Trip to Clinton - 1886

Taken from the May 13, 1886 issue of The Local Record


Our trip to Clinton last week over the B.C.R. & N. gave us an opportunity of seeing a portion of Cedar county, we had never before witnessed, although a citizen of the county most of the time for a third of a century, and yet we can truly say, to this time, we have not seen over one-fourth of its broad rich acres.

Eight miles southeast of Tipton is new town of Bennett, a thrifty looking village—except the church which is an old dilapidated building, moved in from the country. Four miles more, at a crossing called New Liberty brought us into Scott county, then comes Dixon, where we cross a line of the C.M. & St. P. railway, here we enter the valley of the Wapsinicon river which is followed up for over twenty miles before the stream is crossed where Clinton county is reached. At Camanche we go5t the first glimpse of the Mississippi and then turn northward along its verdant hillsides, having a pleasant view of the tranquil waters and picturesque islands, and perhaps passing a few steamers to vary the scenes during the next ten miles. This brings us to the environs of Iowa’s chief lumber mart, the city of seven mighty mills, and there is no exaggeration in calling them mighty, when we consider the vast amount of lumber manufactured daily at each mill.

By the kindness of our brother, Asa Gruwell, who superintends the shingle department of mill D, C. Lamb & Son’s, we were introduced to the different foremen and superintendents of each department, from whom we gathered the following figures. The mill is cutting 120,000 feet of lumber, 75,000 shingles, 50,000 feet of planed lumber and 25,000 lath daily, handling about 550 logs and gives employment to 245 men; and, by the way, it is a fact worthy of note, that Superintendent Stephens, of Mill D, is a strict temperance man, and will under no circumstances, employ a hand, much less a foreman, who indulges in the “ardent,” and this rule is working to such a good effect both to the employer, and the employed that the other mills will soon follow suit.

Young has one, and Lamb & Sons two mills in Chancey, the southwestern suburb of Clinton. This village is incorporated, contains 760 inhabitants, who are nearly all connected in some way with the mills, the most of them owning property. The town takes its name from Mr. Chancey Lamb, who came to Clinton something over twenty years ago, a poor man, but who now counts his wealth by hundreds of thousands, besides what his enterprise has added to the value of the property of those around him. Chancy is a civil town, with this exception, it contains one or two old sores, the relic of saloondom, one is a place where they still deal out the demon of destruction, the other is a family who patronize the place, whose house has a fair looking outside appearance, but within it is the home of terror. The quietness of the Sabbath morning was broken by the howling shrieks of the maddened mother and the louder curses and satanic maledictions of the father, these mixed with the cries of frightened children soon attracted the attention of passers by and all the villagers. We were told that it is no uncommon thing to see the father of this family drag the mother by the hair of her head, into the yard. They are the parents of thirteen children.

Mr. McClure, the postmaster, informed us that the saloon business in Chancy is now on its last limbs, and as soon as they can heal up this canker they will be ready to throw their corporate limits around Clinton and see to the enforcement of prohibition over there.