IOWA HISTORY PROJECT
Transcribed by Debbie Clough Gerischer
The Iowa Section (Vol 2 pages 1229 to 1266) Taken From:
OUR WHOLE COUNTRY
PANORAMA AND ENCYCLOPEDIA
IN TWO VOLUMES
BY JOHN WARNER BARBER
PUBLISHED BY CHARLES TUTTLE, 111 MAIN STREET,
(SUCCESSOR OF HENRY HOWE)
Iowa derived its name from the Iowa Indians, who were located on the Iowa River. They at last became incorporated with other tribes, principally among the Sauks, or Sacs and Foxes. These tribes had the reputation of being the best hunters of any on the borders of the Mississippi or Missouri. At the time the first white traders went among them, their practice was to leave their villages as soon as their corn and beans were ripe and secured, to go on to their wintering grounds, it being previously determined in council on what particular ground each party should hunt. The old men, women, and children embarked in canoes; the young men went by land with their horses; and on their arrival, they commenced their winter's hunt, which lasted about three months. In the month of April, they returned to their villages to cultivate their lands. Iowa was originally a part of the French province of Louisiana. The first white settlement was made at Dubuque. As early as 1800, there were mines of lead worked at this place by the natives, assisted by Julien Dubuque, an Indian trader, who had adopted their habits, married into their tribe, and became a great chief among them. In 1830, a war among the Indians themselves was carried on with savage barbarity. Some 10 or 12 Sac and Fox chiefs, with their party, were going to Prairie du Chien from Dubuque, to attend a treaty conference with the U. S. commissioners, when they were attacked at Cassville Island by a large war party of the Sioux, and literally cut to pieces, only tow of all their number escaping. The tribe, now in great confusion and alarm, left Dubuque, mostly never to return, leaving the mines and this part of the country vacant, and open to settlement, as when occupied by them, they would allow no one to intrude upon their lands. In June of this year, Mr. L. H. Langworthy, accompanied by his elder brother, crossed the Mississippi in a canoe, swimming their horses by its side, and landed for the first time on the west bank of the stream. Soon after this, a number of miners crossed over the river, possessed themselves of these vacant lands, and commenced successful mining operations. "This was the first flow or the first tide of civilization in Iowa." The miners, however, were soon driven off by Capt. Zachary Taylor, then commanding at Prairie du Chien, and a military force stationed at Dubuque till 1832, when the "Black Hawk War" commenced. After the Indians were defeated the miners returned.
Until as late as the year 1882, the whole territory north of the state of Missouri was in undisputed possession of the Indians. After the Indians were defeated at the battle of the Bad Ax, in Wisconsin, Aug., 1832, partly to indemnity the government for the expenses of the war, the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States a strip of country west of the Mississippi, extending nearly 300 miles N. of Missouri, and 50 miles wide, made in 1836 and 1837; and in 1842 by a treaty concluded by Gov. Chambers, a tract of about fifteen million acres was purchased of the Sacs and Foxes, for one million of dollars. This tract, comprising some of the finest counties of the state, is known as the "New Purchase."
The Pottowatomies, who inhabited the south-western corner of the state, and the Winnebagoes, who occupied the "Neutral Ground," a strip of country on the northern borders, have been recently peaceably removed, and the Indian title has thus become extinct within the limits of Iowa. The territory now comprised within the limits of the state was a part of the Missouri Territory from 1804 to 1821, but after that was placed successively under the jurisdiction of Michigan and Wisconsin Territories. The following concluding details of its history are from Monette:
"The first white settlement in the Black Hawk Purchase was made near the close of the year 1832, at Fort Madison, by a colony introduced by Zachariah Hawkins, Benjamin Jennings, and others.
In the summer of 1835, the town plat of 'Fort Madison' was laid off by Gen. John H. Knapp and Col. Nathaniel Knapp, the first lots in which were exposed to sale early in the year 1836. The second settlement was made in 1833, at Burlington, seventy-nine miles below Rock Island. About the same time the city of Dubuque, four hundred and twenty-five miles above St. Louis, received its first Anglo-American population. Before the close of the year 1833, settlements of less note were commenced at many other points near the western shore of the Mississippi, within two hundred miles of the northern limits of the state of Missouri. It was in the autumn of 1834, that Aaron Street, a member of the 'Society of Friends,' and son of the Aaron Street who emigrated from Salem, in New Jersey, founded the first Salem in Ohio, and subsequently the first Salem in Indiana, on a tour of exploration to the Iowa country, in search of 'a new home,' selected the 'beautiful prairie eminence' south of Skunk River as the site of another Salem in the 'Far West.' In his rambles thirty miles west of Burlington, over the uninhabited regions, in all their native loveliness, he was impressed with the great advantages presented by the 'beautiful and fertile prairie country, which abounded in groves of tall forest trees, and was watered by crystal streams flowing among the variagated drapery of the blooming prairies.' Transported with the prospect, the venerable patriarch exclaimed, 'Now have mine eyes beheld a country teeming with every good thing, and hither will I come, with my children and my children's children, and my flocks and herds; and our dwelling place shall be called 'Salem,' after the peaceful city of our fathers.'
Next year witnessed the commencement of the town of Salem, on the frontier region of the Black Hawk Purchase, the first Quaker settlement in Iowa. Five years afterward this colony in the vicinity of Salem numbered nearly one thousand souls, comprising many patriarchs bleached by the snows of seventy winters, with their descendants to the third and fourth generations. Such was the first advance of the Anglo-American population west of the Upper Mississippi, within the 'District of Iowa,' which, before the close of the year 1834, contained nearly five thousand white inhabitants. Meantime, for the convenience of temporary government, the settlements west of the Mississippi, extending more than one hundred miles north of the Des Moines River, had been by congress erected into the 'District of Iowa,' and attached to the District of Wisconsin, subject to the jurisdiction of the Michigan Territory.
The District of Iowa remained, with the District of Wisconsin, attached to the jurisdiction of Michigan Territory, until the latter had assumed an independent state government in 1836, when the District of Wisconsin was erected into a separate government, known as the Wisconsin Territory, exercising jurisdiction over the District of Iowa, then comprised in two large counties, designated as the counties of Des Moines and Dubuque. The aggregate population of these counties of 1836 was 10,531 persons. It was not long before the District of Iowa became noted throughout the west for its extraordinary beauty and fertility, and the great advantages which it afforded to agricultural enterprise.
Already the pioneer emigrants had overrun the first Black Hawk Purchase, and were advancing upon the Indian country west of the boundary line. Settlements continued to extend, emigration augmented the population, and land offices were established at Dubuque and Burlington for the sale of such lands as were surveyed.
Meantime, the District of Iowa, before the close of the year 1838, had been subdivided into sixteen counties, with an aggregate population of 22,860 souls, distributed sparsely over the whole territory to which the Indian title had been extinguished. The same year, on the 4th of July, agreeably to the provisions of an act of congress, approved June 12, 1838, the District of Iowa was erected into an independent territorial government, known as the 'Territory of Iowa,' The first territorial governor and superintendent of Indian affairs' was Robert Lucas, formerly governor of Ohio, with James Clark secretary of the territory. Charles Mason was chief justice of the superior court, and judge of the first judicial district; Joseph Williams was judge in the second district; and Thomas S. Wilson in the third. The first delegate elected by the people to represent them in congress was Augustus C. Dodge.
The Iowa Territory, as first organized, comprised 'all that region of country north of Missouri, which lies west of the Mississippi River, and of a line drawn due north from the source of the Mississippi, to the northern limit of the United States.'
The first general assembly of the Iowa Territory made provision for the permanent seat of government, On the first of May, 1839, the beautiful spot which is now occupied by the 'City of Iowa' was selected.
During the year 1839, emigration from New England, and from New York by way of the lake route from Buffalo to the ports on the western shore of Lake Michigan, and from Ohio, Indians, and Illinois, began to set strongly into the Iowa Territory, and numerous colonies advanced to settle the beautiful and fertile lands on both sides of the Des Moines River and its numerous tributaries, as well as those upon the small tributaries of the Mississippi for two hundred miles above.
Population increased in a remarkable manner; aided by the unbounded facilities of steam navigation, both on the great lakes and upon the large tributaries of the Mississippi, the emigration to the Iowa and Wisconsin Territories was unprecedented in the history of western colonization. The census of 1840 exhibited the entire population of Iowa Territory at 43,017 persons, and that of the Wisconsin Territory at 30,945 persons.
Such had been the increase of emigration previous to 1843, that the legislature of Iowa made formal application for authority to adopt a state constitution. At the following session of congress, an act was passed to 'enable the people of the Iowa Territory to form a state government.' A convention assembled in September, and on the 7th of October, 1844, adopted a constitution for the proposed 'state of Iowa;' it being the fourth state organized within the limits of the province of Louisiana.
By the year 1844, the population of Iowa had increased to 81,921 persons; yet the people were subjected to disappointment in the contemplated change of government. The constitution adopted by the convention evince the progress of republican feeling, and the strong democratic tendency so prominent in all the new states. The constitution for Iowa extended the right of suffrage to every free white male citizen of the United States who had resided six months in the state, and one month in the county, previous to his application for the right of voting. The judiciary were all to be elected by the people for a term of four years, and all other officers, both civil and military, were to be elected by the people at stated periods. Chartered monopolies were not tolerated, and no act of incorporation was permitted to remain in force more than twenty years, unless it were designed for public improvements or literary purposes: and the personal as well as the real estate of the members of all corporations was liable for the debts of the same. The legislature was prohibited from ereating any debt in the name of the state exceeding one hundred thousand dollars, unless it were for defense in case of war invasion, or insurrection; and in such case, the bill creating the debt should, at the same time, provide the ways and means for its redemption. Such were some of the prominent features of the first constitution adopted for the state of Iowa. yet the state was not finally organized under this constitution, and the people of Iowa remained under the territorial form of government until the close of the year 1846.
The constitution of iowa having been approved by congress, an act was passed March 3, 1845, for the admission of the 'state of Iowa' into the Federal Union simultaneously with the 'state of Florida,' upon the condition that the people of Iowa, at a subsequent general election, assent to the restricted limits imposed by congress, in order to conform with the general area of other western states; but the people of Iowa refused to ratify the restricted limits prescribed for the now state, a majority of nearly two thousand in the popular vote having rejected the terms of admission. Hence Iowa remained under the territorial government until the beginning of 1846, when the people, through their legislature, acquiesced in the prescribed limits, and congress authorized the formation of another constitution, preparatory to the admission of Iowa into the Union.
The people of Iowa, in 1846, assented to the restriction of limits, and the formation of a territorial government over the remaining waste territory lying north and west of the limits prescribed by congress. petitions, with numerous signatures, demanded the proposed restriction by the organization of a separate territory, to be designated and known as the 'Dacotah Territory,' comprising the Indian territory beyond the organized settlements of Iowa. Congress accordingly authorized a second convention for the adoption of another state constitution, and this convention assembled in May, 1846, and adopted another constitution, which was submitted to congress in June following. In August, 1846, the state of Iowa was formally admitted into the Union, and the first state election was, by the proclamation of Gov. Clarke, to be held on the 26th day of October following. In the ensuing December, the first state legislature met at Iowa City."
Iowa is bounded N. by Minnesota and Dacotah Territory, W. by Missouri River, S. by the state of Missouri, and E. by the Mississippi River. It is situated between 40" 30' and 43" 30' N. Lat., and between 90" 20' and 96" 50' W. Long. Its greatest width, from E. to W., is 307 miles, and 186 from N. to S.; included within its limits is an area of 50,914 square miles.
The face of Iowa is moderately uneven, without any mountains or very high hills. There is a tract of elevated table land, which extends through a considerable portion of the state, dividing the waters which fall into the Mississippi from those falling into the Missouri. The margins of the rivers and creeks, extending back from one to ten miles, are usually covered with timber, while beyond this the country is an open prairie without trees. The prairies generally have a rolling surface, not unlike the swelling of the ocean, and comprise more than two thirds of the territory of the state; the timbered lands only one tenth. The soil, both on the prairie and bottom lands, is generally excellent having a deep black mold intermingled with a sandy loam, sometimes of red clay and gravel. It is watered by streams of the clearest water, and its inland scenery is very beautiful. It is studded in parts with numerous little lakes of clear water, with gravelly shores and bottoms.
In the north-eastern part of the stare are very extensive lead mines, being continuations of those of Illinois and Wisconsin. Vast coal beds exist, extending, it is stated, upward of two hundred miles, in the direction of the valley of the Des Moines River alone, which centrally intersects the state. The entire area of the coal fields in this state, is estimated to be not less than 35,000 square miles, nearly two thirds of the entire state. The beds of coal are estimated by geologists to be of the average thickness of 100 feet. Iron ore, zinc and copper are also found. Iowa is also rich in agricultural resources, its fertile soil producing all kinds of fruit and grains raised in northern climates. "As a general rule, the average quantity of snow and rain in Iowa is much less than in New York and New England. There are much fewer clouds. The cold weather in winter is about the same as in similar latitudes in the east; winter commences about the same time, but the spring generally opens much earlier. The intense cold weather is comparatively short. For a period of years the spring will average from two to four weeks earlier than in central New York. This difference is due to several causes.
