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The Original Ownpvs 18 

Pike's Expedition '21 

Indian Wars 28 

Indian Purchases, Reserves and 

Treaties ;i2 

The Spanish ftrants 'M 

The Half-Breed ^I'ract 39 

Early Settlements 41 

Territorial History 49 

The Boundary Question 54 

State Organization 59 

Growth and Progress 65 

Public Institutions 66 

Agricultural College and Farm ... 66 

State University 67 

State Historical Society 73 

The Penitentiary 73 

PuBLK In.stitutions — Pagp 

Additional Penitentiary-. 74 

Iowa Hospital for the Insane 74 

Hospital for the Insane 75 

Iowa ( 'ollege for the Blind 76 

Institution for th(! Deaf and Dumb 77 

Soldiers' Orphans' Homes 77 

State Normal School 79 

Asylum for Feeble-Minded Chil- 

dr(m 79 

The Reform School 80 

Fish Hatching Establishment.... 81 

TiiK PuHMC Lands 82 

Th k Pubi.k; Schools 100 

Political Record 105 

Territorial and State Officers 105 

The Judiciary 107 

Congressional Representation. . . . lOi^ 
War Record 110 



First Settlement 118 

First Birth 120 

First Marriage 123 

First Death 124 

First Settlements, no longer existing. 120 
First Public School and Teacher. . . . 124 

County Organization 125 

First Assessment and Tax List 125 

First Taxpayers and Settlers by 

Townships 126 


The Winnebago Indians 133 

Fort Atkinson 141 

The Chiets Winneshiek and Decorah.141 
Indian Traders and Whisky Selling. 144 

Bloody Tragedies 145 

Indian Customs and Habits 147 


Pioneer Life 152 

Pioneer Women 153 

An Indian Scare 155 

Oddities of Bench and Bar 155 

Interesting Reminiscences 158 


Review of Early History 169 

County Organization and County 

Seat Contest 173 

The -Day Family 171 

Judge Reed 171 

Lewiston, Moneek and Decorah 173 

Pioneer Norwegians 185 

Protecting Squatters' Rights 189 


Political History 190 

First Election and First Officers 191 

Votes Cast in Successive Years 192 

Voting Precincts 193 

Division Into Townships ... 194 

Successive County Officers, Legisla- 
tors, etc 195 

Political Contests and Representa- 
tive Men 195 

Public Officers (continued) to Pres- 
ent Time • 204 


Population 212 

Court House and Jail 213 

Poor House and Fai-m 214 

Murder Trials '214 

Railroad Historv 21 1 

The County's Products '220 

Educational and literary 220 

County Finances 221 

Census of 1880 222 


The War for the Union '223 

Decorah Guards '225 

Co. H, Iowa Greyhounds '231 

Co. G, Twelfth Iowa 232 

Three More Companies 237 

Co. D, Sixth Iowa Cavalry "239 

Chronological Record of Events 239 





History of Decorah 257 

History of West Decorah 292 

History of Freeport 292 



Townships and Villages 299 

Rivers and Raihoads 322 

Shape and Size of County 322 

Printing Establishments 293 ' Geology, Products and Resources. . .323 

Pleasure Resorts 297 ! Climate, Soil and Scenery 324 



Origin of County Name 326 

Topography 327 

Geology . .' 328 

Artesian Wells 339 


Botany, Zoology and Entomology. . .340 

Climate ." 347 

Storms and Tornadoes 348 

Agriculture, Live Stock, Manufac- 
tures 350 

Statistical Information 351 


The Aborigines 355 

Archaeology 357 

Advent of the Whites 361 

Early Settlements 361 

County Organization and First Offi- 
cers 365 

Taxable Property in 1849 367 

Sketch of Father Loweiy 368 

Indian Missions \ 368 

The Painted Rock 369 

County Seat Elections 371 

Sodom and Gomorrah 371 

First Entries of Government Lands. 372 

Fhst Importation of Lumber 372 

First Grist Mill 372 

First Postoffice '. . . , 372 

Interesting Reminis:ences 372 

First Official Seal ,-l74 

Fii-st Terms of Court 374 

First Party Organization 376 

Systems of County Management 377 

List of County Officers, Legislators, 
etc., from County Organization 

to Present Time 378 

The Circuit Court 384 


Earliest County Records .385 

Township Organizations 389 

History of Paint Creek Township.. .393 


The Villages of Allamakee County. 396 

Lybrand 396 

Lansing, Winfield, Waukon, Colum- 
bus 397 

Hardin, Smithfield, Postville, Mil- 
ton, Ion, Rossville 398 

Volney, Cleveland, Johnsonport, Al- 
lamakee, Nezekaw 399 

Chantry, Alton, Buckland, Mancnes- 

ter. New Albin, Myion 400 

Dorchester, Lafayette. Paint Rock, 

Watendlle, New Galena 401 

Wexford 403 

Union City 404 


History of Post Township 404 

Histoiy of Postville 410 

Myron and Lybrand 415 

Criminal Episodes 418 


Comity Seat Contests 429 


County Buildings 438 

Educational 440 

Religious Organizations 446 

Gospel Pioneers 447 

Statistics of Population, etc 449 

Assessed Valuations 450 

Political Statistics 450 


War Record, Allamakee County Vol- 
unteers 451 


Chronological Record ot Important 
Events, 463 

Two Chief Towns of the Coun- 
ty 669 

Chapter I.— Waukon 669 

Chapter II. — Lansing 699 


*HE object of this work is to place upon record, in a reliable manner and 
in a permanent form, whatever incidents of impoitance have transpired 
within the limits of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties since their first 
settlement. As preliminary to this, a brief History of Iowa is given, including 
an account of its discovery and occupation: its Indian tribes; a sketch of pre- 
territorial times ; an outline of Iowa when a Ten-itory : its State organization, 
o-rowth and progress; its public institutions, public lands and schools: its polit- 
ical and war records. These facts are from the pen ot a well-known writer, 
and may be re'ied upon as accurate. 

In the history of the Counties, facts and figures, incidents and reminLs- 
cences, anecdotes and sketches, are given, with a variety and completeness, it 
is thought, commensurate to their importance. This has neeessitated. on the 
part of the editorial staff, an appreciable quantity of persevering effort; but 
their labor has been cheered by the cordial assistance and good will of many 
friends to the entei-prise in both Counties, to all of whom grateful acknowledg- 
ments are tendered. They have enabled us to give to the present generation a 
valuable reflex, it is believed, of the times and deeds of pioneer days; and to 
erect to the pioneer men and women of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties a 
merited and lasting monument. 

November, 1882. W. E. A. 



The name Iowa is said to signify "The Beantiful Land," and was 
applied to this magnificent and fruitful region by its ancient 
owners, to express their appreciation of its superiority of climate, 
soil and location. Prior to 1803, the Mississippi River Avas the 
extreme western boundary of the United States. All the great 
empire lying west of the "Father of Waters," from the Gulf of 
Mexico on the south, to British America on the north, and west- 
ward to the Pacific Ocean, was a Spanish province. A brief his- 
torical sketch of the discovery and occupation of this great em- 
pire by the Spanish and French governments will be a fitting 
introduction to the history of the young and thriving State of 
Iowa, which, until the commencement of the present century, was 
a part of the Spanish possessions in America. 

Early in the Spring of 1542, Ferdinand DeSoto discovered the 
mouth of the Mississippi River at the mouth of the Washita. 
After the sudden death of DeSoto, in May, of the same year, his 
followers built a small vessel, and in July, 1543, descended the 
great river to the Gulf of Mexico. 

In accordance with the usage of nations, under which title to 
the soil was claimed by right of discovery, Spain, having con- 
quered Florida and discovered the Mississippi, claimed all the ter- 
ritory bordering on that river ajid the Gulf of Mexico. But it 
was also held by the European nations that, while discovery gave 
title; that title must be perfected by actual possession and occupa- 
tion. Although Spain claimed the territory by right of first dis- 
covery, she mode no effort to occupy it; by no permanent settle- 
ment had she perfected and held her title, and therefore had for- 
feited it when, at a later period, the Lower Mississippi Valley 
was re-discovered and occupiedby France. 

The labors of the zealous French Jesuits of Canada in pene- 
trating the unknown region of the West, commencing in 1611, 
form a history of no ordinary interest, but have no particular con- 
nection with the scope of the present work, until in the fall of 1G05. 
Pierre Claude Allouez, who had entered Lake Superior in Septem- 
ber, and sailed along the southern coast in search of copper, had 
arrived at the great village of the Chippewas at Chegoincegon. 
Here a grand council of some ten or twelve of the principal In- 
dian nations was held. The Pottawatomies of Lake Michigan, the 
Sacs and Foxes of the West, the Hurons from the North, the 


Illinois from the South, and the Sioux from the land of the prairie 
and wild rice, were all assembled there. The Illinois told the 
story of their ancient glory, and about the noble river on the 
banks of which they dwelt. The Sioux also told their white 
brother of the same great river, and Allouez promised to the as- 
sembled tribes the protection of the French nation against all 
their enemies, native or foreign. 

The purpose of discovering the great river about which the In- 
dian nations had given such glowing accounts, appears to have 
originated with Marquette, in 1669. In the year previous, he and 
Claude Dablon had established the Mission of St. Mary's, the 
oldest white settlement within the present limits of the State of 
Michigan. Marquette was delayed in the execution of his great 
undertaking, and spent the interval in studying the language and 
habits of the Illinois Indians, among whom he expected to travel. 

About this time the French government had determined to ex- 
tend the Dominion of France to the extreme Avestern borders of 
Canada. Nicholas Perrot was sent as the agent of the govern- 
ment to propose a grand council of the Indian nations, at St. 

When Perrot reached Green Bay, he extended the invitation 
far and near; and, escorted by Pottawatomies, repaired on a 
mission of peace and friendship to the Miamis, who occupied the 
region about the present location of Chicago. 

In May, 1671, a great council of Indians gathered at the Falls 
of St. Mary, from all parts of the northwest, from the head waters 
of the St Lawrence, from the valley of the Mississippi and from the 
Red River of the North. Perrot met with them, and after grave con- 
sultation, formally announced to the assembled nations that their 
good French Father felt an abiding interest in their welfare, and 
had placed them all under the powerful protection of the French 

Marquette, during that same year had gathered at Point St. 
Ignace the remnants of one branch of the Hurons. This station, 
for a long series of years, was considered the key to the unknown 

The time was now auspicious for the consummation of Mar- 
quette's grand pi'oject. The successful termination of Perrot's 
mission, and the general friendliness of the native tribes, rendered 
the contemplated expedition much less perilous. But it was not 
until 1073 that the intrepid and enthusiastic priest was finally 
ready to depart on his daring and perilous journey to lands never 
trod by white men. Having imploring the blessing of God upon 
his undertaking, on the 13th day of May, 1673, with Joliet and 
five Canadian-French voyageurs, or boatmen, he left the mission 
on his daring journey. Ascending Green Bay and Fox River, 
these bold and enthusiastic pioneers of religion and discovery pro- 
ceeded until they reached a Miami and Kickapoo village, where 


Marquette was delighted to fiud a "beautiful cross planted in the 
middle of the town, ornamented with white skins, red girdles and 
bows and arrows, which these good people had offered to the Great 
Manitou, or God, to thank Him for the pity He had bestowed on 
them during the winter, in having given them abundant chase." 
This was the extreme point beyond which the explorations of the 
French missionaries had not then extended. He called together 
the principal men of the village, and informed them that his 
companion, Joliet, had been sent by the French Governor of 
Canada to discover new countries, to be added to the dominion_ of 
France; but that he, himself, had been sent by the Most High 
God, to carry the glorious religion of the Cross; and assured his 
wondering hearers that on this mission he had no fear of death, to 
which he knew he would be exposed on his perilous journey. 

Obtaining the services of two Miami guides, to conduct his 
little band to the Wisconsin River, he left the hospitable Indians 
on the 10th of June. Conducting them across the portage, their 
Indian guides returned to their village, and the little party de- 
scended the Wisconsin, to the great river which had so long been 
so anxiously looked for, and boldly floated down its unknown 

On the 25tli of June, the explorers discovered indications of In- 
dians on the west bank of the river, and landed a little above the 
mouth of the river now known as Des Moines, and for the first 
time Europeans trod the soil of Iowa. Leaving the Canadians to 
guard the canoe, Marquette and Joliet boldly followed the trail in- 
to the Ulterior for fourteen miles (some authorities say six), to an 
Indian village situated on the banks of a river, and discovered 
two other villages, on the rising ground about half a league dis- 
tant. Their visit, while it created much astonishment, did not 
seem to be entirely unexpected, for there was a tradition or 
prophecy among the Indians that white visitors were to come 
to them. They were, therefore, received with great respect and 
hospitality, and were cordially tendered the calumet or pipe oi 
peace. They were informed that this band was a part of the [Uini 
nation, and that their village was called Monin-gou-ma or Moin- 
gona, which was the name of the river on which it stood. This, 
from its similarity of sound, Marquette corrupted into Des Moines 
(Monk's River), its present name. 

Here the voyagers remained six days, learning much of the 
manners and customs of their new friends. The new religion 
they boldly preached, and the authority of the King of France 
they proclaimed were received without hostility or remonstrance 
by their savage entertainers. On their departure, they were ac- 
companied to their canoes by the chiefs and hundreds of warriors. 
Marquette received from them the sacred calumet, the emblem of 
peace and safeguard among the nations, and re-embarked for the 
rest of his journey. 


In 1682, LaSalle descended the Missisippi to the Gulf of Mexico, 
and in the name of the King of France took formal possession of 
all the immense region watered b}^ the great river and its tributa- 
ries from its source to its mouth, and named it Louisiana, in honor 
of his master, Louis XIV. At the close of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, France claimed, by right of discovery and occupancy, the 
whole valley of the Mississippi and its tributaries, including Texas, 
as far as the Rio del Norte. 

In 1719, Phillipe Francis Renault arrived in Illinois with two 
hundred miners and artisans. The war between France and Spain 
at this time rendered it extremely probable that the Mississippi 
Valley might become the theater of Spanish hostilities against the 
French settlements; to prevent this, as well as to extend French 
claims, a chain of forts was begun, to keep open the connection 
between the mouth and the sources of the Mississippi. Fort Or- 
leans, high up the Mississippi River, was built as an outpost in 1720. 

The Mississippi scheme was at the zenith of its power and 
glory in January, 1720, but the gigantic bubble collapsed more 
suddenly than it had been inflated, and the Company was de- 
clared hopelessly bankrupt in May following. France was impov- 
erished by it, both private and public credit was overthrown, capital- 
ists suddenly found themselves paupers, and labor was left without 
employment. The effect on the colony of Louisiana was disastrous. 

While this was going on in Lower Louisiana the region about 
the lakes was the theater of Indian hostilities, rendering the 
passage from Canada to Louisiana extremely dangerous for many 
years. The English had not only extended their Indian trade in- 
to the vicinity of the French settlements, but through their 
friends, the Iroquois, had gained a marked ascendancy over the 
Foxes, a fierce and powerful tribe, of Iroquois descent, whom 
they incited to hostilities against the French. The Foxes began 
their hostilities with the siege of Detroit, in 1712, a siege which 
continued for nineteen consecutive days, and although the expe- 
dition resulted in diminishing their numbers and humbling their 
pride, yet it was not until after several successive campaigns, em- 
bodying the best military resources of ^ew France, had been 
directed against them, that they were finally defeated at the great 
battles of Butte des Morts, and on the Wisconsin river, and driven 
west in 171G. 

The Company, having found that the cost of defending Louisi- 
ana exceeded the returns from its commerce, solicited leave to sur- 
render the Mississippi wilderness to the home government. Ac- 
cordingly, on the 10th of April, 1732, the jurisdiction and control 
over the commerce reverted to the Crown of France. The Com- 
pany had held possession of Louisiana fourteen years. In 1735, 
Bienville returned to assume command for the King. 

A glance at a few of the old French settlements will show the 
progress made in portions of Louisiana during the early part of 


the eighteenth century. As early as 1705, traders and hunters had 
penetrated the fertile regions of the Wabash, and from this re- 
gion, at that early date, fifteen thousand hides and skins had been 
collected and sent to Mobile for the European market. 

In the year 1716, the French population on the Wabash kept 
up a lucrative commerce with Mobile by means of traders and 
Yoyageurs. The Ohio river was comparatively unknown. 

In 1716, agriculture on the Wabash had attained to greater 
prosperity than in any of the French settlements besides, and in that 
year six hundred barrels of flour were manufactured and shipped 
to New Orleans, together with considerable quantities of hay, pel- 
try, tallow and beeswax. 

In the Illinois country, also, considerable settlements had been 
made, so that, in 1730, they embraced one hundred and forty 
French families, about six hundred '"converted Indians," and many 
traders and vovageurs. 

In 1753, the first actual conflict arose between Louisiana and 
the Atlantic colonies. From the earliest advent of the Jesuit 
fathers, up to the period of which we speak, the great ambition 
of the French had been, not alone to preserve their possessions in 
the West, but by every possible means to prevent the slightest at- 
tempt of the English, east of the mountains, to extend their set- 
tlements towards the Mississippi. France AA^as resolved on retain- 
ing possession of the great territory Avhich her missionaries had 
discovered and revealed to the world. French commandants had 
avowed their intention of seizing every Englishman Avithin the 
Ohio Valley. 

The colonies of Pennsylvania, Ncav York and Virginia were 
most aff'ected by the encroachments of France in the extension of 
her dominion; and particularly in the great scheme of uniting 
Canada Avith Louisiana. To carry out this purpose the French 
had taken possession of a tract of country claimed by Virginia, 
and had commenced a line of forts extending from the lakes to the 
Ohio River. Virginia Avas not only alive to her OAvn interests, 
but attentive to the vast importance of an immediate and effectual 
resistance on the part of all the English colonies to (he actual 
and contemplated encroachments of the French. 

In 1753, Governor Dinwiddle, of Virginia, sent George Wash- 
ington, then a young man just tAventy-one, to demand of the 
French commandant "a reason for invading British dominions 
Avhile a solid peace subsisted." Washington met the French com- 
mandant, Gardeur de St. 'Pierre, on the head Avaters of the Alle- 
ghany, and having communicated to him the object of his jour- 
ney, received the insolent ansAver that the French would not dis- 
cuss the matter of right, but would make prisoners of every 
Englishman found trading on the Ohio and its waters. The coun- 
try, he said, belonged to the French, by virtue of the discoveries 
of LaSalle, and they would not AvithdraAv from it. 


In January, 1754, Washington returned to Virginia, and made 
his report to the Governor and Council. Forces were at once 
raised, and Washington, as Lieutenant Colonel, was dispatched at 
the head of a hundred and fifty men, to the forks of the Ohio^ 
with orders to "finish the fort already begun there hy the Ohio 
Company, and to make prisoners, kill or destroy all who inter- 
rupted the English settlements.'" 

On his march through the forests of Western Pennsylvania, 
Washington, through the aid of friendly Indians, discovered the 
French concealed among the rocks, and as they ran to seize their 
arms, ordered his men to fire upon them, at the same time, with his 
own musket, setting the example. An action lasting about a 
quarter of an hour ensued; ten of the Frenchmen were killed, 
among them Jumonville, the commander of the party, and twenty- 
one were made prisoners. The dead were scalped by the Indians, 
and the chief, bearing a tomahawk and a scalp, visited all the 
tribes of the Miamis, urging them to join the Six Nations and 
the English against the French. The French, however, were soon 
re-enforced and Col. Washington was compelled to return to Fort 
Necessity. Here, on the 3d day of July, De Villiers invested the 
fort with 600 French troops and 100 Indians. On the 4th, Wash- 
ington accepted terms of capitulation and the English garrison 
Avithdrew from the valley of the Ohio. 

This attack of Washington upon Jumonville aroused the indig- 
nation of France, and war was formally declared in May, 1756, 
and the "French and Indian War" devastated the colonies for 
several years. Montreal, Detroit, and all Canada Avere surrendered 
to the English, and on the 10th of February, 1763, by the treaty 
of Paris — which had been signed, though not formally ratified by 
the respective governments, on the 3d of November, 1762 — France 
relinquished to great Great Britain all that portion of the prov- 
ince of Louisiana lying oa the east side of the Mississippi, except 
the island and town of New Orleans. On the same day that the 
treaty of Paris v/as signed, France, by a secret treaty, ceded to 
Spain all her possessions on the west side of the Mississippi, includ- 
ing the whole country to the head waters of the Great River, 
and west to the Rocky Mountains, and the jurisdiction of 
France in America, which had lasted nearly a century, was 

At the close of the Revolutionary war, by the treaty of peace 
between Great Britain and the United States, the English Govern- 
ment ceded to the latter all the territory on the east side of the 
Mississippi River, and north of the thirty-first parallel of north 
latitude. At the same time. Great Britain ceded to Spain all the 
Floridas, comprising all the territory east of the Missisjipi and 
south of the southern limits of the United States. 

At this time, therefore, the present State of Iowa was a part of 
the Spanish possessions in North America, as all the territory west 


of the Mississippi River Avas under the dominiou of Spain. That 
government also possessed all the territory of the Floridas east of 
the great river and south of the thirty-first parallel of north lati- 
tude. The Mississippi, therefore, so essential to the prosperity of 
the western portion of the United States, for the last three hun- 
dred miles of its course flowed wholly within the Spanish do- 
minions, and that government claimed the exclusive right to 
use and control it below the southern boundary of the United 

The free navigation of the Mississippi was a very nuportant 

. question during all the time that Louisiana remained a dependency of 

the Spanish Crown, and as the final settlement intimately affected 

the status of the then future State of Iowa, it will be interesting 

to trace its progress. 

The people of the United States occupied and exercised juris- 
diction over the entire eastern valley of the Mississippi, embrac- 
ing all the country drained by its eastern tributaries; they had a 
natural right, according to the accepted international law, to fol- 
low these rivers to the sea, and to the use of the Mississippi River 
accordingly, as the great natural channel of commerce. The river 
was not only necessary but absolutely indispensable to the pros- 
perity and growth of the western settlements then rapidly rising 
into commercial and political importance. They were situated in 
the heart of the great valley, and with wonderful expansive ener- 
gies and accumulating resources, it Avas very evident that no power 
on earth could deprive them of the free use of the river below 
them, only Avhile their numbers Avere insufficient to enable them 
to maintain their right by force. Inevitably, therefore, immedi- 
ately after the ratification of the treaty of 1785, the Western 
people began to demand the free navigation of the Mississippi — - 
not as a favor, but as a right. In 1786, both banks of the river, 
beloAv the mouth of the Ohio, were occupied by Spain, and mili- 
tary posts on the east bank enforced her power to exact heavy du- 
ties on all imports by Avay of the river for the Ohio region. Every 
boat descending he river was forced to Jand and submit tO the 
arbitrary revenue exactions of the Spanish authorities. Under the 
administration of Governor Miro, these rigorous exactions Avere 
someAvhat relaxed from 1787 to 17U0; but Spain held it as her 
right to make them. Taking advantage of the claim of the 
American people, that the Mississippi should be opened to them, 
in 1791, the Spanish Government concocted a scheme for the dis- 
membership of the Union. The plan was to induce the Western 
people to separate from the Eastern States by liberal land grants 
and extraordinary commercial privileges. 

Spanish emissaries, among the people of Ohio and Kentucky, 
informed them that the Spanish Government would grant 
them favorable commercial privileges, provided they would secede 
from the Federal Government east of the mountains. The Span- 


isli Minister to the United States plainly declared to his confiden- 
tial correspondent that, unless the Western people would declare 
their independence and refuse to remain in the Union, Spain 
was determined never to grant the free navigation of the Missis- 

By the treaty of Madrid, October 20, 1795, however, Spain form- 
ally "stipulated that the Mississippi Kiver, from its source to the 
Gulf, for its entire width, should be free to American trade and 
commerce, and that the people of the United States should be 
permitted for three years to use the port of New Orleans as a 
port of deposit for their merchandise and produce, duty free. 

In November, 1801, the United States Government received, 
through Ivufus King, its Minister at the Court of St. James, a 
copy of the treaty between Spain and France, signed at Madrid, 
March 21, 1801, by which the cession of Louisiana to France, 
made the previous autumn, was confirmed. 

The change offered a favorable opportunity to secure the just 
rights of the United States, in relation to the free navigation of 
the Mississippi, and ended the attempt to dismember the Union by 
an effort to secure an independent goverment west of the AUeghan}^ 
Mountains. On the 7th day of January, 1803, the American 
House of Representatives adopted a resolution declaring their ''un- 
alterable determination to maintain the boundaries and the rights 
of navigation and commerce through the River Mississippi as 
established by existing treaties." 

In the same month. President Jefferson nominated and the Sen- 
ate confirmed Robert R. Livingston and James Monroe as Envoys 
Plenipotentiary to the Court of France, and Charles Pinckney and 
James Monroe to the Court of Spain, with plenary power to ne- 
gotiate treaties to efiect the object enunciated by the popular 
branch of the National Legislature. These envoyis were instructed 
to s'^cure, if possible, the cession of Florida and New Orleans, but 
it does not appear that Mr. Jefferson and his cabinet had any idea 
of purchasing that part of Louisiana lying on the west side of the 
Mississippi. In fact, on the 2d of March following, the instructions 
were sent to our Ministers, containing a plan which expressly left 
to France ''all her territory on the west side of the Mississippi." 
Had these instructions been followed, it might have been that 
there would not have been any State of Iowa or any other mem- 
ber of the glorious Union of States west of the "Father of 

In obedience to his instructions, however, Mr. Livingston 
broached this plan to M. Talleyrand, Napoleon's Prime Minister, 
when that courtly diplomatist quietly suggested to the American 
Minister that France might be willing to cede the ivhoh French 
domain in North America to the United States, and asked hoAv 
much the Federal Government would be willing to give for it. 
Livingston intima'^ed that twenty million^ of francs might be a 


fair price. Talleyrand thoiiglit that not enough, but asked the 
Americans to "think o£ it." A few days later, Napoleon, in an 
interview with Mr. Livingston, in effect informed the American 
Envoy that he had secured Louisiana in a contract with Spain for 
the purpose of turning it over to the United States for a mere 
nominal sum. He had been compelled to provide for the safety 
of that province by the treaty, and he was "anxious to give the 
United States a magniticent bargain for a mere tritie." The price 
proposed was one hundred and twenty^-five million francs. This 
was subsequently modified to fifteen million dollars, and on this 
basis a treaty was negotiated, and was signed on the 30tli day of 
April, 1803. 

This treaty was ratified by the Federal Government, and by act 
of Congress, approved October 31, 1803, the President of the 
United States was authorized to take possession of the territory 
and provide for a temporary government. Accordingly, on the 
20th day of September following, on behalf of the President, 
Gov. Clairborne and Gen. Wilkinson took possession of the Louisi- 
ana purchase, and raised the American flag over the newly ac- 
quired domain, at New Orleans. Spain, although it had by 
treaty ceded the province to France in 1801, still held quasi pos- 
session and at first objected to the transfer, but withdrew her op- 
position early in 1804. 

By this treaty, thus successfully consummated, and the peace- 
able withdrawal of Spain, the then infant nation of the New 
World extended its dominion west of the Mississippi to the Pa- 
cific Ocean, and north from the Gulf of Mexico to British 

If the original design of Jefferson's administration had been 
accomplished, the United States would have acquired only that 
portion of the French territory lying east of the Mississippi River, 
and while the American people would thus have acquired the free 
navigation of that great river, all of the vast and fertile empire 
on the west, so rich in its agricultural and inexhaustible mineral 
resources, would have remained under the domiou of a foreign 
power. To Napoleon's desire to sell the whole of his North 
American possessions, and Livingston's act transcending his in- 
structions, which was acquiesced in after it was done, does Iowa 
owe her position as a part of the United States by the Louisiana 

By authority of an act of Congress, approved March 26, 1801, 
the newly acquired territory was, on the 1st day of October fol- 
lowing, divided: that part lying south of the 33d parallel of 
north latitude was called the Territory of Orleans, and all north 
of that parallel the District of Louisiana, which was placed under 
the authority of the officers of Indiana Territory, until July 4, 
1805, when it was organized with territorial government of its 
own, and so remained until 1812, when the Territory of Orleans 


became the State o£ Louisiana, and the name o£ the Territory of 
Louisiana was changed to Missouri. On the 4th of July, 1814, 
that part of the Missouri Territory comprising the present State 
of Arkansas, and the country to the Avestward was organized into 
the Arkansas Territory. 

On the 2d of March, 1821, the State of Misssouri. being a part 
of the territory of that name, was admitted to the Union. June 
28, 1834, the territory west of the Mississippi River and north of 
Missouri, was made a part of the territory of Michigan; but two 
years later, on the 4th of July, 1830, Wisconsin Territory was 
erected, embracing within its limits the present States of Iowa, 
Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

By act of Congress, approved June 12, 1838, the 


Avas erected, comprising, in addition to the present State, much 
the larger part of Minnesota, and extending north to the bound- 
ary of the British possession^. 


Having traced the early history of the great empire lying west 
of the Mississippi, of which the State of Iowa constitutes a part,, 
from the earliest discovery to the organization of the Territory of 
Iowa, it becomes necessary to give some history of the Indians of 

According to the policy of the European nations, possession 
perfected title to any territory. We have seen that the country 
west of the Mississippi was first discovered by the Spaniards, but 
afterward, was visited and occupied by the French. It was ceded 
by France to Spain, and by Spain back to France again, and then 
was purchased and occupied by the United States. During all that 
time, it does not appear to have entered into the heads or hearts 
of the high contracting parties that the country they bought, sold 
and gave away was in the possession of a race of men who, al- 
though savage, owned the vast domain before Columbus first 
crossed the Atlantic. Having purchased the territory, the United 
States found it still in possession of its original OAVuers, who had 
never been dispossessed; and it became necessary to purchase again 
Avhat had already been bought before, or forcibly eject the occu- 
pants; therefore, the history of the Indian nations who occupied 
Iowa prior to and during its early settlement by the whites, be- 
comes an important chapter in the history of the State, that can- 
not be omitted. 

For more than one hundred years after Marquette and Joliet 
trod the virgin soil of Iowa, not a single settlement had been 
made or attempted; not even a trading post had been established. 
The whole country remained in the undisputed possession of the 
native tribes, who roamed at will over her beautiful and fertile 
prairies, hunted in her woods, fished in her streams, and often 


poured out their life-blood in obstinately contested contests for 
supremacy. That this State so aptly styled "The Beautiful 
Land," had been the theater of numerous fierce and bloody 
stru^^les between rival nations, for possession of the favored re- 
gion, long before its settlement by civilized man, there is no room 
for doubt. In these savage wars, the weaker party, whether ag- 
gressive or defensive, was either exterminated or driven from their 
■ancient hunting grounds. 

In 1673, Avhen Marquette discovered Iowa, the Illini were a very 
powerful people, occupying a large portion of the State, but when 
the country was again visited by the whites, not a remnant of that 
once powerful tribe remained on the west side of the Mississippi, 
and Iowa was principally in the possession of the Sacs and Foxes, 
a war-like tribe which, originally two distinct nations, residing in 
New York and on the waters of the St. Lawrence, had gradually 
fought their way westward, and united, probably, after the Foxes 
had been driven out of the Fox River country, in 1816, and crossed 
the Mississippi. The death of Pontiac, a famous Sac chieftain, 
Avas made the pretext for war against the Illini, and a fierce and 
bloody struggle ensued, which continued until the Illinois were 
nearly destroyed and their hunting grounds possessed by their 
victorious foes. The lowas also occupied a portion of the State 
for a time, in common with the Sacs, but they, too, were nearly 
destroyed by the Sacs and Foxes, and, in "The Beautiful Land," 
these natives met their equally war-like foes, the Northern Sioux, 
with whom they maintained a constant warfare for the possession 
of the country for many years. 

When the United States came in possession of the great valley 
of the Mississippi, by the Louisiana purchase, the Sacs and Foxes 
and lowas possessed the entire territory, now comprising the State 
of Iowa. The Sacs and Foxes, also, occupied the most of the 
State of Illinois. 

The Sacs had four principal villages, Avhere most of them re- 
sided, viz.: Their largest and most important town — if an Indian 
village may be called such — and from which emanated most of the 
obstacles and difficulties encountered by the Government in the 
extinguishment of Indian titles to land in this region, was on 
Rock River, near Rock Island; another was on the east bank of 
the Mississippi, near the mouth of Henderson River; the third 
was at the head of the Des Moines Rapids, near the present site 
of Montrose, and the fourth was near the mouth of the Upper 

The Foxes had three principal villages, viz.: One on the west 
side of the Mississippi, six miles above the rapids of Rock River; 
another about twelve miles from the river, in the rear of the 
Dubuque lead mines, and the third on Turkey River. 

The lowas, at one time identified with the Sacs, of Rock River, 
had withdrawn from them and become a separate tribe. Their 


principal village was on the Des Moines River, in Van Buren 
County, on the site where lowaville now stands. Here the last 
great battle between the Sacs and Foxes and the lowas was fought, 
in which Black Hawk, then a young man, commanded one divi&ion 
of the attacking forces. 

The Sacs and Foxes, prior to the settlement of their village on 
Rock River, had a fierce conflict with the Winnebagoes, subdued 
them and took possession of their lands. Their village on Rock 
River, at one time, contained upward of sixty lodges, and was 
among the largest Indian villages on the continent. In 1825, the 
Secretary of War estimated tJie entire number of the Sacs and 
Foxes at 4,600 souls. Their village Avas situated in the immediate 
vicinity of the upper rapids of the Mississippi, where the beautiful 
and flourishing towns of Rock Island and Davenport are now situ- 
ated. The beautiful scenery of the island, the extensive prairies, 
dotted over with groves; the picturesque bluff's along the river 
banks, the rich and fertile soil, producing large crops of corn, 
squash and other vegetables, with little labor; the abundance of 
wild fruit, game, fish, and almost everything calculated to make 
it a delightful spot spot for an Indian village, which was found 
tiiere, had made this place a favorite home of the Sacs, and se- 
cured for it the strong attachment and veneration of the whole 

North of the hunting grounds of the Sacs and Foxes, were those 
of the Sioux, a fierce and warlike nation, who often disputed pos- 
session with their rivals in savage and bloody warfare. The pos- 
sessions of these tribes were mostly located in Minnesota, but ex- 
tended over a portion of Northern and Western Iowa to the Mis- 
souri River. Their descent from the north upon the hunting 
grounds of Iowa frequently brought them into collision with the 
Sacs and Foxes; and after many a conflict and bloody struggle, a 
boundary line was established between them by the Government 
of the United States, in a treaty held at Prairie du Chien, in 1825. 
But this, instead of settling the difficulties, caused them to quar- 
rel all the more, in consequence of alleged trespasses upon each 
other's side of the line. These contests were kept up and became 
so unrelenting that, in 1830, Grovernment bought of the respective 
tribes of the Sacs and Foxes, and the Sioux, a strip of land twenty 
miles in width, on both sides of the line, and thus throwing them 
forty miles apart by creating between them a "neutral ground," 
commanded them to cease their hostilities. Both the Sacs and 
Foxes and the Sioux, however, were allowed to fish and hunt on 
this ground unmolested, provided they did not interfere with each 
other on the United States territory. The Sacs and Foxes and the 
Sioux Avere deadly enemies, and neither let an opportunity to pun- 
ish the other pass unimproved. 

In April, 1852, a fight occurred between the Musquaka band of 
Sacs and Foxes and a band of Sioux, about six miles above Al- 


gona, in Kossuth County, on the west side of the Des Moines 
Kiver. The Sacs and Foxes were under the leadership Ko-ko-wah, 
a subordinate chief, and had gone up from their home in Tama 
County, by way of Clear Lake, to what was then tlie "neutral 
ground." At Clear Lake, Ko-ko-wah was informed that a party 
of Sioux were encamped on the west side of the East Fork of the 
Des Moines, and he determined to attack them. With sixty of 
his warriors, he started and arrived at a point on the east side of 
the river, about" a mile above the Sioux encampment, in the night, 
and concealed themselves in a grove, where they were able to dis- 
cover the position and strength of their hereditary foes. The 
next morning, after many of the Sioux braves had left their camp 
on hunting tours, the vindictive Sacs and Foxes crossed the river 
and suddenly attacked the camp. The conflict was desperate for a 
short time, but the advantage was with the assailants, and the 
Sioux were routed. Sixteen of them, including some of their 
Avomen and children, were killed, and a boy 14 years old was cap- 
tured. One of the Musquakas Avas shot in the breast by a squaw 
as they were rushing into the Sioux's camp. He started to run 
away, when the same brave squaw shot him through the body, at a 
distance of forty rods, and he fell dead. Three other Sac braves 
Avere killed. But few of the Sioux escaped. The victorious party 
hurriedly buried their OAvn dead, leaving the dead Sioux above 
ground, and made their way home, with their captive, with all 
possible expedition. 

pike's expedition. 

Very soon after the acquisition of Louisiana the United States 
Grovernment adopted measures for the exploration of the new ter- 
ritory, having in vieAv the conciliation of the numerous tribes of 
Indians by Avhom it was possessed, and, also, the .selection of 
proper sites for the establishment of military posts and trading 
stations. The Army of the West, Gen. James Wilkinson, com- 
manding, had its headquarters at St. Louis. From this post Cap- 
tains LeAvis and Clarke, with a suificient force, Avere detailed to ex- 
plore the unknown sources of the Missouri, and Lieut Zebulon M. 
Pike to ascend to the head Avaters of the Mississippi. Lieut. Pike, 
with one Sergeant, tAvo Corporals and seventeen privates, left the 
military camp, near St. Louis, in a keel-boat, with four month's 
rations, on the 9th dav of August, 1805. On the 20th of the 
same month, the expedition arrived Avithin the present limit of 
Towa, at the foot of the Des Moines Rapids, where Pike met Wil- 
liam EAving, Avho had just been appointed Indian agent at this 
point, a French interpreter and four chiefs and fifteen Sac and 
Fox warriors. 

At the head of the rapids, where Montrose is now situated. 
Pike held a council Avith the Indians, in which he addressed them 
substantially as foUoAvs: ''Your great Father, the President of 


the United States, wished to be more intimately acquainted with 
the situation and wants of the different nations of red people in 
our newly acquired territory of Louisiana, and has ordered the 
Oeneral to send a number of his warriors in different directiorfs to 
take them by the hand and make such inquiries as might afford the 
satisfaction required." At the close of the council he presented 
the red men with some knives, whisky and tobacco. 

Pursuing his way up the river, he arrived, on the 23d of August, 
.at what is supposed, from his description, to be the site of the pres- 
ent city of Burlington, which he selected as the location of a mili- 
tary post. He describes the place as being "on a hill, about forty 
.miles above the liiver de Moyne Rapids, on the west side of the river, 
in latitude about 41 degrees 21 minutes north. The channel of 
the river runs on that shore; the hill in front is about sixty feet 
perpendicular; nearly level on top; four hundred yards in the rear 
is a small prairie fit for gardening, and immediately under the hill 
is a limestone spring, sufficient for the consumption of a whole 
regiment." In addition to this description, which corresponds to 
Burlington, the spot is laid down on his map at a bend in the river 
a short distance below the mouth of the Henderson, which pours 
its waters into the Mississippi from Illinois. The fort was built at 
Fort Madison, but from the distance, latitude, description and map 
furnished by Pike, it could not have been the place selected by 
him, while all the circumstances corroborate the opinion that the 
place he selected was the spot w^iere Burlington is now located, 
called by the early voyagers on the Mississippi, "Flint Hills." 

On the 21:th, with one of his men, he went on shore on a hunt- 
ing expedition, and following a stream which they supposed to be 
a part of the Mississippi, they were led away from their course. 
Owing to the intense heat and tall grass, his two favorite dogs, 
which he had taken with him, became exhausted and he left them 
on the prairie, supposing that they would follow him as soon as 
they should get rested, and went on to overtake his boat. Reach- 
ing the river, he waited some time for his canine friends, but they 
did not come, and as he deemed it inexpedient to detain the boat 
longer, two of his men volunteered to go in pursuit of them, and 
he continued on his way up the river, expecting that the two men 
would soon overtake him. They lost their way, however, and for six 
days were without food, except a few morsels gathered from the 
stream, and might have perished had they not accidentally met a 
trader from St. Louis, who induced two Indians to take them 
up the river, and they overtook the boat at Dubuque. 

At Dubuque, Pike was cordially received by Julien Dubuque, a 
Frenchman, who held a mining claim under a grant from Spain. 
Dubuque had an old field piece and fired a salute in honor of the 
advent of the first Americans who had visited that part of the 
Territory. Dubuque, however, was not disposed to publish the 


•wealtli of his mines, and the young and apparently inquisitive 
.officer could obtain but little information from him. 

After leaving this place, Pike pursued his way up the river, but 
as he passed beyond the limits of the present State of Iowa, a 
■detailed history of his explorations on the upper water of the Mis- 
sissippi more properly belongs to the history of another State. 

It is sufficient to say that on the site of Fort Snelling, Minne- 
sota, at the mouth of the Minnesota River, Pike held a council 
with the Sioux, September 23, and obtained from them a grant of 
one hundred thousand acres of land. On the 8th of January, 1806, 
Pike arrived at a trading post belonging to the Northwest Com- 
pany, on Lake De Sable, in latitude 47 ° . At this time the then 
powerful Northwest Company carried on their immense opera- 
tions from Hudson's Bay to the St. Lawrence; up that river on 
both sides, along the Great Lakes to the head of Lake Superior, 
thence to the sources of the Red River of the North, and west to 
the Rocky Mountains, embracing within the scope of their opera- 
tions the entire Territory of Iowa. After successfully accom- 
plishing his mission, and performing a valuable service to Iowa 
and the whole Northwest, Pike returned to St. Louis, arriving 
there on the 30th of April, 180G. 


The territory of Iowa, although it had been purchased by the 
United States, and was ostensibly in the possession of the Gov- 
ernment, was still occupied by the Indians, who claimed title to 
the soil by right of ownership and possession. Before it could be 
open to settlement by the whites, it was indispensible that the 
Indian title should be extinguished, and the original owners re- 
moved. The accomplishment of this purpose required the expen- 
diture of large sums of money and blood, and for a long series of 
years the frontier was disturbed by Indian wars, terminated re- 
peatedly by treaty, only to be renewed by some act of oppres- 
sion on the part of the whites or some violation of treaty stipu- 

As previously shown, at the time when the United States as- 
sumed the control of the country by virtue of the Louisiana pur- 
chase, nearly the whole state was in possession of the Sacs and 
Foxes, a powerful and warlike nation, who were not disposed to 
submit without a struggle to what they considered the encroach- 
ments of the pale faces. 

Among the most noted chiefs, and one whose restlessness and 
hatred of the Americans occasioned more trouble to the Govern- 
ment than any others of his tribe, was Black Hawk, who was born 
at the Sac village, on Rock river, in 1767. He was simply the 
chief of his own band of Sac warriors, but by his energy and am- 
bition he became the leading spirit of the united nation of Sacs 
and Foxes, and one of the prominent figures in the history of the 


countrv from 1804 until his death. In earlv manhood he attained 
some distinction as a fighting chief, having led campaigns against 
the Osages and other neighboring tribes. About the beginning 
of the present century he began to appear prominent in affairs on 
the Mississippi. Some historians have added to the statement that 
"it does not appear that he was ever a great general, or possessed 
any of the qualifications of a successful leader." If this was so 
his life was a marvel. How any man who had none of the quali- 
fications of a leader became so prominent as such, as he did, indi- 
cates either that he had some ability, or that his cotemporaries, 
both Indian and Anglo-Saxon, had less than he. He is said to 
have been the ''victim of a narrow prejudice and bitter ill-will 
against the Americans" but the impartial historian must admit 
that if he was the enemy of the Americans, it was certainly not 
without some reason. 

It will be remembered that Spain did not give up possession of 
the country to France on its cession to the latter power, in 1801, 
but retained possession of it, and, by the authority of France, 
transferred it to the Uniced States, in 1804. Black Hawk and his 
band were in St. Louis at the time, and were invited to be present 
and witness the ceremonies of the transfer, but he refused the invi- 
tation, and it is but just to say that this refusal was caused proba- 
bly more from regret that the Indians were to be transferred from 
the jurisdiction of the Spanish authorities than from any special 
hatred toward the Americans. In his life he says: "I found many 
sad and gloomy faces because the United States were about to take 
possession of the town and country. Soon after the Americans 
came, I took my band and went to take leave of our Spanish father. 
The Americans came to see him also. Seeing them approach, we 
passed out of one door as they entered another, and immediately 
started in our canoes for our village, on Rock River, not liking 
the change any more than our friends appeared to at St. Louis. 
On arriving at our village, we gave the news that strange people 
had arrived at St. Louis, and that we should never see our 
Spanish father again. The information made all our people 

On the 3d day of November, 1804, a treaty was concluded be- 
tween William Henry Harrison, than Governor of Indiana Terri- 
tory, on behalf of the United States, and five chiefs of the Sac and 
Fox nation, by which the latter, in consideration of two thousand 
two hundred and thirty-four dollars' worth of goods then delivered, 
and a yearly annuity of one thousand dollars to be paid in goods at 
just cost, ceded to the United States all that land on the east side of 
the Mississippi, extending from a point opposite the Jefferson, in 
Missouri, to the Wisconsin River, embracing an area of over fifty- 
one millions of acres. 

To this treaty Black Hawk always objected and always refused 
to consider it binding upon his people. He asserted that the chiefs 


or braves who made it had no authority to relinquish the title of 
the nation to any of the lands they held or occupied; and, more- 
over, that they had been sent to St. Louis on quite a different er- 
rand, namely, to ojet one of their people released, who had been 
imprisoned at St. Louis for killing a white man. 

The year following this treaty (1805), Lieutenant Zebulon M. 
Pike came up the river for the purpose of holding friendly coun- 
cils with the Indians and selecting sites for forts within the ter- 
ritory recently acquired from France by the United States. Lieu- 
tentant Pike seems to have been the jfirst American whom Black 
Hawk ever met or had a personal interview with; and he was very 
much prepossessed in Pike's favor. He gives the following ac- 
count of his visit to Rock Island: 

"A boat came up the river with a young American chief and a 
small party of soldiers. We heard of them soon after they passed 
Salt River. Some of our young braves watched them every day, 
to see what sort of people he had on board. The boat at length 
arrived at Rock River, and the young chief came on shore with 
his interpreter, and made a speech and gave us some presents. We 
in turn presented them with meat and such other provisions as we 
had to spare. We were well pleased with the young chief. He 
gave us good advice, and said our American father would treat us 

The events which soon followed Pike's expedition were the 
erection of Fort Edwards, at what is now Warsaw, Illinois, and Fort 
Madison, on the site of the present town of that name, the latter 
being the first fort erected in Iowa. These movements occasioned 
great uneasiness among the Indians. When work was commenced 
on Fort Edwards, a delegation from their nation, headed by some 
of their chiefs, went down to see what the Americans were doing, 
and had an interview with the commander; after which they re- 
turned home apparently satisfied. In like manner, when Fort 
Madison was being erected, they sent down another delegation 
from a council of the nation held at Rock River. According to 
Black Hawk's account, the American chief told them that he was 
building a house for a trader who was coming to sell them goods 
cheap, and that the soldiers were coming to keep him company — 
a statement which Black Hawk says they distrusted at the time, 
believing that the fort was an encroachment upon their rights, and 
designed to aid in getting their lands away from them. 

It has been held by good American authorities, that the erection 
of Fort Madison at the point where it was located ivas a violation 
of the treaty of 1804. By the eleventh article of that treaty, the 
United States had a right to build a fort near the mouth of the 
Wisconsin River; by article six they had bound themselves "that 
if any citizen of the United States or any other white persons 
should form a settlement upon their lands, such intruders should 
forthwith be removed." Probably the authorities of the United 



States did not regard the establisliment of military posts ascomiuo; 
properly within the meaning of the term "settlement," as used in 
the treaty. At all events, they erected Fort Madison within the 
territory reserved to the Indians, who became very indignant. Not 
long after the fort was built, a party led by Black Hawk attempted 
its destruction. They sent spies to watch the movements of the 
garrison, who ascertained that the soldiers were in the habit of 
marching out of the fort every morning and evening for parade, 
and the plan of the party was to conceal themselves near the fort, 
and attack and surprise them when they were outside. On the 
morning of the proposed day of attack, five soldiers came put and 
were fired upon by the Indians, two of them being killed. The 
Indians were too hasty in their movement, for the regular drill had 
not yet commenced. However, they kept up the attack for sev- 
eral days, attempting the old Fox strategy of setting fire to the 
fort with blazing arrows; but finding their efforts unavailing they 
soon gave up and returned to Rock River. 

When war Avas declared between the United States and Great 
Britain, in 1812, Black Hawk and his band allied themselves with 
the British, .partly because he was dazzled by their specious prom- 
ises, and more probably because they had been deceived by the 
Americans. Black Hawk himself declared that they were "forced 
into the war by being deceived." He narrates the circumstances 
as follows: "Several of the chiefs and head men of the Sacs and 
Foxes were called upon to go to Washington to see their Great 
Father. On their return, they related what had been said and 
done. They said the Great Father wished them, in the event of a 
war taking place with England, not to interfere on either side, but 
to remain neutral. He did not want our help, but wished us to 
hunt and support our families, and live in peace. He said that 
British traders would not be permitted to come on the Mississippi 
to furnish us with goods, but that we should be supplied with an 
American trader. Our chiefs then told him that the British trad- 
ers always gave them credit in the fall for guns, powder and goods, 
to enable us to hunt and clothe our families. He repeated that 
the traders at Fort Madison would have plenty of goods; that we 
should go there in the fall and he would supply us on credit, as 
the British traders had done." 

Black Hawk seems to have accepted of this proposition, and he 
and his people were very much pleased. Acting in good faith, 
they fitted out for their winter's hunt, and went to Fort Madison 
in high spirits to receive from the trader their outfit of supplies. 
But, after waiting some time, they were told by the trader that 
he would not trust them. It was in vain they pleaded the promise 
of their Great Father at Washington. The trader was inexorable; 
and, disappointed and crestfallen, they turned sadly toward their 
own village. ''Few of us," says Black Hawk, "slept that night; 
all was gloom and discontent. In the morning a canoe was seen 


ascending the river; it soon arrived, bearing an express, who 
broiisrht intelliprence that a British trader had landed at Rock 
Island with two boats loaded with goods, and requested us to come 
up immediately, because he had good news for us, and a variety of 
presents. The express presented us with tobacco, pipes and wam- 
pum. The news ran through our camp like fire on a prairie. Our 
lodges were soon taken down, and all started for Rock Island. 
Here ended all hopes of our remaining at peace, having been 
forced into the war by being deceived." 

He joined the British, who flattered him, styled him "General 
Black Hawk," decked him with medals, excited his jealousies 
against the Americans, and armed his band; but he met with de- 
feat and disappointment, and soon abandoned the service and came 

With all his skill and courage. Black Hawk was unable to lead 
all the Sacs and Foxes into hostilities to the United States. A 
portion of them, at the head of whom was Keokuk ("the Watch- 
ful Fox""), were disposed to abide by the treaty of 1804, and to 
cultivate friendly relations with the American people. Therefore, 
when Black Hawk and his baud joined the fortunes of Great 
Britain, the rest of the nati">n remained neutral, and, for protec- 
tion, organized, with Keokuk for their chief. This divided the 
nation into the "War and Peace Party." 

Black Hawk says he was informed, after he had gone to the 
war, that the nation, which had been reduced to so small a body 
of fighting men, were unable to defend themselves in case the 
Americans should attack them, and having all the old men and 
women and children belonging to warriors who had joined the 
British on their hands to provide for, a council was held, and it 
was agreed that Quash-qua-me (the Lance) and other chiefs, to- 
gether with the old men, women and children, and such others a> 
chose to accompany them, should go to St. Louis, and place them- 
selves under the American chief stationed there. They according- 
ly went down, and were received as the "friendly band" of the 
Sacs and Foxes, and were provided for and sent up the Missouri 
River. On Black Hawk's return from the British army, he says 
Keokuk was introduced to him as the war chief of the braves then 
in the village. He inquired how he had become chief, and was 
informed that their spies had seen a large armed force going to- 
ward Peoria, and fears were entertained of an attack upon the vil- 
lage; whereupon a council was held, which concluded to leave the 
village and cross over to the west side of the Mississippi. Keokuk 
had been standing at the door of the lodge where the council was 
held, not being allowed to enter on account of never having killed 
an enemy, where he remained until Wa-co-me came out. Keokuk 
asked permission to speak in the council, which Wa-co-me ob- 
tained for him. Keokuk then addressed the chiefs; he remon- 
strated against the desertion of the village, their own homes and the 


graves of their father?, and offered to defend the village. The 
council consented that he should be their war chief. He mar- 
shaled his braves, sent out spies, and advanced on the trail leading 
to Peoria, but returned without seeing the enemy. The Ameri- 
cans did not disturb the village, and all were satisfied with the ap- 
pointment of Keokuk. 

Keokuk, like Black Hawk, was a descendant of the Sac branch 
of the nation, and was born on Rock River, in 1780. He was of 
a pacific disposition, hut possessed the elements of true courage, 
and could fight, when occasion required, with a cool judgment and 
heroic energy. In his first battle, he encountered and killed a 
Sioux, which placed him in the rank of warriors, and he was 
honored with a public feast by his tribe in commemoration of the 

Keokuk has been described as an orator, entitled to rank with 
the most gifted of his race. In person, he was tall and of portly 
bearing; in his public speeches he displayed a commanding atti- 
tude and graceful gestures; he spoke rapidly, but his enunciation 
was clear, distinct and forcible; he culled his figures from the 
stores of nature, and based his arguments on skillful logic. Un- 
fortunately for the reputation of Keokuk as an orator, among 
white people, he was never able to obtain an interpreter who could 
claim even a slight acquaintance with philosophy. With one ex- 
ception only, his interpreters were unacquainted with the elements 
of their mother-tongue. Of this serious hindrance to his fame, 
Keokuk was well aware, and retained Frank Labershure, who had 
received a rudimental education in the French and English 
languages, until the latter broke down by dississipation and died. 
But during the meridian of his career among the white people, he 
was compelled to submit his speeches for translation to uneducated 
men, whose range of thought fell below the flights of a gifted 
mind, and the fine imagery drawn from nature Avas beyond their 
power of reproduction. He had sufficient knowledge of the Eng- 
lish language to make him sensible of this bad rendering of his 
thought, and often a feeling of mortification at the bungling 
efforts was depicted on his countenance while speaking. The 
proper place to form a correct estimate of his ability as an orator 
was in the Indian council, where he addressed himself exclusively 
to those who understood his language, and witness the electrical 
effect of his eloquence upon his audience. 

Keokuk seems to have possessed a more sober judgment, and to 
have had a more intelligent view of the great strength and re- 
sources of the United States, than his noted and restless cotem- 
porar}'^, Black Hawk. He knew from the first that the reckless 
war which Black Hawk and his band had determined to carry on 
could result in nothing but defeat and disaster, and used every ar- 
gument against it. The large number of warriors whom he had 
dissuaded from following Black HaAvk became, however, greatly 


excited with the war spirit after Stillman's defeat, and but for the 
signal tact displayed by Keokuk on that occasion, would have 
forced him to submit to their wishes in joing the rest of the war- 
riors in the field. A war-dance was held, and Keokuk took part 
in it, seeming to be moved with the current of the rising storm. 
When the dance was over, he called the council to prepare for 
war. He made a speech, in which he admitted the justice of their 
complaints against the Americans. To seek redress was a noble 
aspiration of their nature. The blood of their brethren had been 
shed by the white man, and the spirits of their braves, slain in 
battle, called loudly for vengeance. ''I am your chief," he said, 
''and it is my duty to lead you to battle, if, after fully considering 
the matter, you are determined to go. But before you decide on 
taking this important step, it is wise to inquire into the chances 
of success." He then portrayed to them the great power of the 
United States, against whom they would have to contend, that 
their chances of success was utterly hopeless. "But," said he, 
"if you do determine to go upon the war-path, I will agree to 
lead you, on one condition, viz.: that before we go, Ave will kill 
all our old men and our wives and children, to save them from a 
lingering death of starvation, and that every one of us determine 
to leave our homes on the other side of the Mississippi." 

This was a strong but truthful picture of the prospect before 
them, and was presented in such a forcible light as to cool their 
ardor, and cause them to abandon the rash undertaking. 

But, during the war of 1832, it is now considered certain that 
small bands of Indians, from the west side of the Mississippi, 
made incursions into the white settlements, in the lead mining 
region, and committed some murders and depredations. 

When peace was declared between the United States and Eng- 
land, Black Hawk was required to make peace with the former, 
and entered into a treaty at Portage des Sioux, September 14, 
1815, but did not "touch the goose-quill to it until May 13, 1816, 
when he smoked the pipe of peace with the great white chief," at 
St. Louis. This treaty was a renewal of the treaty of 1801, but 
Black Hawk declared he had been deceived; that he did not know 
that by signing the treaty he was giving away his village. This 
weighed upon his mind, already soured by previous disappointment 
and the irresistible encroachments of the whites; and when a few 
years later, he and his people were driven from their possessions 
by the military, he determined to return to the home of his fathers. 

It is also to be remarked that in 1816, by treaty with various 
tribes, the United States, relinquished to the Indians all the lands 
lying north of a line drawn from the southermost point of Lake 
Michigan west to the Mississippi, except a reservation five leagues 
square, on the Mississippi River, supposed then to be sufficient to 
include all the mineral lands on and adjacent to Fever River, and 
one league square at the mouth of the Wisconsin River. 



The immediate cause of the Indian outbreak in lc30 was the 
occupation of Black Hawk's village, on the Rock River, by the 
whites, during the absence of the chief and his braves on a hunt- 
ing expedition, on the west side of the Mississippi. When they 
returned they found their wigwams occupied by white families, 
and their own women and children were shelterless on the banks 
of the river. The Indians were indignant, and determined to re- 
possess their village at all hazards, and early in the spring of 1831 
i-ecrossed the Mississippi and menacingly took possession of thei\; 
own cornfields and cabins. It may be well to remark here that it 
was expressly stipulated in the treaty of 1804, to which they at- 
tributed all their troubles, that the Indians should not be obliged 
to leave their lands until they were sold by the United States, and 
it does not appear that they occupied any lands other than those 
owned by the Government. If this was true, the Indians had good 
cause for indignation and complaint. But the whites, driven out 
in turn by the returning Indians, became so clamorous against 
what they termed the encroachments of the natives, that Gov. 
Reynolds, of lUincis, ordered Gen. Gaines to Rock Island with a 
military force to drive the Indians again from their homes to the 
west side of the Mississippi. Black Hawk says he did not intend 
to be provoked into war by anything less than the blood of some 
of his own people; in other words, that there would be no war 
unless it should be commenced by the pale faces. But it Wcis said 
and probably "thought by the military commanders along the fron- 
tier, that the Indians intended to unite in a general war against 
the whites, from Rock River to the Mexican borders. But it does 
not appear that the hardv frontiersmen themselves had any fears, 
for their experience had been that, when well treated, their Indian 
neighbors were not dangerous. Black Hawk and his band had done 
no more than to attempt to repossess the old homes of which they had 
been deprived in their absence. No blood had been shed. Black 
Hawk and his chiefs sent a flag of truce, and a new treaty was 
made, by which Black Hawk and his band agreed to remain for- 
ever on the Iowa side and never recross the river without the per- 
mission of the President or the Governor of Illinois. Whether 
the Indians clearly understood the terms of this treaty is uncer- 
tain. As was usual, the Indian traders had dictated terms on their 
behalf, and they had received a large amount of provisions, etc., 
from the Government, but it may well be doubted whether the 
Indians comprehended that they could never revisit the graves 
of their fathers without violating their treaty. They undoubtedly 
thought that they had agreed never to recross the Mississippi witli 
hostile intent. However this may be, on the Cth day of April, 
1832, Black Hawk and his entire band, with their women and chil- 
dren, again recrossed the Mississippi in plain view of the garrison 
of Fort Armstrong, and went up Rock River. Although this act 


was construed into an act of hostility by the military authorities, 
who declared that Black Hawk intended to recover his village, or 
the site where it stood, by force; yet it does not appear that he 
made any such attempt, nor did his appearance create any special 
alarm amon^ the settlers. They knew that the Indians never 
went on the war-path encumbered with the old men, their women 
and their children. 

The Galenian, printed in Galena, of May 2d, 1832, says that 
Black Hawk was invited by the Prophet and had taken possession 
of a tract about forty miles up Rock River; but that he did 
not remain there long, but commenced his search up Rock 
River. Captain W. B. Green, who served in Captain Stevenson's 
company of mounted rangers, says that "Black Hawk and his 
band crossed the river with no hostile intent, but that his band 
had had bad luck in hunting during the previous winter, were 
actually in a starving condition, and had come over to spend the 
summer with a friendly tribe on the head waters of the Rock and 
Illinois Rivers, by invitation from their chief." Other old settlers 
who all agree that Black Hawk had no idea of tighting, say that 
he came back to the west side expecting to negotiate another 
treaty, and get a new supply of provisions. The most reasonable 
explanation of this movement, which resulted so disastrouly to 
Black Hawk and his starving people, is that, during the fall and 
winter of 1831-32, his people became deeply indebted to their 
favorite trader at Fort Armstrong (Rock Island), they had not 
been fortunate in hunting, and he was likely to lose heavily, as 
an Indian debt was outlawed in one year. If, therefore, the In- 
dians could be induced to come over, and the fears of the military 
could be sufficiently aroused to pursue them, another treaty could 
be negotiated, and from the payments from the Government the 
shrewd trader could get his pay. Just a week after Black Hawk 
crossed the river, on the 13tli of April, 1832, George Davenport 
WTote to Gen. Atkinson: "I am informed that the British band 
of Sac Indians are determined to make war on the frontier settle- 
ments. * * * From every information that I have 
received, I am of the opinion that the intention of the British 
band of Sac Indians is to commit depredations on the inhabitants 
of the frontier." And yet, from the 6th day of April, until after 
Stillman's men commenced war by firing on the flag of truce from 
Black Hawk, no murders nor depredations were committed by the 
British band of Sac Indians. 

It is not the purpose of this sketch to detail the incidents of the 
Black Hawk war of 1832, as it pertains rather to the history of 
the State of Illinois. It is sufficient to say that, after the dis- 
graceful affair at Stillman's Run, Black Hawk, concluding that the 
whites, refusing to treat with him, were determined to extermi- 
nate his people, determined to return to the Iowa side of the Mis- 
sissippi. He could not return by the way he came, for the army 


was behind him, an army, too, that would sternly refuse to recog- 
nize the white flag of peace . His only course was to make his 
way northward and reach the Mississippi, if possible, before the 
troops could overtake him, and this he did; but, before he could get 
his women and children across the Wisconsin, he was overtaken, 
and a battle ensued. Here, again, he sued for peace, and, through 
his trusty Lieutenant, "the Prophet," the whites were plainly in- 
formed that the starving Indians did not wish to fight, but would 
return to the west side of the Mississippi, peaceably, if they could 
be permitted to do so. No attention was paid to this second effort 
to negotiate peace, and, as soon as supplies could be obtained, the 
pursuit was resumed, the flying Indians were overtaken again eight 
miles before they reached the mouth of the Bad Axe, and the 
slaughter (it should not be dignified by the name of battle) com- 
menced. Here, overcome by starvation and the victorious whites, 
his band was scattered, on the 2d day of August, 1832. Black 
Hawk escaped, but was brought into camp at Prairie du Chien by 
three Winnebagoes, He was confined in Jefferson Barracks until 
the spring of 1833, when he was sent to Washington, arriving 
there April 22, On the 26th of April they were taken to Fortress 
Monroe, where they remained till the 4th of June, 1833, when 
orders were given for them to be liberated and returned to their 
own country. By order of the President, he was brought back to 
Iowa through the principal Eastern cities. Crowds flocked to see 
him all along his route, and he was very much flattered by the 
attentions he received. He lived among his people on the Iowa 
River till that reservation was sold, in 1836, when, with the rest 
of the Sacs and Foxes, he removed to the Des Moines Reservation, 
where he remained till his death, which occurred on the 3d of 
October, 1838. 


At the close of the Black Hawk War, in 1882, a treaty was 
made, at a council held on the west bank of the Mississippi, where 
now stands the thriving city of Davenport, on grounds now occu- 
pied by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad company, 
on the 21st day of September, 1832. At this council, the United 
States were represented by Gen. Winfield Scott and Gov. Rey- 
nolds, of Illinois. Keokuk, Pash-a-pa-ho and some thirty other 
chiefs and warriors of the Sac and Fox nation were present. By 
I this treaty, the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States a strip 
of land on the eastern border of Iowa, fifty miles wide, from the 
northern boundary of Missouri to the mouth of the Upper Iowa 
River, containing about six million acres. The western line of the 
purchase was parallel with the Mississippi. In consideration of 
this cession, the United States Government stipulated to pay an- 
nually to the confederated tribe?, for thirty consecutive years, 
twenty thousand dollars in specie, and to pay the debts of the In- 


dians at Rock Island, which had been accumuhitiiig for seventeen 
years, and amounted to fifty thousand dolhirs, due to Davenport & 
Farnham, Indian traders. The Government also generously do- 
nated to the Sac and Fox women and children, whose husbands 
and fathers had fallen in the Black Hawk war, thirty-five beef 
cattle, twelve bushels of salt, thirty barrels of pork, fifty barrels 
of flour and six thousand bushels of corn. 

This territory is known as the "Black Hawk Purchase." Al- 
though it was not the first portion of Iowa ceded to the United 
States by the Sacs and Foxes, it was the first opened to actual 
settlement by the tide of emigration that flowed across the Mis- 
sissippi as soon as the Indian title was extinguished. The treaty 
was ratified February 13. 1833, and took effect on the 1st of June 
following, when the Indians quietly removed from the ceded ter- 
ritory, and this fertile and beautiful region was opened to white 

By the terms of the treaty, out of the Black Hawk Purchase 
was reserved for the Sacs and Foxes 400 square miles of land 
.situated on the Iowa River, and including within its limits Keo- 
kuk's village, on the right bank of that river. This tract was 
known as "Keokuk's Reserve," and was occupied by the Indians 
until 1836, when, by a treaty made in September between them 
and Gov. Dodge, of Wisconsin Territory, it was ceded to the 
United States. The council was held on the banks of the Mis- 
sissippi, above Davenport, and was the largest assemblage of the 
kind ever held by the Sacs and Foxes to treat for the sale of lands. 
About one thousand of their chiefs and braves were present, and 
Keokuk was their leading spirit and principal speaker on the occa- 
sion. By the terras of the treaty, the Sacs and Foxes w^ere re- 
moved to another reservation on the Des Moines River, where an 
agencv was established for them at what is now the town of 
Agency City. 

Besides the Keokuk Reserve, the Government gave out of the 
Black Hawk Purchase to Antoine Le Claire, interpreter, in fee 
simple, one section of land opposite Rock Island, and another at 
the head of the first rapids above the island, on the Iowa side. 
This was the first land title granted by the United States to an in- 
dividual in Iowa. 

Soon after the removal of the Sacs and Foxes to their new 
reservation on the Des Moines River, Gen. Joseph M. Street was 
transferred from the agency of the Winnebagoes, at Prairie du 
Chien, to establish an agency among them. A farm was selected, 
on which the necessary buildings were erected, including a com- 
fortable farm house for the agent and his family, at the expense of 
the Indian Fund. A salaried agent was employed to superintend 
the farm and dispose of the crops. Two mills were erected, one 
on Soap Creek, and the other on Sugar Creek. The latter was 
soon swept away by a flood, but the former remained and did good 


service for many years. Connected with the agency were Joseph 
Smart and John Goodell, interpreters. The latter was intrepre- 
ter for Hard Fish's band. Three of the Indian chiefs, Keokuk, 
Wapello and Appanoose, had each a large field improved, the two 
former on the right bank of the Des Moines, back from the river, 
in what is now ''Keokuk's Prairie," and the latter on the present 
site of the city of Ottumwa. Among the traders connected with 
the agency were the Messrs. Ewing, from Ohio, and Phelps & Co., 
from Illinois, and also Mr. J. P. Eddy, who established his post at 
what is now the site of Eddyville. 

The Indians at this agency became idle and listless in the 
absence of their natural and wonted excitements, and many of 
them plunged into dissipation. Keokuk himself became dissipated 
in the latter years of his life, and it has been reported that he died 
of delirium tremens after his removal with his tribe to Kansas. 

In May, 1843, most of the Indians were removed up the Des 
Moines River, above the temporary line of Red Rock, having ceded 
the remnant of their lands in Iowa to the United States on the 
21st of September, 1837, and on the 11th of October, 1842. By 
the terms of the latter treaty, they held possession of the "New 
Purchase" till the Autumn of 18-45, when the most of them were 
removed to their reservation in Kansas, the balance being removed 
in the Spring of 1846. 

1. Treaty with the Sioux.— 'Made July 19, 181o: ratified December 16, 18ir>. 
This treaty was made at Portage des Sioux, between the Sioux of Minnesota 
and Upper Iowa and the United States, by Wdh'am Clark and Ninian Edwards, 
Commissioners, and was merely a treaty of peace and friendship on the part of 
those Indians toward the United States at the close of the war of 1812. 

2. Treat!/ with the Sacs. — A similar treaty of peace was made at Portage 
des Sioux, between the United States and the Sacs, by William Clark, Ninian 
Edwards and Augiiste Choteau, on the 13th of September, 1815, and ratified at 
the same date as the above. In this, the treaty of 1804 was re-affirmed, and 
the Sacs here represented promised for themselves and their bands to keep en- 
tirely separate from the Sacs of Rock River, who, under Black Hawk, had 
joined the Britisli in the war just then closed. 

3. Treat!/ with the Foxes. — A separate treaty of peace was made with the Foxes 
at Portag-e ides Sioux, by the same Commission3rs, on 14th of September, 1815, 
and ratified the same as the above, wherein the Foxes re-affirmed the treaty at 
St. Louis, of November 3, 1804, and agreed to deliver up all their prisoners to 
the officer in command at Fort Clark, now Peoria, Illinois. 

4. Treati/ with the loioas. — A treaty of p^ace and mutual good will was 
made between the United States and the Iowa tribe of Indians, at Portage des 
Sioux, by the same Commissioners as above, on the 16th of Septemb?r, 1815, at 
the close of the war with Great Britain, and ratified at the same date as the 

5. Treat!/ with the Sacs at Rock Hirer. — Made at St. Louis on the 13th of 
May, 1816, between the United States and the Sacs of Rock River, by the Com- 
missioners, William Clark, Ninian Edwards and Auguste Choteau. and ratified 
December 30, 1816. In this treaty, that of 1804 was re-established and con- 
firmed by twenty-two chiefs an i head men of the Sacs of Rock River, and 
Black Hawk himself attached to it his signature, or, as he said, ''touched the 
goose quill. " 

6. Treat!/ of 1824. — On the 4ih of August, 1824. a treaty was made between 
the United States and the Sacs and Foxes, in the city of VV'^ashing^oii, by Wil- 


Ham Clark, Commissioner, wherein the Sac and Fox nation relinqnishetl their 
title to all lands in Missouri, and that portion of the southeast corner of Iowa 
known as the "Half-Breed Tract" was set otf and reserved for the use of the 
half-breeds of the Sacs and Foxes, they holding title in the same manner as In- 
dians. Ratified January 18, 1825. 

7. Treaty of August 19, 1825. — At this date a treaty was made by William 
Clark and Lewis Cass, at Prairie du Chien, between the United States and the 
Chippewas, Sacs and Foxes, Menonionees, Winnebagoes and a portion of the 
Ottawas and I'ottawatomies. In this treaty, in order to made peace between 
the contending tribes as to the limits ot their respective hunting grounds in 
Iowa, it was agreed that the United States Government should run a boundary 
line between the Sioux, on the north, and the Sacs and Foxes, on the south, i\» 
follows : 

Commencing at the mouth of the Upper Iowa River, on the west bank of the 
Mississippi, and ascending said Iowa River to its west fork; thence up the 
fork to its source; thence crossing the fork of Red Cedar River in a direct line 
to the second or upper fork of the Des Moines River; thence in a direct line to 
the lower fork of the Calumet River, and down that river to its junction with 
the Missouri River. 

8. Treaty of 1830— On the 15th of July, 1880, the confederate tribes of the 
Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States a strip of country lying south of the 
above line, twenty miles in width, and extending along the line aforesaid from 
the Mississippi to the Des Moines River. The Sioux also, whose possessions 
were north of the line, ceded to the Government, in the same treaty, a like 
strip on the north side of the boundary. Thus the United States, at the ratifi- 
cation of this treaty, Februaiy 24, 18ol, came into possession of a portion of 
Iowa forty miles wide, extending along the Clark and Cass line of 1825, fi"om 
the Mississippi to the Des Moines River. This territory was known as the 
"Neutral Ground," and the tribes on either side of the line were allowed to 
fish and hunt on it unmolested till it was made a Winnebago reservation, and 
the Winnebagoes were removed to it in 1841. 


9. Treaty with the Sacs and Foxes and other Tribes. — At the same time 
of the above treaty respecting the "Neutral Ground" (July 15, 1880), the Sacs 
and Foxes, Western Sioux, Uuiahas, lowas and Missouris ceded to the United 
States a portion of the western slope of Iowa, the boundaries of whkh were 
defined as follows: Beginning at the upper fork of the Des Moines River, and 
passing the sources of the Little Sioux and Floyd Rivers, to the fork of the first 
creek that tails into the Big Sioux, or Calumet, on the east side; thence down 
said creek and the Calumet Riv;r to the Missouri River; thence down said Mis- 
souri River to the Missouri State line above the Kansas; thence along said line 
to the northwest corner of said State; thence to the high lands between the 
waters tailing into the Missouri and Des Moines, passing to said high lands 
along the dividing ridge between the forks of the Grand River; thence along 
said high lands or ridge separating the waters of the Missouri from those of the 
Des Moines, to a point opposite the source of the Boyer River, and thence in a 
direct line to the upper tork of the Des Moines, the place of beginning. 

It was understood that the lands ceded and relinquished by this treaty were 
to be assigned and allotted, under the direction of the President of the United 
States, to the tribes then living thereon, or to such other tribes as the President 
might locate thereon, for hunting and other purposes. In consideration of three 
tracts of land ceded in this treaty, the United States agreed to pay to the Sacs 
three thousand dollars; to the Foxes, three thousand dollars; to the Sioux, two 
thousand dollars; to the Yankton and Santee bands of Sioux, three thousand 
dollars; to the Omahas, two thousand five hundred dollars; and to the Otoes 
and Missouris, two thousand five hundn d dollars— to be paid annually for ten 
successive years. In addition to these annuities, the Government agreed to fur- 
nish some of the tribes with blacksmiths and agricultural implements to the 
amount of two hundred dollars, at the expense of the United States, and to set 


apart three thousand dollars annually for the education of the children of these 
tribes. It does not appear that any fort was erected in this territory prior to 
the erection of Fort Atkinson on the Neutral Ground, in 1840-1. 

This treaty was made by William Clark, Superintendent of Indian affairs, 
and Col. Wiiloughby Morgan, of the United States First Infantry, and came 
into effect by proclamation, February 24, 1831. 

10. Treat if with the Winnehagoes. — Made at Fort Armstrong, Rock Island, 
September 15, 1882, by Gen. Winfield Scott and Hon. John Reynolds, Governor 
of Illinois. In this treaty the Winnebagoes ceded to the United States all their 
land lying on the east side of the Mississippi, and in part consideration therefor 
the United States granted to the Winnebagoes, to be held as other Indian lands 
are held, that portion of Iowa known as the Neutral Ground. The exchange of 
the two tra<:ts of country was to take place on or before the 1st day of June. 1833. 
In addition to the Neutral Ground, it was stipulated that the United States 
should give the Winnebagoes, beginning in September, 1833, and continuing for 
twenty-seven successive years, ten thousand dollars in specie, and establish a 
school among them, with a farm and garden, and provide other facilities for the 
education of their children, not to exceed in cost three thousand dollars a year, 
and to continue the same for twenty-seven successive years. Six agriculturists, 
twelve yoke of oxen and plows and other farming tools wei e to be supplied by 
the Government. 

11. Treaty of 1832 with the Sacs and Foxes. — Already mentioned as the 
Black Hawk purchase. 

12. Treat!/ of 1S36 with the Sacs and Foxes, ceding Keokuk's Reserve to 
the United States; for which the Government stipulated to pay thirty thousand 
dollars, and an annuity of ten thousand dollars for ten succe'^sive years, together 
with other sums and debts of the Indians to various pai-ties. 

18. Treat!/ of 1837.— On the 21st of October, 1837, a treaty was made at the 
city of Washington, between Carey A. Harris, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 
and the confederate tribes of Sacs and Foxes, ratified February 21, 1838, where- 
in another slice of the soil of Iowa was obtained, descnbed in the treaty as fol- 
lows : ' 'A tract of country containing 1.250,000 acres, lying west and adjoining 
the tract conveyed by them to the United States in the treaty of September 21, 
1832. It is understood that the points of termination for the present cession 
shall be the northern and southern points of said tract, as fixed by the survey 
made under the authority of the United States, and that a line shall be drawn 
between them so as to intersect a line extended westwardly from the angle of 
said tract nearly opposite to Rock Island, as laid down in the above survey, so 
far as may be necessary to include the numlicr of acres hereby ceded, which last 
mentioned line, it is estimated, will be about twenty-five miles." 

This piece of land was twenty-five miles wide in the middle, and ran off to a 
point at both ends, lying directly back of the Black Hawk Purchase, and of the 
the same length . 

14. Treat!/ of Eelinquifihment. — At the same date as the above treaty, in 
the city of Washington, Carey A. Harris, Commissioner, the Sacs and Foxes 
ceded to the United States all their right and interest in the country lying south 
of the boundary line between the Sacs and Foxes and Sioux, as described in the 
treaty of August 19, l.'^25, and between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, 
the United States paying for the same one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. 
The Indians also gave up all claims and interests under the treaties previouslj' 
made with them, for the satisfaction of which no appropriation had been made. 

15. Treaty of 1842. — The last treaty was made with the Sacs and Foxes 
October 11, 1842; ratified March 23, 1843. It was made at the Sac and Fox 
agency (Agency City), by John Chambers, Commissioner on behalf of the 
United States. In this treaty the Sac and Fox Indians "ceded to the United 
States all their lands west of the Mississippi to which they had any claim or 
title." By the terms of this treaty they were to be removed from the country 
at the expiration of three years, and all who remained after that were to move 
at their own expense. Part of them were removed to Kansas in the fall of 1845, 
and the rest the spring following. 



While the territory now embraced in the State of Iowa was un- 
der Spanish rule as a part of its province of Louisiana, certain 
claims to and grants of land were made by the Spanish authori- 
ties, with which, in addition to the extinguishment of Indian titles, 
the United States had to deal. It is proper that these should be 
briefly reviewed : 

Dubuque. — On the 22d day of September, 1788, Julien Dubuque, 
a Frenchman, from Prairie du Chien, obtained from the Foxes a 
cession or lease of lands on the Mississippi River for mining pur- 
poses, on the site of the present city of Dubuque. Lead had been 
discovered here eight years before, in 1780, by the wife of Peosta 
Fox, a warrior, and Dubuque's claim embraced nearly all the lead 
bearing lands in that vicinity. He immediately took possession of 
his claim and commenced mining, at the same time making a set- 
tlement. The place became known as the "Spanish Miners," or, 
more commonly, "Dubuque's Lead Mines." 

In 1796, Dubuque filed a petition with Baron de Carondelet, 
the Spanish Governor of Louisiana, asking that the tract ceded to 
him by the Indians might be granted to him by pacent from the 
Spanish Government. In this petition Dubuque rather indefin- 
itely set forth the boundaries of his claim as "about seven 
leagues along the Mississippi River, and three leagues in width 
from the river," intending to include, as is supposed, the river 
front between the Little Maquoketa and the Tete des Mertz Riv- 
ers, embracing more than twenty thousand acres. Carondelet 
granted the prayer of the petition, and the grant was subsequently 
confirmed by the Board of Land Commissioners of Louisiana. 

In October, 1804, Dubuque transferred* the larger part of his 
claim to Auguste Choteau, of St. Louis, and on the 17th of May, 
1805, he and Choteau jointly filed their claims with the Board of 
Commissioners. On the 20th of September, 1806, the Board de- 
cided in their favor, pronouncing the claim to be a regular Span- 
ish grant, made and completed prior to the 1st day of October, 
1800, only one member, J. B. C. Lucas, dissenting. 

Dubuque died March 24, 1810. The Indians, understanding that 
the claim of Dubuque under their former act of cession was only 
a permit to occupy the tract and work the mines during his life, 
and that at his death they reverted to them, took possession and 
continued mining operations, and were sustained by the military 
authority of the United States, notwithstanding the decision of 
the Commissioners. When the Black Hawk purchase was con- 
summated, the Dubuque claim thus held by the Indians w^as ab- 
sorbed by the United States, as the Sacs and Foxes made no reser- 
vation of it in the treaty of 1832. 

The heirs of Choteau, however, were not disposed to relinquish 
their claim without a struggle. Late in 1832, they employed an 


agent to look after their interests, and authorized him to lease the 
right to dig lead on the lands. The miners who commenced work 
under this agent were compelled by the military to abandon their 
operations, and one of the claimants went to Galena to institute 
legal proceedings, but found no court of competent jurisdiction, 
although he did bring an action for the recovery of a quantity of 
lead dug at Dubuque, for the purpose of testing the title. Being 
unable to identify the lead, however, he was non-suited. 

By act of Congress, approved July 2, 1830, the town of Dubuque 
was surveyed and platted. After lots had been sold and occupied 
by the purchasers, Henry Choteau brought an action of ejectment 
against Patrick Malony, who held land in Dubuque under a patent 
from the United States, for the recovery of seven undivided eighth 
parts of the Dubuque claim, as purchased by Auguste Choteau in 
1804. The case was tried in the District Court of the United 
States for the District of Iowa, and was decided adversely to the 
plaintiff. The case was carried to the Supreme Court of the United 
States on a writ of error, when it was heard at the December 
term, 1853, and the decision of the lower court was affirmed, the 
court holding that the permit from Carondelet was merely a lease, 
or permit to work the mines; that Dubuque asked, and the Gover- 
nor of Louisiana granted, nothing more than the "peaceable pos- 
session of certain lands obtained from the Indians; that Caron- 
dolet had no legal authority to make such a gfant as claimed, and 
that, even if he had, this was but an "inchoate and imperfect 

Girord. — In 1795, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Louisiana 
granted to Basil Girard five thousand eight hundred and sixty acres 
of land, in what is now Clayton County, known as the "Girard 
Tract." He occupied the land during the time that Iowa passed 
from Spain to France, aud from France to the United States, in 
consideration of which the Federal Government granted a patent 
of the same to Girard in his own right. His heirs i^old the whole 
tract to James H. Lockwood and Thomas P. Burnett, of Prairie du 
Chien, for three hundred dollars. 

Honori. — March 30, 1799, Zenon Trudeau, acting Lieutenant 
Governor of Upper Louisiana, granted to Louis Honori a tract of 
land on the site of the present town of Montrose, as follows: "It 
is permitted to Mr. Louis (Fresson) Honori, or Louis Honore Fes- 
son, to establish himself at the head of the rapids of the River Des 
Moines, and his establishment once formed, notice of it shall be 
given to the Governor General, in order to obtain for him a com- 
mission of a space sufficient to give value to such establishment, 
and at the same time to render it useful to the commerce of the 
peltries of this country, to watch the Indians and keep them in 
the fidelity which they owe to His Majesty." 

Honori took immediate possession of his claim, which he retained 
until 1805. While trading with the natives he became indebted 


to Joseph Kobedoux, who obtained an execution on wliich the 
property was so]d May 13, 1803, and was purchased by the cred- 
itor. In these proceedings the property was described as being 
''about six leagues above the River Des Moines." Robedoux died 
soon after he purchased the property. Auguste Choteau, his ex- 
ecutor, disposed of the Honori Tract to Thomas F. Reddeck, in 
April, 1805, up to which time Honori continued to occupy it. The 
grant, as made by the Spanish Government, was a league square, 
but only one mile square was confirmed by the United States. 
After the half-breeds sold their lands, in which the Honori grant 
was included, various claimants resorted to litigation in attempts 
to invalidate the title of the Reddeck heirs, but it was finally con- 
firmed by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States 
in 1839, and is the oldest legal title to any land in the State of 


Before any permament settlement had been made in the Terri- 
tory of Iowa, white adventurers, trappers and traders, many of 
whom were scattered along the Mississippi and its tributaries, as 
agents and employes of the American Fur Company, intermarried 
with the females of the Sac and Fox Indians, producing a race of 
half-breeds, whose number was never definitely ascertained. There 
were some respectable and excellent people among them, children 
of men of some refinement and education. For instance: Dr. 
Muir, a gentleman educated at Edinburgh, Scotland, a surgeon in 
the United States Army, stationed at a military post located on 
the present site of Warsaw, married an Indian woman and reared 
his family of three daughters in the city of Keokuk. Other ex- 
amples might be cited, but they are probably exceptions to the 
general rule, and the race is now nearly or quite extinct in 

A treaty was made at Washington, August 4. 1824, between the 
Sacs and Foxes and the United States, by which that portion of 
Lee County was reserved to the half-breeds of those tribes, and 
which was afterwards known as "The Half-Breed Tract." This 
reservation is the triangular piece of land, containing about 119,- 
000 acres, lying between the Mississippi and Des Moines Rivers. 
It is bounded on the north by the prolongation of the northern 
line of Missouri, This line was intended to be a straight one, 
running due east, which would have caused it to strike the Miss- 
issipppi River at or below Montrose; but the surveyor who ran it 
took no notice of the change of the variation of the needle as he 
proceeded eastward, and, in consequence, the line he run was bent, 
deviating more and more to the northward of a direct line as he 
approached the Mississippi, so that it struck that river at the lower 
edge of the town of Fort Madison. "This erroneous line," says 
Judge Mason, "has been acquiesced in as well in fixing the north- 


ern limit of the Hal£-Breed Tract as in determining the northern 
boundary line of the State of Missouri." The line thus run in- 
cluded in the reservation a portion of the lower part of the city of 
Fort Madison, and all of the present townships of Van Buren, 
Charleston, Jefferson, Des Moines, Montrose and Jackson. 

Under the treaty of 1824, the half-breeds had the right to oc- 
cupy the soil, but could not convey it, the reversion being reserved 
to the United States. But on the 30th day of Januarv, 1834, by 
act of Congress, this reversionary right was relinquished, and the 
half-breeds acquired the lands in fee simple. This was no sooner 
done than a horde of speculators rushed into buy land of the half- 
breed owners, and, in many instances, a gun, a blanket, a pony or 
a few quarts of whisky was sufficient for the purchase of large 
estates. There was a deal of sharp practice on both sides; Indians 
would often claim ownership of land by virtue of being half-breeds, 
and had no difficulty in proving their mixed blood by the Indians, 
and they would then cheat the speculators by selling land to which 
they had no rightful title. On the other hand, speculators often 
claimed land in which they had no ownership. It was diamond 
cut diamond, until at last things became badly mixed. There was 
no authorized surveys and no boundary lines to claims, and, as a 
natural result, numerous conflicts and quarrels ensued. 

To settle these difficulties, to decide the validity of claims or sell 
them for the benefit of the real owners, by act of the Legislature 
of Wisconsin Territory, approved January 16, 1838, Edward John- 
stone, Thomas S. Wilson and David Brigham were appointed 
Commissioners, and clothed with power to effect these objects. 
The act provided that these Commissioners should be paid six dol- 
lars a day each. The commission entered upon its duties and con- 
tinued until the next session of the Legislature, when the act cre- 
ating it was repealed, invalidating all that had been done and de- 
priving the Commissioners of their pay. The repealing act, how- 
ever, authorized the Commissioners to commence action against 
the owners of the Half-Breed Tract, to receive pay for their ser- 
vices, in the District Court of Lee County. Two judgments were 
obtained, and on execution the whole of the tract was sold to Hugh 
T. Reid, the Sheriff executing the deed. Mr. Reid sold portions of 
it to various parties, but his own title was questioned, and he be- 
came involved in litigation. Decisions in favor of Reed and those 
holding under him were made by both District and Supreme 
Courts; but in December, 1850, these decisions were finally reversed 
by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Joseph 
Webster, plaintiff in error, vs. Hugh T. Reid, and the judgment 
titles failed. About nine years before the "judgment titles" were 
finally abrogated as above, another class of titles were brought 
intp competition with them, and in the conflict between the two, 
the final decision was obtained. These were the titles based on 
the "decree of partition" issued by the United States District 


Court for the Territory of Iowa, on the 8th of May, 1841, and 
certified to by the Clerk on the 2d day of June of that year. Ed- 
ward Johnstone and Hugh T. Reid, then law partners at Fort 
Madison, filed the petition for the decree in behalf of the St. Louis 
claimants of half-breed lands. Francis S. Key, author of the Star 
Spangled Banner, who was then attorney for the New York Land 
Company, which held heavy interest in these lands, took a leading 
part in the measure, and drew up the document in which it was 
presented to the court. Judge Charles Mason, of Burlington, pre- 
sided. The plan of partition divided the tract into one hundred 
and one shares, and arranged that each claimant should draw his 
proportion by lot, and should abide the result, whatever it might 
be. The arrangement was entered into, the lots drawn, and the 
plat of the same filed in the Recorders office, October 6, 1841. 
Upon this basis the titles to land in the Half-Breed Tract are now 


The first permament settlement by the whites within the limits 
of Iowa was made by Julien Dubuque, in 1788, when, with a small 
party of miners, he settled on the site of the city that now bears 
his name, where he lived until his death, in 1810. Louis Honori 
settled on the site of the present town of Montrose, probably in 
1799, and resided there until 1805, when his property passed into 
other hands. Of the Girard settlement, opposite Prairie du Chien, 
little is known, except that it was occupied by some parties prior 
to the commencement of the present century, and contained three 
cabins in 1805. Indian traders, although not strictly to be con- 
sidered settlers, had established themselves at various points at an 
an early date. A Mr. Johnson, Agent of the American Fur Com- 
pany, had a trading post below Burlington, where he carried on 
traffic with the Indians some time before the United States pos- 
sessed the country. In 1820, Le Moliese, a French trader, had a 
station at what is now Sandusky six miles above Keokuk, in Lee 
County. In 1829, Dr. Isaac Gallaud made a settlement on the 
Lower Rapids, at what is now Nashville. 

The first settlement in Lee county was made in 1820, by Dr. 
Samuel C. Muir, a surgeon in the United States army, who had 
been stationed at Fort Edwards, now Warsaw, 111., and who built 
a cabin where the city of Keokuk now stands. 

Messrs. Reynolds & Culver, who had leased Dr. Muir's claim at 
Keokuk, subsequently employed as their agent Mr. Moses Still- 
well, who arrived with his family in 1828, and took possession of 
Muir's cabin. His brothers-in-law, Amos and Valencourt Van 
Ausdal came with him and settled near. 

His daughter, Margaret Stillwell (afterward Mrs. Ford), was 
born in 1831, at the foot of the rapids, called by the Indians Puch- 
a-she-tuck, where Keokuk now stands. She was probably the first 
white American child born in Iowa. 


In 1831, Mr. Johnson, agent of the American Fur Company, 
who had a station at the foot of the rapids, removed to another lo- 
cation, and Dr. Muir having returned from Galena, he and Isaac 
R. Campbell took the place and buildings vacated by the Company, 
and carried on trade with the Indians and half-breeds. Campbell, 
who had first visited and traveled through the southern part of 
Iowa, in 1821, was an enterprising settler, and besides trading with 
the natives, carried on a farm and kept a tavern. 

Dr. Muir died of cholera in 1832. 

In 1830, James L. and Lucius H. Langwortliy, brothers and na- 
tives of Vermont, visited the Territory for the purpose of working 
the lead mines at Dubuque. They had been engaged in lead min- 
ing at Galena, Illinois, the former as early as 1824. The lead 
mines in the Dubuque region were an object of great interest to 
the miners about Galena, lor they were known to be rich in lead 
ore. To explore these mines and to obtain permission to work 
them was therefore eminently desirable. 

In 1829, James L. Langworthy resolved to visit the Dubuque 
mines. Crossing the Mississippi at a point now known as Dun- 
leith in a canoe, and swimming his horse by his side, he landed on 
the spot now known as Jones Street Levee. Before him spread 
out a beautiful prairie, on which the city of Dubuque now stands. 
Two miles south, at the mouth of Catfish Creek, was a village of 
Sacs and Foxes. Thither Mr. Langworthy proceeded, and was 
well received by the natives. He endeavored to obtain permission 
from them to mine in their hills, but this they refused. He, how- 
ever, succeeded in gaining the confidence of the chief to such an 
extent as to be allowed to travel in the interior for three weeks and 
explore the country. He employed two young Indians as guides, 
and traversed in different directions the whole region lying between 
the Maquoketa and Turkey Rivers. He returned to the village, 
secured the good will of the Indians, and returning to Galena, 
formed plans for future operations, to be executed as soon as cir- 
cumstances would permit. 

In 1830, with his brother, Lucius H., and others, having ob- 
tained the consent of the Indians, Mr. Langworthy crossed the 
Mississippi and commenced mining in the vicinity around Du- 

At this time, the lands were not in the actual possession of the 
United States. Although they had been purchased from France, 
the Indian title had not been extinguished, and these adventurous 
persons were beyond the limits of any State or Territorial govern- 
ment. The first settlers were therefore obliged to be their own 
law-makers, and to agree to such regulations as the exigencies of 
the case demanded. The first act resembling civil legislation 
within the limits of the present State of Iowa was done hy the 
miners at this point, in June, 1830. They met on the bank of the 
river, by the side of an old cottonwood drift log, at what is now 


the Joues Street Levee, Dubuque, and elected a committee, con- 
sisting of J. L. Langworthy, H. F. Lander, James McPhetres, 
Samuel Scales, and E. M. Wren. This may be called the first 
Legislature in Iowa, the members of which gathered around that 
old Cottonwood log, and agreed to and reported the following, 
written by Mr. Langworthy, on a half-sheet of coarse, unruled paper, 
the old log being the writing desk: 

We, a Comtnitte!^, having been chosen to tbaft certain rales and regulations 
(laws) by which we, as minors, will be governed, and having duly considered 
the subject, do unanimously agree that we will be governed by the regula- 
tions on t!i^ cast side ot the Mississippi River,* wdth the following exceptions, 
to wit: 

Article I. That each and every man shall hold 200 yards square of ground 
by working said ground one day in six. 

Article II. We further agree tliat there shall be chosen, by the majority 
of the miners present, a person who shall hold this article, and who shall grant 
lettei-s of arbitration on application having been made, and that said letters of 
arbitration shall ba obligatory on the parties so applying. 

The report was accepted by the miners present, who elected Dr. 
Jarote, in accordance with Article 2. Here, then, we have in 1830, 
a primitive Legislature elected by the people, the law drafted by it 
being submitted to the people for approval, and under it Dr. Jarote 
was elected first Grovernor within the limits of the present State of 
Iowa. And it is to be said that the laws thus enacted were 
as promptly obeyed, and the acts of the executive ofiicer thus 
elected as duly respected, as any have been since. 

The miners who had thus erected an independent government 
of their own on the west side of the Mississippi River, continued 
to work successfully for a long time, and the new settlement at- 
tracted considerable attention. But the west side of the Mississ- 
ippi belonged to the Sac and Fox Indians, and the Government in 
order to preserve peace on the frontier, as well as to protect the 
Indians in their rights under the treaty, ordered the settlers not 
only to stop mining, but to remove from the Indian territory. 
They were simply intruders. The execution of this order was en- 
trusted to Col. Zachary Taylor, then in command of the military 
post at Prairie du Chien, who, early in July, sent an ofiicer to the 
miners with orders to forbid settlement, and to command the 
miners to remove within ten days to the east side of the Missis- 
sippi, or they would be driven off by armed force. The miners, 
however; were reluctant about leaving the rich '' leads" they had 
already discovered and opened, and were not disposed to obey the 
order to remove with any considerable degree of alacrity. In due 
time, Col. Taylor dispatched a detachment of troops to enforce his 
order. The miners, anticipating their arrival, had, excepting 
three, recrossed the river, and from the east bank saw the troops 
land on the western shore. The three who had linjjrered a little 


"Established by the Superintendent of U. S. Lead Mines at Fever River. 


too loug were, however, permitted to make their escape unmolest- 
ed. From this time a military force was stationed at Dubuque to 
prevent the settlers from returning, until June, 1832. The In- 
dians returned, and were encouraged to operate the rich mines 
opened by the late white occupants. 

In June 1832, the troops were ordered to the east side to assist 
in the annihilation of the very Indians whose rights they had been 
protecting on the west side. Immediately after the close of the 
Black Hawk war, and the negotiations of the treaty in September, 
1832, by which the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States the 
tract known as the "Black Hawk Purchase," the settlers, suppos- 
ing that now they had a right to re-enter the Territory, returned 
and took possession of their claims, built cabins, erected furnaces, 
and prepared large quantities of lead for market. Dubuque was 
becoming a noted place on the river, but the prospects of the hardy 
and enterprising settlers and miners were again ruthlessly inter- 
fered with by the government, on the ground that the treaty with 
the Indians would not go into force until June 1, 1833, although 
they had withdrawn from the vicinity of the settlement. Col. 
Taylor was again ordered by the War Department to remove the 
miners, and in January, 1833, troops were again sent frorn Prairie 
du Chien to Dubuque for that purpose. This was a serious and 
perhaps unnecessary hardship imposed upon the settlers. They 
Avere compelled to abandon their cabins and homes in midwinter. 
It must be now said, simply that "red tape*' should be respected. 
The purchase had been made, the treaty ratified, or was sure to be; 
the Indians had retired, and, after the lapse of nearly fifty years, 
no very satisfactory reason for this rigorous action of the Govern- 
ment can be given. 

But the orders had been given, and there was no alternative but 
to obey. Many of the settlers recrossed the river and did not re- 
turn; a few, however, removed to an island near the east bank of 
the river, built rude cabins of poles, in which to store their lead 
until spring, when they could iloat the fruits of their labor to St. 
Louis for sale, and where they could remain until the treaty went 
into force, when they could return. Among these were James L. 
Lan gworthy, and his brother Lucius, who had on hand about three 
hundred thousand pounds of lead. 

Lieut. Covington, who had been placed in command at Dubuque 
by Col. Taylor, ordered some of the cabins of the settlers to be 
torn down, and wagons and other property to be destroyed. This 
wanton and inexcusable action on the part of a subordinate clothed 
with a little brief authority was sternly rebuked by Col. Taylor, 
and Covington was superseded by Lieut. Geo. Wilson, who pursued 
a just and friendly course with the pioneers, who were only waiting 
for the time when they could repossess their claims. 

June 1, 1833, the treaty formally went into effect, the troops 
were withdrawn, and the Langworthy brothers and a few others at 


once returned and resumed possession o£ their home claims and 
mineral prospects, and from this time the first permament settle- 
ment of this portion of Iowa must date. Mr. John P. Sheldon 
was appointed Superintendent of the mines by the Government, 
and a system of permits to miners and licenses to smelters was 
adopted, similar to that which had been in operation at Galena, 
since 1825, under Lieut. Martin Thomas and Capt. Thomas C. Le- 
gate. Substantially the primitive law enacted by the miners as- 
sembled around that old cottonwood drift log in 1830 was adopted 
and enforced by the United States Government, except that miners 
were required to sell their mineral to licensed smelters, and the 
smelter was required to give bonds for the payment of six per 
cent, of all lead manufactured to the Government. This was 
the same rule adopted in' the United States mines on Fever River 
in Illinois, except that, until 1830, the Illinois miners were com- 
pelled to pay ten per cent tax. This tax upon the miners created 
much dissatisfaction among the miners on the west side as it had 
on the east side of the Mississippi. They thought they had suf- 
fered hardships and privations enough in opening the way for 
civilization without being subjected to the imposition of an odious 
government tax upon their means of subsistence, when the Fed- 
eral Government could better afford to aid than to extort from 
them. The measure soon became unpopular. It was difficult to 
collect the taxes, and the whole system was abolished in about ten 

During 1883, after the Indian title was fully extinguished, about 
five hundred people arrived at the mining district, about one hun- 
dred and fifty of them from Galena. 

In the same year Mr. Langworthy assisted in building the first 
school house in Iowa, and thus was formed the nucleus of the now 
populous and thrivii^ city of Dubuque. Mr. Langworthy lived to 
see the naked prairie on which he first landed become the site of a 
city of fifteen thousand inhabitants, Ihe small school house which 
he aided in constructing replaced b}' three substantial edifices, 
wherein two thousand children were being trained, churches 
erected in every part of the city, and railroads connecting the 
wilderness which he first explored with all the eastern world. He 
died suddenly on the 13th of March, 1865, while on atrip over the 
Dubuque & Southwestern Railroad, at Monticello, and the evening 
train brougkt news of his death and his remains. 

Lucius H. Langworthy, his brother, was one of the most worthy, 
gifted and influential of the old settlers of this section of Iowa. 
He died, greatly lamented by many friends, in June, 1865. 

The name Dubuque was given to the settlement by miners at a 
meeting held in 1834. 

In 1832, Captain James "White made a claim on the present site 
of Montrose. In 1834 a military post was established at this point 



and a garrison of cavalry was stationed here, under the command 
of Col. Stephen W. Kearney. The soldiers were removed from 
this post to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1837. 

During the same year, 1832, soon after the close of the Black 
Hawk war, Zachariah Hawkins, Benjamin Jennings, Aaron 
White, Augustine Horton, Samuel Gooch, Daniel Thompson and 
Peter Williams made claims at Fort Madison. In 1833, these 
claims were purchased by John and Nathaniel Knapp, upon which, 
in 1835, they laid out the town. The next summer, lots were 
sold. The town was subsequently re-surveyed and platted by the 
United States Government. 

At the close of the Black Hawk War, parties who had been im- 
patiently looking across upon "Flint Hills," now Burlington, came 
over from Illinois and made claims. The first was Samuel S. 
White, in the fall of 1832, who erected a cabin on the site of the 
city of Burlington. About the same time, David Tothero made 
a claim on the prairie about three miles back from from the river, 
at a place since known as the farm of Judge Morgan. In the 
winter of that year, they were driven off by the military from 
Rock Island, as intruders upon the rights of the Indians, and 
White's cabin was burnt by the soldiers. He retired to Illinois, 
where he spent the winter, and in the summer, as soon as the In- 
dian title was extinguished, returned and rebuilt his cabin. 
White was joined by his brother-in-law, Doolitle, and they laid out 
the original town of Burlington, in 1834. 

All along the river borders of the Black Hawk Purchase settlers 
were flocking into Iowa. Immediately after the treaty with the 
Sacs and Foxes, in September, 1832, Col. George Davenport made 
the first claim on the spot where the thriving city of Davenport 
now stands. As early as 1827, Col. Davenport had established a 
flatboat ferry, which ran between the island and the main shore of 
Iowa, by which he carried on a trade with the Indians west of the 
Mississippi. In 1833, Capt. Benjamin W. Clark moved across from 
Illinois, and laid the foundation of the town of Buffalo, in Scott 
county, which was the first actual settlement within the limits of 
that county. Among other early settlers in this part of the Ter- 
ritory were Adrian H. Davenport, Col. John Sullivan, Mulligan 
and Franklin Easly, Capt. John Coleman, J. M. Camp, William 
White, H. W. Higgins, Cornelius Harrold, Kichard Harrison, E. 
H. Shepherd and Dr. E. S. Barrows. 

The first settlers of Davenport were Antoine LeClaire, Col. 
George Davenport, Major Thomas Smith, Major William Gordon, 
Philip Hambaugh, Alexander W. McGregor, Levi. S. Colton, Capt. 
James May and others. Of Antoine LeClaire, as the representa- 
tive of the two races of men who, at this time occupied Iowa, Hon. 
C. C. Nourse, in his admirable Centennial address, says: "Antoine 
LeClaire wixs born in St. Joseph, Michigan. 1797. His father 
was French, his mother a granddaughter of a Pottawattamie chief. 


In 1818 he acted as official interpreter to Col. Davenport, at Fort 
Armstrong (now Rock Island). He was well acquainted with a 
dozen Indian dialects, and was a man of strict integrity and great 
energy. In 1820 he married the granddaughter of a Sac chief. 
The Sac and Fox Indians reserved for him and his wife two sec- 
tions of land in the treaty of 1833, one at the town of LeClaire 
and one at Davenport, The Pottawattamies, in the treaty at 
Prairie du Chien, also reserved for him two sections of land, at the 
present site of Moline, 111. He received the appointment of Post- 
master and Justice of the Peace in the Black Hawk Purchase, at 
an early day. In 1833 he bought for $100 a claim on the land 
upon which the original town of Davenport was surveyed and 
platted in 1836. In 1836 LeClaire built the hotel, known since, 
with its valuable addition, as the LeClaire House. He died Sep- 
tember 25, 1861." 

In Clayton county the first settlement was made in the Spring of 
1832, on 'Turkey River, by Robert Hatfield and William W. Way- 
man. No further settlements were made in this part of the State 
till the beginning of 1836. 

In that portion now known as Muscatine county, settlements 
were made in 1834, by Benjamin Nye, John Vanater and Gr. W. 
Kasey, who were the first settlers. E. E. Fay. William St. John, 
N. FuUington, H. Reece, Jona. Pettibone, R. P. Lowe, Stephen 
Whicher, Abijah Whiting, J. E. Fletcher, W. D. Abernethy and 
Alexis Smith were early settlers of Muscatine. 

During the summer of 1835, William Bennett and his family, 
from Galena, built the first cabin within the present limits of 
Delaware county, in some timber since known as Eads' Grove. 

The first postoffice in Iowa was established at Dubuque in 1833. 
Milo H. Prentice was appointed postmaster. 

The first Justice of the Peace was Antoine LeClaire, appointed 
in 1833, as "a very suitable person to adjust the difficulties be- 
tween the white settlers and the Indians still remaining there." 

The first Methodist Society in the Territory was formed at Du- 
buque on the 18th of May, 1831, and the first class meeting was 
held June 1st of that year. 

The first church bell brought into Iowa was in March, 1834. 

The first mass of the Roman Catholic Church in the Territory 
was celebrated at Dubuque, in the house of Patrick Quigley, in 
the fall of 1833. 

The first school-house in the Territory was erected by the Du- 
buque miners in 1833. 

The first Sabbath school was organized at Dubuque early in the 
Summer of 1834. 

The first woman who came to this part of the Territory with a 
view to permanent residence, was Mrs. Noble F. Dean, in the Fall 
of 1832. 


