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3 1833 01086 1380 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2009 with funding from 

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center 







Harry E. Downer 










From creation days — Preparation of the earth for the abode of man by gla- 
ciation and inundation — The pre-glacial topography — The Mississippi of 
ages gone — The age of the great ice — Scott county's perfect drainage 
— A wealth of building stone — The carboniferous strata which have 
brought wealth — Geological section of Scott county 17 



The central attraction in the museum of the Davenport Academy of vSciences 
The elusive autochthon — The mound builder's claims to interest — His 
textile skill — Cotton Mather hazards an opinion — Mound pottery of 
all kinds — Effigy pipes, especially the elephants — The Bureau of Eth- 
nology and the Academy of Sciences — Prof. Seyffarth's conclusions.. 31 



The mini in Scott county in early days — Later the Sacs and Foxes possess 
the land — Davenport's predecessors, Oshkosh and Morgan — Morgan 
or Ma-que-pra-um — The great Sac town on Rock river — Music and 
dramatic art — Black Hawk's narration of Indian customs — The annual 
hunting trips — Honor as the Indian understood it — The Sioux took 
home their scalps 47 



Pierre Esprit Radisson, maker of paths, philosopher and probable explorer 
of Iowa — Marquette, Black-Gown, and Joliet the trader — Indian elo- 
quence — Pewaria's location — Pike, the Intrepid, visits this locality — 
Captain Many's experience with the British band — It is easy to spell 
Wapsipinicon — The Harris family compelled to land 61 




A battle of the Revolution fought in this vicinity— A polyglot command no 
loot and great disappointment — First flag in the Mississippi valley — The 
fight at Campbell's island— The battle of Credit island— Official re- 
ports—Treaties made in Davenport— Col. J. H. Sullivan writes of In- 
dian chiefs — Black Hawk war ends Indian claims 69 



A history written by a pioneer at the request of other pioneers — Re- 
ceived on its appearance with great commendation — His own estimate 
of the gravity of his commission — Some incidents which have been 
noted since the Barrows history was written — Biography of the histo- 
rian^The history itself without omission, erasure or comment — A mon- 
umental work 93 



The United States acquires the island by treaty — The expedition to estab- 
lish a fort — A duel by the way — Fort Armstrong, an outpost in the 
wilderness — Eflforts to secure an army and arsenal — General Rod- 
man's plans — Items fabricated at the arsenal — Cost of the plant — Gen- 
eral Crozier's estimate — Squatters' claims 289 



A railroad on each side of the river made a bridge necessary — Charters on 
injunctions — Acts of congress and court interpretations — The Rock 
Island road in partnership with the government — The first bridge to be 
thrown across the Mississippi — River interests aroused — Abraham 
Lincoln in bridge litigation — Presidential visitors 325 



Capt. Warner L. Clark and his varied experiences — Acquainted with many 
men of prominence — Has remarkable memory — Pioneer customs — Capt. 
Clark's home town the first to be platted in Scott county — Description 
of the pioneer cabin — Indian neighbors — Incidents of Indian life — 
Why buflFalo fell behind in the race 345 




History of the townships from the close of the Barrows history — Their 
record in patriotism during the days of '6i — The prosperity that has 
come to the farmers of the county — Rural schools and churches — 
Township officials — The many small settlements that form social cen- 
ters in the county — Bettendorf — The village of LeClaire 361 


Davenport's first citizen. 

Antoine LeClaire, prominently identified with the city, territory and state — 
The owner of a half-dozen sections of land given him by Indian friends 
— Generous to all — Marguerite LeClaire, his wife who shared his 
pleasure in making others happy — A tribute by Pere Pelamourgues — 
LeClaire and Davenport — Names inseparable 395 



The log cabin was the palace of the pioneer— Chinked logs, covered with 
clapboards — Rifle and spinning wheel — Almost anything was a bed- 
room — Cooking was primitive for sharp appetites — Welcome for the way- 
farer — Prairie fires and wolf hunts — Amusements for the frontier peo- 
ple were not lacking — What unremitting toil has accomplished 407 



William B. Conway made first territorial secretary of Iowa — Comes to 
Davenport and meets Antoine LeClaire and George Davenport — He is 
governor of Iowa and Davenport is its capital city — A caustic letter to 
the state council — The indignant reply of the committee — Conway's un- 
timely death and burial in this city — A valuable citizen 419 



The glory and majesty of the father of waters — Description of the keel- 
boat — An early trip from Cairo to Galena — A list of the early steam 
craft that breasted the currents of the upper river — Bringing down 
the logs — The ferries which have brought people into Scott county — 
The long-awaited Hennepin canal 429 




The reminiscences of the uioneer, Judge John W. Spencer — Life among 
the Sacs and Foxes — When friendship changed to distrust and enmity 
— Neighbor Black Hawk — Indian agriculture and hunting trips — ^The 
wars of 1831-33 — Stillman's defeat and the flag of truce — The merciless 
Sioux — A neighbor who drew the long bow 447 



J. M. D. Burrows, merchant, miller, packer, handler of produce, looks back 
over his busy life and tells some incidents — Davenport a hamlet of 15 
houses — A remarkable career — Hummer and his bell — Rev. John O. 
Foster tells of boyhood days in Rockingham — The view from the 
Decker home — A relic of Credit island battle 475 



The pioneer physicians of Scott county — Their hardships and self reliance 

— Many of them practical men of great force of character — Reminis- 
cences of Dr. E. S. Barrows — Scott County Medical Society — Minutes 
of the bygone meetings — The society has taken advanced ground 
while conservative in character — Dr. Preston writes 495 



The bench and bar of Scott county — Early lawyers, many of them men of 
great ability — The earlier courts — Supreme court sessions in Davenport 
— The district, circuit and county courts — Members of the bar of 25 
years ago — The present bar — Diverting incidents of the legal record 
since courts were established — Judge Grant's toothpick 517 



The conduct of the county's business affairs — The county commissioners' 
court and its work of organization — Road districts and voting places — 
County judges — Board of supervisors — Officials from earliest times to 
the present — A record for reference — Growth of the county in wealth 
and population 547 




Davenport the city of the diocese of Iowa and the diocese of Davenport — 
The handsome cathedrals and other sanctuaries of the city — Sketches 
of the bishops who have directed church work from Davenport — Sketches 
supplemental to those appearing in the Barnes history — Davenport a city 
of spires 571 



Dred Scott in Davenport — John Brown and Coppoc the refugee — The call for 
troops — Iowa's response — Local enthusiasm — Scott county soldiers in 
many regiments — Proved themselves the bravest of the brave — Iowa 
drum beat heard in every portion of the south — The honored dead — 
Unappreciated eloquence — Littler's firemen — Some clothes 619 



Military headquarters — Camps where soldiers were trained — Minnesota Sioux 
— Many Confederate prisoners at Rock island prison — The routine of 
prison life — The soldiers' monument — Oration of General J. B. Leake 
— Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home — First exercises at Oakdale — Company 
B goes to fight Spain — The roll of honor — Company roster in days of 
Spanish-American war , 669 



Always noted for striking beauty of situation — The mayors of the city from 

the beginning to the 1910 election — The police and fire departments — A 
splendid street car service — Water service of equal merit — The parks 
of the city — What the city owes and owns — A few dollars each way for 
each man, woman and child 685 



Every opportunity to grow in culture and usefulness in Davenport — Public 
buildings provided for all lines of interest — A fine line of helpful institu- 
tions — Places of instruction and amusement — Hotels, hospitals — Some- 
where for everybody to stay — A great array of organizations for those 
who believe in banding together 711 




Cheap fuel, transmissibility of electrical power and fine shipping facilities 
have made Davenport a great manufacturing center — The thrift of the 
people of Scott county have made it a great banking center — The growth 
of manufacturing interests and the widening of the field supplied — Coun- 
try banks springing up, everywhere 753 



The handsome palace of justice — Tablets whereon the Pioneer Settlers' As- 
sociation have inscribed those coming to Scott county before 1846 — 
Full list of names — The county jail — -The Scott County Agricultural 
Society — Description of the first fair — Baseball when the pitcher over- 
stayed his time in the box and gentlemen caught fly balls 769 



In 1839 the citizens moved for a collection of books — Library progress from 
that date to this has been along a devious path of hardship and discour- 
agement — Ladies managed the library for years — Mr. Watkins tells of 
years of devotion to the ideal of a public library — Andrew Carnegie, 
a life member, sends by Mrs. Maria Purdy Peck, president of the Dav- 
enport Historical Association, money for a new building 783 



Some remain and others have given way to better ones — The first frame 
house in Iowa — The first house in Davenport — Dr. John Emerson's 
brick residence — Many old residences of strong historic interest — Struc- 
tures that incite reminiscence — A beautifully written sketch of the 
hospitable homes of other days 801 



The influence of German immigrants upon the social, financial, patriotic, 
commercial and artistic life of the United States — From the general to 
the particular — What German-Americans have done for the prosperity, 
material and spiritual, of Davenport and Scott county — A trip cross- 
country and what it shows — German organizations. By Adolph Pe- 
tersen, Editor of "Iowa Reform." 813 




The Germans of Davenport and the Chicago Convention of i860 — The part 
those who opposed knownothingism played in the party preHminaries 
leading up to the republican nomination of Abraham Lincoln — The 
Davenport resolutions of March, i860 — German strength recognized 
throughout the land — With Bates out of the race Abraham Lincoln 
the strongest Compromise candidate 839 

By F. L Herriott. 
Professor of Economics, Political and Social Science, Drake University. 


Davenport's baptism. 

Could Rock Island be Davenport? — Would Davenport have been Rock Is- 
land ? — For whom was Davenport named ? — There seems to be no doubt 
that Colonel George Davenport was so honored — A life which ranks 
with the heroes of romance in variety and thrilling incident — One of 
the founders of the city that bears his name — An Indian ceremony. . . . 849 



Being an article based upon weather bureau observations covering a period 
from 1871 to 1909 — The location of office and instruments — A climat- 
ological summary — Unusual weather phenomena — Warm and cold pe- 
riods — Length of growing seasons — Unusual amounts of rainfall — Not- 
able river stages — Remarkable flood stage 877 

By J. M. Sherier, 
Local Forecaster, Weather Bureau. 



The Archimedean lever that moves the world in this part of the world the 
present press which ably serves Davenport and Scott county — English 
and German, political and religious — Papers of bygone days which did 
not fill a wide felt want — The papers of long ago and their news service 
—The Tri-City Press Club 885 

By Ralph W. Cram. 
President of the Tri-City Press Club. 




Strenuous efforts to build railroads in Scott county's early years — Agitation 
to the eastward and westward — The first railroad west of the great 
river — A. C. Fulton, a man ahead of his times — Hiram Price as pro- 
moter—The M. & M., C. & R. I., D. & St. L., C. R. I. & P., C. B. & Q.. 
C. M. & St. P., also the I. & L — Fifty years an engineer 899 



The foundation laid by early statesmen — A look ahead — The beginnings of 
schools in Iowa — Those who taught school in Davenport in the thirties 
— Many years of private schools — Arrival of the public school in the 
fifties — Latter day schools — Magnificent high school — The special 
branches — Schools of higher education — Biography of J. B. Young . . 919 



In this chapter may be found almost everything aside from the item the 
reader is searching for — There are some things that will prove of in- 
terest to somebody — Other things that everybody knows — Some inci- 
dents are unusual and others just so-so — There seemed to be a neces- 
sity for this sort of chapter 963 



This is something of a record of the years in Scott county from 1832 to 
1910 — Other things have happened but these appear notable, as the list 
is scanned for items that look worthy of type — It is a collection of short 
stories somewhat lacking in description but good what there is of them 979 


And after the book has gone to the printer, the author, editor, compiler or 
whatever or whoever he may be, carries in a preface his burden of regret to the 
pubHc who probably expected nothing better, and in dismal remorse tells how his 
plans have buckled, his roseate visions turned to leaden hue, his budding hopes 
chilled and filled with April snows. Not in this book. There is a disposition to 
acknowledge that prospectus plans covered a scope a trifle wide for the binding 
of any one book or two books, but there is a belief that there is much in this work 
that will be new to the reader, and that it merits recognition rather for what it con- 
tains than for what has been omitted. There are plenty of inconsistencies, no 
doubt, and misstatements, perhaps. But it is a good deal to expect that the 
writer of history can arrive at truth in incidents wherein principals and bystand- 
ers are all dead. It puzzles any one who drops into any court of justice to sort 
the truth from the conflicting testimony of witnesses who saw the self-same thing 
happen yesterday. How much more diflicult is the task of the assembler of facts 
for a local history. In any event there is as much amusement in denying as 
agreeing, and the reader, gentle or otherswise, gets his money's worth. 

If there have been matters passed over without mention that are worthy 
extended notice in any history, let it be remembered that many things have hap- 
pened in Scott county since Radisson yearned for the red souls of its inhabitants, 
and that the comparative estimate of values is the sole pleasure of the writer of 
history and may be exercised by anybody who can find a publisher. 

Some expert who has given the matter thought says no man has a right to 
pen history unless he has something new to tell or a new way of telling the old. 
There is a third reason, — the same which impelled the Galena hotel keeper to 
charge the Prince de Joinville $4.00 for playing one tune on his piano ; the same 
reason which caused the assistant superintendent of a New Jersey lunch counter 
to ask $1.00 of Bill Nye for that combination of sliced ham and some baker's 
absent mindedness known on the road as a boxing glove. 

Schleiermacher, the great philosopher, draws a distinction between longitu- 
dinal and transverse views of any series of historical facts. An attempt has been 
made in this work to combine both plans, with what success the reader, pugnacious 
or otherwise, may judge. 

The opportunity offered by this foreword is eagerly embraced to acknowledge 
indebtedness. First of all, credit for the finest portion of this work must go to 
one who has long been gone, — the fine old pioneer, surveyor, linguist, gentleman, 
Willard Barrows, and in lesser measure to his son, B. H. Barrows, once of Dav- 
enport, now of Omaha, who generously gave permission for reprinting Willard 
Barrows' history in these words, "I not only do not see any objection to your 
using any of my father's material which you can find, but I should be very glad 


indeed, to see the collection of his historical work in some permanent form," and 
finally in this connection the writer's personal gratitude is expressed to the pub- 
lishers of this work for being willing to reprint the Barrows history, complete, 
unabridged, unchanged, without modification or erasure, an adequate recognition 
of this masterpiece of local history to which it has been entitled any time these 
fifty years and which has not been before accorded. 

By way of tribute to the memory of another writer gone from earth it should 
be recorded that had it not been for D. N. Richardson's love for history, his 
patient untangling of historical problems and his abihty to coordinate seemingly 
unrelated facts, supplemented by his delightful narration of matters thus ar- 
ranged, much of Scott county history would have been lost beyond recovery. 
There are many others, old associates on the Democrat, the Richardsons, B. F. 
Tillinghast, J. E. Calkins, Ralph W. Cram, whose chapter on the Press is a fea- 
ture of this work; fellow members of the Press Club, W. A. Meese, of Moline, 
H. P. Simpson, of the Rock Island Argus, J. E. Hardman and Joe Carmichael, 
of the Times, Dr. August Richter of Der Demokrat, the most prolific of local 
historians, Fred B. Sharon, of the Messenger, Adolph Petersen of the Iowa 
Reform, whose chapter on the German Impress is a notable portion of this his- 
tory. When this is read, it will be understood by the distant reader why Scott 
county is sometimes spelled Skat county. 

The permission to use any of the copyrighted material in that mine of local 
history the Half Century Democrat is only an added instance of a generosity 
which has never failed in an association of twenty-five years. 

Thanks are due to Mrs. Maria Purdy Peck for her chapter on the Public 
Library. Those who know this gifted writer will not fail to identify her with 
the Mrs. W. F. Peck who took such large part in making library history. Prof. 
Frank I. Herriott, a resident of Scott county by inheritance, for his father farmed 
near Durant before the citizens of Iowa called him to be state treasurer, has devel- 
oped something in regard to the nomination of Abraham Lincoln that has escaped 
the actual dwellers of Scott county. For this analysis of a hitherto neglected 
incident in Iowa political history he has our gratitude. 

The list of those who have aided in producing this work is long and to every 
one thanks are due, — to J. B. Young, who patiently collected material for the 
hitherto unwritten chapter on local education, to J. M. Sherier for his scientific 
and interesting chapter on climatology, to J. H. Paarmann, curator of the Dav- 
enport Academy of Sciences and Miss Sarah Foote-Sheldon, corresponding 
secretary of that institution, to Capt. W. L. Clark, for his interesting interview. 
Col. F. E. Hobbs, commanding Rock Island Arsenal, Secretary C. A. Steel of 
the Commercial Club, to city and county officials, the Davenport Board of Park 
Commissioners, to Miss Grace D. Rose, librarian, Mr. and Mrs. Louis A. Le- 
Claire, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. McCullough, Dr. C. H. Preston, C. E. Harrison, W. 
C. Mossman, G. E. Hubbell, Prin. J. A. Hornby, to Supt. F. L. Smart and Secre- 
tary J. D. McCoUister of the Board of Education ; and finally to the good friend 
whose name has been omitted and whose neglect shall seem perfectly inexcusable 
when it shall be made apparent by sober second thought. 

H. E. Downer. 







When the six great creative days were fully ended and the heavens and the 
earth were finished, and all the host of them, when the evening of the sixth day 
brought the achievement of the marvelous work, the Book records that the Creator 
of the universe rested from his labors, saw everthing that he had made, and be- 
hold, it was very good. From chaos, formless and void, had come through omnis- 
cient plan and omnipotent will a beautiful planet, fitted for the home of man, a 
sphere which swung in ether in perfect poise with jarless revolution and with 
certain and flawless procession. Upon this world which seemed good to its 
Creator appeared continents, seas, islands and straits. Had there been a spectator 
upon a neighboring planet when this earth fresh from the creative process took 
its place in the firmament, to him the western continent would have appeared 
but an island circled by the sea, the belt of land which was to be in after years 
the United States but a patch of greens and grays, the magnificent Mississippi 
valley a blur of color and the state of Iowa an indistinguished item in the har- 
monious whole. Surely the abiding place of our love and pride is but a speck in 
the wide-unfolding map of creation, but to us who live in Iowa there is nothing 
more sure than this, that no fairer spot exists the world around than this small 
portion of the splendid work that received the commendation of the great Archi- 
tect, and to those who live in Scott county there is also the surety that nowhere in 
Iowa has the Creator more kindly planned for his children or scattered in greater 
measure the blessings of his good will. 

For the story of the preparation of the world to be the abode of man from 
fire mist to finished planet we must go to the geologists and learn of the ages of 
evolution and gradual change which stretched through time and into a seeming 
eternity measured only by the stupendous span of the great creative days of the 


Almighty. To them it is given to read the book of creation in the everlasting hills, 
to glean history from eroded valleys and learn in stratifications of the living 
things which enjoyed life in this region when it was under seas. Under Iowa 
prairies and by the banks of Iowa streams have been found most illuminating 
records of the ages when the rocky foundations of Iowa were being laid and of 
the later ages when this substructure was being covered by glacial drift and lev- 
eled in prairied sweep from great river to great river. Prof. Samuel Calvin 
says: "In no part of the world are certain chapters of the Pleistocene record 
clearer, or fraught with greater interest than in our fair Iowa." This geological 
eminence Scott county shares with the remainder of the commonwealth, but 
there is also an especial distinction all our own. Prof. W. H. Norton writes in 
the report of the Iowa geological survey : "In the diversity and interest of its de- 
posits of glacial drift, Scott county is hardly surpassed by any area of equal size 
in the United States. Lost pages of Pleistocene history are here recoverable, and 
evidence is at hand which may help to solve questions of long dispute in glacial 

In its long preparation for human habitation, its endowment with a climate 
of pleasing and healthful variety, soil of unexcelled richness and water in abun- 
dance, this favored corner of the earth has passed through a most remarkable ex- 
perience. It has been under the ice not once but four times. It has been under 
the sea no one knows how many times. It has been traversed by great rivers. 
It has been covered by strange tropical forests and through its savannas have 
roamed animals of strange form and uncouth appearance. As a possible human 
habitat it is very old. 


Wise as are the geologists and much as they can read in the rocks and run- 
ning brooks they cannot tell us what changed the climate of Iowa from the 
warmth and grateful fruitfulness of the Carboniferous period to the frigidity of 
glacial days which chilled and killed all life, the stricken land with its vernal 
crown of grass and woods finding burial under ice of such thickness that material 
brought from the north by the slowly creeping ice sheet was deposited as soil many 
yards in depth upon the rocks beneath. What disarrangement of ocean currents, 
of polar winds or aberration of axis inclination or orbit was responsible we do 
not know, but there is told in the rocks and soil of Scott county the story of 
fearful storms of ice and snow lasting thousands of years which piled the ice in 
mountain semblance in a grinding glacier sheet that made soil in tremendous 
fashion from the material frozen in the stream of ice and the material that lay 
beneath. And this cycle of growth and destruction was repeated time and again. 
The creative plan seems to have contemplated the devastating forces of storm, 
glaciation and inundation in the preparation of the richest soils and most beautiful 
arrangement of land and water forms in this region most fit for the abode of 

Scott county long ago attracted the attention of Scientific men through the 
interest and importance of is geologic phenomena. Within its narrow borders 
outcrop the stratifications of three great geological series — the Silurian, the De- 


vonian and the Carboniferous. These formations have contributed greatly to the 
county's wealth and population through the economic value of the industries 
arising therefrom, mines of coal and clay, quarries of stone for lime, for building-, 
for road making and for concrete construction. Even as here within the county 
appear these three great geological systems, there are also here the borders of the 
drift of three of the continental glaciers which invaded Iowa. Here are plains o£ 
alluvium and glacial drift untouched by crumbling erosion. Here are other 
plains scored and roughened by the action of water, rocky gorges chiseled by 
rivers in their geologic youth with much rough work ahead, rolling stretches of 
frontal loess moraines, — all contours which lend variety to the landscape and in- 
terest to the searcher after the story of the rocks. Here in our county the great 
Mississippi and its tributary, the Wapsipinicon, aided by the smaller streams 
which flow to them have dissected the covering of the underlying rocks mak- 
ing easy the examination of the indurated formations thus exposed and also af- 
fording opportunity to study the Pleistocene deposits. The opportunities which 
nature has furnished in gorge and scarp and hillside ledge have been added to by 
mines and wells and quarries, by railway cuts and the grading of city streets. 

In 1852 David Dale Owen told of the geologic richness of this county in pub- 
lishing the results of his surveys of the Mississippi valley, paying especial at- 
tention to the fossils of Davenport and Buffalo. A few years later Hall and 
Whitney gave great space to the peculiar features of Scott county in the published 
account of their survey. Out of thirty-three species of Devonian fossils listed in 
their search eighteen were credited to Scott county and six to contiguous Illinois 
territory. The Academy of Sciences at Davenport has a great collection of 
the fossils of the county, notable contributors being A. S. Tiffany and Rev. Dr. 
W. H. Barris. The rich fauna of the submerged era has been described by 
Barris, Worthen, Meek and Lindahl. Much has been written of the glacial 
deposits of the county by McGee, McWhorter, Pratt, Calvin, Bain, Leverett and 
Udden. and of the older formations by Barris, Tiffany, Calvin, Norton, Udden 
and Keyes. 


The variation in the topography of Scott county, even as elsewhere, is the 
result of two differing forces, the constructive and erosive. To the former be- 
long aggraded stream valleys, the uneroded remnants of drift plains and the 
hills of the lowan frontier or border, of one of the great glaciers which reached 
no farther south than the northern boundary of Scott county. All other relief 
forms are due to the action of nmning water, to rain wash or the composite action 
Icnown as weathering. The lowan frontier separates two essentially different 
topographies. To the north the surface is modeled, to the south it is carved. It 
has been decided by geologists that the pre-glacial surface of the county was not 
dissimilar to its present condition in this respect, that most of the valleys of the 
streams were cut before the soft yellow loam which everywhere covers the sur- 
face was laid down, as it descends the hill-sides like a mantle well down to the 
creek bottoms. In this degree the topography is constructive only, modified by 
erosive influence where the loess has been dissected by a water course of minor 


importance. Where this loess is of sufficient thickness the dissection is most 

There have been discriminated in Scott county three topographic areas of 
different ages, the lowan area, the IlHnoian plain and Kansan upland. The 
lowan area is one of extreme geological youth. The Illinoian plain is but slightly 
older, the original plain persisting even to the master streams, its edge being 
merely nibbled by erosion. From an inland view-point, the channel of the Mis- 
sissippi disappears from vision and the eye sweeps a level range that takes in the 
corresponding plain in Illinois as a part of an undivided whole. According to 
the map of the United States geological survey one may travel from the Green 
Tree tavern north and west fourteen miles to Walcott and not have changed his 
elevation above sea level more than twenty feet in traversing the distance. The 
Kansan upland is of greater age and shows more deeply the effects of erosion, 
the streams having wider valleys and the hills the rounded summits which tell 
of age and the wear of the elements. 

The fourth glacial invasion, which was called the lowan, reached the northern 
boundary of Scott county and the topography of the northern portion of the county 
was caused by this glaciation, the southern extension of the lowan drift plain 
and its frontier in the northern row of townships being marked by the charac- 
teristic formation known to geologists as paha. These are boat shaped hills 
composed of water-laid sand and silt and in part of glacial deposit, the whole 
molded into characteristic shape by the ice, the longer axis trending northwest- 
southeast. Sometimes the paha assume the form of long, low swells ; sometimes 
they are individuated into separate hills several of which may be strung along a 
common axis. As the composition changes from loess to sand the form changes 
to the irregular hills of Butler township, and the long sandy ridge of the Wapsi- 
pinicon plain in Princeton township. Below this region of the paha the county 
may be considered as at one time c(!)vered by an approximately level plain of 
glacial deposit which was deeply eroded in places and still later covered by the 
fairly uniform mantle of yellow loess or loam of which mention has already been 

The report of the Iowa geological survey for this county, written by 
Prof. W. H. Norton, has a paragraph telling of the appearance of things in 
the far-distant days before the coming of the first glacier : "A very slight 
investigation suffices to show that the pre-glacial topography was widely differ- 
ent from that which meets the eye today. Rivers ran hundreds of feet below the 
present surface. Hills relatively high stood where the level prairie now stretches 
to the horizon. Were the cover of drift removed from the underlying rocks, 
their surface would be found rugged and hilly, deeply scored with manifold ra- 
vines, and trenched by river valleys deeper than that of the Mississippi, and as 
wide. But it is scarcely practicable to draw the details of that ancient sur- 
face. For the most part we must rely on the records of the wells which have 
been sunk in the past few years. It is a familiar fact that the well driller finds 
the distance to rock far from equal even from the same level. In one section 
the drill grinds on the native rock within fifty feet from the surface ; a mile or so 
away, rock is only found within 300 feet from about an equal eleva- 
tion. These deep depressions, now plastered over with glacial mud, were cut 


by running water. They are not local discontinuous pits. They join and form 
continuous valleys cut out by ancient rivers. Accordingly the deepest drift wells 
are not found in clusters but in lines." 


Perhaps the most interesting statement in Professor Norton's paragraph has 
to do with the ancient, pre-glacial river bed larger than that of the Mississippi 
as we know it. The credit of the discovery' of this long choked water way has 
been given to two scientists who approached it from different quarters and traced 
it with comparative corroboration — Udden and Leverett. This stream seems to 
have left the present bed of the Mississippi at the mouth of the Maquoketa river, 
to have come past Goose lake and Brophy's creek to the valley of the Wapsi- 
pinicon, thence across Scott county in broad and generous fashion by Durant and 
Wilton, on through Muscatine county and to the Mississippi channel again near 
the present location of Fort Madison. The magnificent valley of this noble pre- 
glacial stream is occupied by an unambitious affluent of the Wapsipinicon called 
Mud creek, a stream of a few rods width at its mouth and having a depth of a 
few feet. This broad and spacious valley is bordered by hills with the gentle 
slope, indicating age. They are loess covered, as is the flood plain. Near Durant 
the ancient watercourse occupied a valley from two to three miles in width and 
the town is located on an island where the river divided. Three miles from Du- 
rant is found the almost imperceptible divide which separates the territory now 
drained by Mud creek from the valley of Elkhorn creek a tributary of the Cedar 
river. To the observer who follows the course of this ancient river it becomes 
easily certain that the two creeks which occupy this river valley never created it. 

Some have surmised that in this channel there once flowed the river which 
in bygone ages was the forerunner of the Mississippi. At one time the Illinoian 
glacier encroached upon the present soil of Iowa and this river may have been 
pushed over from its former bed which at that time lay to the eastward of 
the Mississippi channel as we know it. Later the lowan glacier crowded the 
stream back to the eastward and the Cleona channel, as geologists call it, was 
filled by glacial deposits from this later invasion. This supposition lacks entire 
confirmation, as the records of deep wells which have been sunk in that region 
furnish proof that the ancient river bed antedates the Illinoian glacier by a 
great length of time. It is to this deep channel of this ancient river that Scott 
county owes its richness in Pleistocene history, for it is in such deep valleys where 
glaciers must deposit and where they can least erode that the record of glacial 
days has been laid down. Perhaps it will be well to take from scientific sources 
the sequence of events in Iowa during the age of the Great Ice. 


First. — An invasion by glacial ice from the north, perhaps an extension of the 
Kewatin ice sheet whose center of dispersion lay west of Hudson bay. Little is 
known of the till deposited by this invasion, and it is termed for the present the 
Pre-Kansan drift sheet. 


Second. — A stage of deglaciation, the Aftonian, during which the glaciers re- 
treated, probably beyond the limits of the state. 

Third. — A second and more formidable invasion by the Kewatin glacier which 
pushed the ice front south to the Missouri river. This stage and the drift sheet 
then deposited are known as the Kansan. 

Fourth. — A second stage of deglaciation, the Yarmouth, during which the land 
left bare by the retreat of the ice far to the south weathered into rich soils of 
prairie and forest. 

Fifth. — A third ice invasion, the Illinoian, entering Iowa from the east and 
occupying a narrow strip of country along the Mississippi extending from the 
Wapsipinicon south nearly to the Des Moines. 

Sixth. — A third stage of deglaciation, the Sangamon, during which the drift 
sheet left by the retreat of the Illinoian ice weathered into soil and was covered 
with peat swamps, savannas and forests. 

Seventh. — A fourth ice invasion, the lowan, coming from the north and extend- 
ing on its eastern margin as far south as Scott county. Southward from the 
front of the lowan ice was laid down in some manner, at present undetermined, 
a silt called the lowan loess. 

Eighth. — A fourth stage of deglaciation and soil formation, the Peorian. 

Ninth. — A fifth ice invasion, the Wisconsin, confined in Iowa to the central 
portions of the state, and extending as far south as Des Moines. 

Of the nine stages just enumerated records of all are believed to exist in Scott 
county with the exception of the last two, the Wisconsin and the Peorian. 

From the deep wells which have been sunk in the Cleona channel came the 
dense, f^aky bluish-black till which is characteristic of the Pre-Kansan. Overlying 
this and under the drift of the Kansan are heavy layers of sand and gravel. The 
Kansan till which overlies the gravel in these wells comes to the surface as the 
Kansan upland in the northeastern part of the county. It is a mixture of 
boulders, cobbles, pebbles, sand, rockmeal and clay, the grist of the glacial mill. 
This dumping of glacial freight is a thorough mixture. In a cut on the line of 
the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern road west of Davenport. Professor 
Norton counted these "erratics," and found fifty-one per cent granitoids, thirty- 
seven per cent carboniferous sandstone and limestone, ten per cent greenstones 
and two per cent quartzites. In Liberty township nuggets of native copper have 
been discovered in this glacial drift. Inasmuch as the rate of progress of modern 
glaciers confined to narrow channels is but a few inches a year the time it must 
have taken the diffused Kansan ice sheet to bring this consignment of copper 
from its Lake Superior home to Scott county is a matter to wonder upon. 

When this great Kewatin ice sheet retreated from Iowa, Scott county was 
neglected in the distribution of its largess of gravel. For the making of Scott 
county roads it has been necessary to go over county lines and import the Kansan 
gravels in which other portions of the state are rich. The Kansan glacier left to 
Scott county its fine-ground grist of blue clay which in time bore savannas of 
grass and forests of trees. These buried soils with their vegetation have been 
noted by glaciologists at various localities in the county, overlying the blue clay of 
the Kansan drift and under the yellow clay of the Illinoian. 


It was only a narrow strip of Iowa which was comphmented by a visit from the 
IlHnoian glacier. This narrow belt stretches along the Mississippi from the 
Wapsipinicon to Fort Madison. This invasion from the east left its record in a 
peculiar and characteristic till which has been brought to light by excavations at 
Sixth and Harrison streets, at Eighth and Marquette streets in Davenport and in 
ravines two miles south of Blue Grass. 

The latest glacier to visit Scott county hesitated upon the northern thresh- 
old, giving to the northern tier of townships their peculiar topography and to 
the whole county the inexhaustible mantle of fine silico-argillaceous silt known 
as the lowan loess. Near the lowan margin it attains a depth of forty or fifty feet. 
Along the Mississippi its thickness is perhaps twenty-five to thirty feet and in the 
interior of the county fifteen to twenty feet. This is the soil which has ranked in 
fertility with the alluvium of the bottom lands and has constantly produced wealth 
for its owners. It was laid down in glacial waters in a manner not yet understood. 

The drainage of Scott county may be considered perfect, as no portion 
within county borders is more than eleven miles from one of the master streams, 
the Mississippi and its tributary the Wapsipinicon. Something more than one- 
half of the territory is drained by the affluents of the Wapsie, as this river is 
locally known. Geologists have found much to interest them in tracing the 
channels of the mighty Mississippi. The one known as the Cleona channel has 
already been mentioned. Nearly cotemporary with this channel they place the 
present channel from Sabula to Clinton. The channel now known as the 
Marais D'Ogee, or Meredosia and the Rock river valley is so recent in occupa- 
tion that the great river still sends a portion bf its water by that route at time 
of highest flood. A slight disturbance of present conditions would be sufficient 
to send the great stream back to the bed which it so lately deserted, speaking 
in geological phrase. 


Students of geology have found no tr^ce of the rocks of the Azoic age in 
Scott county. The deepest wells that have been drilled have ended in the strata 
of sandstone which formed the bed of the ocean at some bygone time. The 
only specimens of the igneous formations are the boulders and cobbles brought 
in as freight by some predatory glacier. None of the stratification of the Lower 
Silurian has here been found and only the Niagara limestone of the Upper Si- 
lurian system of the Palaeozoic group. The Devonian system is represented by 
the Dielasma beds, the Spirifer Parryanus beds, the Upper Davenport, Lower 
Davenport, Independence and Otis. The Carboniferous outcrops in the upper 
coal measures. The Pleistocene system of the Cenozoic group is in evidence in 
the glacial drift of the recurring ice invasions. 

The great w^ealth of building stone in the county belongs to the upper or 
Gower stage of the Niagara limestones, the lower or Delaware stage not hav- 
ing been found locally. In Scott county there are two distinct types of the 
Gower stone, the pure, hard crystalline dolomite, known as LeClaire stone, which 
is free from chert and admirably adapted to the manufacture of lime and the 
light buflF granular dolomite, evenly bedded in a stratified formation lending it- 


self readily to building purposes, the latter known as Anamosa stone. The 
LeClaire limestone is chemically a double carbonate of lime and magnesia, a 
pure dolomite, free from the ordinary argillaceous, ferrous and siHcious impuri- 
ties. Its normal color is a light bluish-gray, varying to almost white and also 
to darker shades. While not well adapted for building, it is unsurpassed in the 
whole geologic category for the manufacture of lime. This formation nowhere 
in Scott county reaches the thickness of the Linn county beds where it has 
been observed ninety feet thick. 

Very valuable to the resident of the county have been the deposits of the 
soft granular Anamosa stone. It lies in even, horizontal layers and is ready for 
laying into wall with a minimum of work in quarrying. This formation is at 
its best in this county in the region about LeClaire where the stone differs little 
from the typical quarries near Anamosa except in less frequent lamination and 
a deeper shade of buflf. 

The Otis limestone, the rarest of the Devonian system, non-magnesian, 
dense, of the finest grain, and yielding a fair quaUty of lithographic material, 
is found in Scott county, but not in great quantities. The Independence shale, 
a rough brown iron stained limestone, crops out in Pleasant Valley township 
in layers from two to four inches thick and carrying nodules of flint. 

It is in the Lower Davenport beds of the Devonian that the quarries at 
Bettendorf and near Camp McClellan have been operating. It is through the 
Lower Davenport beds that Duck creek cut the romantic gorge at Devil's Glen. 
This same formation is also found at the West Davenport quarries where it is 
overlaid by the upper Davenport beds. The workmen can tell by the ring of 
the steel when they have reached the end of one formation and are beginning 
upon the other. The beds of the upper Davenport are rich in coral fossils while 
the other beds are non-fossil-bearing. The upper Davenport is highly fossilifer- 
ous, certain layers being a coquina of brachiopod shells so firmly cemented that 
fossils are disengaged with difficulty and rarely in good condition. The entire 
thickness of the beds is perhaps fifteen feet. The fossil fauna of these beds have 
been collected with great pains and have been studied for many years by members 
of the Davenport Academy of Sciences. In its publications appear lists of species 
with descriptions of those most characteristic of this locality. There have been 
more than thirty species, Molluscan, Crustacean and Crinoidean noted and 
classified by the scientists of the academy, 


Along the river road near Buffalo may be found culverts built of rock which 
is fairly crowded with fossils. This rock comes from the Cedar Valley lime- 
stone strata which has made the region about Bufifalo classic ground for the 
paleontologist. Large collections have been made from these beds including 
the type specimens of a number of species. There is a fairly well defined basal 
bed some thirty feet in thickness consisting of lime stones more or less argil- 
laceous, and calcareous shales normally blue in color, but deeply weathered to 
buff and brown. The layers which have attracted the most attention are largely 
made up of fragments of crinoid stems. This stone is capable of high polish 


and slabs so finished have been called Buffalo marble by those not over particu- 
lar in geologic niceties. 

The carboniferous strata of Scott county are separated from the great coal 
fields of Illinois of which they really form a part by the narrow trench of the 
Mississippi river which is a late comer into these regions in comparison with 
the coal measures which were laid down by the sea in the long gone ages of 
creation. The richest deposits lie in Buffalo township, although there are val- 
uable outliers in other portions of the county, largely undeveloped and only 
awaiting the necessity through the failure of other sources of supply for being 
worked. Carboniferous deposits have been found in so many wells and quar- 
ries that it is not difficult to theorize that practically the whole county once lay 
beneath the Carboniferous sea and was covered with a continuous veneer of its 
offshore silts. In his report Prof. Norton tells of the uneven surface upon 
which the carboniferous muds and sands were laid, of channels and caverns 
cut by running water in the Niagara limestone more than 200 feet deep. "Since 
the coal measure outliers in the northern part of the county rest immediately 
and unconformably on Silurian strata, we may infer that the rocks of that area 
had formed a land area during Devonian times and had been sculptured by 
running water with a maximum relief of about 200 feet. With the coming in 
of the Des Moines stage of the Carboniferous a progressive depression of the 
land from the south northward brought in the Carboniferous sea, at least into 
the deeper valleys, if not over the entire surface." Evidently when nature 
writes her book, she is in no hurry to turn a page. Here is the record of one 
incident, the preparation of the surface for the carboniferous transformation 
which included the gathering together of soil, the growth of tremendous for- 
ests, their inundation and burial beneath immense weight of sand, clay and 
gravel, where pressure and heat brought forth coal. This one incident com- 
prises the carving out of a channel by running water in limestone strata 200 
feet deep. This is an unimportant incident to the geologist. Verily the crea- 
tions of the imagination are as nothing to the eternal verities of the student 
of earth structure. 

The carboniferous deposits of the county consist chiefly of shales with some 
sandstone, fire clay and iron stone, argillaceous, bituminous limestones and dis- 
continuous seams of coal. 


Davenport has been for years the artesian city of the state, through the num- 
ber of deep wells which have been bored. These range in depth from the most 
shallow, the well at Witt's bottling works, 780 feet, to those of more than 2,100 
feet at the plant of the Corn Products company. These deep borings have 
given great opportunity to study the portion of the earth's crust upon which 
we live. Prof. J. A. Udden, of Augustana college, Rock Island, has collected 
and collated a vast amount of information from the records of fourteen wells dug 
in the three cities of Davenport. Rock Island and Moline, and has constructed 
from the data a geological section which must so nearly approximate the truth 
that there is no room for doubt. 


Formation Thickness Kiev. A. T. 

14 Devonian 55 5^0 

13 Niagara 340 160 

12 Maquoketa 223 —63 

II Galena 244 —307 

10 Trenton lOO —40? ■ • 

9 Shale 41 —443 

8 Sandstone 7^ —524 

7 Shale 66 —590 

6 Lower Magnesian 80a — 1,390 

5 Sandy Shale 35 —1427 

4 Arenaceous Limestone 27 — 1,452 

3 Sandstone ••••• I45 — 1>597 

2 Calcareous Shale 75 —1,672 

I Sandstone 97 —1,769 

Numbers 1-5 are referred by Professor Udden to the Potsdam, and numbers 
7-9 are included in the St. Peter. 

The sinking of so many deep wells in Davenport has seemed a curious feature 
of municipal growth to strangers, inasmuch as there tiows before the doors of 
the city an inexhaustible supply of pure, sweet, soft water, which is furnished to 
Davenport citizens by a pumping plant of great excellence and in a condition of 
sparkling limpidity after being treated in a filter of such quality and completeness 
that it is known the world around. It is simply that large consumers have found 
it economical to sink the wells rather than to pay the water rates made necessary 
by the expense of transforming river water into the product marketed. 

At Linwood near Buffalo one of the features of a beautiful picnic park upon 
the shore of the Mississippi is an artesian well, one of the pioneers of the state. 
It has been running forty years from a depth of 800 feet. The water is strongly 
sulphurated and in the past attracted to a sanitarium there located many health 
seekers. The vein of water was struck while drilling for oil. 

Collection of Davenport Academy of Sciences 




Occupying the place of honor in the center of the semicircular hall of the 
Academy of Sciences at Davenport are relics and remains of a departed race 
who may be considered the earliest inhabitants of Scott county. For lack of 
better name we call them Mound Builders. Long years ago they selected this 
beautiful location as their home, erected their habitations and means of de- 
fense, practiced their religion, developed their civilization, lived their lives and 
departed. No one knows their coming and no man can tell their going. Their 
racial unity is a matter of conjecture and the title by which they called them- 
selves is a mystery. Mound Builder will do as well as any other until their 
hieroglyphics can be unriddled by some future archaeologist. Do we not call 
the Deutsch, Germans, and the Cymri, Welsh? The Mound Builder has no 
cause for quarrel. There is no written history to teach us better, not even 
tradition to guide to definiteness. The archaeologist or anthropologist who 
would learn of primitive Iowa races, their origin and affiHations, has so little 
to guide him that serious conclusions are impossible. Where he finds an early 
people, there is sure to be an indication that these have been preceded by others 
of greater antiquity. 

So it has been the world around. This historian in his search for the earliest 
inhabitant is constantly finding evidence of racial occupation antedating the 
epoch of which he feels he has some knowledge. The Israelites wandering from 
their native land found each country people by an older race. The Aryans 
swarming from the ancient hive in central Asia discovered unknown peoples 
everywhere. The ancient Hellenes who wore the golden grasshopper as a 
badge of autochthons or those who sprang from the soil knew of the deception 


they sought to practise, for they were vigorous invaders who had displaced 
the Pelasgians of still more ancient days. The Latin race called itself aboriginal, 
and yet the Etruscans coming to the delectable peninsula fought and displaced 
the Pelasgians who there abode. Before the Babylonians were the Assyrians ; 
before the Assyrians the Chaldeans. 

It will probably never be known who were the first settlers of Scott county 
or how many waves of immigration rolled across these hills and valleys. The 
richest of soils laid down by glaciation and inundation invited to occupancy. 
Scientists tell us that subsequent to the glacial epoch man followed in the wake 
of the ice as it receded to the northward. If so, the historic period in the his- 
tory of the human race is even as the last three months in the life span of the 
man of three score years and ten when compared with the period of conjec- 
ture which precedes it. 


Of this little migrant of Eskimoid type we know nothing. The succeeding 
Mound Builder left for us monuments which have enabled us to learn some 
things and conjecture much. Here in Scott county he left objects of utility 
and art, also written tablets which fairly challenge this later civilization. Here 
we find nearly all types of those earthen works which are found the length 
and breadth of the Mississippi valley, defensive embankments, sacred enclosures, 
temples, sacrificial mounds, sepulchral mounds, efiigy mounds. From the de- 
fences which crown the bluffs it is easy to argue war forced upon them by other 
migrants who in their final triumph swept these early dwellers from this rich 
territory to other less desirable locations. 

From the testimony of the mounds it seems most probable that this first 
settler in Scott county was an agriculturist, a dweller iiot a nomad, a mem- 
ber of a government which could plan and execute public works of great ex- 
tent, a trader, for in the same mound appear copper from Lake Superior, mica 
from the Alleghanies, obsidian from Mexico, pearls and shells from the ocean 
shore. He was a potter and a cunning artificer in stone and ivory. He could 
fashion metals and express his artistic instincts in no mean manner. He met 
the necessity for clothing in this climate by preparing the skins of animals 
and weaving into cloth the textile fibres which were ready to his hand. Dr. 
R. J. Farquharson, a Davenport physician who studied this early inhabitant in 
conjunction with other members of the Academy of Sciences noted the lumsual 
number of perfect sets of teeth found in the mounds examined. In a paper 
published in the Proceedings he says: "These teeth are invariably without any 
sign of decay, of almost flinty hardness, and very much worn away, apparently 
from the attrition of very hard particles in the food, probably the silicious outer 
coats of some kind of grain or seed." This same gentleman made exhaustive 
research in the literature of archaeology and gave it as his opinion that the 
copper axes of which there are more than a score in the Academy museum are 
not properly instruments but treasures or insignia of rank. Around these axes 
are the most perfect speciments of the ancient weaving known to moderns. 
These pieces of cloth which adhere to the metal have been preserved by the 


Collertion of Davenport Academy of Sciences 


antiseptic action of the carbonate of copper by which they are dyed a bright 
green and rendered incorruptible. It is noted in Dr. Farquharson's paper as 
a curious circumstance and one perhaps possessing value that the woven fabrics 
have the identical texture of similar fabrics taken from the lake dwellings of 
Robenhausen, thus connecting two prehistoric peoples, the Mound Builders and 
the Lake Dwellers of Switzerland. One of the Davenport specimens of ancient 
cloth shows a great advance in the textile art. The warp is composed of four 
cords, that is, of two double and twisted cords, while the woof is composed of 
one such doubled and twisted cord, which passes between the two parts of the 
warp, the latter being twisted at each change, allowing the cords to be brought 
close tosrether so as to cover the woof almost entirely. 



Dr. Farquharson examined the bones exhumed from local mounds with a 
professional eye and found evidence that these ancient inhabitants had some of 
the diseases enjoyed by present dwellers in Davenport and a few which have 
passed their vogue and been displaced. From the osseous record of ancient dis- 
ease he reasoned that these prehistoric Davenporters were people of such ad- 
vanced civilization that invalidism was possible, with a sufficient food supply to 
maintain the sick and those upon whom it fell to nurse them back to health. 
There must have been leisure to combat the type of diseases shown by these spinal 
processes, leisure and dwellings warm and finely habitable. Otherwise there 
could not have been the recovery and subsequent approach to old age which these 
bones show. 

These deductions lead away from the theory held by many scientists that the 
race which constructed the mounds of the Mississippi valley were the ancestors 
of the latter day Indians. Locally there seems to be no evidence in this direction. 
The Sacs and Foxes who lived in this region, when questioned by the pioneers 
among the white settlers, could give no hint as to the people who created the 
mounds of earth. They had no traditions concerning them. 

In other portions of the United States, Indians have attempted to connect 
these mounds with their ancestry and their contention cannot be easily disproved. 
There was variety enough to the dwellers upon this continent before the white 
man came. As Marquis de Nadaillac says : "There is nothing in common except 
the name given by Europeans between the nomad Indians who ranged over 
immense tracts in search of game and the Indians who tilled the soil and cut 
canals with remarkable skill making cultivation possible under these burning 
climes, between the builders of Yucatan whose architectural talent is evidenced 
in the ruins they left behind them, and the Peruvians, wdiose heavy, massive monu- 
ments belong to a different family ; between the Mound Builders whose knowl- 
edge of building methods was limited to mounds and retrenchments of earth, and 
the Cliff Dwellers who built their houses like birds' nests at inaccessible heights, 
or the people who lived in a veritable communism in the pueblos, those hives 
which strike the explorer with astonishment ; between the nomads we have men- 
tioned, whose knowledge of signs was confined to souvenirs of war or the chase 
rudely sculptured on stone or cut on wood or to simple marks, and the Mexicans 


who possessed a complete hieroglyphic and ideographic writing." There was 
racial range enough to allow for almost any sort of progeny, even the aboriginal 
yankees of whom quaint Cotton Mather wrote: "The natives of the country 
now possessed by the New Englanders have been forlorn and wretched heathen 
ever since they first herded here, and though we know not how or why these 
Indians first became inhabitants of this mighty continent yet we may guess that 
probably the devil decoyed these miserable savages hither in hopes that the 
gospel would never come here to disturb his absolute empire over them." The 
Indian estimate of Mather and his friends has not been preserved, but it was 
doubtless not a whit less pungent. The Puritan was a vindictive friend and an 
implacable neighbor. 


Members of the Davenport Academy of Sciences have studied the remains of 
the earliest inhabitants of this section indefatigably and to good purpose. Exca- 
vations were made in local mounds and some at greater distance. Splendid work 
was done by Capt. W. P. Hall, who devoted many years to research for the 
benefit of the academy. He traversed the Mississippi and its tributaries in a row 
boat, earning his way as he went, devoting his life to archaeology and sending 
all material acquired to the academy. The mounds near Cook's point, some of 
them within the corporation limits of the city of Davenport, yielded most unique 
and interesting relics. Other mounds at Albany, Illinois, and Toolesboro, Iowa, 
yielded a rich harvest of information. Year after year members of the academy 
pursued this line of research in the true scientific spirit of inquiry, and the cam- 
paign added greatly to the world's knowledge of a primitive people. 

In the x\cademy museum has been brought together the most valuable and 
important collection of Mound Builders' relics in the world. Some of the items 
are those common to all collections ; others are unique and of surpassing interest. 
There is an extensive array of ancient pottery, and a wealth of stone imple- 
ments. There are more than a score of copper axes, there are fourteen copper awls 
and 300 copper beads. There are thirty-two pipes, a large portion being effig}' pipes 
of the ordinary types. These are made of green stone, the red ]\Iinnesota stone 
called Catlinite and softer sandstones or marls. Some of the sculptured bird 
pipes are decorated with eyes of copper and of pearl. That the small pearls 
utilized were drilled with delicacy and skill in manipulation before being set, 
speaks volumes for these lapidaries of ancient Davenport. 

Two of these efifigy pipes, sculptured to the similitude of an elephant by some 
pre-historic craftsman, heirlooms of the ancient citizens of this region, brought 
great fame to the academy some twenty-five years ago. The government bureau 
of ethnology at that time championed the theory that the race which constructed 
the mounds of the Mississippi valley were the ancestors of the latter day Indians, 
while another school of archaeologists contended that the Mound Builders en- 
joyed a civilization so much higher than the Indians with whom we are acquainted 
that the hypothesis of the government scientists was impossible. The latter 
school endeavored to trace the Mound Builders to a Mexican origin or at least 
a common ancestry. Into this arena, with no theory to maintain, came the Daven- 




Collection of Davenport Academy of Sciences 


port amateur scientists with their elephant pipes and inscribed tablets bearing 
the figure of the elephant, relics whose authenticity would lend strong corrobo- 
rative evidence that man and the mastodon were contemporaneous on the Amer- 
ican continent, and the Mound Builders a race anterior to the forbears of the 
American Indian, of higher type and more advanced civilization. 


Zealous in the defense of its theory, the bureau of ethnology cast reflections 
upon the genuineness of these pipes and tablets and in the succeeding investiga- 
tion and discussion by scientific bodies, the Davenport academy and its archaeo- 
logical treasures became known around the world. 

It was fortunate that at this time the academy had for its president a gentle- 
man of scientific scholarship, of literary abiUty and trained by his profession in 
the collection of evidence and its application,— Chas. E. Putnam. His rejoinder 
as to the authenticity of pipes and tablets and the honesty of the people who 
composed the Davenport Academy of Sciences attracted world-wide attention 
and forever fixed the character of research entered upon by the Davenport citi- 
zens who formed this group of enthusiastic amateurs in science. 

One of the elephant pipes was discovered in a mound in Louisa county by 
Rev. A. Blumer, a Lutheran clergyman, and by him donated to the academy. 
The other pipe was obtained by Rev. J. Gass, another Lutheran clergyman, from 
a farmer whose brother had plowed it up in Louisa county and who, unaware 
of its archaeologic value, had used it for his after dinner smoke for some years. 

Sharing with the elephant pipes the focal warmth in this round-the-world 
discussion of a quarter of a century ago, were four inscribed tablets, also in the 
Academy museum. Three of them were discovered January lo, 1877, i" a- mound 
on the Cook farm near the Mississippi river and adjoining the city of Davenport, 
the leader of the expedition being Rev. J. Gass, the Lutheran clergyman above 
mentioned, at that time in charge of a Davenport congregation. 

The two larger tablets were originally the two sides of the same slab of slate, 
but when found the stone was separated into two parts on the plane of cleavage. 
This double tablet and a smaller one were covered when taken from the mound 
by a coating of clay, and it was only on removal of this protective covering that 
the inscriptions were discovered. This larger double tablet was somewhat in- 
jured by a stroke from an excavating spade. It is an irregular quadrilateral, 
twelve inches long on the unbroken edge and from eight to ten inches wide. The 
smaller tablet is in shape an imperfect square about seven inches on each side 
and with two holes bored near the upper corners, apparently for the purpose of 
suspension. It is also of slate. 

The upper inscribed one-half of the larger slab is called Tablet I, in the Pro- 
ceedings of the academy; the lower half. Tablet II, and the smaller one uncov- 
ered in the same mound Tablet III. Tablet I bears the depiction of a sacrificial 
or cremation scene, the sketch being accompanied by hieroglyphics to the num- 
ber of ninety-eight. Upon Tablet II appears a scene historical or mythical, in 
which appear some thirty individuals of the animal kingdom — man, bison, deer, 
birds, hares. Rocky mountain goat, fish, prairie wolf and some figures variously 


interpreted as she-moose, tapirs and mastodons. Tablet III is a calendar stone 
whereon are depicted four concentric circles, the smallest of an inch diameter, the 
space separating- the others being- approximately three-fourths of an inch. 

The fourth inscribed stone, called Tablet IV, was also found in a mound on 
the Cook farm by Charles E. Harrison, Rev. J. Gass and John Hume. At the 
base of a stone pillar of rough limestone, the top of which was only a few inches 
below the surface of the ground, and occupying a small chamber prepared for 
its preservation was found an inscribed tablet something over a foot long, seven 
inches wide, and an inch and a half thick. A beautiful quartz crystal was found 
lying upon the center of the tablet and four flint arrows geometrically arranged 
were upon its surface. Upon this tablet appears an uncouth hiiman figure seated 
upon or astride a circle with radial lines extending from it, apparently intended 
to represent the sun. 


These important additions to the inscribed rocks of America naturally aroused 
great interest in the scientific world. The pictures engraved thereon have been 
held to indicate that these ancient Davenporters or their ancestors were on terms 
of acquaintance here or elsewhere with the mastodon who roamed the earth 
when it was much younger and frolicked over Iowa in the Aftonian interim 
between the two periods of glaciation from the Kewatin ice sheet. The hiero- 
glyphics which these tablets bear are doubtless of much greater value and their 
interpretation would advance greatly the world's knowledge of these ancient 
peoples. So far no one has arisen to perform this great service, but it is but a 
few years since they were brought to light. Other discoveries will be made 
which will furnish the clue to the mystery. The world waited long for the ex- 
planation of the hieroglyphs of Eg}'pt ; the cuneiform characters were long un- 
solved and patience must wait upon the finding of the Rosetta stone which shall 
make the Davenport tablets legible. 

Of the comment from archaeologists, one citation will suffice. In the third 
volume of the Academy Proceedings appears a paper by Prof. G. SeyfTarth, Ph. 
D., Th. D., in which these inscribed tablets are called, "the first discovered pho- 
netic and astronomic monuments of the primitive inhabitants of the country, 
which, sooner or later will cast unexpected light upon the origin, the history, 
the religion, the language, the science and intellectual faculties of our ancient 
Indians." It will be noted that Prof. SeyfTarth uses the word "Indian" in a gen- 
eral sense as applying to all former inhabitants of this continent. 

This learned Prof. SeyflFarth, author of numerous accepted works of archaeol- 
ogy, concluded that among the nearly 200 characters which appear upon the four 
tablets were indications of syllable writing among the Mound Builders. He 
found evidence that this people were of Asiatic origin. In the picture of Tablet I 
he saw a scene of sacrifice to the sun, moon and twelve great gods of the starry 
firmament. The second tablet the professor considers to be a memorial of the 
Noachian deluge, "and a commentary to all other traditions confirming the latter. 
It makes no difference whether this slab was engraved in America or in that 



country from which the first Indians emigrated, whether it was the work of that 
man in whose grave it was discovered, or was a sacred relic preserved from 
generation to generation." 

Tablet III Prof. Seyffarth styles "the most interesting and the most important 
tablet ever discovered in North America, for it represents a planetary configura- 
tion, the twelve signs of the Zodiac, known to all nations of old, and the seven 
planets conjoined with six different signs." 

Tablet IV the savant considers to be the record of a great eclipse of the sun, 
the figure to be that of Mars, god of war, and the smaller figures etched on the 
upper edge of the tablet to be an eagle and a wolf. 

At the close of his extended and profound article. Prof. Seyffarth sums up 
the "reliable results obtained by the unparalleled Davenport antiquities, of which 
the following are the most important ones : 


"i. The primitive inhabitants of North America were no preadamites, noi 
offsprings of the monkeys, but Noachites. 

"2. They belonged to the same nation by which Mexico and South America 
were populated after the dispersion of the nations in 2780, B. C. 

"3. The literature of the American Indians evidences that they emigrated 
from Japan, or Corea, or proper China. 

"4. They must have come over prior to the year 1579, B. C. 

"5. Our Indians, as well as those of Mexico and South America knew the 
history of the deluge, especially that Noah's family then consisted of eight persons. 

"6. The primitive inhabitants of America were much more civilized than 
our present Indian tribes. 

"7. The former understood the art of writing, and used a great many of 
syllabic characters, based upon the Noachian alphabet, and wrote from the left 
to the right hand, like the Chinese. 

"8. They were acquainted with the seven planets and the twelve signs of the 
Zodiac, and they referred the same stars to the same constellations as did the 
Chaldeans, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, etc. 

"9. They had solar years and solar months, even twelve hours of the day. 
They knew the cardinal points of the Zodiac and the cardinal days of the year. 

"10. Their religion agreed with that of the Babylonians, Egyptians, 
Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, etc., because they worshipped the planets and the 
twelve gods of the Zodiac by sacrifices. Compare Isaiah H, 7: 'Babylon hath 
been a golden cup in the Lord's hand that made all the earth drunken ; the 
nations have been drunken of her wine ; therefore the nations are mad.' Plu- 
tarch, De Is., p. ^yy : 'There are no different deities to be found among the 
Greeks and the barbarian nations, either in the northern or southern countries.' 
Quite the same is reported by Cicero, Aristotle, Diodorus, Tacitus and other 
ancient authors." 

Another find of remarkable stones with ancient engravings was made by the 
energetic preacher archaeologist. Rev. J. Gass, in a creek bed in Cleona town- 


ship, Scott county, and a description appears in tlie Academy Proceedings for 
1877. Two of the stones were brought to the academy and placed in the museum. 
The other relics were too cumbersome for the enthusiastic divine's dredging 

From a INlound 


Erected at Col. George Davenport's grave 

by his Indian friends, soon after his 

murder, July 4, 1845. 








It is altogether probable that the invading foe against whom the Mound 
Builder threw up the fortifications which crowned the bluffs of Davenport was 
the American Indian and that his occupancy of this region stretched from the 
disappearance of the first inhabitant until the coming of the all-conquering white 
man. Here the red man had his home and enjoyed all the blessings of soil, 
climate, healthfulness and nearness to transportation that made this region at- 
tractive to the race that dispossessed him. His chapter in local annals is iden- 
tical with that of his brethren in other portions of the continent. He made futile 
protest and fell back. He opposed standards of right and wrong he considered 
unjust to the weaker. He fought in unavailing sort for his home and the 
graves of his ancestors. The story has been told a thousand times in words 
of eloquent sympathy. It needs neither paraphrase nor added incident. 

The first Indians seen upon Iowa soil were the Illini. This tribe was scat- 
tered after having almost suffered extermination by the allied tribes whicH fol- 
lowed Pontiac. chief among these the Sacs and Foxes. These Indians, origin- 
ally tribally distinct became practically one through an offensive and defensive 
alliance, through similar customs and intermarriage. The traditions of the 
Sacs or Sauks and of the Foxes or Reynards, as they were called by the French 
explorers, point to the land between Quebec and Montreal bordering the St. 
Lawrence river as the early home of these Indians. Ou-sakis. the first designa- 
tion of the Sacs means yellow earth, and Musquakie, the original name of the 
Foxes means red earth. 

Of these two tribes the Foxes first came west and settled on the banks of 
the Wisconsin river which bears their name. The Sacs driven from Canada 


by the warring Iroquois settled near Lake Michigan in the Green bay countr\^ 
near the Foxes. Their name persists in near-by river, bay and city — Saginaw. 
The time of this migration from Canada has not been determined, but was 
probably in the hrst half of the seventeenth century. Marquette's map of 1673 
locates the Foxes on the Fox river and about this date Father Claude AUouez 
commenced his work among them, in this location. 

It was early in the eighteenth century that the Sacs and Foxes were driven 
from Wisconsin by the allied iSIenominees, Ottawas and Chippewas, aided by 
the French whose ill will the Sacs and Foxes had gained by exacting tribute 
from them. While the French attacked the village from covered boats upon 
the river the Indian allies closed in simultaneously from the surrounding woods, 
and those who escaped slaughter were glad to flee to the banks of the Mis- 
sissippi. This was about 1722. In this new location the Sacs and Foxes con- 
tinued to war upon other tribes, the Chippewas, the Sioux, Pawnees, Winneba- 
goes and Mascoutins. So successful were they in their forays that they won 
rank among the most fierce and w^arlike of the tribes. The territory claimed by 
them was indeterminate in boundary but large in extent, and was upon both 
sides of the Mississippi, the Sacs generally occupying the territory east of the 
great river and the Foxes that to the westw-ard. 


The largest town of the dual tribe was the Sac settlement on the north bank 
of the Rock river about two miles from its mouth. It was settled about 1730, 
and grew in population until it was probably the largest Indian community 
on the western continent. Its population has been given as 8,000 by some 
writers. It had probably less than half that number, but an Indian town of 
3,000 is in a class by itself. Late writers have given it the name of Sau-ke-nuk, 
but to the pioneers it was known as the Sac village or Black Hawk's village. 

On the site of Princeton, in Scott county, was one of the three principal 
villages of the Fox nation, noted in the journal of Zebulon M. Pike. On the 
ground where Davenport now stands there was another Fox village of con- 
siderable size. Here tradition locates a large and populous village from the be- 
ginning of Indian occupation. When the first white trappers visited this point, 
they were told by the Indians that this had been a favorite abiding place for the 
Indians since their ancestors had journeyed from the eastward. At one time 
the Indian Davenport was known as Oskosh. Later it was called Morgan. 

The head warrior of the Fox village when it was called Morgan was Ma- 
que-pra-um and the principal chief Poweshiek. This splendid aboriginal Daven- 
port mayor was a native of Iowa, born in 1797, of fine stature, weighed 250 
pounds and was altogether a striking specimen of his race. His name meant 
Roused Bear. Those who knew him call him a man of great energy, a wise 
counselor and the soul of honor. He remembered a kindness, and his word 
could be relied upon. .At the close of the Black Hawk war he was made head 
chief of the Fox trilje. ranking in importance and influence both Appanoose 









and Wapello, in 1837 he had his village near the present site of Iowa City. 
The next year he accompanied the Indian agent, Gen. Joseph M. Street to select 
a location for a Sac and Fox agency upon the Des Moines river. When his 
tribe moved west, Poweshiek made his home near the present location of Des 
Moines. From there he went south to Grand river and later with reluctance 
accompanied his tribe to the distant Kansas reservation, whence some years 
later a dissatisfied remnant returned to their old Iowa home and purchased an 
abiding place in Tama county where they now live, known as the Musquakies. 


Down to the time of the Black Hawk war which put an end to Indian oc- 
cupancy of this region the Sacs and Foxes lived for the most part by agricul- 
ture, having approximately 1,000 acres in cultivation in this immediate vicinity. 
They made annual hunting trips and journeys to secure sugar and lead, but 
for the greater part of the year they resided in this choice spot upon the Feather 
of Waters where they found life so pleasant. In 1805 when Pike made his trip 
up the Mississippi river he estimated the Sac population altogether at 2,850, 
the Fox population, 1,750. Twenty years later the secretary of war made an 
estimate of 4,600 for both tribes. In 1831, just before the Black Hawk war 
there were 5,000, this number including those of the tribe living in Missouri. 

In 1829 a commission appointed by President Jackson ascended the Mis- 
sissippi river from St. Louis to treat with the Indians of the upper Mississippi 
valley for a transfer of mineral lands. This commission consisted of Gen. 
McNeil of the army, Col. Menard whose home was Kaskaskia, and Caleb At- 
water, a resident of Circleville, Ohio, a literary man of note and a close ob- 
server. After reaching civilization Mr. Atwater wrote the history of the ex- 
pedition under title, "Remarks Made on a Tour to Prairie du Chien, Thence to 
Washington City, in 1829." He visited Quasquawma's village of Fox Indians 
while making a stay at Keokuk which he called the half-breed capital, and told 
of the construction and arrangements of the Fox wigwams which he afterwards 
found were typical of such dwellings among the Indians of this region. 

"Landing from our canoes," writes Mr. Atwater, "we went to Quasquaw- 
ma's wigwam and found him and several of his wives and children at home. 
These Indians had joined the United States during the late war. The wigwam 
we visited was a fair sample of all we saw afterwards in the Indian country, 
and was covered with white elm bark, fastened on the outside of upright posts 
fixed in the ground, by ropes made of barks passed through the covering and 
tied on the inside around the posts. 

quasquawma's MANSION. 

"I should suppose that this dwelling was forty feet long and twenty wide, that 
six feet on each of the sides within doors was occupied by the place where the 
family slept. Their beds consisted of a platform raised four feet from the earth, 
resting on poles, tied at that height to posts standing upright in the ground 
opposite each other and touching the roof. On these poles so fastened to the posts 


were laid barks of trees and upon these barks were laid blankets and the skins 
of deer, bear, bison, etc. These were tlie beds. Between these beds was an 
open space perhaps six or eight feet in width running the whole length of the wig- 
wam. In this space fires were kindled in cold and wet weather and here at such 
times the cooking was carried on and the family warmed themselves, ate their food, 
etc. There was no chimney, and the smoke either passed through the roof or 
out at the doors at the end of the wigwam. On all the upper waters of the 
Mississippi no better dwelling is to be found among the Indians. Quasquawma 
was reposing himself on his bed of state when we went into his palace and the 
only person at work was one of his wives at tJie door dressing a deer-skin. He 
appeared to be about sixty-five years of age ; perhaps even older." 

At another place in this quaintly worded narrative Mr. Atwater has these 
paragraphs : "The Sauks and Foxes were so useful to us as auxiliaries that I 
feel grateful to them and make a few remarks on their principal men who were 
with us. 

"Keokuk the principal warrior of the Sauks is a shrewd, politic man, as well 
as a brave one and possesses great weight of character in their national coun- 
cils. He is a high-minded, honorable man and never begs of the whites. While 
ascending the Mississippi to join us at the head of his brave troops he met, 
arrested and brought along with him to Fort Crawford two United States soldiers 
who were deserting from the garrison when he met them. I informed him that 
for this act he was entitled to a bounty in money ; to which he proudly re- 
plied that he acted from motives of friendship toward the United States and 
would accept no money for it. 

"Morgan is the principal warrior of the Foxes and resides at Dubuque's 
mine on the western bank of the Mississippi. Though less versatility of talent 
belongs to him than Keokuk possesses, yet he is a brave man and fond of war. 
More than a year before we were in that country this Indian general had gone 
to the Sioux country and killed a woman and three children of that nation, 
which act produced the war then raging between the two nations. This act 
has since been dreadfully avenged by a large party on some twenty individuals of 
the Foxes." 

Inasmuch as it was this warrior who gave his name to the Indian village 
upon the site of Davenport prior to the Black Hawk war it would have been 
pleasant if Mr. Atwater could have brought us some braver deeds than the 
scurvy r>ne he mentions. Later Morgan represented the Fox nation at the treaty 
ground and Mr. Atwater lias many compliments for his oratory. This chief was 
later called Ma-que-pra-um although the name of his Scotch father Morgan was 
given to the Indian Village. 


In his stay among the Sacs and Foxes Commissioner Atwood noted some 
qualities that escaped other travelers and historians, namely the ability in narra- 
tive chant anrl song, also the dramatic instinct and talent possessed by these 
former citizens. Let him tell of these: 


"The Sauks and Foxes who have resided near Rock Island where the French 
located themselves seventy years since have tunes evidently of French origin and 
love song-s of considerable length. These Indians have among them what answers 
to the Italian improvisatori who make songs for particular occasions, and one 
of them makes it his business to take off with great effect the warriors when 
they boast of their exploits in the intervals in the music and dancing at the war 
dances. He is a great wag, and dresses himself in a manner as grotesque as 
possible. On his head on such occasions he fixes two horns of the antelope 
and nearly covers his face with bison hair dyed red. 

"The tune he usually sings his song in contains only three or at most five 
notes, but is as good a song, probably, and the music quite equal to the poetry 
and music used by Thespis in the infancy of tragedy among the Greeks. Whether 
these improvisatori are of Indian or European origin I cannot certainly say, 
though from the circumstance of their existence among most of the Indian 
tribes nearly or quite all the way to the Rocky mountains and high on the Mis- 
souri river 1 am induced to believe those improvisatori derive their profession, 
as they have their origin, from the natives of the country. 

"That the Sauks and Foxes have a considerable number of .songs suited to a 
great many occasions in their own language, I know, and have heard them sung 
frequently, and regret that my avocations prevented my taking them down in 
writing at the time they were sung. When no farther advanced in the civilized 
life than these tribes are I doubt much whether the Greeks and Romans had more 
jxDetry or better than the aboriginals have at this moment. As to music, the 
Romans were inferior in the days of Augustus to the Sauks and Foxes of the 
upper Mississippi. 

"Among the Indians of the upper Mississippi, the Sauks and Foxes are 
decidedly the best actors, and have the greatest varieties of plays among them. 
Their war dances may be viewed as tragedies in the rudest state, and those 
dances wherein both sexes appear are truly comedies of no mean cast, consider- 
ing their origin and authors. Each person who acts is painted and dressed in a 
manner entirely proper for the part to be personated by the actor or actress. To 
see a play acted of a ludicrous cast of character I have seen a thousand Indians 
present who were highly delighted with the acting. Thunders of applause fol- 
lowed some antic prank, while a visible displeasure would sometimes punish a 
failure to act well. To raise up a company of good players among them, they 
only need a settled state of society, fixed habitations and an acquaintance with the 
use of letters. To accomplish for them individuals or society must do it. not the 
United States government whose vast advances of money, goods, etc.. never 
reach their object in a way to be of much service to them. 

"As to the tunes of most of the Indians, it is scarcely necessar}' to add that 
they are dull and monotonous, because with only from three to five musical notes 
they must necessarily be so. Yet even such tunes stmg by some soft, clear, 
melodious voices both of males, and especially of females, the music in them is 
quite agreeable and even enchanting." 

The annual hunting trip of the Sacs and Foxes, which lasted through the 
winter months, was made necessary by the scarcity of large game in this region 


during the later Indian occupancy. Bailey Davenport gives 1816 as the latest 
date when buffalo were seen here in any numbers. In July of that year he is 
quoted as saying, "large herds were driven into the Mississippi river from the 
Davenport side, and large numbers of them killed, so that jerked buffalo meat 
was plenty, the Indians trading it to all who wanted it. The same year a drove 
of cattle, 500. was driven in from Kentucky, and reached the island after 
swimming the Rock and Illinois rivers." 


In a most interesting autobiog^-aphy of Ma-ka-tai-she-kia-kiak, the Black 
Sparrow Hawk, the chief, commonly known as Black Hawk, dictated to Antoine 
LeClaire and edited by J. B. Patterson this noted warrior relates graphically the 
manners and customs of his people. A few extracts are not out of place : 

"Marriages. — Our women plant the corn, and as soon as they get done we 
make a feast and dance the crane dance in which they join us, dressed in their 
best and decorated with feathers. At this feast the young braves select the young 
woman they wish to have for their wife. He then informs his mother, who calls 
on the mother of the girl, when the arrangement is made and the time appointed 
for him to come. He goes to the lodge when all are asleep (or pretend to be), 
lights his matches, which have been provided for the purpose, and soon finds 
where his intended sleeps. He then awakens her. and holds the light to her face, 
that she may know him — after which he places the light close to her. If she 
blows it out, the ceremony is ended, and he appears in the lodge the next morning 
as one of the family. If she does not blow out the light, but leaves it to bum 
out. he retires from the lodge. The next day he places himself in full view of 
it and plays his flute. The young women go out. one by one. to see whom he is 
playing for. The tune changes, to let them know that he is not playing for them. 
When his intended makes her appearance at the door, he continues his courting 
tune until she returns to the lodge. He then gives over playing and makes an- 
other trial at night, which generally turns out favorable. During the first year 
they ascertain whether they can agree with each other, and can be happy — if not, 
they part, and each looks out again. If we were to live together and disagree, 
we should be as foolish as the whites. Xo indiscretion can banish a woman from 
her parental lodge — no difference how many children she may bring home, she 
is always welcome — the kettle is over the fire to feed them. 

■'Dances. — The crane dance often lasts two or three days. Wlien this is over. 
we feast again, and have our national dance. The large square in the village is 
swept and prepared for the purpose. The chiefs and old warriors take seats on 
mats which have been spread at the upper end of the square — the drummers and 
singers come next, and the braves and women form the sides leaving a large 
space in the middle. The drums beat and the singers commence. 
A warrior enters the square, keeping time with the music. He shows 
the manner lie started on a war party — how he approached the enemy 
— he strikes, and describes the way he killed him. All join in applause. He then 
leaves the square and another enters and takes his place. Such of our young 
men as have not been out in war parties and killed an enemy stand back ashamed 
— not being able to enter the square. I remember that I was ashamed to look 


where our young- women stood before I could take my stand in the square as a 

"What pleasure it is to an old warrior to see his son come forward and relate 
his exploits — it makes him feel young and induces him to enter the square and 
'fight his battles o'er again.' 

"This national dance makes our warriors. When I was traveling last summer 
on a steamboat on a large river, going from New York to Albany, I was shown 
the place where the Americans dance their national dance, (West Point) where 
the old warriors recount to their young men what they have done, to stimulate 
them to go and do likewise. This surprised me. as I did not think the whites 
understood our way of making braves. 

"Labors, Wars, Feasts, etc. — When our national dance is over, our corn 
fields hoed, and every weed dug up, and our com about knee high, all our young 
men would start in a direction toward sundown, to hunt deer and buffalo — being 
prepared, also to kill Sioux, if any are found on our hunting grounds, a part of 
our old men and women to the lead mines to make lead, and the remainder of our 
people start to fish and get mat stuflf. Every one leaves the village and remains 
about forty days. They then return, the hunting party bringing in dried buffalo 
and deer meat, and sometimes Sioux scalps, when they are found trespassing 
upon our hunting grounds. At other times they are met by a party of Sioux too 
strong for them and are driven in. If the Sioux have killed the Sacs last, they 
expect to be retaliated upon, and will fly before them, and vice versa. Each party 
knows that the other has a right to retaliate, which induces those who have killed 
last to give way before their enemy, as neither wish to strike except to avenge 
the death of their relatives. All our wars are predicated by the relatives of those 
killed, or by aggressions upon our hunting grounds. 

"The party from the lead mines bring lead, and the others dried fish and mats 
for our winter lodges. Presents are now made by each party ; the first giving to 
the others dried buffalo and deer, and they in exchange presenting them with 
lead, dried fish and mats. This is a happy season of the year — having plenty of 
provisions, such as beans, squashes and other produce with our dried meat and 
fish, we continue to make feasts and visit each other until our com is ripe. Some 
lodge in the village makes a feast daily to the Great Spirit. I cannot explain 
this so that the white people would comprehend me, as we have no regular stand- 
ard among us. Ever)' one makes his feast as he thinks best, to please the Great 
Spirit who has the care of all beings created. Others believe in two Spirits, one 
good and one bad, and make feasts for the Bad Spirit, to keep him quiet. If they 
can make peace with him, the Bad Spirit will not hurt them. For my part, I am 
of opinion, that so far as we have reason we have a right to use it in determining 
what is right and wrong, and should pursue that path which we believe to be 
right, believing that 'whatever is is right.' If the Great and Good Spirit wished 
us to believe and do as the whites, he could easily change our opinions, so that we 
would see and think and act as they do. We are nothing compared to His power, 
and we feel and know it. We have men among us like the w^hites who pretend 
to know the right path, but will not consent to show it without pay. I have no 
faith in their paths, but believe that every man must make his own path." 



In this same autobiography Black Hawk relates an incident which gives an 
insight into Indian character and discloses a nobility and integrity not often cred- 
ited to the red man : "Our nation now had some difficulty with the lowas. Our 
young men had repeatedly killed some of them, and the breaches had always been 
made up by giving presents to the relations of those killed. But the last council 
we had with them we promised that in case any more of their people were killed 
by ours, instead of presents we would give up the person or persons who had 
done the injury. We made this determination known to our people, but, not- 
withstanding this, one of our young men killed an Iowa the following winter. 

"A party of our young people were about starting for the Iowa village to give 
the young man up, and I agreed to accompany them. When we were ready to 
start, I called at the lodge for the young man to go with us. He was sick, but 
willing to go, but his brother, however, prevented him, and insisted on going to 
die in his place as he was unable to travel. We started, and on the seventh day 
arrived in sight of the Iowa village, and within a short distance of it we halted 
and dismounted. We all bid farewell to our young brave who entered the vil- 
lage singing his death song and sat down in the square in the middle of the vil- 
lage. One of the Iowa chiefs came out to meet us. We told him that we had 
fulfilled our promise, that we had brought the brother of the young man who had 
killed one of his people — that he had volunteered to come in his place, in conse- 
quence of his brother l^eing unable to travel, from sickness. 

"We had no further conversation, but mounted our horses and rode off. As 
we started, I cast my eye toward the village, and observed the lowas coming out 
of their lodges with spears and war clubs. We took the backward trail and 
traveled until dark — then encamped and made a fire. We had not been there 
long before we heard the sound of horses coming toward us. We seized our 
arms, but instead of an enemy it was our young brave with two horses. He told 
me that after we had left him they menaced him with death for some time — then 
gave him something to eat. smoked the pipe with him, and made him a present 
of the two horses and some goods and started him after us. When we arrived 
at our village, our people were much pleased, and for their noble and generous 
conduct on this occasion not one of the Iowa people has been killed since by our 

So in simple words and without comment, an Indian narrates this local inci- 
dent, which is so ethically admirable that it is worthy an epic setting. There is 
no finer subject in literature. 


Many stories of Indian days are told by early residents of Scott county and 
by local historians, I)arrows, Wilkie and others. In his history, "Davenport, 
Past and Present." published in 1858. Franc B. Wilkie relates the story of a duel 
fought in the spring of 1837 on Willow island, now within the limits of the city 
of Davenport, between two Winnebago Indians, one armed with a shot gun. the 
other with a rifle. The quarrel which led to the aflfair took place upon the Illinois 


shore, but the combatants and friends, for some reason or no reason, repaired to 
this side of the river to settle the afTair in an aboriginal adaptation of the code 

When the duelists had been disposed and the word given, the knight of the 
scatter gun made hasty entrance into the happy hunting grounds while the rifle- 
man made good his escape to his Rock river home. From this place of safety 
he voluntarily returned to certain death, impelled by recognition of the claims 
of retributive justice demanded by the kinsman of the brave who fell on Willow 
island. Down Rock river he came in a canoe paddled by his own sister, and, 
rounding the point, proceeded to Rock island, singing his death song as he came. 
As he kneeled upon the edge of a shallow grave already dug for him avenging 
knives found his heart and stilled his song of farewell. 

ANTOiNE LE Claire's indian friends. 

During the latter years of Antoine LeClaire's life, large parties of Indians 
were wont to come to Davenport and camp near his handsome home which 
crowns the central blufif and commands the finest panoramic view in all Daven- 
port. Here they would stay and make him a visit somewhat longer than would 
be sanctioned by prevailing notions of etiquette, but never too long for this best 
and most hospitable friend of the red man. When the news of the murder of 
Col. Davenport reached the Sacs and Foxes in their western home, these Indians, 
alarmed for the safety of Mr. LeClaire, sent a large party to Davenport, and 
these friends, encamping near, guarded the LeClaire home day and night with 
deep solicitude and unremitting care that no evil might befall this family so much 
beloved by them. 

In 1837 the small settlement of Davenport had the disquieting news of an 
impending descent by a war party of hostile Sioux. It was at the time when a 
party of the Sacs and Foxes had gathered here to receive an annuity from the 
government. When the Sacs and Foxes learned that their ancient enemies, the 
Sioux, were camped in the timber where Oakdale cemetery is now located, war 
paint was hastily streaked upon enraged countenances and every warrior saddled 
his pony and started after Sioux scalps. But alas for those Davenporters who 
followed hurriedly to enjoy a bit of genuine frontier warfare, the Sioux had 
taken alarm and had departed with their scalps still serving to enhance their own 
peculiar beauty. 





Into this earthly paradise where the red man tilled the soil, hunted the bison 
and fished in the sparkling waters of the rapidly flowing- rivers, came a discordant 
element, the dominant race, the white man from the Atlantic shore and from 
over-seas. It is uncertain what first white man saw Iowa, "the beautiful land." 
This honor has been freely given to the priest and the trader, Marquette and 
Joliet, but it seems altogether probable that the pioneer of the pioneers, the ex- 
plorer of the unexplored, was the intrepid Pierre Esprit Radisson, who came 
to the new world in 1651, a youth of sixteen, was captured the following year by 
the Iroquois, adopted into the Mohawk tribe, escaped and returned to Europe in 
1652. Again he came to New France in 1654 and with his brother-in- 
law, Medart Chouart Groseilliers, accompanied some trading Algonquins to the 
country beyond Lake Superior. By his prowess at the head of an Algonquin 
war party, he won Algonquin adoption and an invitation to make his home with 
them. But Radisson planned otherwise. "But our mind was not to stay here," 
writes he, "but to know the remotest peoples, and because we had been willing to 
die in their defense these Indians consented to conduct us." 

This band of explorers crossed the Wisconsin and came to the Mississippi, 
described by Radisson as "a mighty river, great, rushing, profound, and compar- 
able to the St. Lawrence." This imaginative Frenchman was greatly impressed by 
the beauty of this portion of the Mississippi valley. To quote him, "The country 
was so pleasant, so beautiful and so fruitful, that it grieved me to see that the 
world could not discover such enticing countries to live in. This I say, because 
the Europeans fight for a rock in the sea against one another, or for a sterile 
land, where the people by a changement of air engender sickness and die. Con- 
trariwise, these kingdoms are so delicious and under so temperate a climate. 


plentiful of all thing's, and the earth brings forth its fruit twice a year, that the 
people live long and lusty and wise in their way. What a conquest would this 
be, and at little or no cost. What pleasure should people have instead of misery 
and poverty. Why should not men reap of the love of God here ? Surely, more 
is to be gained converting souls here than in differences of creed when wrongs 
are committed under pretense of religion. It is true, I confess, that success here 
is difficult, but nothing- is gained without labor and pains." 

So fared forth this peregrinating philosopher, traversing the great northwest 
ten years before Marquette and joliet, twenty years before La Salle. He visited 
the prairie tribes of the Mississippi. He traveled far to southward and westward, 
reaching regions where the sun was hot and the reaping twice a year, where the 
Indians told of other white men who had knives like the French and wore beards. 
His party was near the Spanish of the south. Then they came back to Three 
Rivers by the Dakotas and Canada. 

Did Radisson cross Iowa in his wanderings ? Perhaps he did. There is no 
one to say. His career of adventure was so marred by shifting political alle- 
giance and religious apostasism that no one seems called upon to defend his claim 
to priority or do him honor in any way. 


The story of the voyage of Marquette and Joliet has been told so many times 
that but brief reference to it will be made. These explorers left the mission of 
St. Ignatius at Michimillimackinac May 4, 1673. reached the village of the 
Mascoutins June 7th and after portage to the Wisconsin river proceeded down that 
stream, reaching the Mississippi and a view of Iowa June 17th. On June the 25th 
occurred the incident which intimately connects these explorers with this state. 

(^n that day they discovered a footpath leading to a village of the lUini In- 
dians, and following it received a welcome hospitable in intent and eloquent in 
expression. Said the head man of the village, advancing to meet them, "How 
beautiful is the sun, O Frenchmen, when thou comest to visit us. All our town 
awaits thee, and thou shalt enter all our cabins in peace." After smoking the 
calumet in ceremonial greeting, Marquette and Joliet were conducted to the 
village of the g-reat sachem of the lUini where great honor was shown them in a 
feast, addresses, more smoking of the calumet, invitations to remain, and, in 
default of their acceptance, a farewell by some 600 of the tribe, who accompanied 
them to the river bank and bade them a safe and pleasant journey. 

There have been many who have endeavored to locate this occurrence at the 
site of Davenport, and this contention has received the approval of a number of 
historians. Indeed, there is much to lend probability to this theory. Upon the 
fac-simile of the original Marquette map preserved at St. Mary's college, Mon- 
treal, the town of Peouarea, or Pewaria. where this welcome occurred, was shown 
about midway of the southwest bend of the river on the eastern border of Iowa. 
This corresponds fairly well with the location of Davenport. 

Much as it would please to add this incident to the rich history of this loca- 
tion, there seems to be ample proof that Peouarea was farther down the river. In 
fact, this geographical point seems to have been definitely settled by Prof. 


Laenas Gifford Weld, of the State University of Iowa, in an article in the Iowa 
Journal of History and Politics, issue of January i, 1903, wherein he discusses 
the location of this opening incident in the history of our commonwealth with 
scientific thoroughness, differing with the writers who place Peouarea at Daven- 
port or near Keokuk, and settling upon the mouth of the Iowa river as the place 
where the feet of these white men first pressed Iowa soil. 

The latitude of Peouarea, as given on Marquette's map, would fix its location 
in Lee county, but Professor Weld shows that the latitudes of all the important 
points, such as the mouths of large rivers, marked on this maps are uniformly 
wrong, except one, the mouth of the Arkansas river, also, that the error is uni- 
formly one degree and that this constant error must have resulted from some 
defect in the instruments with which the observations were taken. The Mar- 
quette map was wonderfully well drawn, probably by Joliet, who was an experi- 
enced cartographer, and for some years chief hydrographic officer of New 
France. A comparison with modern maps, shows its marvelous accuracy. 


It is hard to surrender the theory that Peouarea is ancient Davenport. In 
his address of welcome, the Illini sachem set a mark of eloquence and sincerity 
in greeting not often reached by more recent Iowa burgomasters. Read it again 
for its beauty and poetry : 

"I thank thee, Blackgown, and thee, Frenchman," addressing M. Jollyet, "for 
taking so much pains to come and visit us. Never has the earth been so beautiful, 
nor the sun so bright as today. Never has our river been so calm, so free from 
rocks which your canoes have removed as they passed. Never has our tobacco 
had so fine a flavor, nor our corn appeared so beautiful as we behold it today. 
Here is my son that I give thee that thou may'st know my heart. I pray thee to 
take pity on me and all my nation. Thou knowest the Great Spirit who hast 
made us all; thou speakest to him and hearest his word; ask him to give me life 
and health, and come and dwell with us, that we may know him." 

Pretty smooth diction that for a savage, if anyone should care to notice such 
things. Perhaps savagery lies, sometimes, in the point of view. 

After the visit of Marquette and Joliet, there is nothing of historical incident 
on record until almost the close of the eighteenth century, when a detachment 
of Colonial soldiers, coming to chastise the ever-troublesome British Indians, 
located near the mouth of Rock river, fought an almost unknown battle of the 
Revolutionary war. In this interim of many years the only white visitors were 
the French, eager to offer Christianity to the Indian and utilize him as a hunter. 
Under the persuasions of the French, and through the temptation of the proffered 
barter, local Indians neglected their natural means of livelihood and turned away 
from agriculture to bring in skins and furs for the traders who made journeys 
among them. 

After the transfer of the Louisiana purchase to the United States, expeditions 
were organized for the exploration of the Mississippi valley and the northwest that 
the government might be definitely informed as to the new territory conveyed so 
readily by Napoleon. Lewis and Clarke made their historic journey through the 


northwest to the Pacitic ocean. The exploring party given the duty of learning of 
the Mississippi river and adjoining territory was placed in charge of Lieut. 
Zebulon M. Pike of the regular army. To him was delegated many duties, and a 
journal noting the fulfillment of his assignment tells how he noted sites for inland 
forts, smoked the peace pipe with the tribes along the river, moved for peace be- 
tween the warring Sioux and Ojibways, and kept close watch of the operations 
of the British traders who did not cease their exploits on this side the border until 
after the second war with England. 


This expedition left St. Louis in 1805 and August 27th of that year he camped 
at Davenport. His journal for that day reads : "Embarked early ; cold north wind ; 
mercury ten degrees ; the wind so hard ahead that we were obliged to row the boat 
all day. Passed one peroque of Indians, also the Riviere du Roche (Rock river) 
late in the day. Some Indians who were encamped there embarked in their canoes 
and ascended the river before us. The wind was so very strong that although it 
was down the stream they were near sinking. Encamped about four miles above 
the Riviere du Roche on the west shore. This day passed a pole on the prairie 
on which five dogs were hanging. Distance twenty-two miles." 

Elsewhere in this book reference is made to this custom of the Indians, 
this utilization of dogs for votive ofiferings, a rancid custom at best, and one 
which did greatly ofifend the exploring Saxon nose. The days of the rapids 
pilots had not yet arrived, — Wash Hight, the Lancasters and Colemans were 
not at hand and Pike entered upon rocky navigation when he negotiated the 
rapids. He tells the story. "August 28. About an hour after we had em- 
barked we arrived at the camp of James Aird a Scotch gentleman of Michi- 
millimackinac. He had encamped with some goods on the beach and was re- 
pairing his boat, which had been injured in crossing (descending) the rapids 
of the Riviere du Roche, at the foot of which we now were. He had sent three 
boats back for the goods left behind. Breakfasted with him and obtained con- 
siderable information. Commenced ascending the rapids. Carried away our 
rudder in the first rapid, but after getting it repaired the wind raised and 
we hoisted sail. Although entire strangers we sailed through them with a per- 
fect gale blowing. Had we struck a rock in all probability we would have bilged 
and sunk. But we were so fortunate as to pass without touching. Met Mr. 
Aird's boats, which had pilots, fast on the rocks. Those shoals are a continued 
chain of rocks extending in some places from shore to shore about eighteen miles 
in length. They afiford more water than those of the river De Aloyen but are 
much more rapid." 


Mr. Aird probably served Lieut. Pike's breakfast at Stubbs' eddy that morn- 
ing. What a perfect instance of greenhorn's luck that ascent of the rapids was. 
With all the confidence born of ignorance Pike did a trick that no experienced 


voyageur would have dared to attempt. After wintering in the north the ex- 
pedition returned. The journal noted his approach to this vicinity: 

"April 25. Obliged to unship our mast to prevent its rolUng overboard with 
the swell. Passed the first Reynard village (near the head of Rock river rapids 
on the lowan side) at 12 o'clock; counted eighteen lodges. Stopped at the prairie 
in descending on the left about the middle of the rapids where there is a beautiful 
cove or harbor (Watertown, Rock Island county, Ills.). There were three 
lodges of Indians here, but none of them came near us. Shortly after we had 
left this observed a barge under sail with the United States flag, which upon 
our being seen put to shore upon the Big (now Rock) island, about three miles 
above Stony (Rock) river, where I also landed. It proved to be Capt. Many 
of the Artillerists who was in search of some Osage prisoners among the Sacs 
and Reynards. He informed me that at the (large Sac) village of Stony 
Point (near the mouth of Rock river) the Indians evinced a strong disposition 
to commit hostilities ; that he was met at the mouth of the river by an old In- 
dian who said that all the inhabitants of the village were in a state of intoxica- 
tion, and advised him to go up alone. This advice, however he had rejected. 
That when they arrived there they were saluted by the appellation of the bloody 
Americans who had killed such a person's father, such a person's mother, brother,' 
etc. The women carried off the guns and other arms and concealed them. 
That he then crossed the river opposite the village and was followed by a num- 
ber of Indians with pistols under their blankets. That they would listen to no 
conference whatever relating to the delivery of the prisoners but demanded in- 
solently why he wore a plume on his hat, declared that they looked on it as a 
mark of war, and immediately decorated themselves with their raven's feathers, 
worn only in cases of hostility. We regretted that our orders did not permit 
of our punishing the scoundrels, as by a coup-de-main we might easily have 
carried the village. Gave Capt. Many a note of introduction to Messrs. Camp- 
bell, Fisher, Wilmot and Dubuque, and every information in my power. We 
sat up late conversing." 

It is easy to imagine that these two brother soldiers had much to talk about 
in their bivouac in the wilderness. They doubtless would have enjoyed a brush 
with the annoying British band of Indians on Rock river who had not forgotten 
the burning of their town by American soldiers twenty-five years before, who rec- 
ognized no treaty of peace ending the colonial war for independence, who dug up 
the tomahawk in the War of 1812 at the battles of Credit Island and Campbell's 
Island and who consistently refused to be friendly tmtil they were almost an- 
nihilated in the Black Hawk war. 


In the notes to the record of Pike's expedition, the editor. Dr. Elliott Coues, 
has a smile over the river which forms the northern boundar}- of Scott county. 
To quote him: "At 4 p. m.. Pike passed on the left or Iowa side a river whose 
name is perhaps the most remarkable thing about it — Wabisapenicun, Pike's 
map; Wabisipinekan, Pike's text farther on; Wabisapincim. Lewis and Clarke's 
map of 1814; Wapisipinicon, Long's; Wabezipinkan, Nicollet's; Wabesapinica, 


Feather.stonhaugh's; Wapsipinicon. Owens' and United States engineers'; Wap- 
sipinecon. G. L. O. Xo two original authors agree and when one tries to copy 
another he is hable to be foiled by his printer." And with all of Dr. Coues' 
orthographical pinwheeling he does not come within a mile of the spelling our 
own historian Barrows derived from the Indian words. 

D.WENPORT IN 1 824. 

Xot long after came the troops wlio built Fort Armstrong and under the 
guns of the fort a small settlement sprang up on the eastern side of the river. 
It was much later when Antoine LeClaire and his French retainers came to 
the Iowa side and threw together a shanty in the Indian village of Morgan upon 
the site of Davenport. 

In the summer of 1882 Capt. R. S. Harris of Dubuque paid a visit to Dav- 
enport and told of roaming through the pleasant upland where now the business 
portion of Davenport is located in the spring of 1824. His father had gone to 
Galena, then the metropolis of Illinois, the preceding year and being well set- 
tled had sent for his family. Mrs. Harris and the children were on their way 
up the river in a keelboat to join him. The wind favoring they were making 
a fine dash for the rapids but when the boat was just even with Fort Armstrong 
the travelers were alarmed by a cannon shot which whistled in their direction, 
A second shot closely following the first dispelled any idea the keelboat com- 
pany might have had that the first shot was an accident. Running up a flag of 
truce the keelboat made for the Davenport shore and there moored, a deputation 
putting out for the fort in a rowboat to assure the garrison that they were no 
trespassers but law-abiding citizens in search of the remainder of the family. 
The Harris family and their keelboat stayed at this shore a day and a half dur- 
ing which time the boys ransacked the thickets and undergrowth which covered 
the site of Scott county's metropolis searching for anything edible or portable. 
Four years after this incident Capt. Harris shipped on the steamer "Galena" 
as engineer. In 1830 he took command as captain and was on the river for thirty 
vears thereafter. 







From the time when the Sacs and Foxes established themselves in this vicinity 
about 1730, the Sacs on Rock river near its mouth and the Foxes later on the 
site of Davenport, until the American war for independence, there is little or 
nothing of incident to note. In the war of the Revolution these Indians became 
the allies of Great Britain through their friendship for the traders and the Sacs 
and Foxes formed a part of the expedition which took part in a general attack 
upon the Spanish and American country about St. Louis. Spain had declared 
war upon England in 1779, so it was possible for every man in the Mississippi 
valley to be considered an enemy of the British crown. The expedition joined 
by the Sacs and Foxes had Pencour (St. Louis) as its objective point and was 
commanded by a British trader named Hesse, formerly of the Sixtieth regiment. 
Dropping down the river from Prairie du Chien this organization of soldiers, 
traders, servants and Indians was joined here by the Sacs and Foxes and upon 
May 26, 1780, the settlement of Pencour was attacked, but a stubborn resistance 
prevented its capture. Crossing the river an unsuccessful attack was made upon 
Cahokia. There the British and Indian foray into the enemy's country came 
to an end and the invaders returned to the northern country in disorganized 


At Cahokia and in command of the Illinois country was Lieut. Col. John 
Montgomery, whom early historians have called "an Irishman full of fight." 
His official title was "commander-in-chief of the Virginia troops in the county 
of Illinois." In response to a call for reinforcements Col. George Rogers Qark 


came across country from Fort Jefferson on the Ohio, arriving the day before 
the attack upon St. Louis. Before returning to Fort Jefferson, Col. Clark gave 
Montgomery orders to follow the enemy up the Illinois to Lake Peoria and then 
striking across the country to attack and destroy the villages of the Sacs and 
Foxes in this vicinity. Thus was brought about this local engagement of the war 
of tlie Revolution, the most northern in the Mississippi valley. 

With ardor Col. Montgomery, the fighting Irishman of the historians, gath- 
ered together a motley force and pursued. His command was made up of Span- 
iards from St. Louis and vicinity, two companies of fifty men each, two com- 
panies from the French settlements in Illinois and the remainder American 
soldiers, — in all 350 men. There was very little of the pomp and circumstance 
of war about this expedition and very little glory, either, for the battle of Rock 
River is not mentioned in any history and were it not for the tireless search of 
William A. Meese. the Tri-cities' premier historian, the whole matter would be 
even now buried in the archives of Virginia. It was there he unearthed the 
correspondence which j^ives to this locality connection with the war for American 


Capt. Montgomery had but slight acquaintance with the spelling book, but 
he had other information more necessary in war times and a spirit of patri- 
otism above question. Back in 1779 we find him writing to George Rogers 
Clark, "I can't tell what to do in regard of clothing for the soldiers, as the goods 
you sent me is gone, and I would be glad that if it is in your power to send a 
relefe to me for the soldiers, if it is onley as much as will make them a little 
jump jacote and a pear of overalls I think they mite scufifle threw." There's a 
fine spirit of determination for you. There was more than one Valley Forge 
in the Revolutionary war. One year later these same troops were given a 
chance to "scuffle threw" greater difficulties. Patrick Henry, governor of Vir- 
ginia, wrote to Col. Clark that it would be well to withdraw his troops from the 
Illinois villages as he "need expect no help or supplies from the state." Yet in 
spite of his distance from any base of supplies and the precarious nature of his 
maintenance Capt. Montgomery remained in command of his district and gave 
a good account of himself. 

In a letter, under date of February 22, 1783, to the Honorable Board of Com- 
missioners for the -Settlement of Western Accounts Montgomery writes: "In 
the spring of 1780 we were threatened with an invasion. Gen. Clark being 
informed of it hurried his departure with a small body of troops to the falls 
of the Ohio, when receiving other expresses from the Spanish commandants 
and myself luckily joined me at Cohos (Cahokia) time enough to save the 
country from impending ruin, as the enimy appeared in great force within twenty- 
four hours after his arrival. Finding that they were likely to be disappointed in 
their design they retired after doing some mischief on the Spanish shore, which 
would have prevented if unfortunately the high wind had not prevented the sig- 
nals being heard. In a few days a number of prisoners and disarters left the 
enimy. confirming the report that a body of near thousand English and In- 


dian troops ware on their march to the Kentucky country with a train of 
artillery and the general, knowing the situation of that country, appeared to be 
alarmed, and resolved to attempt to get there previous to their arrival. At 
the same time he thought it necessary that they enimy was retreating up the 
Illinois river should be pursued so as to attack their towns about the time they 
might have been disbanded, distress them, convince them that we would retaliate 
and perhaps prevent their joining the British emisarys again. Previous to my 
knowledge of the above resolution I had informed General Clark of my desire 
of leave of absence for some time, in order to return to my family. It was 
then that he informed me of his resolution ; and that the public interest would 
not permit of my request being granted, that I must take command of the ex- 
pedition to Rock river, while he would attempt to interrupt the army marching 
to Kentucky, and if they got there before him, except they weakened the coun- 
try too much he would raise an army and attempt to play them the same game 
in the Miamai country, as he hoped I would go towards Miskelemachnor, and if 
we should be tolerably sucksessful and the business properly arranged I might 
absent myself for four or five months in the fall or winter. 


