Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 3 - Page 17-18, Submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, May 4, 2012

Page 17

Served First As Church
Photo of Building

Originally constructed in 1851 as a Methodist church, and used for that purpose for approximately 18 years, the two story brick structure pictured above subsequently served as Muscatine’s city hall. The view above, taken63 years ago, shows the 65 by 45 foot structure, located on the northwest corner of Third and Sycamore streets as it appeared when occupied by the city.

Upon the erection of the present city hall building, this structure was used for a period of years for storage purposes and later demolished to make way for the present administration building of the municipal electric and water departments.

* * * * * * *



In 1898 - Mr. Henry Umlandt founded this firm – at that time an old frame house which sat in back of our present building was used – he was the first button manufacturer to use the automatic machines – that is how our name originated.

In 1935 – Realizing the popularity of plastic buttons and novelties as a means of decoration or to add color, we started to manufacture them.

Today – We have patents pending and are starting production on another new product – Self-Locking Expanding Sign Lense – which is used to display signs, novelties, etc. – the use of which, is unlimited.

We Feel We Have Earned the Right to Use PROGRESS
Automatic Button Co.
Established in 1898

* * * * * * *

Page 18

Robert Lucas, First to Serve As Iowa Governor,
Was Muscatine Resident for Two Years Period

Photo of Robert Lucas
Less than one year after the founding of The Journal, Muscatine became the home of a man who was the first to serve in the office of governor of the territory of Iowa. This first Iowa governor was Robert Lucas, whose name is still a familiar one here due to the fact that it was applied to Lucas street – the street on which the governor lived during the two years he was in Muscatine.

At the age of 57, while he was a resident of Ohio, Lucas was appointed by President Van Buren to the governorship of the territory of Iowa. On arriving at Burlington, then the capital of Iowa, on August 1838, he immediately assumed his official duties and remained in the governor’s chair until June 17, 1841.

History records that on June 29, 1841, just 12 days after he finished his governorship, Lucas became a member of the Muscatine Masonic lodge. For two years Lucas lived a quiet life in the community, occasionally speaking at democratic meetings, or making trips to Burlington and Iowa City.

Lucas, according to historians, was a man of striking appearance. A Jacksonian democrat, he was said to have resembled President Jackson not only in appearance but also in certain unyielding qualities while under fire. He was born in Virginia in 181 and in his young manhood served as a soldier in the war of 1812. For 15 years he served his adopted state, Ohio, as a member of its legislature and during those years took a prominent part in much important legislation. He had twice been elected governor of Ohio and had retired from public office with distinction and honor. In 1832 he was accorded the distinguished honor of presiding over the first national convention of the democratic party. Eight years later he accepted the appointment as governor of the Iowa territory. It was during his administration that the cornerstone of the new capital at Iowa City was laid. Governor Lucas was the orator on the memorable event that took place of July 4, 1840.

On May 16, 1843, Lucas left Muscatine by boat to return to his old home in Ohio, presumably to wind up his affairs preparatory to settling down on a claim near Iowa City. However, his career as a politician and a publicist was not yet at an end, as subsequent events proved.

Happening in on a democratic convention at Chillicothe, Ohio, in August, 1843, he was nominated for congress by his old friends. He accepted the nomination but was beaten at the polls. If any question remained in his mind as to his future residence, this defeat seemed to settle it. In the following spring he returned to Iowa City and built a house.

On his return to Iowa City, he found his neighbors disposed to make him a delegate to the second constitutional convention. Though the whigs questioned his eligibility, because of his recent campaign in Ohio, his eminent fitness for the service outweighed technical objections and he was duly elected and seated.

Here in the capital city which he had founded, Lucas spent his last days, with his family about him; and here on Feb. 7, 1853, at the age of 72, he died. He was buried in the Iowa City cemetery.

* * * * * * *

Photo of Old Structure - The years 1939 marked the passing of the once occupied by Robert Lucas, first governor of the territory of Iowa, a structure which stood on Lucas street for almost a century as a memorial to the man who fought to organize and establish the territory ofr Iowa. Late in the past year it was torn down to be replaced by a modern pumping station, constructed to harmonize with the present reservoir located there.

* * * * * * *

Kin to Iowa’s First Governor Came in 1830s

Photo of Samuel Lucas and Mrs. Lavisa Lucas Steenbergen - Close kin of Robert Lucas, first territorial governor of Iowa, and for a period a resident of Muscatine were Samuel Lucas, a cousin, and the governor’s sister, Mrs. Lavisa Lucas Steenbergen. Samuel Lucas came to Muscatine in 1838. He was born in Sciolo county, Ohio, Jan. 10, 1807 and was married in that state Oct. 17, 1833. His death occurred Oct. 5, 1878.

Mrs. Steenbergen was born in Virginia in 1784, coming here in 1839. She lived until March, 1865. Her husband was Charles Steenberger of Ohio who died in 1824.

* * * * * * *

Return to Centennial Table of Contents Page

Back to the Muscatine Co. IAGenWeb, Index Page

Page created May 6, 2012 by Lynn McCleary