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ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY .
3 1833 01084 7132
THIRTY- SECOND ANNUAL REUNION
AUGUST 25, 1898.
Iowa CmzEN Pobushing Company, Printers.
THE OLD SETTLERS.
AT THEIR ANNUAL REUNION AND PICNIC AUGUST 25, 1898.
No gathering of the Old Settlers of Johnson County has
proved a greater success than that of Thursday, August 25th,
at the Johnson county fair grounds, not alone in point of
numbers, but in the strengthening of fraternal ties among
those who were the founders and builders of the state. And
with the pioneers were many of the second and third genera-
tion and a great number of friends and acquaintances who
gathered to do honor to the pioneers. The Executive Com-
mittee had made ample arrangements in the way of seats and
water, and decorations of the old cabins. There was an entire
lack of the business canvassing, that is, too often a con-
spicuous matter at such meetings and only one outside house
was represented in its" advertising.
Well filled lunch baskets attested that the old settlers had
not lost acquaintance with the cooking art that a half century
ago gave high renoun to " corn pone " and prairie chicken.
At this hour when old neighbors gathered about the tables,
there was chat with good cheer and many were the reminis-
cences recalled, the old tales retold, and events rehearsed of
the forties and before and even down into the fifties, when
Johnson county was in the West, when there was no times
save '* hard times " and yet when men and women grew in
moral strength and store and won from the fertile soil treas-
ures for themselves and their children; though money was
scarce and wealth unknown, the log cabin and the rude vil-
lage house marked the homes of a happy people who put
duty first, who praised God for the blessings bestowed upon
them and who dying left the heritage of a good name, or who
living in these days receive the giateful homage of the4r
The hour of lunch and refreshments passed, music called
the pioneers and their friends from the seats and the tables
clustered under the apple trees to the seats facing the plat-
form. Rev. Charles S. Brown of the Baptist church, offered
the invocation, after which L. S. Swafford, president of the
day, presented Messrs. Gil. R. Irisli and Matt Cavanagh, who
with himself constituted the committee on correspondence,
and read letters from Johnson county pioneers who have re-
moved elsewhere and who still recall with gratitude and
affection the old life and old friends. These letters were
from Richard H. Sylvester, of Washington, D. C, son of the
former editor of the State Press; Andrew Beermaker, of
San Jose, Cal., for many years prominent in business here;
W. P. Cassidy, of Muscatine; Mrs. James M. Wright, of Aledo,
Ills.; H. G. Little, Grinnell; A. J. Casaday, Albia; R. R. Spen-
cer, Seattle, Wash., some years ago cashier of the Johnson
County Savings Bank; Prof. Thos. M. Irish, long identified
with the public schools of Dubuque; M. K. Lewis, of Albany,
Oregon, and Mrs. W. H. Woods of Sutherland, Iowa.
One of these writers, Mr. Casaday^ had arranged to be
present, and spoke pleasantly on life in early times in Johnson
county. There were many present who nearly forty years
ago were his pupils in the second ward school, and in dear
old Oak Grove just east of town, where big girls and boys as
well as little ones owned his painstaking care. Mr. Casaday
was one of the adventurous spirits who in 1862 voyaged over-
land to the then new Oregon, and carries with him to this
day an unpleasant reminder in the shape of a bullet from an
Indian's gun that leaves him with a perceptibly halting gait.
It was in this attack upon a wagon train that Andrew Hunter
The senior pioneer on the grounds was Mr, James Walker,
of the Valley, who came here in 1837, and though now in
his eighty-fourth year, is a man of vigor and health, who th'"^
summer worked on his farm and made "a full hand."
One loved and honored pioneer's absence was noted, that of
Mrs. Sarah A. Myers, who was detained at her home by sick-
ness, and many were the expressions of sympathy and hope
for her presence at the next meeting.
Mr. E. M. Adams, of Cedar, was the oldest of the pioneers
on the ground, 87 years, and is one of the oldest residents of
The coniniittee on necrology, through its chairman, Mr.
