[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Chapter 8

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Ioway to Iowa

by
Irving Berdine Richman

published by
The State Historical Society of Iowa
1931

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Chapter 10
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

p147 The White Tide

The White Tide Pends
The White Tide Breaks

p149 The White Tide Pends
1830‑1833

Dubuque the Mines

By 1825 one hundred miners were in Illinois on the Galena River; and a year later number was four hundred and fifty-three. By June, 1830, following a temporary withdrawal of the Foxes, 'one hundred mining men' were abroad in Ioway. 'Among the first intruders upon the Fox lands in 1830 were the Langworthy brothers Lucius and James'. Lucius himself writes the 'we crossed over the Mississippi at this time, swimming our horses by the side of a canoe. It was the first flow, or the first tide of civilization on this western shore'.

At the Dubuque Mines in 1830 on June 17th the name of J. L. Langworthy caps a list of five signatures to the declaration: 'We, a committee, having been chosen to draft certain rules and regulations, by which we, as miners, will be governed; and, having duly considered the subject, do unanimously agree . . . that there shall be chosen by the majority of miners present, a person who shall hold this article, and who shall grant letters of arbitration on application being made'.

In 1788 Julien Dubuque had received the permit p150which constituted the first conveyance of Iowa soil to the whites by Indians. A further step, forty-two years later, was the agreement above set forth — 'probably the first set of laws drawn up by whites within the limits of what is now Iowa'.107 Ioway, nevertheless, was not yet Iowa. In 1832 there supervened the outbreak under Black Hawk. This suppressed, a treaty, known as the 'Black Hawk Purchase Treaty', was signed as of date September 21st. By it some six million acres in eastern Ioway passed to the United States, subject only to Indian occupancy till June 1, 1833.108

In May, 1834, Dubuque was christened a town in public meeting. The population consisted of five hundred souls from Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina, with here and there a 'Brother Jonathan' — New England Yankee. One and all 'had come to make their fortunes and then leave for their old homes in the civilized world'.

'A pick or shovel thrown upon the ground; sticks driven into the earth . . . [are] sufficient to secure [a claim] against all comers. . . . Differences of opinion are settled by "leaving it to the crowd".' So it was at Dubuque. 'My experience', writes Edward Langworthy, 'proves that nowhere has ever such a state of society existed for honesty, integrity, and high p151toned generosity as was found among the miners in the early days of mining in this [Ioway] country. No need here for locks to keep out burglars. We had none'. A distinguished English traveler, Charles Augustus Murray, wrote in 1835 that at Dubuque there is 'as profligate, turbulent, and abandoned a population as any in the world, [yet] theft is almost unknown; and though dirks are frequently drawn, and pistols fired in savage and drunken brawls . . . I do not believe that an instance of larceny or housebreaking has occurred'.

But how with regard to security of person?

At Dubuque in 1834 Patrick O'Connor, a crippled miner, shot his partner, George O'Keaf, for no discoverable cause. A prosecuting attorney was chosen 'by the crowd' and O'Connor was permitted to choose counsel. He was also permitted to name a jury of twelve from a panel of twenty-four of the crowd. 'Ye have no laws in the country', said O'Connor to the prosecutor, 'and ye cannot try me'. Again he said: 'I'll not deny that I shot him, but ye have no laws in the country, and cannot try me'. Earlier he had said that it was his 'own business' why he shot him.

Counsel for the accused urged that O'Connor be sent to Illinois and there tried by a legal tribunal. To this it was answered that more than once offenders p152had been sent to Illinois only to be released — Illinois having no jurisdiction west of the Mississippi. The O'Connor jury named as foreman a much respected man, Woodbury Massey, and after an hour returned a verdict of murder in the first degree with penalty of death by hanging.