The first faaiily that lived in this part of Iowa was that of 
Hosea T. Camp, in 1832. 

The first meeting house was built by the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, at Dubuque, in 1834. 

The first newspaper in Iowa was the Dubuque Visitor, issued 
May 11th, 1836. John King, afterward Judge King, was editor, 
and William C. Jones, printer. 

The pioneers of lowa^ as a class, where brave, hardy, intelligent 
and enterprising people. 

As early as 1824, a French trader named Hart had established a 
trading post, and built a cabin on the bluffs above the large spring 
now known as ''Mynster Spring," within the limits of the pres- 
ent city of Council Bluffs, and had probably been there some time, 
as the post was known to the employes of the American Fur 
Company as Lacote de Hart, or ''Hart's BlufP." In 1827 an 
agent of the American Fur Company, Francis Guittar, with others, 
encamped in the timber at the foot of the bluffs, about on the 
present location of Broadway, and afterward settled there. In 
1839 a block house was built on the bluff in the east part of the 
city. The Pottawattamie Indians occupied this part of the State 
until 1846-7, when they relinquished the territory and removed to 
Kansas. Billy Caldwell was then principal chief. There were no 
white settlers in that part of the State, except Indian traders, 
until the arrival of the Mormons under the lead of Brigham 
Young. These people, on their way westward, halted for the 
Winter of 1846-7 on the west bank of the Missouri River, about 
five miles above Omaha, at a place now called Florence. Some of 
them had reaohed the eastern bank of the river the Spring before, 
in season to plant a crop. In the Spring of 1847, Young and a 
portion of the colony pursued their journey to Salt Lake, but a 
large portion of them returned to the Iowa side and settled mainly 
within the limits of Pottawattamie County. The principal settle- 
ment of this strange community was at a place called "Miller's 
Hollow," on Indian Creek, and afterward named Kanesville, in 
honor of Col. Kane, of Pennsylvania, who visited them soon after- 
ward. The Mormon settlement extended over the county and into 
neighboring counties, wherever timber and water furnished 
desirable locations. Orson Hyde, priest, lawyer and editor, was 
installed as President of the Quorum of Twelve, and all that part 
of the State remained under Mormon control for several years. 
In 1846, they raised a battalion, numbering some five hundred 
men, for the Mexican war. In 1848 Hyde started a paper called 
the Frontier Guardian, at Kanesville. In 1849, after many of 
the faithful had left to join Brigham Young at Salt Lake, the 
Mormons in this section of Iowa numbered 6,552, and in 1850, 
7,828, but they were not all Avithin the limits of Pottawattamie 
County, This county was organized in 1848, all the first officials 


being Mormons. In 1852 the order was promulgated that all the 
true believers should gather together at Salt Lake. Gentiles 
flocked in, and in a lew years nearly all the settlers were gone. 

May 9, 1843, Captain James Allen, with a small detachment of 
troops on board the steamer lone, arrived at the present site of the 
capital of the State, Des Moines. The lone was the first steamer 
to ascend the Des Moines River to this point. The troops and 
stores were landed at what is now the foot of Court avenue, Des 
Moines, and Capt. Allen returned in the steamer to Fort Sanford 
to arrange for bringing up more soldiers and supplies. In due 
time, they, too, arrived, and a fort was built near the mouth of 
Raccoon F'ork, at its confluence with the Des Moines, and named 
Fort Des Moines. Soon after the arrival of the troops, a trading 
post was established on the east side of the river, by two noted 
Indian traders named Ewing, from Ohio. 

Among the first settlers in this part of Iowa were Benjamin 
Bryant, J. B. Scott, James Drake (gunsmith), John Sturtevant, 
Robert Kinzie, Alexander Turner, Peter Newcomer, and others. 

The Western States have been settled by many of the best and 
most enterprising men of the older States, and a large immigra- 
tion of the best blood of the Old World^ who, removing to an 
arena of larger opportunies, in a more fertile soil and congenial 
climate, have developed a spirit and energy peculiarly Western, 
In no country on the globe have enterprises of all kinds been 
pushed forward with such rapidity, or has there been such indepen- 
dence and freedom of competition. Among those who have pio- 
neered the civilization of the West, and been the founders of great 
States, none have ranked higher in the scale of intelligence and 
moral worth than the pioneers of Iowa, who came to the territory 
when it was an Indian country, and through hardship, privation 
and safFering, laid the foundation of the populous and prosperous 
commonwealth which to-day dispenses its blessings to a million 
and a half of people. From her first settlement and from the 
first organization as a territory to the present day, Iowa has had 
able men to manage her affairs, wise statemen to shape her destiny 
and frame her laws, and intelligent and impartial jurists to admin- 
ister justice to her citizens; her bar, pulpit and press have been 
able and widely influential; and in all the professions, arts, enter- 
prises and industries which go to make up a great and prosperous 
commonwealth, she has taken and holds a front rank among her 
sister States of the West. 


By act of Congress, approved October 31, 1803, the President of 
the United States was authorized to take possession of the terri- 
tory included in the Lousiana purchase, and provided for a tem- 
porary government. By another act of the same session, approved 
March 26, 1804, the neAvly acquired country was divided, October 


1st, 1804, iuto tlie territory of Orleans, south of the thirtj-third 
parallel of north latitude, and the district of Louisiana, which lat- 
ter was placed under the authority of the officers of Indian Territory. 

In 1802 the district of Louisiana was organized as a Territory, 
with a government of its own. In 1807 Iowa was included in the 
Territory of Illinois, and in 1812 in the Territory of Missouri. 
When Missouri Avas admitted as a State, March 2, 1821, "Iowa," 
says Hon. C. C. Nourse, "was left a political orphan," until by 
act of Congress, approved June 28, 1834, the Black Hawk pur- 
chase having been made, all the territory west of the Mississippi 
and north of the northern boundary of Missouri, was made a part of 
Michigan Territory. L^p to this time there had been no county 
or other organization in what is now the State of Iowa, although 
one or two Justices of the Peace had been appointed and a post- 
office was established at Dubuque in 1833. In September, 1834, 
however, the Territorial Legislature of Michigan created two coun- 
ties on the west side of the Mississippi River, viz.: Dubuque and 
Des Moines, separated by a line drawn westward from the foot of 
Rock Island. These counties were partially organized. John 
King was appointed Chief Justice of Dubuque County, and Isaac 
Leffler of Burlington, of Des Moines County. Two Associate 
Justices in each county were appointed by the Governor. 

On the first Monday in October, 1825, Gen. Geo. W. Jones, now 
a citizen of Dubuque, was elected a Delegate to Congress from this 
part of Michigan Territory. On the 20th of April, 1836, through 
the efforts of Gen. Jones, Congress passed a bill creating the Ter- 
ritory of Wisconsin, which went into operation July 4, 1836, and 
Iowa was then included in 


of which Gen. Henry Dodge was appointed Governor; John S. 
Horner, Secretary of the Territory; Charles Dunn, Chief Justice; 
David Irwin and Wm. C. Fraz<-r, Associate Justices. 

September 9, 1836, Gov. Dodge ordered the census of the new 
territory to be taken. This census resulted in showing a popula- 
tion of 10,531 in the counties of Dubuque and Des Moines. Un- 
der the apportionment, these two counties Avere entitled to six 
members of the Council and thirteen of the House of Representa- 
tives. The Governor issued his proclamation for an election to be 
held on the first Monday of October, 1836^ on which day the fol- 
lowing members of the First Territorial Legislature of Wisconsin 
were elected from the two counties in the Black Hawk purchase: 

Duhuque County. — Council: John Fally, Thomas McKnight, 
Thomas McCarney. House: Loring Wheeler, Hardin Nowlan, 
Peter Hill Engle, Patrick (^uigley, Hosea T. Camp. 

Des Moines Count y. — Council: Jeremiah Smith, Jr., Joseph R. 
Teas, Arthur B. Inghram. House: Isaac Leffler, Thomas Blair, 
Warren L. Jenkins, John Box, George W. Teas, Eli Reynolds, 
David R. Chance. 


The first Legislature assembled at Belmont, iu the present State 
of Wisconsin, on the 25th day of October, 1836, and was organized 
by electing Henry T. Baird President of the Council, and Peter 
Hill Engle, of Dubuque, Speaker of the House. It adjourned 
December 9, 1836. 

The second Legislature assembled at Burlington, November 10, 
1837. Adjourned January 20, 1838. The third session was at 
Burlington; commenced June 1st, and adjourned June 12, 1838. 

During the first session of Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, 
in 1836, the County of Des Moines was divided in Des Moines, 
Lee, Van Buren, Henry, Muscatine and Cook (the latter being sub- 
sequently changed to Scott) and defined their boundaries. During 
the second session, out of the territory embraced in Dubuque 
County, were created the counties of Dubuque, Clayton, Fayette, 
Delaware, Buchanan, Jackson, Jones, Linn, Clinton and Cedar, 
and their boundaries defined, but the most of them were not or- 
ganized until several years afterward, under the authority of the 
Territorial Legislature of Iowa. 

The question of a separate territorial organization for Iowa, 
which was then a part of Wisconsin Territory, began to be agitated 
early iu the autumn of 1837. The wishes of the people found ex- 
pression in a convention held at Burlington on the 1st of Novem- 
ber, which memorialized Congress to organize a Territory west of 
the Mississippi, and to settle the boundary line between Wiscon- 
sin Territory and Missouri. The Territorial Legislature of Wiscon- 
sin, then in session at Burlington, joined in the petition. Gen. 
Geo. W. Jones, of Dubuque, then residing at Sinsinawa Mound, 
in what is now Wisconsin, was Delegate to Congress from Wis- 
consin Territory, and labored so earnestly and successfully, that 
"An act to divide the Territory of Wisconsin, and to establish the 
Territorial Government of Iowa," was approved June 12, 1838, to 
take effect and be in force on and after July 3, 1838. The new 
Territory embraced "all that part of the present Territory of Wis- 
consin which lies west of the Mississippi River, and west of a line 
drawn due north from the headwaters or sources of the Mississippi 
to the territorial line." The organic act provided for a Governor, 
whose term of office should be three years, and for a Secretary, 
Chief Justice, two Associate Justices, and Attorney and Marshal, 
who should serve four years, to be appointed by the President, by 
and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The act also pro- 
vided for the election, by the white male inhabitants, citizens of 
the United States, over twenty-one years of age, of a House of 
Representatives, consisting of twenty-six members, and a Coun- 
cil, to consist of thirteen members. It also appropriated $5,000 
for a public library, and 120,000 for the erection of public build- 

President Van Buren appointed ex-Governor Robert Lucas, of 
Ohio, to be the first Governor of the new Territory. William B. 


Conway, o£ Pittsburgh, was appointed Secretary of the Territory; 
Charles Mason, o£ Burlington, Chief Justice, and Thomas S. Wil- 
son, of Dubuque, and Joseph Williams, of Pennsylvania, Asso- 
ciate Judges of the Supreme and District Courts; Mr. Van Allen, 
of New York, Attorney; Francis Gehon, of Dubuque, Marshal; 
Augustus C. Dodge, Register of the Land Office at Burlington, 
and Thomas McKnight, Receiver of the Land Office at Dubuque. 
Mr. Van Allen, the District Attoruey, died at Rockingham, soon 
after his appointment, and Col. Charles Weston was appointed to 
fill his vacancy. Mr. Conway, the Secretary, also died at Burling- 
ton, during the second session of the Legislature, and James 
Clarke, editor of the Gazette, was appointed to succeed him. 

Immediately after his arrival. Governor Lucas issued a proclama- 
tion for the election of members of the first Territorial Legisla- 
ture, to be held on the 10th of September, dividing the Territory 
into election districts for that purpose, and appointing the 12th day 
of November for meeting of the Legislature to be elected, at 

The first Territorial Legislature was elected in September, and 
assembled at Burlington on the 12th of November, and consisted 
of the following members: 

Council— Jesse B. Brown, J. Keith, E. A. M. Swazy, Arthur In- 
gram, Robert Ralston, George Hepner, Jesse J. Payne, D. B. 
Hughes, James M. Clark, Charles Whittlesey, Jonathan W. Par- 
ker, Warner Lewis, Stephen Hempstead. 

Zro??S('.— William Patterson, Hawkins Taylor, Calvin J. Price, 
James Brierly, James Hall, Gideon S. Bailey, Samuel Parker, 
James W. Grimes, George Temple, Van B. Delashmutt, Thomas 
Blair, George H. Beeler,* William G. Coop, William H. Wallace, 
Asbury B. Porter, John Frierson, William L. Toole, Levi Thorn- 
ton, S. C. Hastings, Robert G. Roberts, Laurel Summers,! Jabez 
A. Burchard, Jr., Channcey Swan, Andrew Bankson, Thomas 
Cox and Hardin Nowlin. 

Notwithstanding a large majority of the members of both 
branches of the Legislature were Democrats, yet Gen. Jesse B. 
Browne (Whig), of Lee Countv, was elected President of the 
Council, and Hon. William H. Wallace (Whig), of Henry County, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives— the former unani- 
mously and the latter with but little opposition. At that time 
national politics were little heeded by the people of the new Ter- 
ritory, but in 1840, during the Presidential campaign, party lines 
were stronglv drawn. 

*Cyrus S. Jacobs, who was elected for Des Moines County, was killed m an 
unfortunate encounter at Burlington before the meeting of the Legislature, and 
Mr. Beeler was elected to fill the vacancy. v a v 

tSamuel R. Nurray was returned as elected from Clinton County, but his seat 
was successfully contested \iy Burchard. 


At the election in September, 1838, for members of the Legis- 
lature, a Congressional Delegate was also elected. There were 
four candidates, viz.: William W. Chapman and David Rohrer, 
of Des Moines County; B. F. Wallace, of Henry County, aud P. 
H. Engle, of Dubuque County. Chapman was elected, receiving 
a majority of thirty-six over Engle. 

The first session of the Iowa Territorial Legislature was a stormy 
and exciting one. By the organic law, the Governor was clothed 
with almost unlimited veto power. Governor Lucas seemed dis- 
posed to make free use of it, and the independent Hawkey es could 
not quietly submit t(7 arbitrary and absolute rule, and the result 
was an unpleasant controversy between the Executive and Legisla- 
tive departments. Congress, however, by act approved March 
3, 1839, amended the organic law by restricting the veto power of 
the Governor to the two-thirds rule, and took from him the power 
to appoint sheriffs and Magistrates. 

Among the first important matters demanding attention was the 
location of the seat of government and provision for the erection 
of public buildings, for which Congress had appropriated |20,000. 
Governor Lucas, in his message, had recommended the appoint- 
ment of Commissioners, with a view to making a central location. 
The extent of the future State of Iowa was not known or thought 
of. Only on a strip of laud fifty miles wide, bordering on the 
Mississippi liiver, was the Indian title extinguished, and a central 
location meant some central point in the Black Hawk Purchase. 
The friends of a central location supported the Governor's sug- 
gestion. The southern members were divided between Burlington 
and Mount Pleasant, but finally united on the latter as the proper 
location for the seat of government. The central and southern 
parties were very nearly equal, and, in consequence, much excite- 
ment prevailed. The central party at last triumphed, and on the 
21st day of January, 1839, an act was passed, appointing Chaun- 
cey Swan, of Dubuque County; John Ronalds, of Louisa County, 
and Robert Ralston, of Des Moines County, Commissioners, to se- 
lect a site for a permament seat of Government within the limits 
of Johnson County. 

Johnson County had been created by act of the Territorial Leg- 
islature of Wisconsin, approved December 21, 1837, and organized 
by act passed at the special session at Burlington in June, 1838, 
the organization to date from July 4th, following. Napoleon, on 
the Iowa River, a few miles below the future Iowa City, was des- 
ignated as the county seat, temporarily. 

Then there existed good reason for locating the capital in the 
county. The Territory of Iowa was bounded on the north by the 
British Possessions; east, by the Mississippi River to its source; 
thence by a line drawn due north to the northern boundary of the 
United States; south, by the State of Missouri, and west, by the 
Missouri and White Earth Rivers. But this immense territory 


was in undisputed possession of the Indians, except a strip on the 
Mississippi known as the Black Hawk Purchase. Johnson County 
was, from north to south, in the geographical center of this pur- 
chase, and as near the east and west geographical center of the 
future State of Iowa as could then be made, as the boundar}^ line 
between the lands of the United States and the Indians, estab- 
lished by the treaty of October 21, 1837, was immediately west of 
tho county limits. 

The Commissioners, after selecting the site, were directed to lay 
out 640 acres into a town, to be called Iowa City, and to proceed to 
sell lots and erect public buildings thereon. Congress having 
granted a section of land to be selected by the Territory for this 
purpose. The Commissioners met at Napoleon, Johnson County, 
May 1, 1839, selected for a site Section 10, in Township 79 North 
of Range 6, West of the Fifth Principal Meridian, and immedi- 
ately surveyed it and laid off the town. The first sale of lots took 
place August 16, 1339. The site selected for the public buildings 
was a little west of the geographical center of the section, where 
a square of ten acres on the elevated grounds overlooking the river 
was reserved for the purpose. The capitol Avas located in the center 
of this square. The second Territorial Legislature, which assem- 
bled in November, 1839, passed an act requiriing the Commission- 
ers to adopt such plan for the building that the aggregate cost 
when complete, should not exceed $51,000; and if they had already 
adopted apian involving a greater expenditure, they were directed 
to abandon it. Plans for the building were designed and drawn 
by Mr. John F. Rague, of Springfield, 111., and on the 4th day of 
July, 1840, the corner stone of the edifice was laid with appropri- 
ate ceremonies. Samuel C. Trowbridge was Marshal of the day, 
and Gov. Lucas delivered the address on that occasion. 

When the Legislature assembled at Burlington in special session, 
July 13, 1840, Gov. Lucas announced that on the 4th of that 
month he had visited Iowa City, and found the basement of the 
capitol nearly completed. A bill authorizing a loan of $20,000 
for the building was passed, January 15, 1841, the unsold lots of 
Iowa City being the security offered, but only $5,500 was obtained 
under the act. 


The boundary line between the Territory of Iowa and the State 
of Missouri was a difficult question to settle in 1838, in conse- 
quence of claims arising from taxes and titles, and at one time 
civil war was imminent. In defining the boundaries of the coun- 
ties bordering on Missouri, the Iowa authorities had fixed a line 
that has since been established as the boundary between Iowa and 
Missouri. The Constitution of Missouri defines her northern 
boundary to be the parallel of the latitude which passes through 


the rapids of the Des Moines River. The lower rapids of the 
Mississippi immediately above the mouth of the Des Moines River 
had always been known as the Des Moines Rapids, or "the rapids 
of the Des Moines River." The Missouriaus (evidently not well 
versed in history or geography) insisted on running the northern 
boundary line from the rapids in the Des Moines River, just below 
Keosauqua, thus takiugfrom Iowa a strip of territory eight or ten 
miles wide. Assuming this as her northern boundary line, Mis- 
souri attempted to exercise jurisdiction over the disputed territory 
by assessing taxes, and sending her Sheriffs to collect them by dis- 
training the personal property of the settlers. The lowans, how- 
ever, were not disposed to submit, and the Missouri officials were 
arrested by the Sheriffs of Davis and Van Buren Counties and 
confined in jail. Gov. Boggs, of Missouri, called out his militia to 
enforce the claim and sustain the officers of Missouri. Gov. Lucas 
called out the militia of Iowa, and both parties made active prep- 
arations for war. In Iowa, about 1,200 men were enlisted, and 
600 were actually armed and encamped in Van Buren County, 
ready to defend the integrity of the Territory. Subsequently, 
Gen. A. C. Dodge, of Burlington, Gen. Churchman, of Dubuque, 
and Dr. Clark, of Fort Madison, were sent to Missouri as envoys 
plenipotentiary, to effect, if possible, a peaeable adjustment of the 
difficulty. Upon their arrival, they found that the County Com- 
missioners of Clarke County, Missouri, had rescinded their order 
for the collection of the taxes, and that Gov. Boggs had dispatched 
messengers to the Governor of Iowa proposing to submit an 
agreed case to the Supreme Court of the United States for the 
final settlement of the boundary question. This proposition was 
declined, but afterward Congress authorized a suit to settle the 
controversy, which was instituted, and which resulted in a judg- 
ment for Iowa. Under this decision, William G. Miner, of Mis- 
souri, and Henry B. Hendershott were appointed Commissioners 
to survey and establish the boundary. Mr. Nourse remarks that 
"the expenses of the war on the part of Iowa were never paid, 
either by the United States or the Territorial Government. The 
patriots who furnished supplies to the troops had to bear the cost 
and charges of the struggle." 

The first legislative assembly laid the broad foundation of civil 
equality, on which has been constructed one of the most liberal 
governments in in the Union. Its first act was to recognize the 
equality of woman with man before the law, by providing that 
"no action commenced by a single woman, who intermarries 
during the pendency thereof, shall abate on account of such mar- 
riage. ' This principle has been adopted by all subsequent legisla- 
tion in Iowa, and to-day woman has full and equal civil rights with 
man, except only the right of the ballot. 

Religious toleration was also secured to all, personal liberty 
strictly guarded, th.e rights and privileges of citizenship extended 


to all white persons, and the purity of elections secured hy heavy 
penalties against bribery and corruption. The judiciary power was 
vested in a Supreme Court, District Court Probate Court, and 
Justices of the Peace. Real estate was made divisible by will, and 
intestate property divided equitably among heirs. Murder was 
made punishable by death, and proportionate penalties fixed for 
lesser crimes. A system of free schools, open for every class of 
white citizens, was established. Provision was made for a system 
of roads and highways. Thus, under the territorial organization, 
the country began to emerge from a savage wilderness, and take 
on the forms of civil government. 

By act of Congress of June 12, 1838, the lands which had been 
purchased of the Indians were brought into» market, and land 
ofiices opened in Dubuque and Burlington. Congress provided for 
military roads and bridges, which greatly aided the settlers, who 
were now coming in by thousands, to make their homes on the 
fertile prairies of Iowa — "The Beautiful Land.'' The fame of 
the country had spread far and wide; even before the Indian title 
was extinguished, many were crowding the borders, impatient to 
cross over and stake out their claims on the choicest spots they 
could find in the new Territory. As soon as the country was open 
for settlement, the borders, the Black Hawk Purchase, all along the 
Mississippi, and up the principal rivers and streams, and out over 
the broad rolling prairies, began to be thronged with eager land 
hunters and immigrants, seeking homes in Iowa. It was a sight 
to delight the eyes of all comers from every land — its noble 
streams, beautiful and picturesque hills and valleys, broad and fer- 
tile prairies extending as far as the eye could reach, with a soil 
surpassing in richness anything which they had ever seen. It is 
not to be wondered at that immigration into Iowa was rapid, and 
that within less than a decade from the organization of the Ter- 
ritory it contained a hundred and fifty thousand people. 

As rapidly as the Indian titles were extinguished and the origi- 
nal owners removed, the resistless tide of emigration flowed west- 
ward. The following extract from Judge Nourse's Centennial 
Address shows how the emigrants gathered on the Indian bound- 
ary, ready for the removal of the barrier: 

In obedience to our progressive and aggressive spiril', the Government of the 
United States made another treaty -with the Sac and Fox Indians, on the 11th 
day of August, 1842, for the remaining portion of their land in Iowa. The 
treaty provided that the Indians should retain possession of all the lands thus 
ceded until May 1, 1843, and should occupy that portion of the ceded territory 
west of a line running north and south through Redrock, until October 11, 
1845. These tribes, at this time, had their principal village at Ot-tum-wa-no; 
now called Ottumwa. As soon as it became known that the treaty had been con- 
cluded, there was a rush of immigration to Iowa, and a great number of tem- 
porary settlements were made near the Indian boundary, waiting for the 1st day 
of May. As the day approached, hundreds of families encamped along the line, 
and their tents and wagons ga-^e the scene the appearance of a military expe- 


dition. The country beyond had been thoroughly explored, but the United 
States military authorities had prevented any settlement, or eyen the making 
out of claims by any monuments whatever. 

To aid them in making out their claims when the hour should arrive, the set- 
tlers had placed piles of dry wood on the rising ground, at convenient distances, 
and a short time before twelve o'clock on the night of the 30th of Apvil, these 
wore lighted, and when the midnight hour arrived it was anounced by the dis- 
charge of tirearms. The night was dark, but this army of occupation pressed 
forward, torch in hand, witii axe and hatchet, blazing lines with all manner of 
curves and angles. When daylight came and revealed the confusion of these 
wonderful surveys, numerouB disputes arose, settled generally by compromise, 
but sometimes by violence. Between midnight of the oOth of April and sun- 
down of the 1st of May, over one thousand fomili< •^ had settled on their new 

While this seen 2 was transpiring, the retreating Indians were enacting one 
more impressive and melancholy. The winter of 1842-43 was one of unusual 
severity, and the Indian prophet, who had disapproved of the treaty, attributed 
the severity of the winter to the anger of the Great Spirit, because they had sold 
their country. Many religious rites were performed to atone for the crime. 
When the time for leaving Ot-tum-wa-no arrived, a solemn silence pervaded the 
Indian camp, and the faces of their stoutest men were bathed in tears; and when 
their cavalcade was put in motion, toward the setting sun, there was a sponta- 
neous outburst of frantic grief from the entire procession. 

The Indians remained the appointed time beyond the line running north and 
south through Redrock. The Government established a trading post and mili- 
tary encampment at the Raccoon Fork of the Des Moines River, then and for 
many years known as Fort Des Moines. Here the red men lingered until the 
11th of October, 1845, when the same scene that we have before described was 
re-enacted, and the wave of immigration swept ov.t the remainder of the "New 
Purchase." The lands thus occupied andclaimol 1 y the settlers still belonged 
in fee to the General Government. The surveys were not completed until some 
time after the Indian title was extinguished. After their survey, the lands 
were publicly proclaimed or advertised for sale at public auction. Under the 
laws of the United States, a pre-emption or exclusive right to purchase public 
lands could not be acquired until afi^r the lands had thus been pubhcly offered 
and not sold for want of bidders. Then, and not until then, an occupant mak- 
ing improvements in good faith might acquire a right over others to enter the 
land at the minimum price of $1.25 per acre. The "claim laws" were un- 
known to the United States statutes. They originated in the "eternal fitness 
of things," and were enforced, probably, as belonging to that class of natural 
rights not enumerated in the constitution, and not impaired or disparaged by 
its enumeration. 

The settlers organized in every settlement prior to the public land sales, ap- 
pointed otiicers, and adopted their own rules and regulations. Each man's 
claim_ was duly ascertained and recorded by the Secretary. It was the duty of 
all to attend the sales. The Secretary bid off the lands of each settler at $1.25 
per acre. The others were there to see, first, that he did his duty and bid in the 
land, and, secondly, to see that no one else bid. This, of courss, sometimes led 
to trouble, but it saved the excitement of competition, and gave a formality and 
degree of order and regularity to the proceedings they would not otherwise have 
attained. As far as practicable, the Territorial Legislature recognized the 
vahdity of these "claims" upon the public lands, and in 1839 passed an act 
legahzing their sale and making their transfer a valid consideration to support a 
promise to pay for the same. (Acts of 184:3, p. 456.) The Supreme Territorial 
• Court held this law to be valid. (See Hill v. Smith, 1st Morris Rep, 70.) The 
opinion not only contains a decision of the question involved, but also contains 
much valuable erudition upon that "spirit of Anglo-Saxon liberty" which the 
Iowa settlers unquestionably inherited in a direct bne of descent from the said 
"Anglo-Saxons." But the early settler was not always able to pay even this 
dollar and twenty-five cents per acre for his land. 


Many of the settlers had nothing to begin with, save their 
hands, health and courage and their family jewels, "the pledges 
of love," and the "consumers of bread." It was not so easy to 
accummulate money in the early days of the State, and the "beau- 
tiful prairies," the "noble streams," and all that sort of poetic 
imagery, did not prevent ihe early settlers from becoming dis- 

An old settler, in speaking of the privations and trials of those 

early days, says: 

Well do tho "old settlers" of Iowa remember the days from the first settle- 
ment to 1840. Those were days of sadness and distress. The endearments of 
home in another land had been broken up; and all that was hallowed on earth, 
the home of childhood, and the scenes of youth, were severed; and we safe by 
the gentle waters of our noble river, and, often "hung our harps on the wil- 

Another, from another part of the State, testifies: 
There was no such thing as getting money for any kind of labor. I laid brick 
at $3.00 per thousand, and took my pay in anything I could eat or wear. I 
built the first Methodist Church at Keokuk, 42x60 feet, of brick, for $600, and 
took my pay in a subscription paper, part of which I never collected, and upon 
which I only received $50 00 in money. Wheat was hauled 100 miles from the 
interior, and sold for ol% cents per bushel. 

Another old settler, in speaking of a later period, 1843, says: 

Land and everything had gone down in value to almost nominal prices. Corn 
and oats could be bought for six or ten cents a bushel; pork, $1.00 per hundred, 
and the best horse a man could raise sold for $50.00. Nearly all were in debt, 
and the Sheriff and Constable, with legal processes, were common visitors at 
almost every man's door. These were indeed "the times that tried men's 

"A few," says Mr. Nourse, "who were not equal to the trial, re- 
turned to their old homes, but such as had courage and faith to be 
the worthy founders of a great State remained, to more than 
realize the fruition of their hopes, and the reward of their self- 

Oe Monda}^ December G, 1S41, the fourth Legislative Assembly 
met, at the new capital, Iowa City, but the capitol building could 
not be used, and the Legislature occupied a temporary frame house, 
that had been erected for that purpose, during the session of 
1841-2. At this session, the Superintendent of Public Buildings 
(who, with the Territorial Agent, had superseded the Commis- 
sioners first appointed), estimated the expense of completing the 
building at ^33,330, and that rooms for the use of the Legislature 
could be completed for $15,600. 

During 1842, the Superintendent commenced obtaining stone 
from a new quarry, about ten miles northeast of the city. This is 
now known as the "Old Captain Quarry," and contains, it is 
thought, an immense quantity of exellent building stone. Here all 
the stone for completing the building was obtained, and it was so 
far completed that on the 5th day of December, 1842, the Legis- 
lature assembled in the new capitol. At this session, the Super- 
intendent estimated that it would cost $39,143 to finish the build- 


ing. This was nearly $6,000 higher than the estimate of the pre- 
vious year, notwithstanding a large sum had been expended in 
the meantime. This rather discouraging discrepancy was ac- 
counted for by the fact that the officers in charge of the work were 
constantly short of funds. Except the Congressional appropria- 
tion of 120,000 and the loan of |5,500, obtained from the Miners' 
Bank, of Dubuque, all the funds for the prosecution of the work 
were derived from the sale of the city lots (which did not sell 
very rapidly), from the certificates of indebtedness, and from scrip, 
based upon unsold lots, which was to be received in payment for 
such when they were sold. At one time the Superintendent 
made a requisition for bills of iron and glass, which could not be 
obtained nearer than St. Louis. To meet this, the Agent sold 
some lots for a draft, payable at Pittsburgh, Pa., for which he was 
compelled to pay twenty-five per cent, exchange. This draft, 
amounting to $507, that officer reported to be more than one-half 
the cash actually handled by him during the entire season, when 
the disbursement amounted to very nearly ^24,000. 

With such uncertainty it could not be expected that estimates 
could be very accurate. With all these disadvantages, however, 
the work appears to have been prudently prosecuted, and as rapid- 
ly as circumstances would permit. 

Iowa remained a territory from 1838 to 1846, during which the 
office of Governor was held by Robert Lucas, John Chambers and 
James Clark. 


By an act of the Territorial Legislature of Iowa, approved Feb- 
ruary 12, 1844, the question of the formation of a State Constitu- 
tion and providing for the election of delegates to a convention to 
he convened for that purpose was submitted to the people, to be 
voted upon at their township elections in April following. The 
vote was largely in favor of the measure, and the delegates elected 
assembled in convention at Iowa city on the 7th of October, 1844. 
On the first day of November following the convention completed 
its work and adopted the first State constitution. 

The President of the convention, Hon. Shepherd Leffler, was in- 
structed to transmit a certified copy of this constitution to the 
delegate in Congress, to be by him submitted to that body at the 
earliest practicable day. It was also provided that it should be 
submitted, together with auy conditions or changes that might be 
made by Congress, to the people of the Territory for their approval 
or rejection, at the township election in April, 1845. 

The boundaries of the State, as defined by the constitution, 
were as follows: 

Beginning in the middle of the chcinnel of the Mississippi river, opposite 
mouth of the Des Moines river, thence up the said river Des Moines, in the 
middle of the main channel thereof, to a point where it is intersected by tlie 


old Indian boundary line, or line run by John C. Sullivan in the year 1816; 
thence westwardly along said line to the "old" northwest corner of Missouri; 
thence due west to the middle of the main channel of the Missouri river; 
thence up in the middle of the main channel of the river last mentioned to the 
mouth of the Sioux or Calumet river; thence in a direct line to the middle of 
the main channel of tne St. Peters river, where the Watonwan river — according 
to Nicollet's map — enters the same; thence down the middle of the main chan- 
nel of said river to the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river; 
thence down the middle of the main channel of said river to the place of be- 

These boundaries were rejected by Congress, but by act approved 
March 3, 1845, a State called Iowa was admitted into the Union, 
provided the people adopted the act, bounded as follows: 

Beginning at the mouth of the Des Moines river, at the middle of the Mis- 
sissippi , thence by the middle of the channel of that river to a parallel of lati- 
tude passing through the mouth of the Mankato or Blue Earth river; thence 
west, along said parallel of latitude to a point where it is intersected by a me- 
ridian line seventeen degrees and thirty minutes west of the meridian of Wash- 
ington City; thence due south to the northern boundary line of the State of 
Missouri; thence easterly following that boundaiy line to the point at which 
the same intersects the Des Moines river; thence by the middle of the channel 
of that river to the place of beginning. 

These boundaries, had they been accepted, would have placed 
the northern boundary of the State about thirty miles north of its 
present location, and would have deprived it of the Missouri 
slope and the boundary of that river. The western boundary 
would have been near the west line of what is now Kossuth 
county. But it was not so to be. In consequence of this radical 
and unwelcome change in the boundaries, the people refused to 
accept the act of Congress and rejected the constitution at the 
election, held August 4, 1845, by a vote of 7,656 to 7,235. 

A second constitutional convention assembled at Iowa City on 
the 4th day of May, 1846, and on the 18th of the same month an- 
other Constitution for the new State with the present boundaries- 
was adopted and submitted to the people for ratification on the 3d 
day of August following, when it was accepted; 9,492 votes were 
cast "for the Constitution," and 9,036 "against the Constitution." 

The Constitution was approved by Congress, and by act of Con- 
gress approved December 28, 1846, Iowa was admitted as a sover- 
eign State in the American Union. 

Prior to this action of Congress, however, the people of the 
new State held an election under the new Constitution on the •26th 
day of October, and elected Oresel Briggs, Governor; Elisha Cutler, 
Jr., Secretary of State; Joseph T. Fales. Auditor; Morgan Reno, 
Treasurer, and members of the Senate and House of Represent- 

At this time there were twenty-seven organized counties in the 
State, with a population of nearly 100,000, and the frontier 
settlements were rapidly pushing toward the Missouri river. The 
Mormons had already reached there. 


The first General Assembly of the State of Iowa was composed 
of nineteen Senators and forty Representatives. It assembled at 
Iowa City November 30, 1840, about a monthbefore the State was 
admitted into the Union. 

At the first session of the State Legislature, the Treasurer of 
State reported that the capitol building was in a very exposed con- 
dition, liable to injury from storms, and expressed the hope that 
some provision would be made to complete it, at least sufficiently 
to protect it from the weather. The General Assembly responded 
by appropriating $2,500 for the completion of the public buildings. 
At the first session also arose the question of the re-location of 
the capital. The western boundary of the State, as now deter- 
mined, left Iowa City too far toward the eastern and southern 
boundary of the State; this was conceded. Congress had appro- 
priated five sections of land for the erection of public buildings, 
and toward the close of the session a bill was introduced provid- 
ing for the re-location of the seat of government, involving to 
some extent the location of the State University, which had al- 
ready been discussed. This bill gave rise to a deal of discussion 
and parliamentary maneuvering, almost purely sectional in its 
character. It provided for the appointment of three Commis- 
sioners, who were authorized to make a location as near the geo- 
graphical center of the State as a healthy and eligible site could be 
obtained; to select the five sections of land donated by Congress; 
to survey and plat into town lots not exceeding one section of the 
land so selected; to sell lots at public sale, not to exceed two in 
each block. Having done this, they were then required to sus- 
pend further operations, and make a report of their proceedings 
to the Governor. The bill passed both Houses by decisive votes, 
received the signature of the Governor and became a law. Soon 
after, by ''An act to locate and establish a State University," ap- 
proved February 25th, 1847, the unfinished public buildings at 
Iowa City, together with the ten acres of land on which they were 
situated, were granted for the use of the University, reserving 
their use, however, by the General assembly and the State officei-s, 
until other provisions were made by law. 

The commissioners forthwith entered upon their duties, and se- 
lected four sections and two half sections in Jasper county. Two 
of these sections are in what is now Des Moines Township, and 
the others in Fairview township, in the southern part of that 
county. These lands are situated between Prairie City and Mon- 
roe, on the Keokuk & Des Moines Railroad, which runs diagonally 
through them. Here a town w^as platted, called Monroe City, and 
a sale of lots took place. Four hundred and fifteen lots were sold 
at prices that were not considered remarkably remunerative. The 
cash payments (one-fourth) amounted to 11,797.43, while the ex- 
penses of the sale and the claims of the Commissioners for ser- 


vices amounted to $2,206.57. The Commissioners made a report 
of their proceedings to the Governor, as required by law, hut the 
location was generally condemned. 

When the report of the Commissioners, showing this brilliant 
financial operation, had been read in the House of Representatives 
at the next session, and while it was under consideration, an indig- 
nant member, afterward known as the eccentric Judge McFar- 
land, moved to refer the report to a select committee of five, with 
instructions to report "how much of said city of Monroe was under 
water and how much was burned." The report was referred, 
without the instructions, however, but Monroe City never be- 
caine the seat of government. By an act approved January 15, 
1849, the law by which the location had been made was repealed 
and the new town was vacated, the money paid by purchasers of 
lots being refunded to them. This, of course, retained the seat of 
government at Iowa City, and precluded for the time, the occupa- 
tion of the building and grounds by the University. 

At the same session $3,000 more were appropriated for complete 
ing the State building at Iowa City. In 1852 the further sum of 
15,000, and in 1854 $4,000 more were appropriated for the same 
purpose, making the whole cost $123,000, paid partly by the Gen- 
eral Government and partly by the State, but principally from the 
proceeds of the sale of lots in Iowa City. 

But the question of the permanent location of the seat of gov- 
ernment was not settled; and in 1851 bills were introduced for the 
removal of the capital to Pella and to FortDes Moines. The lat- 
ter appeared to have the support of the majority, but was finally 
lost in the House on the question of ordering it to its third read- 

At the next session, in 1853, a bill was introduced in the Sen- 
ate for the removal of the seat of government to Fort Des Moines^ 
and; on final vote, was just barely defeated. At the next session, 
however, the effort was more successful, and on the 15th day of 
•lanuary, 1855, a bill re-locating the capital within two miles of 
the Racoon Fork of the Des Moines, and for the appointment of 
Commissioners, was approved by Gov. Grimes. The site was se- 
lected in 1856, in accordance with the provisions of this act, the 
land being donated to the State by citizens and property-holders 
of Des Moines. An association of citizens erected a building for 
a temporary capitol, and leased it to the State at a nominal rent. 

The third constitutional convention to revise the Constitution 
of the State assembled at Iowa City, January 19, 1857. The new 
constitution framed by this convention was submitted to the peo- 
ple at an election held August 3, 1857, when it was approved and 
adopted by a vote of 40,311 "for" to 38,681 "against," and on the 
3rd day of September following was declared by a proclamation of 
the Governor to be the supreme law of the State of Iowa. 


Advisei of the completion of the temporary State House at Des 
Moiues, on the 10th of October following, Governor Grimes issued 
another proclamation, declaring the city of Des Moines to be the 
capital of the State of Iowa. 

The removal of the archives and offices was commenced at once 
and continued through the fall. It was an undertaking of no 
small magnitude; there was not a mile of railroad to facilitate the 
work, and the season was unusually disagreeable. Rain, snow, 
and other accompaniments increased the difficulties, and it was 
not until December that the last of the effects — the safe of the 
State Treasurer, loaded on two large '"bob-sleds" — drawn by ten 
yoke of oxen, was deposited in the new capitol. It is not impru- 
dent now to remark that, during this passage over hills and 
prairies, across rivers, through bottom lands and timber, the safes 
belonging to the several departments contained large sums of 
money, mostly individual funds, however. Thus, Iowa City 
ceased to be the capital of the State, after four Territorial Legisla- 
tures, six State L?gislatures and three Constitutional Conventions 
had held their sessions there. By the exchange, the old capitol at 
Iowa City became the seat of the University, and except the rooms 
occupied by the United States District Court, passed under the im- 
mediate and direct control of the trustees of that institution. 

Des Moines was now the permanent seat of government, made 
so by the fundamental law of the State, and on the 11th day of 
January, 1858, the seventh General Assembly convened at the 
new capital. The building used for governmental purposes Avas 
purchased in 1861. It soon became inadequate for tiie purposes 
for Avhich it WtiS designed, and it became apparent that a new, 
large and permanent State House must be erected. In 1870, the 
General Assembly made an appropriation, and provided for the ap- 
pointment of a Board of Commissioner;? to commence the work. 
The board consisted of Gov. Samuel Merrill, ex-officio President; 
Grenville M. Dodge, Council Blufis; James F. Wilson, P'airfield; 
Jamas Dawson, Washington; Simon G. Stein, Muscatine; James 
0. Crosby, Gainsville; Charles Dudley, Agency City; John N. 
Dewey, Des Moines; William L, Joy, Sioux City; Alexander R. 
Fulton, Des Moines, Secretary. 

The act of 1870 provided that the building should be constructed 
of the best material and should be fire proof, to be heated and ven- 
tilated in the most approved manner; should contain suitable leg- 
islative halls, rooms for State officers, the judiciary, library, com- 
mittees, archives and the collections of the State Agricultural 
Society; and for all purposes of State Government, and should be 
erected on grounds held by the State for that purpose. The sum 
first appropriated was $150,000; and the law provided that no 
contract should be made, either for constructing or furnishing the 
building, which should bind the State for larger sums than those 
at the time appropriated. A design was drawn and plans and 


specificatious furnished by Cochrane & Piquenard, architects, which 
were accepted by the board, and on the 23d of November, 1871, 
the corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The 
estimated cost and present value of the capitol is fixed at $2,000,- 

From 1858 to 1860, the Sioux became troublesome in the north- 
western part of the State. These warlike Indians made frequent 
plundering raids upon the settlers, and murdered several families. 
In 1801, several companies of militia were ordered to that portion 
of the State to hunt down and punish the murderous thieves. No 
battles were fought, however, for the Indians fled when they as- 
certained that systematic and adequate measures had been adopted 
to protect the settlers. 

"The year 1856 marked a new era in the history of Iowa. In 
1854, the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad had been completed to 
the east bank of the Mississippi River, opposite Davenport. In 
1854, the corner stone of a railroad bridge, that was to be the first 
to span the ''Father of Waters," was laid with appropriate cere- 
monies at this point. St. Louis had resolved that the enterprise 
was unconstitutional, and by writs of injunction made an unsuc- 
cessful effort to prevent its completion. Twenty years later in her 
history, St. Louis repented her folly, and made atonement for her 
sin by imitating our example. On the first day of January, 1856, 
this railroad was completed to Iowa City. In the meantime, two 
other railroads had reached the east bank of the Mississippi — one 
opposite Burlington, and one opposite Dubuque — and these were 
being extended into the interior of the State. Indeed, four lines 
of railroad had been projected across the State from the Mississippi 
to the Missouri, having eastern connections. On the 15th of May, 
1856, the Congress of the United States passed an act granting to 
the State, to aid in the construction of railroads, the public lands^ 
in alternate sections, six miles on either side of the proposed line. 
An extra session of the General Assembly was called in July of 
this year, that disposed of the grant to the several companies that 
proposed to complete these enterprises. The population of our 
State at this time had increased to 500,000. Public attention had 
been called to the necessity of a railroad across the continent. The 
position of Iowa, in the very heart and center of the Republic,ou 
the route of this great highway across the continent, began to at- 
tract attention. Cities and towns sprang up through the State as 
if by magic. Capital began to pour into the State, and had it been 
employed in developing our vast coal measures and establishing 
manufactories among us, or if it had been expended in improving 
our lands, and building houses and barns, it would have been well. 
But all were in haste to get rich, and the spirit of speculation 
ruled the hour. 

In the meantime every effort was made to help the speedy 
completion of the railroads. Nearly every county and city on the 


Mississippi, and many in the interior, voted lar^e corporate sub- 
scriptions to the stock of the railroad companies, and issued their 
negotiable bonds for the amount. Thus enormous county and 
city debts were incurred, the payment of which these municipalities 
tried to avoid upon the plea that they had exceeded the constitu- 
tional limitation of their powers. The Supreme Court of the 
United States held these bonds to be valid, and the courts by man- 
damus compelled the city and county authorities to levy taxes to 
pay the judgments. These debts are not all pAid even yet, but 
the worst is over and ultimately the burden will be entirely re- 

The first railroad across the State was completed to Council 
Bluffs in January, 1871. The others were completed soon after. 
In 1851 there was not a mile of railroad in the State. In 1874, 
twenty years after, there were 3,765 miles in successful opera- 


When Wisconsin Territory was organized, in 1836, the entire 
population of that portion of the Territory now embraced in the 
State of Iowa was 10,531. The Territory then embraced two 
counties; Dubuque and Des Moines, erected by the Territory of 
Michigan, in 1834. From 1836 to 1838, the Territorial Legisla- 
lature of Wisconsin increased the number of counties to sixteen, 
and the population had increased to 22,859. * Since then the coun- 
ties have increased to ninety-nine, and the population, in 1875, 
was 1,366,000. The following table will show the population at 
different periods since the erection of Iowa Territory: 

Year. Population. 

1859 638,775 

1860 674,913 

1863 701,732 

1865 754,699 

1867 902,040 

1869 1,040,819 

1870 1,191,727 

1873 1,251,333 

1875 1,366,000 

1880 1,624,463 

Year. Fojmlation 

1S3S 22,589 

1840 43,115 

1844 75,152 

1846 97,588 

1847 116,651 

1849 152,988 

1850 191,982 

1851 204,774 

1852 230,713 

1853 326,013 

1856 519,055 

The most populous county in the State is Dubuque. Not only 
in population, but in everything contributing to the growth and 
greatness of a State has Iowa made rapid progress. In a little 
more than thirty years, its wild but beautiful prairies have ad- 
vanced from the home of the savage to a highly civilized common- 
wealth, embracing all the elements of progress which character- 
ize the older States. 

Thriving cities and towns dot its fair surface; an iron net-work 
of thousands of miles of railroads is woven over its broad acres; 
ten thousand school houses, in which more than five hundred 


thousand children are being taught the rudiments of education, 
testify to the culture and liberality of the people; high schools, 
colleges and universities are generously endowed by the State; 
manufactories spring up on all her water courses, aud in most of 
her cities and towns. 

Whether measured from the date of her first settlement, her 
organization as a Territory, or admission as a State, Iowa has thus 
far shown a growth unsurpassed, in a similar period, by any com- 
monwealth on the face of the earth; and, with her vast extent of 
fertile soil, with her inexhaustible treasures of mineral wealth, 
with a healthful, invigorating climate; an intelligent, liberty-loving 
people; with equal, just and liberal laws, and her free schools, 
the future of Iowa may be expected to surpass the most hopeful 
anticipations of her present citizens. 

Looking upon Iowa as she is to-day — populous, prosperous and 
happy — it is hard to realize the wonderful changes that have oc- 
curred since the first white settlements svere made within her bor- 
ders. When the number of States was only twenty-six, and their 
total population about twenty millions, our republican form of gov- 
ernment was hardly more than an experiment, just fairly put upon 
trial. The development of our agricultural resources and inex- 
haustible mineral wealth had hardly commenced. Westward the 
"Star of Empire" had scarcely started on its way. West of the 
great Mississippi was a mighty empire, but almost unknown, and 
marked on the maps t»f the period as ''The Great American Des- 

Now, thirty-eight stars glitter on our national escutcheon, aud 
fifty millions of people, who know their rights and dare 
maintain them, tread American soil, and the grand sisterhood of 
vStates extends from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border, 
and from the rocky coast of the Atlantic to the golden shores of 
the Pacific. 


Ames, Siori/ Count!/. 

The Iowa State Agricultural College and Farm were established 
by an act of the General Assembly, approved March 22d, 1858. 
A Board of Trustees was appointed, consisting of Governor R. P. 
Lowe, John D. Wright, William Duane Wilson, M. W. Robinson. 
Timothy Day, Richard Gaines, John Pattee, G. W. F. Sherwdn, 
Suel Foster, S. W. Henderson, Clement Coffin, and E. G. Day; the 
Governor of the State and President of the College being ex-officio 
members. Subsequently the number of Trustees was reduced to 
five. The Board met in June, 1859, and received propositions for 
the location of the College and Farm from Hardin, Polk, Story and 
Boone, Marshall, Jeff'erson and Tama counties. In July, the 
proposition of Story County and some of its citizens and by the 


citizens of Booiie Couuty was accepted, and the farm and the 
site for the buildings were located. In 1860-61, the farm house 
and barn were erected. In 18G2 Congress granted to the State 
240,000 acres of land for the endowment of schools of agriculture 
and the mechanical art?, and 195,000 acres were located by Peter 
Melendy, Commissioner, in 1862-63. In 1864 the General As- 
sembly appropriated $20,000 for the erection of the college build- 

In June of that year the Building Committee proceeded to let 
the contract. The $20,000 appropriated by the General Assembly 
were expended in putting in the foundations and making the 
brick for the structure. An additional appropriation of $01,000 
was made in 1866, and the building was completed in 1868. 

Tuition in this college is made by law forever free to pupils 
from the State ever sixteen years of age, who have been resident 
of the State six months previuous to their admission. Each couuty 
in the State has a previous right of tuition for three scholars from 
each county; the remainder, equal to the capacity of the college, 
are by the trustees distributed among the counties in proportion 
to the population, and subject to the above rule. All sale of ar- 
dent spirits, wine or beer, is prohibited by law within a distance 
of three miles from the college, except for sacramental, mechani- 
cal or medical purposes. 

The course of instruction in the Agricultural College embraces 
the following branches: Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Botany^ 
Horticulture, Fruit Growing, Forestry, Animal and Vegetable 
Anatomy, Geology, Mineralogy, Meteorology, Entomology, 
Zoology, the Veterinary Art, Plain Mensuration, Leveling, Sur- 
veying, Bookkeeping, and such Mechanical Arts as are directly 
connected with agriculture; also such other studies as the Trus- 
tees may, from time to time, prescribe, not inconsistent with the 
purposes of the institutions The funds arising from the lease and 
sale of lands, and interest on investments, are sufficient for the 
support of the institution. 

The Board of Trustees, in 1881. was composed of Charles W. 
Tenney, Plymouth; George H. Wright, Sioux City; Henry G. 
Little, Grinnell; William McClintock, West Union; John N. 
Dixon, Oskaloosa. A. S. Welch, President of the Faculty, W. D. 
Lucas, Treasurer; E. W. Stanton, Secretary. 

The Trustees are elected by the General Assembly, in joint 
convention, for four years, three being elected at one session and 
two the next. 


Toiva City, Johnson County. 

In the famous Ordinance of 1787, enacted by Congress before 
the Territory of the United States extended beyond the Missis- 
sippi River, it was declared that in all the territory northwest of 


the Ohio River, "Schools and the means of education shall for- 
ever be encouraged." By act of Congress, approved July 20, 1840, 
the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized "to set apart and re- 
serve from sale, out of any of the public lands within the Terri- 
tory of Iowa, to which the Indian title has been or may be ex- 
tinguished, and not otherwise appropriated, a quantity of land, not 
exceeding the entire townships, for the use and support of a uni- 
versity within said Territory when it becomes a State, and for no 
other use or purpose whateverr; to be located in tracts of not les.s 
than an entire section, corresponding with any of the large divis- 
ions into which the public lands are authorized to be surveyed." 

William W. Dodge, of Scott County, was appointed by the 
Secretary of the Treasury to make the selections. He selected 
Section 5, in Township 78, north of Range 3, east of the Fifth 
Principal Meridian, and then removed from the Territory. No 
more land were selected until 1846, when, at the request of the 
Assembly, John M. Whitaker, of Van Buren County, was ap- 
pointed, who selected the remainder of the grant except about 122 

In the first Constitution, under which Iowa was admitted to the 
Union, the people directed the disposition of the proceeds of this 
munificent grant in accordance with its terms, and instructed the 
General Assembly to provide, as soon as may be, effectual means 
for the improvement and permanent security of the funds of the 
University derived from the lands. ^ 

The first General Assembly, by act approved February 25, 1847, 
established the "State University of Iowa" at Iowa City, then 
the Capital of the State, "with such other branches as public con- 
venience may hereafter require." The "public buildings at Iowa 
City, together with the ten acres of land in which they are sit- 
uated, were granted for the use of said University, proi'ided. how- 
ever, that the sessions of the Legislature and State offices should 
be held in the capitol until otherwise provided by law. The con- 
trol and management of the University were committed to a 
Board of fifteen Trustees, to be appointed by the Legislature, five 
of whom were to be chosen biennially. The Superintendent of 
Public Instruction was made president of this Board. Provisions 
were made for the disposal of the two townships of land, and for 
the investment of the funds arising therefrom. The act further 
provides that the University shall never be under the exclusive 
control of anv reliofious denomination whatever, and as soon as 
the revenue for the grant and donations amounts to $2,000 a year, 
the University should commence and continue the instruction, 
free of charge, of fifty students annually. The General Assem- 
bly retained full supervision over the Universi'y, it officers and 
the grants and donations made and to be made to it by the State. 

The organization of the University at Iowa City was impractica- 
ble, however, so long as the seat of government was retained there. 


In January, 1849, two branches of the University and three 
Normal Schools were established. The branches were located — 
one at Fairfield, and the other at Dubuque, and were placed upon 
an equal footing, in respect to funds and all other matters, with 
the University established at Iowa City. ''This act," says Col. 
Benton, "created three State Universities, with equal rights and 
powers, instead of a 'University with such branches as public con- 
venience may hereafter demand^ as provided by the Constitu- 

The Board of Directors of the Fairfield Branch consisted of 
Barnet Ristine, Christian W, Slagle, Daniel Rider, Horace Gay- 
lord, Bernhart Henn and Samuel S. Bayard. At the first meeting 
of the Board Mr. Henn was elected President, Mr. Slagle Secre- 
tary, and Mr. Gaylord Treasurer. Twenty acres of land were 
purchased, and a building erected thereon, costing $2,500. This 
building was nearly destroyed by a hurricane, in 1850, but was re- 
built more substantially, all by contributions of the citizens of 
Fairfield. This branch never received any aid from the State or 
from the University Fund, and by act approved January 24, 1853, 
at the request of the Board, the General Assembly terminated its 
relation to the State. 

The branch at Dubuque was placed under the control of the 
Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Trustees never or- 
ganized, and its existence was only nominal. 

The Normal Schools were located at Andrew, Oskaloosa and 
Mount Pleasant, respectively. Each was to be governed by a board 
of seven Trustees, to be appointed by the Trustees of the Univer- 
sity. Each was to receive $500 annually from the income of the 
University fund, upon condition that they should educate eight 
common school teachers, free of charge for tuition, and that the 
citizens should contribute an equal sum for the erection of the 
requisite buildings. The several Boards of Trustees were appointed. 
At Andrew, the school was organized November 21, 1849. A 
building was commenced and over $1,000 expended on it, but it 
was never completed. At Oskaloosa, the Trustees organized in 
April, 1852. This school was opened in the Court House, Septem- 
ber 13, 1852. A two-story brick building was completed in 1853, 
costing $2,473. The school at Mount Pleasant was never orsjan- 
ized. Neither of these schools received any aid from the Univer- 
sity fund, but in 1857 the Legislature appropriated $1,000 each 
for those at Oskaloosa and Andrew, and repealed the law author- 
izing the payment of money to them from the University fund. 
From that time they made no further effort to continue in opera- 

At a special meeting of the Board of Trustees, held February 
21, 1850, the "College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Upper 
Mississippi," established at Davenport, was recognized as the ''Col- 
lege of Physicians and Surgeons of the State University of Iowa," 


expressly stipulatiiig, however, that such recoguitiou should not 
render the University liable for any pecuniary aid, nor was the 
Board to have any control over the property' or management of 
the Medical Association. Soon after, this College was removed to 
Keokuk, its second session being opened there in November, 1850. 
In 1851, the General Assembly confirmed the action of the Board, 
and by act approved January 22, 1855, placed the Medical College 
under the supervision of the Board of Trustees of the University, 
and it continued in operation until this arrangement was termi- 
nated by the new Constitution, September 3, 1857. 

From 1847 to 1855, the Board of Trustees was kept full by 
regular elections by the Legislature, and the Trustees held fre- 
<{\\ent meetings, but there was no effectual organization of the 
University. In March, 1855, it was partially opened for a term 
of sixteen weeks. July 16, 1855, Amos Dean, of Albany, N. Y.. 
was elected President, but he never entered fully upon its duties 
The University was again opened in September, lc55, and con- 
tinued in operation until June, 1850, under Professors Johnson, 
Welton, Van Valkenburg and Guffin. 

In the Spring of 1856 the capital of the State was located at 
Des Moines; but there were no buildings there, and the capitol at 
Iowa City was not vacated by the State until December, 1857. 

In June, 1856, the faculty was re-organized, with some changes, 
and the University was again opened on the third Wednesday of 
September, 1856. There were one hundred and twenty-four stu- 
dents— eight3'-three males and forty-one females in attendance 
during the year 1856-7, and the first regular catalogue was pub- 

Article IX, Section 11, of the new State Constitution, which 
went into force Sept. 3, 1857, provided as follows: 

The State University shall be established at one place, without branches at 
any other place; and the University fund shall be applied to that institution, 
and no other. 

Article XI, Section 8, provided that 

The seat of government is hereby permanently established, as now fixed by 
law, at the city of Des Moines, in the county of Polk: and the State University 
at Iowa City, in the county of Johnson. 

The new Constitution created the Board of Education, consist- 
ing of the Lieutenant-Governor, who was ex-oificio President, and 
one member to be elected from each judicial district in the State. 
This Board was endowed with ''full power and authority to legis- 
late and make all needful rules and regulations in relation to com- 
mon schools and other educational institutions," subject to altera- 
tion, amendment or repeal by the General Assembly, which was 
vested with authority to abolish or re-organize the Board at anv 
time after 1863. , " 

In December, 1857, the old capitol building, now known as 
Central Hall of the University, except the rooms occupied by the 
United States District Court, and the property, with that excep- 


tion, passed under the control of the Trustees, and became the 
seat of the University. The old building had had hard usage, and 
its arrangement was illy adapted for University purposes. Exten- 
sive repairs and changes were necessary, but the Board was with- 
out funds for these purposes. 

The last meeting of the Board, under the old law, was held in 
January, 1858. At this meeting a resolution was introduced, and 
seriously considered, to exclude females from the University; but 
it finally failed. • 

March 12, 1858, the first Legislature under the new Constitution 
■enacted a new law in relation to the University, but it wiis not 
materially different from the former. March 11, 1858, the Legis- 
lature appropriated $3,000 for the repair and modification of the 
old capitol building, and $10,000 for the erection of a boarding 
liouse, now known as South Hall. 

The Board of Trustees created b}' the new law met and duly or- 
ganized April 27, 1858, and determined to close the L^niversity 
until the income from its funds should be adequate to meet the 
current expenses, and the buildings should be ready for occupa- 
tion. Lhitil this term, the building known as the "Mechanics' 
Academy"' had been used for the school. The Faculty, except the 
•Chancellor (Dean), was dismissel, and all further instruction sus- 
pended, from the close of the term then in progress until Sep- 
tember, 1859. At this meeting, a resolution was adopted ex- 
cluding females from the University after the close of the existing 
term: but this was afterward, in August, modified, so as to admit 
them to the Normal Department. 

An '"Act for the Government and Regulation of the State Uni- 
versity of Iowa," approved December 25, 1858, was mainly a re- 
enactment of the law of March 12, 1858, except that changes were 
made in the Board of Trustees, and manner of their appointment. 
This law provided that both sexes were to be admitted on equal 
terms to all departments of the institution, leaving the Board no 
discretion in the matter. 

At the annual meeting June 28, 1860, u fujl Faculty was ap- 
pointed, and the University re-opened, under this new organiza- 
tion, September 19, 1860 (third Wednesday); and at this date the 
actual existence of the University may be said to commence. 

August 19, 1862, Dr. Totten having resigned. Prof. Oliver M. 
Spencer was elected President and the honorary degree of Doctor 
of Laws was conferred upon Judge Samuel F. Miller, of Keokuk. 

At the commencement, in June, 1863, was the first class ^f 
gi-aduates in the Collegiate Department. 

The Board of Education was abolished March 10, 1861 and the 
oflfice of Superintendent of Public Insi ruction was restored; the 
General Assembly resumed control of the subject of education, 
and on March 21 an act was approved for the government of the 
Universitv. It was substantial! v the same as the former law. but 


provided that the Governor should be ex-officio President of the 
Board of Trustees. Until 1858, the Superintendent of Public 
Instruction had been ex-officio President. During the period of 
the Board of Education, the University trustees were elected by 
it, and elected their own President. 

The North Hall was completed late in 1866. 

The Law Department was established in June, 1868, and in Sep- 
tember following an arrangement was perfected with the Iowa 
Law School, at Moines, which had been in successful opera- 
tion for three years, by which that institution was transferred to 
Iowa City and merged in the Law Department of the University. 

At a special meeting of the Board, on the 17th of September, 
1868, a committee was appointed to consider the expediency of 
establishing a Medical Department. The committee reported at 
once in favor of the proposition, the Faculty to consist of the 
President of the University and seven Professors, and recom- 
mended that, if practicable, the new department should be opened 
at the commencement of the University year, in 1869-70. 

By an act of the General Assembly, approved April 11, 1870, 
the "Board of Regents" was instituted as the governing power of 
the University, and since that time it has been the fundamental 
law of the institution. The Board of Regents held its first meet- 
ing June 28, 1870. 

The South Hall, having been fitted up for the purpose, the first 
term of the Medical Department was opened October 24, 1870, and 
continued until March, 1871. 

In June 1874, the "Chair of Military Instruction" was estab- 
lished, and the President of the United States was requested to 
detail an officer to perform its duties. At the annual meeting, in 
1876, a Department of Horacepathy was established. In March, 
1877 a resolution was adopted affiliating the High Schools of the 
State with the University. 

In 1872, the ex-officio membership of the Superintendent of 
Public Instruction was abolished, but it was restored in 1876. 

The Board of Regents, in 1881, was composed as follows: 
Johnll. Gear, Governor, ex-officio, President; Carl W. VonCoelln, 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, ex-officio; J. L. Picard, 
President of the University, ex-officio. C. W. Slagle, Fairfield, 
First District; D.N. Richardson, Davenport. Second District; H. 
C. Bulis, Decorah, Third District; A. T. Reeve, Hampton, Fourth 
District; J. N. W. Rumple, Marengo, Fifth District; W. 0. 
Crosby, Centerville, Sixth District; T. S. Parr, Indianola, Seventh 
District; Horace Everett, Council Blue's, Eighth District; J. F. 
Duncombe, Fort Dodge, Ninth District. John N. Coldren, Iowa 
City, Treasurer; W. J. Haddock, Iowa City, Secretary. 

The Regents are elected by the General Assembly, in Joint 
Convention, for six years, one-third being elected at each regular 
session, one member to be chosen from each Congressional District. 


The present educational corps of the University consists of the 
President, nine Professors in the Collegiate Department, one Pro- 
fessor and six Instructors in Military Science; Chancellor, three 
Professors and four Lecturers in the Law Department; eight Pro- 
fessor demonstrators of Anatomy; Prosector of Surgery and two 
Lecturers in the Medical Department, and two Professors in the 
Homcepathic Medical Department. 


By act of the General Assembly, approved January 28, 1857, a 
State Historical Society was provided for in connection with the 
University. At the, an appropriation of $250 
was made, to be expended in collecting, embodying and preserving 
in an authentic form, a library of books, pamphlets, charts, maps, 
manuscripts, papers, painting, statuary, and other materials illus- 
trative of the history of Iowa; and with the further object to res- 
cue from oblivion the memory of the early pioneers; to obtain and 
preserve various accounts of their exploits, perils and hardy ad- 
ventures; to secure facts and statements relative to the history 
and genius, and progress and decay of the Indian tribes of Iowa, 
to exhibit faithfully the antiquities and past and present re- 
sources of the State; to aid in the publication of such collections 
of the society as shall, from time to time, be deemed of value and 
interest; to aid in binding its books, pamphlets, manuscripts and 
papers, and in defraying other necessary incidental expenses of 
the Society. 

There was appropriated by law to this institution, till the Gen- 
eral Assembly shall otherwise direct, the sum of fl500 per annum. 
The Society is under the management of a Board of Curators, 
consisting of eighteen persons, nine of whom are appointed by the 
Governor, and nine elected by the members of the Society. The 
Curators receive no compensation for their services. The annual 
meeting is provided for by law, to be held at Iowa City on Mon- 
day preceding the last Wednesday in June of each year. 

The State Historical Society has published a series of very valu- 
able collections, including history, biography, sketches, remi- 
niscences, etc., with quite a large number of finely engraved por- 
traits of prominent and early settlers, under the title of "Annals 
of Iowa." 


Located at Fort Madison^ Lee County. 

The first act of the Territorial Legislature, relating to a Peni- 
tentiary in Iowa, was approA ed January 25, 1839, the fifth section 
of which authorized the Governor to draw the sum of $20,000 
appropriated by an act of Congress approved July 7, 1838, for 
public buildings in the Territory of Iowa. It j rovided for a 


Board of Directors of three persons elected by the Legislature, 
who should direct the building of the Penitentiary, which should 
be located within one mile of the public square, in the town of 
Fort Madison, Lee County, provided Fort Madison should deed to 
the Directors a tract of land suitable for a site, and assign thern, 
by contract, a spring or stream of water for the use of the Peni- 
tentiary. To the Directors was also given the power of appoint- 
ing the Warden; the latter to appoint his own assistants. 

The first Directors appointed were John S. David and John 
Clay pole. They made their first report to the Legislative Council 
November 9> 1839. The citizens of the town of Fort Madison 
had executed a deed conveying ten acres of land for the building 
site. Amos Ladd was appointed Superintendent of the building 
June 5, 1839. The building was designed of sufficient capacity 
to contain one hundred and thirty-eight convicts, and esiimated to 
cost $55,933.90. It was begun on the 9th of July, 1839; the 
main building and Warden's house were completed in the fall of 
1841. Other additions were made from time to time till the build- 
ing and arrangements were all complete according to the plan of 
the Directors. It has answered the purpose of the State as a 
Penitentiary for more than thirty years, and during that period 
many items of practical experience in prison management have 

been gained. 


Located at Anamosa, Jones County. 

By an Act of the Fourteenth General Assembly, approved April 

23, 1872, William Ure, Foster L. Downing and Martin Heisey 
were constituted Commiss^ioners to locate and provide for the erec- 
tion and control of an additional P.enitentiary for the State of 
Iowa. These Commissioners met on the 4th of the following 
June, at Anamosa, Jones County, and selected a site donated by 
the citizens, within the limits of the city. L. W. Foster & Co., 
architects, of Des Moine. , furnished the plan, drawings and 
specifications, and work was commenced on the building on the 
28th day of September, 1872. May 13, 1873, twenty convicts 
were transferred to Anamosa from the Fort Madison Peniten- 
tiary. The entire enclosure includes fifteen acres, with a frontage 
of 663 feet. 


Mount Pleasant, Henry County. 

By an act of the General Assembly of Iowa, approved January 

24, 1855, $4,425 were appropriated for the purchase of a site, and 
$50,000 for building an Insane Hospital, and the Governor 
(Grimes), Edward Johnston, of Lee County, and Charles S Blake, 
of Henry County, were appointed to locate the institution and 


superintend the erection of the building. These Commissioners 
located the institution at Mt. Pleasant, Henry County. A plan 
for a building designed to accommodate 300 patients was accepted, 
and in October work was commenced. Up to February 25, 1858, and 
including an appropriation made on that date, the Legislature 
had appropriated 1258,555.67 to this institution, but the 
building was not finished ready for occupancy by patients until 
March 1, 1861. April 18, 1876, a portion of the hospital build- 
ing was destroyed by fire. 

TruHtees, i<§8i.-— Timothy Whiting, Mount Pleasant; J. H. 
Kulp, Davenport; Denison A. Hurst, Oskaloosa; John Conaway, 
Brooklyn; L. E. Fellows, Lansing. Mark Ranney, M. D., Mt. 
Pleasant, is the Medical Superintendent; C. V. Arnold, Mt. Pleas- 
ant, Treasurer. 


Independence^ Buchanan Count ij. 

In the winter of 1867-8 a bill providing for an additional Hos- 
pital for the insane w^as passed by the Legislature, and an appro- 
1)riation of $125,000 was made for that purpose. Maturin L. 
^'isher, of Clayton County; E. G. Morgan, of Webster County, and 
Albert Clark, of Buchanan County, were appointed Commissioners 
to locate and supervise the erection of the building. 

The Commissioners met and commenced their labors on the 8th 
day of June, 1868, at Independence. The act under which they 
were appointed required them to select the most eligible and de- 
sirable location, of not less than 320 acres, within two miles of 
the City of Independence, that might be offered by the citizens 
free of charge to the State. Several such tracts were offered, but 
the Commissioners finally selected the south half of southwest 
quarter of Section 5; the north half of northeast quarter of Sec- 
tion 7; the north half of northwest quarter of Section 8, and the 
north half of northeast quarter of Section 8, all in Township 88 
north. Range 9 west of the Fifth Principal Meridian. This loca- 
tion is on the west side of the VVapsipinicon River, and about a 
mile from its banks, and about the same distance from Independ- 

The contract for erecting the building was awarded for $88,114. 
The contract Avas signed November 7, 1868, and work was at once 
commenced. The main buildings were constructed of dressed 
limestone, from the quarries at Anamosa and Farley. The base- 
ments are of the local granite worked from the immense boulders 
found in large quantities in this portion of the State. 

In 1872 the building was so far completed that the Commis- 
sioners called the first meeting of the Trustees, on the 10th day 
of July of that year. The building was ready for occupancy 
April 21, 1873. 


In 1877, the south wing was built, but was not comjileted readj 
for occupancy until ihe Spring or Summer of 1878. 

Trustees, 1881: — Erastus G. Morgan, Fort Dodge, President; 
Jed. Lake, Independence; Mrs. Jennie C. McKinney, Decorah; 
Lewis H. Smith, Algona; David Hammer, McGregor; A. Rey- 
nolds, M. D., Independence, Medical Superintendent; W. G. Don- 
nan, Independence, Treasurer. 


Vinton, Benton County. 

In August, 1852, Prof. Samuel Bacon, himself blind, established 
an Institution for the instruction of the blind of Iowa, at Keokuk. 

By act of the General Assembly, entitled "An act to establish 
an Asylum for the Blind," approved January 18, 1853, the institu- 
tion was adopted by the State, removed to Iowa City, February 
3d, and opened for the reception of pupils April 4, 1853, free to 
all the blind in the State. 

The Board of Trustees appointed Prof. Samuel Bacon, Princi- 
pal; T. J. McGittigen, Teacher of Music, and Mrs. Sarah K. 
Bacon, Matron. Twenty-three pupils were admitted during the 
first term. 

In his first report, made in 1854, Prof. Bacon suggested that the 
name should be changed from ''Asylum for the Blind," to that 
of "Institution for the Instruction of the Blind." This was done 
in 1855, when the General Assembly made an annual appropria- 
tion for the College of $55 per quarter for each pupil. This was 
subsequently changed to $3,000 per annnm, and a charge of $25 
as an admission fee for each pupil, which sum, with the amounts 
realized from the sale of articles manufactured by the blind pupils, 
proved sufficient for the expenses of the institution during Mr. 
Bacon's administration. 

On the 8th of May, 1858, the Trustees met at Vinton, and made 
arrangements for securing the donation of $5,000 made by the 
citizens of that town. 

In June of that year a quarter section of land was donated 
for the College, by John W. 0. Webb and others, and the Trustees 
adopted a plan for the erection of a suitable building. In I860 the 
plan was modified, and the contract for enclosing let for $10,420. 

In August, 1862, the building was so far completed that the 
goods and furniture of the institution were removed from Iowa City 
to Vinton, and early in October the School was opened therewith 
twenty-four pupils. 

Trustees, 1881:— Clinton 0. Harrington, Vinton; S. H. Wat- 
son, Vinton, Treasurer; J. F. White, Sidney; M. H. Westerbrook, 
Lyons; W. H. Leavitt, Waterlop; Jacob Springer, Watkins; 
Rev. Robert Carothers, Principal of the Institution and Secretary 
of the Board. 



Council Bluffs^ Pottaimttamie Counti/. 

The Iowa Institution for the Deaf and Dumb was established 
at Iowa City by an act of the General Assembly, approved Jan- 
uary 24, 1855. The number of deaf mutes then in the State was 
301; the number attending; the Institution, 50. 

A strong effort was made, in 1866, to remove this important in- 
stitution to Des Moines, but it was located permanently at Council 
Bluffs, and a building rented for its use. In 1868, Commissioners 
were appointed to locate a site for, and to superintend the erection 
of a new building, for which the Legislature appropriated $125,- 
000 to commence the work of construction. The Commissioners 
selected ninety acres of land about two miles south of the city of 
Council Bluffs. The main building and one wing were completed 
October 1, 1870, and immediately occupied by the Institution. 
February 25, 1877, the main building and east wing were de- 
stroyed by fire; and August Gth, following, the roof of the new 
west wing was blown off and the walls partially demolished by a 
tornado. At the time of the fire about one hundred and fifty 
pupils were in attendance. After the fire, half the classes were 
dismissed and the number of scholars reduced to about seventy, 
and in a week or two the school was in running order. 

Trustees, 1881: — B. F. Clayton, Macedonia, President; J. H. Stu- 
benrauch, Pella, Treasurer; Louis Weinstein, Burlington. Rev. 
A. Rogers, Superintendent. 

Davenport, Cedar /aZ/.s-, GUnwood. 

The movement which culminated in the establishment o£ this 
benificent institution was originated by Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer, 
during the civil war of 1861-65. This noble and patriotic lady 
called a convention at Muscatine, on the 7th day of October, 1863, 
for the purpose of devising measures for the support and educa- 
tion of the orphan children of the brave sons of Iowa, who had 
fallen in defense of national honor and integrity. So great was 
the public interest in the movement that there was a large repre- 
sentation from all parts of the State on the day named, and an 
association was organized called the Iowa State Orphan Asylum. 

The first meeting of the Trustees was held February 11, 1864, 
in the Representative Hall, at Des Moines. Committees from both 
branches of the General Assembly were present and were invited 
to participate in their deliberations. Arrangements were made 
for raising funds. 

At the next meeting, in Davenport, in March 1864, the Trus- 
tees decided to commence operations at once, and a committee was 


appointed to leavse a suitable building, solicit donations, and pro- 
cure suitable furniture. The committee secured a large brick 
building in Lawrence, Van Buren County, and engaged Mr. Ful- 
ler, of Mt. Pleasant, as Steward. 

At the annual meeting, in Des Moines, in June, 1864, Mrs. C. 
B. Baldwin, Mrs. G. G. Wright, Mrs. Dr. Horton, Miss Mary E. 
Shelton and Mr. George Sherman, were appointed a committee to 
furnish the building and take all necessary steps for opening the 
"Home,"' and notice was given that at the next meeting of the 
Association^ a motion would be made to change the name of the 
Institution to Iowa Orphans' Home. 

The work of preparation was conducted so vigorously that on 
the 13th day of July following, the Executive Committee an- 
nounced that they were ready to receive the children. In three 
weeks twenty-one were admitted, and the number constantly in- 
creased, so that, in a little more than six months from the time 
of opening, there w^ere seventy children admitted, and twenty 
more applications, which the Committee had not acted upon — ^all 
orphans of soldiers. 

The ''Home" was sustained by the voluntary contributions of 
the people until 1866, when it was assumed by the State. In that 
year, the General Assembly provided for the location of several 
such "Homes" in the different counties, and which were estab- 
lished at Davenport, Scott County; Cedar Falls, Black Hawk 
County, and at Glenwood, Mills County. 

The Board of Trustees, elected by the General Assembly, had 
the oversight and management of the Soldiers' Orphans' Homes of 
the State, and consisted of one person from each county in which 
such Home was lo;"ated, and one for the State at large, who held 
their offices two years, or until their successors were elected and 
qualified. An appropriation of $10 per month for each orphan 
actually supported was made by the General Assemby. 

The Home in Cedar Falls was organized in 1865, and an old 
hotel building was fitted up for it. January, 1866, there were 
ninety-six inmates. 

October 12, 1869, the Home was removed to a large brick build- 
in w, about two miles west of Cedar Falls, and was very prosperous 
for several years, but in 1876, the General Assembly established a 
State Normal school at Cedar Falls, and appropriated the build- 
ings and grounds for that purpose. 

By "An act to provide for the organization and support of an 
asylum at Glenwood, in Mills County for feeble-minded children," 
approved March 17, 1876, the buildings and grounds used by the 
Soldiers' Orphans' Home at that place were appropriated for this 
purpose. By another act, approved March 15, 1876, the soldiers' 
orphans, then at the Homes at Glenwood and Cedar Falls, were to 
be removed to the Home at Davenport within ninety days there- 


ufter, and the Board of Trustees of the Home were authorized to 
receive other indigent children into that institution, and provide 
for their education in industrial pursuits. 

Trustees, 1881:— C. M. HoLon, Iowa City; Seth P. Bryant, Da- 
venport; C. C. Horton, Muscatine. S. W. Pierce, Davenport, Su- 


Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County. 

Chapter 129 of the laws of the Sixteenth Gi'neral Assembly, in 
1876, established a State Normal School at Cedar Falls, Black 
Hawk County, and required the Trustees of the Soldiers' Orphans' 
Home to turn over the property in their charge to the Directors 
of the new institution. 

The Board of L^irectors met at Cedar Falls June 7, 1876, and 
duly organized. The Board of Trustees of the Soldiers' Orphans' 
Home met at the same time for the purpose of turning over to the 
Directors the property of that institution, which was satisfac- 
torily done and properly receipted for as required by law. 

On the 12th of July, 1876, the Board again met, when executive 
and teachers' committees were appointed and their duties assigned. 
A Steward and a Matron were elected, and their respective duties 

The buildings and grounds were repaired and fitted up as well as 
the appropriation would admit, and the first term of school opened 
September 6, 1876, commencing with twenty-seven and closing 
with eightv-seven students. 

Directors, 1881:— C. C. Cory, Bella; E. H. Thayer, Clinton; G. 
S. Robinson, Storm La^e; N. W. Boyes, Dubuque; L. D. Lewel- 
ling, Mitchellville; J. J. Tollertou, Cedar Falls; E, Townsend, 
■Cedar Falls, Treasurer. 


Glenivood, Mills CounUj. 

Chapter 152 of the laws of the Sixteenth General Assembly, 
approved March 17, 1876, provided for the establishment of an 
asylum for feeble-minded children at Glenvvood, Mills County, and 
the buildings and the grounds of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home at 
that place were to be used for that purpose. The asylum was 
placed under the management of three Trustees, one at least of 
whom should be a resident of Mills County. Children between 
the ages of 7 and 18 years are admitted. Ten dollars per month 
for each child actually supported by the State was appropriated 
by the act, and ^2,000 for salaries of officers and teachers for two 

Hon. J. W. Cattell, of Polk County; A. J. Russell, of Mills 
County, and W. S. Robertson, were appointed Trustees, who held 
their first meeting at Glen wood, April 26, 1876. Tlie Trustees 


found the house and farm which had been turned over to thera in 
a shamefully dilapidated condition. The fences were broken 
down and the lumber destroyed or carried away; the windows 
broken, doors off theii hinges, floors broken and filthy in the ex- 
treme, cellars reeking with offensive odors from decayed vegeta- 
bles, and every conceivable variety of filth and garbage; drains 
obstructed, cisterns broken, pump demoralized, wind-mill broken, 
roof leaky, and the whole property in the worst possible condi- 
tition. It was the first work of the Trustees to make the house 

The institution was opened September 1, 1876; the first pupil 
admitted September 4, and the school was organized September 10.. 

Trustees, 1881:-Fred. O'Donnell, Dubuque; S. B. Thrall, Ot- 
tumwa; E. R. S. Woodrow, Glenwood; 0. W. Archibald, M. D., 
Medical Superintendent. 

Eldora^ Hardin County. 

By "An act to establish and organize a State Reform School for 
Juvenile Offenders," approved March 31, 18G8, the General Assem- 
bly established a State Reform School at Salem, Lee (Henry) 
County; provided for a Board of Trustees, to consist of one per- 
son from each Congressional District. For the purpose of immedi- 
ately opening the school, the Trustees were directed to accept the 
proposition of the Trustees of White's Iowa Manual Labor Insti- 
tute, at Salem, and lease, for not more than ten years, the lands,. 
buildings, etc., of the Institute, and at once proceed to prepare for 
jmd open a reform school as a temporary establishment. 

The contract for fitting up the buildings was let September 21, 
1868, and on the 7th of October following, the first inmate was 
received from Jasper County. The law provided for the admission 
of children of both sexes under 18 years of age. In 1876 this 
was amended, so that they are now received at ages over 7 and 
under 16 years. 

April 19, 1872, the Trustees were directed to make a permanent 
location for the school, and $15,000 was appropriated for the erec- 
tion of the necessary buildings. The Trustees were further di- 
rected, as soon as practicable, to organize a school for girls in the 
. buildings where the boys were then kept. 

The Trustees located the school at Eldora, Hardin County, and 
in the code of 1873, it is permanently located there by law. 

The institution is managed by five Tiustees, who are paid mile- 
age, but no compensation for their services. 

The object is the reformation of children of both sexes, under 
the age of 16 and over 7 years of age; and the law requires that 
the Trustees shall require the boys and girls under their charge to 
be instructed in piety and morality, and in such branches of useful 


kno-wledge as are adapted to their age and capacity, and in some 
regular course of labor, either mechanical, manufacturing or agri- 
cultural, as is best suited to their age, strength, disposition and 
capacity, and as may seem best adapted oo secure the reformation 
and future benefit of the boys and girls. 

A boy or girl committed to the State Reform School is there 
kept, disciplined, instructed, employed and governed, under the 
direction of the Trustees, until he or she arrives at the age of 
majority, or is bound out, reformed or legally discharged. The 
binding out or discharge of a boy or girl as reformed, or having 
arrived at the age of majority, is a complete release from all pen- 
alties incurred by conviction of the crime for which he or she is 

Trustees, 1881: — J. A. Parvin, Muscatine, President; W. J. 
Moir, Eldorado, Treasurer; W. G. Stewart, Dubuque: J. T. Moor- 
head, Ely; T. E. Corkhill, Mount Pleasant; B. J. Miles, Eldora, 
Superintendent. L. D. Lewelling is Superintendent of the Girl's 
Department, at Mitchellville, Polk County. 

Near Anamosa, Jones County. 

The Fifteenth General Assembly, in 1871. passed "An act to 
provide for the appointment of a Board of Fish Commissioners 
for the construction of fish ways for the protection and propaga- 
tion of fish;" also ''an act to provide for furnishing the rivers 
and lakes with fish and fish spawn." This act appropriated $3,000 
for the purpose. In accordance with the provisions of the first 
act above mentioned, on the 9th of Apiil, 1874, S. B. Evans, of 
Ottumwa, Wapello County; B. F. Shaw, of Jones County, and 
Charles A. Haines, of Black Hawk County, were appointed to be 
Fish Commissioners by the Governor. These Commissioners met 
at Des Moines, May 10, 1874, and organized by the election of 
Mr. Evan^, President; Mr. Shaw, Secretary and Superintendent, 
and Mr. Haines, Treasurer. 

The State was partitioned into three districts or divisions to en- 
able the Commissioners. to better superintend the construction of 
fishways as required by law. At this meeting, the Superintendent 
was authorized to build a State Hatching House; co procure the 
spawn of valuable fish adapted to the waters of Iowa; hatch and 
prepare the young fish for distribution, and assist in putting them 
into the waters of the State. 

In compliance with these instructions, Mr. Shaw at once com- 
menced work, and in the summer of 1874, erected a ''State 
Hatching House" near Anamosa, 20x40 feet, two stories; the 
second story being designed for a tenement; the first story being 
the "hatching room." The hatching troughs are supplied with 
water from a magnificent spring, four feet deep and about ten 


feet in diameter, aflfording an abundant and unfailing supply of 
pure running water. During the first year, from May 10, 1874, 
to May 10, 1875, the Commissioners distributed within the State 
100,000 shad, 300,000 California salmon, 10,000 bass, 80,000 
Penobscot (Maine) salmon, 5,000 land-locked salmon, 20,000 of 
other species. 

By act approved March 10, 1876, the law was amended so that 
there should be one instead of three Fish Commissioners, and B. 
F. Shaw was appointed, and the Commissioner was authorized to 
purchase twenty acres of land, on which the State Hatching 
House was located, near Anamosa. 

In the fall of 1876, Commissioner Shaw gathered from the 
sloughs of the Mississippi, where they would Jiave been destroyed, 
over a million and a half of small fish, which were distributed in 
the various rivers of the State and turned into the Mississippi. 

In 1875-6, 533,000 California salmon, and in 1877, 303,500 
lake trout were distributed in various rivers and lakes in the State. 
The experiment of stocking the small streams with brook trout is 
being tried, and 81,000 of the speckled beauties were distributed 
in 1877. In 1876, 100,000 young eels were distributed. These 
came from New York, and they are increasing rapidly. 

A. A. Mosier, of Spirit Lake, was appointed Assistant Fish 
Commissioner by the Governor, under Chapter 15G, Laws of 1880. 


The grants of public lands made in the State of Iowa, for vari- 
ous purposes, are as follows: 

1 . The 500,000 Acre Grant . 

2. The 16th Section Grant. 

>j. The Mortgage School Lands. 

4. The University Grant. 

5.. The Saline Grant. 

6. The Des Msines River Grant. 

7. The Des Moines River School Lands. 

8. The Swamp Land Grant. 

9. The Railroad Grant. 

10. The Agricultural College Grant. 


When the State was admitted into the Union she became en- 
titled to 500,000 acres of land by virtue of an act of Congress, ap- 
proved September 4, 1841, which granted to each State therein 
specified 500,000 acres of public land for internal improvements; 
to each State admitted subsequently to the passage of the act, an 
amount of land which, with the amount that might have been 
granted to her as a Territory, would amount to 500,000 acres. All 
these lands were required to be selected within the limits of the 
State to which they were granted. 


The Constitution of Iowa declares that the proceeds of this 
f^rant, together with all lands then granted or to be granted by 
Congress for the benefit of schools, shall constitute a perpetual 
fund for the support of schools throughout the State. By an act 
approved January 15, 1849, the Legislature established a Board of 
School Fund Commissioners, and to that Board was confided the 
selection, care and sale of these lands for the benefit of the School 
Fund. Until 1855, these Commissioners were subordinate to the 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, but on the 15th of Janu- 
ary of that year, they were clothed with exclusive authority in the 
management and sale of school lands. The office of School Fund 
Commissioner was abolished March 23, 1858, and that officer in 
each county was required to transfer all papers to and make full 
settlement with the County Judge. By this act, County Judges 
and Township Trustees were made the agents of the State to con- 
trol and sell the sixteenth sections; but no further provision was 
made for the sale of the 500,000 acre grant until April 3d, 1860, 
when the entire management of the school lands was committed 
to the Boards of Supervisors of the several counties. 


By the provisions of the act of Congress admitting Iowa to the 
Union, there was granted to the new State the sixteenth section 
in every township, or where that section had been sold, other 
lands of like amount for the use of schools. The Constitution of 
the State provides that the proceeds arising from the sale of these 
sections shall constitute a part of the permanent school fund. The 
control and sale of these lands were vested in the School Fund 
Commissioners of the several counties until March 23, 1858, when 
they were transferred to the County Judges and Township Trus- 
tees, and were finally placed under the supervision of the County 
Boards of Supervisors in January, 1861. 


These do not belong to any of the grants of laud proper. They 
are lands that have been mortgaged to the school fund, and became 
school lands when bid ofi' by the State by virtue of a law passed in 
1862. Under the provisions of the law regulating the manage- 
ment and investment of the permanent school fund, persons de- 
siring loans from that fund are required to secure the payment 
thereof with interest at ten per cent, per annum, by promissory 
notes endorsed by two good sureties and by mortgage on unincum- 
bered real estate, which must be situated in the county where the 
loan is made, and which must be valued by three appraisers. Mak- 
ing these loans and taking the required securities was made the 
duty of the County Auditor, who was required to report to the 
Board of Supervisors at each meeting thereof, all notes, mortgages 
and abstracts of title connected with the school fund, for exami- 


When default was made of payment of money so secured by 
mortgage, and no arrangement made for extension of time as the 
law provides, the Board of Supervisors were authorized to bring 
suit and prosecute it with diligence to secure said fund; and in ac- 
tion in favor of the county for the use of the school fund, an in- 
junction may issue without bonds, and in any such action, when 
service is made by publication, default and judgment may be en- 
tered and enforced without bonds. In case of sale of land on exe- 
cution founded on any such mortgage, the atttorney of the board, 
or other person duly authorized, shall, on behalf of the State or 
county for the use of said fund, bid such sum as the interests of 
said fund may require, and if struck off to the State the land shall 
be held and disposed of as the other lands belonging to the fund. 
These lands are known as the Mortgage School Lands, and reports 
of them, including description and amount, are required to be 
made to the State Land Office. 


By act of Congress July 20, 1840, a quantity of laud, not 
exceeding two entire townships, was reserved in the Territory of 
Iowa for the use and support of a university within said Terri- 
tory when it should become a State. This land was to be located 
in tracts of not less than an entire section, and could be used for 
no other purpose than that designated in the grant. In an act 
supplemental to that for the admission of Iowa, March 3, 1845, 
the grant was renewed, and it was provided that the lands should 
be used "solely for the purpose of such university, in such manner 
as the Legislature may prescribe." 

Under this grant there were set apart and approved by the Sec- 
retary of the Treasury, for the use of the State, the following 


In the Iowa City Land District, Feb. 29, 1849 20,150.49 

In the Fairiielfl Land District, Oct. 17, 1849 9,685.20 

In the Iowa City Land District. Jan. 28, 1850 2,571.81 

in the Fairfield Land District. S. pt. 10. 1850 3,198.20 

In the Dubuque Land District, May 19, 1852 10,552.24 

Total 45,957.94 

These lands were certified to the State November 19, 1859. The 
University lands are placed by law under the control and manage- 
ment of the Board of Trustees of the Iowa State University. Prior 
to 1865 there had been selected and located under 282 patents, 
22,892 acres in sixteen counties, and 23,036 acres unpatented, 
making a total of 45,928 acres. 


By act of Congress approved March 3, 1845, the State of Iowa 
was granted the use of the salt springs within her limits, not ex- 
ceeding twelve. By a subsequent act, approved May 27, 1852, 


€ongres!'«:ranted the sprin«,'sto the State in fee simple, together 
with six sections of hind contiguous to each, to be disposed of as 
the Legislature might direct. In 1861 the proceeds of these lands 
then to be sold were constituted a fund for founding and support- 
ing a lunatic asylum, but no sales were made. In 1856 the pro- 
ceeds of the saline lands were appropriated to the Insane Asylum, 
repealed in 1858. In 18G0, the saline lands and funds were made a 
part of the permanent fund of the State University. These lands 
were located in Appanoose, Davis. Decatur, Lucas. Monroe, Van 
Buren and Wayne counties. 


By act of Congress, approved August 8, 1846, a grant of land 
was made for the improvement of the navigation of Des Moines 
lliver, as follows: 

Be it enacted hy the Senate and House of Bepresentatires of the United 
States of America in Congress assembled, That there be, and hereby is, grant- 
ed to said Territory of Iowa for the purpose of aiaing said Territory to improve 
the navig'ation of the Des Moines River from its mouth to the Racoon Fork (so 
called) in said Territory, one equal moiety, in alternate sections, of the public 
lands (remaining unsold and not otherwise disposed of, incumbered or appro- 
priated), in a strip five miles in width on each side of said river, to be selected 
withm said Territory by an agent or agents to be appointed by the Governor 
thereof, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United 

Sec. 2. And be it futiher enacted, That the lands hereby granted shall not 
be conveyed or disposed of by said Territory, nor by any State to be formed out 
of the same, except as said improvement shall progress; that is, the said Terri- 
tory or State may sell so much of said lands as shall produce the sum of thirty 
thousand dollars, and then the sales shall cease until the Governor of said Ter- 
ritory or State shall certify the fact to the President of the United States that 
one-half of said sum has been expended upon said improvements, when the 
said Territory or State may sell and convey a quantity of the residue of said 
lands sufficient to replace the amount expended and thus the sales shall pro- 
gi'ess as the proceeds thereof shall be expended, and the fact of such expendi- 
ture shall be certified as aforesaid. 

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted. That the said River Des Moines shall be 
and forever remain a public highway for the use of the Government of the 
United States, free from any toll or other charge whatever, for any property of 
the United States or persons in their service passing through or along the same; 
Provided always. That it shall not be competent for the said Territoryor 
future State of Iowa to dispose of said lands, or any of them, at a price 
lower thin, for tli9 tim J b^in^', shiU hi thi p:ic3 of other public 

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That whenever the Territory of Iowa 
shall be admitted mto the Union as a State, the lands hereby granted for the 
above pui-pose shall be and become the property of said State for the purpose 
contemplated in this act, and for no other; Provided, the Legislature of the 
State of Iowa shall accept the said grant for the said purpose. Approved 
Augusts, 1846. 

By joint resolution of the General Assembly of Iowa, approved 
January 9, 1847, the grant was accepted for the purpose specified. 
By another act, approved February 24, 1847, entitled ''An act 


creating the Board of Public Works, and providing for the im- 
provement of the Des Moines River," the Legislature provided for 
a Board consisting of a President, Secretary and Treasurer, to be 
elected by the people. This Board was elected August 2, 1847, 
and was organized on the22d of September following. The same 
act defined the nature of the improvement to be made, and pro- 
vided that the work should be paid for from the funds to be de- 
rived from the sale of lands to be sold by the Board, 

Agents appointed by the Governor selected the sections desig- 
nated by ''odd numbers" thnmghout the whcle extent of the 
grant, and this selection was approved by the Secretary of the 
Treasury. But there was a conflict of opinion as to the extent 
of the grant. It was held by some that it extended from the mouth 
of the Des Moines River only to the Racoon Forks; others held, 
as the agents to make selection evidently did, that it extended from 
the mouth to the headwaters of the river. Richard M. Young, 
Commissioner of the General Land office, on the 2 ^d of February, 
1848, construed the grant to mean that ''the State is entitled^to 
the alternate sections within five miles of the Des Moines River, 
throughout the whole extent of that river within the limits of 
Iowa. Under this construction, the alternate sections above the 
Raccoon Forks would, of course, belong to the State; but on the 
19th of June, 1848, some of these lands were, by proclamation, 
thrown into market. On the 18th of September, the Board o 
Public Works filed a remonstrance with the Commissioner of the 
General Land office. The Board also sent in a protest to the State 
Land Office, at which the sale was ordered to take place. On the 
8th of January, 1849, the Senators and Representatives in Con- 
gress from Iowa also protested against the sale, in a communica- 
tion to Hon, Robert J. Walker, Secretary of the Treasury, to 
which the Secretary replied, concurring in the opinion that the 
grant extended the whole length of the Des Moines River in 

On the 1st of June, 1849, the Commissioner of the General 
Land Office directed the Register and Receiver of the Land Office 
at Iowa City "to withhold from sale all lands situated in the odd 
numbered sections within five miles on ench side of the Des 
Moines River above the Raccoon Forks." March 13. 1850, the 
Commissioner of the General Land Office submitted to the Secre- 
tary of the Interior a list "showing the tracts falling within the 
limits of the Des Moines River grant, above the Raccoon Forks, 
etc., under the decision of the Secretary of the Treasury, of March 
2, 1849," and on the 6th of April following Mr. Ewing, then 
Secretary of the Interior, reversed the decision of Secretary 
Walker, but ordered the lands to be withheld from sale until Con- 
gress could have an oppo t unity to pass an explanatory act. The 
Iowa authorities appealed from this decision to the President 
(Taylor), who referred the matter to the Attorney General (Mr. 


Johnson). On the 10th of July, Mr. Johnson submitted as his 
opinion, that by the terms of the <^rant itself, it extended to the 
very source of the Des Moines, but before his opinion was pub- 
lished President Taylor died. When Mr. Tyler's cabinet was 
formed, the question was submitted to the new Attorney General 
(Mr. Crittenden), who, on the 30th of June, 1851, reported that 
in his opinion the grant did not extend above the Raccoon Forks. 
Mr. Stewart, Secretary of the Interior, concurred with Mr, 
Crittenden at first, but subsequently consented to lay the whole 
subject before the President and Cabinet, who decided in favor of 
the State. 

October 29, 1851, Mr. Stewart directed the Commissioner of the 
General Land Office to "submit for his approval such lists as had 
been prepared, and to proceed to report for like approval lists of 
the alternate sections claimed by the State of Iowa above the Rac- 
coon Forks, as far as the surveys have progressed, or may here- 
after be completed and returned." And on the following day, 
three lists of these lands were prepared in the General Land 

The lands approved and certified to the State of Iowa under 
this grant, and all lying above the Raccoon Forks, are as follows: 

Bv Secretary Stewart, Oct. 30, 1851 81,707.93 acrep. 

March 10, 1862 143,908.37 ' ' 

By Secretary McLellan, Dec. 17, 1^53 33,142.43 " 

Dec. 30, 1853 12,813.51 " 

Total 271,572.24 acres. 

The Commissioners and Register of the Ues Moines River Im- 
provement, in their report to the Governor, November 30, 1852, 
estimate the total amount of lands then available for the work, 
including those in possession of the State and those to be surveyed 
and approved, at nearly a million acres. The indebtedness then 
standing against the fund was about $108,000, and the Commis- 
sioners estimated the work to be done would cost about $1,200,000. 

January 10, 1853, the Legislature authorized the Commissioners 
to sell ''any or all the lands which have or may hereafter be 
granted, for not less than $1,300,000." 

On the 21th of January, 1853, the General Assembly provided 
for the election of a Commissioner by the people, and appointed 
two Assistant Commissioners, with authority to make a contract, 
selling the lands of the Improvement for $1,300,000. This new 
Board made a contract, June 9, 1855, with the Des Moines Navi- 
gation & Railroad Company, agreeing to sell all the lands dona- 
ted to the State by Act of Congress of August 8, 1816, which the 
State had not sold prior to December 23, 1853, for $1,800,000, to 
be expended on the improvement of the river, and in paying the 
indeb.edness then due. This contract was duly reported to the 
Governor and General Assembly. 


By an act approved January 25, 1855, the Commissioner and 
Register of the Des Moines River Improvement were authorized 
to negotiate with the Des Moines Navigation & Railroad Company 
for the purchase of lands in Webster County, which had been 
sold by the School Fund Commissioner as school lands, but which 
had been certified to the State as Des Moines River lands, and had, 
therefore, become the property of the Company, under the pro- 
visions of its contract with the State. 

March 21, 1856, the old question of the extent of the grant was 
again raised, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office 
decided that it was limited to the Raccoon Fork. Appeal was 
made to the Secretary of the Interior, and by him the matter was 
referrred to the Attorney General, who decided that the grant ex- 
tended to the northern boundary of the State; the State relin- 
quished its claim to the lands lying along the river in Minnesota, 
and the vexed question was supposed to be Hnally settled. 

The land which had been certified, as well as those extending to 
the northern boundary within the limits of the grant, were re- 
served from pre-emption and sale by the General Land Commission- 
er, to satisfy the grant of August 8, 1846, and they were treated 
as having passed to the State, which from time to time sold por- 
tions of them prior to their final transfer to the Des Moines Nav- 
igation & Railroad Company, applying the proceeds thereof to the 
improvement of the river in compliance with the terms of the 
grant. Prior to the final sale to the Company, June 9, 1854, the 
State had sold about 327,000 acres, of which amount 58,830 acres 
were located above the Raccoon Fork. The last certificate of the 
General Land Office bears date December 30, 1853. 

After June 9th, 1854, the Des Moines Navigation & Railroad 
Company carried on the work under its contract with the State. 
As the improvement progressed, the State, from time to time, by 
its authorized officers, issued to the Company, in payment for said 
Avork, certificates for laud. But the General Land Office ceased to 
certify lands under the grant of 1846. The State had made no 
other provision for paying for the improvements, and disagree- 
ments and misunderstanding arose between the State authorities 
and the Company. 

March 22, 1858, a joint resolution was passed by the Legislature 
submitting a proposition for final settlement to the Company, 
which was accepted. The Company paid to the State $20,000 in 
cash, and released and conveyed the dredge boat and materials 
named in the resolution; and the State, on the 3d day of May, 
1858, executed to the Des Moines Navigation & Railroad Compajiy 
fourteen deeds or patents to the lands, amounting to 256,703.64 
acres. These deeds were intended to convey all the lands of this 
grant certified to the State by the General Government not pre- 
viously sold; but, as if for the purpose of covering any tract or 
parcel that might have been omitted, the State made another deed 


of conveyance on the 18tli day of May, 1858. These fifteen deeds, 
it is chiimed, by the Company, convey 260,108 acres, of which 
about 53,367 are below the Raccoon Fork, and the balance, 212,741 
acres, are above that point. 

Besides the lands deeded to the Company, the State had deeded 
to individual purchasers 58,830 acres above the Raccoon Fork, 
making an aggregate of 271,571 acres, deeded above the Fork, all 
of which had been certified to the State by the Federal Govern- 

By act approved March 28, 1858, the Legislature donated the 
remainder of the grant to the Keokuk, Fort Des Moines & Minne- 
sota Railroad Company, upon condition that said Company as- 
sumed all liabilities resulting from the Des Moines River improve- 
ment operations, reserving 50,000 acres of the land in security for 
the payment thereof, and for the completion of the locks and 
dams at Bentonsport, Crotton, Keosauqua and Plymouth. For 
every three thousand dollars' worth of work done on the locks 
and dams, and for every three thousand dollars paid by the Com- 
pany of the liabilities above mentioned, the Register of the State 
Land Office was instructed to certify to the Company 1,000 acres 
of the 50,000 acres reserved for these purposes. Up to 18G5, there 
had been presented by the Company, under the provisions of the 
act of 1858, and allowed, claims amounting to $109,579.37, about 
seventy-five per cent, of which had been settled. 

After the passage of the act above noticed, the question of the 
extent of the original grant was again mooted, and at the De- 
cember term of the Supreme Court of the United States, in 1859- 
60, a decision was rendered declaring that the grant did not ex- 
tend above Raccoon Fork, and that all certificates of land above 
the Fork had been issued without authority of law and Were, 
therefore, void (see 23 How., 66). 

The State of Iowa had disposed of a large amount of land with- 
out authority, according to this decision, and appeal was made to 
Congress for relief, which was granted on the 3d day of March, 

1861, in a joint resolution relinquishing to the State all the title 
which the United States then still retained in the tracts of land 
along the Des Moines River above Raccoon Fork, that had been 
improperly certified to the State by the Department of the Inte- 
rior, and which is now held hj bona fide purchasers under the State 
of Iowa. 

In confirmation of this relinquishment, by act approved July 12, 

1862, Congress enacted: 

That the grant of lands to the then Territory of Iowa for the improvement of 
the Des Moines River, made bj' the act of August 8, 1846, is hereby extended 
so as to include the alternate sections (designated by odd numbers) lying within 
five miles of said river, between the Raccoon Fork and the northern boundary 
of said State; such lands are to fce held and applied in accordance with the 
provisions of the original grant, except that the consent of Congress is hereby 
given to the application of a portion thereof to aid i)i the construction of the 


Keokuk, Fort Des Moines & Minnesota Railroad, in accordance with the pro- 
visions of the act of the General Assembly of the State of Iowa approved March 
22, 1858. And if any of the said lands shall have been sold or otherwise dis- 
posed of by the United States before the passage of this act, except those re- 
leased by the United States to the grantees of the State of Iowa, under joint 
resolution of March 3, 1861, the Secretary of the Interior is hereby dhected to 
set apart an equal amount of lands within said State to be certified in lieu 
thereof: Provided, that if the State shall have sold and conveyed any portion of 
the lands lying within the limits of the ^rant the title of which has proved in- 
vaUd, any lands which shall be certified to said State in heu thereof by virtue of 
the provisions of this act, shall inure to and be held as a tnist fund for the ben- 
efit of the person, or persons, respectively, whose titles shall have failed as 

The grant of lands by the above act of Congress was accepted 
by a joint resohition of the General Assembly, Sept. 11, 1862, in 
extra session. On the same day, the Governor was authorized to 
appoint one or more Commissioners to select the lands in accord- 
ance with the grant. These Commissioners were instructed to 
report their selections to the Registrar of the State Land Office. 
The lands so selected were to be held for the purposes of the 
grant, and were not to be disposed of until further legislation 
should be had. D. W. Kilburne, of Lee County, was appointed 
Commissioner, and, on the 25th day of April, 1864, the General 
Land Officer authorized the selection of 300,000 acres from the 
vacant public lands as a part of the grant of July 12, 1862, and 
the selections were made in the Fort Dodge and Sioux City Land 

Many difficulties, controversies and conflicts, in relation to claims 
and titles, grew out of this grant, and these difficulties were en- 
hanced by the uncertainty of its limits until the act of Congress 
of July, 1862. But the General Assembly sought, by wise and 
appropriate legislation, to protect the integrity of titles derived 
from the State. Especially was it the determination to protect the 
actual settlers, who had paid their money and made improvements 
pr or to the final settlement of the limits of the grant by Con- 


These lands constituted a part of the 500,000 acre grant made 
by Congress in 1841; including 28,378.46 acres in Webster County, 
selected by the Agent of the State under that grant, and ap- 
proved by the Commissioner of the General Land Office February 
20, 1851. They were ordered into the market June 6, 1853, by 
the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who authorized John 
Tolman, School Fund Commissioner for Webster County, to 
sell them as school lands. Subsequently, when the act of 1846 
was construed to extend the Des Moines River grant above Rac- 
coon Fork, it was held that the odd numbered sections of these 
lands within five miles of the river were appropriated by that act, 
and on the 30th day of December, 1853, 12,813.51 acres were set 
apart and approved to the State by the Secretary of the Interior, 


as a part of the Des Moines River grant. Jannary 6, 1854, the 
Commissioner of the General Land Office transmitted to the Su- 
perintendent of Public Instruction a certified copy of the lists of 
these lands, indorsed by the Secretary of the Interior. Prior to 
this action of the Department, however, Mr. Tolman had sold to 
individual purchasers 3,194.28 acres as school lands, and their 
titles were, of course, killed. For their relief, an act, approved 
April 2, 1860, provided that, upon application and proper showing, 
these purchasers should be entitled to draw from the State Treas- 
ury the amount they had paid, with ten per cent, interest, on ths 
contract to purchase made with Mr. Tolman. Under this act, five 
applications were made prior to 1864, and the applicants received, 
in the aggregate, ^949.53. 

