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History of Scott County

The first part of the book deals with the history of the Louisiana Purchase and the Wisconsin Territory.  This is the section that tells the history of Davenport and Scott County.

SOURCE: Biographical History and Portrait Gallery of Scott County, Iowa. American Biographical Publishing Company, H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co. Proprietors. 1895

On the site thus described now stands the beautiful City of Davenport, and on the opposite side of the broad Mississippi are the flourishing cities of Rock Island and Moline. Others, as well as the author of the paragraph above quoted, discovered that it was a most desirable “ town site ," and very early in the history of what is now the State of Iowa, Davenport became an important trade center. The town was laid out in 1836, on a reserve which belonged to Antoine Le Claire, the same being a full section of land which had been presented to him by the Indians when they made their cession of lands to the Government in 1832. The distance to St. Louis is three hundred and fifty miles by water, the distance to Burlington eighty miles, and the distance to Dubuque, up the river, ninety - five miles.

Le Claire sold his " reserve” in 1835 to a company organized for the purpose of laying out a town site. The organizers of this company were William Gordon, Antoine Le Claire, George Davenport, Thomas Smith, Alexander McGregor, Levi S. Colton, Philip Hambough and Captain James May. The price of the entire site of the original town of Daven port, disposed of by Le Claire to the Town Site Syndicate, was two thousand dollars, the spot selected being surveyed and platted by Major William Gordon in the month of May of that year. At that time a steamboat load of passengers came up from St. Louis, and a considerable number of those St. Louis speculators were among the earliest purchasers of city lots in Davenport. The growth of the new town was not at first rapid, and at the end, as at the beginning of the year 1836, it was little more than a town site ; a tavern was built during the summer, and in the fall and early winter two stores were opened — the first by James McIntosh , and the second by David C. Eldridge. To Levi S. Colton was born, in the autumn of that year, the first white child born in Davenport; to D. C. Eldridge was born , in the following spring, the first female white child born in the new town.
The first postoffice ever established in the vicinity of Davenport, or in close proximity to Scott County, was established in 1824 on Rock Island, Colonel George Davenport being appointed postmaster. In 1836 a postoffice was established at Davenport — that being the first office established within the limits of Scott County — and Antoine Le Claire was appointed postmaster, receiving his commission from Andrew Jackson.

In 1837 the first religious service was held in Davenport, at the home of D. C. Eldridge, by Rev. Mr. Gavitt, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The same year religious services were also held in the hamlet which had sprung into existence, by an Episcopalian minister, and by Father Le Claire of the Catholic Church.

The first church organization effected in Davenport was that which became known as St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church. The con gregation of this church was formed in the spring of 1838, by Rev. Samuel Mazzuchelli, an Italian priest. A church edifice was soon afterward erected through the liberality and benevolence of Antoine Le Claire, who donated to the society a block of ground and contributed largely to the erection of a fine brick church . About the same time the Catholic bishop of the diocese purchased other lots and parcels of ground, which have since been utilized in building up the Catholic schools and charities now so prominent a feature of the city.

The First Presbyterian Church was established in 1838. The members of the society organized at that time numbered ten, prominent among whom were Mrs. Ann Mitchell, Dr. A. C. Donaldson and wife, Robert Christie and wife, Mrs. Jemima Barkley and T. B. Hoge and wife.

The Methodists organized a church in 1839, although those who were inclined to that faith had before that occasionally listened to a Methodist minister, and had heard the first sermon preached in Davenport, by a minister of the Methodist Church, in 1837. The church organized in 1839 held its first meeting, with William L. Cook and wife, Timothy Dillon and wife, Israel Hall, W. S. Ruby and Mary Ruby present. Meetings were thereafter held regularly, and in the fall of 1840 the congregation erected its first church building and was supplied with a regular pastor.

The Baptist denomination organized its first church in Davenport, with J. M. Eldridge, Mrs. Mary A. Eldridge, John Swartwout, Charles Swartwout, Richard Pierce and wife, and David Wilson and wife as members. Its first meetings were held in a room over a store on Front Street, and its first church edifice was erected at the corner of Front Street and Broadway, on a lot donated to the church by Antoine Le Claire.

The Congregational Church of Davenport came into existence in 1841 and for some time was not supplied regularly with a pastor ; its meetings were held in a room , hired for that purpose, on the west side of Main near Fourth Street, and sermons were read each Sunday by one of the deacons of the church. Rev. J. P. Stuart was the first minister of this denomination to preach in Davenport; and the first infant was baptized into the church in the spring of 1841. Rev. E. Adams was installed as pastor of the church , and under his ministry, which continued for ten years, a comfortable church edifice was erected, and when he gave way to a successor the affairs of the congregation were in a flourishing condition. At a later date disaster overtook this church and the present reorganized church came into existence in 1861.

