Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bishop Mathias Loras Among the Indians



by Johnson Brigham.

Bishop Mathias Loras
In July1837, a year prior to the birth of Iowa Territory, Very Rev. Mathias Loras, of Mobile, was made bishop of Dubuque, his diocese including the region west of the Mississippi now covered by Iowa, Minnesota, and part of the Dakotas. At that time this entire region included but one church and one priest. He first visited Rome to ask the Pope for priests and to solicit funds for his vast missionary field. In April, 1838, he arrived in Dubuque, where a year later, he was inaugurated in the new St. Raphael's Cathedral. He brought with him from France two priests and four students. These, besides the resident priest, con­stituted the force with which he was expected to Christianize the natives, and, with the aid of a few pioneers, to establish churches. Bishop Loras was then in his forty-fifth year and had been twenty years in the ministry. He was robust, in vigorous health, zealous and eloquent. Son of a French patriot, he inherited the spirit which fitted him for his herculean task.

The foundation for the work of the bishop was well laid by Father Mazzuchelli, a Dominican, the "one priest" referred to, who in 1833 had founded at Dubuque the first church on Iowa soil. The corner-stone of the pioneer church edifice, St. Raphael's, was laid in 1835. Father Mazzuchelli, after obtaining a foothold in Dubuque, anticipated the coming of the bishop by founding the chapel of St. James in Lee County, the combination school, dwelling and chapel named St. Anthony at Davenport, and two chapels on the east side of the Mississippi.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chief Keokuk The Watchful Fox

Keokuk as painted by George Catlin

By Benjamin Drake.

Keokuk is a native of the Sac nation of Indians and was born near or upon Rock River in the northwestern part of what now constitutes the state of Illinois, about the year 1780. He is not a hereditary chief and consequently has risen to his present ele­vation by the force of talent and of enterprise. He began to manifest these qualities at a very early period of his life. While but a youth he performed an act, which placed him, as it were by brevet, in the ranks of manhood. In the first battle in which he engaged, he encountered and killed a Sioux warrior, with his spear, while on horseback; and as the Sioux are distinguished for their horseman­ship, this was looked upon as so great an achieve­ment, that a public feast was made in commemora­tion of it, by his tribe; and the youthful Keokuk, was forthwith admitted to all the rights and privi­leges of a Brave. It was further allowed, that ever afterward, on all public occasions, he might appear on horseback, even if the rest of the chiefs and braves were not mounted.

During the late war between the United States and Great Britain, and before Keokuk was entitled to take his seat in the councils of his nation, an ex­pedition was sent by our government, to destroy the Indian village at Peoria, on the Illinois river. A rumor reached the Sac village, in which he resided, that this expedition was also to attack the Sacs, and the whole tribe was thrown into consternation. The Indians were panic-stricken, and the council hastily determined to abandon their village. Keo­kuk happened to be standing near the council-lodge when this decision was made. It was no sooner announced than he boldly advanced to the door and requested admission. It was granted. He asked leave to speak, and permission was given him. He commenced by saying he had heard with deep regret, the decision of the council—that he himself was wholly opposed to flight, before an en­emy still distant, and whose strength was entirely unknown. He called the attention of the council to the importance of meeting the enemy in their approach—of harassing their progress—cutting them off in detail—of driving them back, or of nobly dying in defense of their country and their homes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Orphans' Home Association Davenport, Iowa Orphans' Home


by Annie Wittmeyer.

Annie Wittenmeyer
Sanitary Agent of the State of Iowa during Civil War
IN October 1863, I came up from the hospitals in the front, to attend a sanitary convention at Muscatine, Iowa.

As I was legally commissioned the sanitary agent of the State by Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood, having been elected to that position by the Legis­lature of Iowa, my presence was greatly desired by the workers.

The convention was large and representative. But my own heart was greatly burdened with touching messages from dying soldiers to their wives and children. In the midst of the conven­tion, I boldly announced my purpose to try to es­tablish a home for soldiers' orphan children. The proposition was received with the wildest enthu­siasm; and the convention took action at once, not only endorsing the movement but pledging financial support.
There was no precedent to follow, as there was no institution of the kind in all the world.

