Source: REGISTER OF OLD SETTLERS , BOOK One, page 168 & 171
submitted by Neal Carter, Aug. 12, 2007


At Muscatine, Sunday morning, April 12, 1885, of a congestive chill, RUTH L., wife of Cornelius Cadle, aged sixty-one years, two months and twelve days.

Very suddenly has the sky been overcast with darkness and gloom to thousands of hearts in Muscatine, in the unexpected death of this noble woman. With a sorrow beyond telling, do the stricken husband and family sit in this home whose beautiful light and joy have gone out forever. What words can accentuate the sense of loss universally felt, or speak of a career whose virtues and grand services to humanity and country have been a theme of love at every fireside in our county?

But a generation has nearly passed since the war, and there are hundreds who have seen that quiet, comely attired figure with its gentile Madonna-like face, in its infrequent appearance on the street without associating it with the Presidency of the County Soldiers’ Aid Society, the Soldiers’ Orphan Home, our Soldiers’ Monument, or with the beautiful life of service for others, which it evoked to the memory of those familiar with the history of our city. It is a sad but pleasant duty to recall this life to the grateful remembrance of all.

Mrs. Cadle was born in Orford, N.H., January 30, 1824. She attended the Canan academy, one of the first seminaries of New England, and it was on the solicitation made to the academy for a teacher by ex-Gov. Lowe, then residing in Muscatine, that she yielded to the recommendation of the Principal, J. Everett Sargent, late Chief Justice of New Hampshire, and departed for this embryo city. She arrived in 1847, and taught school for two years, until her marriage with Mr. Cornelius Cadle, which took place March 4, 1849. Two children were issue of this marriage, Mrs. Abbie Mahin and Mr. Henry Cadle, both of Clinton.

Deceased had at once impressed Muscatine society with the nobility and earnestness of her nature, as well as with the cultivation and graces of her mind in her sphere of teacher; but it was during the cholera epidemic of 1852 that she donned the robes of a very sister of charity and ministered without ceasing to the necessities of a plague-stricken people. When the war cloud of the rebellion began discharging its lightnings, Mrs. Cadle was one of the first to think of the wants of the boys-in-blue at the front and of their families at home, and with her, to think was to act. The Muscatine County Soldiers’ Aid Society was organized and she was called to the presidency and remained at its head during the war. She was also one of the prime movers in the organization of the great Sanitary Fair held in this city and which realized over $25,000 for the Sanitary Commission besides immense stores of provisions and clothing. Then came the duty owing from the State to the orphans of the heroes and among the first to feel the obligation and to labor for its grateful expression, she became one of the incorporators of the Iowa Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home. To her, also, becomingly fell the office and honor of being

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chief solicitor for the subscription that raised the noble marble column and effigy in our Court Square to the memory of the fallen heroes of the county, the first monument of its kind to be erected in the State.

One might continue with this list of deeds well done – to speak of her interest in and generous charities to the freedmen, her sympathy with and support of the W. C. T. U., and of her active co-operation with her church and society in the benevolent and educational movements in this city. She was a communicant of the Congregational church, of which her husband has been for many years the senior deacon, and none stood before her in her womanly zeal for the cause of her Master, at home and in foreign lands.

With her husband, she was also a member of the Muscatine Academy of Science, gracing its meetings with her presence on all possible occasions.

About two years ago she suffered from an attack of asthma and has since been compelled to regard herself as an invalid. She journeyed to the Pacific in quest of health and sojourned in Clinton for a while for special treatment. Her disease had begun of late to assume a serious form, but it was not until last week that her state became alarming to her family and friends, and her children were summoned to her side. Yesterday morning she appeared to have the promise of a comfortable day and breakfasted with a seeming relish. Soon after she was seized with a congestive chill and expired before it was seen that the shadow of death had entered the room.

The funeral will take place at half-past 2 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon from the Congregational Church.


Old Settlers’ Meeting

The Old Settlers of Muscatine met at the City Hall this morning pursuant to notice. President Walton called the meeting to order and stated that they had convened to do honor to the memory of Mrs. Cornelius Cadle. He spoke of deceased as one who had always taken a lively interest in the society, and whose character was such as to command universal respect and the homage of the society.

Hon. D. C. Richman moved the appointment of a committee on resolutions, which carried.

The Chair appointed D. C. Richman, G. W. Van Horne and Suel Foster as committee.

While the committee were out Mr. Geiger said he represented the pupils taught by deceased in 1847, and spoke of attending the school in the old Baptist church.