In the east the proximity of large bodies of water gives rise to an immense number of very dense clouds, that prevent the spring sun from having the the same effect as is experienced in the west. The altitude of the country, and the warm quick nature of the Iowa soil, are circumstances going far toward accounting for this difference. The heat of summer is much greater than in the same latitude in New York and New England, though a person may work in the open sun in Iowa when the thermometer is 100 degrees above zero more comfortably than he can when it is at 90 degrees in New York. An atmosphere saturated with water is more sultry and disagreeable with the thermometer at 90, than a dry atmosphere with the thermometer at 100."
Iowa is blessed with abundance of water power, and the noblest of rivers; the Mississippi is on the east, the Missouri on the west, while numerous streams penetrate it, the finest of which is the Des Moines, the great central artery of the state, which enters it from the north and flows south-east through it for 400 miles: it is a beautiful river, with a rocky bottom and high banks, which the state is making navigable, for small steamers, to Fort Des Moines, 200 miles from its mouth.
By the census of 1856, the number of paupers was only 132 out of a population of more than half a million. Population, in 1836, 10,531; in 1840, 42,017; in 1850, 192,214; in 1856, 509,000; in 1860, 674,948.
DUBUQUE, the largest city, and the first settled place in the state, is on the right or western bank of the Mississippi, 1,638 miles above New Orleans, 426 above St. Louis, and 306 below the Falls of St. Anthony. The city proper extends two miles on a table area, or terrace, immediately back of which rise a succession of precipitous bluffs, about 200 feet high. A small marshy island is in front of the city, which is being improved for business purposes. The beautiful plateau on which the city was originally laid out, being too limited for its growth, streets have been extended up and over the bluffs, on which many houses have been erected of a superior order, among which are numerous elegant residences. The Dubuque Female College is designed to accommodate 500 scholars. The Alexander College, chartered in 1853, is located here, under the patronage of the Synod of Iowa. Several important railroads terminate at this place, which is the head-quarters and principal starting place for steamboats on the northern Mississippi. Nearly one third of the inhabitants speak the German language. Population about 15,000.
Mr. J. L. Langworthy, a native of Vermont, is believed to have been the first of the Anglo Saxon race who erected a dwelling, and smelted the first lead westward of the Mississippi. He first came here in 1827. The firs set resembling civil legislation, within the limits of Iowa, was done in Dubuque. Mr. Langworthy, with four others, H. P. Lander, James McPheeters, and Samuel H. Seales, having obtained permission to dig for mineral, entered into an agreement, dated July 17, 1830, by which each man should hold 200 yards square of ground, by working on said ground one day in six, and that a person chosen by a majority of the miners present, should hold the greement, "and grant letters of arbitration." It appears, from an indorsement on the paper, that Dr. Jarrote held the articles, and was the first person chosen by the people in the territory to be clothed with judicial powers. In Oct., 1833, Mr. Langworthy and his brothers, with a few neighbors, erected the first school-house built in Iowa. It stood but a few rods from the Female College. The first brick building erected in Dubuque was in the summer of 1837, by Le Roy Jackson, from Kentucky. This house is now standing on the corner of Iowa and Eleventh streets, and is owned and occupied by William Rebman, a native of Pennsylvania, who came in Dubuque in 1836, when a lad of 14 years, and acted as hodman to the masons who erected the building. When Mr. R. came to this place, there were some 30 or 40 swellings, many of them log cabins. The first religious services were held in a log structure, used by various denominations. The first school was kept by Rev. Nicholas S. Basrion, a Methodist preacher; the school house stood on the public square, near the Centennial Methodist Church. It is said that the first lead discovered here was by Peosta, and Indian chieftain or the wife of one, who presented it to Capt. Dubuque.
The site of Dubuque was anciently known as the cornfields and place of mounds of the "Little Fox Village." It was named, in 1834, after Julian Dubuque, an Indian trader, who settled here in 1788, and is generally considered as the first white settler in Iowa. He is said to have been of French and Spanish parentage. He married into the Indian tribe, adopted their habits and customs, and became a great chief among them. He was of small stature, addicted to the vices incident upon the commingling of Spanish and Indian races in American, and a great medicine man. "He would take live snakes of the most venomous kind into his arms and bosom, and was consequently regarded by the Indians with superstitious veneration. He died a victim to his vices, and was buried on a high bluff that overlooks the river, near the Indian village at the mouth of Catfish Creek." When his grave was visited by L. H. Langworthy, Esq., in 1830, a stone house, surmounted by a cedar cross, with a leaden door, stood over the spot. The remains of two Indian chiefs were also deposited within. The cross had a French inscription, of which the following is a translation:
"Julien Dubuque, miner, of the mines of Spain. Died this 24th day of March, 1810, aged 43 years 6 mo."
The Indians, being instructed by Dubuque, worked the mines of lead here as early as 1800. About the year 1830, and Indian war, between the Sioux and the Sacs and Foxes, caused the latter to forsake their village here. Upon this the whites entered upon these lands, and several made their fortunes in a single day, by striking upon a large lode. They were, however, soon ordered to recross the river by Zachary Taylor, commanding the United States forces at Prairie du Chien, as the territory had not yet been purchased of the Indians. After the Black Hawk purchase, the west side of the Mississippi was opened for settlement. By 1834, several stores were erected; the mines increased in richness, and emigration rapidly advanced. For a time "Lynch Law" was the only one recognized. The first execution for murder was that of a man who shot his partner. "Upon this event a court was organized, jury impaneled, trial had, criminal found guilty, and after a short time being allowed the prisoner to prepare for death, he was executed. The gallows was erected upon the south west corner of White and Seventh streets, upon a mound, which was only removed for the large block that now fills its place. The population, at that time, amounted to over 1,000, nearly the whole of which witnesses to the final act of that dreadful tragedy."
The first newspaper issued here was by John King, Esq., under the following title:
"DUBUQUE VISITOR, Truth our Guide - the public good our aim. Dubuque Lead Mines, Wisconsin Territory, May 16, 1836."
In 1838, some attention was paid to agricultural pursuits. The soil proving good, the prosperity of the place greatly increased. The exportations of lead that year exceeded 6,000,000 lbs. In 1846, the lands adjoining Dubuque were brought into market, and the next year Dubuque was reincorporated under its present charter. The population oat that time was less than 3,000.
"Below the 'Little Fox village,' is the bluff where the Sioux made their last and final stand against the Sacs and Foxes. It stands close upon the shore of the Mississippi, with its perpendicular walls about two hundred feet in hight, and sloping back toward a low prairie, by which it is surrounded and terminates with an abrupt descent to this prairie. Here and there, scattered around it, are castellated rocks, which make it one of nature's fortifications. The Sioux were encamped on the summit of this bluff. In the night the Sacs and Foxes commenced ascending, and when near their enemy, by a fierce encounter, they secured the outposts, and in a very short time had so reduced the number of the Sioux that those remaining, rather than have their scalps hang at their enemies' girdles, threw themselves headlong from the precipice and were dashed to pieces. At the present time, a few of the bones of those devoted warriors may be found in this their last resting place; and of late years, when the Indians visit this spot, they cast pebbles and twigs from the summit upon the remains of those below."
To the foregoing outline we annex these details from the Lectures of Lucius H. Langworthy, Esq., upon the History of Dubuque:
In 1827, the speaker came to the mines, in company with a brother and two sisters, together with Mr. Meeker, on his return from Cincinnati, Maj. Hough, Capt. Donney and lady, and five or six others.
We embarked at Quincy, Illinois, in a pirogue, and were thirty days on the voyage. A pirogue is a kind of intermediate craft, between a canoe and a keel boat. The name is French, an signifies the kind of boats used by the early voyageurs to transport their furs and effects over the shoal waters and rapid streams of the western wilderness. I mention the time occupied in our journey hither, in order to show some of the difficulties of settling this new country at that early period. Think of a boat's crew, with several ladies on board, all unaccustomed to the river, being compelled to work a boat up with poles and oars, against the swollen current of this mighty stream, in the hot weather of June, sleeping on sand bars, or anchored out in the river at night, to avoid the musquitoes, or lurking Indians, living upon salt pork and dry biscuit, coffee without cream or sugar, and withal making only about eight miles average per day. But this was then the land of promise, as California has since been. In July of that year, the Winnebago war commenced. Much alarm was spread over the country, and the people erected forts and block houses for defense, abandoning all other employments for the time. Col. Henry Dodge led a company of miners against the Indians, at their town on Rock River. The village, however, was found deserted, and they returned after taking one lad prisoner.
We crossed over th Mississippi at this time, swimming our horses by the side of a canoe. It was the first flow, or the first tide of civilization on this western shore. There was not a white settler north of the Des Moines, and west of the Mississippi, to Astoria, on the Columbia River, with the exception of Indian traders. The Indians had all along guarded this mining district with scrupulous care. They would not allow the white people to visit the place, even to look at the old grassgrown diggings of Dubuque, which were known to exist here, much less would they permit mining to be done, or settlements to be made.
The country had just been abandoned by the red men, their moccasin tracks were yet fresh in the prairie trails along which the retiring race had fled on their mysterious mission westward, and the decaying embers were yet cooling on their deserted hearths within their now lonely and silent wigwams. Where Dubuque now stands, cornfields stretched along the bluffs, up the ravines and the Coule valley, and a thousand acres of level land skirting the shore, was covered with tall grass as a field of waving grain. But the stalks of the corn were of the last year's growth, the ears had been plucked, and they were withered sand blighted, left standing alone mournful representatives of the vanished race. A large village was then standing at the mouth of Catfish Creek, silent, solitary, deserted - nothing remained to greet us, but the mystic shadows of the past. about seventy buildings, constructed with poles and the bark of trees, remained to tell of those who had so recently inhabited them. Their council house, though rude, was ample in its dimensions, and contained a great number of furnaces, in which kettles had been placed to prepare the feasts of peace or war. But their council fires had gone out. On the inner surface of the bark there were paintings done with considerable artistic skill, representing the buffalo, elk, bear, panther, and other animals of the chase; also their wild sports on the prairie, and even their feats of wars, where chief meets chief and warriors mix in bloody fray. Thus was retained a rude record of their national history. It was burned down in the summer of 1830, by some visitors in a spirit of vandalism, much to the regret of the new settlers.
When the Indians mined, which was on special occasions, there were often fifty or a hundred boys and squaws at work on one vein. They would dig down a square hole, covering the entire width of the mine, leaving one side not perpendieular, but at an angle of about forty-five degrees, then with deer skin sacks attached to a bark rope they would haul out along the inclining side of the shaft the rock and ore. Their mode of smelting was by digging into a bank slightly, then put up flat rocks in a funnel shape, and place the ore within, mixed with wood; this all burnt together, and the lead would trickle down into a small excavation in the earth, of any shape they desired, and slowly cool and become fit for exportation.
The lead manufactured here in early times, by Dubuque and the natives, found its way to St. Louis, Chicago, Mackinaw, and other trading ports, and some even into the Indian rifle in the war of 1812, in the woods of Indiana and Michigan. The mode of smelting adopted at first, by the white people, was by building a furnace somewhat like two large chimney places, set in a bank of earth, leaving an aperture in the lower side, for a circulation of air. In these, large logs of wood were placed like back logs, back-sticks and fore-sticks all fitting together, then the mineral was placed on the logs, covered with finer wood, and the whole set on fire. Thus, in twenty-four hours, the lead would be extracted and run into cast-iron molds. About fifty per cent of lead was obtained in this way, leaving scoriae and a waste of small pieces of ore to be run over in another furnace differently constructed. In this last process, about fifteen per cent was added to the first product. Now, by the improved mode, of blast furnaces, about eighty-five per cent is obtained, showing that the ore is nearly pure, except only the combination of sulphur with it, which is the inflammable material, and assists in the process of separation.
As I have said, the speaker and an elder brother, in June of 1827, crossed the Mississippi in a canoe, swimming their horses by its side, landed for the first time on the western bank of the stream, and stood upon the soil of this unknown land. Soon after this, a number of miners crossed over the river, and possessed themselves of these lands, thus left vacant; their mining operations proved eminently successful.
About the fourth of July, Zachary Taylor, then commanding at Prairie du Chien, called upon the miners, in a formal and public manner, forbade their settlement, and ordered them to recross the river. This land was not yet purchased of the Indians, and, of course, came under the control of the war department. Captain Taylor, as he was then called, told the miners that it was his duty as a government officer, to protect the lands; that such were the treaty stipulations, and that they must be off in one week. They declined doing this, telling the captain that he must surrender this time. They urged that they had occupied a vacant country, had stuck some valuable Iodes, that the land would soon be purchased, and that they intended to maintain possession; to which Zachary Taylor replied, "We shall see to that, my boys."
