ORGANIZED JUNE 10, 1865
IOWA FARMER, PUBLISHERS
TELEGRAPH-HERALD PRINTERS, DUBUQUE
Early Settlers' Association
President, EDWARD LANGWORTHY
Secretary, CHANDLER CHILDS
Treasurer, ALEXANDER SIMPLOT
Officers Since Organization Have Been:
~~ PRESIDENTS ~~
Edward Langworthy, Benjamin Rupert, Thomas S. Wilson, John
Maclay, Geo. W. Jones, Phineas W. Crawford, Alexander Simplot,
~~ SECRETARIES ~~
Chandler Childs, Wm. Myers, H. H. Smyth, Thomas Alsop, Dr. J.
P. Quigley, Alexander Simplot, Andrew Bahl.
~~ TREASURERS ~~
Wni. G. Stewart, Philip Pier.
~~ VICE PRESIDENTS ~~
Jacob Kessler, D. W. Cleveland, Peter
Ferring, Walter Cook, E. H. Smith.
Members Index, 738 members listed
Brief Early History of Iowa and Dubuque County
"THE BEAUTIFUL LAND"
The year 1803 is memorable in the history of the West for the
purchase of Louisiana from France for $15,000,000. This land was
known as the New Northwest, and was peopled by aboriginal tribes.
As its Eastern sections were settled by the whites, its political
status underwent sundry changes. In 1834 the territory west of the
Mississippi River and north of Missouri was a part of the Territory
On the 4th of July, 1836, Wisconsin Territory was erected, embracing
within its limits the present states of Iowa, Wisconsin and
Minnesota. In 1838 the Territory of Iowa was created,
comprising the present state, the larger part of Minnesota, and
extending north to the boundary' lines of the British possessions.
In 1836 the town of Dubuque was surveyed and platted by the
December 28, 1846, Iowa was admitted as a sovereign state into the
American Union. Ansel Briggs was its first, and Stephen Hempstead
its second governor, the latter a resident of Dubuque.
General Geo. W. Jones, who also resided in Dubuque County, and
Augustus C. Dodge, were its first United States Senators.
Julien Dubuque, a Frenchman in the employ of the American Fur Co. at
Prairie du Chien, where it had a trading post, learning from the
Indians of the rich lead region in this locality, came with a number
of half-breeds and friendly Indians down the river in canoes in
1788, and made the first settlement in the county, calling it the
"Mines of Spain" He identified himself with them by marrying Potosa,
the daughter of the Indian Peosta, who was chief of the Fox village
located at the mouth of what is now Catfish Creek, and acquired
great influence over the Indians, obtaining from them extensive
mining rights, extending seven leagues along the Mississippi River
and three leagues in width from the river, presumably intending to
include the river front between the Little Maquoketa and the Tete
des Mort rivers, embracing more than 70,000 acres.
In 1804 Dubuque transferred the larger part of his claim to Auguste
Choteau a French merchant of St. Louis, and in 1805, he and Choteau
jointly filed their claims with the Board of Commissioners. The
Indians at Dubuque's death claiming that the privilege accorded him
was only a permit to work the mines during his life, took possession
and continued mining operations and were sustained by the military
authority of the United States.
The heirs of Choteau however, were not disposed to relinquish their
claim without a struggle. The case was finally carried to the
Supreme Court, where in 1851, it was decided adverse to them, the
court holding that the concession was only a lease or permit to work
Dubuque was called by the Indians Le Petite Nuit, the little night,
presumably on account of his short stature, dark eyes and slightly
He died in 1810, and his remains lie where they were buried, marked
by the monument erected a few miles below the city through the
instrumentality of the Early Settlers and the Julien Dubuque
The lead mines in the Dubuque region had been an object of universal
interest to the miners about Galena and there was prevalent a strong
disposition to get there. James L. Langworthy, as early as
1829, with a number of others, visited the Indian village of the
Sacs and Foxes, near the mouth of the Catfish, for the purpose of
working them, but were refused permission. A further attempt was
Edward Langworthy, the first President of our Association, and three
others with him, in February, 1830, but their efforts were also of
In June however of the same year, Lucius H. Langworthy, James L.
