lincoln 
and his inauguration, it became more and more apparent that the 
south was to secede. Every river packet, bringing the eagerly 
sought newspapers from the outside world, carried the news of fresh 
acts of aggression. A confederacy was formed; South Carolina passed 
acts of secession; the southern press breathed defiance and rebellion, 
and this defiance was hurled back by the newspapers of the north. 
There were great debates in Congress ; men of the north and of the 
south came near to blows, while others temporised, hoping against 
hope, that some peaceful solution might be found. Men hung upon 
the words of Lincoln; every step of his journey from Illinois to Wash- 
ington was followed with breathless interest ; every word that he 
uttered was weighed by an anxious and excited people. 

It is a mistaken idea to believe that the abolition of slavery was the 
moving factor in the minds of northern men. This was not the case. 
In his inaugural address Lincoln declared, "I have no purpose, directly 
or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states 
where it exists. I believe that I have no lawful right to do so, and I 
have no inclination to do so." There was a firm conviction in the 
hearts of many that slavery was wrong and that it should not be 
extended into free territory. There was, however, strong race preju- 
dice, and it was only the abolition "cranks" who championed equal 
civic rights for men, regardless of race or color. This is evident from 
the fact that, but a short time previous, the people of Iowa refused to 
strike the word "white" from their constitution. Nevertheless, the 
conviction grew and solidified, throughout the north, that the Union 
must and should be preserved. Earnestly, quietly and grimly men 
were facing the problem, counting the cost, and determining, if need be. 


to die for their country. Events moved swiftly in 1861. Lincoln's 
eastern journey grew to be a triumphal progress. Back of the cheers 
of northern enthusiasts was the sullen roar of southern threats, as the 
sound of distant cannon. There were the repeated acts of secession, 
the hurrying of government munitions to the south, the threats that 
Lincoln should never reach Washington alive. Then came the great 
inaugural address, received with enthusiasm throughout the north and 
with suspicion and hatred throughout the south. Then came acts of 
armed rebellion. The seizure of forts and arsenals, the firing upon 
Fort Sumpter, and then the call of Father Abraham for 75,000 men. 

These events following in quick succession, stirred the north to its 
very center. In Clayton county men thought or talked of but little 
else. Union meetings were held, fervid orators held forth, party lines 
broke down and when the call came, Clayton county was ready. All 
the years of freedom spent in the open, in the woods and on the prairie 
had hardened their frames and strengthened their love of liberty. All 
the blood of their forebears, whether from that sturdy New England 
stock which had twice defeated Britain, or whether from the liberty 
loving peoples who preferred to face the hardships of a new world, 
rather than to abide the tyrannies of the old; all the years of independ- 
ence and self-government had given them a patriotism and a prepared- 
ness the equal of which has not been seen in the world before nor since. 
They were fit physically for any hardship which war might impose 
and they were burning with patriotic zeal. It is here that the south 
made its gravest mistake. It did not know the men of Clayton county 
and of the hundreds of like counties throughout the north. Because 
they were remote, because they were for the most part silent, the chiv- 
alry of the south totally underestimated the strength and valor of these 
northern warriors. 

The response to Lincoln's call was swift and immediate. It swept 
like a fire across the prairie. Hardly was the ink dry upon the message 
of Governor Kirkwood before the men in Clayton county were in 
action. "War ! War ! War ! Henceforth only two parties. Patriots 
and Traitors !" thundered the Republican Journal at Elkader ; "To 
Arms ! To Arms ! Our much loved country is in danger, the flag is 
dishonored by those who have heretofore enjoyed its protection. The 
liberty of every freeman is at stake. Let all those that will stand by 
the Union and by the right, stand forth," answered the Democratic 
Times at McGregor. The county became an armed camp within a 
day. There was a meeting at Farmersburg, where volunteers enlisted 
and the farmers raised $1,500 for the support of the families of the 
volunteers. F. Hofer rushes from Littleport to have the Journal print 
hand bills announcing the great war meeting. Under the leadership 
of Capt. W. H. Muzzy a delegation of young men, headed by fife and 
drum, marches through the cheering streets of the little village of 
Elkader and goes to Littleport to attend the meeting. Dennis Quigley 
acts as chairman, and it is a wonderful comment upon the spirit of the 
times that the first work of the meeting, before any speeches were made 
and before any names were entered upon the enlistment roll, was to 
spend several hours in drill. Then came the speeches by S. R. Peet, 
Prof. Kramer, of Elkport, Ben Smith, of Littleport, and A. F. Tipton, 


of Elkader. Then came the call for volunteers, by F. Hofer, and 14 
young men stepped forth and declared themselves ready to go at an 
hour's notice, while 35 others bespoke their willingness to go as soon as 
they could arrange their home affairs. 

At Elkader there was a meeting at the court house. H. B. Carter 
presided and Douglas Leffingwell, a lieutenant in the rapidly forming 
company of Clayton county volunteers, made a patriotic speech and 
was followed by Mr. Remick of McGregor, B. T. Hunt, and James 
Davis. The minutes of a meeting already held at Farmersburg were 
read and everybody joined in singing "Hail Columbia," ''My Country," 
and "The Star Spangled Banner". Another meeting was held a few 
days later. D. D. Hutchins told of the progress of the volunteer com- 
pany at Farmersburg; M. E. Smith of Volga City proposed a grand 
county military festival at Elkader on the Fourth. The afternoon 
session was not sufficient and the patriots adjourned until evening and 
before the work of the day was done, 30 more Elkader boys had signed 
the enlistment roll. The river towns were aflame. At Guttenberg 
John Schroeder took the lead and the sturdy Germans who had fought 
for liberty in 1848 shouldered the musket and declared their willing- 
ness to fight again. There was no fear of the hyphenated American 
in those days and, with the veterans of Europe's wars in its ranks the 
Guttenberg company soon became known as the best drilled in north- 
ern Iowa. From Strawberry Point and Volga and Elport and Little- 
port and Yankee Settlement, from Clayton and Garnavillo and 
National, from Monona and Giard and Grand Meadow, from every 
hill and valley in the county men sprang up as though the very soil 
had been sown with dragon's teeth. 

Gathering of Clan McGregor — IMcGregor, as the most important 
shipping point in Iowa, north of Dubuque, became the first concen- 
tration camp for all northeastern Iowa. To this place came the boys 
from Allamakee and Decorah and Fayette and from all parts of Clayton 
county. Over the long trails which led to the prairies of the back 
country, instead of oxen with their creaking loads of grain, came 
hurrying men on horse back and on foot to serve their country. The 
city itself was ablaze with patriotism. The president's call was but 
a few days' old when a meeting of citizens was called at Concert Hall. 
"McGregors arouse," were the words of the Times. "Let the clans 
assemble at Concert Hall on Wednesday evening and fill up the ranks 
of the proposed military organizations instanter. Let every loch and 
glen send forth its chiel ready for the fray. It is no time for holiday 
work ; the company is designed for business — no less than the preser- 
vation of our government and all the institutions so dear to every 
patriotic heart." 

Before each business place and residence floated the Stars and 
Stripes ; the arrival of every boat was greeted by crowds eager for the 
latest news of war; the flag floating on each river craft was greeted 
with cheers; to Captain Sherwin of the Packet ]\IcGregor, was given 
the honor of having unfurled the first national flag upon the waters of 
the Upper Mississippi after the overt treason of JefT Davis' crew; 
within a few hours the business men of McGregor pledged $600 per 
month for the support of the families of volunteers. The sound of 


the drum and fife was heard at every hour of the day. A visitor at 
McGregor writing for the Dubuque Times says, "There were thou- 
sands of American flags displayed at McGregor, there was a ceaseless 
rataplan of snare drums, and an everlasting booming of the bass and 
the ear piercing screech of the fife, all the time we sojourned there. It 
was the last we remembered at night and the first to greet us in the 
morning." Concert Hall was filled to overflowing at this first Union 
meeting at McGregor, Democrats and Republicans vied with each 
other, party spirit was entirely ignored. Mayor Hobart presided and 
speeches were made by Pass, Hand, Baugh, Drummond, Stoneman, 
Remick, Leffingwell, Felt, Peck, Barron, Updegraff, Calkins, Douglas 
and Hobart. It was resolved : "That discarding all political or parti- 
san consideration in this hour of our country's danger we mutually 
pledge to each other as American citizens as a common defense our 
lives, our fortunes and our sacred honors." 

Off for the Front — The military company, under Capt. S. B. 
Sladden, which was to be a part of the splendid Third Iowa Infantry, 
was quickly formed and the Captain returns from a rush trip to 
Davenport with the glad news that the company will be accepted. 
R, L. Freeman organizes the first company of cavalry formed in 
Iowa, spends $200 of his money in a futile attempt to have it included 
in the First Cavalry Regiment, returns bitterly disappointed but per- 
sists in his determination and later leads his men to war. In the 
meantime the men are gathering from all the countryside around. 
Across the river, at Prairie du Chien, the men of Wisconsin are gath- 
ering. There are exchange of visits, wild cheers, martial music, 
speeches that glowed and burned with patriotism. The narrow coulee 
is filled with marching men and troops of cavalry. The uniforms of 
grey cloth are ordered, and the busy women, wives, mothers, sweet- 
hearts, work together to make uniforms for their boys. Every sewing 
machine in the town is forced into service. By dollar subscriptions 
the bunting is bought, at a cost of $50, to make the great flag, army 
regulation size, to fly at the flag pole and go with the company. With 
proud but trembling fingers the women sew the silken folds of the ban- 
ner which was to lead the men at Shiloh and at Vicksburg. Miss 
Francis Boynton made the presentation address and Lieut. Leffingwell 
responded on behalf of the volunteers. The boats are moored out in 
the river and here the soldiers sleep at night, drilling by day and await- 
ing anxiously the word to go to the front. The companies from West 
Union and Decorah arrive and with them come a great consort of 
fathers and mothers and wives and children and sweethearts. The 
word comes to move to the front. It is a busy day at McGregor, the 
soldiers are hurried with final preparations, bands are playing; flags 
flying, crowds cheering and, through it all, there is the undertone of 
sadness, of stifled sobs and silent tears. The companies from West 
Union and Decorah fall into line and march up the narrow valley 
escorting their loved ones as they start to return to saddened, emptied 
homes; and there, at the top of the coulee, where woods and prairie 
meet, are said the parting words, which in too many cases were last 
farewells. And then the boats are filled with the departing volunteers, 
the decks are thronged with eager faces ; crowds, some silent, some 


cheering, line the shores. The crash of music drowns the sound of 
sobs. The whistle blows, the steamship Canada backs slowly from the 
shore, the sound of the cheers grows fainter and is stilled by distance ; 
waving handkerchiefs and flags must take the place of loving words ; 
and then, the boat is hidden around the bend of the river and the boys 
are gone; gone, many of them, out of the lives of Clayton county, for- 
ever. These scenes were repeated, not only at McGregor, but at every 
town and hamlet in the county, many times as the war progressed ; call 
after call came from the president, for men and ever more men, and 
to every call old Clayton county responded, until at home there 
remained few but the women and the children, the old and the dis- 
abled. They responded to the call in the first rush of wild excitement, 
and they responded in the dark days when the defeat at Bull Run and 
the delays and blunders of incompetent generals cast gloom and terror 
throughout the nation ; they responded after they had seen the boys 
return wounded, crippled and broken by disease and hardship; they 
responded after they had read the long roll of the dead and after the 
deep sorrow of eternal parting had entered an hundred homes. 

Included with this chapter are the names of those who enlisted 
from Clayton county in the war for Union and to this list is added the 
roll of honor of 195 men, who died upon the field of battle, in the 
hospital or rebel prison pen. In this history there have been recorded 
the names of many who took prominent part in the political and com- 
mercial activities of the county, until these names have become fairly 
familiar. But, in reading the list of the volunteers, there appear hun- 
dreds of names which have not before been mentioned. This means that 
it was not the leaders alone, not the prominent men only, but that men, 
who had been content with the modest part of the ordinary citizen and 
voter, came, from every rank and every occupation, to take their place 
in the Union ranks. The vast majority of them were young men, 
sons of the men who had made the county great. Many of them, in 
after years, took active part in the affairs of their county and their 
state, but at this time, they were new and untried, but filled with a 
patriotism which must forever emblazon their names upon Clayton 
county's roll of honor. 

Relief Provisions — The board of supervisors as the governing 
body of the county took early and repeated action to support the fami- 
lies of the volunteers and to encourage enlistment. On June 4, 1861, 
the board voted that for each company of 100 men, $13 be paid for 
each man, for the purpose of procuring uniforms. Two days later, the 
board voted $1 a week for the wife and 50 cents a week for each child 
of a volunteer where support was needed. This order was extended 
and enlarged, from time to time, and, by June, 1862, $3,794 had been 
spent for the relief of the families of volunteers. By its famous 
"order No. 316" this aid was extended by unanimous vote, to "the 
widows and children of those who have died or may die in the service 
of the country." In August, the board voted $60 for each volunteer 
who should enlist under the call of the president for 300,000 men and 
this order was, later, made to include all who enlisted between July i 
and Sept. i, 1862. A year later, the board widened the scope of its 
relief to include the families of volunteers, although they might tem- 


porarily reside in other counties. In 1864 this reHef was again 
extended, to include the famiHes of all, except those of commissioned 
officers, who were accepted in the regular or volunteer service, if 
accredited to Clayton county, without regard to their place of residence 
at the time of enlistment. Throughout the entire war the policy of the 
county government, although not extravagant, was just and liberal and 
patriotic and the people bore this added taxation, which was heaped on 
top of increased state taxes and heavy stamp and internal revenue 
taxes, not only without complaining, but with cheerful generosity, and 
with urgings, not to do less, but to do more. The period of these war 
expenditures on the part of the county covered eight years. The 
highest amount paid for bounties was $30,875.00 paid in 1862, and for 
relief of soldiers' families, the highest amount in any one year was in 
1864 when $33,849.09 was spent. The total paid for bounties by the 
county government was $43,229.89 and for relief $106,098.52. To 
this must be added the large amount given by private subscription, not 
only during the first outburst of enthusiasm at the beginning of the 
war but throughout the war for the purpose of encouraging enlistment. 
This amounted to fully as much as was paid by the county, and to this 
again, must be added the large amount which the women of the county 
raised in cash and supplies for the relief of the wounded soldiers at 
the front. In every way Clayton county did its duty. 

Rangers Go to War — It was not long until the Rangers, the cav- 
alry troop organized by Capt. Freeman was ordered to the front and 
the following graphic description of their leave taking is taken from 
the Times: "On Thursday evening of last week, the Canada — the same 
boat which carried off the Clayton county boys — came down to our 
levee and expressed her willingness to take the Rangers on board. 
Then there was a hurrying to and fro, mounting in hot haste, gathering 
up of personal traps, exchanging farewells, and an embarkation. One 
by one the brave fellows came down through the gathering crowds, 
and attended their horses on board. Capt. Freeman was in his ele- 
ment — cheerful, vivacious, omnipresent; his pet Rangers, after much 
embarrassment and delay, were now to make a start for the war. A 
shrill blast from the brass piece above the texas, soon announced that 
it was nearly time to be ofif. By common consent the boys scrambled 
off to exchange farewells ; Capt. Freeman spent a moment in the sad 
yet pleasant leave taking of his interesting family. It was an impres- 
sive moment and a trial for brave hearts ; no tears were shed ; indeed, 
there seemed to be a Spartan cheerfulness in the sacrifice which Mrs. 
Freeman made for her country. When they had all got on board a 
few appropriate words of farewell were addressed them by Mr. 
Hammer and Mr. Noble — the big brass whistle shrieked its impatience 
— the bell was tapped again — the ponderous wheels commenced their 
revolution — and the boys were off, amid the cheers of the great crowd 
which lined the levee. In the silence which ensued as the boat swung 
down the stream, occasionally would be heard the last sentiment of 
some brave heart in a loud "Farewell, McGregor!" Of the 95 men in 
this company of Rangers, but 3 were more than 40 years of age, 12 
were in their 30's, 6y between 20 and 30, and 13 were still in their 


First Soldier Killed — The first death of one of the Clayton county 
volunteers was that of Hervey Dix, of Monona, a corporal in the 
Third Iowa Infantry. The report from the front was as follows: 
"He was out on a scout with five men. While taking dinner in a 
secession farm house, they were surrounded by rebels, i8 in number, 
who demanded a surrender. Dix replied, T never surrender.' Upon 
this the firing commenced. Dix rushed from the house and shot down 
two of them, wounding two or three of them with his revolver, when 
he was shot from behind by a concealed rebel. The ball passed through 
his head, killing him instantly. The remainder of the Union detach- 
ment escaped. They killed six rebels in the yard, while the seventh 
lay mortally wounded, perforated with eight bullets. Lieut. Crawford 
saw the wounded rebel who said, just before his death, 'Corporal Dix 
is the bravest man I ever saw. If the North has many such we had 
better give up.'" The death of Dix cast a gloom over the whole com- 
pany, and the news, when received in Clayton county, brought home 
to the people the grim realities of war. 

Day of Prayer — The last day of September, 1861, was set apart 
as a day of fasting and of prayer by a proclamation of the president, 
Louis Benton, Jr., acting mayor of McGregor, also issued a proclama- 
tion, and it may well be believed that it was observed by the people of 
Clayton county with solemn hearts. As early as October, the wounded 
began coming back from the front, but the enlistments were not 
checked by knowledge of fatalities. The Northwestern Rifles was the 
name of another company organized in the county, and Capt. Charles 
H. Lewis, of the Sixteenth U. S. Regular Infantry, made McGregor 
headquarters and recruited 122 men from Clayton and surrounding 
counties. Col. Eiboeck, editor of the Elkader Journal, laid down 
his pen and enlisted as a private in the company of Alvah Bevins, fol- 
lowing the footsteps of William H. Muzzy, of the same paper, who 
was already at the front with the Rangers. During their absence the 
paper was edited by A. C. Rogers. The company, under Capt. Bevins, 
was known as the Volga Rifles. There were 2y men from Sperry 
township, who were joined at Elkader by 32 men from Guttenberg and 
together they marched to McGregor and joined the regiment com- 
manded by William Vandever, the Congressman from this district. 

Woman's Part — In November, 1861, the first appeal was made 
to the women of Clayton county to organize a society to relieve the 
sick and wounded soldiers. A meeting was called at the Davis house 
in Elkader, November 22, and a large number of ladies were present. 
This was called the Sanitary Society and their activities throughout 
the war form a chapter of history which should not be neglected. The 
officers of this society were Mrs. S. Ellsworth, president ; Mrs. W. W. 
Patch, vice-president ; Mrs. H. S. Granger, secretary ; Mrs. V. Boiler, 
treasurer ; Mrs. L. G. Davis, depositary. The committee to solicit 
donations was Mrs. V. Boiler, Mrs. L. V. Davis, Mrs. S. Ellsworth, 
Miss Mary C. Fuller, Mrs. B. Knapp, Miss Mary L. Muzzy, Miss Mal- 
vina Stewart and Mrs. Milo Adams, and they at once proceeded with 
the good work, and within a week they were able to report having 
raised over $40 in cash and supplies donated as follows: Mrs. Buel 
Knapp, 3 yards ticking; Mrs. V. Boiler, 4 pillows; Mrs. L. V. Davis, 


6 pillows, 2 towels, 6 pillow cases ; Mrs. Oglesbee, i quilt ; Mrs. P. M, 
Potter, I dressing gown. On December 2, a branch was formed at 
Volga City with the following officers : President, Mrs. L. Chapman ; 
vice-president, Mrs. L. H. Drake; secretary. Miss Abbey White; 
treasurer, Mrs. J. Chapman; depositary, Mrs. R. Norton; soliciting 
committee, Mrs. S. Crane, Mrs. S. Bush, Mrs. F. Cummings, Mrs. J. 
Chapman, Mrs. L. Chapman and Miss Abbey White. 

By the middle of December the ladies of McGregor organized for 
Union Sociables, having same end in view. The officers of this society 
were: President, Mrs. Hibbard; vice-president, Mrs. Flanders; sec- 
retary. Miss Updegraff ; treasurer, Miss H. Hammond ; collector, Mrs. 

Mrs. Ellsworth and Laura Stewart were active in the work at 
Elkader and there is hardly an issue of the Elkader paper which does 
not contain some account of their proceedings. At first, direct dona- 
tions were relied on, but later a series of programs were given. The 
first of these was given at the Stone Hall in March, 1862. This was 
a lengthy program of music, readings and tableaux. The receipts were 
$24 and Mr. Potter gave $1 premium for the silver change. People 
were in attendance from all over the county. Mrs. Dr. Blanchard was 
elected president and Mrs. L. Stewart, secretary, Mrs. Stewart being 
one of the guiding spirits of the society throughout the war. The 
Clayton society was organized December 12, 1861, and the officers 
were Mrs. Mary E. Forsythe, president; Mrs. F. Monger, vice-presi- 
dent ; Mrs. E. M. Jerome, treasurer and secretary. 

Dark Days — In March came news of the wounding of A. J. Price, 
son of Eliphalet Price, and but a few days later the announcement of 
the death of Capt. A. W. Drips, who was killed at the battle of Pea 
Ridge, while gallantly leading his brave men in one of the most ter- 
rible and sanguinary fights of the war. Capt. Drips was the former 
editor of the Clayton County Herald, moving from this county to 
Maquoqueta, where he established the Excelsior, a newspaper which 
is in existence today. Capt. Drips was dearly beloved in this county 
and his death was greatly mourned. It was at Pea Ridge, also, that 
Capt. Alvah Bevins gave up his life for his country, and of him the 
McGregor Times says : "We have not yet learned the details of his 
death, but only know that he fell in action at the head of his men 
while dashing upon the enemy. The event has cast a gloom over the 
whole county, for Capt. Bevins was universally known, loved and 
respected. He was no holiday soldier, seizing a commission for the 
honors and emoluments thereof ; he drew his sword because his flag 
was menaced — because an armed rebellion threatened the division of 
the glorious old Union of which he was so proud. He has fallen, 
but standing around his ashes, the loyal men of old Clayton will 
demand that indemnity be made for the loss of the noble men who 
have been slaughtered by traitors to the government." The battle of 
Shiloh claimed a fearful toll from the boys of Clayton county, and 
the days of 1862 were anything but happy ones for those who loved 
their country. The army of the Potomac delayed and hesitated, failed 
to follow up what victories it won and news of defeat and of bloody 
losses filled the columns of the papers. In Clayton county, however. 


the work of recruiting and the work of furnishing rehef went on 
without interruption. In May, as a result of numerous entertainments, 
the Sanitary Society of Elkader was able to report $128 receipts during 
the 3 months preceding. At Garnavillo Mr. and Mrs. Angier turned 
their house over to rehef work. Mrs. Shaw, Mrs. Rev. Mathews, Mrs. 
Brewster, Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Dr. Linton, Mrs. Bell, Mrs. Barnes 
and daughter, Miss R. Shaw, and Miss L. Angier were among the 
Garnavillo women mentioned as active in relief work. 

Volunteers — The Elkader Journal has the following to say con- 
cerning enlistments in the summer of 1862 : "The majority of the 
townships are doing nobly in the way of volunteering. Some of them 
are turning out extraordinarily; Little Buena Vista leads the van by 
sending 50 per cent of all the men in the township liable to military 
duty. Four companies were full August 15. Capt. William Crooke's 
company left on Saturday for Dubuque to take its place in the Twenty- 
first Regiment as Company B, with 104 men. Capt. Elisha Boardman 
has enrolled about 115 and Lieut. Grannis started with a portion of his 
company for Dubuque on Tuesday morning, via Strawberry Point 
and the railroad. Capt. Thomas G. Drips' company elected officers at 
Farmersburg on Monday. This company joined the Twenty-seventh 
Iowa. Capt. Benton's company also elected officers and is ready to 
depart for camp at any time. Woolsencroft, Shepherd and Williard 
are raising a company at Monona. Cleghorn and Frank Hammer are 
raising still another company at McGregor. Capt. Boardman's com- 
pany was presented with a banner by the ladies at Elkader, Miss 
Estella Griswold making the presentation speech, which was replied to 
by B. T. Hunt. At Dubuque, Squire Hutchins presented a flag to 
Capt. Drips' company and Sergeant G. Wilhams replied, thanking the 
patriotic citizens of Farmersburg, Monona, Grand Meadow and Wag- 
ner townships and pledged the company to shed the last drop of blood 
rather than see the flag traihng in the dust." 

Concerning these melancholy days of 1862, the Elkader Journal 
says: "All is dark and gloomy. No news to gladden the American 
patriot's heart. No victories to cheer the lonely widow and the doting 
mother, but sad, sad reports of our struggling armies. No hope for a 
speedy suppression of the rebellion and a restoration of peace; but 
all is dark. All the bright prospects of a few months since have van- 
ished ; all the hopes then fondly entertained are now gone, and to all 
of this we are expected not to murmur. Can we avoid it? This is the 
darkest hour of our country's affliction. Never has a nation had more 
cause for desponding than we now have." In response to an appeal 
for relief provisions, made by the Governor, a war meeting was called 
at the court house, over which Thomas UpdegrafT presided, with 
Alpheus Scott, as secretary. This meeting began active efforts, both 
to increase enlistments and secure supplies. It is recorded that the 
ladies did not wait for a meeting, but that two of them started out 
with a team and solicited provisions. Mrs. E. M. Jerome, as secretary 
of the Clayton Aid Society, makes the report and a list of contributions 
fills half a column of the Journal. One of the pleasant events of the 
wartime was the presentation of a sword to Capt. E. Boardman. The 
Stone Hall was crowded and B. T. Hunt, Douglas Rogers and J. O. 


Crosby were the speakers. An Irish regiment was formed at Dubuque 
and Col. Eiboeck, who had returned from the war on account of ill 
health, went into the southwestern tier of townships to obtain volun- 

In November, 1862, Eliphalet Price, then of Guttenberg, pro- 
posed the erection of a monument to the Clayton county soldiers who 
lost their lives on the field of battle. He suggested as a committee 
Mrs. Alvah Rogers and Mrs. Laura Stewart of Elkader; Mrs. Bixby, 
Lodomillo; Mrs. D. Scott, Monona; Mrs. John Stoneman and Mrs. 
C. F, Remick of McGregor and Mrs. Bosecker of Guttenberg as the 
committee. This suggestion was acted upon and a county organiza- 
tion formed and a prospective site selected, but, although revived from 
time to time, the necessity of caring for the living was all that could 
be done, and it remained for this generation to provide the beautiful 
monuments which are now to be found in Clayton county cemeteries in 
memory of the soldier dead. 

More Enlistments — In August, 1862, D. E. Meyer organized the 
Stuben Guards, a company largely composed of Germans and recruited 
in Guttenberg. This was the fifth company organized in Clayton 
county. A war meeting was held at Guttenberg which was attended by 
a large delegation from McGregor and Prairie du Chien. Reuben 
Noble delivered the address and it is said that the company was filled 
within two days. Samuel Merrill of McGregor was commissioned 
Colonel of the Twenty-first Regiment and left, in September, 1862, to 
take command of his regiment. In spite of all these voluntary enlist- 
ments, so great was the need of troops that it was feared the draft 
must be used and all persons between 18 and 45 were listed in prepara- 
tion. The time for volunteering was extended, however, and the 
dreaded draft was not employed in Iowa, in 1862. Commissioner 
Crosby enrolled 4,792 men in this county, as subject to military duty. 
The threat of a draft stimulated enlistment, as the advantages of being 
a volunteer were many, as they received better pay and large bounty. 
In some townships, organizations were formed which paid bounties to 
volunteers in order that the draft might be avoided. In October, a 
cavalry company was formed to join Wilson's Independent Regiment. 
Erin S. Ames was elected captain and Hiram A. Park, Alpheus Scott 
and Sam B. Coil were elected lieutenants. This company was mus- 
tered in, in the spring of 1863, and was part of the Sixth Cavalry, 
which was assigned to duty against the Indians along the Upper 

Days of '6j — The year 1862 closed with the news of the battle of 
Fredericksburg with the tremendous Union losses and it is not to be 
wondered that there were dissensions and misgivings among the Union 
men and that various projects of compromise with the south were seri- 
ously considered. Slavery had grown to be the paramount issue of 
the war. The president had issued a proclamation freeing many of 
the slaves and this advanced step had caused disruption in his cabinet. 
The incomplete victory and the defeat of the Union arms had discour- 
aged the people and it was not without foundation that the Elkader 
Journal said in its New Year's editorial, "We may well look back 
with awe and reverence on 1862. It has passed, but the recollections 


of it will never pass away. Its great events will live green in the 
memory of scores of future generations ; and happy may those deem 
themselves that were permitted to take a part in its important trans- 
actions, for their names and their deeds will live forever. But 1863 
claims our attention now; a year that promises more, even, than the 
past has given us. This year is to see the accomplishment of all that 
for which we have been contending for two years. This, the third 
year, is to see the actual downfall of slavery; and today, a proclama- 
tion partly to that effect, becomes a fact. This insuring as it does the 
success of the Union cause, establishes the principle of self-govern- 
ment forever and throughout the world. Then, all hail to 1863." 

"Peace Party" — The dark days of 1862 continued through the 
first half of 1863 ; in fact the crisis became more acute in every way. 
The non-success of the Union arms bred an army of critics of Lincoln 
and created a large "Peace Party" who believed that the south could 
not be beaten, who were not in sympathy with the freeing of the slaves 
and who held that there was nothing left but to offer an acceptable 
compromise to the south. The Union men argued that these criti- 
cisms and talks of compromise served only to encourage the south. 
Party feeling which had been lost sight of at the beginning of the war 
again developed. The politicians of the Republican party wished to 
reap, for themselves, the reward of the great impetus the war had given 
their party. Very naturally, this was distasteful to the former Demo- 
cratic leaders, especially those Union Democrats, who felt that the 
Republicans had no copyright to patriotism. All this led to much 
bitterness and to suspicion and distrust among the people of the north. 
In Clayton county Union clubs were formed in nearly every town. 
These meetings were largely attended, fiery addresses were made, 
attacking the Copperheads and strong resolutions were passed. These 
were somewhat in the nature of secret societies ; at Guttenberg, it 
required a two-thirds vote to admit a new member. On the other 
hand, every man who did not attend or ask to join was looked upon 
with distrust and as disloyal to the Union. That there were grounds 
for this feeling is undeniable. 

In the light of history it seems incredible that any man could have 
said the things attributed to speakers at the Peace Convention in the 
report of that meeting given in the Elkader Journal. According to 
Col. Eiboeck one of the speakers said : "It is an Abolition war. I am 
a peace man now, but, if the government interferes with my freedom 
of speech, I am a war man ! The Union can't be saved. The south 
is too strong for it. They have gained all the victories and they will 
continue to do so. It is useless for us to fight." This speaker is said 
to have called Lincoln "a usurper" and to have called upon the people 
"to resist the tyranny of Lincoln." Another is quoted as saying, "I 
will suffer my right arm to be severed from my side before I will sup- 
port the government." In the following issue the Journal insists that 
these words were spoken at the convention and that the speakers were 
correctly quoted. It is needless to give the names of these men, for 
something must be allowed for the partisan report of the meeting and 
the men themselves doubtless lived to bitterly regret their words. 


There were reports, or rather rumors, that lodges of the Knights 
of the Golden Circle existed in the county. This was a secret order 
of northern sympathizers with the south, and to its door were laid 
many atrocities, such as the poisoning of wells, the spread of epidemic 
diseases and the attempt to conspire with Canada for a British inva- 
sion. The Journal asserts that there were branches of this order at 
McGregor and at Garnavillo and "thinks" there was one at Elkader. 
There is no proof of this, however, and it is better to put it down as a 
mere rumor, based upon the intense loyalty of the writer. The answer 
to these "peace meetings" was given at the Union Convention held at 
Elkader and at the great mass meeting held at McGregor, at which 
Col. D. B. Henderson "of Postville" makes his first speech in this 
county, and at which William B. Allison was also a speaker. 

Sanitary Society — To complete the picture of the first half of 
1863 it must be noted that the ladies' Sanitary Society was hard at 
work all over the county and that even the children were enlisted in the 
cause, the "Juvenile Mite Society" contributing regularly. The 
Cenotaph Society was busy under the management of Laura Stewart. 
Every paper carried lists of the dead and wounded among the Clayton 
county soldiers. Maimed and crippled soldiers were returning from 
the front. Col. Merrill was at home, having been wounded at Black 
Ridge. There were also inspiring stories of the bravery of Clayton 
county men. Col. Merrill reports that "Capt. Boardman of Company 
D won imperishable fame by a single act before the rebel works at 
Vicksburg. During the hot action attending our assault and repulse 
before the strong works of the enemy, the Twenty-first Iowa Regiment 
suffered severely. The color bearer who was a member of Capt. 
Boardman's company, fell, wounded, right before the rebel works, and 
with all the killed and wounded was left behind when our forces fell 
back. Notwithstanding, heretofore the enemy's sharp-shooters had 
unerringly picked off those who returned after the wounded, Capt. 
Boardman said he would take off his men himself, or fall beside them 
in the effort. Divesting himself of his coat, sword and belt, he went 
boldly upon the field and finding the color-bearer lifted him up and 
bore him from the field. ' Whether impressed by his audacity or not, 
the rebels reserved their fire, and others, inspired by the captain's 
glorious example, went forward, and the wounded were taken off and 
cared for." With such stories to inspire them there were many enlist- 
ments, but the demand for troops was greater than the supply and it 
seemed that the dreaded draft was inevitable. In June, the whole state 
was divided into recruiting districts. There were five districts in this 
county and C. C. Schader, Homer Butler, Charles W. Richardson, 
James Davis and Nicholas Ellis, were the officers of the draft in this 

War-tide Turns — On July 4, 1863, the tide of battle turned. The 
great battle of Gettysburg was fought and won, and Lee's army was 
driven from northern soil ; in the west, the splendid army under Gen- 
eral Grant, had captured Vicksburg, and Pemberton had been forced to 
"unconditional surrender." From this time on, confidence replaced 
doubt, and the critics and peace advocates were largely silenced. These 


victories, too, encouraged enlistments and there was a determination to 
avoid drafts if possible. A war meeting at Volga City was attended 
by a large delegation from Elkader, who went with flying colors and 
martial music. Twenty men from Boardman township volunteered 
for the Eighth Iowa Cavalry and prepared to go immediately after 
harvest. The Journal says, "The draft is certainly coming. The 
clothing for the drafted men has arrived at Dubuque." In August, 
the official notice of the draft was published and provost marshals 
were empowered to call for aid to enforce its provisions. The election 
of 1863, turned upon support of the administration and its war policy 
and resulted in a sweeping victory for the Union party, the majorities 
ranging from 300 to 400, and this was largely increased when the 
soldier vote was added. In Buena Vista the vote was 40 for the Union 
ticket, and i against. 

It was found that a mistake had been made in figuring Iowa's 
quota, and that instead of being subject to draft it had already sent 
6,(X)0 soldiers in excess of its quota. At this time, however, the pres- 
ident issued a call for 300,000 additional volunteers and this made the 
draft inevitable. It was decided to draft by townships and all eligible 
men were enrolled and it was figured that 285 men must be drafted 
from the county. Buena Vista lacked but 3 men of having furnished 
its quota. Elk but 4, and Marion but 5, while from Mendon 61 were 
needed. With these figures before them, the people made strenuous 
efforts to avoid the draft by securing volunteers. A bounty of $402 
for reenlistment and $302 for new recruits was offered by Joseph 
Eiboeck as recruiting officer for Boardman township. By February, 
1864, Garnavillo had filled its quota of 14 men, the citizens paying 
an added bounty of $100 for each volunteer. At Farmersburg, also, 
the quota was filled by a bounty offer of $150, to each volunteer. The 
Garnavillo recruits marched to McGregor, crossed the river and 
entrained for Davenport. Lieut. Charles Williams and Sergeant 
Everall escorted them, but returned to continue recruiting. At this 
time came the news of another call for 500,000 men, for a period of 3 
years or until the close of the war. And to this call N. B. Baker, 
Adjt. General of Iowa, responded: "To President Lincoln: I have just 
received your dispatch for a draft of 500,000 troops after ]March 10. 
There will be no draft in Iowa. You shall have your quota without it. 
'We are coming. Father Abraham, with five hundred thousand more'. 
By order Governor Stone. N. B. Baker, Adjt. General." 

March 10, 1864, was set as the day for the draft. Throughout the 
county strenuous efforts were made to secure volunteers. At 
McGregor the council offered an additional bounty of $100 for Mendon 
township volunteers and by private subscription $4,000 additional was 
raised. At that time 21 men were lacking. A great effort was made 
and by night, 19 men had enlisted and 5 more were enlisted later, mak- 
ing 3 more than required to escape draft. Marion, Giard and Monona 
had raised their quota of volunteers and it was reported that nearly 
every township in the county would escape drafting. Owing to the 
number of enlistments throughout the country, the draft was post- 
poned, but the hope that it would not be used was dashed in April, 
when a call for 200,000 additional troops was made. In May the call 


came for 100,000 volunteers for 100 days, in order to allow the veteran 
troops to be pushed to the front as it was felt that in this way the war 
could be rapidly ended. T. C. Young was recruiting officer at Elkader 
and Dr. J. A. Blanchard, Monroe Snedigar and Hiram Barnam were 
the first to enlist under the 100 day call. The news from Grant's army 
continued to be "glorious" and within a week 40 men had enlisted at 

Election of 1864 — In 1864 the question of the presidential election 
was intimately connected with the war. Upon the nomination of 
Lincoln and Johnson by the Republicans the following from the 
McGregor Times may be said to fairly represent the attitude of the 
opposition. Col. Richardson says, "We shall endeavor to show that 
the American people have had enough of the dangerous assumption 
of power which has distinguished, for four years, nearly, the present 
imbecile administration." The Republicans, however, rejoiced in the 
renomination of Lincoln and were strong in his support. 

Sanitary Fair — Throughout the year great preparations were 
made in Clayton county for the great "Sanitary Fair" which was held 
in Dubuque. Delegations of Dubuque people visited the county and 
appeals of all kinds were made, and festivals were held in many of the 
towns, the proceeds to be devoted to this affair. The result was that 
Clayton county was awarded first prize for having the largest exhibit 
of any county. Many from this county attended the Dubuque fair, 
at which Clayton occupied a booth with Winneshiek county. The 
Clayton exhibit was presided over by Mrs. P. M. Potter and Louise 
Keys of Elkader, and Mrs. H. P. George and Mrs. Robert Grant of 
McGregor. The proceeds of the fair were more than $64,000 and 
were used for the relief of sick and wounded soldiers. Next to 
Dubuque, Clayton county made the largest cash contribution to the 
fair, the amount being $1,919.80. 

On July 27, 1864, the Adjt. General of the state issued an order 
requiring the enrolled militia of the state (which meant all eligible for 
military duty) to organize themselves into companies, not less than 40 
or exceeding 100 men. Clayton county was required to organize 40 of 
such companies. The Elkader Journal speaks of this as the darkest 
hour of the war. 

Drafting — Under the new apportionment, to complete the repeated 
calls for men, 306 volunteers were required from Clayton county. Of 
these, JefTerson had to furnish the most, 44, and Lodomillo, the few- 
est, 2. This double call stirred the county. To avoid the draft, clubs 
were formed, 10 men subscribing $100 each, or 20 men subscribing $50, 
to be paid a volunteer in case any of the club members were drafted. 

A draft was ordered for September 5. At McGregor $6,000 was 
raised and the following advertisement published : McGregor will pay 
for one year volunteers $200, for three years $300, in addition to the 
government bounty of $100. Capt. W. A. Benton, enlisting officer. In 
compliance with the order to enroll in companies lists of names were 
printed of those who were required to meet and organize. T. M. 
Hopkins was captain of national guards at McGregor and John Van 
Staden was captain of the McGregor Rifles and at Elkader every able 
bodied man was called out to organize at Stone Hall. 


In October, the draft was a reality in Clayton county. The first 
township heard from was Cass, where twelve names were drawn to 
fill the quota of six men required. On October 13, was published the 
list of men drawn. The deficit to be made up was as follows, Mallory 
10, Jefferson 24, Millville 4, Volga 11, Read 4, Farmersburg, 4, Giard 
9, Cox Creek, 14, Lodomillo i, Elk i, Sperry 4, Grand Meadow 10, 
Highland 10, Wagner 11, Cass 6, Monona 9, Clayton 2, Boardman 10, 
Marion 9. Twice the number of names were drawn as were required, 
in order to provide for exemptions. Of the draft, the Elkader Journal 
says, "The draft has taken place at last. For the first time in the his- 
tory of this state, has been felt the always dreaded conscription. For 
the first time, the citizens of Iowa have realized that anxiety, that dread 
and that perplexity, incident for a draft for soldiers. But, it is over; 
the die is cast. Those whose names were (unfortunately for them, 
perhaps) drawn, are bound to obey the decision of that mysterious 
lottery box, unless exempted by some physical disability. We are not 
disposed to cheer over the result, for it has taken many a man within 
our knowledge whose family will necessarily be left on the charity of 
others, men who are poor and have not been able to make provisions 
for their families. With such men, we sympathize. The rich can 
j>rocure substitutes, and secessionists will learn an important lesson, 
viz: that we have a government, and that that government must be 
sustained at all hazards, while engaged in the prosecution of this war. 
There was considerable feeling in town about the time the news came ; 
many anxious faces, and many glad ones, afterward. In this town- 
ship, the draft happened to hit a number of poor family men, and 
some who are totally incapable, from military disability, from serving 
as soWiers; so that it is very probable that another draft will have to 
be made to fill the quota." 

Supplementary Draft — In November, 1864, a supplementary draft 
was made to complete the deficit. Forty-two men were required and 
eighty-four were drawn. Speaking editorially of the draft, the Jour- 
nal states that it worked badly; "Numberless provost marshals, clerks 
anil detectives, were kept busy day and night, at large salaries, to ferret 
out runaways and deserters and trouble was everywhere. Out of 
500,000 called for, only 240,000 were raised." This editorial is called 
out by the issue of a new call for 300,000 men and the possibility of 
another draft. A war meeting was held at Elkader, December 28, to 
correct the enrollment list and devise means of filling the quota of the 
township. The meeting asked the supervisors to oflfer a county 
bounty. The supervisors acted favorably on this request and, in Jan- 
uary, 1865, oflfered a bounty of $400 for volunteers. The vote of the 
board was a tie, P. G. Baily, the chairman, casting the deciding vote. 
As a result of this Boardman, Farmersburg and Cox Creek townships 
were soon out of the draft. Cox Creek being away ahead. JefTerson 
township men conducted a draft of their own ; they sent to Dubuque 
for a corrected enrollment and proceeded to draft in their township. 
Those drawn could take the $400 bounty and go. or furnish a man. 
Boardman township gave an additional bounty of $200 for each volun- 
teer. Later, in January, 1865, came the joyful tidings that no draft 
would be necessary. 


During the year it was reported by the Elkader Soldiers' Aid 
Society that $69.75 had been contributed in cash or goods. 

Victory Is Heard — As the year 1865 progressed it became more 
and more apparent that the confederacy was on the wane and each day 
brought news of Federal victories. In March, the capture of Charles- 
ton was reported and later came the news of Sheridan's victory, all of 
which led up to the "most glorious news ! Richmond ours ! The day 
of reckoning has come !" On April 12, the news was printed, "Lee and 
his whole army surrender, GLC)RY! GLORY!" The Elkader paper 
says, "The taking of Richmond was appropriately celebrated in this 
place last week, David Livingood fired guns in honor of the event. 
Joseph Ross had his flag flying to the breeze, and a general jubilee was 
had over the event." 

Death of Lincoln — And then, as a thunderbolt from a clear sky, 
came the news of the death of Lincoln, the most terrible tragedy ever 
recorded in the history of the world. Governor Stone appointed 
April 27, as a day of humiliation and prayer, and it is not to be won- 
dered at that, with grief, there was mingled a bitter resentment against 
the northern traitors who had hounded the martyred president during 
every step of that perilous journey by which he led his country 
through the pathway of war to a glorious peace. The day of mourn- 
ing was generally observed throughout Clayton county. Services were 
held in all the churches, business was suspended and the busy farmers 
left their fields to bow their heads in honor of the beloved Lincoln. At 
Elkader there was a solemn parade to the church on the east side of 
the river and H. B. Carter presided at the meeting. Rev. J. R. Cameron 
led in prayer, B. T. Hunt delivered an eloquent address, Rev. Cameron 
spoke and the meeting closed with a benediction by Rev. H. Gififord. 
Captain Tipton was the marshal of the day and the guards fired a 
salute as they marched across the bridge. 

Homecoming — The last chapter of the war history of Clayton 
county is written when the boys come home. Not all of them — nearly 
200 were buried on southern battle fields, and to many a home the 
return of the soldiers gave but added poignancy to grief, as a fresh 
reminder of the vacant chair. Nevertheless, the homecoming was a 
time of joy and pride, and in every part of the county the veterans 
were greeted with honor and with cheers. Unfortunately the record 
of but one of these receptions has been preserved and that tells of the 
return of Capt. Boardman's company. The Journal tells the story in 
the following words : "On Wednesday morning, the news reached here 
that Boardman's company of the Twenty-first and Company E of the 
Ninth Regiment, had arrived at McGregor, and would be at Elkader 
that day. The friends of the brave boys in this place set to work at 
once to give them a hearty reception. A dinner was proposed for 
them. The Stars and Stripes were raised on liberty pole ; three or four 
teams — one of four horse — with fife and drum and banner flying, 
started out to meet them ; but the boys did not come. It was only late 
in the night that they cheered our citizens with their presence. How- 
ever, August 18 was set aside as the day when they should return the 
flag which they had carried through three years of war. That day was 
a big holiday in Elkader. The town was crowded with people from 

WAR HISTORY — 1861-1865 — EVENTS AT HOME 1 55 

various parts of the county, but mostly from the southwestern part. It 
was a grand rallying day of the soldiers who had gone to the war from 
this and adjoining towns. The flag floated high in the breeze over the 
town, welcoming the brave boys who had fought so nobly under the 
Stars and Stripes. Three years ago on that day. Company D, of the 
Twenty-first Iowa Infantry Volunteers was presented with a flag by the 
ladies at Elkader, which the company then promised to return to them 
on the close of the war. This anniversary was therefore agreed upon 
by the company as the day when the flag should be returned to the 
ladies, and they took this opportunity of getting them up a splendid 
dinner, and in fact, such a festival as was due to these brave defenders 
of our country. All the returned soldiers of other companies who 
enlisted from this township were invited and most of them accepted the 
invitation. A procession was formed in front of the Stone Hall and 
marched to the square in front of James Partch's residence where, three 
years previously, the flag had been presented to Company D. A. C. 
Rogers was president of the day; B. T. Hunt, in behalf of the company, 
returned the flag which had been through eight battles, and had come 
forth in glory and victory. Miss Mattie Mahoney, in behalf of the 
ladies, in a beautiful address, responded. This was followed by the 
popular air, "Jol"'" Brown," led by the choir. The soldiers and citi- 
zens marched back to the hall, where a general social was indulged in. 
Old friends there met again and rehearsed, in brief, their history dur- 
ing the eventful three years just passed. It was a treat of itself to see 
these brave boys take each other by the hand, and old friends gather 
around and welcome them with a cordiality that must have done them 
good. There was a dinner at which two long tables were covered with 
the best the county could afford. Then there were toasts ; to Company 
D ; to the soldiers of Clayton county ; to the Union — one and insepar- 
able; to the ladies, without whom the rebellion could not have been 
crushed ; to Washington and Lincoln ; to our children ; to the president 
of the United States and to our starved and fallen soldiers — may the 
tramp of angelic hosts waken them to new life and glory." 









THE Third Infantry was the first of the Clayton county volun- 
teers to be mustered into the service. It was sworn into the 
service at Keokuk in June, 1861. Nathan G. Williams was the 
colonel and the regiment was first used in the campaign to retain 
Missouri as a Union state. Its first battle was fought Sept. 17, 1861, 
at Blue Mills Landing and its behavior in the first engagement was 
very creditable. The company remained in Missouri guarding the 
North Missouri Railroad until 1862. March 17 of that year, it was 
made a part of General Grant's army in Tennessee, being assigned to 
the division commanded by General Hurlbut. It took part in the 
battle of Shiloh and was instrumental in preventing defeat on the first 
day, and aided in gaining the victory on the second day of battle. It 
was active in the campaign about Corinth and gave a good account 
of itself in the battle of Hatchie. It was with Grant at Vicksburg, in 
May and June, 1863, fought bravely and had many casualties and par- 
ticipated in the campaign against Johnson. It was in camp several 
months at Natchez, Mississippi, and here, more than 200 of the regi- 
ment reenlisted, as veteran volunteers, for three years. The remainder 
of the regiment was engaged in the campaign along the Red River in 
Arkansas. The veteran volunteers were with Sherman at Atlanta and 
their numbers were so depleted by stubborn fighting, that the remnant 
of the regiment was consolidated with the Second Iowa Infantry. 
William M. Stone, the first major in this regiment was afterwards 
Governor of Iowa. The names of the Clayton county members of 
this regiment were as follows : 

Third Infantry — Sergeant Major, William M. Morris. Company 
C — Captain, Sidney B. Sladden ; First Lieutenant, Douglas Leffing- 
will ; Second Lieutenant, James Call ; Sergeants, John Schroeder, 
Wm. Hooper, Johen K. Saunders, David B. Moe. William Gibby; 
Corporals, James C. Murry, William Bates, Benjaminen Hunting, 
Hervey Dix, Allen Sparks, Alfred Mitchell ; Musician, Joshua 
McGinnis ; Wagoner, John Mack ; Privates, James T. Bell, James W. 


Call, George Call, Sylvanus Carmack, John C. Craig, William H. 
Dennison, Herman Drone, Dennis Dunivan, James Douding, Eron C. 
Dickinson, Chris Dowhower, Jesse Enders, Wm. M. Eckert, James 
Fulton, Hugh Fulton, Hiram Fordney, Andrew Foose, Joel Fairchild, 
John K. Goldtrip, John Henry, Wm, Hutchinson, Alvin Hart, Wm. 
C. Hazen, Simon Hays, Philip Hoffman, Sidney Irish, Ole Johnson, 
Wm. S. Jones, Charles James, Carl Kortman, John Leighty, John 
Lyons, Charles Meder, John B. W. Madden, Levi Minnick, James 
Morril, John Maddox, Chauncy D. McCoy, Charles Merril, David F. 
Merrit, John Mack, Barney McLoon, Wm. E. Norris, Wm. H. Philips, 
Horace N. Peters, Myron D. Peters, Joseph Pleighten, Joseph 
Richards, Thomas Rippey, Frederick Resa, Peter Renter, Thomas 
Styles, Dewitt Scott, Henry Sparks, Lester Squires, Wm. C. Stevenson, 
John Stamm, Reuben Tubbs, Patrick Tracy, George H. Todd, Adam 
Thein, Daniel VanDyke, Jacob Verhei, Wm. Whipple, George Wentz, 
Frank Williams, Jacob Weisencee, Lorenzo Wakefield; Additional 
Enlistments, James Tappan, Veterans. Company C Privates, Artemus 
E. Ball, Wm. Ecker. Company F contained privates Addison, Bullock, 
Allen, Mulenix, Jr., Henry C. Pooler, Stephen D. Conley. 

The following promotions were made : Company C — Douglas 
Laffingwell, First Lieutenant, to Captain ; Carl Kortman, private to 
First Sergeant, Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant; Moe, Fourth 
Sergeant to First Sergeant and Second Lieutenant. 

The. Ninth Infantry — This regiment was organized by Hon. 
William Vandever, member of Congress from this district. Two com- 
panies of this regiment were organized in this county, one under Capt. 
Alvah Bevins and one under Elisha A. Crary. It was one of the first 
regiments to enlist and was mustered into the service September 25, 
1861. It was in barracks at Benton, Missouri, for several months and 
then became a part of the army of the southwest, under Gen. S. R. 
Curtis. The regiment encamped at Rolla, Missouri, and at this place 
a number of Clayton county volunteers died from disease or exposure. 
Gen. Curtis was successful in driving Price, the confederate general, 
out of Missouri and into Arkansas. Col. Vandever was at this time in 
command of a brigade of which the Ninth Regiment was a part. A 
two days' battle was fought at Pea Ridge and the Ninth Regiment 
played an important part in winning the final victory. The Fourth and 
Ninth Iowa were given special mention by Gen. Curtis in the official 
report of the battle. In the first day of this fight the Ninth lost nearly 
one-fourth of its force and it had not a single field officer fit for duty. 
Capt. Bevins was among those killed at this battle. 

Following the battle at Pea Ridge the regiment encamped at Helena, 
Arkansas, where it remained for five months. So gallant was the con- 
duct of this regiment, and such its fame, that the ladies of Boston pre- 
sented it with a stand of beautiful silk colors. These were presented 
to the regiment by Miss Phoebe Adams and, after carrying them vic- 
toriously on many a battle field, one of the flags was returned to the 
donors and the other presented to William Vandever, who had then 
risen to the rank of Brevet Major-General. 

Leaving Helena the regiment was attached to Thayer's brigade of 
Steele's division, under Sherman and joined in the operations against 

WAR HISTORY — 1861-1865 ^AT THE FRONT I59 

Vicksburg. It was engaged in a number of the minor engagements 
leading to the capture of Vicksburg and encamped at Young's Point, 
Louisiana, just across the river from Vicksburg. The regiment lost 
heavily by sickness and disease at this camp which was swampy and 
badly located. Colonel Vandever having been promoted a brigadier 
general, Captain David Carscaddon succeeded him. In April, 1863, 
the regiment was with Steele in his expedition into central Mississippi 
to prevent the relief of Vicksburg. It then took part in the assault 
upon Vicksburg; its total loss in killed and wounded in this campaign 
being 121. Following the fall of Vicksburg, the regiment rested until 
September, when it was sent to Tennessee, where, under General 
Hooker, it took part in the battle of Lookout Mountain. In 1864 nearly 
300 of this regiment re-enlisted and it became a veteran regiment and 
in May it was sent to the south and marched with Sherman "from 
Atlanta to the sea," taking part in all the famous battles of that cam- 
paign in Georgia and marching with the great commander through 
the Carolinas and taking part in the grand review at Washington. It 
was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, July 18, 1865, and it was 
disbanded at Clinton, Iowa. This regiment took part in twenty-five 
battles, traversed every state of the Confederacy, except Florida and 
Texas ; marched 4000 miles and traveled 6000 miles by rail or water. 
Ninth Infantry — Company E — Captain Alva Bevins, First 
Lieutenant Dewitt C. Baker, Second Lieutenant Andrew F. Hofer, 
Sergeants Elisha A. Crary, Robert L. Freeman, James Flannagan; 
Corporals Joseph Lampert, Lyman Sargent, William McCabe, Joseph 
Garretson, William Bishop, William Doty, Wagoner Laverne W. Bur- 
dick, Privates Thompson Bishop, Joseph Bradshaw, Almon C. Ballou, 
Louis Bateman, James M. Chapman, Edgar Crane, Warren S. Forbes, 
John S. Garretson, George Greene, Perry Hall, Louis H. Hathway, 
Hesekiah R. Hugh, Levi Hendricks, Christian Kaiser, John Morrison, 
Noyes Rossman, John Reichart, Alexander Rice, Timothy Seeber, 
Fred Smith, Henry Stevens, Cyrus L. Troman, Josiah L. Wragg, 
Charles Weseman, Frank Weber; additional enlistments, William 
Bartholomew, A. J. Bartholomew, George Carpenter, Allen McLavy, 
John L. Howard, Joseph Eiboeck, Clement Dorland, John C. Bachtell, 
Levi M. Corbin, Thomas J. Dragg, Albert Greely, Charles Allen, John 
M. Barnhouse, James N. Barnhouse, Francis N. Hughes. Veterans 
Company E, Captain Elisha A. Crary, Second Lieutenant Josiah L. 
Wragg, Sergeants Almon C. Ballou, Joseph Garretson, John H. Gar- 
retson, Privates A. J. Bartholomew, Joseph Ewine, Thomas Fischer, 
Eleazer Fuller, Thomas Gannon, Darvin Hill, Wilder B. King, William 
Long, Fred Meisner, Henry Putnam, William McCabe, John Perry, 
Gottlieb Menke, Wilbert Partch, Albert D. Strunk, Timothy Shaffer, 
James Wilson, Joseph M. Wright, Company F, Privates Jeremiah 
Merry, Grimes Snow. Company G, Privates Thomas Dempsey, John 
Dumton. Company I, Sergeant John S. Mather. In Company G 
was Private James M. Gibson; in Company I was John Gemmill, 
private ; and unassigned were Privates David C. Fuller, Edwin Alorgan, 
William Oxley, Martin Alexander, John H. Bloodsworth, John Burns 
and David Lightly. The following promotions were made in the 
Ninth : Dewitt C. Baker, first lieutenant to captain ; Elisha A. Crary^ 


second sergeant to second lieutenant and captain ; John H. Garretson, 
private to second corporal and first lieutenant ; Josiah L. Wragg, 
private to fifth corporal and second lieutenant. 

Twelfth Infantry — Clayton county contributed about forty men to 
this regiment which was one of the longest in service during the war. 
It was mustered in at Dubuque in the fall of 1861 and proceeded to 
Benton barracks where it remained until the spring of 1862. In 
February it was a part of General Grant's command at Fort Donel- 
son. It played a conspicuous part in the battle of Shiloh and was 
one of the regiments which protected the army from complete annihila- 
tion. On the memorable first day of that battle, they sacrificed them- 
selves with great heroism, holding the Confederates at bay until the 
arrival of Buell. At the close of the day's fighting they were com- 
pelled to surrender and were held for eight months as prisoners of 
war. That portion of the regiment, about 150 men, not in the battle 
of Shiloh, served during this time in what was known as the Union 
Brigade. The men of this regiment were exchanged, in April, 1863, 
and the regiment was at once reorganized. It took part in the Vicks- 
burg campaign and in January, 1864, it was mustered in as a veteran 
regiment, a larger proportion re-enlisting than from any other regiment 
from the state. It was engaged in the campaign in Mississippi, fighting 
in the battle of Tupelo. It then took part in the Arkansas campaign 
and was in the campaign against Price in Missouri. Later it took 
part in the operations against Mobile and was not mustered out of 
service until the spring of 1866. 

Twelfth Infantry — Company F, Sergeant Rodney W. Tirril, Cor- 
poral Parsons F. Haskell, Privates Alonzo E. Brown, Joseph E. Eld- 
ridge, Thomas Hinkle, Marshall Lazelle, Orrin Scoville, George W. 
Wooldridge. Company H, Sergeant Valmah V. Price, Corporals 
Bernard D. Cambell, James F, Mosley, Privates John W. Benedict, 
Sylvester Barber, Richard W. Kolver, Jacob V. Crist, Williard Claus- 
sen, George S. Douglas, James S. Flenniken, John B. Flenniken, George 
W. Felter, Abel C. Gilmore, John C. Newman, Alexander Presho, 
William Roice, Charles W. Smith, Thomas Smith, Joseph A. Light, 
Edward Winch, William Walker. Company I, Sergeant Ewen B. 
Campbell, Corporal Patrick McManus, Privates James Brown, Robert 
P. Brown, Samuel Gordon, Will H. Markham. In Company C was 
Sergeant George W. Cook, afterward captain ; Company D, Private 
James D. Brown ; Company G, Privates Jeremiah Maloney and Aminon 

Twenty-first Infanty — The most distinctively Clayton county 
regiment of the war was the Twenty-first Infantry. Samuel Merrill, of 
McGregor, was the colonel of this regiment and aided largely in its 
enlistment. Companies B, D and G, Captains William D. Crooke, 
Elisha Boardman and W. A. Benton, were almost entirely made up of 
men from this county. All of this regiment came from northeastern 
Iowa. It was organized at Dubuque in August, 1862, and went into 
camp at RoUa, Missouri, in September, There was much delay in 
securing proper equipment and it was not until 1863 that it saw its first 
battle. This was at Hartville where, under Colonel Merrill, it was 
engaged against five times its number, under Generals Marmaduke and 

WAR HISTORY — 1861-1865 — AT THE FRONT 161 

McDonald. This was a drawn battle, the Union force being obliged to 
retire when its ammunition was exhausted. For its gallantry this regi- 
ment was highly commended by General Warren. It was in this cam- 
paign that Colonel Merrill was wounded at the battle of Black River 
Bridge. He returned to McGregor where he remained a few months 
when, upon recovery from his wounds, he returned to his regiment. 
The Twenty-first did hard work in southwest Missouri and fought its 
way across Arkansas into Louisiana and Mississippi. It received 
honorable mention for its conduct at the battle of Fort Gibson and then 
took its place with Grant's army before Vicksburg. It was with John- 
son in the campaign following the fall of Vicksburg and was then 
transferred to Texas where it remained for six months. It was con- 
spicuous for its bravery in the operations leading to the capture of 
Mobile and was not mustered out until 1866. 

