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     It was from the top of Floyd's Bluff a distance of about two hundred feet, down into the muddy waters of the Missouri river below, almost perpendicular, that "Jo. Lean," a Canadian Frenchman, made a fearful leap on his pony, as related to me by a daughter of Judge Townsley, who, at the time of the occurrence, resided in Tompsontown, at the foot of the bluff. Jo., while laboring under the exhilarating influence of sod-corn whisky, and, doubtless, thirsting for "Sam Patch" glory, made the fearful leap. My informant said that an eyewitness to the frightful scene at once informed her father's family of the occurrence, when she, with other members of the family, hastened to the spot, expecting to find the lifeless bodies of Jo. and pony, but, strange to say, the injuries received by both were only of a slight character; the pony was quietly feeding near the water's edge, and its reckless rider stretched out in the mud nearby, resting upon his elbow, and ejaculating in broken French, "Me big man, God damn; me no hurt." Jo. was quite content with the experiment, and has not since that time manifested any desire to repeat it. At the confluence of the Big Sioux and Missouri rivers is quite a high elevation, or bluff, on the Iowa side, overlooking much beautiful and fertile country for many miles. Upon this picturesque spot slumber the ashes of the once brave and sagacious Sioux chieftain, "War Eagle," with several members of his family. The Sioux have a very peculiar method of disposing of their dead. When one dies, the deceased is wrapped up in his blanket, or robe, and then laid up in a tree top, or placed upon a scaffold made of poles for that purpose. This is done, that there may be no obstruction to impede the spirit in its flight to the new hunting-grounds. War Eagle was laid in a grave, as most of the notables of the tribe are. The grave was about four feet in depth; the corpse was wrapped in a blanket, and laid in without a coffin; sticks were then placed across the top of the grave and covered over with earth, leaving an open space at the head of the grave of about one foot square, that the spirit of the departed might have egress, as it winged its way to the celestial hunting-grounds on high.
     War Eagle was a rare specimen of his race—tall, athletic, muscular, with massive forehead, bespeaking an amount of intelligence seldom found among his race. A few words of his burning eloquence was sufficient to arouse his people to war, and deeds of blood, or to bury the tomahawk, and sheath the scalping-knife, and retire to the shades of peace. He was zealous in the defense of the rights of his people, and against any encroachment upon that soil that nature, and nature's God, had given them an inalienable right to.
     The love of country and people is not confined to civilized life alone, but swells the heart, and nerves the arm, of the untutored red man of the forest. War Eagle was, emphatically, one of nature's noblest children, upon whom she had bestowed much intellect and ability. In point of oratory, he was excelled by but few of the leading orators of his age. But, notwithstanding all his great natural abilities, and good qualities, like many of his people, he yielded to that baneful monster, alcohol, who is daily fastening his poisonous fangs upon the vitals of thousands, and with his fiery tail sweeping countless numbers from the stage of action. It was when in a beastly state of intoxication, he laid out upon the cold ground, with no covering but the starry-decked heavens, and, drenched with a heavy rain, he took a severe cold, from which he never recovered. In the latter part of June, 1857, the steam ferryboat "Lewis Burns," that plied between Sioux City and Covington, on the Nebraska side of the river, made an excursion trip up the Big Sioux river, to ascertain the extent of its navigation, quite a number of ladies and gentlemen of Sioux City accompanying the excursion. About 8 o'clock A. M. all were summoned aboard (the writer of this sketch being among the number). We shoved off, and, after running about two miles, we left "Old Muddy" and soon found ourselves gliding upon the crystal waters of the Big Sioux. The beautiful scenery presented to the eye from our position in the pilot-house was of such striking beauty that it will never be erased from my memory. On the west of us was stretched out for miles the rich and fertile prairies of Dakota, covered with nature's green robes, embellished with fragrant flowers of every hue. On the east were spread out the broad and swelling prairies of Iowa, with here, rugged bluffs covered with the most beautiful foliage, the winged songsters of the air reveling amid the leafy boughs and warbling their sweetest strains, and there, a beautiful valley, of some crystal stream that wound its serpentine form through leafy groves, whilst its sparkling waters rushed on with impetuous bound, as if anxious to be lost in the bright bosom of the Sioux. Our bark would occasionally land, in order that the excursionists might enjoy a ramble in the groves, and pluck the beautiful flowers that were woven into wreaths and decorated our boat and the heads of our lady passengers, which gave the "Lewis Burns" somewhat the appearance of a flower garden. As our boat scudded along we frequently sounded the water, and found it not less than seven, nor more than sixteen, feet in depth. After running about forty miles without the least obstruction, the late hour of the day admonished us that it was time to retrace our steps, when we very reluctantly wheeled about our bark for home, while all were delighted with the excursion trip on the first boat that ever navigated the Big Sioux.