Langworthy, Matthew Ham, Dr. K. S. Lewis, A. McNear, and some forty
others, finding that the Reynard or Fox Indians had deserted the
country contiguous to the Dubuque Mines, for a section further in
the interior, in consequence of hostilities committed upon them by
the Sioux. crossed the river to establish themselves in mining,
Dubuque's estate. The Indian title had not lapsed and being outside
any state or territorial government these settlers adopted such laws
as were applicable to the exigencies of the times and gravity of the
After a few months of mining operations they were notified by Col.
Taylor in command of Fort Crawford, that they were trespassing upon
the terms of the treaty between the Government and the Indians,
directing them to leave Iowa within two weeks.
Their dilatory action in obeying the order induced Col. Taylor to
send a detachment of troops under Lieutenant Jefferson Davis to
enforce it. The Government troops guarded the mines until during the
Black Hawk war against the very Indians whose property they had been
so recently defending. The treaty of peace, known as the Black Hawk
purchase, which included the territory of Dubuque County,
extending from the foot of Rock Island and westward 50 miles,
running parallel to the river, that distance northward to the mouth
of the Upper Iowa River, became vested in the Government, leaving
field open to prospective settlers.
In the latter part of the summer of 1832, Thos. McCraney, Hosea Camp
and a few others crossed the river and were followed in the fall by
those who had been forced to leave the mines. These were the
advance guard in laying the permanent foundation of the settlement
of our beautiful city.
CONSTITUTION AND OBJECTS OF THE
The following is a copy of the Constitution adopted
in 1865 and as amended subsequently in that year, and also on
December 17, 1868, and June 28, 1894.
Whereas, In the Providence of God we became pioneers
in the settlement of the rich and fertile County of Dubuque, in the
State of Iowa; and
Whereas, The number of Early Settlers is fast decreasing, and many
of us will soon go to that bourne from whence no traveler returns;
Whereas, We desire to gather and preserve the memory of a settlement
that has grown so rapidly and has been so abundantly prospered; and
believing that recollections of the past, the happiness of the
present, and the hopes of the future, should unite us as a band of
brothers, we have formed an Association and now adopt this
Article 1. This Association shall be known and
designated as The Early Settlers' Association of Dubuque County.
Article 2. The officers shall be a President, five Vice-Presidents,
a Secretary and a Treasurer, who shall be chosen annually at a
meeting in June. Special Meetings may be held by adjournment, by
of the President, or on the request of five members.
Article 3. All persons who are now residents of Dubuque County, and
who were in the Upper Mississippi Lead Region for the last
twenty-five years are eligible to membership, and shall be
considered members after signing the Constitution, or authorizing
the enrolling of their names.
Article 4. The membership fee shall be one dollar. Ladies may become
members without cost.
Article 5. The funds of the Association shall be used for defraying
incidental expenses, for biographies, and for such other purposes as
the Association may direct.
Among the objects of this Association are the following: To collect
data, memoranda and historical facts, referring to the early
history of Dubuque City and County.
To attend funerals of deceased members in a body, and by occasional
social meetings to revive the recollections and preserve the memory
of the scenes, events and incidents for the last sixty-one years.
To encourage the publication of a proper history of Dubuque.
To collect the photographs and portraits, as far as possible, of all
the members of the Association.
To have a room where the early settlers of Dubuque and their
visiting friends may meet at any time and amuse themselves by
examining the files of old newspapers of Dubuque, the relics
collected, a historical library referring to the Northwestern
states, and give such information to the Secretary as will enable
him to perfect the records of the early history of Dubuque County,
The donation of a photograph is at the option of the member.
The Association will thank any member, or other person, for any
relics, curiosities, old books, papers, or letters, which may be of
interest to the collection or add to the history of early settlements.
All members of the Association, and others interested in the objects
stated, are invited to call and receive a copy of the Constitution
and also to sign their names to the list of members, if entitled to
so, at the office of the Secretary.
EARLY SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION,
Organized June 10, 1865.
Certificate of Membership
This Certifies, That
................................................................................................................ is a Life Member of this
Association from the date of........................................................................................
PRESENT OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION.
WILLIAM QUIGLEY, President.
ALEXANDER SIMPLOT, Secretary.