By an act approved April 7, 1862, the Governor was forbidden 
to issue to the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad Company any cer- 
tificate of the completion of any part of said road, or any convey- 
ance of lands, until the company should execute and file, in the 
State Land office, a release of its claim — first to certain swamp 
lands; second, to the Des Moines River Lands sold by Tolman; 
third, to certain other river lands. That act provided that "the 
said company shall transfer their interests in those tracts of land 
in Webster and Hamilton Counties heretofore sold by John Tol- 
man, School Fund Commissioner, to the Register of the State 
Land Office in trust, to enable said Register to carry out and per- 
form said contracts in all cases when he is called upon by the 
parties interested to do so, before the 1st day of January, A. D., 

The company filed its release to the Tolman lands, in the Land 
Office, February 27, 1864, at the same time entered its protest that 
it had no claim upon them, never had pretended to have, and had 
never sought to claim them. The Register of the State Land Of- 
fice, under the advice of the Attorney General, decided that pat- 
ents would be issued to the Tolman purchasers in all cases where 
contracts had been made prior to December 23, 1853, and remain- 
ing uncancelled under the act of 1860. But before any were is- 
sued, on the 27th of August, 1864, the Des Moines Navigation 
and Railroad Company commenced a suit in Chancery, in the 
District Court of Polk County, to enjoin the issue of such patents. 
On the 30th of August, an ex parte injunction was issued. In 
January, 1868, Mr. J. A. Harvey, Register of the Land Office, 
filed in the court an elaborate answer to plaintiffs' petition, deny- 
ing that tlie company had any right to or title in the lands. Mr. 
Harvey's successor, Mr. C. C. Carpenter, filed a still more exhaus- 
tive answer February 10, 1868. August 3, 1868, the District 
Court dissolved the injunction. The company appealed to the 
Supreme Court, where the decision of the lower court was affirmed 
in December, 1869. 



An act of Congress, approved March 28, 1850, to enable Arkan- 
sas and other States to reclaim swampy lands within their limits, 
granted all the swamp and overflowed lands remaining unsold 
within their respective limits to the several States. Although 
the total amount claimed by Iowa under this act does not exceed 
4,000,000 acres, it has, like the Des Moines River and some of the 
laud grants, cost the State considerable trouble and expense, and 
required a deal of legislation. The State expended large sums of 
money in making the selections, securing proofs, etc., but the 
General Government appeared to be laboring under the impression 
that Iowa was not acting in good faith; that she had selected 
a large amount of lands under the swamp land grant, transferred 
her interest to counties, and counties to private speculators, and 
the General Land office permitted contests as to the character of 
the lands already selected by the Agents of the State as "swamp 
lands." Congress, by joint resolution December 18, 1856, and by 
act March 3, 1857, saved the State from the fatal result of this 
ruinous policy. Many of these lands were selected in 1854 and 
1855, immediately after several remarkably wet seasons, and it 
was but natural that some portions of the selections would not ap- 
pear swampy .after a few dry seasons. Some time after these first 
selections were made, persons desired to enter parcels of the so- 
called swamp lands and offering to prove them to be dry. In such 
cases the General Land office ordered hearing before the local 
land officers, and if they decided the land to be dry, it was permit- 
ted to be entered and the claim of the State rejected. Specula- 
tors took advantage of this. Affidavits were bought of irrespon- 
sible and reckless men, who, for a few dollars, would confident- 
ly testify to the character of lands they never saw. These ap- 
plications multiplied until they covered 3,000,000 acres. It was 
necessary that Congress should confirm all these selections to the 
State, that this gigantic scheme of fraud and plunder might be 
stopped. The act of Congress of March 3, 1857, was designed to 
accomplish this purpose. But the Commissioner of the General 
Land office held that it was only a qualified confirmation and un- 
der this construction sought to sustain the action of the Depart- 
ment in rejecting the claim of the State, and certifying them un- 
der act of May 15, 1856, under which the railroad companies 
claimed all swamp land in odd numbered sections within the lim- 
its of their respective roads. This action led to serious complica- 
tions. When the railroad grant was made, it was not intended, 
nor was it understood that it included any of the swamp lands. 
These were already disposed of by previous grant. Kor did the 
companies expect to receive any of them, but under the decision 
of the Department adverse to the State the way was opened, and 
hey were not slow to enter their claims. March 4, 1862, the At- 



torney General of the State submitted to the General Assembly an 
opinion that the railroad companies were not entitled even to con- 
test the right of the State to these lands, under the swamp land 
grant. A letter from the Acting Commissioner of the General 
Land Office expressed the same opinion^ and the General Assembly 
by joint resolution, approved April 7, 1862, expressly repudiated 
the acts of the railroad companies, and disclaimed any intention 
to claim these lands under any other than the act of Congress of 
September 28, 1850. A great deal of legislation has been found 
necessary ia relation to these swamp lands. 


One of the most important grants of public lands to Iowa for 
purposes of internal improvement was that known as the "Rail- 
road Grant," by act of Congress, approved May 15, 1856. This 
act granted to the State of Iowa, for the purpose of aiding in, the 
construction of railroads from Burlington, on the Mississippi Riv- 
er, to a point on the Missouri River, near the mouth of Platte 
River; from the city of Davenport, via Iowa City and Fort Des 
Moines to Council Bluffs; from Lyons City northwesterly to a 
point of intersection with the main line of the Iowa Central Air 
Line Railroad, near Maquoketa; thence on said main line, running 
as near as practicable to the Forty-second Parallel; across the said 
State of Iowa to the Missouri River; from the city of Dubuque to 
a point on the Missouri River near Sioux City, with a branch from 
the mouth of the Tete des Morts, to the nearest point on said road, 
to be completed as soon as the main road is completed to that 
point, every alternate section of land designated by odd numbers, 
for six sections in width, on each side of said roads. It was also 
provided that if it should appear, wheii the lines of those roads 
were definitely fixed, that the United States had sold, or right of 
pre-emption had attached to any portion of said land, the State 
was authorized to select a quantity equal thereto, in alternate sec- 
tions, or parts of sections, within fifteen miles of the line so lo- 
cated. The lands remaining to the United States within six 
miles on each side of said roads were not to be sold for less than 
the double niininum price of the public lands when sold, nor were 
any of said lands to become subject to private entry until they had 
been first offered at public sale at the increased price. 

Section 4 of the act provided that the lands granted to said State 
shall be disposed of by said State only in the manner following, 
that is to say: "That a quantity of land not exceeding one hundred 
and twenty sections for each of said roads, and included within a 
continuous length of twenty miles of each of said roads, may be 
sold; and when the Governor of said State shall certify to the Sec- 
retary of the Interior that any twenty continuous miles of any of 
said roads is completed, then another quantity of land hereby 


granted, not to exceed one hundred and twenty sections for each 
of said roads having twenty continuous miles completed as afore- 
said, and included within a continuous length of twenty miles of 
each of such roads, may be sold; and so from time to time until 
said roads are completed, and if any of said roads are not com- 
pleted within ten years, no further sale said shall be made, and the 
lands unsold shall revert to the United States." 

At a special session of the General Assembly of Iowa, by act ap- 
proved July 14, 1856, the grant was accepted and the lands were 
granted by the State to the several railroad companies named, pro- 
vided that the lines of their respective roads should be definitely 
fixed and located before April 1, 1857; and provided, further, that 
if either of said companies should fail to have seventy-five miles 
of road completed and equipped by the 1st day of December, 1859, 
and its entire road completed by December 1, 1865, it should be 
competent for the State of Iowa to resume all rights to lands re- 
maining undisposed of by the company so failing. 

The railroad companies, with the single exception of the Iowa 
Central Air Line, accepted the several grants in accordance with 
the provisions of the above act, located their respective roads and 
selected their lands. The grant to the Iowa Central was again 
granted to the Cedar Rapids & Missouri River Railroad Company, 
which accepted it. 

By act, approved April 7, 1862, the Dubuque & Sioux City Rail- 
road Company was required to execute a release to the State of 
certain swamp and school lands, included within the limits of its 
grant, in compensation for an extension of the time fixed for the 
completion of its road. 

A careful examination of the act of Congi'ess does not reveal 
any special reference to railroad companies. The lands were 
granted to the State^ and the act evidently contemplated the sale 
of them hu the State, and the appropriation of the proceeds to aid 
in the construction of certain lines of railroad within its limits. 
Section 4 of the act clearly defines the authority of the State in 
disposing of the lands. 

Lists of all the lands embraced by the grant were made, and cer- 
tified to the State by the proper authorities. Under an act of Con- 
gress approved August 3, 1861, entitled, ''An act to vest in the 
several States and Territories the title in fee of the lands tvhich 
have been or maij he certified to them,''' these certified lists, the 
originals of which are filed in the General Land Ofiice, conveyed 
to the State "the fee simple title to all the lands embraced in such 
lists that are of the character contemplated" by the terms of the 
act making the grant, and "intended to be granted thereby; but 
where lands embraced in such lists are not of the character em- 
braced by such act of Congress, and were not intended to be 
granted thereby, said lists, so far as these lands are concerned, 
shall be perfectly null and void; and no right, title, claim or in- 


terest shall be conveyed thereby." Those certified lists made 
under the act u£ May 15, 1850, were forty-three in number, viz. : For 
the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, nine; for the Missis- 
sippi & Missouri Railroad, eleven; for the Iowa Central Air Line, 
thirteen; and for the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad, ten. The 
lands thus approved to the State were as follows: 

Burlington & Missouri River R. R 237,095.34 acres 

Mississippi & Missouri River R. R 774,674.36 " 

Cedar Rapids & Missouri River R. R 775,454.19 " 

Dubuque & Sioux City R. R 1,226,558.32 " 

A portion of these had been selected as swamp lands by the 
State, under the act of September 28, 1850, au'l these, by the terms 
of the act of August 3, 1854, could not be turned over to the rail- 
roads unless the claim of the State to them as swamp was first re- 
jected. It was not possible to determine from the records of the 
State Land Office the extent of the conflicting claims arising un- 
der the two grants, as copies of the swamp land selections in some 
of the counties were not filed of record. The Commissioner of the 
Greneral Land Office, however, prepared lists of the lands claimed 
by the State as swamp under the act of September 28, 1850, and 
also claimed by the railroad companies under act of May 15, 1856, 
amounting to 553,293.33 acres, the claim to which as swamp had 
been rejected by the Department. These were consequently cer- 
tified the State as railroad lands. There was no mode other than 
the act of July, 1856, prescribed for transferring the title to these 
lands from the State to the companies. The courts had decided 
that, for the purposes of the grant, the lands belonged to the 
State, and to her the companies should look for their titles. It was 
generally accepted that the act of the Legislature of July, 1856, 
was all that was necessary to complete the transfer of title. It was 
assumed that all the rights and powers conferred upon the State by 
the act of Congress of May 14, 1856, were by the act of the Gen- 
eral Assembly transferred to the companies; in other words that 
it was designed to put the companies in the place of the State as 
the grantees from Congress — and, therefore, that which perfected 
the title thereto to the State perfected the title to the companies 
by virtue of the act of July, 1856. One of the companies, how- 
ever, the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company, was not 
entirely satisfied with this construction. Its managers thought 
that some further and specific action of the State authorities in ad- 
dition to the act of the Legislature was necessary to complete their 
title. This induced Gov. Lowe to attach to the certified lists his 
official certificate, under the broad seal of the State. On the 9th 
of November, 1859, the Governor thus certified to them (com- 
m_encing at the Missouri River) 187,207.44 acres, and December 
27th, 43,775.70 acres, an aggregate of 231.073.14 acres. These 
were the only lands under the grant that were certified by the 
State authorities with any design of perfecting the title already 


vested in ilie company by the act o£ July, 1856. The lists which 
were afterward furnished to the company were simply certified by 
the Governor as being correct copies of the lists received by the 
State from the United States General Laud Office. These subse- 
quent lists embraced lands that had been claimed by the State 
under the Swamp Land Grant. 

It was urged against the claim of the Companies that the effect 
of the act of the Legislature was simply to substitute them for the 
State as parties to the grant. 1st. That the lands were granted 
to the State to be held in trust for the accomplishment of a specific 
purpose, and therefore the State could not part with the title until 
that purpose should have been accomplished. 2d. That it was not 
the intention of the act of July 14, 1850, to deprive the State of 
the control of the lands, but on the contrary that she should retain 
supervision of them and the right to withdraw all rights and 
poAvers and resume the title conditionally conferred by that act 
upon the companies in the event of their failure to complete their 
part of the contract. 3d. That the certified lists from the General 
Land Office vested the title in the State only by virtue of the act 
of Congress approved August 3, 1854. The State Land Office held 
that the proper construction of the act of July 14, 1856, when ac- 
cepted by the companies was that it became a conditional contract 
that might ripen into a positive sale of the lands as from time to 
time the work should progress, and as the State thereby became 
authorized by the express terms of the grant to sell them. 

This appears to have been the correct construction of the act, 
but by a subsequent act of Congress, approved June 2, J 864, 
amending the act of 1856, the terms of the grant were changed, 
and numerous controversies arose between the companies and the 

The ostensible purpose of this additional act was to allow the 
Davenport & Council Bluffs Railroad "to modify or change the 
location of the uncompleted portion of its line," to run through 
the town of Newton, Jasper county, or as nearly as practicable to 
that point. The original grant had been made to the State to aid 
in the construction of railroads within its limits, and not to the 
companies, but Congress, in 1864, appears to have been utterly ig- 
norant of what had been done under the act of 1856, or, if not, 
to have utterly disregarded it. The State had accepted the origin- 
al grant. The Secretary of the Interior had already certified to 
the State all the lands intended to be included in the grant within 
fifteen miles of the lines of the several railroads. It will be re- 
membered that section 4, of the act of May 15, 1856, specifies the 
manner of sale of these lands from time to time as work on the 
railroads should progress, and also provided that "if any of said 
roads are not completed within ten years, no ftoiJier sale shall be 
made, and the lands unsold shall revert to the United States^ 
Having vested the title to these lands in trust, in the State of Iowa, 


it is plain that until the expiration of the ten years there could be 
no reversion, and the State, not the United States, must control 
them until the grant should expire by limitation. The United 
States authorities could not rightfully require the Secretary of 
the Interior to certify directly to the companies any portion of the 
lands already certified to the State. And yet Congress, by its act 
of June 2, 1864, provided that whenever the Davenport & Council 
Bluffs Railroad Company should file in the General Laud Office, at 
Washington, a map definitely showing such new location, the 
Secretary of the Interior should cause to be certified and conveyed 
to said company, from time to time, as the road progressed, out of 
any of the lands belonging to the United States, not sold, reserved 
or otherwise disposed of, or to Avhich a pre-emption claim or right 
of homestead had not attached, and on which a bona fide settle- 
ment and improvement had not been made under color of title de- 
rived from the United States or from the State of Iowa, within 
six miles of such newly located line, an amount of land per mile 
equal to that originally authorized to be granted to aid in the 
construction of said road by the act to which this was an amend- 

The term "out of any lands heJongimj to the United States, not 
sold, reserved or otherwise disposed of, etc.," would seem to indi- 
cate that Congress did intend to grant lands already granted, but 
when it declared that the Company should have an amount per 
mile equal to that originally authorized to he granted, it is plain 
that the framers of the bill were ignorant of the real terms of the 
original grant, or that they designed that the United States should 
resume the title it had already parted with two years before the 
lands could revert to the United States under the original act, 
which was not repealed. 

A similar change Avas made in relation to the Cedar Rapids & 
Missouri Railroad, and dictated the conveyance of lands in a 
similar manner. 

Like provision was made for the Dubuque & Sioux City Rail- 
road, and the Company was piermitted to change the location of 
its line between Fort Dodge and Sioux City, so as to secure the 
best route between those points; but this change of location was 
not to impair the right to the land granted in the original act, 
nor did it change the location of those lands,' 

By the same act, the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad Company 
was authorized to transfer and assign all or any part of the grant 
to any other company or person, "if, in the opinion of said Com- 
pany, the construction of said railroad across the State of Iowa 
would be thereby sooner and more satisfactorily completed; but 
such assignee should not in any case be released from the liabili- 
ties and conditions accompanying this grant, nor acquire perfect 
title in any other manner than the same Avould have been ac- 
quired by the original grantee.'' 


Still further, the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad was not 
forgotten, and was, by the same act, empowered to receive an 
amount of land per mile equal to that mentioned in the original 
act, and if that could not be found within the limits of six miles 
from the line of said road, then such selection might be made 
along such line within twenty miles thereof out of any public 
lands belonging to the United States, not sold, reserved or other- 
wise disposed of, or to which a pre-emption claim or right of 
homestead had not attached. 

Those acts of Congress, which evidently originated in the 
•'lobby," occasioned much controversy and trouble. The Depart- 
ment of the Interior, however, recognizing the fact that when the 
Secretary had certified the lands to the State, under the act of 
1856, that act divested the United States of title, under the vest- 
ing act of August, 1854, refused to review its action, and also re- 
fused to order any and all investigations for establishing adverse 
claims (except in pre-emption cases), on the ground that the 
United States had parted with the title, and, therefore, could ex- 
ercise no control over the land. 

May 12, 1861, before the passage of the amendatory act above 
described. Congress granted to the State of Iowa, to aid in the 
construction of a railroad from McGregor to Sioux City, and for 
the benefit of the McGregor Western Railroad Company every 
alternate section of land, designated by odd numbers, for ten 
sections in width on each side of the proposed road, reserving the 
right to substitute other lands, whenever it was found that the 
grant infringed upon pre-empted lands, or on lands that had been 
reserved or disposed of for any other purpose. In such cases, the 
Secretary of the Interior was instructed to select, in lieu, lands 
belonging to the United States lying nearest to the limits specified. 


An Agricultural College and Model Farm was established by 
act of the General Assembly, approved March 22, 1858. By the 
eleventh section of the act, the proceeds of the five-section grant 
made for the purpose of aiding in the erection of public buildings 
was appropriated, subject to the approval of Congress, together 
with all lands that Congress might thereafter grant to the State 
for the purpose for the benefit of the institution. On the 23d of 
March, by joint resolution, the Legislature asked the consent of 
Congress to the proposed transfer, By act approved July 11, 
1862, Congress removed the restrictions imposed in the ''Five- 
section grant," and authorized the General Assembly to make 
such disposition of the lands as should be deemed best for the in- 
terests of the State. By these several acts the five sections of 
land in Jasper County certified to the State to aid in the erection 
of public buildings under the act of March 3, 1815, entitled: "An 
act supplemental to the act for the admission of the States of 


Iowa and Florida into the Union," were fully appropriated for the 
benefit of the Iowa Agricultural College and Farm. The institu- 
tion is located in Story County. Seven hundred and twenty-one 
acres in that and two hundred in Boone County were donated to 
it by individuals interested in the success of the enterprise. 

By act of Congress approved^July 2, 1852, an appropriation was 
made to each State and Territory of 30,000 acres for each Sena- 
tor and Representative in Congress to which, by the apportion- 
ment under the census of 1850, they were respectfully entitled. 
This grant was made for the purpose of endowing colleges of ag- 
riculture and mechanic arts. 

Iowa accepted this grant by an act passed at an extra session of 
its Legislature, approved Sept 11, 1862, entitled: ''An act to ac- 
cept of the grant, and carry into execution the trust conferred 
upon the State of Iowa by an act of Congress entitled 'An act 
granting public lands to the several States and Territories which 
may provide colleges for the benefit of agricultural and the me- 
chanic arts, approved July 2, 1862." This act made it the duty 
of the Governor to appoint an agent to select and locate the lands, 
and provided that none should be selected that were claimed by 
any county as swamp lands. The agent was required to make re- 
port of his doings to the Governor, who was instructed to submit 
the list of selections to the Board of Trustees of the Agricultural 
College for their approval. One thousand dollars were appropri- 
ated to carry the law into effect. The State having two Senators and 
six Representatives in Congress, was entitled to 240,000 acres of 
land under this grant, for the purpose of establishing and main- 
taining an Agricultural College. Peter Melendy, Esq., of Black 
Hawk County, was appointed to make the selections, and during 
August, September and December, 1863, located them in the Fort 
Dodge, Des Moines and Sioux City Land Districts. December 8, 
1864, these selections were certified by the Commissioner of the 
General land Office, and were approved to the State by the Secre- 
tary of the Interior December 13, 1864. The title to these lands 
were vested in the State in fee simple, and conflicted with no other 
claims under other grants. 

The agricultural lands were approved to the State as 240,000.90 

acres; but 35,691.66 acres were located within railroad limits, 

which were computed at the rate of two acres for one, the actual 

amount of land approved to the State under this grant was only 

204,309.30 acres, located as follows: 

In Des Moines Land District 6,804.96 acres. 

In Sioux City Land District 59,025.37 " 

In Fort Dodge Land District 138,478.97 • ' 

By act of the General Assembly, approved March 29, 1864, en- 
titled, "An act authorizing the Trustees of the Iowa State Agri- 
cultural College and Farm, to sell all lands acquired, granted, do- 
nated or appropriated for the benfit of said College, and to make 


an investment of the prcceeds thereof," all these lauds were 
granted to the Agricultural College and Farra, and the Trustees 
were authorized to take possession and sell or lease them. There 
was then under the control of the Trustees, lands as follows: 

Under the act of July 2, 1852 304,309.30 acres. 

Of the five-section grant 3,200.00 '• 

Lands donated in Story County 721.00 

Lands donated in Boone County 200.00 •' 

Total 208,430.30 acres. 

The Trustees opened an office at Fort Dodge, and appointed 
Hon. G. W. Bassett their a^ent for the sale of these lands. 



The germ of the free public school system of Iowa, which now 
ranks second to none in the United States, was planted by the 
first settlers. They had migrated to the "Beautiful Land"' from 
other and older States, where the common school system had been 
tested by many years' expei'ience, bringing with them some 
knowledge of its advantages, which they determined should be en- 
joyed by the children of the land of their adoption. The system 
thus planted was expanded and improved in the broad fields of 
the West, until now it is justly considered one of the most com- 
plete, comprehensive and liberal in the country. 

Nor is it to be wondered at when it is remembered humble log 
school houses were built almost as soon as the log cabin of the 
earliest settlers were occupied by their brave builders. In the lead 
mining regions of the State, the first to be occupied by the white 
race, the hardy pioneers provided the means for the education of 
their children even before they had comfortable dwellings for their 
families. School teachers were among the first immigrants to 
Iowa. Wherever a little settlement was made, the school house 
was the first united public act of the settlers; and the rude primi- 
tive structures of the early time only disappeared when the com- 
munities had increased in population and wealth, and were able to 
replace them with more commodious and comfortable buildings. 
Perhaps in no single instance has the magnificent progress of the 
State of Iowa been more marked and rapid than in her common 
school system and in her school houses, which, long since, super- 
ceded the log cabins of the first settlers. To-day, the school houses 
which everywhere dot the broad and fertile prairies of Iowa are 
unsurpassed by those of any other State in the great Union. More 
especially is this true in all her cities and villages, where liberal 
and lavish appropriations have been voted, by a generous people, 
for the erection of large commodious and elegant buildings, fur- 
nished with all the modern improvements, and costing from $10,- 
000 to $60,000 each. The people of the State have expended 
more than $10,000,000 for the erection of public school buildings. 


The first house erected in Iowa was a log cabin at Dubuque, 
built by James L. Langworthy and a few other miners, in the 
Autumn of 1833. 

Mrs. Caroline Baxter commenced teaching in Dubuque in March, 
1836. She was the first female teacher there, and probably the 
first in Iowa. The first tax for the support of schools at Dubuque 
Avas levied in 1810. 

Among the first buildings erected at Burlington was a commod- 
ious log school house m 1834, in which Mr. Johnson Pierson 
taught the first school in the Winter of 1831-5. 

The first school in Muscatine County was taught by George 
Bumgardner, in the Spring of 1837, and in 1839, a log school 
house was erected in Muscatine, which served for a long time for 
school house, church and public hall. The first school in Daven- 
port was taught in 1838. In Fairfield Miss Clarissa Sawyer. 
James F. Chambers and Mrs. Reed taught school in 1839. 

When the site of Iowa City was selected as the capital of the 
Territory of Iowa, in May, 1839, it was a perfect wilderness. The 
first sale of lots took place August 18, 1839, and before January 
1, 1840, about twenty families had settled within the limits of the 
town; and during the same year, Mr. Jesse Berry opened a school 
in a small frame building he had erected, on what is now College 
street. "'^ 

The first settlement in Monroe County was made in 1848, by 
Mr. John R. Grray, about two miles from the present site of Ed- 
dyville; and in the Summer of 1844, a log school house was built, 
and the first school was opened. About a year after the first cab- 
in was built at Oskaloosa, a log school house was built. 

At Fort Des Moines, now the Capital of the State, the first 
school was taught in the winter of 1846-7. 

The first school in Pottawattamie County was opened at Coun- 
cil Point, prior to 1849. 

The first school in Decorah was taught in 1853. In Osceola, the 
first school was opened by Mr. D. W. Scoville. The first school 
at Fort Dodge was taught in 1855, by Cyrus C. Carpenter, since 
(xovernor of the State. In Crawford County the first school 
house was built in Mason's Grove in 1856, and Morris McHenry 
first occupied it as teacher. 

During the first twenty years of the history- of Iowa, the log 
school houses prevailed, and in 1861, there were 893 of these 
primitive structures in use for school pui'posesin the State. Since 
that time they have been gradually disappearing. In 1865, there 
were 796: in 1870, 336; and in 1875, 121. 

Iowa Territory was created July 3, 1838. January 1, 1839, the 
Territorial Legislature passed an act providing that ''there shall 
be established a common school, or schools, in each of the coun- 
ties in this Territory, which shall be open and free for every class 
of white citizens between the ages of five and twenty-one yoars." 


The second section of the act provided that "the County Board 
shall, from time to time, form such districts in their respective 
counties whenever a petition may he presented for the purpose hy a 
majority of the voters resident within such contemplated district." 
These districts were governed by boards of trustees, usually of 
three persons; each district was required to maintain school at 
least three months in every year; and later, laws were enacted 
providing for county school taxes for the payment of teachers, 
and that whatever additional sum might be required should be 
assessed upon the parents sending, in proportion to the length of 
time sent. 

When Iowa Territory became a State, in 1846, with a popula- 
tion of 100,000 and with 20,000 pupils within its limits, about 
four hundred school districts had been organized. In 1850, there 
were 1,200, and in 1857, the number had increased to 3,265. 

In March, 1858, the Seventh General Assembly enacted that 
''each civil township is declared a school district," and provided 
that these should be divided into sub-districts. This law went in- 
to force March 20, 1858, and reduced the number of school dis- 
tricts from about 3,500 to less than 900. 

The change of school organization resulted in a very material 
reduction of the expenditures for the compensation of District 
Secretaries and Treasurers. An effort was made for several years, 
from 1867 to 1872, to abolish the sub-district system. The Legis- 
lature of 1870, provided for the formation of independent districts 
from the sub-districts of district townships. The system of 
graded schools was inaugurated in 1849; and new schools, in which 
more than one teacher is employed, are universally graded. 

The first official mention of Teachers' Institutes in the educa- 
tional records of Iowa, occurs in the annual report of Hon. Thomas 
H. Benton, Jr., made December 2, 1850. 

In March, 1858, an act was passed authorizing the holding of 
Teachers' Institutes for periods not less than six working days, 
whenever not less than thirty teachers should desire. The Super- 
intendent was authorized to expend not exceeding $100 for any 
one Institute, to be paid out by the County Superintendent as the 
Institute might direct for teachers and lecturers, and one thou- 
sand dollars was appropriated to defray the expenses of these In- 

The Board of Education at its first session, commencing Decem- 
ber 6, 1858, enacted a code of school laws which retained the ex- 
isting provisions for Teachers' Institutes. In March, 1860, the 
General Assembly amended the act of the Board by appropriating 
"a sum not exceeding fifty dollars annually for one such Institute, 
held as provided by law in each county." 

By act approved March 19, 1874, Normal Institutes were estab- 
lished in each county, to be held annually by the County Superin- 
tendent, and in 1876 the Sixteenth General Assembly established 


the first permanent State Normal School at Cedar Falls, Black 
Hawk County, appropriating the building and property of the 
Soldiers' Orphans' Home at that place for that purpose. 

The public school system of Iowa is admirably organized, and if 
the various officers who are entrusted with the educational inter- 
ests of the commonwealth are faithful and competent, should and 
will constantly improve. 

''The public schools are supported by funds arising from several 
sources. The sixteenth section of every Congressional Township 
was set apart by the General Government for school purposes, be- 
ing one-thirty-sixth part of all of the lands of the State. The 
minimum price of these lands was fixed at one dollar and twenty- 
five cents per acre. Congress also made an additional donation to 
the State of five hundred thousand acres, and an appropriation of 
five per cent, on all the sales of public lands to the school fund. 
The State gives to this fund the proceeds of the sales of all 
lands which escheat to it; the proceeds of all fines for the vio- 
lation of the liquor and criminal laws. The money derived from 
these sources constitutes the permanent school fund of the State, 
which cannot be diverted to any other purpose. The penalties 
collected by the courts for fines and forfeits go to the school fund 
in the counties where collected. The proceeds of the sale of lands 
and the five per cent, fund go into the State Treasury, and the 
State distributes these proceeds to the several counties according to 
their recpest, and the counties loan the money to individuals for 
long terms at eight per cent, interest, on security of land valued 
at three times the amount of the loan, exclusive of all buildings 
and improvements thereon. The interest on these loans is paid 
into the State Treasury, and becomes the available school fund of 
the State. The counties are responsible to the State for all monev 
so loaned, and the State is likewise responsible to the school 
fund for all moneys transferred to the counties. The interest on 
these loans is apportioned by the State Auditor semi-annually to 
the several counties of the State, in proportion to the number of 
persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years. The 
counties also levy an annual tax for school purposes, which is ap- 
portioned to the several district townships in the same way. A 
district tax is also levied for the same purpose . The money aris- 
ing from these several sources constitutes the support of the pub- 
lic schools, and is sufficient to enable every sub-district in the 
State to afford from six to nine months' school each year." 

The taxes levied for the support of schools are self-imposed. 
Under the admirable school laws of the State, no taxes can be 
legally assessed or collected for the erection of school houses until 
they have been ordered by the election of the district at a school 
meeting legally called. The school houses of Iowa are the pride 
of the State and an honor to the people. If they have been some- 
times built at a prodigal expense, the tax-payers have no one to 


blame but themselves. The teachers' and eontiugent funds are 
determined by the Directors, under certain legal restrictions. 
These boards are elected annually, except in the independent dis- 
tricts, in which the board may be entirely changed every three 
years. The only exception to this mode of levying taxes for sup- 
port of schools is the county school tax, which is determined by 
the County Board of Supervisors. The tax is from one to three 
mills on the dollar; usually, however, but one. 

In his admirable message to the General Assembly, just previous 
to retiring from the Gubernatorial chair, Gov. Gear has the follow- 
ing to say concerning the public schools of Iowa: 

"The number of school children reported is 594,750. Of this 
number 384,192 are, by approximation, between the ages of six 
and sixteen years. The number of all ages enrolled in the 
schools is 431,513, which shows that much the greater proportion 
of children of school age avail themselves of the benefits of our 
educational system. The average attendance is 254,088. The 
schools of the State have been in session, on an average, 148 

"There is, doubtless, quite a per centage of children who attend 
schools other than those of a public character. Yet the figures I 
have quoted show clearly that very many children, through the 
negligence or unwillingness of parents, do not attend school at all, 
but are in a fair way to grow up in ignorance. I, therefore, earn- 
estly suggest that you consider the expediency of enacting a com- 
pulsory educational law, which should require attendance upon 
schools of some kind, either public or private. To me it does 
seem as if the State shall not have done her full duty by the 
children, until she shall have completed her educational system 
by some such enactment. 

''The interest in the normal institutes is maintained, and, be- 
yond doubt, they render great aid in training the teachers who 
attend them. 

"Tlie receipts for all school purposes throughout the State were 
$5,006,023. 60, and the expenditures $5,129,279.49; but of these 
receipts and expenditures about $400,000 was of money borrowed 
to refund outstanding bonds at lower rates of interest. 

"The amount on hand aggregated, at the end of the fiscal year, 
$2,653,356.55. This sum is, in my judgment, much larger than 
the necessities of the schools require, and it would be well to im- 
pose some check to prevent an excessive or unnecessary levy of 
taxes for school purposes." 

The significance of such facts as these is unmistakable. Such 
lavish expenditures can only be accounted for by the liberality 
and public spirit of the people, all of whom manifest their love 
of popular education and their faith in the public schools by the 
annual dedication to their support of more than one per cent, of 
their entire taxable property; this too, uninterruptedly through a 


series of years, commencing in the midst of a war which taxed 
their energies and resources to the extreme, and continuing 
through years of general depression in business — years of moder- 
ate yield of produce, of discouragingly low prices, and even amid 
the scanty surrounding and privations of pioneer life. Few hu- 
man enterprises have a grander significance or give evidence of a 
more noble purpose than the generous contributions from the 
scanty resources of the pioneer for the purpose of public educa- 



Governors — Robert Lucas, 1838-41 ; John Chambers, 1811-45; 
James Clarke, 1815. 

Secretaries — William B. Conway, 1838, died 1839; James Clarke, 
1839; 0. H. W. StuU, 1841; Samuel J. Burr, 1843; Jesse AVil- 
liams, 1845. 

Auditors— Jesse Williams, 1840; Wm. L. Gilbert, 1843; Robert 
M. Secrest, 1845. 

Treasurers — Thornton Bayliss, 1839; Morgan Reno, 1840. 

Judges — Charles Mason, Chief Justice, 1838; Joseph Williams, 
1838, Thomas S. Wilson, 1838. 

Presidents of Council — Jesse B. Browne, 1838-9; Stephen Hem- 
stead, 1839-40; M. Bainridge, 1840-1; Jonathan W. Parker, 
1841-2; John D. Elbert, 1842-3; Thomas Cox, 1843^; S. Clinton 
Hastings, 1845; Stephen Hemstead, 1845-6. 

Speakers of the House — William H. Wallace, 1838-9; Edward 
Johnston, 1839^0; Thomas Cox, 1840-1; Warner Lewis, 1841-2; 
James M. Morgan, 1842-3; James P. Carleton 1843-4; James M. 
Morgan, 1845; George W. McCleary, 1845-6. 

First Constitutional Convention^ 1844 — Shepherd Leffler, Presi- 
dent; George S. Hampton, Secretary. 

Second Constitutional Convention^ 1S46 — Enos Lowe, President; 
William Thompson, Secretary, 


Governors— A.\\se\ Briggs, 1846 to 1850; Stephen Hemstead, 
1850 to 1854; James W. Grimes, 1854 to 1858; Ralph P. Lowe, 
1858 to 1860; Samuel J. Kirkwood, 1860 to 1864; William M. 
Stone, 1S64 to 1868; Samuel Merrill, 1868 to 1872; Cvrus C. Car- 
penter, 1872 to 1876; Samuel J. Kirkwood, 1S76 to 1877; Joshua 
G. Newbold, Acting, 1877 to 1878; John H. Gear, 1878 to 1882; 
Buren R. Sherman, 1882 to— 

Lieutenant Governors — Office created by the new Constitution, 
September 3, 1857— Oran Faville, 1858-9; Nicholas J. Rush, 
1860-1; John R Needham, 1862-3; Enoch W. Eastman, 1864-5; 
Benjamin F. Gue, 1866-7: John Scott, 1868-9; M. M. AValden, 


1870-1; H. C. Bulis, 1872-3; Joseph Dysart, 1874-5; Joshua G. 
Newbold, 1876-7; Frank T. Campbell, 1878-82; 0. H. Manning, 
1882 to—. 

Secretaries of State — Elisha Cutler, Jr., Dec. 5, 1846, to Dee. 4, 
1848; Josiah H. Bonney, Dec. 4, 1848, to Dec 2, 1850; George W. 
McCleary, Dec. 2, 1850, to Dec. 2, 1856; Elijah Sells, Dec. 1, 1856, 
to Jan 5, 1863; James Wright, Jan. 5, 1863, to Jan. 7, 1867; Ed. 
Wright, Jan. 7, 1867, to Jan 6, 1873; Josiah T. Young, Jan 6, 
1873, to 1879; J. A. T; Hull, 1879 to—. 

Auditors of /S/aff— Joseph T. Fales, Dec. 5, 1846 to Dec. 2, 1850; 
William Pattee, Dec. 2, 1850, to Dec. 4, 1854; Andrew J. Stevens, 
Dec. 4, 1854, resigned in 1855; John Pattee, Sept. 22, 1855 to 
Jan. 3 1859; Jonathan W. Cattell, 1859, to 1865; John A. Elliot, 
1865 to 1871; John Russell, 1871 to 1875; Buren R. Sherman, 
1875 to 1881; W. V. Lucas, 1881 to—. 

l.\easurers of State— '^or^Q.a Reno, Dec. 18,1846, to Dec. 2, 
1850; Israel Kister, Dec 2, 1850, to Dec. 4, 1852; Martin L. Mor- 
ris, Dec. 4, 1852, to Jan. 2, 1859; John W. Jones 1859 to 1863; 
William H. Holmes, 1863 to 1867; Samuel E. Rankin, 1867 to 
1873; William Christy, 1873 to 1877; George W. Bemis, 1877 to 
1881; Edwin G. Conger, 1881 to—. 

Superintendents of Public Instruction — Office created in 1847 — 
James Harlan, June 5, 1845 (Supreme Court decided election void); 
Thomas H. Benton, Jr., May 23, 1844, to June 7, 1854; James D. 
Eads, 1854-7; Joseph C. Stone, March to June, 1857; Maturin L. 
Fisher, 1857 to Dec. 1858, when the office was abolished and the 
duties of the office devolved upon the Secretary of the Board of 

Secretaries of the Board of Education — Thomas H. Benton. Jr.,^ 
1859—1863; Oran Faville, Jan. 1, 1864. Board abolished March 
23, 1864. 

Superintendents of Public Instruction — Office re-created March 
23, 1864— Oran Faville, March 28, 1864, resigned March 1, 1867; 
D. Franklin Wells, March 4, 1879, to Jan., 1870; A. S. Kissell, 
1870 to 1872; Alonzo Abernethy, 1872 to 1877; Carl W. von 
Coelln, 1877 to 1882; J. W. Akers, 1882 to — . 

State Binders — Office created February 21, 1845 — William M. 
Coles, May 1, 1855, to May 1, 1859; Frank M. Mills, 1859 to 
1867; James S. Carter, 1867 to 1870; J. J. Smart, 1870 to 1874; 
H. A. Perkins, 1874 to 1878; Matt Parrott, 1878 to — . 

Begiters of the State Land Office — Anson Hart, May 5, 1S55» 
to May 13, 1857; Theodore S. Parvin, May -13, 1857, to Jan. 3, 
1859; Amos B. Miller, Jan. 3, 1859, to October, 1862; Edwin 
Mitchell, Oct. 31, 1862, to Jan. 5, 1863; Josiah A. Harvev, Jan. 
5, 1863, to Jan. 7, 1867; Cyrus C. Carpenter, Jan. 7, 1867, to Jan. 
1871: Aaron Brown, January, 1871, to Januarv, 1875; David Se- 
cor, January, 1875, to 1879; J. K. Powers. 1879 to — . 


State Printers — Office created Jan. 3, 1810 — Garrett D. Palmer 
and Georjre Paul, 1819; William H. Merritt, 1851 to 1853; Wil- 
liam A. Hornish, 1853 (resigned May 16, 1853); Mahoney & Dorr, 
1853 to 1855; Peter Moriarty, 1855 to 1857; John Teesdale, 1857 
to 1861; Francis W. Palmer, 1861 to 1869; Frank M. Mills, 18G9 
to 1870; G. W. Edwards, 1870 to 1872; R. P. Clarkson, 1872 to 
1878; Frank M. Mills, 1878 to — . 

Adjutants General — Daniel S. Lee, 1851-5; Geo. W. McCleary, 
1855-7; Elijah Sells, 1857; Jesse Bowen, 1857-61; Nathaniel Ba- 
ker, 1861 to 1877; John H. Looby, 1877 to 1879; W. L. Alexan- 
der, 1870 to — . 

Attorneys General — David C. Cloud, 1843-56; Samuel A. Rice, 
1856-60; Charles C. Nourse, 1861-4; Isaac L. Allen, 1865 (resigned 
January, 1866); Frederick E. Bissell, 1866 (died June 12, 1867); 
Henry O'Connor, 1867-72; Marsena E. Cutts, 1872-6; John F. 
McJiinkin, 1877 to 1881; Smith McPherson, 1881 to — . 

Presidents of the Senate — Thomas Baker, 1846-7; Thomas 
Hughes, 1848; John J. Selman, 1848-9; Enos Lowe, 1850-1: Wil- 
liam E. Leffingwell, 1852-3; Maturin L. Fisher, 1854-5; William 
W. Hamilton, 1856-7. Under the new Constitution, the Lieuten- 
ant Governor is President of the Senate. 

Speakers of the House — Jesse B. Brown, 1847-8; Smiley H. 
Bonhan, 1849-50; George Temple, 1851-2; James Grant, 1853-4; 
Reuben Noble, 1855-6; Samuel McFarland, 1856-7; Stephen B. 
Sheledy, 1858-9; John Edwards, 1860-1; Rush Clark, 1862-3; Ja- 
cob Butler, 1864-5; Ed. Wright, 1866-7: John Russell, 1868-9; 
Aylett R. Cotton, 1870-71; James Wilson, 1872-3; John H. Gear, 
1874-7; John Y. Stone, 1878-9; Lore Alford, 1880-1; G. R. Stru- 
ble, 1882 to — . 

New Constitutional Convention, 1859 — Francis Springer, Presi- 
dent; Thos. J. Saunders, Secretary. 


Buren R. Sherman, Governor; 0. H. Manning, Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor; John A. T. Hull, Secretary of State; William V. Lucas, Au- 
ditor of State; Edward H. Conger, Treasurer of State; James K. 
Powers, Register of State Land Office; W. L. Alexander, Adjutant 
General; Smith McPherson, Attorney General; Edward J. Holmes, 
Clerk of the Supreme Court; Jno. S. Runnells, Reporter Supreme 
Court; J. W. Akers, Superintendent of Public Instruction; Frank 
M. Mills, State Printer; Matt. Parrott, State Binder; Prof. Nathan 
R. Leonard, Superintendent of Weights and Measures; Mrs. S. B 
Maxwell, State Librarian. 



Chief Justice, Austin Adams, Dubuque; Associate Judges,'Wil- 
liam H. Seevers, Oskaloosa; James D. Day, Sidney; James H. Roth- 
rock, Tipton; Joseph M. Beck, Fort Madison. 



First Judicial District, Abraham H. Stutsman, Burliugtou; Sec- 
ond Judicial District, Edward L. Burton, Ottumwa; Third Judicial 
District. R. C. Henry, Mount Ayr; Fourth Judicial District, Charles 
H. Lewis, Cherokee; Fifth Judicial District, William H. McHenry, 
Des Moines; Sixth Judicial District, John C. Cook, Newton; Sev- 
enth Judicial District, Walter I. IJayes, Clinton; Eighth Judicial 
District, John Shane, Vinton; Ninth Judicial District, Sylvester 
Bagg, Wa'erloo; Tenth Judicial District, Ezekial E. Cooley, De- 
corah; Eleventh Judicial District, James W. McKenzie, Hampton; 
Twelfth Judicial District, Geo. W. Ruddick, Waverly; Thirteenth 
Judicial District, Joseph R. Reed, Council Bluffs; Fourteenth Ju- 
dicial District, Ed. R. Duffie, Sac City. 


First Judicial Circuit, First District, W^illiam J. Jeffries, Mt. 
Pleasant; Second Judicial Circuit, First District, Charles Phelps, 
Burlington; Second Judicial Circuit, H. C. Traverse, Bloomfield; 
Third Judicial Circuit, D. D. Gregory, Afton; Fourth Judicial 
Circuit, J. R. Zuver, Sioux City; First Judicial Circuit, Fifth 
District, Josiah Given, Des Moines; Second Judicial Circuit, 
Fifth District, Stephen A. Callvert, Adel; Sixth Judicial Circuit, 
W. R. Lewis, Montezuma; First Judicial Circuit, Seventh District, 
Charles W. Chase, Clinton; Second Judicial Circuit, Seventh Dis- 
trict, DeWitt C. Richman, Muscatine, Eighth Judicial Circuit, 
Christian Hedges, Marengo; Ninth Judicial Circuit, Benjamin W. 
Lacy, Dubuque; Tenth Judicial Circuit, Charles T. Granger, Wau- 
kon; Eleventh Judicial Circuit, D. D. Miracle, Webster City; 
Twelth Judicial Circuit, Robert G. Reineger, Charles City; Thir- 
teenth Judicial Circuit, C. F. Loofbourrow, Atlantic; Fourteenth 
Judicial Circuit, John N. Weaver, Algona. 



(The firs General Assembly failed to elect Senators.) 
George W. Jones, Dubuque, Dec. 7, 1848-1858; Augustus C. 
Dodge, Burlington, Dec. 7, 1848-1855; James Harlan, Mt. Pleas- 
ant, Jan. 6, 1855-1865; James W. Grimes, Burlington, Jan. 26, 
1858-died 1870; Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa City, elected Jan. 13, 
1866, to fill vacancy caused by resignation of James Harlan; James 
Harlan, Mt. Pleasant, March 4, 1866-1872; James B. Howell, 
Keokuk, elected Jan. 20, 1870, to fill vacancy caused by the death 
of J. W. Grimes— term expired March 3d; Geo. G. Wright, Des 
Moines, March 4, 1871-1877; William B. Allison, Dubuque, 
March 4, 1872; Samuel J. Kirkwood, March 4, 1877; James W. 
McDill, appointed to fill vacancy caused by the resignation of S-. 


J. Kirkwood, in 1881, and elected Jan. 1882, to fill the unexpired 
term; Jaraes F. Wilson, elected Jan. 1882, for the full term, be- 
ginning March 4, 1883. 


Tiventy-ninth Congress — 1810 to 1817. — S. Clinton Hastings; 
Shepherd Leffler. 

Thiiileth Congress— ISil to 1849.— First District, AVilliani 
Thompson; Second District, Shepherd Leffler. 

Thirty-first Congress— IS^Si to 1851.— First District, First Ses- 
sion, Wm. Thompson; unseated by the House of Representatives 
on a contest, and election remanded to the people. First District, 
Second Session, Daniel F. Miller. Second District, Shepherd 

Thirty-second Congress — 1851 to 1853. — First District, Bern- 
hart Henn. Second District, Lincoln Clark. 

Thirty-third C'owr/mss— 1853 to 1855. — First District, Bernhart 
Henn. Second District, John P. Cook. 

Thirty-fmrth Congress — 1855 to 1857. -First District, Augustus 
Hall. Second District, James Thoringtou. 

Thirty-fifth Congress— 1851 to 1859.— First District, Samuel 
K. Curtis, Second District, Timothy Davis. 

Thirty-sixth Conr/ress — 1859 to 1861. — First District, Samuel 
R. Curtis. Second District, William Vandever. 

Thirty-seventh Congress— 1S61 to 1863.— First District, First 
Session, Samuel R. Curtis.* First District. Second and Third Ses- 
sions, James F. Wilson. Second District, William Vandever. 

Thirty-eighth Congress — 1863 to 1865. — First District, James 
F. Wilson; Second District, Hiram Price; Third District, William 
B. Allison; Fourth District, Josiah B. Grinnell; Fifth District, 
John A. Kasson; Sixth District, Asahel W. Hubbard. 

Thirty-ninth Congress — 1865 to 1867. — First District, James 
F. Wilson; Second District, Hiram Price; Third District, William 
B. Allison; Fourth District, Josiah B. Grinnell; Fifth District, 
John A. Kasson; Sixth District, Asahel W. Hubbard. 

Fortieth Congress— 18Q1 to 1809.— First District, James F. 
Wilson; Second District, Hiram Price; Third District William B. 
Allison; Fourth District, William Lough ridge; Fifth District, 
GrenviUeM. Dodge; Sixth District, Asahel W. Hubbard. 

Forty-first Congress— lS>d9 to 1871— First District. George W. 
McCrary; Second District, William Smyth; Third District, 
William B. Allison; Fourth District, William Loughridge; Fifth 
District, Frank W. Palmer; Sixth District, Charles Pomeroy. 

♦Vacated seat hy acceptance of commission as Brigadier General, and J. F. Wilson 
chosen his successor. 


Fortif-second Congress — 1871 to 1873 — Fiist District, George 
W. McCrarv; Second District, Aylett R. Cotton; Third District, 
W. G. Donnan; Fourth District, Madison M. Waldon; Fifth Dis- 
trict, Frank W. Palmer; Sixth District, Jackson Orr. 

Fortij-third Congress— \^1^ to 1875— First District,. George W. 
McCrary; Second District, Aylett R. Cotton; Third District, 
William G. Donnan; Fourth District, Henry 0. Pratt; Fifth Dis- 
trict, James Wilson; Sixth District, William Loughridge; Seventh 
District, John A. Kasson; Eighth District, James W. McDill; 
Ninth District, Jackson Orr. 

Forty-fourth Congress — 1875 to 1877. — First District, George 
W. McCrary, Second District, John Q. Tufts; Third District. L. 
L. Ainsworth; Fourth District, Henry 0. Pratt; Fifth District, 
James Wilson; Sixth District: Ezekiel S. Sampson: Seventh Dis- 
trict, John A. Kasson; Eighth District, James W^. McDill; Ninth 
District, Addison Oliver. 

Forty-fifth Congress— 1871 to 1879.— First District, J. C. Stone; 
Second District, Hiram Price; Third District, T. W^ Burdick; 
Fourth District, H. C. Deering; Fifth District, Rush Clark; Sixth 
District, E. S. Sampson; Seventh District, H. J. B. Cummings; 
Eighth District, W. F. Sapp; Ninth District, A. Oliver. 

Forty-sixth Congress— 1879 to 1881.— First District, Moses A. 
McCoid; Second District. Hiram Price; Third District, Thomas 
Updegraff; Fourth District, Nathaniel C. Deering; Fifth District, 
W. G. Thompson; Sixth District, James B. Weaver; Seventh Dis- 
trict, Edward H. Gillette; Eighth District, William F. Sapp; 
Ninth District, Cyrus C. Carpenter. 

Forty-seventh Congress— 18S1 to 1883.— First District Moses A. 
McCoid; Second District, Sewall S. Farwell; Third District, 
Thomas UpdegratJ'; Fourth District, Nathaniel C. Deering; Fifth 
District, W. G. Thompson; Sixth District, Madison E. Cutts, 
Seventh District, John* A. Kasson; Eighth District, William P. 
Hepburn; Ninth District, Cyrus C. Carpenter. 


The State of Iowa may well be proud of her record during the 
War of the Rebellion, from 1861 to 1865. ^ The following brief 
but comprehensive sketch of the history she made during that 
trying period, is largely from the pen of Col. A. P. Wood, of Du- 
buque, the author of ''The History of Iowa and the W^ar," one of 
the best works of the kind yet written. 

"Whether in the promptitude of her responses to the calls made 
on her by the General Government, in the courage and constancy 
of her soldiery in the field, or in the wisdom and efficiency with 
which her civil administration was conducted during the trying 
period covered by the War of the Rebellion, Iowa proved herself 
the peer of any loyal State. The proclamation of her Governor, 
responsive to that of the President, calling for volunteers to com- 



pose her First Regiment, was issued on the fourth iuy after the 
fall of Sumter. At the end of only a single week, men enough 
were reported to be in quarters (mostly in the vicinity of their 
own homes) to fill the regiment. These, however, were hardly 
more than a tithe ^f the number who had been offered by com- 
pany commanders for acceptance under the President's call. So 
urgent were these offers that the Governor requested (on the 24th 
of April) permission to organize an additional regiment. While 
awaiting an answer to this request, he condllionally accepted a 
sufficient number of companies to compose two additional regi- 
ments. In a short time, he was notified that both of these would 
be accepted. Soon after the completion of the Second and Third 
Regiments (which was near the close of May), the Adjutant Gen- 
eral of the State reported that upwards of one hundred and sev- 
enty companies had been tendered to the Governor to serve against 
the enemies of the Union. 

"Much difficulty and considerable delay occurred in fitting these 
regiments for the field. For the First Infantry a complete outfit 
(not uniform) of clothing was extemporized — principally by the 
volunteered labor of loyal women in the different towns — -from 
material of various colors and qualities, obtained within the limits 
of the State. The same was done in part for the Second Infantry. 
Meantime, an extra session of the General Assembly had been 
called by the Governor, to convene on the 15th of May. With 
but little delay, that body authorized a loan of ^800,000 to meet 
the extraordinary expenses incurred, and to be incurred, by the 
Executive Department, in consequence of the new emergency. A 
wealthy merchant of the State (ex-Governor Merrill, then a resi- 
dent of McGregor) immediately took from the Governor a con- 
tract to supply a complete outfit of clothing for the three regi- 
ments organized, agreeing to receive, should the Governor so elect, 
his pay therefor in State bonds at par. This contract he executed 
to the letter, and a portion of the clothing (which was manufac- 
tured in Boston to his order) was delivered at Keokuk, the place 
at which the troops had rendezvoused, in exactly one month from 
the day on which the contract had been entered into. The re- 
mainder arrived only a few days later. This clothing was delivered 
to the regiment, but was subsequently condemned by the Govern- 
ment, for the reason that its color was gray, and blue had been 
adopted as the color to be Avorn by the national troops." 

Other States also clothed their troops, sent forward under the 
first call of President Lincoln, with gray uniforms, but it was 
soon found that the Confederate forces were also clothed in gray, 
and that color was once abandoned by the Union troops. If both 
armies were clothed alike, annoying if not fatal mistakes were 
liable to be made. 

But while engaged in these efforts to discharge her whole duty, 
in common with all the other Union-loving States in the great 


emergency, Iowa was compelled to make immediate and ample pro- 
vision for the protection of her own borders, from threatened in- 
vasion on the south by the Secessionists of Missouri, and from 
incursions from the west and northwest by bands of hostile 
Indians, who were freed from the usual restraint imposed upon 
them by the presence of regular troops stationed at the frontier 
posts. These troOps are withdrawn to meet the greater and more 
pressing danger threatening the life of the nation at its very 

To provide for the adequate defense of her borders from the 
ravages of both rebels in arms against the Government, and of 
the more irresistible foes from the Western plains, the Governor 
of the State was authoi'ized to raise and equip two regiments of 
infantry, a squadron of cavalry (not less than five companies) and 
a battalion of artillery (not less than three companies). Only 
cavalry were enlisted for home defense, however, "but," says Col. 
Wood, "in times of special danger, or when calls were made by 
the Unionists of Northern Missouri for assistance against their 
disloyal enemies, large numbers of militia on foot often turned 
out, and remained in the field until the necessity for their ser- 
vices had passed. 

"The first order for the Iowa volunteers to move to the field 
w^as received on the 13th of June. It was issued by Gen. Lyon, 
then commanding the United States forces in Missouri. The 
First and Second Infantry immediately embarked in steamboats, 
and moved to Hannibal. Some two weeks later, the Third In- 
fantry was ordered to the same point. These three, together with 
many other of the earlier organized Iowa regiments, rendered 
their first field service in Missouri. The First Infantry formed 
a part of the little army with which Gen, Lyon moved on Spring- 
field, and fought the bloody battle of Wilson's Creek. It received 
unqualified praise for its gallant bearing on the field. In the fol- 
lowing month (September), the Third Iowa, with but very slight 
support, fought with honor the sanguinary engagement of Blue 
Mills Landing; and in November, the Seventh Iowa, as a part of 
a force commanded by Gen. Grant, greatly distinguished itself in 
the battle of Belmont, where it poured out its blood like water — 
losing more than half the men it took into action. 

"The initial operations in which the battles referred to took 
place, were followed by the more important movements led by 
Gen. Grant, Gen. Curtis, of this state, and other commanders, 
which resulted in defeating the armies defending the chief 
strategic lines held by the Confederates in Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Missouri and Arkansas, and compelling their withdrawal from 
much of the territory previously controlled by them in those 
States. In these and other movements, down to the grand cul- 
minating campaign by which Vicksburg was captured and the 
Confederacy permanently severed on the line of the Mississippi 


River, Iowa troops took part in steadily increasing numbers. In 
the investment and siege of Vicksburg, the State was represented 
by thirty regiments and two batteries, in addition to which, eight 
regiments and one battery were employed on the outposts of the 
besieging army. The brilliancy of their exploits on the many 
fields where they served, won for them the highest meed of praise, 
both in military and civil circles. Multiplied were the terms in 
which expression was given to this sentiment, but these words of 
one of the journals of a neighboring State, 'The Iowa troops have 
been heroes among heroes,' embody the spirit of all. 

''In the veteran re-enlistments that distinguished the closing 
months of 1863, above all other periods in the history of re-enlist- 
ments for the national armies, the Iowa three years' men (who 
were relatively more numerous than those of any other State) 
were prompt to set the example of volunteering for another term 
of equal length, thereby adding many thousands to the great army 
of those who gave this renewed and practical assurance that the 
cause of the Union should not be left without defenders. 

"In all the important movements of 1864-65, by which the 
Confederacy was penetrated in every quarter, and its military 
power finally overthrown, the Iowa troops took part. Their 
drum-beat was heard on the banks of every great river of the 
South, from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, and everywhere they 
rendered the same faithful and devoted service, maintaining on 
all occasions their wonted reputation for valor in the field and en- 
durance on the march. 

"Two Iowa three-year cavalry regiments were employed during 
the whole term of service in the operations that were in progress 
from 1863 to 1866 against the hostile Indians of the western 
plains. A portion of these men were among the last of the vol- 
unteer troops to be mustered out of service. The State also sup- 
plied a considerable number of men to the navy, who took part in 
most of the naval operations prosecuted against the Confederate 
power on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and the rivers of the 

"The people of Iowa were early and constant workers in the 
sanitary field, and by their liberal gifts and personal efibrts for the 
benefit of the soldiery, placed their State in front rank of those 
who became distinguished for their exhibition of patriotic benevo- 
lence during the period covered by the war. Agents appointed by 
the Governor were stationed at points convenient for rendering 
assistance to the sick and needy soldiers of the State, while others 
were employed in visiting from time to time, hospitals, camps and 
armies in the field, and doing whatever the circumstances rendered 
possible for the health and comfort of such of the Iowa soldiers 
as might be found there. 

"Some of the benevolent people of the State early conceived 
the idea of establishing a Home for ?uch of the children ofj de- 


ceased soldiers as might be left in destitute circumstances. This 
idea first took form in in 1863, and in the. following year a Home 
was opened at Farmington, Van Buren County, in a building 
leased for that purpose, and which soon became filled to its utmost 
capacity. The institution received liberal donations from the gen- 
eral public, and also from the soldiers in the field. In 1865 it be- 
came necessary to provide increased accommodations for the large 
number of children who were seeking the benefits of its care. 
This was done by establishing a branch at Cedar Falls, in Black 
Hawk County, and by securing, during the same year, for the use 
of the parent Home, Camp Kinsman, near the city of Davenport. 
This property was soon afterward donated to the institution by 
act of Congress. 

"In 1866, in pursuance of a law enacted for that purpose, the 
Soldiers' Orphans' Home (which then contained about four hun- 
dred and fifty inmates) became a State institution, and thereafter 
the sums necessary for its support were appropriated from the 
State Treasury. A second branch was established at Glenwood, 
Mills county. Convenient tracts were secured and valuable im- 
provements made at the different points. Schools were also estab- 
lished and employments provided for such of the children as were 
of suitable age. In all ways the provision made for these wards 
of the State has been such as to challenge the approval of every 
benevolent mind. The number of children who have been in- 
mates of the Home from its foundation to the present time is con- 
siderably more than two thousand. 

"At the beginning of the war, the population of Iowa included 
about one hundred and fifty thousand men, presumably liable to 
render military service. The Sta<^e raised, for general service, 
thirty-nine i-egiiuents of infantry, nine regiments of cavalry, and 
four companies of artillery, composed of three years ' men; one 
regiment of infantry, composed of three months' men; and four 
regiments and one battallion of infantry composed of one hundred 
days' men. The original enlistments in these various organiza- 
tions, including seventeen hundred and twenty-seven men raised 
by draft, numbered a little more than sixty-nine thousand. The 
re-enlistments, including upward of seven thousand veterans, 
numbered very nearly eight thousand. The enlistments in the 
regular army and navy, and organizations of other States, will, if 
added, raise the total to upward of eighty thousand. The number 
of men who, under special enlistments, and as militia, took part at 
different times in the operations on the exposed borders of the 
State, was probably as many as five thousand. 

"Iowa paid no bounty on account of the men she placed in the 
field. In some instances, toward the close of the war, bounty to, 
a comparatively small amount was paid by cities and towns. On 
only one occasion — that of the call of July 18, 1864 — was a draft 
made in Iowa. This did not occur on account of her proper liabil- 



ty, as established by previous rulings of the War Department, to 
supply men under that call, but grew out of the great necessity 
tha'l there existed for raising men. The Government insisted on 
temporarily setting aside, in part, the former rule of settlements, 
and enforcing a draft in all cases where sub-districts in any of the 
States should be found deficient in their supply of men. In no 
instance was Iowa, as a whole, found to be indebted to the General 
Government for men, on a settlement of her quota accounts." 

It is to be said to the honor and credit of Iowa, that while many 
of the loyal States, older and larger in population and wealth, in- 
curred heavy State debts for the purpose of fulfilling their obli- 
tions to the General Government, Iowa, while she was foremost 
in duty, while she promptly discharged all her obligations to her 
sister States and the Union, found herself at the close of the war 
without any material addition to her pecuniary liabilities incurred 
before the war commenced. Up an final settlement after the res- 
toration of peace, her claims upon the Federal Government were 
found to be fully equal to the amount of her bonds issued and 
sold during the war to provide the means for raising and equipping 
troops sent into the field, and to meet the inevitable demands 
upon her treasury in consequence of the war. 

STATEMENT showing the number of men furnished and casualities in Iowa 
regiments during the War of the Bebellion. 


1st Battery 

2d Batteiy 

3d Battery 

4th Battery, 

1st Cavalry 

2d Cavalry 

3d Cavalry 

4th Cavalrj- 

5th Cavalry 

6th Cavah-y 

7th Cavalry 

8th Cavalry 

9th Cavalry 

Sioux Citv Cavalry 

Co. A. ll'thPeun. Cavalry. 

1st Infantry 

2d Infantry 

3d Infantry 

2d and 3d Inf. ConsoUdated 

4th Infantry 

5th Infantry 

6th Infantry 

7th Infantry 


o s 

Killed or 

died of 











































• > 


















































8th Infantry 

9tli Infantry 

lOth Infantry 

11th Infantry 

r2th Infantrj- 

13th Infantry 

14th Infantry 

14th Inf. Res. Batt.. 

15th Infantry 

16th Infantry 

17th Infantry 

1 8th Infantrj- 

19th Infanti-v 

20th Infantry 

'21st Infantry 

22d Infantry 

23d Infantry 

24th Infantry 

25th Infantry 

26th Infantry 

27th Infantry 

28th Infantry 

29th Infantry 

30th Infantry 

31st Infantry 

32d Infantry 

33d Infantry 

34th Infantry 

34th Consolidated 

35th Infantry 

36th Infantry 

37th Infantry 

38th Infantry 

39th Infantry 

40th Infantry 

41st Infantry 

44th Infantry 

45th Infantry 

46th Infantry 

47th Infantry 

48th Infantry 

1st African Infantry. . 



Killed er 

died of 



















































































• > • ■ 















































































History of Winneshiek County. 


Histoi'ij: Its Basis of Fad, Tradition and Legend; First Settle- 
ment; First Birth; First Marriage; First Death; First Settle- 
ments, no Longer Existing; First Public School and School 
Teacher; Countij Organization ; First Assessment and Tax List; 
First Tax-Payers and Settlers bij Townships. 

When some of the old historians wrote their histories they 
were forced to admit that fact and legend had become so inter- 
mingled that it was impossible to clearly separate truth from fic- 
tion. The legends of the past were such a mixture of facts, tra- 
ditions and tales of ancestors, varied in many details, as brought 
down from father to son, that it was a relief to come to common 
ground on which all were agreed, and where was found a firm 
basis for the historian. 

And though the settlement of Winneshiek County by the 
whites has little of fable, and is not invested with mythological 
tales of gods and demi-gods, yet there are always, in recalling the 
history of early and pioneer life in new countries, fancies and tradi- 
tions, generally with some kind of basis of truth, that become so in- 
terwoven with facts, that it is difficult to distinguish the one from 
the other, and the shrewdest head may become bewildered in the at- 
tempt. The sooner the separating process is commenced the bet- 
ter, and it is fortunate that even before the present day important 
facts have been collected, and in many cases placed on record — 
facts gathered from the lips of those who were witnesses of the 
early scenes of pioneer life in this county, — while there are still 
dwelling among us those who can verify many of the incidents 
and details of early history. 

Our indebtedness to books and papers published in years past is 
freely and gratefully acknowledged; and it is our purpose to attempt 
to collate from them, as well as to collect from other sources, and 
from personal interview and observation, such additional facts and 
incidents as may help to preserve and continue down to the present 
time, such history, records and pictures of early life in our county, 
as we are able to do with the tiuie and resources at our command. 
Permit us to say at the outset, that we shall draw freely from Mr. 
C. H. Sparks' history of Winneshiek County, written in 1876, 
and published early in the year 1878, and from papers from the 
pen of Mr. A. K. Bailey, quoted iij the above volume. 



It was forty years ago that the first steps toward the coming of 
white settlers into this county were taken, by establishing the 
Indian Agency at Old Mission, although it was nearly ten years 
later before actual settlement commenced. We quote as follows 
from Sparks' History: 

"As early as 1835, Rev. D. Lowery, the man who afterwards 
established the Old Mission, conducted a school of like nature 
near the mouth of Yellow River. Mr. Lowery emigrated from 
Tennessee, and was a strict adherent to the sect known as the 
Cumberland Presbyterians. In his youth he had received the 
benefits of a thorough education, and was peculiarly qualified for 
the arduous duties of ameliorating the condition of the Indians. 
In 1874 he took up his residence in Pierce City, Missouri, where 
he died on the 19th of January, 1876, at the advanced age of 82 
years. Mr. Lowery was a man of marked ability, and during the 
more active portion of his life was prominent in all that pertained 
to the history of the country in which he lived. He was, for per- 
haps more than fifty years, a minister in the Cumberland Presby- 
terian Church. A man of unusual physical make-up, and pos- 
sessed of a large brain, which eminently fitted him for the fron- 
tier life which he led. He was one of our noble men, and will 
be long remembered by many of our people, and especially by the 
early settlers of this portion of the great West. 

In 1842 Mr. Lowery was appointed Indian Agent for the reser- 
vation which included the tract of land now known as Winneshiek 
County. The same year he received instructions from the Gov- 
ernment to form a Mission and farm on the reservation, for the 
education of the Indians in husbandry and the English language, 
in hopes of civilizing and morally benefitting them. The erection 
of the Mission was commenced, as near as can be ascertained, in 
June, 1842, the Rev. D. Lowery superintending the work. The 
Mission was a large, commodious wooden building, located about 
five miles southeast of Fort Atkinson. A remnant of one of the 
buildings still exists. 

The Government had authorized Mr. Lowery to open a farm for 
the instruction of the Indians in agricultural pursuits, the ex- 
penses incurred thereby to be deducted from their annuity. Mr. 
Lowery turned over this part of the work to his assistant. Col. 
Thomas. The first year, under Col. Thomas' supervision, a farm 
of three hundred acres was opened, and endeavors were made to 
instruct the Indians how to till the soil, but they were so careless 
and indolent that but little work could be got out of them. The 
crops planted began to show neglect. In fact the farm began to 
retrograde, when Col. Thomas had a force of garrison men de- 
tailed to cultivate it — they being paid for their labor out of the 
Indian annuity. One year served to demonstrate that the Indian 
as a husbandman was a failure. In 1843, Col. Thomas, under in- 


structions from the Government, built the first gristmill in Win- 
neshiek county. The Mission and farm was continued under Col. 
Thomas' supervision, until the Indians sold their reservation to 
the Government, when they were removed, and there was no fur- 
ther need of these enterprises. 

'•Lowery continued in charge of the Indian Mission some time 
after building it, but finally resigned to take charge of a Mission 
in Minnesota, whereupon Gen. Fletcher was appointed to serve in 
his stead, 

"It is difficult to discriminate, exactly, as to whom belougs the 
honor of being the first permanent settler. It lies between Mr. 
A. R. Young, of Fort Atkinson, and Hamilton Campbell and wife, 
of Bloomfield township. Mr. A. R. Young, residing on his farm, 
celebrated as the defunct Lewiston, was a member of the garrison 
stationed at the fort, and the only soldier who remained and be- 
came a permanent resident. He married a daughter of one of the 
first comers. If to him is accorded the right of a settler from the 
time of his coming to the fort as a soldier, then he is the oldest 
resident beyond all dispute. But if, on the contrary, the honor 
of being a settler is not accorded to him until after he was muster- 
ed out of the service and began to till the soil, then to Hamilton 
Campbell and wife belongs the credit, 

"Hamilton Campbell and wife made a claim June 7, 1818, on 
sections 23 and 26, in what is now Bloomfield township, and 
there to-day they are honored residents. 

Dr. F. Andros, formerly of Decorah, was surgeon at the fort, 
but on its abandonment he removed to Clayton county, where for 
twenty-five years he was a useful and honored citizen. [Dr 
Andros has since, within a year or two, removed to Dakota, to 
renew his experience in pioneer life]. 

"From 1812 to 1818, the only resident families on the Winne- 
bago reservation, except such as were in Government employ, 
were those of Joel Post and Mr. Wilcox, The latter resided 
about forty rods south of the fort, on the road leading to the In- 
dian Agency, or Mission. Both these men were special favorites 
of office holders, and were permitted by the Indian Agency to 
keep houses of entertainment for the accommodations of persons 
visiting the fort and agency. The information to be obtained in 
relation to Wilcox is very meagre. Beyond the above fact we 
have been unable to ascertain anything in relation to his history, 
and it is not believed that he was long a resident. 

"Mr. Joel Post was the first farmer, and first actual settler on 
the reservation. Soon after the Government had decided to es- 
tablish Old mission and Fort Atkinson, he conceived the idea that 
a half-way house for the accommodation of parties engaged in 
transporting building material and supplies from Fort Crawford 
to Fort Atkinson would prove profitable. He therefore made ap- 
plication to the General Government to establish such a house on 


the reservation, which he was allowed to do. He erected a log 
house in 1811, on the site where Postville now stands. The same 
spring, he broke up some ground and raised crops. This preced- 
ed the mission farm by a year. 

'^Harmon Snyder was the first blacksmith who worked at his 
trade in Winneshiek County. He came from Prairie du Chien 
with the force detailed to build the fort, and was employed, chiefly, 
in work for the garrison. At the same time, he did a great deal 
of work for the Indians. They would stand around and watch 
him while at his work, with wonder and abmiration. How long 
he remained and whither he went, must remain an untold story, 
for lack of information. 

"The credit of being the first white child born in the county 
belongs to Miss Mary Jane Tapper, this being her maiden name. 
She was born at the fort, on the 16th of January, 1841. She is 
the daughter of Mr. James and Mrs. Ellen Tapper, who were mar- 
ried in New York city in 1838, and emigrated from there to St. 
Louis, arriving at their destination on the 10th of May, 1840, 
Mr. Tapper met Government officials at this place, and with about 
fifty other mechanics contracted to come out into the then wild 
and comparatively unknown region of Iowa, and construct a fort, 
said fort being Fort Atkinson. Mr. Tapper is an Englishman, 
and came to this county in 1828. He now resides two miles 
southeast of Monona. 

"Mary Jane Tapper, the first white child born in the county, 
married a Mr. Robert M. Boyce, and resides with her husband two 
miles north of Monona. 

''The honor of being the second white child born in the county, 
so far as can be ascertained, belongs to Miss E. Thomas of Prairie 
du Chien, a lady of marked talent and pleasing social attainments. 
She was born in 1844, at the Old Mission, where her parents re- 
sided, her father, Col. Thomas, being in charge of the Mission 
at the time. 

"The settlement of the county was so rapid that in 1850 the 
pioneers felt themselves old enough to organize. Prior to that 
time the land had been surveyed and brought into market. In 
1850, J. L. Carson was appointed organizing officer, and an elec- 
tion for a temporary organizatton ordered. At that time there 
were fewer polling places than now, there being only three. Their 
names serve to show where the settlers were located. They were 
Decorah, Moneek and Lewiston. Many have asked without re- 
ceiving an answer, "Where is Lewiston?" ' My researches enable 
me to answer this query: In 1850 it promised to be a town of 
note. It was the speculator s "Napoleon;" but Lewis Harkins, 
then in charge of the Government property, and Mr. Francis Rogers, 
joint owners of the land, became involved in a quarrel regarding 
their individual interests in the town plat, which finally resulted in 
the wreck of all the bright hopes before entertained as to the future 


prosperity of Lewistou. To-day there is not a vestige of its re- 
mains. Even the records give no account of its whereabouts and 
this one vote is the only recorded evidence of its existence. In 
another generation this fact would have been buried from the re- 
searches of the historian, as only a few of the settlers remain 
vrho are able to verify the early existence of such a place. Fran- 
cis Rogers and Lewis Harkins were the proprietors of the land 
where Lewiston was laid out, and the place derived its name from 
Harkins' given name. The old settlers say that Lewiston was a 
regularly laid out town, situated one mile north of Old Mis- 
sion, on what is now known as the Rogers farm, owned by Aaron 
Young, who at that time was Second Sergeant of Company C. 

"Among the defunct places of notoriety that existed in the 
early history of Winneshiek County, was a spot bearing the 
euphoneous name of Grab-all. The place noted hj this title was 
a high bench of timber land, half way between the Iowa trail 
and Postville. It was given this name because the Government 
stationed a sergeant's guard there, to "grab all" the Indians pass- 
ing that way, for removal. 

''The next place worthy of special^mention is Rattletrap. Rat- 
tletrap of early times is known to-day as Castalia. At the time 
the town bore this name it consisted of one solitary log house, 
owned and superintended over by one of the most natural and or- 
iginal of Erin's daughters, Mrs. John Powell. I have it from re- 
liable authority that she was capable of talking a common regi- 
ment of Decorah lawyers blind in less than no time. It would 
be comforting to believe this statement, but when one stops to 
consider the capability of the Decorah lawyers, it is accepted only 
as a rough joke perpetrated on the old woman. 

Whisky Grove was a popular resort for the soldiers stationed at 
Fort Atkinson. The grove that became thus noted is located just 
east of Calmar. An incident showing why it was given this name, 
is related in substance as follows: It was near the time when 
the Indians would receive their annuity, and the soldiers at the 
fort their pay, that a half-breed would procure a barrel of whisky 
at Fort Crawford, loaded it on his wagon and transported it to 
this particular grove. The soldiers were secretly informed of the 
fact, and the most of them got gloriously drunk. The first inti- 
mation the commander of the garrison had of its existence was 
the beastly intoxication of his men, and even then he was unable 
to ascertain its location. The half-breed remained here for some 
time, and carried on a thriving business. The soldiers who pat- 
ronized him would not betray his whereabouts to their commander. 

The winter of 1853-i the first immigration of Bohemians came 
to the county, settling in the vicinity of Fort Atkinson. There 
were eight families of them. The winter was severe in the ex- 
treme, and the following incident is told of it: 


One day in mid-winter two boys, members of a Bohemian 
family who had settled near Spillville, were dispatched to Wau- 
coma to mill. At the time they left their homes nothing be- 
tokened a storm. But on their return, when they were near the 
Van Dyke place, one of our much dreaded Iowa "blizzards" over- 
took them. The elements were convulsed, and emitted forth the 
blinding snow in voluminous quantities. The wind swept across 
the bare prairies a perfect tornado. Becoming enveloped in such 
a storm, they soon became confused and lost their way. No one 
can describe what their feelings were when the certainty of their 
being lost on the wild prairie in such a storm dawned upon them. 
Conjectures only can be made. That they thought of their anx- 
ious parents and little brothers and sisters waiting patiently for 
their return, which, alas! would never be; that they at times gave 
way to grief as they speculated on their dreadful fate; or again at 
other times would become courageous when a ray of hope would 
break on their clouded way, or when despair would fill their hearts, 
that they sought the Giver of Life in fervent supplication to spare 
their lives and guide them safely to their homes. That they did 
all this would be but natural. The prayers of anxious parents 
availed nothing. God in His wisdom denied their petitions. The 
boys were frozen to death. A drift of driven snow was their last 
resting place, and the snow their winding sheet. It was twelve 
days thereafter before the bodies of the unfortunate boys were 
found. Both oxen were found to be alive. One had forced him- 
self from the yoke, and was browsing near by, while the other was 
held an unwilling prisoner. 

"Mr. Aaron Young tells the following story of the early dis- 
covery of coal deposits in the south part of Winneshiek county. 
Mr. Young was a soldier at the fort at the time of the reputed 
discovery. He says: 

"The discovery was made by one of the regular soldiers, who used 
to go from the fort on horseback and return in less than an hours' 
time, bringing with him a sack of coal. These trips were always 
made in the night, and alone. He allowed no one to accompany him, 
nor would he divulge his secret. Although the officers tried 
bribing him, punishing him, and finally got him drunk, in hopes 
he would be more confiding; but all to no purpose. His time was 
nearly out, and he said he calculated to open the coal mine 
as soon as it expired. But before the time came his company was 
ordered to Florida, where he was shot, dying almost instantly, 
leaving no one in possession of his valuable secret. 

"Another story is that the Indians used to bring coal in their 
blankets to sell to the blacksmith, or when they wanted a pony 
shod, and that an old Indian chief, by the name of Four-Eyes, 
offered to tell where the coal was, at one time, for two ponies. 
But as nobody had the ponies the bargain was not consummated 
and the old chieftain'took his knowledge away with him to the Far 


West. That coal was obtained in some mysterious way by the 
soldier there is no doubt; but to convince the scientific man that 
he obtained it from deposits in Winneshiek county will require 
stronger evidence than the above stories furnish. Every person 
familiar with the geological topography of the country well under- 
stands how unreasonable such an idea is. 

"The first church erected in Winneshiek county, excepting the 
old Mission chapel, was built about the year 18 — , in the vicinity 
of Twin Springs. It was Catholic. Father Leuvent officiated. 
The site was selected and the church directed to be built by Bishop 
Lovas, of Dubuque, who was the first ordained Bishop in Iowa, 

"The first duly commissioned postmaster in Winneshiek county 
was James B, Cutler, of Osage, then a sterling pioneer of the 
county. He located on the Atkin Farm, Frankville township. 
The commission confers on James B. Cutler the appointment of 
postmaster of Jamestown, and bears the signature of Nathaniel 
K. Hall, Postmaster General under Millard Fillmore, and dated 
the 18th day of September, 1851. Judge J. T. Atkins served as 
assistant postmaster. The office was discontinued March 31,1852. 
Mr. Leonard Cutler and family came to the county May 30, 1850, 
which places them among the early pioneers. The father of Mr. 
James B. Cutler is still living." 

[We are informed by Judge M. V. Burdick, one of the old 
settlers and a prominent man in pioneer life here, that there is a 
slight error in the above paragraph. Lewis Harkins, proprietor of 
Lewiston, was postmaster at Fort Atkinson certainly as early as 
1850; and at an equally early date John L. Carson was postmaster 
at Old Mission. 

[Mr. James B. Cutler is now (1882) over one hundred years of 
age. The one hundredth anniversary of his birthday was cele- 
brated at Frankville last year, and was a notable event. It will 
be referred to elsewhere.] 

Among the various souvenirs seen by the author, retained as 
mementoes of olden times, is a shipping-bill of certain mill irons 
brought from Galena to Lansing by "the good steamboat called 
the Nominee," consigned to Messrs. Beard & Cutler, and dated 
the 29th of March 1852. These mill irons were used by Beard & 
Cutler in what was in 1860 known as the Rogers Mill, on the Ca- 
noe, and now known as Springwater Mill, now owned by Mr. A. 
Bradish. The erection of the mill began in the fall of 1851, and 
it was running July 8, 1852. Probably it was the first saw-mill 
north of the Iowa river. 

"In 1850 a young man came from Norway to Iowa and found a 
spot of ground that suited him iji what is now known as Madison 
township, Winneshiek County. So far as ascertained, he was its 
first settler. In the year following an older man followed him, 
who was the father of at least one girl. As young men and 
maidens will, this young man and this maiden agreed to v/ed. 



These parties were Joliaunes Evenson and Catherine Helen An- 
derson. At that time, as now, the law required the parties to 
have a license. In order to obtain this a visit to the J udge was 
necessary. Rev, N. Brandt, then a wandering missionary, was in 
the county, and would perform the ceremony. And if this chance 
escaped them, no knowing when another opportunity would be 
afforded them. Mr. Evenson straightway started for Bloomlield 
Township to see the Judge and get a permit to enter into a matri- 
monial alliance. The missionary had promised to await his re- 
turn. Mr. E. found the Judge absent. He had gone to Dubuque 
on official business. Imagine the sensations of that waiting bride- 
groom! Again the question: Would that minister tarry? After 
three days Judge Reed returned, and with his license in his pocket, 
John turned his footsteps homeward a happier man. No grass 
grew under his feet on that trip. The minister had remainded, and 
the marriage ceremony was performed — the first, as the records 
show, to have been performed in the county. The license for this 
marriage was granted on the 5th day of October, 1851. The sec- 
ond marriage license was granted on the 3d of November, 1851. 
The contracting parties were Erick Anderson and Miss Ann 

"The first death to occur in the county was that of a Grovern- 
ment teamster named Howard. He was engaged in the trans- 
portation of material from Fort Crawford to Fort Atkinson, to be 
used in the construction of the latter. On the 3d of October, 
1840, a heavy snow had fallen, and on the next day Mr. Howard 
started from Joel Post's place, or Postville, to go to Fort Atkin- 
son. A party following in his wake the next day Avere surprised 
to find his loaded wagon in the road and team and driver gone. 
They followed his track up to near the present sit^ of Castalia, 
where they found him frozen stiff in death. The same day his 
remains were brought to the Fort, and on the next day, or 5th of 
October, 1840, he^was buried. This information is authenticated, 
and shows that the date of the first death and graveyard preceded 
the first birth by one year, and the first marriage by eleven years. 
In fact, the graveyard had quite an encouraging start over the 
marriage era. However much consolation this may have afforded 
the departed, they may be assured, that in after years, the matri- 
monial fever swept the county like an epidemic, finding victims 
on every side. 

"It is worthy of note that the first public school building was 
built at the corners of the following townships, Decorah, Spring- 
field, Glen wood and Frank ville, in the center of a Norweigiau 
settlement. This event is worthy of record, as it serves to illus- 
trate the strong desire the Norwegian people have to advance 
their mental condition. Even here, inhabitants of a wild coun- 
try, and isolated from the world as they were, they found nieaus 
of encouraging education. In 1852, principally through their ef- 


forts, a small, unpretentious lof? achool-house was built at the cor- 
ners, and in it the late Mrs. Erick Anderson, then a young wom- 
nian, taught the first school. 

"The previous portions show, with considerable accuracy, who 
were the residents previous to 1851. The following portion of 
this chapter, perhaps the most valuable in the entire book for 
the historical information it contains — is in a great measure the 
work of Mr. A. K. Bailey, editor of the Decorah Repuhlican. 

"In 1851 the county was organized. Its officers were elected, 
and we may presume regularly inducted into office. They needed 
money in compensation for their services, and then as now it had 
to be raised by taxe?. Happily the first tax list of the county is 
preserved. The lists for 1853 and 1851 are gone, and this volume 
was rescued ten years ago by Mr. A. K. Bailey while serving the 
public as county treasurer, from a box of old papers that were 
stowed away in an unused closet of the Court House. It should 
be scrupulously kept as a relic. It is in a fair state of preserva- 
tion. The contrast between this volume and that of 1862 — ten 
years only — is a complete history in itself of the rapid growth of 
Winneshiek county. That of 1862 is a volume of nearly a thou- 
sand pages of the largest ledger size. This of 1852 is but a 
small home-made book of 62 pages, composed of double blue fools- 
cap, with its columns ruled off by hand, and bound in a beautiful 
sample of Indian-tanned buckskin. The wan ant for collecting 
the taxes bears date September 15th, 1852; is addressed to Daniel 
Kuykendall, treasurer, and is signed by D. R. Reed, county 
judge. The title page bears the signature of ''Morris B. Derrick, 
Clerk" — a man, who was for a time, at least, a partner of Aaron 
Newell, at the old Pioneer Store, of Decorah. 

This volume, we believe, is really a complete list of the resi- 
dents (who had any property) in the fall of 1851. Although dated 
many months later, the work of preparing the list was begun at 
a time when it would have been impossible to include the settlers 
Avho came in 1853. We learn from others that the assessment, 
which was preliminary, was made by A. H. Fannon, the jolly old 
constable, who still serves the public." 

[Mr. Fannon has died since the publication of the above, being 
in good health to near the time of his death.] 

Mr. Fannon says that the assessment was begun and made early 
in the spring, before the immigration of 1852 had set in, and he 
thinks all whose names are included in it had arrived in 1851 or 
before. Mr. F. made the assessment as sheriff; says he was 
really the first sheriff; and this was one of the first of his official 
acts. This claim is in collision with the records, and we cannot 
undertake to reconcile the discrepancy. In making the list, Mr. 
F. says he sometimes could not visit more than half a dozen fami- 
lies in a day, so widely were they scattered, particularly in the 
north half of the county, but he always found a welcome recep- 


tioii, and a hearty invitation to- "sit up to the table"' when meal 
time brought him to one of their cabins. The residents in the 
northern tier of townships, however, strongly objected to being 
assessed; not that they wished to escape taxation, but because it 
was doubtful in their minds whether they dwelt in Iowa or Min- 
nesota. Mr. E. E. Meader gives this information. He, personally, 
wished to be in Iowa, and had the happiness of finding, when the 
lines were run, that he had located his cabin just right in order 
to secure the land he wanted, and at the same time remain an 
lowan. This much of outside history to the volume. Now for 
the stories its pages reveal. We find in it the names of 44G persons. 
Perhaps some of these were not residents, but the list contains 
many a known and familiar name. A large share are assessed 
with personality only; which means that they had not secured 
their lands, and had only the "improvements" or a little stock to 
pay tribute on. It will be impossible to locate most of these in 
making a list of settlers by townships, as we propose to do; but 
whenever lands are named, the townships and ranges will be an 
unerring guide. Preliminary to this, however, let us give a few 
general facts. Lands were assessed at the Government price, 
|l.25 per acre. As land was plenty at this price, it is fair to pre- 
sume that assessments were made at the full cash value. The 
taxes were only four in number besides the poll tax, viz.: county, 
state, school and road, and they summed fifteen mills. In these 
later days, when assessments are made at one-third of the cash 
value, taxation is high if it reaches twenty-five mills, with town- 
ship school taxes included. There are no footings to show what the 
total value of the assessed property wa^^, but the taxes them- 
selves aggregate as follows: 

County tax $ 696 68 

State tax 175 08 

School Tax 11.5 42 

Road Tax 230 75 

$1,217 9:! 

besides $650 of poll taxes. This would make the total assessable 
property in the county at that time, w^orth $182,789. 

The richest man in the county was John McKay, of Washing- 
ton Prairie. He paid the enormous sum of $23.94 in taxes. 
Francis Teabout was close up to him, being down for $23.16. 
lienjamin Beard followed with $20.95. These three w^ere the 
very rich men, for they were the only ones who paid more than 
620; or, rather, were regularly assessed for sums that amounted to 
precisely that figure. The list of other persons w^ho paid over $10 
is so short that we give the names in full : 

Joseph Spilhnan, Cahuar $18 96 

Levi Moore, Buit Oak 17 68 

Moses McSwain, Bloniufield 16 8:^ 

James S. Ackerson, Burr Oak 16 00 


James B . Cutler, Frankville 15 78 

Newell & Derrick, Decorah 15 73 

Ingebret Peterson, Decorah 14 82 

Isaac Callender, Frankville 14 32 

Samuel Allen, Bloomfield , 14 30 

0. W. Emery, Decorah 13 81 

Gideon Green, Bloomfield 13 59 

C. E. Brooks, Military 13 04 

David Bartlett, Canoe 12 76 

J. T. Atkins, Frankville 12 29 

Joseph Huber, Washington 11 27 

Abner DeCow, Bloomfield 11 24 

W. F. Kimball, Decorah 11 17 

Wm. Cummings, Bloomfield 11 13 

Richard M. Carson, Washington 11 13 

Wm. Campbell, Bloomfield 11 05 

Andrew Mayer, Washington 10 83 

John W. Smith, Frankville 10 72 

James D. McKay, Frankville 10 09 

This table indicates that the wealth of the county then centered 
on Washington Prairie. Decorah with her preset t capital cer- 
tainly makes a poor showing. The population, too, was most 
numerous there. This the following table, showing all the names 
to which land is assessed, will more clearly show. Although the 
majority of those named have passed away, there are enough 
familiar names to make it interesting reading, and worth preserv- 


Samuel Allen. G. B. Abbmar. Charles Anderson, Geo. Blake. John Braumire, 
Samuel Clark, John Cowen, Wm. Clark, Grace Cohen, Jonathan Dean, David 
DufF, Abner DeCosv, Wm. Elliott, Samuel N. Faint, Gideon Green, Levi 
Grundy, Adam Garen, Charles Hawthorn, Benj. Hawk, John W. Jenkins, 
Samuel B. Jones, TasaT. Kendt, Maria Lacy, Henry McSwain, John McMar- 
tin, Nathan McKinley, Henry Noble, Andrew Stewart, Margaret Slaught, 
Kund Thompson, Richard Thomis, John Thompson, Moses McSwain. 


J. T. Atkins, Antin Anderson. Robert Angers, Christ. Anderson, Lucy 
Adams, Heniy Brandt, John C. Buckley, Benson Egbert, Thomas .Beard, Ben- 
jamin Beard, Wm. Beard, Wm. Birdsell, John Bennett, Besalid Bennett. 
Isaac Calender, William Cummings, James Cutlip, Edward Carter, Francis 
Carlton, David Duff, Emanuel Dean, James Dunn, Francis Durst, H. D. Evans, 
J. H. Gellelan. Egbret Gulbranson, Joseph Gordon, Ole Hulverson, J. H. Hawk, 
Isaac Hawk, John Halver, Levi Hubbell, Samuel Hood, Elizabeth Joiner, Mat- 
len Johnson, James Kilgore, Edward Knight, Benj. Knight, John Krauder, 
Alanson Loomis, Ole Anderson Loma. J. D. McKay, John McKay, Miron Dean, 
M. McSwain, John Martin, Drury Mays, John 'F. Neider, Erick B.Olson, 
Erick Oleson, Knud Oleson, Robert Pierce, Samuel Peterson, Harris Reed, D. 
Ritchie, J. H. Ransom, Dwight Rathbun, John W. Smith. James B. Schenck, 
Andrew Stewart, James Smith, S. Schrekner, Josiah T. Tuttle, George Teeple, 
Francis Teabout. Knud Toleffson, Elizabeth Tuttle, William Woods. Oliver F. 
Woods, Walter Rathbun. 


John Anderson, Mary Ashby, Chauncy Brooks, C. E. Brooks, Dolvy How- 
ard, John 0. Porter, Geo. Bechel, ]\Iartin Bechel, John L. Carson. Geo. A. 
Clark, Wm. H. Fulton, John Gardner. Lewis Harkins, Joseph Huber, Wil- 


liam J. Peek, Andrew Sharp, T. H. Semis?, Jacob Smith, Tolef and Lars Tos- 
ten, Charles K. Wood, Jas. C. H. MiUer, Andrew Meyer, John S. Neal, Fran- 
cis N. Palmer, Harvey P. Waters, Gardner Waters, Aaron Young. 


Jacob Abrahamson, J. B. Cutler, Knud Gulbran?0D, Ole Gullikson, E.2:bert 
Gulbranson, Halvor Halvorson, Erick Clements, 0. A. Lomen, Ole Larson, 
Wm. Lansing, Michael Omlie, Thomas Simonson, T. Holverson, Ole Tos- 


Joseph Spillman. 


Jacob Abrahamson, Thos. P. Parker, Ann Bowie, John L. Carson, William 
Day, Claiborne Day, Nathan Drake, Adams Dexter, 0. W. Emery, N. S. Gil- 
bert, Thor. Gulbranson, Geo. W. Hazel, Adam Heckart, W. F. Kimball, Dan- 
iel Kuykendahl, M.- A. Meintner, Philip Morse,- Joseph McGehee Newell & 
Derrik, K. G. Newland, Engebret Peterson, Amasa Perkins, William Par- 
ker, Thomas Robertson, Joseph Reed, A. Simmonson, Jason Tuttle, John R. 
Townsley, Abraham Taxell, Geo. A. Wigeland. 


H. Anstenson, Ole Asleson, John Evenson, Jane Fletcher, Ever Gulbranson, 
Ole Gunderson, Peter Jamison, Chas. McLaughlin, H. Oleson, Wilson Smith, 
Tolef Tuleston. 


Benjamin Disbie, Philo S. Curtis, E. Chapmen, Geo. A. Clark, Emery Bur- 
ritt, Geo. R. Emery, S. E. Fairbanks, Bernard Harmon, M. A. Meinter, Levi 
Moore, Geo. Smith, Robert Stockton, James Turner, Daniel Wheeler, Hemy 


James J. Ackerson, John Robinson, David Bartlett, Samuel Bolinger, Jas. B. 
Cutler, Wm. T. Cochrane, J. Freedenberger, B. F. Giles, N. S. Giblert, Michael 
GatUn, Lorenzo Gates, Joseph Harper, H. Holverson, J. Hornson, L. Iverson, 
Thos. Kennedy, John Knudson, Davicl Kinnison, S. M. Leach, E. B. Horton, 
Elizabeth Potter, Ob Snear, Wm. Shirley, N. Updegraff, Wm. B. Updegraff. 


J. T. Atkins, Robert Angus, Philander Baker, John Barthel, Levi Barn- 
house, John C. Buckley, David Bender, Daniel Becknell, L. Carmichael, Chas. 
Benjamin, Julien Dougherty, F. M. Fuller, Torkel Hanson, Permany Hantly, 
C. N. Hatch, Nels Johnson, German Johnson, Geo. Keatings, Wm. Kyrk, 
John S. Morse, Lyman Morse, Thos. Severson, W. Sanford, Tosten Nelson, 
Lebrend Whitney, Leroy C. Walter. 


Benj. Beard, J. B, Cutler, H. Halverscn, Join Klontz, Peter K. Londgon, 
Ole M agues on. 

This completes the entire list of landed assessments, and, it will 
be seen, includes only twelve of the twenty townships. Of the 
eight others no mention is made. These were the four in the 
northern tier, and four out of five on the west side. The fifth 
has only one assessment, and that is to a resident in Calmar town- 
ship. That there were dwellers or squatters on this territory is 


beyond question; because some of tliem — like Mr. Meader, D. D. 
Huff, and others, who came as early as 1851 — are still living on 
the land they selected in that yea] . These lands, however, did 
not really come into market until a year or two later, so that 
settlers could acquire title. For this reason they were assessed, if 
at all, with "personality" only. A list of these will complete, 
what I believe to be the most perfect list that can be obtained of 
the really "first settlers" — those who were here and took part in 
the organization of the county, [n the foregoing lists, as Avell as 
in the following, there are doubtless some non-residents; but these 
cannot, at this late day, be selected out. The names that follow 
are those of persons of the latter classes, who cannot be assorted 
into townships as a whole. Many of them, hoAvever. can be read- 
ily located by the reader: 

Erick Anderson, John Anderson, Toleff Avins, James Ackerson, Erastus 
V. Andrus, John Bush, John Brandt, William Bannintr, Jeremiah Brisco, 
Joseph Brown, Lewis Bachel, Benjamm Bear, L. W. Bisb}^ Madison Brown, 
Ole Benson, Samuel F. Brush, John Bateman, Phineas Banning Alva Chase, 
Richard M. Carson, Hamilton Campbell, James G. Chase, James Cross, Cor- 
nelius Callahan, Oscar C. Dexter, Thomas Dickerson, John DeCow, D. David- 
son, Christian Evei'son, Hover Everson, Gilbert Erickson, David Erasier, Acles 
H. Fannon, Nelson Fisher, Orson Graudy, Benjamin Goodwater, K. Goodman- 
son, George Gulbranson, Josiah Goddard, George Helmer, Andrew Hoverson, 
Ole A. Hankj', John Halvorsen, Torger Halvorsen, Peter Halvorsen, Phillip 
Husted, D. D. Hutf, Thomas J. Hazlitt, Anthony Huber, Geo. Herzog, H. 
Harkins, Ole Herbranson, Henry Holm, Benjamin Hollenbach, John R. How- 
ard, Knud Herbranson, William Horton, Phillip Howe, Moses Hostetler, 
Christopher Hoverson, Halvor Johnson, John Johnson, Ever Johnson, John R. 
Johnson, John G. Johnson, Andrew Johnson, Martin Johnson, Michael John- 
son, Raid Knudson, Anch-ew Knudson, Toleff Knudson, William Klontz, A. 
L. Kincaid, Elraar Knudson Charles Krech, G. S. Krumm, G. L. Krumm, 
Theophilus Krumm, J. N. Klein, James Kelley, Ever Knudson, James Lyon, 
EUick Larson, John Livengood, Knud Larson, Valentine Larkins, Halgrim 
Larson, Phillip Lathrop, James R. Moore, James F. Moore. George Miers, 
Ezekiel E. Meader, William Meyer, Casper Meyer, J. N. Miller, G. Nelson, 
Ole Olson, (five of 'em) Barney Oleson, Magnus Oleson. Andrew Olson, Hover 
Olson (two), Christian Olson, John Olson, James Oleson, George Oleson, Ame 
Oleson, Herman Oleson, Knutson Oleson, J. Ostrander, William Painter, Ole 
Peterson, D. W. Pierce, William Padden, David Reed, Daniel Reed, John Rul- 
ler, Abraham Rosa, John Reams, Conrad Riley, S. Riddle, A. Russell, John 
Stuart, William Sharpe, John Shafer, M. B. Spencer, M. B. Sherwin, Ole 
Simonson, Geo. W. Tate, Michael Townsend, Ole Thoreson, Jacob Torgrim- 
son, Sebastian Thaat, Ephraim Thompson, Nelson Torkleson, George Thaat, 
Mykle Toreson, Isaac Underhill, John Vail, John H. Vamall, John Williams, 
Silas Wheeler, Harrison Wheeler, Justus Wilson, Anna Yans. 

Perhaps it would be well to follow up the list of the first tax- 
payers with a list of the early settlers, so far as such is obtainable. 
Such a list is necessarily, in a great measure, a repetition of what 
has been given in previous chapters. Through the kindness of 
Mr. A. K. Bailey, I am permitted the use of the old settlers' 
cards, taken as admission tickets at the door of Steyer's Opera 
House at the time of the organization of the Old Settlers Associa- 
tion, July 4, 1876. It was the object of the inventor of this mode 


of gaining admission, not only to make the cards serve that pur- 
pose, but also to give a condensed history of each individual; and 
in order to serve this purpose to the best advajitage, printed cards, 
with blank spaces to fill, were used. The person gaining admis- 
sion by this means was obliged to fill the blank spaces left for 
that purpose, and which, when filled, would give his age, when 
married, to whom and what year, and the date of his settlement 
in the county, as well as the number of the section on which he 

The following list of the very early settlers is quite complete: 

Hamilton Campbell and his wife, Sarah, came to Winneshiek 
County June 7, 1848, and settled on sections 23-26, Bloomfield 
Township. Hamilton Campbell was born in 1802, and married in 

Gotlob Krum and wife came to Winneshiek County on the 29th 
of June, 1818, and settled on the N. W. Q. of Section 17, in what 
is Washington township. 

Gotleib Krum, June 29, 1818, Washington. 

David Reed and wife settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 25 
August 15. 1818, Bloomfield Township. 

Daniel Reed settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 25; August 15, 

1818, Bloomfield Township. 

John N. Topliff settled on the S. E. Q. of Section 25. of Bloom- 
field Township. April 1, 1818. 

Andrew Meyer and wife came to Winneshiek County on the 1st 
of April, 1819, and settled in Washington Township on Section 23. 

Phenas Banning settled on the N. W. of N, W. Q. of Section 
5, in what is now Bloomfield Township, in June, 1859. 

William Day and Elizabeth, his wife, came to Winneshiek 
County and settled on what is now Decorah, on the 10th of June, 

1819. John F. Day, same. Richard V, Day, same. Claibourne 
Day, same. 

0. W. Emery came to Winneshiek County on the 20th of Au- 
gust, and settled on the N. W. Q. of Section 17, Canoe Township 

Josiah Goddard. Jr., October 10, 1819, Decorah. 

The following are settlers who made a permanent settlement in 
the county in 1850: 

David Kinnison and his wife Henrietta, who settled on the N. 
AV. Q. of Section 7. 

John DeCow and his wife Marv D.. who settled on the N. E. 
Q. of Section 1, in Bloomfield Township. June 29. 

A. 0. Lommen and his wife. Seigie. who settled on the E ^ of 
N. W. Q. of Section 2. in Springfield Township, June 12. 

Erick Anderson settled on the S. E. Q. of Section 24, Spring- 
field Township, June 12. 

A. K. Anderson came to Winneshiek County on the 20th of 
June, and settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 23, Springfield 


• Tolef Simianson and his wife Betsy, came to Winneshiek 
County July 2, and settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 1, Spring- 
field Township. 

Russell Dean, April, Bloomfield Township. 

Ole G. Johnson settled on the S. W. Q. of Section 31, Glenwood 
Township, July 2. 

Nelson Johnson and his wife Hannah came to Winneshiek 
County on the 2d of July, and settled on the N. E. Q, of Section 
36, Decorah. 

Orin Simmons came to Winneshiek County on the 3d of July, 
and settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 23, Decorah Township. 

E. G. Opdahl came to Winneshiek County on the 4th of July, 
and settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 14, Springfield Township. 

Albert Opdahl settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 14, Spring- 
field Township, July 4th, and his Avife, Mary H., settled on the 
N. W. Q. of the N. W. il of Section 13, Decorah Towhship, 
July 25. 

John W. Holm came to Winneshiek County on the 30th of 
July, and settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 33, Canoe Town- 

Benjamin L. Bisby came to Winneshiek County on the 1st of 
August, and settled on the S. W. Q. of Section 29, Hesper Town- 

Peter K. Langland and his wife Emma, came to Winneshiek 
County in August, and settled on the N. W. Q. of Section 10, 
Pleasant Township. 

John Evanson came to Winneshiek County on the 25th of Sep- 
tember, and settled on the N. E. Q. of Section 32, Madison Town- 

Christopher A. Estrim and his wife Juger Caroline, settled on 
the S. half of S. E, Q. of Section 5, on the 3d of September, 

John Fredenburg settled, the 20th of October, on the N. W. 
Q. of Section 6, Canoe Township. 

William Padden and wife settled 25th of November, Section 
28, Frankville Township. 

John Rosa came to Winneshiek County with his father, and 
settled on the Washington Prairie. 

Jacob Duff, Frankville. 

Edward Tracy, Decorah. 

Walter Rathbun and his wife Welthie came to Winneshiek 
County in March, and settled on the N. W. Q. of Section 16. 

The following is a partial list of the pioneers who came to the 
county in 1851: 

E. C. Dunning and wife settled on settled 16, Decorah Town- 
ship, June 20th. 

Geo. Blake, April, Bloomfield Township. 

Russell Dean, April, Bloomfield. 


E. E. Clement, Springfield, settled March l,on the S. W. S. W. 
Q. of Section 1, Springfield Township. 

D. D. Huff and his wife Anna settled April 26, on the S. E. Q. 
of Section 29, Hesper Township. 

Peter E. Haugen came to Winneshiek county on the 12tli of 
May, and settled on the N. W. Q. of Section 31, Decorah Town- 

Simeon M. Leach and his wife settled on the 12th of May, on 
theS. W. Q. of Section 17, Canoe Township. 

A. V. Anderson and wife, Parmelia, settled the first part of 
June, on the N. E. Q. of Section 21. 

Torket Hansen and his wife, Sophronia, came to Winneshiek 
county about the 15th day of June, and settled on the N. E. Q. 
of Section 25, Decorah Township. 

Christopher Evans settled the 15th of June, on the N. E. Q. of 
Section 32, Glenwood Township. 

Iver Gr. Ringstad and wife settled in Madison Township on the 
30th of June, on the S. half of Section 29. 

Herbrand Onstine settled in Madison Township. 

Helge Nelson Myran settled in Madison township, on the S. W. 
S. W. Q. of Section 8. 

Ole M. Asleson and wife settled July 12, on the N. E. Q. of 
Section 8, Madison Township. 

William Birdsall and his wife, Mary, settled on Section 28, 
Frankville Township, on the 13th of August. 

Gulbrand Erickson Wig, settled in September, on the S. E. Q. 
of Section 36, Madison Township. 

Gulbrand T. Lommen settled on Section 33, Decorah Town- 

Ole Kittleson and wife settled on Section 17, Decorah Town- 

Philip Husted. 

W. L. Iverson. Mount Pleasant. 

Isaac Birdsall, Frankville. 

Ole Toleffson Wig, and his wife, Thora, settled oa Section 31, 
Decorah Township. 

Geo. V. Putney settled on Section 30, Burr Oak Township. 

