HISTORY OF THE TOWNSHIP AND CITY OF LECLAIRE
"From the History of Scott County, Iowa 1882 Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co."
LeClaire Township was first settled in 1834 by Eleazer Parkhurst, who purchased a claim just above the north line of the "reserve,"of George W. Harlan, who built the cabin thereon. The cabin was built as early as February, 1834. The reserve spoken of was a tract of 640 acres at the head of the rapids, given Antoine LeClaire by the Indians when they made their treaty with the whites in 1832. They had at the same treaty presented Mrs. LeClaire with a similar amount of land where the city of Davenport now stands. The reason of this gift was out of friendship for Mr. and Mrs. LeClaire. He had been with them from boyhood, either in the employ of the Government, or agent for the Fur Company, as interpreter, and was very popular with them. The American Fur Company at an early day had a trading house on a small island some three miles below LeClaire, called Davenport's Island, afterward Smith's Island, and then Fulton's Island. The Indians came across Rock River, Meredosia Swamp, and from the Wapsipinecon River to this "post" to trade. The Indians loved to dwell along the thick-timbered lands of the Pau-ke-she-tuck (rapids), or swift waters, where they found an abundance of fish and also much game. The forest was dense all through the country lying along the Mississippi River, from Spencer's Creek, at the head of Pleasant Valley, to Princeton, and was of large growth. The Indians often returned to their forest home at the head of the rapids, and in 1837 one thousand of them encamped where the town of LeClaire now stands.
Martin W. Smith was the second settler in LeClaire Township, and was followed the same season, 1834, by Nathan and Ira F. Smith, who settled just below the present town of Le Claire. Phillip Suiter came in the fall of the same year. Laurel Summers, now, in 1882, one of the oldest settlers living in the township, says that when he came to the township, in 1837, there were living in the neighborhood of the present town of LeClaire, Eleazer Parkhurst, T.C. Eads, Sterling Parkhurst, J.W. Parkhurst, M.W. Smith, Ira F.Smith, Eli Smith, William Conroe, James Haskell, Phillip Suiter, 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.
Between 1837 and 1840 there settled in the township, James Jack, James Spear, William Hopson, Robert Carleton, Parce Barber, George Long, Jacob Carber, Stephen Purcell, Samuel Stopher, Aaron Lancaster, Thomas Lancaster, D.V. Dawley, William Allen, Charles Ames, John Allen, Joseph Turner, Nathaniel Wilson, Ralph Letton, William McGinnis, William Wilson, William Gardner, Isaac Cody, John H. Sessions and James Turner.
It was several years from the time the land in this vicinity was ceded to the general Government before it was surveyed and placed upon the market. In the meantime the settlers made their claims and their rights were held inviolate, and woe unto the man who attempted to jump the "claim" of a settler. The man who had the temerity to do such a deed was looked upon as one likely to do worse things when the opportunity offered. A laughable farce of this kind took place in September, 1837. At a meeting of the inhabitants of the settlement, matters had been talked over as to the peace and good order of the community, and the meeting was about to adjourn, when a young man, a stranger, rather casually remonstrated against anyone holding more than one "claim," and not that unless he lived on it. He was from Hennepin, Ill., and most evidently had not "traveled the country all over," assuming rather more airs than was necessary for the occassion. His remarks were heard by one Simeon Cragin, a discharged soldier, and one of those unceremonious, backwoods, frontier, half-civilized persons that lurk around the border settlements, who immediately presented himself before him and thus addressed him: "My name, sir, is Simeon Cragin. I own fourteen 'claims,' and if any man 'jumps' one of them I will shoot him down at once, sir. I am a gentleman, sir, and scholar. I was educated in Bangor; have been in the United States army and served my country faithfully; am the discoverer of the 'Wopsy'; can ride a grizzly bear, or whip any human that ever crossed the Mississippi; and if you dare to jump one of my claims, die you must. My name is Simeon Cragin, sir, all the way from Bangor, Maine, and you must leave these diggins with but few remarks." He left.
The first death was that of Simeon Cragin.
The first frame building erected was in the winter of 1836-'7, by Col. T.C. Eads, in the village of Parkhurst, now LeClaire. It is yet standing, and was long regarded as one of the land-marks of the place.
The first preaching was at the house of Dr. Grant, by a Methodist circuit rider, a Rev. Mr. Hobert. Soon after him came Rev. Ezra Fisher, of the Baptist church, and Rev. A.B. Hitchcock, of the Congregationalist.
