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1914 County History
1914
Miscellaneous History
and Statistical Review

.As stated in a previous chapter, the Indian title to the lands of the Black Hawk purchase expired on June I, 1833. A few white men had settled in what is now Lee County prior to that date. In the fourscore years since the white man acquired full title to the land that scanty population has grown to more than thirty thousand intelligent, industrious and cultured people. Few men are now living who witnessed the beginning of development in Lee County. The establishment of schools, the organization of churches, the building of highways, the advent of the railroad, the founding and growth of cities, are all within the memory of the few remaining pioneers. 

Some fifty years after the first white man established his residence in Lee County, a few old timers, in discussing the events that had occurred during the preceding half century, decided upon organizing an 

Old Settlers' Association

Accordingly an informal meeting was held at the courthouse in Fort Madison on the evening of January 5, 1871, with Philip Viele presiding, and R. W. Pitman, secretary. The following resolutions were adopted: 

"Resolved, That this meeting be adjourned to meet at this place on the 13th day of April next, for the purpose of perfecting said organization. 

"Resolved, That all old settlers present who were inhab : tants of the county on the 1st day of July, 1840, be invited to sign their names, and the time of their coming into the county, to a roll." 

Thirty-three men signed the roll at that meeting, viz. : James W. Campbell, Alexander and James Cruikshank, R. W. and Lewis G. Pitman, J. C. Parrott, Samuel Paschall, John G. Kennedy, E. S. McCulloch, Silas D. Hustead, John H. Douglass, J. A. Casey, Elias Overton, Peter Miller, Jacob Abel, Jacob Vandyke, Cromwell Wilson, Enoch G. Wilson, Hazen Wilson, James Caldwell, Philip Viele, George L. Coleman, Philotus Cowles, Daniel F. Miller, Robert A. Russell, J. E. Marsell, Isaiah Hale, Robert McFarland, James T. Blair, Ferdinand Kiel, George B. Leidy, Elkanah Perdew and R. McHenry. 

These men may be recorded as the "Charter Members" of the Lee County Pioneers and Old Settlers 1 Association. At the meeting on April 13, 1871, a vice president was elected from each of the six- teen townships, as follows: Cedar, D. S. Bell; Charleston, John Cassady; Denmark, Curtis Shedd; Des Moines, Nicholas Sargent; Franklin, Alexander Cruikshank; Green Bay, John Morgan; Har- rison, A. Anderson; Jackson, Guy Wells; Jefferson, William Skinner; Madison, Peter Miller; Marion, B. Holtkamp; Montrose, G. Hamilton; Pleasant Ridge, J. A. Casey; Van Buren, John Herron; Washington, D. McCready; West Point, R. W. Pitman. 

A constitution and by-laws was prepared by a committee, consisting of D. F. Miller, Robert McFarland and E. S. McCulloch, and July 4, 1 871, was selected as the date for the first annual reunion of Lee County old settlers. That meeting was held on the fair grounds at Fort Madison, on the date above named. Concerning the gathering, the Keokuk Gate City, which gave a full report of the meeting, said: 

"From all parts of Lee County came up the pioneers, their wives and children. It was a gala day for them. This retrospective view of the halcyon days, and the sorrowful, weary, toilsome ones, would alike bring pleasant recollections to them as they recounted their hopes, their trials and their victories, for had they not performed their duty as God had best given them the knowledge, and according to their several abilities? Venerable men were there, whose white hairs and trembling limbs gave token of a lengthy pilgrimage. More than a generation had passed since, in early manhood, they crossed the Mississippi to carry the blessings of civilization into the wilds of Iowa. With strong arms and true hearts, they had battled with the perils of border life and conquered. The wilderness and solitary place today, as the result of their labors, buds and blossoms as the rose. * All honor to the pioneers, the heroes and heroines of the past. Future generations will arise and call them blessed. It was appropriate that the Fourth of July, our national holiday, should be chosen for such a gathering."

Fort Madison Pioneers
Daniel McCoun, J. W. Cam, Peter Miller
Fort Madison Pioneers

Judge Philip Vide, who had been selected as the orator of the day, was unable to appear, and the principal address was given by Daniel F. Miller of Keokuk. It was not a long address, but was in every way in keeping with the occasion. Following his address came a basket-dinner, then the reading of the Declaration of Independence, and an address by Gen. A. C. Dodge of Burlington. Col. William Patterson was then elected president of the association for the ensuing year. 

