Source: REGISTER OF OLD SETTLERS , BOOK One, page 42 & 43
submitted by Neal Carter, Aug. 14, 2007

Old Settlers Reunion 1869


Speeches, Toasts, &c.

Yesterday was a gala time for the early settlers. According to previous arrangement, they began to assemble early in the forenoon in the Court House Square. Such cordial greetings and shaking of hands were never before witnessed under the beautiful shade trees of the Court yard. The sorrows and troubles of the early days seemed to have been forgotten, and the pleasant reminiscences only were called up, though it would seem that everything in the bygone time now seemed pleasurable. The difficulties and trials of the past, long since overcome, were not remembered with sadness, but were looked back to with feelings akin to that of the soldier who proudly remembers the hard fought yet victorious battle-field.

Tables had been arranged under the trees for the dinner, and a stand erected for the speakers in the yard, but the clouds threatening a shower and Mr. Walton’s barometer indicating rain in a few hours, the tables were removed to the Court House hall. For once, however, the barometer was at fault, for not a drop of rain fell throughout the day. Shortly after 11 o’clock the exercises began in the Court room. Mr. Wm. Leffingwell, President of the Society, called the meeting to order, the room being well filled, when Rev. A. B. Robbins read a short passage of Scripture and offered an appropriate and touching prayer. Judge Joseph Williams then delivered a lively and entertaining address of an hour and a half. It was principally narration of incidents coming under his observation in the early history of our county. At the close of the address the old settlers were invited to a bountiful repast spread on the tables in the hall by the ladies. There seemed to be abundance for all.

After dinner the company reassembled in the Court room, when the committee on toasts, Hon. John A. Parvin and D. C. Richman, Esq., read the regular toasts, as follows:
1. The day we celebrate – The anniversary of the organization of Iowa as a Territory. An infant thirty-one years ago – a giant now, boasting of more than a million of children.

Response by Hon. J. A. Parvin.

2. The Old Settlers – Brothers in trials and difficulties. May the fraternal feeling be as lasting as life.
Response by Pliny Fay.

3. The Old Settlers of Muscatine County who have Departed this Life – May their memory ever be fresh and green in our hearts; their failings we forget; but their virtues we will cherish forever.
Response by solemn silence throughout the house.

4. The Ladies of the Old Settlers of Muscatine County – Their virtues are innumerable; their kindness and generosity to the sick and their hospitality to the stranger will never be forgotten.
Response by D. C. Richman

5. Our adopted State – Iowa, the “Beautiful Land.” She stands in conscious grandeur among her elder sisters.
Response by Suel Foster

6. Our Free Institutions – The best the world has ever seen. “We know their worth, and knowing will maintain them.”
Response by Judge Woodward

7. The Citizens of Iowa – Their courage and patriotism have been tried, and they were not found wanting.
Response by Col. Kincaid.

8. The Press – The diffusion of knowledge, the advocate of justice, the support of the patriot, and the defender of the oppressed, -- It can only be properly sustained under an intelligent community.
Response by John Mahin

The following volunteer toasts were then offered:

By D. C. Richman. – The young larks of Muscatine in early days – A terror to hen roosts, and nightly disturbances of the peace and quiet of the community. Having sown their wild oats and reaped the harvest, the survivors are found among our most worthy citizens, and let us hope that the departed, “after life’s fitful fever, sleep well.”
Mr. Richman called on Richard Cadle to respond. He did so in his inimitably felicitous manner, confessing to the fowl imputation, and expressing gratification that since the “young larks” had sown their wild oats and become settled as old settlers should, they are now “found among our most worthy citizens.” Mr. Richman also added some pleasant and happy remarks.

Volunteer toast by John Mahin:
Our colored pioneers – They have shared our toils and trials—they are welcome to share the pleasures of our anniversary.

Responded to by Ben. Mathews, the oldest colored settler, he having located here thirty years ago. Judge Woodward also added some remarks complimentary to the colored pioneers.

Mr. Parvin read the following beautiful lines composed by the widow of Hiram Mathews, who is the mother-in-law of J. B. Daugherty, Esq., and one of the oldest settlers present. The lines were listened to deep interest:


It’s thirty years since from the East
We sought a western home,
On the grand old Mississippi
Where the sparkling waters roam.

And here we built ourselves a cot
Under the wild grape vine,
Beneath its cooling shade we sat
To see the day decline.

I wish I could describe to you
This milk and honey land;
It was so wildly beautiful,
And so sublimely grand.

Our path was strewn with sweetest flowers
Of every shape and hue,
And in rich clusters round our feet
The tempting strawberries grew.

With turkeys wild and prairie fowls
We spread our evening board,
And native fruits of many kinds,
Most lavishingly did board.

