IAGenWeb Project

Iowa History

       An IAGenWeb Special Project


Join the IAGenWeb Team




Vol. XII Iowa City, April, 1920 No. 4


     On his mother's side Daniel Lane was a descendant of John and Priscilla Alden, members of the Mayflower band of Pilgrims. He was born in Leeds, Kennebec County, Maine, March 10, 1813. His father kept a country store, and, evidently, was in very moderate financial circumstances. Daniel was the only child of his mother, who must have died when he was a mere baby, for when he was only four years old his father also died, leaving to the little Daniel a step-mother and a half-sister. He then found a home with his own mother's brother, a Mr. Brett; not that his step-mother lacked in affection for him. but because she was left with insufficient means to properly support herself and the two children. She lived until after Mr. Lane was thirty years old, and he always spoke very highly of her.
     Hon. A. .J. McCrary says of Mr. Lane, "He was truly the friend of youth, yet you could not think of him as ever having any youth. " But in every case the boy precedes the man. The little I know of Daniel Lane, the boy, I learned from the Valentine brothers, Lowell and John, who followed Mr. Lane to Keosauqua, Iowa, and whose mother was a cousin of Mr. Lane's mother. Lowell Valentine was superintendent of the Congregational Sunday School in Keosauqua when I was a boy, and I recall his telling a very interesting story of the struggles and triumphs of a poor, orphan boy, closing with the impressive declaration, " And that boy was Daniel Lane. " At the time we had no difficulty in thinking that Mr. Lane might have been such a boy. But John Valentine, who now lives in Denver, Colorado, writes me something which may astonish those who only knew the man, Rev. Daniel Lane, and are not able to "think of him as ever having any youth " Mr. Valentine says, "I can tell you an incident of his boyhood, which not only illustrates his desire to excel in everything, but also shows the power of religion to change one's moral nature. And I have this from his own lips. Several boys, of whom Daniel was one, were playing together, when some of them became very profane. Daniel so far excelled the others that one of them, at least, was greatly shocked and exclaimed, 'Now Dan! quit that!' And Daniel was so surprised and deeply moved by the rebuke that he did quit, then and there, and soon afterward became a follower of the Jesus whose name he had used so lightly. " That indeed was the turning point in his career, and the real key to his future character and useful life.
     As nearly as I can learn he was about sixteen years old when, after much reflection and study of the Bible, he came out openly on the Lord's side and united with the Congregational church. He fitted himself for college in the Brighton Academy. While doing so his health became very poor, he was thought to have consumption, and asked his physician whether he would better go on with his studies. The reply was, "Oh yes, but you will not live beyond your second year in college." He did go on, and not only passed "the dead line" safely, but graduated from Bowdoin College in; 1838 by which time he was twenty-five years old. In the meantime he had taught school in several places, among which was the village of Freeport, not far from the city of Portland, Maine. There he became acquainted with the family of David Staples, a sea captain, whose daughter Elizabeth was destined to be his devoted wife and efficient helper throughout his career in Iowa.
     Immediately after graduating from college he became the teacher of English and modern languages in North Yarmouth Academy. At this writing, 1915, there is living in Iowa City a Mrs. Saunders, who was then a student in that academy, but probably in the primary department, as she was only nine or ten years old, and only remembers that Mr. Lane was a tall, slender, fine looking man, and very highly esteemed by the whole community as a man and teacher. After teaching two consecutive years in Yarmouth, he entered Andover Theological Seminary, took its three-year course of study, and graduated therefrom in 1843, at the age of thirty years. While in the seminary Mr. Lane, because of his riper years and strong personality, became a leader among the students, especially those of his own class. But in the summer of 1843, near the close of his second year at the seminary he was in very poor health and it is he to whom the author of "The Iowa Band" refers in relating what occurred one evening that summer at the usual devotional exercises of the faculty and students: "Among them sat one, pale and emaciated by continued illness, and of whom his friends began to whisper, "Unless relieved soon we fear he will never be well, even if he lives." They might have spared a portion of their anxiety had they known the nature of his disease, which "as dyspepsia, and that not of a chronic form." Mr. Lane came to that service greatly cast down by the combined effects of disease and hard study. During the service he deeply pondered his condition and prospect, and had about concluded that he must abandon his long-cherished plan of becoming a New England minister, for the reason that such a life would aggravate his disease, cripple his energies and shorten his days. At that moment there came to him the thought that the quite different life of a missionary in the west might counteract his disease. To go west would require great self-denial, but there might be great compensation chiefly of a spiritual character. These thoughts, with others, passed before him with the swiftness of a vision, and had for a time the effects of a vision. All things else were shut out. The chapter, the hymn, the singing were all unheard. In the general movement he rose for prayer, but not to join in the petitions offered. The spell was upon him, and he seemed to stand alone before God. He went out that evening not as he came in. Henceforth his prayer was "May I be found in the right place, doing the right work! Prepare me for it, and make me willing to enter upon it!" The result was that he definitely decided to become a western missionary. He soon found that a classmate from the west expected to return and labor in that region. And these two so successfully promoted the scheme that ten, others of their class joined them. The twelve prospective home missionaries were Daniel Lane, Harvey Adams, Erastus Ripley, Horace Hutchinson, Alden B. Robbins. William Salter, Edwin B. Turner, Benjamin A. Spaulding, William Hammond, James J. Hill, Ebenezer AIden and Ephriam Adams.