Euclid Sanders, reported that the following members of the
association had died since the last meeting. So far as the
committee could ascertain the ages of the deceased are ap-
\ ' ■-...*.*-««-•'
Joshua Ady 70
Dr. T. S. Mahan 82
Mrs. Ezra Hamilton 55
, . D.Corlett 64
Mrs. Rose Tanner 68
Charlotte J. McGrew 70
J. G. Starkey 82
Mrs. David Borts 63
Herman Lorenz ' yy
J. W. S. Home ,49
Wm. Berger 84
R. L. Dunlap 74
Dr. Elizabeth Hess 52
Hon. E. Clark 82
Joe A. Edwards 53
Michael Borts '80
Jacob N. Seydel .' 70
Robert Lyon « 74
Casper Dunkel 88
Mrs. Josephine Miller 60
Capt. A. J. Fickey 77
J. B. Letovsky, Sr 77
Samuel Lawrence : . . . —
Dr. ^L B. Cochran , —
gi John McComas ,47
Mrs. Jared Hatn —
Jaincs Dawson —
Albert Shiland —
Adam Kline —
Michael Cline —
George Wical 78
Mrs. Carson Wray —
Mrs. John W. Jayne ~-r
[ulius G. Brown 84
Isaac Koser 73
Tames McLaup-hlin 49
Mrs. Lucinda R. Rians Sj
. Francis Groves 76
Mrs. J. M. Iloflman 55
Val Lentz 82
Alden Fletcher —
Harvey Hall —
David Hoo\'er 78
Mrs. J. L. Theobald 59
Mrs. Mary Smith —
. , A._L. Clark —
■ M. Freeman —
Henry Alt 84
Mrs. Emma Pepler . —
Mrs. N. H. Tulloss —
Esther L. Mendenhall —
The meeting of the Association for the election of officers
was held in front of the old log cabin and resnlted as follows:
President and Treasurer — Hexry J. WiEXEKE.
First Vice-President — CoL. John R. He.\th.
Second Vice-Presidc?it — Sam P. Fry.
Secretary — George T. Borland.
Assistajit' Secretary — ^Jas. T. Robinson.
Executive Ccininiittce — G. R. Irish, John A. Stevenson,
R. Heyern, Euclid Sanders, Chas. Pratt.
The following list of members present includes in the main
only those who were reported as present by the secretary on
payment of the annual dues. There are probably some omis-
E. M. Adams
J. L- Adams
J. M. x'\dams
J. E. Adams
O. M. Adams
P. A. Alderman
h. A. Allen
Ira J. Alder
O. A. Byington
W. J. Brown
A. W. Benter
Mrs. J. Berry
W. F. Buck
E. R. Barnes
J. A. Burke
Geo. T. Borland
A. W. Bradley
E. F. Brock way
Mrs. F. W. Barnes
Mrs. Isaac Bowen
T. C. Carson
IV. D. Cannon
C. M. Calkin
J. G. Crow
Mrs. C. Cox
Mrs. M. J. Cline
J. N. Clark
A. T. Calkins
M. G. Cozine
M. A. Drake
Mrs. E. Dennis
F. N. English
J. H. Easley
H. S. Fairall
S. H. Fairall
W. E. C. Foster
S. P.- Fry
J. ^I. Files
W. B. Fackler
G. W. Fleming
Mrs. John Goody
Miss Anna Hope
John R. Heath
J. K. Hemphill
S. J. Hess
Geo. R. Hall
Mrs. R. Hutchinson
J. U. Hoffman
O. M. Hoi ton
D. H. Hastings '
Miss F. Hepburn
G. R. Irish
iMrs. C W. Irish
Dr. Leora Johnson
John E. Jayne
D. A. Jones
W. A. Kettlewell
G. W. Koontz
M. J. Kirkpatrick
R. A. Keene
E. \V. Lucas
J. F. Larue
J. J. Lee
Isaac B. Lee
E. B. Moore
C. G. Moore
R. A. McChesncy
Mrs. S. H. McCrory
James McKray, Jr.