O'Connor was shrewd. He counted on 'no laws'; but on June 20th Dubuque justice, unhampered by laws, took its decorous immitigable course. Occupations were suspended. The condemned was placed in a cart containing a coffin. Seated on the coffin as driver of the cart was the executioner. At the foot of the gallows the executioner drew over the face of his passenger a cap and fixed the noose. The cart was then driven from under the gallows and the deed was done. The execution was witnessed by at least a thousand people, many of them from a steamboat at the landing. When it was over the crowd, it is said, marched in single file to the Bell Tavern where, with frontier irony, a collection was taken to defray the cost.109

In 1835 after Ioway had become part of Michigan Territory, a second murder was committed in Dubuque. Woodbury Massey, foreman of the jury which had convicted O'Connor, had bought a mining claim. A certain 'Bill' Smith set up counter pretensions and took possession. Massey obtained a writ of ejectment p153and went to the mine to see it served. Smith, who was in concealment, rose and fired at Massey, who fell dead. Smith and one of his sons were put under arrest and in due time were brought before Judge David Irvin at Mineral Point, Iowa County, Wisconsin. Judge Irvin ruled in support of a plea of want of jurisdiction west of the Mississippi, and the Smiths were discharged. 'The people, however', writes the circuit rider Alfred Brunson, 'feeling indignant at the offer, called a public meeting to try [the] Smiths in the true democratic form, & but for his [the senior Smith's] escape would have hung him, as they had done one of similar character before'.110

But the Smiths came back. One day a brother of Massey's caught sight of the elder Smith in the street and, pursuing him, shot him down. Massey was not even arrested. The Smith-Massey affair had become a feud. Learning of the death of his father, the younger Smith sought the mines, resolved, it was believed, to wreak vengeance on the younger Massey. He was bold and a good marksman with the pistol.

The Masseys had a young sister Louisa. Knowing that Smith had returned, and, maddened by the failure upon him of public justice, Louisa prepared to do justice herself. Procuring a pistol and assuming a disguise, she had Smith pointed out to her, followed him into a shop, accosted him, fired at him, and fled. The p154ball of the pistol struck a wallet in Smith's pocket and failed to kill. Smith staggered but rushed in pursuit of Louisa Massey. Her disguise protected her and she found ready asylum. In 1836, when Ioway had become part of Wisconsin Territory, the legislature divided the district into counties and to one of these gave the name of Louisa, in honor, shall we say, of Louisa Massey.111

By 1836 Dubuque had 'about one thousand people and 250 buildings', of which fifteen were dry goods stores. By 1838 when Ioway became Iowa, the town boasted three or four church societies, one a missionary charge under Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, tenderest of Shepherds. Then there were three hotels, a bank (the only one west of the Mississippi!), a theatre, a lyceum, two academies, a printing office, several billiard halls, and 'several elegant brick mansions'. But the most intriguing feature was a land office.

Keokuk the Point

Just when 'Puck-e-she-tuk' became 'Keokuk' is not wholly determined, but probably in 1829. On July 4, 1829, writes Caleb Atwater, we landed under a discharge of cannon at Keokuk — a name proposed by George Davenport.

Noteworthy characters of early Keokuk were Dr. Samuel C. Muir, Isaac R. Campbell, Isaac Galland, p155John W. Johnson, and Russell Farnham.112 Dr. Muir, a medical graduate of the University of Edinburgh, had in 1819 served Davenport at the Galena lead mines. In 1820 he had filled the place of surgeon at Fort Edwards (Warsaw), Illinois, and in the same year built, it is said, the first cabin in Keokuk. As for Campbell, he made repeated trips north from St. Louis to Montrose. At Nauvoo lived his father-in‑law, Captain James White, owner of keel boats. Part of Campbell's time was given to lightering cargoes up the lower, or Des Moines, rapids of the Mississippi, an activity which brought him widely into touch with early steamboating.

In 1829 Isaac Galland, with his wife, settled near Keokuk and formed a partnership with Isaac Campbell in the fur trade. He edited at widely severed dates (1836 and 1847) two journals (The Western Adventurer, and The Iowa Advocate and Half-Breed Journal), became in 1837 agent for lands in the Half-Breed Tract, and in 1841 published his far-famed Iowa Emigrant. Galland was a man typical of the American frontier. He practiced medicine; he served Joseph Smith at Nauvoo; he became a spiritualist. He is best remembered, perhaps, as the instigator of the first survey of Keokuk in 1837 and as the father in 1830 of a girl baby Eleanor — the first white child, so it is said, born in Ioway.

p156 The Half-Castes

This brings us to the half-castes — creatures delightful and picturesque, part Indian, part French — who gave to Keokuk and to Montrose color, grace, levity.

The mature Indian woman is a disappointment. The Indian maid may have beauty, or she may not. Edward Langworthy writes of a group of Winnebagoes that 'they were a squalid dirty looking set and in no way came up to my ideal Poor Lo. One exception I should make — a beautiful young squaw of sixteen summers with whom I fell in love at first sight and for whose sake I could have turned Indian or Heathen or anything else'.

