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Delaware County, Iowa

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Iowa State Gazetteer


Delaware County


      Delaware County is situated in the third tier of counties south of Minnesota State line, and the second west of the Mississippi River, and is bounded on the north by Clayton county, east by Dubuque county, south by Jones and Linn counties, and west by Buchanan county.
       The surface is gently undulating, about three-fourths prairie, the timber being along the streams, and accessible to all parts of the county for farm purposes.
       The soil is excellent and well adapted to the cereals, grass, root crops, etc., of which vast quantities are annually shipped east by the two railroads. Stock raising, particularly sheep raising, is on the increase for which the high prairies and never failing streams of pure spring water are well adapted, and will undoubtedly in a short time be the leading branch of husbandry.
      Building stone and brick clay are found in nearly all parts of the county.
      The principal stream is the South Fork of the Maquoketa River, running through the county from the northwest corner, to near the south east, and Buck Creek on the west. The other streams are the North Fork of the Maquoketa in the east, the Little Turkey in the north east, and the Buffalo in the south west part of the county. All of these streams afford water power for mills or manufactories.
      There are five grist mills on the South Fork, one on Plum Creek, and one on Henry Creek. Also on the latter is a woolen factory, 1 1/2 miles north of Manchester; also one is being erected on the South Fork at Hartwick, 2 1/2 miles south-west of Delhi.
      This county is twenty four miles square, and contains the following named sixteen townships, viz: Adams, Bremen, Coffins Grove, Colony, Delaware, Delhi, Elk, Hazel Green, Honey Creek, Milo, North Fork, Oneida, Prairie, Richland, South Fork and Union.
      The DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad crosses the county from east to west, through the centre, and the DuBuque South Western Railroad crosses the south eastern part in a south westerly direction.
      The county was organized on the 3d day of August 1841, by the election of Wm. H. Whiteside, William Eades and Daniel Brown, county commissioners.
      Among the earliest settlers of the county were Wm. Bennett, Wm. Eades, Robert B. Hutson, David Moreland, Lawrence McNamee, Ezra Hubbard, Clement Coffin and John Benson.

DELHI, The county seat of Delaware county, is located on the south-east quarter of section 17, township 88, north of range 4, west of 5th P.M. It was located by a vote of the people of the county, and was surveyed, platted, and laid off into lots on the 5th day of April, 1842, by Joel Bailey, county surveyor.
      In the summer of 1843, Charles W. Hobbs and family moved to Delhi, and lived there two years before any other settlers came to the place. In the fall of the same year there was a Post office established, and Mrs. Mary E.A. Hobbs, wife of C.W. Hobbs, was appointed post master. This was the first post office established in the county; there was a mail route running from DuBuque via Delhi to Quasqueton in Buchanan county; the mail was carried by William Smith, of DuBuque, once a week on horse back.
      About two years after C.W. Hobbs moved here, the town began to settle. John W. Clark, William Philips, Thomas Norris, A.K. Eaton and Joseph Mitchell, were the first settlers that located in Delhi. Thomas W.B. Hobbs, son of C.W. Hobbs, was the first child born in the vicinity of Delhi, and Marshal, son of A.K. Eaton, was the first child who died in Delhi.
      On the 20th day of November, 1842, the Board of County Commissioners, consisting of William Eades, Daniel Brown and William H. Whitesides, with Charles W. Hobbs as clerk, held their first meeting at the house of William Eades, in Eades Grove, afterwards it was held at Delhi, the county seat.
     On the 30th day of September, 1844, the first District Court was held at Delhi in a log court house, put up on the bank of Silver Lake by the early settlers.
     The Hon. Thomas S. Wilson, judge; John W. Penn, sheriff; and Charles W. Hobbs, clerk; A.K. Eaton, Z.A. Wellman, George Watson and John V. Watson, at that time constituted the Delhi Bar.
     Those courts were held under a Territorial form of government. Hon. Thomas S. Wilson was one of the judges of the Supreme Court, and presiding judge of the 3d Judicial District. On the 7th day of June, 1847, the first District Court was held under a State Government. Hon. James Grant, judge; John W. Penn, sheriff, and Charles W. Hobbs, clerk.
     Delhi is located in a beautiful grove of burr oaks, on the borders of Silver Lake, a beautiful sheet of water, covering about 100 acres. In the early history of the county, it was a thriving place, particularly a short time before the location of the railroad west from DuBuque. When the road was expected to pass through this place, and the county generally was fast settling up, property rose in value to fabulous prices, and several fine buildings went up as if by magic. But the location of the railroad, some distance from town caused a decline in the business of the place, and it has remained stationary since. There are quarries of building stone near the town, and good timber on the river.
     The Baptists, Methodists and Catholics have organized churches. The latter have recently bought of the Methodists the only church edifice in the place. The other public buildings are a court house, jail, county building for county offices, and school house. Messrs. Maxwell & Co.'s distillery is located here. Much attention has been paid to fruit raising. Messrs. F.B. Doolittle and J.M. Brayton have each extensive nurseries of fruit trees, suited to the climate.
     There is Lodge of Odd Fellows located here. Population of the town about 500.