L. W. Miller
John J. Miller
J. W. Morford
IVIrs. E. K. Morse
J. S. Mahana
A. H. Mueller
W. H. Miller
Geo. W. Nelson
W. N. Orr
]Mrs. L. Parsons
Mrs. M. C. Parsons
\V. E. Pratt
F. A. Parrott
W. L Pratt
J. T. Robinson
F. X. Rittenmcyer
J. J. Roessler
Mrs. J. J. Roessler
D. F". Rosenkranz
W. J. Rowland
J. F. Ruhe
Phil. E. Shaver
Mrs. C. Shillato
Jesse K. Strawbridge
J. G. Stover
I\L A. Seydel
J. T. Struble
L. S. Swafford
J. W. Schell
J. B. Schofield
C. J. Sweet
J. A. Stevenson
S. A. Swisher
C. A. Switzer
J. U. Seydel
Mrs. S. Shepherd
,A. B. Teneyck
J. H. Thompson
W. p. Teneyck H. Wicneke David Walker
Hiram Toms and wife J. L. Waldron
Mrs. S.Tippenhaiier S. Weldy J. C. Wilson
J. P. Vonstein Henry Walker, Jr. D. J. Wilson
Dr. J. P. Vonstein Henry Walker, Sr. and wife
F. B. Volkringer Jos. Walker Jdmes Walker
Mrs. J. R.\'an Fleet Mrs. Edna Wilson Mrs. R. Williams
J. J. Wceber Isaac Weeber Samnel Yarborongh
Emory Westcott .M. E. Webster Noah Yoder
Among the visitors from abroad were Mr. and Mrs. J. B. ,
Swafford, and Mr. and I\Irs. Balser Hormel, of West Liberty.
G. R. Irish^ lo'iva City,
Dear Sir: — Your kind invitation to attend the Old Settlers
meeting of Johnson county is just received. Eet me say to
the old settlers, if it were possible for me to be with them
on that day I would surely be there. If there is a day in the
year that I wish myself back in Iowa, it is the reunion day
of the old settlers of Johnson county. However I should miss
many familiar faces that I met so often in the almost forty
years I lived there.
If there is a spot in this great and glorious country which
I would prefer to this city and valley it would be Iowa City.
Let me say to the old settlers again that we live in the m^ost
beautiful valley in California and our climate is considered
the best in the United States. We have no extreme weather
and no hard storms of any kind. We have a Hawkeye Club
in this county of about four hundred members — all former
residents of Iowa. We meet twice a year — once in Decem-
ber, when we have a literary entertainment and banquet, and
again in June when we have a picnic.
With kind wishes to all,
Yours very truly,.
San Josc^ California, Augnst 8^ iSpS.
Dubuque, Iowa, August 22, 1898.
G. R. Irisli^ Iowa Cit)\ laiva.
Dear Sir: — I regret that it is impossible for nie to accept
your invitation to participate in the annual reunion of the
Old Settlers Association of Johnson County.
I am deeply interested in all that goes to perpetuate the
memory of that rapidly diminishing band who have pioneered
the civilization of our country*.
I am proud of glorious Iowa, my native state, and justly
proud of the men who laid the foundation of her greatness.
All Honor 10 ulo^c sluidy pioneers who blazed the path of
civilization from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.
That heroic band who, with rifle and ax, faced the perils
of forest and flood — the dangers of the untracked wilderness,
and the vengeful enniity of its savage denizens.
Onward and ever westward these fearless men advanced,
like a slender wave from north to south through this great
land, presaging the full tide soon to follow.
Checked, and often beaten back by the fury of savage foes,
they were never daunted, but with high courage and firm
purpose renewed their onward march.
Many fell by the way and were laid to rest with Nature's
wide-spread canopy for their mausoleum, and the song of the
summer breeze or the fierce howl of the winter's blast their
perpetual dirge. _ _
But no obstacle could long hold in check men of the high
courage possessed by the true pioneers, and finally this resist-
less wave of v.estward progress reached and crossed the mighty
Father of Waters, and marked its final sweep along the beau-
tiful streams and sunlit prairies of our own loved state.
Here and along these lines were planted the homes of the
last of the pioneers.
Here these men, ever mindful of the duties and obligations
of freemen, laid deep and well the civic foundations of our
great sisterhood of western -commonwealths, destined to domi-
nate the nation in all those elements that constitute material
and political growth.