I was elected president of "The Orphans' Home Association," but declined, and Governor Stone, the newly elected governor of the State, was chosen. The ablest men and women of the State were brought into the organization, and the Home was duly opened in a rented house.

The house, although large, was soon crowded to overflowing, and we could get no larger building that would accommodate the hundreds who were applying for admission.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Short History of the Sac & Fox Indians

By Benjamin F. Gue.
Chief Keokuk

There is evidence to show that early in the seventeenth century the Foxes occupied the country along the Atlantic coast now embraced in the State of Rhode Island. Later they moved to the valley of the St. Lawrence River and thence to the vicinity of Green Bay, where they were found by Jean Nicolet in 1634. In 1667 Claude Allouez, a French Jesuit, found on the Wolf River in Wisconsin, a village of Musquakies, which contained a thousand warriors, and nearly five thousand persons. The Musquakies seemed to realize that the invasion of the west by French trappers and missionaries threatened the eventual occupation of their lands by the whites, and from the first, they waged war against the French intruders and were nearly the only tribe with whom the French could not live in peace. The English and Dutch were seeking to gain possession of the far west, and they bribed some of the Indian tribes to assist them. They succeeded in forming an alliance with the Musqukies and other tribes, for the purpose of exterminating the French. The French, on the other hand, formed an alliance embracing the Hurons, Ottawas, Pottawattamies, Sacs, Illinois, Ojibwas and other tribes who greatly outnumbered the Musquakies and their allies and a long war followed.

In 1712 the Foxes joined the Iroquois in an attack upon the French fort at Detroit but were defeated with heavy losses. They were driven by the French out of that part of the country and settled on Fox River in the vicinity of Green Bay. They continued their war on the fur traders and explorers, but met with a disastrous defeat on a battlefield which was given the name of “Hill of the Dead.” The Foxes lost hundreds of their bravest warriors at this place and the remnant of them retreated to the valley of the Wisconsin River.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Annie Wittenmeyer

Annie Wittenmeyer
ANNIE TURNER WITTENMYER, an Iowa woman who won the enduring gratitude of hundreds of soldiers during the Civil War, was born at Sandy Springs, Adams County, Ohio, on the 26th of August, 1827. She developed remarkable gifts for writing, before she was thirteen years of age. Her poetry at that time attracted attention and she became a regular contributor some years later to various publications. She was married in 1847, and three years later came with her husband to Iowa, locating in Keokuk. There were no public schools in the village at that time and Mrs. Wittenmyer opened a free school for children of the poor. With the help of other women this school was maintained for many years, accomplishing great good. When the War of the Rebellion began, she was one of the first to assist in organizing Soldiers' Aid Societies which did so much in relieving the wants of soldiers in the field and hospitals. She visited the army in the field early in 1861 and began to collect and distribute supplies for camps and hospitals. She wrote letters from the army to the newspapers telling the needs of the soldiers and soon had her entire time occupied in receiving and distributing the contributions of the generous people of the State. A record of her work during the war would fill a volume. She was appointed one of the State Sanitary Agents for Iowa and during her administration collected and distributed more than $160,000 worth of sanitary supplies. She was active in securing furloughs for sick soldiers in hospitals, thus saving many lives. When she found armies camped in unhealthy localities she managed in numerous cases to exert influence to get the camp removed to a healthier location. She was one of the originators of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home established in Iowa at Davenport for the care and education of dependent children. She projected the Special Diet Kitchens which were established at hospitals, where such special food was prepared for the sick as was recommended by the surgeons in charge. This was the beginning of a great and much needed reform in providing suitable food for sick and wounded soldiers, in the hospitals. The entire supervision of these kitchens was placed under the control of Mrs. Wittenmyer. The reform was warmly indorsed by General Grant and there is no doubt that hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives of suffering soldiers were saved by this salutary change in food. When this reform was fully organized, more than a million of rations were issued through it each month. In 1892 Mrs. Wittenmyer spent a large portion of the winter in Washington working with Congress to secure pensions for army nurses. For more than twenty years these worthy workers for the relief of suffering soldiers had applied in vain for any recognition by the Government for their invaluable services. But Mrs. Wittenmyer knew so much of their unselfish devotion in war times and told it so earnestly that a pension of twelve dollars a month was granted the nurses. Mrs. Wittenmyer was largely instrumental in securing the purchase and preservation of the grounds embraced in the Andersonville prison pen. Eighty-five acres have been secured under the control of the Woman's Relief Corps, including the "Providential Spring," and the grounds enclosed in the deadly stockade. After a long life almost entirely devoted to good works of a public nature, this noble woman died at her home on the 2d of February, 1900.