For several years the Old Settlers' Association held its meetings at different places in the county. In 1872 the reunion was held at Pitman Grove, near West Point. At that meeting Daniel F. Miller was elected president of the association. The exercises on that occasion were similar to those of the preceding year, the principal address being delivered by Judge Joseph M. Casey. In 1873 the reunion was held at Sargent's Grove, on the Des. Moines Valley Railroad, thirteen miles west of Keokuk. On this occasion the program was varied somewhat by the introduction of personal reminiscences and anecdotes of old times. Isaac R. Campbell mentioned the fact that some years before he had killed a bear almost on the identical spot where the meeting was then in session. And John Hiner, a pioneer butcher of Keokuk, amused the gathering by telling of two cub bears he bought for $25, and about a year later took them to St. Louis to offer them for sale, having previously received an offer of $100 for them. Upon reaching St. Louis he found his prospective customer out of the city, and while waiting for his return paused near a millinery shop. A mischievous boy got hold of a hoop-pole, and, as Mr. Hiner expressed it, stirred up the animals. The bears became excited and tore down the awning in front of the millinery shop, but the boy was having fun, and Mr. Hiner was so busy in trying to control the bears that he could not compel the urchin to desist. Just in this emergency a man came along and offered $5 for the two bears, which Mr. Hiner promptly accepted. As he was paying the money and turning to get away, he noticed Col. William Patterson of Lee County leaning against a lamp-post and laughing. Hiner says he lost his temper then, but was glad to get away without being arrested for the destruction of the awning. 

Other places where meetings were held during the early years of the association were at the old Keokuk fair grounds and at Warren Station, in Harrison Township. In more recent years some meetings were held at Donnellson. After this migratory existence, which continued for several years, the upper public square in the City of Fort Madison was selected as the place for holding the annual reunions, and this square has become known as "Old Settlers' Park." The reunion of 1914 was held on September 17th, having been postponed one week on account of bad weather. The feature of this meeting was the flight of an aeroplane, in which several citizens were carried up at different times by the aviator. Hon. J. D. M. Hamilton of Topeka, Kansas, a native of Lee County, had been selected as the orator of the day, but was unable to attend on account of illness. Mr. Hamilton died a few days after the meeting, and his remains were brought to Fort Madison for burial. Through the work of the Old Settlers' Association many interesting facts in early history and many relics of pioneer days have been preserved from oblivion and destruction. In connection with this association, it is deemed appropriate to mention a few of those who assisted in its formation: 

James C. Parrott was born in Talbot County, Maryland, May 21, 181 1. When twenty years of age he went to Wheeling, West Virginia, where he joined the First United States Dragoons, and in 1834 was ordered west to subdue hostile Indians. In September of that year he went into winter quarters at Fort Des Moines, where Montrose now stands, and, liking the country, became a resident upon the expiration of his military services. In 1861 he raised a company in Keokuk and entered the army as captain of Company E, Seventh Iowa Infantry. He was promoted to colonel of the regiment, and at the close of the war was made brevet brigadier-general. In 1867 ne was appointed postmaster at Keokuk and was reappointed four years later. Colonel Parrott was one of the public- spirited, influential citizens of Lee County, and he is still well remembered by old residents. His death occurred on May 17, 1898. 

Alexander Cruikshank was born on February 2, 1805, in Norway, though his father was a native of Scotland, a millwright by trade, who went to Norway about 1787. At the age of twelve years, Alexander went to sea, and during the next seven years sailed under the flags of England, Prussia, the United States, Russia and Mexico. In 1832, in company with a shipmate, John Thompson, he landed in New York, and after visiting various parts of the country, located the following year in Hancock County, Illinois. In 1834 he married Keziah Perkins, and shortly after his marriage came to Lee County. He was the first white settler in Pleasant Ridge Township. but in the fall of 1834 sold his claim there and removed to what is now Marion Township. Still later he removed to Franklin Town- ship, where he continued to live for many years. Some of his descendants are still living in the county. James W. Campbell was a son of Isaac R. Campbell, who settled at Nashville (now Galland) in 1830. James W. Campbell attended the first school ever taught in Lee County, where he resided practically all his life. In his address to the old settlers' meeting in 1875 he recounted many interesting incidents of early days, and his address was afterwards printed and preserved. 

