The Printer's Introduction.
Probably no man living is better qualified by experience and observation to write upon the early times on the Upper Mississippi than S. W. McMaster, the author of this book. While the work is titled "Sixty Years on the Upper Mississippi," the author has lived in this vicinity for more than sixty-two years, and now, at the age of 84 years, and in the possession of all his faculties, is enjoying the fruits of a well spent life at his pleasant home in Rock Island, Illinois. Engaged quite extensively in business in Galena for a quarter of a century, living also at different periods in St. Louis and Rock Island, and being a close observer of men and events, he enjoyed rare opportunities to become familiar with the leading events of the times, and his active mind allowed none of these opportunities to pass unemployed. While in business in Galena, he traded quite extensively with merchants in St. Paul and other
ivpoints on the Upper Mississippi, and made many extended tours through Wisconsin, Minnesota and the states bordering on the river.
He enjoyed a personal acquaintance with nearly all the river captains, loading business men, statesmen and politicians, from St. Louis to St. Paul. A concise history of those eventful years on the Upper Mississippi, he entertainingly narrates in this volume.
J. B. BROWN.
Galena, Ill., Nov. 30, 1895.
My Early Life and Emigration to Galena.
I was born near Watertown, in the State of New York, on Oct. the 8th, 1811. My father moved from there to Herkima county about 25 miles north from Little Falls, on the Mohawk river, in 1817, living some two years on my grandfather's farm which abutted on the west on the Trenton Falls a celebrated place of resort, a few years later, noted for its wild beautiful scenery and for a succession of falls some three of them, 20, 40 and 70 feet, cut through the solid Trenton lime stone, a narrow gorge two miles in length. It was first brought into notice by W. R. Sherman, who erected in 1822 a large commodious hotel in the deep shady pine grove. In 1819 my father settled on what was called the Elm Flats in the town of Russia, Herkima county, the county was bounded on the north by the Adirondacs.
My earliest recollections center around a log house built of hewn spruce logs taken from a dense forest of spruce and fur trees, lying on the west side of the house, a heavy forest of Elm, Sugar Maple and Beech trees covering the whole farm of 120 acres; a small garden spot hewn out from the timber; a spring bubbling up through the pure white sand at the foot of a huge elm tree running away a short distance and forming a little lakelet full of speckled trout. I did not
2commence going to school until I was nearly eight years old. My father who was an educated man, teaching me at home whenever he could find time to spare from his ordinary labors in hewing out a farm from the heavy woods.
Whatever education I received outside of the instruction I received from my father, I acquired at the little log school house under the hill, two miles from my home. After I was 12 years old I stayed at home in the summer and fall helping my father on the farm, attending school only three months in the winter, and such winters as we then had — the snow usually three to four feet deep often covering the fences all out of sight. The school house was made out of rough logs, the spaces between being stopped with mortar made from clay. The seats were made from pine slabs, the rounded side down, supported with stout oak pins. The writing desk was a rough long one, occupying the whole rear of the house.
The wood for fuel was furnished by the parents of the pupils; was usually green and burned in a wide open fire place. The children near the front when the fire was fairly started roasting, and those in the rear nearly freezing, seats had to be exchanged often. Spelling, reading, writing, grammar and arithmetic were taught, with these surroundings and appliances and under all these difficulties I succeeded in obtaining a fair knowledge of the branches taught.
When I was in my nineteenth year the trustees of my home district called on me to take the place of a teacher who they had to discharge. It was a rather difficult position to fill, but I succeeded fairly well considering my pupils many of whom were older then myself and had been my schoolmates of the winter before. My compensation for the three months teaching was twenty dollars per month, and I boarded at home.
I taught two winters more in my immediate neighborhood, getting a somewhat better compensation as I boarded round with some of the best families, who did not mind if I overstaid my time a week or so. I boarded two weeks or more with William Ferris, the grandfather of George W. Ferris of the famous Ferris wheel the admiration of all who visited the world's fair. His father and his father's sister were both pupils of mine. His father lives in Idaho. A few years ago I gave one of our bright teachers an open letter of introduction, she had been written to about a situation out there. She found my pupil of olden time to be one of the trustees of the school she expected to take. She was well received and in a year or two married a very worthy gentlemen. They are now both living at Tacornah, Washington. Her husband is a prosperous merchant. The grandfather Wm. Ferris, Professor Gale and a Dr. Coons and some others came out
4to Galesburg and founded that town and the college in 1839. I met Mr. Ferris a number of times in early days at Rock Island and also at Galena, entering land there. Mr. Burchard, who in after years at the political gathering in New York during the contest between Jas. G. Blaine and Grover Cleveland used those fateful words in a speech that he made at that meeting, "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion," which no doubt decided the election in favor of Cleveland, by changing thousands of Irish Catholic votes in New York. This man who was then 18 years of age, taught school in an adjoining district. We often visited each other, and met when our schools came together for spelling contests. He was a genial bright young man, very religious, often holding prayer meetings with his pupils after school hours. The grandfather of Guiteau the assassin of lamented Garfield, lived only a few miles west of me in the adjoining county of Oneida. He was somewhat celebrated as a physician.
In the winter of 1832-33 while boarding at the house of Daniel Philleo, I met Dr. Addeson Philleo, who had been residing in Galena for some years and established the first newspaper at that place. He gave us such a glowing description of this far away Western country, and particularly of the lead mine district, that I made up my mind to start for that New Eldorado of the West in the spring. My very good friend Dr. Bowen was
5always urging to "go west young man." The doctor a few years latter settled first at Jolliette and afterwards at Marsalles, in Illinois.
After I closed my school I made all my arrangements to start the first of May. I had a good strong suit of homemade clothes, the wool made from fleeces of sheep raised on the farm. The cloth spun and wove by my good mother. My small outfit was packed in a wooden trunk, which I have yet, and after settling up everything, I had thirty-five dollars left for my journey to the Western worlds. My wanderings before this had never extended farther than Utica, fifteen miles away. I took cabin passage on a canal boat at Herkimer on the Mohawk river for Buffalo and thence across the lake to Cleveland, Ohio; another canal ride from Cleveland to Portsmouth on the Ohio river. I took passage on an Ohio river steam boat bound for St. Louis. One night I was awakened, hearing a wild strange sort of music made by the negro firemen; being the first I ever heard, it made a strong impression on me.
From St. Louis I took passage to Quincy, the termination of the boat's trip. Here, running out of funds I stopped for two weeks, and was employed by the landlord of the only hotel in the place. It faced the large public square around which was gathered the most of the population of the place, the houses all facing the square then as
6now. From here I took passage on the steamer Warrior, Wm. Thockmorton commander, for Galena. He was perhaps the most noted Capt. on the upper river, commanding a number of different boats for over forty years. His last service was on the U.S. steamer in 1873, he died soon after this date.
I arived at Galena towards the last of June. I had letters of introduction from my friend Dr. Bowen to his brother, Luther H. Bowen, and Dr. Philleo. Luther H. Bowen was employed as a bookkeeper in the largest mercantile store in the little city. They were doing a large and extensive business and employed some four or five clerks. He obtained for me temporary employment with the firm of Little & Wann. They came to Galena in 1828, from Baltimore, Md. Their store occupied the present site of the bank of Galena founded by the Corwith brothers, Henry and Nathan. They both moved to Chicago many years ago taking a leading part in the commercial and financial affairs of that city. They were both warm friends of mine during all my long sojourn in Galena and have gone to a better and brighter state of existance. The first night after my arrival at Galena I lodged with my friend Bowen in the upper story of the store, which opened out on Bench street, some 20 ft. or more above Main street. Opposite on Bench street was the land office. All through the night I heard
7the chink of coin in a room adjoining the office. Gambling was carried on there almost every night, the officers of the office participating in the game. The receiver usually taking a hand in the game. The result was a heavy defalcation at the end of his term of office. I was employed a few weeks by Little & Warm, when I was engaged as a clerk in the house of Campbell and Morehouse, a new firm just starting in the dry goods trade. Geo. W. Campbell of this firm was a good friend of mine, who moved to Chicago many years ago and died their in 1882. D. B. Morehouse in after years had command of a number of steamboats engaged in the trade of the upper Mississippi.
Everything was new and strange to me. The picturesque hills, the many small stores scattered along the muddy Main street — the many dwellings perched along the base of the steep bluffs that hemmed in the little busy town — the littlesluggish winding river — the many mounds rearing their rugged summits some 150 feet above the general level of the country. The long string of heavily laden ox team winding their way down Franklin and Main streets loaded with piglead, deposited on the steep narrow levee, sent in from various furnaces of the country. The loud cracking (like pistol shots) of the teamster's long whips over the backs of their team of 5 to 7 yoke of oxen, as they slowly made their way down Franklin street.
8All these new strange scenes impressed me, a tender-foot strangely.
I found all the people with whom I came in contact, very nice and hospitable, ready to lend a helping hand to a stranger.
Among the many friends and associates of that early day I would mention George and B. H. Campbell, L. H. Bowen, Wm. A. Jordon, John Dean, Fred Stahl, R. W. Brush, Augustus Scott, a brother of Mrs. B. H. Campbell; Charles and Edward Gratiot, Charles and William Hempstead and John A. Clark, a government surveyor, who many years after, under Gen. Grant's administration was appointed surveyor Gen. of Utah, and last but not least my old time friend, Gen. G. W. Jones, who at this time lived at Sinsinawa Mound engaged in mining. I often went out to his hospitable and pleasant home to see his nieces, Mary and Eliza Brady. Mary married Dr. Wyeth, and Eliza, G. W. Campbell a few years after. Gen. Jones is the only one of all the many whom I knew in those early days, who still survives. He is living in Dubuque, at the advanced age of 89 years, still genial and affable as over.
The only church we had at that time was a hewn log structure standing a little west of the present site of the Second Presbyterian church, Father Kent officiated as minister. One day a number of us young men just before church time
9were sitting in a row on a long bench in the church, with friend Fred Stahl at the head, when he casting his eye down the row remarked, "where can you find a finer looking set of young men." Among them were Sam'l T. Cluff, W. A. Jordon, B. H. Campbell, Joseph Dean, I. P. Farley, Augustus Scott and myself, and some others whose names I do not recollect.
Wm. S. Hamilton a son of Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the treasury under Washington, who lived at what was then called Hamilton diggings in Wisconsin, about 25 miles northeast from Galena, frequently came into town and usually would find lodging in a room over Little & Wann's store. He usually came to town in a suit of buckskin, and whenever he wanted to visit the ladies he would forage in the wardrobe of the clerks in the store for whatever he wanted. One night he came in rather late and found George Mitchell, a new clerk, a gentlemanly young Irishman in the bed that he usually occupied. George rather resented the intrusion, and said, who are you sir? Hamilton answered, I am Col. William S. Hamilton, a son of Alexander Hamilton, and now who the h — l are you? I am George Mitchell, of Baltimore, and I think you are making yourself d — d familiar for a stranger. They passed the night peaceably and were fast friends ever after. Sometime in 1834 I went out to the Col.'s place of abode on business for my employers.
10Some fifteen miles was over a broad rolling beautiful prairie, without any settlement, and we had only a dim track most of the way. I saw on my way a number of deer bounding away over the prairie. This was the first large prairie that I had seen, being in June it was covered with masses of bright flowers, I enjoyed the ride intensley.
I arrived at the Col.'s house near night and took lodging with him on a bunk in his bachelor quarters. In the morning I rose early and went out a short distance into the heavy woods to a large spring. I found at the spring two beautiful young ladies performing their morning ablutions. I was astonished at this unexpected vision of beauty in the Wisconsin wilds, taken aback and felt like beating a retreat. Upon inquiring of them who they were, they told me they were the neices of William Strawbridge, and that their home was in Springfield, Ill., and they were visiting at the home of Joseph Baily, who lived near by.
William Strawbridge was a well-to-do miner and smelter, a relation of my wife. He after this married the widow of George Eames the brother of my wife's mother, Mrs. W. Brooks. George Eames was killed in the Black Hawk War while helping to defend the Block house near Elizabeth, 15 miles east of Galena.
William Strawbridge took the gold fever and with hundreds of other Galenaians went to
11California in 1850, and died on his way home in 1853.
Col. Hamilton becoming somewhat embarrassed in his mining operations also went to California, and died there in about 1856. His aged mother visited him at Galena sometime in the 40s, and I then saw her. One more reminisicence about the genial Colonel. He was a volunteer in the Black Hawk War, and was in command of a regiment. Some disagreement arose between him and Maj. Henry Dodge. (He was not a general then,) but was called so by Dr. Philleo, who was on his staff as a correspondent for his Galena paper. Some angry words were passed between them, and Dodge handed a pistol to Hamilton and told him to defend himself. Col. Hamilton says to him "my country needs my services now, but as soon as the war is over I will be at your service." No hostile meeting ever took place between them, and they were good friends ever after.
The reputation that Governor Dodge acquired in the Black Hawk War, was largely due to the letters that Dr. Philleo sent to his paper, the Galenian. This was the only newspaper north of St. Louis or east of Detroit, and these articles were largely copied by Eastern papers. He was a brave honest man, and filled the office of territory government very creditably. The appointment to this office was due mainly to the influence of his warm friend, G. W. Jones, who was territorial delegate under the Jackson administration, and when the
12old general requested him to name a suitable man for the office, who was a resident, he named Henry Dodge. Governor Dodge was at sometime after this often spoken of as a candidate of the Democrats for the presidency. I knew his son, Augustus C, at this time and later as senator from Iowa, and minister to Spain. I also knew and often met some of his sons-in-law, John Dement, Mires F. Truett and Paschal Bequett, all prominent men of mark and influence. Mires F. Truett was a leading merchant in Galena for a number of years. About 1850 he emigrated to California. During the troublous times in San Francisco, caused by the thugs and outlaws gathered there, he took a leading part in forming the vigilants and many of these meetings were held over his store, and some of the miscreants were hung from a beam ran out from the upper story. He was so prominent that Mat Mahoney, one of the gamblers, who was driven out of the city, a few years after when Truett was in New York had him arrested and gave him a good deal of trouble. Mat had a good deal of influence as he belonged to the Tamany Ring, who have always abetted and shielded this class of Harpies, big or little. Big like Twede, and little like Mat Mahoney.
(This ends record of my two years at Galena in 1833 and 1834, void.)
Early Impressions of the Lead Mines and Sketches.
Jo Daviess county in 1833 included a number of counties in the northwest part of the state, and Galena was the commercial center of all the northern part of the state at this time, and for many years afterwards. Chicago was only just coming into notice. It was the only place where money that is real money — gold and silver could be obtained. No other currency would pass in the lead mining district for many years after.
In the spring as soon as the grass was good, heavy ox teams hitched to what was called a prairie schooner, heavy covered Pennsylvania wagons would be seen wending their way across the broad prairies that were found between Sangamon and Jo Daviess counties, bound for Galena the Eldorado of the northwest. They would usually be loaded with flour and bacon for their own use during the summer and a portion would be sold at Galena. They usually hauled the lead from the furnaces scattered over the country by the 1,000 lbs., carrying often as high as 60,000 lbs. Their large wagons was their home while here, the only home they had, sleeping in them at night, and usually taking their meals camping by some spring or stream on their route. A jolly jovial set — generally very illiterate, but with shrewd common sense. Nearly all the interior transportation of the mining district was done by these suckers from the middle and southern part
14of the state for many years, until the advent of railroads. They took a great deal of pride in their whips, with lashes long enough to reach the farthest ox in the team. The one that could make the loudest crack of any of the crowd as they came down the long steep hills into town was the boss.
The population of Galena was a motley one, made up generally of men mostly of energy and intelligence, who breaking away from their far distant homes came here to better their fortune, coming from nearly every state in the union. Many Cornish men from old England, with their broad accent. Gamblers and gambling saloons, and low Irish doggeries abounded.
The whole country was dotted with mineral holes and was swarming with miners, hunting the precious metal. Some of them toiling for years and finding barely enough for a subsistance, and once in a while one who would blunder upon a lead that was a fortune. It was often said in after days that the average daily wages of all the miners engaged in mining would not exceed twenty-five cents per day. The miner was always bouyed up by hope, expecting from day to day to strike a lead. A notable instance of a lead struck a little east of the city; the father had been sinking a shaft and tunneling four or five years, the mother and daughters had been earning money by sewing to support the family in
15the mean time. The father became discouraged and said he would quit. The old lady says no we have enough money left to buy one more keg of powder. Try again. The next week the old man struck big mineral — enough to make all the family well off for life. It was known as the Whitham Lead, Mr. Whitham was a very worthy Englishman, much respected. A life long member of the Methodist church.
The men who were the most successful in mining operations, were persons who were well posted in the business, and had the means to buy out new discoveries. Many fortunes were made in this way.
Capt. Smith Harris was a very successful miner all through his long eventful life. He usually struck his own leads, and nearly every winter when the boating season was over, he would pass the winter in mining. Up to his 76th year, after he had left the river, when his favorite boat, the Grey Eagle was sunk at the Rock Island bridge, in 1857, he often would go down to his diggings below town and put in the time wielding the pick drilling for mineral. He was one of the best and most successful of our upper river captains, and always run fast boats. The West Newton. The War Eagle and the Grey Eagle were very fast and popular boats. He was a good reliable man, performing his part in life in whatever position he was placed. R. S. Harris, his brother,
16who died some years ago in Dubuque was interested with him in most of the boats as well as other boats not mentioned. Capt. Harris died in 1892 at the advanced age of 86, retaining his faculties to the last. He was my near neighbor for many years and I had a long pleasant interview with him only three or four months before his death.
Nearly all the traffic of the upper river centered at this time and all told did not amount to much compared with that of later years. Most of the boats coming here were from Pittsburg and Cincinnati, bringing around nails, iron, lumber glass and groceries from St. Louis, and taking on cargeos of lead on their return, mostly for St. Louis.
Occasionally a boat would come up the river loaded with supplies for the different government military ports. Fort Armstrong at Rock Island, Fort Crawford at Prairie DuChien, and Fort Snelling at the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. A strong force was usually kept at these forts, usually at least a full regiment. It was neccessary in order to keep the Indians quiet, The Sacs and Foxes, Pottawattomies, Winnebago, Kickapoos, and Chippeewas on the eastside of the Mississippi. The powerful Sioux nation with their various tribes, occupied all northern Iowa and Minnesota, a restless marauding powerful tribe, always warring on the neighboring
17tribes, those all needed constant watching.
Boats did not run with any regularity, usually one or two arrivals each week. They wended their way up the little crooked river six miles before they reached the lead city of the hills. A deep clear stream with many deep pools not at all difficult to navigate in these early days before the wash from the mineral holes and plowed ground on the hills had filled it up. In the early days of Galena, sometimes the river would close early before sufficient supplies for the winter were laid in, and before spring, prices would become very high. One winter, 1831 I think, the supply of flour was very short, the most of it was in the hands of the old Frenchman Bothillier, who lived on the East Side of the river. He had been an Indian trader for some years. He at this time had nearly all the flour in the town and kept advancing the price from eight dollars to ten, twelve, sixteen, and finally by the middle of January twenty dollars was his price, and still he had quite a quantity on had and the people had to pay his price. But providence or the elements were against the old Frenchman. A heavy thaw set in continuing some two weeks, opening navigation from St. Louis to Galena. One morning early the old Frenchman peering down the river saw a steamboat rounding the point below town. "What, steamboat in the wint, who
18the debil ever saw a steamboat in the wint before."
Flour was ten dollars per barrel after this, and spring navigation kept open only, occasionally a little ice running. It proved a God send to the people, as all the necessaries of life were becoming scarce and dear.
Sometime in 1832 during the Black Hawk War a company of volunteers under the command of Col. Strode were encamped on the hill back of the town. The Col. got the idea in his head that the Galenians we becoming to careless about danger from the Indians, so he concluded he would give them a scare, and along about midnight loud firing of musketry and cannon were heard. The cry was raised The Indians! The Indians are upon us! Men, women and children were awakened from their slumbers and rushed in their night clothes pell mell for the Block house that stood near the intersection of Bench and Diagonal St. Some were seen praying. All rushed into the small Block house so that there was hardly standing room for them. They passed a most miserable night, as I have been told by those who were cooped up there. In the morning there was some tall swearing when it was ascertained that it was a false alarm and further that there were no Indians within one hundred miles of Galena. No one of the company on the hill would own up as to how the alarm started. The old Block house was standing as late as 1850.
Col. Strode and Col. Jas. W. Stevenson were both engaged in a battle or scare of what was called Stillmans ran, which occurred near the north of the Keshwaukee a small stream emptying into Rock river some thirty miles above Dixon. It was a regular stampede on the part, of our volunteers. The only wonder was that so few of our troops were killed, (only 16) as all or nearly all of Black Hawk's forces were engaged in the battle. Gov. Ford in his history of Ill., tells an amusing story about the battle as related by a Kentucky Col. (Col. Strode is the one meant.) About serried ranked of Black Hawk's forces sweeping down upon the right and left winged of our troops and the overwhelming force of Indian Cavalry that by their resistless charge spread terror and dismay in our ranks. The Col. was one of the first to flee into the tall timber, in the dark night. After fleeing some distance he dismounted and hitching his horse to a sapling to rest and reconnoiter, he thought he saw an Indian approaching. He sprang on his horse's back without unhitching and putting the spurs to his horse, started away, but the horse being hitched kept curling round, every time he came round the Col. would cry out, Don't shoot Mr. Indian! Don't shoot! I surrender. The Indian turned out to be a tall black stump. The story may have been true. Although the redoubtable Col. was not defficient in courage yet he was a great boaster, somewhat like
20Iago in Hiawatha. But after all he was a genial man and was generally liked. He was very fond of being referred to for information about the surrounding country. Some New England man was making inquiries of Col. A. G. S. Wight, the Col. being somewhat of a wag, referred him to Strode and told him to inquire about the Keshwaukee country. The stranger told him that he had been referred to him as one who was well posted about all the surrounding country. The Col. said he was thoroughly posted. Well, could he tell about the country near Keshwaukee. His reply was a very vulgar one and will not look well in print. Tell the man who referred you to me to go to h — l. The stranger was horrified, and told the story of his reception by the Col. to his friends much to the amusemust of Col. Wight. There were many amusing incidents as well as tragic ones in connection with this war.
When the Indians first started out on the war path from Prophetstown, forty miles above Rock Island, they broke up into small detached bands thus multiplying their apparent numbers, spreading terror and alarm through the whole Rock River valley, and through all the country between Rock and Wisconsin rivers, striking one day on some point near Rock river and next at some point near Galena. When the Illinois volunteers had their forces concentrated and driven the savages well north, they were straining every nerve
21to reach the Mississippi river north of the Wisconsin, to make their escape into what is now Iowa.
The whole effective force that Black Hawk had any time, did not exceed six hundred, and he was hampered with the wives and little ones. The Illinois volunteers numbered about, three thousand two hundred, and done nearly all the effective fighting even after the arrival of one thousand U. S. troops, before the final capture and dispersion of the Indians.
The volunteers under Gen. Henry struck the first fatal blow at Bad Axe, while Gen. Atkinson with his troops was out on a false trail farther up the river. Taken altogether it was a most inglories and expensive war. Our volunteers sufferred very severely towards the close from the want of supplies. Many of them lost their lives, and many families scattered over the area of the war were decimated.
But finally the remnant of the Black Hawk forces were captured or destroyed at the battle of Bad Axe. Many canoes loaded with women and children were sunk and destroyed by the steamer Warrior, Capt. Thockmorton, my old time friend. He at this time always carried muskets and six powder cannons, as he carried nearly all the supplies for the Forts on the Upper Mississippi.
Black Hawk and a few of the principal chiefs were taken and escorted to Washington in order
22that they might form a proper estimate of the power and might of U. S. Black Hawk and his Sacs and Foxes were not much to be blamed for their attachment to the beautiful country in which they sojourned on the banks of the beautiful Rock. The site of their main village stretching along from the mouth of the river, covering the broad level prairie and the slopes of the wooded hills lying back of the cities of Rock Island and Moline, for scenic beauty stands unequalled in all the great valley.
The sale made at St. Louis in 1816 by a few chiefs who were never recognized as having any authority was not considered binding. But the U. S. Govt. had the land surveyed, declared open for settlement, and in 1832 quite a number of families, mostly from the New England states had entered and occupied most of the land bordering the mouth of Rock River and along the banks of the Mississippi for some miles. Very many of these early New England people I knew in after years, of these hardy pioneers something will be said further on.
The currency in use in the lead mine district in 1832 and for many years after, was gold and silver, mostly foreign coins. The sovereign, the par value of which was $4.87Ë invariably passed in all home transaction at $4.90. The silver coin was mostly in 5 franks, passing at 93c. The miners would not touch paper money. There was
23very little of U.S. coin in circulation, as these foreign coins passing for little more than their intrinsic value, kept the other out. Spanish quarters, half quarters, called bits and half bits called picaunes, formed the small change. A copper coin was a curiosity in those days. When the U.S. commenced coining ten cent pieces, a number of enterprising eastern people brought them out, passing them for 12Ë cents for sometime.
Merchants were in the habit of giving almost unlimited-credit, particularly to miners and smelters. If a hard fisted miner came into town with clothes all stained up with the yellow clay of the mines and wanted anything on credit he almost invariably got it.
This system of almost unlimited credit could end in but one way eventually, that is, in embarrassment and bankruptcy.
Quite a number of merchants who were doing an apparently prosperous business in 1833 and 1834 became embarrassed and went out of business.
The leading houses in business in 1833 to 1836 were Little and Wann, Campbell and Morehouse, G. W. & I. Atchison, William Hempstead, Farnsworth & Fergeson, John Dowling, John & Sewell Lorrain, M. C. Comstock and R. W. Brash.
Two Years in St. Louis. My Residence in St. Louis From 1834 to 1836.
In the fall of 1834, I left my position with Campbell & Morehouse in Galena, and went to St. Louis taking a clerkship with the firm of Hempstead & Beebe. William Hempstead of the firm, I knew in Galena. They opened a wholesale grocery and commission house on the levee, or Front St. For some years they received and forwarded most of the lead that was shipped from Galena for New Orleans and Pittsburg.