We have, moreover, the testimony of the explorer G. W. Featherstonehaugh.a In 1835, on the 'Minnay Sotor', he met a Dakota maiden, 'a belle, in fact, of the first order, and a match only for a considerable personage', daughter of the Dakota chief Prairie-on‑Fire. 'I became curious to know, therefore', he observes, 'upon what terms an alliance could be formed with the aristocratic daughter of the Prairie on Fire'.

Black Hawk's daughter (Namequa or Nancenette) had charm. She was 'very neat and handsome, small, but finely formed'. Nancenette was at one time ardently wooed by a young Baltimorian who kept a p157store in Fort Madison. A marriage was in prospect, but while Nancenette may have been a Pocahontas, her admirer was no John Rolfe. He was terror-struck by the thought, 'What will they say in Baltimore?'113

The young Indian woman at her best might fascinate; the young half-caste woman did fascinate. There was once in half-caste Iowaland a goldilocks. Suddenly, writes Featherstonehaugh, we 'came up with several canoes on the left bank [of the Minnesota], fastened to the bushes, with a lodge containing four stout men, several women and children, and a very beautiful young half-breed girl, about seventeen years old, with fine flaxen hair. . . . We stopped for a short time, and missing the flaxen-haired beauty, with whose unusual appearance, so much contrasted with the coarse, black, wiry hair of the others, I had been very much struck, I told Milor [the guide] to ask where she was, when they pointed her out to me hiding herself behind one of the trees'.114

Unlike Dubuque, Keokuk, though noisy, was little prone to violence. To five lynchings chargeable to Dubuque between 1833 and 1850, only one (at Montrose) was chargeable to the district of Keokuk. 'When', says Isaac R. Campbell, 'our red friends presented us with a painted stick, we asked for no explanation, but followed them to their wigwams and fared sumptuously on dog meat. In winter, whites p158and half-breeds mingled in the dance. . . . Those who did not dance could be found in an adjoining room engaged at cards; our favorite game was Bragg, played with three cards. . . . Horse racing was another great source of amusement to us; in this sport our red friends were ever ready to participate, and at times lost on the result every article they possessed on earth. Keokuk and Pash-e‑pe‑po, chiefs of the Sac tribe, were more passionately fond of this amusement than any of their contemporaries. And when amusements of this kind ceased to be entertaining, we called upon our pugilists, Hood, McBride and Price. . . . Our only salutary mode of punishment for crime', Campbell observes, 'was by prohibiting the criminal from the use of intoxicating liquors'.

There came early to live among the Sauks at Montrose Louis Honoré Tesson. Spanish colonist that he was, he was under bond to 'plant trees, sow seeds and instruct the Indians in agriculture'. He, therefore, it is assumed, started an apple orchard. Red Bird (Thomas Abbott), the friend of Lalotte, saw young trees at Montrose in the early eighteen hundreds, but not, he thinks, Tesson's.115 In 1821 Isaac Campbell found on the Tesson grant 'the remains of a deserted trading house' and, shading the remains, 'a number of apple trees'. In 1832 Alexander Cruikshank saw the trees and said that 'there were about p159fifteen bearing trees which were quite old and showing signs of decay'. In 1834 James C. Parrott of the First U. S. Dragoons came to the spot and found near camp (Fort Des Moines) 'the old orchard of apple trees' containing some ten or fifteen trees in bearing condition, the fruit of which the Indians were in the habit of gathering. That the orchard was in a measure extant as late as 1870 would appear from a statement by Cruikshank that 'several trees were decayed and gone, and young sprouts were growing from their roots. These afterward grew into bearing trees, some of which were alive as late as 1870'.

In the eighteen thirties Keokuk's career of activity was a row of hewn log structures reared by the American Fur Company and called 'Rat Row' — 'hotel, church, court house, and grocery'. Laid out in 1837, Keokuk was not incorporated until 1847. In 1831 John W. Johnson had asked that a town be laid out, and had urged the establishing there of 'a school for about one hundred Indian and half-breed children'.