I am indebted to Mr. Richard Herrmann of this city,
for the use of his highly interesting manuscript history of the
"Life and Adventures of Julien Dubuque," from which, in a desultory
way, I have selected interesting incidents and general details of
From its pages we learn that Julien Dubuque was the first in this
country of that name. Jean Dubuque, his father, came from the
Parish of Trinity, Diocese of Rouen, in France, and married in
Quebec in 1668. His descendents later established themselves in the
District of Three Rivers, and on the 10th of January, 1762 Julien
Dubuque first saw the light of day at St. Pierre les Bicquets in the
County of Nicolet, on the banks of the St. Lawrence. He received the
best schooling that the border towns of the newly settled country
could afford and his shrewdness and diplomacy of after years showed
good results therefrom and had much to do with shaping his future
career in life. As he grew up to manhood the glowing descriptions of
the far west, its forests and waters teeming with game, fur-bearing
animals and fish of all kinds, its mineral resources and other
possibilities, stimulated his ambition to explore the unknown land.
Starting in the summer of his twenty-second year from Three Rivers,
his course in order to reach his objective point, the Mississippi,
was up the north shore of the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, thence
by batteau or canoe, work his way along the north shore of that
lake until he arrived at the foot of the cataract of Niagara, and
from thence, accompanied by two or three Indians or half breeds,
they carried the canoes on their shoulders above the falls, for
re-embarkation. The fort at Sandusky and occasional trading posts
along the shores of Lakes Erie and Huron afforded them their
necessary supplies. At the fort on the Island of Mackinac a short
halt was made. Thence with two Canadian voyageurs for companions,
paddling through the straits of Mackinac, they entered Lake Michigan
paddling their canoes near the northern shore westward, and entered
Green Bay going thence into Fox River and into Lake Winnebago.
Here in a village of the Miamies and Kickapoos they remained for
some time. The chief, with whom Dubuque became quite friendly, and
from whom he obtained the secret of a root which would cure the bite
of the venomous rattlesnakes that abounded in the country, furnished
them with two Indians and two birch bark canoes to conduct him over
the Portage to the headwaters of the Wisconsin River.
Here they launched their canoes upon the Wisconsin for their descent
to the Great River, accompanied by their guides, stopping only to
prepare their meals or camping for the night. On reaching the
Mississippi they found three other white men — Gautier De Vorville,
Michael Brisbois, and Capt. Fisher, a Scotchman — located at the
trading post of Prairie du Chien, lying a short distance above the
mouth of the Wisconsin, and stopped with them, passing their time in
exploring the surrounding country on their hunting expeditions.
They freely used their canoes in getting acquainted with the Great
Dubuque soon became known to, and traded with the Indians, and in
1785 established himself in Prairie du Chien, where he and his
comrades, Basil Giard, and Pierre Autaga, were among its first
inhabitants. Young Dubuque's active and lively nature soon got him
on good terms with the Indians and gave him a wonderful influence
By means of ingenious artifices and pretended magic conjuration he
so' surpassed the juggleries of the Indians that he was regarded as
a supernatural being. His sure cure or antidote for poison of the
rattlesnake, derived from the chief of the Kickapoos, was a great
success, so much so that he was thought to have power by speaking to
the reptiles to make them docile and harmless. His utterances were
regarded as oracles and he became recognized as their arbiter in
disputed cases. One instance is told wherein two Indians under the
influence of whiskey, seized a stray horse and both getting on his
back rode wildly across the prairie; suddenly the horse out of
breath, sank down and rolling over on one of his riders, an Indian
was killed. The relatives of the victim cried out for vengeance on
his companion, whilst those of the latter claimed it was caused by
an accident; finally the case was submitted to Dubuque. He listened
attentively to their statements and then in a grave and solemn voice pronounced his judgment: "An eye for an eye, and a
tooth for a tooth, nothing is more just — whoever sheds blood merits
death. I order that two Indians chosen by each family shall mount
this same horse and then drive him at his greatest speed across the
prairies until one or the other of them shall perish." This
decision, showing that the horse was the sole cause of the accident,
put an end to the dispute.
Dubuque learned from Fisher, that in 1780 the wife of Peosta, chief
of the Foxes, living some distance below on the west side of the
river, had discovered a lead ore mine thereabouts, and the further
report that additional lead ore had been unearthed in that vicinity
promptly made up his mind that he would secure possession of the
mineral land of that region.