A private school was taught in Parkhurst in 1840 by Miss Clark, the first in the town. The first blacksmith shop was started by George W.Warren, in 1844. Davenport & Rogers built the first flouring mill in 1848. The first carpenter shop was in 1840, by John and Isaac Williams. The first representative in the Legislature from LeClaire Township was Laurel Summers. The lands in this section were first offered for sale by the Government in 1840. Eleazer Parkhurst opened the first farm up on the praries back of the village of Parkhurst.
VILLAGE OF PARKHURST
In the summer of 1837, Eleazer Parkhurst having disposed of a part of his claim to T.C. Eads, they jointly laid out the town of Parkhurst.
The first important improvement made in the place was by Col. Eads in the erection of a large frame building in the summer of 1837. This building was one of the wonders of the age; and is yet standing. Ralph Letton, of Cincinnati, in the spring of 1838 purchased a portion of Col. Eads' interest in the town, and a disagreement among the owners retarded the settlement of the place for several years, and no improvement took place until 1841.
The first store opened in the place was in 1839, by Lemuel Parkhurst, in a little stone building erected for that purpose.
The town grew but slowly and witnessed some trying periods, and in 1848 could boast only of about a dozen dwelling-houses, while the country back of it had been settling up quite rapidly.
During the summer of 1836, Eleazer Parkhurst applied to the postoffice department for a postoffice at his place. He immediately received a favorable answer, with the appointment of postmaster, and the office was named Parkhurst, after the name of the petitioner.
VILLAGE OF LE CLAIRE.
The mania for laying out villages and becoming rich from the sale of town lots began at a very early date. The desirable location here for a prosperous town early attracted the attention of parties passing up and down the Mississippi River, and who were not blind to the coming future. The following is a copy of a contract made between Mr. LeClaire and the parties named the year after the treaty, and even before the land came into market.
Whereas, It is agreed by and between Antoine Le Claire of the one part, and George Davenport, Enoch C. March and John Reynolds of the other part, witnesseth: That the said LeClaire agrees to convey by deed in the fee simple, to the said Davenport, March and Reynolds, 40 acres each-to be taken out of a section of land at the head of the rapids, which was granted to said LeClaire by the late treaty with the Sac and Fox Indians. Said land is situtated on the Mississippi River, on the west side thereof. Said LeClaire reserving 40 acres himself of said section, making in all one quarter section.
Said quarter section is to be located so as to be most suitable for laying out a town thereon. And all the parties to this contract agree further to lay out a town on said quarter section of land, and to be equal partners and proprietors thereof.
Said quarter section of land is to be located and surveyed as soon as practicable, and the same surveyed also, as soon as practicable, into lots.
Said Davenport, March and Reynolds, in consideration of said land, agreed to pay him (LeClaire) $80, each one.
Attest, K. McKENZEY
27th March, 1833
Antoine LeClaire,} George Davenport,} SEALS. Enoch C. March,} John Reynolds}
At a subsequent date the interest of Enoch C. March was purchased by Capt. James May.
The town of LeClaire was first laid out in the spring or summer of 1837 by the town company, surveyed by William R. Shoemaker, assisted by Henry S. Howell, both United States surveyors.
In 1841 Charles Ames, William Allen, A.K. Philleo and Martin W. Smith made improvements and settled in the town of LeClaire. Mr. Ames was from Port Byron, on the opposite side of the river, and brought with him a stock of goods, the first ever offered for sale in LeClaire. Mr. Ames died in 1846.
Like the town of Parkhurst, the village of LeClaire was of slow growth. In the LeClaire Republic of March 23, 1859, Edward Russell, now editor of the Gazette, Davenport, thus speaks of his first view of the two towns.
"In 1848, when we first visited the locality, LeClaire and Parkhurst were separated by a 'gulf,' which, though easily passed, kept each town entirely separate from the other. A beautiful dense grove of oaks extended from Reynolds street up to Holland street, and no 'cabins' or fences marred the scene. LeClaire then contained nine frame dwelling- houses, two brick dwelling-houses, one brick store, one frame store occupied, and one or two unoccupied, one brick building used as a pork house, one blacksmith shop, the Baptist church, occupied but not finished, and the old Methodist church, in course of erection. Parkhurst boasted of eight frame buildings, one brick, one stone, and two logs; two stone store buildings, one frame barn and one log barn."
CITY OF LE CLAIRE
It was not until about 1850 that either of the towns began to assume the appearance of a village, but from that time both increased in population and buildings, as well as in extension of the limits of their towns. In 1851 Davenport and Rogers purchased of Mr. Le Claire the remaining strip of land lying between the two towns of Le Claire and Parkhurst, and laid it out into building lots. This gave a new impetus to buildings of all kinds. Mills and manufactories were erected; mechanics of all kinds settled in the place, and many large brick store were erected, so that in 1855, on petition of the inhabitants of both towns, the Legislature by act incorpated the city of Le Claire, including within its limits the town of Parkhurst.