'"After giving me instructions, he left Kohos the 4th of June with a small 
escort for the mouth of the Ohio on his rout to Kentucky. I immediately pro- 
ceeded to the business I was ordered and marched 350 men to the lake opening 
on the Illinois river, and from thence to the Rock river, destroying the towns and 
crops proposed, the enimy not dareing to fight me, as they had so lately been dis- 
banded, and they could not raise a sufficient force." 

Col. Montgomery makes no mention of the Rock river engagement, probably 
considering it only one incident in the campaign, but James Aird, the trader, who 
dealt with the Indians at Credit island, told Lieut. Pike that the Sacs rallied an 
army of 700 warriors in defense of the Black Hawk village and if there was not 
something of a fight it is a strange circumstance, for the Indians outnumbered 
the attacking party two to one and the Sac was a fighting man whatever the odds 
either way. In any event, the raid as against the Black Hawk village was suc- 
cessful, as Mr. Aird spoke of the discomfiture of the Indian defenders and the 
burning of the village. 

The French, who composed a portion of this expedition of retaliation, ex- 
pected much loot and were grievously disappointed. A letter from one of the 
Cahokians to M. Mottin de la Balme, pensioner of the King of France, French 
colonel, etc., indicates their disgruntled attitude : 

"Oh, Colonel Clark, aflfecting always to desire our public welfare and under 
pretext of avenging us. soon formed with us and conjointly with the Spaniards 
a party of more than 300 men to go and attack in their own village the savages 
who had come to our homes to harass us, and after substituting Colonel Mont- 
gomery to command in his place, he soon left us. It is then well to explain to 
you. sir. that the Virginians, who never employed any principle of economy, have 
been the cause, by their lack of management and bad conduct, of the non-success 
of the expedition, and that our glorious projects have failed through their fault; 


for the savages abandoned their nearest villag-es where we have been, and we 
were forced to stop and not push further, since we had almost no more provisions, 
powder and balls, which the Virc^inians had undertaken to furnish us." 

In a letter written by Capt. John Rogers, who commanded one of the com- 
panies in this expedition, he speaks of reaching- the "river de la Rouze," which is 
a new variant on the name of Rock river. Here, he says, "we burn the towns 
of Saux and Reynards." H the Foxes shared in this castigation, it is possible 
that the town on the site of Davenport shared in the hostilities. But of this there 
is no record, or, at least, none has been discovered. 


Soon after the events narrated, the Sacs and Foxes made their first treaty 
with the United States at Fort Harmar on the Muskingum river in Ohio. Bounda- 
ries were agreed upon and protection and friendship extended by the United 
States to these tribes. 

In 1804 the treaty, given in full elsewhere, was made at St. Louis. Four 
years later adventurers began to enter the Indian country, led by reports of their 
richness in minerals. A fort was built in Iowa on Indian soil, a clear violation 
of the treaty of St. Louis, and this was resented by the Sacs and Foxes. Black 
Hawk led a war party which made an unsuccessful attack upon this fort. 

Black Hawk was consistent in his allegiance to Great Britain, in his refusal to 
recognize the treaty which closed the war of the Revolution or the treaty of St. 
Louis. In his autobiography he tells of his parley with Pike in 1805. "Some 
time afterward a lx)at came up the river with a young American chief, at that 
time Lieutenant, and afterward General Pike, and a small party of soldiers 
aboard. The boat at length arrived at Rock river and the young chief came on 
shore with his interpreter. He made us a speech and gave us some presents, in 
return for which we gave him meat and such other provisions as we could spare. 
We were well pleased with the speech of the young chief. He gave us good ad- 
vice, and said our American father would treat us well. He presented us an 
American flag which we hoisted. He then requested us to lower the British 
colors, which were waving in the air, and to give him our British medals, prom- 
ising to send us others on his return to St. Louis. This we declined to do, as we 
wished to have two fathers." 


Here we have the record of the first United States flag in the upper Missis- 
sippi valley, the first flinging to the breeze of the stars and stripes in all this re- 
gion. How long Black Hawk and his braves lived under the starry banner or 
how much they respected it, owing to their divided allegiance, no one knows. 
Any love that Pike inspired for the "American father" was dissipated at the out- 
break of hostilities l>etween this country and Great Britain, known as the war 
of 1812. and the Sacs and Foxes lined up with the enemy. 


WAR OF l8l2. 

Throughout this war a portion of the Fox and Sac tribes at Rock island re- 
mained hostile to the United States. The first incident of the war which af- 
fected the region in the vicinity of Rock island was Governor Clark's expedition 
to Prairie du Chien. The following account of this expedition is taken from 
"Western Annals," by James H. Perkins: 

About the first of May Governor Clark fitted out five barges, with 
fifty regular troops and 140 volunteers, and left St. Louis on an 
expedition to Prairie du Chien. On the 13th of June, Governor Clark, with 
several gentlemen who accompanied him, returned with one of the barges, hav- 
ing left the officers and troops to erect a fort and maintain the position. No 
Indians molested the party till they reached Rock river, where they had a skir- 
mish with some hostile Sauks. The Foxes resided at Dubuque and professed 
to be peaceable and promised to fight on the American side. Twenty days before 
the expedition reached Prairie du Chien the British trader Dixon left that place 
for ^lackinac with eighty Winnebagoes, 120 Follsavoine, and 100 Sioux, probably 
as recruits for the British army along the lake country. He had gained infor- 
mation of the expedition of Governor Clark from his Indian spies, and had left 
Captain Deace with a body of Mackinac fencibles with orders to protect the 
place. The Sioux and Renards (Foxes) having refused to fight the Americans, 
Deace and his soldiers fled. The inhabitants, also fled into the country but re- 
turned as soon as they learned they were not to be injured. A temporary defense 
was immediately erected. Lieutenant Perkins, with sixty rank and file from Major 
Z. Taylor's company of the Seventh regiment, took possession of the house 
occupied by the Mackinac Fur Company, in which they found nine or ten trunks 
of Dixon's property, with his papers and correspondence. A writer in the 
"Gazette" says : 


"The farms of Prairie du Chien are in high cultivation. Between two and 
three hundred barrels of flour may be manufactured there this season, besides a 
vast quantity of corn. Two of the largest boats were left in command of Aide- 
de-Camp Kennerly and Captains Sullivan and Yeizer, whose united forces amount 
to 135 men. The regulars, under command of Lieutenant Perkins, are stationed 
on shore and are assisted by the volunteers in building the new fort." 

This was called Fort Shelby. On his return the people of St. Louis gave the 
governor a public dinner and expressed their hearty gratulations for the success 
of the enterprise. 

About the last of June Captain John Sullivan, with his company of militia 
and some volunteers whose term of service had expired, returned from Prairie 
du Chien and reported that the fort was finished, the boats well manned and 
barricaded ; that the Indians were hovering around and had taken prisoner a 
Frenchman while hunting his horses. The boats employed carried a six-pounder 
on their main deck and several howitzers on the quarters and gangway. The 
men were protected by a musket-proof barricade. On the 6th of August, the 


Gazette (our authority in these details) states: "Just as we had put our paper to 
press Lieutenant Perkins, with the troops which composed the garrison at Prai- 
rie du Chien, arrived here. Lieutenant Perkins fought the combined force of 
British and Indians three days and nights until they approached the pickets by 
mining. Provisions, ammunition and water expended, when he capitulated; the 
ofificers to keep their private property and the whole not to serve until duly ex- 
changed. Five of our troops were wounded during the siege." 

In a letter from Captain Yeizer to Governor Clark, dated St. Louis, July 28, 
1814, we find the following facts: Captain Yeizer commanded one of the gunboats 
a keelboat fitted up in the manner heretofore described. On the 17th of July, 
at I 130 o'clock, from 1,200 to 1.500 British and Indians marched up in full view 
of the fort and the town and demanded a surrender, "which demand was posi- 
tively refused." They attacked Mr. Yeizer's boat at 3 o'clock, at long-shot 
distance. He returned the compliment by firing round-shot from his six-pounder, 
which made them change their position to a small mound nearer the boat. At the 
same time the Indians were firing from behind the houses and pickets. The boat 
then moved up the river to head of the village, keeping up a constant discharge of 
firearms and artillery, which was answered by the enemy from the shore. The 
enemy's boats then crossed the river below to attack the Americans from the 
opposite side of the river. A galling fire from opposite points was now kept up 
by the enemy on this boat, until the only alternative was left for Captain Yeizer 
lo run the boat through the enemy's lines to a point five miles below, keeping up 
a brisk fire. In the meantime another gun-boat that lay on shore was fired on 
until it took fire and was burnt. In Captain Yeizer's boat two ofificers and four 
privates were wounded and one private killed. The British and Indians were com- 
manded by Colonel McCay, (Mackey) who came in boats from Mackinac, by 
Green bay and the Wisconsin, with artillery. Their report gives from 160 to 
200 regulars and "Michigan fencibles," and about 800 Indians. They landed 
their artillery below the town and fort and formed a battery, atacking rhe forts 
and the boats at the same time. After Captain Yeizer's boat had been driven 
from its anchorage sappers and miners began operations in the bank, 150 yards 
from the fort. Lieutenant Perkins held out while hope lasted. In the fort were 
George and James Kennerly, the former an aid to Governor Clark, the latter a 
lieutenant in the militia. 

BATTLE OF Campbell's island. 

At this time General Benjamin Howard was in command of the military district 
extending from the interior of Indiana to the frontier of Mexico. After the 
return of Governor Clark from Prairie du Chien, and, as it appears, prior to the 
receipt of news of the engagement at that place. General Howard fitted out an 
expedition, under the command of Captain John Campbell, First United States 
infantry, to proceed to Prairie du Chien and strengthen the garrison at that 
place. The expedition consisted of forty-two regulars, sixty-six rangers and 
about twenty-one other persons, including boatmen, women and the sutler's es- 
tablishment. This expedition left St. Louis early in July, 1814, and proceeded 
up the river in three keel-boats as far as Rock island, near which place it was 


attacked by the Indians and nearly destroyed. The following account- of this 
expedition is taken from Governor Reynolds' "Life and Times." 

Lieutenant Campbell commanded the boat with the regulars, and Captain 
Stephen Rector and Lieutenant Riggs the other two barges, manned by the 
rangers. The expedition reached Rock island in peace, but the Sac and Fox 
Indians, in great numbers, swarmed around the boats but still professed peace. 
The barge commanded by Rector was navigated mostly by the French of Ca- 
hokia, and were both good sailors and soldiers ; and the same may be said of 
the company under Lieutenant Riggs, except as to the knowledge of naviga- 
tion. The boats lay still all night at or near the Sac and Fox villages at Rock 
island, and the Indians were all night making hollow professions of friendship. 
Many of the French, after the battle, informed me that they knew the Indians 
would attack the boats, and accordingly they informed Lieutenant Campbell, but 
he disbelieved them. The French said that the Indians wanted them to leave the 
Americans and go home. They would squeeze the hands of the French and pull 
their hands down the river, indicating to leave. The Indians disliked to fight their 
old friends the French. 

The fleet all set sail in the morning and above Rock island the wind blew so 
hard that Campbell's boat was forced on a lee shore and lodged on a small island 
near the mainland, known from this circumstance as "Campbell's Island." The 
Indians, commanded by Black Hawk, when the wind drifted the boat on shore, 
commenced an attack on it. The boats of Rector and Riggs were ahead and could 
see the smoke of the fire arms, -but could not hear the report of the gims. They 
returned to assist Campbell but the wind was so high that their barges were almost 
unmanageable. They anchored near Campbell but could not reach him, the storm 
raged so severely. When Campbell's boat was driven ashore by the wind he 
placed out sentinels and the men commenced cooking their breakfast ; but the 
enemy in hundreds rushed on them, killing many on the spot, and the rest took 
refuge in the boat. Hundreds and hundreds of the warriors were on and around 
the boat and at last set it on fire. Campbell's boat was burning and the bottom 
covered with the dead, the wounded and blood. They had almost ceased firing 
when Rector and his brave men most nobly came to the rescue. Campbell him- 
self lay wounded on his back in the bottom of his boat and many of his men 
dead and dying around him. Riggs' boat was well fortified but his men were 
inexperienced sailors. Rector and company could not remain inactive spectators 
of the destruction of Campbell and men, but in a tempest of wind raised their 
anchor in the face of almost a thousand Indians and periled their lives in the 
rescue of Campbell. No act of noble daring and bravery surpassed the rescue of 
Campbell during the war in the west. The rangers under Rector were mostly 
Frenchmen and were well acquainted with the management of a boat in such a 
crisis. Rector and his men were governed by th6 high and ennobling principles 
of chivalry and patriotism. Rector's boat was lightened by casting overboard 
quantities of provisions and then many of the crew actually got out of the boat 
into the water, leaving the vessel between them and the fire of the enemy and 
pushed their boat against the fire of the warriors to Campbell's boat, which was 
in possession of tlie Indians. This was a most hazardous exploit for forty men, 


forcing their barge to a burning boat in possession of the enemy, nearly a thousand 
strong, and taking from it the wounded and living soldiers, together with their 


A salt-water sailor by the name of Hoadley did gallant service in this daring 
enterprise by his superior knowledge of the management of a vessel. Rector took 
all of the live men from Campbell's boat into his ; and his men, in the water, 
hauled their own boat out into the stream. The Indians feasted on the aban- 
doned boat of Campbell. Rector had his boat crowded with thie wounded and 
dying but rowed night and day until they reached St. Louis. It was supposed 
the boat of Riggs was captured by the enemy; but the vessel was strongly for- 
tified so that it lay, as it were, in the hands of the Indians for several hours ; the 
enemy having possession of the outside and the whites of the inside ; but the wind 
in the evening subsided and Riggs got his boat ofT without losing many men. It 
was a general jubilee and rejoicing when Riggs arrived at St. Louis ; the hearts 
of the people swelled with patriotic joy to know that the lives of so many brave 
soldiers were saved by the courage and energies of Rector, Riggs and their troops. 
I saw the soldiers on their return to St. Louis and the sight was distressing. Those 
who were not wounded were worn down to skeletons by labor and fatigue. 


Writing of this engagement Black Hawk, in his autobiography, tells of 
the disposition of the spoils of war. He first emptied the cargo of whiskey, "bad 
medicine," several barrels, in the river ; next, to quote him, "I found a box full of 
small bottles and packages which appeared to be bad medicine also, such as the 
white medicine men kill the white people with when they get sick, this I threw 
into the river." The ammunition intended for Fort Shelby fell into Black 
Hawk's hands, also boat loads of guns, clothing and provisions which were 
brought to the Fox village on the site of Davenport for distribution. The same 
day of the Campbell's island fight. Fort Shelby, at Prairie du Chien, surrendered 
to an overwhelming force of British and Indians, the name changed to Fort Mc- 
Kay and the command given to Captain Thomas G. Anderson. 

The National Intelligencer of August, 1814, states the number of killed and 
wounded in this engagement to have been thirty-six. Capt. Campbell and Dr. 
Abram Stewart, surgeon's mate, were also wounded, the former seriously. After 
this disaster and the return of the survivors to St. Louis, another and larger 
expedition was fitted out, the object of which was to punish the Indians at Rock 
island and to establish and maintain a fort at or near that place. The detach- 
ment was under the command of Brevet Major Zachary Taylor, Seventh United 
States infantry, afterward president of the United States, and consisted of 334 
oflficers and men (regulars, militia and rangers). There were only forty of the 
regular troops and it is presumed that these belonged to the Seventh United 
States infantry. 



August 2 1 St the British were informed by the Fox Indians that another expe- 
dition, larger than the preceding ones, had left St. Louis for the upper river. Six 
days later, Captain Anderson sent Lieutenant Duncan Graham to meet this new 
force with a command of thirty British soldiers, a brass three-pounder and two 
swivels, with instructions to harass the Americans and if possible compel a return 
to St. Louis. Thus was brought about an engagement within the corporate limits 
of the city of Davenport and known as the battle of Credit Island. The unwieldly 
nature of the keel boats, the inadequate means of propulsion or maneuver, 
brought disaster to the American arms. These were not battle ships but rather 
transports and of the most primitive sort. The issue of the conflict brought no 
reproach to the ofificer in command, Major Taylor, later the hero of the Mexican 
war and president of the United States. 


Under date of Fort Madison, September 6, 1841, Mayor Taylor reports to 
Gen. Howard : 

Sir: In obedience to your orders i left Fort Independence on the 2d ult., and 
reached Rock river, our place of destination, on the evening of the 4th inst., with- 
out meeting a single Indian or any occurrence worthy of relation. On my arrival 
at the mouth of Rock river the Indians began to make their appearance in con- 
siderable numbers ; running up the Mississippi to the upper village and crossing 
the river below us. After passing Rock river, which is very small at the mouth, 
from an attentive and careful examination as I proceeded up the Mississippi I 
was confident it was impossible for us to enter its mouth with our large boats. 
Immediately opposite its mouth a large island commences, which, together with 
the western shore of the Mississippi, was covered with a considerable number of 
horses ; which were doubtless placed in those situations in order to draw small 
detachments on shore. But in this they were disappointed and I determined to 
alter the plan which you have suggested — which was to pass the different villages 
as if the object of the expedition was Prairie du Chien — for several reasons: 
first, t-hat I might have an opportunity of viewing the situation of the ground to 
enable me to select such a landing as would bring our artillery to bear on the 
villages with the greatest advantage. I was likewise in hopes a party would ap- 
proach us with a flag, from which I expected to learn the situation of aflfairs at 
the Prairie, and ascertain in some measure their numbers and perhaps bring them 
to a council, when I should have been able to have retaliated on them for their 
repeated acts of treachery ; or, if they were determined to attack us, I was in 
hopes to draw them some distance from their towns toward the rapids, ran down 
in the night and destroy them before they could return to their defense. But in 
this I was disappointed — the wind which had been in our favor, began to shift 
about at the time we passed the. mouth of Rock river; and by the time we reached 
the head of the island, which is about a mile and a half long, it blew a perfect 
hurricane, quarterly down the river, and it was with difficulty we made land at 
a small island containing six or eight acres covered with willows, near the middle 


of the river, and about sixty yards from the upper end of the island. In this 
situation 1 determined to remain during the night, if the storm continued; as I 
knew the anchors of several of the lx>ats in that event would not hold them and 
there was a great probability of their being drifted on sand-bars, of which the 
river is full in this place, which would have exposed the men very much in getting 
them off. even if they could have prevented their filling with water. It was about 
4 o'clock in the evening when we were compelled to land, and large parties of 
Indians were on each side of the river, as well as crossing in different directions 
in canoes, but not a gim w^as fired from either side. The wind continued to 
blow the whole night with violence, accompanied with some rain, which induced 
nie to order the sentinels to be brought in and placed in the bow of each boat. 
.\bout daylight Captain Whitesides' boat was fired on at the distance of about fif- 
teen paces and a corporal who was on the outside of the boat was mortally 
wounded. My orders w^ere if a boat was fired on to return it, but not a man to 
leave the boat without positive orders from myself. So soon as it got perfectly 
light, as the enemy continued about the boat, I determined to drum them from the 
island, let their numbers be what they might — provided we were able to do so. I 
then assigned to each boat a proper guard, formed the troops for action, and 
pushed through the willows to the opposite shore; but those fellows who had the 
lx)ldness to fire on the boats, cleared themselves as soon as the troops were formed, 
by wading from the island we were encamped on to the one just below us. Cap- 
tain Whitesides, who was on the left, was able to give them a warm fire as they 
reached the island they had retreated to. They returned the fire for a 
few moments when they retreated. In this affair we had two men badly 
wounded. When Captain Whitesides commenced the fire, I ordered Captain 
Rector to drop down with his boat to ground and to rake the island below with 
artillery, and to fire on every canoe he should discover passing from one shore 
to the other which should come within reach. In this situation he remained about 
one hour, and no Indians making their appearance, he determined to drop down the 
island about sixty yards and destroy several canoes that were laying to shore. 
This he effected, and just on setting his men on board the British commenced a 
fire on our boats with a six, a four and two swivels, from behind a knoll that 
completely covered them. The boats were entirely exposed to the artil- 
lery, which was distant about 350 paces from us. So soon as the first 
gim fired I ordered a six-pounder to be brought out and placed, but, on recollect- 
ing a moment, I found the boat would be sunk before any impression could be 
made on them by our cannon, as they were completely under cover, and had al- 
ready brought their gims to bear on our boats — for the round-shot from their 
six passed through Lieutenant Hempstead's boat and shattered her considerably. 
1 then ordered the boats to drop down which was done in order and conducted 
with the .i,'-reatest coolness by every officer, although exposed to a constant fire 
from their artillery for more than half a mile. So soon as they commenced firing 
from their artillery the Indians raised the yell and commenced firing on us in every 
direction, whether they were able to do us any damage or not. from each side of 
the river. Captain Rector, who was laying to the shore of the island, was attacked 
the instant the first gun was fired, by a very large party, and in a close and 
well-contested contest of about fifteen minutes they drove them, after giving three 


rounds of grape from his three-pounder. Captain Whitesides, who was near- 
est to Captain Rector, dropped down and anchored nigh him, and gave the 
enemy several fires with his swivel; but the wind was so hard down stream as 
to drift his anchor. Captain Rector at that moment got his boat off, and we were 
then exposed to the fire of the Indians for two miles, which we returned with 
interest from our small arms and small pieces of artillery, whenever we could 
get them to bear. I was compelled to drop down about three miles before a 
proper place presented itself for landing, as but few of the boats had anchors 
sufficient to stop them in the river. Here I halted for the purpose of having 
the wounded attended and some of the boats repaired, as some of them had been 
injured by the enemy's artillery. They followed us in their lx>ats until we halted 
on a small prairie and prepared for action, when they returned in as great a 
hurry as they followed us. 

I then collected the officers together and put the following questions to them : 
Are we able, 334 effective men — offi'cers, non-commissioned officers 
and privates — to fight the enemy with any prospect of success and 
effect, which is to destroy their villages and corn ? They were of opinion the enemy 
was at least three men to one, and that it was not practicable to effect either ob- 
ject. I then determined to drop down the river to the Lemoine without delay, as 
some of the ranging officers informed me their men were short of provisions, and 
execute the principal object of the expedition in erecting a fort to command the 
river. This shall be effected as soon as practicable with the means in my power, 
and should the enemy attempt to descend the river in force before the fort can 
be completed every foot of the way from the fort to the settlements shall be 

In the affair at Rock river I had eleven men badly wounded, three mortally, 
of whom one has since died. I am much indebted to the officers for their prompt 
obedience to orders, nor do I believe a braver set of men could have been col- 
lected than those who composed this detachment. But, sir, I conceive it would 
have been madness in me, as well as a direct violation of my orders, to have 
risked the detachment without a prospect of success. I believe I should have been 
fully able to have accomplished your views, if the enemy had not been supplied with 
artillery, and so advantageously posted as to render it impossible for us to have 
dislodged him without imminent danger of the loss of the whole detachment. 
Za. Taylor, Brevet Major, Commanding Detachment. 


The larger of the two islands referred to in the above communication by 
Gen. Zachary Taylor, a short time after the battle referred to by him had at- 
tached to it the name of "Credit" island, which name has subsequently been often 
changed to suit the whims or fancies of its several owners. 

Just below Davenport this beautiful island is situated and contains some 200 
acres, once well wooded and now partially farmed. It is a very creditable 
sort of island, indeed well known all the country around. It's a queer sort of 
name for an island, yet nothing discreditable as to name or condition. It came 
honestly enough by it and this is how : 


In the early days of this section, as far back as 1815 to 1830, the Great Amer- 
ican Fur Company did a thrifty business in this locality, selling goods to the In- 
dians and taking pay in peltries. It was the custom of the Indians to go on ''tick." 
They were good pay masters, it is said, but giving cash down was no part of their 
commercial training. As a matter of fact, it is a good deal so with people of 
today who are not purely savage. It was the custom of the noble redman, as soon 
as his delicate wives had gotten the com. beans, and papooses gathered in the fall, 
to put out on their annual winter hunt after furred animals, but they had no am- 
munition at that time of year, having used it all the previous season. Besides, 
their personal wardrobe was out of repair and their squaws and daughters de- 
sired something stunning for the winter gaieties. Cnder the circumstances what 
could an Indian or even a white savage do but to "run his face?" What would 
you do yourself? You would use your credit, if you had any; so did the Indian. 

It was the custom of the traders to appear along in September, and for the 
better protection of their goods and chattels and horses from unforeseen stamped- 
ing invasion, they almost invariably betook themselves to the island in question. 
There they were visited in canoes by the Indians, who swarmed hither from all 
the country round about to trade. The traders would erect temporary stores in 
which were exposed for sale or barter vast quantities of goods of every descrip- 
tion — dry, hard and liquid — that were considered useful or ornamental in the 
proud savage's home. The average Indian's word was considered gilt-edged, and 
on four and six months' promises, generally bought all the powder, lead, guns, 
traps and dry goods desired, conditioned upon paying a rousing good price in 
peltries. So the business was all done on credit and from the long duration of 
the custom here recited the beautiful island below Davenport gained the well 
known name of Credit island. 


After this digression, by way of description of the battle ground mentioned in 
Gen. Taylor's letter, we will hark back to the aforesaid "battle of Credit Island," 
and give the other side of the story as related in a letter to his superior officer. 
Captain Thomas G. Anderson, in which Lieutenant Duncan Graham, at the head 
of the P.ritish contingent, had the following to say : 

Rock River, September 7, 1814. 
Capt. Thomas G. Anderson : 

Sir: — I mentioned to you in my letter of the 4th inst., by the information I 
had from the Indians, that the enemy were within thirty leagues of this place on 
their way up. As soon as I found out their strength I concluded the place of their 
destination must be La Prairie du Chien. The rapids was the only place where 
we could attack such a force to any advantage. On the 5th inst.. we moved to the 
west side of the island, and took our position at the narrowest part of the chan- 
nel, the only place where they could pass at tliat point. We were determined to 
dispute the road with them, inch by inch. 

They appeared in sight at 4:00 o'clock, p. m., with a strong fair wind. There 
were eight large boats, four of which were equal in size to the one that made her 


escape from the Prairie. The largest of them had a large white tlag flying at her 
mast head. When they came to the head of Credit islanrl, about two miles from 
us. a storm of rain, thunder and lightning came on. and the wind shifted to the 
opposite point of the compass, which compelled them to pass the remainder of the 
day and that night here. All the women and children were sent to the island. I 
took all the Sioux with us to cover the guns in case of being obliged to retreat, 
as they promised they would rather be killed to the last man than give up the 

I told the Sauks in case the enemy should attempt to land at their village to 
retreat to the island and then we would return and attack them. The 6th. at break 
of day. some of the Sauks came to us and requested that we should attack them 
immediately, as the wind was against them and some of their boats were aground. 
We crossed to the mainland at the Foxes' village. There we left our boats and went 
as quickly as possible through the prairie unperceived by the enemy until we were 
on the beach opposite to them. Here we had a close view of them. I had no 
idea of the enormous size of their boats before. They lay with their broad sides 
close to a low, sandy beach. The largest of them had six port-holes open on the 
side next to us. The channel was about 600 yards broad. 

We were on an elevated spot but no covering. I requested the Indians not to 
waste their ammunition firing at the boats, and save it in case the enemy should 
attempt to land. They did so. Finding they could not make up matters with the 
Sauks. as they had killed one of their sentinels in the night, they took down the 
white flag and put up the bloody in its place, which I believe to be a signal of 
no quarters. It was then 7 :oo o'clock in the morning. Everything being ready, 
we opened a brisk fire from the three-pounder and two swivels on our boats. In 
about three-quarters of an hour the largest of their boats, which was ahead of the 
others, after having about fifteen shots through her, began to push off and dropped 
astern of the rest, and made the best of her way down the current. The others 
soon followed her. We kept firing at them along the bank, as far as the ground 
would permit us to drag the guns, but they soon got out of our reach. They went 
on about a league and put to shore. I thought they might intend to throw up 
some breastworks and make a stand at that place. I sent immediately for the 
boats to go with all the Indians to endeavor to dislodge them from there. By the 
time we were ready to embark some of the Indians that followed returned and 
informed us that it appeared to them that the Americans had committed the 
bodies of some of their men to a watery grave, well knowing if they buried them 
on shore they would be torn to pieces. They then got up their sails, the wind be- 
ing fair, and made the best of their way off. As the enemy landed at that place 
the Indians say there were about a thousand men. I think their number to be 
between six and eight hundred. 

If we had had a larger supply of ammunition and provisions we might have 
harassed them as far as the rapids of the river Des Moines, but having only a 
scanty supply of the one and entirely destitute of the other, we were obliged to 
give up pursuing them any further. Although we have not been able to capture 
any of their boats they have been completely repulsed and, I have every reason to 
believe, with a considerable loss, as out of fifty-four shots that we fired at them, 
there were only three or four that did not go through their boats. The action lasted 


about an hour. One of the swivels was served by Lieut. Brisbois, and the other 
by Colin Campbell, which they executed with credit to themselves; and all at- 
tached to the expedition behaved themselves in a manner worthy of veteran troops, 
for they seemed to vie with each other who would be the foremost, notwithstand- 
ing they were entirely exposed to the enemy's shot, and I am happy to say that 
not a man was hurt. It is to the skill and courage of Sergeant Keating, on whom 
everythinjj depended, that we owe our success, and no praise of mine can bestow 
on him what he deserves. .As the Indians had no communication with the enemy 
I have not been able to find out who commanded the American expedition. 


In his "Life and Times" Governor Reynolds gives a spirited account of this 
battle which was fought in the suburbs of Davenport ; a battle which it is hoped will 
be duly commemorated by the people of Iowa even as the site of the en- 
gagement on Campbell's island has been marked by the people of Illinois. Gov- 
ernor Reynolds had a brother in the Credit island fight and doubtless received 
from him details of the narration. It is interesting to note in what particulars 
the three accounts agree and in what points there are disagreements. The Cap- 
tain Rector. Governor Reynolds mentions, was a cousin of the hero of the Camp- 
bell's island fight. Verily. "The Rector family never knew what fear was." This 
is the account : 

"Nothing uncommon occurred until they reached Rock island, where they met 
British soldiers cannon and swarms of Indians. The English had captured our 
garrison at Prairie du Chien and had the whole country in possession north of the 
settlements near the present city of Alton. 

"Our white enemy was at Rock island with many regulars, six pieces of can- 
non and hordes of Indian warriors. Major Taylor, with his usual sound judg- 
ment anchored his fleet out in the Mississippi about one half mile above the mouth 
of Rock river and not far from Three Willow islands. It was supposed that the 
English had ordered the Indians to occupy these islands in great numbers in the 
night, as they swarmed with the red warriors at daylight. The English had in 
the night planted cannon in battery at the edge of the water so as to destroy our 
boats in the morning. It was the English calculation that the cannon would de- 
stroy our boats and the men would have to swim to the islands where the Indians 
would kill them. It is almost impossible to circumvent the Americans. Taylor 
ordered all his forces except twenty men on each boat to proceed to the islands 
and destroy the Indian warriors on them. This order was executed with great 
vigor and efficiency and the Indians were either killed or drove to the lower island ; 
but in the meantime the British cannon opened a tremendous fire on our boats 
that cau-^ed the soldiers to rush back to the boats to save them from the cannon 
balls which were piecing them in every direction. British officers were 
moimted on horseback giving commands to the cannonades and many regu- 
lars and hundreds of Indians obeying. The boats were unable to resist the 
cannon and almost every shot told on them. In the battle some Indian canoes 
were seen on the lower island and Captain Rector was ordered with some 
men to scour the island. He did so and drove the Indians back into the willows; 


but the enemy reinforced and in turn drove Rector back to the sand beach again. 
In this sortie from his boat Rector was elegantly dressed in military costume with 
a towering feather in his cap and a sword drawn, leading his men to the charge. 
In this exposed situation with hundreds of gims fired at him he moved on un- 
daunted as if he were in his mess-room with his comrades. The Rector family 
never knew what fear was. The boats under Taylor were ordered to retreat 
down the river; but just as Rector's boat got under way it grounded and stuck 
fast. The Indians surrounded it and it was with the utmost hard fighting they 
were kept out. All the boats had left except Captain Samuel Whitesides. who saw 
the imminent danger of Rector and with true courage and kindness of heart re- 
turned to save his brother soldiers. If Whitesides had not returned, Rector and 
all his men were doomed to destruction. Rector's boat being saved all descended 
the river until they were out of reach of the cannon, when Major Taylor called a 
council of his officers. 

"It was ascertained that there were more than i,ooo Indians at and near Rock 
island and a detachment of British regulars with six field pieces ; and the eflFective 
American soldiers were only 334 in number. This showed the force of the enemy 
to be more than three to one over the Americans. 

"Under all circumstances it was considered imprudent and improper to at- 
tach such superior forces and the whole fleet descended the river to the site where 
Warsaw now stands. At this point Fort Edwards was built and Fort Johnson 
a few miles above was burned. After the erection of Fort Edwards the troops 
remained three or four weeks, but the major part of them descended the river to 
St. Louis and were discharged the i8th of October, 1814. 

"Thus ended this expedition which pretty much closed the war in the West. 
Scarcely any further Indian depredations were committed and the troops were 
generally disbanded. On the 24th of December, 1814, peace was concluded at 
Ghent in Europe; but the act was not known for some months thereafter. 

"I saw in the harbor of St. Louis the boats that were in Taylor's battle at 
Rock island and they were riddled with the cannon balls. I think the balls were 
made of lead ; at any rate they pierced the boats considerably." 


At the close of the war of 1812, Sept. 13, 1815, at Portage des Sioux, a treaty 
was made between the United States and the Sacs, which reaffirmed the St. 
Louis treaty of 1804 and those of the Sac tribe at this treaty represented agreed 
to keep entirely separate from the Sacs of Rock river, the British band who, 
under Black Hawk, had joined the British in the war just ended. The following 
day, the Foxes entered into a similar agreement. May 13th the Rock river Sacs 
also entered into treaty with the government at St. Louis, affirming the treaty of 
1804 and this time Black Hawk "touched the goose-quill." 

In a treaty held at Washington, August 4, 1824. the Sacs and Foxes relin- 
quished all title to lands in Missouri, and the southeast corner of Iowa, known as 
the "half-breed tract," was reserved for the use of the half-breeds of the Sacs 
and Foxes, they holding title in the same manner as Indians. 


August 19, 1825, a treaty was held at Prairie du Chien in which the boundary 
line between the Sioux and Sacs and Foxes was determined. In 1830 these 
tribes conveyed a strip of twenty miles on each side of the boundary line to the 
United States as a neutral strip in the interest of peace between these ancient 
enemies, the Sioux, Sacs and Foxes. 


In 1832. September 21st. General Winfield Scott and Governor Reynolds nego- 
tiated with the Sacs and Foxes and Winnebagoes for the purchase of 6,000,000 
acres of land on the west bank of the Mississippi known as' the "Black Hawk 
Purchase." This treaty was held near Farnam and Fifth streets. This incom- 
parable domain was purchased at an expense computed to be 9 cents an acre. 
At this treaty, 400 acres on the Iowa river, including Keokuk's village, was not 
transferred and was afterward known as "Keokuk's Reserve." 

In 1836 Governor Henry Dodge, of Wisconsin territory, negotiated a treaty 
by which this reserve passed into the hands of the United States and the Sacs and 
Foxes moved to a reservation on the Des Moines river, where an agency 
was established for them. This site is now occupied by the town of Agency City, 
in Wapello county. Here Keokuk, Appanoose and Wapello, chiefs of the united 
tribes, had large farms under cultivation. 

In 1837 a treaty was held at Washington in which the Sacs and Foxes con- 
veyed to the government a tract of 1,250,000 acres, lying west of the Black Hawk 
purchase and adjoining it. This piece of land had a breadth of twenty-five miles 
in the center and ran off to a point at both ends. At this treaty the Sacs and Foxes 
relinquished all title to any lands in Iowa, and in 1842, at a final treaty held at 
Agency City, John Chambers, acting for the United States, the Sacs and Foxes 
closed accounts with the government by relinquishing title to all lands west of 
the Mississippi. .\11 the lands east of the great river they had parted with in 
earlier treaties. 


The treaty of 1836 was held at Davenport. The site is in doubt. Some of the 
older citizens place it on East River street, on the height between Bridge and 
Mississippi avenues : others say where Prospect park is located. Dr. E. S. Bar- 
rows, who was present at the treaty, gave the former location. He used to say 
that Black Hawk's camp was on the hills later known as Camp McClellan and 
now McClellan Heights. At that time the water in the river was so low that the 
Indians in passing to the trading point on the island waded the river except for a 
rod or two in the channel where their ponies swam. 

Col. J. H. Sullivan, well known as the mayor of Rockingham, was also present 
at the signing of this treaty, and wrote to Ohio relatives of the occurrence. A 
copy of a Zanesville paper preserves his graphic description. The extract : 

"We have been permitted to make the following extract from a letter for 
publication from our talented and enterprising friend Col. John H. Sullivan, of 
Rockingham. Wisconsin territory, to his father of this place, dated Oct. 2, 1836, 


after visiting the treaty ground where the Sac and Fox chiefs with a few 
hundred of their braves and principal men were assembled on the west side of 
the Mississippi opposite Ft. Armstrong on Rock island for the purpose of selling 
to the U. S. government the whole of the reserve on the Iowa, containing 250- 
000 acres, and which were disposed of at the rate of 75 cents an acre. The two 
bands of Foxes under Poweshiek and Wapello were encamped on the Wisconsin 
side of the Mississippi, opposite and about half way up Rock island. The en- 
campment was on a slope of the bluff and at a little distance looked quite pic- 
turesque, as the Indians flitted about the bulrush and bark tents, arrayed in their 
showy green or red blankets, looking for all the world when you gave a glance at 
their horses browsing on the bluff tops, like a picture of an Arab encampment, 
glowing with the bright and gorgeous colors of orientalism ; but when you came 
nearer, all the glory vanished. Your eye would go to scrutinizing the tents with 
all the dirty paraphemaHa of skinning, jerking meat and general cooking opera- 

"About a half a mile above this encampment lay the far more neatly arranged 
tents of the Sacs — which was Black Hawk's band but is no more. It is called his, 
but alas, poor old man, the scepter has departed from Judah, has no voice in 
council — no authority in the tribe. This encampment was made immediately on 
the bank of the river, on a kind of promontory, and the tents were arranged 
around in the form of a crescent. Above them and fronting the hollow of the 
crescent was erected the council lodge. At one end was placed Gov. Dodge, 
Capt. Boone and Lieut. Lea — the commissioners — together with General Street, 
the Indian agent ; and the Indian traders fronting them — and on each side of the 
council house were arranged the tawny warriors, decked out in the most impos- 
ing finery. The mass of the warriors and braves were standing ; the chiefs and 
headmen sitting in front of the standing phalanxes, all listening with dignified 
attention to the propositions of the governor and as each sentence was inter- 
preted to them, signifying their approbation by the interjectional 'Heigh.' 


"Who is that sitting in front upon the ground with an air of a good deal of 
nonchalance, but who is not forgetful of propriety and of the proper mode of 
commanding respect, amid all this apparent indifference ? That is Wapello Powe- 
shiek, the chief of the most numerous but of the poorest band of all. He has not 
management enough to keep his band in as thrifty a state as the rest. Who is 
that blear eyed young looking fellow, to whom Keokuk is looking as if he were 
watching his emotions ? That is Appanoose, a very talented but dissipated chief. 
What fellow is that with uncombed and unshorn hair— his naturally fierce coun- 
tenance rendered hideous by his smearing it fantastically with black and black 
only ? That is Pashi-pa-ho, or the stabbing chief, so named from the many assas- 
sinations he has committed. He is of the purest princely blood of any Uving 
chief in the two nations. I need not ask who that next one is. That nobiUty of 
countenance, fine contour and talented expression only belong to Keokuk. See, 
he rises. He is going to speak. x\s he steps out from the other Indians, you see 
still more strikingly the difference between him and the ordinary Indians. His 


form is of the largest class— tall without seeming to be so — full and portly with- 
out the slightest tendency to corpulency. His chest and shoulders and right arm 
were bare save the necklace of bear's claws, and the large snake that was en- 
circling and pendent from his right arm. His left arm, passing through the folds 
of his blanket, brought that article of dress close to his form, without checking 
the freedom of sinister limb. In the left hand he sported a fine pongee silk hand- 
kerchief. The large snake skin, which was lined with some rich material and had 
attached to it a number of little bells that gave forth a tinkling sound at every 
gesture, added no little grace and impressiveness to elocution. He advanced with 
stately step— the massy trappings of his white buckskin leggins half concealing, 
half disclosing, set off his finely formed and comparatively small foot to consid- 
erable advantage. He advanced to the governor's stand and shook hands with 
him preparatory to opening his address. He then retreated half a dozen steps 
and fixing his keen eyes on the governor commenced. As he advanced with the 
subject, his broad and massive chest swelled with the force of thought and feel- 
ing, and his voice rang clear as a trumpet. He was fluent in words, energetic and 
graceful in action. 

"The result was the sale, as I have stated, of the entire Iowa reservation." 


An account of the Black Hawk war which marked the end of the red man's 
claim to local territory would naturally close this chapter, but anything which 
could here be written is told in succeeding chapters. When the treaties which fol- 
lowed the Black Hawk war had been signed the white people were left in undis- 
turbed possession. As to the merits of bargain and sale, conquest and dispos- 
session the perspective of time will make all things clear. 


riMriM Ill, I 

; \i. \ ii;\\ (ii- DANKXi'oirr KiioM tiik kock [slaxd siioki 

ISLAM) AlUIMKNT. \\\:^\ KA I l.i;( »AI) 111; 







Of all the counties of Iowa, Scott county is peculiarly fortunate in that its early 
history was written down while yet the incidents were fresh in the memories 
of those who had made that history by one who brought to that task every quali- 
fication necessary to the work, — Willard Barrows. This gifted gentleman came 
to this region as a government surveyor, camped among the Indians and learned 
their language and traditions, entered into comradeship with the hardy pioneers 
in this outpost of civilization, here made his home and became one of Davenport's 
most beloved and honored citizens. After the town had existed long enough 
to have "old settlers" an organization was formed among them and Willard 
Barrows, the scholarly pioneer, student, linguist and finished gentleman was re- 
quested to prepare a history of the county. The work was to his taste and he 
entered thereon with enthusiasm. The authentic, delightful and circumstantial 
record of pioneer days which is reproduced entire in this work was the result. 

Barrows' History of Scott County appeared serially in the Davenport Ga- 
zette, beginning in the issue of June 30, 1859 and ending March i, i860. The 
history was reprinted in the Annals of Iowa, the official organ of the Iowa State 
Historical society, the first installment appearing in the issue of January, 1863. 
Other portions appear in subsequent issues of 1863 and 1864. The author 
brought to date in this second publishing almost all paragraphs in which such 
editing was necessary. 


In the interim between these two printings of the history suggestions as to 
corrections of fact were invited by the author and all criticisms were investi- 


gfated and correction made where necessary. Owing to these circumstances this 
record of early days became well nigh perfect in narration, and was hailed with 
delight by all those interested in Scott county and in Iowa history. The Gazette 
commented as follows in the issue of March i, i860. "As a local history these 
sketches cannot be too highly estimated. A great many interesting and even im- 
portant facts which were fast passing into oblivion have been placed on imper- 
ishable record. The first tracings of civilization here have been mapped. The 
early trials and struggles of the pioneers — the gradual gathering of strong 
hearts and vigorous forms from far distant places — the redeeming of prairie 
and wilderness — the opening of farms and the founding of, villages — and the 
process of development from the home of the Indian to the home of a population 
of 26,000 people surrounded by all the elements, of plenty, wealth, civilization 
and Christianity are well depicted in this history of Scott county. Our com- 
munity owes a debt of gratitude to the author for his earnest and assiduous labors, 
opposed as they were at times by most perplexing obstacles in gathering the 
material for this book and presenting them to the public in so pleasant a form. 
He does not claim perfection for the result, but we claim for him that he has 
done his duty well and faithfully and that he is probably the only competent man 
in the county who could or would have devoted so much time and labor, and 
without pecuniary reward to an enterprise in which he has no more personal or 
selfish interest than many other citizens. His sketches have been read with great 
interest by old and new settlers, and at home and abroad." 


A writer at Grinnell voiced an appreciation of Mr. Barrows as the historian 
of Scott county through his long residence, personal participation in many of the 
scenes and incidents and intimate acquaintance with all old settlers, the sources 
from which his information was taken. This writer also notes Mr. Barrows' 
habits of close observation, peculiar taste for conducting researches, extending, 
to the far past, and his ability to tell the results of his observation and 

A Muscatine paper of later date speaks of Mr. Barrows as: "One of Scott 
county's citizens, an old settler of whom the state is justly proud, who furnished 
the first and best county history." The Iowa Religious News-Letter, Ehibuque, 
1863, the only religious journal in the state at the time, adds its word, "Fortunate 
would it be for the state if every county could find so faithful and painstaking a 


Light is thrown on Willard Barrows' estimate of the importance of his mis- 
sion as historian and his devotion to this work which he considered a duty laid 
upon him by his fellow citizens by his response at the third annual festival of 
the Pioneer Settlers' association, February 22, i860, to a toast, "The historian 
of Scott county, — his indefatigable research in the gathering of facts, statistics 
and incidents, and his untiring industry in combining them in the indelible 
record of types have created a living memory of the pioneer history of Scott 


county with which the name of the historian must ever be connected." In re- 
sponding Mr. Barrows said, in part: "The crude and imperfect material which 
has been compiled may be of service to the future historian when the great 
valley of the Mississippi shall have put on her strength and beauty, when her 
vast plains shall be dotted over with the habitations of man, and the commerce 
of a great people be seen floating upon the bosom of our noble river. It will be 
then, sir, that the living memories of the pioneers of Scott county will stand 
forth amid the splendor of coming ages and receive their just meed of praise. 

"To this glorious result we have all here tonight contributed. Alike have 
we borne the heat and burden of a pioneer life. It was you, pioneer fathers 
and mothers of Scott county, — it was you that first planted the seeds of this his- 
tory. It is you that make up this history. It was you that covered up the last 
footprints of the Indian upon the soil of Scott county, and reared the altars of 
civilization upon the ruins of barbarism. As I look around me here, tonight, and 
behold the familiar faces of old and tried friends, how well do I remember the 
trials and conflicts of our early history. 

"The material, sir, for the future historian of Iowa will be rich and abundant, 
and although we cannot point to a Mt. Nebo, a Lebanon or a Zion, or to rivers 
made sacred by the presence of patriarchs and prophets, yet we have our own 
lovely plains with their Eden-like beauty, and the deep rolling Mississippi for 
our Ganges, our Euphrates and our Nile. We have no Plymouth Rock made 
memorable by the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, no battlefields upon which the 
proud monument rears its lofty head. But we can stand upon our own native 
bluffs and contemplate with wonder and admiration the never tiring waves of 
that mighty river whose tributaries drain a country greater in extent than the 
empire of Alexander, and which bears upon its bosom a commerce greater than 
that of all the rivers tributary to Imperial Rome. 


"Think you, sir, that the 'rock-bound coast' of New England should become 
more memorable by the footprints of the Pilgrims than the landing of Marquette 
and Joliet, i86 years ago upon the soil of Scott county? Were the scenes enacted 
in Plymouth harbor more thrilling or important in their results than the discovery 
of the Mississippi valley ? Should the rock that was immortalized by having been 
pressed by the Pilgrims' feet have cast around it a greater halo of glory than 
the presence of these pioneers upon the very ground upon which we this night 
celebrate? For we believe it was here that the village of Pewaria stood when 
Marquette and Joliet first landed among the tribes of the Illini. 

"Yes, Mr. President, Scott county has a history, a varied and a thrilling one, 
and for me to feel that I have aided even by my feeble efforts in handing its 
records down to posterity is requital enough for all the labor bestowed by me." 

Across the gulf of fifty years the thoughts of the present dwellers in Scott 
county may well go back in grateful appreciation to this fine old writer of an 
early day who made certain the record of events of pioneer times and laid the 
foundations for the love of Scott county and pride in Scott county, imperishable 
in all who know its splendid history. 


It is remarkable that in only one particular has the verity of the Barrows his- 
tory been seriously called in question. In his admirable history of Davis county 
Captain Hosea B. Horn speaks of Mr. Barrows locating the grave of Black 
Hawk in Wapello county as an error, claiming that it was over the line in Davis 
county and citing proof from those living near — proof that seems indisputable. 
This historian gives the name of the doctor who took Black Hawk's bones from 
-his grave as Turner and his residence as Lexington, Van Buren county. 

Since the printing of the Barrows history many items of early days have 
come to the surface. It is probable that he knew of many of these but felt the 
limitations put upon him by his publishers. He resisted the temptation to go too 
far aheld and widen the scope of his work into a state history. He makes men- 
tion of the neighboring county of Muscatine because the early settlers of Musca- 
tine county had much to do with those of Scott county. Montpelier, at the 
mouth of Pine creek, was the first postoffice in that county and letters were di- 
rected to Iowa postoffice. Black Hawk purchase, Wisconsin territory. Benjamin 
Nye landed at the "Mouth of Pine" in 1834, had a store and owned the town with 
Major Gordon. Muscatine had a variety of early names, Kasey, Newburg, Bloom- 
ington and then Musquitine, the spelling given by Stephen Whicher who wrote 
the petition upon which Judge Grant made the change of name. Fairport was 
originally called Salem, and was laid out in 1836 by Alfred Lyon & Co. 

The William Gordon who is mentioned as one of the proprietors of Iowa, 
the town also known as JMouth of Pine, was one of the incorporators of Daven- 
port. He left St. Louis in 1843 on an expedition up the Mississippi river and 
nothing definite was afterwards learned of him. There were rumors that he had 
been seen in California. Gordon was a Tenneseean, son of Capt. Gordon who 
commanded a company of scouts under General Jackson in the Creek war. He 
was liberally educated and had represented the American Fur Company in the 
Rocky mountains. He was about fifty years of age when he disappeared. Gordon 
was an elegant and engaging conversationalist, spicy, original and humorous. He 
lived in a house near the present site of the Lorenzen building. The dash of ec- 
centricity in his makeup was shown in his never sleeping in a bed, but lay even 
when ill on buffalo robes spread on the floor with his feet to the fire. His love 
for women in general brought him into difficulties. Once he was knocked down 
with a club and stabbed by an irate husband and did not recover for months. 


This town of Iowa caught the fancy of Lieutenant Albert M. Lea, who in- 
vestigated the Black Hawk purchase for the government and published a map 
with notes in 1836 the date that Davenport was incorporated. He must have 
made investments there for early issues of Andrew Logan's Iowa Sun show 
display advertising of Albert Lea, offering lots in this coming metropolis of the 
West. In his map Lieutenant Lea extols in extravagant phrase the prospects 
of this small settlement : "This will be the point of deposit for the trade of the 
country included between the Iowa, Wabesapineca and Mississippi, and for the 
disembarkation of emigrants for that reason. Should the seat of the future gov- 
ernment of Iowa be located on the Mississippi, it will probably be fixed at Iowa, 


owing- to the central position and commercial advantage of the place, and if it 
be located in the interior, it must be near the Iowa river, as the weight of popu- 
lation will be there, and then the town of Iowa will be the nearest port on the 
Mississippi to the capital of the state." The prophetic lieutenant liked Buffalo 
and Clark's ferry, and allowed that with a better bank for landing a ferry boat 
Buffalo would run a great race with Iowa for the location of the metropolis. 

Lieutenant Lea cast a jaundiced horoscope for Davenport, just struggling 
for a place on the map. He calls it a town "just laid out on a reserve belonging 
to Antoine LeClaire. It is nearly opposite to the lower end of Rock Island, 
about 350 miles from St. Louis by river, and situated on high ground with a 
beautiful range of sloping hills running in the rear of it. The town of Stephen- 
son, the mouth of Rock river, the picturesque w^orks on Rock Island and Le- 
Claire's house and plantation are all within full view of this point. Its situation 
is certainly delightful, as far as beauty and health are concerned; but there is 
doubt as to convenience in landing. Its position near the foot of the rapids where 
navigation is much obstructed will cause it to be resorted to as a place of ship- 
ment both for persons and freight. Water power, building stone and bitumin- 
ous coal are convenient and abundance of excellent timber is to be found on the 
hills and creeks of the vicinity. 

"The town has been laid out on a liberal scale with a view to its becoming a 
large city. Three public squares have been reserved from sale, one of which it is 
supposed by the proprietors will be occupied by the public buildings of the future 
state of Iowa ; for they confidently predict that the seat of government of this 
forthcoming commonwealth will be no other than the city of Davenport itself. 
Nous verrons." 

If Albert Lea kept his eye on Davenport for a few years he saw this city 
the capital of the territory of Iowa, at least when Governor Conway came to 
town. But that is another story to be taken up in a later chapter. 

This same traveler, Lieutenant Lea, made sage opinion that all Parkhurst 
needed was people and houses to be quite a town. There were neither there 
when he saw the location of the handsome settlement at the upper end of the 
rapids now called LeClaire. 


Suel Foster, for many years an honored resident of Muscatine wrote this 
story of early days when every acre of Iowa soil fronting- on the Mississippi was 
considered by somebody an appropriate and probable site for the state capitol. 
"In April, 1836, I was living at Rock Island, Illinois. In May the town of Daven- 
port was laid out on government land, joining on the west of LeClaire's reserve. 
In June of that year I took a short journey in the Black Hawk purchase, as it 
was then called. I do not think the name of Iowa had been given to it then, for 
it was the new western wild district of Michigan territory. I passed thirty 
miles down the west bank of the Mississippi river, a beautiful, flat limestone 
shore most of the way, and I have never found any part of the West so prolific 
of town sites. I had to pick my way along among town lot stakes much of the 


"The first town was Davenport; the second, four miles, Rockingham; the 
third, one mile, Monte Video ; the fourth, five miles, New Buffalo ; the fifth, six 
miles, Iowa. This town was laid out by Captain Robert E. Lee and William Gor- 
don, (the same Lee afterwards the great Rebel general). The sixth, one mile was 
Montpelier; the seventh, four miles, Salem; the eighth, one mile, Wyoming; the 
ninth, four miles, Geneva; the tenth, three miles, Bloomington ; the eleventh, 
half a mile, Newburgh. At that time Stephen T. Mason was governor of our 
Michigan territory. We had no counties. 

"I recollect the names of several of the mayors of these cities — Antoine 
LeClaire. of Davenix)rt ; John H. Sullivan, of Rockingham; Capt. Benjamin Clark 
of New Buffalo; Capt. Robert E. Lee, of Iowa. He was absent at that time, 
surveying the route of the great river, United States engineer, which river has 
flowed ever since in the old channel which Lee marked out. The mayor of 
Montpelier was Benjamin Nye; Salem, James and William Chambers; Wyoming, 
Samuel Collier ; Geneva, Dr. Eli Reynolds ; Bloomington, now Muscatine, John 
Vanater; Newburgh, G. W. Kasey. All the intermediate cities between Daven- 
port and Muscatine are now (1885) in the suburbs of these two cities." 

Mr. Foster purchased a claim in Muscatine and the deed showed the style of 
description necessary in transferring realty before government surveys were 
made. John Vanater's cabin was made the point of departure and measure in 
describing the 160-acre claim purchased. 


To Mr. Barrows' statement that the city of Davenport was named for Col. 
George Davenport is added the testimony of Rev. Elnathan Gavit, who preached 
the first sermon in this city back in 1837, it having come to Mr. Gavit's notice 
that in the New York campaign of 1885, the candidate for governor, Ira L. 
Davenport was spoken of in the eastern press as the son of Ira Davenport who 
"had invested in Iowa lands when that state was in its infancy, and the town of 
Davenport owed its name to this fact," a letter was written covering the subject. 
Mr. Gavit says: "As a minister of the Methodist church and a member of the 
Ohio conference and as a missionary to the Northwestern territory I landed with 
my family and in company with Captain Stanton Sholes and his family upon Rock 
island in the spring of 1835, and by the kindness of Colonel George Davenport 
we secured a log house in which we lived until we were enabled to provide a home 
of our own. Mr. Sholes. my brother-in-law, having purchased an interest in the 
town of Davenport, in company with myself, we erected the first frame house in 
that place, which is still standing (1885) not far from the margin of the river. 
In this house I preached the first sermon, formed the first class, and established 
the first Sabbath school, and married the first couple in what is now the beautiful 
and flourishing city of Davenport, and have some knowledge of the early com- 
mencement of this place, and for whom it was named. I have no misgivings in 
stating that the town of Davenport in the state of Iowa was named for Colonel 
George Davenport, of Rock Island, and for no other person or family by the 
name of Davenport, east or west, north or south, living or dead, politically, relig- 
iously or otherwise. I not only have this testimony in person from Colonel 


George Davenport himself but also from Mr. A. LeClaire, the earliest proprietor 
of this villag-e, and that he himself suggested the name in honor of his personal 
friend, Colonel Davenport, and that his influence and popularity at home and 
abroad, and especially in St. Louis, would contribute largely to the sale of lots 
and increase the popularity of the place, which was not only a compliment to Mr, 
George Davenport, but was a wise conclusion, financially." 

Two years later this pioneer clergyman paid a visit to Davenport and told of 
his appointment by the Ohio conference to labor among the Sacs and Foxes in 
a circuit which embraced everything between the Missouri state line and St. 
Anthony's falls. From his log cabin home on Rock island nothing of civilization 
was to be seen on the Iowa shore except the small house of Antoine LeClaire. 
Mr. Gavit traveled his extensive circuit on horseback carrying food in his sad- 
dlebags and bivouacking at night on the prairie, seeking people to whom he 
could preach the scriptures. When he reached his Davenport home he preached 
to the soldiers at Fort Armstrong, Captain Zachary Taylor and Colonel Daven- 
port being in his congregation. He was on friendly terms with Black Hawk and 
Keokuk. While the family resided here their little boy, aged four years died and 
was buried in the cemetery at the fort. 


It was in 1837 that the Episcopalians of this vicinity entertained Bishop Chase 
upon his first episcopal visitation. His notes have been preserved and tell the 
story of his coming and going with some heartfelt hopes for the spiritual health 
of this budding community: "July 13, 1837, — Came to that most pleasantly 
situated and rising village, Stephenson. Was received most kindly by good 
Mr. Brackett. July 14, — visited a sick man, and in the evening, preached in the 
school house. July 15, — again visited the sick and at 3 o'clock crossed the river 
Mississippi and preached in the village of Davenport, which is in the Wisconsin 
territory. Returned to Stephenson. July 16, — at 3 p. m., crossed the Missis- 
sippi and preached in the Wisconsin territory. Same night returned to Stephen- 
son. Found a letter of invitation to preach at Rockingham in the W. T. July 
17, — crossed over the third time the river justly called the 'Father of Waters.' 
Rode down its banks to R., that rapidly growing place to which I had been so 
kindly invited, where I preached in the afternoon. In reflecting on these three 
villages — Stephenson, Davenport, and Rockingham — my mind is deeply impressed 
with their importance and peculiar advantages. And why may not religion be 
among the blessings which they enjoy? When men for worldly interest flock to- 
gether, as they do in these places, should not true Christians go with them to 
promote their eternal welfare? Let pass a few years, and all the busy, bustling 
first settlers of these beautiful places will be in their graves. And what will be 
the character and destiny of those who occupy their places if nothing more be 
done than now appears to form their manners and their hearts anew? July 18 
— I was conveyed across the Mississippi and up to the mouth of Rock river by 
the exertions and kind assistance of Dr. Barrows and other gentlemen of Rock- 
ingham. The same friends also attended me for some distance on land till put 
on a trail leading to home, thence bearing southeast, distant sixty miles." 



Mr. Barrows speaks of the death of Mrs. Tannehill in 1836 as the first to oc- 
cur in the village of Davenport. It is not a matter of particular importance and 
probably he was right, but another writer tells of a death which preceded the one 
given precedence by Mr. Barrows. It was the demise from typhoid fever of an 
Indianian who bivouacked in his hooded wagon near Fifth and Perry streets 
while he was doing some breaking for Antoine LeClaire near where the Macaroni 
plant is now situated. When the kind and hospitable folks of the little settlement 
learned of his condition, he was taken to a log cabin near Second and Scott 
streets and cared for until he died. Rough boards were nailed together for a 
coffin and he was buried on the edge of the city, where the first burial ground 
thus begun was located — near Sixth and Main streets. Here in the midst of the 
city he rests, his grave unmarked, his name forgotten, even his existence uncertain. 


The LeClaire house built in 1839 and demolished in the spring of 1910 was 
the scene of much of the history that Mr. Barrows wrote. In its palmy days it 
was the finest hotel in the Mississippi Valley and attracted guests from the south. 
A correspondent of the New Orleans Delta writes in the '40s, "The LeClaire 
house is a great resort for the people of St. Louis to spend three or four months 
in hunting and fishing. The prairie grouse which is as large as a common hen 
affords the finest opportunity for the exercise of the gun. Your humble con- 
tributor bagged twenty-five in one afternoon, shooting one at a time on the wing." 


In 1840 this little settlement of a few hundred ambitious and impulsive souls 
was visited by a Chicago newspaper man who enjoyed himself and wrote some- 
thing for his paper which was reprinted in the Sun of October 24, 1840. "We 
venture to say that the LeClaire house, whether we consider the outward struc- 
ture or the internal finish, or even furniture, has no equal in this state, Missouri 
or the territories. It was named after Mr. LeClaire, a celebrated Indian trader 
who had done much with another trader whose name the town bears, for the 
growth and beauty of the place. The Iowa Sun is published here. We had but 
very little time to take any notes of Davenport, being attracted across the river 
by its splendid illumination in honor of being chosen the seat of justice for Scott 
county, and being compelled to leave early the next morning. But our short 
stay was a very pleasurable one, as we found all the youth and beauty of the 
place congregated at the LeClaire house at a social ball, where we found an old 
friend. Judge Williams, as ready to play or dance as ever, and Messrs. Parker, 
of Scott, Walworth, of Cedar, and Murray of Clinton, all canvassing for a seat 
in the legislature. We also found there Colonels Dodge and Brophy, late of the 
Patriot army, and one who also deserves an honorable mention, the generous 
and enterprising LeClaire. Between so many ladies educated with all the re- 
finements of our eastern and southern cities it would be invidious to individualize. 


But ag-gregately we will say of a company of some seventy-five ladies that no 
town of the size of Davenport in the Union can produce their superiors whether 
we speak of their mental or external accomplishments. And hereafter when we 
hear of a settler of Iowa passing by Davenport when in search of a wife, whether 
under the pretense of grace, beauty, intelligence or even wealth, we shall believe 
him acting from necessity and without honor to his own country." 

It is not remarkable that the gallant newspaper man swayed by feminine 
"external accomplishments" should have been previously impressed by the 
illumination over the county seat matter, for it is a reminiscence of the oldest 
settlers that it was a unique demonstration. One citizen seldom praised for gen- 
erosity set fire to his own hay stacks under the influence of excitement and 
danced round them while they expressed his pleasure over the result of the 
election. Another number in the impromptu program of illumination was the 
stacking of combustibles on a large sled which being scooted around on the 
sand of the river front by means of long ropes so fascinated and bewildered 
the citizens of Stephenson that the river was dotted with skififs bearing the 
curious citizens of the sister town who came across to see not only what it was 
all about but also how in the world it was done. 


Mr. Barrows mentions the stay of Prince Dejoinville and his suite at the 
LeClaire house in 1841. When that nobleman returned to France he printed a 
volume of American travels which were unusual in interest. When the company 
were here they told of the cupidity of the hotel keeper in Galena, the Illinois 
metropolis, who charged up a list of extras which made the distinguished trav- 
elers feel that this section was strictly abreast with the hotels of continental 
Europe. One item was $3, for the use of the hotel piano for one tune, played 
with indifferent success. 


In an autobiography of Andrew W. Griffith, of Keokuk, written in 1882, and 
unpublished, hitherto in 1882, appeared the following account of a duel, probably 
the first on Iowa soil, of which he was an eye witness : 

"During my stay in Davenport I witnessed the only duel ever fought in Iowa. 
There were two young men from Philadelphia rusticating between Rock Is- 
land and Davenport, a Mr. Charles Hegner and a Mr. Sperry. He, Sperry, was 
a West Pointer out rusticating. Hegner was a son of a wealthy liquor mer- 
chant of Philadelphia, had plenty of money and good clothes. There were also 
two other fine looking gentlemen wintering alternately between Davenport and 
Rock Island by the name of John Finch and a Mr. Ralston. Finch taught writ- 
ing school and Ralston was a gentleman of leisure. They all met at a party at 
the old Rock Island House in the town of Rock Island. The difficulty grew out 
of Mr. Hegner's and Mr. Ralston's being engaged to dance the same set with a 
young lady by the name of Sophia Fisher. Mr. Ralston held the fort and Heg- 
ner challenged him to fight a duel. Ralston accepted and selected pistols at 


twenty paces, the battle to be fought on Iowa soil on the bank of the father 
of waters one mile below what was then the town of Davenport, but now in the 
city, at sunrise the second morning following the challenge. Mr. Ralston selected 
Finch for his second and Mr. Hegner selected Sperry; Dr. Craig of Rock Is- 
land, surgeon. Jack Evans, of Davenport, and myself being anxious to see the 
fun, were on the ground at sunrise, found the combatants on the ground, thirst- 
ing for blood. They took their positions, when xMr. Ralston offered a com- 
promise, but nothing but blood would satisfy Mr. Hegner. Mr. Ralston then 

replied: 'D n you, I will not kill you but I will wing you.' The word 

was given and both fired. Hegner was shot in the right arm and Ralston was 
not touched. The surgeon dressed the wound, the duelists shook hands and 
all went up to the LeClaire House and took a drink. Then the fun commenced 
with the officers of the law. They got after them for fighting on Iowa soil. 
The combatants flew across the river. There the officers got after them for 
passing a challenge. Finally they run them out of the country. The truth as to 
the trouble between the two belligerents was that Mr. Ralston was a little better 
poker player than Hegner. John Finch is now living in Dallas, Illinois. Mr. 
Ralston is dead. The other two I have lost track of." 


The rush of immigration to the Black Hawk purchase described by Mr. Bar- 
rows might be illustrated by an extract from a little work called "A Glimpse of 
Iowa in 1846, or the Emigrant's Guide," written by J. B. Newhall, an early 
writer who did much to attract settlers to this state. These paragraphs are his : 

"The writer of these lines having frequent occasion to traverse the great 
thoroughfares of Illinois and Indiana in the years of 1836 and 1837, the roads 
would be literally lined with the long, blue wagons of the emigrants, slowly wend- 
ing their way over the broad prairies, the cattle and horsemen and dogs, and fre- 
quently men and women forming the rear of the van, often ten, twenty, thirty 
wagons in company. Ask them where their destination was, and they would 
reply, the Black Hawk Purchase. I well remember on a beautiful autumnal 
evening in 1836 crossing the military tract in Illinois. The last rays of the sun 
were gilding the tree tops and shedding their mellow tints upon the fleecy clouds, 
as my horse turned the sharp angle of a neighboring thicket. Here I encoun- 
tered a settler camped for the night. How little do the trans-Alleghanians 
know of such a scene. I'll try to give them the picture, not coleur de rose, but 
from life, breathing and real. 

"The old lady had just built her campfire, and was busily engaged in frying 
prairie chickens which the unerring rifle of her boy had brought to the ground. 
One of the girls, was milking a brindle cow, and that tall girl yonder with 
swarthy arms and yellow sunbonnet is nailing the coffee mill on the side of a 
scrub oak which the little boy had blazed out with his hatchet. There sat the old 
man on a log, quietly shaving himself by a six-penny looking glass which he 
had tacked to a neighboring tree. And yonder old decrepit man, sitting on the 
low, rush-bottomed chair, is the aged grandsire of all ; better that his bones be 
left by the wayside than that he be left among strangers. He sits quietly smok- 


ing his pipe with all the serenity of a patriarch — apparently as ready to shuffle 
off this mortal coil that night as to sit down to his prairie chicken supper. What 
a picturesque group for the pencil of a painter; yet these are the scenes that 
we frequently witness in the far West. This is emigrating. 'Tis not going 
away from home. The home was there, that night, with the settlers on Camp 
creek, under the broad canopy of heaven, by that gurgling brook where the 
cattle browsed, the dogs barked, and the children quietly slumbered." 

In this way Scott county was settled, and of these people Willard Bar- 
rows wrote. 


In the initial issue of the Annals of Iowa appeared as a preface and intro- 
duction to the history a memoir by the editor which will serve to introduce to 
present day readers this author of the days of early Iowa. The memoir reads : 

"Willard Barrows, Esq., the writer of the following history, was born at 
Munson, Mass., in 1806. He received a thorough education in the common schools 
and academies of New England. In 1827 he settled in Elizabethtown, New 
Jersey, where he taught school for several years ; and was married in 1832. 
Selecting the pursuit of engineering and surveying he engaged in a contract 
with the government to finish the surveys of the Choctaw Indian purchase, in 
the cypress swamps and cane brakes on the Yazoo and Sunflower rivers, in 
the region where the northwestern army and navy of the United States have 
lately operated. By the sudden rise of the Mississippi river which overflowed 
all the country except the ridges his party was cut off from all inhabitants and 
supplies during the winter of 1836-7, reducing them to short allowance and 
even to the fruit of the persimmon tree and the flesh of the opossum for food. 
All other animals fled except that a hawk or an owl was occasionally killed. 
About the ist of March the flood so far subsided that they went by canoes to 
Vicksburg and Natchez, and he proceeded to Jackson, Miss., to report there to 
the surveyor general. 

"In 1837 he was occupied in the first surveys of Iowa by the government and 
spent the winter on the Wapsipinicon river. And in July, 1838, he settled with 
his family in Rockingham, five miles below Davenport. 

'Tn 1840 Mr. Barrows surveyed the islands of the Mississippi from the 
mouth of the Rock river to Quincy, 111. In 1841-2 the public surveys being 
suspended he engaged in farming, and held the offices of justice of the peace, 
of postmaster and notary public at Rockingham, in which he continued until 
1843 when he entered upon the survey of the Kickapoo country north of the 
Wisconsin river. There the Winnebago Indians stole the provisions of the party, 
and he was compelled to go to Prairie du Chien for supplies. On his return 
his way was obstructed by prostrate timber hurled in every direction by a ter- 
rific tornado through which with the help of indolent Indians he was able to 
cut a passage only two and one-half miles in two days. Forced to send his provi- 
sions up the Kickapoo by the Indians in canoes, he followed on by land till 
they were past the track of the whirlwind. The supplies were landed and the 
Indians dismissed. He then carried the provisions a half mile and concealed 
them. The next day, early, he took a bag of flour and a little pork on a single 


pack-horse and hastened to reUeve his men as fast as he could through the 
wilderness over the 'Sugar Loaves of Wisconsin' as the region is called where 
Col. Atkinson, in 1832, in pursuit of Black Hawk and his Indian warriors was 
obliged to leave his wagons and baggage with the loss of many horses. On the 
fourth day he came upon one starving man of his party, and after refreshing 
him he pressed on to the camp where the rest, neglecting to rescue themselves 
when they were able, and supposing him to be murdered by the Indians were 
sunken in despair. Cheered by his arrival and strengthened with food, they 
all started for the depot of provisions on the Kickapoo, and reached the place 
to find them all stolen again by the Indians. The only means of saving their 
lives, then, was to ascend the Kickapoo to a ford and thence go to Prairie du 
Chien. On the third day after they reached a settlement where they stayed 
a week and recruited, and when arrived at Prairie du Chien they found many 
articles of their clothing in the liquor shops that the Root Indians had stolen 
and sold. Their horses had previously been scattered during the tornado, so 
that the party had been compelled to eat their two dogs, at the camp, making 
soup of the bones and nettles, and boiling part of their harness for food instead 
of horse flesh. 

"Afterward 'Sir. Barrows traversed northern Iowa, then in possession of 
the Indian tribes with a view to a knowledge of the region. He visited the 
mission school then at Fort Atkinson, where he got a passport over that sec- 
tion of the country from Rev. Mr. Lowrey, then in charge of the mission. 

" 'Barrows' New Map of Iowa, with Notes,' was published in 1854 by Doo- 
little & Munson, Cincinnati, and it was considered of so much importance that 
the legislature of Iowa ordered copies of it for the members of both houses 
and also for the state officers. This work together with letters published in the 
Davenport Democrat from California whither he went in 1850 by the overland 
route, enduring almost incredible hardships and returning by Mexico and Cuba, 
and also some communications for the press of a scientific character consti- 
tute along with the history that here follows the chief literary productions of 
Mr. Barrows, all descriptive of new parts of our country. 

"At intervals Mr. Barrows has turned his attention to land business with 
success. His suburban residence and grounds are conspicuous to every person 
passing in the cars southwest of Davenport where he enjoys the fruits of his 
past activity and enterprise. 

"In person, as is indicated by his portrait in this number, Mr. Barrows is 
full and portly. In manners he is courteous and genial. As a Christian, 'the 
highest style of man,' he is charitable and discreet. And, to use the words of 
the author of 'Davenport, Past and Present' to which the reader is referred for 
fuller particulars and from which these are drawn, 'may many years yet be his 
portion, as happy and pleasant as his early life has been laborious and active.' " 

w ii.i.Ai;!) i'.Ai;i;()\\> 




In compliance with a formal request of the curators of the State Historical 
society I have undertaken the task of writing a full history of Scott county, 
Iowa, or more particularly facts and incidents connected with its early his- 
tory. A residence of twenty-five years in this county has given me an opportunity 
for observation and a knowledge of the proper sources from which to obtain infor- 

Much care has been taken to gather information from the early settlers of 
the county, and a hearty response has come up from some parts. In mai;iy in- 
stances difference of opinion has arisen as to dates and circumstances. In such 
cases I have generally taken the decision of the majority. 

It might be supposed that our existence as a county is so brief, not twenty- 
eight years, that the incidents connected with its settlement and growth would be 
fresh in the minds of all. Such may be the case with much of our history, while 
some important facts are lost. The early settler seldom finds time, if he has the 
ability to record passing events, save in the memory. The unparalleled rapidity 
with which the west has marched forward to greatness and power is a sufficient ex- 
cuse for the pioneer historian, when he fails through want of facts, to give a 
full and perfect account of his first struggles. The early emigrant to a new 
country finds that all his time and energies are required to provide even for the 
necessaries of life; the rude cabin must be raised, for a temporary abode at 
least, the virgin soil must be broken up and fenced, and numberless little requisites 
for the comfort of himself or family crowd upon his attention, so that the new 
beginner is most emphatically his own "hewer of wood and drawer of water." 

In collecting the material for this work the author has often been doubly 
repaid for his labor in the pleasant meetings he has had with many an "old 
settler," from whom the whirl and bustle of life has separated him for years. 
Such reunions are sweet and profitable, and these hardy sons of toil, meeting 
after many years of separation like old soldiers retire to some shady nook, 
there recount the scenes through which they have passed and "fight their battles 
o'er again." Although the trials and hardships of the pioneers of Scott county 
may not compare with the early settlement of Kentucky, Ohio, or some other 
western states, yet there are many incidents connected with its early history that 
are worthy of record and should be gathered before they pass beyond our reach. 




The county of Scott, being situated on the Mississippi river and having a 
water front of some thirty-five miles upon its south and eastern boundary, has 
many natural advantages not found in more inland counties. Upon the north it is 
bounded by the Wau-bessa-pinnecon Se-po, which in the Indian language signi- 
fies "the place of white potatoes." The name is derived from the two Indian 
words "Waubessa," white or swan-like, and "Pinneac," a potato, Sepo being the 
Indian name for river. The river was probably so named from the fact of great 
quantities of the wild artichoke being found in that region. 

This stream is some ten or twelve rods wide with a swift, clear current and its 
banks generally skirted with timber. Its bottom lands are from a half to a mile 
or two wide and are subject to annual overflow, affording great pasturage for 
stock, not being in general dry enough for cultivation. The western boundary 
of the county is upon rich, rolHng prairie extending along the fifth principal 
meridian, separating it from the counties of Cedar and Muscatine. 

There is much in the early history of this country to interest and excite the 
antiquarian and lover of research. Long before the discovery of the Great 
River by Marquette and Joliet on the 17th of June, 1673, tradition tells us that 
the spot of ground now occupied by the city of Davenport was a large and pop- 
ulous Indian village. There can be but little doubt from the history of those 
early pioneers that it was here that they first landed in their voyage down the 
Mississippi after they entered it from the mouth of the Wisconsin on the 17th 
of June. 

The first landing made by them on record was on the 21st, four days after they 
entered the Mississippi, and was upon the western bank, where say they: "We 
discovered footprints of some fellow mortals, and a little path (trail) leading 
into a pleasant meadow." Following the trail a short distance, they heard the 
savages talking, and "making their presence known by a loud cry," they were led 
to the village of the "Illinies." 

There could not have been sufficient time between the 17th and the 21st for 
the voyagers to have descended beyond this point or to have reached the lower 
or Des Moines rapids, which some historians claim to have been the landing 
place spoken of. There having been an Indian village here from time imme- 



morial, according to Indian tradition, fixes the fact most conclusively that it was 
at this place, Davenport, that the soil of Iowa was first pressed by the foot of a 
white man. The legends of the Indians are full of historic lore pertaining to this 
beautiful spot comprising Davenport, Rock Island and their surroundings. 

Black Hawk was ever ready to tell of the traditions of his people, and often 
dwelt with much interest and excitement on the traditions of his fathers. He 
says they came from Gitche Gammee, "the big water," Lake Superior, and In- 
dians that are yet living say that the home of their fathers was at Saukie creek 
that empties into Lake Superior, and that as they traveled westward they en- 
countered foes whom they fought and conquered, and that in turn they were 
conquered by their enemies, and tribe fought tribe for possession of the land; 
until they reached the great river, the Massa-Sepo, which signifies "The Father 
of Rivers." 

The tradition of the Saukies, who have always lived upon the prairies, is that 
their name means "Man of the Prairie," or prairie Indian. 

They also aver that their friends, the Musquakies, which signifies "Foxes," 
were a sly and cunning people and united with them for strength to fight their ene- 
mies, the tribes of the Kickapoo and Illini, and that they have ever lived in peace 
as one tribe and one people. 

These were the Indians in possession of the country when the United States 
assumed jurisdiction over it and of whom it was purchased. 

There were many traces of the aborigines existing when the first settlers 
came to Iowa. Several Indian mounds or burial places of quite large dimensions 
were still used by wandering tribes of Indians as late as 1835 ^^^ 1836 situated 
on the banks of the river about two miles below this city, where was formerly 
the farm of the Hon. E. Cook. Indian graves have been found in excavations 
about this city, and relics of ancient date discovered, showing that this spot has 
been the home of the red man for centuries, and corroborating the testimony of 
Black Hawk and others as to the traditions of their fathers. 

The scenery presented in ascending the Mississippi, taking in the whole view 
from the point of the bluff below Rockingham as far up as Hampton, on the 
Illinois shore, is one of unexcelled beauty and loveliness. Its islands dotting the 
broad expanse of waters, the scenery of the bluffs upon the Iowa side, and Rock 
island with old Fort Armstrong, have been admired and more sketches taken of 
this panoramic view by home and foreign artists than any other portion of the 
Mississippi valley. 

Of the early history of Scott county we have a most vivid and truthful his- 
tory compiled from living witnesses. 

At the close of the Black Hawk war in 1832, there were no settlers upon this 
side of the river. The purchase from the Sac (or Saukie) and Fox tribe of 
Indians of the soil of Scott county was made, in common with that of all the 
river counties on the 15th of September, 1832, upon the ground now occupied by 
the depot buildings of the Mississippi and Missouri R. R. Company in this city. 
The treaty was held by Gen. Scott. 

The cholera was raging among the troops at Fort Armstrong at the time and 
for prudential reasons it was thought best to meet the Indians upon this side of 
the river. 



In this sale the Indians reserved a section, (640 acres) and presented it to 
Antoine LeClaire, Esq., their interpreter. This reserve was located upon the 
river between Harrison street and Bridge avenue, in Fulton's addition to the city 
of Davenport, running back over the bluff to a line due east and west, a few rods 
this side of Locust street. They also gave Mr.' LeClaire another section of land 
at the head of the rapids where the city of LeClaire now stands. 

The treaty of Gen. Scott with the Indians was ratified by Congress at their 
session in the winter of 1833. Thus did the United States come into possession 
of the soil of Scott county. 

Of the Indians from whom it was purchased and of the tribes who had been 
in possession in early days we should like to give a more extended notice than 
we are permitted in this brief history of Scott county. 

The Sacs and Foxes were provided with homes in Kansas, where they now 
reside. They are fast dwindling away, and but a remnant is left of the tribes 
of the Winnebagoes, the Chippewas, Pottawattamies, Ottawas, Menominees and 
other powerful bands that were in possession of all the country from the Lakes 
to the Missouri at the termination of the American Revolution. Where the sad 
remnants of any of these tribes are found, they present but a faint resemblance 
of their former greatness and renown or of their warlike and noble bearing. A 
few squalid families may be found loitering about the frontier towns, made beg- 
gars by the low and wasting vices of the white man. 

But their destiny is written. The onward march of the Anglo-Saxon race 
tells with unerring prophecy the fate of the Red man. Already have his haunts 
been broken up in the quiet dells of the Rocky mountains ; already have the plains 
of Utah drunk the blood of this ill-fated and unhappy race, and ere long his re- 
treating footprints will be found along the shores of the Pacific hastening to the 
spirit land, the "Great Hereafter." 

We now enter upon our history more in detail, considering each township, 
beginning with Buffalo. 






In 1833 Capt. Benjamin W. Clark, a native of Virginia, who had settled and 
made some improvements on the Illinois shore where the town of Andalusia now 
is, moved across the Mississippi and commenced a settlement upon the presenH 
site of the town of Buffalo, and was probably the first settler on the soil of Scott 
county. He had been captain of a company of mounted volunteer rangers in the 
Black Hawk war under Gen. Dodge. Here, in Buffalo, he made the first "claim," 
erected the first cabin, broke the first ground, planted the first corn and raised the 
first produce in the county. His nearest neighbors at this time upon the Iowa 
shore, then called the "Black Hawk Purchase," were at Burlington and Du- 

The first stock of goods ever opened in the county was at Buffalo by a Mr. 
Lynde, of Stephenson, now Rock Island. The first orchard planted and the first 
coal ever discovered and dug in this county were by Capt. Clark in 1834. The 
first public ferry across the Mississippi between Burlington and Dubuque was 
at Buffalo, and for several years "Clark's Ferry" was the only place of crossing 
in all this region of country. In the early part of the year 1835 he erected a pub- 
lic house which is still standing, a large frame building two stories high, which 
at that time was considered a great enterprise. He brought the lumber from 
Cincinnati at a cost of $60 a thousand feet. 

In 1836 Capt. Clark laid out the town of Buffalo, it being the first town reg- 
ularly laid out in this county. He succeeded in building up quite a village, but 
there was much need of flouring and lumber mills, and in 1836 he erected, near 
the mouth of Duck creek, the first saw mill in the county, or in this part of Iowa ; 
and although it was on a small scale, and quite inadequate to the wants of the 
settlers who began to seek homes beyond the Mississippi, yet it proved of the 
greatest public benefit and served the people for many years. 

The ferry was established at Buffalo while Capt. Clark lived at Andalusia be- 
fore he moved across the river. The first ferriage collected by him, after he had 
completed his flat-boat was attended by the following amusing circumstance. Late 
one evening a company of French traders, who were returning from the Iowa 
river to the trading post on Rock island, encamped on the bank of the river 



where the hotel now stands in Buffalo. They heard the report of the captain's 
intention to establish a ferry across the river at this point, and feeling somewhat 
inclined to ridicule such an enterprise, they called loudly for the ferry boat, say- 
ing that they had a drove of cattle to cross, an assertion perfectly ridiculous in 
itself, as nothing in the shape of cattle nearer than buffalo or elk had ever ap- 
peared upon the western banks of the Mississippi river. But the captain was not 
to be trifled with. He had made ready his boat. His ferry was established, and 
being a man of bold and most unflinching, uncompromising sternness and perse- 
verance, he rallied his men, manned his boat with some eight men and boys and 
very quietly crossed over to answer the continued calls of the noisy Frenchmen. 
It was a very dark night, and as the oars were plied to the ponderous flatboat 
Capt. Clark stood at the helm steering his rude craft over the swelling waves of 
the Mississippi with nothing to guide him but the blaze of the campfire and noise 
of the company on the Iowa shore, meditating most undoubtedly in a frame of 
mind not the most serene. When nearing the shore the traders on discovering 
him, set up a most uncourteous roar of laughter, turning the whole matter off as 
a joke, called them fools, and told the captain they had nothing to ferry, and that 
he might return to the Illinois side. But Capt. Clark's anger was now raised to 
the highest pitch. He landed his boat and with his men marched into the camp 
of the insolent Frenchmen and demanded $10.00 as a fee for ferriage. No man 
who knew Capt. Clark ever wanted to parley with him when his usually mild 
temper was aroused by insult. The party soon became satisfied that under the 
circumstances it was their best pohcy to pay up. The great difficulty now was 
that they had not $10.00 in the company, but very willingly proffered two bolts 
of calico, which, among Indians at least, was considered legal tender. This was 
accepted and taken as the first ferriage ever received in Scott county. Capt 
Clark and his party returned, having taught the wild traders one of the first 
lessons of civilization. 

Capt. Clark claimed the honor of being the father of the first white child 
born in Scott county. This son, David H. Clark, now a resident of Polk county, 
in this state, was born in Buffalo, the 21st of April, 1834. 

For many years the town of Buffalo attracted much attention and bid fair 
to become a serious rival to Stephenson, then just merging into existence. But 
Davenport and Rockingham were soon laid off and a ferry being established be- 
tween Davenport and Stephenson by Mr. LeClaire, travel was directed to that 
point and the division of the country into counties left Buffalo in no enviable 
situation. It had been the most prosperous town in this region of country, do- 
ing a large business with the emigrants to the territory who were then begin- 
ning to settle up and down the river and along the Cedar valley, furnishing grain 
and provisions of all kinds to the newcomers. Capt. Clark spent much time in 
showing emigrants the country and assisting them in making claims, and prob- 
ably did more toward the early settlement of this country than any other man that 
ever came into it. He died at Buffalo. October 25, 1839. 

To show the prospects of Buffalo as a point of interest at that day we 
might relate a circumstance that occurred in reference to the value of town lots. 
After Davenport was laid out, Major Wm. Gordon and some others, proprietors, 
called on Capt. Clark and offered him an even exchange of forty or sixty lots in 



Davenport for an equal number in Bufifalo, but the captain declined, regarding 
it as a poor offer, as it probably looked to be at that time. 

It will be seen by reference to the map of Scott county that it lacks a town- 
ship in the southwest corner (No. 78, N., R. i, E.) of being square. As it has 
always been a mystery to many, particularly to the new comer, why this township 
should have been set off to Muscatine county, while it so naturally belonged to 
Scott, I will here explain. 

In the first territorial legislature which convened at Burlington, in December, 
1837, an act was passed creating the boundaries of Scott county, as well as many 
others. Unfortunately for the well-being of many a town site and village this 
honorable body had too many speculators in town lots among its members. Dr. 
Reynolds, then living three miles above Bloomington, now Muscatine, being a mem- 
ber, had laid off a place called Geneva upon which all his efforts for the county 
seat were centered. The manner and extent in laying off the counties were of 
course to decide the destiny of many a town site which had been made espe- 
cially for the county seat. The object of Dr. Reynolds was to press the upper line 
of Muscatine county up the river as far as possible so as to make Geneva cen- 
tral and lessen the chances of Bloomington which was an applicant for favor. 
The Davenport and Rockingham member, Alex W. McGregor, Esq., knew that 
if the Scott county line ran too far down the river, Buffalo, then a rival and by 
far the most populous and important town above Burlington, would stand too 
great a chance, so that a compromise was entered into and this township was 
given to Muscatine county which gives to our county its present ill-shaped ap- 

Buffalo with all her just claims was sacrificed by placing her in the lower 
end of the county. Dr. Reynolds' grand scheme was frustrated, for Blooming- 
ton got the county seat for Muscatine county and Davenport and Rockingham 
"doubled teams" on Buffalo, got the county seat and then fought for choice of 
location, as will be noticed under its proper head. This was the killing stroke to 
Buffalo. Davenport ultimately received all the benefits derived from the trick- 
ery and corruption of legislative enactments while Geneva, Montpelier, Salem, 
Freeport, Mouth of Pine and some half dozen more towns that were laid out 
along the Mississippi river from Muscatine island to Davenport "went under" 
carrying with them all their visionary schemes for greatness and power. 

Buffalo township has more timber land than any other in the county. There 
are thousands of acres now covered with a growth that has arisen since the first 
settlement that will cut from twenty to fifty cords of wood to the acre. It is es- 
timated that there is five times as much timber in Buffalo township as there was 
at the time of the first settlement in 1834, a fact showing how easily timber may 
be produced, if cared for, and the annual fires kept out of the woodlands. 

There is another very important item to appear in the history of this town- 
ship. Coal was first discovered here in 1834 and as early as 1835 and 1836 was 
dug and sold to steamboats at the mouth of Bowling's creek which empties into 
the Mississippi about half way between Buffalo and Rockingham. The first 
bank opened was about half a mile up this creek, and was worked to consider- 
able extent by Dr. A. C. Donaldson who settled in 1837 near its mouth. Still 
higher up this creek, some three miles. Benjamin Wright and Capt. E. Murray, 



from Zanesville, Ohio, opened a bank in 1838 and furnished coal to Davenport and 
Rockingham for 15 cents per bushel, and from that day to this mines have been 
opened and worked in almost every part of the township until at the present 
time more than twenty-five coal mines are open and ready for work. The most ex- 
tensive now in operation are near Buffalo and belong to Capt. W. L. Clark & 
Co., who are getting out about 1,000 bushels per day. They are preparing to 
lay a rail track to the river and when completed the company will be able to 
deliver on the bank or in barges from 2,500 to 4,000 bushels per day. Their 
road will accommodate many other banks now open and that will be opened along 
the track. The coal now obtained is far superior to that formerly dug and is 
said to be a better article for making steam and for other purposes, giving off 
more flame and igniting very readily. Experienced steamboat men who have 
examined this coal and used it say that 1,000 bushels of it will go further and 
make more steam than 1,200 bushels of the Rock river coal. 

Capt. W. L. Clark, son of the original proprietor of Buffalo, is now a resi- 
dent of Davenport, but holds large interests of lands and coal banks in this 
county. The very lands claimed by his father in 1832 soon after the Black 
Hawk war are still in the possession of Capt. W. L. Clark. 

James M. Bowling from Virginia, now a resident of Davenport, settled in 
Buffalo township the 4th of July, 1835, at the mouth of Bowling's creek. He 
purchased the "claim" of one Orange Babbett, the quitclaim deed to which has 
recently been presented to the State Historical society by Air. Bowling. This 
property now belongs to Capt. Leroy Dodge. Mr. Bowling commenced farming 
in 1835. That fall he went back to Virginia, married and returned in 1836 with 
his wife and two sisters. In 1837 he had the prospect of a fine crop, but the 
Indians who still loitered about the country were encamped upon this creek. 
In June there were some 500 Indians living near him and very troublesome. They 
set fire to the prairie and burned up the fence surrounding his corn which was at 
the time six inches high. The Indian horses then ate much of it and he was com- 
pelled in the heat of summer to cut timber and make rails to enclose his field 
again ; but notwithstanding all his misfortune, he succeeded in raising a very 
good crop. The Indians, however, were a constant annoyance to him. 

In his absence on one occasion a lot of Indians came to the house and Mrs. 
Bowling having the door fastened by putting a gimlet over the latch, with his 
sisters, remained in silence for some time until they pushed out the chinking 
of the cabin near the door and running in their arms pulled out the gimlet, when 
Mrs. Bowling and sisters braced themselves against the door and by main strength 
kept them at bay until weary of the effort to make an entry they left the premises. 
This is but one instance among many of the trials and hardships to which the 
first settlers were exposed and through which they passed with patience and 

Altliough Buffalo became almost extinct after her defeat and downfall, yet 
in 1855 it was resurveyed and mostly purchased by the Germans who settled in 
and around the town. It has a steam mill, three stores, an Episcopal church organ- 
ized and one of Disciples or Christians. Both societies worship in the school- 
house. Buffalo now contains about 500 inhabitajits and is one of the most 
beautiful town sites on the Mississippi river. 



Many of the first settlers of this township are still living at Buflfalo enjoying 
in affluence the sure reward of their early struggles. One among the many who 
have retired from the more active pursuits of life and now enjoy life's comforts 
is Capt. Leroy Dodge, who emigrated to Iowa in 1836 from the state of New 
York. He was for many years a pilot on the Mississippi and then commander of 
steamboats. Having secured some 400 acres along the river and bluff above 
Bufifalo, he built him a pleasant cottagie on the banks of the river and turned 
his attention to agriculture, principally to stock raising, of which he has some 
noble specimens. In 1852 he represented Scott county in our state legislature. 
He was an unflinching democrat and loved the cause of human rights. 

Among others who settled at an early day in this township were Joseph and 
Matthias Mounts, Elias Moore and Andrew W. Campbell. Mr. Campbell was 
among the most enterprising of the early settlers, having opened a large farm 
on the bottom land of the river. He sold it to Henry C. Morehead at an early 
day and removed to the prairie near where the town of Blue Grass now is, where 
he opened another large farm that now belongs to his heirs. He was elected in 
February, 1838, one of the county commissioners, it being the first election ever 
held for officers under the county organization. He also filled other places of 
responsibility and trust. Being fond of travel and adventure, he frequently took 
excursions into the interior of Iowa while it was yet in the possession of the 
Indians, seeming to forget all business cares and enjoy very much the solitude 
and loveliness of our western wilds. In the spring of 1850 he crossed the plains 
to California and retumed by way of the Isthmus that fall. The following sum- 
mer he again set forth for California by the overland route in company with a 
son and a married daughter whose husband was in California. His health had 
been for years somewhat impaired and his constitution broken. On Green river, 
in the great basin of the Rocky mountains he sickened and died, and his bones 
are left to moulder in the cheerless desert with no lasting monument to point the 
weary pilgrim to his lonely grave. 




In ascending the river from Buffalo, we next enter upon Rockingham town- 
ship, the settlement of which began simultaneously with that of LeClaire, Prince- 
ton and the Groves. This township comprising the bluffs of the Mississippi is 
somewhat broken, and was formerly covered with heavy timber. The bottom 
lands that are above overflow are excellent farming lands. The settlement was 
begun at Rockingham in the fall of 1835. Col. John Sullivan, of Zanesville, O., 
James and Adrian H. Davenport, Henry W. Higgins and others, purchased the 
claim that had been made upon the present site of Rockingham which is directly 
opposite the mouth of Rock river. 

Like many other places selected in those days for town sites, Rockingham 
"possessed many advantages," the most prominent of which was that it would 
command the trade of Rock river which at that time was supposed to be navigable. 
It was laid off into lots in the spring of 1836. Its location upon the banks of 
the Mississippi with Rock river on the opposite side was well drawn and litho- 
graph maps made and circulated in eastern cities and presented a picture of much 
beauty. For a while it was a place of considerable importance. Emigrants un- 
acquainted with the annual overflow of the Mississippi were deceived. To the 
eye in low water, all was beautiful and many a settler felt happy in finding so 
delightful a home in the west. But with the rise of the river, its vast sloughs 
were filled and the embryo city became an island. All communication with the 
bluff was cut off by a slough running back of the town near the bluffs so deep, 
it is said, that keelboats had often navigated it with heavy loads. The first 
overflow was considered an "uncommon occurrence." The second a thing that 
might "never happen again," and unknown "to the oldest inhabitants." 

In Alarch, 1834, Adrian H. Davenport made a claim on Credit island. This 
island containing nearly 400 acres belongs to Scott county, it being on the Iowa 
side of the channel of the Mississippi, and lies just above the mouth of Rock 
river and a little above the town of Rockingham. The early French traders had 
a trading post on this island and credit was here first given to the Indians, hence 
the name "Credit island" was given to it. Soon after the settlement of Mr. 
Davenport upon this island he was joined by his father, Marmaduke Davenport, 



who had been Indian agent at Rock island. This island was purchased from 
the government by Mr. Davenport and is now owned by Mr. J. H. Jenny of this 
city. On the 14th of August, 1834, Mr. Davenport had a son born which was 
the second white male child born in the county, unless one of Levi Chamberlain's 
of Pleasant Valley be the second. This child of Mr. Davenport's died while 
young. The Davenports in the selection and location of Rockingham became 
proprietors and were dry goods and grocery merchants for many years. 

In 1850, A. H. Davenport and his father removed to LeQaire where his father 
died in 1852, much respected for his many social and Christian virtues. Adrian 
H., his son, while living at Rockingham in 1838 received the appointment from 
Gov. Lucas of sheriff of Scott and Qinton counties, Qinton being attached to 
Scott for judicial purposes. The office he retained for twelve years and filled it 
with great fidelity and acceptance to the people. He was ever a democrat, a 
man of untiring energy of character and of moral worth. By his removal to Le- 
Claire in 1850 he not only secured to himself an ample fortune, but probably 
did more for the building up of that beautiful and enterprising city than any 
other man in it. He was in i860 mayor of the city of LeClaire and will be more 
immediately identified when we come to speak of this part of our county. 

James Davenport, his uncle, and the one more particularly interested in the 
laying out of the town of Rockingham, removed from that place in 1848 to Shulls- 
burgh, Wisconsin, about fourteen miles from Galena where he has been largely en- 
gaged in mining. Not only has he been successful in his new employment and se- 
cured to himself ample stores of this world's goods, but has made himself useful in 
trying to arrest the progress of intemperance among the miners ; employing none 
but sober and industrious men and by precept and example teaching with humil- 
ity the pure principles of Christianity before which irreligion and vice have very 
much diminished. 

The I St of August, 1836, Col. Sullivan returned from Zanesville with his 
family and some emigrants for settlement. The town on the ist of May of this 
year contained two log cabins, one being occupied by A. H. Davenport and his 
family and the other by Mr. Foster. Mr. Sullivan brought with him a small 
stock of goods and removing his store from Stephenson where he had been trad- 
ing for a year, he erected a small building and soon opened a dry goods and gro- 
cery store. In the fall and winter of 1836 Rockingham contained some thirteen 
houses and about 100 inhabitants, among whom were Col. Sullivan and family, the 
Davenport families, Millington and Franklin Easly, Capt. John Coleman and 
brothers, William Lingo, Messrs. Mountain and Cale. John Willis, S. S. Brown, 
Henry C. Morehead, David Sullivan, Etheral and J. M. Camp, William White, 
William Dutro. H. W. Higgins, Cornelius Harold, Richard Harrison, James B. 
McCoy and E. H. Shepherd. Dr. E. S. Barrows located here in the fall of 1836. 
He was the first practicing physician located on the Iowa side of the river be- 
tween Burlington and Dubuque. For many years his practice extended over a 
large extent of country, embracing Qinton, Cedar and Muscatine counties. In 
1843 he removed to Davenport and continued his practice, until a few years since 
he retired to enjoy in quiet the fruits of his early labor. He has ever stood at 
the head of his profession and has been president of the "Iowa State Medical 



Of the early settlers of Rockingham many are still inhabitants of Scott county. 
Some have died and many settled in other portions of the state. We should like 
to speak more in detail of the early trials and difficulties through which they 
passed ; of their joys and sorrows, of disappointed hopes ; and be allowed to fol- 
low each in his fortunes since the days of old Rockingham, but the limit of this 
work will not allow. There is, however, one truthful remark that may be writ- 
ten. No village of the "far west" at that day could boast of a better class of 
citizens or those of whom she could be more proud than Rockingham, both on 
account of their high toned moral character, their social and friendly qualities 
and for their kind and liberal attentions to the sick and to the stranger. Many a 
wanderer from the home circle has been made to know this, when, laid upon a 
sick bed in a far western village, he has found the kindly tones and skillful hands 
of woman, in his sick room, and had at the same time substantial proof that he 
was not forgotten by the "sterner sex." 

A large hotel was erected by the proprietors in 1836 and kept for several years 
by H. W. Higgins and was one of the best public houses west of the Mississippi 
river. It is still standing, and is occupied by W. D. Westlake, Esq. Capt. John 
Coleman still lives in this fallen city, the last of the first settlers. In the spring 
of 1837 two more dry goods stores were opened, one by the Davenports and one 
by John S. Sheller & Co. 

During the years of 1835, 1836 and 1837 a few settlers made claims back from 
the river, along under the bluffs and on the edge of the prairie. Among these were 
David Sullivan, in 1835, immediately back of Rockingham under the bluff. His 
farm extended to the bottom lands. Rufus Ricker also settled the same year and 
Rev. Enoch Mead in the winter of 1837. The Hon. James Grant opened a large 
farm in 1838 upon the edge of the prairie at a little grove called at the time "Pica- 
yune grove." He enclosed 320 acres, much of which he put under cultivation. 
He introduced the first blooded stock into the county, if not into the state, and did 
much for the agricultural interests of the county at that early day. The stock 
introduced by Judge Grant at that time has been of immense value to our county, 
the fruits of which may be seen in the herds of many of our best farmers. 