Taken from - History of Iowa From Earliest Times, 1903

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seventh Iowa Infantry - Battle of Belmont


General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865

The ten companies composing this regiment were raised largely in the counties of Muscatine, Washington, Chickasaw, Floyd, Cerro Gordo, Mahaska, Lee, Wapello, Henry, Iowa, Des Moines, Jefferson, in Iowa, and Hancock and Henderson counties, in Illinois. A majority of them were mustered into service at Burlington soon after the Battle of Bull Run, in July 1861. The regiment numbered nine hundred and two men, and so urgent was the need of troops at this time that the Seventh was sent to St. Louis before its organization was complete, and before clothing arms or equipment were furnished. Hurried into the field at Pilot Knob as soon as armed, it took the first lessons in drill and manual of arms at Ironton, Missouri. From here the regiment marched with General Prentiss’s army to Cape Girardeau and was transported by steamer from there to Cairo. Jacob G. Lauman had been appointed colonel, and Augustus Wentz now joined the regiment as lieutenant-colonel; Elliott W. Rice, a sergeant of Company C, was promoted to major; D. F. Bowler, a lieutenant of Company D, was promoted to adjutant; Dr. Amos Witter[1] was appointed surgeon; I. H. Clark, chaplain, and Lieutenant S. E. Forska, of Company D, quartermaster. The regiment had now become well instructed in military drill and duties and presented a soldierly appearance. 

The Black Hawk War


By Benjamin F. Gue.

Black Hawk Sac Indian Chief
The followers of Black Hawk always repudiated the treaty of 1804, feeling that they had been wronged; but the white settlers who were swarming around them, fearing hostilities, demanded their removal. Collisions took place and, in 1830, when Black Hawk and his tribe returned from their annual hunting excursion, they found their lands had been surveyed and sold to white settlers. Their cabins had been seized and occupied and their own women and children were shelterless on the banks of the river. Black Hawk drove the white intruders out of the village and restored the wigwams to their owners. The whites called upon Governor Reynolds of Illinois for assistance and he called upon General Gaines to bring an army strong enough to expel the Indians.
On the 25th of June, 1831, General Gaines with sixteen hundred mounted soldiers took possession of the Sac village, driving the Indians from their homes to the west side of the Mississippi River. On the 30th Governor Reynolds and General Gaines, at the point of the bayonet, dictated terms with the Sac chiefs by which the Indians were prohibited from returning to the east side of the river without permission of the United States authorities. It was now too late to plant corn again and autumn found the Indians without food for winter.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Colonel George Davenport


By Franc B. Wilkie.

Colonel George Davenport
(from An Illustrated History of the State of
Iowa, by Charles Richard Tuttle. 1876) 
In the Spring of 1816, the Eighth Regiment, and a Company of Riflemen, under the command of Col. Lawrence, (the very same officer and friend with whom Mr. Davenport had enlisted ten years before,) embarked on boats and started up the river.  They arrived at the mouth of Rock River and examined the country for a site for a Fort, and the result was the selecting of the lower end of Rock Island as the most suitable point.  They landed on Rock Island on the tenth of May, 1816.  As soon as they had completed their encampment, he employed the soldiers to cut logs, and built storehouses for the provisions, and had a bakehouse and oven put up.  This was the first building ever erected on this Island.  The soldiers now set to work to build the Fort, which was named "Fort Armstrong."  At this time, there lived a large body of Indians in the vicinity, numbering some ten thousand, divided in three villages, one of the East side of the River, near the foot of the Island, called, "Wapello Village," and about three miles South, on the bank of Rock River, stood the famous village of "Black Hawk," and on the West side of the River stood a small village named after an old Brave, "Oshkosh."  Upon the first arrival of the troops on the Island, the Indians were very much dissatisfied, but the officers took great pains to gain their friendship by making them many presents, and they soon became reconciled and were most excellent neighbors.  During the first summer they would frequently bring over supplies of sweet corn, beans, pumpkins, and such other vegetables as they raised, and present them to Mr. Davenport, and the officers, with the remark, that they had raised none, and that they themselves had plenty, invariably refusing to take any pay.  

