When the year 1861 opened, the money in local circulation for the most part was issues of the free banks of Illinois and Wisconsin. These notes were secured principally by bonds of Southern states and soon actively reflected in their values the growing menace of secession. By April, they were in bad repute. By the middle of that month, the seriousness of the financial situation was such that the business men of Fairfield met in conference to secure uniformity of action. Of this meeting, Thomas D. Evans was chairman, and John H. Wells, secretary. A list was prepared of thirty-eight Illinois banks whose notes, it was agreed, would be received and paid out at par. A permanent committee, namely, John H. Wells, L. F. Boerstler, Daniel Young, L. W. Hamilton and Dr. C. S. Clarke, was authorized to publish this list for gratuitous distribution, to erase the name of any bank which became discredited, and to call another conference whenever required in the interests of the community. The currency of the State Bank of Iowa was adopted as a basis. "After the 29th day of April," the depreciated currency of other states was to pass only at such rates of discount as would make it par with that of Iowa. This course proved wise. The credit of the State Bank of Iowa and its branches remained constant and unimpaired through the trying period of rebellion. The financial needs of the Government leading to the establishment of a National Banking System in 1865, the State Bank of Iowa redeemed its notes in circulation, destroyed them, and brought to a close a short but singularly useful and honorable career.
News of the treasonable attack on Fort Sumter and the President's Proclamation arrived on April 17th and led to instant action. The formation of the county's first company of fighting men was begun before the rising of another sun. Subscriptions, started at once for the assistance of families of volunteers, shortly amounted to more than two thousand dollars.
On the afternoon of the 19th, loyal women of Fairfield gathered at Wells' Hall with materials and sewing-machines and began to scrape lint and to prepare bandages and clothes for the soldiers. They also made a flag eight yards in length. When first raised on the 22d in the park, where it was afterward to float daily, it was greeted with cheers "which testified the soundness of the popular heart."
The April term of the district court began on the morning of the 23d with William M. Stone of Marion County on the bench. It was proposed by George Acheson that the members of the bar and the officers of the court renew their allegiance to the Government. The proposal was advocated by James F. Wilson, C. W. Slagle, I. D. Jones and D. P. Stubbs. It was approved by Judge Stone. Charles Negus alone voiced opposition and refused to take the oath. His conduct was condemned. He sought without success to justify his position and was subjected then and later to vigorous and often to bitter criticism.
The next day the volunteers appeared at the courthouse and requested Judge Stone to administer to them the oath of allegiance. He complied. Albert G. Thompson, Thomas L. Huffman, David B. Wilson and Moses A. McCoid were then severally admited to "practice in this court." The usual procedure lagged. No one had heart for work. Adjournment sine die was entered. Judge Stone, stirred deeply by the call of duty, returned home, resigned from his office, enlisted and was elected captain of Company B, Third Iowa Infantry. In 1864, he succeeded Kirkwood as Governor of Iowa.
On the 26th, a Union Meeting was held at Union Hall in Blackhawk Township. Moses Dudley was chosen chairman, and A. Defrance, secretary. M. M. Bleakmore "made an able and eloquent speech." After him Richard Gaines, E. Davies and Moses Dudley spoke in turn. A committee consisting of Gaines, Davies and Bleakmore, submitted resolutions which passed unchallenged and may be accepted as a fair expression of what it was thought public sentiment should be.
"Whereas, These United States are now involved in Civil war, actual hostilities having been commenced by the bombardment of Fort Sumter; and
"Whereas, Our national capital is threatened with invasion and our Government with overthrow; therefore, Resolved,
"1. That we are unalterably attached to the American Union, and we deplore and condemn the attempts to dissolve it;
"2. That we are, as heretofore, on the side of our country now and forever, and that we will obey, maintain and support the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the State of Iowa;
"3. That Abraham Lincoln has been constitutionally and legally elected and inaugurated as President of the United States, and that our very loyalty to the Constitution binds us to protect and defend the Government (of which the administration wields the executive power) from insult, invasion and overthrow;
"4. That, as many persons present in this meeting have condemned, and still do condemn, the unnatural and violent opposition to the Mexican war of many noted personages, during its continuance, and as history also denounces the still more unpatriotic opposition to the War of 1812, so strongly manifested in other states of the Union, so do we now discountenance opposition, for the sake of opposition, to the policy of the administration; especially do we advise against such opposition as may induce those who have taken up arms against the Constitution and the Union to suppose they have friends and supporters in the loyal states;
"5. That the administration and the republican party, and all other parties should and will be hereafter severally held to strict account for any errors they may have committed, or may in future commit, in regard to the secession movement;
"6. That we are not abolitionists, and that we make no war upon the slave property of the Southern states;
"7. That Civil war has no charms for us, and that we hope and pray for its speedy and happy termination, without an attack upon Washington City, and without further devastation and bloodshed; but come what may, we abide by the Constitution and the flag of our Union;
"8. That, if the storm must rage without, we should have peace and union at home, and we do strenuously advise courtesy, toleration and forbearance among our own citizens toward each other; we condemn the use of abusive epithets, such as 'traitors' and 'secessionists,' as applied to men, all of whom are loyal to their country and her flag; and we are not in favor of the revival of the sedition laws of John Adams, nor of the enactment here of the treason laws of Henry the Eighth of England, which not only put men to death for their deeds, but also for their words; and not only for their words, but also for their thoughts."
Two more paragraphs deprecated "the rash of articles of extreme and excited newspapers" and "the intemperate language of those who are war men for the sake of war."
The enrollment of a "Home Guard" was begun. Those entering their names at the time were Richard Gaines, J. H. Baker, C. Defrance, Perry Summers, Zach. Baker, John Neff, William Summers, John Davies, S. L. Statkup, W. B. Houdersheldt, W. D. Alston, George J. Fee, R. M. Mayer, J. P. Wray, Daniel Harter, Eleazer Morgan, James Defrance, Joseph Summers, W. S. McKey, George Eyerly, A. K. Hite and A. Defrance. The company organized on the 30th with forty-five members. Richard Gaines was elected captain. It drilled at James H. Baker's.
On the 27th, citizens of Polk and Locust Grove townships held a union meeting in the Methodist Church at Abingdon. W. M. Campbell was selected for chairman and Cyrus McCracken for secretary. M. M. Bleakmore, who was present by invitation, made a lengthy address, "taking ground in favor of the Union, and against sessionism, abolitionism, free lovism and all the rascally quibbles, and teachings by which laws have been evaded and nullified." Resolutions identical with those adopted in Blackhawk were approved "without a dissenting voice." M. W. Forrest, P. W. Wilcox, L. T. Gillette, and T. V. Shoup, "were severally called for, each of whom avowed his devotion to the Union." On May 4th, the organization of the "Abingdon Home Guards" with eighty members was completed. The officers were P. W. Wilcox, captain; W. M. Campbell, first lieutenant; Joshua Wright, second lieutenant; and J. J. Sperry, color sergeant.
Also on the 27th, there was a meeting at Miller's schoolhouse in Penn Township "for the purpose of forming a military company for home protection." Philip Miller was chairman, and D. K. Minter, secretary. Twenty-nine men signed the roll. A second meeting was held on May 1st at the same place. Philip Miller was chairman, and W. S. McKee, secretary. A committee to draft resolutions consisted of Moses Dudley, F. W. Hurd, Samuel Coop, James Matthews, Mrs. Elizabeth Dudley, Mrs. Anne Hurd, Miss Nancy Hurd and Miss Jane McKee. The names of women in this connection imply a real participation in the proceedings. The Blackhawk Township declarations were reaffirmed. The "Penn Township Home Guards" then organized. O. J. Westenhaver was elected captain. The company drilled at W. G. Coop's.
At Libertyville, probably on May 4th for the date is uncertain, the "democratic pole" left over from the political campaign was taken down and reset on the parade-ground. With enthusiastic cheers, the Stars and Stripes were run up to the tune of "Hail Columbia." The "Jefferson Home Guards," with a membership of eighty-four men of Liberty and Des Moines townships, effected an organization by the adoption of a constitution and by laws. Dr. Peter Walker was elected captain. By request, Col. James Thompson drilled the company on this occasion.
On May 7th, Union men of Locust Grove Township assembled at Cross Lanes schoolhouse, where they raied a pole and flag. Withdrawing to the Methodist Church, they chose Joseph Ball for chairman, and J. L. Hartman for secretary. Resolutions were passed. Preliminary steps for the enrollment of a company of "Home Guards" were taken. A few days later the company was organized with forty-seven members. D. M. Parrot was elected captain.
The details of the organization of other companies are lacking. At Fairfield were the "Fairfield Home Guards," W. M. Clark, captain; the "Fairfield Guards," D. Rider, captain; and a mounted company, A. M. Robinson, captain. The membership of the first came from the town; of the second and third, largely from the country. At Germanville were the "Walnut Township Home Guards," John Waleiser, captain; at Salina, the "Salina Home Guards," J. H. Allender, captain; at Coalport, the "Coalport Home Guards," A. R. Pierce, captain; at Glasgow, the "Prairie Home Guards, a horse company," H. Gaylord, captain; and the "Prairie Home Guards," Jonathan Turner, captain.
These bodies cultivated a military spirit. Their chief value was psychological. They were nuclei that prepared men's minds to look forward to entrance and service in the army of the Union.
On June 1st, "a grand military parade" was given at Fairfield. The various companies were assembled in the morning on the depot grounds and marched to the park. The officers were P. L. Huyett, colonel; Dr. Peter Walker, lieutenant colonel; J. H. Allender, major; Daniel Rider, adjutant; and Robert Pattison, sergeant major. A heavy rain in the early afternoon put a stop to the evolutions.
At intervals through the summer and fall schools of instruction for the officers alternated with battalion drills. Their text-book was "Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics," which was industriously studied. Gage's meadows, now built over with homes and factories, was a drill-ground.
The board of county supervisors met on June 3d and continued in session during the week. This board consisted of twelve members, each township having one representative. C. W. Slagle presented a petition praying for an appropriation to defray the expenses of families of volunteers. There was considerable opposition on the grounds of illegality and misuse of public money. The division was drawn along partisan lines. A proposal to devote $1,000 to the purpose was first laid on the table, but a reconsideration was carried. Those voting for it were E. C. Hampson of Fairfield Township; S. C. Farmer of Buchanan Township; W. Z. Hobson of Blackhawk Township; Elijah Billingsly of Round Prairie Township; G. P. Loomis of Liberty Townshp (sic) and G. N. Parks of Lockridge Township. Those voting against it were J. A. Galliher of Cedar Township; L. T. Gillette of Polk Township; John Messner of Walnut Township; Robert Brown of Des Moines Township; and Robert Leeper of Locust Grove Township; J. W. Nicholson of Penn Township, on account of illness, was not present. Authority to distribute and disburse the fund was vested in W. K. Alexander, William Long and George Acheson. The action was criticised by a few as "hasty and unnessary" and was seized upon for a political issue. Nevertheless, it was sanctioned by popular sentiment. In October $500 more were appropriated to relieve evident wants. The value of the assistance rendered by the small gifts from this source to needy women and children never will be computed.
The appearance in June of seventeen year locusts and the army worm, both in incredible numbers, caused general alarm. The peculiar cry of the former was heard from morning till (sic) night. They did much damage to the young growth of trees. The latter in long ranks swept over the ripening fields. In its devastating course, it entirely devoured the blades from the stalks of grass and grain. It rendered the timothy meadows it fed on unfit for hay, but beyond that did no particular injury. One farmer in his fright offered to sell fifty acres of fall wheat for $5.00. Fortunately for himself, he found no buyer, and threshed from them 1,000 bushels of fine grain.
The observance of the 4th of July at Fairfield took on new and deep meanings. It stood for a living reality, not for a cold abstraction. "At a time when the patriotic fires which kindled the bosoms of our forefathers glow with increased ardor," read the invitation to the citizens, "it is particularly fitting that we all join heartily and fraternally in commemorating their deeds and in manifesting our devotion to that flag which is the emblem of the liberty purchased and secured to us by the sacrifices of the revolution."
There was an elaborate organization. George Acheson was president. Each township was honored with a vice president and with a member on the committee of arrangements. Rev. Andrew Axline was chaplain. T. D. Evans was chief marshal. John McCulloch and Alvin Turner were assistant marshals.
The day is chronicled as "one of beauty and splendor." The national salute of thirty-four guns was fired under the direction of "T. J. Keck, Artillerist." The military companies of the county paraded under the command of Col. P. L. Huyett. W. B. Littleton read the Declaration of Independence. W. T. Burgess pronounced the oration, closing with a review of the "unhappy disturbances in our country" and attributing them "partly to sectional animosities, political demagogues, geographical distinctions and excessive party strife." A "basket dinner" intervened and was succeeded by the toasts and responses. These show the thoughts uppermost in their minds.
"The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Soldiers of the Revolution."