Tzventy-first Infantry — Colonel Samuel Merrill, Sergeant William 
A. Hyde, Chaplain Samuel P. Sloan. Company B, Captain William 
S. Crooke, First Lieutenant Charles P. Heath, Sergeants Barney W. 
Phelps, William W. Lyons, Norman W. Scofield, David Drummond, 
Edwin M. Clark, Corporals Daniel G. Eldridge, Williard Adams, Perry 
C. Dewey, James J. Scoville, Jabez S. Rogers, David J. Maxson, Henry 
Chiles, Musician Seinore Chipman, Wagoner George A. Smith, 
Privates William H. Appleton, William H. Alloway, James Adams, E. 
Warren Bramen, William C. Boynton, Mason D. Bettys, John George 
Baade, James Bethard, Frederick Barnes, George Crook, Henry C. 
Carrier, John J. Carpenter, W. H. Casey, Alonzo Cole, John S. Crop, 
James R. Chiles, George S. Crock, Milo Dalton, George T. Dunn, Lewis 
Eno, James Farrand, Orion S. Follion, John S. Farrand, George 
Goodwin, Theophilus Gerard, John Grutchek, Corydon Hewett, Wil- 
liam S. Hall, Herbert T. Hallack, John S. Hilton, Charles B. Hinds, 
Alfred E. Hall, William T. Hayes, Albert Jones, Myron E. Knight, 
Othmar Kepler, Hiram Libby, George W. Loomis, John H. Mathers, 
John W. Moore. Jerry Malony, John E. Martin, Christian S. Maxson, 
John Meyer, Alvian Merrian, Dewitt Noble, Benjamin F. Odell, Calvin 
Penny, Will Perkins, John Presho, Robert J. Poole, George A. Purdy, 
Charles Preschl, Elisha R. Roberts, Will Robbins, Charles H. Robbins, 
James M. Rice, John Rogman, Chris C. Scoville, Gleason Stringham, 
David W. Schuck, Abram Tredwell, Horace P. Talcott, Edson D. 
Townsend. Jehiel G. Warmer, Darwin Whipple, David L. Watkins, 
David B. Wing, Carrol E. Whitman, Richard Wright, Charles Reeves. 
Additional enlistment, Andrew Hughes. Company D, Captain Elisha 
Boardman, First Lieutenant Will Grannis, Second Lieutenant Homer 
Butler, Sergeants Gilbert Cooley, William W. Powell, James W. 
Harding, Solomon Bush, David Jewell, Corporals Samuel W. Moore, 
R. M. Cunningham, Joseph A. Hewlet, Eber Golden, Truman W. 
Hazelton, Charles H. Paize, Lewellen A. Mahoney, Ebenezer Still, 
Musicians J. K. P. Thompson, F. M. Thompson, Wagoner John W. 
Lowe, Privates — Rule Aldrich. Samuel Abernethy, Ottis Allen, Wil- 
liam J. Abernathy, John Burdine, William S. Brown, William Berg, 
Harrison Bishop, Joseph W. Baker, Ira Coal, Ira Chapman, George 
W. Chapman, Aaron Connor, James N. Curtis, Thomas Cooper, 
Gunder Engebertson, Horace Ferrington, Alonzo W. Feller, William 


H. Fobes, William Garretson, Duane D. Grannis, Byron M. Grannis, 
Thomas Greyson, William Gaylord, George Goodnough, Jacob 
Gunther, Hiram S. Hysham, William Hood, Patrick Hanbley, Thomas 
Hays, Jacob Haindel, John T. Hopp, Asa Haskins, Ripley A. Hale, 
John Jeelings, S. H. Knickerbocker, Harvey H. King, Charles Kim- 
berg, Thomas J. Larkin, George H. Lawrence, Robert Leitch, Will 
Monlux, Robert McKitrick, Hugh McCafferty, Augustus J. Paarch, 
William Parker, John C. Pool, Ewick Paulsen, C. W. Richardson, 
David H. Robison, Emerson Reed, August A. Renwich, Jehiel Rowley, 
John J. Robinson, Thomas J. Rice, Enos Russell, Francis B. Ruff, 
Asa Smith, Erasmus D. Stockton, Edward B. Snedigar, Martin 
Stearns, Joseph Stahl, John W. Stahl, Jacob Stemgrinson, Mortimer 
Strunk, William H. Southworth, James H. Stockwell, Edward Smith, 
Avery R. Thurber, George Thinkham, Justin W. Thurber, Martin V. 
Truman, John M. White, Jacob White, John Whalon, George Wiltse. 
Additional enlistments, Abel Allen, Joseph N. Allen, William A. 
Hamer, Andrew Hesner, Sears T. Richard, John Valekat, Bradford 
T. Weeks, John A. Woldridge. Company G, Captain Willard A. 
Benton, First Lieutenant John Dolson, Second Lieutenant John S. 
Craig, Sergeants Timothy M. Hopkins, William H. Spangler, Archi- 
bold H. Stewart, Tylor D. Fetheroy, William H, Farrin, Corporals 
Jacob N. Sharp, Frederick Richardson, Thomas Dolson, James P. 
Witherow, Francis Palmer, Linus P. McKinnie, Edward J. Patterson, 
WilHam M. Warn, Musicians George H. Moore, H. C. Spangler, 
Wagoner Philander N. Drake, Privates John Ano, Hermann Allart, 
Patrick Burnes, Jesse Best, William C. Barber, Thomas Busby, Martin 
Bigler, James W. Brown, John Birch, John V. Carpenter, Joseph 
Chantro, Smith Churnos, John B. Comrant, Cyrus Craige, Thomas 
W. Daniels, George Dean, Dan Donahue, William C. Dunn, John M. 
Field, Jonathan Foster, William Ferris, William Floners, Herman 
Graybill, O. F. Gatts, William H. Griffith, John Guiselman, Edward 
Goldsmith, Gilbert Gulbranson, Francis Henderson, Peter Holmes, 
Obed Harrison, Adam Hart, Cyrus M. Henderson, John J. Jones, Wil- 
liam Johns, James Johnson, Thomas Jones, Chris V. Kelog, John Kain, 
Andrew Lawrence, Henry T. Lewis, Maple Moody, Edward Murray, 
Marius Matturgley, Peter McAntire, C. S. Nelson, Robert M. Pettis, 
William W. Parker, Robert Pitt, George W. Penhollow, David Ryner, 
Nelson K. Reynolds, James Ryner, Isaac Ray, William S. Reed, Oliver 
C. Schull, Henry Shaw, William W. Smith, Joseph Tucker, Andrew 
Wick, Samuel Witherow, L. P. Walker, Edward T. Warn, William 
Welch, Lewis J. Wolfe, Andrew J. Wolfe, Charles W. Wilson, George 
J. White. Subsequent enlistments, John Beavers, George Robisch, 
Francis Washburne, Ransom S. Wheeler; unassigned, Andrew Han- 
ner, Henry Stringham, Robert Valekat, 

In Company F was Private Andrew Hannah, and in Company H, 
Privates Henry Cassell, William Cassell and Thomas C. Dodd, Wil- 
liam D. Crooke, captain Company B, was promoted major; George 
Crooke, private to adjutant; W. W. Lyons, sergeant to captain Com- 
pany B ; Abram Tredwell, private to first lieutenant Company B ; 
David Drummond, sergeant to second lieutenant Company B ; Gilbert 
Cooley, sergeant to second lieutenant Company D; John S. Craig, 

WAR HISTORY 1861-1865 — AT THE FRONT 163 

second lieutenant to captain Company G; Frederick Richardson, cor- 
poral to second lieutenant. 

Twenty-seventh Infantry — The Twenty-seventh Infantry con- 
tained two full companies, and a part of another, from this county. 
D. E. Meyer was the captain of Company B, being succeeded by Silas 
Garber. This company was largely recruited from the vicinity of 
Guttenberg. Thomas G. Drips was the captain of Company G and he 
was a constant contributor to the McGregor Times throughout the 
war. The Twenty-seventh had the most varied experience of any Iowa 
regiment. It was first sent to Minnesota under Major General Pope 
to suppress an Indian outbreak. It saw no active service here as the 
Indians were defeated before its arrival. The regiment was trans- 
ferred to Cairo, Illinois, and was then taken to Memphis where it was 
a part of General Sherman's army. It served with this great general 
as part of the outer guard protecting Grant at Vicksburg. It was en- 
gaged in many skirmishes and did valuable duty in guarding lines of 
communication and preventing rebel attacks. During this period its 
headquarters were at Jackson and at Moscow, Mississippi. 

It is related of this regiment that it was saved from destruction 
by two women. Guerillas had destroyed a railroad bridge across which 
the regiment was to be transported. The flames had been extinguished 
and the skeleton of the bridge left standing so that the train might be 
wrecked. These women saw the danger and, alone and unprotected, 
walked ten miles along the track and with waving lanterns signalled 
the engineer and the train was stopped in time. 

In August, 1863, the regiment took part in the expedition against 
Little Rock and then went into quarters at Memphis. In 1864 the 
regiment was transported to Vicksburg and was with Sherman in the 
raid on Meridian. It was next with General Banks in the unfortunate 
Red River expedition and then campaigned both in Mississippi and 
Missouri. Following this, it encamped in Tennessee where, under 
General Smith, it was part of the army operating against Hood. It 
achieved distinction at the battle of Nashville and Colonel Gilbert was 
promoted brigadier general for his gallantry in this battle. The regi- 
ment joined in the pursuit of Hood and afterwards went into camp at 
Eastport. February 9, 1865, it was transported down the river to 
New Orleans, went into camp at Chalmette and was then shipped to 
Dauphin Island, Alabama, where it took part in the capture of Mobile. 
The regiment was mustered out in Clinton, Iowa, in August, 1865, 
having fought many times and traveled more than 12,000 miles. 

Twenty-seventh Infantry — Company D, Captain Dan L. E, Meyer, 
First Lieutenant Silas Garber, Second Lieutenant John Anderegg, 
Sergeants Alexander Bliedung, Charles Siedow, Charles Schecker, 
Charles Eringman, George L. Dang, Corporals Anthony Boechtel, 
Daniel Fritz, Joseph Garber, Frederick Bergmann, John Boos, John 
Hirschbueler, John F. Benjegerdes, Edward Prior, Musicians Hugo 
Atfeld, Edward Rechow, Wagoner Samuel Sargeant, Privates Hugh 
Achord, Michael Adrian, John Ahrend, David Bagbe, Thomas H. 
Bagbe, Cornelius W. Baxter, George Beck, Frank Backman, John 
Beilharz, Michael Berst, Jabez D. Beyer, John P. Byers, Heinrich 
Bremer, Diedrich Buchholz, Wilhelm i3uck, John Boar, Herman H. 


Droge, Frederick Duwe, Joseph Ess, John Fitch, James G. Fleming, 
Frederick Franke, Nicholaus Friedlein, Joseph S. Garber, Hezekiah 
Garber, Martin Garber, Frederick Gerbsch, Nicholas Hauch, Henry 
Heiller, William Heiller, William Heine, Charles Hennrich, John N. 
Heinz, John D. Heyer, Charles Hocke, August Kottke, Henry Kuhl- 
mann, Harvey Lewis, Benjamin C. Lockridge, Daniel P. Lockridge, 
John Lemcke, August Mouch, Theodore Moeller, Herman H. Holler- 
ing, Irving McDonald, Franklin McMonigal, Anton Neubaeur, John 
H. Neiter, Christopher Oelkers, Francis A. Otis, George Rheinhardt, 
William Rizer, Frederick Roggman, Frederick Saugling, Ferdinand 
Sauter, Frederick Sass, John Schimek, Gerhardt Schalke, Henry 
Schalke, Henry ^chorg, Charles Schaefar, Frederick Schulmatin, 
Christopher Seeman, Ludwig Stoeffler, John Tavis, Frank Thayer, 
Mitchell Thein, Peter Thein, C. Louis Vonberg, Henry Waterman, 
Peter Wendel, Frederick Winch, John Wolf. Additional enlistments, 
Hugh W. Andrews, Hiram L. Cooper, Thomas Gordon, John Hanne- 
man, William Montgomery, John S. Seimer, John Scharwath, Charles 
Rademacher, Martin Newman, August Parno, Robert F. Smith, Aaron 
Sanson, Perry C. Sprague, Gottfried Seeman, Peter Thein. Company 
E, Captain Thomas G. Drips, First Lieutenant T. Allen Olmstead, 
Second Lieutenant Samuel Benjamin, Sergeants Garner C. Williams, 
John Everall, Phillip Schaller, James M. Fonda, William M. Allyn, 
Corporals James C. Port, Levi R. King, Freedom Jones, William H. 
Neelings, James L. Massey, John Brooker, James B. King, Lawrence 
C. Failey, Musician Ralph L. Knight, Wagoner Harry PL Hudson, 
Privates Enoch Allen, Silas W. Angier, Richard P. Arble, Hiram Ash- 
line, Edward Ashline, William Ashline, George Ashline, Daniel Bartke, 
George Beardsley, Henry Bender, John G. Benson, Patrick Breene, 
Joseph F. Bretz, Truman N. Brourson, George Brooker, Augustus 
Baurette, Warran Cassaday, Peter S. Cooley, William S. Cosier, 
Edmon F. Grain, Charles Dames, Jr., George Filmore, Adam Fisher, 
Francis M. Ganow, William H. Green, Patton Hamilton, Morrison M. 
Hancock, Isaac S. Hanna, Oley Herman, David S. Hill, Henry Hines, 
Dexter H. Hutchins, Webster Jones, Charles D. Kicherer, J. Milton 
Leach, Jacob Leamen, John W. Lee, Runyon C. Lewis, Frederick 
Linger, Samuel K. Mackey, John H. Mann, William J. McAlpine, 
James McGrady, Albert Mead, John Miller, Silas A. Miller, James 
Morton, Daniel Neelings, James N. Neeling, Augustus L. Payne, 
Daniel U. Policy, James Ramkin, Charles H. Read, Frederick W. 
Reinke, Andrew Ryder, James M. Reiley, Joel Roe, Robert H. Scarf, 
Edgar J. Selleg, Jacob Smith, Jonathan Smith, George Storck, Charles 
Stratton, Charles Schultz, Arza H. Tyler, Samuel M. VanZandt, Hiram 
H. Wallace, Hiram Wilcock, George M. Wilkie, Charles Wilkins, 
Henry N. Zachariah. Additional enlistments, James Baldwin, Joseph 
H. Bell, Peter Bush, Alonzo U. Bradley, John Burke, Christian Behens, 
William H. Dickman, Nichol W. Ellis, Daniel E. Fox, Harvey J. 
Green, John S. Goslin. Nelson H. Goslin, James A. Henderson, John W. 
Hudson, George W. Hudson, William Kohn, John D. Meyer, Henry 
Mohlstedt, Cornelius Morgan, John A. Schroeder, Charles A. Shaw, 
Lorenzo W. Stevenson, Joseph K. Shaw, Paul Trumballe, William 
Keyler, Henry Wallerser. Company I, Second Lieutenant John E. 

WAR HISTORY 1861-1865 — AT THE FRONT 165 

Peck, Sergeant Peter G. McNamara, Corporal Thimothy O'Brien, 
Musician Francis S. Barrs, Privates Thomas Burns, William Shalk, 
James Daley, Daniel M. Fay, James Fitzpatrick, Leonard Haskill, 
Michael Hinchey, Patrick Hailey, James Kelley, Lorin Mason, Paul 
Margrave, Thomas Redden, James Smith, Gilbert Stickney, Lafayette 
W. Scott, George C. Wood. Additional enlistments, Frank Behnke, 
Charles Knodt, Henry L. Lewis, Lewis Lewis, Peter Lewis, Daniel 
McCallun, Andrew O'Neil, Lorenzo Poesch, John Reardan, John 
Schmidt, John Schoepf. 

Company A contained Private Elijah Perry; Company B, Cor- 
poral Lucius Dickens and Privates James Dodson, Henry P. Harding 
and J. W. Dickens ; Company C, Private George W. Proctor ; Com- 
pany G, John Crane, Briggs Mosgrove and Joseph Tinker; Company 
K, Private Isiah Williams. Silas Garber, first lieutenant, Company D, 
was promoted captain ; Alex. Bliedug, sergeant to first lieutenant ; 
Charles Sidon, sergeant to second lieutenant ; T. Allen Olmstead, first 
lieutenant to captain. Company E ; Garner C. Williams, sergeant to 
first lieutenant; Dexter H. Hutchins, private to second lieutenant; 
John E. Peck, second lieutenant to first lieutenant. Company L 

First Cavalry — Company K of the First Cavalry was organized 
by Robert L. Freeman who became its captain. The company was 
first known as the "McGregor Rangers," and it was the first cavalry 
troop organized in Iowa. For some reason there was delay in its 
acceptance into the service but it was finally admitted, as Company K. 
This regiment served entirely on the west bank of the Mississippi, its 
colonel was Fitz Henry Warren. In October, 1861, it went into camp 
at Benton barracks, Missouri, 1200 strong. The first and second 
battalions operated that winter in Missouri engaged in warfare with 
guerilla bands. The third battalion remained at Benton. In March, 
1862, the entire regiment concentrated at Sedalia, Missouri, and was 
employed in outpost duty. In December it made a successful dash 
upon Confederate stores located at Van Buren, Arkansas, and seized 
supplies valued at $3Cxd,ooo. 

In April, 1863, it participated in the successful campaign against 
Pilot Knob and in the same year it was with General Steele in the 
expedition again Little Rock. It was reorganized as a veteran regiment 
in April, 1864, and was employed in scouting service and was with 
General Rosecrans in the campaign which resulted in freeing Missouri 
from the rebels. It served in the vicinity of Little Rock until the close 
of the war and was then employed for several months on guard duty in 
Louisiana and in Texas. This regiment was longest in the service of 
any Iowa cavalry regiment. 

First Cavalry — Company K, Captain Robert L. Freeman, Hiram 
H. Sowles, William H. Muzzy, James H. Lyons, Charles F. Keeler, 
George E. Dayton, Charles Dubois, Corporals Seth Martin, Oscar 
Moore, William Tinkham, Solomon Goodrich, Buglers Lewis Keen, 
Joseph Stone, Charles Carrier, Wagoner John Isreal, Privates Charles 
Atwood, Loyal Ballou, William Bowers, Andris Brant, James Bolton, 
John Border, Christian F. Beyer, Edward G. Briker, Oscar Crumb, 
Peter Chambers, John B. Christ, Henry Clark, Erdik S. Eastman, 
Albert A. Fairchild, John Gaytas, Archibald Green, Edward Harman, 


William Q. Howorth, John L. Howorth, Jason W. Kinsley, William 
H. Kelley, Albert R. Lyon, James R. McGeorge, Archibald McArthur, 
Erastus Morgan, Vincent Orcutt, Daniel C. Oswauld, Oscar Powers, 
Charles T. Prescott, John L. Paxson, John S. Post, Samuel Stephen- 
son, Samuel Stillons, William H. Saucer, John W. Sylvester, Edward 
Sliter, Joal Smith, John Shelly, James Shipper, William H. Walker, 
James Whitford, Samuel Wright. Additional enlistments, Orson 
Trowbridge, Palmer Dobson, Benjamin A. Fay, Thomas Hartin, Henry 
M. Jones, Mitchell Casey, George W. D. Eastman, Elijah G. Preston, 
Jason W. Hinsley, Nicholas Swingle, Even W. Williams, George Oat- 
hout, Orion A. Phillips, George W. Smith, Joseph Warner, Alfred 
Wells, Henry P. Brooks, Samuel J. Fry, Edward Reynolds, John 
Peters, Hans E. Schoolrud. Unassigned, Charles G. P. Meyers, 
Andrew W. Benn, Henry C. Crandall, Marion Elsworth, Daniel M. 
Fay, John B. Hawkins John D. Ingar, John Kellar, William H. 
Massay, Edward Noa, Victor Burnham, Charles Cox, Christian Cook, 
Robert Efinger, Samuel Hotinger, Henry Hotinger, Samuel Johnson, 
Isaac Martin, Joseph McCorkel, James Ousley, Michael O'Riley, 
Erasmus D. Ryan, Luther N. Smith, Don Tremain, Martin Varley, 
Nicholas Witzel, William Ward, Nelson Roberts, Lewis Richstinn, 
David O. Shoemaker, Silas C. Truman, John O. Walker, John C. West. 
Veterans, Company F, Private Warren H. Clark; Company K, Cap- 
tain Robert L. Freeman, Second Lieutenant Charles F. Keeler, 
Sergeant Charles Dubois, Corporal Benjamin A. Fay, Privates William 
P. Bowers, John Border, John Gaytas, John L. Howorth, Thomas 
Hartin, Henry M. Jones, John G. Kidder, George Lewis, Erastus 
Morgan, Oscar Moore, George Oathout, Orin A. Phillips, Edward 
Reynolds, Benjamin Rathburne, Edward Sliter, George W. Smith, 
John N. Truman, Harrison Wolf, William H. Walker, Samuel Wright, 
W. H. H. Gififord. 

In Company L were Sergeant Henry B. Quick, Corporal Christian 
F. Beyer, and Privates Stephen P. Carnahan, George Hellman, Wil- 
liam Martin, Zebulon Morris, Nicholas Morris, John L. Quick, Clark 
I. Sherwood, Nat W. Weliver and John W. Sylvester. In Company 
K promotions were made as follows : William H. Muzzy, quarter- 
master sergeant to quartermaster of Third Battalion ; John L. Paxson, 
private to quartermaster sergeant; Charles DuBois, fifth sergeant to 
second lieutenant; George E. Dayton, fourth sergeant to first 
lieutenant, Company C, Sixth Cavalry. 

Sixth Cavalry — The Sixth Cavalry was organized during the dark 
days of 1862. Company L, under Captain Aaron Ames, was largely 
recruited from this county. Believing that the United States was 
fully occupied, Indian tribes in the west became hostile and it was 
found necessary to send troops to quell them. It was this duty which 
fell largely upon the Sixth Cavalry. Organizing at Davenport, the 
regiment was sent to Sioux City and from thence pushed out onto the 
plains. At White Stone Hills a decisive battle was fought in which 
a large number of Indians were killed or wounded. The regiment 
built Fort Sully, 300 miles northwest of Sioux City and remained 
there, until the summer of 1864, when there w^as another Indian upris- 
ing. The regiment was sent against these Indians in a campaign along 

WAR HISTORY — 1861-1S65 — AT THE FRONT 167 

the upper Missouri. The following winter was spent in garrison 
duty at western forts and the regiment was mustered out October 
17, 1865, at Sioux City. 

Sixth Cavalry — Company L, Captain Aaron S. Ames, First 
Lieutenant Hiram A. Park, Quartermaster Sergeant Alexander R. 
Fuller, Sergeants S. Harson Woodward, John C. Wailing, John Par- 
rin, Thomas J. Scott, Benjamin Woolstencroft, Corporals Joseph H. 
Drips, Milo D. Watkins, John H. Burhans, Alfred Murphy, Daniel H. 
Sauyer, Edward Morse, Samuel B. Robinson, William Hall, Teamsters 
Boyl Martin, William Everton, Farriers William H. Wilder, David J 

Flinn, Saddler James McGuire, Wagoner George L. Moore, Privates | 

Lewis Arnold, Joseph Bayles, Henry Barnhardt, Ruben C. Baker, 
Henry Brandus, August Brandus, George Bennet, Orange S. Bosgue, 
Lewis Buckholtz, Henry T. Clark, Robert Carty, Rinaldo Craig, 
Chauncey S. Cook, Fayette W. Caldell, George Derendurfer, Jeptha 
Duling, Charles W. Deming, Austin F. Depre, Richard Dodson, Wi' 
liam Dowe, Chauncy J. Foster, Prescott E. Grant, George Grannis, ! 
Bertsell Gothum, Anton Glazer, James Hunt, Dewitt C. Hallock, 
Thomas Halley, Francis M. Harrold, Albert Howland, James Hazlitt, 
Casper Hoffman, Jacob A. Eighty, Charles Lamphere, Joseph H. 
Lehmcule, Ruben Mickle, Henry Mosley, Peter McNamara, John 
Pettit, Ira G. Preston, Hugh Ryan, James F. Riley, Caleb K. Smith, 
Horace D. Stickney, Theodore Sherman, Julius Schontag, Milton 
Spencer, Fred Schoneman, Earstus Tompkins, Charles Tahlstrom, 
Thomas B. Walker, B. A. Woolstoncroft, Carl Wehler, John Widoo. 
Additional enlistments, W. W. Brisbee, Robert Carty, James Havens, 
William McCanna, Thomas D. Wynee, William J. Kirk, Timothy Sul- 
livan, James Centell, Newton F. Phillips, George W. Doty. Thomas 
Kelley, John Hill, Edward French, Dennis Leary, James Workman, 
Robert J. Presho, John S. Woolstencraft, Ed T. Cross, Dennis Leary, 
Joal G. Frink, William F. Murphy. 

In Company A was Corporal Alex T. Gilmore ; Company C, First 
Lieutenant George E. Dayton, Corporal Orrin Freeman and Privates 
Avery Clark, William W. Freeman and Rufus L. King; Company G, 
Sergeant John W. Wright and Privates Charles H. Franks, David R. 
Foster, George M. Johnson and Henry Kaufman ; Company H, 
Privates John Frazer, George Hungerman, Joseph Keeber, Joseph 
Kaiser, Frederick Mueller, Conrad Peiker, Henry Schander and Wil- 
liam Schutters ; Company I, Corporal Samuel Randall and Private 
James A. Hayes. Joseph Baylis was promoted from private, Company 
L, to veterinary surgeon of the regiment ; Alex R. Fuller was promoted 
from quartermaster sergeant Company L, to second lieutenant. 

Seventh Cavalry — This regiment was organized from companies 
which had been first assigned to other organizations. It contained 
about forty volunteers from Clayton county. It was another regiment 
of Indian fighters and performed important service in garrison duty 
and in protecting wagon trains of emigrants. Its fiercest battle was 
fought at Julesburg, Colorado. The regiment was mustered out in 

Seventh Cavalry — Company F, Second Lieutenant Michael 
Towers, Corporals Edward McMahon, Homer T. Foster, Privates 


William Boyce, George J. Benett, Charles Contell, William H. Grey, 
Milo Lacy, J. W. Rounds. Company K, Privates LeRoy Butts, John 
H. Carr, Henry Dimond, Herman Kuehlman, Swart Larson, Har- 
rison Micklee, John Mackle, James McNamara, Otis Trusdell, Adam 
Vallence. Company L, William Anderson, John H. Bishop, Oscar 
Collins, Henry Call, John Denning, Francis H. Dayton, Samuel A. 
Gregg, August Gropp, Charles D. Hubbard, George C. Jones, Jacob 
Meires, Alexander Moody, William Mickley, John F. Schoenmacker, 
John P. Thompson, John Valentine, Milton Weaver. Unassigned, Orvil 
N. Buck, John Juty, Walter Telcot. John F. Schoemaker was pro- 
moted from private to second lieutenant. Company L. 

Eighth Cavalry — Twenty-six men from Clayton county were on 
the roll of the Eighth Cavalry, under Colonel George B. Door. The 
regiment was mustered in September 30, 1863, and was assigned to 
duty in Tennessee. Following the usual army tactics, this regiment 
was employed chiefly in skirmishing and in holding districts taken 
from the enemy. This was dangerous work and involved almost con- 
tinuous fighting. In July 1864, nearly the entire regiment was 
captured. It was soon exchanged, however, and took part in the cam- 
paigns at Nashville and at Atlanta and was in the Croxton raid. Avalo 
J. Price was a major in this regiment and died at the front. The regi- 
ment was mustered out in June 1865. 

Eighth Cavalry — Major Avalo J. Price. Company I, Second 
Lieutenant Andrew F. Tipton, Sergeants Washburne A. Stow, Richard 
W. Brown, Corporals William C. Waggoner, Saveron W. Burdick, 
Privates James A. Adams, George W, Allman, Jacob Bitters, Bersee 
J. Best, William W. Chiles, Will Haiden, Daniel W. Johnson, Daniel 
Mitchell, Perry Millholen, John Monlux, George Monlux, James W. 
Parman, Alexander Rice, Henry Ray, William Satterlee, Charles 
Schultz, Samuel P. Shaw, George Watrous, George Williams, John 

Company B contained Privates Henry Dow and Michael Shindler ; 
Company G, Sergeant Lyman Newton and Farrier Peter Kobel; 
Company unknown, William C. Fuller. 


Second Infantry — Company B, Private John Burnes. Afterward 
John B. Craig was commissioned as first lieutenant, Company F, and 
William F. Hooper as second lieutenant. Company I. 

Second Veteran Infantry — Company A, Privates Joseph L. B. 
Bool, James McAfferty, Richard Stockdale and John Schragge ; Com- 
pany F, First Lieutenant John B. Craig, Sergeant John Leighty, Cor- 
porals David F. Merritt, William C. Hazen, Jesse Enders, Simon V. 
Davis, and Privates Stephen D. Connoly, Joseph W. Call, Sylvanus 
Carmack, Harmon Drone, Jacob E. Dowding, Charles C. Goodale, 
William H. Hutchinson, Sidney W. Irish, Charles H. James, Thomas 
McLoon, George W. ]Madden, Mathies Schleier, Henry A. Scott, Adam 
F. Their, Daniel J. Van Dycke and Jacob Verhei ; Company G, Private 
James Shadle; Company I, Second Lieutenant William F. Hooper. 

WAR HISTORY — 1861-1865 — AT THE FRONT 169 

Fifth Infantry — Company K, Private John A. King. 

Sixth Infantry — Company C, Private George H. Ingrim. 

Thirteenth Infantry — Company A, Private John P. Hitsman ; un- 
assigned, Henry Fisher, William Hughs, William HoUister, Patrick 
Karney, Andrew Luney, Conrad Muller, Samuel Reeves and John S. 

Fifteenth Infantry — Privates Charles S. Franklin and Thomas C. 

Sixteenth Infantry — Company G, privates, Frederick Succow, 
August Thompson, and Carl Thompson ; Company H, privates, John 
Dalton, Ozias N. Davis, John Fowler, Lowry M. Garrison, Stephen 
R. Hastings, Thomos Haynes, James N. Preston, Milton Spencer, 
Thomas Stockdale, Theodore P. Sunder and Newton F. Wooster. 

Thirty-Fourth Infantry — Company F, private Martin Walters ; 
Company G. private Edwin H. King; Company H, privates Andrew 
Larson, Ambrose Moats, and William N. Schmitt. 

Thirty-Seventh Infantry — Company K, privates, W^illiam Fallow, 
James House, Justice King, Wm. Paschal and Henry Robins. 

Thirty-Eighth Infantry — Company A, privates, William F. Gray, 
Thomas A. Stoughton and Martin Walters ; Company D, Corporal, 
Burton Adkins, and privates, Nels Christeman, John B. Iverson and 
Andrew Larson; Company G, privates, H. King, David G. Roberts 
and Daniel E. Seward ; Company H, John Donelson, Ambrose Moats 
and Win. N. Schmitt, and Company K, private, Gunder Oleson. 

Forty-Fourth Infantry — Company A, privates, Trevarius G. 
Price and Balthasar Schlenker. 

Forty-Sixth Infantry — Company A, private, Leonidas Peyton. 

Forty-Seventh Infantry — Company A, First Lieutenant, Leon H. 
Drake ; Sergeant, James M. Snedegar ; Corporals, Robert Sherman, 
James B. Woodward and Hiram Barnum, and privates, Jeremiah 
Adams, Charles Belding, Norman Chastily, James D. Chapman, 
Cornelius Doty, John Griffin, Jerome L. Lawrence, David Lowe, 
Pelamen Marquise, William T. Palmer, Thomas L Piper, Wilber V. 
Partch, Irwin S. Swan, Silas E. Smith, James W. Scott, Elisha C. 
Tinney, George W^ Tirsker, and Charles M. W'hitford. 

Forty-Eighth Infantry — Surgeon, John A. Blanchard ; Company 
B, private, Peter C. Young. 

Second Cavalry — Michael O'Sullivan, private. Company A; 
Francis M. Winters, private, Company F; Lewis H. Hathaway and 
Eldridge P. Rice, privates. Company I ; Abel G. Newman, John L. 
Quick, and Overn Quick, privates. Company B ; George W. Cadwell, 
Alpheus Scott and William Wade, privates, Company L 

Fourth Cavalry — Company B, privates, Erastus D. Stockton, Wm, 
Stewart, George True, George Mason and John A. Richards ; Company 
G, Franz Gutsch, Gillard H. Jones, Fritz Muller and Peter Scharer ; 
Company H, John S. Putnam and William W. Rood ; Company I, 
Tollef Knudson, John Curren, Patrick D. McKane and Wm. R. 
Sargeant ; Company L, Joseph M. Williams and William Hines. 

Fifth Cavalry — Unassigned, privates, Charles Wiederer ; Com- 
pany C, privates, James G. Gilliland and George M. Johnson ; Company 


E, privates, Marshall Hatfield, Christian Martin and Andrew Meisser ; 
Company F, private, John Jager, 

Ninth Cavalry — Major, Willis Drummond; Company E, private, 
David G. Wilson ; Company F, Captain, Benjamin Contal, Q. M. S., 
Moses J. Teeter ; Sergeants, Bennett M. Reese, Joseph H. Wyman and 
Thomas Styles ; Corporals, Frank J. Williams and Daniel W. Culver, 
and privates. Otto Kramer, Wm. Conden, Reuben H. Griffin, Hiram 
M. C. Luce, John Lawton, Edward Perry, Patrick Pennington, 
Benjamin F. Severance, Robert H. Scarff, Emil Shottle, Jacob W. 
Schuck and Jacob Wissensea. 

First Battery — Privates, Alexander Gatlord and William R. 

Third Battery — Privates, Freedom Jackson and Elonzo H. Winn. 

Fourth Battery — Privates, Daniel T. Fagan and Elnathan P. Luke. 

Engineer Regiment of the West — Company F, Artificers, John 
Flaherty and George W. Wilson ; Company I, Sergeants, Stephen H. 
West and Alva R. Prescott ; Corporals, Solomon Goodrich and John A. 
Rhea ; Artificers, Sylvester Baker, James E. Banks, Eli Cole, Charles 
H. Dakin, George W. Fay, Cornelius O'Flaherty, and privates, Daniel 
Collins, Peter Conroy, Homer C. Cook, George L. Gilbert, Robert B. 
Kennedy, Martin Klingman, Richard McNallay, Calvin Newton, 
Henry Odle and Thomas C. Steward. 

Fifteenth Missouri Infantry — Company K, Sergeant, Peter 
Karberg ; Corporal, Alois Ehrensperger ; Musician, Frederick Beck ; 
Wagoner, Philip Dock, and privates. Christian Dorweiler, Paul 
Dorweiler, Sebastian Eckart, Charles Erhardt, Benedict Gissinger, 
Wm. Halberkan, Mathaus Kaiser, John Moses, Lucas Moser, 
Nicholaus Peschang, Henry Ribbe, John H. Schmidt, Joseph Slatel, 
Herman Startemeyer and Max Ziegelmaier. 

Third Missouri Cavalry — Company F, Captain, James Call ; Com- 
pany G, private, Benjamin W. Gaylord. 

Fourth Missouri Cavalry — Company F, Musician, Henry 
Hamann, and privates, August Priest, Balthaser Boder and John 

Fifth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia — Company H, Corporal, 
Lorenzo King, and private, Orlando C. Tracey. 

Twelfth Illinois Infantry — Company F, private, George Schmidt. 

Forty-Third Illinois Infantry — Company H, private. Christian 

Second Kansas Cavalry — Company I, Quartermaster-Sergeant, 
Moses H. Barker; Sergeants, Bartlett F. Browning and Morris 
Enright ; Corporals, Joseph Henderson, Lewis R. Funston, Joshua B. 
Bailey, Benjamin W. Hicks, Asa Moore and Edward Ross ; Saddler, 
Calvin H. Freeman, and privates, John Akerson, Stewart Abbott, 
Alonzo Hunt, Joseph Ringer, Charles P. Sheldon, Stephen M. Showey, 
Asa Toole, William H. Walker, Frederick Whirte and Alexander 

Sixth Wisconsin Infantry — Company C, privates, Albert L. Fisk, 
William Kelley and William Winney. 


Seventh Wisconsin Infantry — Company K, private, James M. 

U. S. Colored Infantry — Private, John Anderson. 


The following is the list of Clayton county soldiers who died dur- 
ing the course of the war : 

Capt. Alvah Bevins, killed in battle at Pea Ridge, Ark., March 7, 
1862 ; Lieut. Josiah Wragg, died in prison at Atlanta, Ga., June 9, 1864; 
Allen, Charles A., died at Vicksburg, Miss., Aug. 14, 1863; AUman, 
George W., died at Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 7, 1864; Alloway, William 
H., died on hospital boat, June 8, 1863 ; Anderson, John, died at Island 
No. 66, Mississippi river, Feb. i, 1864; Andrews, Hugh W., died at 
Camp Ford, Tex., Aug. 3, 1864 ; Arble, Richard P., died at Farmers- 
burg, Nov. 25, 1862; Baker, Sylvester, died at Vicksburg, Miss.; 
Baldwin, James, died at Memphis, Tenn., June 28, 1864; Barber, 
Sylvester, died at St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 11, 1862; Barnhouse, James M., 
killed in action at Dallas, Ga., May 27, 1864; Barnhouse, John M., 
killed at Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863 ; Bartholomew, A. J., died at 
Sperry, Feb. 29, 1864; Batholomew, William, died at Volga City, June 
4, 1862 ; Baxter, Cornelius W., died at Moscow, Tenn., Aug. 2, 1863 ; 
Beck, George, died at Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 8, 1863 ; Betteys, Mason 
D., died at St. Genevieve, Mo., March 19, 1863 ; Bigler, Martin, died 
at New Orleans, La., June 25, 1864; Birch, John, died at New Orleans, 
La., Nov. 7, 1863 ; Bishop, William, killed at Ringgold, Ga., Nov. 27, 
1863 ; Brown, James D., died near Vicksburg, Miss., Jan. 25, 1863 ; 
Brown, James W., died at Milliken's Bend, La., July 14, 1863 ; Brown, 
Richard W., died in prison at Florence, S. C, Nov. 8, 1864; Brown, 
Robert P., died at McGregor, March 30, 1864; Brown, Wilham S., died 
at Washington, D. C, Sept. 4, 1864; Burns, John, died at Rome, 
Ga., Aug. 21, 1864; Busby, Thomas, died at Rolla, Mo., March 10, 
1863; Bush, Peter, died at Memphis, Tenn., June 16, 1864; Camp- 
bell, Bernard D., killed in action at Corinth, Miss., Oct. 4, 1862; 
Carr, John H., died at Ft. Sully, March 20, 1864; Carrier, Charles, died 
at Clinton, Mo., Aug. 11, 1862; Cassell, Henry, killed in battle at 
Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863 ; Chapman, George W., killed in battle 
at Beaver Creek, Mo., Nov. 24, 1862 ; Christeman, Nels, died at Vicks- 
burg, Miss., Aug. 20, 1863; Churnor, Smith, died April 29, 1863; 
Clark, Avery, killed at White Stone Hills, S. D., Sept. 3, 1863 ; Cooper, 
Thomas, died at Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 10, 1863; Corbin, Levi M., 
Wiled at Atlanta, Ga., July 22, 1864; Crist, Jacob B., died at St. Louis, 
Mo., June 2, 1862; Crop, John S., died at St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 13, 
1863; Crumb, Oscar, killed in action at Montevallo, April 14, 1862; 
Curtis, James M., died on the steamer "R. C. Wood," July 15, 1863; 
Dalton, Milo, died at Vicksburg, Miss., Aug. 19, 1863 ; Daniels, 
Thomas, died on steamer "R. C, Wood," Aug. 16, 1863 ; Davis, Ozias 
M., died at Davenport, March 22, 1862; Dean, George, died May 19, 
1863 ; Dix, Hervey, killed at Kirksville, Mo., Aug. 20, 1861 ; Donaldson, 
John, died at New Orleans, La., Aug. 14, 1863; Dorland, Clement, 


killed accidentally at Cheran, N. C, March 6, 1865 ; Eastman, Geo. W. 
D., died at Memphis, Tenn., April 10, 1864; Engebertson, Gunder J., 
died at Vicksburg, Miss., June 23, 1863 ; Farrin, William H., killed at 
Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863 ; Fay, George W., died at Warrenton, 
Miss., June 14, 1863 ; Felter, George W., died at St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 8, 
1862; Fitch, John, died at Jackson, Tenn., April 10, 1863; Flanniken, 
James M., died at Smithland, Ky., Feb. 15, 1862; Fobes, Warren S., 
died at Pacific, Mo., Dec. 24, 1861 ; Follion, Orion S., died at Houston, 
Mo., Dec. 7, 1862; Frazer, John, drowned at Ft. Randall, S. D., May 
23, 1863 ; Fulton, James, died at Macon City, Mo., Sept. 29, 1862 ; 
Garretson, William, died on floating hospital at Memphis, Aug. 12, 
1863; Garrison, Lowry M., died at Keokuk, Nov. 17, 1862; Gaylord, 
Alexander, died at Helena, Ark., Oct. 21, 1862; Gaylord, Wm. F., 
died on steamer "R. C. Wood," Aug. 22, 1863 ; Gibson, James M., died 
at Woodville, Ala., Feb. 7, 1864; Gifford, W. H. H., died at Little 
Rock, Ark., Jan. 5, 1865 ; Goldsmith, Edward, died on Turkey river, 
Aug. 16, 1863 ; Goodnough, George A., died in Fayette county, Aug. 
31, 1863; GosHn, John L., died at Memphis, Tenn., June 21, 1864; 
Gray, William H., killed at Julesburg, C., Jan. 7, 1865 ; Grayson, 
Thomas, killed at Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863 ; Green, Archibald, 
killed at St. Joseph, Mo., Aug. 27, 1864; Green, George, died at St. 
Louis, Mo., Nov. 17, 1862 ; Griffin, Reuben H., died at St. Louis, Mo., 
Dec. 12, 1863 ; Griffith, William H., killed in action at Vicksburg, Miss., 
May 22, 1863; Guiselman, John, died at New Orleans, La., Nov. 21, 
1863; Hall, Alfred E., died at Rolla, Mo., 3, 1862; Hall, Perry, 
killed in action at Pea Ridge, Ark., March 7, 1862 ; Hamer, William A., 
died at Memphis, Tenn., Dec. 10, 1864; Harding, Henry P., died at 
Fort Snelling, Minn., Dec. 10, 1863 ; Hardy, James W., died at St. 
Louis, Mo., May 25, 1863 ; Haskill, Leanard, died at Jackson, Tenn., 
Jan. 12, 1863 ; Haskell, Parson F., died at Camp Sherman, Sept. 2, 
1863; Hastings, Stephen R., died at St. Louis, Mo., June 28, 1862; 
Hathaway, Lewis H., died at Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 23, 1864 ; Haynes, 
Thomas, died at Quincy, 111., July 12, 1862 ; Hays, Thomas, killed at 
Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863 ; Henderson, Cyrus M., died at Beaver 
Creek, Mo., Dec. 28, 1862; Hewlet, Joseph A., died at Rolla, Mo., 
Oct. 17, 1862; Hinds, Charles B., died at Grand Gulf, Miss., May 14, 
1863 ; Hinkle, Thomas, died at St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 6, 1862 ; Hood, 
William, killed at Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863 ; Hotinger, Henry, 
died at Helena, Ark., April 13, 1864; Hughes, Andrew, died at Mem- 
phis, Tenn., Sept. 15, 1864; Hughs, Francis M., killed at Vicksburg, 
Miss., May 19, 1863 ; Iverson, John B., died at Port Hudson, La., Aug. 
8, 1863 ; Jackson, Freedom, killed in battle at Pea Ridge, Ark., March 
7, 1862; Jones, Webster, died at Memphis, Tenn., Jan. 2, 1863; Kain, 
John, died at Cairo, 111., March 29, 1863 ; Kelley, William H., died on 
steamer "Burlington," September 4, 1864; King, Levi R., died at Jack- 
son, Tenn., April 15, 1863; Lackey, Augustus, died at Forsyth, Mo., 
April 22, 1862 ; Lampert, Joseph, killed at Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 
1863 ; Lawrence, George H., died at Houston, Mo., Jan. 20, 1863 > 
Lazelle, Marshall, died at St. Louis Mo., June 20, 1862 ; Lewis, Harvey, 
died at Cairo, 111., Dec. 17, 1862; Lewis, Henry L., killed at Old Town 
Creek, Miss., July 15, 1864; Lewis, Henry T., died at Rolla, Mo., Oct. 

WAR HISTORY 1861-1865 — ^AT THE FRONT I73 

27, 1862; Lewis, Runyon C, died at Jackson, Tenn., Feb. 7, 1863; 
Linger, Fredrick, died at Memphis, Tenn., July 5, 1864; Lockridge, 
Daniel P., died at Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 21, 1863; Lyons, John, died 
at St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 30, 1862 ; Mack, John, died at St. Louis, Mo., 
May 9, 1862; Malony, Jerry, died near Vicksburg, Miss., June 15, 
1863 ; Maloney, Jeremiah, died at Vicksburg, Miss., Nov. 6, 1863 ; 
Mather, John H., died near Vicksburg, Miss., June 10, 1863; 
McKittrick, Robert H., died on the steamer "City of Memphis," June 
27, 1863; McLoon, Barney, killed at Shiloh, Tenn., April 6, 1862; 
Millholen, Perry, died at Nashville, Tenn., April 6, 1865 ; Mohlstedt, 
Henry, died at Memphis, Tenn., July 8, 1864; Moore, Oscar, died at 
Austin, Texas, Nov. 18, 1865 ; Moore, Samuel W., killed at Black 
River Bridge, Miss., May 17, 1863 ; Mosgrove, Briggs, died at Keokuk, 
la., April 16, 1865 ; Muller, Theodore, died at Jackson, Tenn., March 
13, 1863 ; Neelings, James W., died at Farmersburg, Nov. 29, 1862 ; 
Nelson, C. S., died at Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 20, 1863 ; Newton, Calvin, 
died at Vicksburg, Miss., July 18, 1863; Noble, Dwight, died at St. 
Genevieve, Mo., March 15, 1863; Oleson, Ammon, died at Memphis, 
Tenn., Sept. 8, 1864; Oleson, Gunder, died at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 
Sept. 27, 1863; O'Sullivan, Michael, died at Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 24, 
1864; Otis, Francis A., died at Moscow, Tenn., June 28, 1863; Parker, 
William, died near Vicksburg, Miss., June 7, 1863 ; Penhollow, George 
W., died at Mallory, Oct. 13, 1862 ; Penny, Calvin, died at Cairo, 111., 
Oct. 24, 1863 ; Perkins, William, died near Vicksburg, Miss., June 14, 
1863 ; Perry, Edward, died at Camden, Ark., Oct. 30, 1865 ; Perry, 
Elijah, died at Memphis, Tenn., April 5, 1864; Pettis, Robert M., died 
at Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 23, 1863 ; Pitt, Robert, died at Haines Bluff, 
Miss., June 6, 1863 5 Volley, Daniel W., died at Keokuk, June 12, 1865 ; 
Pool, John C, died on steamer "City of Memphis," July 17, 1863; 
Poole, Robert J., died at Milliken's Bend, La., April 21, 1863; Powers, 
Oscar, died at Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 27, 1863 ; Preschl, Carl, killed 
at Hartsville, Mo., Jan. 11, 1863; Presho, Alexander, died at Camp 
Sherman, Miss., Aug. 20, 1863 ! Preston, James M., killed at Shiloh, 
Tenn., April 6, 1862; Price, Valma V., died at Mobile, Ala., July 6, 
1862; Randall, Samuel, died at Ft. Randall, S. D., July 22, 1863; 
Rankin, James, died at Brownsville, Ark., Sept. 14, 1863 ; Reed, 
Charles H., died at Jackson, Tenn., April 11, 1863; Reichart, John, 
killed at Pea Ridge, Ark., March 7, 1862; Reinhardt, George, died at 
Little Rock, Ark., Oct. 3, 1863; Renwick, Augustus A., died at Vicks- 
burg, Miss., June 27, 1863 ; Reynolds, E., died at Hempstead, Tex., 
Oct. 30, 1865 ; Rizer, William W., died at New Orleans, La., April 5, 
1865; Robison, David H., died at St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 4, 1863; 
Russell, Enos M., killed at Memphis, Tenn., April 29, 1865 ; Sargent, 
Lyman, died at Pacific, Mo., Nov. 14, 1861 ; Schlake, Gerhard, died at 
Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 11, 1863; Schlake, Henry, died at Vicksburg, 
Miss., June 5, 1864; Scofield, Norman W., died at Ironton, Mo., Feb. 
24, 1863; Scoville, Orrin, died at St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 27, 1862; Seeber, 
Timothy, killed at Pea Ridge, Ark., March 7, 1862 ; Seimer, John F., 
died at Pleasant Hill, La., May 5, 1864 ; Shaw, Samuel P., killed at 
Florence, Ala., Oct. 30, 1864; Shuck, David M., died at Milliken's 
Bend, La., April 21, 1863; Shuck, Jacob W., died near Walnut Hills, 


Ark., Dec. 18, 1865 ; Smith, James, killed in action at Vicksburg, Miss., 
May 22, 1863 ; Southworth, William H., died at Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 
15, 1863; Sprague, Perry C, died at Elkport, Dec. 8, 1864; Squires, 
Lester, killed in action at Blue Mills, Mo., Sept. 17, 1861 ; Stahl, 
Joseph, died at St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 9, 1863; Stemgrinson, Jacob, 
killed at Vicksburg, Miss., May 22, 1863; Stephenson, William C, 
died at Vicksburg, Miss., July 23, 1863 ; Stockton, Erasmus D., died at 
Cairo, III, May 23, 1863; Stoughton, Thomas A., died at Highland, 
Sept. 26, 1863; Tavis, John, killed at Pleasant Hill, La., April 9, 1864; 
Thompson, August, killed at Nickajack Creek, July 21, 1864; Tinkham, 
William H., died at Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 29, 1863 ; Thurber, Avery 
R., died at Iron Mountain, Mo., Feb. 27, 1863 ; Waggoner, William E., 
died at Jeffersonville, Ind., June 17, 1864; Wakefield, Lorenzo, died at 
Vicksburg, Miss., July 25, 1863 ; Washburn, Francis, died at Morgan- 
zia. La., Sept. 30, 1864; Weeks, Ralph A., died at New Orleans, La., 
Aug. II, 1864; Weseman, Charles, killed in action at Pea Ridge Ark., 
March 7, 1862 ; Whipple, Darwin, died at St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 3, 1863 ; 
White, Jacob, died at Vicksburg, Miss., July 31, 1863; Whitford, 
James, killed in action at Montevallo, Mo., April 14, 1862; Wilcox, 
Hiram, died at Mound City, 111., Nov. 24, 1862 ; Wilkie, G. M., died 
at Memphis, Tenn., Jan, 15, 1863; Wilson, Charles W., died at Cairo, 
111., April 10, 1863 ; Wilson, David G., died at St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 30, 
1864; Wing, David B., died at St. Louis, Mo., July 4, 1863. 











WHILE the chief interest of the people of Clayton county centered 
about the war during these years, from 1861 to 1865, it was not 
their only concern. While there were scores of Union meetings 
and while the thought of the people was directed to enlistments, to the 
relief of the soldiers and to the news from the front, they did not 
neglect the business, social or political life of the county. Despite the 
heavy taxes imposed by war, times continued to improve from year to 
year and recovery was made from the depression of the previous 
administration. The war created an increased demand for products 
and decreased the labor supply so that wages reached the highest point 
they had ever known in this country. 

In 1861 the shin-plaster was still the greatest curse of business and 
the Elkader paper states that business is improving, "altliough not so 
good as a year ago." The farmers were afraid to exchange their grain 
for Illinois or Wisconsin money, as they could not tell what it would 
be worth from one day to the other. R. E. Price tells the story that 
he worked and saved until he had sufficient to buy a suit of clothes. 
He walked to McGregor to make the purchase, but, when he got there, 
he found that his money had so depreciated during the day that he 
only had enough to buy a vest. Prices were low in 1861, wheat was 
quoted at 51 cents, corn 20, oats 18, and eggs 4 cents per dozen. 
Nevertheless, the times improved and, before the close of the war, 
prices were good. The business of the county was hard hit by fire. 
The burning of the mill was a great loss to Elkader and although work 
of rebuilding was soon commenced it was three years before it was 
again in operation, at which time the citizens of Elkader duly cele- 


brated. At Clayton the large sawmill owned by Frank Smith was 
burned, together with 550,000 feet of seasoned lumber. This, and the 
growing importance of McGregor, served to check the growth of Clay- 
ton. Guttenberg, with its conservative German population, continued 
to do an ever increasing business. McGregor increased yearly in 
prosperity until the last years of the war. During these years, how- 
ever, it was visited by three great fires which wiped out the fragile 
frame buildings which had been erected because of the uncertainty of 
the land titles. For the year ending July, 1861, McGregor, according 
to the Chicago Times, was the largest primary grain-receiving depot in 
the world. The receipts of wheat were 3,000,000 bu. and, during the 
winter season, pork to the value of $200,000 and hides and furs to 
the value of $100,000 were handled. Still later, in January, 1862, 
the business for the month was reported as wheat, 1,274,748 bu. ; flour, 
10,752 barrels; dressed hogs, 13,502, lard 32,810 barrels, butter 268,940 
lbs., eggs, 486 barrels; hides, green, 178,045 lbs.; dry, 83,530 lbs., and 
from 600 to 800 teams were said to arrive in McGregor daily during 
the grain season. A correspondent in the Dubuque Herald, in July, 
1862, describes scenes in McGregor during these busy days. He says: 
"On Sunday evening the teams loaded with wheat, principally, com- 
menced rolling in through the long, and almost only street of the city. 
The line of teams became almost continuous through the day and prob- 
ably through the night on Monday, and by Tuesday, by 10 o'clock a. m. 
there was a perfect jam of loaded teams at the warehouses along the 
river front and, as far as the eye could reach along the main street, 
one line of laden wagons could be seen turned toward the warehouses, 
while as long a line was turned homeward, on the opposite side, most 
of them laden with goods purchased at McGregor. A gentleman, a 
stranger like ourself, who accompanied us to the neighborhood of the 
grain houses, spoke in Norwegian to one of the teamsters, inquiring 
how far he had come with his load of grain. The answer was, 150 
miles. We inquired farther, and were told that it is a common thing 
for farmers 200 and more miles distant westward and northwestward 
to haul their wheat in wagons to McGregor." 

Railroad Pushed Westward — During the first days of the war, 
McGregor was also a primary point of concentration for the volun- 
teers and this also did much to increase business and to put money into 
circulation. Seven years prior to the war a railroad was proposed to 
run west from McGregor. A few miles of road were graded, ties were 
provided, culverts and bridges constructed, and things looked promis- 
ing. Times grew hard, money was far from easy and the work was 
turned over to other parties. These failed, and it was turned to a 
third company, which was also unable to push it forward. By some 
legal process the franchise reverted to Judge Brown, one of the most 
active of the original promoters. Brown sold the interest of the old 
company to the McGregor Western Rail Road Company, of which 
George Green was president and James L. Reynolds, vice-president. 
This company conferred with the officials of the Milwaukee and Prairie 
du Chien Company and active work on the new railroad was re-com- 
menced in September, 1863. The enterprise had been embarrassed by 
a rival survey commencing 9 miles north of McGregor at the mouth of 


Paint Creek, but this was also adjusted. In March, 1863, a contract 
for 18 miles of grading was let to Green and Harding, to be com- 
pleted by July 15. In October, of the same year, the first engine was 
on the track, three miles of track had been laid and the road was pro- 
gressing at the rate of one half mile a day. It was then the plan that 
the road should go to Postville, and branch to the northwest, while 
the main line went via Clermont and West Union. It was at this time 
that McGregor awoke to the fact that its interests were not being con- 
sidered in the railroad company's plans and that, instead of increasing 
its business, the new line threatened its very existence. The company 
asked $50,000 to lay a double track from North McGregor to Mc- 
Gregor. This offer was afterward reduced to $20,000 and was tenta- 
tively accepted, until the committee found that the railroad would 
maintain North McGregor as its terminus and that the branch would 
simply be for the accommodation of McGregor's local business. Mc- 
Gregor then determined to "confer with Mineral Point Road parties and 
secure an eastern connection through the Illinois Central." In April, 
the Times complains that "North McGregor is looking up frightfully." 

On May 18, 1864, the railroad had passed Monona and reached 
Luana, although there were no turn-table facilities and the train was 
obliged to back down. On August 8, 1864, the first train reached 
Postville, although it had been delayed by the difficulty in obtaining 
labor during the harvest. By October, 1865, the road was completed 
as far as Conover and it steadily pushed its way westward. By the 
summer of 1864, McGregor had yielded to the inevitable and a Mr. 
Freeman had established the first bus line from North to South Mc- 
Gregor. A gang of 150 men were also employed by the railroad to 
cut a canal through the island between North McGregor and Prairie 
du Chien. 

As a result of the hard times of previous years there were also 
financial difficulties. Robert Grant was forced to suspend business 
and, in January, 1862, the Lee & Kinniard bank failed, with liabilities 
of $57,000 and assets which finally netted considerably less. This was 
the first bank in Clayton county and at its failure no criticism was made 
that it had not been honestly conducted, but simply that it had been 
forced to the wall by the hard times. 

Land Titles' Dispute — In December, 1861, James McGregor, Jr., 
feeling that he was secure in his title, proposed to sell to the citizens 
the 500 lots, which were then claimed and improved, for the total sum 
of $190,000. This offer was accepted and a committee appointed to 
assess the lots. After this was done. Mr. McGregor refused to abide 
by their assessment and wished to make it himself. At a meeting, 
over which D. Baugh presided, a committee, consisting of H. W. Bur- 
lingame, J. B. Benton, William I. Gilchrist, H. Kennedy, Michael 
O'Brien, Martin Knight and G. H. Hand, was appointed to guard 
the interests of the city. It was soon after this, that the first of the 
fires occurred and the McGregor interests forbade any rebuilding until 
the lots were purchased. An indignation meeting was held Jan. 10, 
1862, and an agreement was prepared, not to recognize the claims either 
of James McGregor, Jr., or of the heirs of Alexander McGregor, and 
Baugh, Stoneman, Hand and Updegraflf were employed as attorneys 


for the citizens. As if these were not troubles enough, change became 
SO scarce that the city of McGregor issued scrip. These were checks 
upon the McGregor State Bank, issued by McGregor and signed by 
the city recorder. It was said that they represented cash actually de- 
posited, nevertheless, this scrip was soon discounted and was later 
refused by many. To add to its burdens McGregor also suffered a 
severe epidemic of smallpox in 1864. Despite these discouragements 
McGregor maintained itself as the largest and busiest town of the 
county; many permanent buildings were erected and schools and 
churches thrived. 

In 1861 mention is made of the Union Schools, with E. B. Wake- 
man at their head, assisted by Miss Updegraff. In 1862 appears the 
advertisement of Miss Jane's School and, in 1863, McGregor formed 
a select school with Miss Jane as principal. There were many church 
activities and Rev. Father Nagle is applauded for his vigorous efforts 
to make McGregor more orderly. At this time the Catholic congre- 
gation was planning a larger church and to use the old building for 
their school which then had 6"] pupils. Among the other activities of 
the time were the formation of a musical union with C. F. Remick 
as president, and of a board of trade of 40 members, with W. I. Gilbert 
as president and J. V. D. Benton as secretary. A project for a ship 
canal from the lakes to the Mississippi agitated the people and dele- 
gates were appointed to a Ship Canal Convention. A cemetery asso- 
ciation was also formed, a National Bank was proposed, and the Mc- 
Gregor and Fort Atkinson Horse Railway was incorporated. In the 
newspaper world, Willis Drummond bought the Press from Mr. 
Belfoy. In 1861, P. A. Richardson left the Times and it was pub- 
lished by Andrick and Tenney. In August, 1863, Richardson went 
back to the Times and Tenney bought the Tribune, which was then 
the News. 

"Diamond Jo" — In 1862, Joe Reynolds, pork packer, built the 
front wall of the new establishment of his growing business. Joe 
Reynolds, better known as "Diamond Jo," was one of the most bizarre 
figures of the early days along the Mississippi. The "Diamond Jo" 
packets were known from St. Paul to New Orleans, and many are the 
stories told of this shrewd and daring business man. At the time 
when the "Diamond Jo" line finally passed out of Mr. Reynolds' 
hands the following was written concerning him : 

"Those who love the romance of 'Picturesque old river days,' 
hold in memory the virile men who were a part of its fascinating 
story. Of these men there is none whose life history is so often re- 
hearsed, none who is so well-remembered, as Joseph Reynolds, 'Dia- 
mond Jo,' as he was known in life and is still remembered. He dom- 
inated early up-river life in a peculiar fashion. His mark, a black dia- 
mond with 'Jo' in the center, has been a familiar sight to river folks for 
fifty years. One by one, other steamboat companies sold out after the 
railroad built along the river, but the 'two long, two short' whistle of 
the big Diamond Jo packets are still heard. For a long time now, its 
four steamers have been the only boats to carry through freight and 
passengers from St. Paul to St. Louis. Whether the new manage- 
ment will retain the familiar Diamond Jo sign is not known, But^ 


however that may be, the romance of it goes with the passing of the 
boats out of the hands of the Reynolds' estate. 

"Diamond Jo for many years made McGregor his headquarters. 
Mrs. Reynolds lived here until a short time before her death. A foun- 
tain, the gift of Mr. Reynolds to the town, is in the triangle park. The 
old residents delight in giving interesting reminiscences of the man in 
his various capacities of fur trader, grain buyer, steamboat owner and 
miner. His estate at the time of his death was reported at $7,000,000. 
The main facts of his life can be chronicled, though the stories, true 
and untrue, told of him and his big days on the Upper River and later 
in the mining districts of the Southwest, would fill many pages. He 
was born in Sylvan county. New York, where he received a common 
school education. He early engaged in business and for a time man- 
aged a mill property near the old home. He came to Chicago in the 
50's and bought wheat on the streets there, which he shipped to his 
New York mill to be ground into flour and put upon the market. After 
a prosperous period in Chicago, he came to McGregor and from this 
point established a grain line. His business grew to immense propor- 
tions and for years he was known as the heaviest grain buyer in the 
Northwest. Later he established a steamboat line and thereby hangs 
a tale according to the old river men. He had tried in St. Louis to 
hire a Missouri river boat to bring down a cargo of skins. He and 
the steamiboat people had trouble over the matter and he was refused 
the services of the boat. To get even, he built the Diamond Jo line 
of steamers which soon led them all. He built the Hot Springs, 
Arkansas Railway, because, it is related, he was disgusted with 
the stage that ran between Malvern and the Springs. The railroad 
was for some time his individual property and a source of immense 
income. Mr. Reynolds in later years became interested in mines in 
Colorado and Arizona. His name became as famiHar to western 
mining men as it long had been to Mississippi and Missouri river 
farmers and shippers and to Chicago Board of Trade men. It was 
at his famous Congress, Arizona, mine, attended only by his secretary 
and doctor, that Joseph Reynolds died, in 1871, at the age of 71." 

McGregor During War — In 1862, through the efforts of Senator 
Hammer, a law was passed by the legislature establishing a city court 
for McGregor, and in September, 1863, McGregor was incorporated 
under a new law, abandoning the first charter under which it was 
incorporated in 1857. With the completion of the first portion of the 
railroad west of the Mississippi, the freight to be ferried from Mc- 
Gregor to Prairie du Chien grew enormously in bulk. In order to 
handle it, John Lawler, agent for the Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien 
Railroad, had barges built with railroad tracks built on them. These 
barges were moored at approaches built on either shore, freight cars 
were loaded onto them, four or five to each barge. The ferry then 
towed the car-laden boats across the river. This worked all right in 
the open season, but not in winter. To solve this problem Lawler 
built a pile bridge, leaving two open spaces in the channel for the pas- 
sage of boats. When the navigation season closed a temporary bridge 
was thrown across these openings and through train service maintained 
during the winter months. These temporary bridges had to be torn 


out each spring, and to avoid this Mr. Lawler devised the scheme of 
lashing barges together and putting them in these openings. A cable 
and drum made it possible to swing these barges open to allow the 
passage of boats. In this v^^ay the pontoon bridge across the Missis- 
sippi, from McGregor to Prairie du Chien, was constructed and, with 
some minor changes, it remains practically the same today, as the 
longest pontoon bridge in the world. 

Rafting — In these days rafting was one of the greatest industries 
along the Mississippi. From every river and stream in Iowa, Minne- 
sota and Wisconsin the logs came racing and jamming down to the 
Mississippi, where they were pinned together into great rafts, manned 
with a crew of oarsmen and a pilot and started on their long voyage 
down the river, either to the lumber mills or to New Orleans for 
trans-shipment. One familiar phase of the old time life upon the Mis- 
sissippi was these monster rafts, with their long sweep of oars at bow 
and stem and a little shanty built in the center, where the men ate and 
bunked. The shouts of the red-shirted oarsmen as they bent to the 
oar in obedience to the orders of the pilot, bawled out in forceful and 
picturesque English ; the dancing, singing and card-playing with w^hich 
they passed the hours when not on duty — all these are scenes never to 
be forgotten by old time dwellers along the river. McGregor was 
one of the points where these rafts tied up, took on supplies, wet and 
dry, and the old town resounded many times with the rough merry- 
making of their boisterous crews. Mrs. C. McHose, of McGregor, 
who lived near the wharf in those early days, gives the following 
description of a typical scene of the raftsman's life. She was awak- 
ened one night by singing and the sound of a fiddle. The river was 
flooded by a full June moon. In its light a log float was seen drifting 
by, with a score of raftsmen dancing and singing around the fiddler 
in the center. The fiddler stopped, one of the crowd scrambled on 
top of the shanty, struck the attitude of an old time Methodist preacher, 
and, beginning with "My Brethern," in sonorous tones, launched into 
an exhortation to righteous ways. A few moments later, above the 
boisterous laughter with which the harangue was received, the voice 
of a man at the oars sang out clear above the water, "Go tell Aunt 
Rhody her old grey goose is dead." The would-be preacher stopped, 
the song was taken up and as the raft drifted out of view into the 
shadows of the night, the weird volume of harmony came echoing 
back from the darkness. In fogs and bad weather the rafts were tied 
up to the shore. This was the signal for a grand carousal and many 
are the tales told in the river-towns of the wild doings, and of the 
yet wilder bouts when the men were paid ofif at the end of their journey 
and came up the river on the little raft boats which raced back with 
them to the pineries of the north. In 1865, the Times says: "The 
river banks are piled with the pine products of the north, while many 
rafts of logs, lumber, lath and shingles lie as yet unhandled at the 
waters edge." Two years later tow-boats came into general use to 
increase the capacity and speed of these monster rafts and, still later, 
two boats were used, a small boat for steerage at the bow and a large 
propeller at the stern. In this way lumber rafts worth nearly a quar- 
ter of a million have been towed. 