St. Louis had a population at this time of about 20,000 to 25,000, and done an immense amount of business for a city of this size. It was the center and distributing point for all the northwest. The trade from the upper Mississippi, the immense fur trade of the upper Missouri, the trade from the Illinois river, from Pittsburg by way of the Ohio. Most of the goods shipped from the eastern states by the way of New Orleans, as well as all the foreign trade centering at New Orleans, all found their way to St. Louis as the distributing point of the vast, but thinly settled territory. The majority of the people were French, very many of them speaking no other language. It was an amusing scene that met one who attended the large public market located at the foot of Market street near the river front. The French habitants
25from Vide Porsch, now called Corundalet would all be there with their little quaint carts loaded with vegetables or little loads of wood, the unvaring price of which was six bits. If you offered them 75 cents, the reply would be, no, no, six bit. The men and women would keep up a constant chattering, gesticulating and shrugging their shoulders, as they were making bargains with their customers for their various wares. Even at this early day there were many large, magnificent steamers engaged in the New Orleans trade, and the levee was usually closely packed with steamers from all directions. The heavy wholesale grocery and commission houses were scattered all along the levee from Market street, north to Washington street. The dry goods and hardware houses were the most of them found along the line of Market street, which was at this time only built up as far back as Sixth street. Fourth St., was quite compactly built up some four or five blocks above Market. The Planters house was built on this street in 1836.
The court house occupied the same site as at the present, but on a much smaller scale. The larger share of the business previous to this time had been in the hands of the wealthy French settlers. There had begun to be quite an influx of good business men from other states, some from the Southern states, but very many of those who were enterprising came from New England.
26Among the number of whom I recall were L. & A. G. Farwell, the Belchers, who built the sugar refinery, Hood and Abbott, I. S. Skinner, L. G. Erskine. Along the levee engaged in the wholesale grocery business, I. & E. Walsh, Von Plul & McGill, E. A. Tracy, Hempstead & Beebe. Wm. G. Elliott, the Unitarian preacher, who came there in 1834, who became a power for good in building up educational and scientific institutions. Dr. Potts the Presbyterian had charge of a large flourishing church Wayman Crow another large minded liberal man, who in after days took such an active part in building up the mercantile library, was living here at the time. Thos. H. Benton, I saw once, his house was in the outskirts of the city, on Biddle St., at the base of the St. Louis mound, a moderate sized two story building, it was still standing in 1864 perched high up above the street. The mound was all leveled down many years ago.
Thurston Polk, a nephew of Prest. Polk came to St. Louis in 1835. Most if these men whose names I have mentioned I knew personally. Some others I recall, Henry G. Soulard and his brother, the Dr., I also knew the mother of them all, and met her at the homestead in 1835, she was then 85 years old. Geo. Knapp, so long the editor of the Republican was a fellow boarder with me in 1835. Theadore Magill and family, his wife's sisters, the Miss Tessons, Capt. Callenda
27who was the commander at Jefferson barracks, I knew and frequently spent an evening with them, playing a social game of whist. They lived on Macket street, between Fifth and Sixth streets, near Col. Johnson, who had two beautiful half breed daughters, one of whom in after years married Capt. Gleim, the old time clerk of Captain Thockmorton, who for so many years commanded a number of boats on the upper Mississippi.
One day when I was on the levee shipping goods I saw persons rushing up the steep bank in pursuit of a negro man. He had got into an altercation with some one, and an officer undertook to arrest him. He resisted and knocking the officers hat off, fled up the levee, but was overtaken. When the officer told him that he should take him to the calaboose, he drew a huge bowie knife and struck the officer across the abdomen, inflicting a mortal wound, he then rushed up Olive street pursued by a crowd, turning south on Fourth street, as he passed the court house, a deputy sheriff rushed out and took hold of him; the negro struck him in the neck with his murderous knife and nearly severed his head from his body. The brave officer fell weltering in his blood on the sidewalk. It was near supper time and hundreds were passing at the time. The desperado was finally disabled by a brick bat, and taken and carried to the calaboose. Soon after supper I
28heard an uproar in the street, Cries of "to the calaboose!" "To the calaboose!" The crowd took the negro out and in less than fifteen minutes he was firmly bound by a strong chain to a scrub oak, on the line of Seventh street, young negroes bringing shavings and fence rails, which were heaped around him. The scene was on slopeing ground and the tree to which he was bound was at the foot of the slope. The whole side of the hill was covered with the dense crowd. As soon as the torch was applied and the flames encircled his body he commenced sinking in a loud voice his death song.
Young Meseray who was a recent arrival from Boston raised the cry, "shoot him!" "shoot him!" The counter cry of "burn him!" "burn him!" was echoed by nearly all the vast crowd. The flames were fierce and strong, and the agony of the negro was soon over. Eastern papers at the time strongly critisized the St. Louis people for the act, but the provocation was very great, both of the officers were men much respected. I knew the deputy sheriff well, he was the brother-in-law of my old time friend, Mortomer Kennett.
Another incident on the levee while I was living in St. Louis, The negro roustabouts were rolling some casks of bacon down the steep bank for shipment on a New Orleans boat. Singing their merry songs with the chorus, when they heard a weak faint voice coming apparently from
29the cask. "Don't, Don't, you hurt me." One of the darkies said, "what dat! in the cask." Another said, "sho noting in de cask, go ahead". Another roll and another louder cry of "Let me out!" "Let me out!" "Dere is a man in that cask shur. Turn up the cask — got hatchet and open the cask and let de poor man out." The cask was opened and the bacon thrown out piece by piece in great haste and nothing found. They all rushed on to the boat saying, "that cask Hoodo shur."
Signor Blitz the celebrated prestidigitator and ventriloquist, with two others of his friends were by enjoying the fun.
In 1837 there were a series of robberies perpetrated along the river from St. Louis to Galena, and for sometime no clue could be found to them. The last and worst, was the attempt to rob the bank of Collier & Pettus, located on Olive street, between 3rd and 4th sts., which resulted in the murder of two of the clerks who were sleeping in the adjoining room, and then the bank was set on fire to conceal the murder. The robbers did not obtain anything.
Detectives were set at work, who finally ascertained that all these robberies along the river had been done by two or three colored men employed on the boats. One of the number after his conviction made a full confession, telling of a number of robberies committed along the river whenever the boat they were on was lying by a night.
30Among the rest was an old rattle trap safe they looted in Galena, belonging to my friends, B. H. Campbell and Miers F. Truett. W. G. Pettus, whose clerks were murdered was my employer in a store at the corner of Market and Fourth streets.
John W. Spencer's Sketches of Early Days in Rock Island.
I have mentioned John W. Spencer's name and given a partial history of his connection with the early history of the town. I will add some further particulars about him, mostly condenced from a short history written some years ago, a few years before his death. Dictated by him to his daughter Mary, the wife of T. Tyler Robinson.
He left Vermont in 1820 for St. Louis, Mo. From there he went with some of his relatives into Green Co., Illinois, to secure their claims, While living in this part of the claim, Alton 40 miles away, was the nearest postoffice. In 1827 he went to the Galena lead mines to try his luck there, passing Rock Island on his way up the river in March, and returning later in the summer. In the fall of 1828 he went to Morgan county 12 miles from Jacksonville. Rennah Wills in passing down from Galena stopped with him over night, and told him that the Indians had left their old village at Rock Island. We both liked the country very much when we passed. In less
31than a week he and London Case, Sr., were on the way to learn if the Indians had left. On the way we met a Mr. Penee, who was on his way with a load of corn from Peoria for Judge Spence, who was just moving to the old Indian village on Rock River. They reached Rock River the 9th of December, and found Judge looking for a ford. We crossed about sundown and found several wigwams, in the largest we passed the night. In the morning we looked for a better wigwam and found one which proved to be Black Hawk's, a very comfortable one made of bark, large and roomy. On their arrival they found no Indians, they were all absent on their winter's hunt. We found here two white families, near the old Farnam house (just below the Cable residence) Capt. Louis Clark, of Buffalo Scott Co., and a man named Harvey. Near Rapids City, were John and Thos. Kinney, Archibald Allen and Conrad Leak. These were all the settlers on the main land. North, about 70 miles, the Davidson family near Savanna. Two miles below New Boston, the Denisons, on the lower Rapids the family of old Jim White (The father of three or four noted river pilots in after years.) Soon after he came to Rock Island his business taking him to Galena, the officers at the garrison being anxious to hear the result of the election of 1828, arranged to have him carry the mail to Galena, and all in return, for which he was to receive $5.00. He made the
32trip on foot, taking a pair of skates along, his first night was at the head of the Rapids, the next stopping would be at Davidson's, 50 miles. He met during the day a large party of Winnebagos, passed through them without any trouble, skating along on a large pond, the skates seemed to astonish the Indians. He could not cross Plumb river and was obliged to camp out, he succeeded in making a fire and in the morning crossed the river above where the ice was good, not going to Davidson's at all. He reached Galena safely, exchanged mails and started on his return trip about noon Christmas, stopped all night at a wood chopper's hut. The next morning took breakfast at Davidson's. The next night he camped near the Meridocia, he heard the wolves walking about him all night and the Indian dogs barking on an island near by. The next day he reached the Fort bringing the mail, giving the news of the election of Gen. Jackson.
After coming here in the fall of 1827, and making a selection of a farm, he moved from Morgan county and arrived here on the first day of March, 1829. There was no house to be seen, so he hunted up a wigwam, finding one on the bluff near where Henry Case now lives. The same spring London Case and his three sons, Junah, London and Charles came and settled on the old Case place. Rennah Wills and his four sons, and Joshua Vandruff settled on Rock River, in
33January, before Joel Wills settled near Hampton. In the spring Joel Wills Sr., and Levi and Huntington Wills settled at Moline, Joseph Danforth son-in-law of Rennah Wills a short distance above. Michael C. Bartlett above where the quilt factory stands. About the last of May Mr. Goble and his son Ben, settling just above Danforth. Win. T. Brashar settled on the farm bearing his name.
But a few days elapsed when two Indians came, the first we had seen. One of them commenced talking in a loud voice pointing to his wigwam, saying "Sanku Wigeop," pointing to the ground, saying "Sanku Anihe" claiming the wigwam and the land. This man proved to be Black Hawk. The first he went to was his own wigwam occupied by Judge Spence near Rock River. They had never heard of Black Hawk. He seemed to be very much troubled at finding his wigwam occupied. About six weeks after Black Hawk returned with his Indians, about two hundred of them, all young men, mounted, they rode round Judge Spence's house, (he had built a cabin and left Black Hawk's wigwam.) Mrs. Spence was very much alarmed being alone with her children. She sent one of the children to the fort. Capt. Nelson in command sent the interpreter Antonio Seclair down, who told them they must behave or the soldiers at the fort would be after them. They became quiet after this, with the exception of a little trouble with Rennah Wills.
34They had corn fields all along the base of the bluffs, the corn being planted in raised hills at first, and added to from year to year, looking like small mounds, some of them were plainly to be seen forty years after. They also raised a good many beans and squashes. The work of cultivation was done almost entirely by the squaws and children. They had slight fences, only which would turn cattle and hogs away. Chief Keokuk in the spring when the corn was up about knee high called on the white settlers and requesed them them to keep the cattle up nights as the Indian fences were so poor. They all complied except Rennah Wills, who thought it to much trouble. When the corn was large enough for roasting cars, Wills cattle broke into and destroyed the corn of a number of Indian families one or two nights. Mr. Wills had corn on the opposite side of the road, the next time the Indians turned Wills cattle into his field. Wills kept his cattle up after this. He became very well accquainted with Black Hawk, living less than a quarter of a mile from him all one summer. He was a man of medium size, about 60 years of age, a very quiet peaceable neighbor and a strong temperance man. He made a visit with a few of his braves to a man who was selling whisky to his Indians. He rolled the whisky barrels out doors and knocked in the heads. The agent told him he might get himself into trouble
35if he done it any more. This discouraged him in his efforts to save his braves from the evils of strong drink. Before the war with the whites he always wore the usual Indian costume. After the war he wore the white man's dress.
The Indians left for their usual fall and winter hunts about the fifteenth of September, and all left the same day. The Sacs and Foxes owned the lands jointly; when they traveled they had separate camps. The Foxes while living here occupied the land from Jonah Case's place up as far as Wm. Brooks'. The Foxes had mostly left before the whites came, except a few who had intermarried with the Sacs and they had villages at Princeton, Belevue and Dubuque. In starting for their hunting grounds down the river they took with them five or six hundred horses and about two hundred canoes, ascending the Iowa, Skunk and Des Moines rivers, and smaller streams that would admit a canoe. After the fall hunt they had a rendezvous appointed where all were to meet, making sometimes temporary forts as a protection against their enemies, the Sioux. After making their maple sugar in the spring they were ready to return to their old village at Rock Island. They would all meet near the mouth of the Iowa river and starting from there with their horses and canoes would proceed slowly and orderly under a leader up the river usually making eight or ten miles a day. They would arrive here at the same
36hour. They brought home little besides maple sugar and dried meat, having sold their pelting and furs to the traders along the river. Now they commenced looking for their corn and beans which they had cached the season before. They usually found them all right, as they had a way or so covering up all signs of their caches that is very difficult for any one else to find them. Sometimes the thieving Winnebagos whom they hated, (and nothing would displease a Sauke more than to call him a Winnebago) would, sticking their spear in the ground, find one and steal their supplies.
They made one buffalo hunt each year leaving the first of July. In order to be ready for their deadly enemies the Sioux, each man was armed with a gun, a bow, and a large bundle of arrows. They expected fighting, and generally brought home scalps, dried meat and tallow, but no buffalo robes on account of the hot weather.
This year, our Indians, in an attack on the Sioux camp on Turkey river some miles above Dubuque killed several Sioux, and among the rest a Winnebago squaw and a Menominee boy. They settled with the Winnebagos by giving them horses. They always avoided a rupture with the Winnebagos who wore eight thousand strong. The Menominees were good friends of theirs, some of them speaking the same language, but were a long distance away. Nine of the Foxes started
37with a canoe for Praire Du Chein to make restitution for the boy killed. When a little below the Wisconsin river they were attacked by the Menominees and all killed. This stirred up a spirit of revenge and in August our Indians surprised the Menominees within three hundred yards of Fort Crawford and killed forty-six men, women and children. Our government called our Indians to account for this. Keokuk, as chief, on being called on took a stick and balancing it on his hand, said "nine of the principal men of the Foxes on one end and forty-six, men women and children of the Menominees on the other is about even." And that was the settlement.
The possessions of the Sacs and Foxes commenced at the mouth of the Illinois river and along that stream as far as Peoria north, to strike the Wisconsin, about seventy miles from its mouth, down the Wisconsin to the Mississippi, and down the Mississippi to the place of beginning. This powerful tribe of Indians, much more powerful many years ago than now came last from Green Bay and some of them from Canada. According to Parkman's history, one hundred or more years ago they were the most powerful and aggressive tribe in the Northwest, the parent stock were called Abegenses. They had been living here about sixty years, where they reached the father of waters and found here and along the banks of the Rock River the most beautiful country they had ever
38seen — the rivers abounding in fish and the country alive with game — no wonder they were not willing to leave it to be driven away so ruthlessly and unjustly.
They had an old legend about the Island, and this was the reason they disliked so much to leave this most beautiful of all islands in the Mississippi occupied as a military post. They thought a good spirit had charge of it, who lived in a small cave under the place in which the fort was built. The spirit as seen by Indians was white with wings like a swan only ten times larger. They were always careful to avoid making any noise when they came on the island in the summer. The noise made in building the fort drove the good spirit away. In 1804 one of our Indians killed a man in St. Louis and was put in jail, a deputation of five men from the Sacs were sent down to get him released taking horses along to be given for his release. While there these five men sold the United States all their lands east of the Mississippi river for an annuity of two thousand dollars, annually forever. Gen. Clark making the treaty for the government. The larger part of the Indians were bitterly opposed to the sale, out of this sale grew the Black Hawk War.
There was a claim in the treaty that the Indians might occupy the land while it belonged to the government. It had been surveyed some years
39before. Notice had been given that the land would be offered for sale in October and the Indian agent told them they must not come back, but they did, but not in such numbers as before, as Keokuk, who was opposed to returning had commenced a village on the Iowa river. Keokuk was a remarkable orator, but not an hereditary chief. Black Hawk was a born chief and was the head of what was called the British party. In 1831 the Indians relanded in large numbers and with quite a different spirit towards the whites. Black Hawk gave the settlers notice that after this season they must go south of Rock River or above Pleasant Valley. He wanted all the country between the two rivers exclusively for his Indians, giving us a reason they could not give up their pleasant grounds. That they were safe on this side of the river from the Sioux. He said we could all stay until next season except Vandruff and Rennah Wells,(both rather hard nuts)oldman Vandruff said it would be hard for him to leave with his twelve children and he was a poor man. Black Hawk said he could stay another season, but Wells must go at once, but he finally consented to let him stay thirty days. This new move of the Indians made it necessary for the settlers to look around for protection. We sent a statement of our situation to the governor of the state. He moved at once in the matter applying to old Gen. Gaines at Jefferson barracks, Missouri. He took
40the sixth regiment and proceeded at once to Rock Island. He had all the white settlers with their cattle and effects come onto the island at once. He then sent for Black Hawk to have a talk with him — the day was set. Keokuk and some of his friends came up from their village on the Iowa river and came on the island. They all met in the council house, Black Hawk with some seventy of his warriors painted and dressed, and near the council house commenced singing in a very loud manner. This seemed to alarm Keokuk and his party, and they left in their canoes in great haste fearing a massacre. A man with Black Hawk commenced speaking in a loud boisterous manner seeming to be very angry. Gen. Gaines spoke to him very gently of the sale of the land and reaching the treaty seemed to enrage him still more. He said "white people speak from paper, but Indian always speak from the heart." After the purchase of these lands in 1804 the government had exchanged all the lands lying north of what was called the Indian boundary line, which struck the Mississippi near the lower line of Rock Island ranging from the most Southern point of Lake Michigan, with the Chippewas, Pottowatomis and Ottowas, for land lying about Chicago. In 1829 the government re-purchased these lands of the Indians, giving them $16,000 a year forever, and allowing them to select a quarter of a section for each of their half breeds. Antonie
41Leclair and his brother selected theirs on the Mississippi river, commencing at Moline and running up to Watertown, Henry McNeal's old place. Black Hawk said in reply about the treaty of 1801, that the men had no right to make it, had no right to sell it, if it was sold, they got nothing for it. For if a small part of the land was worth $16,000 a year forever, a small portion of it was worth more than $2,000, Black Hawk's reasoning was right, we thought. He said he would not fight and would not leave. Gen. Gaines interpreted his talk to mean that he would light. The force here was small — only about five hundred in all. The men and boys of the settlement were all in the fort away from their homes doing nothing. It was proposed to the General that a company should be formed from the settlers, this was done and fifty-eight men were enrolled, and called the Rock River Rangers. Benjamin I. Peter was elected captain, John W. Spencer and Griffith Aubry lieutenants, Chas. Case, Benj. Gable and Henry Benson corporals. The company was mustered into service on the 5th of June, 1831.
Gen. Gaines called on the governor for help and collected about 1600 at the rendezvous at Beardstown. Another meeting or two was held with Black Hawk while the force was collecting. Gen. Gaines fitted up the steamer Winnebago with a cannon on the bow, and a company of soldiers going on
42the boat went up Rock river passing withing fifty yards of their wigwams. But they showed no surprise, no wonder or fear. As soon as the governor's troops were collected, they marched to Rock Island camping within two miles of the island. The Indians were aware of their approach, crossed the Mississippi, taking with them their women and children and all their effects. The next day was fixed for the attack on Black Hawk. The steam boat was to ascend the river with one company of men from the fort while the rest of the forces under the command of Major Bliss were to march over land to the Indian village. An Indian named Black Buffalo met the troops and John W. Spencer, (who knew him well,) he told that the Indians had gone across the river. He was not beleived and was kept a prisoner for that day. They took up their line of march taking the direction of Black Hawk's town. Arriving, a cannon was placed on the brow of the bluff and grape and canister was thrown into the bushes on Vandruff island. Gen. Gaines arriving with the boat commenced firing into the island also. (Some years after, about 1870, the writer found a six pound cannon ball just above Sears mill, the bed of the river had been laid bare by a cofferdam but above, this ball I still have and have no doubt it was thrown at this time.) Another incident connected with their state volunteers is this, that Abraham Lincoln was there among
43them. It proved that Black Buffalo told the truth. The volunteers burned the Indian wigwams (an unjust proceeding) and marched to Rock Island camping along the river from the present ferry landing to the freight depot. They turned these 1600 horses loose on the prairie and the next thing to do was to find food for their supper. Mr. Spencer had a field of twenty acres of corn and potatoes, and the volunteers went for the fence. Gen. Gaines told them to stop and they did while he was there, but they destroyed the fence, and he lost his crop, receiving from the volunteers, ten times as much damage as the Indians had ever done him — for which he never received a cent. Afterwards Black Hawk was asked why he did not stay as he said he would. He said he would have stayed if there had been only the United States troops, as they were under good control.
A few days after there was another meeting held with Black Hawk and another treaty made in which it was agreed that the Indians were to stay on the other side of the river, and the government was to give them as much corn as they would have raised in their corn field. John W. Spencer and Rennah Wells were selected to make the estimate, which amounted to several thousand bushels.
This closed the operations in 1831. In the spring of 1832 the Indians violated their agreement
44to keep on the west side of the river. They crossed at Burlington (called Flint Hills) and came up as usual with their canoes and horses. Gen. Atkinson with one regiment of United States troops was sent up from Jefferson barracks, reaching here before the Indians, as the Indians did not make more than ten miles a day, reaching here soon after the General. They kept on the south side of Big Island. When they were near the present site of Moline, John W. Spencer went over to watch their movements. He met four young men, one of them was Seoscuk, Black Hawk's son, a splendid looking fellow. He asked him where they were going. He said they might go over to their village or they might stop where they were or go up Rock river to Prophetstown. Mr. Spencer was the only white man who had any communication with them at this point. They went up Rock river about two miles and encamped for the night. Mr. Spencer told Seascuk that there was a good many troops at the fort. The next morning the Indians were heard beating their drums and singing. Gen. Atkinson was anxious to learn what were their movements and also to inform the frontier settlers of their danger. Mr. Spencer proposed to take his dispatch to the nearest settlement; taking a canoe to avoid the Indians, he went to the mouth of Rock river and hiding the canoe made the rest of the journey on foot. He delivered the dispatch
45of warning to a few settlers, and coming back found his canoe all right. It was supposed the General would stop the Indians at this point, but he did not, but he sent to the governor for help. He was soon here with 1800 mounted men, they were then ready to follow the Indians up Rock river, but a steam boat could not cross the rapids, so a small keel boat of 80 tons was loaded with supplies and started up Rock river. It took two days to get over the rapids and on the 8th of May the expedition started; they found the stream very rapid and it was very hard work for the soldiers to push the boat along up the river. The General had several hundred regulars with him and the crew of the boat was changed every day. The first camping place was about two miles above the I. C. R. R., bridge. The second at Canoe Creek, the third at Sand Prairie. This part of the river was so low that we made but little progress. The fourth encampment was about two miles above Prophetstown. The troops were officered by Gen. Atkinson, Col. Zachariah Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, Capt. Kearney; Capt. Lincoln, belonged to the volunteers. The others to the regulars. It was about the middle of May — a pleasant moonlight night when a young man from Dixon came down and said Maj. Stillman of the volunteer force had been defeated and there was a great loss of life. Maj. Stillman had rendezvoused at Dixon with about 300 men who came mostly from Peoria.
The governor was ordered to this place, when he arrived, Stillman had been several days in camp and his men were tired of camp life. So Stillman proposed while they were waiting for the arrival of general Atkinson that he be permitted to go and find the Indians. Governor consented and they drew rations for four or five days. Whisky constituted one of the rations. On the first day out the volunteers concluded the best way to carry the whisky was to drink it all in one day, by night many of them were not very sober. About an hour before dark they camped only three or four miles from the Indians. They had not been in camp long when Black Hawk sent three of his braves with a flag of truce, saying that Black Hawk would come in the morning and have a talk with them, that he did not want to fight. Black Hawk sent four or five of his men out on the prairie to see how their flag of truce was received. Some twenty or thirty of our men being under the influence of whisky gathered up there horses and guns and rode out to where the Indians were sitting not expecting any harm, when our men rode near them, raised their guns deliberately, killing three of the Indians, the other two fleeing to their encampment, (shame on the drunken cowards.) Those bearing the flag of truce in the flurry and excitement sprang away and escaped. Now our troops prepared to meet the Indians as they felt sure they would fight.
47As soon as the news reached the Indians they flew to their horses, and came on to the fight. They commenced firing at long range and before many shots had been fired, our men commenced a stampede for Dixon, the Indians close in the rear killing all who were unhorsed in the fight. The men who first came to Dixon reported that nearly the whole command was killed, but it turned out the most made a bee line for their homes. A strong force was sent out the next day to bring in the dead, there were eleven killed of the whites and five Indians including the three killed on the prairie. Black Hawk did not want to fight and intended to give himself up and these few drunken cowardly men brought this trouble and expense upon us, causing the loss of many valuable lives and costing many thousands of dollars, spreading terror and alarm all over Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. This condensed account I have given, as narrated by my good old time friend, a brave, honorable, upright, truthful man, is the only one that I have ever seen that gives a true and just account of this most unfortunate war. Governor Ford's history of the incidents connected with this war after what is related by Judge Spencer is probably the best that has been written. In order to give a full history of the first settlement of Rock Island and vicinity before 1833 I have used Mr. Spencer's narative up to 1832.
(J. W. Spencer's narative as told by his daughter Mary, the wife of Tyler Robinson, and written down by her.)
Sketches of Some of the Early Settlers Near Rock Island.
Charles Atkinson settled at Cleveland on Rock river in 1838, I met him and his amiable wife while they were living there. A few years after he moved to Moline and assisted in organizing the Moline Water Power company of which he was president and the moving directing spirit for many years. And when the goverment formulated a plan for the improvement of the island, including the immense work shops since erected, requiring the use of the water power already in use by the company, Mr. Atkinson drew up a strong contract and had it accepted by the war department, which gave the Water Power company many advantages. Binding the government to do certain things, among the rest giving the company the use of one-third of the power. It was considered to be a very sharp bargain and thus far has proved to be a very costly one to the United States. The whole transaction allowed Mr. Atkinson to be a very sharp business man.