"George Washington--the Father of his country; first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
"The day we celebrate: The Fourth of July, 1776--our nation's birthday." W. B. Littleton responded.
"The flag of our country--the Stars and Stripes: 'If any one attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot.'" Dr. J. M. Shaffer responded.
"The soldiers of the United States are now fighting the second contest for freedom and independence." A. M. Scott responded.
"The Union and the Constitution as our fathers made them." R. C. Brown responded.
"The President of the United States."
"To the memory of Stephen A. Douglas--the statesman and patriot."
"The veteran, General Scott: 'His eye is not dim, nor his natural force abated.'" James F. Wilson responded.
"Iowa. 'Her affections, like the rivers of her borders, flow to an inseparable union.'" John W. Dubois responded.
"The loyal and patriotic women of our country: Their zeal in the present hour in behalf of freedom's flag shows them to be the true descendants of the women of the Revolution." D. P. Stubbs responded.
"Our Jefferson County Volunteers, and the girls they left behind them."
"Old Jefferson County and the City of Fairfield: With true loyalty their sons keep step to the music of the Union." Charles Negus responded.
Republican and democrats on July 20th selected delegates to attend their respectve state conventions. The former met in the courthouse, the latter in the park. Both formally referred to the national situation. The republicans briefly asserted "that this is no time to compromise" and approved the acts of the administration, the democrats, with arumentative detail and at length professed devotion to the Union, hostility to secession, condemned Lincoln and "Kirkwood and Company," and the conduct of affairs of county, state and nation, and affirmed "That we are yet 'in favor of a fair, just and immediate compromise of the slavery question, in preference to a dissolution of the Union or a civil war'--and this not as a concession to rebellion, but to afford such a platform to the Union men of the South as may enable them to outvote secession in their respective states and thus stop the useless expenditure of blood, and avert an otherwise hopelessly protracted desolating civil war; and we express our deep regret that the republicans at the last regular session of Congress rejected every compromise that was offered by the Border Slave States, and which might then have saved the Union and averted war--or at least confined the secession to the cotton states; we also consider it unfortunate that even the 'Corwin amendment,' which merely prohibited Congress from abolishing slavery in the states has been silently rejected." The expressions disclose a general failure to interpret the portents. The future was seen through a glass darkly. Before the lapse of another twenty-four hours, the battle of Bull Run determined there could be no peaceable adjustment between the North and the South.
George Strong, the first in the county to volunteer for the defense of the Government, also was the first to give his life in the cause. A young man of twenty-one, a teacher in the Fairfield schools, a promising student of law, he resigned his position and put aside his hopes of a professional career to respond to the call of duty. On July 18th, he died of fever at St. Joseph, Missouri. His personal worth and rank as first lieutenant of Company E, Second Iowa Infantry, combined to deepen the sense of loss in the community which he represented. He was buried on the 21st with military honors in a quiet country graveyard near his home in Round Prairie Township. The funeral exercises were held in a neighboring grove. There was a sermon by Rev. E. L. Briggs, who took for his text, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." George Acheson and James F. Wilson spoke briefly but feelingly. At the grave, the Home Guards under Captain Turner 'discharged their pieces into it" as a final and parting salute. Though short his service, George Strong's example in patriotism was not in vain.
On August 8th, there appeared the initial number of D. Sheward's proposed paper. It bore for a motto, "A strict observance of the Constitution and laws is the safeguard of liberty." In harmony with this sentiment, it was styled "The Constitution and Union." Its declared purpose was to support the spirit and policy of the democratic party.
Rumors of threatened invasions of the state from Missouri began to fill the air. A report having circulated that a raid through Croton, Farmington, Hillsborough and Salem was in contemplation, the Home Guards of Glasgow under Capt. Thomas Howell and the Home Guards of Coalport under Capt. Abial R. Pierce, early on August 5th proceeded in wagons to the indicated line of advance to aid in anticipating and repelling the invaders. Their arms were chiefly shotguns and squirrel rifles. The movement of Captain Pierce's company on this expedition may be accurately followed. The weather was extremely hot. Some of the horses gave out and were left at Hillsborough. Farmington was reached in the afternoon. Camp was made for the night. The next morning, he moved his men to Croton. In the meantime, Col. David Moore, with his Home Guards and the assistance of the forces hastily armed and sent forward by Col. Cyrus Bussey, had fought and won the battle of Athens just across the Des Moines River which there is the boundary between the two states. At this point, it is said that Captain Howell, being a firm believer in states' rights, stopped his men at the middle of the stream. No scruples of this character deterred Captain Pierce. He continued across with his command, which "was immediately put on duty by orders from Colonel Moore." Relieved on the 8th by other troops, they then "marched for Iowa, camped at Hillsborough, and on the 9th arrived at home having been out five days."
A story of an attack on "Dogtown," a current appellation of Mount Sterling, confirmed by affirmations that heavy cannonading had been heard in that direction, renewed and increased the feverish excitement. Late on Sunday evening, the 11th, a letter from Colonel Moore addressed to Judge George C. Wright at Keosauqua and by him sent to Fairfield, advised that that officer's little force was in imminent danger near Memphis and needed reinforcements. On Monday to the summons of fife and drum, there was a hasty assembling of men, guns and ammunition. A cannon, cast when no thought of disunion marred the times that its voice might proclaim the arrival of festal days, was brought out to serve the sinister purpose of its kind. On horseback and in wagons, some seventy-five men set out for Keosauqua. In the muster were James F. Wilson, A. S. Jordan, John Cummings, C. W. Slagle, H. B. Mitchell, S. M. Bickford, Richard Gaines, J. Shrive Beck, B. F. Crail, W. W. Junkin, R. F. Ratcliff, Dr. C. S. Clarke and John McLean. Capt. M. W. Clark headed the footmen; Capt. A. M. Robinson headed the horsemen(.) On Tuesday they were followed by a company from Elm Grove under Captain Parr, a company of fifty-seven from Abingdon under Capt. Joshua Wright, and a company of fifty from Batavia. These improvised troops invaded Missouri about fifty yards and encamped while two men scouted toward Memphis to locate the enemy. Having learned the rebels were in retreat, all returned on Wednesday. This demonstration no doubt had a salutary effect on those along the border who were inclined to cause trouble.
A democratic mass meeting assembled at Fairfield on the 24th to select delegates to Congressional and Judicial conventions and to a second state convention. Samuel Jacobs offered resolutions which demanded implicit obedience to the Constitution. M. M. Bleakmore submitted a substitute series which insisted in strong terms upon the preservation of the Constitution. A lively and lengthy debate ensued, terminated by employment of the previous question. Bernhart Henn, D. Sheward and Alexander Clark vigorously opposed Bleakmore's proposals. "There is some chaff and a little smut, to use a farmer's phrase, mixed in with the good wheat," was the way Henn described them. Bleakmore supported them with much spirit. In the end, they were rejected. According to a republican comment, the objection to them was to their assertion "that the emissaries of the great treason to our Government are in every loyal state seeking to infuse the poison of apathy or indifference into the masses." The staid and conservative declarations prepared by Jacobs prevailed.
Capt. A. M. Robinson's cavalry company assembled in Fairfield on the 26th and after listening to addresses by James F. Wilson and D. P. Stubbs, promptly departed in wagons overland for the rendezvous at Keokuk. At Birmingham, they were given a public dinner.
Samuel R. Curtis, the representative in Congress from the First district of Iowa, having resigned to enter the army, there was a successor to be chosen at the coming election. At Oskaloosa, on September 4th, on the first ballot, James F. Wilson was nominated by the republicans to fill the vacancy. At this time he serving the state as a senator and as acting lieutenant governor so that the voters were acquainted with his attitude toward public questions. The almost unanimity of choice was therefore a seal of approval upon his political judgment as well as a recognition of his personal force and strength of character.
The republican county convention assembled on the 7th to select candidates for state senator, for representatives of whom there were two, and for the various county offices. Dr. J. M. Shaffer was named for senator. Dr. Peter Walker and A. R. Pierce were named for representatives. The essential planks of the platform were direct and unequivocal. They were: "That there is now but one issue before the people of this country--the preservation of our Government in its present form; and that we recognize true patriots in all men who stand by the country in the present struggle to enforce obedience to the constitution and laws:"--"That we have no sentiment but detestation for rebels now in arms against our Government in the socalled seceded states, and nothing but contempt for their sympathizers here:"--"That we endorse the action of the state and Federal Governments, in their extra sessions, in providing means to suppress the present rebellion, and that the President of the United States and the Governor of the State of Iowa have done nothing more in the premises than was their imperative duty."
The democratic county convention met on the 14th for the selection of candidates. There were chosen for senator, Charles Negus, and for representatives, W. J. Rodgers and Alexander Clark. The party position on the main issues was expressed in these terms: "That the Government should be administered, and the war carried on in accordance with the constitution and the laws of the country; that whilst we admit the present necessity for armies, and vigorous and scientific war, which must be maintained whilst a hostile Southern army is in the field, (as evils entailed upon us by abolition and secession), we hold that our flag should be garlanded with the olive branch, and inscribed with the old democratic motto, 'Exact and Equal Justice to All Sections:"--"That if the storm must rage abroad, we should have peace at home; and to this end we counsel our fellow citizens to credit each other with good intentions; we recommend moderation and forbearance, and the avoidance of irritating discussions; we remonstrate against the use of threats and abusive epithets, and we advise our party friends to rely upon the circulation of democratic Union papers and the sober second thought of the people."
In Abingdon, on the 22d, a democratic meeting, with Capt. S. McReynolds as chairman and R. Weller as secretary, adopted a manifesto, which directly and by implication illuminates the local points of view at this period. The very strength of its unconscious partisan spirit adds to its interest.
"We," the preamble began, "the democracy of the surrounding vicinity of Abingdon, Iowa, assembled in mass meeting, regarding the gift of American liberty as the greatest beneficence of an Almighty being to man, and its perpetuity the highest duty of the American people--that in the discharge of this important trust it is incumbent upon us, for ourselves and our posterity, to use all possibly successful and just means for the maintenance of our glorious Union. That history and experience teach us that the destruction of our republican confederacy would establish upon its ruins a consolidated despotism, against which the great national democratic party have heretofore successfully struggled, and to avert the bitter cup from which this nation is now drinking, should have continued in power. Therefore,
"Resolved, That, taking the political history of the past as marking the aggressive footsteps of tyranny in the overthrow of republican forms of government and the robbing our race of their natural and inalienable rights, and comparing our present condition with such history, we justly fear the object of the present chief magistrate of the United States is, by the assumption of doubtful and dangerous unconstitutional powers, to revolutionize and subvert our present republican form of government into one of a consolidated and despotic character, in proof of which we point the American people to the fact of his having been elected by a sectional party, having for their object an unconstitutional attack and destruction of the constitutional rights of another portion of the Union; his forming a cabinet and ministry of men of well known irrepressible sectional abolition record--criminally and unconstitutionally deferring to convene Congress for four months, enabling himself thereby to inaugurate a civil war, to enlist for a large standing army, to increase the navy, to seize private papers, to deny citizens the right to bear arms, to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in direct and known violation of Article 1, Sections 8 and 9 of the constitution as is manifest, not only by the reading of the same, but by the absolute refusal of a republican senate to declare his acts constitutional. He has imprisoned our citizens for circulating peace petitions which were intended to be offered to Congress. He has arrested and imprisoned others in the center of free states for slight expressions unfriendly to his acts. He has, and continues to silence such papers of our land as oppose his administration. Express offices are sacked and robbed of their paper mails, lawfully and sacredly entrusted to them for transit. Postmasters are ordered to not deliver public journals that do not favor the administration. Letters are ruthlessly violated. Loyal cities and states are declared under martial law--their slaves and property confiscated. Suffering mothers and defenceless children are driven from their homes to gratify the brutal passions of the newly emancipated slaves, or be murdered to revenge his hate, or starve uncared for in a country once happy, now desolated by a fratricidal war. All these, and countless other violations of our once sacred constitutional rights, are inflicted upon a suffering people by the present executive, for the same purpose, and copied as they appear to be, from the policy of Louis Napoleon in his successful attempts to overthrow the French Republic and elevate himself to an Imperial throne. These daring strides of the president are awful and solemn admonitions to the American people that they day is at hand when the president's house will be the guarded palace of a crowned despot, the national capitol the halls of an imperial council, the people of this once free republic the vassals of a military tyrant, and our soil the patrimony of a landed nobility.