William Patterson, although not one of the original thirty-three who signed the roll, but was the second president of the association, was born in Virginia, May 9, 1802. Four years later his father removed to Kentucky, and later to Missouri and Illinois. In 1837 Mr. Patterson came to Lee County, first locating at West Point. In 1846 he removed to Keokuk and engaged in the mercantile and pork-packing business. He was a member of the first Territorial Legislature of Iowa and was influential in securing a settlement of the boundary line dispute between Iowa and Missouri. He was commissioned colonel of militia by Governor Lucas and authorized to raise a regiment to resist any invasion from Missouri. He after- wards served several terms in the Legislature, was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1857, was three times mayor of Keokuk, postmaster of that city for several years, and was otherwise identified with the political affairs of the county. 

Elias Overton, who settled in Marion Township in 1836, was a native of Hartford County, North Carolina, where he was born on January 12, 1807. Upon coming to Lee County he lived in a rail pen until a cabin could be erected. He afterwards became one of the large land owners of Marion Township. 

Exum S. McCulloch was born in Davidson County, Tennessee, July 3, 1812, and removed with his parents to Illinois in 1826. He served in the Black Hawk war, and in the fall of 1835 came to Lee County and selected a claim. He returned to Illinois, but the next spring, in company with two brothers and his parents, came back and took possession of the land, being one of the earliest settlers of Harrison Township. He served several terms in both houses of the Legislature, and assisted in the revision of the Iowa Code. His death occurred on April 5, 1877. 

R. W. Pitman, who was secretary of the meeting at which the Old Settlers' Association was organized, was one of the pioneers of West Point Township. He was born in Kentucky, April 27, 1827, and came to Lee County with his parents when about nine years of age, making the trip from Kentucky with an ox team. They crossed the Mississippi River, nearly opposite the site of the penitentiary at Fort Madison, on April 20, 1835. Although his opportunities to acquire an education were limited, Mr. Pitman, by self-study, became a well informed man. He was noted for his generosity and public spirit, and was active in promoting the interests of the Lee County Agricultural Society. 

Peter Miller, another "charter member 11 of the Old Settlers 1 Association, was born in Maryland, March 9, 1808. After a residence of several years in Ohio, Mr. Miller came to Iowa in the fall of 1836 and soon afterward started the first blacksmith shop in Fort Madison. He was elected the first county treasurer of Lee County in 1838; was appointed postmaster the next year, and served three years as mayor of Fort Madison shortly after the town was incorporated. The latter years of his life he was engaged in the lumber and mercantile business. 

Nicholas Sargent, a native of Essex County, Massachusetts, came to Lee County in 1837, when he was about forty-two years of age. Fie settled near the present Village of Vincennes, where he cleared and developed a fine farm. He had thirteen children, eight of whom grew to maturity, and some of the family are still living in the county. 

Two of the thirty-three men who signed the original old settlers 1 roll were natives of Lee County. John H. Douglass, a grandson of General Knapp, the founder of Fort Madison, was born in that town on June 20, 1836, and James Cruikshank, a son of Alexander, was born in Marion Township on May 7, 1835. 

The Mormons

It is not within the province of this history to discuss the early career of the Mormon Church. On May 9, 1839, Dr. Isaac Galland presented Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, a tract of land where the Town of Nauvoo, Illinois, is now situated. Smith laid out the Town of Nauvoo under a charter that conferred extravagant and dangerous powers upon the city officials. At that time the Mormons were a political power in Illinois, and both the leading parties were afraid to antagonize them. Under the circumstances Nauvoo became a breeding place for outlaws, and probably the true story of all the outrages committed by these outlaws will never be told. Fugitives from justice sought refuge there, and if anyone should be arrested witnesses could always be found to prove an "alibi." 