MANCHESTER, situated near the centre of Delaware, is the largest and most important village in the county. It is located on the line of the DuBuque & Sioux City Railroad, forty-five miles west of DuBuque, and fifty-one miles from Cedar Falls. It is in lat. 42 (degrees) 28 N. and in long. 91 (degrees) 32 W. It is mostly on the east side of the Maquoketa River, which, at this place, is about seventy feet wide.
     The first person residing upon the land before a town was anticipated, was O.P. Reeves. To this gentleman much of the first work towards the establishment of a town is to be credited. His liberal gift of forty acres of land was the principal inducement to two gentlemen, Dyer and Chesterman, to locate the village. This was done in the spring of 1855. John Brownell donated five acres, and Levens Burrington twenty acres. The above persons were the first on the ground. Among the first pioneers of the town were Edson Merrill, A.R. Loomis, Dr. Robbins and Thomas Toogood. The first white child born in the place was Marvin Reeves; the first death, Charles E. Reeves, children of Marion Reeves. The first marriage, that of Lyman Wright to Sarah Lockwood. The first house erected was the dwelling of Marion Reeves*.


[*footnote: The land at first was covered with a beautiful grove of burr oaks, with a fine growth of grass beneath, presenting, in summer, with the surrounding country, a charming prospect to the pioneer. In those days deer in numbers were often seen grazing and gamboling on the favored spot. Wolves were also numerous, and ventured quite near to the few houses that were there. Snakes of a large size were plenty, and had a strange penchant for the abodes of men, to the great terror of the women and children. In one instance, a fair lady rose from her bed all unconscious that during the night a snake, even and-a-half feet in length, was coiled up in the same bed, as unaware of it, as Milton describes the Mother of Mankind to have been of the presence of Satan in her bower, ....."Whom there Ithuriel found, Squat like a toad, close to the ear of Eve."]

     The first store built was the one still known as the Long Store. The Clarence Hotel and the Old Exchange were among the earliest buildings erected. Formerly the village was called Burrington, but this name proving unsatisfactory to most of the inhabitants, it was changed to Manchester. More buildings were erected in 1856 than in any other year since the commencement of the town. The town has doubled in population and wealth since the late war commenced, and greatly improved in civilization, intelligence and religion.
     Before the settlement the Indians had gone and left not a trace behind. Among the first provisions made for civilized living was the erection of a school house in the centre of the village. The building was used for school and religious purposes by the citizens of the place for five years, and is still used by the Baptists for their meetings. A cemetery was laid out consisting of two acres, and one of the most beautiful of the kind, as far as nature is concerned.
     Manchester is considered a healthy locality, and nature has done much to make it a fine site for a town. It can afford to the skill and labor of man the best of gardens, best of roads, best of cellars and wells, and the best locations for fine residences. The people are mostly from the Eastern States, and their dwellings present the tidy appearance so prominent in New England rural villages. There are several fine residences already erected. Its groves are beautiful, and much resorted to for celebrations.
     The place has had its public schools and select high schools; its different religious denominations, and its Temperance, Agricultural and Masonic Societies, almost from the first settlement. The religious denominations are the Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, Universalist and Christian. These denominations have each about thirty members, and the first three mentioned have resident ministers. The Agricultural Society is one of interest and instruction to the farmers of the vicinity, and meets on the last Saturday of each month. The Masonic Society bears the name of the Manchester Lodge, No. 165, and was established Oct. 6th, A.D. 1862, A. L. 5862; meets Saturday, on or before the full moon of each month; number of members forty-one. The town has also several military companies, and since the rebellion commenced, the village and its township have furnished more than a hundred soldiers for the Union army, not one of them a drafted man.*


