A Pictorial History

by Margaret Corwin & Helen Hoy

America Virden Mullan, was born in Tomplinville, KY, in 1817 and died in Waterloo in 1902. Her parents moved to Wayne County when she was eight and she married Charles in 1842, The mother of seven children, America drew the respect and friendship of both pioneer and Indian brave alike. pg 17

Charles Mullan, the enterprising third settler, was born in 1811 in Lycoming county, Tennessee, moving to Morgan County, Illinois before coming to join his brothers-in-law, William and James Virden at Praire Rapids, in June, 1846. Mullan served as the first postmaster, county surveyor, realtor and businessman extraodinaire. He died in 1874. pg 17

On June 1, 1846, 23-year old James Virden walked 100 miles from Dubuque, via Delhi and Independence, to join his brother William Virden Jr. and his brother-in-law, Charles Mullan, at Prairie Rapids (Waterloo). His parents, William and Martha Virden Sr., pioneer of Kentucky and Illinois, had passed on their pioneering spirit to their numerous offspring including William Jr., the first settler to join the Hannas in 1845 and James himself who gained recognition as East Waterloo's first settler. The three pioneer families who settled Waterloo were all inter-related; America Mullan was a Virden and William Virden Jr., who travelled part of the way to "the promised land" with the Hannas had married a sister of John Melrose and Mary Melrose Hanna.

It is interesting to note that the average age of the original three pioneer families of Waterloo, upon arrival, was 26 and, at the time of their death was 80.3, verifying the description of one early county historian who referred to them as men and women "cast in steel." pg 18

This "sturdy frontiersman" was, along with the Hannas, one of the first Waterloo settlers. Born in Edwards County, Illinois, March 21, 1818, John Melrose possessed the trusting, generous character of the early Waterloo pioneer; leaving his store to help a fellow settler passing through to another location. He rested solely on a promise or note to repay when fortunes improved. In 1864, while assisting a sheriff and poorly armed posse apprehend some horse thieves, Melrose was shot in the back of the neck, the bullet exiting below his ear. A man of tough mettle, he recovered. He eventually relocated in Wright County, married and when his first wife died, like other setllers of the time, was quick to remarry. He fathered three sons and died on March 31, 1884. pg 18

Photos from Hartman History

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