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

Section 4 - Page 27 to 30, Submitted by Liz Casillas, May 27, 2012

Page 27

Patterson Among Early Businessmen in County
Photo of Robert H. Patterson

The town of Montpelier was laid out by Robert H. Patterson who built a store there in which trade was carried on with the Indians, they giving furs in return for goods received. Locating at the mouth of Pine Creek, it was Mr. Patterson who in the early days established many of the most important industries of the county.

Although in limited circumstances on his arrival here at the age of 17 years, in the year 1936, he overcame all difficulties and was eventually able to build a flouring-mill at a cost of $10,000. After operating his first saw mill for some months, he converted it into a flour mill which received the patronage of the settlers for miles around.

Mr. Patterson was born in Knox county, Ohio, Oct. 19, 1817. His wife was the former Laura L. Nye, daughter of Benjamin Nye. Mr. Patterson died Dec. 30, 1863.

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Page 28
Muscatine Hailed First Train
Prominent Dignitaries Participated in Big Celebration Held Here

Photo of locomotive ~ In Pioneer Class – Bearing the name of the great state of Iowa, this railroad engine was performing commendable service back in the era about 1871-75. One of the early types of wood burning locomotives, it was in service on the C. and N. W. railroad, with headquarters at Cedar Rapids.

John El Briggs, in a Journal of Jan. 7, 1935 writes that no place in Iowa is more than 12 miles from a railroad line. But was only 85 years ago, on Nov. 20, 1855, to be exact that two wood burning locomotives named “Muscatine” and “Davenport” brought the state’s first excursion train over the first rails laid in Iowa, to Muscatine to Davenport.

Loaded with dignitaries from as far away as Chicago the train arrived in Muscatine at high noon. It was greeted by a downpour of rain. That, however was no discouragement to thousands of visitors who had gathered in Muscatine. They lined the streets and crowded the railroad right away to the “Iron Horse” pull the first train of cars west of the Mississippi.

The Journal of that day devoted more than half its issue to the coming of the railroad. And well it might. It was a scene never before witnessed in the entire state of Iowa. The train’s coming heralded to the pioneers of Muscatine – the first ones had arrived a scant twenty-five years before – a new era in the history of transportation.

Gone was the covered wagon and the stage coach, on eastern trips at least. Gone too, although few realized it then, was the picturesque and bustling Mississippi river, packet with its friendly, glad-handing captain and its motley crew of roustabouts.

If Muscatine residents of that day thought of these things they gave no heed. The railroad had come! Their dreams, long cherished through hopes and disappointment, opposition and final realization, had at last come true. A continuous double line of shining steel stretched all the way to davenport, broke where the Mississippi river wound its sinuous length between Iowa and Illinois, then went on again across the plains of Illinois to Chicago from where other rails bore passengers and commerce to the Atlantic ocean. The Mississippi ---- the eastern shore of Ameri----united. Soon Iowa and ---- would be one in trade and commerce with the world at large.

Muscatine was proud of herself and the envy of every other Iowa city excepting Wilton and Davenport. For the railroad which connected Muscatine with Davenport was by the way of Wilton. It had been built by the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad company, formed in January, 1852 under the general laws of Iowa and for the purpose of building a railroad line across the state. It was to undertake the first railroad building program which resulted in any permanent structure in Iowa. Its capital stock was six million dollars with shares selling for $100 each. Already it had made contact with a bridge company which had been granted the privilege of spanning the Father of Waters at Davenport with the first bridge ever to extend from shore to shore over the Mississippi.

Construction of the first rail line in Iowa formally began at Davenport Sept. 1, 1853. On that day Antone Le Clarie, “the Father of Davenport” ceremoniously laid a railroad tie in loose earth at or near the high water mark of the Mississippi river. The tie remained there, along, perhaps half for-gotten, the only visible result of Iowa’s railroad dream, for almost eighteen months. Then, on April 16, 1855 actual construction began.

Through the summer parallel rails like feelers of some gigantic insect where pushed westward. The M. & M. proposed main route was from Davenport to Council Bluffs, surveyed to cross the northeast corner of Muscatine county into Cedar county, through Iowa City, 55 miles west of Davenport, on to Des Moines and to the Missouri river at or near Council Bluffs. It got as far as Wilton by Sept. 19, 1855.

Iowa City was clamoring for rail connections with Davenport and so was Muscatine. The former offered a bonus of $50,000 if it reached there before New Year’s day of the following year. The latter demanded a branch line from Wilton.

Owned by the Iowa State Historical society is a picture drawn by George Yewell and captioned “Muscatine Opposition” which shows the general feeling. Muscatine is depicted astride a bull which has its head lowered toward an oncoming locomotive. The animal has two riders, one playing upon a flute like instrument the “Railroad Overture” and another declaring “If we fail in this we declare everlasting hostility toward Iowa City and all therein.”

Officials of the M. & M. announced they would build a branch line to Muscatine, through this place to Oskaloosa and name it the Muscatine & Oskaloosa division. A third branch was promised. It was from Muscatine to Cedar Rapids and from there to Minnesota. In later years it was known as the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northwestern.

