Source: REGISTER OF OLD SETTLERS , BOOK One, page 98 - 99
submitted by Ronna Thuman, November 14, 2007


Their Annual Gathering To-Day—Addresses, speeches, & c.—Names of those Present.
Oct. 9, 1880 (hand written)

“When time, which steals our years away,
Shall steal our pleasures too.
The memory of the pat shall stay,
And half our joys renew.”

The Old Settlers of Muscatine and vicinity convened to a goodly number to-day at the Court House. At the appointed hour, President D. C. Richman called them to order and in the absence of the Chaplain, Dr. Robbins, read the 107th psalm. Rev. J. H. Barnard offered prayer. The President then introduced Prof. T. S. Parvin, who delivered an address full of fine thoughts as well as pleasing and touching reminiscences. His theme was that the old settlers builded wiser than they knew, and he cited as proof the schools, railroads and other public improvements that have sprung up in this State beyond the expectations of the most sanguine of the early settlers.

Judge J. S. Richman then read a highly interesting and instructive address abounding in wit and humor. We hope to have the copy for publication at an early day.

Soon after 12 o’clock a recess of an hour was taken for dinner. After recess, the assembly was called to order again by the President and Joseph Bridgman was called out. He said the gleaners could find but little after the reapers had gathered in so much. He related, however a number of interesting reminiscences of early times. He has lived 43 years in this city.

John A. Parvin related that in early days it required 19 days to make a journey from this place to Philadelphia; he has lately made the same journey in 43 hours. One of the early incidents: a distinguished lawyer threw a pig into the court room and was fined $5 for his fun. Other incidents of a like nature were related, the speaker closing with a pathetic allusion to the old settlers who have gone before with an injunction as to the duty of those remaining to be true to themselves.

Suel Foster related that the first sawed lumber he saw in Bloomington (now Muscatine) was in 1837. Corn bread and smoked meat were the chief diet in those days; rarely did the pioneers have wheat bread or biscuit. He paid a tribute to the advantages of this country, believing it superior to any other.

At this point, President Richman announced the following committee to arrange for the dinner at the next gathering of he old settlers: Mrs. Isaac R. Mauck, Mrs. Hollister, Mrs. J. Linn Hoopes, Mrs. A. Smalley, Miss Jane Sinnett and Miss Alliee Walton. A collection was taken up to defray current expenses.

A. S. Sweet, of Fairport, said he come to Iowa in 1845. He was glad to meet and take by the hand so many of the old settlers and hoped to have more of such opportunities. He related some incidents regarding visits by the Indians in early days.

Prof. Parvin added some remark on the motives actuating the early settlers in coming here, and related an incident he saw in New Mexico, showing a want of the spirit of improvement there among the descendants of the early Spanish settlers.

The election of officers being in order, J. A. Parvin moved that the present officers be re-elected. Mr. Richman declined the office of President, and Mr. Bridgman was elected to that office.

The remaining officers were re-elected, viz. Dr. Robbins and Suel Foster, Vice-Presidents, and P. Jackson, Secretary.

With a few appropriate parting words by the President the meeting adjourned at 2:15.

Below are the names of the old settlers present, so far as our reporter could obtain them:

Judge J. S. Richman, Peter DeMoss, A.Sheeley,
Prof. T. S. Parvin, C. L. Geisler, W. P. Wright,
Hon. J. A. Parvin, L. R. Mauck, John Idle,
Joseph Bridgman, Wm. Bond, G. W. Epperly,
Suel Foster, John W. Gray, J. L. Huested,
A. S. Sweet, D. C. Cloud, H. A. Hollister,
W. G. Holmes, John Mahin, Ira Hendrix,
J. W. Walton, D. McDonald D. B. Colbert,
J. D. Walker, J. B. Henniker, J. H. Munroe,
S. N. Candee, S. H. Marsh, Ben Matthews,
W. S. Fultz. Judge D. C. Richman, J. Linn Hoopes,
Wm. Gordon, Hon. S. McNutt, Joseph Eveland,
L. H. Washburn, Peter Jackson, R. H. Hoopes,
S. Sinnett Hiram Gilbert, C. Codle,
J. G. H. Little, Dr. Robertson, F. W. Mahin,
S. Smalley, J. P. Walton, Andrew Wallace,
…D. Hendrix Joseph Heinly, J. J. Vance,
M. Farnsworth, A. Cone, B. S. Cone,
G. B. Denison, J. Jelly, C. B. Ogilvie,
J. D. Reader, Isaiah Davis, W. H. Raub,
Mrs. T. L. Olds, Mrs. Joel Barnard, Mrs. W. G. Holmes,
Mrs. L. R. Mauck, Mrs. J. B. Henniker, Mrs. L. L. Patterson,
Mrs. J. Weed, Mrs. S. H. Marsh, Mrs. Mary Hanson,
Mrs. A. Smalley, Mrs. Peter Musser, Mrs. W. S. Hill,
Mrs. S. Smalley, Mrs. D. McDonald, Mrs. F. W. Mahin,
Mrs. P. Jackson, Mrs. John Idle, Mrs. J. N. Harker,
Two daughters of S. Sinnett Mrs. Suel Foster, Mrs. D. Dunsmore,
Mrs. R. Warren, Mrs. S. Sinnett, Mrs. M. Farnsworth,
Mrs. Jane Motts, Mrs. D. C. Richman, Mrs. D. E. Colbert,
Mrs. Hollister, Mrs. J. J. Hoopes and daughter Mrs. John Mahin,
Mrs. J. Semple, Three daughters of J. P. Walton, Mrs. N. J. Gray,
Mrs. J. A. Parvin, Mrs. J. Bridgman, Mrs. L. W. Newell,
Mrs. C. Codie, Mrs. Tuttle, Miss Annie Cloud,
Mrs. Hiram Gilbert, Mrs. Philip Vance, Miss Augusta Gray
Mrs. Nancy Ludlow, Mrs. M. A. Gilbert, Miss Elizabeth Knox.
Mrs. Peter DeMoss, Mrs. J. L. Hoopes,  
Mrs. Geo. Bumgardner, Mrs. F. R. Leffingwell,  

Address by Judge J. S. Richman before the Old Settlers of Muscatine, Oct. 9th, 1880

    Ladies and Gentleman, Friends, Old Settlers of Muscatine County: I was invited to say something to you on this occasion—to make a short speech—and I agreed to do so. I am before you now for that purpose. If I were here for the purpose of discussing some subject or proposition that I knew more about than you do I would feel much more at home. But I must confess that I feel embarrassed in attempting to tell you about things that you yourselves have witnessed and know just as much, and many of you more about than I do.

    And then, this is not your first meeting. You have met many times before. The field of fact and reminiscence has been gleaned time and again and everything of interest in the past that could be recalled or remembered has been presented to you. You will not, therefore, expect anything new from me, or any order or system in my manner of presenting what I may have to say. Since, then, we cannot make this an intellectual feast, we can try to make it something better. We can make it a feast of tender memories and can compare the old times with the new in a few particulars. We can recall each for himself the names and faces of those who were of us and with us in the early times.

    Let each one imagine a procession, passing silently along, of those who have gone before, and who have passed beyond the vision of every eye save that of faith. And as we look upon it as it moves on in an orderly, stately, and solemn manner, and as we gaze into the faces of those composing it, let us in compliance with one of the highest promptings of our nature think nothing but good of them—remember nothing but good of them—say nothing but good of them.

    These were our friends. They with us met bravely the inconveniences, the difficulties, the privations, the toils of the early settlers of the county. Each was ready to lend a hand in the erection of the cabin of his neighbor, and each man and woman was ready to engage in the holy duty of ministering to the sick, or of performing the last sad duties to and for the dead.

    The procession has passed. We have, in imagination, looked upon the faces of acquaintances—of friends—of fathers, mothers—brothers, sisters—wives, husbands—children.

    How many of the very early settlers were in that procession? How few here to look upon it?

    My friends, we should remember, when we compare the present condition of the county with what it was in early times, that each of the old settlers contributed, in some degree, in his or her way, to make the county what it is today.