Antoine LeClaire


By Franc B. Wilkie.

Antoine LeClaire
Antoine LeClaire was born December 15, 1797, at St. Joseph, Michigan.  His father was a Canadian Frenchman, his mother was granddaughter of a Pottowottomie Chief.  At this time the territory of the North-west, out of which half a dozen might States have been formed, was peopled almost solely by the red man, with here and there one of a different race, fearless enough to brave the perils of a frontier life, among the dusky denizens of the wilderness; the father of Antoine Le Claire was one of these.

In 1808, he established a trading post at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, exchanging manufactured articles for various kinds of furs.  In 1809, he engaged more extensively in the business, in connection with John Kinsey, at Chicago, (Fort Dearborn then,) Illinois.  In 1812, though surrounded with the Indian tribes with whom he was trading, and who, through the influence of British emissaries, were generally hostile to the United States, Mr. Le Claire espoused the American cause, engaged actively in the service - was in the contest at Peoria, where, with others, he was taken, prisoner.  The prisoners were confined at Alton, Illinois, but were released during the same year.


About this period, at the solicitation of Gov. Clarke, of Missouri, Antoine LeClaire entered the Government service and was placed at school, that he might acquire a proper knowledge of the English language.  In 1818, he acted as interpreter under Capt. Davenport, at Fort Armstrong; and the same year returned to Peoria, where, in 1820, he married the daughter of the Sac Chief, Acoqua, (the Kettle.)  The same year he was sent to Arkansas, to watch the movements of the Indians in that locality.  He was returned to Fort Armstrong in 1827, and was present as interpreter in 1832 when the treaty was made by which the United States purchased of the Sac and Fox tribes the territory west of the Mississippi River.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Colby Motor Company Mason City, Iowa



William Colby founded the Colby Motor Co. in Mason City, Iowa in 1911.  At peak production, Colby produced four cars per day.  The company closed its doors in 1914, and the only Colby known to be in existence today is in the Kinney Pioneer Museum in Mason City, Iowa.

Meteor Motor Car Company Bettendorf, Iowa

Can anybody out there tell me anything about the Meteor Motor Car Company in Bettendorf, Iowa?  This ad  is for the 1909 Model D.  At $3,000 it was over four times the price of most cars on the market.  A Google search returns roughly twenty listings, but very little actual information.  Any background info would be greatly appreciated.

Johnny Carson on WHO 13 TV Des Moines

Des Moines - Do You remember watching Johnny Carson on WHO 13 in the 1960's

Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa in 1874

Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa in 1874 (from a drawing in Harper's Weekly Magazine)

Eagle Point Near Dubuque, Iowa - circa 1870's

Eagle Point Near Dubuque - circa 1870's.  Now a part of Eagle Point Park.

War of 1812 in the Eastern Iowa Country


By Jacob Van Der Zee.

Chief Black Hawk was violently opposed to the Americans,
and was involved in the attacks on Fort Madison
During the years 1808 and 1809 the English of Canada exerted a great influence over the Winnebago Indians of the Rock River. They employed a chief "to get all the nations of Indians to Detroit, to see their fathers, the British, who tell them they pity them in their situation with the Amer­icans, because the Americans had taken their lands and their game; that they must join and send them off from their lands; they told the savages that the Americans could not give them a blanket, nor any good thing for their fami­lies." In 1810 the Shawnee Prophet busied Himself solicit­ing the aid of the Ioways and Sacs and Foxes against the United States government. In July of that year, the Sacs and Foxes were reported as having received the tomahawk, ready to strike whenever the Prophet gave the signal. A considerable number of them went to see the British at Detroit and Malden where they were liberally supplied with everything they needed, such as rifles, fusils, and plenty of powder and lead. "This”, said a letter to the War Department, "is sending fire-brands into the Missis­sippi country, inasmuch as it will draw numbers of our Indians to the British side, in the hope of being treated with the same liberality."