Let us, who stand so nearly related to those strong men, so
endeavor that the lesson of their courage, steadfastness, and
sterling honesty shall be deeply impressed upon the young
generation just entering the arena of civic activ'ity to the end
that the domination of the empire of the West shall stand for
all that constitutes true and national greatness.
Let us hope that in God's good providence, truth, justice
and fidelity shall prevail throughout the land.
■ T. M. Irish.
Albany, Orhc-ox, Augu«;t t2, 1808.
M. Cavauagh^ Secretary Old Settlers Association^
Iowa City\ lozua.
My Dear Sir: — I am happy to acknowledge the receipt of
your kind invitation to attend your annual picnic to come off
the 25th inst. and I assure you it would afford me much pleas-
ure to do so, but my affairs are such at this time that I regret
to say I cannot be with you.
The festivities of the occasion — the "feast of reason and
flow of soul" that old Johnson county's worthy sons and sires^
maids and viatrojis know full well how to render, I would
enjoy very much indeed. But prior engagements and busi-
ness affairs preclude my doing so. You have my thanks for
courtesies extended and I am happy to know I am remembered
by my old-time friends.
When I take a retrospect of the past, I find that the
brightest and most interesting part of my life are reminiscences
gleaned from the days I spent in and about Iowa City and
I came to the state in 1S44 — barefooted and I might say an
orphan boy. I had just $10.00 in my pocket that I had
earned in Illinois by splitting rails, like unto the illustrious
To this sum by strict economy and industry I added little
by little, for times were hard and a dollar looked to be about
the size of the full moon, until I amassed the large sum (as it
seemed to me) of $50.00. I worked for Judge Cavanagh a few
months at $S.ooa moiitli, and even yet I can hear him callino-
Gamaliel to break loose trom the strong arms of Morphens
and build a fire. Well I tQok the hint and got up too, for I
thought he meant me all the time.
He finally paid me and the amount I added to my exchequer,
'swelling it ver}' perceptibly. I went to Dubuque with Fred
Hempstead and John Cochran and I entered forty acres of
land-five miles from Iowa City on the Dubuque road.
Just think of it So rods square of the earth's surface and
down to its very centre all belonged to me individually and
buught vvlLh i.iwn*.y earned by the sweat of the brow. Truly
I may say that I felt far richer and happier in possession of
• that forty acre tract, than I ever have since, when I could
count my acres by the thousand.
I have found this to be true, that true happiness is not
measured by the length of one's purse. A few years later I
married Cornith Parks and we commenced upon life's duties
in earnest. Years brought changes, families increased that
must be schooled. We were isolated from school house.
Julius Hill and myself finally got a little district set off and
built Summit school by a meagre subscription, we heading
the list with $50.00 each, and when my two eldest started
down the hill to school I was immensely happy.
My feelings were those of thousands of parents, for we are
all made from the same clay and have the same impulses and
In the year '61 I sold my farm to' Rob Denton and had to.
law him to get my' pay, beating him three times out of four
and twice in the supreme court. But life is to short to be
spent in rehearsing the wrong doings of others, and I freely
forgive him for what I considered a c ed mean act at the
time. But Bob is a pretty good fellow after all.
There are many incidents of those days crowding the
memory but can speak of a few only. I will relate a little
joke, (although at my own expense) that I have thus far con-
cealed and have myself laughed about many times to thin.k
how verdant I was, but }ou know most of us have our weak-
nesses. Here is the joke — I had the honor to be elected
assessor of Graham towiisliip, and the Law required that I as
such officer return the assessment roll to the county judge.
Well being a matter of fact man I supposed that each paper
had to be rolled up instead of beingy^/c/a/ to fill the require-
ments of the law in returning an assessment 7'oU. So I rolled
each paper singly and in the aggregate it made quite a large
bundle. Well I managed some way to get them to town and
threw them at the feet of T. H. Lee who was county judge
at the time, and he smole one of those modest bland smiles
that ever adorued his serene countenance as he beheld the
Graham \.o\\\\^\\\X) assessment roll. This is the first time I have
ever told it and would not now if I was not so far away. I
will mention a rather strange co-incidence that occured at
the (then) new court house in your city. I had removed from
Johnson to Poweshiek county some two years before but hav-
ing business at Iowa City, had occasion to go to the court
house and as I entered one of the spacious offices I saw two
men sitting at a desk writing busily and without noticing my
approach, when one of them spoke my name in full, Miles K.