Educational Progress — With the new school law there was greatly 
increased activity among the teachers of the county. In October, 
1861, a successful institute was held at Garnavillo, with H. Emery as 
president, John Everall as secretary and Prof. Putnam of Indiana as 
instructor. A teachers' association meeting was held at Windsor in 
March, 1862. Alonzo Brown was the first county superintendent, 
being elected in 1858. He was very active and promoted the first 
teachers' association and the first institute which was held in Garna- 
villo. Prof. J. Briggs was one of the leading educators of the county. 
Mr. Emery was from Monona and soon became popular with the 
teachers. Prof. Kramer, together with Kingsley, Crary and Everall, 
were among the leading male teachers, and Miss Melvina Stewart 
was prominent among the women. During these years the force of 
male teachers was depleted by enlistments in the army. The institute 
for 1862 was held under the direction of Supt. Emery, Prof. Ingalls 
as conductor and, in 1863, the institute was held at McGregor. At 
the association meeting held at Windsor in the winter of 1864 Supt. 
Emery was presented with a watch by the teachers in acknowledgment 
of his faithful service, though their hearts were filled with sorrow as 
they knew that he was about to die of consumption. In 1865 a suc- 
cessful institute was held in Elkader and in November of that year, 
Jonathan Briggs, who had devoted his life to the instruction of the 
young, completed the building of an academy upon the site of the 
"Old Brick Tavern" at Garnavillo. This institution was conducted 
by Mr. Briggs for several years, but finally had to be abandoned on 
account of lack of support. 

Church Activities — Among the church activities during this war 
period were the building of the Freewill Baptist Church at Strawberry 
Point at a cost of $4,000, in 1861 ; the holding of numerous church 
conventions ; the meeting of the County Sunday School Association at 
National, in 1862; a convention of Universalists in 1863; the activity 
of the Good Templars at Strawberry Point and other towns in the 
county ; a donation party by which the meagre salary of Rev. Joseph 
R. Cameron was helped out at Volga and Elkader, and the raising of 
$3,000 to build a Congregational Church at Garnavillo. 

Agricultural Societies — A meeting of the Clayton County Agri- 
cultural Society was held at Garnavillo, May 25, 1861. Norman Ham- 
ilton presided and Alonzo Brown was secretary. Previous fairs had 
been more in the nature of local enterprises and the society was now 
founded on county lines. A constitution was adopted and the follow- 
ing officers were elected : President, Edwin Sherman ; secretary, 
Norman Hamilton ; treasurer, John H. Shoulte ; directors, Joseph 
Eiboeck, George Killam, Alonzo Brown, John Dice, M. B. Sherman, 
George W. Beach, Samuel Murdock, O. W. Crary and P. M. Potter. 
It was decided to hold the fair at Garnavillo, in October, 1861, and 
premiums were announced for a two days' fair. The weather was 
bad and the crowd and the exhibits were small. Twenty-four persons 
made entries and eighteen of them drew premiums. There not being 
a sufficiency of money to pay them fully, nearly all those entitled to 
premiums liberally returned part of the money. The amount re- 
funded was $21.15 ^"d the amount paid was $33.10. The second 


annual meeting was held at Garnavillo, May 21, 1862. At this time 
it was decided to locate the fair permanently at Farmersburg or Na- 
tional, and $80 was voted for an exhibition building. Edwin Sherman 
was elected president and N. Hamilton secretary. A state fair was 
held at Dubuque in 1862, and some of the fancy stock bought there by 
N. Hamilton, Edwin Sherman, James Uriell and John Osterdock was 
shown at the county fair. At this state fair flour made by the Stone 
Mill at Clayton took first prize. Of this second county fair it is said 
that it was attended by the usual "fair" weather, which meant that it 
rained every day. Nevertheless the fair, which lasted one day only, 
was well attended and enough was received to pay the premiums in 
full. At the meeting in 1863 O. W. Crary was elected president and 
N. Hamilton secretary. A fair was held at National and is said to 
have been a success. Judge Price made an address, as did Mr. Beebe, 
of Dubuque. Miss McWilliams took the riding premium. The society 
now had 200 members, but the secretary bitterly complains that 81 
of them were delinquent. On the second day of the fair a collection 
was taken for fair buildings, netting $50. In 1864, J- E. Corlett was 
president and N. Hamilton continued as secretary. The fair was held 
October 12 and 13, during one of the most exciting periods of the 
county's history. It was the time of the draft and of Union meetings 
and a spirited election contest with the county seat war on, and many 
Union meetings, and probably for these reasons the county newspapers 
give no account of the fair. In 1865 James Parker was president and 
J. E. Corlett secretary. The fair was said to have been a success, 
although it rained on the last day and it was thought there was suffi- 
cient members in good standing to secure the $200 aid oflFered by the 

Wartime Politics — Politically the history of these war times is 
most interesting. The Republican party had been successful in the 
elections of i860 and had built up a strong and vigorous young party. 
With the incoming of a Republican president, under the old spoils 
system, there were many offices to be given, and, very naturally, there 
were many eager applicants. Into this normal course of politics was 
thrown the bombshell of war. To understand the politics of 1861, it 
must be remembered that there were four almost distinct divisions 
within the two parties. Among the Republicans, there were the Aboli- 
tionists, with whom the abolition of slavery was paramount even to 
the perpetuity of the Union. There were other Republicans, de- 
scendants of the old Whig party, who had but little sympathy with the 
anti-slavery movement, who opposed its extension, but were not anxious 
to abolish it in the South but who were opposed to democracy along old 
party lines. Among the Democrats, there was an element in full 
sympathy with slavery and with the sentiment of the South, believing 
in state's rights and feeling that the national government had no right 
to coerce the states. The other element of democracy opposed and dis- 
trusted Lincoln, but thought that the preservation of the Union was 
above all party considerations. 

"Union Party" — With the opening of actual hostilities, the country 
was swept by a wave of patriotism, which, for the moment, did away 
with all thought of partisanship. It was at this time that many good 


men of both parties conceived the idea of a "Union Party," which 
would be formed of both parties, who were to drop all partisan division 
during the war and have patriotism as the only plank in their plat- 
form. This was a highly Utopian idea, worthy of noble-hearted men, 
but thoroughly impracticable and taking no account of human preju- 
dices and ambitions, or of the fact that the oil and water of Democ- 
racy and Republicanism would not mix. 

Early in the year there was a call for a Union convention in 
Clayton county. This movement was fathered by Judge Eliphalet 
Price and in the call he was joined by many prominent men of both 
parties. The sentiment expressed was of absolute devotion to the 
Union and the desire for strictly non-partisan action. This move- 
ment gained rapid momentum in the county. At Guttenberg a caucus 
was held and at McGregor there was a large mass meeting which was 
addressed by Judge Baugh, C. F. Remick, Reuben Noble, John T. 
Stoneman and D. Hammer. In the meantime John Garber, as chair- 
man of the Republican county committee, called a convention, and 
this meeting, which was held in Elkader and presided over by H. E. 
Newell, elected delegates to the state convention and resolved that the 
call for the Union convention was unwise, but instructed the central 
committee to abstain from calling a convention for the nomination of 
county officers. August 22 the Union mass convention was held and 
was largely attended, both by Republicans and Democrats. The reso- 
lutions were strongly in support of the Union and opposed the agita- 
tion of the question of dividing Clayton county and the making of 
any county seat contest during the war. Later, the Unionists held a 
second convention and placed candidates in nomination for county 
officers. This was the rock upon which the Union party split. The 
majority of the nominees were Democrats, some of the Republican 
wheel horses and officials were left oflf the ticket, and it was apparent 
that the Democrats were in control. With this state of affairs the Re- 
publicans soon placed a ticket in the field and the issues were joined 
largely along the old party lines. This drifting back into party, in 
spite of the war, took place in the state as well. The Republicans of 
the state nominated Kirkwood for Governor and resolved strongly for 
the Union and approved the acts of Lincoln. A Union state conven- 
tion placed a ticket in the field and took high ground as to the sup- 
port of the Union, but was inclined to be critical and to cling to 
the idea that some compromise might still be eflfected with the South. 
At this convention Reuben Noble was nominated for Supreme Judge, 
his opponent being Judge McHenry, of Des Moines. Noble received 
150 votes to 94 for McHenry. Mr. Noble declined the nomination, as 
he did not wish to oppose his friend, Ralph T. Lowe, the Republican 
nominee. The Democrats held a state convention, at which there was 
a split. The Mahoney faction, which was in thorough sympathy with 
the South, leaving the convention. The Democrats resolved in favor 
of supporting the war, but divided the blame for the conflict equally 
between northern abolitionists and southern radicals. The course of 
Lincoln was viewed with alarm as tending toward a military despotism, 
and, while favoring the prosecution of the war to preserve the Union, 
the doctrine of state's rights was maintained. At this convention 


Maturin L. Fisher was the nominee for Lieutenant-Governor, but, like 
Mr. Noble, he declined. With the pronouncements in state politics, 
it is easy to understand that those at heart in support of the Union 
quickly gravitated to the Republican party, that the Union party was 
a failure and that those opposed to the acts of Lincoln gradually be- 
came lukewarm in support of the war. The Clayton county election 
resulted in a victory of nearly two to one for Kirkwood. All the Re- 
publican county ticket was elected, the chief fight being for sheriff, in 
which John Garber (Rep.) defeated Jonathan Kauffman by a vote of 
1,647 to 1,258. Henry Clay Dean, the Mahoney or "Secesh" candidate 
for Governor, received but 50 votes in the entire county. 

Division of County Proposed — In 1861 and 1862 there was con- 
siderable agitation for the division of Allamakee and Clayton counties, 
making a third county from the north half of Clayton and the south 
half of Allamakee. In the summer of 1861, a meeting was called at 
Garnavillo to oppose this movement. F. Andros acted as chairman and 
Samuel Murdock, D. C. Rogers and F. Andros were appointed to inter- 
rogate legislative candidates and the voters agreed to support no one 
who favored division. McGregor quietly supported this movement, as 
did Lansing, which hoped to be the county seat of North Allamakee. 
The opposition was too strong, however, and the members from this 
county worked against division in the legislature, and, later, sup- 
ported a law forbidding county seat elections oftener than once in 
three years. 

Campaign of 1862 — In 1862, politics were comparatively quiet. 
William B. Allison, later the distinguished senator from Iowa, was 
nominated for Congress, and his opponent was D. A. Mahoney, one 
of the most radical southern sympathizers in the state. The only 
county officer elected was clerk of the district court and for this place 
H. S. Granger had no opposition. The Democrats were in a hope- 
less minority in state and county, and the election was devoid of 
excitement. AlHson received 1,511 to 1,131 votes cast for Mahoney. 

Peace Party, 1863 — In 1863, the "Peace Party" had its rise. It 
was argued that the war was a failure and that nothing remained but 
to make the best possible terms with the South, many advocating that 
it was best to let the confederacy go, rather than to prolong a costly 
and futile war. This peace movement stirred the most vigorous oppo- 
sition and in place of political meetings there were "Union meetings" 
and "Union Clubs" formed all over the county. 

With the progress of the war, with its fearful toll of blood and 
treasure, the resentment against the secessionists grew to a white-heat 
and with it came the increasing demand for the liberation of the slaves. 
The resolution passed by the Volga City Union Club reflects the 
Union sentiment of the entire county. The resolutions follow : "Re- 
solved that censure cast upon the government by the North for using 
the sword to put down this infernal rebellion when it is evident to 
everyone that it can be done in no other way, stimulates and encour- 
ages the rebels to protract the struggle, and hold on in their mad 
career, at the enormous sacrifice of both blood and treasure. Resolved, 
That we will never consent that one foot of territory, within our 
national boundary, shall go down to posterity with the curse of slavery 


upon it. Resolved, That we are ready to make almost any sacrifice 
in our power, rather than undergo the anguish of witnessing the down- 
fall of our beloved country, and with it, the last hope of the oppressed 
throughout the earth." J. G. Whitford was president and W. A. Pen- 
field secretary of this club. The people were warned against the 
Chicago Times and the Dubuque Herald as dangerous, disunion news- 
papers. It was at this time that the peace convention was held, to 
which reference has already been made, at which there were so many 
radical utterances against Lincoln and against the war. 

In 1863 the Republicans adopted the name "Union," which they 
had refused to adopt in 1861, but at this time the word meant not a 
union of parties but the support of the "Union" as a nation. The 
Republicans presented the name of Judge E. H. Williams as a candidate 
for Supreme Judge. He was defeated for the nomination by Judge 
J. F. Dillon. This caused considerable feeling in northern Iowa and 
especially in Clayton county, and the nomination of Col. Stone for 
Governor was not popular. The Democratic state convention criticised 
the conduct of the war and, while maintaining a patriotic attitude 
toward the Union, was strongly in favor of peace. Maturin L. Fisher, 
of Clayton county, was the Democratic nominee for Governor, but he 
refused to run, and Gen. J. M. Tuttle was the nominee. The Demo- 
crats placed a full legislative and county ticket in the field, as did 
the Republicans, who, however, went under the name of the Union 
party. The entire Republican ticket was elected with average major- 
ities of about 400. In this election J. Briggs ran as an independent 
candidate for superintendent, receiving nearly 500 votes. 

Second Lincoln Campaign — In 1864 was the presidential election, 
and the endorsement of Lincoln was the great question. While the 
victories had been with the Union arms, Lee's army was holding out 
stubbornly, and the loss of life in Grant's army was appalling. Many 
calls for troops were made, and these necessitated the draft, which 
was highly unpopular. The Democrats nominated Gen. George B. 
McClellan, and the first portrait of the candidate ever used in a 
Qayton county paper was when his picture appeared at the head of a 
column in the McGregor Times. D. Baugh, as chairman, called a 
county convention of "all those opposed to the re-election of Mr. 
Lincoln and the continuance of this war for the sole purpose of freeing 
the negroes at the expense of the lives of hundreds of thousands of 
white men, and imposing upon us a national debt too onerous to be 
borne ; and all those in favor of calling a national convention for the 
purpose of restoring peace with all its hallowed influences." The dele- 
gates from Mendon township, elected under this call, were Door D. 
Hoxsie, John T. Stoneman, William Coss, M. Mathews, Andrew 
Teets. M. O'Brien, B. Strouse, T. Beckwith, A. Hockhaus, Sam Peter- 
son, D. Hammer, D. Baugh, L. Seals, William Huntting, G. S. C. Scott. 
The Republicans nominated B. T. Hunt as district elector, H. S. 
Granger for clerk and J. Oglesbee for recorder. At this election, also, 
McGregor made a try for the county seat. Many of the prominent Re- 
publican leaders of the state spoke in this county, among them Governor 
Stone, ex-Governor Kirkwood, William B. Allison and B. T. Hunt. 
The Republican majorities in the county averaged 500, and the 


soldier vote added about 300 more. As to the county seat, Elkader 
received 2,403 and McGregor, which had made but a half-hearted fight, 
received 1,609. This was the last county seat election. 

Campaign of i86j — In 1865, the shadow of Lincoln's death lay 
heavy on the hearts of all. The close of the war had ended criticism, 
and the course of Andrew Johnson as president had not as yet become 
acute. These things combined to make the election of the Republican 
ticket a foregone conclusion. In this emergency the Democrats aban- 
doned their party name, to an extent, and their state ticket was known 
as the Iowa Soldiers' ticket, and Gen. T. H. Benton was the candidate 
for Governor. He spoke at Elkader, and his chief issue was opposition 
to negro suffrage. The nomination of Stone as Republican candidate 
for Governor was unpopular, and the Elkader Journal bolted that part 
of the ticket. Many of the county candidates were inclined to follow 
the Journal's lead, and leading Republicans sent the candidates a letter 
demanding that they support the ticket. This demand was signed by 
Thomas Updegrafif, Samuel Merrill and others. 

Illustrating the peculiar political conditions of that year, is the 
account of a political meeting held at Elkader, at which Reuben Noble 
spoke in favor of Benton and his platform. Judge Williams opposed 
the Benton platform but favored his election on account of his high 
character. Judge Murdock spoke in favor of Stone and for his plat- 
form and negro suffrage. He also attacked Judge Williams and Judge 
Noble in a witty speech. E. Odell spoke urging the election of Stone. 

The Bentonites held a county convention at Garnavillo, placing 
a full county ticket in the field composed of both Democrats and 
Republicans. Noble, Williams and Eiboeck lead the fight against Stone 
on the grounds of personal unfitness. Merrill, Updegrafif, Drummond 
and Murdock were the Stone supporters. For sherifif, Capt. Elisha 
Boardman, and for coroner, H. D. Bronson, had no opposition. The 
opposition to Stone caused him to run more than 300 behind his ticket, 
his majority being 103, while Lieutenant-Governor Gue, Republican, 
also received 451 majority. The entire Republican ticket was elected 
with the exception of Lieutenant Hutchins, who was defeated for rep- 
resentative by William Leffingwell by 81 majority. An incident of 
this election, in those days when the ballots were printed by private 
parties, was, that on account of a mistake made in printing tickets at 
a McGregor office. Judge George G. Wright lost 714 votes in this 
county because his middle initial was printed "C." 

County Affairs — The population of Clayton county in 1865 was 
21,922. There were nineteen colored inhabitants, eleven of whom lived 
in McGregor and six in Giard. There were but two incorporated towns 
in the county, Guttenberg with 1,004 population, and McGregor with 
2,008, just twice the size of Guttenberg. The population by townships 
was as follows: Buena Vista, 159; Boardman, 965 ; Cass, 1,010; Clay- 
ton, 800; Cox Creek, 739; Elk, 440; Farmersburg, 1,087; Garnavillo, 
1,179; Giard, 1,106; Grand Meadow, 728; Highland, 729; Jefferson 
(not including Guttenberg) 1,068; Lodomillo, 789; Marion, 810; Mal- 
lory, 871; Millville, 656; Mendon (not including McGregor) 1,072; 
Monona, 1,468; Reed, 853; Sperry, 814; Volga, 1,069; Wagner, 808. 


The Iowa Gazeteer, published in Chicago in 1865, gives the follow- 
ing description of the towns of the county as they were in that year: 
Guttenherg: "The first municipal election was held in April, 185 1. 
Since that time the growth of the town has been onward and upward. 
Every year has witnessed new and substantial improvements and a 
large increase of trade and business. Since the incorporation of the 
town large sums have been annually expended in public improvements. 
Good roads have been made, leading to every part of the surrounding 
country. The town has an excellent steam ferry boat, which, during 
the season of navigation, plies regularly between this place and Glen 
Haven, three miles up the river, on the Wisconsin side. The buildings 
are mostly of stone, of which material an excellent quality is obtained 
from the bluflf back of the town. There are now in place seven general 
stores, two groceries, two clothing stores, two hardware, stove and 
tin stores, two drugstores, three millinery and fancy stores, four black- 
smith and three saddler shops, two wagon and carriage shops, one 
gun shop, three furniture shops, four hotels, five breweries, several 
warehouses, two flouring mills and one sawmill. The Lutheran and 
Catholic are the leading church denominations. Guttenberg annually 
ships and receives large quantities of produce and merchandise. The 
bluffs immediately back of town abound in lead ore, and on Miners 
creek, within two or three miles of town, several rich veins of mineral 
have been discovered and profitably worked. 

"McGregor is 67 miles from Dubuque and 229 miles northwest 
from Chicago, via the Chicago & Northwestern and the Milwaukee & 
Prairie du Chien railways. From the time of its being laid out as a 
town, and the settlement of the country west and northwest, it has 
enjoyed the benefit of an exceedingly active trade. One would scarcely 
credit a true statement of the marvelous quantity of grain and produce 
that is shipped via this point, did they not visit the town during^ a 
busy season, and, in person, see the streets crowded to their entire 
length from early in the morning till late in the evening with heavily 
laden wagons, four abreast, many of whose owners had come 50. 100 
and sometimes 200 miles to market. Standing at the foot of IMain 
street, it is no uncommon sight to see it so filled to its furtherest 
extent and allowing twenty feet for each wagon and horses length 
(four abreast), we find over teams for one mile alone. This 
is no fancy picture nor 'fish story,' but a fact that thousands have 
witnessed daily. Not only is McGregor a great grain market, but it 
is the principal depot for the supply of household furniture, farming 
machinery, wearing apparel, groceries and other commodities.^ The 
business of the place is by the following establishments: Six dry 
goods, three drug, three hardware, three stove and tinware, four book 
and stationery, six clothing, three furniture, one crockery and glass- 
ware, fifteen grocery, two jewelry, four boot and shoe, and five general 
stores. There are over twenty establishments for the purchase and 
shipment of grain, produce and game. There are three lumber yards, 
one planing mill, sash, door and blind factory, one gun shop, one marble 
shop, two bakeries, two fruit stores, five millineries, three real estate 
offices, five implement houses, one pump factor\^ two foundries and 
machine shops, five wagon shops, three photograph galleries, one grain 


elevator, one brewery and three flouring mills. There are six hotels, 
one National bank and two weekly newspapers, the Times and the 
News. The McGregor Western extends westward through Clayton, 
Winneshiek, Howard and Mitchell counties to the state line, there 
connecting with the Minnesota Central, which is being built to St. Paul. 
The road is already completed to Decorah, a distance of 60 miles, 
and at an early date will be completed to the rich coal regions of the 
Des Moines valley. In addition to rail and river facilities, McGregor 
is connected with all points by a line of daily stages. The Baptist, 
Catholic, Congregational, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian 
churches have organizations. There are also societies of Masons and 
Odd Fellows in a flourishing condition. 

"Elkader, the seat of justice, is a flourishing town of about 700 
inhabitants. The scenery of its location is possessed of much natural 
beauty. The table land on which the business portion of the town is 
built rises gradually for some distance, when it breaks into a steep 
declivity on the right bank of the river, while on the east the bank 
rises more rapidly and higher before the table land is reached, which 
undulates upward to a summit of considerable height. Upon these 
undulations many beautiful residences stand, surrounded with grounds 
tastefully arranged and adorned with shrubbery and trees, many of 
which are of native growth. The river, flowing with a rapid current, 
affords a good and reliable water power, which is to some extent 
improved, a dam being constructed across the stream at this point. 
There is one large flouring mill, built of rock taken from the neigh- 
boring quarries. The trade of the town is flourishing, being repre- 
sented by four general stores, one flouring mill, one drug, one furniture, 
one hardware and stove store, one hotel, one printing office, together 
with the usual number of blacksmith, carpenter, wagon and other 
shops. There are Congregational, Methodist, Catholic and other 
churches. The Clayton County Journal is published here. 

"Garnavillo is a post village and township in the eastern interior 
of the county. Shipments are made during the winter months via 
McGregor, and in the summer principally via Clayton and Dunleith. 
There are two good flouring mills and two sawmills on Buck creek, 
just east of the village ; also one brewery, one hotel and several stores 
in the town. The village is located on a beautiful and very productive 
prairie. There are four churches — Methodist, Congregational, German 
Lutheran and Catholic. The lodges are Masons, Odd Fellows and 
Good Templars. The estimated population is 500. 

"Clayton is on the east bank of the Mississippi, 10 miles below 
McGregor and 10 miles above Guttenberg. The site is partly a beau- 
tiful plat of ground between the bluffs and the river, but most of the 
residences are in a ravine through which the principal street runs 
from the river back onto the high prairie. The town is easy of access 
from the interior, and has one of the best steamboat landings on the 
river. It is the principal crossing place for travel between northern 
Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, 
there being good roads on both sides of the river and a steam ferry 
boat crossing it every half hour, furnishing ample accommodation. 
The village contains two large flouring mills, one manufacturing about 


20,000 and the other about 6,000 barrels of flour per annum; four 
general stores, four grocery stores, two cabinet shops, one foundry, 
three lumber yards and one stave and heading factory. About 130,000 
bushels of wheat are shipped annually. Population 500. 

"Elkport, a post village in the southeast part of Volga township 
on the south bank of the Turkey, at the confluence of Volga river, 
is 22 miles by stage nearly north from Dyersville. There are three 
general stores, one flour mill and two sawmills in the village ; also one 
flour and sawmill and a woolen factory, Isaac Otis & Son, proprietors, 
within two and a half miles of the village. There is a good public 
school and two churches, German Catholic and German Lutheran. 
Population about 200. 

"Straivberry Point, otherwise known as Franklin, in Cass town- 
ship sixteen miles northwest from Manchester. The first settlements 
were made in this vicinity about fifteen years since, by Wood, Grannis, 
Stearns, Blake and others. It now contains about 250 inhabitants, with 
six stores, one brewery, one large flour mill, which runs with water 
power and was built at a cost of $20,000, and three churches. Baptist, 
Methodist and Universalist. The Masons and Good Templars each 
have a lodge. 

"Monona is on the McGregor Western Railway, thirteen miles west 
of McGregor. It contains two churches, five general stores, one drug 
store and one steam sawmill. Population 500. 

"Littleport is a small post village on the Volga river, nine miles 
south of Elkader. It has one distillery, one general store and one saw- 
mill. Population 75. 

"Giard is in the northeastern part of the county, six and one-half 
miles from McGregor and fourteen miles north of Elkader. It has 
two churches, two general stores, one flour mill and one sawmill. Pop- 
ulation 70. 

"Yankee Settlement is in the southwestern portion of the county, 
eighteen miles from Elkader. It has one Methodist church, one general 
store and four sawmills. 

"Volga City is a post village in the western part of the county, 
located on the right bank of the Volga river. It has two country stores, 
one mill and a hotel. 

"Ceres, Communia, Council Hill, Cox Creek, Farmersburg, Gem, 
Grand Meadow, Henderson's Prairie, Honey Creek, Millville, National 
Road and Sigel are also villages and post roads of this county." 

Sidelights on Progress — With this review of the county it is well 
to close the history of this war period, except to mention some of the 
incidents which bore upon the life of the people and the future of the 
county. Elkader suflfered considerable inconvenience and loss of trade 
on account of the poor construction of the bridge. Appropriation was 
made for strengthening one end of the bridge, but by the time this was 
completed it was found that the other end was untrustworthy, so that 
an appropriation had to be made to reinforce that end. In the mean- 
time the mill was not in commission and, as there was no thoroughfare 
to the market towns on the river, Elkader was largely avoided. Neither 
the bridge nor the mill were open to the public until 1863. In July, 
1861, the county had a new attorney in the person of S. T. Woodward, 


who located in Elkader and afterwards built the stone mansion which 
now overlooks the city. It was not until 1862 that it was voted to 
restrain sheep and swine from running at large, and then it was noted 
that posses of citizens had to be called upon to enforce it. In May, 
1862, Judge Williams held court at Elkader, and the membership of 
the bar is given as Reuben Noble, Samuel Murdock, J. O. Crosby, 
E. Odell, B. T. Hunt, Thomas Updegraff, S. T. Woodward, C. F. 
Remick, D. Baugh, T. Beckwith, J. T. Stoneman, Alonzo Brown, S. F. 
Peck, A. J. Jordan, C. W. Richardson and J, W. Moore. At this time 
the trial of Livingood and Delilah Telyea, on a change of venue from 
Winneshiek county, for the murder of Telyea created much interest. 
The speeches of Noble for the defense and M. McGlathery for the 
prosecution were noteworthy, and the proceedings of the trial, together 
with these speeches, were printed in pamphlet form and sold for 
twenty-five cents each. 

In October, 1863, two new postoffices were established: Sigel, 
in Reed township, with Mr. Palmer as postmaster, and Wagner post- 
office. In the same year the rush to California took the place of the 
old Pike's Peak craze, and many caravans started from Clayton county 
on the long overland journey to the coast. Two parties left Garnavillo 
in April, 1863. They were D. G. Rogers' company and Preece's com- 
pany. H. T. Smart and John Uriell went with them. The two com- 
panies had, between them fifteen horses, eight mules and seven wagons, 
and were fully equipped for the overland journey. While there was 
much feeling between the Union men and the Copperheads, the only 
violence occurred in Mallory township where an attempt was made to 
break up the singing school at Pott's school house and to ride the 
teacher on a rail. Shots were fired and the school house was stoned, 
but no one was injured and no particular damage done. This dis- 
turbance was laid to the Copperheads, with how much reason is not 
known. In July, 1863, occurred the murder of a man named Schutte 
at Guttenberg. He went to the home of his former wife, a Mrs. Heller, 
and there was set upon by her two sons, who attacked him with an 
axe and knives and chopped him almost to pieces. There was much 
excitement at Guttenberg over this brutal murder. The many enlist- 
ments caused a great scarcity in farm labor and, in March, 1864, 
citizens of Farmersburg met to consider this problem. G. B. Wakeman 
was president of this meeting and J. E. Corlett secretary, and a fund 
was raised for the encouragement of foreign immigration to the county. 

Death of R. R. Read — In April, 1864, the county lost one of its 
best known and most beloved pioneers in the person of Robert R. 
Read. The funeral services were attended by people from all over the 
county. Resolutions were passed and the following biography and 
eulog}^ was printed: "Robert R. Read was born Aug. 31, 1790, in 
Norfolk county, England, and emigrated to America in 1817, and 
first settled in Philadelphia. Here he first learned that, far away, 
towards the evening sun, across majestic rivers, and over lofty moun- 
tains, there was a widespread land, skirting upon either shore of a 
great river. Young, ardent, brave, daring, resolute and in the vigor 
of manhood, full of wild adventure, he turned his face toward the 
great west, and arrived on the banks of the Mississippi, in 1827. 


"In company with Govenor Dodge, of Wisconsin, he made his way 
to the lead mines, where they both made a settlement in what is now 
the county of Grant. At this time the whole of that vast and fertile 
tract of country lying between the Wisconsin on the north, the Kas- 
kaskia on the south, and embracing the rich valley of Rock river, was 
but sparsely settled. Here and there along the streams clustered the 
few log huts of the hunter and the trapper, men who had early bid 
adieu to civilization and refinement in some far-off eastern home, and 
who by their acts were fast precipitating the country into a cruel, 
bloody and desperate border war. Others, as bold and daring as 
themselves, prompted by the prospect of sudden riches and wealth, had 
clustered around the lead mines of Illinois and Wisconsin. To expel 
both of these, that brave and daring old chief, Blackhawk, in the year 
of 1812, raised the flag of war and, for a long time, desolated this 
fair and lovely portion of the great and fertile west. Among the 
first, our old friend, Captain Robert R. Read, took up arms to defend 
the settlers. General Dodge commissioned him major of the Fifth 
infantry. Grant county volunteers. He accompanied that general 
throughout all his campaigns against the Indians, acting most of the 
time as one of his aides, and was by his side at the final battle 
of the Bad Axe, which terminated the war, dethroned Blackhawk and 
restored peace to the country. 

"After the war was over he returned to his family to pursue the 
peaceful avocations of life ; but he was not long here when General 
Dodge again commissioned him sheriff of Grant county, the county he 
had assisted in defending against the savages. That same love of 
adventure that prompted him from the first to encounter the trials and 
hardships of a frontier life again took possession of his mind. He 
resigned the office of sheriff, crossed the Mississippi and settled on the 
soil of Clayton county in 1839, where he remained until death closed 
his eyes forever. Soon after he came to Clayton county he was chosen 
clerk of the commissioners court, and it was here that his talents and 
ability as an officer were first discovered by the people of Clayton 
county, and which laid the foundation for that long and useful career 
of public life which he afterwards passed among us. At the time he 
was first chosen clerk, the financial affairs of the county were in a 
wretched state. Warrants to an amount which no one knew had 
been issued, no books had been kept, no records had been made, and 
everything which concerned the county was in a mass of confusion. 
He purchased records, traced out the indebtedness, restrained the use- 
less and extravagant issue of county orders, and laid the foundation 
of the commissioners court on a basis that gave prosperity to the 
county. In this position, the most responsible of any in the county, 
he remained for many years, and until the board was abolished for 
the office of county judge. After leaving the office he was immediately 
elected treasurer and recorder of the county, and re-elected, again and 
again, as often as he wished. Sometimes he had the most determined 
opposition, at other times he would pass over the course alone. At last 
he declined a re-election, preferring a more active life, and he left 
the office regretted by all. But the people of Qayton county would 
not suffer him to remain long out of service, and they elected him 


without opposition clerk of the district court, and here in this office 
we again see the master hand of business. But old age was creeping 
on him, a long and useful life now drawing to a close, and he felt 
his decline. Tired and worn out in the public service, he resiifned 
the office and retired forever to private life, with more honors than fall 
to the lot of many men to wear." 

Minor Events — Among the minor events showing the trend of the 
county are the following: In April, 1864, an effort to close the saloons 
and business houses of Elkader on Sunday created a near riot. There 
were but three butcher shops in the county at that time, on account 
of the high cost of beef ; the fish story flourished, and one pickerel 
weighing loj^ pounds and another weighing 14 were speared by boys 
at Elkader. In 1864 it is reported that Postmaster Snedigar was 
being assisted in the postoffice by his two daughters, as both his sons 
had gone to war. 

In June of the same year the McGregor clans advanced upon the 
court house to protest against the establishment of a ferry between 
North McGregor and Prairie du Chien. Reuben Noble argued for 
the ferry and E. Odell against it, and it was defeated by the board by 
a majority of one vote. 

In August, 1864, a nest of thieves was located near Elkport by 
Sheriff Garber and his deputy, Melvin Hodgkins. A tailor named 
Schornagel was found to be selling goods at less than cost, and these 
goods were identified as some stolen from Dyersville and $1,500 worth 
of goods were recovered at his house. The premises of a saloonkeeper 
named Mayer were searched and between $700 and $800 worth of dry 
goods were found in a manure heap back of his barn. At the home 
of Seels, a former saloonkeeper, jewelry to the value of $1,000 was 
found in the bedding. 

At Elkader an excellent school was boasted under the direction of 
Mrs. Bowers, who was described as a lady of rare attainments. Several 
small circuses had been advertised before this time, but the first 
big show was that of Yankee Robinson, which came to Elkader and to 
Strawberry Point in September, 1864. This circus consisted not only 
of acrobatic feats, but of panoramas and tableaux. It was about this 
time that A. Ringling, father of the Ringling Brothers, noted through- 
out the world as circus men, advertised that he would change the 
location of his harness shop in McGregor. It was not until October, 
1864, that the big mill at Elkader was again ready for regular business. 
The building is described as five stories high. E. Wagner was superin- 
tendent, and the mill was owned by L. V. Davis and L. A. Beardsley, 
who had just purchased the Thompson interest and moved to Elkader. 

In 1865 there were two destructive floods, one in February and 
one in March. The river at Elkader was described as being the highest 
ever known, and considerable damage was done along the Turkey and 
the Volga, while at North McGregor, Bloody Run destroyed the tracks 
of the McGregor & Western. During this year there was continued 
agitation for the establishment of a woolen mill at Elkader. The fact 
that there were no transportation facilities and but few sheep did not 
deter the promoters, who urged it for many months. The Elkader 
brewery was established in June, 1865. Of it the Journal says: 


"Work has already commenced to erect a brewery on Bridge street 
near the bluff on the west side of the river. A Mr. Schmidt, residing 
near Garnavillo, is building it, and it is intended to be an extensive 
affair, and Mr. Schmidt is said to have plenty of money to build it. 
Judging from the quantity of beer annually consumed in this and 
adjoining towns, an enterprise of this kind will pay well." 

On November 19, occurred the death of Mrs. Mary Lowe Price, 
the wife of Judge Eliphalet Price, a woman who had shared with this 
pioneer the hardships and deprivations of the early days and who was 
dearly beloved throughout the county. Of her the Elkader Journal 
says, "The large concourse of friends that attended her funeral at 
Garnavillo attests to the esteem in which she was held. Mrs. Price 
came here at an early day, when but few other women were in the 
county and her death will be lamented by those who knew her then. 
She was one of those indomitable persevering, truly Christian women, 
to whom society owes so much of its pleasures. In her death her 
husband, Hon. E. Price, has lost a faithful wife and the county a kind 
friend, for such was she to all. All who ever knew her speak naught 
but praise and all mourn her loss." 

The last of the great fires visited McGregor in December, 1865. 
The blaze originated in the postoffice; twenty-eight buildings were 
destroyed and the loss estimated at $100,000. In the columns of the 
Journal is given mention of the young men who are growing up to 
take the places of their distinguished fathers in the annals of this 
county. The debating society was organized at Elkader with Buel 
Knapp as president, R. E. Price, secretary; E. A. Crary, editor and 
critic, and P. C. Young, treasurer. 

In November, 1865, the county poor farm was opened in Read 
township. There were eight inmates — six men and two women. There 
were thirty-five acres of land under cultivation and a garden of four 
acres was to be put in. It was expected to rent the remaining land 
at a crop rental of one-third. With this the history of the war period, 
both as to the war itself and as to the domestic affairs of the county, 
is brought to a close ; and it will be seen that, in spite of the cost of the 
war, in men and money, Clayton county had not only held its own but 
had gained in wealth and influence and in all the elements of civiliza- 








OF 1 868- 1 869. 

THE period after the war was one of reconstruction not only 
politically, but in industrial lines. The soldiers returned from 
the front, the swords were converted into pruning hooks and 
the volunteers, as well as might be, took up the thread of their own 
lives. After the excitement of the war the last half of this decade seems 
uninteresting but it witnessed a steady growth for all the county. The 
enterprise of the people, sometimes misdirected, but nevertheless 
energetic, is shown in many ways. In 1866 a stock company was 
formed to build propeller and flatboats to navigate the Turkey from 
Elkport to its mouth. J. S. Lewis backed this scheme and a Mr. 
Howard was the ship-builder. Charles Simmons established a new 
record by driving a stage from Elkader to Dyersville in seven hours 
and the people thought they were quite metropolitan. The growing 
wealth of the county is illustrated by the fact that, in 1866, three of the 
prominent Germans, having accumulated enough so they could, visited 
the land of their birth and Jacob Nicklaus, R. Meuth of Buena Vista 
and G. T. Weist of Guttenberg visited the Fatherland. In this year 
also the Farmers Mutual Fire & Lightning Insurance Company was 
formed by the Germans of Cox Creek and Volga. The executive com- 
mittee was F. W. Hockhaus, Joseph Stich and Charles Cords and Louis 
Arnold was secretary. Values at the time are shown by the sale of the 
E. Price farm near Guttenberg for $5,600. 

Events of 1866 — The most stirring event of 1866 was the assault 
upon a German farmer near Farmersburg by an Allamakee county 
desperado at which time Clayton county came its nearest to seeing real 
mob violence, for the German farmers organized for lynching purposes 
and would have carried out their purpose had they not been assured 
that justice would prevail. 

In 1866 the county lost two of its pioneers. Jacob Nicklaus died 
on June 7. He was one of the Germans driven to this country by the 


Revolution and came to Clayton county through the influence of the 
Western Settlement Society, in 1853. He made his home at Guttenberg 
and was active in the ranks of the Republican party, being elected 
treasurer and recorder, in 1859, ^^^ serving until January i, 1866. 
He died at Elkader, when but 44 years of age. Of him it was said: 
"Almost every man in the county knew him personally, and none knew 
him that did not respect him. In his official duties he was untiring and 
obliging. He was honest, frank, and straightforward in all his duties 
and all agree that benevolence, honesty and integrity were among his 
cardinal virtues." Another pioneer to pass away at this time was John 
Downie, one of the early supervisors of the county who came to this 
country from Scotland, reaching here in 1838. He was one of the 
"war Democrats" who affiliated with the Republican party when the 
war for Union broke out. He left a respected memory and his 
descendants have been honored citizens of the county. 

In July, 1866, the county was visited by a great freshet which did 
much damage to buildings and to crops. It is said that "Turkey river 
could be heard thundering a mile distant." The bridge over Pony 
creek on the McGregor road was swept away and stage communications 
stopped. At McGregor the main street was filled with drift wood 
and lumber and the merchants sustained heavy damage. In October 
the county was shocked by a number of accidents happening together. 
Edward, the 13-year-old son of Reuben Noble, was killed, being shot 
through the head while hunting. In Elkader, William Satterlie was 
killed by being struck on the head by refuse brick thrown from the 
top of Davis & Co.'s store ; while, in Wagner township, John Wilkie 
was killed by having his neck broken in a fall from a haystack. 

In November, 1866, the valuation of the county is given as $5,- 
351,844, a gain of more than $1,000,000 within a year. 


Near the close of the year 1866 occurred the death of Captain 
Elisha Boardman, then sheriff of the county. Captain Boardman 
was a native of Vermont and came to this county in 1840. He was 
active in the enlistment of the Clayton county company of the Twenty- 
first Iowa and his act of bravery upon the field of battle has already 
been mentioned. He was very popular with the men of his command 
and he was elected sheriff by a practically unanimous vote. At his 
death H. D. Bronson, coroner, acted as sheriff, temporarily and the 
board then appointed James Davis. 


In 1867 a number of changes occurred in the Elkader Journal. 
Colonel Eiboeck retired and was succeeded by Lyman L. Ayers, who 
was editor for two weeks when he was succeeded by O. H. Mills. He 
left in another two weeks and, by February, Colonel Eiboeck was back 
at his post being urged by citizens of both parties who raised a fund 
for the enlargement of the paper which was done in May. The Journal 


is careful to conceal the reason for these sudden changes but enough is 
hinted to show that there must have been a sensation. In 1867, there 
was another attempt to revive interest in the soldiers' cenotaph project. 
This came to nothing although there were many publications concerning 
it and Judge Price suggested that a lottery be held for the purpose. 
Later the board of supervisors petitioned the legislature to permit 
counties to appropriate $5000 for a soldiers' monument. Clayton was 
one of the first counties to propose this patriotic action. The mill 
on the Volga river was built in 1867, by Reuth, Meder and Grotewohl 
at a cost of $20,000. Mr. Flenniken was the contractor and mill- 

Death of Alonso Brown — The county lost two of its prominent 
men in 1868, one of them being Alonzo Brown, who was one of the 
foremost educators of the county. Of him it was said: "A better man 
never lived in Clayton county. His education and talent placed him 
often in a position to serve the public which he always did cheerfully 
and without hesitation. He was the most unselfish man we ever knew 
— a true philanthropist, in the broadest sense of the term. Deeply felt 
will be his loss wherever he was known." He was the first superin- 
tendent of public instruction, serving in 1858 and 1859. Speaking 
of him, Mr. John Everall said : "At the time of his election he was 
comparatively a stranger and for his nomination and election, the 
friends of education were in a large measure indebted to Judge Mur- 
dock. During the war, he was elected president of the teachers' asso- 
ciation and he was prominent at all educational gatherings. He was 
a provost marshal during the war. He did a great work for Clayton 
county in putting into effect the excellent school laws, formulated by 
Maturin L. Fisher, as state superintendent." 

Death of James McGregor— Knoihtv death, at this time, was that 
of James McGregor. Mr. McGregor was possessed of strong character 
and was recognized as a man of force and ability. The law suit in 
which he was engaged for fifteen years, over the McGregor estate, 
caused him to be embittered and his interests were antagonistic to 
those of many citizens of the county, and thus, while he was respected, 
he did not have a place in the affections of the county such as was 
accorded Alonzo Brown or Mrs. R. R. Read, whose death occurred 
in November, 1867, not long after that of her honored husband. 

The whole county mourned the death of Mrs. Read whose name 
was synonymous with hospitality and kindness. Regarding this couple 
the McGregor Times says: "In the year 1838, they halted upon the 
beautiful prairie about five miles south of Garnavillo, and here they 
reared up their children and made for themselves a loving home. To 
their dwelling the weary hunter and way worn traveler repaired to 
seek shelter from the storm and appease his hunger. The latch-string 
was never pulled in, and a hearty welcome awaited the adventurer at 
their fireside. Mrs. Read could not long survive her husband, and 
after a good long life, she calmly laid her head upon her pillow, gave 
a last parting blessing to human kind, and while her lips were articulat- 
ing the last words, her gentle spirit passed away to meet, as she often 
said, her Robin in eternal bliss." 

Incomes in 1868 — That Clayton county, and particularly 


McGregor, were prosperous is shown by the figures given for the 
income tax in 1868. Incomes of $1,000 and under were exempt and 
the figures show incomes over that amount. As these statements 
were made for purposes of taxation, unless human nature has changed 
greatly since that time, it is safe to presume that they were not over- 
estimated. According to this report Joe Reynolds of "Diamond Jo" 
fame, had the largest income, it amounting to $8,000 per year ; among 
the others of considerable income were J. S. Beerbaum $2,561, James 
F. Basset $4,000, C. S. Bell $2,350, E. R. Barron $2,151, G. C. Cone 
$2,135, E. Egbert $2,091, J. N. Gilchrist $2,515, W. I. Gilchrist $3,103, 
William F. Hunting, $4,000, A. T. Jones $2,271, O. McCraney %2.,2'j'], 
Reuben Noble $3,005, Henry Reubel $4,973, J. T. Stoneman $2,280, 
Henry Webb $2,414. With such incomes, on the modest scale of living 
then prevalent, it is no wonder that the attorneys of McGregor could 
tender Judge Milo McGlathery a banquet at which champagne was 
a prominent feature. A part of the exuberance of wealth of the time 
is shown in the project to dam the Turkey river to render it fit for 

A prominent citizen dying in this year, 1868, was John Woodward 
of Farmersburg. He was born in Vermont and purchased land at 
National in 1848. He was a man of more than ordinary mental power, 
of unimpeachable character and of unflinching fideUty to his convic- 
tions. He served as Justice of the Peace but it is said of him that 
he settled almost all of his cases out of court. The only serious accident 
recorded during the year was when, in December, three sledge loads 
of passengers being transferred from Prairie du Chien to North 
McGregor, broke through the ice and a little child was drowned. The 
year closed with harder times and the merchants of the county com- 
plained of unsatisfactory holiday trade. 

The last days of the year were saddened by the sudden death of 
Captain T. G. Drips of Clayton. He ate breakfast as usual with the 
family and went to the river for water for his team. Being gone 
longer than usual, he was looked for, and found dead, reclining against 
a board pile along the river. Mr. Drips was born in Pennsylvania, in 
1820. He served with distinguished bravery as an orderly sergeant in 
the Mexican war, and came to Garnavillo in 1849. He served as deputy 
sheriff and was for four years sheriff of Clayton county. He was the 
captain in the Twenty-seventh Iowa and made a good record, resigning 
after two years' service on account of ill-health. 

The Hagerty Murder — In 1869, the Hagerty murder furnished 
one of the greatest sensations in the criminal record of the county. 
The circumstances of this triple murder were very mysterious and, but 
for an accident, it would have gone undiscovered and unpunished. 
While seining for fish in a small slough above Prairie du Chien, John 
Conners, of McGregor, drew up a trunk which was found to contain 
woman's clothing and several photographs of individuals in the north 
part of the county, among which were pictures of Mr. and Mrs. John 
Hagerty who had been living at Giard. It was known that a man 
named Thompson had been living with this woman and had taken her 
and her children to Wisconsin, but a short time previously. The 
finding of the trunk lead to further search and the bodies of the 


■woman, her daughter and her son, were found lower down the river. 
A cord was tied about the boy's neck and the woman was in a dehcate 
condition. The story of the case, as developed at the time, was that 
Hagerty, who was something of a drunkard, left his family and joined 
the army; returning, he had reason to suspect his wife and he drank 
more heavily and finally abandoned his family. His wife afterwards 
lived at the house of Andrew Thompson. They were last seen in 
November. Household articles identified as belonging to her were 
found in the river in February, but it was not until June that the 
trunk was discovered and it was still two days later before the bodies 
were found. The relations between Mrs. Hagerty and Thompson had 
been the cause of much comment and after some investigation a writ 
was issued for Thompson's arrest. Sheriff James Davis went to the 
home of James Love, a brother-in-law of Thompson, but was unable 
to capture him. The sheriff then sent to McGregor for aid and a 
posse of citizens volunteered and searched the woods for him all night. 
Thompson finally surrendered himself to Marshal Bergman. A pre- 
liminary examination was held and the best legal talent of the county 
was arrayed on each side. District Attorney Granger, John T. Stone- 
man and Judge Murdock prosecuted, and Noble, Odell, Hatch and 
Updegraff appeared for the defense. The evidence was voluminous 
and Thompson was bound over and, later, three indictments for murder 
were brought against him. There were many delays in bringing the 
case to trial and it was finally heard in June, 1870, in Fayette county. 
Thompson was found guilty and sentenced to be hung. Appeal was 
taken to the Supreme Court, which decided that, on account of a flaw 
in the indictment, he could not be executed. Being given his choice 
between a new trial and a sentence of life imprisonment, he chose the 
latter and expiated his crime at Fort Madison. 

River Traffic — At this time river traffic was in its glory. The three 
leading concerns operating were the Northwestern Union packet line 
with twenty-one boats, the Northern line with thirteen boats, and the 
Diamond Jo line with four boats. These companies employed 155 
barges. In 1844 the number of boat arrivals at St. Paul was forty- 
seven, by 1850 it had increased to 104, in 1855 to 603, the high mark 
was reached, in 1858, when the arrivals were 1068. This mark was 
almost reached in 1862, with 1015 arrivals. The number in 1869 was 
792. The arrivals at McGregor would be approximately double those 
at St. Paul, as the latter place was the terminus, while boats stopped 
at McGregor both going up and down the river. These statistics give 
an idea of the busy port of McGregor which had added importance 
as the headquarters of the Diamond Jo line. 

Elkader was prosperous during this period. Nearly every issue 
of its newspapers note some new building begun or some improve- 
ment contemplated. On August 11, 1866, the Elkader post office rose 
to the dignity of a money order office and there were many other 
evidences of increasing importance. 

Court House — One of the first actions of the board of supervisors 
in 1866 was the appropriation of $2,000 for a treasurer's office, $2,000 
for a vault and $2,000 for the transfer of the county records into new 
books. Later, $3,000 was appropriated for recorder's office, provided 


Elkader would giyg the site. This was done and Davis and Beardsley 
donated the beautiful lots upon which the court house stands today. 
The citizens also subscribed $i,ooo for a wall along the river front of 
these lots. This action practically settled the county seat question. 
Garnavillo made an effort to obtain the county seat in 1867, but the 
campaign was not vigorous, the western part of the county voted almost 
unanimously for Elkader and that city won by 711. The erection of 
buildings and subsequent legislation ended the long drawn county seat 

One of the dreams of Elkader for many years was the establish- 
ment of a woolen factory and in 1866 there were a series of meetings 
for this purpose and committees were appointed to solicit stock sub- 
scriptions. It was proposed to sell $50,000 worth of stock, the mill 
owners to take $10,000, in stock, for a half interest in the water power. 
These meetings covered a period of months but came to nothing. 

Fenianism — One of the interesting developments of the times 
was the great interest in the Fenian Society. There was an active 
branch in Elkader, meetings were held, one of which was addressed by 
Mr. Finerty of Chicago, and the movement had the support of the 
local newspaper. It is related that at one time $50 was subscribed 
for the purchase of a Fenian flag. This money was forwarded to 
Chicago, but was returned, with the statement that the cheapest flag 
would cost $100. About this time there was a call from the head 
of the order for funds to buy ammunition for the Irish revolutionists 
and the ladies used the $50 for this purpose. A card notifying sub- 
scribers to this effect was signed by Cornelius Ryan who stated that 
any dissatisfied with this arrangement could receive a refund by apply- 
ing to John Moran. This Fenian agitation died out within the course 
of a year. 

Hop Industry — A new industry which promised great things in 
1866 was the hopyard, started by L. V. Davis, who advertised for 
forty young and elderly women to pick hops at 75 cents per box. This 
hopfield consisted of eighteen acres and between forty and fifty were 
employed in the hop picking. The Journal says, "Some of our best 
ladies, married and single, were there, arrayed in bloomers, stripping 
the richly laden vines. We did not notice the costume so much as 
the bloom on the cheeks of the fair pickers, who were making from 
$1 to $1.50 per day." The picking season ended with a grand hop at 
the hop farm which lasted until morning. 

In October, 1866, Elkader was pleasantly startled by three wed- 
dings in a single day. Judge A. C. Rogers performing all the services, 
the contracting parties were Realto E. Price and Miss Sarah Filetta 
Stewart, Orrin P. Stewart and Mary Young, and Thaddeus Maxson 
and Mary A. McLane. 

Some Elkader "Firsts" — Sidelights on Elkader history at this time 
are shown by the newspaper approval of Father O'Beirne's efforts to 
stop rowdyism ; by a statement that there was not a sidewalk the length 
of a block in all Elkader and by the agreement among the business 
men to close their stores on Sunday. In 1866, appears the first 
mention of Mr. Bayless as a business man. The Freeman Lumber 
Yards opened in that year; the first express office was opened, with 


A. W. Daugherty as agent, and the first advertisement of oysters 
appears in an Elkader paper. The first effort at fire prevention was 
made, in 1867, v^^hen the Elkader mill put in a $1,000 pump and offered 
the use of it to the city, if the citizens would provide hose. It was 
in front of the mill, in 1866, that the first street light was installed, 
and at this time the mill made one shipment of 1,000 barrels of flour, 
by team to McGregor. In 1868, on New Year's day, Elkader gave a 
grand ball to celebrate the county seat victory and during that month 
Colonel Eiboeck published the first number of Clayton county's first 
German paper, The Herold. 

Fairs — The Agricultural Society met at the Fair Grounds at 
National, May 18, 1866, electing James Parker of Monona president 
and J. E. Corlett secretary. Messrs. Merrill and Drummond addressed 
the meeting, stating that supervisors were permitted to appropriate 
$1,000 to the society. This was followed up, and, in June, the super- 
visors appropriated $1,000 to be effective when the society had ten 
acres free of debt. The fair held in October 1866, was described as 
the "best ever." The fair, for 1867, took on more of the nature of 
the modern fair; one of the features being Ormsby's Female 
Equestriennes. The McGregor band was employed and there were 
races and lager and wine. Mrs. Taylor of McGregor won the prize 
as a horse-woman and Miss Minerva Mathews was the winner of the 
race for lady riders. In 1868, James King was president and C. A. 
Watkins secretary. The fair was held in October and there was a 
good display, a feature being woolen goods of Clayton county manu- 
facture shown by Otis & Co. W. S. Scott of Monona was president and 
Norman Hamilton secretary in 1869. The financial report showed 
that the paid admissions, for 1868, amounted to $720.75. The asso- 
ciation was then $1,300 in debt. The receipts for 1869 were not large 
on account of rain, but $600 of the old indebtedness was paid. In his 
report secretary Corlett describes the fair grounds and improvements 
as follows: "The society has beautiful grounds enclosed by tight 
board fence costing $1,000; a two-story fair building upon which there 
has been expended over $2,000. Also pens and stalls for stock, $200. 
The ten acres cost $900 of which $500 was paid by 1869, not less 
than $500 were expended upon the ground and buildings in 1867 
and 1868. The entire indebtedness of the society is $1,300, leaving the 
net assets at $3,300." 

County Government — Aside from the steps taken to build a court 
house the most important acts of the supervisors are to be found in 
the extensive appropriations for bridges. Three thousand dollars was 
appropriated for a bridge at Elkport and $5,000 for a bridge at Oster- 
dock. A good bridge at Bloody Run was also put in. The question 
of a tax for a jail was submitted to the people and carried and E. H. 
Williams, John Garber and James Davis were appointed as a committee 
to superintend its construction. In 1867, nineteen paupers were housed 
at the poor farm under the stewardship of August Millinghausen. The 
house is described as adequate, but the stable is of straw and the board 
was urged to appropriate enough to erect substantial buildings. 

Railroad Projects — Prior to 1870, there was but one railroad in 
the county, this being the McGregor Western, but the map of the 


entire county was overrun with surveys and proposed routes and it was 
a dull week when there was not a railroad meeting some place in the 
county. Judge Murdock proposed a road from the mouth of Buck 
creek to Garnavillo and thence by Dry Mill to Elkader and up the 
Turkey river to Otter creek and West Union and then "wherever it 
please." A meeting to consider this project was held in Garnavillo, 
in July, 1866. The following December, articles of incorporation were 
filed for a road from McGregor to Elkader, Cedar Falls and Des 
Moines. The incorporators were James Lawler and Joseph Reynolds 
of Chicago, R. L. Freeman of Elkader and Lindsey Seals of McGregor. 
Judge Williams also planned a line up Turkey river and attended 
a meeting at Dubuque to promote it. In 1867, a meeting was held at 
Guttenberg and resolutions introduced by Judge Price favoring the 
Dubuque and Northwestern. A survey was made down the river in 
1868 and the McGregor and Western also surveyed a line from North 
McGregor to McGregor. In 1868 there was great excitement over the 
proposal of the so-called Forty-third Parallel Railroad to obtain a 
land grant from the legislature. McGregor was the storm center of 
this proposal and meeting after meeting was held with arguments pro 
and con. The majority at McGregor favored aid to the McGregor 
and Western rather than to the new company and this was the final 
action of the legislature. In 1869, meetings were held at McGregor 
relative to voting a tax for a line from Dubuque. Piatt Smith spoke 
for the tax and Reuben Noble opposed it. It was agreed to solicit 
donations. A railroad convention was held at Guttenberg and that 
city subscribed $30,000 for the Dubuque line. The Des Moines and 
McGregor line was revived and, in this, Elkader was greatly interested 
and sent delegates to a convention held at Waterloo. A survey was 
made from McGregor to Elkader via Sny Magill and H. W. Bur- 
lingame, the promotor, declared that capital had been secured for its 
construction if the various localities would contribute. In December, 
1869, a temporary bridge was completed at North McGregor and the 
first through train went across. This bridge piled the ice above and 
left clear water below, so that McGregor complained and questioned 
the right of a corporation "to dam the river above us, and thereby 
damn the team business below us." The result of all these meetings 
was to crystalize public sentiment, but no railroad mileage was added 
to the county from the close of the war to 1870. 

Among the Teachers — The return of many young men after the 
war, who were compelled to make a new start in life, gave added 
interest to the teaching field and the schools of the county were never 
in better hands. The Teachers' Association held a meeting at Garna- 
villo in December, 1865, J. Bell was chairman and the program included 
addresses from Professor Briggs and Judge Murdock and an essay 
by Miss Prince of Garnavillo. The teachers were appreciative of their 
fellow workers as is evidenced by the presentation of a chair to "Father 
Tremain" at Strawberry Point upon his return from Pike's Peak and 
the gift of a silver cake basket to ex-Superintendent Kramer. The 
Briggs Academy at Garnavillo was in successful operation at this 
time ; J. Briggs was principal and Miss Sarah H. Prince assisted. Rev. 
G. M. Porter taught languages and Annette Huntley instructed in 


music. The institute for 1866 was held at Guttenberg with J. Piper 
as director and throughout this period there was increased school 

Town Progress — In May 1866 the town of McGregor was stirred 
by the murder of Ira Pritchard, a trapper from Allamakee county, who 
was brutally assaulted and robbed. Frank Lienhart was arrested for 
this crime and the McGregor News urges the authorities to clean up 
the city and get rid of the many objectionable characters. The moral 
tone of McGregor improved, however, and the material advancement 
was rapid. There were many new and substantial business blocks 
erected and a number of churches, among which was the Methodist 
church, erected in 1869. One of the most important permanent im- 
provements was the erection of the academy building. This was com- 
menced in the fall of 1868, and cost $20,000. A. J. Jordan was the 
supervisor and S. Jacobs was the architect. There were six large 
rooms in this building. At North McGregor, which was booming, 
Flemming Bros, spent $20,000 improving their saw mill plant, adding 
a shingle factory and a gang of twenty saws. 

Monona, also, was prosperous and, by 1869, the town contained 
three large churches with a fourth under process of erection. A new 
school house had been built at a cost of $20,000 and Professor M. W. 
Baily was at the head of the school and in every respect Monona was 
a very live and up-to-date town. Guttenberg receives but casual men- 
tion from Elkader and McGregor newspapers, but there is every 
evidence that it was prospering finely, while Clayton was receding as a 
business point and the inland towns of the county were enjoying a 
slow but steady growth. 

Political History — In politics, the larger issues of the war gave 
place to minor and more personal matters. The course of President 
Johnson relative to reconstruction became more and more distasteful 
to Republicans. This feeling grew and culminated at the time of his 
impeachment. As the Republicans denounced Johnson, the Democrats 
took him up, and before the close of his administration the pecuHar sit- 
uation was created, that the president was supported by the opposing 
political, party and denounced by his own. This was in the day of 
personalities in politics and the Republican papers did not hesitate to 
call Johnson a drunkard nor did the Democratic paper fail to return 
the compliment by accusing Grant of a like failing. One of the 
features of the campaign of 1866, was the formation of a new party 
called the National Union party. This was composed of the so-called 
conservative Republicans who endorsed Johnson and this division 
among the Republicans was naturally encouraged by the Democrats. 
At the Republican convention held at Elkader for the purpose of 
electing delegates to the judicial convention Reuben Noble was chair- 
man and Alonzo Brown was secretary. The delegates were instructed 
to support Milo McGlathery for judge and he was nominated at the 
convention held at West Union, July 12, and L. O. Hatch of Allamakee 
was nominated for district attorney. Thomas UpdegrafT was chair- 
man of this convention. 

The convention held August 18, to select delegates for the con- 
gressional convention was not so harmonious. William Hoflfbauer was 


chairman of this convention and J. E. Corlett secretary. A resolution 
was introduced instructing for WilHam B. Allison, this was opposed 
by J. O. Crosby and Dr. G. W. Chase and was advocated by B, T. 
Hunt and Willis Drummond. The resolution was passed with but 
four opposing votes. Allison was renominated and stumped the county. 

Samuel Merrill presided at the convention which nominated H. S. 
Granger for clerk and W. D. Crooke for recorder. There was a bitter 
fight for this nomination, Crooke defeating J. Oglesbee on the third 
formal ballot. Oglesbee, later, opposed the election of Crooke. 

Although he had been the chairman of the Republican convention 
in July, Reuben Noble allied himself with the new party and he was 
nominated for Congress at a convention at West Union, which the 
Republican newspapers dubbed the "kangaroo" convention. Mr. 
Noble's defection drew upon him many bitter attacks from Republican 
sources. The Democrats nominated Robert L. Freeman for clerk and 
Mr. Roedemann, of Guttenberg, for recorder. The Republican state 
ticket carried the county by upwards of 700, Allison had 577 majority 
over Noble, Granger had 517 majority and Crooke was elected by 312. 