     These kindred spirits then proposed to hold prayer meetings, to further foster their remarkable friendship and unity of purpose. But no two of them roomed together, and the question arose as to when they might privately assemble. One of their number happened to be the seminary librarian; so they decided to meet in the library room, although the seminary rules forbade lights in that room: but these overcame that difficulty by meeting there on Tuesday evenings and praying in the dark. And in after years, though widely separated in the mission field, those devoted men observed Tuesday evening as the set time to secretly pray for each other. Before graduating from the seminary the twelve had chosen Iowa territory, as the field of their missionary labors. They therefore became known as "The Iowa Band."
     After seven years of acquaintance, courtship and betrothal, Daniel Lane and Elizabeth Staples were married September 9, 1843, which was soon after he graduated from the seminary, and a few weeks before "The Band" was to start west. One of the members, William Hammond, decided not to go at all, "for fear of the western climate," and two more, Erastus Ripley and J. J. Hill, were temporarily detained, and came on the following year. Nine of "The Band." two of them, Mr. Lane and Mr. Robbins, with wives, started on the long journey, Oct. 4, 1843. The first stage was by train to Buffalo, then the western terminus of the railroad, thence by a lane steamer to Chicago. It is worth noting and will amuse present day Iowans, that during a brief landing at Milwaukee they were met by Rev Peet, the Wisconsin agent for the American Home Missionary Society which was financing "The Band," but he discouraged their going on to their destination by saying "Iowa will never amount to much, as it has only a narrow strip of good land along the Mississippi river, beyond which is the Great American Desert. " The only excuse for such a statement was ignorance of the character of the unsettled portion of Iowa at that time, when it was understood that "the settled portion of the territory was a belt of land on the west bank of the Mississippi, 200 miles long and 40 wide, with a population of something over fifty thousand." From Chicago, by chance conveyances, mostly open farm wagons, the missionaries came through what was to them, "a new and wonderful country," and were much surprised to get good meals by the way for a "bit," 12 1/2 cents, and night lodging for 25 cents. Through out the whole trip they refrained from traveling on Sunday and, after about seventeen days of actual travel, they arrived at Denmark, Lee County, Iowa, October 25, 1843.
     But they were not the first Congregational missionaries to come to Iowa. The same missionary society had sent Rev. Asa Turner to Quincy, Illinois, in 1830. In 1836 he made an exploring tour to the Black Hawk purchase, and found a colony of religious New England people settled in the Denmark locality. In 1838 those Denmark people invited him to become their pastor; he accepted the call, and sustained that relation to them for thirty years. However, during the first six years of that period he gave half of his time as agent for the American Home Missionary Society in the territory of Iowa. Fourteen Congregational churches had been organized by the time the Iowa Band came, and some eight Congregational ministers had reached the Territory," so said Dr. Magoun at the dedication of a new Congregational church in Keosauqua in 1888," and Dr. Salter one of 'The Band,' says, 'It was a letter from Asa Turner, under God, more than any other single influence, which led us to choose Iowa as our field of labor, therefore, with or without the consent of my Congregational friends, I may say that Asa Turner was a sort of Bishop of Iowa, and Denmark the headquarters of his diocese; which accounts for 'The Iowa Band' coming to Denmark in a body."
     Dr. Salter further relates that, after arriving in Iowa, "the next Sunday I spent at Keosauqua, on the Des Moines river, and preached in a blacksmith shop. " A Mr. Hadden attended or followed him back to Denmark where, on the following Sunday, November 5th, Mr. Lane and six others were to be ordained before the members of "The Band" dispensed to their appointed fields of labor. The method of assignment to those fields is thus described in the little book entitled "The Iowa Band", the nine members having assembled in the pastor's study for that purpose. Then Fathers Turner and Gaylord, who had explored the field, came in, map in hand, described their tour, the places visited, and then retired. Now, by free suggestion and mutual consent, the assignment began. Brother Hutchinson, for peculiar reasons, as was well known, was inclined to Burlington, and H. Adams to Farmington; and none were disposed to object. Those having wives, it was said, ought to be provided with places as comfortable as any in the territory. A minister-seeking man "from Keosauqua had claimed Brother Lane as the one of his choice. His promises were fair, and he was gratified. Then Bloomington, since called Muscatine, a smart town of 400 inhabitants, was ceded to Brother Robbins, and thus the wives were provided for." And thus, incidentally, was shown the rank which Keosauqua held among her sister towns in 1843. The Savior's injunction was "judge not according to appearances; judge righteous judgment." For lack of time and opportunity Mr. Hadden had to " judge according to appearances" when he chose Mr. Lane but, fortunately, it proved to be a "righteous judgment" also, and has been endorsed as such by Keosauqua people unto this day.
     Mr. Lane was nearly thirty-one years old on November 12, 1843, when he preached his first sermon in Keosauqua, and stood face to face with the great work the had chosen, and for which God had chosen him. Many precious years had been spent in preparation for it, not willingly but necessarily. He had not inherited a robust body; physical weakness always, and real illness often hindered study. And a degree of poverty frequently drove him from the halls of learning, and compelled long periods of manual labor or teaching, in order to replenish his normally slender and often empty purse. His eager spirit chafed against the enforced delay which after all was not without its compensations, for the protracted struggle was a discipline which resulted in the development of patience, courage, perseverance, self-reliance—all those moral qualities, indeed, which characterized him afterward and contributed so much to his popularity and usefulness. As a matter of economy, if not of necessity, the Lanes had sent their few household effects by water down the Atlantic coast, across the Gulf of Mexico, and up the Mississippi to Burlington, whence they must come to Keosauqua by wagon; and until they arrived Mr. and Mrs. Lane boarded with Mr. Hadden's family. How few were those household effects is shown by the following excerpt from the diary of Rev. H. Adams, of Farmington, who, the next summer visited the most of his brother ministers at their homes, beginning at Keosauqua:
      "July 16, 1844.