"Resolved, That the trouble which now threatens the permanent overthrow of government, in the present effort to dismember the Union, are upon the one hand the legitimate fruits of political corruption and Northern irrepressible conflict of abolitionism upon the institutions of the South, by sectional parties, the enactment of personal liberty bills in direct and known violation of the Constitution and the laws of the general government--intended to obstruct the enforcement of the fugitive slave law by Federal officers, to incite the escape of slaves and afford a shelter for abolitionists to operate underground railroad interests, sanctioning servile insurrections, interrupting the transit of slaves from their owners, scorning their appeals for redress, denying them their equal rights in the territories, crowning the whole by the triumph of a hostile, sectional party, having the power but sternly refusing overtures for any just compromise, or any solution of our difficulties short of the extinction of slavery and the construction of an absolute consolidated government. On the other hand, notwithstanding the provocations given the South for dissatisfaction, we unequivocally condemn the course they have pursued to obtain a redress of their grievances; believing as we do, had they not so precipitately seceded but remained in Congress, aided as they would have been by the conservative people of the North, their grievances would have been redressed and their rights and interests respected and secured in a constitutional manner and by constitutional means.
"Resolved, That we oppose the political heresy of secession as unwarranted by the Constitution, destructive of the best interests of the whole country and the Union; that the obligation we owe to government, to ourselves, to posterity, and the advancement of political progress, freedom throughout the world, demands of us the preservation of the Federal Union; and we hereby pledge the whole power we possess to all constitutional means used for its maintenance, whether assailed by the higher law abolition republican party, or by an armed rebellion against it, and declare in the language of the immortal Jackson, 'the Federal Union shall be preserved.'
"Resolved, That we endorse the conduct of those who, from purely patriotic motives to protect the capitol and repel invasion--to sustain and preserve-- not violate--the constitution and laws of the general or state government, have enlisted in the army either as officer or private. But we bitterly condemn the riotous and treasonable course of collecting unorganized and unlawful armed bodies intended to violate the sovereignty of sister states, by marching them as an invading force upon their soil. We regard such steps as eminently calculated to produce a bloody civil war, with all its aggravated horrors, on the border of states where peace and quiet might otherwise exist. That such acts are nothing less than a reckless inauguration of a land pirate war, and should be treated with summary vengeance upon the guilty, by the government."
The campaign was short. There was a vigorous use of strong words. Democrats were styled "Stump Tails." The term was familiar, having been applied in business transactions to bank notes issued upon Southern securities. The allusion was to sympathy for the South and hostility to the war. The election, held on October 8th, resulted in the county in favor of the entire republican ticket. This outcome was in part an expression of loyalty to the soldiers in the field who were deprived of their vote.
On account of the serious condition of affairs in Missouri, Governor Kirkwood, on October 3d, appointed the "County Judge of Jefferson County"--then W. K. Alexander--to organize into companies and regiments all its able-bodied men liable to perform military duty. These were to be solely for defense of the state. He was instructed in doing this not to interfere with organizations for United States service, but to afford them all proper facilities. As the state was without arms, he was to require all private arms to be reported. "Double-barrled shotguns and hunting rifles," wrote the governor, "although not the best, are good arms in the hands of brave men." Such arms, in families where there were no men liable to military duty, he was to have appraised and receipted for in the name of the state, to be paid for if lost or injured, or not returned. Every man was to furnish his own clothing, horse and equipments, and hold himself in readiness to march at a moment's notice. As soon as a regiment was organized, it was to be assembled for one day's drill. The men were then to be dismissed after arrangements were perfected for quickly calling them together in case of emergency.
For the purpose organizing companies as directed, official notice was given the "enrolled militia" of the several townships to meet at the usual place of holding elections as follows: On Saturday, October 26th, in Blackhawk; on Monday, October 28th, in Fairfield; on Wednesday, October 30th, in Walnut; on Thursday, October 31st, in Lockridge; on Friday, November 1st, in Buchanan; on Saturday, November 2d, in Cedar; on Wednesday, November 6th, in Liberty; on Thursday, November 7th in Round Prairie; on Friday, November 8th, in Polk; on Saturday, November 9th, in Locust Grove; on Monday, November 11th, in Des Moines; and on Tuesday, November 12th, in Penn.
Fairfield Township was found to have a sufficient number of available men to form three companies, and was thereupon divided into three districts, Northern, Middle and Southern. The election of officers in these was fixed for Saturday, November 9th, and was held in the Northern District at Rider's schoolhouse, in the Middle District at the courthouse, and in the Southern District at the Southwest schoolhouse of Fairfield.
What was done at these various meetings and elections is now known only for the one in the Southern District of Fairfield Township. There about sixty men responded. They elected W. B. Culbertson, captain; Daniel Fore, first lieutenant; J. A. McAllister, second lieutenant; A. R. Fulton, first sergeant; James Jamison, second sergeant; J. B. Duncan, third sergeant; Charles Gift, fourth sergeant; David Grear, first corporal; Frank Eckles, second corporal; Patrick Finnegan, third coporal; and Peter Roth, fourth corporal.
This preparation awakened fear of hidden and uncertain dangers. There were those, too, who charged it was planned to obtain possession of the private arms of citizens. Whatever motive really inspired it, it proved to be but an episode in the current of events as the need to call this militia into active service did not arise.
While this action was taking palce at the instance of the state, a company was raised for the cavalry regiment Col. Asbury B. Porter was recruiting at Mount Pleasant. In Fairfield also, to secure and maintain an effective local force, the "Blues" sought new members to make up "a permanent volunteer company of infantry." The officers of this body were Daniel Rider, captain; W. K. Alexander, first lieutenant; and W. W. Junkin, second lieutenant.
The Army Sanitary Commission issued an appeal on October 1st to the "Loyal Women of America" to help take care of sick and wounded soldiers and sailors by providing in a systematic way the articles most needed for their comfort and relief. The zealous women of Fairfield, on Wednesday, the 16th, at Wells' Hall, organized an "Aid Society." Mrs. Thomas D. Evans was made president; Mrs. C. W. Slagle, secretary and treasurer. A fee of 25 cents paid by each member on admission, and dues of 10 cents weekly, supplied their meager funds. Donations of materials, as cloth and yarn, and of table delicacies were asked for. A committee solicited contributions in the country. Members gave their time and labor. On the 30th, they made their first shipment, two boxes of hospital stores, to Rev. Andrew Axline, chaplain of the Second Iowa Infantry, then stationed at Camp Benton, St. Louis. The contents of these boxes were nine quilts, five pillows, seven pillow cases, ten blankets, eleven sheets, twelve pairs of stockings, two bottles of wine and three jars of jelly. A third box was prepared and sent to Mrs. Annie Wittemeyer at Keokuk. It contained eleven quilts, eleven pillows, thirteen pairs of stockings, seven towels, eight blankets, eight sheets, two shirts and packages of old linen.
Responding to a similar appeal from the Army Sanitation Commission of the State of Iowa, the loyal women of Brookville and vicinity held a meeting on Monday evening, November 18th, in that village. Henry Gregg was chairman; Jesse Larkin, secretary. A constitution was submitted and on motion of Joseph Ennis adopted. These were its several articles.
"1. This society shall be called 'Franklin Soldiers' Relief Association,' auxiliary to the 'Army Sanitary Commission of the State of Iowa,' whose object shall be to solicit contributions for the relief of our soldiers under the direction and control of said commission.
"2. The officers of this society shall be a president, vice president, recording secretary, treasurer and corresponding secretary; the duties of each to be such as are usually performed by such officers, and such as may be required by said commission and by this society.
"3. There shall be a committee of two ladies for each school district in Locust Grove Township, and Elm Grove, Fairview and Plum Grove School Districts, to solicit contributions of the kind requested by said commission and collect in the same, the money to be paid into the hands of the treasurer, and the other articles to be placed in the hands of the committee of depositary.
"4. There shall be appointed a committee of depositary of five persons, whose duty it shall be to take care of such articles as may be placed in their hands, and forward the same as may be directed by the proper officers of said commission.
"5. The recording secretary shall procure a suitable book in which shall be recorded the name of each contributor with the articles contributed.
"6. There shall be a regular meeting of this society every four weeks during the existence of the present war; special meetings may be held on the call of the president.
"7. All persons contributing towards the object of this society shall be members of the same.
"8. This constitution may be amended at any meeting by two-thirds of the members present voting for such amendment.
"9. By-laws may be adopted at any meeting by a majority of the members present."
The officers were the Methodist minister, J. B. Drayer, president; Mrs. Harriet Jane Gregg, vice president; Miss Emma Passmore, recording secretary; Mrs. Hannah Stever, treasurer; and Mordecai Larkin, corresponding secretary. The depositary committee were Mrs. J. B. Drayer, Mrs. Fonce, Mrs. L. B. Moorman, Mrs. F. Wright and Mrs. M. D. Baldridge. The members of the soliciting committees for the several school districts were, for No. 1, Mrs. J. Smith and Mrs. E. Dearduff; for No. 2, Mrs. D. Parrott and Mrs. John Fancher; for No. 3, Miss Martha Carpenter and Mrs. Jane Collins; for No. 4, Miss Cynthia Ball and Miss Priscilla Gregg; for No. 5, Miss Lucretia Nimics and Miss Amanda Warwick; for No. 6 Miss Martha McBurney and Mrs. Tegarden; for No. 7, Mrs. J. M. Grafton and Mrs. M. J. Junkin; for No. 8, Mrs. John Ilginfritz and Miss Anna Ball; and for No. 9, Mrs. Parker Grafton and Mrs. W. Sunderland.
The plan and methods of this association were typical. There were similar societies at Salina and Libertyville.
The winter was uneventful. Prairie chickens and wild turkeys were numerous. Business was so stagnant that some merchants deemed it wise to operate strictly on a cash basis. There was little movement of farm products on account of low prices. Successive snowfalls, beginning with a heavy one on December 22d, kept the ground well covered till (sic) late in March. The fall wheat in which many broad acres had been sown was perfectly protected under this covering. A favorable season following ripened it in a bounteous harvest.
Interest in the war was revived by news of the capture on February 16, 1862, of Fort Donelson. The personal side of the story brought a thrill of joy and satisfaction. Let this be told by an extract from a letter of Lieut. M. A. McCoid to his parents. "Orders were received," he wrote, "for the Iowa 2d to lead the triumphal entrance of the troops into the fort, for as the general said, they had taken it. Forward we marched and as we passed, regiment after regmient rent the air with cheer upon cheer for the 'brave Iowa Second,' Ah; I tell you I had not slept a wink for three days and nights--had nothing to eat but now and then a hard cracker and a piece of side meat raw, and never in my life felt so perfectly worn out, but this paid for it all. We led the troops in the fort and planted the flag of the Iowa Second, the dear old stars and stripes, on the battlements amid such cheers as you might expect to rise from 30,000 troops who had taken the strongest fort in the West--taken 20,000 prisoners--and opened the way for the advance of the army into the enemy's country." It was, certainly, a glorious hour for men who, less than a week earlier, with flag furled and fife and drum silent, were compelled to march in unwarranted disgrace out of St. Louis.
Wild reports of the losses sustained by the Union forces filled the entire community with dread while it awaited for days definite and authentic information. There was an anxious desire to alleviate the suffering incident to the conflict. Mrs. M. E. Woods offered to go as a nurse. A kind providence reserved her to perform a service of a wider scope and to show a devotion to her country as strong as that of her famous blood relative, Ethan Allen, who demanded the surrender of Ticonderoga "in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." In order to learn what assistance could be rendered, Dr. C. S. Clarke visited Cairo and the front. It was some time before it was known what could be done most effectively.
Chinese sugar cane, now commonly called sorghum, seemed so desirable and promising a plant that its cultivation became general in a few seasons after its introduction. An investigation disclosed that in 1861 probably 65,000 gallons of molasses and about 3,000 pounds of sugar were produced in the county from this crop. Large quantities of the sirup (sic) were exported. It brought 25 and 30 cents per gallon at the depot. Daniel Rider was a leading manufacturer. A specimen of the sugar, exhibited by John Locke, was judged, though an experiment, to be "superior to much of the New Orleans sugar offered for sale." "A through knowledge of the best method for the culture and manufacture of the plantation cane into sugar and sirup" was properly considered of industrial importance. On March 15th, "cane growers" organized the "Jefferson County Sugar Society." Its purpose was "to draw to a common center individual skill, experience and observation, and to spread them" among its members. Its officers were Daniel Rider, president; Richard Gaines, vice president; John Snook, recording secretary; Dr. J. M. Shaffer, corresponding secretary; and Dr. George A. Ward, treasurer.
Toward the last of March, petitions were circulated asking Congress to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law. "We believe," these stated, "that the fugitive slave law was a part of the compromise of 1850; that the rebellious states, and with few exceptions the slaveholders of the United States, have violated said compromise; that said law is inhuman, and in some of its most important features unconstitutional, and that there is no obligation resting on you to continue it on the statute book." Numerous signatures were obtained to them. The incident is significant as an indication of a growing hostility to slavery.
Some citizens of Buchanan Township, among them Eli Hoopes and David Switzer, feeling the name a reproach at this time on account of the course pursued by the president in whose honor it was bestowed, agitated changing it to "Center." The effort failed.