W. W. Wright settled in Hampton sometime in the 40s. He entered into the mercantile business and for many years done a very flourishing business, dealing largely in the products of the county. Having the entire confidence of the community, many of the farmers who had surplus funds deposited it with him. He was a straightforward
49honest man, and a gentleman. I had a good many business transactions with him while I lived in Galena — later, he one winter invested largely in pork packing and became somewhat involved and quit business.
Henry McNeal who occupied the old McNeal place for many years near Watertown came to this country at quite an early day before the family occupied the old homestead. He lived among the Northern Indians some years, leaving his eastern home when a boy. He was a shrewd man, a good judge of character. It was very interesting to him to tell of the early history of the country and of his many adventures.
Dennis Warren who owned the two corner lots south of the Opera house must have come here in 1834, as he entered these two choice lots at the county commissioners' sale in that year, paying I think $400 each for them and has held them till now, 59 years. I have heard Rennah Wells, who lived near Sears mill at the time tell how he applied for board with him, and wanted a cheap rate as he did not care to have anything better than crackers and milk. He must have brought some money with him from New York. He had quite a stock of cheap jewelry which he peddled about without any license. One of his brothers with whom he was interested had a stock of cloths and satinets which he offered to sell to the people.
50Not having a merchant liscense some of our dealers complained of his violation of law. He was fined I think $25. Dennis swore vengeance against the town and said he would hold these two lots as long as he lived and he kept his word. He had three brothers, one of them had a store in Platteville, Wisconsin, another a store in Dodgeville, and another was doing business in Prairie Du Sac in 1850, They were shifting around very often, Dennis had an interest with one of them in a saw mill on the upper Wisconsin. Sometime in the fifties I held a claim for an estate for some $800 against a man engaged in trade on the Wisconsin. Dennis offered to exchange his interest in his town then called New York, now Lyons, the site of which he then owned for the claim. He laid out a town there and made a large amount of money from the sale of lots. He made no improvements himself whatever. He was a hard, intensly selfish man.
A large family of the Drurys lived in the lower part of the county, they seemed to be very fond of litigation. There was hardly a term of court hold but what they had one or more suits pending. Some of these suits were waged against the people of Illinois City, a rival town in the neighborhood. This town was started by old Coleman and a Mr. Klump, both from Indiana and both hard cases. It was said and with good reason that thieves and counterfeiters often made this place their resort.
In the fall of l839 old man Coleman came to Rock Island and invited a number of our young men to come down and attend a ball at the hotel he had just opened. We hired a four horse rig of Henry Powars and some 12 to 15 of us went down many of us taking guns along to hunt on the way. Our old friend Tim Babcock took along his fiddle and clarionet and another musician went along. Uncle Joe Conway went down on horseback. Coleman had promised to invite all the girls of the neighborhood to meet us. We arrived there in good season and had our supper.
Soon after dark the musicians took their places and we begun to look for the girls but none were visible, instead a middle aged fat woman was the only woman visible. Some of the boys trotted her out a few times and it after degenerated into what is called a stag dance. Tim Babcock playing the fiddle and calling part of the time. The other musician calling when he used the clarionet. The gay scene was lighted up by two or three tallow candles. There was a bar at the other end of the room, to which some of the boys resorted occasionally. It was dimly lighted; a tall rough looking customer belonging to the neighborhood went behind the bar and drawing a huge bowie knife just for ugliness refused any admittance. Our genial county recorder, W. E. Franklin did not like to have his liquid rations thus summarily cut off, so he walked up to the front of the bar
52and drawing the large brass key of his office from his pocket and pointing it at the bully, says to him "give me that knife or I will blow you to h — l." The man came out and was seized by the crowd and tumbled out of doors, and then the dance went on through the long dreary night. It had commenced raining heavily early in the evening. Old Joe Conway not liking the looks of things started for home towards night; coming to a swollen creek, in attempting to cross, he was washed from his horse and floated down stream, caught hold of some willows and commenced hallowing for help. Fortunately some one heard him and took him and his horse in for the night A carpenter by the name of Cook, amused himself in one end of the room, in throwing up pumpkins from a pile, and saying, "they go up pumpkin and come down squash." I went to bed about 12 o'clock, in the room overhead, with a loose board floor, but I could not sleep, I never shall forget the sound of Tim's clarionet, second, as the dance went on. He was an excellent musician and was always in demand at all the balls in this section. In the melee in ejecting the ruffian, I loaned Tim my rifle pistol, and he dropped it on the floor; it was captured by Illinois City people and after some months was returned to me. In the morning the boys had their arms all in readiness to repel an attack, if one had been made, as was threatened and we started home; a more disgusted
53set of mortals I have never seen. I think most of us ever after gave this hard town the go by, I have at least, as I have not been there since.
At Cordova, a number of the Marshall family resided, some three or four brothers, some engaged in trade, and some in farming. This was the best corn raising land near Cordova, in the county, and some of the brothers dealt largely in that staple. Almost every year long rows of cribs of the yellow grain were seen adjoining the town. All that broad sandy prairie lying above Cordova and extending up to the head of the Meridocia and cast to the line of Whiteside County, this part being mostly a marsh, was once the bed of the river, or rather of a large lake, before the Mississippi broke through the chain of rocks forming the rapids. Before this the Mississippi and Rock river formed a junction at the present outlet of the Meridocia. A portion of the Mississippi finding an outlet through what is called Pleasant Valley. A broad, beautiful, fertile valley, covered with some of the best farms in the country. Soon after the Mississippi broke the rocky barrier, all that portion of the county from Cordova to the mouth of Rock river, lying between the two rivers was an island.
Rock Island City, the site of Black Hawk's village, near the Sears mill was laid off into lots by Chas. A. Spring, of New York. He lived there for a few years, and was out here the same year the
54Sears mill was built, he then disposed of the land he owner there, to D. B. Sears. Daniel Webster, who had an interest with him in this incipient beautiful site for a town. The water power at this point of Rock river at an early date attracted attention, and the grist, saw and paper mills and a large distillery were put in operation, and Milan at one time was a prosperous, thriving village. Mr. Johnson erected a good substantial flour mill, and for sometime done a prosperous and profitable business, and the mill burned down. Jacob Frysinger erected a large distillery during the war of the rebellion. The owners of the two paper mills got into litigation which ended in disaster to all concerned. The large brick building erected for the manufacture of watches still stands, but has never been utilized. A monument of duplicity and fraud showing how easily men are deceived by rogues, who fraudulently hold out the idea of large profits. The large well built stone grist mills, erected by D. B. Sears was burned down a few years ago. The dams built across the branches on the Milan side are all gone. The substantial one built by Mr. Sears, is fast going to decay. The only enterprises started in this neighborhood in recent years, that still exist are the paper mill and the cotton factory, both owned and controlled by Rockford capital; unless the Sears dam is soon repaired, these two must go the way of all the rest. A
55fatality seems to have fallen upon every enterprise undertaken here in the neighborhood of Black Hawk's old village. There is no better water power in this section of this country, or one more easily improved, and controlled, than the main or north side of the river, and the site of that old Indian village for beauty of scenery stands unequalled, with its high rolling ground, and the beautiful shady groves that cover the hill sides along the way to Rock Island. Perhaps the curse of old Black Hawk for depriving him of his home rests upon this spot. The city of Rock Island, many years ago seeing the necessity for securing the trade of the many thriving settlements and colonies on the south side of the river, (this section being the main source from which to draw trade,) by an act of legislature, obtained the right to bridge Rock river and its branches, and to collect tolls for the same. Much of the south end of the road, from Rock Island to the river, was very sandy, and some years ago an ordinance was passed, authorizing the constructing of a macadam end gravelled road. Reynolds & Salpaugh took the contract, and put in a good substantial road bed, at a cost of $22,000 Large appropriations had to be made nearly every year, to keep the bridge in repair. It is quite doubtful if the large outlay that has been made since the system was inaugurated, counting up into many thousands of dollars, has been a paying investment to the city. The
56tolls collected have helped somewhat to lighten the heavy outlay. Many attempts have been made from time to time to induce the county to shoulder the burden, but without avail.
Mr. D. B. Sears may well be called the founder of Moline, as he was the first one to suggest the idea of utilizing the water power, and he put the idea into practical effect, by building a dam, inventing and using materials for constructing it, that were new I think, but have since been largely put to practical use by Jas. B. Eades in his jetties at the passes at Now Orleans, and by the United States in constructing wing dams to concentrate the water of sloughs in the main channel of the river. His plan was to first put in a layer of small trees, then a layer of rock on the tops of the brush, which were pointed up stream, and so on until the dam was raised to the requisite height. Thus making a strong dam, and drift of sand or earth lodging upon it, making it still stronger. Such a dam he built across the stream near where the government bridge now stands. Permission was obtained of the government, to erect mills on the island shore, and some two or three were put up. This was the foundation and commencement of the prosperity of Moline as a great manufacturing center. The water power grew out of this nuclus, and old man Reed was the first one who had its management. It afterwards passed into the wise and judicious management of my old
57time friend, Charles Atkinson, who remained its manager until his decease a few years ago. Among the early settlers of Moline, were the Hartsells and Wells families, the Hunton brothers, who were connections of Mr. Sears. The Edwards family and some others whose names I do not recall. Later in 1846 John Deere, Mr. Hemmway, Judge Gould, S. W. Wheelock, C. K. Swann, all of whom took a loading part in the development of the various manufacturing enterprises of the city.
D. B. Sears obtained permission of the government to build a grist mill on the little rocky island, which lies near the head of rock island, running a dam across the narrow inlet that flows between the two, and also the right to use a portion of the upper part of the main island. He put up a good substantial grist mill, and occupied it for many years, until the government wanted to use the whole island. This small island for sometime alter the mill was built, way used as the only landing for Moline, for boats bound up stream. It was very difficult for boats to land coming down stream, owing to the strong current of the rapids.
I think it was in 1867, the government wishing to have, and control the whole island, bought out Mr. Sears claim to the little island, and a number of acres at the upper end. Commissioners were appointed, who awarded Mr. Sears $112,000, a magnificent sum, with which he was enabled to buy a large tract of land, at, and around the Sears mill, and to build the grist mill.
Rock Island from 1830 to 1841, Moline and Vicinity.
Passing up the Mississippi in 1834 to 1836, but few towns were seen. On the Missouri side of the river were Clarkesville, Louisiana and Hannibal, all small towns, containing from 400 to 600 people, not thrifty looking at all, owing to the blight of slavery. There were very few settlements along the line of the river on the eastern or Illinois side. Quincy was quite a thriving town with an energetic go ahead, population coming mostly from the New England states. At the head of the lower rapids a small goverment post was established for the accommodation of a regiment of cavalry, to keep the Indians in check. Flint Hills, the present site of Burlington was about the first settlement in Iowa, except an Indian trading establishment at Dubuque. Muscatine then called vannettas landing, had a few scattering log cabins. Davenport had one house only in 1833, belonging to Antonir Leclair, the Indian interpreter and trader. With these few exceptions, the whole country from St. Louis and Alton, was an almost unbroken wilderness. Many points here and there along the river were very beautiful. The gentle sloping hills at the head of the rapids — the present site of the far famed Morman City of Navou, were very attractive. But the scenery along the banks of the Great river from Muscatine to the head of the upper rapids
59stands unrivelled for beautiful, picturesque, scenery. As you come up the river and approach the present site of Rock Island and Davenport, in the center between the two sides of the river, Fort Armstrong, with its while walls glistening in the sun, occupying all the front part of the rocky point of the island; looking in the distance like a well built city; on the north side of the river the sloping beautiful banks covered with the scrub oaks, looking in the distance like a well kept apple orchard, with only one house to mar the beauty of the scene; on the south a broad smooth prairie sweeping around from Rock river to the present site of Moline; in the distance densly wooded hills; a few farm houses also are to be seen. This is a faint and inadequate description of the present site of Davenport and Rock Island as they appeared to me in 1833.
In the fall of 1836 I met an old Galena acquaintance John S. Miller in St. Louis, he was in St. Louis buying goods to open a store in Rock Island, then called Stevenson. He wished me to join him as a partner in business. He had considerable capital, and my knowledge of business was to offset his capital. Unfortunately as the sequel proved, I accepted his proposition, leaving a good situation in St. Louis. I came up to Rock Island and started in business with him. He was a man with a violent temper, not used to business, and after staying with him two years
60we desolved partnership, leaving me little or nothing, except liabilities amounting to $15,000, for which, I was holden. He dying soon after the termination of the partnership, his widow who was a shrewd, unscrupulous woman, through the manipulations of a corrupt probate judge, who made large allowances to her for the support of herself and family, I was left to settle the debts the best I could in after years, after I left Rock Island for Galena.
The original town of Stevenson was laid off by the county commissioners in 1834, and the lots were sold at public sale bringing a very fair price for that early day selling from $2 to $400 each, quite a number of my Galena friends invested in these lots. The site was considered a favorable one on account of its situation near the mouth of the beautiful Rock river. This river it was confidently suppossed would prove to be a navigable stream, at least as far as Rockford, 150 miles or more. Among the principal settlers in the village were John W. Spencer, the Cases, Jonah, Asahel and Charles. The numerous Wells family, who were scattered along the line of the river, commencing at the mouth of Rock River, settling along at different points at Moline, Hampton and Port Byron. These people all came originally from Vermont and New Hampshire, and were mostly enterprising men and good citizens. John W. Spencer took a leading part in every enterprise
61for the upbuilding of the town. I found a number of others living in the town and the vicinity. Dr. P. Gregg, William Bell, Wm. Brooks, Frazer Wilson, David Hawes and Ben Goble, the last two still living at this writing, the only three living of all who were here or in this vicinity in 1836.
The beauty and fertility of the Rock river valley attracted many emigrants from the older states during 1836 and 1837, and a number of flourishing colonies were started in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties, and these colonies were all naturally tributary to Rock Island. These emigrants all brought more or less money to the country and trade was very brisk in the little town, and we thought the prospect was good for building up a large flourishing city. A number of new business houses were opened, and all were doing well. The town was full of enterprising young men, who would compare very favorably with any that we have at this time. New additions were being laid off, and town lots were selling briskly at good prices. In 1837 the court house was built on the beautiful public square, and we all lent a hand in setting out the trees in the square, many of them still survive. The large trees still standing in the South west corner of the square Wm. E. Franklin and myself dug up on Credit Island, and brought them over in a skiff and set them out. There have been some additions made
62to the buildings on the square in later years, and our county commissioners are talking of erecting a new and more costly structure perhaps on the old site or at some point near the dividing line between Moline and Rock Island. Davenport built a court house the same year, of about the same cost and size, but that was torn down some years ago and a much larger one has taken its place.
In 1837 and 1838 the state commenced a most extravagant system of improvments all over the state, improving interior rivers — building railroads, and among the rest, an attempt to make Rock river a navigable stream by improving the rapids near the mouth of the river, and the rapids at Sterling. Work was commenced on Vandruff's Island, a hundred or more men were employed in digging nearly opposite the Sears mill. Some remains of the ditch are still to be seen. No part of this work is being utilized by the present canal, as it takes a new and entirely different route. Whether the present will ever be completed is a matter of doubt, at any rate many years will come and go before its final completion. At present a large force of men are employed on this work. The employment thus afforded the laboring men of Rock Island, while the work is going on in this neighborhood is about all the direct benefit Rock Island will ever receive from it. The contractors who were employed on this old canal
63were paid in state script. This evidence of state indebtedness at first passed at 50 per cent. discount, before fall it was difficult to pass it at 25 cents on the dollar. The great scheme for making state improvements suddenly collapsed. It was but a bubble, at last state bank paper became almost worthless. Then state banks encouraged by the policy inaugurated by the Jackson regime, making state banks depository of the government funds, encouraging speculation all over the country, every body was going to be rich, speculating in town lots. All sorts of wild visionary schemes were started, honest labor was at a discount. Only four or five years before what a different state of affairs existed. The United States bank with its various branches was making exchanges for all parts of the Union at a small premium, its paper was good every where, business was on a stable basis. Then Jackson commenced his onslaught on the bank with all the power of the government at his back. A man without any knowledge of statesmanship, a strong willed vindictive man, having his own way, by the eternal. A man aside from his qualities as a soldier, wholly unfit for the position in which he was placed by the people as president. Like a wild bull in a china shop, he tore around with lawless force, only a destructive force. The damage he done to the best interests of the country financially and politically for many years can hardly be estimated. He and
64that Mephistopoles, Martin Van Buren, foisted upon us that most pernicious system. "To the victor belongs the spoils." Before this, men who held office under the government were retained right along as under former administrations provided they were faithful and honest. The Democratic policy under Jackson and Van Buren has continued to produce a crop of swartouts sometimes anually, sometimes oftener. Old Hickory missed what might have been the one redeeming act of his life, when he threatened to hang John C. Calhoun, the arch traitor of secession and did not fulfill his threat. The people of this new western country, when this financial bubble burst directly traceable to the overthrow of the United States bank by old Hickory, found themselves in a sad predicament. Nearly all the currency in circulation was almost worthless. What was called good to-day was found to be worthless tomorrow. All business was paralized. The farmers in this section had just begun to raise quite a surplus, but there was no market. Wheat was nominally 35 cents, and corn 10 cents per bushel. Most of the outlying colonies who had been doing their trading in Rock Island had expended all their ready means in improving their farms and what surplus they had they could not sell or ship. The merchants had large amounts outstanding which they could not collect. Everything was dead, at a standstill. If any building was done
65at all it was done by a system of exchanges, swapping some one thing for another, without any money in the transaction. This state of affairs continued for some time, until about 1843, and the town grew very slowly. Quite a large number of our people went to Galena and staying a while, and earning a little money in their various occupations, some of them returned to Rock Island. Wm. L. Lee, Jorre Chamberlain, H. C. Harkelrhodos, and some others whose names I forget went there. In 1840 the people of the whole country became tired and disgusted with the Democratic rule and the election of that year resulted in the election of Gen. Harrison and Tyler. Monster meetings were held all over the country. The largest political gathering we have ever had was held in Rock Island, and many eminent speakers were here from abroad. Among them I recollect John Hogan, one of the most eloquent stump orators I ever heard. He afterwards settled in St. Louis and was elected a member of congress for two terms. I met him in St. Louis at the chamber of commerce in 1890 and had a long talk with him on old time subjects. During these hard times the country was overrun with lawless characters, horse thieves and counterfeiters, and occasionally we had to resort to lynch law to rid ourselves of them. A desperado from Iowa came into the town and robbed a boy of a few dollars. He was arrested and lodged in the old
66log jail. It was some three or four months before a session of the court, would be held to try him. So we concluded we would give him a trial by Judge Lynch. The jailer, Thomas Spencer made no resistance, so we started with him for the bluffs. Tim Babcock and myself locked arms with him. When we got to the slough, which then had only one narrow passway over it, he took to the muddy slough, soon breaking away from Tim and me. He was however caught on the other side and taken to the bluffs. Seven of us were appointed to give him seven cuts with a rawhide on the back. I recollect Ben Cobb and Ben Goble laid the rod on with all their might, Ben Goble is still living an old man of 81.
Another instance. A young fellow was arrested for trying to pass five dollar counterfeit gold pieces. He had quite a quantity of them in his possession, they were a miserable immitation of the genuine. We took him out to the woods, more to make him tell who were his confederates than anything else. He gave us a number of names, fictitious probably, as we knew none of the persons named. The counterfeit money was taken from him. He was admonished to go and sin no more.
One Sunday morning a man coming down Rock River early in the morning, and coming up to Rock Island by way of one of the sloughs discovered two skiffs moored to the shore, and some goods hanging on the trees. He reported it to
67us. We had heard the day before that a store had been robbed at Comanche. We started with a number of skiffs, well loaded with men who were ripe for the adventure. Some of us Ieft our boats at the head of the slough, and two went down to the mouth of Rock River to head off the thieves. We all started on the keen run, and saw the trees strung with bolts of calico and clothing. I was fleet of foot and arrived first, just in time to see the two thieves breaking for Rock River. One of them seized a pair of pants as he left. It had been raining heavily the night before and they stopped in order to dry their plunder. By the time the two men reached the river, the boats were there ready to capture them. The one with the pants attempted to swim the river with the pants around his neck and would have drowned if the men in the boats had not rescued him. The goods were brought to town and left in the store of Andrews & McMaster. The old brick store, the first of the kind in Rock Island is still in existance just east of the court house.
The thieves were taken over to Iowa and had a trial, were convicted, and while in charge of the sheriff on their way to the penitentiary at Muscatine, made their escape.
John Wilson came here from New Hampshire and obtained a grant for a ferry across the river. Judge John W. Spencer, who married his daughter for his second wife, afterwards became interested
68with him, and some years after Capt. T. J. Robinson obtained an interest. The ferry was always very well kept, and in after years became remunerative to the owners. Many attempts were made at different times to annul the charters obtained in Iowa and Illinois, but without success. Capt. Robinson who for many years has had control, an adroit manager, always succeeded in retaining the charter intact. Even after the government and the Rock Island railroad built the great free bridge it has still remained a good paying stock, being run across the river near the center of the two cities of Davenport and Rock Island. The defunct town of Rockingham was started in Iowa opposite the mouth of Rock river in 1836. It was supposed that this beautiful river would prove to be a navigable stream, and some three or four small steamers were built for this trade. The Harris boys built the Frontier, a very fine draft boat, and made one trip up the river as far as Rockford during high water in the spring. This boat was the first one to land at the present ferry landing, boats having landed before at what was called lower town, just below the Q depot. The water was very shoal there and our enterprising citizen, Henry Powars, built a wharf boat on which the boats could land. Spencer and Case the owners of their addition to the upper part of the city deeded the corner lot on first street near the present ferry landing to Smith & R. S. Harris.
69I sold this lot for them to Jacob Riley in 1867 for $2,600, 80 by 160 feet. Another steamer called the Rock River was built by a Hungarian Count at some point above Rockford, called Matzalan. He brought the boat down the river and run her on the Mississippi. The count settled at Prairie Du Sac on the Wisconsin river. Afterwards Rockingham was laid off by John H. Sulivan, a man full of energy and enterprise. He built and opened the first store in Rock Island, the one that was afterwards occupied by Miller & McMaster. Sulivan put up a saw and grist mill and induced a number of men of enterprise and means to settle in the incipient town: two Davenport Bros. H. B. Brown and Sargent, afterwards of the firm of Cook & Sargent. Mr. Sargent was afterwards interested in the Northern Pacific railroad, and laid out a part of the city of Duluth and the town of London, lying just north on ground gently sloping to the Great Lake. A number of stores were erected, and a very fair commencement was made for a prosperous town. The county seat of Scott county was located there one season by importing voters from Dubuque, it was stated. The next year there was another contest for county seat between Rockingham and Davenport, in which Davenport won the victory by a handsome majority, that majority was made up largely by imported votes from Rock Island. Rockingham imported a good many from Dubuque,
70but not enough to win the day. We then considered the town at the mouth of Rock river to be a much stronger rival than Davenport. One main cause of the downfall of the new town was its situation on low flat ground, subject to overflow nearly every year. A party of us went down in skiffs one season when the water was very high. We hitched our skiffs to the porch of the hotel which stood on the highest ground in the town.
In about 1838 Davenport commenced to fill up. Antonie Leclaire had been living there some years and had a large grant of land from the Indians, as well as one at Leclaire at the head of the rapids. Among the first settlers were D. C. Eldridge, who was I think the first postmaster: the Cook brothers, John Forrest and his brother-in-law, Dillon, the father of Judge Dillon. John Forrest succeeded Mr. Eldridge as postmaster. Judge Mitchell, who married a sister of George Davenports's wife, Samuel Parker and Frazier Wilson, now of Rock Island and at this writing is still living. Antonie Leclair and Col. Davenport, who lived on the Island, owned most of the town site, and were very liberal in their terms for lots to all who wished to invest. This and the beautiful site, unequalled by any other on the great river, together with the rich fertile soil of Scott county, all of which tributary to the young city, give it a decided advantage, over its neighbor across the river. So much for Davenport in olden time she has kept
71steadily advancing in growth and prosperity and now has a population of about 35,000 the second city in population in the state.
The first school we had of any kind in Rock Island was a private one, opened by a Mr. Hummer a bigotted tyranical old time calvinist. He required and expected his pupils to obey his behests both in and out of school hours. There was to be a dance in a few days and he forbid the young ladies to attend. Some three or four of them went notwithstanding he told them they must not. He asked one of them, Henrietta, Judge Garnsey's daughter, if she went to the ball, "I did" she said. "Take your books and go home, Miss Garnsey," he said. She was a proud spirited girl and felt very indignant at the insult put upon her, and as she went with the books in her arms she threw one of them at the reverend gentleman, hitting him on the head. That night an indignation meeting was held by the young men who called on the preacher and gave him just three days to pack up and leave. He left! I think there was no systematic endeavor to found public schools before 1844, during this interim my old time friend, Gen. C. C. Washburn of Wisconsin, taught a private school. During the time he was here he was appointed county surveyor by the county commissioners to take the place of Oglesby, who I think resigned or died. He went from here to Mineral point, Wisconsin, and opened
72a bank with Cyrus Woodman, a bank that always paid specia on demand for its notes. He went into the war of the Rebellion. Had command of the forces that attempted to open the Yazzo river during the seige of Vicksburg. Came out of the war a major general, was elected a senator, and afterwards governor of his state, leaving at his death large bequests to the state for educational and scientific subjects. A broad minded liberal man, the peer of his brother, E. B. Washburn.
About this time Elton Cropper and one or two others made an effort to open public schools, but they were bitterly opposed by some of our well-to-do citizens, who ought to have helped them along, instead of opposing. Some years later my old time friend, George Mexter, obtained a special charter from the state organizing the Rock Island school district. Vesting in a board of five directors power to appoint teachers, to levy all necessary taxes for the support of the schools, and to annex any contiguous territory on petition. An excellent charter under which the schools are still running. Mr. Mexter took active interest in the public schools some years as director and president of the board. The system gradually developed until at the present we have six large well constructed brick school houses, with 8 to 12 rooms each with a corps of some 45 teachers under the control and management of our efficient superintendent,
73S. S. Kemble. I would mention as a personal matter that I have acted as a director and president of the board some 10 or 12 years, during my residence here since 1866, and now in my old age, I, in order to keep and feel young, still visit the schools often, and frequently go out with the children of the schools in my neighborhood into the woods in the spring and fall and always enjoy the trip.