Merrill for Governor — It was in November, 1866, that Samuel 
Merrill of McGregor was first proposed as a candidate for governor, 
by the Dubuque Times. In this connection the Times says : "Colonel 
Samuel Merrill of Clayton county enjoys the confidence and esteem 
of all who know him — he is a first class and successful business man — 
and well qualified to assume and discharge the varied duties of the 
executive chair." While this mention of Merrill was well received it 
was not taken very seriously by Clayton county Republicans at first. 
The Elkader Journal says of him: "Colonel Merrill is a good and 
strong man, but he is not the only strong man the Third Congressional 
District can boast. We urge that if there be any considerable opposi- 
tion to Colonel Merrill we select and unite upon some other of the 
many able men from this part of the state." As late as February 27, 
1867, the Journal is not sure that it would not be better to unite 
upon B. T. Hunt. A month later, however, Colonel Merrill's chances 
are recorded as being bright and the Republicans were strong in his 
support. Merrill was nominated, his Democratic opponent being 
Charles Mason. M. L. Fisher was a candidate for state superintendent 
on the Democratic ticket. Mr. Merrill received a handsome indorse- 
ment from his home county, his majority being 811. H. E. Newell for 
senator, J. C. Vaupel for treasurer, James Davis for sheriff, and C. A. 
Dean for judge on the Republican ticket were elected without opposi- 
tion. M. E. Smith, Republican, defeated Carl Kostman, Democrat, for 
surveyor by 83 majority; for superintendent, W. A. Preston, Repub- 
lican, defeated J. Briggs, Democrat, by 59 majority; N. Hamilton, 
James Newberry and P. G. Bailey, Republicans, were elected to the 
legislature. The question of prohibition was a live issue in this cam- 
paign. The people of McGregor were much pleased over the election 
of Merrill and showed their good will by serenading him at his home. 
In November Mr. Merrill resigned the position, as president of the 
First National Bank of McGregor, and soon went to Des Moines to 
prepare for the duties of his high office. 

Campaign of 1868 — That Clayton county was influential in state 


politics, in both parties, is shown by the fact that the following year, 
Senator David Hamer of McGregor was the Democratic candidate for 
secretary of state. This was the presidential campaign in which 
Horatio Seymour was the Democratic candidate against General U. S. 
Grant. At the Democratic convention, held at Elkader, Professor 
Briggs presided and A. J. Jordan, C. P. Goodrich, Reuben Noble, B. P. 
Rawson and B. F. Fox were on the resolutions committee. Delegates 
to the congressional convention were instructed to support John T. 
Stoneman ; A. W. Daugherty of Elkader was nominated for clerk and 
Dr. Paul Stockfeldt for recorder. At the congressional convention 
Stoneman withdrew in favor of William Mills, of Dubuque, who was 
nominated for congress. Mr. Stoneman was the Democratic candidate 
for presidential elector for this district. The Republicans renominated 
Allison for congress and Granger for clerk and Crooke for recorder. 
A feature of the campaign was a joint debate held at McGregor 
between Allison and Noble. After the election Colonel Richardson 
says : "We haven't official returns from anywhere, but this is true : 
Democrats can pay their debts with safety." The Republican majority 
for Grant was 831 ; for Wright, as against Hamer, for secretary of 
State, 852. The Republican county candidates were elected ; the vote 
for a jail tax carried by 1,249 ^"<^ ^^e proposition to strike the word 
"white" from the constitution received 370 majority. 

Campaign i86p — The year 1869 was filled with personal politics 
largely. Among the Republicans the contest raged about William B. 
Allison who had senatorial ambitions. Post office appointments at 
McGregor and Elkader had created considerable dissatisfaction and a 
Republican convention held at Elkader, July 10, presented the name 
of Judge E. H. Williams as a candidate for the senate. Other Repub- 
lican nominees were Samuel Murdock and H. B. Taylor for rep- 
resentatives, Henry Kellner for treasurer, James Davis for sheriff, M. 
E. Duff for auditor, W. C. McNeal for superintendent, S. L. Peck for 
surveyor and H. D. Bronson for coroner. The resolutions, which 
caused such dissention among the Republicans and which were directed 
against Allison, read as follows : "While we are proud to acknowledge 
that the success of the Republican party has been largely due to its 
patriotic, free, and independent newspaper press, we unqualifiedly 
condemn the infamous practice inaugurated in this congressional dis- 
trict, of subsidizing and corrupting this, which should be the great 
conservator of public virtue, by the use of federal patronage to 
accomplish personal advancement." A. P. Richardson was the 
Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor and aside from the 
Democratic and Republican county tickets there was a "Financial and 
Labor Reform" ticket in the field. This latter ticket, however, endorsed 
all the Democratic candidates except L. R. Gilbert for representative 
and Tim M. Hopkins for sheriff. The Republicans scored again at 
this election, Merrill receiving 511 majority. Mr. Richardson was 
given a handsome complimentary vote. All the Republican candidates 


were elected, except that John Everall, Democrat, was elected superin- 
tendent by 884 majority. The race for treasurer was close, Kellner 
defeating Charles Schultze by 16 votes. It will thus be seen that in 
the four years following the war Clayton county furnished a successful 
candidate for governor and candidates for lieutenant-governor, sec- 
retary of state, state superintendent, congress, and presidential elector. 
No other county in Iowa has ever excelled this record in any four- 
year period. 











WHILE the years glide into the stream of time, as the rivers 
flow into the Father of Waters, without perceptibly raising its 
level or increasing its mighty current, still, looked at from the 
perspective of later years, it will be found that there has been steady 
progress and that the tide of civilization changes in its characteristics 
and grows in momentum. It is also possible to see various trends in 
events and thus, roughly, to divide history into periods. In the history 
of Clayton county, after the first American settlements there were: 
First, the pioneer period; next, the period of permanent settlement; 
then, the fever of war and the renewed rush of settlement at its 
close; now, from 1870 to 1880, comes a period of internal development. 
The county became practically at a standstill as to population; the 
increase from 1870 to 1875 was but six. The "Golden Era" of 
McGregor ended in the 6o's and the chief activities shifted again to 
the south part of the county, where towns sprang up and developed 
along the line of the Volga River Railroad and of the Davenport and 
Northern. It was a period, also, of large imaginings and, while many 
of these projects failed, they, nevertheless, show the indomitable 
courage and enterprise of the people. It was a time too of organization. 
The first struggle had been more of a man to man contest, now there 
were time and opportunity to enjoy the social side of life; thus in 
these years are found the beginnings of many societies. The Agricul- 
tural Society, the Sunday School Association, Church organizations, 
lodges and Turn Vereins flourished, while, in politics, the heated dis- 
cussions of war times died away to be replaced by more personal, and 
it must be confessed, more sordid issues. 

River Railroad — In 1870, the only railroad in Clayton county was 
the line from North McGregor through Monona and Luana and to the 
west. The people of McGregor had found that this railroad, instead of 
increasing their importance, had decreased it, but the enterprising peo- 


pie of that city were not ready to acknowledge defeat and still enter- 
tained dreams of empire with McGregor a metropolis and they believed 
that the cure was to be found in more railroads, and the big men of 
the town, of whom there were many, interested themselves greatly 
in railroad projects. The Dubuque and Minnesota was one of the 
first lines pushed ; S. T. Woodward and J. H. Merrill being directors. 
H. B. Carter, J. A. Hysham, A. F. Tipton, S. T. Woodward, Gibb 
Douglass and Timothy Davis represented Clayton county at the meet- 
ing held to organize. Donations were asked from different Clayton 
county towns along the river. The McGregor Times opposed this 
movement, but meetings were held and, under the spell of Judge Wil- 
Hams' eloquence, the business men of McGregor voted unanimously 
for a tax. As a result of this meeting an election was ordered, for 
June I, 1870, but this was postponed for a month on account of an 
error in serving notice. A tax of 5 per cent was voted by a majority 
of 281. In the meantime, Elkader was also interested in railroads 
and, after an exciting election, a tax was voted by 71 majority. Gut- 
tenberg also voted a tax, but Clayton voted against it. E. H. Williams 
received the contract for grading the first thirty miles north of Dubuque 
and, in October, 1870, a celebration was held when the first ground was 
broken for the river road. H. L Havens, D. B. Dawson, B. F. Fox, 
B. Schroeder, A. T. Jones and A. W. Burlingame composed a com- 
mission to fix the damages along the right of way. The work of con- 
struction was pushed rapidly and, by May, 1871, it was stated that 
trains were expected to reach McGregor by September i ; that con- 
tracts had been let for grading as far as Harper's Ferry and that men 
were already at work. In June it was announced that the rails had 
arrived and also the locomotives, the "William Andrews," and the 
"John D. Burt," for, in those days, locomotives, like steamboats, were 
known by name. There were the usual troubles of construction and 
certain contractors vanished over night without paying for labor or for 
ties. But, by September, 1871, the railroad had reached the mouth 
of Turkey river and it soon reached McGregor and beyond. 

Although, at this time, all the railroads of Clayton county are 
parts of the Milwaukee system, all the various lines of the county were 
at first built by independent companies; thus, at first, there were no 
traffic arrangements between the road running west of McGregor and 
the road north, and it was some time before there were any friendly 
relations between the two roads. It was several years before the 
line to the west was compelled to build a spur connecting McGregor 
with North McGregor, and it was not until 1874 that the Milwaukee 
rented the Times office and fitted it up as a McGregor ticket office. 

Narrow Gauge — One favorite project was the building of a line 
up the Turkey river. A proposition was made to Elkader that this 
line would be built to connect with the river road, for $2,000 per mile, 
the right of way, depot, grounds, etc. A meeting was held to con- 
sider this and Messrs. Carter, Woodward, Price, Young and Garber 
appointed to solicit funds. The Iowa and Minnesota constructive 
company was formed to carry on this work, but the amount asked 
was too large and Elkader could not meet it. Another project was 
the Cedar Rapids and McGregor Railway, via Elkader and Manchester ; 


Still another was the ambitious Milwaukee, Chicago, Cassville and 
Montana. This line was incorporated, with $6,000,000 as the capital 
stock. The promoters of this line were E. H. Williams, James Hysham, 
Thomas Updegraff, J. O. Crosby, H. B. Carter and others and the 
headquarters were to be at McGregor. In the meantime, E. H. Wil- 
liams proposed a narrow gauge railway from McGregor to the south- 
west, passing through Elkader. Many articles were printed to show 
the superiority of the narrow gauge line over the broad gauge system. 
The Waterloo and McGregor narrow gauge railway was incorporated. 
This met with the approval of McGregor people, and Messrs. Flem- 
ming, Newell, and J. H. Merrill went to Waterloo to investigate. 
Their report was unfavorable, but Judge Williams urged the matter 
and a further committee was appointed. In October, 1871, Elkader 
rejoices that the narrow gauge, thanks to Judge Williams, is assured 
and during the same month, Lee, Keenan and Flynn broke the first 
ground for the narrow gauge. A connection was made with the Mil- 
waukee at Beulah but, before the line had reached much more than 
half way, hard times closed down and work stopped, leaving Elkader 
still without railroad connection. The road suffered severely from 
washouts and it led a precarious existence. Judge Williams persisted, 
however, and, in order to carry on the work with the least possible 
expense, maple rails were used, instead of iron, for the last miles of 
construction. In December, 1874, the McGregor Times states: "The 
Iowa Eastern (narrow gauge) has been completed to the mouth of 
Dry Mill creek and within four miles of Motor. A station house 
has been erected and Patrick Heendan is station agent. The work 
on the Motor extension is to be prosecuted during the winter without 
cessation. At St. Claf station, T. C. Peterson is building a first class 
elevator and, at Farmersburg, Ben Johnson is about to double the 
capacity of his warehouse. At each of the stations there are buyers 
engaged in the purchase of grain and produce of all kinds. From 
all accounts we are disposed to think that better days are dawning 
on the career of the narrow gauge, and taking all things into con- 
sideration, Judge Williams is entitled to praise for the tenacity and 
faith he has exhibited in his enterprise." 

This optimism appears to have been justified, for, in September, 
1875, ^t is noted that the narrow gauge has sixteen new cars. In 1876, 
however, the road was in difficulty and the supreme court rendered a 
decision in favor of Ole Nelson, who had supplied ties, establishing 
his claim as a prior lien over bondholders. Illustrating the speed of 
the narrow gauge, there was a lawsuit growing out of the fact that 
certain dogs ran along beside the train, barking at and annoying 
the passengers, whereupon Attorney Young stepped to the platform 
and shot and killed one of the dogs. 

A year later the Elkader Register tells that the Iowa Eastern 
receipts for 1879 were $14,174.74, expenses $12,055. The company 
have sixteen miles of iron rails and 3.7 miles of wooden rails. The 
rolling stock consisted of one locomotive, one passenger car, two 
express and baggage cars, fifteen box cars, eight stock cars and six 
flat cars. W. C. Brown, afterwards president of the New York Central 
Railway was the first agent at Beulah. 


The history of Judge Williams' struggles and failures and his 
never- failing courage and integrity is told in his biography given in 
another chapter, 

Volga Valley Line — In 1871, agitation for the Volga River line 
was commenced and, in July, Volga voted a tax of 5 per cent in favor 
of the "Iowa Pacific." This line seems to have had good backing and 
it experienced fewer of the vicissitudes of pioneer railroading than 
did the other lines of the county. In November, 1874, a Volga cor- 
respondent writes, "We are bound to have a railroad at last; Daniel 
Green, the great railroad contractor, has contracted to grade six miles 
of the Volga Valley Railroad. He has secured the men and teams 
for active operation." The correspondent also tells of Volga City as 
it was before the coming of the railroad, saying: "Volga City is a wide- 
awake, enterprising town, with one flouring mill, owned by Henry 
White ; two dry goods stores, owned by Hollister and Wetmore ; a 
wagon shop, owned by Pardee and Goodwin; three blacksmith shops, 
one tin shop, harness shop, boot and shoe store and two hotels. The 
Methodists have a very good frame church, and one Union church, 
frame. There is a Masonic lodge, a Good Templars lodge, and a 
flourishing grange. Dr. McLane enjoys a splendid practice." This 
line was pushed to completion through the county and the towns of 
Osterdock, Elkport, Littleport, Mederville, Osborne and Volga became 
prosperous and thriving. Each town boomed, particularly, while it 
was the terminus of the line. The farmers hailed the railroads with 
joy and fraternized with the contractors and their men. There were 
balls and parties and banquets given by the citizens in honor of the 
railroads and, when the road was completed, this was reciprocated by 
free excursions to Dubuque. 

The building of this road caused deep inroads upon the trade of 
Elkader and the Register says : "All are aware of the drawing oiif in 
the grain and produce trade by the extension of the Volga branch 
along our border and within six miles of our door. The effect is 
apparent to everyone doing business in this place. It is well enough 
to look these facts square in the face. To hold our own and build upon 
the foundation we now have is the question of the hour." The Register 
mentions two proposed lines to connect with the Volga branch either 
at Elkport or at Littleport. Later in the year it was reported that 
Judge Williams was making repairs on his road and expected to have 
a train running to the depot within a week or two. Elkader was not 
content with this service, however, and, in 1879, a committee was 
appointed to examine a route to connect with the Volga branch at 
Mederville. Garnavillo also had longings for rail connection with the 
outside world and at a meeting held in February, 1878, Crosby, Linton 
and Kregal were appointed to examine the feasibility of a line from 
Garnavillo down Buck creek and, at a second meeting, Judge Williams 
offered to extend the narrow gauge to Garnavillo, if that city would 
donate $13,000. 

The Davenport and Northwestern — The line through the southern 
part of the county, from Edgewood to Strawberry point, also met with 
difficulties. This was called the Davenport and Northwestern and, 
like other lines, was built largely on faith and fell into the sheriff's 


hands. In 1879, William Larrabee, acting for creditors, seized the part 
of the road running through Clayton county and, for a time, there was 
no train service beyond Greeley. The Davenport and Northwestern 
was obliged to put in a turn table at the county line and the Larrabee 
interests operated the road from there on, independently. It was 
then rumored that the Milwaukee would take over the entire line. 

The Iowa Eastern was the last line to fall into the hands of the 
Milwaukee system. After the flood of 1876, the track had not been 
relaid and the terminus was three miles from Elkader. In 1882, the 
Milwaukee took possession, built the line to Elkader, proper, and made 
it of standard gauge. No railroad mileage has been added to the 
county since that time, and all the lines are parts of the Milwaukee 
system. Showing the standing of McGregor in the business world it 
might be added that its railroad enterprises were not confined to this 
county and that, in 1875, it was a McGregor company, headed by 
Joseph Reynolds, which constructed a narrow gauge railroad into Hot 
Springs, Arkansas, and maintained it for many years. 

Fairs and Schools — The agricultural association went through 
many ups and downs during this time. The wonder is that they main- 
tained the struggle and did so well as they did. The year 1870 found 
the society with a debt of $585, and it was with this handicap that it 
proceeded with its work. W. S. Scott was elected president and E. C. 
Hall secretary. The fair was held in September and was described as 
being a success. More attention was paid to woman's work and the 
ladies of the county responded with enthusiasm. Crops were bad 
in 1869-70, this was reflected in the exhibits. In 1870 the attendance 
was between 2,500 and 3,000 and this encouraged the officials. In the 
meantime a district agricultural meeting was called of the four 
counties, Clayton, Allamakee, Winnishiek and Fayette. The purpose 
was to hold a fair at Postville, and the success of this institution 
detracted somewhat from the county organization. In 1871 the exhibit 
was not so large and the attendance fell off so that premiums were not 
paid in full. 

James Jack was president in 1873. The 1874-5 fairs were success- 
ful, that of 1875 being described as the "best ever." For the first time 
school children were encouraged to exhibit and this was a prominent 
feature of the fair. In 1876 D. F. Bickel was elected president and 
the secretary was G. H. Otis. They started with a balance on hand of 
$128.70 and the fair that year was a great success with good patronage 
and a fine exhibit. 

At the annual meeting held in January 1877, A. F. Nichols was 
elected president and G. H. Otis was continued as secretary. The fair 
was held in September and the attendance was large, the live stock 
exhibit was especially good and the society was able to pay its premiums 
in full. A reform wave struck the society in 1878, the old officers 
were re-elected, but a resolution was adopted prohibiting games of 
chance and the crying of wares on the fair grounds. A resolution to 
stop racing was lost. It had become apparent, however, that the fair 
could not be made a money-making institution at its then location and, 
at a meeting, in September, 1878, John Corlett introduced a resolution 
providing for the removal of the fair to a more central location. There 


is no record, however, of any vote being taken and the fair remained at 
National. Weather was against them that year and the fair was 
prolonged one day on account of rain. So far as exhibits were con- 
cerned, the fair was a success, but the attendance was poor. The 
receipts of the fair were $888. 

At a meeting held in December, Sanford Ballou was elected presi- 
dent and A. C. Rogers secretary. 

In 1879, the situation was complicated by the formation of a 
society in the south part of the county, holding a fair at Strawberry 
Point, in September. This fair was successful, with no rain, fine races, 
receipts of $935 and expenses of $887. The same good fortune did 
not follow the county fair, which, in spite of good exhibits, was spoiled 
by rain which prevented large attendance, but not the walking race, 
which was a star feature. The fair was unable to pay its premiums 
in full. Nevertheless the officers, S. Ballou and A. C. Rogers, were 
re-elected and the society started the new decennial with high hopes. 

It would be unprofitable to give the program of all the many 
teachers' conventions and institutes held. The institute became a 
prominent feature in school life and as many as 180 teachers attended. 
Association meetings were held frequently, as were also township 
meetings. All these were helpful in increasing the efficiency of the 
schools. J. F. Thompson and John Everall were the leading and most 
popular educators with the teachers, and institutes were held at various 
points in the county. McGregor, Guttenberg, Monona, Elkader, and 
Strawberry Point built up strong independent school systems and the 
principals of these schools were drawn upon to conduct the institutes 
for the rural teachers. 

Political Arena — Politics in Clayton county was a seething caul- 
dron all through this period. Samuel Merrill, of Clayton county, was 
Governor of the state and he was urged as a candidate for United 
States Senator. In later years. Judge Wright is quoted as having said 
that Clayton county produced the strongest men and the best politi- 
cians in Iowa, and that, had they been able to work together, nothing 
could have stood against them ; but, fortunately for the balance of 
the state, they were never harmonious. This was illustrated in the 
battle for the senatorship, when Senator Newell supported Merrill, 
Judge Murdock was right hand man for Wright, and Judge Williams 
and Major Drummond were supporters of Allison. Wright won the 
nomination and was elected. The Democrats accorded the honor of 
their nomination to John T. Stoneman, of Clayton county. Although 
he had opposed him in the senatorial fight. Governor Merrill appointed 
E. H. Williams as a judge of the Supreme Court. In many ways 
Governor Merrill proved himself an able and fair minded executive, 
so much so that, in 1870, the legislature of Iowa passed highly com- 
mendatory resolutions concerning him, these being introduced by John 
P. Irish, the Democratic leader, and supported ardently by the eloquent 
John A. Kasson. During Governor Merrill's term the important work 
of building the state capitol was carried on, and, while mistakes were 
made, there was at no time any reflection upon the integrity and ability 
of the governor. 

It was at the republican county convention held in Elkader, July 


27, 1870, with Frank Larrabee as chairman and M. E. Duff as secre- 
tary, that the name of Thomas Updegraff was first presented as a can- 
didate for Congress. Mr. Updegraff was a serious contender in the 
congressional convention which followed, but W. G. Donnan was 
nominated on the tenth ballot, the vote being, Donnan 97, Updegraff 
65, Larrabee 4. It was in this year, also, that Reuben Noble was 
nominated for Supreme Judge on the democratic ticket and John T. 
Stoneman was nominated for Congress on the same ticket. The re- 
publicans of the county urged Williams for Supreme Judge, but he 
failed to secure the nomination. The election of 1870 was a victory 
for the republicans by some 300 majority. Stoneman received a large 
complimentary vote for congress, carrying the county by nearly 100. 
For supervisors, O. W. Crary and P. P. Olmstead, republicans, were 
elected, and Michael Uriell, democrat, who defeated Henry White by 
10 votes. H. S. Granger was re-elected clerk without opposition and 
R. L. Freeman had a majority of more than 300 for recorder as 
against Peter Karberg, republican. A vote was taken to increase the 
number of supervisors from 3 to 5, but this was defeated by 900, while 
the stock restraint law was beaten nearly 3 to i. After the election 
which saw the change from one supervisor for each township to but 
three supervisors for the county, Uriell drew the three year term, 
Crary two years and Olmsted one. It was in 1871 that F. D. Bayless 
first became prominent in democratic politics and for many years he 
was one of the leaders of democracy. This was the year of the Alli- 
son-Harlan fight for the Senatorship and this created much factional 
feeling among the republicans. C. C. Carpenter was the republican 
candidate for governor and carried the county against J. C. Knapp, 
democrat, by 320. For state senator O. W. Crary defeated John T. 
Stoneman, and Louis Reuther and R. B. Flenniken were elected rep- 
resentatives over J. M. Hagensick and Rufus Richardson, democrats. 
Other republicans elected were G. Cooley, supervisor; Martin Garber, 
auditor; Henry Kellner, treasurer; James Davis, sheriff; S. L. Peck 
surveyor, and H. D. Bronson, coroner. The only democrat elected 
was John Everall for superintendent. 

1872 was a presidential year and Horace Greeley was the opponent 
of General Grant. There was some party feeling, but the opposition 
was unable to make headway against the great Union general and 
Greeley was not popular with the democrats themselves. Grant car- 
ried Clayton county by 201 majority. Stoneman was again the can- 
didate for Congress and defeated Donnan by 285, although he was not 
elected in the district. For circuit judge, C. P. Granger of Allamakee, 
afterward a supreme judge and recognized as one of the great jurists 
of Iowa, was elected without opposition. Republicans elected were 
Marvin Cook, clerk, over L. A. Mahoney by 176, and P. P. Olmstead, 
supervisor, by 235, over William Eno. Among the democrats, R. L. 
Freeman was successful for recorder, defeating John B. Meyer by 119. 

By 1873 there was a complete political revolution in Clayton 
county. The prohibition question had entered into politics and the 
opposition to the republicans was known as the "Liberal" party. J. G. 
Vale, democrat, carried the county for governor, against C. C. Car- 
penter, by 431 ; A. F. Tipton and Alexander Bleidung, republicans, 


were defeated by J. C. Rounds and B. F. Schroeder, liberals, for rep- 
resentative. Martin Garber for auditor, J. F. Thompson for superin- 
tendent and H. D. Bronson for coroner on the republican ticket had 
no opposition. Henry Kellner, treasurer, was re-elected over Adolph 
Papin by more than 700. W. A. Benton began his career as sheriff by 
defeating J. A. Hysham by 851, and Ezra Hurd, democrat, for sur- 
veyor, and M. Uriell, democrat, for supervisor, were elected. 

The year 1874 saw an increase of the "People's Party" move- 
ment and the county went more heavily against the republicans, the 
opposition winning, by 582, on the state ticket. For Congress, L. L. 
Ainsworth defeated C. T. Granger, republican, both in the county and 
the district, and Reuben Noble, democrat, was given the splendid ma- 
jority of 1,386 over Milo McGlathery for district judge. In the 
county, the fusion ticket, styled "anti-monopoly," elected R. L. Free- 
man as recorder, but M. Cook, republican, for clerk, and W. Thoma, 
republican, for supervisor, were elected. 

In 1875, the republicans renominated S. J. Kirkwood, the old war 
governor, for governor, while the opposition ran a fusion ticket headed 
by Shepherd Leffler. Judge Noble held his first term of court at 
Elkader, in January, 1875, and he was a very popular judge. It is 
related of him that when he first was called upon to pronounce sen- 
tence, being more used to politics than to the bench, he sentenced the 
prisoner at the bar saying, 'Tt will be my painful duty to sentence you 
to the legislature of the state for four years." The account continues, 
"Amid the sobs of the poor prisoner and the beseeching words, 'O 
judge, can't you cut it off a year?' were indistinctly heard from the 
bench the words, 'Penitentiary, I mean.' Returning from court, the 
lawyers undertook to ridicule this extraordinary sentence. When the 
subject was evidently exhausted, the judge, with a gravity that seemed 
to imply a rebuke of such trifling, said: 'Gentlemen, in reviewing my 
first effort on the bench I can recall but one mistake that I am con- 
scious of.' After a pause someone ventured to inquire what that was. 
'When I took back the word legislature and said penitentiary — con- 
found these horse thieves !' " 

The temperance question continued to be the chief issue in 1875, 
and F. D. Bayless was chairman of the Clayton county liberal conven- 
tion, held in June. A personal liberty association was formed at 
Elkader, with E. P. Clark as president and J. L. Hagensick as secre- 
tary. Wholesale dealers in liquors were assessed $50 for member- 
ship, wholesalers of wine and brewers $25 each, and saloon keepers 
$12.50. The liberal county convention was held at Elkader, June 19, 
and resolved against the prohibitory law. This movement seems to 
have made considerable inroads upon the republican ranks, for Thomas 
Updegrafif was one of the delegates selected. The republican county 
convention made no declaration on the liquor question. The demo- 
crats carried the county by more than 300, electing Stoneman, senator ; 
Mentzel and White, representatives; Benton, sheriff; Brown, sur- 
veyor ; H. C. Hoxsie, coroner, and Isaac Otis, supervisor. The repub- 
licans, Garber for auditor, Kellner, treasurer, and Thompson, super- 

Hayes-Tilden Campaign — The election of 1876 had the usual ex- 


citement of the presidential campaign. There had been a number of 
scandals in administration and the republican party was weakened. 
Early in the spring, L. L. Ainsworth declined to be a candidate for 
congress and Reuben Noble was suggested for the position, but refused 
to be candidate. Martin Garber was brought forward by the repub- 
licans of Clayton county as a congressional candidate but, on the 22nd 
ballot, he was defeated for the nomination by T. W. Burdick. By 
this time the Greenback party had become something of a force. It 
held a convention at Strawberry Point and nominated E. F. Gaylord 
for congress. In the democratic county convention, there was a hot 
race between Freeman and McGonigal, for recorder, which the latter 
won on the fifth ballot. On national issues the county was still repub- 
lican and Rutherford B. Hayes, for president, received 40 majority 
over Samuel J. Tilden. Burdick was elected to congress, Cook for 
clerk, Schecker for surveyor and P. P. Olmstead for supervisor, were 
elected on the republican ticket ; while McGonigal, for recorder, and 
Eberhard, for supervisor, were successful democrats. The presiden- 
tial election was very close, both sides claiming the victory, and it was 
not for many months that it was decided by an electoral commission. 
During this time there were many charges of fraud on both sides and 
much bitterness was created. The McGregor Times, for the first time, 
used an election rooster, and McGregor celebrated the supposed victory 
of Tilden. 

In 1877, the money question was paramount and the democrats 
denounced what was later known as the "crime of 73." The Green- 
backers organized with A. T. Lawrence, David Hammer and W. P. 
Eno as central committee. In the county the chief fight was for rep- 
resentative, Thomas Updegraff and Alexander Bleidung being the re- 
publican nominees. This year there was a complete victory for the 
republicans and in the legislature of 1878 it was said that Clayton 
county ruled the state, for Stoneman led in the senate and Updegraflf 
led in the house. 

In 1878, there was complete fusion between the democrats and 
greenbackers, each having four places on the state ticket. Joseph 
Eiboeck, former editor of the Elkader Journal, and then editing the 
Des Moines Anzeiger, was the fusion candidate for state auditor, and 
while the head of the fusion ticket received 17 majority, the county 
complimented its old time editor with a majority of 227. In the re- 
publican ranks there was a bitter fight between the adherents of Blei- 
dung and the supporters of Updegraff, who was a candidate for con- 
gress. Double caucuses were held in Cox Creek and the delegation 
from Cox Creek, Millville, Garnavillo, Clayton and Jefferson bolted 
the convention which instructed delegates for Updegraff. The con- 
gressional convention was held at McGregor. Cooley of Winneshiek, 
Donnan of Buchanan, and Updegraff were candidates. There were 
326 ballots taken and Updegraff won. The feeling against Updegraff 
did not seem to extend to the election for he received a majority of 
808, being elected by several thousand in the district. One of the 
largest majorities ever given a man in Clayton county was that given 


Judge Noble for re-election. He received a majority of 2,113. During 
the next year he was tendered the nomination for Supreme Judge 
but refused on the ground that he had just received such a magnificent 
indorsement and did not feel that he should desert his post. Robert 
Quigley, republican, carried the county for district attorney, but was 
defeated in the district. The republican elected was Marvin Cook, 
clerk, and the democrats elected McGonigal for recorder and Scofield 
supervisor. The county election of 1879 hinged upon the question of 
economy, the democrats and greenbackers uniting that the salaries of 
the officers be reduced. John Everall was a candidate for auditor, 
agreeing to conduct the office for $1,900, instead of the $2,800 then 
paid. John H. Gear was the republican candidate for governor and 
both he and ex-Governor Kirkwood spoke at Garnavillo and the repub- 
licans made a determined effort to regain supremacy in the county. 
Gear carried the county by 474, The resignation of Noble as a candi- 
date for supreme judge was not accepted by the democrats, but he 
made no active campaign and the vote in the county against him was 
152. Martin Garber defeated John T. Stoneman for senator, and 
Gregor McGregor, republican, and John Van Staden, democrat, were 
elected representatives. The balance of the county ticket elected was: 
C. E. Floete, treasurer ; L. H. Place, democrat, sheriff, and republican, 
J. M. Leach, auditor; P. W. McClellan, county superintendent; Hel- 
muth Brandt, supervisor; Charles Schecker, surveyor, and W. A. 
Penfield, coroner. 

County Government — 1870 was the last year under the old super- 
visor system and, in 1871, the new board, consisting of O. W. Crary, 
P. P. Olmstead and Michael Uriell, took the reins of county govern- 
ment. It was still necessary to lease rooms for the district court and 
the board rented the second story of Vail Boiler's building, for $500 
per year, for the court and public meetings, but not "for dances and 
the like." In 1870, there was a red hot fight among the newspapers 
to secure the county printing, which was to be let to the newspaper 
having the largest circulation. Eiboeck, of the Journal, solemnly 
swore to a circulation of 2,760, the McGregor News claimed 1,447 
and Richardson, of the Times, made affidavit to a list of 2,901. The 
next year the board passed a resolution intimating that they wanted 
the newspapers to get down to real facts and the result was that, in 
1871, the Journal swore to 950 subscribers, the News to 690 and the 
Times to 1,010. This was an alarming decrease, unless some news- 
paper man was guilty of prevarication the year before. 

Court House Completed — In September, 1876, McGregor filed a 
petition of 2,962 names asking an election for the removal of the 
county seat. A remonstrance containing 3,408 names was filed and 
there was a lively session of the board which lasted for two days in 
which the strong men of McGregor and Elkader were drawn up in 
battle array. The board decided that the petition was insufficient and 
the election was not ordered. The following April the board voted 
$5,000 for the completion of the court house, upon the bond furnished 
by citizens of Elkader agreeing to erect a building according to speci- 
fications, for that amount. It was understood that the building would 
cost much more, but the citizens agreed to stand all added expense. 


This was effected by means of a considerable sum subscribed in Elka- 
der and the work was done thoroughly and in a workman-like manner 
and proved a good bargain for the county. The cost to the citizens 
of Elkader was about $5,000 above the amount voted by the board. 
Thus was completed the court house of Clayton county, practically as 
it stands today, with the exception that, later, Elkaderites bought the 
clock and the county provided the tower which contains it, and large 
fireproof vaults were added. 

The building, while not ornate, is substantial, well-built, light and 
airy and beautifully located. The vaults are large and fire-proof, and 
while it is hoped that some day Clayton will feel able to erect a court 
house worthy of one of the richest and most beautiful counties in Iowa, 
the present building suffices for all practical purposes. It was not to 
be expected that McGregor, which had but recently been dashed in its 
hopes of securing the county seat, should look with favor upon the 
enlargement of the court house, and the McGregor Times had this to 
say concerning it: "The county board, at its last session, we under- 
stand, made an appropriation of $5,000 for the construction of an 
addition to the present building occupied by the officers of the county. 
According to the plans and specifications presented to the board, the 
new addition is to be 50x75, with a hall-way between the new and old 
buildings, 12 feet wide. On the first floor of the new building will be 
the clerk's office, front room 30x36, vault 8x26; the rear room, audi- 
tor's office, 30x36, vault 8x16. The treasurer's and recorder's offices 
the same as now. The second floor to be divided as follows : Court 
room, in clear, 36x73 ; sheriff's office, 21x23 ; superintendent of schools' 
office, 21x23, ^"d two jury rooms, each 14x21, and hall-way of same 
dimensions as one below ; the whole to be covered with a hip shingle 
roof. A number of citizens of Elkader take control of the erection 
of this new addition, raising a like sum with that appropriated by the 
board for its construction. These citizens, we understand, have given 
bonds in the sum of $20,000 for the faithful performance of the con- 
tract into which they have entered, and have received the $5,000 in 
county warrants as the nucleus of their building fund. We cannot 
object to Clayton county having a court house ; in fact, we are anxious 
she should have one, and that right speedily, but to attempt to patch 
on to the present building is, in our opinion, about the most ridiculous 
thing the county can do. If we are to have a court house, let us have 
one creditable to the county. The county is amply able to build a 
respectable appearing and substantial building, one that would be, in 
all respects, worthy; but to add to the old one, never regarded safe, 
is, to say the least, an expensive luxury which will not meet with gen- 
eral approval." There were, of course, many other acts of the board 
of supervisors, but these relate chiefly to the matter of roads and 
bridges, and while of great importance they are too numerous and too 
much matters of routine to receive special mention. 

County Expense — From 1870 to 1880 the expenses of the county 
remained at about $50,000 per year. Of this amount approximately 
one fourth was spent annually for bridges. The county expenditures 
for this period were as follows : 


187I $47,354-64 1876 $62,399.59 

1872 55,59740 1877 48,99170 

1873 46,080.47 1878 57,008.27 

1874 43,408.35 1879 50,736.06 

1875 49,544-27 1880 56,526.65 

It is difficult to give the history of the county as a whole except by 
mentioning events, disconnected of themselves, but, nevertheless, show- 
ing the general trend of the county and those things which interested 
it generally. The truth is that, whereas the towns along the new rail- 
road saw periods of flush times, the county as a whole had settled down 
to a period of routine development. New things came, but they came 
gradually, old settlers passed away, but they went, one by one. 

First Base Ball — It is in June, 1870, that the first mention of base 
ball is made in a Clayton county newspaper. The McGregor Times 
speaks of it and declares that "it is one of the silliest bundles of boy- 
ishness ever invented by people boasting intelligence. In a short sen- 
tence we beg leave to say the whole business is damn nonsense." 
Nevertheless, the Times was soon forced to recognize this sort of 
"nonsense" in its columns and it began giving lengthy accounts of the 
games. The first game which it records was one between the Quick 
Steps of McGregor and the Rough and Ready's of Harper's Ferry. 
The score stood 97 to 12 in favor of the Quick Steps. The Quick 
Steps soon tripped up, however, in a 10 inning game with the Elkader 
Turkey Gobblers. This exciting game stood a tie of 41 to 41 at the 
end of the ninth inning, but, in the fatal tenth, the Quick Steps secured 
but 6 scores, while the Turkey Gobblers strutted proudly from the 
field with 12 added runs to their credit. These first games of "organ- 
ized" base ball were played in June, 1871. A great event of 1870 
was the reunion of Iowa soldiers at Des Moines. The state furnished 
transportation and all the soldiers who could possibly get away at- 
tended this meeting. 

Chicago Fire — 1871 was the year of the great Chicago fire and 
when the call for help came this county responded nobly. A meeting 
was called at McGregor, $273 was subscribed in cash, and much more 
than that amount was given in goods and supplies. The mayor and 
other citizens went to Chicago to tender their services and many citi- 
zens went to inspect the ruins. At that time the relations between 
the merchants of Chicago and the cities of the west were largely per- 
sonal and that city had not so far outstripped the other cities but that 
they all felt on a par and had neighborly interest in each other. 

While Clayton county made a gain of six in population from 1870 
to 1875, the census of 1873 shows the loss of 825 over the 1870 
census. This was accounted for by the large number of laborers em- 
ployed on the railroad from Dubuque to McGregor in 1870. One of 
the new institutions established in 1875 was the Northwestern Steam 
Hoop Company, established at Clayton. This was one of the first 
companies in America to manufacture hoops by steam power. Poles 
were shipped by the carload from many points and hundreds of wagon 
loads were furnished by the farmers of the vicinity. The first mention 
of Charles Reugnitz, afterward, for many years, treasurer of Clayton 


county, appears when he is spoken of as the manager of this concern. 
The fastest growing town in the county, in the early 70's, was Monona, 
and it advanced with rapid strides. By 1875 it claimed, with justice, 
to be the second city of the county in commercial importance. It was 
in the center of a rich agricultural country and its trade territory ex- 
tended both into Allamakee and Clayton. Bismarck was a new town 
on the line of the narrow gauge, as was Froelich. Bismarck was sur- 
veyed in May, 1875, and it was thought that it would be an important 
point, but it is now no more. 

Second Gold Discovery — The great sensation of 1875 was the dis- 
covery of gold at Strawberry Point. The first discovery of the pre- 
cious metal, at this place, was in 1858, but, in 1875, the excitement 
was revived by the discovery of fine particles of gold in the ravine 
known as "Bushee Hollow" and on the Baker farm. The McGregor 
Times sent a special correspondent to the new gold field. He reported 
that every pan full "showed color" and fifteen or twenty specimens 
w^ere obtained from three washings. The account adds : "It did not 
matter where the dirt was taken from, there was sure to be color as 
the result of the washing. We were also furnished with specimens of 
the bed-rock, sand, and with the little nugget that has passed through 
the hands of competent men at Dubuque. The work of building long 
flumes, or wooden troughs, has been completed and a considerable 
amount of dirt washed, with very favorable results. The gold is very 
fine, the largest lump being no larger than a pin head. A company has 
been formed, and as soon as the required amount of capital is sub- 
scribed, the attempt wall be made to test the discoveries. Gold is found 
within a radius of a mile and there is hardly a ravine in which gold 
cannot be found." The Times report continues very enthusiastically, 
but, as there is no later mention, the company undoubtedly failed to 
make it pay. 

Clayton County Insurance Co. — In 1878, the Clayton County 
Farmers' Insurance Company was founded with W. P. Enos as presi- 
dent and J. E. Corlett as secretary. This was just in time for, in July, 
the county suflfered greatly from storms and floods. 

In April, 1878, Corbett and Lovett's bank at Strawberry Point 
was robbed. The robbers were caught at the time, but after an ex- 
change of shots one of them escaped. Sheriff Benton camped on 
the fellow's trail and by clever detective work succeeded in locating 
him in the Bloomington, Illinois, jail and he was brought back to this 
county for trial. Sheriff Benton was given great credit for this arrest. 

In May, 1879, ^^^ first county medical association was formed. 
The meeting was held in the office of Dr. K. F. Purdy at Elkader, 
and the physicians present were : Drs. S. N. Bixby, M. M. Newman 
of Strawberry Point ; J. W. McLean, Volga ; T. M. Sabin, Brush 
Creek; J. M. Lewis and O. D. Taft, Elkport; W. H. Boals, Garna- 
villo ; D. W. Chase, A. D. Hanna, K. F. Purdy and G. Wheeland of 
Elkader. This was the first county organization, but there had been 
a district organization for some time. 

Poor Farm Murder — What was long known as the "poor farm 
murder" occurred July 4, 1879. This was the outcome of a long 
standing quarrel between two of the pauper inmates, neither of whom 


were mental giants. John Simons was the murderer and Charles 
Schultz the victim. On the morning of the Fourth, Simons took his 
shot-gun with which he often went hunting, fired a salute in honor of 
the day and then went into the poor house and deliberately shot Schultz 
in the temple. Simon was convicted of murder in the second degree 
and sent to the penitentiary for the term of twenty years. But a short 
time previous to the shooting, Simon was arrested for an assault upon 
Schultz with a club, but was returned to the poor house on promise of 
good behavior. 

Enfield — It is probably generally forgotten, but when the railroad 
was built through Strawberry Point, the town was given the name of 
Enfield by the company. The inhabitants did not take kindly to the 
change of name, however, and the Strawberry Point Press, in July, 
1875, says : "Enfield is no more. This town is now known to the world 
simply as Strawberry Point. When the D. & N. W. pulled up stakes 
and left this section, Enfield ceased to exist, and the brakemen, on 
reaching this place, now yell out 'Strawberry Point.' The railroad 
has been re-christened the Delaware, Fayette & Northwestern." Two 
interesting items in 1879 ^^^ ^^e leasing of the Motor mill by Gilbert 
Thompson, of Dubuque and Theodore Ponson of Communia ; and the 
death of Fred Zeug, who was killed by the bursting of a hogshead of 
beer at Kleinlein's brewery in Cass township. 

Death Roll of the Pioneers — As the county aged the early pio- 
neers, the men who have been identified with the foundation of things 
Claytonian, began passing away. The first of these notable deaths 
was that of E. Odell, who died in March, 1875. 

Elijah Odell was born in Vigo county, Ind., Sept. 22, 1812, of 
parents who emigrated from North Carolina, and was brought up on 
a farm which his father, himself and brother carved out of the heavy 
Wabash timber of Carroll county. On attaining his majority he set 
to work to secure for himself an academical education, after which he 
entered upon the study of law with Hiram Allen, Esq., of Delphi, Ind., 
with all the ardor of his nature, and never for a single day, up to his 
last illness, did he abate a jot or tittle of his earnestness or zeal. He 
began the practice at Rensselaer, Jasper county, Ind., in 1846-47, where 
he was married, about that time, to Rebecca S., a sister of Thos. 
Updegraff. In 1852, he was chosen State Senator for the district 
composed of the counties of Jasper, Benton, and Warren, Indiana, and 
in this capacity served with credit and acceptability in the same assem- 
bly with A. P. Richardson. He continued the practice at Rensselaer 
until the spring of 1854, when, feeling obliged to abandon Indiana 
on account of sickness of himself and children, incident to that ma- 
larious chmate, he removed to Binghamton, N. Y. A few weeks of 
the purer air of New York restored his family to health and himself 
to his natural vigor. At that time Daniel S. Dickinson, Balcom Bird- 
sail and others of equal distinction were in active practice at the Bing- 
hamton bar. The business of the place was not extensive. Under 
such circumstances professional advancement by a stranger must be 
made by slow degrees. Nothing daunted, however, he opened an 
office, and in a single year accomplished quite a handsome business, 
all things considered. But, with restored vigor, his active spirit pined 


for his native West, where more rapid headway seemed possible ; and, 
having visited Clayton County in the autumn of 1853, ^"^ purchased 
some land in Monona and Grand Meadow for himself and a New 
York friend, and being convinced that this climate was free from 
malaria, in the spring of 1855 he folded his tent and hastened to Iowa 
with his family, after which time he was a resident of Clayton County, 
having lived successively at Garnavillo, Elkader, Guttenburg and Mc- 
Gregor, locating permanently in McGregor in 1858. Mr. Odell was 
not an office seeker and was one of the few among the leaders of the 
county who were not candidates for office. Politically he was known 
as "a silver grey Whig" and after the dissolution of that party he 
acted with the Democrats up to i860. With the nomination of Lin- 
coln, however, he joined the Republican party and was one of its 
leaders in this county until his death. In 1872 he was presidential 
elector for the third Iowa district and was selected to cast the vote of 
the state in the national electoral college. He died while still in the 
prime of life. He was a great trial lawyer and so intimate was his 
knowledge of the law that he was eminently successful before the 
Supreme Court. His death was genuinely mourned by the people of 
the county. 

A. J. Jordan — In June, 1875, McGregor lost a prominent business 
man in the person of A. J. Jordan, another member of the bar who 
located in McGregor in 1858, although he first came to the county in 

Lemuel G. Collins — The following year, in March, occurred the 
death of Lemuel G. Collins, a resident of Giard since 185 1 and a 
member of the legislature from Clayton county in 1856. But a month 
later, in April, 1876, the county lost one of its dearest friends in the 
death of Horace D. Bronson. A sketch of Mr. Bronson, who was 
one of the earliest pioneers, appears in another chapter. 

William Thoma — In July, of the same year, William Thoma died. 
He was at that time a member of the board of supervisors. He was 
born in Bavaria, in 1827, came to Clayton county, in 1852, and was 
for many years in partnership with C. W. Hagensick in the mercantile 
business at Garnavillo. He was succeeded on the board by P. P. 

Rev. David Loztry — In January, 1877, occurred the death of Rev. 
David Lowry, at the advanced age of 82. Although he was not a 
resident of Clayton county at the time of his death, he was, in the 
early days, one of its best known pioneers. He came to Iowa in 1835, 
as a missionary and educator to the Winnebago Indians and was first 
located at the Stone House, on Yellow River, in Allamakee county. 
He was appointed an Indian agent and, for 15 years, devoted himself 
to the best interests of the Indians, doing all that he could to educate 
them, give them practical instruction in agriculture and to protect 
them from the whites who wished to exploit them and to sell them 
whiskey. Something of his labors have been told in the early chapters. 
He resided in this vicinity until 1874 when he removed to Missouri. 
In his day he was one of the most powerful men of northeastern Iowa. 

Among those to die in 1877 were George D. Gardener, a brother 
of Mrs. Alexander McGregor, who resided in McGregor from 1850 


to 1866, at which time he went to South Carolina with Hon. WiUis 
Drummond in the revenue service of the United States. Another was 
Henry Reubel, who died at McGregor after a short illness. He was 
prominent in McGregor business circles, moving to that city in i860. 

William Schoultz was another pioneer to die in 1877. He was a 
Prussian by birth and settled in Garnavillo township in 1841. He and 
his descendants were among the most influential of the German citizens. 

Dr. John Linton — No death afifected the county more sincerely 
than did that of Dr. John Linton. This occurred June 27, 1878. 
Dr. John Linton was born in Breckenridge County, Ky., Oct. 5, 1811, 
and at the age of eleven years he moved with his parents to Logan 
County in the same state. Here he assisted his father in clearing up 
a farm, until he was nearly of age, when he was apprenticed to a 
tanner and furrier. In 1837, after he had learned this trade, he started 
to explore the county along the banks of the Mississippi River, and, 
in the spring of that year, he arrived at Prairie due Chien. Rev, 
David Lowry, agent for the Winnebago Indians, appointed him gen- 
eral manager of his business along the whole mission. For nearly five 
years he discharged his trust with the same honor and fidelity that 
characterized all his actions in after life. A strong friendship sprang 
up between Lowry and himself, which ended only with their lives. 
While Linton was at this mission on Yellow River the Govern- 
ment had the buildings and farm sold, and moved the mission to Fort 
Atkinson, and Linton and his brother Thomas purchased it. In this 
stone mission-house the first District Court held in Allamakee County 
met. Judge Grant, of Davenport, presided, and Noble and Murdock 
constituted the entire bar. In the fall of 1842 Dr, Linton sold out his 
interest in the mission farm to his brother and went back to his native 
State, and, in the town of Springfield, studied medicine with Dr. 
Poland, an able and eminent physician of that place. In the fall of 
1844 he went to St. Louis and attended a course of medical lectures. 
In the spring of 1845, he left that city and made an extensive tour 
through the different states and territories bordering on the Missis- 
sippi, finally locating at Garnavillo. He spent the winter of 1845-46 
in St. Louis, attending medical college, and then returned to Garna- 
villo in company with Dr. Burgess, a young man of finished education 
and brilliant talent. They entered into partnership, and established a 
successful practice. Dr. Burgess, however, was of a roving dispo- 
sition, and soon left the country. It is said that he went to Mexico. 
After Burgess left, he formed a partnership with Dr. Andros, which 
continued with prosperity until Dr. Andros removed to McGregor. 
Soon after the gold excitement broke out at Pike's Peak, he made a 
trip to the Rocky Mountains, where he located several gold claims 
and made geological explorations. 

In 1873, ^^ company with the Hon. J. O. Crosby and Hon. William 
Larrabee, he crossed the Atlantic and visited the principal countries of 
Europe. He attended the great medical congress at Vienna. Toward 
the close of his life he associated with him in the practice Dr. Bowles, 
a young man of high professional attainments. His object in this was 
partly to give him more opportunity for study, his taste for which in- 
creased with advancing years. His death was mourned by a large 


circle of devoted friends, and by it society lost one of its brightest 
ornaments, his profession one of its most eminent members, and science 
one of its most industrious and powerful intellects. Dr. Linton was 
unfortunate in his married life, and he and his wife separated; at 
which time he gave her a large portion of his estate. In his will he 
made many bequests for the benefit of Garnavillo and of his friends. 
J. O. Crosby was administrator. The will was successfully contested 
by the widow after a long legal battle. In 1880, Garnavillo publicly 
observed the second anniversary of Dr. Linton's death, and, at this 
time, prizes authorized in his will were given Garnavillo students. 
Edward Kindsell received first prize, $22.00, in zoology, and Aug. 
Limbech received $11.00 as second prize. In geology, Chas. Fox 
and Edward Kindsell received like prizes. There were impressive 
ceremonies at the grave, the prize winners taking an oath to care for 
the grave of their benefactor for one year, when the duty was to fall 
upon the new prize winners. The estate became involved in litigation 
and there is no record of later prize awards or annual memorials. 
The decision in favor of Mrs. Linton was made in 1883. 

Fred Hartge — In August, 1878, Elkport lost a pioneer in the per- 
son of Fred Hartge. He was born in Hanover, came to this country 
in 1833, and was one of the first blacksmiths in Dubuque. He came 
to Elkport, June 15, 1839. He found W. W. Wayman already here. 
Wayman had built a saw mill on the banks of Elk Creek. This prop- 
erty Hartge purchased, built a log hut and commenced work on his 
saw mill. Soon he found that the property which he had purchased 
was not that which he occupied, the mill being situated on other land. 
Then followed litigation between him and Wayman, both going and 
returning from Dubuque in the same conveyance. After consider- 
able trouble, he succeeded in gaining possession of the mill property, 
causing an enmity to spring up between himself and Wayman. In 
1846, his brother Louis came to him as his companion in the wilder- 
ness, both occupying the same hut. About two years after occurred 
the murder of Louis, which has already been recorded in this volume. 
Fred Hartge remained with his mill, enlarging it from time to time, 
and prospering through his own great industry and through the inrush 
of settlers to Elkport, which was located on the land which he bought 
from Wayman. He lived to enjoy the fruits of his labor, but his 
death was hastened by his over-taxing his strength that he might 
attend the old settlers' reunion held in June, 1878. 

S. R. Peet — Edgewood also lost one of its best citizens in the 
passing away of Honorable S. R. Peet. The funeral of Mr. Peet was 
held at Delhi and was said to have been the largest ever held in Dela- 
ware county up to that time. Mr. Peet located in Clayton county, in 
April, 1846, on the county line. He was an ardent Christian and or- 
ganized the first Sunday School in Lodomillo township. His home 
was always the stopping place for the early settlers. Nearly all of his 
old neighbors could say that they spent the first night in the new 
country at Peet's and that he had been a good friend ever since. Al- 
though a consistent, life-long Democrat, the Republican stumpers 
always made his house their home. So orthodox was his democracy 
that it is told of him that he was presiding at a Democratic convention 


when it was proposed to endorse certain nominees of the Greenback 
party. Mr. Peet arose with dignity and announced, "The present 
occupant of the chair cannot sit as president if the convention is not 
purely Democratic." Hon. S. R. Peet was elected as a Democrat, to 
the general assembly in the fall of 1859 from Clayton county, and 
was a member during the passage of the war measures at the extra 
session, and took an active part in bringing the state up to its exalted 
position in the Union as a loyal state. He was one of the strong mem- 
bers of the Clayton county bar and his removal to Delaware county 
was regretted by all. 

John W. Potts, who came to Clayton county in 1846, was another 
pioneer of the southern part of the county who died at this time. He 
entered land at the Colony settlement in 1846 and lived in this county 
until 1869. He was assessor of Clayton county and held the impor- 
tant position of swamp land commissioner for the period of two years. 

John W. Gillett — A week later, in January, 1879, John W. Gillett 
was added to the death roll, another of the pioneers who spent his 
manhood days in this county and his old age in another. Samuel Mur- 
dock, who was the county biographer, just as Judge Price was the 
county historian, wrote a beautiful tribute to this pioneer, which was 
printed in the Elkader Journal, and from which we quote: "Thirty- 
six years ago the coming summer I met John W. Gillett for the first 
time at the Washington House at Dubuque, where we spent the eve- 
ning together, the guest of the noble and the generous Jesse Harrison. 
It was during that evening that I learned for the first time from the 
lips of Gillett, of the rich, rolling prairies, north of the Turkey river, 
and stretching away to the northwest for hundreds of miles, and the 
glowing description which he gave of its wild scenery and enchanting 
beauty induced me soon after to come and see for myself, and, with 
the exception of two or three years of this long period, I have lived 
his neighbor ever since. When I first struck his clearing, I found him 
and his dog the sole occupants of his cabin, and with a cheerful coun- 
tenance he bade me a hearty welcome, and, pointing to an extra pile 
of straw in the corner on which lay an old blanket and two or three 
untanned deer-skins, he said I could camp with him as long as I wished, 
free of charge. With the exception of the blooming prairies and the 
enchanting groves here and there interspersed through them, every- 
thing about that cabin, at first, looked lonely, cheerless and forbidding, 
but I soon found that I was mistaken, and that, instead of being lonely 
and cheerless, it was the home of the traveler, the hunter and the ex- 
plorer, and that, as soon as the shadows began to lengthen and night 
was approaching, it was always filled with both tired and merry fel- 
lows, who were welcome to its hospitality, and who went their several 
ways in the morning, free of any charge. His untiring industry and 
energy always supplied that cabin with an abundance of everything 
that was good to eat, and even in that early time I have often seen in 
it at a time, a whole sack of coffee, a barrel of wild honey, several 
hundred pounds of maple sugar, great quantities of dried venison, 
dressed wild turkeys, with flour, meal and potatoes sufficient to winter 
a regiment of men, instead of one lone little man and a dog. He 
seemed to live and work for no other purpose but to entertain his 


friends, and that cabin was known for hundreds of miles around it, 
and squatters living in the south part of the territory, although many 
miles distant, he called his neighbors. 

He was born and raised in Accomack county, Virginia, and was a 
carpenter by trade, and, while quite a young man, he came to Jack- 
sonville, Illinois, and here he worked for a few months at his trade, 
and then made his way into Missouri. The Blackhawk war had spread 
the news far and wide of a beautiful land lying west of the great river, 
and he made up his mind that he would be among the first to explore 
its wilds. He left Missouri, and in the spring of 1835 his eyes for the 
first time rested upon the high and rolling prairies of Clayton county. 
He selected one of the most beautiful spots in the county, and, pro- 
curing a yoke of oxen and a breaking plow in Dubuque, he turned the 
first furrow that was turned in the county. The Indians were hostile 
when Gillett made his claim and it required such nerve and courage as 
heroes are made of to build a cabin at that time on the extreme border, 
and within sight of the Indian camp-fires. At the time of his settle- 
ment, Prairie du Chien was something of a village, and Fort Crawford 
was garrisoned with troops, while Fort Atkinson was in process of 
completion, and all these furnished a good market for corn, oats and 
hay, and as soon as Mr. Gillett had raised a crop of oats and corn, he 
found a ready sale for them at a high price, and this very soon enabled 
him to live in ease and comfort and to keep up a rich table. 

Alexander Bleidimg — Just a week later occurred the death of 
Hon. Alexander Bleidung, who died in his home in Guttenberg, Janu- 
ary 25, 1879. He was a native of Germany and came to Guttenberg 
in 1850. He was First Lieutenant of Company D Twenty-seventh 
Iowa Infantry. He was elected to the legislature as a republican in 
1877, and made a valuable member. His death came suddenly and 
he was in the prime of life. 

Maturin L. Fisher — The death roll of 1879 was not complete, 
however, and in December the grim reaper claimed one of the most 
able men Clayton county has produced in the person of Maturin L. 
Fisher. He was born in Danville, Vt. His father, Lewis Fisher, was 
a Baptist minister. M. L. was the oldest of a large family of children. 
His youth was spent upon one of those rocky farms so numerous in 
that state. He must have been a studious boy, for he fitted himself 
for college in a single year, and in 1824 entered Brown University, 
from which he graduated in 1828 with high honors. After graduat- 
ing from college he entered upon the study of law with Hon. Isaac 
Davis, of Worcester, Mass., and was admitted to the bar in 183 1. 
In 1834 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress in the Worces- 
ter district, but was defeated, though the canvass was a closely con- 
tested one. In 1835 he was appointed librarian of the American Anti- 
quarian Society, which office he filled until 1839, when he was ap- 
pointed postmaster of Worcester. He continued in the office during 
the administration of Presidents Harrison, Tyler and Polk, and was 
removed on the coming in of the administration of President Taylor. 
In 1849, Mr. Fisher came to Iowa in search of a home, going first to 
Davenport, and finally fixing upon Clayton county, purchasing a farm 
in Farmersburg township. Mr. Fisher was married in 1842 to Miss 


Caroline Pratt, of Worcester, Mass. She died in Farmersburg town- 
ship, this county, in 1862. At the general election, in 1852, he was 
elected by the Democrats to the State Senate, the district being com- 
posed of fifteen counties, having three Senators. His colleagues were 
Warren Lewis and John Shields. He was chosen President of the 
Senate on the sixteenth ballot. By his election Clayton county had 
the honor of seeing both the presiding officers of the Senate and House 
from her Representatives, Hon. Reuben Noble being elected Speaker 
of the House. In 1857, Mr. Fisher accepted the nomination for State 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, though not expecting an election, 
as the state had just been carried by some 6,000 majority by the oppo- 
sition; but he was elected, and he has often been justly called "the 
Father of Iowa's System of Public Schools." In i860 he was elected 
Commissioner of the Insane Asylum at Mt. Pleasant, holding the 
office for twelve years. In 1861 he was appointed, by a Republican 
Legislature, in connection with the State Treasurer, to negotiate a war 
loan of $1,000,000 for the State of Iowa. In the same year he was 
nominated for Lieutenant-Governor on the Democratic ticket, but de- 
clined. The following year he received the nomination for Governor, 
but again declined, and General Tuttle was placed on the ticket. In 
1866, he was appointed commissioner to build the hospital for the insane 
at Independence, and in 1870, trustee and chairman of the board. In 
1872, he was appointed one of the commissioners to build the new 
capitol at Des Moines. Mr. Fisher had one of the finest libraries in 
the state, and was one of the best read men on every topic of public 
interest. His character was unimpeachable, and every duty was con- 
scientiously performed. He died at his home in Farmersburg town- 
ship, February 5, 1879. 

Willard Knight — Again in April, 1879, was the county called upon 
to mourn the death of a pioneer and again was Samuel Murdock the 
eulogist. This time death's victim was Willard Knight. He was born 
in Franklin County, Mass., in 1814, and when he arrived at manhood 
he emigrated to Pennsylvania, where he engaged in the lumber busi- 
ness on the Alleghany river. 

From Pennsylvania he went down the river to the State of Mis- 
sissippi, and located at Milliken's Bend. While here he cut the timber 
and assisted in clearing the farm on which in after years was fought 
the battle of Milliken's Bend. Not liking the climate he started north, 
and arrived in Clayton County in the summer of 1836. Not long after 
his arrival he located his claim, where he lived and died, and here alone 
he built his first cabin in the edge of a beautiful grove. In this cabin 
he lived alone for many years, with a rifle and dog as his only com- 
panions, and year after year adding to his improvements, until he had 
one of the finest farms in the county. For several years after he 
began his improvements the land on which they were situated was 
withheld from market as mineral lands, and the reservation included 
all the lands in Clayton County east of range three, west. One morn- 
ing he arose, looked over his claim, and found that a part of it had 
been "jumped" the night before by a party of men who had erected a 
cabin on it, and were determined to hold it until they could enter it 
at the land office. As soon as he saw the cabin he walked over and 


warned its occupants to leave, which they peremptorily refused to do, 
when he returned to his cabin, took down his rifle, yoked up his oxen, 
drove over to the claim shanty, took a turn round the corner with the 
chain and started his oxen, when down came the shanty over the heads 
of the occupants, who, seeing the courage and determination of the 
man, left and never molested him again. As soon as he felt able to 
do so, he brought his aged parents and several brothers and sisters to 
the county, and provided for them all. He was present at every meet- 
ing of the Old Settlers' Society, and took an active interest in all its 
proceedings. During the latter part of his life he seemed to think it 
his duty and mission to look after and care for any of his old compan- 
ions of pioneer life whom he found in distress. 

"Only a few hours before his death," writes Judge Murdock, "he 
called me to his bedside, named an old pioneer to whom he had fur- 
nished several hundred dollars to save his home, and said : 'When I am 
gone some of my relatives may distress that man ; I know you will not, 
and I therefore put him in your hands. See that no one crowds or 
hurts him for my money.' For several days before he died he began 
to talk about every old settler and pioneer that he had known in his 
early days, and during his last moments, and when he knew that his 
hour had come, he imagined they were all in the room with him, and 
his last words were, 'Pioneers, old settlers, Dick Only, and all of you, 
good — .' But poor Dick Gillett and Dr. Linton had gone a few months 
before him, and were not there to bid him 'good-bye,' yet he thought 
they were and he was gratified." He never married, but devoted his 
whole life to the care of his brothers and numerous sisters, all of 
whom loved him with the purest devotion. He died March i6, 1879. 
He was one of the pioneers who never had a hankering for public 
office, but he was always loyal to his friends and ready to serve them. 
He was one of the best beloved of the pioneers. 

John P. Kriebs — He was a Prussian and joined the Guttenberg 
Colony in 1850, and soon became prominent in the politics of the 
county, being one of the leaders of democracy. His name was closely 
identified with all the civic affairs of Guttenberg. He was mayor of 
that city, in 1853, and was twice elected coroner of Clayton county. 
He died in Guttenberg, August, 1873. 