Among those who settled on the bluffs and on the edge of the prairie were 
Lewis Ringlesby, Esq., E. W. H. Winfield, John Wilson, more particularly known 
as "Wildcat Wilson." from having often, as he said, "whipt his weight in wild 
cats," and John Friday who broke the first ground upon the bluffs, seven acres 
for himself and four for Mr. Winfield. 

Flour in the winter of 1836 was from $16 to $20 per barrel; corn meal, $1.75 
per bushel, and no meat of any kind for sale at any price, except deer, wild 
turkey and other wild game, of which there was plenty at that day in the timber 
lands of the bluff. 

John W. Brown, Wm. VanTuyl and John Burnsides also made claims or pur- 
chased them on Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiah-Sepo. or Black Hawk creek, just above 
Rockingham in 1836. John Wilson obtained that fall two bushels of seed wheat 
from John Dunn, who had settled in Allen's Grove which seed he had brought 
from Ohio. Mr. Winfield sowed the wheat that fall and cut the crop the follow- 
ing year with a sickle. Such were the beginnings in agriculture by the settlers of 



At this early day business of all kinds was dull and the inhabitants sought 
pleasure and pastime in hunting and fishing. Enormous specimens of the finny 
tribe were taken, and to the newcomer were objects of surprise and curiosity. 
Catfish were taken weighing from 150 to 175 pounds. I caught a species of the 
pike called the muskelunge in Sugar creek which empties into Cedar river in 
June, 1837, that weighed 35K' pounds and measured 5>4 feet long. The same 
summer E. W. H. Winfield caught a catfish in the Mississippi at Rockingham that 
weighed 175 pounds. Having hauled it up in front of the hotel it was soon sur- 
rounded with spectators. A little daughter of H. W. Higgins having caught a 
sight of the monster fish through the crowd, as it lay floundering on the ground, 
and not knowing exactly what it was, or the exact cause of the excitment, 
started off upon the nm, exclaiming, "There, now, if I don't go and tell my Pa. 
They have killed our old sow." The river and the forest furnished ample sport 
as well as food for the early settler. Venison was often purchased for 2 or 3 
cents per pound. Wild turkeys for 25 to 50 cents, and prairie chickens were so 
plentiful that they were generally given away by the sportsmen. 

In the summer of 1837 a steam saw and flouring mill was erected by Capt. 
Sullivan, it being the first of the kind built in Scott county, or upon this side of 
the Mississippi between Burlington and Dubuque. A Methodist church was or- 
ganized in 1836 and in the fall of 1837 Rev. Enoch Mead gathered a small church 
of the Presbyterian order. In 1840, the Rev. Zachariah Goldsmith, an Episco- 
palian, organized a church. All congregations worshipped by turns in a small 
church building, erected by common subscription. It was also used as a school 
house. In 1838 Rockingham contained forty-five houses including stores and work- 
shops, and in 1839 there were four dry goods and three grocery stores, beside 
a drug store and some whiskey shops. Mechanics of nearly all trades had set- 
tled there, but the financial state of things at that date was so low that but little 
was done in the way of trade. 

Scott county was organized and named after Gen. Winfield Scott, at the ses- 
sion of the legislature of Wisconsin territory which met at Burlington in De- 
cember, 1837. The same act provided for holding an election for the county 
seat on the third Monday of February, 1838. Rockingham and Davenport being 
the only points to be voted for, the polls were to be opened at the Rockingham 
house in Rockingham and the Davenport hotel in Davenport, and at the house of 
E. Parkhurst, in the town of Parkhurst, now LeQaire. This same legislative act 
also provided for an election to be held two weeks after the county seat elec- 
tion for choice of county officers, at which last election Rockingham elected her 
candidates. The commissioners were B. F. Pike, Alfred Carter and A. W. Camp- 
bell, with E. Cook for county clerk. 

The great importance of the county seat election is apparent. The fortunate 
town in the election was to become important from having the seat of justice. 
Great preparations were made for a spirited contest. The matter had been before 
the legislature and an attempt was made to locate it by that body, but a scheme 
of bribery and corruption among some of its members was brought to light and 
an act then passed to leave it to the people. The leading men in the contest upon 
the Rockingham side were Col. Sullivan, the Messrs. Davenport, Dr. E. S. Bar- 
rows, G. B. Sargent, J. S. Shiller, J. C. Higginson, W. Barrows, H. W. Hig- 



gins, Wm. VanTuyl, O. G. McLain, Fitzpatrick, Phipps, Shepherd and others, 
besides many that were non-residents of the town who lent their influence and 
time upon the occasion. Davenport had her LeClaire, Col. Davenport and sons, 
Judge Mitchell, James Mcintosh and brother, D. C. Eldridge, John Owens and 
a host of others, men of means, talent and influence. 

Rockingham in this first election, if conducted on fair principles, had no cause 
to fear the result. She had no need of resorting to unfair means to gain the 
election. The southern part of the county at that time was the most densely 
populated. She could poll more votes than Davenport, beside which the LeClaire 
township at the head of the rapids took sides with Rockingham, expecting at 
some future time to effect an alteration in the county lines on the north so as to 
make LeClaire more central and of course it was policy to vote for the most 
southern point in the election. 

The returns of the election were to be made to Gov. Dodge, of Wisconsin, 
we then belonging to that territory. The act specified that the place having the 
largest number of votes should be declared the county seat, and that it should 
be the duty of the governor upon such return being made to issue his proclamation 
accordingly. Davenport, well knowing her weakness and want of "material aid," 
entered into a contract with a man by the name of Bellows from Dubuque to fur- 
nish voters at so much per head, board, whiskey and lodging to be furnished 
by the party requiring service. 

The day of election came and with it came also the importation of voters 
by the "Bellows express." They were from Dubuque and Snake Diggings, eleven 
sleigh loads of the most wretched looking rowdies and vagabonds that had ever 
appeared in the streets of Davenport. They were the dregs of the mining district 
of that early day; filled with impudence and profanity, soaked in whiskey and 
done up in rags. Illinois contributed largely by vote for Davenport. There 
was no use in challenging such a crowd of corruption, for they hardly knew the 
meaning of the word perjury, so they were permitted to vote, unmolested. Rock- 
ingham at this election, whatever she may have done afterwards, observed a 
strict, honest and impartial method of voting. There was no necessity for a re- 
sort to intrigue. She knew her strength and had it within herself. The election 
being over, the Dubuque delegation of miners returned home having drunk ten 
barrels of whiskey and cost the contracting parties over $3,000 in cash ! 

Davenport polled a majority of votes. The rejoicing was most enthusiastic. 
Bonfires and illuminations were exhibited and the result was considered a great 
and final triumph. But while these rejoicings were going on in Davenport, Dr. 
E. S. Barrows and John C. Higginson were on their way to Mineral Point, Wis., 
to see Gov. Dodge with documents sufficient to prove the frauds that had been 
perpetrated at Davenport. LTpon this exposure the governor refused to issue his 
certificate of election. 

Thus things remained until the legislature met in June at Burlington, at which 
time they passed an act for another election for the county seat between Daven- 
port and Rockingham to be held in the following August. This act more par- 
ticularly defined the manner in which the election should be carried on and voters 
were required to have a residence of sixty days. The returns of this election were 
to be made by County Commissioners' Clerk E. Cook, Esq. to the sheriff of Du- 



buque county, and he was to count the votes in the presence of the county com- 
missioners of that county. The place having- the greatest number of votes was 
to be entered upon the books of the commissioners and such place to become the 
seat of justice. 

At this election Rockingham feeling rather sore under the treatment of the 
last election, laid aside all conscientious scruples in relation to the whole matter, 
and chose to fight the enemy in their own way, well knowing that act by its word- 
ing did not require legal votes. The campaign opened with vigor. The note of 
preparation was sounded and contending parties summoned to the field. The 
county was canvassed and the unstable and wavering were brought into the ranks 
on one or the other side. Building lots were proffered and accepted for in- 
fluence and for votes in both places. Col. Sullivan employed many extra hands 
around his mill, just about that time. The struggle was harder than before and 
the corruption much greater, though carried on in a different manner. The day 
of election came. The officers appointed to attend the polls were either not 
sworn at all or sworn illegally, so that in case of defeat a plea might be set up 
for a new election. The ballot box was stuffed. Illegal voting in various ways 
was permitted. Non-residents of Scott county swore that they were "old settlers," 
while the poll books and ballot box showed a list of names that no human tongue 
was ever found to answer to. 

A great mystery seemed to hang over the Rockingham polls. They had been 
watched by the Davenport party, and yet when the ballot box was emptied of its 
contents, it showed most astonishing results. The committee sent down from 
Davenport to watch the polls could never explain where all the votes came from. 
The names in the box and on the poll books agreed, but the great difficulty seemed 
to be, that the settlement did not warrant such a tremendous vote. This, how- 
ever, was afterwards explained as being in strict conformity with the oath taken 
by some of the judges or clerks of the election which was that they should "to 
the best of their ability see that votes enough were polled to elect Rockingham the 
county seat." 

The election being over, the returns were made to the sheriff of Dubuque 
county and counted in the presence of the commissioners as provided in the act, 
when a majority was found for Rockingham. The commissioners, for some cause, 
failed to make the entry upon their records as required by the act, but during 
the week took the liberty of "purging the polls," throwing out a sufficient num- 
ber of votes to give Davenport the majority by two votes. One of the votes 
thus thrown out was that of John W. Brown, who settled on Black Hawk creek 
in 1835 s^nd was still living there. 

By this proceeding Davenport was declared the county seat. Whereupon the 
Rockingham party made application to the supreme court for a mandamus di- 
rected to the county commissioners of Dubuque county, requiring them to make 
the proj^er entry upon their records of the election in Scott county in accordance 
with the act of the legislature. 

On the final hearing of the case the court decided that they had no original 
jurisdiction over the case, but at the request of the parties the case having been 
fully argued upon its merits, the court examined the whole question and gave 
an opinion, the effect of which was that Rockingham was the county seat. 



The leg-islature being then in session at Burlington passed an act for an- 
other election. At this election there were two other points added to Davenport 
and Rockingham as aspirants for the county seat. One was "the geographical 
center," now Sloperville, and the other was a quarter section of land at the" 
mouth of Duck creek called "Winfield." Before the election the geographical 
center was dropped. Davenport and Rockingham then commenced offering town 
lots and money for the use of the county in case the county seat should be located 
upon their ground. Thousands of dollars and donations of lots and lands were 
made and bonds given to secure it to the county in case of the selection of the 
point desired by either party. But at length Rockingham withdrew her claims 
upon condition that Davenport would build, free of expense to the county, a 
courthouse and jail similar to those in Rock Island, which she entered into bonds 
to do and the election was left for decision between Davenport and the "Duck 
creek com field," as it was called. 

The commissioners elected by the Rockingham party issued an order for a 
contract to build a jail in Rockingham, as will be seen by the following notice 
published in the Iowa Sun of May 12, 1840: 


Sealed proposals will be received by the board of commissioners of Scott 
county for building a jail in the town of Rockingham until the first day of July 
next, on which day the proposals will be opened and the contract let. 

A plan and specifications may be seen by calling on John H. Sullivan, Esq., 
commissioner to superintend the erection. 

Proposals to be endorsed : "Proposals for erecting a jail in Scott county" 
and directed to "John H. Sullivan, Esq., commissioner to superintend the erec- 
tion of a jail in Rockingham." 

By order of the board of commissioners of Scott county, Rockingham, May 
12. 1840. 

Ebenezer Cook, Cl^k. 

Davenport gained the election, built the public buildings free of all cost to 
the county, according to her contract, and thus terminated one of the most ex- 
citing questions that had ever disturbed the quiet of our peaceful community. 

The battle was long and spirited. The contending parties withdrew from the 
bloodless field with happy triumph, each having outgeneraled the other, and 
found that even when a victory was won, the laurels are not always sure. A peace 
treaty was held at the Rockingham hotel in the winter of 1840, where the most 
prominent actors in the past scenes met as mutual friends and buried the 
hatchet forever, ratifying the treaty, as it was called, by a grand ball, where 
more than forty couples mingled in the dance and seemed to forget at once all the 
strife and bickerings of the past, and seal their friendship anew with earnest 
and willing hearts. 

During the whole of this controversy, singular as it may appear, the utmost 
good feeling and gentlemanly conduct prevailed. No personal feuds grew out 
of it, and to this day it is often the source of much merriment among the old 
settlers ; and is looked upon only as the freaks and follies of a frontier life. 




Rockingham was settled by a class of people noted for their social and 
friendly virtues. Nowhere in the west was there a more open-hearted and gen- 
erous people. In sickness, of which there was much at an early day, all had 
sympathy and attention and the most cordial good feeling prevailed throughout 
the whole community. They were united in every good work and enterprise and 
always ready to kindly act. 

A ferry was established across the Mississippi river in the spring of 1837 con- 
necting with the State road up the south side of Rock river, which brought much 
travel on that route. 

In 184s the town began to decline. Many of the inhabitants left and settled 
in other parts of the country, some in the city of Davenport. At present Rock- 
ingham is a deserted village, having but three or four families left in it, the build- 
ings having been moved into the country for farm houses or to Davenport for 

K i)i;i\ i;\\ AN IN ii;.ii;i;\ ai;n I'ARK 




This township like Rockingham has bluff lands that are somewhat broken 
near the river until we reach a point three miles above the city of Davenport where 
it opens out into a beautiful prairie called Pleasant Valley. The bluff or timber 
line between the river and prairie is from one to two miles wide, and was for- 
merly well wooded. 

By the "bluffs" of the Mississippi river we do not mean here that they are 
an abrupt or perpendicular ascent, but a gentle rise from the river or bottom 
lands, not so steep but roads may be constructed up almost any part of them. 
The general elevation of these bluffs or high lands is about lOO feet above the 
waters of the Mississippi, and in many places of very gentle ascent and covered 
with cultivated fields and gardens to their tops. 

But Davenport township differs from all others upon the river in the beau- 
tiful, rolling prairies immediately back from the river after passing the bluffs. 
These prairies are not broken, as is common with those that approach so near 
the river, but are susceptible of the highest state of cultivation. Back of the city 
of Davenport the slope from the top of the bluff to Duck creek, covered as it is 
with gardens and fields, is one of uncommon beauty and richness, and the farms 
that now cover the prairie for seven or eight miles back cannot be excelled in any 

Duck creek, which passes through the whole length of this township, rises in 
Blue Grass, some ten miles west of Davenport, and running east empties into 
the Mississippi, five miles above the city, its course being up stream, parallel with 
the Mississippi and only one or two miles distant from it. It affords an ample 
supply of water for stock, and is never dry in summer, being fed by numerous 
springs along its course. Its Indian name is Si-ka-ma-que Sepo, or Gar creek, 
instead of Duck creek. 

But before entering in detail upon the settlement of this township, there is 
much to interest and engage the attention of those who may desire a knowledge 
of its more remote history which although but little known is interesting and 
important. As has already been observed the locality of Davenport and its sur- 
roundings have been the camping ground of the Indian from time immemorial. 
Marquette and Joliet the first discoverers of the country, 189 years ago, found 



the tribes of the Illini here (See Discoveries and Explorations of Mississippi 
River, by Shea, vol. i, page 30; also Annals of the West, p. 31). There were 
three villages or towns ; the main one at which they landed was called "Pewaria" 
where we suppose Davenport now stands, as it is laid down upon Marquette's 
original map on the west side of the "River Conception," as he named the Mis- 
sissippi. This map is a fac-simile of the autograph one by Father Marquette, at 
the time of his voyage down the river in June, 1673, and was taken from the origi- 
nal, preserved at St. Mary's college, Montreal, (See Explorations of the Missis- 
sippi River, by Shea, p. 280.) 

Of the tribes found here by Father Marquette, and among whom he estab- 
lished a mission, little is known, except his first account of them, as they have 
become extinct. The tribes of the "Illini" aboriginal, (Hall's Sketches of the 
West, vol. I, part ii, p. 142) seem to have been very numerous at that time, being 
scattered over the vast country lying between Lake Superior and the Missis- 
sippi, for we find that Marquette in his second voyage here to found the Mis- 
sion (Shea, vol. i, p. 53) was accompanied part of the way by some "Illinois 
and Pottawattamies," "and we find them settled at that day upon the Illinois river 
at Peoria and LaSalle's trading post, and also on the Kankakee, and as low 
down on the Mississippi river as Cape Girardeau. They seemed to be less war- 
like than the Iroquois and the Wyandots, and roamed at pleasure unmolested over 
all lands and among all tribes. 

The Sacs and Foxes came from the northern lakes, but at what date it is 
difficult to ascertain. The Foxes were originally called Outagamies, Schoolcraft, 
(vol. VI, p. 193). From what tribe they descended is not known. About the 
seventeenth century we find them with the Iroquois committing depredations 
upon the whites among the great lakes of the north. 

"It has been inferred," says Schoolcraft, (vol. vi, p. 193) "from their language 
that they belonged to the Algonquin tribes, but at an early day were ejected from 
and forsaken by them." We find them in 1712 with the Iroquois making an at- 
tempt to destroy Detroit; being routed, they retired to a peninsula in Lake St. 
Qaire where they were attacked by the French and Indians and driven out of 
the country. We next find them on Fox river at Green bay. Their character 
seems to be perfidious. They were a constant annoyance to the trapper and the 
trader, ever creating difficulty and disturbance among the other tribes. "Having 
been defeated at the battle of 'Butte des Mortes,' or 'Hill of the Dead,' with 
great slaughter the remnants of the tribe fled to the banks of the Wisconsin." 
(Schoolcraft, vol. vi, p. 191.) We have no further notice of them until their 
settlement upon the Mississippi and its tributaries. 

"The Sacs and Foxes took possession of the lands belonging to the lowas, 
(Annals of the West, p. 713) whom they partly subjugated." "The Foxes had 
their principal village on the west side of the Mississippi at Davenport." "A small 
Sauk village was on the west side of the Mississippi, near the mouth of the Des 
Moines river." This was between 1785 and 1800. The Sauks were the original 
occupants of Saginaw on Lake Michigan, and were allies of the Foxes in 1712, 
in an attempt to drive the French out of Michigan. 

Thus far in our history are we able to trace the immediate occupants of our 
soil prior to possession by the United States. The early French traders found 



a village of Foxes at Dubuque with the chief "Piea-Maskie," and another at the 
mouth of the Wabesse-pinecon river, a Sauk village, v^ith "No-No" as chief. But 
a still larger village of Foxes v^as where the city of Rock Island now stands, 
called "Wa-pello's village," while the main Sauk village, "Black Hawk's town," 
was on Rock river between Camden and Rock Island. The traffic with the In- 
dians was carried on by the Canadian French in IMackinaw boats. There were 
no established trading posts. The constant wars among the tribes continued to di- 
minish their numbers. The Sioux, the Chippewas, the Winnebagoes and the 
Menomenies were the bitter enemies of the Sauks and Foxes. They were ever 
lurking upon each other's trail, and never letting slip an opportunity of gathering 
a few scalps in revenge for some fancied wrong. 

In the spring of 1828 the Indian agent at Prairie du Chien by request of the 
Sioux, Winnebagoes and Menomenies. then allied in their petty wars, sent an 
invitation to the chiefs and braves of the Fox village at Dubuque to meet their 
enemies in council and forever bury the tomahawk, and settle all differences 
existing between the several tribes. The Sacs and Foxes were becoming re- 
duced in numbers. Their faithless, perfidious and treacherous course of life 
among all the nations through which they had traveled, from the great lakes of 
the north to the valley of the Mississippi had followed them. Their warriors 
had been slain, and they felt their strength fading away. They were willing now 
to live on terms of peace with their neighbors and very readily accepted the in- 
vitation. Piea-Maskie was their chief. Not suspecting the treachery of their 
enemies, all the principal chiefs and braves of their band left their village at Du- 
buque, for the treaty at Prairie du Chien. 

The Sioux and Winnebagoes had deceived their agent and only laid a plot 
to draw the Foxes from their village for the purpose of entrapping them. They 
therefore sent spies down the river, just before the appointed time for the treaty, 
to watch the movements of the unsuspecting Foxes. On the second night after 
leaving Dubuque the party made an encampment a little below the mouth of the 
Wisconsin river on the eastern shore anci while cooking their evening meal and 
smoking around their campfires without the least suspicion of danger, they were 
fired upon by more than 100 of their enemies ; a war party that had been sent 
down for that purpose. But two of the whole number escaped. In the general 
massacre that followed these jumped into the river and swam to the western 
shore, carrying the sad news of the murder to their village. This produced con- 
sternation and alarm. Such treachery, even in Indian warfare, was startling. 
The chiefs and brave men had been slaughtered without mercy and an attack 
upon their village might be expected. Their leaders were dead, and dismay and 
confusion reigned throughout the camp. 

The surviving warriors were assembled in council to select another chief. 
A half-breed of Scotch descent of much daring and bravery named Morgan was 
elected and named Ma-que-pra-um. A war party was soon formed under their 
new leader to march on the faithless Sioux and avenge the death of their chief 
and brave men. The preparations were soon completed. The plot was laid. All 
was ready. The council fire was again lighted and the warrior band, headed by 
their new chief sat around in sullen silence, painted and hung in all the parapher- 
nalia of an Indian warrior. The wail and lamentation for the dead were changed 



to the deep, piercing yell of the savage. All the dark hatred of the Indian nature 
was depicted on the countenances of this revengeful group, and there went up 
a shout, the war cry of their tribe, such as the rugged clififs and hills of Dubuque 
had never heard before or since. With blackened faces, chanting the death song, 
they entered their canoes and started on their mission of blood. 

Arriving in the vicinity of Prairie du Chien, from the opposite bluffs the spies 
of the party discovered the encampment of the foe, almost directly under the 
guns of the fort. The setting sun was just gilding the walls of Fort Crawford 
and the sentinel on its ramparts had just been roused from his listlessness by the 
beat of the "tattoo ;" the Indians lay indolently in their camp, little dreaming of 
the fate that awaited them. On seeing the position of the enemy the plan of at- 
tack was soon formed. The Foxes lay in ambush until the darkness of the night 
should shield them from observation. A sufficient number was left with the ca- 
noes with instructions to be a short distance below the fort. The warriors then 
stripped themselves of every incumbrance but the girdle containing the tomahawk 
and scalping knife, and went up the river some little distance, when, about mid- 
night, they swam the Mississippi and stealthily crawled down upon the encamp- 

All was darkness and silence ! No sentinel watched the doomed camp ! The 
smouldering fire of the first wigwam they reached revealed to them, as they 
threw aside the curtained door an Indian smoking his pipe in meditative silence. 
The leader chief seized him and without noise carried him outside the lodge and 
slew him without alarming the camp. The work of death went on from lodge to 
lodge in stillness and silence until the knife and hatchet had done their bloody 
work, severing not only the scalp but many of the heads of their chieftains. 

The work was done and with one loud, wild whoop of satisfaction and re- 
venge the fort was awakened, the sentry sent forth his note of alarm, while the 
assailants took to the canoes belonging to the enemy, rejoined the party, and with 
a yell of triumph were far down the Mississippi before the officers of the fort 
were in readiness to march. With the trophies of victory they soon reached their 
village, (lancing the "scalp dance." Packing up their valuables the whole tribe 
deserted their town at Dubuque, descending the river and settled where the city 
of Davenport now stands. 

This massacre took place within the memory of some now living here who 
related these facts to the author, and they still have a most vivid recollection of see- 
ing the returning band as they came down past Rock Island with their canoes lashed 
side by side, the heads and scalps of their slaughtered enemies set upon poles still 
reeking with the blood of their victims. They landed amid the most deafening 
shouts of savage triumph and celebrated their victory with the Sacs, singing their 
war songs and exhibiting with savage ferocity the clotted scalps and ghastly 
faces of the treacherous Sioux, Winnebagoes and Menomenies. of whom they 
had killed seventeen of their best chiefs and warriors, besides other men, women 
and children of the tribe. From that event until the removal of the Sacs and Foxes 
this village was called "Morgan," after their chieftain. 

This brief sketch of the history of our immediate vicinity before the dawn of 
civilization must suffice. The Indian who possessed the soil was here in his own 
right by whatever means he possessed it. The early missionaries had taught him 



the first principles of Qiristianity. He believed in the Great Spirit. He wor- 
shipped no idols, nor bowed to any superior but the great "Manito." They had 
their seers and prophets, and believed in a tutelar spirit. They made no sacrifice 
of human life to appease the wrath of an offended deity. They observed their 
fasts and holy days with blackened faces and with midnight lamentations. They 
believed in a future of rewards but not of punishments, and were ever ready and 
proud to sing the death song even at the stake, that they might enter the elysian 
fields of the good hunting ground. They never blasphemed. There is no word 
in their language by which to express it. 

The Indian's home is wherever the finger of destiny points ; yet his sym- 
pathies often cluster deeply around the place of his nativity and the scenes of 
his earlier life. Thus was it with them when they came to leave their home upon 
As-sin-ne-Mee-ness, (Rock island) and the As-sin-ne-Se-po, (Rock river). In 
all their wanderings from the great lakes on the north to the Ohio river on 
the south and the Mississippi on the west they had never found a home like this. 
The bluffs and the islands furnished them animals for the chase, while the clear 
waters of the As-sin-ne-Se-po gave them the finest fish. The fields yielded them 
an abundance of the maize, the potato, beans, melons and pumpkins, and they 
were as happy as the roving spirit of their nature would allow, when in the spring 
of 1814 the white man came and with the din of preparation for work, the soli- 
tude was broken and the first sounds of civilization broke upon their ears. 

Attempts were made at that time to plant forts along the Upper Mississippi. 
(Annals of the West, p. 743.) The only means of transportation was by armed 
boats. Maj. Zachary Taylor, (president of the United States in 1850) was in 
command of one of these boats. He left Cap au Oris (Cap au Grey) in August 
of this year with 334 men for the Indian towns at Rock island with instructions 
to destroy their villages and cornfields. (x'Vnnals, p. 744.) The Indians were 
located on both sides of the river "above and below the rapids." But in this at- 
tempt he was frustrated by the Indians receiving aid from neighboring tribes 
and some British allies then at Prairie du Chien. The battle was severe and 
lasted some three hours, commencing on the rapids above at Campbell's island 


In May, 1816, the Eighth regiment and a company of riflemen in command of 
Col. Lawrence came up the river in boats and landed at the mouth of Rock 
river. After some examination the lower end of Rock island was fixed on for 
a site to build a fort. On the loth of May they landed on the island. A store 
house was first put up. which was the first building ever on the island. A bake 
house was next built, and then Fort Armstrong was commenced. At this time 
there were about 10,000 Indians in and around the place on both sides of the 
river. Col. George Davenport, then attached to the army, was general super- 
intendent. (See biog. Col. D. in Davenport Past and Present.) The Indians 
were much dissatisfied and complained that the noise made by the white man in 
building on the island would disturb the Great Spirit whose residence they believed 
to be in a cave at the foot of the island. 

From this date until the Black Hawk war Rock island was only a frontier 
military post, and although this notice does not come strictly into the history of 
Scott county, yet so intimately are its early pioneer scenes connected with it, that 



it seems almost indispensable to make some mention of it. Tranquillity had in a 
measure been restored between the whites and the Indians when the Black Hawk 
war broke out. A few remarks on the causes of this war may not be uninteresting. 

Black Hawk had ever been dissatisfied with the treaty made at St. Louis in 
1804 (American State Papers — 16 — 247 and Land Laws. 514) by Gen. Harri- 
son for their lands on Rock river, and upon a requisition of the United States 
to surrender these lands to the whites for settlement Black Hawk refused. He 
had been in the service of Great Britain in the War of 1812 and received pay and 
presents annually. He openly proclaimed himself and party British subjects. 
(Annals, p. 649.) At the treaty held at Portage des Sioux in 1814 to recognize 
and re-establish the treaty of Gen. Harrison which had been broken on the part 
of some of the Indians, by the part they took in the War of 1812, Black Hawk and 
his band refused to attend. It appears that he had continued depredations on the 
whites after peace was declared, and at this treaty, a "talk" at Portage des Sioux, 
the commissioners on the part of the United States required them to render up 
and restore all such property as they had plundered or stolen from the whites, and 
in default thereof to be cut off from their proportion of the annuities, which they 
were to receive for their lands by the treaty at St. Louis in 1804. This was one 
of the causes that led to the Black Hawk war. The disaffected portion of the 
tribe under Black Hawk were for resistance, while Keokuk, the chief of the 
peace party, had signed the articles of treaty with his principal braves. 

There was a general dissatisfaction among all the tribes of the Upper Mis- 
sissippi at this time. In the transportation of military stores and traders' goods 
in boats the whites were often attacked and they had to go armed. Col. Taylor 
had an engagement in person with several hundred Indians among the islands 
just below this city. Being overpowered by numbers he was obliged to retire with 
a small loss. 

In the treaty which ceded the lands of Rock river to the United States it was 
stipulated that the Indians should retain possession of them until they were 
brought into market or sold for actual settlement. This gave to the Indian as 
much right as a fee simple title until 1829, at which time the lands were sold, and 
Black Hawk's tower between Camden and Rock Island passed into the hands of 
the whites. On his return from hunting in the spring of 1830 he was informed 
for the first time that his home had passed into other hands, and that he must re- 
move with the rest of his tribe west of the Mississippi. This he refused to do in 
the strongest terms. He visited Canada to see his British Father, and Gen. (3ass 
at Detroit, who advised him if he owned the land to remain where he was. that 
he could not be disturbed. (Wilkie's Davenport Past and Present, p. 23.) 

All efforts made by Keokuk or his white friends to induce Black Hawk on his 
return to remove west were unavailing. He is said to have exhibited more at- 
tachment for his native land at this time than ever before or after. In the 
spring of 1831 his people commenced planting corn at his village and the whites 
who had laid claim to it ploughed it up. This aroused all the native fire and in- 
dignation of Black Hawk. He at once formed his plan of resistance. He threat- 
ened the whites. They became alarmed. The little fort at Rock island was too 
weak at such a remote point and Gen. Gaines ordered ten companies of militia 
to Fort Armstrong. A conference was had with Black Hawk, but he still refused 



to leave. The troops marched upon his town, and he retired across the river and 
located his village where the farm of the Hon. E. Cook was formerly, just below 
the city of Davenport. Another talk was then had, and Black Hawk agreed not 
to cross the river without permission, but the following spring he is found press- 
ing his way up Rock river with his whole band of warriors, men, women and 
children, expecting to be joined by other tribes and his friends the British allies. 
But in this he was disappointed, and being pursued by General Atkinson with 600 
regulars, he fled for the wilds of Wisconsin, committing depredations and mas- 
sacres along his route. The war was now begun in good earnest. 

On the 15th of September, 1832, the Black Hawk war being ended a treaty 
was held with the Sacs and Foxes by Gen. Scott upon the ground now occupied 
by the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad company in this city. At this treaty a 
small strip of land only was ceded to the United States, called the "Black Hawk 
Purchase." It lay along the Mississippi river, beginning at a point on the boun- 
dary line between Missouri and Iowa which is now the southeast corner of Davis 
county, and running thence to a point on Cedar river near the northeast comer 
of Johnson county, thence in a northwest direction to a point on the south boun- 
dary of the Neutral Grounds, then occupied by the Winnebagoes, and thence 
with said line to a point on the Mississippi river a short distance above Prairie 
du Chien, it being only about sixty miles in the widest place and contained about 
6,000,000 acres. The Indians peaceably removed from it on the ist of June, 
1833, and thus gave to the whites free access to this beautiful land. 

We now enter into details upon the first settlements in and around the city 
of Davenport. The beauty of its location has been often descanted upon. It 
needs no pen of mine to describe its loveliness, nor the rich and varied landscape 
that surrounds it. But there are thoughts that crowd upon the memory as we 
gaze upon its unparalleled growth and importance. Let us review for a moment, 
before we trace its history. 

Twenty-seven years ago the first cabin was erected by the white man. The 
retreating footsteps of the red man were still heard over these bluflfs. The poles 
of his wigwam still stuck along the banks of this noble river. The graves of 
his people were still fresh upon the brow of our bluflFs, and the cornhills and 
playgrounds of his children have been covered over with the habitations of 

This mighty river that once bore to our shores the frail bark of a Marquette 
and Joliet has become the thoroughfare of nations. Where the light canoe of the 
savage once glided in safety, the Scu-ti-chemon, (fire canoe or steamboat) of 
the white man now floats with majesty and splendor, and this magnificent river 
has become the highway of a mighty nation. The Mackinaw trading boat with its 
French voyageur has left its moorings on As-sin-ne-Man-ess, (Rock island,) 
and old Fort Armstrong that had stood like a watchful sentinel on the jutting 
rocks of the island for more than 40 years has been burned down by sacrilegious 

In the spring of 1836 John Wilson, or "Wild Cat Wilson," as he was called, 
who was an old "claim-maker" (he and his boys having made and sold the one 
where Rockingham was located and one where is now the farm of Judge Wes- 
ton,) commenced making a claim on the edge of the prairie on the Blue Grass 



road from Davenport, where the farm of Mr. Depro now is, afterwards the Dr. 
I'.ardwell place. The Indians who were then living- on the Iowa river fre- 
quently came in here to the trading house of Col. Davenport, on Rock island. 
I1ic trail passed directly across where Wilson was making his claim. He was 
cuttini,' trees for logs and had some two or three yoke of oxen hauling them 
together for the house, when a company of Indians came along on their way to 
the trading house. They were a part of the disaffected band of Black Hawk 
and as usual felt cross and bitter toward the white man whoiTi.they looked upon 
as an intruder. They ordered Wilson to desist from making any improvements ; 
told him that he should not live there and that he must leave. "Old Wild Cat" 
who was used to Indians, with whom he often had difficulties and most prob- 
ably with some of this very band, took very little heed of what they said, but 
urged on his work without any fear of trouble from them. The Indians after 
remaining at Davenport and on the island for a few days left for their home 
full of whiskey and ripe for a quarrel. On arriving at Wilson's they rode up 
to the spring near which the house was building (the same that now stands 
there, used as a stable). They got off and turned their ponies loose, laid off their 
blankets and deliberately prepared for a fight. Wilson and his tw^o sons were all 
there were of the whites. Wilson was a short distance in the woods, chopping. 
The attack was made upon James, who was driving the team. He ran for his 
father and Samuel. On their arrival the old man who never feared Indian or 
white man, bear or wild cat, pitched in for a general fight. The Indians, some 
twelve or fourteen in number, soon had "Old Wild Cat" down, when one of the 
boys not having any weapon, unyoked an ox, and with the bow knocked down two 
or three of the Indians, which released the father, who springing to his feet, caught 
his axe which he had dropped in the first onset, and turning upon them, he struck 
an Indian in the back, splitting him open from the neck nearly to the small of the 
back. This dampened the ardor of the savages for a moment, when Wilson call- 
ing on his boys to fight and raising the "Wild Cat" yell he made at them again, 
when they gathered up the wounded Indian and fled. He soon died, and the 
next Sunday the Indians gathered in great numbers in the neighborhood of Wil- 
son's, with threatening aspects. 

Wilson with his boys and a few neighbors was forted in John Friday's cabin 
where the Indians kept them nearly all day. A runner was sent to Mr. LeClaire 
and Col. Davenport, who settled the matter with the Indians and cautioned them 
al)out traveling across the lands of "Old Wild Cat," telling them of his threats, 
that he would scalp the first "redskin" he caught upon that trail. The Indians 
made a new trail from Davenport, running farther north through Little's Grove, 
and were never known to pass Wilson's after that affair. 

Wilson, with his son Samuel was hunting and trapping in the autumn of 
1840 on the "neutral grounds" belonging to the Winnebagoes when a party of 
some thirty Indians fell upon him and robbed him of everything he had except a 
little clothing. Whether he was known by these Indians or whether some of 
the Sacs and Foxes were present, he never knew ; but they took his team with 
all his effects and followed him out of their country. Mr. Wilson died a few 
years since near Moscow on the Cedar river in this state. 


Tin-: vvii.LAki) iiarrows history. 

Georg-e L. Davenport, Esq.. made the first claim in Davenjjort township im- 
mediately after the treaty in 1832, which was before the time expired that the 
Indians were to give possession to the whites (June i, 1833). ^'Ir. Davenport 
has been familiar with the Indians from boyhood, was adopted into the Fox 
tribe while young and had no playmates in early life but Indian boys. He 
learned to speak their language and was an expert archer, swimmer and racer, 
ever ready to join in all their sports, and a general favorite with the whole tribe. 
This explains why he was permitted to go upon the lands while others were kept 
off until the next year; for many emigrants took possession in the autumn of 

1832 after the treaty, but were driven off and had to await the time specified 
in the treaty for possession, viz. the ist of June, 1833. 

There is therefore an error in the history of Buffalo township as to the first 
claim and also the first ferry. Capt. Clark might have established the first public 
ferry, but Col. Davenport had a flatboat and used it for ferry purposes as early 
as 1827, running between the island and main shore, carrying pack horses, cattle 
and goods for the Indian trade. He also kept a wood yard on the island after 
steamboats began to run here, and brought wood from Maple island and other 

The claim upon which Davenport now stands was first made in the spring of 

1833 by R. H. Spencer and a Mr. McCloud. A difficulty arose between these 
men in respect to the claim or some portion of it, when to end the dispute An- 
toine LeClaire purchased from both their entire interest for $100. This was the 
first transaction in real estate in the city of Davenport, some of which has since 
been sold as high as $200 a foot. This claim comprised that portion of the city 
lying west of Harrison street, being outside of LeClaire's reserve. He fenced 
in and cultivated a portion of it near the bluff embracing the ground now oc- 
cupied by the courthouse and jail. The early settlers will very readily call to 
mind the natural state of the ground in that portion of the city lying below West- 
ern avenue. Where Washington square is now enclosed filled up and beautified 
there was a quagmire that extended westward between Second and Fourth 
streets to the limit of the city. This slough that headed in Washington square 
was caused by springs, forming soft, spongy ground, impassable for man or beast ; 
and until 1845 there were no streets opened nor crossings from Second to Fourth 
below Western avenue. Some of the residents of 1837 and 1838 wall recollect 
cattle miring in this slough, and one or two instances in which they died in it. 
This portion of our city is now largely built up by the Germans who mostly reside 
in the western portion of our city, and whose industry, energy and taste have 
turned this lowland into beautiful gardens and covered it with homes and 

In the autumn of 1835 Antoine LeClaire. Maj. Thomas Smith. Maj. Wm. Gor- 
don. Phihp Hambaugh. Alex. W. McGregor. Levi S. Colton. Capt. James May 
with Col. George Davenport, met at the house of the latter gentleman on Rock 
island to consult as to the propriety of laying out a town upon Mr. LeClaire's 
claim on the west bank of the Mississippi river. The arguments offered in favor 
of such a project were : the unexampled fertility of the soil, the necessity for a 
town at some future day at the foot of the rapids, the unrivaled beauty of the 
location, its healthy position, etc. This meeting resulted in the purchase from 



Mr. LeClaire of all the land west of Harrison street running along the bluff as 
far west as Warren street and thence south to the river at a cost of $2,000. The 
town was named after Col. George Davenport. It was surveyed by Maj. Gordon 
in the spring of 1836, who is said to have performed the service in less than a 
day with his mental vision very much obscured by a certain decoction called 
by the Indians scuti-appo, the "white man's fire water." From some of the 
lines which I have had occasion to trace since I have never doubted the assertion. 

The first improvements within the present city limits were made by Mr. Le- 
Claire upon the ground now occupied by the M. & M. R. R. depot, in the spring 
of 1833. But nothing in the way of fanning or the more substantial improve- 
ments took place till May, 1836, when Dr. James Hall and his two eldest sons took 
a contract from Mr. LeClaire to break a certain amount of land upon his "reserve" 
as it was called. This tract for breaking lay east of Brady street, beginning near 
the present corner of Brady and Second, extending up Second to Rock Island, 
and as far back as Sixth street. This was contracted for at $5 an acre except 
a certain portion which the Halls were to have free of rent and $2.50 an acre 
for breaking, which they planted in potatoes and corn, obtaining the seed from 
Fort Armstrong, paying $1.25 a bushel for potatoes. The next year this same 
ground was rented to the Halls for $15 an acre, upon which they sowed some 
wheat and raised a crop. 

The first public house or tavern was built upon the corner of Front and Ripley 
streets, in 1836 by Messrs. LeQaire and Davenport, and opened by Edward 
Powers from Stephenson. The next year it passed into the hands of John Mc- 
Gregor from Kentucky. 

In June, 1836 a very important personage arrived, bringing with him all the 
ingredients of a pioneer whiskey shop, the first introduced upon the soil of 
Scott county. It was Capt. John Litch, from Newburyport, N. H. He had 
been a sea-faring man, was far advanced in life, of a jovial disposition, full of 
anecdotes and ever ready to toss ofif a glass of grog with anyone who desired to 
join him. His log shanty stood on Front street below the subsequent site of 
Burnell, Gillett & Co.'s mill. Being in possession of the captain's account book, 
or log. as he called it, it may interest some to make a few extracts ; particularly 
as to the cost of material and labor at that day for building. His cabin was about 
16x20 feet. It was afterwards enlarged. 

June 30, 1836. Paid Hampton for logs, &c $112.00 

Paid for nails and sundries 5.00 

For raising 8 logs. 6 beams and sleepers 24.50 

Lime and hauling rock 12.00 

Lumber of Shoals & Eldridge (Capt. Shoals and D. C. 

Eldridge 14-44 

Lumber of Capt. Qark 24.93 

Carpenters and joiners 63.50 

Nails and liquor 10.00 

Shingles, gla^s, sash and clear stuff 29.47 

Underpinning and painting, whitewashing, &c 11. 00 

Locks, butts and screws 3. 11 



Horse rack and sawing corners of cabin 6.00 

Digging cellar, planking and timber 1905 

Cost of the first whiskey shop $386.00 

Nov. 16. R. H. Dr. to 4 glasses of wliiskey, 25 cents, 4 lbs. salt, 12 

cents $ .-yj 

To 2 glasses whiskey, 12 cents, crackers and herring, 13,. .25 

Dec. 3. To 2 mackerel, 25 cents, i pt. whiskey, 123/2 cents 373^ 

To I qt. whiskey, 25 cents, tobacco, 123/2 cents, 37^ 

J. M. Cr. by i bbl. flour 13.00 

By 3 days' work, $1 per day, $ 3.00 

Dr. to 4 bbls. of lime, $1.50 per bbl 6.00 

June 3, 157. Mr. E. 

To 73 muskrats at 22 cents, 4 minks, 25 cents, 16.06 

To I fisher skin, i wolf, i badger, and i coon skin, 22 

cents each, 88 

Cr. by 2 bush, com, at $1.25 per bush 2.50 

But flour sold as high as $16 per barrel this year; pork 16 cents a pound and 
corn $2 a bushel. 

The eccentric captain dealt in almost anything and everything that came along, 
as may be seen by his "log book," from the fine furs of the beaver and the otter 
down to the wolf and polecat. In the provision line he kept everything that 
could be had from pork and flour down to pumpkins and turnips, but the great 
attraction, however, the great leading article was whiskey. The captain, too, 
had such a nice, peculiar way of making the "critter" palatable by various other 
ingredients that his punches, cobblers, juleps and cocktails, all made from whiskey 
were much sought after; and his store became the resort of not only those who 
wished to purchase the necessaries of life, but the professional man, the politi- . 
cian, the claim speculator, the old discharged soldier and the Indian, all met here' 
upon one common level, and talked over all matters of interest, under the balmy 
influence of the captain's good cheer. His was the only store, tavern, saloon or 
public place of entertainment in the town or county, and was as much, perhaps, 
to many a resort of necessity as a place to quench thirst. Captain Litch died on 
the 5th of March, 1841, aged fifty-five years, with the stigma of having planted 
the first whiskey shop upon the soil of Scott county. 

A ferry across the Mississippi was established in the year 1836, by Mr. Le- 
Claire, who was appointed postmaster and carried the mail in his pocket while 
ferrying. It is said that his percentage due on his first quarter was 75 cents. 
The ferry soon passed into the hands of Capt. John Wilson who ran a flatboat 
with oars until 1841, when it was supplied with a horse ferry, and in 1843 by a 
steam ferry boat. Capt. John Wilson, who for so many years owned and per- 
sonally had charge of the ferry, was a native of New Hampshire. He pur- 
chased the ferry privilege of Mr. LeClaire in the spring of 1837, although he 
had been engaged in it the year previous as a special partner. The rights and 
privileges for ferry purposes conveyed to Capt. Wilson by Mr. LeQaire were one 
mile up and down the river each way from the ferry house, then standing at the 



foot of Main street, for the sum of $i,ooo. Many will remember the faithful 
services of the old, experienced ferryman, who in storm or tempest, night or 
day, was always at his post, in summer on the water, in winter on the ice, ready 
to do good service, ever meeting you with a smile, and one hand always ex- 
tended with his fingers playing to receive "that dime." He died of cholera in 


The first white male child born in Davenport was a son of Levi S. Colton, 
in the autumn of 1836, who died at the Indian village on the Iowa river, in 
August. 1840. The first female child was a daughter of D. G. Eldridge, still liv- 
ing. Alexander W. McGregor opened the first law office in 1836. E. M. Gavitt, 
a Methodist minister, preached the first sermon in the house of Mr. D. G. El- 
dridge, corner of Front and Ripley streets. There were seven deaths this year, 
the first being that of Mrs. Tanneyhill. She was buried upon the brow of the 
bluff where the first Baptist church now stands, on Sixth and Main streets, where 
a place had been selected as the burial grounds of the town. Others were buried 
in Mr. LeClaire's private ground, corner of Sixth and LeQaire streets. This 
spot is now covered with improvements (the graves all having been removed,) 
and is occupied by the family residence of W. Barrows, Esq. In his garden was 
buried Dr. Emerson, the owner of the celebrated Dred Scott, who accom- 
panied his master to this territory while he was in the army at Fort Armstrong, 
and it was upon this ground that the suit was predicated for Dred's freedom. 

In September of this year, 1836, a treaty was held with the Sac and Fox In- 
dians on the banks of the river above the city where the house of Mrs. Brabrook 
now stands. Governor Dodge was commissioner on the part of the United States 
to secure a tract of land upon the Iowa river called "Keokuk's Reserve." There 
were present at the treaty about 1,000 chiefs, braves and warriors, and it was 
the last assemblage of the kind ever held here to treat for the sales of their lands. 
Mr. D. C. Eldridge was present and relates the scenes at this treaty. Keokuk was 
head chief and principal speaker on this occasion. Black Hawk was present, but 
was not allowed to participate in the treaty, standing alone outside of the groups 
with his son. Nau-she-as-kuk and a few other friends were silent spectators. 
This is the last time the old chief ever visited this vicinity which to him had been 
one of the dearest spots on earth, and around which his affections had clustered 
from boyhood. He was dressed on this occasion in the white man's style, having 
on an old black frock coat, and a drab hat with a cane, the very picture of disap- 
pointed ambition. Like the withered oak of his native forest, torn and shattered by 
the lightning's blast, the winter of age upon his brow, and his feeble tottering steps 
pressing the soil he so much loved, he stood, a representative, a noble relic of his 
once powerful tribe, in meditative, dismal silence. What thrilling recollections, 
what heart stirring scenes, must have passed through the mind of the aged pa- 
triarch of three score years, and what deep emotion must have filled his soul as 
he reflected upon the past, and desired to unburden his crowded memory of the 
wrongs of his people toward him. But he was not allow^ed to speak. He had 
made a misstep in the great drama of life. He was a fallen chieftain. His proud 
nature would not allow him to yield and take a lowly seat in the councils of 
his people, and so he stood, the silent observer of the final contract that tore him 
from the last foothold on the hunting grounds of his fathers. The saddened 

EARLY H0:ME OF .1. ^I. D. P.nU'vOWS 



memory of years strugg-led for utterance, but the great chieftain smothered it 
with stoical indifference. He died on the Des Moines river, October 3, 1839. 

The varied accounts of the death and burial of P.lack Hawk are such as to 
induce the author to say that he was not "buried in a sitting posture in the banks 
of the Des Moines river, where he could see the canoes of his tribe as they passed 
to the good hunting ground," as was stated in some accounts at the time of his 
death. Neither was he buried as Schoolcraft says: (vol. vi, p. 554, 1857,) "with 
all the rights of sepulture which are only bestowed upon their most distinguished 
men," and that "they buried him in his war dress in a sitting posture on an 
eminence, and covered him with a mound of earth." He sickened and died near 
lowaville, the site of his old town, on the Des Moines river, in Wapello county 
of this state ; and was buried close by, like Wapello, another chief of his tribe, 
after the fashion of the whites. His grave was some forty rods from the river, 
at the upper end of the little prairie bottom where he lived. While performing 
the public surveys of this district in 1843, one of my section lines ran directly 
across the remains of the wigwam in which this great warrior closed his earthly 
career, which I marked upon my map, and from his grave took bearings to 
suitable landmarks, recorded them in my regular field-notes and transmitted 
them to the surveyor general. Black Hawk's war club was then standing at the 
head of his grave, having been often renewed with paint and wampum, after the 

fashion of his tribe. At a later period, it is said that a certain Dr. , of 

Warsaw, Illinois, disinterred the body, and took the bones to Warsaw. Gov. Lu- 
cas, learning this, required their return to him, when they were placed in the hall 
of the Historical society at Burlington, and finally consumed by fire with the rest 
of the society's valuable collections. 

At the close of this year, 1836, there were some six or seven houses in the 
original limits of the town, and the population did not exceed 100, all told ; while 
Stephenson had some 500 inhabitants. There was but one main street or public 
road leading through the town. This was up and down the river bank, or Front 
street. An Indian trail which afterward became a public road, led out of the 
city nearly where Main street now is, passing by the comers of Sixth and Main, 
following the top of the ridge near the present residence of Mr. Newcomb and 
running across the college grounds intersecting Main street on the west side of 
the square. Another Indian trail leading from the town was from the residence 
of Mr. LeClaire where the depot now stands passing up the bluff where LeClaire 
street now crosses Sixth and entered Brady opposite the college grounds. Al- 
though a treaty had been made with the Indians and they had sold their lands, yet 
they still lingered around the place so dear to them. The trading house of Col. 
Davenport was still kept open on the Island and furnished supplies for them. 

No portion of the great west has the Indian been so loth to leave as the hunt- 
ing and fishing grounds of Rock island and vicinity. It is said to have been one 
of the severest trials of Black Hawk's life to bid adieu to the home of his youth 
and the graves of his ancestors. When carried past Rock island a prisoner after 
his defeat and capture at the battle of Bad Axe he is said to have wept like 
a child. The powder horn worn by him at his last battle has recently been ob- 
tained from an old pioneer soldier of the Black Hawk war and presented to the 
State Historical society by R. M. Prettyman, Esq., of Davenport. For many 



years after the removal of the Sacs and Foxes to their new home beyond the 
Mississippi, parties of them would pay an annual visit and even now one sees 
the ag-ed warrior walking- over our city, pointing- out to his children places of 
interest now covered by the wigwams of the white man. Even the fish taken 
in the As-sin-ne-Se-po (Rock river) were considered by the Indian better than 
any caught in the Mississippi or elsewhere. When the order came for their 
removal it was with bowed heads and lingering- steps they took up their line of 
march toward the setting sun, the children of destiny, a persecuted race, seeking 
an asylum from the oppression of the white man. 

In May. 1837, a council of chiefs was held at the trading house of Col. Daven- 
port, on Rock island, to consider the invitation sent to them by President Van 
Buren for a deputation to visit him at Washington. At this "talk," Keokuk, as 
chief of the Sacs and Foxes was present, and a large number of underchiefs 
or braves. Among them were Wapello, Poweshiek, Pash-apa-ho, Nau-she-us- 
kuk, son of Black Hawk, and many others. At the same time a band of Pot- 
tawattamie Indians, then on their way to their lands on the Missouri river were 
encamped on Black Hawk creek, some three miles below this city. They had 
stopped to rest and visit their friends, the Sacs and Foxes. The head men of 
this band were invited to sit in council. I had the pleasure of being present with 
many other strangers by invitation of Col. Davenport. This band of Pottawat- 
tamies had been encamped for some time and had annoyed the few settlers along 
the river and bluffs by stealing their hogs, an article, by the way, that an Indian 
is very fond of. The inhabitants had sent to the old fort at Montrose, where 
a few soldiers were still quartered for assistance to remove these Indians. As 
the council was about assembling on the island there appeared upon this side of 
the river a company of dragoons. The lieutenant in command was soon sent 
across the river, and by invitation took a seat in council. His errand was soon 
made known, when one of the Pottawattamie chiefs arose and with much warmth 
denied the charge of stealing. He was told by the offtcer that he must prepare 
to march next day. But he told the lieutenant in insolent language that he would 
not go, that he had no provisions, that the agent had cheated him out of the annu- 
ities, and that the whole federal combination was a heap of impositions. He was 
soon silenced by the agent, and in a more subdued manner, after being instructed 
to go by the fort and get provisions, he told the lieutenant that a part of his band 
was encamped on the Wabesipinecon river, and that if he would go up after them, 
he would be ready to accompany them on his return. The young officer, not 
being up to Indian tricks, left immediately for the "Wapsie," in pursuit of In- 
dians. Upon his return a few days after he very frankly acknowledged that he 
was "sold" and on looking for his friend the chief, he only found the smouldering 
ashes of his campfire, and has never probably had the pleasure of meeting him 

After this little business of the lieutenant was concluded, the council was 
opened in due form by smoking the calumet. Keokuk, as usual, was the principal 
speaker. He first called an aged warrior or chief who made a few remarks on 
being again permitted to meet their white friends. He was followed by Keokuk, 
who slowly rose to his feet, letting drop his blanket from his shoulders, displaying 
his calico shirt with the necklace of grizzly bears' claws hung around his neck, 



and a proper quantity of wampum. His manner was dignified. All eyes were 
turned upon him, and a smile of satisfaction, if such a thing could be seen on 
the face of an Indian, could be traced, as this great orator began his speech. He 
alluded in brief terms to the friendly relations existing between the president and 
himself, was happy to hear from, and much pleased with, the invitation from him 
for a visit. He then entered upon the importance of more material aid from his 
great father. This was done, probably to please his people and maintain his popu- 
larity. As he warmed up with the subject he became animated and even eloquent. 
His speech was clear and distinct. He spoke fast, so much so, that Mr. Le Claire, 
the interpreter, had frequently to stop him. His lofty bearing, his earnest, intel- 
ligent look and his well-timed gestures, all told that he was one of nature's ora- 
tors. His own people had ever looked upon him as a man destined to rule. So 
powerful in argument was he that he has been known by his eloquence in debate 
to completely turn the multitude from their first purpose. He rose from ob- 
scurity to the chieftainship of his tribe by the force of his talents, and was often 
charged by his red brethren with having white blood in his veins. There is a 
mystery hanging over the death of this celebrated chief. 

The Sacs and Foxes on their removal from here first settled on the Iowa 
river ; and after the second purchase they removed to the Des Moines river, 
where they remained until the last sale of their lands in Iowa when the govern- 
ment provided them with a home in Kansas. They are now located on the wa- 
ters of the Neosha and Osage rivers, southwest of Fort Leavenworth, near the 
Shawnee and Kansas Indians, and have a tract of country embracing some 
435,000 acres. There are about 1,600 in both tribes, and draw from the United 
States an annuity of $50,000 for their support. They have a large amount of 
farming lands opened for cultivation and an experienced farmer to teach them 
agriculture, but from the annual reports of the Indian bureau we learn that their 
progress is slow, and their unwillingness to send their children to school ex- 
hibits a decided dislike for civilization and improvement. Their proud, inde- 
pendent, restless spirit has led them several times since their location beyond the 
Missouri to get up war parties for a descent upon the Sioux or other tribes, 
but their agent has been as prompt to put them down. They have never struck 
a blow since their residence there. Vast sums of money have been expended on 
these Indians to civilize and Christianize them, to little purpose. Some difficulties 
have arisen among themselves, since the death of Keokuk, but of what nature 
we are not able to relate. 

Keokuk remained with them to the time of his death. Suspicion rested on him 
in the minds of some of his tribe of unfairness in the distribution of the annu- 
ities. He is said to have had a quarrel with Wai-sau-me-sau, a son of Black 
Hawk, on the subject of government annuities. Keokuk was charged with par- 
tiality toward his own friends and the whites. An effort was made to elect a 
new disbursing chief, when the whites interfered, and no change was effected. 

At the annual payment of the annuities on October, 1841. the long smothered 
vengeance in the hearts of Black Hawk's sons broke out against Keokuk for his 
treatment of their father after his downfall, and one account at the time stated 
that he was stabbed by Wai-sau-me-sau. Another is that he was poisoned, but 



certain it is that he died very suddenly. Nau-she-as-kuk, the other son of Black 
Hawk, died at their reservation in Kansas, in 1856, of delirium tremens. 

There are other incidents that occurred during the year 1836 and prior that 
might be worthy of note. One that I recollect was a fight which took place among 
a band of Sacs and Foxes who were encamped on the bank of the river just 
below Cannon's mills. They had been supplied, as usual, with liquor by that un- 
principled wretch, the frontier whiskey dealer, until all were drunk, when a gen- 
eral quarrel ensued ; knives and tomahawks were at once resorted to and many 
were cut severely while two were killed outright. In ordinary circumstances 
the murderer must answer with his life, and if he flees, the friends and relatives 
of the deceased must pursue and bring the offender to justice. The chief of 
the tribe requires his surrender at the hands of his relatives or his tribe, but in a 
drunken frolic when one is killed no one is charged with the murder. The In- 
dian is not to blame. It is set down to the whiskey. It is the "che-moco man's 
scuti-appo." or white man's firewater, that has done the deed, and no sacrifice of 
blood is required to avenge the wrong. 

In 1841 while making some explorations in the Sioux and Winnebago Indian 
country, upon the head waters of the Waubsipinicon, Cedar and Iowa rivers, 
now Minnesota, I stayed a few days at the village of "Chos-chunka," or Big 
Wave, a chief of the Winnebagoes. One beautiful moonlight night the Indian 
children had been playing with unusual life and gayety, the young men and 
maidens had roamed at large around the village, and the sports and moonlight 
games had made the wild woods echo with the rude and sometimes boisterous 
mirth of these sons of the forest. Our host had pointed to our lodgings in one 
end of his wigwam and all had retired when there came over the stillness of the 
night one of those Indian yells so familiar to many of our frontier villages. I 
knew it well, and as two drunken Indians approached the village, a stir among 
its inmates was heard, as one and another crept from his lodge to hear the news 
from the trading house or some border whiskey shop. Chos chunka turned on his 
bed and with his long pipe stem stirring the embers he soon kindled a blaze, lit 
his pipe and fell back upon his pallet. There was now a glimmering light from 
the rekindled embers, so that from beneath my blanket I could see all that passed 
within the wigwam. The noise increased. Footsteps were heard passing by our 
lodge; it was evident the Indians were gathering for a "big drunk." Soon the 
bear skin door of the lodge was pushed aside and one of the wives of the chief 
who had been absent a few moments entered and whispered something in his 
ear. She went away and the chief resumed his pipe and lounged upon his bear- 
skin bed. The wife soon returned. l>earing with her a bottle containing the ac- 
cursed poison which she presented to Chos-chunka. He refused and bidding 
her go away he remained upon his bed. But he seemed uneasy and at last arose 
and sat by the fire. Again his squaw brought the fatal bottle, of which she had 
evidently tasted, and again he refused it, when she threw her arms around his 
neck and placed the bottle to his lips. His resolutions were all overcome, and 
he drank, then bade her begone. But the fatal draught had been taken and its 
fire was fast passing through his veins. The noise in the adjoining lodge where 
the festive board was spread had now become loud and boisterous. All at once 
the chief threw aside his pipe and rushed out of his lodge. 



I spoke to my companions, A. W. Campbell and the interpreter, when wc 
at once arose and made our way out to see the condition of things among the 
Indians. I had messages and a pass or permit to visit the country from Gov. 
Chambers, endorsed by the Indian agent, Rev. David Lowrey, at Ft. Atkinson on 
Turkey river, and well knew that under ordinary circumstances I was safe while 
a guest of the chief and under the protection of his lodge. I well knew, too, 
that it was the courtesy due to us that so long prevented him joining the festive 
party, for while he was struggling so hard between whiskey and politeness he 
turned many sorrowful and imploring glances toward our silent couch. We 
spent but a short time looking into the lodge where the drunken scene was fast 
preparing for a bloody ending. As we stood there viewing the circle of Indians 
within, a dog ran across the ring, when a drunken Indian struck him in the ribs. 
In a moment the owner grappled with the offender, and soon the melee became 
general. On all such occasions every weapon of a deadly sort is hid by the 
squaws before the commencement of the frolic. But in the tussle about the dog 
they kicked from under the matting a hatchet. The infuriated savage caught 
it with all the avidity of an avenger of blood, and with one stroke cut the scalp 
from the other's head from the forehead to the eye. One single yell was heard, 
and with a rush one side of the wigwam was carried away, and the howling of 
the dogs and the crying of the squaws soon brought the whole village together. 
As the motley group poured out of the dilapidated wigwam we soon found our 
way back to the lodge of the chieftain and snugly ensconced ourselves in bed, cov- 
ered up head and ears, peep-holes excepted. In a few moments Chos-chunka 
came in with nine of his braves and friends. The usual circle was soon formed 
and the bottle began to pass, but in the midst oi their revelry the chief would often 
caution them about too much noise, as he had distinguished friends visiting him 
and they must not be disturbed. That they were "big captains" and making a 
picture of their country to show his great father, the president. (I was surveying 
for my map of Iowa, published in 1845.) In their drunken carousal I could see 
that same low, vulgar, nonsensical merriment which is often exhibited in the white 
man on similar occasions. They told their love stories and sang their bacchanalian 
songs, until one after another fell over and were left to sleep away the fumes 
of that drink which has carried thousands of these ignorant savages to the grave. 

An Indian, when he once tastes liquor, never leaves it until he is drunk or it 
gives out. He comprehends no other use of it but to stupefy. It is no welcome 
beverage to him, for they do not love the taste of it, but its effects. The palate 
of the Indian is as little vitiated as that of a child. They use no salt nor seasoned 
food, and their taste is keen and remarkably sensitive. I have seen the Indian 
in apparent agony by drinking whiskey, which is generally well spiced with red 
pepper and gums to keep up its strength, and I have seen the young man and 
maiden held by main strength while the whiskey had been administered to teach 
them to drink. 

The next morning after the affray above narrated I visited the lodge of the 
wounded Indian. He refused in sullen silence to converse upon the subject, and 
would only say, "too much scuti-appo." No hard feelings were entertained 
towards the offender: all was charged to the whiskey account. 



Among the settlers at the close of the year 1836 were Antoine LeClaire, Philip 
Hambaugh, Lewis Hebert, George L. Davenport, L. S. Colton, G. C. R. Mit- 
chell, Maj. Wm. Gordon, D. C. Eldridge, Dr. Emerson, James and Robert Mc- 
intosh, James M. Bowling, Ira Cook, Sr., and his sons, Wm. L., Ebenezer, John 
P. and Ira Cook, Jr., Adam and John Noel, John Armil and sons, James and 
Walter Kelly, Dr. James Hall and sons, Alexander W. McGregor, his father 
and brother, John and David LeClaire, Wm. R. Shoemaker, Edward Powers, 

James R. Stubbs, Tannerhill, William Watts, Frazer Wilson and 


There were only seven houses or cabins erected at the close of the year, most 
of them very rude structures, built of poor material and but cheerless abodes 
to meet the coming winter. One of these, the first public house built in the 
town, was situated at the comer of Front and Ripley streets erected by Col. 
Davenport and Mr. LeClaire, and kept at first by Edward Powers, now of Rock 
Island, called the "Davenport Hotel," but afterwards enlarged and known as the 
"U. S. Hotel." The building is still standing. 

The log house of Capt. Litch, the first whiskey shop, has been torn away to 
give place to more substantial buildings. The building erected by Mr. Shoals, 
afterwards known as the "Dillon house," stood on the bank of the river, on the 
next block below Burnell, Gillett & Co.'s mill. This has been destroyed by fire. 
The rest of the landmarks of 1836 are still standing, decaying witnesses of the 
early trials of the pioneers of Scott county. 

The population did not exceed 100. But little ground had been broken and 
very little grain of any kind raised. Supplies had to be obtained from Cincin- 
nati and St. Louis. The fort on Rock island had been abandoned, and the sol- 
diers removed. The morning reveille and the evening tattoo had ceased to 
beat, and old Fort Armstrong that had afforded shelter, and protection to many of 
the immigrants was deserted ; and as the chilling blast of December fell upon the 
unprotected settlers many an anxious heart was saddened by the prospect of the 
coming winter, and many a tear wiped in silence as their thoughts went back 
to those halcyon days of unalloyed happiness in the land of their nativity. 

The survey of the public lands in Iowa began in the autumn of 1836. Scott 
county survey was made by A. Bent and son from Michigan, United States depu- 
ties from the surveyor general's office at Cincinnati. The surveys of this county 
were completed in March, 1837. It contains 280,516 acres. 

All lands from the departures of the Indians until they were offered for sale 
by the government were under the rule of "squatter sovereignty." Any man had 
a right to select for himself any portion of the public domain not otherwise ap- 
propriated for his home, and by blazing the lines bounding his "claim," in timber 
or staking it out on the prairie he was legally possessed of title. Societies were 
formed, or "claim clubs" who organized themselves to protect one another in 
their rights. The secretary kept a book in which all claims had to be recorded. A 
territorial law existed making contracts for claims valid, and notes given for 
such were collectible by law. Great speculations were carried on by pioneer 
"claim makers." a class of men who no sooner than they had sold one claim to 
some newcomer would proceed to make another and commence improvements. 
These claims were respected and held in peace (when properly taken) until the 

i "^^ 


1 !1J 




|™L * 





sale of the lands by government, when the owners were permitted to purchase 
them at the minimum price of $1.25 per acre. 

During the fishing- season of this spring among other neighboring tribes that 
often visited the Sacs and Foxes to fish in the waters of the As-sin-ne-Sepo, 
(Rock river,) a small band of Winnebagoes were encamped on Rock island. As 
usual the younger and more profligate of the tribe were hanging around the 
groceries in Stephenson and Davenport, bartering such articles as they possessed 
for whiskey. On one occasion two young Indians, being crazed by too large 
potations from the whiskey bottle, quarreled, and one struck the other, an in- 
dignity seldom submitted to by an Indian, drunk or sober. The next day they 
met upon the little willow island just below the town of Davenport, whether by 
accident or by common consent is not known, but the quarrel was renewed and 
carried to such an extent that one of them was killed. No whites were present, 
and various reports were made by the Indians as to the manner of his death. One 
account of the affair was that the difficulty was settled by a duel, after the fashion 
of the white man, one of the parties using a shotgun, the other a rifle. If it 
was a duel, it is the first on record of having taken place among the Indians of 
the northwest. The shotgun hero was buried in one of the mounds then ex- 
isting on the banks of the river below the city on the farm of Ira Cook, Esq., the 
site of Black Hawk's last village. There was another Indian buried in the same 
mound who died at the same time, having been bitten by a rattlesnake while lying 
drunk one night. They were placed four feet apart facing each other buried in 
dirt as high up as the waist, holding in one hand the paint, and in the other the 
tomahawk. The graves were surrounded with poles or pickets some ten feet 
high, and set so close that no animal of any size could get to the bodies. 

The survivor fled to his home in Shab-bo-nah's grove on Rock river leaving his 
friends here in deep distress at his misfortune and the dire consequences that 
must unavoidably follow, according to Indian custom. The fugitive well knew 
his doom. There was blood upon his skirts. The relatives of the deceased de- 
manded his return. They clamored for his blood. His own sister and some of 
his relatives went for him, and found him in his wigwam with blackened 
face, brooding in silence over his act of blood, feeling that the Great Spirit was 
angry with him and that no sacrifice was too great to appease his wrath. The 
sister plead with him to return to Rock island and meet his fate, and thus appease 
the wrathful spirit of the departed one. One bright morning in May, a few days 
after the murder, the quiet camp of the Indians on As-sin-ne-Maness (Rock 
island) was awakened by the doleful chant of the death song. A few canoes 
came ghding around the point of the island ; among them was that of the murderer 
singing his last song this side the good hunting ground. His canoe was paddled 
by his own sister, whom he tenderly loved. The long protracted howl of the 
Indian crier soon put in motion the whole camp on both sides of the river. From 
every cave and eddy along the banks of the river there shot forth canoes filled 
with excited natives eager to participate in the bloody scene about to be enacted. 
A circle was soon formed a little above the burying ground of the old fort at the 
foot of the island. A shallow grave was dug and the willing but trembling cul- 
prit was led to it by his mourning sister, and kneeling on one side of it the nearest 
male relative of the deceased approached and with one blow of the tomahawk 



his death song was hushed, and then his body was cut in pieces by the surround- 
ing Indians. 

The first marriage ceremony in town took place in the spring of this year. 
The parties were Wm. B. Watts and a niece of Antoine LeClaire, Esq. Mrs. 
W^atts died a" few years afterward and was buried in Mr. LeClaire's private burial 
ground. This spring also the first brickyard was opened by Mr. Harvey Leon- 
ard, from Indiana, on Sixth, between Main and Harrison streets. Mr. Leonard 
not only manufactured the brick but was a master builder, and carried on the 
business for many years. In 1851 he was elected sheriff, an office which he held 
many years. 

Among the improvements introduced at this early day in the mechanical 
.'ine was one of "Getty's Patent Metallic Mills," owned by D. C. Eldridge. This 
little machine, not much larger than a cofife mill, did w^onders in the way of 
cracking wheat and corn. Some called it a "flouring mill," although the flour 
made in it might not bear inspection at the present day, yet tlie hot rolls made 
from it when placed upon the table, superseded all other bread then in use, which 
consisted principally of "corn dodgers." Its propelling power was a horse, 
which had done good service in the Black Hawk war (or that of 1812). We 
imagine we can now see the thing in operation, down on Brimstone corner (Front 
and Ripley streets) with Joe Topin, the old discharged soldier, as head en- 
gineer, rolling out the breadstuff by the quart. But this was the "day of small 

Some trouble occurred this year among claim holders. The new comers 
in some instances were unwilling to go over Duck creek to take claims, and con- 
sidered the squatter sovereignty too liberal in giving to each man 320 acres 
while none of it was improved. Individuals not in actual possession w^ere liable 
to have their claims jumped. Several cases of this kind occurred when the so- 
ciety which had been organized in March of this year interfered Having tried 
one man by the name of Stephens, who had jumped a claim of Maj. Wilson's 
(now of Rock Island,) where the Ladies' college now stands, on a part of "Ful- 
ton's addition," and he refusing to vacate the premises, on application of the major, 
the sheriff of Dubuque county was sent for, there being then no nearer seat of 
justice than Dubuque. On the arrival of Sheriff Cummings he found Mr. Stephens 
snugly ensconced in the major's cabin, armed with the instruments that would 
terminate life if properly handled, and threatening entire annihilation to any and 
all who might dare to touch him. The sheriff soon summoned his posse, and with 
them came a yoke of oxen which were soon hitched to one corner of the log 
cabin, and as the timbers beg'an to show signs of parting Mr. Stephens very wil- 
lingly vacated the premises and was shown the most feasible as well as the 
quickest route to Stephenson, and never afterward made any attempt to recover 
his claim on this side of the river. 

At the close of 1837 there were about fifteen or sixteen houses in the town, six 
new ones having been built during the year, and the town numbered about 160 
inhabitants. The autumn of this year was delightful. The summer was not 
hot nor oppressive. It gently merged into autumn, and winter came in and con- 
tinued mild all the season. I was in camp prosecuting the public surveys upon 
the Waubsepinecon river from the 17th of October until the first of April with no 



Other shelter for myself and men than a canvas tent, and was detained from work 
but three days during the whole time on account of storms or cold weather. The 
snow fell that winter to the depth of three or four inches only. The Mississippi 
river closed on the 13th of February. On the first day of April, 1838, the first 
boat of the season passed down, the river having been open but a few days. 
The spring was mild and beautiful. 

The immigrants of the year were but few, compared with after years. 
Among them were Nathaniel Squires, John Forrest, Timothy and Thomas EHl- 
lon and families, Rev. J. A. Pelamourgues. Rodolphus Bennet, John N. Macklot, 
John M. D. Burrows, George Thorne, William Eldridge, Robert NefT, 
Frank Perrin, A. F. Russell, Samuel Ringwalt, Edward Davis, Seth F. Whit- 
ing, Ansel Briggs, Thos. S. and David Hoge. 

But little produce was raised this year. Meat was scarce except wild game. 
All seemed happy and well pleased with the country. We belonged to Wisconsin 
territory and lived under the laws of Michigan. Our first steps toward civiliza- 
tion and improvement had been taken, the beautiful prairies in virgin loveliness 
outside of our present city limits were untouched by the rude hand of man. 
All the loveliness and beauty of Eden could scarcely surpass that of the rolling 
prairies of Scott county at that day. The wild flowers were far more numerous 
and variegated than now, richer and more fragrant in their wild, untrodden state 
than since reckless man has trampled under foot the floral kingdom of our 
once lovely prairies. 

Among the most active and efBcient young men of this day was Jonathan 
W^ Parker, son of our fellow citizen, Jonathan Parker. He emigrated in the 
autumn of 1836 from Luzerne county. Pa., a lawyer by profession, having studied 
under Judge Kidder of Wilkesbarre. His destination was Galena, but the boat 
upon which he had taken passage from St. Louis became ice-bound at this place 
and laid up for the winter. Having spent the winter here and becoming attached 
to the place he finally settled here. His numerous highly interesting letters, 
descriptive of the country and published in the east did much to induce emigra- 
tion. He was a botanist and spent much time among the flowers of our prairies. 
He deHvered the oration on the 4th of July of this year, (1837.) it being the first 
celebration of any kind ever held in the city. Col. T. C. Eads was president, Jona- 
than W. Parker, orator and Isaac Hedges, marshal of the day. Mr. Parker was in 
our territorial legislature at Burlington in 1839, was elected president of the coun- 
cil, and did much in framing the code of laws for the territory. He held at various 
times the offices of justice of the peace, judge of probate and was the second mayor 
of the city of Davenport. He left here in 1844, traveled considerably through the 
United States, changed his profession for that of medicine, and in August, 1850, 
was located in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he died of cholera that autumn, at the 
house of Dr. Gatchel, much lamented for his many social and moral virtues. 

There are many incidents which transpired among the settlers of 1837 that 
would be interesting to narrate. The financial troubles of the east were keenly 
felt here. There was no money, no credit, nor any produce to bring supplies to 
the infant colony. But few of the immigrants brought a supply of money, and to 
many the approaching winter looked dark and lowering. The Indians that still 
remained here could furnish a supply of wild game, but in return they asked for 



per-quash-i-con (bread) and co-cosh (pork) and pin-ne-ac (potatoes). The small 
stocks of merchandise were exhausted, so much so, that the first steamboats in 
the spring- were looked for with great anxiety. Like the Pilgrim Fathers of New 
England looking forth from the "rock-bound coast" toward the land of their 
nativity, they sighed for the "flesh pots," and remembered the "leeks and the gar- 
lics" of their own native land. 

Well do the "old settlers" of Iowa remember the days and years from the first 
settlement to 1840. Those were days of sadness and often of distress. The en- 
dearments of home had been broken up in another land, and all that was dear 
and hallowed on earth, the home of childhood and the scenes of youth were 
severed, and we sat down by the gentle waters of our noble river, and often "hung 
our harps upon the willows." But the bright prospects of the future led us on, 
and with hope as our sheet anchor we lived upon the fruits of our labor, almost 
an exiled race for many years. No splendid cottage was then our home. The 
rude cabin was our shelter and we were scarcely protected from the rains of sum- 
mer or the snows of winter. No luxuries crowned our board, but we rejoiced in 
that Providence which shaped our destinies and led us to the shores of the Mis- 
sissippi. We loved the land of our adoption. We loved her soil, her climate and 
her majestic river, upon whose banks we often strayed and mingled our tears 
with one another. The pioneers of Scott county came as the vanguard of that 
great army that has since flooded our land. They came to build for themselves 
and posterity- a glorious destiny amid the wilds of Iowa. They brought no sword, 
or battle axe, but the plowshare and the pruning hook were their only weapons. 
They had no history to point them the way, no kind friend to bid them welcome 
to these shores. The legends of the Indian could only tell them of the beauty of 
the land they came to possess, and instead of the smiles of welcome they received 
only the frowns of the savage. 

The spring of 1838 found the infant settlement laboring under many dis- 
couragements. The existing topic, the all-absorbing county seat question, had 
helped to wear away the winter. Immigration began to set in for the west and 
the drooping spirits of the inhabitants revived. Buildings began to increase, a 
church or two were organized, a school opened, and things began to wear a 
brighter aspect as the genial rays of the sun began to warm vegetation into life. 
In February the first territorial legislature which held its sessions at Burlington 
passed an act organizing Scott county, and fixing the boundaries thereof. The 
memorable 19th of February was the day set for the election of the county seat. 
An act also was passed authorizing the election of a board of county commis- 
sioners, to be held at various places in the county on the third Monday of Feb- 
ruary. This board of commissioners were to do all the business of the county, as 
judge of probate, and take care of all the suits at law, etc. Maj. Frazer Wilson, 
now of Rock Island, had received the first appointment of sheriflf from the ter- 
ritorial governor. 

Early in the spring Mr. LeClaire laid out his "First Addition to the Town of 
Davenport," upon his "reserve," as it was called. This included two tiers of 
blocks forming Harrison and Brady streets, running back as far as Seventh 
street. No title as yet in fee simple had been obtained by the proprietors of the 
town, and title bonds only were given to purchasers. In this new addition to the 



town, Mr. LeClaire could give clear titles, and was able to sell lots on long time 
to actual settlers. This put new life into the inhabitants, and the immigration 
coming in the spring was much larger than any previous year, and the t(nvn for 
the first time began to make progress in improvement. 

The first board of county commissioners elect were Benj. F. Pike, now in 
California, Andrew W. Campbell, who died on Green river, in Utah, and Alfred 
Carter, who died in Hickory Grove in this county, in 1845. The legislature also 
passed an act incorporating the town of Davenport and at the April election Ro- 
dolphus Bennet, now of Princeton in this county, was elected mayor and Frazer 
Wilson, recorder. Dr. A. C. Donaldson, D. C. Eldridge, John Forrest, Thomas 
Dillon and Capt. John Litch were elected trustees. These were the first officers 
of this township. The meeting of the first town council soon followed and James 
M. Bowling was appointed treasurer, William Nichols street commissioner and 
William H. Patton, marshal. The first seal used by the city council was by a vote 
an American 25 cent piece. 

During the summer the first brick house was erected by D. C. Eldridge and is 
still standing on the northeast corner of Third and Main streets. The old part 
of the Catholic church was also built this summer, the brick work by Mr. Noel 
and the carpenter work by Nathaniel Squires. It was afterward enlarged and is 
now used for a schoolhouse. The Rev. J. M. Pelamourgues was placed in charge 
at its organization and is still a faithful watchman over the congregation. Re- 
ligious services were held at various places in the town, as opportunity presented. 
The first regular preaching was a sermon by Rev. Mr. Gavitt, of Ohio, at the 
house of D. C. Eldridge. 

On the 4th of July of this year we were separated by act of congress from the 
territory of Wisconsin, and organized into a separate territor)'. Robert Lucas of 
Ohio was the first governor who made the following appointments for Scott 
county : Willard Barrows, notary public ; Ebenezer Cook, judge of probate ; Adrian 
H. Davenport, sherifif; Isaac A. Hedges and John Porter, justices of the peace. 
D. C. Eldridge received the appointment of postmaster. 

At the first election under the new territorial law in September, W. W. Chap- 
man was elected delegate to congress, Jonathan W. Parker, member of council, 
J. A. Birchard and Laurel Summers representatives. Ginton county was then 
attached to Scott for judicial purposes. 

On the 7th of July, 1838, Andrew Logan from Pennsylvania arrived with a 
printing press, and on the 17th of September following issued the first number 
of the "Davenport Iowa Sun," a newspaper which at that day was put forth under 
many discouragements. Those only who have themselves been pioneers in such 
an enterprise can realize the difficulties attending it. For the two first years Mr. 
Logan had no assistance but his two little sons, the eldest of which was but 
twelve years old. The motto of his paper was 

"And man went forth to till the ground." 

His press was of the more antiquated kind, and his type had done good service 
at other places. Yet it was hailed as a great acquisition to the embr^-o towns of 
Davenport and Rockingham, for it was presented as a candidate for either place. 
The county seat question was then at its highest excitement and big oflFers were 
made by both parties for its location. Davenport was the successful winner of 



the prize. The machine worked off the Weekly Sun and fought with great energy 
the battles of the county seat question ; the principal writers aside from its edi- 
tors were John H. Thorington, the father of Hon. James Thorington, on the 
Davenport side, and John H. Sullivan for Rockingham. For a time it seemed to 
flourish amid all its difficulties and often would its rays break forth from the 
clouds that seemed to obscure it and shine with much brightness. But after the 
county seat question became settled and a more modern press was introduced the 
"Sun of Davenport" was allowed to set, realizing in the fullest extent that 
"promises to printers are made to be broken." It was then that Mr. Logan put 
in practice his motto, for he "went forth to till the ground." About six miles 
from town on the Iowa City road he took up his claim and was emphatically 
the pioneer farmer of our prairies, there being at the time but one house between 
him and the town. He has ever been a good friend to the interests of Scott 
county, ever carrying with him the good will, respect and esteem of all who have 
the pleasure of his acquaintance. We learn with regret that he has recently sold 
his beautiful prairie home and is about to remove to Marshall county, this state. 

Numerous public roads were run this season in all directions from the town, 
leading back to the groves and to the Wabesipinicon river, where a few settlers 
had taken preemption claims. The first district court met here in October, the 
Hon. Thos. S. Wilson presiding. Several attorneys were admitted to the bar; 
but little business was done. 

The amount of wheat raised this year in the county was about 2,000 bushels 
and was worth twenty-five cents a bushel. Money was a little more plenty 
than the year before, owing to the immigration, but there was no demand for 
produce and no buyers for shipment. Potatoes were scarce this year and worth 
$1 a bushel. A sawmill was in operation at the mouth of Duck creek, Capt. 
Clark's, making only hard lumber which sold at $35 a thousand feet. All pine 
lumber was brought from Cincinnati and was worth $50 a thousand. 

The Davenport hotel this year passed into the hands of Samuel Barkley, from 
Pennsylvania. A milliner shop was opened by Miss M. C. Cooper from Balti- 
more. D. C. Eldridge opened a carriage and blacksmith shop and R. H. Kinney 
a watch and jewelry store. Messrs. LeClaire and Davenport opened a large store 
as forwarding and commission merchants. The first land sales of the territory 
were advertised to come off at Burlington on the 19th of November but were post- 
poned. The village contained at the close of the year about forty houses and a 
population of near 100. The treasury of the county had received for taxes this 
year, licenses and fines less than $500, and expended nearly $800. The assessment 
on property was sufficient to have balanced expenditures but there was but about 
$250 ever collected. 

The river closed the 17th of December. The winter was mild and pleasant ; 
but very little snow, and passed much pleasanter than the previous one. There 
was a large circle of young people and a cordial good feeling existed among 
them. Parties and balls were numerous. Sleighriding upon the ice was a great 
recreation. Wolf hunts and the chase for deer and turkey helped to fill up the 
drdary days of winter. Spring opened early, the river breaking up on the last 
day of February. Rafts of lumber began to make their appearance this year 
from the pineries of Wisconsin and sold at $35 a thousand feet. 



The local difficulties in regard to the county seat question still existed and 
the spring of 1839 opened with a prospect of another warm contest for the seat 
of justice. The second session of the district court was held in May, but there was 
no business before it of consequence, not a single bill of indictment being found 
by the grand jury against any individual in Scott county. No political party 
lines were yet drawn. At the August election was "Davenport or Rockingham." 
The latter elected her representatives. Laurel Summers and Joseph M. Robertson, 
against the Davenport candidates, G. C. R. Mitchell and Abner Beard. The two 
old commissioners were elected, A. W. Campbell and Alfred Carter, while the 
Davenport faction elected the other one, John Work and A. F. Russell as county 
surveyor. Ira Cook, Sr., was elected treasurer by the Rockingham party, with the 
assessor and all minor officers. 

The first fire department of Davenport was organized the 27th of July by re- 
quiring every man who occupied a house to keep two fire buckets always in readi- 
ness and to use them in case of fire. 

The Rev. Asa Turner, now of Denmark in this state, in traveling through 
this county preached and lectured on temperance. Through his exertions a tem- 
perance society was formed the 6th of August on the total abstinence principle 
receiving at its first organization fifty-six signatures. Rodolphus Bennet, mayor 
of this city, being its first president. The society commenced with about eighty 

Three other churches were organized this summer and a female seminary 
started by the Misses O'Hara. A common school was also opened by a Mr. Blood. 
Capt. Wilson also commenced running his steam ferryboat this fall. The first 
paint shop by Riddle & Morton, the first wagon shop by Seth F. Whiting, and the 
first drug store by Charles Lesslie. were opened this year. 

But the greatest acquisition to the town this year, the crowning point and the. 
wonder of the age w^as the completion of the LeClaire House at a cost of $35,000. 
The stone work of this edifice now standing on the corner of Alain and Second 
streets (the old part) was done by Alexander Brownlie of Long Grove in this 
county, the brick work by D. C. Eldridge and the carpenter work by Nathaniel 
Squires. The building of this house at so early a day was an enterprise the equal 
of which is seldom undertaken. The progress of the town or county did not war- 
rant it, yet confidence in the future and the enterprising spirit of Air. LeClaire 
which has not left him to this day carried forward the work to a successful com- 
pletion. Succeeding years found this house filled with guests from the south 
during the warm season, and although its owner has ever failed to reap much 
benefit directly from rents, etc.. yet it has been a source of profit to some, an ac- 
quisition to the town, and a home of comfort to many a weary traveler on his first 
advent into Iowa. 

The death of William B. Conway, Esq., secretary of the territory occurred on 
the 9th of November of this year. He was a resident of Davenport but died 
at Burlington while attending to his official duties at the sitting of the legisla- 
ture. His body was brought here for interment. 'A public meeting was held and 
resolutions passed testifying to the profound regret at the loss of so valuable 
a citizen from our midst. 



In the fall of this year some difificulties arose upon our southern borders in 
relation to the boundary line between Missouri and the territory of Iowa, 
which being fanned into a flame created quite a sensation along the counties 
bordering upon the Mississippi river. A notice of this farce might not be deemed 
here out of place, as showing how trivial a circumstance is required upon the 
frontier at an early day to create an alarm and arouse the listless energies of 
a naturally lazy people who for want of a more active and useful life are ever 
ready to enlist in any enterprise that may be set on foot. The same scenes 
occur every year upon our western border. The cry of "Indians" is all sufficient 
to rally the little pioneer settlement and from the smallest circumstance enormous 
depredations and savage hostility are charged upon a few suffering Indians who 
may be lurking upon the outposts of civilization with no other design than to 
procure food and shelter from those who have driven the game beyond their 

I can no better portray the scenes and events of this "Missouri war," as it 
was called than by quoting from the graphic pen of the Hon. John P. Cook in 
his annual address at the first festival of the Pioneer Settlers association, de- 
livered the 22d of February, 1858. In speaking of "the times that tried men's 
souls" Mr. Cook says: 

"During the time of the contest for the county seat an event transpired which 
must not be omitted in speaking of the history of our settlement. A dispute 
arose between the state of Missouri and the then territory of Iowa as to the 
boundary line between them and so determined were the authorities on both 
sides to exercise jurisdiction over the disputed territory that it resulted in 
what is known to the old settlers as the 'Missouri war.' 

"There were warriors in those days ; and I should do injustice to the patriotism 
of that period if I neglected to notice the military darings of the volunteers who 
rushed to the standard (and rations) of the commander-in-chief in obedience 
to his call. The sheriff of a border county in Iowa undertook to enforce the 
collection of taxes in the disputed territory. He was arrested by the authorities 
of Missouri. The executive of Iowa demanded his release. It was refused; 
and to rescue the sheriff, Gov. Lucas ordered out the militia and called for vol- 
unteers. 'My voice is now for war,' was the patriotic response of every 'Hawk- 
eye.' The county seat question was forgotten in the more important duty of 
driving the invaders from our soil. Davenport and Rockingham men met, em- 
braced, buckled on their armor and side by side shouted their war cry 'Death 
to the invading Pukes.' The officers in command held a council of war and it 
was decided that Davenport should be the headquarters of the Scott county 
army in order that the troops might be inspired by the sight of old Fort Arm- 
strong, and at the same time occupy a position so near the fort that a safe 
retreat would be at hand in case of an attack from the enemy. 

"On the day appointed for the first drill the whole country marched to the 
standard of the gallant colonel in command and Davenport witnessed one of the 
most spirited military reviews that ever took place within her limits. The line 
was formed on the banks of the river, fronting toward the enemy's country, 
the right wing resting against a cottonwood tree, the left in close proximity to 
the ferryhouse. There they stood, veterans of iron nerve and dauntless cour- 


Picture taken in ]S:>8 




age presenting a sight that would have daunted the most desperate foe and as- 
suring the women and children that they would defend their homes to the death 
against the 'border ruffians' from the Des Moines river. 

"The weapons carried by some of these volunteer patriots were not satisfac- 
tory to the commanding officers and about one-fourth of the army were ordered 
out of the ranks and their services dispensed with unless they would procure 
others of a different character and more in accordance with the army regula- 
tions. The objectionable weapons consisted of a plow coulter, carried in a link 
of a large log chain which the valiant soldier had over his shoulder. Another 
was a sheet-iron sword about six feet in length fastened to a rope shoulder- 
strap. Another was an old fashioned sausage stuffer. Another was an old 
musket without a lock; and the balance of a like character. 

"The order was given for the owners of these nondescript weapons to march 
out of the ranks three steps. The order was obeyed. The ranks closed up and 
the offending soldiers were discharged with a reprimand. 

"I am not prepared to say that the commanding officer was justified in thus 
summarily discharging so many men who were ready and anxious to serve their 
country, and the result proved that the amount of bravery dismissed was equal 
to that retained, for no sooner were the discharged soldiers clear of the line 
of the regiment than they formed a company of cavalry, a company of dragoons 
and a company which they called the squad, and then under the superior general- 
ship of their leader, the knight of the six-foot sword, they made a bold charge 
upon the regulars, broke their line, drove not a few of them into the river, some 
into and some around the f erryhouse, some into the grocery and some out of town ; 
thus defeating and dispersing the regular army without the loss of a man on 
either side. 

"This conflict was disastrous in its results to the regular army and before the 
forces could again be collected, peace was declared and the army disbanded. 

"This unlooked for cessation of hostilities was a severe blow to the military 
aspirations of the Hawkeyes and disappointed the just expectations of those 
who had hoped to distinguish themselves in the defense of our territorial rights. 
The disappointment was not felt by the army of Scott county alone. Numerous 
companies had been formed elsewhere, and had started for the seat of war 
with supplies for the campaign. 

"A company of about thirty left an adjoining county under the leadership 
of a chieftain who often used to say that he 'could whip his weight in wild cats,' 
and who has since represented you in the national congress, has been upon 
your supreme bench and has also been chief justice of California. 

"He started out with thirty men and six baggage wagons well loaded with 
supplies for his army, and being determined to keep up the spirits of his men, 
he freighted five of his wagons with whiskey. 

"The question of boundary was subsequently submitted to the supreme court 
of the United States and the disputed territory given to Iowa." 

The financial condition of the county at the close of this year shows in a 
measure the increase and progress made in its settlement. The receipts from 
licenses, ferries and fines including tax lists which was $1,410.92 was a revenue 
of $2,578.94, while the expenditures were only $1,804.63. The immigration 



this year was small. With reference to the moral and religious aspect of things 
at this time, but little can be said. I insert, however, a paragraph from Wilkie's 
"Davenport Past and Present," in order to correct any impression that might 
prevail with reference to the dissipation prevalent at that day : 

"Frequent allusions have been made thus far to the many 'good times' had 
by the old settlers. It will not be inferred from it that they were dissipated 
or drunkards. Far from it. Some of the brightest lights now in the church, 
at the bar, and in private life are those very men. They but complied with the 
character of the times while absent from social refinements- and the elegancies 
of older towns, almost all strangers to each other, and craving for that ex- 
citement which is now indulged in the intercourse of hosts of friends and 
friendly relations of long standing. They could not well do otherwise than they 
did. Mostly men from large cities, they were ennuied by the comparative quiet 
of a frontier life, and to var\' their listless lives, resorted to stimulants or what- 
ever else would afford excitement." 

The winter was rather more severe than the one previous. The river closed 
at the head of the rapids in December, but not until the 14th of January at this 
place, and opened the first day of March. 

The year of 1839 closed with about too houses in the town of Davenport and 
a population of about 300. 

1840. — Immigration commenced this year with the first boats of the season, 
March 3d. An agricultural society had been formed in January : A. W. McGregor, 
Esq.. first president; G. C. R. Mitchell, Esq.. vice president; John Forrest, sec- 
retary and A. LeClaire, treasurer. At the township elections held in April John 
H. Thorington was elected mayor and Frazer Wilson, recorder. The trustees 
elected were Geo. L. Davenport, Seth F. Whiting, J. W. Parker, John Forrest 
and Wilham Nichols. 

The Dubuque land sales came off in May and the settlers generally attended en 
masse in order to protect their claims, and have their lands bid in to them at gov- 
ernment price, $1.25 an acre. This sale brought all matters of disputes about 
claims to a sudden close. A committee of arbitration was chosen by the settlers, 
before whom all disputes were settled, and the land bid off by G. C. R. Mitchell 
'or each claimant. 

In July the supreme court tried the writ of mandamus granted to the Rock- 
ingham party against the commissioners of Dubuque county, commanding and 
requesting them to make an entry in their books to the effect that Rockingham 
was the county seat. The court decided in favor of claimants, when a petition 
to the legislature was gotten up by the Davenport party of over 300 names, pray- 
ing for a new election. The act was passed and the fourth Monday of August 
fixed as the day for holding a new election. This election resulted favorably to 
Davenport, and thus was the long vexed question forever put to rest ; the citizens 
of Davenport building the courthouse and jail, free of expense to the county, as 
per contract. As this is the last notice of this long unsettled question and desirous 
of showing as a part of our history who at this early day came forward and nobly 
sustained her interests, we here publish a list of the donations and subscriptions 
to the public buildings, in full : 



"The following article was placed in the hands of the county treasurer the 
other day as a donation to the county for the express purpose of erecting the 
public buildings, should this place be selected as the county seat at either the 
election in August or September. 

"A donation of ninety acres of land, is offered the county at the mouth of 
Duck creek provided that point should be selected at the first election. Should 
the election not be decided on the first ballot, no donation is offered, either by 
Duck creek or Rockingham. In addition to the land which the donators have 
agreed to give, sell and convey to the county, they also offer $825. mostly materials. 
The people have both propositions before them and they will be enabled to decide 
as to the amount donated for each point. A tax of $6,000 or $8,000 on the in- 
habitants of the county would be oppressive in our present infant and embarrassed 
state, and it is hardly supposed any person would vote for such a tax, when they 
have the offer of a donation nearly if not amply sufficient to cover all expenses." 

Davenport, August 3, 1840. 

Whereas, the question of a location of the county seat in Scott county is to be 
settled by a vote of the people of said county, the points to be voted for being 
Davenport, Rockingham and a point in Pleasant Valley near the mouth of Duck 
creek, and 

Whereas, Rockingham and said point in Pleasant \'alley near the mouth of 
Duck creek have each proposed donations to the county to erecting public build- 
ings therein, to be paid by the place in which the county seat should be located, 
this proposition the subscribers believe to have been made with a view of influenc- 
ing the voters of said county to vote for said points instead of Davenport, and 
believing Davenport is the most suitable place and wishing to counteract said 
undue influence for the purpose of making up a sum equal or greater than that 
offered by either of those points we, the subscribers, agree, and hereby bind our- 
selves to give and convey in fee simple to the county commissioners of Scott county 
the property described by each of us to be disposed of in raising a fund for the' 
benefit of the county to be applied exclusively to the erection of a courthouse and 
jail, on condition that the town of Davenport shall be the point selected as county 
seat of Scott county, and we who do not give lots or land bind ourselves to pay in 
cash, or the manner stipulated, the sums affixed opposite our respective names on 
the terms therein stated, in witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and 

By virtue of a resolution this day passed by the mayor, recorder and trus- 
tees of the town of Davenport, authorizing the mayor on behalf of the corporation 
to subscribe the sum of $500 to aid in defraying the expense of erecting a court- 
house and jail in the town of Davenport, I, John H. Thorington, mayor of the 
town of Davenport, do promise on the part and in behalf of the said corporation 
to pay to the commissioners of Scott county on or before the first day of August 
next the sum of $500, provided, and it is expressly understood, that the above 
stipulated subscription is binding only upon condition that the said town of 
Davenport shall be selected as the permanent seat of justice for Scott county, 
and not otherwise. 

The Town of Davenport, by John H. Thorington, Mayor— $500. 



I, Antoine LeClaire, promise to convey on the condition before stipulated, the 
following described lots and lands, to-wit: Lot 3, block 15; 2, block 38; 3, 4 and 
6, block 39 ; I, block 12 ; 8, block 28; 8, block 32 ; 7, 8, 9 and 10, block 7 ; outlots, 
Nos. 5, 10, 19, 22, 24, containing four acres each. 

Antoine LeClaire. 

I, Antoine LeClaire, attorney for P. G. Hambaugh, promise to convey on the 
condition before stipulated the following described lots : 5 and 6, block 14 ; 5 and 
6, block 25 ; i and 2, block 37. 

P. G. Hambaugh, 

By Antoine LeClaire. 

I, George Davenport, promise to convey, on the conditions above stipulated, 
the following described lots, to-wit : West half of block 23 ; lots 4, 5 and 6, block 
II ; I, 2, 7 and 8, block 35 ; 5, block 3. 

Geo. Davenport. 

I, John Macklot, promise to convey, on the conditions above stipulated, the 
following described lots, to-wit: Lots i, 2, 7 and 8, block 36, if the courthouse 
shall be placed on Bolivar square. 

John Macklot. 

I, Antoine LeClaire, agent for James May, promise to convey, on the condi- 
tions before stipulated, the following described lots, to-wit: Lots Nos. i and 
2, block 13; I, block 39; 7 and 8, block 37; 3, block 13. 

Antoine LeClaire, 
Agent for James May. 

We, James and Robert Mcintosh, promise to convey, on the conditions be- 
fore stipulated, the following described lots: 7 and 8, block 12; 3 and 4, block 
14; 7 and 8, block 36; 5, in block 39; 2, in block 35. 

J. and R. MTntosh. 

I,. John Litch, agree to give one good, handsome lot in the lower part of 
Davenport, (in Powers' addition) as soon as Davenport shall be made the county 

J. Litch. 

I, George Davenport, hereby promise to pay to the county commissioners of 
Scott county, in lieu of the lots offered above, to aid in erecting the public build- 
ings the sum of $1,200, should the commissioners prefer the same to be paid in 
installments, as may be required in the progress of the buildings, provided the 
same shall be erected on Bolivar square. 

Geo. Davenport. 

I, Antoine LeClaire, hereby promise to pay to the county commissioners of 
the county of Scott, in lieu of the lands and lots offered above, to aid in erecting 




tlie public buildings the sum of $3,000 in cash or its equivalent, should the said 
commissioners prefer the same, to be paid in such installments as may be re- 
quired in the progress of the buildings, as witness my hand and seal this loth 
day of August, 1840. 

Antoine LeClaike. 

(L. S.) 


James Hall $1 50 

N. Squires, carpenter work 300 

H. Leonard, in brick 300 

E. Hulse 200 

A. Logan 50 

S. B. Steele 10 

Thomas Foster 40 

A. Greene, by R. Bennet 25 

Philip Cody 20 

Eldridge & McCord 50 

E. V. Kerr and G. Tate 10 

W. W. Dodge 25 

W. B. Watts 25 

William S. Collins 15 

Strong Burnell 20 

Asa Hale 10 

Timothy Dillon 29 

John Pope 20 

Samuel Armitage 5 

Franklin Culver 5 

William McDade 5 

W. B. Arnold 6 

A. J. Dawes 5 

D. Hoge 50 

T. S. Hoge 50 

John D. Evans 20 

Alfred Carter 100 Riddle & Morton 100 

George L. Davenport 50 George Colt 5 

Seth F. Whiting 25 J. M. D. Burrows 50 

James O. Kelly 10 John Owens 50 

W. McCammon 30 James Rumbold 50 

W. W. Whittemore 25 Charles Lesslie 25 

Thomas Dillon 50 A. L. & J. Beatty 10 

George Bowers 20 Henry Wright 15 

M. Parmele 20 R. S. Craig 10 

John Cronkhite 10 John W. King 10 

C. C. Alvord 10 James M. Bowling 30 

Wm. M. Moran 5 John Evans 10 

W. G. Ruby 10 John Wilson 100 

H. J. Chapman 25 William Nichols 50 

John F. Boynton 10 Louis Hebert 10 

J. M. Witherwax 50 J. W. Parker 100 

A. W. Perry 25 Peter Parter. by A. Perry 25 

George Francis 12 L. J. Senter, for J. Remer 25 

L. J. Senter 10 James Miller. 5 

Isaac Squires 20 William Lovell 10 

John H. Thorington 25 Alex W. McGregor 25 

Walter B. Warren 10 George W. Warren 20 

William Harmon 15 Henry Powers 50 

At the October elections of this year party lines began to be drawn. A. C. 