Nauvoo being just across the river from Lee County, there was a large number of that faith, or sympathizers called "Jack Mormons,' 1 who lived on the west side of the river. Among these was Bill Hickman, whose home was near the present village of Galland.He was a member of the famous Danite band, which it has been said "was composed of the most desperate members of the church- men whose very souls were steeped in blood, and who would scruple at nothing commanded by their more desperate leader, the prophet." 

Hickman was at one time captain of this band. He owned a fast horse, and scarcely a public meeting was held at which he was not present, carefully listening to everything he could overhear. He and his followers appropriated the property of anti-Mormons, or Gentiles, without compunction, and where such property could not be taken by stealth they took it by force. Hickman was indicted for stealing meat from an old man named John Wright and sent to the Lee County jail, but was never tried. 

The Mormon outrages in Lee County culminated on May 10, 1845, in the murder of John Miller, a Mennonite preacher, and his son-in-law, Henry Leisy, who lived about three miles southwest of West Point. A cap found on the premises was recognized as belonging to one William Hodges, and upon this clue William and Stephen Hodges, two brothers living near Keokuk, were arrested. On May 15, 1845, five days after the murder, the Hodges brothers and Thomas Brown were indicted by the grand jury at West Point for the murder of John Miller, by stabbing him, on the Saturday previous. The case was finally tried in Burlington, a change of venue having been granted, the jury returning a verdict of guilty in the case of William and Stephen Hodges, and they were hanged by the sheriff" of Des Moines County on July 15, 1845. 

The excitement following the murder of these two inoffensive citizens was increased by the murder of Colonel Davenport on July 4, 1845, at Rock Island, Illinois, and resulted in the organization of the people into a band of vigilantes, which commenced a war of extermination. It is not certain that any citizens of Lee County belonged to these vigilantes, but it is certain that many of the people on this side of the river sympathized with that organization. Public indignation in Lee County found expression in a meeting on October 16, 1845, at which stringent resolutions denouncing the cruelties of the Mormons were adopted, and an Anti-Mormon ticket was nominated. Judge Edward Johnstone was the principal speaker at the meeting, and one of the resolutions was that the Mormons should be expelled from the country — "peaceably if possible, forcibly if necessary." 

The Anti-Mormon candidates for the Legislature were Col. William Patterson and Capt. Jesse B. Browne. An address to the voters and taxpayers of Lee County was issued immediately after the meeting, calling attention to the merits of these candidates, their pledge to use every effort to expel the Mormons, and asking the support of the people. 

The Anti-Mormon ticket was elected by a substantial majority, and the Mormons, seeing the handwriting on the wall, began making their preparations to leave the country. After the real Mormons were gone their sympathizers, still remaining in the community, continued horse stealing, petty larceny and counterfeiting, but the assassination of reputable citizens was ended. One incident that made the expulsion of the Mormons easier was the fact that Prophet Joseph Smith had been assassinated on June 27, 1844, while confined in the jail at Carthage, Illinois, and the loss of the leader had left the members of the Mormon Church in a somewhat disorganized condition. 

Matthew Spurlock, Counterfeiter

Among the noted characters of early days in Lee County was Matthew Spurlock, generally referred to as "Old Spurlock, the counterfeiter." He was a native of Virginia, but spent his early manhood in Eastern Kentucky, where he first became known as a counterfeiter. From Kentucky he went to Alabama, but got into trouble in that state, and some time in the '30s located at Augusta, on the Skunk River. There is no positive evidence that Spurlock was ever engaged in the actual production of counterfeit money, but the reputation he had won he turned to good account. He nearly always carried some bright, new silver coins, which he exhibited as samples of his own make, and when he found some one desirous of making some "easy money" offered to sell him counterfeit coins at greatly reduced prices. After the deal was made, some friend of Spurlock would impersonate an officer of the law and frighten the purchaser out of the community. It is said that in one case Spurlock secured $1,500 from a Burlington man by this method. The money received through this channel rarely did him much good, as he was an inveterate gambler and nearly always lost. After a residence of some years at Augusta, he removed to Schuyler County, Illinois, where he lived until about 1843, when he went to Jefferson County, Iowa, and died there in 1858. Some of his children continued to live in that county and became good citizens. 