Taking a companion with him in his canoe, he went down the river to
the Fox village, where the Muskwickis of the Foxes lived, at the
mouth of what is now known as Catfish Creek. Here he met
Peosta. the chief of the tribe, a man of splendid physique, over six
feet tall, and his handsome young daughter Potosa, both of whom
received him amicably, and he was much impressed by her appearance
and the noble dignity of the red man. He made them presents of glass
beads, small brass bells and other trinkets dear to the Indian and
the feminine heart, but found them reticent about giving information regarding the lead mines, and returned nevertheless well
satisfied, to Prairie du Chien.
He thereafter made repeated visits taking with him presents, and
completely ingratiated himself with the tribe, Peosta, and its
several chiefs among whom he was called Le Petite Nuit, presumably
from his being short of stature and dark complexioned. But more
particularly was he successful in carrying away the pride of the
five villages, the beautiful Potosa, whom he married according to
their rites, after having been initiated into a knowledge of Manitou
and taken into the tribe as one of their braves.
Thence forward the obtaining possession of the mines was an easy
matter. Dwelling for a year with Potosa in Peosta's wigwam, as was
customary with the tribe after the taking of a wife, and
affectionately regarded as a brave, he was readily granted at a
great council of the savages held at Prairie du Chien, September 22,
1788, the sole mining rights over a domain of about 148,171 acres of
ground, which included the mine discovered by the wife of Peosta.
This act of concession of the Indians to Dubuque has been preserved
and is contained fully in Mr. Herrmann's interesting narrative.
Dubuque found that the mines were worked in a very primitive way --- the
mining being done by the squaws and children, and only then when
driven by necessity to get ore enough for the necessaries of life.
They would put down a shaft leaving the under side inclined,
them to pull up by hand the rocks and lead ore from the depths of
the mine. A windlass and rope was unknown to them. Their rope was
made of bark fibres and was secured to a sack for holding ore, earth
or rocks, made of buffalo hide or deer skin. The lead was smelted in
the rudest form of oven and thus traded off in exchange for articles
they wanted and was mostly shipped to St. Louis. Dubuque worked
the mines which he called The Mines of Spain, in a systematic
manner, building better smelting furnaces, and run the lead into
more suitable shape, known as pig-lead, for handling, which he
St. Louis, disposing of them there for ready cash. These trips were
gala days with him; at a dance, with a violin and bow in hand, he
would gayly trip the light fantastic, Money Musk, or Virginia Reel,
the sound of his own music, and the admiration of his compatriots.
On his return he would bring back such things suitable to his own
use, or for trade with the Indians, not omitting to please his
Indian wife with the trinkets she admired. "On one of these trips he
brought up a good sized old-fashioned brass cannon purchased at St.
Louis, and installed it upon the point of land immediately under the
bluff fronting the river and north of the creek. Under this bluff he
erected a log house for his home and built a stone wall about the
point enclosing the ground, apparently, in defense of which, the
cannon might be used
if necessary for its protection.
The prosperity that attended Dubuque in his management of the lead
mines excited the jealousy of the Indians and various pretexts were
made to dispossess him of his mining rights. He had however worked
on their fears with such ingenious stratagems that they regarded him
as one clothed with supernatural powers and shrunk from going too
far in their efforts.
A dispute arose over a demand Dubuque had made of them, but the
Indians after days of conferences stubbornly refused to yield to
him. Happening to have a barrel of turpentine among his goods, he
emptied it just after dark on the sluggish waters of the creek.
Building a large bonfire on the bank he called the Indians suddenly
from their lodges for consultation. When all were seated about the
fire he harangued them on the obligations they were under for
benefits he had conferred, and promised more if they would grant him
the favor asked for. But the chiefs refused to yield another point
in his favor, and warned him to beware of their vengeance if he
persisted any longer in his demands. Dubuque instantly assumed a
defiant air, and threatened to execute the vengeance of the Manitou
upon them for their ingratitude. They still sat unmoved, when he
seized a fire brand, and telling them he would burn up the creek as
proof he was the great Spirit, threw the burning ember into the
A sheet of flame rose instantly, and with a shriek of terror, each
Indian arose to his feet. Now, said Dubuque, with all the majesty he
could assume, now, if you do not yield, I will burn your creek, your
canoes, your wigwams, yourselves! I will set fire to the Mississippi
and burn it up. But I loved you before you hated me, and will
forgive you, if the great Manitou will let me. I give you the time
of only one breath to answer me, if not, the river will burn. The
Indians fell before him prostrate in adoration. The head chief
thanked him for their lives, and granted all he asked. This was the
last of Dubuque's strategic victories over the Indians. Everything
he asked thereafter of them was granted, and it was not until after
that they dared to drive his followers from the soil.