In the spring of 1811, the Ioways got word that the time was drawing near when a general massacre was to begin, and "all the Indians who will not join are to die with the whites." In September, three hundred Sacs were reported to have visited the British agent at Malden who urged them not to participate in the meditated war. In November, White Rabbit, a Pottawattamie chief, went on a mission from the Prophet to the Sacs, Foxes, and Sioux to gain them over for a campaign in the spring of 1812. The gov­ernment's informant asserted his belief that the mission would not succeed, adding that the Sacs, Foxes, and some Ioways had been under the influence of the Prophet and the British but without mischief because their plans had been discovered in time. British agents were, however, still tampering with all of them.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Real Clinton Lumber Kings

William J. Young
William J. Young, Chancy Lamb, and David Joyce.  These three men are the original Clinton Lumber Kings.

From 1865 to 1900 they put Clinton on the map as one of the top lumber centers in the world.

William J. Young, the founder of W. J. Young & Co., came to Clinton in 1858.  In the early 1890's W. J. Young and Co. produced more lumber than any other mill in the country.  Mr. Young was also Mayor of Clinton in 1864, president of Clinton Savings Bank, and a director of Clinton National Bank.

He died in 1896.

Fort Madison Iowa


By Jacob Van Der Zee.

Artists rendition of Fort Madison in 1808
Beginning with the year 1804 the United States govern­ment turned its attention to the western country. William Henry Harrison, Governor of Indiana Territory and of the District of Louisiana and Superintendent of Indian Af­fairs, and later President of the nation, effected a treaty with the Sacs and Foxes whose tepee villages, seven in number, then overlooked the Mississippi River in the Iowa-Illinois country. In sending this treaty to the Senate for ratification President Jefferson favored it as "the means of retaining exclusive commerce with the Indians west of the Mississippi River - a right indispensable to the policy of governing those Indians by commerce rather than by arms."

The government promised to establish a trading house or factory among the Indians "in order to put a stop to the abuses and impositions practiced upon them by private traders." The Indians also consented to let the govern­ment set up a military post at or near the mouth of the Wisconsin River: since the land on the lower side of the river might not be suitable for that purpose, the tribes agreed that a fort might be built, either on the upper side of the "Ouisconsin", or on the right bank of the Missis­sippi in the Iowa country, as the one or the other might be found most convenient.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cap'n Vern Gielow WOC TV Davenport Iowa


Hey Quad Citians! How many of you remember Cap'n Vern Gielow, the second Captain of the Dixie Bell?

Eastern Iowa Tornadoes of 1860 Camanche - De Witt

Comanche tornado of 1860
Sunday, the 3d day of June, A. D. 1860, will long be remembered in the annals not only of Iowa, but of the Northwest, as the day of the most tremendous tornado on record, rivaling the cyclones of the Indian Ocean, the hurricanes of the West Indies and the typhoons of the China seas, in the distance that it swept, from Central Iowa, to the interior of Michigan, and surpassing most tropical storms in the force of the wind. Nothing like it had been supposed possible in Northern latitudes. A belt, varying from twenty rods to a mile in width, was swept literally with “the besom of destruction,” Not a fence, not a tree, not a house, and scarcely an animal or human being in its pathway was able to escape or withstand the fury. Death, devastation, almost annihilation, marked its track. So rapid was its approach, so unexpected its visitation, so indescribably awful its phenomena and horrible the ruin it left, that owing, possibly, to physical and physiological causes affecting the nervous system (except a few gifted with remarkably robust constitutions and well-poised intellects), those who had felt Death pass in so swift and awful a guise seemed dazed and incapable of practical thought or action. Even those who were without its range, but who witnessed its ravages, were often to appalled to render assistance until recalled to the ghastly actuality by the spectacle of carnage and the groans of the wounded that roused them to necessity of approach, and by, by hiding in cellars, root-houses and similar refuges, although buried under the debris or exposed to the open sky, yet managed to escape the fate of many who were borne away on the wings of the blast - some to be hurled mangled corpses to the ground, others to be gently and safely deposited upon the earth.

Alamakee County Soldiers in the Civil War


By W. E . Alexander.

A Civil War Cavalry Charge
The principal regiments of Iowa State troops in which Allamakee County volunteers served were the 5th 12th and 27th Infantry, and the 1st, 6th and 9th Cavalry. A brief outline of their operations is given below.