Constitutional Conventions

In the first constitutional convention, which met at Iowa City on October 7, 1844, and continued in session until the 1st of the following month, Lee County was represented by Charles Staley, Alexander Kerr, David Galland, Calvin J. Price, James Marsh, John Thompson, Henry N. Salmon and O. S. X. Peck. The constitution framed by this convention was rejected by the people at an election held on August 4, 1845.
 
The second convention met at Iowa City on May 4, 1846. The Lee County delegates in that convention were David Galland, Josiah Kent, George Berry, Enos Lowe, Shephard Leffler and George Bowie. This convention adjourned on May 19, 1846, and the constitution was ratified by the people on August 3, 1846, by a majority of 456. 

Under this constitution Iowa was admitted as a state. It remained the organic law of the state until 1857, when the present constitution was adopted by a convention which assembled at Iowa City on January 13th, and remained in session until March 5th. Lee County was represented in that convention by Edward Johnstone and William Patterson, and the district composed of Lee and Van Buren counties was represented by Squire Ayres. 

Flood and Storm

Fortunately for the people of Lee County, the greater portion of the surface lies high enough that no flood of the Mississippi River has ever wrought great damage to property, yet it may be of interest to know at least the dates when some of the great floods have occurred. 

The old French archives at Kaskaskia, Illinois, contain mention of a great flood of 1724, but all accounts of the event are based on Indian tradition and are not altogether reliable. The same archives contain an account of a great flood in 1772, and mention the fact that the crops around Kaskaskia were completely destroyed by the flood of 1785. 

The years of 181 1, 1824 and 1826 are noted in history as times when the great Father of Waters wrought considerable damage along its course, but the first great flood of which there is any authentic account regarding Lee County occurred late in the winter of 1832-33. That winter was one of unusual severity, ice forming in the Mississippi more than thirty inches in thickness. It was broken by a sudden rise in the river, and at the foot of the Des Moines rapids, in front of Keokuk, a great ice gorge was formed. An elm tree three feet in diameter standing on the levee was cut more than half off by the floating ice, about four hundred cords of wood were carried away, and a large quantity of pig lead piled up at the boat landing was buried under the mud and not recovered until the fol- lowing June. Several steamboats were seriously damaged by floating ice and some smaller craft were completely wrecked. 

The great flood of 1844 is still remembered by a few of the oldest residents. Nearly all the streams in the county overflowed their banks, and again there was an ice gorge at the foot of the rapids, where the ice was piled up to a height of more than thirty feet. Considerable damage was done to river shipping, and several weeks passed before all the ice melted away. 

The flood in the spring of 191 2 attracted more attention than any preceding one, for the reason that the great dam at Keokuk was then in process of construction and many expected to see it carried away. The winter of 191 1-12 was severe, and the ice in the river was much thicker than usual. About 2 P. M. on Sunday, March 24, the ice broke and came over the rapids in huge volume. It piled up against the coffer-dam to a height of thirty feet or more above the top of that structure, and the banks of the river were crowded with people, expecting every minute to see the destruction of the work, in which they were happily disappointed. The coffer-dam resisted the pressure, but a small army of men were on guard day and night during the next two weeks to protect the work against the high waters. On April 7th a storm came down the river, which threatened to complete the destruction the ice had failed to accomplish. Several cars loaded with sand, ready for just such an emergency, were rushed to the scene, and more than five thousand sacks of sand were piled on the coffer-dam, thus enabling it to resist the action of the wind and water. 

One of the greatest storms in the history of Lee County was the cyclone of July 4, 1876, which did considerable damage. Probably the greatest one instance of destruction wrought by this storm was the unroofing of St. Mary's Church at Fort Madison, and otherwise damaging the building.

Illustrious Sons

In the chapters devoted to literature, the bench and bar, and the medical profession, extended mention is made of a number of men and women of Lee County who have won distinction in those professions. The county has likewise been well represented in politics and diplomatic affairs. 