Dodge was elected delegate to congress over Alfred Rich, the whig candidate. 



by about lOO majority. J. W. Parker was elected to the council over James 
Grant by a majority of only four votes. L. Summers and J. M. Robertson, * rep- 
resentatives ; John D. Evans, recorder; A. H. Davenport, sheriff; Ira Cook, Sr., 
treasurer, and E. Cook, judge of probate. 

The receipts into the treasury this year were insufficient to meet the expendi- 
tures, the amount being only $1,635, while the expenditures were $2,121.37. 

Business at the close of the year was increasing. There were eight mercan- 
tile establishments, four groceries, two hotels, a brewery nearly ready for oper- 
ation, a large pork house, with cash and goods offered for pork. Times began to 
brighten. A market had been established at home for the produce raised by the 
farmer, buildings had increased and the population amounted to about 600. The 
times had been severe on the newly settled colony. Money was scarce; the land had 
been brought into market, and those holding lands subject to pre-emption had 
to borrow money at fifty per cent to save their homes. The prices current in 
December were : 

Flour, per barrel $5.00 to $5.50 Butter, fresh $ .25 

Wheat, per bushel. ... .50 Tallow I2>4 

Corn, per bushel 37 ^o .50 Sugar, from stores I2j^ 

Oats, per bushel 25 to .31 Coffee 20 

Potatoes, per bushel. . . . 18 to .25 Tea i .00 

Onions, per bushel 25 to .37 Molasses, per gallon 75 

Beef, from wagon, lb.. .02 to .04 Honey, good, strained, per gal. .75 
Pork, from wagon, lb.. .03 to .04 Nails, cut, all sizes, per lb., .10 to .12^ 

There were three frosts only up to the 14th of November. The river re- 
mained in good boating order, and steamboats ran till near the close of the year, 
the weather being mild and beautiful. River closed January 2d. There was good 
sleighing this winter from St. Louis to the lower rapids, and throughout the en- 
tire state of Illinois, a part of Michigan and Indiana ; but here there were not to 
exceed two inches of snow during the whole winter, nor was there any rain after 
the first of November. The river opened this year the 14th of March, and the 
steamer Otter came up the same day. On the 15th the steamer Agnes arrived 
from St. Louis and the next day both boats left for Galena and Dubuque, navi- 
gation being fairly opened, but the water very low. 

On the 2ist of April, 1841, the mayor, recorder and trustees of the town of 
Davenport passed an ordinance to raise the license for retailing liquors from 
$25 to $100, J. W. Parker being mayor. 

On the 5th of May the sale of town lots for the erection of the public build- 
ings took place. 

On the 8th of May the first territorial whig convention was held in Daven- 
port. Delegates were present from all the settled counties of the state, except 

* Joseph i\I. Robertson emigrated to the territory of Iowa in 1836, and settled at Rock- 
ingham. He had made his first location in the west at New Boston, Mercer county, III., 
where he remained but a short time. He was a good, sound, practical man in all things. 
His political views were purely whig. A farmer and merchant he was accommodating and 
possessed a benevolent heart, ever ready to do a kindly act ; and for moral and Christian 
worth he had no superior. His sterling integrity in all things, both private and public, ever 
drew around him a host of friends, and he was deservedly popular among his fellow citizens. 
He served many sessions in the territorial legislature, and died at Iowa City, while a member 
of that body in 1844, aged thirty-eight years. 



Dubuque and Clayton. They met at the LeClaire House, formed a procession 
and marched with a band of music, consisting of one bugle and a clarinet, to the 
"Harrison log cabin," then just erected on the corner of Third and Main streets. 
Several speeches were made, when Alfred Rich, Esq., received the nomination, 
on the fourth ballot, for delegate to congress. The democratic convention met 
at Parkhurst, (LeClaire) on the 19th of June and nominated A. C. Dodge, who 
was elected by a large majority. The weather in May was cold and backward. 
Notwithstanding the hard times and general scarcity of money, buildings of all 
kinds began to go up, and the town generally was in a flourishing condition. The 
courthouse and jail were commenced, and the days of strife and contention 
seemed to have ended. 

Among the buildings erected this year was the Webb House, and it was con- 
sidered one of the most extravagant investments of the age. It presented a beau- 
tiful appearance from the river, standing alone upon the brow of the bluff, 
with nothing to obstruct the view, without a solitary house or other improvement 
in front of it. It is now owned and occupied by J. E. Henry, Esq. The brick 
building on the corner of Sixth and Brady streets was erected the same season 
by Strong Burnell. But the largest structure of this year was the old part of 
the "Worden House" on Third .street, since enlarged. Flour this year was sold 
at $5.00 per barrel and wheat 50 cents a bushel. Pork was worth but i^ to 
2 cents a pound. 

James Grant and J. M. Robertson were elected representatives and J. W. 
Parker to the council. Parker was president of the council, that session of the 
legislature. The financial condition of the county at the close of 1841 was a 
revenue received of $7,019.93 ; and expenditures to the amount of $6,689.99 ; 
A. W. Campbell, J. C. Quinn and John Work, commissioners. A new charter 
to the town of Davenport was obtained this year from the legislature. The court- 
house and jail were finished and presented to the county free of cost, as pro- 
vided" for in the bond given for that purpose. 

In November of this year our little village was visited by a distinguished 
personage of foreign birth, in the person of Prince de Joinville. He and his 
suite took rooms at the LeClaire House. 

In August of this year the "Davenport Weekly Gazette" issued its first 
number. Alfred Sanders. Esq.. the senior editor, was from Cincinnati, Ohio. 
He had visited the upper Mississippi the year before in search of a location for 
life, and most wisely selected Davenport, then but a small village, as his home. 
None but those who have tried the experiment can realize the trials, hardships 
and discouragements incident to opening a printing establishment in a little 
frontier town, away from all resources, both financial and mechanical. To enter 
upon such an enterprise at such a time in the financial world as was presented 
in 1 84 1 requires no little energy, ambition and perseverance. Such did Alfred 
Sanders possess, when on the nth day of August he landed from one of the 
smallest steamers that ever pushed up our river, the water being so low upon the 
rapids below and the engine that propelled the little craft so weak that they 
had to pole over in real Mackinaw style. The arrival was announced, and 
soon the landing was thronged with anxious spectators to behold the new press 
and its editor. IMoved by a spirit of grateful acknowledgment and a cordial 



welcome to this new arrival, all hands were eager to assist in landing the press. 
There being no wharf then built, and the water very low, a long plank walk 
was laid to the boat, on which in attempting to carry the press, it was precipitated 
into the Mississippi river, as if to purge it of any of its old sins, and baptise it 
anew before entering upon the virgin soil of Iowa. 

The first number was issued on the 26th of /Vugust, and from that day to 
this, more than eighteen years, not a single number has been missed in its regular 
publication. When we take into consideration that not only the first outfit, 
but the constant supply of paper, ink and other material had to be purchased 
in the east, and subject to all the delays and dangers of the Ohio and Mississippi 
rivers, and when we remember that Mr. Sanders suffered loss and disappointment 
by having his paper sunk and burned amid the disasters of the steamboat naviga- 
tion of that day, all his assistants being sick at one time, and he alone having 
to fill every department of the paper, from writing its editorials and setting 
type, down to working at the press and rolling for papers — I say, when we con- 
sider these discouragements, we must wonder and admire that energy and per- 
severance which for twenty years never allowed his subscribers to go without 
their weekly news. We believe that no portion of the great west can record a 
similar instance of deep devotion to their calling, amid such privations and 
hardships as that of Mr. Sanders to found a standard newspaper in Scott county. 
When I remember his increasing labor for many years without the prospect of 
even a livelihood, and no bright future before him, I feel happy in the privilege 
here presented of adding my testimony to his faithful services and wishing him 
all the enjoyment he may now possess from the fruits of his early struggles. 

And no less deserving is he who amid all these discouragements stood by his 
side, not only as a partner, in a pecuniary view, but a constant sharer of all 
the burdens heaped upon the establishment through the many dark years of its 
existence. Mr. Levi Davis was the printer; and for neatness and mechanical 
execution I hesitate not to say, notwithstanding the difficulties under which he 
labored, that no establishment of the kind west of the great lakes can show a 
file of papers of ten years' accumulation like those presented by this office. No 
man among the early settlers of Davenport is deserving of more credit for 
faithfulness, industry and sterling integrity than Mr. Levi Davis. 

For nearly ten years after the establishment of the Gazette it hardly paid 
expenses, though conducted in the most economical manner. From the tardy 
progress of the settlement of the country its subscription grew slowly ; but as 
the country began to settle and the town to grow its patronage increased so that 
in May, 185 1, nearly ten years after its commencement, its proprietors felt 
justified in enlarging it to a seven column paper. Two years after, on the 3d 
of Spetmber, 1853. they converted it into a tri-weekly, and the following year, 
on the 1 6th of October, 1854, they began to issue the first daily paper ever pub- 
lished in this portion of the state. As a daily it started out under the most favor- 
able auspices and has continued to increase in circulation ever since, notwithstand- 
ing the financial depression of 1857 and the unusual amount of opposition it 
has experienced in having three other daily papers to contend with. 

In 1855, they introduced the first steam press ever put in operation in Iowa, 
a large size Taylor & Hoe press which is still doing good service. The weekly 



cash receipts of the office now average more than the yearly cash receipts (Hd 
for seven years after its first estabHshment. 

1842. — On the 15th of February the Scott County Temperance society was 
organized; Thomas S. Hoge, president; and Charles Lesslie, secretary. 

The river closed the 27th of December and opened the 2d of March. The 
season was good, crops abundant and well gathered. Good winter wheat was 
sold at 37 to 40 cents, and spring at 30 cents. The best quality of flour was $4.50 
a barrel. Flour sold the same autumn in Chicago at $3.00, and in St. Louis at 
$2.75 a barrel. Building continued and settlers were daily arriving. Produce 
of all kinds was low. There was no money in circulation. Everything was 
barter in trade. 

On the 8th of October of this year the Iowa Sun issued its last number. 
A. C. Fulton. Esq., arrived here in July of this year, and opened a store on 
Front street, between Main and Harrison. On the 4th of August by census 
taken, the town contained 817 inhabitants. The April term of the circuit court 
continued in session only eight days, and adjourned for want of business, David 
Hoge, clerk. In the election of this year Robert Christie was elected to the 
council and J. M. Robertson to the house. Pork sold this autumn as low as 
$1.25 to $1.50 a hundred pounds. The same prices ruled in Chicago and Alton. 
Messrs. J. Seaman. J. M. D. Burrows, A. C. Fulton and others purchased pork 
in exchange for goods ; some cash was paid. The balance in the treasury at 
the close of the year was $484.48. John Work, Otho G. McLain and John C. 
Quinn were commissioners. 

1843. — The river opened the loth of April. The winter of 1842-43 will 
long be remembered as the "cold winter." There were two months' good sleigh- 
ing. The ice in the river was two feet thick. A Dubuque paper stated that with 
the exception of a very few days the mercury stood at twenty degrees below 
zero for nearly four months, and that for several weeks of that time it stood 
at thirty-five to thirty-nine degrees below zero. Although the crops were abun- 
dant, yet on account of the intense cold and want of sufficient hay and shelter, a 
great many cattle died. 

Emigration continued to pour in and a general progress of the town was 
perceptible, notwithstanding the scarcity of money and the cheapness of pro- 
duce. There were seventeen brick houses erected this year and many frame 
ones. Seven churches now adorned the town. G. C. R. Mitchell was elected rep- 
resentative this year, and James Thorington judge of probate. The expendi- 
tures of the county this year exceeded the receipts. $905.82. 

J. M. D. Burrows commenced shipping produce this autumn to St. Louis in 
keel boats. On the 21st of October he loaded one with thirty-eight tons of 
vegetables and the following week started another one for St. Louis with thirty- 
five tons. 

But little of interest took place during the year 1844. The river opened on 
the 24th of February and navigation commenced. It had been a very open win- 
ter, much of it like spring. 

In May there was a corporation election for officers. Gilbert McKown. Jr., 
was elected marshal; Nathaniel Squires, supervisor; John Evans, treasurer; N. 
Squires, assessor; John Pope, clerk; L. B. Collamer, weighmaster ; and D. C. Eld- 



ridge, tire warden. The June rise in the Mississippi flooded the whole country 
along the river bottoms. The river was higher than ever before known. 

By a census taken of the county in June it was found to contain 1,750 souls. 
The 4th of July was celebrated in due form. The citizens convened at the court- 
house, when the exercises were opened with prayer by the Rev. A. B. Hitchcock; 
reading of the Declaration of Independence by Jas. Grant. Esq.. and oration by 
Dr. Gatchell of Cincinnati, then a resident of this place. A sumptuous repast 
was served under tlie large spreading oaks that tlien adorned the brow of our 
beautiful bluffs. 

.\ convention assembled at Iowa City. October 7th for the formation of a 
constitution preparatory to our entrance into the Union as a state. Ebenezer 
Cook. James Grant and .\n(h-e\v W. Campbell were tlie candidates elected to 

The wheat crop of 1844. was large and of good quality. IHour from $3.00 
to $4.00 a barrel. Wheat from 40 to 50 cents a bushel. Corn and oats. 25 cents. 

The financial condition of the country at the close of the year was flatter- 
ing. Expenditures. $1,757.78. and the receipts into the treasury were $2,503.80, 
J. C. Quinn, Ashael Hubbard and C. G. McLain, commissioners; John Pope, 
clerk. County orders were at par and cash in the treasury. The crop of wheat 
raised this year in the county was estimated at 100,000 bushels, and there were 
no mills for flouring in the city, yet. The population at the close of the year in 
the town was estimated at 800 or The river closed on the 4th of Feb- 
ruary, but was in no condition for crossing and on the 20th of the same month 
broke loose and the steamer Lynx made her appearance at our wharf. The New 
Haven that had been moored in the Rock Island slough came over the next day 
and both boats started for Galena, the river being clear of ice, the weather as 
balmy as spring. Wild geese and ducks were flying north and the winter gently 
merged into spring. 

1845.— The most stirring incident of this year was the murder of Col. George 
n;iven])ort upon Rock island. 

The April election passed oft very quietly. L. Summers (Loco) was elected 
to the council and J. M. Robertson (whig) to the house. John Forrest, Esq., 
received the appointment as postmaster in place of D. C. Eldridge. resigned. At 
the August election J. C. Ouinn was again elected commissioner; A. H. Miller, 
treasurer; W. I'arrows. surveyt)r, and Stephen Hawley, assessor. 

The country upon both sides of the river had for several years been infested 
with a lawless gang of freebooters with their main headquarters probably at 
Xauvoo. having places of rendezvous upon Rock river, 111., and upon Sugar 
creek, in Cedar county, and in Linn county. Iowa. The fugitives from justice 
in other states had fled to the western wilds for protection and organized them- 
selves into regular bands for horse stealing, counterfeiting, burglary, robbery 
and murder. They had advanced so far in their grand schemes for crime and 
escape that in some places justices of the peace and other officers of the county 
were elected to office by their intrigue and corruption and many men of good 
standing in the community became associated with them. Bellevue in Jackson 
county had been the scene of bloodshed and murder in an attempt to arrest some 
of the banditti. O^le county in Illinois had become so infested with this gang that 




at the elections they came boldly forward and proclaimed their strength and 
determination to rule the coimty. The courthouse and jail were burned, the 
sheriff of the county waylaid and shot, and individuals who dared to say aught 
against the gang were marked as victims of this marauding band of robbers. 

At this stage of things, a meeting of the whole county was called by .some of 
the principal law-abiding citizens, when it was resolved to clear the land of the 

desperadoes. One of the ringleaders, a Mr. , and his three sons, were taken, 

. tried by a self-constituted jury, condemned and shot the same day. One other 
of the gang was executed, when the balance fled the country. But Nauvoo was 
the great depot and the Mississippi river the great thoroughfare. 

The murder and robbery of Col. Davenport, one of the oldest citizens of the 
community, in broad daylight and in full view of our town, sent a thrill of terror 
to every heart and made citizens tremble for the safety of themselves and prop- 
erty. So foul a crime, attended by such appalling circumstances, aroused the 
energies of every one to assist in discovering the murderers. Public meetings 
were called in Davenport and Rock Island to devise means to arrest the fugi- 
tives. Companies of horsemen were sent in every direction; the islands and 
blufifs were searched ; parties went up and dowm the river, but no trace could be 
found, nor were any signs left by which the murderers could be followed. A 
reward of $1,500 was offered by George L. Davenport, followed directly after 
by one of $1,000 by the governor of Illinois; but for weeks no trace could be 
obtained of them. Subsequently it was ascertained that the robbers had been 
secreted for some ten days in the blufifs previous to the attack, awaiting an oppor- 
tunity, which they had on the 4th of July while the whole household of Col. 
Davenport was at Stephenson attending the celebration. Mr. Davenport lived 
long enough to relate the circumstances attending the robbery. He had been 
fearful of robbers and noticed some suspicious looking persons around the towns 
of Davenport and Stephenson and had taken the precaution to fasten his doors 
and keep arms in readiness. He had but a few moments before the attack been 
to the well for water and fastened the door on his return. He was seated in his 
armchair in his sitting room when he heard a noise in the back part of the house, 
and opening the door that led there, he was met by three men, one of whom 
exclaimed, "Seize him Chunky" and at the same moment he received a ball from 
a pistol through the fleshy part of the thigh. Mr. D. made an effort to reach 
his pistols that lay upon the mantel but was laid hold of and bound with strips 
of bark and blindfolded. The key of his safe was obtained and for a few 
moments he was left alone, when the robbers, unable to unlock the safe, re- 
turned and took Mr.D. up stairs where the safe was and compelled him to 
unlock it. In this efifort Mr. D. seems to have had much diflFiculty, as from loss 
of blood he was not able to walk and he was carried or pulled up the stairs 
leaving prints of blood upon the passageway and staircase all the way up, where 
he had put his hands for support. He was laid upon the bed up stairs after un- 
locking the safe and showing the robbers where some other money was. in a 
drawer in the library. Here he fainted and was revived by water being poured 
upon him. He was choked and otherwise tortured in mind and body to induce 
him to reveal where more treasure could be found. Upon this point, John Long, 
who afterward paid the penalty of this murder upon the gallow^s at Rock Island, 



Stated, upon the stand, that no such abuse was offered to Mr. D. ; that he himself 
went to the well for water and poured it upon him to revive him ; that it was 
not intended to commit murder, but that the pistol of Fox, who shot him, went 
off accidentally, but Mr. Davenport said before his death that they held a con- 
troversy about the disposition of him before they left, some being for killing him 
and burning the house and others for leaving him as he was. The latter being 
the determination of the majority of them, they hastily fled. 

The only booty they obtained was about $600 in money, a gold watch, chain and 
seals, a double barreled gun and a few other articles of minor importance. 

Col. Davenport was a native of England, and removed to the United States 
in 1804. He was attached to the army from 1805 to 181 5, was with Gen. Wilkin- 
son on the Sabine during the trouble with Aaron Burr, and in the war of 1812 
was in the defense of Fort Erie and at the battle of Lundy's Lane. He was with 
the first expedition which ascended the Mississippi to quiet the hostile Indians, 
and assisted in selecting and planting Fort Armstrong upon Rock island, upon 
which he settled in 1816 and resided there until his death. He was a partner in 
the American Fur company until its withdrawal from the Mississippi, and then 
carried on the trade with the Indians alone until he retired from business. He 
was of a free, generous, open-hearted disposition, full of anecdote connected 
with his wild and adventurous life, pleasing in his conversation and full of wit 
and humor. Long had he lived upon the frontier amid wars and fightings ; often 
had his life been in imminent danger from the scalping knife or the tomahawk, 
and yet in the broad light of day. in a civilized land and amid the life and bustle 
of the celebration of our natal day he was doomed to die by the hand of despera- 
does ! 

For many weeks no trace could be found of the murderers. Edward Bonney. 
of Lee county, in the territory of Iowa, undertook to ferret out their place of 
concealment. He left here about the middle of August and proceeded to Nauvoo. 
where he first got trace of them by representing himself as one of the gang, 
which might have been true, and on the 8th of September arrested Fox at Cen- 
terville, Iowa, and committed him to jail there. On the 19th he arrested Birch 
and John Long at Sandusky, Ohio, and brought them to Rock Island, by way of 
the lakes and Chicago. These three men were well known in the west as leaders 
of a gang of desperadoes, although they went by different names. Richard Bax- 
ter and Aaron Long, a brother of John, were soon after arrested near Galena, 
111., and Granville Young at Nauvoo. These three last were taken as accessories. 

In the 6th of October following, bills of indictment were found by the 
grand jury of Rock Island county, against the whole, except Fox. who had 
escaped from jail on the 17th of September in Indiana. On the 14th of October, 
the two Longs and Young were put upon trial, a change of venue being denied, 
found guilty and sentenced to be hung on the 29th of the same month. Birch, 
the greatest villain of the whole, turned state's evidence. Baxter was tried sepa- 
rately, convicted and sentenced to be hung on the i8th of November. A writ of 
error was sued out of the supreme court, a new trial was granted, when he was 
found guilty and sentenced to the penitentiarj^ for life, where he died in about 
two years. Birch took a change of venue to Knox county and while awaiting 



trial escaped from jail. Upon the gallows, John Long confessed all, but died a 
hardened wretch without the least signs of repentance or fear of death. 

The shock given to the western banditti by the prompt and energetic meas- 
ures taken to bring these murderers to justice so effectually broke up the gang 
that for a long time the country was free, in a measure, from such men. 

The river closed this year the 30th of November. 

The first of Januan- of the year 1846 there was but one retail liquor shop in 
the city. The corporation election came off in April and resulted in the election 
of James Thorington for mayor, Seth F. Whiting, George W. Alvord, A. H. 
Miller, John Morton, William S. Collins and A. W. McLoskey for aldermen. 

At the April term of the district court this spring there was but one case on 
the common law docket, and none on the criminal for trial, showing the peace- 
able and harmonious manner in which the people of Scott county lived at that day. 

The 4th of July was celebrated this year in due form, Rev. E. Adams deliv- 
ering the oration, prayer by Rev. Mr. Brabrook, A. C. Fulton being marshal of the 
day. It was about the first of this month that A. C. Fulton commenced the build- 
ing of the first steam mill in the city of Davenport. 

At the August election S. C. Hastings was elected to congress ; Loring 
Wheeler, of Clinton county, to the state senate; James McManus to the house; 
James Thorington, clerk of the district court; A. H. Davenport, sheriff; V. M. 
Firor, prosecuting attorney ; Asa Foster, county commissioner ; H. H. Pease, 
assessor and A. H. Miller, treasurer. 

John Bechtel opened his plow factory this year, and carried it on with suc- 
cess for some years, when it passed into other hands and is at present carried on 
by Mr. Krum, whose plows are known throughout the state of Iowa as the best 
manufactured in the west. 

The "Iowa College Association" was formed in April, 1844, but no decided 
steps were taken or location made until 1846, when Davenport was selected as the 
place of location, "provided the citizens would raise $1,500 for buildings and 
furnish grounds for a site." Trustees were elected the following spring and a 
building erected on the bluff near Western avenue, between Sixth and Seventh 
streets. The institution was incorporated in June, 1847. I" March, 1854, the 
college grounds (being liable to have streets cut through them) were sold and a 
new location of ten acres purchased between Brady and Harrison above Tenth 
street. Here the present college edifice was erected with boarding houses in 
1855, and in August of this year (1859) the present location was sold to the 
Episcopah diocese of Iowa for school and educational purposes and the Iowa 
college is removed to Grinnell, a village in the interior of this state, in Poweshiek 

At the April election of this year, James Grant was elected district judge over 
his opponent, Piatt Smith, by 448 majority. James Thorington was elected dis- 
trict clerk, and Hiram Price school fund commissioner. 

A new paper was started about this time called the Democratic Banner, by 
Alexander Montgomery. Esq., who sold out to R. Smetham. T. D. Eagal after- 
ward became its editor and proprietor, and after passing through several other 
hands it was purchased, in 1855, by Messrs. Hildreth, Richardson and West. Mr. 
Hildreth, the senior editor, died in September, 1857, since which time Messrs. Rich- 



ardson & West have continued to publish the same under the name of the Iowa 
State Democrat. Recently a couple of new partners have entered the office, the 
Daily News has been purchased, and is now combined and published under the 
name of the Daily Democrat and News. A more extensive notice may hereafter 
be f^iven of this democratic paper. 

1847. — At the August election, H. Leonard was elected sheriff against Robert 
Christie ; A. H. Miller, recorder : A. \V. McGreg-or, prosecuting attorney ; Asa 
Foster, commissioner; John Pope, clerk: J. Thorington, judge of probate; Wm. 
L. Cook, coroner. 

The immigration of Germans was large this year. On the 23d of June lOO 
were landed from the Anthony Wayne steamer, most if not all of whom settled 
in this county. 

Pork was worth this year but $1.75 to $2.00 per hundred pounds in trade. 
The first railroad meetings were held this year in relation to building a road from 
Chicago to Davenport. 

The returns of the assessor for the year 1847 were on valuations. 

73.264 Acres of land, valued at $238,375 

\'alue of town lots 71,970 

Money at interest in the county 1,675 

Merchandise 10,885 

918 Head of horses, valued at 29,244 

Machinery 5,840 

2,883 Head of cattle 25,286 

2,748 Head of sheep 4.013 

3,960 Head of hogs 4.224 

5 Head of mules 210 

^Miscellaneous property 800 

Furniture i .960 

48 Wagons 1 ,825 

Amount of asses.sment $396,307 

There were 3,652 white inhabitants in the county and two negroes. 

The first land agency was opened this year by Cook & Sargent in a small 
one-story wooden building on the corner of Main and Second streets, where the 
present banking house now stands. 

On the 4th of October of this year, David Hoge, one of our prominent citi- 
zens, died of the bilious fever. Mr. Hoge was from Ohio and had emigrated to 
this country in 1840. was first engaged in merchandising and afterward clerk of 
the district court to near the time of his death. He was a man of talent and abil- 
ity, kind and gentlemanly in his intercourse with mankind, of unswerving integrity 
and of a high tone of moral character. He was cut off in the prime of life, and 
by his death Scott county lost one of her most valued citizens. 

The river closed January 8th and opened March 21st. 

1848. — This year opened with much brighter prospects than had been known 
for years. Emigration had been on the increase. A home market had been 



created for surplus produce; agriculture had become an object, and the hearts 
of many that had been desponding- began to look for better times. 

Up to this time no flouring or saw mill had been erected in thi> city of any 
kind. On the 17th of January the first steam mill in Davenport was put in oper- 
ation by A. C. Fulton. It had been but five months and twenty-two days in build- 
ing. The main building was fifty-seven feet by sixty feet, four stories high with 
an engine room twenty-seven feet by fifty feet. Mr. A. Nugent was the first 
miller. Upon the completion pf this mill, there was a general burst of rejoicing 
among the citizens of Scott county. Mr. Fulton gave a grand opening, by in- 
viting the farmers and citizens of the town to a sumptuous repast served up in 
the new mill on the 17th of January, 1848. Bread was made from flour ground 
in the mill on the same day of the celebration. The tables groaned with luxuries. 
Pigs, turkeys and chickens, pies and cakes, were piled upon the festive board and 
coffee served bountifully, and when Mr. Fulton appeared with all his men who 
had been employed upon the mill, three tremendous cheers were given him, to 
which he responded in a most happy and becoming manner, recounting his many 
difficulties and trials in pressing forward the work upon this mill. About 300 par- 
took of the dinner. The Hon. J as. Grant spoke on the occasion. He had been in 
attendance at the legislature at Iowa City, and in his speech announced that he 
had procured a charter from the legislature for a railroad from the Mississippi 
river to the Missouri. This information excited applause, and three hearty cheers 
were given. He was followed by Hiram Price, Esq., who descanted upon the 
progress of the age, the happy results of the energy and ambition of Mr. Fulton 
amid all discouragements, and closed with an anecdote connected with the build- 
ing of the mill. He said that when Mr. Fulton began that mill, an old man, a 
resident of the city, told him "that he had always believed Mr. Fulton to be crazy, 
but now he, knew it." Mr. Fulton had commenced a steam mill near the site of 
the old one and after completing the building sold it to Burrows & Prettyman, 
who put in the machinery and completed it in the same month with that of Ful- 
ton's, which he commenced soon after he sold to B. & P. 

The opening and celebration of Burrows & Prettyman's mill followed on the 
29th of January. It was more magnificent than that of Fulton's, if possible. 
Their mill was forty-two feet by sixty feet, three stories high, and built of brick, 
and since enlarged. (That of Fulton was of wood.) There were four pairs of 
four and a half French burrs, two bolts, and they would turn out alx)ut 200 bar- 
rels of flour per day. Hiram Johnson was the first miller in this mill, one of the 
best millers west of the Alleghany mountains. A further notice of this mill, its 
present capacity for flouring, will be given, together with some remarks upon the 
character of those who thus early did so much to build up and maintain the inter- 
ests of our county. 

The 4th of July was celebrated in due fonn. The oration was by John F. 
Dillon, Esq. The official returns of the August election announced Shepherd 
Lefifler for congress, John D. Evans representative, James Thorington clerk of 
the district court and E. S. Wing for county commissioner. 

There were thirty-five houses erected this year, nearly all brick. 

The winter of 1848-49 was long and severe. 



It is not our intention to write the biography of individuals or to fill up this 
history with personal achievements, but so closely are some of our early settlers 
identified with our history that it becomes necessary to bring them out in order 
to trace our progress and prosperity as a city and a county to its true and proper 
source. There are individuals in the midst of us, prominent citizens, who have 
passed the ordeal of a pioneer life in the west, and whose early struggles well 
deserve a passing notice. One among the many is Mr. J. M. D. Burrows of the 
house of Burrows & Prettyman. merchants and manufacturers in our city for 
more than twenty years. 

Mr. Burrows, well known to the old as well as the new settlers, first came to 
Iowa (then Wisconsin) in the spring of 1837. He was a native of New York 
city, but spent his early life with his uncle at Elizabethtown. N. J. 

At the age of fourteen he removed to Cincinnati. Ohio, where in the course 
of ten years he accumulated by his own industry a little property and married. 
Being in the furniture business he had sold to western merchants along the 
Mississippi river and consigned on commission to others. In the spring of 1837 
he took a trip to St. Louis and the upper ^Mississippi to look after his business. 
His ardent and energetic mind was soon awakened on beholding the beauty and 
magnitude of the Mississippi valley, and he seemed to comprehend at once the 
prospects for the future of this promising land. He returned to Cincinnati, 
however, without making any investments or even deciding upon any future 
operations here. During the following year his mind seemed to dwell continu- 
ally upon the beauties and prospects of the west, and of Davenport as a center 
of attraction. So strongly was he impressed with the prospects here that he 
decided on his second visit. A trip to the west was no small undertaking. 

There were others in Cincinnati turning their attention this way and among 
them our esteemed fellow citizen, John Owens, Esq. It was at this time Mr. Bur- 
rows first became acquainted with him. Together in a one-horse buggy they set 
forth in the spring of 1838 for Davenport, then in Wisconsin territory, and made 
the trip by land in ten days and a half. They spent a month here examining and 
admiring the country during which time they purchased a "claim" of eighty acres, 
long known as the "Owens & Burrows tract," a part of which is still owned by 
Mr. Burrows, and upon which his beautiful dwelling now stands amid grounds 
tastefully laid out and covered with vineyards, shrubbery and the choicest fruits 
planted by his own hands. They also, as was the custom in those days, took each 
of them a "claim" of 320 acres of prairie land back of the town, feeling prob- 
ably that if the town ever became of importance, the land might be valuable for 
farming purposes. This claim was the entire section 17, lying back of West 
Davenport on Duck creek, and through which the railroad now passes. Messrs. 
Owens and Burrows drew cuts for choice of halves, dividing the section north 
and south. Mr. Burrows drew the east half nearest the town. As some demon- 
stration had to be made in the way of improvements in order to hold the claim 
from being "jumped" they employed Strong Burnell, Esq., to break five fur- 
rows around the entire tract at a cost of $15, which was done. Some two years 
after this, when the land was brought into market and offered for sale, these two 
claim speculators held a consultation as to the entry of the land at government 
price ; whether the prospects would warrant such an investment. Upon mature 

J. :m. d. burrows 



deliberation Mr. Owens abandoned his at once, as not being of sufficient value 
so far from the village and all prairie, some of which has since been sold for 
$ioo an acre. Mr. Burrows gave his part to Dr. Hall, on his paying the $15 
paid to Mr. Burnell for the breaking. 

Before Mr. Burrows returned to Cincinnati, however, he made arrangements 
for some improvements upon his first claim, purchased in connection with Mr. 
Owens of forty acres (his present homestead). There had been seven acres 
broken upon his forty acres, and he contracted with our fellow townsman, B. 
F. Coates, Esq., to erect a dwelling house, the same that now stands in front of 
his present residence. This forty-acre claim cost Mr. Burrows $250, and Mr. 
Owens paid $200 for his. 

Mr. Burrows returned to Cincinnati with a determination to return west 
again if he could dispose of his property in Cincinnati. He was full of excite- 
ment on the subject of emigration to the west. He seemed anxious to be among 
the first and to cast his lot with the emigrating throng, but in his more thought- 
ful moods he began to cast about him to see what he could do to maintain his 
family in this new country. He was doing well where he was. His ambitious 
views began to dampen, and his excitement began to settle down upon a more 
solid basis. He felt that there was an uncertainty, a risk in a step so important. 
He, therefore, to save himself the mortification of a square backout on emigra- 
tion, ofifered his property for sale, putting on such a price that he was sure no 
one would purchase. But in this he was mistaken. In a very, very short time 
a purchaser appeared and took the property at his ofifer. In a very few weeks 
after, all this property was consumed by fire without any insurance. Mr. Bur- 
rows had secured his money and seemed to feel that all things pointed in the 
direction of his desired object. He, therefore, removed to Davenport with his 
family, and in 1839 cultivated his seven acres upon his forty acre homestead, 
and also rented a small tract that had been broken upon the Dubuque road, near 
Duck creek north of the Lindsley place. Here he labored faithfully the first 
season and succeeded in raising a crop, walking to and from his work with his 
little tin dinner pail, eating his lonely meal on the banks of Duck creek. Just 
before harvest the cattle broke in and destroyed his entire crop. Winter was 
coming on and the prospects to our old friend, just at that time, must have looked 
rather dreary. But his energies and ambition were ever adequate to the exigencies 
of the case. 

With fresh thought and new courage he determined to build a store house 
in the town, and in the spring apply to his friends in Cincinnati for assistance to 
commence merchandising. He accordingly set about cutting trees and hewing 
timber for that little store house that stood so long and was occupied by 
the firm of Burrows & Prettyman on Front street, and has since disappeared to 
make room for the present spacious edifice. The frame of this first store house 
he got out with his own hands and with the help of Mr. James Rumbold erected 
the building covering it with clapboards made from the native oak, with the 
rude tools of the pioneer. The spring of 1840 found Mr. Burrows with his 
pecuniary means nearly exhausted and no favorable prospect of business of any 
kind. The future was dark. He went on to Cincinnati, told his story of the west, 
its present condition and its future prospects. His uncle purchased him a stock 



of goods, selecting them himself and Mr. Burrows returned as a commission 
merchant with new energy and a lighter heart. This was his first attempt at 
merchandising. He succeeded well, and in the fall went back to Cincinnati and 
renewed his stock, his uncle becoming his security. This time his cousin as- 
sisted in the selection of the goods. There was a surplus of wheat for the 
first time in the country this fall, and ^Ir. Burrows purchased and shipped the 
first bushel of wheat that ever went out of Scott county. It was raised by 
Messrs. Moss and Bradley, just above the mouth of Duck creek and sold at 45 
cents a bushel. This was the beginning of the produce business in Davenport, 
a business which in after years, as will be seen, Mr. Burrows entered into very 
largely. Nearly all produce at that day was shipped up the river for the supply 
of military posts and the Indian trade. He also bought and packed the first 
pork that was ever sold in our market. This he took in the spring of 1841 with 
the ham? and shoulders to Prairie du Chien and sold them to Rice & Dowsman, 
Indian traders, receiving his pay in the only currency then known, silver dollars, 
and half dollars with a little gold coin. This was much annoyance to him as it 
was bulky and heavy. He had no trunk nor even a valise, such things not be- 
ing considered indispensable for such a trip in those days. His business being 
finished, he found there was no boat for his return to Davenport for some days. 
By traveling some twelve miles across the country and crossing the Wisconsin 
river lie would reach a place where the stage passed. It was nearly noon, when 
wrapping his specie in separate parcels to keep them from rattling, putting some 
in one pocket and some in another, taking some in his hand tied up in his pocket 
handerchief, he left Frairie du Cliien on foot. The Wisconsin river three miles 
below was very high, rushing and foaming among the willows upon its banks. 
No ferryman could be found and Mr. Burrows took a canoe that was often used 
to cross foot passengers and attempted to cross, himself. Although most em- 
phatically a western man, yet his experience in paddling the Indian canoe was 
very limited, and as he entered the boiling current his frail bark became un- 
manageable and he was whirled round and round among the willows and snags 
at the most imminent peril of his life. He could not ])addle his canoe and being 
left to the mercy of the waves he quietly waited the opportunity in his downward 
passage of being thrown near the opposite shore, a chance which soon offered, 
when he leaped from his canoe and by wading some distance reached the shore, 
fastening his treacherous bark to some willows. He regained his path and in 
a short time came to a creek overflowed, and the bridge gone. Searching for a 
narrow place he took a running jump and barely landed on the opposite bank. 
But the sudden deposit of himself and load caused the specie in one of his coat 
pockets to break loose and fall into the creek carrying with it pocket and all. 
Nothing daunted our hero soon fished it up from the bottom of the creek and 
pursued his way to the stage station where he expeced to find conveyance, but 
was disappointed. 

He at once determined to pursue his way on foot to Dubuque. It was late 
in the afternoon, and the country very sparsely settled, but when nearly dark 
he came to a farm house. His load of specie began to grow heavy, his weary 
limbs sought rest ; but where to deposit his treasure for the night was his 
greatest trouble. He was afraid to meet a fellow man. for fear of robbery, but 



he wanted shelter. He first thought of burying his money until the morning, 
but he liatl been observed in his approach to the house and he boldly walked 
to the door and asked for entertainment for the night of the lady of the house. 
He was referred to the husband at the stable, who of course turned none away. 
At supper three other dark visaged, unshaven men appeared at the table which 
much excited the already burdened mind of our friend. The weight of the 
coin was so burdensome that he had removed a portion of it from his pockets 
to his hat, which he kept close by his side, and on being invited to the table carried 
his hat along and set it down by his side. The dim light of the cabin revealed 
but partially the company with whom he was destined to spend the night, and 
robbery and murder seemed to be uppermost in his thoughts. "All were seated," 
said Mr. Burrows, "when the divine blessing was invoked upon the frugal meal, 
and a weight rolled from my mind greater than the one I had carried through 
the day." He was beneath the shelter of a professed disciple of Qirist. his sup- 
per was taken with a keen relish and his sleep refreshing. 

In the morning he pursued his way at an early hour and reached Dubuque 
about 10 o'clock at night, traveling the whole distance of seventy miles on 
foot, in less than two days. He soon found a boat and returned to Davenport. 
Such were the difficulties and dangers incident to a pioneer merchant and trader 
of that day. 

We remember Mr. Burrows, as he was in 1839, full of energy and ambition, 
shrinking from no labor, however hard or menial that required his attention. In 
the summer of 1839 while he was living in his first home under the blufi' I called 
with my wife. He was engaged in digging a well. The dirt tub was soon low- 
ered by the attendant at the windlass, and in due course of time Mr. Burrows 
was drawn up from the bottom of the well, covered with mud and dirt, the very 
picture of a Dubuque miner. This was our first introduction to him and although 
time has wrought many changes since, yet have I never been able to discover 
any labor too arduous for him where his personal attention was required. The 
perseverance, industry and sterling integrity of Mr. Burrows in addition to his 
business capacity have always secured him a host of friends. 

It was about the year 1840. we believe, that he associated with him in busi- 
ness R. M. Prettyman, Esq.. from Maryland, who has stood side by side with 
him and buffeted alike the financial waves that at times rolled over our western 
country. ]\Ir. Prettyman has shared alike in the burdens and difficulties of a 
commercial life, and is deserving of all credit for prompt, persevering applica- 
tion to business. He is known for honest, honorable and high-toned principle 
as a business man and is kind and unassuming in all his dealings, and of sound, 
moral worth. 

1847. — The first attempt at manufacturing flour by this celebrated firm, 
Burrows & Prettyman, was at Rockingham, five miles below this city. On ac- 
count of the foreign demand produce was high all over the United States. In 



February, 1846, wheat was worth here 70 cents, and before April it fell to 25 
cents. There was no probability of a continuance of the war with Mexico, 
and Burrows & Prettyman had purchased heavily at rates ranging from 60 to 
75 cents. Their capital was all invested in wheat, and but for the timely aid of 
a friend, utter insolvency would have followed. That great hnancier, and friend 
to the deserving, James E. Woodruff, of St. Louis, stepped forward, advanced 
money and Burrows & Prettyman rented the Rockingham steam mill and manu- 
factured the wheat into flour. This operation not only saved them from bank- 
ruptcy, but they made more in the same time out of the same capital than ever 
before or since. "Mr. Woodruff," says Mr. Burrows, "was the best friend that 
I ever had." It will be recollected that Mr. Woodruff left home for Europe to 
relieve an overwrought brain by too close application to business which was 
fast hurrying him to an early grave and was lost with his wife on the ill-fated 
Arctic at sea. 

The manufacture of flour at Rockingham and the profits on a government 
contract for the supply of military and Indian stores at the forts and trading 
houses above on the Mississippi river in the spring of 1847 were what gave this 
firm their first start in business to any great extent. The mill at Rockingham 
being too small for future operations the new mills then nearly completed in 
Davenport by A. C. Fulton were purchased. The building alone was completed, 
ready to receive the machinery. Burrows & Prettyman immediately commenced 
putting the mill in running order, and on the 29th of January set it in opera- 
tion. This was an undertaking of no ordinary kind at that early day. The en- 
terprise was an experiment of doubtful issue when we take into consideration 
the small quantity of wheat grown and the slow progress of settlement then going 
on in our county. ^Messrs. Burrows & Prettyman entered into it with many fears 
but with stout hearts. But scarcely had the contract been closed before Mr. 
Fulton without stopping to reflect upon consequences started for St. Louis 
and with the money and paper received for his mill purchased the machinery and 
materials for another mill still greater in proportions than his first one. And 
such was the perseverance and energ}' of Mr. Fulton that he had it completed 
and running before Burrows & Prettyman got theirs in operation. It stood 
close by the other on Front street. 

Amid all these discouragements and, as they thought, uncalled for and un- 
fair opposition. Burrows & Prettyman had their mill in operation in a few days 
after that of Mr. Fulton's, and Davenport which before had never possessed a 
mill of any kind now sent up the steam from two first rate flouring mills, 
while one could have done the business and was amply sufficient, as was after- 
ward shown. Mr. Fulton ran his mill about a year and failed. It was then 
rented to G. L. Davenport, William Inslee and L. A. Macklot who ran it a year 
and a half and lost some $3,000 in the operation, when it was sold to Burrows 
& Prettyman for the sum of $10,500 who ran it a year, lost money, and then 
used it two years as a warehouse. The machiner)^ was then sold to parties in 
LeClaire and was consumed by fire a few years since. The building was torn 
down to give room for the block of stores built by ]\lr. Burrows in 1855. 

The present mill was remodeled in 1854 at a cost of $25,000. The machinery 
in this mill is said to be the most perfect in the west. The Albion mills are capable 



of manufacturing 500 barrels per day of twenty-four hours' run. There were 
on one occasion 540 barrels of flour made in this mill in twenty-four hours. It 
manufactures yearly more than any other three mills in the state of Iowa and 
its llour brings in the New York market 25 cents per barrel more than St. 
Louis brands made from the same wheat. In 1855 this mill made 80,000 barrels 
of flour, grinding 400,000 bushels of wheat. The largest amount of business 
ever done by this firm in any one year was in 1855 when it amounted to over 

The pork packing business in former years was another important branch of 
business by this house. In 1854 they packed 19,000 hogs which was their heavi- 
est year in this business, although they have done more or less at it for the last 
twenty years. The present value of the Albion mills is rated at $40,000 and 
the block of brick stores, five in number, adjoining them is rated also at $40,000 
besides the ground. 

In the social relations Mr. Burrows stands high. Liberal and sensitive, he has 
ever been the friend of the poor man. In earlier days and times of financial dis- 
tress when the little necessities of life were hard to be obtained by the emigrant 
and pioneer settler, the liberal hand of Mr. Burrows was always open and his 
great heart always yielded to the wants of his fellowman. Many are the old 
settlers in Scott, Clinton and Cedar counties who can well remember these numer- 
ous acts of kidness ; that when there was no flour to be obtained elsewhere nor 
goods to be had of other merchants. Burrows & Prettyman's store was always 
open and the "latch string always hanging out." In times of scarcity for seed 
wheat, and when farmers did not preserve it, Burrows & Prettyman in their fore- 
sight and wisdom had taken care to have a supply, and freely loaned it receiving 
their pay back from the crop produced from it. These acts of kindness and benev- 
olence many remember, and to this day may be seen farmers in our streets with 
loads of wheat refusing all other offers, until Burrows & Prettyman should have 
the refusal of it. 

But few of the early settlers of Scott county have done so much toward the 
settlement and progress of it as Mr. Burrows. His long, arduous, energetic and 
constant application to business seems not to have impaired his health nor damp- 
ened his mental vigor. His slender frame but iron nerve still stands unshaken 
amid the storms of commercial life, and he may be seen, early and late at the 
counting room and the mill, in New York or St. Paul, pursuing his business with 
that same elastic step, and with as much life and ambition as he did twenty years 
ago. By his own industry he has carved out for himself a fortune, and there is 
none better calculated to enjoy it nor having more sincere friends desirous of 
his happiness than J. M. D. Burrows. A Christian, not only by profession, he 
loves and lives by its pure principles and with a most liberal hand gives of his 
abundance into the treasury of the Lord. He is an elder in the Presbyterian 
church in this city, of which, we believe, he was one of the founders and has done 
much for its support and prosperity. Long may he live, enjoying the comforts 
his industr)^ has purchased among friends new and old, and in the bosom of his 
pleasant family in quiet and in peace spend the winter of his days, and as his 
locks whiten with age be able to look back and feel that he has not lived in vain 
nor been a drone in the hive of humanity. 




In February of this year, when the ice broke loose, it gor<^ed in the islands 
below, and caused the back water to overflow Front street from Brady up to 
LeClaire street, running into Second street. The water on the floor of Burrows 
& Prettyman's store on Front street was about four inches deep. It only re- 
mained from II o'clock, a. m., until early next morning-. The spring was early. 

At the April election in the city, Jonathan Parker was elected mayor, John L. 
Davis, Wm. McCammon, N. Squires. James M. Bowling, W. S. Collins and 
Samuel Lyter were elected aldermen ; James Thorington, district clerk ; John 
Evans, treasurer : and L. J. Senter, marshal. The census, taken by the assessor 
this year, makes the population within the corporate limits to be 1,200 and 1,500 
in the township. At the August election, H. Leonard was elected sheriflP, Hiram 
Price, recorder ; John Rowser, commissioners' clerk ; A. C. Fulton, county com- 
missioner ; W. Barrows, surveyor; A. W. McGregor, prosecuting attorney; and 
J. Thorington. probate judge. 

On the 5th of July the first case of cholera made its appearance in the city. 
Samuel Sloper and Thomas Dillon, two of the pioneer settlers, were stricken 
down and a general panic seized upon the inhabitants. The epidemic spread ; 
emigrants landed from steamboats with cholera and ship fever and died in con- 
siderable numbers. 

On the 20th of April of this year A. C. Fulton made a proposition to the city 
council to grade and fill Front street with adjoining streets and alleys from Rock 
Island to Ripley streets, for the sum of $4,200, payable in five years, but was re- 
fused the contract. On the 25th of May following, he made another proposition 
to fill anl level every street and alley two feet above the level from the east side 
of Rock Island to Ripley, and as far back from the river as Fourth street, for 
the sum of $4,200, payable in yearly installments with interest, but was refused. 
Such were the prudence, caution and fear of indebtedness in the city fathers of 
that day. This same work has since cost the city more than ten times that amount, 
imder the modern rule and the extravagant progress of the age. 

The census was taken this year in June by Jabez A. Birchard, the assessor. 
and amounted to 4,873 in the county. The report of the county commissioners 
made the expenditures $2,514.23 and the receipts $5,808.16. D. C. Eldridge 
again received the appointment of postmaster. Land, at that time, good prairie, 
could be entered within nine miles of the city. 

There were at this time in the city of Davenport iwenty-two carpenters, nine 
stone masons, two stone cutters, five brick makers, six bricklayers, five plasterers, 
six ])rinter'^. ten cabinet makers, five chair makers, seven wheelwrights, two coach 
makers, twelve blacksmiths, fifteen coopers, five saddlers and harness makers, 
one trunk maker, eight shoemakers, three tin and copper smiths, seven 
tailors, four engineers, three millers, two sawyers, eight draymen, nine teamsters, 
three butchers, one dyer and scourer, one gunsmith, one watchmaker, one turner, 
one baker, one upholsterer, one barber, nine ministers, four physicians, two 
lawyers, two weekly papers. The public buildings were two steam flouring 
mills, one steam sawmill, the Iowa college, the Medical college, five schoolhouses, 



three hotels, two billiard rooms, two coffeehouses, nineteen stores, one public 
hall, one exchange office, two pork houses, one livery stable and one plow factory. 
The commercial business of 1849 may be understood by reference to the fol- 
lowing exports of that year, which furnish data from which the increase of bus- 
iness may hereafter be determined : 

There were shipped of flour 30,200 bbls. 

There were shipped of pork i .425 bbls. 

There were shipped of lard 720 bbls. 

There were shipped of wheat 16,700 bu. 

There were shipped of beans 200 bu. 

There were shipped of potatoes 300 bu. 

There were shipped of onions 11,160 bu. 

There were shipped of barley 5,020 bu. 

There were shipped of flaxseed 128 bbls. 

There were shipped of bran and shorts 320,000 bbls. 

There were shipped of hides 20,400 bbls. 

There were shipped of bacon 212 hhds. 

While the imports for the same time amounted to : 

Merchandise $148,500 

Pine and oak lumber 790,000 ft. 

Shingles 1,120,000 

Squared timber 6,000 ft. 

Reaping machines 42 

Laths 310.000 

This amount of business may seem meager, but when we consider the diffi- 
culties under which we labored at that time, having no railroad nor other com- 
munication with distant markets, except St. Louis by the Mississippi river, it was 
by no means small. \\'e were upon the eve of a brighter destiny, a general pros- 
perity. Our railroad to Chicago had come to be a settled fact, our state had 
gained notoriety abroad for her genial climate and her rich and valuable lands, 
and the year 1850 was ushered in with every prospect of better times. The river 
closed the 27th of November. Population of the county, 5.500. Twenty-two 
thousand acres of land were entered this year in the county. 

1850. — The spring opened early, but was cold and backward. Grass did not 
start until nearly May. In March of this year Mr. Strong Burnell commenced 
his steam sawmill, situated on the corner of Front and Scott streets. This was 
another important improvement and a great acquisition to the business and pros- 
perity of the city. As a mechanic and a man of genius in machinery. Mr. Burnell 
stands high. He came to Davenport in April, 1839, with a complete outfit of 
implements and stock for farming. His first summer was spent in breaking 
prairie, and after fanning upon the prairies, he removed into the village, with the 
conviction that he was not destined for a farmer. He then commenced business 
in the line of his trade as a carpenter and in 1841 built the brick house that now 
stands on the southeast corner of Sixth and Brady streets. In 1842 he received 
the appointment as deputy county surveyor. In the summer of 1844 he built the 



Congregational church and the same autumn he returned to Massachusetts and 
remained nearly five years. In 1849 or* I'^is return to Davenport, at the earnest 
solicitation of the citizens of Davenport and with promises of assistance, he com- 
menced his mill, making his own engine at Moline, and in the summer of 1850, 
with many hard struggles, he got his mill raised and enclosed, the machinery' in 
and in October set it running. It was remodeled soon after and more machinery 
added, when it ran with much success, clearing the first three and a half years 
over $24,000. In 1854 the mill was enlarged, more machinery added and a new 
company formed — Burnell, Gillett & Co. They attached a shingle machine, sash, 
door and blind factory. It was propelled by two engines of 100 horsepower, 
employed about ninety hands and made about 50,000 feet of lumber per day. But 
large investments in the pine regions with borrowed capital, speculations in real 
estate and bad management of the concern, caused a failure in 1858. and the mill 
stood idle. Through all the trials and difficulties that Air. Burnell has been called 
to pass, he has maintained unswerving principle and stands unimpeached in his 
moral and Christian character. 

In May of this year Mr. LeClaire laid out his fourth addition to the city of 
Davenport. It extended from the east side of Rock Island street to the west side 
of Iowa street, south of Seventh street to Second. The first district school was 
opened this year by James Thorington, and the first regular bookstore by W. H. 
Holmes. The Der Demokrat, a German newspaper, was commenced by 
Theodore Guelich. M. C. Davis opened the old Pennsylvania House on Second 
street, below Main. 

On the 1 8th of April the second fire in Davenport took place. The house of 
Mr<. Dillon was burned. The assessment in June by Jabez A. Birchard, Esq., 
showed a valuation of taxable property to be $75,000. Dr. James Hall was 
mayor of the city, with the same officers of the year before. The August election 
resulted in the election of Wm. E. Lefiingwell for the senate ; Laurel Summers to 
the house; J. Thorington, clerk of district court; A. W. McGregor, prosecuting 
attorney, and John W. Wiley, county commissioner. The supposed population 
of the city on the ist of September was 2,000. One hundred new houses were 
erected in the city during this year and 22,041 acres of land entered in the county 
at the land office in Iowa City. The subject of bridging the Mississippi river at 
this point was also agitated this year. Scott county subscribed $75,000 to the 
stock in the Chicago and Rock Island railroad. Business men, merchants, me- 
chanics, professional men and others began to settle here. 

185 1. — In February of this year, on petition of citizens of Davenport, the 
legislature granted a new city charter. There was much opposition to it at the 
charter election and it succeeded by a vote of only twenty-six majority. Charles 
Weston, Esq., was elected mayor at the same election ; Leonard Wygant and Dr. 
Barrows, S. N. Squires, E. Cook and H. Price, aldermen. At the August election 
William Burris was elected county judge, and Harvey Leonard sheriflF. The 
fore part of the season this year was very wet. An unusual amount of rain fell ; 
crops were backward. Immigration continued to come in slowly, composed mostly 
of those who designed settlement. Much prairie was broken this year and con- 
siderable improvement made in the county. Immigration increased over all 



former times. In July over 300 landed at one time from the steamer Wyoming, 
all intending to settle in Scott county. 

The cholera was very bad this year. About thirty of the citizens and many 
immigrants died. The LeClaire foundry was started this year in June, and an- 
other steam sawmill, called "Howard's Mill," in the lower part of the city. 
Davenport now had two steam sawmills and two steam flouring mills. I'ork was 
worth from $2.50 to $3.00 a hundred. The new stone Catholic church was built 
this year, the LeClaire House enlarged, and Cook & Sargent's new brick exchange 
ofifice was erected on the corner of Main and Second streets. A large number of 
private dwellings were built. Merchants and mechanics had sought homes here 
until houses were so scarce that many left the city for want of room. 

The pork market opened this fall at high rates, $4 a hundred for good hogs. 
In October of this year East Davenport was laid out into lots and the present 
village commenced. In November William Russell, of St. Louis, commenced 
purchasing property here, which gave the first rise in property that afterward 
attained to such extravagant prices. 

The city at this date contained about forty-five stores. Cook & Sargent's 
addition to the town of Davenport was made this year. The river closed on the 
16th of December. Population of the city, 3,ocx). Nine steam establishments 
were now in operation in the city. Over three hundred houses were built this 
season, and there were nine organized churches and six church buildings in the 
city at the close of the year. Coates & Davis' planing mill was built and Christie's 
mill at East Davenport was also erected this year and the first wholesale grocery 
was established by S. Hirschl. The Second Baptist church was organized. 

1852. — On the 22d of February Mr. LeClaire laid out his fifth addition to the 
city of Davenport, containing one tier of blocks between Iowa and LeClaire 
streets below Seventh to Second. The river opened this year on the 4th of March. 
The ice had broken up several times, gorged and stopped. Boats were in waiting 
to come up and down for some days, the river being clear of ice above and below. 
On the 3d of April snow fell to the depth of six or eight inches, followed by sleet 
which weighed down the branches of the trees with ice until many limbs were 
broken. On the 5th of April, 1851, a similar snow and sleet fell, followed by 
disagreeable cold weather. 

On the 15th of April the first immigrants arrived and were followed by large 
numbers both by land and water. 

On the 5th of May the comer stone of Trinity church was laid on the corner 
of Fifth and Rock Island streets, by Bishop Kemper. There was some cholera 
this year. The steam ferryboat was put in operation this year by John Wilson. 
so long and favorably known as the ferryman between the two cities. Population 
in the city at the close of the year, 3,000. J. M. Cannon's sawmill built. John 
F. Jordan, mayor; A. F. Mast, clerk; Samuel Parker, marshal; William Van- 
Tuyl, treasurer ; aldermen. H. Leonard. Weigand, Squires. J. P. Cook. H. Price 
and Bechtel. 

1853. — This year a county poorhouse was built by Judge Burris five miles 
from the city, on the road to Dubuque, the county having purchased eighty acres 
of land for that purpose. Pork on the first of January was worth from $5.50 to 
$6.00 a hundred. 



The Mississippi and Missouri Railroad company was organized with a capital 
stock of $6,000,000. the corporation to continue fifty years from date. On the 
I St of September, the ceremony of breaking ground on the road took place. It 
was a day full of interest to the people of Davenport. Many of the old citizens, who 
had for years been living on in hope and confidence, now began to feel all their 
most sanguine wishes gratified. The Rock Island and Chicago road was near 
completion and the first locomotive was soon expected to stand upon the banks 
of the Mississippi river, sending its shrill whistle across the mighty stream and 
longing for its westward flight across the prairies of Iowa. The occasion was one 
of universal rejoicing. A great and important object had been accomplished for 
our city, our county and our state. As Mr. LeClaire, who was selected to per- 
form the ceremony of removing the first ground, came forward pulling off his 
coat and, taking the wheelbarrow and spade, he was greeted by a most tremen- 
dous and hearty cheer. The ceremony took place near the corner of Fifth and 
Rock Island streets. A large procession was formed of citizens. Odd Fellows 
and musicians. The dinner was served at the LeClaire House by Mr. Lowery and 
the occasion was one long to be remembered, A vote was taken in September 
in regard to the county taking stock in the road. There were but 309 votes cast, 
and out of these but two were against subscribing to the stock. The amount 
taken by the city was $75,000, by the county $50,000, and $100,000 by individual 

The LeClaire foundry was burned in August. An express and telegraph 
office was opened this year. The population in the city was 4,500, The sixth 
addition to the city of Davenport by Mr. LeClaire was made this autumn, extend- 
ing from LeClaire street to Farnam, south of Seventh to the river. 

The city officers elected this year were : John A, Boyd, mayor ; R. K. Allen, 
clerk ; Samuel Parker, marshal ; J. Drake, treasurer. The aldermen were : A. 
Weigand, John Weeks, John P. Cook, Joseph Kingerlee, Hiram Price and Wil- 
liam Gray. The progress of the city was rapid. The immigration continued 
with but little abatement and the city and county filled up with many enterprising 
citizens, and we began to assume the appearance of a real city in form and fact. 

1854. — On the 22d of February of this year the long contemplated railroad 
from Chicago to Rock Island was completed and by it the Atlantic and Missis- 
sippi were united. As it might well be expected, it was a day of jubilee to 'the 
residents of the upper Mississippi. For years the more enterprising had looked 
forward to the time when we should be placed in connection by a railway with 
the east. For years had the settlers been dependent upon the river navigation 
for all their commercial wants and had been subject to long and tedious routes 
to the Atlantic seaboard. It was no wonder, then, that it was a day of general 
rejoicing. I can no better represent the occasion than by copying an article from 
the Qiicago Press on that occasion : 

"On Wednesday last, the 22d inst., that event looked forward to for years with 
so much interest by our citizens — the connection of the Mississippi with Lake 
Michigan by a continuous line of railroad — was consummated. The honor of 
arriving first at this goal belongs to the Chicago & Rock Island road — an honor 
by the way well worthy of the herculean eflForts which have been made to achieve 
it. In February, 1851, the legislature chartered a company. In October of the 



same year, the contract for its construction and equipment was taken. In April, 
1852, the first estimate for work upon it was paid and in February, 1854, three 
years from its charter and twenty-two months after ground had been broken upon 
it, the work is completed, and cars are running daily its entire length, 181 miles! 
This is certainly a proud monument to all who have been instrumental in pushing 
the work forward to completion, and especially so to those sagacious and ener- 
getic men who have had it in special charge, Messrs Sheffield and Farnam." 

During this winter there was but little snow and no rain. The weather was 
mild, the atmosphere pure and clear, roads good and business lively in our streets. 
The average temperature by the thermometer was but eleven and a half degrees, 
while in 1851 it was twenty degrees; in 1852 it was fifteen and a half, and in 
1853 it was twenty and two-thirds degrees. In 1851, the mercury fell below- 
zero five times ; in 1852 it fell four times ; in 1853, it fell but once, and in 1854 
it fell five times. In January, pork was $3.75 a hundred ; flour, $5, and wheat, 
65 cents for spring, and winter 75 cents. In February, flour advanced to $6 and 

The year 1854 was one of the most distinguished and busy years in the exist- 
ence of Davenport. The foundations of her prosperity were laid this year. Th^ 
immense immigration that had settled in the county for the two years previous 
now began to exhibit the fruits of their industry. The city had kept pace with the 
back country in her improvements, and added to her population 3,000, while the 
county contained about 15,000. The onward progress of both city and county 
for three years had been such that all looked for better times. The "great river" 
was to be spanned this year by a bridge ! The increase of population created a 
great demand for dwelling houses, stores and workshops. Labor of all kinds was 
in demand. The railroad westward was to go on with increased exertions. Money 
began to be plenty. Immigration began to pour in at the opening of spring and 
the streets of Davenport seemed thronged with strangers. Material for building 
was scarce. There was but little or no seasoned lumber in the city. All lumber 
for building had to be ordered at the mills or shipped from other ports. Rents 
began to be scarce and high, and families who had been the occupants of spacious 
dwellings in other places were now crowded into small apartments until new 
ones could be built. 

This year the LeClaire row was finished and also the block from Main to 
Brady streets. VVitherwax & Orr's building was completed, the Second Baptist 
church erected, and the Ladies' college built by T. H. Codding. Esq. The Daven- 
port Commercial, a newspaper, was started by N. H. Parker. The first exten- 
sive wholesale iron and hardware store was opened by T. Close & Co. Daily 
lines of stages began to run to Iowa City, Tipton and Cedar Rapids. Another 
foundry was started by Davis, Boyd & Co. ; Renwick & Son built their sawmill. 
The Davenport Gaslight & Coke company was organized. Luse & Coles opened the 
first exclusive job and printing office in this city. Hildreth & Dalloon's steam 
flouring mill at East Davenport was put in operation this year. 

We had been placed in direct communication with the east by railroad and 
telegraph. On the ist of September the corner stone was laid of the bridge, which 
aroused' the jealousy of St. Louis that had heretofore enjoyed unmolested the 
commerce of the great west. And not only had the company to contend with St. 



Louis, that seemed to think that she had indisputable right to all the commerce of 
the upper Mississippi unmolested, but obstacles were thrown in the way by those 
who were in power by ordering the United States marshal to prevent all opera- 
tions on the island, probably for fear that a bridge across the Mississippi at this 
point would interfere with the prospect of a "Southern Pacific Railroad." Con- 
gress had made appropriations for removing obstructions in the rapids of the 
Mississippi river at this place. The surveys of the channel had been made and the 
contracts let. 

On the 20th of June ^Ir. LeClaire laid out his seventh addition to the city of 
Davenport, extending from Rock Island street to Farnam, north of Seventh and 
south of Ninth street. Hon. James Grant was mayor; B. B. Woodward, clerk; 
L. J. Senter, marshal ; L. B. Collamer, treasurer. The aldermen were, H. Wil- 
helm, G. G. Arndt, Charles J. H. Eyser, E. A. Gerdtzen, B. Atkinson, D. P. Mc- 
Kown, H. H. Smith, E. Cook. Wm. Burris, and A. A. McLoskey. Four hundred 
houses were erected this year. 

1855. — The year 1855 was but a continuation and a carrying out of the plans 
in progress of 1854. Emigration increased. Rents were high and houses scarce. 
Six hundred houses were erected. The imports on the ist of February amounted 
to 830 hogsheads and 637 barrels of sugar; molasses, 1.842 barrels; 473 
barrels of vinegar; 4.126 barrels of salt ; 292 barrels of cement, 470 sacks of salt; 
1,248 sacks of cofifee; 1,175 sacks of dried fruit, and 1,000 barrels of apples. The 
exports amounted to 30,000 bushels of wheat, 40,700 bushels of barley, 60,000 
bushels of corn, 29.000 bushels of potatoes, 21,000 bushels of onions, 30,150 bar- 
rels of flour, 800 barrels of pork and 300 barrels of lard. The population at this 
time in the city v»'as 7,000; in the county, 15,000. 

At this time Davenport ranked with any city in Iowa in a commercial point of 
view as well as for beauty of location. The facilities for shipping had greatly 
enhanced the value of produce. Farmers were encouraged and great efforts 
made in agriculture. A large sum of money was expended in the improvement 
of the rapids by the government and the building of the bridge across the Mis- 
sissippi river. These were some of the principal causes that led to the sudden 
rise in real estate at this time and which caused large investments in the city and 
county. The immediate construction of the railroad west seemed certain and 
land was sought after along its route at extravagant prices. Although money 
was plenty it commanded high rates of interest for investments in lands and 
improvements in the city. 

The east end of the LeClaire block was finished this year. Many beautiful 
residences were built upon the bluffs. Among them were Messrs. Price's. Dil- 
lon's and Dessaint's. The George L. Davenport block on the corner of Main 
and Second streets and several steam manufactories were erected. The city 
limits were enlarged so as to include North Davenport. At the city election in 
April Enos Tichenor was elected mayor; B. B. Woodward, clerk; Samuel Par- 
ker, marshal ; William \'anTuyl. treasurer. Aldermen : G. G. Arndt, G. C. R. 
Mitchell. E. .\. Gerdtzen. Charles J. H. Eyser, D. P. McKown, Austin Corbin. 
E. Cook. H. Price. A. A. McLoskey. A. H. Owens. Joseph Lambrite. Samuel 
Saddoris. The population in March of this year was estimated at 8.000. Upon 
the passage of the prohibitory liquor law in April by a vote of the people of 



ihe counl) there were 1,977 votes polled. A temperance ticket was formed at 
the Au^isi election at whicli 1,851 votes were polled in the comity. William 
L. Cook was elected county judge; Harvey Leonard, sheriff; James -McCosh, 

The total receipts into the treasury ending March 17, 185O, were $41,178.31 
and total expenditures, $40,586.50, leaving a balance in the treasury of $591.81. 
The county at this date owned as assets $59,400 worth of stock in the Rock 
Island & Chicago railroad and $75,000 in the Mississippi and Missouri railroad, 
while at the same time their liabilities were: For subscription to $125,000 worth 
of stock in the Mississippi and Missouri railroad and $4,431.65 interest money 
on the same. 

The amount of taxable property in the county by assessment was $4,480,000. 
1856. — Crops of all kinds were abundant this year and commanded a good 
price. The lumber trade had become very extensive. The sales in this city 
alone this year amounted to upwards of 17,420,000 feet, and nearly 7,000,000 
of lath. Ten milHon feet of lumber were manufactured in the city. The bal- 
ance came from Chicago or was rafted down the river. Twenty thousand, eight 
hundred hogs were packed and over 450,000 bushels of wheat were purchased 
in our market. On the 21st of April the first locomotive came across the 
bridge. LeClaire's eighth addition to the city of Davenport was laid out on the 
26th of March of this year. It extended from Perry street to Farnam, all 
lying north of Ninth street to the line of "LeClaire's reserve." 

At the city election in April, G. C. R. Mitchell was elected mayor; William 
Hall, clerk; Samuel Sylvester, treasurer, and John H. Taylor, marshal. The 
aldermen were James O'Brien, John Schutt, C. I. H. Eyser, A. Smallfield, 
Austin Corbin, James M. Bowling, Hiram Price, John Forrest, Wm. S. Kinsey, 
S. K. Barkley, Samuel Saddoris, Joseph Lambrite. At the August election N. J. 
Rusch was elected to the state senate, and Messrs. Rogers, Wing and Earner, 
representatives. J. W. Stewart was elected prosecuting attorney and J. D. 
Patton, clerk of district court. A vote was taken and carried for a convention 
to form a new state constitution and George W. Ells was elected delegate. The 
year ended in the full tide of commerce, speculation and excitement. 

1857. — At the spring election, Gen. G. B. Sargent was elected mayor; H. W. 
Mitchell, marshal; John Johns, police magistrate; E. Peck, clerk; Samuel Syl- 
vester, treasurer. The aldermen elect were: J. M. Cannon, A. Jennings, H. 
Ramming, Theodore Guelich. J. M. Bowling, Austin Corbin. John Forrest, J. 
C. Washburn, James O'Brien, George Hubbell (vice A. LeClaire, resigned), 
Wm. Guy, I. H. Sears. There was also at the same election a vote taken for 
and against licensing the sale of spirituous liquors and 398 majority against it. 
At the August election Charles Weston was elected judge; James McCosh, 
treasurer and recorder; Harvey Leonard, sherifT; W. P. Campbell, surveyor; 
and William Effey, coroner. A vote was taken also and carried by 119 majority 
for a tax to be levied for building a courthouse and city hall, but the work has 
never been commenced. At the general election in October there were 3. 121 
votes cast. N. J. Rusch was elected to the state senate; John W. Thompson, 
B. F. Gue and Robert Scott to the house. G. C. R. Mitchell was an independent 
candidate for district judge and was elected. In our city affairs everything 



seemed prosperous. The opening of our railroad, the constructing of the bridge 
across the Mississippi, the public expenditures upon the rapids, all had a ten- 
dency to invite strangjers to our city. Money was plenty; investments of all 
kinds were made; merchants and mechanics were all busy and the laboring man 
found ready employment at good wages. The public works upon our streets, 
the building of Metropolitan hall, by R. B. Hill, Esq., the erection of the bank- 
ing house of Cook & Sargent, and the private residence of E. Cook, Esq., the 
engine house and numerous other private and public buildings scarcely inferior 
to any in the west, all combined to draw men and means to this city. Im- 
provements beyond all former years were begun and carried to completion. From 
the 1st of August. 1856, to the close of this year, 1857, over 1,300 houses were 
erected within the corporate limits of this city. 

Gen. Sargent, the mayor, in his inaugural recommended the most extensive 
if not the most extravagant improvements. Among which were the grading 
and filling a steamboat landing, the grading and filling of Brady street, the same 
between Harrison and Brady, the macadamizing of the levee, the construction 
of water works for the use of the city, fire engines and apparatus with engine 
house; stock taken in the "Davenport Gaslight & Coke company," the streets 
lighted with gas, a city hospital and a city prison, a city hall, and other improve- 
ments in the city. Elections were held, loans voted for and the bonds of the 
city issued and sold. Appropriations were made for many of these improvements. 

At the close of 1857 two miles of street had been macadamized, four and a 
half miles of gas pipe had been laid and over 250 street lamps erected and thir- 
teen miles of sidewalk laid. In this estimate none of the improvements made 
extended to East or North Davenport, except Brady street to Locust. All 
other improvements in these two places have been made since. The sidewalks 
now laid in the city extend over twenty miles. About 1,000 houses were erected. 

From the treasurer's report rendered the 31st of March there appears a 
nominal balance in the treasury of $44,778.15. We here append the report in 
order to exhibit at this date the financial condition of the city : 

CITY treasurer's REPORT. 

Abstract of Receipts. 

Balance received from treasurer, last year $ 2,563.06 

Dividends on Chicago & Rock Island R. R. stock 5,440.00 

Taxes in arrear for year 1855 1,048.09 

Road fund in arrear for year 1855 1,849.75 

City clerk licenses, cemetery lots, etc 43445 

Mayor, for fines 58.00 

Redemption of lot for taxes 3.00 

Marshal taxes for 1856 14,600.39 

Real estate owners, on account paving Main street 718.26 

Real estate owners, macadamizing Front street 1,602.08 

Sale of ten city bond loans of 1856 5,000.00 

Sale of 84 shares, Chicago & Rock Island railroad 8,400.00 




^Hm "1 






The first to open business under National Banking Laws. 

Known as the Marble Bank 



Two fractional shares, Chicago & Rock Island railroad.... loo.oo 
Dividends on Mississippi and Missouri railroad stock 3,648.00 

Abstract of Expenditures. 

Current expenses, as per city orders $ 7,247.22 

Interest, commission and expenses on C. & R. I. R. R. bonds 5,025.00 

Interest, commission and expense on M. & M. R. R. bonds. . . . 7,631.61 

Cash paid from treasury for road work 6,931.73 

Cash paid street commissioner, road fund, mayor's order. . . . 1,849.75 

Cash paid on account paving Main street 2,563.00 

Cash paid on account macadamizing Front street 2,088.62 

Cash paid on account Brady street and steamboat landing. . . . 1,197.92 

Cash paid on account macadamizing Main street 510.50 

Cash paid revising ordinances 250.00 

Cash paid on account printing and binding ordinances 500.00 

Cash paid note and interest on account road fund 1,081.67 

Cash paid interest, commission and expense Davenport 

Gas stock 204.00 

Schedule of Property Belonging to the City of Davenport, March 31, 1857. 

27 shares Chicago & Rock Island R. R. stock at $100 $ 2.700.00 

Interest scrip, Mississippi & ]\Iissouri R. R. company 54-14 

40 shares Davenport Gas Light & Coke company i ,000.00 

162 shares Mississippi & Missouri R. R. stock at Sioo 16,200.00 

Estimated amount due from county treasurer to road fund . . 4,000.00 

Due from real estate owners on Main street 1,845.00 

Due from real estate owners on Front street 60.96 

Cash in treasur}^ 8,384.05 

City tax list for 1856 i .900.00 

Due from city clerk 634.00 

Deduct estimated expenditures due aiid maturing 5,000.00 

Leaving nominally a balance over indebtedness $44,778.15 

The assessed property of the city at this time amounted to $5,225,091. Such 
had been the increase since 185 1 when it amounted to only $100,000.00 and in 1854, 
to $1,500,000, and in 1855. $3,000,000, and in 1856 to $3,500,000. The population 
had increased to 18,000; real estate had steadily risen to "New York prices," and 
all the elements of prosperity seemed sure and lasting. The year was one of 
uncommon energy and life. But few that desired business or labor could be found 
out of employment. 

Some dissatisfaction arose among the residents and ow^ners of property on 
Fifth street on account of the non-fulfillment of the contract on the part of 



the Mississippi and ^Missouri railroad to grade and pave the street for the right of 
way. This was agitated and the mayor recommended the city council to prosecute 
the railroad company without delay, and suit was ordered, when the company 
offered $50,000 in their bonds issued upon the third division of their road west 
for a release of their contract. To the astonishment of parties interested the 
proposition was accepted by the council and the railroad company was released. 
Since which time suit has been brought to invalidate the acts, not only of the 
council who granted the right of way to the company, but to the council of 1857 
who released them from their contract. A late decision of the supreme court of 
Iowa in a case where the city of Dubuque brought suit against the proprietor of an 
adjacent lot for digging out into the street in order to make a coal or wood scuttle 
decided "that the fee in the public streets of Iowa belong to the adjacent lots, to 
the center of the street. That the public have a fee in the highway only for its 
use as a highway and that corporations have no such interest in the streets as will 
empower them to use or permit them to be used for any other purposes than a 

We copy from the annual report of the board of trade in this city the 
following statistics showing the progress of business, in the different branches of 
trade up to the close of the year : 

"The footings in some of the principal branches of trade for the year end- 
ing December 31, 1857, show an aggregate in the same of $14,485,812.24. Of this 

$8,539,744.28 has been banking and exchange ; 
2,628,602.57, sales of merchandise : 
1,158,000.00, sales of grain and provisions; 
853,000.00, sales of consignments and forwarding ; 
751,059.00. manufacturing, not estimated in sales; 
450,029.00, freight and cartage ; 
555,406.39. lumber, doors, sash, etc. 

The banking department shows an aggregate of $6,616,737.34 for exchange, 
and $i,923.oo(>.94 for discounts. 

The sales of merchandise, together with the stock on hand show as follows : 

Sales. Stock. 

Agricultural implements S 25,000.00 $ 12,000.00 

Boots and shoes 72.000.00 3^,000.00 

Books, wall paper, etc 34.000.00 12.000.00 

Bakery, confectioner}\ etc 8,000.00 3,000.00 

Clothing 163,700.00 61,000.00 

Dry goods 600,902.57 164,500.00 

Furniture, mattresses, carpeting 89.000.00 44.300.00 

Groceries 771.800.00 163.000.00 

Hardware, iron and nails 264,500.00 120,500.00 

Hats, caps and furs 34.000.00 14.000.00 

Jewelry, watches, etc 27,000.00 18,500.00 

Leather and saddlery hardware 87,000.00 24,200.00 

Millinery 42,000.00 12.700.00 



Drugs, paints, oils, etc 70,000.00 35,300.00 

Queensware 25,000.00 18,000.00 

Stoves, house furnishings, etc 125,000.00 44.000.00 

Assorted merchandise 1 16.200.00 10,000.00 

Tobacco and cigars 59,000.00 14,000.00 

Wines and liquors 13,500.00 7.000.00 

Total stock on hand $818,700.00 

"Owing to the monetary difficulties which came upon us so suddenly in Oc- 
tober there has been a falling off in all branches of trade. In no department 
have the figures been so affected as in banking. During sixty of the last ninety 
days exchange has not been procurable at any price or under any circumstances 
except in very small sums. Notwithstanding this our local business has suf- 
fered far less diminution than was at first apprehended. 

"Careful inquiries have developed the fact beyond disi)ute that during the last 
few months we have had important accessions to our trade from various sec- 
tions of the country hitherto tributary to other points. It is presuming very 
little to say that the acquaintances thus formed cannot but result mutually and ad- 
vantageously. Whether the first introduction was the result of purely superior in- 
ducements in stock and prices which our merchants are ever ready to offer, or 
more directly the effect of the local currency that has been so exclusively the 
agent of our transactions, is not left for decision here, and indeed it is no mat- 
ter, having gained so much of a point, it only remains to retain it. 

"The high price of exchange has operated more manifestly upon tiie >tocks of 
grocers, in the articles of coffee, sugar and molasses, and has maintained the price 
of these articles at quotations much above the ordinary margin between this and 
eastern and southern markets. The indications being favorable for a speedy equal- 
ization of funds, we may reasonably hope for an improvement in these articles 
and a corresponding increase of sales of the same. The estimates of grain and 
provisions exhibit as follows : 

Bushels wheat r. 019,005 value $509,000 

Bushels barley 34.000 value 13,600 

Barrels flour 175.800 value S79.000 

Tons shipped stuff 8.640 value 129.600 

Bushels of potatoes 20.000 value 5.000 

Bushels of onions 25.000 value 12.000 

Barrels pork 3.500 value 52.000 

Tierces bacon r.280 value 32.000 

"Of the wheat received during the comprised period there were manufactured 
into flour. 879.000 barrels. 

"The number of hogs packed at this point was 13,000. The estimated value 
of the same, after allowing for the wheat, etc.. manufactured is Si. 158.000. 

"The commission and forwarding business with an aggregate of S353.000 
shows an advance for freight and charges of $150,000. 



"The following list of different branches of manufactures shows for 

Agricultural implements $ 49,000 

Boots and shoes 20,000 

Book binding, printing, etc 108,000 

Bakeries and confectionery 35,ooo 

Clothing 28,000 

Carriages, wagons, etc 87,000 

Furniture and mattresses 67,000 

Plows, castings and iron work 205,000 

Paints, oils, etc 4,000 

Stove furnishing, etc 1,000 

Cooperage 105,130 

Lumber, sash, etc 235,154 

Flour, feed, etc 957,000 

Hog products 1 13,750 

Stmdry manufactures 32,909 

"There are few points in the west where the manufacture of tlour is more 
largely engaged in. 

"The value of this department alone approximates $1,000,000, while the 
brands of the different mills enjoy an enviable reputation in foreign markets." 

1858. — The Pioneer Settlers' association of Scott county was organized in 
January and its first festival held at the Burtis House on the 22d of February. 
It was decidedly the greatest occasion of the season. Some time during the 
month of December, 1857, a call was made through the city papers for all the 
old settlers of Scott county who had become residents prior to the 31st of 
December, 1840, to meet at LeQaire hall on the 23d of January, 1858. In 
answer to this call about sixty were present. The meeting was called to order 
by D. C. Eldridge, Esq., one of the first settlers of the county, and E. Cook, 
Esq., was elected chairman and John L. Cofifin, secretary of the meeting. At 
this meeting an association was formed, a preamble and resolutions were passed 
and Antoine LeClaire elected the first president. At a second meeting on the 
30th of January a constitution and by-laws for the society were presented, ap- 
proved and adopted, and the Pioneer Settlers' association was duly organized. 
The constitution provides for an annual festival to be held on the 22d of 
February of each year, the first of which came oft' at the Burtis House on the 
22d of that month. It was an occasion of deep interest to the old settlers who 
have braved the storms of many winters and for long years of poverty and exile 
watched with anxiety the slow but sure results of their trials and hardships. 
The honor of dedicating the spacious building in which the festival was held 
was conferred upon the association, and the most magnificent entertainment was 
prepared by Dr. Burtis, the proprietor, that probably ever graced a table in the 
city of Davenport. The meeting was a happy one to all parties. The number 
present on the occasion including invited guests, composed of the press and 
clergy, was not far from 800. It was a gathering such as never had been seen 
before this side the Mississippi river. The Hon. John P. Cook delivered the 
annual address. A gold headed cane, made from a native growth of hickory 



was presented to the president by the Hon. John F. Dillon, as insignia of his 
office, with the name of the society and its first president engraved upon it. 

It was a noble sight to look upon, as the vast assembly were gathered in the 
spacious dining hall where the greetings took place. None but those present 
can ever realize the scenes of that interview. There was no loud and boisterous 
mirth, but a still, subdued hum of voices that told the deep and silent thought. 

The aged pioneer was there with his whitened locks and bowed head, and as 
the earnest gaze, the familiar nod, the grasping hand were passed from one to 
another the silent tear would trickle down the furrowed cheek unforbidden. The 
weary soldiers wept that night. It was manliness to weep. The battles had 
been fought, the victory won, and as the pioneer fathers and mothers met, 
after years of toil and separation, it was meet that their tears and their sym- 
pathies should mingle at one common altar, as they recounted the trials and 
hardships through which they had passed and called to remembrance the name 
of some loved one who in the "heat and burden of the day" liad been laid away 
in earth's last resting place. 

The rich repast was served, speeches were made, toasts drunk until a late 
hour when the gathering broke up. Long will the first meeting of the Pioneer 
Settlers' association be remembered. Friends met on this occasion that had not 
seen each other for twenty years. Many came from the adjoining counties and 
states who had been absent for years and could scarcely recognize the once 
little village of Davenport. 

The second festival was held in 1859 at the Burtis House, and the reunion was 
pleasant and agreeable, answering the most sanguine expectations of the associa- 
tion. A. LeClaire was still the president. The annual address was delivered by 
W. Barrows. The attendance was not so large as the year previous, but was a 
very happy meeting for the pioneers. 

The year opened with the financial crisis close upon us. The east was but 
slowly recovering from a severe commercial panic and looked upon the west with 
suspicion. Eastern capitalists had invested largely here and some of them had 
purchased at unwarranted rates during the inflated prices of real estate. Mer- 
chants and manufacturers, who had been doing business on borrowed capital at 
high rates of interest, found themselves suddenly bankrupt. The farming por- 
tions of the county were brought to a sudden stand by the loss of their crops. 
Many of them had borrowed money to invest in lands at ruinous rates of interest 
and not having- any products from their land, much distress ensued among that 

At the April county election A. S. Kissell was elected county superintendent 
of schools. At the October election Ira M. Gififord was elected clerk of the dis- 
trict court. Thirty-four hundred and fifteen votes were polled in the county. In 
December an election was held to vote for or against a loan and a tax to build 
the Cedar Valley railroad, which was carried by a good majority, but an injunc- 
tion was issued against issuing the bonds of the county. At the same election a 
loan and tax were voted for and carried to build a railroad from Davenport to 
LeClaire. Also a tax of one mill on the dollar for making and repairing bridges. 

The city election resulted in the choice of Hon. Ebenezer Cook for mayor; 
John Bechtel. marshal ; Lorenzo Schricker, treasurer : and Hallet Kilbourn. clerk. 



The aldermen were, J. AI. Cannon, I. P. Coates, Theodore Guehch, Henry Ram- 
ming. Austin Corbin, James Mackintosh, Thomas H. Morley, John C. Washburn, 
Georg-e E. Hubbell, James O'Brien, Robert Christie, and I. H. Sears. This year 
was one of much financial distress. Money became very scarce and agricultural 
products failed. For the census returns of the year 1858, we clip the following 
from the Davenport Gazette, of June 9, 1859, as furnished by Mr. Gifford. clerk 
of the district court : 

Census for Scott County. — We are indebted to Mr. Gififord for the census re- 
turns for the county for 1858 from which we learn that the total population 
was: Males, 13,507; females, 12,344; total, 25,861. Number entitled to vote, 
5.108; of militia. 5.501; of foreigners not naturalized, 1,751; between the ages 
of 5 and 21 years. 7,859. Whole number of dwelling houses. 4,998; against 
1,386. as reported by the census of 1856. Number of acres of improved land, 
124,^199, against 74.226 of 1856. an increase of over 50,000. This leaves 48,171 
acres in our county unimproved. 

''A new feature presented by this census report over that of 1856 is the num- 
ber of acres, 46, devoted to sorghum, and the quantity of molasses manufactured, 
3,005 gallons. The present year will see a vast increase in this article. Another 
new production introduced since the last census returns is that of Hungarian grass. 
Last season there w^ere 461 acres sown in our country, producing i.iii tons of 
hay. Last season there were 7,862 acres in meadow, against 3,628 in 1856, and 
15,847 tons of hay produced, against 8,514 and 904 bushels of grass seed, against 
2i'J2 in 1856. Acres in orchard, 970; fruit produced valued at $9,122. 

'"Number of acres of spring wheat, 47,278, against 23.661 in 1856. Yet in the 
former year, owing to the failure of the crops, only 336,166 bushels were har- 
vested, whereas in 1856 the yield was 536,621 bushels, an average of nearly 
twenty-three bushels to the acre. This shows something of the productiveness of 
the soil of Scott county. \'ery little winter wheat was harvested in our county 
last }ear. Of oats, there were 10,780 acres sown, against 5,218 in 1856; yet last 
year there were only 73,843 bushels produced, while the yield in 1856 was 179,- 
896 bushels, an average of almost thirty-five bushels to the acre. Of corn, there 
were 23.068 acres planted, against 15,703 in 1856, but, owing to the same cause, 
the yield last year was only 664,243 bushels, against 780.787 in 1856. Potatoes. 
2,437 acres; yield, 101,417 bushels. In 1856 there were only 1,053 acres planted in 
potatoes, while the produce was 128,392 bushels, or an average of about 122 to 
the acre. Last year there were 5,568 hogs sold, valued at $36,397; and 1,807 
head of cattle, valued at $45,367 ; 2,049 pounds of wool were produced, 247,096 
pounds of butter and 14,072 pounds of cheese made. 

"The census returns for 1858 show a rapid advance in Scott county and an 
increase in all the mediums for augmenting her productions. Pleasant Valley 
township shows the heaviest farm productions of any in the county. Last season 
her farmers put ninety-four acres in onions, which, notwithstanding the failure of 
the crops, produced 13,814 bushels, an average of over 157 bushels to the acre, 
valued at $6,987. Davenport, according to the census, shows a population of 
15,190, with 2,888 voters, 3,048 dwelling houses. 

"The following is the population and the number of voters in each precinct 
of the county: Liberty, 540 citizens, 121 voters; Blue Grass, citizens 972, voters 



185; Rockingham, citizens, 358, voters 79; LeClaire, citizens, 2.564, voters, 565; 
Cleona, citizens 204, voters 47 ; Buffalo, citizens 962, voters 172 ; Pleasant Valley, 
citizens, '/2'j, voters, 164; Winfield, citizens, 1,667, voters, 272; Hickory Grove, cit- 
izens 909, voters 189; Princeton, citizens 1,319, voters 301; Allen's Grove, citi- 
zens 449, voters 105." 

1859.— At the city election this spring, Ebenezer Cook was reelected mayor; 
Lorin C. Burwell, clerk; John Bechtel, marshal; Lorenzo Schricker, treasurer; 
John Johns, police magistrate; James T. Lane, city attorney; Edwin Baker, 
street commissioner; R. A. O'Hea, city engineer; Robert M. Littler, chief en- 
gineer of the fire department; aldermen, T. H. Morley, H. B. Evans, James 
Mackintosh, H. Ramming, J. P. Ankerson, H. Andresen, T. J. Holmes, L P. 
Coates, J. A. LeClaire, James O'Brien, C. A. Haviland and Robert Christie. 

The October election resulted in returning John W. Thompson to the state 
senate ; W. H. F. Gurley, B. F. Gue, and James Quinn, representatives ; Rufus 
Linderman, county judge; James Thorington, sheriff; James McCosh, treasurer 
and recorder ; Thomas J. Saunders, superintendent of public instruction ; Wm. P. 
Campbell, county surveyor; Dr. J. W. H. Baker, coroner, and H. S. Finley, drain- 
age commissioner. 

The times still continued hard with but little money in circulation. A partial 
failure in the crops this year did add much to the financial distress of the coun- 
try. A large amount of grain was sown and much exertion made among farm- 
ers to raise a large crop, but the early drouth blasted the wheat and the crop was 
not more than half the usual quantity. 

We can no better represent the wholesale trade of Davenport at the present 
time than by copying the following article from the Davenport Gazette of Novem- 
ber 30: 

"Perhaps few of the people of this vicinity are fully aware of the extent and 
value of the wholesale trade of this city. We, who have pretty good chances to 
be posted, cannot give the figures, but certain it is that load after load of dry 
goods, groceries and all articles usually kept in country stores are purchased and 
shipped from our merchants to their customers in the towns and villages of the 
interior of the state and into the counties of Illinois adjacent to Rock Island. This 
trade has silently but steadily increased and Davenport is being looked upon by 
every city and village in Iowa as the emporium of trade, and from her advantage 
of location, etc., bids fair to be to Iowa what Chicago is to Illinois. St. Louis to 
Missouri and Cincinnati to Ohio. The establishments of Joshua Burr, McCam 
& Coates, Evans, Chew & Co., Burrows, Prettyman & Dalzell. Alvord & Van- 
Patten. T. H. Morley & Co., T. H. McGhee, Haight & Sears. T. J. Becket, J. C 
Washburn. Smith & Remington. Stevenson & Carnahan, Eldridge & Williams, 
Wm. Inslee & Co., C. T. Webb, George W. Ells & Co., Miner. Haskell & Co., 
in their respective kinds of trade, have from industrious efforts, fair dealings and 
the keeping of the well-assorted stocks secured such patronage from country, 
dealers as to afford the most gratifying evidence of the permanent growth of our 
young city. On Saturday last, accompanied by an acquaintance who for a number 
of years has been engaged in the wholesale trade east and who has been on a bus- 
iness tour to the towns on the upper Mississippi, we visited a number of our 
leading concerns and were gratified to hear our eastern friend express the opinion 



that our city was certainly enjoying as large a share of business prosperity as any 
town he had visited on the river. The wholesale dry goods house of Miner, 
Haskell & Co., corner of Front and Perry streets, is a concern that would compare 
creditably with the majority of the jobbing houses in the eastern cities. We were 
shown through the establishment, which occupies four large rooms, all of which 
were well stocked with every kind of dry goods suitable for this market. The 
stock on hand is estimated at $80,000, to which additions are made monthly from 
the importers and from extensive factories of the eastern states. Messrs. Miner 
& Brother, the original firm, commenced business in this city in March, 1857. 
Their first year's sales were $94,000, which was pretty fair for strangers. The 
second year, which was one of the hardest for wholesale trade ever known in the 
west, their sales amounted to $104,000. From the commencement of the third 
year to the present time, a period of scarcely nine months, they have reached 
$110,000. We have merely alluded to this firm as an illustration of what one 
wholesale business house can do, to show something of what is being done here in 
the way of wholesaling. When our facilities of intercourse with the interior are 
increased, the wholesale trade of Davenport will be augmented proportionally. 
But few men seem to be aware of the extent of this trade. We shall make this 
better known in future articles." 


On the 17th day of January, 1853, an act was passed by the general assembly 
of the state of Illinois entitled, "An Act to Incorporate a Bridge Company by the 
Title Herein Named," of which Joseph H. Sheffield, Henry Farnam, J. A. Matte- 
son and N. B. Judd were the sole incorporators. This company was incorporated 
for the purpose of constructing a railroad bridge across the Mississippi river, con- 
necting the Chicago & Rock Island railroad at Rock Island, Illinois, with the Mis- 
sissippi & Missouri railroad at Davenport, Iowa. Who was the author of the 
grand project of spanning this majestic river with such a noble work of art is 
unknown to the writer. The capital stock was $400,000, raised on 400 bonds of 
$1,000 each, the payment of which was guaranteed by the Chicago & Rock Is- 
land Railroad company and the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad company. The 
work of location and construction commenced in the spring of 1854, under Henry 
Farnam as chief engineer, and John B. Jarvis as consulting engineer. B. B. Bray- 
ton of Davenport, had charge of the work as resident engineer. The cornerstone 
of the first pier erected at said bridge was laid in the presence of a large number 
of citizens of Rock Island and Davenport, Hon. Joseph Knox, Ebenezer Cook, 
George E. Hubbell and others making appropriate remarks on the occasion. By 
the spring of 1856 the entire work was completed and attracted the attention of 
travelers, historians and scholars from every part of the country. It was deemed 
a great triumph of art, a noble achievement of enterprise, to connect the eastern 
and western banks of this old Father of Waters with a continuous railway over 
which the products of Iowa might roll onward to eastern markets without delay. 

This bridge is 1,580 feet long and thirty feet high across the Mississippi to the 
island and 450 feet across the slough from the island to the Illinois shore. The 



entire cost of both bridges and the railroad connecting- them across the island was 
about $400,000. 

The number of boats that passed through the draw during the year 1857 was 
1,024, and the number of rafts during the same time was 594. On the 6th of 
May, 1856, a large and splendid steamboat called the Effie Afton, while attempt- 
ing to pass the Rock Island draw of the bridge in a gale of wind was thrown 
against the draw-pier and rebounding, swung around the stone pier east of the 
draw and the smoke pipes coming in contact with the superstructure were thrown 
down, setting fire to the boat in several places. She stuck fast under the bridge 
and the flames from the boat ignited the framework of the bridge and burned 
off the end of the span which fell and with the burning hull of the boat floated 
three-quarters of a mile down the river. During the summer and fall of 1856 this 
burned span was constructed anew. 

The accident of the Effie Afton was the signal for the bursting forth of the 
long suppressed wrath of the citizens of St. Louis who had from the commence- 
ment of the project placed every obstruction in the way of the erection of the 
bridge and deemed it as the beginning of a series of similar structures over the 
Mississippi river at various points, tending to divert from St. Louis the commerce 
whch formerly followed this natural highway from St. Paul southward. At the 
instigation of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, the owners of the Effie Afton 
commenced a suit in Chicago against the bridge company for damages to recover 
the value of the lost boat, but the jury failing to agree the suit was abandoned. 
But the St. Louis merchants fancied that they saw certain ruin to their previous 
monopoly of the river trade if the bridge remained, and the Chamber of Com- 
merce of that city procured the services of Josiah W. Bissell, a quondam civil en- 
gineer of Rochester, New York, to undertake the task of procuring testimony 
sufficient to authorize the courts to declare the bridge a material obstruction to 
navigation, and therefore a nuisance which could be legally abolished. They found 
Bissell a ready instrument for the undertaking and raised from time to time $37,000 
to aid him in this enterprise. 

On the 19th of August, 1858, James Ward, at the instance of Bissell, made his 
application to the United States District court at Burlington for an order of the 
court declaring the bridge a nuisance. Hall, Harrington & Hall, Starr, Phelps 
& Robinson and T. D. Lincoln acted as attorneys for the complainant and the 
Hon. N. B. Judd and J. T. Lindley for the bridge company. An indefinite number 
of ex parte affidavits accompanied the application and were met by affidavits on 
the part of the defendant. The final hearing of the cause was postponed to Sep- 
tember, 1859. In the meantime Bissell was engaged creating public opinion on the 
river among pilots, captains and boat owners antagonistic to the bridge, and prcn 
curing depositions tending to show the bridge a material obstruction to navigation. 

In the first part of June, 1859, some malicious persons attempted the destruction 
of the bridge by fire. A large quantity of lath, oakum, rosin, sulphur, tar, tur- 
pentine, saltpeter and oil were placed upon the bridge on the second span from 
the Iowa shore at about 12 o'clock in the night, and a few moments before it was 
ready for firing it was discovered by the watchman and a skiff with the incen- 
diaries in it shoved off down the river and escaped in the darkness. No clue was 
obtained as to the criminals. 



In September the case of James Ward versus the Mississippi and Missouri 
railroad was heard and finally submitted to the United States District court of 
Keokuk. In November, 1859, New Orleans voted to raise $50,000 to aid St. Louis 
in destroying the bridge as it was justly deemed a pioneer which if permitted 
to stand would ultimately cause others to be erected over this river and divert 
commerce toward the East. But though the struggle is fierce and waged with an 
enormous outlay of money, it will eventually terminate, as is believed, in favor of 
the bridge. This great structure is the link binding Iowa with the East, and when 
the different railroads projected in this state are completed and the Missouri river 
is reached, then the paramount value of this bridge will be ascertained. 


This is a small village on the Mississippi river about a mile from Brady street. 
It was laid out by William H. Hildreth, Esq. and Dr. J. M. Witherwax in 1852 and 
1853. The location is one of some beauty, being in a broad ravine having very 
gentle slopes even from the highest point of bluffs. It is on a bend of the river just 
below^ the Rock island reef or chain of rocks at the foot of the rapids which forms 
a beautiful eddy in the river where boats can land at all stages of water and is a 
safe harbor for rafts where they may lay up in windy weather or when seeking a 
market at Davenport or Rock Island. The village is located upon the site of an old 
Indian town or encampment. 

This place until a few years since was called "Stubbs' eddy" having been the 
residence for many years of James R. Stubbs, Esq., an eccentric genius who built 
a cave in 1857 on the south side of the beautiful mound that stands at the mouth 
of this valley, a part of which still remains. Capt. Stubbs, as he was generally 
called, was educated at West Point, where he graduated with high honors. In 1822 
he was stationed at Ft. Armstrong on Rock island where he remained for four 
years. During his stay upon this beautiful island at this early day away from the 
crowded city he formed an attachment for this wild and enchanting country that 
terminated only with his life. He was a brother-in-law to Judge McLean, and in 
1826 he returned east and served under him in the postoffice department and 
from there went to Cincinnati, where he was clerk in the postofiice department for 
some years. But in 1833 he gratified his long pent-up desire to return to the 
West. On his return to Rock island, however, there seemed to have come over 
him a great change. He seemed to have lost all of that vivacity of Hfe and spirit 
so natural to his character. Deep melancholy at times brooded over him. His 
bright and keen intellect seemed at once to give way. Various were the causes 
attributed to the state of mind. Some surmised that it was a matter of love, but 
none knew. The secret was buried in his own bosom. He sought relief like thou- 
sands in the inebriating bowl. His talents were bright, his education liberal and 
his honesty beyond all question. He sought retirement from the world and se- 
lected the secluded spot in East Davenport, and dug his cave in "Stubbs' Mound" 
where from its mouth he could look out upon the beautiful Mississippi as its rip- 
pled current moved on in its endless journey to the sunny South. Here he lived 
a hermit's life for nearly eight years. His own companions were a pet pig and 
a cat, with sometimes a dog. This was his family and many a lecture did these 



mute listeners get from their eccentric master. All quarrels among these were 
settled by the captain in a judicial manner and the guilty one punished. In his 
morning and evening rambles upon the banks of the Mississippi his entire family 
would be seen with him, marching behind in military file with all proper decorum 
and often in his visits to the village he was accompanied by his pig and cat. 