Accordingly a detachment of United States troops was dispatched, with orders to make the miners at Dubuque walk Spanish. Anticipating their arrival, they had taken themselves off, for at that early day they believed that "rough" would be "ready" at the appointed time. The miners were anxiously peering from the high bluffs on the east side of the river as the steamer came in sight bringing the soldiers, who were landed on the west shore. Three of the men, who had lingered too long, were taken prisoners. They were, however, soon released, or rather took themselves off. It is said that one of them, a large, fat man, by the name of Lemons, made his escape from the soldiers while at Galena, and taking the course of the high prairie ridge leading northerly, exhibited such astonishing speed, that the race has long been celebrated among the miners, as the greatest feat ever performed in the diggings.
The military force was stationed permanently at Dubuque, and the Indians, venturing back to the place, sure of safety and protection against their inveterate enemy, the Sioux, and other intruders, were encouraged to mine upon the lodes and prospects which the white people had discovered. From one mine alone the Indians obtained more than a million pounds of ore, inwhich they were assisted by the traders and settlers along the river, with provisions, implements, and teams. While the discoverers, those who had opened these mines again, after they were abandoned by them and the Spanish miners more than twenty years, were compelled to look across the water and see the fruits of their industry and enterprise consumed by the Indians. We lost, in this manner, more than twenty thousand dollars worth of mineral, which was taken from one lode by them.
In September, 1832, a treaty was held at Rock Island, by General Scott and others, on the part of the government, and the Black Hawk purchase was agreed to. It included all the country bordering on the west side of the Mississippi River, comprising the eastern portion of our state. About this time, those who felt an interest in the mines of Dubuque, returned to take possession of their former discoveries.
Many fine lodes and prospects were discovered, and considerable lead manufactured up to about January 25, 1833. I could here name many others who settled during this fall: Thomas McCraney, Whitesides, Camps, Hurd, Riley, Thomas Kelly, etc. In fact there were more than two hundred allured here by the flattering prospects of the country during this fall. But, in January, the troops were again sent down from Prairie du Chien, and removed the settlers the second time, merely because the treaty by which the land was acquired had not been ratified by the United States senate, a formal act that every one knew would take place at the earliest opportunity. This was a foolish policy on the part of the government, and operated peculiarly hard upon the new settlers, who were thus obliged to leave their cabins in the cold winter of 1832-3, and their business also until spring.
In June, 1833, Mr. John P. Sheldon, arrived with a commission fro the department at Washington, as superintendent of the mines, the military force having been previously withdrawn, and the treaty confirmed. he proceeded so grant written permits to miners, and licenses to smelters. These permits entitled the holder to the privilege of staking off two hundred yards square of land wherever he chose, if not occupied by others, and have peaceful possession, by delivering his mineral to a licensed smelter, while the smelter was required to give a bond to the agent, conditioned to pay, for the use of the government, a fixed per centage of all the lead he manufactured. Mr. Shelden continued to act in this capacity only about one year, for he could not be the instrument of enforcing this unjust and unwise policy. He saw that these men, like all other pioneers, who, by their enterprise were opening up a new country, and fitting it for the homes of those who follow their footsteps, should he left, by a wise and judicious system, to the enjoyment of their hard earnings. The hidden wealth of the earth, its pine forests and surface productions, should alike be offered freely to all those who penetrate the wilderness, and thus lay the foundation of future societies and states.
It has been the policy of our government, at various times to exact rent for all mineral, or pine lumber, taken from the public lands; which policy is wrong and should be forever abandoned; for the early settlers have privations and hardships enough, without encountering the opposition of their own government, especially these miners, many of whom had labored for years on the frontiers, cut off from the enjoyments of home and all the endearments of domestic life. your speaker was, himself, one of these, being thrown in early life upon the crest of the wave of western emigration, often beyond the furthest bounds of civilization, and not unfrequently amid the tragical scenes of border strife. Twenty-three years he labored, mostly in the mines, in different capacities, and during about half that period he had toiled in the deep, narrow caves and crevices, in the cold, damp ground, working upon his knees, sometimes in the water, and living like many other miners in "Bachelor's Hall," cooking his own food, and feeling secluded from society and far from the circle and associations of youthful friendship. Under such privations he felt the demand of a heavy tax, by the government, to be oppressive indeed, and he would be wanting in consistency and spirit, if he had not, on all proper occasions, protested against a system that seems much more regal than republican, and which degrades the western pioneer to the condition of a tenant at will of the government.
But there were even then occasions of turbulence and bloodshed, in quarrels about lands and claims. Mr. Woodbury Massey lost his life in one of those difficulties. There were no courts of competent jurisdiction to try cases of crime, or rights to property. A long time intervened between the withdrawal of the government protection and the establishment of civil laws by local authority.
No survey of the public lands had yet been made, and in the transition from the old to the new state of things, misunderstandings naturally arose. Under the government rules and regulations for the control of the mines, it was necessary to work and have mining tools almost continually on the land claimed, in order to secure possession; under the new order of things there were no uniform customs prevailing, regarding possession of property; each man formed his own standard and was governed by his own opinions. It was not surprising, then, that difficulties should arise. He who has passed through all the scenes and trials incident to the settlement of a new country, will not readily seek another distant frontier as a home.
Woodbury Massey was the eldest of several brothers and a sister, all left orphans in early life. Himself and family were members and the chief founders of the first Methodist Church erected in this city; a man of fine education, polite and amiable in his disposition, one of our first merchants, and possessing a large share of popular favor. He was enterprising in business and upright in all his dealings. Had he lived, he would no doubt have proved a main pillar and support in our young community. But in an evil hour he became the purchaser of a lot or lode, called the Irish lot, near where Mr. McKenzie now lives.
It appeared that a Mr. Smith, father and son, had some claim on this lot or lode. They were the exact opposite to Mr. Massey, in character and disposition. A suit before a magistrate grew out of this claim, and the jury decided the property to belong to Mr. Massey. It being a case of forcible entry and detainer, the sheriff, as was his duty, went with the latter to put him again in possession of the premises.
When they arrived upon the ground, the two Smiths, being secreted among the diggings, rose up suddenly, and firing their guns in quick succession, Mr. Massey was shot through the heart. His family, living near by, saw him fall, thus early cut down in the prime of his life and usefulness, a victim to the unsettled state of the times, and the ungoverned passions of turbulent men. The perpetrators of this deed were arrested and held in confinement until the session of the circuit court, at Mineral Point, Judge Irving presiding. Upon the trial, the counsel for the defense objected to the jurisdiction of the court, which was sustained by the judge, and accordingly the prisoners were discharged and let loose upon society. They, however, left this part of the country for a time.
One of the younger brothers of Mr. Massey,highly exasperated by this transaction, that no trial could be obtained for such offenders, had determined, it seems, that should the elder Smith ever come in his way, he would take the punishment for the murder of his brother into his own hands. One day, while sitting in his shop at Galena, he chanced to see Smith walking the public streets of the place, when, instantly snatching a pistol and hastening in the direction, he fired upon him with fatal aim. thus Smith paid the forfeit of his life by intruding again among the friends of the murdered man, and in the community which had witnessed the scenes of his violence.
For this act of the younger brother, there seems to have been the broadest charity manifested. he was never tried, or even arrested, and still lives in the country, a quiet man, and greatly respected by all who know him.
The death of the father, of course, soon brought the younger Smith to the mines. It was understood privately that he determined to shoot one or the other of the surviving brothers at the vary first opportunity. he was known to be an excellent shot with a pistol, of imperious disposition and rash temper. These rumors finally reached the ears of the fair haired, blue eyed sister, who was thus made to believe that he would carry his threats into execution. She was just verging into womanhood, with fresh susceptibilities, and all of her deep affections awakened by the surrounding difficulties of the family. One day, without consulting others, she determined, by a wild and daring adventure, to cut off all chances of danger in that direction. Disguising herself for the occasion, and taking a lad along to point out the person she sought, having for the occasion, and taking a lad along to point out the person she sought, having never seen him herself, she went into the street. Passing a store by the way side, the boy saw Smith and designated him from the other gentlemen in the room by his clothing. On seeing him thus surrounded by other men, one would suppose that her nerves would lose their wonted firmness. He was well armed and resolute in character, this she knew; yet stepping in amidst them all, in a voice tremulous with emotion and ominous in its tones, she exclaimed, "If you are Smith, defend yourself." In an instant, as he arose, she pointed a pistol at his breast and fired; he fell, and she retired as suddenly as she appeared. It was all done so quickly, and seemed so awful that the spectators stood, bewildered as the tragical scene, until it was too late to prevent the disaster.
It so happened that Mr. Smith had, at the time, a large wallet filled with papers in his breast pocket. The ball striking about its center did not of course penetrate all of the folded leaves, and thus providentially his life was spared.
Smith, soon recovering from the stunning effects, rushed into the street to meet his assailant; but she had fled and found shelter at the house of Mr. Johnson, a substantial merchant of the town and was subsequently sent away, by her friends here, to some relatives in Illinois, where she was afterward married to a Mr. Williamson, formerly of this place. Her name, Louisa, has been given to one of the counties in our State. Smith lived several years, but the wounds probably hastened his death. She is also dead, and it is to be hoped that God's mercy has followed them beyond earth's rude strifes, and that they dwell in peace in a purer and better world.
The west has, at various periods of its history, been subject to sever tornadoes, which have carried ruin and devastation in their course. The most terrible ever known, was that which swept over eastern Iowa and western Illinois, on the evening of Sunday, June 3, 1860. it commenced about five miles beyond Cedar Rapids, in Linn county, Iowa, and stopped near Elgin, Illinois, thus traversing a distance of nearly 200 miles. It varied in width from half a mile to two miles. It was of the nature of a whirlwind, or as some eye witnesses aver of two whirlwinds, moving in the same direction and near each other, which in shape resembled a funnel. The larger villages between Cedar Rapids and the Mississippi, were out of the course of this fearful destroyer; but much property was damaged, and more than fifty lives lost before reaching the river. The town of Camanche, on the Mississippi, in Clinton county, about 70 miles below Dubuque, was utterly destroyed, and New Albany, opposite it on the Illinois side, nearly ruined. It was stated in the prints of the time, that, by this terrible calamity, 2,500 persons had been rendered houseless and homeless, and about 400 killed and wounded. The account of this event is thus given in the Fulton Courier:
The storm reached Camanche at 7:30 P.M., with a hollow, rumbling noise her aiding its approach, which sounded like a heavy train of cars passing over a bridge. Moving with the velocity of lightning, it struck the devoted town, and the fearful work of havoc commenced. The scene that followed, as given by eye witnesses, can neither be imagined nor described. Amidst the roar of the tempest, the rustling of the wind, the reverberating peals of thunder, the vivid flashes of lightning, the pelting of the rain, the crash of falling buildings, the agonizing shricks of terror stricken women and children, the bewildered attempts to escape, and the moans of the dying, but little opportunity was left to observe the general appearance of the blow.
Parents caught their children in their arms and rushed frantic for any place that seemed to promise safety. Many found refuge in cellars, which to others proved graves. So sudden was teh shock that many in the upper parts of buildings were left no time to flee to other parts.
To go outside was as hazardous as to remain within. The turbulent air was filled with fragments of lumber, furniture, and trees, flying in every direction, with the force of cannon balls.
Amidst such intense excitement, attended with such fatal consequences, moments seem years. But from statements, that beyond doubt are correct, the storm did not rage less than two and a half, nor more than five minutes. It would seem impossible, on looking at the devastation, to suppose it the work of so short a time. Darkness immediately closed over the scene, and left a pall over the town only equaled by the darker gloom that draped the hearts of the survivors of the disaster.
At Albany, heavy warehouses were lifted entire, and removed some considerable distance, strong brick and stone buildings entirely demolished, while the lighter frame dwelling houses were, in most cases entirely swept away. We could not estimate the whole number of buildings injured, but could learn of not over three houses in the whole town that were not more or less damaged - most of them destroyed. The ground was strewed with fragments of boards. The hotel kept by Captain Barnes was not moved from its foundation, but part of the roof and inside partitions were carried away. The brick (Presbyterian) church was leveled to the ground, and the Congregational much injured. The brick and stone houses seemed to afford but little more protection than the frame, and when they fell gave, of course, less chance of escape. But one place of business (Mr. Pease's) was left in a condition to use. The buildings, household furniture, provisions, and everything in fact, in most instances, were swept beyond the reach of recovery. The ferry-boat was lifted from the water and laid upon the shore. Cattle, horses, and hogs, were killed or driven away by the irresistible element. The loss of life, however, was far less than could have been expected. But five persons were killed, and perhaps fifty or sixty injured.