The Fifth Regiment was mustered into the service in July 1861, at Burlington, whence it went to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, in August, and spent the fall and most of the winter at various points in Missouri. In February 1862, it was sent southward and took part in the operations at New Madrid, Island No. 10, Iuka, Corinth, Vicksburg, Jackson, Champion Hills, and Mission Ridge. At the expiration of its three years’ term of service it was disbanded, the veterans being transferred to the Fifth Iowa Cavalry.

Friday, July 13, 2012

William Shatner Invasion Iowa

Never heard of this one. 

Apparently William Shatner did a reality show set in small town Iowa about an actor coming to a small town and trying to pull one over on the inhabitants that he is making a show about "Aliens."

Who saw this? 

Was it worth watching?

Sheriff Steve and Saurdo Sam KCRG TV Cedar Rapids


                   Remember the Sheriff Steve Fun Show on KCRG TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Iowa Soldiers Orphans Home at Davenport Annie Wittenmeyer



By Harry E. Downe.

Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home at Davenport, Iowa in 1910
Any mention of the Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home, brief or extended, must begin with reference to Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer, the Keokuk woman whom Governor Kirkwood commissioned state sanitary agent and who during the long years of the Civil war was constantly engaged in works of mercy in the hospitals at the front.  In a personal letter under date of 1888 she speaks of the movement for the care of soldiers' orphans:  "I matured the plan during the Mississippi river campaign which culminated in the surrender of Vicksburg in July, 1863.  It was in the hospital where I was surrounded by men facing death, whose one anxiety was for their children, that the thought came to me, and many a dying soldier was comforted by the assurance that I would undertake the enterprise."

The actual founding of the homes for the care of the children of the brave men of Iowa who had laid down their lives for their country came about through the state sanitary organization which worked through local aid societies in collecting and distributing supplies for the soldiers, supplies which exceeded a half million dollars in value.

At a meeting of the Soldiers' Aid society held at Iowa City, September 23, 1863, attended by Mrs. Wittenmeyer, the care of children orphaned by the war was discussed, and a call published for a meeting of the people of Iowa at Muscatine, October 5, 1863.  Among the signatures appended to this call were  D. T. Newcomb and O. W. Leslie of Davenport.  At this Muscatine convention there was a good and representative attendance from all portions of the state.  Resolutions were passed that an asylum for children made fatherless by the war be established, and an organization effected to carry out the resolution.  The following officers were elected for the society thus founded:  Governor W. M. Stone, president; Miss Mary Kibben, Mt. Pleasant, recording secretary; Miss Mary Shelton, later Mrs. C. L. Poor, Burlington, corresponding secretary; Mrs. N. H. Brainard, Iowa City, treasurer; the board of trustees included; Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer, of Keokuk; Mrs. C. Ben Darwin, Davenport, Mrs. D. T. Newcomb, Davenport; Mrs. L. B. Stevens, and Messrs. O. Faville, E. H. Williams, T S. Parvin, M. Shields, Caleb Baldwin, C. C. Cole, Isaac Pemberton and C. Henderson.

Eighth Iowa Infantry in Civil War - Shiloh & Vicksburg


by Harry E. Downe.


Running the Batteries at Vicksburg
The Eighth Iowa infantry was mustered into the service September 23, 1861.  It was soon sent to the front and took part in several engagements during its first year of service.  From the report of Colonel Geddes of the part of the regiment in the battle of Shiloh, the following is taken:

"About 8 o'clock on the morning of the 6th, I ordered the regiment under arms and formed line of battle in front.  At this time the firing on our advance line had become general and it appeared to me evident that we were being attacked in force by the rebel general.  After remaining under arms for about half an hour, during which time I had ordered the baggage belonging to the regiment to be loaded on the wagons, and an extra supply of ammunition to be issued to the men, I was ordered by Colonel Sweeney, Fifty-second Illinois brigade commander, to proceed to the front.

History of Clinton, Iowa Regiments in the Civil War


by L. P. Allen.


Civil War Battle from an 1865 print in Harper's New Monthly Magazine
On the 15th of April, President Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 men, and, three days later, recruiting began in Clinton County in response to the call.

Capt. H. P. Cox prepared a muster-roll in Lyons, and Lieut. Thomas Snowden one in Clinton.

