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History of Iowa

Volume III



Transcribed by Debbie Clough Gerischer


While Iowa is one of the younger states of the Republic, as compared with the Thirteen Colonies which won independence from Great Britain through the War of the Revolution, it has a history which may be traced with some degree of certainty for a period of more than two hundred years.  From the time of its discovery in 1673, by Marquette and Joliet, investigation has brought to the knowledge of civilized people many facts relating to the prehistoric period during which it was occupied by the aboriginal races who preserve no history.  Through traditions handed down from one generation to another by the Indidan tribes, and recorded observations of the earliest explorers who ventured among them, much of the history of the Red Men who made their homes in Iowa has been gathered.  The story of the first explorers of our rivers who gave them names, is incomplete, and even the origin and signification of the beautiful name of our State is involved in obscurity and uncertainty.

No connected history of Iowa from the earliest period down to the close of the Nineteenth Century is in existence and the time has arrived when the growing prominence of our State among the members of the Union would seem to justify the presentation of a narrative of the important events of the past.  The approaching centennial anniversary of the acquisition of Louisiana, a vast region west of the Mississippi River of which Iowa is one of the greatest stares, renders it especially appropriate that its written history should now be given to the public.

In preparing this work the utmost care has been exercised in the investigation of authorities examined, and in all cases of conflict the evidence has been sifted with the sole purpose of discovering the truth.  These conflicts of opinion, which are not uncommon, compel the writer to act as a judge in the trial of causes, giving due consideration to the preponderance of evidence and credibility to witnesses.

Having been a citizen of Iowa for more than half a century, and for a large protion of that period an active participant in political and other conflicts as an editor and legislator, I am well aware that it is difficult to exercise strict impartiality in recording events which, in times of great excitement during the Civil War and numerous heated political campaigns, aroused the passions and prejudices of the active participants.  But the lapse of time and the cooler judgment coming with mature years has, I trust, eliminated prejudice and enabled me to deal justly with all.

Believing that one who has lived in the State during the period of development from a frontier region of wild prairies, stretching almost unbroken from the Mississippi to the Missouri,, who has witnessed settlement from scattered log cabins along its water courses and among its native groves, with a population of less than two hundred thousand to more than two million two hundred thousand, who has known personally most of the public men who have framed its laws, founded its public institutions and shaped its policy - can better tell the story of the "building of the State," than the profound scholar or deeply learned historian who has lived apart from its life, struggles, and conflicts, through which growth and development come to people or countries.

The pioneers who closely followed the retreating Indians laid the first foundations upon which the fabric of our commonwealth has been slowly reared.  These rugged settlers led the way through hardships and privations, creating from nature's resources new homes where the rude log cabins crowded the vanishing wigwams farther westward.  They first ventured upon the unsheltered prairies and turned over the sod of countless years' formation, which carpeted with grass and flowers a soil of unsurpassed fertility.  They brought from distant states and countries habits, customs, religions, prejudices, and virtues of widely separated communities and nationalities.  It was through compromising and harmonizing these diverse elements that our first laws were evolved, schools established, and churches organized.

Among the earliest educators and civilizers were the pioneer newspapers which made their appearance soon after the first civil government was extended over the land acquired by treaty with the Indians.  The files of the first weekly journal printed on Iowa soil, before it became a separate Territory, bear unmistakable evidence of the spirit of progress which even then characterized the newspaper, long before the advent of regular mails, railroads, or telegraphs.  It was the leader in local enterprises, public opinion and the policy of the earliest forms of government.  The files of early newspapers, wisely preserved by Theodore S. Parvin, and Chandler Childs of Dubuque, and the State Historical Society of Iowa City, contain much of the current history from 1836 to 1850 that would otherwise have been lost.  Many of these ancient Iowa newspapers are now accessible to the public in the fireproof rooms of the Historical Department at Des Moines.  While newspaper history is not always reliable, it leads the investigator to the fixing of dates, examination of additional authorities and the resurrection of many forgotten events which might have been lost to the historian.

The "Annals of Iowa," established in 1863 by the State Historical Society, and now published by the Historical Department, the "Historical Record" of Iowa City, the publication by the State of the valuable papers and addresses of the "Pioneer Lawmakers' Association" - furnished a large amount of material of inestimable value which has been liberally drawn upon in the preparation of this history.

Among the authorities consulted relating to the earliest period of which any knowledge can be obtained of Iowa and its ancient inhabitants may be mentioned "The Ice Age of North America" by G. F. Wright; Foster's "Prehistoric Races of the United States"; Geological Reports of Iowa by Owen, Hall, McGee, White and Calvin; Monett's "History of the Mississippi Valley"; DeSoto's Expedition, Parkman's Historical Works on the French occupation of America; "Expedition of Marquette and Joliet"; Voyages and Travels of La Salle and Hennepin in the Mississippi Valley; Reports of the Expeditions of Captains Lewis and Clark, of Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike, of Major S. H. Long; "Notes on the Iowa District of Wisconsin Territory" by Lieutenant Albert M. Lea; Gayarre's "History of Louisiana"; Galland's "Iowa Emigrant of 1840"; Newhall's "Glimpse of Iowa in 1846."