     Few individuals are aware of the many ludicrous and amusing scenes that were wont to transpire almost daily in the land office at Dubuque, during the early period of its location at that place, which are to be attributed to a want of a knowledge of the laws of congress regulating the disposal of the public domain, and prescribing the metes and bounds of its sub-divisions by ranges, townships, and sections. There perhaps has been no person who has ever acted in the fiduciary character of register of that office, who was more esteemed and more extensively acquainted with the settlers upon the public domain than Colonel Thomas McNight, being one of the early pioneers of Dubuque, who had realized, in common with the first settlers of the country, many of the hardships and privations incident to a frontier life. His sympathies and friendship in consequence, were always warmly enlisted upon the side of the settler, whenever the entry of his home was threatened by a speculator, or endangered by the grasping desire of a neighbor to extend the area of his possessions. His social qualities, politeness, and good humor, always secured for him a visit from the farmer whenever business brought him to town.
     It was in conformity with this established custom, that we called upon the Colonel one day, at his office, soon after he had entered upon its duties, for the purpose of ascertaining the number of notches placed to our credit by him upon a shingle, while seated upon a bur-oak stump in Main street, officiating as umpire of a shooting-match, in the summer of 1834. The Colonel having seated himself in his arm-chair, with his head thrown back upon the support of his locked hands, and eyes tightly closed, was about entering upon the consideration of the subject, when we were interrupted by a low rap at the door.
     "Walk in," said the Colonel, stepping forward with his usual politeness, chair in hand, towards the door, which was already opened sufficiently wide to admit, by a sideling movement, the exact and entire physical proportions of Larry McDermot, a native of the Emerald Isle, who, for the first time in his life, found himself standing bolt upright in a land office, grasping with both hands a little sealskin cap, the rim of which glided through his fingers with a rotary velocity that seemed to account for the loss of much of that grizzly, bristling, character, which it doubtless was wont to have in bygone days. The profuse locks of sandy hair which swung from the eaves of his forehead, with a slight curl at the ends, waved to and fro as he sidled across the room, cautiously surveying the apartment, and occasionally casting a suspicious glance over his shoulder at a highly colored map, that hung against the wall directly in his rear. Notwithstanding the evidences that surrounded him of the fact that he was in the land office, still there was a doubt seemingly existing in the mind of Mr. McDermot, for immediately approaching the Colonel with a low bow, he observed,—
     "Your servant, Sir, an' is this the land office?"
     "Yes, sir," said the Colonel.
     "Well, thin, it's Larry McDermot I am, an' will yez be tilling me if the thray acres is intered, down in the big ravane, where Dinnis O'Drisdel an' meself mowed hay las' year for the Widdy McCormick's cow, jist forninst Bryon O'Shay's claim, that it was afore he parted with it to Billy McGrath for a bit of hoorse?"
     "What are the numbers of your claim?" observed the Colonel, turning over his township plats.
     Och! an' isn't yerself that should be knowing the numbers better nor I, when yez kape the land office, and have the rading of the books and the maps, and the likes o' that; an' do yez think it's the likes of Larry McDermot that's a big fool to be tilling the numbers of his land to every chap that would be wanting to inter a dacent place?"
     The Colonel, who was somewhat familiar with this kind of customers, very good naturedly set himself to work to find out the whereabouts of Mr. McDermot's claim, and recollecting that Mr. McGrath had recently made an entry, he turned to the register of the same, and found that no land in its vicinity had been entered. Accordingly, Mr. McDermot was informed that the "thray acres in the big ravane" were unentered.
     "Well, thin, it's plased I am to be knowing the same, an' if it's a drap of the crater that ye'd be taking this mornin', it's Larry McDermot that 'ill be paying for the same," said our hero. His offer was politely declined by the Colonel, when Mr. McDermot departed, humming to himself as he descended the stairs,—
     "I earn my money where I can,
     And spend it like an Irishman.