If asked what land we hail from,

Our sole reply shall be:

'We hail from Puck-e‑she‑tuk

And the famous Apple Tree!'

p160 The White Tide Breaks
1833‑1841

Taurus and the Wain

Present on Rock Island in 1832 at the signing of the Black Hawk Purchase Treaty were General Winfield Scott of the United States Army and Governor John Reynolds of Illinois. There were present, too, Major Henry Dodge, Colonel George Davenport, and Antoine Le Claire. Keokuk the Point was represented by Keokuk the Chief, and Dubuque the Mines by a Langworthy. The Purchase itself was a strip bounded on the north by the Neutral Ground; on the south by the north line of the State of Missouri projected eastward to the Mississippi; and on the west by a line connecting three points, fifty, forty, and fifty miles respectively from the Great River.116

In 1833 Captain Benjamin W. Clark, a native of Virginia who had settled on the Illinois shore, moved across the Mississippi and commenced a settlement upon the present site of the town of Buffalo, just below Davenport. The first public ferry across the Mississippi between Burlington and Dubuque was at Buffalo, and for several years this ferry (Clark's) was the only place of crossing in all this region.117

p161 What Dubuque was in 1833 has been shown. But what at this time was Burlington? 'I arrived', writes William R. Ross, a Burlington merchant, 'at what was formerly called the upper end of Flint Hills, now the City of Burlington, in August, A.D. 1833, at which time every thing was in a rude state of nature'. In the fall of 1833, according to the Burlington Hawk-Eye, Ross 'brought a valuable stock of goods here, with his household furniture at great hazard and much expense, accompanied by his aged Father, who had fought throughout the Revolutionary war, and who was one of the first settlers of Lexington, Ky. . . . The original town of Burlington [Flint Hills or Shok-ko-kon], was draughted and surveyed . . . in the months of November and December, 1833'.118

Between Dubuque and Keokuk lay Davenport and Bloomington (Muscatine). At Davenport a ferry was established by Antoine Le Claire, who as postmaster carried the mail in his hat or pocket while ferrying. Clark's ferry at Buffalo had long borne most of the travel from the direction of the Illinois River to the mining region at Dubuque and toward the interior; but with the opening of Le Claire's ferry the travel stream was much diverted. As for Muscatine, a flatboat ferry was established there in 1838. In 1841 the Bloomington Herald announced with pride that 'a new boat propelled by horse power . . . made all of green p162oak and clumsy in its exterior, swims like a swan and will cross in eight minutes with ease and safety'.

Up to 1840 there had entered Iowa by ferryboat and other Mississippi River craft, but by ferryboat chiefly, some 43,000 people. Of these, 10,531 had come as early as 1836. In that year the influx was called a 'tide'. Iowa's earliest newspaper, the Dubuque Visitor, declared in its first number, on May 11th, that 'the tide of emigration is pouring in upon us an immense number of families this spring'. On the 9th of March, 1837, an Immigrant writes that we 'arrived [opposite] Fort Madison. A number of families were there . . . all having waited overnight to be ferried across. . . . Our wagon was driven on to a flat boat. . . . Each family would be numbered and when that number was called would be put aboard as quickly as possible. . . . Each man who crossed helped to row. . . . At last we were over. 'Gwine to the Ioway settlement?" we would be asked'.

Between 1837 and 1840‑1841 the onset grew. Public prints now proclaimed the white tide a 'torrent'. Said John Plumbe of Dubuque in 1839, quoting a Burlington correspondent, 'the unparalleled rapidity with which the torrent of immigration has since [June 1, 1833] poured into this Western Paradise, may be inferred from the official returns of the census taken in p163May, 1838; according to which . . . the population has increased, within less than five years from nothing, to 22,859'. And again: 'The floodgates of emigration seem to have but recently been let loose, and population is pouring in upon us like a torrent. . . . During the last ten days . . . tired of the noise, and bustle and hum, of our City . . . we resolved to avail ourselves of the company of a couple of friends, on a visit to the counties of Muscatine, Louisa and Cedar'.119

But the 43,000 settlers who by 1840 had entered Iowa — just why had they come? what had impelled them? An immigrant of the eighteen thirties divides the pioneers of Iowa into three classes: men with families seeking to ameliorate fortune; men with families seeking to retrieve fortune; and young men tempting fortune. This classification suggests the answer. But a further question. By 1840 what proportion of Iowa's 43,000 may be said to have come by steamboat, and what by wagon?