A. C. Fulton, Esq., tells this anecdote of his first visit to the cave in the sum- 
mer of 1842. He had wandered up the banks of the river, looking at the country 
for the first time, and when he reached the eddy and crossing the little creek below 
the present site of Mr. Dallam's store, he hastened toward the top of the mound 
in order to obtain a more extensive view of the little plateau of ground to which 
he had arrived. In passing up the side of the mound he caught the sound of a 
human voice, but could not determine from whence it came, as he could see no one 
near him. The noise increased and seemed to be a very earnest dispute, mingled 
with not a few hard words, when suddenly Mr. Fulton discovered the place from 
which issued the sound. He was near the top of the chimney or hole from which 
the light, smoke and heat of Capt. Stubbs' residence escaped, and not dreaming 
that he was in the vicinity of a habitation he was somewhat startled, but cried out 
at the top of his voice, as he looked down the cavity, "Hello, what are you doing 
down there?" To which the answer came back in quick response, "What are you 
doing up there? Get ofif of my house, sir!" This was his first introduction to 
Capt. Stubbs, who in after years received many kind tokens of regard from the 
hand of Mr. Fulton. The only cause of the disturbance in the captain's domicile was 
that the pet pig had, probably without malice or forethought, undertaken to assist 
his master in the culinary department and accidentally or for want of better train- 
ing partially destroyed a pone of corn bread which the captain had been pre- 
paring for the first table. Capt. Stubbs was a surveyor and ran out many of the 
first settlers' claims and often drew up deeds and contracts between parties at that 
early day. In 1846 he was induced to come forth from his hermitage and settle 
in Davenport where he was elected justice of the peace, which office he filled to 
the time of his death which occurred in May, 1848. 

East Davenport contains some 500 inhabitants, has a district school house with 
school and worship on the Sabbath by the Methodists and other congregations. 
There are two flouring mills, one belonging to David A. Burrows, the other to 
Graham & Kepner, with a first rate sawmill, built by Robert Christie. There 
are two stores, brickyards and stone quarries which in former times furnished 
ample business and labor for the inhabitants. It is now within the corporate limits 
of the city of Davenport. 

North and West Davenport are terms applied to the suburbs of Davenport, and 
contain many fine residences. 

The quarries from which the building rock in Davenport is taken are very 
extensive. The rock is a light gray limestone underlying the whole city of 
Davenport. Its first appearance on the surface is on Perry and at the foot of 
Famam street. It crops out along the banks of the river as we ascend it, and at 
East Davenport forms perpendicular bluflFs of some thirt)' feet in thickness above 
low water mark. These quarries are worked to good advantage. The rock dresses 
very well under the hammer. 



There is an abundance of coal that makes its appearance about ten miles from 
Davenport in the southwesterly direction, about two miles from the Mississippi 
river, but it has never been dug- extensively. Some half-dozen mines have been 
opened and more or less taken of the surface coal of very good quality, but it 
requires more extensive operations to bring forth a pure article which lies beneath 
it in great abundance. The supply of coal for the city of Davenport is from 
the Rock river coal basins. 


The first agricultural society ever formed in Scott county was in January, 
1840. Alexander W. McGregor, Esq., was chosen president; G. C. R. Mitch- 
ell, Esq., vice president; John Forrest, Esq., secretary and A. LeClaire, Esq., 
treasurer. At this early day but little interest was felt by the patrons of the so- 
ciety and it was suffered to go down. But little if anything was done for agri- 
cultural interests in the county until 1853 when in August of that year two promi- 
nent farmers, H. M. Thompson, of Long Grove, and Eli S. Wing called a meeting 
and a new society was organized. H. M. Thompson being elected president, James 
Thorington, Esq., secretary and John R. Jackson, treasurer. The second year 
of the society (in 1854) the first fair was held in Davenport, having the same 
officers elected as in 1853. 

In June, 1854, a company was organized called the "Fair Grounds Association 
of Scott County, Iowa." This company purchased eight acres of land lying near 
Duck creek, some two miles from the city at a cost of $200 per acre, enclosed 
about four acres with a tight board fence seven feet high and built sheds and 
workshops for the second annual exhibition, which took place the 24th and 
25th of September, 1855. This exhibition was creditable to the society and 
Scott county, showing an increasing interest of the people in agricultural pur- 
suits. The third exhibition was held the 12th and 13th of October, 1856. The 
number of entries at this fair was over 300 and the receipts of the society over 
$800. The fourth annual fair of the Scott County Agricultural society was held 
on the 29th and 30th of September, 1857. The exhibition of stock far exceeded 
that of any other year both in number and quality, and of garden vegetables the 
show was large and superior to any ever offered in Iowa. The fifth annual fair 
was held on the 15th, i6th and 17th of September, 1858, and although a partial 
failure of the crops rendered the exhibition rather meager in some articles, yet the 
attendance was large and passed off well. 

The fair of 1859, held in September, far exceeded all others in number and 
quality of the articles exhibited. The receipts were upward of $1,200. The of- 
ficers for this year were, Hugh M. Thompson, president ; Edwin Smith, vice presi- 
dent ; John Lambert, treasurer ; William Allen, secretary ; George H. French, 
T. T. Gue, H. M. Washburn, Robert Christie, directors. 


This county society was organized on the 26th of April, 1859, by adopting 
a constitution, the second article of which declares "that the object of this society 



shall be to promote and foster the cultivation of fruits, flowers and vegetables in 
our own county and a taste for ornamental and landscape gardening. It is also 
proposed to introduce and test new and choice varieties of fruits, flowers and 
vegetables and afterwards publicly report thereon." The officers are George H. 
French, president ; George L. Nichols, vice president ; Howard Darlington, treas- 
urer; Dr. E. J. Fountain, corresponding secretary; Livy S. Viele, recording sec- 
retary. The society numbered forty-eight members. Two public exhibitions have 
been given the past season, the first in June for early fruits, flowers and vegetables, 
the last in September. Both of these exhibitions proved creditable alike to the 
society and the people of Scott county. An increasing interest was shown in these 
displays and from them we may judge that before two years shall have passed 
away the interest will be so great that no public hall in the city will be able to con- 
tain all who may desire attendance. 

There is an agricultural store for implements used in gardening and farming 
at the "Iowa Agricultural depot," on Front street established in 1856, and where all 
kinds of seeds may be found. The depression in business for the last two years 
has seriously interfered with the design of the proprietor, L. S. Viele, Esq., but he 
hopes with increased facilities to build up a large and permanent trade in this 
particular branch. He keeps on hand for farmers all of the most improved imple- 
ments of husbandry, reapers, threshers, farming mills, etc. This is the first store 
of the kind ever introduced into Davenport, and we can but hope that so important 
a branch of business may be encouraged and sustained. 


The first permanent organization of a fire company in Davenport took place 
in 1856. At a meeting held on Saturday evening, July 26th, at the office of R. D. 
Congdon, corner of Second and Brady streets, R. M. Littler, was chairman and 
H. S. Slaymaker, secretary. A committee to prepare a constitution and by-laws 
for the organization and a committee to present a petition to the property holders 
of the city for their aid, was appointed. The committees reported at a meeting of 
the company held on Monday evening, July 28th. The constitution was adopted 
and eighteen persons signed as members. The name adopted for the company was 
"Independent Fire Engine and Hose company." The officers elected to serve 
until January i, 1857, were R. M. Littler, president; A. S. Alston, treasurer; 
H. S. Slaymaker, secretary; directors, James Morrow, C. G. Noble; investigating 
committee, I. Cummins, S. P. Kinsella, R. L. Hull, J. E. Sells, C. W. Cassedy. 
Correspondence was had with engine builders in the east, and the city council au- 
thorized the purchase of two first class engines from A. Hanneman & Co., of 
Boston. Messrs. A. & G. Woeber of this city built the hose carriage, "Red Rover," 
and tender, "Tiger." Messrs. Jewett & Sons of Hartford, Connecticut, fur- 
nished 1,500 feet of hose. These parties received in payment city bonds having^ 
twenty years to run at ten per cent interest. 

In January, 1857, R. M. Littler was reelected president; A. S. Alston, treas- 
urer; and J. S. Slaymaker, secretary. The engines being expected, officers were 
elected for the different divisions as follows : "Pilot" engine, James Morrow, 
foreman, "Witch" engine, Daniel Moore, foreman; Hose division, William Hall, 



foreman. A part of the old frame warehouse on Second between Perry and Rock 
Island streets was leased for an engine house. The engines were shipped around 
"by sea" and arrived in the month of May on the steamer White Cloud. They 
were received at the landing by a committee of Independents and in a few hours 
they were unpacked and set up. The hose carriage and tender and hose being 
ready, Davenport could boast of a regular fire company numbering over lOO 
members. Previous to this time the company had attended several fires and 
handled buckets to great advantage. 

The city council purchased a lot on Brady above Fifth street, where the pres- 
ent engine house, (city hall) stands from Col. J. W. Young, agent for Mr. Wray 
for $50 per front foot. Messrs. Fields & Sanders took the contract for the build- 
ing at $4,500. The apparatus was removed to the new house in the fall of 1857. 
Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company Number i and Fire King Engine Company, 
Number 2, were organized during the winter, and early the ensuing year they 
were equipped with apparatus. The Pioneer's truck, ladders, etc., were paid for 
by funds raised by subscription. Henry Lafrance was their first foreman. The 
Fire Kings purchased their engine at Chicago, of Metamora Company, Number 

2, and paid for it $1,225, ^"d $250 for 250 feet of hose. This was also raised 
by subscription. Their engine arrived in March, 1858. George L. Davenport, 
Esq., kindly granted them permission to erect a house on his property on Commer- 
cial, between Brady and Perry streets. The company built the house. Marsh 
Noe was the first foreman of Number 2. 

The city council passed an ordinance for the organization and government of 
the fire department, March 3, 1858. An election pursuant to the provisions of the 
ordinance was held at the engine house on Brady street, March 13, 1858, which 
resulted in the election of R, M. Littler, chief engineer, and Christian Mueller and 
E. A. Tilebine, assistants. In April, 1858, Rescue Engine company Number 3 
was organized, and they were furnished with the engine Witch and the hose tender 
Tiger and 500 feet of hose. John W. Wahlig was elected foreman of Number 

3. The city council rented from George D. Amdt the brick house on the comer 
of Second and Brown streets which was fitted up for Pioneer Hook and Ladder 
Company, Number i and Rescue Company, Number 3. To the efforts of Capt. 
Littler, who has displayed uncommon energy in organizing and keeping alive 
the interest in our fire department, great credit is due. No city in the west has 
a more efficient fire department. Since the first organization the members have 
always quickly and most cheerfully responded to every call, in heat and cold, sum- 
mer or winter. They are ever ready, and with a promptness seldom equaled are 
on "the spot." Chief Engineer Littler and his assistants merit and enjoy the good 
will of the whole department. Although our fire department is organized on the 
"no pay" principle there is no lack of service and want of energy. 


There was at least one company organized in Davenport and disbanded pre- 
vious to the year 1857 when a number of the German citizens organized the 
"Davenport Rifles," on the 3d of February. They made their first parade in 



uniform on the 4th of July, 1857, commanded by Capt. A. Iten. At this time, 
this, the oldest company, is commanded by Capt. H. Haupt. 

The "Davenport City Artillery" was organized the 9th of July, 1857 (the 
first preliminary meeting was held in the rooms of Mr. A. S. Alston one week 
previous.) The civil organization consisted of John Johns, Jr., president; F. B. 
Wilkie, vice president ; C. C. Harris, secretary ; D. W. VanEvra, treasurer. The 
military organization was, captain, C. N. Schuyler ; first lieutenant, W. W. Gallear ; 
second lieutenant, C. C. Harris ; third lieutenant, John Johns ; orderly sergeant, 
R. M. Littler. This company is composed of good material and makes a hand- 
some appearance. The officers at present are : John Johns, captain ; J. D. W. 
Brewster, first lieutenant; E. Y. Lane, second Heutenant. 

The "Davenport Guards" (Germans) were organized March, 1858, and made 
their first appearance in uniform July 4, 1858. They are generally old soldiers 
who compose this company. They are commanded by Captain D. H, Stuhr. 

The Davenport Sarsfield Guards were organized at a meeting held at Bailey's 
hall, on Brady near Fourth street, March, 1858, and Exlward Jennings elected 
captain. He resigned in a few months when the command was unanimously 
tendered by the company to Capt. R. M. Littler, and a new impetus given the 
organization. Although this young company was organized during the "money 
panic" they equipped themselves with a handsome uniform and made their first 
parade on the 17th of March, 1859. 

There is no young city in the west that can equal Davenport in her display 
of miHtary. The companies are all excellently uniformed and officered and should 
their services be ever needed by their country, they will not be found in the back- 
ground. As an evidence of the promptitude, we mention this circumstance. 
During the troubles in Utah territory in 1857 the secretary of war authorized 
Col. J. B. Buckner of Illinois to raise a regiment of volunteers. Capt. Littler threw 
his colors to the breeze and in less than forty-eight hours was on his way to 
headquarters with a roll of more than 100 men who volunteered for the war. The 
captain hailed from Rock Island and was accepted in the regiment. His com- 
pany went into camp back upon the bluff and after getting all ready and wait- 
ing several weeks were denied the privilege by peace being declared. Some of the 
"boys" were so pleased with a soldier's life that the captain sent a number of them 
to St. Louis, where they were enlisted in the regular service. The commissioned 
officers of Company F, First Independent Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, were 
R. M. Littler, captain ; F. B. Wilkie, first lieutenant ; John Johns, Jr., second 


We have spoken of some of the public buildings in our city. Of its church 
edifices we shall notice each in connection with their congregations. The public 
halls for the meeting of the masses are — Metropolitan, which is decidedly the 
largest and most brilliant of any, was built by R. B. Hill, Esq. in 1857, who has 
also erected one of the most splendid private residences west of the Mississippi 
river; Odd Fellows' hall in Wupperman's block, is large, neat and finished with 
much taste; LeClaire hall was built at an earlier day, and does not attract that 
attention it once did, but is roomy and substantial ; Griggs' hall and Mervin's hall 



are both larg-e and pleasant rooms, and for the purposes designed are of the first 
order. The German theater, Lerchen's hall and some others of smaller dimen- 
sions make up an ample supply for public places of business and amusement. The 
engine house on Brady street, is a fine building of brick, two stories, with a good 
hall where the city council meet to transact their business. The same hall was 
used on the Sabbath by the Dutch Reformed church for worship. 

Our county jail is worthy of note. It was built in 1856 under the superinten- 
dence of Hon. Wm. L. Cook, then county judge. It is hewn stone and built on 
the modem improved plan for prisons, and is one of the best buildings of the 
kind in the state of Iowa. 

The courthouse is the same one built in 1841 and requires constant repairs 
to keep it in order. There are blocks of buildings of much beauty and archi- 
tectural finish in the city. Among them may be noticed the Nickolls block, the 
Metropolitan, Cook & Sargent's banking house, Davenport's block, Wupper- 
mann's block, Luse, Lane & Co.'s, Mervin's and others. Of private residences we 
might enumerate many that will vie with those of eastern cities both in nobleness 
of structure and elegance of finish. 

The hotels of this city are numerous and of every grade. The oldest of any 
note is the LeClaire House built in 1839 by A. LeClaire, Esq. This time-honored 
public edifice is still open for the reception of guests and is kept by Col. Magill; 
At the time this hotel was built there was nothing to compare with it in the 
Mississippi valley. It was a place of summer resort for the people of St. Louis 
and other southern cities, who usually spent several weeks here in the heat of 
summer, finding much pleasure in hunting and fishing. It has a central position 
in the city. 

The Scott House is one of the best public houses in the city and is conducted 
in the most approved style. It is beautifully located on Front street, in full view 
of the city of Rock Island, the railroad bridge, old Fort Armstrong and has an 
extended view up and down the river. It is retired and pleasant as a boarding 
place for men of business and those having family. The accommodations are ex- 
cellent and under the gentlemanly deportment of its worthy landlord none can fail 
to be well pleased with a home at the Scott House. 

The Pennsylvania House is rather a new institution. A part of it was built 
in 1854; when in 1857 the great increase of business induced the proprietors to 
enlarge it by erecting another building of the same size by its side, raising it 
another story and putting on a new roof over the whole of galvanized iron. 
It is one of the most substantial buildings of the kind in the west. It is sixty- 
four feet by 130 feet on the ground, built of stone, five stories high. It contains 
no rooms, and in its basement has an artesian well 150 feet deep, eighty feet of 
which distance was bored through solid rock without a seam. This well cost 
$1,000. The entire cost of the Pennsylvania House was $64,000, including furni- 
ture. The proprietor and builder, who still occupies the house, is an old and tried 
veteran in the business. He enjoys a large share of public patronage. It is the 
depot for the farmers who bring in their grain to market, having ample accom- 
modations for beast as well as man. From the observatory which crowns this spa- 
cious building, a most splendid view is had of the city of Davenport and its sur- 
roundings with the beautiful windings of the Mississippi among its many islands. 


A Slimmer Resort for Southerners for 
Twenty Years Before the Civil 
War. "Unilding- Demolished in 1010. 


Third and l.nv,i Stii-pts 



ke:*ipei: ham. i)a\exi>()Rt 



The Worden House as enlarged is very respectable, and has its share of 

There are many other hotels of the city worthy of note and entitled to all credit, 
but we speak of but one more, the last one erected. We mean the Burtis House. 
This noble structure exceeds in magnitude and splendor all others of our city or in 
the great valley of the Mississippi. No man is entitled to more credit, nor has any 
one man done more in expending his money for the benefit of the city, the county 
and the public generally than Dr. Burtis in erecting this magnificent hotel. Too 
much credit cannot be bestowed upon him when we consider that amid the financial 
pressure that came upon the country in 1857 just as he was commencing this en- 
terprise, nothing daunted, with most commendable zeal and untiring energy, he 
pressed forward the work to a successful termination, and since its doors were first 
thrown open to the public, through all the severe pressure of the time Dr. Burtis 
has stood at his post in person and maintained the high and well earned credit of 
a house whose equal in all respects has not yet been found this side the city of 
New York. We desire to make honorable mention not only of this superstructure, 
but of its worthy and enterprising proprietor, and transmit to Davenport posterity 
the name of him who amid one of the greatest storms of financial distress that 
ever visited the west erected a model hotel that, even with the great progress of 
the age will require many years before it will be excelled. For a more perfect 
description we quote from Wilkie's "Davenport Past and Present." 

"The Burtis House is a simple dining room surrounded on three sides by 
parlors, halls, bedrooms, closets, etc., rising to the height of five stories including 
basement. The whole structure is 118 feet on Fifth street, and 109 feet on Iowa 
street. The dining room is thirty-nine feet by eighty-one feet, supported by iron 
columns and magnificently frescoed. 

"In the basement there is the engine room, containing an engine of thirty-five 
horsepower, which in connection with one of Worthington's pumps forces the 
water to a tank in the fifth story, from which in hot and cold jets it is distributed 
to every hall in the house. There are also upon this floor a laundry room veined 
by steam pipes, a restaurant, billiard room, smoking room, barber shop, bath 
room and three store rooms, together with a multiplicity of smaller rooms, closets, 
etc., unnecessary to mention. 

"On the first floor is found the rotunda, a marble floored, lofty and roomy ar- 
rangement, with trumpets, bells, etc., beautifully frescoed, together with three 
imposing staircases, leading respectively to the ladies', gents' and other rooms 
above. It communicates with external entrances and with the stairways above al- 
luded to. Upon this floor are also the dining room, by far the most splendid 
specimen of architectural beauty in the west, reading room, ladies' parlors with 
folding doors, wash and private rooms, the latter projected in all particulars simi- 
lar to those of the St. Nicholas hotel, New York city. 

"Passing from the floor to the second by either of the beautifully constructed 
staircases, one is compelled to admire the work of Mr. Walker, one of the best 
stairway builders in the west. On the second floor are parlors with bedrooms 
attached, linen closets, suites of bedrooms and parlors attached for the use of 
several families. The servants' rooms are detached from other parts of the house, 
and like every other room in the house are well warmed and ventilated. Each 



room is warmed by steam and cooking is done by the same means. Every room 
is lofty and from most of them magnificent views of bluflf or river scenery are 
obtainable. The dining room, occupying as it does, the center of the house is 
hghted from front, rear and skylight. Its being located in the precise spot it is, 
makes it a vast improvement over everything else of the kind. The rotunda is in 
all respects a fine specimen of design and finish and successfully challenges 

"There are 150 sleeping rooms in the house; basement, eighteen rooms; first 
floor, eighteen, exclusive of the rotunda, and the remainder of the rooms are dis- 
tributed on the floors above. The house itself is on the railroad and but a few 
steps from the depot, thus saving to travelers the expense of omnibus bill. 

"In regard to Dr. Burtis but little need be said — as former lessee of the Le- 
Claire House and of the house in Lexington, Mo., he gained a reputation for 
management in the hotel business which no eulogy can heighten. There is but a 
small share of western travel for a few years back that has not been indebted to 
Dr. Burtis for those gentlemanly and hospitable attentions that tend so much to 
lessen the discomforts of travel and to ameliorate the hardships of absence from 

"The furniture which is of the very best quality was furnished in New York. 
The whole house is lighted by gas and in every respect superior to any other in 
the United States." 


No state has ever entered the union with more liberal encouragement for 
common and academic schools than Iowa. Congress gave to the state 500,000 
acres of land, the interest of which is used for the support of common schools, 
besides every sixteenth section, and five per cent on sales of all the public lands 
with all fines collected for a breach of the penal laws of the state. In the city of 
Davenport there are seven public schoolhouses, many of which are costly and 
commodious buildings, and all supplied with able and efficient teachers. 

The public schools of the city are all under a superintendent who has a gen- 
eral oversight of all the common schools, is principal of the intermediate school 
and has a general oversight of each district in the city. In no city west of the 
Mississippi river are the common schools in better condition than in Davenport. 
Much pains have been taken to elect men to regulate the school affairs who were 
intelligent and of high moral character. Although there are many deservedly 
popular select schools, yet the common schools have been conducted upon such a 
decidedly improved plan that many of the best families of the city have patronized 
them for a year or two past. 


We copy from Davenport Past and Present the following statement of this 
society : 

"The Scott County Bible society, auxiliary to the American Bible society, was 
organized in the city of Davenport on the 13th day of September, A. D., 1842, 



at which time a constitution was formed and adopted, which continued without 
material alteration or amendment until the present time. The officers elected at 
the organization were — ^Rev. D. Worthington, president; Charles Leslie, secre- 
tary. And at the subsequent anniversary meetings the minutes of the society 
show the following election of officers : 

"In 1843, Rev. Z. H. Goldsmith, president; Rev. D. Worthington, secretary; 
Wm. L. Cook, treasurer, who continued in office until 1847, when — 

''Rev. Z. H. Goldsmith was elected president ; Rev. Ephraim Adams, secretary, 
Wm. L. Cook, treasurer. 

"In 1848, Rev. Ephraim Adams, president; Asa Prescott, secretary; Alfred 
Sanders, treasurer. 

"In 1849, Rev. Ephraim Adams, president; Asa Prescott, secretary; Rufus 
Ricker, treasurer. 

"In 1850, Rev. J. D. Mason, president; Rev. Asa Prescott, secretary; Rufus 
Ricker, treasurer. 

"In 1851, Rev. J. D. Mason, president; H. Price, treasurer; Rev. H. L. 
BuUen, secretary. 

"In 1852, Rev. J. D. Mason, president; H. Price, treasurer; Rev. H. L. Bullen, 

"In 1853, Rev. J. D. Mason, president; Prof. D. S. Sheldon, secretary; Jno. 
H. Morton, treasurer. 

"In 1854, H. Price, president; Rev. J. D. Mason, secretary; Jas. M. Dalzell, 

"In 1855, H. Price, president; Rev. J. D. Mason, secretary; Jas. M. Dalzell, 

"In 1856, Strong Burnell, president; Rev. J. D. Mason, secretary; H. Price, 

"In 1857, H. Y. Slaymaker, president; Rev. J. D. Mason, secretary; H. Price, 

"In 1858, Rev. J. D. Mason, president. 

"In 1859, W. Barrows, president. 

"The treasurer's books show also that the aggregate receipts have been 
$1,101.49. The receipts for the first year were $9.37, and for the year 1859, 
$348, showing a steady increase in the collections of the society, equal, if not ex- 
ceeding, the increase in wealth and population of the county. 

"This money has been expended in the purchase of Bibles and Testaments in 
different languages which have been distributed among the inhabitants of this 
city and county without any distinction of sect or party. 

"The names of persons contributing to the funds of the society are registered 
on the treasurer's book and thereby become members of the society." 


There are four burying places for the dead in and near the city limits. The 
oldest and the one principally used up to 1856 was that located on the banks of 
the river about a mile below Brady street. This ground becoming too small, an- 
other was selected by A. C. Fulton in 1855, some two miles north of the city, 



called Pine Hill cemetery, which is located upon a high and beautiful prairie and 
tastefully laid out. 

In 1856 a society was formed and incorporated by the name of Oakdale cem- 
etery on the 14th of May of that year. The original incorporators were fifteen 
in number, out of which nine directors were chosen on the 22d of May, 1856. 
Its principal officers were : Wm. H. Hildreth, president ; W. H. F. Gurley, secre- 
tary, and A. H. Barrow, treasurer. The charter of the corporation extends for 
twenty years. Forty acres of ground were purchased about two and a half miles 
from the city near Duck creek, and a scientific engineer, Capt., De la Roche, of 
Washington city, employed to lay off the grounds. The location is one of much 
beauty, well selected for the purposes desired, being high, rolling prairie, dotted 
over with native oaks, forming in its o"wn native loveliness a spot beautiful for the 
last resting place of man. It overlooks the broad prairie covered over with highly 
cultivated farms, while the silver waters of Duck creek wind their serpentine 
course through its rich and lovely valley. Much credit is due to the board of 
directors for their taste in selecting the ground and their perseverance in carry- 
ing into effect an object of so great importance. It was laid out on a magnificent 
plan of circles, belts, angles and curves, bounded and inters'ected by avenues and 
walks of much grace and beauty. Over 3,000 lots were laid out. Upon the 
crowning point of the highest ground a spot is reserved for a chapel which over- 
looks the whole cemetery. Much improvement has been made upon the grounds. 
The avenues and alleys have been graded. Many lots have been adorned with 
evergreens, monuments of marble have been erected and the whole enclosed with 
a board fence that amply protected it from injury. There is a sexton's house upon 
the premises and every care taken to improve and preserve a place so sacred. 
There have been over 100 interments and more than 150 lots sold, which are 
$30 each, the purchase money of which all goes to adorn and beautify the grounds. 

The Catholic burying ground is located on Fifth street in Mitchell's addition 
and has some fine monuments. 


We now enter upon the history of the churches of Davenport from their first 
beginning until the present time, which will close the history of Davenport town- 


The first church organization in Davenport was St. Anthony's Roman Catholic. 
As early as 1836 priests from the mission at Dubuque preached here occasionally 
in private houses. In the spring of 1838 the Rev. Samuel Mazzuchelli, an Italian 
by birth, visited Davenport and organized a church. During the summer Antoine 
LeClaire, Esq., erected a small brick church, twenty-five feet by forty feet, on 
Church square. This little edifice was the first building of the kind in Daven- 
port. It was used for a long time for a church, schoolhouse, priest's residence, 
etc., until 1843, when an addition was put to it. This building was for some years 
the largest public edifice in the town and was used by all large assemblies to 
deliberate upon matters of public interest. 



In 1839 the Rev. J. A. M. Pelamourgues took charge of the congregation and 
is yet pastor of that church. Rev. Pelamourgues was the only priest in Iowa south 
of Dubuque, and for many years he visited Burlington, Muscatine, Iowa City, 
Rockingham and Clinton county, preaching and establishing churches. The 
number of Catholic families in Scott county in 1839 was but fifteen. They were 
nearly all new settlers, and mostly poor, but honest and industrious. A few yet 
remain enjoying the rewards of their early privations and are among the best 
portions of our citizens. 

On the 23d of May, 1839, St. Anthony's church was dedicated by the Right 
Rev. Bishop Loras, of Dubuque, assisted by the Rev. Mazzuchelli. In 1843 
when the church was enlarged, the number of Catholic families was about fifty. 
"Money at that time was so scarce," says a member of that church, "that only $20 
were collected in cash to build the addition." The number of Catholics increased 
very slowly until 1854. In 1849 the present stone church was commenced and 
only finished in 1854. 

In 1852 the Rev. Pelamourgues visited France and during his absence the Rev. 
Plathe and Rev. McCabe took charge of the congregation and continued the 
church building. In 1855 a new stone church was built for the Germans in 
Mitchell's addition, Mr. Mitchell donating the land. This church was organized 
in 1855 and the Rev. Michael Flammany placed in charge. He was succeeded by 
the Rev. Baumgartner, who was removed from Davenport in 1848. The present 
pastor is the Rev. Niermann. 

In 1856 the number of Catholics increased very fast. A third church was 
erected on LeClaire street on the blufifs by Mr. LeClaire, who also gave the square 
of ground upon which it stands. It is called St. Marguerite's church and is a 
noble edifice, an ornament to the city and an honor to the great liberality of Mr. 
LeClaire, who built it. The Rev. A. Trevis was appointed pastor and has con- 
tinued until the present time to minister to the congregation. His assistant was 
the Rev. H. Cosgrove, who has recently removed to Walnut Grove, where he 
officiates, and also preaches at LeClaire and other places in Scott and Clinton 

In 1858 the number of Catholics in the city of Davenport alone amounted to 
about 7,000. There are five churches in Scott county and four clergymen of the 
Roman Catholic denomination. A school was opened in connection with the 
church by Rev. Pelamourgues in 1839 and has continued ever since. The first 
year the number of pupils was about forty ; out of this number three only be- 
longed to Catholic parents. In 1859 about 600 Catholic children were taught in 
the school attached to St. Anthony's church. Two new schools have been opened 
this fall (1859), one at St. Marguerite's and the other at the German church. 
They are well attended. An academy for young ladies was also opened this fall 
in a beautiful building erected in West Davenport on the ten-acre lot donated to 
the Sisters of Charity by the Hon. G. C. R. Mitchell and Geo. L. Davenport, Esq. 

The temperance society that was established in 1841 is still m existence. It 
has been the means of doing much good. 

The Catholic Institute has existed for several years and is now in a prosper- 
ous condition. The members meet once a week during the winter and thus far 
their lectures and debates have been well attended. They have a circulating 



libran- of several hundred volumes. The hall in which they meet has been en- 
larg-ed this fall and is verv- commodious and pleasant. 

The Catholic church of Davenport has undoubtedly, like others, had its days 
of darkness and trouble. A majority of the congregations are poor but, unlike 
all others, it has its LeClaire, its Mitchell and its Davenport. The land upon 
which all of the Catholic churches are located has been donated by these gentle- 
men, who are nof only wealthy but liberal with their means. They have ever 
stood with open hands to answer the calls of the church. 

Of the pastor, the Rev. Pelamourgues, whom we have known for more 
than twenty years, we can speak without fear of contradiction of his faithfulness 
over his charge. Long and steadily has he labored for their good. Not only 
has he devoted his time to the spiritual wants of his people, but for the last 
t\\'enty years has he been the faithful teacher of the youth of his congregation. 
As a Christian and pastor, none has been more kind and faithful. He is an "old 
settler." He belongs to that pioneer band who first began to clear away the 
relics of barbarism in this valley and introduce the gospel of peace. His char- 
acter among all men is above reproach and his amiable and friendly greeting is 
always received with pleasure by all who know him. In 1858 Father Pelamour- 
gues received the high appointment of bishop of the northwest, a proper and 
complimentary appreciation on the part of the church of his private worth and 
public labors. But the good old man preferred to remain with his people at his 
old home here to enjoying even so high an honor, with its increase of emolu- 
ment and influence, as was thus extended to him unsolicited. To secure his 
object, he even made a visit to Italy, and, laying his case before the Pope, was 
generously permitted to occupy undisturbed his old position in this community. 
Such an instance of declination of high position is rare and remarkable, and the 
incident forms a higher eulogy upon the good father than the choicest phrase 
of encomium we might use. 


Like many other churches in the west, the First Presbyterian church in Daven- 
port is without a full record of its early history. Among the immigrants of 
1835, '36 and '37, not more than ten or twelve persons could be found who 
were of that denomination. These worshipped at first in common with others 
wherever there was preaching in other denominations until the 20th or 21st of 
April, 1838, when a little band of ten was gathered together in a small building 
that stood above the alley on Ripley street, between Front and Second, belonging 
to T. S. Hoge and since destroyed by fire. Here they worshipped for a year 
with such supply of ministerial aid as could be obtained. They were from various 
parts of the United .States : Mrs. Ann Mitchell, mother of the Hon. G. C. R. 
Mitchell, from Alabama; Dr. A. C. Donaldson and wife, from Pennsylvania; 
Robert Christie and wife, from Ohio; Mrs. Jemima Barkley. from Pennsylvania; 
T. S. Hoge and wife, from Ohio. These composed the first congregation, two 
of whom have since died, Mrs. Mitchell and Mrs. Christie. Dr. Donaldson re- 
moved to St. Louis and afterward to California, and T. S. Hoge to New York 
city. The remainder are still residents of Davenport. 

rionoor Fviost and Toaoher 



The following year, J. M. D. Burrows and wife and one or two others were 
added to their number, and with these few a church was organized in a little 
frame schoolhouse yet standing near the corner of Fourth and Harrison streets 
on the 5th of May, 1839. The pioneer clergymen who officiated upon this occa- 
sion were the Rev. Ithamar Pillsbury, of Andover, Ills. ; Rev. M. Hummer, of 
Stephenson, Ills.; and Rev. Enoch Mead, of Rockingham, Iowa. Mr. Pillsbury 
preached the sermon upon the occasion from Mark, i6th chapter, 15th and i6th 

As some six years of the records of this church have been lost and much pains 
taken to fix dates and places, I would observe that through the kindness of Rev. 
Mr. Mead the facts have been arrived at by a recent correspondence with Mr. 
Pillsbury, now a resident of Macomb, Ills. He speaks of his journey to Daven- 
port from Andover, where he then resided, as being still fresh in his mind. Mr. 
Hummer had requested his services upon the occasion which were to take place 
on the Sabbath and require him to leave home on Saturday. He had loaned his 
horse to a neighbor, and not being returned, he walked the distance, twenty-six 
miles, and returned on foot. Mr. Pillsbury says that when he came to Rock river 
slough it was overflowed and some eighty rods wide, and too deep to wade, when 
he applied to Mr. George Moore, who lived on the blufifs some two miles from 
the slough, but the nearest resident, who kindly sent his son with his team and 
set him across. This is but an incident among the many hardships of pioneer 
ministers in the west. The organization of the church took place and the com- 
munion was administered. It was a day of trial yet of hope. But faint gleams 
of light broke from the dark clouds that hung over the moral atmosphere of the 
far west at that day, and as the little band gathered around the table of the Lord 
for the first time in the new land, their thoughts went back to the days "when 
first they knew their Lord," and in humble communion with him again they sang 
his praise and united once more in covenant bonds with him in the land of their 
adoption. For four years this church had no stated ministerial supply during 
which a few more were added, having preaching only occasionally from the clergy- 
men above named and a few others who were traveling through the region of 
country beyond the Mississippi river. In 1842 J. M. D. Burrows and T. S. Hoge 
were chosen and ordained elders in the church, an office Mr. Burrows still holds and 
fills with much acceptance. 

The first stated supply of preaching was in the spring of 1843 by the Rev. 
Samuel Cleland. He had charge of this and the church at Stephenson for about 
four years. During this period the infant church struggled on amid many dis- 
couragements. The emigration to the west during these years was slow. But 
few were added to its numbers. It was the day of small things, but the little 
pilgrim band proved themselves somewhat like Gideon's host, "though faint yet 
pursuing." As an evidence of their zeal, faith and courage, they erected in these 
days of darkness their first house of worship, a small brick building where the 
present edifice stands. Even after the completion and occupancy of this primi- 
tive church, they were at times almost ready to sit down in sadness and give up 
their most cherished object. But again they took their "harps from willows 
down" and tuning them anew, they sang: 



"Though in a foreign land 
We are not far from home. 

And nearer to our house above, 
We every moment come. 

When we in darkness walk, 
Nor feel the heavenly flame. 

Then is the time to trust our God, 
And rest upon his name."' 

Charles C. Williams came to Iowa in August, 1844. He was from Newark, 
N. J., where he had spent many years of his earlier life actively engaged in every 
good work. He was an elder in the First Presbyterian church of that city and 
afterward in the Central church for many years. He was a man of most ardent 
piety, ever ready to lend his aid and influence in promoting the cause of the 
Redeemer's kingdom. His connection with the church of Davenport was at a 
time when it most needed spiritual aid and encouragement. It had passed 
through the first ordeal of formation and organization and was experiencing that 
loneliness and destitution which so often settles down on our western churches in 
their feeble commencement. At this time Mr. T. S. Hoge, an elder, and one of its 
members, was about to leave and settle in Galena ; and some other valued mem- 
bers were seeking homes in other places, so that the infant church felt severely 
these losses. At this crisis Mr. Williams seemed providentially sent among them 
to cheer and strengthen by his influence and prayers this weak and struggling 
church. He and James M. Dalzell were ordained and set apart as elders in this 
church. His first work with the help of others was to establish a Sabbath school 
which has continued to this day with increasing interest and of which he was 
superintendent to the time of his death, which occurred in September, 1852. 

Precious now is the remembrance of those days to some who have lived to the 
present time and precious indeed is the memory of those who have gone to their 
reward. In the midst of poverty and discouragement and when the little church 
had dwindled to a few members and thoughts of giving up were prevalent among 
some, Mrs. Mitchell, in full faith and confidence that God would bring them out 
of all tribulation, cheeringly said to Mr. Burrows, "You and I will stick to it at 
any rate while there is a shingle on the roof." Such were the pioneer fathers 
and mothers that helped to nurture and sustain this feeble church in its days of 
darkness and distress. There were additions to the church as new settlers came 
in, and the congregation increased in a measure, yet in 1846, owing to removals 
and deaths, there were still but seventeen members. 

At this time the Rev. George S. Rea became their minister and occupied the 
pulpit about two years and a half. In the fall of this year (1846) the Sabbath 
school of the church w-as first organized, C. C. Williams, superintendent, which 
has been continued with growing interest to the present time. During the sum- 
mer of 1849 the church being again without a minister, the Rev. Erastus Ripley, of 
the Congregational body and senior professor in Iowa college, preached for the 
church with much acceptance. In the summer of 1852 the present edifice was 
erected, having the first liell and steeple in the city. 



On the 27th of September, 1849, for the first time, a formal call was made 
out by the church to the Rev. J. D. Mason to become their pastor. The call was 
duly presented before the presbytery of Iowa and accepted. The pastoral duties 
commenced the first Sabbath in November, 1849. The church at that time con- 
sisted of about thirty members, and the town of about 1,200 inhabitants. Dur- 
ing the ministry of Mr. Mason no special seasons of grace have been enjoyed, 
but a steady increase of the church, both by profession and by letter. In 1857 
the list of membership reached 200, but owing to the financial distress of the west 
which has caused many to leave, its members are now reduced to 150. 

With what satisfaction and joy must the early members of this church look 
back upon their wanderings since their advent into this new and strange land. 
How well do they remember the days of their pilgrimage without the dispensa- 
tion of the Word of Life, without a place to worship, and almost without a shep- 
herd. Yet in all their journeys, they lost not sight of Him who "feeds His sheep 
and carries the tender lambs in His bosom." Though their spiritual food was 
not dealt out to them with an unsparing hand, yet they forgot not all His bene- 
fits and mercies to them and in their wanderings "they gathered here a little and 
there a little," precious crumbs that fed them by the way, and many are the hal- 
lowed recollections of trials and afflictions in thus planting the infant church in 
their new homes. 

Immediately after the Rev. Mr. Mason entered upon his duties as pastor, the 
church consented to his spending one Sabbath in each month in the Berlin church 
at the head of the rapids (now LeClaire), which church had been organized 
some years previous. At the expiration of eighteen months this church and 
vicinity became a separate missionary charge under the ministerial charge of 
Rev. W. C. Mason. About two years after this the Rev. Hugh Hutchinson be- 
came the pastor, and under his ministry of about two years the Princeton church 
was organized. Mr. Hutchinson has since died. Being released from the Le- 
Qaire charge, the pastor of the Davenport church turned his attention in a mis- 
sionary point of view to the establishment of a church in the Blue Grass settle- 
ment, and organized a Presbyterian church there in the house of John Robinson, 
now deceased. After nearly three years this church also became a separate 
charge, together with the church established at Walcott, under the ministerial 
care of Rev. John M. Jones. Again released from this part of his charge, Mr. 
Mason commenced stated meetings in the settlement known as the "Churchill 
Settlement." Mr. Churchill had donated a lot of five acres of ground for a 
Presbyterian church site. On the i6th of February, 1858, at the close of worship 
in the house of William Yocum, it was resolved to undertake the erection of a 
church edifice on the site donated. The following 6th of July the house was 
enclosed, temporarily seated, and a church organized consisting of twenty-eight 
members, under the name of the "Presbyterian Church of Summit." At this 
meeting the Rev. John Ekin, D. D., now pastor of the church at LeClaire, 
preached the sermon and the Rev. J. D. Mason, Rev. John M. Jones and Elder 
James Jack organized the church. On the 15th of February, 1859, just a year 
from the time they determined to build, a neat frame building, thirty-two feet 
by forty feet, was completed, paid for and dedicated to Almighty God. In this 
enterprise all were interested in the settlement, but Charles Kinkaid, Esq., ruling 



elder in the church at Davenport, rendered efficient and valuable service. The 
church now consists of forty-one members and is about to become a separate 
pastoral charge. This constitutes the sixth Presbyterian church in Scott county. 
In October of the present year (1859), the pastoral relation of the Rev. Mr. 
Mason was dissolved and the church is now without a pastor.* 


On the 25th of July, 1839, seventeen persons who had formerly held mem- 
bership with the Christian church at other points, mostly at Cincinnati, met at 
the house of D. C. Eldridge and under the auspices of Elder James Rumbold 
organized the Christian or Disciples' church of Davenport. Of those persons 
twelve yet remain, three have removed to other points and two have died. As 
early as April of that year the few Disciples in the town commenced meeting at 
the houses of the brethren under the leadership of Owen Owens, of Cincinnati. 
Elder Rumbold arrived in Davenport on the 22d of July, 1839, and on the 25th 
organized the church. 

A few words relative to Elder James Rumbold may not be amiss in this con- 
nection, as he stands intimately associated with the church here. Brought up in 
the Kirk of Scotland and uniting with the Scotch Baptists at Aberdeen in 1824, 
he removed to this country in 1836 and settled in Troy, N. Y., where with his wife 
and two others he organized a church on the Bible alone and commenced preach- 
ing to them. This was the nucleus of what is now a large and flourishing church. 
Elder Rumbold was subsequently instrumental in organizing other churches. In 
July, 1839, he removed to this city. In March, 1841, he assisted in the organiza- 
tion of a church in Long Grove, in this county, baptising seven on one day, three 
weeks thereafter. In March, 1842, he removed to Galena, where he organized a 
church and baptized five — preaching awhile for them and then returning to this 
city. During the time Elder Rumbold preached here he baptised about forty 
persons. On the loth of July, 1840, he baptised Miss Elizabeth Carroll, who was 
the first person immersed in Scott county. The fact that a mechanic, a foreigner 
by birth, without education further than what he obtained by his own exertions 
should have been able to accomplish so much is evidence of the simplicity of Bible 
teachings and the facility with which they may be communicated to others. 

In this connection we would pause to mention one of the noblest of God's 
handiwork, a pure, humble-minded Christian, who long since has been gathered 
to his fathers. Early in the history of the church here we find the name of James 
Glaspell associated with it as an elder, which capacity he continued to fill with 
great acceptance up to the year 1847, when he fell asleep in Jesus. As a sincere, 
pious believer, we have rarely indeed met with his equal. As a citizen, he stood 
high in the community and when he died his church did not alone mingle their 
tears with the bereaved family. 

After the organization of the church in Davenport the brethren continued to 
meet on Lord's days at their own residences until November 3, 1839, when they 
rented Mr. Tapley's carpenter shop on Second between Main and Brady streets 
at $4 per month. In 1844 a lot was purchased on Brady between Fourth and 

•In the autumn of this year (1859) a call was made to the Rev. S. McC. Anderson, of 
Pennsylvania, which was accepted and he was installed in April of this year (1860). 



Fifth Streets and a brick meeting house, considered large for that day, erected at' 
an expense of $700 to $800. In 1855-6 the present house of worship, the "Chris- 
tian Chapel," was erected on the site of the old one, the church in the meantime 
meeting at the courthouse. This chapel was erected at an expense of about 
$8,500, is forty feet by seventy-five feet with basement, built in modern style 
with the lastest appliances for heat, light and ventilation. 

In 1842 the Christian church was incorporated by act of legislature under the 
style of the Church of Christ, meeting in Davenport. John Owens, Richard S. 
Craig and Charles Lesslie were appointed trustees under this act. 

For five years Elder Rumbold was the only preacher the church in this city 
had. In 1844 Dr. H. P. Gatchell, of Cincinnati, was employed by the church as 
their pastor.^ He remained in that capacity one year, when he removed to Rock 
Island, but preached occasionally for the church until 1847. In 1848 Elder 
Charles Levan, of Philadelphia, was employed as pastor, which position he occu- 
pied for nearly two years. For two or three years after his removal from the 
city, although the church was without a pastor, yet the members continued to 
meet regularly on Lord's day for breaking bread, exhortation and prayer. Elder 
Jas. E. Gaston succeeded Mr. Levan and in turn was followed by Elder Alex- 
ander Johnson, neither of whom remained long in the position. Nov. 19, 1854 
Elder J. Hartzell was employed by the church as a preacher, which capacity he 
filled until February 7, 1858, when he was succeeded by Elder Eli Regal, of Ohio, 
who, on account of ill health, resigned his position on the loth of October of the 
same year. Until August, 1859, the church was again without a preacher, the 
brethren meeting regularly on Lord's day for attending to the Lord's supper and 
exhortation and on Thursday evening for prayer. On the last named date Elder 
Samuel Lowe was chosen and entered upon his duties as pastor. In December 
last Elder A. Chatterton, who claims seniority as a Christian preacher in Iowa, 
having removed the Evangelist to Davenport, became a resident of this city. 

The revulsion of business in 1857 slightly affected the numerical strength of 
this church, but during the last year it has been regaining, and now numbers as 
large a membership as it has ever possessed, embracing 160 members. The mem- 
bers meet on every Lord's day for preaching and the administration of the Lord's 
supper ; in the evening for preaching, and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon for exhor- 
tation and prayer ; also on Thursday evening of each week. Attached to this 
church is a Sunday school embracing about fifty scholars. 


Congregationalism in Scott county was introduced as early as 1836. The 
first sermon was preached at the house of Levi Chamberlin, Esq., in Pleasant 
Valley, in the summer of this year by Rev. Asa Turner, now of Denmark, who 
was traveling through this country on a missionary tour. Mr. Chamberlin, who 
was a man of piety and zeal, was one of the first settlers of that valley, and, feel- 
ing the spiritual wants of the people, he earnestly desired that a man be sent 
among them of ardent piety and one with a family that he might be a permanent 
resident, and one who could reconcile himself to the hardships of a new country. 

The members of this denomination worshipped in common with the Presby- 
terians and Methodists until the 30th of July, 1839, when twelve persons con- 



gregated in a small building on Alain street opposite the Catholic church (used 
afterward as a schoolhouse and then by the Episcopalians as a place of worship 
under the ministrations of Rev. Z. Goldsmith), entered into covenant bonds and 
organized a church, the Rev. Albert Hale, now pastor of a Presbyterian church in 
Springfield, Ills., and then agent of the Home Missionary society, presiding. Two 
deacons were elected, Messrs. John C. Holbrook and Strong Burnell. 

During the month of June, 1840, Rev. Samuel Storrs Howe, now of Iowa 
City, then traveling through the west, spent several Sabbaths. in the supply of 
this Congregational church, by invitation of Deacon Strong Burnell. And among 
other incidents of his sojourn at Davenport thus early in its history may be 
mentioned his call with Mr. Burnell on Antoine LeClaire, Esq., the chief pro- 
prietor of the town, and his solicitation of a lot for a church edifice which Mr. 
LeClaire cheerfully promised and ultimately donated to the Congregational so- 
ciety, the avails of which went toward their church enterprise. 

During his stay, also, Mr. Howe preached a funeral sermon on the occa- 
sion of the drowning of a young man of the name of Gates, in a pleasure sail- 
ing excursion on the Mississippi river on the Sabbath. In regard to which death 
the preacher remarked that absent friends would doubtless have preferred that 
it should have occurred on any other day in the week, for they could not say 
with the old proverb, "The better the day, the better the deed." 

The preaching was held in the unfinished upper story of what was after- 
wards known as "Ziek's grocery," a building on Front street, consumed by 
fire in 1858. 

The Rev. I. P. Stuart of Stephenson, 111., who was commissioned by the Amer- 
ican Home Missionary society to preach at "Stephenson and vicinity" in August, 
1839, supplied the pulpit at Davenport from July, 1840, to sometime in the 
early part of winter. A call was extended in 1841, to the Rev. Reuben Gaylord, 
now of Omaha, Neb., to become the pastor, but was declined. Rev. Oliver 
Emerson ministered to the church part of that year. Rev. Air. Hitchcock was 
sent as a missionary to this place in the fall of 1841 and ministered here three 
years. During his ministry thirty-two members were received. The church 
was aided by the Home Missionary society until 1852. 

The meetings for preaching and prayer were first held in a building on 
Ripley street used by the Presbyterians and since destroyed by fire. In 1840 
the church met for a while in the second story of a building on the corner of 
Front and Brady streets, since destroyed by fire, and once known as "Ziek's 
grocery." A new place of worship was fitted up. however, on the corner of 
Ripley and Front streets, a building some twenty feet by thirty feet, and had 
been used by D. C. Eldridge and others as storehouse, postoffice, etc., and 
was known as "Brimstone Corner," afterward consumed by fire. The Rev. Mr. 
Hitchcock first began his ministry here and preached his first sermon in Daven- 

The 20th of June, 1840, the Rev. Mr. Emerson took charge of the con- 
gregation and preached for a short time when he removed to DeWitt. The next 
place of worship of this church was in the log cabin erected by the Harrison club on 
Third street, and when cold weather came on, they met again on Alain street 
in the schoolhouse which was removed in 1843 to S^ve room for better build- 



ings. They next worshipped at a schooh-oom on the east side of Harrison street 
above Fourth where Mr. Wheeler now resides. This building was one of the 
frames brought out from Cincinnati and occupied for some time by the Daven- 
port institute. This was the last rented house of worship. Two lots having 
been procured on Fifth street, between Main and Brady, the old part of the 
present edifice was erected in the summer of 1844 by Strong Burnell, Esq., 
being twenty-eight feet by thirty feet. The building was dedicated the 27th of 
October, 1844. Mr. Hitchcock preached the dedicatory sermon which was his 
last sermon here, having had a call to settle in Moline, which he accepted and 
where he still preaches. In the evening of that day the Rev. Ephraim Adams 
who had been preaching to the congregation for some time occupied the pulpit 
and continued to do so till May, 1855, ten years and six months. He was called 
to the pastorship in December, 1846 and installed early in 1847. ^^r. Adams 
was the first pastor. Long and faithfully did he labor, amid days of moral 
darkness in the church and in the whole northwest. He was one of that little 
band of pioneer ministers, eleven in number, graduates of Andover Theological 
seminary who in the fall of 1843, moved by a spirit of enterprise and the cause 
of home missions lying near their hearts turned their thoughts to the far west. 
Iowa was their first point of destination, and as Denmark, in Lee county was 
headquarters for Congregationalism in that day they all met there and most of 
them were ordained on the 5th of March, 1843. ^^^- Adams preached at Mt. 
Pleasant in this state for a short time before entering upon his labors here, where 
for so many years he devoted himself to building up the Congregational church 
in this city. 

He began his labors in the little schoolroom on Harrison street with a con- 
gregation of twelve and after he entered the new house of worship for more than 
a year he had but about thirty-five hearers. But in toil and self-denial he labored 
on amid many discouragements. At the end of five years there were about 
eighteen members, but he looked forward full of hope and faith, believing that 
the little church was of God's own planting, and ' that in due time it would 
spring up, and bear much fruit. The whole number of members on the 31st 
of July, 1859, was 224; total from its organization, 423. In May, 1856, the 
pastoral relation between Mr. Adams and the church was dissolved and soon 
after the Rev. George F. Magoun was settled. The whole number admitted 
during his pastorship, to the present time is 190, three-fourths of the present 
membership. During the ministry of Mr. Hitchcock and Mr. Adams there was 
special interest from time to time, the greatest revival occurring in the winter 
of 1855 and 1856. There was a steady increase of the church both by letter and 

Mr. Adams is now settled over a church at Decorah in this state. During 
his ministry in this place he made many friends. His uniform kindness to 
all and persuasive manner as a minister, his daily walk among his fellowmen 
and his untarnished Christian character justly entitled him to. as he had, the 
love and respect of all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. 

Seven of the lay members of this church have become ministers of the gos- 
pel, including two of its early deacons, viz. : Rev. John C. Holbrook, of Dubuque; 
Rev. Asa Prescott, of Cordova ; Rev. Wm. Windsor and Rev. John H. Windsor, 



of Mitchell county; Rev. Joseph Bloomer (deceased), of McGregor; Rev. Wales 
Coe, of Crawfordsville, and Rev. Darius E. Jones, of Columbus City. Fourteen 
members of the General Congregational association of Iowa have been con- 
nected with this church. 

Rev. G. F. Magoun left the church in November, i860. In August, 1861, a 
new organization was made under the name of the "Edwards Congregational 
church," of which Rev, William Windsor became the stated supply, with Home 
Missionary aid. The old church has only a nominal existence in connection with 
the property and edifice of the congregation, now much involved in debt. 


The organization of the Protestant Episcopal church in Iowa and the his- 
tory of the "Trinity church parish" we copy entire from "Davenport, Past and 
Present," as we believe it to be correct in all its parts : 

"The organization of the Protestant Episcopal church in the diocese of Iowa 
was effected at Muscatine in August, 1853 '■> but the election of a bishop did 
not take place until the first of June, 1854. The convention sat in Davenport, 
in the basement room of the First Presbyterian church, Trinity not being ready 
for use. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Kemper, missionary bishop of the northwest pre- 
sided. The balloting resulted in the election of the Rev. Henry W. Lee, D. D., 
then rector of St. Luke's church. Rochester, N. Y. The bishop-elect was con- 
secrated at Rochester, in October of the same year, and soon entered upon his new 
duties. Having made his first visitation to the diocese he selected Davenport 
as his place of residence, it being in his judgment the most eligible and con- 
venient point with reference to his duties. The diocese of Iowa includes the 
entire state and from thirteen parishes and eight clergymen in 1854 it has in- 
creased to thirty parishes and twenty-five clergymen in January, 1858. Bishop 
Lee at the present time has also the Episcopal charge of the territory of Nebraska, 
this being, however, but a temporary arrangement. 


The first and regular services of the Protestant Episcopal church were com- 
menced in Davenport on Thursday, the 14th day of October, 1841, by the Rev. 
Z. H. Goldsmith, who was appointed as a missionary by the domestic committee 
of the board of missions of the Protestant Episcopal church, his time being divided 
at intervals between Davenport and Rockingham, which latter place at the time 
promised to be of the most importance. A parish was regularly organized at 
Davenport, on Thursday, the 4th of November, 1841, by the name and title of 
"Trinity Church and Parish ;" and a vestry was elected, resulting in the fol- 
lowing choice: Ira Cook. J. W. Parker, W. W. Dodge, Ebenezer Cook, H. S. 

The regular meetings of the parish for public worship were held during a 
sucession of years, and until November, 1853 in the small frame building still stand- 
ing on the west side of Main street between Fourth and Fifth streets occupying 
the middle lot of that half block, when it was abandoned as no longer tenant- 

Now the Christian vScience Church 

Fifth and Brady streets 

On site of St. John's M. E. church 

■^tood at the corner of Fifth and 
Rock Island streets 



able. Divine services were held during the same winter of 1853, and until April 
of 1854, in the store room at the northeast corner of Rock Island and Second 
streets, and from April until the completion and occupancy of the new edifice 
of Trinity church in August of 1854 in the house of the rector Rev. A. Louder- 
back, known as the Emerson house, on Second between Rock Island and Perry 

The incumbency of the Rev. Z. H. Goldsmith continued until the spring 
of 1849 when in the following year he was displaced from the ministry and con- 
tinued to reside here till his death which occurred in the summer of 1853. The 
resignation of Rev. Z. H. Goldsmith which occurred on April i, 1849, was fol- 
lowed by the call and settlement of the Rev. Alfred Louderback as rector and 
missionary on the 5th of May following, making a vacancy of one year in the 
parish. When he assumed the charge of this parish and station at a salary of 
$200 per annum with a like sum from the domestic committee, he found the 
parish in debt some $700 or twice the amount of what the church lot and build- 
ing were then considered worth with about nine communicants in all, and an 
immense and increasing prejudice against the church and with but little pros- 
pect of its permanent and successful establishment. Patient, continued and per- 
severing efforts, however, amid no ordinary discouragements have met with 
success. For, frequently after careful preparation for the duties of the pulpit 
there would not be over ten or fifteen persons present to join in the services and 
listen to the sermon; while at the same time the parish was without a surplice, 
a communion set, a melodeon, a Sunday school library or any of those external 
appliances and aids so necessary to give effect and interest to the public services 
because the poverty of the congregation would not admit of their procuring 
them. At the expiration of the second year these necessary aids were obtained, 
and also a complete set of plans from Mr. Frank Wills, of New York city, who 
generously furnished them at a trifling cost. A subscription was at the same 
time started with a view to building the present edifice of Trinity church, and 
on the 5th of May, 1852, just three years from the time the acting rector as- 
sumed charge, the corner stone was laid by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Kemper, D. D., 
then in episcopal charge of Iowa, as yet unorganized into a diocese. The walls 
rose to their proper height during that year and remained bare the following 
winter until the spring of 1853 when the roof was put on and the building plas- 
tered and floored and the windows roughly closed up, in which condition it 
stood until the spring of 1854 when it was determined to finish it off. Contracts 
were made accordingly and its occupation entered upon by the congregation on 
Sunday, the 20th day of August of the same year, 1854. The original cost of 
the two lots, in 185 1 and now owned by the parish, was $500. The organ, one 
of Erben's build, of New York city, and the generous gift of Gen. George B. 
Sargent, $700; in addition to which the parish holds about eight or nine acres 
of ground being a part of the Pine Hill cemetery as a burial ground for their 
dead ; being in all a property worth at the lowest estimate over $20,000, and in 
a perfectly safe condition. In conducting the parish to this gratifying state of 
outward temporal prosperity much credit and praise are due to the untiring 
interest, generosity and zeal of Mr. Ebenezer Cook who has been the constant 



friend and liberal supporter of the parish throughout its entire history, without 
mentioning what is due to the efforts of the rector. 

The whole number of communicants which have been connected with the 
parish at various times, is about 140. Number of baptisms — adults, twenty-two; 
infants, 119, making in all 141; confirmations, thirty-four; marriages, thirty- 
eight; burials, eighty-one; present number of communicants, about sixty-five; 
size of the church at present, about seventy-five feet long and thirty-five feet 
broad, in the clear, exclusive of chancel recess with a view to enlargement at a 
future day by the addition of transepts so as to make a cruciform building; at 
present capable of seating about 300 persons and when enlarged as plans call 
for, afifording sittings for about 1,000 persons. Parochial library for the read- 
ing of the congregation, mostly imported English works, of near 400 volumes, 
the generous gift of Ebenezer Cook. Sunday school library of about 140 
volumes ; Sunday school scholars, about sixty ; teachers, six ; rector, superin- 

The Parochial association meets the first and third Tuesday evenings in 
every month except during Lent at the houses of parishioners with a view to 
promoting acquaintance and sociality among the members of the congregation, 
and exciting a deeper interest in the welfare of the parish. Church chairs pur- 
chased from the avails of the association at a cost of about $175, being the 
contribution of one dime per month from members with one dime also as en- 
trance fee. 

ST. Luke's church. 

In March, 1856, at the request of the Hon. John P. Cook, Gen. Sargent and 
thirty-three others, the Rev. Alfred Louderback, rector of Trinity church gave 
canonical consent to the organization of a second Episcopal society in the city 
of Davenport. At a meeting of the citizens favorable to the new enterprise 
held April 4, 1856, a second parish was organized under the name of St. Luke's 
parish. Bishop Henry W. Lee presided at this meeting and Charles Powers. 
Esq., was secretary. For nearly two years the services of this church were 
held in the small brick edifice on Brady, near the corner of Fourth street in the 
building formerly owned and occupied by the First Baptist church. During 
the first year of St. Luke's existence several clergymen officiated as temporary 
incumbents, among whom were Bishop Lee, Rev. George W. Watson and the 
Rev. Geo. C. Street. This enterprising society entered upon their work with 
much earnestness and determination. They fitted up their place of worship 
which though small was neat and convenient. The congregation increased and 
some were added to the church, when in March, 1857, the Rev. Horatio N. Powers 
became their permanent rector, took charge of the parish, and in the May fol- 
lowing entered upon his duties and still ministers to this people. 

The little church on Brady, becoming too small, they determined on building 
a new house of worship, and although but a little more than a year had expired 
since their organization, yet on the first of July, 1857, the corner stone of a new 
church was laid with appropriate ceremonies. Bishop Lee delivered the address 
on the occasion and on the 14th of March following it was opened for divine 
service. The prompt and energetic spirit with which this little church under- 



took the erection of this beautiful and stately edifice, the harmonious and Chris- 
tian spirit in which they seem united in every good work is worthy of all note ; 
and as the church edifice is a model one in our city, and in the west, we give a 
description of it here. 

Its location is on Brady street, about half way up the bluff, being central in 
its position, and presents a very attractive appearance from the river. It is of 
gothic structure, built of brick, with a deep basement of limestone. The tower 
is fourteen feet square at the base, not including the buttresses which project 
two feet each. The extreme height to the top of the pinnacle is eighty-three feet 
from the base. The body of the church is eighty-five feet by forty-five feet, and 
thirty-one feet high in the clear. The exterior height is forty-four feet. The 
vestry south of the chancel is eleven feet by twelve feet. 

In the basement is a large lecture room with four other small compartments. 
These rooms are fourteen feet, all finished, and some of them were occupied by 
Miss Lyons for a young ladies' school. The chancel is fourteen feet long by 
eighteen feet wide with a height of twenty-three feet; height of chancel arch, 
twenty feet. The organ gallery is large and convenient, the windows of stained 
glass, of two lancets each ; the chancel window contains three lancets with appro- 
priate devices. The chancel furniture is all made of black walnut, of neat work- 

The lectern and pulpit are without the chancel rails and are built in handsome 
style. The pews are the same finish. The chairs alone cost over $ioo, and were 
a present from Col. Young. The books, which cost over $50, were presented by 
Mrs. Holmes and Mrs. Jaynes. The carpeting and ornaments of the church were 
furnished by the ladies of the congregation. The architect was J. C. Cochran. 
The entire cost of the building was about $20,000. Nearly seventy families are 
now included in the parish. The number of communicants as last reported to 
the convention was sixty, but since the last report several have been added. The 
congregation is continually increasing and is already quite large. There is a 
Sabbath school connected with the church in a flourishing condition. When we 
take into consideration that this church so recently organized amid the financial 
pressure of the country, commenced such a work and prosecuted it to so success- 
ful a termination, we can but admire their worthy efforts and wish them many 
spiritual as well as temporal blessings. 

The present vestry consists of Hon. John P. Cook, Dr. Wm. Keith, H. S. 
Finley, Wm. VanTuyl, Charles Powers, George H. French, Thomas J. Holmes, 
James A. Buchanan, V. R. Rowe. Senior warden, Dr. Wm. Keith; junior war- 
den. Wm. A'anTuyl ; treasurer. Wm. \^anTuyl ; J. A. Buchanan, secretary. 


Although this church was not organized in Davenport until June I, 1842, yet 
its ever active and pioneer spirit had penetrated the valley of the upper Missis- 
sippi and the gospel trumpet began to echo along our bluffs as early as the spring 
of 1836. The Rev. Mr. Gavitt, from Ohio, traveling through the county, preached 
the first sermon in the house of D. C. Eldridge this spring ; but the first attempt 
by the settlers to hold divine service was in a log cabin twelve feet square situ- 



ated on the land now owned by Judj^e Weston back of Rockingham. The meeting 
was conducted by W. L. Cook, Esq., and held as a prayer meeting. There were 
eight persons present. 

In August of this year there was a society formed at Rockingham by John R. 
James, then connected with the Rock Island mission under the control of the 
Illinois conference. The Methodist conference was held this fall at Alton and 
the Rockingham society reported the wants of this region of country, its pros- 
pects for a wide field of labor, when the conference formed a .circuit extending 
from the mouth of the Iowa river to the mouth of the Wabesipinecon. Rock- 
ingham then being the largest town and the only one of any importance in the 
circuit, it was called the Rockingham circuit, embracing all the country west as 
far as settlements were made. This circuit was about 200 miles around and con- 
sisted of a few families along the river and among the groves. Chauncey 
Hobert was sent to this circuit as preacher. He had been a soldier in the Black 
Hawk war which had just closed and was well calculated to traverse a country 
whose streams were unbridged and inhabitants widely scattered. He could swim 
creeks and sleep by the side of a log when night might overtake him. The first 
winter he had three appointments : one at Rockingham, one at a little town near 
the mouth of the Iowa river, called Black Hawk, and one at the cabin of Mr. 
Spencer, in Pleasant Valley, the father of our fellow citizen, Roswell H. Spencer. 
The appointments multiplied the following year, but Rockingham was the center 
and probably contained more members than all the balance of the circuit. 

In the year 1839 B. Weed was presiding elder for the Iowa district. About 
this time the elder thought that there were sufficient members and encourage- 
ment to commence a society in Davenport and have an organization of the Meth- 
odist church in that place. Accordingly he authorized W^m. L. Cook to change 
his connection with the society and form a class if he could find the requisite 
number of members. His search among protestants resulted in finding five mem- 
bers besides himself and wife who had been members of churches in former days. 
A time was appointed for a meeting to be held at the house of Timothy Dillon, 
situated on Third street near Washington square. At this first meeting were 
present as members, Wm. L. Cook and wife, Timothy Dillon and wife, Israel 
Hall, W. S. Ruby and Mary Ruby. Here this little band of Christians, longing 
for a closer union with Him in whom they trusted in deep devotion, poured forth 
many desires for spiritual food in this strange land ; and in that little cabin, alone 
with God, they dedicated themselves to Him and His service, renewing their 
covenant vows and forming the First Methodist Episcopal church in the then 
little village of Davenport. Such were the beginnings of the church that now 
worships on the corner of Fifth and Brady streets with nearly 400 members. 

From this time meetings were continued every Sabbath, being generally con- 
ducted by Mr. Cook. The society increased until private rooms became too small, 
and in the fall of 1840 the church, then numbering about twenty members, 
thought best to erect a building. Though its members were few and poor, 
they purchased a lot on Perry between Fourth and Fifth, which was then con- 
sidered out of town, and built the first brick chapel, which still stands on the 
same ground. This church was seated at first with slabs and split saplings, flat 
side up and lighted with a "chandelier," composed of a block of wood suspended 



by a rope from the ceiling- in which were inserted some half dozen tallow candles, 
and warmed by a stove that looked as though it might have done good service 
before the flood. While thus seated, warmed and lighted, it came near passing 
out of the possession of the society by reason of an execution in the hands of the 
sheriff, issued upon a judgment for $150 for the purchase money of the lot. But 
those days of darkness passed away and the sun of prosperity, both spiritual and 
financial, dawned upon this church and continued to shine and bless the efforts 
of the little band, illustrating the truth of that saying, "We should not despise 
the day of small things." 

A petition was sent into conference in 1840 for a preacher, and F. A. Cheno- 
with was sent to the Davenport station, and in turn supplied the Rockingham 
pulpit. In 1853 the little brick church on Perry street becoming too small, a 
large, commodious house was erected on the corner of Fifth and Brady, which 
is now filled to overflowing, although a new church has been formed from this, 
Wesley chapel, built in 1856, but it is now closed. The new church on Brady 
was dedicated in July, 1854. It has an end galler}-. class and lecture rooms below, 
a Sabbath school and a library ; also a parsonage attached and sexton's house. 
The whole church property is clear of debt. 


The first Baptist church was organized at the house of John M. Eldridge oil 
the 14th day of September, 1839, with nine members. Its first settled minister 
was Elder Fisher, and Richard Pierce its first deacon. This church has passed 
through many difficulties and trials. Its first place of public worship was in a 
room fitted up over Mr. Lesslie's store on the corner of Front and Brady streets. 

In 1842 they erected a small brick on Brady next door to Fourth, now 
converted into a meat market, where they worshipped until 1855, when it was 
sold by the church. In October, 1852, about twelve years after its organization 
sixteen of its members requested letters of dismission and received them, and 
on the 7th day of the same month organized a second church in Davenport. 

In 1855 the First church built a very commodious brick house on the comer 
of Main and Sixth streets, where they now worship, having a roll of 180 mem- 
bers, with the Rev. G. M. Polwell for their pastor, who was settled in May. 1858, 
and ordained on the 23d of June in the same year. 


On the 6th of October, 1851, sixteen members of the First Baptist church in 
Davenport asked for and received letters of dismission for the purpose of or- 
ganizing another church. They met on the same day and unanimously resolved 
to call a council to take into consideration the propriety of reorganizing them- 
selves into a regular Baptist church. On the 7th of October the council met at 
the house of J. M. Witherwax, there being present the Rev. J. Teesdale, of the 
A. F. B. society; Rev. J. L. Denison, Rock Island; A. J. Johnson, of Burlington, 
Iowa; S. B. Johnson, Muscatine; Rev. Mr. Scots, Maquoketa ; Rev. Dr. Car- 
penter, Blue Grass. After due deliberation and examination of all the circum- 



Stances, they proceeded to organize the sixteen members into the "Second Bap- 
tist Giurch of Davenport, Iowa." A constitution and by-laws were drafted by 
a committee appointed, consisting of Dr. Blood, Mr. Solomon and Levi Davis. 

The first officers of the church elected were Dr. J. M. Witherwax, C. G. Blood 
and W. M. Crosson, tnistees ; Levi Davis, clerk, and J. Solomon, treasurer. Thus 
organized, this little church stood alone, amid every discouragement ; poor, and 
without a pastor or a place of worship. The schoolroom of the Misses Jones was 
procured (now the residence of Dr. Witherwax) and the services of the Rev. 
Professor Briggs were secured until a regular pastor could be obtained. 

On the 13th of June, 1842, the Rev. E. M. IMiles was called and settled. The 
church steadily increased in numbers, both by profession and by admission by 
letter. In February. 1853, the first movement was made toward building a house 
of worship. Between $3,000 and $4,000 were at once subscribed, and the present 
edifice commenced. It is of stone, forty-six feet by eighty feet, with basement 
and spire, well proportioned, and a beautiful as well as a durable house. Their 
church debt has recently been reduced to about $5,000, and it is now in a pros- 
perous condition. Its recent pastor, the Rev. Isaac Butterfield, succeeded Mr. 
Miles in June, 1858. The number of members since its organization, according 
to the church's records, has been 280 ; dismissals, ninety-seven ; exclusions, eleven ; 
and deaths, twelve. They were received — 132 by baptism, and 143 by letter. 
The present number of members is 162. The Sabbath school attached to the 
church contains 200 scholars, with a good library. 

Rev. Isaac Butterfield resigned his charge in November, 1863, having the 
satisfaction of leaving the church out of debt and prosperous. 


This church was established November 25, 1855. Jacob Steck was their first 
pastor, and, we believe, still continues to minister to the church. 

There were twenty-five members at its organization. This society has had 
many difficulties to contend with. In 1856 a church edifice was commenced, but 
the financial difficulties delayed its completion, we believe, until the present season. 
It has a Sabbath school of seventy-five members and a library of 300 volumes. 


In the fall of 1856 a number of members of the Presbyterian church, who 
were new school then residing in Davenport, feeling the want of a church of 
their own denomination, erected for that purpose a house on Iowa street between 
Sixth and Seventh streets, built entirely at the expense of Mr. H. Y. Slaymaker, 
and as soon as it was completed, it was burned down, taking fire from a carpen- 
ter's shop, which was burnt adjoining it. On the 4th of May, 1857, a church was 
formed by Rev. W. H. Spencer, then pastor of the First Presbyterian church of 
Rock Island, Ills., with twenty-eight members, the way having been prepared by 
Rev. Samuel Storrs Howe, of Iowa City, and Ruling Elder H. Y. Slaymaker, 
one of the first officers of the church. For some time they occupied Griggs' 



hall on Perry street ; from thence they removed to Metropolitan hall and subse- 
quently to the house originally occupied by the First Baptist church on Brady. 

The Rev. D. T. Packard, of Massachusetts, preached to them as a stated sup- 
ply for about a year, since which time they have had service but a few times, and 
are now altogether suspended. There were a number of accessions during Mr. 
Packard's ministry, but owing to removals from the city the number is now re- 
duced to fifteen members. After its organization and during the preaching of 
Mr. Packard, the congregation numbered lOO and a Sunday school had been com- 
menced ; but the financial difificulties of the west seemed to break into their ar- 
rangements, and the church has been abandoned for the present. 


We believe this church is now without a pastor, and its house of worship 
closed. Of its origin and progress, we need not speak, but copy its history from 
Wilkie's "Davenport Past and Present" : 

"This church is situated on the southeast corner of Scott and Eleventh 
streets on a lot donated by Mr. James Mcintosh. It is a neat, plain frame build- 
ing, thirty-five feet by forty-five feet, and calculated to seat between 300 and 400 
persons. It was founded A. D. 1856. The congregation numbers about sixty 
members and is under the pastoral care of Rev. Samuel M. Hutchinson. They 
have a Sabbath school of thirty-one scholars and six teachers, with a library of 
175 volumes. 

"It may be observed that this church is in its infancy, and the only one of the 
kind in Davenport. It belongs to a large and influential branch of the Presby- 
terian family which originated in a union of Associate Presbyterians and 
Reformed Presbyterians who came from Scotland and Ireland as missionaries 
prior to the Revolution, and in the year 1782 they united together and retaining 
their primitive names in one, have since been known by the name of Associate 
Reformed Presbyterians. An effort has been made to unite this body with the 
Associate Presbyterians. If this proves successful, it may change the name of 
the church to United or Union Presbyterians." 


The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Davenport, not mentioned in Mr. 
Barrows' history above is here briefly sketched by the editor of the Annals. It 
was organized with eleven members, October 29, 1859, by a committee of the 
Classis of Illinois, consisting of Rev. E. P. Livingston and Rev. C. D. Eltinge, 
Rev. C. G. VanDerveer, the minister of the congregation, being present. 

The first consistory of the church was composed of Elders L. S. \^iele and 
Anthony VanWyck, with Deacon John R. Rogers. 

A neat church edifice, seating 250 persons, was erected at a cost of $3,500 on 
Brady street, corner of Eleventh, and dedicated on the i6th of September, i860, 
when Rev. C. G. VanDerveer was installed as pastor. The church in 1863 num- 
bered forty members and the Sunday school ninety. 



Rev. C. G. VanDerveer was educated at the Dutch Reformed Theological 
seminary in New Brunswick, N. J. He has constantly officiated in his charge at 
Davenport except during a short time as chaplain of the Eighth Iowa Volunteer 
infantry, which was captured at the battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing. After 
which he resumed his charge at Davenport. 




1833. — No one who has passed through that portion of our county lying upon 
the river above Davenport called Pleasant Valley, terminating at the point of 
the bluff at the mouth of Spencer's creek, can for a moment forget its natural 
beauty. A short distance above East Davenport the bluffs recede from the river, 
leaving the bottom lands a mile wide, very little of which ever overflow. The 
gently sloping bluffs continue for several miles, sometimes approaching and then 
receding from the river, forming at times landscape views of unsurpassed beauty. 
And now that these lands are dotted over with tasteful and well cultivated farms 
and gardens from the river even to the top of the bluffs in places, it presents one 
of the most lovely rural scenes upon the upper Mississippi. This lovely valley 
received its very appropriate name from one of its earliest settlers, Mrs. J. A. 
Birchard, who now hves there to enjoy the fruits of her early toil and privations. 

The first settlement of that valley was coeval with that of Buffalo township. 
In the fall of 1833, Roswell H. Spencer, Esq., built a log cabin upon the bank 
of the river a little below the present ferry landing from Hampton, on the oppo- 
site side of the river, to Valley City, a town laid out upon this side of the river. 
The same strata of limestone rock that underlies Rock island and its vicinity 
crops out along the entire length of this valley and in fact to the head of the 
rapids. There are some springs of pure, cold water gushing forth at the base 
of the bluffs, near Messrs. Spencer's and Birchard's on Duck creek, and on Crow 
creek, called in Indian, "Kaw-ka-kaw-sepo." The timber lands, called 
"Spencer's Woods," were of immense value to this part of Scott county in fur- 
nishing abundant material for the settlement of Pleasant Valley. Some of the 
best farms in Iowa are in this valley and upon the prairie back of it in the same 
township, owned by A. J. Hyde and brother, the Henleys, Donaldsons, Hawleys 
and others who retain their original possessions obtained among the first of Scott 

1834. — During the winter of 1833 and 1834 J. B. Chamberlin, Esq.. moved 
into the cabin built by Mr. Spencer, his being the first white family in the valley. 
In February or ^larch they had a son born, who was the first white child born in 
the township. In the spring of 1834 Mr. Chamberlin built a cabin on the bank 
of the river, a little above the mouth of Crow creek, which is still standing, and 
is upon the farm now owned by G. B. and D. S. Hawley, Esqs. In addition to 



Messrs, Spencer and Chamberlin, the first settlers were Mr. Daniel Davison, 
Calvin Spencer and James Thompson. 

1835. — In 1835 Davis & Haskel built a grist mill, the first ever built in the 
county, or in this part of the state. It was situated on Crow creek, just above 
where the present river road crosses that stream, and although of most rude, primi- 
tive kind, having two common boulders rough hewn, for stones, yet it was one 
of the most essential improvements of that age. Settlers came from a great dis- 
tance for several years to this mill. It was a log building, and after serving the 
public faithfully for many years, it was allowed to tumble to decay. A saw mill, 
the first in the county, was also built in this valley in 1835 by Capt. Qark, of 
Buffalo. This was situated on Duck creek, near its mouth. These two mills, 
humble as they were, supplied the wants of the early settlers, not only of Pleas- 
ant Valley, but all the surrounding country for many miles. The immigrants 
into this township were Mr. M. J. Lyman, James Haskel, Thomas Davis, B. F. 
Pike, D. C. Davison, G. M. Pinneo, H. H. Pinneo, and Avery Pinneo. 

1836. — In the spring of 1836 this little settlement found themselves strug- 
gling and buffeting against the pressure and privations incident to a pioneer life, 
but with brave hearts and iron nerve they toiled on full of hope for the future. 
During the year they had an acquisition to their number of upwards of twenty 
families. This put new courage into their hearts, and the valley began to give 
way from her original beauty to that of the cultivated field and the benefits and 
blessings of a civilized life. Among the immigrants of this year was Mr. John 
Works, who was elected subsequently to the office of county commissioner, which 
office he filled till 1841. He was a plain, unassuming man of excellent judgment 
and sterling integrity. Also, among others, were Thomas Jones, Stephen Hen- 
ley, Andrew J. Hyde, Alfred White, H. G. Stone, J. A. Birchard, Samuel and 
Wheeler Hedges, Anson Rowe, Lewis Blackman, William Trask, Franklin Rowe, 
Hiram Green, John Wilson, Royal Oilman, S. H. Oilman, John J. Clark, John 
Tuttle, Daniel Wyman, and Geo. W. Thorn, most of whom are now living and 
counted among Scott county's earliest and best supporters. 

Messrs. Haskel & Davis built a saw mill near the mouth of Crow creek on the 
Mississippi river, which was afterward purchased by Stephen Henley, who made 
important additions and improvements, and it is still in possession of his heirs. A 
postoffice was established, called "Pleasant Valley," J. A. Birchard, P. M., an 
appointment which he probably held longer than any similar officer in the state. 
In June. Simeon Chamberhn was bom (son of J. B. Chamberlin), who now lives 
in LeClaire, and probably the oldest person living who was born in Pleasant 
Valley township. In the fall of 1836 Mr. Chamberlin's wife died and two of their 
children, one of which was the first child born in the valley. 

1837. — The immigrants of this year were Lyman Smith, Ernest Gould, D. 
N. Pope, Capt. Isaac Hawley, Cyrus P. Hawley, William P. Eldridge, G. J. 
Hyde, Jerr>' Payne, Robert Scroggins, John Campbell and William Nichols. 
Messrs. Spencer and Work built the third sawmill in the county, this summer 
on Spencer's creek, a small stream that empties into the Mississippi near Valley 
City. This creek was called by the Indians Wau-pe-me-me-sepo (White Pigeon 
creek). The Messrs. Hedges built the second grist mill and the saw mill of 
this county this summer on Crow creek, some four miles from its mouth, making 



the stones from common boulders found on the prairies, it is a remarkable 
fact that up to this date, although the settlement was begun and progressed 
rapidly up and down the river and back into the interior as far as the Cedar river 
where mill privileges were numerous, yet Scott county had more mills in opera- 
tion than all the country for forty miles and many settlers came that distance 
to mill. 

1838. — The immigrants of 1838 were G. W. Fenno, Thomas Hall, Isaac 
Hedges, John Emerson, Lucius Moss, Horace Bradley and A. B. Lathrop. These 
settled in various parts of the valley, many of whom still live. The progress 
of the settlement was slow but substantial. 

1839. — ^Among the many who came in 1839 we notice the names of Johnson 
& Boyington who built a distillery, the first, we believe, ever introduced into 
Scott county. But like many others who have undertaken the manufacture of 
spirituous liquors, they failed in the enterprise and removed to other parts. 

1849. — Like other places in the far west this settlement found many dif- 
ficulties to encounter during the long and dreary years from 1840 to 1850. The 
increase of immigration was slow. No public works or expenditure of govern- 
ment money was expected at that day, and all depended alike upon the culture 
of the soil for sustenance. They built houses and opened farms ; they instituted 
schools for the education of their children, and built churches in which to wor- 
ship ; so that in 1850 Pleasant Valley township as a rural district stood foremost 
among the settlements of Scott county. The early settlers were men of nerve 
and ability, and well knew that honest industry was sure of reward; and many 
now live to enjoy the fruits of their early labor. 

One peculiarity, not only of the adaptation of the soil of Pleasant Valley, 
but of her people, is the raising of onions. In all Iowa, and probably nowhere 
west of the Mississippi river are there so many onions raised as in this town- 
ship. Tens of thousands of bushels are annually shipped as the products of 
this valley. From 300 to 400 bushels to the acre is considered a common crop, 
while some have raised as many as 500 and even 600 bushels to the acre. The 
onions raised are of a most excellent quality and bring the highest prices in the 
southern market. 

Among the prominent citizens of this township is Mr. J. A. Birchard, who 
represented this county in the legislature in 1838-39. He has at times assessed 
the county, and been a public superintendent of highways. His sound, sterling 
principles have ever received the confidence and respect of all who know him. 
He is said to be one of the best farmers of our county and takes much pains in 
raising stock and fruit. He retains the original lands occupied in his first set- 
tlement. Having erected new and substantial buildings he lives at his ease, 
enjoying that comfort which his industry and perseverance have secured. 

Roswell H. Spencer, one of the first settlers of the valley, is a farmer but 
his attention has been turned more particularly to mills and milling. From an 
early day Mr. Spencer has furnished lumber for improvements in this portion 
of the county and done much toward advancing the interests of the settlement. 
In 1856 or 1857 he erected at a heavy cost a large steam flouring mill near his 
residence in Valley City which has done a very good business. 



Capt. Isaac Hawley, another old settler, is with his sons, George B. and 
Daniel S. Hawley, one of the largest farmers in the valley. His early success 
in raising onions was his first step toward his future prosperity. His life has 
been lengthened out to a good old age and he lives blessed with all the comforts 
of life, respected by all who know him, happy in his decHning years to look back 
upon the scenes through which he has passed and feel that his life has not been 
spent in vain. 

Stephen Henley was another of the pioneers who settled in the valley at 
an early day, and did much toward the progress of agriculture besides manu- 
facturing lumber to a considerable extent. He died about the year 1850 leav- 
ing a large estate to his children and an unblemished character. 

Christopher Rowe settled in 185 1 and although he has been for many years 
a non-resident of the valley, yet his early efforts in behalf of the infant set- 
tlement will long be remembered. His open and generous heart has often made 
glad the weak and discouraged while his aid and counsel inspired confidence in 
those who languished under the severe trials incident to a frontier life. 

Andrew J. Hyde and brother were among the first who opened farms upon 
the prairie back from the river, and still retain the lands upon which they first 
settled, and rank among the best farmers of Scott county. Andrew J. Hyde was 
the member elected to the legislature in 1846 and served with much acceptance 
to his constituents. 




1834. — At the treaty in 1832 with the Sac and Fox Indians at Davenport 
(see Chapter I of this history), they gave to Antoine LeClaire, Esq., a section 
of land at the head of the rapids (640 acres). They had at the same treaty 
presented Mrs. LeClaire with a similar amount of land where the city of Daven- 
port now stands. The reason of this gift was none other, we believe, than out 
of friendship and respect for Mr. and Mrs. LeClaire. He had been with them 
from boyhood, either in the employ of the Fur Company or of the government 
as interpreter, and was very popular with them. The American Fur Company 
at an early day had a trading house on a small island some three miles below 
LeClaire called Davenport's island, afterward Smith's island and now Fulton's 
island. The Indians came across from Rock river, Meredosia swamp and from 
the Wabesipinecon river to this post to trade. The Indians ever loved to live 
along the thick timber lands of the "Pau-ke-she-tuck" (rapids) or swift water, 
where they found abundance of fish. There was much game, also. The for- 
est was dense all through the country lying along the Mississippi river from 
Spencer's creek at the head of Pleasant valley to Princeton and was of large 
growth. A corresponding tract, also, of like character lay along the opposite 
side of the river. 

The township of LeClaire in its general character is similar to other river 
townships ; perhaps rather more uneven along a portion of its bluffs, but its 
prairie lands back are among the choicest in Iowa and well settled by enterpris- 
ing and industrious farmers. 

The first settlement of LeClaire was not upon that portion given to Mr. 
LeClaire by the Indians, but was made by Eleazer Parkhurst, Esq.. we believe, 
from the state of Massachusetts. He purchased the claim just above the north 
line of the reserve, of George W. Harlan who built the cabin thereon. This 
cabin stood on or near the place of the present residence of Waldo Parkhurst 
in the present limits of the city of LeGaire and was the first actually settled 
claim in the township. We believe this cabin was built in February, 1834. His 
brother, the late Sterling Parkhurst, Esq., was the second settler, but the same 
season Nathan and Martin W. Smith settled below the town where the old mill 
now stands, Ira F. Smith came in the autumn of that year and now lives on the 



old place of Martin W. Smith. All of these early pioneers are now dead except 
Ira F. Smith. 

But there seem to have been others even at an earlier day anxious to secure 
so desirable a site for a town. The importance of the location had attracted the 
attention of some who at an early day were passing up and down the JMissis- 
sippi river and were not blind to the coming future. I here insert a document 
dated the next year after the treaty and after Mr. LeClaire came into posses- 
sion of the land in which a contract is made for the town site of LeClaire proper : 

Whereas, it is agreed by and between Antoine LeClaire of the one part and 
George Davenport, Enoch C. March and John Reynolds of the other part, wit- 
nesseth, that the said LeClaire agrees to convey by deed in fee simple to the said 
Davenport, March and Reynolds, forty acres each, to be taken out of a section 
of land at the head of the rapids which was granted to said LeClaire by the late 
treaty with the Sac and Fox Indians. Said land is situated on the Mississippi 
river on the west side thereof, said LeQaire reserving forty acres himself of 
said section making in all one-quarter section. 

Said quarter section is to be located so as to be the most suitable for the 
purpose of laying out a town thereon. And all the parties to this contract agree 
further to lay out a town on said quarter section of land and to be equal partners 
and proprietors thereof. 

Said quarter section of land is to be located and surveyed as soon as practi- 
cable and the same surveyed also as soon as practicable into lots. 

Said Davenport, March and Reynolds in consideration of said land agree 
to pay him (LeClaire) $80, each one. 

27th March, 1833. Test, K. McKenzey. 

Signed, and sealed : 

Antoine LeQaire. 
Geo. Davenport, 
Enoch C. March, 
John Reynolds, 

1835. — At a subsequent date the interest of Enoch C. March. Esq., consist- 
ing of one-fourth of the town site was purchased by our fellow townsman, Capt. 
James May who still retains a large portion of it. Mr. Eleazer Parkhurst opened 
the first farm upon the prairies back of the town. The town of LeClaire was 
laid out into lots in the spring or summer of 1837 by the town company, sur- 
veyed by Wm. R, Shoemaker, assisted by Henry S. Howell, both United States 
deputy surveyors. 'About the same time Mr. Parkhurst having disposed of a 
part of his claim to Col. T. C. Eads. they jointly laid out the town of Parkliurst. 

1836. — During the summer of 1836 Mr. Parkhurst applied to the postoffice 
department for a postoffice at that place. He immediately received a favorable 
answer, with the appointment of postmaster and the office was named Park- 
hurst, after the name of the petitioner. 

During the years 1835 and 1836 emigrants came in and made settlements. 
Among these was Mr. William Rowe, Josiah Scott. John M. and Griswold Van- 
Duzer, Eli Smith. Dr. Zachariah Grant. William Cousal. Philip Suiter. Noble 
McKinstry. Rockwell McKinstry. John Lewis and others. A son of M. E. 



Parkhurst, the Rev. Wm. J. Parkhurst, still resides in this township and is 
the oldest inhabitant now resident in the place. The two towns, LeClaire and 
Parkhurst, were for many years rivals in point of progress and exhibited many 
of those traits so common among the embryo cities of the west. Soon after 
Parkhurst was laid out, its name was changed with that of its postoffice to 
Berlin and finally to LeClaire. 

1837. — Col. T. C. Eads made the first important improvement in Parkhurst 
in the summer of 1837 by the erection of a large frame dwelling, thirty feet by 
forty feet, two stories high, and it was one of the wonders of the age. Our 
fellow citizen, Nathaniel Squires, was the builder and it stands a worthy monu- 
ment of the genius, enterprise and ambition of those early pioneers. 

1838. — In the spring of 1838 Ralph Letton, Esq., of Cincinnati purchased 
a portion of Col. Eads' interest in the town and a disagreement among the owners 
retarded the settlement and improvement of the place for several years. No 
decided improvement in either of the towns took place however until 1841. 
But the progress of settlement by farmers upon the edge of the prairie was 
considerable, and many farms were opened along the river up to the Wabesi- 
pinecon bottoms. 

1839 and 1840 were, however, dark days in the west, alike to all and every 
new enterprise or even a new comer was hailed as an acquisition to the in- 
fant colony. Lemuel Parkhurst, Esq., now^ a resident of LeClaire, first opened 
a store in 1839 in the little stone building in Parkhurst now owned by Mr. W. 
Gardner. In 1840 the old stone building yet standing on the bank of the river 
at the foot of Walnut street was erected by Eleazer Parkhurst. The same 
year he and his nephew Waldo Parkhurst who settled there in 1837 and is still 
a merchant in LeGaire opened in the stone store a large stock of goods of all 
kinds and continued in the same until 1849 when the firm was dissolved. 

1841. — In 1841 Charles Ames, William Allen, A. K. Philleo and Martin W. 
Smith made improvements and settled in the town of LeClaire. Mr. Ames was 
from Port Byron, on the opposite side of the river and brought with him a stock 
of goods. He built the house now owned and occupied by his widow, it being the 
first house built in the city of LeGaire or on the reserve. Here he opened the 
first stock of goods ever oflfered for sale in that place. Mr. Ames died in 1846. 
Mr. Philleo built the house occupied as a bakery now by Mr. Scheck. These 
were the dark days of LeClaire. Many an old settler will call to mind the few 
little tenements scattered along the banks of the river through both of the vil- 
lages and well remember the stately oaks that grew along the streets where 
now the beautiful mansions and the merchants' blocks rear their massive piles. 
From this date to 1847 but little progress was made at either town in the way of 
improvements. Steamboats generally laid up there in low water and windy 
weather on account of the difficulty of crossing the rapids at such times, and 
often in extreme low water lighters or flat boats were used to convey freight 
over as at the present day employing many men. It is the residence of the rapids 
pilots for boats and rafts. The settlement of the prairie back from the town con- 
tinued slowly and occasionally a new edifice would appear in LeGaire or Park- 



In February, 1837, Messrs. A. H. Davenport and Samuel Lyter of Rock- 
ingham opened a store of dry goods and groceries. Mr. Lyter soon gave place 
in the firm to Robert Christie, Esq., and Winchester Sherman ; and in the autumn 
of 1848 this firm erected the first sawmill in LeClaire, and the following year 
a flouring mill was added. In the summer of 185 1 this mill was burned down 
and in four months after the firm of Davenport & Rogers who then owned it, 
erected the Rapids mill upon the same ground. 

1848. — The comparative size of the two villages at this date may be seen 
by an article which we quote from the LeClaire Republic of March 2^, 1859, 
from the pen of E. Russell, Esq., then editor of that paper: 

"In 1848," says Mr. Russell, "when we first visited the locality LeClaire and 
Parkhurst were separated by a 'gulf which though easily passed kept each town 
entirely separate from the other. A beautiful and dense grove of oaks extended 
from Reynolds street up to Holland street, and no cabins or fences marred the 
scene. LeClaire then contained nine frame dwelling houses, two brick ditto, 
one brick store, one frame ditto, occupied, and one or two unoccupied, one brick 
building used as a pork house, one blacksmith shop, the Baptist church, oc- 
cupied but not finished, and the old Methodist church in course of erection. 
Parkhurst boasted of eight frame dwelling houses, one brick ditto, two log ditto, 
one stone ditto, two stone store houses, one frame barn and one log ditto." 

It was not until 1849 o^" 1850 that either of the towns began to assume the 
appearance of a village, but from that time both increased in population and 
buildings as well as in extension of the limits of their towns. In 185 1 Messrs. 
Davenport & Rogers purchased of Mr. LeClaire the remaining strip of land lying 
between the two towns of LeClaire and Parkhurst and laid it out into building 
lots. This gave a new impetus to business of all kinds. Mills and manufac- 
tories were erected. Mechanics of all kinds settled in the place, and many large 
brick stores were erected, so that in 1855 on petition of the inhabitants of both 
towns the legislature by act incorporated the city of LeClaire, including within 
its limits the town of Parkhurst. 

At this date there were within the limits of this city no less than eleven dry 
goods stores, two clothing stores, one watchmaker, one saddler, two boat and 
provision stores, one bakery, five blacksmith shops, three wagon shops, one tin 
shop and stoves, one hardware store, one boot and shoe store, five churches, 
two cooper shops, two tailor shops, two shoemakers, two livery stables, five hotels, 
one banking house, one printing office, two steam flouring mills, one steam saw- 
mill, three lawyers, six physicians, two cabinet shops, candy shops and oyster 
saloons in any quantity, house and ship carpenters, stone masons and brick layers, 
a boat yard where steamers are repaired and keel boats made and repaired, and 
a ferry across the Mississippi river. 

There are many interesting anecdotes connected with the early history of this 
township, like many others in the country. All the pioneer laws of a new country 
were enforced here, and that same rigid regard for the rights of all was duly 
noticed. Some very rough specimens of humanity were of course among the 
early settlers, and many a kind heart covered up by a very rough exterior. It 
was deemed in those days a very dangerous thing for one man to "jump" an- 
other's "claim." The man who had the temerity to attempt such a thing was 




looked upon as likely to do worse deeds when opportunity presented. A rather 
laug-hable farce of this kind took place in September, 1837. At a meeting of the 
inhabitants of the settlement matters had been talked over as to the peace and 
good order of things, and the meeting about to adjourn, when a young man, a 
stranger, rather casually remonstrated, against any one holding more than one 
"claim," and not that, unless he lived on it. He was from Hennepin, Ills., and 
most evidently had not traveled "the country all over," assuming rather more 
airs than seemed necessary for the occasion. His remarks were heard by one 
Simeon Cragin, a discharged soldier, and one of those unceremonious, backwoods, 
frontier, half civilized humans that lurk around the border settlements, who im- 
mediately presented himself before him and thus addressed him: "My name, sir, 
is Simeon Cragin. I own fourteen 'claims.' and if any man 'jumps' one of them, 
I will shoot him down at once, sir. I am a gentleman, sir, and a scholar. I was 
educated in Bangor, have been in the United States army and served my country 
faithfully — am the discoverer of the 'Wopsey' — can ride a grizzly bear, or whip 
any human that ever crossed the Mississippi; and if you dare to jump one of 
my claims, die you must. My name is Simeon Cragin, sir, all the way from 
Bangor, and you must leave these diggings, with but few remarks." The in- 
creasing rage of "Simeon" became alarming to the young Sucker and he found 
the shortest road possible to the state of Illinois, and we presume has never since 
visited Iowa with a view at least of "jumping claims." 

There are also many striking reminiscences of the Indians in their sojourn 
both before and after the whites took possession of the country that might be in- 
teresting, and may be added hereafter. There are those now living in LeClaire 
who remember with what satisfaction the Indians often returned to their forest 
home at the head of the rapids. In 1837 over 1,000 were encamped where the 
city now stands. 

But while the people of LeClaire were thus busily engaged in building up a 
city, they did not forget in its earlier days when their sun of prosperity looked 
dark and uncertainty brooded over their undertakings, to turn their attention to 
schools and churches. Of the first little gatherings for prayer or of the first ser- 
mon in some small cabin where the little pioneer band first met we know nothing, 
but the first building erected for that purpose was the brick Baptist church in 
the summer of 1847. I* was enclosed that autumn, and a small room in the base- 
ment finished ofif so that it could be occupied by the district school during the six 
days and on the Sabbath for divine service. This room, measuring about sixteen 
feet by twenty feet, continued to be the headquarters of the grammar school and 
the ballot box for some five years. Upon election days the school was let out 
to accommodate the officials in the weightier matters of the law. In 1849. the 
church being still weak in numbers and poor, entered into an agreement with the 
Congregational church to make the building answer for both congregations. The 
main edifice was to be finished, the original owners were to lath it, and the Con- 
gregationalists were to plaster it, and for so doing the latter were to have the use 
of it free on alternate Sabbaths for four years. In consequence, however, of 
delay on the part of the Baptist brethren in performing their contract, the church 
was not plastered till the spring of 1850, and the slips or pews were not put in 
until autumn. During this summer (1850) the audiences of the respective 



churches had to sit on seats constructed by laying rough joists on equally rough 
blocks — seats of the most rude and primitive kind. But it appears that the immi- 
gration into the flourishing village of LeClaire that summer was so great houses 
could not be found to contain them and a family occupied one end of the church 
as a residence — having a calico curtain separating kitchen, dining room and par- 
lor froin the sanctuary. 

The Rev. W. Rutledge was pastor of the Baptist and Rev. H. W. Cobb the 
stated supply of the Congregational church which occupied the edifice until the 
completion and dedication of their neat little church on the 22d of December, 


The old Methodist church was built in the autumn of 1848, and was used in 
its unfinished state during the following winter, being used also, one end of it, 
as a carpenter's shop, the bench and tools crowded into one corner on the Sabbath. 
This building is yet standing and is rented for a district school. The first resi- 
dent Methodist minister in LeClaire was the Rev. Joel B. Taylor. He was the 
first to occupy the parsonage, erected the same autumn as the church. A new 
Methodist church edifice was commenced in 1856, and completed and dedicated in 
August, 1857. 

The old Presbyterian church was built, we believe, in 1850, at a cost of $500. 
In 1855 it was sold to the school district and converted into a schoolhouse. In 
the summer of that year Mr. T. H. Longbottom entered into a contract to erect 
a new church, which he completed the following season at a total cost of $4,180. 
The dedication services were held on the 15th of September, 1856. This building 
was destroyed by fire on the 2d of Jime, 1859, supposed to be the work of an 

The Congregational church was organized in 1849. Rev. H. W. Cobb was 
stated supply from June 1850, to December 185 1, and the Rev. L. R. White 
from that date to June i, 1854. The church edifice was erected in 1853, at a cost 
of $1,060, labor and material being at that time very cheap. 

There are Catholic, United Presbyterian and Disciples' churches in the city, 
the statistics of which I am not able to give. 

The "Bratton House" was commenced in the summer of 1854, finished the 
following season, and opened by H. E. and D. B. Brown in October, 1855. 

A boat yard called the Marine Railway was commenced in March, 1836, and 
the first boat was hauled out the i8th of September of the same year. 






1835. — The first permanent claimants to land in this township were Giles M. 
and Haswell H. Pinneo, who made their claims in the autumn of 1835 and 
moved on to them as permanent settlers in the spring of 1836. George W. Harlan 
had made some claims on speculation even before this, but made no real settle- 
ment. Giles M. Pinneo settled where he now lives and Haswell H. took his 
claim where a part of the city of Princeton now stands. Many of the old settlers 
will remember his neat hewed log cabin and the comforts it often afforded to 
those who came beneath its roof. He died many years since much respected by 
all who knew him. 