     Here are Brother Lane and his wife in their little home of two rooms. They have a chair or two now and a table, but they say they set up housekeeping without either, using old boxes instead." He then goes on to say "They have a church of a few members, organized as Presbyterians, butits members are not all of that way of thinking. Brother Lane is coming to be very decided that Conregationalism is the true Bible way, really quite conscientious about it. A majority are with him. How things will turn out, can't tell." How "few members" compose that church, and how eager was "the majority" who were 'with Brother Lane" on the denominational question, appears from the fact that, when he did organize a Congregational Church about four months after Rev. Adams' visit, and a little more than a year after Mr. Lane began his labors here, he did it with only five members, viz., Moses Root and wife. Comfort Barnes and wife, and Mrs. Lane. Moreover, Mrs. Lane was the only member who lived in town; the others lived two and four miles out. Mr. Hadden, the chief instrument in bringing Mr. Lane to Keosauqua, must have been a Presbyterian "after the strictest of his sect," for he did not then join the Congregational church, nor did he afterward during the few years he remained in town.
     When Mr. Lane had been in Iowa about two years, the condition of his health required an extended vacation and a change of climate, but did not keep him from doing good when and where he had opportunity. Of that vacation Mr. John Valentine writes me, "The winter of 1845-6 Mr. Lane spent in Maine, on account of illness from malaria, and made his home with my brother, Lowell. During that winter he preached to our people there; and it was then under his preaching, that I was converted. "
     In the history of Van Buren County—page 475-it is erroneously stated that "Mr. Hadden built the first church at Keosauqua, in 1840." It is not at all probable that a single person would build a church at his own expense in a frontier town which was less than four years old. The truth is that Mr. Hadden, being a carpenter, as I am informed, did erect a small house in that year to be rented for school purposes. It is true that it was also a preaching place for all denominations, as many school houses were in an early day, and not a few are in these days, but the Hadden house was not intended for a church, and was never dedicated as such. Judge Wright and Mrs. Joseph C. Knapp both came to Keosauqua in 1840, the year in which Mr. Hadden built that house. Judge Wright in his sketch of Mr. Lane-Annals of Iowa, October, 1914, page 486—refers to it as "the little school house, rented for private schools," and Mrs. Knapp says she never heard it spoken of as being a church, on the contrary it was always called ''Hadden's school house."
     In that school house Mr. Lane preached his first sermon, and many others, in Keosauqua, but we have his own statement that his congregation "for several years had no settled place for public worship." But in his fourth year here, and under his leadership, his people, aided by other citizens, built a small brick church, Mr. Lane himself paying for the brick out of his salary of $400 per annum, when, as he afterward said, "we had no other pecuniary resources whatever." Let us give honor to whom honor is due. As we have already seen, there was a small Presbyterian church organization here when Mr. Lane arrived in 1843, but to the Methodists belong the credit of the first church organization. About the middle of November, 1836, less than a year after the first settler built his "claim-pen," and about seven years before Mr. Lane arrived, Rev. Norris Hobart, a Methodist preacher, "formed a Class" here, and made this a regular preaching place on his large "circuit" of sixteen appointments, the headquarters of which was Burlington. But to Mr. Lane belongs the honor of having been the first resident pastor, and the credit of leadership in the erection of the first church building in Keosauqua.
     And now, a few general statements may be made to introduce an account of Mr. Lane's school teaching in the town.   
      According to the history of Van Buren County, "Tom Wilkinson kept the first school at the ( new) county seat, in 1839, " which was about three years after the advent of the first settler. The character of "Tom", and how he may have "kept school," may be inferred from the further statement of said history that "Wilkinson left in 1842, and married a half breed of the Cherokee nation." All the early schools were private ones, and steadily improved in character and efficiency. In the late forties, Professors Allen, Moore and Howe taught schools of some pretensions. And a part of that time Moore and Howe were associated in teaching a school in the Des Moines House, originally a tavern, near the court house. The large dancing hall of that building could be made two good school-rooms by means of folding doors and other parts of the house were occupied by private families.
     The public school district was not organized till 1845. Late in that year it acquired two lots, on which a one room brick school-house was built the following summer, and in it the next winter a public school was taught by George Baldwin, a brother of the pioneer, Charles Baldwin, who had opened the school and taught it about two weeks, until his brother George could come on from Ohio.
     A very bright girl, Mary Wilkins, was a scholar in that first public school and later a student in Mr. Lane's academy. She is now Mrs. Charles Rustin, of Omaha, and writes me of that public school that, after a lapse of sixty-five years, she still treasures a little book, on the fly-leaf of which is written:

     To Miss Mary E. Wilkins:
     This book is presented by the undersigned, Directors of School District No. One, Van Buren Township, as the principal premium for improvement and good conduct during the winter term of said school—1850. Attest: George G. Wright, Pres't.
     John D. Mitchler, Treas.
.    John H. Stine, Sec.
     And Mrs. Rustin adds, with commendable pride, "This the first prize given in the first public school of Keosauqua."
     But some citizens of the town were anxious for better advantages for their children than could be expected of the public school at that time. Who took the initiative in the matter I cannot say, but it resulted in Mr. Lane opening a school in the only room on the ground floor of the Odd Fellow building. He did this partly for financial reasons, his salary as a minister still being a small one, and partly-perhaps more—for the sake of enlarging his sphere of usefulness. The school was to be one of high grade, an academy really, as appears from the following which, published in the Des Moines Valley Whig, Keokuk. Iowa, May 1, 1851:
     Rev. Daniel Lane—Teacher
     The First Term of this Institution will commence on Monday. May 2Oth. Each term will consist of 11 weeks.
