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Roster and Record of Iowa Troops In the Rebellion, Vol. 6
By Guy E. Logan
CAPTAIN H. B. MARTIN'S COMPANY FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE
NORTHWESTERN FRONTIER

The terrible events of March, 1857, naturally created feelings of great apprehension
among the settlers who gathered around the vicinity of the Dickinson County Lakes
during the ensuing summer. Some of the earliest comers laid out a town on the present
site of the city of Spirit Lake, and, among the first buildings erected, was one they called
the "Fort," and it became, for the two years during which it stood, one of the landmarks
of the locality. It was a log building, about twenty-four by thirty feet, built before any
sawed lumber could be procured, having a "shake" roof and puncheon floor and doors.
Around the outside of the building, at a distance of from six to ten feet, a stockade was
erected formed of logs ten feet long and eight inches in diameter set on end in a trench
from two and a half to three feet deep.
Numerous alarms as to danger from hostile Indians came to the little bands of settlers
at various times in the fall of 1857, and, later in the winter, a party near Peterson, in Clay
County, had a brush with a small band of Indians, in which one or two were slightly
wounded. Jareb Palmer, of Spirit Lake, who will be remembered as one of the defenders
of Springfield, in March, and who was then mail-carrier to Sioux City, was one of the
party. R. A. Smith, in the History of Dickinson County, says:
"This affair created considerable alarm, and it was decided to apply to the State for
protection. A meeting was called at the 'old fort' to consider the situation, and a
committee appointed to draw up a petition and present the matter to the State authorities.
The legislature was in session. A statement of the affair and a petition to the legislature,
asking immediate assistance, was drawn up. Mr. Jareb Palmer was selected to take the
petition to Des Moines and lay it before the authorities.
"C. C. Carpenter represented the district. He took hold of the matter in earnest, and, in
the shortest time possible, a bill was passed providing for the raising of a company of
volunteers for the defense of the northwestern frontier. The company was raised
principally in Hamilton and Webster Counties, though not entirely. Upon arriving at the
Lakes the Captain was authorized to enlist ten additional men from the settlers here. The
names of these additional enlistments were as follows: A. Kingman, J. Palmer, E. Palmer,
W. Donnelson, J. D. Hawkins, George W. Rogers, Charles Clark, William Carsley,
William Allen, and one other, whose name is unknown. It was organized by the election
of Henry B Martin, of Webster City, Captain; William L. Church, of Homer, First
Lieutenant; and a Mr. Jewett, of Border Plains, Second Lieutenant. It was the wife of
Lieutenant Church who acted so heroic a part in the defense of the cabin of Mr. Thomas,
at Springfield, against the attack of the Indians the spring before.
"This company arrived upon the frontier about the last of February or first of March,
and was divided into three squads; Captain Martin, with the main squad, making his
headquarters at the old fort at Spirit Lake; Lieutenant Church, with one squad, at
Peterson, and Lieutenant Jewett, with the remaining one, at Emmett. This force was kept
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on duty until about the first of July, when they were ordered off but not disbanded. In the
fall of 1858, upon the earnest representations of a large majority of the inhabitants, they
were again ordered into service and kept on duty along the frontier until the following
spring, when they were discharged. This was the last of any military operations until the
breaking out of the war, in 1861."
This company was regularly authorized by law, and that law required the Captain to
file with the Governor a roster, and to report every two months. It was hoped, therefore,
that the roster might be found in the official files at Des Moines, and be given a place in
this volume. Thorough search has been made by Record Clerk Thomas L. Stephens, not
only among the files in the Adjutant General's office, but also among the Executive
documents in the Hall of Archives, and neither its existence, nor that of any reports, has
been disclosed; hence an interesting item in Iowa's early military history must be
relegated to oblivion, and the recognition due to a body of brave and patriotic citizens
must be withheld, except so far as R. A. Smith has preserved their names for us.
Since the above was in type, Mr. Cassius C. Stiles, Superintendent of the Department
of Public Archives, has furnished the Adjutant General's Department with important
documents, viz.: two original pay rolls of Captain H. B. Martin's Company for the
defense of the Northwestern frontier, designated on the rolls as the "Iowa Frontier
Guard." These papers came to the Archives Department with other documents turned
over by the State Auditor's Office, but which had not been classified at the time search
was made for rosters, reports, etc., as before stated. These rolls, while not giving all the
information desired, are greatly appreciated, as furnishing an authentic roster of a
company whose names Mr. Reid so unavailingly sought to obtain. The list, which is
taken from the first bi-monthly pay roll (verified by signatures), dated Jan. 23, 1859,
signed by Henry B. Martin, Captain, and certified to by Charles B. Richards, Commissary
General, follows:
IOWA FRONTIER GUARD
[Captain H. B, Martin's Company for the Defense of the Northwestern Frontier. ]
ROSTER
Henry B. Martin. Captain. Age 25. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
William L. Church, First Lieutenant. Age 31. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
David S. Jewett. Second Lieutenant. Age 28. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Jonas Ball. Surgeon Age 53. Mustered into service Dec. 10, 1858.