We had a debating society made up mostly of the young men of the town; of those taking a leading part in the debates were George Mexter, who is still living, Joe Wells who was afterwards elected Lieutenant Governor of the state; he was very eloquent, a genuine orator in subjects that interested him, Dr. Gregg, Wm. E. Franklin, John W. Spencer, myself and J. Bernard Smith occasionally participated in the debates. One of the topics of debate was, "has the Negro race received more harm from the Whites than the Indians." Friend Mexter, I recollect gave a glowing description of the high state of civilization of the Negro race in early times in Northern Africa, and the terrible crime the Whites committed in enslaving them in after years. He was answered that the people inhabiting Northern Africa did not belong to the negro race, but were Moors and Berbers. That the Indian race in America had been by the cruelty and greed of the whites, decimated and nearly swept from the earth in both North and South America.
Quite a large number of our population at this time came from Pennsylvania, some few from Kentucky. The first from this state was Col. Buford the father of Gen. N. B. Buford, Thomas, John and James. N. B. Buford took an active part in the Civil war, and distinguished himself in the battle of Belmont, where Gen. Grant was first brought into notice. Gen. John Buford was a distinguished cavalry commander in the army of the Potomac. The father, Col. Buford, was a large powerful man, rough in manner, but genial, a great admirer of the new city of his adoption, which he called, New Jerusalem. He built the first store on the levee, a small frame structure with a very high square front, gorgeously painted to imitate granite. One day he was out in the front looking at it. He says, this building looks like a man clothed in a ruffled shirt and nothing else. He and myself were the first town trustees. About the only work I recollect we had done was to commence a ditch to drain the slouch back of the town. The money to do the work was raised mostly from private sources, very little efficient work was done on this much needed improvement for many years after. Under Mayor, E. P. Reynolds' administration some fifteen years ago, a large sunstantial sewer was commenced and finished at the river embracing some five or six blocks and finally completed at this time to the head of the low ground in the slough. When the financial
75collapse of 1837 struck and paralyzed the whole country, as I have said before, all improvement was at a stand still for a number of years in Rock Island, very little addition to the population was made for sometime. One of our enterprising citizens, Henry Powars built the old Rock Island house which was very well kept at first by himself and afterwards by our old friend, David Haws, who was a model landlord, setting a good table; and his energetic wife always seeing to the kitchen department. It was kept for a number of years after by B. and I. Vancourt. There were two other small hotels, one was kept by Mr. Buffam, the father of a number of boys among whom was John Buffam, for a long time county commissiomer from Adalusia. The Buffam house was on the south side of the street opposite the court house. Old man Bentley kept the other on sixteenth street near the river.
Joseph Knox, George Mexter, Judge Drury, Samuel Andrews and Ben Cobb came here in 1837. Old Joe Conway was clerk of the court, magistrate and postmaster. He and his brother Miles came here from Madison county, Ill. The principal place of resort, for many, was Cobb's saloon. Joe Knox and old Joe Conway were generally very regular attendants there, always engaged in playing euchre for the drinks, when they could induce anyone to play with them. Joseph Knox was a very talented and brilliant lawyer, a
76finished orator. He might have taken a leading part in the politics of the state, but for his dissolute habits. He moved to Chicago many years ago, and died there. We had a number of noted quaint characters here: Judge Garnsey and his son, Charles, the judge was formerly a member of congress in the state of New York, they both took a leading part in the Harrison campaign of 1840 and were rewarded by being appointed as receiver and register for the land office at Dixon; Old man Naylor, who had a store and started the first distillery just below the Barnes estate's property. He was the butt and laughing stock of the whole town and people were always playing jokes upon him. One of them was this, he married a young wife of 16. On the night of his marriage, after he and his young wife had retired, a delegation went to his house and called him out. They took him to the Rock Island house and made him order a basket of champaign for the crowd. Keeping him in his shirt and drawers until near morning. One day when he was traveling in a steamboat, the boat being somewhat crowded, his state room was in the ladies cabin. After dinner the day being warm he went to his room disrobing all but his shirt and drawers. Some of his waggish friends took a bucket of water and throwing it on him, those outside the door raised the cry, "The boat is sinking!" "The boat is sinking!" This aroused him from his slumbers and he rushed
77out among the ladies, only to find that another joke had been played upon him.
In the fall of 1839, Mr. Andrews and myself bought quite a large stock of goods in St. Louis which were shipped quite late, as the winter set in curly in November. Some of the goods only got as far as Hamburgh, but most of them were stored at Louisiana, Mo., by the clerk of the boat, my old friend Capt. D. N. Dawley. He was one the most efficient and reliable clerks on the river and served on a number of boats for more than thirty years. I went down to Louisiana in December, rented a store and sold quite a quantity of the stock, with a portion of the goods I loaded up three ox teams, and Ben Cobb took charge of the teams for Rock Island. Early in March I started for Rock Island, coming by boat to Keokuk and from there on horseback, rather an unpleasant ride, the weather was raw and cold. We found that we had a rather large stock of high priced goods on hand, and concluded to try a venture on Rock river. We bought a small keel boat of about 50 tons, loaded her up mostly with groceries with a crew of two men, myself as clerk or supercargo, and Ben Cobb as captain. We left town and got along fine until we struck the rapids just below Sears mill. We tried to get over all one day without any success. About one hundred men were there at work on the canal near by, and I hired a number of them to help us over.
78They took hold each side of the boat and lifted us over, it took all one day, and then we went on our way rejoicing, landing near night just above and opposite Carrs ferry. When we got here we found our boat was leaking badly, and we had to keep the pumps going nearly all night. There was considerable wind blowing and we were lying on a muddy bottom. The mud and the soaking of the water stopped the seams, and we had very little trouble after with a leaky boat. Stopping along the river wherever there was a settlement to supply the wants of the people, we came to the Sterling rapids, but had no difficulty in getting over them. We stopped at Portland, lying a short distance below Prophetstown some two weeks, as here we found a large settlement of well-to-do farmers, with whom we opened a brisk trade. Here I became acquainted with I. D. Seely an enterprising go ahead man, much respected in that section of the country. Just above Portland I found a son of Professor Dwight, of Harvard college. He had a large beautiful farm in a great bend of the river, a very comfortable good sized log house. I took dinner with him in his bachelor quarters, and found him to be a very agreeable cultivated gentleman. Some years later I met a man who was his foreman on the farm, at the time I was there. I met him on the line of the North Missouri railroad, he was a regular correspondent of the New York Tribune at the time.
79In talking about Mr. Dwight he told me that on one Sunday morning he found Dwight dressed up in his best, with white kid gloves walking up and down on his porch. He asked him what he was dressed up for, as there was no one to see him. His reply was "God sees me," that is enough. We stopped some time at Dixon, quite a thriving town with a number of stores. Henry and Myres F. Truett, two of my Galena friends in after years had a store here. The town was named after Mr. Dixon the first settler, and who owned and run a ferry for many years there. A short distance above we came to Grand De Tour, found a narrow canal cut across the great bend of the river forming a good water power, and a grist and saw mill in operation. Quite a number of Moline friends came from there, John Deere, Mr. Hemmway and a number of others came to Moline a few years after. We made our slow toilsome way up the river as far as Rockford. Whenever we came to swift water which occurred quite often, we had all to take a hand at the setting poles. At one place below Rockford we found the current so swift we could not stem it. So we hired an old horse to help us over with a towline, but the current proved too strong for the horse, the boat striking a strong current commenced drifting down stream, throwing the horse on his side until he came to a rocky ledge and acting as an anchor the boat was stopped.
Rockford at this time had some 1,500 to 2,000 people a beautiful thriving town, with an improved water power. We, of course could do nothing here, so we turned our bow down streams. This trip satisfied me that Rock river could not be successfully navigated by steam boats unless a large amount of money was spent in improving the navigation. Our venture was not a very profitable one, but still we did not lose any money, and sold off our surplus of goods. This whole Rock River valley was so beautiful, with groves of timber scattered all along its banks and rich gently rolling prairies that it attracted more attention and drew a larger and better class of population at this early day than any other part of the state. In the spring of 1840 I married my wife, the daughter of Wm. Brooks, who came from Northern New Hampshire in the fall of 1835 coming all the way with his wife and three children: Wm. E, George and Jeannette, in a carriage, and sending their household goods round by New Orleans. They came here in November and moved into what was called the Farham or Ferry house, which stood until about 1875 just below the Cable mansion. The next year he built a hewn log house on the corner lot on second street, west of the opera house. A few years later he erected the frame dwelling on what is called the Brooks farm on Fifth avenue. There is quite a story connected with the entry of this fractional quarter
81section of land at the land office at Galena. Wm. Brooks before starting for Galena to enter this land, learned that John H. Sulivan, a much younger man intended to go on the first boat to Galena, to enter the same piece of land, the boat was due in the morning and Mr. Brooks know that in the race up the steep bank at Galena to Bench street where the land office was situated, Sulivan would outrun him. He consulted with Charles Eames, his brother-in-law, and they concluded that Mr. Eames should start that night on a good horse they had and try to beat the boat, and that Mr. Brooks should go on the boat taking the specie along with him to enter the land. Mr. Eames started in the afternoon, stopping at Port Byron that night. His next stop was at Mr. Pierce's, at Savanna, who gave him a fresh horse to continue his night ride. Mr. Eames had been over the road before and was familiar with the route. He passed by Pilot Knob, Hinckley's Mound and the little rugged city soon come in view at about 9 o'clock in the morning. As he rode down the steep hill in East Galena, he saw in the distance down the little winding river the smoke of a steam boat. He soon reached the land office and made the application for the land, telling the officers that his brother-in-law would be on the first boat with the money. As he came down the hill he met Sulivan on the keen run. When Sulivan went into the office and found that the land was
82entered he would not beleive it at first until he saw Mr. Brooks come in with the money and pay for the land. They had made the voyage together and had talked on various subjects, of everything except the entry of the land. A few years after this, Mr. Brooks put up a substantial farm house which is still standing. At this time it was all or nearly all heavily timbered. He obtaind some apple seeds from a barrel of rotten apples and started a nursery from which he set out a large orchard of some fifteen acres on the west side of the so-called Columbian grounds. These trees he afterwards grafted and in a few years raised large quantities of apples which were quite a source of revenue. He told his children that they would see the day when this land lying between the two towns would be worth $500 dollars per acre. His prediction was fulfilled many years ago, and in 1892 the homestead portion containing some twenty-five acres was sold to the columbian syndicate for some sixty thousand dollars.
The election of Harrison and Tyler in 1840 did not improve the times as the president died a few months after his election, and under Tyler his successor, who was a double dyed "Pro Slavery" man, the country went back under the control of the Democrats. This control has always proven disasterous to the best interests in the Northern states as the Democracy has always been, and still is to this day, under the control of these
83Southern masters, who now, more than ever, act as a unit with the unprogressive Democracy. In consequence of the hard times in this section of country, this county was infested with many lawless characters. In Marshall county and those adjoining, they had a desperate gang called the Reeves gang, who had terrorized the country for a long time. This gang of horse thieves and counterfeiters had their rendezvous at the house of old man Reeves. Himself and wife were both very able in ways of duplicity and rascality. Under the guidance and advice of these two, a set of desperate characters were gathered together, who for a number of years preyed upon the community, They had so many connections and confederates, it was almost impossible to prove anything against them. They uniformely escaped unwhipt of justice. They finally became so bold and outrageous, that the best men of Marshall, and three or four adjoining counties collected together to the number of four hundred, and went to old Reeves and told him he must leave. They loaded his household goods upon wagons, his virago of a wife and three children following behind. They were all shipped on the steamer Dove down the Illinois river. The torch was then applied to the house and outhouses. The gang was broken up, scattered to commence depredation elsewhere. They came to Rock Island and murdered Col. George Davenport. They all belonged to this gang of
84outlaws except young Baxter. This heinous crime occurred on the 4th of July, in 1846. The family with the servants had all gone over to Rock Island to celebrate the 4th. They wished him to go with them, but he declined to do so. He did not wish to leave the house alone, as a number of suspicious characters had been seen lurking around the neighborhood in canoes. He was provided with a brace of pistols, and took his position in a front room facing the river, leaving a large watch dog near the rear entrance of the house. The robbers entered the house very quietly in the rear. They had secured as a confederate to guide them, young Baxter, acquainted with the family, and familiar with the dog. He going ahead of them, quieted the dog and opening the rear door secured admission to the house, and going through the room where the Colonel was sitting opened fire upon him, wounding him in the thigh. They demanded his money and seizing hold of him roughly, draged him up stairs to the safe. It was opened and they found only a few dollars in specie. Baxter had told the robbers there was a large amount in the safe, which was true only a few days before, but Davenport had sent $10,000 to St. Louis only a few days before, so the robbers were disappointed, and departed taking a gold watch and the few dollars in silver found in the safe, giving young Baxter one dollar for his share, leaving the poor Colonel alone weltering in his
85blood. The family returned at night and found him unconscious, and nearly dead from loss of blood. He lived but a few hours. The brutal assassination caused intense excitement throughout the country, and large rewards were offered by the governor of Iowa and Illinois, and by the family. This induced the best detective talent of the country to use their efforts to capture the theives and murderers. Among others there was a Mr. Bonney, afterwards the author of "The Bandits of the Prairie," who offered his services. He was a shrewd sharp man, and kept watch of the operations of the gang. Their headquarters was at the house of one, Williams, who lived on Rock River, about 12 miles above Rock Island. Mr. Bonney obtained letters of introduction to the governors of Iowa and Illinois, showing the nature of his business. He obtained unsigned bank bills on the state banks of Missouri and the Dubuque bank, in Iowa, and one or two banks of Illinois. It did not take him long to fall in with some of the gang and showing them these unsigned bills he soon succeeded in gaining their confidence and learning all their plans, and who were the murderers of Col. Davenport, and when his plans were all matured they were arrested. John Young and Aaron, his brother were arrested at the house of their father eight miles east of Galena, his house was in a wild secluded place in the deeply wooded hills of Jo Daviess county. They were
86taken to Rock Island and lodged in jail. Grannels Young another of the murderers was arrested. Fox was arrested in Indiana, but somehow managed to escape from the sheriff. Birch was arrested at Peoria, and on trial turned states evidence, and was not hanged with the Longs and Youngs. They were convicted and hanged on Oct. 19th, 1845, three months and a half after the murder was committed, (speedy justice was meeted out to them, without the long tedious delays of the present day. Witness the long, lingering trial of Guitean for the murder of the lamented Garfield, and again the trial of that worthless vagabond Prendergast, for the murder of Carter Harrison, which at this writing has been in progress two or three weeks and may continue as much longer. The costs of these long lingering suits are paid, one by the government and the other by the municipality of Chicago.)
On the day of execution an immense crowd were assembled. The sheriff had been notified that an attempt at rescue might be made, and then forewarned he had provided for the emergency, by arming some seventy-five trusty citizens as a guard, as it was noticed there were many strange faces and hard looking characters about Rock Island some days preceding the execution. The elder Long made a very long and pathetic speech, and at its close there was a rush towards the gallows, but the guards faced about towards the crowd
87ready to shoot if there was an attempt made at rescue. Whether there was one or not, or whether the rush was only excitement of the crowd was not known. If it meant a rescue it was promptly foiled, and the execution proceeded without further excitement, and three of these bloodstained assassins were brought to justice. Fox, who was said to be the leader in the murder as before stated and was never heard of again. Young Baxter who volunteered to lead the assassins to the house fled and was in hiding a long time. A rumor came that he was at his brother-in-laws near Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Gregg who had been untiring in his efforts to bring the murderers to justice procured a requisition on the Governor of Wisconsin and with an officer went in search of this foolish young man who so cheaply sold his services to the outlaws, they found him at Haneys, he was returned to Rock Island, tried for murder and sentenced to state prison for life, dying a few years after of consumption. He made a confession in full, telling all the particulars, of the plot. He was well connected. His brother who came from Virginia, was at the time in charge of the Post on the Island under an appointment by the government, and the young man was admitted to the friendship and confidence of Col. Davenport, so that at the time, he knew of the large sum of money he supposed was in the house and gave the information to the robbers, they promising him a share of the plunder.
Davenport in 1810 had about 500 inhabitants, among the persons whom I recollect then living there were Dr. Barrows, a very skillful physician, who first settled at Rockingham and afterwads married an old acquaintance of mine, Mary Sulivan, sister of I. H. Sulivan, founder of Rockingham. The Dr. I think, is still living in Atlanta, Georgia, at the advanced age of 90. Judge James Grant, who came from North Carolina, was one of the most celebrated lawyers of Iowa. I first met him in Chicago in 1834, he had opened an office in a small shanty. I noticed his sign, "lawyers office" and stopped to have a power of attorney drawn, when finished I asked how much I had to pay, he said in his off hand way, "one dollar." He told me some years after his price for that kind of document would be at least five dollars. Another pioneer was I. M. D. Burrows, who came from Cincinnati in 1838. Soon after he opened a store and commenced, during the hard times, taking produce from the farmers, the first one to do so in this section of the country. His business gradually increased and developed until he was doing an immense business for that early day. He built a grist mill and packing house, and did more, towards building up and developing Davenport and Scott county than any other in these early days. I had a good many business transactions with him while living in Galena and always found him honest and honorable. Later in
89life he became embarrassed and very poor, but the trading spirit was so strong in him that only a few years ago I often saw him pass my house with his old horse and wagon loaded with vegetables for the Moline market. In 1880 he wrote and published a very interesting and readable book of some 200 pages. James McIntoth a Scotchman from Dundee was another noted character owning a portion of the town site and improving the same by laying out and improving the streets, a very genial man. He was Territorial and State binder for Iowa, and established the first book bindery in Davenport. Towards the close of his life he become somewhat embarrassed and despondent and ended his life by suicide at Mc Gregor, lowa. George L. Davenport the son of Col. G. Davenport after his marriage to Miss Clark settled in Davenport. He was married at the small Catholic church in Davenport by Father Mazuakette in 1839. Myself and wife before our marriage stood up with them, we afterwards went onto the island and spent the night at Col. Davenport's house. George L. was very liberal and he and Antonie Leclaire erected many substantial brick buildings in after years.
Antonie Leclaire the Indian interpreter and agent must not be forgotten, a half breed, French and Indian, as he said, "the very first white man who settled in Davenport." A very large fleshy man who had not been able to tie his shoes for
90many years before his death. His house, the only one in 1833 on the site of Davenport stood on the gentle slope some distance below his mansion, built many years later; I recollect it as well as if I saw it only yesterday. Some logs or something else had been drawn up from the river, making very plain marks up the slope. I was in his old log house a few years after attending a ball, I think. I recollect the largest room in the house was papered in the most gorgeous and oriental style, with tropical plants and palm trees. He was a most liberal broad minded man, willing and ready to help the needy and forward every public work for the benefit of the city. He died many years ago. John Forrest, who married my sister, settled in Davenport in 1838. He entered a tract of land on the hill which later he laid off into lots. He was postmaster succeeding D. C. Eldridge, and was a magistrate for many years, built the Forrest block on Brady street. He died in the fall of 1893 at the advanced age of 88 years.
Leclaire at the head of the rapids, early attracted attention as a favorable site for a town. Two of the Davenports, who formerly lived in Rockingham. settled there and established a boat yard for the repairing and building of boats. Capt. V. D. Dawley settled there at an early day. The father of Jas. B. Eades settled at the little town of Princeton, two miles above Leclaire. He came from St. Louis, having done business there under
91the name of Buchanan & Eades. Port Byron opposite Leclaire, was laid off in 1836 or 1837 by Archibald Allen and N. Belcher. Mr. Belcher came to Rock Island in 1835, and then moved to Port Byron. He was postmaster under Harrison, and after Harrison's death under the reign of Tyler, he received a letter from the postmaster general, requiring his written assent, to a certain policy. The circular stated he must sign it. Instead he wrote a most scathing letter which was published in the Rock Island paper and also in the Galena Gazette. Joe Knox or some one here sent a copy of the paper to the department, and Belcher was forthwith removed. After the Republicans came into power he was again appointed and held the office for many years. He was a strong vigorous writer. Silas Marshall with his large interesting family, who married Belcher's sister, settled there about the same time and kept a good hotel. The young people of Rock Island used to often get up dancing parties in the winter, going up in large sleighs with plenty of hay in the bottom. They generally kept up the dance until morning.
Sometime along in the fifties under a Democratic and pro slavery administration, it was given out that the secretary of war would sell the island, that it would soon be subject to entry, our Southern masters, thinking we had no need of a site for arsenals or forts at the North. It was in
92the winter season when the report got out and there was a rush for the island to secure squatter claims, by erecting small shanties and living in them a few days. They all had to leave in the spring as the policy of selling the island was abandoned, it was said through the influence of Jeff Daviess, who at one time was stationed here before he was at Fort Crawford. If this was so, we will give him all due credit for the same.
Lemuel Andrews my old partner in business was a shrewd sharp man, a true friend to those he liked, but a bitter unrelenting enemy to those who crossed his path. He had somewhat of a legal mind. The lawyers said he was a good judge of land titles and his knowledge in this respect enabled him to acquire at cheap rates a number of tracts of land with defective titles and he also, while sheriff of the county accumulated a good deal by tax titles, which he perfected. We built together the first brick store which is still standing just cast of the court house square, adjoining the house Mrs. Cobb occupied so long. This house he also put up and occupied for some years. He erected a saw and grist mill combined, in the lower part of the city in 1841. He in connection with some others built the steamer, Clarion, utilizing the wreck of the old steamer, Brazil, which was sunk near the government toll wagon bridge by the ice. Later he erected and occupied the large costly mansion for so
93many years known as the Cable residence. He at the time owned a large tract of land in the neighborhood including all the land in the lower part of the Twenty-ninth or Elm street. He and Daniel A. Barrows owned a tract of land, some 30 acres, embracing the ground where the lower Moline school house stands. The land was platted and divided between them and I afterwards sold most of the lots and the land embracing the high bluff just south of the school house, to John Deere. The sale in all amounting to some $15,000.
He was always deeply in debt, but always managed to escape from judgments and creditors by frequent transfers of his property. This cause has tended to somewhat complicate the titles of some of the property in which he was interested. When he died in 1860 his estate was deeply embarrassed, but under the wise judicious management of Judge Gould the administrator, some part of it was saved for his widow and two children, Lemuel and Ellen.
Elisha P. Reynolds came here in 1838 at an early day, he owned and built the house in which I now live at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Ninth street. About this time he entered into partnership with Christopher Atkinson in the brick making business. Their first brick yard was located near the corner of Twenty-Ninth street and Seventh Avenue. Not finding enough
94clay here they commenced making brick at the present site of the brick yard on the hill which has been so long used in brick making by Wm. Atkinson & Oloff. The first contract for railroad work was with the C. R. & R. L, in building the embankment to the approaches to their old line across the Island for the bridge which crossed the slough. In this he showed his natural shrewdness by using the sand found close at hand instead of hauling the dirt from a distance, as other builders expected to do. In 1857 he took a contract to grade a number of miles for the Racine railroad, which was based mainly on bonds issued on farm mortgages given by the farmers along the line. At this time there was some hitch in obtaining the money that was due him for work done, and the financial crash of that year found him unable to pay the men he had employed in the work. In August of that year I bought the place I now occupy of Hibbard Moore, paying a fancy price for it. An amount that would have bought six times the amount of real estate the next year, so I was told. Mr. Moore who was a good friend of Mr. Reynolds loaned him $8,000, which he has often told me, saved him from bankruptcy. From this time he continued to do more or less railroad work, until the firm of Reynolds, Salpaugh & Co., was formed, when they commenced taking many contracts for building railroads and bridges, sometimes making a good deal of
95money and sometimes losing largely. They took a contract to build some 400 miles of road in Texas, on which each of the four partners engaged lost some $20,000. A few years after the partnership of Reynolds and Salpaugh was disolved and the firm of E. P. Reynolds & Co., was reorganized, composed of his three sons, in which Porter Skinner often had an interest. The new firm became very popular, having the reputation of always doing good work and doing as they agreed. They built many hundreds of miles of road in the west and south, and made a good deal of money as long as E. P. Reynolds had the leading direction and management. He became somewhat infirm of late years, and some losing contracts were made by the boys. A contract in Indiana and another in Kentucky, proving very disastrous financially, culminating in losing over half a million of dollars. Mr. Reynolds credit was excellent, and for the last three or four years before his death he borrowed sums ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, of his neighbors and of some of his employers, who were some of them left destitute, he thinking no doubt that he would be able sooner or later to replace the money. He was elected mayor one or two terms, serving very acceptably. Whatever work he had done was well done. He opened and improved the best appointed farm in the county, in Pleasant Valley, converting valueless marsh land by a thorough system of drainage
96into rich productive fields. The whole tract of 440 acres is the most of it in a high state of cultivation with large barns and other buildings for stock. Mr. Reynolds was possessed of a strong vigorous mind, his impulses were generally in the right direction, a good kind neighbor and respected by all. I have written somewhat at length of these two men, my old associates and friends, because I consider them both to have been leading representative men among the early pioneers of Rock Island.
In 1854 the first railroad to reach the Mississippi river was the Chicago & Rock Island. The contract to build this road was let to Henry Farnam and Joseph Sheffield, both coming from Connecticut, where they had considerable experience in rail road and canal building. They commenced this work in April 1852, and finished it to Rock Island in February 1854. The main direction of this work was under the direction and management of Henry Farnam, who with indomitable energy pushed it through to completion in four months less time than the contract called for.
Our old neighbor John Warner and Wm. Whitman took large sub-contracts for grading, and after the completion of the road, a company was organized to build the bridge across the Mississippi river. John Warner had the contract for building the stone peers and abutments. This work was done in 1855. The Chicago and Galena
97railroad was commenced some two years before and had only reached Elgin, when the Rock Island road was commenced, and Mr. Farnam was anxious to reach the Mississippi first, which he did, some two years before.