The committee on resolutions returned and reported the following:

The old settlers are called together to mark the passing away of one who has endeared herself to all who have come within the range of her circle and influence. Utterly unselfish in her intercourse with others, her study was to do good by being good to the needy and friendless. To bear their burdens and crosses, to lift up the fallen, to loose the bonds of those under oppression, was the sweet burden of her life. Nor was the quiet charm of her manner wanting in the social circle, and especially among the true and tried friends to whom her heart was knit as with hooks of steel. To those with unassuming gentleness she gave her confidence and trust, and opened the rich treasures of her heart and brain as she discussed the grand problems that agitated the public mind until slavery and oppression were banished, and freedom was written upon the broad arch of our country’s sky. “Home” was with her the word linked with “Heaven,” full of joy and peace. These were the treasures of her earthly life, cherished and loved amid all the weakness and suffering she endured even until the last hour of dissolving mortality. Our friend was a Christian, not only in name, but in heart and life; the silent influence of her faith and trust in the Divine Master was manifest in her daily life, and will ever fill her memory with a delightful fragrance.

Let these considerations cheer and comfort the faithful husband, himself on the border land of the better life; the children whose lives she has helped to mold and fashion; the friends who possessed her confidence, and the community upon which she leaves the impress of her life’s softly, yet firmly stamped forever.

And so away from human trust

And confidence, we look and see

Above the wreck, the hand that smites

In love, to heal and set us free.

It was moved that the report be adopted.

Hon. Suel Foster said that Mrs. Cadle came from the same state as himself and the president. He referred to the early school taught by her on the Iowa City road. In the speaker’s opinion deceased was one of the few who read aright the lesson that it was better to give than to receive – better to pay personal attention to claims upon one’s charity and bounty, and by this rule she has lived and wrought a name that will live in all our memories, and the society had never met under circumstances requiring from them a tribute of a higher character.

Joseph Bridgman Esq., remarked that he early formed the acquaintance of deceased. Society here was not long in discovering the beauty of her character, nor did it take her long to gather around her the families of the Lowes, Whichers, Woodwards and other leading home circles of the town. The speaker referred to the patriotic part taken by deceased during the war; also to her happy domestic relations, filling the place of mother with great sweetness and devotion to her step-children and walking in utmost harmony and happiness for so many years with her companion now sadly left to pursue his pilgrimage alone.

Judge Richman bore testimony to the happy ability of Mrs. Cadle to keep herself intelligently informed upon all important public affairs while presiding with such care and devotion over the interests of her household.

Alex. Jackson, Esq., referred to his co-operation with deceased in the service of the sanitary commission during the war, and as an illustration of her work mentioned the report sent to him of the soldiers suffering from cold in Davenport, and upon his failure to enlist the prompt action of the community, how his application to her enlisted her immediated personal attention and resulted in wagon loads of clothing being put at his disposal for shipment.

The report of the committee was adopted.

The President called attention to the death of Mrs. Wm. Fletcher who was an old settler but not an active member of the society.

On motion, the secretary was instructed to enter her death upon the minutes of the society with such memoirs as he might be able to obtain.

Moved and carried that the members of the society attend the funeral of Mrs. Cadle from the residence.

Remarks were made upon the propriety of farther action respecting the death of Mrs. Fletcher, but it was held that deceased not having been a member the society could make no official movement and members should be left free to their voluntary actions.

On motion, adjourned.


The Last of Earth

The funeral of Mrs. Ruth L. Cadle this afternoon was of a character to deeply impress every beholder. The casket was loaded with beautiful memorials in white flowers, including a heart, crosses, an anchor and a lovely corbeille, and was bourn to the hearse by the loving hands of the four sons, Cornelius jr., Charles, Will and Henry. Their sister, Mrs. Frank Mahin, was so prostrated with the trying ordeal through which she has passed, that it was necessary to carry her to the carriage.

In the cortege as it passed down Second street were seen forty associate members of the Ladies’ Soldiers’ Aid Society which did such noble service during the war and of which deceased was the beloved president.

There also appeared in the procession a column of forty veterans under command of Col. C. C. Horton, numbering in its ranks, General Robertson, Col. Beach, Capt. Morgridge, Adjt. Munroe and others, representing every service and that large army of soldiers who had been the objects in camp in hospital, on the march, and on the battle field of the thoughtful love of her whom they were present to honor.

Behind the boys-in-blue came a numerous delegation from the Old Settlers’ society, grey-bearded men who were present at the laying of the foundations of our beautiful city and who were testifying their respect to one whose graces of heart and mind did so much to ennoble that earlier life in Muscatine and which have so strikingly adorned its subsequent history.

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