[*footnote: Of the volunteers who have enlisted from this village and township, the following are the names of those who have lost their lives in the service of the country: Elijah M. Overocker, Thomas Otis, John Otis, Melvin Keller, Dudley Guilbert, Wm. Guilbert, Hiram Cronk, Franklin Wilcox, S. Sutherland, A. E. Richmond, Melvin Hempstead, Gideon Potter, John Van Curne, James Loring, Byrom Clark, Wm. Koltenbach, R.B. Truby and Charles Robbins. No storied mausoleum marks the spot or the places where those eighteen heroes have fallen, or tells of their noble sacrifices for Union and Freedom, yet in the memories of their relatives, in the hearts of this people, in the history of the nation, could they have asked a more glorious career while living or prouder fame when dead?]

     The Delaware County Union is a newspaper published in the village by Ed. Burnside. It is generally thought that Manchester will soon become the county town. It is surrounded by a large tract of fertile land, well adapted to raising grain and stock, water being near at hand for cattle. To the north there is a good supply of timber, extending to the vast forest of the Turkey River. South of the town two or three miles, large stone quarries abound, furnishing a good building material, and clay is close at hand, out of which many thousands of bricks have been made.
     The small fruits flourish finely in the gardens, and some amateurs in the vicinity have succeeded in raising apples. Flowers and shrubs in many front yards are cultivated by the residents with good taste, and trees are set out in front of a number of buildings.
     The most conspicuous building in the village is the Congregational Church, a new structure worth $5,500, and capable of seating nearly three hundred persons. The Methodist Church is partially completed, and will be an ornament to the place. The Christian denomination propose to build a church the ensuing year. The Clarence Hotel is a commodious and well conducted house, and the only one in the village. Preparations are being now made for the erection of two large public houses. West of the river the elevator is the most prominent building; it is sixty-five feet high, worth $7,000, and capable of storing 25,000 bushels of grain.
     There is a substantial bridge built across the Maquoketa River at this point, costing nearly $1,800. It is also spanned by the railroad bridge. It affords an excellent mill privilege, on which a flouring mill is being erected at an estimated expense of $20,000. About a mile north of the village a woolen factory, four stories high, is in process of erection, at an outlay of about $12,000, and planned for one hundred and eighty spindles. In the centre of the village a stone school house is being built at a cost of $5,000. The village was separated from the rest of the township, as to educational matters, and made a "City District", in the spring of 1861. Handsome stores and dwellings are being build each year. The village consists of one hundred and sixty dwelling houses, containing one hundred and eighty-five families, making a population of eight hundred and fifty-two persons, as ascertained by actual count, made on the 21st February, 1865. The total number of buildings, including thirty-seven stores, is two hundred and nine; not built close together, but at a roomy distance from each other, so that these houses spread over an area equal to the city of Boston, with its 160,000 inhabitants. The railroad passes through the south end of the town, at a desirable distance, with its depot on the west side of the river. One passenger train each way and several freight trains pass over the road every day. Sometimes an accommodation train runs for several months between Manchester and DuBuque. The increased business of the place will soon make this a constant requirement.
     The shipments from Manchester during the year 1864 were as follows: Wheat, 80,156 bushels; oats, 124,636 bushels; barley, 3,570 bushels; butter 166,601 lbs; hides, 37,831 lbs; wool, 11,177 lbs; dressed hogs, 647,533 lbs; live stock, 1,426,000 lbs; miscellaneous articles, 600,329 lbs.