     Branches usually taught in common district schools, including the elementary principles of  Algebra and Natural Philosophy—$3.75.
     Higher studies in Mathematics, Mental and Moral Science, Chemistry, Astronomy, Rhetoric, Logic, Ancient and Modern Languages —$4.60. * * * Keosauqua, April 17th, 1861.
     In the announcement for the third term of the same year in the Western American, Keosauqua, December 5th, "Latin and Greek" are mentioned as languages to be taught; and in the same paper, June 19, 1852, announcing June 30th as the beginning of the "Fifth Term," it is said that "instruction will be given in Latin, Greek, French and German if requested." The first announcement, backed up by the well known fact that Mr. Lane was a graduate of three schools, an academy, a college, and a theological seminary, and also was a teacher of several years experience, indicated that the proposed school would not be an experiment so far as the teacher was concerned, and the people were not left in doubt very long. His ability as an instructor, and the excellent moral atmosphere of his school, soon became so evident that his patrons desired to have their younger children brought under his immediate influence. To gratify their desire, he formed one or two sub-primary classes, and employed Miss Mary Wilkins, an advanced scholar, to hear their recitations for which service she received $3.08 per week, in addition to her own tuition.
     The newspapers frequently referred to the academy as being "an excellent and flourishing institution." Its fine reputation went abroad and attracted students from adjoining counties in Iowa and Missouri.
     As further evidence that Mr. Lane was seriously handicapped by physical frailty the Western American of August 30, 1851, says, "Keosauqua Academy—We are requested to state that the academy will not commence its session next Monday, owing to the continued ill health of Mr. Lane. But he is rapidly recovering and in all probability will soon be at his post. " He bravely carried his double burden of preaching and teaching through a period of two years. until the spring of 1853, when it became evident to him that he was overworking. He therefore closed his school, severed his pastoral relation to the church, and went to Davenport to become principal of the Preparatory Department of Iowa College then in its infancy, and without a dollar of endowment. He was also to have charge of the boarding and lodging department, in the case of which Dr. Magonn said "Mr. and Mrs. Lane were useful to the students in a rare measure both in respect to this world and the world to come." Mr. and Mrs. Lane had no children of their own, but both of them had the instinct of parenthood in an eminent degree. Of course there was greater obligation and opportunity for its exercise while in charge of that boarding and lodging department than they ever had before or afterward, but they always had a parental interest in their scholars. To their intimate friends they habitually spoke of their scholars as "our boys" and "our girls," and they watched their adult careers with a solicitude akin to that of real parents. To illustrate that habit I may relate that on the occasion of a visit to Keosauqua, when the name of a former scholar, inclined to waywardness was mentioned, Mr. Lane inquired with evident anxiety "Is W____steady now ?
     He was equally solicitous about the church he had planted in Keosauqua and, before leaving for Davenport, he secured Rev. Dimon to succeed him as pastor. Mr. Dimon was an exceptionally able man and a fine character, who had left a good law practice in the east after being convinced of a call to preach the Gospel. But he died about a year after coming to Keosauqua, greatly to the regret of all who knew him. In that short time he acquired influence enough to organize a company for the purpose of founding a permanent academy in the town. After his death the company bought a small brick house of two rooms, placed over its door the sign "The Dimon Institute," and brought a Professor Greene from the east to superintend the school. But for some reason the institution was short lived, and Mr. Greene returned to Massachusetts, where he became associated in the practice of law with George F. Hoar, who later on was United States senator.
     Two years after going to Davenport, Mr. Lane was promoted to the chair of mental and moral science in Iowa College. But in 1858, because of a defaulting college treasurer, and the persistence of the Davenport City Council in opening a wide street through the campus the college trustees temporarily closed the institution but reopened it at Grinnell the following year. During that year of intermission Mr. Lane taught a classical school in Davenport, at the close of which, in the fall of 1859, upon the earnest solicitation of Judge Wright and others he returned to Keosauqua under a contract to teach there three years. This second Keosauqua academy was conducted in the basement of the Methodist Church, and occupied three rooms. The majority of the students were under Mr. Lane's immediate control in a large lecture room. In a smaller room the primary scholars were located, and taught for some time by Mrs. Lane, who was succeeded by Miss Maggie McArthur. In a third room, a few of Mr. Lane's classes were tutored by the advanced scholar and exceptionally fine young man, William C. Harper, until he became a Union soldier in 1861. This school also attracted students from afar. The average number of its scholars is now supposed to have been seventy or eighty for about two years, when the Civil War came on, cut down the attendance and otherwise seriously affected the school by making soldiers of a number of young men and older boys, who were greatly admired by Mr. Lane, and had contributed much to the morale of his school. Mr. Lane was a devoted Union man, and thoroughly in sympathy with the patriotic spirit which prevailed among his scholars. Friday afternoons were devoted to literary exercises which, after the war began, took on a decidedly patriotic character. W. W. Baldwin says "I remember declaiming an impassioned, patriotic appeal, and seeing the tears flow down Mr. Lane's face as he listened to me. I can never forget the inspired look upon him at that time."