Completion of the Chicago & R. I. R. R. to Rock Island. The Great R. R. Excursion to St. Paul.
The Galena road was finished to Freeport, fifty miles east of Galena, by the Chicago Galena company, and after a delay of two years or more, the road was taken in hand by the Illinois Central who built it to Galena in the year 1856, and some months after was extended to the Mississippi river opposite Dubuque. The Chicago directors were afraid of the heavy work through the rough Jo Daviess hills, the deep cut and heavy grade at Scales Mound, and sold out their birthright to the Central. Wm. B. Ogden, a broad liberal minded man, who took a leading part in the road from its beginning, was bitterly opposed to the policy of selling out, or rather giving up their right to the Central. When the road reached Rock Island in February there was a celebration, a jolification, firing cannons, speeches, etc. But the great event was the railroad and steamboat excursion to St. Paul, Minn. Mr. Farnam invited the stockholders and their families, and a number of the representative men of New England
98land and New York. Ex-President Filmore, Thurston Ward, Chas. A. Dana, of the New York Tribune, and some six or eight other editors of lending Eastern papers, besides a number of college professors, who were among the invited guests, numbering in all some 600. On their arrival at Rock Island they were met by six fast and beautiful steamers belonging and owned in Galena, and engaged in the Galena, Dubuque and St. Paul trade, and given a free ride to St. Paul. The boats composing the fleet were the Golden Era. Capt. Hiram Bersie an old time friend and partner of mine in milling; Lady Franklin, Capt. Blakeley; The Galena, Capt. Orrin Smith; War Eagle, Capt. Smith Harris; The Sparkawk, Capt. Green. Two other boats joined the procession near Galena, taking many passengers from Dubuque and Galena. The river was high and often two boats would be joined together for miles, and passengers would pass from one to the other. On their arrival at St. Paul where they stopped two days, they were greeted and treated royally by the people. On their return all those who wished to return east, by the way of Rock Island took passage on four of the fastest steamers, and reached Rock Island in less than thirty six hours. This was the grandest excursion ever given on the great river and a notable event in the history of Rock Island and was far reaching in its effects on the rapid settlement of Northern Iowa and the new
99undeveloped state of Minnesota. It attracted wide attention in all the Eastern states, as nearly all the leading editors who enjoyed the excursion intensely, had long articles in their several papers, describing the delightful scenery, through which they passed, and the immense resources of the Northwest. These reports and the comments of others to their neighbors on their return home, started a rush of emigrants for this new country. The magnificent steamers belonging to the Galena and St. Paul company were after this, usually crowded with emigrants, mostly coming in by the way of Freeport from the end of the unfinished Chicago and Galena railroad, by stage from Freeport and taking passage at Galena. This prosperous state of affairs continued for two years. The little wharf at Galena being crowded with business, two or three boats leaving daily for St. Paul, until the Illnois Central reached the Mississippi at Dunleith opposite Dubuque.
There was quite a rapid trade sprung up in Rock Island after the completion of the R. R. New enterprises were started, new stores were erected, some manufactories, a large iron foundry was erected by N. B. Buford, who also built a pork house and the large three story house on First street facing the river, now occupied by our old able editor of the Union, Walter Johnson. During this time Col. Chas Buford started the plow factory that is still in operation under a new company
100and a new management. The coal banks out at Coal Valley were opened at an earlier day, by Ben Harper, Homes Hakes and S. S. Guyer, and they began to supply boats with coal and to ship north. I bought a number of barge loads for our steam flour mill at Galena, paying 12Ë cents per bushel delivered. These mines fell into the hands of P. L. Cable later, and proved a great source of profit to him under his wise management, giving his miners 1/3 of the gross product of the mines. He never had a strike under this system, clearly demonstrating that under this system of sharing profits with the employes, strikes are avoided and labor is more likely to reap a proper share of their earnings; wherever and whenever this system has been inaugurated under well directed and honest management, it has uniformly proven a success. I believe that this is to be in the future the solution of the trouble between labor and capital. All sorts of manufacturing can be carried on in this way, and even railroads might be run in this way were it not for the watered stock and the greed of many connected with the management of outside operations. For many years Mr. Cable had the monopoly of the coal trade, as he owned and controlled the railroad leading to the mines. These mines and the ones opened in Mercer county to which he built a railroad have been a constant source of a large yearly income. In the interval between 1854 and 1857 and later, a number of
101banks were started by P. L. Mitchell & P. L. Cable, N. B. Buford; Birch & Blackburn opened one; and Marcus Osborn and Wm. Lee also opened a bank.
The Financial Panic of 1857. General Suspension of nearly all Western Banks.
When the crisis of 1857 came on, these banking institutions all went down except one, Mitchell & Cable. The country seemed to be prospering at the time, but unlimited credits were given to almost any enterprise, speculation had received an impetus from the large amounts of gold brought from California. The first of the institutions to fall was the one at Cincinnati which had many branches, and the main one in New York. They were allowing 5 or 6 percent on deposits and many of our Western bankers made their deposits with the New York branches, depositing all their spare funds and drawing against this branch whenever they sold exchange. This institution was the first brick to tumble in the row and a money panic seemed to seize the whole country, and there was a general suspension of specie payments with most of the Western banks. Our old friends, Marcus Osborne and Wm. L. Lee, succumbed to the storm. Mr. Osborne retired to the shades of a little town on Lake Pepin and remained until the storm blew over. Wm. L. Lee went to Colorado and recuperated his fallen fortunes, settling
102and living in Chicago for many years after, dying a short time ago in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1866, I bought of him the acre of ground on which stand the Telgler and Larkin houses.
Real estate went down and everything was dead in the way of business for three or four years until the commencement of the Civil war. Many new branches of manufacturing industry had been started in Moline which were compelled to quit, some of them becoming bankrupt. Even our old valued friend, John Deere, was compelled to ask for an extension. Galena perhaps stood the onslaught better than any other city in the West, only one banking house being compelled to close and make a compromise with its creditors, the house of James Carter. He had deposited largely with the Cincinnati concern. He was fortunate in the outcome however, as in settlement he took some railroad securities at a low figure, which in a short time when the panic was over largely appreciated so that he was the gainer by the failure. He was the father of Leslie Carter, who had so much trouble with his extravagant actress wife. He was also connected with George Smith and Alexander Mitchell, of Milwaukee, in banking operations.
As long as I am now writing about bankers, I might as well give some reminiscences connected with these three Scotch bankers, Carter, who lived in Galena, Mitchell in Milwaukee, and Smith in
103Chicago. James Carter came to Galena in 1843, he was started in the banking business, assisted by his two Scotch friends and done all the business through them. At this time the Corwith brothers, Henry and Nathan were the only bankers in Galena, and done a large share of the lead trade, buying the lead from the smelters and shipping it East by way of St. Louis. These cunning Scotchmen wished to have a share in this lucrative trade. The Corwiths continued to do the larger share of the banking and lead business, their bank was a bank of issue, called the Galena bank, and is still at this writing carried on by the successors of the Corwiths. Sometime along in the 50s, and before this time George Smith had a banking concern called The Milwaukee Fire Insurance company. He also obtained possession of the charter of a bank at Atlanta, Georgia. It was his practice to send a large amount of his Milwaukee bank notes down to Atlanta for circulation there, and his Atlanta notes were brought north for circulation. Any bank that would not circulate this wild cat money if they had any bills in circulation, they would be gathered up and sent to the bank for redemption in specie. In this way he forced a good many of the banks in this section to take and circulate his Georgia money. He commenced this game on the Galena bank and also on the Mineral Point bank owned and controlled by C. C. Washburn and Cyrus Woodman. These banks
104would not touch the Georgia money; utterly refused to give it circulation. Jas. Carter as soon as he took in a few hundred dollars of the bills of these two banks would present them and demand the specie, and this circulation was very large in the mining region. These two banks concluded to play the same game on George Smith, and they quietly gathered up a number of thousand dollars of George Smith's Atlanta money and C. C. Washburn afterwards Gov. of the State of Wisconsin, wended his way down to Atlanta and calling at the bank demanded the specie. They wished to redeem the bills with eastern exchange, but Washburn demanded the coin, and they commenced counting it out as slowly as possible and borrowing all the coin in town the bills were redeemed at last. Our two banks followed up the same system all one season, sending down messengers every month to Atlanta with the Georgia money for redemption. George Smith at last cried "pecavi" and instructed Jas. Carter to stop the game and that was the means by which the weaker banks of the country were relieved from taking this Georgia money.
Removal From Rock Island to Galena in 1841.
As before stated I married my wife in the spring of 1840. We were married by Rev. Stewart, who was induced to come here from Southern Illinois,
105by Knox and Mexter and start a church it was called their church or society. Mr. Stewart was a very talented man, a good thinker and soon had quite a respectable congregation of persons who were not attached to any church. He afterwards became a follower of Emanuel Swedenburg's teachings. I met him some years after and heard him preach in a small church in St. Louis.
We commenced housekeeping in a small brick house, the first brick dwelling erected in the town. It was built by and belonged to Sage & Bellows.
As I have before stated all business was paralized, little or no money was in circulation, and what little there was, was of doubtful value, and the little building or improvement that was made in any line of business was done by a system of barter or exchange of commodaties or labor.
Under this state of affairs I began to look around and see if I could find a locality where I could earn a living for my young wife and myself. About this time my cousin, E. B. Kimball, of Galena, who had been in business there for four or five years wished to change his location by opening a commission house in New Orleans, at the request and wish of Henry Corwith, who afterwards married his wife's sister, a daughter of Jas. G. Soulard. He wished him to go there to forward the large amount of lead that was being sent from Galena to New York by his firm of Henry and Nathan Corwith. Mr. Kimball wished me to
106come to Galena and take charge of what business he had to leave unsettled. He promising to send me consignments of sugar, coffee and mining rope and giving me also the agency for the sale of Lafflin's blasting powder. So we packed up a few household goods, and with them took passage on the steamer Frontier with Capt. Smith Harris. When I left Rock Island I was liable for debts contracted in the two firms with which I had been connected, to the amount of $20,000, some $15,000 in the firm of Miller & McMaster, and about $5,000 in the firm of Andrews & McMaster. The first I compromised and settled in 1848. Mr. Andrews settled the other in the course of four or five years. Of course with this heavy liability hanging over me I could not with safety, do any thing except a commission business. We found a good comfortable house on the south side of the steep hill standing just opposite the old Harris mansion near the foot of Gear street, both are still there. We were made very welcome by my many old friends of 1834. I took a store just east of the large double brick store at the head of the levee, and commenced anew to try and build up my shattered fortunes. As I a done strictly commission business, I soon received many consignments of various kinds of goods besides those sent me by my cousin Kimball. I received large consignments of apples from St. Charles, Mo., amounting in 1843 to some 2,000 barrels and soon had all I
107could do, my business steadily increasing. The winter set in early in 1842. On the 14th day of November, steam boats were taking on lead for St. Louis. I shipped, a number of tons on the Brazil expecting it to get through to New Orleans and be shipped east to meet some bills falling due soon, made by Mr. Kimball. The weather was quite mild until night, when it turned suddenly very cold, and within thirty-six hours the Mississippi was closed from Galena to St. Louis. The Brazil got to Rock Island and wintered there. Many other boats were caught on their way up the river with supplies, at different points, and the goods on many of them were hauled by teams during the winter on the ice. A furious snow storm set in on the 15th, falling to the depth of 18 inches. Heavy snow covered the ground all winter. The cold was intense, the thermometer marking 20° to 30° below. The month of March ranged up to the close 15° to 25°. The river was not open for navigation before the 15th of April. Lake Pepin was closed until the 20th of May. This winter was decidedly the coldest of any within my recollection of the past sixty years. About all we could do in Galena this winter was to stay at home and keep up the fire. The output of the mines kept steadily increasing. New and valuable leads were being opened in Illinois and the adjoining lead district in Wisconsin. The business of the little city was steadily increasing.
108Stages and hacks were leaving almost daily for the different mining towns of Shullsburg, Fairplay, Hazel Green, Mineral Point and New Diggings. The levee would be so thickly covered with piles of pigs of lead, that it was often difficult in the spring to find a place to land goods from the steam boats.
Sketches of some Leading Galena Men in Early Days.
At this time and later all the adjoining territory in Wisconsin and east, as far as Rockford and South as far as Rock Island was more or less tributary to Galena, as Chicago was then no competitor for this trade. A little later large capacious brick stores began to take the place of the frame tenements along the levee and along the line of Main street. Gold and silver being the currency as I have before stated, the breaking and insolvency of banks had very little effect on the prosperity of the city. Quite a number of the older firms who were in business in 1834 had either failed or gone out of business. Hoper Peck & Seales, Little & Wann, Campbell & Morehouse had failed. R. W. Brash, Farnsworth and Feruguson, G. W. and J. Atchison. and M. C. Comstock had quit business. M. C. Comstock, whose store was down near the foot of the levee, sold out his stock to that old rusher Hesikiah H. Gear. Gear went into the store and told Comstock he
109wished to buy him out, and told him, "I will give you so much for this side of the store, and so much for that side." Mr. Comstock a shrewd merchant at once accepted his offer, as the price offered was a good round one, for an old stock of goods. In 1835 and 36, Godfrey & Gillman, of Alton, in connection with some other Boston capitalists undertook to build up a town there as a rival to St. Louis. At this time the state bank had branches in many parts of the state, one at Alton, and one at Galena. As a means to this end they undertook to control the lead trade of Galena, and they made my old friend Gear, their agent, supplying him for awhile with unlimited means. His first purchase was Comstock's store, and then he commenced buying lead, running the price up from week to week, buying furnaces and mineral and advancing the price of mineral largely. He was a very popular man with the miners during this time. He advanced the price of lead until it was about equal to the price in New York. It is told of him that one day he went to a bank at Galena and wished the cashier to let him have $100,000, and as cooly as if he expected to get it, offering his draft on Godfrey, Gillman & Co. This was kept up for some months. The lead was shipped to Alton and some of it forwarded east, but the larger part was held at Alton and finally had to be sold at a heavy loss, and the attempt to build up Alton as a rival to St. Louis was a miserable
110failure, bringing disaster upon all concerned. Our state bank, which had been advancing means to many other projects equally visionary owing to the financial crisis of 1837, went down, suspending specie payments, bringing loss and ruin upon thousands. Captain Gear, who had some means of his own, saved something out of the wreck. He owned a number of acres of land south of Gear Street. When the Illinois Central reached Galena their route over the river passed through the captain's land at a rocky point where there was a deep cut of some 40 to 50 feet. I think he was awarded $20,000 first as damages. A most extravagant price, and with the proceeds he built himself a large substantial brick house under the bluff overlooking the railroad. Sometime after the road was built the Captain discovered that the track of the road at the east end of the cut for a distance of about 50 feet in length and two feet wide was on his land. He demanded a round sum as damages, which the road refused to pay. To force them to pay he planted a strong post close to the track and hitched a heavy chain to the post and track. The road set a few men to work on the other side and cutting down the rocky bank quietly moved the rails off his ground, much to the disgust of the valiant captain. He was a visionary obstinate man, but withal had many good traits of character. His brother an Episcopal clergyman, occasionally preached in Galena.
111He was chaplain at Fort Snelling for some years, and the father of Governor Gear of Burlington, Iowa.
About this time or one or two years later Joseph P. Hoge, a noted lawyer, came here. He was elected a member of congress in 1844, I think, later he went to California and became very prominent, taking a leading part in the politics of that state. Sam Wilson, who was his law partner, went with him and was president of the constitutional convention held a few years ago, Judge Thomas Brown was the father-in-law of Hoge. He was a character in his way, many amusing anecdotes are told about him. He was a man of strong natural sense, but somewhat illiterate. A man in one of the middle counties of the state was arraigned for murder. The jury brought him in guilty, and the punishment was death. The old judge said to him, "Smith the jury have found you guilty, I feel sorrow for you, but you must be hung. Now what time would you like to be hung?" Smith replied he "did not care." "Well, you will be hung on the 27th of June. Mr. clerk, please look and see if the 27th comes on Sunday. The prosecuting attorney says "Judge it is usual to make some remarks to prisoners who are under sentence of death." "Oh, Smith understands it. He knows he is to be hung on the 27th of June. You understand it that way, don't you Smith?"
The Judge's circuit covered a number of
112counties in Northern Illinois, including Rock Island and Henry counties. While holding court in Henry county, a number of Galena lawyers were down, and Joe Knox, Jos. Wells and a young lawyer, L. B. Waite, of Rock Island. Waite was always allowing off his knowledge of Greek and Latin. One night when they all had their lodging in a large room of the hotel, Mr. Waite after asking the judge a number of questions, says "Judge how would you render this sentence." "The monelleri ninspresus." "Well, Mr. Waite, I think a free translation would be: The more you cry the less you — ." A roar greeted this reply of the old Judge and some of the lawyers rolled out on the floor in their glee, and there was not much sleep in that room for some hours. The story stuck to young Waite for a long time.
Thompson Campbell a brilliant young lawyer came to Galena from Pittsburg, he was elected a member of congress for one or two terms. He was an eloquent public speaker and were it not for his dissipated habits, he might have become the foremost man in the state. His house adjoined mine on the steep side of the hill. About the time that it was left to the people to vote on a prohibitary law he had reformed, and I went with him over a part of the country trying to arouse the voters in favor of the law. When the day of election came I stood at the polls all day challenging many foreigners who had no right to vote,
113who were brought there by the saloon men. The measure was defeated by an overwhelming majority in the state. This measure of reform has not been submitted to the vote of the people since. Genial Tom Campbell emigrated to California some years later, and died there some fifteen years ago.
Judge Drummond and Wm. H. Bradly were living in Galena at this time. Mr. Bradly was for many years clerk of our Circuit Court in Jo Daviess County. When Mr. Drummond was appointed judge of the United States court at Chicago, Bradly was selected by him as clerk of that court, a position that he held until a short time before his death which occurred in 1890. Judge Drummond resigned his position some years ago and was succeeded by Judge Blodgett. They both were very able men and were recognized as the ablest of any in the West. Another keen shrewd lawyer whom I knew in 1834 that I forgot to mention, who resided in Galena was Ben Mills who was considered the most astute lawyer in Northern Illinois.
In 1844 I went into partnership with Edward Hempstead, the son of Chas. S. Hempstead, who settled in Galena in about 1828 coming from St. Louis. He was the brother of Edward Hempstead, a prominent man in the early history of St. Louis, and was a representative to congress from that state soon after it was admitted into the Union. We neither of us had much capital
114to start upon, but were always able to get all the funds necessary to carry on our business of our good friends, Henry and Nathan Corwith. My partner in 1845 married the sister of the Corwith's. Henry Corwith the elder brother came to Galena in 1836. He opened a clothing store on the corner of Morrison's ally. I have often heard him say that the first work he done was to plaster the store, they had learned the trade on Long Island, New York. His uncle Chas. H. Rodgers was a partner, who lived in New York. He and his brother continued in the clothing trade until about 1843. In the mean time they had gradually drifted into the lead trade and in a few years they were doing the larger share of this lucrative business and in the meantime established the bank of Galena. Samuel Hughlett another strong character, an early settler in this region, a successful miner and smelter took a large block of stock in the bank, which is still, I believe held by his heirs. In 1846 I took my first trip to the falls of St. Anthony, an excursion party of some 50 ladies and gentlemen took passage with Capt. Orrin Smith. We all enjoyed the beautiful scenery, all along our course. It way the first of July, about the time we reached Prairie Du Chien, a cold change set in. In a few hours after the most of us were taken with sneezing. The attack was something like la grippe of the present day, only it was soon over, and was not followed by any bad after effects. When we
115arrived at the fort, the Captain who had a large quantity of freight to discharge, gave us the whole day in which to visit the falls, also putting up a good substantial lunch for our dinner. The officers of the fort kindly furnished us with three or four mule teams and rough wagons for our trip over the broad beautiful prairie, between the fort and falls. We did not stop at the Minehaha falls as we knew nothing about them, but crossed the stream that dashes over the falls just above. We stopped just below the falls of St. Anthony on a sloping grassy bank on the north shore and spread out our repast on the grass, enjoying the music of the falling waters. The fall at this time was nearly a perpendicular one, of about 50 feet before the present massive work that at present controlls this immense power was built. Much of the loose sand stone rock had crumbled away and within a few years the falls were no longer perpendicular. The only building visible in this neighborhood was an old dilapidated saw mill, erected some years before by the government. St. Paul had no existance, the present site was called Pigs Eye. The origin of this name I never heard. It may have been named from a cave washed out by a small clear stream from the soft white sand rock that underlies this section of the country. The cave is, or was situated a short distance above the landing. The opening to the cave looked at from a distance, looked like an eye. A few years after, the
116engineer in chief of the Illinois Central railroad and myself, when that road gave an excursion to St. Paul, explored this cave. We had a candle to light our way. After going in about 100 feet the passage became so low and narrow that we were glad to beat a retreat. A brewing company afterwards utilized it for a beer cellar excavating the soft sand rock, and making a large spacious room in front. The Indians had some legend connected with this cave.
During the winter of 1846, I left Galena to go East to buy a stock of goods for our firm, I went all the way by stage to Buffalo, passing through Canada by way of Detroit, traveling night and day, a very uncomfortable tedeous journey. At Detroit a man by the name of Bates joined us, he was a leading whig editor of Detroit. A great admirer of Horace Greely, with whom he was well acquainted, having been an apprentice with him in some office a few years before. We went through Canada on runners, when near Buffalo, just before crossing above the falls our sleigh which was a covered one upset, and a woman, who was traveling with us had to be pulled out of the top. It was at, night, and the ice was running quite heavily, it seemed to me a very perilous trip, but we arrived safely on the other side; stopping over night, I took the New York Central for Boston, my destination. Arriving there I presented my letters of credit and introduction, and was
117treated very kindly by Mr. Winslow, the grocer whom I had met before in Galena. While in Boston I met an old St. Louis acquaintance, Lyman Farwell, of the firm of L. and A. G. Farwell in St. Louis, and of Fay & Farwell in Boston. After purchasing what goods I needed in Boston, I started on my way to New Orleans by way of New York. When just out of New York we encountered a furious snow storm in New Jersey, and were detained some hours. I went by way of Baltimore, arriving there in the night, from there taking the stage over the Alleghanies to Pittsburg. In the journey from New York to Pittsburg I had for a companion a brother of Charles Atkinson, a genial pleasant gentleman. From Pittsburg to New Orleans I took passage on a steam boat paying twelve dollars only, for a cabin passage, on the way down the Mississippi, the boat stopped one morning at Baton Rouge. The scene that greeted me was a strange one, just coming from the cold icy North. The weather was balmy as spring, the song of the birds was heard coming from the bright green Magnolia trees. I spent two weeks in New Orleans with my cousin, E. B. Kimball, buying a large stock of groceries, consisting of sugar, molasses and coffee. I was not very favorably impressed with the city of New Orleans, with its flat wet surface, walking along the brick pavements, the water would rise up between the bricks. The dead had to be laid away
118in vaults built on a heavy wall two or three feet above the surface of the ground.
Most of the steam boats engaged in the lower Mississippi trade carried both freight and passengers. We took a very large and roomy boat with good accommodations for passengers. The boat I came up on was full of passengers, belonging mostly to St. Louis. Capt. Orrin Smith and Capt. Throckmorton were of my fellow passengers. We arrived at Cairo, at the mouth of the Ohio, on the 6th of March, and found the Mississippi full of ice. We were detained here six days before we could proceed on our journey. The evenings were usually passed in dancing. We had ample time to explore the famous town of Cairo, with its high embankments, raised to keep out the Ohio and Mississippi floods. The first work done here in constructing these levees was performed by Capt. King, an old time resident of Rock Island. While on our way up, Capt. Smith and myself made a bargain with Capt. Throckmorton to take our freight to Galena at fifty cents per 100 pounds. When we arrived at St. Louis we learned that the upper river was very low, and boats were asking and getting 75 cents per 100. Capt. Throckmorton performed his verbal agreement honorably and fairly, fortunately meeting a slight rise at the lower rapids, and this ended my long weary winter journey of two months or more.
Mormanism in Illinois.