On April 6th and 7th occurred the bloody battle of Pittsburg Landing. The list of casualties was long and contained many names familiar to the people of Jefferson County, names of relatives, friends and acquaintances. It discovered how wide the field for sympathetic activities. On May 5th, at the suggestion of Rev. A. J. Kynett, there met with him at the office of Slagle and Acheson, W. K. Alexander, C. W. Slagle, Rev. E. L. Briggs, W. W. Junkin, J. L. Hartman and Dr. C. S. Clarke, to consider the propriety of forming a society to provide aid for the unfortunate. The result of the conference was a public meeting on the 10th at the courthouse, at which time and place the "Jefferson County Soldiers' Relief Association" was organized. Its objects were "the relief of the wounded, sick and disabled volunteers, residents of or enlisted from Jefferson County, with surgical or other necessary aid and supplies, together with the return and interment, free of expense to friends when necessary and if practicable, the bodies of volunteers from this county slain or dying in the service of the government." Its members were those persons present "and all others who may contribute to its funds." An executive committee was authorized to appoint a surgical committee to secure surgeons and nurses as needed and to provide them with requisite hospital and medical stores, a burial committee to attend to the return of the bodies of soldiers to their friends, or to a suitable place of interment within the limits of Jefferson County, and a finance committee, consisting of one person from each sub-school district, to solicit donations of money and other needful articles. It could also name additional committees when expedient. The funds raised were to "be applied to the care of the sick and wounded or of the dead," as contributors designated. At once, $68 were subscribed, of which $46 were paid in.
The officers were George Acheson, president; W. K. Alexander and J. H. Allender, vice presidents; Dr. J. M. Shaffer, secretary; and D. P. Stubbs, treasurer. Associated with these to make up the executive committee were Richard Gaines, Solomon F. Stever, R. S. Hughes, Dr. Peter Walker, Nathaniel Loomis and Dr. Henry Ream. The surgical committee were James M. Slagle, W. W. Junkin and R. H. Leggett. The burial committee were C. W. Slagle, Rev. E. L. Briggs, A. Scott Jordan, Gilbert P. Loomis, Joseph Fell, Louis Roeder, John Gantz, George W. Robinson and W. H. Copeland. The finance committee were, for Walnut Township, W. H. Edwards, Charles Wood, John Spielman, John Hodgens and Silas Deeds; for Penn Township, Abraham Charles, Solomon Nordyke, James Haman, Moses Dudley, Wm. McKee and John Carse; for Blackhawk Township, John P. Staats, Wm. Z. Hobson, David Myers, Wm. Sunderland, Isaac H. Brown, David Beck and James H. Baker; for Polk Township, J. J. Sperry, Peter McRunnels, Wm. Shelton, Henry Moore, Jacob Ramsey and Richard Gray; for Locust Grove Township, Brinton Hughes, John Carpenter, D. M. Parrott, Joshua Wright, Henry Hull and Henry Gregg; for Fairfield Township, A. Hemphill, Jacob Walmer, W. M. Reed, W. W. Junkin, H. B. Mitchell, Perry M. Troxel, Daniel Rider and David Shearer; for Buchanan Township, James H. Beatty, Philander Chandler, G. W. Devecman, Phineas Faucett, John Hoaglin and Isaac Galliher; for Round Prairie Township, John Cochran, John Strong, J. Metz and Rev. John Heaton; for Cedar Township, James Pattison, Wolf (sic), John McCormick and Wm. Love; for Liberty Township, Peter Slimer (sic - Slimmer), Joseph Rodebaugh, Jacob Famulener, Wm. Moore and Wm. Beall; and for Des Moines Township, G. W. Calferty, Solomon Rushton, John Stansbury, James Cowan, Sr., A. B. Garver and A. O. Edwards.
At a Teachers' Institute, held from May 20th to the 24th inclusive, a number of those in attendance, declaring the wages of the teachers of Jefferson County had "become so reduced as to be an inefficient compensation," pledged themselves not to teach "for a less sum than $20 per month during winter sessions and $15 per month during summer sessions."
In April there went into effect a law requiring the registration of all dogs on or before May 15th "with the clerks of townships." Registered dogs were required to wear leathern (sic) or metallic collars, not less than one inch wide, "with the number and year made plain upon the same, either by engraving or punching with holes, or sewing with thread of a color different from the collar." Unregistered dogs, "going at large," were to be destroyed. The fee for registry was divided between the clerk and the school fund. There was an indignant outcry. Dr. J. M. Shaffer, who as senator had favored and voted for the enactment, was an object of wrath. Dead dogs thrown in his yard expressed the contempt of some of his constituents. So general was the opposition throughout the state that the Legislature, called together in special session in September, promptly repealed the act and authorized the repayment of that part of the fee which went into the school fund. Governor Kirkwood was equally prompt with his approval.
One Dr. D. F. Phillips, reputed to be the surgeon of an Ohio regiment, a late arrival in Fairfield, staying with Moses C. Shamp, had for a servant Ralph Robinson, a colored boy. The repetition of conflicting stories in regard to their association led to the suspicion that it was the relation of master and slave. Upon the application of Melchi Scott, a writ of habeus corpus was issued on June 10th by County Judge A. R. Fulton. It was found on trial that Robinson was a slave in Missouri; that he came by gift in the possession of Phillips, who by virtue of that was holding him in custody; and that he had been brought into the State of Iowa voluntarily where the status of slavery is forbidden by the constitution and laws. He was adjudged entitled to his freedom and discharged absolutely from the control of Shamp and Phillips. There was a notice of appeal from the decision, but dissent was carried no further.
The Fourth of July was celebrated by a "basket dinner in the park." Some who still talked of compromise with the South refused to take part in the exercises. The usual noisy demonstrations were omitted. The Declaration was read by Rev. J. H. Rhea. There was no set oration. Numerous toasts reflected the common view of the national situation. These sentiments called forth responses.
"The Founders of Our Independence--The Patriots of the Revolution--let them ever live in memory." Ward Lamson responded.
"Our Government--Emanating from the people and of the people, it cannot be successfully assailed or overthrown by the base machination of traitors at home, or scheming enemies abroad." C. W. Slagle responded.
"The Flag of Our Union--The same that was unfurled by our patriot sires, and now trampled upon by traitors, it shall again be uplifted and float in triumph over every foot of American soil, when secession flags and treason's emblems are no more seen, and remembered only to be cursed." D. P. Stubbs responded.
"The Declaration of Independence--Its noble enunciation 'that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' are words that breathe and burn--words that made tyrants tremble, and are destined in the providence of God to lift the burdens of wrong and oppression from off all shoulders, and elevate the down trodden and oppressed of every land and clime." George Acheson responded.
"Our Volunteer Soldiers--As our fathers of '76 drew the sword to secure and bequeath to us the glorious inheritance of liberty, so with noble and becoming emulation their sons now rush to the defense of that priceless inheritance." R. C. Brown responded.
"The Union--It must and shall be preserved." Richard Gaines responded.
"The great uprising of the patriots of 1861 in defense of constitutional liberty, against the assaults of domestic traitors--the world has never witnessed such a spectacle--let foreign despots take notice and keep the peace." Rev. J. H. Rhea responded.
"The Rebellion of 1861--'Conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity:' May the leaders and abettors thereof speedily meet the doom of heaven, as witnessed in the righteous overthrow and utter destruction of Korah and his associates." A. M. Scott responded.
"The Loyal Women of Our Day--No age has witnessed such devotion as has been shown by the patriotic women of our land on behalf of the soldiers in the field--forever may they be held in grateful remembrance, and their names enrolled with the women of the Revolution." Dr. J. M. Shafer responded with an original poem.
"'Iowa--Her affections, like the rivers on her borders, flow to an inseparable Union.' Though a young sister of the Republic, her noble volunteers have won the admiration of the country, renown for the state, and secured for themselves undying fame." Rev. R. M. Wilkinson responded.
These were not the idle expressions of the lips. Within the next two months, responding to an urgent call for more troops for the preservation of the Union, companies were recruited at Fairfield, Abingdon, Glasgow and Brookville, while many men enlisted at other points.
The Board of County Supervisors, at a called session on August 24th, appropriated $4,000 to be distributed among the families of volunteers. James A. Galliher, a member who was not present, was so opposed to this use of the public money that, at the next regular meeting of that body, he requested his name be called and his vote recorded in the negative on the resolution.
The Constitution and Union at this period proceeded to extreme lengths. It denounced Lincoln as "the usurper," also styling him "King Abraham." Editorially it announced, "We would have it distinctly understood, however, that we are as much opposed to the war and the policy of the administration as ever, and that we will not forego any opportunity to strike a blow at it." To the soldiers at the front, these utterances were as sparks to tinder. Their letters home flamed with unrestrained and unsparing anger. The limits of forbearance were reached. United States Marshal H. M. Hoxie, on August 17th, arrested its editor, D. Sheward, "on the charge of issuing treasonable publications in his paper calcuated to discourage enlistments and give aid and comfort to the enemies of the government." He was taken to Washington and confined for a few weeks in "Old Capitol Prison." Upon taking an oath of allegiance, he was discharged. Arriving at Fairfield on November 18th, he was welcomed by his sympathizers as "a victim of abolition hatred." On the 25th, a more pretentious reception was held for him at Wells' Hall, with Gen. A. C. Dodge, "the trans-Alpine Gaul," and Henry Clay Dean, "the Griddle Greaser," so named by their political opponents, as the principal speakers.
The possibilities of the approaching state election in October were recognized by both republicans and democrats. The former, "as a last measure for the preservation of the Republic," were willing "to blot out the institution of slavery from the soil of every state;" the latter held that the several states possessed the sovereign right to determine the position and duties of the inferior and dependent negro race and that "the pledges of the Constitution require us as loyal citizens not to interfere therewith." President Lincoln's preliminiary Proclamation of Emancipation, issued on September 22d, intensified the democratic charge that republicans were abolitionists and the war an abolition war.
The large number of the electors of the state who were in the army, under existing laws could not exercise the right of suffrage. This created an unjust and dangerous situation. As Governor Kirkwood put it, the very life of the nation was at stake, and might be as fatally lost at the ballot box as on the battlefield. The Legislature, convened in September in extra session, provided for taking the vote of Iowa soldiers wherever stationed in the United States. Contrary to democratic expectation at least, they generally cast their ballots for republican candidates. It was decisive proof of their resolution to maintain the government. Apart from the soldier vote, the result in Jefferson County, though in favor of the republicans, was extremely close. James F. Wilson, their nominee for Congress, had a majority of but thirty.
Throughout the late fall, "chopping bees" and "husking frolics" were arranged in the various country communities to help the wives and families of soldiers to a supply of wood and to gather their corn from the field. In Fairfield, also, measures were taken to provide fuel and provisions for those who lacked the means to obtain them.
A review of the accomplishment of the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society of Fairfield, in 1862, reveals how wholeheartedly its members devoted themselves to its work. At the beginning of the year, Mrs. C. W. Slagle yielded the position of secretary and treasurer to Mrs. E. D. Wells.
On January 21st, box No. 4 was sent to Mrs. Annie Wittemeyer at Keokuk. Its contents were three quilts, eleven pillows, three pillow cases, three bed sacks, ten shirts, six pairs of socks, two pairs of mittens, seven pairs of drawers, seven handkerchiefs, one suit of gray flannel and thirty-seven magazines.
On February 8th, box No. 5, containing twenty-one cans and jars of fruit, some packages of dried fruit, and a large quantity of old linen and bandages, was forwarded to Mount Pleasant. The Fourth Iowa Cavalry, which had been stationed there through the winter, was then taking its departure for the south.
On March 26th, box No. 6 was consigned to the Iowa Army Sanitary Commission, in care of C. Marble, at Burlington. This contained five comforters, one quilt, eight pairs of drawers, ten shirts, one bed shirt, ten pillows, twenty pillow cases, five sheets, ten towels, one peck of dried peaches, one can of peaches, seven bottles of wine, several rolls of bandages and several packages of lint.
On April 12th, box No. 7 was shipped to Mrs. Annie Wittemeyer at Cairo, Illinois. Its contents were fifty-two shirts, of which thirty were new and twenty-two partly worn, nine pairs of drawers, seven pillows, ten pillow cases, twenty towels, fifteen rolls of bandages and several packages of old linen.
The battle of Pittsburg Landing crowded the hospitals with wounded and sick. The need of supplies in great quantities was imperative. The membership and activities of the society increased. To promote its efficiency, at the last meeting in April, there was a division of labor. "Three directresses," Mrs. James F. Wilson, Mrs. George Stever and Miss Nancy Butler, were appointed. A gentleman, whose name is not reported, had previously furnished funds to pay the expenses of a nurse. Mrs. M. E. Woods now undertook the mission. On May 1st, she left for the hospital at Keokuk, taking with her forty-eight pounds of butter, ninety-seven dozen eggs, and box No. 8, containing thirteen sheets, two pillows, eleven pillow cases, eighteen towels, thirteen new shirts, ten partly worn shirts, one comforter, eight pairs of drawers, ten cans and six jars of fruit, two bottles of catsup, two rolls of bandages and five pads for wounded limbs.