The Water Way

O the Amaranth is coming in her power and might,

A monument to Fulton the Genius of Flight:

A sound greets the ear like a wild autumn breeze,

'Tis the Amaranth coming I spy through the trees

In 1833, when the first Black Hawk strip was opened, steamboats were plying north on the Mississippi, p164and they brought immigrants to the Ioway shore without the mediation of ferries. Two things there were which served to attract these boats: the Galena-Dubuque mines and the forts at Prairie du Chien and at the mouth of the St. Peter's (forts Crawford and Snelling). At the same time two things operated to deter boats from yielding to the attraction offered: first, lack along the upper river of commodities suitable for return cargo other than furs and lead; and next, the rapids at Keokuk and at Rock Island which made lead at any rate a cargo of some hazard. Still, despite obstacles, steamboats did put the up‑river venture through. In 1823 the Virginia (and also the Rambler) ran to Fort Snelling; and in 1827 boats ran as far as Galena for lead — twelve of them.120 Twenty odd other boats, up to 1833, had ascended from St. Louis to Dubuque, Galena, Prairie du Chien, and Fort Snelling.

Of the 43,000 settlers in Iowa by 1840, those who had come by steamboat had very generally settled in the towns — some 4500 souls.121 At this time Mississippi River boats above Keokuk were rather meagrely equipped. One, The Warrior, was 'without cabin' but 'towed a barge for the accommodation of travelers'. In general, the cabin, if one there were, was described as on the main deck at the stern. When the first upper-cabin steamers were built they were advertised p165as the 'splendid upper cabin steamers'. 'The ladies' cabin', writes an old boatman, was 'in the hold of the boat . . . the gentlemen occupied a cabin overhead, located nearer forward, — state-rooms were not thought of'.122

On April 8, 1841, the Burlington Hawk-Eye announced the launching at Cincinnati, for upper Mississippi navigation, of a 'new and improved steamboat, 180 feet in length — the Goddess of Liberty'. There were many state-rooms, thirty-four of which were named after the Dii Immortales of the Romans. But the luxury of the Goddess of Liberty was as nothing compared with that of the Sarah Ann, launched the same year. She was provided, says the Burlington Hawk-Eye, with 'spring berths and it is quite a pleasure to lie in one'.

Steamboat voyages on the upper Mississippi in the eighteen thirties did not lack for incident: there was the sand bank, the snag, the fiddler, the knife grinder, the gambler, the dancer, the bottle, the jug, and the boisterous laugh. A form of incident rarer on the upper river than on the lower was the boiler explosion.

Between 1816 and 1838 some seventeen explosions took place, of which one only was in Ioway waters. This occurred on August 15, 1837, on the Mississippi seven miles below Bloomington. 'The boat [The p166Dubuque], says Lloyd's Steamboat Directory of 1856, 'was on her voyage from St. Louis to Galena . . . running under a moderate pressure of steam at the time, when the flue of the larboard boiler . . . collapsed, throwing a torrent of scalding water over the deck. The pilot immediately steered for the shore and effected a landing. . . . Many of these wretched people, in their agony, fled to the shore, uttering the most appalling shrieks, and tearing off their clothes, which in some cases brought away the skin, and even the flesh, with them. . . . It was several hours before any of them died; nor could medical relief be obtained until a boat, which had been despatched to Bloomington, returned with several physicians who resided at that place. At 10 o'clock P.M., eight hours after the explosion, the steamboat Adventure, Captain Van Houten, came up with the wreck, and took it in tow as far as Bloomington'.123

The Way by Land

Immigrants who by 1840 had come to Iowa by wagon rather than by steamboat numbered about 38,000; and they were farmers. The purpose of the farmer was to acquire land; and to do this two things were essential — occupancy and a living. The living he could in no wise defer. He must have it at once. He must break, plant, and cultivate; and to break, p167plant, and cultivate he must use animals — oxen. Oxen, or even horses or mules, he could not as a rule afford to bring by boat. He must bring them the cheapest way, that is, he must drive them. To do this he must hitch them to his wain, his wagon; make them, in a Taurian sense, his 'star'.124

Then there is a further indication that the white tide, the torrent inundating Ioway in 1836, was heavily overland. In 1837 Peter H. Engle of Dubuque told a Philadelphia correspondent that 'a register was kept of the number of emigrant families transported into the Iowa District, at a single ferry on the Mississippi river, and it was found that from the 1st of April to the 1st of October, 1837, more than 1,800 families [some nine thousand souls] had been carried over at that one point'.125

Whence did the farmer torrent come? From beneath just what horizons? Horizons much the same as those of the urbanites and farmers who had come by steamboat: southern Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, western Virginia, Missouri, southern Indiana, Ohio, and southwestern Pennsylvania.