Camanche was almost completely destroyed. A very few buildings were, as if by miracle, left standing, but even these were more or less injured. The ground was covered with splinters, boards, furniture, etc., completely shivered to pieces. Nothing perfect or whole was to be seen, but everything looked as though it had been riven by lightning. The larger trees were blown down; while on the smaller ones that would yield to the wind, were to be seen tattered pieces of clothing, carpets, pillows, and even mattresses, nearly torn to shreds. The river below was covered with marks of the storm, and much property was lost by being swept into the water. The general appearance of the ground was much like the traces left by a torrent where flood-wood is left lying it its path. Where buildings once stood is now a mass of unsightly ruins. It is with difficulty that the lines of the former streets can be traced. Frame houses were swept away or turned into every conceivable variety of positions. Dead animals were left floating in the river or lying among the ruins. The feathers on the poultry were even stripped from their bodies. Everything was so completely scattered and destroyed that it was useless to attempt to recover anything, and the citizens could only sit down in despair. Until 12 M. of Monday, the work of exhuming the bodies from the fallen ruins was still progressing. In one room that we visited, the bodies of children and females were lying (ten or twelve in number), clothed in their white winding sheets. It was a sight that we pray may never again be ours to witness. The little children, in particular, had but few face injuries, and lay as if sleeping.
In all, thirty-eight persons were reported missing at Camanche, and thirty-two bodies have been found. About eighty were reported as wounded, some of whom have since died. Information has been received which furnishes us with reliable accounts of 139 deaths caused by the tornado along the line of the Iowa and Nebraska road, including Camanche. On the Illinois side of the river the loss of life has not been quite so great, but we think we are safe in putting the total number of killed at 175. The wounded are by far more numerous, while the loss of property can not be definitely estimated. We hear of 150 cattle in one yard in Iowa that were all destroyed. Farm houses, fences, crops, railroad cars, and all property that fell in the path of the tornado, were left in total ruin. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property destroyed, much of which will never be reported.
The tornado commenced in Linn county, Iowa, and stopped, as near as we can learn, in the vicinity of Elgin, Illinois. It, of course, would carry objects sometimes in opposite directions, moving as it did with the motion of a whirlwind. We saw one house that had been lifted from its foundation, and carried two hundred feet in a course directly contrary to the regular course of the tornado.
The escapes in all the places where the storm passed, were often truly miraculous. In Albany, Mr. Slaymaker had repaired to the church for the purpose of ringing the bell for worship, but seeing the appearance of a heavy rain approaching, concluded not to ring it. Had the congregation been called together it would have been certain death to all, as the walls of the church, being built of brick, fell on the inside. We saw a small house that had been carried several rods with three persons in it, and set down without damage to the house or inmates. A little daughter of Mr. Swett was lying on a bed, and was blown with it twenty rods into a grove, from whence it came unharmed, calling for its mother. An infant son of Mrs. Joseph Riley was buried beneath her, and it is thought that her own weight upon it was the cause of its death. One family took refuge in a meal chest, which, fortunately, proved strong enough to protect them from a mass of rubbish that covered them. Mrs. Oliver M'Mahan fell in a place where the floor of the first story had been previously partly broken, producing a sag or bend. The joists fell over her, but were long enough to reach over the bend, and thus saved her life. Mr. Effner had at one time been safely secure in his cellar, but going up for something to shield his child from the cold, was killed instantly. We saw two children who were killed in the arms of their mothers. At Camanche, the first story of a hardware store, with its contents, was carried into the river and lost, while the upper part of the building dropped down square upon the foundation as though placed there by mechanics. A child was blown from fifteen miles west of Camanche to that place and landed uninjured. One man in Iowa was taken up 200 feet. A family on a farm took refuge in a "potato hole," where they remained secure; but the house they left was completely demolished. Pieces of boards were picked up eight and ten miles from Albany, in both north and south directions. A wagon was lifted into the air, broken to pieces, and the tire of one of the wheels twisted out of shape. Nine freight cars, standing on the track at Lisbon, were blown some distance from the place they were standing. The tornado raised immediately over the house of Mr. Minta, in Garden Plain, and descended to strike the next house beyond. We noticed that those living in frame houses met with less loss of life than the inmates of brick or stone houses.
A passenger from the west informs us that a small boy was blown across Cedar River, and his mangled body left in the forks of a tree. In one family all that was left were three little girls, the father and mother and two children having been instantly killed. We saw where a fence board had been forced clear through the side of a house, endwise, and hundreds of shingles had forced themselves clear through the clapboards of a house.
Another eye witness says: A chimney, weighing about two tons, was broken off at its junction with the roof, lifted into the air, and hurled down into the front yard, burying itself in the ground a depth of three feet, without breaking or cracking a single brick. A light pine shingle was driven from the outside through the clapboards, lath and plaster, and projects two inches from the inside wall of a dwelling house. No other known force could have accomplished this. A common trowel, such as is used by masons, was driven through a pine knot in the side of a bar, projecting full two inches. In one spot was found a large pile of book covers, every leaf from which was gone, and twisted into a thousand shapes. Leaves were stripped of their tissue, leaving the fibers clean and bare as if a botanist had neatly picked it off. Tree trunks were twisted several times round until they were broken off. The Millard House, a three story brick structure, fronting north, was lifted up from its foundation and turned completely round, so that the front door faced the south. It then collapsed, and seemed to fall outwardly as if in a vacuum, and, strange to relate, out of seventeen persons in the house, only two were killed. One house upon the bank was lifted from its foundation and whirled into the river, crushing as it fell and drowning three persons, the inmates.
A piano was taken out of a house in the center of the town, and carried some distance to the river bank without breaking it.
The effects upon some of the houses near Camanche, which were in the outer edge of the tornado, were very curious. Upon some roofs the shingles were stripped off in faciful shapes, a bare spot upon one roof exactly resembling a figure 8. Some roofs were entirely unshingled, and in some cases every clapboard was torn off. The sides of some houses were literally perforated with boards, splintered timbers and sharp stakes. In some parts of Camanche, where houses stood thickly clustered together, there is not a vestige of one left. Another tract of about forty acres is covered with splinters about two feet in length. The lower stories of some houses were blown out entirely, leaving the upper story upon the ground. The town is entirely ruined, and we do not see how it can ever be rebuilt. There are whole blocks of lots that are vacant entirely, with nothing but the cellar to indicate that a house ever stood there.
The whole atmosphere around the place is sickening, and a stench is pervading the whole path of the storm that is almost impossible to endure.
DAVENPORT, a flourishing city, the county seat of Scott, is beautifully situated on the right bank of the Mississippi, at the foot of the upper rapids, opposite the town of Rock Island, with which it is connected by a most magnificent railroad bridge, the first ever built over the Mississippi. The great railroad running through the heart of ht estate, and designed to connect the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, has its eastern terminus at Davenport. The city is 330 miles above St. Louis, and 100 below Galena. The rapids extend 20 miles above this place, and the navigation of the river is somewhat obstructed by them during the time of low water. The city is built on ground which rises gradually from the water, with a chain of rounded hills in the back ground. Davenport contains about 12,000 inhabitants.
The city derived its name from Col. George Davenport, who was born in England, in 1783. He came to this country when a young man, entered the U. S. army as sergeant, and saw considerable service, on the frontier, in the war of 1812. After the war, he settled on Rock Island, opposite this town, and engaged in trading with the Indians. That vicinity was densely settled by them. The village of Black Hawk was there in the forks of Rock River and the Mississippi. He carried on the fur trade very extensively for many years, establishing trading posts at various points. On the 4th of July, 1845, a band of robbers entered his beautiful residence in the middle of the day, in the absence of his family, and in robbing, accidentally shot him. He died the same night. All of the murderers were taken, three were hung and two escaped. Mr. Davenport was of a very free and generous disposition, jovial and fond of company. Wherever he went a crowd assembled around him to listen to his anecdotes and stories. He never sued any one in his life, and could not bear to see any one in distress without trying to relieve them. The biographer of Col Davenport gives these incidents:
During the Black Hawk war Mr. Davenport received a commission from Gov Reynold, appointing him acting quartermaster general, with the rank of colonel. In the latter part of the summer of 1832, the cholera broke out among the troops on the island, and ranged fearfully for about ten days; one hundred died out of a population of four hundred; every person was dreadfully alarmed. An incident occurred during this time which will show the state of feeling. Mr. Davenport, Mr. LeClaire, and a young officer were standing together in front of the store one morning. The officer had been giving them an account of the number of deaths and new cases, when an orderly came up to them with a message from Gen. Scott to Mr. LeClaire, requesting him to come down to the fort as soon as possible. Mr. LeClaire looked at Mr. Davenport to know what excuse to make. Mr. Davenport, after a moment, replied to the orderly to tell Gen. Scott that Mr. LeClaire could not come, as he was quite sick. The officer and orderly laughed heartily at Mr. Davenport and Mr. LeClaire being so much alarmed; but next morning the first news they received from the fort, was, that these two men were dead.
At the time the cholera brock out at Fort Armstrong, there were two Fox chiefs confined in the guard house for killing the Menomonies at Prairie du Chien, and had been given up by their nation as the leaders, on the demand of our government, and were awaiting their trial. Mr. Davenport interceded for them with the commanding officer, to let them out of their prison, and give them the range of the island, with a promise that they should be forthcoming when they were wanted. The Indians were released, and they pledged their word not to leave the island until permitted to do so by the proper authorities. During all the time the fearful epidemic raged on the island, and every person was fleeing from it that could get away, these two chiefs remained on the island, hunting and fishing, and when the sickness had subsided, they presented themselves at the fort to await their trial, thus showing how binding a pledge of this kind was with this tribe of Indians. Mr. Davenport for many years, was in the habit of crediting the chiefs of the different villages for from fifty to sixty thousand dollars worth of goods annually, having nothing but their word pledged for the payment of them, which they always faithfully performed.
The following extracts relative to the early history of Davenport, are from Wilkie's History of the city:
"In the year 1833, there were one or two claims made upon the lands now occupied by the lower part of the city. The claim upon which the city was first laid out was contended for by a Dr. Spencer and a Mr. McCloud. The matter was finally settled by Antoine LeClaire buying them both out: giving them $150 . . . . Having fenced in this portion, Mr. LeClaire cultivated it until it was sold to a company in 1835. In the fall of this year, a company was formed for the purchasing and laying out a town site. They met at the house of Col. Davenport, on Rock Island, to discuss the matter. The following persons were present: Maj. Wm. Gordon, Antoine LeClaire, Col. Geo. Davenport, Maj. Thos. Smith, Alex. McGregor, Levi S. Colton, and Philip Hambaugh. These gentlemen, with Capt. James May, then in Pittsburg, composed the company which secured the site.. . . .
In the spring of the next year, the site was surveyed and laid out by Maj. Gordon, U. S. surveyor, and one of the stockholders. The cost of the entire site was $2,000 or $250 per share. In May the lots were offered at auction. A steamboat came up from St. Louis, laden with passengers to attend the sale, which continued for two days. Some 50 or 60 lots only were sold, mostly to St. Louis speculators, at from $300 to $600 each. The remaining portion of the site was divided among the proprietors. The emigration this year was small, only some half dozen families coming in. The first tavern was put up this year and opened by Edward Powers, on the corner of Front and Ripley streets. It was built by Messrs. Davenport and LeClaire, and was called "Davenport Hotel." A log shanty drinking saloon was also put up, which stood on Front-street, below the Western-avenue. It was long a favorite resort of the politician and thirsty.
James Mackintosh opened the first store, and commenced business in a log house near the U. S. House, corner of Ripley and Third-streets. . . . Lumber at that time was brought from Cincinnati, and almost everything else from a distance. Flour at $16 per barrel; pork at 16 cents per pound, were brought from that city. Corn was imported from Wabash River, and brought $2 bushel. . . . The ferry dates its existence from this year - it being a flat bottomed craft, technically called a "mud-boat." This, in 1841, was superseded by a horse-boat, which in time gave way to steam. . .
The first child born in Davenport, was in 1841, a son of L. S. Colton . . . . The first law office was opened by A. McGregor. The first religious discourse was delivered by Rev. Mr. Gavitt, a Methodist, at the house of D. C. Eldridge. Preaching also from an Episcopalian the same spring. Religious services were held occasionally, in which a priest from Galena officiated. . . . The pioneer ball was held at Mr. LeClaire's, Jan. 8, 1836. Some forty couples were present, consisting of frontier men, officers from the island, and others. The music was furnished by fiddles, from which no contemptible strains were occasionally drawn by Mr. LeClaire himself. . . The party danced till sunrise, then broke up - the gentlemen being, as a general thing, as genial as all the "punches" they could possibly contain, would make them.
In the summer of 1836, Mr. A. LeClaire was appointed postmaster. Mails came once a week from the east, and once in two weeks from Dubuque. The postmaster used to carry the mail across the river in his pocket, and the per centage for the first three months was seventy-five cents. In September, a treaty was held at East Davenport, between Gov. Dodge, U. S. Commissioner, and the Sacs and Foxes. The object of the treaty was to secure possession of the land bordering on the Iowa River, and known as "Keokuk's Reserve." About one thousand chiefs and warriors were present, and were encamped during the time just above Renwick's mill . . . . . .This was the last treaty ever held in this vicinity. There were seven houses at the close of this year. There was a frame dwelling partly finished and owned by a Mr. Shields. It has been since known as the "Dillon House" (of which a gentleman, since governor of the state, was once hostler). The year (1836) closed with a population of less than one hundred. Stephenson (now Rock Island) which had been laid out in 1834, had at this time a population of nearly five hundred.