The educational history of Davenport began in 1838, when the first school-house was erected . For several years the accommodations for school children of the rapidly growing town were limited, but in 1858 the city was organized into a school district and the grading of the schools followed soon after. Since that time there has been a steady improvement in the character of educational facilities, and the schools of Davenport are now among the best to be found in western cities. In 1847 Messrs. Cook and Sargent opened a bank of deposit and exchange in connection with a general land agency, on the site of the present First National Bank building. This was the first bank established in Davenport and it continued in existence until 1859. The second bank in the city was started by Macklot & Corbin, on the , northwest corner of Second and Brady Streets, in 1852, with a capital of ten thousand dollars. One of the partners in this institution was Mr. Austin Corbin, who, at a later date, became a conspicuous figure in the financial circles of New York City. Other pioneer banks of Davenport were the banks opened by Chubb Brothers, Barrow & Co., and the branch of the State Bank of Iowa, which was known as the Merchants' Bank. The first of these financial institutions was estab lished in 1855, and the second in 1858. The First National Bank was organized in 1863, with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, and has ever since been conspicuous among the monetary institutions of the State.

The pioneer manufacturing establishment of Scott County was a saw -mill built by Captain Benjamin Clark , the first settler of the County, at the mouth of Duck creek, fifteen miles up the river from his home at Buffalo. This mill was built in 1834 and manufactured the first lumber used in Scott County. The first manufacturing establish ment to be operated in Davenport appears to have been a grist-mill and distillery, built by Thomas Wood in 1842. The first steam saw -mill built for the purpose of sawing logs rafted down the river from the Wisconsin pineries was put into operation in 1848 ; this laid the foundation of what has since become one of the great industries of Davenport. A man named McCarthy was the originator of this enterprise, but he died soon after the completion of the mill and Messrs. Rhodes and Perrin were the pioneer operators of the plant. Other mills which went into operation at an early date were : The mill operated by Alexander McGregor and later by Messrs. Cannon and French, built in 1849 ; the mill built by Strong Burnell in 1849 and operated until 1858 by Messrs. Burnell, Gillett and Lambrite; the mill built by Robert Christie in East Daven port, in 1850 ; the mill of Renwick & Son, built in 1854 ; and the mill of Bosworth & Allen , built in 1856.

As early as 1842 enterprising citizens of Davenport formulated railway projects and talked of the bridging of the Mississippi river between Rock Island and Davenport. It was not until 1851, however, that the first railway project assumed tangible form . It was in that year that the Chicago & Rock Island Railway Company was chartered by the Illinois Legislature, and in 1854 its line of railway was completed from Chicago to Rock Island. In 1852 the Mississippi & Missouri Railway Company was incorporated in Iowa, and in 1853 the first bridge company incorporated for the purpose of spanning the Missis sippi river was chartered by the Legislature of Illinois . The incor porators of this bridge company were Joseph E. Sheffield , Henry Farnham, J. A. Matterson and N. B. Judd . The corner -stone of the first pier of the bridge was laid by this corporation in the spring of 1854 with much ceremony. In 1856 the bridge was completed at a cost of four hundred thousand dollars, and trains began passing over the Mississippi at this point. The first train westward from Davenport, over the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad , was dispatched late in the summer of 1855. The consolidation of this line with the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad constituted the most important link in the present Rock Island system , and, through the failure of the original bridge company, that property also came into the possession of the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad Company. This was the great pioneer railway enterprise of Davenport, although other systems have since gained access to the city.

In the above paragraphs the design of the writer has been to call attention to the origin of the earliest religious and educational institutions of Davenport ; to the initiatory manufacturing and other enterprises, and to the most prominent features of pioneer development. Such facts have a peculiar interest for all classes of intelligent people, and more extended accounts of the growth and development of the city in various departments do not come within the purview of this work . To this something should be added concerning the laying of foundations upon which superstructures of prosperity have been reared in other portions of Scott County.

Elsewhere mention has been made of the fact that the earliest settlements, in what is now Scott County, were made by Captain Benjamin W. Clark and Roswell H. Spencer, the first the pioneer settler of Buffalo Township, and the second the pioneer settler of Pleasant Valley Township.