Friends, neighbors, oit together dined—
It was a gladsome scene,
To see the belles and beaux that graced
Our board in Muscatine.

We had clergymen and doctors too,
And lawyers, half a score,
We had merchants and mechanics—
What would we ask for more?

For our public assemblages
We had no house at all,
The flower-clad prairie’s heavenly dome
Shone o’er our festive hall.

Sometimes we had a visit
From our Indian Chieftain too,
And when he reached our threshold
He always said “how do!”

His head was plumed with eagle’s wings
And beads of sparkling jet
His mein would have graced royalty
And his brow a coronet.

In all her native modesty,
Came triping by his side,
In her little beaded moccasin,
The Indian chieftain’s bride.

Her neck was decked with eagle’s claws,
Wild flowers were in her hair;
And the sparkling gems of the porcupine
Encircled her round arms bare.

But all our Indian neighbors
Long since bade us “adieu”,
And sailed away forever
In their little bark canoe.

Many steamboats we had in view,
With their stars and stripes and music too;
They greeted friends with the cannon’s roar
As they landed on our vine-clad shore.

Hugh rocks in towering grandeur
Like mighty monarchs stood,
And all day long were nodding
To their shadows in the flood.

High bluffs in gorgeous beauty,
With rosy caps, were seen;
Twas your day of youth and beauty,
Dear old Muscatine.

Now, where those ancient temples stood,
Clad with bright flowers and moss,
We gally ride on a railroad car,
Drawn by the “iron horse”.

You may ride from city to city,
And fancy you’re king or queen;
But ne’er out-rival our loved ones,
That lie buried in Muscatine.

These exercises were interspersed with excellent music by the Independent Cornet Band.

The last business was the election of officers, as follows:

President – Hon. John A. Parvin.
Vice-President – Suel Foster.
Secretary – Peter Jackson.

A motion was adopted to constitute the Secretary the Treasurer, also, of the Society. The assembly then adjourned, and thus closed the first regularly anniversary of the Old Settlers’ Society of …

***continued on page 43***

…Muscatine County. Although a new thing and managed rather loosely in the start, it was a decided success and was productive of much good feeling, we hope, among the early settlers – If they would get together oftener in this social manner, they would lose that feeling of prejudice, jealousy and mistrust which unfortunately exists in the minds of some.

Although all the old settlers in the county were not present, the turn-out was quite respectable. We collected the names of all the men we could see in the assembly during the day and they foot up 87. With their wives and children we estimate the number at about 300. Below are the names of the heads of families in attendance. – We ensure any that may have been omitted that it was not intentional:

J. Williams Cornellus Cadle G W Kincaid
Wm. G Holmes J H Wallace Humphrey Burdett
Robert Daplyn Suel Foster H W Smith
Wm. Beard John McGrew Joshua Lasena
Geo Bagley Ansol Humphreys Vernot Tracey
Chas Drury Hezekiah J Chinn Abraham Smalley
J B Dougherty Isaac R Mauek E W Denton
Ed Olmsted W W Franklin John Heller
E T Goldsberry Richard Cadle John M Dunn
Phiny Fay M Block J A Reuling
Wm D Ament Wm Gordon John J Vance
Samuel Sinnett Rev A B Robbins John Keischman
J O Gordon John Malin John A Parvin
J H Riggs H P Day James M Brockway
H N Candee John N Beard Malen Brown
Henry Molis D C Richman A E Brockway
John Sherfey E F Richman Levi Eichelberger
Harvey Baker Wm Leffingwell J G H Little
M P Pace Henry Funck Thomas Crandoll
A Jackson Alex Clark Geo A Brockway
G W Mehsick R Morford A J Brockway
Wm Parvin George Kelfner C Kegel
Ben Mathews Wm Kelfner B F Berry
Jos Cook Samuel Lucas Jos Bridgman
B H Washburn Peter Jackson John H Monroe
H H Hine H H Benson R M Downer
John McGreer, jr John D Walker A M Winn
Jos Crane J P Walton Eilas Adams
J Scott Richman Geo D Magoon Jacob Simpson

There were also present the wives and widows of some other old settlers, among whom was the aged consort of Wm. Chambers, sr., Mrs. Sarah Morford, Mrs. G. W. Worsham, Mrs. A. Dunsmore, Mrs. W. F. Davis and Mrs. S. D. Vollo. The oldest old settler had been residing here 33 years and the youngest 28. Some who located in adjoining counties and are comparatively new settlers here were included by resolution of the Society. Judge Benson, though but a few years a resident of Muscatine, is a native of the neighboring county of Louisa.

The 28th day of June (changed to the 29th on this occasion for convenience) was selected for the anniversary of the Society in order to commemorate the day of the extension of civil law over the Iowa District by attaching it to Michigan in 1831.

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