At this date there were within the limits of this city no less than eleven dry-goods stores, two clothing stores, one watchmaker, one saddler, two boat and provision stores, one bakery, five blacksmith shops, three wagon shops, one tin shop and stove store, one hardware store, one boot and shoe store, five churches, two cooper shops, two tailor shops, two shoemakers, two livery stables, five hotels, one banking house, one printing office, two steam flouring mills, one steam saw-mill, three lawyers, six physicians, two cabinet shops, candy shops and oyster saloons in any quantity, house and ship carpenters, stone masons and brick-layers, a boat yard, where steamers are repaired and keel boats made and repaired, and a ferry across the Mississippi River.
As an illustration of the condition of Le Claire and vicinity in 1851, the following questions, written by a gentleman in Indiana to and answered by a gentleman in Le Claire, are given.
1. I would like to known if a poor man can get along better there than here?
2. Is there any Congress land to be had within 50 miles of that place that is timbered?
3. What is the kind of rock, water, timber and soil in the county?
4. What is the usual price for wheat, corn, oats, hay and potatoes?
5. What is the price per acre, or rent of land; how paid, cash or shares?
6. What is the common price of horses, cows and sheep?
7. The price of labor per day, month, or year?
8. The usual quantity of wheat, corn, oats, and potatoes per acre?
9. The political cast and population of your county, and the number of its township?
10. Shall I bring horses, wagon and farming utensils with me? Horses are worth here from $60 to $100, wagons $70, plows $5 to $9.
11. What chance is there for merchandising?
12. Is there any chance for renting a house in that place?
13. What are the prices of wood and coal?
14. What is the size of your town, number of meeting houses, denominations, and how far are you from the county seat?
1. If a poor man cannot get along here he has no buisness to be a poor man, as we don't believe there is another portion of our Union where greater facilities are offered for the same amount of money.
2. Very little if any. But then there is prairie land to be had in the vicinity of saw-mills, where lumber for building, fencing, etc., can be purchased at low rates.
3. Rock, limestone of a superior quality for building purposes. Water very good. Timber the best in the county. Soil, rich and arable--"black as your hat," to the depth of three or four feet.
5. Good improved farms may be purchased within from three to five miles of Le Claire aaat from $10 to $20 per acre. Rent of land at from $2 to $3 per acre, payment generally cash.
6. Horses rate from $ 60 to $100; cows, $15; sheep, $3.
7. Labor per day from 50 to 75 cents; by the year about $150.
8. The average yield of wheat per acre is about 25 bushels, corn 60 bushels, oats 30, and potatoes 300. Onions are a reliable and staple article, and yield about 300 bushels per acre.
9. Scott County is Democratic, though not hopelessly so. Population in 1850, as shown by the census, 5,987, since which time there has been a continual influx of emigration. Scott County contains about 14 townships, or a little more than 500 square miles.
10. We have stated the price of horses; you must judge for yourself whether it would be advisable to bring them. Farming utensils of every description can be purchased here quite as reasonable as you could import them.
11. There are three stored in Le Claire, but from the business they do and the sligh exertions they make to extend their custom we sould conclude the opening favorable.
12. There that spoils your store--you can't get a home. Lots however are cheap, building materials low and mechanics plenty, so that obstacle may soon be overcome.
13. Wood sells at $1.50 per cord; coal, 10 cents per bushel.
14. Population of Le Claire, 600 to 800. There are four meeting-houses--Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Disciple. Le Claire is about 12 miles from Davenport, the county seat, which contains 2,500 inhabitants, and is populating and improving with a rapidity unsurpassed by any town on the upper Mississippi River.
In 1862, by vote of its citizens, the city of Le Claire surrendered her charter, and was incorporated as a town under the general laws of the State.
Le Claire postoffice was established in 1836, under the name of Parkhurst, with Eleazur Parkhurst as Postmaster. It was subsequently changed to Berlin, with T.C. Eads as postmaster. Dr. Metcalf succeeded Mr. Eads in 1842, and was in turn succeeded by Jacob Emeigh and Lemuel Parkhurst, and the name of the office was changed back to Parkhurst. A short time after the office was taken to the village of Le Claire, and name changed to that of the village. The following named have served as postmasters from that time to the present: James Gamble, Thomas Newman, John F. Newman, Mr. Harrington, William Laycock, and D.V. Dawley, the latter assuming charge of the office in the spring of 1881.
Le Claire was made a money-order office in 1870. The first order was issued August 1, to A.M. Gardner. About $25,000 are annually issued, and about $6,000 paid.
