Muscatine County Iowa

Source: History of Muscatine County Iowa, Volume I, 1911, pages 61-63


In May, 1835, came James W. Casey, who settled a short distance west of the Farnham cabin, at the foot of Broadway. He was the first actual settler in Muscatine, then Bloomington, and built a cabin on his claim in the fall of 1835. Here it was his intention to build a town. He had already given the site of it the name of Newburg, although his claim was known as "Casey's Landing" and "Casey's Woodyard." Mr. Casey died in the fall of 1836 and his was the first death in the county.

In the summer of 1835 Arthur Washburn arrived at Casey's Landing and remained there until fall. Later, he became a clerk in the store at Montpelier, opened by Major William Gordon and Ben Nye. Dr. Eli Reynolds came in 1835 and settled in what is now Sweetland township. He chose for his claim, with Harvey Gillet, a tract of land on the river front about three miles from Muscatine, and there laid out the now extinct town of Geneva (see Sweetland township).

From this time on a steady growth in numbers among the settlers became more and more evident. Colonel John Vanatta came in 1836 to Muscatine and bought the Farnham, or Davenport claim, and in 1837 Weare Long built the first sawmill in the county, on Sweetland creek. The first grist mill in the county was erected on Pine creek in 1837, by Benjamin Nye, and the same year Dr. Eli Reynolds and John Lawson put up a steam sawmill at Geneva, the first in the county. Robert Smith, an engineer, came with the machinery for this mill from St. Louis, and was placed in charge of the mill when it became ready for operation. The mill was later moved to Muscatine.

The third postoffice in the county was located at Geneva in 1838 and S. C. Comstock presided over it. He soon resigned and Amos Walton, who had come to the county that year, was his successor, retaining the position until his death, when the office was discontinued. In 1838 there was another store started in Geneva, by James Davis, who was the first sheriff of the county.

In 1838 there were 1,247 inhabitants in Muscatine county, and in 1840 the number had increased to 1,942.

By 1844 the population was almost double the number in 1840, or 2,882; and from thence on settlers, most of them a hardy, thrifty and God-fearing people, located in the community, many of them entering land and opening farms, and others engaging in business in the new river metropolis of Bloomington, or putting hands and hearts into the various mechanical arts and industries open to them. A partial list of settlers, from the time of the Nyes and Thorntons to the last one in 1839, is here given. To undertake a recital of all would be an utter impossibility, for the reason no record of them is in existence and no one now living is able to remember but a small fraction of even the more prominent ones. Those here given are from the records of the Old Settlers' Association, which are in themselves distressingly incomplete:

1834---Benjamin and Azuba Nye, Err Thornton, Lott Thornton Nye.

1835---James W. Casey, John Vanatta, John McGrew, Arthur Washburn, Dr. Eli Reynolds.

1836---Suel Foster, Moses Couch, William Gordon, John J. Huber, Thomas Burdett, H. Burdett, Addison Reynolds, Samuel Gilbert, Hiram Gilbert, William St. John, Thomas B. Holliday, John H. Miller, John Holliday, Samuel Holliday, Elias Holliday, Levi Thornton, J. H. Benson, Edward E. Fay, J. Craig, John Reece, Henry Reece, Joseph Reece, Harvey Gillett, William Beard, William P. Wright, L. C. Hine, Mr. Higley and his son Jonas, Joshua Stearn, Browning Stearn, Frank Casey, W. H. Sams, Solomon Bair, William Hunter, John Cobb, John Marble, Daniel Edginton, Samuel Kinney, R. C. Kinney, Aaron Blanchard, Samuel Parker, Giles Pettibone, Johathan Pettibone, John Champ, Silas Maine, Charles Maine, Norman Fullington, Adam Ogilvie, T. M. Isett, Mr. Norton and wife, William Chambers, Sr., and his sons Vincent, William, Isaac, Anderson and John, Aaron Brewer, James Chambers, S. C. Comstock, J. H. Franklin, Henry Mockmore, Robert Bamford, Charles Drury.