HOPKINTON, covering an area of about one square mile, is composed of two parts, Hopkinton proper, and a small village on the south side of the Maquoketa River, known as South Hopkinton. It is situated ten miles from the centre of the county, and five from the south and east boundary lines. It is eight miles south-east from the county seat, and three from the DuBuque South-Western R.R. A switch is contemplated to connect this place with Sand Spring, the nearest station.
    Lying on the second bench of the South Fork of the Maquoketa, in a grove of burr oaks, it seems as if nature had arranged it expressly for a village site; gradually rising it opens into a large rolling prairie on the north-east and east, which extends to the timber of the North Fork of the Maquoketa, a distance of seven miles. On the north are oak openings, which extend to the heavy grove of Plum Creek; the country lying between in broken, and numerous ledges of limestone abound affording good quarries, which are well worked.
    West and south it is bounded by the Maquoketa, and a heavy growth of timber, three miles in width, consisting of black walnut, maple, ash, oak, and other valuable varieties. At the foot of the hill on the western side of the village are the celebrated springs, known as "Jackson's Springs." They are three in number, producing quite a stream, which is tributary to the Maquoketa; the water is so plenty, and of such excellent quality, that many prefer it for use, rather than depend upon wells and cisterns. They issue from the solid rock, and excite the surprise and admiration of all who visit them.
    The first claim was made in 1838, by Wm. Nicholson. In 1840, H. A. Carter, and Leroy Jackson, from DuBuque, purchased the claim, each entering a section of land. Jackson settled in the fall, Carter the following spring. Carter was a native of Massachusetts, Jackson of Kentucky. The latter had settled in DuBuque, in the year 1833. Erecting their log cabins, they went to work like all new settlers, living for a time in back-woods style, surrounded by the Indians of the tribes, known as the Sacs and Foxes.*


[*footnote: The country formerly belonged to Blackhawk and his tribes. Although twenty-five years have passed since, with their rapid changes and improvements, still, the remnants of the tribes yearly revisit their former hunting grounds, and the graves of their fathers.]

      A short time before a colony of Scotch people emigrated from the Red River of British America, part locating in Jones county, and the remainder in a grove south-east of town, which has since been known as "Scotch Grove;" otherwise the country was a wilderness, inhabited only by the Red man and wild animals. Then there were but three houses between this place and DuBuque settlement, a distance of forty miles. For ten years, these pioneers lived quietly upon their farms engaged in agriculture, though for several years, the improvement was slow, yet in time they gained in wealth and resources. H. A. Carter cultivated a large hop yard, from which he shipped yearly a large amount. For many years they were obliged to draw their produce to DuBuque, it being the most convenient point. In 1841, the first white child was born, Sarah B., daughter of H. A. Carter, (she is now the wife of Surgeon M. Hale, U.S.A.) The first death occurred in the fall of 1844, in the decease of Mrs. H. Carter, (mother of the same gentleman.)


Lenox Collegiate Institute

Hopkinton, Delaware County


     The rapidity of immigration, and general prosperity about the year 1850, gave a new impulse to these men, and they formed the plan of laying out a town, which was done the same year, and inducements held out for enterprising persons to assist in building up the place. It soon became quite flourishing for a country village; from the first, care had been taken to keep it from every thing that would exert an immoral influence and to procure all religious and educational advantages that could be found in a new and comparatively wild country.
     At this time there existed four denominations: the Old School Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and United Brethren. A good district school was maintained, and occasionally a select school with evening schools of different kinds for general improvement. No liquor shops, billiard saloons, or intemperance in any form were tolerated. It was known everywhere as a strictly moral town; the influence could not be otherwise than good, the community was, and is still noted for intelligence, enterprise and patriotism. In 1854, a large colony of the Reformed Presbyterian church attracted by the fertility of the soil and favorable situation for locating in a body, bought large tracts of land in the surrounding country, reducing the wild prairies to well cultivated fields; having procured the services of Dr. Wm. L. Roberts, of Sterling, N.Y., as their Minister he came the following year. For some time the question had been agitated as to the best means to promote the educational interests of the community. Finally it was decided to attempt the erection of an institution of learning which was commenced in 1857, but not opened until 1859.

     At the present time there are two church buildings; the Collegiate Institute*; two hotel buildings; six dry goods stores, one hardware and one drug store; one grist and one saw mill; one sash, door and furniture factory; and two district schools, accommodating three hundred children.