A. K. Drake, Decorah. 

Erick Olsen Bakke and wife settled on Section 5, Frankville 

Nathan Drake settled on Section 7, Glenwood Township. 

Rolland Tobiason and wife settled on Section 10, Springfield 



The Winnehogo Indians ; Our Count y and County Seat Named after 
theirChie/s; Early History of the Tribe; their Career in Wiscon- 
sin; Removal to Iowa ^ in Winneshiek County; Fort Atkinson; 
the Chiefs Winneshiek and Decorah; the Grave of the Latter^ 
and Re-interment of His Remains; Indian Traders and Whisky 
Selling; Bloody Tragedies; Indian Customs and Habits. 

As our county and county seat have taken their names from the 
chiefs of the Winnebago Indians, it will be of interest, as well 
as of historic value, to trace the history of our historic predeces- 
sors on this soil, even though we have little clue, except by the 
remains left by the mound builders, of the races of the pre- 
historic ages of the past. It is now about two and a half centu- 
ries since the civilized world began to gain knowledge of the exist- 
ence in the Far West of a tribe of Indians known as the Winneba- 
goes, that is, "Men of the Sea;" pointing possibly to their early emi- 
gration from the shores of the Mexican Gulf or the Pacific. North- 
ern Wisconsin and the upper northwestern peninsula of Michi- 
gan were in early times inhabited by several tribes of the Algon- 
quin race, forming a barrier to the Dakotas or Sioux, who had ad- 
vanced eastward to the Mississippi. But the Winnebagoes, al- 
though one of the tribes belonging to the family of the latter, had 
passed the Mississippi at some unknown period, and settled upon 
the head waters of Green Bay. Some historians claim that they 
came from Mexico, whence they fled to escape the Spaniards. 

Here the "sea tribe" as early, it is believed, as 1634, was visited 
by an agent of France, and a treaty concluded with them. The 
tribe afterward called themselves Hochungara, or Ochunkora, but 
were styled by the Sioux Hotanke or Sturgeon. Nothing more 
is heard of the Ouenibigoutz or Winnebegouk (as the Winneba- 
goes were called by the Jesuit missionaries, and the Algonquin 
tribes, meaning men from the fetid or salt water, translated by 
the French, Puants) for the next thirty-five years, although there 
is no doubt that the tribe had been visited, meanwhile, by adven- 
turous Frenchmen, when on the second of December, 1669, some 
of this nation were noted at a Sac (Sauk or Saukie's) village on 
Green Bay, by Father Allouez. As early, at least as 1670, the 
French were actively engaged among the Winnebagoes trading. 
"We found afl'airs," says one of the Jesuit missionaries, who ar- 
rived among them in September of that year, "we found affairs 
in a pretty bad condition, and the minds of the savages much 
soured against the French who were there trading; ill-treating 
them in deeds and words, pillaging and conveying away their 
merchandise in spite of them, and conducting themselves toward 


them with insupportable insolence and indignities." The cause of 
this disorder, adds the missionary, "is that they had received bad 
treatment from the French, to whom they this year had come to 
trade, and particularly from the soldiers, from whom they had 
pretended to receive many wrongs and injuries." It is thus made 
certain that the arms of France were carried into the territory of 
the Winnebagoes over two hundred years ago. 

Two Jesuits who ascended the Fox river of Green Bay in 1670, 
at some falls about one day's journey from the head of the bay, dis- 
covered an idol that the savages honored, "never failing, in passing, 
to make him some sacrifice of tobacco, or arms, or paintings or other 
things to thank him, that by his assistance they had, in ascend- 
ing, avoided the danger of the waterfalls that are in this stream, 
or else if they had to ascend to pray him to aid them in this peril- 
ous navigation." The devout missionaries caused the idol "to be 
lifted up by the strength of arm and be cast into the depths of the 
river, to appear no more" to the idolatrous savages. The mission 
of St. Francis Xavier, founded in December, 1669, by Allouez was a 
roving one among the tribes inhabiting the shores of Green Bay, 
and the interior country watered by the Fox Eiver and its tribu- 
taries, for about two years, when its first mission house was 
erected at what is now Depere, Brown County, Wisconsin. This 
chapel was soon afterward destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt in 

The Winnebago Indians by this time had not only received 
considerable spiritual instruction from the Jesuit fathers, but had 
obtained quite an insight into the mysteries of trading and traffic- 
ing with white men; for following the footsteps of the mission- 
aries, and sometimes preceding them, were the ubiquitous French 
traders. It is impossible to determine precisely what territory 
was occupied by the Winnebagoes at this early date, farther than 
they lived near the head of Green Bay. A direct trade with the 
French upon the St Lawrence was not carried on by the Winne- 
bagoes to any great extent until the beginning of the eighteenth 
century. As early as 1679 an advance party of La Salle had col- 
lected a large store of furs at the mouth of Green Bay, doubtless 
in a trafiic with this tribe and others contiguous to them. Gener- 
ally, however, the surrounding nations sold their peltries to the 
Ottawas, who in turn disposed of them to the French. 

The commencement of the eighteenth century found che Win- 
nebagoes friendly to and in alliance with France and in peace 
with the dreaded Iroquois. In 1718, the nation numbered six 
hundred. They were afterward found to have moved up Fox 
river, locating upon Winnebago lake, which stream and lake were 
their ancient seat, and from which they had been driven either by 
fear or the prowess of more powerful tribes of the West or South- 
west. Their intercourse with the French was gradually extended 


and generally peaceful, though not always so. joining with them 
in their wars Avith the Iroquois, and subsequently in their con- 
flicts with the English which finally ended in 1760. 

In Shea's '"Early French Voyages" there was printed a letter 
from Father Guignas, written May 29, 1728, at Fort Beauharnois 
on Lake Pepin, on the upper Mississippi river, in which an inter- 
esting reference is made to the Winnebagoes. He says: 

''The Sioux convoy left the end of Montreal Island on the 16th 
of the month of June, last year, at 11 a. m., and reached Michili- 
mackinac on the 22d of the month of July. This post is two 
hundred and fifty leagues from Montreal, almost due west, at 45. 
deg. 20 min. north latitude. 

"We spent the rest of the month at this post, in the hope of 
receiving from day to day some news from Montreal, and in the 
design of strengthening ourselves against the alleged extreme 
diflBculties of getting a free passage through the Foxes. At last, 
seeing nothing, we set out on our march the first of the 
month of August, and after seventy-three leagues of quite pleas- 
ant sail along the northerly side of Lake Michigan, running to 
the southeast, we reached Green Bay on the 8th of the same 
month at 5:30, p. m. This post is 41 deg. 43 min. north lati- 

"We stopped there two days, and on the 11th, in the morning, 
we embarked, in a very great impatience to reach the Foxes. On 
the third day after our departure from the bay, quite late in the 
afternoon, in fact somewhat in the night, the chiefs of the Puans 
( Winnebagoes) came out three leagues from the village to meet 
the French, with their peace calumets and some bear meat as a re- 
freshment, and the next day we were received by the small nation, 
amid several discharges of a few guns, and with great demonstra- 

"They asked us with so good grace to do them the honor to stay 
some time with them, that we granted them the rest of the day 
from noon, and the following day. There may be in all the vil- 
lage, sixty to eighty men, but all the men and women of very tall 
stature and well made. They are on the bank of a very pretty 
little lake, in a most agreeable spot for its situation and the good- 
ness of the soil, nineteen leagues from the bay and eight leagues 
from the Foxes." 

When the English, in October, 1701, took possession of the 
French post at Green Bay. the Winnebagoes were found to num- 
ber only one hundred and fifty warriors; their nearest village be- 
ing at the lower end of Wennebago Lake. They had three towns, 
and perhaps more. 

Their country at this period inclosed not only the lake, but all 
the streams floAving into it, especially Fox river, and afterward ex- 
tended to the Wisconsin and Rock rivers. They readily changed 
the course of their trade — askinor now of the commandant of the 


fort for English traders to be sent among them. In the Indian 
outbreak under Pontiac, in 1763, they joined with the Menomi- 
nees and other tribes to defend the British garrison at the head of 
the bay, assisting in conducting them to a place of safety. They 
continued their friendship to the English during the Revolution, 
by joining with them against the colonies, and were active in the 
Indian war of 1790-4, taking part in the attack on Fort Recovery, 
on the Maumee, in the present State of Ohio, in 1793. They 
also fought on the side of the British in the war of 1812-15^ aid- 
ing in 1811 to reduce Prairie du Chien. Thev were then esti- 
mated at 4,5U0. 

When, in 1816, the government of the United States sent 
troops to take possession of the Green Bay country, by establish- 
a garrison there, some trouble was anticipated from the Winne- 
bago Indians, who, up to that date, had the reputation of being a 
bold and warlike tribe. A deputation from the nation came down 
Fox river and remonstrated with the American commandant on 
what they considered an intrusion. They were desirous of know- 
ing why a fort was to be established so near them. The reply 
was, that although the troops were armed for war, their purpose 
was peace. The response of the Indians was an old one. "If your 
object is peace, you have too many men; if war, too few." How- 
ever the display of a number of cannon that had not yet been 
mounted, satisfied the Winnebagoes that the Americans were 
masters of the situation, and the deputation gave the garrison no 
further trouble. On the 30th of June. 1816. at St. Louis, the 
tribe made a treaty of peace and friendship with the General Gov- 
ernment, but they continued to lay tribute on white people who 
passed up Fox river. At this time a portion of the tribe was liv- 
ing on the Wisconsin river, away from Green Bay. In 1820, they 
had five villages on Winnebago Lake and fourteen on Rock river. 
In 1825 the claim of the Winnebagoes was an extreme one so far 
as territory was concerned. Its southern boundary stretched away 
from the source of the Rock river to within forty miles of its 
mouth in Illinois, where they had a village. On the west it ex- 
tended to the heads of the small streams flowing into the Missis- 
sippi. To the north it i cached Black river and the Upper Wiscon- 
sin, to the Chippewa Territory, but did not extend over Fox river, 
although they contended for the whole of Winnebago Lake. 

The final removal of the Winnebagoes from Wisconsin to the 
westward, across the Mississippi soon followed. In 1829, a large 
part of the territory in southwest Wisconsin, lying between the 
Sugar River and the Mississippi and extending to the Wisconsin, 
was sold to the Government,' and three years later, all the residue 
lying south and east of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers of Green 
Bay. And finally in the brief language of the treaty of Novem- 
ber 1, 1837, (this tribe having become unsettled and wasteful). 
*'The' Winnebago Nation of Indians" ceded to the General Govern- 


ment "all their lands east of the Mississippi.'" Not an acre was 
reserved. And the Indians agreed that within eight months from 
that date, they would move west of the "great river," they being 
alloted territory a part of which Avas in the present Winneshiek 
County. This arrangement, however, was not fully carried out. 
In 1842 there were only 756 at the then Turkey River, Iowa 
Settlement, their new home, with as many in Wisconsin and 
small bands elsewhere. All had become lawless and roving. Some 
removed from Wisconsin in 1848, while a party to the number of 
eight hundred left that State as late as 1873 for Nebraska, long 
after the Iowa portion of the tribe had preceeded them to their 
Avestern home. Their Nebraska reservation is north of and adja- 
cent to the Omalias, containing over one hundred thousand acres. 
However, since their first removal, they have several times changed 
their homes, and scattering bands have wandered back and forth 
between Wisconsin and Nebraska. The total number is now esti- 
mated at less than twenty-five hundred. 

The following brief paragraphs in reference to the Winneba- 
goes, and removals of portions of the tribe, is taken from a sketch 
of the "Explorers and Pioneers of Minnesota," by Rev. Edward 
D. Neil: 

"The Ho-Tchun-Graws, or Winnebagoes, belong to the Daka- 
tah family of aborigines. Champlain, although he never visited 
them, mentions them. Nicollet, who had been in his employ, 
visited Green Bay about the year 1635, and an early relation men- 
tions that he saw the Ouinipegos, a people called so because they 
came from a distant sea, which some French writer erroneously 
called Puants." 

Another writer, speaking of these people, says: 
''These people are called 'Les Puants,' not because of any bad 
odor peculiar to them, but because they claim to have come 
from the shores of a far distant lake, toward the north, whose 
waters are salt. They call themselves the people 'de Teau pu- 
ants' of the putrid or bad water." 

"By the treaty of 1837 they were removed to Iowa, and by an- 
other treaty in October, 184G, they came to Minnesota in 1848, to 
the country between the Long Prairie and Crow Wing River. 
The agency was located on the Long Prairie River, forty miles 
from the Mississippi, and in 1849 the tribe numbered about five 
hundred souls. 

"In February, 1855, another treaty was made with them, and 
that spring they removed to lands on the Blue Earth River. 
Owing to the panic caused by the outbreak of the Sioux in 1862, 
Congress, by a special act, Avithout consulting them, in 1863 re- 
moved them from their fields in Minnesota to the Missouri River, 
and in the words of the missionary, 'they were, like the Sioux, 
dumped in the desert, one hundred miles above Fort Randall.'' " 




The eastern line of the Iowa reservation to which the Winne- 
bagoes Avere removed from Wisconsin, and w^hich embraced Win- 
neshiek County, was about twenty miles Avest of the Mississippi 
river. Their roving and unsettled condition had apparently 
changed their traditional independent and Avarlike character; and 
the large annuity given them as a condition of their removal from 
Wisconsin added to their vices and accellerated their progress to 
laziness and worthlessness. And if it is true that they were orig- 
inally warlike and fierce, as has been stated in these pages, they 
rapidly sunk in this respect until they won a memorable reputa- 
tion among the early settlers of being not only cowardly, but 
craftily revengeful and treacherous. Of these Winnebagoes after 
their removal to Iowa, Spark's History of Winneshiek County 

"The Winnebagoes were not brave and chivalrous, but vindic- 
tive and treacherous. Instead of facing a foe and braving danger, 
they would stealthily steal upon him, and in an unguarded moment, 
wreak their vengeance. But these were not the worst features in 
this tribe. They possessed vices of a meaner and more degrading 
nature. They united the art of stealing to that of lying. Any- 
thing belonging to another on which they could lay their pilfering 
fingers, they appropriated to their own use. Their lying propen- 
sities Avere proverbial. They regarded the white man Avith envy, 
but stood in such fear of their Indian neighbors — the Sacs and 
Foxes — that they dare not oppose him, but made him their cham- 
pion and protector against these warlike and powerful tribes. 
They were more opulent in their annuities than any other tribe of 
Indians. Besides about §1100,000 in cash and goods paid them an- 
nually, large sums were expended in the vain attempts to educate 
and christianize them. A fcAv among them could read and write; 
but in proportion as they improved in book lore, in the same, and 
even in a greater ratio, they deteriorated morally; and those who 
enjoyed the greatest advantages were the most Avorthless and de- 
graded of their tribe. Every attempt that has been made to civi- 
lize them, has sunk them loAver in the scale of humanity- At 
least this is the evidence of those who are familiar with their 
history. It has been reduced to an axiom, by observation and ex- 
perience, that the Indian is incapable of civilization, except in 
rare cases. They are gradually and surely fading aAvay. The 
very approach of civilization is a poison to them, from the ef- 
fects of which there is no escape. Its operation is slow but sure, 
and but a fcAv years will have made their annual rounds before 
the race Avill be numbered Avith the things of the past, and only 
known in history." 

The Winnebagoes being of such a character, or reputation, at 
least, it seemed all the more necessary that there should be an 
arm of the General Government extended toAvard their control, 


and a garrison e.:-tablishetl in their midst. And so Fort Atkinson, 
situated on a hill overlooking the village of that name in our 
county, was established. Some remains of the old fort still ex- 
ist. The fort was named after the famous and successful fighter 
of the Indians, General Atkinson, the hero of the Black Hawk 
war, and was commenced on the 2d of June, 1840, about fift}"- 
mechanics being employed in the work. It was intended to con- 
trol the Indians and protect them from bands of their enemies, as 
well as to protect the settlers. Further particulars in regard to it, 
and the village which bears its name, as well as in relation to 
Old Mission and Indian farm and reservation, established in 1842 
by Indian Agent Rev. D. Lowery, about five miles southwest of 
Atkinson, for educating and civilizing the Indians, will be found 
elsewhere in this volume. 


Winneshiek, the ruling chief of the Winnebagoes, soon after 
their removal to the reservation or neutral ground, including 
what is now known as Winneshiek County, did not become chief 
through royal Indian blood, nor because of bravery or prowess in 
war. He was made chief by order of the United States War De- 
partment, on account of his ability and fitness for the position. 
Under him as head chief, there were several chiefs of respective 
bands into which the nation was divided. The village of the head 
chief, Winneshiek, extended along the Upper Iowa River for 
several miles, where Decorah',is now located. He was an Indian of 
remarkable ability, intelligence and good sense, tall, straight, well 
developed, and fine looking, and confided in and trusted the 
whites, whom he seemed to thoroughly respect as they did him, and 
could speak the English language tolerably well. Judge Murdock 
and others, who were acquainted with him, and who have heard 
him deliver several speeche.^, were much impressed with his ability 
and oratorical genius. His face would light up with the fires of 
excitement; tone and gesture would add to the effect of his words; 
and the effect on his hearers was thrilling and powerful. 

It is not known positively whether Winneshiek is still living. 
There was a rumor of his death some years ago, but it has not been 
authentically confirmed. Whether alive or not, his name is per- 
petuated in being given to our county, one of the finest and best 
in the State. In accordance with the polygamous custom of the 
Winnebagoes, Winneshiek had six wives; and that he was a con- 
noisseur in female beauty is shown by the fact that he chose the 
finest looking women in the nation. 

Decorah, our beautiful inland citv, and county seat of Winne- 
shiek County, was named after Waukon-Decorah, one of the 
prominent chiefs of the Winnebagoes. Our neighboring and 
thriving village of Waukon gained its name from the first half 
of the hyphenated name of the aforesaid chieftain. He had lost 


an eye, and was familiarly known by the whites as ''one-eyed 
Decorah.'' He, like Winneshiek, was an eloquent orator, and 
would sometimes boast of having white blood in his veins. He 
had two brothers, who. as well as he, were of prominence in their 

The following quotation is from a speech of Decorah, made to 
the Government Commissioners after he had served with the 
Government forces in the Black Hawk war. He complained that 
his tribe had been firm friends of the whites, had aided them in 
the critical war against Black Hawk, and had not only re- 
ceived in return, but also because of helping their white brethren, 
had promoted the enmity of other Indians, who had been wreak- 
ing vengeance upon them. He said: ''The Sacs hate the Win- 
nebagoes for helping their Great Father, and when peace was 
made with the whites they struck at the Winnebagoes; first at the 
family of the speaker, when he was away from home they stole 
upon his lodge and killed his wife and children; and now he 
thought that his Great Father would give him some token of re- 
membrance of his services." 

What are said to be the remains of Decorah, having been twice 
re-interred, now repose in the Court House grounds, near the 
northeast corner. It has been claimed by some that Waukon 
Decorah is still living, but that is very doubtful, and he must 
have been a very old mam long before this time. The site of the 
grave of the alleged Decorah, above referred to, was, it is reported, 
often visited in early days by bands of Winnebago Indians, who 
came back to their old homes here for a brief visit. 

The first grave of Decorah was on ground now occupied by 
Winnebago Street, just below Main, almost at their intersection, 
and therefore in front of the present St. Cloud Hotel. The open- 
ing of the street to travel, made it desirable that the remains be 
removed to another spot. This was done by a formal meeting of 
prominent citizens on Aug. 4, 1859. Below is the report of that 
meeting by the secretary thereof, as afterwards published : 

''Decorah, August 4, 1859. 

"The citizens of Decorah assembled at the grave of the Indian 
Chieftain, 'Decorah', marked by the decaying bark and wood that 
lay over it, and on motion of Rev. E. Adams, Dr. J. M. Green 
was chosen moderator and T. W. Burdick was appointed secre- 

"After the examination of the grave it Avas on motion re- 
solved that the remains of the Chieftain be disinterred. 

"The grave being at the intersection, and within the limits 
of Main and Winnebago streets, and if not removed must soon 
give place to the use of these streets for the travel and com- 
merce of the white man. 

"Thereupon those present proceeded to exhume the body. 
Only bones remained. On motion of Rev. Adams, a committee 


consisting of D. B. Ellsworth, R. F. Gibson and Nathaniel 
Otis, were appointed to provide a suitable receptacle for the re- 
mains, and hold the same subject to the order of the citizens 

"On motion a committe was appointed to raise funds to obtain 
a suitable monument, and erect a fence to mark the grave. 

"The committee appointed took charge of the remains, and on 
jnotion the meeting adjourned. 

T. W. BuRDiCK. Secretary." 

In this new grave on the Court House grounds, the remains lay 
undisturbed for about seventeen years. But the grading and ter- 
racing of the grounds and the building of the new stone wall, a 
solid, substantial, structure, still comparatively new, compelled 
another resurrection and re-interment in the summer of 1876. 
The following in relation thereto is from the Decorah Bee^ June 
13, 1876: 

"Decorah has been resurrected. We do not mean thisbeautifu 
little citv, but the bones of the noble chieftain after whom it is 
named. On Tuesday morning the workmen engaged in grading 
and excavating for a new stone wall and sidewalk on the Main 
street side of the Court House grounds, came across the remains 
of an old cotfin containing some human bones, rusty scalping- 
knife, and tomahawk and pipe. They were some three feet from 
the surface of the ground, just inside the old Avail, on the north- 
east corner of the courtyard. That they are the bones of the old 
Indian chief, Decorah, we are assured by old residents, from whom 
we learn the following facts: 

About seventeen years ago, Winnebago street being about to be 
opened, a grave, situated where now is about the middle of the 
street in front of the post-office and known as the grave of De- 
corah. was opened and the remains, consisting of human bones, a 
blanket, tomahawk, pipe, and a lot of beads taken out, buried in 
Ellsworth & Landers' store for about six months, till the stone wall 
in front of the Court House yard was completed, when they were 
buried where now found.'' 

"It is held as conclusive proof of this being the remains of 
Decorah, that the Indians of his tribe frequently assembled about 
that early grave, whence the remains have since been removed, 
performed their mournful rites, and that they called it the grave 
of Decorah. 

"Only a portion of the bones of the body were found to have sur- 
vived the devastating hand of time, were taken out, and placed in 
a box to be hurried again inside the new stone wall when built. 

"Quite a crowd of people assembled to look at those poor re- 
mains of the proud chieftain whose spirit hath departed. Lo 
these many 3"ears." 

The action of the old settlers noted above in the report of the 
secretary of the meeting of 1859, which exhumed the supposed re- 


mains of Decorali, would be considered pretty good evidence of 
their genuineness; but the despoiling hand of the inconoclast is 
made to appear to throw doubt over the historic stories, as in the 
case of the tale of the saving of John Smith by the dusky prin- 
cess Pocahontas, and the equally sacred tradition of Washington 
and his hatchet. It will be seen that even a prominent actor in 
the first resurrection of the remains of Decorah was befogged 
with donbts by the spreading of rumors that Decorah was stilj 
living. For in a sermon, entitled, "First Things of Decorah," 
preached not long after this first exhuming, the Rev. E. Adams said: 
"Some may recollect how our bosoms swelled with respect for 
the old chief; with what reverence we exhumed his remains; how, 
in imagination, we beheld his noble form, as his skull, with its 
straight, black hair, was turned out by the spade; Avith what 
pomp and ceremony it was planned to remove his remains to some 
suitable place, possibly a monument erected — till, in gathering 
necessary facts for the occasion, word came back to us that De- 
corah was a chief greatly respected by his tribe, an old man, con- 
siderably bent over, with one eye put out, and his haiT very gray. 
His hair very gray! All but this could have been got along with, 
but somehow the poetry was gone! Enthusiam subsided! How- 
ever, if in future years, by the lapse of time, this difficulty should 
be obliterated, and any desire should remain to erect a monument 
to the old chief, they can find his bones, or those of some other 
poor Indian, safely deposited in a rough box a few inches below 
the surface of the ground, close to the northeast corner of the 
Court House yard." 


As has already been intimated, the Winnebagoes practiced 
polygamy, and their manner of wooing was not much tinctured 
with a comprehension of the idea of the equality of the sexes; 
nor did the marriage ceremony have enough of form or ceremony 
as to have been considered satifactorily binding, if the contracting 
parties had been whites. The Indian brave opened his suit not with 
the dusky daffis?l, but with her parents, and as persuasive argu- 
ments, gave them such presents as his ability or liberality ofi'ered. 
If the paternal copper-colored '"lord of creation" was willing, the 
matter was considered settled, and the bride would be borne away 
to the lodge of the wooer, whether she wished it ©r not. 

The funeral services were simple and devoid of form, the body 
of the deceased being wrapped in his blankets, and buried in a 
reclining position in a shallow grave. The period and profuse- 
ness of mourning varied, and is said to have depended on the 
anlount of whisky on hand, or provided for the occasion. 

In the early settlements of this country, as at present on the 
frontier, "fire water" was the great curse of the Indians. In 
many cases, a despicable white under the guise of an Indian teach- 


(sr, made his real business the selling of whisky to the Indians. 
He would secrete his stock of Avhisky in some grove or out of the 
way place near enough to the whites for protection. 

The Winnebago settlement on the reservation was not one to 
be neglected by this class of people, who, not allowed by the gov- 
ernment to come on to the reservation, came as near to its boun- 
daries as they dared. Two of these characters and the murders 
resulting from their evil practices, are thus described in Spark's 

"Taft Jones was an individual of this character. He hailed 
from Fort Crawford, and located a trading post in the vicinity of 
Monona, giving it the name of 'Sodom.' Another genius, named 
Grraham Thorn, started a trading post in close proximity to Sod- 
om, and called it 'Gomorrah.' The Indians used to frequent these 
places, and, of course, usually got badly cheated. It is a matter 
of recollection that ouce in a trial before Hon. T. S. Wilson, the 
first judge of this part of the country, a witness testified to things 
that happened at Sodom and Gromon-ah. The Judge was disposed 
to become indignant, and asked, somewhat pointedly, if the wit- 
ness was not imposing on the Court. The reply was given by 
Judge Murdock, then a young attorney, 'Oh, no, your Honor; 
these places do actually exist.' The old mayor of Sodom crossed 
long since to the other side of Jordan." 

During the sojourn of the Indians on their resarvation three 
murders were committed, to wit: that of the Gardner family, in 
Fayette county; of Riley, near Monona; and of Hereby, near the 
mouth of the Volga, In all of these cases whisky Avas the in- 
citing cause, and some of the parties undoubtedly deserved their 
fate. In the Riley case, a small party of Indians were encamped 
on a tributary of the Yellowstone river, four or five miles from 
Monona. An old Indian visited Taft Jones' den, at Sodom, and 
(as many a "paleface" has since done in similar cases) traded all 
his worldly effects for whisky. He even sold the blanket from his 
shoulders. Becoming intoxicated, he was turned out of doors, and 
on his way to his lodge died from exposure and cold. The next 
morning his son, a youth of about twenty summers, found the 
dead body of his father lying out in the snow, naked and frozen. 
His revengeful feelings were aroused, and going to the whisky 
den at Gomorrah, he shot at the first man he saw through the 
window. Unfortunately it happened to be an inoffensive man 
named Riley. A detachment of troops under command of Lieut. 
David S. Wilson, late Judge of Dubuque Circuit Court, was sent 
out to capture the Indian who committed the murder. He was 
apprehended, taken to Fort Atkinson, and confined in the guard- 
house, but by the connivance of a sympathizing white man he es- 
caped and was never recaptured. Jones lived but a short time 
after this occurrence. Dr. Andros, of this city, witnessed his 
death and descrD^es it as follows: 'I was travelling from Fort 


Atkinson to Prairie du Cliieu, and as I was passing by Sodom I 
was called in to see Taffy Jones. I found him on his bed in a 
miserable condition, and dying from chronic alcoholism. His 
countenance was horrible to look upon. He seemed to have but 
one thought, one wish. His only cry was whisky! whisky! 
whisky ! I told Thorn, who was his right bower, that Taify was 
dying, and to gratify his last wish. A tumbler of whisky was 
placed to his lips, and he swallowed it with all the gusto that 
marks the smallest babe while drawing nourishment from the 
breast of its mother. In a few hours he died, a striking illustra- 
tion of the the old adage/ 'the ruling passion strong in death.'' The 
murder of the Gardner family Avas caused by whisky. Gardner 
kept a whisky shop, and it seems a number of Indians called at 
his place for their favorite beverage. He dealt out the whisky to 
them until they became intoxicated, and he, becoming alarmed, 
refused to let them have any more. They then determined to 
take the whisky by force, whereupon Gardner offered resistance. 
He was seized by the demons and dispatched. His defenseless wife 
and innocent babe were next assassinated, and his daughter, a 
beautiful girl about twelve years old, was reserved for a more 
terrible fate." 

Of the bands of Winnebagoes and the difficulties of their re- 
moval. Sparks' history says: 

"At the time the Winnebagoes Avere removed they numbered 
about four thousand, and were scattered over their reservation, or 
what was then called 'the neutral ground.' Four bands were 
located near the Fort and Agency. The other bauds were located 
more remote. Where the city of Decorah now stands was a large 
band under the government of the hereditary chief Decorah; 
hence the name. This country was at that time an Indian para- 
dise, abounding in fish and game. The sale of their lands to the 
Government by their chiefs, and their acceptance of a new home 
in Minnesota, was very unsatisfactory to the Indians themselves. 
For a long time they refused to comply with the agreement en- 
tered into by their chiefs, and only consented when compelled by 
force of United States troops. Owing to their reluctance to re- 
move, the whole summer was spent in their ejection. One band, 
governed by a chief called the 'The Dandy,' Avould not go upon 
the land assigned them, but returned Avith their chief to Black 
River, Wisconsin, where they remained till the summer of 1874, 
Avhen they were finally removed (at a great expense to the Gov- 
ernment) to the home of the tribe west of the Missouri. But 
they had remained on their neAV hunting grounds but a few 
months when they again returned to their old homes." 

The remainder of this chapter, describing Indian life and an- 
other bloody tragedy caused by selling whisky to the Indians, is 
from a series of papers being published in the Decorah Journal 
on pioneer life in this region : 


"The character of the Indians, as written by their distant ad- 
mirers, or their near enemies, has been both overrated and under- 
rated. How shall I describe them? — a mixture of savage barbar- 
ism and of 'civilization,' as learned from the whites. This is about 
what the pioneers found them to be. They are either warm and 
trusty friends, or bitter, treacherous and blood-thirsty enemies. 
That is their savage nature. They are inveterate beggars, liars 
and thieves; a part of this is nature, and a part Avas learned from 
their white brothers. They are lazy, dirty and shiftless. They 
are brave, chaste and constant in their marital relations. They 
are true to their tribe and those who befriend them, but revenge- 
ful and unforgiving to their enemies. How much of this is na- 
ture, and how much is learned from the pale faces, I leave to the 
reader to say. 

"With the coming of the whites, the habits of the Indians un- 
derwent something of a change. They learned to prize money 
and to covet its possession, provided it could be gained without 
much labor. Their wants gi-ew to be more numerous as the abil- 
ity to supply them increased. They were still hunters, as they 
had always been, but to this was added a few other pursuits 
whereby money could be obtained. But in this the principle la- 
bor fell upon the squaws. The braves would hunt and fish, and 
would sell their furs, which always commanded good prices, while 
the deer skins would be tanned b}'^ the squaws, and often manu- 
factured into moccasins, many of them tastefully beaded and orna- 
mented. For thread they used the sinews of the deer, and their 
work was both substantial and neat. These moccasins were favor- 
ite foot wear for the pioneers, both men and women, and for com- 
fort they cannot easily be surpassed, and a pretty foot never 
looked prettier than when dressed in a neat fitting Indian moc- 
casin. No white person could ever give a softer finish to a deer 
skin than do the squaws. In this they surpass all others. 

"The gathering of wild berries, and of wild rice, also contributed 
considerably toward supplying their wants. In summer a small 
patch of Indian corn, and sometimes of potatoes, would be culti- 
vated. In this, also, the squaws performed the most of the labor, 
while the braves wandered off" on hunting or fishing expeditions. 

"But few persons living in countries Avhere a wild Indian is 
seldom or never seen, having anything like a correct idea of the 
kind of life these people really lead. Mmy imagine that theirs is 
a happy care-free life, free from all restraint, and that as he roams 
at will over the vast free forest of the west, his must be a life to 
be envied by civilized men and women. Let us look for a mo- 
ment at the reality, 

"In summer the Indian life may be said to be at its best, but 
even then hunger is not an unknown or even an unfrequent guest. 
Then the Indians settle down in groups, or families, erect their 
wigwams, and there remain while their small patch of corn is 


cultivated, berries gathered, etc. In the autumn they remove to 
the rice fields, which lie to the north. The wild rice forms one of 
the chief articles on which they subsist, and if this crop fails, as 
is often the case, it is the cause of great destitution and suffering. 
Throughout the winter the Indians are frecjuently on the move 
going to new regions in quest of game, or for other reasons. I 
will relate a couple or incidents which moved my heart to pity for 
these poor creatures: 

"It was a bitter cold morning in January. A party of five or 
six were traveling by stage, and though thickly and comfortably 
clothed, and snugly tucked up with buffalo robes, all were com- 
plaining of the cold. We were passing over a bleak prairie where 
the wind blew a perfect gale, when we came upon a party of In- 
dians who had just broken camp and were moving to some new 
locality. There were about twenty in the company, consisting of 
men, women and children. There were two or three Indian pon- 
ies loaded with camp equipage, and on these ponies were mounted 
some of the smaller children, though boys, down to the ages of 
eight or nine years, together with the squaws, plodded through 
two feet of snow as best they might, their route lying across the 
prairie and not in the direction the road ran. The Indians walked 
erect, carrying only their guns, but the squaws, and even the chil- 
dren, were bent down with heavy loads, carrying not only the 
camp supplies, but also the woven bark of which their wigwams 
were made, strapped upon their backs. 

"The Indians were dressed in buckskin leggins with moccasins 
of the same material. A thin calico shirt was the only garment, 
from the waist up. The squaws were similarly dressed, with the 
addition of a woolen shirt that reached just below the knees. The 
heads of all were uncovered, and around the form of each was 
loosely drawn a large blanket, which it seemed to us might have 
afforded greater protection had it been more closely drawn, or se- 
cured with our own indispensable pins. The dark, slender hands 
of all were wholly unprotected. Two or three of the squaws had 
little pappooses strapped upon their backs who cried piteously, 
very much as a little hu^nanhahj would have done. 

"And this party of wanderers would plod a long until hunger and 
weariness would overtake them. Then, on that cold winter's 
day, they would scrape away the heavy snow, would undo the 
rolls of bark matting, which must afford but a poor protection 
from the cold, gather sticks and brush and build a fire, and then, 
after cooking and eating a simple meal, would spread their 
blankets and lie down on the cold, frozen ground, to sleep and 
rest. After thinking of all this, and of the warm fire and smok- 
ing meal that would await us at the hotel not far distant, there 
was not much more complaint among us. 

"One chilly night, late in autumn, word was brought that a 
party of Indians were encamped in a grove near by. Although 


there are large Indian settlements a little ways to the north, an 
Indian f^amp in our midst is sufficiently rare to attract some at- 
tention. So that evening, taking a few presents as a peace-ofi'er- 
ing, a party set out to pay the encampment a visit. A blazing 
fire guided us to the spot. About the fire, over which a kettle 
hung suspended, were a group of ten, all seated on the ground — • 
six Indians and four squaws. The Indians were smoking their 
pipes with stolid countenances, while the squaws tiad their blank- 
ets drawn up over their heads, and their heads resting on their 
hands, seemed indifferent to everything in life. An effort at con- 
versation elicited only a grunt, and a declaration in the Indian 
tongue that they could not speak English; a statement which we 
very much doubted, as it is an Indian trick to feign ignorance of 
our language, even when well understood. A presentation of our 
gifts aroused a little life, and a chatter in the Indian tongue. 

^'The kettle was boiling slowly, and, being uncovered, was seen 
to contain a piece of meat, some potatoes, and some pieces of 
black bread, all boiling together, and would form a not unsavory 
meal. When cooked it would be set out on the ground, and the 
group squatted around would dip out morsels and eat them from 
their fingers. Then,Avith blankets drawn around them, and with 
heads toward the fire, and with no shelter save the cold, starry 
heavens, they would sleep until morning. Possibly they would 
partake of the remnants of last night's meal, and at early dawn 
would be again on the trail, and not until twenty-five or thirty 
miles were accomplished would they again stop to rest. Our 
homes never seem warmer or more comfortable, or our beds softer 
or more downy, than when on some cold, chilly night we think 
of a visit to an Indian encampment. 

''Does any one wonder, with all their suft'ering and privation, 
with wars waged among them, and with the white man's 'fire- 
water' dealing ruin and death in their midst, that he is fact dying 

"Sometimes the savagen ature of the Indians would burst forth, 
like a prisoned volcano, and culminate in deeds of bloodshed 
and murder so horrible as to strike terror to the stoutest hearts. In 
recording these deeds of carnage the blame cannot be said to rest 
wholly upon the savages. They are generally inclined to be friendly 
with the whites when treated with kindness and justice. Some 
of their most atrocious acts of cruelty may rather be attributed to 
drunken frenzy, than to either injustice on the part of the whites, 
or savage barbarity on the part of the Indians. Of this class 
was one of their most fiendish murders, known as the Tea-Garden 

"There lived in one of the northwestern counties of Iowa a 
Frenchman named Tea-Garden. The country was very wild, with 
only a few white families scattered through a wide extent of ter- 
ritory. His family consisted of his wife — a very estimable woman. 


aud four children — two boys, aged respectively eiojlit and 
eleven years of age, a girl of six years of age, annd 
an infant child. Tea-Garden kept a trading post and 
dealt with the Indians, who were much more numerous 
than the whites. He soon found that although they cov- 
eted beads and other trinkets, there was one article which 
found much more ready sale than any other, and for which an In- 
dian would sacrifice almost anything he possessed. This article 
was called in the Indian tongue 'Poch-a-ninna,' the literal sig- 
nification of which is 'fire-water," in plain English, Avhisky. He 
was not a man of much principle, and though the sale of liquor 
to the Indians was strictly against the laws of the territory, he soon 
came to dispense the fiery fluid with a freedom that was in accord- 
ance with the Indians' capability of paying for it. 

'•But few men can handle fire-brands without themselves being 
scorched. But few can deal out poison without themselves feel- 
ing its direful effects, and Tea -Garden did not prove to be one of 
the few. Having a natural liking for the vile stuff, with him to 
handle was to taste, and he soon came to drink freely with his 
customers, be they either whites or Indians, and in a short time 
he became a drunkard and a sot, with scarcely a spark of man- 
hood left. 

"He abused his family, his helpless children, and his faithful 
wife, who clung to what little of manhood he yet possessed. 
There was one of the hangers-on around this drinking place, an 
Irishman named Mahone who, although a good aud kind-hearted 
man, had yielded to his appetite for liquor until he, too, had be- 
come a confirmed drunkard, and having no family ties, cared but 
little for anything save the gratification of his appetite for liquor. 

"One day liquor had flowed more freely than usual, and as a con- 
sequence Tea-Garden had been more abusive than ever. He had 
beaten both his wife and his children, Avho cowered before his 
drunken wrath. In the course of their drunken revelry it was pro- 
posed that Mahone purchase Tea-Garden's wife. This was acceded 
to, and the price being agreed on, the money was paid over and a pa- 
per made out declaring Mahone the rightful owner of the'chattel.' 

"Mahone had a genuine respect for the woman, and being par- 
tially sober the next morning, approached the woman and frankly 
stated the bargain. Said he: 'According to the custom of this rough 
country, I suppose that I might claim you and make you trouble, 
but I wish nothing but to see you in a happier situation than you 
are here. You have friends to whom you can go and who will 
gladly receive you. Go, and I will protect you in so doing.' She 
Avas glad to accept the offer, and taking the youngest child with 
her, went to her friends, leaving the other children until she could 
find means to provide for them. This explains how there came to 
be only drunken Indians, and whites, and small children at this 
trading post at the time of the tragedy. 


''Tlie two men, Tea-Garden and Mahone, kept togetlier, drinking 
and carousing, and selling liquor to the Indians, sinking lower and 
lower in the scale of humanity. The Indians' money went into 
the white man's pocket as freely as ever, but there began to be low 
mutterings of discontent, mingled with the drunken dance and 
whoop. A storm was gathering but its omens were not heeded. 

"One day in mid-winter, a gang of Indians had been at the post 
all day, drinking and carousing. The host and his companion, 
Mahone, had drank with them, and were even more under the in- 
fluence of liquor than their guests. Night came on and the chil- 
dren were sent supperless to bed. The children were frightened 
and hungry, and were lying in bed awake listening to all that was 
going on around them. They knew that their father and Mahone 
were asleep by their heavy breathing, but the Indians were awake 
and talking angrily in their own language, which the children 
well understood. They were telling how they had been cheated 
by Tea-Garden, and as their anger increased the children heard 
these savages plan the murder of the whole family while they 
slept. The three were in one bed, and the little girl of six was 
the only one that slept. The oldest boy drew the bedclothes up 
over her head in the hope that by so doing she might be unnoticed 
and so escape the massacre that awaited them. Trembling with 
fear the boys dared not speak or stir, but no word or movement 
escaped them. They saw one of the Indians take up an ax from 
the corner, try its edge, and then saw it descend, crashing through 
the brain of their father. They saw it raised, and again descend, 
in like manner, above the prostrate form of Mahone. Both men 
passed from their drunken slumber into the embrace of death 
without a sigh or a struggle. 

"The two boys lay clasped in each other's arms, horror-stricken 
at the scene. For fully half an hour they lay there, gazing on 
the bloody spectacle, before the Indians seemed to remember their 
existence and came toward them. True to their savage custom 
of sparing neither women nor children, they prepared to finish 
their hellish work. With an unerring aim the ax went crashing 
through the skull of the younger boy. The elder crept beneath 
the bed-clothes in terror, and as the ax again descended it crashed 
through his shoulder, inflicting a severe but not painful wound, 
and as, with almost superhuman fortitude and presence of mind, 
he lay perfectly quiet, the Indians did not take the trouble to see 
whether they had quite finished their work or not, as they doubt- 
less would have done had they been sober. The little girl slept on 
unnoticed and undisturbed. The drunken orgies increased, while 
the boy of eleven years, the sole witness of the scene, peered out 
from under the bed clothes. About the middle of the night, ac- 
cording to the Indian custom, the bloodthirsty, drunken wretches 
stole away, having first kindled a fire at the outer Avails of the 
building. The brave boy listened until their savage yells died 


away in the distance, then rousing his sleeping sister, his only liv- 
ing companion in all the household, the two set out, barefooted 
and nearly naked, over the snow to the nearest neighbor's house, 
a mile away. With that bleeding, gaping wound m his shoulder, 
partly dragging and partly carrying his little sister, the boy suc- 
ceeded at last in reaching the friendly shelter of the neighbor's 
house. But the hands and feet of both the boy and girl were 
badly frozen. 

"In the morning neighbors visited the scene of the tragedy, and 
found only the ashes and smouldering ruins of the building, and 
the charred bones of the three victims. 

"Both the girl and boy grew up — the girl to brave, noble 
womanhood. The boy, even before he reached the years of man- 
hood, became a wild hunter, who told no tales of the game he 
sought. But whereever his hunting-grounds lay, there might 
often be found a dead Indian, with a peculiar mark, as if killed by 
the same unerring aim. None but himself knew the number 
slain, but at last he himself fell a victim to his life-long foes. 


Pioneer Life; Pioneer Women; An Indian Scare; Oddities of 
Bench and Bar; Unique Weddings; Jumping Claims; Rather 
Crowded ; Lost in the Woods. 

There are many reminiscences of pioneer life in this now well 
peopled and thriving country, and its borders, which, told by com- 
fortable and even luxurious firesides, sound like the telling of a 
dream, or like the pages of some improbable romance. The early 
settlers are fast passing away, and in the rapid march of time, the 
early days, with their hard struggles, their privations, their quaint 
legends, and withal, their mirth and jollity are being rapidly for- 

There are those in the older States, and in fact in all countries, 
who have no desire to remove from their ancestral homes, who 
are content to "live where their fathers lived — die where their 
fathers died," but the natural increase of population, as well as 
the tide of immigration from the countries of Europe would make 
it impracticable for all to do this. And it is fortunate that a large 
class is imbued with the spirit of the pioneer — with the earnest 
desire to seek new and more thinly settled countries, and carve out 
a fortune or win a comfortable home and a competency for them- 
selves. This spirit and steady purpose it is that turned the prai- 


ries and forests of the west into cultivated farms, and caused the 
beautiful hills and valleys of our county to teem with waving 
fields of grain, swarm with flocks and herds, be made beautiful 
Avith fruits and flowers, which adorn and cheer the homes, where 
but a few years ago the wild Indian sought his game, and was 
"monarch of all he surveyed." All honor then, to the sturdy set- 
tlers who in braving danger as well as solitude, not only for him- 
self but also for those he loved, to become an independent home 
winner, has done so much to open up the land for those who fol- 
lowed in his footsteps, or who in later years came after him. 


But if we honor the man who thus cuts loose from the dear 
associations of his early home, how much more honor is due to 
the woman who, though often reared in the lap of ease, or even 
luxury, does not repine. The life that for man is only difficult, 
for woman is truly hard. From much that makes frontier life ex- 
citing and pleasant to men, women are naturally shut out. Her 
work is at home. It is woman who keeps the hearth-fires glow- 
ing and helps keep the wolf from the door, not always an imagin- 
ary wolf, but sometimes a wolf of real flesh and blood. It is 
woman that spreads the hospitable board for all strangers and 
travelers and gives to the wilderness cabin the life and light of 
'home. With whatever difficulty the way of man as a pioneer 
was beset, at his side, an ever ready and willing helper, was woman. 

In health, a friend and companion; in sickness, a physician, 
nurse and housekeeper, all in one, not only in her home, but also 
in the home of an unfortunate neighbor. The pioneer woman 
was always busy, generally cheerful, and always to be depended on 
in times of trial. As brave as modest, they turned back from no 
difficulty, they feared no danger. As modest as brave, they 
shrank from having their names and deeds written for the public. 
The quiet life of daily toil and self-sacrifice was not the kind of 
which histories are made, but rather the life which livfes in the 
grateful memory of those who knew them. The following from 
a speech before an old settlers meeting, pays such a deserved trib- 
ute to woman, and is so true and appropriate, that we c^uoteit: 

"But what of old comrades in the life battles in the wilderness 
that was, what of our companions, the women ? Most of them 
had been delicately reared, and were accustomed to the luxuries 
and refinements of cultivated society; and most of all had good 
homes with the necessaries and conveniences of life in abundance, 
and were surrounded by kind friends and dear relatives. To 
these they had been bred; to all these they were strongly at- 
tached. But these ties were sundered, these homes were left be- 
hind, w^hen after the last trunk was packed, and the last farwell 
was sadly uttered they set their faces sadly w^estward for a new 
life and a new home, they knew it must be among strangers. 


The;^ shared with us the trial of the journey, the weary miles of 
sunshine, and storm as we journeyed on and on-ward. They par- 
took with us the coarse fare and rude accommodation of the wag- 
on and wayside, the canal boat and the steamer, the log tavern and 
the bivouac under the open heaven, all this they encountered 
without murmuring, and cheerfully. And when late in autumn, 
or early in spring it may be in the cold storm or driving mist and 
chilly winds that cut to the bone, they took their departure from 
the last outpost of civilization, over lonely prairies, or through the 
gloomy forest, over the dismal roads, beset with roots or stumps 
without sign of cultivation, or human habitation, then it was, the 
hour of bitter trial came to their hearts; then it was that amid 
their loneliness, and utter heart desolation the dear homes and 
kindred they had left, rose up before them, and through the tears 
they look down upon the little ones who cling to them. But 
not a murmur, not a word of complaint or regret escaped them. 
The feelings too deep for utterance, which swelled within them, 
w^ere smothered in their bosoms. When we at last, (some later, 
some earlier) had found a place where to make a home in these 
pleasant groves and prairies, pleasant to us men; for here there 
were herds of bounding deer, and flocks of wild fowl, the wolf 
and sand-hill crane, and game large and small to give us sport. 
The lakes and streams abounded in fish, and we could take them 
at our will. The country was all open and free to roam over, as* 
one great park. There was excitement for us in all this; suited 
to our rougher natures and coarser tastes. We could roam and 
fish or hunt, as we pleased, amid the freshness and beauties of na- 
ture. But how was it with our wives? From all these they were 
excluded. They were shut up with their children in log cabins, 
when they were fortunate enough to get them, rude huts without 
floors often, and not unfrequently without doors and windows, 
while the cold fierce winds of dark December whistled through 
them . Frequently they were covered with sticks fastened with 
poles, between which the stars of night looked down upon the 
faithful mother and her sleeping infants, here in one small 
room, filled perhaps with smoke; without furniture, except a lit- 
tle of the rudest kind; rough slab stools, an equally rough table, 
and bedstead, if any, made of poles fastened into the house, no 
kitchen utensils, save perhaps a skillet and a frying pan, destitute 
of crockery, and with little tinware, they were called upon to do 
unaided, the duties of a housewife. With these conveniences and 
these surroundings, they took upon them for weeks and months, 
and even for years the burdens of their households, in a continued 
struggle with hindrances and perplexities. These were the heroic 
women to whom our hearts did homage; and I should fail in my 
duty, at this time if in the roll call of worthy and honorable 
names they should not be remembered. And all honor to these 
pioneer women, sa^^ we." 




^Wecaunot now realize the anxiety nor even the dangers that 
beset the settlers from the Indians, particularly at the time of In- 
dian outbreaks, in this and neighboring States. 

A contributor to the Decorah Journal the present year, in 
writing of pioneer life, thus refers to an occurrence well remem- 
bered by old settlers: 

"As I write the word 'Indians,' memory takes me back to the 
early days of my childhood in Decorah. Again I see a rider on a 
foaming steed dash along Broadway, as I did twenty or more years 
ago, shouting at the top of his voice, 'The Indians are coming!' 
Again I see the street thronged with blanched-faced men and 
trembling women, running to and fro in wild excitement and gazing 
with anxious faces off into the west, imagining every tree a red-skin, 
and the smoke from every distant chimney a sign of their devas- 
tation. Again I hear the whispered consultation of the men as 
to the best means of protecting their loved ones. Again I feel 
my hand clasped in that of my sainted mother as 1 toddle along 
at her side, down Mill street hill, across the old red bridge, and 
over to West Decorah — a place of imagined safety. It was a 
false alarm, and probably faded from the memory of many of our 
readers, and remembered by others only as the dim recollection of 
a half forgotten dream. But it comes back to my mind to-night 
as vividly as though it were an occurrence of yesterday. Twenty 
years! How great the change! Infants then in their mothers' 
arms are men and women now; the young are middle aged; the 
middle aged old; while many whom we knew and loved have 
fallen asleep and are at rest in the silent churchyard. 


But life here had its bright and hopeful side, and with all the 
anxieties and trials of the pioneers, they became accustomed to 
their lot, which was cheered by a realization of what they were 
accomplishing, and by amusing and sometimes exciting incidents 
or episodes. We are permitted to glean the following from a lec- 
ture by Judge M. V. Burdick, whose residence here, and famili- 
arity with early life, and wide acquaintance with old settlors, has 
given him a large fund of information, and which his warm and 
sympathetic heart and command of language has given him a 
happy way of expressing himself. The first anecdote has for its 
leading characters the judge himself, aud another well known at- 
torney and ex-judge: 

"In a country as new as Iowa was in 1850, there is always con- 
siderable litigation, and a young lawyer, even though he dons the 
plain habiliments of a farmer, and swings the axe to cut the logs 
that build his cabin, need not tarry long without a client. At 
least, I found it so on my arrival in Iowa. In a busy little town 
that gave promise of ere long expanding into a citv, the Turkey 



river was dammed aud a saw-mill erected by its side. The mill 
and dam together formed a foot-bridge across the stream. Hard 
by the mill a log cabin had been built, in which a family lived 
and a store was kept. The merchant and the miller were not on 
friendly terms, and so the miller forbade the merchant the privi- 
lege of passing through the mill or across the dam. The mer- 
chant heeded not the notice, but went to cross the river in the 
accustomed route, The miller kept a rifle by him with which to 
prevent intrusion. If miller and merchant had their names re- 
versed, the latter might have used the well known couplet of 

"Lay on, McDufF, 
And damned be he who first cries hold — enough. 

But as it was, it were better to say, "Layon to McDufl"." Well 
the miller drew the rifle, aimed at the merchant, and blazed away, 
the ball burying itself in the post to the saw frame. The mer- 
chant applied to the youthful attorney. An information, charging 
the miller with the crime of assault with intent to commit murder 
was filed, a warrant was issued, and the defendant was arrested and 
brought before the magistrate. He asked time to send to a neighbor- 
ing county for a lawyer, which was granted, the lawyer came. The 
examination proceeded with the circumstances given in evidence, 
and the prosecution closed. The attorney for the defence moved 
to discharge the prisoner because the prosecution had failed to 
make a primafacie case. He introduced an authority to the efiect 
that in order to convict of the crime, it was necessary to prove 
that the gun with which the assault was made, was loaded with 
powder and ball. He admitted the powder part had been proven, 
but argued that there was no proof whatever that the gun con- 
tained a ball. The young attorney protested that the fact that the 
mill post had been hit and penetiated by some hard substance, was 
proof positive that the gun was loaded with a deadly missile, and 
that this was sufiicient, but all in vain. The Justice ruled that 
the law said it must be proven by the prosecution that the gun 
was loaded with powder and ball, and it might have been a slug 
that penetrated the post. Would you know where these events 
occurred? It was not "Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the 
plain," of which Goldsmith speaks in his peerless poem, "The 
Deserted Village." w^ould you know the lawyer who made the suc- 
cessful defense? It Avas a noble defence of injured innocence, 
and on my part an ignoble defeat." 

''You have heard of the young man who, in writing to his fath- 
er, told him to come out west — for very mean men get office here." 
This may be true, for I have held office several times myself. 
Men are frequently elevated to positions of trust who are illy 
qualified to perform the duties required of them. An instance in 
point I will relate though it smacks very strongly of profanity. 
A man was on trial before a Justice of the Peace, charged with 


killing a neighbor's dog. The defendant was called as a witness, 
and the Justice said, "hold up your right hand." "You do sol- 
emnly swear" — he could get no further. He "scratched his pate 
and felt for brains." Again he said, "You do solemnly swear." 
Again he paused; the oath had escaped his memory. Despair was 
deficted in every lineament of his countenance. Large drops of 
perspiration stood upon his brow. At length an idea struck him; 
his countenance beamed with intelligence, and with the gravity 
becoming the solemnity of an oath, he said, "You do solemnly 
swear by the upturned hand of Almighty God that you did not kill 
the dog, and if you did, you hoped to be damned." "The oath excited 
so much merriment that good feelings was engendered and the 
case settled, but the dog killing settler refers to the oath as the 
only lie he ever swore to." 

"In the trial of a case before a justice a motion arose on the ad- 
missibility of testimony, and the attorney cited an authority from 
Greenleaf on Evidence. The Justice assumed a very dignified 
attitude, looked very wise and said : 'Mebby you think I don't 
know the law, but I guess I do. I know as much as Greenleaf 
did. The only difference between me and him is that he wrote a 
book and I didn't.' " 

"Even in the higher courts, things of amusing interest occur. In 
a district court a case was on trial on the last day of the term, 
and there was to be a dancing party in the evening. The Judge 
had a decided penchant for tripping the "light fantastic toe," and 
was extremely anxious to conclude the case in time for the dance. 
The day and part of the evening was occupied in the examination 
of witnesses. When the testimony was closed the plaintiff's attor- 
ney arose and said: 'If the Court please — ' The Court don't 
please,' the Judge responded. 'Gentlemen of the jury; your ver- 
dict will be: We, the jury find for plaintiff- dollars; or, we, 

the jury find for defendant. Mr. Sheriff, adjourn Court and let us 
join the dance;' and they danced." 

"A case was pending in which the lawyer had several times been 
demurred out of Court, and the party, in presence of his attorney, 
appealed to the Judge to tell him what to do to insure a trial of 
the case on its merits. 'Employ a lawyer,' the Judge replied. A 
short time after, a witness was being examined in the trial of a 
case, and the Judge, as he occasionally did, left his seat and 
mingled in the crowd of lookers-on. A large dog seated himself 
in the judicial chair. One of the attorneys arose and said: 'May 
it please the court, — ' The crowd roared; the discorafitted attor- 
ney said; 'Go on, Mr. Attorney, there is more ability on the 
bench now than there was a moment ago.' The Judge might have 
fined him for contempt of court, but he did not. He was willing 
to cry quits," 

Occasionally a marriage ceremony is twice performed. A 
couple had plighted their vows, and all that was lacking to make 


their happiness complete was a marriage license and the ceremony. 
The would-be-groom procured the license from the Clerk of the 
County of his residence and took the waiting bride to the resi- 
dence of a minister in an adjoining county, who glanced at the 
license, saw that it contained their names, and performed the cere- 
mony. After they had gone, he took the license to make out the 
certificate, and found that it was issued from his neighboring 
county. He thought he had exceeded his authority, ordered his 
horse and followed the couple home. They had letired for the 
night when he arrived, but he routed them out of bed and per- 
formed the ceremony again, this time of course in the county in 
which the license was issued. He was bound to perform his duty- 
It were well if all who perform marriage ceremonies were equally 
particular. I know a county in the west in which fourteen 
licenses were issued in 1881; to which no certificates have been 
returned. Whether it is owing to broken engagements or neg- 
lect of duty can not be ascertained from records." 

Our gleanings from Judge Burdick's lecture are fittingly closed 
with the following poem from his pen: 

"Sweeter than the poet's singing 

Is the anthem of the free, 
Blither is the anvil's ringing 

Than the song of bird or bee. 

"There's a glory in the rattle 

Of the wheels 'mid factory's gloom, 
Richer than are snatched from battle 

Are the trophies of the loom. 

"See the skillful builder raising, 

Gracefully yon towering pile. 
Round the forge and furnace blazing, 

Stand the noble sons of toil. 

"Tliey are heroes of the people, 

Who the weal of nations raise; 
Every dome and every steeple 

Rear their heads in Labo-'s prais-e." 

As a companion anecdote to those of Judge Burdick, we add 
one from Sparks' history: 

"At the time that the military company commanded by Captain 
Parker was stationed at Fort Atkinson, an incident occurred 
which verifies the old maxim that 'two of a trade can never agree.' 
The Orderly of the company was a young lawyer hailing from 
Connecticut, who had been a prominent man in the political 
arena. The Second Sergeant was also a young lawyer, who hailed 
from Vermont. On a certain occasion a dispute sprang up be- 
tween them; words were plenty, as is usual with lawyers, wh<^H 
Vermont says to Connecticut, 'If you did not rank me, I would 
thrash you like h— 1.' To which Connecticut replied, 'I waive 
my rank.' They adjourned from the parade ground and stripped 


for the contest. The number of rounds fought deponent saith 
not, but as the story goes 'Vermont' came off victor, 'Vermont' 
afterwards located at Grarna^illo and practiced law. While here 
he was arrested for horse stealing, and very suddenly disappeared. 
He is to-day a prominent lawyer of Plattsburg, N. Y. The 
young lawyer whom I have designated 'Connecticut,' became a 
distinguished jurist in this district, and now occupies a prominent 
position as an influential citizen of this State. He believes, with 
all his strength and might, in narrow-gauge railroads, but is a 
broad guage man." 

And as a companion story of unique weddings, we give the fol- 
lowing from the aforementioned contributor to the Journal of the 
sketches of pioneer life: 

"It is related as a fact that in early days a hardy backwoodsman 
was elected Justice of the Peace. He was accredited to know 
more of hunting, fishing and trapping than of the law, but 
being deemed honest, and in the lack of better material 
was elected to the office. His statute-book had not yet 
arrived, when an anxious couple visited his house for the 
purpose of being married. In vain he plead ignorance of any 
knowledge of the marriage ceremony. They would not take 'no' 
for an answer. 'Well, then, I will do the best I can,' said the 
ofiicer, and the couple stood up before him. There the wits of 
the backwoodsman forsook him, and he tried in vain to recall 
some words that he had heard on like occasions. At last in sheer 
desperation he blurted out: "Take her by God. She's yours— 
she s yours for life, and I am Justice of the Peace." He had 
managed to bring in the name of the Deity in the only way Avith 
which he was at all familiar. The marriage was considered 



Much of the land was settled before it was properly surveyed, 
or came into market. And even when regularly entered, it some- 
times happened that when a survey was made, two men would 
be found to have made improvements on the same land, their 
claims having overlapped. This often gave rise to bitter feuds, 
and occasionally tragedies. Sometimes a man would come into 
the county poor, pre-empt a piece of land, and make some im- 
provements, intending to buy the land of the government before 
the time of pre-emption expired. There were unprincipled men 
who would not hesitate to deposit money at the land office against 
these claims, and if the settler failed to be on hand at the time 
the pre-emption expired, the land with all its improvements would 
pass into his hands and he could demand any price he chose from 
the settler, and the law gave the latter no redress. This was 
called jumping a claim. So much injustice was done that this 
jumping of claims was considered a heinous crime, and the pioneers 


bauded themselves together, and resorted to mob violence to pro- 
tect themselves, homes, and families; so that the jumping of 
claims came to be dangerous and liable to cause the offender to be 
brought before ''Judge Lynch," when justice was often summary 
and severe. Judge Burdick thus describes a case of this kind: 

"^ trivial dif&culty arises between two settlers which results in 
a law suit. The one is well-to-do and has the title to his land — 
the other is poor and holds his land by the uncertain tenure of a 
claim. The one, smarting under supposed grievances, enters the 
other's house and takes the home from under him. This is an in- 
dignity the sturdy settlers will not brook. They call a meeting, 
wait upon the refractory settler and ask his attendance. He res- 
ponds and agrees to submit matters in controversy to three disin- 
terested men. A trial is had and the land is awarded to the 
claimant. They give the aggressor a week in which to execute the 
deed. Before the week expires, his antagonist is called away, and 
with two or three friends he forciby enters the house and turns 
the family out of doors in a fearful winter storm. The news is 
carried on the wings of the wind. There is a spontaneous gather- 
ing of the people together. Three hundred strong, they repair 
to his house and bear him away. The land is demanded but he 
declines to comply. They treat him to the luxury of riding on a 
rail, and again ask a deed of the land. Again refused, it is sug- 
gested that perhaps he would like to fly away. The hint sufiBces. 
Tar and feathers are produced and in the usual manner applied. 
Unyieldins still, some one remarks that he is transformed into a 
goose, and that gozlings swim before they fly. The rail is again 
produced and he is borne to an adjacent pond. They demand the 
land again, but his iron will remains unshaken. They cut a hole 
in the ice and quietly introduce him to the cooling element. The 
goose is allowed to swim. He still defies them. An Irishman re- 
marks, 'did ye's ever see a goose swim so long widout divin'?' 
And suiting the action to the word, he commences 'divin" him in 
true goose style. Twice he is subirierged and then asked to com- 
ply. 'I'll die before Til yield,' is his reply. 'Then die you shall,' 
is the response, and he is plunged beneath the wave and held 
there longer than before. He kicks and flounders and is taken, 
out. He catches his breath and with accents broken and subdued 
he says, 'I will, I will give it up.' It was well he yielded, else he 
there had found a wintry grave. The purchase money was 
raised and paid by the settlers, the deed was executed and the 
poor man's home was secured to him." 


We read and hear much of the crowded tenement houses in the 
large cities, but even in this a genuine pioneer's dwelling can 
sometimes discount them — but with the redeeming feature that 
there is plenty of fresh air and out door room. Here is a case 


which was not by any means a solitary one in pioneer life here. 
The house was a lone one, with a roof sloping from the front to 
the back and was without a chamber. There were two rooms, 
12x14, each. Now for the inmates. There were three families 
living in these rooms, and included in these three families were 
seventeen children, nine of whom were under the age of nine 
years. There were three infants in cribs. If this large family 
could not live in harmony in the house, there was plenty of room 
out of doors. These families wanted to buy a sewing machine 
(an apparently necessary article) and the agent who visited them 
thought the house and family remarkable enough to mention, but 
those who have been conversant with pioneer life can remember 
many similar ones. 


The scene of the following thrilling narrative, which is no fic- 
tion, was partly laid in the present territory of Winneshiek County, 
and is taken from the sketches of pioneer life already referred to 
in process of publication, in the Decorah Journal'. 

Two boys, whom we will call Willie and Johnnie, lived with 
their parents, in a wild, unsettled region in the Northeastern 
part of Iowa. Willie was aged nine years, an active, self-reliant 
boy, and Johnnie was seven years old, large for his age, but less 
strong and enduring than his elder brother. These boys were al- 
ways together, Willie being the leader in all the sports and amuse- 
ments which boys would naturally find in a wild country, without 
schools or companions. 

One Sabbath morning in the autumn of 181:3, the parents of 
these boys started on horseback to attend a religious meeting 
several miles distant, leaving the boys at home to amuse them- 
selves as best they might. Having soon exhausted all their re- 
sources at home, they set out for a ramble in the woods accom- 
panied by two large dogs, their inseparable companions in all their 
rambles, and without which, they had been cautioned not to leave 
the house, for savage wild animals were numerous, and sometimes 

It was no unusual thing for these boys to take long rambles in 
the woods, with only the dogs for their companions, they, having 
always lived in a wild region, and all their education and train- 
ing tending to make woodsmen of them, besides, the elder was 
somewhat vain of his accomplishments in this direction, never 
having been 'lost,' and being often praised for his ability to keep 
a true course in the woods anywhere. This Sabbath morning was 
clear and cool. The boys took a course north from their home. 
They found plenty to interest and amuse them. Squirrels chat- 
tered and leaped from limb to limb. A few belated birds were 
gathered in flocks, preparatory to a flight southward; acorns 
dropped to the ground at their feet. The drum of a partridge in 


the distance drew them further on. In this way they had wan- 
dered about a mile and a half from home, when the loud and ex- 
cited barking of the dogs led them to hasten their steps, to find 
out the cause. On arriving at the spot they discovered that the 
dogs had 'treed' some large animal, and npon nearer approach 
saw that it was a large panther. They had seen a good many pan- 
thers, and had often heard their unearthly screech, (which resem- 
bles the cry of a woman in distress), but they had never before 
seen a live one, and their curiosity was aroused for a nearer view. 

According to all stories I have ever read of the nature of this 
animal, the panther should have attacked and speedily dispatched 
both the dogs and children, but truth compels me to record that 
the beast behaved in a most cowardly manner. He not only showed 
his fear of the dogs, but seemed to have obtained a knowledge of 
how human beings use their guns, and seemed intent on keeping 
the tree between his body and the place where the boys were. In 
their eagerness to obtain a good view of the panther, the boys 
kept running around the tree, first in one direction, then in an- 
other, the panther all the time changing his position to keep out 
of their sight. In this manner considerable time was consumed, 
but at last our boys were satisfied with the occasional glimpses 
they had been able to obtain, and were ready to go home. 

In passing so many times around the tree, absorbed with look- 
ing up into its branches, they had failed to observe the direction 
by which they came, or to note how many circuits they had taken, 
and although they set out with full confidence that they were go- 
ing in the direction of home, they took an entirely diff'erent 

This was, as near as they could afterward judge, about noon, 
when they commenced their perilous journey. The elder boy 
took the lead, as was his custom, and they chatted gaily of their 
adventure, and of the many sights that met their gaze, for an 
hour or more, when suddenly turning to his companion, with 
something of a look of fright in his face, Willie said: 

"Johnnie, we are not going home! We are lost!' 

At this the younger and less heroic brother cried a little, but 
in the feeling that he must act as protector and guide, the courage 
of the oldest was aroused — a courage that never deserted him 
through all the trials that awaited them. 

He tried to comfort and encourage his brother that they would 
soon find their way out, and all the while the two hurried on as 
fast a5 their short footsteps would take them, as if in haste lay 
their only hope. 

About four o'clock, as near as they could tell, they came to a 
traveled road. Instead of following it, as an older person would 
have done, they crossed it. Willie insisting that it was a road 
with which be was familiar, and that their home was about three- 


fourths of a mile distant and that by taking a near route^ with which 
he was certain lie was familiar, they would soon reach their 
father's house. 

This road, however, lay about seven miles north of their home, 
and when they had crossed it, keeping, as they did, a northward 
course, they were in a dense forest. 

In an hour or more they came to a small stream. Here they 
were divided in their opinions as to the course to pursue. For 
the first and only time during their journey, Johnnie put in a 
plea. He wanted to follow the stream downward. In his anxiety 
to do so, he offered to give his knife, his sled, and all the few 
playthings he possessed to Willie, if he would take the route down 
the stream. On being refused he made the crowning offer of all, 
said he: — 

"If you will go this way with me, FU give you a million dollars 
when I get to be a man." 

The answer was characteristic of the esteem in which the other 
held himself, said he: — 

"When I get to be a man I will have all the money I want, and 
shall not need any of yours," and as usual, his will conquered. 
As was afterward learned, had they taken the downward course of 
the stream, they would have soon come to settlements, and would 
have found their way out that night, but crossed it instead, and 
soon lost its course entirely. 

They wandered on and on, and at length, night began to cast 
its shadows around them. The stars seldom looked down upon a 
sadder or more lonely sight than that of these two children, hardly 
past the age of babyhood, alone in a deep, dense forest, inhabited 
by beasts of prey, and in a spot where the foot of white man, had 
perhaps never trod. The two faithful dogs still kept them com- 
pany, and watch and guard over them. 

One of the boys was provided with a knife, a flint, and a piece 
of "punk," the common means of producing a fire in those days 
and in that region, for although matches had been invented they 
did not find their way often into that unsettled, western region. 
As the shadows grew dark, they found the shelter of a fallen 
tree-top, and gathering sticks they built a fire, and laid down. 
Johnnie slept the sleep of weary childhood, but Willie was watch- 
ful, and kept the fire burning all night, with only a few snatches of 
slumber, his main care to keep his brother warm and comfortable. 

The parents had returned home late in the day, and learning 
from the other children that the two boys had gone into the wood 
early in the morning and had not yet returned, the wildest alarm 
was felt. The few neighbors within reach were aroused, and 
search commenced. But no one could have had the slightest idea 
as to the distance to which the little wanderers had rambled. 
Fires were built, and men watched by them all night, and were 
ready to resume the search early next morning. 


The morning dawned clear and cold. The lost children were 
awake at the first break of day. Their one idea was to hasten on 
— to find home if possible, and to do so they must bend every ef- 
fort. Over trees and logs, through briars and brush, they never 
knew what course they took, or how far they wandered. They 
had not tasted food since the morning before, and had put forth 
exertions that would have tried the strongest man, yet they never 
felt hunger or weariness, so great was their excitement. They 
never once stopped to rest or set down to murmur. 

The previous day the two had kept up a steady conversation, 
but to-day they pressed on in an almost unbroken silence. The 
forenoon passed without incident. There was the same monto- 
nous stretch of woods, the silence unbroken, save by the fall of 
nuts or acorns, the tread of their own feet and the dry leaves, the 
breaking of a dry stick now and then, which lay in their path, 
and the occasional barking of the dogs when they espied wild game. 
The sun mounted higher and higher in the sky. About noon they 
reached a large stream of water. As was afterward learned, this 
was the head waters of the Yellow River, a stream which flows 
into the Mississippi. A large tree had fallen across this stream, 
and formed a bridge, over which the boys crossed to the opposite 
side. They were plunging deeper and deeper into the forest, and 
their case now seemed hopeless indeed, for no one would suppose 
it possible for such children to cross so large a stream, (unless 
they had come upon this particular spot,) or would think of look- 
ing for them on the opposite side. 

An hour or two rapid traveling, and our little wanderers began 
to ascend a steep ridge, covered with wild grape vines, from which 
the luscious fruit hung in great purple clusters. This was indeed 
good fortune. Never did fruit taste more delicious than did those 
grapes to the almost famished children. The tangled masses of 
vines made it difficult for the children to climb, so that although 
they never stopped or wasted time in their journey their appetites 
were well satisfied with the feast of fruit which they had gathered 
and ate in their ascent. But with a strange improvidence, for 
which it is not easy to account, they took not one of the thous- 
ands of drooping clusters with them for future use. Just over the 
hill the loud barking of the two dogs denoted that game of an un- 
usual kind had been sighted. Upon nearer approach, it was found 
that they were barking at the foot of a tree, in the branches of 
which, the animal, whatever it was, had taken refuge. Curiosity 
led the boys to approach and upon getting a good view they knew 
the animal to be a large lynx, one of the most dangerous animals 
of the forest. 

Willie cautioned his younger brother not go too near, lest the 
lynx should spring down upon him, but with the fearlessness of 
his boy-nature, he himself went directly to the foot of the tree 
for a closer view. The fierce animal, was, however, to much in- 


timidated by the dogs to venture an attack, and thus, for the sec- 
ond time, did they, in a wonderful manner, escape from a danger- 
ous encounter with wild beasts. 

Not long did they linger here, for a new hope had taken pos- 
session of them, born, perhaps, as much of the refreshing fruit of 
which they had partaken, as of any outward surroundings, but be 
that as it might, they now fancied themselves on familiar ground, 
and thought that a short walk would soon bring them out to a 
neighbor's field where they had often been — so, with this thought 
to cheer them, they kept bravely on, and the evening shadows had 
again began to darken before this hope entirely forsook them. 

To-night an overhanging ledge of rock Avas found which oiTered 
them shelter, and again the knife and flint were produced, and a 
fire kindled for the night. As before, the younger was blissfully 
forgetful of his troubles, and slept a sound, refreshing sleep. 
With Willie it was diiferent — his young mind, half-bewildered 
and crazed though it was, was away with the home and friends, whom, 
perhaps, he was never to see again. Most of all did he think of 
his mother's anxiety concerning the fate of her lost boys. Was 
he never te see her again? Never to look upon her dear face or 
to hear her voice again? And was he to never to bring her dar- 
ling Johnnie, her "pet," back to her, and to have her praise him 
for his manliness and his courage. 

At home that mother was almost wild with grief. Once she 
had been found in the woods by a party of searchers, herself lost, 
and not knowing which way to go, but calling wildly the names 
of her lost children. She had been taken back and a guard left to 
prevent her again wandering awa3^ To-night a mother's true in- 
stinct told her that her boys were still alive, and she was weeping 
and praying, as only a mother can weep and pray for her darlings, 
and who shall say that her prayers were not answered, and in a 
blind, uncertain way, still, as it seemed, in the only possible way 
a means of rescue was provided? 

In the woods, watch-fires were kindled, and men were staying 
by them, but not to sleep, for many were thinking of their own 
little ones safe at home, and then of the little wanderers, and then 
every sense was alert, and every sound was noted, hoping that it 
might lead to a discovery of their fate. But these fires and 
watchers were all many miles away from the little blazing fire by 
the ledge of the rocks. 

But it is the story of the lost children that I am to tell, so 
will return to them. As the younger boy lay calmly sleeping, 
the other was thinking — thinking. All the events of the past 
two days passed rapidly through his mind, and he began to won- 
der if there was no way or plan to be devised by which all the 
weary way could be retraced, until home was reached. With 
these questions a light seemed to break in upon him, and here ap- 
pears the strangest part of the story. Of course he knew, as 


every boy of iiis age, that the sun rises in the east and sets in the 
west. But in his bewildered state he was incapable of reasoning, 
and even of distinct memory. He must have remembered some- 
time having heard it said the sun was in the south at noonday, 
and the idea that took possession of his young brain was this: 
'The sun is in the south and we must travel toward it to reach 
home.' Over and over to himself he conned this lesson: 

•'The sun is in the south, and we must travel toward it if 
we would reach home.' " 

As certain as though his mother had told him did he feel the 
truth of these words. Having them fully impressed upon his 
mind, he was calm and assured. It must have been long past 
midnight when he arrived at this state, but now he was content to 
Bleep until morning, when they would set out on their homeward 
way. Accordingly he replenished the fire, and then laid down 
and was soon lost in dreamless slumber. 

The sun was lighting the trees with its earlist rays when he 
awoke. The fire had burned low, and the air was cold and frosty. 
He looked at his sleeping brother, and pity made him hesitate for 
a moment to wake him; but not for long. Full of the hopeful 
thought that had filled his mind, he was eager to communicate it 
to his companion, so with a gentle touch he aroused him. The 
boy awoke from dreams of home, and looking around at the dark 
forest, and at the overhanging rocks, and as a realization of his 
present state broke in upon him, the tears filled his eyes and 
coursed down his cheeks. 

"Don't cry," said Willie. "'I have thought of a plan by which 
we can get home. You see the sun shining yonder? Well, the 
sun is always in the south, and we have been traveling from it. 
Now, if we go toward the sun we shall, of course, go towards 
home, so hurry, and let us be going, for we have no time to lose.' 

Johnnie was too stupefied to notice the falsity of his brother's 
logic, as doubtless he would have done at another time, but, never- 
theless, the deprecating manner in which he received it dampened 
the ardor of Willie a little. 

"I do not think much of your plans," said he, "and I do not 
believe we will ever see home or mother again.' 

It was a blessed thing, as they afterwards knew, that their 
courage had not been destroyed by taking in the full horror of 
death by starvation, and fatigue in the woods, or the more blessed, 
because more speedy, but still terrible thought of being killed by 
wild beasts. 

The little weary feet were soon on their way, and their little 
faces turned toward the rising sun. Until now, one of the boys 
had worn a pair of moccasins, and the other a pair of shoes, but 
thinking that they could travel faster without them, they were 
removed, and although the ground was hard and frozen, and the 
little feet were often torn by briers and sticks, they hastened on. 


never niiudiiig the pain. Hope rose higher, as they thought at 
times they could recognize places they had passed the previous day. 

It must have been noon when they again came to a large 
stream, and — ^wonderful to tell — there was the very same tree on 
which they had crossed the day before. They knew it by many 
unmistakable marks, and if any proof were wanting, there were 
the prints of their own feet, and also those of the dogs on the wet 
sand at the further shore. They recrossed this stream with more 
hopeful hearts than they had carried with them to the opposite 

An hour or two of rapid walking, and they came to a road — 
the same they had crossed on their first day out, but much farther 
from home. A short consultation was held, and they decided not 
to cross this road but to follow it — but in which direction ? The 
sun was so nearly overhead that they scarcely knew how to follow 
its guidance. They however, concluded to take an easterly 
course. They had not traveled more than a couple of miles before 
they had made up their minds that they were wrong, so back over 
the same road pattered the little bare feet. This time they kept 
steadily on their course, until at last the low roof of a building 
met their view. This, be it remembered, was the first sight of a 
human habitation that had met their view for three days. An 
older person would have went directly to it and have sought food 
and rest. Not so did our young wanderers. Willie had once 
been at McGregor's Landing, and although McGregor was a flour- 
ishing young town, and this was only a solitary cabin, he was 
convinced in his own mind that he was at the former place. It 
seemed to him afterward, to have been a strange idea, but we have 
seen that neither of the boys were capable of reasoning. 

"That," said he to his brother, "is McGregor's Landing. I 
know it iDCcause I have been there. The sun must now be about 
two hours high, and we are five miles from home. If we hurry, 
we can get there before dark," 

Johnnie offered no objections, so back over the same road, for 
the third time that day did they hurry. 

Dusk was gathering around their path, and they were still hur- 
rying on, Willie considerably in advance, and at times, waiting 
impatiently for his brother to come up, when they were met by 
some travelers. There were two men driving oxen, and with a 
wagon loaded with lumber. There were some traps for game, and 
a few other articles on the load — how well did the boys remem- 
ber every detail in after years. 

It must have been a strange sight to these men — that of two 
tattered, weary, and wild looking boys on this lonely road, where 
seldom a human face was met. 

They were hurrying on without speaking, but the men stopped 
their teams and enquired: 

"Where are you going, boys?" 


"We are going home," called out Willie, without stopping or 
looking around. 

"But are you not lost?" enquired one of the men. 

"No. We have been lost, but we are going home, now." 

"Where do you live?" persisted the man. 

"On the Goss place, and its just ahead," said Willie. 

" Then you are lost, for that is seventeen miles away, and this 
road does not lead past there either." 

Reluctant as was Willie to stop, Johnnie had halted and he was 
now obliged to wait for him to come up. 

"When did you leave home?" was the next question. 

"Three days ago; bat if you will not hinder us, we will go on, 
and will soon be there." 

"But I have told you that this road does not lead to your home. 
If you will go with us, we will care for you to-night, and will 
take you home in the morning." 

To this proposition they offered a stout resistance, saying that 
their parents would be uneasy about them, and that it was neces- 
sary for them to reach home that night. 

Just then two other men rode up on horseback, and having 
heard their story offered to ride on that night, and inform the 
boys' parents that they were found. But here they entreated to 
be taken on the horses and carried home. 

Seeing how unfit they were for the journey, they were answered 
that the horses would not carry double, and that they had best go 
home with the men who had the team, (they living in the cabin 
whose roof the two boys had seen early in the day,) and remain 
until morning. 

Just then the sound of a horn rang out loud and clear, more 
than any words could have done, did that sound calm and quiet 
the excited children? "That is father's horn," they both cried in 
a breath, "and he is looking for us. Let us go to him." 

But now, in a calmer state, they were ready to listen to reason, 
and were easily persuaded to return with the teams, while the 
men on horseback rode with all haste to the place where the horn 
was heard to sound, a distance of some three miles. They found 
that the boys had not been mistaken. It was their father's horn, 
and that father was overjoyed at the glad news the men had to 
to communicate. Then the firing of three guns in quick succes- 
sion announced to other searchers that the children were found, 
and after a short time two more guns told that they were alive, 
this being the signal previously agreed upon. This was responded 
to by others. And all through the woods firing was heard, and 
shouts of joy as men began to gather and take their homeward way. 

Feeling that the weary wanderers were better for a night's rest 
before being taken home, they were left with the men who had 
taken them up, while the good news was conveyed to the anxious 
waiters at home. 


I have before said that neither hunger or weariness had been 
realized by the lost children, but no sooner were their excited 
minds at rest than both began to grow upon them. They laid 
down upon the wagon, and by the time they had reached the 
home of the men were to stiff and lame to walk, and had to be 
assisted into the house, and never did a meal taste sweeter than 
the one of corn bread, salt pork, and strong coffee, with which 
they were provided. 

In the morning they were conveyed to their home, where you 
may be certain a glad welcome awaited them. As friends came 
out to welcome them, little Johnnie pushed passed all, telling 
them rather crossly to let him alone. He went into the house, 
and climbing on the first bed he found, covered his face and re- 
fused to speak. From that bed it was thought he never would 
arise. For long days he lay in the delirium of a fever. His limbs 
were swollen with travel, and scratches and bruises covered his 
form from head to foot. It seemed evident that had the children 
spent another night in the woods, their swolen and tired limbs 
would have refused to carry them further on the next morning, 
and that only death would have relieved their sufferings. 

Years have passed since then. The boys have grown to man- 
hood, and in the changes and chances of pioneer life, and later on 
in the war of the rebellion, many trials have come to their lot, 
but in memory's pictures, vivid and distinct above all others stands 
out the pictures of those three days' wanderings' alone, and Lost 
IN THE Woods. * 


Review of Early History: Fort Atkinson; Old Mission; First 
Settlers; First Settler's Cabin; First Things Reviewed; Coun- 
ty Organization and County Seat Contest; The Day Family; 
Judge Reed; Lewisfon, Moneek and Decorah; Strategy; Mo- 
neek's Defeat and County Seat for Decorah; Freeport's Fight 
for it and Defeat; Land Office and Court House Fixes it at De- 
corah; Sketch of Moneek ; More about Early Settlers; Pioneer 
Norivegians^ who were the First; Protecting Squatter Rights. 

We have in previous chapters given particulars of the early 
settlement of this county, a sketch and history of the W^innebago 
Indians who (after the Sacs and Foxes who formerly occupied a 
large part of Iowa, and were removed by treaty, as will be seen 
from state history,) occupied this territory just previous to the 
coming of the whites, their traits and characteristics and in- 


tercourse between the two races; also a sketch of pioneer life 
here, and the incidents in the early settlement of the county. We 
continue the history of the county by first giving a brief resume 
of leading events. 

The erection of the fort for the military supervision of the In- 
dians, overlooking the site of the village which now bears its 
name — Fort Atkinson — was commenced on the 2d of June, 1840. 
Capt. Sumner, afterward, the renowned Gen. Sumner, being in 
command. He remained in charge till 1846, when he left to join 
the U. S. forces in the Mexican War. 

After the removal of the Indians, in 1848, the military appearance 
of the fort was no longer kept up but it was not entirely aban- 
doned as a post, until some years later. More extended details in 
regard to it will be found in a succeeding chapter embracing a 
township history of Fort Atkinson. 

It was in the spring of 1842 that Rev. D. Lowery, who had 
just been appointed an Indian agent, commenced the" erection of 
the mission buildings at Old Mission about five miles southeast of 
Fort Atkiuson, and in 1843, Col. Thomas, his assistant, built the 
first grist mill in Winneshiek County. The first permanent set- 
tlement in that vicinity commenced in 1847, when those pioneers 
and homesteaders, Gotlob and Gotleib Krumm, Charles Kregg, 
and Francis Rogers arrived at Fort Atkinson in June, Gotlob 
•Krumm coming directly from Germany. Gotlob his wife and two 
children had for their first habitation a deserted Indian wigwam 
near a beautiful spring. In a few weeks a log house was built 
for them in the same locality, being the first actual settlers' cabin 
in that part of the county. 

A. R. Young, who was a soldier in the fort, would be entitled 
to the honor of being the first settler as he remained and settled 
after the garrison left, if the time of his coming to the fort could 
be counted. 

Mr. Joel Post, referred to in a previous chapter, was the first 
actual settler in the reservation. But as his log house, built in 
1841, was on the site where Postville now stands, it is out side of 
our county line, and therefore he cannot be called the first settler 
in Winneshiek County. 

Some authorities say that the Fort Atkinson settlers, named 
above, did not come until 1848, and that Hamilton Campbell and 
his wife, who made a claim June 7, 1848, in Bloomfield Township, 
were the first permanent settlers. The names of the old settlers 
as they successively arrived, have been given in a previous chapter 
to which our readers are referred for further detail; and we close 
this resume of that portion of the history by eecalling a few points 
of interest. 

The lionor of being the first white child born in the county be- 
longs to Mary Jane, daughter of Mr. Jas. Tapper, one of the 


mechanics wlio built Fort Atkinson, where she was born on the 
16th of January, 1841; she married Robert M, Boyce and lives 
near Monona. 

The first church in the county, except the old Missionary Chapel 
was a Catholic edifice, erected near Twin Springs. 

The first public school building was built at the corner of De- 
corah, Springfield and Glenwood Townships, in 1852. 

The location of the first post office has in previous records been 
given to Jamestown, Frankville Township, in 1851. But there 
were post ofiices at Fort Atkinson and Old Mission before that 
time, as is noted elsewhere. 

The first marriage recorded was that of Johannes Evenson to 
Catherine Helen Anderson, in October 1851, Rev. N. Brandt per- 
forming the ceremony. 

The first death was that of a government teamster named How- 
ard, who was frozen to death on the 4th of October, 1840, near 
the present site of Castalia. 

The first newspaper was the Decorah Chronicle^ published in 185G. 

With this hasty rehearsal of leading events, most of them re- 
corded more fully in other chapters, we take up the county his- 
tory where it was left in the first chapter; we are now approach- 
ing an interesting period, embracing the organization of the coun- 
ty and the successive strifes for securing the county seat which 
was finally and permanently located at Decorah. 

To the Day family belongs the unquestioned honor of being 
the first settlers in Decorah; and as this became the county capi- 
tol and has grown to be the most important and influential town, 
it naturally gives them pre-eminence over other settlers — especi- 
ally as it is to members of that family to a large extent, that the 
credit is due of securing the county seat for Decorah as well as 
the Land Office soon afterward. The Days came to Decorah on 
the lOtli of June, 1849. The family consisted of nine persons, 
William and Elizabeth Day, Mrs. Day still living, and their sons 
Claibourne F. Day, Richard V. Day, and John F. Day, being 
from that time until now prominent and influential citizens. In- 
teresting particulars in regard to their coming and settlement 
here, will be found in the sketch of Decorah in a succeeding 

Another early settler who was a prominent factor in deciding 
the county-seat contest, was the late ex-Judge David Reed, whose 
family settled in the northeast quarter of section 25, in Bloom- 
field township, in August, 1848. Mr. Reed was born in 1799, 
was elected County Judge at the age of 52, and held that office 
from 1851 to 1855. Himself and family are referred to more at 
length elsewhere in this history. 

Of the naming of the county, and of the territory it occupied 
and other matters before its organization, Mr. A. K. Bailey in his 
historical sketch, read before the old settlers, July 4th, 1876, said: 



"1 am compelled at the outset to admit the weakness of my his- 
tory by telling you that I can give no account whatever, why^ 
when or where Winneshiek derived its name. Tradition says that 
Hon. Eliphalet Price, one of the pioneers and strong men of Clay- 
ton, selected the name, as he did that of Allamakee. No doubt 
this is the truth; for what could be more proper than that this 
former home of the Winnebagos should bear the name of this 
most distinguished of chiefs of that tribe? Be this as it may, [ 
find the existence of the county recognized in the earliest records 
of the State. In the first arrangement of Senatorial and Repre- 
sentative districts by the Constitutional Convention of 1846, no 
mention is made of either of the four counties in this northeast- 
ern corner, except Clayton. But in the session laws of the First 
General Assembly, Winneshiek is twice designated in such a 
manner as to show its prior existence. An act defining the limits 
of the second Judicial District, includes by name, Fayette, Winne- 
shiek and Allamakee, but the times for holding courts therein was 
left entirely to the will of the Judge. This district then com- 
prised all the tei ritory north of the southern line of Winneshiek 
County and was bounded on the west by the west 
lines of Cedar, Jones, Buchanan, Fayette and Winneshiek. 
A little later that year I find in the apportionment of State Sena- 
tors and Representatives that the territory known as the Third 
Congressional District of Iowa, now containing a population of 
160,000 souls was given two Senators, and to Clayton, Fayette, 
Winneshiek and Allamakee, were acorded one Representative. 
This was in 1849. The dividing line between Iowa and Minneso- 
ta had not been made, and the territory west of us was still in 
the hands of the aborigines. The Winnebagoes had been re- 
moved, but it was enforced removal, and they were frequently re- 
turning in large bodies to what was once their choicest and hap- 
piest hunting grounds. The hardy pioneers had only just begun to 
enter upon these lands, and their homes were only claims, to be 
perfected into titles whenever the territory should come into the 
market." From the time of first permanent settlement there 
must have been a rapid influx, for by the Federal census taken in 
June, 1850, there were five hundred and seventy persons found 
and enumerated by the census taker." 

Of a rumored "oldest inhabitant," Mr. Bailey said. "We learn 
that there is now living in Canoe Township a Norwegian named 
Lars Iverson, who came to the county in 1845 along with Govern- 
ment Surveyors, and who after the latter had finished their work, 
'kind er stayed around' and has been a resident ever since. If 
this be so — we have not had time to confirm it — it may be as with the 
Norske pioneers to America — a Norwegian the first real comer, 
although not the first 'settler' in the full sense of the term. So 
far as Ihave been able to learn, he was the only one who remained 
as a settler. I know not whether he has responded to this iuvi- 


tation which has called us together to-day; but I was in hopes to 
be able to introduce him to you as that wonderful person so often 
talked of but seldom seen — the oldest inhabitant. James Dan- 
iels of Ossian was also one of the volunteers at Fort Atkinson, but 
he returned to Clayton County after his company was disbanded, 
I know not the date of his return." 


As early as the fall of 18i9, some of the settlers began to agi- 
tate the question of organizing a county and to take steps to that 
purpose. Judge Price, of Clayton, was then here taking the census 
for State purposes, and as he represented all northwestern Iowa,The 
agreed to attend to the matter for them. An organizing act was 
passed by the legislature and on the 15th of January, 1851, Avas 
approved by the Governor and became a law, constituting Winne- 
shiek an organized county. It embraces 468,000 acres, is bound- 
ed on the north by Minnesota, on the east by Allamakee county 
— the only county between it and the Mississippi river — on the 
south by Fayette county, and on the west by Howard and Chicka- 
saw counties. 

This organizing act appointed, on and after the first day of 
March, 1851, John L. Carson, the organizing sheriff, and direc- 
ted him to set stakes for points that might contend for the coun- 
tyseat, as follows: 

One at or near Louisville on the Turkey river, another at or 
near Swaney's (or McS wain's) mill on the Turkey river (the site 
of Moneek,) and the third at Decorah, on the Upper Iowa river; 
the elections to be held on the first Monday in April. 

Louisville, or Lewiston, as it was called, from the first name of 
one of its proprietors, was regulary laid out between Fort Atkin- 
son and Old Mission, on the farm of Lewis Harkins, as more ful- 
ly detailed in a previous chapter. It was never more than a paper 
town — the quarrel between its proprietors, Lewis Harkins and 
Francis Rogers proving fatal to its hopes. It is not necessary 
to tell where Decorah was and is, though it made but little show- 
ing then; its history is given elsewhere. Moneek, now almost 
as much forgotten as Lewiston, was then Decorah's most formid- 
able rival. Moneek had a site in a beautiful valley on the north 
side of Yellow river, high, well wooded bluffs surrounding it, and 
was located on the southwest quarter of section 1, in Bloomfi Id 
township. It was originally settled by Canadians, but some of 
them had been in the west long enough to get posted in the ways 
of pioneer speculators, and figured for a booming town from the 
first. But we will proceed with the county seat contest, and give 
a history of Moneek further on. 

The county documents do not tell much of the story of the ex- 
citing contest. All they have is embodied in the following, from 
the first page of the first records of Winneshiek County: 


State of Iowa — WiiuufyJiiek County: 

I hereby certify that at an election held in the County of Winne- 
shiek, and State of Iowa, on the 7th day of April, A. D. 1851, De- 
corah was duly elected to be the county seat of said county. 

In testimony whereof, I have set my hand the 14th of April, 
1851. J. L. Carson, Organizing Sheriff. 

As we have said, the above does not tell the whole story. In 
point of numbers, Moneek had most undoubtedly and most decided- 
ly the advantage. But victories are sometimes won by strategy. 
While there was no doubt, a "full ballot" all around, Moneek's 
champions could hardly call it a "fair count" for their whole bal- 
lot was thrown out when it came before the county "returning 
board." In fact Moneek's returns were not in legal form, nor 
were they sworn to as the law directed. The story of how it hap- 
pened to be so, we will briefly relate, leaving out the unwritten 
history of how a regular poll book, intended for Moneek, never 
happened to get there. Previous to election day, poll books were 
dispatched to the several voting points named. Somehow the one 
intended for Moneek was miscarried and what became of it, who 
can (or will) tell. The Canadians there had no form for a poll 
book, did not know how to make one, nor how to make returns 
correctly; nor were they sharp enough to find out. As a result, a 
lot of names were written down on a large piece or pieces of pa- 
per in such a way that had the document been found in the road 
no one could have told w^hatit meant or was intended for. It had 
no regularity and did not conform to the legal "red tape" require- 
ments. In fact there was no way of telling whether the names 
were those of legal voters or not. And so Decorah was declared 
the county seat of Winneshiek County. 

But Decorah's fight was not yet crver. Freeport had been set- 
tled by enterprising men who thought that broad valley the place 
to drop down the county seat, if they could get it away from 
Decorah, which they certainly had strong prospects of doing. The 
fight in this case had points in resemblance to that with Moneek, 
though the result did not so entirely wipe out Decorah's rival 

By the old law, in order to get a vote on the question of the re- 
location of a county seat, it was necessary to obtain an act of the 
legislature authorizing such vote. In the election of a member 
of the legislature in 1854, the county seat question was made an 
issue. Decorah had for its candidate, we are informed, a Mr. 
Moore, and the candidate of Freeport was James D. McKay, who 
was elected by an overwhelming majority. The purpose of Free- 
port was to secure from the legislature an order for an election on 
the question of re-location of the county seat, and the friends of 
that locality were consequently jubilant. But Decorah did not 
give up the contest. It happened that Mr. Claibourne Day, then, 
as ever since, an active and public-spirited Decorah man, had oc- 


casion to visit Des Moines during the legislative session of 1854- 
5. He had good friends among some of the old legislators from 
other parts of the state, and before the session was over, was pret- 
ty well acquainted with every member. It cannot be doubted 
that he was alive to the interests of Decorah, whether in daily 
converse with members of the bench or bar; or in the social gath- 
erings which those early legislators were wont to have. It has 
been hinted that a temperance gentleman from Freeport who at- 
tempted to do missionary work in the legislature, did not help the 
cause of that town — but that may be only rumor. At all events 
the election was not ordered. But to meet this and similar cases 
elsewhere, the present law was passed. And here let us digress 
and say that Mr. Day also did good work for Decorah in that leg- 
latnre in another respect. He got the names of most of the mem- 
bers to a petition to congress, dividing the Dubuque land district 
and establishing a land office in Decorah. This was done by the 
succeeding congress and helped to more permanently establish 
Decorah as the commercial as well as political capitol of the 

The above law, regulating county seat re-location, which still ex- 
ists, and under which there have been frequent strifes ii: various parts 
of the State, authorizes a vote for re-location on a petition of the 
majority of the electors, the votes polled at the preceding election 
being taken as a basis. In February, 1856, the Freeport people 
presented a petition to Judge Reed, asking for the election, and 
signed by the required number, as the votes at the previous elec- 
tion had been 420. But Decorah was not idle. The stumbling 
block of a remonstrance was resorted to. Wm. Painter was 
offered the honorable and flattering position of presenting such 
remonstrance to the judge and swearing to the same, the getters- 
np of the remonstrance telling him that they would get the 
names, and that he need not have any trouble about that. And 
in a very short time a petition with 800 signatures, remonstrating 
against the election, was placed in the hands of Mr. Painter, who, 
while his coadjutors stood back, or perhaps were not near the 
presence of the court, swore that the petitioners, so far as he 
knew, were residents of the county. No doubt they were — so far 
as he knew them. It is not very probable that he knew everybody, 
and indeed it is not probable that any one man knew the ma- 
jority on that petition. On the other hand, it is claimed that the 
Freeport petition was not wholly bona fide. And now it be- 
hooved Judge Reed to decide whether he should grant the elec- 
tion in spite of the remonstrance. The case was argued by law- 
yers on both sides for a day and a half, (Levi Ballis being attor- 
ney for the petitioners, and E. E. Cooley for the remonstrants), 
and the county seat was saved for Decorah by the judge's de- 
cision to grant no election. It was, and is still, asserted that had 
Judge Reed not been a Arm friend of Decorah, Freeport would 


have been the victor. However this may be, all further attempts to 
secure a vote or to reverse decisions denying such vote, were abor- 
tive, and the securing of the land office here, as previously re- 
ferred to in this chapter, and the building of the court house — a 
loan of $6,000 for the purpose having been voted in 1856, — 
permanently settled the county seat at Decorah. Further details 
of the contest are given in the sketch of Decorah, and in the 
following from an address of A. K. Bailey before the Old Set- 
tlers' Association in the Opera House, at Decorah, July 4th, 

"Under the law authorizing a vote on petition of a majority of 
the electors polled at the last preceding election, in 1856, Freeport 
appeared as an applicant for a vote on re-location. In the fall be- 
fore 120 votes were polled. Their petition was signed by 400 pe- 
titioners, but it was met by a remonstrance bearing nearly 800 
signatures. The Court, our venerable friend Judge Reed, presid- 
ing, decided to grant no vote. The July following another peti- 
tion of the same tenor was presented, it being signed by 451 
names. Another remonstrance was forthcoming, signed by 715 
persons. In both cases the petitions and remonstrances were cer- 
tified to by affidavit as containing only names of actual residents. 
The last appeal met with a fate similar to the first. The case was 
removed to the District Court on a writ of certiorari, and was 
ended by a decision of Judge Murdock, affirming the 
decision of the County Court. In the Following year 
the erection of the court house at Decorah began, and 
Freeport gave up the struggle. Such is a short his- 
tory of the selection of the county capital. I may add that per- 
haps at no time in the history of the county >j3as there been any 
more desperate struggle or any harder work done than in the cau- 
cuses and elections which preceded and culminated in these con- 
tests. From the best information I can gain, I am strongly of 
the opinion tiiat notwithstanding the affidavits as to actual citizen- 
ship which accompanied the petitions and remonstrances, Freeport 
labored under the disadvantage of being off the main line of im- 
migration which was pouring in, and through to the west, as well as 
Minnesota. There are stories still told how money was used and 
promised, but from the best knoAvledge I can acquire, I think 
this is not true. If sharp practice was played, and ''She- 
nanigan" was used, we to-day, looking back upon those times, cannot 
say that evil has come of it. The result was to prevent the 
county seat from getting upon wheels, and when a settled con- 
clusion was reached, the worl^of building up and improving began 
immediately, and has been pursued so steadily that every resident 
of Winneshiek feels it a matter of pride that his countv town is 
excelled by no other of equal size in the entire State. He knows 
that it has a repute far and near as a bustling, enterprising, well- 


built manufacturing and commercial young city, situated in the 
centre of a dense population, draining a section unrivaled for its 
agricultural wealth. 


The following history of Moneek is from sketches of early his- 
tory of Winneshiek count}^ and was published in the Decorah 
R?pnU}can, March 20, 1875: 

Those who are familiar with the early history of the county 
will remember that when its organization was perfected, the 
most flourishing settlement was neither Decorah or Fort Atkin- 
son. And those who have read Rev. E. Adams' 'First things of 
Decorah,' will remember that there is good evidence that the resi- 
dents of both these places were evidently afraid of that third 
town. The latter, in examination of the records and witnesses 
did not venture to enquire deeply into the first county seat vote, 
and he intimates pretty plainly that sharp practice was resorted 
to in order to shut out the overwhelming vote which this third 
town might secure for the coveted houors and the profits aris- 
ing from its pre-eminence as the county town. The name of 
this town was Moneek, it evidently was, in 1850, '51 and '52 
the foremost town in the county, and a veritable history, if 
one is ever written, cannot be complete without the story of its 
rise, growth and decay. The records show it the oldest town in 
the county, and there is every reason to believe that at one time 
its opportunities were most favorable, and it bade fair to lead any 
that might be- started as its rival. The recorded plat shows that 
it was surveyed in January, 1852, although the plat was not re- 
corded until the November following. Decorah was not platted 
.and recorded until the jear following, viz: August, 1853. Frank- 
ville came into existence similarly in October, and was followed 
by Freeport in May, and Calmar in November, 1851; and Ossian 
in April, 1855. That year saw a number of other towns begun, 
some of which have a lively existence still; while others never 
got beyond the record in progress towards village existence. The 
seniorit}^ is enough of itself to give Moneek prominence in these 

It was situated on the north fork of the Yellow river, on the 
southwest quarter of section 1, in Bloomfield township. Tremen- 
dous hills, well wooded, surrounded it. and it nestled cosily in the 
valley on the river, on a site that originally must have been 
charmingly beautiful. 

The pioneer settlers were Moses S. McSwain and Abner De- 
Cow. To these may be added John DeCow, who joined them a 
year later. All of them were Canadians, but McSwain had re- 
sided for a while previous in Illinois, and probably obtained there 
some ideas of the western methods of doing things. They had a 
town site in their eves from the commencement. The two arrived 


at Moneek with their families in July, 1849, and lived in their tent 
wagjons until a log house 12x16 was built. They commenced the 
same season to build a saw mill, which was afterwards noted all 
over the adjacent country as tlie mill. 

Their nearest neighbors were Joel Post, at Postville, and two 
families who had "squatted" on the Military Road. These were 
David Reed, the first county Judge, yet a resident of the county, 
and a man named Campbell. The widow of the latter still occu- 
pies the land on which her husband made his claim. Besides 
these, there were the Hawks, and Isaac Callender, over in Frank- 
ville. R. Tillotson joined them the same year. He was a mill- 
wright, and helped them build the mill. This was completed in 
July, 1850. In the spring of the latter year Russell Dean and 
Geo. Blake, with their families — also from Canada — joined the 
new settlement June 29tli 1850. John DeCow, ex-County Judge 
and now member of the State Legislature — also moved in; he, too 
coming from Canada. He found all of the four families occupying 
the one log house, above mentioned, yet it was large enough to re- 
ceive the fifth family, until another house— the second in the em- 
bryo city — could be built. 

The hospitality of the early settlers was nnbounded. Like the 
modern omnibus, their old log habitations had always room for 
more, and the new comer surely received a warm welcome. How 
this small building accommodated the five families during the six 
Vv^eeks in which he was putting up his own house, the Judge can 
now scarcely tell. He does tell us that he brought a little pro- 
visions with him, and when these were exhausted he was com- 
pelled to go to Elkader and McGregor for more. After making 
his purchases, and buying a cow, price $20, he had left, as a work- 
ing capital, the magnificent sum of $1.30. Returning home, he 
hired out to McSwain and Abner DeCow, who were partners, to 
work in a mill at |18 per month. This engagement lasted only 
one month and twenty-two days, when he struck out to paddle his 
own canoe. How well this has been done is attested by the 400 
choice acres he now owns, near Ossian, well fenced, cultivated and 
stocked, to say nothing of a little surplus funds laid by for a 
rainy day. His first act was to make a claim adjoining Moneek 
for 160 acres. 

The same year Blake went south and Dean west about a mile 
and a half, and put up log houses on 'claims' of their own. 

In the spring of 1851 the first frame building was built by A. 
and J. DeCow. This was rented to a man named Johnson, from 
Illinois, who brought on a stock of goods and became the first 
merchant. His capital was small, the amount of trade limited, 
and he soon 'busted.' McSwain bought out his remnants, and 
sold out the stock. Having neither money or credit with which 
to purchase more goods, the mercantile business came to an end 
for the time being. 


The same year John Duff came along, liked the looks of the 
settlement, and built a blacksmith shop, which he sold in the fall 
to Phil Lathrop (the same who was landlord at Frankville, fifteen 
years ago.) The latter united butchering to blacksmithing, and 
soon after added merchandising. About the same year he built a 
house, which when completed was opened for the entertainment 
of man and beast, and the village had a hotel. It was not large, 
but in those days it was thought to be 'a good one.' 

In 1S52, George Crawford, who afterwards went to Burr Oak 
Springs — another defunct town of early promise — became a mem- 
ber of the community. He was, likewise, a Canadian, and brought 
goods, mostly cloths, with him. He was a tailor by trade and did 
a thriving business, which soon required the aid of a journeyman. 
He soon added groceries to his stock — dry and *wet' — and pros- 
pered as long as Moneek was in its glory. 