In national politics Samuel F. Miller served for many years as one of the judges of the Supreme Court. John N. Irwin, who was elected mayor of Keokuk in 1876, was appointed territorial governor of Idaho in 1883, by President Arthur; governor of Arizona in 1 890, by President Harrison ; and on April 1 8, 1 899, was appointed minister to Portugal by President McKinley. William W. Belknap served as secretary of war under President Grant, and George W. McCrary in the same office under President Hayes. John B. Howell, the veteran journalist, who was born in New Jersey, July 4, 1816, came to Lee County in the spring of 1849. He was editor of the Keokuk Gate City until 1870, when he was elected United States senator to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Hon. James W. Grimes of Burlington. In the lower house of Congress the First Iowa District was represented by Daniel F. Miller, from 1849 to 1 85 1 ; by Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, from 1857 t0 ^63; by George W. McCrary, from 1869 to 1877, an d by Samuel M. Clarke, from 1895 to 1899. Mr. Clarke was a son of Rev. Samuel Clarke, the Methodist minister who held the first quarterly meeting in Keokuk, and was associated with Mr. Howell for some time on the editorial staff and later as part owner of the Gate City. In 1906 Charles A. Kennedy of Montrose was elected congressman from the First Dis- trict, and was reelected at each succeeding election, still holding the office in 19 14. 

In the political affairs of the state, Ralph P. Lowe served as governor and judge of the Supreme Court; Joseph M. Beck and John F. Kinney also served upon the Supreme bench of the state. Jesse B. Browne, one of the pioneer lawyers, who came to Lee County in command of a company of Dragoons stationed at old Fort Des Moines, was the speaker of the house in the First State Legislature in 1846. William A. Hornish was state printer from January to May, 1853, when he resigned. Daniel S. Lee became adjutant-general on April 3, 1851, and served for four years. This office was also occupied by Noble Warwick, a Lee County man, from June 27, 1878, to the following August, when he resigned. James D. Eads was superintendent of public instruction from 1854 t0 I %57- And Drs. J. A. Scroggs and Walton Bancroft, of Keokuk, each served for some time on the state board of health. 

In all walks of life, whether as farmer, artisan, merchant, professional man or public official, the sons of Lee County have, as a rule, given to their calling their best endeavors and have left behind them reputations for character and ability that reflect credit upon themselves and the county in which they lived.

Statistical Review                                                            

More than a century has passed since Louis Honore Tesson, in 1796, established the first white man's domicile within the confines of what is now Lee County, and more than three-quarters of a century since the county was organized by the Territorial Legislature of Wisconsin in 1836. The growth in population, as shown by the United States since 1840, the first official census after the county was organized, is shown in the following table: 
 

1840 6,093
1850 18,861
i860 29,232
1870 37,210
1880 34,859
1890 37,715
1900 39,719
1910 36,702

From this table it will be seen that the greatest proportionate growth during any decade was from 1840 to 1850, when the increase in population was over two hundred per cent. Twice in the history of the county there has been a decline between the years of the census — once from 1870 to 1880 and again from 1900 to 1910. The decrease in population during these periods is due chiefly to the opening of new lands in other parts of the country, which offered inducements to men of moderate means to acquire homes. This change has effected all parts of the county about alike, A as may be seen by a comparison of the last three official census reports relating to the population, given by townships, to wit:

TOWNSHIP
1890
1900
1900
Cedar
835
827
863
Charleston
990
935
786
Denmark
817
717
674
Des Moines
1,061
1,004
799
Franklin
1,457
1,397
1,290
Green Bay
727
898
744
Harrison
835
735
614
Jackson
15,511
16,243
15,446
Jefferson
894
796
607
Madison
7,911
9,278
8,920
Marion
980
861
746
Montrose
1,788
1,813
1,780
Pleasant RIdge
752
795
588
Van Buren
878
876
613
Washington
863
994
910
West Point
1,426
1,880
1,342

In the above table the cities of Keokuk and Fort Madison, and the incorporated towns, are included in the townships in which they are situated. Notwithstanding the decrease in population, the wealth of the county has not fallen off, but statistics concerning the various industries indicate a steady and substantial increase in the amount of capital invested and the value of the output of farms and factories, and more money was expended for schools and road buildings in 1913 than in any preceding year of the county's history. 

