The Wapello Republican
June 18, 1981, Section B, Page 78

Transcribed by Shirley Plumb, June 22, 2018

Two Distilleries In Old Louisa County Settlement

     Toolesborough, original spelling – now spelled Toolesboro – was originally names Blackhawk when it was first settled back in 1836.

     It was quite a town, having had two distilleries, a crockery, three mills for grinding corn and one for grinding wheat, several fine stores and a fair sized warehouse and what was probably the first tavern in Louisa County.

     This was a double log cabin occupied by the Maximillan Eastwood family and old histories tell of the “large flaming red letters on the sign outside of his cabin which read: ‘M. D. Inn’.”

     Blackhawk was the first settlement in Louisa County and it was laid out as a city by William L. Toole in 1837 and named after himself, Toolesborough. Shortly afterward the first post office in the county was established there on May 27, 1837 with Toole as the postmaster.

     The site today is just a wide spot in the road but in 1869 the population was 846 whites and 17 colored folks living there. It was located on one of the most beautiful spots in Jefferson Township and one of the most historical, with the hundreds f ancient Indian mounds in the vicinity. Standing on top of one of these mounds on the brow of the bluff, one can see fully ten miles up and down the Mississippi river and over into Illinois, the drowsy hills, round shouldered with age.

     Jefferson Township was the earliest settled in Louisa County. Among the early settlers are Wm. L. Toole, Elisha Hook, 1836; Wm. Fleming, Issac Parsons, Jonathan Parson, 1837; Peter Keever, Jonas Ruffner, Asa Mallory, 1838. A few that came earlier, but no exact date is known, are these families: Bird, Springer, Hale, Hook, Guest, Palmer, Shuck and Parsons.

     The noted circuit rider of the Methodist church, Peter Cartwright, was the first preacher to stop here and C. H. Fisk was the permanent preacher. John Ferguson was the first teacher, teaching in the first regular schoolhouse in Louisa County which was built here.

     Toolesboro, as first laid out started in below the bluffs on the Iowa river with the first street running north and south along the river called Water Street, then in order were Valley Street, Indian, Bluff, Mound, Prairie, Market, Fort and Grove Streets.

     The streets running east and west were, starting on the north end, Cherry, Oak, Pine, Chestnut, Main, Walnut and Cedar Streets. All streets were 60 feet wide except Main and Market which comprised the business district and these were 80 feet wide.

     Blackhawk (Toolesboro) was the port of entry for Louisa County and all the river traffic and packet boats made this their regular stopping place when traveling up and down the Iowa river and also the Mississippi.

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