William G. Grayson First Sergeant. Age 24 Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
William S. Defore. Second Sergeant. Age 23 Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Ezra M. Wilcox. Third Sergeant. Age 35. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
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Charles C. Stratton. Fourth Sergeant. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Thomas Mulvany First Corporal Age 24. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Andrew McPheeters Second Corporal Age 24. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Franklin R. Mason Third Corporal Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Lemuel McIntosh Fourth Corporal Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Bates, Wells H. Private. Age 25. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Bellville, Archibald. Private. Age 36. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Bonebright, Thomas. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Davis, John W. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Estes, Lewis L. Private. Age 25. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Funk, William W. Private. Age 27. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Grant, Leslie Private. Age 31. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Harlan, William B.. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Hillock, Humphrey C. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Jones, George C. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Knapp, Jefferson W. Private. Age 23. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Leonard, Andrew S. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22 1858.
Lyon, John H. Private. Age 25. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Olcott, George. Private. . Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Pelton, William E. Private. Age 30. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Rapp, Jacob. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Reily, Peter P. Private. Age 21 Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Skinner, George J. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Somers, William T. Private. Age 21 Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
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Sweeney, Michael. Private. Age 30. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Turner, Robert F. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Upton, Richard. Private. Age 24. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Barkman, William. . Private. Age 28. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Blake, F. A. Private Age 23. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Carsley, William D. Private. Age 26. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Clark, Charles W. Private. Age 25. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Donaldson, William. Private. Age 28. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Kingman, Alvarado. Private. Age 27. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Palmer, Eber. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Rogers, George W. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Schuneman, John H. Private. Age 36. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Smith, Guernsey. Private. Age 25. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Wheelock, Robert U. Private. Age 28. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
[The ten additional enlistments, named in the quotation from the History of Dickinson
County, by R. A. Smith, do not agree with the above Roster, either in names or number.
We make no attempt to reconcile the discrepancies, but publish the list as shown by the
rolls.]
RESCUE COMPANIES OFFERED
As the news of the dire events in Dickinson County spread through the State, attempts
were made at several places to organize military companies to go at once and lend aid
towards punishing the recreant Indians and rescuing the captives. No records of these
inchoate organizations have been preserved so far as known to the writer, but tradition
supplies us with a few details of one that had a short existence at LaMotte, in the northern
part of Jackson County. That was the former home of Elizabeth Blake, who there married
J. Milton Thatcher, and she was one of those who endured the horrible fate of captivity
among the inhuman savages. Her uncle, John Hodges, a farmer living near the little
village of LaMotte, called for volunteers of mounted men as soon as the dread facts
became known, and about twenty enrolled their names and met several times for drill
before it was learned that the Governor had no power to raise and equip a military force.
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Hodges was duly recognized as Captain of the little company, and Brooks Weatherby,
who had seen service in the Regular Army, conducted the drills. Weatherby rejoined the
Regulars during the Civil War, and since, and is said to have been in the First Infantry
only a few years ago. David Rhea, a native of Tennessee, who had recently married a
sister of Mrs. Thatcher, bought a young black horse to use on the Expedition. He became
a member of Company I Twenty-fourth Iowa Infantry, in the Civil War, and still lives in
Jackson County. Most of our knowledge of the company comes from him. Martin V.
Smith, of Bellevue, afterwards a soldier in the Fifth Iowa Infantry, is another living
witness, who confirms the story we are telling. Among the names given as having
enrolled in this little band of volunteers, are: Henry and Frank Nobles, Alex and Henry
McDole, Brad Canfield, and George Bird of LaMotte; George and William Foster and
Pat Nestor of Zwingle; William Cheeney and "Manny" Kimball of Perry Township, and
William H. Smith (afterwards in the Fifth Iowa Infantry) of Bellevue. Joseph B. Dorr,
afterwards Quartermaster of the Twelfth Iowa Infantry, and Colonel of the Eighth
Cavalry, who was the editor of the Dubuque Herald, but owned a farm near LaMotte,
gave much encouragement and advice in the raising of the little company.
[In explanation of the spelling of proper names—used in the Historical Sketches
of "Iowa in the Mexican War" and "The Spirit Lake Massacre"— which, in some
instances, differs from published works on these subjects, would state that we have
followed the copy, as furnished by Mr. Reid, in almost every instance. ]