James F. Andrews, a retired Baptist minister, with two sons 
and their families, became residents in the same year. They added 
another store. One of the sons was a doctor, and so the town se- 
cured the benefit of clergy and medicine by this really large ac- 
quisition. They, however, only remained about a year. The 
town was outgrowing the settlements, and was not large enough 
to support so many "middlemen." 

Louis Boughner, also a Canadian, but of German descent, came 
along in the same year, opened his kit of tools, and sat down upon 
his shoemaker's bench. That' winter the hamlet began to feel as 
though it was of sufiicient importance to be recognized by the 
General Government, and postal facilities were demanded. Dur- 
ing the winter or following spring these were secured, and 
Boughner had so far won the confidence of the people that he was 
chosen to serve as the village Nasby. The olfice was supported by 
"Winneshiek" — a post office then situated between Castalia and 
Postville, at which Mr. D. A. Reed, of Decorah, was then deputy 
postmaster. It is related by Mr. II. that his brother-in-law was 
postmaster, and he served as deputy. By this arrangement the mail 
carrier, or any one calling for mail, was sure to find one or the 
other at home. The convenience of this arrangement was very 
great, because the postmaster and his deputy only lived a quarter 
of a mile apart. About this Winneshiek P. 0., E.E. Meader can 
tell an incident, something like this. About the time the lands 
were to come into market, he had a large sum of money, amount- 
ing to about $100, coming to him in Indiana. There was no ex- 
presses in those days, and he was compelled to direct that it be sent 
in a letter. He expected to receive it at Decorah, then a small 
office, which, according to Rev. E. Adams, was carried around in 
Claib. Day's hat. After waiting a more than reasonable time for 
its arrival, and it not being forthcoming, he became enxious about 
it. Procuring a list of the offices in the county he visited them 


and at last found it intact at this Winneshiek P. 0., and went 
home rejoicing. The sender had failed to address it to Decorah. 

That year, 1852, saw a large increase to the settlers outside, as 
■well as in Moneek. Among those who came was Col. D. D. 
Webster, David Duff, Philip Husted, Andrew Stewart and John 
W. Smith, The first three still reside on the farms they occu- 
pied, surrounded by large families and prosperity. About that 
time Dr. Riddle, an Ohioan, settled in Moneek. He now lives at 
or near Nora Springs. Dr. A. B. Hanna, now of Elkader, fol- 
lowed a year or two later, and succeeded Boughner as postmaster, 
holding the office until it was thrown up — sometime in the six- 

In 1853 Geo, W, Esty settled there, and is, to-day, the sole 
owner of what was then a most thriving village. He came from 
New York, and found the village to consist of eight dwellings, 
one saw mill owned and operated by Abner DeCow, one black- 
smith shop, worked by John Duff, Jr., two stores kept by James 
F, Andrews and George Crawford; a shoe shop and post office, 
managed by Boughner, and two liquor saloons, one kept by Geo. 
Crawford as an adjunct to his store, and the other by a man named 
Walker, who enlisted when the war broke out, and died in battle. 
The Yellow River then contained double the water it now posses- 
ses, and the saw mill was easily able to run five months in the year. 
The timber in the neighborhood was superior, and this won the 
mill a wide and high reputation. In 1850, E. E. Meader, who 
had settled at Hesper, obtained there ash flooring for the log 
house in which he began his Iowa house-keeping. At the time of 
its greatest prosperity, Moneek contained scarcely a score of build- 
ings, divided into dwellings, shops, etc. But it had a large out- 
lying settlement, and it was this, probably, that made it feared by 
the dwellers in Decorah and Fort Atkinson when the county seat 
vote was taken. They were sufficiently numerous to give the two 
other points a "close call" in a fair poll. Failing to receive the 
poll book in time, the people of Moneek held an election with as 
much form and regularity as they could devise, but not sufficiently 
so to prevent the vote from being thrown out. What might have 
been, if there had been more determined watchfulness by the peo- 
ple of the village, it is impossible to tell. What did happen is 
very easy to narrate. 

Its decline began in 1855. Judge DeCow saw it coming in 1854, 
and sold his 160 acre claim adjoining the plat for $1,800, to a man 
named Barnum. The place has been sold twice since, but never 
for as much money. With the proceeds the Judge settled on the 
place he now owns, and is very thankful he took that tide in his 
life at its flood. The tax list of 1855 shows that the Moneek 
merchant's assessment was $800 for four lots; and Abner De- 
Cow's tavern was valued at the same figuie. In Decorah, at that 
time, there were only four assessments of greater amount, and 


two others only equaled it. The causes fur its decline were few 
and simple. Settlers were thronging into the country, and open- 
ing other sections. Post routes and lines of communication were 
being established. Nature was rather against Moneek. It was 
nestled away in the valley of the Yellow River, surrounded by 
mountainous hills, and not easy of access. Notwithstanding this, 
the founders of the place evidently thought Moneek had such a 
start that its growth was sure and permanent; that roads must 
come to them; they could not be 'left out in the cold.' One 
thing is certain, while the post routes were being established the 
Moneekers were too busy with their 'corner lots,' In the mean- 
while, a busy, bustling fellow named Frank Teabout, had settled 
on the ridge, and when the 'state road' was run lie was looking 
after his interests. The line was established on the ridge; Frank- 
ville sprang into existence; and ere they knew it the great tide of 
emigration which set in was sweepnig by them, along the ridge 
road, but bringing no grist to be tolled and ground for the benefit 
of Moneek, it had its method of egress, but no artery of trade. 
The result was certain. Those who were in trade one by one sold 
out, or abandoned the place; and by the time it was ten years old 
it was indeed a deserted village. 

Early in the sixties its postoffice was thrown up. Abner De- 
Cow enlisted in 1861 and served in Capt. Willett's company of 
the 3d Iowa Infantry; and at the close of the w\ar removed to 
Kansas, where he still resides. McSwain remained until about 
1865, Avhen he left, principally because the neighborhood was 
getting too warm for him. The rights of the property were 
not rigidly observed by everybody about that time; but who it 
was that was careless as to other people's titles, was not known. 
At last an old buggy was missed from the road where it had been 
left. Inquiry was made as to its whereabouts for several days 
ineffectually, until Judge DeCow (mind, he doesn't tell us this 
story, and isn't responsible for it,) Avent down to McSwaiu's to 
look at some sheep the latter wished to sell. As the families had 
not visited for a long time, he took his wife and children along. 
During the day the children went to the straw stack to play, and 
pleased themselves by climbing to the top, and sliding down the 
stack. McSwain's boy, however, cautioned the Judge's son not 
to slide down on a certain side, because there was a wagon under 
there! This excited his curiosity enough so that he remembered 
to tell his father about it on the way home in the evening. It 
instantly struck the father — there is that missing buggy! The 
suspicion was more than hinted to the owner, and a search proved 
it to be the identical buggy. McSwain settled the matter, but 
used, afterwards, to charge the sheep with being the sole cause of 
the difficulty. He reasoned it out, somewhat after this manner. 
If he had not owned the sheep and wanted to sell them, the Judge 
would not have paid him that visit; the boys would not have 


been sliding down the straw stack; the buggy would have re- 
mained hid until he could have run it off. Ergo: the sheep were 
wholly to blame! 

This discovery gave the neighbors cause to suspicion McSwain 
whenever anything was missing; and as there was considerable 
horse-thieving going on about that time, it became too unpleasant 
a place to stay. As soon as he could dispose of his property, he 
folded his tents, and fled away to new fields. 

The plat of the village was vacated in 18— ; and it is now a part 
of a good farm, which a clever, thorough going farmer, Mr. G. 
W._ Esty, above mentioned, annually plows, sows and reaps. Oc- 
casionally a new comer enquires where was Moneek, and the 
query calls up a smile to the face of an old settler, as he cheerful- 
ly answers and thinks of the swath it cut in the years which are 
so recent, and yet in the hurry-skurry of more important events, 
seem much longer than a fifth century ago. 


The following from sketches of earlv history, published in the 
Decorah RepuUican in 1865, give much interesting information, 
although some points omitted are supplied elsewhere, and the 
chronology of early settlers given more completely in Chapter I. 

It has been repeatedly shown, and it is an undisputed fact, 
that the Day family are entitled to the honor of being Decorah's 
first settlers; and, as this has grown into the most important and 
influential point within the county, it will always give to them a 
pre-eminence over all other pioneers. But, as we have shoAvn in 
the history of Fort Atkinson, there were those who preceded them. 
The Days came to Decorah in June, 1819. The German colony, 
consisting of Gotlob and Gotleib Krumm, Charles Kregg and 
Francis Rogers, came in 1817, nearly two years before. We have 
sometimes doubted whether this is not an error of a year, because- 
the soil was then Indian territory, and not open to squatters. The 
Indians were removed in 1818, and the reservation opened to set- 
tlement. The date, however, has been published, and stands un- 
questioned, therefore we give it again, with this query, which may 
substantiate it or correct an error. If it is substantiated, the fact 
is very clear that they were the first permanent residents. 

If there is an error of one year, it will give them a year's 
precedence over the settlement 'at Decorah, but it will leave it an 
open question whether a family named Campbell, who had settled 
in Bloomfield township, were not as early, or earlier comers. To 
these may be added the family of ex-Judge David Reed, who follow- 
ed the Campbells closely, and became the pioneer settlers in the 
southeast corner of the countv. 

We leani of these through 'Mr. D. A. Reed. He informs us 
that his father's family moved upon what afterwards became the 
northeast quarter of Section 25, in August, 1848. The family 


'Consisted of eight persons, and he was then 18 3'ears ohl. They 
found their only neighbors to be the family of this Mr. Campbell. 
He had come in only a few weeks previous, and was still "camping 
out," or occupying an emigi'ant wagon, over on the west side of 
what became Section 23. Both these points were on the Military 
road, then the only travelled thoroughfare. This would make 
the Campbells resident from some time in July, 1818. Perhaps 
Mrs. Campbell, the wife, now a widow, living (we believe) on the 
homestead which they then squatted upon, may be able to give 
the exact date. Mr. Reed tells us that Mr. Campbell made claim 
to a strip of land one mile wide and four miles long, and a 
year or two later he thought it hard that he could not get |20 for 
his claim. 

Mrs. Powell, the old lady who was canonized in the sketch of 
Fort Atkinson as the wonderful talker at "Rattle-trap," had also 
come in a few weeks before, but as she did not long remain, we 
leave her out of the list of settlers. 

Leaving the dates as they have been written, we have this data 
as established facts: The German colony was first in precedence; 
the Campbells and Reeds second, and the Days third. If there 
are any who can dispute this order we have yet to hear a hint or 
trace of them. They represent, too, three different sections of the 
county, or independent settlements, each begun prior to July 1st, 
1819. In that month of July Geo. Bachel, Joseph Huber, 
Andrew Myers, Anthony Stottle, Joseph Spillman, and Jonah 
Rausch, with their families, joined the German colony; and the 
Goddards came in the fall. In the same mouth McS wain and 
Abner DeCow settled at Moneek. These speak of Hawks and 
Callenders, who were residing over in what has become Frankville 
township. Of the date of their coming we have obtained no in- 
formation. Rev. E. Adams, in his "First Things of Decorah," 
mentions that the Days found but two settlers between Monona 
and Decorah, and these were at or near what is now called Frank- 

The history of Moneek added a few other names to that settle- 
ment in 1849. To Decorah was added the Painter family, and 
probably on the first of January, 1850, the residents of the county 
did not number over two score families, all told. Large accessions 
came in that year; and it must be left to an "Old Settlers' Associa- 
tion," to gather up all their names and put them on record (this is 
done in the chapter first of this history). We have a few facls 
gathered here and there, which will serve as contributions to such 
a roll of pioneers. Among these, and one of the most valuable, 
is a list of those who lived north of the Iowa River in 1850. 
Henry Holm moved into Canoe Township about August 1, 1850. 
His family consisted of himself and wife, three sons and three 
daughters. The oldest son, J. W. Holm, is still a well-known 
resident of Canoe, and was then 19 years old. The neighbors 


were few and they soon knew each other. Happily, Mr. H. dis- 
tinctly remembers the names and location of all the old settlers, 
and from him we gather the interesting fact that there were then 
twelve families living north of the Iowa River. These were, — 

George Ream, John Ream and James Cross. These all lived 
together in an old log cabin, still standing on what is known as 
the H. H. Horn farm, 

David Kinnison, in Canoe, on the farm he still occupies. 

David Bartlett, on the farm now occupied by Wm. Marlow. 
Avhere he died. 

Wells Mclntyre, on the farm which his sons still occupy. 

John Johnson, on the Jewell farm, in Decorah Township. 

James Boyce, on the river bottom, forming a part of what 
has been known since as the "Filbert" and the "Ashmore" farm. 

Aldrich, the miller, at the Spring mill. 

Joe Brown, on the Russell farm, in Canoe. 

William Klontz and Justice Wilson lived with Brown. 

Mr. Holm's family made fhe 13th. 

There was at this time — August, 1850 — but one farm opened, 
the Reams had one crop of about eight acres of winter wheat, 
which was cut and in shock, at the time. The winter previous 
had proved favorable, and the crop was a good one. The Holms 
bought of them and sowed winter wheat that fall, but it proved 
then as it has repeatedly since, a failure. 

Rev. Mr. Adams mentions the presence, when the Days moved 
in, of these Reams and a man named Button; but as they did' not 
remain they can scarcely be called pioneer settlers. 

Mr. J. W. Holm helped dig the race for the Decorah mill, and 
hewed logs for the first dam that was built. They were cut from 
a burr oak grove that was standing close by on the north side of 
the river. 

Mr. H. says at that time the postoffice used was McGregor, and 
thither they had to go to get their necessary supplies. 

While writing these notes, circumstances favor us with an op- 
portunity to consult another of these thirteen. 

Mr. David Kinnison came to Iowa in 1849, but wintered down 
on the Yellow River. In March, 1850, he came up into this sec- 
tion. He passed through Decorah, finding the Day and Painter 
families on the east or south (?) side, Aldrich on the west side, and 
the Reams on their claim as above stated. He settled on the 
northwest quarter of section seven, in Canoe township, and 
claims, probably rightfully, that he built the first cabin erected in 
Canoe township; and so far as they then knew, or have ever been 
able to learn, there were no white settlers north of him, and west 
of the river, except at St. Paul. Bartlett, Johnson, Bryce, Brown, 
Klontz and Wilson came in May, following; and Mclntyre ar- 
rived on the last day in J une. Besides these, there was one James 


Kelley — not mentiouecl by Mr. Holm — who came on the 10th of 
May, and settled on a part of what is now the Col. J. W. Taylor 

Among others w^ho joined these that year were two yonng 
men, named Gilbert and Lambert, who made a claim on the Iowa 
river above the Reams. They kept a kind of store. Bernard 
Harmon came in the fall, and made claim of the present Jacob 
Headington farm. George Smith was another neighbor, who 
moved in and occupied a piece of land on the Iowa, just over the 
line in Blufftown township (section 24) where he may yet be 
found. James Ackerson and B. L. Bisby were also among the 
'50rs. They pushed on to the front, the first getting over into 
Hesper and the other into the northeast corner of Bluffton town- 


Norwegian enterprise and their work in pioneer service have 
had much to do in the development and prosperity of the county. 
Of their first settlers here, Mr. Baily, in his address, said: 

So far as I can learn, Engebret Peterson Haugen, who died last 
year, was the original pioneer of this nationality. He came 
to settle in 1850 but was here prospecting the fall previous, and 
bought the claim where he lived and died, and on which was the 
old Henry M. Rice trading post. In July, 1850, twelve Norwe- 
gian families came in from Wisconsin and found a home on 
Washington Prairie, a home where several of the fathers still live 
the heads of large and prosperous families. These twelve were 
represented by Nelson and Germund Johnson, Ole A. and Andrew 
0. Lommen, Andras Hogue, Knudt Ophal, John Johnson, A. 
Holverson, Ole Tostenson and Mikkle Omlie. Other families fol- 
lowed them rapidly, and from that day, Norwegians, by their in- 
dustry and frugality, have done a large share of the hard work 
which has made our best prairies to bud and blossom as the rose. 
Not alone as emigrants have they done service in multiplying the 
popiilation. The earliest marriage records show that they did not 
think it good for man to live alone and also that they were more 
disposed to giving and taking in marriage than any other class. 
The first recorded marriage is that of one of those early pioneers, 
now that useful citizen of Madison township, Mr. John Evan- 
son, and Catherine Helen Anderson. The ceremony was perform- 
ed in February, 1852, by Rev. N. Brandt, then a wandering mis- 
sionary from Wisconsin, and now pastor of the Lutheran Church 
in Decorah. I further find that of the first 1,227 marriages 
recorded in the clerk's office, that other pioneer and christian 
gentleman, Rev. V. Koren, ofiiciated at 247, and I hasten to ac- 
cord to him the position of champion marrier. 

The sketches previously published, and from which we have 
quoted, say: 


We have not met with the names of any Norwegians in re- 
searches prior to 1850, but in that year there came, if not the 
pioneers, a band of them who found on the West side of Wash- 
ington Prairie the land that suited them, and made there 
homes which have given competence to all and wealth to several 
of them. They have been, too, among the best citizens of the 
county; generally founders of large families, with sons and 
daughters who are following in their worthy footsteps. This band 
consisted of twelve families, and became the settlers of what is 
known as Springfield township. The names of the heads of these 
families were as follows: 

Nelson Johnson — died in 1881. 

Germund Johnson — still living. 

A. Simmonson — dead. 

Toleff Simmonson — still living. 

Ole A. Lommen — killed by accident, a few years ago. 

A. 0. Lommen — ex-Representative and still living. 

Andrus Hogue — dead. 

John Johnson — dead. 

Knud G. Opdahl — dead. 

H. Holverson — died in March, 1875. 

Ole Tostenson — still living. 

Mickkel Omlie — still living. 

These came in two caravans. The first three left homes in 
Racine county, and the others were from Dane county, Wiscon- 
sin. The latter came directly through, but the three were en- 
cumbered by flocks and herds— a tendency some of them have 
not outgrown — and had to drive more slowly. One of these, Mr. 
Nelson Johnson, who furnishes us these names and facts, says his 
party arrived on the 2d day of July, 1850 nine days after the 
party from Dane county. They immediately commenced making 
the homes which grew into rich and valuable farms, 

Mr. Johnson informs us that it was at his house, or log cabin, 
that the caucus or convention, was held which nominated officers 
preparatory to the first election of county officers. This was prior 
to, but a part of the work of organizing the county. It occurred 
in March, 1851. Decorah was not yet a hamlet of amazing im- 
portance, and Mr. Johnson's place was centrally located. This is 
the only reason he can give for its selection. The attendance 
was large — all the beginnings of settlements being well repre- 


In this connection Mr. J. tells a little story of political aspira- 
tions nipped in the bud, worthy of record. Among the rest who 
came was a man named Minot, residing over east somewhere. He 
was ambitious for honors, and capable, besides willing, to serve 
the people in any place they might see fit to put him. Mr. J. 





was a new comer, a Norwegian, too, not accustomed, then, to par- 
ticipation in public meetings of that kind; and he kept himself 
busy attending to the arrivals, animals, &c. This, however, gave 
him an opportunity to hear of tlie ''horse-shed" or by-talk which 
went on. The claims of Minot were fully discussed; and to a 
man, they agreed in letting hiui alone because he was clad in 
broadcloth coat and pants, satin ve.-:t, fine boots and a shiny hat! 
He was not the man for the horny-handed pioneers; not a bit of 
it; and Minot went home disgusted. This caucus and convention 
put in nomination the ticket which was afferwards elected, and 
has heretofore been given, as the first officers of Winneshiek 

Engebret Peterson Haugeu, followed these in October, after 
having spent the summer in traveling over portions of Wisconsin 
and Minnesota. He actually squatted on a claim back from Red 
Wing; but could not hold it because it was still Indian territory. 
Coming down the river he heard of these fellow-countrymen, and 
came out here. He liked the country; and got his eye fixed on 
the magnificent farm he still owns three miles southwest of De- 
corah. It was a claim then owned by G. Cooney living at Garni- 
villo. It is the claim Mr. C. referred to in his narrative, as the 
one Dr. Andros threatened to shoot him if he jumped it; and 
about the safety of doing which he consulted Avith his friend 
Judge Murdock. It was also the old H. -\J. Rice trading post. The 
The store used by Rice was standing, and for five years later 
served Mr. Haugen as a dwelling. His family, however, did not 
arrive until May following. They came from Beloit, where they 
had located in 1842, when that territory was new. Peter E. 
Haugen, the son, was a boy 16 years of age when the family re- 
moved to Iowa; and he distinctly remembers the first bridge built 
over the Rock river at Beloit. They came direct from Norway in 
1842. Inasmuch as emigration from that country did not com- 
mence until 1838, Mr. P. can be called a pioneer settler, in the 
fullest sense of the term. 

Besides those above named, the only other Norwegian we have 
heard named at this date, is Mr. Thor Peterson, of Calmar. 


Sparks' History, published later than sketches, and also the 
year after Mr. Burley's address, says: 

From the most reliable information, it would seem that the 
first immigration of Norwegian settlers came in the year 1850, 
But to whom to accord the honor of being the first actual settlers 
— whether to Thor Peterson and his party, who afterward settled in 
Calmar Township, or to the Erick Anderson party, who settled in 
Springfield Township, is a question , The Anderson party emigrated 
from Dane County, Wis., and included the following persons: 
Halvor Hulverson, Ole GuUickson, Knudt Anderson, Ole and 



Staale Tostenson. This company was joined at Prairie du Chien 
by Ole Loraen and Andrew Lomen. Mr. Erick Anderson served 
the party as guide and interpreter. The Anderson party finding 
land in Springfield Township that suited them, took" up their 
claims thereon in June, 1850. But it seems that the Peterson 
party had preceded them by a few days, and had laid claim to the 
very land on which Anderson's company had squatted. At that 
time there was a county organization for the protection of settlers 
against claim-jumpers, if such they can be called. It was an 
imperative law with this association that the man who first regis- 
tered his claim at Moneek had a perfect title to the same. The 
Peterson party demanded that the Anderson party move off what 
they called their claims; but the other party was" determined not 
to surrender their claims until obliged to, and consequently they 
immediately dispatched a representative to Moneek, whose duty 
it was to ascertain if the Peterson party had registered their 
claims. On examination he found that no registration had been 
made, and he took advantage of their tardiness and registered the 
claims for his party. The matter was finally compromised, the 
Anderson party paying some indemnity for their usurpation. 

Mr. Sparks goes on to say that the Nelson Johnson party, re- 
ferred to a little previously, made settlements in Springfield in 
July, and were therefore a little later — ^and that Engebret, Peter- 
son and Haugen followed these in October. 

Eighteen hundred and fiftj'-one saw a large addition to each 
of these commencements to settlements — for settlements 
they could not yet be called. The northern townships 
were being occupied in this year, 1851. Among those 
Avho came and settled on lands where they still reside are 
D. D. Huff and E. E. Meader. Both happened to fall within 
the boundary lines of what is now known as Hesper Township, 
although they lived between four and five miles apart. They 
were, however, near neighbors in those days, and very warm 
friends. As one old settler remarked to us, '"We thought nothing of 
tramping off ten or a dozen miles to see a man." Mr. Huff tells 
us a story something like this: He lived in Michigan and started 
west in the fall of 1850. Winter found him in Illinois, where he 
met a brother of Bernard Harmon. He was told by this brother 
about Northern Iowa, and became interested in it. Coming to 
McGregor lie met the pioneer merchant, H. D. Evans. By the 
way, it is singular how warmly these pioneers to a man speak of 
the generosity and liberality of this same Evans. He trusted 
them freely when they had nothing; and if it had not been for 
his kindness and unselfishness, many could not have stayed upon 
their claims. Evans had been up to Decorah, around among the 
settlers, and was enthusiastic in his ideas about the country and 
its future; and imparted some of his enthusiasm to Mr. H.. The 
latter pushed through to Decorah, with B. Harmon's as an objcc- 


tive point. Nightfall overtook liira, however, as he drove up to 
the old log "Winneshiek House." In response to his applications 
for lodgin'gs he was told the house was "full.'' There had been 
inportant arrivals that day. John B. Onstine and Dr. Hazlet had 
just come, and the hotel could accommodate no more. Mr. Huff 
found accommodations on the floor of the Painter cabin that 
night; and he savs that when they were settled for the night, 
that, too, was full. In the morning he pushed on to Harmon's, 
and soon found his home for the next quarter of a century. His 
experience for the first year or two was that of nearly all the 
pioneers, and need not be repeated. 


As he told some of his experiences to us the other day, an his- 
torical fact was brought to light which we cannot permit to go 
unrecorded. Surveys were being made that year, the lands were 
soon to come into market, and there was nothing to hinder land 
sharks from buying their homes from under thera. Here was a 
danger that seriously menaced the new settlers. Buy their homes, 
they could not. Tliey not only had no money, but they were 
struggling to make a bare living. Protect themselves in some 
way they must. To do this a large meeting of settlers was 
called, and held at Meader's, in Hesper township, on the fourth of 
July, 1851, at which a solemn compact was formed between those 
present, to protect each other in their squatter rights. Although 
it was not expressed in as eloquent words, doubtless they meant to 
maintain the compact and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and 
their sacred honor. The compact was drawn up by a committee 
duly chosen, consisting of one Marshall Sherwin (squatter on the 
present Ezra Reed farm) one Kincaid (living just east of Huff,) 
Benjamin Beare, (a settler over by what is now Locust Lane post- 
office,) Eli Waterman, (a man who lived for a short time close by 
the spring at Russell Taber's mill, in Hesper,) and Mr. Huff". By 
this compact it was agreed that every squatter was entitled to a 
homestead of 160 acres. If he needed timber, he might claim a 
10 where he listed. This was to be his by their squatter law, un- 
til good fortune should enable him to secure the legal title 
from the government. They agreed to stand by each other to the 
worst, if need be, in protecting each other; and it would have 
been dangerous for any man to attempt to enforce a claim con- 
trary to the squatter claim. Happily, no serious resistance to 
these crude laws ever compelled the settlers to unite in forcible 
protection of each other. Doubtless the existence of this com- 
pact was well known at Dubuque, where the land office was loca- 
ted; and "when the land was so plenty, speculators did not care to 
buy laAV-suits or disputes with settlers who might prove reckless- 
if their rights were trodden upon. 


There were differences between the settlers themselves; but 
these the terms of the compact soon settled. One of the com- 
mittee (Sherwin, we think, was the name given) was the first to 
attempt to break it. He coveted the whole, or part of the claim 
of a neighbor, but the members of the organization convinced 
him that they would compel an obedience, and he acquiesced. In 
this way difficulties were avoided, and their claims preserved to 
the pioneers till they could secure them by purchase. Some of the 
members were not able to enter their lands until a year or more 
had elapsed after the lands of Northern Iowa had been in market; 
but under this compact they felt a degree of security that now 
seems strange even to them. 


have accumulated as the material for this chapter have been col- 
lected, but they will be given where they belong in the township 
histories, or in a collection of rhiscellaneous facts relating to 
county history, in succeeding pages. 

A chronology of dates of early settlements, coming of first 
settlers, and leading events in the history of the count3^ will be 
given in one of the succeeding chapters. 


Political History; County Organization; First Election and First 
Officers; Salary Grabbing; Votes Cast in Successive Years; 
Voting Precincts; Final Division into Townships ; Position of 
Toivnships and Villages; Successive Elections and County 
Officers^ Legislators, etc.; Levi Bullis and E. E. Cooley; Politi- 
. cal Contests; H. C. Bullis, G. R. Willett, T. W. Burdick, and 
other Legislators and Bepresentative Men; County Officers {con- 
tinued) to Present Time. 

The particulars of the organization of this county, and of the 
county seat becoming permanently fixed at Decorah, are given in 
the preceding cha2)ter. Let us briefly review these two events. 
The organizing act was approved by the Governor January 15, 
1851, constituting John L. Carson the organizing sheriff, and 
Winneshiek an organized county after March 1, 1851. By the 
election held April 7, 1851, Decorah was chosen as county seat. 
Freeport's struggle to obtain the county seat culminated in 1856, 
resulting in its final and permanent location in Decorah, which 
was made more certain by the commencement of the building of 


the court house in 1857. and by the impetus given to Decorah by 
the location of the land office, which was opened here on the day 
before Christmas, 1855. These events are narrated more at length 
in previous pages, and in the sketch of Decorah, 

Very soon after the organization of the county, steps were 
taken for the election of officers. According to the best infor- 
mation obtainable, a well attended caucus was held in the log cabin 
of the late Nelson Johnson, in the southeast corner of Decorah 
township. The election was held on the 4th of August, 1851, 
and resulted in the following officers being choseu : 

David Reed over J. R. Morse, as county judi2:e. 

George Bachel over James F. More, as sheriff. 

Francis Rogers over William Vail, as supervisor. 

John N. Kline over R. G. Nuvland, as surveyor. 

Daniel Kuykendahl over P. Morse, as Recorder and Treasurer. 

E. W. Aldrich over D. Bender, as coroner. 

Isaac Uuderhill, F. Joseph Huber and Joseph Brown served as 
judges of election, the first two certifying to the result as justices 
of the peace, whether by appointment, or as elected in the spring, is 
uncertain; eighty-two ballots, all told, were cast, and Mr. Huber, 
still a citizen of Washington township, is with us to personally 
attest the validity and fairness of the first vote. In April follow- 
ing John McKay Avas elected school fund commissioner, and W. 
F. Kimball clerk of the courts. 

It seems that at first the amount that the officers received on 
their salaries depended on the amount of fees received; for from 
the first the Judge, Clerk and Treasurer were accustomed to meet 
at stated intervals, each reporting the fees that he had received, 
and then the money would be divided between them. The Treas- 
urer would also report the cash in the Treasury, which would 
be divided with equal impartiality; then County Judge Reed would 
issue county warrants to each one for the balance found due. 
As soon as taxes were levied and collected this system ceased, and 
the county officers have generally, since that time, drawn their 
salaries with commendable regularity, although there may have 
been times when they have been compelled to wait a little before 
getting their warrants cished. 

Of Judge Reed, Mr. Bailey in his address said: David Reed 
was the first County Judge. He was born in June, 1799, and con- 
sequently was 52 years of age when first elected County Judge of 
Winneshiek county. His regular term of service covered four 
years — years, too, of the stormiest character, in which, as the 
autocrat of the county, he could share the responsibilities with no 
one, and shirk no duties. Of course his conduct was sharply 
criticised, and in his time he bore his share of public obloquy. 

Judge Reed held the office of County Judge by the suffrages of 
the people, continuously, from 1851 to 1855. 


In the election of 1853 Joseph Gibbons and J. T. Atkins Avere 
candidates for the office. Gibbons received ten more votes than 
Atkins. Jas. B. Cutler, on behalf of himself and others, contest- 
ed the election; a court was found to hear the case. Judge Reed 
presiding, with C. L. Childs and J. D.Jenkins assisting by choice 
of the parties. A hot contest ensued, no less than twenty-seven 
witnesses being examined. The case was this: 

The trustees of Bloomfield township had changed the place of 
voting from Moneek to Castalia without giving the required 
legal notice. Thirteen persons testified that they Avent to Moneek 
as usual, to vote, and not hearing of the change wei'e unable to do 
so. They also said that if they had voted it Avould have been in 
favor of J. T. Atkins as County Judge. The lawyers were heard, 
of course, and the whole case gone over most profoundly. That 
an informality existed in the vote of the township is quite clear; 
its effect upon the main vote was the question. We, at this day, 
would decide promptly, that at most only the vote of Bloomfield 
township shoukl have been thrown out. The Court decided to set 
aside the entire election, as to Judge, and declared no one was 
elected. One of the assistants has explained to me that instead of 
being satisfied with this, there were some who 'cussed the Court 
like pizen,' because they did not declare the entire election void. 
The result was to continue Judge Reed in office for two years 
more, during which time he built and left as his legacy, the (for 
the times) splendid courthouse, which is only now becoming too 
cramped for public use. 

Information with regard to these first officers is not now readi- 
ly obtainable, and of some of them we can give nothing further 
than that they were elected and held office as above stated. 

Geo. Bachel, the first sheriff, was for years an active, influential 
citizen of Jackson township, and died much respected, a year or 
two ago. 

Francis Rogers, the first supervisor, Avas one of the oldest resi- 
dents of the county, and Avas noted for the many litigations he had 
Avith his neighbors. 

Daniel Kuykendahl, the first recorder and treasurer, had his of- 
fice at his home, Avhicli was a log house situated under a bluff 
near a large spring, about a half a mile out of Freeport, on the 
Lansing road. The duties of his office at that time were not very 
arduous, and his Inode of keeping the records Avas somewhat prim- 
itive. He had not even a decent desk at Avhich to write. It was 
his custom to record his deeds, and then pigeon-hole them between 
the cracks in the logs. 

The number of votes cast at these early elections is one of the 
best indices of the incoming of early settlers, and a few words 
will give these data. At the first election there Avere. as has been 
stated, 82 votes cast; in April following, there were 180; in Aug- 
ust, 1852, 150; in April, 1853, 224; in 1854, 280; in 1855, 521; in 


1856, 816; in August, 1857, 894; in October, 1858, 1,288; in the 
Presidential election of 1860, 2,162. The increase since that time 
is indicated by the fact that in the Presidential election of 1880, 
4,080 votes were cast. 

As previously noted, there were three points recognized at the 
ver}' commencement as having claims to prominence in the coun- 
ty. These were Decorah, Lewiston and Moneek. Polls were 
held for each of these three first elections at these places only, 
and they were called precincts. It was not until 1854 that even a 
single name appears on the records to show that any other title 
than that of precinct was given to them. March 8th, 1852, it 
was ordered by the county court that elections should be held in 
the ensuing April, at the following places: 

In Precinct No. 1, at house of Wm. Day, Decorah. 

In Precinct No. 2, at house of Francis Rogers, Lewiston, 

In Precint No, 3, at house of John DeCow, Moneek, 

This is our only information as to the first division into what 
Ave have since known as townships. Their boundaries we can 
only infer from subsequent entries. In July, 1852, the division 
line between precincts 2 and 3 was changed, and made to run be- 
tween ranges 7 and 8, thus throwing, as the record says, one more 
tier of townships into the third precinct. From this I infer that 
the third precinct originally consisted of what is now known as 
Bloomfield and Frankville townships, and was six miles wide, east 
and west, and tweh e long. Precinct No, 2 covered three times 
as much territory, and was eighteen miles wide, and twelve long. 
This left all the remainder of the county — now comprising 
twelve organized townships — in precinct No, 1, March 1, 1852, 
the latter was so divided up as to make what is now Canoe, BlufF- 
ton and Orleans townships, with the townships north of them, 
precinct No, 4, February 5, 1854, what are now Military and 
Springfield, were divided from Washington (now named for the 
first time) and created township (not precinct) No, 5, 

March 6, 1854, township 98, range 7, was separated from "De- 
corah Precinct," and was called township No. 6, It is now known 
as Glenwood, 

March 11, 1855, "Burr Oak Precinct" was divided, and the en- 
tire tier on the north line of the county was called Burr Oak. 
The remaining part of the precinct was named Canoe, At the 
same session of the county court, township 99, range 10, was set 
off and given the name of Pilot Grove, 

On the tax list of 1855, proper names are given to each of those 
precincts. Precinct No. 1 had become Decorah, Glenwood, Canoe, 
Burr Oak and Pilot Grove; township No. 2 appears as Bloomfield 
and Summit (now Frankville), and No. 3 had been divided in- 
to Military and Washington; but no record other than I have 
quoted appears upon the court minutes as to these and subsequent 
changes. According to the tax lists, in 1856 Pleasant township 



took its name and place; in 1858 Summit had become Frankville, 
and Pilot Grove, Orleans; Springfield had been separated from 
Military, Calmar and Sumner from Washington, and Hesper and 
Fremont from Burr Oak. In 1860 Madison was taken from Decorali, 
and Highland divided from Pleasant; and in 1862 the symmetry 
of all the townships was completed by the division of Lincoln 
from Sumner, and Jackson from Washington. 

The location of these different precincts, and more particularly 
of the twenty townships of the county after this final division, 
will be more fully understood by the following diagram, showing 
the positions of the townships of the county as they now stand, 
each township being six miles square: 



Burr Oak. 














Franklin ville. 








The city of Decorah is a little west of the centre of Decorali 
Township, while Freeport is about two and a half miles directly 
east of Decorah, and also in Decorah Township, about three- 
fourths of a mile from its eastern boundary. 

Calmar is near the southeastern part of Calmar Township. 
Couover being near the centre and Spillville in the western part 
of the same township. 

Fort Atkinson is toward the northwestern part, and Festina a 
little southeast of the centre of Washington Township. 

Ossian is about midwaj^ between the centre and northeastern 
part of Military Tov/nship. 

Ridgway is nearly two miles east of the centre of Lincoln Town- 
ship and Kendallville and Plymouth Rock, respectively, toward 
the southwestern and southeastern parts of Freemont Township. 

The villages of Bluffton, Burr Oak, Ilesper and Frankville are 
in the several townships of the same name. 

The positions of all these places will be seen by reference to a 
map of the county, but this data is given here as a matter of con- 
venience for reference in connection with the foregoing sketch of 
divisions of the county. 

The second election held in the county after a permanent organ- 
ization had been effected was April 5, 1852. The total number 
of votes polled at this election was 180. This election, as the 
records show, gave the county its first School Fund Commissioner 
and District Clerk. The successful parties who first bore the 
honors of these offices were, respectively, N. S. Gilbert and W. 
F. Kimball. Out of 180 ballots cast for School Fund Commis- 
sioner, N. S. Gilbert had 4 majority over his opponent, John D. 
McKay. There were 156 votes cast for the office of District 
Clerk, of which number W. F. Kimball received 88, and his oppo- 
nent, James B. Schenck, 68. Kimball was declared elected by 20 
majority. The vote for Coroner stood as follows: J. B, Chase 
had 60 votes, and his opponent, Wm. Painter, 41. James B. Chase 
was elected Coroner. At this election, for the first time, the new 
county helped elect a District Judge, and it showed its steadfast 
faith and high appreciation of Judge T. S. Wilson, by giving him 
162 votes. 

At the third election, held in August, 1852, M. B. Derrick was 
chosen District Clerk by 15 majority. 

John D. McKay was elected Prosecuting Attorney by 29 ma- 
jority; and H. K. Averill was elected Surveyor. 

The fourth election was held in April, 1853, the following be- 
ing the officers elected: 

Aaton Newell, District Clerk — his opponents being W. F. 
Kimball and N. S. Gilbert. 

N. S. Gilbert, Treasurer and Recorder. 

H. K. Averill, County Surveyor. 

J. F. Moore, Drainage Commissioner. 


Acles Haven Faunon, Coroner. Mr. Fannon, whose genial, 
jovial face is well remembered by the people of Decorah, and who 
was for successive years constable np to the time of his death, not 
very many months ago, was born in Wythe County, Virginia, 
April 17th, ISOU. He settled at Freeport, Winneshiek Countyj 
in 1850, and laid out the town, and for several years engaged in 
tavern-keeping. He was the first mail contractor to carry the 
mails to Decorah. He contracted to carry the mails from Hardin 
to Decorah, from Decorah to Fort Atkinson, and from Lansing to 
Decorah. He was elected Coroner in 1875. 

At the election August 1st, 1853, 175 votes w^ere cast. N. S. 
Gilbert was elected Recorder and Treasurer, without opposition, 
if we except three scattering votes. 

James F. Moore was declared elected Sheriff, over Lewis Eddy 
and A. H. Fannon. 

Elijah Middlebrook was elected County Surveyor. There was 
no opposition candidate for Surveyor. 

Samuel Kendall Avas elected Coroner. 

The newly elected Sheriff, James F. Moore, failed to qualify, 
and Judge Reed, therefore, declared the office vacant, and ap- 
pointed Wm. F. Kimball to fill it. 

Soon after the election, N. S. Gilbert suddenly left the coun- 
try, leaving the county Avithout a Recorder and Treasurer, Judge 
Reed appointed Thos. L Hazelett to fill the vacancy until another 
election. Of Mr. Gilbert, Spark's history, from which we 
largely gather the following records, till 1860, says: 

N. S. Gilbert, the second Recorder and Treasurer of the county, 
was an estimable young man, possessed of great energy. He was 
efficient, proud spirited, and decidedly the most shrewd man called 
upon in early days to administer county affairs; notwithstanding 
that he was freely accredited, with the possession of all these qual- 
ifications, the tongue of scandal, soon after his induction into 
office, rolled him about as a SAveet morsel to its taste. Mr. Gilbert 
was not a defaulter, nor did he desert his office intentionally, 
although at the time he left this was the current report. The 
additional crime of eloping with a Mrs. Moore, the Sheriff's wife, 
Avas charged to his account, and it is true that the parties left 
Decorah together, and afterwards went to St. Louis and liA^ed as 
man and Avife; yet at the time of their leaving Decorah, it is 
plain that there was no criminal intent or previous arrangement. 
It was in tlie spring of the year, and Mr. Gilbert, instead of inten- 
tionally deserting his office, went on a journey to St. Louis to pur- 
chase goods. Mrs. Moore Avas on her Avay to friends in Wisconsin, 
and had started on the trip Avith the avowed jiurpose of leaving 
her husband. Mrs. Moore defended her course on the ground of 
ill treatment received at the hands of Mr. Moore. While at Lan- 
sing Avaiting for a steamer, they had occasion to hold a private 
conference, which was interpreted, by prying parties, as a crimi- 


nal intimacy. The report, at the time unfounded and untruthful, 
was freely circulated. Mr. Gilbert having compassion for the 
woman, and being ashamed to return to his home, took her under 
his charge. Things had come to such a crisis that they now 
resolved to elope, and did so, going to St. Louis. 

At the April election in 1854, John McKay was re-elected 
School Fund Commissioner, over I. I. Stewart. 

Elijah Middlebrook was elected SheritT, by 20 majority, over 
James S. VanPelt. 

Nelson Burdick was elected Recorder and Treasurer, over Wm. 
F. Kimball, by 73 majority. Mr. Burdick filled the office accept- 
ably. He was continued in office until 1859. 

Wm. Painter was elected Drainage Commissioner. 

At the sixth election, held in August, 1854, there were 262 
votes cast for the office of State Representative, of which number 
James D. McKay received 194, and his opponent, Wm. H. Morri- 
son, 68. James D. McKay was declared elected. 

Aaron Newell was elected Clerk of the District Court over 
Daniel Carrier. 

Albert B. Webber was elected Prosecuting Attorney over Calvin 
Farns worth. 

The newly elected Prosecuting Attorney failed to qualify. The 
County Judge appointed Dryden Smith to fill the vacancy, and 
he, too, resigned. J. T. Atkins was appointed, accepted and served 
through the term. 

In 1854 .James D. McKay (who had previously been Prosecu- 
ting Attorney) at a District Convention called at Waukon (the 
district then was composed of Allamakee and Winneshiek coun- 
ties), was nominated for Representative, and elected. In the leg- 
islature he favored the "Maine Liquor Law," which was adopted 
by the Iowa State Legislature. In this election he ran on the 
Republican ticket, which was successful, not only in the district, 
hut throughout the state, so much so that the former power held 
by the Democrats was wrested from them. A Republican Gov- 
ernor was elected in the person of James W. Grimes, and a ma- 
jority secured on a joint ballot in the General Assembly. He was 
born in Livington county, New York, on the 24th of February, 
1815. Until 16 years of age he was taught the common branches 
of an education by his father, when he was sent to the Genesee 
Wesleyan Seminary, situated at Lima, New York, to be fitted for 
the ministry. He also studied law under James Butler, a cousin 
of Gen. Butler. At the age of 21 he became acquainted with 
Julia Stone, to whom he was married September, 1836. He im- 
migrated to Winneshiek County in October, 1851, and settled on 
the S. W. Q. of section 15, township 97, Range 7, where he still 
resides. He has served the public as Prosecuting Attorney and 
member of the Assemblv. 


In the seventh political contest held in the county, April, 1855, 
a vote was taken on the prohibitory liquor law. The result stood 
as follows: for the law, 167; and against it, 169. 

Hon. E. E. Cooley was elected Prosecuting Attorney, over Levi 
Bullis, J. B. Onstine and William Bailey. 

At this contest there came upon the stage as leading actors, 
two men who arrived here the previous year and who have been 
leaders in repeated political campaigns, some of them bitterly 
waged, and whom now stand in the front ranks as able attorneys 
as well as leading citizens of the county. They were Levi Bullis 
and Ezekiel E. Cooley. Mr. Bullis arrived here in May, 1851, and 
Mr. Cooley in October, of the same year. 

Of the political contests in which these gentlemen were lead- 
ers of the opposing parties, many amusing incidents might be 
told over, and some exciting ones. 

"Levi Bullis was born April 5, 1828, in West Plattsburg, New 
York. He lived in Plattsburg until 26 years of age. and there ac- 
ciuired his education. He early attended the Balston Springs Law 
School, and acquired a legal education. In 1S53 Mr. Bullis left 
his old home and came to Illinois, where he remained about a 
year; when he was induced, by the flattering reports he received 
from Averill. an old schoolmate, to emigrate from there to Iowa. 
He reached Decorah May, 1851, and immediately commenced the 
practice of his profession. The first week after his arrival he 
tried a case and won it. Mr. Bullis was elected one of the original 
members of the Board of Supervisors in 1860. Although active 
in politics in the county, yet this is the only office he was ever 
elected to. It was his friends that he worked for in politics, and 
not himself, and not unfrequently have they succeeded through 
his instrumentality. Mr. Bullis is characterized with a rough ex- 
terior and a warm heart. He has aided more young men to posi- 
tion, and placed them on the road to success, than perhaps any 
other man in the county. He was married in 1861 to Abbie R. 
Dibble, of Whitehall, New York." 

Mr. Bullis stands high in his profession, and is well posted in 
matters in general, as well. He has a large and valuable library 
of general literature,' besides his extensive law library; has an in- 
teresting family, and is a devoted husband and father; is true to 
his friends and has many warm ones. 

"Ezekiel E. Cooley was born in Victory, Cayuga county, New 
York, Jan. 12, 1827. He received an academic education, and at the 
age of 17 commenced teaching school,which occupation he followed 
five years. ^In 1817 he emigrated to Kentucky, where he taught, and 
read law with Judge Trimble, and was admitted to the bar in 
1819. He returned to New York, and from there emigrated to 
Decorah in October, 1851, where he has ever since continued the 
practice of his profession, with an exception of one year spent in 
the army. In 1857 he was elected member of the first Legislature, 


under the new State constitution, and served witli marked ability. 
He was appointed postmaster at Decorah in 18G1, and Jield the 
office until he resigned, in 1863. In September, 18G1, President 
Lincoln appointed him commissary of subsistence, with the rank 
of Captain of cavalry. He was brevetted Major for meritorious 
conduct, and was honorably discharged in November. 18G5. In 
180S and 1870 he was warmly supported by the Republicans of his 
county for the nomination to Congress, but the other counties of 
his district carried the majority for his competitor. Mr. Cooley 
was married at Dubuque, in 185G, to Miss Jane M. Rhodes, then 
of that city. In the legal profession Mr. Cooley has few peers in 
Northern Iowa, and few have made themselves a better public 
and private record. He has ever had the interest of his city and 
county at heart, and has been identified with many of the enter- 
prises that have proved beneficial to the community in which he 
has so long resided.'' 

In the latter part of 1879 Mr. Cooley was appointed by Gover- 
nor Gear to the position of District Judge of the Tenth Judicial 
District, consisting of Winneshiek, Howard, Chickasaw, Fayette, 
Clayton and Allamakee counties, to fill the vacancy caused by the 
resignation of Judge Reuben Noble. In November, 1880, he was 
elected to the same position for the regular term of two years. 
He has a beautiful home, an unusually fine library, and his social 
and domestic relations are of the pleasantest. He- has two sons, 
the elder of whom, C. M. Cooley, is married to the daughter of 
Rev. H. B. Wood worth, for a number of years pastor of the 
Congregational Church in Decorah, and now lives in Dakota. 
Previous to his election as Judge, Mr. Cooley was elected to and 
discharged the office of Mayor of Decorah for two successive 
terms, with honor to himself and credit to the city. 

The eighth election was held on the 6th of August, 1855. 

Nelson Burdick was elected Recorder and Treasurer, over N. 
Otis, by 102 majority. 

James Van Pelt was elected Surveyor, and Philip Morse, Coro- 

In this election there were no less than five candidates for the 
office of County Judge. The canvassing board returned the fol- 
lowing count: Joseph Gibbons had 205 votes for the office, while 
his opponents in the race had the following number of votes re- 
spectivelv: J. T. Atkins, 195; William Painter, 10; David Reed, 
9, and N. Otis, 1. 

An informality in this election caused it to be set aside, as far 
as Judge was concerned, and Mr. Reed was continued in office for 
another term of two years. The particulars are given in the pre- 
ceding chapter, introductory to the county seat contest. 

On the 1st of April Aaron Newell resigned the office of Clerk 
of the District Court, and Nathaniel Otis was appointed in his 


In the April election of 185G there were 816 votes j^olled. The 
only officer elected was School Fund Commissioner. There were 
plenty of candidates in the field willing to assume the responsi- 
bilities of this office, as the following list will show: J. E. B. 
Morgan, Elijah Middlebrook, J. P. McKinney and Thomas Bell. 
J. E. B. Morgan was elected to fill the office by forty-eight ma- 
jority. This office was discontinued during Morgan's term. 

L. Butler resigned the office of Liquor Agent on the 26th of 
June, 1856, to which office he had previously been appointed. The 
duties of this officer were to superintend the sale of liquors in the 
county, that is to see that no one trafficed in liquors except those 
who sold it for medicinal purposes. Butler's resignation was ac- 
cepted, and H. C. Bulls appointed to fill the vacancy, on the 30th of 
June, 1856. This office was discontinued at the expiration of his 
term. ^ 

The tenth election was held in August, 1856. 

L, W. Griswold was elected Prosecuting Attorney, over S. A. 
Tup per. 

Nathaniel Otis was elected Clerk of the District Court, over S. 
D. H. Hughes and G. W. Esty. Previous to this election the 
county had been organized into eleven voting precincts. 

This election gave to Winneshiek County her first Senatorial 
officer, in the person of J. T. Atkins. At this date Winneshiek 
county was but a portion of the Sitli Senatorial District, which 
was composed of the following counties: Winneshiek, Allama- 
kee, Howard, Floyd and Mitchell. The total vote of this en- 
tire Senatorial District was 2,331,of which number J. T. At- 
kins received 1,599, as against 716 for Edward Ellis, his oppo- 

J. T. Atkins was born in Phillipstown, Worcester County, 
Mass., April 4, 1811. The early part of his life was spent in the 
Eastern States, where he followed steamboating as a vocation 
during the season when navigation was open, and taught school 
during the winter months. He received a common school educa- 
tion. Mr. Atkins immigrated to Indiana in 1835, where he com- 
menced a real estate brokerage business. In 1851 there was much 
talk of the "new purchase," a part of which was Winneshiek 
County. The Judge contracted the fever, and came to Winne- 
shiek County, Iowa, in the autumn of that year. Here he re- 
sumed his old business, that of land speculating, and also prac- 
ticed law for several years, but not being a resident at the county 
seat, he concluded to abandon his profession and give his atten- 
tion solely to his speculations. October 19, 1851, he was appoint- 
ed Prosecuting Attorney and Enrolling Officer, by Gov. Kirkwood. 
He was elected County Judge, at one time, but failed to qualify. 
In 1867 he was chosen to represent this county in the State Legis- 
lature. He has for some years past been a resident of Decorah. 


I The first special election was held on the 10th of October, 1856. 
The question at stake was whether tlie county should vote 
$100,000 in aid of the Northwestern Railroad. There were 920 
votes cast in favor of it, and 505 against. 

The eleventh election was held in April, 1857, in which con- 
test James B. Smith was elected to the office of Sheriff. George 
N. Hoi way was elected to the office of County Assessor. 

George N. Holway Avas born in Sandwich, Mass., September 
29, 1826. He received his education at Sandwich and Providence. 
He immigrated to Iowa in 1852, and made a permanent settlement 
at Hesper. He soon afterward became iudentified with the polit- 
ical affairs of the county. He was first elected County Assessor. 
He has been elected to the office of Treasurer, Supervisor and 
County Superintendent. He is now (1882) engaged in mining in 
one of the western territories. 

James E. Simpson was elected to the office of Drainage Com- 

James E. Simpson was born in New York City^ August 10, 
1833. He received his education in the public schools of that 
State. He immigrated to Allamakee County in 1855. In that 
county he was engaged in teaching school and surveying until 
the summer of 185G, when he moved to Decorah, and that winter 
taught the public school of the latter place. That spring he was 
appointed Deputy County Surveyor, in which position he con- 
tinued as Deputy and County Surveyor until 1860. In 1860 he 
was appointed Deputy Clerk under S. W. Paul. He was elected 
County Superintendent in 1861, which office he resigned to enter 
the United States service. He enlisted in Co. G, Twelfth Iowa 
Volunteers. He was made Orderly Sergeant, and promoted to 
Second Lieutenant. He resigned his lieutenancy during the sum- 
mer of 1862, on account of ill health. On his return home he 
again resumed the office of County Superintendent. In 1863 he 
was appointed Deputy Provost Marshal of Winneshiek County, 
which office he filled until mustered out of the service in 1865. 
In 1866 he was appointed United States Revenue Inspector of the 
Third Iowa District. In 1868 he was retained as one of the 
twenty-five United States Revenue Agents, and remained in the 
service until September, 1876. He was married to Mary A. Rank- 
in, of Frankville, in July, 1860. 

Mr. Simpson was, several years ago, appointed United States 
Revenue Collector for this district, with headquarters at Dubuque, 
to which place he thereupon removed, though socially as well as 
in property interests he is still identified with Decorah, 

L. W. Griswold resigned the office of Prosecuting Attorney, July 
11, 1857. Dryden Smith was appointed to fill the office made 
vacant by Griswold's resignation, July 21, 1857, and was elected 
as Prosecuting Attorney in the October election, 1857. The fol- 
lowing winter this office was abolished. 


The next electioa was held August, 1857, at which there were 
804 votes cast for County Judge, L. W. Griswold was the suc- 
cessful candidate for this oiBce over S. A. Tupper, 

J. B. Smith was re-elected Sheriff over E. M. Farnsworth. 

Nelson Burdick was re-elected Recorder and Treasurer over 
J. Oleson. 

L, W. Ludlow was elected County. Surveyor over David Gorsuch, 

Amos Hoag was elected Coroner over George Cooney. 

There were 3-15 majority for the new State Constitution. 

In the October election following, E. E. Cooley was elected 
State Representative by a majority of 512, over William F. 

Dryden Smith was elected Prosecuting Attorney by 481 major- 
ity, over S. A. Tapper. Dryden Smith was an Indianian. He 
early came to the county, and figured quite prominently in politi- 
cal affairs. 

The spring election of 1858 was held on the 14th of April. The 
only county officer elected in this contest was that of Superinten- 
dent of Public Instruction. It was the first office of this charac- 
ter elected in the county, and H. C. Bulls was the man on whom 
this honor was conferred by the people. 

Hon. H. C. Bulls was born in Chazy, Clinton County, New 
York, on the 14th of November, 1830, He studied medicine in 
Vermont, with Dr. A, C. Butler, and graduated at the Vermont 
Medical College, Woodstock, Vt. He came to W^inneshiek coun- 
ty a young man, in October, 1854, and taught the first month of 
the second term of school that was taught in the village. Politi- 
cally, the doctor was a strong Clay Whig, and latterly as ardent 
a republican. Previous to his being elected County Superin- 
tendent he had been appointed commissioner for the sale of in- 
toxicating liquors, by Judge Reed. At the expiration of his 
term this office was discontinued. He was next elected a member 
of the Board of Supervisors, and was made its president. In 
1865 he was elected State Senator, and served his constituency 
four years in this capacity, during which time he was elected 
a trustee of the Iowa State University, In 1869 lie was returned 
to the State Senate. He served one year of his second term, dur- 
ing which time he was elected President 'pro tern, by the House of 
Representatives. In 1871, he was electecl Lieutenant Governor of 
the State. His thorough knowledge of parliamentary rules pe- 
culiarly fitted him for this new responsibility. He discharged the 
duties of this office honorably, efficiently and faithfully. In 
August, 1876, he was appointed by President Grant a member of 
the Indian commission, whose duty it was to treat with the 
Sioux Indians for the purchase of the Black Hill sterritory. Dr. 
Bulls was absent five months on this mission. The object of the 
commission was, finally, successfully accomplished. 


Dr. Bulis, was elected to the office of Mayor of Decorali, in 
1880, holding that position for two successive terms, performing 
the duties with honor to himself and with credit and henefit to 
Decorah, of which he is ever an enterprising and public-spirited 
citizen, his wife being an active helper in every good work. 

In the October election of 1858, there were 1,305 votes polled 
for Clerk of the District Court. S. W. Paul was declared elected 
to the office, over K. K. Buckman, by 190 majority. 

J. E. Simpson was elected County Surveyor, over David Gorsuch. 

•In the elections of 1859, the following officers were elected: 

Erick Anderson, Sheriff; S. W. Matteson, Clerk; T. W. Bur- 
dick, Recorder and Treasurer; A. K. Averill, County Surveyor; 
John^R. Howard, Coroner; W. F. Coleman, County Superinten- 
dent of Public Instruction. 

In the fall election of 1860, which took place on the Tuesday 
after the first Monday in November, S. W. Matteson was re-elec- 
ted Clerk of the District Court. 

With 1860 was inaugurated a. change in the administration of 
County affiiirs, a Board of Supervisors, one from each organized 
township, taking the place of the County Judge in these matters, 
in January, 1861, although the County Court contiuued to exist 
for probate and some other matters till the foundation of the 
Circuit Court, referred to in succeeding pages. 

This Supervisor system gave place in 1870 to the County Com- 
missioner system, the officers still being termed, as they now are, 
Supervisors, of which there were three. In 1872 the number of 
Supervisors was increased to five, the County being divided into 
five districts — the number at present existing. 

And as the Courts of the county form a prominent part of its 
history, we here briefly trace their successive Judges, completing 
first the roll of County Judges till that office was abolished by the 
organization of the Circuit Court, about the close of the year 1868. 


Our previous record shows that L. W. Griswold was elected 
County Judge in 1857. He held the office to January 1st, 1860. 
His successors were as follows: 

D. H. Hughes, who held the office two years, commencing Jan. 
1st, 1860. 

Jno. DeCow, two years, commencing Jan. 1,1862. 
G. R. Willett, four years, commencing Jan. 1, 1861. 

E. Cutler assumed the office Jan. 1, 1868, and held it till the 
close of that year, when it gave place to the Circuit Court, (re- 
ferred to a little later), which attended to Probate business. The 
duties of the County Auditor had hitherto been performed by the 
County Judge, and Mr. Cutler therefore became County Auditor, 
ex-officio, to the end of his terra and was then twice re-elected 
Auditor, as referred to hereafter. 

13 ' 



Winneshiek county is a part of the 10th judicial district, the 
balance of the district being comprised of Howard, Chickasaw, 
Fayette, Allamakee, and Clayton counties. The territories of the 
district and circuit courts coincide, or in other words, they have 
concurrent jurisdiction^ in all the judicial districts throughout the 

The District Court exercises general and original jurisdiction, 
both civil and criminal, where not otherwise provided^ and appel- 
late jurisdiction in all criminal matters; and it has a general su- 
pervision over all inferior courts and officers in all criminal cases, 
to prevent and correct abuses where no other remedy is provided. 
One district judge elected by the people, holds court alternately at 
each county seat at times specified by the district and circuit 
judges, and a clerk of the District Court, who is ex-officio clerk, 
also of the Circuit Court, is elected once in two years in each county. 

The Circuit Court exercises original jurisdiction concurrent 
with the District Court in all civil actions and special proceedings, 
and exclusive jurisdiction in all appeals and writs of error from 
inferior courts, tribunals and officers, and has a general super- 
vision thereof in all civil matters. All probate business is also 
done by the Circuit Court. 

For nearly seventeen years the District Court had charge of the 
business now transacted by both courts. But the business here, as 
well as in other districts of the State, became so great as to be bur- 
densome and cause delay; and the 12th General Assembly enacted 
a law signed April 3d, 1868, creating Circuit Judges, the act tak- 
ing effect Jan. 1st, 1869, except that the judges should be elected 
in November, 1868. 

The first term of District Court for this county was held in 
Decorah on Friday, the 9th day of July, 1852. Present — -Hon. 
Thomas. S. Wilson, Judge; Geo. Bachel, Sheriff; and Wm. F. 
Kimball, Clerk; Eeuben Noble, B. W. Poor, Jno. McKay, and 
Jno. W. Ramine were admitted to practice as attorneys. They 
had previously been admitted to the bar in other States. Jno. 
D. McKay, on application and examination was admitted for the 
first time to practice as an attorney and counselor-at-law. The 
first grand jury empanneled consisted of the following named 
persons: Nathan S. Gilbert, foreman; Isaac Callendar, J. H. 
Gilliband, Omri Emery, Rupel Dean, D. W. Carrier, Henry Mc- 
Swain, Wm. Campbell, Levi Moore, Adam Heckart, Wm. Clark, 
Lewis Eddy, Dwight Kathburn, David Frazier and Philip Howe. 

Judge Wilson continued in office till the commencement of 
1855, when Samuel S. Murdock, of Clayton Co., having been 
chosen at the regular election the latter part of the preceding 
year, took the bench and occupied it for a term of four years. 
The District Judges since that tinie^ — the opening of the year 
1859 — have been: 


Elias A. Williiims of Clayton county, two terms, to 18C7. 

Milo McGlatliety, of Fayette County, two terms, to 1875. 

Reuben Noble, of Clayton County, held the first session of his 
first term in Feb., 1875. He was elected to a second term at the 
fall election of 1878, and held the office till the latter part of 
1879, when he resigned. 

E. E. Cooley, of Decorah, was appointed by Gov. Gear to fill 
the vacancy till the election the following year. He took his seat 
in December, 1879. 

At the election in the fall of 1880, Mr. Cooley was chosen to 
fill the remainder of the unexpired term, and still occupies the 

The first Circuit Court Judge was chosen at the election in 
November, 1868, his term commencing, according to the law pre- 
viously referred to, on the 1st of January, 1869. 

The Judge chosen was M. V. Burdick, who has been previously 
referred to in this history, and to him belongs the honor of being 
the first Circuit Judge of the Tenth District. He was an early 
resident of Decorah, and has been here much of the time since, 
though now living at Lansing, Allamakee County. He held the 
office for one term of four years. 

The second Circuit Judge was C. T. Granger, of Waukon, 
Allamakee County, who came upon the bench at the opening of 
the year 1873, tor a term of four years. He was re-elected in 
the fall of 1876 for a second term, and again in 1880 for a third 
term, in which he is now serving. 

The preceding record of elections shows who were Clerks of 
Court for Winneshiek County up to 1860, when S. W. Matteson 
held the office. He was re-elected in 1861, again in 1862, and 
again in 1864. The following is the date of election of Clerks of 
Court for this county since that time: 

Dan Lawrence in 1866. 

M. P. Hathaway in 1868. 

S. E. Tubbs in 1870 and 1872. 

A. W. Brownell in 1874. 

E. B. Hutchinson in 1876 and 1878. 

M. W. Harden in 1880, being the present incumbent. 

The important office of District Attorney for the Tenth Dis- 
trict has been held successively for the last two terms by Winne- 
shiek County men. Orlando J. Clark, elected in 1874, and whose 
term expired January 1st, 1879, was succeeded by the present in- 
cumbent, Cyrus Wellington, elected in the fall of 1878. 


Our state Senators since Dr. H. C. Bulls, with whom our pre- 
vious record leaves off, have been: 
M. V. Burdick, elected in 1861. 


H. C. Bulls, again elected iu 1S65; was re-elected 1S69, and re- 
signed in 1871, when be was elected Lieutenant Governor of the 

Hon. (j. R. Willett was chosen to fill the vacancy caused by the 
resignation of Dr. Bulls, and was in 1873 re-electsd for a four 
years term. 

"Hon. G. R. Willett was born in Lacadie, Province of Quebec, 
November 11, 1826. Though born in Canada, yet both his pa- 
rents were Americans. He spent the early part of his life in 
Canada, and received his education there. He studied law at 
Champlain, New York, and graduated at the Albany Law School. 
He was admitted to the bar in that city in 1856, He practiced 
law in Champlain until 1857, when he came west and settled in De- 
corah. He raised the first company of volunteers to fight for the 
Union, namely. Company D, Third Iowa Infantry. He was 
wounded in the knee in 1861, which so disabled him that he was 
obliged to resign and return home. In 1864 he was elected County 
Judge. During the winter of 1874 he was elected President pro 
tern, of the Senate. He was Chairman of the Committee on Con- 
stitutional Amendments, and during the session of 1875 he was 
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He was also a member of 
the Committee on Railroads, Insurance and Judicial Districts. 
From 1868 to 1872 he was President of the Winneshiek W^oolen 
Manufacturing Company. He was married at the age of 21 to 
Miss Alinda C. Kellogg, "in Champlain, New York. Mr. Willett 
has occupied many high positions within the gift of the people, 
and has always discharged his trust honorably and faithfully. His 
legal ability Is recognized abroad as well as well as at home. As 
evidence of this fact, the reader is referred to his appointment as 
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee." 

Mr. Willett and wife can now be reckoned as comparatively old 
residents, as they are among our most active, liberal and public- 
spirited ones. Their oldest son, Mahlon, is a successful minister 
to a church on the Pacific coast, while the second son, Norman, 
is a partner of his father in the law business, and reliable and 

M. N. Johnson was elected in 1877. Mr. Johnson is a son of 
Nelson Johnson, an old pioneer previously referred to. He grad- 
uated at the State University in 1873, and at the law class there 
in 1876. He was elected State Representative in the fall of 1875, 
and a presidential elector in 1876. He is now in partnership with 
his younger brother in the law business in Decorah. 

H. A. Baker was elected in the fall of 1882. He is a promi- 
nent young business man of Osslan, popular, enterprising, and 
thriving. His present term will hold through the next session of 
the legislature — the winter of 1883-4. 


Since our record, closing witli 1860, the following have been 
elected as State Representatives; the elections being for but one 
biennial session. 

W. H. Baker and Ole Nelson in 1861. 

Ole Nelson and James H. Brown in 1863. 

H. B. Williams was elected in 1864 to fill vacancy caused by 
the death of Ole Nelson. 

Jas. H. Brown and H. B. Williams, elected in 1865. 

H. B. Williams and J. T. Atkins, in 1867. 

H. B. Williams and 0. A. Lommen, in 1869. 

Knudt Berg and Warren Danforth, in 1871. 

Knudt Bergh was born in Norway, and came to America when 
a boy, with his father, and settled in Highland Township. Mr. 
Bergh early appreciated the value of an education, and strove with 
all his energy to attain the high place which he afterwards reached 
in educational circles. An adopted citizen, he became an Ameri- 
can in all that the name implies. He was an exemplary man, and 
revered by all who knew him. In the legislative halls of the 
State he served his county with fairness and ability. Mr. Bergh 
was a graduate of the University of St. Louis. He afterward 
became one of the professors in the Norwegian Lutheran College. 
His health failed him, and in 1873 he visited his native country, 
where he died of consumption, on the 16th of June, 1875, at Eide, 
Hardanger, Norway.] 

Warren Danforth and Jno. DeCow in 1873. 

Warren Danforth and M. N. Johnson in 1875. 

H. A. Baker and H. C. Manning in 1877. 

H. A. Baker and Levi Hubbell in 1879. 

Levi Hubbell and D. (). Aker m 1881. 


It was not till 1877 that the Representative in Congress for this 
district was chosen from Winneshiek County. From soon after 
the organization of the State to 1863, there were but two Con- 
gressional Districts in Iowa, and after that time till 1881, Winne- 
shiek County has been in the Third Congressional District, 
although the number of districts have been mcreased from time to 
time. Wm. B. Allison, of Dubuque, was our Representative from 
1863 to 1871, and ceased to be Representative to become United 
State Senator, which position he now holds. 

W. G. Donnan, of Independence, was Representative to the 
Forty-second Congress — 1871 to 1873, and also to the Forty-third 
Congress — 1873 to 1875. 

For the Forty-fourth Congress — 1875 to 1877— a Democrat; 
L. L. Aiusworth, of West Union, was elected by a very small ma- 
jority after a close contest; C. T. Granger, of Waukon, being his 
Republican opponent. 


The Third Congressional District embraced the counties of 
Allamakee, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette and 

At the Congressional Convention held at McGregor Sept. 6, 
1876, Theodore W. Burdick, of Decorah, who had not sought 
the office, went into the convention supported by nineteen dele- 
gates from the Winneshiek County Republican Convention, who 
stood by him through' the Convention, until he was nominated 
on the 22d ballot. J. M. Griffith, of Dubuque, was his Dem- 
ocratic opponent, and the contest was a fierce one, intensi- 
fied by the fact that a Democrat had . been elected for the pre- 
ceding term. Mr. Burdick was elected by a majority of 1,267, 
his own county leading the list of Republican counties by a 
majority of 1,265. He was a faithful and efficient working mem- 
ber of Congress, and at the close of the term positively declined a 
re-nomination. Since the previous biographical sketches in this 
volume have been put in the hands of the printer, it has been de- 
cided to give more complete sketches of prominent men else- 
where in the volume, so that it will not be necessary to give them 
at length in the regular history, but the following from Andreas' 
Atlas of Iowa, published before Mr. Burdick's election, is worthy 
of reproduction here. 

"Theodore W. Burdick, cashier of the First National and Sav- 
ings Banks of Decorah, is a native of Pennsylvania, born Octo- 
ber 7, 1836. He removed with his parents to Winneishiek County 
at the age of 17, having previously acquired a good English edu- 
cation, his father having intended him for a collegate course at 
Oberlin. The removal to the west, however, interfered with that 
arrangement, and on their arrival at Decorah, in the spring of 1853, 
he was employed as the first school teacher in the place, the first 
school-house having just then been completed. The following 
spring his father was elected County Treasurer, and he took charge 
of the office and also that of County Recorder, discharging prac- 
tically the duties of both until he became of age, in 1857. At 
the next election following he was elected County Treasurer, and 
filled the office in a most faithful and satisfactory manner till 1862, 
when he resigned to enter the army. He was commissioned Cap- 
tain of Company D, Sixth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, in which ca- 
pacity he served foi three years — till 1865. Four brothers besides 
himself were in the army, and three of them lost their lives in their 
country's service. On his return from the army Mr. Burdick pur- 
chased an interest in the First National Bank of Decorah, of 
which he was elected Cashier in 1866. Since the war he has held 
no public office, but has devoted himself exclusively to business. 
Both in his public and private relations, for a period of over 
twenty years, since he became a citizen of Decorah, he has been 
noted as a gentleman of honor and integrity, of good business 
talents and irreproachable character." 


Thomas Updegraff, of McGregor, was the Republican candidate 
for Congress in 1878, being nominated at McGregor (after a very 
close fight for the nomination with D. N. Cooley, of Dubuque). 
Mr. Updegraff was elected October 8, 1878, receiving 12,596 votes 
in the district; Fred. O'Donnell, (Democrat), of Dubuque, receiv- 
ing 10,881, and Spangle (Greenback) receiving 5,338. 

Thomas Updegraff was re-elected November 2, 1880, his oppon- 
ents being W. G. Stewart, (democrat) and M. H. Moore (green- 
back), both of Dubuque. The vote was: Updegraff, 17,359; Stew- 
art, 13,969; Moore, 2,193. 

By the recent re-districting of the State, this county is in the 
Fourth Congressional District, embracing the counties of Alla- 
makee, Winneshiek, Howard, Mitchell, Clayton, Fayette, Chicka- 
saw and Floyd. Mr. Updegraff is a candidate for re-election with 
the probability of being returned for the third term. 



Our previous record shows T. W. Burdick as County Treasurer 
and Recorder in 18G0. In 1861 he was re-elected. He resigned 
his position in 1862 to enlist in the army, and G. R. Willet was 
appointed to fill the vacancy. The following were successively 
elected to the office of the Treasurer, the Recorder's office being 
separated from it in 1861: 

A. K. Bailey, in 1863. 

G. N, Holway, in 1865-7. 

G. T. Lommen, in 1869 and 1871. 

Edwin Klove, in 1873, 1875, 1877, and 1879; his fourth term 
expiring December 31st, 1881. 

N. H. Adams was elected in the fall of 1881, and on the 1st of 
January, 1882, assumed the duties of the office of Treasurer, which 
he now holds. 

In 1861:, when the Recoider's office was separated from that 
of the Treasurer, Jno. E. Powers was elected Recorder, and was 
re-elected in 1866. 

Cyrus W. McKay was elected in 1868, 1870 and 1872. 

Chas. Stern in 1874 and in 1876. Mr. Stern died during his 
second term of office and Wm. M. Fannon was elected to fill the 
vacancy. Mr. Fannon was re-elected in 1878 and again in 1880. 
His term of office will expire wdtli 1882. 


In 1861 or 1862, H. C. Bulls was appointed County Superinten- 
dent of Schools. 


I, M. Wedge Avood was elected County Superinteudent of Schools 
in 1863, 18G5, 1867 and 1869. 

Henry Toye was elected in 1871. 

G. N. Hoi way was elected in 1873. 

Nels Kessy in 1875, 1877 and 1879. 

J. A. Klien Avas elected in 1881, assuming the duties of office 
January 1, 1882. 


Taking up again the office of County Surveyor, we find E. 
Baldwin elected in 1861, 1863, 1865 and 1867. 
W. C. Adsit elected in 1869, 1871 and 1873. 
J. L. Cameron in 1875 and 1877. 
E. B. Collwell in 1879. 
J. L. Cameron in 1881, his term commencing January 1, 1882. 


Sheriff Erick Anderson, previously mentioned as elected in 
1859, was re-elected in 1861. 

Armund Arneson was elected in 1863, and again in 1865. 

A. S. Skofstadt was elected in 1867. 

Knudt Thompson in 1869 and 1871. 

C. H. Hitchcock in 1873. 

J. H. Womeldorf in 1875 and 1877. 

DeWitt C. Moore in 1879 and 1881. 

Soon after election in the fall of 1881, Mr. Moore resigned 
to accept the position of cashier of a bank at Grafton, Dakota, his 
resignation taking effect Dec. 8, 1881. 

H. M. Langland was thereupon appointed by the Board of 
Supervisors to fill the vacancy till the next election, which takes 
place in November, 1882. 


E. Cutler was elected County Judge in the fall of 1867, and 
assumed its duties Jan. 1, 1868. At the close of 1868, as already 
detailed, the newly created Circuit Court absorbed the duties of 
County Probate Court, and Mr. Cutler became County Auditor 
ex officio^ retaining the Court duties pertaining to that branch of 
the office. He was re-elected County Auditor in the fall of 1869, 
and again in 1871. 

H. A. Bigelow was elected in 1873. 

R S. Hale was elected in 1875, 1877, and 1879. 

T. E. Egge was elected in 1881 and entered upon his two years' 
term Jan. 1, 1882. 


John Howard — referred to in record prior to 1860 — was succeed- 
ed by the following coroners: 


C. McKay was elected in 1861, 1863, 1865, 1867, and 1869. 

F. W. Knox, elected in 1871. 

A. C. Ferren, in 1873. 

A. H. Fannon, in 1875. 

E. Mather, in 1877 ard 1879. 

W. F. Coleman, in 1881. 


Since 1870, when the County Commissioner system was adopted, 
by the county being divided into districts, and a Commissioner or 
Supervisor elected from each district, the Supervisors have been 
as follows: 

M. S. Drury, Geo. C. Winship and A. Arneson were elected in 
1870, for terms varying so that a portion of them should be elected 
each year. 

M. S. Drury was re-elected in 1872, the other members being 
increased to five. F. G. Hale and C. Sydow w^ere elected the same 
year. F. G. Brittain was elected in 1873. 

By the above change to five Supervisors, the districts embrace 
townships as follows: 

First District— Bloomfield, Military, Springfield, Frankville. 

Second District— Washington, Jackson, Sumner, Calmar. 

Third District — Lincoln, Bluff'ton, Orleans, Burr Oak, Fremont. 

Fourth District — Pleasant, Canoe, Hesper, Highland, Glen- 

Fifth District — Decorah, Madison. 

The Supervisors in ofiice at the commencement of 1874 were 
M. S. Drury, A. Arneson, Chas. Sydow, F. G. Hale and Geo. C. 
Winship. The following were elected from the several districts 
thereafter, the elections being for a regular term commencing the 
January following the election, except in case of removal, death, 
or resignation. 

Elected in 1871:, Second District, Chas. Meyers; Fifth District, 
G. C. Winship. 

Elected in 1875, First District, Turner Calender; Third District, 
Peter Morton. 

Elected in 1876, Second District, H. Geisen, Fourth District, 0. 
W. Ellin gson. 

Elected in 1877, Second District, A. W. Brownell; Fifth Dis- 
trict, Jacob Jewell. 

Elected in 1878, First District, Geo Merrill; Third District, S. 
G. Kendall. 

Elected in 1879, Fourth District, Nels Larson. 

Elected in 1880, First District, E. S. Lambert; Second District, 
A. W. Brownell; Third District, Almon Rice; Fifth District G. L. 

Elected in 1881, Third District, R. Barnes; Fourth District, 0. 
T. Lommen. 



The present (1882) County Officers (besides the officers for this 
Judicial District— District Judge E. E. Coolej, Circuit Judge C. 
T. Granger, and District Attorney Cyrus Wellington) are: 

Clerk of Courts— M. W. Harden; N. H. Nelson, Deputy. 

Auditor— T. E. Egge; J. W. Danbrey, deputy. 

Treasurer— N. H. Adams; C. E. Header, deputy. 

Recorder— Wm. M. Fannon; Wm. H. Fannon^ deputy. 

Sheriff— H. M. Langland; W. P. Sanford, deputy. 

Superintendent of Schools— J. A. Klein. 

Surveyor — J. L. Cameron. 

Coroner — W. F. Coleman. 

The present Supervisors (1882) are as follows: 

First District— 0. T. Lommen. 

Second District— A. W. Brownell. 

Third District— R. Barnes. 

Fourth District — Nels Larsen. 

Fifth District— Geo. L, Wendling. 


^ At the November election, 1876, a tax was voted for the erec- 
tion of a new County jail, the majority for the tax being '290. 
The erection of a substantial brick building on the southeast 
corner of the Court House grounds was promptly commenced and 
duly completed, and improved steel cells put in. Besides being a 
handsome structure, it is the safest in this part of Iowa. It is re- 
ferred to elsewhere. 


Pojmlation; Court House and Jail; Court House Grounds; Poor 
House and Farm; Murder Trials; Railroad History; Our 
Products; Educational and Literary; a Gratifying Exhibit; 
Good State of the County Finances; Census of 1880. 

By the United State census of 1880 the population of Winne- 
shiek County was 23,937. And yet up to the commencement of 
the previous year, the court house erected in the early days, with 
a jail and residence for the sheriff in the basement, was so good 
a building that it had done service for a little over thirty years, 
and now with a new jail, containing sheriff s residence, improve- 
ments made in the court house and enlargement of quarters of 


county officers, the latter building will answer the purpose for 
the county for some years yet. A few words about the county 



The present Court House was commenced in 1857, a tax having 
been voted in ' 1S5G, and was completed in 1858. The courts 
previous to that time were sometimes held in rented rooms, — 
though for a while at first in the log house of Wm. Day, and 
afterwards in Newell's Hall. The cost of the Court House build- 
ings, including the jail in the basement, was about $18,000. The 
land for the grounds was donated by Wm. Day and Wm. Paint- 
er, and occupies one square, being bounded on the north by Main 
street, on the east by Winnebago street, on the south by Broad- 
way, and on the west by Court street. The Court House building 
has a basement of stone in which were originally the jail and 
sheriff's residence, and above this two stories of brick; the court 
room occupying the upper floor and the county offices the remain- 
dea of the building. 

After the erection of the new jail the basement was given up 
to the Recorder's office with a large fire-proof vault, the Clerk's 
office with also a fire-proof vault, and the office of the County 
Surveyor. The offices of the County Treasurer, Auditor, Sheriff, 
and County Superintendent, are now on the floor above. The 
court room is on the upper floor as originally constructed. 

In the fall of 1876, a county tax of $12,000, to be divided be- 
tween 1877 and 1878, was voted for the erection of a new jail, as 
stated at the close of the preceding chapter. The jail was com- 
menced and completed in 1878. It is a handsome brick building, 
two stories high, with stone basement and tin roof — size on the 
ground being 311x56 feet. The Sheriff's residence is on the first 
floor and the jail proper on the second floor, provided with Pauley's 
patent steel cells, considered very secure and proof against jail 
breakers. The cost of building, with cells, etc., was — 

Jail building |5,434.25 

P.' J. Pauley's patent steel cells and corridors with sewer pipe and 

water tank 6,097 00 

200 baiTol cistern 175 00 

10 inch sewer pipe connecting with dry run 208 00 

Total 111,114 25 

There was also expended in 1878, on stone walls and terracing 
the Court House grounds, about $5,000. Much smaMer amounts 
have since been expended in continuing the walls and terracing, 
and the work is mostly finished, except on the south side, where 
the excavating of Broadway by the city is not yet completed. 
The main front of the Court House is on the north side, the 
building being a little back of the centre of the grounds, and the 
jail at the southeast corner of the grounds. 


With the outer wall there are five walls and terraces, covered 
with grassy lawn, presenting a beautiful appearance. The court 
house was, for that time, a magnificent building, and is still re- 
spectable looking, though a little ancient. Its position is com- 
manding, overlooking the city and surrounding valley, and will 
some of these days, no doubt, be the site of an imposing edifice. 


The poor house and farm of Winneshiek County are located 
near the village of Freeport, on the southeast quarter of section 
14, township 98, range 8 west, in Decorah township; the farm 
contains 130 acres. Sixty acres were purchased in 1866, and on 
it stood a large frame house; a brick house, barn and other build- 
ings have since been erected, and seventy acres of timber land 
purchased . 


Winneshiek County has had some half a dozen murders, or 
cases in which that crime was cbarged, the trial in the last 
case being still to come. Several of them have been exciting 

The first trial for murder was held in 1861. The defendants 
were John Livengood and Delilah A. Telyea, who were tried for 
the murder of Charles Telyea, the husband of Delilah A., in the 
October term of court, 1861, Wore Judge Williams. When the 
^ charge was first made against the guilty parties, the grand jury 
failed to find an indictment, on the ground that the body of the 
murdered man had not been found; but the case was brought be- 
fore the next grand jury, who brought in a bill. Public opinion 
was strong against the accused, and great excitement prevailed. 
The public was agitated to such an extent over the matter that 
the defendants' attorneys sued for a change of venue, which was 
granted. The case was taken to Clayton County, where the par- 
ties were tried. Livengood was found guilty, and sentenced to the 
penitentiary for life; while Mrs. Telyea was acquitted, although 
public opinion generally considered her guilty. Livengood was par- 
doned out at the end of ten years, and is supposed to be now living 
somewhere in Northern Wisconsin. 

The next case to enlist attention, and set the public in a state 
of ferment was that of Charles D. Seeley, for the murder of Wm. 
McClintock, tried before Judge McGlatherty, February 11th, 
1872. Seeley was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to 
the penitentiary, at hard labor, for fifteen months. 

The third murder trial, and by far the most exciting, was that 
of Helen D. Stickles for the murder of her husband, J. P. Stickles, 
by poison. On January 4, 1876, John P. Stickles, to all appear- 
ances was enjoying perfect health. That afternoon he was sud- 
denly taken sick, and died within a few hours, with all the atten- 


dant symptoms of poisoning by strychniue. The next morning 
as the news circulated from mouth to mouth, giving in detail the 
sudden and horrible death, the conviction was forced upon the 
community that either a fatal mistake had been made in adminis- 
tering medicine to the unfortunate man, or a wanton and terrible 
crime had been committed. A post-mortem examination was held, 
which served to strengthen the previous theory that J. P. 
Stickles had died from poison. The stomach was sent to Chica- 
go for analysis. Dr. M. P. Hatfield, the chemist who made the 
analysis, sent back word that he had found strychnine. As a re- 
sult of the continual agitation of the question by the public, and 
the evidence produced, the Grand Jury, at its March session, 1876, 
indicted Helen D. Stickles for murder. The case came on for 
trial in the District Court, Judge Reuben Noble presiding,' in 
June. The trial lasted nine days, during which time the excite- 
ment was intense and unabated. 0. J.Clark, Prosecuting Attor- 
torney, was aided by J. T. Clark in prosecuting the side of the 
State, while C. P. Brown and Cyrus Wellington made themselyes 
noted as criminal lawyers, by the ability with which they defend- 
ed the accused. It was one of the most stubbornly-contested 
trials ever held in the county. Public opinion very generally 
condemned Mrs. Stickles, but the jury disagreed, standing five for 
acquittal to seven for conviction. A change of venue was granted 
the accused, and the case was taken to Fayette County for trial, 
where she was finally acquitted. She afterwards married Harry 
Shufelt who was an intimate friend of the family at the time of 
the death of Mr. Stickles, as well as of the accused at the time 
of the trial, and moved to the northeastern part of the State, 
where several years later she attempted suicide on account of be- 
ing scolded by her husband for too much hilarity; but the dose of 
poison was pumped out. 

On the 9th of July 1876, a fatal shooting encounter took place 
at the residence of Simeon Oleson. They had some supplies left 
over from the Uh of July and concluded to have a bowery dance 
on Sunday evening; Andrew Throndson, who was not invited, 
attended; but it was a fatal visit to him. It seems that one or 
both of the parties to the afi'ray had been drinking. As Thrond- 
son, who, with some others, were shooting in a grove not far off, 
approached the house of Simeon Oleson, who witli some others, 
went outjto meet him, it was charged that both parties shot at each- 
other. Throndson fell in the field where he stood, but the others 
thought that he meant to decoy them, or at least they did not go out 
there until the next morning, where the dead body of Throndson 
was found. Oleson was bound over for trial. At the first trial the 
jury disagreed, and at the second he was acquitted. 

The next murder case or afi'ray resulting in death, occurred on 
the 21st of December, 1876. Four brothers, named Torfin, living 
not far from Locust Lane postoffice, which is near the northeast cor- 


ner of Pleasant Township, were going home from Decorah in a 
sleigh, several other sleighs following along behind them. Some of 
the sleighs passed them, and in some way the parties got into a quar- 
rel. Peace was apparently soon restored, however, and they contin- 
ued on their way until the sleighs that were ahead of the Torfin 
brothers, reached across road where they halted; some of the men 
jumped out, and when the Torfins came up, Avanted to "settle this 
thing right here." Some of the Torfins jumped from their sleigh, 
and while walking about, Ed. Torfin was felled to the earth with a 
club. It was found that Helge Nelson struck the blow: Torfin 
sprang up and ran and got into his sleigh, drove home, and came 
down to his breakfast the next morning. The affray occurred on 
Thursday evening. Sunday morning he died. Nelson was arrested, 
tried, and sentenced to six months in the penitentiary. 

The last murder was committed on Sunday, June 4, 1882, and 
the trial has not yet taken place. We take the following particu- 
lars from the Decorah Journal, June 7. 

Peter Peterson Krogsund, a well-to-do farmer near the Peter 
Olson stone mill, in Glenwood township, will have no more 
trouble about his cattle trespassing; and Hans Hansen Skjerdahl, 
who rents a farm near there, will probably have a life time to re- 
pent the killing of his neighbor, whether that life is suddenly 
brought up at the end of a rope or spent in prison walls — or pos- 
sibly ended in some other way — who can tell. 

To state the case briefly, and not to try to prejudge it, or give 
evidence on either side that might prejudice it, as that will more 
properly came before a jury, it is as follows: 

Some years ago the deceased, Peter Peterson Krogsund, bought 
a farm, on which he lived up to the time of his death. After his 
purchase he was ordered to move back his fence, which was built 
before he owned it, and which it seems trespassed a little on the 
road. He thereupon removed his fence entirely, leaving his neigh- 
bors to look after their stock, as the stock law did not compel him 
to keep a fence. That seems to have been the beginning of ill- 

The recent trouble between the deceased and Hansen, the man 
who shot him, first commenced last fall, but has not been renewed 
again, particularly, it appears, until recently, though Hansen pur- 
chased a revolver about a month ago. 

Two days before the shooting there was a little trouble about 
the deceased's stock getting on to Hansen's premises. Last Sun- 
day afternoon Krogsund's cattle came on to Hansen's place, when 
the latter shut them up and sent word by a girl to the owner. It 
does not appear that the cattle had done much damage. 

The deceased, who had the reputation of being quarrelsome, 
came to the field about sun down, and began to throw the bars 
down to get his cattle. Hansen was lying just a little behind the 
point of the bluff near the bars, and rose up and told K. not to 


touch the bars. The latter replied that he was going to have his 
cattle. He again ordered him not to touch the bars, and mean- 
while Hansen approached with his hands raised, in one of which 
he held a revolver. The deceased, it appears, then also approached 
Hansen, holding in his hands a light stick, which he raised as if 
to strike Hansen, who fired his revolver at close range, the bullet 
piercing the forehead of Krogsund, just above the left eye, caus- 
ing him to fall unconscious. He did not move afterward^ except 
some slight twitchings, and he died about midnight. 

Hansen says he shot in self-defense, and that he was struck a 
blow with the stick before he shot. The wounded man's brother 
says that no blow was struck, though the stick was raised. Two 
men on the bluff, about 15 rods distant, saw the stick raised and 
also saw Hansen approach with hands raised, but saw no blow 

Hansen immediately gave himself up, waived examination, and 
is in jail for trial for murder, without bail. He is 23 years old and 
leaves a viile and child. Peterson, or Krogsund, was about 36 years 
old and also leaves a wife and child. 

A coroner's inquest was held on Monday, and a verdict rendered 
that the deceased came to his death by a bullet from a pistol in 
the hands of Hansen. We are informed that the revolver con- 
tained only the one charge. The scene of the tragedy was not far 
from the stone mill above referred to, and very near the famous 
cave in Grlenwood township, about nine miles from Decorah. 


For many years after the first settlement of the county, the pro- 
ducts of the country had to be transported to the river and goods 
brought back by team, McGregor being generally the trading 
point for several years before the railroad was extended in this di- 
rection. But the enterprising people demanded better transporta- 
tion. Speaking of these first things in railroad enterprise. Sparks' 
History says: 

In 1856 everything was booming. The abundant resources of a 
new country had reached a high state of development, money was 
plenty, and the prospects for the future bright. One thing alone 
seemed lacking to make the people perfectly satisfied with their 
condition — better facilities for transportation. The time had 
passed when the products of the county could be transported 
sixty miles to market by ox-teams without suffering much incon- 
venience and loss. The time had come when a railroad was a 
necessity. The railroad fever was raging throughout the West, 
and far-seeing ones realized the immense value that would sweep 
in on iron rails, drawn by the iron horse. After a due amount of 
talk and agitation, the Northwestern Railroad Company was 
formed. Decorah was its headquarters, but they took in promi- 
nent citizens of Clinton. John Thompson, of Clermont, became 


President; 0. C. Lee, a banker at McGregor, Secretary; W. F. 
Kimball, of Decorah, Treasurer; Eb. Baldwin, Chief Engineer, 
and E. E. Cooley, Attorney. With a mighty faith in the future, 
business men put down their names for stock by the thousand 
dollars' worth, and ^80,000 of the capital was actually subscribed. 
Whether it all could have been paid for is another matter. 
With such a start as this, the company felt it could appeal to the 
public spirit of the people, and the county was asked to bond itself 
to the amount of (?1()0,000. Strange as it may seem to later 
comers, who worked and toiled to gather together the few thou- 
sands which the railroad actually cost when it did come, the peo- 
ple enthusiastically came forward and voted aye. The bonds 
were printed after some delay, and were all ready to be formally 
signed, sealed and delivered, when the Supreme Court stamped 
the law under which the bonds were being put out, with the word 
"unconstitutional." The scheme collapsed, and the county was 
saved a burden of debt, which might have retarded its progress 
for all the years past, as well as scores to come. It is worthy of 
note that when the railroad did come to us it followed the line 
marked out by those pioneers, and proved that their plans were 
wise and far-sighted, if they were a dozen years ahead of the 

Several attempts were made before a railroad was finally built. 
The company to succeed was the McGregor Western. This com- 
pany was organized January 19, 1863. The commencement of 
the road was at North McGregor. Work was commenced in 
March, 1863, and in one year the road was in running order to 
Monona, fourteen and one-half miles. The work was completed 
to Postville in September, 1864, to Castalia in October, 1864, and 
to Conover in August, 1865. 

Decorah, at this date, had become a thriving inland city, well 
supported with newly started manufactories. Her citizens looked 
upon the road that was to pass them by with a covetous eye. 
Railroad connection, with river and lake transportation, was 
necessary to the future pi-osperity of the place. This was readily 
comprehended, and every effort was put forth by an energetic peo- 
ple to secure better transportation facilities. As a result, proposals 
were ifiade to the managers of the McGregor Western Railway to 
build a branch line from Conover to Decorah, nine miles. The 
citizens of Decorah pledged themselves to furnish ^40,000, as a 
bonus, provided the Company would build the nine miles of road, 
which the managers agreed to do. Nearly ^18,000 was paid in by 
the people of Decorah, and, on the other hand, the road was 
graded and bridged, ready for the superstructure. But the main 
line having been leased to the Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Com- 
pany, work on the branch was suspended in September, 1865. 

The road is now operated under the management of the Chica- 
go, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company, by which name it is 


known. The branch was completed to Decorah iu September, 
1869, in accordance with the agreement made by the company 
with the citizens of Decorah. The event was one of great im- 
portance to the capital city of the county. A day of celebration 
and rejoicing was given in honor of the event. Large crowds of 
people thronged to the city, and many availed themselves of the 
opportunity oifered and made excursion trips to Conover and back. 
Hon. E. E. Cooley delivered an address, in which he ably set 
forth the great value the new railroad would be to Decorah and 
the surounding country. 

Several attempts have been made within the past few years to 
secure additional railroad facilities, the principal object being to se- 
cure competing lines, so as to obtain lower freights. 

On the 8tli of August, 1879, the township of Decorah voted a 
four per cent, tax, to induce the river road from Clinton and 
Dubuque to LaCrosse, which was leased to and connected with the 
Chicago & Northwestern Railway — to extend its Waukon narrow 
guage branch to Decorah. The townships of Frankville and 
Glen wood refused to vote the tax. But the railroad was 
graded to Decorah, and the laying of iron out of Waukon was 
commenced, when the river road was bought out by the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul company, and the enterprise stopped. There 
are indications that the latter company is about to widen the 
gauge of the Waukon branch to the regular standard, and per- 
haps extend it to Decorah, to give an easier grade to the river and 
accommodate the immense trade of its branches that meet at Cal- 
mar. As the road was not built as stipulated, Decorah escaped 
the payment of the tax, which had been voted. 

The above project for a connection with the Northwestern, 
having failed, another was attempted. On the 9th of November, 
1881, the township of Decorah voted a five per cent, tax on con- 
dition that a railroad be built to the Mississippi river, at or about 
Lansing, Iowa. But a hoped for connection not having been se- 
cured, the upper Iowa and Mississippi railway company — as the 
above company was called — had the proposed tax cancelled to give 
a choice for the enterprise mentioned below. 

This last enterprise was the proposed building of a railroad to 
connect with the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway, 
at or near West Union or Clermont, This giving another south- 
ern and eastern connection by way of the Chicago, Rock Island & 
Pacific road (the backers of the B. C. R. & N). On theith day of 
April, 1882, Decorah Township voted a five per cent, tax for the 
continuation of this road, on condition that it be built bj"^ Sept., 
1883, assurances being made that there was ample capital to con- 
struct the road. It cannot be told at the time of this writing 
whether the road will be built or not, as it could be done if nec- 
essary, if not actively commenced till the spring of 1883. A tax 
for this road was voted down in Military Township. 



Meanwhile there are prospects of a road being built across the 
northern part of the county. This proposed road is called the 
Minnesota, Iowa & Southwestern, and is intended to run from La 
Crosse, Wis., via Charles City, to Western Iowa. Taxes were voted 
for the proposed road in the fall of 1881, by Hesper, Burr Oak 
and Bluffton Townships, and the right-of-way is now being pur- 
chased (in the fall of 1882) over some portions of the line in this 
county. It was alleged that there was a technicality in the man- 
ner of ordering the vote in Bluffton Township which made it 
illegal, and a new election was ordered early in 1882. in which the 
project met with defeat. The tax has been ordered by the 
County Supervisors in accordance with the old vote in Bluffton ; it 
may be left to the courts to decide whether it shall be collected. 

Decorah will probably have another railroad connection before 
long, but just how soon is not yet determined. 

The continuation of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Rail- 
way from Conover, north to Ridgway and St. Paul, when Conover 
lost the "boom which had made it a busy, bustling little city; the 
continuation of the Iowa & Dakota division from Calmar west- 
ward to Fort Atkinson and beyond in 1869, and the recent com- 
pletion of the line between Calmar and Davenport, are matters to 
be referred to elsewhere, more especially in the sketches of the 
towns named. 


Since the county became settled, until the last five years, wheat 
has been the principal product, and though the larger portion of 
the wheat has been shipped in bulk, there are now in this county 
six mills devoted wholly or in part to the manufacture of flour for 
eastern markets, while sixteen more are devoted to custom work. 
The fine water powers with which the county abounds, give ample 
facilities for these and other manufactories. 

Within the past two or three years more attention has been 
given to dairying and stock raising, and this county promises to 
become, as it is well adapted to be, one of the finest in the coun- 
try for this purpose. Already its stock farms and its creameries 
have become famous. 

Of these and various other industries, the woolen mill, scale 
factory, paper mill, extensive stone quarries, etc., further mention 
will be found in our sketch of Decorah and other townships in 
the county. 


In educational progress this county has kept well in the front. 
Besides the excellent public schools, there are private ones, promi- 
nent among which is the Decorah Institute, under the excellent 
management of Prof. Breckenridge, attracting a large attendance 
of pupils from abroad. This, as well as the Norwegian Lutheran 


College, located at Deborah, with its fiue, large building costing 
$100,000. its nine profe^f^ors, and its regular attendance of nearly 
two hundred students, are more particularly described in a follow- 
ing chapter giving the history of Decorah. 

The first newspaper in the county has already been mentioned. 
Decorah has had fully a score of them, and now has several Eng- 
glish and one Norwegian newspaper, besides the religious and 
literary periodicals issued by the Norwegian College publishing 
house. Calmar and Ossian have had successive ones which have 
failed, but they now have one each. These newspaper ventures 
will be mentioned more particularly in the sketches of the several 


The following from the Decorah liepuhlican gives a compre- 
hensive view of the growth and prosperity of the county, finan- 
cially, educationally and otherwise: 

The growth of Winneshiek County in wealth and evidences of 
material prosperity, has been steady and rapid. 

In 1852, the assessment of the county only represented an 
actual value in both real and personal property of $81,000, while 
our present assessments represents an actual value in round 
numbers of $15,-500,000. In this are included 18,270 cattle over 
six months old, representing a cashvaluf of $310,000; 11,188 
horses, representing a cash value of $881,000; and 23,567 swine, 
representing an actual value of $20,000. 

The total tax levied for the year 1880, for all purposes includ- 
ing State, County, School and Municipal, was $101,715.95 of 
which $36,456.28 was for the support of schools alone. The last 
annual report of the County Superintendent of Public Schools 
showed that there was in the hands of difierent district treasurers 
in the county, school money to defray current expenses aggregat- 
ing nearly $30,000 

The financial management of the county has always been con- 
servative. Such a thing as a bonded debt has never been per- 
mitted, and at no time in the history of the county has the float- 
ing debt been so large but that it was easily paid by ordinary 
financiering. There is now no debt whatever against the county, 
and settlers are not sought as a financial relief. On the contrary, 
we invite them to a home where all the early wants have been met 
and supplied. 

With no debt existing, the county possesses such requisities in the 
shape of public buildings and property as these: A substantial 
Court House, ample for the needs of the next twenty years; a good 
Poor House and farm for the support of its needy; and a jail — one 
of the best and safest in the state — for the restraint of the crimi- 
nal class. For the education of its children, there are already 
built 92 frame, 30 brick, and 14 stone school houses, ranging in 


value from a few liuiiilred dollars up to ^20,000, By an appraise- 
ment made last year, the total worth of these houses was esti- 
mated at $117,150. Of the original log structures, erected by the 
pioneers, but two remain. 

The streams of the county are spanned by bridges of all kinds, 
representing an actual outlay of nearly a quarter-million dollars. 
Thirty-eight of these are iron bridges, fourteen are stone-arch, 
four of combined iron and wood, and the remainder are substan- 
tial wooden superstructures upon solid stone abutments. 

Of private buildings for public use an even better record can be 
made. The church buildings number nearly two score, or one to 
every 650 of population. Those of the Methodist denomination 
are most numerous, being a round dozen in number; but those of 
the Norwegian Lutherans (eight in number) are the largest and 
most costly. The Catholics have six structures, all large and fine 
buildings. The remainder are divided among the different sects, 
representing the Congregationalists, Friends, Episcopalians, Ad- 
ventists and Universalists. In a few cases, and only a few, a 
church debt exists, but of a trivial amount. 

This is the work of but little more than a quarter of a century. 
It is no longer a pioneer region. The foundations are all laid — 
and well laid — for a broad and intelligent civilization, and the full 
enjoyments of all the comforts and few of the deprivations of 
life in a land which, if not '^flowing with milk and honey," is 
rich in all the elements of agricultural wealth. 


This review is fittingly supplemented with the following from 
the United States Census of Winneshiek county, for 1880: 

Bloomfield Township, including village of Castalia 1,010 

*Castalia village 108 

BluflFton township, including village of Bluffton 807 

*Bluffton village 102 

Burr Oak Township, including village of Burr Oak 826 

*Burr Oak village 199 

Calmar Township, including the foU swing places 2,043 

*Conover village 168 

Cahnar town c 617 

♦Spillville village 340 

Canoe Township 991 

Decorah Township, including the following places 4,559 

Decorah City, including West Decorah 3,524 

Frankville Township, including village of Frankville 970 

*Frankville village 158 

Fremont Township, including village of Kendallville 692 

*Kendallville village 75 

Glenwood Township 1,190 

Hesper Township, including village of Hesper 1,000 

*Hesper village 212 

Highland Township 782 

J ackson Township 797 

Lincoln Township . 992 


Madison Township 781 

Military Township, including town of Ossian 1,521 

Ossian town 444 

Orleans Township 636 

Pleasant Town.ship. 929 

Springfield Township 1 ,037 

Sumner Township 863 

Washington Township, includmg the following villages 1,509 

*Festina village 127 

*Fort Atkinson village 435 

Total 23,937 

* Unincorporated villages. 


The War for the Union; Prompt Besponse to Calls; the First 
Company and its Glorious liecord; Battle of SJtiloh; Surren- 
der of Vickshur;/; Battle of Atlanta ; Our Heroic Dead and 
Wounded; Other Companies from Winnesliieh County; the 
March to the Sea; Gallant Deeds to the Final Battle of the 
War; the Wounded Living and the Martyred Dead. 

Winneshiek County may well remember with pride the patriot- 
ism of her devoted sons in the war for the Union. Immediately 
on the report of the attack of the rebels on Fort Sumter, men 
stood ready to respond to the call of the Government for troops, 
and within a week steps were taken, at a public meeting held at 
the Court House, to organize and offer a military company to the 
Government. That the people as well as officials of the county 
were prompt to encourage those who should step forward for 
their country's service, and care for the families they left behind, 
is showji by the following resolutions which were passed at the 
time by the County Board of Supervisors, and which were fully 
carried out: 

^^ Resolved, That under the present aspect of national affairs it 
is the duty of every community to do its share toward the de- 
fense of our common country. 

^'Resolved, That it is the duty of the county to drill and 
cause to be equipped at least one company of men; that in order 
to do so an appropriation by the county, enabling every person to 
aid in his due proportion in the common defense, is most just and 
equitable; that the men who risk their lives and spend their time 
should be provided with the means to be of service as soldiers, and 
that an appropriation made in pursuance hereof should have pre- 
cedence of all other claims; therefore, 


'■^Eesolved^ That the county funds now in the hands o£ the treas- 
urer of Winneshiek County, be and the same are hereby appropri- 
ated, not exceeding the sum of $2,000 for the purpose of equipping 
the military company known as the 'Decorah Guard', and that the 
Clerk of the District Court be and he is hereby authorized to issue 
county warrants to Levi Bullis, D. H. Hughes and C. C. Tupper, 
who shall constitute a committee for the negotiation of said 
county warrants, and the purchase of said equipments, the said 
committee first giving bonds to said county, conditioned that the 
said appropriation be used for the purpose designed, faithfully and 

'''' Be solved , that the families of each member of the 'Decorah 
Guard' receive the following weekly allowance during their term 
of service, viz: Three dollars per week for the wife, and one dol- 
lar per week for each child, to the extent of three." 

Many of the actors in those stirring scenes are men from among 
us, while several who remained at home contributed these resolu- 
tions to Spark's History, and to it we shall be indebted for most 
of the remainder of this chapter. 

On the 20th of April, 1861, just six days after the booming of 
cannon, heard at Sumpter, had sounded the alarm of civil war, a 
meeting of the patriotic citiz-^ns of Winneshiek County, and 
Decorah in particular, was held in the Court House. It was held 
for the purpose of giving expression to the outraged feelings of a 
liberty-loving people at the atrocious stroke made against human 
freedom and American liberty, and to declare their adhesion to the 
old flag that waved from the Court House dome above them. 

The brave who died in the mountains of Arkansas, the marshes 
of Louisiana, the rocky fastnesses of Georgia, and the swamps of 
Carolina, are remembered less vividly by their old comrades as 
year by year passes away, and when this generation has gone 
there will be few to recall the names of the youthful heroes of 
Winneshiek County who faced fatigue and sickness, steel and 
ball, and died in the fierce front of battle, facing the foe, or fell 
victims to malarious diseases. But while their individual memo- 
ries will have perished, the cause for which they died, the cause 
for which they perished, the cause of liberty and humanity will 
remain, and future generations will derive fresh courage to 
struggle for the right from the glorious example of the citizen- 
soldiers who crushed the "Great Rebellion." 

It was Abraham Lincoln, our noble, martyred President, who 
said at Gettysburg, "The world will not long remember what we 
may say here, but they can never forget what we have done here." 
And it is a fitting thing that the custom of observance of May 
30, of last year, as Decoration Day, has been established; a day 
when we can strew with flowers the graves of those who sleep in 
our cemeteries, and revive the memories of those who sleep in 


distant or unknown graves, liolding the names of them all in 
grateful recollection, and rendering more precious the heritage 
they have transmitted to us and to our children. 

