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Antebellum Days - 1907


Posted By: Joey Stark - Jefferson Co. Volunteer
Date: 6/15/2006 at 13:48:53

"Ottumwa (Iowa) Courier", Wed., Sept. 4, 1907

"FAIRFIELD IN THE FIFTIES". Early History and Exciting Incidents of Ante Bellum Days in the Beautiful Iowa City -- Pen Sketches of Men of National and State Reputation, By. R. H. MOORE.

.... Another event occurred which disturbed the "peace and dignity" of this quiet and beautiful little city, and which gave it unbelievable notoriety, all over the United States. In August, 1861, David SHEWARD returned to Fairfield and commenced the publication of a paper called the "Constitution and Union". It was very bitter in its opposition to the war, and as a result, on the 17th of August, 1862, Mr. SHEWARD was arrested by the United States marshal, in company with Dennis A. MAHONEY of Dubuque, another Iowa editor. He was taken to Washington City where he was confined in the Old Capitol for about three months. During his absence the paper continued to appear regularly under the management of the editor's wife. After Mr. SHEWARD's return he published a series of articles entitled "Three Months in the Old Capitol".

The 17th of August appears to have been an unlucky day for Mr. SHEWARD, for on the evening of that day in the year 1863, a number of soldiers surrounded his dwelling and demanded an emblem or cut, which he had for several months displayed in the columns of his paper. The cut was surrendered and the party dispersed. The obnoxious cut was nothing more or less than half of a "butternut" fastened in a block of wood. The last number of the paper was issued Feb. 4, 1864. On the morning of the 8th of February a number of soldiers who were at home on furlough started to return to their regiment. As they were about to leave they visited Mr. SHEWARD's office, pied his forms, threw the cases out of the window, destroyed his books and otherwise damaged things generally. These incidents are related as part of the newspaper history of that exciting period. They were the result of the bitter partisan feeling which prevailed at that time, rather than of intentional disloyalty on the part of those who denounced the war. It was a critical period in the great national struggle and the soldiers who had endured its hardships and sacrifices were not disposed at that time to regard even harsh and bitter criticism as anything less than "a fire in the rear".

[Also posted to the Dubuque, Wapello, and Jefferson Counties' Documents boards]

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.


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