Lewis^ I answered, / am here. They were transcribing the
record and had just come to a transfer made by me. Of course
explanations followed. There are many incidents we all re-
member of those days, some with pleasure and some perhaps
with chagrin. But stern old Fate has moved us all around
upon the checker board of life as he saw fit, scattering us
hither and thither. Some having shuffled off this mortal coil
while others are permitted to plod their weary way along
while the shadows lengthen. As regards myself old Fate has
shoved me upon the western verge of the continent. I pur-
pose making the final "round up" here in this lovely valley
and when it shall become my turn to cross the river, I have
given instructions to have my remains cremated, which I be-
lieve to be the most consistent way to dispose of the dead. At
this time, however, the Old Man has touched me lightly. My
nerves are steady, my sight good, my teeth sound, there is no
silver upon my locks and I don't wear a cane.
Am engaged quite extensively in horticulture Have a fine
young apple orchard of about looo trees that have just come in- .
to bearing with all the small fruits in abundance. Was born in
the state of New York, have lived all the way ont to this
coast conntry and consider this the grandest and best of all. I
pnrpose attending the Omaha Exposition dnring next month
and exhibit an improved farm gate, a zcurld beater.
I hope I may meet many of yon there arid renew our
acquaintance of the long time ago.
Hoping yon may have a good time at your picnic with
much good clieer all round. I am
Very respectfully yours,
Miles K. Lewis.
Sutherland, Iowa, August 22, 1S98.
J/. Cavauagh^ and McDibcrs of the Old Settlers Association of
Johnson County^ Iowa.
Dear Friends^ Old FrieJtds^ Friends of the days so long gone
by: — We hardly know how to express in words, the pleasure
and gratification we felt upon receiving the invitation to meet
with you in your annual picnic on the 25th inst. It would
give Mr. Woods and myself great pleasure to be able to be
with you on that occasion, but as it is impossible for us to
bridge the distance, except in thought, we can only comply
with the second request and send you a word of greeting.
Mr. Woods or Huse as many of you know, came with his
family tu Johnson county in 1839 — a boy of eight years, and
grew to manhood there. I, his wife, have no claim upon you
as an old settler, although I reached Iowa Citya wife a few
months before the railroad reached there in January, 1856.
But many beautiful memories cluster about the lovely city in
which so many of you have spent your lives. Johnson county
is rich in its traditions; rich in its illustrious men, and noble
great-hearted women, and we two, Huse and I, would love to
take each one of you by the hand, you who have survived the
storm and stress of life, and who are living in the past and
dreaming of the future — after the fashion of tliose who have
passed the summit of life and are quietly moving down the
westward slope. -- '
We thank )ou from our hearts for remembering us, and
wishing you a happy reunion and many returns of the day
for alL We are Very sincerely yours,
Roma W. Woods.
W. HusE Woods.
P. S. We extend a hearty invitation to one and all to visit
us at our home in Sutherland.
HusE Woods and Wife.
Muscatine, Iowa, August 19, 1898.
L. S. Szvafford^ G. R. IrisJi^ M. Cavanagh^
Tmva Citw Ioiva._
Gentlemen: — We thank you very much for your kind
invitation to attend the annual picnic of the Old Settlers and
regret not being able to attend. We hope you will have a-
very enjoyable time and meet many times to come.
■ ' • Wm. Cassidy and Wife.
Albia, Iowa, August 9, 1898.
Lcivis S. Sioafford^ G. R. Irish^ M. Cavanagh^ Cojninittee.
Your kind invitation to me and my wife to join you and
the Old Settlers of Johnson County, Iowa, August 25th,
most gratefully received and for which we tender our sincere
thanks. We know of nothing now to prevent our being-
present Yours respectfully,
A. J. Casaday.
Aledo, Illinois, August 15, 1898.