     In those days Keosauqua had a "glee club" of unusually good singers, four of whom were scholars in the academy, and Hattie McArthur one of the four. When the war came on the club sang, at rallies for recruits in southeastern Iowa, and raised many a boy's patriotism to the enlisting point. And the boys did not forget that when they were hundreds of mile distant from the club, and experiencing the stern realities of soldier life. One day when conditions were very trying a wag in our company sang out dolefully, "Oh, I wish Hattie McArthur was here to sing me out of service; she sung me into it! "
     Four of Mr. Lane's scholars reported to President Lincoln's first call for troops. Voltaire Twombly was one of them and he writes me, "The four of us, Harper, Burns, Henry and Twombly, were one day invited to dinner by Mr. Lane, and Mrs. Lane got us up a good dinner. The most impressive part of that visit with our dear teacher and his wife was when we all got down on our knees and he prayed with us. And in parting he gave each of us a small testament and fatherly counsel. I carried my Testament throughout the war, and read it—sometimes when under fire in the trenches. I have it yet, with this written on the fly-leaf, 'V. P. TwombIy, from his teacher and friend, Mr. Lane'." I have ascertained that, including nine from his first school, thirty-eight of Mr. Lane's .scholars became Union soldiers, and suffered their proportion of hardships and casualties during the war. There may have been a few more in the Union Army, and it is also a significant fact that I have not learned of one of his scholars who served in the Confederate Army.
     Including both schools Mr. Lane's teaching, in Keosauqua covered a period of about five years. Some persons, in their zeal for the good reputation of the old town but with no intention whatever of misrepresenting matters, assert that no other school of like character, in the whole country, and in the same length of time, was attended by so many scholars, who became prominent in their mature years. That may or may not be true. No one can tell in the absence of complete statistics from all such schools, and it is safe to say that no such statistics were ever compiled, and distributed, therefore the assertion may be made only as an opinion; not as a known fact. Moreover, the makers of the foregoing statement erroneously, but of course honestly, swell their mental list of Mr. Lane's scholars who became prominent men, by including in it the names of George W. McCrary, H. C. Caldwell, and a few others, of less prominence, none of whom ever went to school to Mr. Lane. In the Annals of Iowa., October, 1914, there appeared a brief character sketch of Mr. Lane by Judge Wright. In that sketch the Judge does not assert the superiority of Mr. Lane's school over other schools in the production of prominent men, but he restricts the field of comparison, and adroitly shifts the burden of proof upon any one who might deny it. He says, " Find if you can another instance in this western world, in the early days, of a small private school sending out so many men of whom the instructor, the state and nation even, may feel so justly proud." This challenge comes after naming twelve prominent men—from memory—who had been scholars in Mr. Lane's school, Judge Caldwell among them. I will not attempt to take up the challenge for I do not contend for the superiority of any other school, but the Judge is mistaken in naming Caldwell as a student in the Lane Academy. This may seem strange—and it is—in view of the facts that Caldwell studied law in the office of Knapp and Wright, and was junior member of the firm of Knapp, Wright & Caldwell from the time he was admitted to the bar in 1851, until he enlisted as major in the Third Iowa Cavalry in 1861, a period of about ten years.
     Now Judge Wright's reminiscent articles are very fine. They are illuminating, intensely interesting, and, in a general way, are faithful portrayals of pioneer characters and events. But they were written exclusively from memory, or nearly so, and it is well known that memory is not perfectly reliable as to the details of forty or fifty years "Lang Syne." In other articles I have found Judge Wright in error as to some details. And in the article now under consideration there are two errors besides the one concerning Caldwell. The first one states that Mr. Lane settled in Keosauqua in 1842 instead of 1843, and the second Says " forty years later he returned to his first home in Maine, and died within the year," whereas he lived over seven years after returning to Maine. It is thought by some that George W. McCrary attended school in Keosauqua and it is known that Caldwell went to school to Professors Allen, Moore and Howe; but I have reliable information that neither of them, nor a few others included with them, ever were students in Mr. Lane's schools. Mrs. Rustin, Winifield Mayne and others who were students in the first school are quite positive that those persons did not attend it, and Mrs. Knapp confirms their statement. Mrs. Rustin explains that as the Knapp, Wright & Caldwell law office was just across the street from the academy school room, Caldwell would often come over during intermission periods and join the older scholars in their games.
     Caldwell had very little schooling, but he was one of those precocious youths who had a faculty for absorbing knowledge, and made good in after life. He began studying law with Knapp & Wright at the age of fifteen and was only nineteen when he was admitted to the bar in 1851, the very year in which Mr. Lane opened his school in the Odd Fellow building. What more likely then than that the boy of nineteen or twenty should still have a zest for play and often engage in it, when suitable comrades were hard at it so near him, especially when his sedentary occupation made exercise and recreation necessary. Judge Wright saw those youngsters at play hundreds of times; they made a bright and enduring picture in his mind. Forty years later as he sat writing his tribute to Mr. Lane memory brought out that picture labeled "Mr. Lane's students at play" and in it was Caldwell, one of the most enthusiastic players; so memory played the honest Judge a trick, and beguiled him into thinking that Caldwell was really a student in that academy. Finally, I have a list of the students in that school, given by Mr. Lane himself to Thomas S. Wright, the Judge's son, for use in an address made in Keosauqua in 1888, and the names of George W. McCrary and H. C. Caldwell are not in that list. It is true that Mr. Lane made that list from memory, closing with the remark "And perhaps two or three others, whose names are not recalled by their old teacher." But it is incredible that he should have forgotten two such men as McCrary and Caldwell, who became far more prominent than any he did mention as students in his first Keosauqua Academy.