The first birth in the village of Le Claire was Ellen L., daughter of Laurel Summers, born in April, 1842.
The first school taught in the township was in 1837, in the house of Phillip Suiter, Wm. Cannon being the teacher, and Mr. Suiter's five children the scholars.
The first school-house was built in 1838, on the claim of John F. Smith, in fractional section 4, Mr. Smith granting the right for the consideration of one lead bullet. In this house one Thos. Dinnison was the first teacher.
The next school-house was built in 1839, on the land of the late James Turner, in the north half of the northwest fourth of section 3. Dr. Periander Pollock was teacher. This Periander Pollock and wife were murdered at Silver Canyon, Col., on Dec. 4, 1881. He was a brother to Milo M. Pollock of this township.
The first brick school-house in the township was built in Parkhurst, in 1851, and is yet standing on the premises of Mr. D. Hathorn.
The second brick school-house built in the township was the Suiter school-house, on the river bank, near Sycamore Creek, about three miles below town, in 1853. It was built by voluntary contribution, and took the place of the former two houses. The late Christian Lembach did the work.
The first school taught in Le Claire, then familiarly known as "the Point" or Parkhurst, was taught in 1840, by Miss Clark. At this time a local regulation required each unmarried man to subscribe and pay for at least one scholar, regardless of future responsibilities. In the next year, 1841, Miss H. Parkhurst taught school here.
In 1846-'7 the Baptist church was built on the corner of Wisconsin avenue and Second street. The want of a proper school-room being seriously felt, Wm. Allen, D.V. Dowley with others, engaged to furnish the basement of the church as a school-room, in consideration of a lease of the same for a term of 12 years. This was the only school in Le Claire proper, until the district purchased, in 1854, the frame building used as a Presbyterian church, on lot 3, block 18, now owned and used by J.S. Huntington. In 1853, the school district of Le Claire was subdivided by State laws into four districts, but under one organization. A union school-house had been projected by the citizens, and the present site of the pubilc school-house purchased in 1851, but this subdivision of districts by the Legislature prevented a realization of the object at that time. In 1850 a new frame school-house was built on lot 1, of 7, at the corner of Ferry and Cass streets. These were the only school-houses occupied until the completion of the present large and substantial stone building on Ferry street.
The present public school building was commenced in 1870, and dedicated July 4, 1871, at a cost of $13,000. Its estimated value, including furniture, philosophical and chemical apparatus, and three acres of ground, is $25,000.
Since its dedication its principals or superintendents have been: J.W. Coates, J.W. Austin, C.A. Birchard, J.F. Sauender, J.T. Marvin, J.A. Holmes, E.E. Hamilton. Number of pupils enrolled, 265. Average attendance, 185. Teachers employed, five. Departments, first and second primary, intermediate, grammar and high school.
The township now has six sub-districts, with a frame school-house in each district, with an average value of $500, or a total of $3,000. In these sub-districts there are at present between the ages of five and 21, 180, with an enrollment of 150. There are in the township two independent districts, Le Claire No.1, with 54 children of school age, an enrollment of 49, and a good stone school-house valued at $1,700; town of Le Claire, with 359 children of school age, an enrollment of 265, and a school-house with five rooms, valued at $13,000.
The village of Le Claire is represented by five religious societies Methodist Episcopal, Christian, Baptist, Presbyterian and Catholic.
The Baptist Church of Le Claire was organized June 10, 1839, and known as the Bath Baptist Church. Those composing the original organization were: Mary Rowe, Polly McKinster, Amanda Palmer, Sarah Turner, Sophia Blanchard, William Rowe, Daniel A. Davidson, Robert Hilton, Orleans Blanchard, William Palmer, Joseph Turner and Benjamin F. Pike. The first services were held at the house of William Rowe, July 28, 1839. Joseph Turner was appointed clerk pro tem. The first regularly elected clerk was Daniel C. Davidson, on the 19th of March, 1841. Elder Fisher was invited to the care of the church July 17, 1841. The first church edifice was erected in 1843, Joseph Turner, Benjamin F. Pike and John Campbell being the trustees appointed to superintend its erection. The first regular pastor was Rev. C. E. Brown, who was employed in June, 1844, since which time the following named have served: Revs. Mr. Rutlege, Philemon Shirley, William J. Parkhurst, Mr. Barrows, Mr. Paul, Mr. Miles, Mr. Dunlap, Mr. Lewis and G. W. Prescott, the latter assuming charge of the church in 1875. At present no regular pastor is employed. The present church edifice was erected in 1875. A Sabbath-school was organized in 1873, which has now a general attendance of 70. Mrs. Lucius Collins is superintendent, and Lillie Hilburn, secretary and treasurer. The teachers are Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Hewlett, Mrs. Hilburn and Mrs. Perney.