Covered Wagon: Prairie Schooner

Charioteer that the Iowa farmer was, we may watch him on the march. In 1846 John B. Newhall of Burlington, Iowa, wrote that 'the writer of these pages, p168frequently having occasion to traverse the great thoroughfares of Illinois and Indiana, in the years of 1836‑7, the roads would be literally lined with the long blue wagons of the emigrant slowly wending their way over broad prairies . . . often ten, twenty, and thirty wagons in company. Ask them, when and where you would, their destination was the "Black Hawk Purchase".' And six years earlier the same observer had written of 'the long blue wagon of the moving emigrant with its white flowing top slowly moving over the wide prairie'.

Beyond doubt Newhall in 1836‑1837 encountered trains of 'long blue wagons' (Conestogas) in Indiana and Illinois; but had it been by Conestogas, 'old harridan Conestogas', that the migrating farmer descended upon Ioway, his onset would have rivaled that of the charioted heathen upon slumbering Rome. His chariot would have maddened him. The vehicle by which the farmer pioneer did gain Ioway varied. Any vehicle, so long as it was a wagon, and covered, and not too absolutely a Conestoga, served. It might be — perhaps usually was — straight, long-coupled, low-boxed, and provided with a seat from which the driver, often a woman or a girl, guided an ox team.

The farmer did not fall upon Iowa with shouting and with tumult. He was neither Magyar nor Scythian. His steeds were oxen, mild-eyed, soft-toed, and p169slow; and with him were his women and children. With him, too, were his flocks (for he not seldom brought sheep); his herds (for he brought cows and sometimes horses); his droves (for he brought hogs); and his pets (for attending him were his dogs, and curled up in his children's laps were his cats).

His journey was to be long — weeks and weeks long. He brought chairs (cane-seated rocker); a table upside down on the feed box; the family books (if any); and even pictures. 'Women, guns, rifles, babies, and other nicknacks' are named in Niles' Register as the ordinary contents of the mover's wagon, with 'numerous pots and kettles' dangling beneath. If a New Englander or an up-country Southerner, the mover might be counted on to have brought with him a family Bible.

At night wagons were grouped in a spot where water and wood were close at hand. 'The fire was lighted and the camp utensils brought into use in the preparation of supper, while the men unharnessed the dusty horses [or oxen] and turned them loose in the rich unfenced prairie pastures. The scores of happy children, liberated from the tiresome day's journey, romped through the grass enjoying an unlimited playground. Beds were made up in the wagons and sometimes on the ground when weather permitted. . . . We were at home on the prairie with prairie chicken for supper! As the twilight settled into darkness wolves came p170slinking around the camp; and while they howled we children snuggled closer together in our beds in the wagon begging father to build the fire higher'.

'On the first day of April, 1838', relates a certain jolly Aunt Polly, 'we started for Iowa from South Bend, Indiana. There were thirteen families, fourteen "schooners", fifty-one men, women and children. . . . One night the Indians frightened the cattle. Of course, the cattle stampeded. It was in the early morning and when I heard the boys shouting I peered out of the wagon. I could see the cattle running among the wagons swaying their horns right and left. . . . I dressed quickly and wanted to help the boys round them up. But the minute I climbed down the wagon tongue one of the steers came at me headlong. If uncle Ben hadn't been so handy with a pitchfork the angry steer would have made off with me on his long horns'.

A Tide Convergent

'We are so completely overrun by emigrants or movers with carriages, wagons, cattle, horses, dogs, sheep', said the Cincinnati Mirror in 1834, 'that we are compelled to speak. Our streets are a moving mass of living men, women, children . . . joyously wending their way to their new habitations'. And in 1839 the Wheeling Times wrote of 'the unprecedented amount of travel by wagons passing through the town'. The p171tide came both from above and from below the Ohio, and, filling the National Road in Indiana and Illinois, branched toward the Mississippi. There the Iowa part of it sought the up-river ferries — the ferry for Keokuk, for Burlington, for Fort Madison, for Buffalo, for Davenport.

