The Rise and Fall of Point Pleasant Postoffice--On the Old Stage Route to DeWitt and Dubuque.

By F.J.B. Huot.
The Davenport Times, Saturday, December 22, 1900.

     Coeval with the erection of Allen's Grove township was that of Winfield township, which was first settled in 1836 by the brothers Quinn, William and John, who located claims in that year on sections 5 and 9 and erected log houses thereon. Later came Joseph and James Quinn, brothers of William and John Quinn.
     The Quinns were the original settlers, but neither of the four brothers survive. The families, or descendants of William and Joseph, however, reside in the county.
     John Quinn opened a farm in section 9 in 1836. He came from Ohio and made many improvements on his section. In 1839 he laid out the village of Point Pleasant and became its postmaster. In 1849 he removed to California, going overland with the argonauts in that year. William Quinn, his brother, resided in the township until 1880, when he died.

First Called Quinn Township.

     When first erected Winfield township was called "Quinn Township," but this was solely a cognomen applied by the residents of the same. The name of the county was "Scott" and the organizers of the township determined to christen it "Winfield" after the Christian name of the staunch old fighter, General Winfield Scott, who negotiated the Black Hawk treaty in 1833, just three years prior to the advent of the Quinns to sections 5 and 9.

The Settlers of 1841.

     Besides the four Quinn brothers, William, John, Joseph, and James, there were eighteen other pioneers in the township. Chief among these were the Brownlie brothers, who came from Old Scotland to Canada and from there to the township. These were James, the well known Christian church pastor; Alexander, who afterwards moved to Poweshiek county, and Robert and William Brownlie, deceased. A.D. Brownlie, the well known Scott county resident, is a son of Alexander Brownlie, who moved into Poweshiek county.
     Beside the Brownlie Bros., there were resident in the township in that year a Virginian, named Norman, who settled where Point Pleasant was later located; Samuel Freeman who afterwards moved into what is now Hickory Grove township; Robert Waterhouse, who later crossed the Wapsipinnecon into Clinton county, and located at DeWitt, in that county-(a city, by the way, named after DeWitt Clinton, the celebrated historical character in the early part of this lapsing century); Henry Lea and Albert Lea, both Canadians, who came with the Brownlies, entered and returned to the Dominion in 1845; George Ellis, a blacksmith; Isaac Swim, who later moved into Princeton township; a Mr. Martin, who moved into Butler township; Charles Elder, of Pennsylvania, Leonard Cooper; Mrs. Arable, who later went to live at Cascade, Ia.; and Elihu Alvord, who settled afterwards in Pleasant Valley township and became the progenitor of the Alvord family of that place. Mr. Alvord was a Connecticut gentleman.
     It might be said here that James and William Quinn removed to Mahaska county, while John, who founded "Point Pleasant" on the old stage coach road, got the gold fever and went to California. Joseph Quinn finally settled at Linn Grove.

First Things in Township.

    The first town was platted in Winfield township by John Quinn in 1839. It was named "Point Pleasant" and was made a postoffice.
     In 1841 the first school was taught in the township by Dominick Kennedy. This was a private school, those sending children paying the tuition for the same.
     The first church erected outside of Davenport was located in Winfield township. It was a log house, and was used by the Disciples for Christian congregation.
     The first religious services were held in 1838 at the house of James Brownlie. Mr. Brownlie officiated as the clergyman on the occasion.
     In 1849 Hannah Alvord taught school in this log church, which was used by the Christian congregation.
     The first blacksmith in the township was George Ellis, who in 1844 opened a shop at Point Pleasant..

Point Pleasant.

     In 1839, as before stated, John Quinn laid out a town on the Wapsipinnecon river on sections 4 and 5, which he called Point Pleasant. A.T. Russell, at that time county surveyor, did the platting and cross-sectioning. The town boasted of a postoffice and general store. Mr. Quinn was postmaster and merchant.
     Those were the good days when everybody was honest. No one thought of locking his doors. Mr. Quinn was often away from home, but that did not matter. He left his postoffice open and everyone could wait on themselves, could take mail out of the box, or place some, there depositing the amount of the postage in the same letter box. No one ever cheated the postmaster. There was no quarrelling, no enmities, no animosities, and no double-dealing. Hospitality was a virtue practiced by all and the stranger was given a hearty welcome at every door.
     But "Point Pleasant" did not long survive. She lapsed before long, and all that marks her site today is a field of cornstalks from which the golden ears, and the burning pumpkins have been harvested.
     The nearest grist mill in those days was at Pleasant Valley city, before alluded to. Another mill  was at Rockingham and still another at the mouth of Pine Creek in Muscatine county. Corn meal ground in a coffee mill, "samp" or hominy and other corn products comprised the cereal or breadstuffs of the pioneers.

The Walnut Grove Miller.

     In 1840 George Dailey built a grist mill on a little creek north of Walnut Grove. Alexander Brownlie, who was a stone mason, hewed the upper and nether mill-stones from a piece of bowlder found in the neighborhood. This primitive mill made a good quality of flour, but it was very slow in operation, and its patronage was immense. The wheel has long since been idle, but the memory of the "Honest Miller" as Daddy Dailey was called, is still extant.

Sawed Lumber by Hand.

