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

Section 6 - Page 15, Submitted by Shirley Plumb, June 9, 2012

Has City an Unknown Soldier?

Compiled by the Muscatine Office of the Iowa Writers’ Program ~ Has Muscatine an Unknown Soldier?

One of the markers in Memorial Circle, at Greenwood Cemetery says so. But the Journal of April 20, 1898, states the name was learned. The Journal gives it as Smith H. Tullis, the first Muscatine County Civil War veteran to be buried here. He was interred on July 4, 1861, but moved to the Memorial Circle in 1867 when the soldiers’ monument was erected.

At that time records of the burial were not uncovered and the name of the veteran was lost. After an exhaustive search had failed to reveal it, the marker was inscribed with the single word, “unknown.”

Thus it has remained. But in 1896, 29 years after the body had been moved, Mr. Tullis’ widow, then living in Ohio, visited Muscatine and sought to locate the grave. She was unable to do so. A search of documents, aided by personal recollections of Muscatine residents, established the grave marked “‘unknown” as that of Mr. Tullis.

The Journal account of the funeral published July 5, 1861, read:

    “Death of a Volunteer—Smith H. Tullis, a member of Co. C., First Iowa regiment, died of typhoid fever in the hospital at Keokuk and his body was brought to this place for burial on the Steamer Pomeroy yesterday morning. He was 23 years of age and, we believe, a resident of Wilton previous to enlisting. He was interred with military honors in the city cemetery last evening by the various military companies assembled here for the celebration of the Fourth.”

The funeral procession was, according to The Journal of 37 years later, “the largest ever seen in our city.” Military companies from all over this part of the state, not yet in camp, were in Muscatine on that day to observe the national holiday, July 4th, and were part of the cortege.

Then six years later, according to The Journal of April 20, 1898, this story appeared:

    “On Saturday, April 27, 1867, the soldiers’ monument in our cemetery was erected as the result of the labors of the Young Ladies’ Loyal League. The bodies of the union soldiers whose families had no lot were taken gently up and placed in a circle around the monument. All but one had a name and record. After all efforts to ascertain who he was were exhausted his remains were laid as carefully away alongside his sleeping companions and that word ‘unknown’ placed over his final resting place.”

    “Speculation and inquiring failed to discover the friends of our unknown, and as all other interests die out, so did this and the single ‘unknown’ became a fixture in the land of the dead.

    “Summer before last a lady entered Dr. Morgridge’s office, telling him who she was—said she came to visit the grave of her husband***but had been unable to find it though she looked the cemetery over very carefully. Dr. Morgridge accompanied her to Miss Lou Dunsmore and stated the case to her. Miss D. was president of the Loyal League and like a flash the funeral and burial of the first soldier came back to her.”

    “The place net to the fence, where the wife said the grave was and all the surroundings, were recalled and the fact that all were accounted for and named but one at the time of removal satisfied the widow. Miss Dunsmore and Dr. Morgridge, that he hitherto ‘unknown; soldier was Smith H. Tullis of Co. C, First Iowa Infantry. He was a tenant of Dr. Morgridge at the time of his enlistment.”

In the memorial plat at Greenwood Cemetery today the graves of Civil War veterans are ranged in a circle about the central marble shaft. All of them have stone markers. All but one have the names of the man who lies buried there and the military division in which he served. But one of them has simply ‘unknown’ upon it.

Cemetery records go back before 1861. But in none of them could be found a record of the burial of Mr. Tullis.

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New Changes Were Speedily Adapted by City

Muscatine down through the years has been quick to adapt itself to new conveniences and has always been progressive in procuring such utilities as street railways, gas and electricity. Arthur Bishop, 615 East Tenth Street, general repairman for the Iowa Electric Company, has observed many changes in men, machines and method during the 42 years that he has been employed by utility companies in Muscatine.

He recalls in detail how gas was manufactured in Muscatine as long as half a century ago. A retort made either of cast-iron or tile, into which coal was dumped, was used in extracting the gas. Driven out of the coal by heat, the gas passed from the retort and was purified by going through lime. The gas was then forced into the storage tank and city distribution system by means of a steam-driven pump. Soft coal was used in making the gas.