     Other Keosauqua patriots, and ardent admirers of Mr. Lane, equally desirous of honoring him and being loyal to truth, are content with saying that he was in the front rank of this country's great teachers; that he probably had few, if any, superiors; and that his Keosauqua schools were really remarkable for the number of their students who became more or less prominent in after life. That seems to be a perfectly reasonably statement. And I feel sure that the fair minded and modest Daniel Lane would not think of claiming the sole credit for the prominence of his scholars. Indeed, he often and gladly admitted that heredity and home environment had furnished him an unusual amount of good material for the making of superior men and women. And we are not to leave out of the account that great factor, the personal endeavor of the students themselves. Therefore, on these accounts, and the certainty that those students would have had other good teachers, it is to be conceded that many of them would have become useful men and women and attained to a good degree of prominence if they had never seen Mr. Lane. And it is also admitted that at least a few of his scholars profited little in youth or maturity by the great advantages of his schools, but that was not the fault of their teacher. But I do contend that he inspired many with a zeal for knowledge and morality who, otherwise, might not have been so inspired; and that had developed even the most willing of his scholars to a degree which they were not likely to have attained under any other teacher available at that time—in short, that he was the greatest possible help to all who were willing to be helped and to help themselves; and therefore justly deserves a very large measure of credit for the success which they achieved in later life.
     There is extant no original roster of the students in either of Mr. Lane's academies. His list of those in the first school given from memory has been supplemented—also from memory—by a few surviving students of that school. For a list of those in the second school I am wholly dependent upon the recollections of a few of its survivors with whom I have corresponded. Both lists are probably not complete but I think are nearly so. They are as follows, with my comments shoving the prominence in life attained by many of them, the majority of those not thus noticed filled their humbler stations with credit to themselves and their able teacher:


     Edwin Stannard—Commission merchant in St. Louis. wealthy owner of flouring mills, lieutenant governor of Missouri, congressman, and delegate to Methodist General Conference.
     Zervia Stannard—Wife of George C. Duffield, a prominent pioneer farmer and citizen of Van Buren county.
     Alphonso Stannard—Brother of Edwin.
     John C. Brown—Bank cashier.
     Hugh Brown—Lieutenant on staff of Gen. Ord in Civil War, thereafter in regular army, last service in Spanish American war, final rank, major.
      Alex Brown—Sergeant-major of Fifteenth Iowa, discharged for wound received at Shiloh and Corinth, county judge, county auditor, lawyer, and member of state legislature.
     Annie Brown—Wife of Dr. William Craig.
     Mollie Brown—Wife of Judge Robert Sloan.
     Henry Moon—Keosauqua postmaster.
     Winfield Mayne—The first graduate of Iowa Wesleyan College, he being the whole class of 1856, for many years a prominent lawyer of Council Bluffs.
     Leroy Mayne—Soldier in Second Iowa Infantry and Third Cavalry, lieutenant and adjutant of marine brigade when he died in 1863.
     Stephen Fellows-Prominent citizen, wealthy and successful farmer.
     Mary Shepherd—Wife of Delazon Smith, a lawyer, preacher, and United States senator from Oregon.
     Mary E. Wilkin- Both scholar and tutor in the school, afterward a successful teacher in Keosauqua and Sioux City. wife of Charles Rustin, a cultures woman and life-long student.
     Harriet Benton—Wife of Judge H. C. Caldwell.
     Arthur Buckner—When a child came with his people from Kentucky to Clarke County, Missouri, "depended on his mental quickness rather than on close application to studies mischievous in season and out of season, and the only scholar I ever saw Mr. Lane out of patience with" says Mrs. Rustin. He became a physician and eminent surgeon. The Confederate Gen. Buckner was his great uncle. Arthur was loyal and served as a surgeon in the Union Army.
     Aurelia Julien—Wife of Maj. H. C. McArthur, civil war veteran.
     Jane Bell—Sister of Col. Frank Bell.
     Margaret Leach—Daughter of Gen. Leach.
     Isaac Thatcher—Captain of Company
     Amos Thatcher—Sergeant-major Fifteenth Iowa.
     Jacob St. John—Lawyer in Des Moines.
     Vina Baldwin-Sister of Charles Baldwin.
     Ellen Manguin—Wife of Winfield Mayne.
     George Swain—Lieutenant in Seventh Cavalry.
     Aurelia or "Milly" Williams—Wife of Mr. Schramm, a prominent Burlington merchant.
Volney Smith-Son of Delazon Smith, was cadet a while at West Point, supposed to have been a soldier in the Civil War, and known to have been prominent in Arkansas politics.
     Lizzie Brown, Mary Ann Brown, Nancy Brown, Elizabeth Burns, Mary Burns, Elizabeth Cameron, Cornelia and Mary Chittenden, Ellen Claflin, James Coleman, Samuel Dook, —Devin, Davis Leonard, William Fellows, William Fosnot, Sarah and Amanda Hartzell, Victoria Julien, Luther and Mary Kreigh, Henry Mathias, Philander and Carrie Mayne Sarah Jane, Elizabeth and Angeline Miller, Jackson and Zarvia Miller, David Miller, Mary Moore, Francis Montonye, Martha Selby, Felissa Stannard, Joanna Steele, Carlisle and Sarah St. John, Louisa and Sarah Tolman, Charlotte and Russell Tylee, Adaline and Amanda Walker, Boylston Wilson, Emily Webster and William Wallace Brown.


     The first three names on this list are persons who were also in the first school, but in the primary class.

     Charles W. Shepherd—Served three years in Third Iowa Cavalry, then till close of Civil war as a lieutenant in a colored regiment, was a Methodist minister nearly thirty years, and died when treasurer of Van Buren county.