In 1833 the Mormons emigrated from Western New York to Jackson county, Missouri. They settled at and began to build a town called Independence, Here pretending the Lord had given them the whole country, they being his saints, they were to possess the whole earth eventually. They committed some petty offences. They were so arrogant that people became disgusted with them and drove them out. They next settled down in Caldwell and Davis counties, and built up a city called Far West. In their new place of abode they seemed to learn nothing from their disasters in the past, but still claimed to be God's chosen people and that they were untitled to take possession of the land. They continued to be more and more aggressive in their demands. It was alleged that they were continually committing depredations on the Gentiles, by robbery and petty thefts. This state of affairs continued for two or three years. The clerk of the county being a Mormon would serve no writs against a Mormon. They defied the state all through. The neighboring people assembled in arms to drive them out of the state. Armed bands of Mormons were roaming about, plundering and robbing. Armed collissions occurred in which a number were killed. Finally Gov. Boggs called out the military under the command of Gen. Lucas and Gen. Doniphan,
120with orders that the Mormons should be exterminated or driven from the state. The Mormons were all under arms, intending to resist, but they were surrounded by an overwhelming force in their city of Far West, and were compelled to surrender at discretion. The leaders including the prophet, Joe Smith were tried by court marshall and condemmed to be shot for treason. Gen. Doniphan, a good lawyer knew this course would not be lawful or right, and the leaders were remanded to jail to be tried for murder, arson and robbery. But they finally made their escape out of the state before they were brought to trial. The whole body of Mormons came to Illinois during the years of 1838 and 1839. While I was at Louisiana in 1838 I saw many of them leaving the state, crossing the Mississippi at different points, but most of them crossed in the ferry at Quincy. I saw many cases of suffering among them as they were driven out in the winter season. Fortunately the winter was a mild one. While at Louisiana I heard one of them preach a sermon. It did not differ much from an ordinary orthodox sermon. In holding up the terrors of hell before his hearers his sermon was much the same as the orthodox of that benighted time. There was much sympathy felt for them by the people of Illinois, as it was thought they were driven out of Missouri on account of their religion. They terminated their wanderings
121by settling down at Nauvo, a beautiful site on a sloping elevation at the head of the lower rapids. They were an industrious set of people and soon had built up a thriving city. They spread all over the county of Hancock, and were so numerous in the county that they controlled the courts and all the offices of the county. The leaders sent out missionaries all over the country and some to Europe to gather up followers. They were so successful that in four or five years the Mormon population was over 16,000. They had become so numerous that they were an important factor in the then Congressional district, which at this time embraced all the river counties from Jo Daviess to Adams, besides a number of others lying contiguous on the east. Before this in all political contests they had voted and a unit with the Democratic party. Their natural affiliations are all that way and always will be. If Utah is admitted as a state, as she surely will be by the Democratic party now in power in the year 1894, she will be a strong Democratic state so long as Mormanism dominates in that state. This old party is the party of "Rum, Rebellion and Romanism," and Mormanism may now be added. The Mormans had become disgusted with the treatment they had received at the hands of the Democrats of Missouri, and for a year or two they voted with the whigs, but under the adroit manipulation of Stephen A. Douglas, in procuring for
122them all the legislation they wished for, in the charter of their city of Nauvo, giving the mayor almost unlimited power. Power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and many other unusual privileges, authorizing the raising of the Nauvo Legion, an independent military company to be under the control of the mayor. This mayor was the prophet, Joseph Smith. He was also under the charter to have command of the Legion, with the title of Lieutenant General. He was judge of the mayors' court and chief justice of the municipal court. It is true that both political parties had much to do in granting these unusual privileges and powers to the Mormons, but the Democrats were the dominant party, and under the shrewd management of Stephen A. Douglas, they were kept true to his party, as the sequel proved. Joseph P. Hoge, of Galena, and Cyrus Walker, were opposing candidates for congress, both went to Nauvo and made speeches, both were promised the Mormon vote by Joe Smith. When election day came, Joe Smith voted for Walker, but the rest of the Mormon vote went as a unit for Joseph P. Hoge, the Democrat. This was in 1842, Hoge was elected by some 3,000 majority. The Mormon vote was over 3,000, and decided the election. Joe Smith said in a proclamation to his people, that Stephan A. Douglas was the ruling spirit in the legislature. Soon after Governor Boggs sent a requisition on Governor Carlin, of
123Illinois, demanding the arrest and delivery of Joe Smith, and other leaders of the Mormons for various crimes committed in Missouri. Smith and others after being in hiding for sometime were arrested. In the meantime Stephen A. Douglas had been elected Judge in the third district. Joe Smith was brought before him on a writ of habeas corpus, was discharged from custody on some trifling technicality, and the Mormons were permitted to go on their career of lawlessness, under the privileges given in their charter they set all attempts at bringing them to justice at defiance.
The state had furnished the Nauvo legion with a number of cannons and two hundred and fifty pieces of small arms. They were accused of all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors, and about this time Joe Smith had a revelation on polygamy, and had sealed to himself a number of women, one or two the wives of men, who were not Mormons.
An intense feeling of resentment was aroused against them on account of their arrogance in claiming that they were the chosen people of the Lord, and that they would soon have possession of the whole earth. Through the efforts of their missionaries, large accessions were made to their number yearly. Under the state of feeling in Hancock and adjoining counties, a large force assembled at Carthage, determined to rid the country of the Mormons. Governor Ford was requested to
124call out the military, but declined to do so until he should come down and personally investigate the matter. He came to Nauvo and spent some days there and at Carthage. The Mormons had in the meantime armed the legion and fortified the city, and things looked decidely warlike. The troops had their rendezvous on the Mississippi, a short distance below Nauvo. Governor Ford addressed the troops assembled, advising moderation, and using only legal means. In the meantime the Mormons finding resistance was useless against the overwhelming force against them, had consented to the arrest of their leaders, Joe Smith and his brother, Hiram, and other leaders. They were taken and sent under a strong guard to Carthage, and lodged in jail, the governor promised them protection, and that they should have a fair legal trial. This promise he no doubt intended to fulfil, but the people wore so excited that a strong force of men was organized, who went to the jail, overpowered the guards and shot Smith and his brother, Hiram. When they broke into the jail, Smith fired a number of shots from a six shooter furnished him by his friends, wounding three of his assailants, John Taylor was also severely wounded. Thus this arch impostor fell at last. The Mormons being without a leader, there arose a contest for the leadership. Sidney Rigdon claimed it with some show of right on his side. There is no doubt of his having written
125the book of Morman, as a pastime, a kind of a romance imitating the style of language in which the old testament is written. Rigdon was not selected, and left. The elders of the church who were many of them absent as missionaries, when they returned chose Brigham Young as their head man. He afterwards in conducting them to their new home at Salt Lake, proved himself to be possessed of shrewd native sense, a born leader of men. These events occurred in 1844. For the next two years the Mormons continued to have accessions to their numbers, and the same bitter hostile feeling continued to exist between the Mormons and their enemies, murders and other outrages were continually occurring. Bakinstoss the sheriff and bosom friend of Stephen A. Douglas being the main leader in all the Mormon outrages against the Anti-Mormons. The Mormon vote was wanted in the presidential election of 1844 by the Democrats, and they received it. I have said nothing about the peculiar belief of the Mormons as that is pretty well known by every one who is familiar with their after career at Salt Lake. The prophet, Joseph Smith, among his numerous possessions and offices owned a small steam boat. He made a trip to Rock Island, while lying at the landing he got into a playful scuffle with one of the men employed on the boat. In the contest the man proved to be too strong for Smith and he was thrown overboard,
126getting a good ducking, when immerged he used some terrible cuss words, this I am told was nothing unusual for him to do.
In 1846 the trouble between the Mormons and their enemies still continued, and forces on both sides were gathered together and faced each other in mortal combat. A number of cannons were used on each side, but the firing of cannons and small arms was done at long range and but few lives were lost. This long range battle lasted three or four days. A delegation from Quincy came up and effected a cessation of hostilities. The Anti Mormons compelling the Mormons to agree to leave the state, and they at once commenced to dispose of their property, but they were allowed only two or three days in which to do it. Men women and children were driven forth, the weak, the sick the feeble, all had to go across the river into Iowa, where they erected temporary tents for shelter. It being a sickly season hundreds of them died. The people in Northern Illinois were very indignant at the cruelty practiced by the Anti Mormon mob under the leadership of a Campbellite preacher, by the name of Brockman, a man with an infamous character, who to the credit of the Campbellites was afterwards expelled from the church. The mob spirit was still rampant after the Mormons left, the attempt made was under the lend of the infamous Brockman to drive out persons who had settled in Nauvo during
127the last year or two for purposes of trade. There is no doubt that very many of the outrages which were said to have been done by the Mormons were committed by a set of desperadoes who harbored around the lower rapids on both sides of the river. It was a locality that had a bad reputation for many years. Many merchants who had settled in Nauvo, who where not Mormons were compelled to pack up and leave. The steamer Dubuque, Capt. Beebe in command, coming along during the culmination of the troubles, was loaded down with goods belonging to grocery merchants who were called Jack Mormons. These goods were brought to Galena and turned over by the captain to the firm of McMaster & Hempstead.
These closing scenes of Mormons in our state occurred in 1846. This was a year of great floods in all the Mississippi Valley. All the low grounds were completely submerged. The river in many places where there were wide bottoms resembling a great lake, doing immense damage, destroying all crops on the lowlands. The water at St. Louis was 41 feet above low water mark, coming up and overflowing the second stories of all the stores on the levee. The only landing the boats had for receiving and discharging their cargoos was on the cross street half way up between First and Second streets. I visited St. Louis during this flood. Kaskaskia the former capital of the state was
128most swept out of existance by this flood and a high wind which arose in the night. This scene is very graphically described by Miss Catherwood in her old Kaskaskia.
Somewhere along in the early forties Dr. Ely, of Philadelphia, a preacher belonging to the New Presbyterian church undertook to found a colony in Missouri on a wide beautiful prairie of bottom land, a short distance below Quincy. It was also his intention to found a college at Palmyra, a short distance in the country. This town was called Marion City. When this city was laid off the water was low, the bank of the river, which was the level of the prairie, being some six feet above low water. It was planted with broad streets and a number of public squares. A large number of colonies were induced to come from the Eastern states, who bought lots and erected many houses. The colonists were nearly all Anti Slavery. In a year or two the water came up and partially flooded a portion of the incipient city. In 1846 the water covered the whole town site to the depth of 8 to 10 feet, and many of the buildings were swept away. The town was wholly abandoned and hardly a single house now marks the spot where this city of such large hopes and pretentious stood. Dr. Ely was very much blamed for deluding so many people, but he was also a loser, both in money and reputation.
Among the many business men whom I knew
129many years ago and with whom I had business or social relations I would name in Burlington, John H. Gear & Wm F. Coobbaugh, Schenck & Dennis, heavy pork packers, very honorable and strait business men and W. C. Postlewaite. Burlington was noted for its many enterprising business men, and the town at one time in the 50s gave promise of being the leading town in the state. John H. Gear was a successful merchant, in after years he entered political life and was elected a member of congress for a number of terms, also was elected governor of the state in which he has been called upon to act, he has discharged his duties faithfully and honestly, and today I learn that the Iowa legislature has just elected him senator. Iowa has again returned to her loyalty to the Republican party. W. F. Coobbaugh a bright genial Kentuckian went to Chicago many years ago becoming a leading banker there. Many years ago he had a very tragic end, in a fit of despondency brought on by some cause unknown to his friends he went down to the lower subburbs of the city and was found lying dead at the foot of the monument of Stephen A. Douglas. In the city of Muscatine, once called Bloomington, I knew Sewell Foster, an old timer, a horticulturist, a recognized authority in that department. Green & Stone, an honorable firm of bankers, John Bennett a successful man and pork packer. The town of Buffalo was settled at an
130early day. A Mr. Clark, the first settler there, who established a ferry which was long known as Clark's ferry, his son, Capt. Clark, still resides there at the old homestead. An old schoolmate of mine in New York a successful pilot and captain in the trade between St. Louis and Galena, entered a farm of 400 acres, lying just above Buffalo, which I think is the most beautiful of any on the shores of the great river, rising as it does with a gentle swelling slope from the river, back nearly a mile to the level prairie that stretches away to the north. His farm was in a high state of cultivation at the time of his death, which occurred some fifteen years ago. He was driving a very spirited team attached to a mower, and the team, started to run throwing him onto the mower and injuring him so severly that he died soon after. Another beautiful farm belonging to an old friend and pupil of mine in 1831, lies just below Buffalo belonged to Capt. Hiram Bersie. He first was a pilot and then built a boat called the St. Croix in which he had a famous race with Capt. Smith Harris from St. Louis to Galena, both coining in so near each other at the end of the race, that Bersie had his plank run out only five minutes late. He afterwards built the Bon Accord and the Golden Era. James Carter was interested with him in both the boats. He was one of the most popular commanders on the river, very quiet and gentle in his manners, always maintaining
131perfect dicipline on his boat. He was a partner of ours in the War Eagle mills, which we erected in 1819 in Galena, E. B. Washburn being the other partner. In 1856 he had a paralytic stroke which unfitted him for his steam boat duties and he went to Europe for his health, taking the Carlsbad waters while there. On his return he was able to get about on crutches for two or three years, but he had one or two other strokes and became demented before the close of his life which occurred in 1859. Another beautiful farm lying some seven or eight miles below, belonged to Legrand Morehouse another old time river captain. These farms were all entered before 1840, by these river pilots and captains, who in passing up and down the river could take their pick. Capt. Morehouse lived for some few years in a cottage just west of Captain Dodge's house. He went to Springfield, Missouri, some ten years ago to live with his daughter, and died there two or three years ago.
Early Settlement of Towns Along the River.
The little hamlet of Andalusia with its high sounding name was laid off and named by Gen. N. B. Buford, sometime in the 40s. He induced our old genial friend, Dr. Bowman to settle there at an early day, and he resided there most of the time until his death, which occurred a few weeks
132ago. John Buffam settled there at an early day, engaging in the mercantile business, dealing largely in country produce. He moved into the interior of Iowa a few years ago.
The town of Lyons as I have before stated was laid off and owned by Dennis Warren sometime in the 40s. It was a good site for a town, lying high and dry above high water mark and backed by a fine farming country. It attracted a good deal of attention as a point where a large prosperous city might be built up in the future, Dennis did nothing however towards helping build up the town. He sold his lots for the best price he could get, making no improvements himself except a small store on Front street which was occupied by a brother of his. It was here that he accumulated a large share of his property. A few enterprising men from New England a short time after Lyons had got well under way towards building up a thriving town, bought a farm about two miles below Lyons, where the present city of Clinton is situated. These men were far seeing broad minded men, and laid the foundation broad and deep for their future city. The streets and avenues were laid out from 80 to 150 feet wide, with a number of public squares. One large public square near the center of the town was surrounded with a number of spacious lots which were dedicated to public use for school houses and churches. There is no town or city lying on
133the river that is so well and admirably laid out to meet the wants of the future.
Soon after the advent of the first railroad that reached the Mississippi river, a railroad company was quietly organized by these far seeing Clintonians to build a road out west of the young city. In a year or two 10 miles was completed and in operation, bringing to the town a large accession of trade and traffic. Much of this had heretofore gone to Lyons. In a short time two immense saw mills were built by Young & Co., and by Lamb & Co. The output of these mills has been for many years the largest of any on the upper river, and many other manufactories were put in successful operation. The first settlers of Clinton were mostly from New England and New York. The first settlers of Lyons were also mostly of the same class and Lyons would probably have kept the lead in the race had it not been for the dead weight, the incubus they to carry, in the person of Dennis Warren, who would make no improvements and opposed all that would involve increased taxation. Rock Island has labored for many years under the same incubus in the person of Bayley Davenport, who owned so many choice tracts of land in and about the city which he would not sell or improve. Since his death some of his vast estate in land has been disposed of and in consequence the old fogy town has improved more in the last two years than in any
134ten years of its past history; but more of this hereafter. Cordova in the upper part of Rock Island county was settled and occupied in an early day, mostly by the numerous Marshall family some of them living in the village and two or three of the brothers occupying large new improved farms in the township. They came from Pennsylvania originally. The town of Albany was at one time some thirty or forty years ago quite a thriving village in Whiteside county. Among its prominent business men were McIlvian and Happer. M. S. Tuller and a Mr. Barnes, who for many years kept a good hotel there, but this old town like nearly all others on the cast side of the river has all gone to decay and ruin. The next town above, Fulton in the same county, was very flourishing soon after the Northwestern railroad reached the Mississippi, a large grain elevator was put up to store the grain coining from Iowa. Col. John Dement, the father of our former state treasurer put up a large costly hotel, a very beautiful stone structure which in later years was occupied as a military training school, after it ceased paying as a hotel, when the town began to decay, after the Northwestern crossed with the bridge to Clinton. Lately it has taken a new lease of life since another railroad has entered its borders, crossing the river over a high bridge erected on the high point of land just above town.
Savanna thirty miles below Galena had a few
135settlers as early as 1835. A Mr. Pierce settled there in 1832. He was the father of Wm. B. Pierce, who was sheriff of Carroll county for some years. L. H. Bowen who owned the lower part of the town, and at one time was largely engaged in merchandise and milling, was a very enterprising man and done all he could to build up the town. He always thought its situation was some thirty miles nearer Chicago, and the great lakes would, when railroads reached the Mississippi, give it a decided advantage as a railroad point over any other. Had he lived a few years longer he would have seen his anticipations realized. Savanna is now a great railroad center and Mr. Bowen's end of the town is now well built up. The two Rhodes brothers, Thomas and John came there at an early day, John was sheriff of the county at onetime. They both in later years built a number of steam boats. Connected with them in the boating interest was Geo. W. Jenks, of Savanna, and Jerry and Dr. Woods, of Sabula. The Rhodes brothers both had command of the boats they built. Thomas was president of the northern line with head quarters at St. Louis for many years. They were both enterprising men and were favorably known all along the upper river. Menard Dupuis a Frenchman engaged in the lumber business was one of the early settlers who came there from Galena. Dr. Woodruff who married a daughter of my old time friend, Mr. Eddows, settled there
136about 1850. John Eddows went there at about the same time. Dr. Woodruff and John Rhodes are both still living, I had a very pleasant interview with them both last summer on my way to my old home, Galena. Jerry Woods and his brother were among the first settlers of Sabula, and were for a long time engaged in milling and merchandise. I first saw the site of the town of Bellevue in the summer of 1834. The house of Little & Wann, of Galena, sent L. H. Bowen and myself with two others down there to survey one mile square as a claim for smelting purposes, as the early smelters were allowed a certain number of acres of woodland adjoining their furnaces. There had been some small discoveries of lead ore made near there. The survey took in the beautiful valley lying between the high bluffs which bound each side of the mill stream that flows through the valley. We were there two days sleeping on the floor of an unoccupied cabin that we found, the only house to be seen in the whole valley. Some years after this, this valley with its fine water power and picturesque situation attracted a number of settlers. Among the rest, one Brown, who kept a hotel and store. He had not been there long before he drew around him a number of lawless characters, horse thieves and counterfeiters. So many of this class gathered there that they became a menace and terror to all the Law abiding people in Jackson county. A
137large force of the people in the town and country was gathered together by Mr. Warren, the sheriff, and they surrounded Brown's hotel. He had gathered a number of desperadors about him and armed them expecting an attack. The first shot was fired from the hotel and a pitched battle took place, a number were killed and wounded on each side. The sheriff and his party drew off near night expecting to get more reinforcements. They came back in the morning with an increased force, so strong that Brown and his party agreed to capitulate, provided they were allowed to go without arrest. To save further loss of life the sheriff consented to this. This occurred in 1840. Old Jacob Norris made his appearance in Rock Island a day or two after this occurrance, whether he belonged to the gang of outlaws or not, I do not know. He took their part at any rate when he arrived here. Iowa as well as Illinois was infested with many lawless characters, many of this Brown gang took up their abode at Comanche, which had the name of being the headquarters of all the bad rough characters. There was an old hardened counterfeiter who had a den somewhere north of there in the dense woods where he made a business of making a very good imitation of American half dollars, not easy to detect. I have forgotten his name, he lived a while near the close of his career just below Cordova. Capt. Potter and his son-in-law, Lancaster,
138came to Bellevue somewhere in the 40s, and improved the water power, putting up a very good substantial grist mill, sending large quantities to the Galena market, which always met with a ready sale, as it was always uniformly good, true to the brand. John R. Perkins, who was a clerk for my firm, settled there after acting as cashier for the Galena bank for many years.
In writing about the Mormons I did not mention the massive costly temple they erected upon the highest ground in their city. It presented a very imposing appearance seen from the river. It was constructed from hewn stone taken from the quaries just above the city, a compact light colored lime stone. It was not modeled after any particular style of architecture, and was rather unique in its style. On its east side was a huge representation of the noon day sun with brilliant golden rays. In the basement was the lavatory or babtismal font, cut out of massive limestone, resting on the necks of two enormous oxen carved out of the same material. A few years after the regime of the Mormons, it was burned down by an incendiary. It was destroyed, it was thought, either by the Anti-Mormons, who feared the return of the followers of the prophet or by the Mormons themselves to prevent its being used by the Gentiles in after years. The cut stone was hauled away to enter into the structure of cellars of the people in the country, very many of the
139buildings went into ruin or were torn down and hauled off. Not long after the departure of the Mormons a colony of French cummunists called Icarians, bought a large share of the site, and some lands adjoining, and commenced the culture of grapes. Their possessions were all held in common. For a while the little colony continued to flourish. During the grape season large quantities were shipped north to Iowa and Minnesota. The little colony after a while getting into some dissension among their leaders was dissolved as a community, and now this famous place in the early history of our state is occupied by only a few scattering houses. It was often mentioned as a suitable site for the capitol of the nation, should the capitol ever be moved from its present location. Some twenty years ago the project of moving the National Capitol to somepoint in the valley of the Mississippi was much agitated by some Western papers, very earnestly by the newspapers published in St. Louis. That city being the point. It is hardly probable that the capitol will ever be moved from where it now is so long as we continue an united nation.
Noted Galena Men From 1840 to 1850.
To return to the history of Galena after this long diversion. A large number of wholesale houses were established within the next six or eight years
140in order to supply the great influx of trade coming to Minnesota and Northern Iowa: In wholesale groceries, Campbell, Smith & Jones; Lorain & Co.; H. F. McCloskey; Stillman & Rood; R. S. Harris & Co.; Henry and Miers F. Truett; McMaster & Hempstead, nearly all located along the levee. In dry poods, L. S. Felt & Co.; Meritt & Cowls, Foster & Stall; Bloomer & Holmes, besides a number of others in hardware and retail dry goods. The little narrow levee was crowded with boats coming in, and going out in all direction. Main street and along the levee was so crowded in the busy season, that it was difficult to pass along the side walk. The ladies generally deserting it and taking to the upper street. Goods would often lie on the levee all night. The piles of lead would be covered with the lighter kinds of the cargoes. We occupied the large brick store at the head of the levee and had a better chance than others, by having streets on both sides of our store. When the Mexican War commenced in 1846, a company of volunteers was raised in Galena. H. W. Howard was Captain, and Calmese Wight was elected first lieutentant, Dr. A. T. Crow, a brother of Wayman Crow, of St. Louis, went along as surgeon. He was a very skillful physician, and we disliked to have him leave the town. These three officers all returned to Galena safe and sound after the close of the war. Mr. Howard, was afterwards appointed postmaster under Buchanan's administration
141Young Wight afterwards married the daughter of Judge Stone, who was one of the circuit judges before Judge Brown's time. The lawyers practicing at the Galena bar at this time, were Thomas Drummond, and John M. Douglas, who moved to Chicago in 1849, acting as attorney for the Illinois Central railroad, for a few years, and in after years was elected president, in which capacity he acted for some years. He was a very able lawyer, and soon had a very large lucrative practice. He was always in demand when there was any litigation in regard to the title to mines. When he took a case of this kind he would usually go down into the mine and thoroughly post himself in all the surroundings.
E. B. Washburn and C. S. Hempstead.
Mr. Washburn did not practice so much in the courts, his business was mostly office work and collecting. I think he was employed by an Eastern agency to report the standing of our Galena merchants, at any rate one of our merchants whose credit was somewhat shaky thought he was. His office was over our store. Paddy Garnes the individual, came into the office, bringing a backer with him, Jess Morrison. I was sitting there. He commenced abusing Washburn, threatening him with personal chastisement. Washburn seized a wooden chair and brought it down
142upon him with force, Garnes was a large brawny man, but Washburn siezed him, and pushing him towards the stairway, threw him over the railing, and he went tumbling down the stairs, saying as he went, "I will see you again." His backer, Morrison did not interfere. Garnes failed a few months after, he was engaged in dry goods trade. Gambling and to much whiskey ruined him. A little after this Jess Morrison was a candidate on the Democratic ticket for sheriff of that county, he was badly beaten. I had made some remarks about him, not very favorable. He called on me one day, accompanied by Jim Griffith, a noted saloon keeper and gambler, and asked me if I said so and so. I told him "I did, and what I said was true." Griffith said, I would be held personally responsible sah. I was not afraid of their threats as John R. Perkins stood near, who would soon clear them both out, if necessary. I heard no more about being held personally responsible. Jim Griffith was a Tennessian, had a plausible manner, a dangerous man, one of the leaders of the Democracy. Paddy Garnes did not see Washburn again. A. L. Holmes was another lawyer, with but little practice, other pursuits occupying his time. M. Y. Johnson, who married the daughter of Col. A. G. Wight, had a very fair practice, was in many respects an agreeable companionable man, rather vain and boasting in his manner. This habit of boasting of what he could do and
143of the influence he had in the early days of the rebellion, I will narrate further on. He was a Kentuckian by birth. E. A. Small commenced the practice of law in Galena, he was a cultured genial gentleman, a close friend of mine. He moved to Chicago some years later and became a leading lawyer in that city. Some six or eight of us used to often meet at each other's houses with wives, and occasionally some young ladies, would join us in a social dance, W. W. Huntington and wife, E. A. Small and his wife, myself and wife, Augustus Chetlain and Capt. Lundy, who was a very fine musician played the violin and called out the dances. We who met here were all close and intimate friends. Capt. Lundy established the first telegraph line in Northern Illinois called the Illinois and Mississippi, I think Judge Caton was at the head of the company, with headquarters at Ottowa. I took a few shares of stock, which I held until 1888, long after it was merged into the Western Union, getting usually 2 per cent. dividend on each share of $25. Thompson Campbell I have already spoken of at length, but one more item about him, in the congressional election for 1856. He and E. B. Washburn were the opposing candidates. Campbell had been elected two years before by a very large majority and he was very confident of his election this time. The evening of the election he says to some of his friends, "come boys I am elected, and it is my
144treat". The news came along the next day that Washburn was elected by a small majority, as a Republican. The district had been carried by the Democrats for some years past.