77? the Committee of Johnson County Old Settlers Picnic^
Gentlemen: — Your very kind invitation to my husband and
myself to attend your coming reunion is received, and we
regret exceedingly that circumstances are such that it will be
impossible to accept your courtesy at this time. Especially
do I regret this as it is a great self-denial to be unable to visit
To me Iowa City is hallowed ground, it being my birth-
place when the city was in its infancy, as I was one of the
very first children born in the city. As I glance backward
to my childhood I note many changes, and improvements,
and no greater change has been wrought in any part of the
city or county than found on )-our beautiful fair ground,
I can remember the time that iustead of these smooth
sweeping fields, and these buildings, this place was a howling
wilderness, the wolves coming to my father's door (now the
Banburry place) to eat tlie bones and whatever they could
find, and "hoot owls" made night hideous. My early educa-
tion is closely associated with the old building known as
the M^chiJiuic's Academy. ?.Iy father carrying me to and
from school. In these days ver}- few houses were to be found
between our place and the Academy. Of them there was
Luther Frost, the ^lac Arthur or Dr. Lowe house, Henry
Lathrop's, Dr. Murray's house. Dr. Reynolds, two little bits
of frame houses, one the widow Steele's, one the widow
Henry's, and one other house in particular, an old stpry and a
half house called the old " Mormon house " from the fact that
at one time a family of Mormons had occupied the house.
In those days only subscription schools existed and very
few of them, wdiere today, as monuments of improvements
stand your numerous and commodious ward school buildings,
and other buildings for educational purposes.
With the moving into the city of the railroad, the old stage
coach moved out. With the moving out of the state capitol
to Des Moines, the state schools moved in. At one time the
State University, the State Historical rooms, the state institu-
tion for both the blind and the deaf and dumb, were all
located in the city. As my earliest educational association
was with the Mechanic's Academy so my closing days of
school life in Iowa City are closely associated with the old
stone University building. I would like to speak of all my
teachers from Miss Willson, Mr. Hill, Cole and Ritts, Dr.
Reynolds, among the first ones I had, up to the halls of the
University, where Professors Stone, Humphr)-s, Welton,
Wells and Judge Parvin, respectively, gave nie instruction in
history, mathematics, philosophy, literature and theory and
The people like the places have changed, and as old houses
are moved out or torn down, so the people have moved out or
passed away. Some of the first families I can remember are
(Uncle) John Lenderman, John Powell, 'Esquire Hampton,
Dr. Ballard, Anson Hart, John Parrott, Matthew Teneyck, Dr.
Bowen, Joe Stover. These are only a few, with the names
also of your committee that I call to memor>'.
Now when I visit the city I see beautiful dwellings adorn-
ing College Hill where in the early forties the red men by the
hundreds used to camp. Now the banks of Ralston creek are
walled up and iron bridges span the chasm. Then the back
water from the Mississippi river used to overflow the streets
as far up the creek as Washington street, so you could not
cross the street on foot. Then the principal streets were
Clinton, Dubuque, City Avenue and Washington. Then the
Iowa river was navigable by as large steamboats as the
" Uncle Toby " which made at least two trips (perhaps three)
to the city, and to my childish mind it was as much of a
curiosity, to see the house on the water, as it would now be to
see the much talked-of air ships sailing through the space
above our heads.
I had the pleasure of meeting with you two years ago and
met many of the old settlers that I had not seen for a quarter
of a century, and enjoyed the day to the fullest extent. Since
that time two more of the old settlers, — Ezekiel Clark and
Cousin Joshua Ady, — have crossed over the river from the
other side of which no one ever .returns, but are numbered
with others already there to watch for, and w^ait to greet those
who will soon follow.
Some of those who will meet with you at this reunion may
be called to the other side before another year, but to those
who have obeyed the injunction " Be ye also ready " the call
will have no terrors.
It was the names of your committee that led to these
reminiscences of my chiklliood, especially that of Louis S.
SwafFord, my dear old Uncle.
I thank you in behalf of my liusband and myself for your
remembrance and remain Very sincerely yours,
Virginia E. Haxbv Wright. •
Washington, August 6th, 189S.
L. S. Sccallord^ G. R. Irish and J/. Cai<anagh^ Connnittce
of Old Settlers Picnic^ Icnva Cit\\ Iowa.