Muscatine was determined to have a rail line to Davenport. Years previously the city has caused to the surveyed a proposed route along the river between Muscatine and Davenport. That route traveled now by the Rock Island and Milwaukee lines, wasn’t put through until 1868.

When Muscatine had definite assurance it would be a station on the M. & M. route, it started railroad construction towards Wilton. A newspaper account of July 2, 1898 read:

    “In the summer of 1856 railroad iron was landed from steamboats on our wharf and road building towards Wilton begun. A small locomotive and a few flat cars were brought here on a barge from Rock Island. This was the first locomotive west of the Mississippi. Te engine and cars were used to transport iron and ties for constructing the road.”

The Journal of Oct. 12, 1855 also mentions the locomotive in the following:

    Heretofore the progress of the railroad (being built from Muscatine) was very much retarded from want of facilities to obtain ties and rails. This will be alleviated now by he arrival of the locomotive. This locomotive is only intended for construction purposes and will not be used when the cars are placed on the road which it is expected will be in about 20 days.”

Iowa’s eagerness for a railroad was almost unbounded. Years before its settlers had subscribed to the sentiment: “We had better give half our lands to secure rail was than to stay here and decay in the midst of plenty; the other half will be worth more to us than the whole now …

(Continued on Page 29)

Page 29

Railroad Era Began in Year ‘55
Event Was long Anticipated by Early Settlers

… is.” The federal government donated lands for railroad construction to the state which in turn regranted them to the railroads. The various counties at regular or special elections voted to loan from $50,000 to $150,000 to the companies for railroad construction. Newspapers took up the urging and as early as December 1848 the Bloomington Herald (Muscatine Journal) printed:

    “Council Bluffs Railroad–Among the many enterprises projected in our day none possesses more intrinsic importance than the one named at the head of this article. This road is designated to form a link in the great western railway, that will, at no distant day, pass beyond the Rocky Mountains and meet the commerce of Asia on the shores of the Pacific.

    “We have not time nor room, at present, to go into an elaborate argument to show the merits of this work. It can not be doubted seriously by any one that this place is deeply interested in the success of this road. When built and brought into successful operation, Bloomington will sustain her relative advantage to the neighboring towns. Our citizens will present an individed front, and work together for once, undoubtedly. Let there be no flegging of spirits, but one united effort, and the thing can be done.”

Rail construction across this part of Iowa was not such an easy matter. It got to Iowa City and to Muscatine fairly fast. From Muscatine the line pushed to Washington, reaching there by Sept. 1, 1856. From Iowa City westward construction became slower and slower and in 1857 the Iowa State Journal of Des Moines contained the following:

    “From appearance the M & M road appears to have entirely abandoned this road between here and Iowa City for the present–throwing all their force upon a branch road.”

By 1866 construction had reached Kellogg, Ia., where, as far as the M & M was concerned, it halted for good. That year came the announcement that the M & M, its interests and it privileges had been sold to the Chicago & Rock Island company. The new owners were a holding company for the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad company and in August the two merged. Under the new management railroad construction of the old M. & M. line was resumed and on May 12, 1869 the first train of the Rock Island railroad reached Council Bluffs. In 1873 the Missouri river was bridged and Iowa was linked to the west coast by rail.

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Muscatine county, which had purchased bonds of the M. & M. company, found itself in the legal tangles attendant to the transfer of the railroad property. Thomas Hanna in 1876 made a report to the Muscatine county board of supervisors, which began as follows:

    “Previous to July 1866 the county of Muscatine was the owner of 1,714 shares of stock of the M. & M. railway company, which company for a long time previous to that date had failed to pay interest on said bonds issued by the company. In May, 1866 the road belonging to the M. & M. railroad company was sold to pay the liabilities of the railroad company.

    “This sale was made by virtue of an agreement between officers of the M. & M. railroad company and the C. R. I. & P. railroad company, which so far as the stockholders of the M. & M. railroad were concerned was that if the stockholders of the M. & M. railroad company would consent to a private sale of the road at a given sum that the C. R. I & P. railroad company would pay to the stockholders of the M. & M. railroad company $552,320 to be divided among the stockholders–this sum was equivalent to 16 per cent of the par value of the stock, but was afterwards reduced to $541,527 by suits instituted in favor of non-assenting holders of bonds of the M & M. railroad company.”

Thus was the turmoil and the jumbled mass of facts which have never been completely straightened out, a part of the first railroad in Iowa. Iowa railroad history is not so obscure since the coming of the Rock Island lines to Iowa. This company now owns approximately one-fifth of the 9,842 miles of railroad tracks in Iowa, according to Professor Briggs. The Milwaukee is next longest in the state. Railroad building in the state seems to have ended in 1920.

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When Lone Road Served the State

Only one railroad was crossing Iowa at the time a census was taken in 1850, according to records of Mitchell’s New General Atlas issued under date of 1869. The population of Muscatine county at that time was 5,371 in contrast to a total of 16,444 in 1850. For the state of Iowa, census figures showed 56,169 in 1850 and 628,279 in 1860, according to data obtained by O. C. Rittenhouse from old records in his possession.