[*footnote: Lenox Collegiate Institute. This flourishing Institution, (late the Bowen Collegiate Institute,) is pleasantly located on a gentle eminence in the village of Hopkinton. It was founded in 1857, but owing to the financial crisis at the time, it was not until August 1859, that it was opened for students. The building is 40X60 feet; two stories high. It is used entirely for school purposes, and is capable of accommodating 200 students. The cost of the building, including apparatus and fixtures, was upwards of $10,000. This sum was contributed almost entirely by the citizens; and the college, now completed and prosperous, stands an honor and an ornament to the village, affording superior educational advantages to a large tract of surrounding country, and will continue to stand a lasting monument to the commendable enterprise, untiring energy, and zealous devotion to the cause of education, possess by the people. Messrs. Carter, Jackson, Kilpatrick and others contributed liberally in money to the amount of several hundreds, and even thousands of dollars each, besides devoting much of their time and labor to its erection and subsequent improvement. At its opening there were but forty students in attendance. The faculty consisted of Rev. Jerome Allen, principal; Orman E. Taylor, professor of mathematics, and Miss Lucy Cooley, preceptress. The school was early placed under the supervision of the Presbyterian church, and grew rapidly into favor, especially with that denomination of Christians. The number of students continued to increase until at the breaking out of the late war, there were 125 in regular attendance. Not less than 80 young men have enlisted from this school, and twenty of these have already sacrificed their lives on the "altar of their country's liberty." Notwithstanding this the school has always been self-sustaining, receiving of the patronage to support a full and eficient corps of teachers. All needed improvements have been promptly made, and all necessary additions to the apparatus procured from time to time to meet the demands of the classes, until now it contains all that is necessary for the illustrations and experiments of a thorough course in philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, and other sciences. In December 1862, on the resignation of Prof. O. E. Taylor Rev. James W. McKean, a graduate of Jefferson College, Penn., was elected to fill the vacancy, and subsequently in the spring of 1863, on the resignation of Prof. Allen, he was made President of the faculty. Up to this time the school had continued as a private enterprise, belonging to a few of the citizens, but at the meeting of the Synod of the Old School Presbyterian Church, in the autumn of this year, it was deeded to that body. The school now received a fresh impulse, and students came flocking even from distant parts of this and adjoining States. Prof. McKean continued to discharge the duties of his responsible position acceptably until April 1864, when the call was made for hundred day troops. Nearly all the young men capable of bearing arms immediately enlisted, and the President enlisted with them. The trustees elected a new faculty, and September 15th, 1864, the school commenced apparently refreshed by its short respite from labor, and the winter term of 1864-5, there were one hundred students in attendance. The faculty consists of Rev. Jerome Allen, prof. of natural sciences, and teacher of languages; Samuel Calvin, prof. of mathematics; Miss Mary A. George, preceptress, teacher of English branches and assistant teacher of Latin, and William Flude, prof. of music. Two flourishing literary societies are maintained by the students; one by the young men know as the "Atheian Literary Society," the other by the young ladies under the name of the "Minervian Literary Society." These possess jointly a library of upwards of 500 volumes, which is being constantly increased by donations and purchases. The cabinet of Mineralogy and Geology is large, containing many hundred valuable specimens. Three gymnastic classes, including all the young men, are organized under the leadership of efficient teachers.]

         The resources of the surrounding country are excellent in grain, building material, stone, timber, etc. Fruit has not received as much attention as in many other places, yet there are several good orchards. The number of inhabitants is about 700, mostly from the Eastern States.