Presbyterian Church of LeClaire, Ia. - In the year 1841, when the state of Iowa was only a Territory, the present city of LeClaire was only a small village, and there were scarcely any Presbyterians in the village or in the country. Mr. James Jack, from Allegheny Co., Penn., had settled here some time previously, and being an elder and having a desire for the ordinances of the gospel administered by his own church, formed with his family a nucleus for the future. The Rev. Michael Hummer at this time was settled in Davenport, and occasionally performed missionary labor in the region around. We are informed by the session book that on the 9th day of January, 1841, after a sermon by the Rev. Michael Hummer, and after a long deliberation of the members present, it was unanimously resolved that a church be organized after the manner and according to the form of government of the Presbyterian church in the United States of America, to be denominated "The Presbyterian Church of Berlin." The following persons were received as members at the time of the organization: James Jack, Eliaz Jack, Christian Kilsey, Ralph Letton and Mary Van Horn. Mr. James Jack having been an elder in the Presbyterian church of Pennsylvania, was elected ruling elder. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered to the young church for the first time on Jan. 10, 1841, by the above Rev. Michael Hummer. We are told not to despise the day of small things, and though the church consisted of only six members, yet the importance of the place, and being early in the field, justified the proceedings. The place now became a preaching station, supplied irregularly by the ministers of Davenport. The next record on session book relates the observance of the Lord's Supper on March 28, 1841, by Rev. M. Hummer, at which time two more members were added, John C. Jacks and Rachel Scott; and shortly three others were added, making 11 in all. Then followed a long interval, from March 28, 1841, to Nov. 27, 1847, during which time some of the members removed elsewhere and the place was destitute of Presbyterian preaching, with the exception of an occasional sermon by Rev. Clelland, of Davenport. Nov. 27, 1847, another session and another Lord's Supper was observed, and few more members added to the church. The officiating minister on the occasion was the Rev. G. S. Rea, a new minister who had come to Davenport. On Monday following the service Mr. John Moore was duly elected, ordained and installed as ruling elder in the church, making another besides Mr. Jack.
The town having changed its name from Berlin to LeClaire, at a congregational meeting it was resolved to change the name of the church, and to petition the Presbytery of Iowa to grant the request and to change the name from Berlin to LeClaire, which request was granted. On April 27, 1850, the communion was administered by the Rev. James D. Mason, the next minister of Davenport who succeeded Mr. Rea. On this occasion several new members were received into the church, mostly by certificate. In August, 1850, a church building was commenced. By this time the members had increased so as to be a ground of thankfulness and encouragement, yet they were all comparatively poor, and their edifice was built in proportion to their means. It was a frame building, 24 x 32. One hundred dollars were received from the Board of Missions and $75 by subscription, and the rest was furnished by the time, labor and means of Elder James Jack, to whom the credit of this building is largely due. The church was finished in May, 1851; though small, it was a considerable effort for the little church at this time, and was a vast improvement on the previous state of things. In September, 1850, during the time the house was building, the Lord's Supper was again administered by the Rev. J. D. Mason, and four members received into the fellowship of the church by certificate.
We now arrive at the time when the church enjoyed the privilege of a settled pastor. The number of members at this time was about 40.
There are no records of anything until May 25, 1851, when a session was held, the Rev. J. D. Mason, moderator, at Princeton, five miles farther up the river, the two charges to be at present under one minister, and the said application being granted, the Rev. Hugh Hutchinson, and Mr. James Jack, elder, the Rev. J. D. Mason being absent, the committee, appointed by the Presbytery, met at Princeton by appointment, on Sabbath, Nov. 12, organizing a new church, by the name of "Princeton Presbyterian Church;" 12 member were received from the Le Claire church, and five new members, making 17 members composing the organization. Three elders were duly elected and ordained, viz.: Denton D. Culbertson, Samuel Knox, and John L. Gast. The Lord's Supper was adminstered to the young church. The church now enjoyed the privileges of a settled pastor. Application having been made by the session to the Presbytery which met at Le Claire in October, 1854, that a new organization be formed.
The First Congregational Church of Leclaire was organized by the Rev. J. A. Reed, agent of the A. H. M. Society for Iowa, on the 1st of September, 1849, in the basement of the Baptist church. Eleven persons united in forming this church. Public service was held in the north room, under the Baptist meeting-house (not then finished), alternately with the Baptists until the summer of 1850, when, by agreement, the alternation of the church proper for four years with our Baptist brethren was received.
