Muscatine County Iowa
Cemetery Records


This cemetery information was submitted by Dave Dunston. The source of the data listed below was from the Graves Registration Project, done by the WPA organization, back in the 1930's. Dave also found an article from 1931 that he believes helps support this information. We believe that very few graves exist here. Once you read the article you will notice that the Clark information differs from the database. We don't know which is correct. Also Dave found evidence that that Theresa Grosjean died in 1933, so it is possible that Frank Tarpy owed the property when the WPA was working on the gravestone project in 1938. It is doubtful that now one would be able to see these tombstones. Surely they have crumbled to pieces and are now non-existing. It is hoped that this database will help someone with their research. Good luck!!

Surname First Name Age or Birth Date Death Date Notes
Clark Thomas Age 12 yrs. 10/29/1818 Grave on Frank Tarxy farm
Graham Thomas B. Age 15 yrs. 11/30/1848 Son of R. & M. Graham---Grave on Frank Tarpy farm

Ancient Graves Found on Bluff Near City---(By Bob Morris)

Did you ever close your eyes and try to vision Muscatine and the surrounding country-side 113 years ago, when the old Mississippi was over a mile wide at the foot of Iowa avenue, with not a house or road for miles around, nothing but timber, underbrush and Indians? In this day of paved roads, radio, airplanes and automobiles it is hard indeed for this busy world to stop and try to vision the hardships, battles and primitive conditions under which our early settlers laid the first cornerstone of the foundation which has grown into the present thriving community.

These visions of the long ago were brought very vividly to the writer a few days ago on a trip west of the Burlington road to what is known as the Theresa Grosjean place, nine miles from this city. On the top of one of those majestic bluffs overlooking miles of fertile fields to the south-ward can be found two old tombstones, one of which was placed over a well-rounded grave just 13 years before the firs settlers came to what is now known as Muscatine in 1833. And the other, the grave of a young lad of 15 years after the first house was built on the site now occupied by our thriving city. The first stone, just a slab about four feet high by two feet wide, worn and crumbled away by the elements of nature, bears the following inscription:

"Joseph Clark, Died Oct. 29, 1818 in the 42 year of his age. Praises on Lambs are titles vainly ____ Man's good name is his best monument."

On account of the weather beaten condition of the marker one word of the inscription was illegible and that word I have left blank.

The other marker, a smaller stone about two feet high by one foot wide, did not show the signs of the elements as badly as the first, and the inscription can be plainly read. It says:

"Thomas B.------Son of R. and M. Graham. Died Nov. 30, 1848. Aged 15 years."

These two mute reminders of a forgotten day stand on the pinnacle of one of the largest bluffs overlooking Muscatine island. And there they have stood, forgotten by relatives, friends and the busy world, back among the monarchs of the forest, the mighty oaks, for over a century to remind us of the day when men were men, trials and hardships a daily routine and of the great struggle these hardy pioneers went through that you and I might enjoy the comforts and luxuries of a civilized world.

After inspecting these two reminders of the long ago and after looking through the history of Muscatine and Muscatine county, this writer cannot help believing that Joseph Clark was probably the first white man to settle in this community. In tracing the early Clark family who first settled in Buffalo I was able to gain some information.

Had Tavern in Wisconsin

It seems that Benjamin W. Clark, a native of Virginia emigrated to Illinois, thence to White Oak Springs, Wisconsin, where he opened a tavern in 1829. In 1832, when the Blackhawk war extended into that section, the settlers gathered and fortified his tavern. Clark formed a company of Rangers and was given the rank of captain. When peace was restored, he, with his family, settled at Rockport, Ill., the present site of Andalusia, Ill.

With the opening of land on the western shore of the Mississippi he moved across the river to a point now known as Buffalo, Iowa, where he built the first log cabin and planted his first crop in the early summer of 1832, moving his family across in December of the same year. In 1835, the original cabin was replaced by a more comfortable one. This year he also built a two-story hotel, as more settlers had come by this time. A survey of government land was completed in 1839 and Captain Benjamin Clark, while returning from Burlington became ill on the steamboat and within a few days he died from inflammation of the brain. He was followed in a short time by his widow. They were survived by eight children.

Building Still Stands.

The first hotel which Benjamin Clark built in Buffalo is still standing in that town and is now used as a part of a grocery store. David H. Clark, his son, was the first white child born in the settlement on April 2, 1834. He was also the first white child born in Scott county. The first surgical operation in Scott county was performed in the Clark cabin in Buffalo in 1834. The patient was John Shook, who had four toes frozen and they were crudely cut off with the almost razor-like edge of a chisel. The patient lived to walk again although with a slight limp in his stride.

Joseph Clark probably is in some way connected with the Captain Benjamin Clark who first settled Buffalo before Muscatine was settled. However Joseph Clark lived, died and was buried a short way from where Muscatine now stands before the Benjamin Clark family moved from Virginia. What he was doing here, where he lived and what he accomplished in his 42 years on this earth probably never will be known.

On High Bluff.

The two graves are on a bluff, 200 feet in height, just west of the Theresa Grosjean place, and they were discovered by L. M. Neyens of this city while "walking fence" in that district. Both graves face the north, contrary to our present day way of placing graves, facing the east.

It is a pleasant and scenic ride to the Grosjean place and the climb up the bluff to the location of the graves will do more good than harm. Take a look at them and when you are at the very summit of the bluff look across the country and stop and think what that same country looked like when that tombstone was placed above the grave where it is now found. (source of this information: "THE MUSCATINE JOURNAL and NEWS-TRIBUNE", Saturday, February 21, 1931, front page.)

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This page was created January 18, 2005