1837---Joseph Bridgman, Richard Lord, Silas Lathrop, Isaac Lathrop, Samuel Shortridge, John Briggs, Asa Gregg, Henry Funck, Adam Funck, William Sparkes, Thomas Starks, S. Clinton Hastings, R. Robert Davis, H. Wiley, Silas Goldsbury, George Bumgardner, William G. Holmes, Addison Gillett, Samuel Storms, John Frierson, John Main, Ahimaaz Blanchard, George Storms, Jeremiah Fish, Charles H. Fish, Pliny Fay, H. H. Hine, John Miles, Davie Kiefer, Robert Smith, Jacob Kiser, Wilson Wright, J. Richman, Robert Graham, John Lawson, Martin Sutherland, Alexander Ward, L. T. McGrew, Amos Walton, Isaiah Davis, Alexander Ward, Myron Ward, John Kindler, Dr. Maxon, A. Whiting, William Todd, H. Sany, S. Richardson, F. Richardson, C. Rayburn, A. Cone, Daniel Mauck, Isaac Mauck, S. C. Trowbridge, Giles Pettibone, John Morford, J. Berg, J. C. Cole, J. S. Yates, J. G. Morrow, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Vandever, John Miller, S. Colver, Dr. H. Lee, Jacob Long, James Bidwell, Peter Bidwell, John S. Abbott, Robert McClaren, Benjamin Baston, John Shefrey, A. L. McKee, Luke Cunningham, Joseph Mounts, Thomas J. Starke, Nathan Parsons, James Davis, Samuel Parker, Christopher Burns, Levi Chamberlain, Samuel Starr, the Coombs family, Anderson Pace, Aaron Usher, Niles Higginbotham.

1838---T. S. Parvin, Judge Joseph Williams, M. M. Berkshire, A. T. Banks, J. E. Fletcher, Samuel Lucas, Thomas Morford, D. R. Warfield, A. O. Warfield, Josiah P. Walton, John W. Walton, S. W. Stewart, W. D. Viele, Peter Jackson, Henry W. Moore, Abraham Smalley, J. A. Reuling, A. M. Winn, Andrew McCurdy, J. Williams, Jr., William Morford, R. Morford, B. T. Howland, J. W. Brady, George Barney, Mr. Hawkins, Irad C. Day, D. R. Petriken, W. S. Ayers, A. West, James Beatty, John M. Kidder, J. M. Brockway, A. Brockway, W. Tebow, Charles Browning, James Phillips, A. Farnsworth, Samuel Bamford, Horace Deming, John Isler, Amos Lillibridge, Azel Farnsworth, Benjamin Lilly, Alonzo Standard.

1839---John A. Parvin, J. M. Kane, G. W. Kincaid, J. McCloud, J. A. Purinton, E. T. S. Schenck, C. A. Abbot, Mathew Mathews, Clark Mathews, W. W. DeWeber, Hiram Mathews, Benjamin S. Olds, G. E. Daniels, G. W. Humphreys, Samuel Tarr, S. N. Candee, F. H. Stone, James Weed, Z. Washburn, J. K. Williams, M. Gilbert, J. E. Israel, George M. Kinsley, Dennis Jeffers, Joseph Bennett, D. C. Cloud, William Leffingwell, J. Scott Richman, William A. Gordon, John Giles, S. D. Viele, Samuel Sinnett, Isaac Magoon, George D. Magoon, W. G. Woodward, A. R. Woodward, Alexander Dunmore, Shephard Smalley, John Smalley, William Smalley, Jackson Smalley, Henry Smalley, Tiley Smalley, S. Whicher, J. Ziegler, J. A. McCormick, G. W. Hunt, A. M. Hare, H. Q. Jennison, Stephen B. Brophy, L. Truesdale, William Brownell, G. A. Springer, P. Fryberger, Benjamin and Edward Mathews, Daniel S. Smith, Silas Hawley, Barton Lee.

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