On Thursday evening, April 18 a war meeting was held in Lyons, which filled their largest hall to overflowing. It was presided over by Mayor Samuel. G. Magill, and, as expressed in the report of the Lyons Advocate, "The speech of the President was earnest, forcible, and running over with patriotism."

"The President took his seat amid deafening cheers of the assembled multitude each one of whom seemed to be brimful of patriotism, as was the case also with quite a number of ladies present. The portrait of Washington was brought into the room as the cheers for the Chairman subsided, but, as the calm and placid face was placed above the seats occupied by the officers, a perfect furor of applause greeted it.’’ Patriotic airs were sung, doubtless, with an expression and depth of feeling never before experienced by those present. Speeches were made and appropriate resolutions adopted, and many expressed their willingness to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor" in the cause, if need be. On the next day, the proper muster-rolls were prepared, and seventeen men enrolled their names upon them at once.

Sheriff Steve Fun Show on KCRG Cedar Rapids


Anyone from Cedar Rapids remember watching Casper the Friendly Ghost on the Sheriff Steve Fun Show?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

David Morrell Author of First Blood

Author David Morrell

I can still remember my roommate sitting outside of David's classes in the English Philosophy Building back in 1976.  At that time Morrell was an English teacher at the University of Iowa, and students regularly sat in on his classes just to get a look at the creator of Rambo.

David Morrell taught American Literature at the University of Iowa from 1970 to 1986.

He now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he devotes all of his time to writing.

His most recent work is The Naked Edge published in 2010.   His next book Murder As A Fine Art is expected in 2013.

To learn more about David Morrell, visit his website at David Morrell.

Amana Colonies in 1902


By Richard T. Ely

Buildings at Amana Colonies
Outside of Amana, the only communistic settlements of any note now existing in the United States are those of the Shakers, and their thirty-five communities do not all together have as many members as are embraced in the Amana Society. Amana, then, comprises more than half the communists of the United States, and unless I am mistaken, in studying Amana we are examining the history of altogether the largest and strongest communistic settlement in the entire world.

The Amana Society is known also as the "Community of True Inspiration." The historians of the community trace the society back to the early years of the eighteenth century in Germany, connect­ing it with the pietism and mysticism of that period in German history. It is said that J. F. Rock established in 1714 in Hessia, Germany, a new religious sect which has now become the "Community of True Inspiration." It was not until nearly the middle of the nineteenth cen­tury, however, that these people began the practice of communism. While still in Germany, where they were persecuted on account of their religious beliefs, they assisted one another generously and dis­played a spirit of communism. For self-protection and self-support they worked and lived together, communistic practices springing up unconsciously, without any thought of social transformation. In 1842 one of the members became inspired, as they thought, and in his inspiration recommended a community of goods. It seems evident that Cabet and Fourier both had made their influence felt upon these religious people. They felt moved to emigrate to this country in 1842, and in 1843 they made a settlement at Ebene­zer, which is now in the suburbs of Buf­falo. There they prospered for ten years, but felt that they were too much under the influence of the world near such a large and rapidly growing city, and de­cided to emigrate to some quieter place in the then Far West." Finally selec­tion was made of a large tract of land southeast of the central part of the State, along both sides of the Iowa River, where they now live. They have added to their domain until it embraces 26,000 acres of fine land, including some 10,000 acres of forests, while their numbers have in­creased until there are nearly 1800 souls among them, and they occupy seven vil­lages - namely, Amana, West Amana, South Amana, East Amana, Middle Amana, High Amana, and Homestead. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nile Kinnick - Iowa Hawkeye Football Legend

1955 Topps football card featuring Nile Kinnick
Nile Kinnick was probably one of the greatest all around athletes ever seen in Iowa.  In high school he played basketball, baseball, and football.  In 1936 he was recruited by the Iowa Hawkeyes, and was co-captain of his freshman football team.  In 1937 he led the nation in punting.

1939 was a breakout year for Kinnick, where he won all sorts of honors including - The Heisman Trophy, All American First Team, Big Ten MVP Award, AP Male Athlete of the Year, and the Maxwell Award.

After his senior year, he turned down a reported $10,000 a year to play professional football for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Instead he entered the University of Iowa Law School, and served as assistant coach for the Iowa Hawkeye football team.