Conspicuous among the early settlers of Buffalo Township and contemporary with Captain Clark were Smith Mounts, Andrew Moats, Henry Binckley, William H. and R. S. Baker, James M. Bowling, Orange Babbett, Dr. A. C. Donaldson, Joseph and Matthias Mounts, Elias Moore, Andrew W. Campbell, James Wilkinson , John L. Sry, James E. Burnside, Wallace Pence, Michael Shelley and William II . Gabbert. The first school was taught in the town of Buffalo by Erastus II . Bassett, in the winter of 1836-37. The first religious services were held in the Township in 1836 by a Methodist Episcopal minister, whose name appears to have passed out of mind of all the pioneers. Rev. Martin Baker, a clergyman of the Christian denomination , preached in the town of Buffalo in 1837. The village of Buffalo was laid out by Captain Clark in 1836, and the first hotel was built by him the same year. The first stock of goods brought to the place was placed on sale by Messrs. Mix & Pillsbury, in the summer of 1836. Coal was discovered on the farm of Captain Clark in 1834, and mined as early as 1835. The first criminal trial in Scott County occupied the attention of S. E. Hastings, a Justice of the Peace living at Buffalo , in 1836. Squire Hastings received his commission from Stevens T. Mason, then Governor of Michigan Territory, to which the districts of Iowa and Wisconsin were attached. This pioneer magistrate in later years became Chief Justice of the State of California. In this case a young man , accused of a petty theft, was sentenced by the judge to make reparation and to receive twenty lashes on his bare back. The sentence of the Court was duly executed ; the offender left Iowa, and in later years became an honest and respectable man.

Roswell H. Spencer settled in Pleasant Valley Township at about the same time that Captain Clark settled in Buffalo Township. IIe was joined in the winter of 1833-34 by J. B. Chamberlain, who moved into the cabin built by Mr. Spencer, his being the first white family to become inhabitants of the valley. M. J. Lyman, James Haskell, Thomas Davis, B. F. Pike, D. C. Davison, G. M. Pinneo, H. H. Pinneo and Avery Pinneo settled in the valley in 1835 ; Thomas Jones, Stephen Henry, Andrew Hyde, Alfred White, H. G. Stone, J. A. Birchard, Samuel and Wheeler Hedges, Anson Howe, Louis Blackman, William Trask , Franklin Rowe, Hiram Green, John Wilson, Royal Gilman, S. H. Gilman , John J. Clark, John Tuttle, Daniel Wyman and George W. Thorn were pioneers of 1836 in this Township. Lyman Smith , Ernest Gould, D. N. Pope, Captain Isaac Hawley, Cyrus P. Hawley, William P. Eldridge, G. J. Ilyde, Jerry Payne, Robert Scroggins, John Campbell, William Nichols and C. T. Myers were among the settlers of 1837. A son of James B. Chamberlain , born in 1834, was the first white child born in the Township. The first grist-mill in Scott County was built by Davis & Haskell in Pleasant Valley in 1835. It was in this Township also that the first saw- mill was built by Captain Clark of Buffalo. Messrs. Johnson and Boyington built the first distillery in Scott County in Pleasant Valley in 1839. The first school established in Scott County is said to have been that taught by Simon Cragin of Bangor, Maine, in Pleasant Valley, in the winter of 1835-36. The first religious service was held in the Township in 1835, at the home of J. B. Chamberlain ; and the first Methodist Church in Scott County was organized in Pleasant Valley.

The first settlements were made in Davenport and Le Claire Town ships at about the same time in 1834. A brief account has been given in the foregoing pages of the settlement of Davenport and founding of the city. Eleazer Parkhurst was the first settler of Le Claire Township, his residence there dating back to 1834. Martin W. Smith was the first man to become a neighbor of Parkhurst; Nathan and Ira , F. Smith came a little later, and Philip Suiter, Laurel Summers, T. C. Eads, Sterling Parkhurst, J. W. Parkhurst, Eli Smith , William Conroe, James Haskell, A. W. Finley, Paul Follmer, S. G. Condit, Griswold Vanduzer, J. M. Vanduzer, Rockwell McKinstry, Josiah Scott, Dr. Z. Grant, Jonas Barber, William Rowe, B. F. Pike, Benjamin Barber, H. E. W. East, Wald Parkhurst, Goodrich Hubbard, L. Parkhurst, W. W. Upton, Alfred Prather and John Lewis were others who settled in the Township prior to 1838. The first marriage in the Township was that of Griswold Vanduzer and Mrs. Van Dyke; and Simon Cragin was the first of the pioneers buried by his neighbors.