Chronology

In the foregoing chapters a conscientious effort has been made to show the progress of Lee County along industrial, educational, professional and religious lines, as well as her part in the military and political affairs of the state and nation. As a fitting conclusion to this work, the following list of the principal events leading up to the settlement and organization of the county, or having some bearing upon its more recent history, has been compiled for ready reference. At first glance, some of these events may seem remotely connected with the county's story, but each one wielded an influence in shaping its destiny. 

June 21, 1673. Marquette and Joliet landed near Montrose, on their voyage down the Mississippi, and were the first white men to set foot upon Iowa soil. 

, 1796. Louis Honore Tesson settled where the Town of Montrose now stands, on a grant of land given him by the Spanish Government of Louisiana. 

April 30, 1803. Treaty of Paris, by which Napoleon transferred the French Province of Louisiana to the United States. The present State of Iowa was included in the territory thus acquired. 

October 31, 1803. Congress passed an act authorizing the President to take possession of the region purchased from France and establish a temporary government therein. 

October 1, 1804. Louisiana divided into the Territory of Orleans and District of Louisiana. That part of the new purchase now comprising the State of Iowa was by this act made subject to the Territory of Indiana. 

January 11, 1805. Territory of Michigan established by act of Congress. Later in the year Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike passed up the Mississippi River, on an exploring expedition to its headwaters, and on August 21st held a council with the Indians about where Montrose is now situated. 

1807. Iowa made a part of the Territory of Illinois. 

September, 1808. Fort Madison established by Lieutenant Kingsley. 

1812. Territory of Missouri established and Iowa included in the new territory. 

September 3, 1813. Fort Madison evacuated and burned. 

September 13, 1815. Treaty of peace with the Sac and Fox Indians of Iowa concluded at Portage des Sioux.

1820. Dr. Samuel C. Muir built the first house in Keokuk. In this year Lemoliese and Blondeau, French traders, established posts on the Mississippi River in Lee County.

August 4, 1824. The Half-Breed Tract, embracing the southern half of the present County of Lee, established by treaty with the Sacs and Foxes. 

July 1$, 1830. Treaty establishing the "Neutral Ground' 1 between the Sacs and Foxes on the south and the Sioux Indians on the north. 

1832. Capt. James White made a claim and built a house on the site of the present Town of Montrose. 

August 2, 1832. Last battle of the Black Hawk war, in which the Indians were defeated. 

September 21, 1832. A treaty concluded at Davenport, Iowa, by which the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States the strip forty miles wide across Eastern Iowa known as the "Black Hawk Purchase." 

June I, 1833. Title to the lands of the Black Hawk Purchase becomes fully vested in the United States. In this year the first post office in Iowa was established at Dubuque. 

June 28, 1834. President Jackson approved the act attaching Iowa to the Territory of Michigan. 

September, 1834. The Legislature of Michigan created two counties — Dubuque and Des Moines — in what is now the State of Iowa. Lee County was a part of Des Moines. 

1834. In this year Fort Des Moines was established by Lieutenant Crosman, where the Town of Montrose is now situated. 

April 20, 1836. President Jackson approved the act of Congress creating the Territory of Wisconsin, which included all the present State of Iowa, the act to take effect on July 4, 1836. 

May 11, 1836. The Dubuque Visitor, the first newspaper ever published in Iowa, made its appearance, with John King as editor. 

December 7, 1836. Lee County established by an act of the Wisconsin Legislature. 

March 27, 1837. First term of the District Court in Lee County began, with Judge David Irvin presiding. 

April 3, 1837. First election for county officers in Lee County. 

April 17, 1837. First meeting of the board of county supervisors held in Fort Madison. 

January 19, 1838. Special act passed by the Wisconsin Legislature for the incorporation of the Town of Fort Madison. 

May 7, 1838. First election for president and board of trustees of Fort Madison — Philip Viele elected president. 

October 3, 1838. Chief Black Hawk died. 

November, 1838. First sale of Government lands in the Black Hawk Purchase conducted at Burlington. A large number of Lee County settlers attended the sale.

January 25, 1839. Governor Lucas approved the act of the Iowa Legislature locating the penitentiary at Fort Madison. 

March 9, 1840. The commissioners appointed by the Legislature to locate the permanent seat of justice of Lee County reported in favor of Franklin. 

February 12, 1842. The Legislature of Iowa passed an act grant- ing the Town of Fort Madison a new charter. 