Farmer’s Trust – Rockwell Iowa


By H. A. Wood

Gathering of farmers in Rockwell, Iowa
In a weather-beaten , two-story farm building on the Iowa prairies is the headquarters of an industry in some ways more remarkable than any cooperative enterprise yet established, even that at Rochdale in England. It is a successful farmers' "trust."

The five hundred farmers who conduct the establishment were several years ago at the mercy of a single firm conducting the general store of the little town of Rockwell to which they went to do their trading. Their products were in good demand, but when they went to town for supplies and to market their grain and livestock the shopman paid them what he wished and sold them supplies at any price he wished - there was no competition. The farmers stood it stoically for a time, but at last rebelled. They turned dealers themselves.

Audubon Farm School for Boys at Dubuque Iowa


By S. L. Walsh

School boys ready to head off to market
A red haired, freckled-faced boy, with a cast in his right eye, came running down the dusty street, white and hot beneath the rays of the afternoon sun. Behind him trailed a troop of some half-dozen other boys, ranging in years from ten to fifteen.

There was a certain tense stealthi­ness in their movements that betok­ened mischief, emphasized by the fact that the leader carried a good-sized stone in either hand. The little band halted in front of a house set in a small, trim, well-kept lawn.

"This the place, Micky?" one of the party asked.

Micky nodded, his breath coming quick, apparently as much from ex­citement as from haste.

The next moment they were on the lawn, tearing up bushes, trampling ugon the beds of full-blown geraniums, and then with a loud whoop, and a volley of stones, bang, bang, bang, bang, against the door of the house, they had swept away like a band of Iroquois, out for plunder. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Iowa Corn Gospel Trains Seed Corn Specials


By P. G. Holden

Distributing literature to farmers leaving Iowa Corn Gospel Train
(In eight days the "seed-corn special" trains covered 1,321 miles and passed through 37 of the 99 counties of Iowa. One hundred and fifty talks were given to 17,600 people, directly representing 1,500,000 acres of corn, or an average annual yield of 55,000,000 bushels, worth $18,000,000, and the press carried the information to every farmer and landowner in the State.)

The employment, last spring, of special corn trains, known generally as the "seed-corn specials," for the purpose of warning the farm­ers of Iowa against the dangers of poor seed corn, was the natural outgrowth of the pecul­iar conditions which existed in that State. By April 10, 1904, twelve hundred samples of seed corn had been received from farmers in dif­ferent portions of the State by the Iowa Agri­cultural College and tested to determine their value for seed purposes. These tests showed that an average of 18 percent was dead, and that an additional 19 percent was low in vitality and unfit to plant, leaving only 63 percent of good seed. It was also apparent that even those kernels which gave a fair germination were weakened, and, in the event of a cold spring, such as actually followed, would either refuse to grow or give weak plants. Farmers who had given more than ordinary attention to their seed corn were becoming worried, and many letters, telephone messages, and telegrams were received daily, asking for advice. Yet the great majority were entirely ignorant of the serious condi­tion of their seed corn and the consequent disas­ters ahead for them and for the entire State.

Jessie Field, Page County Iowa School Superintendent



By W. K. Tate

Miss Jessie Field,
Page County Iowa School Superintendent
It was my privilege recently to spend two days with Miss Jessie Field, County Superintendent of Education in Page County, Iowa, in an endeavor to discover the secret of the reputa­tion that her schools have attained among the country schools of the United States. I found it in Miss Field herself, and in the application of her motto. "We must teach a country child in terms of country life."

Page County lies off the beaten travel routes, on the Missouri line in southwestern Iowa, and Clarinda, the county seat, is somewhat hard to reach. As our train moved leisurely through the fertile, rolling valley I saw everywhere the signs of rural prosperity. The homes and farm buildings were comfortable and attractive, the roads were fair, and the rural telephone was universal. The shocks of corn, the harrowed fields ready for the wheat crop, the hay stacks, the barrels of apples under the trees that were being stripped of their red and golden burden, and the bluegrass pastures with their droves of cattle, hogs, and sheep, told a story of intelligent, diversified farming.

Miss Field herself greeted me at Clarinda; she was expecting my visit.

"Your train is late," she said, "but I have a runabout here, and we will have time to see one school before closing time."

Without further ceremony we stepped into a little car and were off to a country school three miles from Clarinda.