In the spring of 1836 Thomas Hubbard. Sen., who had been living on the 
opposite side of the river from the time of the Black Hawk war, moved over and 
settled on what is now a part of the city of Princeton. Mr. Hubbard was from 
Kentucky, had served in the Black Hawk war, and seemed to have had much of 
the old Kentucky hatred for Indians. While settled upon the Illinois side of the 
river he had frequent attacks from them, which were repelled in true pioneer 
spirit. The Indians were in the habit of stealing from him such few articles of 
"animal civilization" as he was able to get around him, such as fowls, hogs and 
cattle. He had procured some bees from the forest, which at that time were 
plenty, when one day on his return to his cabin he found they had been robbed 
by the Indians. He was soon upon their trail with his rifle, and came up with 
them as they were leaving the shore in their canoes. He fired upon them, when 
the fire was returned from the canoes. Hubbard taking to a tree for shelter. 
Several shots were fired and one Indian was killed. Many other skirmishes were 
often related by the old man of his exploits with the redskins. In his old age he 
became superstitious and somewhat shattered in mind. He returned, I believe, 
to Kentucky and died there some years since. 

Some time in the year 1837, Daniel Hire settled about four miles from the 
Mississippi river upon the Wabespinecon bottom near where he now lives. Ben- 
jamin F. Pike came up from Rockingham in the spring of 1838 and brought 
with him a small stock of goods, which was the first store of any kind ever opened 
in the township. The same year Jesse R. James and Samuel Sturdivant settled 
near Lost Grove, and that winter John B. Doty. Esq., settled about two miles 



from the Mississippi, where he now lives. The first frame house built in the 
township was by Daniel Hire in 1837. 

In the spring of 1838 Benjamin DooHttle established the first pubHc ferry 
across the Wabesipinecon on the road from Davenport to Camanche. Jonas 
Barber built a mill this year propelled by steam, which was the first of any kind 
built in the township. There was a distillery also built the same year by Jacob 
Rose. The immigrants of this year were Abijah Goodrich and family, Avery D 
Pinneo, Gideon Averill, Wm. Palmer, Franklin Rowe, Sterling Parkhurst and 
Matthias L. Pinneo. 

From the year 1840 settlement was slow in the township for ten years, but 
has gradually filled up, so that at present there are about 260 voters. The first 
deaths in the township were Mrs. Mary Sweet and Mrs. Lucy Goodrich. The 
first children born were Henry Hire, Thomas Doty and Albert Pinneo. 

In the first settlement of Princeton township, like other places at that day, the 
pioneer families underwent many privations. Supplies of every kind except wild 
meat had to be obtained from Fort Armstrong on Rock island. These were taken 
up by water over the rapids in Indian canoes. It was but little they were able 
to purchase and all that was expected in those days were the bare necessaries of 
life. A story is told of Mr. Pinneo making a journey to Davenport after it be- 
came settled and a store had been established with a lot of beans in order to ex- 
change them for goods to make clothing for his family. It was bitter cold weather 
and on the way he had an attack of the ague. He exchanged his beans with much 
difficulty at twenty-five cents per bushel, heaping measure, and took thin five 
cent calico at the rate of twenty-five to thirty-seven and a half cents per yard. 
These were the beginnings of some of those who settled in this township. But 
brighter days have dawned on many of the old settlers who are now enjoying the 
fruits of early toil. 

Princeton City was laid off (a part of it) in 1852 and recorded. Other por- 
tions were laid off, but never recorded. Additions have been made since. 

The first postoffice was established in 1841 and Haswell H. Pinneo appointed 
postmaster. The first store was opened in 1840 by B. F. Pike, as before stated. 
The next one was opened by a company known as "Lawyer Hammond & Co." In 
1848 Col. W. F. Breckinridge, from Pennsylvania, opened a store in the city, 
calling the place at that time "Pinnacle Point." There is a Presbyterian and a 
Methodist church organized in the city. 

The city of Princeton was incorporated, January, 1857, and in the month of 
March following the first charter election was held. Samuel Porter was elected 
the first mayor and resigned in May. At a special election held soon after Wil- 
liam Shew was elected mayor to fill the vacancy. At this time, the city contained 
about 250 inhabitants, one store, kept by Walker & Armstrong, two public houses 
and fifteen dwellings, one smith shop, one steam saw mill, by John Forsyth, one 
church and forty-six dwellings. 

In the month of March, 1858, William H. Thompson was elected mayor. This 
year the population was about 500. The improvements were greater in the youth- 
ful city of Princeton than at any other point on the Mississippi river for the num- 
ber of inhabitants. This year there was built one steam saw mill by Isaac Sher- 
man, from Cleveland, Ohio, at a cost of $8,000, capable of cutting 30,000 feet of 



lumber per day, two steam grist mills (first class) one by McKinstry & Hubbard 
at a cost of $12,000, one by Herbert & Fishback at a cost of $9,000 but before 
it was completed the firm failed. D. D. McCoy built a large house and opened a 
fancy dry goods store. This season there were sixty-two dwellings built, among 
which was the dwelling of Dr. G. S. Bell, which cost about $5,000. 

In March, 1859, Thomas Gait, M. D., was elected mayor. This year the popu- 
lation had reached 1,000, but owing to the hard times there was not so much im- 
provement as the year previous. Walker & Patterson built a steam planing mill 
with all the improved machinery for making sash, doors and blinds, which was a 
great benefit to the place and surrounding country, besides being remunerative 
to its enterprising projectors. F. G. Welch this year built a fancy store three 
stories high, but Mr. Welch did not live to enjoy his enterprising undertaking. 
Mr. R. Bennett also built a large store and opened a good stock of dry goods and 
groceries and with the assistance of Abl. Kurney started a tin shop. This year there 
was another church built and thirty-two dwellings. Dr. Gait built a residence for 
himself which is the finest building in the place. It is of brick, thirty-six feet by 
forty feet, two stories and a half high and finished in the latest style, an honor to 
the enterprising doctor of which he is eminently deserving. At this time there 
were fifteen carpenters, six blacksmiths, four shoemakers, two tailors, one tinker, 
seven stores, one drug store, two churches, two public houses, one livery stable, 
two steam saw mills, two steam grist mills, one steam planing mill, two carriage 
shops, four blacksmith shops, two public schools, two private schools, one lawyer. 

Princeton now bids fair to outrival some of her more successful neighbors. 
By the 4th of July, i860, there will be a direct communication with Chicago by 
railroad. The iron for the Sterling & Rock Island road is contracted for and a 
portion of it will be delivered by rail this winter. The balance will be delivered 
as soon as the ice leaves the river, as it comes by the way of New Orleans. The 
road when finished will be thirty-six miles nearer Chicago than by the Chicago & 
Rock Island road ; fifty-six miles nearer Chicago from this place than by way of 
Davenport. There has also been $27,500 of stock taken and secured by the 
citizens of Princeton by bond and mortgage of the Sterling & Rock Island road. 
There is a great opening for manufacturers by water power. There is a chance 
of securing a water power of seventeen and one-half feet fall with the outlay 
of $30,000. By tapping the Wabesipinecon river about four miles above this 
place the water can be brought into this city at any desired point with the above 
amount of fall — the survey has been made by scientific engineers and the result 
as stated is therefore unquestionable. 

The changes that have taken place in this township since its first settlement 
have been as great as any other portion of Scott county. It has much very fine 
agricultural lands with abundance of timber and rock, and contains some of the 
best farms in the county. We prophesy that at no very distant day the city of 
Princeton will be one of the most flourishing towns upon the Mississippi river. 
It has the material in and around it and its enterprising inhabitants will allow 
no opportunity to pass unimproved that will tend to advance the interests of 
their thriving and beautiful city. 







1 v" , *^ 


,^ 1 







This grove of timber of considerable extent lies between Walnut or Pease's 
grove and Allen's grove. It is about twelve miles from Davenport and five miles 
from the Wabesipinecon river. There are some of the best farms around this 
grove of any in the county or the state. The face of the country is gently roll- 
ing,' the soil of the richest quaHty and the beautifully cultivated fields sloping 
a,way from the grove on every side present one of the most interesting agricul- 
tural scenes in the western country. 

The settlement was begun in the autumn of 1837 by John C. and William, 
Quinn, Joseph and James Quinn, George Daly, Alphonso Warren, and Aaron 
Norris with their families from Ohio. The Quinns first settled on the banks of 
the Wabesipinecon river, established a ferry, and subsequently laid out a town 
called Point Pleasant. The following year, 1838, Charles Elder and family 
from Pensylvania, Elihu Alvord from New York, H. H. Pease from Indiana, 
Alexander and James Brownlie from Scotland, with families settled in the 
grove, and the little band of hardy pioneers began their life in earnest upon the 
new and fertile soil of Iowa. 

Nowhere in all the west do I remember of having witnessed such a begin- 
ning as was exhibited in this little colony. There seemed to be more of the faith 
of the Puritan fathers among the emigrants than any that I had ever witnessed. 
All seemed to feel an entire dependence upon one another and on the ruling hand 
of Providence. One common interest seemed to cement them all and a spirit of 
brotherly love prevailed throughout the settlement. In the spring of 1839 sev- 
eral other families arrived and the want of Christian fellowship and teachings 
was so apparent that Alexander and James Brownlie commenced a Sabbath 
school in their own log cabin which has been kept up to the present time. All 
attended, parents and children. The New Testament was the only book taught 
except the spelling book and the plain interpretation and meaning of the lessons 
read was impressed upon the minds of all. Many now live who can testify to the 
blessed influences and early impressions gathered at this primitive Sabbath 
school. A part of the Sabbath was devoted to regular preaching. Christian wor- 
ship was maintained by James Brownlie assisted by his brother Alexander, John 
Quinn and others. From these feeble efiforts the germ planted in faith has sprung 
up a Christian church at Long Grove that has been maintained with growing in- 



terest to the present day; and every Sabbath as its consecrated hours roll round 
finds the people of this rich, thriving moral and Christian neighborhood sitting 
under the teachings of those who at an early day spake to them of Christ the 

There is in this township between the high ridge of land upon which Long 
Grove is situated and the Wabesipinecon river a strip of land some two miles wide 
of sandy soil and although not as rich and fertile as other prairie, yet it has been 
settled up within a few years by an Irish colony mostly from Canada, of the 
Roman Catholic faith. They have a small church erected and service performed 
at stated seasons by a priest from Davenport. There are but few farms along 
the immediate banks of the Wabesipinecon, it being subject to annual overflow 
and generally skirted with timber. 

In a letter from Alexander Brownlie, Esq., who had kindly furnished me 
with many interesting facts connected with the early history of the settlement at 
Long Grove, he says: "In 1838 flour was worth at the Grove $11 per barrel, corn 
meal, $1 per bushel, and pork 15 cents per pound; seed wheat, $1 and potatoes, 50 
cents ; that it required four bushels of wheat to get a pound of tea. A good cat 
was worth a pound of tea. To show the value of a cat in those days," says 
Mr. Brownlie, "I traveled from Long Grove to the residence of a Mr. Ridgway 
some distance above Davenport (about fourteen miles) to obtain a cat which was 
given me by special favor ; Mrs. Ridgeway having first folded the precious animal 
to her bosom, shed tears at parting, and kissed the little domestic comfort before 
she could part with such an important treasure." 

Mills were scarce in Iowa at that day and many families lived on hominy and 
cornmeal ground in the coffee mill. The nearest mill was at Pleasant Valley and 
another at the mouth of Pine creek, Muscatine county. 

In 1840 George Daily built a small grist mill on the little creek north of 
Walnut grove. It was the product of his own labor, except stones, which were 
cut out of a prairie boulder and finished up for running by Alexander Brownlie, 
who was a stone mason. Mr. Daily, who was an honest, hardworking man, ground 
for many years all the grain for the neighborhood, and made very good flour, 
although it took him some time to do it upon his rude and primitive mill. He was 
called "the honest miller." The old mill has gone to decay and the builder re- 
moved to other parts. 

Elihu Alvord, Esq., was from the state of New York. He is still living with 
his children near Davenport and although the oldest pioneer in the county, now 
eighty-three years of age, he enjoys uncommonly good health, is full of life and 
vivacity and is happy in his old age to behold the change from the days of his 
first settlement to the present times. 

It was about the last of August, 1838, that Alexander and James Brownlie 
built their cabins of logs and boards in the east end of the grove in a cluster of 
large trees that sheltered them from the bleak prairie winds. They afterward 
sawed lumber by hand with a whip saw, rolling the logs upon platform and one 
standing beneath. In this way they not only supplied themselves with lumber 
but furnished much for their neighbors. Lumber then was worth some $40 in 
Davenport and not as good as that produced by the Brownlies, and what now could 
be had for $10 per thousand. We can well remember the solid comfort one found 



in their first cabin. It was the only place for a long time between Davenport and 
Point Pleasant on the Wabesipinecon that the traveler could find feed for his 
horse or food for himself, and he never was turned away cold or hungry, nor had 
he ever any reason to complain of high charges or want of attention. The trav- 
eler was ever welcome and although no designs or pretensions were made to 
keep a public house, yet none knew better or were more willing to add to the 
comforts of all than Mrs. Brownlie. The first stage road and for some time 
the only road to DeWitt from Davenport passed through this grove. The 
Messrs. Quinn at a later day opened farms on the -prairie west of the Grove, 
where most of them still reside. James Quinn was elected the present year ( 1859) 
to the house of representatives on the republican ticket, and is a man competent 
and well worthy to fill the honorable station to which he has been elected. 

The Brownlies still hold their original possessions with their lands under the 
best of cultivation. The old log cabins have given place to beautiful dwellings 
surrounded by choice fruit trees and gardens and the Messrs. Brownlie 
are considered among the neatest, most judicious and prosperous farmers 
in Scott county. Hugh M. Thompson also settled in this grove at a later 
day, and is said to be not only a good farmer but scientific in his opera- 
tions and pays great attention to improvements in agriculture and the breeding 
of good stock. There are many others in and around this grove, both of 
the new and old settlers, well deserving of notice, and who have done much 
toward the progress of agriculture in that settlement. In the early days of this 
colony there seemed to have been planted as a basis good sound moral and reli- 
gious principles, and they have been maintained to the present time. 

In those days men were expected to be honest and were honest. "No one 
thought then of locking doors," says Mr. Brownlie. The postoffice was at 
Point Pleasant and John Quinn, postmaster. He was often from home and the 
office left open for all to wait on themselves. The whole neighborhood would 
take their letters to mail, and leaving them would get their mail matter, leaving 
the postage on the letter box or accounting afterward for the same, none desiring 
to cheat the postmaster. Everybody was poor alike and needed friends and was 
always friendly. There was none of that grasping, selfish disposition exhibited 
in many of the early settlements of our country and consequently but little quarrel- 
ing about claims or anything else. There was room for all and the Long Grove 
settlement was a pattern of excellence in its early struggle, and nobly did it suc- 
ceed. It stands today among the most enterprising moral and religious communi- 
ties in our county or in our state. 

A span of horses and wagon in those days were hired at $5 per day. The 
Brownlies owned the first wagon and the first fanning mill in or about the settle- 
ment which was used in common by the whole community for many years. "In 
the autumn of 1838," says Mr. Brownlie, "when the first snow fell, our oxen 
strayed away and early the next morning I started on their track following them 
across the uninhabited priarie toward the Mississippi river, and came up with 
them in Pleasant Valley about dark, without any money with me or acquaintance 
in that neighborhood. I applied for shelter and food of a true pioneer who has 
often fed the hungry and made glad the heart of the distressed emigrant by 
his cheerful and lively disposition and above all his free and generous heart." 



It was the rude shanty of Capt. Isaac Hawley, then just settled and who still 
lives to enjoy the heartfelt gratitude of many of the pioneers of Scott county 
who have so often shared his generous and kindly greeting. The captain not 
only gave him the hospitalities of the night but supplied him unsolicited with 
money he might need on his return. How sweet are the remembrances of such 
acts of kindness as we look back upon the scenes of our early life in the west ! 

The Long Grove settlement has now become large and populous. The little 
log church erected in the days of weakness and poverty still stands upon the 
beautiful rise of ground on the east side of the grove, and is used for a school 
house while just beside it stands their new and elegant church building erected 
the present season. Long may they enjoy the rewards of their early toil, they so 
richly deserve. 





Blue Grass, or "Blue Grass Point," as it was first called by the white settlers, 
received its name from a point of timber land that extended into the prairie 
near the Muscatine county line. It was a great camping place of the Indians in 
their travels from the trading post on Rock island to their hunting grounds 
upon the Cedar, Iowa and Des Moines rivers. It is a noted fact that wherever 
the Indian has been in the habit of camping, blue grass was sure to follow, hence 
the name of "Blue Grass," was early given to this point from the abundance of 
that kind of grass found there. 

This township or precinct consists of but one regular township of land (town- 
ship 78, north, range 2, east) six miles square, but the town or village of 
Blue Grass is situated directly on the southern boundary of the township and the 
settlement of this place belongs as much to Buffalo township as to Blue Grass, 
when strictly bounded by township lines ; but we speak of the early and present 
settlement without regard to lines. The village is located in the southwest corner 
of the township in the State road leading from Davenport to Muscatine, it being 
ten miles from the former and eighteen miles from the latter place, and about 
four miles from the Mississippi river. The township is nearly all prairie, but its 
southern boundary running along its entire length near the timber of Buffalo 
township, has been supplied with ample material for farming and building purposes. 

The settlement first began at this point, we believe, in 1836, by a Mr. Sprague, 
Mr. Sry and perhaps one or two more ; but in 1837 James E. Burnside. James 
Wilkinson, Samuel and Francis Little and one or two more, made claims upon the 
prairie. In 1838 Asa Foster, George and Charles Metteer, Alexander and Horace 
Dunlap made claims and some improvements. In 1839 Mr. Berringer owned the 
claims now in the possession of Robert Humphrey. The same year Franklin 
Easley opened the farm now owned by William McGarvey. Mr. Henry Schutt 
made a farm east of Picayune grove, formerly called Grant's grove, a small cluster 
of beautiful oaks now on the Telegraph road where Judge Grant in 1839 opened 
a model farm and raised some of the finest blooded stock in the state. 

Among others who settled in and around Blue Grass before 1841 were Peter 
and Robert Wilson, A. W. Campbell. Robert Burnsides. Rufus Catlin, John P. 
Cooper, John D. Richey, John and Joseph P. Robison. David Gabbert, Daniel 



Berryman, Morris Baker and sons, George C. Havill, of whom many are still 
residents there, and among the most enterprising of the inhabitants. These were 
the pioneers, who made the first beginning in and around this beautiful section 
of country. With what satisfaction and pleasure, must these early settlers now 
look upon this township of land where the wolf and the deer were the only objects 
that could be seen a few years ago, all covered over with cultivated farms and 
dotted with farm houses, many of which are large and beautiful ! The progress 
of the settlement, like others in the county, was slow and discouraging from 
1840 until about 1851 or 1852. 

In the summer of 1853 when the M. & M. railroad line was located, the land 
in this township became valuable, and was sought after with a perfect mania. 
It was but a year or two before it was almost one solid row of farms from Blue 
Grass to Walcott, which is located on the railroad in the northwest corner of 
the township, and is the first station out from Davenport on that road. It is a vil- 
lage of small dimensions, has a church, a hotel, store, etc., and good farms and 
farming country around it. Among the many beautiful farms that one passes 
in going from Walcott to Blue Grass is that of E. Steinhilber. This farm con- 
tains a section of land (640 acres,) all under good cultivation with public and 
private roads running through it. Orchards and gardens planted with tenant 
houses scattered through it, while near the center is the proprietor's large edifice 
built of brick and tastefully adorned. From the observatory of this building one 
of the richest scenes is presented that the eye can rest upon. In every direction 
the cultivated fields lie spread out before the observer, and in summer while the 
waving grain is ripening for the harvest, nothing can exceed the beauty of the 

In addition to the abundance of timber with which this settlement is supplied, 
there is an immense coal deposit that crops out in many places near Blue Grass. 
Although the existence of coal was early known, it was never dug to any extent 
until the settlement of the vast prairie north and northwest of Blue Grass. The 
average thickness of the vein is thirty inches, where it is worked in the ravines 
and hillsides. The principal mines now opened are those of James E. Burn- 
sides, one mile from the village, Joseph Mounts and George C. Havill. In dig- 
ging that of Mr. Burnsides no labor is required by sinking shafts, but simply 
removing the earth from the top of the bed to the depth of some four feet in a 
ravine when the deposit is exposed, and about 300 bushels per day taken out. 
This bank was opened in 1855 or '56. Mr. Mounts' coal bank is but a short dis- 
tance from that of Mr. Burnsides, and the coal is obtained by drifting into a 
side hill. This bank was opened in 1853 ^"^ 1854, and is worked on a smaller 
scale. About ninety bushels per day are dug. That of Mr. Havill was opened 
the same year as the latter, and is worked in like manner, yielding 150 bushels 
per day. 

But coal may be found in almost any portion of Buffalo township, and at 
extreme low water has been found cropping out from the bed of the Mississippi, 
below the town of Buffalo. It is from this latter fact that some have been led 
to suppose there is a second coal deposit on or near the level of the river, and 
which underlies the whole, and must be far more extensive and of much better 
quality than the article now used from the upland mines. A company is about 



being formed, we understand, at Blue Grass, for the purpose of testing this 
principle by boring or sinking a shaft in the vicinity of Blue Grass until it shall 
reach the level of the bottom of the Mississippi river which will require some 150 

The substratum of the upland prairies is composed of a great variety of 
earthy materials, including marls, beds of coarse sand and gravel, hard pan or 
pudding stones, overlaid with a kind of a yellow clay, and which underlies the 
present surface soil. This formation indicates the existence of extensive fresh 
water lakes, with currents, anterior tO' the drift or boulder era. In excavations 
for wells in the vicinity of Blue Grass a rich black mould of vegetable composi- 
tion has been found twenty feet below the surface. ' The buried remains of the 
now extinct tribes of the gigantic mastodon and northern elephant are proofs of 
the existence of this earlier surface soil which was covered with a rank vegetation 
affording ample sustenance to immense herds of animals now extinct. The re- 
mains of one of these animals was found and partially exhumed in 1845 "ear 
Blue Grass, as will be seen from the following notice which we clip from the 
Davenport Gazette of September of that year : 

"Wonderful Discovery — A Mastodon in Iowa ! — The remains of a huge animal 
have been found in this county about three miles from the Mississippi and about 
150 feet above the level of the river on the farm of Mr. John Pterin. The re- 
mains were discovered during last month by Joseph Morehead, Esq. They were 
embedded in a formation of argillaceous clay strongly impregnated with iron and 
about twelve feet below the surface of the earth. But a small portion of the 
remains have been exhumed; the remainder in the situation first discovered 
are left for the examination of some skillful anatomist as the position in which) 
found will tend to the discovery of the size and species of the monster animal. 
Of the portions unearthed we will give a short description from the data that have 
been furnished us, regretting that we have not the facilities for transcribing dia- 
grams of them. 

"The teeth or tusks of the animal when first discovered appeared to be in 
good preservation, but in removing them they were found to have little tenacity. 
They are formed of laminated rings from one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch in 
thickness, incased in an enamel of one-half an inch in depth. The exact length 
of these tusks cannot be accurately determined as previous. to their removal the 
base of one and the extremity of the other had been broken off, but Messrs. More- 
head and Sargent the gentlemen who exhumed them fully concur in the opinion 
founded upon the observations of the impressions made in the clay and other 
data that they could not have been less than eleven feet in length. They are eight 
inches in diameter at base and very much curved toward the point. Persons 
who saw them before they were mutilated say that they were about fourteen 
feet in length. A transverse section of these tusks exhibits the curvilinear radia- 
tions seen in the ivory of the elephant. 

"One of the molars in good preservation was discovered on the same level with 
the tusks. It is composed of vertical strata of bone and enamel, alternating, is 
twelve inches wide at the base, four inches thick and nine inches deep. Another 
molar in an imperfect condition was obtained ; from the size of the portions found 
this tooth was presumed to be eighteen inches in length. 



•'Further investig-ation disclosed a mass of bone five feet in thickness which 
appears to have been connected with the alveolar process from whence proceeded 
one of the tusks. The surface presented to the eye — for as we before observed 
the remains have been left in the position discovered with the exception of the 
tusks and molars which are in the possession of two of our citizens — as it rests in 
a clay pit is a vertical section. A great portion of this mass had been destroyed 
by people more curious than wise before precautionary means had been taken to 
insure its safety. 

"When first disclosed, the base of one of the tusks was on a level with this mass 
of bone but separated to the distance of three and a half feet. In this bone is a 
clearly defined orifice supposed to have been the whole of the ear. Proceeding 
out of this mass of bone and radiating irregularly from near the same spot are 
four bones resembling the ribs of an ox, but are of a substance much more dense. 
The length of these bones has not been determined, as they are still embedded in 
the clay. Attached to this mass by a cartilage — which owing to the presence of 
sulphuret of iron has been converted into a substance resembling bone — is a 
bone two feet in length, ten inches in width at the widest part, and four inches 
thick in the middle. Connected with this are several smaller bones that have the 
appearance of having at one time assisted in the formation of the ear. When dis- 
covered, the base of one tusk rested upon the middle of the other. 

"It is the intention of those having charge of these remains to retain them in 
their present position until such time as competent scientific assistance for their 
entire exhumation can be obtained." 

The original proprietors of the town of Blue Grass were John Perin, James 
W. Reynolds and James E. Burnsides who made the first survey of lots in June, 
1853, Samuel Perin, surveyor, and made a public sale of them on the loth of 
July of that year, Samuel Parker, auctioneer. The ground upon which the town 
was laid out had been occupied by six family residences, one of which had a small 
store in it in the summer of 1852. A small stock of goods has been kept there by 
different parties to the present time. 

In 1855 James E. Burnsides erected a building for a hotel, but sold to Mr. 
Skiles, who made additions and opened a store which he still continues with suc- 
cess. A postoffice is kept by Mr. Skiles. 

In 1855 through the exertions of the people of Blue Grass, who subscribed 
liberally, a steam flouring mill was erected by Messrs. Brace & Donahue, thirty 
feet by forty feet, four stories high, and capable of manufacturing 120 barrels of 
flour per day. 

The village of Blue Grass now contains thirty-one familes, has one store, two 
blacksmiths, one carpenter, one shoemaker, one drug store, two church buildings, 
one Methodist and one Presbyterian. There is a Baptist church organized who 
worship in the Presbyterian church at present but contemplate erecting a house 
next summer. There are the usual number of school districts in the township and 
well supplied with school houses. 

There is much to induce settlers to locate at Blue Grass, a rich surrounding 
country, well cultivated by enterprising farmers and schools and churches well 
conducted, with the beauty and health fulness of a location, are sufficient induce- 
ments for any to settle down for life. The village needs more mechanics. A tin 



shop, saddle and harness and other shops of similar utility would do well. The 
morals of the community are good. No grog shops are allowed in this town and 
the Sabbath is reverenced and observed in a suitable manner. 

There are some neighborhoods in this township that should claim more 
special notice, but we shall speak of only one more. The settlement of Little's 
Grove was first made in 1837 by William Lingo now of St. Louis who sold his 
claim to Francis and Samuel Little. The former died in 1854. Samuel Little, 
Esq., still resides in the grove and, we believe, is the only old settler still living 
in or around the grove. He has made himself not only comfortable with this 
world's goods but is independent. Surrounded by a large family he rests from 
his toils and now enjoys the rewards of hard labor amid many privations — one 
of the best and wealthiest farmers in Scott county. 

KEPPY's si'()i;k. Donahue 





This township has the Wabesipinecon river on the north for its boundary, 
being skirted by timber, and also has a large grove of timber cut up into small 
tracts, and owned by the settlers in the vicinity. The grove was first settled in 
1836 by a Mr. Allen who erected a cabin and laid claims to the lands now owned 
by George Lathrop. The grove derived its name from this man who removed 
at an early day into the "New Purchase." In 1843 while exploring the rivers 
of Iowa I found Mr. Allen with his family on the frontiers with a newly erected 
cabin close on to the line of the "Neutral Ground" of the Winnebago Indians. 
He was then talking of removing west as soon as the Indians sold their lands. 
The original or Indian name of this grove is Ka-te-sau-ne Mo-no-ok-que, (Otter 
Creek grove) deriving its name from Aliens creek, which nms along the north 
side of the grove and called Ka-te-sau-ne Sepo (Otter creek). 

In 1837, '38 and '39 the grove became settled by quite a number of emigrants, 
among whom were Dennis R. Fuller, John Dunn, John E. Thompson, Mr. Hindes, 
Halburt and Gee. These opened farms generally upon the prairie at the edge of the 
grove. The timber in this grove was formerly of the best quality, and the prairie 
around it beautiful and rolling. The farms in the vicinity are of the first order, 
well cultivated and productive. Some of its early settlers still live upon the lands 
they first claimed and are among the first citizens of Scott county. 

Aliens Grove is surrounded by well cultivated farms, except on the north, 
and nowhere has greater attention been paid to agricultural pursuits, to educat- 
ing their children by common schools and social intercourse with one another, 
than by the inhabitants of this township. But few sections of country in Iowa 
or any other state present such a display of agricultural enterprise as the farms 
in the vicinity of this grove. Many of its first settlers have died, leaving to their 
children substantial homes. 

There are many reminiscences connected with the settlement of this township 
that would be of much interest, but the author has been much disappointed in 
gathering them, and its history must, for the present, remain unwritten. 




This grove was first settled in 1836. Geo. L. Davenport and some others had 
taken claims there as early as 1835, but we believe no actual settlement was 
begun until the following year. Among those who first made improvements in 
and around the grove were Alfred Carter, Vincent Carter, John Porter, Mr. 
Wyscowber, John and Christopher Schuck. This grove of timber at an early day 
was beautiful, furnishing fuel and timber for settlers, and has been the means of 
opening a large amount of prairie in its vicinity. 

There is an organized church at this grove of the Baptist persuasion; good 
schools and a very pleasant, intelligent and worthy community. It is one of the 
best farming neighborhoods in the county. 


This place lies on the State road leading from Davenport to Iowa City, and 
properly belongs to Davenport township, but we speak of it here as a place, early 
settled by Samuel Sloper, who planted a grove of locust as early as 1839. This 
whole prairie is now settled ; has a Congregational church organized, a fine dis- 
trict school and a community of enterprising farmers. 


This is the northwest township in the county, and although somewhat roll- 
ing, and even broken in some parts, yet it is very well settled and contains many 
good farms. Its first settlements were commenced in 1837 by the Messrs. God- 
dards, Laugherties, Hellers, and Woods, most of whom still live in the township. 
It contains some fine groves of timber and beautiful creeks. 

There are two villages or towns begim in the township. Spring Rock is laid out 
on lands formerly owned by George Goddard, and contains some private resi- 
dences, a hotel, store, flouring and grist mill. Rock creek (As-sin-ne Sepo, in 
Indian) passes through this township, upon which there are many beautiful farms. 
The town of Dixon is situated in Little Walnut grove, upon Walnut creek, con- 
taining some half-dozen dwelling houses, a store, hotel, saw mill and mechanic 

Round Grove is another point of importance in this township and consists of 
a settlement of farmers. Mr. Kizer who settled there at an early day has built 
a large hotel for the accommodation of the traveling public. This enterprising 
farmer has done much to draw a settlement around him, and has set a good ex- 
ample for the emigrant to a new country. 






The history of the island of Rock island has always been of great general in- 
terest to the country at large. It is all the more so to the people of Davenport 
and Scott county. Major D. W. Flagler, while commandant of the Rock Island 
arsenal prepared in 1887, under the instructions of Brigadier General Stephen 
D. Benet, chief of ordnance, United States army, a complete history of the is- 
land. Extracts have been made freely from that excellent monograph for the 
completion of this chapter. 


The United States acquired its title to the island of Rock island through a 
treaty which was made by William Henry Harrison, governor and superintendent 
of Indian affairs for the Indiana territory and district of Louisiana, with certain 
chiefs of the Sacs and Fox tribes of Indians, at St. Louis, Missouri, in Novem- 
ber, 1804. The principal articles of this treaty, which may be useful for reference, 
are as follows : 

Article i. The United States receive the United Sac and Fox tribes into their 
friendship and protection, and the said tribes agree to consider themselves 
under the protection of the United States and of no other power whatsoever. 

Article 2. The general boundary-line between the lands of the United States 
and of the said Indian tribes shall be as follows, to wit: Beginning at a point 
on the Missouri river, opposite to the mouth of the Gasconade river ; thence in a 
direct course so as to strike the river Jeffreon at the distance of thirty miles from 
its mouth and down the said Jefifreon to the Mississippi ; thence up the Mississippi 
to the mouth of the Ouisconsing river and up the same to a point which shall 


be thirty-six miles in a direct line from the mouth of the said river; thence by 
a direct line to the point where the Fox river (a branch of the Illinois) leaves the 
small lake called Sakaeg-an; thence down the Fox river to the Illinois river and 
down the same to the Mississippi. And the said tribes, for and in consideration 
of the friendship and protection of the United States, which is now extended to 
them, of the goods (to the value of $2,234.50) which are now delivered, and 
of the annuity hereinafter stipulated to be paid, do hereby cede and reUnquish 
forever to the United States all the lands included within the above described 

Article 3. In consideration of the cession and rehnquishment of land made in 
the preceding article, the United States will deliver to the said tribes at the town 
of St. Louis, or some other convenient place on the Mississippi, yearly, and every 
year, goods suited to the circumstances of the Indians, to the value of $1,000, 
($600 of which are intended for the Sacs and $400 for the Foxes) reckoning that 
value at the first cost of the goods in the city or place in the United States where 
they shall be procured. And if the said tribes shall hereafter, at an annual delivery 
of the goods aforesaid, desire that a part of their annuity should be furnished in 
domestic animals, implements of husbandry, and other utensils convenient for 
them, or in compensation to useful artificers who may reside with or near them, 
and be employed for their benefit, the same shall at the subsequent annual delivery 
be furnished accordingly. 

Article 4. The United States will never interrupt the said tribes in the pos- 
session of the lands which they rightfully claim, but will on the contrary protect 
them in the quiet enjoyment of the same against their own citizens and against 
all other white persons who may intrude upon them. And the said tribes do 
hereby engage that they will never sell their lands, or any part thereof, to any 
sovereign power but the United States, nor to the citizens or subjects of any other 
sovereign power, nor to the citizens of the United States. 

Article 7. As long as the lands which are now ceded to the United States 
remain their property, the Indians belonging to the said tribes shall enjoy the 
privilege of living and hunting upon them. 

The other articles provided for the protection of the Indians on their own 
lands west of the Mississippi (which were not ceded) ; for the settlement of 
difficulties which might arise between the Indians and the whites ; for the establish- 
ment of a military post on the west bank of the Mississippi, near the mouth of the 
Ouisconsing (Wisconsin) river, and for the establishment of Indian traders. This 
treaty was signed on behalf of the Indians by five chiefs of the two tribes. The 
Foxes and part of the Sacs always held that the sale of the lands was a just trans- 
action and that the treaty was good and binding. Black Hawk, the famous Indian 
hero of the Black Hawk war, was the principal chief of the Sacs, and did not sign 
the treaty but held, during the wars of 1812 and of the Black Hawk war, that the 
treaty was not binding. He had an important village, the great town of the na- 
tion, beautifully situated on Rock river, near where it empties into the Missis- 
sippi, and about four miles from Rock island, and when under the treaty his village 
site and surrounding rich lands were afterward sold to settlers, he resisted and 
fought to save his lands. His account of the signing of the treaty was that a white 
man had been killed by one of Black Hawk's men, and that when the murderer 


was put in prison in St. Louis, four Indians of his tribe were sent thither to 
procure his release by paying- a sum of money, and that these Indians were made 
drunk and induced to sign the treaty. Other facts of history, and the treaty it- 
self, seem to prove that this story, or at least its application, was without good 

After the war of 1812. in which Black Hawk's party had joined the British 
against the United States, peace and the treaty of 1804 were ratified by new 
treaties made separately with the chiefs of the two tribes, at Portage des Sioux, 
September 13 and 14, 1815, and again afterward by another treaty of peace and 
friendship with the Sacs, made at St. Louis May 13, 1816. This last treaty was 
specially to ratify and confirm the treaty of 1804, and to bind the Indians to keep 
the peace and return stolen property. It was signed by twenty-one chiefs and 
warriors of the Sac tribe, and Wilkie states, in his story of Davenport, by Black 
Hawk himself. 

By a subsequent treaty, dated August 24, 1816, the United States ceded a 
portion of the tract received from the Sacs and Foxes to the Ottawa. Chippewa 
and Pottawattomie tribes in exchange for lands lying on the west shore of Lake 
Michigan, including the site of Chicago and south of an east and west line from 
the south end of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi river. Afterward the ceded 
lands, the boundary line of which it appears passed just north of the site of 
Black Hawk's village on Rock river, near Rock island, were repurchased from 
the Ottawas, Chippewas and Pottawattomies in two treaties, dated September 
20, 1828, and July 29, 1829. In the latter treaty the United States agreed to pay 
the above tribes $16,000 in coin, per annum, forever, for only a small portion of 
the lands originally purchased from the Sacs and Foxes for $2,000 per annum. 
This appears to have caused Black Hawk's dissatisfaction and indignation, as ex- 
hibited in a council with General Gaines in the garrison on Rock island, during 
the Black Hawk war in 1832. 


Rock island was not occupied by white men and appears to have had no his- 
tory until the breaking out of the war with Great Britain, in 181 2. The Indians 
occupied it unmolested and it was their favorite hunting and fishing ground, and 
its beautiful scenery and rich woods made it a favorite resort for feasts and for 
the performance of religious and other ceremonies. Reynolds, in his "Life and 
Times," gives a good description of the condition of the surrounding country just 
before the commencement of the war. He says : 

The territory that at this day embraces the populous state of Illinois pre- 
sented at that early period a savage wilderness. The entire white population, 
French and Americans, amounted to about 2,000, or perhaps a small fraction 
more. The French Creoles numbered about 1,200 and the Americans 800 or a 
1,000. This small white population was isolated by vast regions of wilderness, ex- 
cept on the west of the Mississippi. At this early period considerable colonies ex- 
isted on the west side of the river, and extended much farther on the Mississippi 
than the settlements in Illinois. The lead mines of the Spanish country attracted 
emigration, and the colonies extended back west from the river forty or more 


miles. These settlements were much larger than on the east side of the Mississippi ; 
although they were in a foreign government yet they gave strength and efficiency 
to the weaker colonies on the east side of the stream. The Indian tribes inhab- 
iting the wilderness of that day, which is now comprised in the present limits 
of the state of Illinois, were numerous, warlike and courageous. The savages 
at that day all possessed a wild and hostile spirit, that existed throughout the North 
American Indians. The wars had not then subdued their spirits. The Sac and 
Fox tribes were united and formed at that day a large, brave and powerful na- 
tion. Their chief residence was near Rock island in the Mississippi and through- 
out the country around that locality. The Winnebagoes resided on the upper 
part of Rock island and west of Green bay, northwest of Lake Michigan and 
on and over the Wisconsin river. The Pottawattomies inhabited the region be- 
tween Lake Michigan and the Illinois river, and down that river. The warlike 
and courageous small nation of the Kickapoo Indians dwelt in the prairies north 
and east of Springfield and also in the region of country around Bloomington. 
The Kaskaskia Indians were housed in by the other tribes, to the country around 
about their ancient village of Kaskaskia. The Piankishaws were located in the 
southeastern section of the state and inhabited the waters of the lower Wabash 
river on both sides of that stream. The most dense Indian population of the 
west was on the Illinois river and tributaries. Also on the Mississippi, near Rock 
island, was a strong Indian population, but not equal to that on the Illinois river. 
It is impossible to be accurate in the estimation of the number of Indians who 
resided in the limits of the state at this early period. I presume it would range 
between 30,000 and 40,000 souls ; and at this day not one exists in the state. 

But a peep behind the curtain showed a weak and extended frontier from 
the site on the Mississippi where Alton now stands, down the river to the mouth of 
the Ohio, and up that stream and the Wabash to a point many miles above Vin- 
cennes, with a breadth of only a few miles at places. This exposed outside was 
three or four hundred miles long, and the interior and north inhabited by ten 
times as many hostile and enraged savages as there were whites in the country 
The British garrisons on the north furnishing them with powder and lead and 
malicious counsels and the United States leaving the country to its own defenses, 
presented a scene of distress that was oppressing. 

In the spring of 1812 Captain Ramsey had a small company of regular troops 
stationed at Camp Russell, and they remained there only for a few months. These 
were the only regulars that saw Camp Russell during the war. In the commence- 
ment of the war the Indian traders reported the fact that Colonel Dixon, at 
Prairie du Chien, had engaged all the warriors of the north and around the prairie 
to descend the Mississippi and exterminate the settlements on both sides of the 
river. This was the plan of the campaign ; but the English needed the Indians 
more in Canada, and they were brought to that section, and thereby our country 
was saved from a great effusion of blood. Many citizens who knew of the de- 
sign of Dixon's warriors actually fortified their houses in the interior of the 
country, not far from Kaskaskia, and some removed their families to Kentucky. 
Dixon was a man of talents and had, as an Indian trader, great influence with the 
Indians. He had the power to march the Indians to any point he pleased. 





The Eighth United States infantry, under the command of Col. R. C. Nichols, 
was sent up the river from St. Louis in September, 1815, to establish a fort at or 
near Rock island. The object of the expedition was to occupy the country at 
the mouth of the Rock river, protect anticipated settlers, control the Sac and Fox 
tribes of Indians and to open and protect a line of navigation by way of the river 
to Prairie du Chien, which would be established further up the river. From some 
correspondence and perhaps also from the hostility or lack of friendliness shown 
by Black Hawk and his party after the war in refusing to attend and sign the treaty 
at Portage des Sioux, it was thought these Indians would remain unfriendly and 
endanger the supplying of the posts on the upper Mississippi by way of the river. 
The post at the lower end of the island, with the swift current and narrow chan- 
nel of the river in its aid at that spot, was rightly supposed to be able to hold its 
own against anything that could be sent against it. Col. George Davenport ac- 
companied the expedition as contractor's agent, all army provisions being then sup- 
plied through private contractors and not through a commissary department 
as now. Col. Davenport carried his supplies in keelboats like those that bore 
the troops. The movement of the expedition was slow and winter came on 
early. The ice caught the party at the mouth of the Des Moines river, now the 
southeastern corner of Iowa, and there the expedition halted, built huts or wig- 
wams to protect them from the cold and there spent the winter. This was where 
Maj. Zachary Taylor and his men wintered the year before, after their drubbing 
at Credit island. A very amusing incident which might have become tragic is re- 
lated of this expedition by Bailey Davenport: "One morning," says Mr. Davenport 
"during a thick fog the boats were anchored in an eddy of the river for breakfast. 
While seated in the boats at breakfast two of the officers. Second Lieutenants 
Bennet and T. F. Smith, of the Rifle regiment, found that they had different opin- 
ions respecting the direction of the current of the river and entered into a violent 
controversy on the subject. Finding that this would not make the river flow two 
ways, they chose their seconds, took their pistols, left their breakfasts and went 
to shore to fight it out and settle the matter. After exchanging a few shots 
neither having been hit and having discovered a higher respect for each other's 
opinions, as is usual when looking through the pistol's medium, they shook hands 
and went back to their breakfasts." Mr. Davenport adds that there were other 
duels before they reached their winter quarters. 

The post was named "Cantonment Davis." This post subsequently gave way 
to the name of Fort Edwards and later the town of Warsaw. Illinois, opposite 
Keokuk, arose on or about its site. But Col. Nichols never reached Rock island 
to build that fort. During the winter he got into trouble, was placed under arrest 
and was sent to Nashville, Tenn., for trial and the command devolved upon Brevet 
Lieutenant-Colonel W. Lawrence, major of the regiment. In the following April, 
1816, Brevet Brigadier-General Thomas A. Smith, colonel of the Rifle regiment, 
arrived at the cantonment with his regiment, took command of the expedition and 
proceeded up the river. He arrived at Rock island early in May and after exam- 
ining the country in the vicinity of the mouth of Rock river, fixed upon the 
foot of the west end of Rock island as the site of the fort which was to be built. 


The troops were first landed on the island on the loth of May, i8i6. They 
went into camp and at once commenced cutting timber for building store houses 
and a surrounding abatis for protection against the Indians. 


On the day after the landing General Smith sent messages to the Sac and Fox 
tribes to meet him in council but they refused to come. There were supposed to 
be living in the vicinity of Rock island at that time about 11,000 In- 
dians belonging to these two tribes. After making the troops of the Eighth regi- 
ment, which had been accompanied from Cantonment Davis by his Rifle regi- 
ment, as safe as possible. General Smith left the regulars in the hands of their 
commander, Colonel W. Lawrence, and went on to Prairie du Chien with his 
rangers, there to re-occupy the fort at Prairie du Chien and establish a fort which 
was then named Fort St. Peters, now known as Fort Snelling and located in the 
vicinity of St. Paul, Minn. The Eighth infantry, commanded by Colonel Law- 
rence, went ahead with the work of erecting the fort that had been ordered built 
on the island, and soon Fort Armstrong, named in honor of President Madison's 
secretary of war, became a reality. The Quaker gun battery on the very foot of 
the island marks the site of the western one of the three blockhouses that oc- 
cupied corners of the old fort. The interior of the fort was 400 feet 
square ; the lower half was of stone and the upper half of hewn timber. The tim- 
ber and stone were procured on the island. At three of the angles, the northeast, 
southeast and southwest, blockhouses were built and these were provided with 
cannon. One side of the square was occupied by the barracks and other buildings. 
These were built of hewn timber with roofs sloping inward as a protection against 
their being fired by the Indians and that they might not furnish a safe lodging 
place for the enemy in an attack. The fort was placed on the extreme northwest 
angle of the island. Its northwest corner was but 200 feet from the 
landing of the present government bridge. Its whitewashed walls and towers 
are described in contemporary letters as being very imposing and making a 
strikingly picturesque feature of the then savage landscape. The fort was fin- 
ished the following year. 


Governor Ford, in his "History of Illinois," gives the following description of 
Fort Armstrong as it appeared in 1831 : 

Fort Armstrong was built upon a rocky cliff on the lower point of an island 
near the center of the river, a little way above ; the shores on each side, formed of 
gentle slopes of prairie, extending back to bluffs of considerable height, made it 
one of the most picturesque scenes in the western country. The river here is a 
beautiful sheet of clear, swift-running water, about three-quarters of a mile wide; 
its banks on both sides were uninhabited, except by Indians, from the lower rapids 
to the fort ; and the voyager upstream, after several days' solitary progress through 
a wilderness country on its borders, came suddenly in sight of the whitewashed 


walls and towers of the fort, perched upon a rock, surrounded by the grandeur 
and beauty of nature which, at a distance, gave it the appearance of one of those 
enchanted castles in an uninhabited desert, so well described in the Arabian 
Nights' entertainments. 

After General Smith had gone up the river and the troops had finished the 
abatis and commenced getting out timber for the fort, the Indians pretended 
to be more friendly and began visiting the island in their canoes in great num- 
bers. The following incident is taken from a letter written by the Hon. Bailey 
Davenport and published in the "Rock Island Argus:" 


One day a small party came over to dance and after the dance the colonel 
in command gave them presents. In a few days after, and while a large num- 
ber of the soldiers were out cutting timber, a large party of warriors, headed by 
the Ne-ka-le-quat, came over in canoes and landed on the north side of the 
island and danced up to the entrance of the encampment and wanted to enter 
and dance in front of the commander's tent. About the same time a large 
party of warriors was discovered approaching over the ridge from the south 
side of the island, headed by Keokuk. The colonel immediately ordered the 
bugle sounded to recall the soldiers from the woods and had all under arms 
(about 600) and the cannon run out in front of the entrance, ready to 
fire. The Indians were ordered not to approach any nearer. The colonel, tak- 
ing the alarm before Keokuk's party got near enough to rush in, saved the en- 
campment from surprise and massacre. 

The Indians evidently knew that the erection of the fort was intended to 
compel a compliance on their part with the treaties which had been made and 
that, when white settlers came, they might have to leave their homes. Speaking 
of this, years afterward. Black Hawk said: 

We did not, however, try to prevent their building the fort on the island, 
but we were very sorry, as this was the best island in the Mississippi and had 
long been the resort of our young people during the summer. It was our gar- 
den (like the white people have near their big villages), which supplied us with 
strawberries, blackberries, plums, apples and nuts of various kinds ; and its 
waters supplied us with pure fish, being situated in the rapids of the river. In 
my early life I spent many happy days on this island. A good spirit had care 
of it, who lived in a cave in the rocks immediately under the place where the 
fort now stands, and has often been seen by our people. He was white, with 
large wings like a swan's but ten times larger. We were particular not to make 
much noise in that part of the island which he inhabited, for fear of disturbing 
him. But the noise of the fort has since driven him away and no doubt a bad 
spirit has taken his place. 

The cave referred to was in the face of the limestone blufif at the northwest 
corner of the island. At high water the floor of the cave was covered and boats 
could enter. This cave was closed by building the abutment of the bridge across 
its entrance in 1870. 



After the completion of Fort Armstrong, in 1817, there is nothing of much 
importance connected with this frontier post to be recorded till the breaking 
out of the Black Hawk war in 1831. 

Under the act of congress, passed in 1841, the secretary of war selected 
Brigadier General W. K. Armistead, Surgeon-General Thomas Lawson and 
Lieutenant Colonel S. H. Long as a board to select a suitable site on the western 
waters for the establishment of a national armory. Their report upon Rock 
island was as follows: 

This beautiful and interesting island derives its name from the circumstances 
of its resting upon a bed of rocks, consisting of limestone in horizontal strata, 
well adapted to the purposes of building. It stands in the Mississippi at the 
foot of Rock island rapids. Its length is about two and seven-eighths miles 
and its greatest breadth four-fifths of a mile. It contains about eight hundred 
acres of excellent land, still the property of the United States. The surface of 
the island is generally waving and is pervaded by a broad valley passing centrally 
and longitudinally two-thirds the length of the island. With the exception of 
a few acres cleared at the head of the island (the site formerly occupied by 
Fort Armstrong now used, in part, by the United States as a depot of arms of 
the western country and a large garden with other improvements occupied by 
George Davenport, Esq.), the island is covered with a dense timber growth. 
The island is bounded for the most part by precipitous cliffs or abrupt and 
rocky hill slopes, its surface rising ten to twenty feet above the reach of the 
highest freshets. The width of the channel on the south side of the island varies 
from 150 to 300 yards, while that on the north side, which is the main channel 
of the river, has a width varying from 420 to 700 yards. * * i= Building 
materials of all kinds are to be had in abundance from Rock island and in this 
vicinity. Sawed lumber, consisting of white and black oak, black walnut, yellow 
poplar, ash and cherry tree is prepared in this neighborhood and afforded at 
prices varying from $12 to $20 per thousand, board measure. Pine lumber is pro- 
cured from the Wisconsin, Black and St. Croix rivers and can be afforded at 
about the same rates. 

The woodlands of this part of the country occupy about one-sixth of the 
entire surface, the remaining five-sixths being prairie. The growth of the wood- 
land is generally scattering and consists of white, red and bur oak, black and 
white walnut, yellow poplar, wild cherry, sugar tree, maple, linden, red and 
white hickory, yellow birch, dogwood, etc. The soil is generally rich, and in 
places where it has been cultivated gives evidence of exceeding fruitfulness. Com, 
wheat, rye, oats, flax, hemp, tobacco, apples, pears and other fruits, potatoes, 
turnips, radishes and culinary roots and vegetables are produced in great abun- 
dance and perfection. Bituminous or stone coal is found in abundance in this 
neighborhood. It generally occurs in the river hills at different elevations from 
five to thirty or forty feet above their bases, and in veins from three to four 
and a half or five feet thick. Lead is obtained in abundance from the mines 
of the upper Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, and iron ore is said to abound 
in many parts of the country. Articles of subsistence of all kinds for man and 


beast are abundant and these are remarkably cheap, especially those used in the 

The site is remarkably healthy as evinced by the reports now on file in the 
office of the United States surgeon-general, in relation to the health of the 
troops stationed at the various military posts of the United States and covering 
a period of more than twenty years, during which time the number upon the 
sick list at Fort Armstrong was proportionally less than at any other post in the 
western country. 


This board or examining committee finally made its report to the war de- 
partment and recommended Fort Massac on the Ohio river as the best site 
for the armory, but Surgeon-General Lawson of the committee did not agree 
with his confreres and did not sign their report. He made a separate report 
of great length in which he recommended a point of land on the Mississippi 
between Carondelet and the mouth of Des Peres river as the best site for the 

The people of Davenport, Rock Island and Moline were determined to have 
the western armory and arsenal located on the island, if anywhere. Meetings 
of the citizens of the three cities were held at stated times and the matter thor- 
oughly discussed, and about this time a cominittee of the citizens of Rock Is- 
land county, composed of John Buford, Joseph Knox, Joseph B. Wells, John 
Morse and George Mixter in behalf of the citizens of Rock Island county, Ill- 
inois, memorialized John Tyler, president of the United States, in the words 
following : 

The undersigned, a committee acting in behalf of the citizens of Rock Is- 
land county, Illinois, would respectfully lay before you the following facts and 
considerations in favor of your selecting Rock island to be the site of the western 

Rock island is in the Mississippi river, about 300 miles above St. Louis, 
and 100 miles below Galena. It was the site of Fort Armstrong, and has 
recently been selected by the war department as a place of deposit for the 
public arms. 

The title to the island (which is about three miles long and from one to 
three-fourths of a mile wide) is in the United States. The selection of Rock 
island, then, for a place for the western armory, would obviate the necessity of 
any expenditure for the purchase of a site, and would save the expense of 
buildings for an arsenal. 

The facilities for supplying the west with arms from Rock island are ob- 
vious. By the Mississippi and its tributaries it could supply the ten states and 
two territories bordering upon them. Rock river and the Milwaukee and Rock 
river canal, the improvements of which will be completed before an armory can 
be put in operation, will furnished a water communication with Lake Michigan, 
through which arms can be sent to the states and territories bordering on 
the northern lakes. We may add that we have often heard distinguished gentle- 
men connected with the war department express the opinion that there is no point 


in the western states from which arms can be sent to the different miUtary sta- 
tions with less expense and greater dispatch than from Rock island. 

But its advantages for the manufacture of arms furnish the strongest rea- 
sons why Rock island should be selected as a site for the western armory. It 
is in the vicinity of one of the richest mineral regions in the world. For satis- 
factory information on this point we would refer you to the report made to 
congress in 1839, by Dr. Owen, of his geological and mineralogical survey of 
the country bordering on the Mississippi above the mouth of Rock river. We 
would add that since his survey many valuable beds of ore have been discovered. 

The country abounds in rich beds of ore of iron, copper, zinc and lead; and 
in the immediate neighborhood of Rock island there is the greatest abundance of 
bituminous coal of the best quality. 

In its vast water-power Rock island possesses advantages greater than can 
be urged in favor of any other place. A dam has been recently constructed from 
Rock island to the Illinois shore, by which a water-power is made that can be 
used for nearly a mile upon Rock island and for several miles upon the opposite 
shore. It has been carefully surveyed by distinguished engineers in the service 
of the United States and of Illinois and pronounced by them all to be the best 
water power in the western states. 


From its having this water power Rock island urges a stronger claim than 
can be presented by any place where steam must be used to propel machinery. 
And in the magnitude of this power, viewed in connection with the slight 
expense necessary for its application, it has hydraulic advantages greater than 
are possessed by any other place. 

We would also urge as an important consideration in favor of Rock island 
that its location is favorable for health. Eminent physicians, acquainted with 
its locality, unhesitatingly pronounce it one of the most healthy places in the 
west. A single fact can be stated of vast weight on this point : During the time 
that Rock island was occupied by the garrison in Fort Armstrong an examina- 
tion was made of the health returns sent to the war department for seven suc- 
cessive years, from the different military stations. It was found that Fort 
Armstrong upon Rock island, was during that period the most healthy military 
station in the United States. 

We need not add that a favorable location for health is an important con- 
sideration where a large number are to be employed on the public works ; and 
especially is this important in the west where most of the public works are an- 
nually suspended during what are called the sickly seasons. 

From the fertility of the surrounding country and the easy communication 
with other parts of the United States it is evident that supplies for an armory 
may be obtained at as reasonable prices at Rock island as at any other place. 

We add but one consideration further: In selecting sites for its public works 
it has ever been the policy of the government to give the preference (other 
things being equal) to places distinguished for their delightful scenery and 
beautiful location for public buildings. It was from these considerations that 


the principal buildings of the armory at Spring-field, Massachusetts, were lo- 
cated at an inconvenient distance from the place where it has its water power. 

Rock island, elevating its rocky front high above the waters of the Mississippi 
and looking out upon the scenery of a country described by a distinguished 
traveler as the most beautiful the eye ever rested upon, possesses peculiar ad- 
vantages for the erection of public works which exhibit a happy combination 
of utility with imposing beauty. 

We would refer you to the officers of the army who are acquainted with the 
advantages of the different places in the west which are now presenting their 
claims for the location of the armory. We are authorized to assure you that 
the officers stationed upon the northwestern frontier express their preference 
for Rock island. 

Especially would we ask your attention to the minute report made to the 
war department, last year, of the advantages of Rock island, by Captain Bell, 
of the ordnance department, who is now stationed at Jefferson Barracks, and 
we are happy in being permitted to refer you to Captain Bell as a gentleman 
qualified by his attainments and recent minute surveys to furnish you with ac- 
curate information respecting the peculiar advantages of Rock island as a site 
for the western armory. 

In conclusion we would remark that while many places, better known than 
Rock island for their business and enterprise, are having their advantages for 
an armory presented to you by distinguished and influential individuals, we con- 
fidently rely upon the assurance given us by the most important acts of your 
life, that, while you give due consideration to individual opinions you will be 
governed by a regard to the public interests in selecting a site for the western 
armory; and we therefore present the claims of Rock island to your attention 
as a site possessing unequaled advantages for the manufacture of public arms 
and the greatest facilities for their importation to the different military stations 
in the western states and territories. 


By the action of these gentlemen another committee of leading citizens of 
the three cities — Rock Island, Davenport and Moline — was appointed in 1861, 
consisting of the following named persons: Ira O. Wilkinson, N. B. Buford, H. 
C. Connelly, J. Wilson Drury and Bailey Davenport, of Rock Island; W. H. F. 
Gurley, George L.Davenport and G. H. French, of Davenport; and C. Atkinson 
and P. R. Reed, of Aloline. These gentlemen memorialized congress in an ably pre- 
pared pamphlet, with a map of this locality, upon the claims and advantages of 
Rock island as the site for the proposed western arsenal and armory. This me- 
morial sets forth that a new armory and arsenal, for the manufacture, safe-keep- 
ing and distribution of arms and munitions of war, are of pressing national neces- 
sity, demanded alike by the present wants and future requirements of the govern- 
ment, and that the preponderating growth of the northwest, as well as the 
absence of any such establishment within its limits, indicate that such an armory 
should be located upon the upper Mississippi. Coming directly to the claims of 
Rock island the memorialists say: "Believing that Rock island, in the state of 


Illinois, in the centrality and safety of its geographical position, the facilities 
it affords for transportation to and from other parts of the country, the cheap- 
ness and abundance of its motive power and the materials used in the manufac- 
ture of arms, in the supply and cheapness of labor and food, in the healthfulness, 
spaciousness and general eligibility of the site, and the possession and owner- 
ship thereof by the government free of cost or expense — enjoys advantages equal, 
if not superior, to those possessed by any other place in the northwest for the 
location of such an establishment — your memorialists would respectfully ask 
your attention to a brief notice of these advantages." The advantages are set 
forth in the ten or twelve pages which follow with great force and cogency of 
argument. In this document we find a report of the action of the Iowa legisla- 
ture and of the authorities of Illinois on the subject and a certificate of the gov- 
ernment agent in charge of the island. 


"Be it resolved by the senate and house of representatives of the state of 
Iowa, that the senators in congress from this state be requested to use their ut- 
most exertions to procure the establishment, at the earliest possible time, by the 
government of the United States of an arsenal and armory for the distribution 
of arms to the states of the northwest on the island of Rock island, in the state 
of Illinois. 

"Resolved that the secretary of state be requested to forward to each of the 
senators and representatives in congress a copy of these resolutions. Approved 
March 24, 1861." 

No session of the legislature of Illinois had been held immediately prior to 
this action, but Governor Yates and the other state officers, both civil and 
military, addressed a letter to the secretary of war, urging the location of the 
armory upon Rock island. 


"I, T. J. Pickett, government agent for the island of Rock island, hereby 
certify that the lands owned by the government on said island are free from the 
claims of squatters and that the only occupants thereon are eight in number, 
who hold leases under and acknowledge themselves tenants of said government, 
in which lease it is specifically agreed that the lessors are to vacate the premises 
in thirty days from the date of receiving notice requiring them to leave. T. J. 
Picket, government agent, Rock Island, Illinois, October 25, 1861." 

Copies of the above memorial were freely distributed among the members 
of congress and laid on the desk of every senator and representative. An act 
of congress providing for the arsenal and armory and making an appropriation 
of $100,000 was passed July 11, 1861. In May of the following year a com- 
mission composed of Major F. D. Callander, Major C. P. Kingsbury and Cap- 
tain F. J. Treadwell was sent by the ordnance department to locate the proposed 
arsenal building on Rock island. Sites also for magazines on the island were 
recommended by the commission. The report was adopted and Major Kings- 




bury was ordered to take charge of the work of construction. He arrived in 
August, 1863, and on the 3d of September broke ground for the government 
building at the lower end of the island. 

From an article prepared by Captain L. M. Haverstick and published in the 
Chicago Inter Ocean at the time the following is quoted, with a few changes 
looking to brevity: 

"An arsenal merely for the storage and repair of arms was not what the 
ordnance department contemplated, nor what the country needed at Rock is- 
land. Therefore in August, 1865, General T. J. Rodman was assigned to the com- 
mand of the island with instructions to prepare plans for an armory and arsenal 
combined, where small arms and other munitions of war could be manufactured 
as well as repaired and stored. The great scientific knowledge and long experi- 
ence of General Rodman peculiarly fitted him for this work and the result was 
an elaborate plan, equal to the wants and interests of the country." 


General Rodman's plans were submitted to congress during the session of 
1865 and approved. An appropriation was made to begin work on the new 
buildings ; and from that time forward steady progress has been made until now 
Rock Island arsenal is the foremost in the United States. A portion of the 
island had been sold under a special act of congress. The Chicago, Rock Island 
& Pacific Railroad Company had located their tracks across the island and built 
upon its banks the abutments for their bridges. When the government decided 
to utilize the island for a permanent and extensive manufacturing depot, it was 
found necessary to buy out the interests of the private parties and of the rail- 
road company. A commission consisting of General J. M. Schofield, Selden M. 
Church and James Barnes was appointed to appraise the lands on the island 
owned by individuals. 

An act of congress, approved June 27, 1866, appropriated the money neces- 
sary to buy out their claims, authorized the relocation of the railroad bridge 
and provided for compensating the railroad company for changing its route 
across the island. The same act made an appropriation to begin work on the 
development of the water power. Under this and subsequent acts the govern- 
ment united with the railroad company in the erection of the iron bridge, which 
served the general purposes until the construction of the present magnificent 
bridge, sharing in the expense and securing a free wagon way in addition to 
the railroad tracks. 

On July II, 1862, congress passed the act authorizing the establishment of 
the arsenal and providing the first funds for beginning the necessary buildings. 
Major C. P. Kingsbury, a well known and competent officer of the ordnance 
department, was assigned as the first commandant and under his direction, a 
year later, a storehouse was erected at the lower or extreme western end of the 
arsenal, which, with its tower and clock, has since been a landmark and an object 
of interest, not merely to the inhabitants of the three cities, but also to all trav- 
elers on the main line of the Rock Island road. 


In 1865 General Thomas J. Rodman was assigned to the command and was 
followed in 1871 by General D. W. Flagler, who remained commandant until 
1886. General Rodman died at his quarters at the arsenal on the 7th of June, 
1871. By his death not only the army and the ordnance department lost one 
of the most valuable officers in the service, but the work of constructing the 
arsenal received a serious blow. The plans for the work were his and all that 
he planned to do was not and could not be communicated to others. His ex- 
traordinary ability, wide influence and the complete confidence reposed in him 
by the war department, the government and all whose assistance was needed for 
the work, gave him a certainty of success in carrying out the plans for the great 
work, that no one else could have had. At the request of the chief of ordnance 
he was buried at the arsenal, on a lot of ground set apart for that purpose near 
the National cemetery at the east end of the island. To these two officers is 
mainly due the general plan of the arsenal as it exists today, with nearly all 
its principal buildings ; their conception of the disposition and arrangement of 
the ten great shops, with the various subsidiary buildings, was an immense ad- 
vance over the stereotyped plan of all arsenal construction of preceding years, 
and in subsequent developments in response to great demands upon the arsenal's 
resources, has proved most admirably adapted for the purpose for which designed. 


These plans as first prepared by Rodman, developed by Flagler, and fol- 
lowed with only slight modifications by their successors, have resulted in the 
erection, principally of Joliet stone, of a magnificent equipment of shops, store- 
houses, barracks, quarters and numerous subsidiary buildings. The shops com- 
prise ten stone buildings sixty feet wide, built around three sides of a rectangular 
central court, with fronts 210 feet and wings 300 feet long; eight of the shops 
are of four stories, the other two of only one, but providing in all over thirty acres 
of floor space. Seven of these buildings are now occupied by machinery, the 
other three by the raw material for manufacture and by finished stores. There 
are also two large storehouses and numerous other small buildings for boilers 
for the heating plant and for lumber, coal, oil, etc., for officer's quarters, sol- 
diers' barracks and for the many other necessities of a large government manu- 
facturing establishment. One of these storehouses replaced an earlier structure 
destroyed by fire with its contents and was only completed in the spring of 1905. 
It is most recently erected of all the main buildings of the arsenal. 

For many years the commandant's quarters and three others of stone have 
provided accommodations for the assistant officers, but within the last few years 
two attractive buildings of more modern design, one frame and the other of yel- 
low brick, have been erected at the eastern end of Terrace road, forming a 
most attractive addition to the residential district of the arsenal, and during the 
present year the old buildings, relics of the Civil war, used for many years as 
a hospital and as stables, have been replaced by attractive and convenient modern 

In May, 1886, Colonel T. G. Baylor, ordnance department, succeeded Gen- 
eral Flagler as commandant. He was followed three years later by Colonel J. 


M. Whittemore and he, in 1892, by General A. R. Buffington, who continued 
in command for five years. Under these officers the main buildings were car- 
ried to completion, manufactures prosecuted at a moderate scale and under the 
latter the present magnificent bridge from the arsenal to Davenport erected. 
In March, 1897, Captain Stanhope E. Blunt, ordnance department, was 
appointed commandant and through successive promotions to major, lieutenant- 
colonel and colonel, the latter grade being given in June, 1906, through more 
than ten years continued in command. Colonel Blunt's administration was marked 
by great expansion in the arsenal's facilities for manufacturing war material; 
over $1,200,000 worth of modern machinery being installed in the shops and the 
power transmission system changed from the antiquated wire rope transmission 
of the water power to a modern hydro-electric plant of ample capacity for the 
arsenal's needs. 


The island, containing nearly 1,000 acres, is irregular in shape, about two and 
one-half miles long and three-fourths of a mile across at its widest part. The 
main channel of the Mississippi river passes between the island and the Iowa 
shore, a much narrower branch separating it from the Illinois bank. Across 
this smaller stream, a short distance above the shops, a masonry dam has been 
constructed producing, in consequence of the reach of rapids opposite and 
above the island, a water power of ample capacity, having a head of from seven 
and one-half to eleven feet, according to the stage of the river, and on the dam, 
operated by twenty turbines, have been installed three alternating current gen- 
erators of 1,650 kilowat total capacity, with the accompanying exciters, switch- 
board, etc., required for their operation. The building housing this installation, 
with generators, shafting and all other incidental machinery, has been com- 
pleted not only in a substantial but in a highly ornamental manner, rendering 
the power house not only one of the most interesting objects for visitors to the 
arsenal but also from its appearance one of the most attractive. At present 
nearly 3,000 horse-power is thus provided, which can be increased, if it should 
ever prove necessary, by utilizing penstocks on the dam now occupied, and in- 
stalling the corresponding additional electrical machinery. None of the navy 
yards or other arsenals possess this combination of ample water power and 
electrical transmission and the development of the power plant to its present 
really magnificent condition, permitting the greatest economy, with also the 
greatest facility and convenience of operation, is one of the principal distin- 
guishing features of the Rock Island arsenal. 

Several years ago congress made a preliminary appropriation for the neces- 
sary machinery for manufacture of small arms at the arsenal, following it at 
the next session with a sufficient sum to permit the installation of a plant that 
should turn out about 250 rifles per day. The complete establishment of the 
plant required a material increase in the power provided and also its transmis- 
sion to the new armory ; it also included the completion of three of the large shops 
with elevators, a steam heating plant, lavatory conveniences, work benches for 
employes, rooms for foremen and inspectors, and the introduction of the many 


minor but essential appliances requisite for economical and efficient operation, 
including even tunnels connecting the basement floors of the different shops,, 
which afford passage for the heating pipes, fuel oil pipes, electric power and 
lighting wires and for small trolley cars for transportation between buildings of 
the various components of the rifles in the diflferent stages of their manufacture. 
In this small-arms plant and in the shops of the southern row over 2,400 machines 
of a great variety are disposed, with the shafting for their operation and the 
necessary benches, and the other numerous appliances requisite for their occu- 
pancy by workmen. Operation of the shops upon the scale now required for 
the manufacture of gun carriages, equipments, small arms, etc., employs at 
present about 2,000 men, at a monthly charge for wages of from $125,000 to 
$130,000. If compared with its operation thirteen years ago it will be observed 
that four times as many men are now employed as at the earlier date and that the 
monthly wages are about five times greater. 


The arsenal upon the scale now operated provides the soldiers' ordnance 
equipment for an army of 60,000 men and is besides constantly adding to the 
reserve supply. By merely taking on additional employes it could, without 
delay, increase its output to meet the demands of an army of 500,000 men, and 
by adding additional machinery, for which necessary space and power has been 
provided and its disposition arranged for, and also the employes for its opera- 
tion, this output could be still further immensely increased. 

Besides the saddle in all its parts, beginning with the lumber used in the 
saddletree, the bridle, saddlebags, rifle scabbard, halter, horse-brush, cartridge 
box, saber belt and many other articles included under the general designation 
of infantry, cavalry and horse equipment, are also made. The haversack, can- 
teen, cup, meat can, knife, fork and spoon, of duck and other material, which 
constitute the soldiers' more personal equipment, and of metal the bits, spurs, 
picket pin, etc., which he also uses, are included in the manufactures. Many 
sets of artillery harness are annually made and also the numerous parts and 
general supplies pertaining thereto. Also pack outfits for mountain artillery by 
means of which guns, their carriages, and ammunition are carried on mule 

The arsenal has recently completed some six-inch barbette carriages for 
seacoast forts and for four years past has been regularly engaged in the manu- 
facture of a large number of the new three-inch field gun carriages, model of 
1902, with the accompanying limbers, caissons, battery wagons and their tools, 
implements, etc. This is of itself a most important work, requiring the services 
of a number of the best mechanics and would alone be deemed elsewhere a 
sufficient task for many an establishment, though at Rock island it comprises 
as stated only a portion of the manufacturing work. 

In order that the field artillery carriages manufactured at the arsenal may 
be tested before issue to develop any unknown defects if they should exist, all 
such material is proof fired at grounds specially laid out for that purpose at 
the upper or eastern end of the island. This includes a large timber and sand 

^ ^^t%-' T^i'^i^^^^Hl 



■ > 






butt into which the projectiles are shot and which is of such dimensions that 
they cannot emerge therefrom. The many additional instruments for determin- 
ing- the velocity of the projectile, velocity of recoil of parts of the carriage, or 
pressure of the powder charge in the bore, and other features necessary to give 
the constructing officer of ordnance the information which he needs in design- 
ing other material, or in verifying the correctness of the design undergoing proof, 
are also installed in special structures erected at the proving ground for their 
reception. With these buildings is included an observation tower permitting 
by its use a river range for firing up the river of approximately 6,500 yards and 
enabling these carriages to be tested and proof fired under an elevation. 

The arsenal also makes the wooden targets of different designs and all the 
paper targets, steel silhouette frames and pasters used in target practice, as well 
as the insignia indicating the soldiers' classification in marksmanship and the 
various insignia on saddle cloths, rosettes on bridles and similar ornamental jewel- 
ers' work. 


In its armory shops the daily output for several years past has been from 
IOC to 125 finished magazine rifles per day, an industry in itself of greater 
magnitude than that of the army's other small arms factory until within very 
recent years. Besides its manufactures the arsenal is also the distributing point 
to all parts of the middle west for the product of other arsenals and of the 
private establishments from which the government purchases. The total cost 
of the arsenal from its establishment to July i, 1907, including the erection of 
the permanent buildings, the acquisition, development and later improvement of 
the water power, the large bridge across the Mississippi and the small ones to 
the Illinois shore, and the purchase and installation of the machinery in the 
shops, under the different commandants, is as follows : 

Major C. P. Kingsbury, 1863-65, $231,384.72; General T. J. Rodman, 1865-71. 
$2,302,626.30; General D. W. Flagler, 1871-86, $4,982,481.45; Colonel T. G. 
Baylor, 1886-89, $663,450; Colonel J. M. Whittemore. 1889-92, $377,318.48; 
General A. R. Buffington, 1892-97, $477,375.50; Colonel S. E. Blunt, 1897-07, 
$2,510,198.88; Colonel F. E. Hobbs to January i, 1910,— $381,899.68; total 

During the first twenty-five years, or up to the conclusion of General Flag- 
ler's administration, construction of buildings, bridges, roads, etc., and the earlier 
steps in development of water power formed the principal work, the very limited 
amount of machinery which had been installed being operated to only a moder- 
ate extent and the disbursements, including wages, being mainly in connection 
with building construction. In the second period, continuing until about the 
time of the Spanish war, construction, except for the rebuilding of the bridge 
from the arsenal to Davenport, nearly ceased, while the manufacturing oper- 
ations of the arsenal continued at a slightly increasing but still very moderate 
extent. The third period embraces the great increase in amount and variety of 
manufacture, including that of small arms and accompanying expansion of plant, 
with some incidental building operations, commencing in the latter part of 


1897, during- the first year of the administration of Colonel Blunt, slightly be- 
fore the earlier days of the Spanish war, and continuing to the present date. 

Senator Allison, to whose faith and interest in the arsenal must be largely 
ascribed the generous appropriations granted during many years past for its 
construction and development, is quoted as saying that Rock Island arsenal, 
during the few months of the late Spanish war, more than returned in advan- 
tage to the country the great cost of its construction; and unquestionably in a 
war of any magnitude and duration this cost would again be repaid many fold. 


In December, 1905, the Democrat interviewed General Crozier, and speak- 
ing of the Rock Island arsenal he had this, among other pertinent things, to 
say: "There is one thing I can say without reserve, that is that there is not on 
the face of the globe another such government establishment as this. I have 
seen and been through the Sir Joseph Whitworth shops, the great works of 
Creusot, in France, and nearly all the great government and great private es- 
tablishments of Europe where arms and munitions are made for the armies of 
that continent and there is not the like of this among them all. And outside of 
Europe of course, there is nothing worth considering. Stand at the flagstaflF 
on the main avenue of Rock Island arsenal or at the crossing of Main avenue 
and Eastern avenue and look along Main avenue. Take in those two long rows 
of shops facing each other. Note the symmetry of their arrangement and the 
beauty of their location, their surroundings and the room in all directions for 
their expansion at need. Take into account the vast water power which makes 
the factory independent of everything in the matter of power, and then take 
into account the geographical location of the place with a buffer of hundreds 
of miles and millions of resolute people on every side of it to stand between it 
and all invaders and consider how centrally it is placed so that it may with ease 
reach every part of the country — there is not, sir, the equal in all these things of 
Rock Island arsenal on earth, I care not where you go to look for it. These 
other establishments are great and they do great work, but they have grown 
piecemeal by accretion and addition as room was needed, and with no definite 
plan. Rock Island arsenal has been developed along the lines of a plan laid 
down on the virgin soil of this unrivalled island and it is absolutely without a 
parallel and one might say without a fault." 


Commencing in the spring of 1907 the superstructure of the old truss bridge, 
over Sylvan water, connecting the island with the Illinois shore, was removed 
for the preparation of the new viaduct concrete bridge. The old four stone 
piers, with two abutments, were used in the new substructure, and owing to the 
girder style of construction of the new bridge four new concrete piers were 
built. The new viaduct bridge was designed by Ralph Modjeski, the noted 
architectural engineer, and built under the supervision of the war department, 
the contractors being Bayne and Hewett of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its con- 


struction represents an expenditure by the g-overnment of $125,000, with $1,600 
additional for widening- the causeway between the bridge and Fort Armstrong 
avenue, and bridge sidewalks. The Tri-City Railway Company, assumed the 
cost of the brick cemented driveway, trolley poles, and new tracks, amounting 
to $10,000, making a total cost of $136,600. The new bridge was opened for 
street car and passenger traffic December 2, 1907, opened for general traffic 
December 18, 1907, and was accepted by the government January 17, 1908. 
The width of the structure is twenty feet between curbs, with two sidewalks, 
each six feet. The incline approach from the city of Rock Island side consists 
of the original stone wall 124 feet long; the new concrete wall, joining same, 
extending to railroad tract abutment, is 170 feet long. The bridge proper con- 
sists of eleven spans, making a length of 801 i-io feet, and a total length with 
approach approximately 1,096 feet. The solidity of the entire structure is evident 
in every detail. The present commandant of the island is Colonel F. E. Hobbs. 

After the close of the Black Hawk war there is no record of further hos- 
tilities in this vicinity. A garrison was maintained at Fort Armstrong until the 
4th of May, 1836, when the fort was evacuated and the troops were sent to 
Fort Snelling. Lieutenant-Colonel Davenport of the First United States in- 
fantry was in command of the fort at the time it was evacuated and he left 
Lieutenant John Beach, United States infantry, in charge of a few men to 
take care of property. But the fort was never regarrisoned and in the follow- 
ing November Lieutenant Beach was ordered away and the property that had been 
left was removed. General Street, Indian agent, then had charge of the is- 
land until 1838, when Colonel George Davenport was appointed Indian agent 
and remained in charge until 1840. In 1840 some of the buildings at Fort 
Armstrong were repaired and an ordnance depot was established at the fort by 
the United States Ordnance department. Captain W. R. Shoemaker, ordnance 
store keeper, was placed in charge of the depot and also had charge of the is- 
land until 1845. The depot was then broken up and the stores were removed ta 
the St. Louis arsenal. From 1845 until the act for establishing the Rock Island 
arsenal was passed, in 1862, the island was in charge of a civil agent or custodian 
employed by the war department, and never passed out of the control of that 
department. Thomas L. Drum, of Rock Island city, was custodian from 1845 
until 1853; J. P. Danforth, of Rock Island, from 1854 until 1857; and H. Y. 
Slaymaker from 1857 until 1863. 

The history of this period, from 1845 ""til 1863, while the island was in charge 
of a civil agent, is full of persistent and protracted efforts on the part of squat- 
ters, manufacturers, railroads, water power companies and others to procure 
by preemption, lease, purchase or cession a title to land on the island. These 
efforts are interesting in themselves but are particularly so in connection with 
the present use of the island, because they show the high estimate placed upon 
it and its water power by all acquainted with it, and also because they frequently 
show in correspondence, reports and debates in congress that the island must, 
under no circumstances, be allowed to pass out of the control of the general 
government and that it would eventually become the site of a great armory or 
arsenal of the Mississippi valley. 



About the year 1835, by direction of congress, two examinations of vari- 
ous places for a western armory were made. In September, 1840, the chief of 
ordnance, Colonel Talcott, directed the commanding officer of the St. Louis ar- 
senal to examine the Rock island with a view to its use for ordnance purposes 
and report. In September, 1841, congress passed an act for a thorough exam- 
ination of the whole western country for the purpose of selecting a suitable site 
on the western waters for the establishment of a national armory. Jefferson 
Davis, who became president of the so-called Southern Confederacy, while sec- 
retary of war wrote in 1854 to the United States senate committee on public 
lands as follows : 'T have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 
the loth, asking the views of this department as to the expediency of locating a 
military reservation at Fort Armstrong, at Rock island, Illinois, as contem- 
plated by senate bill No. 195. The water power available at that place, and 
the communication by water and by railroads, projected or in course of con- 
struction, concur with other circumstances in rendering Rock island one of the 
most advantageous sites in the whole western country for an armory or arsenal 
of construction for the manufacture of wagons, clothing and other military sup- 
plies. There may be more land on Rock island than will be needed for the pro- 
posed establishment, but if this be so the department cannot decide at present 
what part of it will be required. Any act that may pass to authorize the sale of 
it should, I think, leave to the department full power to retain whatever of the 
reservation may be found useful and proper for the contemplated works, for 
which it is hoped that congress will, at some future date, make the necessary ap- 
propriation. The Mississippi river is one of the great highways of the United 
States. Its use is essential to the public service in peace and in war and appro- 
priations from the treasury have been made and are now in the course of ex- 
penditure for the removal of natural obstacles from its channel ; therefore, although 
not directly connected with the question of sale, it may not be improper to in- 
vite your attention to the effects which would follow the construction of a bridge 
across the river at Rock island, as implied in the grant of the right of way." 

squatters' attempts to gain foothold. 

The reader will note that various and numerous attempts had been made to 
induce government to open the land on the island to public entry and at this 
time there were several squatters there who had improved their holdings to 
a greater or less extent. It was generally known in the vicinity of Davenport 
that on the nth of February, 1848, the secretary of war had written to the 
secretary of the interior, formally relinquishing the reservation of Rock is- 
land. It was supposed or at least hoped that this act of the war secretary would 
throw the island reservation into the mass of the public lands and that they could 
be acquired by preemption. Subsequently legal opinions, except that of Judge 
McLean in the matter of the United States against the Railroad Bridge com- 
pany, and of the continued acts of the government in refusing to convert the 
island as a part of the public lands, show that the action of the secretary of war 


did not and that he had not the power to return the island to the mass of the 
pubhc lands. His compliance with certain requirements of the act of June 14, 
1809, made the island a reservation by the terms of that act, and it could not be 
returned to the mass of public lands except by act of congress. It was on ac- 
count of this supposed relinquishment of the island, however, that the mill 
owners and others at each end of the island supposed that they could get that 
part of the island by preemption. It would also appear further on that other 
intruders were appearing on the island and by 1854 the Chicago & Rock Island 
Railroad Company had taken possession of land on the island and all the lands 
of the island were soon settled by squatters with a view to preemption. 

It will be remembered that in 1825, at the request of the secretary of war, 
the whole of Rock island was reserved from the public lands of the United States 
for military purposes, and orders to that effect were sent by the commissioner 
of the general land office in Washington to the register in Springfield, Illinois. 
Notwithstanding this, a new land office having been established at Galena, Ill- 
inois, sometime in 1832, Rock island was surveyed by a Mr. Bennett, employed 
by the United States surveyor agent, and was divided into sections and quarter 

Fort Armstrong was at that time commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Wil- 
liam Davenport, First United States Infantry, who at once informed the war 
department that the survey had been made and that he feared it would bring 
the island into the body of the United States public lands and subject to pre- 
emption. In the following August Colonel Davenport wrote again on the same 
subject to the adjutant general of the army, urging that some action be taken 
in the matter and stating that unless something was done to prevent it, he 
believed that the site of the fort might be acquired by settlers under the pre- 
emption laws. After some correspondence between the war and interior de- 
partments the whole island was again in 1835 reserved to the war department 
for military purposes, and on September 15, 1835, the following order was sent 
to the register at Galena: "The department of war has apprised this office 
that Rock island, in the Mississippi river, (supposed to contain from 1,500 
to 1,600 acres) and which has been in the occupancy of the public since 1816, 
and a part of it cultivated then and every year since by the troops at Fort Arm- 
strong, is essentially necessary to be reserved to the use of that garrison. You 
are therefore directed to reserve the same from any public service and if any 
individuals who may have occupied by sufferance any portions thereof should 
attempt to acquire a preemption claim on said island, in virtue of the act of the 
19th of June, 1834, such claim cannot be recognized. 


However, in 1833 the w^ar department was informed by Colonel George 
Davenport, who then had a trading post on the island, that his dwelling house, 
store and other improvements had been settled on the island since it was first 
occupied in 1816; that he claimed the land where he was living under the pre- 
emption laws and he recommended that his claim be admitted with the reser- 
vation and that it should not be enforced so long as the island was required for 


military purposes. After the island was reserverl for military purposes and the 
above order obtained from the general land office, Mr. Davenport's claim could 
not be admitted, but some years afterward, and after much correspondence, 
at the request of Stephen A. Douglas, Judge Knox, Judge Drury and other influ- 
ential men of IlHnois, a special act of congress was passed whereby Colonel 
Davenport acquired title to his estate on the island which was held by him and 
his family until repurchased by the ordnance department in 1867 for $40,740. 

Many of these settlers or "squatters," as they were called, before settling 
on the island had consulted Reverdy Johnson and Montgomery Blair, of Wash- 
ington, respecting the status of the land, and had obtained opinions favorable 
to the success of their plans. They afterward retained both these eminent 
lawyers and also Abraham Lincoln, then practicing law in Springfield, as counsel. 
These would-be preemptors of the land of the island, when they went to Spring- 
field to prove title and pay for the lands they had registered, were told by the 
register that he had received orders from Washington to stop all proceeding in 
regard to the preemption of the land. In December, 1858, Montgomery Blair, 
while acting as attorney for the settlers of the island, had obtained a decision 
from the commissioner of the general land office favorable to the cause of the 
preemptors. He then informed his clients that their title to the land would be 
made good. It appeared, however, that the secretary of the interior had not 
concurred in the decision of the commissioner or else that his views were sub- 
sequently changed, for in January following, when called upon for information 
while the bill was pending for the sale of the island, he wrote a letter which 
effectually reversed the decision of the commissioner. 

The success of the preemptors excited much interest at this time and was 
the subject of many articles in the newspapers. During the year 1859 "o other 
advance was made by the settlers toward obtaining a title to the lands but they 
still remained on the island. During the summer of 1859 an indictment against 
the settlers was obtained in the United States district court for cutting timber 
and other acts committed on the island. The case came up before Judge Drum- 
mond in Chicago in August, 1859, and the following were the published pro- 
ceedings : 

Indictment for cutting timber, etc.. on the island of Rock island. 

These cases involving the preempted character of the goverrmient lands on 
this island came up for trial in the United States court before Judge Drummond 
on Saturday last. District Attorney Fitch appeared for the prosecution and 
J. J. Beardsley, Esquire, of Rock Island, and Walker & Van Armand, of this 
city, for the defense. 

After the discussion of divers matters of law it was finally agreed to take 
the pro forma verdict of guilty against defendants Hortel & Millard, subject 
to a motion for a new trial aw^aiting the result of certain action of ejectment 
which was to be brought to determine more fully the rights of the preemptors. 
The subject of title and right of preemption remained, therefore, undeter- 

The settlers were well satisfied with the above, for it was their desire that 
the legality of the preemption claim might be tried before tlie United States 
supreme court and it was the opinion of their counsel that in such trial they 




would be successful and their title established. Judge Drummond and the 
United States district attorney earnestly opposed the settlers in their attempt 
to get possession of the island. In the summer of i860, nothing more having 
been heard of further proceedings in the matter, one of the settlers went to 
Chicago to see Judge Drummond about it and it was then discovered that the 
papers in the case were lost or at any rate they could not be found and nothing 
further was done that year. In the spring of 1861 the Civil war began and 
more pressing matters occupied the attention of all concerned. 


From the beginning the settlers who had gone to the island from Rock 
Island and vicinity, stated that if the government should ever wish to occupy 
the island for armory or arsenal purposes they would not prosecute their pre- 
emption claims, but would willingly resign them for the purpose of securing 
so desirable an object. If, however, the lands were public lands and subject to 
preemption and were to be acquired in this way by any one, they would not then 
resign them to others. When the act of congress, locating the arsenal on the 
island, was passed in July, 1862, they relinquished their claims and have taken 
no action in regard to them since. There is correspondence to show, however, 
that lawyers and others who had been interested in the claims of preemptors 
continued their efforts to obtain a title to the lands until as late as 1868. The 
preemptors gave up their claims and moved away as soon as the island was 
occupied by the United States. All of the mill owners and others having prop- 
erty on the east end of the island, except the Moline Water Power company 
and D. B. Sears, vacated the premises occupied by them and moved away as 
soon as they were required to do so by the United States. The claims of the 
railroad company, the Moline Water Power company, D. B. Sears, the Daven- 
port estate and some minor claims of the city of Rock Island, of the city of 
Moline and parties who had purchased land of D. B. Sears, were settled by 
purchase and by contracts made in pursuance of special acts of congress. All 
except the claim of the railroad and water power companies were settled 
through a re-purchase by the United States of all the property that the claim- 
ants had acquired. The property re-purchased cost the government the sum 
of $221,035. The claims of the railroad and water power companies were 
settled by contracts entered into in pursuance of the recommendation of the 
board of commissioners and by virtue of certain acts of congress. The rail- 
road contract provided for the removal of its tracks and bridge and the aban- 
donment of its old right of way and the construction of a new route across the 
west end of the island, the expense of which was born by the United States 
and the railroad company jointly, and gave the company a new right of way 
over the new route. The Water Power company's contract required that the 
company should relinquish its franchise to the United States, that the United 
States should build and maintain the water power and give to the company a 
portion of the power obtained, free of cost, forever. The construction of a 
portion of the water power which the contract gave to the Water Power com- 
pany has cost the United States nearly $500,000. 

Iowa Ap])r()ach near Federal and East River Streets 







In 1 85 1 a special charter was granted by the IlHnois legislature to the 
Chicago & Rock Island Railroad company for the construction of a railroad 
from Chicago to Rock Island, a point directly across the Mississippi river from 
Davenport. The work of construction was shortly after commenced and in 
the winter of 1854 the road was completed to the Mississippi river, and on 
Washington's birthday of that year the first train arrived at Rock Island from 
Chicago. Twenty-two months had been consumed in the completion of the 
road, but to the country at large and especially to the immediate community 
this was considered remarkable. In 1852 a charter was granted, authorizing 
the construction of a railroad line from Davenport, by way of Des Moines, to 
the Mississippi river at Council Bluffs, and under that charter the Mississippi 
& Missouri Railway company was organized, being capitalized at $6,000,000, 
of which the city of Davenport subscribed $75,000 and the county of Scott 
$50,000, while the individual subscriptions amounted to $100,000. On April 
ist of that year the first shovelful of earth was turned for the construction of 
the great work by Antoine LeClaire. The legislature of Illinois on the 17th 
of June, 1853, also granted a charter to the "Railroad Bridge company" for 
the construction of a bridge across the Mississippi river for the purpose of 
connecting the above mentioned two lines of railroads. Subsequent to this the 
Mississippi & Missouri Railway company was merged into that of the Chicago 
& Rock Island Railroad company, and is now known as the Chicago, Rock 
Island & Pacific Railroad company. 

As has been said, the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad company completed 
its road from Chicago to Rock Island in 1854. and the Mississippi & Missouri 
Railroad company then built its road from Davenport to Council Bluffs, but 


prior to this it became apparent to all concerned that it was necessary to have 
a bridge across the Mississippi to connect the two roads, and the "Railroad 
Bridge company" was organized for this purpose. Its plan was for a bridge 
from the Illinois shore to the island, a bridge from the Iowa shore to the island, 
and an embankment across the island to connect the two bridges, or more prop- 
erly, the two parts of the Rock Island bridge. This bridge was constructed 
near the home of Col. Davenport and is not to be confused with the bridge of 
the present day. The old bridge has long since been removed and no vestige 
of it remains but part of one of the abutments which forms one of the attrac- 
tions of the island to visitors. 

Considerable controversy subsequently arose between the railroad company 
and the government as to the company's right of way across the island. The 
railroad company's claim to a right of way and to lands occupied by the com- 
pany on the island and its right to construct bridges from the main land to the 
island was based upon two acts of the legislature of the state of Illinois, one 
dated in 1847 and the other in 1851, incorporating and authorizing the company 
to locate a railroad from Chicago to Rock Island, and upon further action of 
the legislature in January, 1853, creating the "Railroad Bridge company," with 
authority to construct a bridge at or near Rock Island.- 


An act of congress of August 4, 1852, granted a right of way to all rail and 
plank road or macadam and turnpike companies through the public lands of the 
United States, but excepted from the operation of the act all lands held for 
public use by improvements thereon and all other lands except such as were 
held for private entry or sale and such as were unsurveyed. It is now beyond 
■ controversy that the lands of Rock island were among those exempted from 
the operation of the act, but the act of 1852 seems to have been sufficient unto 
Judge McLean's methods of reasoning for his decision refusing to grant to the 
United States an injunction to prevent the railroad company from constructing 
the road on the island and building its bridges. It was further held that the 
states had authority to grant the right of way over public lands (the property of 
the United States) within the state, but it became clear that the lands in question 
had never been, since 1816, public lands within the meaning of the act, and con- 
sequently the acts of the legislature of the state of Illinois were inoperative. 
Nevertheless the motion for an injunction on the part of the United States in 
the case referred to was overruled by Judge McLean, more, perhaps, because 
the railroad and bridge were held to be a great public benefit, a necessity, and 
considered an advantage to the United States through its proprietorship of the 
island, and it was further considered that a connection with the railroads on the 
main land through railroad bridges and a railroad on the island was a necessary 
part of the plans for a great arsenal. 

The claims of the railroad company and the wants and necessities of the 
arsenal were all laid before the board of commissioners constituted by the gov- 
ernment, and a plan was finally fixed upon which would satisfy the require- 
ments both of the company and the United States. This plan was drawn up 


and approved both by General Rodman and the officers of the railroad com- 
pany, and was recommended by the commissioners. The main features of this 
plan were that the railroad company should give up their old right of way 
across the island and remove their tracks and bridge, that a new bridge should 
be built at the extreme west end of the island, the cost of which should be 
borne by the railroad company and the United States, and that the railroad 
company should have a right of way over that bridge and across the west end of 
the island. The bridge and track across the island would be so constructed as 
to fulfill the requirements of the railroad company and be out of the way of the 
improvement purposes of the government, and at the same time admit of con- 
necting the arsenal with the railroad company's tracks and fulfill the require- 
ments of the arsenal in this respect. The recommendations of the board of 
commissioners were approved by the chief of ordnance and secretary of war, 
and the legislation necessary for carrying out the plans was passed by congress. 


Whereas by an act of congress of the United States of America, entitled 
"An act making further provision for the establishment of an armory and ar- 
senal of construction, deposit, and repair on Rock island, in the state of Illi- 
nois," approved June 27, 1866, it is enacted as follows, viz. : 

That the secretary of war be, and is hereby, authorized and directed to 
change, fix and establish the position of the railroad across Rock island and the 
bridge across the Mississippi river at and on the island of Rock island, so as 
best to accord with the purposes of the government in its occupancy of said 
island for military purposes; and in order to effect this he is authorized to 
grant to the railroad company a permanent location and right of way on and 
across Rock island, to be fixed and designated by him, with such quantity of 
land, to be occupied and held by the company for railroad purposes, as may be 
necessary therefor, and that the said grant and change be made on such terms 
and conditions previously arranged between the secretary of war and the com- 
panies and parties in interest, as will best effect and secure the purposes of the 
government in occupying the island. 

Second. That the secretary of war be. and is hereby, authorized to grant 
to the companies and parties in interest such other aid, pecuniary or otherwise, 
towards effecting the change in the present location of their road and bridge, 
and establishing thereon a wagon road for the use of the government of the 
United States, to connect said island with the cities of Davenport and Rock 
Island, to be so constructed as not materially to interfere with, obstruct, or 
impair the navigation of the Mississippi river, as may be adjudged to be fair 
and equitable by the board of commissioners, authorized under the act of April 
19, 1864, entitled "An act in addition to an act for the establishment of certain 
arsenals," and may be approved by him. 

And whereas said board of commissioners, in a report upon the matter of 
the railroad and bridge across Rock island and the Mississippi river, under the 
date of February 2, 1867, adopted and recommended the following propositions 
as to the kind of wagon road that should be established and the amount and 


kind of aid that should fairly and equitably be granted by the government 
towards effecting that object, to wit: 

"The government to build over the main channel of the river an iron draw- 
bridge, in accordance with the conditions prescribed in the act of congress of 
July 25, 1866; the frame to be of proper breadth for a double track. The gov- 
ernment to give the company the right of way over this bridge and across the 
island, upon the payment of half the cost of the superstructure of the bridge, 
the bridge to be built with due regard to economy, having reference to strength 
and durability. The company to have five years from January i, 1867, in 
which to connect with the new bridge and to remove its present track across the 
island and the old bridge and piers from the main channel. The company to 
open wagon ways for the use of government through their present embankment 
on the island, and remove, as far as practicable, present obstructions to wagon 
traffic between the island and city of Rock Island ; the government to have the 
right to connect with the track of the company such sidetracks as may be de- 
sired for the United States and at such points as the ordnance department may 

And whereas the chief of ordnance. Brevet ]\Iajor-General A. B. Dyer, in a 
report to the secretary of war, dated February 8, 1867, approved the foregoing 
recommendations of the said board of commissioners respecting the location of 
the railroad across the island and the bridge across the Mississippi river, the 
granting of a permanent right of way across the island and the kind and char- 
acter of the bridge to be erected ; which recommendation, so approved by the 
chief of ordnance and adopted by him, is understood and here taken to be the 
recommendation of that officer to which reference is made in the first section of 
the act of congress of March 2, 1867, hereinafter mentioned. 

And whereas by the first section of the act of congress entitled "An act 
making appropriations for the support of the army for the year ending June 30, 
1868, and for other purposes," approved March 2, 1867, there is appropriated 
"for the erection of a bridge at Rock Island, Illinois, as recommended by the 
Chief of ordnance, $200,cxdo; Provided, That the ownership of said bridge shall 
be and remain in the United States ; and the Rock Island and Pacific 
Railroad Company shall have the right of way over said bridge for all 
purposes of transit across the island and river upon the condition that the 
said company shall, before any money is expended by the government, 
agree to pay and shall secure to the United States first, half the cost of said 
bridge ; and, second, for the expenses of keeping said bridge in repair ; and 
upon guaranteeing said conditions to the satisfaction of the secretary of war, 
by contract or otherwise, the said company shall have the free use of said 
bridge for purposes of transit, but without any claim to ownership thereof." 

And whereas by a joint resolution of the congress of the United States "in 
relation to the Rock Island bridge." approved July 20, A.D. 1868, it was pro- 
vided as follows : 

"Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
State in Congress Assembled, That the act of congress making appropriations 
for the support of the army for the year ending June 30, 1868, and for other 
purposes, approved March 2, 1867, be, and the same is hereby, so amended as 


to authorize and direct the secretary of war to order the commencement of the 
work on the bridge over the Mississippi river at Rock island, to connect the said 
island with the cities of Davenport and Rock Island : Provided, That the own- 
ership of said bridge shall be and remain in the United States; and the Rock 
Island & Pacific Railroad Company shall have the right of way over said bridge 
for all purposes of transit across the island and river, upon condition that the 
said railroad company shall pay to the United States: first, half of the cost of 
the superstructure of the bridge over the main channel, and half the cost of 
keeping the same in repair, and shall also build at its own cost the bridge over 
that part of the river which is on the east side of the island of Rock island, and 
also the railroad on and across said island of Rock island ; and upon a full com- 
pliance with these conditions said railroad company shall have the use of said 
bridge for the purposes of free transit, but without any claim to the ownership 
thereof ; and said railroad company shall within six months after said new 
bridge is ready for use remove their old bridge from the river and their railroad 
track from its present location on the island of Rock island: And provided fur- 
ther, That the agreement may permit any other road or roads wishing to cross 
on said bridge to do so by paying to the parties then in interest the proportion- 
ate cost of said bridge and securing to be paid its proportionate cost of keeping 
the same in repair, but no such permission to other roads shall impair the right 
hereby granted to the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company, and 
the total cost of said bridge shall not exceed the estimate made by the commis- 
sioners appointed under the act approved June twenty-seven, eighteen hundred 
and sixty-six; /if wcf provided also, That in no case shall the expenditure on the 
part of the United States exceed one million dollars. 

"Section 2. And he it further resolved. That in case the Rock Island & Pa- 
cific Railroad Company shall neglect or fail for sixty days after the passage of 
this resolution to make and guarantee the agreement specified in the act of ap- 
propriation aforesaid, approved March second, eighteen hundred and sixty- 
seven, then the secretary of war is hereby authorized and required to direct the 
removal of the existing bridge and to direct the construction of the bridge afore- 
said, and expend the money appropriated in said act; and the said Rock Island 
& Pacific Railroad Company shall not have, acquire, or enjoy any right of way 
or privilege thereon, or the use of said bridge, until the agreement aforesaid shall 
be made and guaranteed according to the terms and conditions of said act of 
appropriation. All acts or parts of acts inconsistent with these resolutions are 
hereby repealed. 

"Section 3. And he it further resolved, That any bridge built under the 
provisions of this resolution shall be constructed so as to conform to the require- 
ments of section two of an act entitled 'An act to authorize the construction of 
certain bridges and establish them as post-roads,' approved July twenty-fifth, 
eighteen hundred and sixty-six." 