     Thomas S. Wright—Son of Judge George G. Wright, was adjutant in Third Cavalry, prisoner of war for a short time, lawyer of prominence, and was attorney for the C. R. I. & P. Ry. Co. when he died in New Yolk City as the result of an accident, age about forty-nine years.
     V. P. Twombly—Excelled in mathematics while a student, enlisted spring of 1861 in the Second Iowa Infantry at the age of nineteen, was slightly wounded at Ft. Donelson and was the last of the color guards on his feet when he carried the colors over the Confederate works, was promoted from grade to grade until made captain, was severely wounded at Corinth, served over four years. After the war was treasurer of Van Buren county four years treasurer of the state of Iowa six years, and president of the Home Savings Bank of Des Moines ten years, from 1891 to 1901.
     Chloe Funk—Wife of V. P. Twombly.
     W. W. Baldwin—Soldier and lawyer, prominent citizen of Burlington and president of its library association, became land commissioner of the C.. B. & Q. R. R. in about 1879, still in the employ of that company as vice-president and is an able writer on railroad questions.
     John Burns-Soldier four years, sergeant Third Cavalry. afterward treasurer Van Buren county and postmaster at Keosauqua.
     B. F. Elbert—Banker and member of Iowa Legislature.
     Felix T. Hughes—Soldier, school teacher in Memphis Mo., three years, lawyer in Lancaster, Mo., in 1880 removed to Keokuk, Iowa, as general solicitor of the M., & N. R. R., five years later president and attorney for the same road reorganized as the Keokuk and Western until it was sold to the C. B. & Q., since which he has been local attorney for the C., B. & Q. meantime he has been mayor of Keokuk two years and judge of that city's superior court three years.
     Ben Johnston—Soldier four years in Union army, promoted lieutenant in colored regiment, lawyer, county attorney, and died while United States consul in a Honduras port.
     B. F. Kauffman—Lawyer, and by many thought to be the foremost attorney in Des Moines when he died in the prime of life.
     Rutledge Lea—Said to have been the best declaimer in the school, became an able lawyer but died when about forty years old.
     Alvin J. McCrary—Soldier, lawyer, president Iowa State Bar Association, appointed by President Roosevelt a delegate to the congress of lawyers at the St. Louis Exposition, and since 1900 has been attorney for two corporate companies at Binghampton, N. Y.
     Craig L. Wright—Son of Judge George G. Wright and for many years an able lawyer in Sioux City.
     Sam M. Clark—Editor of the State City and member of congress.
     J. H. Watts—First lieutenant in Third Cavalry and killed in battle.
     Charles Leach—First lieutenant in Third Cavalry.
     William C. Stidger—Soldier four years, second lieutenant and adjutant of Fifteenth Iowa.
     George Stidger-Soldier and physician.
     Addie Stidger—Wife of George C. Duffield.
     John Baker—Soldier and physician.
     William C. Harper—Lieutenant in the Second Iowa was killed at Ft. Donelson.
     W. H. Andrews, Irene Anderson, Lavina R. Baldwin, Rachel Berger, Mary Bonney, John Bonner, Jerome Briggs and two sisters, Miles Burns, Mary Claflin, Lou Canaja, Eliza Day, Henry Easling, Susanna Fellows, Lutie Ganes, Lizzie and Susie Harrison, Ellen Brewster, Clarissa Hartson, Samuel and Benjamin Hearn, Thomas and Orra Henry, Sally Jordan, Stanslow Julien, Christopher Kauffman, Augusta Kinnersly, Lemuel Kincade, Lena Lea, Anna and Will Manning, Josie Manguin, Flavius, Scott and Susan Miller, Hattie McArthur, Nelson McCrary, William McBride, Sarah and Vina Morris, Elizabeth Myers, Frances Miller, Lida Moore, Emma and Amandus Pearson, Henry Potter, Mary Purnell, James and Mary Rankin, Laura Rowley, Lewis Rye, John C. Smith, Melissa Stannard. Fletcher and Mary St. John, Clarence and Amanda Walker, Thomas Thornburg. Peter Watts, Sarah Warren, Mary Wheelan, Solon Wilson, Dorn and Mary Wright, Samuel Hogue, Elizabeth Marshall.
     The building in which Mr. Lane taught his schools and the church he built in Keosauqua have long since been torn down that modern ones might take their places, and Mr. Lane has been dead nearly twenty-six years; but his memory is still cherished in the town, and will be after those who knew and loved him in the flesh are dead and gone. In the present Congregationalist church on the wall, above and back of the pulpit, there hangs large and life-like picture of Mr. Lane, who seems to be looking over the congregation, his eyes fondly resting upon the beautiful front window, which bears this inscription: "Daniel Lane, D. D., of the 'Iowa Band,' and the first pastor of this church. By his students, testifying their affection and esteem, and commemorating his work and character as a Christian teacher." At the dedication of this church, in 1888, Thomas S. Wright delivered an appropriate and able address in behalf of Mr. Lane's students, some of whom had journeyed far to be present on the occasion. The foregoing narrative is a more able and just tribute to the character of Mr. Lane than I can personally offer in another form. But to show further how he was and still is regarded and appreciated by his former students, I here quote tributes which a few of them sells me at my request. Mrs. Rustin says: " I think Mr. Lane's success as a teacher was the result of his splendid scholarship and ability to impart knowledge, to his kind, wise and firm control of his scholars, and to his broad views and aims. He was much more than a mere pedagogue, with an eye upon his pecuniary reward. He had a great longing for the personal profit of his scholars and through them for the future welfare of Iowa. As I think of it now, he must have taken up teaching in Keosauqua as a necessary corollary of his ministerial work, his conception of the work of a home missionary was that broad. He saw that the hope of Iowa lay in the morality and intelligence of her citizens. As a minister, and as a citizen himself he obeyed the call to do what he could to mold the minds and characters of the rising generation. And, Oh, the personality of the man! Sincerity radiated from his countenance. Even a look from his honest, blue eyes blessed the one on whom it rested."