The manufactures gas at that time was stored in what was called a pit holder. This storage unit had a capacity of 50,000 cubic feet of gas. It consisted of an upright cylindrical container beneath an inverted container, the space between the two being sealed by water. The upper part of the holder rose and fell as the amount of gas in storage varied, maintaining an even pressure at all times.

Ownership of the gas company as well as the officials in charge have changed frequently down through the years. Jimmy Hannon was superintendent and a man by the name of Cowl was head of the gas company at one time. Huttig and Musser, after one period of ownership, sold the company to Dennison and Pryor of Cleveland who in turn disposed of it to a man by the name of Hubinger. Hubinger sold out to the Western Coke and Gas Company of Chicago and Huttig and Musser later bought it back.

It was next converted to the United Light and Railway Company and this firm sold out to the Iowa Electric Company in 1928.

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This date saw laying of the corner stone for a new Methodist church at Muscatine. It was completed at a cost of $ 35,000 and dedicated on August 29 of the following year, one of the largest in the state at that time.---May 30, 1868.

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From the Journal “Trying to do business without advertising is like winking at a pretty girl in the dark; you know what you are doing but nobody else does.” ---April 10, 1878.

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Kin of Local Resident Aided First President

The great, great grandson, of one of the members of President George Washington’s cabinet, who was a prominent figure in the early history of this nation, resides in Muscatine. He is J. E. Elliott, 2812 East Front Street, who traces his heritage back to Timothy Pickering, an American statesman and one-time secretary of the war, secretary of state and postmaster general.

In February, 1777, Col Pickering joined his regiment to the forces of Washington at Morristown, N. J. He was appointed adjutant general May 24, 1777, and later, Aug. 5, 1780, succeeded General Greene as quarter-master general of the army.

Washington appointed him postmaster general, Aug. 12, 1791, in which office he continued until his appointment, as secretary of war, Jan. 2, 1795. This position at that time included direction of the navy as well as the army, and also of the Indian department. While in this capacity, he established the military academy at West Point.

On Dec. 10, 1795 he was named secretary of state by Washington and four years later was reappointed by John Adams, holding this post until 1800.

Removing to Massachusetts, he was chosen chief justice of the court of Common Pleas and became United States senator in 1803. He served in the House of Representatives from 1811 to 1817. Pickering died in Salem, Mass., Jan. 29, 1829.

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Helped Develop City

Photo of Shepherd Smalley and Mrs. Shepherd Smalley ~ Two additions to the city of Muscatine, Smalley’s first and second additions, were laid out by Shepherd Smalley who at one time owned over 1,000 acres of Muscatine County land. Throughout his lifetime he was an extensive property holder, at one time renting out some 30 buildings. Born in Hamilton County, Ohio, Aug. 12, 1817, he received his education in the primitive log schoolhouse so common in that day. He came to Muscatine 1839. He wife was the former Minerva Drury, daughter of Isaiah and Priscilla Drury who was born in Wayne County, Indiana April 13, 1813. Their marriage took place Feb. 12, 1845. Mr. Smalley died Dec. 26, 1897 and Mrs. Smalley on June 25, 1888.

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1927—We Began—Aug. 1st to be Exact.
1928—Election—Busy, But We Voted.
1929—Prosperity—And We Were Prosperous Too.
1930—Census—They Couldn’t Miss Us.
1931—Depression—We Were Optimistic.
1932—Election—Busy But We Voted.
1933—World’s Fair—We Like it Here.
1934—Dust storms—We Survived.
1935—Vacation?—Never Heard of It.
1936—Election—Again? It’s Monotonous.
1937—Happy?—We’re All Smiles.
1938—Growing—Retail Business Now.
1939—Gosh—We Got a Fountain.
1940—Shhh!—Business Is Good.

That’s our story and we’ll stick to it. We’re proud to be in the same building for 13 years and we are proud and thankful that business is so good. The Muscatine Journal is also proud this year—it’s 100 years old. A century of service to the community. We say Congratulations and best Wishes for the next 100 years.

Herman Cohn News Agency
209 East Third St. Phone 107.

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Page created June 21, 2012 by Lynn McCleary