     Scarcely had we resumed the consideration of matters connected with the shooting-match, when another rap at the door was answered by the Colonel, with the usual invitation to walk in. Immediately the door flew open, when in stepped Mr. Billy Grassbottom, fresh born the country, with a market basket swung on each arm. "Ah, Mr. Grassbottom," said the Colonel, "how do you do?—how is Mrs. Grassbottom, and all the little 'Bottoms? Really, I am glad to see you; do take a seat." "Well, Colonel, we're all monstrous well," said Billy, "except little Benny, he's got the yaller measles consider'bly struck in on him, an' a smart touch of the ager; besides, the doctor says he's gittin' the pollywads in the nose. But, Colonel, that's nuthin', I'm monstrous glad to see you. I cum down in a dreadful hurry. You see, Colonel, my wife Hetty, and Deacon Ciderhead had a fall-out down to quarterly meetin', consarning a scripter pint, and the deacon's wife tell'd the folks over to prair meetin' last Monday night, as how the deacon was goin' to enter our milk-house, so I put out right strate, with rather a nice lot of butter and eggs. And seein' as how we're old acquaintances, Colonel, I thought it wouldn't be altogether unnatural if we could strike a swap for them there forty acres with the milk house on." "Why, my dear sir," said the Colonel, "the regulations of the land office department require that we shall take for land nothing but—"
     "Now Colonel, now don't mention it, for gracious sake, don't; but jest look at that there butter," said Billy, placing his basket upon the table, and removing from the top a neat white linen towel, which exposed to view the ends of delicious rolls of butter, peeping with their ornamental indentations out from beneath the cooling embraces of sundry cabbage leaves. "Now Colonel, jist taste of that thar butter," continued Billy," if you can find a speck, or a har, or a fly's leg in't, I'll give you leave to take my hat. I don't like to say it myself; Colonel, but somehow I can't help it, there ain't a woman in old Billy Eads's settlement that can beat my wife Hetty makin' butter. Between you and I, Colonel, I reckon the only fault she has, is, she's a little too pertickler. The other day as I was startin' down to mill with a grist, she hollered out to me, and cez she, 'Bill, if you dont come back and chunk up that thar milk-house, and keep them rotten pigs o' your'n from sleepin' in there o' nights, I'll scald every one on 'em!' Well, sure enough, Colonel, when I cum back from mill there war'nt a pig on the place that had a bristle on him to raise in a wolf fight. And now, Colonel, I want you to look at them eggs; if every one on 'em ain't fresh, I'll give you leave to take my hat," at the same time, Billy having taken an egg from the basket, threw his right foot forward, while the left was so adjusted as to operate as a prop from the rear, and having given to his hands the scroll-like character of a spy-glass, with the egg at the further extremity, he placed the magnifying instrument to one eye and held it up to the light, while the other was kept securely closed by the corner of his mouth, which was screwed down to an angle of forty-three degrees, with perhaps a fraction over. Having satisfied himself that all was right, so far as the contents of the egg were concerned, he observed, "Now, Colonel, I want you to look at that thar egg; if you see a chickin wigglin' 'round in it I'll give you leave to take my hat." The Colonel, not wishing to withhold the gratification it seemingly would be to Mr. Grassbottom to give to the character of the egg a proper investigation, at once expressed a willingness to comply with his request, and having assumed the proper attitude under Billy's direction, proceeded to inspect its interior qualities, but, unfortunately having given a downward screw too much upon the corner of his mouth, the consequence was, the shell yielded to the pressure of his grasp, which clearly demonstrated the truth of Billy's statement, "there war'nt no chicken there," but the odor which pervaded the room fully entitled the Colonel to Billy's hat, which had previously been risked on the genuineness of the egg. Just then we thought we saw a change come over the countenance of the Colonel, like to that of Macbeth in the dagger scene, as he stood with arms extended in front, and fingers widely spread, from between which dripped the contents of the egg directly upon the shingle-preserved reminiscence of the shooting-match. In the meantime Billy had decamped with his butter and eggs, leaving the milk-house exposed to the threat of Deacon Ciderhead.

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