Louis Reuther, a native of Prussia, who came to Iowa in 1853 
when but 20 years of age, to join the Communia Colony. He came 
to Elkader in 1855 ^"^ in 1867 he joined with Henry Meder in build- 
ing the Mederville mill. The greater portion of his life, however, was 
spent as a merchant in Elkader. He was an ardent republican and 
was elected to the legislature in 1871. In 1876, he visited the father- 
land and there is supposed to have contracted the disease which ended 
his life. 

/. B. Gates, a man prominent in democratic circles, who came to 
Iowa in 1850 and resided at Pleasant Ridge, near McGregor, until 
1871. The manner of his death was tragic, as he fell dead at the com- 
pletion of an address which he delivered before a convention of the 
People's party at Anita, Iowa. 

Old Settlers' Reunions — It is no wonder, with these many deaths, 
the thoughts of the pioneers turned to the old days and that they longed 


to meet as often as possible and to form some association by which 
they might keep green the memory of the departed ; preserve the his- 
tory and traditions of the county and keep aUve the friendships of 
many years. Ehphalet Price, then the oldest living pioneer of the 
county, was the man to whose lot it fell to inaugurate the movement 
for an old settlers' picnic. In a characteristic letter to the press Judge 
Price issued a "proclamation" which was filled with wit and pleasantry, 
as well as with a vein of serious regard. He ordered the pioneers and 
old settlers to convene at Elkader on February 15, 1872, and appointed 
a committee on arrangement as follows: Mrs. Victor Carter, Mrs. 
Timothy Davis, Mrs. Elisha Boardman, Michael Uriell and Henry B. 
Carter. Those having resided in the county 25 years and less than 
30 years, were to be called old settlers, and those residing in the county 
more than 30 years were to be known as pioneers. A feast of roasted 
coon and corn bread was proclaimed and Horace D. Bronson was ap- 
pointed as master of the feast. Robert Thompkins of McGregor was 
to be poet laureate and Henry Gifford, Clayton's pioneer preacher, was 
to deliver a suitable prayer "of the old fashion, Turkey river, common 
sense kind." This proclamation was dated December 21, 1871. This 
was followed by a proclamation by Horace D. Bronson ordering all 
the faithful to bring coons for the feast. These proclamations cre- 
ated much interest throughout the county and were followed by many 
suggestions, especially the one that summer would be a more suitable 
time for the reunion. This suggestion was followed and Judge Price 
issued a second proclamation, in January, 1872, postponing the reunion 
to June II. He also reorganized the committee, making it consist of 
Mrs. Elisha Boardman, Mrs. Lafayette Bigelow, Mrs. M. Cook, 
Michael Uriell and R. C. Place. This committee met at Elkader and 
temporary officers were appointed as follows: President, Hon. John 
Garber ; vice-presidents, Boardman township, Elisha Boardman ; Buena 
Vista, R. Meuth ; Clayton, R. Only ; Cass, James Tracey ; Cox Creek, 
G. L. Gififord; Elk, M. W. Lovett; Farmersburg, J. Francis; Giard, 
James Tapper ; Grand Meadow, P. G. Baily ; Garnavillo, J. W. Gillett ; 
Highland, J. P. Quigley; Jefferson, E. Price; Lodomillo, F. C. Madi- 
son ; Monona, P. P. Olmstead ; Marion, J. C. Rounds ; Millville, J. W. 
Gillmore; Mallory, S. V. Peck; Mendon, George L. Bass; Reed, M. 
Uriell ; Sperry, Elder Whitford ; Volga, John Garber ; Wagner, George 
Walter; Orator, Hon. E. Price; Chaplain, Rev. H. Gifford; Poet 
Laureate, R. Thompkins ; Marshal, James Davis. 

First Reunion — The place selected for the first annual reunion 
was the beautiful grove on the east side of the Turkey River, north 
of the Counth building. Twenty coons, an ox, and deer were secured 
and roasted for the occasion. The following account of the affair is 
from the Clayton County Journal: "The nth day of June will long 
be remembered as one of the most important and eventful days in the 
history of Clayton County. It was the occasion of the convening of 
the pioneers and old settlers and their friends of Clayton County, and 
they came not by hundreds but by thousands. From every nook and 
corner of the county delegates came pouring in, and even from the 
adjoining counties of Fayette, Delaware and Allamakee hundreds of 
visitors had come. Between the hours of nine and ten in the morning 


all the several roads leading into town were lined with teams coming 
hither to participate in the festivities. Fully 6,000 people were here 
by twelve o'clock, and more came in the latter part of the day. There 
were four bands of music here — three comet and one martial band. 
The first to arrive was Oc. Cole's Fayette Silver Cornet Band, which 
came Monday evening and favored our citizens with some of their 
soul-stirring pieces. The band was not complete, but, nevertheless, 
under the leadership of Oc. Cole, of the Fayette Times, it made excel- 
lent music. The next to arrive was the Strawberry Point Brass Band, 
which is composed of some of the prominent citizens of that place, and, 
considering the brief time of its organization, plays some very difficult 
pieces admirably indeed. The next was the McGregor Cornet Band, 
which is the oldest band in the county, and of course furnished excel- 
lent music. Then came the martial band of Highland, which is always 
welcome here, and never fails to stir up the patriotic feelings of our 
people, and which played especially well upon this occasion. At 11 
o'clock the procession was formed on Front street by the marshal, 
James Davis, and his assistants, H. H. Barnard and A. W. Daugherty, 
and while not one fiftieth joined in the procession, it was much the 
largest ever seen here. On arriving at the Grove, Hon. Michael 
Uriell, chairman of the committee of entertainment, introduced Hon. 
Samuel Murdock as president of the day, who made some very happy 
and appropriate remarks. Then came music by the bands, when the 
president introduced Rev. Henry Gifford, who, in a very lengthy, but 
powerful and eloquent prayer, besought the blessings of Heaven upon 
those assembled. After more music, Hon. Eliphalet Price was intro- 
duced as the oldest living pioneer in the county and the orator of the 
day. Much was expected of the Judge, but more was realized; his 
oration was one of the finest literary treats the people of Clayton 
County have ever been favored with, and while the Judge has not been 
well of late, yet he delivered it in a clear and distinct voice. At the 
conclusion of his address and before taking his seat he called upon 
Miss Marion Murdock for the recitation of A Hoosier's Vest, which 
was responded to by Miss Murdock in her happiest manner. After 
music by the Strawberry Point Band, the old settlers organized a per- 
manent society, with Eliphalet Price as President; M, Uriell, Vice- 
President ; H. B. Carter, Treasurer ; Joseph Eiboeck, Secretary. Then 
came the coon feast. The tables were laden with the abundance of 
good things, and the old settlers partook of them with a hearty relish. 
General sociability followed. Hand-shaking and congratulations were 
numerous, and a few hours were thus highly enjoyed by all. 

"We have no means of telling just how many pioneers and old 
settlers were present, but think that out of the 6,000 people assem- 
bled at least 1,000 were pioneers and old settlers, including, of course, 
their children and grandchildren. The only pioneers, those living in 
the county thirty years and upward, who were born here, were Will- 
iam Walker, William Griffith, William Quigley, R. E. Price, Louis 
Cooley and Charles Howard. Of sons of old settlers there were sev- 
eral hundred. There was one remarkable feature about the celebra- 
tion which is worthy of special comment, and that is the general good 
order, sobriety and good feeling that prevailed. Not one unkind word 


was heard on the streets among all that vast crowd, and not one person 
was seen that showed the least intoxication. There had been thirteen 
policemen sworn in, but there was no use for them, thanks to the 
amiability of the old settlers and all others who were present. The 
fact was, everybody seemed to have too much to say to one another to 
cause them to drink. Men met here who had not seen each other for 
fifteen or twenty years, and the few hours left them for sociability 
they improved rapidly. As has been shown, the festival was an entire 
success, and we would do injustice if we did not give credit to those 
who worked hard for a week in making the necessary arrangements. 
To R. C. Place, L. A. Mahoney, G. W. Cook and T. G. Price belong 
the thanks." 

At a meeting of the old settlers in Elkader, May 21, 1873, Hon. 
M. L. Fisher was chosen Chairman, and F. D. Bayless, Secretary. 
Judge Williams, Judge Rogers and J. W. Shannon were appointed a 
committee to draft a constitution for the government of the society. 

At the close of the reunion, Samuel Murdock was elected presi- 
dent for the ensuing year, John Everall, secretary, and A. C. Rogers 
treasurer. Rev. Henry Gilford and Rev. Elisha Warner were selected 
as chaplains. Hon. Reuben Noble was invited to deliver the address, 
and the next meeting was set for McGregor on July 4, 1873. The 
pioneers of Crawford county, Wisconsin, were invited to attend. 

The Second Reunion — McGregor made great preparations for 
the second reunion. Cambrian Hall was engaged, the railroad gave 
reduced rates and the ferryboat "City of McGregor" met the trains 
at North McGregor. Gregor McGregor was chairman of the local 
committee and a dance invitation was issued using the picture of a 
coon, which became the insignia of the pioneers. 

Cambrian Hall was well filled when President Murdock called 
the meeting to order. Rev. Elisha Warner was an honored guest and 
he told some of the stories of olden times. Among his anecdotes was 
one that, when a pony was lost or stolen, it was sure to be found in 
"Pony Hollow." Hon. Reuben Noble made a brief address, stating 
among other things that "While many of the old settlers of Clayton 
county are dead, yet such was the vigor of constitution of the early 
settlers of the county, that of the 75 to 100 settlers of 30 years' stand- 
ing more than one half survive." 

Rev. William Fawcett delivered an able address and he was fol- 
lowed by Orlando McCraney, as the oldest resident of Iowa present. 
The officers of the association were re-elected unanimously and El- 
kader was selected as the next place of meeting. 

Later Gatherings — With this auspicious start the meetings of the 
association continued from year to year without interruption. They 
grew to be the great annual event of county, were attended by large 
crowds and shared in public popularity with the county fair and the 
Fourth of July. For the pioneers they meant more than any other 
day of all the year. The reunion of 1874 was held at Garnavillo and 
two brass bands headed the procession. President Samuel Murdock 
presided, and, as Hon. Reuben Noble, orator of the day, was unable 
to be present, Mr. Murdock delivered the address. The officers were 
re-elected with the exception of chaplain, to which office Rev. N. W. 


Bixby was chosen. The day ended with an old time dance led by 
Messrs. Bronson, Cooley, Paddleford and Jones. 

Guttenberg was the scene of the 1875 reunion. Samuel Murdock 
retired from the presidency and the following officers were elected: 
President, S. D. Peck; secretary, John Walter; treasurer, Michael 
Uriell. Resolutions were passed thanking Judge Murdock for his 
services as president and he delivered the address of the day. The 
centennial reunion was also held at Guttenberg, June 10, 1876. There 
was a parade and an extra large crowd. S. D. Peck presided and 
Samuel Murdock was again the orator. Other speakers were Judge 
David Wilson, of Dubuque, Orlando McGraney and S. H. F. Schulte. 
The officers elected were : President, William Sullivan ; secretary, 
Alvah Rogers ; treasurer, John Walter. 

Not less than 2,000 people, from all parts of the county, attended 
the sixth reunion, which was held at Elkader, August 23, 1877. Capt. 
W. A. Benton, assisted by H. H. Barnard, was marshal of the day. 
Judge Murdock delivered the address and Henry Gifford acted as 
chaplain. A feature of the day was the talk by E. Dickens, one of 
the first pioneers, who told many amusing incidents of the early days. 
Frederick Hartge was elected president and Alvah Rogers secretary. 

Elkport was fairly swamped with visitors at the seventh reunion, 
held June 11, 1878. The citizens of the south part of the county, 
especially, turning out in large numbers. A feast had been prepared 
for the honored guests, and the usual parade. Judge Murdock, who 
had come to be regarded as the accepted orator for these occasions, 
was the speaker. The officers chosen were Michael Uriell, president, 
and A. C. Rogers, secretary. Nearly 200 pioneers were registered at 
this meeting. June 11, 1879, the reunion was held at Guttenberg. 
J. H. Stahl, as marshal, led the parade in which the pioneers marched 
first, then the old settlers and then the citizens generally. For the 
first time Samuel Murdock was unable to be present and J. O. Crosby 
was the orator of the day. Michael Uriell made a brief talk and 
other speakers were J. H. Bowman of Colesburg and E. P. Moore, 
one of the founders of Monona. P. P. Olmstead was elected presi- 
dent ; James Uriell, vice-president, and George H. Otis, secretary. 
Although it had been voted to hold the reunion at McGregor, the 
gathering for 1880 was held at Garnavillo and the people of this his- 
toric town gave the pioneers a cordial welcome. The streets were 
gaily decorated with evergreens and banners. The honored guest was 
Judge Thomas S. Wilson, the pioneer judge of the county, who came 
from Dubuque to meet with his old friends in Clayton county. There 
was an exceptionally fine parade and P. P. Olmstead presided, Rev. 
William Cummings acted as chaplain, and the oration of the day was 
delivered by Judge Wilson. Another feature was an address in 
German by Dr. William Hoffbauer of Guttenberg. Frank Schoulte 
of National also spoke. The officers were re-elected, except that S. H. 
Shoulte was made secretary and S. D. Peck treasurer. While stress 
of weather had compelled a change of date on some years, June 11 
had come to be accepted as Pioneer Day, and by 1880 the association 
had grown to be one of the most potent factors in the life of the 


McGregor — While the "Golden Era" of McGregor is said to have 
ended in 1866, it was still a very lively place, easily maintaining its 
position as the largest and most important business point in the county. 
The figures of stock shipment and the amount of grain handled are 
staggering, and the two towns, which were rapidly becoming as one, 
easily led all northeastern Iowa. As a river and railroad center it 
had a distinctive population and was more metropolitan than the 
remainder of the county, as it came much more in touch with the 
outside world. There were many men who enjoyed considerable 
income and who did large business and the life of this city differed 
from that of any other part of the county. For instance, McGregor 
became noted as the home of fine horses. There was a driving asso- 
ciation and horses owned and bred at McGregor were noted throughout 
the country. The fact that it was the railroad terminus and the head- 
quarters of the Diamond Jo enterprises was, alone, sufficient to make 
it a place of importance. The Flemming mill at North McGregor was 
a large enterprise which in 1870 was enlarged, making it one of the 
most extensive mills on the river. This mill had four boilers, three 
engines, thirty-two saws and employed fifty men, turning out 40,000 
feet of lumber daily, beside much dimension lumber. In April, 1870, 
the Mississippi was the highest that it had been since 1828, exceeding 
the floods of 1858 and 1866, North McGregor and Prairie du Chien 
were under water. Passenger trains stopped two miles east of Prairie 
du Chien and ferry boats went up Bloody Run to the railroad round 

The city was much interested in the proposed ship canal to connect 
the lakes and the Mississippi by way of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. 
Meetings were held and committees were sent and, for a time, it looked 
as if there might be considerable traffic developed from Wisconsin 
points. In June, 1870, the steamer "Lawson" arrived at McGregor with 
a cargo from Appleton, Wis., and the "Energy" docked at Clayton with 
a cargo from Oshkosh. 

The fire fiend seemed to have a special spite against McGregor. 
In June, 1870, there was a $30,000 fire which led to the establishment of 
the first hook and ladder company. A year later the great Flemming 
saw mill at North McGregor was consumed with a loss of $125,000, 
and, in October, of the same year, the railroad elevator and Kellogg's 
mill were burned with a loss of $50,000. In this fire the beautiful 
monument to Alexander McGregor was destroyed. It had not been 
unloaded from the car and the great heat caused it to burst into 
fragments. The Flemming mill was rebuilt and, in October, 1871, 
Stauer and Daubenberger began the erection of a saw mill at McGregor. 
The development of the town and the fact that it was fast outgrowing 
pioneer days is evidenced by the fact that in 1873 the old No. i ware- 
house, erected in 1851, was torn down to make way for a more modern 
building. The Larrabee interests had for some time been engaged 
in the banking business at McGregor, and in 1873, Frank Larrabee 
moved to McGregor, beginning a long career of influence and im- 
portance to the community. During these days McGregor had the 
distinguished honor of furnishing the governor of Iowa and it was 
in recognition of this fact that the palatial steamboat, 255 feet long, of 


the Diamond Jo line was christened the "Samuel Merrill." By 1873, 
the Flemming Bros, mill was again in operation and it is recorded 
that Artemus Lamb, of Clinton, brought down the river, for the Flem- 
ming Bros., the largest raft then known upon the Mississippi waters. 
This raft contained twenty strings and covered about five acres. It 
was 335 feet wide, 510 feet long and contained 1,300,000 feet of 
lumber. No oars were used and it was controlled by the steamboat with 
a crew of eight men. 

In 1874, the total trade of McGregor amounted to $15,631,988.10. 
This large business was divided as follows: Wheat and produce, 
$3,905,284.63; banking and exchange, $8,218,314.44; wholesale, $1,- 
471,000; retail, $2,864,630.92; manufacturing and lumber, $706,642.89. 
No other towns in this region, except Dubuque and St. Paul, could 
boast larger clearings. An enterprise which should be mentioned was 
the carriage works of G. Hawley & Co. This factory was noted 
throughout the United States for its fine work and orders for expensive 
vehicles, where the best workmanship was required, came from all 
over the country. In 1875, the city was again visited with a disastrous 
fire, at which time appeals were sent to Prairie du Chien and Dubuque 
for aid. 

Ringling Bros. First Show — In the early 70s there lived in 
McGregor, a family of six brothers, named Ringling. The father 
ran a harness and saddle shop. He was an expert workman, noted 
particularly for his fine saddles. One of his masterpieces was a beauti- 
ful and expensive saddle ordered from him by John Buell, of New 
York. There were many circuses in those days, all of them traveling 
overland and few of them carrying a menagerie. Barnum was abroad 
in the land and was giving the people their first lesson in that great 
American institution, the circus. The Ringling boys undoubtedly 
attended the overland circuses and the boat shows which came to 
McGregor and, in some way, Al, as the ringleader of the boys got it 
into his head that he would like to have a show of his own. Many 
are still living in McGregor who remember the first performance of 
Ringling Bros, circus. One of these has contributed the following 
account of the beginning of the career of these kings of the big top, 
who are now said to own and control all the great circuses of America. 
Their cousins, the Gollmar Brothers, entered the business later, being 
attracted by the success attained by the Ringlings. The following is 
the account of the first Ringling Bros, show : "About forty years ago 
there resided in this same town, McGregor, Iowa, a firm in the 
harness business known as the Ringling Bros. The firm was composed 
of quiet young fellows of apparently mediocre business ability, and the 
last fellows on earth one would suspect of being afflicted, not with the 
hook worm, but with the show worm. But they were, nevertheless, 
and what gets into the heart of a fellow is sure to crop out. That is 
the reason why they gave their first show and that it happened in 
McGregor, was because they were then here. On a vacant lot in the 
rear of S. J. Peterson's drug store, they pitched their first tent. It 
was fully thirty-five feet in diameter, and well filled. There were three 
star performers — just three and no more. Two were on the parallel 
bars, but Al Ringling was the star. He balanced a big plow on his 



chin, which he borrowed from Lon Boyle for that special occasion. 
The exhibition was limited to one performance, and this in the evening. 
The orchestra was made up of one fiddle. George Williams was the 
one member of the band and he knew one tune. This he played over 
and over and when he had finished the audience invariably demanded 
the second verse, but there was no second — it was all first. George was 
the local plasterer as well as the violinist. There are men in town 
who can yet whistle that same tune. 

"The show went from here to Prairie du Chien. Three flat boats 
carried the complete aggregation — boats about the size of those now 
used for clamming, and they rowed across the river. Who would 
ever imagine that this was the beginning of the world's greatest shows? 
The harness shop owned by the Ringlings stood where the photograph 
gallery is now located. The tent was held in place by ropes contributed 
from clothes lines from the neighbors' backyards. The writer knows 
whereof he speaks for he got in the show on a pass for contributing 
these same clothes lines to the good of the cause." 

A letter from Charles Ringling dated July 11, 1916, questions 
some of the statements above, although it is not disputed that the first 
performance, from which the Ringling circus grew, was given at 
McGregor. Mr. Ringling's letter is as follows : "The mention of the 
harness shop of Al Ringling at McGregor ; this is an error. Al Ringling 
was never in the harness business at McGregor. August Ringling, 
St., father of the Ringling Brothers ran a harness shop at McGregor 
from i860 to 1872. At intervals during this period several of the 
older boys worked in the shop, but only one of the seven brothers 
actually took an interest in the harness business. This was A. G. 
Ringling who followed this trade in McGregor for a time and also in 
Elkader and in Garnavillo, joining his brothers only after the circus 
had been established for a number of years. There were seven 
brothers in the family, (in order as to age) Albert, August (A. G.), 
Otto, Alfred, Charles, John and Henry. The first three have passed 
to the great beyond. The remaining four brothers, now the firm of 
Ringling Bros., were born in McGregor. While it is true that the 
brothers gave a number of amateur circus performances at McGregor, 
under tents made by themselves, and that they actually planned, while 
mere boys at McGregor, to own and operate a circus, they did not 
actually start their first professional show from this point. Though 
the first circus run by the brothers was small it represented some 
investment and the necessary funds had to be earned in some way. 
For several years the brothers gave exhibitions in halls and small-town 
theaters and from the savings of this business they were able in the 
spring of 1884 to start their first real circus. The first performances 
were given at Baraboo, Wis., and it was not until several weeks later 
that they appeared at McGregor." — Charles E. Ringling. 

McGregor Events — Among the other activities may be noted the 
formation of a citizens association in December, 1874, with Thomas 
Arnold as president and A. Chapin secretary ; the enlistment of an 
artillery company under Captain Rowland and, in 1876, the successful 
sinking of an artesian well. The artesian well company was incor- 
porated with $3,000 capital, J. P. Patrick, president; E. R. Barron, 


secretary. At 300 feet a flow of water was struck and, in December, 
1876, a flow of fifteen barrels per minute was secured. This delighted 
the people, the ladies of the town gave an entertainment to secure funds 
to beautify the grounds and, later, the company with J. F. Bassett as 
president, increased its capital to $20,000 and planned to beautify the 
grounds and to lay extensive water mains. April 8, 1876, McGregor 
was visited by a disastrous storm. This is described by the Times as 
being a "deluge," exceeding in violence the storms of i860 and 1868. 
The property damaged was estimated to exceed $21,500, the chief loss 
falling from the city sewerage system and upon Peterson & Ramage. 
Great boulders were hurled through the street by the force of the water 
and the parks presented a sorry sight, the grass being covered with 
several inches of mud. The loss to Peterson & Ramage was caused 
by their cellar, which was filled with wholesale drugs and groceries, 
being flooded. In 1876, McGregor lost one of its pioneer business men 
in the person of A. T. Jones. He was a Kentuckian by birth, went 
to the Galena lead mines in 1837, and landed at McGregor in 1849. At 
that time there were but three families in the place, those of Alexander 
McGregor, Andrew Teets, and Lafayette Bigelow. He established 
the firm of Jones & Bass, which, in 1856, was sold to Merrill & Barron. 
Mr. Jones remained in business in the city and throughout his life 
was one of McGregor's most prominent and helpful citizens. 

During the boom days, when the city had visions of becoming a 
second Chicago, there was much municipal extravagance and the city 
plunged into debt beyond the constitutional limit. In the later 70's 
these chickens came home to roost and became a serious handicap 
to the town, although it did not stop public improvements for, during 
this time, fine churches were built and a handsome new school house 
replaced the old building. The question of indebtedness got into the 
courts and in December, 1879, ^ decision of the United States court 
was made of which the Times says: "Our city has a debt of $60,000, 
of which bonded obligation, $20,000 is illegal, and the bulk of the whole 
is in the hands of eastern capitalists. The debt was contracted when 
McGregor was on the top wave of a flourishing condition. By mis- 
management and shrinkage of values, our city got into a condition of 
helplessness, because our state laws do not allow a sufficient levy of 
taxes to pay principal or interest. The first step toward escape from 
this predicament is this decision of the United States court. The 
next step will be an enabling act by the coming state legislature by 
which taxes can be levied to pay the interest and establish a sinking 
fund sufficient to liquidate our municipal debt. All this McGregor is 
willing to do and has been, as soon as the state law permits. This 
city has always been willing to pay her legal debts justly, and so strong 
is this disposition that members of the council have proposed to use 
funds that they had no right to, to pay the city debt." While disap- 
pointing to the hopes of those who expected McGregor to become a 
great metropolis, this period was one of which any Iowa city might 
have been proud. 

Elkader — If Elkader had fewer "ups" it also had fewer "downs" 
than had McGregor. In 1870, there was rejoicing when the bridge 
was reopened and Elisha Boardman and H, D. Bronson drove across 


in state while the people cheered. Business was good and the little 
town was growing constantly. The mill had established a reputation 
and was shipping flour direct to Europe. In 1871, it is reported, "Elk- 
ader has improved rapidly. Several residences have been built this 
spring and more in process. V. Boiler is building a fine business block 
of stone on Front street nearly opposite the mill. When finished, it 
will be not only an ornament to the town, but one of the best business 
blocks in northern Iowa. The First National Bank of Elkader will 
soon commence a stone building near the mill, with law offices on the 
second floor. Two churches are being built, one by the Methodists and 
one by the Congregationalists." Under the head of railroads, it has 
been noted that Elkader made many efforts to get into touch with the 
outside world, both by rail and wire, and finally got connection through 
the precarious fine of the narrow gauge. In June, 1871, high water 
damaged the mill to the extent of $3,000 and put it out of commission 
for some time. 

In June, 1873, the city lost one of its strongest citizens in the 
person of B. T. Hunt whose activities have been frequently mentioned 
in this history. He was one of the Republican leaders of the county 
and was one of that party's most eloquent orators. He was one of 
the county's staunchest Union men and he did much to arouse that 
enthusiasm which placed the county in the front rank for volunteers. 
He was elected state senator in 1863 and, in 1868, was elected circuit 
judge without opposition. With his death Elkader and Clayton county 
lost one of their best and strongest men. 

The year 1876 was memorable in Elkader by the installation of 
the beautiful chimes at the Catholic church. This was done through 
the efforts of Father Quigley and they were ready to ring the glad 
tidings of the Christmas time to the people of Elkader. These bells, 
three in number, were cast at Cincinnati by the Buckeye Bell Foundry, 
and weighed 5,400 pounds, the weight being 3,000 pounds, 1,500 
pounds and 900 pounds. The cost was $1,800 and appropriate inscrip- 
tions were cast upon the bells, together with the names of the seventy- 
two donors. Eighteen hundred and seventy-seven saw the advent of 
the first street sprinkler in Elkader and, in 1878, the Elkader Register 
made its appearance, as a Democratic paper in opposition to the 
Journal. The Register was, from the first, a healthy appearing and 
newsy paper. It was established by George H. Otis and edited by him 
for one year when it was purchased by F. D. Bayless and run by the 
Register company. In 1878 occurred what is still known as "the 
brewery fire." The building was completely destroyed, but 250 barrels 
of beer were saved. This fire was followed by a tragedy, when, during 
preparations to rebuild, a wall caved in, killing Severin Hassler. The 
enterprise of the citizens was shown by the fund raised for the court 
house and the fact that there was a surplus which was devoted, in 1878, 
to the installation of Elkader's first water works. Following the instal- 
lation of the water works a fire company was formed which had an 
abbreviated uniform described as "consisting of a belt, cap and red 
woolen shirt." The company had its first tryout at a fire at Gilbert 
Bros, photograph gallery in January, 1879. It was at this time that the 
creamery project was started by C. T. Stearns and Edgar Partch. This 


commenced business August i, 1879, with horse power and a star 
churn. What was said to be the first hearse in the county was owned 
by H. C. Grotewohl. It was made by Schoch and Witt of Volga and 
painted by F. Dennert. Illustrating the life of the village it may be 
stated that in 1879 there was a great craze for walking matches. 
Everyone tried his foot at it and Dell Wade was the champion, walking 
50 miles in 9 hours, 36 minutes and 16 seconds. 

Ahd-El-Kader — In November, 1879, occurred the death of Abd- 
El-Kader, the Algerian patriot for whom Elkader was named. The 
Register gives an account of the naming of the town and a biography 
of Abd-El-Kader, as, follows: "In 1844, when John Thompson, 
Chester Sage and Timothy Davis, the founders of Elkader were laying 
out the town, the attention of the whole world was turned toward 
Algeria, where Abd-El-Kader was fighting for his country, trying to 
preserve it from the French. When the town had been platted, and a 
name was necessary to complete the work, Timothy Davis, with the 
exploits of Abd-El-Kader fresh in his mind, proposed the name, Elk- 
ader, which was adopted. The chief from whom the town derived its 
name, died last week in Damascus, in the seventy-second year of his 
age. Abd-El-Kader, Sheik-up-Islam, descendant of the prophet. Emir 
of Mascara, Suhan of Algeria, was bom in Mascara, in 1807, and 
during his early years made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and studied Arab 
philosophy in the schools of Eg}^pt and Morocco. In 1828, having 
offended the Dey of Algeria, he was obliged to flee to Egypt. In 1831, 
during the first war between Algeria and France, he again appeared in 
his native country and took the leadership of the army against France, 
and at the head of 10,000 horsemen attacked Oran, in May, 1832. His 
attempt was unsuccessful, and other engagements followed without 
decisive results. After several changes in the personnel of the French 
officers. General Voivol succeeded to the command. Finding that Abd- 
El-Kader's influence was every day extending, the French concluded 
to make peace with him, and, in February, 1834, a treaty was con- 
cluded between him and the governor of Oran, by which Abd-El-Kader 
recognized the suzerainty of France, but was named Emir of the 
province of Mascara, with many important commercial rights over the 
whole of Oran. 

"In July, 1835, for some alleged misdemeanor the French again 
declared war against him, and after a war of over a year, in which he 
defeated the French in several battles, a treaty was again made with 
him. May 30, 1837. In 1839, Abd-El-Kader declared war against 
France, for marching an armed force through his territory, and after a 
terrible war of over seven years, in which he was stripped of the last 
vestige of power and reduced to the extremity of distress, he was 
finally obliged to surrender. It was during this war that his name 
became widely known, beaten in battle after battle, his troops deserting 
him, he would not give up the contest until all was gone. After his 
surrender he was placed in the castle of Ambroise, near Blois, where 
he remained until 1852, when Louis Napoleon released him, and 
gave him an annual pension of 100,000 francs. Subsequently, he 
removed to Damascus, and his name will be held in grateful re- 
membrance by the Christians of that city for his courageous efforts for 


their protection from the fury of the fanatical Turks, during the 
massacre of i860, when the Druses fell upon the Maronites. For this 
service he received the cross of the Legion of Honor. He was one of 
the lions of the Paris exposition of 1855, and in 1863 visited the Suez 
canal, receiving a present of a piece of land from M. DeLesseps. In 
1865, he went to England and, in 1867, attended another exposition at 
Paris. The last years of his life have been peaceful, and free from 
the volcanic fire of patriotism that animated him to do for his country, 
what Marco Bozzaris sought to do for suffering Greece, Kosciusko 
for Poland and Schamyl for Caucasus." 







THE history of Clayton county between the years of 1880 and 
1900 is, in miniature, the history of Iowa. It was the growth 
and progress of these years which stamped Iowa as the best 
and richest state in the Union. The land which, less than fifty years 
before, had been thought too inhospitable to support an extensive pop- 
ulation and which had been abandoned, as a hunting ground for Indian 
tribes, had proven that it was the garden spot of all the world, and 
Clayton county had proven that it was the garden spot of Iowa. The 
real growth of the county is to be found during this period, not in the 
towns, but on the farms. No mushroom cities grew, there were no 
booms and no seasons of wild speculation. Practically no railroad 
mileage was added. The towns were, in fact, almost ultra conservative. 
They grew and expanded but in reality lagged behind the development 
of the county as a whole. The best brain and brawn of the county 
was on the farm. This was shown by better methods of agriculture, 
by improvement of stock, by intensive methods, by better buildings, and 
by higher priced lands. Northeastern Iowa became noted as the dairy 
of the United States. The prairies, where once roamed the elk and 
buffalo, were dotted with cattle of the purest blood. There were no 
woolen mills, nor factories of the larger kind, but the creameries were 
almost as numerous as the schools. In short, the farm was not the 
adjunct of the town ; the town was the adjunct of the farm, and the 
towns but barely kept pace with the demand of the rich agricultural 
districts by which they were surrounded. The increased transporta- 
tion facilities limited the trade area of each town to its own immediate 
vicinity. Men no longer drove two hundred miles to take their wheat 
to McGregor. The line to the west and the Elkader branch curtailed 
the trade of the Pocket city; the Volga branch took from the trade 
of Elkader; and the line through Strawberry Point was a bane to the 
merchants along the Volga. While this prevented the growth of any 


large city and was a source of regret to the individual merchants, it 
was of great economic value to the county, as the farmer was within 
easy reach of transportation and was able to pick and choose his 
market place. Increased land values operated to prevent growth in 
population, and allowing for natural increase, there was a positive loss. 
Just as the cheap lands of Iowa beckoned to the ambitious poor and the 
adventurous young of the eastern states in early days, so the Dakotas 
and Kansas and Nebraska called to the youth of Iowa. And thus 
while Clayton county prospered, it grew, not in population, not in the 
building of cities, but in wealth and culture and material comforts. 

Politics — From 1880 until 1894 the politics of the county hinged 
almost entirely upon the question of prohibition. Whatever may be 
the results of this great problem, the immediate effects of this con- 
troversy were disastrous for Clayton county. Had it stopped with 
politics the harm would have been insignificant, perhaps, but it entered 
into the courts, the schools, the church, into business life and the 
personal relation of the men of the county. It made friends of enemies 
and enemies of friends. The passage of the so-called "mulct law," 
in the early 90's, was the signal for a truce on this question which 
lasted for twenty years. 

In 1893, the pressure of hard times drove men to think chiefly of 
economic matters, and it was then that the silver question sprang into 
existence, and it occupied the center of the political stage until after 
the close of the century. 

While a few of the giants of the ante-bellum days; such men as 
Murdock, Noble, Crosby, Updegraff, Uriell and Stoneman, remained 
as factors in the politics of the county many new men were springing 
up, men who had been born in the county, old soldiers whose military 
records made them beloved of the people, new men coming to the 
county after the war and proving their worth, were to be reckoned 
with in politics. Such men as John Everall, R. E. Price, Senator Bay- 
less, J. E. Corlett, Henry Meyer, and later, D. D. Murphy, H. C. 
Bishop, Henry Meder, John G. Hemple, B. W. Newberry and others, 
became prominent. 

In 1880, Clayton county was Republican, occasional Democratic 
officers were elected, but in the main the Republican party was dom- 
inant. The question of prohibition entered into the contest, but not 
enough to change the current of thought in the presidential election. 
It was in this year that Charles Reugnitz made his first appearance as 
a candidate. He was secretary of the Democratic county convention 
and was nominated for clerk over Mr. Shields. Reugnitz declined and 
Shields was nominated, later Shields withdrew and the committee 
named Reugnitz. The Republican majority for Garfield was more than 
600. Updegraff was elected to congress, Reugnitz, who was connected 
with the hoop factory at Clayton was defeated by J. F. Thompson 
and C. L. McGonigal lost the office of recorder to Charles Shecker. 

In 1881, the Democrats were at first so badly disorganized that 
they held no convention to name state delegates, and these were 
appointed by F. D. Bayless, who, as chairman of the Democratic county 
committee, was coming into political prominence. William Larrabee, 
of Fayette county, but whose interests were large in this county, was a 


candidate for the Republican nomination for governor but was defeated 
by Buren R. Sherman. Prohibition was a growing factor in this cam- 
paign, but Sherman carried the county by more than 200. The 
Democrats elected C. F. Floete treasurer and G. H. Scofield supervisor, 
but John Everall was beaten for superintendent by O. D. Oathout by 
91 majority and the balance of the ticket was Republican. 

Prohibition — In June, 1882, came the election on the prohibitory 
amendment. This was defeated in Clayton county, the vote being, 
for 823, against 2,955. The amendment carried in the state by 30,000. 
There had been a bitter fight, and those opposed to prohibition, held 
the Republican party responsible for its submission to the people and 
for its passage. The Germans, who had been largely with the Repub- 
licans and who were opposed to prohibition, left the Republican party 
almost en masse and the result was apparent in the election of Novem- 
ber, 1882, when the Democrats carried the county by nearly 700, Upde- 
graff had a margin of but 61, and L. H. Weller was elected. Neverthe- 
less, Thompson, Republican, defeated Corlett for clerk and Shecker 
won for recorder as against Reugnitz ; Frank Shoulte, Democrat, was 
elected on the board, and L. O. Hatch for district judge and C. Welling- 
ton for attorney, both Democrats, had large majorities. During this 
campaign there were organizations both for and against prohibition. A 
prohibitory amendment convention was held in Elkader as early as 
October, 1881. In January, there was a prohibition convention with 
Francis H. Palmer, president and Robert Grant secretary. In June, 
1882, there was an anti-prohibition convention, called by S. K. Adams. 
Robert Quigley was chairman of this convention and, speaking of 
the effect of prohibitory laws, he said that, in 1872, there were forty- 
two saloons in McGregor, that a $50 license was imposed and sixteen 
saloons went out of business, and that, at that time, there were but 
sixteen saloons in McGregor. He said that liquor prosecutions had 
already cost the county $6,000 and that but two convictions, from 
Monona, had been secured. H. O. Pratt stumped the county for 
prohibition and he and S. K. Adams held joint debates. The Register, 
Democratic, of Elkader, hails the results of the election of 1882 as "A 
Tidal Wave ; Revolution Complete." The year 1883, was another of 
prohibition excitement. A test case was brought and Judge Walter I. 
Hayes, of Clinton, held the amendment annulled because the wording 
differed in one section as passed by the senate and as passed by the 
house. This decision was confirmed by the supreme court and the 
amendment was thrown out. This reopened the whole question. The 
prohibitionists were angered that the result of the election had been 
nullified by what they believed to be a technicality, or worse, and the 
anti-prohibitionists were determined to defeat any legislation if pos- 
sible. Clayton county was in a turmoil. In February, 1883, ^ prohibi- 
tion convention was held and among the delegates to the state con- 
vention were Michael Uriell and J. O. Crosby. The Democratic con- 
vention was the largest that party had yet held and F. D. Bayless was 
nominated for the senate. The Republicans were styled "Prohiblicans." 
There were joint debates on the temperance issue, between C. E. Floete 
and Ernest Hofer of the McGregor News. The result of the October 
election was a complete Democratic victory, ranging from 730 for L. 


G. Kinne for governor, to 57 for August Borman, sheriff ; John Ever- 
all was elected auditor and Bayless as senator. The top-notch majority 
was given Walter I. Hayes, who carried the county for supreme 
judge, by 871. Garnavillo ratified the election with a grand illumina- 
tion and torch light parade. 

In March, 1884, a prohibitory law was passed by the legislature, 
carrying into effect, by statute, what had been lost with the amendment. 
This was the year of the great Cleveland-Blaine contest and national 
issues were more prominent. Updegraff was the candidate of this 
county for the congressional nomination, but, in a long drawn conven- 
tion battle, he was defeated by L. N. Fuller, on the i6th ballot. Judge 
Murdock, also was a candidate for the independent judicial nomination, 
but he was defeated by J. F. Dayton. Judge Noble was the democratic 
candidate for district elector. In Clayton county the entire democratic 
ticket was elected by an average majority of nearly 700. There were 
ratification meetings at Elkader, Guttenberg, Strawberry Point and 
McGregor and a grand county rally at Elkader to celebrate the Cleve- 
land victory with fireworks, bands, a torch light procession of 500, and 
an address by John Everall. Prohibition was still the issue in 1885, 
William Larrabee was the republican nominee for governor and he was 
opposed by C. E. Whiting, on a state ticket composed equally of demo- 
crats and greenbackers. Even so popular a man as Judge Murdock was 
defeated for representative on the republican ticket in the election of 
1885, and the average democratic majority was about 800. It was in 
this year that Charles Reugnitz began his long career as treasurer of 
Clayton county. 

The election of 1886 was practically a repetition of the preceding 
years. The republican party was thoroughly disorganized and dis- 
heartened. E. M. Williams, Thos. Updegraff, J. O. Crosby and R. E. 
Price were about the only republican leaders in the county. The demo- 
cratic majority increased to an average of more than 1,000, the lowest 
majority being 715, given Robert Quigley for county attorney. During 
these years came the fiercest struggle for the enforcement of the pro- 
hibitory law. More than two thirds of the county was opposed to its 
enforcement and the attempts to close saloons caused bad blood and 
much ill feeling. The friends of prohibitionists insisted that the law 
must be obeyed and the opponents of the law asserted that the prosecu- 
tions were persecutions and made the cover for graft. This turmoil 
created a most unhealthy state throughout the county. At a meeting 
of the county temperance alliance, held in June, 1887, it was reported 
that injunctions had been obtained against twenty-one saloons and three 
breweries, temporary injunctions against 10 saloons and i brewery and 
that 8 cases were pending. A member of the convention from Clayton 
stated that in his town the saloons were open day and night and Sunday 
and sold indiscriminately to minors and drunkards. The remedy pro- 
posed by the prohibitionists was stricter enforcement and the remedy 
of the anti-prohibitionists was a license law, which should regulate 
rather than prohibit. William Larrabee was the republican candidate 
for governor in 1887, and although he was well known and had large 
interests in the county, he was defeated in Gayton by almost 1,200, 
the lowest democratic majority given was 458, for senator Bayless. It 


was in this year that H. C. Bishop was first elected superintendent. 

The Cleveland-Harrison campaign of 1888 inspired the republicans 
to more activity and the campaign was harder fought than in former 
years. D, D. Murphy, who had been principal of the schools at Gutten- 
berg and who had but recently moved to Elkader to practice law, for the 
first time became prominent as a democratic orator. It was in the day 
of the torch light campaign and there were rallies all over the county. 
At Elkader, both parties rallied on the same evening; there were clubs 
from Clayton Center, Strawberry Point, Garnavillo and Monona in the 
democratic parade, with drum corps and bands, and D. D. Murphy 
delivered the address. The republicans had a parade of nearly equal 
proportions ; one feature being the Ladies' Harrison Club, and the 
democratic paper complains bitterly that the ladies sang, while march- 
ing, "We'll hang old Cleveland on a sour apple tree." The republican 
orators were L. E. Fellows, and Col. J. K. Sweeney, of Osage. The 
democratic majority in the county was about 700, and all the democratic 
county ticket was elected. Two of the old time republican leaders to 
bite the dust were Samuel Murdock, for attorney, and Gregor Mc- 
gregor for supervisor. Nevertheless, the republicans jubilated over the 
national victory and Elkader was ablaze with torch lights, fireworks 
and bond fires. The Garnavillo band was employed and the Ladies' 
Harrison Club marched in triumph. 

The democratic party reached almost the crest of its tide in 1889. 
Horace Boies was the candidate for governor on a platform for license. 
D. D. Murphy was chairman of the democratic county committee, the 
county convention was large and enthusiastic. The result in Clayton 
county was a victory of almost two to one. The vote for governor 
was, Boies, 3,395 ; Hutchinson, 1,735 ; Boies majority, 1,660. This was 
regarded not only as a democratic victory, but as a victory against pro- 
hibition, and Clayton county celebrated accordingly. At Elkader all 
the stores were ablaze with candles, there was a torch light parade, 
speeches by Murphy, Bishop, Everall and Bayless and this was fol- 
lowed by a grand ball. 

As a democratic nomination was considered equivalent to an elec- 
tion the conventions of that party were the scenes of hard fought bat- 
tles. In 1890 it took one informal and nine formal ballots to nominate 
a recorder. John G. Hagensick, J. H. Hill, Fred Soil and Theo 
Krasinsky were the candidates and Soil finally won. D. D. Murphy 
was candidate for county attorney. The entire democratic ticket was 
elected, the lowest majority being 1,195. ^^ 1891 was another Boies 
campaign, and it was another landslide for Clayton county demo- 
crats. Boies' majority was more than 1,500, and the only contest 
which approached closeness was that for sheriff, J. J. Kann defeating 
Fred Bergman, republican, by a vote of 2,950 to 2,579. 

The presidential campaign of 1892 maintained the democratic 
supremacy in this county. The political sensation of the year was a 
suit for criminal libel against Otis and Widman of the McGregor News, 
with H. C. Bishop as prosecuting witness. The News had published 
articles reflecting upon Mr. Bishop's conduct of the oflfice of superin- 
tendent. After a stormy trial the News' editors were found guilty, but 
a motion for a new trial was sustained and the case did not come up 


again. In 1892 the Australian ballot was first used in Iowa. The 
republicans succeeded in reducing the democratic majority to less 
than 900, but the entire democratic ticket was elected. 

In 1893 Frank D. Jackson was the republican candidate for gov- 
ernor, and the keynote of the platform was that "Prohibition is no test 
of party fealty." This was taken to presage some modification of the 
prohibitory law and this, together with the hard times, which struck 
the country in 1893, invited the return of many former republicans to 
that party. In Gayton county the republicans were aided by a con- 
vention fight for the democratic nomination for sheriff. There were 
several candidates and John K. Molumby was nominated. Fred Cook, 
his closest opponent, declared that he had been defeated by unfair 
methods, that he would not support Molumby and that he would be a 
candidate. The republicans took advantage of this situation and nomi- 
nated Cook on their ticket. The result was the reduction of the demo- 
cratic majority on the state ticket to 706, the election of Cook by one 
of the largest majorities ever given a county official; the vote being 
Molumby, 1,780; Cook, 3,544; and the election of William Monlux, 
republican, for supervisor. 

The state of the country now forced economic questions to the 
front. Many Democrats were dissatisfied with the Cleveland admin- 
istration and this opposition, within his own party, was already strong 
in 1894. In this election the democratic majority in Clayton county 
was reduced to a little more than 200 and Updegraff came within yj of 
carrying the county for congress. It was in this campaign that John G. 
Hempel was first a candidate, being defeated for recorder by Fred 
Soil by less than 100. On the face of the returns Henry Meder, repub- 
lican, was elected supervisor over George H. Scofield by 9 votes. This 
election was contested and a commission was appointed, consisting of 
Charles Mentzel, R. E. Price and Frank Shoulte. The entire vote of 
the county was recanvassed, the commission taking ten days for its 
work. Every ballot not marked strictly according to law was thrown 
out and in this way 1,191 ballots were found defective and Scofield 
was declared elected by a majority of 6. An appeal was taken and 
on the recount 14 more were added to Scofield's majority. Under 
recent decisions it is probable that the majority of these 1,191 ballots 
would be counted, but at that time the Australian ballot law was new 
and there were no precedents, and the commission undoubtedly acted 
with fairness. The contest aroused much feeling and the following 
year the republican convention denounced the action of the commis- 
sion, but at the same time nominated R. E. Price, a member of the 
commission, for the state senate. In 1895 the democratic majority was 
increased to 484, all democratic nominees were elected, the only close 
race being between T. J. Sullivan, democrat, who defeated Henry 
Meder for representative by a majority of 64. 

Free Silver Issue — The year 1896 saw another political revolution. 
The course of events had caused wide differences in both political 
parties. Free silver was the great issue and it gained control of 
democracy. Horace Boies was boomed as a presidential candidate. 
Clayton was a "Sound Money" county and the democratic county con- 
vention endorsed the Cleveland administration and opposed free silver. 


D. D. Murphy was the candidate of the sound money democrats for 
district delegate. The free silver forces won in the state, however, and 
the great speech delivered by William J. Bryan in reply to the gold 
speech by David B. Hill at the Chicago convention swept Bryan into 
the leadership of democracy. In the meantime the passage of the mulct 
law, by which the provisions of the prohibitory law might be abrogated 
upon a petition signed by 65 per cent of the voters, had largely taken 
the prohibition question out of politics. In those counties where the 
prohibitory sentiment was strong the law remained in force and in 
counties, such as Clayton, where the majority opposed prohibition there 
were licensed and regulated saloons. While the leaders of democracy 
in this county were loyal to Bryan and preserved their party regularity, 
the German voters of the county voted largely for McKinley and against 
free silver. The result was a republican majority of 450 for McKinley 
and the election of the entire republican ticket, with the exception of 
J. H. Hill, democrat, who was elected recorder by a majority of 121. 
Reuben Noble was a gold democrat, was outspoken in his convictions 
and would doubtless have taken an active part in the campaign had 
his splendid career not been ended by death just prior to this election. 
Senator Bayless was the candidate for congress, but was defeated by 
Updegraf, both in the county and the district. It was in 1896 that 
John G. Hempel was first elected auditor of the county. 

In 1897 the political pendulum swung back for Clayton county 
democrats, and Fred White, the democratic candidate for governor, 
carried the county against Leslie M. Shaw by a little less than 200. 
The democratic county candidates were mostly candidates for re-elec- 
tion. They were popular men, Reugnitz for treasurer and Denton for 
sheriff being particularly strong. Such democrats as John Everall an- 
nounced that, while opposed to free silver, they would act with the 
democratic party, and this was the position of many of the gold demo- 
crats. As a result H. G. Jenkins, for supervisor, was the only republican 

The sensation of 1898 in republican circles was the campaign for 
the congressional nomination. Mr. Updegraff was again a candidate, 
and he was opposed by several others, among whom was J. E. Blythe, 
of Mason City. At the convention more than 300 ballots were taken 
and the result was the nomination of a "dark horse" in the person of 
G. N. Haugen, of Worth county. T. T. Blaise, of Mason City, was the 
opposing democrat. The election of 1898 was a republican victory; 
the complete county ticket being elected, with the exception of J. H. 
Hill, for recorder, and the republican state ticket receiving 136 majority. 

In 1899 the county see-sawed back and White, democrat, defeated 
Shay, republican, by 148, and the entire democratic ticket was elected 
by a small majority. This was preliminary to the presidential campaign 
of 1900, when McKinley again carried the county by a large majority 
over Bryan. 

County Government — The county government under the control of 
the board of three supervisors was in the main satisfactory and efficient. 
The board was composed of competent men, and while they were sub- 
ject to criticism, from time to time, there was no scandal connected 
with their administration. The many serious floods and severe storms 


to which the county was subjected caused a severe strain upon county 
finances, and the building of bridges occupied a large portion of the 
time of the board. By 1883 it was found that there were a large num- 
ber of county warrants outstanding, and that failure to pay these 
injured the credit of the county and also worked hardship upon 
creditors who needed their money and could only obtain it by dis- 
counting their warrants. To meet this the county voted a bond issue 
of $15,000 to pay warrants issued prior to 1882. Fourteen thousand 
dollars of these bonds were sold, the issue being almost entirely bought 
by local parties at a good premium. The first pharmacy permit for the 
sale of liquors under the Clarke law was issued in 1882 to W. R. 
White, of Volga City. The board was accused of extravagance in 
bridge building, and it was pointed out that bridge work was done 
much more cheaply in Allamakee county. This criticism finally caused 
the abandonment of the old system and the letting of bridges by con- 
tract. Outside of its routine business, the board during this period, 
accomplished several things of permanent importance to the county. 
The first of these was the building of the splendid stone bridge at 

Elkader Bridge — The history of the location and building of the 
Elkader bridge is short and not uninteresting. Prior to the building, 
the river at this point was spanned by several double iron trusses of 
the Truesdale patent. This bridge had been defective for years, and 
repairs were frequently required to keep it in passable condition. 
Finally the Board of Supervisors, believing the bridge unsafe, decided 
to take action, and, as a preliminary step, secured the service of 
M. Tschirgi, Jr., C. E., the engineer of the high bridge at Dubuque, to 
examine the old structure and report as to its safety. The board at 
this time consisted of Messrs. S. H. F. Schoulte, James McKinley and 
John Luther. The engineer made the examination and reported that 
the structure was unsafe and should be condemned. The board con- 
demned the bridge and proceeded to have a new structure built. The 
board had in mind the construction of a stone arch bridge, as the 
location was very suitable, it would be permanent and avoid the heavy 
annual expense of replanking the floor of either an iron or wooden 
bridge. Also Cole's quarry near town afforded an inexaustible supply 
of the finest magnesian lime stone, free from all imperfections and 
which has proven to be proof against the action of frost and water. 
With all the natural advantages at hand, the board believed it would 
be a matter of economy to carry out their ideas as to a stone arch 
bridge, and instructed engineer Tschirgi to prepare a preliminary esti- 
mate of the cost and to draw up a complete set of plans and specifica- 
tions for a stone arch bridge. The plan was made, presented to the 
board, and adopted, and bids invited for the construction of either an 
iron or stone bridge. The result justified the board's ideas, the bids 
for the same width of structure and requisite strength showing the 
iron to be more expensive than the price at which the contract for the 
stone bridge was let. 

The contract was awarded to Messrs. Byrne and Blade, two enter- 
prising stone masons and contractors from Dubuque, for $13,000. The 
plans upon which the contract was based called for two spans, each 


84 feet in the clear, with a center pier, 19 feet in width, at the foun- 
dation. The other dimensions were as follows : 

Clear height of each arch 27.9 feet 

Outside width of bridge 34 feet 

Clear width of bridge 30 feet 

Entire length of bridge 346 feet 

The road bed is macadamized with gutter on upper side of road- 
way, a curb stone and hexagonal block cement sidewalk six feet wide. 

The contractors, with a large force of men, commenced work on 
the bridge in August, and it required nine months of actual work to 
complete it. There are 4,161 cubic yards of material in the bridge, and 
its estimated weight is 18,618,255 pounds, equal to 9,309 tons. The 
gentlemen who had charge of its construction deserve great credit 
for the skill displayed in its erection, and for the care taken to avoid 
accidents, as no one was injured, nor any accident of any description 
occurred, and the work was both difficult and dangerous. While the 
work was progressing the public was allowed to cross the bridge 
freely, the old structure being kept in position until a crossing could 
be effected on the new bridge, although the new stands in exactly the 
same place formerly occupied by the old. The completion of this 
bridge gave to Elkader and Clayton county the finest and longest stone 
arch highway bridge in the state, or in fact anywhere west of the 
Mississippi River. It is not only a credit to its designer, M. Tschirgi, 
and an ornament to Elkader, but is a most economical structure, when 
it is considered that it is practically indestructible, needing no repairs, 
and cost even less than an iron bridge of the same dimensions would 
have cost. 

County Asylum — By the spring of 1880 the county asylum had 
been built on the poor farm in Reed township. This structure was two 
stories high, had furnace heat and contained twelve cells. In 1890 it 
was felt that the institution could be operated with less expense if the 
farm was larger, and 80 acres was purchased from John Daniels for 
the sum of $1,550. The number of insane patients increased and these 
were kept at the state hospital at Independence, at considerable ex- 
pense. The legislature enacted a law by which counties might erect 
and maintain hospitals for the incurable insane. A proposition to do 
this was submitted to the voters in 1897, and was carried by a majority 
of 846. Immediately after the election, both McGregor and Guttenberg 
made claim for the location, but the question was decided in favor of 
Elkader, upon the condition that Elkader should provide a site of at 
least 6 acres, and should run the city water mains to the building. Elk- 
ader met these conditions, offering the present beautiful site of the 
county hospital. The location is an ideal one for such an institution, 
and Clayton county can congratulate itself that it has provided for its 
unfortunates in such a generous manner. The board proceeded at once 
with the plans for this building and contracts were let. William Mon- 
lux was chairman of the board, and was the commissioner in charge of 
the construction. The total cost of the building, under the contract 
was $14,845.55. The building, of brick and stone, consist of two sto- 
ries and a basement, the dimensions are, length 141 feet 2 inches ; width, 
wings, 41 feet ; center, 44 feet, with a porch and entrance steps, 17 feet 


wide. The building contains a central or administrative department 
with a wing on either side containing wards for patients. The cellar 
and basement walls were constructed by Stoops & Williamson, and are 
fine specimens of mason work, the rock being taken from the quarry- 
adjacent to the building. J. L. Schneider & Bros, were the contractors 
for the brick work, etc. ; W. F. Kleimpell furnished the heating appara- 
tus; Brown & Bahr the plumbing; E. T. Barnum the steel work, and 
H. L. Griffith did the electric wiring. There is one thing to be said for 
Clayton county, and that is that no county has come nearer to getting 
the worth of its money in all of its public buildings than has Clayton. 
An addition was built to the court house in shape of a tower to con- 
tain the clock which was donated by the people of Elkader, F. D. Bay- 
less and J. B. Schmidt being the promoters. The tower cost $1,200, the 
clock $550 and the bell $190. This work was done in 1896. 

In 1895, soon after the passage of the mulct law there was much 
confusion as to the collection of the mulct tax. Upon advice of counsel 
many liquor dealers refused to pay the mulct tax pending the decision 
as to the constitutionality of the law. When this point was decided 
the saloon men came before the board, asking that a compromise be 
affected. They stated that not over 50 per cent of the liquor dealers 
had been taxed and they offered to furnish a complete list of the deal- 
ers in the county. The board ordered, at a special session, that all penal- 
ties, interest and costs, also all tax due prior to October i, 1894, would 
be remitted on condition that taxes not remitted be promptly paid, and 
that a correct list of all engaged in the liquor traffic be furnished. 
There were 44 dealers listed at the time. 

Storms and Floods — It has been mentioned that the large part of 
the work of the board was in building and repairing bridges. The 
county was the victim of a number of severe storms and damaging 
floods. In June, 1880, there was a terriffic storm. Bloody Run was 
flooded, the narrow gauge suffered heavily from washouts at Beulah 
and St. Olaf, the county bridge at Pony Creek was washed away. Elk- 
port and Osterdock were under water, the Martin Garber farm was 
badly damaged and the Mississippi was the highest that had been 
known. At McGregor the river came to the steps of the Flanders 
house, Guttenberg was an island and railroad traffic was completely 
suspended. The next great storm was more in the nature of a cyclone, 
and occurred in June, 1881. Urdell's timber suffered badly. The 
storm was on Sunday and the church at Elkport was crowded ; the 
wind struck the building with great fury, trees were blown down, 
teams stampeded and a panic prevailed. June seemed to be the month 
of storms, and in 1883 a destructive cyclone swept through Bremer, 
Fayette and Clayton counties. The cyclone swept down Bear Creek 
with a noise like a railroad train, destroying everything in its path. 
The Hartge home, at Elkport, was destroyed, and Mrs. Hartge was 
injured. At Littleport hail stones, "the size of potatoes," were reported. 
Just a month later the river at Osterdock is reported as "running from 
bluff to bluff." Many families were forced to move, boats were used 
on the main street of the town, and the saw mill was completely under 
water. The elements were kind for a number of years, but in June, 
1890, floods washed out the bridges on the Elkader branch, the Turkey 


was the highest it had been for nine years, the Volga bridge was washed 
out, the Meder saw mill destroyed, and there was much damage at 
McGregor. Again in June, 1892, floods swept away a thousand feet of 
the Beulah line and trains ran to Stulta only. The damage to county 
bridges at this time was estimated at $25,000. 

The big storm of 1895 occurred in August, and the Elkader branch 
was again put out of commission and 2,000 feet of track destroyed. 

Flood of 1896 — The most disastrous storm in the history of the 
county, in loss of life, occurred in the latter part of May, 1896. This 
was a storm partaking of the nature, both of a cyclone and a cloudburst. 
This storm was general throughout the west. The most damage was 
done at St. Louis and among the other losses there, was that of the 
steamer "Libbie Conger" of the Diamond Jo line, the boat sinking in 
the middle of the river with Captain Seaman, his wife and six of the 
crew. In this county the full force of the storm was felt on Bloody 
Run. It came between 11 and 12 o'clock of a Sunday night. A terrific 
stream of water poured down Bloody Run Hollow, filling the bottoms 
to a depth of from ten to twenty feet. About a mile west of Beulah 
the flood began tearing out railway bridges and the track bed. When 
it struck the Beulah depot it swept everything away. William Lord, 
the agent and his family, occupied the upper rooms. They heard the 
rushing water and escaped to the bluff but lost everything they had. 
The flood struck the house of Mrs. Patrick Burke, taking her and 
her grandson, William Burke, down the torrent. Their bodies were 
found a few miles below. At John Maloney's three young men, John 
Kodletz, Michael Havljeck and John Levostch had stopped to await 
the passing of the storm. These three, with Mr. Maloney, his wife 
and brother Michael were lost in the flood. The water piled up against 
the bridge and embankment until these gave way and carried the track 
and bridge against the house, but three of the bodies from this home 
were recovered. The next home was that of Lawrence Meyer and 
he and his wife and five children perished. In the McGregor yards, 
seven canvas men, of Kirkhart and Ryan Circus, were caught in the 
flood and sought safety in a box car. This was overturned and flooded 
and the canvas men were lost ; thus at least twenty were killed in this 
storm. At North McGregor, the scene of destruction was startling. 
Houses, cars, engines and bridges being scattered in a promiscuous 
heap at the mouth of the valley. The flood rose so quickly that train- 
men going to work in the yards had to climb onto box cars to save 
themselves and the men at the round house had to seek the tops of the 
engines for safety. Tracks, saw mills and lumber piles were also 
destroyed. It was not until June 12, that railroad traffic was resumed 
in the county. 

Dr. J. W. O'Brien, writing for a New York paper, describes this 
storm as follows : "There came a cloudburst on the 24th of May, last ; 
the water came down in a solid sheet from 11 o'clock until i a. m. 
From Beulah for nine miles down to the outlet at North McGregor 
an awful flood rolled down. Railroad engines were hurled around 
like foot balls, and great iron bridges snapped like pipe stems. Houses 
were caught and flung up against the hill side and their occupants 
whirled to death with the destructive torrent. Poor John Maloney, 


wife and children, were among the lost; Michael Crimmins' house 
was hedged in by great bridge girders which held it anchored to the 
hillside and kept death away. As we pass along the swath of uptorn 
trees and debris of what were once railroad and houses littering the 
valley, we are shown where Crimmins' horses ran for their lives to a 
knoll, where they stayed until the waters abated. Engineer Stephens 
shows us his locomotive, thirty-one tons weight, which was made to 
dance a sort of Highland fling or Virginia reel in the surging torrent, 
the engineer perched the while on the top of his cab with some 200 
cars rushing and crashing around him on the crest of the deadly 
waters. He had been at Bull Run and says Bloody Run beats it." 

In May, 1899, there was a cyclone which was at its worst near 
Colesburg and which swept through Mallory township. Several were 
killed and much property destroyed. Every house in the path of this 
storm was wrecked. It will thus be seen that not only the railroad, 
but the supervisors had their hands full repairing the devastations of 
these many serious storms. 