COLESBURG is a small village, of about four hundred inhabitants, situated in the northeastern corner of Delaware county, being twelve miles from Guttenberg, on the Mississippi River, the nearest river market to this place; it is thirty-five miles from DuBuque, and twelve miles north-west from Dyersville, on the DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad, making the markets and facilities for travel good.
      In 1838, when the Winnebago Indians inhabited the country, the first settlement was made by Solomon Wadsworth, on a small clearing about one and a half miles from the present site of the village. Among the first settlers were Martin Vansicle, Edwin Dickens, John Nagle, Wellington Wiltse, Silas Gilmore, Thomas Cole, Horace Mallory, and David Moreland, some of whom are now enjoying a ripe old age in the vicinity of their early struggles. Annis L. Mallory, daughter of Horace Mallory and his wife, was born on the fifth day of October, 1839, being the first white child born in this settlement. Elizabeth Landis died in February 1843, the first death in the settlement.
     The village owes its prosperity to the agricultural rather than the mechanical population. It contains four dry goods and variety stores, besides the usual allotment of groceries, together with a steam saw mill, a steam grist mill, cabinet shop, blacksmith shops, wagon shops, shoe shops, etc. The country surrounding is a rich agricultural section , wheat and corn being the staple productions; fruit is raise in limited quantities, owing to the newness of the settlement or incompatibility of climate; however, the farmers are showing more interest in this branch of agriculture than formerly, and the time may come when this will be a fruit growing section. Timber is plenty and in abundance for building purposes, and there are several good stone quarries in the neighborhood.
     The place contains four churches of the following denominations: Presbyterian, Cumberland Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic. The educational interst are looked after principally by the common district schools; there has been for a few years past a high school, but the war has made such inroads on the young population that it is suspended for the present. Constellation Lodge No. 67, of A. F. & A. Masons, meets every Thursday night, on or before the full moon. Colony Lodge No. 50, I.O.O.F., meets every Saturday night.
     The principal population is of eastern people, and the community is intelligent, industrious and loyal, "having furnished men enough to constitute an entire company, and brave, good men there were among them, some of whom were shot down in battle and others languished and died in southern prisons."

is beautifully located on the DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad, 37 miles from DuBuque. Plum Brook runs near the village, and affords facilities for mill purposes. The village contains two churches, Congregational and Methodist; also Oneida Lodge, No. 132, I.O.O.F., two druggists, two general stores, two groceries and one flour mill. Population 200.

is a post office in Prairie township, on the stage route from Manchester to Marion, six miles south of Manchester. The township was organized in 1857, by John S. Barry, and consists entirely of prairie land. The soil is a black loam with clay subsoil. Population 100.

is a station on the DuBuque Southwestern Railroad in the south-eastern corner of the county. It is between the North and South Forks of the Maquoketa Rivers, four miles from each. the township is abundantly supplied with water, timber, and stone. The town contains two churches, Methodist and Baptist, three general stores, two drug stores, two saw mills, and one broom factory. The Sand Spring Sentinel is published by T. H. Bowen. Population 200.

is on the Maquoketa River, in the northwestern portion of the county, 18 miles from Delhi. It has two churches, Baptist and Methodist, one general store, one flouring mill, and one saw mill. Vicinity population 120.

is on the DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad, 53 miles west of DuBuque. It contains four churches, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Universalist, and Wesleyan Methodist; also two general stores. Population 100.

is situated in Oneida township, near the central portion of the county, about four miles northeast of Earlville, on the DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad. It contains two churches, Methodist and Congregationalist.

is a post office on the state road from Garnavillo to Appanoose, 40 miles from DuBuque. the township contains two churches, Baptist and Methodist. Population of township 700.

is a post office in the southeastern portion of the county, 15 miles from Delhi. Population of township 400.

is a village of Oneida township, and a station on the DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad, 41 miles west from DuBuque, and 3 1/2 miles north of Delhi, the present county seat.

GREELEY is located in Elk township, seven miles north from Delaware Centre. It contains two churches, Christian and Universalist, two general stores, one flour mill, one wagon, one cabinet, and two blacksmith shops, with a population of 60.

YORK is a post village in Honey Creek township, northern part of the county. It contains one general store, one blacksmith shop, also one Congregational, one Methodist, and one Presbyterian church organization in the vicinity.

The following are other villages and post offices in this county: CAMPTON, HAZEL GREEN, MOUNT HOPE and SAND CREEK.


- source: Iowa State Gazetteer : embracing descriptive and historical sketches of counties, cities, towns and villages, which include much valuable information respecting the agriculture, manufactories, commerce, educational and religious institutions, population and history of the state : to which is added a shippers' guide and a classified business directory of the manufacturers, merchants, professional and tradesmen of Iowa, together with their business address; by James T. Hair; Chicago: Bailey & Hair, 1865; Delaware County, pg. 160-167.

~ transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Delaware co. IAGenWeb

~ transcribers note: The footnotes in the Gazetteer appear at the bottom of the pages and at times continue onto the next page. For continuity and ease of reading, I have taken the liberty of inserting them immediately after the paragraph referring to the footnote.