submitted by Neal Carter, Aug. 14, 2007

Old Settlers’ Meeting
May ?, 1885

The Old Settlers’ Society held a meeting at the City Hall this morning pursuant to call.

President Walton stated the object of the meeting to be to take action on the death of Mrs. J. P. Freeman and Mrs. Wm. A. Clark.

On motion Suel Foster, Joseph Bridgman and G. W. Van Horne were appointed a committee on resolutions.

Mr. Bridgman related to the meeting an incident which occurred in the early settlement of Muscatine. He was going by stage to Burlington in 1840 and the coach drew up at the old Iowa House where Mrs. Hawley, mother of deceased, and her two twin infant daughters, now Mrs. Humphreys and Mrs. Underwood, took seats for the “Hollow” in the bluffs as it was called. The speaker said he was impressed at the time with the hardships before this delicate lady and her infant children at her home in the wilderness; and when the destination was reached, and they left the stage, his sympathy remained behind with them during the rest of the journey. It was no uncommon life of bravery and sacrifice which Mr. Hawley and his family led in those pioneer days, but we all know how nobly they graduated from it.

Mr. D. C. Richman spoke of Mrs. Freeman’s retired life and of the fortitude with which she had borne her affliction; and also referred to the character of Mrs. Clark whom he knew intimately, to the graces of her childhood and how wealth and society had failed to affect her distinguishing traits of courtesy and gentleness.

Mr. Suel Foster gave some interesting reminiscences of life in the bluffs, ….. Mr. Bridgman had left Mrs. ………. and children, and mentioned …….. pleasant neighbors who surrounded them there. He also reverted to the character of Mrs. Hawley, a Kentuckian by birth and a woman of exceptional high character.

The committee made the following report which was adopted:

The old settlers of Muscatine, for the first time in their history are summoned to the burial of two their number on the same day.

In the death of Mrs. Lydia Freeman we are called to mourn the daughter of the late William Parvin, and wife of J. P. Freeman, men, both of whom nobly assisted in laying the foundations of our city and in rearing its infrastructure. Deceased bore a bright part in those log-cabin days and did much to make that early settlement a pleasant memory to us all. Withdrawn from society to the seclusion of her home by a painful malady during the last 29 years, the community has been admitted but little into the intimacies of her life; but the report that has come of her devotion to her family and patient endurance of her affliction speaks of noble womanly virtues and of an affectionate wife and mother.

The death of Mrs. William A. Clark accentuates bereavement if this Society with …ith saddest emphasis. Amid scenes of earthly pleasure, surrounded with all that could charm mind and heart, from a sky glowing beauty and promise, the bolt of death has descended! Deceased was reared from infancy in our midst, shared in the vicissitudes of pioneer life, received her education in our schools, and chose for her companion one similarly identified with our early history. Society will miss her gracious presence, her refining influence, and upon a beautiful home in the first bloom of its domestic joys, has fallen a pall which human sympathy will shrink from lifting to witness a sorrow it must fail to assuage.

The Old Settlers’ Society extend to these sorrowing husbands and children and mourning circle of relations, its earnest condolence, and will spread upon its records this memorial of their bereavement.

Obituary for Mrs. Lydia Freeman.

Obituary for Mrs. Blanch Clark.

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