County Events — In social life and in politics this was pre-eminently 
the period of the old soldiers. Sufficient time had elapsed so that the 
memories of the war had grown dearer and the ranks had not been 
greatly thinned by death. The soldiers, who left Clayton county, as 
youths, returned to pick up the thread of their life work and, between 
1880 and 1900, these warriors were in the very prime of manhood. 
Thus it was that a large per cent of public offices and public honors 
were, rightfully, bestowed upon the old soldiers and that their reunions 
were the great events of the county. This largely accounts for the 
gradual loss of interest in the old settlers meetings. The pioneer picnic 
for 1 88 1 held at Garnavillo, was a grand success, however. Main street 
was spanned by arches, the parade included "Mathews Military Band, 
Officers in Carriages, Forty-eight Old Settlers on Foot, Walters Family 
Band, Garnavillo Turn Verein." There were addresses by A. C. 
Rogers and P. P. Olmstead, followed a lengthy talk by Judge Mur- 
dock and an original song by J. W. Stahl, of Elkport. Michael Uriel! 
was elected president and A. C. Rogers, secretary. The reunion for 
1882 was held at Elkader with the usual parade and address by Judge 
Murdock. The old officers were re-elected, Elkader was selected as the 
next meeting place and the innovation consisted of a free dinner for 
the old settlers and a program of races. In 1883, at Elkader, C. E. 
Floete was, for the first time, the orator. Among the other speakers 
were Colonel Crosby, Mr. Dixson, of McGregor, and Robert Read of 
California, a son of the much loved Captain R. R. Read. A balloon 
ascension was on the program but it was delayed by rain and when 
a later effort was made the balloon caught fire. These attempts at 
outside attractions show that it was felt necessary to have something 
more than the old settlers program in order to draw a crowd. Gutten- 
berg was the meeting place, in 1884. There was a fine parade and 
speeches by Judge Murdock and Frank Shoulte. Michael Uriell pre- 
sided, and the new officers were John Garber, president, and Charles 
Reinecke, secretary. In 1885, the old settlers met at Elkport, in the 
Hartge grove. The attendance was not large but there was a band 
and a general good time. The reunion of 1886, Avas held at the same 


place, but for some reason, no preparations were made, and while the 
old settlers had a good visit and a ball game, the day was not a distinct 
success. A stronger effort was made for the reunion of 1887, which 
was held at Littleport. The newspaper account says it was a complete 
success and that there was an exciting game of baseball between Elk- 
ader and Littleport, which the latter won by 21 to 20. The gathering 
at Strawberry Point in 1888, was a large one, Mr. Newberry delivered 
an address, there were talks by F. C. Madison, Alex Blake, P. D. Raw- 
son, Edward Dickens and Judge Murdock. There was also a poem by 
Mrs True. Daniel Greene was elected president, and Ernest Hofer, 
secretary. The old settlers reunion for 1889, was held at Volga on 
June 13. There was good music, both by the band and choir. The 
oration was delivered by B. W. Newberry of Strawberry Point, and 
Hon. S. Murdock gave reminiscences of the courts. At Edgewood in 
1890 there was also a good crowd. A call was made for those who 
had lived in the county fifty years and George Gifford, Sam Peck, 
Michael Uriell and Edward Dickens responded. The address was 
made by Mr. Keeling of Volga and Judge Murdock presided. Interest 
seems to have waned at this time for there is no record of the reunion 
of 1 89 1 and in July, 1892, Samuel Murdock writes to the press that 
he had not called a meeting of the old settlers on account of the wet 
season, but in September the reunion was held in a grove north of 
Elkader. The Register says : ''The number in attendance was not 
as large as usual, a painful evidence of the fact that the men who 
first crossed the great Father of Waters are fast passing to their reward 
beyond another deep, dark tide." Mayor Hagensick welcomed the 
pioneers and Judge Murdock responded. Other speakers to tell of the 
pioneer days were Ned Dickens, Michael Uriell and S. H. F. Schoulte. 
Resolutions of sympathy were passed on account of the protracted ill- 
ness of Samuel Peck. The officers elected were P. P. Olmstead presi- 
dent and T. H. Studebaker, of McGregor, secretary. Meeting of 1893 
was held at McGregor, but without special incident. From this time 
until 1 90 1 no mention of an old settlers' reunion is found in the Elk- 
ader papers from which one is lead to suppose that they were discon- 
tinued. Judge Murdock, who for many years was the central figure of 
these reunions, died in 1897 and there seems to have been no one to 
push the plans for these gatherings until they were taken up by the 
people of Strawberry Point. In truth the old settlers picnic was being 
largely replaced by the gatherings of the veterans. 

Soldiers Reunions — There were many regimental reunions and the 
state had set the example by holding a state encampment and in June, 

1882, a movement was started at Elkader to organize the soldiers and 
sailors of the county. This was the first step toward the organization 
of the Grand Army Post. Memorial day services were held in Elkader, 
May 30, 1880, at which time the graves of ten soldiers were decorated. 
This became more and more an annual observance and it was generally 
observed each year throughout the county. It was not until June, 

1883, that the Grand Army Post was organized at Elkader. H. Kar- 
berg, of pubuque, was the mustering officer and the post was named 
Boardman Post, in honor of Captain Elisha Boardman and there were 
nineteen charter members. By 1884, other posts had been organized, 


for on Memorial Day, of that year, members of the Grand Army were 
present from Elkport and Strawberry Point, as well as from Elkader. 
In 1885, there was a reunion of the Twenty-seventh Iowa and in 1886 
a reunion of Company D, of the Twenty-first Iowa, at which time the 
old war flag was carried. In 1885, it is stated that there were 429 
soldiers of the Civil War in the county, seven veterans of the Mexican 
war, five of the Blackhawk war and one of the war of 18 12, this latter 
being Thomas Alvey of Highland township, then 99 years old. It was 
not until September, 1886, twenty-five years after the opening of the 
war that the first county encampment of Clayton county veterans was 
held at Elkader. Great preparations were made for this event. The 
camp ground was selected, tents erected, a stand built and decorated 
and supplies enough for 500 were procured. On the first day there was 
a dress parade, with drum corps from McGregor and Strawberry Point. 
The camp fire was addressed by T. M. Davidson, G. H. Otis, Dr. 
Scott and Robert Quigley. During the night the soldiers foraged and 
had a general good time. The music of the drum and fife awakened 
them on the morning of the second day, rations were served and at 9 
o'clock there was guard mount. John Everall delivered the address 
of welcome to which Gilbert Cooley responded. Judge Murdock also 
spoke and the circumstances of Captain Boardman's bravery were 
related. The third day was devoted to breaking camp. The com- 
missary department was under the management of F. D. Bayless, 
Anton Kramer and James Corlett, and hundreds of meals were served. 
One hundred and seventy-six veterans registered at this first reunion. 
On the following September, 1887, the second reunion was held. T. 
M. Davidson welcomed the soldiers and G. H. Otis responded. A 
splendid dinner was served. There were three drum corps present 
and military discipline was observed to an extent. The third reunion, 
in September, 1888, was favored by fair weather and there was a large 
attendance. The address of welcome was delivered by D. D. Murphy 
and General Milo Sherman, Colonel J. K. Sweeney, of Osage, and 
Judge C. T. Granger were honored guests. There was a sham battle 
of Lookout Mountain, which was not only good fun for the old soldiers 
but a rare treat for the vast crowd of spectators. G. H. Otis was 
elected president of the association and J. M. Leach secretary. 

Quite the grandest affair was held in August, 1889. Tents were 
erected to accommodate 2,000. Besides the Clayton county veterans, 
soldiers were present from Postville, Waukon and Decorah. Presi- 
dent Otis was in charge and an address of welcome was delivered by 
Senator F. D. Bayless. On the second day there was a fine program, 
including a parade, speeches by George Cooley, John Stahl, D. D. 
Murphy, and Colonel J. K. Sweeney and the great sham battle of 
Missionary Ridge, followed by a spirited camp fire. The officers 
elected were T. M. Davidson, president, and J. M. Leach, secretary. 
A resolution was offered at this encampment endorsing Gilbert Cooley 
for postmaster at Strawberry Point and asking that the appointment 
of H. H. Scofield be annulled. This resolution had no effect, however, 
and Mr. Scofield received the appointment. The reunion of 1890 
was another grand success. J. E. Corlett gave the address of welcome, 
which was responded to by John Everall. In the evening, J. E. Webb, 


of Elkader was a speaker. On the second day there were addresses by 
H. H. Clark and Thomas Updegraff, a parade and many amusements 
and a grand camp fire, at night. It was decided to hold the next 
encampment at McGregor. G. H. Otis was elected president and J. 
M. Leach secretary. 

Agricultural Fairs — The county fair continued at National during 
all this period with varying fortune and with added features from 
time to time, reflecting the popular amusement craze, walking 
matches, base ball games being succeeded by bicycle races. The weather 
man seemed to have a personal grudge against National and while 
other fairs might enjoy sunshine there was hardly one of these twenty 
years during which the National fair did not hit upon a rainy season. 
There were many financial difficulties, largely on account of the 
weather and in spite of state and county aid, it was not often that 
the management was able to pay premiums in full. Several attempts 
were made, chiefly on the part of Monona, to change the location, but 
these were unsuccessful. In 1881, Strawberry Point entered the 
lists with a fair which had a record of success. It was as fortunate in 
weather conditions as National was unfortunate. At the fair held in 
Strawberry Point, in September, 1881, the enterprising Press issued 
a daily paper. The complaint was made by Elkader papers that too 
many grafting games had been allowed, but this was immediately 
denied by the management. In 1883, the dates of the two fairs con- 
flicted and there was a lively interchange of correspondence between 
the secretaries. Both fairs persisted in holding their dates and both 
had successful exhibitions. 

Norman Hamilton was secretary of the National fair for several 
years, but in 1884, he committed suicide, by hanging, and A. O. 
Kenyon was appointed to fill the vacancy. In 1885, the Elkader 
Journal ran a daily at the National fair and Strawberry Point 
countered with a baby show. One great handicap of the National 
fair was lack of water supply and the McGregor Times complains 
that there was but one well, to furnish water for a crowd of between 
5,000 and 6,000 together with their horses, and that men had to stand 
in line by the hour. It was sought to remedy this by drilling a deep 
well, but the drill broke and it was some years before an adequate 
water supply was obtained. By 1890, Strawberry Point had attained 
the distinction of a Roman chariot race. In 1894, John G. Hemple 
became secretary of the National fair, and at the annual meeting, 
resolutions were passed concerning the death of Gregor McGregor. In 
1895, the fair was able to pay its premiums in full, and in 1896, the 
premiums were also paid and the floral exhibit and balloon ascension 
were the features; but in 1898 the county fair was able to pay but 60 
per cent. 

Elkader Fair — In 1895, a movement was inaugurated for a fair 
at Elkader. An option was taken on seventy-three acres owned by 
John Friend and a company was proposed with shares at $100 each. 
It was not until 1898, however, that this took form and the Elkader 
Fair Association was incorporated with a capital of $5,000. The fair 
grounds were leased with option to buy and Joseph Lamm was presi- 
dent and Dr. J. D. Bronson secretary. In May, a grading bee was 


held and drilling was successful and a flowing well was struck. The 
first fair at Elkader was held in September, 1899, and the news- 
papers were enthusiastic as to its success. The attendance was 6,000 
and the total receipts over $5,000, so that all premiums were paid in 
full. This gave the Elkader fair a splendid start for the new century. 

Aside from the celebrations of Memorial Day and the Fourth of 
July, other great holidays during this period were the annual gather- 
ings of the A. O. U. W. Lodge. This order had lodges in nearly every 
town of the county and their annual meetings were large affairs with 
parades, bands, addresses and sports. This was, at that time, the 
most popular and the largest order in the county. The soldiers 
reunions continued, but with interruptions, each succeeding year find- 
ing it more difficult to get the veterans together. In 1894, Company 
D of the Twenty-first Iowa held a reunion at Strawberry Point, but 
only fourteen of the company were in attendance. The county reunion 
at Elkader in this year was a success, however. D. D. Murphy delivered 
the address of welcome and George H. Otis replied. The president of 
the organization was F. D. Bayless and J. H. Hill was secretary. In 
1895, the veterans met at Camp Lincoln at Elkader with John Ever- 
all as president and George Cooley, secretary. It was at this reunion 
that the veterans acknowledged for the first time that ''the boys are 
growing old." They refused, however, to take second place and 
declined an invitation to have their reunion held in connection with 
the fair. In 1896, 175 veterans attended the reunion at Strawberry 
Point. D. G. Griffith was president and T. M. Davidson secretary. 
In 1898, no reunion was held as no grounds were obtainable. There 
was, however, a soldiers' day in connection with the chautauqua at 
McGregor. There is no record of a reunion being held in the next 
two years. An added feature in the social hfe of the county was the 
establishment of the Methodist Assembly Chautauqua at McGregor 
Heights. Lansing and Decorah competed with McGregor for the 
location of this assembly, but the beautiful location at McGregor 
won. A pavillion was erected in May, 1898. and cottages were built. 
This gave a great impetus to gatherings of all kinds at McGregor and 
5,000 people, 400 of them from Elkader attended the celebration on 
the following Fourth of July. In August, the Methodists held their 
first camp meeting at McGregor Heights and the grounds were 
formally dedicated. 

Industrial Progress — Before 1880, the creamery movement gained 
ground in Clayton county and these soon became established, not on>y 
in the towns but throughout the country. Strawberry Point became a 
great center for the butter industry and was known as the "Cream 
City." This industry gave a great impetus to Strawberry Point and in 
the summer of 1881 the improvements in that city amounted to $13,000 
and the lumber sales for the three months, preceding August, amounted 
to 150,000 feet. The establishment of the creameries and the profits 
to the farmers encouraged the breeding of good stock, especially of 
milch cattle. In 1895, the Strawberry Point Press was able to give the 
following very favorable statement of the creamery business of the 
county: "We doubt if any other county in the nation can equal 
Clayton. Not only in the quantity of butter shipped, but in other 


respects, Clayton county takes the lead. Previous to 1876, Iowa did 
not stand very high as a butter producing state, either in quantity or in 
quality of the product. In that year Iowa leaped right to the front 
by being awarded the gold medal at the World's Fair at Philadelphia 
for the best butter on exhibition, all states and nations competing. 
That medal published to the world the possibilities of Iowa as a dairy 
state. It gave Iowa a reputation which is worth millions of dollars 
to the state. That butter was made in Clayton county. At that time 
Clayton county was not very extensively engaged in the dairy business, 
but a county that is capable of producing the best butter that is made 
in the nation is sure to come to the front. It has now arrived there, 
shipping more than half a million pounds more butter than any other 
county in the state. The two largest separator creameries in the state 
are located in Clayton county, the Luana and the Strawberry Point 
creameries. The make of butter of these two creameries the past year 
(1894) was 851,491 pounds. 

In 1896, it is boasted that Strawberry Point has the largest 
creamery in Iowa, the Dubuque Telegraph making an extensive 
write-up of the institution and giving some interesting statistics. It 
states that the milk receipts for the year ending February i, 1896, 
were 10,731,428 pounds, that the large stand pipe of the Dubuque 
water company has a capacity of 4(X),ooo gallons and that it would 
take three and one-third such stand pipes to hold this amount of 
milk. It would take 536 cars to carry the milk or a solid train three 
miles, 112 rods long. The butter produced was 462,191 pounds, 
requiring 7,612 tubs filling twenty-five cars. The receipts were nearly 
$100,000 of which the men employed on milk routes received over 
$10,000. This was a co-operative creamery with a capital of $9,000. 
The Dubuque paper adds: "This creamery is probably the largest 
separator creamery in the world. At least none other in the country 
shows such a volume of business." In later years the large creamery 
trusts crowded the local creameries to the wall. The invention of the 
hand separator made it possible for the farmers to sell the butter 
fat, retaining the skimmed milk on the farm. While the milk product 
of Clayton county is still one of its main industries the per cent of 
butter manufactured in the county is very small compared to what it 
was at the beginning of the present century. 

The Criuiinal Record — While Clayton has always been above the 
average in its respect for law and order, it would be impossible for any 
commonwealth to exist without crime. It forms an unpleasant chapter 
in any history, and concerning the ordinary crimes which occur in 
every community, it is necessary to state only that the per cent of 
criminality is as low in this county as its per cent of literacy is high. 
There were, however, some few cases which were notorious, and which 
must be mentioned. Rechfus murder — one of the first of these, after 
1880, was the murder of Gustavus Rechfus, who was shot while sitting 
in his own home at his farm at Pleasant Ridge. The Elkader Register 
stated that Mr. Rechfus was seated in his dining room, and after eating 
his supper was reading his paper and sitting near the table on which 
the light was standing. His brother, Henry, and his brother's wife, 
were in the room when a shot was fired, which killed him instantly. 


The brother reported the crime and an inquest was held and $1,500 
reward was offered. Several arrests on suspicion were made at the 
time. Rechfus was a man of considerable wealth, had loaned money 
to many, and was not an easy man with his creditors. The theory first 
held was that some hard pressed creditor had committed the crime. 
Sheriflf Place, Judge Murdock and R. E. Price investigated the murder 
and found no clue, but they were unanimous in declaring that Henry 
Rechfus, who was accused of the crime by many, was not guilty. In 
May George Ellinger was arrested for the murder, but released under 
bond pending examination. It was reported that Ellinger was in debt 
to Rechfus and had been hard pressed by him. At the preliminary 
hearing Ellinger was released, but Judge Murdock and others continued 
to follow up the case, and detectives were employed. One of them, 
H. C. Frese, announced in July that he had not given up the case 
and believed the murderer lived within five miles of the Rechfus place. It 
was not until July, 1882, that the case against Ellinger was dismissed 
for lack of evidence, and in 1883, Henry Rechfus was arrested for the 
crime. There was a lengthy trial in which the best legal talent of the 
county was employed; Henry was acquitted and the crime was never 

Perhaps one of the most unique attempts at crime found on the 
criminal calendar of any county occurred at Millville, in August, 1881. 
A man by the name of Lathrop fought with John James and it was 
charged that Lathrop attempted to force the fangs of a rattlesnake 
(the head of which he held in his hand) into the neck of James. A 
brutal murder occurred at Guttenberg, in 1883, when in a fight a man 
by the name of Kampmeyer killed a man named Frasier with a spade. 
While the details of the murder were bloody, it was proven that the 
Frasier brothers hunted Kampmeyer up and assaulted him, and that he 
acted in self-defense. In November, 1883, Michael Penneton, of High- 
land township, killed his twin brother, John, by stabbing him in the 
breast with a butcher knife, and then striking him on the head with a 
club. The brothers were bachelors and lived together. John contem- 
plated matrimony, and this so enraged his brother that they quarreled 
bitterly and the tragedy ensued. At the grave, Michael, who had been 
permitted to attend the funeral in charge of an officer, gave way to his 
grief and there was a most heart-rending scene. 

In July, 1884, Ed Steele was killed mysteriously at a picnic near 
Edgewood. Alonzo Sherman was arrested, but was released, and later 
Eli Kewley and Pat Roach were arrested for the crime at Fort Dodge. 
Hearing of the return of the prisoners a mob gathered at Elkport. The 
sheriff learned of this, however, and placed his prisoners in jail at 
Manchester. Roach was released but Kewley was held for man- 

Elkins Murder — Perhaps the most sensational crime in the history 
of the county occurred on Bear Creek, four miles southeast of Little- 
port, when Wesley Elkins, a boy under twelve years of age, killed his 
father, John Elkins, and his step-mother, in July, 1889. The crime 
was reported to the neighbors by the Elkins boy, who appeared, carrying 
the baby in his arms and declaring that some unknown man had entered 
the house that night and killed his father and mother. The verdict 


of the coroner's jury was that they had come to their death at the 
hands of some unknown person. The crime was so infamous that the 
governor offered a reward. A week later, Wesley Elkins was arrested 
and held as a witness because of his statement that he was about to 
leave the county. His stories were found to be conflicting and, on 
August I, he made a confession of the crime, as follows: 

"My name is John Wesley Elkins, and I was 12 years old on the 
I2th day of July. I had wanted to leave home and be at liberty to do 
for myself for a long time. I once ran away but father brought me 
home. Two or three days before the loth of July I began planning to 
kill my parents, and when I came from milking on that night I went to 
the old granary and got the club which was found, and placed it on a 
chair in my room. About 3 o'clock in the morning I got up and went 
out of doors and looked all around, but saw no one. I then went into 
the bed room where father and mother slept and saw they were asleep. 
I went back to my room and took the rifle from the wall where father 
always hung it, and went back to their room and put the muzzle within 
about two feet of father's face and fired. I ran back to my room and 
threw the gun on my bed and grabbed the club which was on a chair 
near the door, ran back to their door and saw mother had jumped out 
of bed upon the floor and was stooped over as if to light a lamp, when 
I struck her on the back of the head with the club ; she kind of sprawled 
backwards upon the bed, and I struck her several times more until I 
was sure she was dead, and then father kind of groaned and I struck 
him once or twice to be sure he was dead. After I was sure they were 
dead I lit the lamp and took it to my room and then went back and took 
the baby from their bed, and took off its bloody clothes and dressed it 
and quieted it. Then I started to load the rifle, but after getting the 
powder into the gun I could not find the balls and other things, and 
thought I was fooling around there too long, and went to the back 
door and knocked the powder out of the gun by the doorstep, and took 
the club and threw it out into the weeds. I then went and hitched up 
the old horses and took the baby and drove down by Potters and they 
stopped me." 

Elkins was tried, in January, 1890, and upon his confession was 
found guilty, but owing to his extreme youth he was sentenced to life 
imprisonment and capital punishment was not inflicted. A few years 
later it was reported that Elkins was a very dangerous prisoner with 
a homicidal tendency, and that he was the terror of the penitentiary. 
It was stated, however, that warden Madden took a great interest in his 
case and later it was reported that he had become a model prisoner. 
In 1898 an attempt was made to secure his pardon. This was opposed 
by the Elkader Register, which reprinted the confession as given above. 
This eft'ort was unavailing, but other efforts were made which, though 
opposed in a strong speech by H. C. Bishop, the then senator from this 
county, were finally successful and Elkins has for many years been at 
liberty. He graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota, 
secured a position with a railway company and is now occupying a 
place of importance and trust, his career fully justifying his pardon. 

Another crime which stirred the county in 1889 was the killing of 
George Cornell, an engineer on the river division of the Milwaukee 


railroad, by J. J. Grinnell of McGregor. Grinnell was the court reporter 
of the county, and was well known and well liked. Cornell and Grin- 
nell's wife maintained illicit relations for some time, and this became 
so open and flagrant as to become notorious. Grinnell finally became 
convinced of his wife's unfaithfulness and shot and killed Cornell at 
the lunch room at McGregor. Grinnell was arrested but released on bail 
and public sentiment was entirely in his favor. At the trial it was 
urged that grief had driven Grinnell temporarily insane, and this plea, 
together with the unwritten law, served to acquit him. In November, 
1895, the county was shocked by a double tragedy, when Hans Allen 
killed Will Cross at the home of a Mrs. Minchk, at McGregor. Allen 
shot Cross, inflicted a flesh wound upon Mrs. Minchk's little girl and 
then shot himself in the heart. 

In 1896 Sheriff Benton received great credit for the capture of 
George Luscher, who killed August Heiden, Jr., in Cox Creek on June 
9, 1895. Luscher escaped at the time, was traced to Missouri and 
captured nine months after the commission of the crime. This com- 
pletes the list of the sensational crimes during this period of twenty 
years, and shows that the county was not criminally inclined. 

Jail Deliveries — During this period there were three more or less 
successful attempts at jail delivery. In 1881 five prisoners made a 
sudden attack on jailer John Jack. Jack was overpowered and his 
wife was knocked down. Four of the prisoners escaped, but two were 
quickly recaptured. In 1886 John Blake, confined to the county jail, 
contrived to make wooden keys to fit the locks and by this means 
eflfected his escape and there is no record that he was recaptured. 
Blake left behind him a note for the sheriff which must be one of the 
most unique bits of criminal literature. He said in part: "Mr. Berman, 
Esq. Dear Sir: — You will, no doubt, be a little surprised to find me 
gone, but I hope you will not think hard of me for this rash act for 
I have thought the matter over and have come to the conclusion that I 
can take care of myself. I do wish it was some other man that I was 
leaving instead of you, but it is a ground hog case. I must go for I 
have business to attend to. Hoping I will meet you some day, but 
when you are out of office, I bid you good-bye with my best wishes. 
J. W. B." Isaac Thompson and Will Sargent were arrested for assist- 
ing in this escape, but Blake was not recaptured. Again, in 1894, a 
prisoner named Carter, held at the county jail for robbery, beat Lee 
Cook, a son of Sheriff Cook, over the head with a club and made his 

Growth of Towns — Turning from these darker pages there are 
found many evidences of increasing prosperity in all the towns of the 
county. In 1880 Garnavillo reports much building and boasts of a new 
cigar factory, and a new store, creamery, public library and brewery. 
An item worthy of note concerning Garnavillo is that in 1880 a pipe 
organ was completed for the Lutheran church. This organ was made 
by L. Keller, of Guttenberg, and required two years of labor by him- 
self and son. The organ was 13 feet wide, 15 feet deep and 17 feet 
high, and contained 1,060 pipes, the longest being 16 feet. Mr. Keller 
learned his trade in Germany, and this was one of the very few pipe 
organs ever constructed in the state of Iowa. In 1884 the Garnavillo 


creamery burned, but it was soon rebuilt. During this period an at- 
tempt was made to establish a newspaper at Garnavillo, but this venture 
failed and it became a department of the Elkader Register. Garna- 
villo continued to develop keeping pace with the rich agricultural dis- 
trict round about it. Of the county in general the Elkader Register 
says, in 1886, "The farmers are doing better. Large barns are building 
and the towns are full of business. In Elkader every house is occu- 
pied and from McGregor, Strawberry Point, Volga and all the other 
towns come none but good reports." Land was beginning to rise in 
value, but in 1881 a farm of 142 acres near the Colony with improve- 
ments said to have been worth $1,600, sold for $2,300. In 188 1 Clay- 
ton was the tenth county in the state, in point of school population, the 
school census showing 10,961 of school age and the county receiving 
$2,192.20 from the state. Guttenberg was one of the most conservative 
towns of the county, but it made continued progress. In 1882 the 
citizens of this town interpreted a ruling that German might be taught 
in the schools, to permit of instruction in all branches in the German 
language, and decided to have the schools taught one-half of the week 
in English and the other half in German. This program was soon 
blocked, however, by a ruling of the state superintendent. In 1883 Gut- 
tenberg suffered a severe loss when the flouring mill owned by C. F. 
Weise, which had just been fitted with new improvements, was burned 
with a loss of $30,000. Telephone communication between the towns 
of the county was established in the 80s, first at McGregor, then at 
Elkader and, in 1885, it was extended to National, Garnavillo and Clay- 
ton. That Guttenberg was continually striving for betterment is shown 
by the establishment of an excelsior factory in 1892. This was pro- 
moted by the citizens and, in March of that year, the city of Guttenberg 
voted a donation of $5,000 to this enterprise. The depot at Guttenberg 
was destroyed by fire, in July, 1893, the wife and child of the agent 
narrowly escaping. September, 1893, saw the beginning of the Gutten- 
berg system of water works and 2,000 feet of six-inch water mains 
were laid. The year following Guttenberg voted $18,000 for its water 
works system. This was shortly after the disastrous fire when Du- 
buque was called on for aid and the fire engine from that city reached 
Guttenberg in 55 minutes. The Guttenberg Press was established in 
1897, the town having been without a newspaper for some time. 

It will be impossible within the limits of this history to give in 
detail all the story of the growth and changes in the various towns. 
Some of the important facts, however, stand out. In 1881, the busi- 
ness section of Volga was moved from its location on the hill to the 
immediate vicinity of the depot. Clayton, in 1882, reports a high tide 
of business, $10,000 having been paid out for hogs in a single day. In 
1887, the flour mill at Mederville, built in 1867, was totally destroyed 
by fire involving a great loss to that community, and in 1889, 
A. C. Tiede & Co. erected a fine new mill at Elkport, taking the place 
of the old Elk Valley mill erected in 1855. This was reported as being 
thoroughly modern and one of the best mills in the country and the 
"Diamond T" became a noted brand of flour. The capacity was 100 
barrels per day and the new mill began operation, August 4, 1890. The 
County Horticultural Society was founded in 1892, with Samuel Mur- 


dock president and T. M. Davidson secretary. J. O. Crosby had been 
appointed commissioner to the World's Fair and his efforts to secure 
an exhibit had created considerable interest in horticultural lines. The 
society started with thirty-six members and the first permanent officers 
were O. A. Kenyon, president, and J. E. Corlett, secretary. Monona 
enjoyed exceptional growth and in 1892, it arose to the dignity of a 
newspaper of its own. George H. Otis, the veteran newspaper man, 
who established the Elkader Register and who was later editor of the 
McGregor News, founding the Monona Leader on May 26, 1892. That 
June witnessed the first commencement exercises of the Monona 
schools and in August the city took steps looking to incorporation. 
At this time Monona had numerous business houses, three churches 
and a school of four rooms with Prof. J. Clark as principal. Volga 
also had a newspaper, the Vindicator, established in November, 1895, 
with Mr. Dowe as editor, but in the April following there was a fire 
which destroyed three of the principal stores and in which the Vin- 
dicator office was entirely consumed. 

McGregor persevered during these years, firmly resolved, if it 
could not be a second Chicago, that at least it could be a thriving and 
enterprising little city. In 1881, the project was started for the new 
hotel to cost $30,cxx) and it was said that the transient hotel busi- 
ness at that time amounted to $200 a day. The building of the hotel 
was the occasion for much controversy as to the location. The busi- 
ness men's association was revived and interest was taken, particularly 
on the good roads question. In order to get away from any confusion 
in names it was suggested that the name of North McGregor be 
changed to Mendon. In February, 1882, McGregor lost one of its 
prominent citizens when John T. Stoneman moved to Cedar Rapids. 
McGregor staggered under a heavy load of debt and in 1883, a settle- 
ment was made with its creditors, the city wiping out its old indebted- 
ness by the issue of bonds for $40,000 running two years and bearing 
5 per cent interest. The city had its traditional bad luck with fires 
and, in August, 1883, business properties of $50,000 were wiped out, 
with but $26,000 of insurance. In February, 1886, a fearful tragedy 
occurred five miles from McGregor when the log home occupied by 
Mr. Cooley and his family of five was destroyed by fire and the entire 
family burned to death. In May, 1891, a meeting was held at 
McGregor to secure a knitting factory and Thomas Updegraff and J. 
M. Gilchrist were appointed as a committee to visit Chicago to secure 
the enterprise and the same week it is announced that the Hofer 
brothers have sold the McGregor News to J. F. Widman. McGregor 
was one of the first cities of northeastern Iowa to have an electric light 
plant and this important addition to the town was completed in 1895. 
In 1897, an election was held relative to the establishment of water 
works. This was carried by a vote of 158 to 72, and, as a result, the 
council proceeded to act, appointing a committee to investigate, with 
Charles F. Lowethe as engineer and, in April, $15,000 bonds were 
voted for water works purposes; one argument in favor of the bond 
issue being the fire, in March, when the Wood drug store and several 
other business houses were destroyed and Mrs. Wood and her baby 
were barely rescued from the burning building. In 1898, there was a 


movement for the improvement of McGregor Heights and in the same 
year the Bergman Bros, erected a fine new opera house, 

Elkader also had its ups and downs although as a whole the village 
was highly prosperous. In 1880, Elkader was without a railroad. 
The Iowa Eastern still extended a feeble finger from Beulah, but it 
was broken and bankrupt and well night hopeless. Gov. Larrabee had 
become largely interested in the road and it was predicted that it would 
be rebuilt into Elkader the coming season. The Milwaukee was con- 
solidating all the lines of northeastern Iowa under its control and this 
was exceedingly unpopular, as it was felt that there would be no com- 
petition. This was one of the reasons why Elkader was exceedingly 
anxious to find a direct outlet to Dubuque and, in October, 1880, a 
meeting was held, addressed by Judge Murdock, R. E. Price, F. D. 
Payless and others, and $20,000 was offered for a broad gauge road 
connecting with Dubuque. In December of the same year the Iowa 
Eastern served notice that it had suspended business until further 
notice and that all freight must be brought from Beulah by team. This 
was while negotiations were pending between Judge Williams and the 
Milwaukee and it was later announced that the officials had inspected 
the line and that shipments would continue until all stock already pur- 
chased was shipped, when the road would again suspend. This 
calamity was averted, however ; the suspension lasting but a few days. 
By spring, 1881, the road was out of commission. The only engine 
was badly damaged and the work of repair was very slow. The old-time 
stage was again used and the merchants had great difficulty in getting 
their freight. Joe Lamm performed prodigies by loading the freight 
onto the cars, pushing them up the grade and letting them go down by 
gravity. In this way he managed to clear the accumulated freight at 
Beulah. Elkader's complaints were loud and long. The city had 
donated a mile of track and a depot which was rotting from unuse. 
The engine had been useless for six months, the angry citizens talked 
of a line to Elkport and urged the Northwestern to build a line from 
Strawberry Point to Elkader. A ray of hope came in May, when it 
was given out that surveys were being made for the Larrabee inter- 
ests, from Beulah to Manchester, via Elkader. Still later it was 
reported that the McGregor and Des Moines Railroad, with William 
Larrabee as president, had absorbed the Iowa Eastern, would build 
from Elkader to Des Moines and that the Northwestern was interested 
in the movement. It was not until August, 1881, that trains again ran 
on the Iowa Eastern and were connected by Lamm's bus with Elkader, 
A new passenger coach was added, however. In November of that 
year the sale of the Iowa Eastern was rumored, and later confirmed, 
but the transfer did not take place until March 31, 1882. Work on 
changing to a broad gauge began in May and by July the standard 
gauge was built as far as Stulta. 

In the meantime Elkader became interested in "The Great Diago- 
nal Route." This was to extend from McGregor to Des Moines via 
Waterloo and Marshaltown. The newspapers of this period fairly 
bristle with paragraphs and editorials concerning this road. A 5 per 
cent tax was urged and a meeting was held with certain of the offi- 
cials, who offered much encouragement. In September, 1882, Elkader 


voted the 5 per cent tax to the Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska. 
McGregor also was enthusiastic for the new railroad, although the 
Milwaukee railway interests opposed it. The vote at Elkader was 197 
for, and 156 against. This victory for progress was duly celebrated 
with a bonfire and speeches by S. K. Adams and R. E. Price. Volga, 
however, defeated the project by 81 to 179. This road failed to 
materialize and Elkader was still without a railroad. The Milwaukee 
was finally persuaded to send an engineer to look over the field and the 
citizens sent R. E. Price to Milwaukee to expostulate. He was told 
that the extension would be made but that it was too late in the fall to 
begin operations. In fact it was not until June, 1884, that the officials 
visited Elkader again and then no action was taken. In the meantime 
Elkader waxed wrathier every succeeding day as it saw its trade 
diverted to towns having railroad facilities. In May, 1885, a meeting 
was held at Price's office, the object being to force the Milwaukee to 
build. Funds were solicited to prepare evidence and R. E. Price was 
placed in charge. The Milwaukee announced that they would await 
the decision of a similar case concerning Northwood and the Elkader 
Register waxed so angry that it urged merchants to ship their goods 
via Elgin so as to take business from the Milwaukee. In January, 
1886, the Iowa railroad commission ordered a hearing on the petition 
of Elkader, Price and Murdock acting as Elkader's attorneys. 
Another meeting was held and money was raised and the meeting 
resolved itself into a permanent citizen's association, with R. E. Price, 
president, and G. A. Fairfield, secretary. The grounds of their com- 
plaint to the railroad commission were that Elkader had donated a 
mile of track together with depot grounds and right of way to the 
Iowa Eastern ; the consideration being that the railroad be operated 
and that, when the Milwaukee purchased the road, it was bound to 
fulfill this obligation. In March the Milwaukee's officials announced 
that they would lay the track and asked that the proceedings be 
dropped. Price and Murdock were thanked by the citizens for their 
efforts, at a meeting which was attended by the ladies. In June, work 
began on the Elkader line and September 15, 1886, was the eventful 
day when the first Milwaukee train ran into Elkader. For more than 
a year, however, there was no telegraph line and the business men 
petitioned for it in vain. In 1889, the railroad commission was 
appealed to to compel the Milwaukee to maintain a station at Bismark. 
The station had been discontinued and Niel and Campbell protested, in 
as much as they had donated land to the Iowa Eastern for station pur- 
poses and it had been accepted as such. The commission ordered the 
station restored. 

In 1897, the railroad commission visited Elkader to investigate 
the petition for better service and better accommodation. The com- 
mission decided in favor of Elkader and ordered a second train which 
was put on in September, 1897. During these years the feeling of 
Elkader toward the railroad was decidedly unfriendly and it is a fact 
that the Milwaukee did nothing which was not forced upon it. 

These were not the only discouragements under which Elkader 
labored. In 1880, the Davis interests in the mill were sold to Wolf- 
gand Schmidt and the name of the concern was changed to W. Schmidt 


& Bros. This in itself was a good thing for the town, as the new 
owners showed added enterprise, but, in July of 1881, the mill was 
damaged by floods to the extent of nearly $5,000 and it was not 
reopened for business until December. In the meantime the bridge 
was also declared unsafe. Notwithstanding all this Elkader was a 
good market, the hog buyers paying out $90,000 in 1880 and the mill 
buying 40,000 bu. of wheat, although idle half the year. The year 
1881 saw a gain through the establishment of a creamery by A. C. 
Tiede & Co. and the mills were improved by the addition of the 
Stevens roller process. A Dubuque paper at this time declares "the 
court house better than the one at Dubuque, the race track good and 
the schools fine, but says the railroad is only a slight improvement over 
a one-horse wheel barrow line." In 1882, the mills were rebuilt, using 
what was called the Hungarian system. A fair was held and tele- 
phone wires installed but for some time there were no instruments. 
In August, 1882, for the third time, the mills were rebuilt and were 
made equal to any in this section of the state. In the social life of the 
town there was much interest taken in the Irish land league. Meet- 
ings were held at which Judge Murdock spoke and Michael Uriell was 
president. The interest was sustained for some time and liberal con- 
tributions made to the cause. One of the prominent business men to 
die in 1881 was Thomas Thompson, who came to Garnavillo in 1848 
and who was known throughout the county as the agricultural imple- 
ment man, having brought the first threshing machine into the county 
by team from Chicago, a six weeks' journey. 

In 1883, a Turner Hall was built at a cost of $2,500 and, in June, 
Boardman Post G. A. R. was instituted with 19 members and T. M. 
Davidson as commander. The Register issued semi-weekly during a 
portion of 1884, but soon found it unsatisfactory and returned to the 
weekly. The founding of the Grand Army Post heightened interest 
in memorial day and this, in turn, called attention to the condition of 
the cemetery. Part of the cemetery was open to the public and there 
was no record of burials ; a part belonged to Mrs. Julia M. Boardman 
and a part to Carter & Thompson. An association was suggested and 
this was acted upon at a meeting at which H. H. Bernard presided, 
when a permanent organization was formed with Isaac Havens, pres- 
ident, and D. G. Griffith, secretary. 

The death of Gen. U. S. Grant evoked the patriotic spirit of the 
city and memorial services were held. Judge Murdock delivering the 
address. One June morning of 1886, the people were scandalized to 
learn that the post office had been burglarized and more than $500 
taken. Two men, Howard and Hill, were arrested. Hill confessed 
and offered to take the officers to the place where the plunder was hid- 
den. He started with the officers but managed to escape but he was 
afterward arrested at Dubuque and brought to trial. A decided 
improvement was made, in 1886, when a board walk was laid from the 
east end of the bridge along the river to the depot. The building of 
the stone arch bridge, in 1889, was of great help to the city both on 
account of the labor employed and on account of the permanent 
improvement which it made. An event which shocked Elkader during 
this year was the death, by suicide, of A. Papin, a former teacher in 


the schools and the editor of the Herald, which he had previously sold 
to Mr. Reinecke. 

In 1894 an informal vote was taken as to whether the council 
should take steps to inaugurate a lighting system. This was carried, 
but nothing further was done at the time. The following year the 
water works question was advocated and R. E. Price and A. Kramer 
were appointed to visit Guttenberg and inspect the system there. In 
the meantime the citizens were urged to be sure to carry a pail when 
they went to a fire. The Fayette Postal Card, commenting on Elka- 
der in 1895 says, "the Elkader councilmen receive but one dollar per 
year. A Union caucus is held, but one ticket is named, there is har- 
mony and the town prospers. Without taxation thousands have been 
expended on the streets and there is $1,000 in the treasury." 

The plans for the water works were pushed, the cost estimated at 
$15,000 and an election was held resulting favorably for the water 
works system. Land was purchased of H. Mayer on the bluff for the 
reservoir and the creamery lots near the river were bought for the 
pumping station. Before the system was completed, however, Elkader 
had its first big fire, the block containing the Clark House being 
destroyed. This was the old hotel, built in 1850, and known as the 
Boardman House, until 1889, when it was purchased by Clark. Work 
on the water works progressed and a fine well was sunk with a flow of 
25 gallons per minute. The water works were completed by Decem- 
ber, 1896. Eighteen ninety-seven was a great year for Elkader. It 
saw the building of the Bayless Hotel which was at that time one of 
the best hotel buildings in northeastern Iowa and which is still a credit 
to the city. The Molumby Block, the largest business building in 
town, and the Congregational church were all built, in 1897. The 
building of the Catholic church was also commenced and the improve- 
ments for the year totaled $60,000. 

The Spanish War — Clayton county did not take a prominent part 
in the Spanish- American war, of 1898. There was no company of the 
national guard in the county, but immediately upon the outbreak of the 
war T. M. Davidson and John Everall, Jr., enrolled 90 in a military 
company which was ready to volunteer. The governor was notified 
that these men would be subject to call and at one time it was thought 
that they might be needed, but with the filling of the national guard 
regiments it was found that no more troops would be required. X. V. 
Coleman, of North Buena Vista, enlisted and was one of the few 
Clayton county men to take part in this war. Three young men from 
Guttenberg enlisted in the regiment which was sent to the Philippines, 
August Boehn, Charles Boehn and William Burnes. The only Clayton 
county man who was a victim of this war was Thomas L. Wilson, a 
lieutenant in Company I, of the Forty-ninth Iowa, who died at Jack- 
sonville, Florida, with typhoid fever and was buried at Garnavillo. 

Building Progress — The next year was, also, the time of much 
building and the county asylum was built in this year. In 1899, there 
was a disastrous flood which carried away two-thirds of the dam, put- 
ting the mill out of commission for eight months. In June, the Bor- 
man corner was destroyed by fire. This was not a bad thing for the 
town, as the lots were purchased by the owners of the state bank and 


plans made for the handsome structure which now adorns that comer. 
In the closing days of the century St. Joseph's church was dedicated 
with appropriate services by Monsignor Ryan. 

A matter which interested the entire county occurred in 1895, 
when John Witmer, of Des Moines, filed on 160 acres in Clayton town- 
ship as his homestead, paying the filing fee of $18 and claiming that, 
through an error, the land had never been properly pre-empted. On 
the other hand, it was claimed that this land was entered by John 
Thompson, in 1841, and transferred by him to Augustus Corriell in 
1842. It was deeded to J. F. Beerbaum, in 1857, and 80 acres later 
transferred to J. H. Miller and 4^4 acres to J. H. Schoulte. It seemed 
that some error was made between the land office at Des Moines and 
the land office at Washington. The property claimed by Witmer was 
valued at $8,000. It was not until 1898 that this case was finally 
decided in favor of the Clayton county owners, W. A. Preston having 
fought it successfully through all the courts. Very naturally the sym- 
pathies of Clayton county people were with the owners here and there 
was much rejoicing when a favorable decision was rendered. 

In 1898, while some of the boys were enlisting for the war, others 
enlisted in the search for gold, when the discoveries in Alaska made the 
gold fever rage in the pulse of all America. Capt. Henry Schadle, of 
Volga, led the party of a gold seekers, a number of the adventurous 
ones being "staked" by Clayton county capitalists. None of the party 
found sudden wealth and several were glad to wire for gold from 
Clayton county to get them safely back home. 


The years played havoc with the pioneers and with the old settlers, 
so that with the beginning of the new century none of those who first 
settled the county were living and but few remained of those who par- 
ticipated in its early struggles. Some men like Col. J. O. Crosby are 
still with us, splendid reminders of an heroic age. Croesus said, 
"Count ye no man happy until ye know the manner of his death." 
And so it is well to consider briefly these pioneers, not only the lives 
they lived but the deaths they died. It would be impossible even to 
name all who died within the twenty years from 1880 to 1900, but 
there are some who, through their work for the community, gained 
such place in the affections of the people that a history of the county 
would be incomplete without a mention of them. Death was very kind 
to Clayton county during 1880 and for a number of months no death 
among the prominent men of the county is recorded and it was not 
until December that the county was called upon to mourn the death of 
one of its oldest and most prominent pioneers. Judge Eliphalet Price. 
Judge Price was preeminently the historian of the county and in added 
chapters will be found a number of his writings together with a sketch 
of his illustrious career. Mr. Price's death occurred December 10, 
1880. On December 18, occurred the death of a well beloved woman, 
Mrs. Jane Davis, wife of Hon. Timothy Davis who had been a resi- 
dent of Elkader since 1867. 

The death roll of 1881 contains the following names: 


Rev. Henry Clifford died on June 26. He was one of the pioneer 
preachers of the county. He was born in Vermont in 1809 and came 
to Clayton county in 1843, removing to Reed township in 1867. Six 
of the early settlers of the county acted as his pallbearers and Hon. 
Samuel Murdock pronounced the eulogy. 

Mr. John M. Eberhardt died by his own hand, in October, 1881, 
despondency caused by extreme age and infirmity being the cause. He 
was one of the first settlers in the vicinity of Littleport. He was born 
in Bavaria in 1798, and passed nearly all of his manhood days in this 

Joachim Balka of Reed township died November 8, 1881. He 
was born in Mecklenberg, in 1834, and settled at Clayton Center in 

Henry L. Schuette of Garnavillo died December 16, 1881. He 
was born in Hanover, 1832, and located in Garnavillo in 1850. He 
was a prominent lodge man and his funeral was in charge of the 
Masonic order. 

Dr. H. H. Hamilton died at McGregor March 17, 1882. He 
came to Garnavillo in 1852 and later became a resident of McGregor. 
He was in the legislature from this county in 1868 and, in 1877, was 
strongly urged by his republican friends as a candidate for lieutenant 
governor. He was eminently successful as a physician and was highly 
respected as a citizen. 

James F. Campbell died March 20, 1882, at Volga City. He set- 
tled in Sperry township in 1853 and held many positions of trust in the 
township and in the Methodist church, of which he was an earnest 

Ceorge Taft died April 23, 1882, at East Elkport. He was born 
in Vermont, in 1807, and came to Elkport in 1874. He was the owner 
of a large stave factory and was one of the most public spirited citi- 
zens of Elkport. 

John Paul Thoma died May 2, 1882, at Garnavillo. He was born 
in Bavaria, in 1802, and located in Garnavillo in 1852. He was one of 
the men who helped to give Garnavillo such a substantial growth. 

Carl Reugnits, Sr., died August 14, 1882, at Monona. He was 
born in Mecklenberg, in 1822. He moved to Qayton county in 1864 
and was dearly beloved by many of his German friends. He was 
father of Charles Reugnitz, who for many years was the treasurer of 
the county. 

Alonzo Winkley died December 2, 1882. He was born in New 
Hampshire, in 1821, and was a member of the legislature of that state. 
He entered the produce business in McGregor in 1862 and later moved 
to Monona. He was an ardent Democrat and a man highly respected 
in his community. 

Otto Blaul died December 4, 1882, at Volga City. He was born in 
Bavaria in 1839, coming to the United States in 1854. He was a sailor 
and enlisted with the United States Navy. At the outbreak of the 
war he re-enlisted and was in a number of naval engagements, being 
wounded by the explosion of a torpedo. He came to Volga in 1872 
and was a member of the mercantile firm of Meuth & Blaul. 


C. W. Hagensick died February 14, 1883, at Huron, South Dakota. 
He was one of the Hagensick family so widely known in the county and 
for many years a merchant and postmaster at Clayton Center. He 
moved to Dakota about a year before his death. He was born in Ger- 
many in 1824, located in Garnavillo in 1852, engaged in the drug busi- 
ness and later studied medicine and became a physician. 

A. M. Goddard died March 18, 1883, at McGregor. He was born 
in Wisconsin, 1854, and located in McGregor in 1861 ; was co-founder 
of the Elkador Register with C. H. Otis, in 1877, ^"d died after a long 

Elder D. M. Sterns died April 13, 1883. He laid out the town of 
Strawberry Point, was born in Vermont in 1807, came to Strawberry 
Point in 1856, was known and loved throughout the south part of 
the county as one of the pioneer preachers. 

Henry Schneider died August 5, 1883. Born in Germany 1810, 
settled in Giard township in 1847, residing there continuously and was 
one of the early farmers in the north part of the county. 

Henry Kellner was found dead at the Schroeder House, in El- 
kader, October 22, 1883. He was born in Prussia in 1828 and received 
a good education in Germany. After much travel he came to the 
United States, in 1856, and located at Guttenberg, in 1857, being em- 
ployed by Fleck & Bros, until 1869, when he was elected treasurer of 
Clayton county by the Republicans. He served ten years in this 
capacity. After retiring from office he made two trips to Germany. 
The funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Elkader and H. S. 
Merritt, Dr. Hoffbauer and S. K. Adams pronounced eulogies at his 

James McGuire died December 28, 1883, in Clayton township. 
He was born in Ireland in 1828 and arrived at Clayton in 1854. He 
served in various township offices and was president of the county 
agricultural society. He was buried at Garnavillo. 

S. T. Woodward died at Independence, December 31, 1883. He 
was born in Vermont in 1828 and settled in Farmersburg township, in 
1848. In 1858 he was appointed deputy county clerk, living at Gut- 
tenberg, then the county seat. He was admitted to the bar, in i860, 
at which time he moved to Elkader. He built the handsome stone 
residence which commands Elkader from the bluffs on the west side of 
the river. He was one of the founders of the First National Bank 
and was a prominent factor in the life of the city for many years. 
Resolutions signed by R. Noble, S. Murdock and J. O. Crosby were 
passed by the bar association at the time of his death. 

Christopher Hagensick died May i, 1884. He was born in 
Bavaria in 1799. He came to this county, traveling overland from 
Ohio, with his friends, J. B. and Wolfgang Schmidt, in 1848, and 
preempted land near Garnavillo. He was the founder of the Hagen- 
sick family of this county. He was a successful farmer and a good 
citizen and died highly respected by all. 

Norman Hamilton died by his own hand, June 13, 1884. His 
mental condition had been bad for some months previously and he was 
not responsible for the deed. He was born in New York, 1831, and 
purchased land in Clayton county, in 1854. He served as deputy sur- 


veyor and was one of the first to import fine stock into the county. He 
was one of the founders of the agricultural society, was its first secre- 
tary and was secretary at the time of his death. 

Peter Karherg died at Lincoln, Nebraska, July 2, 1884, as a result 
of an accident. He was a German by birth and came to Clayton 
county at an early date. He enlisted from this county and was after- 
wards commissioned as captain and organized the Fifty-First U. S. 
Colored Infantry, in Louisiana. He was best known as an editor and 
was connected with German journalism during his later days and at 
the time of his death was editor of the Staats Anzeiger of Lincoln, 

John Downie died September 21, 1884, at Pony Hollow. He was 
of Scotch descent and was born in Canada, 1823, and moved with his 
parents to Clayton county in 1838, settling in Boardman township. 
Both he and his father were prominent in the life of the county. 

Thomas Casey died at Cox Creek November 22, 1884. He was 
born in Ireland, in 1818, and moved to Clayton county in 1854. He 
was the owner of a fine farm of 320 acres. He was an ardent demo- 
crat and it was his anxiety to get the news of the exciting election of 
1884, which caused him to drive to Elkader, contracting a severe cold 
which caused his death. 

Joseph B. Quigley died November 19, 1884. He was one of the 
very first settlers of this county, establishing himself near Millville in 
1836. He was a man of great intelligence and mechanical ability, and 
was the father of a distinguished family, his son being the present sen- 
ator from this county. He resided in Highland township and he was 
a prominent figure in the county for many years. 

Ambrose P. Cook died September 4, 1884, from heart disease. He 
was born in Vermont, 1808, and located in Highland, in 1885. He 
served as the justice of the peace and as a postmaster and moved to 
Elkader in 1869. 

Thomas Flaherty died at Elkport, December 3, 1884. He was 
born in Ireland, 1808, and moved to East Elkport in 1855. He was 
known and loved as "Uncle Tom" and left a host of friends in his 

vS". K. Adams died at Independence, January 17, 1885. He was a 
young man, having been born in Virginia in 1850. He came with his 
parents to Farmersburg in 1856. He taught in the district schools and 
studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1871. He was deputy 
school superintendent under John Everall. He was a brilliant young 
lawyer and was prominent in democratic politics, stumping the county 
during several campaigns. He was married in October, 1884, and 
soon after was taken with an illness which developed insanity. He 
was taken to the hospital at Independence and there died. He was 
recognized as one of the most brilliant young men of Elkader, and his 
career would have been one of prominence but for his untimely death. 

S. H. Oathout died, February 8, 1885, in Monona township. He 
was born in New York, in 1809, and located in Monona township in 
1855. He was the father of a numerous family which was prominent 
in the county, his son, O. D. Oathout, being county superintendent at 
the time of his father's death. 


James Tapper died February 25, 1885. He was born in England, 
in 1810, and came to America in 1828, engaging first in the fisheries of 
Newfoundland. He next went to Cuba, where he was engaged in 
mining. In 1840, he came to McGregors Landing and was employed 
by the government at Fort Atkinson. He pre-empted land in Giard 
township and in 1865 represented that township on the board of super- 
visors, serving for several years. He was one of the organizers of 
Giard township. He was noted for his honesty and fairness and his 
adventurous life made him a most agreeable companion. 

Martin Brazil died, March 11, 1885, from accidental poisoning. 
He was born in Ireland, in 1801, and located in Clayton in 1841, and 
was one of the pioneer members of the Catholic church of the county. 

P. C. Young died at Rock Rapids March 30, 1885. He was a 
resident of Elkader for a number of years and was very prominent 
both as a lawyer and as a politician. 

William H. Stephens died at Garnavillo July 29, 1885. He was 
born in New Hampshire in 1802 and was Indian agent at Prairie du 
Chien, in 1838. He was a partner with John Deere at Grand de Tour, 
Wisconsin, and was connected with the manufacture of the first Deere 
plows. He located in Garnavillo in 1856. He was a man of high 
character and held many position of trust in his township. 

W. A. Skinner died at Elkader, August 9, 1885. He was born 
in Virginia in 1821 and came to Iowa in 1843 ^^^ was employed as a 
printer on the Miner's Express at Dubuque, one of Iowa's first news- 
papers. He moved to Elkader in 1866 and for ten years was justice 
of the peace for Boardman township. 

S. N. Bixhy died May 13, 1886. He was born in Vermont in 
1824 and came to Clayton county in 1847. He was principal of the 
Elkader school from 1873 to 1876. He then studied medicine and 
located at Strawberry Point, where he was a successful and highly 
popular physician and a prominent man in the community. 

Luther Patch died, July 15, 1886, at Elkader. He came to Clay- 
ton county, in 1842, and for a time operated the lower ferry at Mc- 
Gregor. He was prominent in the affairs of the county in an early 
day. In 1876, he moved to Elkader, where he resided with his daugh- 
ter, Mrs. Samuel Murdock. 

John Garber died. August 26, 1886. He was born in Virginia in 
1818, and located in Elkport in 1848. He at once became prominent 
in the politics of the county and in 1852 was elected to the legislature. 
He served as county judge in i860, being the last to hold that position. 
He was elected sheriff and, in 1866, he again served in the legislature. 
He was prominent in republican circles, was chairman of the county 
committee and was a strong Union man. Later in life he met with 
financial reverses, his large warehouse at Elkport burning down. His 
brother Martin was county auditor and state senator in 1882 and his 
brother Silas was governor of Nebraska. In many ways he was one 
of the strongest and best men that Clayton county produced. 

F. IV. Sherman died, January i, 1887, born in New York in 1806. 
He located in Monona, in 1853, and the last years of his life were 
spent in Elkader. He was one of the founders of Monona. His 
death was sudden, following a stroke of paralysis. 


W. J. Gilchrist died at McGregor, April 7, 1887. He located in 
McGregor in 1857 and was connected with the organization of the 
First National Bank. He was a member of the legislature in 1863, 
was a republican in politics and was one of the strong Union men of 
the county. 

B. F. Fox died at McGregor, April 21, 1887. His death came 
without warning and was caused by heart disease. He lived in Garna- 
villo from the early days until 188 1, when he removed to McGregor. 
In 1857, he was recorder of Clayton county and he was prominent in 
the politics of that period, being all his life a member of the democratic 

R. C. Place died May 19, at Elkader. He was born in Vermont 
in 1835 and located in Elkader in 1858. His brother, L. H. Place, 
was sheriff of the county and he was a member of the board of super- 
visors from 1864 to 1871. He was active in securing the building of 
the court house and was a leader in all the affairs of Elkader, He 
was a merchant and stock buyer and a man of great popularity. 

Rev. Father J. J. Quigley died September 10, 1887. He was 
pastor of the Catholic church of Elkader for twenty years and was 
active in building up the fine property of that church. A more ex- 
tended mention will be found in the chapter devoted to the church. 

Ira) P. Winter died, May 14, 1888, near Monona. He was born 
in New York, 1818, and settled in Monona in 1852. He was justice 
of the peace and assessor for many years, and was known throughout 
the county as "Squire Winter." He served as deputy county treas- 
urer and was a man of great information and much native ability and 
was one of the most popular men in this county. 

George Brinkhaus died, May 23, 1888, at Mederville. He was 
bom in Cox Creek township, 1855, and was engaged in the mercantile 
business in the firm of Brinkhaus Bros, at Mederville for many years. 

Fielding Snedigar died in Elkader, November 21, 1888. He was 
born in Illinois, in 1822, and came to Clayton county in 185 1. In 
1 86 1, he became a general merchant in Elkader and in 1864 he formed 
a partnership with C. F. Stearns. He was postmaster of Elkader 
from 1861 to 1868 and was one of the strongest Union men of the 
county. He was a man of the highest integrity and was respected by 
the entire community. 

William Hunt died in Mallory township, February 17, 1889. He 
was born in Pennsylvania, in 1817, and located in Mallory township 
in 1850, and was one of the leading men of his community. 

Maurice Fleck died at Guttenberg, June 8, 1889. He was born 
in Germany, in 1821, and came to Guttenberg in 1850. He was a 
prominent merchant of that city for many years, the firm being known 
as Fleck, Bleidung & Co. But a few months before his death Mr. 
Fleck was forced to make an assignment and financial troubles hastened 
his death. He was known as an honest and honorable man and was 
sincerely mourned by many friends. 

Richard Everall died, April 27, 1890, at Farmersburg. He was 
born in England, in 1805, and came to Clayton county in 185 1. He 
was one of the organizers of the Congregational church at Farmers- 


burg and was the father of John Everall, one of the most prominent 
citizens of the county. 

L. D. Davis died at Pickwick, Minnesota, August 18, 1890. He 
was the son of Hon. Timothy Davis and came to Elkader with his 
father in 1846. He hved in Elkader for many years and was con- 
nected with the Elkader mill. He was noted for his public spirited- 
ness and generosity. He met with business reverses and died in com- 
parative poverty. 

James M. Hill of St. Olaf died, September 15, 1890. He was 
known throughout the county as "Yankee Hill." He was born in 
New York, in 1820, and moved to Clayton county in 1858. He was 
widely known throughout the county and his tavern at St. Olaf was 
one of the most popular places of public entertainment. 

/. C. Routtds died, February 6, 1892. He was born in Massa^ 
chusetts, in 1818, and settled in Marion township in 1855. He helped 
to organize the township and was responsible for its receiving the 
name Marion after having first been christened Morasser. He was 
prominent in democratic politics and was a member of the legislature 
in 1873, and prior to that time was a member of the board of super- 
visors. Although living in a strong republican community he never 
failed to receive a majority of votes from his township. His record as 
a citizen and as an official was above reproach. 

Edward Sherman died, February 6, 1892, at National. He was 
born in New Hampshire, 1813, and was a continuous resident of 
Farmersburg township from 1847 to the time of his death. 

Alexander Falconer died, February 9, 1892, at Communia. He 
was born in Scotland, in 1805, and came to this country in 1833. He 
served eleven years in the army, being a veteran of the Seminole and 
Mexican wars. He came to Clayton county in 1844 and was a promi- 
nent farmer of Communia. 

Adam Hofer died, February 17, 1892. He was born in Baden, in 
1821, and made Clayton county his home in 1854. He was the father 
of Edward and Frank Hofer, for many years editors of the McGregor 

William F. Hunt ting, president of the Huntting Elevator Com- 
pany, of McGregor, died suddenly of heart disease, April 29, 1892. 
He was one of the most prominent grain operators in the northwest 
and was a man of large means, his estate being estimated at $500,000. 
He was closely connected with Diamond Jo Reynolds in his business 
enterprises, and his death was a distinct loss to the business circles of 
McGregor. He was born in Long Island, 1828, and settled in Mc- 
Gregor in 1857. He was known at all times for his business ability 
and great public spirit. 

Rufus Richardson died, May 2, 1892. He was born in Vermont, 
1818, and located at Monona in 1856, where he ran the Egbert House, 
a noted hostelry of that day. He lived in Wagner township until 
1874, when he moved to Elkader, where he spent the remainder of 
his days. 

Dr. William Hoffbatier died, July 27, 1892. He was born in Den- 
mark, attended the university of Wurzburg, was a revolutionist and 
was in prison. After his release from prison he pursued his studies 


and graduated from the University of Berlin. He was a member of 
the German parHament and was so outspoken in his views against 
monarchy that he was forced to leave the country. He came to Amer- 
ica in 1 85 1, and to Guttenberg the same year, where he resided until 
1875. The remainder of his life was passed in Guttenberg and Du- 
buque. He was a man of splendid education and eminent in his pro- 
fession, a fine orator and a very public spirited citizen. His son-in- 
law, Alexander Bleidung, represented this county in the legislature. 

Charles Schoch, Sr., died at Elkader, November 28, 1892. He was 
born in Wurtemburg in 1821, came to America in 1844, and to Clayton 
county in 1853, locating in Elk township, and afterward establishing a 
blacksmith's shop at Communia. He moved to Elkader in 1863. He 
acquired a competency and earned the esteem of all. 

Joseph Bradshaw died in Sperry township June 15, 1893. He 
was born in Indiana, 1825, and settled in Clayton county in 1849. He 
was a member of Company E, Ninth Iowa Volunteers and was a man 
highly prized by his community. His funeral, at Volga, was attended 
by a large concourse. 

John Larkin died July 16, 1893, at Elkader. He was born in 
Illinois, 1840, and was educated at Sinsinawa college, coming to Clay- 
ton county immediately after his graduation. He taught school for 
some time and studied law under J. O. Crosby and was admitted to the 
bar. He was married to a daughter of Patrick Uriell. At Elkader he 
was in partnership with Samuel Murdock and he became a lawyer 
of the first rank. He was a profound student and an eloquent orator. 
At his funeral Reuben Noble, Thomas Updegrafif, S. Murdock, D. D. 
Murphy, J. E. Corlett and T. M. Davidson acted as pallbearers. 

Fred Thoma died, July 17, 1893, in Grand Meadow township by 
his own hand. He was born in Germany in 1832 and located at Garna- 
villo in 1848. He removed to Grand Meadow in 1866. He was in 
good financial circumstances and no reason was known why he should 
have ended his life. 

/, M. Leach, postmaster of Elkader, died September 19, 1893. He 
was born in Massachusetts, in 1838, and came to Monona, in 1857, 
engaging in mercantile business. In 1862 he enlisted in Company E, 
Twenty-seventh Iowa and in 1863 was appointed quartermaster 
sergeant of the First West Tennessee Infantry. He was mustered out 
with the rank of first lieutenant. He returned to Monona in 1867, and, 
in 1872, was deputy auditor under Martin Garber. He was appointed 
postmaster of Elkader in 1889, which position he held at the time of 
his death. 

H. F. W. Bothmer died at Clayton, September 23, 1893. He was 
born in Germany, 1813, and settled at Clayton in 1851. He was one 
of the pioneer millers of the county. 