Convergent indeed upon Iowa was the chariot tide. Soft-footed under the constellation Taurus, and soft-wheeled under the constellation Charles Wain — so it came.


The Author's Notes:

107 The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Vol. VIII, p317.

[decorative delimiter]

108 Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, p736.

[decorative delimiter]

109 Annals of Iowa, Vol. III, pp566 et seq.

Thayer's Note: This article, as reprinted in The Palimpsest, Vol. III, pp85‑97, is onsite.

[decorative delimiter]

110 Wisconsin Historical Collections, Vol. XV, p288.

[decorative delimiter]

111 Annals of Iowa, Vol. VII, pp141 et seq.

[decorative delimiter]

112 Van der Zee's The Half-Breed Tract in The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Vol. XIII, pp151 et seq.

[decorative delimiter]

113 Annals of Iowa, Vol. XII, pp154 et seq.

[decorative delimiter]

114 About the year 1842, writes a pioneer, we happened one day to be in the Wapsipinicon Hotel (at Anamosa) as three Indians came in. 'They were a man, woman, and daughter. . . . The man and woman were dressed mostly in the costume of white people . . . but the girl, bread and pleasant-faced, and apparently about eight or ten years old, was wholly in Indian dress. One can form some tolerable idea of her appearance from the carved, full-length figures sometimes found in front of tobacco and cigar shops in the cities. . . . We inquired their names. . . . The name of the daughter was Anamosa, pronounced by the mother An‑a‑mo‑sah'. — Annals of Iowa, Vol. XII, pp28‑29.

[decorative delimiter]

115 Jacob Van der Zee in The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, (p426)Vol. XIII, p239, note 4, intimates the possibility that the apple trees in the Tesson Tract were in fact planted by Nicolas Boilvin, first Indian Agent of the United States (1806).

[decorative delimiter]

116 The Treaty of 1832 with the signers is reprinted in Stevens's The Black Hawk War, p250; Annals of Iowa (Third Series), Vol. VI, p197.

[decorative delimiter]

117 Van der Zee's The Roads and Highways of Territorial Iowa in The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Vol. III, pp184‑191.

Between 1838 and 1846 the whole eastern border of Iowa became lined with ferries. From Keokuk northward to the mouth of the St. Peter's, ferries were established at all the chief towns.

[decorative delimiter]

118 From the Iowa Patriot, June, 1839, quoted in the Beginnings of Burlington in The Palimpsest, Vol. II, pp351 et seq.

[decorative delimiter]

119 Annals of Iowa (Third Series), Vol. XIV, pp483, 484, 529.

[decorative delimiter]

120 The value of the lead shipped down the Mississippi River in 1847 was $1,654,077.60. In 1848 the value of the fur trade in St. Louis was estimated at only $300,000, and of produce carried on the Santa Fé Trail at only $500,000. The total value of lead mined throughout the quarter century (1823‑1848)was approximately $14,178,000. — Petersen's The Lead Traffic on the Upper Mississippi, 1823‑1848 in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. XVII, p75.

[decorative delimiter]

121 Galland's Iowa Emigrant, reprinted in the Annals of Iowa (Third Series), Vol. XII, p509, gives the names of fifty-three Iowa 'towns' (1837‑1838).

[decorative delimiter]

122 Gould's Fifty Years on the Mississippi, pp600, 681, 740.

[decorative delimiter]

123 As early as 1833 an English traveler from Fort Armstrong (Rock Island) to Galena found the steamboat Heroine extremely comfortable. The table, he said, was 'cleanly and well served'; but, he goes on to say, 'I must own at once that there were no ladies on board. I was enabled by permission of the Captain, to have the ladies' cabin to myself'.

[decorative delimiter]

124 William V. Pooley's The Settlement of Illinois from 1830‑1850 in the Bulletin of the University of Wisconsin, p370; The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Vol. III, pp180, 181.

[decorative delimiter]

125 William R. Smith's Observations on the Wisconsin Territory, p126.


Thayer's Note:

a George William Featherstonhaugh is more than a passing traveler; he was a fairly important figure in American history, one of the earliest railroad pioneers. His career is told in fair detail by Alvin F. Harlow, The Road of the Century, pp4‑10, with a photograph of him on p20 of that chapter.

We catch a vignette of him at amateur theatricals at Fort Crawford in 1835 in Bruce E. Mahan's Old Fort Crawford and the Frontier, pp253‑254.


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 6 Aug 13