On June 2d, a box of butter and a barrel of eggs were sent to Keokuk in care of Mrs. Woods. This was followed on June 24th by box No. 9, containing twelve new shirts and thirty-two partly worn, three sheets, two pillows, six pillow cases, three dressing gowns, one pair of socks, eight pairs of new drawers and twelve pairs partly worn, one pair of half boots, nine pairs of slippers, two jugs and one can of tomatoes, fifty-eight cans and bottles of fruit, sixty-three pounds of butter, fourteen pounds of cheese, a package of loaf sugar, some dried meat and several packages of rags.
In July, there were shipped to Keokuk, on the 11th, one barrel of eggs and box No. 10, containing twenty-seven shirts, three sheets, one pair of slippers, twenty-four towels, twenty-six pairs of drawers, three pillows, fourteen pillow of potatoes and onions, and box No. 12, containing twenty pairs of drawers, cases, four jars of fruit, sixty-three pounds of butter, eight rolls of bandages and several packages of old linen; on the 15th, box No. 11, containing thirty cans and jars of fruit; and on the 20th, one keg of butter. [Ed. note: a bit disjointed, but an accurate transcription of this paragraph.]
There were shipped to Columbus, Kentucky, on August 10th, four mosquito bars, two barrels of onions and one barrel of potatoes; on the 15th, one mosquito bar, six barrels of potatoes and two barrels of onions; on the 25th, two barrels eighteen shirts, one bed gown, five pillow cases and one piece of mosquito netting; and on September 1st, one barrel of pickled cucumbers.
Ninety pillow sacks were furnished Company B, of the Nineteenth Iowa Infantry, which left Keokuk early in September. On October 5th, box No. 13 was sent to Springfield, Missouri, where this regiment was then located. It contained fifteen cans of fruit, three bottles of brandy, five bottles of wine, two pounds of tea, three pounds of sugar, some catsup, some partly worn shirts and towels and a package of old linen.
Three more shipments were made to Keokuk. There were forwarded, on October 1st, a demijohn of molasses, a keg of tomato pickle, and box No. 14, containing thirty-six shirts, twenty-two pairs of drawers, one sheet, one table-cloth, one bottle of jelly, one bottle of catsup, two cans of apple butter, one large sack of dried apples, one of dried corn, one of dried elderberries, and several packages of rags; on November 8th, box No. 15, containing nineteen pairs of drawers, three pairs of socks, sixteen shirts and one comfort; and on December 1st, one keg of tomato pickle and box No. 16, containing sixteen shirts, ten pairs of drawers, five quilts, five towels, five pairs of socks, two bottles of wine, one bottle of catsup, three packages of butter, sixty quarts of fruit, some honey, jelly cake and old linen.
A "Fair and Festival" was given by the society in Wells' Hall on Christmas eve. On the walls were suggestive mottoes framed in wreaths of evergreen. "Ladies' Aid Society, the Soldiers' Friend." "The Love of Country Guides Us." "Where Liberty Dwells, There Is My Country." "He Who Gives Promptly, Gives Twice as Much." Fancy articles, cakes, confections and oysters were offered for sale. There was realized a net return of $222.11, a sum that indicates a successful entertainment.
The winter was remarkably mild. The ground was hardly frozen to a greater depth than four inches. There was little snow.
For the supporters of the Union cause, it ushered in a dark and bitter time. The battle of Prairie Grove on December 7th, in which both Company B, under Captain Harry Jordan, and Company D, under Captain Joshua Wright, of the Nineteenth Iowa Infantry, suffered severely, again brought into many homes in the county a direct and cruel knowledge of the personal price of war. The presidential proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing "persons held as slaves" in rebellious territory as "a fit and necessary war measure," and announcing that "such persons of suitable condition" would be "received into the armed service of the United States," offered the sympathizers with the South and its "peculiar institution" the country over an opportunity, as they thought, to justify their opposition to a continuance of the conflict. Here, as elsewhere, it was seized to proclaim "failure" and excite racial prejudice. "Peace petitions" were put in circulation. "Peace meetings" were held. The first one met on New Year's eve at Phillip's Church in Cedar Township. Before January passed, it was succeeded by others at Wheeler's schoolhouse in Cedar Township, at Miller's schoolhouse in Penn Township, at Fairfield and at Abingdon. They were alike in spirit. They denounced Lincoln, the proclamation, the administration and administration policies. They favored, to quote their own words, "a cessation of hostilities for such a period as may be necessary to allow the people of the North and South to express through a national convention their wishes for peace and a maintenance of the Union as it was under the Constitution as it is."
The movement was not long permitted to present its case unchallenged. It was assailed with vigor and determination. "Union meetings" were called. The announcements of their place and time bore sentiments credited to Stephen A. Douglas and Joseph Holt. That of Douglas was, "In this contest there can be none but Patriots or Traitors; every man must be for the Government or against it." That of Holt was, "Looking upon the graves of our Fathers and the cradles of our Children, we have sworn that though all things else shall perish, this Union and Government shall live." The first of these meetings was on February 13th at a schoolhouse near Robert Dougherty's in Cedar Township; the second on the 16th at Abingdon; the third on the 17th at Coalport; the fourth, "a Grand Rally," on the 21st at Fairfield, where the chief address was made in Wells' Hall by Judge David Rorer of Burlington. The climax of the last gathering was in the reading of a letter from Lieut. W. S. Brooks of Company D, of the Nineteenth Iowa Infantry, addressed to his parents. It told a dramatic story. "Mother, I send you the wristband from the shirt which I wore at Prairie Grove. You will see that four balls passed through it, and my hand was not harmed. I held the flag in that hand. Show it to all the children and friends, that they may see how sacred is the emblem of our liberties." The wristband itself was held up to public view. Such an incident under such circumstances could but quicken pulses where red blood filled the veins.
Loyalty was cultivated with a stern enthusiasm. In March, there were "Union meetings" at Brookville, at Germanville, at Libertyville, at Miller's schoolhouse in Penn Township, at Salina, and at Burr Oak Schoolhouse in Walnut Township. Among those who took an active part in attending and addressing them were C. W. Slagle, George Acheson, R. S. Hughes, Dr. J. M. Shaffer, D. P. Stubbs, R. F. Ratcliff, R. C. Brown, Owen Bromley, Lieut W. S. Brooks, Rev. John Heaton, and Rev. Lewis Fordyce, then of Van Buren County. The stand taken was bold, positive, without equivocation. The sense of each assemblage was usually set out in deliberative form. At Coalport, it was affirmed "that we, as Westerners, will forever resist all attempts to separate one portion of our glorious country from another, believing in the motto, 'United we stand, divided we fall.'" At Fairfield, it was declared that "peace meetings" tend "to give aid and comfort to the public enemy; that the leaders in these meetings who are crying 'Bring back our armies,' 'Stop the war,' and who are also clamoring for a 'restoration of the Union with New England left out in the cold,' are more vitally the foes of our country than if they were in the armies of Jeff. Davis, with muskets aimed at the hearts of our sons and brothers." At Germanville, it was asserted "that we are opposed to all schemes of dividing this Union, whether they emanate from the north, south, east or west, and that we will hold up all Northern sympathizers with treason to the execration of loyal citizens." At Brookville, it was "resolved by every friend of the 'Old Flag' and the Government that has made us all that we are, that we will quell that rebellion or die in the attempt; that we know no difference between a Southern rebel and a Northern sympathizer; and that we intend to act in all cases by order of legally constituted authority." And at Libertyville, it was stated "that we, as lovers of the Union, believe that the new fangled name, Peace Meetings, is only substituted for the Knights of the Golden Circle, the object of which is to deceive the masses; and that we believe that the legitimate reuslt of the inflammatory speeches made at these peace meetings is already exhibiting itself in the burning of Union men's property." At Miller's schoolhouse it was proclaimed "that for us the Mississippi must roll unbroken to the Gulf, nor will we be divided from the East;" that "we will fight this war, not only to defend our Constitution and laws, but because we and our posterity have no other security or hope of peace but in the integrity of the territory which God and our fathers united;" and "that submission to the constituted laws and authorities is the only basis of free government and society, and they who take up arms against them without cause, and they who aid, comfort and counsel enemies in war, are alike guilty of betraying their country, and in every age have been justly branded with the scorn of mankind."
Reports of the "peace meetings" brought from the soldiers in every quarter instant condemnation of the leaders in them and of their purposes. The formal utterance of the members of Company E of the Second Iowa Infantry, on February 12th, at Corinth, Mississippi, is illustrative of the common feeling. "We have met," said Sergt. George Heaton, "to express our sentiments and convictions in regard to the action of the so called peace party in the North, and more particularly in the state and county which are endeared to us by the name of home, and to place these solemn convictions upon record, and to lay them before our friends and fellow citizens." Lieut. D. B. Wilson was elected chairman. A. K. Updegraff was appointed secretary. Lieut. M. A. McCoid, Sergt. George Heaton, Sergt. W. S. Sims, Sergt. Daniel Brown, Corporal George H. Case, S. D. Gorsuch and Thomas L. Huffman formulated the resolutions. These, after an argumentative portrayal of conditions, charged "That the real object of such organizations is to aid and encourage the rebellion, and that men who give their influence and countenance to such meetings contribute as much to the cause of rebellion as they who take up arms under the banner of Treason, and are more dangerous enemies, being more treacherous through less courageous, than they who meet us on the battlefield;" and "That against the leaders of the 'peace party of the North' we are as ready to turn our bayonets as against the rebels of the South, and while we are engaged in the field we deem it the duty of loyal men at home to organize themselves into military companies to secure the peace and safety of our homes." With reference to the "pretext" for withdrawing support from the Government, they claimed further "That the proclamation of the President emancipating the slaves of rebels, is calculated to weaken the strength of the rebellion and contribute materially to the restoration of the Union, and that we heartily endorse it, believing that the best way to remove civil war from our land is to remove the cause."
Views like these were also iterated and emphasized in soldiers' letters, many of which were published. The language applied to "copperheads" was intense. It was the most harsh when called out by critical or questioning communications from peace men to friends in the army. There were intimtations of "a day of retribution" and of "Haman's fate." "Let them go on till we know who are traitors indeed," wrote Lieut. A. Scott Jordan on March 3d from the camp of the Nineteenth Iowa Infantry at Forsyth, Missouri, "and then God grant that the Constitution may not be violated one iota in this case, but carried out to the letter, and treason, the greatest crime a man can commit, meet its just reward."
That military companies, drilled and armed, not only would exercise a restraining influence on disturbing elements, but also, in case of sudden need to employ force in the protection of life and property, would be a wise preparation, was recognized. The Home Guards of Liberty and Des Moines Townships, having maintained an organization, on February 3d, at Libertyville, were mustered sixty-six strong into the service of the State of Iowa by William Long, the county clerk. Opposite eleven names on the roll was the significant entry, "With the consent of parents." Accession to the ranks soon increased the membership to ninety-one. The burning of haystacks belonging to Judge Moses Black of Des Moines Township and to J. T. Lamp of Liberty Township, and the secret commission of other offenses against outspoken Union men doubtless hastened the enrollment. James Cowan was captain; James W. Moore, first lieutenant; and John F. Watkins, second lieutenant. In regular order, the sergeants were Cornelius M. Comegys, Washington J. M. Smith, Thomas D. Pollock, Moses B. Walker and William Keech. The corporals were John Famulener, George C. Fry, Young S. Pierson and James M. Black.
In the latter part of February and the early part of March, the "Union Guards" of Fairfield, the "Prairie Rangers," enrolled largely from the country north of Fairfield, and the "Abingdon Home Guards" were organized. Of the first named, R. F. Ratcliff was captain; D. R. McCracken, first lieutenant; L. J. Allen, second lieutenant, and W. W. Junkin, orderly sergeant. This company was sworn into the service of the state on March 13th by Lieutenant Colonel Vail. On April 17th, it was provided with muskets. Of the second named, R. S. Hughes was captain; J. M. Grafton, first lieutenant; W. L. McLean, second lieutenant; and W. A. Frush, orderly sergeant. Of the third named, Winthrop D. Peck was captain; John A. Ireland, first lieutenant; William H. Williams, second lieutenant; and Iradell Tansey, orderly sergeant.
So sharply drawn was the difference of opinion on the purpose and conduct of the war that in Fairfield it was the issue in the school election. The "Union ticket" was carried by more than two votes to one. The school directors, on April 13th, having elected to their corps of teachers two who were criticised for entertaining doubtful or disloyal views, three days later reconsidered these selections and substituted two others "of known Union sentiments."