The history of Iowa Indians has been compiled from the following works:  Schoolcraft's "Indians of the United States," Catlin's "North American Indians," Thatcher's "Indian Biographies," Drake's "Indians of North America," Fulton's "Red Men of Iowa," the "Life of Black Hawk" and writings of numerous pioneers.

The facts relating to the Sioux Indian hostilities in northwestern Iowa, the causes leading thereto, the massacre at the lakes, captivity of four young women, the march and sufferings of the Relief Expedition have been gathered from "Historical Sketches of Northwestern Iowa" by Major William Williams, "History of the Spirit Massacre: by Abbie Gardner Sharp, one of the captives, addresses by members of the Relief Expedition delivered at Webster City upon the occasion of the erection of a tablet to the memory of Captain Johnson's Hamilton County Company and R. A. Smith's "History of Dickinson County."

Among the authorities used in the preparation of the political and statistical records were the following:  Hildreth's, Bancroft's and Bryant's Histories of the United States; Appleton's Cyclopedia Annuals; the Whig, Tribune and World Almanacs; the "Iowa Political Register"; Cleveland's "Political Text Book"; Fairall's "Manual of Iowa Politics"'; Official Registers of Iowa from 1886 to 1902; Official Registers of the United States from 1846 to 1901; United States and Iowa Census Reports and hundreds of volumes of State Documents.

The record of Iowa in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865, inclusive, has been gathered from nine volumes of the Reports of Adjutant-General Nathaniel B. Baker; numerous histories of Iowa regiments; Ingersoll's "Iowa and the Rebellion"; Stuart's "Iowa Colonels and Regiments"; Lathrop's "Life and Times of Samuel J. Kirkwood"; Greeley's "American Conflict"; Personal Memoirs of Generals Grant and Sherman.

In compiling a history of the causes and events leading to the Civil War the following authorities have been consulted: Garrison and the Antislavery Movement"; Halloway's "History of Kansas"; John Brown and His Men" by Hinton; Sanborn's "Life and Letters of John Brown"; "Life of Abraham Lincoln" by Nicholay and Hay.

The historical sketches of Iowa counties have been gleaned from more than one hundred county histories:  "Andrea's Historical Atlas of Iowa"; Fulton's "Sketches of Iowa Counties" and personal recollections of early settlers.

The biographical sketches have been prepared from data procured from the subjects of the sketches, or from those who knew them intimately where the facts desired could not be found in some of the numerous biographical publications of notable Iowa men and women.

A number of the illustrations in the several volumes were obtained from the "Annals of Iowa," the "Iowa Geological Survey," the "Midland Monthly," the "Overland Stage to California," by Root and the "Progressive Men of Iowa."  These acknowledgments are made here in preference to quoting authorities in foot notes through the body of the work.

It will be observed that the general plan of this history embraces the following distinctive features:

First.-A connected narrative of the most important events relating to Iowa, shown by scientific investigations to have transpired before the historic period.

Second.-Reasonable authenticated history of the Indian tribes known to have occupied Iowa.

Third.-Brief records of the exploring expeditions which discovered the Mississippi River and valley.  The western trend of settlements towards the prairie regions.  The acquisition of Louisiana, a country larger than the eries made by the various exploring expeditions which examined portions of the Mississippi Valley and Iowa from 1673 to 1836.

Fourth.-The first white adventurers and pioneer settlers who entered the region which became Iowa.  The evolution of civil government from claim regulations to written constitutions.  Early political parties, nominating conventions and elections.

Fifth.-Progress of slavery agitation and legislation leading to civil war and emancipation.  The part taken by Iowa citizens and lawmakers in these critical times.

Sixth.-Iowa statesmen, citizens and soldiers during the Civil War.  History of Iowa Volunteer Regiments.

Seventh.-The period of development in settlement, education, transportation, labor-saving inventions, manufactures, mining and civil government from the close of the war to the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

Eighth.-Historical sketches of Iowa counties; the naming and changing of boundaries; establishing of county-seats; the first settlers, county officials and newspapers.

Ninth.-A complete Directory of Iowa public officials, Territorial, State, and National from the establishment of the first civil government  over the "Black Hawk Purchase" to the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

Tenth.-Biographical sketches of more than four hundred notable Iowa men and women who were prominent in some work of public interest during the Nineteenth Century.

It has been my purpose, so far as practicable in a work of this size, to make it a cyclopedia of general information pertaining to Iowa, that will render it indispensable as a work of reference to all who are interested in the founding, development, government, and resources of the foremost State of the Louisiana Purchase as well as in the character and achievements of its people.

A distinguished citizen of Iowa has said, "Of all that is good Iowa affords the best."  I have endeavored to show in these volumes wherein this claim has solid foundation and that this classic phrase is not an extravagant statement as applied to the progress made by our people in education, general intelligence, good government, and exemplary citizenship

Des Moines, Iowa.

            March Third, 1902

                                                                                                                     B. F. Gue


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