The first duel "on record" in Iowa, was fought, in the spring of 1837, between two Winnebago Indians. These young men, in a carousal at Stephenson, commenced quarreling, and finally resorted to the code of honor. One had a shot gun, the other a rifle. On the Willow Island, below the city, at the required distance they fired at each other. The one with the shot gun fell, and was buried not far from the graveyard below the city. The survivor fled to his home in the Rock River country. The friends and relations of the slain clamored for the blood of the slayer, and the sister of the latter went for the survivor. She found him - entreated him to come back to Rock Island and be killed, to appease the wrathful manes of the deceased. He came - in a canoe paddled by his own sister - singing his death song. A shallow grave was dug, and kneeling upon its brink, his body tumbled into it, and his death song was hushed, as the greedy knives of the executioners drank the blood of his brave heart.
Dr. A. E. Donaldson, from Pennsylvania, came in July, 1837, and was, it is stated, the first regular physician. The religious services, for this year, and for a year or two afterward, were held in a house belonging to D. C. Eldridge. Clergymen of various denominations officiated. In 1838, during the summer, the first brick house was erected by D. C. Eldridge, standing on the S. E. corner of Main and Third-streets. Nearly at the same time, the brick building now used by the Sisters, in Catholic block, was completed as a church. A long controversy between Rockingham and Davenport, respecting the location of the county seat, was terminated in favor of the latter, in 1840, by the citizens of Davenport agreeing to construct the court house and jail, free of expense to the county.
The celebrated "Missouri War" is ascribed to about this date. It arose from a dispute in regard to boundary - two lines having been run. The northern one cut off a strip of Iowa some six or eight miles in width, and from this portion Missouri endeavored to collect taxes. The inhabitants refused to pay them, and the Missouri authorities endeavored, by sending a sheriff, to enforce payment. A fight ensued, and an Iowan was killed, and several taken prisoners. The news spread along the river counties, and created intense excitement. War was supposed to be impending, or to have actually begun.
Col. Dodge, an individual somewhat noted as the one who, in connection with Theller, had been imprisoned by the Canadian authorities for a participation in the "Patriot War," had lately arrived here, after breaking jail in Canada. His arrival was opportune - a call for volunteers to march against Missouri was circulated, and was responded to by some three hundred men, who made Davenport their rendezvous on the proposed day of marching. A motley crowd was it! Arms were of every kind imaginable, from pitchforks to blunderbusses, and Queen Anne muskets. One of the colonels wore a common rusty grass scythe for a sword, while Capt. Higginson, of company A, had been fortunate enough to find an old sword that an Indian had pawned for whisky, which he elegantly belted around him with a heavy log chain.
The parade ground was in front of the ground now occupied by the Scott House. Refreshments were plenty, and "steam" was being rapidly developed for a start, when word came that peace was restored - Missouri having resigned her claim to the disputed ground. The army was immediately disbanded, in a style that would do honor to the palmiest revels of Bacchus. Speeches were made, toasts drunk, and a host of maneuvers, not in the military code, were performed, to the great amusement of all. Some, in the excess of patriotism and whisky, started on alone to Missouri, but lay down in the road before traveling far, and slept away their valor:
St. Anthony's Church, the first erected, was dedicated May 23, 1830, by Rt. Rev. Bishop Loras, of Dubuque. The Catholic Advocate thus states, "Mr. Antoine LeClaire, a wealthy Frenchman, and a zealous and exemplary Christian, in partnership with Mr. Davenport, has granted to the Catholic congregation, in the very center of the town, a whole square, including ten lots, erecting, partly at his won expense, a fine brick church with a school room attached". . . . . The Rev. Mr. Pelamourgues, who first assumed charge of the church, still retains it.
The first Presbyterian Church was established in the spring of 1838, pastor, James D. Mason; the Davenport Congregational Church was organized July 30, 1839, by Rev. Albert Hale; their present church building was erected in 1844. The first regular services of the Protestant Episcopal Church were commenced here Oct. 14, 1841, by Rev. Z. H. Goldsmith. The corner stone of the present edifice of Trinity Church was laid, by Bishop Kemper, May 5, 1852. The Methodist Episcopal Church was established June 1, 1842; the First Baptist Church was established in 1839, N. S. Bastion, pastor; the German Congregation was established July 19, 1857, A. Frowein, pastor; "Church of Christ," or Disciples Church established July 28, 1839.
The first newspaper was the "Iowa Sun and Davenport and Rock Island News," issued in Aug. 1838, by Alfred Sanders. It was continued till 1841 when it was succeeded by the "Davenport Weekly Gazette." The "Weekly Banner" was started in 1848, by A. Montgomery; in 1855, it was bought by Messrs. Hildreth, Richardson & West, and was changed to the "Iowa State Democrat." The "Evening News," daily and weekly, was started by Harrington & Wilkie, Sept., 1858. The "Der Demokrat" (German) was established, by T. Guelich, in 1851.
Belleve, the capital of Jackson county, is on the Mississippi, 12 miles below Galena. It is one of the oldest towns in the state, having been first settled in 1836, by J. D. Bell. The location being a beautiful one, had long been a favorite spot with the Indians. The population in 1860 was about 1,500.
The following interesting narrative of some incidents which took place here in the early settlement of this place is given to us by Wm. A. Warren Esq. He was the sheriff in command of the posse of citizens, some of whom it will be seen lost their lives in their efforts to restore law and order.
In the year 1836, was organized a band of horse-thieves, counterfeiters, and highway robbers, having their head-quarters near Elk Heart, Michigan, and extending their ramifications in all directions from that point, many hundred miles. The Rock River valley, Illinois, and the settled portions of what is now Iowa, were teh chief points of their operations, although the band extended through Kentucky, Missouri, and even to the Cherokee Nation.
Their organization was complete. They had their pass words, and other means of recognition. No great master spirit controlled the whole organization, as is usually the case in criminal associations of that nature. The leaders were those whose education rendered them superior to the instincts of the half savage settlers with whom they were associated.
Their method of doing business, and escaping detection, was as follows: B's band, in Iowa, would "spot" certain horses and other "plunder," and arrange to make a foray on some particular night. A., in Missouri, having obtained the knowledge of this, would start his hand on a marauding expedition the same night. But those who were to do the plundering would make a feint to go north or south on a trading expedition, a day or two before the time fixed upon, and returning at night, would be carefully concealed until the proper time, when they would sally forth on the expedition in earnest. The two bands then meeting half way, would exchange the stolen property, and returning, dispose of the plunder, perhaps to the very persons whom they had robbed a few nights before.
Those of the band who were merely accomplices, were careful to be visiting some honest neighbor on the night of the robbery, and thus avert suspicion from themselves. By this means, it will be seen, that detection was almost impossible, and suspicion unlikely to rest upon the real perpetrators.
The then frontier village of Bellevue, was a central point on this route, and also the head-quarters of one of the most numerous and powerful of the bands. Its leader, William Brown, was a man remarkable in many respects. He came to Bellevue in the spring of 1836, and soon after brought out his family and opened a public house, which was destined to become famous in the village history. Brown, physically, was a powerful man, and in education superior to those around him. He possessed a pleasant, kindly address, and was scrupulously honest in his every day's dealing s with his neighbors. It is said that none who reposed confidence in him in a business transaction ever regretted it. He was ably seconded by his wife, a woman of about 24 years of age, and of more than ordinary natural capacity. They had but one child, a little girl of some four years of age. Ever ready to assist the destitute, the foremost in public improvements, this family soon became idolized by the rude population of that early day, so that nothing but positive proof finally fastened suspicions of dishonesty upon them. Having, by his wiles, secured a larger part of the young men into his band, and being daily reinforced from other quarters, Brown became more bold in his operations then threw off the mask, and openly boasted of his power and the inability of the authorities to crush him out. It was no idle boast. Fully tow thirds of the able bodied men in the settlement were leagued with him. He never participated in passing counterfeit money, stealing horses, etc., but simply planned.
Any man who incurred the enmity of the "gang," was very certain to wake some morning and find his crops destroyed, his horses stolen, and the marks of his cattle having been slaughtered in his own yard; in all probability the hind quarters of his favorite ox would be offered for sale at his own door a few hours thereafter. If one of his gang was arrested, Brown stood ready to defend him, with an argument not now always attainable by the legal profession - he could, at a moment's notice, prove an alibi. Thus matters went on, until it became apparent to the honest portion of the community that the crisis had arrived.
As an instance of the boldness which they evinced, now the band had become so powerful, we give an incident of the stealing of a plow from a steamboat. In the spring of 1839, a steamboat landed at Bellevue to wood; the boat was crowded with passengers, and the hurricane deck covered with plows. It being a pleasant day, the citizens old and young, according to custom, had sallied forth to the river side, as the landing of a steamboat was then by no means a daily occurrence. The writer of this, standing near Brown, heard him remark to a man, named Hapgood, and in the presence of numerous citizens, "that, as he (H) had long wanted to join Brown's party, if he would steal one of those plowed, and thus prove his qualifications, he should be admitted to full fellowship." Hapgood agreed to make the trial, and thereupon, to our surprise, as we had supposed the conversation to be merely in jest, he went upon the hurricane deck, and in the presence of the captain, passengers, and citizens on shore, shouldered a plow and marched off the boat and up the levee. When on the boat, Hapgood conversed with the captain for a few minutes, and the captain pointed out to him which plow to take. In a few moments the boat was gone, and Hapgood boasted of the theft. It was supposed that he had bought the plow and paid the captain for it, but the next day, when the boat returned, there was great and anxious inquiry, by the captain, "for the man that took that plow," but he had disappeared, and remained out of sight until the boat was gone. About the same time another bold robbery occurred near Bellevue, the incidents of which so well illustrate the character of these ruffians, that we can not forbear recounting them.
One Collins, a farmer, living about eight miles from town, came in one day and sold Brown a yoke of cattle for $80. Being a poor judge of money, and knowing Brown's character well, he refused to take anything in payment but specie. On his return home that evening he placed his money in his chest. About midnight his house was broken open by two men, upon which he sprang from his bed, but was immediately knocked down. His wife coming to his rescue was also knocked down, and both were threatened with instant death if any more disturbance was made. The robbers then possessed themselves of Collins money and watch and departed. In the morning he made complaint before a justice of the peace, accusing two men in the employment of Brown with the crime. They were arrested and examined. On the trial, Collins and his wife swore positively to the men, and also identified a watch found with them as the one taken. In their possession was found $80 in gold, the exact amount stolen. A farmer living near Collins, testified that about 11 o'clock, on the night of the robbery, the accused stopped at his house and inquired the way to Collins'. Here the prosecution closed their evidence, and the defense called three witnesses to the stand, among whom was Fox, afterward noted as the murderer of Col Davenport, all of whom swore positively that, on the night of the robbery, they and the accused played cards from dark till daylight, in Brown's house, eight miles from the scene of the robbery! In the face of the overwhelming testimony adduced by the state, the defendants were discharged!
Another laughable instance, displaying the shrewdness and villainy of these fellows, occurred early in the spring of 1838. Godfrey (one of the robbers of Collins) came into town with a fine span of matched horses, with halter ropes around their necks. From the known character of their possessor, the sheriff thought best to take the horses into his custody. Brown's gang remonstrated against the proceedings, but to no effect. Subsequently a writ of replevin was procured, and the horses demanded - the sheriff refused to give them up. A general row ensued. The citizens, being the stronger party at that time, sustained the sheriff, and he maintained the dignity of his office. A few days afterward, a stranger appeared in town, anxiously inquiring for the sheriff, and upon meeting him, he announced his business to be the recovery of a fine span of horses, which had been stolen from him a short time before, and then so accurately described those detained by the sheriff, that the latter informed him that he then had them in his stable. Upon examining them, the man was gratified to find that they were his; turning to the crowd, he offered $25 to any one who would produce Godfrey, remarking that, if he met him, he would wreak his vengeance upon him in a summary manner, without the intervention of a jury. Godfrey was not, however, to be found, and the horses were delivered to the stranger.
Imagine the consternation of the sheriff, when, two days later, the true owner of the horses appeared in search of them! The other was an accomplice of Godfrey, and they had taken that method of securing their booty. Similar incidents could be detailed to fill pages, for they were of continual occurrence.
On the 20th of March, 1840, the citizens of Bellevue, not implicated in the plans of the horse-thieves and counterfeiters, held a meeting to consider the wrongs of the community. But one opinion was advanced that the depredators must leave the place or summary vengeance would be inflicted upon them all. It was resolved that a warrant should be procured for the arrest of the whole gang, from Justice Watkins - father of our present sheriff - and, upon a certain day, the sheriff, accompanied by all the honest citizens as a posse, should proceed to serve the same. The warrant was issued upon the affidavit of Anson Harrington Esq., one of our most respectable citizens, charging about half the inhabitants of the town - Brown's men - with the commission of crimes.