With the coming of spring, "Liberty pins" and "butternuts" appeared. A cut of a butternut was displayed at the head of the editorial columns of the Constitution and Union. The "Liberty pin" was made from an old American cent piece by cutting away the metal so that the head of "Liberty" alone remained. It was this emblem that gave rise to the opprobrious term "copperhead" with its figurative meaning. The "butternut" was a symbol for a name bestowed upon the Western Confederate soldier on account of his uniform. These tokens were worn to indicate hostility to abolitionism. They were interpreted by adherents of the Union cause as significant signs of treason. Flaunted at church and other public places, they were the occasion of many personal affrays. Women as well as men resented the insult of their presence, and many times in their indignation engaged in physical combat to remove or destroy the hated object.
In March, L. D. Wilson of Chicago, afterward to be known as "Sorghum," visited Fairfield with a view to the establishment of a "sorghum mill and sugar refinery." The prospect proving satisfactory, he invested some thirty thousand dollars in the enterprise. The productive capacity of his plant was calculated at fifty barrels of sugar per day. He distributed free large quantities of seed and sought to contract for the planting of 600 acres of cane. Hope of a new great industry in the locality prevailed. The future outcome may be anticipated. The sorghum was intractable and refused to granulate under the old processes. The difficulty, whatever it was, never was overcome. The venture was a failure. Yet in 1867 nearly a thousand acres of cane were grown in the county and converted into molasses. In subsequent years its cultivation declined.
A "county democratic meeting" on May 23d had for its chief object the voicing of a public and indignant protest against the arrest and confinement of Henry Clay Dean "in a manner contrary to the Constitution." "This prominent and respectable citizen of the State of Iowa," at Keokuk a short time before had been, according to the statement of his friends, "lawlessly abducted and imprisoned by unrestrained United States soldiers."
On June 15th, the telegraph line reached Fairfield. Congratulatory telegrams were exchanged with Mount Pleasant and Burlington. Even in these is shown concern for the national welfare. The first message came from A. W. Snyder to W. W. Junkin. "Mount Pleasant sends a royal greeting to Fairfield over the electric wire, and may her copperheads soon be shocked with a Union victory!" The next day A. R. Fulton made reply. "Mr. Junkin is absent at the state convention. Fairfield is proud of her electrical union with her loyal sister, Mount Pleasant. United by iron and lightning, may we always be united in our devotion to the Union." To C. Dunham he sent this word: "A loyal electric greeting from the Ledger to the Hawkeye. Let us be united for the Union as we are now united by iron and lightning." This was the response: "The Hawkeye reciprocates the loyal greeting of the Ledger and its good wishes for the Union. As the wire quickens our intercourse, so may the hearts and purposes of our people be brought nearer together, and may each of us be enabled to see and understand the necessities of the hour, and our duty to country and to each other."
On June 25th, Fairfield College was incorporated. It took over the land and building of the Fairfield University and essayed to carry on an institution of learning. The board consisted of C. W. Slagle, president; George Schramm, vice president; A. R. Fulton, secretary; George Stever, treasurer; David Hill, Robert McElhinny and Thomas Ehrnman, trustees; Rev. A. Axline, A. M. Geiger, J. M. Whitham, J. M. Slagle and D. P. Stubbs, the finance committee; and Rev. S. L. McCune, Rev. D. Sprecher, Rev. A. S. Wells, J. B. Horn and D. McCullough, the examining committee. At least nine of the board were required to be members of good standing in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
In the fall Fairfield College opened with Rev. A. Axline as president of the faculty and professor of mental and moral science, with Rev. A. M. Geiger as professor of mathematics and of natural philosophy, with Miss Collins as an assistant instructor and with Miss Emma White as teacher of instrumental music. It was a coeducational school. There were classes in Greek, Latin, geometry, trigonometry, algebra, physiology and philosophy, as well as in the common branches. During the first two terms, there were 115 students in attendance.
The Fourth of July was observed at Fairfield with unusual decorum. A "basket dinner" in the park was the chief attraction. The merchants closed their doors and refrained from business. No incident marred the pleasures of the day. After prayer, there was an impressive reading of the Declaration of Independence by A. R. Fulton. The toasts dealt with familiar themes of daily conversation. The responses, it well may be believed, were quickened by an earnest and hopeful patriotism. There is yet an exaltation in the form and expression of the sentiments then uttered.
"1. The 4th day of July, 1776, and the charter of our liberties, that day proclaimed: Hallowed be the memory of the one, eternal the principles of the other." Rev. A. Axline responded.
"2. George Washington."
"3. The patriots of the Revolution: Posterity owes them a debt which can be repaid only in the perpetuation of the government they sacrificed so much to establish." Dr. J. M. Shaffer responded.
"4. Our Constitution, the Union and the Flag; Let us preserve sacred the first, undivided the second, and honored the last." Rev. Leonard responded.
"5. The existing rebellion, appalling in its magnitude and groundless in its origin, is a desperate attempt on the part of its authors to overthrow a Constitution which they were sworn to support and a system of laws which they themselves enacted." George Acheson responded.
"6. The soldiers in the field: They fight in a just cause and for their country's glory. All honor those who may survive: We will revere the memory of those who fall." Rev. Reed M. Wilkinson responded.
"7. The President of the United States." R. F. Ratcliff responded.
"8. The President's Proclamation of January 1, 1863: Liberty for the enslaved blacks, with civilization for the poor whites of the states in rebellion, and life, with permanent prosperity, for the whole nation." R. C. Brown responded.
"9. Copperhead and Butternut Badges: The man who wears either of them is an ignorant dupe, a cowardly sympathizer with treason, or an avowed traitor." Richard Gaines responded.
"10. The war for the destruction of our government and overthrow of free institutions can be successfully terminated only by dealing sharp, quick and heavy blows." William Hampson responded.
"11. God bless the loyal women of the land." Rev. John Burgess responded.
"12. The support of the government is the imperative duty of the citizens; opposition in this day of trial is aid and comfort to the enemy, and the rebellion is strengthened by such hostility, although disguised as professed allegiance." Rev. E. L. Briggs responded.
"13. The State of Iowa: We point with pride to her record. Nature has been generous in her bounties of soil and climate. Her people are patriotic; her soldiers are brave; no draft has been needed to fill the required quota of her troops, and her volunteers in many battles have made her famous in history."
To this R. R. Hall responded.
A regimental drill of the Home Guards of the county concluded the ceremonies.
The week that followed was one of jubilation and exultation. On Monday, confirmation of the defeat of Lee at Gettysburg was received. "About fifty school bells" were placed on wagons and rung through the streets. At night there was a general illumination of the square. Laths were cut just long enough to be sprung across the window frames. On these, one above the other, behind the glass were placed rows of lighted candles. The windows shone like galaxies of stars. Only three places were dark. These were stigmatized "The Darkness of Hell," "The Standard of Secession," and "The Disgrace to Humanity." Leading citizens made joyful speeches. On Tuesday afternoon came the announcement of the fall of Vicksburg. Men shook hands and shouted. There was good reason. Fathers, brothers, sons, neighbors and friends were at last free from those terrible trenches and they were victorious. That night "John Brown" was sung and resung with spirit and abandon. On Wednesday arrived the news of the brilliant repulse of the rebels at Helena, Arkansas, and the capture of a large number of them by Gen. B. M. Prentiss. Arrangements were made to celebrate in the evening these victories on the Fourth. Word of the intention quickly spread. Several thousand people assembled. "Three hundred transparencies and lamps" lit up the park. Many short speeches added to the rejoicing. On Saturday, to signalize these events, "a large pole and flag" were raised at Brookville; at night, in a grove near Libertyville, there was a great meeting to glorify them. At later dates, there were celebrations of them at Germanville, Salina and Coalport. Hopes of a speedy return of peace were revived.
One of the boldest defenders in Iowa of slavery was George Cyphert Tally, a young and eloquent Baptist minister. He was well known in Jefferson County, where he had spoken frequently at "peace meetings." As the result of an altercation on the streets of South English, on August 1st, which was Saturday, he was shot and killed. His friends and followers in Wapello, Mahaska and Powesheik Counties, threatening to avenge his death, gathered in numbers about two miles from Sigourney on the south bank of Skunk River, where they were divided into companies and officers chosen to command them. The serious aspect of affairs was brought to the attention of Governor Kirkwood on Monday. With his usual decisiveness, he resolved to visit the scene of disorder. As a precautionary measure, he summoned to Sigourney an artillery squad from Mount Pleasant and several companies of infantry, the latter including the Abingdon Home Guards, the Union Guard, the Prairie Rangers and the Libertyville Home Guards.
Charles Negus, who had been sent for by the leaders of the Tally party, reached their camp on Tuesday and wisely counseled them "to maintain their character of law abiding citizens and not to do anything they were not authorized to do by law." He then went on to Sigourney. Governor Kirkwood arrived toward evening and standing on the courthouse steps gave a plain, blunt talk on a proper respect for law and the duty of citizenship. "I will make an example," he said in closing, "of those engaged in these disturbances, which will forever deter others from engaging in like proceedings. I say what I mean and I mean what I say." Charles Negus meanwhile, having learned by accident of the impending presence of soldiers, meeting the commander of the Tally forces, told him what was planned and advised him to return to his men and as soon it was dark have them disperse. The advice was heeded.
Receiving their orders on Wednesday, the Prairie Rangers and Union Guards, numbering together perhaps one hundred and thirty men, proceeded at once to Richland, where they camped for the night. Thursday morning they were joined by the Abingdon Home Guards, 100 strong. The combined body reported that evening for duty at Sigourney. The Libertyville Home Guards with ninety men closely followed them in. Captain Cowan, according to his own statement, having been secretly informed that an ambuscade was prepared in the woods along Cedar through which his company would pass should the direct route be taken, made a detour through Fairfield to avoid any interference. The danger of a conflict having passed, the troops remained but a day and then returned home.
While in politics there was not the usual open activity, there was no lack of interest. There were numbers of "Democratic Clubs" and of "Union Leagues." On August 1st, the democrats met at Fairfield to ratify their state ticket. Following a recommendation of their state convention, they voted to petition the Board of Supervisors to appropriate money to pay the exemption fee of those who might be drafted. Some butternuts were in evidence, in a few cases worn by women. These occasioned more or less friction, which toward evening culminated in blows struck and blows returned. It happened to be the regular drill day of the Union Guards and Prairie Rangers. The long roll was beaten. The men promptly fell into line and were marched into the park. Their appearance with guns and bayonets quickly quieted the boisterous, who soon left a place which promised easily to become dangerous. At night, M. M. Bleakmore and D. Sheward made speeches, deploring "wild fanaticism" and urging restraint and avoidance of spiteful names.
There were two important "union celebrations," as the republicans called their rallies. The first was on August 29th in Keech's grove at Libertyville. The morning was devoted to a military display in which seven companies of "guards" participated, under the command of Col. W. W. Bickford. In the afternoon speeches were made by Senator James W. Grimes, Gen. J. G. Lauman, Joshua Tracy of Burlington, and James F. Wilson. The second was on September 25th at Fairfield. An imposing procession, formed on the depot grounds, with the Fairfield and Agency brass bands and with drum corps in line, marched over the principal streets. From stand in the center of the park and on the northwest and southeast corners of the square, addresses were made throughout the afternoon by George W. Julian of Indiana, Maj.-Gen. S. R. Curtis, Judge David Rorer, Col. Cyrus Bussey, Col. W. M. Stone and others. George W. Julian spoke again at night.
In the election, the republican vote, or as it should more properly be called, the union vote, was in a large majority.
The work of the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society was carried on through 1863 with methodic energy. The annual meeting was held on January 8th at the home of Mrs. C. W. Slagle. After determining more officers with specific duties were required, the managing board was filled by choosing for president Mrs. Thomas D. Evans, for vice president Mrs. William H. Jordan, for secretary and treasurer Mrs. E. D. Wells, for directresses Mrs. J. F. Wilson, Mrs. George Stever, Mrs. S. A. Hastings and Mrs. J. E. Daugherty, and for the purchasing committee, Mrs. Reed M. Wilkinson and Mrs. J. H. Hill.
Having obtained for Mrs. M. E. Woods a permit from Gen. S. M. Curtis to visit all the regiments under his command, and a pass from the secretary of war, the distribution of their supplies was thereafter accomplished through her as special agent. Beginning her first trip in this capacity on January 28th, she started 5,000 pounds of stores for the Nineteenth Iowa Infantry at Springfield, Missouri. Unable to reach this destination on account of the disturbed conditions of the country through which she was to pass, she distributed these stores among the hospitals of St. Louis.
On March 18th, in charge of 4,096 pounds of stores, she undertook her second trip. As designed, she took part of this shipment to the Third Iowa Cavalry at Pilot Knob, part to the Fourth Iowa Cavalry at Helena, Arkansas, and part to the Thirtieth Iowa Infantry at Vicksburg. The men of companies G and H of the last regiment voted their "sincere and hearty thanks to the good people of Fairfield and Jefferson County."