In 1796, the country being under the control of Spain, Dubuque
presented a petition to Governor Carondelet at New Orleans regarding
his ownership of the mines, which was granted under certain
restrictions — would refer to Mr. Herrmann's book for details.
The year 1803 brought Dubuque under the sway of our government. In
1804 he sold to Auguste Choteau of St. Louis for $18,848.60
72,324 acres of his land and the conveyance provided that at the
death of Dubuque, all the remainder of his territory should become
the property of Choteau or his heirs.
In 1805 Lieutenant Zebulon Pike was detailed to explore the
headwaters of the Mississippi river and make treaties with the
Indians along its shores. With a force of twenty soldiers he
embarked in a keel boat at St. Louis and made his way up the river.
On reaching Dubuque's fortifications they were, much to their
by a sonorous salute from the brass cannon and Old Glory was for the
first time spread out to the breeze in Dubuque County. As this was
the advent of the first Americans who had visited this territory
much civility was shown them.
Dubuque continued to work at his mines and was meeting with abundant
success when death suddenly surprised him in the spring of 1810.
Unfortunately he left no one to succeed him in his enterprise. His
death caused a veritable consternation among the savages.
From all parts of the surrounding country they gathered to assist at
The most celebrated chiefs carried his remains to their last resting
place — the romantic bluff overlooking his home and the scenes of
his labors, which the Early Settlers and the Julien Dubuque Monument
Association have still further marked with a lasting monument to his
memory. Eloquent tributes were paid by the chiefs in their forceful
and symbolic language, describing his life "as brilliant as the sun
at midday; but as fleeting as the snow which disappears under the
sun's warm rays. The memory of Dubuque was so well preserved amongst
the surrounding tribes, that for many years they kept each
night a lamp burning on his grave. They constructed a stone building
or vault over his grave, which I (the writer of this article) saw in
a complete condition in the year 1845, from the deck of the
Mendota, while on my way to St. Louis with my father. I recollect it
well, the early morning sun giving it a glittering appearance as
though it had been whitewashed. A cross stood about three feet
northeast of the tomb which at the time I saw it consisted of only
the upright in a slightly leaning condition, some ten or twelve feet
in height, the cross piece of which was said to contain the words "Julien
Dubuque, died March 14, 1810, aged 45 years and 6 months," was
nowhere to be seen, but the mortise in the upright piece (some 6
inches in width) where it fitted into showed it had been there. No
more fitting termination to this article could be conceived than to
close it with Dubuque's burial.
Mr. Richard Herrmann's book of 320 pages and its illustrations
should be published for the good of the community. The brief
extracts I make from its pages are but the sippings of its contents.
Simplot, Secretary Early Settlers' Association.
Song for the Early Settlers
|TO THE TUNE OF "JOHN BROWN'S
Composed by JUDGE NOURSE of Des Moines
~~~ *** ~~~
|The Early Settler's Picnic has come around again,
And we compose the party of those that yet remain
|To exchange our happy greetings, and to ]om m the refram,
As we go marching on.
hallelujah; glory, glory, hallelujah ;
Glory, glory, hallelujah, as we go marching on.
|"Tis very many years ago since we all
came out west
To groy up with the country that is now the yery best;
|God gave the soil and climate, and the settlers did the rest,
When they came marching on.
|Our hearts and homes are here in dear old Iowa,
We are the early settlers that settled here to stay
|And there's not a soul among us that
ever rued the day,
When they came marching on.
|We may seem a little older and our heads are silyered o'er,
But our hearts are just as young as they were in days o yore.
|And we are thankful for the blessings that we're haying still
While we go marching on.
|Our column is unbroken, though some
have gone before,
And have crossed the shining
river, and have reached the other shore
|Where they wait to give us greeting, as
they did in days of your,
When we came marching on
|There's no better land than this to
live and love together,
To bear the heat of summer,
or to face the stormy weather.
|So sing you hallelujah. Old Iowa
As we go marching on.
|Our nation is united as it never was
We are happy and contented
with Old Glory floating o'er.
|We are coming. Father Abraham, with
many millions more.
While we go marching on.
|Total number of members from date of
|Total number of living members, 457.