A posse of 80 men was selected by the sheriff from among the best citizens of the county, who met in Bellevue on the first day of April, 1840, at 10 o'clock, A. M. Brown, in the mean time, had got wind of the proceedings, and had rallied a party of 23 men, whose names were on the warrent, and proceeded to fortify the Bellevue Hotel, and prepare for a vigorous defense. On the sheriff's arriving in Bellevue with his party, he found a red flag streaming from the hotel, and a portion of Brown's men marching to and fro in front of their fort, armed with rifles, presenting a formidable appearance.
A meeting of the citizens was then convened to consult upon the best method of securing the ends of justice, of which Major Thos S. Parks was chairman. It was resolved that the sheriff should go to Brown's fort, with two men, and demand their surrender, reading his warrant and assuring them that they should be protected in their persons and property. It was also resolved, if they did not surrender, to storm the house, and that Col. Thos. Cox, then a representative in the Iowa legislature, should assist the sheriff in the command of the party selected for this purpose.
The sheriff then went to the hotel, accompanied by Messrs. Watkins and Magoon. When near the house, they were suddenly surrounded by Brown and a party of his men, all fully armed. They captured the sheriff, and ordered Watkins and Magoon to return and inform the citizens, that at the first attempt to storm the house, they would shoot the sheriff. Being conducted into the house, the sheriff read his warrent and informed them of the proceedings of the meeting. Just then it was discovered that Col Cox, with a party of citizens, was rapidly advancing on the hotel. Upon the sheriff's promise to stop them and then return, he was released by Brown. He met the party, and accosting Cox, requested him to delay the attack one hour, and if he (the sheriff) did not return by that time, for them to come on and take the house.
Cox was determined the Sheriff should not return, saying that he should not keep his word with such a band of ruffians. Better counsels, however, prevailed, and the sheriff went back. On his return he found that Brown's men had been drinking freely to keep up their courage. After some parleying, Brown determined not to surrender, commanding the sheriff to return to his men and tell them to come on, and if they succeeded in carrying the hotel, it should only be over their dead bodies.
The sheriff returned and disclosed the result of his interview. Mrs. Brown, in the mean time, and a fellow called Buckskin, paraded the streets with a red flag. The Citizens were then addressed by Cox and Watkins, and it was finally determined that a body of forty men should be selected t make the attack, upon which the posse started and charged upon the house at a fell run. As our men entered the porch, the garrison commenced firing, but we being so near they generally overshot their mark. At the first fire one of our best men, Mr. Palmer, was killed, and another, Mr. Vaughn, badly wounded. Brown opened the door and put out his gun to shoot, when he was immediately shot down by one of our men. The battle then became desperate and hand to hand. After considerable hard fighting the "balance" of the gang commenced their retreat through the back door of the house. They were surrounded and all captured but three. The result of the fight was, on the part of the counterfeiters the loss of five killed and two badly wounded; on the part of the citizens, four killed and eleven wounded.
The excitement after the fight was intense. Many of the citizens were in favor of putting all the prisoners to death. Other counsels, however, prevailed, and a citizens' court was organized to try them.
During the fight, Capt. Harris anchored his boat in the middle of the river, and remained there until the result was known, when the passengers ascended to the upper deck and gave three hearty cheers. Doctors Finley, of Dubuque, and Crossman, of Galena, were sent for, and were soon in attendance on the wounded of both parties.
Much joy was manifested by the citizens at the breaking up of one of the most desperate gangs of housebreakers, murderers and counterfeiters, that ever infested the western country. The next morning a vote of the citizens was taken as to the disposal of the prisoners.
As the district court was not to meet for three months, and there being no jail in the county, and in fact none in the territory that was safe, and surrounded as we were on all sides, by offshoots of the same band, who could muster 200 men in a day's time to rescue them, it was deemed the merest folly to attempt to detain them as prisoners, and it was resolved to execute summary justice upon them. The question was then put, whether to hang or whip them. A cup of red and white beans was first passed around, to be used as ballots, the red for hanging , and white for whipping.
A breathless silence was maintained during the vote. In a few moments the result was announced. It stood forty-two white and thirty-eight red beans. The resolution to whip them was then unanimously adopted. Fox, afterward the murderer of Davenport, and several others made full confessions of many crimes, in which they had been engaged. The whole crowd of prisoners was then taken out and received from twenty-five to seventy-five lashes apiece, upon their bare backs, according to their deserts. They were then put into boats and set adrift in the river, without oars, and under the assurance that a return would insure a speedly death.
Animated by the example of Bellevue, the citizens of Rock River, Ill., Linn, Johnson, and other counties, in Iowa, arose en masse, and expelled the gangs of robbers from their midst, with much bloodshed.
Thus ended the struggle for supremacy between vice and virtue in Bellevue, which, from this day forth, has been as noted, in the Mississippi valley, for the morality of its citizens, as it was once rendered infamous by their crimes.
BURLINGTON, flourishing commercial city, the seat of justice for Des Moines county, is on the western side of the Mississippi, 45 miles above Keokuk, 248 above St. Louis, and 1,429 above New Orleans. The city was organized under a charter from the Territory of Wisconsin, in 1838. It is regularly laid out and beautifully situated. Part of the city is built on the high grounds or bluffs, rising in some places about 200 feet above the river, affording a beautiful and commanding view of the surrounding country: with the river, and its woody islands, stretching far away to the north and south. It has a variety of mechanical and manufacturing establishments. The pork packing business is carried on extensively. It is the seat of the Burlington University, and contains 12 churches, and about 14,000 inhabitants.
The country for sixty miles around Burlington, sometimes called the "garden of Iowa," is very fertile. Near the city are immense quantities of gray limestone rock, suitable for building purposes.
The first white person who located himself in Burlington, appears to have been Samuel S. White, a native of Ohio, who built a cabin here, in 1832, close to the river at the foot of the upper bluff. The United States, according to the treaty with the Indians, not being then entitled to the lands west of the Mississippi, the dragoons from Fort Armstrong came down, burnt White out, and drove him over to the Illinois side of the river. He remained on Honey Creek till the 1st of the next June, when, the Indian title being extinguished, he returned and rebuilt his cabin near its former site.
Mr. White was soon afterward joined by Amzi Doolittle, and in 1834, they laid out the first part of the town on the public lands. The survey of White and Doolittle was made by Benjamin Tucker and Dr. Wm. R. Ross. Their bounds extended down to Hawkeye Creek. White and Doolittle afterward sold out all their lands and removed. The first addition to this tract was made by Judge David Rorer, a native of Virginia, in April, 1836, who had emigrated the mouth previous. In July of this year, he built the first brick building ever erected in Iowa. Judge R. laid the first brick with his own hands. This building stood on what is now lot 438, the next corner north of Marion Hall. This dwelling was taken down by Col. Warren, in 1854 or '55. The first location made outside the town, was by a settler named Tothero, whose cabin was about three miles from the river; this was previous to June, 1833. he was consequently drive off by the dragoons, and his cabin destroyed.
The town was named by John Gray, a native of Burlington, Vermont, and brother-in-law to White, the first settler. The Flint Hills were called by the Indians Shokokon, a word in their language signifying "flint Hills;" these bluffs are generally about 150 feet above the river. Burlington became the county seat of Des Moines in 1834, under the jurisdiction of Michigan. In 1836 it was made the seat of government of Wisconsin Territory, and in the fall of 1837, the legislature of that territory first met at Burlington. When Iowa Territory was formed in 1838, Burlington became the seat of government. The building in which the legislative assembly first met stood on the river bank, just north of Columbia-street. It was burnt down soon afterward. At the first court held in Burlington, three divorces were granted, one conviction for assault and battery, and one fine for contempt of court. The record does not show the grounds of contempt, but from other sources we learn it was a rencounter in open court, in which the tables of the judges, being dry goods boxes and barrels with planks laid across, were overturned. The hero of the occasion was afterward taken prisoner in the Santa Fe expedition from Texas.
Dr. Ross and Maj. Jeremiah Smith, who came to Burlington in 1833, were the first merchants. The first church (the Methodist Old Zion) was erected the same year, and is believed to have been the first house of worship erected in Iowa. In this venerable structure, which is still standing, the legislative body have met and courts have been held. The "Iowa Territorial Gazette," the first newspaper, was issued in the summer of 1837, by James Clarke, from Pennsylvania, who was subsequently governor of the territory. The second paper was the "Iowa Patriot," afterward the "Hawkeye," by James G. Edwards, of Boston. The Iowa Historical and Geological Society was organized in 1843, and is the oldest literary society in the state.
The following inscriptions are from monuments in the Aspen Grove Cemetery, at the N. W. border of the city:
Here lie the mortal remaines of Jas. Clarke, founder of the first Newspaper in Burlington, Member of the first Constitutional Convention, Secretary and Governor of the Territory of Iowa. Born July 5, 1812; died July 28, 1850
My Husband and our Father, Arner Leonard, minister of the Gospel, born Dec. 13, 1787, in Washington Co., Pa.; died Oct, 30, 1856.
Now with my SAvior, Brother, Friend,
A blest Eternity I'll spend,
Triumphant in his grace.
In memory of Rev. Horace Hutchinson, late Pastor of the Congregational Church, of Burlington. He was born at Sutton, Mass., Aug. 10, 1817. Graduated at Amherst College, 1839, and at Andover Theological Seminary in 1843. He died March 7, 1846.
Sacred to the memory of Rev. Samuel Payne, Missionary, native of New Jersey, who departed this life, Jan. 8, 1845, aged 28 years, 6 mo. and 17 days. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them. Rev. xiv, 13.
In memory of Rev. Thomas Schultz, German Missionary of the Methodist Church; born July 11, 1821; died March 18, 1848. Christus ist mein Leben und sterben ist mein Gewin.
In memory of Rev. William Henninghaus, German Missionary of the M. E. Church; born Jan. 26, 1808; died Jan. 24, 1848.
Wo ich bin da soll mein, diener auch sein.
Where I am, there shall by my servant. Jan. 12, 1826.
KEOKUK, and semi-capital of Lee county, is a short distance above the confluence of the Des Moines with the Mississippi, 200 miles above St. Louis, 1,400 above New Orleans, and about 150 from Des Moines, the capital. It is at the S. E. corner of the state, at the foot of the "Lower Rapids," and being the only city of Iowa having uninterrupted communication with all the great tributaries of the "Father of Waters," it has not inaptly been called the "Gate City" of Iowa. The site of Keokuk is remarkably fine. It covers the top and slopes of a large bluff, partially around which the Mississippi bends with a graceful curve, commanding a fine prospect to the south and north. The city stands upon an inexhaustible quarry of limestone rock, forming ample material for buildings. A portion of the great water power at this point is used in various manufactories, flouring mills, founderies, etc. The Mississippi, upward from this place, flows over a rocky bed of limestone, called the Rapids, 12 miles in extent, falling, in that distance, 24 1/2 feet, making it difficult for the larger class of steamboats to pass. The city contains several splendid public buildings, the medical department of the State University, hospital, some eight or nine churches, and about 13,000 inhabitants.
The plat of the village of Keokuk was laid out in the spring of 1837, and in the ensuing June a public sale of town lots was held, and attended by a very large crowd. One boat was chartered in St. Louis, and numbers came up on other boats. Only two or three lots, the south-west corner of Mainstreet and the levee, and one or two others lying contiguous, were sold. The corner lot went for $1,500, and a New York company still hold the deed of trust on it to secure the payment.
In 1840, the main portion of Keokuk was a dense forest, and where Mainstreet now is, were thick timber and underbrush. It was so swampy and rough between Third and Fourth streets, as to be rather dangerous riding on horseback after a heavy rain. About a dozen cabins comprised all the improvements. In the spring of 1847, a census of the place gave a population of 620. Owing to the unsettled state of the titles, but little progress was made till 1849. From that time until the autumn of 1857 it had a rapid growth.
Keokuk derived its name from Keokuk (the Watchful Fox), a chieftain of the Sac tribe, distinguished for his friendship to the Americans during the Black Hawk war. He often lost his popularity with his tribe by his efforts to keep them at peace with the United States, and nothing but his powerful eloquence and tact sustained him. He was once deposed by his tribe, and a young chief elected in his place. He, however, soon attained his former position. Keokuk was born about the year 1780. He was not a hereditary chief, but raised himself to the dignity by the force of talent and enterprise. He was a man of extraordinary eloquence; fertile in resources on the field of battle; possessed of desperate bravery; and never at a loss in any emergency. He had six wives, was fond of display, and on his visits of state to other tribes, moved, it is supposed, in more savage magnificence than any other chief on the continent. He was a noble looking man, about five feet ten inches in height, portly, and over 200 pounds in weight. He had an eagle eye, a dignified bearing, and a manly, intelligent expression of countenance, and always painted and dressed in the Indian costume. He supplanted Black Hawk as chieftain of the Sacs and Foxes. He died in Missouri, a few years since, and was succeeded in the chieftainship by his son.