Now, therefore, for the purpose of carrying into full efl^ect the provisions 
of the several laws aforesaid, and for the considerations hereinafter set forth, 
the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company, by John F. Tracy, its 
president, who is duly authorized and empowered by the said company to bind 
the same hereunto, hereby covenants and agrees with the United States of 


America, hereinafter represented in this behalf by John M. Schofield, secretary 
of war, as follows: 

First. The said company will, at its own expense, relocate its railroad track 
across the island of Rock island, upon such line as may be there designated by the 
secretary of war in pursuance of the act of June 27, 1866, above cited ; and the 
secretary of war shall grant to said company, upon the line so designated, a per- 
manent location and right of way, of a width to be fixed by him, with such quan- 
tity of land to be occupied and held by the company for railroad purposes as may 
be necessary for the convenient construction of its track and the passage of its 
trains ; which grant shall not authorize the company to erect any structures upon 
the land so granted except the railroad tracks necessary for its business, nor 
to use said land for other purposes than the construction and keeping in repair 
of its necessary tracks and the passage of its trains ; and the United States shall 
have the right to connect with the track of the company upon said island such 
side tracks as may be desired for the use of the United States, and at such point 
on said island as the ordnance department may select. 

Second. Said company will, at its own cost, construct that part of the bridge 
to connect the island with the cities of Davenport and Rock Island, which is on 
the east side of the island ; to be of such character and to be built in such manner 
as shall be agreed upon between the said company and the secretary of war, the 
same to be completed as soon as that portion of said bridge on west side of the 
island is completed. 

Third. The company shall, on the first day of January, A. D., 1872, pay to 
the government of the United States one-half the cost of the superstructure of 
that portion of said bridge which is to be built by the government of the United 
States over the main channel of said river : Provided, That the aggregate cost 
of the said bridge shall not exceed twelve hundred and ninety-six thousand, two 
hundred and ninety-two dollars and eleven cents, the estimate of the same made 
by the commissioners appointed under the act approved June 2y, 1866: And 
provided further, That the said bridge shall be completed in such manner as to 
afford a safe and proper crossing for the railroad trains of said company, and in 
such manner that the railroad of said company can be connected therewith by 
suitable and practical embankments, before the money stipulated to be paid herein 
by said company to the United States shall become due and payable : And pro- 
vided further. That the said bridge shall be built upon a plan to be agreed upon 
between the said company and the secretary of war ; or, in case of failure to make 
such agreement, the point in controversy shall be finally determined by one 
competent engineer, to be appointed by the secretary of war, and one to be 
appointed by the said company, these two to choose a third, in case of their 
disagreement, to act as umpire. 

Fourth. The United States are to keep said bridge in repair, and the said 
company agrees to forever pay one-half of the cost thereof, from time to time, 
as the same shall accrue; but the sleepers and rails are to be put down upon 
the bridge and kept in repair at the expense of the railroad company, with- 
out cost to the United States, who will make all repairs to the wagon road 
ivithout cost to the company. 


Fifth. The said company agrees to relocate the track across said island 
and to remove its present bridge across the main channel of said river west 
of said island within six months after the completion of the said new bridge 
ready for use. 

In witness whereof these presents are signed by the secretary of war, on be- 
half of the United States, and by John F. Tracy, president of the Chicago, Rock 
Island & Pacific Railroad Company, he being thereto lawfully authorized, and 
the seal of said company being hereunto affixed. 

j. m. schofield, 
John F. Tracy, 
President Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. 
Railroad Company. 

Ebenezer Cook, 
Secretary of C. R. I. & P. R. R. Co. 


The first bridge across the Mississippi at Davenport was built by the Missis- 
sippi River Bridge Company in 1853-55, and the moss-covered pier above 
mentioned is all that remains of it. This bridge first bore the weight of a 
train of cars, consisting of a locomotive and eight cars, April i, 1856. On the 
6th of May of that year, the first span east of the draw, 250 feet in length, was 
destroyed by fire, communicated by the steamer Effie Afton, which had collided 
and burned at one of the piers. With the opening of the river in March, 1868, 
heavy floating cakes of ice, jamming against it, the pier on the Iowa side was 
pushed into the river twenty-five feet from its foundation and in the month fol- 
lowing, a terrific windstorm settled the fate of the structure by lifting the draw 
span from its masonry, tilting it so that it hung supported only by the draw pier, 
with both ends up in midair. The second bridge, for the construction of which 
a compact was entered into by and between the United States government and 
the "Railroad Bridge Company," as herein described in detail, was completed 
in October, 1872, and opened for traffic in 1873. Its total length was 1,500 feet, 
consisting of five spans and a draw. The cost was practically $1,000,000 dollars. 

As the country grew and prospered and traffic became more intense, the 
necessity for another and stronger bridge made itself apparent and the pres- 
ent structure is the result. The piers of the second bridge were utilized for 
the new one and on them, in the winter of 1894, was suspended a double-decked 
superstructure, with double railroad tracks above the double street car tracks 
and wagon road below. The trusses of this modern and one of the great bridges 
of the countr>' are calculated to bear a total moving load of 11.360 pounds per 
lineal foot, of which 8,000 pounds are on the railway floor and 3,360 pounds on 
the roadway floor. The solid corrugated steel railway floor, together with the 
yuard angles and rail plates, weigh about 940 pounds per lineal foot of the 
bridge. The draw span, which weighs approximately 2,500,000 pounds, is one 
of the heaviest in existence. The chain motion for the draw span is one of 
the salient departures from the usual methods. At the north end of the bridge 


the first span is 260 feet in length, the second, third and fourth are each 220 
feet, the fifth is 260 feet and the draw is 368 feet. The approach span on the Dav- 
enport side is 200 feet and on the island end about one-half this length. Ralph 
Modjeska, son of the noted actress. Madam Modjeska. who recently passed 
away in California, and whose body was taken to her beloved Poland for 
sepulture, was chief engineer of the new bridge. 

At the southwest limit of the island is a wagon bridge twenty-two feet in 
the clear, in the form of a viaduct, under which trains pass. There are foot 
walks outside the chords, each six feet in width. At its eastern end the south 
branch or Sylvan Water, is spanned by a bridge connecting the island with 
Moline. This bridge is 711 feet in length and has five spans of 142 feet in 
lens^th each. 


On January 17, 1854, the original wooden bridge which cost about $500,000 
with the sylvan or "slough" bridge, and the line of rails connecting them, was 
started, and the draw was first swung open on April 9, 1856, over two years 
later. The wood work was constructed by the firm of Stone, Boomer & Boyn- 
ton, of Davenport, and the piers were built by John Warner of Rock Island. 
These piers were seven feet wide at the top, thirty-five feet long and thirty- 
eight feet high, resting upon solid rock. Each span was 250 feet in length. The 
draw span was 285 feet long and had a clear channel of 120 feet on each side 
of the draw pier. The length of the bridge was 1.581 feet. There were 1,080,- 
000 feet of lumber, 400.000 pounds of wrought iron and 290.000 pounds of cast 
iron used in its construction. On April 11. 1856, a meeting was called to pro- 
vide ways and means for celebrating the opening of the bridge. A committee 
of twenty-five citizens was appointed to make all necessary arrangements for 
the event. On the 14th of April, following, another public meeting was held, 
at which a committee of five was appointed to solicit funds ; Ebenezer Cook, 
Austin Corbin, Antoine LeClaire, J. Lambrite, and L. C. Dessaint were the 
members of that committee. The celebration was, however, deferred by re- 
quest of the railroad officials, as it appeared to them that the regular traffic 
would pay better than complimentary- trains run to bring in distinguished 

The Gazette of date April 2;^. 1850, had this to say of the completed bridge: 
"The 2 1st day of April, 1856. can be set down as the beginning of a new era in 
the history of Davenport, as on that day the first locomotive crossed the great 
bridge which spans the Mississippi river at this point. The event occurred at 
dusk in the evening, very few persons being eye witnesses, the company, with 
their proverbial silence in regard to their operations, having kept ever^-thing 
quiet in relation to the matter. Slowly the locomotive Des Moines proceeded on 
the bridge, very cautiously crossed the draw, and then with accelerated speed 
rushed on to the Iowa shore where it was welcomed by the huzzas of those who 
had there assembled to witness the event. 

"The last link is now forged in the chain that connects Iowa and the great 
west with the states of the Atlantic seaboard. The iron hand that will span our 






. iir 


hemisphere has been welded at Davenport ; one mighty barrier has been over- 
come ; the Missouri is yet to be crossed and then the locomotive will speed on- 
ward to the Pacific. 

"Who can conjecture the effect of the completion of the road upon the city of 
Davenport ! As it progresses business must continue to augment, and when at 
last a communication is effected with the distant and wealthy state of California, 
how vastly must that business increase. There is a future for Iowa that promises 
to make her the brightest star in the galaxy of states. Her extent of territory, 
fertility of soil, everything warrants this conclusion, and commensurate with her 
progress must be the advance of Davenport." 


River men and the city of St. Louis were bitterly opposed to the erection of 
a bridge across the Mississippi river, and did all in their power to place ob-. 
structions in the path of the railroad company, both by legal and illegal means, 
to prevent its construction. But in spite of the St. Louis chamber of commerce 
and steamboat companies, whose officials used every means that money and polit- 
ical influence could command, the work of constructing the bridge went on and 
continued until finished. In the Des Moines Register appeared a letter written 
by Hon. Robert Lowry, who was a citizen of Davenport from 1851 to 1883, and 
later became Indian agent and secretary of the land office at Huron, South Da- 
kota. In the communication, which follows below, he gives a lucid and very in- 
teresting story regarding the first bridge and its troubles : 

"The attempt to bridge the father of waters united the steamboat interests 
from New Orleans to St. Paul and on the Ohio river to Pittsburg. In the places 
mentioned those interested claimed that under the provision of an old English 
law. renewed by legislation in this country, the navigable rivers, particularly 
one of such national importance as the Mississippi, were the king's highways, 
and could not be obstructed by bridges of any character. The courts were be- 
seeched for applications for attachments and injunctions and several attempts 
to burn the bridge were made. At last, amidst the most discouraging hindrances 
and obstructions, the great bridge was completed. Shortly thereafter, in May, 
1856. the steamer Effie Afton, a large boat from the Ohio river, carr>'ing many 
passengers and a heavy cargo of freight, was passing under the bridge when it 
swung against the south stone pier with such force as to break the boat in two. 
The wreck and bridge were set on fire. A number of persons were drowned and 
the boat completely lost. Immediately following the accident suit was brought 
against the railroad company with a view to having the bridge declared an ob- 
struction and securing its removal. The suit was brought before Justice John 
McLean, of the United States supreme court at Chicago. The railroad company 
employed some of the best lawyers in the country to defend this case, among 
them being Abraham Lincoln and N. B. Judd. The title of the case was 'Hurd 
et al., vs. Railroad Bridge Company.' When the case was called up a large num- 
ber of witnesses from Davenport and Rock Island went to Chicago and with them 
numerous parties interested in the suit. When I entered the courtroom there 
was a large number present. Justice McLean was in his chair and Mr. Lincoln 


was upon the floor, addressing the court. His towering figure, six feet, three 
and a half inches in height, impressed me. He was talking in a loud voice and 
twisting and bending his long thin form in all manner of shapes, emphasizing 
his words by gestures of his sapling-like arms. He said : The American people 
are a progressive people: our forefathers used to travel on horseback and in 
coaches, the latter in the west being superseded by Fink & Walker's hack, when 
each passenger was obliged to carry a fence rail to assist the driver in prying the 
hack from the mud. Afterward came the steamboat. If it please the court, I 
have had some experience in fiatboating. I have taken a number of flatboats 
to New Orleans and returned by steamboat ; but our people were not satisfied to 
travel on the steamboat at the rate of eight or ten miles an hour, stopping at 
every little village or hamlet to take on fuel or freight. They soon wanted to go 
on railroads at the rate of thirty or forty miles an hour, and to facilitate travel, 
streams and rivers must be bridged; millions of dollars have been spent on 
navigable rivers yearly in removing obstacles from them and keeping their chan- 
nels clear. Railroads, like navigable rivers, are great national highways, and the 
rivers must yield so much of their vested rights as to permit bridges to be built 
ax:ross them to accommodate travel and commerce that naturally seek the railroads.' 


"It will be remembered by the oldest citizens that the cities of Wheeling and 
Pittsburg claimed to be at the head of navigation of the Ohio river, and that there 
was much rivalry between them. In 1845 the people of Wheeling built a bridge 
over the Ohio river at that point and when completed the newspapers, in bold 
headlines, announced that that city was the head of navigation of the Ohio river. 
This was true. The bridge was so low, however, that the larger steamers could 
not pass under it. Pittsburg and the vicinity became greatly excited. Mass 
meetings were held, speeches were made and resolutions passed denouncing the 
Wheeling bridge and declaring it an obstruction to free navigation. Its removal 
was therefore demanded. Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, afterward Mr, Lincoln's 
secretary of war, Hon. Moses Hampton and Hon. Wilson McCandless were 
employed by the citizens of Pittsburg to bring suit against the Wheeling Bridge 
company in the federal courts. This fact apparently flashed upon Mr. Lincoln 
while earnestly addressing Judge McLean, and fixing his eyes squarely on him, 
said 'Will your Honor please pardon me if I relate a little incident which will 
have a bearing upon this case?' Being assured by the judge that he had a perfect 
right to talk, Mr. Lincoln continued: 'I once had some business in New Albany 
upon the Ohio river. After registering at the hotel I took a walk down to the 
river. A number of steamboats were lying at the wharf. Two of them. Telegraph 
No. I, and Hibernian No. 2, were very large boats, and had smoke stacks that 
seemingly touched the clouds. I could not comprehend why they were so tall. 
While looking at them an Irishman came along with his dray. He proved to be 
a true son of the Emerald isle. I asked him if he could tell me why those two 
boats had chimneys so much higher than the other boats. "Yez must be a stranger 
about here," says Pat. I told him that I was, and that I lived at Springfield, 
Illinois. "And faith, that's where they have the milk sickness." I told him that I 


could never locate the disease, but would like to know something about those tall 
chimneys. ^'Well, yez see, them's Pittsburg boats. Don't yez know that them 
Wheeling chaps has built a bridge over the Ohio river and then declared that 
town was the head of navigation of the Ohio river ? The Pittsburg fellows swore 
that the bridge was an obstruction and must come down. And by the powers 
of Kilkenny and the bogs of Tyrone, they made good their oath by building 
chimneys so high that the boats couldn't go under the bridge, and there yez sees 
two of the Pittsburg boats.' " 

Mr. Lincoln's imitation of the Irishman's rich brogue was so ludicrous and in- 
teresting that even Judge McLean threw himself back in his chair and joined the 
attorneys and spectators in a hearty laugh. Mr. Lincoln won his suit and the 
bridge was allowed to remain until superseded by the fine iron structure built 
by the government which now spans the Mississippi river at Davenport." 

Mr. Lincoln, in preparing his arguments in this case, took advantage of and 
put into use the survey of the upper rapids of the Mississippi river made in 1837 
by a young lieutenant of United States engineers, and it probably occurred to 
him that in 1832, when cholera was rampant at Fort Armstrong, on Rock island, 
it was often unwise and dangerous for boats to land there and that a steamboat, 
carrying Black Hawk, the noted Sac warrior, as a prisoner, was in charge of 
a lieutenant of the United States army on a steamboat anchored in the stream a 
few hundred feet above the site of the bridge. 

Looking back over the years that have long since passed away, an unusual 
interest is centered in the personnel of some of those whose memories are par- 
ticularly connected with the history of the bridge and Rock island, for during 
the war which convulsed the nation three and a half years after this notable trial 
the attorney who defended the bridge company was president of the United States ; 
the lieutenant who made the survey, Robert E. Lee, was commander in chief of 
the army of the Confederacy, while the lieutenant who brought Black Hawk 
to Prairie du Chien, Jefferson Davis, was president of the so-called confederate 
states of America. 


A dispatch from Chicago, of date August 8, i860, was sent to and published 
in the Democrat, stating that Josiah Bissell, a young man, smooth-spoken, plau- 
sible, an architect, engineer and bridge builder, and a prime mover in the raid 
against the great bridge, was arrested in that city by Officer Dennis, of Pinker- 
ton's police force, and that Walter E. Chadwick had been arrested at Rock Island 
by Officer Webster upon warrants charging them with conspiracy to burn the 
railroad bridge across the Mississippi river at Rock Island. The dispatch gave 
the further information that on the morning of August 8th, indictments had been 
found against the accused by the grand jury of the recorder's court, then in ses- 
sion, and that a large quantity of inflammable material in bottles had been seized 
by the officers at the time of the arrest of Bissell ; that Bissell was the agent of the 
St. Louis Chamber of Commerce and Chadwick an attorney in cases pending 
against the Rock Island Railroad company. In its mention of the matter the 
Chicago Press and Tribune had the following to say, after describing the parties 
under arrest: 


"In April last, Mr. Bissell came to this city and stopped at the Richmond 
house. He had a business interview with Cyrus P. Bradley, a well-known de- 
tective of this city, and after finishing other important matters, came out plumply 
with the proposition to pay him $5,000 if he would cause the bridge to be burned. 
He paid Mr. Bradley a compliment, saying that if he, Mr. Bradley, undertook 
it, it would be done. Bissell at the time lamented the previous failure last fall 
and that it must be done sure this time. He said the law-suits would never move 
the bridge, 'but let it once be burned and we'll get out an injunction against re- 
building it. Do you see?' Captain Bradley did 'see,' and took the bait. Not long 
thereafter Superintendent Tracy, of the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad com- 
pany, and Hon. B. C. Cook, of Ottawa, attorney for the company, were acquainted 
with the facts and from that time to day before yesterday Messrs. Bissell and 
Chadwick, with C. P. Bradley, silent partner of this interesting bridge destroying 
firm, enjoyed plain sailing straight into the lion's jaws. They have had con- 
versations in this city in a card room carefully prepared with a skillful shorthand 
reporter, taking evidence 'behind the arras,' and at times citizens well chosen 
for standing and probity have been placed equally well to hear how it was to be 
done — the burning of the bridge. 

"On Tuesday, by previous agreement, a package of combustibles came by 
express to this city from St. Louis. It contained fifty champagne bottles filled 
with a highly combustible treacle-like fluid, known as Greek fire. This was to 
be kept as Bradley's stock in trade, among other things. All seemed to be ready 
for the harvest. Officer Dennis took Mr. Bissell into custody at the Richmond 
house that evening and Special Deputy Tim Webster and Mr. J. R. Reed, bridge 
master of the railroad company at Rock Island, served the papers almost simul- 
taneously on Chadwick in that city. This latter arrest was neatly done. Mr. 
Chadwick was invited to the depot to look at some papers in Webster's posses- 
sion. Then it turned out that the paper was accidentally in Mr. Webster's 
valise in the cars and just as the two went into the car of the up-bound night 
train, to see the paper, Chadwick did see and too late, that it was a warrant for 
his arrest and he a prisoner and the train already under headway for Chicago. 
Chadwick and Bissell joined company here under arrest yesterday. These men 
were tried for the crime alleged against them and on December 15, i860, the 
jury returned a verdict of not guilty against Bissell. Chadwick was never brought 
to trial." 

Timothy Webster, who made the arrest of Chadwick in Rock Island, came to 
Davenport immediately after the attempt to bum the Rock Island bridge in the 
summer of 1858, and remained here for several years. He was not known, 
however, as Timothy Webster, but as J. R. Reed, and from the logic of events 
it became apparent that his object in taking up his residence in Davenport was 
to employ his time as a member of the Pinkerton detective agency in the interest 
of the Rock Island Railroad company in ferreting out the instigators of the 
plot to burn the bridge. Mr. Reed was well known in this city during his resi- 
dence here and in i860 was elected alderman from the fifth ward, but for reasons 
best known to himself at the time he declined to qualify for the office. He was 
a Jacksonian democrat, a great admirer of Stephen A. Douglas and took an 
active part in the presidential campaign of i860. In this relation it might be well 


to add that in the later '60s Allen Pinkerton, of Chicago, a member of the famous 
detective firm bearing that name, published a pamphlet in New York city in 
which Timothy Webster is given the credit of discovering and making 
known to the authorities the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln 
while on his way from Springfield to Washington for his inauguration 
as president of the United States, which was to take place on the 4th of 
March, 1861. Letters from Hon. N. B. Judd, Governor Curtin and others plainly 
indicated that the plot was discovered and frustrated by members of the Pin- 
kerton force and not by persons in New York, who have claimed the credit. 
In the pamphlet above referred to Mr. Pinkerton gives credit to Timothy Web- 
ster in the words following: "Timothy Webster, one of my detective force, ac- 
companied me upon this eventful occasion. He served faithfully as a detective 
among the secessionists of Maryland and acquired many valuable and important 
secrets. He, among all the force who went with me, deserves the credit of sav- 
ing the life of Mr. Lincoln, even more than I do. He was a native of Princeton, 
New Jersey, a life-long democrat, but he felt and realized with Jackson that the 
Union must and should be preserved. He continued in important detective service 
and after I assumed charge of the secret service of the army of the Potomac 
under Major General McClellan, Mr. Webster was most of the time within the 
rebel lines. True, he was called a spy and martial law says that a spy, when con- 
victed, must die. Yet, spies are necessary in war, ever have been and ever will 
be. Timothy Webster was arrested in Richmond and upon the testimony of 
members of the 'secesh' army in Washington, named Levi, for whom I had done 
some acts of kindness, he was convicted as a spy and executed by Jefferson Davis, 
April 30, 1862. His name is unknown to fame but few were braver or more 
devoted to the Union cause than was Timothy Webster." While in Davenport 
Timothy Webster secured appointment as bridge superintendent, succeeding Seth 
Gurney, the first incumbent. 


Associated with Abraham Lincoln in the bridge cases was George E. Hub- 
bell of the Davenport bar. He was engaged for several months in taking dep- 
ositions in this vicinity and up and down the river, and this evidence was in 
Mr. Lincoln's possession when the cases came up for trial. Mr. Hubbell tells 
of seeing Mr. Lincoln and his eldest son, then a boy, in a hotel at Dubuque, where 
Mr. Lincoln had journeyed on legal business. The martyred president never 
visited Davenport, although that statement is often made. The only presidents 
who have been in this city are Millard Fillmore, who accompanied the party on 
the first train over the Rock Island road and was given a hearty reception here, 
Theodore Roosevelt who spoke here during the McKinley campaign and Presi- 
dent Taylor, who was met by a reception committee of British and Indians at 
Credit island in the war of 1812. President Taft, while secretary of war, was one 
of a distinguished company entertained by the Tri-City Press club at a banquet at 
the Commercial club, and in 1900, Theodore Roosevelt also made Davenport a 
stopping place while on a campaigning tour in the west. While attorney in the 
bridge cases Abraham Lincoln came to the bridge to study the location of draw 
pier and direction of currents. He was within a few hundred feet of Davenport 
but did not cross the bridge. 







On the morning of a beautiful sunshiny day in the early part of March, 
1910, the writer and an expert stenographer reached the quiet little village of 
Buffalo and upon inquiry, learned the location of Captain Clark's home, which 
proved to be quite a half mile distant from the depot and commanding a promi- 
nent and most desirable position overlooking the "father of waters." The visitors 
were early ones, it being but a few minutes past 8 o'clock, yet when ushered into 
the cottage, which was built in 1845 but is in a splendid state of preservation, 
they found the old pioneer in his sitting room, ready to receive his callers. Capn 
tain Clark was soon in possession of the reason for being called on to enter- 
tain strangers and soon the reminiscent muse impelled him to gratify the de- 
sire to obtain, at first hand, his recollections of the primitive times, scenes and 
people of this locality. We were told by him that his memory, although almost 
eighty-eight years had passed over his head, was practically as good as when 
he was in his prime, and he made the statement an emphatic one when he said 
he never permitted himself to assert the truth or falsity of a thing unless he 
knew he was right. His rule of action has probably been that attributed to 
Davy Crockett — "Be sure you're right, then go ahead." And the kindly, inter- 
esting old gentleman opened up his Pandora's box of precious tales of the early 
days in Scott county and after handing over the copy of an article he had writ- 
ten for another publication, he let his memory carry him hither and yon, first 
on this subject and then on that, always, let it be understood, keeping in view 
the main object — the past and its relation to Scott county. 

Captain Warner Lewis Clark will be eighty-eight years old in November 
and is now living on the claim taken up for him by his father seventy-seven 
years ago. Today he is the oldest living pioneer and settler not only of Scott 


county but also of the state of Iowa. The relation of early times and events 
in this locality herein recorded is from the lips and pen of Captain Clark and 
is of much importance as a part of this work. 

From 1847 until 1859, Captain Clark made his home in Davenport, but in 
the latter year returned to Bulifalo, where for the past half century he has re- 
sided. Fifty years ago he put on the river a packet line, to connect with the 
railroad, and during the twelve years he resided in Davenport, his main busi- 
ness was that of steamboating. While retired from active business pursuits, he 
is still able to keep an eye on whatever concerns his financial affairs. The fol- 
lowing incident relates to his remarkable talent for remembering things : He 
was walking past the Democrat office one day when David N. Richardson 
(Dick) espied him and called him into the editorial den. "Dick" Richardson, 
thinking he had the captain on the hip and that the latter would have to step 
down from his pedestal of infallibility in the correctness of his historic data, 
opened up on the patriarch by asking him: "Captain, who was the first post- 
master of Davenport and of Buffalo?" "Why," immediately answered the cap- 
tain, "my father was the first postmaster of Buffalo and Antoine LeClaire was 
the first one of Davenport. I have told you that before." "I must confess to 
you, Captain Clark," returned the editor, "that in this you are wrong, and it is 
the first time in our long acquaintance that I have ever found you making a 
mistake of that kind. Now, to prove to you that you did make a mistake as 
to these postmasters, here is a letter from the postoffice department in Wash- 
ington, in which it is stated positively that Duncan C. Eldridge was Daven- 
port's first postmaster and the first in Buffalo to handle the mails was M. N. 
Bosworth. I am sorry, captain, but you'll have to admit your mistake in this 
instance," concluded Mr. Richardson. But Captain Clark stood his ground and 
reinstated himself on his pedestal. He proved to the satisfaction of Editor 
"Dick" Richardson that notwithstanding the postal officials in Washington had 
given Eldridge and Bosworth a place in Scott county history, that might have 
tickled the vanity of those gentlemen and given the postoffice historian at Wash- 
ington an abnormal assurance of his importance as a collector of statistics, 
still, he, Captain Clark, knew that Eldridge and Bosworth were not in Scott 
county for a year or more subsequent to the appointment of his father and 
Antoine LeClaire. And Mr. Clark was right. 


"I knew Antoine LeClaire very well," said Mr. Qark. "When I first met 
him, a young man, he was then five feet, seven inches in height, and weighed 
about 175 pounds. He was a compactly, well built man, and filled out later in 
life until he weighed over 300 pounds. I remember him well as a fiddler, and 
he was a good one, too ! He would often be found at country dances, playing 
his fiddle to the delight of all in the merry crowd. He was also fond of danc- 
ing and was very spry on his feet. He was considered a good dancer and never 
wanted for a partner. He was a simple-minded man, a good neighbor and 
kind to everybody. He was clever, but you could not say he was a good busi- 


ness man. Notwithstanding he met with business reverses, yet at his death he 
left a large property to be distributed among the claimants to his estate." 

Captain Clark casually remarked that he could talk "Indian"' and that when 
a child he had Indians for his playmates. He knew the noted Chief Keokuk 
very well, who was also one of his playmates, and a number of years after 
Keokuk had acquired wealth and joined the Methodist church he invited the 
chief to attend a meeting of the Scott County Old Settlers' association, which 
Keokuk accepted but for some reason never put in an appearance. Captain 
Qark also said: "Father had the first ferry on the Mississippi and the most 
noted above St. Louis. He established the ferry to reach the mining country 
in those days. He could have claimed his land in Davenport, below Harrison 
street, just as well as in Buffalo, but if he had gone to Davenport he would 
have had the two branches of the Rock river to ferry, as we didn't think of 
bridging rivers in those days. This (Buffalo) was far the prettier place. We 
had every advantage here and were ahead in everything." 


Continuing in a desultory way, Captain Clark told of having lived under 
every president from James Monroe to William Howard Taft, and that he 
joined the Old Settlers' association when it was organized in 1858, and had 
never missed but two or three of its meetings. "I knew quite a good deal of 
'Abe' Lincoln, but never met him. Stephen A. Douglas I had met on more 
than one occasion. He was a brilliant man. I have no picture of my father 
— we didn't know much about pictures in those days — but my old acquaintances 
said that my father and Douglas were as nearly alike in appearance as two 
brothers could be. I was running the Jennie Lind, one of my packet boats, and 
went to Burlington one time when a convention was to be held there. On board 
my boat en route to the convention were John Wentworth, 'Long John,' of 
Chicago,, Stephen A. Douglas, Congressman Richards from Adams county 
General Jones and General A. C. Dodge. I took them all down in my boat and 
they had a rally at Burlington the next night. Here I might add that it was 
not a common thing to lay over with a steamboat twelve hours to pick up noted 


Benjamin W. Clark was bom in Wyth county, Mrginia, and came to Black 
Hawk's Purchase in June, 1833, where he took up claims and bought others two 
and one- fourth miles in length on the Mississippi river, above and below where 
the town of Buffalo is now situated. He built a log cabin at the lower end of 
W. L. Clark's present property, one near where the Dorman store and postoffice 
now stands, one at what is now the upper end of town and one on the river 
bank above where the public highway crosses the Rock Island railroad, on the 
Dodge farm, all embracing what are now the W. L. Clark. Springmeir, Kautz, 
Zerker, Erie Dodge, Henry Alford. and the south part of the Harsch, Stickle- 
berger and Dodge farms, or about 2.000 acres. In the spring of 1833 he 


planted corn, potatoes and a vegetable garden where Buffalo now stands. 
These were the tirst crops in the county. His nearest neighbor north, on the 
river, was at Dubuque, 135 miles. The nearest one south was at Flint Hills, 
now Burlington (Shacacon, the Indian namej, ninety miles distant, and not a 
house to the Pacific coast. 

The spot chosen by him was one of the most beautiful on the great river be- 
tween St. Louis and St. Paul. Here were low lying hills, set well back from 
the river and covered with a fine growth of valuable timber, with building stone 
and coal cropping out of the sides of many of the creeks, fine sulphur springs 
of clear, delicious, healthful water, and besides all these natural advantages 
that of being on a direct line between Alonmouth, Illinois, forty miles south, 
and Dubuque by airline seventy-four miles north to the lead mines. The river 
here had beautiful pebbly, rocky shores, and here he established Clark's ferry, 
which, after emigration set in, became the most noted in the Black Hawk Pur- 
chase. It was the only ferry between Burlington and Dubuque; in other 
words, we were the first. Here it was the first house was built, the first ferry 
established, the first plowing done, the first crop planted, the first brickyard, the 
first blacksmith shop, where the mill-irons for the Green grist mill at Rochester, 
also the irons for the Whittlesy mill, both in Cedar county, were made; the 
first town between Flint Hill and Dubuque, the first bam, thirty by forty feet, 
now standing, the first coal mine opened, and the first white child born, David 
H. Qark, April 21, 1834; the second in schools — for Pleasant Valley was the 
first there. We were first and foremost in everything else, for we were here 
first and went to work with a will. The first girl born here was Harriet 
Mounts (Fridley) on September 2, 1835. 

During the winter of 1833-34, Captain Benjamin W. Clark had several men 
making rails to fence four of his farms on the river. 


Having raised a crop of sod corn, in 1834, the manufacture of breadstuff 
became a vital subject. Wheaten flour was out of the question for daily use. 
Some means had to be provided for the making of corn meal, and this is the 
way we did it. We sawed off from a log thirty inches in diameter a piece three 
and one-half feet long, setting it on one end. With our crude tools we cut and 
burned out a hollow mortar to hold a peck or more of corn ; then with two poles 
and a prop against a tree (not unlike the old well sweep) we rigged our mill. 
The end coming straight down had a hole bored in it, a pin driven through 
leaving an end on each side long enough for a man to take hold of. The lower 
end forming a pestle had a ring around it and an iron wedge driven in. Two 
men would then take hold and soon pound sufficient meal for the day. These 
articles were in use in the year 1834. Two years later, 1835-6, Messrs. Davis 
and Haskel built a little mill on Crow creek, and J. H. Sullivan and H. C. 
Morehead built a steam mill at Rockingham, which did away with the pestle 
and mortar and supplied not only the residents of the community but furnished 
breadstuffs to ship away. 



For the first horseshoeing, done early in December, 1833, the writer went a 
long distance. He rode one horse and led another. The first day he made 
Monmouth, Illinois, forty miles ; the next day, reached Macomb, Illinois, forty 
miles further ; the third day, by noon, twenty miles further ; in all, 100 miles 
to Crooked Creek, where lived and worked one Elijah Bristow, a blacksmith. 
Bristow himself made all shoes and nails used by him, as all the smiths did at 
that time. The calks were of cast steel, the hind calks were made square 
where they joined the shoe, then drawn to a point. The smith must have been 
an unusually efficient workman, or took extra pains with my horses, since every 
shoe remained firm until the following spring. On the return trip I procured a 
wagon and harness and drove back, bringing with me John Bristow, Michael 
Shelly, William Shelly, Orian Moss and W. H. Gabbert to split rails for my 
father. Three of these men took up claims and settled near us, one taking the 
now H. C. Morehead farm, one the now Theodore Kautz farm and one the 
upper end of the now Miller farm. 


Buffalo was the first town platted in what is now Scott county, and was laid 
out in May, 1836, by Captain Benjamin W. Clark, Captain E. A. Mix and Dr. 
Pillsbury, of Buffalo, New York, and named in honor of the latter place. At 
the time of laying out it had the widely known Clark ferrv' which enjoyed the 
trade of a large extent of territory, being in a direct line with southern Illinois 
and Dubuque and the lead regions. Here all the first settlers with teams 
crossed the river into Black Hawk's Purchase, and on their way to Muscatine, 
Linn, Cedar and all the western portion of Scott countly, Buffalo, being situ- 
ated in a fine timbered section of country with coal creeping out of almost every 
creek, a flouring mill in process of erection (by Benjamin Nye), good roads 
to Moscow and Rochester, also to the groves, namely, Center, Hickory, Allen's, 
Big and Little Walnut, Poston's, Red Oak, Stuart Mason, and all the Cedar 
river valley, the whole western country was brought tributary to Buffalo, which 
was having a fine trade with all these western settlers. 

Davenport was laid out later, also Rockingham, Montevideo, Iowa, Mont- 
pelier, Salem, Wyoming, Geneva, and Bloomington, being ten towns in twenty- 
nine miles, each clamoring for supremacy over the other. This was then 
Michigan territory; our first delegates met at Detroit. The central position of 
Buffalo gave us advantages over all the other places, and how to override our 
natural advantages and give supremacy to some one of the rival towns, was 
the seemingly untiring object of our rivals. We had the most beautiful locality 
in the Black Hawk Purchase, where the river front was of gravel and stone 
with a gradual rise for 100 to 300 rods to very gently rising hills ; on the second 
level was most fertile farm land, covered with a heavy growth of timber, white 
oaks predominating; coal underlying the whole country for many miles; fine 
springs and creeks with great quantities of limestone and fire clay gives only a 
partial description of Buffalo in 1836. 


buffalo's first postmaster. 

The first postmaster of Buffalo was Captain Benjamin W. Clark, in 1836-7. 
The office was kept in his residence; mail was carried on a line of hacks which 
ran from Dubuque to Burlington once a week. The contractor was Ansel 
Briggs, afterward the first governor of Iowa. Postage stamps were not then 
in use. The postmaster had to collect on each letter, prices varying. Less than 
three hundred miles the postage was twenty-five cents. No envelopes being 
in use, there was wrapped around each letter a printed slip containing address 
and price. To save postage and paper, it was the custom to write both ways 
on a page. Letters were infrequent and precious. A jubilee occurred when 
one was received in a family. Often a letter would remain in the office a long 
time, waiting for the recipient to raise enough money to pay the postage. 


Everywhere near streams forest trees abounded, intermixed with crab-ap- 
ple and plum trees, vines, berry and hazlenut bushes. Walnut and hickory 
trees were numerous, also many large pecan trees which yielded hundreds of 
bushels of nuts, of which the Indians were very fond and which they traded 
or sold to the whites. These latter trees grew mostly upon the islands. The 
sloughs also produced an abundance of wild rice, which, when gathered by 
squaws (of course) and properly threshed and cleaned, made a palatable dish 
for them as well as for the whites. Without doubt many of the large forest 
trees could now be found growing from the corn hills described in another 
place. The large elms were utilized by the Indians in this way: the squaws 
in the springtime would cut through the bark to the wood, above and below, 
strip it off and use for siding and roofing their summer homes, at the town of 

The river abounded in fish : we white people would eat only pike, pickerel, 
bass, salmon, sunfish or. if hard pushed, the bluecat of six or eight pounds. 
In my younger days it was our custom to cross the Mississippi to Rock river, 
where we easily caught in a short time all the fish we could use. 


My readers may wish to know how the pioneer homes or cabins were built. 
They were of logs cut about sixteen feet in length and of almost even size, then 
hauled to the number of eight or ten, to a side of the space where the building 
was to stand. Then the neighbors came to the "house raising," as it was 
called ; four good choppers, with axes, would each take a corner where a log 
was rolled up, would cut a notch to fit the "saddle" previously cut, then two 
men would fit the saddle and notch together, continuing this until the walls were 
high enough ; then put the next log in three feet, then another end log, running 
each in three feet until the ends were topped off ; this leaves it ready to cover 
with clapboards, which are four feet long and made by cutting down a large 
straight grained tree, sawing in four-foot lengths, then split these logs into 


"bolts." take the heart out, then vvitli a "frow" and mallet drive them into boards 
a half inch thick and ten inches wide, laying them on the cross logs above de- 
scribed, breaking joints until a course is laid ; over these lay a small log or pole 
to hold the boards firmly down ; continuing this until the roof is completed. 
These roofs were fairly good for turning rain, but many a time when sleep- 
ing in the loft, as the upper floor was called, we would feel the snow blowing be- 
tween the boards of the roof. We boys would cover our heads and sleep soundly, 
but in the mornins^ our beds would be covered with snow. The stairs were pins of 
wood driven into the logs which we ascended through a hole cut in the floor. 
Talk of hardships — we did not consider them so ; it was real fun for the 

The doors were made of clapboards fastened to a frame with wooden pins. 
The hinges were made of wood, the latch and fixtures of wood, a strong buck- 
skin string was fastened to the latch, then passed up through a hole in the door, 
to open which one pulled the string, which was seldom done ; hence the saying 
"the latch string- is always out to you." Genuine hospitality was the order of 
the day. The windows were made by cutting out half of two logs, and putting 
in small sticks which were covered with oiled paper; this was before glass could 
be obtained, which was not until as late as 1834 — and about the same time we 
were able to procure nails, both brought from St. Louis, the nearest shipping 
point of any importance. The inside finish of these houses was called "chink- 
ing and daubing." The chinking was done by driving cordwood sticks in the 
spaces left by the round of the logs ; the daubing was made of clay, wet to 
])roper consistency and put on as nearly like plaster now is as the rough sur- 
face would permit. This combination made a house warm in winter and cool 
in summer. To beautify we whitewashed inside and outside with a pipe clay, 
such as Indians used to make their pipes ; this added greatly to the neatness and 
beauty of the building. The chimney was an opening of about eight feet wide 
on one side of the log house, walled part way with stone and mud, then topped 
out with split sticks like laths, only thicker; these were laid up with mud and 
thoroughly plastered inside with the mud, using the hands, thus preventing the 
danger of fire inside. A hearth was laid with stone, if possible, if not, it was 
filled in with clay well pounded down. All cooking was done in these "fire- 
places." The floor was made by hewing one side of small straight logs laid one 
way for sleepers on joists, then split puncheons from straight grained logs six' 
to eight feet long, hewed with a broad ax as smooth as possible, straight with 
ax and chalk line, then laid down ; this made a ver}' solid floor. No cellars were 
used. In the place of these we used "root houses," which were made by dig- 
ging into the side of a bank, covering with poles, then with coarse slough grass, 
then dirt on top of that, when it was ready for use. We had no matches thus 
early, but later were able to buy Lucifer matches. We started fires with a flint 
and steel, holding a piece of "punk," a tough kind of rotten wood, or else we 
rubbed tow (refuse flax) thoroughly with gun powder, then primed a flint lock 
musket and got a flash of powder in the pan, which would ignite the powder and 
tow, which put to dry hay. would soon be a flame. At night we carefully ar- 


rangfed the fire to keep until morning', by raking together and covering with 
ashes. It was not uncommon to go half a mile to a neighbor's to "borrow fire." 
After establishing a ferry at Bufifalo, Captain Clark laid out a road to Du- 
buque, seventy-four miles due north from Bufifalo; also to Monmouth, forty 
miles due south. He had a man. named John Shook, take a claim on the Wap- 
sie, and sent Wallace and Solomon Pence to establish a ferry on the Alaquoketa 
river. Shook built a little log cabin in the fall of 1834, then came home for 
supplies, leaving his traps, flour and tobacco in the cabin. After cold weather 
set in he took his winter supplies and the writer, an energetic, twelve year old 
boy, went with him, taking two horses and two dogs with our packs. We reached 
what is now Allen's Grove at night; the creek was frozen over so smooth that 
the barefooted horses could not cross the ice, so we turned them loose to go 
back home. I had to arrange for camping while Shook sat down and fell asleep. 
I found a large red oak tree that had fallen north and south ; with the bark 
taken from the tree, after raking away the snow I soon made a fire on the west 
side, so the smoke and heat would blow over the log; and then cut the limbs 
from the little trees that had leaves on to make our beds. Next I broiled some 
meat over the fire and peeled a large onion, then waked Shook to eat supper. He 
had but one chew of tobacco (a very much used article in those days), which 
he took from his mouth, turned his hat upside down and placed the quid upon 
it while eating. We spread our blankets and I, having one dog at my feet and 
one at my side, slept nicely in spite of the cold and snow. The next morning 
we started to make the four miles remaining to the cabin. Shook was anxious 
for his tobacco. When we reached there the door was open and his first words 
were: "The Indians have been here and I fear my tobacco is gone," and so it 
was, as well as the flour, traps and all ; but the tobacco was the greatest loss to 
him. Like any boy, I was glad when he decided that we must go back home ; we 
tramped about six miles, and camped for the night, again eating fat broiled 
meat and frozen onion for supper. The next day we took the fourteen miles 
through the snow, over the open prairie, for eleven miles without a house, until 
we struck the river. Sometimes Shook would sit down and go quickly and 
soundly to sleep. I would arouse him, making him believe he had slept a long 
time. As we reached a place where we could see the river timber, when not 
blinded by snow, I began to be frightened, knowing people often perished in 
snow storms. Sbon we came to a ravine running toward the timber and I pro- 
posed to follow it. Shook consented; it struck other and larger ravines until 
it became a branch, then a creek, then the river at the upper end of where Mont- 
pelier now is situated. We found there a cabin which John Richie had closed 
while he went to be married to Frances Pace. In the cabin he had left an 
earthen jar of honey, and as we had eaten nothing for twelve hours, and only 
broiled pork and frozen onion within forty-eight hours, the thought of that 
honey was very tempting. I climbed up and opened the clapboard roof, went 
down inside and with a splinter from the logs took out the honey, which was 
candied, or hardened, and pushed it through the openings between the logs to 
Shook, but of course not forgetting myself. We continued until we had eaten 
all that was safe for us, or in fact, too much for our own good. We then turned 


up the river for our home, five miles distant, and the only house between there 
and Dubuque. You may rest assured that my boyish, adventurous spirit was 
satisfied by that time by that hard, lonely, bitter tramp through unbroken 
blinding snow. Shortly afterward father sent Shook alone with an outfit for 
his winter support. It proved a very severe, cold winter; ice on the Mississippi 
being twenty-four inches thick. One night about four weeks later the door 
opened and in walked Shook. All were glad to see him, and father asked if he 
were not frozen ; he answered, "No." After eating supper and chatting awhile, 
he showed signs of pain in his feet; people were too hardy for small complain- 
ings in those days, and like the Indians, would scorn them; but we could see 
he was suffering. Upon trying to remove his boots we found them frozen to 
his feet, so they had to be cut off. The toes on one foot were as hard as ice ; 
in short, it was a very bad case. All possible was done by poulticing and such 
simple remedies as we possessed to relieve him, but without success. I took 
a sleigh and drove him up to Fort Armstrong to see Dr. Emerson, who was 
stationed there, but the doctor had gone to St. Louis, so we had to bring Shook 
back home. We prepared a room in one of the claim cabins, where he lay on 
his back on the floor for weeks. I went out and hunted for the swelling buds 
of the linwood tree to use for poultices, which brought the left foot out all 
right, but the flesh of the toes on the right foot dropped off, leaving the bone ex- 
posed. There was no doctor nearer than Galena, Illinois, 107 miles distant 
(even that was doubtful). My father had a man working for him, named 
Smith Mounts, who told Shook he could take off the blackened ends of the 
toes. It was arranged for him to do so. Mount sharpened a carpenter's chisel, 
and we moved Shook so that the foot would be at the end of a smooth log that 
formed the fireplace, Shook lying on his back on the floor while we held the 
foot steady to the timber. Mounts with his sharp chisel and mallet would ad- 
just the chisel, then hit it a strong blow, when the toe would fly off. Poor 
Shook groaned, but put his foot up again, another blow, another toe off; con- 
tinuing until in due time all were removed. Shook recovered except for a halt 
in his walk. This, we believe, was the first surgical operation in Scott county, 
if not in the state — crude, unscientific, without anesthetics, but effective. 

The Doctor Emerson, mentioned in the above, was the owner of Dred Scott, 
a slave whom the doctor brought to Fort Armstrong as a servant, and whom 
the writer often saw there. This negro brought about the famous "Dred Scott 
Decision," in the Supreme court of the United States, by Roger B. Taney, who 
was chief justice. Said decision was the starting point of the Civil war, many 
years later. 


The following the writer personally witnessed : The Indians made a ring 
half as large as a circus ring by beating down the grass. The crowd assembled, 
the braves outside, the squaws and papooses inside the ring; the latter carrying 
switches and sticks. The two culprits f Winnebagos) were led almost nude, into 
the ring and turned loose and compelled to run in a circle, the squaws and pa- 


pooses prodding- and switching- as they ran, -while the warriors sung or chanted 
"ha-\va-\ve. ha-\va-\ve," keeping up a continuous jumping, mostly in a stooping 
posture. When the prisoners were tired out, an opening was made, a line formed 
on either side of squaws and papooses with switches, each anxious to administer 
the hardest blow, and bring blood if possible. After they had run this last gaunt- 
let, they were told that if they were ever again caught stealing horses the certain 
penalty would be death. This was done under the command of Chief Black 
Hawk, he being present. At night the entire tribe had a dog feast, the animals 
having been killed and hung up long enough to be nicely tainted and tender. A 
squaw will steal a fat puppy rather than anything else on earth. To revert to the 
whipping: an Indian can be subjected to no greater degradation than to be 
switched by a scjuaw, and greatly prefers death by shooting if dealt by a warrior. 
Hence, this mode of punishment was administered for appropriating their most 
valued ]-)0ssession. horses. 


The Sacs and Foxes, to hide their corn and other food, after selecting a suit- 
able spot, usually among old fallen tree-tops, dug holes, lining them with leaves 
and dry bush, placed sacks made from linn or basswood bark, holding one and 
one-half bushels, containing corn and beans, covering the place with brush, then 
dirt at the top, over all placing brush again to hide the fresh earth from the 
thieving Winnebagos, and frequently has the writer seen them with long musk- 
rat spears prodding around to strike the soft spot and once saw them find it and 
carry away its contents in triumph over the absent foe. 


I>uring the summer of 1828 a company of Sacs and Foxes went in their canoes 
to where Jackson and Clinton counties were eleven years later laid out, on a sum- 
mer hunt. A number of their most bitter enemies, the Sioux, killed two of their 
warriors. The remainder of the party entered their canoes for home. It was a 
beautiful, clear afternoon, .so it happened the trail was well filled with Indians, 
consequently the news had preceded the returning party. As it had been halloed 
first down the river before they landed, to the Indians at the trading post, these 
])assed it in the same manner along the island to the fort, then across the slough, 
next down tlie trail to the village, all within the space of a very few minutes. 
At once about two hundred of the warriors armed themselves, taking their canoes, 
paddled down the Sinnisippi or Rock river to the Mississippi, up the latter to Rock 
island (the island, for of course there was no city). These warriors were upon 
the war path to avenge their fallen comrades. The Sioux had. however, fled 
toward their own country, so were not caught and punished. 

It is difficult for the writer to separate the different parts of his narrative, 
this section belonging not to the Iowa but to the Rock Island side of his life 


history. All farm work was done by the squaws. In fact, they did all work 
including packing the ponies ; also, when stopping at night, they cut the poles and 
made the wiccaups which were just the shape of the upper half of a palm leaf 
fan. In 1827 there was a brush fence running from the foot of the bluff, south 
of where the Rock Island station now is (in Rock Island) down to Rock river 
(Sinnisippi) west of what is now Black Hawk's tower. This fence was built by 
setting posts in the ground, then lashing poles with withes to these posts and 
weaving in brush, perhaps four feet high. This was done to keep out the Indian 
ponies. The ground was dug up with a heavy hoe, worked into large round 
hills, similar to the southern sweet potato hills, which were planted with corn, 
beans, potatoes and squashes. The corn was called squaw corn. It had small 
ears, grains short and flat intermixed with blue and white, soft and easily cooked, 
a little sweetish to the taste and readily dried. The same hills were used year 
after year, with little additional work. 


Before starting on the winter hunt the Sacs and Foxes would bring their 
canoes around from the village, which was situated near where Milan now is, 
paddling down Sinnisippi or Rock river to its mouth, then turn up the Mississippi 
until they reached the shore near where our family lived, and where the Rock 
Island railroad bridge now crosses the river. They would place sufficient rock 
in their canoes to sink and hold them under water until their return in the spring. 
They marked the spot by sighting from a large boulder or a certain tree. The 
Indians chose this particular place, because in low water, after disposing of 
their boats, they could readily ford the slough to the government island and Fort 


For the squaws and papooses, shallow holes were dug, the bodies wrapped in 
mats made of woven flags or rushes fastened together, with cords made of lint 
of nettles, then after being covered with earth the graves were surrounded with 
split or round pickets. The chiefs were set upright, lashed firmly to stakes with 
their war implements around them ; slabs of wood were put in and usually a pole 
was set up with a flag on it. The braves were well cared for, and in two in- 
•stances that the writer knows of, a hollow tree was split to form a trough or 
coffin shape, the remains put in with guns, bows, arrows and other accoutrements. 
After arranging these the whole was raised several feet from the ground and 
suspended by strong lassoes made from rawhide, to the limbs of the trees. The 
flags mentioned above were of red or any other dark shade of cotton cloth, usually 
calico. The writer has also seen dishes or bowls placed about the graves and 
containing remnants of food which was supposed to sustain them through the 
journey to the spirit land. 


Benjamin Pike, afterward the first sheriff of Rock Island county, told the 
writer that while in the employ of the Indian trader who, finding that Phelps, 


of the lower Yellow Banks (now Oquawka) — a branch of the American Fur 
Company, was intending to send men up Rock river to where the Indians were 
on their winter hunt, gave Pike an outfit which consisted of a ten gallon keg of 
whiskey and little else. When he reached Prophetstown Pike put up his tent for 
trade, but would not sell anything until night. The Indian custom is that when 
going into a drunken spree, they set apart a certain number to keep sober, and to 
these they give in charge the knives, guns and weapons to keep during the carou- 
sal. An Indian drunk is a fighting maniac, and will froth at the mouth like a 
mad dog. When all was ready Pike opened the keg of whiskey, drew a bottle 
full (all trade was by bottles containing three half pints) exchanged it for a four 
dollar otter skin. Pike had pails of water in his tent out of which he filled his keg 
as emptied, still exchanging the watered whiskey for a deer skin or a lot of skins 
worth several dollars. Pike had also brought a lot of bright tin brooches, costing 
about ten cents a dozen, also brass rings ; one of each of these he traded for a 
beaver or otter skin to these drunken Indians. Pike's whiskey at first made 
them all drunk, but by the filling process the water sobered them again, until by 
morning he had many hundreds of dollars worth of skins while the poor Indians 
had not a dollar to show and all sober. Was it any wonder that Davenport did 
not want the white people to come to this country? 


When BuflFalo was so prosperous. Black Hawk's Purchase had but two coun- 
ties, Dubuque and Des Moines. The territorial legislature, during the winter of 
1837, subdivided the two counties into many others and in the assembly Dr. Eli 
Reynolds, of Geneva, (four miles above Bloomington, now Muscatine) wanted 
to make his town as near central as possible, while Alex McGregor, of Daven- 
port, also a member, wanted to kill Buffalo, as we had the most thriving town 
between Burlington and Dubuque. The two men then joined forces and ran 
Muscatine county up to its present boundary on the river and McGregor gave 
Montpelier township to Muscatine county, so as to throw BuflFalo near the lower 
end of Scott county, thus rendering it impossible for BuflFalo to become the county 
seat : and this is the reason BuflFalo dropped behind in the race for the seat of 
government. Had Scott county been extended down to Salem, (now Fairport) 
BuflFalo would have been the county seat and the largest town in Scott county. 

A 'rvricAi. i-Ait.M s(']:.\K ix scott corxTY 








The history of this township is brought down to 1863 by Mr. Barrows, but 
some things he omits, that became of importance later on, are here included in 
bringing this sketch of LeQaire township up-to-date. 

The stone found at LeClaire is of a fine quality and is now quarried by 
Bremer & Abel, a Davenport firm. The quarry is located on land north of the 
town settled by Eli Smith, one of the pioneers of Scott county. LeClaire town- 
ship was the birthplace of the noted Indian scout and showman, William F. 
Cody, better known all over the world as "Buft'alo Bill." His father came to 
Scott county in 1839, from Cincinnati, Ohio, and entered a tract of land in 
LeGaire township upon which he made improvements and also opened a small 
general store in Parkhurst. Early in 1841 he returned to Cincinnati and 
brought back with him his wife and little girl, in the spring of 1842. On his 
way he met Dennis Barnes, at St. Louis, and persuaded Mr. Barnes to accom- 
pany him to Iowa, which he did, and upon arriving in LeQaire township he 
entered a tract of land near Mr. Cody's and at once made improvements there- 
on and began farming. A near neighbor to the Barnes and Codys was Eleazer 
Parkhurst, the first to open a farm here, which is now in the possession of 
Julius Woler, and it was on February 26, 1845, O" the Cody farm, that the 
future famous "Buffalo Bill" was born. Later the elder Cody and his friend 
Barnes joined the stampede for the gold fields of California and, forming a 
partnership for better or worse, disposed of their property and in the spring of 
1850, with their families, made ready to start overland for the new Eldorado. 


Stories of Indians massacres and depredations upon caravans moving across the 
prairies cooled the ardor of their desire to reach the gold fields, so that having 
dispossessed themselves of their lands and farming implements, by force of 
circumstances they retired to the villages, Barnes to LeClaire and Cody to 
Parkhurst. Finally, in 1852, Mr. Cody took his family to the territory of Kan- 
sas, where the boy, William, grew up and acquired a great fondness for horses, 
over which he had a wonderful control, and at the age of ten years became a 
"pony express" rider, carrying mail and despatches over the plains and gaining 
that knowledge of the Indians and skill with a rifle that made his fame world- 
wide and in later years made him much sought after by the United States gov- 
ernment to act as guide, and also by the nobility of foreign lands visiting 
America and venturesome enough to trust their lives in the then "wild and 
woolly west." 

In the old steamboat days LeClaire was the heatlquarters for a large num- 
ber of river men and furnished many pilots and engineers for tlie numerous 
craft then plying the waters of the Mississippi. But of course, with the advent 
of the railroad, transportation by water has dwindled away, but there are 
a few of these river men still in the business who made their homes at LeClaire : 
Captain I. S. Spinsby, of the U. S. Mac; Captain E. J. Lancaster, of the 
Eclipse; Captain George Tromley ; J. VV. \'anSant. Also Pilots Orrin Smith. 
Zach Suiter and D. F. Dorrance. 

The schools of LeClaire always had first place in the hearts and thoughts 
of her people and have always been kept at a high standard of proficiency. 
Such men as Judges Barnes and Linderman, were pupils at these schools and 
many others made places for themselves of distinction at the bar, who received 
their early educational training in LeClaire. Among them may here be men- 
tioned W. D. Kalsey, now of Colorado; G. M. Boyd, Chicago; A. P. VanDuzer, 
California; Henry McCaflfrey ; the Hanley boys, and others. 

When the Civil war broke out in 1861 LeClaire was quick to come to "atten- 
tion" and respond to "Honest Abe's" proclamation for volunteers to put down 
the rebellion, and sent a number of her best young men to the front and, in 
1862, Captain S. B. By ram organized what later became Company K of the 
Twentieth Iowa Infantry, which made a splendid record, details^of which ap- 
pear on another page of this history. But a short time after the organization 
of Company K other recruits from LeClaire were assigned to Company A, 
Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, and still others joined the Second Iowa Cavalry, all 
of whom are given honorable mention in the chapter herein devoted to Scott 
county in the Civil war. 


A very interesting chapter on the first settlement of Princeton township 
was written by Mr. Barrows in his history of Scott county herein published to 
which the reader is referred. But quite a number of the earliest settlers not 
mentioned by him are given a place here. Settlement in the township was at 
first quite slow, but even at that the Methodist circuit rider thought fit to visit 
the community and hold religious services. It was not long before there were 




tliree denominations represented, the Presbyterian, the Methodist Episcopal 
and the EvangeUcal Lutheran. All of these erected church buildings. In 1853 
Jerry Goodrich, James Todd and Porter McKinstry, members of the Methodist 
church, with friends and neighbors, built a brick church edifice near Lost Grove. 
Services were held there about three years, when the members afterwards at- 
tended meeting at Princeton, on account of the death of several of the priniepal 
members of the congregation. In February, 1856, Rev. Daniel Garber of the 
Evangelical Lutheran church organized a church of that faith in this township. 
A meeting was held in May following at which Isaac Daughenbaugh was 
elected elder, Samuel Gast, deacon. Meetings were then held in the vacated 
Methodist church and continued there until 1859. when the congregation 
erected a building of their own in Princeton, which was turned over to the 
Methodists in exchange for the Methodist church at Lost Grove. Meetings 
have been held there from that time up to the present. The first school was 
taught here in 1846- 1847 by Miss Hannah Peaslee in a log house owned by H. 
H. Pinneo, in what is now known as Princeton independent district. Miss 
l^easlee's successors were Mrs. Charles Budd and Milcah Goodrich. Some- 
time afterwards an old barn was purchased by Giles M. Pinneo and Wilbur 
Warren, who remodeled the building and which was for a period used for 
both school and church purposes. A brick school building was built in 1852 
and Mathias E. Pinneo was the first teacher. This was the schoolhouse of 
Princeton until 1864, when it was consolidated with other schools which occu- 
pied the ground floor of a hall on Front street. Then, in 1862, district No. i 
was changed into an independent district and in 1866 a large and substantial 
stone school building was erected on Third and Clay streets at the cost of 
about $5,000. The city of Princeton was incorporated in January, 1857, and 
in March, following, the first election was held, at which Samuel Porter be- 
came the first mayor, but resigned from the office in May, following. To fill 
this vacancy a special election was held and William Shew was chosen mayor. 
The town contained at this time about 250 inhabitants, two hotels, one church, 
two stores, a blacksmith shop, a steam saw mill, and about fifty dwellings. In 
1858 William H. Tompson was elected mayor and at that time there were about 
500 inhabitants. Improvements kept up steadily in the town and it be- 
came a place of considerable importance. A steam saw mill was built by 
Isaac Sherman, of Qeveland, Ohio, costing $8,000, and whose output equalled 
30.000 feet per day. Two steam grist mills were also built, one by Herbert M. 
Flshback, which cost about $9,000, and the other by McKinstry and Hubbard, 
which cost $12,000. About this time Dr. G. L. Bell erected a very pretentious 
residence for that day at a cost of $5,000. In 1862 a disastrous fire visited the 
little city of Princeton and destroyed a valuable three-story business and office 
building w^hich had been erected by F. G. Welsh and also the business house 
owned by Christian Schmaltz. At this time the Princeton house barely escaped 

The citizens of Princeton take a pride in the honor which her sons reflected 
upon the town through their services in the Civil war. Its bright roll of honor 
is to be found in the chapter on the Civil war in this history. The First Metho- 
dist church of Princeton was built in 1858. This church takes pride in the his- 


tory of its Sunday school which began at the time of its organization in 1849 
by Father Pinneo and others. In 1887 the Methodist society erected a church 
edifice at a cost of $2,500 and is at this day in a very prosperous condition. On 
the site of the old church building the Presbyterians erected a new church struc- 
ture in 1888 which cost about $3,000. In 1898 the Salem Evangelical 
Lutheran church put up a neat structure while under the pastorate of Rev. Kun- 
klenian. Adjoining the church building is the parsonage. 


In addition to what has already been written of Winfield township by Mr. 
Barrows, the following is appended : John Quinn. who was the first perma- 
nent settler in this township, struck out further west from his home in Meigs 
county, Ohio, when a young man, and landed in Chicago, then nothing but a 
frontier village. Here he worked at his trade of blacksmithing for one year. 
He had located a claim in the windy city, but by some chicanery he was dis- 
possessed of it and losing all faith in the people there, he left and went to 
Galena, arriving there in 1832. Being joined by his brother William in 1835 
he went to Clinton county, and after remaining there awhile he and his brother 
finally settled in Winfield township, where they improved a farm which afterwards 
came into the possession of John T. Mason, who lived on it for over forty years. 
It is said that had Mr. Quinn remained in Winfield township he would have be- 
come wealthy, for at one time he owned large bodies of timber land on the Wap- 
sipinicon bottoms, which brought him good prices at their sale, but being of a 
wandering disposition he left the locality and returned to Ohio. Not being con- 
tented there he once more found his way back to Iowa, from whence he went to 
Kansas, and then to Oregon, where he died at the age of seventy years. 

Leonard Cooper, one of the first settlers, left a large family of eight sons and 
two daughters, none of whom are now living in Winfield township. One son 
lives in Davenport, one in Dubuque. A. A. Cooper, whose celebrated wagons find 
a market in a number of states. Charles Elder, a pioneer of this township, left 
two sons and one daughter, of whom the daughter and one son are dead : Joseph 
Elder, the other son. is a resident of Long Grove. At the time of the settlement 
in Winfield township of the four Quinn brothers, the township was nine miles 
square and included parts of Lincoln, Sheridan and Butler townships. It was 
on the creek north of Walnut Grove that George Daly, mentioned by Mr. Bar- 
rows, built a grist mill, which was also arranged to saw logs. Burrs in those days 
were expensive and difficult to obtain. In his perplexity Mr. Daly, the "honest 
miller," as he was called, went to Alexander Brownlie who assisted him in making 
a set of millstones out of a large bowlder found on the prairie. It is said that 
much of this grist was ground on those bowlder millstones, and that the only 
reason that the mill did not perform its work more steadily and regularly was 
because of the lack of water at times. H. M. Thompson married the youngest 
daughter of Mrs. Robertson, a widow of seventy years of age, who had come 
from Scotland and settled in this township in 1844. Mr. Thompson became quite 
prominent in the affairs of Scott county. He was selected as the first president 
of the Scott County Agricultural Society and remained in that office for seven 



years, when he resigned. He was also for a number of years superintendent of 
Agricultural college farm at Ames and was also a representative from this county 
in the general assembly of Iowa. He died in 1887 at the age of seventy-six 
years. At his death his wife was living at the age of ninety-two years. The 
Brownlies are still prominent and quite numerous in Winfield township. Of the 
second generation there are three merrtbers still residents of Long Grove, A. W. 
Brownlie, son of James Brownlie, who was a little over a year old when his 
parents settled in the township ; he is doing business with his brother, R. K. 
Brownlie. A. D. Brownlie, only son of Alexander Brownlie, is living on the 
original homestead where his father settled when he came to the state of Iowa. 


Lincoln township when first settled was an expanse of prairie covered with 
tall luxuriant grass, where deer and other animals abounded. This township was 
organized in 1866 and embraces congressional township No. 79, range 4 east, and 
is lacking one tier of sections on the east side of being a full township. The first 
trustees divided the township into seven road districts, but in 1903 these districts 
were merged into one. and since that time the roads have been worked on the 
township plan. The first township officers were: A. J. Green, J. H. Mohr, and 
James Henry, trustees; Richard Proud foot, clerk. A very attractive place of 
those days was an elevation of ground called Saddle Mound which is now owned 
by William Moeller. On the Guinan place is another interesting spot. Goose 
Pond. Robert Criswell was the first settler of this township. He was a Penn- 
sylvanian and located at Long Grove in 1844. After three years' residence there 
he settled on section 23, which he improved and upon which he built a home. Mr. 
Criswell lived on this place and prospered until 1867, when he retired to Princeton 
and died there at the age of eighty-one. William H. Jones left New York in 
1844 and settled in LeClaire and ran the first threshing machine in that neighbor- 
hood, and in 1848 he broke up the sod for Mr. Criswell on part of his section. 
Mr. Jones married the widow Chuck, who was in her maidenhood Mary Van 
Duzer. She came from Scott county in 1835. Mr. Jones died in 1893 and his 
widow followed him in 1905, after a residence in Davenport. Charles and 
Henry Lau are the sons of Peter N. Lau, who came to Lincoln township in 1853. 
They are still residents of this township. One of the most prominent citizens 
of the county was M. J. Rohlfs, who came to Lincoln township in 1848, after a 
residence in Davenport of one year. Mr. Rohlfs served his county in the Iowa 
legislature four terms and for twelve years served Scott county as its treasurer, 
and was succeeded by his son Rudolph in that office, who proved a worthy suc- 
cessor to his father. The first schoolhouse in Lincoln township was built on 
section No. 23 and became known as the Jones schoolhouse. The first school 
was presided over by J. O. Jamison. After the township was organized it was 
divided into eight sub-districts upon which are now erected good substantial 
modern schoolhouses, where the children are given the advantages of nine 
months' instruction during the year. This towmship has never had but one 
church. It was organized July 6, 1858. by Rev. J. D. Mason, with twenty- 
eight members. It is known as Summit Presbyterian church. 



Pleasant \'al!ey township lies east of Davenport, bordering on the Missis- 
sippi. It is bounded on the north by Lincoln and LeClaire townships and on 
the east by a portion of the lower sections of LeClaire township. It is well 
watered and timbered, especially in the northeast and southwest portions. 
Duck creek, quite a large stream, empties into the Mississippi river at the 
southwest part of the township. This township was early settled and Mr. Bar- 
rows goes into all the details relating thereto. The soil is fertile, the farms 
have been well improved, it has good roads and bridges, telephone lines, rural 
mail delivery and other conveniences to meet the requirements of the modern 
farmer. This is not a whole township, the Mississippi cutting through it at a 
point beginning at the east half of the second section from the north and run- 
ning diagonally southwest. It has three sub-districts in which there are well 
appointed school houses. The value of the land in this township, as in other 
sections of the county, has increased in value until at this time land that sold 
from $6 to $15 an acre in 1865 will now readily bring from $100 to Si 25 per 


This township was organized in 1857. Its name was suggested by E. P. . 
Putnam, who declared that it signified fair or beautiful country. Cleona town- 
ship is in the second tier of townships from the north and is the first on the 
east. It is bounded on the north by Liberty township and on the west by 
Hickory Grove. Its western boundary is Cedar county and southern, Musca- 
tine county. It was one of the last townships organized. It is exclusively ag- 
ricultural and there is practically no waste land within its borders. The first 
settlement made here was in April, 1851. Jacob Royal made the first entry in 
the township September 15, 185 1, on the southeast quarter of section 25. Rob- 
ert Johnson and James Paul entered land on section 23 in 1852. Mr. Paul 
also entered land on section 23. Ebenezer Cook made entry on section 34 early 
in 1856. In 1852 the only house in the township was on section 12, built by the 
Suiter brothers, John and Joseph. In the spring of the following year the 
Suiter boys helped Robert Johnson build a house on section 23. Thomas John- 
son, Robert's father, settled in the township in the spring of 1853, ^"d in the fall 
of the same year William Paul and his family settled in the township and lived 
in a house built by his brother James until 1858. E. P. Putnam was a native of 
Ohio and settled on section 19 in 1854. The same }-ear came Jacob and George 
Wetherhold from Germany. They were the first Germans to settle in the 
township. Ephraim Ellis, an Englishman, was also a settler of the township in 
1854. P>ankiin Ball, Samuel Learner. John and Conrad LeGrange, William 
M. Murray. Henry Egbert. C. M. Stevens, wife and son Morgan, and Gothardt 
Moeller, from Germany, all settled here in the year 1856. Samuel Leamer 
broke a piece of prairie on his claim and returned to Pennsylvania. He came 
back in 1857 with his brother Washington and both made a permanent settle- 
ment. The first birth in the township was that of John Suiter in 1852. He 
was a son of John Suiter, the first settler in Cleona township. The first mar- 


riage to lake place in the township was that of John Jamison, of I.eClaire, ami 
Annie Johnson. In 1857 a school building was erected on section 28, but later 
removed to section 31. Franklin Ball, James Paul, Washington and Samuel 
Learner, Ephraim Ellis, E. P. Putnam and Robert Johnson were the men in- 
strumental in founding this first educational institution of Cleona township. 
Harriet Callem received $16 a month for her services as the first teacher of 
this school. The township has good schools in seven sub-districts. Of the 
early settlers the Suiters came from England ; the Johnsons and Pauls from 
Ireland ; Henry Peterson, who came to the township in 1866, and John Rymers, 
were natives of Holstein, Germany; William Rains of Waldeck, Prussia, set- 
tled on section 4 in 1868, and today the township has a large number of German 
citizens who are the best of farmers and prosperous in their undertakings. 


Butler township was organized in 1865 and was first named Ben Butler in 
honor of the gentleman of that name who became famous in the Civil war and 
later as a statesman. Later the board of supervisors abbreviated the name by 
dropping the prefix Ben. Butler is in the north tier of townships bordering on 
Clinton county. The northern sections of the township are irregular and cut 
into by the Wapsipinicon river. In the northern portion of the township is 
considerable timber, especially in the northwest part, and the west central sec- 
tion of the township has considerable timber in the locality of Walnut Grove. 
The western boundary of Butler township is Winfield, the southern Lincoln 
and the eastern Princeton townships. The first election for town officers took 
place October 8, 1865, and the first entry of land was made in 1836 by Henry 
Harvey Pease and John G. GrafiFord, jointly. This entry consisted of 500 acres 
in what was known as Walnut Grove on section 19. Alphonso Warren had 
previously indicated his ownership of this claim by having "blazed" trees 
thereon. He relinquished his interests to Pease and GralTord for the sum of 
$100. Pease, the pioneer of Butler township, built the first cabin and Alphonso 
Warren built the second on section 20 in the fall of 1838, as he had preceded 
both Pease and Graflford as settlers in the count)^ Mr. Warren had come to 
the township from New York and operated a grindstone quarry in the town- 
ship for several years before he removed to Kansas. George Daly, a native of 
Ohio, had spent some time in Moline, Illinois, and in 1839 erected a flour mill 
on section 17, near a stream of water known at that time as Daly's creek. Daly 
afterward settled in Jackson county, then removed to Plymouth coimty, where 
he died. Clinton W. Pease, son of H. H. Pease, was the first white child born 
in the township. His birth occurred September i, 1839. George Daly and Re- 
becca Arble were the first couple married in the township. The wedding took 
place in 1839. Miss Alice Alvord in 1846 taught the first school in the town- 
ship in an old log house at Walnut Grove. James and Alexander Brownlie. 
Presbyterian divines, held the first religious services in this section of the 
county at the residence of H. H. Pease in 1838. Circuit rider Brace, a Metho- 
dist minister, would often stop at the Pease home and hold services. The first 
schoolhouse was a log structure and was erected on section 18 in 1850. In 1861 


the Mount Joy Methodist Episcopal church was built on section 30 and had for 
its first pastor Rev. S. H. Harmer. Mount Union church was built in 1868 by 
members of the Presbyterian organization on section 35, and Rev. McBride 
was its first pastor. About 185 1 Claus Boltz settled on section 15. Charles 
Bennet settled on section 35 in 1850. George Washington Martin and Lafay- 
ette Martin were located in this township long before it was separated from 
Winfield township. They came here in 1843. John C. McCausland located on 
section 23 in 1855; William Mooney, in 1852; Henry F. Schlotfeldt, in 1853; 
Qaus Mundt in 1855 ; George Baughman settled in Winfield township in 1847 ^"^ 
removed to Butler township in 1855 ; and in 1859 J. Helble, a native of Germany, 
settled on section 26. Butler township has nine school districts and three churches. 


Sheridan township was organized in 1866 and is the central township of the 
county. It is bounded on the north by Winfield, on the south by Davenport, 
on the west by Hickory Grove and on the east by Lincoln townships. Much of 
the early history of this township has been told in the story of the first settle- 
ments in the county by Mr. Barrows. It was originally named Phil Sheridan 
township, after the noted cavalry officer of the Civil war. but later Phil was 
dropped. The township was formed by subtracting eighteen sections from 
Winfield and eighteen sections from Davenport. The first election was held on 
a certain Tuesday of October. 1866. the polling place being at Claus H. Kuhl's 
tavern. At this election H. H. Fry was chosen as supervisor ; Christ Vogt, 
James Quinn and Gilbert Wicks, trustees; Anderson Martin, assessor; B. F. 
Berkley, clerk; William Saddoris and Asmus H. Lamp, justices of the peace; 
Peter Weis and James Morrison, constables. Samuel Sloper settled on sec- 
tion 28. in the territory now comprising Sheridan township, in 1840, and in 1841 
Lyman Osborn took up a claim on section 29. Among others who followed 
these hardy pioneers may be mentioned : ex-Governor Rusch ; Hans Schneck- 
loth ; Claus Hagedorn ; Joseph Seaman ; William Rigg ; Dr. A. J. Emeis : Benja- 
min Barr; Captain LeMarinel ; C. Myer; John and Nathan Greer; Moses Bar- 
ber; James and Joseph Quinn; Christ Vogt; Peter Blunk; Hans and Juergen 
Schmidt. Dr. A. J. Emeis was the first physician to take up his residence in the 
township, and Henry Kuntzen was the first to open a blacksmith shop. He 
erected his building on section 25. Mr. Sloper was the first to turn up the 
prairie for cultivation. There are nine sub-districts in Sheridan township, 
each of which has a good school building where the children are taught from 
eight to nine months in the year. Eldridge also has an independent school. 

There is but one village in Sheridan township — Eldridge Junction, established 
in 1871 by J. M. Eldridge. It is situated in the eastern part of the township, on 
section 11, at the junction of the Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad and the Maquoketa 
branch. Soon after the advent of the railroad shops were located here by the 
company, giving employment to a large number of workmen. This gave an im- 
petus to the young village and for a time the prospects were good for a large 
and thriving settlement ; but the railroad magnates saw fit, some years since, to 
remove the shops, which was a death blow to the embryo "city of Eldridge." 





Many of its business places, hotels, etc., were soon after closed and a number of 
buildings have since been torn down and removed from the place. The first school 
election in the township was held in 1867, when the following board was chosen: 
Alexander Murrison, James Calderwood, Albert Brugman, Henry Fellner, A. J. 
Emeis, William Rogers. A church edifice was erected by the Presbyterian so- 
ciety of Eldridge Junction about the year 1874. James Mason was the first pas- 
tor. Eldridge Lodge, No. 132, A. O. U. W., was organized in 1877, with John 
Rogers P. M. W. ; E. T. Morgan, M. W. ; J. W. Davidson, G. F. ; J. D. McCor- 
mick, O. ; J. A. Pollock, recorder; James Youmans, financier; G. A. Hastings, 
receiver; P. Herbold, G. ; J. G. Quinn, I. W. ; L. Cohman, O. W. For a full 
description of Eldridge see another page. 


Hickory Grove is one of the oldest townships of Scott county and was first 
settled in 1836, Alfred Carter making the first claim on the northwest quarter 
of section 16. He was a native of Shenandoah valley, Virginia, and came here 
from Indiana. This township is bounded on the north by Allen's Grove and on 
the south by Blue Grass, on the west by Cleona and on the east by Sheridan town- 
ships. It is mostly prairie, which is well watered, and takes its name from a 
tract of timber in the central portion of the township known as Hickory Grove. 
At the time Alfred Carter came to this section of the country wild animals 
roamed the prairies and hills. The wolves and wildcats were very troublesome, 
committing depredations on the settlers' live stock. Hickory Grove was at that 
time a great rendezvous for deer. One night while Mr. Carter was absent in Hen- 
derson county, Illinois, where he had journeyed in quest of provisions for himself 
and neighbors, ten Indians came suddenly upon the house and asked for a night's 

Fearing to refuse them Mrs. Carter granted their request. Mr. Carter and his 
sons, Charles P., John and Martin, often joined the Indians in hunting deer. 
Early in its history there were three tracts of timber which were known as 
Hickory Grove, Pilot Grove and Linn Grove ; the two latter have practically dis- 
appeared. In 1837 Philip Baker of Muskingum county, Ohio, took up a claim 
on section 9, and at about the same time came Jonathan Porter from Muskingum 
county, Ohio, also Daniel and John Porter. John Spicer had preceded them 
from Muskingum county in the fall of 1836, settling on section 9. William and 
Daniel Porter also came in 1836. Muskingum county, Ohio, furnished George 
Schuck, who settled in the township on section 10 in 1838, and died there in 1848. 
John Schuck also came in 1838 and built a hewn log house on section 15. He re- 
moved to Nebraska in 1859. Samuel Freeman, whose native place was New 
London, Connecticut, arrived in E>avenport on December 3, 1839, and a short 
time thereafter entered a tract of land near Kirtle's ferry on the Wapsipinicon, 
but lost his claim by being too slow in filing on it. Eventually after many vicis- 
situdes he was able to gather enough money to purchase a farm near Slopertown. 
This was sold in a few years for another farm near Hickory Grove, where he re- 
mained until the day of his death. The first school was held in the winter of 
1837-8 at the home of Alfred Carter, George F. Emery, a highly educated man 


and a native of Boston, having been employed by Mr. Carter to teach his children. 
The first birth in the township occurred November lo, 1838, and was that of 
William H. Baker, son of Philip and Catherine Baker. The first death was that 
of Alfred Carter in 1839. The first marriage took place at the home of Philip 
Baker in 1842, the contracting parties being Alexander Wells and Julia Carter. 
The ceremony was performed by Squire Grace at Walnut Grove. Hickory 
Grove township takes pride in the fact that the great apostle of Methodism, Rev. 
Peter Cartwright thundered his philippics against sin and unrighteousness in 
homes of the settlers here who threw them open to him for reHgious services. 
It is especially remembered that he preached a sermon at the home of Alfred 
Carter in 1838. In November, 1851, Elder Jonas Hartzell, later of Davenport, 
organized the Linn Grove Christian church. It was then known as the Allen's 
Grove Church of Christ and was removed to Linn Grove in 1858 and its name 
changed. Both in Allen's Grove and Linn Grove the congregation held services 
in the school houses, but a modest frame house was built in 1866, where services 
were afterwards held. This township today has eight sub-school districts where 
school is taught during summer and winter from eight to nine months in the year. 


In Barrows' history will be found concisely told a narrative of the first settling 
/>f Blue Grass township, which is a full township of thirty-six square miles, and 
has for its northern boundary Hickory Grove township ; on the west bounded 
by Muscatine county, on the south by Buffalo township, and on the east by Daven- 
port and Rockingham townships. It has but fittle timber and is watered by few 
streams. Lines of the Rock Island road cross this township, one at the north 
and one at the south, the southern branch entering the village of Blue Grass and 
the main line the village of Walcott. There are seven sub-districts in this 
township which are well patronized by the children during a greater part of the 
year, and Walcott and Blue Grass, both thriving villages, each have excellently 
conducted graded schools. A description of the towns is given elsewhere. 


Aliens Grove township originally comprised the present township limits 
and that of Liberty. It is bounded on the east by Winfield township, on the west 
by Liberty, the south by Hickory Grove and on the north by the Wapsipinicon 
river. The name of the township was derived from a Mr. Allen, who settled in 
the township in 1836. F. E. Rothstein, who settled on section 28 in 1859, built 
a steam saw and gristmill in i860 and removed it to the Wapsipinicon river in 
1865. He remained at Aliens Grove until 1867, when he removed to Clinton 
county after selling his stock to Martin O'Neil. Mr. O'Neil remained in busi- 
ness until 1872, when W. B. Stevens became his successor. The Chicago, Mil- 
waukee & St. Paul railroad cuts across the township diagonally, entering at the 
southeast corner and leaving it at Dixon, in the northwest corner. A branch of 
the Rock Island railroad crosses the township from west to east, entering at 
New Dixon. Truly remarkable has been the development of Aliens Grove 


x?:w TjBEinv 


township during the past half century, and the years which have come and gone 
since its history was pubhshed by Dr. Barrows in 1863, have witnessed continuous 
and substantial progress in various Hnes. Whereas in the early days the mail 
was brought from Davenport by different ones of the neighborhood, perhaps 
twice a week or whenever any one happened to go to that city, the township now 
enjoys the advantage of a rural daily mail delivery, and is closely connected 
with other sections of the county by the telephone system, while the time is doubt- 
less not far distant when Aliens Grove will enjoy the added advantage of com- 
munication with other points by means of the electric trolley line. The old time 
subscription schools, held in log cabins, have long since ceased to exist, while 
modern buildings and methods have been instituted in their place, and today the 
township can boast of having six of the finest school buildings in the rural dis- 
tricts, each equipped with the latest conveniences, while one of them represents 
an expenditure of $1,880. 


According to Mr. Barrows, settlement in Liberty township first began in 1837. 
Those who «ame to this section of the county were men and women who were 
determined to make an abiding place for themselves and children. One of these 
not mentioned was Josiah Figley. who came to Davenport from Columbiana 
county, Ohio, and stopped at the Davis House, a small story and a half structure 
on Harrison street. This was in February, 1850. Later he went to Aliens 
Grove where he drove a team and also carried the mail to and from Davenport. 
At that time a Mr. Eldridge was postmaster. The country at that time was teem- 
ing with fur-bearing animals of the smaller kind and deer were plentiful. The set- 
tlers were forced to put up with the most primitive arrangement for a habitation 
and furniture. This Mr. Figley in 1852 married Eleanor Heller, who was born 
in Scott county. It was but a few years until the farmers of this township began 
to prosper and on a farm owned by Mrs. Figley's father Dr. Dixon laid out the 
town of Dixon. It was in the '50s that the farmers of this township were very 
much annoyed by the depredation of horse and cattle thieves. Two of them were 
eventually captured and tried by a jury selected by a band of the settlers who had 
formed an organization for the punishment of suchlike evil-doers. George Rule, 
Sr.. settled on Rock creek and erected a grist mill which was an improvement 
greatly appreciated by the settlers for many miles around. Roads were laid out, 
bridges built and the bountiful harvests of grain were marketed at Davenport. 
Today the town of Dixon is one of the most important in the county and is 
described elsewhere in this history. Horace Woods with his family located on 
section 11 early in 1837. and following closely on his heels, in July of the same 
year, came Jacob Heller and family, above referred to, who settled on section 
12. now the town site of Dixon. About the same time came John Heller and 
family, and with him were Mark C. Jacobs and John Grace, who were employed 
by Jacob Heller. Mrs. Figley is given the distinction of being the first white 
female born in Scott county. The first cabin built in the township was by Jacob 
Heller in 1837, and the first prairie land broken in the township was for Jacob 
Heller, the work being done by John Grace and Mark C. Jacobs. The land was 


sowed to winter wheat. John Heller settled on section 14 and M. C. Jacobs took 
up a claim on section 24. The first school house was a log- cabin built in 1842 and 
slabs cut from logs were fashioned into benches for the pupils. Today the town- 
ship has seven school houses in as many districts and two independent districts, 
one in New Liberty and the other in Dixon. The school in Dixon is a graded 
one with two teachers. There are also three churches in the township, two at 
Big Rock and one at Dixon. The soil in Liberty township is of the best and more 
or less rolling. Two beautiful groves of timber, Big and Little Walnut groves, 
add very much to the beauty of the landscape, and cutting through these groves 
is Walnut creek, a beautiful little stream, fed by living springs of water. There 
is also in the township an abundance of good gravel and limestone. 


It would take no Rip Van Winkle awakening from a twenty years' nap to rub 
his eyes when he visits Gilberttown and descries Bettendorf. A very few years 
of stay would do it. The steady people of Gilbert raised onions and cultivated 
pretty flower beds, kept early hours and good habits and were content with quiet 
life in the eastern suburbs of Davenport, when all of a sudden they awoke in a 
whirl of industry, with chimneys that smoke and wheels that hum, mammoth hy- 
draulic presses that make steel cars and shears that chew up boiler plate. The 
necromancer, W. P. Bettendorf and his associates have worked the transforma- 
tion. The town changed in name as well as nature and has become the second 
in the county. An army of men are employed in axle works and car works, gas 
machine factory, automobile works, stone crushers and other industries. Betten- 
dorf has a mayor and council, is improving the streets and arranging for a muni- 
cipal septic tank. The trains of the C. B. & Q., the C. M. & St. P. and the I. & I. 
interurban stop for freight and passengers. The street cars of the Davenport 
system provide speedy and cheap transit. Suburban homes are becoming plenti- 
ful on the bluffs at Bettendorf. Everything points to a great growth in this city 
of industry. Davenport is already looking with covetous eyes and hopes to make 
this growing suburb the seventh ward of the city at no distant date. 


The principal town in Buffalo township is Buffalo. It is about ten miles 
below Davenport on the Mississippi river and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pa- 
cific railroad, whose track is also used by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 
railway. This gives the town two means of transportation by railroad. It 
now has about 400 inhabitants. In 1900 one of the finest public school 
buildings in the county outside of Davenport was built at a cost of $5,000. It 
has Methodist, Catholic and Lutheran churches. Quite a number of coal 
mines are in operation within two miles of the village, and with quite a sprink- 
ling of timber land near at hand fuel is plentiful and comparatively low in price. 
One of the largest brick manufactories in the county is maintained here, which 
turns out superior quality of work and gives employment to about forty men. 
There are four pearl button factories in operation at Buffalo ; three general 


MAIN siiM:i:'r. iuffatj 


stores; a bank; a drug store; bakery; meat market; lumber yard; farm imple- 
ment concern ; a very good hotel ; livery stable ; blacksmith shop ; two physi- 
cians ; and ihree or four saloons. 


The leading town in Liberty township is New Liberty. It is situated on the 
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad. It has a population of about 150. It 
has one bank ; one opera house ; three saloons ; two general stores ; an imple- 
ment concern ; lumber yard ; physician ; blacksmith and harness maker ; two ele- 
vators ; stock yards ; and livery stable. 

Big Rock is in the northern part of Liberty township and on the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. This place is noted as the home of Farmer 
Burns, the ex-champion catch-as-catch-can wrestler of the world. There are 
in Big Rock a lumber yard; elevator; drug store; general store; meat market; 
confectionery store ; blacksmith ; wagon maker ; hotel ; opera house. 

Dixon is the leading town in Aliens Grove township and is on the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, twenty-two miles northwest of Davenport. In 
1905 the population was 325. It has a good school employing two teachers. Oppo- 
site the schoolhouse is the Christian church. The town has one bank; two ho- 
tels ; saloons ; a drug store ; two blacksmith shops ; stock yards ; meat market ; 
implement concern ; two general stores ; two physicians ; an elevator ; and a 
livery stable. 


New Dixon, also in Aliens Grove township, is situated on a junction of the 
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul rail- 
ways, about one mile southeast of Dixon, and has a population of something like 
100. The town has one general store; an elevator; lumber yard; hotel: a 
blacksmith shop. 


McCausland is situated in the northeast corner of Butler township on the 
Rock Island railroad, twenty miles north of Davenport. It has three general 
stores; two implement concerns: two hardware stores; a bank; two blacksmith 
shops ; one livery ; one elevator ; stock yards ; a lumber yard ; two physicians ; a 
hotel ; a general machine shop. 



Donahue is situated in the southeast corner of the township on the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul, seventeen miles northeast of Davenport. It has a hotel; a 
bank; a general store; a livery; an elevator; a lumber yard; a blacksmith and 
wagon making shop; and stock yards. 

Eldridge is a town of 300 population. It is about twelve miles north of Daven- 
port in Sheridan township, and is on the junction of the Maquoketa branch and 
Monticello branch of the Chicago. Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. It has a 
fine school building and Union church. In Eldridge are to be found one bank; 
implement store ; stock yards ; lumber yard ; elevator ; two general stores ; a 
meat market ; two hotels ; furniture store ; two blacksmith shops ; a physician ; 
harness dealer; saloons; drug store; barber shop; jeweler; and livery stable. 

The leading town of LeClaire township is LeClaire. It has a population of 
about 800. It is situated about fifteen miles north of Davenport on the Mississippi 
river, directly opposite Port Byron, Illinois. It has good railroad facilities on 
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and the Illi- 
nois and Iowa Interurban railways ; also passenger steamers on the Mississippi 
furnish the town with transportation and freight service. It has a graded 
school, employing five teachers, and is considered one of the best in the county. 
The Methodist, Presbyterian, Christian and Baptist churches have beautiful 
and large edifices. Here is the LeClaire stone quarry on the north edge of the 
town which employs a number of men. LeClaire has a flourishing bank ; a news- 
paper — the LeClaire Advance ; six general stores ; two meat markets ; a hard- 
ware store; a drug store; three physicians; an implement store; two hotels; a 
dentist; a livery stable; blacksmith shop; a shoe store; a tailor; two restau- 
rants ; saloons ; two meat dealers ; and two lumber dealers. 

Among the famous ex-residents of LeClaire is Captain Sam Van Sant, river 
man. Ex-governor of Minnesota and commanders of the National organization of 
Grand Army of the Republic. 


Long Grove is in Winfield township about twelve miles north of Davenport, on 
the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. It takes its name from a large 
grove of .timber near by and the village is surrounded by very rich farm coun- 
try. It has a fine school with two teachers ; two churches ; two dealers in gen- 
eral merchandise ; a feed mill ; a creamery ; two farm implement concerns ; two 
blacksmith shops ; a cigar factory ; a meat market ; grain elevator ; lumber and 
coal yards ; a large nursery ; a physician ; and a hotel. It is the center of 
twelve telephone lines radiating in all directions. 



Princeton has a population of about 500 and is the leading town in the town- 
ship of that name. It is directly opposite Cordova, Illinois, on the Mississippi 
river, and twenty miles from Davenport. It is on the Chicago, Burlington & 
Quincy, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and the Illinois & Iowa Interurban 
railways; also steamers on the Mississippi furnish its citizens with transporta- 
tion. The school is a graded one employing three teachers. There is a Pres- 
byterian, Lutheran and Methodist Episcopal church, each having a liberal at- 
tendance of worshipers. There are two hotels ; one bank ; two physicians ; an 
undertaker ; two general stores ; a hardware store ; an implement store ; a harness 
shop ; a shoe store ; a blacksmith shop ; a livery stable ; lumber yard ; photograph 
gallery ; meat market ; drug store ; an elevator ; two saloons, newspaper, the Prince- 
ton Review. 


This thriving little village was laid out in 1853 by J. E. Burnsides, John Perrin 
and James W. Reynolds on sections 31 and 32, Blue Grass township and on sec- 
tions 5 and 6. Buffalo township. John Perrin was the first postmaster, from 1849 
until 1853. when he was succeeded by a Mr. Colvin. A merchant of Muscatine, 
named John Baker, opend the first store here in the spring of 1856. Christ Meeke, 
in 1852, became the first blacksmith. The first wagon maker was Henry Greebe, 
in 1853. He remained a few years, then moved to Nebraska, where he became 
quite prominent in politics. The first shoe maker was William 1855. 
William Moss, in 1853, opened the first carpenter shop. The first hotel was builf 
by J. E. Burnsides in 1855. Garret Clawson was its first landlord. The Baptists 
in 1854 built the first church and in 1859 the second church was built by the Metho- 
dist Episcopal society. The church building w^as subsequently removed from the 
village, after which the Methodists erected another church on a more elaborate 
scale. The Presbyterians came next in 1873 and built a church. In 1859 the first 
school house was erected at a cost of $1,000. J. E. Burnsides in 1856 erected a 
steam flouring mill. The second steam flouring mill was built in 1867 by a Mr. 
Dorman. Brick was first made in Blue Grass in the summer of 1845 by Ezra Car- 
penter. Within the limits of the brickyard, six feet below the surface, the fossil 
remains of a mastodon were found. The tusks resembled petrified hickory and 
were estimated to be eleven feet long. Blue Grass is located on a branch of the 
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad, in the southern part of the township of 
thaj; name, and is about ten miles west of Davenport. It has a graded school ; two 
churches ; a bank ; two general stores ; a lumber yard ; meat market ; implement 
store ; blacksmith shop ; barber shop ; one physician ; saloons ; telephone, telegraph 
and express offices. 

Walcott was laid out in 1853 on sections 7 and 8, by Cook and Sargent, of Dav- 
enport, and the first passenger train that ever ran over the Mississippi & Missouri 
railroad carried a delegation to attend the sale of lands of the village. F. W. Kef- 


erstein was the first merchant. He removed to Davenport in 1871. The post- 
office was established in the town in 1855 and Mr. Keferstein was the first post- 
master. Samuel VenchoflF was the first blacksmith and the firm of Bach & Sears 
established the first harness shop. The railroad company built a warehouse in 
1855 and in 1867 an elevator was built. Walcott is an incorporated town and is on 
the Chicago. Rock Island & Pacific railroad, twelve miles northwest of Davenport. 
It has a population of about 500. It has a graded school ; water works ; two 
banks, one of which has deposits of nearly S500.000 ; three general stores; two 
elevators; two drug stores; a furniture store; a hardware and stove store; two 
blacksmith shops ; a harness shop ; a meat shop ; three implement concerns ; and is 
an important shipping point for grain and live stock. Contiguous to Walcott the 
country is mainly settled by Germans. 


The article here following is from the ready and faithful pen of Mary E. 
Parkhurst, and was prepared for and published in the Half Centun,' Democrat : 

"LeClaire is a beautiful, historic, and restful town, nestling beneath green 
hills and kissed by the caressing waves of the 'father of waters,' and bathed by 
the early rays of the morning sun. Health, happiness and prosperity are the 
guardian angels of her future welfare and destiny. The past to her is a rich 
treasury of sacred and historic interest. Many a noble and worthy citizen has 
passed to the beyond, yet the cherished history surrounding the early pioneer, 
breathing a hallowed influence upon this town like a sweet benediction, will ever 

"Following the tread of civilization, two towns, LeClaire and Parkhurst, sprang 
into being. Separating the two was a dense forest, called by Edward Russell 
'The Gulf,' extending on the bank of the river westward between Silver creek 
and Holland street. A. H. Davenport and R. H. Rogers, owning this strip of 
land, divided it into town lots. In 1855 on petition of the inhabitants of both 
towns the legislature, by an act, incorporated the city of LeClaire, including with- 
in its limits the town of Parkhurst. LeClaire was a thriving city. It was the home 
of the river man, the professional and business man, and the craftsman, all find- 
ing an avenue for activity and success. At low water the packets and floating 
rafts, when darkness of night gathered, anchored at LeClaire, awaiting the early 
dawn when some trusty pilot would safely guide the way over the treacherous 
rapids. The social, religious, educational and commercial were interwoven into a 
harmonious whole for the growth of this promising city. Lectures were gi'wen 
before literary and temperance societies ; musical societies met weekly ; Sunday 
and public school exhibitions entertained the people : the Methodist, Episcopal, 
Congregational, Baptist, Disciples, and Universalist churches, all having worship, 
cultivated and fostered the religious sentiment. 'A vocal and instrumental soiree' 
was given by Miss Helen M. Ekin, now Mrs. Helen M. Starrett, a mother of sev- 
eral highly educated sons, and a well known writer and educator of Chicago. 'A 
May ball' was given in Davenport's hall. The committee of arrangements were 
selected from the surrounding towns. Room managers were C. S. Disney, L. S. 
Chamberlin, A. M. White. Supper was served at the Bratton House, M. D. West- 



lake, proprietor. Bill, $3.00. Music was furnished by White's band, conducted 
by Alfred Milo White, the noted violinist. 

"The hum of industry was heard. From the LeClaire Marine railway the 
ring- of the hammer in building- and repairing boats, and the buzz of the saws 
from the two sawmills, joined with the machine shop of Charley Kattenbracker 
and Adolph Weithe, in musical notes of industry. 'The Swan Mills,' operated 
by Terhune and Grout, 'manufactured a very superior article of flour.' They 
stated in 1856, 'We deliver our flour by ten barrels and upward within fifteen or 
eighteen miles of our mill free of charge.' Disney, Stonebraker & Company, 
wanted thirty thousand bushels of corn for cash. Dry goods, clothing, hardware, 
boat and provision stores, blacksmith, tin, copper, cabinet, candy and tailor 
shops, house and ship carpenters, stone masons and bricklayers, supplied the grow- 
ing needs of the city. Drs. S. W. Treat, James Gamble, and Hill guarded the 
public health, while Rufus Linderman, the lawyer, promoted peace and tranquility. 
Messrs. H. Fleming, William Craig, Francis H. Impy and Edward Russell 
swayed public opinion, through 'The Weekly Express.' 

"Education was an important factor in this progressive city. The 
school district was divided by the state into four districts under 
one organization. The following communication was received : 'Office of 
School Fund Commissioner, Davenport, May 15. 1855. To the voters of 
school district No. 10, LeClaire Town : It having been made known that 
your district is without officers, I have appointed Daniel Hagedorn, president, 
Dennis Barnes, secretary and Homer Carpenter, treasurer of said district until 
the first Monday in May, A. D. 1856, and until their successor shall be elected 
and qualified. H. Price, Fund Commissioner, Scott County, Iowa.' At a school 
meeting in LeClaire in district No. 7, in 1856, Mr. Spaulding, chairman, and A. M. 
Larimer, secretary, Laurel Summers, introduced the following- resolution : Re- 
solved, That school district No. 7, LeClaire, is in favor of uniting with districts 
No. 2, 10 and 11, and thereby forming 'a union of the four distrcts. Each 
district as it now stands does not forfeit or surrender its title or ownership to 
the school property.' 

"In 1855 it was agreed between Daniel Hagedorn, Dennis Barnes, Homer 
Carpenter and Pardon H. Owen, that said Ow^en should teach one of the schools 
for the term of three months for the sum of $33.33 1/3 per month. A. P. Westfall 
was witness to the contract. Pardon H. Owen was a scholarly man. Eighty-seven 
bright boys and girls attended his school during the year. The following school- 
houses have been used in LeClaire during the last fifty years : the brick building in 
Parkhurst town ; the Baptist church on Wisconsin avenue ; the Presbyterian church 
on Jones street, called the 'black school' owing to the unpainted and weatherbeaten 
condition of the building: the school house built in 1850 on Ferry street, called 
the 'White school ;' the old Methodist church on Main street ; the Catholic church, 
beautifully situated upon one of the high bluffs; the German school house and 
the present building, built in 1870. Only two of these old buildings remain stand- 
ing. Four schools continued in LeClaire until 1868. when one primary school was 
disbanded, leaving three schools; the high school, one intermediate, and one 
primary, called for convenience 'the stone, the black and the white schools.' The 
first principal was Mr. Raymond, in 1857. Mr. Baldwin in 1858. L. W. Weller in 


1859, H. M. Hoon in i860. The high school then moved from the old Methodist 
church to the Catholic church. H. M. Hoon completed his term of service and 
Mr. Stewart and Charles Clark were principals in this building. The high school 
then moved to the German school house, William Sanderson and J. W. Coates 
being principals. In 1871 all the schools were held in the present building. The 
following have been in charge of the schools since : J. W. Austin, J. W. Coates, 
C. E. Birchard, J. F. Lavender, J. T. Marvin, J. A. Holmes, E. A. Hamilton, 
W. D. Wells, Victor L. Dodge, E. S. Kinley, A. E. Baker, W. C. Hicks, C. W. 
Bartine, A. W. Schantz, John F. Ogden, S. M. Carlington, W. E. B. Marks, J. F. 
Norman. Alessrs. Hoon, Coates, Birchard, Lavender. Kinley, Wells and Bartine 
married LeClaire ladies. 

"Mrs. M. L. Marks taught a private school in LeClaire for ten years. 
Nearly every boy and girl at that time attended her school part of the year. In 
1859 Dr. Ekin, the Presbyterian minister, conducted a Ladies' Seminary at Maple 
Dale; now the home of Captain I. H. Spinsby. The influence of Dr. Ekin and 
family was helpful and elevating to the people of LeClaire. In 1856 an 'English 
and Classical School' was kept in LeClaire by A. W. Alvord and R. C. Hitchcock. 
Miss Mary Payson conducted a private school for some time. She returned east 
and married a Mr. Pierce, the grandfather of one of Davenport's real estate 
agents. Mrs. Sarah Hurd and Mrs. M. L. Follette conducted, for some time, a 
select school. Mrs. Hurd taught painting, music, embroidery and other fine 
arts. In 1859 Mrs. Elsie A. Curtis, Mrs. Stella Tromley and Mrs. Sarah Daw- 
ley were elected school directors. They completed their term in office with 
credit to themselves and profit to the public schools. 