A union Sabbath-school was also held there every Sunday, until the formation of a Congregational school, which was organized in their new church in December of 1853, and was by them continued in that building until the house was burned down on the 12th of April, 1874, at which time the school was in a prosperous condition, the average attendance for the year previous having been 90. The school afterward met in Christian Chapel, until the school was then removed there, and its name changed from the Le Claire Bible Sabbath-school, to the Union Bible Sabbath-school.
The church building erected by the Congregationalists was a frame structure, 42 x 26 feet, with a seating capacity of 140. The cost of the lot and erection was $1,065, $300 of which was furnished by the Congregational Union, the balance being given by friends in Le Claire and members of the church. There is now on file a full and particular account of all money received and expended, showing by whom given, and to whom paid, an example all intrusted with the expending of other people's money would do well to follow. The building had, a few months before the fire, been insured for $500, in the American Central Insurance Company, which was promptly paid by that company. Failing to secure the aid necessary to enable them to build again, and the Presbyterians having recently re-organized their society, and taken steps to erect a place of worship, and most of the members of the Congregational church having expressed a wish to unite with them, a special meeting of the Congregational church was called to consider the propriety of disbanding, at which meeting, held on the 22d of July, 1874, it was unanimously voted to disband the church organization. The money received from the insurance was ordered to be disposed of as follows: $300 to be paid over to the Congregational Union, in repayment of the money advanced by them to aid in building the church, and the remaining $200 was given to the trustees of the Presbyterian church to aid them in procuring a bell. The lot was donated to the A. H. M. Society. The organ was given to the Sunday-school; the seats, windows, etc., saved from the fire, were given to the Presbyterian church. During the 25 years the church organization existed, 86 persons were received as members the number by deaths, removals, etc., was reduced to 17 at the time of its dissolution.
The following persons held the office of pastor: Revs. H. L. Buller, H. W. Cobb, L. R. White, J. L. Marsh, A. Alvord, D. N. Boardwell, A. Harper, and W. H. Hayward.
The Church of Christ at Le Claire - On the third Lord's day of December, A. D. 1843, a small number of individuals, male and female, gave to each other the hand of fellowship, pledging themselves to God and to each other to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ, to take the word of God as the only rule of faith and practice, and as a congregation took upon themselves the name of Church of Christ, meeting at LeClaire.
James Brownlee, of Long Grove, Scott Co., Ia., having preached the gospel among us, mainly through his instrumentality, being accompanied with Brother William Davenport, the above organization was effected, in December, 1843, with the following original members: Phillip Suiter and Hannah Suiter, Ira F. Smith and Nancy Smith, William McGinnis, Griswold Vanduzer and Louisa Vanduzer, Mary Ann Suiter.
In February, 1846, Stevan Burnett visited the church and preached the gospel. Milo M. Pollock and Mary Ann Pollock were united by letter of commendation.
Early in 1846 the church was called together, and came to the conclusion to build a house to worship in, and the same fall was ready for occupation.
In the years of 1846 and 1847 Charles Levan was called as an evangelist. In November, 1847, N. A. McConnell commenced to labor among them as an evangelist. The Lord, through his instrumentalities, added quite a number to the church. In 1853 and 1854 Dr. Getchell filled the pulpit. In 1856 Ephraim Phillips was employed by the congregation.
The first elder of the organization was Wm. McGinnis, who filled the position for the first 10 years, and also held the office of secretary and treasurer.
The first deacons were Griswold Vanduzer and Ira F. Smith.
First pastors: Charles Levan, 1847; N. A. McConnell, 1847; Dr. Lusey, paid the church several visits; Ephraim Phillips, 1856, who supplied the pulpit some three years, and quite a number taken into the church; G. W. Sweeney, 1863 - 1864, and through his preaching quite a number came into the church; W. D. Swaim, in 1874; N. A. Smith, in the latter part of 1875, remaining two years; N. O. Wilson. Their present pastor is Joseph P. Martindale. Meeting regular every Sabbath.
Their old church, which was built in 1846, becoming unfit to hold services in, they sold it and bought an edifice of the Presbyterians. The building is a frame structure, and has a capacity of seating 400 persons. The original cost of building was $1,200, but they have expended some 400 more. William McGinnis took an active interest in the welfare of the church. The present elders are Wm. McGinnis, W. P. Hadley, J. C. McGinnis. The present deacons are J. W. Arnold and Evans Penry. There is a membership of between 30 and 40 working members. They have a Sabbath school connected with the church, having an attendance of about 70 on an average. The present superintendent of the Sabbath-school is Rev. Martindale.