The Des Moines River, which terminates at Keokuk, is one of the noblest of streams. Keokuk is the principal port of its valley, in which half the population and agricultural wealth of the state are concentrated. On the banks of the Des Moines stood the village of the celebrated chief Black Hawk, who there breathed his last, Oct. 3, 1840. He was buried near the banks of the river, in a sitting posture, as is customary with his tribe. His hands grasped his cane, and his body was surrounded by stakes, which united at the top.
Iowa is noted for the extent and magnificence of her prairies. These are of great advantage to the rapid and easy settlement of a country. When, however, too extensive, without a sufficiency of timber, a prairie country has some serious drawbacks. Fortunately, in Iowa, the immense beds of coal partly supply the deficiency in fuel, and the prairie country there is remarkably healthy. It is generally rolling, often even hilly, the streams mostly fresh running water, with sandy or gravelly beds, which condition prevents the origin of miasma, the great scourge of flat, prairie districts, where sluggish streams, winding their snaky shaped course through rich alluvial soils, generate disease and death from their stagnant waters, green and odious with the slime of a decaying vegetation. The prairie farms of Iowa, large, smooth and unbroken by stump or other obstruction, afford an excellent field for the introduction of mowing machines and other improved implements of agriculture.
The wonderful fertility of the prairies is accounted for by the fact that we have a soil "which for thousands of years has been bearing annual crops of grass, the ashes or decayed stems of which have been all that time adding to the original fertility of the soil. So long back as we have any knowledge of the country, it had been the custom of the Indians to set fire to the prairie grass in autumn, after frost set in, the fire spreading with wonderful rapidity, covering vast districts of country, and filling the atmosphere for weeks with smoke. In the course of ages a soil somewhat resembling an ash-heap must have been thus gradually created, and it is no wonder that it should be declared to be inexhaustible in fertility. In Europe such tracts of fertile country as the plain of Lombardy are known to have yielded crops for more than 2,000 years without intermission, and yet no one says that the soil is exhausted. Here we have a tract naturally as rich, and with the addition of its own crops rotting upon its surface, and adding to its stores of fertility all that time. It need occasion no surprise therefore, to be told of twenty or thirty crops of Indian corn being taken in succession from the same land, without manure, every crop, good or better, according to the nature of the season."
A distinguished English chemist analyzed some of the prairie soils of the west. "His analysis, which was of the most scrutinizing character, bears out completely the high character for fertility which practice and experience had already proved these soils to possess. The most noticeable feature in the analysis is the very large quantity of nitrogen which each of the soils contains, nearly twice as much as th most fertile soils of Britain. In each case, taking the soil at an average depth of ten inches, an acre of these prairies will contain upward of three tons of nitrogen, and as a heavy crop of wheat with its straw contains about fifty-two pounds of nitrogen, there is thus a natural store of ammonia in this soil sufficient for more than a hundred wheat crops. In Dr. Voelcker's words, 'It is this large amount of nitrogen, and the beautiful state of division, that impart a peculiar character to these soils, and distinguish them so favorably. They are soils upon which I imagine flax could be grown in perfection, supposing the climate to be otherwise favorable. I have never before analyzed soils which contained so much nitrogen, nor do I find any record of soils richer in nitrogen than these.' "
"The novelty of the prairie country is striking, and never fails to cause an exclamation of surprise from those who have lived amid the forests of Ohio and Kentucky, or along the wooded shores of the Atlantic, or in sight of the rocky barriers of the Allegheny ridge. The extent of the prospect is exhilarating. The outline of the landscape is undulating and graceful. The verdure and the flowers are beautiful; and the absence of shade, and consequent appearance of a profusion of light, produces a gayety which animates very beholder.
These plains, although preserving a general level in respect to the whole country, are yet, in themselves, not flat, but exhibit a gracefully waving surface, swelling and sinking with easy, graceful slopes, and full, rounded outlines, equally avoiding the unmeaning horizontal surface, and the interruption of abrupt or angular elevations.
The attraction of the prairie consists in its extent its carpet of verdure and flowers, its undulating surface, its groves, and the fringe of timber by which it is surrounded. Of all these, the latter is the most expressive feature. It is that which gives character to the landscape, which imparts the shape, and marks the boundary of the plain. If the prairie be small, its greatest beauty consists in the vicinity of the surrounding margin of woodland, which resembles the shore of a lake indented with deep vistas, like bays and inlets, and throwing out long points, like capes and headlands.
In the spring of the year, when the young grass has just covered the ground with a carpet of delicate green, and especially if the sun is rising from behind a distant swell of the plain and glittering upon the dewdrops no scene can be more lovely to the eye. The groves, or clusters of timber, are particularly attractive at this season of the year. The rich undergrowth is in full bloom. The rosewood, dogwood, crab-apple, wild plum, the cherry, and the wild rose are all abundant, and in many portions of the state the grape-vine abounds. The variety of wild fruit and flowering shrubs is so great, and such the profusion of the blossoms with which they are bowed down, that the eye is regaled almost to satiety.
The gayety of the prairie, its embellishments, and the absence of the gloom and savage wildness of the forest, all contribute to dispel the feeling of loneliness which usually creeps over the mind of the solitary traveler in the wilderness. Though he may not see a house or a human being, and is conscious that he is far from the habitations of men, the traveler upon the prairie can scarcely divest himself of the idea that he is traveling through scenes embellished by the hand of art. The flowers, so fragile, so delicate, and so ornamental, seem to have been tastefully disposed to adorn the scene.
In the summer, the prairie is covered with long, coarse grass, which soon assumes a golden hue, and waves in the wind like a fully ripe harvest. The prairie-grass never attains its highest growth in the richest soil; but in low, wet, or marshy land, where the substratum of clay lies near the surface, the center or main stem of the grass - that which bears the seed - shoots up to the hight of eight and ten feet, throwing out long, coarse leaves or blades. But on the rich, undulating prairies, the grass is finer, with less of stalk and a greater profusion of leaves. The roots spread and interweave, forming a compact, even sod, and the blades expand into a close, thick grass, which is seldom more than eighteen inches high, until late in the season, when the seed bearing stem shoots up. The first coat is mingled with small flowers - the violet, the bloom of the wild strawberry, and various others, of the most minute and delicate texture. As the grass increases in hight, these smaller flowers disappear, and others, taller and more gaudy, display their brilliant colors upon the green surface; and still later, a larger and coarser succession arises with the rising tide of verdure. It is impossible to conceive a more infinite diversity, or a richer profusion of hues. 'from grave to gay,' than graces the beautiful carpet of green throughout the entire season of summer."
"The autumnal months, in Iowa, are almost invariably clear, warm, and dry. The immense mass of vegetation with which this fertile prairie soil loads itself during the summer is suddenly withered, and the whole earth is covered with combustible materials. This is especially true of those portions where grass grows from two to ten feet high, and is exposed to sun and wind, becoming thoroughly dried. A single spark of fire, falling upon the prairie at such a time, instantly kindles a blaze that spreads on every side, and continues its destructive course as long as it finds fuel. These fires sweep along with great power and rapidity, and frequently extend across a wide prairie and advance in a long line. No sight can be more sublime that a stream of fire, beheld at night, several miles in breadth, advancing across the plains, leaving behind it a background of dense black smoke, throwing before it a vivid glare, which lights up the whole landscape for miles with the brilliancy of noonday. The progress of the fire is so slow, and the heat so intense, that every combustible in its course is consumed. The roots of the prairie-grass, and several species of flowers, however, by some peculiar adaptation of nature, are spared."
The winters on the prairie are often terrible. Exposed to the full sweep of the icy winds that come rushing down from the Rocky Mountains, without a single obstruction, the unlucky traveler that is caught, unprotected by sufficient clothing, is in imminent danger of perishing before the icy blast. December and January of the winter of 1856-7, were unprecedentedly stormy and cold in western Iowa. A writer for one of the public prints, who passed that winter on the western frontier of this state, gives this vivid picture of the sufferings of the frontier settlers, his communication being dated at "Jefferson's Grove, fifty miles from a postoffice."
"Once the mercury has been 30 deg. below zero, twice 24 deg., several times 16 deg, and more than seven eighths of the time at some point below zero. Only two days in the while two months has it been above the freezing point.
We have had four fierce snow storms, in which one could not see an object four rods distant, and I doubt if such storms can be excelled in fury in any of the byperborean regions. Everybody was compelled to keep within doors; cattle were driven before the driving snow until they found refuge in the groves; and most of the houses, within doors, were thoroughly sifted with snow. But I will relate a few instances of frontier hardships.
Forty miles above here, at the very margin of the settlement, a family was caught by the first snow storm, almost without firewood and food. In the morning the husband made a fire, and leaving to seek for assistance from his nearest neighbors, distant six miles, directed his family to make one more fire, and then retire to bed, and there remain until he returned; they did so. After excessive hardship, he returned on the second day, with some friends, and conveyed his wife and little children, on hand sleds through the deep snow, to their kind neighbors.
Last summer five families ventured across a fifty mile prairie, uninhabited, of course, and commenced making farms on a small stream, very sparsely timbered, called Boyer River. The early frosts nipped their late corn, and left them without food; for, on the extreme frontier, the pioneers sometimes live a whole winter without going to the mill - beating their corn into hominy, soaking it in weak ash ley, and then boiling it soft, parching it, etc. Thus they manage with good stomachs, great fortitude, and the help of wild game, to hold soul and body together. Seven of the men of this little detached settlement, started in the fall for Fort Des Moines, distant one hundred and fifty miles, to procure provisions and other necessaries. When on their return, fifty miles from Fort Des Moines, on the North Koon River, they were overtaken by the sever snow storm that commenced on the first day of December, and raged for forty-eight hours. They were then compelled to halt and construct sleds. But before leaving the settlement on Koon River, a rain fell on the deep snow, and freezing suddenly, formed so hard a crust that it was impossible to drive cattle out of the beaten track. But men could run on the crust with impunity. Their families, yet distant from them 100 miles, across a trackless prairie, they supposed must now be destitute of all provisions, save a few milch cows and young cattle, and with only one or two men to provide wood. They must be succored at all hazards. Constructing handsleds, and loading them with flour and other provisions, they determined to brave the terrible perils of a desert prairie. They also carried along some shovels, charcoal, a tent-cloth and blankets. They hoped to reach their homes on the third night; but on the second day of their departure they were met by a furious snow storm, driving full in their faces. It was utterly impossible to travel, so with their shovels they constructed a snow hut, and passed one long day and night, suffering severely from the intense cold. On the fourth day, in the afternoon, one of the company, a one armed man, gave out, so they were compelled to halt. Thinking they were about twelve miles from their settlement, one of the company resolved to go on in and procure assistance and refreshments, and meet his comrades next day; but, alas! poor brave man, that night he perished alone on the prairie, overcome by fatigue and cold. The remainder of the company got in the next day (the fifth day): the one-armed man being much injured by the frost. How those poor families, exiled fifty miles from society, will ever manage to survive the rigors of the winter, we can only conjecture."
Des Moines, which became in 1855 the capital of Iowa, is at the head of steamboat navigation on Des Moines River, in the geographical center of the state, about 170 miles west of Davenport, and 140 eastward of Council Bluffs. The line of the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad passes through the city, as also will several others in contemplation. The city is situated at the confluence of Raccoon River with the Des Moines, the two streams uniting near the corporation limits. The scenery at this point is beautiful: a smooth valley, rising on all sides, by successive benches, back to the gently sloping hills, which finally attain a hight of about 200 feet.
This spot was the council ground of the Indians. It was afterward the site of Fort Des Moines, selected by the officers of the U. S. army, on which barracks and defenses were erected. Most of the town is laid out with wide streets. On the elevations are beautiful building sites, commanding views of all the central town, of both rivers, and of the faces of most of the other hills, with their residences. On the summit of one of the hills is the present state house, and the square set apart for the permanent capitol. Some 6 or 7 churches are already erected, and 3 newspapers are printed. Population about 5,000.
MUSCATINE, the county seat of Muscatine county, is situated 100 miles above Keokuk, and 32 below Davenport. Commencing at the Upper Rapids, the Mississippi runs in a westerly direction until it strikes a series of rocky bluffs, by which its course is turned due south. At this bend, and on the summit of the bluffs, is situated the city of Muscatine, which is regularly laid out, with fine, wide streets, having several elegant buildings. It is a shipping point for a very great amount of produce raised in the adjoining counties. When the various railroads are completed which are to run in various directions from this point, Muscatine will have added to her natural advantages fine facilities for communication with every part of the country. Muscatine was first settled by the whites in 1836, previous to which time it was an Indian trading post, known by the name of Manathelca. Afterward it was called Bloomington. Population about 7,000.
Council Bluffs City, the county seat of Pottawatomie county, is near the geographical center of the United States, on the east side of the Missouri River, about 140 miles westward of Des Moines, the capital of the state, nearly opposite Omaha City, the capital of Nebraska, about 300 miles above Leavenworth City, and 685 above St. Louis. It is built on a beautiful extended plain. It has a number of fine stores, and many elegant private buildings. This is a flourishing place, and here a portion of the emigrants for the far west procure their outfits. It was for a long time an important point in overland travel to California, being the last civilized settlement before entering the Indian country. Four important railroads from the east are projected directly to this place, some of which are fast progressing to completion. The first one finished will be the Mississippi and Missouri, which, commencing at Davenport, already extends to beyond Iowa City. Population about 5,000.