The meeting was called to order, and Capt. John H. Simpson 
made chairman. This distinction was paid the aged gentleman 
because of his efficiency in commanding and his co-operation 
with the first militia company ever organized in Decorah. 

Capt. John H. Simpson was born in Ganston, England, March 
22, 1796, and died at Decorah, July 2, 1S69. He had been a mem- 
ber of the Royal Life Guards (Body Guard of the King) and as 
one of the battalion, was on his way to the field when the battle 
of Waterloo was fought. In 1828 he came to America and set- 
tled in New York City. He came to Decorah in 1850, and here 
for thirteen years he lived an honest, blameless life. He was elected 
Captain of the Decorah Guards on the formation of the company 
in 1859. 

There are men yet living in Winneshiek County who remem- 
ber the memorable meeting over which he presided, and how his 
patriotism gave vent, in the greatest efi"ort of his life, in a patri- 
otic speech that sent the blood tingling through the veins of every 
listener. In this speech he tendered the remainder of his life 
for the defense of his country, though the snows of 65 winters 
rested on his brow. He was not accepted. Younger men, with 
stronger sinews and harder muscles, volunteered their ser- 


But one week intervened before there was a reorganization of 
the Decorah Guards, and men better fitted for the hardships of a 
soldier's life superceded the members of the original company. 
The Decorah Guards, as they originally were, underwent a com- 
plete transformation, only three of the old company being re- 
tained in the ranks of the new organization. The old officers re- 
signed, and new ones were elected. This was the first company 
of men in Winneshiek County to enlist in defence of the stars 
and stripes. They were men in the full vigor of life, men of 
sterling worth, the very flower of our young county, as the fol- 
lowing summary of the company indicates: The oldest men in 
the company (two of them) were aged 36, one 31, one 32, one 31, 
one 30, one 29, two 28, three 27, three 26, six 25, eight 21, sev- 
en 23, ten 22, nine 21, nine 20, eleven 19, ten 18, making a total 
of officers and men of 85, with an average of 22 years, 8 months 
and 22 days. 

The company was known as the Decorah Guards, until mus- 
tered into the service; then they assumed the name of Company D, 
Third Regiment of Iowa Volunteer.-:. The officers of the new 
company were: 


Captain— G. R. Willett. 

First Lieutenant — Emilius I. Weiser. 

Second Lieutenant — Ole A. Anderson. 

Orderly Sergeant — Geo. McKay. 

Second Sergeant — A. H. McMurtrie. 

Third Sergeant— C. W. Burdick. 

Fourth Sergeant — Robert Ray. 

First Corporal — E. M. Farnsworth. 

Second Corporal — Milton Ross. 

Third Corporal — Charles. P. Brown. 

Fourth Corporal — Joseph S. JSIeff. 

This company was enrolled iu Winneshiek County, and ordered 
into quarters by the Governor of the State, May 21, 1861. The 
company left Decorah for Keokuk, their rendezvous. May 28, 
1861, and was mustered into the United States service June 10, 
1861. The date of the company's departure from Decorah for the 
scenes of war will remain a memorable one in the recollection of 
the hundreds of citizens who met on Court House Square to bid 
the boys a last farwell. The ladies had prepared a beautiful flag, 
which was presented to the company by Miss Carrie McNair, 
whom I feel compelled to more than casually mention; and in or- 
der to do so I shall be obliged to digress from the main subject. 

Carrie McNair was born in Livingston County, N. Y., about the 
year 1832. She came to Decorah in the year 1860, at that period 
in our national existence when the very atmosphere was deadened 
with treasonable imprecations against the Union, and when the 
cloud of rebellion had so spread its mammoth proportions as to 
nearly obscure the bright sunlight of freedom. Being a woman 
of strong emotional nature, a lover of liberty and union, she early 
indentified herself with the Union side of the controversy that 
then threatened a separation of states; consequently, out of respect 
and appreciation of her noble nature, and her sympathy with the 
Union, she was chosen, of all other women, better fitted to make 
the presentation. In 1862, following the many bloody battles, 
and not infrequent disastrous engagements, Miss McNair felt that 
there was need of her services in the crowded hospitals. With a 
heartfelt desire to render the Union any services in her power, 
and an anxiety and willingness to alleviate the sufferings of brave 
men who had fallen wounded in their country's cause, she became 
a nurse in a soldiers' hospital at St. Louis. She served in this 
capacity until the end of the war, and furnished aid and comfort 
to thousands of poor unfortunates. 

Following the presentation of the flag, there was a presentation 
of Bibles and Testaments. The scene was such as never had oc- 
cured before, and was solemn, impressive and trying. 

The Company, in vehicles, pursued their course to McGregor, 
and from thence to Keokuk, and from here, soon after, they were 
transported to scenes of active service, in Missouri. 


The first hard fought battle that the Company engaged in was 
at Blue Mills, September 7, 1861, although previous to this they 
had been engaged in many hotly contested skirmishes. In the 
battle of Blue Mills the Unionists were driven back. 

Wm. B. Miller, of Company D, was killed in this engagement 
and Capt. Willett, Second Lieut. Ole Anderson, and private Wm. 
B. Heckert, was seriously wounded. Capt. Willet's wound occa- 
sioned his resignation, and the promotion of Lieut. E. I. Weiser 
to the captaincy of the Company. 

Lieut Anderson fell, wounded in the temple, and was left on the 
field for dead. Company D having been obliged to retreat, he 
fell into the enemy's hands. His body was stripped of all its 
clothing but its pants, and he was robbed of everything by the 
rebels. The next day after the battle the rebels were obliged to 
retreat, and then Company D reclaimed his body. Lieut. An- 
derson lay unconcious three weeks, and it was a question for a 
long time afterwards whether he would survive or not. He en- 
tered the army a perfect athlete, and a perfect man, physicially 
and mentally, and to-day, from the effect of that wound, incurred 
at the cost of duty and bravery, he is a mere wreck of his former 
self. As an ofiicer he was efficient and brave to a fault. 

The battle of Shiloh, fought on the 6th and 7th of April, 1862, 
was the next great conflict in which Company D participated. Un- 
der the hottest fire and amid the most trying scenes. Company D 
behaved itself with coolness and bravery. After passing through 
that fiery ordeal, a summary of the loss it sustained showed the 
following: Killed — Edward Knapp, Hans H. Stensou, and Sam- 
uel D. Smith. Wounded — Capt. E. I. Weiser. Corp. J. H. Farber, 
Geo. H. Culver, Jas. S. Daskam, Hans Gulbrandson, Thos. Heath, 
Peter B. Hulverson, Knudt Knudson, Matthew Kellogg, Gilbert 
Knudson, Henry H. Sheldso, Geo. H. Kelley, John Jas. Fisher, 
Hiram S. Daskam. 

The battle of Hatchie, fought on the 5th of October, was the 
scene of the next hotly contested engagement in which Company 
D took an active part. 

The company lost the following: Wounded — Capt. E. I. 
Weiser, Corp. C. C. Watson, Geo. Culver, Martin E. Oleson (mor- 
tally), and Martin Pepper. 

In the battle of Hatchie the second Captain of Company D was 
made incapable for active service by a rebel bullet. 

Captain E. I. Weiser was born in York, Pa., April 10, 1835, 
and emigrated from the place of his nativity to Decorah in 1856. 
Being possessed with a warm heart and a genial nature, and a 
patriotic love of country, the threats of war against the Union 
aroused his impulsive nature to a desire to make any sacrifice — 
hardship, sufiering, even life itself — in his country's cause. As a 
result, when the first cry of a distressed country was heard, call- 
ing on her sons for protection against the assaults of traitors, 


Capt. E. I. Weiser was the fii'st and foremost of her patriots in 
Winneshiek County to respond. Capt, E. I. Weiser was the first 
man to enlist from Winneshiek County in his country's service in 
the late civil war. He enlisted as a high private in Company D, 
and was elected first Lieutenant at the first election held by the 

Capt. E. I. Weiser participated in many warm skirmishes and 
two hard-fought^battles. He was wounded at Shiloh; also at 
Hatchie, on the 5th of October, 1862. The wound he received at 
Hatchie disabled him from further active military service during 
the war. Eight months he was detained in the hospital by his 
wound, and seven of these eight months he was compelled to lie 
in one position — on his back. He was with his company one 
week while it was at Memphis. While here the boys of Company 
D presented him with a silver pitcher, as a mark of their regard 
and the appreciation they had for him as a soldier and com- 
mander. Capt. Weiser was brave, cool, efiicient, and possessed all 
the noble attributes requisite in a successful commander. His 
physical disability is a glorious certificate of his bravery. 

Company D next went to Memphis where . it remained six 
months, and from thence to Yicksburg. They were engaged in 
the siege of Yicksburg up to the date of its surrender. Yicksburg 
surrendered July 4, 1863. The white flag was raised on every fort 
at 9 A. M. on the 3d. The rebels sent out a flag of truce, and 
wished to surrender on conditions. Gen. Grant sent back word 
that nothing but an unconditional surrender would be accepted. 
On the 3d, when the white flags were hoisted, all firing ceased. 
The rebels came outside of -their works and held a sociable with 
our boys. On the 4th of July, at 10 a. m., the rebels marched 
outside of their works, were drawn up in a line, and stacked their 
arms, and promptly at 11 a. m. the stars and stripes proudly 
floated over the rebel works. 

In this siege, on the 26th of June, Thomas Kelly, of Company 
D, was mortally wounded. He lived about a week, having won, 
in dying, the honor of being the bravest among the brave. 

The Third regiment received orders on the 5th to take 
up their line of march for Black River, to look after Johns- 
ton, who, with a large force had been prowling in the rear. On 
the 12th of July, 1863, about 225 men of the Third Iowa, among 
which number were many of Company D, made an assault on 
rebel works, behind which were ensconsed about 10,000 of 
Johnston's men. The result of the assaultjwas a M'hirlwind of 
death. In the first volley fired by the enemy 125 out of the 
original 225 were almost instantly mowed down. There were 
about 800 men engaged, but 225 who ventured right into the 
jaws of this fiery hell. The commander in charge was immediate- 
ly relieved of command. 


On the 7th of July Johnston evacuated Jackson, the scene of 
the last engagement, and here, in rebel hospitals, were found the 
wounded who had survived the disastrous charge of the 12th inst. 
Among the number was Lieut McMurtrie, who had both legs 
broken by rebel shots. His right leg had been wounded with a 
piece of shell, and was so badly shattered that amputation was 
necessary. The left leg had been broken by a minie ball. 

It was found necessary, on the 21st of July, to remove the 
wounded to Vicksburg. The journey had to be made in ambu- 
lances. Lieutenant McMurtrie was among the unfortunates that 
had to submit to the removal. Words cannot express the 
Suffering this trip entailed upon him in his weakened condi- 

On the 23d he was placed on a hospital boat to be sent 
north, but died before the boat left the wharf, at 2 p. m., July 
25, 1863. 

Lieut. McMurtrie was born at Homer, Michigan, June 30, 1837. 
He cam3 to Iowa in 1856. He was promoted First Lieutenant of 
Company D, May 21, 1862. 

Lieut. McMurtrie was endowed with a great moral character, 
which lost none of its noble attributes by his army career. He 
died a brave soldier, lamented by his comrades in arms and all 
who knew him. 

C. W. Burdick was promoted First Lieutenant, to fill the va- 
cancy caused by Lieut. McMurtrie's death, which post of duty he 
held from that time until his three years enlistment had expired. 
At this time Lieut. Burdick was the only commissioned officer in 
the company. During three years' service, Lieut. Burdick was off 
duty but twelve days. He took an active part in every skirmish 
and battle in which his company was engaged, and was never 
touched by an enemy's fire. Few men, and I doubt if any, in Iowa 
can show a better record than this. 

The engagement at Jackson was the last of any note in which 
Company D took an active part. The time of enlistment of Com- 
pany D expired on the 10th of June, 1864. The Company was 
stationed at Kingston, Georgia. All that did not re-enlist, started 
home to be mustered out of the service. Many of the boys re- 
mained. At the memorable battle of Atlanta, fought July 22d, 
the Third Iowa literally fought itself to death, 
i The boys of the Third and Company D went into this battle 
with that Spartan valor that had characterized them, individually 
and collectively, in many a hard fought engagement. As the 
battle grew raging hot and desperate, a handful of our undaunted 
men, among whom were a remnant of Company D, gathered 
amidst the pelting shower of shot and shell, and there around our 
flag and banner they stood its guard in the most perilous mom- 
ents. The color-bearer, the bravest of the brave, relinquished his 
hold by death alone. Still the mass stood there fighting madly 



for its defence. Their number fast decreasing by death, their 
hopes began to fail, and as they surrendered themselves to the 
enemy, they tore the emblem of our nationality, and regimental 
designation, into pieces and into shreds, which concealed, they 
proudly brought back to us, untouched and nnsoiled by impious 
and traitorous hands. 


Company H, Ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, was organized at 
Decorah, in the months of August and September, 1861, and was 
mustered into service at Dubuque, on the 21th of September, the 
same year. 

After remaining at Camp Union, Dubuque, until the middle of 
October, the Kegiment was sent to St. Louis, and Avent into camp 
at Beuton Barracks. A few weeks were passed in the usual rou- 
tine of camp duty, when the regiment was ordered to Pacific City, 
Missouri, and passed some little time in guarding railroads and 
arresting gusrillas. ' During this time the regiment was perfecting 
its discipline; and the diseases incidental to the climate and season, 
joined to the hardships of camp life, were thinning the ranks of 
all men who were deficient in physicial vigor. 

When the expedition against "Price was organized, the Ninth 
was ordered to Rolla, Mo., and after a week spent in camp at that 
place, started on the march for Springfield. The march was made 
m winter, and the crossing of the Gasconade, the roads knee-deep 
in mud, and the cold, inclement weather tested the endurance of 
the men, and when the regiment was placed in the advance, after 
the capture of Springfield, it earned its title, ''The Iowa Grey- 
hounds," by marching 135 miles in four days in pursuit of Price. 
Company H received its "baptism of fire" at Pea Ridge, and the 
day before the fight marched forty miles on a half-pint of corn- 
meal to the man. It mustered fifty-two men when the fight 
opened; twenty-two were unwounded at the close of the struggle. 

On that field the boys, most of them beardless, who six months 
before were laboring on farms and in workshops, showed them- 
selves able to defeat the practiced riflemen of Missouri and Arkan- 
sas, the Rangers of Texas, and the trained regiments of Louisiana. 

The march across Arkansas, in the summer of 1862, followed 
the conflict at Pea Ridge. Some time was passed in camp Helena, 
and m December the regiment took part in the first attack on 
Vicksburg. The expedition up the dark Yazoo and its unfortu- 
nate results, were amply avenged at Arkansas Post, January 10, 

In all the operations that culminated in the capture of Vicks- 
burg the Ninth was actively engaged— from digging in the canal 
to storming rifle-pits and batteries. And in the charge on the 
22d of May, Company H lost eighteen men killed and wounded 
out of a total twenty-six men in action, and of these nine were 


killed on the field or mortally wounded. PVom Vicksburgto Jack- 
son, thence back to Vicksburg, up the river to Memphis, thence to 
Tuscumbia, where a severe conflict took place, then up the sides of 
Lookout Mountain, under the lead of Osterhaus, followed by a 
rapid pursuit of the routed foes, and the fight at Ringgold, is a 
brief outline of the work Company H took part in during 1863. 
The majority of the company re-enlisted as veterans, and after 
their return from furlough the boys found themselves a part of 
the mighty host Sherman was about to lead "to the sea." 

For seventy days from the opening of this memorable campaign, 
members of Company H who participated in the operations, were 
constantly under fire, with perhaps slight intermission prior to 
the crossing of the Chattahoochee. The fights at Resaca, New 
Hope Church, Burnt Hickory and Kenesaw Mountain, showed the 
valor and discipline of the Ninth. On the 22d of July the Ninth 
was one of the [owa regiments that, under the eye of Sherman, 
recaptured the battery of DeGress, and drove the rebels, at the 
bayonets' point, from the entrenched line they had wrested from 
the loyalists. At Ezra's Church, on the 28th of July, and at 
Jonesboro, where the fate of Atlanta was decided, the boys of 
Company H were actively engaged . 

After the capture of Atlanta and the pursuit of Hood, who was 
left to the "tender mercies" of Thomas, the boys followed Sher- 
man to the sea, and Company H furnished its full cpota of able 
and accomplished "bummers." From Savannah the company 
marched through the Carolinas, taking part in any "little un- 
pleasantness" that came in the way, and actively participating in 
the closing fight at Bentonville. After resting a few days at 
Raleigh, the regiment marched to Washington and took part in 
the "Grand Review," and was shortly after mustered out of the 
service at Louisville, Ky. 

That Company H did its whole duty, the following figures, ta- 
ken from the Adjutant General's Report, prove: 

Company H, 9th Iowa — Total killed and wounded 53 

Total killed and died of wounds 19 

Company D, 3d Iowa — Total killed and wounded 33 

Total killed and died of wounds 9 

Company G, 12th Iowa — Total killed and wounded 9 

Total killed and died of wounds 4 

Company E, 38th Iowa — Total killed and wounded 

Company K, 38th Iowa — Total killed and wounded 1 

Total killed and died of wounds 1 

Company D, 38th Iowa — Total killed and wounded 1 

Total killed and died of wounds 1 

The above table shows the extent of the loss sustained by Com- 
pany H in battle, as compared with the reported losses of the 
other companies organized in this county from the same cause. I 
do not think the above figures do full justice to Companies E, K 


and D, Thirty-Eighth Iowa, for no ro-inient or^^uiized in the 
eouatrv suttered to j>uoh an extent by disease. Stationed in local- 
ities Avhere to breathe the air was to inhale death, the bovs of Com- 
pany L, D and K performed their allotted duty, sustained bv 
naught save the feeling of patriotism, and faced death nncheered 
by the shout ot victorv, the rapture of the strife " 

Died of disease: Company D, 3d Iowa, 10: Company H, 9th 
Iowa lo: ( onipany G lL>tli Iowa, 17; Company ll 3Sth Iowa, 
o4:^ Company D, ;^Mh Iowa, 37: Company K, 38th Iowa, 37. 

Company II, at the time it was mustered in. was commanded by 
M. A Moore, who achieved no particular distinction. He ri 
signed 111 the spring of 1S03, and Avas succeeded bv 0. M Bli^s 
who enlisted as a private and secured promotion \)y meritorious 
services. C apt. bliss was as mie a soldier as ever drew a sword 
Brave, earnest and patriotic, he "dared to lead where anv dared to 
follow. After facing death on twenty fields he died 'from in- 
juries received bv a fall from his hors^ while acting as Major, af- 
ter the capture of Atlanta, J. H. Phillips succeeded to the cap- 
taincy, and commanded the company until its service was ended 
In writing this brief sketch of the career of Company H em- 
bracing a j>erKHl of nearly four years, and services performed in 
eight states, from the Oziirk Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean a 
hundred incidents and memories crowd on the mind that spice 
will not permit me to relate. Neariy sixteen years have elapsed 
since -we took the oath of muster with right hand raised to heav- 
en, and m looking back, the boys of Company H will instinctive- 
ly date their memory of army life from the bitter, persistent 
struggle in the wild ravines of the Ozark, where their first blood 
was shed And during all subsequent campaigning. Pea Ridge 
was the standard whereby to measure the severity o^ the coutlid; 
And the boys of the Ninth will ever remember, with proud grati- 
hcahon the tribute their valor received from the ladies of Bost^^n— 
a stand of colors emblazoned with the name of their fiercest 

The thml company raised m the county was one that became 
tomptmy Ct, Twelfth Iowa. It wjis enrolleil at Decorah in Sei>- 
ternber, 1H>1 ordered into quarters at Dubuque, September 30 
and mustereil into the Uuiteil States service November 5, 1S61 
It was oincered as follows: 

Captain— C. C. Tuoper. 

First Lieutenant— L. D. Townsley. 

Second Lieutenant— ^T. F. Nickerson. 

Orderly Sergeant— J. E. Simpson. 

The company became a portion of the regiment from the date 
of its miister m, and from that time on until disbanded always 
acted well its part. Company Ct was noted in its regiment for its 


excellent moral status and soldierly efficiency. It saw hard ser- 
vice, and took an active part in the followinf( hotly-contected bat- 
tles: Fort lienry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, siej^e of Corinth, 
Corinth, Jackson, Vicksburj^, Jackson siege and capture, ]irandon, 
Tupelo, Nashville, and lirentwood ]fiil. Besides these battles, the 
company did excellent service as skirmishers. The company early 
met with a severe loss in the death of its first captain, C. C. Tupper. 

Captain C. C. Tupper was born at Auburn, New York, Decem- 
ber 24, 1832, and came to Decorah in May, 1857. He had re- 
ceived a liberal education, and prior to taking a ^residence in Iowa 
had served as agent of the Associated Press and local manager of 
the telegraph offices at Buffalo and St. Louis. He was admitted to 
the bar soon after his arrival, but for a brief time edited the De- 
corah Jourwil^ a Democratic newspaper. When the war broke 
out he took an active and intensely patriotic interest in every 
movement. Military life was always attractive to him, and he 
was unusually well versed in the manual of arms. He assisted in 
organizing the two companies from Winneshiek County that 
found place in the Third and Ninth regiments, and helped pre- 
pare them for the field. When it became evident that a third 
company must be drawn from the county, all eyes turned toward 
Captain Tupper to take its lead. Although of a frail constitution, 
and physically unfitted for the severe trials of army life, his patri- 
otism overrode all prudence, and he consented. The company 
was rapidly recruited, and assigned to the Twelfth Regiment of 
Iowa Volunteers. But Capt. Tupper's association with the com- 
pany was only a brief one. He was idolized by his men, beloved 
by all his associate officers, and thoroughly respected by his super- 
iors. But these could not protect and defend him from disease 
and death. While going from Dubuque to St. Louis with the 
regiment he caught a severe cold, and in six weeks died at Benton 
Barracks, in St. Louis, a victim of capilliary bronchitis. In his 
death the terrible evils of war was first brought directly home to 
the community of which he had been a member. He had been the 
leader in the best social circles, the active abettor of every public 
enterprise, and his death carried sadness and mourning to almost 
every household in the county. Of friends who mourned his death 
there were scores upon scores; of enemies, none. 

The sad event narrated above necessitated the promotion of 
Lieut. L. D. Townsley to the captaincy of the company, which 
office he held until mustered out of the service, November 25, 
1864. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Shiloh, in which 
engagement he sustained a severe wound in the left arm, and suf- 
""ered with the rest of his brother officers the hardships of prison 
life. After his exchange he was often employed in important de- 
tached duties, which he always filled with credit to himself and 
country. He served out his entire term of service, and is now re- 
siding in Chicago. 


Lieut. J. F. Nickersou was made First Lieutenant, and was 
stunned at the battle of Fort Donelson with what was supposed 
to be a solid shot from the enemy's batteries. From this he never 
recovered, was sick and ill the morning of the Shiloh fight, but 
persisted in going out with his company to the front, was taken 
prisoner, and died in rebel prison at Montgomery, Ala., May 31, 
1862. Kind but firm, a noble, brave man, beloved by his friends 
and all who knew him, a martyr to the cause. 

Orderly Sergeant J. E. Simpson was promoted to be Second 
Lieutenant, but resigned on account of ill-health in 1862, and is 
now living in Decorah. 

A. A. Burdick, Second Sergeant, was made Orderly and then 
First Lieutenant, and was killed at the battle of Tupelo, July 14, 
1864. He was the Quartermaster of the regiment, and had been 
ordered to the rear with his train; but after seeing his wagons 
properly "parked" he came to the front, and volunteered to assist 
in bringing forward ammunition. While thus engaged he was 
struck by a shell and instantly killed. He died as a soldier would 
wish to die, with his face to the enemy and in the heat of battle. 
Lamented and mourned by all who knew him, no better man or 
braver soldier ever offered up his life that his country might be 

Anton E. Anderson, Third Sergeant, became Second Lieutenant, 
served with credit to himself until mustered out, at expiration of 
term of service, December, 1864, ani died at his farm, some years 
after the war, near Eldorado, Iowa. 

Robert A. Gibson, Fifth Sergeant, became Orderly Sergeant, 
March 27, 1863, was promoted to First Lieutenant December 2, 
1864, became Captain of his company January 23, 1865, and for a 
time was Captain and Provost Marshal at Selma, Ala., and served 
with great credit to himself to the end of the war. He was then 
appointed Second Lieutenant in the regular army, and was killed 
by the accidental discharge of a pistol at Fort Randall in 1867. 

Jacob H. Womeldorf , First Corporal, became Fifth Sergeant, 
■was taken prisoner with his company at Shiloh; was held prisoner 
for some tinie, and suffered great hardships that so broke down his 
health as to compel him to return home in 1863. He was after- 
ward Sheriff of Winneshiek County. 

Nelson B. Burdick was Eighth Corporal, and but a youth at 
school when he went into the service. He contracted the measles 
at Benton Barracks, and was never well afterwards. He took 
part in the battles of Fort Henry, Donelson and Shiloh. Warm- 
hearted, generous towards all, he became a universal favorite. The 
hardships endured in rebel prisons were to much for his impaired 
frame. He reached home and died among his friends. 

"He has fought his last battle; 

No sound can a\rake him to glory again.'' 









John Steen, private, became Quartermaster Sergeant in 1864, 
and bis wbole term of service to tbe end was marked witb ability 
and efficiency. Since the war he has held several positions of re- 
sponsibility and trust, and is now living at Fremont, Neb. 

The regiment was ordered to Davenport for final pay and dis- 
charge Jan. 25, 1866. 


In 1863 Winneshiek County again came to the front and con- 
tributed, for the suppression of the rebellion, three companies in 
addition to the brave men she had before sent. The companies 
were, respectively, D, K, and E, and formed a part of the Thirty- 
Eighth Regiment. Henry A. Cleghorn was Captain of Company E. 

Company K was officered as follows: 

Captain — Samuel B. CalifF. 

First Lieutenant — Levi Freeman. 

The officers of Company D were: 

Captain — George R. Humphreys. 

First Lieutenant — Newton Richards. 

Second Lieutenant — E. J. Barker. 

These companies were mustered into service at Camp Randall, 
Dubuque, Iowa. From here they were transferred to Benton 
Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., where they spent Christmas and New 
Years, 1863-4. They were next transferred to Fort Thompson, 
which they retained charge of nearly six months. 

The Thirty-Eighth Regiment was next transferred to the main 
forces then besieging Vicksburg. In this siege the Thirty- 
Eighth, including the three companies from Winneshiek County, 
formed the extreme left of the Union line. Their position was 
in the very heart of a malarious swamp, and here was contracted 
the germ of a disease which afterwards carried off these brave 
men by the hundreds. Within ten days after the surrender of 
Vicksburg the Thirty-Eighth was ordered to Yazoo City, on the 
Yazoo River. At Yazoo City the regiment remained about a 
week. While there the disease bred in the swamp opposite Vicks- 
burg began to break out, and many men died. The regiment re- 
turned to Vicksburg. They were next ordered to Port Hudson 
to aid in the subjugation of that place, but did not reach the 
scene of action until the stronghold had fallen. The Thirty- 
Eighth remained at Port Hudson about a month, and while here 
the disease contracted in the swamps broke out in all its viru-. 
lence. So universal was the prostration of the soldiers, that dur- 
ing the month, there were on an average from three to fifteen 
only in the whole regiment that reported able for duty. Almost 
hourly the death of a companion in arms was announced to his 
sick and dying comrades. It was while lying here that the regi- 
ment met with its severest losses. Here it was they lost their 
beloved Colonel. 



D. H. Hughes was commissioned Colonel of the Thirty- 
Eighth Regiment by Gov. Samuel Kirkwood, He was born in 
Jefferson County, New York, September, 1831, and died Aug. 7, 
1863. He died from the disease which carried almost universal 
death to his entire regiment. Col. Hughes graduated at the Al- 
bany Normal Institute in 1853. In 1854 he was employed on the 
Prairie Far7ner, Chicago. He married Adaliza Matteson, in 
Waterlown, Jefferson County, N. Y., in March, 1855, and imme- 
diately thereafter came to Decorah, engaging in the practice of 
law. Col. Hughes was a man of commanding stature, fine pres- 
ence, the soul of honor, and became a lawyer of considerable re- 
pute. He was a Democrat in politics, but was elected County 
Judge of Winneshiek County in the fall of 1859, notwithstand- 
ing the county then, as now, was of strong Republican complex- 
ion. He was the candidate of his party for State Senator in the 
fall of 1861, and only failed of an election of nine votes. The 
Colonel was a War Democrat from the outset, and pending the 
consideration of a petition of prominent Republicans and Demo- 
crats to become an independent candidate for Judge of the Dis- 
trict Court of the Tenth Judicial District, hearing the cry of his 
country for more troops. Judge Hughes promptly cast aside his 
political opportunity to enter upon a patriotic duty; and, warmly 
espousing her cause, made a stirring canvass of the county in that 
behalf, and thus drifted into the army. 

Col. Hughes, while stationed at New Madrid, was called to St. 
Louis as Judge Advocate in some trials then pending, and from 
his bearing on that occasion, and the ability he displayed, upon 
the conclusion of the trials the Court (and it was a Court of 
strangers to him, too) unanimously recommended his promotion 
to Brigadier-General, which document, however, he would not al- 
low to go forward, alleging as a reason his brief experience as a 
military commander, and that there were already lives enough 
under his charge. Such was his modesty and noble character. 
Col. Hughes died respected and beloved by all his soldiers, and not 
more universal was the mourning in camp over the death of their 
commander than that of his host of friends at home. 

The Thirty-Eighth took their departure from Port Hudson for 
New Orleans, where they remained about three months. It was 
next transferred to Point Isabel, on the Rio Grande River. After 
leaving Port Hudson Company E was without a commissioned 
officer for nearly a year. The regiment was next sent to Browns- 
ville, Texas. While here Quartermaster T. R. Crandall was 
made Captain of Company E, and Walter Green was made its 
First Lieutenant. 

August, 1864, again found the regiment in New Orleans. 
From here it was sent to Morganzie Bend. While at Morganzie 
Bend the Thirty-Fourth and Thirty-Eighth were consolidated, 
and afterwards known as the Thirty-Fourth, The new regiment 


numbered 1056 men. Company E, of Winneshiek, and Com- 
pany F, of Fayette, were likewise consolidated, and afterward 
known as Company K. Capt. Rogers, of Company F, and Lieu- 
tenant Green, were relieved of duty, and T. R. Crandall made 
Captain. H. T. Shumaker, of the original Company F, was 
made First Lieutenant, and 0. J. Clark made Second Lieutenant. 
Companies D and K were likewise consolidated. The Thirty- 
Fourth participated in the siege of Fort Gains and Fort Morgan, 
on Mobile Bay, and here it remained until these forts capitulated. 
The Thirty-Fourth was also present at the charge on Fort Fisher. 
The regiment was engaged in the last battle of the war, which 
was the taking of Fort Blakesl}'^, the day before Lee's surrender. 
In this engagement, in just eighteen minutes, over 1,500 Union 
soldiers were slain and wounded. The regiment was mustered 
out of the service at Houston, Texas, but did not disband until it 
reached Davenport. 


Company D, Sixth Iowa Cavalry, was the last company donated 
to the Union cause by Winneshiek County. Although the men 
composing this company enlisted with the intention and expecta- 
tion of fighting rebels, they were transferred to other fields of 
duty — which was even more undesirable — that of fighting In- 
dians. The company was mustered into the United States ser- 
vice in February, 1863, with the following officers: 

Captain— T. W. Burdick. 

First Lieutenant — Sherman Page. 

Second Lieutenant — Timothy Finn. 

Orderly Sergeant — W. H. Fannon. 

The United States forces, in which was Company K, had several 
engagements with the Indians, each time coming out victorious, 
with great loss to the Indians and small loss to themselves. 


Record of Events from the First Settlement of Winneshiek County 
to the Present Time Chronologically Arranged. 

This chapter will be devoted largely to a brief review or chron- 
ology of prominent events in the history of the county, bringing 
them down to the present; omitting, however, the records of elec- 
tions and the officers elected in the county each year, as they are 
given for each successive year in Chapter V. We also omit some 
other things of which a regularly yearly record [is made in other 


chapters, but ^ive a general chronological record of events of 
special prominence, going into details in matters not already des- 
cribed in other chapters. 

The Winnebago Indians, who occupied the territory now em- 
bracing Winneshiek County, when the white settlers first came 
in, and the Sacs and Foxes who precede the AYinnebagoes, are 
sufficienty referred to in previous chapters of this volume. This 
chapter will take up the record from the time of the incoming of 
the whites. 

In 1840, Fort Atkinson was erected to provide headquarters for 
the supervision of the Winnebago Indians and to protect them 
from predatory bands from other tribes. The fort was commenced 
June 2, 1840. Details of its erection and history are given in the 
sketch of Fort Atkinson in another chapter. 

In June, 1842, Old Mission, about four miles southeast of Fort 
Atkinson, was established for the education of the Indians. 

In 1840 a government teamster froze to death between Joel 
Post's and Fort Atkinson. 

In 1841 Joel Post built the first log house at Postville, just out- 
side of our county limits. This cannot be ^properly received as 
the settlement of the county, but is given because of its close 
contiguity to us. 

The first events here briefly recorded, are generally given in 
more detail elsewhere in preceding or following chapters. 

June 6, 1841, the first white child, Mary Jane Tupper, was 
born at Fort Atkinson. 

In 1843, first grist mill, erected by Col. Thomas, of Old Mission. 

In 1846, Capt. E. V. Summer, afterwards General Summer, 
who commanded at the fort from the first, left to join the United 
States Army in the Mexican War, and Capt. James Morgan, of 
Burlington, succeeded to the command of the infantry, and Capt. 
John Parker, of Dubuque, to the command of the cavahy. 

In 1847, Capt Morgan's company was mustered out, and Capt. 
Parker given charge of the fort till the Indians were removed in 

In 1847, Gotlob and Gotleib Kruman and others are said to have 
come and settled near Fort Atkinson. Details are given else- 
where. There seems to be a little doubt about the exact date of 
their coming. 

In 1848 the Winnebago Indians were ordered removed, although 
some of them strayed back here, and the permanent settlement of 
the county commenced; for details of which, see earlier chap- 
ters and the township histories in succeeding chapters. 

Fort Atkinson was abandoned as a military post in 1848, but it 
remained m charge of the Government until 1853, when it was 
sold at auction. 

In 1849, first settlement of Decorah by Wm. Day and family — 
a notable event in county history. 


Wm. Painter came here in 1849 and commenced running a 
small grist mill at the present site of the Spring Mill, or Dun- 
ning's mill, Decorah. 

First settlers at Moneek in July, 1819. 

The same year quite a number of other families settled in the 
county, as will be seen by records in first chapter. 


Settlements were made in what are now Decorah, Bloorafield, 
Springfield, Glenwood, Canoe, Pleasant, Madison, Frankville and 
Military townships. 

Burr Oak was probably settled at about the same time; for in 
the fall of 1851, Judge M. V. Burdick visited the place and found 
where the village of Burr Oak is now located, a hotel, a store and 
a blacksmith shop. 

Judofe Burdick also found, in 1850, at the present site of Spill- 
ville, Mr. Spillman to be the only settler; while at what is now 
Twin Springs or Festna, then, there was a saloon. 

The same year, 1850, the federal census was taken, showing a 
population of 570. 

First immigration of Norwegians took place this year. 


An act of the Legislature, organizing Winneshiek County, was 
approved Jan. 15, 1851. It appointed John L. Carson, Organiz- 
ing Sheriff, to assume duties March 1st. 

April 7, Decorah Avas elected to be the County Seat. [Interest- 
ing details of the fight with Moneek are given elsewhere.] 

In 1851, the first Post Office in the county, excepting those at 
Fort Atkinson and Old Mission, was established at Jamestown, in 
what is now Frankville township, James B. Cutler postmaster. 
His commission was dated Sept. 15, 1851. 

On Oct. 5, 1851, occurred the first marriage in the county — 
Johannes Evenson to Catharine Helen Anderson. 

Aug. 4, 1851, David Reed, who had come to this county in 1848, 
was chosen County Judge, and held the position till 1855. 

Geo. Bachel, first County Sheriff, and other county ofiicers elec- 
ted, as recorded elsewhere. 

Hesper and Highland townships were settled this year. 

In Sept., 1851, the first County Court was opened at the log 
house of Wm. Day, Decorah. There being no business, it ad- 
journed to the first Monday in October, when the first marriage 
license was granted. 

The Heivly water power was improved by Mr. Painter and 
"Uncle Phillip" Morse, who arrived here in 1851, and built the 
saw mill, some of the ruins and the race which are to be seen be- 
tween the present Arlington House and the old stone grist mill. 

In July the first lawyer came to Decorah. 


This year also saw the first mercantile firm in Decorah, Aaron 
Newell and his partner, named Derrick. They opened their goods 
in the smoke house on the premises of the Winneshiek House, 
afterwards removed to a slab shanty, and soon built the first frame 
building in town — a store known as the Pioneer Store, which has 
since burned. It stood on the present site of the store of C. N. 
Goddard, on the southwest corner of Washington and Water 

This same year, 1851, came to Decorah the first minister of the 
gospel, Elder Bishop, preaching here monthly on a circuit de- 
scribed elsewhere. A few weeks afterwards a Congregational min- 
ister, A. M. Eastman, came and established monthly meetings at 
the log tavern. From these spring the Methodist and Congrega- 
tional churches of Decorah. 

The first mails came to Decorah in June, 1851. C. Day, post- 
master, and Lewis Harkins, mail carrier. 


Lincoln Township was settled during this year. 

At the April election 180 votes were cast in the county; at the 
August election 150. 

March 8, 1852, the County Court ordered elections to be held 
at three precincts; 1st, at the house of Wm. Day, Decorah; 2d, at 
the house of Francis Rogers, Lewisten, in the southwest part of 
the county; 3d, at the house of John DeCow, Moneek. For fur- 
her and later divisions of the county, see a preceding chapter. 

Moneek was surveyed and platted in January, but the plat was 
not recorded till November. 

The Pioneer Store building in Decorah commenced in 1851, 
was completed in 1852, a public hall, known as Newell's Hall, be- 
ing in the second story. 

In August and September, there was built by Philip Morse, the 
first frame dwelling in Decorah, the one now occupied by Mr. 
Bonstell, not far from the Arlington House. 

The first term of District Court for this county was held in 
Decorah on Friday, July 9, 1852, Thos. S. Wilson, Judge. The 
first indictment found by the Grand Jury was against Francis 
Teabout, for gambling; the second against Philander S. Baker, 
for selling intoxicating liquors; the third was against James T. 
Moore, for gambling. Each were held to bail to the next term of 
court in the sum of $100.00. 


The number of votes cast in the county in April, 1853, was 
221; and the number steadily increased in successive years, as will 
be seen by the record elsewhere. 

The present city of Decorah was surveyed and platted in Au- 
gust of this year. 


The village of Frankville was surveyed and platted iu October. 

This year Ammon & Co. came to Decorah and were the first to 
add steam power to our water power, finally resulting in their 
foundry, machine shop, and wagon manufactory. 

The government property at Fort Atkinson was this year sold 
at auction and Mr. Cooney, who was in 1852 appointed to take 
charge of the old fort and government buildings, found his "oc- 
cupation gone." 

In the winter of 1853-4 the first Bohemian settlers came in and 
settled not far from Fort Atkinson. To those settlers the present 
village of Spillville largely owes its existence. 


The village of Freeport was platted in May. 

The first building in Calmar was erected this year; and the vil- 
lage of Calmar was platted in November. 

The Decorah House was built this year, and also the Tremont 
House, which was burnt in 1857, and which stood on the site of 
the present Arlington House, Decorah. 

The famous Decorah hotel, the Winneshiek House, was built 
in 1854-5, and a part of it, rejuvenated and repaired, still remains 
as our popular hotel of the same name. 


Early this year Ossian was platted as a village, and the plat re- 
corded April 30th. 

Decorah, which had become quite a village, received an addi- 
tional impetus by the Land Office being established here, the office 
being opened the day before Christmas, 1855. It was removed 
the following year, but much of the business which it brought 

In the winter of 1855-6, there were nine banking houses in 
Decorah, two of which, the First National and the Winneshiek 
County Bank, are the outgrowth. 


This year witnessed the famous but unsuccessful fight of the then 
flourishing and enterprising village of Freeport to take the county 
seat from Decorah; this contest is told in detail elsewhere. 

A county loan of 86,000 was also voted this year to build a 
Court House at Decorah, the tax to be levied in the years 1857 and 

A special election was also held October 10, and the county 
voted 8100,000 in bonds to aid in the building of the Northwest- 
ern Railroad: there being 926 votes case for the tax, and 505 
against it. As the road was not built the county was not bur- 
dened with the tax. 

The year 1856 also gave the county its first newspaper, the De- 
corah Chronicle. It was edited and published by a man named 


Tracy, but very soon Jud^e M. V. Burdick became the editorial 
Writer. It had its iips and downs, and the Decorah RepuhJic of 
to-day may be considered as its successor, Wesley Bailey and son 
buying out the establishment, and issuing it as the Decorah Re- 
piihlic, in 1860, and afterwards changing the name to Decorah 
RepiihJican^ published by A. K. Bailey & Brother. 


The Court House was commenced this year and finished the 
following year. It is fully described in a preceding chapter. 

This year witnessed the burning of the Tremont House,. De- 
corah, then a well-known hotel. 

This year, also, Decorah became an organized town. A meeting 
for incorporation was held on the first Monday in April, and at 
the election of ofiicers on the 30th of June, E. E. Cooley was 
chosen President. 

The Legislative act of incorporation was not passed till 1871. 


The plat of the village of Hesper — the township having been 
first settled in 1851 — was recorded on the 25th of February, 1858, 
the plat having been drawn Dec. 27th of the preceding year. 
The township of Hesper was also organized in 1858. 

The county had grown so that the number of votes cast in Oc- 
tober of this year was 1,288. 

On the 18th of April, 1858, the first County Superintendent 
was elected. Dr. H. C. Bulls was chosen. 


A prominent historical event of this year was the resurrection 
of the alleged bones of the famous Indian Chief Decorah, after 
whom the county seat was named. The grave was at the inter- 
section of Main and Winnebago streets, and must give place to 
travel necessitated by the growth of the thriving little city. 
The story of the removal is told in a preceding chapter. It was 
considered an important event, and observed with due solemnity. 
The bones were again resurrected in 1876, in order to improve 
the Court House grounds, and before their final interment some of 
the Indian relics found with them were stolen. 

The close of this year brings us up to the commencement of a de- 
cade which opened with some changes in the manner of county 
government, made necessary, or at least desirable, by the increase 
of population and the prospective gi-owth and importance of the 
county. By the census of 1850, the population was 540, while 
it was now by the census taken in 1860 — the following year — ■ 
13,942. We will not, however, anticipate, but briefly note the 
important events as they occur. 



Durinp^ this year a change was made in the management o£ 
county affair:^, up to this time administered by the County Judge. 
A Board of Supervisors, consisting of one from each township, 
was elected, the change taking effect on the 1st of January, 1861. 

In April, 1860, the firm of Bailey & Son. consisting of Wesley 
Bailey and his son, Ansel K. Bailey, purchased the Decorah Re- 
public, succeeding B. F. Jones, as publishers of that paper. The 
first number under their management appeared April 13th. 

In the first issue are notices of Decorah's institutions as fol- 
lows: ''Population of Decorah, estimated, from 1,600 to 2,000. It 
has a brass band, 17 stores, 3 harness shops, 6 blacksmiths, 5 
cabinet makers, 3 wagon makers, 2 plow and horticultural imple- 
ment manufactories, 2 jewelers, 2 milliners, 2 tanneries, 1 lum- 
ber yard, 2 bakeries, 1 daguerreotype artist, 2 meat markets, 1 
distillery, 1 brewery, 1 gunsmith, a dozen lawyers, 3 doctors, 1 
dentist, 2 barbers, a Methodist church in their own building, and 
a Congregational church, holding services iu the Court House, 
their church not yet being completed." 

Hesper has a literary society that meets one a week. 

May 3, five prisoners escape from the County Jail, one in for 
horse stealing, one for counterfeiting, and the others for minor 

April 29, the house of Postmaster Stanberg, of Calmar, was 

May 18, Mr. McKinney left Fort Atkinson for Pikes Peak, 
with N. Otis, of Decorah. 

May 17, a Norwegian celebration of their national anniversary 
occurred at Peterson's trading post, B. 0. Dahly delivering the ad- 

Postmaster Kimball, of Decorah, improves his post office and 

In June, the Landers residence on Broadway was commenced, 
also the Francis residence on Broadway, now owned by A. 

Fourth of July was celebrated in Decorah, the orator being 
Douglas Lelfingwell. 

By the census then being taken the population of Decorah 

township and city was given as follows: 

Population of Decorah 904 

Population of West Decorah 315 

Rest of township TOG 

Total 1,925 

August 7th, Wm. Day died at the Winneshiek House, in the 
69th year of his age. He came here in 1850, was a liberal, honest, 
public-spirited man. He built the first house, for some years the 
only hotel, and afterwards built the Winneshiek House. 


August 30th, Fitz Henry Warren (Republican), spoke at De- 
corah, Judge Clark, of Dubuque, opposing him. 

The Congregational church of Decorah was in process of erec- 
tion this season. ^ 

September 21st, County Fair was held in Decorah. 

October 5th, a daily mail was established between McGregor 
and Decorah. 


At the opening of the year, the Board of Supervisors, one from 
each township, in order that the terms of office might not expire 
at the same time, they cast lots to see which should hold office for 
one year, and which for two years. The result was as follows: 

For one year — Levi Bullis in place of Dan Lawrence, who was 
elected and resigned, for Decorah; J. Fagin, Frankville; J. T. 
Galby, Summer; I. West, Canoe; G. N. HoUoway, Hesper; J. G. 
Ackerson, Burr Oak; S. Christen, Madison; Lars T. Land, Calraar; 
Levan Wanless, Bluffton, 

For two years — W. H, Baker, Bloomfield; F. S. Northup, 
Glen wood; Ole Nelson, Pleasant; W. B. Chamberlin, Orleans; 
Amnion Ammundsoc, Highland; D. E. Shelmadine, Fremont; M. 
J. Woolsey, Military; A. 0. Lommen, Springfield; Orville Jenni- 
son, Washington. 

G. N. Holloway was elected President of the Board. 

March 3d, the remains of a Norwegian, named Iver Knudsen 
Jouen, were found near the foot of the bluff at the head of Trout 
Run. He started home from Decorah, drunk, on Christmas eve- 
ning. Going over the road past the cemetery, it is thought that 
he lost his way, rolled down the bluff and froze to death. 

The Decorah cemetery grounds were laid out this year. 

April 8th, a public meeting was held and the Decorah Guards 
organized, being the first company to enter the service in the war 
of the rebellion. The record of this and other companies from 
the county, will be found in a preceding chapter. 

June 14th, E. E. Cooley received the appointment as postmaster 
of Decorah, and took possession July 1st. 

June 11th, the County Supervisors voted §3.00 per week to 
each of the families of the Decorah Guards. 

June 17, L. Standring turned the first scraper full of dirt into 
the Decorah branch of the Northern Iowa Railroad. Gangs of 
men were set at work at Decorah, Calmar, Ossian and Monona, 
but the work was discontinued. 

July 4th, celebration at Decorah. with oration by Geo. A. 

In July the plastering and mason work of the Congregational 
Church was completed. 

The Norwegian Lutheran Synod decided to build a college on 
the site selected in West Decorah. 


August 22, Winneshiek Normal institute incorporated; S. Page, 

September 27th and 28th, County Fair. 

November 17th, Congregational Church, Decorah, dedicated, 
E. Adams pastor. 

The Livengood-Telyea murder trial commenced near the close 
of this year and continued into 1862. Particulars elsewhere in 
this volume. 


Fourth of July celebration in Decorah, Hon M. V. Burdick de- 
livering the oration. 

August 30th, saloon of Wm. Oleson, Decorah, burned, and 
George Gulbranson burned to death, and others badly injured. 

September 6th, Aaron Newell, an old resident, died. 

In September the Norwegian High School opened in Decorah 
being the nucleus of the future college. 


June 4th, work on the Norwegian Lutheran College commenced. 
The building to be 150x20 feet on the ground, and three stories 
high above the basement. 

Population of county by assessors returns in 1863, 15,035. 
Population of Decorah, 2,165. 

Fourth of July celebrated in Decorah; addresses by home talent. 

November 3d, Elisha Hurlbut, postmaster of Decorah, died. 
Joseph Hutchinson, assistant, continued in office until a successor 
was appointed. 


February 9th, J. R. Slack was appointed postmaster of Decorah, 
and took possession February 28th. Geo. W. Adams was appoint- 
ed his assistant. 

June 20th, the $40,000 necessary, secured, and engineers com- 
menced locating a railroad to Decorah. 

A grist mill was built by D. Addicken, and commenced running 
that year. 

June 30, corner-stone of the Norwegian College laid. 

Oct. 3, Capt J. R. Moore, Decorah, died suddenly in his bed. 

Oct. 12, celebration of the arrival of the railroad atCastalia. 

Oct. 22, the Catholics of Decorah occupied their new church. 

Dec. 22, Decorah gets a through mail from Chicago. 


March 20, flood in Dry Run did considerable damage. High 
waters in the river carried away the West Decorah bridge, and 
also the Freeport bridge. 


April 8, a rousing celebration in Deeorali of the taking of 
Richmond, in which enthusiasm extravagantly boiled over in wild 
and peculiar freaks. 

April 27, funeral services in Decorah, Castalia, and other places 
on the death of Lincoln. 

June 15, railroad completed to near Calmar. 

July 4, Fourth of July celebration at Decorah, Col. Henderson 

July 20, railroad completed to Conover. 

September — , Methodist parsonage at Decorah completed. 

Oct. 15, dedication of the Norwegian Lutheran College, one 
wing four stories high, with basement, being completed. Promi- 
nent Norwegians from all parts of the country were present. 


The Decorah public school building was built this year. 

April 1, Decorah post office removed to first floor of new brick 
building on Winnebago street, now occupied by Journal office 

April 5, greatest flood since 1859, carrying oflf numerous bridges 
and doing considerable damage in the county. 

July 4, celebrated in Decorah, M. V. Burdick and R. Swearingen 

Nov.'l, great fire in Decorah; loss from $30,000 to $40,000, 
burning out Dennis &Hulverson, P. S. Smout, Green & Morss, and 
others, also the office of the Winneshiek Register, established in 
1866, Haislet Bros, proprietors. 

Nov. 11, County Supervisors bought the present Poor Farm of 
C. E. Dickerman. 

This year the railroad reached the site of Ridgeway, and gave it 
its first start. 


The new Masonic Hall, Decorah, dedicated. It was pronounced 
the best in Iowa. 

Jan. 30, Fremont House and barn burned. 

February 12, meeting to organize a fire company in Decorah. 

May 17, Norwegian celebration. Addresses by B. 0. Dahly, 
K. E. Burgh, 0. M. Lucken, and John Steen. 

May 27, Decorah graded school established. 

Oct. 3 and 4, County Fair held at Decorah. 

During this year the residences of E. E. Cooley, D. B. Ells- 
worth, Mrs. Hughes, and J. Hunter, and the Dickerman building, 
were erected or commenced. 

The telegraph line to Decorah was completed this year. 

Nov. 28, Rev. E. Adams preached his Thanksgiving sermon, 
entitled "The First things of Decorah." 

Dec. 6, Col. T. W. Higginson lectured in Decorah. 


Near the close of the year 1867, B. Annundson established a 
Norwegian printing office in Decorah, printing several publica- 
tions for the college. A few years later he commenced the pub- 
lication of the Decorah Posten, which is the only Norwegian 
paper in Iowa, and has a very large circulation. 


Feb. 1, Decorah secures two mails a day. 

This winter Decorah secures a course of lectures by Fred Doug- 
las, Theodore Tilton, Henry Vincent and E. P. Whipple, 

February 2, Norwegian M. E. Church on Washington Prai- 
rie dedicated. 

Feb. 18, John T. Stoneman lectures in Decorah on Joe Smith, 
the Mormon prophet, 

April, Decorah Democrat established. Bob Shurley. editor. 

May 17, Norwegian celebration; oration by Prof. Larsen. 

July 4, celebration at Decorah; Rev. Henderson, of Dubuque, 

Oct. 7, 8 and 9, County Fair at Decorah. 

In 1868, by the creation of the Circuit Court as previously de- 
scribed, the County Court ceased to exist. The County Judge be- 
came ex officio County Auditor, the new state of things taking ef- 
fect June 1, 1869. 

• 1869. 

On New Year's day Charles Magoffin fell over the bluff over- 
hanging the dugway, above the mill dam, Decorah. He was get- 
ting some cedar branches, and stepping on ice, slipped and fell 
down the bluff and was killed. 

Jan. 12, Oddfellows occupied their new hall in the Dickerman 
building, Decorah. 

March 15, paper mill company at Freeport organized. 

May 12, work commenced in earnest oa the Decorah branch of 
the railroad. 

May 9, depot and six grain warehouses atOssian burned. 

June 7, A.K. Bailey appointed postmaster at Decorah. 

June 13, Kramer s store burned, and depot and Lambert's store 
at Castalia robbed. 

July 4, celebrated at Ossiau and Hesper. 

July 12, Calmar is incorporated as a village of the second class 

Aug. 24, David Self was killed by his wagon tipping over into 
river, on the dugway, Decorah. He was thrown under the wagon; 
his wife and children escaped. 

Sept 15, first regular train ran into Decorah. It was a day of 
celebration and rejoicing. 

Sept 22, 23 and 24, County Fair at Decorah. 

Oct. 28, Edgar Harden, son of H. J. Harden, was fatally 
stabbed at Burr Oak by Jasper Jewell, who became irritated by 
the badinage of a party of threshers, with whom he was working. 


Dec. 2, Beauseant Commandery o£ Knights Templar fully or- 
ganized and officers installed at Decorah with a grand parade, dis- 
play, etc. 

The Decorah Ventilator was established this year. 

This year the railroad reached Fort Atkinson, and the building 
of the new town commenced. 


In 1870 the old Supervisor system of one from each township 
gave place to the present system, except that at first there were 
but three Supervisors; but this was changed, in 1872, to five, the 
present number. 

In February S.S. Haislett bought E. C. Huntington's interest 
in the State Press newspaper, recently established at Decorah. 

In March woman's sulFrage lectures were delivered in Decorah 
by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mrs. H. C. Reed. 

A 4th of July accident occurs at Spillville by the premature ex- 
plosion of an anvil, by which four men were badly hurt. 

August 17, the publication of the Winneshiek Kepresentative 
was commenced at Calmar by Bent Wood. 

Steyer's Hall, Decorah, was completed this year. 


Decorah had a lecture course for the winter of 1870 and 1871, 
among the lecturers being Lilian Edgerton and W, H. Milburn. 

February 2, a fire in Decorah destroys Goddard & Henry's 
store, the Howell and Heivly building occupied by P. S. Smout 
and Mrs. G. W. Adams' millinery store. 

February 21, by legislative enactment Decorah was incorporated 
a city of the second class. It first election was held March 6, 
1871. The first mayor was Charles F. Allen. The other officers 
are given in a sketch of Decorah. 

May 17, Norwegian celebration at Decorah. County Fair in 
Decorah in September. 

The number of County Supervisors was increased from three to 
five, as at present. 

June 23, the Winneshiek Representative at Calmar suspended 

Decorah celebrated the 4th of July; Mahlon Willet, orator. 

Sept. 6th, a homicide occurred in the evening in Frankville 
township. Wm. McClintock was scolding his nephew about some 
piece of mischief when a man, named Seeley, rode up and said: 
''Take one of your size." And in a quarrel that followed See- 
ley knocked McClintick down with a club. McClintock died three 
hours afterward. Seeley was held to bail in the sum of $1,000, 
and afterwards sent to the penitentiary. 

The County Fair was held at Decorah in September. 

The Decorah Democrat was discontinued, and the material taken 
to McGregor for a paper there. 



Jan. 17, old settlers of the county organize. 

March 27, Ole Bull comes to Decorah, gives two concerts and a 
mattinee, and is given a grand public reception by the people. 

July 4, Fort Atkinson celebrates, with W. H. Bennett as orator. 

Deborah celebrates, with Rev. Casabeer as orator and Mrs. H. 
Bottsford as reader. 

County Fair at Decorah, Sept, 17, 18, 19 and 20. 


The great storm and snow blockade commenced Jan. 7th, con- 
tinuing about a week. It was in this storm that Conductor Bob 
Jamieson organized a rescue party and went from ^Calmar 
carrying provisions to passengers in a blockaded train a little 
south of Ridge way. They made their way through the blinding 
storm by starting from one telegraph pole to another; the one 
who found the pole first shouting to the others. It was nearly 
two weeks before the blockade was finally lifted. 

Jan. 20, the new school house at Fort Atkinson was burned. 

Feb. 28, Andrew Johnson of Pleasant township, starting to go 
home from Decorah, drunk, froze to death on his way. 

March 12, W. N. Burdick, of Cresco, purchased half the inter- 
est in the Decorah Yentillator. 

May 17, Norwegian celebration at Decorah. Addresses by Rev. 
Larsen and L. Reque. 

June 7, Ole Bull again visited Decorah and gave a concert. 

Sept. 18, the district fair was held at Hesper. 

County fair was held at Decorah, Sept. 23, 24 and 26. 


March 31, death of C. H. Henry, of the firm of Goddard & 
Henry, Decorah. 

April 5, death of F. E. Ruth, of the firm of Ruth Bros., De- 
corah . 

May 24th, about this date the business part of Ridgway burned. 
Twenty-five buildings were destroyed and ^50,000 worth of prop- 

Fourth of July celebrated in Decorah. Rev. H. B. Wood- 
worth, pastor of Congregational Church, orator. 

July 31, new bridge over Iowa river at Decorah finished. 

Aug. 11, Decorah Independent started by Ed. Wood and S. S. 

Aug. 13, corner stone of the M. E. Church laid. 

Sept. 11 and 12 State Line fair at Hesper. 

Sept. 15, 16, 17, county fair at Decorah. 

Oct. 3, H. H. Buck, of Decorah, committed suicide. 

Nov. 3, A. A. Aiken's Trot Run woolen factory burned. 

Greer & Hunter's mill Avas completed this month. 


Dec. 2, final completion and dedication of one wing of the Nor- 
wegian College. 

Dec. 20, new M. E. Church, of Decorah, dedicated. Bishop 
Andrews, of Des Moines, presiding. 

In November, 1874, Aiken & Woodruff, purchased the Winne- 
shiek Register, published at Decorah (which was the successor of 
the Decorah Ventillator,) of Geo. W. Haislet. In February, 1875, 
the Saturday Bee was published from the Register office, and 
during the snow blockade about that time, and afterwards, at 
times when occasion demanded, it was issued daily. The present 
Decorah Journal, Henry Woodruff, editor and publisher, is the 
successor to the Register, having absorbed the Independent; the 
Bee also becoming a part of the Journal establishment. 


February 4th, a snow blockade continued several days, 

March 3d, Ole Anderson, who lived north of Hesper, going 
home from Decorah, froze his hands and feet. A suit 
against H. D. Lolberge followed, in which $6,000 damage was 
awarded Anderson's wife. 

March 31st, it was decided to erect a new Episcopal Church in 
Decorah this year. 

May 9, Rev. Father McNulty, pastor of the Catholic Church, 
Decorah, died. 

June 23, this night occured the great flood of Dry Run, sup- 
posed to have been caused by a water spout. Three small dwell- 
ings were carried away, and five bridges over Dry Run; Washing- 
ton Street bridge being the only one saved. All the bridges and 
much of the railroad track between Decorah and Conover were 
washed away. 

July 2, Presiding Elder Wm. Smith of the M. E. Church, died. 

July 7, County Supervisors provided for new iron bridges in 
various parts of the county. 

July 17, death of D. Addicken, of Decorah. 

July 19, death of Horace S. Weiser, of Decorah. 

September 21, 22, 23, State Line fair at Hesper. 


January 4, John B. Stickles died, it was supposed that he was 
poisoned. The famous murder trials resulting from his death, are 
recorded in previous chapters. 

January 9, Charles Meyers, Supervisor from Second district, 

January 31, J. Ellen Foster lectured at the Court House on 

March 3, first accident on the Decorah branch of the railroad. 
Train was ditched three miles from the city. Eleven persons 
were hurt, but none were killed. 


March li, the new Episcopal Church at Decorah was dedicated. 

April 7, Peter Duffin, an old settler, died. 

June 18, Luther Church, Decorah, was dedicated. 

June 6, alleged remains of Decorah, the Indian Chief, taken up, 
so as to improve the Court House grounds; they were re-interred 
inside the new wall. 

July i. Centennial celebration at Decorah, with oration by H. 
B. Wood worth, and meeting of the old settlers in the afternoon. 

Oct. 10, 1876, Geo. W. Haislet, who had been engaged in var- 
ious newspaper enterprises in Decorah, Cresco, Lansing, Mc- 
Gregor, and lately for about a year at Dubuque, came back to 
Decorah and established the Decorah Radical, which he published 
till the time of his death in the spring of 1881, as recorded 
under that date. 

July 9, in Frankville township Simeon Oleson shot and killed 
Anderson Theonson, who came to a party uninvited. After two 
trials Oleson was acquitted. An account of the case is given in a 
preceding chapter. 

Sept. 6th, Capt. T. W. Burdick was nominated for Congress, 
being the first Representative from Winneshiek County, and was 

Sept 19-21, Fair at Hesper. 

At the November election a $12,000 tax, divided between two 
years, was voted to build a new jail. 

Dec. 21, 1876, near Locust Lane, while several teams were on 
the way home from Decorah, a quarrel arose, and Helge Nelson 
struck Ed. Torfin a fatal blow on the head with a club. Nelson- 
escaped with six months in the penitentiary. 


Feb. 1, a new hotel, the Arlington House, was opened at De- 

Lectures this month in Decorah by James M. Bailey, of the 
Danbury News, and Mong Chin Foo, followed by others. 

May 30, first observance of Decoration day, in Decorah. H. S. 
Henderson, orator, ^nd C. Wellington, reader. 

June 8, death of Joseph Grinsell, station agent at Decorah, his 
body being found in an unoccupied house at Prairie du Chien. 

June !■!, in the District Court Helge Nelson was convicted of 
manslaughter in killing Edwin Torfin, December 21, 1876. Par- 
ticulars are given in account of murder trials in this county. 

July 4, celebrated by old settlers, reunion at Weiser s grove. 

July, James Relf , a pioneer, died. 

July 4, Howard's livery stable, Decorah, burned, and othe prop- 
erty greatly endangered. 

This same month it was concluded to have an artesian well in 



July 31, Recorder Charles A. Steen, who was wounded at Get- 
tysburg, died in Deeorah, aged 40 years, 11 months, and 1 day. 
Cyrus McKey was appointed to fill the vacancy until the next 

Oct., Fair held at Hesper. 

Oct. 18, a fire at Calmar burned four business houses, includ- 
ing McMullin's drug store, a shoe store, restaurant and saloon. 

Nov. 3, Charles Hartsing, of Castalia, one of the first settlers 
of Winneshiek County died, aged 65 years. 

Nov. 29, Adams' block, Deeorah, burned, burning out Ben 
Bears' clothing store, Coleman & Toye's drug store, J. C. Meus- 
er's jewelry store, Newton's grocery, and some other tenants. 

Deeorah had a lecture course the following winter with Gener- 
al Kilpatrick, Henry VVatterson, Mrs. Livermore, and Will Carle- 


Jan. 28, work on the artesian well, Deeorah, stopped, it havino- 
reached a depth of 1,200 feet, and the water being 30 feet from 
the top. 

April 4, the Board of Supervisors having this spring provided 
for the construction of a new jail, contracted for Pauley's steel 

April 11, plans for the new jail adopted, the site of which is 
located on the southeast corner of the court house grounds. 

July 1, contract awarded for building a new county jail, which 
was erected the same year. 

Sept, 17, 18, 19, fair at Hesper. 

Oct. 10, Harvey Benedict fell from the house of his brother, A. 
A. Benedict, and was killed. 

Nov. 21, the body of H. A. Hegg, of Deeorah, was found in 
the creek at the railroad bridge, near Standring's cut. The coro- 
ner's jury found that his death was caused by strychnine, and that 
it occurred before he fell into the water. The mystery of his death 
is not yet solved. 


February 15, Blue Ribbon movement organized by John W. 
Drew, in Deeorah, and reform club established. 

May 17, Norwegian celebration; orations by Professors Sander, 
Veflen, and others. 

May 30, Decoration Day in Deeorah; oration by H. B. Wood- 

June 22, twenty-fifth anniversary of the Congregational Church 
of Deeorah observed. 

July 4, celebration in Deeorah, John T. Stoneman, orator. 
Celebrated at Ossian, Rev. Sherin, orator. 


Aug. 7, Decorah township voted a 4 per cent tax to induce the 
Waukon narrow guage railroad, which was then leased to the 
Northwestern, to come to Decorah. The road bed was graded, 
but the Milwaukee company bought it up — it did not come — and 
Decorah saved its tax. 

Sept. — , Fair at Hesper this year. 

Nov. 12, Jannauschek, the actress, appeared at Decorah. 

Dec. 1, Judge E. E. Cooley appointed to fill a vacancy caused by 
the resignation of .Judge Reuben No))le. 

June 13, the railroad depot at Conover burned. 

July 4, celebration at Hesper, Rev. H. B. Wood worth, orator. 
Ossian also celebrated. 

July 23, at the PeterCoogan school-house, three miles north of 
Decorah, Willard Van Pelt shot George Rastetler through the 
side, the latter having been abusing and threatening Van Pelt. 
Both were young men. Van Pelt was arrested and held for trial, 
when he was finally fined f 20 and costs. Rastetler's wound was at 
'first thought to be dangerous, but he recovered. 

Aug. 19, Thomas Updegraff was unanimously re-nominated for 
Congress by the Republican Convention at McGregor, and was 

Sept. 12, Henry Diers was stabbed by Mike Wholehan, Avhom 
he had ordered away from Addicken's brewery on Sunday. Diers' 
wound was thought to be fatal, but he recovered. Wholehan 
was held in |5,000 bail, and on trial was sentenced to one year 
and six months in the penitentiary. 

Sept. 15, 16 and 17, fair at Hesper. 


Feb. 13, Remenyi gave a concert in Decorah. 

Feb. 18, meetings held in Decorah to organize Citizens' Asso- 
ciation, which organization was afterwards effected. 

March 6, George W. Haislet, an old newspaper man and editor 
of the Decorah Radical, died. The publication of the Radical 
was continued for about one year by Mrs. Haislet, and in the 
spring of 1882 was purchased by C. H. Craig, who changed its 
name to the Decorah Pantagraph. 

March 11, Wm. Telford, an old settler of Decorah, 51 years 
of age, fell dead at a fire at the foot of Pleasant Hill. 

March 28, James McConnell, an old resident of Bluffton, was 
killed by being thrown from his wagon on his way home from 

March 20, Chicago, Decorah & Minnesota Railroad Company 

April 1, Prof. Jacobson, of Luther College, died. 

May 11, the City Council of Decorah voted to build water 
works, which were completed that year. 


May 30, Decoration day, Decorah. F. B. Daniels, of Dubuque, 
delivering the oration. F. E. Brush, pastor of the M. E. church, 
Decorah, delivered the address at the cemetery. 

June 10, observance at Frankville of the lOOth anniversary of 
Father Cutler's birthday. An account of the celebration will be 
found in our sketch of Frankville. 

August — , contract let for water works in Decorah. 

August 12, Decorah post office moved into its new building. 

September 20, 21 and 22, County Fair at Decorah. 

November 9, Decorah Township voted a five per cent, tax to 
the Upper Iowa & Mississippi Railroad Company, conditioned on 
its building a railroad to the Mississippi, at or about Lansing. 
The road was not built and the tax was forfeited. It is now stated 
that the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company, who 
are widening the gauge to Waukon will continue the work to De- 
corah, thus giving them another outlet, via Calmarfrom the west, 
rather than to build a double track from Calmar to McGregor. 

Hesper, Burr Oak and Bluffton townships also voted taxes to a 
road running through them to be built from LaCrosse to the 
southwest through Charles City, and the right-of-way for the 
road is beins secured. 



February 22, Decorah waterworks trial, parade and celebration. 

April 14, Decorah Township voted a five per cent, tax to a rail- 
road to connect with the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern, 
to be completed before September, 1883. Grading has been 

June 4, murder in trlenwood Township. Peter Peterson Krog- 
sund was shot and killed by Hans Hansen Skjerdahl. Particulars 
given in a preceding chapter. 

June 22, Decorah Drum Corps wins first prize at the State 
Military Encampment at Waterloo. The Decorah Light Guards 
also took a prize. 

June 27, prohibitory amendment adopted in Iowa. Vote of 
Winneshiek County was 1,411 for, l,69d against the amend- 

July 4, celebrated in Decorah, with oration by F. E. Brush, of 
Davenport. At Ossian, oration by T. J, Sullivan. It was 
also observed at Fort Atkinson. 

July 8, Turner Callender, an old resident of Frankville, died. 
He came to the county in 1849. 

Aug. 29, the Decorah Drum Corps wins a victory at the Inter- 
state Military Encampment at Dubuque, being victors over the 
Chicago Drum Corps, and winning the first prize of $500, 

Sept. 1, Decorah Drum Corps welcomed home with a grand re- 
ception at the Opera House. Address by E. E. Cooley. 


Sept. 12, 13, 14 and 15, County Fair in Decorah. A grand 
success; pronounced the best in this section of the country; and 
equal to many State Fairs. A magnificent display of cattle and 
other blooded stock. Receipts, §3,173.79. 

Measures are being taken to largely develop the extensive stone 
quarries around Decorah, and also to bring into market profit- 
ably its wonderful fossil limestone for which there is a large de- 
mand for ornamental purposes. 



Decorah, the county seat of Winneshiek county, the beautiful 
and famous gem city of northeastern Iowa, naturally comes first 
in importance in mentioning the towns of the county. It is 
romantically located in the valley of the Upper Iowa River, and 
about two miles from the exact geographical center of the county. 
The Upper Iowa River, being supplied by largo, never failing 
springs all along its course, has a continuous water-power as it 
traverses a valley of great fertility, and romantic and varied 
beauty. Into the river at Decorah and its suburbs, flow streams 
from both sides — generally of cool, spring water. The city is 
sheltered from the storms of winter and summer by high, wooded 
hills, usually sloping up from the valley, but in some places stand- 
ing out in precipices and rocky bluffs, which rise in tower-like 
masses, adding variety and charm to the picture. Though the 
hills surrounding Decorah are at their summits from 200 to 260 
feet high — one of them thus giving a powerful head to Decorah's 
water works — the country about is reached by easy grades up the 
valleys by which the city is surrounded, and yet which are so 
circling, that the broad valley in which Decorah is located is fully 
protected, and seems surrounded by hills. 

From some of the caves in these hills issue streams of water 
large enough to operate flour mills with two run of stones. 

The most remarkable of these caves is known as Ice Cave. Its 
entrance is through an opening in a rocky blufi", overlooking the 
river and facing the city, about half a mile north of its business 
streets. In this cave ice forms in summer and melts away in win- 
ter, and many have been the theories and discussions by scientific 
men on the subject. As you enter the cave you go several rods 
through its successive chambers, down steep slopes, and at the 
lower depths of the cave is found the chilly atmosphere from the 
rocks which, it may be, have during the winter accumulated so 
much frigidity that they retain it till well through the summer, 
and freeze the water that comes down through the crevices from 


the hills above; but by the end of summer generally lose their 
coldness so that the ice melts away as winter comes, before a new 
store of freezing .chilliness can be garnered up. However this 
may be the cave is a great wonder to multitudes of people. 

Another great wonder which has been more particularly de- 
veloped within a very few years, is the rich deposit of a fossilifer- 
ous rock, from which are obtained specimens of surpassing beauty. 
This region is a delight to geologists, who pronounce it one of the 
most wonderful in the country. 

Add to these and other attractions to be seen on every hand, 
the charming and romantic drives that lead out from Decorah, 
and the magnificent views that reward those who climb the hills, 
and it is no wonder that t*lie new-comer is delighted. The 
changeful scenes are so variedly beautiful that even the old resi- 
dent never becomes tired of them. A visitor to Decorah a few 
years ago, in writing to an eastern periodical, thus expresses his or 
her appreciation: , 

"We know of no locality where the picturesque, the roman- 
tic, the curious and the rural are so happily blended with the re- 
finements, the elegancies, and amenities of city life, as in De- 
corah; nor do we know of any place where persons suffering 
from overtaxed physical and mental energies, or from billions 
or pulmonary complaints, can find a more delightful locality for 
recuperation, recreation, and restoration to a vigorous health; 
nor are we surprised to learn that many from the east and south 
are beginning to make Decorah a place of resort. The health- 
fulness of the climate of northern Iowa, and the peculiar free- 
dom of Decorah from all malarial elements, makes her one of 
the best possible resorts for persons afflicted with the billions 
complaints of the south and the pulmonary diseases of the 

The continuous fall of the river as it seeks the Mississippi, 
in the valley hundreds of feet below, not only makes frequent 
water powers, bat prevents ponds and sloughs, with their ma- 
larious influences, and the water of the large and small streams 
are unusually pure and sparkling. 

The principal part of Decorah is on one side of the Iowa River. 
A broad tongue of elevated land reaches out into the valley, and 
yet low enough to be protected by the surrounding hills. On the 
most elevated ridge of this tongue is Broadway with the Court 
House and most of the churches, and on Broadway and the streets 
that cross it and are parallel to it are numerous pleasant resi- 
dences. Slightly elevated plateaus in other parts of the city also 
furnish sites for many delightful homes and grounds. 

Across the river is the very pleasant suburb known as West 
Decorah. Quite a number of Decorah's thriving business men 
have their residences there. On an elevated plateau, overlooking 


West Decorah, and a part of Decorah, stands, in the midst of 
ample and pleasant grounds, that important and imposing insti- 
tution of learning the Norwegian Luther College. 

But before we look at the institutions and business of Decorah, 
let us trace its history as far back as we can; and that is not far. 
For there are unwritten tales of centuries on centuries in the lim- 
itless remains of animal life in the fossil rocks, and impressive 
"sermons in stone" in the rocky treasures that are scattered 
almost everywhere beneath our feet as we explore the hills and 
valleys, but let us come back again to the history that has been, 
or perhaps can be, written. 

And how better can we take it up than in the words of Rev. E. 
Adams, for some years pastor of the Congregational church, De- 
corah, and afterwards State Agent for the Co])gregational Society. 
His Thanksgiving discourse, preached at the Methodist church, 
Decorah, November 28, 1867, was true to its title, "The First 
Things of Decorah," an extensive re-production from its pages 
will be of interest and permanent value. After appropriate and 
suggestive introductory remarks, Mr, Adams said: 

[Since the preceding paragraphs were prepared, it has seemed 
desirable, as a matter of record as well as for permanent preserva- 
tion in historical records, to give the Thanksgiving discourse of 
Mr. Adams entire, and it is therefore presented as follows:] 


Text: '-i Syrian ready to perish teas my Father.. — Deut. xxvii; 5th.' 

It is interesting and profitable to trace results to their begm- 
nings, especially if the results are great and the beginnings 
small. It serves to awaken gratitude and humility; sometimes to 
inspire new courage for the future. God was mindful of this in 
his dealings with His ancient people. That people, great and 
mighty, He raised up from a humble origin until established in the 
promised land. Here among the things which He appointed for 
them annually to observe was the Feast of Ingatherings, at which 
time they were to bring up to Jerusalem the first fruits of the 
harvest from all parts of the land, — every man with his own offer- 
ing. It was then that each was to appear with his basket of 
fruits upon his shoulder, to be given into the hand of the Priest, 
by whom it was to be set down before the altar of his God, and 
then he was to say: "A Syrian ready to perish was my Father." 
This was to remind him of the littleness of his people's origin, 
when one of his ancestors was a homeless wanderer and exposed to 
famine. Then he was to recount briefly the dealings of God with 
his nation through the past to the present, concluding thus: — 
'\And now, behold, I have brought the first fruits of the land 
which Thou, 0, Lord, hast given me." There and thus was he to 
worship, and then, tarrying yet awhile in the city, as he choose, 
was he to rejoice in every good thing which the Lord had given 


him and his house, the Levite and the stranger. What a grand 
thanksgiving time that must have been; the whole city filled thus 
with grateful offerings and joyful hearts ! 

Our Puritan fathers, not by any direct command from God, 
but as a natural result of their heartfelt dependence on Him, fell 
into very much the same wa}^ as, from year to year, when the 
annual harvests were gathered in, they set apart a day for special 
praise and thanks, in which, after the public assembly, were the 
joyous family gatherings of the children and children's children, 
at the old homestead, where in the midst of the bounties of God, 
there was good cheer, praise and prayer; and we may add, too, of 
frolic and glee — a portion in due season for old and young. Hence 
came Thanksgiving Day, now national, as we are called upon by 
the highest authority of the land to observe it. 

Thus are we convened to-day. The occasion naturally suggests 
tons a glance at our national origin — a brief reyiew of the course 
of Providence with us to the present time, till now there is spread 
out upon this continent a great and mighty people. Especially 
would it be proper to note the events of the past year^ the dis- 
coveries of science, or achievements of art, the development of 
our national resources, additions to our literature, the spread of 
education and religion, forgetting not the bounties of the harvest 
and such blessings as being found in the narrower circles of our 
domestic and private life, are particularly calculated to put us in 
sympathy with the spirit and object of tlie day. Many a topic 
here might be found, but not here will we linger to-day. 

We might again extend our vision abroad, and by contrast 
hold up the cause of national gratitude, setting the prosperous 
condition, on the whole, of our country, though troubled yet 
with the burdens and problems of a recent intestine war, with 
the unsettled condition of the European world: England dis- 
turbed by Fenian assemblies and Trade Unions; France lowered 
in the scale of her national greatness, with her people calling for 
more liberty, to be satisfied perhaps with a little more military glory; 
Prussia struggling for a united Germany; Spain with her internal 
corruption and weakness, and so on; each with something to an- 
noy; the balance of power as uncertain as ever; taxes in some 
cases enormously oppressive; business generally greatl}^ crippled; 
the world looking on, not knowing what a day may bring 
forth. Here, I say, we might turn, but why not dismiss to-day 
the outside world for, we will not say a selfish, but a narrower 

If to us it is pleasant to trace the origin of things, particularly 
of things prosperous that have started recently from small be- 
ginnings; and if again this pleasure is greatly increased even to 
joy and gratitude to God, who in all things is to be acknowleged 
by the fact that the things passed in review are such as we 


have been familiar with, a part of, cr greatly interested in, why 
may we not find fitting employment for a few moments in so 
humble a theme as the history of our own town? 

This, then, Christian friends and fellow-citizens is what I pro- 
pose to-day — a task that has been found easier in conception than 
execution. To write history is a difficult work — a strictly truth- 
ful history can never be written, for history when made is life, 
and this fife can never be re-produced by the pencil or the pen — 
only imitations of it. The historian must gather such dry bones 
of dates, names and facts as come to hand, and clothe them with 
such semblance of life as he may. To write history, again, while 
the actors are still living must be, as you perceive, a delicate work. 

Expect not then too much! be charitable. Overlook any omis- 
sions or inaccuracies that may at once appear to you — more fa- 
miliar as some of you are with the scenes reviewed then am I. It 
is only by snatches of time that materials have been gathered and 
arranged. More time and care, I have no doubt would bring to 
light things just as worthy of notice as those Avhich will appear, 
and correct some that do appear. All I propose to do, all 1 can do, is 
to turn you back to the beginning of our town, to note a few of its 
first things^more particularly in a few of the first years of its 
history, which I trust will so present to us the past, the present 
and future, as to fill us with emotions becoming the day. 

We have to go back but a brief period of time. Less than 
twenty years ago, as the sun rose in the east to look down upon 
this quiet valley, where now are our dwellings, these streets and 
gardens and farms, no hum of business broke in upon the stillness 
of the morning hour. 

The natural beauty of the landscape, ere marred by the white 
man's touch, must have been of exceeding loveliness. No won- 
der that for the red man here was one of his favorite haunts up- 
on the banks of this beautiful river, fed by its springs and trout 
brooks, its bluffs now becoming so bare, then covered with their 
forest in which were the wild deer, the partridge and squirrel; 
these vales, now at times bare and dust-covered, filled with wav- 
ing grass, plum trees, fruits and flowers. No wonder, 1 say, that 
from the outside prairies the Indian trails centered here, along 
which these, our recent predecessors of a former race, in accord- 
ance with their simple patriarchal government, by their families 
and their tribes, came in here for the burial of their dead; hereto 
hunt and fish; aye, here, too, may we not say, according to their 
idea of the good and bad spirits above them, to worship also. 

Often upon these bluffs, as the hunter's arrow, or in later 
times, the rifle missed its mark, has he cast upon the ground a 
bit torn from his blanket, or plucked a bed from his wampum, 
or scattered a portion of his ammunition, as an offering to appease 
the Spirit, through whose displeasure the failure had come, or to 
avert it in future. Here, often, no doubt, were the games and 


sports of the young; here, too, lamentations and sorrows, even as 
in later times, in burial scenes, as some old warrior, chief, maiden, 
or child, was called to depart. And here, thanksgivings, too, — 
doubtless feasts of rejoicing at success of hunting parties, or vic- 
tory in bloody strife. Yes, up to within the brief space of twenty 
years ago, this beautiful valley was all full of life, primitive life of 
nature and man. But now the scene is changed, and we are here! 
The process has been a rapid one. When and by whom was the 
the beginning of it? Precisely what white man, as surveyor, or 
ranger, first looked in upon the home of his red brethren, with the 
infelt destiny of displacing or possessing, we are not able to say. 
But in the month of June, 1849, in the midst of the picture we 
have just sketched, though at the time somewhat faded out, yet 
with seventy-five or one hundred Indians gazing upon the specta- 
cle, their tents still standing, — -with the graves of the dead scat- 
tered about where now run our streets and stand our dwellings, 
— in this month of June, 1849, could have been seen an ordinary 
emigrant wagon, with horses detached, and arrangements being 
made not for a night's camping merely, but a permanent stay. This 
of course, as everybody is aware, was what is known the coun- 
try around as the "Day Family," consisting then of nine persons; 
starting first from Tazewell County, Virgicia, the year previous, 
touching at Cassville, Wisconsin, then for a short time on a 
claim in the eastern part of the county, near John McKay's, 
thence to this place. McGregor then was but a landing, but sel- 
dom landed at. What some of us have traveled as the old stage 
road, was but an Indian trail, with only two settlers upon it be- 
tween here and Monona, at what is now Frankville. 

Beyond this, westward, were but two white families, by the 
names of Reams and Button. The head of this Button family 
was suspected of horse-thieving, and was, at an early date visited 
on this business by a deputation of nine men from Linn County, 
anxious that justice should be extended, even to the farthest lim- 
its of the country then known. No evidence was really found 
against him; but upon the hint that his absence would be as good 
as his presence, he soon left, selling his claim to a man by the 
name of Johnson, of whom the farm was purchased by its present 
occupant, Mr. Jacob Jewell. 

But to return to the inmates of our emigrant wagon. The 
first thing, was a covering for the head, and then more per- 
manent arrangements for the winter. A temporary cabin, 16xlG, 
to serve ultimately as a stable, had already, by way of anticipa- 
tion, been partially erected by some members of the family who 
selected the site, and this was soon so far completed as to admit 
of moving in, and the same night was a tavern opened on the 
same premises, where from that day to this the hospitalities of the 
''Winneshiek House" have ever been extended. In that first sea- 
son, when by the presence of surveying parties, horse-thief hunt- 


ers, or the rush of travel on Indian trails (!) the accommodations 
within were somewhat straightened, the guests, in the mild e^en- 
ings of our autumnal climate, of course could find a welcome bed 
on the green grass, just outside, and ample space for horses as 
they stood tied to Indian stakes. No need then for the old sign, 
— ''Room for Man and Beast;" — it was all room, and all the room 
there was was apparent to every one. Before winter, however, 
a more commodious building was erected, the main part 20x25, 
with a wing attached. This was made of logs, shingled, lathed 
and plastered, — really, for the time, cjtiite an imposing structure. 
This is the building known as the '"old log house," and which 
made its disappeara*nce but a few years since. 

In this connection it may be proper to say that the present 
•'Winneshiek House" was "built in the years of 1854-5, The 
frame was hewed from the native timber, the lath and shingles 
obtained at Lansing, while the siding is of the pine that once 
skirted the banks of our river, got out at what was known as Car- 
ter's mill, at Plymouth Rock, Considering its size and the diffi- 
culty at the time of obtaining and collecting material, no wonder 
that it was two years in building; completed December 24, 1855, 
The "Decorah House," as it was originally built, was finished 
prior to this in 1854, and since enlarged at difi"erent times to its 
present dimensions. An allusion to the "Tremont House," fin- 
ished in 1857, and burned last winter, (1867,)— gives us a glance 
at the hotel business among us; commenced in that first log house, 
though perhaps there is another that some one will say ought to 
be named — '"'The Central Housed 

Almost coeval with this branch of business commenced another, 
which now appears in the history we have commenccsd. I allude 
to the improvements of our water powers. In the same season of 
1849, there came a man with his family, who, the year previous, 
on an exploring tour through this region, had seen such visions 
of mill-wheels, mill-stones, of saw mills, turning-lathes, possibly 
of woolen-mills even, in connection with the curves pf our river, 
and the adjacent springs that he had already made his claim and 
put up his cabin to the square — a man, who, endowed by nature 
with more than ordinary mechanical skill, has been following up 
his visions every since, one who is still frequently upon our 
streets, the fruits of whose labor all of us are reaping more or less, 
one of those by whom the world is more benefited than is by the 
world acknowledged, • This man, as, of course, many of you know, 
was William Painter, a native of Green County, Ohio, 

His cabin was built upon the property known as the Butler 
property, nearly opposite the present machine shop, where, as the 
fruits of his labor, may now be seen the first well dug in town. 
In his family was the first birth, his son George Patten, born in 
the fall of 1849, in honor of which and also because he took the 
names of two sons of the Day family— George, Patten — he after- 


wards had the present of a town k^t. In his milling propensities 
Mr. Painter commenced immediately in 1849, and what is known 
as the Spring or Dunning's mill, soon taking into company with 
him one Aldridge. He brought a small pair of buhrsfrom Cincin- 
nati, and set them running by the simplest of machinery possible, 
in a log mill about sixteen feet square, some of the remains of 
which are still to be seen. The Heivly power was in his claim, 
but he did not think it best to commence the improvement of this 
till his means should be more ample and the country better settled. 
This power, however, was not long to remain in waiting for soon 
there came to our town another, the third family, February, 1851, 
in which there was the same propensity for milling to which we 
have alluded as a kind of family trait, true to which the descen- 
dants of this family may still be seen threadi^ig our water courses 
in search of more powers yet to be improved; I allude now, of 
course, as many of you again know, to the "Morse Family," the 
respected father of which is still among us, whose cheerful face is 
often greeted with the familiar title of '^Uncle Philipy He with 
his wife and two children moved in for a time with Mr. Painter, 
but soon built him a cabin on the back part of the lot on which 
the Tremont House stood. He built a year or two afterwards, in 
August and September, 1852, the first frame dwelling in town, 
which is still standing, and occupied at present by our fellow-citi- 
zen, Mr. Driggs (now occupied by Mr. Bonestell. — Eds)^ just 
west of the Tremont Stand. In his family was the first marriage, 
as the records have it: 

Married. — August 22, 18-'')2, Henry T. Morse to Hannah C. Chase. John S. 
Morse, Minister. The Mr. Morse now living in Freeport. 

But we must not by these pleasing items be drawn down our thread 
of history too rapidly. In the same season that he came, the 
the summer of '51, Mr. Morse bought of Mr. Painter a portion 
of the Heivly water-power and commenced the saw-mill now 
upon it, he and Mr. Painter building the dam and race together. 
Mr. Painter built, about the same time, a grist mill, the frame of 
which still stands within the walls enclosing the present building. 
About this time the Spring Mill was sold to its present owner, 
Mr. Dunning, whose family was the fourth in town. Thus com- 
menced and to the joint labor of these men — Wm. Painter. Philip 
Morse and E. Dunning — are we indebted for, the first beginnings 
by way of improving the abundant water-power with which we 
are favored, the value of which we do not yet begin to realize, but 
which is being developed from day to day. No doubt their labors at 
this early date had much to do in making this a point, as well as 
drawing hither other branches of manufacture, to which refer- 
ence may be made in due time. 

In the same year, July 3, 1851, the first lawyer made his ap- 
pearance, undertaking to walk out from Lansing, he got lost by the 
way and stopped the first night at a Norwegian's house six or 


eight miles east of this. Starting on the next morning he came 
along about noon to the log tavern, and inquired the way to De- 
corah, rejoicing, no doubt, to be at his journey's end ere he had 
found it. His name was John B. Onstine. The second of his 
profession that came was Dryden Smith; the third, A. B. Web- 
ber; the fourth, John L. Burton; the fifth, L. Bullis; the sixth, 
E. E. Cooley, who came October, ISo-l, — and so on. 

Mention has been made of houses being built. Of course 
there were carpenters here at this early date. The first in town 
was a man by the name of Stevens, who soon left for California, 
Avhere he has since died. The second was our fellow-citizen Mr. 
William E. Taylor, who came in November, 1851. He bought 
the chest and tools of Mr. Stevens, the first brought to town — 
which chest and many of said tools are doing good service at the 
present day. 

The mercantile has ever been a prominent interest among us. 
This, too, was started at an early date in the summer of 1851, by 
Aaron Newell, with a partner by the name of Derrick. They 
opened their stock of goods — not a very large one; indeed, some 
say about a wheel-barrow full — in the smoke-house on the Win- 
neshiek premises. They soon moved for better accommodations 
to a kind of slab shanty until they could build a real frame build- 
ing, the first store, and the first frame building, in fact, built 
in town, advertised and known as the "Pioneer Store," 
at present owned and occupied by the firm of Goddard & Henry, 
and by them enlarged to its present dimensions. This was com- 
pleted in the summer of '52, and was for the time quite a build- 
ing, furnishing in the second story a public hall called Newell's 
Hall. Could we but have a few of all the transactions within 
that hall, of county courts, caucuses and, I am afraid, of dances, 
too, and all sorts of things, it would give us a pretty good clue to 
the early history of the times. 

[The old 'Tioneer Store" building has since burned down, and 
a large brick building now stands upon the old site, occupied as a 
store by C. N. Goddard. — Eds.] 

In connection with law and commerce the Gospel soon came, in 
Septemper, 1851 in the person of a Methodist preacher, who pre- 
sented himself at the cabin of Uncle Philip Morse on the errand, 
as he said, of looking up the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 
Being assured that he had found them, he walked in. That night 
there was preaching and a class soon organized. This preacher was 
Elder Bishop, and made arrangements to preach monthly, taking in 
Lansing, Monona, and the country about in his circuit. A few 
weeks after, a Congregational minister, Mr. A. M. Eastman, made 
his appearance and established monthly meetings at the log tav- 
ern. Hence sprang the two first churches organized in town. 
Their subsequent history, the date of organization, the time of 
building their houses of Avorship, etc., with a notice of other 


churches since and more recently formed, would take us further 
down the line of history we are pursuing, and require more 
minuteness than time will permit to-day. 

While these things are going on, assuming shape, evidentl}^, to 
make this quite a point, another event occurred which, of course, 
cannot be overlooked. It was in this season of 1851 that this was 
established as the county seat. As, in the minds of many respect- 
ing this county seat question, there is an impression that there 
are things curious, and yet no definite knowledge about it, the re- 
cital of a few facts may not be amiss. 

In the winter of 1850 and 1851, the Legislature at Iowa City 
appointed John L. Carson organizing officer of the county. It 
Avas his duty to furnish poll books and assist the people in ap- 
pointed districts within the county in a lUwf ul way to determine 
by vote where the county seat should be. Three places were ap- 
pointed for the casting of votes: — this place, Lewiston, at or 
near Fort Atkinson, and Moueek. The majority of voters were 
about Moneek, while the interests of Lewiston and Decorah were 
united upon Decorah. The day of election came. For some 
reason or other the people of Moneek failed of receiving, as they 
should, the requisite poll book A man was appointed, indeed, by 
the organizing officer to receive it, and it was understood that he 
was to give it to a certain other person, and that other person was 
to carry it to Moneek; but somehow there was a failure to con- 
nect — that other person never received it, and it was never car- 
ried. The people at Moneek being left to their own resources to 
get up a poll-book and conduct the election, it is not strange 
that they made some legal mistakes; a few illegal votes, too, were, 
doubtless, in their eagerness, cast, and yet they had among them, 
it is supposed, enough legal votes, if lawfully cast, to have secured 
their object. Their vote, however, was declared illegal and thrown 
out, which, of course, left Decorah duly elected. The whole 
number of votes cast was 63. As to that missing poll book; how 
it failed to connect; this, I believe, is a mystery never yet to the 
piiblic satisfactorily explained. There Avere those that asserted, 
and doubtless believed, that it Avas all a trick by designing ones, 
that the people of Moneek might fall into mistakes, and get their 
vote thrown out. As to the facts whether this was so or not, the 
historian of course has had no power to put any one on the 
stand, nor, in some cases, has he thought it modest to question too 

These being the facts in the case, it is not to be Avondered at 
that some were dissatisfied with the result of the election; and so, 
afterwards, as you are aware, there was an effort to remove the 
county seat thus located. This was in 1856. A law had just been 
passed by which the County Judge of any county was to submit 
the question of the county seat to the votes of the people on a 
petition therefor signed by a certain proportion of voters in the 


county. In February, 1856, a petition signed by 400 was pre- 
sented to the Judge praying an election to be ordered. At the 
same time a remonstrance was presented, signed by 800. Here 
arose a question. Was it the duty of the County Judge to order 
an election in favor of the petitioners regardless of the re- 
monstrance, or in case of a remonstrance — and that in the major- 
ity — was he to disregard the petition? Sides were taken, and law- 
yers employed. For a day and a half, as the case was argued before 
him, did the Judge carefully gather all possible light from the best 
legal talent of the day, finally deciding against the petitioners. No 
election was ordered. At the April election an unofficial vote 
was taken simply to show the sentiments of the people, which, as 
a matter of fact, was in favor of a removal — Freeport being the 
place named. 

In June another petition for an election, to be ordered by the 
Judge, was presented, and another remonstrance, also as before, 
two to one, followed by a like decision of the County Judge 
against the petitioners. The case was then referred to the District 
Court in July, — where, by the District Judge, the action of the 
County Judge was sustained. In April, 1856, a proposition was 
submitted to the County for a county loan of $0,000 to build a 
court house, which at this time carried, and so fixed the matter. 

In reference to these, there were those (among the dissatisfied, 
of course,) who talked of bribes and unfair dealing — in fine, of 
much irregularity generally; but here again is the weakness of 
the historian. He cannot give the real life, but must be content 
with bare outside facts. 

Some things, however, are very evident. The feeling must 
have been strong, and no pains spared on either side — especially 
that of the remonstrants, A petition of 400 and a remonstrance 
of 800, gives 1,200 voters. As a matter of fact, there were many 
voters who signed neither. This, according to the usual calcula- 
tion, would give to the county a population of at least about 8,000 
people — more by half, as everybody knows than were then in 
it. There must have been remarkaljle diligence, not to say great 
skill, in finding signatures. Had a vote been ordered at the time, 
it is generally thought that the majority would have been for re- 
moval. And again, had there been a judge personally in favor of 
a removal, very likely (such is the weakness of human nature) an 
election would have been ordered, and Decorah's sceptre might 
have passed to Freeport, 

But how easy it is to slide down the lapse of time. 

We were in the year of 1851, — quite an eventful year. Let us 
see what we have: Three log cabins, one hotel; a lawyer and two 
merchants, partners in trade; with other families and persons that 
might be named, though the census would not be large; the water 
power beginning to be improved; regular preaching once a 
month by two diff'erent denominations, and a county seat, with of 


course regular sessions of the county court — -(an august body.) 
This year of 1851 is really the most interesting by way of the be- 
ginning of things among us, and we might dwell here entirely; 
but we will come down a few years later by a brief glance here 
and there at what is transpiring. 

In 1853 some new-comers are added, and new trades introduced. 
It was in this year that the first blacksmith shop was started by 
an old Californian, who burned his own coal in what is called 
"Cruson's Hollow." He blew his bellows in a building now oc- 
cupied by Mr. Grolz as a cabinet shop; and as he pounded his iron, 
was somewhat of a dealer in real estate, also. By him the whole 
block on which the Howell house stands, now the residence of Mr. 
Goddard, was purchased for |20. The block opposite, where is the 
residence of Mr. Horace Weiser, for $40. A few additional frame 
dwellings there must have been at that time, though probably not 
many, as this blacksmith's wife was designated as the ''woman 
that lives in the frame house." His name, as near as can be as- 
certained, was A. Bradish. He also carried on the tin trade, and 
had as a hired journeyman, one George C. Winship. 

It was in this year, too, as I think, that another very lucrative 
business was started, though it gives no pleasure to mention it. 
But we read that when the sons of God came to present them- 
selves before the Lord, Satan came also; and the historian must 
be faithful. 

About this time, down under the hill, in a kind of a spring 
house, near Day's spring, was a man, we will not call his name 
at this time, boasting that he had "the pure article" for sale, but 
it was afterwards ascertained that it had been well watered on its 
way to this place at Trout Run — a whisky fraud no doubt. This 
traffic soon crept up into daylight on Water street (which it has 
never fairly crossed, as it would seem), and was subsequently in 
the hands of one Gookins whose establishment not long afterward 
was destroyed, and the place for once cleared of liquors. This, 
however, was the result more of a quarrel among his patrons than 
a movement of reform among the people. The absence of the 
spirits was but temporary. To the place, though swept and gar- 
nished, they soon returned with at least seven others added, which 
have gone on increasing ever since. In justice to this, Gookins, 
however, it ought to be said that there is reason to believe that he 
became a better man, as some of us used to meet him in prayer- 
meetings, and as one interested in Sabbath schools. So in the 
history of this town, have some from time to time exchanged the 
business referred to for a better, and to as many as will do like- 
wise will we most heartily give the right hand of welcome. 

In 1853 the population increases. In this year Amnion & Co. 
came in; the first to add steam to our water power; the beginning 
of what is culminated, at last, in the present foundry and ma- 
chine shop — an' establishment no less useful than ornamental to 


the place. It was in this year that the town was first laid out, 
and original plat made ready for record August 17, 1853. The man is 
still living (Judge Price, of Clayton County) who claims the honor 
of suggesting the idea to the members of the Day family, while 
yet in the log house. The idea, however, was not entirely new to 
them, though by his encouragement, doubtless, their purpose was 
strengthened. He claims, too, the credit of suggesting the name 
Decorah, and tells how, after supper, he took a piece of chalk and 
marked out on the table how the to.wn could be laid off, 

In 1854 the first school house was built; the same that now 
stands on the old site, recently changed in color and fenced for 
domestic uses. The first teacher employed was a young man in 
the greeness of his youth, fresh from Vermont, seeking a location 
for the practice of medicine. He had come in through Monona, 
and was greatly discouraged by the residents here, so far as the 
prospects of medical practice was concerned, but had the offer of 
the school at $30 per month, if he could pass examination. An 
examining committee was appointed and a day set for the ordeal. 
The day came, and with it one of the committee, who examined 
him, found him qualified, and gave him a certificate. • He com- 
menced school, taught a month, flogged a child of one of the direc- 
tors, and raised quite an excitement in the district thereby. By 
this time his practice had commenced; he didn't care whether he 
taught or not. The result was, another man took the school off 
his hands and he devoted himself to his profession, which he had 
modestly followed ever since. His name was H. C. Bulis. The 
committee-man who examined him and gave him his certificate 
was Levi BuUis. The new teacher was Charlie Allen. That old 
certificate, by the way, the first ever given in the school, is still 
kept as a relic of the past; whether brought out in later times as 
evidence to the people of Cjualificatious for Senatorial honors, is 
not ascertained.* 

It would be interesting here from these beginnings, to trace 
the history of our educational institutions, the Select or High 
Schools we have had — good ones, too — not overlooking, of course, 
our Norwegian College, but more especially to trace the progress 
of our public school; how it was driven by winter's cold and 

*The author of this discourse wishes to say that since its delivery a mistake has been 
discovered in this matter. The school house was built in the year previous, 1853, and 
a school taught in it bv a young man who came with his father's family, in that year, 
from Crawford County, Pennsylvania, and settled at Freeport. After teaching that 
winter he was for four years th e acting Treasurer of the County until of age, when he 
was elected for three successive terms to fill that office, until in the war he served as 
Captain of Company D, 6th Iowa Cavalry; after .which he became cashier in the First 
National Bank, where he may now be found— Mr. T. W. Burdick. (he has also repre- 
sented his district in Congress, as is noted elsewhere —Eds.) 

To him certainly some credit is due that since the organization of the county its 
Treasury has never suffered from a single .embezzlement or fraud. Mr. Burdick shows 
his certificate, signed by Mr. H. K. Averill, and a list of his scholars, about forty-six in 
number, with the names of the parents. He says that he '"boarded 'round," taking in 
his rang-? the families ii. Cruson's Hollow on the east, and the l»loore and Child places 
on the west, and that such was the growth of trees and underbrush around the school 
house that one could hardly see it at four rods distance. 



straightness of space, to sojourn for a while in basement rooms, 
sheltered beneath church eaves, as schools often are; how taxes 
were first voted by the people for a §20,000 school house, generally 
about three attending the elections, till money accumulating ex- 
cited an interest among the lovers of education ! It would be in- 
teresting, I say, to follow the progress of these things, till, at last, 
we have such a building and such a school as we have, of which 
we have reason to be proud; bat of this, time will not admit. 

At the close of this year — 1854 — let us see, if we can, how the 
town looks. Our three cabins of '51 have increased to quite a 
little village of fifteen or twenty buildings, counting hotels, 
stores, stables, shops and buildings of all kinds. On the other 
side of Dry Run, so-called, to the south and east, stands one now 
occupied by Dr. BoUes; on Broadway, two: the old school house 
and the one occupied by myself, though less in size then than 
now. The rest, a dozen or fifteen in number, were scattered along 
Water street, commencing with the old building, or a part of it, 
now occupied by Mr. Keyes for a carpenter shop, including some 
of the old buildings on the opposite side a little further up; then 
up to the hotel stands the Pioneer store, and so with a building 
here and there on one side of the street or other, up to the cabins 
of Mr. Painter and Morse, aforesaid. The population probably 
was about one hundred. 

At this time traces of Indian graves were not all obliterated; 
a half a dozen or so had indeed been leveled to prepare the site of 
the Winneshiek House, then building. However, a spot was 
marked, and still had traces by which it could be marked, right 
at the intersection of Winnebago and Main streets, between the 
old Norwegian College buildings and Lawyer Bullis' office, of a 
recent grave, said to be the resting place of Chief Decorah, from 
whom our town was named. Some present may recollect how, a 
few years afterwards, our bosoms swelled with respect for the old 
chief; with what reverence we exhumed his remains — how, in 
imagination, we beheld his noble form, as his skull, with its 
straight hlack hair was turned out by the spade; with what pomp 
and ceremony it was planned to remove his remains to some 
suitable place, possibly a monument erected — till, in gathering 
necessary facts for the occasion, word came back to us that De- 
corah was a chief greatly respected by his tribe, an old man, con- 
siderably bent over, Avith one eye put out, and his hair very gray. 
His hair very graij ! All but this could have been got along with, 
but somehow the poetry was gone! Enthusiam subsided! 

However, if in future years, by the lapse of time, this difficulty 
should be obliterated, and any desire should remain in any to erect 
a monument to the old chief, they can find his bones, or those of 
some other poor Indian, safely deposited in a rough box a few 
inches below the surface of the ground, close to the northeast 
corner of the court house yard. 


But here, again, how easy to slip down among the things that 
we have done, instead of keeping back in the past. 

• I will detain you bj' an allusion to only one year more, that of 
1855. In this year our town made marked progress. Many new- 
comers were added, and many new kinds of business introduced; 
among them the Pioneer Harness Shop was opened by J. C. 

The first livery stable started was by Clark Kenyon and C. E 
Dickerman. Said Dickerman also sold the first drugs, with an as- 
sortment of other things, such as could be turned to advantage; 
though the first regular drug store was opened the year after by 
E. I. Weiser & Bro. 

What gave the place an especial impetus in this year of 1855, 
was the establishment of the Land Office for the Turkey River 
Land District. The bill constituting this land district passed 
Congress in March, 1855, mainly by the efforts of Gen. Jones, 
of Dubuque. What considerations any persons in Washington 
were to receive for getting the office here; how they somehow 
failed of getting what they expected, and displeased thereby, aided 
in removing the office early in 1856, need not be told. 

Nor need a detail of land office times here be entered upon. 
They must have been wild and curious times. The office was 
finally opened the day before Christmas, 1855; office hours from 
9 to 12 each day. The town was ciowded with adventurers 
from all parts of the country, with a rage for land almost barbar- 
ous. For two weeks, until some system was established, en- 
trance was gained to the office by brute force. He that could get 
his hand upon the handle of the door, and maintain his position 
until office hours was first best. The entrance was by an outside 
stairway leading to the second story. The building used for the 
office still stands, occupied as a boarding house, one door east of 
the harness shop of Mr. Noble. The white paint but partially hides 
the old sign "U. S. Land Office." One night, with the thermom- 
eter at thirty-five degrees below zero, a man stationed himself at 
midnight at the head of the stairs, and endured the bitter cold 
bravely for his chance. By morning both his feet were frosted, 
but still he held his ground. Awhile after daylight the crowd 
gathered behind him down the stairs and out into the street, 
passed up to him a warm breakfast and hot coffee in honor of his 
persistence, and good-naturedly cheered him to hold on, which he 
did. Sometimes these throngs would begin to gather by one 
o'clock p. m., and stand all night for the next day. At the same 
time in the rear of the building was another pair of stairs, and 
those within the ring could somehow get entrance to the office, 
and enter all the laud they chose by paying the officials something. 
Head clerks in this way received their hundreds of dollars for 
single night's works. This, too, was known. How this company 
of men ever got through the winter without continued conten- 


tions and outbreaks, to sav nothing of tearing the office to the 
ground, as they threatened to do, is indeed a wonder, especially 
when we are told, and we would not say it if we had not been 
told so, that the quantity of liquor used that winter was by no 
means limited. It is also remarkable that during this time not a 
theft or robbery was known. This is the more so, as the amount 
of gold, or its equivalent then in tovai was almost incredible, 
some say not less than a half a million. In proof of this the man- 
can be produced, and he then but a youth, who affirms that in pe- 
culiar circumstances he was constituted by acclamation chief 
treasurer to hold in safe keeping for the time being such effects 
as might be upon the persons of parties present. Belts filled with 
gold, packages of warrants, etc., were thrown together in a dry 
goods box over which he was to stand guard until the equilib- 
rium of the assembly should be restored, the contents of Avhich 
box counted out over $320,000. The circumstances alluded to 
I need not hint further than to say that it was about Christmas, 
just as news came that the office was to be really opened. Such a 
young man, so Stand(r)ing in the esteem of his fellows for so- 
briety and honesty, deserves to prosper as a retired banker, in 
the honest calling of a farmer. We wish him a railroad close 
to his house! 