April 4, 1842. Isaac R. Atlee elected the first mayor of Fort Madison. 

September 8-10, 1842. First agricultural fair in Lee County held near Keokuk. 

March 20, 1843. The county seat of Lee County located at West Point by a board of three commissioners appointed by the Legislature. 

June 27, 1844. Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, killed while a prisoner in the jail at Carthage, Illinois. The event created great excitement in Lee County. 

August 4, 1845. An election held to decide the county seat question. Fort Madison made the permanent seat of Government by a decisive majority. 

1846. First bank in Lee County opened at Keokuk by George C. Anderson. 

December 28, 1846. Iowa admitted into the Union as a state. 

December 13, 1847. Keokuk incorporated and the incorporation was approved on February 23, 1848. 

January 3, 1848. First election for city officers in Keokuk. William A. Clark elected mayor. 

April 1, 1855. Two hundred Mormons from England and Wales reached Keokuk on their way to Salt Lake. Two hundred more arrived ten days later. They remained in camp for several days at Keokuk before starting on their journey across the plains. 

, 1857. The cities of Keokuk and Fort Madison connected by a line of railway. 

April 17, 1861. The first "war meeting" in Lee County held in Keokuk. 

April 18, 1 861. A large and enthusiastic "war meeting" at Fort Madison. 

May 14, 1 861. The First Iowa Regiment mustered into the United States service at Keokuk for three months. Lee County was represented in four companies of this regiment. 

August 5, 1 861. Battle of Athens, Missouri, near the Iowa border. Some Iowa men were engaged. 

February 20, 1868. The first artesian water in Lee County struck at Keokuk in a well drilled by Joseph Kurtz at his brewery on the plank road. 

July 4, 1870. A fire in Keokuk destroyed several buildings at the corner of Fourth and Blondeau streets. 

January, 1871. First railroad completed across the state to Council Bluffs. 

January 14, 1871. One of the greatest snow storms that ever occurred in Iowa. The snow drifted to the depth of six or eight feet in places and travel was impeded for several days. 

April 13, 1871. Lee County Old Settlers' Association organized. Annual reunions have been held since that date.

April 19, 1871. The first railroad train crossed the Mississippi River on the bridge at Keokuk. 

July 4, 1881. Corner-stone of the Keokuk Public Library laid bv the Grand Master of Iowa Masons. 

December 7, 1887. The first train of cars crossed the Mississippi on the bridge at Fort Madison. 

February 27, 1888. Commencement of the big strike on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad lines. 

August 28, 1890. First electric street car appeared in Keokuk. 

1893. The Cattermole Memorial Library in Fort Madison opened to the public.

1895. Electric street cars introduced in Fort  Madison. The street railway in Fort Madison was completed in July, 1887, and cars were drawn by mules until 1895. 

May 17, 1898. The Fiftieth Iowa Infantry mustered into the United States service at Des Moines for the Spanish-American war. Lee County was represented in Companies A, F and L. 

October 1, 1907. President Roosevelt visited Keokuk. 

November 5, 1912. Presidential election. Woodrow Wilson, the democratic candidate, carried Lee County by 1,662 plurality. 

August 25-28, 1913. The big dam across the Mississippi River at Keokuk formally opened with a big celebration. Thousands of people came to witness the ceremonies. 

June 1, 1914. The new post office building at Fort Madison opened to the public. 

Postscript - In Lieu of a Preface 

In bidding the reader good-by, the editors and publishers of this work desire to say that every effort has been made to give to the people of Lee County an authentic and comprehensive history —authentic, because so far as possible the officials' records have been used as sources of information, and comprehensive, because, it is believed, no important event in the county's history has been neglected. 

The work has been one involving great care and labor and much of the credit is due to old residents for their ready and willing cooperation in the collection of data regarding events of by-gone years. 

The editors and members of the Advisory Board take this opportunity to express their obligations to the county officials and their assistants, and especially to thank the librarians of the Cattermole Memorial Library at Fort Madison and the Keokuk Public Library, for their uniform courtesies while the work was in course of preparation.


Source:  History of Lee County, Iowa, by Dr. S. W. Moorhead and Nelson C. Roberts, 1914

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