"The LeClaire Lyceum and Library association was incorporated in 1867. 
The object of the society was twofold: literary improvement and the establish- 
ment of a public library. In 1867 an exhibition was given in Davenport's hall. 
The program occupied four hours. All seemed highly pleased. The proceeds 
were used in purchasing books. A season ticket cost fifty cents and included the 
regular weekly meeting, also the lectures. Ten cents admission was demanded at 
the door from all who did not have season tickets at the regular weekly meeting. 
Between five and six hundred volumes were bought by this society, which are 
now anchored in the school building and called the public Hbrary. Time, thought 
and labor were freely expended by this society for the public and future benefit 
of LeClaire. The following are some of the worthy citizens who were interested 
in this work: Hon. Laurel Summers, Hon. A. M. Larimer, H. A. Harrington, 
James Powell, P. H. Owen, Milton Parkhurst, F. Snyder, Captain S. E. Van 
Sant, N. F. Home, Mrs. Mary Summers, Mrs. Sarah Headley, Mrs. James Powell, 
Mrs. James, Mrs. Decker, Miss Minnie Robinson, now Mrs. Waggoner of Blue 
Grass, and many others. A few remain in LeQaire ; some have moved to other 
places, while some have journeyed to the other world. The public library is the 
legacy these worthy citizens have left to coming generations. May it ever be 
guarded as a precious relic from the past! 

"LeClaire still has much literary talent and many ambitious young people. 
Mrs. M. L. Follett writes verse which has the true poetic ring. J. D. Barnes is 
an interesting writer of historical sketches. Miss Gertie Dawley is a teacher of 
Greek and Latin in the high school at Oak Park, near Chicago. Miss Alice Lan- 


caster is a student at Iowa City and a teacher of physical training. Mrs. Rose 
Eldridge delights with her camera to reproduce the historic and picturesque. 
Miss Tuna Isherwood will soon complete her studies at the state university. 
Dr. Alvina Kattenbracker has been a practicing physician for twenty-five years. 
For a number of years she presided over a happy home. Her husband having 
died and her two sons married, she still continues to practice in her profession, 
having the confidence and esteem of the LeClaire people. 

"Several newspapers have been started in this place; among them the Weekly 
Express and the LeClaire City Express. This paper was devoted to religion, 
art, science, literature, agriculture, mechanics, news, commerce, enterprise and 
progress. The motto, 'Be just and fear not; let all the ends thou aims't at be 
thy country's, thy God's and Truth's.' Several papers followed: The LeClaire 
Republican, the Scott County Register, the LeClaire Pilot, the LeClaire Journal, 
and the LeClaire Advance, which is now (1905) in the sixth year of success 
and prosperity. J. E. Fedderson is editor and publisher. A new press will 
soon be in use. Mr. Fedderson married one of LeClaire's fair daughters. 

"The ferry, the Twin City, through the sweep of time and the lashing of the 
cruel waves, became disabled, and a new ferry was built by R. A. Edwards, 
named the May Flower. These boats, as well as the owners, served the people 
well and faithfully. They were owned by different partie's at various times, 
but P. M. Smith guided his neat ferries across the waters thirty-five years. With 
the advent of the railroad the ferry business departed. 

"In 1858 this advertisement appeared in the LeClaire Enterprise: 'Banking 
house of Davenport, Rogers & Company. Exchange, gold, silver and uncur- 
rent money.' Forty-seven years drifted down the stream of time ere LeClaire 
was favored with the LeClaire Savings bank ; C. S. Simpson, president ; W. P. 
Headley, vice president; J. E. Parker, cashier; capital $100,000. the stock being 
subscribed by thirty of the most progressive and influential citizens of the 
community. From the first the bank has proven a convenience and a help to the 
business interests. Its deposits average over $80,000 and are constantly in- 
creasing. Many of the active business men in this place today are brave sons of 
LeClaire, and are an honor to their native town. They loyally watch 
every public interest and carry many burdens of public responsibility. 
A. N. Davisson was a business man thirty years. C. P. Disney has been in busi- 
ness forty-six years and mayor seven times. Waldo Parkhurst was a merchant 
forty years. Dr. James Gamble practiced medicine fifty-six years. L. Schworm 
kept a boot and shoe store forty-eight years and Mrs. Jane Jack kept a millinery 
store thirty years. Mrs. Mary Summers is the only one living who has had a 
continuous residence in LeClaire since 1842. 

"LeClaire is no longer a city but a peaceful, restful town of 800 
inhabitants. Many of her industries have crumbled before the stern and re- 
lentless tread of Time, yet with the many beautiful homes, town hall, school 
building, churches and public-spirited citizens prosperity and happiness may ever 
await the guardian angels at her gateway. She is no longer isolated for the 
railroad and interurban have linked her with the great outside world, of which 
she is a beautiful and symetrical part." 









Scattered throughout these pages, here and there, the name of Antoine LeCIaire 
appears. He was a man so prominently identified with the territory, state and 
city of Davenport in their early stages of development, was so broad-minded, lib- 
eral in his views, enterprising, generous to friends and enthusiastic and helpful in 
the promotion of the city's advancement, and always at the head of and a liberal 
contributor to every public enterprise of his day, that necessarily his name was 
more frequently and respectfully used than any other man of this community. 
Many incidents of his life are noted herein by those who knew him intimately, 
which leave the writer of this sketch naught to do but give a general outline of the 
life of that great pioneer. 

Antoine LeCIaire was born December 15, 1797, at St. Josephs, Michigan. He 
was the son of Francois LeQaire, who immigrated from France to Canada and 
eventually took up his residence in Detroit. Francois LeCIaire married the grand- 
daughter of a Pottawattamie chief, who became the mother of Antoine. At this 
time the territory of the northwest, out of which a half dozen mighty states have 
been formed, was peopled almost solely by the redmen, with here and there one of 
a different race, fearless enough to brave the perils of the frontier life among the 
dusky denizens of the wilderness. Francois LeCIaire was one of these. In 1808 
he established a trading post at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, exchanging manufactured 
articles for various kinds of furs. In 1809 he engaged to some extent in the 
business in connection with John Kinzie, at Fort Dearborn, now Chicago, Illinois. 
In 1812, though surrounded with the Indian tribes with whom he was trading and 


who through the influence of British emissaries were generally hostile to the United 
States, Francois LeClaire espoused the American cause, engaging actively in the 
service, and was in the contest at Peoria, where with others he was taken prisoner. 
The prisoners were confined at Alton, Illinois, but were released during the same 


About this period, at the solicitation of Governor Qark of Missouri, Antoine • 
LeClaire entered the service of the government and was placed at school that he 
might acquire a proper knowledge of the English language. At that time he could 
speak French and Spanish fluently. In 1818 he was sent to Fort Armstrong and 
there acted as interpreter under Captain Davenport, and the same year returned 
to Peoria, where in 1820 he married the granddaughter of Acoqua (The Kettle), 
a Sac chief. The same year he was sent to Arkansas to watch the movements of 
Indians in that locality. He was returned to Fort Armstrong in 1827 and was 
present as interpreter in 1832 when the treaty was made by which the United States 
purchased of the Sac and Fox tribes the territory west of the Mississippi river. 
The treaty, on account of the presence of cholera among the soldiers at Fort Arm- 
strong, was entered into on the Iowa shore opposite to the island. Here the great 
chief of the Sacs, Keokuk, whose admiration for LeClaire could never be con- 
cealed, made a reserve of a section of land which he donated to Mr. LeClaire's 
wife, requiring as the only condition that Mr. LeClaire should build his house 
on the section and on the spot then occupied by the marquee of General Scott 
in making the treaty, which condition Mr. LeClaire afterward fulfilled to the 
letter. The Sacs and Foxes also, gave him another section of land at the head of 
the rapids, where the village of LeClaire now stands. The Pottawattamies in the 
treaty of Prairie du Chien reserved two sections on the Illinois side which they 
presented to Mr. LeClaire. On this reservation now stands the thriving city of 
Moline. The treaty was ratified by congress the following winter. In the spring 
of 1833 Mr. LeClaire erected a small building in the then Fox village, "Morgan," 
which had occupied this ground for years previous. Of the tribe having this as 
their headquarters Ma-que-pra-um was the head warrior and Poweshiek the head 
chief. In the fall of 1834 the Sacs and Foxes left here for the Cedar river. 

In 1833 Mr. LeClaire was appointed postmaster of Davenport, the first one 
to occupy that position in the town, and also justice of the peace, to settle all 
matters of difference between the whites and Indians. His jurisdiction extended 
over all the territory purchased of the Sacs and Foxes west of the Mississippi 
from Dubuque on the north to Burlington on the south. The population of Bur- 
lington at that time was about 20Q — that of Dubuque, about 250. An- 
toine LeClaire was an accomplished linguist. As has been stated, he spoke 
French and Spanish, understood thoroughly and conversed in fourteen In- 
dian dialects, and by reason of this mainly was present as interpreter at 
many other treaties, that of the Great and Little Osages, in St. Louis in 1825 ; 
that of the Kansas at St. Louis, in 1825 ; of the Chippewas at Prairie du Chien 
in 1829; the Winnebagos at the same place in August, 1829; at the same place 
with the Sacs and Foxes in 1826 ; also at Prairie du Chien with the Winnebagos 
in 1832; at the treaty of Fort Armstrong held on the Iowa side with the Sacs 



and Foxes at Davenport in 1836; at Washington with the Sacs and Foxes in 
1837; and with the Sacs and Fox tribes at Agency, now Wapello county, Iowa, 
in 1842. 


A's Stated elsewhere in this work, Mr. LeClaire assisted in the formation of 
a land company that laid out the town of Davenport, and he became one of its 
most active, progressive and influential business men. On this spot where Daven- 
port now stands there was once an Indian village, of which no data is now at 
hand whereby it can be described. Doubtless it was the camping place or village 
of the Indians centuries before this continent was discovered by Columbus, and 
it is said also, although it is a matter of dispute among historians, that here, too. 
Father Marquette landed in June, 1673, and that he was the first white man whose 
foot ever touched the soil of Iowa. When Keokuk so generously presented to 
Marguerite LeClaire the section of land whereon Davenport now stands he little 
dreamed that a thriving, prosperous city would be built upon it. The first house 
having been built by Antoine LeClaire, and he having been so closely associated 
with all movements that led up to the city's existence, it is easy to feel that it 
should have received his name. But being of a generous and modest mind, he 
named the city in honor of his friend. Colonel George Davenport. 

Antoine LeClaire became possessed of great wealth for a man of his day. His 
every desire seemed to be centered in the future and welfare of Davenport. 
Everything that would advance the city in any way appealed to his generous 
spirit and by a liberal expenditure of money and by gifts, churches, schoolhouses, 
hotels and other public buildings came into existence at his expense. The first 
cathedral of the Sacred Heart (St. Marguerite's) was built and furnished with 
bell, organ, paintings, statuary and fonts complete, with eighty acres of ground 
for a cemetery, by his munificence. The church and cemetery were named St. 
Marguerite's in honor of his wife, with its imposing appearance and lofty spires 
standing on a large city block of ground, crowning the hilltop overlooking the 
majestic Mississippi. In early days he also gave a block of ground between Fourth 
and Fifth, on Brady and Main streets, and erected thereon St. Anthony's church, 
school house and rectory complete. This block is now partially occupied by 
business buildings which bring a large revenue to the diocese. Mr. LeOaire was 
a devout Catholic, and as the word implies, was broad in his views, as he not only 
gave of his substance to his own church but also as well to the Protestant churches 
of that time, donating grounds and contributing liberally to the buildings erected 


His first home was a small log house soon replaced by a more pretentious 
structure from which he eventually removed into a splendid mansion on the 
bluiTs, which commanded a beautiful view of the Mississippi and the three cities. 
After the death of Mrs. LeClaire it passed into the possession of the Catholic 
diocese and was used as a residence for Bishop McMullen, and at his death it 
was the residence of his successor. Bishop Cosgrove, who also died there. Then 


came Bishop Davis, who disposed of the residence, which still stands on its 
original site. 

As Mr. LeClaire grew older his avoirdupois increased materially from his 
former small frame to a portly embodiment which made his physique noticeable 
wherever he appeared. In fact, his weight was something over 300 
pounds. He died September 25, 1861, suddenly from a third attack of paralysis. 
His funeral was attended on the 26th of September by a multitudinous proces- 
sion of citizens and old settlers of the county, on foot, walking mournfully to 
the church and the grave, attended by Rev. Pelamourgues and two other priests. 
The funeral sermon was subsequently preached by Rev. John Donlan. The body 
was interred in the yard close to St. Marguerite's church, a costly monument 
was placed at the grave by his widow, and when she died, her body was interred 
beside that of her husband. Subsequently when the costlier monument to the 
memory and generosity of Antoine LeQaire, St. Marguerite's church, was razed 
to the ground, to give way to the Sacred Heart cathedral, the bodies of these 
noted pioneers were disinterred and found their last resting place in St. Mar- 
guerite's cemetery, where the monument purchased by Mrs. LeQaire was also 


Mrs. Marguerite LeClaire, wife of Antoine LeClaire, died at the family resi- 
dence, in Davenport, October 18, 1876. 

Mrs. LeClaire was born at Portage des Sioux, St. Charles county, Missouri, 
October 16, 1802. She was the daughter of Antoine LePage, a Canadian, and 
the granddaughter of the Sac chief, Acoqua (The Kettle), the leading chief of 
his nation. Her early life was spent in her native village where her education 
was superintended by one of the orders of nuns, under whom she studied French 
and English. In 1820 she was married to Antoine LeClaire in Peoria, who was 
then acting as interpreter between the Indians and the government, and frequently 
accompanied her husband on his excursions among the Indians in Arkansas, 
whom he was sent to watch, when acting as scout or interpreter for the govern- 
ment, during seven years. During her residence in Davenport and before and 
since the death of her husband, delegations of the Sac and Fox Indians visited 
her place every year, where they were always made welcome, entertained as long 
as they wished to remain, and when leaving, always carried away as a free gift 
what necessaries they required — corn, flour, etc. 

Being an earnest and devout Catholic, her own church and sect were recipi- 
ents of her charity to a very large degree; but as said before, when called upon 
for aid to any public or philanthropic enterprise, she never stopped to inquire as 
to creed or sect, all alike being partakers of her bounty. She died about nine in 
the morning, after receiving at the hands of Father Cosgrove the solemn rites 
of the church of which she was a devout and consistent member. The funeral 
sermon was preached by Father Cosgrove, in St. Marguerite's church, ot which 
she was a member and which was built and furnished by her husband during his 
lifetime. Her remains were deposited in the burial lot beside her husband at 
the entrance of the church. 




"One of the picturesque personalities that will lend charm to the history of 
Davenport," said the Democrat in its issue of June 17, 1899, "will be Antoine Le- 
Claire, the Indian's friend, companion, protector, incorporator of Davenport and 
for a quarter of a century one of its most public-spirited citizens, esteemed and 
loved by redmen and white till the day of his death. The banished tribesmen no 
longer make their annual pilgrimage here to seek his counsel and companionship, 
his activity no longer contributes to our civic life or his benevolence to the good 
works that others are carrying on in his stead, but his memory continues fresh 
in the minds of those who knew him. That his name lingers all over our city 
map in addition after addition, attaches to one of our streets and to a city at the 
head of the rapids is because he faithfully served the friends of his childhood, 
the Indians, who years ago made their abode in this vicinity, counted by them, as 
it may still lay claim to be, the garden spot, of the west. In connection it may 
be noted that the removal of the Indians from this neighborhood onto a reserva- 
tion further west did not prevent them from showing, their affection for and 
remembrance of LeClaire in after life. For years large delegations of the tribes- 
men came here every fall, whole villages at a time, and camped near his house 
and enjoyed the hospitality of the family. When Colonel Davenport was mur- 
dered on the island here Indians came back from interior Iowa to guard the 
LeQaire home. Yearly the delegations grew smaller as the lines of civilization 
drew tighter about the Indian reservations, pushing the redmen farther west, 
while death thinned the ranks of those whose hunting grounds had been here 
and who owned to having a friend in the government interpreter of former days. 
Their pilgrimages hither continued, however, up to the time of LeClaire's death, 
and his widow received visits from many of the Indians afterwards. Before 
Antoine's death it had been agreed that the surviving relatives of himself and 
wife should take their property in equal shares and fifty-seven of their kindred 
therefore shared equally under his will after the decease of his widow." 


Father Pelamourgues spoke at the third banquet of the Scott County Pioneer 
Settlers association to the toast: "Antoine LeClaire — the pioneer of pioneers in 
this county, and the first president of the pioneers' association — identified with 
our city and county by almost every old-time memory, and by every association of 
feeling and interest — may he live long to bless the festive occasions with his 
great presence, and to witness the full rearing of these corporate structures, Da- 
venport and Scott county, whose comer stones his hands laid." 

"Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: I am afraid that in responding to 
this toast I shall do injustice to Mr. LeQaire, and to the Old Settlers associa- 
tion, before which I have the honor to speak, and I am sorry that a more competent 
person than myself was not selected to stand in my place. It is true a country- 
man of the great Lafayette is always welcome in an American gathering, let his 
merits be ever so little. I have so often, since my residence among you, experi- 
enced the kindness of our first president and of the old settlers, who always 


tendered me the hand of friendship, that I am encouraged to say a few words. 
My task is rendered Hght from the fact that all of you are well acquainted with 
Antoine LeQaire, all of you having been like myself welcomed to the home of 
your choice by the pioneer of pioneers of Scott county. Many of you found, 
perhaps, a shelter under his roof — for it is a well-known fact that he tendered 
always to the stranger that benevolent hospitality which was rendered especi- 
ally pleasant by the unaffected kindness of her who presided over his log cabin, 
who encouraged him in his hours of trial, and who more than any one else has 
pointed to him the good that was to be done. 

"LeClaire and Davenport ! Those two names are and will be for a long time 
to come, inseparable. Davenport, though destined to be a city, might have lan- 
guished if it had not been for the enterprising genius and liberal mind of An- 
toine LeClaire. He is not a man of one idea; he seems to be made on purpose 
for being the founder of a city. Liberal in his views, he never inquired of a man 
from what country he was coming, or to what creed he belonged. He was kind 
to all and encouraged all ; he tried to be a benefactor to all ; he encouraged the 
mechanic and the professional man; he was the friend of the poor as well as the 
rich. He always knew how to accommodate himself to circumstances and he 
was as cheerful trying his musical skill on a three stringed fiddle, and amusing 
some of those old settlers — who perhaps now listen to me — as he is now in his 
elegant mansion surrounded by all those comforts that can render a man happy 
if happiness can be found upon earth. 

"Davenport and LeClaire! Names inseparable. He built the first log cabin, 
and in it every newcomer became his guest; he built the first church, in which 
he continued for many years to lead in singing the praises of God till his means 
permitted him to rear an edifice more suitable for the worship of the Almighty. 
He erected that hotel which for many years attracted the attention of all who 
passed in front of our village. He was instrumental in building the first foundry, 
helped that great benefactor of our town and county, A. C. Fulton, to erect the 
first mill, and passing over many other good deeds, he was the first man who 
worked on a railroad west of the Mississippi river. 

"I will close, Mr. President, by saying : May he long live to bless these festive 
occasions with his great presence and witness the full rearing of those corporate 
structures, Davenport and Scott county, whose corner stones his hands laid." 

First Railroad Depot west of the Mississippi River 







Most of the early settlers of Iowa came from older states, as Pennsylvania, 
New York and Ohio, where their prospects for even a competency were very 
poor. They found those states good — to emigrate from. Their entire stock of 
furniture, implements and family necessities were easily stored in one wagon, 
and sometimes a cart was their only vehicle. 


After arriving and selecting a suitable location, the next thing to do was to 
build a log cabin, a description of which may be interesting to many of the 
younger readers, as in some sections these old time structures are no more to 
be seen. Trees of uniform size were chosen and cut into logs of the desired 
length, generally twelve by fifteen feet, and hauled to the spot selected for the 
future dwelling. On an appointed day the few neighbors who were available 
would assemble and have a "house-raising." Each end of every log was saddled 
and notched so that they would lie as close down as possible; the next day the 
proprietor would proceed to "chink" and "daub" the cabin, to keep out the rain, 
wind and cold. The house had to be redaubed every fall, as the rains of the 
intervening time would wash out the greater part of the mortar. The usual height 
of the house was seven or eight feet. The gables were formed by shortening 
the logs gradually at each end of the building near the top. The roof was made 
by laying very straight small logs or stout poles suitable distances apart, and on 
these were laid the clapboards, somewhat like shingling, generally about two and 


a half feet to the weather. These clapboards were fastened to their place by 
"weight poles" corresponding in place with the joists just described, and these 
again were held in their place by "runs" or "knees" which were chunks of wood 
about eighteen or twenty inches long fitted between them near the ends. Clap- 
boards were made from the nicest oaks in the vicinity, by chopping or sawing 
them into four foot blocks and riving these with a frow, which was a simple 
blade fixed at right angles to its handles. This was driven into the blocks of 
wood by a mallet. As the frow was wrenched down through the wood, the 
latter was turned alternately over from side to side, one end being held by a 
forked piece of timber. 

The chimney to the western pioneer's cabin was made by leaving in the 
original building a large open place in one wall, or by cutting one after the 
structure was up, and by building on the outside from the ground up, a stone 
column, or a column of sticks and mud, the sticks being laid up cob house fashion. 
The fireplace thus made was often large enough to receive fire wood six to eight 
feet long. Sometimes this wood, especially the "back-log," would be nearly 
as large as a saw log. The more rapidly the pioneer could burn up the wood in his 
vicinity the sooner he had his little farm cleared and ready for cultivation. For 
a window, a piece about two feet long was cut out of one of the wall logs, and 
the hole closed, sometimes by glass, but generally with greased paper. Even 
greased deer hide was sometimes used. A doorway was cut through one of the 
walls if a saw was to be had, otherwise the door would be left by shortened logs 
in the original building. The door was made by pinning clapboards to two or 
three wood bars and was hung upon wooden hinges. A wooden latch, with 
catch, then finished the door, the latch was raised by any one on the outside by 
pulling a leather string. For security at night this latch string was drawn in, 
but for friends and neighbors, and even strangers, the "latch string was always 
hanging out," as a welcome. In the interior over the fireplace would be a shelf, 
called the "mantel," on which stood the candlestick or lamp, some cooking and table 
ware, possibly an old clock, and other articles. In the fireplace would be the 
crane, sometimes of iron, sometimes of wood. On it the pots were hung for 
cooking. Over the door, in forked cleats, hung the ever trustful rifle and pow- 
der horn. In one corner stood the larger bed for the "old folks," and under it 
the trundle bed for the children. In another stood the old fashioned spinning 
wheel, with a smaller one by its side, in another the heavy table, the only table, 
of course, there was in the house. In the remaining was a rude clapboard hold- 
ing the table ware, which consisted of a few cups and saucers and blue edged 
plates standing singly on their edges against the back, to make the display of 
table furniture more conspicuous, while around the room were scattered a few 
splint bottom or Windsor chairs and two or three stools. These simple cabins 
were inhabited by a kind and true hearted people. They were strangers to 
mock modesty and the traveler seeking lodging for the night, or desirous of 
spending a few days in the community, if willing to accept the rude offering, was 
always welcome, although how they were disposed of at night the reader might 
not easily imagine, for, as described, a single room was made to answer for 
the kitchen, dining room, sitting room, bedroom and parlor, and many families 
consisted of six or eight members. 



The bed was very often made by fixing a post in the floor about six feet 
from one wall and four feet from the adjoining wall, and fastening a stick to 
this post about two feet above the floor on each of two sides, so that the other 
end of each of the two sticks could be fastened in the opposite wall. Clapboards 
were laid across these, and thus the bed made complete. Guests were given 
this bed, while the family disposed of themselves in another corner of the room, 
or in the "loft." When several guests were on hand at once they were some- 
times kept over night in the following manner : When bedtime came the men 
were requested to step out of doors while the women spread out a broad bed 
upon the mid-floor and put themselves to bed in the center. The signal was 
given and the men came in and each took his place in bed next his own wife, 
and the single men outside beyond them again. 

To witness the various processes of cooking in those days would alike sur- 
prise and amuse those who have grown up since cooking stoves and ranges came 
into use. Kettles were hung over the large fire, suspended with pot hooks, iron 
or wooden, on the crane, or on poles, one end of which would rest upon a chain. 
The long handled frying pan was used for cooking meat. It was either held 
over the blaze by hand or set down upon coals drawn out upon the hearth. This 
pan was also used for baking pancakes, also called "flap-jacks," batter cakes, etc. 
A better article for this, however, was the cast iron spider, or Dutch skillet. The 
best thing for baking bread those days, and possible even in these latter days, 
was the flat bottomed bake kettle, of greater depth, with closely fitting cast iron 
cover, and commonly known as the Dutch oven. With coals over and under it 
bread and biscuit would quickly and nicely bake. Turkey and spare-ribs were 
sometimes roasted before the fire, suspended by a string, a dish being placed 
underneath to catch the drippings. 

Hominy and samp were very much used. The hominy, however, was gen- 
erally hulled corn — boiled corn from which the hull or bran had been taken by 
hot lye, hence sometimes called "lye hominy." True hominy and samp were 
made of pounded corn. A popular method of making this, as well as real meal 
for bread, was to cut out or burn a large hole in the top of a huge stump in the 
shape of a mortar and pounding the corn in this by a maul or beetle suspended 
by a swing pole like a well sweep. This and the well sweep consisted of a pole 
twenty to thirty feet long fixed in an upright fork so that it could be worked, 
"teeter" fashion. It was a rapid and simple way of drawing water. When 
the samp was sufficiently pounded it was taken out, the bran floated ofif, and the 
delicious grain boiled like rice. 

The chief articles of diet in an early day were corn bread, hominy or samp, 
venison, pork, honey, pumpkin (dried pumpkin for more than half the year), 
turkey, prairie chicken, squirrel and some other game, with a few additional 
vegetables a portion of the year. Wheat bread, tea, coflfee and fruit were lux- 


uries not to be indulged in except on special occasions, as when visitors were 

women's work. 

Besides cooking in the manner described, the women had many other arduous 
duties to perform, one of the chief of which was spinning. The "big wheel" 
was used for spinning yarn and the "little wheel" for spinning flax. These 
stringed instruments furnished the principal music of the family, and were 
operated by our mothers and grandmothers with great skill, attained without pe- 
cuniary expense, and with far less practice than is necessary for the girls of our 
period to acquire a skillful use of their costly and elegant instruments. But those 
wheels, indispensable many years ago, are all now superseded by the mighty 
factories which overspread the country, furnishing cloth of all kinds at an ex- 
pense ten times less than would be incurred now by the old system. 

The loom was not less necessary than the wheel, though they were not needed 
in so great numbers. Not every house had a loom, one loom having a capacity 
for the needs of several families. Settlers, having succeeded in spite of the wolves 
in raising sheep, commenced the manufacture of woolen cloth. Wool was carded 
and made into rolls by hand cards and the rolls were spun on the "big wheel." 
We still occasionally find in the house of old settlers a wheel of this kind, some- 
times used for spinning and twisting stocking yarn. They are turned with 
the hand and with such velocity that it will run itself while the nimble worker, 
by her backward step, draws out and twists her thread nearly the whole length 
of the cabin. A common article woven on the loom was linsey, or linsey woolsey, 
the chain being linen and the filling woolen. This cloth was used for dresses 
for the women and girls. Nearly all the clothes worn by the men were also home 
made. Rarely was a farmer or his son seen in a coat made of any other. If 
occasionally a young man appeared in a suit of "boughten" clothes, he was sus- 
pected of having gotten it for a particular occasion, which occurs in the life of 
nearly every young man. 


The traveler always found a welcome at the pioneer's cabin. It was never 
full. Although there might already be a guest for every puncheon, there was 
still "room for one more," and a wider circle would be made for the newcomer 
at the big fire. If the stranger was in search of land he was doubly welcome and 
his host would volunteer to show him all the "first-rate claims in this neck of 
the woods," going with him for days, showing the corners and advantages of 
every "congress tract" within a dozen miles of his own cabin. 

To his neighbors the pioneer was equally liberal. If a deer was killed, the 
choicest bits were sent to his nearest neighbor, a half dozen miles away per- 
haps. When a "shoat" was butchered, the same custom prevailed. If a new- 
comer came in too late for "cropping," the neighbors would supply his table 
with just the same luxuries they themselves enjoyed, and in as liberal quantity, 
until a crop could be raised. When a newcomer had located his claim, the 
neighbors for miles around would assemble at the site of the newcomer's pro- 


posed cabin and aid him in "gettin" it up. One party with axes would cut down 
the trees and hew the logs, another with teams would haul the logs to the ground, 
another party would "raise" the cabin, while several of the old men would "rive 
the clapboards" for the roof. By night the little forest domicile would be up and 
ready for a "house warming," which was the dedicatory occupation of the 
house, when music and dancing and festivity would be enjoyed at full height. 
The next day the newcomer would be as well situated as his neighbors. 

An instance of primitive hospitable manners will be in place here. A traveling 
Methodist preacher arrived in a distant neighborhood to fill an appointment. 
The house where services were to be held did not belong to a church member, 
but no matter for that. Boards were collected from all quarters with which to 
make temporary seats, one of the neighbors volunteering to lead off in the 
work, while the man of the house, with the faithful rifle on his shoulder, sallied 
forth in quest of meat, for this truly was a "ground-hog" case, the preacher 
coming and no meat in the house. The host ceased not the chase until he found 
the meat in the shape of a deer. Returning, he sent a boy out after it, with direc- 
tions on what "pint" to find it. After services, which had been listened to with 
rapt attention by all the audience, mine host said to his wife, "Old woman, I 
reckon this 'ere preacher is pretty hungry and you must git him a bite to eat." 
"What shall I get him?" asked the wife who had not seen the deer ; "thar's nuthin' 
in the house to eat." "Why look thar," returned he, "thar's a deer, and thar's 
plenty of corn in the field ; you git some corn and grate it while I skin the deer, 
and we'll have a good supper for him." It is needless to add that venison and 
corn bread made a supper fit for any pioneer preacher and was thankfully eaten. 


Fires set out by Indians or settlers, sometimes purposely and sometimes per- 
mitted through carelessness, would visit the prairies every autumn and sometimes 
the forests, either in autumn or spring, and settlers could not always succeed in 
defending themselves against the destroying element. Many interesting inci- 
dents are related. Often a fire was started to bewilder game, or to bare a piece 
of ground for the early grazing of stock the ensuing spring, and it would get 
away under a wind and soon be beyond control. Violent winds would often arise 
and drive the flames with such rapidity that riders on the fleetest steeds could 
scarcely escape. On the approach of a prairie fire the farmer would immedi- 
ately set about "cutting off supplies" for the devouring enemy by a "back fire." 
Thus by starting a small fire near the bare ground about his premises and keep- 
ing it under control next his property, he would burn off a strip around him and 
prevent the attack of the on-coming flames. A few furrows or a ditch around 
the farm were in some degree a protection. 

An original prairie of tall and exuberant grass on fire, especially at night, 
was a magnificent spectacle, enjoyed only by the pioneer. Here is an instance 
where the frontiersman, proverbially deprived of the sights and pleasures of 
an old community, is privileged far beyond the people of the present day in this 
country. One could scarcely tire beholding the scene, as its awe inspiring fea- 
tures seemed constantly to increase, and the whole panorama unceasingly changed 


like the dissolving views of a magic lantern, or like the aurora borealis. Laa- 
gfuage cannot convey, words cannot express the faintest idea of the splendor and 
grandeur of such a conflagation at night. It was as if the pale queen of night, 
disdaining to take her accustomed place in the heavens, had dispatched myriads 
upon myriads of messengers to light their torches at the altar of the setting sun 
until all had flashed into one long and continuous blaze. 

The following graphic description of prairie fires was written by a traveler 
through this region in 1849: 

"Soon the fires began to kindle wider and rise higher from the long grass. 
The gentle breeze increased to stronger currents, and soon formed the small, 
flickering blaze into fierce torrent flames, which curled up and leaped along in 
resistless splendor, and like quickly raising the dark curtain from the luminous 
stage, the scenes before me were suddenly changed as if by the magician's 
wand, into one boundless amphitheater, blazing from earth to heaven and sweep- 
ing tlie horizon round, — columns of lurid flames sportively mounting up to the 
zenith, and dark clouds of crimson smoke, curling away and aloft till they nearly 
obscured stars and moon, while the rushing, crashing sounds, like roaring cata- 
racts mingled with distant thunders, were almost deafening. Danger, death, glared 
all around; it screamed for victims, yet, notwithstanding the imminent peril 
of prairie fires, one is loth, irresolute, almost unable to withdraw or seek refuge." 


In the early days more mischief was done by wolves than by any other wild 
animals and no small part of their mischief consisted in their almost constant 
barking at night, which always seemed so frightful and menacing to the settlers. 
Like mosquitoes, the noise they made appeared to be about as dreadful as the 
depredations they committed. The most effectual, as well as the most exciting 
method of ridding the country of these hateful pests, was that known as the 
"circular wolf hunt," by which all the men and boys would turn out on an ap- 
pointed day in a kind of circle comprising many square miles of territory, with 
horses and dogs, and then close up toward the center of their field of operations, 
gathering not only wolves, but also deer and many smaller "varmint." Five, 
ten, or more wolves by this means would sometimes be killed in a single day. 
The men would be organized with as much system as a little army, every one 
being well posted in the meaning of every signal and the application of every 
rule. Guns were scarcely ever allowed to be brought on such occasions, as their 
use would be unavoidably dangerous. The dogs were depended upon for the 
final slaughter. The dogs, by the way, had all to be held in check by a cord in 
the hands of their keepers until the final signal was given to let them loose, 
when away they would all go to the center of battle, and a more exciting scene 
would follow than can easily be described. 


The chief public entertainment for many years was the celebrated spelling 
school. Both young and old looked forward to the next spelling school with 


as much anticipation and anxiety as we nowadays look forward to a general 
4th of July celebration. And when the time arrived the whole neighborhood, 
yea, and sometimes several neighborhoods, would flock to the scene of academical 
combat, where the excitement was often more intense than had been expected. 
It was far better, of course, when there was good sleighing, then the young 
folks would turn out in high glee and be fairly beside themselves. The jollity 
is scarcely equaled at the present day by anything in vogue. 

When the appointed hour arrived, the usual plan of commencing battle was 
for two of the young people who might agree to play against each other, or who 
might be selected to do so by the teacher, to "choose sides," that is, each con- 
testant would choose the best speller from the assembled crowd. Each one choos- 
ing alternately, the ultimate strength of the respective parties would be about 
equal. When all were chosen one could be made to serve, each side would "num- 
ber," so as to ascertain whether amid the confusion one side had more spellers 
than the other. In case, he had some compromise would be made by the aid of 
the teacher, the master of ceremonies, and then the plan of conducting the cam- 
paign, or counting the mispelled words, would be canvassed for a moment. 
There were several ways of conducting the contest, but the usual way was to 
"spell across," that is, the first on one side would spell the first word, then the 
first on the other side ; next the second in line on each side, alternately, down to 
the foot of each line. The question who should spell the first word was deter- 
mined by the "choosers." One would have the first choice of spellers, the 
other spell the first word. When a word was missed, it would be repronounced, 
or passed along without repronouncing (as some teachers strictly followed the 
rule never to repronounce a word), until it was spelled correctly. If a speller 
on the opposite side finally spelled a missed word correctly, it was counted a 
gain of one to that side. If the word was finally corrected by some speller on 
the same side on which it was originated as a missed word, it was "saved" and 
no tally mark was made. An hour perhaps would be occupied in this way and 
then an "intermission" was had, when the buzzing, cackling, hurrahing and con- 
fusion that ensued for ten or fifteen minutes were beyond description. 

Coming to order again, the next style of battle to be illustrated was to "spell 
down," by which process it was ascertained who were the best spellers and could 
continue standing the longest. But often good spellers would inadvertently miss 
a word in an early stage of the contest and would have to sit down humiliated, 
while a comparatively poor speller would often stand till nearly or quite the last, 
amid the cheers of the assemblage. Sometimes the two parties first "chosen 
up" in the evening would again take their places after recess, so that by the 
"spelling down" process there would virtually be another race in another form; 
sometimes there would be a new "choosing sides," for the "spelling down" con- 
test, and sometimes the spelling down would be conducted without any party- 
lines being made. It would occasionally happen that two or three very good 
spellers would retain the floor so long that the exercise would become monotonous, 
when a few outlandish words like "chevaux-de-frise." "Ompompanoosuc" or 
"baugh-naugh-claugh-ber," as they used to spell it sometimes, would create a 
little ripple of excitment to close with. Sometimes these words would decide 
the contest, but generally when two or three good spellers kept the floor until 


it became tedious, the teacher would declare the race ended and the standing 
spellers acquitted with a "drawn game." 

The audience dismissed, the next thing was to go home, very often by a round- 
about way, "a-sleighing with the girls," which, of course, was the most inter- 
esting part of the evening's performances, sometimes, however, too rough to 
be commended, as the boys were often inclined to be somewhat rowdyish. 


The history of pioneer life generally presents the dark side of the picture, 
but the toils and privations of the early settlers were not a series of unmitigated 
sufferings. No; for while the fathers and mothers toiled hard, they were not 
adverse to a little relaxation and had their seasons of fun and enjoyment. They 
contrived to do something to break the monotony of their daily life and furnish 
a good hearty laugh. Among the more general forms of amusements were 
the "quilting bee," "corn husking," "paring bee," "log rolling" and "house rais- 
ing." Our young readers will doubtless be interested in a description of these 
forms of amusements, when labor was made to afford fun and enjoyment to 
all participating. The "quilting bee," as its name implies, was when the indus- 
trious qualities of the busy little insect that "improves each shining hour" were 
exemplified in the manufacture of quilts for the household. In the afternoon, 
ladies for miles around gathered at the appointed place, and while their tongues 
would not cease to play, the hands were as busily engaged in making the quilts, 
and the desire always manifested to get it out as quickly as possible, for then 
the fun would begin. In the evening the gentlemen came, and the hours would 
then pass quickly by in "plays," games, singing and dancing. "Corn huskings" 
were when both sexes united in the work. They usually assembled in a large 
barn which was arranged for the occasion, and when each gentleman had selected 
a lady partner, the husking began. When a lady found a red ear of corn she 
was entitled to a kiss from every gentleman present. When a gentleman found 
one he was allowed to kiss every lady present. After the corn was all husked, 
a good supper was served, then the "old folks" would leave, and the remainder 
of the evening was spent in the dance and in having a general good time. The 
recreation afforded to the young people on the annual recurrence of these fes- 
tive occasions was as highly enjoyed and quite as innocent as the amusements 
of the present boasted age of refinement and culture. 

The amusements of the pioneers were peculiar to themselves. Saturday after- 
noon was a sort of half holiday. The men usually went to town and when that 
place was reached, "fun commenced." Had two neighbors business to transact, 
here it was done. Horses were "swapped," difficulties settled and free fights 
indulged in. Whiskey was as free as water. Twelve and a half cents would 
buy a quart, and 35 cents or 40 cents a gallon, and at such prices enormous 
quantities were consumed. 


Iowa is a grand state, and in many respects second to none in the Union, 
and in everything that goes to make a live, prosperous community, not far be- 


hind the best. Her harvests are bountiful; she has a medium dimate and many 
other things that make here people contented, prosperous and happy; but she 
owes much to those who opened up these avenues that have led to her present 
condition and happy surroundings. Unremitting toil and labor have driven off 
the sickly miasmas that brooded over swampy prairies. Energy and persever- 
ance have peopled every section of her wild lands and changed them from wastes 
and deserts to gardens of beauty and profit. When but a few years ago the 
barking wolves made the night hideous with their wild shrieks and howls, now 
is heard only the lowing and bleating of domestic animals. Only a half century 
ago the wild whoop of the Indian rent the air where now are heard the engine 
and rumbling trains of cars, bearing away to markets the products of our labor 
and soil. Then the savage built his rude huts on the spot where now rise the 
dwellings and schoolhouses and church spires of civilized life. How great the 
transformation. This change has been brought about by the incessant toil 
and aggregated labor of thousands of tired hands and anxious hearts, and the 
noble aspirations of such men and women as make any country great. What 
will another half century accomplish? There are few, very few of these old 
pioneers yet lingering on the shores of time as connecting links of the past with 
the present. What must their thoughts be as with their dim eyes they view the 
scenes that surround them? We often hear people talk of the old fogy ideas 
and fogy ways and want of enterprise on the part of the old men who have gone 
through the experiences of pioneer life. Sometimes, perhaps, such remarks 
are just, but considering the experiences, education and entire Hfe of such men, 
such remarks are better unsaid. They have had their trials, hardships, misfor- 
tunes and adventures, and shall we now, as they are passing far down the west- 
ern declivity of life, and many of them gone, point to them the finger of derision 
and laugh and sneer at the simplicity of their ways? Let us rather cheer them 
up, revere and respect them, for beneath those rough exteriors beat hearts as 
noble as ever throbbed in the human breast. These veterans have been compelled 
to live for weeks upon hominy, and if bread at all, it was bread made from corn 
ground in hand mills, or pounded up with mortars. Their children have been 
destitute of shoes during the winter ; their families had no clothing except what 
was carded, spun, wove and made into garments by their own hands ; schools 
they had none ; churches they had none : afflicted with sickness incident to all 
new countries, sometimes the entire family at once; luxuries of life they had 
none ; the auxiliaries, improvements, inventions and labor-saving machinery of 
today they had not; and what they possessed they obtained by the hardest of 
labor and individual exertions ; yet they bore these hardships and privations 
without murmuring, hoping for better times to come, and often, too, with but 
little prospect of realization. 

As before mentioned, the changes written on every hand are most wonder- 
ful. It has been but three score years since the white man began to exercise 
dominion over this region, erst the home of the red men; yet the visitor of 
today, ignorant of the past of the country, could scarcely realize that within these 
years there has grown up a population of 1.500,000, who in all the accomplish- 
ments of life are as far advanced as are the inhabitants of the older states. 
Schools, churches, colleges, palatial dwellings, beautiful grounds, large, well 


cultivated and productive farms, as well as cities, towns and busy manufactories, ■ 
have grown up and occupy the hunting- grounds and camping places of the In- 
dians, and in every direction there are evidences of wealth, comfort and luxury. 
There is but little of the old landmarks left. Advanced civilization and the pro- 
gressive demands of revolving years have obliterated all traces of Indian oc- 
cupancy, until they are remembered only in name. 

In closing this section we again would impress upon the minds of our read- 
ers the fact that they owe a debt of gratitude to those who pioneered this state, 
which can be but partially repaid. Never grow unmindful of the peril and ad- 
venture, fortitude, self-sacrifice and heroic devotion so prominently displayed in 
their lives. As time sweeps on in its ceaseless flight, may the cherished memories 
of them lose none of their greenness, but may future generations alike cherish 
and perpetuate them with a just devotion to gratitude. 







In the year 1838 William B. Conway, a young Pennsylvanian who had been 
admitted to the bar of his state and had taken an active part in politics at that 
time, came to the young and growing city of Davenport. He had been previously 
appointed by President Van Buren as secretary of the then newly formed terri- 
tory of Iowa. He immediately fell in love with this section of the country and, 
meeting such men as Antoine LeClaire and Colonel Davenport, was led to believe 
by them and others that Davenport was the greatest town in the territory and 
had a magnificent future before her. In a letter published in the "Annals of 
Iowa" in July. 1865, a production of T. S. Parvin. that gentleman had the follow- 
ing to say concerning the appointment of Mr. Conway, his important position 
and certain of the incidents that grew out of his incumbency of the office. Mr. 
Parvin in his article says that prior to the appointment of William B. Conway 
to the office of secretary of the territory of Iowa, in 1838. he was editing a 
small political paper in the city of Pittsburg which supported General Jackson 
during his candidacy for the presidency. It was a rabid, violent, partisan paper, 
quite in accord with many of the personal traits of the editor, and by reason of 
the earnestness of his advocacy of the election of General Jackson and his suc- 
cessor, Martin Van Buren. he was appointed by the latter secretary of the terri- 
tory of Iowa in June, 1838. a few days after the approval of the act separating 
Iowa from Wisconsin and creating it into an independent territorial district — 
the act to take effect in July, following, from which period Iowa dated its terri- 
torial existence. 



Mr. Conway had never held a political office and had had no experience in 
public affairs, but was an enthusiast of his own kind and immediately left Pitts- 
burg for the new territory, landing at Davenport in the month of July. He was 
an Irishman and a member of the Catholic church, and very naturally, upon his 
arrival in Davenport, made the acquaintance of Antoine LeClaire, one of the 
founders of this city, and also of Colonel Davenport, then residing on the island 
of Rock island. These gentlemen made Mr. Conway believe that Davenport was 
the greatest town in the territory and the coming city of the west, and that it 
was the only proper place for the capital of the new territory. The organic 
law provided that the governor should "designate the temporary capital of the 
territory, to continue as such until the legislature should establish the territorial 
capital." The organic act also provided that the governor should "divide the 
territory into three judicial districts" and assign one of three judges appointed 
at the same time with Conway, to each of said districts. It also provided that 
the governor should issue a proclamation "ordering the election of members 
for the territorial legislature and designate the time of its convening." 

The Hon. Robert Lucas (twice governor of the state of Ohio and president 
of the national convention which nominated Martin Van Buren for the presi- 
dency), appointed governor of the new territory, had not yet arrived and Mr. 
Conway's new Davenport friends persuaded him into the belief that he was 
"acting governor" of the territory. The organic act provided that "in the ab- 
sence or death of the governor" the secretary of the territory should act as gov- 
ernor. In this belief the young secretary of the territory issued his three 
proclamations, naming Davenport as the territorial capital, ordering an election 
of the members of the legislature and providing for three judicial districts. 

A few weeks later Governor Lucas, who had been detained by reason of low 
water in the Ohio, arrived at Burlington and was confronted with these proclama- 
tions. He became very indignant, declaring that all the acts of the secretary as 
"acting governor" were null and void inasmuch as no vacancy had been created 
either by his death or absence, as he had not yet entered upon the discharge of his 
official duties. He, however, confirmed the action of the secretary in relation to 
dividing the territory into three judicial districts and the assignment of the judges 
— Mason to the first district, a resident of Burlington ; Wilson to the third, a resi- 
dent of Dubuque and Judge Joseph Williams, of Pennsylvania, to the second dis- 
trict. Upon Governor Lucas' arrival in October following, however, he selected 
Bloomington, now Muscatine, as his residence. 


These acts of Governor Lucas created in the breast of Secretary Conway 
nnkindly feelings, which were never wholly healed. But Governor Lucas, being 
a man of great experience in public life and familiar with the administration of 
public affairs, looked upon the acts of his younger associate, ignorant in these 
matters, as an offensive usurpation of authority. It was in issuing the above 
mentioned proclamation that the secretary signed himself "acting governor." Later 


the secretary again came into collision with the governor in relation to the 
administration of the affairs of his office and upon the convening of the legis- 
lative assembly by his indiscreet acts he met with opposition from that 
body from which he was extricated only through the good offices of his friend 
and fellow statesman, Judge Joseph Williams. 

T. S. Parvin, LL. D., at that time editor of Annals of Iowa, had in the July, 
1865, issue an article concerning the Iowa territorial legislature. At the time 
the events written of occurred he was private secretary to the governor : 

The legislature had before this gotten into a controversy which if not exciting 
was at least ridiculous, with the secretary of the territory and finding themselves 
hard pushed by his excellency and in need of allies made their peace with the sec- 
retary, and very adroitly enlisted him in their cause. 

Inasmuch as the communications and proceedings in relation thereto were 
withdrawn (in legislative language) or rather "expunged" I have drawn them 
forth from my portfolio of old documents and give them to our readers as a mat- 
ter of serious history of early times. 

On Friday morning (an unlucky day), Nov. 23, 1838, 

On motion of Mr. Hughes : 

Resolved, that the secretary of the territory be requested to furnish the mem- 
bers of the council with penknives, stamps, half-a-dozen inkstands and a tin pan 
for each stove in the council chamber. 

conway's remarkable letter. 

In reply to this resolution the Hon. Secretary addresses to the Hon. Council 
the communication following, upon receipt of which the following proceedings 
were had. 

The president laid before the council a communication from the secretary of 
the territory. 

On motion of Mr. Hempstead : 

Ordered, that said communication do not appear in the journal, and that it 
be referred to the committee upon expenditures. 

Secretary's Office, Nov. 24, 1838. 
To the Honorable, the President of the Council: 

Sir — A resolution in relation to knives, tin pans, etc. w^as duly transmitted 
to this department of the territorial government, where it received that attentive 
consideration which the magnitude of the subject appeared to demand. 

To prevent an interruption of that perfect harmony which has heretofore 
existed, still exists and should continue to exist between the honorable, the legis- 
lative assembly and the department" of state it becomes necessary to offer in a 
very respectful manner a few explanatory observations, and especially in relation 
to the knives. The secretary would therefore beg leave to explain. 

In the latter part of last summer a young man of rather interesting personal 
appearance and associated as then alleged, with the executive department, called 
on the secretary and stated that he (the young man) was then on his way to Cin- 


cinnati in the state of Ohio, on business connected with the territorial library 
and then and there delivered an executive opinion that it would doubtless be 
better to purchase the stationery at Cincinnati and politely offered the use and 
exercise of his own talents in procuring the same, if authorized so to do. The 
matter was then held under advisement and in the meantime a letter was received 
from the executive department directing the attention of the secretary to the facili- 
ties afforded by the visit of the young man to Cincinnati, where, it was believed, 
that stationery could be procured on better terms than at any other place. In 
reply the secretary proposed a conference with the executive which resulted in 
a letter of instruction to the young man, then at or on his way to Cincinnati, 
authorizing him to make the purchases which it is alleged he did make with his 
usual ability and on advantageous terms. A bill of articles has been returned 
and the young man has returned, but he found it inconvenient, or to use his own 
language, impossible, to bring on the stationery. This young man was vested 
with certain discretionary powers and for reasons which satisfied his discretion 
after much mental exertion and consultation he omitted the purchase of knives. 

The navigation of the Ohio was entirely suspended. This was the act of 
God whose holy name is pronounced with deep reverence and to whose holy will 
it is our duty to submit. Human power cannot resist the dispensation of his 
providence nor can human wisdom counteract his unfathomable designs. His 
excellency, the governor, in pursuance of law named a day on which the legis- 
lature should convene; and the secretary to meet the difficulties of a very diffi- 
cult case proceeded to St. Louis to make preparations for the approaching session, 
and returned in despite of every peril to provide for the comfort of the honor- 
able, the legislative assembly; in which dutiful design — always excepting knives. 

Much exertion has been made to procure knives in Burlington but knives of a 
suitable finish and quality cannot be procured; nor can knives in a sufficient 
quantity of any quality be obtained, and the secretary can't make knives. If he 
could do so, he would do so with expedition and pleasure, but if it should comport 
with his own wishes and the wishes of all those whom it may concern, that he 
should occupy his present station until the next session, he will take especial care 
to supersede the necessity of any further legislation on the subject of knives; — 
for it is the earnest and anixous wish of the secretary that all the members should 
have knives and stamps and folders ; and all and singular, such thing or things, de- 
vice or devices whatsoever, as may facilitate the operations of the hands in yielding 
assistance to the deliberations of the head. 

The part of the resolution which relates to extra ink-stands and tin pattypans, 
can, and will be promptly complied with ; as well as the separate resolution thus 
acknowledged which requires increased accommodations for spectators in the lobby 
and in conclusion the secretary renders to the honorable members of the council, 
individually and collectively, the fullest assurance of that high consideration which 
they cannot be more anxious to receive than he is to bestow ; and whilst he has 
no reason to invoke their indulgence, he would make every proper exertion to 
conciliate their respect, remaining most entirely their obed't serv't, 

W. B. Conway, Secretary of the Territory. 

A few days later the committee presented the following: 


The committee on expenditures to whom was referred the communication of 
the Hon. WilHam B. Conway, secretary of the territory of Iowa, dated Nov. 24, 
1838, beg leave to make the following report : 

That in the discharge of the duty assigned them they find with much regret 
the report of the honorable secretary of our territory to the council, 
dated Nov. 24th, is of such a nature as to call forth a severe animadversion upon 
its tone and spirit. The evident intention of that communication was not only to 
treat the resolution offered by Mr. Hughes and adopted by the council with irony 
and contempt but at the same time to convey the idea that articles asked for by the 
resolution were unnecessary and unimportant. 

The reason of the adoption of the resolution offered by Mr. Hughes is obvious 
to every member of the council but it may not be known to the community at large, 
that great pains were taken to prevent the merchants and citizens of Burlington 
from crediting the officers of the council and house of representatives of this terri-^ 
tory for small articles necessary for their use, and the honorable secretary of the 
territory was understood to intimate that accounts made by the officers of the 
legislature would not be paid by him. It therefore became necessary to ask by 
resolution the furnishing of small articles. 

On the arrival of the members of the legislature, in accordance with the proc- 
lamation of the governor, they found the house which they were to occupy (not- 
withstanding the great "peril" which the honorable experienced in returning from 
St. Louis "to provide for the comfort and convenience, the ease, elegance and 
dignity of the honorable legislative assembly") unfurnished and unprepared for 
their reception and the reason assigned by the honorable secretary for this delay 
is that it "was the act of God, etc." Your committee would not pretend to impute 
blame to the honorable secretary for the frustration of his great design by the 
Creator of the universe, whose powerful arm can arrest the progress of 
governors, secretaries and legislatures ; yet your committee do think it somewhat 
surprising that the acts of God so far intervened as to prevent the oflficers of the 
council and house of representatives from getting upon the credit of the legis- 
lature a few tin cups and a bucket to drink out of, which articles as well as many 
others the honorable secretary on account of peril or some other cause unknown 
to your committee neglected to furnish. 

As the legislature was not supplied with many necessary articles of stationery 
and furniture they were left with no other alternative than to inform the hon- 
orable secretary of the territory of their wants, presuming that so far as he was 
able, he would comply with their request ; nor do your committee believe that any 
resolution has passed the council during the present session in any disrespect to 
the honorable secretary or his office; nor could the council possibly imagine from 
their friendly intercourse with him heretofore that he would ever reply to a resolu- 
tion of their body with such a communication as the committee now have imder 
their consideration, and it is a source of much regret that the honorable secretary 
should have so far forgotten the dignity^ which he owed to himself, his officers and . 
the representatives of the people as to attempt to ridicule their proceedings and 
make their acts the subject of merriment and derision. The honorable secretary 


may rest assured that the present legislature will not tamely submit to the insults 
and derision of any officer of this territory and they at all times defend to the last 
their honest rights and the liberty of the people whom they have the honor to 

Robert Ralston, 
Steph. Hempstead, 
Jem. D. Payne. 

This report was adopted by the council and the affair known as the "penknife 
and tin-pan controversy," occasioned no small talk until the 27th of December, 
when it was ended as the following printed proceedings show : 

The president submitted the following communication from the secretary of 
the territory: 

Secretary's Office, Territory of Iowa, Dec. 27, 1838. 
To the Honorable the Legislative Council : 

Gentlemen : In compliance with the friendly suggestions of his honor, Judge 
Wilson, who kindly consents to be the bearer of this note, I hereby inform the 
honorable body that I am willing to withdraw my communication to that body of 
the 24th of last November provided the report of the committee on expenditures 
together with the subsequent proceedings of the council in reference to said com- 
munication be consequently withdrawn, which I have been informally advised, 
the council are disposed to do. And if so, I am prepared to renew my relations 
with the council, official and personal, as they existed prior to the 24th of last No- 

If, however, there be any misapprehension as regard the disposition of the 
council toward the secretary of the territory this note will be immediately re- 
turned to me by the honorable gentleman to whom it has been intrusted. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

William B. Conway, 
Secretary of the Territory. 

Whereupon Mr. Payne offered the following: 

Resolved, that the secretary be allowed to withdraw his communication of the 
24th of November, and that the proceedings of the council in relation thereto be 
also withdrawn. 

These controversies growing out of a conflict of jurisdiction between co- 
ordinate branches of the government were never thoroughly healed. 

The legislature attempted to override the functions of the governor and secre- 
tary and did many foolish things and we present the following as one of them : 

Resolved, by the council and house of representatives of the territory of 
Iowa that the postmaster of Davenport, Scott county, Iowa, be and he is hereby 
authorized to have the mail from Davenport to Dubuque conveyed in two-horse 
post coaches during the present session of the legislative assembly. 

Here is the doctrine of "state (or territorial) sovereignty" first asserted for 
young Iowa, it having before been supposed that congress regulated the mails. 


T. S. PARVIN governor's SECRETARY. 

The young man whom Conway refers to in his letter to the territorial council 
was T. S. Parvin, who had come from Ohio to serve as governor's clerk. Governor 
Lucas sent his young fellow Ohioan to Cincinnati after books and suggested that 
he purchase stationery there. Congress had appropriated $5,000 for a territorial 
library and Mr. Parvin was appointed librarian. Mr. Parvin came to Davenport 
to consult Secretary Conway and was joined by him on the boat, and the two 
made the trip to Galena together arranging the prospective purchases. Conway 
was disbursing officer for all funds appropriated by congress and held all to the 
letter of instructions, thus becoming involved in trouble with both the governor 
and legislature. In the Bloomington Herald of Dec. 25, 1840, for which paper 
Mr. Parvin was acting as legislative correspondent, Mr. Parvin writes, "The 
Towa Minstrel' was one of Nature's poets, and had he lived would have left more 
numerous proofs of his claims to the proud title which has so justly been awarded 
him. Should your distant readers ask to whom I refer, tell them the late Secre- 
tary Conway, the scholar and the poet whose untimely death deprived his adopted 
land of one of its brightest ornaments, and the literary world of a devoted son and 
an aspirant after all that is noble and worthy of emulous fame." 

In penning these lines the great man who in after years was one of the most 
honored citizens of Iowa showed his magnanimity toward an associate who for 
a long portion of their acquaintance delighted in belittling him and systematically 
spelled Parvin with a small p in all communications referring to him by name. 

conway's death. 

William B. Conway died at Burlington in the prime of life, November 6, 1838, 
some four months after his arrival in the territory and after a brief illness of 
typhoid fever. He was succeeded in office by James Clark, at that time editor of 
the Burlington Gazette, who became the last of the three territorial governors 
of Iowa. The young secretary was regarded as one of the most gifted men in 
the territory and had endeared himself to everyone in Davenport for his many 
traits of character, brilliant, eccentric and otherwise, and also on account of his 
stanch support of everything that tended to the upbuilding and progress of the 
city. His body was received in Davenport on the 9th of November by a committee 
appointed for the purpose and was taken to St. Anthony's church where solemn 
services for the dead were performed by Rev. Father Pelamourgues. On the 
morning of the 9th a public meeting, whose proceedings were solemn and impres- 
sive, was held by the citizens of Davenport, which convened at the Davenport 
hotel. The object of this meeting was for the purpose of the citizens to testify 
their respect to the memory of William B. Conway. T. S. Hoge was called to 
the chair and Judge G. C. R. Mitchell was appointed secretary. 

On motion it was ordered that John H. Thorington, Thomas S. Hoge, Duncan 
C. Eldridge, Ira Cook, G. C. R. Mitchell, Richard Pearce, Antoine LeClaire and 
John Owens be appointed a committee to make the necessary arrangements for the 
funeral of the deceased, and also to draft and report resolutions expressive of the 


sense of this meeting. The committee having retired for a short time reported 
the following resolutions which were unanimously adopted: 

Resolved, That this meeting has heard with the most profound regret of the 
death of William B. Conway, Esq., late secretary of the territory of Iowa. Posses- 
sing a mind richly cultivated and improved, a disposition amiable and kind, he was 
generous and hospitable; of manners the most bland and courteous; respected, 
honored and beloved by all who knew him. We feel that in his death this neigh- 
borhood has lost its brightest ornament, and the territory one of its ablest and 
most worthy officers and highly valued citizens. 

Resolved, That this meeting sincerely condole with the family of the deceased 
in their severe and deep affliction, and pray that He who tempers the blast to the 
shorn lamb may support and protect them. 

Resolved, That as a mark of respect for the memory of the deceased, we will 
wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days. 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the chairman and 
secretary, and the Iowa Sun and other papers throughout the territory be re- 
quested to publish the same. 

Resolved, That Antoine LeClaire and G. C. R. Mitchell be, and they are hereby 
appointed a committee to deliver a copy of the proceedings of this meeting to 
the respected widow of the deceased. 

Th. S. Hoge, Chairman, 

G. C. R. Mitchell, Secretary. 

During Secretary Conway's Davenport residence he used his influence in con- 
gress to bring to Rock island a government arsenal and armory. 








In April, 1823, Daniel Smith Harris, a lad of fifteen, left Cincinnati on the 
keel-boat Colonel Bumford for the LeFevre lead mines, now Galena, where he 
arrived June 20th, following, after a laborious voyage down the Ohio and up the 
Mississippi. It came about in the evolution of things required for specific pur- 
poses that the keel-boat was constructed. This boat was built to go up stream 
as well as down. It was a well modeled craft, sixty to eighty feet long and fifteen 
to eighteen feet wide, sharp at both ends and often with fine lines, clipper built 
for passengers or traffic. It had usually about four feet depth of hold. Its cargo 
box, as it was called, was about four feet higher, sometimes covered with a light 
curved deck, sometimes open, with a "gallows frame" running the length of the 
hold, over which tarpaulins were drawn and fastened to the sides of the boat for 
the protection of the freight and passengers in stormy weather. At either end 
of the craft was a deck eight or ten feet in length, the forward or forecastle deck 
having a windlass or capstan for pulling the boat off bars or warping through 
swift water or over rapids. Along each side of the cargo box ran a narrow walk 
about eighteen inches in width, with cleats nailed to the deck twenty-eight or 
thirty inches apart to prevent the crew from slipping when poling up stream. 
'About the time the keel-boat Colonel Bumford was passing St. Louis the steamer 
Virginia departed for the upper river with a load of supplies for the United 
States military post at Fort Snelling. She arrived at Fort Snelling May 10, 1823, 
the first boat propelled by steam to breast the water of the upper Mississippi. She 
was received by a salute of cannon from the fort and carried fear and consterna- 
tion to the Indians, who watched the smoke rolling from her chimneys and the 
exhaust steam from her escape pipe with a noise that simply terrified them. The 


Virginia was scarcely longer than the largest keel-boat, being about one hundred 
and twenty feet long and twenty-two feet beam. She had no upper cabin, the ac- 
commodations for the passengers being in the hold in the stern of the boat, with 
the cargo box covering so common to the keel-boat of which she herself was but 
an evolution. 


What did the young steamboat man see in his voyage from Cairo to Galena 
in 1823? In his later years, in speaking of this trip he said that where Cairo now 
stands there was but one log building, a warehouse for the accommodation of 
keel-boat navigators of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Cape Girardeau, St. 
Genevieve and Herculaneum were small settlements averaging a dozen families 
each. St. Louis was built almost entirely of frame structures and had a popu- 
lation of about 5,000. The levee was a ledge of rocks with scarcely a fit 
landing place on the whole frontage. Alton, Clarksville and Louisiana were 
minor settlements. What is now Ouincy consisted of one log cabin only, which 
was built and occupied by John Woods, who afterwards became lieutenant gov- 
ernor of the state of Illinois and acting governor. This intrepid pioneer was 
"baching it," being industriously engaged in clearing a piece of land for farming 
purposes. The only settler at Hannibal was one John S. Miller, a blacksmith, 
who removed to Galena in the autumn of 1823. In later years Hannibal was 
to claim the honor of being the birthplace of Mark Twain, the humorist historian 
of the lower Mississippi pilot clans. The last farm house between St. Genevieve 
and Galena was located at Cottonwood Prairie, (now Canton) and was occupied 
by one Captain White, who was prominently identified with the early develop- 
ment of the northwest. There was a government garrison at Keokuk which was 
then known as Fort Edwards, and another at Fort Armstrong on Rock Island. 
The settlement at Galena consisted of but a dozen log cabins, a few frame shan- 
ties and a smelting furnace. If Mr. Harris was looking only for the signs of an 
advancing civilization, the above probably covers about all he saw on his trip. 
Other things came to his notice, however — the great river flowing in its pristine 
glory unvexed to the sea ; islands set like emeralds in the tawny flood ; the trees 
and bushes taking on their summer dress of green in the warm May sunshine ; 
prairies spreading away in boundless beauty, limited only by his powers of vision. 
Later, as his craft stemmed the flood and advanced up the river, he saw the hills 
beginning to encroach upon the valley of the river, narrowing his view ; and 
later ihe crags and bastions of the bluffs of the upper river beetling over the 
very channel itself and lending an added grandeur to the simple beauty of the 
banks already passed. His unaccustomed eyes saw the wickyups and tepees of 
the Indians scattered among the islands and on the lowlands, the hunters of 
the tribes changing the firelock for the spear and net as they sought to reap 
the water of its harvest of returning fish. It was all new to the young traveler 
who was later to become the best known steamboat man of the upper river, the 
commander of a greater number of steamboats than any of his compeers and who 
was to know the river in all its meanderings and in all its curves better than 
any other who ever sailed — Daniel Smith Harris, of Galena, Illinois. 



Of the early boats stopping at this port Captain W. L. Clark furnishes the 
names, and the steamers that came up from St. Louis in 1827, for the government 
and for traffic at the Galena lead mines and with supplies for the few settlers; 
they were : Red Rover, Captain Otis Reynolds ; the Shamrock, Captain James 
May; the Indiana and Black Rover, captains' names not recalled. The captains 
in 1831 and 1832 were: Throckmorton, steamer Warrior; O'Flagerty, Forsyth, 
VanHouten. Captains from 1833 until 1836: Cole, Smith Harris, Orin Smith, 
Scribe Harris, Ben Campbell, Cameron, Clime, Ward, John Atchinson, George 
!i\tchinson, Mark Atchinson and Hardin Roberts ; from 1836 until 1842 : Leroy 
Dodge, Reilley, Littleton, Brock, Morehouse, Pierce, C. Gall, McAllister, William 
Gabbert. Blakesley, K. Lodwich, John Lodwich and Barger. 

Several of the commanders named above continued on the upper river until 
1850, and three or four until the early '60s. Mrs. Erie Dodge, of Buffalo, Scott 
county, kept a record of early years and noted the following list of names of ves- 
sels that plied the waters of the Mississippi : 1845 — War Eagle, St. Croix, For- 
tuna, Mungo Park, Monona, Mendota, Galena, Falcon, Lynx, Uncle Toby, 
Time, St. Louis, Oak, Sarah Ann, Cecilia, General Block, Osprey, Potosi, Reveille, 
Lebanon, LaSalle, Confidence, Amaranth, Brazil, Iron City, Iowa Mermaid, Dial, 
Nimrod, Otter, U. S. Mail, Herald, Iowa, New Haven, Archer, Jasper, Ohio; 
1848 — Iowa City, Uncle Toby, Montauk, Bon Accord, Senator, Red Wing, Pearl, 
Domain, Clermont, Confidence, Falcon, Piazza, Mondoanna, Mary Blain, Ellen, 
Dubuque, St. Peters, Time and Tide, Alexander Hamilton, Highland Mary, Odd 
Fellow, Ohio Mail, Otter, DeKalb, Eliza Stewart, Kentucky, North Alabama, 
Dan Rice; 1849 — Senator, St. Croix, American Eagle, Dr. Franklin, Bon Accord, 
St. Peters, Time and Tide, Newton, Wagoner, Otter, Archer, Oswego, War 
Eagle, Dubuque, Clermont No. 2, Montauk, Highland Mary, Financier, Anthony 
Wayne, Cora, Kentucky, Red Wing, Bay State Planter, Oregon, Wisconsin, Palo 
Alto. Saranak, Revenue Cutter, Herald, American, Yankee, Mary Blaine, Domain, 
Allegheny Mail, Tiger, Piazza, Magnet, Danube, Minnesota, Caroline, No Name. 
John P. Robertson, a Davenport boy of long ago, loved the river and kept this 
list of boats which landed here from 1850 to 1852: Amaranth, Archer, Asia, An- 
thony Wayne, Bon Accord, Black Hawk, Brunette, Brazil, Ben Campbell, Ben 
Franklin, Cora, Caleb Cope, Danube, Di Vernon, Diadem, Enterprise, Express, 
Excelsior, Fortune, Falcon, Fleetwood, Financier, Galena, General Gaines, Golden 
Era. G. W. Sparhawk, Glaucus, Highland Mary, Iron City, Iowa, lone, Irene, J. 
H. McKee, Jennie Lind, Lamertine, Lynx, Mendota, Minnesota, Monogahela, 
Mary Blaine, Montauk, Martha No. i, Martha No. 2, Mary O, Northerner, Nau- 
voo, Osprey, Ohio, Oshkosh, Oneoto, Ocean Wayne, Pembina, Potosi, Prairie 
Bird, Red Wing. Robert Fulton, Ripple, St. Paul, Shenandoah, St. Croix, Silas 
Wright, Swamp Fox, Senator, Time and Tide, Tempest, Tobacco Plant, 
Uncle Toby, War Eagle, Wisconsin, Warrior, Wyoming. All these boats were 
built for freight and passengers and the most of them were side-wheelers. Trade 
was immensely profitable. Previous to 1850 there were no boat lines as we have 
today represented locally by agents. Each captain solicited freight when his boat 
came to land. Emigration was tremendous and freight rates high. Steamboats 


costing fifty thousand dollars would pay for themselves in a single season. In 
the season of 1855 from the arrival of the first boat, March 15th, to the time of 
the river closing, December 8th, there were 1,113 arrivals and departures of steam- 
boats at the Davenport landing. Of all these boats about six were lost during 
the season, four being burned and two sunk. 


"Old Times on the Upper Mississippi River" — the recollections of a steamboat 
pilot from 1854 to 1863, was written by Captain George Byron Merrick and pub- 
lished in 1909. Of his earlier experiences on the Mississippi river he has the fol- 
lowing, in part, to say : 

"The majesty and glory of the great river have departed; its glamour remains, 
fresh and undying in the memories of those who, with mind's eye, still can see 
it as it was a half century ago. Its majesty was apparent in the mighty flood 
which then flowed throughout the season, scarcely diminished by the summer 
heat ; its glory in the great commerce which floated upon its bosom, beginnings of 
great commonwealths yet to be ; its glamour is that indefinable witchery with which 
memory clothes the commonplace of long ago, transfiguring the labors, cares, 
responsibilities and dangers of steamboat life as it really was into a mid-summer 
night's dream of care-free, exhilarating experiences and glorified achievements. 
There were steamers running between St. Louis and Fort Snelling, near St. Paul, 
from the year 1823 in more or less regularity. The Virginia, Captain Crawford, 
was the first steamboat to reach Fort Snelling, which occurred May 10, 1823. 
The crowning achievement of Captain William Fisher, of Galena, was the taking 
of the City of Quincy from St. Louis to St. Paul, Captain Brock being his partner 
for the trip. The City of Quincy was a New Orleans packet that had been char- 
tered to take an excursion the length of the river. The vessel was of 1,600 
tons burden, with length of 350 feet beam and was the largest boat 
ever making the trip above Keokuk rapids. Two or three incidents 
of Captain Fisher's river life, among the many which he related to me, are 
of interest as showing the dangers of the Mississippi. The following is one which 
he believed was an omen prophetic of the war of the rebellion. I give it as told 
to me: 

"I am going to tell you this just as it happened. I don't know whether you will 
believe me or not. I don't say that I would believe it myself if I had not seen it 
with my own eyes. If some one else had told it to me I might have set it down 
as a 'yarn.' If they never have had any experience on the river some men woula 
make yams to order. It is a mighty sight easier to make them than it is to live 
them — and safer. 

" 'When this thing happened to me I was entirely sober and I was not asleep. 
If you will take my word for it I have never been anything else but sober. If I 
had been otherwise I would not be here now telling you this at eighty-two years 
old (the relator told the story in 1903). Whiskey always gets 'em long before 
they see the eighty mark. And you know that a man can't run a steamboat while 
asleep — that is very long. Of course he can for a little while, but when he hits 
the bank it wakes him up. 

" 'This story ought to interest you because I was on your favorite boat when 
it happened. The Fannie Harris was sold in 1859, in May or June, to go south. 


She came back right away, not going below St. Louis, after all. I took her down 
to that port. Joseph Jones, of Galena, had bought the bar for the season when 
she was sold, and lost thirty dollars in money by the disposal of the boat. Captain 
W. H. Gabbert, who died a few months since, was in command and I was pilot. 
I left Galena in the evening. It was between changes of the moon and a beautiful 
star-light night— as fine as I ever saw. By the time we got down to Bellevue 
the stars had all disappeared and it had become daylight, not twilight, but broad 
daylight, so light that you could not see the brightest star, and from 1 1 130 to 12 :30, 
a full hour, it was as bright as any day when the sun was under a cloud. At mid- 
night I was right opposite Savanna. Up to this time Captain Gabbert had been 
asleep in the cabin, although he was on watch. We were carrying neither pas- 
sengers nor freight for we were just taking the boat down to deliver her to her 
new owners. The captain woke up or was called and when he saw the broad day- 
light and that his watch indicated that it was only just midnight, he was surprised 
and maybe scared, just as everyone else was. He ran out on the roof and called 
out "Mr. Fisher, land the boat, the world is coming to an end." I told him that if 
the world were coming to an end that we might as well go in the middle of the 
river as at the bank, and kept on going. It took just as long to get dark again as 
it did to get light — about an hour. Then in another half hour the stars had come 
out, one by one, just as you see them at sunset — the big bright ones first and 
then the whole field of Httle ones. I looked for all the stars I knew by sight and 
as they came back, one by one, I began to feel more confidence in the reality of 
things. I couldn't tell at all where the light came from — but it grew absolutely 
broad daylight. That one hour's experience had more to do with turning my hair 
white than anything that ever occurred to me, for it certainly did seem a strange 
phenomenon. "Was it worse than going into a battle?" I asked. Yes, a hundred 
times worse, because it was dififerent. When you go into battle you know just 
what danger is, and you nerve yourself to meet it. It is just the same as bracing 
yourself to meet a known danger in your work — wind, lightning or storm — you 
know what to expect and if yoa have any nerve you just hold yourself in and 
let it come. This was different ; you didn't know what was coming next, buf I 
guess we all thought just as the captain did, that it was the end of the world. 
I confess that I was scared, but I had the boat to look out for and until the world 
did really come to an end I was responsible for her, and so stood by and you know 
that helps to keep your nerves where they belong. I just hung on to the wheel and 
kept her in the river, but held one eye on the western sky to see what was coming 
next. I hope when my time comes I shall not be scared to death, and I don't be- 
lieve I shall be. It will come in a natural way and there won't be anything to 
scare a man. It is the unknown and mysterious that shakes him and this midnight 
marvel was too much for any of us. We had a great many signs before the war 
and I believe this marvel was one of them, only we didn't know how to read it.' " 

Captain Merrick graphically describes a race between the Itasca and the Gray 
Eagle, which took place in 1856 on the Mississippi from Dunleith to St. Paul. 
He says : "As a race against time, the run of the Gray Eagle was something really 
remarkable. A sustained speed of over sixteen miles an hour for a distance of 
300 miles up stream is a wonderful record for an inland steamboat, 
anywhere, upper river or lower river, and the pride which Captain Harris had in 


his boat was fully justified. A few years later she struck the Rock Island bridge 
and sank in less than five minutes, a total loss. It was pitiful to see the old cap- 
tain leaving the wreck, a broken-hearted man, weeping over the loss of his darling 
and returning to his Galena home, never again to command a steamboat. He 
had, during his eventful life on the upper river built and owned or commanded 
scores of steamboats and this was the end." Captain D. Smith Harris in 1855 
brought out the Gray Eagle which had been built at Cincinnati at a cost of $60,000. 
He built her with his own money or at least had a controlling interest and in- 
tended her to be the fastest boat on the river. 


Captain W. A. Blair gives an interesting description of rafting on the Missis- 
sippi river in the following article which first appeared in the Chicago Timberman : 

"The rafting of logs began about 1845 and reached its height in 1890 when the 
Chippewa river alone sent out over 600,000,000 feet of logs, besides over 400,000,- 
000 feet of sawed lumber for the yards at Burlington, Keokuk, Hannibal, Louis- 
iana, St. Louis and Chester. The first rafts floated down the Mississippi were very 
small, were carried along by the current and handled by large oars on the bow 
and stern. The logs were rafted in strings seventeen feet wide and held together 
by poles across them, to which each log was fastened by wooden plugs and lock- 
downs. These strings were fastened together into rafts from five to ten strings 
wide and about 250 feet long. Delays by wind, sticking on sandbars or breaKmg 
on islands were common and while the price per thousand feet was very high, the 
proceeds of the entire trip were often required to pay off the crew. 

"In 1865 W. J. Young, of Clinton, Iowa, one of the most successful pioneers 
of the lumber business, encouraged Captain Cyrus Bradley to try a small steam- 
boat hitched to the stern of a raft to push and guide it in the stream. His first 
efforts were not highly satisfactory but enough so to induce him and others to try 
pushing rafts with better boats in the same way, which they did with very gratify- 
ing results. 


"By 1870 the business of towing rafts by steamboats had become well estab- 
lished but considerable trouble attended all their efforts to properly handle and 
guide the rafts until Chauncey Lamb, of Clinton, Iowa, invented the famous 'Clin- 
ton nigger,' since then in use on every boat in the rafting business. By its use 
the boat's position can be easily and quickly changed so as to shove forward or 
back up in different directions as the change in wind or course of the river may 
require. The boat's head is made fast to the stern of the raft as near the middle 
as possible, and the stem is held in position by two gang lines of large ropes made 
fast on the stern corners of the raft and rove around the drums of the 'Clinton 
nigger' placed aft of the boat's center and amidships. 'Running the nigger' pulls 
in one gang line and passes out the other, changing the direction of the boat ac- 
cordingly. A boat hitched in this way can handle a much heavier tow than if 
hitched in stiff depending entirely on the rudders for steering and handling. Ehir- 


ing the early part of 1895 the steamer Saturn, 120 feet long, twenty-four feet 
wide, with engine fifteen inches in diameter, four and a half feet stroke, made a 
very successful trip to St. Louis with a raft of lumber 1,584 feet long and 272 
feet wide, containing over 7,cx)0,ooo feet of lumber besides shingles, laths and 
pickets enough to load a good sized steamer. About the same time the steamer 
E. Rutledge brought to Rock Island a raft of logs 1,450 long and 285 feet wide, 
containing over 2,000,000 feet log measure. Either of these rafts would 
cover ten acres but were brought successfully through some very narrow, crooked 

"Floating rafts are a thing of the past and many of the famous old floating 
pilots have long since crossed to the other shore. They were a strong, hardy, 
self-reliant lot of men, accustomed to exposure, hard work, long watches and 
the handling of the rough, boisterous men who composed their crew. When 
wind-bound or tied up near some small town where liquors were to be had, these 
raftsmen of the olden time were much inclined to paint things a very brilliant color, 
and where local authorities failed to control them they generally hunted up the 
pilot to take charge of his men and save the town, 


"Captain S. B. Hanks, now living in Albany, Illinois, (1905) at the age of 
eighty-nine years, gets the credit for having been the first recognized raft pilot. 
He saw the business grow from a single trip to a great industry in which ninety 
steamers were engaged regularly all season long, whose crews numbered, all 
told, 1,800 men, with a monthly pay roll of over $80,000. 

"The average raft steamer is 130 feet long, twenty-six feet wide, four feet 
hold and has two inch pressure boiler with engine thirteen inches in diameter and 
six feet stroke. Some of them have very nice cabins with accommodation for the 
crew of twenty and a few extra. The logs are driven down the small tributaries 
into the Black, Chippewa, St. Croix and upper Mississippi rivers, and then flooded 
and driven down loose into the Mississippi river. 

"Black river logs are rafted at North LaCrosse at the mouth of the stream. 
Chippewa logs are driven down into the Mississippi at Reed's Landing, then twelve 
miles down into West Newton slough, where they are held, sorted, scaled and 
rafted by the Minnesota Boom Company, which company can turn out, when con- 
ditions are favorable, 10,000,000 to 15,000,000 feet per day. St. Croix logs are 
rafted at Stillwater, where the St. Croix river enters St. Croix lake. Upper Mis- 
sissippi river logs are driven loose from St. Anthony's falls and rafted between 
Fort Snelling and St. Paul. From these points the steamer tows them to the saw 
mills at Winona, LaCrosse, Lansing, Guttenberg. Dubuque, Bellevue, Lyons, Ful- 
ton, Qinton, Moline, Rock Island, Davenport, Muscatine, Burlington, Fort Madi- 
son, Keokuk, Ouincy, Hannibal and St. Louis, while rafted lumber is sometimes 
taken to Chester, eighty miles below St. Louis. 

"The average speed of a tow boat and raft down stream is three and a half miles 
an hour. Of late years several operators have adopted the plan of making their 
rafts very long and using a small steamboat fastened crosswise of the bow. By 
going ahead or backing the bow boat the raft can be pointed around or kept in the 


channel much more quickly than the boat at the stern could do it alone. Another 
point gained by this plan is that while the ordinary raft is too wide for the bridge 
draws, and can only be put through one half at a time, lengthened out double 
length and half width, double tripping the bridge is avoided and much time saved. 

"The business has seen its best days. Forest fires and the chopper's ax have 
destroyed nearly all the good timber accessible. The average size of the logs di- 
minishes each year. Mill after mill will close when its supply of white pine is ex- 
hausted. One by one the tow boats that have chased each other down the grand 
old river will be laid to rest and rot, while their crew, who have waited in vain 
for the pleasant message to 'get her ready at once' will wander off, sadly trying to 
catch a land lubber's step and earn a hard living on shore, thinking often of the 
old familiar whistle he will hear no more." 


Colonel George Davenport established the first public ferry between Warsaw on 
the south and Prairie du Chien on the north, a distance of 500 miles. This took 
place in Davenport in 1825 and full crews were employed, both at the "slough" 
and the main channel, for the original ferry led across from the island and not 
below it. The slough ferry touched the Illinois shore near where the freight 
depot of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific now stands. The island landing on 
the main channel was just in front of the Davenport mansion, while on the 
Iowa shore there were two, an arriving and a departing landing. The rapids 
current was strong and the boats, usually propelled by oar and helm, were natur- 
ally carried well down stream in crossing. The first landing was at a point 
where Renwick's mill was subsequently built, and from this point the boat was 
poled up along the shore to a point at the foot of Mississippi avenue, from which 
it returned to the island landing. Two oarsmen and a man at the helm composed 
the crew, and the rates for putting a man and horse across the stream was $1.25, 
or $2 for a two horse team, and single passengers in a skiff 25 cents. While 
living at Andalusia Captain Benjamin W. Clark established a ferry at Buffalo 
before he moved across the river. This was for many years the most noted ferry 
between Burlington and Dubuque. In 1834 Antoine LeQaire started his ferry 
below the island, which put the Davenport boats and crews out of business. Le- 
Claire began with flat boats and his first captain was L. S. Colton. At the expira- 
tion of two years Mr. LeClaire sold his franchise and boats to John Wilson for 
$1,000 and quit the business. Captain Wilson was a man of energy and enter- 
prise and at once began building new boats and conducted the business in a 
methodical manner. He made commutation rates with the Rock river ferry at 
the mouth of Green river, whereby one fare paid the way over both ferries. 
This arrangement was well advertised and greatly increased Captain Wilson's 
business and brought to this county many people seeking homes who would not 
otherwise have come here. The Iowa Sun of August 4, 1838, announced that 
Captain Wilson had a steam ferry upon his docks which he would launch in due 
time. For some reason, not now known, the boat was not finished until 1842, but 
when it appeared on the water it was found to be in advance of the times, and 
was taken off to reappear no more until 1852. It was the first steam ferry on 


the river above St. Louis. There were twelve ferries chartered in 1842. Every 
town along the river had its ferry. Captain P.enjamin W. Clark had one at Buf- 
falo which existed up to a few years ago. In the spring of 1838 he was licensed 
to run a ferry at Bufifalo. John H. Sullivan and Adrian A. Davenport had one 
at Rockingham and Marmaduke S. Davenport at Credit island, which have long 
since gone out of existence. Just below Buffalo Joseph and ^Matthias Mounts 
had ferries. Avery Thomas ran a flat boat at Pinneo's landing, now Princeton, 
and Benjamin Doolittle had a ferry on the Wapsipinicon near its mouth. These 
men all had fiat boats. Gilbert Marshall ran a ferry on the Wapsipinicon at 
Point Pleasant in 1840, which was subsequently turned over to J. W. Curtley in 
1842 and afterward became the property of Judge Grant. A ferry was started 
at Pleasant Valley by Lucien Well in 1842 and Parkhurst, now LeClaire, had 
its ferry about the same time. In the county commissioners' court at Rocking- 
ham in May, 1838, the following schedule for licenses was adopted : Davenport, 
$20; Buffalo, $10; Rockingham, $8; all others at $5 per annum. For Mississippi 
ferriage the following rates were followed : 

Footmen $ .iS^i 

Man and horse 50 

One vehicle and driver 75 

Two horse vehicle and driver i.oo 

Each additional horse or mule 18^ 

Neat cattle, per head 12^ 

Sheep or hogs 05 

Freight per hundred 06^ 

It was also ordered at this meeting that each keeper give due attendance at 
all times from sunrise until 8 p. m., but that they shall be allowed double rates 
on ferriage after sunset. 

Among the improvements instituted by Captain Wilson was the ferry alarm. 
Says a local writer : "In primitive times in order to arouse the ferryman on the 
opposite shore the Stephensonites (now Rock Islanders) who had been over here 
in Davenport to attend evening services and overstayed their time, or zealous 
Davenporters who after dark had occasion to visit Stephenson in a missionary 
cause, had to raise the 'war-whoop.' In order to discourage relics of barbarism 
Mr. Wilson introduced the ferry triangle, an ungainly piece of triangular steel 
which, when vigorously pounded with a club, sent forth from its gallows tree a 
most wretched clanging noise. But it brought the skiff, though it awakened the 
whole town. That triangle was immortalized by Davenport's local bard. In an 
inspired moment he ground out an epic or a lyric or a something in seven stanzas 
and from seven to seventeen poetic feet. We would reproduce it if we were 
quite certain our readers were all prepared to die." 

After the death of John Wilson the ferry fell into the hands of his son-in-law, 
Judge John W. Spencer and Thomas J. Robinson, then associate judge, and in 
1854 Judge James Grant, of Davenport, was added and the firm name changed 
from J. W. Spencer & Company to Spencer, Robinson & Company. An extended 
history of Judge Spencer's life as written by himself is given in another part of 
this work. Thomas S. Robinson left his native state, Maine, in 1837 and landed 
in Green county, Illinois, where he taught school several years, and was county 


clerk for some time. In 1847 he went to Rock Island county and there engaged in 
farming for two years. The following three or four years he engaged in mer- 
chandising at Port Byron, and from 1853 ^o 1868 almost without a day's absence 
he was the captain in command of his prosperous steamer, ever active, pleasant and 
accommodating and attending to his business in a business-like manner. The 
first permanent steam ferry boat that plied between Davenport and Rock Island 
was the "John Wilson." It was followed by the "Davenport" in 1855 and ran 
in connection with that boat in those busy transfer times of 1855 and 1856 before 
the completion of the railroad bridge. In 1857 the "Rock Island" came into ser- 
vice and the "John Wilson" was sold to the Fulton & Lyons' trade. The "Daven- 
port" became a government transport during the Civil war and eventually met 
the fate of all things perishable. The "Rock Island" continued in the service 
several years, when it was supplanted by the "J. W. Spencer," whose successor 
was the "Augusta." In 1902 the "Augusta" was remodeled and rechristened as the 
"T. J. Robinson," which name it bore in honor of the man who gave this locality 
its earliest ferry service and who kept it up to a high standard in the years that 
followed. The boats now in commission, "The Davenport" and "Rock Island," 
furnish the finest service between St. Louis and St. Paul. They are provided 
with the latest approved machinery procurable for such service and the accommo- 
dations provided for the traveling public are the best possible. Trips are made 
between the Rock Island and Davenport shores every fifteen minutes, which are 
kept up constantly during the day and until late in the evening. On April 7, 1888, 
the original license to operate this ferry was issued by the United States treasury 
department and April 26, 1888, the charter was issued to the incorporated body 
— the Rock Island-Davenport Ferry Company — ^with a capital stock of 
$60,000. The original incorporators were Thomas J. Robinson, D. Nelson 
Richardson, Henry Lischer, Joe R. Lane, Edward D. Sweeny and J. Frank Rob- 
inson. Thomas J. Robinson died in April, 1899, and his stock in the ferry com- 
pany was inherited by his son and only heir, J. Frank Robinson, and with the 
stock went the management which the elder Robinson had wisely administered. 
J. Frank Robinson died in May, 1902, and bequeathed his stock to Captain Mar- 
cus L. Henderson, a cousin who had been in charge of the ferry as general man- 
ager since 1896. At the meeting of the stockholders Captain Henderson was 
unanimously elected president and manager, with H. E. Casteel secretary and 


The part which a good system of inland waterways would play in the de- 
velopment of this section was clearly understood by the early settlers. When 
Davenport was but a hamlet the progressive citizens were alive to the necessity 
of deepening the channel on the rapids. River improvement conventions were 
held which were attended by delegates from Burlington, Muscatine, Dubuque 
and Davenport to the number of 150. Such a convention was held in Davenport 
in 1846. but the rocks were undisturbed by the flow of eloquence for, as Hiram 
Price expressed it, "They had been there since the morning stars sang together, 
and they did not propose to be disturbed by long speeches or resolutions upon 


_ ' ^m^n 

^ flip "f^lLMM ^ ^ 


In early days the canal as a means of transportation was held in high esteem 
and even after the advent of the railroads in this section those interested in 
freight rates well understood the benefit an east and west canal would be. 
January 19, 1864, a Chicago and Mississippi canal meeting was held at LeClaire 
hall and a committee appointed to secure an appropriation from the Iowa legis- 
lature for a survey. The expenses of the committee, $350 were pledged. In 
March the efforts of the committee at Des Moines were aided by the strike of en- 
gineers on all Chicago roads which cut off Iowa from the world. The Iowa 
legislature appropriated $i,(X)0, the first money devoted to this waterway by 
anybody having power to vote funds. 

From January 19, 1864, to November 15, 1907, the date when the first boat 
passed through the completed Hennepin canal, was a strenuous forty-three years 
for the friends of the measure. Meetings were held in Davenport almost with- 
out number. The hat was passed for expenses over and over again. Editorials 
were written by the mile and delegates attended uncounted conventions. Con- 
gress was bombarded with petitions and interviewed by delegations. In Sep- 
tember, 1874, the preliminary survey was completed. The following January 
the measure had favorable action in congress. Congressman J. H. Murphy was 
so insistent for the construction of the canal that he was nicknamed "Hennepin" 
Murphy. In July, 1882, the National senate passed an appropriation of $100,000. 
In July, 1890, the river and harbor bill carried $500,000 for Hennepin. In 1891 
the Milan route was approved. In November, 1894, the first section of the canal 
was completed and water admitted thereto. In April, 1895, the locks of the 
canal opened to receive the first boat. In the fall of the year the first coal was 
received in Davenport from the Hennepin canal. 

The building of the canal from Hennepin to Milan presented many engineer- 
ing problems but none to compare with those attending the construction of the 
feeder ditch from Sterling south to Sheffield. The canal is nearly 105 miles 
long, the main line measuring seventy-five miles, and the Sterling feeder, twenty- 
nine and three-tenths miles. The canal is eighty feet wide at the surface, 
fifty-two feet wide at the bottom and is seven feet deep. The construction of 
the locks and canal walls near Milan was the first instance in the United States 
where cement construction was substituted for cut stone in work of this sort. 
The successful use of concrete here caused its general adoption by the govern- 
ment, the railroads and large contractors everywhere. 

The total excavation on the canal was 8,080,512 cubic yards, the fill in em- 
bankments, 5,551,378, making a total of 13,631.890 cubic yards of earthwork. 
Timber and lumber were used to the amount of 8,250,444 feet. The cement con- 
struction in the canal has a total of 236,348 cubic yards. The Hennepin is 
spanned by seventy highway and farm bridges, eight railway bridges and two 
pontoons, has nine acqueducts, thirty-three locks, fifty-two culverts, eight dams 
and nine sluiceways. 

The total cost of the canal was $7,224,408.77. Those who enjoy figures have 
computed that the concrete used in this canal, the first one to be constructed by 
the United States, would lay a sidewalk from Davenport to Boston. 

While the completion of the canal has not been followed by the increase in 
shipments anticipated by those who worked for its construction for the forty 


years when work was necessary to keep the project moving-, it is confidently 
expected that in the near future the canal will justify the expense of construc- 
tion and become an important link in a system of interior water ways that will 
handle shipments greatly in excess of the capacity of the railroads to move. 


In the spring of 1845 John Casper Wilde, a gentleman of considerable reputa- 
tion as a landscape and portrait painter, made his first appearance in Davenport. 
On his arrival here he was totally dependent upon his talent, which was of a 
very high order. In 1846 he painted a fancy sketch which was the nearest ap- 
proach to an artistical smile of which Mr. Wilde was ever known to be guilt>. 
He had neither humor of his own nor appreciation of humor in others. He 
looked tragedy, thought tragedy and his conversation, outside of business and 
art, was never much more cheerful than tragedy. This little oil sketch, a fac- 
simile of which appears in this work, represented three notable characters of the 
village, each of whom at that time was personally known to almost every man, 
woman or child in the place. They were collected at the well remembered ferry 
house and near the equally well remembered old bell post. The bell there sus- 
pended was then furiously jingled, and often with disagreeable pertinacity, by 
those who wished to call the old ferryman, John Wilson, from the opposite shore. 
The ringer was generally considered under personal obligation to stand at the 
post some time in company with his horse and vehicle, if he had any to cross 
over, so that the ferryman might, with proper deliberation, determine whether 
the skiff or horse-power boat were required by the nature of the cargo. The 
large person of Antoine LeClaire sits in a buggy, to which is attached the not- 
able old white horse that used to drag his master about the place. Qose by 
stands Gilbert McKown, whose store was on Front street, a few steps distant, 
and whose burly figure and good-humored face when on any street seemed a 
part and parcel of the town and directly identified with its corporate existence. 
The third figure is Sam Fisher, as he was familiarly called by every acquaintance. 
He then lived in the house later owned and occupied by George L. Davenport at 
the corner of Brady and Third streets. Sam Fisher was the best fisher in the 
town, a good story-teller and had a most marvelous memory of past times and 
incidents, facts and dates, which, united with some peculiar eccentricities of char- 
acter, exclusively and honestly his, has since made him a conspicuous character. 
One of his smaller eccentricities is shown in the picture. He is standing with his 
trousers turned up to the top of one boot and down to the sole of the other, doing 
a favorite gesture, and evidently doing the talking, of course. 







The following article was published in book form by Judge Spencer in 1872, 
not for general distribution, but for the members of his family and members 
of the Old Settlers' association. It was, however, first presented at an Old 
Settlers' meeting in Rock Island county and subsequently appeared in the Union. 

Judge Spencer's long residence in Rock Island and extended acquaintance in 
Davenport and Scott county made him a familiar figure here and his experi- 
ences as a pioneer of this section, although his residence was across the river, 
will assuredly be of interest to readers of this history and for that reason "The 
Reminiscences of Pioneer Life in the Mississippi Valley" is here reproduced in 

Judge John W. Spencer came to Rock Island, Illinois, in 1826, and died there 
February 20, 1878. He was the first judge of the Rock Island county court 
and performed the first marriage ceremony in that county. In connection with 
others he built the first dam at Moline in 1841, and in 1852, at the death of his 
father-in-law, Captain Wilson, succeeded to a controlling interest in the Rock 
Island and Davenport ferry from which his estate still derives a considerable 

I was born in Vergennes, Addison county, Vermont, on the 25th of July, 
1801, and after spending the early years of my life there started, on the 4th of 
September, 1820, for Illinois, driving a two-horse team for a gentleman by the 
name of Brush. Having an uncle in St. Louis county, Missouri, I went there, 
crossing the Mississippi river on the 25th of October, at St. Louis. This place 
had about 5,000 inhabitants at that time. My uncle and many more of the 
early settlers were about leaving where they had settled, on account of Missouri 


becoming a slave state. He and several of his neighbors had, early in the fall 
of this year, visited the Illinois river country and made some selections for farms, 
about thirty miles from the mouth of the river, at a settlement now called Bluff- 
dale. In order to hold the lands they had selected they were obliged to make 
some improvement on them which, having done, they returned to Missouri. 

About the ist of December, in company with my cousin, who was five or 
six years my senior, with his wife and two children, we started for the Illinois 
river where my uncle and his party had made their claims the fall before. On 
arriving there we found on one of the claims a log cabin, about fourteen feet 
square, about half built; it lacked a roof, a floor and a door, which we soon 
added. Our horses we fed, and for lack of a stable turned loose at night. In 
hunting for them one morning I found them about two miles from home, and 
as we turned on our way homeward I discovered a large bear on the bluff, headed 
for the river. When he got on the prairie bottom I rode after him ; the country 
being very smooth I found I could drive him, so concluded to try and drive him 
home. Our cabin, at that time, was without a door, and for a substitute they had 
hung up a blanket. The day being very windy, they had set a chest upon the 
blanket to keep it in place. This chest was a very considerable part of the 
furniture of the cabin, being used as a work table, a dining table, and a place 
for putting away our most valuable things. My cousin's wife was busy getting 
our breakfast and had rolled out a short-cake upon the chest; he was at work 
outside the cabin, making a rude bedstead. On approaching the house I hal- 
looed as loud as I could. The cabin stood in the timber and my cousin did not 
discover the bear until he was within fifty yards of him. He ran in for his 
gun as soon as possible, and, by stepping on the chest at the door and putting 
his gun over the blanket, he gave the bear a mortal wound the first fire. He 
then reloaded his gun and, going nearer him, fired a second shot, killing him. 
But this is not all; when his wife looked for her short-cake, she found that he 
had put his foot in it. 

My neighbors in Green county, some of whom accompanied Major Campbell, 
when he started from St. Louis, in the war of 1812, for the relief of the garri- 
son of Prairie du Chien, gave me the particulars of this trip, which I do not 
think are familiar to our old settlers generally. We all know that there is an 
island near here named Campbell's island, but few know why it bears this name. 
In 1812 Major Campbell, with three keel boats, well manned, and loaded with 
provisions for the relief of the garrison of Prairie du Chien, left St. Louis and 
came along without being disturbed by Indians until, at last, they reached Rock 
island. They described the country here as being beautiful, finer than any- 
thing they had seen and they landed on a prairie, at the foot of Rock island, on 
the Illinois shore. The Indians came to the boats and seemed friendly, trading 
some with them. The next morning, while sailing on the right side of Camp- 
bell's island, the major concluded to land for breakfast, against the wishes of 
his command. He landed his boat and tied to the shore, the other two boats an- 
choring out in the stream. 

As soon as the major's boat was made fast the Indians, who were concealed, 
commenced firing on them. These boats were so constructed that while the 
men were inside they were comparatively safe, but to cut their cable so as to leave 


the shore, somebody must expose themselves. They sent out one after another 
to accomplish this purpose until two or three had been shot down. Finding it 
so hazardous to extricate themselves in this way they changed their plan and by 
swinging the stern of the shore boat out and that of the nearest boat at anchor 
in, they managed to get from the boat which was made fast to the shore into the 
other boats, some being killed, others wounded. Among the wounded was 
Major Campbell, severely in the shoulder. They now abandoned the boat at 
the shore and the Indians, after plundering it, burned it. I have heard some of 
our first settlers say that in low water the wreck of this boat could be seen. Major 
Campbell was now forced to give up the trip and returned to St. Louis with the 
remaining boats. By the failure of this expedition the garrison at Prairie du 
Chien was forced, for lack of provisions, to capitulate to the English, and the 
island near where these brave men were killed and others wounded was called 
Campbell's island. The Indians call a steamboat a fire-boat. At a dance of the 
Indians, on Rock Island, I heard Black Hawk, in making a little speech, allude 
to this boat ; he said when this boat was burned it made a real "fire-boat." While 
Uving in this part of the state Alton was our postofifice, being forty miles from 
our settlement. 

About the year 1826 there was great excitement in regard to the lead mines 
of the upper Mississippi. In 1827 I thought I would try my luck one season at 
the mines. I passed Rock Island on my way up the river, about the last of March, 
returning late in the summer. This practice of going up the river in the spring 
and coming down in the fall was so generally observed by the first settlers of 
Illinois that they were called "Suckers." In the fall of 1828 I removed to Mor- 
gan county, about twelve miles from Jacksonville, on the Beardstown road. Mr. 
Rinnah Wells, in passing from the mines to the southern part of the state, stopped 
with me over night. In the course of the evening he .told me that the Indians 
had left their old village at Rock island. Having seen the country along the 
Rock Island rapids, in passing to and from the mines, and being much pleased 
with it, in less than a week, accompanied by Loudon Case, Sr., I was on my way 
to ascertain if the Indians had left. When about ten miles from Rock river 
we met a Mr. Prince, who had brought a load of corn from his farm near 
Peoria, to feed Judge Pence's team, who was just then moving to the old Indian 
village at Rock river. Princeville, on the Peoria railroad, bears his name. We 
reached Rock river on the 9th of December. The river seemed alive with ducks. 
I do not think I have ever seen as many at one time since. Getting on the 
track of Judge Pence's wagons we crossed to the Big island. Here we found 
Judge Pence looking for a place to ford, which we found about sundown, be- 
tween the upper bridge and milldam on the main stream. Here we found several 
wigwams and took shelter in a large one for the night. Early in the morning 
Judge Pence started out and returned about breakfast time, saying he would 
not unload his wagon here, as he had found a better wig-\vam which proved to be 
Black Hawk's. These wigwams are very much the shape of a New England 
barn, sixteen or eighteen feet wide, and from twenty to fifty or sixty feet long. 
The largest were ca