G. A. Appleman died November 4, 1893, at Elkader. He was born 
in Connecticut in 181 7. He was a sailor and circumnavigated the 
globe and had sailed all over the known world. In 1854 he left the 
sea and settled at Garnavillo. His wife was a sister of Hon. E. H. Wil- 
liams and his daughters were Mrs. H. J. Grotenwohl and Mrs. Wil- 
liam Larrabee. He was a man of the kindliest disposition and his 


vast experience, from sailor boy to sea captain, made him a most 
delightful companion. 

Rev. W. B. Smith died at Osterdock, November 13, 1893. He 
was born in Vermont, 181 1. He began his career as a preacher in 
1832. He lived in Elkader and vicinity for many years and was the 
friend and counsellor of all. He served three years in the Union 
army and during this time his health was greatly impaired. He was the 
youngest brother of Joseph Smith, the great Mormon prophet, and 
he was a believer in his brother and in the Mormon faith. His brothers, 
Joseph and Hiram were shot at Nauvoo, Illinois, while he was in 
Philadelphia on a mission for his church. Returning to Nauvoo, he 
found that Brigham Young had seized the leadership of Mormonism 
and had announced the doctrine of polygamy. Mr. Smith refused to 
accept this and never affiliated with the polygamist branch of the 
church. He was buried at the church of the Latter Day Saints of 
Osterdock and he was beloved by all who knew him. 

William A. Pen field, for many years one of the leading citizens 
of Volga, died, December 2, 1893. He was born in New York, in 1819, 
and first settled in Iowa, in Sperry township, in 1864. He established 
a furniture and undertaking business in Volga, in 1874, and held many 
township offices and was coroner of Clayton county. He was an ardent 
Republican and was conspicuous in political and fraternal circles. He 
was a man of considerable literary ability and his writings appear 
frequently in the newspapers of the county, 

Edward Dickens died, January 17, 1894, at McGregor, He built 
the first log cabin in Clayton county, and he was one of the most 
popular of the pioneers. At reunions he was a conspicuous figure and 
his stories of the early days delighted the people. His funeral was 
attended by large numbers of pioneers from all over the county and 
Judge Murdock pronounced a eulogy at his grave. 

Judge L. O. Hatch died at IMcGregor, July 19, 1894. He was born 
in Ohio, in 1826. He had few school advantages but was a great 
student and was able to teach school when but 18 years of age. While 
teaching he studied law and was admitted to the bar, in 1849. ^^^ 
eighteen months he travelled for the American Anti-slavery society, 
distributing literature and delivering addresses in opposition to slavery, 
at a time when that was a dangerous occupation. He came to Iowa 
in 1853, taught school in Delaware county and, in 1854, located at 
Waukon. Here he practiced law until January i, 1869, when he 
removed to McGregor, forming a partnership with Reuben Noble, 
the firm being Noble, Hatch & Frese. This partnership continued 
until 1874, when Mr. Noble became judge. Mr. Hatch continued 
to practice law in McGregor until 1882, when he was elected to the 
judgeship, which position he was filling at the time of his death. In 
politics he was a Republican until his later years, when he became an 
ardent Democrat. He was one of the ablest jurists this county has 
known. His death resulted from an accident which occurred in 
January, 1894. Going from North McGregor to McGregor he was 
carried by the station. He attempted to make a short cut to Main 
street and fell off the trestle, a distance of fifteen feet, to the rocks 
below. Both legs were broken, and from this injury he never recovered. 


His funeral was attended by members of the bar from every county 
in the district, and he was universally mourned. After his death the 
Milwaukee railroad was sued for damages on account of the accident, 
but, after long litigation, the case was decided against the estate. 

Daniel Broivnson died, July 23, 1894, at National. He was born 
in New York in 1813, came to Clayton county, in 1846, and bought a 
farm in Farmersburg township. He was noted as a breeder of fine 
horses and live stock and did much to raise the standards of agriculture 
in the county. 

C. L. McGonigle died, February 12, 1895, at Monona. He was 
born in Pennsylvania, in 1836, and moved, with his parents, to Monona, 
in 1847. He engaged in business in Monona and, in 1876, was elected 
county recorder as a Democrat. In 1893, he represented the county 
faithfully in the legislature. He was a very popular man and one of 
the leaders of democracy. 

Charles Mentsel died at his home in Cox Creek township March 
18, 1895, as the result of an accident. His team became unmanageable 
and he was thrown from his buggy, injuring his head. Mr. Mentzel 
was born in Saxony, in 1831. He received a liberal education and 
served in the Saxon army. He came to Garnavillo in 1854, and, in 
1859, bought his farm in Cox Creek township. Mr. Mentzel was 
almost continuously in public service, being a township officer, a member 
of the board of supervisors and serving two terms in the legislature. 
For many years he was secretary of the Farmers Mutual Insurance 
Company of Communia. His funeral was attended by large numbers 
from all over the county. Charles Reugnitz delivered an address in 
German and John Everall spoke in English. Charles Mentzel was a 
typical German-American citizen, loving his fatherland and cherishing 
its memories, but with a stronger love for his adopted home and a 
greater pride in his American citizenship. 

John Paddelford died in California, April 4, 1895. He was one 
of the old settlers of Sperry township and underwent all the hardships 
incident to pioneer life. He located in Clayton county in 1842. He 
prospered in business and at the time of his death was the owner of 
1,540 acres of Clayton county land. He was known and loved as 
"Uncle John" and he was a prime favorite at all meetings of the 
pioneers. On account of failing health he moved to California a few 
years prior to his death. 

Dr. Frederic Andros died April 28, 1895, at the home of his daugh- 
ter, at Minneapolis, at the advanced age of 92 years. He was the first 
regular physician to locate west of the Mississippi, and for many years 
a prominent figure in the history of Clayton county and northern Iowa, 
being the first clerk of the courts and first recorder of the county. He 
was born, September 14, 1802, at Berkley, Massachusetts, the son of 
Rev. Thomas Andros, a soldier of the Revolution and a man noted for 
his classical and theological learning. After receiving his medical 
education. Dr. Andros removed to Plymouth, in western New York, 
where he married Eliza Bunker, a descendant of the original owner of 
Bunker Hill. Soon they removed to Paris, Canada, where he, becom- 
ing mixed up in a revolutionary conspiracy which was revealed by a 
traitor, was obliged to make his escape in the night. He made his 


way to Detroit, and was joined by his wife. He was at Detroit just in 
time to assist in quelling an epidemic of the cholera. 

In October, 1834, he joined a party starting for the lead mines 
of Illinois and Iowa and located at Dubuque, and was the only physician 
west of the Mississippi then legally entitled to practice. In 1838, he 
took up a claim near Gamavillo, and adjoining Judge Murdock's old 
farm, and there his eldest son was born, one of the first children born 
in the township, fifty-six years ago. In 1843, the doctor was elected 
to represent northern Iowa in the territorial legislature. In that body he 
secured the passage of a bill changing the county seat from Guttenburg 
to Jacksonville, now Garnavillo. In 1846, he was appointed physician to 
the Winnebago Indians and with them went to Minnesota, where, in 
1854, he was elected to the legislature. Later, he returned to his 
Garnavillo home, where he resided until 1861, and then moved to 
McGregor. In 1879, Mrs. Andros died from injuries received in a 
railroad wreck the previous year. Dr. Andros then moved to Mitchell, 
South Dakota, where he practiced, but, in 1899, he retired from active 
life, owing to the failure of his eyesight. No man enters so intimately 
into the lives of the people as does the family doctor and Dr. Andros 
was the confidential friend and advisor of the whole county in the 
early days. Many a man was indebted to him not only for professional 
services but for friendship and counsel. He must be named and 
remembered as one of the very foundation stones upon which the 
civilization of Clayton county was built. 

O. B. Blanchard died May 11, 1895, at Edgewood. He was born 
in New York in 1823. He was one of the stage drivers in the early 
days in Pennsylvania and in Wisconsin. In 1871, he visited his 
brother. Dr. L. Blanchard at Yankee Settlement and was so impressed 
with the possibilities of the country that he remained, he and his 
brother platting the village of Edgewood. He was postmaster foij 
four years, following 1885, was president of the bank of Edgewood 
and was one of the strong financial factors of the southern part of 
the county. 

William P. Eno died suddenly at his home in Wagner township, 
July 15, 1895. He was born in Canada in 1828. He was employed 
as a travelling salesman until 1854, when he purchased land in Wagner 
township and made this county his home. He increased his land 
holdings until he owned more than 1,500 acres. He was postmaster 
at Wagner, held many township offices and was one of the founders of 
the Clayton County Fire Insurance Company. He was radical in 
politics and was a leader in the Greenback and Peoples party move- 
ment. He was known as the "Sage of Wagner." 

G. Henry Frese, partner in law business with Noble and Hatch, 
at McGregor, died August 17, 1895. He was born in Germany in 
1841, locating in Guttenberg in 1855 and moved to McGregor in 1861, 
where he entered the office of Noble and Drummond as a clerk. He 
remained as an employe until 1869, his health failed and he was forced 
to give up office work and he acted as deputy sheriff for some time. 
His health being somewhat restored he again entered the office with 
Judge Noble, but the confinement of office work soon ended his life. 


He was a brilliant attorney and had his health permitted would have 
been one of the leaders of the bar of the county. 

August Borman died November 25, 1895, at Davenport where he 
had gone to consult a specialist. He was born in Hanover, 1840, and 
came with his parents to Boardman township in 1852. In 1882 he 
was elected sheriff and served two terms. He was noted for his 
charity and good heartedness and had a wide circle of friends. 

Victor Baleff died January 13, 1896, at Strawberry Point. He 
was born in Wurtemberg, 1843, ^^^ came to Clayton county, in 1856. 
He enlisted in Company H. Sixteenth Iowa, and was with Sherman on 
the march to the sea. He was a business man of Strawberry Point 
and was a man well liked by all. 

/. H. Shoulte died January 24, 1896, at Garnavillo. He was born 
in Hanover, 1820, and settled in Reed township in 1856. He was 
prominent in the early history of the county and held many positions 
of trust. 

E. W. Stewart died at the home of his son-in-law, R. E, Price, 
in Elkader, April 6, 1896. He was born in New York, 1813, and 
settled in Highland township, in 1853. He was attracted to the gold- 
fields in the west, but returned to Elkader after four years and, after 
the death of his wife, in 1872, he made his home with his daughter, 
Mrs. R. E. Price. 

H. B. Carter died April 22, 1896, at Los Angeles, Cal. He was 
born in Ohio in 1825, and came to Grand Meadow township in 1847, 
moving to Elkader in 1850, where he was one of the principal mer- 
chants for many years. He was the first president of the First National 
Bank of Elkader and, in 1856, was elected state senator. He disposed 
of his interests in Elkader in 1885 and moved to Ashland, Ore. 

Buel Knapp died at Luverne, Minn., July 17, 1896. He was born 
in New York in 1827 and moved to Elkader in 1854. In 1870 he 
went to McGregor where for a number of years he was editor of the 
North Iowa Times. He left the county in 1880. 

Hon. Reuben Noble died August 8, 1896, at McGregor. He was 
one of the most able men of Clayton county and was prominent in its 
history for nearly half a century. A sketch of his life appears in 
another chapter. 

M. B. Sherman died August 5, 1896, at Farmersburg. He was 
born in New Hampshire in 1816, and made his home in Farmersburg 
township in 1845. For a number of years he was the oldest living 
settler of the county. His death was caused by a fall which broke 
his thigh bone. 

Henry Froehlich died August 6, 1896. He was born in Hamburg, 
Germany, in 1812, and emigrated to this county in 1847. The town 
of Froehlich is named in his honor. He was a typical German- 
American, honest, upright and industrious. 

George L. Gifford died September 7, 1896. He was born in New 
York in 1824 and came to Clayton county in 1836. He took an active 
part in county affairs and was a member of the board of supervisors. 
His career included that of farmer, merchant and hotel keeper. 

Casper Becker died October 26, 1896, at Clayton. He was born 
in France in 18 13 and came to America in 1840. He enlisted in the 


regular army and saw service in the Seminole war and later at Fort 
Atkinson. He settled in Clayton township in 1845, and at his death 
was the owner of 555 acres of land. He was a prominent member of 
the Catholic church of the county. 

Ingle Chapman died October 23, 1896. He was born in England 
in 1830, and came to Clayton county in 1856. He was one of the 
pioneers of Volga. 

/. B. Shelhammer died Dec. 8, 1896. He was born in Pennsyl- 
vania in 1824. He lived in the various parts of Iowa and Minnesota, 
and settled in Elkader in 1857. He enlisted in the First Iowa cavalry 
veteran volunteers. 

Samuel Murdock died January 27, 1897, at Elkader. More than 
any other man he was identified with the history of Clayton county in 
every phase from its origin until the time of his death, and his activ- 
ities only ended with his life. A sketch of this distinguished citizen 
appears in another chapter. 

Patrick Dinan died July 9, 1898, at Littleport as a result of an 
accident when he fell from a load of hay. He was born in Ireland in 
1822 and settled in Cox Creek township in 1857. Here, in almost 
unbroken wilderness, he and his wife struggled with the problems of 
the pioneers and by years of labor gained a competence for himself 
and family. 

James T. Partch died, May 21, 1899, at Elkader. He was born 
in Vermont, 181 7, and settled in Farmersburg township in 1848. He 
removed to Elkader in 1856 and he and his wife were among the most 
dearly beloved of Elkader people. He was one of the founders of the 
Universalists church of Boardman township. The Masonic fraternity 
conducted his obsequies. 

E. R. Barron died March 23, 1897, at La Crosse, Wisconsin. He 
was born in New Hampshire, 1829, and came to IMcGregor in 1856 
with ex-Governor Samuel Merrill and bought the mercantile business 
of Jones and Bass, the firm being Merrill & Barron. At the 
beginning of the war he bought the Merrill interests and the firm 
became E. R. Barron & Bros. In 1886, he moved to La Crosse, Wis- 
consin, but retained his interests at McGregor and was a frequent 
visitor at that city. Upon coming to McGregor he identified himself 
with every interest of the city and of him the McGregor Times said 
at the time of his death : "Better than any monument which artisan 
may rear, is that which is erected in the hearts of his townsmen who 
will always remember him as a noble, kindly gentleman." 

IPtfT: ^^^. ^WiK 




THE NEW CENTURY— 1900-1916 









THE new century, although it has run its course less than sixteen 
full years, has been the most awe-inspiring period of the 
world's history. More has been accomplished during these 
years ; more has occurred to alter the destinies of mankind, than has 
been crowded into any other century since the birth of Christ. Science 
and invention have revolutionized every industry and have made com- 
mon-place, in almost every home, luxuries which would have surpassed 
the wildest dreams of Roman Emperors. Most unfortunately, this 
great tide of invention has been accompanied by a tide of materialism, 
in which idealism has been largely lost and the wonder-works, which 
might have added so greatly to the joy of living have been turned 
into engines of destruction ; man's baser passions have ruled and the 
whole world is black with war. This has gone on until the senses have 
been numbed. Horrors, which would have chilled the blood but a few 
years ago, have become every day occurrences, and the destruction of 
cities, the devastation of kingdoms, the starvation of races, the killing 
of thousands and the mutilation of thousands upon thousands more, 
have become ordinary items from our daily news. Death surges up 
from the depths of the sea and hurtles from the clouds, poisonous 
gases asphyxiate whole regiments and unseen guns hurl tons of 
explosive shells upon unseen fortifications. 

In the midst of this strife, which threatens the very existence of 
our civilization, it is like going from darkness into light, from storm 


to calm, from the funeral to the marriage feast, to turn from the scenes 
of carnage to the peace and prosperity of Clayton county. How 
long the sound of guns may be but echoes, how long before the war 
cloud which hangs over all Europe and which lowers upon our border, 
may swoop over the western hemisphere no man may know. "The 
moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on." Blessed, indeed, 
is this fairest portion of the fairest land, where peace and plenty reign 
amidst a world gone mad. 

Thus far, the years, which have brought such havoc to millions, 
have been filled with nothing but prosperity for the people of Clayton 
county. It has been a time of progress, of the perfecting of things 
old and the beginning of things new. While population has decreased, 
wealth has increased, largely. New impulse has been given to agri- 
culture and to home making and, whereas, all was done with an eye 
to present and temporary necessity, there is now apparent in every 
move and in every construction the idea of permanency and an assured 
and stable future. The first expression of this was in the great stone 
arch bridge which spans the Turkey river and which was built, seem- 
ingly, not for time but for eternity. All over the county the frail 
wooden structures are being replaced by bridges and culverts of cement 
and stone; gravel and macadamized highways are taking the place of 
the old dirt roads and, in the cities, the macadam is, in turn, giving 
way to brick. Public buildings are being erected with fireproof con- 
struction and the most substantial material. In fact the keynote of 
the history of Clayton county, since 1900, is this idea of permanency; 
the thought that this is home and is to be the home, not only of this 
but of future generations, and that it is worth while to make present 
sacrifice that that home may be made as beautiful, as comfortable 
and as complete as possible. 

The population of Clayton county in 1890, exclusive of its towns, 
was 21,752; in 1900, these figures had decreased to 19,632; by 1910, 
3,000 more had left the farm and the population was 16,436, and, in 
the five years ending with 1915, 1,000 more had gone, leaving the rural 
population of the county at 14,431. In the meantime, the towns of 
the county had shown an increase nearly corresponding to the loss 
in the country. In 1890, the towns had a population of 4,981 ; by 1900 
this was nearly double, the figures being 8,118; in the next census 
period, of the 3,000 who had left the farm, 1,000 evidently remained 
in the county, for the towns show an increase of that number and the 
combined urban population was 9,240. Again, in 19 15, a portion of the 
rural loss is city gain and the towns in the county at the close of that 
year had a combined population of 9,700. This village population was 
divided among eighteen communities ; running from 1,873, ^^ Gutten- 
berg to 97 at Osterdock. The gain both in city and county, however, 
did not keep pace with the birth rate and two things are apparent, 
one, that the farmer, growing older and wealthier, has retired and 
has removed to the village, there to enjoy the added comforts of 
community life; and the other, that Clayton county is constantly send- 
ing out to the world its best and most adventurous youth and that 
the fledglings are leaving the home-nest and giving to the nation the 
best product of its farms and homes, in the shape of splendid men 

THE NEW CENTURY — 19OO-I916 281 

and women. Just as, during the Civil war, it was the boys from 
the farms of such counties as Clayton, which saved the Union, so now, 
it is the leaven of common sense, integrity and sturdy manhood from 
such counties as these that are the hope and the salvation of our 

While Clayton county has lost in population it has gained amaz- 
ingly in wealth and culture, in the observance of law and order and in 
all the refinements of civilization. In 1834, there were 1,429 polls in 
the county and the gross amount of taxable property was $19,163.34, 
showing a per capita wealth of approximately $13 for each voter. In 
1900 the 27,750 people of the county had property of the taxable value 
of $5,818,477; in 1910, whereas the population had decreased more 
than 2,000, the tax value had increased nearly $2,000,000 ; the valua- 
tion for that year being $7,531,684. Again, in 1915, with a decrease 
of population of nearly 500, the taxable value had increased another 
$2,000,000, the figures being $9,623,941 and the assessed value, sup- 
posedly the actual value, was $38,495,764. With all due respect to 
assessments and tax valuations, it would be safe to say that the real 
wealth of Clayton county, on a market basis, would exceed $50,000,- 
000, giving a per capita wealth of approximately $2,000. Not only this, 
but in few communities is wealth more evenly distributed and, while 
there are rich and poor, there are no overwhelming fortunes and the 
wealth of the county is not lodged in the hands of a few. With this 
firm basis of wealth and prosperity, which nothing short of a cataclysm 
of nature or of man can destroy, it is no wonder that Clayton county 
has progressed marvelously and that, within a generation, the county 
has never felt the pinch of poverty nor the real stress of hard times. 
After all, time is an essence of history, and the more recent the event 
the more difficult to write of it; for the very nearness destroys the 
perspective and time alone brings into view the rugged peaks which are 
of real historic value. Therefore, it is possible only to touch upon those 
matters which are apparently characteristic of the period and which 
will give future generations some idea of Clayton county as it was in 
the early years of the twentieth century. 

County Government — Concerning the affairs relative to county 
government, the year 1900 had barely opened when ex-Governor Wil- 
liam Larrabee, then a member of the state board of control, threw a 
bomb shell into camp by the way of a severe criticism of the brand new 
county asylum which was the pride of Clayton's heart. The gov- 
ernor's strictures upon the asylum were harsh and he likened the cells 
to cages for wild animals. This aroused a storm of resentment, and the 
fact that the asylum had been occupied but a few days and that there 
had not been time to perfect details and plan a definite course of con- 
duct, makes the criticism appear to have been unjust. It was the effort 
of the board to meet the requirements of the state board which, later, 
led the supervisors into difficulty ; for, in 1903, the supervisors bought 
the Losch farm of fifty-two acres, adjacent to the hospital, for the 
sum of $4,000. This was technically illegal and, in August, 1903, a 
petition containing four counts was filed against the supervisors. They 
were charged with the payment of $2,300 for real estate without a 
vote of the people; with paying $1,669.89 to F. E. Heckel, against 


the advice of the county attorney; with the purchase of the Losch 
farm without the consent of the people and with appropriating $75 to 
the Iowa Publishing Company for the insertion of county statistics in 
a state book then being published. The case was submitted before the 
court, in October, and it was held that, in regard to real estate pur- 
chases, the board had exceeded its authority, but without wrong intent ; 
that the $75 appropriation was within the discretion of the board, and 
that no corruption was shown in regard to the Heckel case. Prior 
to the death of the treasurer, Reugnitz, F. E. Heckel was school treas- 
urer of Millville township. Not having occasion to visit Elkader 
frequently and having no safe place of deposit for funds, it was his 
custom to leave school funds in the county treasury, paying school 
expenses by check and reimbursing himself, from time to time, from 
the treasury. In this way he would receipt for warrants and return 
them to the treasurer to be credited to him. When the affairs of the 
treasurer's ofifice were overhauled, after Mr. Reugnitz's death, a 
receipted warrant for $1,670 was found. Mr. Heckel acknowledged 
the signature, but claimed that he had never received the money. It 
was this warrant which the board ordered paid. 

In January, 1901, the county employed a firm of so-called "tax 
ferrets" to go over the books and search for property which had 
escaped taxation. This firm was allowed a commission of 15 per cent. 
The assessed valuation for 1901 was increased $406,248 without the 
aid of ferrets and Clayton led the state in tax valuation. The ferrets 
were active and, in August, 1901, it was reported that they had col- 
lected $1,894 in a single week and had arranged for the payment of 
$10,000 more. The ferrets completed their work in February, 1902, 
having collected $34,762. They returned and, in March, 1903, it was 
reported that they had turned into the treasury $43,323 which, 
less commissions, etc., netted the county $34,199. It was at their 
instance, also, that, in 1901, the county brought suit against Mary 
Reynolds and the "Diamond Jo" estate for $160,000 taxes due, Joseph 
Reynolds having died in 1895, leaving an estate valued at $2,800,000. 

Among the other incidents of county government was the suit 
brought against Joseph Vogt for obtaining over payment on bridge 
contracts. The case was tried in Allamakee county and Vogt claimed 
that he was sick at the time measurements were taken, that they were 
taken by others and that he had refunded the money as soon as the 
error was discovered. Upon this showing he was acquitted. 

Despite the efforts of the tax ferrets and the increased tax 
receipts, it was found, by September, 1904, that the county finances 
were in bad shape and that a bond issue was necessary. There were 
stamped warrants outstanding in excess of $19,000 and a bond issue 
of $24,000 was resorted to, to maintain the credit of the county and 
to prevent loss of those holding county warrants. In 1908, the board 
at a special session ordered a vote on the proposal to spend $10,000 
for the purchase of the Leonard farm as an addition to the hospital 
grounds, but this proposal was defeated. In 1909, the main building 
on the county farm in Read township was destroyed by a fire in which 
one inmate, an unknown tramp, lost his life. It was necessary to 
rebuild and, in July, a contract was let for $7,965. It was at this 


session, also, that, under a new law, banks of deposit were first 
designated for the county funds. Bounties offered at this session 
were as follows, for gophers, 5 cents ; ground hogs, 25 cents ; rattle 
snakes, 50 cents. Extensive improvements were made in the court 
house, in 1902, the small vaults being replaced by large ones of modern 
construction. The vaults cost $2,190, and the metal furniture cost 
$2,650. In 1903, a barn was built at the poor farm at a cost of $2,645 
and, in 1907, $2,000 was expended for a steel ceiling for the court room 
and other interior improvements. 

It was in 191 1 and 1912 that the automobile tax became available. 
The first receipts from this source were, on August 12, 191 1, $1,266.54; 
April, 1912, $3,215.67; August, 1912, $2,205.48. These added receipts 
and the changes in the road law of the state made for a decided 
improvement in the roads of the county and, in January, 1913, the 
supervisors selected the county roads under the new law, designating 
225 miles as state highways. In March, 1914, the roads were surveyed 
and the patrol system started. The county was divided into districts 
containing approximately ten miles each and patrolmen employed 
for dragging and repairs. Two grader outfits were bought for the 
heavier work and bridge contracts to the amount of $45,701 were let. 
By April, 19 14, work was being done, by blasting and excavating on 
the McGregor road near the Frank Bente farm and the Stevenson hill 
was prepared for gravelling. The funds available for road and bridge 
purposes reached nearly $100,000, as follows, county road, $10,235.42; 
township road, $29,938.87; road dragging, $8,443.30; bridge, 
$51,176.51, and thus, for highways of the county was available nearly 
twice the sum of the total county expense in the 6o's. This money is, 
for the most part, being wisely expended and should in a few years, 
with the splendid natural resources, which Clayton county has in the 
way of rock and gravel, result in its having the best roads and bridges 
in Iowa. In June, 19 12, the bridge contract made with P. N. Kingsley 
was annulled by the board for failure of performance and the bonding 
company held to complete it. The excellent character of the modern 
road and bridge work is shown by the fact that in the flood of June i, 
1916, which was the highest the county has ever known, no permanent 
bridges were lost and new road grades were left in good condition. 
The county lost eighteen bridges and culverts in this flood and two 
crews were put at work preparing roads, although this work was 
impeded, and the cost of dragging increased, by the continued wet 
weather throughout the month of June. 

Below is given the statement of the total taxes collectible in Clay- 
ton county, in 1916, for the year preceding. This table does not include 
internal revenue, income and stamp taxes, paid to the general gov- 
ernment, nor the automobile licenses paid to the state, nor any other 
licenses paid to towns and county. With these items added, and with- 
out considering any indirect taxation, it will appear that, in 1916, the 
people of Clayton county will pay in excess of $500,000, for the support 
of their government and its institutions. Such is the prosperity and 
wealth of the county, however, that this tax, which would have been 
absolutely confiscatory fifty years ago, is borne lightly and public 
sentiment supports movements for added expense when it is believed 


that the improvements are necessary and will be permanent. The fol- 
lowing is the tax table for 1915: 


General state $ 41,671.66 

General state tax on money and credits 2,043.75 

Capital extension tax 1,636.06 

Capital extension tax on money and credits 80.22 

General county tax including bonds 70,671.68 

Poor 8,076.73 

Soldiers relief 2,019.20 

Bridge 50,479-83 

City 31.193-21 

Insane tax state hospital 10,095.92 

Insane tax county hospital 2,019.20 

County school 10,095.92 

District school 168,922.75 

County road or permanent road 10,095.92 

County road buildings 16,791.61 

Township roads 26,904.48 

Road dragging 8,453.00 

Miscellaneous 945-99 

Poll 3426.50 

Dog 2,767.00 

Delinquent road 1,776.58 

Grand total $470,167.21 

Good Roads Movement — Much of the credit for the good roads 
movement, which has been one of the most prominent features of 
Iowa's development since 1900, must be given to the automobile and to 
the enthusiasm of automobile owners. By this date, 1916, the auto- 
mobile has almost driven the horse from the highways of Clayton 
county. The horse-drawn carriage is the exception and, except for 
the hauling of produce, the horse is rarely seen upon the road. Owing 
to the nature of the country which makes railroad building expensive, 
although the railway mileage is large, inter-county communication is 
poor. Garnavillo is perhaps the largest, and certainly it is the most 
prosperous, inland town in Iowa. Save for the branch line to Beulah, 
by which it is connected with McGregor and Monona, the county seat 
is inaccessible to the people of the county, except by the highways. 

These conditions have made the automobile almost indispensable 
and there are hundreds of cars owned in the county, it being one of the 
first counties in Iowa, and in the United States, in the point of auto- 
mobile ownership. At first, in this, as in other localities, the good roads 
movement was regarded as a selfish interest largely for the enjoyment 
of the wealthy motorists, but when every well-to-do farmer owned a 
machine, the necessity for good roads was appreciated. Auto clubs and 
good roads clubs were formed in the various towns, thoroughfares 
were marked with signboards and legislation was promoted. One of 
the most simple but most effective inventions was the King drag and 


Professor King was brought to Elkader and exhibited the drag for 
the benefit of the people. Still later, a law became effective by which 
county supervisors and road supervisors held a general meeting each 
year. These doubtless did much to spread general information about 
road work. The greatest step in advance, however, was when the state 
highway commission was created and systematic work, under the 
guidance of experts, was begun. It is hard to believe that the first 
automobile was owned in this county in 1902. It was called a loco- 
mobile, was propelled by steam and was owned by J. O. Crosby, of 
Gamavillo. The McGregor Times speaks of this machine, in August, 
1902, and says that Mr. Crosby had owned it since spring, that he had 
no instructions and had some difficulty in getting it started and in 
learning to operate it. The Times also says that the automobile is not 
new and calls attention to an item in its files of 1857, telling of a steam 
wagon which had been constructed to carry forty people, fifteen miles 
per hour, for use in New Mexico. Mr. Huntting, of McGregor also 
bought a machine about this time and T. M. Davidson had the first 
automobile in Elkader and was also the owner of the first motorcycle 
in the county. The Auto Club, of Elkader, and the Auto Trail Club, of 
McGregor, have both done much for good roads. In April, 1916, 
delegates from this "county attended a meeting at Cedar Rapids at 
which the Park Trail was organized. This route is to run from 
Ottumwa to McGregor, the towns in this county, on the route, being 
Edgewood, Littleport, Elkader, Giard and McGregor. Another route 
also is being planned along the west shore of the Mississippi and this 
also is being promoted by the enthusiasts at McGregor. 

In spite of the large amount of taxes, the county receipts did 
not keep pace with expenditures and, in September, 19 15, the super- 
visors proposed a bond issue of $75,000 to take up outstanding war- 
rants. In October, this resolution was amended to the issuance of 
$25,000 bonds at that time and $50,000 after January i. 1916. The 
bonds were sold to the Continental and Commercial Savings Bank of 

The bounties offered by the county proved effective, for in one 
week, in September, bounties were paid for forty-one rattle snakes 
and the succeeding week for fifty-six and for the year 1915, the bounties 
paid were as follows, for pocket gopher, 4,635 at 10 cents, $463.50; 
ground hogs, 11,101, at 15 cents, $1,665.15; rattle snakes, 1,605, ^^ 5^ 
cents, $802.50, making a total of nearly $3,000 for the year. 

Soldiers' Monuments — Among the other acts of the supervisors 
which were of interest was the appointment of T. M. Davidson, J. C. 
Barnes and B. W. Newberry as a soldiers relief commission. Under 
this commission the soldiers of the county have been cared for and 
three monuments have been erected, one at Strawberry Point, one at 
Monona and one at McGregor, thus carrying out the project of the 
"cenotaph association" urged by Eliphalet Price more than fifty years 
ago. The monument at McGregor was the last dedicated, appropriate 
exercises being held on Memorial Day, 1916, with Hon. Carl F. 
Kuehnle of Denison, Iowa, as the orator. This work is done by means 
of a one mill tax and it is expected to provide monuments at other 


cemeteries in the county where numbers of the soldier dead are 

Miscellaneous County Events — In 1914, an accident occurred at a 
bridge in Wagner township. John Schmidt was driving across this 
bridge when it went down and he was killed. Suit was brought against 
the county and the case was tried in Fayette county, resulting in a 
verdict of $9,000 for the plaintiff. This case cost the county in the 
neighborhood of $10,000. Schmidt Bros. & Co. received a license, in 

19 1 5, to erect a transformer station in connection with the extension 
of electric power lines to Garnavillo and Guttenberg, and the line was 
completed to Garnavillo and electricity supplied to that town in April, 

1916, and prior to that time electric power had been supplied from 
McGregor to Giard and Monona. Rural free delivery was another 
great blessing which came to the people at the beginning of the century. 
In January, 1901, the postmaster of Elkader started petitions to secure 
rural routes and this was followed by a meeting of citizens, held in 
February, at which three routes were planned. The first route in the 
county was out of Farmersburg, July i, 1901, at which time the stage 
line, from McGregor to National, was abandoned. Rural routes were 
planned throughout the county and, in July, 1903, the three routes 
out of Elkader were established. These brought numerous changes in 
the postal service, led to the abandonment of several postoffices and 
almost entirely did away with the star route service, although this 
service is maintained to Garnavillo and between Elkader and Osborne. 
The parcel post system was instituted January i, 19 13. 

Other features of the county life was the increased attention paid 
to agricultural matters. Farmers institutes were held in various parts 
of the county and short courses in agriculture, at which time prizes 
were offered for corn. The first short course was held in Elkader, 
in 1913, and was a great success. A. J. Carpenter was manager and 
F. L. Hochaus & Sons won the prizes for both yellow and white com. 
Another successful institute was held at McGregor, in February, 1914, 
and, in June, 1914, a farm investigation tour was conducted by experts 
from the State Agricultural College, at which time the farms of J. L. 
Cords, Julius Christeleit, John Ehrhardt, D. F. Willmes, J. F. Johnson, 
H. H. Diers, A. F. Kramer, and Frank Nugent were visited. The crops 
throughout all this period were good, with the exception of the year 
191 5> when a wet season and early frost did great damage. Prices 
were fair and Clayton maintained its reputation as one of the great 
producing counties of the state. In 1902, Clayton stood fourth in 
butter shipments, the total for the year being 2,503,524 pounds. It also 
led all northeastern Iowa in production of fruits, receiving the first 
premium among forty counties. A peculiar industry was that estab- 
lished by Burgess and Hanson, at Luana, where they started a herd of 
native buffalo. This was such a curiosity that excursions were run 
from Monona and the buffalo ranch had many visitors. Old Tom, the 
leader of the herd, was shot in 1901, and the head was sold to the 
Smithsonian Institute for $600, the carcass bringing, in all, in the 
neighborhood of $1,000. Later, the herd was sold at auction, Frank 
Rockefeller being the principal buyer. 

In 1901, occurred the death of Andrew Thompson, the confessed 


murderer of the Hagerty family. For a third of a century he had 
been in the penitentiary, and there he died at the age of 76. He left 
an estate of some $20,000 to his wife and he requested that he be 
buried in Clayton county, but this wish was disregarded and his body 
was sacrificed upon the altar of science at Iowa City. 

Old Settlers — Interest in the old settlers was revived by the 
McGregor Times by an inquiry as to the oldest settler in the county 
then living. There were numerous claimants for this honor, among 
whom were Mrs. Ellen Tapper, widow of James Tapper, who came 
to McGregor, in 1840; Levi Springer, whose father settled at Millville, 
in 1836, and who stated that the log house was still standing where 
Judge Murdock plead his first case. Marshall Hatfield was another 
claimant for the honor, he having come with his father, Robert Hat- 
field, to Turkey river, in 1833. ^ he Times ran an excellent old settlers 
edition, and this, and comment created thereby, caused Colonel 
Eiboeck, then of Des Moines, to write of old times in Clayton county 
as follows: 

"It is sad to reflect, however, that of all the men mentioned in the 
Old Settlers' Edition but two are living, 1 homas Updegraiif and J. O. 
Crosby. Everyone of those pioneers was a personal friend and patron. 
What would we not give to be able to shake their honest old paws again. 
Tom Updegrafif would certainly join us once more upon a Fourth of 
July excursion with hard cider as a stimulant to awaken the slumbering 
echoes of Buck Creek. Honest John Garber would shake his sides 
to recall the county seat contests of the 6o's, while good old John 
Kriebs of Guttenburg, justice of the peace in Jefferson township, Clay- 
ton county, state of Iowa, would invite us aside to something real good. 
Judge Murdock, always the most hospitable of men, would not think 
of letting us go out of his sight for a week and Elijah Odell would 
forget his Methodistic predilection for a time and join us and Reuben 
Noble in trying who could do the most for the other. Oh, that they 
were yet living ! Old Clayton county would see such a jubilee as she 
has never known, God bless the memory of those old pioneers." 
Other reminders of the old times were the three golden weddings 
which occurred in the same family during the year 1903 ; the couples 
being Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Corlett, Mr. and Mrs. Marshal Crawford 
and Mr. and Mrs. John Orr; and the first of the family reunions of 
the Bickel family, which were, for some years notable events in Giard 

Many railroad projects were still on foot. In 1901, Gamavillo 
organized the Garnavillo & Guttenburg Railway Company and en- 
gineers were engaged to survey the route. In 1909, there was much 
interest in the rumor that the Volga line was to be extended to Mason 
City and made a main line of travel. 

School System — The schools of the county also made progress 
both in town and country. In 1901, St. Olaf dedicated its new school 
house with appropriate ceremonies. There were two rooms, with Miss 
Knudson as principal and Miss Reugnitz as teacher. The teachers 
institutes were well attended and "teachers inspirational" meetings 
were held, successfully, at dififerent towns of the county. In 1915, 
the law governing the election of county superintendent, was changed 


SO that, instead of being a partisan, elective office, it became an 
appointive office at the hands of representatives of the different school 
districts of the county. Auditor John Adam issued the call for the first 
election, under this new method, and the school convention was held 
April 6, 1915. D. D. Murphy presided and John Adam acted as sec- 
retary. Carl F. Becker received 39 votes for superintendent and T. 
R. Roberts two votes and Mr. Becker was declared elected. There 
were at this meeting representatives of eighteen township schools and 
sixteen independent districts besides rural independent districts. The 
October, 19 15, number of the Midland Schools gave Superintendeot 
Carl F. Becker the following compliment: "County Superintendent 
Carl F. Becker, of Clayton county, is doing some good work up in his 
corner of the state. He has introduced a system of credit for home 
work which is a great help in arousing interest in the rural schdols. He 
is planning a series of township meetings for this coming winter in 
which special stress will be laid on better rural schools. He and his 
teachers are abolishing all the common water buckets from the rural 
schools. He has started two consolidations of rural schools which 
he hopes to carry through successfully this winter. It is men of his 
aggressive type who are needed in the rural school work to advance 
them to the same high standard as the city schools are attaining." 
This compliment is well deserved and under the new, non-partisan 
control with Mr. Becker as superintendent the schools of the county 
are in splendid condition. There were in the county, in 19 16, 140 rural 
school districts with 164 rooms employing 164 teachers. The enroll- 
ment of the rural schools was 3,066. There were also 16 independent 
school districts, employing 18 men and 74 women teachers. The 
enrollment was 2,413, making the total teaching force of the county 
256 and the total enrollment 5,479. The school expenditures, for the 
year 1915, were approximately $176,000. The average compensation 
for women teachers was $50.99 and for men $74.52. The value of 
school houses was $269,570 and of apparatus $14,150. 

Social Life — The fairs of the county developed during this period, 
although the success, from year to year, was largely dependent upon 
weather conditions. The old established county fair at National has 
been able to maintain its existence, in spite of its location away from 
transportation facilities. The fair at Strawberry Point has become one 
of the noted institutions of northeastern Iowa, having patronage from 
several of the counties adjacent, and the Elkader fair has met with good 
average success and has grown as an institution. The chautauqua 
has developed into a strong institution, having been started at 
McGregor before the beginning of the century and having been con- 
tinued successfully. Monona and Elkader and other cities also make 
the chautauqua a feature of their summer season, while almost every 
town has some festival day peculiarly its own. 

Another development of the county is the rapid growth of tele- 
phone lines, until the county has become a network of wires. There 
is an exchange in every village, and not only is there the Bell system, 
with its excellent long distance service, but mutual farm companies 
which have connection with almost every farm home in the county. 
Another distinctive feature has been the forming of co-operative 


marketing associations among the farmers, and a large percentage of 
the produce of the county is now marketed direct by the farms through 
their own agents. The wealth of the county is shown by the con- 
solidated bank statements for the years 1913 and 1914, both of which 
are given to show the growth in the savings of the county. 


In 19 1 3 there were 22 banks in Clayton county, with total deposits 
of $5,750,830.59; total capital, $646,000; total loans, $4,747,035.89; 
surplus and undivided profits, $193,575.05 ; total resources, $6,554,- 
390.86. The deposits February, 1913, were $5,232,612.44, and on 
January i, 1914, $5,750,830.59, an increase during the year of $518,- 
218.15. In 1914, there were 23 banks with total deposits of $5,626,- 
173.40; capital $596,000; loans, $5,070,309.54; surplus and undivided 
profits, $217,972.43, and resources of $6,612,508.80. Another side- 
light upon the wealth of the county is the fact that at the Iowa picnic 
held at Los Angeles, in 1913, more than 100 Clayton county residents 
were registered. 

The character of agricultural operations has largely changed since 
the early days, much more of the product of the farm is being sold "on 
the hoof" or in dairy produce and, whereas in the early days, wheat 
was the largest and almost the only product of the county, by 19 12, it 
had become inconsiderable; the production of potatoes, in bushels 
being five times that of wheat. In 1912, there were more than 415,000 
acres under cultivation and the crop statistics were as follows, corn,. 
2,868,871 bushels; oats, 2,001,645; winter wheat, 35,096; spring wheat, 
9,642 ; barley, 357^66; rye, 34,209; hay, tons, 70,031 ; wild hay, 1,856; 
alfalfa, 141 ; ; potatoes, 243,533 bushels. The number of cattle was 
49,044; sheep, 9,908; poultry, 463,082. The European war increased 
the value of bread-stuffs and had the season of 1915 been more 
favorable that year would have been the most prosperous in the 
county history. 

The Flood Record — With its steep hills and narrow water 
courses, Clayton county is peculiarly subject to damage by storm and 
floods. In May, 1902, there was an exceedingly heavy rain fall. 
Bridges were damaged to the extent of from $40,000 to $50,000. The 
Turkey river, at Elkader, was higher than in the flood of 1880. The 
railroad track was washed away and the city water main across the 
river was broken. At Elkport, the flood was serious. The water 
struck the city during the night and it was with difficulty that some 
were rescued by means of rafts from the second stories of their homes. 
In the midst of the confusion of the flood there were two explosions 
in Kriebs' drug store and this building and the Odd Fellows building 
were soon in flames. The flood record of 1880 was surpassed and 
every merchant in the town suffered loss. At McGregor, the business 
district was flooded and the rain was accompanied by an electric 
storm in which three stores were struck by lightning and the property 
loss from fire was $20,000. There was also an explosion in Frese's 
store, which was of such violence that men were thrown from the sec- 
ond story of the hotel and Charles Lewis was injured by a falling 
wall. This storm occurred on Sunday and, on the following Tuesday, 
there was another storm of almost equal violence. The total damage 


to bridges was estimated at $75,000. The mill at Volga and the 
bridge at Littleport were endangered, Elkport was flooded for the 
second time in a week and Strawberry Point was the scene of a severe 
hail storm. 

The next flood was in July, 1903. The damage to bridges was 
again heavy, especially in Garnavillo township. There were land slides 
and washouts on the Elkader and Volga branches, and Elkport was 
flooded for the fifth time in fourteen months. McGregor also began 
the century with a cloudburst of its own, in October, 1900. Three feet 
of water rushed down the main street for more than two hours, and it 
was then reported as the most disastrous flood for individuals that 
the town had ever had. In September, 1904, the Edgewood Journal 
was responsible for the statement that hailstones fell measuring from 
four to six inches in circumference, smashing practically all the window 
lights in the town and breaking the backs of hogs running in the field. 
Highland and Boardman townships suffered severely from hail, and, 
in March, 1906, the Turkey river was again in flood, the Elkader line 
was badly damaged and the flood at Elkport was within eighteen 
inches of the high water mark of 1902. John Downie and Mr. Friend 
were the heaviest losers at Elkader. In June, 1908, there was a terrific 
storm of wind, rain and hail throughout the county. At McGregor, 
4^ inches of water fell in 40 minutes. The stream down Main street 
reached the height of six feet, there was a mile of ruins, the sewer 
system was wrecked and the Clark Hospital badly injured. Giard 
also suffered and, at Edgewood, buildings were injured and bark 
stripped from the trees by the hail. Bickel's trout pond was washed 
out, the Elkader train was marooned by the storm for 24 hours and 
much damage was done at Luana. The problem at McGregor was 
serious for an epidemic threatened as a result of the flood and Gutten- 
berg sent help to McGregor to clean up the debris. The next severe 
storm was in July, 1908. There were four inches of rain at Elkader, 
and Turkey river and Pony creek were raging torrents. The train 
was caught at Downie's crossing and was unable to go forward or 
back on account of washouts. Garber, Elkport and Littleport were 
flooded. At Littleport the Keve Bros, lumber yards were set afire, 
by water coming in contact with a barrel of lime, and in this fire the 
Catholic church was also burned. Railroad traffic was stopped for 
many days and the damage to crops was estimated at $100,000. In 
McGregor, it was necessary to establish a relief fund and, in November, 
the balance of more than $2,000 was turned over to the council for the 
repair of sewers. 

Flood of igi6 — Save for a wind storm, in June, 1914, which 
destroyed barns and sheds, the county was free from severe storms 
tmtil June i, 1916. While no lives were lost in the great storm of 
1916, the property loss was the heaviest the county has ever known. At 
Elkader, the oldest inhabitant admitted, reluctantly, that he had never 
seen the river so high. The new dam withstood the test with practically 
no damage. The Turkey river was two feet above all previous records, 
but the chief damage at Elkader was the destruction of Lenth's ice 
house and the city's ice supply. The Elkader line was almost a com- 
plete wreck from Beulah to Elkader. The bridge at Stulta and many 


Other smaller bridges were washed out and it was not until June 24th, 
that traffic was reopened. 

The storm at McGregor was much more severe than in any other 
part of the county, nearly all the business houses were flooded and the 
paving which was under construction was damaged to the extent of 
$1,000. At North McGregor, the loss to the Milwaukee railroad 
reached $500,000. A great flood rushed down Bloody Run, the round 
house collapsed with a crash, the yards were entirely water swept, 
every sidetrack was washed out, engines and cars were tossed about 
by the flood, a big iron bridge, 90 feet long, was carried thirty rods 
down the stream ; but for warning, sent by the operator at Giard, the 
loss of life from the eight-foot wall of water would have been large. 
Seven bridges were washed out between Beulah and McGregor. Great 
loss was sustained to freight in the yards and this fell upon the 
individual owner. The Milwaukee railroad had been planning to raise 
the yards and tracks at North McGregor and up Bloody Run and much 
material was lost in the flood. As a result of the flood, the railroad 
began operations at once to make such improvements as will make a 
repetition of the disaster impossible and $1,000,000 is to be spent in 
raising the road bed and the yards and erecting permanent terminal 
facilities. All railroad travel was stopped by the flood and it was a 
number of days before even a temporary track could be laid. Sny 
Magill was also at flood. Crops were damaged in Clayton and Garna- 
villo and Farmersburg townships and a number of buildings were 
blown down. The storm was extensive and adjoining counties suffered 
greatly. On the Sunday following the storm thousands of people from 
Clayton and other counties visited McGregor to view the wreckage. A 
pontoon bridge was provided to cross the channel by the west yards. 
A charge of five cents was asked and during Sunday, 4,085 crossed, 
the receipts from this enterprise amounting to $197.85. 

Criminal Sensations — The county was remarkably free from crime 
of a serious or sensational nature, showing the steady improvement 
in the grade of citizenship. In November, 1906, John L. Bowland of 
Highland township was murdered by Ed West. The details of the 
crime were particularly bloody and revolting. Frank Meisner notified 
the officers that there were evidences of a tragedy and that Mr. Bow- 
land was missing. Sheriff Dittmer and others went to the Bowland 
place and after considerable search, his body was found buried in a 
corn field. The head and body were badly mangled and it was evident 
that the crime had been committed with a claw hammer. The evidence 
pointed to Ed West as the guilty party, as he had been seen at the 
place with torn and bloody clothes and later he had returned to his 
home and had his wife wash the blood soaked garments. West had 
worked in the field all the next day and was arrested on his way home. 
He was tried for this crime and sentenced to life imprisonment. A 
tragedy, which created wide-spread interest and sympathy, occurred, 
in January, 1915, when Mildred Sweeney, a teacher, was burned to 
death at the home of Ben Meyer, in Cox Creek township. Miss 
Sweeney gave the alarm by which the family was able to escape, but 
the fire spread so rapidly that she was unable to leave the burning build- 
ing and efforts to rescue her, made by Mr. Meyer, were unavailing. 


County Seat Events — According to the census of 1900, Elkader 
had a population of 1,321, this being an increase of 576 over 1890. The 
years immediately preceding had been the nearest approach to a boom 
that Elkader has ever known and it was filled with hope and confidence 
for the future. In December of 1899, ^^^ Catholic church had been 
dedicated and the bridge, the new hotel and the Molumby block were 
accomplished facts. The first thing which occupied the attention of 
the citizens in 1900 was the question of an electric light franchise. 
Schmidt Bros. & Co. made a proposition to furnish electricity and a 
special election was held to vote on a franchise. There was consider- 
able controversy as to the terms of the contract, many holding that with 
the rapid improvements being made in electrical apparatus the rates 
were too high and others contended that this was not the case and urged 
the city to take a forward step. The election was held in February, the 
vote being 217 for the franchise and 62 against. On the passage of the 
franchise, steps were immediately taken to install a plant and it was 
instituted without unnecessary delay. In April, 1900, the Congrega- 
tionaHsts of the city were delighted by a generous gift on the part of 
Mrs. Caroline Hartrich, who purchased a residence adjoining the 
church, for the sum of $2,000, and presented it to the society for par- 
sonage purposes. Some of the events of the year following were the 
agitation for a canning factory, a meeting being held and a committee 
appointed, but without results. In April, the Coterie Club gave a book 
carnival, the hundred volumes presented being the nucleus for the 
present school library. 

For the first time, perhaps, the people became greatly interested 
in base ball and the interest was increased by the fact that Fred Schoch, 
an Elkader boy, had become a star pitcher in the Pacific League with 
the Seattle Club. 

The Opera House erected by the Turners was opened in August, 
1901, with the play, "Peaceful Valley," and, in September the Opera 
House was the scene of the Memorial meeting when all heads were 
bowed with grief over the death of President McKinley. John Everall 
and D. D. Murphy were the speakers on this occasion. 

The eleventh anniversary of the founding of the Elkader band 
was made a matter of public interest, in March, 1902. The band was 
organized in 1890, the first officers being H. D. Brown, president; M. 
E. Munger, vice president ; G. H. Grotewohl, secretary ; W. E. Prior, 
treasurer. Other members of the band were A. P. Bock, W. F. 
Reinecke, R. F. Schmidt, B. F. Falkenhainer, W. J. Vaupel, J. A. 
Kramer, J. Kepple, G. A. Candler, and S. F. Steinhilber. The band 
was uniformed in 1897 and in 1899 new instruments were obtained. 
The receipts of the band for eleven years were $3,261 of which but 
$103 were donated. This was an institution of which Elkader was 
justly proud. 

It appears that the saloons in Elkader and throughout the county 
had been doing very much as they pleased during the decade preceding. 
In April, 1902, Judge Fellows instructed the grand jury that there must 
be stricter observance of the law and that if this was not done indict- 
ments must be found. He, however, gave time for the desired reforma- 
tion. The mayors of the towns consulted and as a result the saloons 


of Elkader were closed on Sundays for the first time in eleven years 
and other regulations were enforced. 

Following the flood of 1902, the business men of Elkader protested 
against the slowness with which the work of repairing bridges was 
being prosecuted. Particularly did they complain of the fact that the 
bridge at Stulta had been out for several months. An indignation 
meeting was held and a committee composed of J. G. Hempel, Joseph 
Lamm and G. H. Shoulte was appointed to confer with the supervisors 
and through their efforts the work was hastened. It was at this time, 
July, 1902, that the first mention of an automobile appears in an Elk- 
ader paper. It was in July, 1902, also, that the council authorized 
the ladies to take charge of the Elkader cemetery. They incorporated 
and began their work by building a driveway and they have since cared 
for the cemetery in a way most satisfactory to all. 

Two prominent business men left Elkader during this year. 
Henry Meyer who had been serving as bank examiner went to Des 
Moines to accept the vice-presidency of the First National Bank, and 
Sen. F. D. Bayless moved to Prairie du Chien where he organized a 
sanitarium company with a capital of $100,000 and later established 
Bayless College. In 1903, there was a continuation of the long 
struggle between the citizens of Elkader and the Milwaukee railway. 
One train was taken off and the only train left arrived at 11 :io A. M. 
and left within an hour at 12:05. The business men held a meeting 
of protest and at once began to take interest in an interurban project, 
the line to run from Oelwein via Arlington and Volga. Double train 
service was restored within a few weeks after the state railway com- 
mission had been appealed to, but the interest of the interurban per- 
sisted and at a meeting held in February, John Jamison of Oelwein 
met with the citizens and outlined the plans, it being the intention to 
use gasoline motor cars. 

Opera House — In February, 1903, the Turner Opera House, 
which had been dedicated but a short time before, was burned to the 
ground and Elkader was left without any place of amusement. The 
hall had been built in 1883, at a cost of $2,500 but in 1901, improve- 
ments to the extent of $3,500 had been made and the Opera House was 
a paying concern. The Turners at once made an effort to rebuild, but 
it was felt desirable to build on a much larger scale and thereupon 
action was taken by the citizens as a whole and an Opera House com- 
pany was organized with R. E. Price as president and L. E. Corlett as 
secretary. A building committee consisting of William Becker, L. J. 
Kramer, J. J. Kann and L. E. Corlett was appointed. Shick and Roth 
submitted plans. Stock was solicited and there were 139 stockholders, 
the largest contribution being $200. Ten thousand dollars was thus raised 
and the Turners donated the old site upon certain privileges of use 
being given them. The work was pushed rapidly and the grand open- 
ing was held November 17, 1903, with the play, "The Governor's Son." 
The ticket sale amounted to $2,213. Not content with this improve- 
ment a proposal was made to macadamize the business streets, but this 
was met with sharp protest. 

Elkader was baseball wild, in 1903, and the "Browns" were the 
heroes of the day and their defeats and victories were taken very much 


to heart. The discovery of a new pitcher, Roggman by name, by 
whose aid Prairie du Chien was beaten, 7 to 3, was hailed with great 
dehght. It was in September, 1903, that the Waukon RepubHcan had 
a Uttle fun at the expense of Elkader in the following paragraph: 
"The people of Elkader are now craning their necks all on account of 
the appearance of a locomobile just bought by County Attorney 
Davidson and the query now, instead of 'Have you seen our bridge?' 
will be 'Have you seen our locomobile ?' " 

In January, 1904, the city was plunged in grief over the death of 
Henry Beyer, wife and daughter, Grace, who perished in the awful 
tragedy at the Iroquois fire in Chicago. The bodies were identified 
and were brought to Elkader for burial. 

May, 1904, was notable for a reunion of Company D, Twenty- 
first Iowa. Many friends attended and many letters were read but 
there were but seven members of the company present. The first 
good roads association in Elkader was formed in May, 1905. D. D. 
Murphy, John Everall and W. W. Davidson were members of the 
committee appointed to meet with the council to urge road improve- 
ment and as a result $1,000 was appropriated. This same association 
secured the presence of D. Ward King, in January, 1906, to exhibit his 
road drag at Elkader. The semi-centennial jubilee of the Masonic 
lodge of Elkader was the great event of June, 1905. There was a 
banquet, addresses, and a history of the lodge prepared by John H. 
Hill, and many visiting Masons. In October, a proposition was made 
for the establishment of a gas company and in the following month this 
franchise was granted by a vote of 168 to 64 and the plant was erected, 
the contract being let in July, 1906. 

The Elvidge Creamery was sold, in August, 1906, to the Beatrice 
Creamery Company and it was announced that the manufacture of 
butter at this place would be discontinued and the cream shipped to 
the company's plant at Chicago. It was in this month also that the 
retail merchants of the county organized to encourage home trade. 
M. J. PouU was president and J. G. Hempel, who had, the year pre- 
vious, been honored by appointment as a member of the state voting 
machine commission, was the secretary. The first farmers institute in 
Elkader was held in November, 1906, and P. G. Holden, afterward a 
candidate for Governor, was judge of the corn contest and delivered a 
lecture on corn culture. In August, 1908, the Register purchased the 
Argus from F. L. Wolf & Co. and continued the publication under the 
present name of The Register and Argus, until 19 16, when the "and 
Argus" was dropped, thus reducing the number of newspapers in 
Elkader from four to three. During 1908, Elkader was much inter- 
ested in high school debating contests, the Elkader team, consisting 
of Malcom Greenleaf, Martha Cameron and Loy Molumby, winning 
from Osage, but later losing to Cedar Falls for the championship of 
northern Iowa. On May 22, 1908, the Elkader mills were burned for 
the second time. Henry Wolf discovered the fire and gave the alarm 
but it spread rapidly and practically nothing was saved and the loss 
was $30,000. The mill was built in 1849, was destroyed by fire Decem- 
ber 25, i860, and was wrecked by flood in 1880. Schmidt Bros. & Co. 
proceeded at once with plans for rebuilding. 


The inevitable "booster club" made its appearance in 1909. This 
was incorporated and the officers were J. F. Becker, president, and 
F. J. Uriell, secretary. One of the first things taken up was the inter- 
urban project from Oelwein and $346 was raised for a preliminary 
survey. The Oelwein Interurban Company was formed and G. H, 
Shoulte of Elkader and W. A. Smith of Volga were directors. The 
survey was completed in December, 1909, and it was declared that the 
line was feasible, that the average grade was less than i per cent and 
at no place more than 2 per cent. The project, however, was soon 
dropped for nothing more appeared concerning it. One of the old 
land marks of Elkader passed away when the little round church was 
sold and torn down. This was the church built by the Congregation- 
alists, in 1857. The first pastor was L. P. Mathews. In 1870, the 
building was sold to the Universalists, it later fell into the hands of 
James Partch who willed it to the state Universalists society. The 
old bell, bought by public subscription, in 1870, was sold to the German 

The Elkader Commission Company of which W. J. Moran was 
secretary, held a meeting in March, 1910, and proposed reopening of 
the creamery. The matter was pushed and, in August, arrangements 
were made with Fritz and Gunderson, to start November i, the council 
to repair the old building. In 1912, there were three projects which 
interested the people. The booster club demanded better rail 
service and a committee was appointed to secure three trains 
if possible. In October, N. S. Ketchum, of the Iowa Railroad Com- 
mission visited Elkader, inspected the depot and yards and agreed to 
urge improvements and better service. There were no results from 
this visit, however, and in September, 19 13, the boosters were still at 
work, asking better service. In December, 1914, connections at 
McGregor for Dubuque were discontinued except on Friday and Satur- 
day, making the railroad facilities of Elkader poorer than before. In 
May, 191 5, there was a wreck at Pony Hollow and the Register com- 
plains that there are hundreds of rotten ties, that but little track work 
had been done and the whole line was in bad condition. During the 
flood of 1916, there was no service for nearly a month and at present 
the line has been but temporarily repaired. There is no question but 
that Elkader is greatly handicapped by inadequate train service, and 
it is to be regretted that it would appear from the record that the rail- 
road company has made no concessions to Elkader, during all its his- 
tory, except when forced to do so. 

School Building — In June, 1912, a proposition was presented to 
the people for a bond issue of $i2,cxx) for the erection of a new school 
building. The vote was men, yes 118, no 81 ; women, yes iii, no 10, 
total vote being yes 229, no 91. This was'the first election' in which 
the women of Elkader took part. A contract was made with Fuelling 
and Hinsch of Farmersburg for the erection of the school building at 
the cost of $10,110 and the building was dedicated in February, 1913. 
At this time Miss Marie Seward was acting superintendent. Superin- 
tendent Reinow having gone to Independence after eight years' service 
in Elkader, At the dedication D. D. Murphy delivered the address 
and it was stated that Elkader was one of the 56 accredited high schools 


of the state. In 19 14, Prof. J. P. Street was elected superintendent 
and under his charge the schools have been developed and improved 
and Elkader is now a member of the North Central Association of 
Colleges and Secondary Schools. The new building is of brick and is 
well constructed. It is of two stories height with large basement and 
contains four grade rooms, a music room and rooms for the domestic 
science and manual training department. The school also has an 
excellent commercial course, and with the old building is well equipped 
for the present needs of the city. 

The year 1912 witnessed the founding of the Auto Club with 
W. W. Davidson as president and W. C. Reimer as secretary and it 
also was the first year in which oil was used on the streets. A promi- 
nent social event of the year was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 
service of Rev. Father F. J. Reilly as priest of the Elkader parish. 
The kindly Father was surprised by a large number of friends and 
parishoners and D. D. Murphy made the address presenting him with 
a purse of several hundred dollars. It was during 1912, also that 
Schmidt Bros. & Co. planned the building of the fine concrete dam 
which now harnesses the Turkey river at Elkader and which was so 
thoroughly tested in the flood of 1916. The work was pushed to 
completion and was finished without accident, until January, 1915. 
At this time, in blowing out the cofferdam, there were two tremendous 
explosions which broke window lights all over the town and threw 
rocks and debris for several blocks in all directions, A fifteen-pound 
rock went through the roof of the Register and Argus office and the 
skyhght of Hales Photograph gallery was a complete wreck. Follow- 
ing the completion of the dam new rates were adopted, these being 
12 cents per kilowatt with a sliding scale of discounts and a power rate 
of 5 cents per kilowatt. The company with its new machinery now 
furnishes power to Garnavillo and Guttenberg, the rates charged at 
these places being 2^^ cents per kilowatt. 

By 191 5, the city was able to announce that it had reduced its 
debt from $7,000 to $4,500 and would soon be able to reduce it still 
farther. This favorable report encouraged those anxious for further 
improvement and in September, 19 15, the petition for paving of the 
Main street was presented to the council. This was promptly met by 
remonstrance stating that paving was "unnecessary, extravagant and 
unwise at this or any time in the near future." A step toward paving- 
was taken when M. Tschirgi & Son were employed to fix the perma- 
nent grades of the city and, in June, 1916, the council passed a resolu- 
tion of necessity looking towards paving in the future and committees 
have already inspected paving in other cities and it is probable that in 
the course of time the example of McGregor will be followed. 

In 1915, Elkader sported a team of professional ball players. A 
company was formed with R. L. Senneff as president and Carl 
Reinecke, Jr., secretary. The business men pledged financial support, 
but although the city had a fine team, the wet season made it a financial 
failure and suit is now pending, relative to the payment of the guaran- 
tee fund. In 19 16, the team was on a strictly amateur basis. In May, 
1915, Elkader adopted a curfew ordinance which is well enforced. As 
has been noted, the increasing number of automobiles has made this 


a considerable industry in Elkader. The auto club has done much 
to promote this and in 1914, an automobile institute was held, 
although the attendance was disappointing. Concerning the automo- 
bile industry the following is taken from the Register and Argus: 

"Elkader is fast becoming prominent in northeastern Iowa as an 
automobile center and its dealers and repair shops are doing an enor- 
mous business. Allen Bros., Dittmer & Stallbaum, and the Elkader 
Auto Company have purchased and sold about 150 new machines this 
year, together with a large amount of supplies and accessories. Their 
repair shops, together with the vulcanizing plant of C. E. Stone for 
the repair of tires, are the best in this whole territory and widely 
recognized as such. We understand the gross business of these firms 
will amount to from $200,000 to $250,000 this year. Elkader is to 
be congratulated upon the enterprise of these firms with their well 
equipped repair shops and skilled mechanics." There was much 
rejoicing among the high school "fans" when the Elkader team won 
the county declamatory contest, thus securing the permanent posses- 
sion of the county cup. This cup was won by Elkader in 1906-07-09- 
10-11-14-16; by Edgewood in 1908 and by Guttenberg in 1912-13. 