In this winter and spring of 1855-6, nine banking houses were 
in full operation, two of which remain, that of Weiser & Filbert, 
now Winneshiek County Bank, and one Easter, Cooley & Co., 
now First National iBank. Heavy stocks of goods were 
opened; the population and business had taken such a start that 
Decorah was the chief centre of trade for the whole region around 
about even.for a hundred miles or more, especially north and west. 

When the Land Office was removed in 1856, some people and 
some things left with it, but many stayed. The town got a start, 
and it kept on growing— no railroad, indeed, yet, but still we live. 
I will follow down the history no farther. 

But you will allow me here to note one or two interesting and a 
few first things with which I have met that have failed to find a 
place in the history given. 

Wm. Painter ate water-melons that grew on a patch of ground 
at the lower end of town, in the street, near Mr. Keyes' carpenter 
shop, from seeds scattered by the Indians at a dance and feast held 
there. A. Bradish feasted on strawberries plucked upon the lot 
where he built his shop, now Mr. Golz's cabinet shop. 

To Dea. James Smith belongs the honor of making the first 
plow manufactured in town, in a blacksmith shop which he erec- 
ted, now used as a stable in the rear of Mr. Eckart's cabinet shop. 
He also ironed the first buggy made in town; the buggy was made 
by an enterprising Welshman, who came to town in 1854. He, 
like the first lawyer, walked out from Lansing to take a view, 
liked the prospects, and soon commenced a business that took the 


shape of agricultural ware-rooms, on which is the name of "G. 
Phelps," The oldest cat in town probablfis one called "Bob," it 
is thirteen years of age, whose kittenhood commenced in the mer- 
cantile life in the store of Dr. Green and Hazelett, in West Deco- 
rah, thence to the old Dickerman stand, now the leather store of 
Mr. Cyrus Adams, thence to its present quarters, in the store 
next to the Post Office, with Father Green, With much wisdom 
from the past, with an amiable and serene old age, do they jog 
along in life together. 

Of the equine race, the oldest resident probably is one called 
"Dandy,'' brought to this place in the energies of a six-year-old 
by Mr. Filbert, now owned by Mr, Weiser, still powerful in his 
old age, a good moral horse, in one respect at least, never by his 
masters subjected to the infections of the race course — what we 
wish could be said of all horses. 

The first court was in the log tavern, Monday, September 1, 
1851, Being no business, adjourned to October following. At 
this time the county revenues were 70 cents. Warrants issued 

The first mail entered town June, 1851 — in one letter, two 
newspapers — Lewis Harkins. mail carrier; C. Day, Postmaster, It 
is said in these days he carried the post office in his pocket, 

I have already mentioned the first well dug, the first bn-th, the 
first marriage. The first death was of a Mr, Chase, who died in 
the fall of 1852, buried, of course, where we used to bury our dead, 
in the brush on private property — we are almost ashamed to tell 
where and how — till the enterprise of Mr. James. E. Simpson, in 
1861, gave us a cemetery. 

Thus, my friends, have I given you a few items of our early 
history. Some of you, doubtless, see mistakes and omissions. You 
will pardon these; I have given simply what I have met with my 
inquiries made at snatches of time. 

Allow me a few words in conclusion. Gratitude is due to God 
to-day for his kind and preserving care. Some of the earlier res- 
idents indeed, are no more. Of the Day family five have been 
taken: two sons, one in Oregon, and one in California; two 
daughters, one fourteen and the other a little older, dying while 
attending school at Madison, Wis. Father Day, we buried in 
the autumn of 1860; Aaron Newell, in 1862. And so might we 
mention others; but yet a goodly number of the older residents 
are still with us, and many not here are in other places. 

The goodness of God marks the scenes passed in review to-day. 
We should rejoice together in the continued thrift of our town. 
A railroad we expect, of course, in due time; but if disappointed 
in this let us remember our water powers and our manufactures, 
with other elements of growth peculiar to us. These let us in all 
ways encourage. All thanks here to the enterprise of our me- 
chanics. Then we have much brain power to be developed. Go 


stand in our. new school building and behold the process there 
daily going on of fusing nationalities in the crucible of intelli- 
gence and mental culture. Let facilities there be added for in- 
structions in the classics, the higher mathematics; for every- 
thing lower than the college, drawing into it the patronage of 
the country, while it gives increased advantages to our own 
children, and more will come from this to give us prosperity 
and character than one would at first suppose. Our cemetery 1 
would be glad to see the property of an association, and not a 
private individual, and better improved as it should be. Also a 
monument upon the court house square, or some other place, to 
the deceased soldiers of the county, as in every county there 
ought to be, and then with other things attended to that would 
naturally follow 1 would like to meet you, if God will, on other 
thanksgiving occasions, with humble thankfulness to our heav- 
enly Father, with social life, friendly feeling, intelligence, vir- 
tue, and piety growing among us, with continued blessings of 
God from year to year. 

By us precedents are being set, and customs established. We 
stand at the head of influences whose flow is to be as permanent 
as the river and the hills that enter into the beautiful scenery of 
our home. Let us be faithful to our trust. 


Before proceeding with the sketch of Decorah and events fol- 
lowing those described in the discourse of Mr. Adams, it will l?e 
well to locate some of the buildings mentioned by him. 

The "Howell House" is the old frame building on the south- 
east corner of Water and Court sts., recently occupied as a tin 
shop in connection with the adjoining tin shop on Water street. 

Mr. Goddard now has a pleasant home on the slightly elevated 
plateau south of the C, M. & St. P. By. depot, where are the 
fine residences and grounds of Hon. T. W. Burdick, and Conduc- 
tor L. L. Cadwell, as well as those of Geo. Pennington, A. Tracy, 
P. A. Whalen, D. N. Hawley, Geo. Q. Gardner, Conductor J. W. 
Hogan^ and others. 

The opposite corner on the same side of Water street, men- 
tioned as the residence of Horace S. Weiser, has just become the 
home of Dr. C. W. Amy, a brother of Mrs. Weiser, and his wife, 
Dr. Harriet Bottsford Mr. Weiser commenced his newresi- 
dence on the southeast corner of Broadway and Grove streets, and 
diagonally opposite the elegant house and grounds of Judge E. 
E. Cooley, in the spring of 1872, and completed it in 1873. It is 
now occupied by his widow, Mrs. H. S. Weiser and family. 

The "Old Norwegian College buildings — occupied by them as a 
school and college before the building of the Norwegian Lutheran 
College — were what is now the St. Cloud Hotel, on the north- 
west corner of Main and Winnebago streets, and the residence 


just west of it on Main street, recently occupied by C. W. Bur- 
dick. The St. Cloud hotel has since been enlarged by a fourth 
story, counting the basement, in which is the dining room, 
kitchen, etc. 0. T. Hamre is its present landlord. 

"The Decorah House'' was the large frame building standing on 
the southeast corner of Water and Washington streets and now 
occupied by several small branches of business. 

The "Central House" was a stone building which occupied the 
site where now stands Dakyn's livery stable, on the southwest 
corner of Washington and Main streets. 

The house spoken of as occupied by Dr. Bolles, stood over on 
the flat beyond the present Decorah public school building. 

"Cruson's Hollow" is the valley across the river through which 
flows the stream from the springs in A. C. Ferren's place, Cru- 
son's notorious place being this side of Ferren's, near the site of 
the old brick yard. 

The first school house, built in 1854, has given place to the 
present three-story brick building on the northwest corner of 
Winnebago and Vernon streets, built in th^ season of 1866, and 
so far completed that year, that the lower floor was occupied, the 
other floors being furnished and occupied soon afterward. 

The oldest horse mentioned — "Dandy," — the property of Mr. 
H. S. Weiser, was carefully cared for by Mrs. Weiser till it died in 
January, 1880. 

The Winneshiek House, built in lS5iby Wm. Day, whose death 
August 7, 1860, leaving a widow who is still living, more partic- 
ularly referred to in the chapter on County Chronology, has al- 
ways been a prominent and popular hotel, and its fame has extend- 
ed to other parts of the country. It was greatly enlarged and im- 
proved in the latter part of 1876 and early in 1877 magnificently 
furnished and re-opened Wednesday, April 18, 1877; Seibert's St. 
Paul band furnishing music for the occasion. Its handsome front 
looks down Washington Street, and its location is still a promi- 
nent and convenient one. Present landlord, A. J. McClaskey. 

Mr. Adams mentions the Tremont House, burned in the winter of 
1867. Early in 1876 the project of building an up-town hotel on 
the Tremont site was agitated. ■^It resulted in the erection of the 
fine three-story hotel building, known as the Arlington, costing 
about $16,000. It was opened in grand style February 1,1877, 
and did a good business for sometime, but was closed on the leav- 
ing of landlord Dow, and is now used as a boarding-house, of the 
Decorah Institute. 

One of the oldest but later hotels of Decorah was the Union 
House, on the south side of Water Street, below Washington Street, 
kept by Felix Curran, now a resident of Alexandra, Dakota. It 
Was destroyed by fire on the night of November 28, 1870. 


Besides the leading hotels, the Winneshiek House and the St. 
Cloud Hotel, Decorah, has the old popular farmer's hotel, the 
Stiles House, and several other smaller ones. 

The cemetery mentioned by Mr. Smith, thanks to the enterprise 
of J. E. Simpson and others, has become a large and beautiful 
resting place for the dead. Situated on the elevated rolling 
grounds south of the city, partly covered v^^ith a grove of young 
trees, is well laid out and kept in good order. But the very few 
recent graves testify to the healthf ulness of the city. 

Mr. Adams refers to the solemn resurrection of the alleged re- 
mains of the Indian Chief Decorah, after which this city was 
named. This event, which took place August 4, 1859, and the 
second resurrection on the 6th of June, 1876, Avhen the Court 
House grounds were graded in order to terrace them, are des- 
scribed at some length in a preceding chapter/ relating to the 
Winnebago Indians. Judge M. V. Burdick asserts, however, that 
he has frequently seen the noted Indian chief since the time of 
such resurrection and re-interment. His name was Wachon-De- 
corah, and from him our neighboring town of Waukon also takes 
its name. He was more commonly known, however, as "one-eyed 
Decorah," from the fact of his having but one eye. Judge Bur- 
dick says that he must have been very old, as his form was much 
bent — a thing uncommon even with very aged Indians, or squaws, 
who have seen many years of toil. He died, according to Judge 
Burdick. in the winter of 1880-81, on an island in the Mississippi 
River, above Lansing, near the Wisconsin shore. 

The record of Decorah and her people in the war of the Rebel- 
lion is given in a previous chapter on the military history of the 
county. Her railroad history has also been given in that of the 
county and in the chronological history of events, and will be re- 
ferred to later in this volume so far as concerns the present. Many 
prominent events, including criminal trials, storms and floods, not 
recorded in county history, are noted in the chronological history 
of the county, and we will not repeat them here. But there are 
some things not specially noted that deserve a more extended men- 
tion than has been given them. 

On the first Monday in April, 1857, a meeting was held to in- 
corporate Decorah as a village. Resulting from this an election 
•was held on the 30th of June, 1857, when E. E. Cooley-was 
chosen President of the incorporated government. Decorah con- 
tinued as an incorporated town until 1871, the control of affairs 
being invested in a board of five aldermen or councilmen, elected 
from the town at large. 

Among its executive officers following Mr. Cooley, we find, W. 
F. Coleman, elected Mayor in March, 1861; again in 1862, and re- 
peatedly elected to that office till 1870. 


Early in 1871 Decorali was incorporated as a city of the second 
class and divided into four wards, represented in the city council 
by two aldermen or councilmeu from each ward. At the election 
held March 6th, 1871, the following officers were elected: 

Mayor, Charles F. Allen; Clerk, G. W. Patterson; Treasurer, E. 
I. Weiser; City Attorney, E. E. Cooley; Marshal, John T. Baker; 
Aldermen, G. 0. Rusted, G. W. Adams, N. Burdick, John Greer, 
J. L. Pennington, A. D, Thomas, J. H. Montgomery, 0. J. Clark. 

We have had for Mayors since that time the following well- 
known residents of Decorah, elected as follows: Frank E. 
Baker, in March, 1873; VVm. H. Valleau, in March, 1875; and 
twice re-elected, holding the office for three years. E. E. Cooley, 
elected in March, 1878 and again in 1879; Dr. H. C. Bulls, elected 
in March, 1880, and again in 1881; Wm. H. Valleau, elected in 
March, 1882, and present incumbent. 

The following are the present officers (1882) of the Decorah 
city government: Mavor, Wm. H. Valleau; City Attorney, 0. J. 
Clark; City Clerk, W, R. Toye; Treasurer, George Q. Gardner; 
Assessor, Cyrus Adams; Street Commissioner, A. W. Bonstell; 
Marshal, Ed Bean; Night Watchman, John Wilson. 

The members of the City Council, elected for two years, one 
being chosen each year from each ward, are: 

1st Ward, H. Engerbertson. Geo. L. Wendling; 2d Ward, E. P. 
Johnson, Wm. Jennisch; 3d Ward, R. B. Tuttle, John Curtin; 
4th Ward, James Alex Leonard, J. H. Baker. 

In the chronological history of the county, several mentions 
are made of the Norwegian Lutheran College, erected on its large 
grounds, and commanding site in West Decorah, and its progress 
from commencement to completion. The college has thirty-two 
acres of rolling ground connected with it, and is an imposing edi- 
fice in the Norman-Gothic style of architecture, three stories in 
height, and costing $100,000. The main building and one wing 
Avere erected in 1865; the other wing, completing the original de- 
sign, in 1874. This college was at first opened at LaCrosse, Wis., 
in 1861, was transferred to Decorah in 1862, and occupied what 
is now the St. Cloud Hotel, till 1865, when it moved into its pres- 
ent building. It began with eleven students in LaCrosse, had 
thirty-two on its commencement in Decorah, and eighty on en- 
trance into its present building. Now it has an average of from 
one hundred and Mfj to two hundred students, often approaching 
the latter number. Its president is L. Larsen, an able and effi- 
cient one. It has nine professors which are selected from the 
ablest of the scholars and educators in Europe and America. The 
college and the cause of learning recently sustained a severe loss 
in the death of Prof. J. D. Jacobson, but in that case as in other 
vacancies, they are filled with the best men that can be found. 
The Norwegian Lutheran College is the representative institution of 
that nationality for this country and especially for the northwest. 


Its pupils : are more particularly from Iowa,": Wisconsin 
and Minnesota. It is chiefly supported by contributions from 
Lutheran congregations. The college is not strictly theolocrieal 
—those who wish to study theology can be prepared in it to^en- 
ter the Norwegian Lutheran Theological Seminary at Madison 
Wisconsin or Concord College, a German Theological school, at 
bt. Louis, Mo, I he course of study embraces a preparatory de- 
partment and a full college course. Thirty dollars per year is 
charged for tuition, and $70 for board; but aid is afforded to stu- 
dents not able to pay their way. The college has its literary so- 
cieties and a library of several thousand volumes. The colleo-e 
choir IS a popular institution with the people of the city as Is 
also Its orchestra and its excellent cornet band, which has fur- 
nished music on many public holidays and celebrations in De- 

The Decorah public school building has been previously re- 
ferred to m this chapter. It cost, exclusive of furniture, $20 000 
It was thought to be ample for the educational Avants of the city 
for years, but has become so crowded that additional room will 
have to be secured, as there are over 600 students enrolled this 
early in the school year; the enrollment last year was 688 and 
the number this year will probablv be greater. This does not in- 
clude the West Decorah school. The school is divided into nine 
grades, ic which all the branches from the primary to the Hio-h 
bchool course are taught. A new and advantageous feature "is 
the system of special teachers for a particular branch in the var- 
ious departments, thus securing the benefit of special fitness for 
instruction in each study taught, instead of one teacher giving in- 
struction m all the studies in his or her department. The school 
possesses appropriate apparatus. A special High School depart- 
ment was established a few years ago, and the first class, nine in 
nuniber, graduated in the latter part of June, 1881, with credit 
to themselves and the school, as did the class which followed 
them this year— 1882. 

The following is the corps of teachers for the present school 
year, they all being so successful in their several departments as 
to be re-elected from the previous year: 

tit"^" Ji-,^offeen, Principal; Misses Lou Hughes, Julia Curran, 
Mary Helgerson, Ada Bulis, Eva Benedict, M. E. Riley, Emma 
Shipley, Emma Telford. Susie Duffin and Mrs. M. E. Jester. C 
H. Valder, Teacher of Penmanship. 

The Board of Education, which has management of the schools, 
IS as follows: E. Cutler, President; Joseph Hutchinson, W. F. 
Coleman, Geo. Q. Gardner, B. Annundson, Edwin Klove. 

In our. chronological record will be seen mention of the Winne- 
shiek Normal Institute, with Sherman Page as principal. This in- 
stitution suspended during the war, Mr. Page taking a position in 
the army. It was afterward revived under his management for a 


time; but Pedagogue Page soon removed to Austin, Minn., where 
he became somewhat famous as Judge Page, in the bitter unre- 
lenting warfare which he waged on political and professional ene- 
mies in Austin and elsewhere. But its ])lace is filled by the De- 
corah Institute, under the management of Prof. J. Breckeuridge, 
his assistant, J. W. llich, and an efficient corps of assistants. 
The Decorah Institute was established by Prof. Breckeuridge in 
September, 1874. It occupies the building formerly used by the 
M. E. Church, and is situated on Broadway, south of the Court 
House. The Arlington House is used as a boarding house where 
students obtain board at actual cost, it being amply fitted for the 
purpose, as well as for rooms for many of the students. The De- 
corah Institute draws pupils from adjoining counties and States. 
There were over 250 in attendance last year, and the number this 
year will probably be larger, as at the commencement of the school 
year there are are over 150. 

The Decorah Business College, under the charge of John R. 
Slack, an experienced instructor and accountant, Avas established 
at about the same time and was conducted in connection with the 
Decorah Institute, It occupies the second floor of the brick build- 
ing on Water Street, opposite Stile's Hotel. 

The Catholics have a parochial school in connection with their 
church here, and the initiatory steps have been taken and a part 
of the funjds raised for the building of a Sisters School, which will 
become an important educational institution of Decorah. 

The Norwegians also have a private school in the basement of 
the Norwegian Lutheran Church on Broadway with a good at- 

In 1875 a select school for young children, embracing some of 
the features of the Kindergarten system, was established by Mrs. 
S. K. Everett in the basement of the Congregational Church, and 
met with gratifying success, and continued for several years. Her 
ill health caused the temporary suspension of the school, and it 
was taken up by others. Mrs. Everett in the spring of 1881 ac- 
cepting a position as a teacher in the Iowa College for the blind, 
at Vinton, to which she was re-elected at the end of the school 
year, and served to the present summer, when she declined re- 
appointment on account of poor health and needed rest. The 
childrens' school here is continued, however, Mrs. J. Breckeuridge, 
capably filling the vacancy for the present. 

In musical talent and culture Decorah stands high, and is well 
supplied with amateur artists on voice and instrument. The pres- 
ent summer has witnessed a revival in voice culture, thi-ough the 
work of Prof. E. C. Kilbourne, of Terre Haute, Ind., a higly suc- 
cessful teacher of vocal and instrumental music, whose time of 
late has been specially given to voice culture in which he has 
rare ability and success, and who came here for a summer vaca- 
tion. The opportunity was improved, however, by singers and 



students m music in Decorah and vicinity to take private lessons 
m voice culture, so that Prof. Kilbourne's time was fullv occu- 
pied to the end of his vacation. A probably successful elFort is 
being madeto have him return next season and establish a sum- 
mer school m Decorah. 

Decorah is well supplied with churches. The largest is the Nor- 
wegian Lutheran Church on Broadwav, adjoining the beautiful 
residence and grounds of Mrs. H. S . Weiser. It il built of brick 

7q- af *''"''^"°."'^ °^ ^ '^°^^ basement, and was erected in 
18^0-6, at a cost of $20,000. Rev. W. Brandt presides there 
very acceptably to a large congregation. 

The Methodist Church which took the place of their old wood- 
en building— the first church building in Decorah— is a fine lar-e 
brick structure, trimmed with stone, costing about $13,000 and 
was erected m 1860, and dedicated December 20th. It has had 
tor Its pastors men who have become prominent for eloquence 
and ability Among them are Rev. H. W. Bennett, now of Du- 
buque, and m late years two young men. Rev. S. G. Smith, who 
IS just finishing his third year as pastor of a prominent church in 
bt. faul, Minnesota, to become presiding elder there; and after 
him came Rev. F. E. Brush last year called to the leading M. E 
Churchof Davenport Iowa. The pastor for the present year 
has been Rev. F. M. Robertson, an earnest preacher and worker 
llie Congregational Church, on the southeast corner of Broad- 
way and Court streets, built of brick with a high stone basement 
was erected in 1860, at a cost of about $6,000. Previous to its' 
erection meetings were held at the Court House. The first reo-u- 
ar pastor was Rev. W. A. Keith, who was here about a year, ?nd 
hved at Freepor . In 1857 Rev. Ephriam Adams succeeded him, 
and remained till 1872, when he was called to the position of 
btate Agent for the Congregational Society in Iowa. He was fol- 
lowed by Rev. H. B. Woodworth, who became pastor in Septem- 
ber 1«(2. He proved to be one of the ablest pulpit orators in the 
state, and his services were in demand on many public occasions, 
ile was pastor of the church till the spring of 1882; except for 
about a year and a half's absence on account of ill-health, durino- 
which time Rev. J. F. Tainter, a young, but efficient and abl? 
worker occupied the pulpit; Mr. Tainter's services closing at the 
commencement of 1880. Mr. Woodworth gave in his final res- 
ignation early in 1882, and about the first of March went with his 
tamily, for the sake of his health, to a stock farm near Mt. Ver- 
non, Dakota 18 miles beyond Mitchell. Not long after Mr. 
Woodworth s departure, Rev. A. Etheridge, of Marseilles, 111., 
was engaged to preach for six months, and proved an earnest 
and taithtul laborer for the cause of Christianity. Rev. John Wil- 
iard, of Massachusetts, an able, eloquent and 'earnest pulpit ora- 
tor, and zealous and effectual in church and social work, is occu- 
pying the pulpit at this writing, and has the hearty sympathy and 


co-operation of the people. [Since this chapter was written Rev. 
H. S. Church has been appointed pastor of the M. E. Church for 
the ensuing conference year, and J. W. Clinton is continued as 
presiding elder of the Decorah district.] 

The Catholic Church, a substantial stone building on lower 
Broadway, cost about 8T,000, and was erected in 1865. The cause 
of that church is efficiently served by the pastor, Rev. Father 

The Episcopals have a beautiful little church building on Broad- 
way, between the residences of C. E. Dickerman and W. H. Yal- 
leau. It was erected in 1876, at a cost of 85,000. Rector, Chas. 
A. Stroh; a zealous churchman and an earnest self-denying 

The Christian Church occupies the old M. E. church building, 
and has no regular pastor. A German Methodist Church also oc- 
cupies an up-stairs room on upper Water Street. It will erect a 
church on the southwest corner of Main and Grove Streets, 

Decorah's banking institutions are established on a firm and re- 
liable basis, with abundant capital. They are as follows: 

The First National Bank established in 1854, under the firm 
name of Easton, Cooley & Co. It was one of the few banks that 
weathered the financial crisis of 1857. In 1870 it was changed to 
the firm of Wrfi. L. Easton & Son, the latter being Jas. H. Easton, 
who is now president; and under the National Banking act of 
1864, became the First National Bank of Decorah. Its officers 
are: President, Jas. H. Easton; Vice-President, A. Bradish; 
Cashier, T. M. Burdick; Assistant Cashier, Geo. Q. Gard- 
ner; Teller, E. R. Baker; Book-keeper, Joseph Operud; Messenger, 
Frank Cutler. 

The Savings Bank of Decorah has its office in the same rooms 
with the First National Bank, and is in a prosperous condition. 
It was established in 1873. Its officers are: President, Jas. H. 
Easton; Vice-President, C. E. Dickerman; Cashier, T. W. Burdick. 

The Winneshiek County Bank — Mrs. H. S. Weiser's — is the 
oldest bank in the State that has had a continuous existence under 
the same name. It was established in 1855 by the late Horace S. 
Weiser and Thomas J. Filbert, who died quite a number of years 
before him. This bank Avas one of the two in Decorah that safely 
passed through the crisis of 1857. It was continued by Mr. Wiser 
until his death, and since that time by Mrs. Weiser, and Strong & 
Williams, administrators of the estate. Mr. Weiser, whose death 
occured July 19, 1875, was a [genial, public-spirited citizen, and 
did much to develop the resources of the county. His biography 
will be given with that of other Winneshiek County men in 
another part of this volume. The present officers of the bank 
are: President, J. C. Strong; Cashier, J. M. Williams; Teller and 
Book-keeper, E. N. Hoi way. 



There are several other private banking houses and brokers and 
real estate office?. S. W. Matteson's broker and loan office is in 
the Dickerman block on Winnebago Street. Mr. Dickerman has 
his office in the same building. 

Henry Paine, whose beautiful home looks down upper Broad- 
way from the west, has a broker and insurance office in his build- 
ing on Washington Street, and is also a dealer in wagons car- 
nages, etc. ' 

Geo. Phelps, a former resident of Decorah, has this season set- 
tled here permanently, having purchased the spacious G. F. Fran- 
cis residence, and improved and fitted it up in an elegant manner- 
he has opened a handsome banking office on Winnebago street' 
next to the St. Cloud Hotel. F. R. Fulton, who has also impor- 
tant interests at Grand Forks and Grafton, Dakota, and who pur- 
chased the pleasant residence of H. B. Woodworth, has an office 
in the Phelps building. C. W. Burdick's real estate and abstract 
office IS two doors north of the Phelps' office, being next door to 
the postoffice. 

And speaking of postoffices, Decorah now boasts of one of the 
most handsome and convenient to be found in any town of its 
size, the building being erected especially for that purpose in the 
spring of 18S1. It is of brick, two stories high, on the west 
side ot Winnebago street, between Water and Main streets. Be- 
ing on the south side of a broad alley, it gives opportunity for re- 
ceiving and delivering mails at the rear door. 

Going over the names of postmasters of Decorah, as they ap- 
pear m county chronology, after C. Day, 'Svho carried the post- 
office m his pocket," we find the familiar ones of A. Kimball, E 
E. Cooley, and Elisha Hurlburt, who died November 3, 1863 and 
was succeeded by John R. Slack, who was appointed February 4 
1864. During Mr. Slack's terra of office the postoffice was moved 
into the then new brick building on the east side of Winnebago 
street near Main' now occupied by the Journal office, and con- 
tinued to occupy those quarters till moved across the street to its 
present location in August, 1881. On the 7th of June, 1869, An- 
sel K. Bailey, editor of the Decorah Republican, was appointed 
postmaster, and continues in that position. It was under his ad- 
ministration that the present neat and commodious quarters were 
secured. C. W. Burdick consenting to erect a building and lease 
the lower floor to the Government for a moderate rent. 

The Western Union Telegraph Office is in the postoffice. A. S. 
Bailey, of the firm of Bailey & Bro., of the Republican being ij 

Decorah's telephone exchange, established in 1881 was origi- 
^ l^r^^^^ postoffice, but was removed to the adjoining office of 
t. W. Burdick. 

The water works system of Decorah is admirable; the high 
blutts about the city being particularly favorable therefor. The 


water works were erected in 1881 at a cost of about 125,000, in- 
cluding reservoir, pump bouse, and machinery, street pipes, etc. 
The large reservoir is situated on the summit of the high bluff in 
the southwestern part of the city, not far from the river, being 
reached by the road running southward from Upper or West 
Broadway. The reservoir is over 200 feet higher than the busi- 
ness streets, and over 100 feet higher than the most elevated res- 
idence portion of the city ; it is covered with a cone shaped roof. The 
pumping works are in the valley in the southwestern part of the 
city, and the water is obtained from a large well, fed from abun- 
dant hidden springs. At the firemen's parade and celebration of 
the completion of the water works, on February 22, by the force 
of pressure of the water in the reservoir a stream was thrown 
over the top of the steeple of the Methodist Church on Upper 
Broadway, and also far above the Court House . A well drilled, 
efficient, and suitably equipped fire department as an auxiliary to 
the water works protects Decorah from fires. It consists of two 
hose companies and a hook and ladder company. The following 
are the officers of the department: 

Chief Engineer, R. F. B, Portman; First Assistant, W. A, 
Bonstell; Second Assistant, Jas Alex. Leonard; Foreman of Hook 
and Ladder Company ,;E. D. Field; Foreman of Hose Company No. 1, 
Geo. Hislop; Foreman of Hose Company No. 2, Geo. Q. Gardner. 

The military spirit is kept up and the city is honored by the 
Decorah Light Guards, under the efficient drill of their old com- 
mander, Capt. Geo. Q. Gardner, and the present one, W. E. Akers. 
They were winners of one of the prizes at the State military en- 
campment, June, 22, 1882. The officers are: Captain, W. E. 
Akers; First Lieutenant, E. R. Baker; Second Lieutenant, R. Reed, 
of the former members of the company Angus Johnson is Quar- 
termaster of the Second Brigade, L N. G., with the rank of Cap- 
tain, and W. R. Toye is Quartermaster of the Fourth Regiment, 
with the rank of First Lieutenant. 

The Decorah Drum Corps has won national as well as State rep- 
utation. On the 22d of June, 1882, at the State military encamp- 
ment of the Iowa National Guards, at Waterloo, it was awarded 
the first prize as being the best drum corps. Dubuque being its 
chief competitor. At the inter-state military encampment at Du 
buque, it was, on the 29th of August, awarded the first prize of S500, 
beating the Chicago Drum Corps. It is the Drum Corps of the 
Fourth Regiment Iowa National Guards, of which its leader, 
Frank Cutler, is Drum Major. 

Of the secret societies, three are Masonic, viz: Great Lights 
Lodge, No. 181; A. F. & A. M.; King Soloman's Chapter, No. 35; 
Royal Arch Masons; and Beausant Commandery, No. 12, Knights 
Templar. They have for several years occupied a fine hall on the 
upper floor of the First National Bank building, but are just now 



completing an elegant new assembly hall on the third floor of the 
next building east, specially fitted up for them, and have rooms for 
other business on the floor below. 

The Odd Fellows have Winneshiek Lodge, No. 58, I. F 
and Decorah Encampment, No. 39, which occupies the third floor 
over the Dickerman block. 

Nora Lodge, R. H. K. (Norwegian), has a hall on the third 
floor, over the n inneshiek County Bank. 

There are also branch lodges of the A. 0. U. W., Leo-ion of 
Honor, and the V. A. S. fraternities, all mutual life insurance or- 

The fact that Decorah has a large and well arranged Opera 
House, with well equipped stage, and fine scenery, has caused the 
city to be favored with numerous first-class entertainments 
Among the noted musicial and dramatic stars who have visited 
Decorah, have been Ole Bull, Remenyi, and Camilla, the great 
violinists; Janauschek, the great tragedienne, and other famous 
actors, Litta, the celebrated vocalist, and other famous sint^ers 
and companies; andm the lecture field, the most prominent, sley- 
er s Opera House, a monument to the enterprise of Joseph Steyer 
who IS still its active manager, was erected in 1870, and was 44 

/io ?^J ^l ^^ ^^^^ ^^^P- ^^ ^as enlarged in 1875 by a frontage 
ot ^2 teet, the new part running back 114 feet. On its enlarc^e- 
ment it was entirely re-fitted, a circular gallery put in, and a suc- 
cession of raised seats beneath the gallery. New stage furniture 
and scenery by the best artists were provided, and chairs put in 
tor seats throughout the whole lower floor of the hall. Opera 
House block is an imposing three story brick building, situated on 
Water street, next to the Winneshiek House, and looking down 
Washington Street. " 

There are other public halls. Rudolph's Hall is neatly fitted up 
and furnished with fine and artistically painted stage scenery. 

Decorah has several important manufactories, and ample water 
power for more. Among the oldest of these is what has been re- 
cently known as the mill, foundry, and agi'icultural manufactorv 
T /^"^°io^^' ^cott & Co. The agricultural works were founded bv 

?-• 1- 1 ^°^°^ ^^ -^^^^- "^^^^ ^^^^1' afterwards ioined the firm 
™^,r^^^f ^^-f^on, Greer & Co., and the company, purchased in 
J 8 /O the mill of Henry Heivly, formerl v known as the Painter Mill. 
Mr. Career retired, and in 1870 Geo. W. Scott became a member 
otthehrui, which became a joint stock companv until it went 
out ot business some two years ago. The flouring mill is now 
owned and run by Henry Heivly. The wagon making and agri- 
cultural department was wound up for the company, for the ben- 
efit of stockholders, by Leonard Standring, who in years past has 
been prominent m banking and manufacturing enterprises in De- 
corah, and who now has a pleasant home and extensive farm near " 
the railroad in its southwestern suburbs. These extensive ac^ri- 


cultural buildings on Upper Water street, are not now running, 
but will not, probably, long remain idle. Mr. Amnion is now 
in the milling business in the western part of the state, and Mr. 
Scott engaged in business in Minneapolis. 

John Greer, formerly of the above firm, in company with Jas. 
Hunter, erected, in 1874, the Ice Cave Flouring Mill in the lower 
part of the city, it having three run of stones and costing $40,- 
000. This mill has recenty been purchased by John Lawler and 
Peter Doyle, who are interested in the C, M. & St. P. Ry., and 
the track of that road is now being extended down to their mill 
to accommodate their extensive shipments, as well as to the ex- 
tensive stone quarries on the river bank beyond. Mr. Greer re- 
mains in charge of the mill, and Mr. Hunter is still a resident 
of Decorah. 

The extensive building of the Decorah Woolen Mill, on the 
bank of the river or Upper Water street, was built in 1867 by 
the Decorah Woolen Mill Company, and cost with machinery 
$35,200. Its stock was owned largely by Englishmen, of whom 
there are many residing in the county, and are enterprising and 
• public-spirited, generally bringing with them a good deal of cap- 
ital. The Woolen Mill was managed for a considerable number of 
years bv Capt. W. T. Baker, still a resident of this city, and 
was sold recently by Capt. Lloyd, a son-in-law of Capt. Baker, 
who had recently acquired the chief ownership, to Lawler & 
Doyle, owners of the Greer & Hunter Mill. The Woolen Mill 
has recently been leased for five years by John E. Duncan, who 
has repaired and improved the machinery, and will run it to its 
full capacity. 

The Trout Run Woolen Mill, erected in 1866-7, at the head of 
Trout Run, where that large stream issues from a cave at the 
foot of the bluff, was the first woolen mill in the county, and did 
an extensive business. It was burned in November, 1874. 

A prominent pioneer in early business enterprises was Diedrich 
Addicken. He was born in Oldenberg, Germany, Nov. 5, 1824; 
came to America in 1855, settling in Clayton County, and in 1857 
came to Decorah where he built what has been known as the old 
brewery near the old stone mill, April, 1865, he commenced to 
build what is now the Addicken mill, brewery, and residence 
property on the Iowa River just above the city, about a mile from 
the prominent business center. He was an energetic, popular, 
and generous man, and his death, July 17, 1875, caused by being 
thrown from a wagon, the fall breaking his leg, was a shock to 
the people generally. The business was continued by Mrs. Ad- 
dicken until her recent death, assisted by her daughter, who with 
competent assistants has had charge since that time, and has been 
successfully and prosperously conducted. The machinery of these 
establishments is run by water power from Union Springs, near- 
ly a mile above. 


286 nisTOKY or winneshiek county. 

Other prominent flouring mills in Decorah are the Tavener 
Mills, on the Iowa River, half a mile above the Addicken settle- 
ment. And in addition to the Heivly and Greer & Hunter Mills 
recently mentioned, the Trout Run Mill, at the mouth of Trout 
Run, and propelled by the water-povs^er of that stream, w^here it 
flows into the river about a mile below the city. Benedict & Mott 
are proprieters of the West Run Mill. 

Among other manufacturing enterprises are the wagon and car- 
riage works of Jennisch & Wendling, who do a large business; 
the wagon shop of McKay & Bergeson; the extensive steam bakery 
of Joseph Hutchinson, which has custom through a large territory; 
the planing mill of L. R. Fish, and a considerable number of 
smaller establishments. 

Among other recently established manufacturing enterprises, is 
the Scale Factory, at what is known as Union Springs, a little 
more than a mile west of the city. In the spring of 1880, T. E. 
Gaston, in company with H. Heivly, began the erection of a large 
and commodious building for the purpose of manufacturing scales. 
It was completed the following September, and the first set of scales 
was turned out October 15, 1880. The machinery used in this • 
factory is of the latest style, has all the modern improvements, 
and is run by a water-power 22-horse strong, the water being fur- 
nished by a spring near the factory, and gives them 17^ feet head. 
They employ ^rom 15 to 20 men, and turn out from 3,000 to 4,000 
scales a year. The quality of the scales is second to none manu- 
factured in the United States, being built after the pattern of the 
Fairbank's scales. Mr. T. E. Gaston is the efiicient manager, and 
thoroughly understands the business, he personally superintends 
both the manufacture and sale, the latter extending through lowa^ 
Minnesota and Dakota. 

The business of egg packing was commenced in Decorah by 
A. W. Grow, a number of years ago, and within the past two years 
has grown into such proportions as to necessitate the erection of a 
large building especially for the business, and its enlargement last 
year. Mr. Grow's egg packing house is situated on Washington 
Street, south of the railroad. He packs yearly about 250,000 doz- 
ens of eggs, making about 3,500 barrels and twenty-four 
car loads. When it is considered that each egg has to 
be handled, and the bad ones picked out, it will be seen that 
•there is considerable work in the business, especially in the 
busy season. But Mr. Grow has found money in it. He has now 
purchased the H. H. Hoen paper warehouse property adjoining 
him on Washington Street, with a frontage of 100 feet on the 
railroad track, to use as a storage room, and as a cooper shop to 
manufacture barrels for his egg packing house, and for a coal 
yard, etc. 

The past two or three years has seen the development of a new 
industry in the county. Grain growing has partially given place 


to dairying and stock raising, thus varying the products of the soil, 
and that, too, in a most desirable manner. In this connection the 
new system of butter making has added greatly to the dairy pro- 
ducts, as our dairy butter commands the very highest price in the 
eastern markets. 

The Ice Cave Creamery, located in the eastern part of the city, 
and owned and operated Ijy Wm. Beard & Sons, was the pioneer 
in the creamery movement in this county. It collects cream from 
farms nearly all over the county, having within this past year es- 
tablished branch creameries at Fort Atkinson and Hesper. The 
Ice Cave Creamery, of Decorah, which is the largest of the trio, 
is in itself the largest in the state, and in the world. It is operat- 
ed by steam, and has systematic machinery for operating it both 
summer and winter. The total product of the Ice Cave Creamery 
for sixty days, commencing June 3, 1882, was 192,361 pounds of 
butter, being on an average of 3,206 pounds a day. The largest 
product for one day was 4,955 pounds on July 13th, and the next 
largest 4,870 pounds. 

Another creamery, known as Decorah Creamery, has been es- 
tablished in Decorah the present season. It is located in the 
Klein brewery building across the river in the northern part of the 
city. It is operated by P. S. Smout, and power furnished from 
the large spring at Spring Mill, just beyond it. 

Pure cold water is furnished from an in mense spring that- flows 
into the building, and uriderground vaults leading from the cream- 
ery into the bluff, make it admirably adapted for creamery pur- 
poses. Nearly 1,000 pounds of butter are made per day by this 

This creamery business has caused further development of the 
inventive genius of P. S. Smout, of Decorah, who produced his 
patent refrigerant milk can, which is adapted to private dairies 
as well as for those who sell cream to the creameries. It is meet- 
ing with immense sale through this and other states. The result 
has been the building up of a large manufacturing business by 
Smout & Hoy, in Decorah, principally to manufacture these cans, 
and incidentally for the making of Smout's cream carriers. 

The abundant supply of excellent stone for building purposes 
to be found in our quarries has been a matter of local knowledge 
for years, and stones that have been used in our business blocks 
for twenty-four years, still have the marks of the chisel as plain 
as when they were hewn, and show no sign of perishability. But 
it was not until very recently that public attention was called to 
our mineral treasure. Within the past year many car-loads have 
been shipped to different points by D. B. Ellsworth and others; 
and now Norman Willett, son of Judge G. R. Willett, having 
purchased Chase & Pinkham's quarry and works, and thirty acres 
of land, including the old Spring Mill on the north side of the 
river, and leased some other quarries, is putting in extensive stone 


and sawing machineiT which will be nm b}' the water power 
above the mill — formerly Dunning's Mill — which will run a gang 
of thirty saws which will cut a block of stone ten feet long and 
about five and a half feet wide and thick at the rate of 4 to 6 
inches per hour. Other cjuarries will be more extensively worked 
and as the railroad track, as elsewhere referred to, is to be extend- 
ed to the quarries, this source of wealth and prosperity to the 
city will be very great, as the supply is inexhaustible. Experts 
who have examined it pronounce it even superior to the famed 
Anamosa stone in solidity and durability; and, as to the color of 
our stone, it is durable and lasting. For decorative purposes the 
Decorah stone is far superior. It will take on the highest possi- 
ble polish — which the Anamosa stone will not. Its fossil ledges, 
which are abundant, are wonderful, and marvelously beautiful. 
They are rich masses of fossilized animal life in past ages of the 
world. Prof. Gunning, of Boston, one of the best geologists of 
the day, says that nowhere in the United States is there to be 
found a stone that equals these fossil ledges in revelations given 
of the past. For intrinsic beauty he places it above the famous 
red stone of California — perhaps the most costly material used by 
artists for decorative purposes. A slab of this'stone can be seen 
at the stamp window of the Decorah postoffie. Other more beau- 
tiful specimens have been made into paper weights and other orn- 
aments, and into table tops and books — and what a volume of un- 
written history these books contain — by M. Steyer, W, H. Spencer, 
and other workers in stone in Decorah. Prof. E. C, Kilbourne in 
his short stay here, was enthusiastic, over the treasures not only 
found in quarries, but in the pavements on which we tread, and 
the ditches along the streets. He gathered and polished a splen- 
did collection of rare mineral beauties, some of them small, rare 
and exquisite enough for settings for pins or watch charms; 
others perfectly formed fossils of which geology tells us; and still 
others that were masses of various remains which, the rubbish be- 
ing removed, stood out in wonderful distinctness and perfectness. 

The subject is almost inexhaustible. But enough has been 
said; suffice it that utility, durability and beauty exist in the high- 
est degree in this stone, and its development is but just com- 

The railroad history of Decorah has been given in that of the 
county in a preceding chapter. Ever since the completion of the 
branch of the C. M, & St, P, road from Conover to Decorah, in 
September, 1869, its business has far exceeded expectations. It is 
suggested by those who are supposed to know, that these nine 
miles pay far better than any other nine miles on the road. The 
three elevators at Decorah have done a very large business, re- 
ceipts at times being nearly ten thousand bushels per day. And 
though the partial change from grain to stock raising and dairy- 
ing has correspondingly changed the character of shipments, those 


from Decorah for July and August, 1882, will compare favorably 
with the enormous wheat shipments seven or eight years ago, and 
outstrip any year since that time. But be it remembered that the 
diiferepce in value between butter and beef cattle, and the same 
bulk in wheat, is greatly in favor of the former. The last day's 
shipments from Decorah of which we have record at the time of 
writing, consisted of ten cars, and none of them live stock. 

Since the above was sent to the printer, ground has been pur- 
chased and a handsome passenger depot will be speedily built on 
Water street, just as it reaches Dry Run. It will closely adjoin the 
business part of the city and be less than two squares from the 
Winneshiek House and Opera House. The old passenger depot 
will be used for freight. Work is rapidly progressing on the ex- 
tension of the track of the C. M. & St. P. Railway down to the 
Greer & Hunter mill, and will be completed this fall; a sidetrack 
will also probably be laid to the stone quarries this season. 

In our county history a reference is made to the extension of 
the Postville branch of the B. C. R. & N. Railway to Decorah. 
Work upon that extension has been commenced, and though the 
time given for its completion in the voting of a five per cent tax 
by Decorah does not expire till September, 1883, the road may be 
finished to Decorah before the close of this season; and it means 
not onlv another line to the south and east, but also an extension 
northward to another connection with St. Paul, uniting the lum- 
ber regions with the coal regions of Iowa. 

The Citizens' Association, designed to promote the interests of 
the city and county, was organized in Decorah early in 1882. 
The Chicago, Decorah and Minnesota Railway Co., was an out- 
growth of the above association ; and its purpose to secure addition- 
al railroad facilities seems in a fair way to speedy accomplishment. 

There is also a well-founded belief that the C. M. & St. P. Rail- 
way will continue their road from Waukon to Decorah on their 
road-bed already graded, and thus secure another outlet for the 
northern and western roads which meet at Calmar, and avoid the 
heavy grade between Calmar and McGregor, even if this road does 
not also build another extension northward from Decorah. 

The business of the C. M. & St. P. Railway at Decorah is in 
charge of F. H. Merrill, a capable and popular official. 

The dray and omnibus line is well conducted by Greer & 
Protheroe, successors to Jamieson & Greer — Bob Jamieson, the 
popular old-time conductor on the branch having removed to 
fields further west. They run the omnibus for the Winneshiek 
House, while the St. Cloud has an omnibus of its own. 

The United States Express Co. has an oflice which was for 
vears in charge of Albert Fewell, an excellent ofiicer, who re- 
signed on account of ill-health, and now lives on his suburban 
farm, just south of the city. His place is capably filled by I. N. 
Morrill, an experienced express man. 


A fair indication of the growth of Decorah is its post-office bus- 
iness, which is steadily on the increase. Let us look at it for the 
past four years. 

The total receipts of the office each year, exclusive of the oiouey 
order business were: 1878, ^6,102.74; 1879, 86,467.76; 1880, 
^6,762.45; 1881, 16,810.92. 

For the first half of 1882 the business amounted to 83,963.55, 
and the business for the last half of the year will be larger, so that 
the total receipts of 1882 will probably exceed §8,000. 

The paper mill of J. R. Booth, of Decorah, located at Freeport, 
in Decorah Township, can be reckoned as a Decorah institution. 
It was originally started by the Winneshiek Paper Co., and was 
afterward operated by Henry H. Horn, and by Henry Paine. It 
was purchased in the spring of 1880 by J. R. Booth, an experienced 
and successful manufacturer, and is doing a large business. The 
mill is run by water power from the Upper Iowa River, and em- 
ploys twenty hands. Its product is straw wrapping paper, of 
which it is making a nice article. It manufactures about three 
and a half tons of paper per day, and consumes from 1500 to 
1800 tons of straw per year. It is an important branch of man- 
ufacture to the people, as well as to our business interests. 
The paper mill is connected with Decorah by telephone. 

The Decorah Packing House, originally built by G. F. Francis, 
who has done much to build up Decorah, in residences as well as 
business hou&es, has of late been operated by a stock com- 
pany. It does a large business and is a source of wealth to the 
city and county, bedsides a convenience to the people in improving 
the market for hogs. Mr. Francis still makes Decorah his family 
home, though now absent in Dakota during the summer and fall. 

In stock raising, Winneshiek County is rapidly advancing to 
the front. The collection of cattle at the recent county fair in 
Decorah, was a superb one. Herds from this county also won the 
first premiums at fairs in adjacent counties, as well as at the Min- 
neapolis Exposition. Decorah is represented in this line by Sam- 
uel Aiken's stock farm and magnificent herd of Holsteins; by the 
Hesper Stock Farm, by Geo. Q. Gardner, of Decorah, and by other 
smaller herds. 

The Decorah Driving Park, with large grounds, on which are 
held the annual fairs of the County Agricultural Society, has a 
fine and well used track. Thanks to the enterprise of C. C. Bates. 

The extensive seed and hide store of N. H. Adams, present 
County Treasurer, does a very large business purchasing products 
from a large territory, extending into adjoining counties. 

Jas. Alex. Leonard, a comparatively new comer, and proprietor 
of an extensive book store, news stand, and* circulating library, 
has shown his faith in the city by buying his store building, the 
one adjoining it on the south, and a pleasant residence on Broad- 


Among the jewelry firms is the old resident, S. T. Wilson, who 
keeps an excellent eating house and fruit stand. 

The Decorah Green House, near the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. 
Paul depot, a well-kept establishment with a choice and extensive 
collection of flowers and plants, is a bower of beauty as well as 
a great convenience to the people here and in surrounding towns. 

Decorah has had her fires, but of late years destructive ones 
have been very rare, A prominent one was on what has become 
noted as Ben. Bear's corner. The old Adains building on the 
southwest corner of Water and Winnebago streets, was destroyed 
by fire on Thanksgiving Day, 1877, and Ben. Bear, who came here 
in 1876, was burnt out as well as some other smaller establish- 
ments mentioned in chronological history. The fine new Adams 
block of brick and stone was erected in 1878, and in November of 
that year Ben. Bear re-occupied it with a very heavy stock of 
clothing and furnishing goods. His business has continued to 
steadily increase each successive year. 

Space will not permit mention of the numerous business houses 
of Decorah, but we will enumerate a few old established firms and 
recent changes to which the attention of the historian has been 
called: The "Pioneer Store'' of C. N. Goddard, referred to else- 
where; the old diy goods houses of Oleson & Thompson, S. W. 
Landers & Son, McHenry & Allison; and L. F. Nelson, general 
merchant, who has recently erected a new building; and former- 
ly, the dry goods firms of Boyce & Wilson, It. F. Gibson, now 
justice of the peace, and some others who have retired from busi- 
ness, their places being supplied by K. I. Hangen, P. H. Whal- 
eu, Tver Larsen, Lee & Johnson, and others. In grocery stores, 
George Pennington, continues the old establishment of Penning- 
ton & Fewell. D. B. Dennis is "still on Deck." P. J. Euright 
holds the fort. B. Holcomb & Son occupy the old Ammon & 
Scott store, and numerous other grocers and general merchants 
keep the people from starving. B. 0. Dahly, who moved up from 
Freeport and established the Emporium of Fashion for the ladies, 
still keeps up his large establishment. Among the liverymen 
John Curtin continues worthy of the old reputation of Curtin 
Bros.' Stable, his brother and partner, M. Curtin, having died the 
present year. Among the comparative new-comers is A. W. Hay- 
ward, who occupies the Boyce & Wilson store, Mr. Wilson still 
residing here. Mr. Hayward has the finest and largest store in 
this part of the country. W. L. Easton continues active as 
proprietor of the Opera House Clothing Store and merchant tail- 
oring establishment, and J. H. Mackenstadt is still kept busy with 
custom work at his old stand. The Day brothers, first settlers of 
Decorah, have an extensive lumber yard, and E. J. Riley super- 
intends another for the Flemming Bros., of McGregor. The old 
hardware firm of Ruth Bros, still exists, and that of Finn Bros. 
is continued by Finn & Noble, while the Gulickson hardware store 


is continuecl by Hoyt & Hinman. The Weiser, Montgomery & 
Rudolph and Solberg's drug stores still compound medicines, while 
J. J. Klopp's drug store has been here long enough to be almost 
an "old residenter." 

Among prominent business men and firms of olden time Dr. 
J. M. Green, A. Howell, D. B. Ellsworth, Daniel Lawrence, R. F. 
Gibson, Henry Heivly, and C. E. Dickerman have residences on 
Upper Broadway, and S. W. Matteson, J. G. Morse and B. B. 
Green in that neighborhood. But we forbear further personal 
mention at this place. ISl ames of old residents come up so rapidly, as 
do those of prominent firms now doing business here. Decorah 
has her share of professional men, and of more than average abili- 
ty. As biographies of prominent men of this city are to appear 
later in this volume, we leave further personal mention to the 
writers of those sketches. 

A quite prominent and successful institution m its day was the 
Mississippi Valley Insurance Company, located at Decorah. H. S. 
Weiser was its first president and after him Leonard Standring. 
J. C. Strono^ was secretary, and managed the business during 
most of its life, and to its close. It was organized in 1864, and 
closed up its business early in 1875. It was a fire and lightning 
insurance company, and paid all its losses promptly. When it 
went out of business it cancelled and paid back premiums, and 
paid to stockholders a dividend of 25 per cent. 


West Decorah is properly a part of Decorah, and only separated 
from it by the river, over which are fine bridges, the whole form- 
ing a beautiful city of about four thousand inhabitants. Yet, 
West Decorah, which has some five hundred inhabitants is incor- 
porated as a town. It is the site of Luther College, and the 
homes of several prominent Decorah business men. Among these 
residences are the elegant home of J. J. Marsh, an extensive deal- 
er in agricultural machinery, and C. W. Burdick, of the real es- 
tate and abstract office. It was incorporated in 1879. The follow- 
ing are its present officers: 

Mayor, G. W. G. Sawyer; Councilmen, C. W. Burdick, Fred 
Hencke, J. J. Marsh, J. H, Mackenstadt, N. P. Chase, Oren 
Hall; Treasurer, J. Bandeau; Recorder, J. Fannon; Marshal, 
Frank Betts. 

The prominent store is that of Fred Hencke, who also has an 
extensive pop manufactory. Dan. Shaw is principal of its public 


This little village, so prominent in the county seat contest, des- 
cribed in County History, is on the LTpper Iowa River in the east- 
ern part of Decorah tov/nship, about two miles from Decorah in 


a'straight line, and three nnles by road. It is on the grade of the 
proposed raih'oad extension from Waukon to Decorah, and on the 
daily stage route between these two places. It has a new Methodist 
Church with regular services, the paper mill of J. R. Booth, a 
postoffice and store kept by A. A. Snyder, and the county poor 
house and farm. It has also several other small business enterprises, 
and a population of about 150. When Freeport finally lost all 
hope of securing the county seat, most of Freeport's business 
came to Decorah, and soon after the families of the Burdicks, the 
Fannons, and B. 0. Dahly, and others. It was a good site for a 
town, being in a broad and fertile valley, and having a good water 


Various newspaper enterprises are mentioned in the previous 
pages of the history of the county. It would be difficult to give 
a complete record of the twenty-five that have had their existence 
in as many years, and we will not attempt to repeat it here; but 
briefly mention the printing establishments now in Decorah, and 
those of which they are the legitimate successors; and as the pub- 
lishers are, in virtue of their offices, the recorders in their history 
of the newspapers of the county, we give a few personal facts in 
regard to them as a convenience for future reference: 

In 1856, one Tracy issued the prospectus of the Decorah Clironi- 
ele^ and in due time that paper appeared. Judge M. V. Burdick 
was for a time its anonymous editor. Its successor is the present 
Decorah Repuhlicmi. It has had the names of Chronicle^ Gazette 
Republic and Bepuhlican^ there being sometimes, in early days, 
suspensions of publication, with exchanges of names of proprietors. 
It was the Decorah J/fpf/J/Zc when purchased in 1860 by Wesley 
Bailey & Son, who came here from New York, where they had 
been thoroughly educated in the newspaper business. In March, 
1866 the name was changed to Decorah Bepiihlican; the proprie- 
torship was also changed to A. K. Bailey & Bros., the father re- 
tiring, and now a resident of Decorah. A. K. Bailey, editor, is 
also postmaster, and his partner brother, A. S. Bailey, manager of 
the Western Union telegraph office, and assistant postmaster. 
Ansel K. Bailey was born at Wales, Erie Co., N. Y., Nov. 15, 
1835. He removed to Utica, N. Y., in 1842, where he received a 
common school education. When between 12 and 18 years of 
age he entered his father's printing office. He gave his note for 
a newspaper office in Utica the day he became of age, and has been 
engaged in newspaper work ever since — a period of more than a 
quarter of a century. In March, 1860 he came to Decorah, having 
with his father bought the only newspaper office in the place, some 
two months before his removal. His father had been here in the 
September previous, and the purchase Avas made by correspondence. 
He was elected Treasurer of the county in 1863. and served one 


term, from 1864 to 1865, declining a re-election. Four years 
later the appointment as postmaster was made by President 
Grant, which office he has held without contest ever since. 
Editorial and official position, and acquaintance with the people of 
the county, have made him a serviceable agent of his party, and 
more than half the time he has been the chairman of the Republi- 
can central committee serving in that capacity in each of the last 
four Presidential campaigns. In this position he has been subject 
to sharp criticism, which, however, has neither damaged his char- 
acter nor soured a temper that is usually equable and genial. His 
opponents have frequently been warm personal friends and the 
contests have usually ended with the close of a campaign. No one 
probably, has less desire than he to be a political boss. In social 
and religious life he has been active and prominent, and a useful 
and exemplary member of society. 

For fifteen years he was superintendent of the Congregational 
Sabbath School, and is now serving the 18th and 19th years in 
that capacity. He was married at Utica, N. Y., in 1859, to Miss 
Sarah Higham. They have had five children, four of which are 
living. Their residence is on Vernon street, about one square 
west of the public school building. The Bepuhlican has steam 
power and a well-equipped job printing office, and occupies the 
second floor of the new postoffice building on Winnebago street. 
It recently showed its enterprise by printing a daily during the 
County Fair in Decorah. 

A. S. Bailey, of the above paper and telegraph manager, has 
been the main stand-by of the popular Decorah Amateurs. He 
has decided dramatic ability, excelling especially in comedy. He 
was married several years ago at Cleveland, Ohio, to Miss Mary 

The next oldest paper in Decorah is the present Decorah Jour- 
Wolcott, a deservedly popular favorite in Decorah society. 
nal^ counting it as identical with its legitimate predecessor. The 
Winneshiek Register was founded^by G. W. Haislet in 1866; in No- 
vember the office was destroyed by fire. A new office was pur- 
chased on time, and in the spring of 1869 the paper was compelled 
to suspend. August 25, 1869, he re-issued his paper under the 
name of Register & Ventilator, afterwards dropping the first half 
of the name. Several years later W. N. Burdick became a part- 
ner with Haislet, and soon bought him out entirely, and in 1874 
was sole proprietor, and changed the name Ventilator to Winne- 
shiek Register. In November, 1874, Mr. Burdick sold out to A. 
A. Aiken and Henry Woodruff. C. H. Fullerton soon after be- 
coming a member of the firm for a time. Mr. Burdick is now 
publisher fthe Postville Review. Early in February, 1875 the 
Saturdaij Bee was issued as an extra from the office of the Register, 
and during the February snow blockade, and on other special oc- 
casions — the Bee was issued daily, or as [often as occurences de- 
manded. In the latter part of 1875 the Register establishment 


absorbed the Independent (whicli was started by Ed. Wood and S. 
S. Haislet in the summer of 1S74), the combined paper taking the 
name Independent-liefjister. In January, 1876, Mr. Aiken sold 
out ^ his interest, Henry Woodruff becoming editor and manager 
of the Bee^ which continued without change till January, 1879, 
Ed. Wood taking the Independent Register, and soon dropping 
the word Register from the name. About the first of June, 1876, 
Mi. Wood sold out and gave place to J. F. Meagher, who, in the 
latter part of July, '^stepped down and out," the present proprie- 
tors of the Decorah Journal becoming its purchaser, and its sub- 
scription list was united with that of the Bee. In January, 1879, 
the regular publication of the weekly Decora Journal commenced, 
it being virtually the successor of the o\d Register and Independent^ 
and the Bee office soon dropped its separate character and became 
part of the Journal establishment. Henry Woodruff, the editor 
and publisher, was born at Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio, Oc- 
tober 20, 183G. He learned the printer's trade, commencing at he 
age of 15, in the office of the Anti-Slaver g Bugle., at Salem, Ohio, 
then a center of western abolitionists, of which the Bugle was the 
organ, Abby Kelley and S. C. Foster, Wm. Loyd Garrison, Parker 
Pillsbury,the Burleighs and the venerable and quaint colored female 
lecturer, Sojourner Truth, who is still living, often making that 
town their western headquarters, and lecturing there. He after- 
wards worked at his trade at Warren Ohio, and graduated at the 
High School there, having lived for a time at Talmadge, Ohio, 
and from there he went to Western Reserve College, at Hudson, 
Ohio, since removed to Cleveland and known as Western Reserve 
University, from which he graduated in 1865, being meanwhile 
four months in the Union army, and was married in Hudson, 
September 17, 1865, to Miss Cordelia Kilbourne. He lived for a 
short time at Geneseo, N. Y,, and also at Cleveland, 0., and in 
July, 1867, went to St. Paul, Minn., where he at once became ed- 
itorially connected with the Dailg Press. He was one of the 
prize speakers and the poet of his class, but has since made no effort 
in the way of rhyming, except to accept the invitation in 1873, to 
deliver the Alumni poem at Western Reserve College commence- 
ment, at Hudson, in June, on the occasion of the late President 
Garfield's address to the college societies, and to twice read the an- 
nual poems before the Minnesota State Editorial Association. He 
remained at his editorial work at St. Paul, excepting an interval 
of a year and a half, as editor of a paper in StiHwater, until he 
came to Decorah with his family about December 1, 1871:. Their 
residence is on the northwest corner of Broadway and Grove 
Streets. They have three children. The Journal office is now 
situated on the first floor of tlie brick building on the east side of 
Winnebago Street, near Main, vacated by the postoffice in 1881. 
It made arrangements some two years ago with the Luther College 
Publishing House, just "across Main Street, to run its Cylinder 


Press by steam, and has since had its newspaper Press work done 
there. It has a job office, press, etc, in its own olfice, from which 
is also issued the monthly Home Journal, which has a large cir- 

The other English printing office in Decorah is that o£ the De- 
corah Pantograph., successor to the Decorah Badical. Geo. W. 
Haislet, after leaving the Register office, went to Cresco, where he 
published a paper for a time, and in August, 1875, came back to 
Decorah and started another Ventilator, but soon suspended pub- 
lication and went to Dubuque, where he continued in the news- 
paper business. In the fall of 1876 he came back to Decorah, and 
on October 10th commenced the publication of the Decorah Badi- 
cal.1 which he continued till his death, March 6, 1881. The Radi- 
cal was continued by Mrs. Haislet, Judge M. V. Burdick conduc- 
ting it for a time. It was purchased April, 1882, by C. H. Craig, 
who changed its name to the Decorah Pontagraph, and is its 
present publisher. It does not run a job office and has its news- 
paper press work done at the Posten office which is near at hand. 
Mr. Craig was born in Albany, N. Y., November 20, 1856, and re- 
ceived his education in the public schools there. He came west to 
Sioux Falls, Dakota, in April, 1878; became connected with the 
newspapers, and remained there until he came to Decorah in April 
of the present year. He is at present unmarried, but the deserved- 
ly happy lot of a Benedict is predicted for him by his friends. 

The Decorah Posten is the only Norwegian paper in Iowa. B. 
Annundsen, the publisher, came to Decorah in 1867 and started a 
printing office. He established the Posten in September, 1874; it 
was then a small four page sheet, 18x24 inches; subscription price 
50c. a year. The first month the subscription list grew to 1,200. 
In 1875 the paper was enlarged to 22x32 inches, subscription price 
$1.10. In 1876 its size was 24x36; in 1877, 24x38; and in 1878 
it w^as enlarged to its present size, 29x40, being in large four-page 
form; price, $1.10. Its present circulation is over 7,000. It is 
independent in all things and owns to be a purely literary and 
family newspaper. B. Annundsen, the persevering and energetic 
proprietor, was born at Skien, Norway, in 1814. He came to 
America in 1864, and to Decorah in 1867, as already stated. He 
has a family, and his residence is on east Main street. 

The publishing house of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod has 
grown to be a very important one. Besides printing the several 
Norwegian newspapers and magazines, it does a large book-pub- 
lishing business and has complete book-binding and stereotyping 
departments. Its regular periodicals are the Kirketidende, a 
church weekly, and the Ophgggelsesblad, a church monthly, and 
Fer Hjeinmet, a semi-monthly for the family. It is now engaged 
in printing from its stereotype plates a large edition of the New 
Testament in the Norwegian language. It is also extensively en- 
gaged in the publication of Norwegian religious and school books, 


and has several presses and other machinery run Ijy a powerful 
steam engine. The publishing establishment is on Main street, 
near Winnebago, and its retail department on the corner of Win- 
nebago and Main streets, next door to the Journal oifice. It em- 
ploys more than twenty hands, and its business is rapidly increas- 
ing, as it has for its field all parts of the United States where Nor- 
wegians have located. Its manager, J. L. Lee, who was born in 
Christiana, Norway, in 1835, Avas educated there, came to Amer- 
ica in 1852, and to Decorah in 1872. He became manager of the 
business in 1877, and to him its success is largely due. The resi- 
dence of Mr. Lee and family is in West Decorah. 

The extent of the newspaper business in Decorah may be judged 
from the fact that during the three months ending with Septem- 
ber, 1882, the Decorah postoffice mailed 13,825 pounds of news- 
papers, or nearly seven tons, for which the government secured a 
revenue of $208.62. 


Decorah and its suburbs abound in charming, extended, and 
beautiful views, and romantic places of resort for the summer vis- 
tor; and within the limits of the township are many more. The 
wonderful Ice Cave, about half a mile north of "the busines part of 
the city, has been mentioned in the opening part of this chapter. 
From the bluff above it, one of the finest views of Decorah can be 
had. About a half a mile west of it, a few rods up a romantic val- 
ley is "Spring Mill," where a large stream of water pours out of a 
cave in the blufi", about 100 feet high, while it is fully another 
hundred feet to the top of the overhanging bluff", from which a 
magnificent view of city and valley is gained. About half a mile 
east of Ice Cave, a romantic valley leads up to A. C. Ferren's 
grounds, where two large springs, clear and cold, make a favorite 
place for picnics, and the home of some beautiful trout, which 
Mr. Ferren has raised. Coming back to the bank of the river, a 
gradual ascent towards the east leads up to the top of the perpen- 
dicular, rocky bluff", from which is a beautiful view of the city and 
valley above, and the river below — lying apparently at your feet — 
the whole presenting an extraordinary picture. From Pleasant 
Hill, southeast of the city, and from the hill at the head of Wash- 
ington street, other fine views of city and valley can be had. 
About two miles south the immense spring or underground river, 
forming Trout Run, comes out from a mamoth rock at the foot of 
a bluff", winds around a grassy slope where stands the residence of 
Prof. Seevers, while in the foreground, tall, rocky pillars and per- 
pendicular bluff's overlook the beautiful valley for miles below. 
There are also delightful picnic grounds at Union Springs, near 
the scale factory, referred to in this chapter. Several large springs 
of pure cold water flow out from the bluff' at all seasons of the 
year, while close at hand are grassy lawns and refreshing shade 


from the heat of summer. But there are delightful rambles in- 
side the limits of the city. Only a few rods from Upper Broad- 
way, just beyond the beautiful residence of Henry Paine, is the 
shady summit of the precipitous bluff overhanging the river and 
''dugway" road to Addicken mill and Union Springs. Here the 
eye takes in a view of West Decorah, Luther College, and the 
broad expanse of river and valley. And yet not half has been 
told. The eye of the rambler is greeted with continual surprise. 

In speaking of places of resort it is convenient just here to re- 
fer to some noted ones in other parts of the county. A drive to 
Bluffton, about twelve miles northwest of Decorah, where immense 
rocky bluffs overlook the river, takes one through some of the 
wildest and most romantic scenery on the Upper Iowa River. In 
the southern part of Burr Oak township, a few miles from Bluff- 
ton, is the well-known ''Cold Spring," where a stream of water 
sufficient to turn a mill flows from the mouth of a cave, under a 
towering bluff 100 feet high. In the cave is a lake about 100 feet 
long by forty feet wide, the top of the cave rising in a high arch 
as it recedes from the entrance. Again, about eight miles from 
Decorah, on a cross-road between the Waukon and Frankville 
roads, near the Peter Oleson flour mill, in Glenwood township, is 
another large cave. The entrance is low and narrow; and a boat 
and torch are necessary to explore the cave. Once in, there is 
plenty of room, and water that will float a boat through a narrow 
channel that seems to be a' quarter of a mile long, and further if 
one cares to go. In some places the ceiling is in plain sight 
and at others invisible in the darkness. 

Another cave, as large as a good-sized mercantile salesroom, 
can be found on the Coleman farm, about six miles up the Iowa 
River. The caves and springs in this county on and near the 
Wankon road, are frequently visited by picnic parties from Wau- 
kon. There are other caves that might be mentioned. But we 
will close by saying that it will amply repay any one to visit the 
large and beautiful grounds of Col. J. W. Taylor, about six miles 
west of the city; where art has combined with nature to make 
nature look still more varied and beautiful, and where frequent 
surprises greet the eye as one drives through avenues lined with 
evergreens, succeeded by flowers, solitary woods, bright and 
velvety openings in the forest, and finally reaches the cozy, 
unique log cabin of the proprietor, beyond whicb a bridle path 
leads down past a precipitous bluff to the bed of a beautiful 
stream, where are abundant springs, grassy slopes and green fields 


Decorah has good reason for pride in its large, handsome and 
substantial business blocks, as well as its beautiful residences. Its 
court house, and handsome, substantial new jail, have been de- 


scribed in tlie chapters of county history. The elevated portion 
of the court house grounds is very nearly in the center of the city; 
their beautiful terraced slopes at once attract attention, and from 
them the eye looks down on a beautiful city, spreading out across 
a broad valley, and the grand, encircling hills which surround and 
protect it. May it attain the growth that its natural advantages 
entitle it to, and the public spirit of its citizens make it quick to 
utilize and make the most of those advantages, and use all for the 
promotion of its natural, as well as moral and social welfare. 


Townships and Villages of the County; General Remarks; Rivers 
and Railroads; Shape and Size of County ; Its Geology^ Pro- 
duds^ and Resources; Healthy Climate; Rich Soil and Beautiful 

The general history of the settlement and development of Win- 
neshiek County, as well as its chronological history, has embraced 
to a great extent that of its several townships and villages, and 
in the biographical sketches toward the end of this volume. The 
history of Decorah has also been to a large extent that of the 
county at large. But there are many things that pertain speci- 
ally to the townships and villages, and separate mention of them 
will be of interest. As a matter of convenience, the townships 
are taken up by tiers, commencing with the northern tier, and the 
western township of that tier. 



Fremont township is in the extreme northwest corner of the 
county. Positively who was the first settler is not decided. A. 
C. Hitchcock, afterwards deputy sheriff, and Wm. Finfield and 
wife came there in 1854. There were probably earlier settlers, 
for Rev. Ephraim Adams, in his Thanksgiving discourse, said that 
the siding for the Winneshiek House, which was built in 1854-5, 
was got out at what was known as Carter's Mill, at Plymouth 
Rock. Fremont township for several years belonged to Burr 
Oak precinct. In August, 1856, an election was ordered to es- 
tablish Fremont township, and was carried. The first township 
ofiicers were: 

Justice of the Peace, Joseph Eddy; Town Clerk, Wm. F. Das- 
kam; Constable, C. Parmalee; Trustees, DeWitt Brady, J. P. 
Johnson, D. E. Shelmadine. 


The population of the township by the census of 1880, was 692. 
There are two postoffiees at two small villages in the township — 
Kendallville and Plymouth Rock. 

The village of Kendallville, which by the census of 1880 con- 
tained 75 inhabitants, is on the southwest side of the Upper Iowa 
River, is two and a half miles from the west line, and three-quar- 
ters of a mile from the south line of the township. It was origi- 
nally called "Enterprise," and was located on the claim of Mr. 
Shelmadine. S. G. Kendall came to this county from Mississippi 
in 1860, commenced the erection of a flour mill and other im- 
provements, and started the mill in operation in 1862; the village 
from that time was called Kendallville, and the postoifice was 
changed to this place from Twin Springs, one mile north; the 
plat of Kendallville was recorded September 9th, 1874. George 
Potter was the first postmaster. The first store was kept by 
David Bennett. A Grange hall was built January, 1868, two 
stories high, 20x50 feet, is still conducted by the society of Pat- 
rons of Husbandry, and is one of the few lodges in the state in a 
flourishing condition. The mill passed from Mr. Kendall's hands 
to Mr. Lawler, of Prairie du Chien, and from him to John Mc- 
Hugh, of Cresco, who still owns it. Kendallville has two stores, 
one by J. L. Daskam, the postmaster, and one by R. Barnes; J. 
H. Stockman has a blacksmith shop. It is 21 miles from Decorah 
and eight from Cresco, with which it connects by a tri-weekly 
mail. The extensive Kendalh'ille stock farm of John McHugh is 
located near here. 

Plymouth Rock village and post ofiice is within half-a-mile of 
the south [line of Fremont township, and 1| miles from the east 
line. It was platted in September, 1855, and the plat recorded 
January 15, 1856. The siding for the Winneshiek House, built 
in 1851-5, was obtained from what was known as Carter's Mill, at 
Plymouth Rock. It has a population of about 30, and is about 
19 miles from Decorah, and 10 from Cresco. It has a tri-weekly 
mail. G. Y. Puntney, postmaster, runs the flour mill; L. Wan- 
less has a general store. 


Burr Oak is the second from the west in the northern tier of 
townships. Geo. V. Puntney, now of Plymouth Rock, settled on 
section 30, in 1851. "Burr Oak Precinct" for several years em- 
braced all the northern tier of townships. For its several divis- 
ions, see County History. Burr Oak village is on Silver Creek, 
near the center of the eastern side of the township, and about 
three-fourths of a mile from its eastern line. It was platted by 
S. Middlebrook, May 16, and plat recorded July 14, 1855. Sam- 
uel S. Belding was proprietor of the town plat; Manning's addition 
was recorded Octobsr 15, 1856. By the census of 1880, Burr Oak 








township has a population of 826, and the village 199. It is about 
12 miles north of Decorah, with which it is connected by A. M 
Preg's daily mail and stage line. 

A: J. Cratsenberg is postmaster and has a good general store. 
S. H. Willets is another merchant, and there are several other 
branches of business. There is a good hotel, the American House, 
kept by J. H. Porter. There are three church buildings, the 
Methodist, Congregational, and Second Adventists, and an Odd 
Fellows lodge of 40 members, with a hall of their own. It has 
limestone quarries, and the surface of the country is rolling and 
fertile, and well settled by intelligent farmers. In the fall of 
1881 a five per cent, tax was voted for a railroad through Burr 
Oak, known as the Minnesota, Iowa & Southwestern, running from 
La Crosse southwest, and there are prospects that it will be built, 
and increase the importance and business of the village. In the 
southern part of Burr Oak township is the famous Cold Spring 
cave and underground lake described in the preceding chapter re- 
ferring to pleasure resorts accessible from Decorah. Judge M. V. 
Burdick thus writes of Burr Oak in 1853: 

''When I saw its location, the beautiful groves that surrounded 
it on every side, the undulating country in every direction, the 
limpid stream of pure and sparkling water, cold and clear, that 
wound its way through the place, I could not fail to admire the 
judgment and discernment of the men who decided upon the 
place for a site of a town. In after years I became better ac- 
quainted with the resources of the country, its exhaustible supply 
of timber, and its two excellent quarries of blue limestone un- 
surpassed for building purposes." 


Hesper Township, in the northern tier of the county, adjoins 
Burr Oak on [the east. Benjamin L. Bisby settled on the south- 
west quarter of section 29, in 1850. The next year brought in 
quite a number of settlers. The first permanent settler, E. E. 
Meader, reached his new home there on the morning of April 12, 
1851, and settled on the southeast quarter of section 10, where 
his present residence stands. Mr. Meader came to Iowa in the 
fall of 1850 from his home in Maine, stopped in Clayton County, 
and meeting a man named Frazier, from Wisconsin, they came to- 
gether, looked over the lands, were pleased with them, and in 
March, 1851, came with teams and prepared building sites. A. 
M. Waterman had, several weeks previous, encamped on a part of 
section 11, engaged in making sugar. Having cut and hauled 
logs for their dwellings, Meader and Frazier had to go eight miles 
for hands to help them put it up. Mr. Waterman provided the 
meal at this pioneer house raising. Having split out boards to 
roof their buildings, they piled them up, and started for the Volga 



settlements for their families. Mr. Meader and famil}' came alone, 
however, in April as above stated, Mr. Frazier not coming till fall. 

"Late m the evening of April 11, 1851, they reached Ackerson's, about four 
miles from their destination, where they were pursuaded to pass the night. 
But early next morning, without stopping for breakfast, they pushed on to 
their new home, set out the cook stove beside the unfinished house, and there, 
in the open air of the chill April morning, Mrs. Meader prepared and set before 
her husband and 5 children, the first of many thousands of meals which she was 
destined to serve upon the same spot. The walls of the house had not even a 
doorway, and the first proceeding after breakfast was to cut an entrance, and 
then to put on the roof, for which purpose a supply of nails had been brought 
in the wagon. By night the family had a shelter overhead, and a loose, temp- 
orary floor of split boards; but the walls being entirely without chinking, and 
only a blanket hung across the doorway, the first night, which was stormy, 
with wind, rain and snow, was cheerless enough. By a dint of hard labor, pa- 
tient endurance, and the advance of the season, they were, in the course of a 
few weeks, settled in comparative comfort."' 

D. D. Huff and his wife Anna, settled on sec. 29, on the 26th 

day of April, 1851. 

"In the summer of 1853 there was quite an influx of settlers, among them 
Tristram Allen, a member and minister of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, 
who, with his family, came from Michigan, in August ot that year, and bought 
out Frazier's claim, upon which he settled and lived for almost twenty years, or 
until a short time before his death, which occurred in 1873. Two months later 
several other families of Friends came from some part of Michigan and settled 
some of them within the limits of this township, and some just over the line in 
Minnesota. Thus was begun the nucleus of the Quaker Settlement at Hesper, 
which has ever since been one of the prominent features of the place. Among 
those who came at this time was Geo. N. Holway, a native of Massachusetts, 
but for a time before his coming to Iowa a resident of Michigan. He purchased 
and settled upon the claim located by Larsen, on .section 9, where he lived for. 
a number of years, and then removed to Decorah. Also Joseph Gibbon, D. 
Allan, Ansel Rogers, and Abraham West. In the spring of 1855 was held the 
first regularly organized meeting of the Society of Friends in the new settle- 
ment, and in the course of the summer, a number of families of that persuasion 
came in from Vermont, adding materially to the Quaker element and to the 
prosperity of the settlement. Among these were Russell Taber and his broth- 
ers, who. having purchased the claim originally located by Waterman, began 
to make preparations for erecting a steam mill. This they got in running or- 
der, so as to do sawing, before winter set in. This mill, with its subsequent 
additions and enlargements, still stands on the north side of the village of Hes- 
per. During the winter a small building was put up, a stock of goods pro- 
cured, and the first mercantile establishment in the place was opened, by H. 
H. Whaley, on the corner now occupied by Meader's store. With opening 
spring came another influx of immigrants, among them, several families ot 
Friends, from Indiana, and in the course of the summer of 1856, the members 
of that society erected a meeting house, on the southwest comer of section 10, 
from ■which place it was, a year later, removed to a lot within the bounds of the 
town, then being first laid out. On the third day of July, 1856, T. N. Wilson 
anived with his family from Jackson County, where he had stopped for two 
years after coming to the state, from the East. Immediately after his arrival 
he began preparations for erecting a house. On the last day of July, the build- 
ing was so far completed that the family moved into it, and on the the third 
day of August it was first opened for the entertainment of travelers. The next 
year still more marked advances were made in the way of enterprise and im- 
provement, lu April, the first Methodist Quarterly Meeting was held in Wil- 
son's house, and the "Rev. Mr. Lease, then quite a young man, was placed up- 
on the charge as minister. In the summer a school house was put up on a lot 


where the biiiUliii<^ now stands, bvit no lonf,'er used for its origipid purpose; it 
is now known as the "Gi-any'e Hall." The first term of school in this house 
was taught by Eaward W. Holway."' 

In March, 18G8, the present library association and literary so- 
ciety, ''The Philoniatheans," was burned. They have a library of 
about 300 volumes. The present large and handsome school 
building was erected in 1872. The church of the Society of Friends 
was built in 1870; the Norwegian Church about a year later, and 
the Methodist Church in 1873. The State Line, and afterwards, 
Winneshiek County Fairs were held for. several years at Hesper, 
and the village last fall voted a tax to the proposed Southwestern 
railroad, referred to in the sketch of Burr Oak and in the County 
History. The plat of the village was recorded February 24:th, 
1858. The township was organized the same year. It is near the 
northern part of the township, and fifteen miles north from De- 
corah. The township by the census of 1880, had 1,000 inhabi- 
tants, of which 212 were in the village of Hesper. The post- 
master is Dr. F. Worth, who keeps a drug and grocery store. 
Dry goods and other branches of business are well represented. 
Wm. Beard & Sons, Decorah, have a branch of their Ice Cave 
Creamery here, and the stock farm of Geo. Q. Gardner, of De- 
corah, is in Hesper township. 


Highland is the northeastern township (A the county. Its post- 
office, Highlandville, is in the southern part of the township. 

"Previous to the year 1851, Highland township was a wild and unsettled 
region, with the vast country lying west of it. But in that year, three young 
men— Erick Davidson, Magne Nelson and Hagen Mastad — immigrated, in the 
spnng, from Dane County, Wisconsin, and sonaetime in June, of that year, 
settled about one mile north of where Highlandville is now situated. In the 
spring of 1852 there was quite an influx of immigiution, and among the most 
notable were the Aniesons, Knudt Bjorgo, M. John, Nels Nelson, Sr., with a 
family of three boys, viz: Andrew, Ole and Nels, Jr., who have played quite 
a conspicuous part in the history of Highland township. In the same year Al- 
bert Stoneson made his appearance with a blooming young bride. He is now 
surrounded by a large family of young men and women. In the years follow- 
ing there were quite a number that came to Highland township, among the 
most notable of whom was E. Berg, father of the late Hon. K. Berg and Rev. J. 
Berg. K. Berg had preceded his father to this country, and had made his home, 
before his father's arrival here, in Dane County, Wis. 

"When Decorah enjoyed the palmy days of the U. S. Land Office, High- 
land township suffered with the rest of the county in respect to her unoccupied 
lands. Every acre was gobbled up by speculators, and great was the trouble 
among the squatters who had not already a United States patent on their 
homestead. A great number lost their land, as they were not able to borrow 
money at the then ruling rate of interest, which was 40 per cent. The immi- 
gration then ceased for quite a while, and was almost at a standstill till 1860, 
or the beginning of the War of the Rebellion. But in the meantime the pio- 
neers of Highland had not been idle. Most of them had become well-to-do 
farmers, and many of them were already on the road to wealth, Lars Olson 
came from Muskegon here in the year 1851 with only a few hundred dollars. 
He began to lend his money at 40' per cent., and in the short space of twenty 
years had amassed a fortune of almost $100,000, without any kind of specula- 


tion whatever. Olson died a lew years a^o, and Ins money is divided amono- 
his large family of ten boys and girls, who are scattered over the southern 
part ot Minnesota. 

"About the year 1856, a school district was organized, consisting of almost 
the whole township. At that time the township was not very thickly setttled. 
In the spring of 1857 a small log school house was erected, which has lon(^ 
since given place to a large and commodious fi-ame building, with all the mod"- 
ern improvements. It was in this old log school house that the late Prof. Berg 
taught his first English school, and where K. Bjorgo, Jr., learned his A B C's 
Heis now a young minister of the Lutheran Synod, of marked abilitj'. Mar- 
tha K. Bjorgo was the first child born in the township. 

"In 1857 a Lutheran congregation was organized in Pleasant and Highland 
townships, and they, in conjunction with Spring Grove, Minn., called C. L, 
Clauson as their spiritual adviser. He served the two congregations for soma 
time; but his labors became too arduous, and the congregations separated 
about three years after their organization. Spring Grove retaining the minister 
who only lived a few years longer, he being the first Lutheran minister that died 
in this country." 

Highland township had a population of 782 by the census of 
1880. Highlandville has about 50 inhabitants. "Bear Creek fur- 
nishes power to its flour mill, and it has a store and other busi- 


This is the western township of the second tier from the Minne- 
sota line. We have no record of the first settler. Edwin M. 
Farnsworth was there in 1855. It was then known as Pilot Grove 
but in 1858 its name had been changed to Orleans. The post of- 
fice for a large part of its inhabitants is Cresco, just across the 
Howard County line, though it has no village, it is famous for its 
fine farming country, beautiful rolling prairie. In former days a 
cheese factory was one of the prominent enterprises of the town- 
ship and now its stock farms are famous for their fine herds of 
Holsteins and other herds of blooded cattle. Among these are the 
stock farms of L.R.Brown and Chas. Crapser, who made splendid 
showings at the late Winneshiek County Fair, at Decorah. Mr. 
Crapser also took his herd to the Minneapolis Exposition, where he 
carried off all the best premiums. Population of toAvnship bv cen- 
sus of 1880, was 636. 


The township of BlufFton is the second one from the countv 
line from the east and the north. The population of the township 
IS given as 807. of which the village, which is about one mile north 
of the center of the township, has 102, and is 12 miles northwest 
of Decorah, with which it connects by a tri-weekly mail and stage. 
The village and post office of BlufFton is situated in a romantic 
valley of the Upper Iowa River, about 40 rods wide. On one side 
the valley is overhung by a wall of precipitous rock, presenting 
a romatic and picturesque appearance, and the river and valley at 
and near BlufFton, is famous for its romatic and beautiful scenery, 


not excelled in this county, or State. The village was founded by 
Henry and Lyman Morse, sons [of ''Uncle Philip" Morse, promi- 
nently mentioned in the history of Decorah. A saw mill was built 
there by Henry Morse in 1852. The plat of the village was recorded 
October 3, 1856. The Morse brothers lived there for years, and 
built a grist mill before they went away. Henry Morse built the 
grist mill for Joseph Speilman, at Spillville. Both the brothers 
finally went to California, having sold out their interest in Bluff- 
ton, Greer & Boggs bought the grist mill, and ran it for some 
years, the first named member of the firm being John Greer who 
now has charge of the Greer & Hunter Mill, Decorah. 

This mill, which is a prominent business institution of that part 
of the county, is now owned by Rice & Hale, the partners being 
Almon Rice, for some years holding the office of County Supervis- 
or, as well as other offices and F. G. Hale for a time County Sup- 
ervisor, and recently County Auditor for three successive terms, 
to January 1, 1882. Both are prominent and enterprising citi- 
zens of the county. 

BlufFton is on the line of the proposed Iowa, Minnesota & 
Southwestern railroad, a reference to which and the tax list voted 
is found in the chapter of chronological history of the county, and 
for which the right of way is being purchased, as this is written, 
and paid for in cash, when demanded. The river here is spanned 
by a handsome and substantial iron bridge. The village, which 
contains about three hundred inhabitants, is connected with De- 
corah by a tri-weekly mail. The postmaster, A. H. Meader, is an 
enterprising, popular young man, who also keeps a store well 
supplied with general merchandise. J. J. Glossman & Co. also 
keep a good general store. Lange Moritz, Justice of the Peace, is 
one of the early settlers, while 0. E. Cooley, another old set- 
tler, can entertain vou by the hour with reminiscences of early 

The village has also a hotel, shoemaker, blacksmith, cooper and 
carpenter shops; phyeician, barber, and other small places of bus- 
iness. F. R. Fletcher, millwright, isone of the old citizens, and an 
active business mm, now engaged in traveling for the sale of mill 

The village of Bluffton is supplied with two churches. Catholic 
and Methodist. The population of the village is 102, and of the 
township, 807. The township as weW as the village is settled with 
an enterprisising class of people, and especially with its pros- 
pective railroad and its fine water power, has a promising future 
before it. 


This township is the first one north of Decorah. It takes its 
name from the "Canoe River," which flows through it and emp- 
ties into the Upper Iowa, beyond the eastern border of Winiie- 


shiek County. Its postoffices are Decorah, and Springwater on 
the Canoe River, 6 miles from Deeorali, where is a good fall of 
water, and the mills where E. Blakeman manufactures excellent 
flour. Those residing in the northeastern corner get their mail, 
from Locust Lane, P. 0. in Pleasant township. Population of 
the township, 991. One of the well-known oldest settlers of 
the county, 0. W, Emory, came there on the 20th of August, 
1849, and settled on the northwest quarter of section 17. Among 
the othei" settlers were John W. Hohn, who came here on the 
30tli of July, 1850, John Fredenburg, who settled on section C, 
on the 20th of October, 1850, and Simeon M. Leach, who came 
on the 12th of May, 1851. Further particulars of early settle- 
ments are given in preceding pages of County History. 

The beautiful grounds of Col. Taylor, described elsewhere in 
this volume, are in Canoe township, about six miles north of De- 


According to the tax lists. Pleasant township took its name and 
place in 1856. It is the eastern one of the second tier. The Ca- 
noe runs across the southern portion, and the Upper Iowa River 
across the northeast corner. Population in 1880 was 929. Lo- 
cust Lane postoffice is near the extreme northwestern corner of 
the township, has a population of about 25, and is on the tri- 
weekly mail route between Decorah and Hesper. I, T, Shipley 
is postmaster, and keeps a general store. It is 10 miles nearly 
north from Decorah. 

"In the year 1850, two Germans from Pennsylvania, viz: John Klontz and 
Wm. Vale, pitched their tents in the northwest comer of Pleasant township, 
Vale choosing for his homestead what has since been known as the Locust 
Lane Farm, deriving its name from the locust trees that were planted on each 
side of the road immediately after the land was fenced in. John Klontz took 
up his ranch on the south side of Vale, and both went to work. They made 
money, as everything they had to sell brought them good prices. Mr. Vale 
one time enjoyed the privilege of holding all the township offices, except con- 
stable, at one and the same time. He was the first justice of the peace, the 
first assessor, and the first clerk the township had. He also built the first brick 
dwelling in Winneshiek County. Klontz and Vale have both since sold their 
farms and moved to Missouri . In the following year the first influx of Nor- 
wegians commenced. They were: Hover Evenson, Ole Magneson, and Erick 
Erickson, who came here from Cambridge, Dane County, Wisconsin, and Pet- 
er K. Langland, Lewis Peterson, Knudt K. Liquen and K. Erickson, from 
Illinois. Hover Evenson was the first blacksmith in the northern part of the 
county. He long since abandoned his trade, and attended exclusively to farm- 
ing; he is one of the wealthiest farmers of his township. Ole Magneson and 
E. Erickson settled in the northeastern comer of the township. The latter is 
still on his old homestead, living in a house which has become somewhat noted 
from the fact that it is all built from one pine tree. The walls are a solid 
plank, six inches thick, and only three such planks from the floor to the ceiling 
in the first story and two above . The floors, roof-boards, window and door 
casings are from the same tree. It was all sawed up with a hand-saw, as the 
logs could not be moved from the place where the tree grew, on Pine Creek. 
Ole Magneson introduced the first reaper into the neighborhood, and was also 
the owner or the first threshing-machine in that township. 


"In the year 1853 there was another influx from Dane County, Wisconsin, 
prominent among whom were Bottolf Olson, Magne Langland, H. Hendiick- 
son, Sven Olson, Ole Thorson, and others. In 1858 Ole B. Olson was one of 
tlae first settlers of Dakota Territory, and was elected the first judge of the ter- 
ritory, which position he occupied until his death, in 1875. Enck B. Olson, the 
younger brother, was one of the first four men who climbed the mountains of 
Colorado in search of gold, in 1859." 

"The first school-house was built at Locust Lane, in 1854, and served, also, 
a church for every denomination. The second school-house that was built is 
still standing, and is known as the EUingson school-house. This was built of 
logs, quite large, and intended to serve as a church for the Lutheran congrega- 
tion that was then organized in connection with Highland and Spring Grove. 
It was built mostly by private funds; every farmer would bring so many logs 
and work so many days. This district consisted of portions of four townships, 
viz: Pleasant and Highland, m Winneshiek, and Waterloo and Hanover, in 
Allamakee. The first school was taught by James Lennon, of Frank^ille 
township. The late Hon. Ole Nelson taught the first school in this house, and 
was also the first Norwegian Representative in the Iowa Legislature." 

"In 1855 and 1856, almost all the land was taken up, and what was not 
was bought up by speculators when the land office was in Decorah. Among 
those who came later may be mentioned K. Thompson, who became sheriff 
of this county in 1870, and was as good an officer as the county ever had. Al- 
so Peter Sampson, 0. W. Elhngson, and the Johnson Brothers (of whom 
there were seven at one time). Tnere is also another fact worth mentioning, 
and that is this, that almost every one of the pioneers that came into the town- 
ship in the years 1852-3-4, with the exception of one or two, are still living on 
their old homesteads, which shows that the pioneers must have been a strong, 
healthy and vigorous set of men." 


This township is the western one of the central tier of the 
county. The Turkey River flows diagonally southeast through 
the township, a little west of the center, on it is Dauber- 
smith's mill. Ridgeway railway station, post ofiice and village is 
near the center of the eastern half, about one mile from the town- 
ship line. Population of township in 1880 was 992. Ridgeway 
has a population of about 350, and quite a number of good stores, 
elevator and grain ware houses, and other places of business. D. 
0. Aaker, late State Representative, of the firm of Galby & 
Aaker, is one of the prominent business men. S. Pike, hotel 
keeper, has been its historian in times past, and from his writ- 
ings the present sketch is mostly gleaned. 

"The first settlement was made in Lincoln Township in the spring of 1852, 
Knud Alfson built a small house and broke up a few acres on Section 27, while 
Lars Thompson commenced about the same time on Section 34. In the fall of 
the same year. Jacob Knudson and Kittle Sanderson established themselves on 
Section 22. The next year Gunder Kittleson. Albert Kittleson, Gullick Thomip- 
son, Tove Thompson and Thomas Thompson, settled in the immediate neigh- 
borhood, while John Seleir, IMichael Parrel, Charles Straun, John Wholelian, 
Nels Olsen, Charles Junck, H. W. Klemme, Andrew Michael, Philip Kratz and 
Wm. Blackburn, came in durinp: the two or three years following. The town- 
ship of Lincoln was formerly reckoned as an integral part of Decorah, an ar- 
rangement that did not last very long, as a reconstruction of the map was soon 
effected, by which the present township was apportioned to Sumner, and upon 
the authorized survey and platting of townships, was given its present name. 


In 1866, Ridgeway existed only its name. About this time, the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. P. railway having reached there, the railroad company built a 
house for their accommodation, and Mr. S.Pike soon after took charge of it. 
The building was 16x32 feet base, one and a half stories high, divided into sev- 
eral compartments, and ceiled throughout with good matched flooring. Mr. 
Pike with his wife moved into the house December, 4, 1866, a day ever to be re- 
membered in their experiences of housekeeping. Though the gi-ound had been 
frozen for some time previous, the heavy rains that had fallen the preceding 
week had thawed the earth again, and the different gangs who were grading 
the prospective grounds, and also a gang of track layers who were putting in a 
switch and laying a spur of track for present accommodation, had made the 
house a place of resort for shelter during the heaviest of the rains, and when 
they reached there about dark of that rainy December night, the prospect was 
dreary enough. Fred. Gashom and James Kinney, antedate Mr. Pike's claim 
to the title, "oldest inhabitant," by about two or three weeks. They did not 
live within the limits of the present village, however, but were about a hundred 
rods below, the winter was unusually severe and protracted, the last passage of the 
snow plow being on March 28, 1876, and that after a three days' efibrt from 

No effort was made in the way of improvements until about 
a year after the road was completed to Cresco. In July, 1867, 
J. L. Flowers built a grain warehouse, and Gilchrist & Co. another 
soon afterward. A drug store by A. M. Blakeman, and a gener- 
al merchandise store were built the same year, and a post office 
established. A small depot building was also erected in 1857. 
The next year there were many other improvements, and business 
greatly increased. 

Ridgeway was organized into an independent school district during the year 
1875. It has a good school house, with an average attendance of scholars 
There is one churcii edifice in town, and that a small wooden structure built by 
a body of dissenterfrom the ^Id established Lutheran Church among the Nor- 
wegians. The house is not completed, and is seldom used. The Methodists 
and Adventists hold meetings in the school house. 

In the spring of 1874 (May 9), Rideway was swept by a fire that threatened 
to wipe out the entu-e village. The fire started in a small untenanted wooden 
structure on the comer where the Herchmer House now stands. A continuous 
blast from the south swept across the square, taking everything in the line ot 
the wind. The weather had been very diy for some time previous, and the 
denselv-packed wooden row fronting the railroad was simply a line of tinder 
boxes through which the fire swept without let or hinderance, and one hour 
from the time the alarm was given, four-fifths of the business interests of the 
town were in ashes. The fire originated with two little boys, four years old, 
lighting a cigar in the house above mentioned. The fire devoured everything 
in its course, including, besides the business row and dwellings,, four grain 
•warehouses, the depot (unlamented), and a fine water-tank, which the railroad 
company had just completed. Daniel Rice, a^saloon-keeper, in trying to save 
his money, was burned so that he died. The loss of property was veiy severe. 
The total number of buildings— stores, saloons, dwelHngs and bams — burned, 
were thirty-four, leaving fifty-nine unbumed, the latter being almost wholly 
dwellings and out building's. A careful estimate of the total losses incuiTcd 
amounted to $48,730, of which amount only |1 1,850 was covered by insurance. 

Immediately after the fire the railroad company set to work building a depot. 
Instead of the narrow and cramped accommodations of the old trap dignified by 
the name, they have now ample room for ever>' department of their business. 
The water-tank was also rebuilt, and with one of the best wells on the road, is 
an importa^t adjunct in the management of its rolling stock. The village has 


completely recovered from the severe losses it sustained by the fire. Its busi- 
ness interests have continued to increase, and, as a result, larger and better bus- 
iness buildmgs serve the accommodations of trade. 

In 1877 Ridgway had a newspaper for a short time. The 
Ridgway Register^ published by F. A. Howe, 


The eastern line of this township crosses the center of the 
county. In i860 Madison was separated from Decorah township 
and given an existence of its own. The first settler was Jo- 
hannes Evenson, in 1850, whose marriage to Miss Catharine 
Helen Anderson was the first marriage in the county. The li- 
cense was granted on the fifth day of October. 1850, and the 
ceremony was performed by the well-known Rev. N. Brandt, 
now pastor of the Norwegian Lutheran Church, Decorah, but 
then a wandering missionary. The hunt for the license, so as to 
take advantage of the presence of the minister and have the mai- 
riage performed, and the v/aiting for Judge Reed to return from 
Dubuque to grant the license, are more fully related in an early 
chapter of this history. Other settlers were Iver Gr. Ringstad 
and wife, June 30, 185i, on section 29; Ole M. Asleson and wife, 
July 12, on section 8; Gulbrand E. Wig, in September, on sec- 
tion 36; Helge N. Myron and Herbert Onstien, all in 1851. Ed- 
ward R. Scott, now a prominent farmer of Madison township, 
settled there with his wife in 1854:. Population of the township, 
781. The residents get their mail at Decorah and Ridgeway. The 
Upper Iowa River runs across the extreme northeastern part of 
the township. 


This township, city and county seat are described in the pre- 
ceding chapter. 


This IS the eastern of the central tier of townships. The Up- 
per Iowa River runs across the northern part. "Trout River" 
running north through the central part, empties into it. Popu- 
lation about 1,200. Woodville P. 0. is about two miles south- 
east of the center of the township, on the Decorah and Waukon 
daily mail route, and Thoten P. 0. in the Rocksvold neighbor- 
hood, toward the northwest part. The Washington Prairie P. 0., 
in Frankville township, and the Freeport P. 0. are convenient to 
some 'of the inhabitants. There are ample water powers and 
several mills in the township. The large spring and caves on 
and near the Decorah and Waukon road, are often visited by pic- 
nic parties from Waukon. The large cave not far from ''Trout 
River" in the southern part of the township, is described in the 
account of iileasure resorts near Decorah, given in the preceding 


July 2; 1850, Ole G. Johnson settled on the southwest quarter 
of section 31. Among other early settlers were Christopher 
Evans, June 15, 1851, on the northeast quarter of section 32; 
and Nathan Drake, the same year, on section 7, where he is still 
a prominent and public-spirited citizen. Ole P. Rocksvold. Hen- 
ry Kniss and Lewis L. Cook and wife, settled in 1853. Geo. C. 
Windship and wife, now of Decorah, and quite a number of others 
in 1854, and the settlement was afterwards rapid. The graded 
road bed of the proposed railroad extension from Waukon to De- 
corah, which may yet be built, runs through the northern part of 
the township. 


This is the western township of the fourth tier from the north. 
Population, 863, in 1880. The Turkey River flows southeast 
through the northeast part of the township. The nearest post- 
office is Spillville, just across the eastern line. It was divided 
from Lincoln and made a separate township in 1862. There is no 
village nor even store in Sumner township. It is purely agricultu- 
ral. A. Tracy, now of Decorah, who went there in 1858 and set- 
tled on section 29, where he lived until a few years ago, was the 
first settler on the open prairie, "which he describes as marvelous- 
ly beautiful, being a rolling sea of many hued flowers, with fre- 
quent springs. There was a Norwegian settlement in the north- 
east on the Turkey River before Mr. Tracy came. The Germans, 
mostly in the eastern part, also came before him. The Bohem- 
ians came later, and comprise a large portion of the inhabitants. 
The north half of the township is rolling and generally pretty 
well timbered. The south half is open rolling prairie, except 
where trees have been planted, with plenty of springs. All is good 


Calmar township, with total population in 1880, 2,043, has three 
villages and postoffices. Calmar, the railroad center of several 
branches of the C, M. & St. P. Ry., with a population in 1880 
of 617, is a little over a mile from the southeast corner of the 
township. Spillville, on the Turkey River which flows through 
the western part of the township — population, 340; and Conover 
the junction of the Decorah branch of the railroad, and situated 
near the center of the township — population, 168. The first vot- 
ing precinct of the township is at Calmar and the second at 

Calmar village is situated on a high rolling prairie and in the 
center of a beautiful and productive country. It is on the main 
line of the Iowa & Minnesota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee 
& St. Paul railroad. It is the starting point of the Iowa & Da- 
kota Division, also of the trains on the Decorah branch via Con- 


over, and of trains on the Davenport via Jackson Junction. 
Some eighteen trains arrive and leave daily, making the move- 
ment of thirty-six trains. The important business of the station 
is under the capable charge of S. V. Potter, agent. T. A hern, 
roadmaster, T. W. Hazleton, foreman of the round house, and 
Sam Kelsey, foreman of repair shop, and Conductor Hoxsie, of 
the I. & D. Division, have their homes here, as do quite a number 
of other railroad men. S. V. Potter several years ago, put up a 
large and handsome residence, and fine residences have also been 
erected by T. Ahern, and other railroad men and citizens. 

Calmar is now well supplied with churches. The Norwegian 
Lutheran Church, built of stone in 1857, but since enlarged, has 
been for twenty-five years a prominent landmark; the Catholics 
erected a handsome frame church 'building several years ago, and 
the erection of a frame edifice for the Methodist Church, to cost 
$3,000, has just been commenced. The graded school, Avith two 
distinct departments and two teachers in summer and three in 
winter, has a commodious and handsome new building — atten- 
dance, 160. C. S. Boyce is principal, and Anna Stanberg assistant. 

John Scott, postmaster and express agent, has a large general 
merchandise store. The Excelsior Wagon Works of Miller, 
Geisen & Co., are an important enterprise. C. W. Geisen runs 
the lumber yard, Meyer & Dortal a good general store, and 
McEwen & Stiles the drug and book store; while in the same 
row with P. Olson's dry goods store, occupying a district recently 
burned out, are y. E. Strayers handsome new brick hardware 
store, and L. 0. Moen's fine new brick building for his furniture 
store. Some fifteen dwelling houses have also been erected in 
Calmar this season. Beside the Railroad Hotel there are the George 
House, the Ferguson House and the American House. The other 
branches of business are well represented. The present city offi- 
cers are: 

Mayor, C. W. Geisen; Recorder, J. B. Kaye.; Treasurer, P. 
Olson; Councilmen, J. S. Roome, A. E. Stiles, F. L. George, H. 
Miller, Jr., J. H. Constantine, and V. E. Strayer.; Marshal, Geo. 

John B. Kaye, Justice of the Peace, and prominent attorney, is 
also a poet of no mean ability, and a general favorite. His second 
volume, ''Songs of Lake Geneva, and Other Poems," is now in the 
hands of the publishers. 

Calmar's first newspaper, the Winneshieh Bepresentative, pub- 
lished by T. B. Wood, commenced in 1870, lived about a year and 
removed to Ossian, where it soon died. The Calmar Guardian 
commenced April 19, 1876, ran about two years. Sam S. Haislet, 
the publisher, now has a paper at Heron Lake, Minn. The Calmar 
Critic, commenced in June by W. C. Eaton, now represents Cal- 
mar in the newspaper world, besides Calmar departments of the 
Decorah newspapers. 


The following in regard to the early history of Calmar, as well 
as incidentally of Conover, is gleaned from a contributor to 
Sparks' History: 

"In the early part of the year 1854, the first buikling was erected in Cahnarby 
Peter Clawson and Alt. Chirk, natives of Sweden, who came from California 
about that time and located at this place. This building was little more than 
a shanty, but served the double pui-pose of a variety store and dwelling house, 
Clark & Clawson being the occupants and the first merchants of the town. 

'"John P. Landin, my informant, tells me that the town site, surveyed a little 
later in the season — himself helping to cany the chain — and was then platted 
and dedicated to the public, by Clark, the owner of the land. On the comple- 
tion of the survey it was found that the store stood in the center of Main street. 
Before winter, however, Clark & Co., had erected three other buildings of more 
pretentions — a hotel, the Calmar House, which bvn-ned down in August. 1873, 
a^tore, on the site now occupied by P. Olson's building, and a saloon, which 
stood on the ground now occupied by the Huston House. 