In 1849 E. B. Washburn, Captain Hiram Bersie and our firm erected a large stone flour mill just below town on the river, at a cost of $25,000 when finished, with a capacity capable of turning out 200 barrels of flour in twenty-four hours, it was the most complete mill on the upper Mississippi. The supply of wheat near at home was wholly inadequate to keep it running to its full capacity, so I had to buy wheat at various points along the river, at Albany, Dubuque, Wapeton, Clayton, Guttenburg and Prairie Du Chein. I spent nearly all winter in 1851 in buying wheat all along the line of the Wisconsin river buying at Decorah, Prairie Du Sac, Portage City and at the Dells of the Wisconsin. I purchased a number of thousand bushels, and in the spring we started in to bring the wheat out on the Badger State, a boat that the firm of McMaster and Hempstead had built in Pittsburg, by Capt. Humbertson, who was interested with us. I made one trip on the Badger State, she was crowded with raftsmen who were on their return trip from St. Louis to the upper pineries. They wore much pleased with the boat as she was a large roomy boat, much larger than any that had run on the river heretofore. We brought back a
145large cargo, as the water was at a good stage, the river falling soon after. This was our first and last trip made by the Badger on this treacherous river full of shifting sand bars. During the winter while buying wheat I had to make many long tedious trips back and forth between Galena and Prairie Du Sac, I recollect I rode all day against a north wind in my cutter with the thermometer, at 25 below, stopping occasionally at the lonely farm houses to warm. In crossing the Wisconsin on the ice near night, in sight of Sac Prairie, I froze the side of my nose. I was much impressed with the peculiar formation of the country in this part of the state of Wisconsin, with its rounded hill surrounded by beautiful circling fertile valleys I usualy enjoyed these lonely rides in midwinter, as I could always see something in nature, even in dreary winter to admire and enjoy. The many tinted brown Oak leaves clothing the steep hills sides in their settling of the pure white snow. Occasionally I would see a deer or two bounding off through the scrub oaks that clothed the hill sides. One day when the snow was lying deep on the ground I started across the country at Black Earth Valley to reach a small town some 15 miles east of Sac Prairie. Night overtook me at a little hamlet having only one store and a small hotel kept by a German, I saw no one about the house, when I retired to my room at ten, only the man and his wife, I did not like their looks and finding no fastening
146on the door I drew the bed near and tied my handkerchief to the post and to the handle of the door, as I had a large amount of money with me. The moon was shining brightly, and in the night I was awakened by someone trying to open the door, he pulled it open two or three inches and I saw the man's face, but at the same time he saw my six shooter levelled at him and he beat a hasty retreat. The room was almost as light as day, the moon was shining into the south window. In the morning at breakfast there was no one visible about the house except the man and his wife and I made no enquiries of them about the occurrence. I learned that the man had a bad reputation and had killed a peddlar for his money a short time before. I never carried arms before or since, but it seemed to be necessary for me to do so at tins time, as I was obliged to carry with me a good deal of money to pay for the purchase of wheat. My coming into the Wisconsin valley purchasing this large amount of wheat was a fortunate thing for the farmers and merchants, as the only outlet they had for their surplus wheat was the limited home market, or the long haul to Milwaukee. I paid 40 to 50 cents for bushels. We did not succeed in getting the wheat all out the first season and some of it was not in very good condition. The next year two small steam boats were navigating the Wisconsin at this time. The Black Hawk
147and the Enterprise. The Black Hawk was commanded by Capt. Peter Hall, the same man who made so many trips down the Mississippi in his little boat in the winter season collecting Indian relics and curiosities for the academy of science at Davenport, Ia., Tennessee and Alabama. He is still living at Davenport, and his little old forlorn looking boat is stored in the rear of the academy. He, during the many winters spent in this way on the lower Mississippi collected a very large amount of ancient Indian Pottery at a small expense to the academy. Captain Gabbart who spent the last years of his life in Davenport, commanded the Enterprise. This boat belonged to the Harrises of Galena. The mill did not prove to be a profitable investment, it was too large for the wants of the country at that time, and we sold it in 1864 to a woolen mill company and that failed in a year or two, like so many woolen mills that were started all over the West.
About this time we put up a packing house just below town, buying a piece of ground of Capt. Gear, who graded and paved the landing in front to the river. This was the first pork packing done in Galena. With buying wheat to run our mill and running the packing house. I was kept very busy in buying supplies for both establishments.
Adventure With the Indians on the Upper Mississippi.
At the outbreak of the Mexican War, Capt. Eastman, who was the post commandant at Fort Snelling and Lieut. Hall, the second in command spent some weeks in Galena on recruiting service, enlisting a number of soldiers for service in the U. S. army. The Winnebago Indians for the last two or three years had been giving the government a good deal of trouble by their leaving their reservation, and every spring returning to their old haunts on the Wisconsin river in the neighborhood of the Dells. Captain Eastman received orders to have them all return to their reservations in Minnesota, and as the Indians refused to march to their reservations, squads of troops were employed in gathering them up at different points on the Mississippi river, and taking them to Wabashaw prairie, a point just below Lake Pepin. Here the Sioux Indians were to meet them and endeavor to make an amiable treaty if possible, so that hereafter they might live in peace with each other, as their reservations were near each other. Capt. Eastman and Lieut. Hall went up on a boat to meet the two tribes there and assist in making a treaty. A number of lady excursionists went along, captain Eastman taking with him a few men, as a guard. The boat landed about a mile above the Indian encampment.
149Capt. Eastman told the ladies that they must not leave the boat and come down to the encampment, as he anticipated there might be some trouble between these two hostile tribes. They all obeyed the captain's order except one little lady, but she fearing neither the captain nor Indians, leaving her little girl in the charge of the ladies, who tried to pursuade her not to go, started down and passing through the crowd of Indians, made her way to where the captain was standing and said to him, "I have come, I wish to see a sight, I may never again have an opportunity of seeing." "My dear madam why did you dare to come, I fear there may be trouble." After a good many speeches were made an agreement was reached by the two tribes that they would live in peace hereafter. A chief's daughter belonging to the Sioux was given in marriage to a brave. The young Indian girl was decked in all the splendor of savage costume. The young braves would dash upon their ponies and throw down presents at the feet of the bride, of gayly colored blankets, wampum, beads, saddles and ponies were scattered around her, and the meeting of the tribes terminated happily and there has been peace between them ever since. The little woman who braved the genial captain's displeasure was called "brave squaw!" "brave squaw!" as she passed through the Indian crowds. The other ladies regretted that they did not go and
150enjoy the novel sight. My wife, who was among the passengers went on to the fort and stopped there visiting the wife of Lieut. Hall, where she spent sometime. I joined her a few days after at the fort; while there we took the only conveyance, a buggy and went to lake Caroline and spent the day with Mrs. Hall and her little ones on the banks of the beautiful lake, leaving the little ones picking the ripe strawberries which were found in profusion along its banks, we took our fishing poles and commenced fishing close by along the pebbly shores of the lake. We saw a number of beautiful swans in the distance sailing along. We passed a delightful day, enjoying intensely the beauty of this sylvan scene, unmared by the hand of man. This lake and Lake Calhoun discharge their waters through the stream that dashes over the falls of Minnehaha. We passed most of the way along its banks through heavy timber; we occasionally met an Indian on our route, greeting them with a friendly "How," which was always returned in the same way. On our way back we stopped at the falls, descending with difficulty the steep rugged bank with our little ones, a scene of wild beauty greeted us. This stream has eat its way through the shaley rock for over a mile from the Mississippi, making a gorge 50 to 75 feet high and into this deep narrow chasm, the stream pours its waters. The lower strata of the underlying rock is softer and more
151shaley than the upper and in consequence there is quite an open space back of the falls. While we were standing there, Mrs. Hall challenged me to go under the falls and cross to the other shore with her. My wife objected strongly to the wild adventure. But we started over on the somewhat wet and slippery path and reached the north shore safely. The little stream was quite high at the time, which made the passage the more dangerous. My wife hollowed to us across the chasm that we must not attempt to come back the same way, that I must carry Mrs. Hall over. There was no bridge, and the north bank was very steep and if we took that route we must ford the stream above. So Mrs. Hall clasping her arms around my neck, I took her on my back and crossed the rapid stream, stumbling over the loose rocks. I, with some difficulty reached the other side safely, much to the relief of us all. We stayed at the fort a few days. This fort at that time was the best built fort in all the west, with heavy massive stone walls with one heavy massive gate on the west, the only place of egress. The quarters were spacious and neat. I think there has been no material change made since, and it still is a point worth visiting as a relic of early times in the northwest. At another time a few years later we went up to the fort on a steam boat that was taking supplies there. The whole flat below the fort, between the fort and river was covered
152with Sioux Indians, at least two thousand of them. They had congregated here to receive their anuities. We passed through them on our way to the fort. The other ladies on the boat were afraid to pass through the wild Sioux. The little woman was greeted again with "brave squaw," as she passed to the fort.
At another time after St. Paul had received its name and had perhaps 500 inhabitants, a number of Indian traders lived there then. Among whom I recollect were Mr. Borup and Louis Robair or Roberts (Roberts Street is named for him.) The Indians had gathered there on the high bank overlooking the river, in what was then the lower part of town, there were no houses along here then. They had collected for the purpose of holding what was called a begging dance. The traders were there in force with presents for their friends, the Indians. First there would be a short dance, the Indians dancing around in a circle. Then a speech from some chief, reciting his brave deeds, and then the traders would bring forward their presents of sugar, corn, tobacco, flour etc., and the squaws would come up from their places in front and take the gifts away in their aprons. There would follow another dance and then another speech and more presents. This kept up for some hours until they were exhausted. In the middle of these exercises I saw an Indian appear on the other side of the river waving a
153red blanket, making various motions with it. I saw that the Indians were much excited by their flashing eyes and movements. They seized their guns and rushed down the steep bank to the river where their cannoes were moored, and in five minutes from the time of the waving of the blanket they were on the other bank of the river. An interpreter explained the cause of the excitement. The motions told that a Chippewa had been killed by one of the Siouxs a short distance up the river. The Chippewas and Sioux had been enemies for years. It was ascertained soon after that it was a false alarm, as the Indian, who the signal said was killed, turned up all right. It was a marvel to me how they could, by the waving of a blanket convey so much inteligence. One more Indian incident which occurred in 1856. A large party of excursionists were going up the river on the Northern Bell, one of the finest packets of the Galena & Minnesota Packet Co. When we stopped at Red Wing, a town some distance below St. Paul. The landing was a steep sloping gravelly bank. On the top of the bank we found a large collection of Indians having a Buffalo dance. This dance is usually performed before starting out on a hunt for the buffalo on the far off plains. They all had on for a dress a whole buffalo skin with the bead, horns and tail. This was a great curiosity for all of us, and all went up the bank, forming a large circle about the dancers. After
154dancing a time for our amusement, Mr. Indian thought he would have some fun too. So putting their heads down just like Buffaloes when they are on a rampage, they charged into the circle of ladies towards the river, the ladies all rushed screaming towards the boat, down the steep bank without order as to the mode of their going, many of them falling down and rolling towards the boat. There was a roar of laughter from the whites, the Indians no doubt enjoyed the joke as well, but they did not show it by any visible manifestation. My main object in writing these reminiscences of my early days on the upper Mississippi is to present the name and memory of many pioneers of early days, who helped to build up and organise the first settlements along the banks of the great river, to show as far as I can the debt of gratitude due to these strong stalwart pioneers of civilization in the Northwest. I never kept a diary or any record of past events and of course cannot give the exact chronology of many of the events that I narrate. In my early life and up to about 1870 I made frequent trips on the river from St. Louis to St. Paul. In the early days of steamboating the boats always wooded from the shore and in wooding and loading and unloading frieght would be at the bank sometimes an hour or two. Whenever this was the case I made a practice of ascending every high bluff in the neighborhood, in this way I have ascended almost
155every bluff along the upper river lying near the river from Dubuque to St. Paul, and have come in contact with many of the principal business men all along the river.
Sketches of Prominent Men of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
I knew Mr. Gorman well, he was the first Territorial Governor of Minnesota, as I had a good deal to do with him in a business way. The government advertised for a large amount of supplies for the different bands of the Sioux, to be delivered at St. Paul in 1854. I was the successful bidder for some 5,000 bushels of corn, 1,000 kegs of lard, a quantity of smoked hams and Mess pork. I delivered all the articles called for, and they were receipted for in good order. The money was to pass through the governors hands, and I had to remain at St. Paul some two or three weeks waiting for the funds to arrive. When I would call upon him he would swear, not at me, but at the delay of the department for their delatoriness. He was great on swearing and tobacco chewing. Finally a portion of the money or vouchers came along, but the department was not ready to receive some 300 kegs of lard for the Sissetous, but requested me to hold it until it was needed. I did so, but, the delays in waiting for the portion of the money until late in the fall, and loss of
156interest cut down my anticipated profits. I took no more government contracts. Governor Gorman continued to reside at St. Paul until the war of the Rebellion broke out, when he was elected Colonel of the 8th Minnesota, and served creditably through the war. I knew Wm. Marshall, who was governor of the state in after years, I knew him in Galena before he went to Minnesota. The last time I met him was in St. Louis, in 1864, when he, myself and another friend went one evening to the house of Gratz B. Brown, the able editor the St. Louis Democrat, to congratulate him on his election by the legislature of Missouri, to the senate of the United States. I was attending the legislature on the day of his election and saw it done. On my way down to St. Louis I fell in company with Samuel Glover, a very prominent lawyer of St. Louis, who was the candidate for the more conservative portion of the Union men. I had a long talk with him. He thought the state would go to ruin under such radical rule, as then dominated the legislature Governor Sibley, who lived at Mendota, a small trading post, a short distance above St. Paul, where I often met him. He had been an Indian trader for some years at that point. James M. Goodhue, who established the first news paper at St. Paul, the Pioneer, I knew well in Galena. He was a resident there for two or three years, he wrote a very readable novel connected with some romantic episode of
157the mines. Phrenolegy was just attracting some attention, and a lecture was given on the subject at Galena. Goodhue delivered a free lecture on the same subject. He illustrated his subjects with a skull which he had under the desk before him. It was the skull of a dog. He would bring it up from time to time, as if he had many different skulls, and point out the different bumps and characters, qualities etc. He kept the audience in a roar from beginning to end. He wrote occasionally for the Galena Gazette. He was a strong vigorous writer, and the Pioneer was sent broadcast over the country by the citizens of St. Paul. I think the able editorials in his paper depicting in glowing colors the many attractions for settlers to be found in this land of many lakes done more to draw emigration to Minnesota than any other cause. The great excursion of the Chicago and Rock Island road, which I have heretofore described helped to quicken the tide of emigration set in motion by his facile pen. He got into some altercation with a judge, a Southerner, in which he was severely cut and wounded. When he got about and well enough to write, he published in his paper the most scathing attack on the judge. Horace Greely I recollect said in his New York Tribune that it was written in the most strong biteing language that could be expressed. He died many years ago, but his paper still survives under the name of Pioneer and Press, a union of
158papers between the rival cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Frank Steele, who was for a long time the sutler at Fort Snelling, I knew. He was a most genial and polished gentleman and had much to do in building up the beautiful city of Minneapolis in its early days. He bought of the government the large tract of land lying between Fort Snelling and Minneapolis, embracing a considerable proportion of the southern site of Minneapolis. There were a number of others interested with him. The price paid was, I think $400 per acre. It was thought at the time to be a very good price. In St. Anthony, now annexed to Minneapolis, I knew D. B. Dorman and his father very well. He was a successful banker for some time, his father built the first warehouse on the river near the head, or rather just opposite Necolett Island. The whole family were very intimate friends of mine, and have all been dead many years. W. C. Burbank, who a few years after moved to St. Paul, was largely interested with my old friend, Capt. Blakely in staging and transportation west of St. Paul. I knew very well Burbank's brother Henry, who lived at St. Cloud, 120 miles above, I met him at St. Cloud after a railroad, following the valley of the river, reached there. He was interested with his brother and Capt. Blakely. I went up there on a pleasure trip with my daughter, Mary, to see the country, while there, seeing the yearly
159caravan of wooden carts from far off Pembina, or Manitoba, that come in with furs and peltries. Heretofore they had been in the habit of going to St. Paul, but this season they stopped here as they could do just as well as at St. Paul. Three or four years before, I was in St. Paul, when the Pembina train arrived there, I held out such inducements to their leaders to visit Galena, that they took a boat and brought down a large quantity of Buffalo robes and a large amount of cash given in exchange for their furs and peltries by the St. Paul, and invested in groceries and such other things suited to the trade of their country, some of them could speak no English, but one of their leaders acted as interpreter. They left a number of thousand dollars with the Galena merchants. Capt. R. Blakely, who was interested with the Burbanks in northwestern transportation, was a very popular clerk and captain in the Galena and Minnesota Packet Co., and was towards the close of that company a leading director. After he settled in St. Paul he took a leading part in the management of some of the numerous railroads diverging from St. Paul. He was very liberal and broad in his views and was, and still is, reckoned one of the foremost men in the city of his adoption. He married a daughter of I. P. Sheldon, who at an early day of 11833, settled at Peruta, a small hamlet started on the little Maquoka, a stream that empties
160into the Mississippi, about five miles above Dubuque. A land office was located there, Thos. McNight was register and Mr. Sheldon was receiver. In the fall of 1834 I went up there on the steamer Winnebago to ship some lead and while there called at his house, seeing his amiable wife and his three beautiful daughters. The oldest one married Judge Drummond, the next Chas. Gratiot, and the youngest, Nelly, married my old time friend, Blakely. Mr. Sheldon after this served few years in one of the departments at Washington. He had a beautiful farm in Wisconsin, at Willow Springs. In after years, one of his sons, John Sheldon, was employed as cashier in the bank of Galena, and afterwards was a clerk for the firm of McMaster & Hempstead.
The town of Winona, was a portion of it laid off by Capt. Orrin Smith in 1850. He started his son Sylvester in business there as a banker. During the financial troubles of 1857, he failed, involving his father somewhat in the loss from which he never recovered; losing his fine property in Galena, he moved to Chicago, and engaged in the manufacture of brick. This not proving a success, somewhere in the 70s he moved to Dubuque, ending his days there in extreme poverty. He probably at one time during the great influx of population to Minnesota was more widely known and respected as a popular steam boat captain, than any other. He superintended the building of very
161many of the fast well appointed steam boats of the Galena, Dubuque & Minnesota Packet Co. He was president of the company for three or four years. He was a very genial affable man. His wife was a sister of the Langworthys, of Dubuque. Dr. Langworthy the father of James, Lucius, Solon and Edward, came to the state of Illinois at an early day. The sons settled at Dubuque, and the neighborhood in 1832. They were all able, shrewd business men, and took a leading part in building up that city, they were very successful in mining operations as well as in other departments of business. They all in after years built for themselves line residences in the same neighborhood on the hill back of the lower part of the city, each owning a number of acres, surrounding their homes. My old Galena neighbor and friend, Capt. Scribe Harris, who was a relative by marriage, bought a fine residence adjoining his brother-in-law in about 1870. The neighborhood was a very pleasant one, away from the bustle and noise of the city. Besides the Langworthys among the early pioneers of Dubuque, I would mention a few whom I knew and who all took a leading part in building up the city. I. P. Farley, Peter Waples, P. A. Lorimer, Gen. G. W. Jones, John Hancock, I. H. Randall and Donald McKenzie. I. P. Farley done more perhaps to develope and increase the trade of the town than any one else. He established three or four heavy
162wholesale establishments in different departments in 1854 to 1856. A broad minded liberal man. When the Northern Pacific went into bankruptcy the second time he was appointed receiver, and acted in that capacity some years. I noted a long pending suit growing out of his connection with the road in which he brought suit to recover millions, had been decided against him in his old age. He with his father-in-law, old man Johnson, lived in Galena in 1834 and went from there to Dubuque. Peter Waples built the first large hotel in Dubuque and kept it for some years. It has been lately remodeled and is one of the best hotels in the state, in all its appointments. Peter A. Lorima, a genial Frenchman was a successful smelter, he had a furnace some distance below town, at the mouth of the stream called Catfish. There was quite a little settlement there in 1837, it was called Rip Ro. He built the Lorimer hotel on the street of the same name, near the foot of the bluff. I need not speak of the history, of Gen. G. Jones, it is so closely identified with that of the town and state and needs no comment. Donald McKenzie the father of Major McKenzie the present efficient superintendent of the government operations, improving the upper Mississippi; I first knew him in St. Louis in 1835, he was a bookkeeper in the hardware store of Mr. Shaw, of the famous Shaw garden, which he in after years donated to the city. Mr. McKenzie went from St.
163Louis to Potosi, a mining town in Wisconsin, and went into business with a fellow clerk of his at Mr. Shaw's Sam Wilson. He afterwards settled in Dubuque buying out the Gregoire ferry. Mr. Gregoire was a brother-in-law of Gen. Jones and started the ferry in 1836. McKenzie often came over to Galena with his two bright little boys dressed in Scotch kilts, to see his brother-in-law, Capt. Thos. Connor, who had his office with me. Good genial Capt. Connor was killed at Pittsburgh Landing, and his body rests in the now Galena cemetery, on the hill close along side of that of Capt. Hiriam Bersie. Over the graves I had erected a plain slab of white marble in 1866.
The town of Cassville was laid off by Governor Dewey in about 1840. It is a very pretty site for a town on the east bank of the river. The governor erected a very fine stone hotel, large and spacious. Much too large for the wants of that early day. Cassville was on the Northern limit of the lead mines and a number of fine leads were opened there. It was quite a shipping point for lead and farm products. Rafuff and Geigher were the principal merchants there. It is now one of the dead towns on the east side of the river, still it has picked up somewhat since the Burlington and Northern railroad has been built, as it has a fine farming country back of it.
In 1835 I dissolved partnership with Edward Hempstead. He had an advantageous offer to go
164into the wholesale grocery business, in Chicago, with the old established house of Norton & Co., leaving me to close up what little unsettled business we had. I continued in the pork packing and grain buying business and was very successful. We initiated a good many railroad projects during the interval between 1854 and 1860. One was a connection between Galena and Milwaukee by way of Warren. A delegation of some twelve to fifteen went on an excursion to Milwaukee in the winter. Among them D. A. Barrows, L. S. Felt Cephas Foster, F. A. Collins and C. B. Denio. We were well received by the Milwaukee people. Wm. E. Kramer editor of the Wisconsin was a strong advocate for the project, I had met him before and had corresponded with his paper. I last met him in St. Louis in 1866 at the Lindele Hotel. He sat up with me until 12 o'clock talking and advocating the candidacy of General Grant for president in 1868. He was very deaf and had to use a large ear trumpet. He was the first one that I had heard speak of this. Edward Hotten a prominent citizen of Milwaukee, whom I had met at my home in Galena before, invited us all to take a ride to Waupon, where the opening of the railroad from Milwaukee to that place was to be celebrated. He was president of the road the first that went out west of Milwaukee. They had a banquet to which C. B. Denio, Professor Daniels and myself went. Friend Denio was always
165ready to make a speech and this was what Daniels and myself went for. Some few rather tame speeches were made when Daniels, who was State Geologist, of Wisconsin, called out the name of C. B. Denio, the Galena brick layer, I followed suit and Denio, who was a born natural orator made the best speech of the occasion. Sometime after a company was organized and some preliminary surveys were made. I was secretary and treasurer. I think the city of Galena issued 500,000 of bonds, which however, fortunately, were never sold, but were burned up a few years after. At the winding up of the concern, they owed me one hundred dollars for money advanced for surveys, some years after, when the Narrowgauge railroad was organized, it was necessary for them to have the books in my possession, and I got back my advance.
Another Galena railway project was to build a road to the state line of Minnesota, striking that state in Mitchel county, crossing the Mississippi at Tete des Mort, Captain Gear's gateway to the Pacific, and almost every where else. Some money was raised and an exploring party sent out, among whom was Dr. Ray, a Galena editor at the time, who afterwards became famous as the leading editor of the Chicago Tribune. He did not go through to St. Paul with the expedition. He reported a favorable route with the exception of getting out of the valley of the Tete des Mort
166to the high lands, some 300 feet above the valley. The company was organized and considerable stock was taken upon which some money was paid for surveys. Capt. Gear spending quite an amount on his own account in grading and building a heavy wall along the bank of the classic Tete des Mort. There had been a survey made of a number of miles in Iowa. Among the many land grants made by congress at this time, was a number of thousand acres to the state of Iowa. Our member of congress, E. B. Washburn, obtained for the Tete des Mort road, a grant for a portion of the land, this road commencing at the west side of the Mississippi and striking at the nearest point of the intersection on the railroad, then being constructed west of Dubuque. It was soon ascertained that the nearest point of intersection was to follow the Mississippi to the mouth of Tete des Mort. A company was organized at Dubuque, and the road was built getting the land grant. A few years after it was extended to Clinton by the same company. So our Tete des Mort project fell through, some thousands of dollars had been spent, and the city made another batch of bonds, 500,000, which with the bonds to the Milwaukee road were a few years after cremated, and this was the last of the attempts of Galena to build railroads. The Tete des Mort was a wild, visionary project at any rate, involving as it did the building of the long expensive bridge across the Mississippi, and
167crossing the high land between Galena and the Mississippi.
In 1854 when the Republican party was organized I was a delegate to the Congressional Convention held at Rockford, that nominated E. B. Washburne. It was a close contest between him and General Hurlburt, afterwards General in the War of the Rebellion. The platform took strong Anti-Slavery grounds. It was made so, thinking Washburne would not endorse it. The General made every exertion to get the nomination, but Washburne had a strong majority. The district which extended to the lake on the east, included some fifteen or twenty counties, had heretofore been strongly Democratic and it looked like an almost hopeless contest, but Washburne went in to win. An editor at Waukegan whose name I have forgotten did very effective work in that part of the district. Jo Daviess the residence of both the opposing candidates gave Tom Campbell the usual rousing majority, but the returns from the Eastern counties of the district, gave Washburne a small majority, much to the disappointment of my old genial neighbor, Thompson Campbell. I am no politician and never sought office, but was a delegate to every convention that nominated Mr. Washburne for all the time he served, 14 years. Of his qualifications as a representative, it is hardly necessary to speak, as his reputation as a faithful hard
168working member is well known, as well as his untiring efforts to sustain Gen. Grant against the combined attacks of red tape under McClelland & Hallack. An old time Democrat in Galena, Uncle Jesse Morrison had a claim against the government for mules and horses he had furnished during the Black Hawk War. He had had it in the hands of Tom Turner, Tom Campbell and Edward Baker, but did not get it allowed. He said, "I put it in the hands of Washburne and he got the money, he is the man for me." After this attended the first Republican state convention held at Springfield as a delegate. Here I first saw Abraham Lincoln. In the afternoon when I came into the hall I saw a tall ungainly man speaking. He was urging upon his old whig friends, like Govenor Palmer, Browning and others to join the new party, I soon discovered that I was listening to no common man and I inquired who he was. That is Abraham Lincoln, was the reply. Bissell was nominated at this convention for governor and Newman Bateman for state superintendent of public schools.
Galena and Vicinity From 1850 to 1860.