Gentlemen: — Yolir coinnuinication of the ist instant,
invitingniy good mother and myself to attend the Old Settlers
picnic of Johnson county, Iowa, has just been received, and it
carries me back to the place of my birth and to my boyhood
days, where 1 was one of the forty-three grandchildren of the
late Dr. W. W. Woods, a pioneer of the state.
I am pleased to note that the many years which have in-
tervened liavc in no v.-ay diiiiinislvc-d the regard for my family
name, and I thank you in behalf of my mother and for my-
self for the evidence of remembrance and esteem contained in
Owing to my mother's impaired health, and to the assump-
tion of new duties just at this time by myself, it is not with-
in my reach to accept of your invitation.
I trust that the day is not far distant when I may visit your
locality and endeavor in a way to renew my acquaintance
with those who knew my family in years gone by.
Thanking you and wishing those who may have the pleas-
ure of participating in your annual reunion- a pleasant time,
believe me with best wishes.
SEA'rri,E, W.\SH., August 3rd, 1898.
M. Cavanagh^ Iowa City^ Iowa.
My Dear Mr. Cavanagh: — Your very kind invitation, ex-
tended on behalf of the Old Settlers of Jolmson county, to
Mrs. Spencer and the writer to be present at their annual
picnic on the 25th day of August, received, and read with very
plesant surprise. To be remembered in this way by my old
friends in Iowa City is very gratifying to me, and nothing
would please me better than to be able to accept the invita-
tion. The distance, however, forbids.
Wishing you a very pleasant and happy meeting and many
recurring ones, I remain, with kind regards and best wishes.
Yours, R. R. Spencer.
Grinnktj., Iowa, August 20, 1898.
Af. Cavanagh^ Esq., lozva City, Iowa.
Dear Sir: — Your favor of the i6tli is at liaiid. It would
give nie great pleasure to accept your invitation to be present
at the Old Settlers Association of Johnson County, on the
25th of the present month, but a previous engagement to
attend a like meeting on the same day at my home in Henry
county, Illinois, will prevent. I was there when the county
was organized on the 19th day of June, 1837. Of all who
voted on that day to organize tlie county none but myself are
left to tell the Gtcry.
The meeting is to be held near Colona, where the county
was organized. I have engaged to give a talk on the inci-
dents of that very day. At your request I send the manu-
script account of my first visit to Iowa City, in 1841 or 1842
and the account of the wolf lumt I attended there. You can
read it at 'your meeting if you think best. I will ask you to
return it as I have promised it to another party.
Very truly yours.
Henry G. Little.
, ■ AN IOWA WOLF HUNT.
By Henry G. Little. Grinnell, Iowa.
My pioneer experience belongs rather to Illinois than to
Iowa, for I came to that state in 1835 and finally established
my name near what is now the prosperous city of Kewanee,
some fifty miles east of the present city of Muscatine. But
in the fall of 1841 or 1842 I made a trip into what was then the
Territory of Iowa.
Ever since my settlement in Henry county. 111., I had noted
during the summer season a constant stream of emigrants
passing westward, all bound, as they said, for the "Black
Hawk Purcha.se" in Iowa Territory, and aiming for "The
Yellow Banks" as the most convenient point for crossing the
Mississippi. Of course a town soon sprang up at the river
crossing. It called itself Bloomington, but we know it now
as the beautiful little city of Muscatine. About 1839 Iowa
City became the capital of the territory, and the town was
20 . X
struck with what we call in this day "a boom." It grew
much faster than the surrounding country was developed, so
that supplies for the population had to be brought from towns
along the river or more distant still.
In some way the information came to us, nearly a hundred
miles away, that the people in Iowa City were almost desti-
tute of flour. As it happened I had a quantity of surplus
wheat which I had made into flonr, and it seemed to me wise
to undertake to dispose of it in -Iowa City. This is to ex-
plain my share in the wolf hunt about which I am going to
My journey was long and tedious and somewhat adven-
turous, as you may imagine remembering that it was made
in a heavily-loaded wagon, over the wretched roads of those
days in the West. But it was quite to my taste then, when
I was young and my strength "was as the strength of ten."