     By Alvin J. McCrary "No man can fully estimate a life so poured out of his pupils as was Mr. Lane's. In lasting influence never did a teacher more surely fasten his wise thoughts upon his scholars. And he personally followed them in after .years with his-loving counsel. He was one of the few who could talk of divine things without cant. He was truly the friend of youth, yet you could not think of him as ever having had any youth. Man's value to man is the true measure of greatness. But by that standard Daniel Lane's greatness will never be realized in this world."
     By Judge Felix T. Hughes: 'We loved Professor Lane very dearly, and I have always regarded him as a wonderful educator, and in other respects a really wonderful man. His Christian virtues and his anxiety for the advancement of his scholars were really admirable, and no thoughtful young man or woman could work for other than his highest esteem. I can see him now before the classes, his face aglow with interest and anxiety for the success of his pupils. He was so tender, so patient, and yet so firm that he never let a pupil go until he understood just what the lesson was intended to teach. He was so perfectly informed himself that it seemed a delight to him to exert himself in the interest of the subject under consideration, and he was so free in the use of simple and plain language that it all seemed real eloquence, and held us to the closest attention."
     By V. P. Twombly: "Mr. Lane was loved by all his scholars. He was stern on occasion, but very just. As an example of his thoroughness I may relate that our arithmetic classes seemed to have trouble to remember, '5280 feet make a mile', that sentence was written at the top of the blackboard, and kept there until it was impressed upon their memories. And I venture that few, if any, of those scholars, if asked today, would fail to answer promptly, '5280 feet make a mile.' Mr. Lane was a strong earnest, Christian character; not a great preacher, but one who truly exemplified the Christ-life in his daily walk and conversation. He certainly was a great teacher and leader of young people."
     And Mrs. Twombly .says: "My strongest impressions of Mr. Lane in the school room were made by his quiet talks before or after reading a Scripture lesson and praying every evening, on opening the school; and his repeating over and over again. 'The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness: against such there is no law.'"(Gal. V. 22-23.)
     By W. W. Baldwin: Mr. Lane was more than a teacher and preacher. He was a great example. His precepts were sound, but his life was more than all his precepts. He was not simply an upright and pure-minded man, but was the embodiment of uprightness and high character. I think that he combined in himself more nearly the best type of a patriotic citizen, the faithful pastor, and the conscientious teacher than any man with whom my life has been associated. This explains his influence upon his pupils, an influence in the formation of character and habits above any influence of maxims or books, and one which endures in our minds and lives even now after the lapse of more than half a century, not only as a blessed memory but also as a vital force."
     In 1862 another protracted illness prevented Mr. Lane from teaching the final term, eleven weeks of his second school. That probably convinced him that he was no longer equal to the strain of continuous teaching. At any rate as soon as he was able he returned to active work in the ministry, in which he served as pastor at Eddyville four years, and at Pleasant Plains six years; he then retired from pastoral work on account of impaired hearing. In 1872-73 he assisted in raising funds for Iowa College. He then moved to Oskaloosa, chiefly to enjoy the fellowship of "Father" Turner, who in age and feebleness lived there with his daughter. Mr. Lane still preached at times, and for short periods undertook pastoral charge of churches which were temporarily without installed pastors. In that capacity he was again at Eddyville six months, and three months at Keosauqua. While in Iowa he was pastor of churches twenty-one years, a teacher eleven years and college agent two years, making in all thirty-four years of active labor, including the two years when he was both pastor and teacher in Keosauqua. And in the meantime he was a trustee of Iowa College for twenty-six years.
     As old age crept upon them Mr. and Mrs. Lane yearned for the land of their youth, and for their relatives and friends who still lived there. So they left Iowa and went back to Maine in December, 1882. In order to be near Mrs. Lane's relatives they bought a small, rural home about a mile from the little village of Freeport. It will please his Iowa friends and pupils to learn that the generous and self-denying Daniel Lane had enough means to supply his moderate wants in the evening of life. Mrs. Lane's sister, Miss Anna Staples, writes me, "One of Mr. Lane's Iowa friends advised him to invest some money in land, so that he would have something for old age, or to leave to his wife if she survived him, which she did for ten years. The investment proved to be a good one so when he came here he was able to buy a small place and live very comfortably. After he died some of his money was lost through his agent in the west, but there was enough left to last Mrs. Lane through, and what there was ever was to go to Iowa College and the missionary societies. He was to the last a cheerful giver. and when he received a gift he would give it to some good cause instead of using it for his own benefit."
     Mr. Lane lived a little over seven years after returning to Maine, and died April 3, 1890, at the age of seventy-seven years and twenty-three days. Of his closing years Miss Staples writes. "His last days were passed quietly in reading and .study, cultivating garden and preaching occasionally. He was a constant attendant at church and mid-week prayer meetings. He had a large Bible class of men and women in the Sunday school, and a neighborhood prayer meeting at his home on Saturday evenings."
     Thus, contrary to the dark prophecy of the physician in his academy days. although seriously handicapped by a frail body and frequent illness, this good man labored long and successfully for God and humanity, and "came to his grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in its season."

back to History Index