On May 21st, she set out for Vicksburg with 12,011 pounds of stores, of which 4,594 pounds were contributed from Glagow, 522 pounds from Des Moines Township, 103 pounds from Rich Woods, 114 pounds from Penn Township, 428 pounds from Salina, 2,860 punds from Locust Grove and Blackhawk townships, and 3,390 pounds from Fairfield. She was able to distribute these supplies in the early days of June. "They could not have arrived at a more needy time," wrote Dr. R. J. Mohr, surgeon of the Tenth Iowa Infantry, in appreciative strain to Mrs. T. D. Evans. "The forces had just finished one of the longest and most fatiguing marches of the war, hundreds of sick and wounded filled our hospitals, and all had been placed on half rations of an inferior quality of food for some time when these stores, consisting of potatoes, canned and dried fruits, canned chicken, butter, &c., reached us. The thanks of the brave boys were profuse on receiving them, and all declared it to be the richest treat they had had since entering the service."
On September 30th, with 3,814 pounds of stores, she set out again for Vicksburg. After three weeks, she attained her destination only to find she could not get in touch with the regiments she desired to reach. In this predicament she bestowed her consignment largely upon Company M of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry at Black River, Mississippi.
On November 23d, with 7,282 pounds of stores, she left for various points on the last trip of the year. After a month on the way, she reached the Second Iowa Infantry, then quartered at Pulaski, Tennessee. It was just before Christmas. The "boys" of Company E thereupon detailed Robert Lock for special service in the culinary department and, if the account of it by one of them may be believed, enjoyed a memorable dinner.
She then pushed on till she found the Thirtieth Iowa Infantry at Woodsville, Alabama. "Overcoming many difficulties and delays," wrote Edwin B. Kerr of her visit, "Mrs. Woods followed us from place to place, determined that we should have, if in any way possible, the goods sent to us. * * * Gladly and thankfully did we receive them. They were much needed. We had just passed through the recent severe campaign, having been at and beyond the famous Chattanooga, where for a long time scarcely half rations could be had, and we could well appreciate something nice. * * * The articles were equally divided to the regiment, and all--yes, every one--got a share. Many a nice meal was made of them and many a vote of thanks the ladies got. Three times within a year Mrs. Woods has been a welcome messenger, actually bringing to us the many articles of luxury and comfort from friends at home. We know we are not forgotten."
The expenditures of the society were $477.04 for the twelve months. Money was secured in various ways. A small part came from dues, donations and collections at "union meetings." On the Fourth of July were obtained $44.85 by taking a collection in the park and $231.21 by holding a festival at night. On Christmas eve, a soldiers' fair and festival netted $546 as its clear proceeds,
The needy at home were not neglected. Watchful eyes sought them out; kind hands ministered to their wants. Through a severe and trying winter, the Fairfield Relief Society, of which Rev. S. S. (sic - S. C.) McCune was president, Robert McElhinny treasurer, and I. D. Jones secretary, was helpful. The Union League made soldiers' families more particularly the object of its solitude. Being a secret organization, it operated through R. W. Alexander, J. A. Spielman and A. T. Wells, its working committee. Under their supervision, aid to the value of $333.96 was rendered. About two-thirds of this were sixty-two loads of wood and 3,975 pounds of flour.
The holidays were a season of intermittent storms. Heavy snowfalls were followed on December 31st by a raging blizzard. The cold was intense. The wind was terrible. The air was so filled with blowing snow as almost to blind those who were out of doors. Roads were blockaded with impassable drifts. Trains were unable to move.
By this inclement weather, twenty-three members of Company of the Second Iowa Infantry, homeward bound, were detained three days in Burlington. On the evening of January 2, 1864, they reached Fairfield. Their coming was for the encouragement of recruiting. The terms of enlistment of the first volunteers were soon to expire. While many of them had already reenlisted, many men still were needed to make good the losses.
The returned soldiers were guests of honor. There was a round of parties and entertainments for them. On the 14th, the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society gave them a public supper in Wells' Hall. Some two hundred and fifty persons were present. Following custom, they expressed their feelings in toasts which were announced by Dr. C. S. Clarke acting as president, and repeated by William Long acting as vice president. The themes proposed were: "Our Iowa Soldiers," "The Army and Navy of the Union," "Abraham Lincoln," "The Loyal People of the Land," "Our Fighting Commanders," "The Battles of the Burgs," "The Memory of Our Patriotic Dead, Who Died for County and for Liberty," "The Patriotic Women of Our Country," "The Battle Fields of the War," "The Hope of the Oppressed in Our Land," "The Fairfield Ladies' Aid Society," "The Iowa First," "Slavery, the Cause of the War," "Dear Old New England," "The Thirtieth Iowa Infantry," "The Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence and the Proclamation of Freedom." Among those who responded were George Acheson, Rev. A. Axline, the first chaplain of the Second Iowa Infantry; R. C. Brown, Rev. J. M. Williams, C. W. Slagle, Maj. A. R. Pierce of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, Lieut. J. A. P. Hampson of the Tenth Regular Infantry, Rev. A. M. Geiger, Lieut.-Col. W. S. Brooks of the Third Arkansas Infantry, Lieut. D. B. Wilson of Company E of the Second Iowa Infantry, Acting Lieut. W. R. Wells, U. S. N., Colonel Greusel of the Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry, W. H. H. Hampson, A. R. Fulton, H. N. Moore, Capt. John T. McCullough of Company E of the Second Iowa Infantry, and Rev. John Burgess, who had served as chaplain of the Thirtieth Iowa Infantry.
On the morning of Monday, February 8th, the members of Company E of the Second Iowa Infantry were in wagons standing north of the park prepared to start for Washington, where they were to take the train for the rendezvous at Davenport. Suddenly, at a preconcerted signal or a chance suggestion, a number of them jumped from their seats and rushed to the office of the Constitution and Union. This was over the bank of Samuel C. Farmer in a building which stood just east of the alley on the south side of the square. In but a moment they overturned the stove, threw the type out of the window, destroyed the cases, assaulted D. Sheward, the editor and publisher, as he tried to escape, took his books and papers from him, tore them up and piled them with the broken office furniture upon the fire. They were gone as quickly as they came. There was no opportunity for any one to offer an effective resistance. The fire was put out before it obtained headway. Threats were made by some of Sheward's friends that unless there was "restitution" there would be "retaliation." Only a determined leader, ignorant of the risk or willing to take it, was needed to bring on a destructive disturbance. There were grave fears of what might happen under the stress of excitement. Dr. W. W. Bickford, commanding the Jefferson County Battalion, by order of Joseph P. Roberts, deputy United States marshal, at once instructed Captain Cowan to report with his company, the Libertyville Home Guards, fully armed for active service with the utmost dispatch at Wells' Hall in Fairfield. Within a few hours this officer reported with his command and was assigned to duty. So large a crowd gathered on Tuesday that the drinking saloons were all closed. The presence of the guards under arms, the knowledge that to incite disorder would bring danger to the instigator, and reflection, all served as sobering influences. On Wednesday, quiet having been restored, Captain Cowan and his men withdrew. This was the end of the Constitution and Union.
On February 11th, the veterans of Company F of the Third Iowa Cavalry arrived at Fairfield on furlough. They, too, were feasted in private and in public. On March 3d they and the veterans of Company H of the same regiment were given suppers at the Leggett House, Jefferson House and John Mount's. They met afterwards at Wells' Hall where, after speeches by Maj. John W. Noble, George Acheson and Lieut.-Col. Henry C. Caldwell, they danced till morning. On the 4th, they were entertained at a grand dinner at Libertyville. A few days later they took their departure for Keokuk.
On March 14th, the veterans of Company M of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry came to Fairfield direct from Vicksburg and the raid of General Sherman into Mississippi. They also received a cordial welcome. On April 1st, they enjoyed a dinner at Salina. On the 7th they partook of a complimentary supper to the regiment at Mount Pleasant.
On April 7th, an auxiliary society of the Northwestern Freedman's Aid Commission was organized at the Congregational Church. Rev. D. Worthington was chosen for president, Rev. A. Axline for vice president, Rev. J. M. Williams for secretary, and William Black for treasurer. The committee of ladies were Mrs. J. M. Shaffer, Mrs. J. C. Keck, Mrs. N. Averill, Mrs. L. P. Taylor, Mrs. Halfield, Mrs. T. A. Parkinson, Mrs. William Dunwoody, Mrs. H. W. Lewis, Mrs. J. Kerr, Miss N. Hemphill, Miss Brown and Miss P. Huntzinger. One hundred dollars were raised for the work of the commission.
On May 13th, an auxiliary association was formed to promote the interests of the Soldiers' Orphan Asylum of Iowa. Rev. A. M. Geiger was elected president, Rev. J. M. Williams, vice president; A. R. Fulton, secretary, and Alexander Fulton, treasurer. Several life memberships of $25 each were taken in this institution, among them one by the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society and one by various contributors in the name of Mrs. M. E. Woods.
On June 3d, the discharged members of Company E of the Second Iowa Infantry arrived at home, having completed their three years' service.
The Fourth of July was not generally observed. There was little heart for it. No recent signal victory excited the imagination. Public confidence, too, was somewhat shaken in General Grant on account of his failure yet to take Richmond. A mood of depression was prevalent. An impromptu gathering in the park, however, was addressed by George Acheson and Capt. W. T. Burgess. At night, the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society gave an entertainment.
Under an enactment of the Legislature lately gone into effect, Adjutant-General Baker on July 21st and 27th issued "General Orders" requiring the organization of the entire militia of the state. To Jefferson County were assigned twenty-one companies. R. F. Ratcliff, W. M. Clark and George Acheson were appointed to oversee the enrollment. For the most part these were perfunctory bodies. Two exceptions may be noted. On July 30th, a new company of "Union Guards," which included a remnant of the old one, was formed. The officers were M. A. McCoid, captain; G. H. Case, first lieutenant, and J. A. Spielman, second lieutenant. On August 5th, the organization of a cavalry company was effected. Of this the officers were W. D. Clapp, captain; Thomas L. Huffman, first lieutenant; J. T. Hartman, second lieutenant, and William Long, orderly sergeant. The Libertyville and Abingdon Home Guards were not affected by this official action.
In Missouri, many bands of guerrillas were committing depredations, destroying property and killing defenseless citizens upon any provocation. There was dread that they might invade Iowa. Their wanton acts inspired "General Order No. 25," addressed to the militia. It is a grim document. Paragraphs IV and V show its deadly earnestness.
"IV. If any guerrilla, robber or thief crosses from Missouri or from any other state into this state, for the purpose of murder, robbery or thieving, in armed bands, no report will be required by this department of prisoners taken, and any officer who takes as a prisoner any guerrilla, murderer, thief or marauder of such armed band, will at once be dismissed from the state service.
"V. Blank cartridges will not be used by any soldier in the state service, when ordered out for the protection of our citizens, and any state officer allowing the use of blank cartridges for the preservation of the public peace when ordered into service, will at once be dismissed from the state service."
Those were serious times, and serious offenses required serious treatment.
On September 31st (sic - 30th?), there flashed over the wires the happy news of the capture of Atlanta [Note: Atlanta surrendered on September 2d.]. Bills were issued calling a meeting of the people in the afternoon. It was held in front of Dr. Clarke's drug store near the northwest corner of the square. A large crowd gathered and listened to addresses of good cheer from George Acheson, J. F. Wilson, W. T. Burgess, C. W. Slagle, D. F. (sic - D. P.) Stubbs and Owen Bromley. There was a renewal of confidence in the outcome of the struggle. A better feeling was created. "Their faith in the stability of the Government," says a contemporary report, "was made stronger, and their hopes of a speedy restoration of the Union were strengthened."
The Women's Soldiers' Aid Society, at the annual meeting on January 7, 1864, named Mrs. Thomas D. Evans president, Mrs. W. H. Jordan vice president, Mrs. C. W. Slagle, treasurer, Mrs. J. H. Hill and Mrs. Reed M. Wilkinson the purchasing committee, and Mrs. D. Acheson secretary. From its funds were appropriated $100 to the sanitary commission and $62.15 to the "Loyal League" for the relief of soldiers' families.
Early in March, Mrs. M. E. Woods took a shipment of stores, consisting of sixteen boxes, six kegs and one barrel and weighing 2,873 pounds, to Little Rock, Arkansas. Included in this, or perhaps with it, were donations from Brighton and from Mrs. William Long, Mrs. Marsh and Mrs. G. W. Workman. Early in May she took out a second shipment containing eighty-three packages and weighing 11,135 pounds, to Nashville, Tennessee. In this were articles from Brighton, Salina and Glasgow.