A gentleman, who was at Council Bluffs in 1860, gives these valuable items upon the history of the town, and the conditions and resources of the country:
The growth of Council Bluffs has been rapid within the last six years, and it still retains, as it is likely to retain, the position of the most important city of western Iowa. This point was formerly known as Kanesville, and was for about three years - from 1846 to 1849 - the residence of the Mormon hosts of Brigham Young, in his celebrated march to the great Salt Lake valley. After the Mormons were driven from Nauvoo, they determined to build up a kingdom to themselves in the far west. They departed, but upon reaching the borders of the great plaines they found they had not the number of cattle and horses, nor the provision s that were indispensable for so long and so distant a journey; so they selected a romantic and wooded valley, adjoining the great bottoms of the Missouri, for their temporary home. Timber was plenty, and with it they soon constructed log houses for fifteen thousand people. They inclosed several hundred acres of the rich and easily cultivated Missouri bottoms, and planted them with corn. Their cattle, fed on these fine pastures, increased in numbers rapidly. They raised large amounts of corn - for these fanatics are hard working, industrious men and women. In three years they found themselves so prosperous that they resumed their journey, and in due time found themselves at their destination in the "Holy Valley," at the Great Salt Lake.
As the Mormons left, other settlers came in. The name was changed to Council Bluffs. This cognomen had been given by Lewis and Clarke, a long time before, to a point on the Missouri, several miles above the present town. It had become a historical name, and it was wise in the new-comers to appropriate it to their use. So much for the early history of this place. The Mormon town was built in a very pleasant valley, that opens upon the great Missouri bottom from the north-east. It is four miles from the base of the hills, which are several hundred feet high, and very abrupt, to the river. The log houses left by the Mormons were used by the early settlers, and many of them are yet standing.
But it soon became manifest that the business part of the future city must be on the great plain or bottom, and out of the bluffs. And so the result has shown. The best part of the city is on the plain, though the finest places for residences are on the delightful slopes and hillsides of the valleys, which now constitute the upper town.
The view from the high bluffs back of the city is very commanding and beautiful. From the top of one of these hills one can see six rising cities in the far distance - Omaha, Saratoga, Florence, Bellevue, St. Marys, and Pacific City. At the foot of these bluffs the Missouri bottom extends four miles to the west, to Omaha, and to the south and north as far as the eye can reach. The bottoms are from four to ten miles in width, and are mostly dry and most fertile lands. Strips of timber abound. The bluffs facing the bottom are generally naked, and very abrupt. The eastern man will again and again wonder how the earth can be made to remain in such fantastic and sharply pointed shapes for centuries, as he finds them here. Back of the first range of bluffs, the country is covered with timber for some miles, when the rolling and open prairie becomes the leading feature for hundreds of miles, and indeed across the state of iowa to the Mississippi River.
Council Bluffs claims a population of 5,000, but the usual deduction must be made. It has passed through the usual process of rapid and extended inflation, and consequent collapse and almost suspension of vitality. The paper part of the city embraces territory enough for a quarter of a million of people. The extensive and rich bottoms, instead of being cultivated as farms, are all staked off into city lots; and in years past, large numbers of them were sold to speculators. So crazy did these people become, that one man bought a quarter section of this bottom land, two miles from teh present town, and gave his notes for sixty thousand dollars for the same. He collapsed, of course, as the crash of 1857 brought his air castle to the ground; and he can not now sell his land for twenty dollars per acre. Here is another large four story monument of folly in the shape of a brick hotel, some half a mile out from the present business part of the city. A man by the name of Andrews had sold out shares in Florence for large sums. He had realized about thirty thousand dollars in hard cash. He became giddy, bought a tract adjoining Council Bluffs, laid it off into city lots; and, to show his faith and to sell his lots, he erected this large and costly hotel. But it was never completed. The crash also caught him unprepared, and he went under, with thousands of others. His hotel is roofed, but not finished; and it looks the wreck it is, of the vast inflation which culminated and exploded three years ago.
Still there are many evidences of substantial prosperity in Council Bluffs. Several brick blocks of stores would do credit to older towns, and they are well filled with stocks of goods, and held by substantial, intelligent business men. The business portion is mainly on the plain, and is extending from the base of the bluffs toward the river. The present steamboat landing is about four miles from the town, and directly south of it. Council Bluffs has the Kanesville land office, where a large portion of the lands of western Iowa has been sold.
IOWA CITY, the first capital of the stare of Iowa, is on the left bank of Iowas River, in Johnson county, 55 miles from Davenport, by the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad, in the midst of one of the most beautiful and thriving of agricultural regions. Population about 7,000.
Annexed we present a sketch from a correspondent, giving a history of the city and of the University situated in it, which gives promise of great usefulness to the future of Iowa:
In 1838, Congress passed an act to divide the Territory of Wisconsin, and form the Territory of Iowa out of that part which lay to the west of the Mississippi River. The governor of the new territory under the organic act, fixed the seat of government at Burlington. On the 21st of January following, the territorial legislature appointed commissioners to locate the seat of government and superintend the erection of public buildings. These commissioners selected the site now occupied by Iowa City, on the east bank of the Iowa River, about 50 miles west of the Mississippi River. Congress had appropriated $20,000 for the erection of the capitol, and subsequently granted the section of land on which the capitol was to be erected. The corner stone of the building was laid on the 4th of July, 1839. The proceeds of the sale of lots on the section granted by congress, defrayed the main part of the expense of the erection. The first session of the legislature was held in Iowa City, in December, 1841, in a temporary building the capitol not being yet finished. The building was first occupied by the legislature in 1844.
The location of the capital soon collected a considerable population in Iowa City. When the city was first laid out, there was but one log cabin on the ground. At the end of a single year, the number of inhabitants was seven hundred, and it continued steadily to increase. In 1852, the population was 3,500. The opening of the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad, from Davenport as far as Iowa City, in 1854, and the rush of emigration into the state, gave a new impetus to the city. In 1857 the population had increased to 8,000, and all kinds of business were exceedingly active and profitable. But the monetary crisis of 1857 put a stop to its prosperity, and since that time has diminished rather than increased, and in 1860 was only about 7,000. In 1856, the capital was removed from Iowa City to Des Moines, and permanently fixed there by the new constitution of the state, adopted in January, 1860.
When the seat of government was removed to Des Moines, the state house in Iowa City was given by the legislature to the State University, together with the 10 acres of land on which it stands. The State University has for its foundation 72 sections of land, granted by congress for the endowment of a university. In 1847, the state legislature passed a law organizing the University, and appointing trustees to manage its concerns, put the institution did not go into operation till 1855. At that time a chancellor and several professors were appointed, and the University was opened in a building hired by the trustees for that purpose. The year following a part of the state house was occupied by the preparatory department, and as lecture rooms for the professors. The building, however, was in bad condition, and required fitting up in order to suit the purposes of an institution of learning. The city was full of people, and accommodations for students could not be easily procured, and in 1857, the pecuniary embarrassments of the country preventing the collection of the interest on the funds, the trustees saw fit to close the University for a time - this took place in the summer of 1858. By the new constitution of the state, adopted in 1857, a board of education was created, whose duty it was to take the entire charge of the educational institutions of the state. This board at their first meeting, in December, 1858, passed a law reorganizing the University, appointing a new board of trustees, with the understanding that the institution should be reopened as early as practicable. In October, 1859, they appointed the Rev. Silas Totten, D.D., L.L.D., president of the University, and in June following, proceeded to fill the professorships of mathematics, languages, philosophy and chemistry, and natural history. On the 19th of October, the University was reopened under the new organization.
In the session of 1858, the legislature granted $13,000 to the University, for repairs on the state house, and for the erection of another building for the residence of students. A new roof was put upon the state house, and the other building begun the the exterior completed.
A further grant of $10,000 was made in 1860, $5,000 to be expended on the old building and in the purchase of philosophical and chemical apparatus, and the remainder upon the new building. The repairs and alternations of the state house have been completed, and it is now both an elegant and commodious building for the purposes of a university. It is built of cram colored limestone, and is 120 feet long by 60 broad, and two stories high, with a basement. The walls are of massive cut stone, and the rooms are spacious and lofty. The original cost of the building was $160,000. It contains the chapel, library, cabinet, five lecture rooms, a room occupied by the State Historical Society, and a spacious entrance hall, surmounted by a dome. The other building is of pressed brick, 105 feet by 45, three stories high, and when finished will accommodate about 100 students. The buildings are situated on a ridge of land, the highest in the city, in the middle of a park of ten acres, which contains many fine old oak trees in a very flourishing condition. The site is beautiful, overlooking the valley of the Iowa River on the west and the city on the east, while from the top of the dome may be seen a vast extent of rolling country, prairie and woodland, spread out on every side.
The University has now all the requisites for a first class institution of learning. It has a choice library of 1,500 volumes, quite an extensive mineralogical cabinet, and a very complete philosophical and chemical apparatus. Provision has been made for the increase of the library and cabinet.
Fort Dodge, the county seat of Webster county, is beautifully situated on a platform of prairie land, on the east side of Des Moines River, on the line of the Dubuque and Pacific Railroad. Building was commenced here in the fall of 1855. Several fine brick dwellings and business houses have been erected. Bituminous coal and iron ore, of a superior quality, are found in great abundance in the immediate vicinity.
Sioux City, Woodbury county, a new settlement at the confluence of the Big Sioux River, about 230 miles above Council Bluffs, is well situated on a high bank, and is the last place of importance on the Missouri.
Fort Madison, the county seat of Lee county, is a flourishing town, 22 miles above Keokuk, 10 from Nauvoo, and 22 below Burlington. It is finely situated, being on ground rising gradually from the river, and at the foot of a somewhat sandy bluff. It is a place of considerable manufactures, commerce and wealth. The exports of grain, pork and lumber are large. It contains the state prison, 7 churches, and 3,500 inhabitants. A fortification was built here in 1808, as a defense against the Indians, who obliged the garrison to abandon it. In the war of 1812, the fort was twice attacked by the Indians. In November, 1813, it was evacuated and the building burnt, as the contractor failed to furnish the garrison with provisions.
Grinnell is in Powesheik county, 115 miles from Davenport, by the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad, is a fine town, and noted as the seat of a theological university.
There are within the state many small, city-like towns, as Keosanqua, in Van Buren county; Lyons, in Clinton; Cedar Rapids, in Black Hawk; Oskaloosa, in Mahaska, etc.
UNITED STATES LAND SYSTEM
All the lands belonging to the United States, within the new states and territories, are surveyed and sold under one general system, which, from its simplicity, has been of incalculable benefit in the settlement of the west. This admirable system of surveys of lands by townships and ranges, was first adopted by Oliver Phelps, an extensive landholder in Genesee county, N. Y., who opened a land office at Canandigun, in 1789. His was the model which was adopted for surveying all the new lands in the United States. Col. Jared Mansfield, appointed surveyor general of the United States for the North-western Territory, by Jefferson, in 1802, applied the system the government lands, and greatly improved it. In brief it is this:
"Meridian lines are established and surveyed in a line due north from some given point - generally from some important water-course. These are intersected at right angles with a base line. On the meridians, the "townships" are numbered north and south from the base lines; and , on the base lines, "ranges" east or west of the meridian. Township lines are then run, at a distance of six miles, parallel to the meridian and base lines. Each township contains an area of 36 square miles; each square mile is termed a section, and contains 640 acres. The sections are numbered from 1 to 36, beginning at the north-east corner of the township, as the annexed diagram illustrates.
When surveyed, the lands are offered for sale at public auction, but can not be disposed of at a less price than one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. That portion not sold at public auction is subject to private entry at any time, for the above price, payable in cash at the time of entry.
Pre-emption rights give the improver or possessor the privilege of purchasing at the minimum price."
By a wise provision of the law of the United States, every 16th section in each township is appropriated for the support of public schools. This is one thirty sixth of all the public lands, and in a state of 36,000 square miles would give one thousand to this object.
Previous to the adoption of this system of surveying the public-lands, great confusion existed for the want of a general, uniform plan, and in consequence titles often conflicted with each other, and, in many cases, several grants covered the same premises, loading very frequently to litigation most perplexing and almost interminable. Now, the precise boundaries of any piece of land can be given in a very few lines; and, in a moment, found on the maps in the government land offices, or, if the land has been sold to individuals, in the recorder's office in the county in which it may be situated, and where it is entered for taxation. The land itself can be easily found by the permanent corner posts at each corner of the sections.
The form of description of government lands is thus shown by this example: "North-East Quarter of Section No. 23; in Township No. 26 of Range No. 4, West of Meridian Line, in White Co., Ind, and containing 160 acres." It is usual to abridge such descriptions, thus: "N. E. 1/4 S. 23, T. 26, R. 4 W., in White Co., Ind., & cont'g 160A."