Mount Pleasant Evangelical Luthern Church
By F. R. Scherer
This congregation was organized by the writer in May, 1862, with 14 members, who had previously held their church connection at Salem's Church. From the time of our location here in 1856, we had preached in "Jones' school-house" every two or three weeks, and at other convenient points, for the accommodation of the above members who were too far from the church to attend regularly there.
In the wisdom of man, in the fall of 1861, we and the Methodists were deprived of preaching in "Jones' school-house." At this time "greenbacks" were among the things that never had been to any considerable extent, if at all, and every thing very low; but we determined to have a house where we could worship God according to our conscience, under our own "vine and fig tree," "none daring to molest or make afraid." To this end we purchased the lumber, hoping to be able to complete the church that fall, but the weather prevented it until spring. The largest cash amount paid by any one person previous to the dedication was $10. After prouring the material, being alone responsible for the erection of the church, and having but precious few dimes, we determined to experiment on the house of the Lord. We bought a chisel, borrowed a few augers, took our old hatchet and went to work to make the jonts, etc., and have them come together as near as possible as the work of the "great temple" did. In this, not being carpenters, we succeeded somewhat commendable. Borrowing a "stone hammer" and making a trowel of a stout shingle, we prepared a resting place for the former work and put it on it. This done, and to make a proper "finishing touch," we procured the services of Lacock, of Davenport. At the dedication, May 20, 1862, the debt of some $450 was easily liquidated. Dec. 25, 1865, we commenced a meeting in this church that lasted 49 days, and the result added 34 members to the church, aside from those added to other churches.
During our labors here we have added, aside from those who organized, 56 members, a number having removed, etc.; there are but about 40 left. It is truly remarkable that during our labors of 11 years as pastor of these churches, but two members have been removed by death.
United Presbyterian Church
contributed by a member
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian congregation of Le Claire Prairie was organized May 21, 1849, the original membership being 12. The first elders were: William Jamison and William McCool.
The first pastor was Rev. J. B. Clark who served the church very acceptably for two years, at the end of which time he was killed by lightning. The second pastor was Rev. S. McKee, who served for two years, till 1859.
For the satisfaction of persons not familiar with the origin of the United Presbyterian Church, it is proposed to give a brief retrospect of certain ecclesiastical changes, which gave rise to the denomination now known by that name.
Early in the last century immigrants came from Scotland and the north of Ireland, known as Secedera, or Associate Presbyterians, and others of substantially the same faith, known as Covenanters or Reformed Presbyterians. Both being weak, and there being no good reason for continued separation, a union of the two was effected n 1782; and by combining their former names the denomination was thenceforth known as associate Reformed Presbyterian. Thus originated that branch of the Presbyterian family in which the congregation was organized.
But, unhappily, the union of 1782 was not satisfactory to all. There was a remnant of each of the former bodies that refused to unite; and this remnant received considerable accession by immigration from abroad. Hence, there resulted three denominations instead of two. Both the Associate and Associate Reformed bodies had prospered during the former half of the present century; and after considerable time spent in negotiation they united in 1858, and assumed the name United Presbyterian.
The United Presbyterian Church now consists of nine Synods, one of which is on the Pacific coast; 61 Presbyteries, one of which is in Egypt and one in India. Two denominational colleges and several academies are sustained; also two theological seminaries in this country besides one in Egypt. Two foreign missionaries are maintained by this body, that of Egypt having been unusually successful. Two schools are sustained among the freedmen, and the home missions are extensive. This brief summary of the denomination my suffice.
Since the union of 1858 the congregation has been known by the new name of United Presbyterian. In 1860, Rev. S. S. Ralston, D. D., became pastor; these relations have continued to the present time, 21 years, concord and unity having generally prevailed; and a good measure of success.
Encouraging accessions have been realized every year; and the congregation would have become quite large, could the people have been retained; but emigration has depleted its strength.
Many went West in search of cheap lands. The present membership is about 120.
The church edifice was originally 32 x 40 feet; to which an addition of 20 feet was made to the west end in 1866.
Monthly collections are taken in the congregation; and weekly collections in the Sabbath-school, manifesting a commendable liberality in sustaining the boards of the church. Also a ladies' missionary society has been operating for over 20 years, whose annual contributions have ranged from about $50 to $100. The session now consists of elders Thomas McConnell, James Long, J. O. Jamieson.