A "member of Company D" of the Nineteenth Iowa Infantry, in a communication dated September 7th and addressed to the editor of the Ledger, stated: "If any of our friends think of sending us a present and are anxious to send the most valuable, an egg, sweet potato, pumpkin or a cabbage-head would be sure to fill the bill." Some days after this, Maj. Harry Jordan, also of this regiment, wrote Mrs. Woods of the prevalence of scurvy in the camp and appealed to her to bring them "vegetables, canned fruits and pickles of every description." It was October 6th when these letters, written from Barancas, Florida, were published. More than a month was employed in the preparation of the stores, amounting to two carloads. It was late in November when Mrs. Woods started with them on their long journey. She went by way of Chicago, when the Northwest Commission generously ordered supplies until the total shipment reached thirty-seven tons. She finally delivered them on December 10th at Fort Gaines, Alabama, to which place the regiment in the meantime had been transferred.
The society paid out $1,311.47 in its year's work. Of this sum, $100 went to the Iowa State Commission, $30 to the soldiers' fair at Dubuque, $128 to the Southern Iowa soldiers' fair at Burlington, and $212.45 for soldiers' families. The remainder was used in meeting the expenses of Mrs. Woods. The receipts of the society, apart from dues and donations, were $262 from a Fourth of July festival, $49.25 from a collection taken on October 15th on the occasion of a debate between J. F. Wilson and J. K. Hornish, the opposing congressional candidates, $46 from a collection taken on October 27th at a "republican rally," and $779.36 from a Christmas fair.
The winter opened with such vigor that to many "war widows," as the wives of absent soldiers were described, and to their children, it brought serious distress. Wood cost $6 or more per cord, potatoes $1 per bushel, flour $4.50 per hundred pounds. These prices were proportional. A private soldier under favorable circumstances could scarcely save from his pay $10 a month for those dependent upon him. Often this was in arrears and not available. Work, even of menial character and at scant wages, was seldom obtainable. The county, as a corporate body, though authorized by law to render assistance, had made no adequate provision for the emergency. Governor Stone, addressing the people of Iowa upon the subject, requested that December 31st "be set apart as a day for general contributions" and "consecrated by the discharge of a patriotic and Christian duty." In Fairfield on December 16th, a relief association was formed to provide for the necessitous in Fairfield Township. D. P. Stubbs was president, W. W. Junkin secretary. A committee of five, appointed to solicit and distribute contributions, assigned each of its members a district to canvass. The eastern half of Fairfield was allotted to Rev. A. S. Wells, the western half to A. R. Fulton. Without the city limits, the portion south of the Agency Road, was allotted to Capt. W. T. Burgess, the portion between the Agency and the Richland roads to W. S. Lynch, and the remaining portion to A. M. Thomas. On January 1, 1865, the donations in money and supplies amounted to $590, of which $317.25 were secured in the city and $272.75 in the country. Although only faint memories of it remain, similar energetic action certainly took place in other townships.
Although the machinery for making a draft was provided in 1862 when enlistments lagged, the necessity for its use was then obviated. In the beginning of 1864, in those districts which had failed to make up the quotas assigned to them, its employment seemed imminent. Fearing the lot might be unfavorable, many able-bodied citizens took a hurried departure for the West. This exodus attracting the attention of the state authorities, guards were stationed at the crossings over the Missouri River to stop and return those fugitives from prospective military service. The need to resort to it was again overcome. Late in the fall it was set in motion, as was afterward decided, unjustly. In its application it fell upon the delinquent townships of Jefferson County for a few men. In December came a final call for more troops. It implied a determination to crush speedily by force of numbers the rapidly crumbling Confederacy. That another draft would surely follow and the Government with strong hand seize its own was an irresistible conclusion. January, 1865, beheld a sudden desire on the part of some men to visit friends in distant places or "to go to the gold mines." The expressive name "skedadlers" was given them. Among those who "skedadled" were a number of teachers. R. S. Hughes, the county superintendent of schools, reported their conduct to O. Faville, the state superintendent of public instruction. In the opinion rendered there was no uncertainty. "Teachers," he advised, "abandoning their schools before their contract time has expired in order to avoid the draft, should not only lose their certificates but their pay for the time they have taught. I trust we have not many such in Iowa; but unless they can be converted from their errors, the sooner they leave the state the better. Those who are not willing to defend the rights of our country, are not qualified to instruct our children." This was wholesome advice. The certificates of the spiritless offenders were duly revoked. The irony of their position was manifest when the fact was shortly ascertained that Iowa had already furnished her complement of men.
The end of the war was felt to be drawing near. Sherman was sweeping steadily northward. Grant's deadly grip on Richmond was tightening. On the afternoon of March 4th, the date of President Lincoln's second inauguration, there was a meeting in Wells' Hall publicly to rejoice over "the prospect of an early and permanent peace." In speech and song was the fervor of an exultant religious exercise. The songs were "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," "We Are Living in a Grand and Awful Time," "John Brown," and in closing, the doxology. On the evening of April 7th, following close upon the news of the fall of Richmond, came a premature report of the capture of Lee's army. The streets quickly filled with people cheering, singing, shouting in happy mood "over the splendid victories." Houses were illuminated, bonfires built, fireworks set off and guns fired. It was an instantaneous and spontaneous outburst. After definite information was received of the surrender of Lee on April 9th at Appomatox, the event was again celebrated on the evening of the 14th with due formality. All ostentatious rejoicing was terminated by the assassination of Lincoln. On the 19th, the day of the funeral services over the martyred president at Washington, stores were closed, public and private buildings draped in mourning and appropriate public exercises conducted to express the sorrow of the community. In harmony with an official proclamation by Governor Stone, the 27th was also observed in solemn manner to testify to the national loss and bereavement.
The returning soldiers, their martial duty accomplished, came home unheralded, without ceremony and without display. Anxious to greet their families and friends, they avoided the receptions which the people gladly would have accorded them. The members of the Thirtieth Infantry arrived in June, of the Second and Seventh Infantry in July, and of the Nineteenth and Seventeenth Infantry and of the Third and Fourth Cavalry in August. Cheerfully they entered the paths of peace and undertook anew the labors from which they had been called.
A deep sincerity pervaded the observance of the Fourth of July. Stores were closed that the day might not be marred by any taint of commercialism. All persons in the county having flags were requested to loan them for the occasion. Arches over the entrances to the park bore these mottoes: "The loyal citizens of Jefferson to her soldiers, greeting;" "Where liberty dwells, there is my country;" "The only national debt we can never repay is the debt we owe to the Union soldiers and sailors;" "Though many dear ones are absent today, their noble deeds are treasured in our hearts." The names of fifty-four battle fields where western troops were engaged, each one garlanded in evergreen, hung upon the trees. A company of girls represented the several states. The soldiers, their wives, children, mothers and sweethearts were guests. For these a dinner was provided. Contributions for it came from every township. It was prepared under the supervision of the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society and served on long lines of tables in the north half of the park. At it more than fifteen hundred persons were seated and feasted. Thousands of others brought "basket dinners," which they enjoyed in picnic fashion.
Over the program of the afternoon George Acheson presided. Rev. W. Maynard led in prayer. J. F. Wilson read the Declaration of Independence. Miss Emma Passmore of Pleasant Plain recited an original poem entitled "Our Western Soldiers." The sentiments of the time were epitomized in the toasts.
"The Day We Celebrate: Immortalized by the Fathers--endeared to their descendants--its influence is extending with every revolving cycle of time." Rev. S. C. McCune responded.
"Our Guests: The defenders of the Union--the subjugators of traitors; the work they had to do was well done, and now we welcome them home. Words cannot express our gratitude. Their bravery has made their names illustrious. From citizens to soldiers, from soldiers again to citizens, beautifully illustrates the genius of our republican form of government. Good citizens of the plough fields are brave soldiers on the battlefield." C. W. Slagle responded.
"Washington: The Father of his Country; he still lives, and shall forever, in the hearts of his countrymen."
"Thomas Jefferson: His most sublime and enduring moment is his declaration of the equality of all men." Capt. W. T. Burgess responded.
"Abraham Lincoln: The emancipator and the martyr; he bound the Union and unbound the slave."
"The Ideas of the Contest: Freedom, equality, justice; we will never cease our efforts to engrave them on the heart of the nation, and stamp them upon all constitutions and laws." George Acheson responded.
"The Private Soldiers" The men who saved the Nation and made the fame of those whom the world applauds; we will never forget the workmen." Capt. M. A. McCoid responded.
"The Colored Soldiers: Who will deny the declaration of General Sherman, that the 'hand which drops the musket should take up the ballot?'" Rev. S. Hestwood responded.
"The Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society: They had a noble object. For this they toiled in silence. In the dark days they wept, but toiled and hoped--when day dawned upon the cause of human liberty they rejoiced, but patiently and steadily toiled on, without any other hope of reward than that of conscious duty. Blessed is the Ladies' Aid Society." Maj. R. D. Creamer responded.
"American Slavery: The wrath of a just God has washed out the crime with a sea of blood; if we would avoid a repetition of the visitation we must not recommit the crime." R. C. Brown responded.
"The President of the United States."
"Washington and Lincoln: Twin immortals; the one the Father, the other the Saviour, of our beloved country." Rev. Chauncey C. Darby responded.
"John Brown: 'All partial evil, universal good; all discord, harmony not understood.' 'They hung him for a traitor--themselves a traitorous crew.'"
"The Heroic Dead of Jefferson County: A part of the great price paid by the nation for the redemption of the Republic, and for the escurity (sic) of liberty, equality and Christian civilization. We will admire their example and fondly, tenderly cherish their memory." J. F. Wilson responded.
The great crowd, up to this time next to the greatest ever assembled in Fairfield, was dismissed with the benediction pronounced by Rev. A. S. Wells.
The Women's Soldiers' Aid Society, at its annual meeting on January 5, 1865, elected Mrs. Thomas D. Evans, president; Mrs. J. Kerr, vice president; Mrs. C. W. Slagle, treasurer; Mrs. D. Acheson, secretary; Mrs. George Stever and Mrs. J. F. Wilson, the purchasing committee, and Mrs. John Hill, Mrs. W. S. Lynch and Mrs. Thomas D. Evans, the distributing committee. The work of the society was almost ended. The needs of soldiers' families momentarily became the chief concern of its members. As others were providing fuel and provisions, they supplied clothing. They expended $641 in extending this relief. They also gave $200 to the Chicago Sanitary Fair, $50 to the Lincoln monument at Springfield, Illinois, $100 to a monument to the deceased soldiers of Jefferson County, and $25 to the Keokuk Hospital. Their last act was to donate whatever funds remained in their treasury to the Jefferson County Monument Association. On September 12th, the society, having closed up its business, was dissolved, leaving a proud record of devotion, sacrifice and accomplishment.
In May the erection of a monument to bear the names of those men of Jefferson County who had died or had been killed in the service of their country was discussed with favor. On June 8th, the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society offered $100 as the beginning of a subscription to commemorate in this way the lives "so nobly sacrificed" and issued a call for a public meeting on the 13th to form an association and carry out the suggestion. On the 10th, the Jefferson Detective Society of Liberty and Des Moines townships, donated $100 to assist in the undertaking and instructed R. B. Moore of Liberty Township and George C. Fry and A. G. Nye of Des Moines Township to meet with the movers of this work. On the 13th, it was resolved to organize "into a body corporate" and proceed to raise the funds. On the 19th, articles of incorporation of the Jefferson County Monument Association were adopted. Officers were elected as follows: George Acheson, president; Mrs. T. D. Evans, vice president; George A. Wells, secretary; Daniel Young, treasurer, and J. A. Ireland, C. D. Skinner and George C. Fry, directors. On the 20th, the City Council of Fairfield voted $100 to the cause. At their regular term in September, the Board of County Supervisors appropriated $500 for the purpose, one-half to be paid out of the tax of 1865 and one-half out of the tax of 1866. From a Christmas festival $435 were realized. So well did the movement progress that on February 8, 1867, plans and proposals for the erection of the monument were advertised for. A design and proposition of E. Champ of Mount Pleasant were approved. The southeast corner of the park was selected for the site. Serious fault was found with this selection. A remonstrance against it was circulated. So much dissension arose that the action was rescinded. Payment of the many subscriptions was withheld. At the annual meeting of the stockholders of the association on June 3, 1867, it was resolved to refund to all subscribers the amounts they had paid in, if demanded within six months, the residue then to be turned over to the Jefferson County Library Association to be used only in procuring a permanent home for the library and the erection therein of "a memorial to the deceased soldiers of Jefferson County." Of $1,700 in the possession of the treasurer, the larger part was reclaimed. In June, 1868, the sum of $564.30 was transferred upon the terms stated to the Jefferson County Library Association. Twenty-four years passed away. In 1892, when the library at last obtained its home, the trust placed in the association was redeemed. A marble tablet on the wall of the reading room carries at its base a cartouch in which reposes a volume compiled by J. A. Spielman, containing the names of the volunteers, with dates of birth, enlistment, death and other items of interest. It also bears the inscription:
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