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Photo Marked In Constrast–Smartly streamlined and boasting of record speeds, one of the new Rocket trains, now in service on the Rock Island line, presents a striking contrast to the trains which served Muscatine in the middle of the 19th century.

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Page 30

From News of the Day

- “Twas a big event, the arrival of the first train in Muscatine, and the attendant celebration. Items from The Journal, when plans were in the final stages, record the spirit of jubilation which prevailed in the following manner:

One of the earlier mentions:

Railroad Again, The Ties and Iron Are Coming.

We understand that Mr. Farnam has made arrangements with Mr. Boyle to lay the track on the railroad from Muscatine to the Junction. The ties for that portion of the road are now on the river between here and Davenport. The iron will be here very soon, and the work of laying down the track commenced.

Hands are at work along the line west of Muscatine and have been for some time on the strength of the vote of the city, which was pledged to the company by our delegates in May last. Our railroad prospects are indeed flattering at present. We understand from Mr. Ogilvie, who has recently returned from a visit to Oskaloosa, that the people all along the line are ready and waiting to do all they can to push forward the work. We have not permitted ourselves to doubt for one moment that the loan which is to be voted on Monday next will be carried by a more unanimous vote than has ever been given in Muscatine. We have made what inquiries we could and have found the opposition to the loan is “Growing small by degrees and beautifully less until it is hard to name any person who is known to be openly opposed to it.”

Then under date of Aug. 30, 1855:

“The Ties.

Not the ties of nature, which bind us to ‘loved ones at home,’ but the railroad ties, to which the rails are bound are being speedily scattered along the route between this city and the Junction. We are informed that the cars will be running between this city and Davenport in September. Already a train has run from Davenport to Walcott, a small town 12 miles from the former. We hope soon to be able to chronicle the intention on the part of the city to have a railroad celebration. What say you, City Fathers, you must make the move in this matter.”

And, under date of Nov. 10, 1855:

“Three Day Celebraton at Muscatine.

Tuesday, Nov. 20th, the Excursion Train will arrive in Muscatine at half past 12 o’clock noon. The guests will have their places assigned to them while passing from Davenport to Muscatine. The Mayor and Council will receive the guests on their arrival. After the reception addresses, the guests will be conducted to the different houses assigned them by the committee of arrangements. At 2 o’clock the guests, citizens and strangers generally, will form a procession at the Ogilvie house, and march to the court house, where the afternoon will be spent in delivering and listening to speeches. Immediately after the procession enters the court house, a train of cars will leave for the junction expressly for the accommodation of the country people who may want to take a ride–will return at four o’clock. The evening entertainment will consist of a grand ball at Hare’s hall–also a supper at Ogilvie’s New Hall on Iowa avenue–free to guests.

The supper will be prepared by ladies of the city.–Wednesday, 21st, at 9 o’clock a train of cars will leave Muscatine for Davenport with the guests from the east.

Thursday 22d, at 10 o’clock a train will leave Muscatine for Davenport with the ladies and gentlemen of this city. As the number that can be accommodated on the train is limited to 400, it has been determined by the committee of arrangements to appoint a committee of ladies, whose duty it shall be to issue invitations to the gentlemen of the city and their ladies, to the number of 400. This train will return at six in the evening. Thus closes the programme of the celebration. Arrangements will be made for the convenience of the reporters at the meeting at the court house. Committee of arrangements, Jos. Bennett, Jos. Bridgman, A. O. Warfield, H. Q. Jennison, Wm. Stone. Committee of Invitation, Messers. A. Ogilvie, T. M. Isett, J. G. Gordon, Wm. G. Woodward, Jacob Butler, J. Scott Richman, G. C. Stone, and A. O. Patterson.

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“To The Young Gentlemen: At the request of the committee of invitation to the Railroad Ball, we will state that they have concluded that it is unnecessary to send invitations to the unmarried young gentlemen of the city as they will all be on hand of course. Carriages will be in attendance upon the ladies.”

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Here in The Fifties

Photos of Mr. Richard Musser and Mrs. Richard Musser - Mr. and Mrs. Richard Musser, both natives of Pennsylvania arrived in Muscatine during the middle of the nineteenth century, in 1856. Mrs. Musser, the former Sarah Elizabeth Berger, was born in pine Grove in that state on july 13, 1836, while Mr. Musser wasborn in Adamstown, Lancaster county, Nov. 15, 1819. Their marriage took place at pine Grove, Penn., March 15, 1855 and soon after they settled here. Mr. Musser died on Oct. 2, 1896 while his wife lived until Sept. 26, 1902. With other members of the Musser family he was early identified with the lumber business here.

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Since 1905 . . . Smoking Supplies for the Men of Muscatine

Thirty-five years in business. . . .it’s a long time, but we don’t mind admitting it, in fact we’re proud of our business. Since 1905 thousands of men who enjoy smoking have found their way to our store and have gone away satisfied. Good tobacco means added pleasure, this means that smokers come in again and again . . .they get what they want. You, too, can have complete smoking satisfaction if you stop at Wagner’s.

Wagner Cigar Co.
Wholesale and Retail
Second and Sycamore       Phone 22

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