Some Clues As to Who Carved the Words On the Famous Paint Rock
Some months ago Mrs. Sam Hoesly of this city received a letter from her former pastor, Rev. A.D. Gregg, who was pastor of the Presbyterian church at Frankville some years ago, but is now located at Sarcoxie, Mo. As this letter contains a clue that may clear up some early Allamakee Co. history as to who carved the letters on the famous Paint Rock, we publish that portion of the letter pertaining thereto, it bearing the earmarks of reliability and doubless settles a question that has caused considerable cogitation for many years. Here is the letter:
"On my way home from Kansas City on Monday, Dec. 8, 1913, I found the clue to one of the great mysteries of Northeastern Iowa. Up above Waukon Junction, along the Mississippi, there is a rock known as "Paint Rock." On this rock, up above the tree tops, a number of words have been chiseled in large letters, so that one can read them from quite a distance. The question has been for many years, "Who carved those letters on that rock?"
"Above Fort Scott, on the 'Frisco railroad, a gentleman got on the train. He came down the car aisle looking for a seat, and said to me, "is this seat taken?" and I said, "No. Sit down and we will have a visit." He sat down, and during the conversation I learned that he was Rev. W.S. Bailey, a District Superintendent of the M.E. church, living at Fort Scott, Kansas. That his grandfather was Colonel of the regiment which captured the famous Indian chief, Blackhawk. That his father enlisted in the army under his father, Col. Bailey, and was appointed Indian agent at the Old Mission on the Black River in Wisconsin.
"His brother was the first white child born in that region. He was born at Old Mission, and had his first bear fight at Boscobel. A bear came into camp, and being a boy five years old, thought the bear was a dog and set his two dogs on it. The bear killed one of the dogs and doubtless would have killed the boy and the other dog had not the father came up and killed the bear.
"A party of which Mr. Bailey, then a boy, was the Mascot, was returning from a reconnoitering expedition to Baraboo and Thakaresia and camped just back of Eagle, or Paint Rock. the Indian guide and scout of the party, a half-breed Winnebago, C.C. Stone [or G.C. Stone] was lowered by ropes over the edge of the cliff, and Mr. Bailey was with him and helped him chisel those letters in that rock sixty years ago. Rev. Mr. Bailey understands the Indian language and could make valuable additions to the history of northwestern Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa.
- source: Postville Review; April 24, 1914
- transcribed by: Sharyl Ferrall
Return to 'Lil Bits index