    The growth of the county—its development—well illustrates the progress of the country generally, and is a good commentary upon the institutions under which we live.

    It would be well, in order to get a true idea of the progress in material welfare that has taken place, to compare the present condition of affairs with the past, in some particulars. And, beginning at the foundation stone of a true republic, we will just mention our present educational facilities, and ask any one who knows, to compare them with those of early times.

    The early settlers laid the foundation for the present school system. Let us honor them for it, and reflect, that while many of them have passed away that which they founded in weakness has grown into a tower of strength.

    *** continues on page 99 ***

    And the same thing may be said of every other civil institution—religious or otherwise, and of every geographical division of the county—as its cities, towns and villages, and its townships.

    It has been said that man, even on this earth is immortal, that while individuals vanish the race remains and is permanent. And so of the works of men; the man themselves may die, but their work remains; and if their work be such as will benefit mankind, it becomes as lasting, as permanent as the race of men.

    Those of the old settlers who remain, and all new settlers and those who came after them, are and will be forever indebted to the early settlers of this county for many of the privileges which they do and will enjoy if there has been a material change in the educational facilities by which we are surrounded, there has been a greater in the means of locomotion, both in public and private. We need but to compare the ease and rapidity of a ride upon a railroad car and in the carriages of the day with a ride in one of the stage coaches or the horseback and wagon rides of the early time. I use the word coach advisedly here, for, although some who were not particular used to call the early state coaches mud-wagons, it was settled in a trial before a territorial court, that any vehicle mounted on thorough-braces was a coach. You will, some of you, recall the kind of thorough-braces used by Frink & Walker. Beers & St. John improved upon the first public conveyances and we all felt considerably elated over the arrival of some fine new Troy coaches, in which passengers were invited to ride. But when the railroad was built and the cars commenced running, Beers & St. John and Frink & Walker who succeed them and all other stage man commenced going westward and they have been driven back step by step, just as the Indians have ever since and there will soon be no abiding place for them.

    But time will not allow a specific enumeration of the various improvements which have been made and which add to the comfort and convenience of our people.

    Suffice it to say that improvements have been made in our houses and homes, in farming, in the modes of doing business, in fact in everything.

    As striking illustrations of the difference in the facilities for cooking and doing the work of the housewife generally between the time of the first settlers of the county and the present time, I need only refer you to the big log fire on the hearth and the cooking stove; to the old mode of wringing out clothes with the hand and the clothes wringer; to the wearisome sewing of endless seams by hand and to the sewing machine.

    But with all these improvements, facilities and time and muscle saving appliances, I wish to ask one question, and a very important one, too, as it concerns every one of us. The question is not to be considered as invidious at all, but I would like each old settler to answer it for himself, silently and inwardly and with uncovered head, namely: Do we have as good cooking—all things considered—as we did before cooking stoves became an established institution among us? And this question, if answered in the negative, suggests another and that is: Is the fault in the stoves or in the cooks?

    But I must hasten along. There is no doubt but that the surroundings of the early settlers were well calculated to and did, call out the peculiar characteristics of each individual in a remarkable manner.

    If a man or woman was a general genius, it was known. If any one had a peculiar talent it was known, and such persons were in demand, both in near and remote settlements.

    If a party assembled to erect a cabin for a neighbor, every one knew the ability and capacity of every other one, and each gravitated naturally to his place, and you would find an expert on each corner of the building.

    If a man had the gift of argumentation or debate, this was well understood and ample opportunity was afforded him for the exercise of his talent.

    A good story is told of L. T. Goldsbury, who used to be a Justice of the Peace in the city, and S. W. Stewart, who at one time lived here but who now lives in Wilton and is the author of a series of articles on the “Early History of Moscow.” The story runs that Goldsbury and Stewart, who were both very fond of talking, met one morning and commenced talking upon a subject on which they took different sides at once: that they seated themselves on different ends of a short log up near where Chambers’ old mill was situated; that they talked all day, and when night came they found that they had changed sides on the subject and ends of the log.

    I have mentioned many changes for the better since the early settlement of the county. I will name one thing in which there has been a change, but whether for the better or not each one must judge for himself.