Even the fact that few of the streams were bridged and many
of them must be forded, did not daunt me. I had no com-
panion but my favorite dog. Hero, who varied the monotony
of the long days by making things lively for the wild game
along the road. Hero had good blood in him, for he was half
greyhound, keen of eye and swift of foot. Many a wild chase
he gave the fleet-footed deer; but all were unsuccessful for his
speed was not a match for that of those graceful, untamed
I crossed the river at Bloomington and in due time reached
the thriving Iowa capitol. ,1 did not fmd the people starving,
but the}' wanted my flour, and I soon disposed of it at a good
profit. Finding several old acquaintances and much to interest
me about the lively little town I spent several days there.
A few miles out Col. \Vm. H. Henderson had settled with his
fine family of seven splendid boys. I had known him well
in Illinois and mucli enjoyed meeting him again in the Iowa
wilderness. I have followed the history of his family to the
present day. Six of those stalwart sons are still living.
Among them were four lawyers, one judge, one Congressman,
one preacher and one good business man. The Hon. John W.
Henderson, of Cedar Rapids, is one of the number. I have
scarcely known a family in the west with so much and such
Another old friend I found by the name of Johnson, who
was doing a large business in brick-making. The "boom"
was on and buildings were goin.g up as rapidly as materials
could be provided.
But the great excitement of the hour was caused by the
depredations of wolves about the neighborhood. Public meet-
ings were being held, which I found it interesting to attend,
and the people were stirred to energetic action by the harrow-
in <?• tales told by settlers from near and far of destructive raids
by the prowling *' varmints." Pigs, sheep and poultry had
been carried off, and the fanners saw their substance melt
away till the provision for their families during the approach-
ing winter seemed endangered. A grand wolf hunt by all
the able-bodied men and boys in a wide region of country was
resolved upon. Officers were chosen, rules and regulations
adopted, and plans fully settled for turning the tables upon
the gray terrors, and a day appointed,
A stand was built upon a high point of land a few miles
east of town, near the Muscatine road. Here were stationed,
rifles in hand, the best sharp-shooters to be found in the
The rest of the citizens of town and country were dis-
tributed in the circle around the stand with a radius of per-
haps five miles.
Some were on horseback, some on foot, all were instructed
to close in at a steady pace toward the stand, keeping sharp
watch that no guilty animal should escape, and driving
before them, inexorable as fate, the scores or hundreds of the
gray rascals with which imagination had peopled the prairie,
to the fearful slaughter which awaited them at the grand
round-up. To avoid accidents no one was permitted to bear
fire-arms except the rifle-men in the center. All the rest
were armed with ferocious looking clubs. I timed mys tart
homeward to take in the great event, driving slowly that I
might reach the stand in time to witness the grand massacre.
I could see the men on horseback at intervals with boys
watching the spaces between as all slowly drew nearer
together. At last the men on the stand came in sight in
waiting attitudes, guns in readiness, as the circle grew
smaller. I was a short distance outside the ring, my dog
trotting beside me, suddenly Hero gave a start and shot off
like lightning through the grass. I saw that he had caught
sight of a wolf which had slipped between the hunters partly
hidden by the grass. Lashing my horses to the top of their
speed I followed, Hero overtook the wolf, at one snap seized
him in his teeth and whirled him over on his back. Then at
the sight of the savage teeth and wicked eyes he seemed too
frightened to iioid on, and dropped the wolf who was off
again like a shot. Again and again Hero seized and threw
him only to drop him as before. One of the horsemen now
came to the dog's help and despatched the beast with his
club. It was a large vicious-looking prairie wolf. The man
threw the carcass into my wagon and we went up to the
stand. The wolf hunters crowded around to gaze upon the
enemy as he was held up by his long gray tail. It was the
sole trophy of that great, historic hunt. Not another wolf
was seen that day, and my good Illinois dog, Hero, was, after
all, the hero of the day. All pressed forward to make his
acquaintance, and I was offered a large sum for the dog, but
would not part with him.
Although more than half a century has passed since these
events took place and I now have the weight of more than
eighty-five years, yet few scenes of my long life are more
fresh and vivid to my memory than those of the Iowa City
wolf hunt on my first visit to the state which was many years
later to become my home.
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