     Alexander and James Brownlie built their log homes at the edge of a grove (now Long Grove) and began to manufacture hardwood lumber. A whip-saw operated vertically by hand was employed. The log rolled upon a platform beneath which one man stood, while the other sawyer was above. The saw was then operated laboriously through the length of the log. Lumber was then worth $40 per thousand feet in Davenport and the Brownlies were able to supply not only their own wants, but also those of their neighbors.

Educational Notes.

     Winfield township has two school houses, which are independent. One is Long Grove School No. 1, valued at less than $1,000, and Winfield School No. 2, said to be worth at least $1,000. Both are of frame. Two sub-district school houses, each valued at about $500 also exist.

Has Two Churches.

     Besides the Christian church, which is located in Long Grove, and which is 40x50 feet in size, erected in 1860 at a cost of about $1,000, Winfield township boasts a Catholic church, St. Anne's located on section 14. This is a pretty little place of worship nestling among well kept trees, which form a shaded avenue leading to it from the road. It has a steeple, and a seating capacity of some 200. Services are held every Sunday morning alternating at 8 and 11 o'clock respectively. Rev. Martin McNamara is present pastor. The congregation is in a flourishing condition.

The Three Groves.

     There are three groves in Winfield township. The principal is Long Grove, adjacent to the sections occupied by the Brownlies. Next comes Walnut Grove, so named from the character of the trees, situated north of Long Grove, and lastly, Maple Grove, lying along the C.M. & St. P. tracks, something like a mile above Long Grove station. Each of these groves are veritable beauty spots. However, the names of Long Grove and Walnut Grove are the most distinctive.

Long Grove Station.

     With the advent of the Davenport and St. Paul road, now the C.M. & St. P. road, Winfield township experienced quite a boom. One branch of the railway enters the township on section 2, where it crosses the Wapsipinnecon river. The other branch enters on section 32 and leaves on section 31. The first is the Maquoketa branch which passes through Long Grove and Noel's Station, while the last named branch is the main line which leaves the town of Eldridge for Dixon, and the great north and northwest.
     The village of Long Grove became existant in 1870 at the time the C.M. & St. P. road forged its way from Eldridge, the boom city, where the company's shops were first established, towards the Wapsipinnecon river and Clinton and Jackson counties. The town has never been platted. A postoffice was located there since 1879. Today there are two saloons, several general stores, a shoe shop, carpenter shop, several blacksmith shops, stock yards, an elevator, a lumber yard, one school house, a Christian church, and a creamery.
     In the village to the south is the cemetery, wherein lies the body of a brother of Hon. W.F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill," who lost his life in a horse race near the Pease corner on the Dubuque road, during the boyhood days of the celebrated scout.
     There is one other cemetery in the township and that is adjoining the St. Anne's Catholic church on the east. In these two necropoli are interred bodies of many of the Winfield township pioneers.

Noel's Station.

     John T. Noel located on 580 acres of Wapsi land, his father's heritage, in 1869. This is on sections 10, 11 and 3, in Winfield township. In 1870 he removed to Davenport, but in 1875 returned to farming. In the middle '80s he prevailed upon the C.M. & St. P. authorities to halt trains at his farm, which is adjacent to section 2, on which that road makes its exit over the long bridge which crosses the Wapsie river. The B., C.R. & N. road also parallels the Wapsie at Noel's Station coming westward from the Gambril station and McCausland.
     This agreement created the station of Noel, the last Scott county stopping place on the C.M. & St. P., between Davenport and DeWitt. Noel station is a postoffice boasts of a...[ cannot read line]...several corn cribs. It is wholly located upon the estate of John T. Noel.

Long Grove Brick Yard.

     The geological features of Winfield township are mediocre. The Wapsie is sandy, and near Long Grove quite an excellent quality of clay is found, which in the late half a dozen years has been moulded and burned into paving and building brick, tile, etc. This is the chief industry at the Grove. While the plant cannot compare with those at LeClaire, or rater the Tile Works station, or at Buffalo, its product is commanding a ready sale, and the plant is in continuous operation. Considerable drain tile is burned which the farmers thereabouts purchase in large quantities. The brick works are situated south of the village along the C.M. & St. P. railway company.

The Classic Wapsie.

     The Wapsipinnecon river, which bounds Winfield township on the north is very erratic, and probably is the wildest north of the St. Anne's church, and between that point and the Dubuque road. The river takes its rise near the source of the Cedar river, and runs parallel and near to it throughout its entire course. From the source of the Cedar river to the northeastern part of Linn county, it flows over the Devonian formation, while from there to the Mississippi near Camanche, Ia., it flows over Niagara limestone. Its length is 100 miles, and it drains all territory from twelve to twenty miles in width.

On the Old Stage Route.

     The grove in which the Brownlies settled lay on the old stage coach route between Davenport and Dubuque, leading to the fords of the Wapsie. This route must not be confused with the Dubuque road, which today is the continuation of the Brady street road, and passing through Gambril and over the Wapsie into DeWitt a mile or so east of Long Grove. This old stage route passed the door of the Brownlies, who were ever hospitable, and who never allowed the traveler to go away hungered from their doors. Long Grove, which came into existence with the arrival of the railroad, lies close by the Brownlies home, and is directly on the old stage coach route.
     The "Grove", as the station is commonly called, boasts of a hall, and of a Woodmen of the World camp, which is in a flourishing condition. The creamery in the village is being operated upon a co-operative plan and is remunerative.