McGregor Incidents — The improvements at McGregor during 
1900 exceeded $50,000 and these were continued in the next year, when 
Dr. H. H. Clark founded a large hospital which was made an official 
hospital of the Milwaukee road. In April, 1901, West McGregor 
voted to discontinue its incorporation and to become part of McGregor 
proper, thus ending the official career of Michael Klein, who was the 
first and last mayor of West McGregor, holding the office continuously 
for 22 years. McGregor Heights continued to be a popular resort and 
in July, 1901, the North Eastern Iowa Veterans held a two days' 
reunion there, and in August the Modern Woodmen attracted a crowd 
of 5,000 from cities all over northeastern Iowa. The Methodist church, 
which had been interested in the Heights, relinquished its claim in 1902 
and the city took control and it has since been the scene of annual 
Chautauqua assemblies and has become famous as a cool and beautiful 
resort, many delightful summer cottages having been erected. 

Both McGregor and North McGregor have suffered severely by 
fires as well as by floods. In January, 1903, the elevator of the Spencer 
Grain Co. and two warehouses were burned ; the loss in buildings and 
grain reaching $150,000. In December, of the same year, the Bergman 
opera house was burned and the stock of Kramer Bros. Clothing Store 
destroyed, the loss being $60,000. The electric light plant was burned 
in January, 1904, and in January, 1906, Kramer Bros, were again 
burned out with a loss of $50,000. In August of the same year, during 
an electric storm, the residence of Alfred Wooden, near McGregor, 
was struck by lightning and the owner killed. There were several 
smaller fires and in March, 1910, the Wingen saw mill at North Mc- 
Gregor, formerly the Flemming plant, burned with a loss of $30,000 
and in the following December the Milwaukee depot and the hotel at 
North McGregor were consumed. The Berry Hotel was opened Oc- 
tober I, 1904, with James Berry as proprietor, and it was the finest 
hotel between Dubuque and St. Paul. 

The sensation of the year 1902 was the mysterious death of Henry 


Wilson. A Miss Lillian Elsworth was arrested in connection with this 
death and told many conflicting stories concerning it. She was tried 
and acquitt-ed. At the trial William Wandell, of Edgewood, was fined 
$25 for asking a juror to acquit. According to Miss Elsworth, Wilson 
and she went for a walk, sat down upon the railroad track and fell 
asleep. She heard a passing train and then found that Wilson had 
been run over and killed. There were marks upon the body which 
indicated that blows had been struck rather than that the injuries 
had been inflicted by a train, but, while other arrests were made, no 
one was punished for the crime, if such it was. 

Pearl Button Industry — For many years all the pearl buttons used 
in America were manufactured in Austria, where labor was cheap. 
Under the McKinley tariff a considerable duty was levied and this 
prompted the opening up of the industry in America. Muscatine 
was the first center of the pearl button industry along the Mississippi. 
It was found that there were many varieties of clam shells which were 
suitable and the industry rapidly spread all along the river. Button 
factories were established at many points and the river was fairly black 
with the boats of the clam diggers and little settlements sprang up 
along the shores. The bed of the stream was raked and the shells 
carefully dried and sorted. Those engaged in the industry were able 
to earn from $15 to $25 a week and the factories gave employment 
to many. Added to this certain reward for the shells, there was the 
added excitement of the hunt for pearls. Many pearls of great value 
were found and a man who was a poor clam digger today might find a 
fortune in any rakeful. With this great lottery in which the capital 
prizes were sometimes in excess of $2,000, it is no wonder that the 
whole river front was excited. There were pearl buyers at all the 
larger cities. In 1901, Fred Houdak found a pearl valued at $1,500. 
Ida Brooks found an egg-shaped pearl of 20 grains, valued between 
$20 and $30 a grain. In an interesting article on the industry, written 
for the Times in 1903, it is stated that the highest priced pearl found 
in that vicinity sold for $2,000, and that at least ten pearls had been 
found along the river which brought the finder more than $1,000 each, 
although many of lesser value were found. The white round pearl 
was the most valuable. It was stated that in 1902 $1,500,000 was paid 
to the clammers along the 300 miles of the Mississippi river. The 
search was continued throughout the winter by the means of a long 
fork operated through a hole in the ice. So eager was the search that 
before many years the best clam beds were exhausted, and while the 
business is still carried on it is not nearly so extensive as in former 

During the height of this industry, a button factory was estab- 
lished at McGregor, concerning which the Times said : 

"The pearl button factory commenced work Tuesday noon. They 
have 24 tons of shells on hand, which will probably keep them busy 
for four or five weeks. A 6-horsepower water motor furnishes the 
power. One man can probably turn away about 800 pounds a day. 
The process is simple yet interesting. Ten men are at work at present 
turning out the blanks. The blanks go by two different names, tips 
and butts, tips being those secured from the thin end of the shell, and 


butts those from the shell's thicker portion. The blanks, or unfinished 
buttons, are of different sizes also and the price paid varies with both 
the thickness and the size. The standard of measure is a line one- 
fortieth of an inch, and the basis of price paid the laborers is the 
gross, 14 dozen to a gross. For tips, 14 lines in diameter, 4j/^ cents 
per gross is paid; 16 lines, 5 cents; 18 lines, 5^ cents. For butts the 
price is higher, 14 lines, 53^ cents; 16 lines, 6 cents. This average of 
price is kept up to 24 lines, the largest size, for which 10 cents per 
gross is paid the laborer. One man can earn as high as $3.00 per day 
by keeping constantly at work. The shells are soaked in water be- 
fore grinding and a constant stream of water is kept trickling upon 
them while they are being ground to avoid dust. The proprietor and 
manager, Mr. Houdek, is very considerate and obliging to visitors." 
Sand Mosaics — Another industry peculiar to McGregor was the 
making of beautiful and artistic pictures in bottles from the many 
colored sands found in the Pictured Rocks near McGregor. This 
industry was so unique that it attracted attention not only in this 
country but in Europe, and the following is an extract from an article 
published in "Lectures Modernes," of Paris, in July, 1903: "About 
twenty years ago, an American deaf mute, Andrew Clemens really 
sought to use in decoration (picturing) the multicolored sand which is 
found in abundance in the vicinity of McGregor, Iowa, and succeeded, 
before his lamented early death, in developing the idea to a high degree 
of perfection. His brilliant conception, however, seemed in danger of 
being forgotten, when Mr. W. S. O'Brien, manager of the Union Tele- 
graph office at McGregor, took up the problem in such hours of leisure 
as his professional avocations left him, and brought it happily to a 
successful solution. Let us visit, then, the studio of the Sand Artist. 
The equipment of the 'mosiaste' is simplicity itself. His 'palette' com- 
prises a case of boxes in fan form, divided into compartments, each 
containing sand of a different shade, forty-one in all, and none of them 
artificial. A pencil of wood is his only 'brush.' With a small spoon 
he transfers from the several compartments the sands into a glass 
bottle, the size and form of which he selects according to the object or 
combination he wishes to represent, then by means of the little wooden 
tools, Mr. O'Brien arranges the sands just as a painter applies his 
colors on a canvas. He succeeds in this way of accomplishing many 
beautiful eflfects. The sand, once in position in the bottle, is pressed 
strongly but with precaution so as not to shatter the glass envelope; 
then the mouth of the bottle is cemented. This done, no shaking or 
shock can disarrange the varicolored particles encased in this hermet- 
ically sealed enclosure. 

"One would imagine that the sand must be pasted or glued upon 
the interior surface of the glass that it could hold so firmly in position. 
Nevertheless we affirm after personal verification that the sand has 
not undergone any manipulation whatever. It is used simply dry and 
as nature gives it, just as anyone can pick it up from its veins in the 
'Pictured Rocks' near McGregor. Nothing more magnificent to con- 
template than these layers and veins of sand combining all the colors 
of the rainbow, diversified, clearcut, distinct, separate. Upon these 
monster mountain mosaics of nature the sun's rays play with marvelous 


effects, while in the midst of the hills are running and singing little 
brooks and rivulets, jumping like frisking lambkins over rocks and 
forming sparkling cataracts in their way down to their home in the 
bosom of the great 'Father of Waters' at the foot of the bluffs." 

In 1902, Peter Fisher, of McGregor, made one of the most beau- 
tiful of these sand bottles, using 35 different colored sands. 

Proposed National Park — In 1909 a movement was inaugurated to 
have the beautiful and historic Heights, including the Pictured Rocks 
and Pike's Peak, with its awe-inspiring view of the great Mississippi 
valley, incorporated into a national park and preserved for future 
generations. By resolution the legislature of Iowa endorsed the project, 
but no considerable progress was made until Senator W. S. Kenyon, of 
Iowa, took an active interest in it. In December, 191 5, a national 
park meeting was held at McGregor, which was addressed by Senator 
Kenyon, Congressman Haugen, State Senators Fellows and Quigley 
and many others. At this time a committee of fire was appointed to 
promote the project of having the Heights from two to three miles 
below McGregor and extending back from the river for a depth of 
from one-half to three-quarters of a mile incorporated into a national 
park. As a part of its work this committee prepared a very handsome 
folder, giving many views from the proposed park and an outline of 
its duty and the points of historical interest. In June, 1916, through the 
efforts of Senator Kenyon, an appropriation of $500 was made for an 
inspection of the proposed park and a report as to the advisability of 
its adoption by the government. From the literature prepared by the 
committee the following description of some of the beauties of the 
proposed park is taken: 

Pike's Peak — At the southern extremity of the park and dominat- 
ing the landscape, Pike's Peak, most famous of the Mississippi hills, 
stands sentinel. The view from its summit a world traveler has de- 
clared to be "the finest water scene in America." Facing the mouth 
of the Wisconsin river, as it does, Pike's Peak was the first land seen 
by white men on the discovery of the Upper Mississippi and overlooked 
the stirring events which took place about the confluence of the Wis- 
consin and the Mississippi rivers in the beginnings of history. It was a 
favorite vantage point of the Indians and often a battle ground. 

In 1805 Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, the great explorer, shelved his 
boat on the pebbly shore at the foot of the hill, which has since borne 
his name, climbed to the top and planted the first American flag 
raised in the Northwest. 

Pike's Peak is now a favorite picnic and camp ground. It is 
reached by a drive of three miles from McGregor and by two trails 
from the river. 

Pictured Rocks — Sequestered in a valley on the north side of 
Pike's Peak lies Pictured Rocks. This beauty spot, a bit of the Grand 
Canon or Yosemite Valley dropped down among the Mississippi hills, 
is reached by a ten minutes' walk from the bank of the river. The 
path follows up a stream splashing with tiny waterfalls through a 
ravine so deep and narrow the sun only penetrates it for a few minutes 
at noon. Suddenly you emerge in a sunlit amphitheatre formed by per- 
pendicular cliffs of colored sand two hundred feet high, varying from 


glistening ivory to the most brilliant orange and scarlet. More than 
forty colors have been found. They lie one above each other in 
horizontal, curved, zigzag and fantastically broken lines, making the 
whole a sand mosaic of enchanting beauty. A cave of dazzling colors 
and a waterfall nearly a hundred feet high are features of the scene. 
Above Pictured Rocks on the trail leading to Pike's Peak is Horseshoe 
Falls, a miniature Minnehaha. 

Briefly enumerating the few of the more important items of 
McGregor's history during the past i6 years it is found that, in 1901, 
the J. D. Bickel Produce Company was founded, with cold storage and 
creamery plant, and this grew to be a large industry. In 1903, a 
packet steamer reached McGregor direct from Chicago, this being the 
first since 1875. In 1904, the Congregational church was improved at 
the cost of $5,500. In the spring of that year W. R. Motheral invented 
the motor boat which developed great speed and was one of the fore- 
runners of the racers of today. 


As might have been expected the hand of death dealt heavily with 
the pioneers during the opening years of the new century, and until, in 
1916, there are but few living who took part in the active history of the 
county in the days before the war. There are a number living who 
were children or youths at that time but of those who have arrived at 
man's estate there are but few. Col. J. O. Crosby, of Garnavillo is the 
most notable of the living pioneers today. A man of splendid educa- 
tion and of marked intellectual powers he is today a giant among meij 
despite the weight of more than 90 years, and he stands today as almost 
the lone survivor of those men who made the early history of Clayton 
county great. 

In the year 1900, there died Patrick Donlan, one of the pioneers 
of Cox Creek; James Davis, who came to Garnavillo in 1848 and who 
was the popular sheriff of the county for 16 years following 1855 ; 
C. H. Kuempel, the pioneer cabinet maker of Clayton, whose sons 
established an excelsior factory at that place which they operated until 
it burned in 1895 ; J. D. Schmidt, founder of the Elkader brewery and 
later the partner in the Elkader mill who came to Read township in 
1848 ; Thomas D, White, the pioneer of National in 1853 and later a 
resident of Volga, who served in the legislature in 1876; John N. Ham- 
ilton, who for 18 years following 1874 was at the head of the Elkader 
school and who died at Sac City. 

In 1901, the death roll included James M. Crawford, who came 
to Guttenberg in 1847 ^"d who was later a resident of Frenchton and 
of Clayton; Milo P. Clark, one of the strong men of Wagner township, 
a pioneer of 1852; A. F. Nichols, a councilman of Portland, Oregon, 
who died in Chicago but who was known here as a county supervisor 
and president of the agricultural association and who was buried at his 
old home at Luana ; Lars Hulverson, one of the Norwegian pioneers of 
Read township. 

In 1902, there died Charles Leibrook, the prominent Elkader mar- 
chant who came to this country from Bavaria in 1852; P. P. Olmstead, 


one of the founders of Monona and who was prominent as a supervisor 
and as a Republican leader. He was found dead in a puddle on his 
farm near Monona. Dan E. Gleason, an 1850 pioneer of Elkader; 
Fred Pahlas, who came to Read township in 1857, and to Elkader in 
1889; Mrs. Thomas Updegraff, the beloved wife of the congressman 
from this district and who shared with him all the hardships as well 
as the honors of his distinguished career; John D. Welsh, a veteran 
pioneer of Volga ; Fred Cook, who came to Guttenberg after the war, 
was sheriff in 1893 and later served as deputy and jailer; Col. J. K. P. 
Thompson, who died at Rock Rapids but who was identified with 
Clayton's earlier history, having been a member of the Twenty-first 
Iowa, and having studied law under S. T. Woodward. 

Those passing to the Great Beyond in 1903 were Henry Wilker, of 
Clayton Center, who came to Garnavillo in 1850; Rev. N. W. Bixby, 
who died at Edgewood at the age of 94, being the oldest minister in 
Iowa. He was of the Free Will Baptist faith and was very dearly 
beloved by all; William Monlux, who came to Wagner township in 
1855, enlisted in Company D, Twenty-first Iowa, and was wounded at 
Vicksburg. Elected supervisor in 1893 he served six years and was 
a member of the Elkader council at the time of his death, J. G. Hempel 
being appointed to succeed him ; G. G. Nass, the postmaster at Gunder ; 
Major Jenkins, the Vermont Yankee whose early days were spent as 
a sailor and who came to Garnavillo in 1845 ^^^ who, at the time of 
his death was one of the oldest men in the county, being 98 years of 
age; H. S. Granger, who died at Philipsburg, Kansas, who was the 
founder of Clayton county's first newspaper in 1853, who read law 
with Samuel Murdock, was a partner of Reuben Noble and who was 
school fund commissioner and clerk of the county for 12 years follow- 
ing i860; Martin Garber, who died at Garber, Oklahoma, but who was 
one of Clayton's earliest settlers, having been deputy auditor under Mr. 
Duff and succeeded him in that position. 

The notable deaths of 1904 included that of Lyman Taylor, the 
pioneer builder of Elkader; T. C. Palmer, who was known as Uncle 
Tom of High Prairie in the early days and who was postmaster at 
Seigel; E. B. Snedigar, son of the old Elkader postmaster, a veteran 
of the war who dropped dead while at his work in Fayette county; 
O. D. Oathout, who came to Clayton county in 1855 and resided on 
the same farm until his death. He was one of the leading educators 
and did good work as county superintendent ; J. J. McCarthy, born in 
Cox Creek and who became the leader of the Dubuque bar; John 
Kleinlein, the miller of Clayton, who was killed in a runaway accident. 

William Grain, who came to Sperry township in 1854 working for 
75 cents a day and paying 35 per cent interest for the money for which 
to buy his first farm and who died the owner of more than 800 fertile 
acres, died in 1905, as did Peter Helgeson, the oldest citizen of Wagner, 
a Norwegian who was famed as a hunter and trapper; John F. 
Bierbaum, who came to Guttenberg in 1847 ^^d afterward lived at 
Garnavillo, Clayton and Monona; Thomas Kelleher, one of the Irish 
pioneers of Boardman township in 1855 ; Capt. W. A. Benton, whose 
life was one of great adventure. He came to McGregor in 1856 and 
was Captain of Company G, Twenty-first Iowa, post master of 


McGregor and sheriff for six years, being elected in 1873. His life 
included adventures in the mines of California, in Australia and South 
America, including a ship wreck off San Francisco. 

John T. Stoneman died at McGregor October 11, 1905. He came 
of an illustrious family, his brother being a major general in the Union 
army. He came to McGregor in 1856 and was one of the county's 
greatest lawyers. He was elected state senator and was twice a can- 
didate for congress and twice received the support of the democrats of 
the legislature for the offtce of U. S. Senator. He moved to Cedar 
Rapids in 1881, where he was judge of the Superior Court, but he 
spent his last years with his daughter, Mrs. A. Chapin, at McGregor. 
In the same year, 1905, died J. F. Thompson, a teacher, journalist and 
political leader. He taught the schools at Elkader, was county super- 
intendent from 1874 to 1878 and was clerk of the county and a mem- 
ber of the legislature. He moved to California and died in the news- 
paper harness; Orlando McCraney, a prominent figure in the earlier 
days and who boasted that he had laid out 14 towns in Iowa and in 

S. L. Peck was a beloved pioneer who died in 1906. He came to 
this county in 1849, studied law in Elkader, was county treasurer, a 
partner of Judge Williams and was the surveyor of the county all but 
four years from 1869 until 1882. His last years were spent in Ohio. 
Among the others were John W. Becker, who came to Jefferson town- 
ship in 1853 ^^d who was a prominent and wealthy citizen of Elkader 
after 1886; Charles Schecker, a veteran of the Schleswig-Holstein war 
who came to Communia in 1851. He enhsted with Company D, 
Twenty-seventh Iowa and was sergeant of the company, post master 
at Elkport 1865-69, deputy surveyor 1870-74, surveyor 1876-80, 
recorder 1881-84, deputy surveyor 1885-1905. At the time of his 
death he was the oldest surveyor in active service in the state. He 
was a great student and a brilliant writer and his fiction was eagerly 
sought by the periodicals of Germany. Isaac Havens also was among 
those who died in 1906. He was a Garnavillo pioneer of 1846, and 
later was a farmer near Elkader. He was also a capitalist, being a 
promoter of the First National Bank of Elkader and a director of the 
First National Bank of McGregor. During the early days he served 
two terms as sergeant-at-arms of the general assembly at Iowa City. 

C. C. Bicknell the pioneer hardware and furniture dealer who 
came to McGregor in 1857, ^^^^d in 1902, and in the same year that 
city mourned the loss of one of its most noted pioneers, George L. 
Bass. He came to Galena in 1842 with but five shillings capital. In 
1850 he crossed the river in a skiff to McGregor Landing and became 
a partner in the firm of Jones and Bass. Two years were spent in 
California when he again became a merchant at McGregor. He sold 
his business to Merrill and Barron and formed the Bass and Grant 
produce company. He was a member of the legislature in 1861 and 
was mayor of McGregor, 1859-60. He started the first brickyard and 
the first sawmill at McGregor, helped to build the first church, was a 
director of the branch of the Iowa State Bank, in i860, and was the 
first Worthy Master of Beser Lodge. In politics he was a democrat 
and he was one of the most popular citizens of McGregor. 


George S. C. Scott, who died in 1903, was a McGregor pioneer 
business man. He was one of the charter committee for McGregor in 
1857 and was active in the beginnings of the church and the Masonic 
lodge; O. W. Crary, who died in 1903, was a large land owner. He 
came of distinguished family, settled in Farmersburg in 1848, and in 
Boardman township in 1857. He was county judge, county superin- 
tendent for three terms and state senator in 187 1. J. H. Merrill, who 
died in 1904, came to McGregor with his brother, afterward Gov. 
Samuel Merrill. He helped organize the First National Bank of 
McGregor and succeeded his brother as president of the bank. He 
moved to Des Moines in 1874. 

In 1907, occurred the death of James Humphrey of Monona who \ 
was noted for his wide hospitality and who came to Clayton coUnty in 
1852. In 1908 the county lost James Ivory, a pioneer of Clayton; 
Okley F. Davis, who came to Elkader in 1852, was a member of the 
Fourth Iowa, landlord of the Turkey River House and a well known 
builder and contractor. 

The death roll of 1909 included Herman Ihm of Guttenberg, a 
pioneer of 1854, a soldier during the war and a prominent business 
man, having been mayor in 1869 and treasurer of the Guttenberg 
Excelsior Company; David Molumby, who settled in Highland town- 
ship, in 1855 ; J. E. Webb, the educator who taught at Graham, Elkport 
and Strawberry Point and who was the head of the Elkader school for 
25 years. He was elected recorder in 1904, serving two terms. His ^ 
death was a cause of universal regret at Elkader and there was a 
large public funeral at which eulogy was delivered by V. T. Price. 
Ezra Hurd, prominent in the early days, a veteran of the Mexican war, 
who settled in Garnavillo in 1846; Dr. Rudolph Gmelin, a veteran of 
the Franco-Prussian war, who lived at Guttenberg, Elkader and Gar- 
navillo; Francis K. Robbins, who came to Clayton county in 1849 ^^^d 
who helped organize Highland township, the first being held at his 
home in 1854, and his son James being the first child born in the town- 
ship; Edward Reynolds a Clayton pioneer of 1849 ^^d Lars Hulverson, 
one of the leaders among the Norwegians in Wagner township in 1850. 

The year 1910 witnessed the following deaths: J. L. Hagensick, 
who came to Garnavillo from Bavaria in 1853. He was a brewer at 
Clayton Center and McGregor until 1865, when he went into the mer- 
cantile business. He was the founder of the Hagensick family of 
Clayton county ; John Anderegg who came to Jefferson township in 
i853) was a veteran in Company D, Twenty-seventh Iowa and who was 
prominent in this community; Fred Bergman, a pioneer of McGregor 
in 1846 and a prominent business man of that city; D. G. Griffith, the 
veteran editor of the Elkader Register, a man who had a splendid 
war record with the Second New York Heavy Artillery and who 
founded the Register together with G. A. Fairfield in 1880. He was 
post master at Elkader and served three terms as mayor. His thirty 
years' record as an editor was a brilliant one and he was a leader in his 
community; Rev. F. W. Seifert, a man of heroic mold, a leader in the 
German Revolution. He came to this country and taught school at 
Elkport. While working at a sawmill he met with an accident and 
both his legs were frozen so that amputation was necessary. In this 


crippled state he entered the ministry at Clayton Center in 1862 and 
was pastor of the churches there, at Elkader and Farmersburg for 
many years. He retired in 1903 and he was one of the best loved and 
most highly respected men in the county. The death of Thomas 
Updegraff, whose biography appears in another chapter, also occurred 
in 1910, as did also that of H. S. Merritt, who was known for many 
years at Elkader as an abstractor, business man and expert accountant, 
and Gilbert Cooley, who for ten years was post master of Strawberry 
Point. He settled in Cass township in the '50s, was a member of the 
Twenty-first Iowa and was a leading Union man and Republican of 
his community. He died suddenly of heart failure while post master 
at Strawberry Point. His son, Edwin G. Cooley, was superintendent 
of the schools of Chicago. 

In 1912, the first death of a pioneer recorded was that of C. S. 
Bickel, who settled in Giard township in 1853. He was the head of the 
Bickel family whose family reunions were notable events in Giard 
township for a number of years. Others dying in 1912, were Dr. L. L. 
Renshaw, of Monona, who was born in National in 1856 and who was 
practicing physician at IMonona. He was a surgeon for the Milwaukee 
railway and a member of the pension board for 20 years. He was one 
of the organizers of the Monona State Bank. J. E. Corlett, familiarly 
known as Uncle John, settled in Farmersburg in 1855. He was promi- 
nent in the County and was for a number of years the secretary of the 
county agricultural society. 

In January, 1913, occurred the death of Joseph Eiboeck, one of the 
most prominent editors of Iowa who has already become familiar^ to 
the readers of this history as the editor of the Elkader Journal during 
its early days. He was born in Hungary in 1838 and came to Dubuque 
in 1849. Coming to Clayton county, he taught school at Garnavillo 
and bought the Garnavillo Journal in 1858. He served a short time in 
the army but was relieved on account of ill health. He was the editor 
of the Elkader paper until 1872, when he went to Des IMoines and 
founded the Anzeiger, which became the leading German paper of the 
stat::^- in 1874. During these years he traveled widely, was a great 
student and was a man of national reputation. He had strong per- 
sonality and great strength of character. He contended with the many 
hardships of pioneer journalism and established a high standard of 
editorial excellence in this county. While a resident of Elkader he 
was married to Miss Fannie Garrison of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and they 
celebrated their golden wedding but a few months before his death. 
His wife survived him but a few days. Mr. Eiboeck must be accounted 
as one of the greatest men who have made Clayton county their home. 

L. H. Place died in Nevada in 1913. He came to Elkader in 1858 
and was one of the leading merchants. He served as sheriff for six 
years and his remains were brought to Elkader for burial; W. R. 
Kinniard, who founded the first bank in the county, at McGregor, died 
in Idaho Falls in 1913. The year 1914 brought death to a number of 
the older residents among whom were Herbrand Knudson, the pioneer 
merchant of Farmersburg; Joseph Lamm, who was for many years 
prominent in Elkader. He came to Clayton county in 1853 as a boy 
of five, was deputy postmaster in 1869 and the first mail clerk on the 


Iowa Eastern. He was a merchant in Elkader after 1878 and was 
station agent from 1878 until 1892. His efforts to keep traffic open to 
Elkader merchants have been already noted. His later years were 
employed as a grain dealer and business man in Elkader. V. R. Miller, 
one of the earliest pioneers of McGregor, G. J. M. Dittmer, a pioneer 
musician, who settled in Jefferson township in 1850; G. H. Shoulte, 
the popular mayor of Elkader for 12 years. He was born in Clayton 
township in 1866, taught school at Clayton and was educated at Ames, 
Iowa City and in the law office of W. A. Preston. In 1894 he entered 
the firm of Everall and Shoulte. He was elected mayor in 1902 and 
represented the county in the legislature. He was elected county 
attorney in 1912 and had just been renominated at the time of his 
death. His death came as a great shock to Elkader people and there 
was a large public funeral at which Mr. D. D. Murphy delivered the 
eulogy. Others were Fred Groth, the well known bridge builder of 
Guttenberg, who was supervisor in 1910-12; Luther P. Pugh, who 
came as a boy to Clayton county and lived at Pugh Hollow near 
Mederville, being the last of the pioneers of that neighborhood. He 
was a member of Company D, Twenty-first Iowa ; and other deaths 
from the ranks of that company were William Kellogg, Alfred 
McLane, Robert Parr, S. T. Richards, George Densmore, Thomas 
Fisher and Harvey King. C. F. Bevins died at Sanborn, Iowa. He 
was a resident of Volga for 52 years and was known as a teacher and 
a business man. The death of Martin Dittmer, in November, 1914, 
came as a sudden shock to the entire county. He had been active in 
politics and was sheriff from 1904-11. At the time of his death, which 
occurred following an operation at Prairie du Chien, he was engaged 
in the implement and automobile business at Elkader. 

Death losses among the pioneers in 19 15 were as follows: John 
Van Staden, who was associated with Michael Klein in the brewery at 
West McGregor and who represented Clayton county in the legislature 
in 1879; Alvah F. Rogers, who was born in Garnavillo in 1859 and 
was known as a teacher and as post master of Farmersburg; J. W. 
Libby, who died at the advanced age of 89, having come to Elkader in 
1852 and being a charter member of the Masonic lodge. Although not 
a resident of this county, C. T. Granger, who died in 1915, was promi- 
nent in the history of the county. He settled in Allamakee county in 
1854 and was admitted to the bar in i860. He was captain of Com- 
pany K, Twenty-Seventh Iowa, and after the war was elected district 
attorney, this county being in his district. Later he served as district 
judge and was elected to the supreme bench in 1889, and was chief 
justice in 1885. He was a candidate for congress in this district in 
1874. He was a republican and was recognized as one of the ablest 
jurors of the state. 

In March, 1916, occurred the death of Mathew Fitzpatrick. He 
came as a child to Cox Creek township, in 1865, studied law with W. A. 
Preston and was admitted to the bar in 1883. He was deputy treasurer 
in 1884 and was for three terms recorder of Clayton county. In July, 
1916, occurred the death of E. M, Paul, who had been agent of the 
Milwaukee at Elkader for many years, who had taken an active part in 
the life of the city and who was the oldest railroad man in the county 


in point of service. In October, 1907, James Schroeder died at Gutten- 
berg, where he had been postmaster for many years. He came to 
Guttenberg in 1854; in 1862 he was appointed assistant revenue col- 
lector. He was appointed postmaster ot Guttenberg in 1867 and held 
the office imtil the time of his death, with the exception of the years 
during the second Cleveland administration. He was a warm personal 
friend of Senator W. B. Allison. 

Tzventieth Century Politics — Politically the century was opened 
with the second battle between William AlcKinley and William J. 
Bryan. The Republican party was well united and confident of suc- 
cess. Although "expansion" was said to be the paramount issue in 
this campaign, those Democrats opposed to free silver had not forgot- 
ten the campaign of 1896 and were still opposed to Bryan on that issue. 
This aided the Republicans in their campaign and McKinley received a 
majority of nearly 500. For the major county officers the Republican 
candidates were nearly all candidates for reelection and they ran well 
with their ticket. There was one close contest, that between S. J. 
Beddow, Republican, and John H. Hill, Democrat, for recorder. On 
the face of the returns Hill was elected by three majority. Beddow 
brought a contest and H. D. Jenkins, T. J. Sullivan and John Everall 
were the commissioners who made the recount. The contest took six 
days and, as a result, Hill was declared elected by a majority of 19. 
During this, and preceding years, there had been growing divisions m 
the Republican ranks. Those who had had control of the party 
machinery came to be known as "stand-patters" and the opposing 
faction was led by A. B. Cummins. Mr. Cummins was successful 
in securing the Republican nomination for governor in 1901. It was 
during this campaign that Mr. Cummins visited Clayton county and in 
driving from Osborne with his friend, J. G. Hempel, their team 
became frightened and ran away, both men being hurt, but fortunately 
neither of them seriously. The Republicans of Clayton county were 
largely in favor of Cummins and his nomination strengthened their 

In September, 1901, came the news of the assassination of Pres- 
ident McKinley, the third president of the United States to fall a 
victim of the assassin's bullet. The general grief over this national 
tragedy took much of the ordinary rancor from the campaign. With 
the death of McKinley was added a new, unknown but vital factor to 
American politics when Theodore Roosevelt succeeded to the pres- 
idency. In Clayton county A. B. Cummins received a majority of 
nearly 300. J. C. Flenniken, Republican, was elected representative. 
The popular Democratic officials, Reugnitz for treasurer, Benton for 
sheriff and Adam for superintendent, were reelected, the Republicans 
securing the balance of the officers. Henry Meder was elected super- 
visor over J. F. Schug, Democrat, by seven, and this provoked another 
contest. Mr. Meder, who was chairman of the board, resigned that 
he might not be called upon to serve as a judge of the contest. As a 
result of the recanvass, Meder was declared elected by 5 majority. Mr. 
Flenniken was the first Republican representative from Clayton county 
since 1881. 

Death of Chas. Reugnits — The great political sensation of 1902 


was the death of Charles Reugnitz. This occurred suddenly on May 
25. Mr. Reugnitz was one of the most popular men the county ever 
knew. He was treasurer for seventeen years and, at a number of the 
elections, he had no opposition and when he did he was easily the vic- 
tor. It was found that his books were in chaotic condition. Hempel, 
Hill and Hagensick were appointed to investigate and they found a 
shortage of $9,148, and this was afterwards increased as other matters 
came to light. Twenty of his bondsmen paid $400 each of this deficit 
and the balance was made good by the family. It was the unanimous 
verdict that Mr. Reugnitz did not benefit personally by the sum lost to 
the county, but rather that he was a too obliging friend and had loaned 
money which was never repaid. 

The prohibitionists placed a full county ticket in the field, in 1902, 
but the vote was not a considerable factor. The main fight of the cam- 
paign centered about the office of auditor and there was a close race 
between J. G. Hempel and Otto German, Mr. Hempel winning by a 
majority of 18. This was the only close contest, the Republicans 
carrying the county by 115 and electing Hempel, Costigan and 
Davidson while the democrats held the offices of recorder and treas- 
urer with James Carroll and W. F. Reinecke. J. F. Becker, the 
Republican nominee, had been appointed treasurer upon the death of 
Reugnitz and Reinecke was elected to fill the vacancy, taking his office 
in November, 1902. 

In the election of 1903, A. B. Cummins was again a candidate for 
governor. He spoke at Garnavillo during the campaign and was 
greeted by a large torch light parade. His popularity aided the Repub- 
licans and they made a clean sweep of the county except that W. F. 
Reinecke was reelected treasurer and Martin Dittmer was elected 

The Roosevelt Campaign — Theodore Roosevelt was the Repub- 
lican candidate in 1904 and Alton B. Parker was the Democratic candi- 
date for president. Mr. Parker was a conservative Democrat and was 
not popular with the enthusiastic followers of Bryan. The national 
contest was one-sided and Roosevelt carried every northern state by 
large majorities. The sentiment of the nation was reflected in Clayton 
county and Roosevelt received the largest Republican majority (711) 
given in this county since Grant was a candidate for president, in 1872. 
This was a "tidal wave" and the Republicans were largely successful. 
The Democrats elected T. L. Harvey, auditor, and M. X. Geske, attor- 
ney, the balance of the ticket being Republican. For recorder J. E. 
Webb, the popular Elkader school superintendent, defeated James 
Carroll by 23 votes and L. S. Fisher defeated L. B. Blanchard by 16 
votes. Both of these elections were contested and, upon the recount, 
the majorities of both Webb and Fisher were increased to 35. 

At this election a constitutional amendment for biennial elections 
was voted on. Clayton county gave an adverse majority of 707, but 
the amendment carried in the state and as a result there were no elec- 
tions in the odd-numbered years thereafter. 

J. G. Hempel had been elected a member of the Republican state 
central committee, in 1902, as supporter of the Cummins faction and 
this county had been strong in Cummins' support. At the election of 

THE NEW CENTURY — 19OO-I916 309 

1906, however, Mr. Cummins was opposed by C. R. Porter, who had 
the united support of his party. This, together with the growing divi- 
sion of the RepubHcan ranks, reduced the m.ajority in this county to 
76 and the majority of the Democratic county ticket was elected. C. H. 
Schulte succeeded Flenniken as representative, Harvey for auditor, 
Reinecke for treasurer, Dittmer for sheriff, Geske for attorney, Adams 
for superintendent were among the democrats elected ; while the 
Republicans were Roy Webb for clerk, J. E. Webb for recorder, Ole 
Nelson for surveyor, W. J. Bierman for coroner and H. A. Mallory, 

A. S. Houg and L. S. Fisher for supervisors. 

Election of igo8 — Ninteen hundred eight was another presiden- 
tial election with William H. Taft, Republican, and William J. Bryan, 
Democrat, as opposing candidates for president. The money panic, in 

1907, was a weakening influence for the Republicans, as was, also, the 
growing contention between the stand-patters and the Progressives 
of that party. This was reflected in the politics of the state and there 
was a sharp contest for the Republican nomination for governor. 
Among the Clayton county men urged for office were J. G. Hempel, 
who was brought forward as a candidate for state auditor, but who 
refused to enter the race and for elector B. W. Newberry of Straw- 
berry Point, who at this time nearly lost his life by being bitten by a 

The First Primary — Nineteen hundred eight was the year of the 
first primary election. The first primary petitions in this county were 
filed by George Fletcher as a candidate for attorney and by George 
Losch as a candidate for sheriff. The supreme contest among the 
Republicans was for the office of United States senator, with William 

B. Allison and A. B. Cummins as opposing candidates. This was the 
most bitter contest any party has ever known in Iowa and served to 
widen the breach between the two wings of the party. In this county 
Cummins received a majority of 144, but in the state Allison won by 
20,000. In the primary there were contests in the Democratic party 
for congress, between A. J. Anders and M. B. Guiser with Anders the 
victor ,in this county, although not in the district. For county officers 
among the Democrats, D. F. Willmes defeated T. L. Harvey for audi- 
tor, M. B. Bishop defeated O. C. Friend for clerk, Martin Dittmer 
defeated P. J. Ryan for sheriff and the balance of the Democratic ticket 
was not contested. Among the Republicans B. F. Carroll defeated 
Warren Garst for governor, C. J. Cords defeated C. H. Williamson 
for auditor, Embertson won over J. A. Kramer for clerk, G. Losch 
defeated J. H. Schmidt for sheriff, D. E. Livingood defeated D. M. 
Dahn for superintendent and F. J. Corlett defeated A. S. Houg for 
supervisor. Less than 60 per cent of the vote was cast at this primary. 

Before the election, in November, William B. Allison, the aged 
senior senator from Iowa, died and the question of the senatorial suc- 
cession was reopened. Friends in this district urged G. N. Haugen as 
a candidate but he refused to nm. A special session of the legislature 
was called and a law passed which permitted the republicans to hold 
a primary for senator in connection with the regular election of Novem- 
ber, 1908. The opposing factions of the party lined up, with A. B. 
Cummins as the representative of the progressives and congressman 


J. F. Lacey as the leader of the stand-patters. In this primary Mr. 
Cummins was an easy victor, but these battles among themselves, con- 
tinuing to the very eve of the election, left the republicans in no trim 
to meet the Democratic opposition. Another factor in this county was 
the increasing activity of the prohibition campaign, H. C. Barber, pres- 
ident of the Iowa anti-saloon league, touring the county in the early 
months of the year. In Clayton county, therefore, in 1908 the Demo- 
crats won a sweeping victory, carrying the county for Bryan by 253 
and electing every candidate, except J. W. Forward, who was defeated 
by C. F. Meier for treasurer in the closest election ever held in this 
county, Mr. Meier's majority being but a single vote ; and L. A. Zearley 
who was defeated for coroner by 60 majority, by W. J. Bierman. By 
1910, the breach in the Republican ranks had widened. In the pri- 
maries Warren Garst carried the county by 136 over B. F. Carroll for 
governor. In other Republican contests Douglas Brown defeated 
George Losch for sheriff and L. S. Fisher defeated F. J. Corlett for 
supervisor. Among the Democrats there were no primary contests 
except for sheriff, E. Bergemeyer winning, by 36 plurality, in a three- 
cornered contest with D. L. Barton and J. K. Molumby. 

Murphy-Haugen Contest — Early in 1909, the name of D. D. 
Murphy had been proposed as the democratic candidate for congress. 
Mr. Murphy stood well with the Democrats of the district, was a 
brilliant orator, a successful lawyer and known as one of Iowa's leading 
educators. On the other hand the position of Republican congressmen 
between the two factions was exceedingly critical. Neither Haugen, 
Republican, nor Murphy, Democrat, had opposition for the nomina- 
tion, but in the election Mr. Murphy gave Mr. Haugen the only close 
race he has had in his long congressional career. At the November 
election, 1910, Clayton county had a Democratic landslide. Porter 
carried the county for governor by 754, while Mr. Murphy for congress 
received the large majority of 1,402. The only Republican elected was 
C. F. Meier who, for his second term for treasurer, received a majority 
of 679. Mr. Murphy at the urgent request of his Democratic friends 
contested the election with Mr. Haugen and this contest was not 
decided until May, 19 12, when Haugen was declared elected by the 
committee of the House of Representatives. 

Campaign of ipi2 — By 1912, matters had gone from bad to worse 
with the Republican party. At the Chicago convention, W. H. Taft 
was renominated, but not until after there had been a most bitter con- 
vention fight which resulted in the withdrawal of the progressives 
under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt and his nomination at the 
head of a third party. Very naturally, this affected Republican poli- 
tics in every state and county. In August, 1912, H. L. Griffith issued 
a call for a progressive county convention. This was held and H. L. 
Griffith, F. L. Wellman, C. F. Meier, Charles Monlux, R. G. Kingsley, 
O. O. Johnson, F. S. Richards, F. L. Williams and E. O. Glesne were 
the delegates to the Progressive state convention. Mr. Griffith was 
chairman of the county committee. The Progressives placed no 
county ticket in the field, but made an aggressive fight for their national 
ticket. A. J. Carpenter was chairman of the Republican central com- 
mittee and, at the county convention, F. C. Gilmore, D. W. Meier, W. 


W. Davidson, A. Porter, A. C. Boyle, V. T. Price, E. C. Spaulding, 
J. E. Reilly, Charles Newberry, J. E. Robertson, J. F. Widman and 
W. J. Bierman, Jr., were delegates to the judicial convention. At the 
primary election, June, 19 12, the Republicans had contests for United 
States senator, governor and congressman, and the Democrats for 
governor and for congressman. There were no contests for county 
nominations and the vote was very light on this account, less than 
2,000 votes being cast in the county. P. G. Holden carried the county 
by a plurality of 31 for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. 

In the November election the Republican vote was divided almost 
in two, Roosevelt, Progressive, having a majority of 232 over Taft, 
Republican, and Wilson, Democrat, receiving a plurality of 1,448. The 
Republicans were more united for governor and the plurality of E. G. 
Dunn, Democrat, was 846. On the county ticket Adam, Graf and 
Becker, Republicans, were elected for auditor, treasurer and superin- 
tendent, the balance of the ticket was Democratic. Shortly prior to the 
election Superintendent T. R. Roberts had resigned to take the superin- 
tendency of the McGregor schools. At the election, in 19 12, C. W. 
Bean was elected to fill the vacancy. The result of the presidential 
election was the election of Wilson, and, owing to the division of the 
Republican vote, he received a large majority in the electoral college 
and had a plurality, but not a majority, of the popular vote. 

At the primary election, held in June, 19 14, the Progressives did 
not participate, and the Republican primary vote was less than 1,000 
and the Democratic vote was less than 1,200. Among the Democrats 
there were but two contests, Vina Katschkowsky defeated J. J. Finne- 
gan, for recorder, by 96 and J. P. Meyer won the three cornered fight 
for supervisor by a plurality of 33. Among the Republicans, A. B. 
Cummins carried the county for United States senator by 338. The only 
contest on the Republican county ticket was for recorder, which was 
won by John Foster by a majority of 53. The election of 1914, was a 
reflection of the spirit of the times, which was for a breaking away 
from party ties. Thus, while A. B. Cummins, Republican, carried the 
county for United States senator by a plurality of 226, John T. Hamil- 
ton, Democrat, for governor, carried the county by 81. Again on the 
county ticket Republicans and Democrats were elected by large major- 
ities. For auditor John Adam, Republican, received the largest major- 
ity (1,876), ever given in a contested election; while E. Bergemeyer, 
Democrat, for sheriff, had 1,689 majority, and G. J. Graf, Republican, 
for treasurer, received a majority of 1,525. There were at this time 
three elections to fill vacancies, for the office of attorney, of coroner 
and of supervisor. The only close contests were for supervisor, George 
Pixler, Republican, defeating C. H. Heubner by 7, and E. W. Kregel, 
Republican, defeating L. D. Moser, who had been appointed to fill the 
vacancy caused by the death of Supervisor Groth, by a majority of 71. 

Recent Politics — In April, 1916, the first primary was held under 
the presidential preference law. As there was but one avowed candi- 
date on each ticket, A. B. Cummins, Republican, and Woodrow Wilson, 
Democrat, little interest was taken and the total vote did not exceed 
1,000, although the expense was almost as great as at a regular elec- 
tion. The only contest which aroused any interest was for national 


committeeman. In this county John T. Adams, Republican, received 
a majority of 126 and W. W. Marsh, Democrat, a majority of 81. The 
primary of June, 1916, attracted the largest vote of any yet held. 
Among the Democrats there were contests for the nominations for 
auditor, which Fred C. Seemann won over E. G. Pebler by 436 ; and 
for sheriff, which was a three-cornered fight, in which E. Bergemeyer 
won over D. L. Barton and E. Bergman with a plurality of 125. Among 
the Republicans there were no contests on the county ticket except for 
sheriff in which John G. Reidel defeated F. A. Robinson by 69. The 
chief interest among the Republicans centered on the governorship for 
which there were four candidates. W. L. Harding, who campaigned 
the county, in 1912, received a plurality of 209 over Carl F. Kuehnle, 
while Joseph H. Allen ran third and George Cosson fourth. By the leg- 
islature the mulct law was repealed, in 191 5, and this left the old pro- 
hibitory law effective throughout the state after January i, 1916. This 
closed the saloons of the county which had been in operation for more 
than twenty years under the provisions of the mulct law. 

Suffrage Election — Early in 19 15 agitation for woman suffrage 
was commenced. The legislature authorized a vote of the people and 
a vigorous campaign was made by the suffragists throughout the state. 
A meeting at Elkader, March 15, 1916, was addressed by Mrs. Elsie 
V. Benedict who also spoke at McGregor. Meetings were also held by 
those opposed to equal suffrage and it was one of the chief features of 
the primary campaign. The amendment was defeated in Clayton 
county by 987, and in the state by 6,000. At the county conventions, 
held according to law on July i, 1915, the Democrats filled vacancies 
on their ticket as follows : For representative, A. B. Albrecht ; coroner, 
Michael Regan; supervisors, L. D. Zahrndt and Adam Erbe. The 
Republicans completed their ticket by the nomination of Charles 
Monlux, for recorder, and left the nomination for clerk to be filled by 
the county committee. At the national convention, Charles E. Hughes 
was nominated for president by the Republicans and Theodore Roose- 
velt by the Progressives. Mr. Roosevelt declined the nomination and 
announced his support of Hughes. At the Democratic convention, at 
St. Louis, Woodrow Wilson was renominated for president without 
opposition. As this campaign is now on and as this history is intended 
to avoid any suspicion of partisanship, nothing is said as to the issues 
involved or the party alignments or candidates. 

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MANY matters related in this chapter have been given before 
from time to time for it has been the purpose to tell the 
story of the county in narrative form, giving the events in 
the sequence in which they occurred. However, to condense as a 
matter of reference these few pages are devoted to a brief statement 
of the origin of the different towns and townships of the county. 

Boardman Tozvnship was named in honor of Elisha Boardman, 
who, with Horace D. Bronson, first, settled the township, in 1836. 
Other early settlers were Baldwin Olmstead, Freedom Howard, John 
Downie, Jerry Gould, Joel Post, Michael and John Stence, John Roberts 
P. R. Moore and PI. H. Singer. IMiss Malissa Howard taught the 
first school in a log school house in Pony Hollow. The first election 
was held in Mr. Boardman's house in 1838 and the first Fourth of 
July celebration was on the tabj^e rock back of A. D. Cook's residence. 
The first Protestant services were held by Rev. Sidney Wood and the 
first Catholic services by Rev. Father Cretin. 

Elkader was surveyed in 1845 by John ]M. Gay for Timothy Davis, 
John Thompson and Chester Sage, who wished to establish a town near 
the site of their mill. The town was named after Abd-el-Kader an 
Algerian hero. The first dwelling was built by Chester Sage and the 
first store and the first hotel were built by Thompson, Sage and Davis. 
The mills were commenced in 1846 and completed in 1849. The first 
bridge was built in 185 1 and prior to that time passengers crossed 
below the dam by boat attached to a line stretched across the river. 
The first newspaper was the Tribune with Mr. Belfoy as editor. This 
paper was established in 1855 in order to aid in the fight for the 
county seat and lived but two years. The first school house was built 
in 1847 on land donated by Thompson, Sage and Davis and was taught 
by Miss Woodward. The first church edifice was the Congregational 
church on Main street, built in 1857 and the first lodge was of the 
Masonic order established in 1855. The first and last steamboat was 
the "Elkader," which landed freight here in 1854. The first building 
of importance aside from the mill was erected by E. G. Rolf in 1853. 
which building was for ten years used as the court house. The first 


brick residence was built in 185 1 and is now the home of Hon. R. E. 

The postoffice at Elkader was established February 17, 1848. The 
first postmaster was Amasa A. Briggs. His successors and the dates 
of their appointment are as follows: H. D. Bronson, July 11, 1849; 

E. D. Stockton, February 8, 1855; John Partch, October 16, 1855; 
Robert L. Freeman, May 19, 1856; Buel Knapp, October 2, 1857; 
Fielding Snedigar, March 29, 1861 ; A. F. Tipton, October 6, 1868; 

F. W. Shannon, February 10, 1873; T. G. Price, February 24, 1881 ; 
D. G. Griffith, September 10, 1885; J. M. Leach, May 14, 1889; J. G. 
Hagensick, October 20, 1893; Gideon Gififord, October 5, 1897; Vellas 
L. Gilje, January 31, 1907; F. H. Soil, March 23, 1915 ; Carl Reicecke, 
Jr., January 2^, I9i6.r The money order business was established 
August 6, 1886, and rural routes were established in July, 1903. The 
office has had a record of steady growth and the service at this time 
is excellent both as to equipment and the office efficiency J» 

Buena Vista Township was the first set apart in the county. It 
was first occupied by miners who were not settlers and who left but 
little trace save in the rocks in which they dug for ore. Among the first 
real settlers were Syrus Henderson, Joseph Heinrich, William Foster 
and Robert Bunker. The dwelling of George Cleaveland was bought 
by the township and was the first school house, the school being taught 
by Miss Mary Shipton. For many years the principal merchants were 
R. and E. Meuth who established themselves in 1857. The township 
was named from the great American victory at Buena Vista during the 
war with Mexico. 

Cass Tozmiship was named in honor of General Louis Cass. 
Joseph Hewett who lived on the line of Cass and Sperry township was 
the first settler in 1844. The first election was held in 1850 and in the 
following year the first school was opened and taught by Alexander 
Blake. The first postoffice was established in 1854 with E. L. Gardener 
as postmaster. The first mill was built by David Mann on Spring 

Strawberry Point was laid out in 1853 by W. H. and D. M. 
Stearns under the name of Franklin. The name Strawberry Point 
was already known and was preferred by the people and later adopted. 
The Blake house was the first hotel and was built in 1854. The 
first creamery was established by Busher and Grannis in 1867. The 
first church organization was the Baptist in 1856. The main facts 
concerning Cass township and Strawberry Point are given in a separate 
chapter taken from an address by Hon. D. W. Newberry. 

Clayton Township was the one first seen by Marquette when he 
landed on Iowa soil. There is no record of settlement until 1812, 
but along the shores of this township passed all the traffic of the 
Mississippi and it was one of the favorite haunts both of the Indians 
and of the French traders. In 1812, however, there is record of 
settlement made by Chevalier Marais. A member of the old nobility 
he was one of those who escaped the guillotine in the bloody days 
of the French revolution and came as a penniless emigre to the 
wilds of the west. Near the mouth of Buck creek he established a 
small trading post and here he traded with the Indians until news 


of the restoration told him that he could return in safety to his beloved 
France. While here he married the daughter of an Indian chief and it 
is to his credit that he took her with him on his return to France. This 
trading post was not named by Marais but it was known by the 
Americans as Frenchton. After Marais' departure the post was 
occupied by La Poine and La Tranch and it was to their landing where 
many of the early settlers brought their first supplies. 

Gillette and McMasters received supplies at Frenchton, but they 
did not locate in Clayton township and the first to enter lands were 
Orrin Keeler and James Powell, who established a ferry at the foot 
of Sny Magill and laid out a town which they named Keeleroy. The 
first warehouse was built at this town in 1848 by B. F. Fox and A. 
C. Rogers. In 1849 Frank Smith of Dubuque who had associated 
himself with the Elkader Milling Company located at the site of the 
village of Clayton which they selected as the best place for a landing, 
as a convenient shipping point for the product of the Elkader Mill. 
This firm known as Frank Smith & Co. sold a half interest in the 
town to Noble, Watson & Douglas of Garnavillo. The town was 
named as was the county in honor of John M. Clayton. The sub- 
sequent history of Clayton has been given in other chapters. Frank 
Smith & Co. built the first store and Clark & Rogers the first ware- 
house. The first sawmill was built in 1853 and a flour mill in 1858. 
Among the first settlers of the township were Ralph Campbell, C. H. 
Kaumpel, W. C. Stearns and John Lossing. 

Cox Creek Township was named after the first settler, Phillip 
Cox, who settled there in 1842. William Bente, Dennis Quigley, 
James Dickerson, Samuel Himes, Norman Scoville, George S. Peck 
and Norman Lanphere, Avery Clarke and William Cane were among 
the settlers before 1850. Rev. Henry Gifford held the first church 
services in the township in 1848. The town of Littleport was laid out 
in 1857 by Dennis Quigley, but the town was of inconsiderable im- 
portance until the coming of the railroad, in 1874. 

Mederville was first known as St. Johan and was laid out by 
Louis Reuther and Henry Meder. A sawmill and a residence had been 
erected there in 1854 by James Beatty but when the town was laid out 
Reuther erected a store and together with Meder built both a saw 
and a flour mill. Joseph Unternahrer also opened a blacksmith shop. 
John Nugent taught the first school in 1857. A postoffice was estab- 
lished in 1870 with Henry Meder as postmaster. 

Osborne was established by Thomas and Elizabeth Osborne in 
1879, the postoffice, with J. J. McDermitt as postmaster, having 
beea established the year before. With the coming of the railroad 
Osborne became a busy little village and for some years during the 
troubles with eastern Iowa it was the nearest shipping point for 

Elk Towyiship was named on account of the abundance of elk 
which roamed its woods and pastured on its hills. Lemuel Johnson 
was the first settler. Others before 1850 were John Garber, Joseph 
Grimes, A. J. Lewis, Dennis Quigley, Thomas Cole, William Beyer, 
Chris Sarver, James Cole, John Roan, Davis Bagdy and Mart W. 
Lovett. Isaac Otis and son were the men who gave this town- 


ship its early impetus. They built a store and blacksmith shop in 
1852 and a grist mill in 1855 ^^^ i" i860 a woolen mill which did 
a good business for a number of years and which was famous through- 
out Iowa for the excellence of its goods. The first saw mill was 
erected in 1848 by Joseph Grimes and James Cole. The first school 
house was of log in 1850 and was taught by David M. Zearley. The 
first magistrate was Joseph Grimes. 

Farmersburg Township was named by Thomas Street. Peter 
Eastman was the first settler in 1846. Others were John Francis, 
James Jones, W. and D. Barber, M. Van Sickle, Joseph Tassro, O. 
Brown, M. B. Sherman and William Linton. At the first election 
held in 1850 there was a contest as to the location of the polling 
place which McGregor won over Farmersburg. This led to a petition 
for a division of the precinct and the township of Farmersburg was 

Farmersburg was owned by S. T. Woodward, J. B. Smith, A. M. 
Cortis and others and was surveyed by Norman Hamilton. Alva 
Hazen built the first log house in the village in 1848. The first store 
was opened by P. R. Moore in 1858. William Harar established a saw 
mill in 1855. In 1854 when the postofiice was located with Isaac 
Stoddard as postmaster the name of National was adopted. National 
has been for many years the seat of the county fair. With the com- 
ing of the Iowa Eastern business gravitated to the railroad the old 
name of Farmersburg was used and National became known only as 
the location of the fair. The first church was the Methodist organized 
in 1847 by Rev. E. Howard. The present site of Farmersburg was 
first known as Windsor and was owned by J. C. Russell and sur- 
veyed in 1856. Simon Huntington was the first storekeeper and the 
first residence was built by George Potter. The postofiice was estab- 
lished in 1857 with Huntington as postmaster. 

Bismarck was a town platted by Johnson Campbell in 1875. Land 
for depot purposes was donated to the Iowa Eastern and a store was 
opened. When the narrow gauge was sold to the Milwaukee the 
station was removed and an appeal was made to the Iowa railway 
commissioners and the depot was ordered to be restored. This 
was done, but later the town was abandoned. 

Garnavillo was first settled by Dr. Frederick Andros in 1836. John 
Gillette soon followed him and Andrew S. Cooley, George W. Whit- 
man and the great trio of Reuben Noble, Samuel Murdock and E, 
H. Williams were among the earlier settlers. Among the others was 
James Watson, A. C. Rogers, W. H. Stevens, William Schoulte, Ger- 
hard Kregel, B. F. Schroeder, Robert Drips, Levi Angier, Samuel 
Holmes, John Hochaus and Detrich Schroeder. The first church and 
the first school house was a frame building built in 1844. A brewery 
was built in 1855. The first newspaper in the county was established 
by H. S. Granger in 1853. 

Ceres was a postoffice on the southern line of the township which 
has since been abandoned. 

Jacksonville was laid out by a legislative commission appointed to 
locate a new county seat for Clayton county. James Watson donated 
the land and C. F. Edson made the survey in 1844. In 1846 the legis- 


lature permitted the name to be changed and there are various stories 
as to how the name Garnavillo was selected. One is that the commit- 
tee met at Jacksonville for the purpose and that prior to their meeting 
they sat at the tavern spending a social hour and that Judge Noble 
sang several songs among which was one about sweet Kate of Garna- 
villo and that Judge Murdock was so taken with the song that he 
declared that Garnavillo be the name selected and this was agreed 
upon. It is said that this was the way in which the German village 
came to be named for an Irish lass. The story of the early days of 
Garnavillo as the county seat has been told in prior chapters. The 
first hotel was erected by John Banfil in 1844 and it was a noted place 
of meeting for the lawyers and wits of the early days. The Garnavillo 
lodge of Odd Fellows was established in 1850 and is the oldest lodge in 
the county. Garnavillo is the oldest community in the county having 
a distinct village life. 

Giard Township was named in honor of Basil Giard whose land 
grant from the King of Spain which was made in 1795 has already been 
dwelt upon. C. S. Edson came to the township in 1836 and other 
early settlers were A. E. Wanzer, S. A. Goss, William Clement, Hugh 
Graham and Ira B. Briggs. Mary J. Niel was the first teacher in a 
log cabin which was built for a residence. The first religious services 
were held in private homes by Rev. Knight. 

Giard Village was surveyed in May, 1871, by Norman Hamilton. 
The German Episcopal church was organized in 1847 ^"^i the first 
church built in 1855. This township was on the great military road 
from McGregor to Fort Atkinson and through it passed the thousands 
of emigrants destined for points in northern Iowa and southern 
Minnesota. The first house built in Giard was by John Hagerty, the 
murder of whose wife and children was one of the darkest tragedies 
in the county history. 

Beiilah was a station on the Milwaukee which came into prom- 
inence as the junction point with the Elkader line. W. C. Brown, 
later president of the New York Central railway was the first operator 
at Beulah. 

Froelich is a station on the Elkader branch named in honor of the 
man upon whose farm it was located. 

Grand Meadow Township was named by Judge E. H. Williams 
and is all that the name implies. Caton, Wheeler, Rowe, Hardy Barnes, 
Henry Fewel and Joel Post were among the earliest settlers. A few 
years later this township was one which received a large Norwegian 
immigration. There are no towns in the township but it is one of the 
richest from an agricultural standpoint. 

Highland Tozvnship was named from its physical features. Among 
the early settlers were Holbrook, Robbins, Mulenix, Moats, Pool, Dark, 
Barnham, Doety, Orr, McKeller and Callagan. The township was 
organized in 1854 and the first election held at the home of Francis 
Robbins. The first school houses were built in 1854. The United 
Brethren church was the first represented, services of that denomina- 
tion beginning as early as 1853. 

Jefferson Township was designated as precinct No. 6 by the com- 
missioners in 1847. Nine years prior to that time there had been a 


voting precinct at Prairie la Porte, the first county seat which was 
surveyed in 1839. The county buildings and the tavern run by Her- 
man Graybill constituted about all of Prairie la Porte and the removal 
of the county seat left it practically deserted. The Western Settle- 
ment Society purchased land from the government north and south 
of Prairie la Porte and soon after purchased this also from the county 
and founded the city of Guttenberg. The first German settlers sent 
out by the society reached Guttenberg in 1845. The first house in 
Guttenberg was built by Overbeck and Telgemeier. Guttenberg was 
incorporated under a special charter in 1851. This was done in order 
that non-resident land owners might be taxed for the improvement 
of the city. The settlement society was a semi-benevolent institution 
and assisted many especially among the German revolutionists to 
secure homes in the new country. In this way Guttenberg was settled 
rapidly and by a homogeneous population. The first mayor was 
Christian Weis. The prominent facts in the history of Guttenberg have 
been given in prior chapters. 

Lodomillo Township — Two stories are told concerning the naming 
of this township, neither of which bears the stamp of great probabiHty. 
One is that Schuyler Peet asked an Indian to assist him to load a heavy 
fanning mill and that the Indian indignantly replied that he would not 
"load-o-millo-o," and another is that it was named for a large water- 
melon patch, the term load of melons being corrupted to Lodomillo. 
This was the home of the "Yankee Settlement" distinguishing it from 
those parts of the county which were settled largely by Germans and 
Irish. Among the first settlers were a Mr. Lyon, in 1844, and Isaac 
Preston, Horace Bemis, the Madison brothers, George L. Wheeler, Rev. 
N. W. Bixby, Oliver Nathan, Moses Purdy, Frank Reily, J. F. Noble, 
S. R. Peet, Henry Brown and John Gibson. The first school house 
was built in 1846 and there is a legend to the effect that the women 
of the community, thinking it unsuitable and failing to get the men to 
build another, quietly set fire to it. The first religious services were 
held at the home Schuyler Peet by Rev. Joel Taylor. The first election 
was held in 1845. The village of Yankee Settlement later became 
Edgewood and with the coming of the railroad it became a prosperous 
community. Yankee Settlement was platted by John and Rosanna 
Gibson in 1856 and great efforts were made to sell lots and build 
up the community, it being advertised that lots would be given free to 
mechanics and other inducements were offered, but the settlement never 
grew to importance until just prior to the coming of the railroad in 
1872-3. The first house in Edgewood was built by Joseph Belman and 
the first school house was erected in 1874 with Miss Lane as teacher. 
Dr. D. W. Chase and Dr. Louis Blanchard were the pioneer physicians, 
Dr. Chase coming in 1855 ^^^ Dr. Blanchard succeeding him in 1865. 
One of the first industries was a brick yard started in 1850 by Edwin 
Steele and the first postoffice in the township was established in 185 1. 

Mallory Township was one of the earliest settled, Thomas Clin- 
ton and the three VanSickle brothers, Martin, Moses and Jacob, locat- 
ing there in 1833. Samuel D. and Douglas Peck, Sol Wadsworth and 
Edward Dickens were among the other pioneers. The township was