by R. W. Coates
Methodism has ever been on the march, with the great motto: "The field is the world, and the world my parish." It has been an important factor in the growth of the country, and as far back as the memory of the oldest citizen there are interesting reminiscenses of Methodist preachers, and their methods of religious work. The church records were imperfectly kept in the earlier days, hence the value of memory in the old settlers' filling the blanks, which occur in the records. The first mention of the M. E. church in Iowa was in 1835. Two years later it was introduced into this vicinity, then a Territory. The first Methodist preacher in Le Claire (before it was called Le Claire) was Rev. Mr. Hobert. The first organization of the church here was in 1839, with Rev. Mr. Holman pastor, and ever since it has had a regular pastor or supply, and in many respects, for over 40 years, has passed a useful career. Much of valuable history of the growth of Scott County is connected with this church, its members and ministers. We give below the names of the ministers who have served the church as pastors since 1839: Rev. Holman, Joel B. Taylor, Rev. Simpson, Rev. Burris, Sidney Wood, Joseph Maxon, Solomon Ingham; J. C. Smith, from 1852-'3; D. N. Holms, 1854-'5; S. C. Freer, 1856-'7; E. C. Wortz, 1858-'9; Rev. Faulkner, 1860; Bro. Guyberson, 1861; Andrew, appointed pastor 1862; Rev. Mr. Henderson 1863-'4; Emory Miller, 1865-'6; Rev. Bro. Catlin, 1867; Elias Van Sandt (a supply), 1868; Landen Taylor, 1869; L. S. Kiagle, 1871-'8; W. O. Glassner, 1879; R. W. Coates, 1880-'1. The following have served as presiding elders: H. W. Reed, B. Weed, J. Bowman, Andrew Coleman, J. C. Ayres, A. J. Kynett, R. W. Keeler, Emory Miller, S. Anderson, W. Frank Paxton and W. Lease.
Snow Lodge, No 44, A. F. & A. M., Le Claire. - This lodge was instituted Jan. 4, 1854, under dispensation from the Grand Master of Iowa. The petitioners were J. C. Brotton, Horatio J. Barner, Henry Saddonus, J. C. Smith, T. J. Calloway and Wm. O. Evans. The first regular meeting was held Jan. 24, 1854, J. C. Brotton, W. M., presiding. At the meeting on March 10, Ancil Humphreys, Grand Master of Iowa, was present and presided. At this meeting A. H. Davenport, James Gamble and Wm. H. Hewitt were made master Masons.
At the meeting of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, June 8, 1854, at Mount Pleasant, a charter was granted, and the lodge named "Snow Lodge, No. 44." J. C. Brotton, W. M.; H. G. Barner, S. W. and Hy. Saddonus, J. W. From that time forward the lodge has maintained its organization and held regular monthly meetings. Its presiding officers have been: J. C. Brotton, James Gamble, Carlos C. Applegate, Wm. C. Evans, Charles Kelley, Tho. H. L. Lee, George L. Bolton and J. W. Rambo.
In 1875 they purchased the ground and building on Main street, in which their hall is located. It is valued at $3,000 and free of all incumbrance. Their present membership is 48.
Howard lodge, No 55, A. O. U. W., was organized March, 1876, with the following named charter members: M. B. Harris, William G. Scott, Thomas James, G. L. Huntington, J. N. Cox, J. H. Edwards, T. J. Dodds, John Elliott, M. V. Holsapp, William Suiter, J. W. Rambo, R. A. Edwards, Andrew Stone and Geo. Stacy. The first officers were: M. B. Harris, M. W.; William G. Scott, M. W. ; Thomas James, J. F.; G. L. Huntington, O.; J. N. Cox, R.; J. H. Edwards, F.; T. J. Dodds, R. E. C.; John Elliott, Guide; M. V. Holsapp. W.; William Suiter, J. W. Rambo, R. A. Edwards, Trustees. The lodge has always been, and is now, in a flourishing condition, its membership constantly increasing, until it now numbers 74 in good standing, and has $900 in the treasury. Meetings are held every Saturday evening. The following named are the officers the first term in 1882: E. Fowler, P. M. W.; A. M. Smith, M. W.; William A. Davenport, G. F.; R. S. Hileman, O.; J. V. Pollock, R.; G. L. Huntington, F.; James H. Davenport, R.; Hugo lumbard, Guide; F. A. Edwards, I. W,; J. Stocker, O. W.
Le Claire lodge, No 38, I. O. O. F.
by Dr. James Gamble
A lodge of I. O. O. F. was organized in Le Claire in 1852-'3, and for several years was in a flourishing condition. The late A. H. Davenport and Dr. Jas. Gamble were among its first presiding officers. When in its palmiest days there were 80 members enrolled. For several years previous to the war of the Rebellion, Le Claire shared in the universal business depression of the country, to a great degree. The members of the lodge were mostly young business men or mechanics, and were obliged to seek other fields for the exercise of their business or industrial faculties, so that the members gradually became so reduced that the charter was finally surrendered to the Grand Lodge in 1859