The village of Parkhurst was laid out in 1837, and the village of Le Claire ( originally called Berlin ) was laid out in the same year. For some time they were somewhat hostile rivals, but later were incor porated into one municipality under the name of Le Claire. The first school was taught in this Township in 1837 by William Cannon, at the home of Philip Suiter, the five children of Mr. Suiter being the pupils in attendance. The Baptist denomination established the first church in Le Claire Township in 1839 ; other denominations established churches in the order named : Methodist, 1839 ; Presbyterian, 1841 ; Congregational, 1842.

Rockingham Township, the smallest in the county , was settled in 1835 by Colonel John Sullivan, James and Adrian H. Davenport and Henry W. Higgins, who purchased a claim and laid out the village of Rockingham , opposite the mouth of Rock river. David Sullivan, Rev. Enoch Mead, Lewis Ringlesly, E. W. II. Wingfield , John Wilson, Charles J. Friday, John W. Brown, William Van Tuyl and John Burnsides were other pioneer settlers. The village of Rockingham was laid out in 1836 and became almost immediately a formidable rival of Davenport and contested with that place for the location of the County seat. Failing in its ambition to become the capital of the County, the enterprise of building up the town of Rockingham languished and the place is now a suburb of the city of which it was once the equal in importance. Rev. E. Mead, a Presbyterian clergyman, established the first church in Rockingham in the winter of 1837-38 ; the Methodist denomination formed a “ class” in the place soon afterward ; and these two churches are the only ones which have had a continued existence in the Township. The first school in the village was taught by Miss Rhoda Vosburg, in the summer of 1837.

Settlements were made in Princeton, Hickory Grove, Winfield and Allen's Grove Townships in 1836. Giles M. Pinneo and Haswell H. Pinneo located claims in Princeton Township in the fall of 1835, and in the spring of 1836 settled on the lands thus claimed ; Thomas Hubbard, Sr. , joined the pioneers in 1836. Other early settlers in this Township were Daniel Hire, Benjamin F. Pike, Jesse R. James, Samuel Sturtivant, John B. Doty, Benjamin Doolittle, Jonas Barber, Jacob Rose, Abijah Goodrich, Avery D. Pinneo, Gideon Averill, William Palmer, Franklin Rowe, Sterling Parkhurst, Matthias L. Pinneo, Samuel Gast, George Gast, Susanna Gast, Isaac Daughenbaugh, John Leamer, Polly Leamer, Samuel S. Gast, John A. Gast, William Gast, Henry Shadle, Mary A. Shadle, Jacob Fulmer and Christina Fulmer. The Methodists erected the first church in the Township ; the first school was taught in what is now the Princeton Independent District, in 1846-47, by Miss Hannah Peaslee, although some educational facilities were afforded the youth of the Township prior to that time. The town of Princeton was laid out in 1853 by Robert Bell, George H. Bell and John Culbertson. A store had been opened on the site of the town as early as 1838, by B. F. Pike. The City of Princeton was incorporated in January, 1857, and Samuel Porter became its first mayor.

Alfred Carter, a native of Virginia and an emigrant from Indiana, settled in Hickory Grove Township in 1836, and was the first white settler in that Township ; John Spicer, Philip Baker, Daniel and John Porter, Samuel Freeman and George and John Schuck settled in the Township prior to 1839. William H. Baker, a son of Philip and Catherine Baker, was the first white child born in the Township ; and Alfred Carter was the first person to die in the Township ; George F. Emery was the pioneer school-teacher of the Township, and his first school was taught at the home of Alfred Carter in the winter of 1837-38. Rev. Peter Cartwright, the famous pioneer of Western Methodism , preached at the home of Alfred Carter in 1838 ; and a Methodist church was the first organized.

In 1836 a man named Allen settled at the edge of a grove in what is now known as Allen's Grove Township. Among other early settlers were Dennis R. Fuller, John Dunn, John E. Thompson, and Messrs. Hines, Halbert, Hendricks and Gee. This is a rural Township in which the people are devoted entirely to agriculture. William and John Quinn located land claims, built a cabin and founded the first settlement in Winfield Township in 1836. Joseph and James Quinn joined their brothers a short time afterward, and J. T. Mason, Robert Waterhouse, Henry Lea, George Ellis, Edward Lea, Leonard Cooper, Charles Elder and Elihu Alvord were pioneer settlers. Dominick Kennedy taught the first school in this Township in 1841. The Christian church held the first religious services in the fall of 1838 at the home of James Brownlie. The village of Point Pleasant was laid out by John Quinn, on the Wapsipinecon river , in 1839, but failed to keep up with rival town sites in other portions of the County, and is now a portion of a well -cultivated farm. Long Grove Station, on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, is the nearest approach to a village in the Township.