"Clark «fe Co. ran the new store, one Henry Miller the hotel, and Hans Gul- 
branson the saloon, while Landm served for some time in the capacity of hostler 
in the hotel stable. On account of the scarcity of shingles in the river markets 
at the time, the hotel was roofed in the first instance with canvas, or sheeting, 
and so remained for several months . Jjandin dug the first well in town, dur- 
ing the same year. It was sank in the public square. On the 9th of July, 
1854, says Landin. before I ever saw Calmar, or the site where it stands, I 
stopped at Fort Atkinson, ate supper, stopped over night and breakfasted next 
day with Squire Cooney. After hoeing corn awhile as an equivalent, I inquired 
of the squire if there was any of my countiymen in the vicinitj', and he told me 
that there was one by the name of Clark keeping store at Whisky Grove, and I 
came up here. It was my first day in Calmar. Whisky Grove, it appears, was 
a name often applied to this locality in those days. 

"The town was by Clark named Marysville, and went by that name for 
about one year, when a postoffice was located here, and, on account of there be- 
mg another Marysville in the State, the name was changed to Calmar. This 
latter name was also of Clark's choosing, and was given in remembrance of his 
native town of Kalmar, situated on Kalmar Sound, on the southeast coast of 
Sweden. Clark was the first postmaster, and his successors have been P. M. 
Stanberg, D . S . Lovejoy, and John Scott, the present incumbent. 

"In the year 1855, Landin erected a wooden building on the site now occu- 
pied by the Clawson & Landin Block. In that building he opened up a grocery- 
business and sold whisky and beer — the latter he brewed himself in an under- 
ground cave near by. A large percentage of his sales were paid in butter and 
eggs. At that time he paid from six cents to nme cents per pound for butter, 
and three cents per dozen for eggs. Whisky sold for five cents per glass, so 
that for only one dozen and eight eggs a man could get a 'square drink,' and 
if a customer wanted a 'nog' it was common for the trader to throw in the egg 
'free gratis.' 

"In the year 1868, work was commenced on the Iowa & Dakota branch of 
the Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, with Calmar as its eastern terminus and 
junction with the main line. During the year, track was laid as far as New 
Hampton, considerably increasing the trade of the town, and adding to its 
importance as a shipping center as the road was pushed further into the interior. 
During the next year the Decorah branch was built, but for a year thereafter 
the trains of that branch did not run farther east then Conover, since which 
time Calmar has been the eastern end of their run and the point of passenger 
transfer. But, as already stated, these trains still make a stay at Conover. 

"In the year 1869, under the provisons of the Municipal Incorporation Act, 
Chapter 51, Revised Statutes of 1860, Calmar was made an incorporated town, 
and was duly organized by the election of municipal officers in March, 1870. 
John Scott was elected Mayor, and was re-elected in 1871. In 1872 John W. 
Tower was elected Mayor, and in 1873-4, the citizens chose S. V. Potter to fill 


that office. In 1875 the mantle was worn by A. E. jNIanchester, and E. Pen- 
nington is the present incumbent. Since the incorpoi'ation of the town, several 
miles of sidewalks built, Town Hall erected, and many other public improve- 
ments made. 

"The Free Masons have a lodge in Cal mar with a membership of forty-five . 
Their hall is over the post office, and is neat, commodious and well furnished. 
The lodge is out of debt, and its growth and influence in our town has been 
rapid and beneficent. The Sons and Daughters of Temperance also have a 
lodge here, and although organized only about a year ago, it has about forty 
active members, and is doing a good work. Their hall, on the upper floor of the 
Anderson-Landin block, is large, and well arranged." 

The flush days of Conover village, which is niue miles from 
Decorah and three from Calmar, and situated Avhere the De- 
corah branch leaves the St. Paul and Minneapolis branch of the 
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry., are pictured in the preceding 
description. But it still has 168 inhabitants by the census of 
1880, an elevator, a general store, hotel and other business. C. 
J. Thompson is railroad and express agent. 

Spillville village, three miles Avest of Conover, and twelve miles 
southwest of Decorah, is situated on the southwest bank of the 
Turkey River, and has 310 inhabitants. The plat was recorded 
by Joseph Spielman, proprietor. May 7, 1860. Joseph Spillman, 
or Spielman, who lived there in 1851, Avas the first settler, and 
had a mill. The flouring mill, now one of its prominent institu- 
tions, was built by Henry and Lyman Morse, the well-known 
Bluffton pioneers, before they left for California. It was after- 
ward operated by Norris Miller, now of Decorah. It is now owned 
by the Spillville Mill Co. Frank Nockles' brewery is another 
prominent enterprise. J. J. Hang, postmaster, has a general store, 
and there are other branches of business. S. W. Sanders & Son, 
Decorah, have a branch store there. Spillville is the center and 
headquarters of the Bohemians of the county, who flock in 
crowds to the large Bohemian Catholic Church there, in the fore- 
noon, and after services all go to the beer saloons and enjoy 
themselves in their old country style — but there is rarely drunk- 
ness on the occasions. The Spillville band and orchestra is fa- 
mous, and is often called to Decorah on public occasions. 


adjoins Decorah township on the south. The C, M. & St. Paul 
Ry. runs across its soutliAvestern corner. It has no village nor 
postofiice, its most convenient ones being Decorah, Calmar, and 
Ossian. Population, 1,837. The toAvnship was settled in June, 
1850, by what are claimed to be the first NorAvegian settlers in 
the county. An account of this settlement — that of the Erick 
Anderson party in June, of Nelson Johnson and party in July, 
and of Engebret Peterson Haugen, in October of the same year, 
are given in a previous chapter relating to early county history, 
and need not be repeated here. 



Frankville is the eastern township of next to the southern tier 
of townships. The census of 1880 gave it a population of 970. 
Of these 158 are in Frankville village, in the southeastern corner 
of the township, and 12 miles southeast of Decorah. Woodside 
postofSce is on the road to Desorah, about 1 miles from Frank- 
ville. Spark's History says: 

"In 1851-2-3 the county was deluged with a healthy immigration. They 
were men noted for their integrity, perseverance, and a determination to suc- 
ceed. They came in their covered carts drawn by oxen, with the family sup- 
port hitched on behind in the possession of a good milch cow. A great many 
of these men found their homes on Washington Prairie. The earliest pioneers 
were the Hawkes, Moses Hostetter, J . Callendar, Christopher Anderson Es- 
trem, Wm. Padden, the Rosa family, Jacob Duff, Walter Rathbun, and 
others. These came in 1850 or early in 1851 . Among the number who drifted 
into the county in the years 1851-2 were J. T. Atkins, the Beards and Cutlers, 
.Tohn and James D. McKay, Joel Pagin, Wm. Birdsell, Philip Husted, Isaac 
Birdsell, Erick, Olson Bakke, James B. Schenk, and others too numerous to 
mention. This immigration had the effect to change the wild prairie of a year 
or two previous into the garden of Winneshiek County. The construction of 
houses was carried on until they dotted the prairie from every conceivable point 
of the compass. Deer were numerous, prairie-chickens plenty, the small 
streams abounded with speckled trout, while larger fish were to be obtained 
from the Iowa River. With these, and what they were able to raise, it would 
seem these hardy pioneers fared sumptuously. 

"Along with the tide that rolled over the country in 1851 was a man noted for 
his wealth, energy and perseverance. He came to stay, bringing with him a 
herd of cattle. Among others who preceded him was one Timothy FuUer, 
whose claim he purchased and settled on. This man is kno^vn all over the coun- 
try as Frank Teabout, the founder of Frankville. 

"In 1852. Frankville was little more than a trading point, at which lived the 
only inhabitant and proprietor, Mr. Frank Teabout; but about this time an 
event transpired which gave to it lite and brighter prospects for the future. A 
commission had been appointed to locate the State road for the benefit of im- 
migrants seeking homes in Northwestern Iowa and Southern Minnesota. 
Frankville secured tlie road. 

The location of the road is the greatest event in the history of Frankville, for 
without it, in all likelihood, the place would never have been anything more 
than the residence of Mr. Frank Teabout. As it is, Frankville is a pleasant 
village, and at one time figured conspicuously in the history of the county. 

It was near night when the commission arrived at Mr. Teabout's residence, 
and they of course accepted his hospitality until the next morning. On the 
next day Mr. Teabout lead the commissioners to Decorah, they declaring 
their line of march to be the location of the new road. There were other par- 
ties besides Mr. Teabout who studied self-interest in the location of the State 
road. Among the number was John McKay. He secured the passage of this 
desired highway through his farm. Mr. McKay had the same ambition for a 
town that actuated his neighbor. His first work in that direction was the es- 
tablishment of a postoffice, which was effected on the discontinuance of the 
Jamestown office. He also secured the location of a store at this place. This 
town bore the name of Trout River, and at one time was a strong competitor 
of Frankville. The postoffice was continued at tliis place for nearly two years 
from whence it was moved to Frankville. It is claimed that this move was 
effected through a compromise entered into between the respective founders 
of the two towns. 

Immediately on the location of the road, as if by magic, a town grew up 
about the nucleus that had previously been built, and was given the name of 


Frankville. Frankville very soon became the great center of attraction. Mo- 
neek became discouraged, and moved the greater part of its worldly ettects up 
to the new town. 

The Lathrop House, an impressive three-story frame building, was built by 
Philip Lathrop in the year 1854. This hotel was well provided for, and did a 
good business. The building was destroyed by fire in the winter of 1857-8. 
Mr. Lathrop was absent at the time of the burning of his house, at Des 
Moines, lobbying through a bill asking the location of the Deaf and Dumb 
Asylum at Frankville, the people of that place pledging land and material in 
aid of its construction. Mr. Teabout replaced the building destroyed, by an- 
other, which long afforded hospitality to the traveler. 

Much of the early success and prosperity of Frankville is justly accredited 
to its founder, Mr. Frank Teabout. He possessed wealth, and lavished it on 
the various enteiiDrises that benefited his town. In 1852 he built the Presbyte- 
rian Church, and gave it to that denomination — the fiist house of worship 
built in the village. This church edifice was early occupied by Rev. D. W. 
Lyon, a preacher who divided his time between McGregor, Monona, Frankville 
and other points. 

As an illustration of the importance Frankville attained when at its acme, it 
will only be necessary to state that the Free Masons of Decorah used to go to 
the former place to hold lodge meetings. 

In 1854 Mr. Teabout built a saw-mill at a cost of $1,500. This mill did a 
good business, its owner finding a ready sale for all the timber it could saw. 
The mill was sold to Mr. Cutler, No trace ot it remains to-day. In 1856 Mr. 
Teabout built a large steam grist mill, of two run of stone, at a cost of $10,000. 
The mill, during the first few years of its existence, was a financial success. It 
was finally sold by the proprietors to Messrs. Beard and Cutler, who trans- 
ferred the machinery to the Spring Water Mill, on the Canoe. Parties used to 
come from Southern Minnesota to get their grist ground at this mill. 

The Methodist Church was built in 1873. This denomination had held ser- 
vices previously in other buildings. To the Rev. Mr. Webb is said to belong 
the honor of being the first minister of this denomination to. officiate in the 
place. Frankville continued to prosper until the Milwaukee & St. Paul Rail- 
road cut it off; then came its decline. 

On the 10th of June, 1881, the hundredth anniversary of 
Leonard Cutler, of Frankville, the father of James B. Cutler, the 
first postmaster, was observed at the residence of James D. Mc- 
Kay, in Frankville. His children present were James B., David 
E., and William Cutler, of Osage, and Mrs. James D. McKay and 
Mrs. W. D. Smith of Frankville. Mr. Cutler was a member of 
the Masonic fraternity, and twenty-one members from Decorah 
were present. Judge M. V. Burdick delivered an address, which 
was responded to by James. B. Cutler. Though his eyesight has 
failed him and his hearing impaired, the veteran centenarian is 
still living. He was born in Remington, Vt., June 10, 1781, and 
has twenty-three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Of 
his thirteen children, nine are living, one of them being Leonard 
Cutler, formerly of Decorah. 

Another of the hale and hearty old men of Frankville is S. B. 
Cavin, who though over four score years, is still as stout and 
vigorous as many men thirty or forty years younger. His son J. 
A. Cavin, keeps the store there, Frankville Hall being in the up- 
per story. 



IS the southeastem township of the county; population, 797. Like 
Sumner, which borders it on the north, it is purely agricultural. 
It has no villages. Navan postoffice is in the southwestern cor- 
ner, and New Albany postoffice in the central western part. Fort 
Atkinson is its nearer postoffice on the east. Like Sumner, the 
country is rolling prairie, the forests being mostly in the south- 
western part, and the remainder of the township comparatively 
free from timber, except as planted. The inhabitants are a mix- 
ture of Americans, Germans, Irish and Bohemians. The history 
of the early settlement of Fort Atkinson, just across the town- 
ship line, IS also to a certain extent a history of the settlement of 
Jackson township, especially as Jackson was not separated from 
Washington township till 1882. The name of Joseph Spillman, 
first settler of Spillville. is the only one from Jackson township 
on the first county tax list— that of 1851. Jackson township is 
crossed diagonally in a southwesterly direction by the I. & D. 
division of railroad, Jackson station being established about a 
year ago, near the center of the township, where the recentlv 
completed Davenport branch leaves the I. & D. 



_ The census of 1880 gave to Washington township, the second 
in the southern tier, a population of 1,509. Of these, 435 were in 
Fort Atkinson village, and 117 in Festina Postoffice, better known 
as the village of Twin Springs. The first voting precinct of the 
township IS at Festina, and the second at Fort Atkinson. 

There was a single house of entertainment, a kind of saloon, 
at Twin Springs as early as 1850 or 1851. Twin Springs vil- 
lage Avas platted, and the plat recorded Oct. 17, 1856, by An- 
drew Meyer and wife. It lies in a beautiful valley five miles 
south of Calmar. Here is located the brewery of A. F. Gart- 
ner, two general stores, and other branches of business. The 
German Catholic church here is a very large building, and has a 
school connected with it. The village also has a public school. 

Fort Atkinson village, in the northwestern part of Washington 
township, near the western line, took its name from the fort of 
that name, as detailed in the previous pages of county history. 
Of the old fort, which stood on a hill overlooking the site of the 
present village, a portion of one building remains. It is about 
seventy feet of the old settlers' building, and is now occupied by 
three families. Turkey River, which runs southwesterly through 
the township, furnishes the power for several mills. Beard & 
Sons, of Ice Cave Creamery, Decorah, have a branch creamery at 
lort Atkinson, and the various branches of business are well 
represented. There are four churches, and a good graded school. 


There are general stores by Shreiber &Fornian, T. H. Tower, and 
several other mercantile houses, including F. J. Huberts hardware 
store, and J. C. Morris' jewelry store. The hotels are the well- 
known Warren House and the Summer's House. We gather 
much of the following from Sparks' History: 

The fort bearing: the name of the successful Indian General, Atkinson, the 
liero of the Black Hawk war, was commenced on the 2d of June, 1840, A com- 
pany of mechanics, about fifty in number, contracted to do the work. Among 
the number was James Tapper, residing at Monona. These men were escorted 
from Fort Crawford, Wis., to the place selected ibr the Fort, by Company F., 
5th U. S. Infantry, commanded by Isaac Lyon. A captain of artillery named 
Sumner, who became the illustrious Gen. E. V. Sumner of the late rebellion, 
superintended the building of the fort, aided by Happy Jack, his First Lieuten- 
ant. Sumner held command of the fort until the Mexican war, when he was 
detailed to fields furnishing more active se.vice. 

The lort was built for the protection of the Winnebago Indians from the 
hostile and predatory tribes surrounding them, as well as for the protection 
of the pioneer settlers. It was stone masonry work, situated on a?! eminence 
north of the present town of Fort Atkinson, and originally consisted of four 
main buildings, and two gun houses, as represented in the followuig dingram. 

: D : : H : 

o : G -.a 

: ^ : -q^uogiuojj : a 

[A, B, C and D, Ban-acks or Main Buildings; F and H, Gun Houses; E, 
Powder House; G, Flag Staff.! 

The fort wns built in the shape of a square, inclosing an acre of ground, the 
material of which it was built being prepared at Fort Crawford. The cost o 
making a wagon-road, the same ever since known as the Old Military, and 
transporting the material to its place of destination, augmented the cost of 
building the fort to the enormous sum of $93,000r It was afterwards sold. at 
auction to private parties for $3,521. In 1845 Capt. Sumner still held com- 
mand of the fort. The force at that time consisted of a company of infantry 
and one of dragoons. In 1846 Capt. Sumner left for Mexico, and the fort was 
then garrisoned by two companies of volunteers. Capt. James Morgan, of 
Burlington, succeeded to the command of the infantry, and Capt. John Par- 
ker, of Dubuque, to the command of the dragoons. In 1847 Capt. Morgan's 
company was mustered out of the service, and Capt. Parker given entire 
charge of the fort until the removal of the Indians, in 1848. It was found 
necessary to use force to compel them to vacate the country. Captain 
Knowlton, afterwards Judge Knowlton, was detailed to assist the command 
under Capt. Parker. 

After the removal of the Indians, in 1848,there was no further necessity for 
keeping up military appearances, consequently the fort, as a military rtndez- 



vous, -was dispensed with; yet the government did not entirely abandon it. A 
man named Alexander Faulkner was appointed to look alter it. Soon after, 
Faulkner was relieved by Geo. Cooney, a well-known citizen of the county, 
who is yet living in the vicinity of the old fort. 

In 1853, after the removal of the Indians, the fort became useless as gov- 
ernment property, and the administration then in power decided to dispose of 
it at public auction. 

On the reception of this news, in July, 1853, one of the Day boys visited Mr. 
Cooney at the fort and informed him that, the fort would be sold at auc- 
tion the next Wednesday. This intelligence was sad news to him; he un- 
doubtedly would have much rather heard of somebody's wedding. By pre- 
vious agreement he had promised to inform certain parties of the sale when it 
should take place; and he immediately dispatched a messenger with the intel- 
ligence to H. D. Evans and S. A. Clark of Prairie du Chien, and another to 
the Bishop at Dubuque. On the morning of the sale these parties were present 
bringing with them $4,000 in gold to purchase it with. John M. Flowers, 
Capt. Frazier, and a gentleman from White Pigeon, were also on the ground 
in hopes of purchasing the fort. 

The Flowers were extraordinary characters, and played no little part in the 
history of Fort Atkinson. There were two brothers of them, and were classed 
with Charley Clark, Coleman and Tavernier, as "the Canadians." These Can- 
adians came to the fort with the intention of making a living easily. They 
had somehow got the impression that Fort Atkinson was destined to be a great 
city, and thought it afforded a rich field in which to exercise their wit and 
shrewdness to benefit themselves. In language not to be misundei stood, they 
were sharpers . 

Flowers wanted to get possession of the fort property, and induced a wid- 
owed English lady by the name of Newington to purchase it — he bidding the 
feame off. As the bidding progressed "and the price advanced in the Fort, 
Flowers became fearlul that he would not be able to make the purchase, and 
asked those bidding against him, what they would take to stop where they 
were. Clark, Evans and the others held a consultation, and as a result agreed 
to take $25. Flowers said he would give it, and accordingly wrote his note 
for the amount. Said note read as follows : 

"I owe you $25 for value received. 

"J. M. Floweks. 

"Dated Fort Atkinson, 1853." 

Four years after this note was given. Mr. Evans placed it in Mr. Cooney's 
hands (who was a justice of peace at the time) for collection. Three years later 
Mr. Cooney got his pay out of Flowers in sawing. 

The fort was sold to "Flowers for $3,521. 

In 1857 a grist mill was commenced on the site where the Ames Mill 
now stands. Finkle & CJark were the builders, and they received a certain 
portion of the town-plat for building the mill, getting a warranty deed for 
the same. Mr. McMillan^ a resident of Fort Atkinson, who resided, pre- 
vious to 1857, in Canada, and an acquaintance of Finkle, was induced by 
Finkle to accompany him to the United States, and aid in the construction 
of the mill, with promises of a fair remuneration. The mill was completed 
in November, but, owing to some miscalculation of the architect in laying 
out the foundation, when the water was let through the floom it undermined 
the wall, and rent the mill m twain, precipitating a portion of it into Tur- 
key River. The mill was reconstructed shortly afterward. 

It is estimated that in 1857, when the Fort was at the summit of its grand- 
eur, it had a population of 500 souls. A public school, of course, would be a 
necessary adjunct to so thriving a community. Consequently one was organ- 
ized, and an estimable and capable teacher was found in the person of Dr. E. 
Hazen, now a professor in the medical department of the State University, 
and generally acknowledged as standing at the head of his profession in the 
state. To Dr. Hazen belongs the credit of teaching the first school at the 


Fort. The Doctor had met Mr. l\rcKinney and wife, at the commencement of 
Oberlin College, and was advised by them to emifjnite west. He was then a 
young man and had graduated. Mr. .]. P. McKinney, assisted by his wife, 
taught the second term of school at the Fort. The school session was held in 
one of the fort, and their enrollment of scholars numbered nearly 100. 

A Mr. Sharp, from J'ayette county, kept the first hotel in the place. He 
dispensed his hospitality in one of the fort buildings. 

Martin Baehel was the first Constable elected . 

J. P. McKinney was the first Notary Public. 

The new town of Fort Atkinson was commenced in 1?69. The same year the 
railroad entered the place, J. T. Clark's Addition was made to the town, Aug. 
28, 1869. This addition was formerly known as the Tavernier Farm, and was 
sold to J. T. Clark at sheriff's sale several years previous. Its location is on 
the southwest quarter of Section 8, Town 96, Range 9. Main Street is eighty 
feet wide. All the other streets are sixty feet wide. The blocks number 
from 1 to 14, inclusive. 

About this period the first church building was erected. It was located 
north of the old fort, and built by the aid of subscriptions. The Methodist 
church was built soon after. It is located on the old town site, and was built 
by the aid of S. B. Dunlop, a wealthy farmer residing near by, and largely with 
his money." 

The J. P. McKinney, several times referred to in the above 
sketch, of Fort Atkinson, and who, with his wife, taught school 
there, is now a resident of Decorah, and is mail agent on the Chi- 
cago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway between McGregor and St. 
Paul. Mrs. McKinney is a zealous female suffrage advocate, and a 
leader in that cause in this part of the state. 

On the 15th of June, 1878, Congressman T. W, Burdick, of 
Decorah, had an interesting conversation with Rev. J. L. Elliott, 
of Washington, D. C, who was the first chaplain at Fort Atkin- 
son. He went there in the fall of 1844. The Mission School 
was five miles away, where Supt. Lowry had a school for boys and 
girls, and also taught sewing, the cutting of garments, etc. Chap- 
lain Elliott taught the post school at the fort, consisting of chil- 
dren of the officers and men, and ranging from 22 to 25 pupils; 
he preached on Sunday, and sometimes exchanged with Mr. Lowry. 
Henry M. Rice, afterwards U. S. Senator from Minnesota, was 
sutler. In 1848 the Indians were removed to Blue Earth, Minn., 
Indian reservation. Mr. Elliott's office was vacated and the post 
abandoned early in 1849. 


Military township adjoins Washington on the east. The Chi- 
cago, Milwaukee anc St. Paul railway runs through the northeast 
part of the township — population 1,521. The thriving village of 
Ossian had, by the census of 1880, a population of 444, which has 
increased somewhat since that time. It is on the Chicago, Mil- 
waukee and St. Paul railway, about one mile northeast of the 
center of the township. It is 12 miles south of Decorah, on a 
broad prairie, beautifully rolling and richly productive. Among 
its prominent business institutions are the Ossian Bank, Meyer & 
Carter proprietors, one of them M. J. Carter, an able practicing 


attonie}-; two elevators, a hotel kept by R. A. Kennedy, the gen- 
eral store kept by H. A. Baker & Bi'o., H. A. Baker being present 
state senator; and a number of other stores and places of business, 
a Methodist and a Catholic church, a school being connected with 
the latter, of wich Rev. Tierney is pastor. Ossian has a good pub- 
lic school, with an average daily attendance of over 100, of which 
J. jC, Murphy is principal and Miss Sarah Owens assistant. The 
Ossian Creamery, C. W. Williams & Co., proprietors, makes about 
800 pounds of butter a day on the average. The largest amount 
made in any one day 1,650 pounds. 

The present officers of the town are: Mayor, J. Malloy; Re- 
corder, C. J. Mills; Treasurer, 0. Thompson; Trustees, D. Jack, 
J. Becker. T. R. Winn, John Collins, P. H. Mills. 

T. B. Wood, who removed there from Calmar, published Ossian\s 

first newspaper, which lived but a short time, as did also the one 

started in 1876 b}" one Morey. The Ossian Independent was 

started in 1878 by E. L. Howe, and w^as published something over 

a year. The Ossian Herald was started August 19, 1880, by L. 

C. McKenney, It was purchased in the summer of 1882 by T. B. 

Hauna, who died in September, but the paper will probably be 

continued. The first number of the Herald gave the following 

brief history of Ossian : 

"Ossian, the second village in Winneshiek county, vras settled b}' John Os- 
sian Porter, a native of Pennsj-lvania, in the year 1850. The next settlers in 
this vicinity were the Brookses, who came eighteen months later. To Chaun- 
cey Brooks and wife was born the first white child in the township, a daughter 
whom they named Mary. Mr. Porter erected the first house, a log cabin 18x20, 
which was for many years used for a hotel and stage station. Erick Anderson 
was the first merchant, and John Case the first teacher; he taught a select school 
over Anderson's store. In 1870 a commodious brick school-house was built, which 
has since furnished ample accommodations for the scholars attending school. 
Thomas Larsen started the village cemetery, being killed by a runaway ox 
team. In March, 1876, the village was incorporated, with the ioUowing offi- 
cers: Mayor, Geovge McWilliaras; Aldermen, James Kennedy, H. C. Burgess, 
Carl Eiler, S. L). Hinckley and J.J. hJmith. Clerk, James Maloy." 

John Ossian Porter, the first postmaster, and afterwards county 
sheriff, now lives on a farm in Springfield township. 

Spark's History gives the following additional particulars of 
the founding of Ossian: 

"The original town site of Ossian wa.s laid out by its founder, John Ossian 
Porter, on the southeast comer of the section. It consisted of three blocks, in 
aU fourteen lots. It was acknowledged by J. 0. Porter and wife on the 13th 
of April, 18.55. and was filed for record in the Recorder's office of Winneshiek 
county on the 30th of April, the same year. Mr. Elijah Middlebrook did the 
surveying. Two years later, on the_8th of April, Capt. C. E. Brooks achnowl- 
edged the plat of the first addition to' Ossian, which was accordingly placed on 
the proper record. It consists of six blocks, containing sixty- three lots. On 
the 8th day of October, 1864, Capt. C. E. Brooks acknowledged the plat of his 
second addition to Ossian, which consisted of thirty l^locks, divided into lots. 
This plat was properly recorded. On the 4th day of May, 1869, he laid out ten 
additional blocks, and called it Brooks' Western Addition to Ossian. This, so 
far as the records show, was the last addition to the place, and, minus the vaca- 
lon of a few blocks by Mr. Brooks, is the Ossian of to-day. 


"Tlie year 1865 marked anew era in the history of Ossian. That which was 
the death blow ot FrankviUe — the railroad — gave fresh life to Ossian. During 
this year the railroad was built past its door. Thevear before, C. E. Brooks made 
a fresh addition to the place, which was far-sighted, for town lots were in demand 
immediately. The following year the construction of numerous dwellings was 
commeneed, and business interests of various kinds multiplied. 

"Ossian was nearly twenty- one years of age before a single church edifice 
had been erected. The Cathohcs erected a building for worship, which wa,s 
the first, about the year 1869. ^bout two years later the ]\Ietho(lists built a 


This is the southeastern corner township ot the county. The 
headwaters of Yellow River flow through its northern part. 
Population, 1,010. Castalia village and postofiQce is about a mile 
southwest of the center of the township, and is on the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, which reached there October 12, 
1861:. The population of Castalia b}^ the census of 1880 was 
108. It has two churches. A. W. Kramer, postmaster, keeps a 
general store, and there are other branches of business. 

The history of Moneek, in a preceding chapter, is an early his- 
tory of the settlement in Bloomfield township, in which it was 
located; as is also the brief mention of Rattletrap, the name 
given to Castalia in early times. Hamilton Campbell and wife, 
claimed by some — as previously recorded — to be the first perma- 
nent settlers in the country, came there and settled sections 23 
and 26 on June 7, 1848. JDavid Reed and wife, and Daniel Reed, 
settled there August 15, 1819. Other record of early settlers is 
found in that of early settlers of the county, in a previous chap- 
ter, John N. ToplifF and Russell Dean, being among them. 


It will be seen that no attempt has been made to enumerate the 
churches and school houses in the different villages and townships 
but only prominent ones. The general enumeration has been 
given in a preceding chapter. Some of the finest churches are 
situated away from villages and are prominent landmarks on the 
rolling prairie, their location being such as to accomodate the 
residents of the country about them. 

The voting places at general elections are one to each township, 
except Calmar, which has its first voting precinct at Calmar, and 
the second at Spillville, and Washington township, with its first 
precinct at Festina and the second at Fort Atkinson. 

And right here the attention of the writer is called to the 
different spellings of the county ,"Winnesheik.*' The printer of 
this volume has caused the word to be spelled Winneshiek; it is so 
spelled in Sparks' history of the county, and in Tuttle's History 
of Iowa. But the people of the county almost invariably spell it 
"Winnesheik," and it is so spelled in Andreas' Atlas of Iowa. 
But, however the spelling may be, it is pronounced as if spelled 
''Win-ne-sheek," with the accent on the first syllable. 



The Upper Iowa River, with its abundant water power, enters 
the county at the northwest corner, flows southeast to Decorah, 
and thence by a zigzag route leaves the county ic general direc- 
tion a little north of west. The Turkey river runs across the 
southwest part of the county and furnishes valuable water power. 
The Canoe river is a small stream in Canoe and Pleasant town- 
ships. The Yellow river rises in the southeastern part of the 
county. There are numerous other small streams. 

The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway enters the county 
at its southeast corner, and its main line runs diagonally through 
it in a northwesterly direction. From Calmar a branch runs 
northeast to Decorah, and the Iowa & Dakota and the Davenport 
branches in a southwesterly direction until beyond the limits of 
the county. The principal railroad stations are Decorah, Calmar, 
Ossian, Castalia, Fort Atkinson, Conover, and Ridgeway. The 
other prospective roads are referred to elsewhere. 


The townships were intended to be six miles square, but in 
completing the survey on reaching the northern line of the State 
it was found that it lapped over one mile into Minnesota, so the 
northern tier is but five miles wide from north to south, making 
the county 29 miles wide from north to south, and 21 miles wide 
from east to west. 

We have previously given the position and boundaries of Win- 
neshiek County, It's considerably over 400,000 acres are mostly 
arable land, well adapted to cultivation. The surface of the coun- 
ty is diversified, alternating between rolling prairie and timber, 
with bluflfs along the principal streams. It has plenty of clay, 
sand, brick, and stone for building purposes, and its limestone 
out-croppings can be burned into a goodly quality of lime. 


In politics, on national issues the county is generally republi- 
can. But in county matters, party lines are not always closely 
adhered to, and frequently one or more Democrats aye elected on 
the county ticket — occasionally, nearly all of them. The vote at 
the Presidential election ot 1880 was Republican, 2,471; Demo- 
cratic, 1,415; Greenback, 212. 


The rocks exposed in Winneshiek County range from the low- 
er sandstone as far up as the lower beds of the Galena limestone. 
The Lower Magnesian is seen on Canoe Creek, six miles north of 
Decorah, and is a hard crystalline rock of a light gray color. The 
central portion of the county is chiefly occupied by the Trenton 


limestone, -which gradually passes into the Galena in the south- 
western part. At and about Decorah the Trenton limestone — of 
the Lower Silurian period — is finely displayed, this rock forming 
the whole thickness of the bluffs which border the river here. It 
is crowded with fossils, especially in some of its lower exposed 
strata, where were found the beautiful and wonderful specimens 
referred to in the sketch of Decorah. There is a thickness of from 
100 to 130 feet displayed in the bluffs west of town, where the 
rock is a pure limestone of a light gray color, and crowded with 
fossils. Near Calmar the lower beds of the Galena crop out. At 
Ossian the rocks are similar, and at Ft. Atkinson the Trenton 
and the Galena appear. 


The population of the county was 546 in 1850; 13,492, in 1860; 
23,570, in 1870; and 23,937, in 1880. In the last decade, more 
especially in the early part, there was a falling off in the increase 
of population, a large territory being opened up to the westward, 
but there has been an increase in the past few years, and a pros- 
pect of a more rapid growth in wealth and prosperity. 

A few years ago this was the banner wheat county in the 
State. Several failures of crops caused the attention of the farm- 
ers to be turned, to a considerable extent, to dairying and stock 
raising, the soil and face of the country, and its numerous springs, 
making it particularly favorable for those pursuits. The extensive 
Decorah, Ossian, Ft. Atkinson and Hesper creameries are men- 
tioned in sketches of those townships, as are also the stock farms 
in Decorah, Orleans, Fremont and Hesper townships. But these 
by no means represent all the dairying and stock raising indus- 
tries, which are scattered all over the county. 

Notwithstanding the great progress of dairying and stock rais- 
ing, grain growing will not be abandoned, but will have its place, 
and no insignificant one. Enriched by stock and the rotation of 
crops, the soil will continue the old fertility of our grain producing 
lands, and their products readily give employment to more mills 
and manufactories. There are in this county six mills devoted 
wholly or in part to the manufacture of flour for the eastern 
market, and sixteen more devoted to custom work. There are 
scores of unused water-powers. The Upper Iowa River has an 
average fall of eight feet to the mile, and affording more avail- 
able water-power than any river in the State. In no part of its 
course are these more accessible than in the windings of the 
river at and near Decorah. The other streams also furnish abund- 
ant water-powers. Besides the principal streams, innumerable 
springs and the rippling streams that flow from them, furnish a 
lavish supply of pure water in all parts of the county. The 
county is rich in building material. Its fossilized limestone quar- 
ries are almost inexhaustible; from these were furnished the trim- 


mings of the Minnesota College for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind at 
at Faribault, and from the richer specimens of fossil stone, men- 
tioned in the sketch of Decorah, are made many beautiful orna- 
ments. Easily worked quarries of sandstone, in the eastern part 
of the county, furnished the elegant trimmings of the Norwe- 
gian Lutheran College, Decorah. In Washington and Orleans 
townships cream-colored brick is made that rivals the celebrated 
Milwaukee brick. 

The finances of city and county are in excellent shape, as is 
shown in a previous chapter of County History. Out of debt, 
with good public buildings, churches and school-houses, plenty of 
substantial iron bridges over the streams, and all paid for, taxes, 
will consequently be low, and education and church privileges un- 
usually good. It is a good place to live in. 


The latitude of Winneshiek County is about the same as cen- 
tral New York and Michigan, but the winters are less broken and 
changeable. Winter usually sets in about December 1st and some- 
times earlier, and continues until March, with generally a "Janu- 
ary thaw; the weather thereafter usually growing milder till spring 
opens; but without the sudden changes of New England, and the 
long, drizzling rains of the Central and Eastern States. The air 
is invigorating, bracing, and wonderfully pure. No district in the 
Union will excel it in sanitary considerations. An article in the 
Decorah Bepuhlican has thus admirably and truthfully described the 
soil and the face of the county: 

"The soil of the county is not excelled. It is a rich black loam with a depth 
of from one to aix feet. It has a slight admixture of sand, just enouerh in 
quantity to make it friable and easily worked. It is well known to the scientific 
farmer that the land best suited to most small grains, and in which the earthy, 
saline and organic matters are distributed in the proportion best adapted to im- 
part fertility and durability, is a soil based on the calcareous rocks. This con- 
dition particularly characterizes the country bordering on the Mississippi and 
its tributaries in this latitude, as well as for a distance above and below. 

"The county is well timbered, nearly, all the larger streams bemg 
bordered by a growth of both hard and soft woods. Originally about 
three-eighths of the county was prairie, and the same proportion burr oak open- 
ings. The openings have been mostly cleared and improved, having now the 
general appearance of prairie." 

Truly this is a goodly County of a goodly State. May the true 
spirit of enterprise richly develop its ample resources, and the 
children of the present be worthy successors to the pioneers of 
the past. 

History of Allamakee County. 



Prefatortj; Origin of County Name; Topof/raj)Jty; (Jeoloc/ij; Arte- 
sian JVells. 

"The lapsing j'oars joined those beyond the flood, 
Each filled with loves, griefs, strifes and honest toil; 

And thus, as shadows o'er the checkered plain, 
Children their fathers followed to the grave, 

The fruitage of their lives and deeds is ours." 

— The Annalist. 

A history of our county must necessarily consist largely of nar- 
ratives of a personal or biographical character, as the history of 
a comparatively few individuals is the history of this entire re- 
gion during the early days of which we are called npon to write. 
It is eminently fii and proper that the deeds of these pioneers 
should be placed on record in a convenient and permanent form 
for preservation, ere the hand of the relentless harvester has 
plucked the last of them from among us, and sealed their lips for- 
ever upon the facts they might relate regarding the early settle- 
ment and development of the country, which will be of increas- 
ing value and interest to their children, and children's children, as 
the years grow upon years. Already have so many of them gone 
to that bourne Avhence no traveler returns, that anything like a 
complete record of the settlement and organization of the county 
is beyond the bounds of possibility. It seems hardly credible that 
no record of the organizing election of Allamakee County can be 
found either among the state or county archives; but it would ap- 
pear that the organizing Sheriff had failed to make report of such 
election; and not even the scratch of a pen remains of the transac- 
tions of county business under the old Commissioner system. In 
some instances not the slightest record is to be found regarding 
township organizations. And now: 

"Beneath those whispering pines, that oak tree's shade, 

Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, 
Each in his waiTQ cell forever laid, 
'I he rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." 

— Gray. 
To collate the facts still accessible and record the history of 
the works by which they have left us so goodly a heritage as is 
our fair county to-day, would be a pleasing task were it not so 



fraught with difficulties and disappointments, because of the fail- 
ing memories and consequent conflicting recollections of those 
still left who were witnesses of and participants in the events of 
the early days. But if this work is ever to be done the time is 

opportune. . i i. 

In the preparation of these pages great care has been taken to 
verify dates and statements hy such records as are obtainable, and 
to corroborate by cumulative testimony. Errors will doubtless be 
found, but we believe that in the main the history is accurate and 
reliable. No similar work has heretofore been attempted, and we 
therefore have nothing to build from as a basis. The writer is 
indebted to the valuable and interesting sketches prepared for the 
Makee township Early Settlers' Association m 1880, by G. M. 
Dean, and to the sketches by John Bryson, and others, for quota- 
tions here and there; and by diligently poring over old newspa- 
per files he has discovered numerous items of interest bearing up- 
on our early history, and establishing dates that could not other- 
wise be obtained. "To those who have in any manner aided m his 
researches, he would express his thanks. If he has, m the time 
and space, to which he was limited, succeeded m putting together 
in permanent shape and convenient for reference the more im- 
portant facts relating to the county history, and m an acceptable 
manner, it is all he expected to accomplish. 


There are two theories as to the origin of ;the name -'Allama- 
kee," each of which has its supporters. One of these theories is 
that it is the name of an Indian chief. The other is about as fol- 
lows, as we find it stated in the proceedings of a meeting of the 
Earlv Settlers' Association of Lansing, published in the Mirror 
of Nov. 28, 1879: ^ , , ,. „ , , 

''Dr. J. I. Taylor spoke of the subject of the selection of the 
name of the countv, as he had it from John Haney Jr deceased. 
It was his recollection that David Umstead, m the Legislature 
from this unorganized portion of the state, gave the county its 
present title. An old friend of Umstead was Allen Magee, an In- 
dian trader, who was familiarly known to the Winnebago tribes 
and, in their guttural dialect, called Al-ma-gee. Calling to mind 
this fact, Mr. Umstead caused the name 'Allamakee to be insert- 
ed in the organizing act, and it was thus legalized. , , . 

Which of these theories is correct we will not attempt to de- 
cide, although we incline to prefer the first. According to the 
official records "David Umstead" did not represent this section m 
the Legislature which organized this county (the Second General 
Assembly). Samuel B. Olmstead was a member of the First Gen- 
eral Assembly, which held two sessions: Nov 30, 1846, to 1^ eb 
25, 1847, and Jan. 3, 1848, to Jan. 25, 1848 During the first ot 
these sessions an act was passed defining the boundaries ot sev- 


eral counties, among them the then unorganized county of Allama- 
kee, and it is probable its name was officially given at that time. 
David Umstead was a member of the Second Constitutional Conven- 
tion, in 1846. We have been to some pains to investigate this 
subject, but tind nothing fully authoritative. Col. S. C. Trow- 
bridge, a resident of Iowa City, who came to Iowa in 1837 and 
surveyed and organized Johnson County, states positively that 
"the name Allamakee is an Indian name purely, all speculative 
theories to the contrary notwithstanding." 


Allamakee County occupies the extreme northeastern corner of 
Iowa, with the Mississippi river on its eastern border, Minnesota 
on the north, and Winneshiek and Clayton counties on the west 
and south respectively. It is about twenty-nine miles in length 
from north to south; twenty miles from east to west at the northern 
line, and twenty-eight in extreme width through the center tier of 
townships, averaging about twenty-three; giving an area of 664 
square miles. At the southern line of the County the Mississippi 
river is about 625 feet above the sea level. Along the river 
front the County is bordered its entire length with a bold out- 
line of bluffs from 300 to 400 feet high, from the tops of which 
the surface gradually slopes upward until at Waukon, eighteen 
miles back, it reaches an altitude of 655 feet above the river at 
low water mark. 

The Upper Iowa River and its tributaries water the northern 
portion of the county; Village Creek and Paint Creek take their 
rise near its centre and flow eastward into the Mississippi. The for- 
mer north and the latter south of east— while the Yellow River 
takes its course through the southern tier of townships. These 
streams have all cut their channel deeply into the rocks, especial- 
ly the Upper Iowa, which flows through a narrow, winding valley, 
with blufts on either side which have an elevation near its mouth 
but little less than those along the Mississippi. In many places 
the fall of these streams is quite rapid, furnishing the very best 
of water powers. Along the courses of the Iowa and lower part 
of Yellow Rivers, and a strip four to six miles wide on the river 
front, the surface of the country is of course, rough and badly 
broken, but much of this bluffy country is well wooded, as are also 
many of the valleys of the streams, as well as the uplands in some 
portions of the county. Back from the river the county rpresents 
a more attractive appearance to the agriculturist. The oak and 
hickory openings, the rich hazel-brush lands, the prairie with their 
deep, black loam, the warm and sometime sandy valleys, together 
with the rich alluvial deposits of the river bottoms, aff'ord a di- 
versity of soil well adapted for all his purposes. 

The prairies occupy the central and western portions ofthe 
county, as well as parts of the extreme northern and southern 


tiers of townships, and are unsurpassed for natural fertility and 
beauty. They are well watered with innumerable gushing 
springs of clear, cold and pure water, are dotted here and there 
with groves, and are just suiBciently rolling to afford excellent 
drainage, as also relief from the monotonous level of some prairie 

In the valley of the Mississippi where the channel does not ap- 
proach the base of the bluffs, are some extremely fertile bottom 
lands, and a net work of sloughs, lakes and islands; some of the 
sloughs being of sufficient size to at times allow the passage of 
large steamers, as is the case with Harper's channel along the 
front of Taylor Township. At some points the main channel is 
three or four miles from the bluffs, and again it skirts their very 

The principal tributaries of the Iowa are: on the north. Bear, 
Waterloo, and Clear Creeks; and on the south, Coon, Patterson, 
Mineral, Silver, and French Creeks. Those of the Yellow River 
are: from the north, the north fork, and Bear Creek; from the 
south, Hickory and Suttle Creeks. No less than seven of these 
creeks — including Village and Paint — have their sources in 
springs near the highest part of the county, surrounding Wau- 
kon, and flow thence in all directions except to the southwest. 
Some of these springs bubble up through the earth at the foot of 
a hill-slope, frequently covering a surface many feet square and 
forming a good-sized brook at once; others have a less preten- 
tious origin; while there are numerous instances in the County 
where the water issues in a torrent from near the base of the cav- 
ernous face of a limestone cliff from twenty to fifty feet high, on 
a side-hill. 


It is to be regretted that no complete geological survey of this 
County has ever been made. Enough is now known, however, 
from the experience of practical observers, to show that, while 
our system of rocks is on the whole a simple one, as demonstrated 
by the early explorers, in its details it is far more complicated 
than they supposed, owing to interruption of the regular stratifi- 
cation; and as it is more studied and examined the more it exhib- 
its surprising evidences of disturbance during its formation. 

As classified by geologists all the rocks of our county come un- 
der the head of Lower Silurian, and many of them are rich in fos- 
sils of mollusks peculiar to that age. These rocks are oldest in 
order and lowest in the earth's superstructure, the Potsdam Sand- 
stone which is exposed in the valley of the Upper Iowa river, ly- 
ing next above the rocks of the Azoic Age^the foundation of all. 
Above the Potsdam Sandstone in the following order are the Low- 
er Magnesian Limestone, the St. Peter's Sandstone, the Trenton 
and Galena Limestones. The dip, or inclination of all these strata 


in this region is to the south, so that theoretically in entering 
the county from that direction one finds the last mentioned rock 
occupying the surface, and in passing northward he crosses in 
succession the surfaces occupied by the Trenton, St. Peter's, and 
the Lower Magnesian, meanwhile passing downward or back- 
ward in the order of their formation. And this is nearly correct 
practically, also. Prof. C. A. White, in his report on the Geolog- 
ical Survey of Iowa (unfortunately never completed) published in 
1870, says: "The Upper Iowa rises in the region occupied by 
Devonian rocks and flows across the outcrops respectively of the 
Niagara, Galena, and Trenton Limestones, the St. Peter's Sand- 
stone, the Lower Magnesian Limestone, and Potsdam Sandstone; 
into, and through all of which, except the last, it has successively 
cut its valley, the deepest valley in Iowa, reaching a depth in its 
lower part of more than four hundred feet from the highest 
ground in the vicinity. That portion of it which traverses Alla- 
makee County has the Potsdam Sandstone composing the base of 
its valley sides, the Lower Magnesian Limestone forming the re- 
mainder of them. =ic * * They are every- 
where high and steep, the Limestone cliffs giving them a wild and 
rugged aspect. The farming lands of the higher surface, howev- 
er, extend almost to the very verge of the valley. * * 
* This stream has the greatest slope per mile of any 
in the State; consequently it furnishes immense water power. 

* * * This river and its tributaries are the 

only trout streams in the State." 

Potsdam Sandstone.- — In his report on the Geology of Iowa, pub- 
lished in 1858, State Geologist James Hall says of this rock: "It 
attains its greatest exposure in Minnesota and Wisconsin, north of 
the limits of Iowa, and about the region of Lake Pepin. From this 
point the rock dips both to the northeast and southwest. The ex- 
cavation of the Upper Iowa River has removed the Calciferous 
Sandstone (Lower Magnesian Limestone) so that in following up 
that river the Potsdam Sandstone forms its banks for more than 
twenty miles along its meandering course. * * * * 

Below the mouth of the Upper Iowa, this rock forms the bluffs 
along the Mississippi, extending for a greater or less distance up 
the ravines and valleys of the larger streams. The tops of the high 
bluffs near the river, however, soon become capped by the lower 
Magnesian, and * :^ * ^j-^g sandstone 

gradually declines from cliffs several hundred feet in height to the 
level o£ the river, beneath which it finally disappears at the foot 
of Pike's Hill, opposite the mouth of the Wisconsin River, and a 
short distance below McGregor's landing. * * * 

It is usually a light drab color, sometimes nearly white, and 
not unfrequently stained brown by the oxide of iron which at 
some places appears in great abundance.*' 


"Some slightly calcareous bands of this rock contain fragments 
of trilobites, and in numerous localities shellsof Xm^^^/aare found. 
These fossiliferous bands appear in the vicinity of Lansing, 
where the bed containing trilobites lies some sixty feet above the 
river, In its general character this sandstone is a friable mass, 
usually crumbling on exposure to the frost and sun.'' 

"The passage of this sandstone into the overlying limestone is 
effected by numerous repetitions and alternations of the two rocks, 
giving rise to a series of beds along their junction, which from their 
chemical composition, might as well be reckoned to one rock as 
the other 


Lower Macjnesian Limestone. — Of this formation. Prof. Hall says: 
"The great dolomitic mass which overlies the Potsdam Sandstone 
in the Valley of the Mississippi is known throughout that region as 
the Lower Magnesian Limestone. * * * This rock becomes 
a conspicuous member of the series where it forms the bluffs which 
overhang the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien far up the St. Croix. 
The undulations of the strata bring it to the surface in many val- 
leys in Wisconsin where the Galena or Blue limestones occupy 
the elevated prairie (and this is also true on the west side of the 
river). * * * Within the limits of Iowa 

the Lower Magnesian is most conspicious along the Upper Iowa 
River, it also crops out in the valleys of Paint Creek and Yellow 
River, but the amount of surface covered by it is quite small." 

"The rock is usually checkered with seams and joints on its ex- 
posed surfaces, and presents a very rude exterior. In some locali- 
ties, however, it will produce a durable building material." "The 
materials of the rock appear to have been broken up while par- 
tially indurated; the interstices are often filled with sand, and 
fragments of friable sandstone are often found mingled with the 
broken rock itself. In some instances these fragments bear evi- 
dence of having been torn from masses of rock previously indura- 
ted. In many cases the breceiated character seem to be due in 
some degree to internal action among the materials of the rock 
itself." In some regions, "sudden depression occur, where the 
succeeding rock comes in at a much lower level than it occupies 
on either side. The appearance is that of sudden small faults or 
downthrows, as if the rock over a certain area were abruptly de- 
pressed before the deposition of the succeeding one." "The 
annexed section on Bear Creek, near New Gralena, thirteen 
miles due west of the Mississippi, shows the character and rela- 
tions of this rock to the over and underlving sandstones. 

"Soft friable red sandstone 12 feet 

White crystalline dolomite, partly concealed, but showing itself at var- 
ious points 168 feet 

Beds of passage from dolomite to sandstone "30 feet 

White sandstone, to level of Bear Creek 83 feet 


This shows "a thickness of one Imndred and sixty-eight feet of 
the Lower Magnesian limestone, of which the lower one hundred 
and fourteen feet are concealed hy a grassy slope. The upper fif- 
ty-four feet are exposed in a vertical cliff of hard white dolomite, 
irregularly stratified and somewhat concretionary in its structure. 
Of the upper — or St. Peter's — sandstone only twelve feet are here 
exhibited: it is a friable rock of red color.'' '"The indications of 
the existence of organic life during the deposition of this lime- 
stone are few." 

Sulphuret of lead has been found in the Lower Magnesian in 
such quantities that formerly many persons were led to suppose 
that this rock might one day become of as much importance as 
the Galena limestone has been. We quote Prof. Hall: "The 
most important deposits of lead in this rock which have been ob- 
served within the limits of Iowa, are situated in the valley of Min- 
eral Creek, a stream flowing north, through a valley lined with 
precipitous bluffs, into the Upper Iowa river, and about three 
miles south of a small settlement called New Galena: the diggings 
are on the southwest cjuarter of section 13, township 99, range 
6 west. In this vicinity the Upper sandstone is well exposed on 
the top of the bluff', and a shaft has been sunk in it. Along the 
face of the bluff', in which a thickness of one hundred and 
twenty to one hundred and fifty feet of the Lower Magnesian 
limestone is exposed, a number of drifts have been extended into 
the rock, a little below its junction with the sandstone, and con- 
siderable galena has been taken out. * * * 
The ore appears to be associated with irregular strings and 
bunches of calcareous spar, ramifying through the rock, but no- 
where assuming a regular form like that of a vein, or appearing 
to occupy a well developed fissure. * * * 
It is said that between fifty and one hundred thousand pounds of 
lead had been obtained from these diggings; but it seems hardly 
possible that the operation should have been, on the whole, a pro- 
fitable one; and, * * * we see little to en- 
courage farther expenditures at this point.'' 

The "mine" was abandoned about that time, of which we shall 
speak further in another place; and although during the quarter 
of a century since then there have been a number of persons 
faithful to this idea of finding lead in paying quantities in the 
county, none as yet has been developed. Small quantities have 
been found from time to time, in various portions of the county 
— in Paint Creek, Jefferson, Ludlow and Unioti Prairie townships, 
on Portland Prairie, and notably in the valley of Yellow River 
and a small tributary three or four miles from the Mississippi. In 
the last mentioned locality specimens have been found as lately as 
1881 which assayed 89 per cent, of lead, with 249.7 ounces of sil- 
ver to the ton, and a trace of gold. Copper has also been ob- 
served in some of these specimens, as also in specimens from the 


New Galena region. Zinc deposits have long been known to ex- 
ist in the vicinity of New Galena, and at this day there are par- 
ties prospecting with the purpose of developing its value and 

We quote further: ''The Yellow River cuts into the Lower 
Magnesiau, but not through it. At Volney this rock is seen 
rising in cliffs from the bottom of the valley to the height of thir- 
ty or forty feet. On the south side of the river, above the Lower 
Magnesian, may be seen cropping out the Upper, or 

St. Peter's Sandstone. — "This rock occurs as a friable or incohe- 
rent mass, having a thickness of from fifty to eighty and even one 
hundred feet, and sometimes having so little coherence as to be 
removed from the bank like ordinary sand or gravel. * * * 
Although the grains of which it is composed are of white or lim- 
pid quartz, the mass is often and particularly near the base, much 
stained by oxide of iron, while the upper portions are frequently 
quite free from discoloration, This sandstone will furnish an ex- 
cellent material for glass making, whenever that branch of indus- 
try shall be established in the Mississippi Valley." 

This sandstone is found in many places in the county, and where 
accessible have proved very useful for building purposes as in the 
case of beds of it near Waukon. "It occurs in several outliers on 
the south side of the Upper Iowa River, some of them occupying 
considerable areas." On the banks of "the Mississippi the sum- 
mits of the cliffs recede abruptly from the terrace formed by the 
Magnesian, owing to its less power of resisting denudation," 
but where the Trenton Limestone appears over the sandstone, the 
cliffs again assume their sharp outline above, though, "even then 
they present a recession above the Magnesian. Sloping abruptly 
from this, they are capped by the succeeding limestone which rises 
in perpendicular or overhanging cliff's. In consequence of this 
character the bluffs have the aspect of a double terrace, the first 
being formed by the Magnesian, and the second, some eighty feet 
higner, by the Trenton limestone." 

The Trenton Limestone, with its usual fossiliferous bluish-gray 
layers, occupies the elevated surface of the country through the 
center of this county, over a space of some ten or twelve miles in 
width. This rock is usually concealed by the superficial formations 
(drift, etc.), but crops out in the valleys, * * * where it 
is quarried for lime and as a building stone, for both of which 
uses it is well adapted. * * * rpj^^ Trenton limestone 
proper is marked in some localities by numerous species of its 
characteristic fossils, while elsewhere they are extremelv rare. 

* * * This rock is mostly thin-bedded; 

though the drab-colored layers are firmer, thicker, and usually free 

from seams, furnishing building stone of moderate dimensions, 

and, rarely of the thickness of eighteen or twenty inches. * 

* * The increase in thickness is chiefly at the 


base of the formation."' The limestones at the base of the Tren- 
ton, appear, from their chemical composition, to be better quali- 
fied to make good hydraulic cements than any others found in the 
State of Iowa. * * * The following analy- 

sis will give an idea of the composition of the Trenton lime- 
stone as it exists in the northeastern corner of Iowa. The speci- 
men is from a quarry four miles south of Waukon: 

"This is a very light drab-colored rock, not materially chang- 
ing its color or appearance by weathering. It breaks with a 
smooth fracture into rectangular fragments. Its texture is finely 
crystalline, and it is very compact and homogeneous with the ex- 
ception of minute specks of crystallized calcareous spar and bi- 
tumen which are sparsely scattered through it. It is in all res- 
pects a good building stone, splitting out in good shape, dressing 
easily and keeping its color well. This is not from one of the 
very fossil if erous layers of the blue limestone; but it contains a 
few fossils, and is colored by a trace of organic matter. 

"Insoluble (silicate of alumina) 4.07 

Carbonate ofiron 62 

Carbonate of lime 94.08 

Carbonate of magnesia, alkalies, chlorine, sulphuric acid and loss 1.23 


"The specimen analyzed above represents in character and 
composition the lower portion of the Blue limestone, as developed 
throughout the northeastern corner of the State. It is quarried 
in numerous places, and affords the best material, both for build- 
ing stone and for lime, being an almost pure carbonate of lime. 
It sometimes fades slightly on exposure by the gradual disappear- 
ance of the organic matter which it contains; and is not unfre- 
quently colored of a light buff on the exterior by the oxidation of 
the iron which it contains in the form of carbonate of the pro- 

"The passage from the Trenton into the Galena limestone above 
is not an abrupt one; on the contrary there are, in many locali- 
ties, several alternations of calcareo-magnesian and purely calcar- 
eous layers between the two formations.'' 

The Galena Limestone is found in this county, only in the southern 
portions, occupying the surface of the elevated country south of the 
Yellow River. North of that stream a few outliers of this rock are 
found on the highest points, above the Trenton, but as we proceed 
northward these disappear entirely, and give place to the Trenton 
which occupies by far the largest portion of the surface of the 
county, south of the Upper Iowa, and is the most valuable rock we 
have, economically considered, because of its properties for building 
purposes, for lime and other uses; although portions of the Galena 
and the Lower Magnesian are also well adapted for building pur- 
poses. The Galena is the rock in which are found the valuable lead 



deposits of this State in the vicinity of Dubuque; but it does not 
appear in this county in sufficieut thickness to warrant expecta- 
tions of any future developments of value in that respect. 

Prof. Hall says: ''The Galena limestone as usually developed 
is a rather thick-bedded, light-grayish or light yellowish-gray 
dolomite, distinctly crystalline in its texture and usually rather 
course grained, although occasionally so finely granular as to be 
almost compact." It "closely resembles in lithological character, 
as well as in chemical composition, the Lower Magnesian from 
which it is separated by the Trenton. It is, however, more uniform 
in its texture, and does not exhibit the breceiated and concretion- 
ary structure.'' 

It will be seen by those who are conversant with the geological 
system of this county, that while the survey by Prof. Hall twenty- 
five years age is substantially correct, he was not aware of the 
great irregularity in the various strata throughout the interior of 
the county which has since been developed in the shape of 
"faults", undulations, upheavals and other evidences of internal 
disturbances. In numerous instances "breaks have occurred in 
such manner as to show the entirely different formation of rock 
abutting upon each other, and side by side occupying large tracts 
of country on the same level, as in the case just northeast of 
Waukon, where a pure sand rock composes the entire surface, hills 
and valleys, on the east of an abrupt dividing line which separates 
it from a purely limestone formation. 

In this place it is appropriate to allude to Hon. Samuel Mur- 
doch's discovery of a fossiliferous rock underlying the Potsdam 
Sandstone. We quote from an article written by him in 1875. 

"From the neighberhood of Lansing there is a rapid southern 
dip in all the formations along the river, and this is so rapid that 
the whole thickness of one formation is entirely hid in the space 
of twenty miles, and this rate will correspond with the whole of 
them. Now if this dip was confined to any one of these forma- 
tions alone we might conclude that it was originally formed* at 
this angle, but when we see them all conform to the same dip 
and preserve a uniform thickness, it forbids the idea of an original 
slant. From the neighborhood of Lansing there is also a corres- 
ponding northern dip in all the formations, leaving the conclus- 
ion upon us, that somewhere in the neighborhood of this city, a 
powerful subterranean force is constantly being exerted to heave 
up a large portion of Iowa and Wisconsin, I am therefore strong- 
ly disposed to look to the new rock which I have recently discov- 
ered, lying beneath the Potsdam sandstone, as the great lever that 
is doing the work." 

"At the city of Lansing it rises to an altitude of more than 
two hundred feet above the level of the river, and can be traced to 
the water's edge, is largely composed of lime, and this substance 
in contact with both heat and water would furnish, perhaps, the 


largest expansive force of any other rock known upon the globe. 
Having recently traced this rock for several miles up the Little 
lov^^a, and again into Wisconsin up and along the Kicsapoo, and de- 
termined that it has both a northern and southern dip, I am 
therefore prepared to say that it forms a ridge in this neighbor- 
hood of only about ten miles across, when it is lost again from 
sight upon either side. How far this new rock can be traced east 
and Avest from Lansing I am not prepared to say, but I am in- 
clined to believe that ten by thirty miles will cover the whole area 
of its exposure, when it fades out of sight beneath the Potsdam 
sandstone. This new rock is undoubtedly of vast thickness, and 
like some huge monster of the great deep, is pushing its way up- 
Avard with giant strength, lifting and tilting everything above it, 
as if they were but feathers in its way. It contains within its 
folds the remains of a dead world that flourished in the dim long 
ago, and over these remains the future geologist may well ponder, 
and contemplate the vast cycle of time that has elapsed since they 
flourished in life and activity.''' 

And again, from an article published in 1876: 

"Several years ago while wandering over the beautiful bluffs 
that overlook the thriving city of Lansing, in Allamakee County, 
in company with James I. Gilbert, he called my attention to a pe- 
culiar ledge of rocks that forms the base of the hill in the immed- 
iate rear of the city. Since that time, I have found that it run 
under the Potsdam sandstone. 

''With the exception of this fact, I supposed it to be devoid of 
geological interest, and it was not until a recent visit to Lansing 
that I discovered this rock to be rich in fossil remains. I discover 
both the vertebrated fish and the articulated worm in great num- 
bers, and I have no doubt that upon a close examination, both the 
Radiates and Mollusks could be found in equal numbers. 

"Dr. Ranney, an intelligent scientist of Lansing, while disputing 
with me the fact that this rock underlies the Potsdam, but claims 
that it only exists in a basin, and is of a modern lake deposit, in- 
forms me that he found in this rock in a fossil state, a perfect cat- 
fish, resembling in every particular its fellows of our present 

''The city of Lansing is built upon this rock, while it still rises 
above the town and forms a second bench about two hundred feet 
above the level of the river, while its lowest strata runs beneath 
the water. 

"About two miles south of the city it is again seen beneath the 
Potsdam, but at a much lower level than its surface at the city, 
and here it is rapidly dipping to the south, while at the city it 
rapidly dips to the north, and in a few miles either way it des- 
cends out of sight. 


"Some great internal force lias served to raise it up north of the 
valley of the Lansing creek that did not operate south of that 
stream, and must have broken a fissure which afterwards became 
the valley of the stream. 

"This rock is composed of lime, sand and shale in alternate de- 
posits; the streaks of sand often very thin, and alternating 
through the entire mass." 

The ^'Iron Mountain/' — Prof. Hall failed to notice any evi- 
dences of iron ore other than "in some localities the rock is highly 
charged with oxide of iron * * of which the origin appears to be 
from the decomposition of iron pyrites." "Oxide of ii'on, or 
hematite, is occasionally present in small nodules" in the Pots- 
dam sandstone, etc. But it has long been known to some resi- 
dents of the county that fragments and boulders of iron ore were 
scattered over the surface of the ground along and on either side 
of Makee Ridge, two or three miles northeast of Waukon, and 
that in some places the road-bed seemed to be of solid iron. No 
particular notice had been taken of this, however, by outsiders, 
until within the past few years, through the efforts of Mr. Chas. 
Barnard, who has taken pains to furnish several experienced iron 
men with samples of this ore, who have in every instance given 
analysis showing it to be a good quality of red hematite, of a 
purity ranging from 50 to 70 per cent. Mr. Barnard has exam- 
ined the deposit carefully for several years, and is satisfied that 
it is not merely a shell, but a rich mine of great depth, and that 
if the surface ore which has been exposed to the air yields 65 per 
cent, of the pure metal, the interior deposits must be as rich 
as any now known. Nothing but actual trial can determine 
whether this apparently great, solid mass of iron ore is really 
what it appears. However, now that outside parties of capital 
are becoming interested in the matter, it would seem, at this 
writing (July, 1882,) that its value will soon be ascertained. The 
following extracts from an article by A. M. May, editor of the 
Waukon Standard, published in that paper of May 18, 1882, 
will give a tolerably clear idea of the situation of this bed of 

"We know it is against the geological arrangement of strata as 
usually seen in this part of Iowa, that such a bed should exist, 
and that it is not mentioned in any report; and that we have been 
laughed at in years gone by for suggesting that iron did exist 
here in any appreciable quantity ; but we have believed it because we 
have seen it and know it is here. The only question in our mind 
was: Is it rich enough to pay for working? 

"The ore bed is situated about two miles northeast of town. 
The Lansing road crosses it near the old Sloan place. It extends 
east or beyond where the road turns nearly north towards the 
poor farm. Thence irregularly southwest to a little below the 


old C. J. White place, and then with a northwesterly curve to the 
place of beginning. The old Stoddard house is somewhere near 
the northern center of the bed. 

''Not long since we made a thorough examination of it in com- 
pany with Mr. C. Barnard, who came from an iron and coal coun- 
try and has had years of experience in mining. We first struck 
the ore on the south side near the old White place, and followed 
up the ravine nearly to the top of the hill; crossed the ridge to 
another ravine; and made a general examination of fields, ravines 
and washes. The bed is bounded on the south and east by the 
St. Peter sandstone; on the west and north by the Trenton lime- 
stone. The bed extends much further down the hill going south 
than it does going north. The change from the iron bed proper 
to the other formations is abrupt. At the old AVhite and Stod- 
dard places, there are springs of soft water, while all other 
springs in this county, so far as we know, are hard water. In 
following up the ravines a person can walk almost the entire dis- 
tance on ore. No other rock formation shows itself. The ra- 
vines wash out till the ore is struck and can wash no lower. The 
sides of the washes are lined with ore. It crops out on the sum- 
mits of the hills in large boulders. From our examinations, we 
should say there was at least two hundred acres two hundred feet 
deep of the ore. There are now thousands of tons of it in sight. 
This is an estimate, and not by measurement. Of course it can- 
not be positively determined to what depth it does extend; sink- 
ing a shaft only can determine that. Our opinion is that it is an 
upheaval of considerable and perhaps great depth, and not merely 
a shell on the surface." 

And the following from the Dubuque Trade Journal of about 
the same date relates to iis availability: 

''Here would seem to be a mine of wealth, a genuine bonaijza 
awaiting the advent of capital, enterprise and skill, to establish an 
industry that would redound in fortunes to all concerned. The 
only drawback is the want of fuel in the immediate vicinity. But 
fortunately, from the deposit to the Mississippi river, which is not 
far off, there is a continuous down grade. The ore can therefore 
be easily taken to the water and then floated in barges to Dubu- 
que to be smelted. If thought advisable, smelting furnaces might 
be established in the Turkey river district, where an abundance 
of the best wood is found; or, for that matter, anywhere along 
the banks of the river on either side for a distance of more than 
seventy-five miles. Furthermore, a railroad connection of not 
more than three miles would place the valuable freightage in the 
hands of the Waukon railroad. By water or rail the grade is 
downward, so that under any circumstances the transportation 
would be of the easiest kind." 

From a personal examination of this iron bed, in company with 
Mr. Barnard, we found that recent heavy rains had washed out 


the ravines so as to expose the ore in better shape, giving more 
favorable indications than before. In several places strata of fine 
blue clay are found of considerable thickness, possibly in sufficient 
quantities to warrant the undertaking of the manufacture of 
white brick. In other places, at the base of the iron exposure, 
there was observed a heavy bed of what is pronounced by those 
familiar with its appearance to be a superior quality of potter's 

The main portion of this iron deposit lies on Section 17, extend- 
ing to the south on to Section 20, and to the west on to Section 
18, covering a total area of about 328 acres. On its southern bor- 
der is nothing but sandstone; to the west it abuts abruptly upon a 
limestone filled with fossils; a limestone without fossils lies on its 
north; while on the east are found sandstone, limestone and a 
black granite, the latter being found nowhere else in this region 
with the exception of small boulders of glacial deposit in some 
localities. The springs of soft water which flow from near the 
centre of this area, are strongly impregnated with iron, but no 
complete analysis has yet been made. Numerous beds of blue 
clay are also found here and there over this area; and the more 
the region is studied the more wonderful geological surprises does 
it present to the observer. 

Since the above was written one of the numerous analysis, made 

by a thoroughly competent man, has been published, as follows: 

Sesquioxide of iron , 52.571 

Sesquioxide of manganese 8.054 

Sesquioxide of cobalt 230 

Alumina 1.777 

Lime 1.090 

Magnesia 374 

iSulphuric acid 047 

Phosphoric acid 4.092 

Water and organic matter 13.134 

Silicious matter 18.631 

In regard to the extent of the ore, Mr. Barnard, after careful 
examination, has made out the following list of owners and num- 
ber of acres owned by each : 

Thomas Meroney, acres 35 

John Barthell 103 

James Hall 35 

J ohn Kasser 35 

G. Schellschmidt 40 

John Griffin 20 

C. Helman 20 . 

Mrs. S. S. Johnson 25 

Gilman Nelson 20 

Total number of acres exposed 333 

Fossil Marble.— This term is applied to the fossiliferous layers 
of blue limestone found in such profusion in certain quarries in 


the central portion oil the county. These layers or strata are 
composed almost entirely of a mass of organic forms, the fossil 
remains of the numerous pieces of mollusks so characteristic of 
that epoch, possessing such a degree of cohesion, however, that 
the rock which they compose is used extensively in building, and 
is susceptible of a high degree of polish, like marble. When 
so polished, the surface presents a most beautiful appearance, 
showing as it does the hundreds of curious forms of shells, corals, 
etc., in one solid mass of confusion, though each distinctly pre- 
served as they were huddled together by the waters of the ancient 
ocean in which they had their existence, and from which they 
were so wonderfully preserved for our study and admiration. So 
wrought, this rock is useful for all ornamental purposes; is inex- 
pensive and much used for mantels, table tops, etc., in place of 
marble, and is aptly christened "fossil marble." 

Artesian, Wells. — The well near Harper's Ferry was bored in 
186 — , with the hope of finding petroleum. Of course the pro- 
ject was a failure. Prof. White says: "It is quite remarkable 
that the most careful tests failed to find any iron in it. This water 
has been reported to be strongly impregnated with salt. The 
analysis will show no warrant for such a statement. One liter of 
the water contains .79 grains of solid matter, of which there are 

Sulphuric acid 082 grams 

Hydrochloric acid 193 " 

Calcium oxyd 096 '^ 

Magnesium oxyd 045 

"The depth of this well has been variously stated, * * and it has 
been found impossible to get a perfectly satisfactory account of 
the strata passed through by the drill." 

The first artesian well at the foot of Main street, in Lansing, 
was drilled in April, 1877, and began to flow at a depth of 366 
feet. Granite was struck at 760 feet, and the work ceased, with a 
flow of 320 gallons per minute; but this well not having a suffi- 
cient "head" of water for practical purposes (33| feet only), 
another was started, but abandoned at 440 feet, and a third one 
undertaken further up town, which was completed in July, the 
depth being 676 feet, and the flow greater than at the first well. 
The water is clear, cold, and soft, with no bad taste. 



Botany^ Zoology and Entomology ; Climate; Storms and Torna- 
does; Agriculture. Live Stock and Manufacturing Interests; 
Tables of Statistics. 

The botany of Allamakee County is rich in species, both of 
exogens and endogens. The country on the whole may be con- 
sidered well wooded, though many of the groves that now dot the 
prairie are the result of forethought on the part of the early set- 
tlers, who planted trees for shelter from the winds of winter and 
the summer sun, and are well repaid by the enhanced beauty and 
value of their farms thereby. 

Among the forest trees and shrubs of the county are found the 
oaks, white, black, and minor varieties; the hard and soft maples, 
Avhich here grow to perfection; the hickory, butternut, black 
walnut, hackberry; ash, white and black; elms, cottonwood, pop- 
lar, birch, willows, several species; basswood, honey locust and 
mulberry, rare; wdld plum, crab-apple, wild cherry, iron- wood, 
thorn-apple, elder, sumach, hazel, gooseberry, raspberry, black- 
berry, wild grape, etc., among the deciduous varieties; and the 
common white pine, red cedar, balsam fir, trailing hemlock and 
trailing juniper among the evergreens. Besides these, all the 
hardier varieties of fruit trees, ornamental shade trees and shrubs, 
do well when introduced into this region, as the apple, pear, 
cherry, grape, currants, chestnut, buckeye, mountain ash, larch, 
spruce, arbor-vita?, etc. 

In regard to fruit trees, the experience of most of the early 
comers who attempted to grow apples of the varieties which had 
prospered well in their former homes, was discouraging in the 
extreme, and the trees killing out winter after winter induced 
nearly all to give up the attempt. There were a few, however, in 
different portions of the county, who believed that with judicious 
selection and management the apple would be made a success, and 
about 1855 and 1856 there were numerous nucseries established, 
nearly every one of which proved failures. Among those who 
entered this branch of horticulture was D. W. Adams, who estab- 
lished a nursery at Waukon in 1856, and persevering year after 
year, casting aside as worthless such varieties as winter-killed and 
propagating only such as readily became acclimated, he succeeded 
in establishing the fact that some of the best apples in the coun- 
try can be easily grown in this region. He to-day has forty acres 
of bearing orchard, probably as fine as any in the Northwest, 
which has yielded as high as 2,000 bushels per annum. Through- 
out the county, too, are many orchards in bearing, supplied with 
the varieties which have proven themselves well adapted to this 
climate — some of them seedlings of remarkable excellence. 

^ I 





Of the herbs and small shrubs the number is very great. From 
early spring, when the anemone or wind flower appears upon the 
hill-side, until the late frosts of fall, there is a constant succession 
of floral beauties. Among the more common of these herbs and 
flowers may be mentioned the buttercups, liverwort, cowslip, 
prairie pinks, blood root, sorrel, dandelion (said to have first ap- 
peared with the coming of the white man), thistles, lilies, sun- 
flowers (many varieties), asters, bone-set or thoroughwort, wild 
rose, strawberry, may weed, lobelia, cardinal flower, wild pea, la- 
dy's slipper (yellow and purple, the latter not common), May ap- 
ple or mandrake, several species of milk-weed, morning glory, 
etc., as well as many kinds of beautiful ferns and mosses in the 
shady dells. Of course a number of plants and grasses have been 
introduced that have become practically indigeneous. The tame 
grasses have found a congenial home in the rich prairie soil, and 
aff'ord the most luxuriant pasturage for all kinds of live stock. 

This chapter would be incomplete without an allusion to the 
lotus, or the beautiful and fragrant cream-colored water-lily, 
which expands ten inches in diameter, and is found in the sloughs 
along the Mississippi river. It is said to grow in but few locali- 
ties in North America. 


The natural history of Allamakee County deserves to be studied 
with more care and scientific accuracy tkan has yet been bestowed 
thereon. And especially should the young people be encouraged 
to take an interest in a study so attractive as well as useful. Spe- 
cies once common are becoming extinct, and others not native 
here are appearing year by year and taking the place of those that 
are disappearing. Not one in twenty of our boys knows what in- 
sects are useful to the farmer, nor what birds; and of the latter 
great numbers are annually slaughtered in wanton sport, which, 
had their lives been spared, would render valuable aid to the far- 
mer and horticulturist in ridding him of annoying and destructive 
insect pests. 

The principle mammalia found in the county by the early settlers 
were the panther, gray wolf, prairie wolf, lynx, wild cat, raccoon, 
skunk, mink, weasel, beaver, otter, niuskrat, rabbit (hare), bat, 
shrew, mole, fox, black bear, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, flying 
squirrel; striped squirrel j(or chipmunk), gray gopher and striped 
gopher (or ground squirrels), woodchuck or ground hog, the 
pouched or pocket gopher, and mice of several species. Rats were 
so early an importation by steamers that it would not be surpris- 
ing to see some gray veteran, with the impudence of his race, ap- 
pear and claim a share of the banquet at a pioneer's meeting. The 
porcupine has also been found in this region, we believe. An oc- 
casional red squirrel has been obtained of late years, though not 
observed when the county was first settled. Since white men set- 



tied in the county its prairies have not been sliaken by the tramp 
of buffalo (more properly bison), which were undoubtedly at one 
time to be found within our borders. Elk were found here at first, 
but have disappeared long since. Ked deer were very plentiful 
for many years after the county was settled, and a few are killed 
each year to this day along the bluffy regions of the Iowa and 
Yellow Rivers. At as late a date as December, ISTO, we have an 
instance of no less than ten being shot in a three days' hunt, par- 
ticipated in by four men, in the Iowa Valley. The latest instance 
we have of the capture of a beaver in our county borders was in 
November 26, 1874, when one was killed on the farm of C. J. F. 
Newell, on the Yellow River, in Franklin Township, This speci- 
men was three feet, eight inches long, and weighed forty-eight 
pounds. Of wolves, wild cats and foxes, there are still a sufficient 
number to warrant the county in paying a bounty upon their 
scalps, and they do not seem to decrease as rapidly as the sheep 
and poultry owners might wish, as the following comparison will 
show: In the five months' ending, June 1, 1871, the county paid 
bounties upon 47 wolves (including whelps), 37 wild cats and 40 
foxes. In the year ending, December 31, 1881, the number paid 
for was — wolves 88, wild cats 43, and foxes 23. Occasional lynx 
are included in this number and classed among the cats. 

The birds of this county are those of a large portion of North 
America, though we are more favored in numbers of varieties than 
many sections because of our varied topograph}" — a combination 
of prairie, valley, bluff, woods and Avater — affording breeding 
places for nearly all the species that inhabit this climate in 
North America. Several species are only occasional visitors; 
many others go southward during the winter; while a small num- 
ber remain here the year around. Among the birds of prey {Raj)- 
tores) the bald eagle holds the first place, and may still be seen 
perched in solitary state in lofty trees, and is known to breed in 
this county. Among other species of this order which are sup- 
posed to nest in this region may be mentioned the buzzard, duck 
hawk, pigeon hawk, sparrow hawk, goshawk, Cooper's hawk, 
sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed or hen-hawk, barn owl, great 
horned owl, mottled or screech owl, golden eagle, fish hawk, and 
barred owl. The great gray and snowy owls of the northern 
regions are often seen in winter. 

Of the Scansores. or climbers: the ^red and the black-billed 
cuckoos, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, the black wood- 
cock (rare), and the yellow-bellied, red-headed, golden-winged, and 
perhaps some other woodpeckers. It is an idea of some, but fast 
becoming exploded, that some varieties of woodpeckers do great 
injury to fruit trees, etc.; but the fact is that no more industri- 
ous insect hunter exists, and these species should be protected in- 
stead of exterminated. They seldom peck away any but decayed 
wood, and the good they do is vastly greater than the injury. 


Insessores, or perchers. This order is represented by an in- 
numerable variety, so that we can mention but a few of the most 
common; such as: Ruby-throated humming bird, chimney swal- 
low, whippoorwill, night hawk, belted kingfisher, king bird, pewee 
or Phoebe bird, wood thrush, common robin, blue-bird, black and 
white creeper, Maryland yellow-throat, chestnut-sided warbler, 
scarlet tanager, barn swallow, cliff swallow, bank swallow, purple 
martin, shrike or butcher-bird, red-eyed vires or fly-catcher, cat- 
bird, brown thrush, house wren, winter wren, nut-hatch, tit- 
mouse or chickadee, horned lark, finch, yellow bird, white throat- 
ed sparrow, tree sparrow, chipping sparrow, sing sparrow, rose- 
breasted grosbeak, indigo-bird, chewink, bobolink, cow-bird, red- 
winged black-bird, meadow lark, Baltimore oriole, orchard oriole, 
crow black-bird, blue jay, etc. The mocking bird breeds here, 
rarely. The crow is not common, though far more so than 
twenty years ago. The snow-bunting is found in winter. The 
black snow bird is seen in countless numbers, spring and fall, as 
it migrates to the north or south. The rose-breasted grosbeak 
has increased in numbers wonderfully in the last fifteen years, 
since the advent of the potato-bug, of which it is inordinately 

The order of Bacores, which includes many of our game birds, 
is represented by the wild or passenger pigeon, Carolina dove, 
pinnated grouse or prairie chicken, which is scarce compared with 
the early years, ruffed grouse or partridge, and the quail. The 
wild turkey is said to have been fouad occasionally when the 
country was new, but if so they have long since disappeared. 

Among the GraUatores^ or waders, we have the sand-hill crane 
occasionally, the bittern, green heron, golden plover^ killdeer 
plover, king plover, black-bellied plover, turnstone, woodcock, 
Wilson's snipe, rail, and others. 

Among the Natatores, or swimmers, we might mention a great 
variety of species that tarry in our waters a greater or less period 
in passing to and from their northern breeding grounds in spring 
and fall, including the wild goose, brant, mallard, green and blue- 
winged teal, midgeon, red-head, canvas-back, golden-eye, butter- 
ball, and other varieties of ducks and geese; and the great northern 
diver, or loon. The summer duck, and some other species of this 
order^ breed with us. The swan is sometimes found; as is also the 
white pellican. 

Reptiles are neither very numerous nor formidable, though, 
when first settled, several sections of the county were considerably 
infested by more or less dangerous specimens. The yellow rattle- 
snake and the massasauga or prairie rattlesnake were frequently 
encountered, and the former sometimes attained great sizes. It 
found a congenial habitat along the bluffs among the rocks, and 
there are traditions of dens of these hideous reptiles similar to 
that described )>y 0. W. Holmes in "Elsie Venner," inhabited by 


monsters o£ fabulous uumber and size. Single specimens, and 
some quite large, are still found occasionally, and their possible 
presence is still, to the timid, a terror in those otherwise delight- 
ful dells that break through the bluff wall. The water-snake sur- 
vives in the streams. The black-snake, the blue-racer, the ground 
snake and the garter-snake — the most common comprise the other 
species, and they are every year decreasing in number. There are 
three or four species of turtle, possibly one lizard, and one or two 
salamanders, besides the usual varieties of frogs and toads. 

Fishes abound in all the streams of any size, ranging from the 
minnow to the gigantic buifalo and catfish. Among the more 
common are the perch, bass, pike, pickerel, sucker, sturgeon, eel, 
red horse, chub, gar-pike, dog-fish, etc. The only brook or 
speckled troiit found in Iowa are caught in the cold, swift creeks 
that empty into the Upper Iowa. The}^ were formerly very 
numerous in Patterson, Silver and French creeks, but these 
streams have been so persistently fished that comparatively few 
are now to be found. The other varieties are caught in great 
numbers in both the Mississippi and the Iowa. 

Of the crustaceous, the crawfish, or crab, is our best known 
representative; and of the mollusks, the snail. 

The insects include representatives of all the great families. 
The leimloptera (moths and butterflies) have many species, varying 
greatly in size, from the great cecropia moth, five inches across 
the wings, to the tiny tinea^ less than half an inch, which does so 
much damage to uncared for carpets, etc. The hymneoptera 
include the membraneous winged insects, such as bees, wasps, 
ichneumons, saw-flies, ants, and their allies; the dipterea, the two- 
winged insects, as flies, mosquitoes, etc.; the coleoptera, or sheath- 
winged insects, are numerous, and many of them large and beau- 
tifully colored. This class embraces the beetles, among the 
troublesome and destructive borers of many species, the scaven- 
ger bugs, and the potato bug. The beautiful and useful lady- 
bugs belong also to this division. Many of the borers are re- 
markable for the length of their anfennia', and for the strange- 
ness and elegance of their forms. The apple-tree borer is about 
three-fourths of an inch long in its beetle state. It lays its eggs 
on the bark, near the foot of the tree. The larvae are whitish, 
with small, horny, brown-colored heads. They remain in the 
larvae state two or three years, during which time it is they do the 
damage. Their transformation is usually completed in June, 
when the perfect beetle emerges. The lady-bug is destructive to 
aphides^ or plant lice, and should therefore be preserved. The 
Colorado potato bug first appeared in this county, we believe, in 
the season of 1867. It is a native of the Far West, and when 
making this "invasion" spread over the country to the eastward 
at an average rate of about sixty miles a year. 


The herwipfera comprise buj^s, cicadas or harvest-flies, and the 
like. In this division Ave find the chiuchbug, which has been very 
destructive to wheat in this county for a number of years. It is of 
the same family and genus (citnex) as the bed-bug. The seven- 
teen-year locust" also comes under this class. It appeared in this 
county, or portions of it, in immense numbers in 18G4, and again 
in 1881. There are several different broods throughout the 
country, so that in various sections they are found in different 
years. Entomologists tell us there is another variety which re- 
appears in thirteen years. They are short-lived and harmless, ex- 
cept that they injure the looks of the foliage where they are 

Ortlwptera are the straight-winged insects, like the grasshoppers, 
katydids, cockroaches, crickets, etc.; and the neiiroptera are nerve- 
winged, like the dragon-flies, or ''devil's darning needles," and 
their allies. The arachnidcp, or spiders, and the mijriapoda^ or cen- 
tipedes, are of course found everyMdiere in their accustomed haunts. 

It will be seen that the geology and natural history of this 
county offers an ample field for the amateur collector, or for the 
naturalist who seeks to lay a broad foundation for future investi- 
gation by first acquiring a thorough knowledge of the local flora 
and fauna. It is far from creditable to the scientific spirit of the 
county, and especially to its high schools, that no better collec- 
tions illustrating local geology, botan}', zoology, or entomology, 
exist M'ithin its borders. Teachers, especially the able principals 
of schools, could easily awaken an interest in the minds of their 
pupils that might not only result in the developement of en- 
thusiastic practical naturalists, but in the formation of collections 
that would be both of value in teaching and objects of interest 
through the future. Moreover, knowledge derived from the study 
of nature has a pecuniary value not easily estimated. The man 
who has a knowledge of botany is not liable to be tricked into 
buying worthless vegetable wonders. The existence of the 
borers, the potato beetle, the chinch bug, and the many other ene- 
emies of the horticulturist and the farmer, demonstrate the need 
of at least a passing acquaintance with insects and their habits, in 
order to the better combat with them, and teachers should lead 
in impressing on the minds of all the importance of such know- 
ledge. The loss annually sustained by Iowa farmers by the 
ravages of insects is several millions of dollars, of which Alla- 
makee county bears her full share; and a large portion of this 
immense sum might be readily saved by a proper popular know- 
ledge of them and the measures to be taken for their destruction. 


In general, the air of this region is bracing, healthful and invig- 
orating. Miasma and malaria are not prevalent, except along the 
sloughs of the Mississippi where attacks of ague are imminent at 


certain seasons. It is seldom that consumption is contracted here, 
although our climate is not now considered, as formerly^ a specific 
for that disease. The prevailing winds are westerly — northwest 
being most prevalent, the southwest next, and southeast third in 
order. The annual precipitation of moisture averages about 36 
inches; and the mean annual temperature is not far from 45 de- 
grees Fahrenheit. In general the winters are cold and long con- 
tinued, with plenty of snow, though exceptions are not infrequent. 
The open winter of 1877-78 will long be remembered, when mud 
prevailed and roads were nearly impassible for weeks. Flowers 
bloomed on the open ground the last week in December; bees were 
at work on Christmas day; and at Lansing an excursion by ferry 
boat on the Mississippi was indulged in. Peas and greens grew 
five inches high in gardens in early January, ducks were flying 
north, and considerable plowing was done. So, also, will be re- 
membered the severe winter of 1880-81, with its long continued 
and frequently repeated snow-blockades; and the winter of 1856- 
57, when the deeply drifted snow was covered with a crust that 
supported ox teams in places, and deer were run down by men on 
foot because their sharp hoofs penetrated the crust which imped- 
ed their speed and lacerated their legs. 

Friday night, April 27, 1877, an old-fashioned northeast snow 
storm set in, and continued almost steadily until Sunday after- 
noon. The roads were blockaded by drifts which rose in places 
to the depth of four feet. Very late heavy frosts are on record 
for the 11th, 12th and 13th of May, 1878, and ice formed to con- 
siderable thickness May 22d and 23d, 1882. Although these are 
exceptional cases, frosts have been known in June and July. Aug. 
22d and 23d, 1875, severe frost injured corn in low lands; and 
frosts are usually liable to occur after Sept. 10th. The beautiful 
Indian summer weather of late fall is one of the prominent fea- 
tures of our climate, though it is sometimes crowded out of the 
annual programme entirely. 

Our county has so far since its settlement escaped the ravages 
of severe tornadoes to a great extent, the most serious storm of 
that character which has visited us entered the county from the 
southwest, on the afternoon of the 26th of September, 1881; pass- 
ing just north of Postville, it demolished the houses of several 
farmers in Post township, especially at Lybrand, and passed 
northwardly through Jefferson Township, unroofing houses and 
twisting off or uprooting trees in its course, finally disappearing 
east of Waukon. Undoubtedly had the storm struck a town 
there would have been loss of life as well as property. As it was, 
several were very severely injured in Post township and all their 
personal effects swept away. Sept. 24, 1872, several buildings 
were blown down at Monona, including the depot and the Catho- 
lic church, but no lives were lost. 


Of the other severe storms, the following are the most note- 
worthy : A severe wind and hail storm destroyed the crops in its 
path in July, 1854, unroofing Scott Shattuck's large barn at Wau- 
kon, and blowing down the frame of the Makee school house. 
May 21st, 1870, a storm passed eastwardly through Union Prairie, 
Makee, Center and Lafayette, unroofing the West Ridge Catholic 
church, and the hail broke window glass all along its course. 
July 14th of the same season severe hail, rain and wind destroyed 
crops in Lndlow, the hail destroying a great deal of window glass 
and cutting the heads of people exposed to its fury. April' 29th, 
1872, a severe storm visited the southern portion of the county, 
unroofing houses and blowing down trees. August 4th, 1872, a 
hail storm extended over a good share of the county, doing great 
damage to crops in Post and Franklin . One of the most terrible 
"blizzards" ever experienced in this region raged January 7th, 
8th and 9th, 1873, when the snow was drifted to unprecedented 
heighths, the air was filled with the fine, cutting particles so that 
travel was impossible, and the mercury ranged from 20 to 36 de- 
grees below zero. This was the time trains were snov/ed in for 
three days, in Winneshiek County, and passengers passed for- 
ty-eight hours of suff'ering therein. In the night of June 23d, 
1875, a terrific rain flooded the valleys of Paint and Village creeks, 
the Iowa and its tributaries, sweeping away many county bridges, 
mill dams, etc. The Yellow river was treated to a similar des- 
tructive flood June 1st, 1878. 

On the 10th of July, 1878, began our heaviest rain fall on rec- 
ord, raging at intervals from Wednesday evening until Friday 
morning, when the rain gauge showed 6.70jinches of rain in thirty- 
six hours (at Waukon), and on Sunday .66 in addition fell. This 
flood was general all over the county and did untold damage at 
Lansing and Village Creek; several had narrow escapes from 
drowning; almost every bridge along Village Creek was swept 
away, and the damage along the valley was estimated at f 50,000. 
The valleys of the Iowa and Yellow Rivers did not escape with less 

But the rainy season of 1880 was more remarkable in many re- 
spects, though generally not so destructive, except on Yellow 
River where the damage was unprecedented. This series of rains 
began May 24th, and continued nearly through June, the months 
of May and June showing a rain fall of 14.68 inches at Waukon. 
The first storms was most severe in the northern portion of the 
county, while that of June 14th was particularly destructive along 
Yellow River, sweeping away crops, bridges, dams, and even mills. 
Great rains prevailed throughout the Upper Mississippi valley, 
so that river was higher than ever before known, during the latter 
part of June. Along our border it reached its highest about June 
22d, nearly a foot higher than the previous high water mark 
of April, 1870. 


June 24, 1882, the lower Village Creek valley experieuced its 
highest water on record, from rains of that morning and the pre- 
ceding night. Families in the village of that name narrowly es- 
caped with their lives, and the wagon and railroad bridges at the 
mouth of the creek were both taken out. 


Allamakee County has always been classed as one of the best of 
agricultural regions, because of the diversity and fertility of its 
soil. The principle products have been wheat, corn, oats, barley 
and potatoes. But owing to the partial failure of what was for- 
merly the staple crop — spring wheat — continuing for several years 
in succession, the attention of the farmers have been turned to a 
greater variety of resources, having learned from dear experience 
how greatly the universal dependence upon the wheat crop will 
impoverish a region through impoverishment of the soil. Butter 
and eggs, hogs and cattle, etc., have always been produced for ex- 
port to a considerable extent, but have been more relied upon 
within a few years, with the addition of flax, sorghum, onions, 
etc. Fine stock and the dairy, especially, are beginning to receive 
that attention which they demand; and these, with the increase 
of manufactories, will prove the pecuniary salvation of our people. 

There was not a creamery in the county until 1880, when one 
was established at Waukon, which has made this season (1882) as 
high as 2,000 pounds of butter per day, and ordinarily 1500 
pounds per day. There are now five of these establishments in 
the county manufacturing from 400 to 1,500 pounds per day. 

Our manufactures are not extensive as yet, but the many un- 
improved water powers and other natural advantages for that 
class of industries are a guarantee that they will one day become 
as important as our agricultural resources. They consist at pres- 
ent of one large lumbering establishment, one foundry, one brew- 
ery, five creameries, numerous wagon and plow shops, brick yards, 
etc, and flouring mills, and last but not least, a woolen mill. The 
latter is situated at Village Creek, and was established by H. 0. 
Dayton in 1865, the building being of stone, three and a half 
stories. It did a large business until October 28, 1868, when it 
was destroyed by fire, involving a loss of ^35,000 — nothing but 
the bare walls being left. It was rebuilt and new machinery put 
in, but on May 21, 1875, it was again destroyed by fire, at a loss of 
$25,000. In less than a year the mill was once more in operation, 
and has since continued to do a large business, notwithstanding 
the proprietors, Messrs. Howard, Carrolls & Ratcliffe, have met 
with many discouragements in the shape of disastrous floods, 
which have washed out the dam, time and again, causing great 
loss of time and expense for repairs. 

Of the flouring and grist mills, they are between twenty-five 
and thirty in number, although all are not now in operation, ow- 
ing to the great decrease in the wheat crops in the last few years. 



From the latest available statistics (the results of the census of 
1880 not having been made public yet except in regard to some 
items) we have compiled the following tables relating to agricul- 
tural and manufacturing matters, and where practicable have 
given ojiportunity for a comparison of different years. 



CI t~ 


ed '72 

Names of 

^4-1 1—' 


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0-' V 

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2 S 

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3 > 

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Fren'h Cr'k 














































































































Paint Creek 




































Union City 











Un'n Pra're 










































pa:|U'B[j JO»y 

• o 

• o 


•-0 o 

uaqaiij,^j'B^ JO SBJoy 


X' .-O 1— I -^ C^l CC -^ CO Oa C~ OO '^C O O 1— 1 CJ TC CO 
C^ C<] X CT M< "* >— 1 CO C: t^ O 1— I -H lO O O lO 1— I 

1 — I T— It — I C<1t— tCOi— ll — I 1 — li-H 


o] o-iOQi— ico-*ciT— iio-*-*aj>— icOl— loco 

•^m^o ^^^M 

ct xj t- c^ 02 cTi CO i^' r^ t^ ^ c; oa i-o -* CO »o o 




oiooaovior^cO'X-^c^cooa— iiocO'*io-^ 
c^cor^coor— lot— (^HOsoji-ooooa'nHctiio 
^ 1— I CO -* OJ oa lo lO o ca X CO ■* CO CO oa ^ CO 

■^i8I uf «-toqg 
100 AV JO spunoj 

oiooc^— Hcocoi— locDO'— icocot^coc— 00 
cooaco-f<io-HCvi'— ioax:or^ooji^cofMio 

T-i I— I 00 c: lO X CO CO c^ C' 'O' oi t^ oa ^- o oi t^ 

"—I I— 103 I— lC0C<10ai-Hi— It— I I— I 

■fL8I "? p9;S9xV.I'BJJ 

s9o;b;oj jo spqsng 

cO'i>-iost^oooccoa'*co-*-*'— it^ocixi 

cor^X)Ci-^c<ia2 0500ici>c^iOT— loicocotM 


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A8[j'Bg JO s[aqsng 

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s;eo JO spqsng 

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co-^Oi— i-^^oaoJOOTcoc^iOi'Mc^ico^ooa 
oat^c— c<ico— i-^00[^c0i-or^r-X>c0O5C^O3 
cococO'Oscococ^o-'+'coiococor— -H^HCii— I 
c<i I— 1 1— 1 1— I CO 03 OS >— I CO CO CO oa oa >— I CO oa 

uaoQjo spqsng 

coiOi^t--ox(Moor^r^<0'— i-^oo-^coea 
'^o.iiocoor— cnoiocooiooio-^LOcoco 


tiSI ^n pa^saA-i-Bfj 
"^t'^q;^ jo spqsng 

r^i— ir^cocDOJXi— (COcoiOiiO)coo3oai-oo-^ 
coioooc3>ox'COco— CO— cr^ooc<i»-i'coc<ic<i 

OXiOOOJ— HiO^OOt-iOi-OO-Hr-iiO-^OD 



•putj'^ peAoid 
-uTj sojoy JO 'ojvj 

cOiOcooor^-^-^'-^-HoacocoocO'— 1'*'#-^ 
>— lO-^co-^r-H'+icoc^ooocvir^-H— ico-^co 
oooot— c50a-^#(Mcoi^cot^>ocoo3CM^c^a5 




fe CO 


S o s s 

O -3 ^ K^' ^ O 

a J5t2 c? 2-2 




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g CI «"" 

y^ -^j • ^-^ >: X 



'X O X) O X -^ O r^ iX lO O ■"/" CO' CO CO C2 CO co 
CO Ol X ^^ C^ O 'ti CO O CO CO r-< O] O lO O O-l CO lO 

01 -J O CO lO C5 '^ l:^ Ct i-O CO t^ >-0 C^ X' CT CO o 
I— 1 O L^ 1— I CO ^O lO CO O] O- -^ .— I I— I 1— I OJ T 





























In 1880 the amount exempt from taxation in Allamakee County 
on account of fruit and forest trees planted was $7,250. 
























*A11 ages. fOver six months old. 



Number of engines 

Horse power 

Number of wheels 

Horse power 

Average number of hands employed in 1874 

Tons of pig and scrap iron consumed. 







Cubic feet of wood consumed 3,5.39,274 

Pounds of Wool 27,020 

Pounds of leather 8,000 

Bushels of wheat 280,000 

Bushels of corn 10,400 

Bushels of barley 7,000 

Value of goods made in 1874 $745,072 


Agreeable to a notice signed by Geo. C. Shattuck, John Ray- 
mond, D. H. Gilbert, John A. Townsend, Thos. A. Minard and 
Robert Isted, a meeting was held at Waukon, on the 7th day of 
June, 1853, of which John Raymond was President and Joel 
Baker Secretary, and which resulted in the formation of the 
''Allamakee County Agricultural and Mechanical Society." The 
first officers of the society were : 

President- -John A. Wakefield. 

Vice Presidents— Robert Isted, John Laughlin, Wm. C. 

Recording Secretary— J. J. Shaw. 

Corresponding Secretary — John Haney, Jr. 

Treasurer — A. J. Hersey. 

The original roll showed a membership of eighteen persons, as 

John Raymond, John S. Clark, Robert Isted, M. B. Lyons, 
John A. Wakefield, Reuben Smith, C. W. Cutler, Absalom Thorn- 
burg, L. S. Pratt, M. Lashman, G. C. Shattuck, D. H. Gilbert, J. 
M. Gushing, Ezra Reed, A. J. Hersey, Scott Shattuck, Austin 
Smith, John Haney, Jr. 

We quote from Judge Dean : 


"June 23cl at a meeting of the directors it was voted that there 
be a County Fair at Wankon on the 13th of November. At this 
Fair Ezra Reed and G. C. Shattuck took premiums on sheep. 
Robert Isted, John M. Gushing, and Shattuck, took premiums on 
swine. Patrick Keenan, John Raymond, D. H. Gilbert, Robert 
Isted, and Abraham Bush, took premiums on cattle. Jehial 
Johnson, J. B. Cutler, Moses Shaft, G. C. Shattuck, took premiums 
on vegetables. L. Abbott took premium on wheat. Moses Shaft 
on corn, John A. Wakefield on best ten acres of corn. Benja- 
min Beard, L.Abbott, Mrs. L. T. Woodcock, Mrs. J. A. Townsend, 
Mrs. J. M. Cushing, and Mrs. Prescott, took premiums on house- 
hold products. This was the first Agricultural Society or Fair 
ever held in the County, and for those early days was a grand suc- 
cess, although held on the open prairie," 

The following year D. W. Adams was elected President of the 
society. Although we have no record of the old society at hand 
to refer to, we know that for several years quite successful Fairs 
were held, for those days. 

At the suggestion of Mr. Adams and John Plank, Sr., a meet- 
ing was held at Waukon Jan. 8th, 1868, for the purpose of re- 
organizing a County Agricultural Society, which was successfully 
accomplished, and this organization has held a County Fair each 
year since then, nearly all of which have been successful ones, 
and the society is prosperous. At that meeting the following 
officers were elected: 

President, John Haney, Jr.; Vice President, John Plank, Sr.; 
Secretary, D. W. Adams; Treasurer, Charles Paulk, 

Directors — Center township, John Stillman; Fairview, D. F, 
Spaulding; Franklin, Selden Candee; French Creek, Porter Bel- 
lows; Hanover, Hans G, Hanson; Iowa, A, B, Hays; Jefferson, 
C. D. Beeman; Lafayette, W. Smith; Lansing, G. Kerndt; Lin- 
ton, Harvey Miner; Ludlow, Thos. Feely; Makee, C. 0. Howard; 
Paint Creek, John Smeby; Post, W. H. Carithers; Taylor, James 
Carrigan; Union City, Benj. Ratclifife; Union Prairie, A. L. Grip- 
pen; Waterloo, W. Robinson. 

It was decided to purchase grounds adjoining Waukon, and 
each director was made an agent for the sale of life and annual 
membership tickets to accomplish this. 

The present fair grounds, comprising seventeen acres, admir- 
ably adapted to the purpose, were purchased and paid for, inclosed 
by an eight foot tight board fence, and a halt mile track made 
within the inclosure, at the following cost: 

Cost of grounds $ SOO 00 

Labor and material 6:>4 60 

Lumber, etc 084 88 

Total cost $2,129 48 


On which, after paying all the premiums of the first fair in 
full, there was at the annual meetiilg in January, 1869, a remain- 
ing debt of only $483.58 unprovided for. 

In the autumn of 1809 the society erected a new hall, 39 by 60 
feet, and made considerable other improvements, at an expense of 
$560, and still further reduced its debt. The society has con- 
tinued to make improvements upon its grounds from time to 
time, including an addition to the exhibition hall in 1881. It is 
now almost entirely out of debt, and is one of the most flourish- 
ing societies of its kind in a wide region around. 

The present officers of the society are: 

President— W. C. Earle. 

Vice-President^ — H. G. Grattan. 

Treasurer — A. E. Robbins. 

Secretary — H. A. Rodgers. 

Directors — John Johnson, Center; Eugene Perry, Fairview; C. 
F. Newell, Franklin; J. Doughterty, French Creek; H. G. Han- 
son, Hanover; A. B. Hays, Iowa; T. B. Wiley, Jefierson; An- 
drew Sandry, Lansing; E. D. Tisdale, Lafayette; Robt. Hender- 
son, Linton; Simon Opfer, Sr., Ludlow; J. A. Townsend, Makee; 
R. Sencebaugh, Paint Creek; W. H. Carithers, Post; Robert 
Banks, Taylor; B. RatclifFe, Union City; T. W. David, Union 
Prairie; A. P. Dille, Waterloo. 


General History; the Aborigines; Archceology; Advent of the 
Whites; Early Settlements; County Organization; First County 
Officers; Taxable Property in 1849; Sketch of Father Lowrey; 
Indian Missions; The Painted Pock; County Seat Elections; 
Sodom and Gomorrah. 

The great Dakota or Sioux family of American Indians, whose 
proper domain is the vast central prairies between tne Mississippi 
River and the Rocky Mountains, from east to west, and stretch- 
ing from the Saskatchewan on the north to the Red River, of 
Texas, occupied the territory in which Allamakee county is in- 
cluded, when the white man first set foot on Iowa soil, in 1673. 
They are remotely allied, in language, to the Wyandotte-Iroquois 
family of the East. 

At the time of the advent of the white man, the Winnebagoes 
C'Puans" of the Canadians), a division of this powerful Dakota 
tamily, formed their eas'"ern outpost, and lived on the western 
shore of Lake Michigan, and about the waters of Winnebago 



Lake and Green Bay, Wisconsin. This tribe was the parent stock 
ot the Omahas, lowas, Kansas, Quappas, or Arkansas, and Osac^es 
Ihey took up arras with the French in the Franco-Encrlish wars 
and with the English in the Revolution and war of 1812. ' 

The Sacs and Foxes, originally separate tribes, were at one time 
neighbors of the Winnebagoes in Wisconsin, but had united their 
numbers in one band, and removed to and occupied a larc^e por- 
tion of Illinois, and the eastern part of Iowa, south of the^upper 
Iowa river. By the treaty of 1825 this river was made the divid- 
ing line between the Sioux on the north and the Sacs and Foxes 
(now considered as one tribe) on the south. But owin<r to fre- 
quent collisions between these tribes, in their hunting expeditions 
the favorite hunting grounds being a bone of contention, the 
Government, m 1830, assembled them in council and established 
"the neutral ground," a strip of territorv forty miles in width 
from north to south, with the upper lowa'^as its center, extendino- 
westwardly from the Mississippi to the upper valley of the Des 
Moines river. Thus nearly the whole of what is now Allamakee 
county was included in the neutral ground, which was considered 
on of the yery best of hunting grounds, and upon which 
either tribe was permitted to hunt at pleasure, without interfer- 
ence from the other. 

At the close of the Black Hawk war, in 1832, in which the 
Winnebagoes took no active part, but were rather friendly to the 
whites, a treaty was made whereby this neutral ground was to 
become their reservation, and in consideration of the surrender of 
their lands in Wisconsin they were to be allowed large annuities 
from the government, which also undertook to supply them with 
agricultural implements and teach them the art of tilliuo- the soil 
hoping to induce them thereby to abandon their wild*' and idle 
ways and become civilized; a hope which proved fallacious. - This 
treaty, (or another made near that time,) was proclaimed Feb. 13 
1833, and by its terms— as recently found bv A. M. May in a vol- 
ume of Indian treaties in the library of the" Wisconsin State His- 
torical Society— defined the boundaries of the reservation as fol- 
lows: Beginning at a point on the west bank of the Mississippi 
river, twenty miles above the mouth of the Upper Iowa, thence 
west to Red Cedar Creek (the head-waters of the Cedar River) 
thence south forty miles, thence east to the Mississippi, thence' 
?? 7ooo P ^^® °^ beginning. This grant was to take effect June 
1st, 1833, provided that by that time they should leave their old 
reservation and settle upon this. The eastern portion of this neu- 
tral ground was soon occupied, and a mission sch