    I refer to sociability. Was there not more general and genuine sociability among the early settlers than there is among the people now? Did it not do one more good to see and entertain his neighbors than it does now? Was not the welcome given warmer, more genial and genuine than it is now? And does not that feeling exist among the old settlers to-day? Are they not more rejoiced to meet one who was a pioneer with them, than to meet with persons with whom they became acquainted in later times? Did not the peculiarities of the situation of the early settlers render friendships then founded more lasting, more tender, more true, than those of later dates?

    If all these questions should be answered in the affirmative it may be said as some, but not as a sufficient reason therefore, that the early settlers were, in a great measure, dependent on each other. Their friendships needed to be genuine. They had more occasion to test them—to try them in every form. There was but little inequality among them and each was willing not only to recognize, but to protect the rights of his neighbor. This feeling found expression in the laws and regulations framed by the settlers themselves in regard to the ownership and purchase and sale of claims to the pubic lands in the different townships, and in the formation of organizations to protect themselves against the greed of speculators, when the lands wee offered at public sale at the land office, or when the land upon which a village was laid out would come into market.

    But I have said enough and will close by holding up before you a mirror of the city of Muscatine, or rather of the town of Bloomington, as it was in 1841-2.

    Looking over a paper published here in 1842 I find among the advertisers Jos. Bennett, G. W. Humphreys, Jno. B. Doughery, Jno Ziegler and A. Ogilvie & Co., all advertising general assortments of merchandize in their line.

    Jno. A. Parvin advertises a stock of goods for sale and says he will receive in exchange at the highest market price wheat, pork, day hides, beeswax, & c., and that he will take State bank and Shawnee town money at their value.

    Wm. Parvin advertises the lots of Charles H. Fish and James W. Neally for sale for corporation taxes.

    Foster & Richman, in addition to their general advertisement, advertise that they have been appointed agents for the sale of Brandreth’s celebrated pills by an engraved certificate over Dr. B.’s own signature.

    Beers & St. John advertise a new line of coaches, with fare reduced and speed increased, twice a week to Burlington, Davenport, Dubuque and Keokuk, and three times a week to Iowa City. Fare $6.00 to Keokuk and Dubuque, and $1.50 to Davenport or Iowa City.

    John Phillips advertises his ferry, the rates being $1.00 for a team of two horses and $1.37 for a man and horse. There were no buggies then, or so few that no rate is mentioned for them. Men traveled on horseback.

    James Brentlinger advertises stoves and tin ware.

    David Clark a new lumber yard.

    James Davis advertises 10 barrels old rectified whisky on consignment for sale cheap for cash or produce.

    F. H. Stone advertises Lappington’s pills for sale at his store (the great ague remedy).

    Josiah Parvin, Wm. Frye and Capt. Jim Parmer advertise their respective hotels, Capt. Jim giving rates as follows:

    Single meal 25 cents.
    Board per day with lodging, 75 cents
    For 3 days, 63 cents per day.
    A week, $3.00

    Thos. C. Motts advertises his barber shop adjoining the American Hotel.

    The cards of W. F. DeWeber and Jas. Davis, As commission merchants, and of Irad. C. Day, Lowe & Dishler, Stephen Whicher, T. S. Parvin and Hastings & Richman as attorneys; also the card of A. J. Fimple a tailor, and of Charles Newman & Co. and J. P. Freeman as cabinet makers.

    Adam Funk advertises that he has again opened his store on Second street, and that Henry Funk will carry on the baking business on his own account.

    Robert Tillard advertises that he will do tailoring in all its branches, in a workmanlike manner and receive in pa cash, or flour, bacon, wheat, oats, lath and shingles, and sawed lumber.

    A. G. Clark advertises a general family grocery and provision store. At the close of the card are these significant letters and words: “N. B.—My BAR is in the back room.”

    I will refer to but one more advertisement of a later date. You can all see it. I need not read it. If you will just look at the baskets around us which are waiting to be opened. Each one of you can in imagination write out the bill of fare which is represented by them. I thank you for your attention.

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