Liberty Township was settled in 1837 by the families known in pioneer parlance as the “Goddards, Laughreys, Hellers and Woods.” Henry Binckley located the first claim in the Township in 1836, but his place of residence was in Buffalo Township. The first log school house was built in the summer of 1842 in this Township, on the banks of Long creek, and in this school-house Mary Parker, who afterward became Mrs. Walraven, taught the first school. Rev. Mr. Chenowith was the first minister to preach a sermon in the Township. The village of Dixon was platted in 1854 by Jonathan Parker for R. S. Dickinson . The village of Big Rock was laid out by Peter Goddard in 1855.

Blue Grass Township was settled in 1839 by Rufus L. Catlin ; Charles and George Metteer settled in the Township the same year, and Joseph Wallace, Robert and Peter Wilson, Samuel and Francis Little, Alexander and Horace Dunlap, Henry Shutt, James Grant and Robert Burnside were other early settlers. The Presbyterians erected the first church in the Township in 1853 ; the first Methodist church was organized in 1859 ; the first Baptist church was organized in 1845. The village of Blue Grass was laid out in 1853 by J. E. Burnsides, John Perrin and James W. Reynolds; the town of Walcott was laid out in 1853 by Messrs. Cook and Sargent, the pioneer bankers of Davenport.

The first entry of land in Butler Township was made in 1836, by H. H. Pease and John D. Grafford , who purchased from Alphonso Warren, for one hundred dollars, a prospectors' claim to the land which they acquired. Pease built the first cabin in the Township in 1838 ; Warren built a cabin the same year. George Daly and Aaron B. Norris settled in the Township soon afterward . Clinton W. Pease, a son of H. H. Pease, was the first white child born in this Township. George Daly and Rebecca Arble were the first persons married , the spring of 1839 being the date of their marriage. The death of Delos Warren was the first that occurred in the settlement. In a double log house, near the site of the present school-house in Walnut Grove, the first school was taught by Miss Alice Alvord in 1846. The first religious services were held under Presbyterian auspices, at the home of H , H. Pease, in 1838.

The first settlement in Cleona Township was made by Jacob Royal in 1851. Robert Johnson, James Paul, John and Joseph Suiter and William Paul settled in the Township in 1853. John Jamison and Anna Johnson, married in 1854, were the first person's married in the Township. The first death was that of a daughter of Gothardt Moeller, in 1857. The first school-teacher employed in the Township was Harriet Callen, and the first school- house was built in 1857. Rev. W. G. Shand held the first religious services in the Township, but no church organization was effected by him, and residents of the Township have, as a rule, attended religious services in neighboring villages. The Township of Cleona was organized in 1857.

Lincoln and Sheridan Townships were the last Townships organized in Scott County, both Townships having been created by legislative enactment in 1866 . The early settlers of Lincoln Township were Robert Criswell, who settled there in 1844, William H. Jones, Eldad Scott, H. E. Mason, M. J. Rohlfs, Peter N. Lau, Henry Mueller and Hans Plagmann. Ellen Jones, daughter of William H. Jones, was the first white child born in the Township. Caroline Stacy was the first person who died in the Township. The first school was taught by J. O. Jameison . The first religious services were held in the Township school - house in the winter of 1853, by Rev. Mr. White.

The first settler of Sheridan Township was a man named Sheridan, whose residence there dated back to 1840. Other pioneer settlers in this Township were Lyman Osborn, Ex- Governor Rush, Hans Shnek loth, Claus Hagerdorn, Joseph Seaman, William Rigg, Dr. A. J. Emeis, Benjamin Barr, Gilbert Wicks, Captain LeMarinel, C. Meyer, John and Nathan Greer, Moses Farber, Juergen Schmidt, Hans Schmidt, James and Joseph Quinn, Christ Vogt and Peter Blunk. The village of Eldridge was laid out in this Township in 1871, by J. M. Eldridge. The Presbyterians built the first and only church in the Township, in 1874. The youngest of the several subdivisions of Scott County, Sheridan, as well as Lincoln Township, bears the name of a distin guished American whose greatness impressed itself upon the country during the war period.