The tax levy of Galena was almost always short of the amount required to meet the yearly expenses, and in consequence of a yearly deficiency, the city council issued city script to pay for labor and
169incidental city expenses. In a few years this city script was passing and paid out at twenty-five cents on the dollar. This was a most ruinous and short sighted policy. Somewhere about 1840 in the administration of Chas. S. Hempstead as mayor, he recommended that this floating script should all be called in and funded at fifty cents on the dollar. This policy was adopted and bonds were issued for a number of thousand dollars running for I think twenty years with interest at ten per cent. The affairs of the city were miserably managed, generally under Democratic rule, the Irish vote usually deciding the elections. Representative men of means, and standing could not be elected, and the aldermen chosen were always fearful of injuring their popularity, if they should levy any increased tax. In consequence this city with hundreds of wealthy men, having more wealth than any other city of three times its size in the west, kept running behind from year to year. A small annual levy of 50 cents additional each year for a few years would have placed the city's finances on a sound basis. The business men who very seldom were chosen aldermen, were all to busy making money to pay any attention to city affairs. We all seemed to forget that sometime a day of reckoning must inevitably come. Things drifted in this way until about 1870. The interest on the bonds had not been met for some years, and the bonds were due. In
170the meantime the population of the poor old town was falling off. Many other best business men moved to Chicago and other points. The bond holders had got tired waiting for their money and interest. The city was sued and judgement given against it. What little city property there was, was attached. The market house with the small city hall in the second story was about all the bond holders could find. Finally a mandamas was issued compelling the city council to levy a certain amount of tax each year sufficient to meet the indebtedness. The tax was levied, but it was not collected for two or three years, some of the city officers resigning, whose duty it was to collect the tax, finally a compromise was made, the city agreeing to pay 50 cents on the indebtness in the course of a few years. The indebtedness was all settled some ten years ago.
To show how reckless the average city council was I will give an instance. The council wished to make some needed street improvments, but they had no money belonging to the city with which to do it. The fund collected for the support of the public schools as well as the state funds set apart for the same purpose were deposited with the city treasurer, and the teachers received their pay through the city council. They took two thousand dollars from this fund, and used it for city purposes, which they had no legal right to do, and they ought to have been indicted for this
171illegal act. The next season when I was a member of the Board of Education and was acting as superintendent for that year, while we were putting up the new high school building, I called on the city authorities for the $2,000 they had taken. They gave us a five years bond for the amount. We wanted the funds to fit out the new school house with furniture. I. A. Packard, who was going east took the bond with him to Boston and bought the needed furniture at cash prices. This was not paid until 1880. Another sample of the stupidity or knavery, of the average city councilmen.
The Catholics had two large parochial schools and some of their leaders thought it cost too much to keep them up, so a petition was gotten up to the city council, asking them to take these Catholic schools and call them public schools and to pay the teachers from the public funds. The petition was signed by Nicholas Dowling a leading Catholic, and a number of politicians, and among the rest by two of the members of the board of education, Wm. Gary and Henry Foltz, I was the other member, but was not called on to sign the petition. I well knew that this would be an illegal act, and called on Wm. Gary, a lawyer, who ought to have known better than to sign the petition and told him I would not consent to anything of the kind. He agreed that I was right and joined me in notice to the two Catholic teachers
172that they would not be paid their wages from the school funds and this ended the matter.
When I first came to Galena there were quite a number of colored people, who were slaves. Swancy Adams was one of the number, he belonged to a gambler by the name of Duncan. Swancy was a hard working industrious man. He was to have a portion of his wages and was working late and early to earn enough to obtain his freedom. He usually done all the jobs he could get, but most of his time was put in piling lead on the levee. Some days he would earn four dollars, and he had earned nearly enough to pay for himself and soon expected to see the happy day when he could call himself a free man. His master had been very unsuccessful in his gambling and one day he came to Swancy, when a boat was lying at the levee and told him he must send him to Missouri. Swancy knew that this meant he would sell him into slavery. He begged and pleaded with his master saying, "massa, haint I been a good faithful servant to you, and now when I have most paid for myself you send me away to a new master into slavery." Duncan persisted in putting him on the boat, and put hand cuffs on him, when some of Swancy's friends interfered and would not let Duncan send him off. They paid the small amount that was due and Swancy spent the rest of his days in Galena. When he got to old to do hard work he got himself a water cart
173and for many a year his familiar face was seen carrying pure spring water to his numerous customers.
Aunt Susan Coleman came to Galena with her Kentucky master in 1828. She was a noted nurse and she took charge of nearly all the little ones as they came along in the lower part of the town in my neighborhood. She was also trying to earn her freedom. When she had money enough at last to make the last payment she took it to her master and wanted him to make out her freedom papers, he put her off with some kind of writing which she showed to George W. Campbell, and he told her that would not do. So he went to her master and made him make out her free papers. She was a shrewd old woman, with a keen insight of character. Who does not remember Stalwart, old Jack Barton, black as the ace of spades, going around with his dray, a great favorite along the levee, with his inseperable companion drayman, Ned Mahar, the broken nosed Irishman. Sometimes Ned would get tight and be found in a saloon by his brave little wife. She would say to him, "Ned! Ned! Come home!" She would lead him out to the dray getting on behind herself. Ned would whip up his horse over the rough road trying to throw her off.
Two men came to Galena along in the 50s from Northern Missouri, looking for colored servants for a hotel just opening on the line of the
174Hannibal & St. Jo railroad. They offered good wages. They induced Jerry Boyd, his wife and daughter, to start with them. They had a covered wagon. Jerry noticed that they always kept the cover closed and took unfrequented roads avoiding going through towns. Somewhere near the middle of Iowa when they were in the woods eating their dinner, Jerry suspecting from their secret movements that something was wrong, told them so, saying that he would go no farther with them. Finding that their game was up as far as Jerry was concerred, they shot him, leaving his body there in the woods and pursued their way to Buchannan county in Missouri, threatening the wife and daughter with death if they made any attempt to escape. Some weeks after a letter was received from the wife by a friend of theirs in Galena, telling of Jerry's death and of their being held in slavery. This dastardly act stealing free negroes and carrying them off into slavery created intense excitement among all right minded people in Galena. Jerry Boyd was much respected as a sober industrious man and had resided in the city for a number of years. One thousand dollars was raised at once and Sam Hughlett a brave determined man, a Kentuckian by birth and W. W. Wigley, a shrewd sharp lawyer, went to Missouri with necessary papers to arrest the villians. When they arrived at their destination they went to a Judge of the Circuit Court and got out a writ
175for the arrest of the two negro stealers. The judge had the reputation of being the best and most respected man in the county. His family consisted of a colored woman, not his wife and a number of mulatto children. The men were arrested, without any trouble from the crowd that gathered around the cars, denouncing the d — d negro stealers and were put in charge of the sheriff. When they arrived at the next station, a few miles off they were met by a large crowd of Missourians, who rushed on the cars, shouting "where are the d — d negro stealers! We will lynch them." The prisoners were bustled off the cars with the sheriff, and that was the termination of the attempt to punish Southern negro stealers. The wife and daughter of Jerry were rescued however from slavery and brought back to Galena. Our old friend Sam Hughlett denounced the Missouri Democrats in bitter terms, saying I have done with the Democrat party after this. This was about the time of the Kansas troubles in the days of squatter sovereignty as advocated by Stephen A. Douglas. Steeling free negroes along the line of the border states was a common occurrance. It was done however by a set of lawless desperadoes much like our western horse thieves. The mass of slaveholders did not countenance these outrages.
There had been a number of robberies and attempts at arson along in the 50s. The Eagle saloon kept at this time by Alex Young, which stood
176on the site of the present Saint Louis store had been set on fire three different times. The last time the attempt was successful. A store on the corner southeast from this was also burned down. This last was probably done by the owner who was heavily insurred. A safe belonging to Deacon Long's lumber yard was broken open and its contents taken. There was so many outrages of this kind committed without any clew to the perpetrators that a vigilance committee was organized. A number of suspected characters were brought up before Judge Lynch. Pomp Stevens a lawyer, was the one who usually interogated the culprits. He had a strong sonorous voice which was generally used with telling effect. Nothing came out of the efforts of the organization, except to stop the outrages. No one was brought to justice. While the lynchers had their hands in, they heard of a man up on the hill who was frequently whipping his wife. Sometimes he would make her go out to the stable where he would whip her most unmercifully with a whip crying "whoe, whoe," to his horse, so that the neighbors would think he was punishing his horse. He was taken out to the stable and given a good hiding with the same whip and then was well covered with a coat of tar and feathers, which his poor wife was obliged to remove for him the same night. It seemed to be a hereditary trait with him as his father, it was said, used to whip his wife. One of
177his brothers attempted to whip his wife soon after they were married, ending rather disasterously to him and forever breaking up his constitutional tendency. She was a strong determined woman and she turned the tables on him by giving him a terrible thrashing. She was not troubled again in this way.
A Mr. Barttell from Quincy, IIl., established the Galena Gazette as early as 1839, I think. He was succeeded by H. H. Boughton soon after. He came from Vermont, was a vigorous writer and always conducted a clean reliable paper. Cephas Foster and W. W. Huntington a few years after, joined him in the management of the paper. Mr. Huntington was the business manager. The weekly had a very wide circulation all over the northwest at that time, and it still has a large circulation among the many Galenians who are to be found in almost every town in the West. J. B. Brown became associated with the paper later and has been the sole editor and proprieter for some years. Mr. Houghton was not only a vigorous writer, but he was also a practical printer. He could do what but few editors could. He composed his editorials and set up the type at the same time. Soon after the close of the war he was appointed as envoy to Honolulu. He stayed there but a short time as he did not like the mission. He had always wanted to be postmaster at Galena, and would probably have received the
178appointment under Lincoln's administration, had not his former associate, W. W. Huntington held it for two terms. After his return from Honolulu, the old faithful editor received the appointment he had waited for so long. He was a very quiet and somewhat eccentric man, somewhat of a seer, sometimes predicting the future career of men. He certainly commenced predicting the military career of Ulyssus Grant. When Grant took that unruly regiment at Springfield and marched them over land to Missouri, marching down through that state, scattering the guirillas who, were infesting that point of the state, he said in his paper that Grant would before the close of the war become one of the foremost leaders of the war. He continued these predictions all along through the earlier stages of Grant's eventful career. After the close of the war these editorials of his were republished, and I read them, and truly they seemed to be an unveiling of the future. I do not know whether these editorials have been preserved or not, in the files of the Galena Gazette. W. W. Huntington was a very genial companionable man. He was my near neighbor and an intimate associate. We formed a literary association for the purpose of securing a course of lectures, and in connection we opened a reading room intending it for the nuclus of a future library. We engaged some of the foremost lecturers of the time. Ralph Waldo, Emerson Lowell, John
179S. Saxe, Bayard Taylor, Horace Greely, Tom Marshall and others. I was president of the association, and my friend, Huntington was secretary and treasurer. I met Emerson at the depot and look him to my house. I was always a great admirer of his. The foremost philosopher of this or any other age. I have read and re-read his conduct of life and other lectures of his, and in each re-reading I find and appreciate some new truth. The next day after the lecture I took him out to see the famous Marsden diggings. It was in the winter season. We descended into the cave with a light furnished by one of the miners. The cave had a great many beautiful stalactites of pyrites of iron and cubes of galena. On our way home I took the wrong road, and wandered around among the deep wooded hills for sometime. Mr. Emerson seemed to enjoy the wild lonely drive very much, remarking that losing our way gave us a longer and pleasant ride. My wife and myself had spent some days at Concord, Massachusetts, the year before, visiting her relatives. I did not meet him but I visited his unique rustic house. He impressed me as having a most lovable childlike nature.
Horace Greely visited us in mid-winter. It had been snowing heavily, and the railroads were much obstructed. He had lectured the night before at Mineral Point, 40 miles away. He had hired a team to bring him in to Galena, a cold unpleasant
180ride. He came to my house and stayed with me all night after the lecture. In his lecture he commenced reading his manuscript in a sing song kind of a way and up and down. In a short time he said "I do not find what I want to say to you here," and laying down his notes he gave us a stirring off-hand address on the tariff and other matters connected with daily practical life. He was to lecture the next night at Freeport, 50 miles east. The night train had not arrived, and he was very much worried about meeting his appointment. Saying that if the train did not get in, he must hire a team and take another long tedious ride. After breakfast we started for the depot, on the bridge we met a man, who told us the train was just in. Horace jumped at least three feet high in his glee over his escape from detention. I had met Mr. Greely once before in his office in New York in 1846. I met him afterwards in Dubuque in company with Cornelius Vanderbilt. This was in 1873; I called at the hotel to see him, and we went to the Universalist church together. We sat in the same pew, when the hymn was read I noticed his eyes closed, Vanderbilt said to me, hand him the book he is not asleep. It was a habit of his to always close his eyes during service, seeming to be asleep, but when the sermon was over he could give you a clear account of all that was said. I have always been an admirer of Horace Greely. I think he
181done more in his day to disseminate, correct principles and improve public sentiment than any or all other newspaper editors. I have always been a decided Republican, but in 1874 I voted for him. I have taken his paper nearly all my life. The result of that election and his losing control of his Tribune broke the old man's heart. I recollect the lecture of brilliant Tom Marshall, the Kentuckian well. What a scoring he gave the Democratic party for their long course of "dog in the manger" policy, and his tribute to the sons of New England for their indomitable energy in overcoming the adverse legislation of the Democracy. I recollect he had to steady himself against one of the iron columns of the hall as he poured fourth in burning words his arraignment of the Democracy. The course of lectures was kept up for some years. During the seige of Vicksburg, a refugee, who had made his escape through our lines and came to Galena, he was a Southerner, a good talker, so we had him give us a lecture on the seige of Vicksburg. He had been there nearly all the time up to its capture. He was something of a wag and would describe some of the ludicrous scenes enacted there. About their being obliged to burrow in the hills to avoid the falling bombs, how sometimes the bombs would strike a stove while their dinner was cooking, just before their anticipated meal. Occasionally his discriptions of the suffering of the women and children
182in the beleagured city were quite pathetic. At the close we made him up a purse of fifty dollars for which he seemed to be very thankful and somewhat surprised as he did not expect any such amount.
We found it rather difficult to keep up our reading room and what few books we had were turned over to an institution called a theological seminary, built on the high point of land back of the court house. When this was started at first the Presbytery of Northern Illinois intended it to be a theological seminary for that denomination, and subscriptions were taken up for that purpose. Dr. Patterson came over from Chicago and met a number of delegates, who were called together to locate the new seminary. He was much opposed to its location at Galena, and it was finally located at Chicago. The ground had been purchased to build a seminary of learning on the site, and trustees were elected, most of them belonging to the Presbyterian church. They elected me as one of the number as being identified with the educational interest of the city. I was elected treasurer and took charge of the erection of the building. When completed it cost some four thousand dollars. We then commenced looking around for some one who would take charge of the school and devote a part of his time to raising some additional funds for the institution. Dr. Newhall at a meeting of the trustees, said he had just the
183man for the purpose, Professor Foster, who came from Rockford. So he was engaged at a fair salary, and in the course of two months some fifty or more pupils were in attendance. Foster was a very plausible man, but I soon suspected he was a fraud, he advertised a course of lectures, philosophical and amusing, for these lectures he obtained a considerable amount of apparatus, chemical and otherwise, giving exhibitions of laughing gas etc. This apparatus he had insured for three or four times its value as we learned some months after. One night there was a fire alarm, the fire breaking out about 9 o'clock. The building and all its contents were consumed. The Professor left soon after for Kansas after getting the insurance on his fixtures. Fortunately I had applied for four thousand dollars insurance only a few days before; the application was entered, but the money had not been paid, and I went to the agent and he allowed me to pay it, and made out the policy at the date of the application. This enabled me to pay off all the indebtedness, for materials and labor. I learned after that this professor was seen to go into the basement of the building on the night of the fire. There was a large quantity of boxes and shavings there, and he without doubt applied the match. He went to Kansas and invested his ill gotten gains in a farm. A year or two after, Dr. Newhall received a most pitious begging letter from him, saying he and his
184family were starving. It was the year of excessive drouth and grasshoppers in Kansas. Things generally get evened up, even in this life.
I attended the Republican convention held in the wigwam at Chicago, that nominated Abraham Lincoln. The day before the vote was taken my friend Huntington and myself visited a number of the headquarters of different states, mostly of New England states. From the general drift of their remarks I was satisfied that Lincoln would receive the nomination. When the voting commenced I had secured a seat on the upper teer, overlooking the vast assembly, and also could see out in the street where the crowd was awaiting the final vote. When the final vote was taken, the crowd outside seemed to know it by intuition even before it was announced. The Pennsylvania crowd with their splendid band, struck up their music, but it was drowned by the cheers that rent the air. They threw up their hats again and again. All seemed to be jubilant except the friends of Seward. They were sorely disappointed at the unexpected result. Lincoln's celebrated debates with Douglas and his great speech at the Cooper Institute in New York, had brought him into prominence as a man of the people. His masterly effort at Freeport, in which he completely mastered the wily little giant was, widely circulated and read. I was fortunate enough to hear this debate.
Steamboating on the Upper Mississippi.
I will now go back awhile and try to describe the rise and fall of the steamboat interest in Galena, and at other points along the river. About the time when the tide of the eastern emigration commenced flowing towards Minnesota, Mr. Lodewick came to Galena with a small boat and commenced making regular trips to St. Paul. A number of our citizens took an interest with him. From this small beginning grew the Galena & Minnesota Packet Co. New boats were added from year to year. Capt. Orrin Smith brought out the Nominee, a fast favorite boat, making a trip every week. The next season the Harris brothers, Smith and Scribe, bought a very fast boat called the West Newton and commenced running in opposition to the Packet Co., in order to force them to take them into the Co. The two boats would leave at the same hour, at each end of the route, and it would be a race all the way up and down between the two brother-in-laws. The Nominee developing unexpected racing qualities. There was not much cutting of prices. They made two trips each week. The West Newton would attain great speed for a short time under a full head of steam. One day I was standing on the river bank just below town in front of our mill, when the West Newlon came tearing down, splitting the little river wide open. The water was high. A
186dutchman was just getting ready to launch his skiff, when the waves from the steamboat struck him and his skiff, rolling both up the sloping bank a number of feet. The Dutchman picked himself up and said "By tam! What kind of a steamboat, is dat, tearing de river up." The next season the Harris boys were taken into the Co. Two more of the Lodewicks, Preston and Kennedy, came to Galena and took command of some of the company's boats. The company continued to add two more boats each year and a number of Dubuque men became interested, the company was then called The Galena, Dubuque & Minnesota Co. When the railroad reached Prairie Du Chein, H. L. Dousman took a large share of stock, and the Milwaukee & Alaska were built/ for that trade. Nearly all the new boats were built under the supervision of Orrin Smith, except the Grey Eagle and St. Paul, which were built by Capt. Smith Harris. All the new boats the company owned were built at Cincinnatti. When a railroad reached La Crosse they made an arrangement to carry the railroad freight of that road. A man called Commodore Davidson (in after years) came round from the Kenhawa river with an ordinary boat and commenced running from La Crosse to St. Paul, carrying freight and passengers at the same rates apparently, but he had a secret understanding with the railroad, by which he gave
187them a draw back on the business. In this way he secured all the business of the road. The next season the Packet Co., made an agreement with him, taking forty thousand dollars stock in the La Crosse line, putting on one or two of their boats. The La Crosse railroad being the shortest line from Chicago to Minnesota got the largest share of the immense traffic that was coming from the east to Minnesota. At, the next annual meeting of the stockholders of the Packet Co., at Dunleith, Davidson sent no report of the earnings of that part of the line. Two of our number were appointed a committee to go to La Crosse and have Davidson render an account. It was well known that the net earning had been near $200,000. When the delegates returned they reported that he would pay over to the company $125,000 as the earnings. This amount was accepted. It turned out that our delegates had arranged to go in with Davidson in this line. He was a shrewd unscrupulous man and had a faculty by which he could deceive most men and make them his willing tools. For was that were dark and trickery, he would beat the heathen Chinee. Well these two men who went in with him got their reward, at least one of them, that I know, as they never received any dividends. The earnings were all absorbed in repairs of boats repaired in Davidson's boat yard at La Crosse, and in insurance and drawbacks. Scribe Harris one of the
188victims told me he never received a cent of dividend except in watered stock, which amounted to $70,000. A few years after, when he met Davidson, he told him he was a d — d rascal and a thief, saying to him "I will sell you my stock for anything you will give." Davidson said he would give him 12Ë cents a share, and Harris took it. A few years after Davidson bought the line. There was a contest between the two companies lasting nearly all one summer. J. Russel Jones and Capt. Blakely carried on the contest for the Packet Co., against Davidson. Passengers and freight were carried at nominal prices, both companies lost heavily, and the Packet company commenced going down after this. The great rush to Minnesota had ceased, and the railroads had absorbed much of the business. In the winding up the business of the company the stock was sold mostly at 25 cents on the dollar and some for less, and so this once powerful company with its many fast steamers, disappeared from the upper Mississippi, which they for so many years had controlled.
In the 50s another steamboat company was organized by bringing together into one company a number of boats that were owned along the line of the river between St. Louis and Galena, engaged in trade between St. Louis and St. Paul. Capts. Ward and Griffith of St. Louis, Capt. Tom Buford, of Rock Island, Capts. John and Tom Rhodes, of
189Savanna, and Jerry Woods, of Sabula, and some five or six in Galena, who had an interest in two or three boats. It was called the Northern Line, with head quarters in East St. Louis. The company was very successful and paid good dividends for many years, until that wrecker of steamboat interests on the upper Mississippi, having destroyed the Minnesota Packet Co., and built himself up on the ruins, commenced running his boats to St. Louis, seeking whom he might devour. He soon commenced cutting passenger rates. At this time during the hot summer months there was a great rush of passengers from New Orleans and St. Louis seeking health and recreation in the cool breezes of the north. Boats were usually very much crowded, so that it was sometimes difficult for us way passengers to obtain a berth. The wily Davidson was after the lucrative traffic and another object he had was to get control of this line and wreck it for his own benefit. So as I said he commenced cutting passenger rates until the rate for passenger transportation to St. Paul from St. Louis was cut down to one dollar and boats of both lines were crowded with all sorts of passengers, carrying with them their own provisions. This was kept up for some months. In the fall both companies were exhausted. Unfortunately for our company they agreed to let Davidson in the next season. Capt. Tom Buford called on the stockholders in the winter for their
190signatures and the fatal deed was done. Stockholders received no dividends after this as by the time the two companies were out of debt, Davidson had control, having secured the control of a majority of the stock holders. It was done in this way, the Keokuk or McUne line, as it was called, running between St. Louis and Keokuk had been merged with the Northern Line some two years before Duvidson had been taken in. McUne dying, who owned most of the stock in this line, it was found that the line was heavily in debt and that the stock must be sold to pay the indebtedness. Our people ought to have bought it at once, but did not,and Davidson stepped and bought it which gave him the control of the Northern Line by some few shares of stock. The directors of the Northern Line had been elected for another year a short time before the sale. So Davidson did not get control until the next year, in about 1870.
The first thing Davidson done the next season was to call on the stockholders of the line for a 20 per cent assessment to pay off the indebtedness made by repairs etc. Some of them were foolish enough to respond. Our old citizen, Bill Henderson paid his 20 per cent on $30,000 worth of stock, for which he never received a cent. Some $55,000 worth of this stock was owned and is still held in Rock Island. This robber, of every steamboat interest on the upper Mississippi, has gone to his reward. When he consumated his
191last and greatest deal in St. Louis he was holding outdoor revival meetings on the levee of St. Louis, and he took his final departure from this world in all the order of sanctity.
This in brief is a rough sketch of the rise and culmination of navigation on the upper Mississippi as carried on by these powerful companies whose substantial well constructed, commodious boats once plowed the waters of this grand old river, the upper Mississippi. Now its waters flow on almost unvexed towards the sea. A few ordinary stern wheel boats belonging to the Diamond Jo Line, a few raft boats towing logs to the saw mills along the river, a few small boats plying between cities scattered along the river. This is what has taken the place of the magnificent boats of years ago, transporting the thousands of passengers who for pleasure or business crowded their decks. "It causes a feeling of sadness to steal over me when I think of the many pleasant days, I have passed in going down the great river, of the many pleasant casual acquaintances I have made, of the many warm friends I had among the captains, pilots and clerks, now all gone with the exception of here and there an aged one who still remains. They have left this state of existance for a better and brighter one. Government is spending large amounts every year in improving the navigation of the river, and the river is now in a better condition
192for navigation than ever before, but the outlay seems almost useless as far as transportation of any kind of freight is concerned. Railroads now, anaconda like with almost continuous lines along each side of the river, throttle all attempts at competition in this day when rapid transit is required, saving insurance and loss of time. People have become so accustomed to be whirled along at the rate of forty miles an hour that I fear if some enterprising capitalist would invest his surplus in a few fast steamers for the accommodation of Southern tourists he would be disappointed. Perhaps in after ages when the Americans shall have learned the lesson that this mad rush after wealth is a delusion, shall have learned to be more quiet, the dear old river may be restored to its former usefulness. Then social, happy intercourse shall once more he found in the pallatial cabins of the steamers of the future. If Uncle Sam is making these many improvements with this object in view — all right."
Breaking out of the Rebellion. Incidents of the Civil War in Galena.
In 1860 after the breaking out of the Rebellion the first company of soldiers organized in Galena belonged to the l2th regiment of volunteers. McArthur was the colonel in command and Augustus Chetlain was elected captain. The
193regiment was ordered to go to East St. Louis. They went into camp a few miles back from the river at the base of the bluff. They were sent there soon after the breaking up of the rebels, who had gathered at camp Jackson, to watch the further moves of the Rebels, of St. Louis. I went down there with some supplies the ladies had fitted out for our boys. Rubber blankets were made for the whole company. I camped and messed with the boys two or three days. My only experience of camp life. They had a rebel prisoner with them, a Mr. McDonald, who was so outrageous that Gen. Lyon sent him over to Col. McArthur for safe keeping. He was one of the captans at camp Jackson. While there I went over to St. Louis on business. Calling at the counting room of my friend Rufus Lackland, I found quite a number of men there who sympathized with the rebellion. They said Missouri would secede. I told them if every man, woman and child in the state wished to leave the Union they would not be allowed to secede. The hotel at which I stopped was kept by Sparks & Sparr. They were both sympathizers and denounced the d — d dutch soldiers, who attacked camp Jackson under the brave Gen. Lyon. Sparks formerly kept the De Soto House in Galena, and he and Sparr took and kept the Lindell in St. Louis when it first opened. Captain Ulysses Grant was at this time a clerk in the leather store of Grant &
194Perkins. I bought the rubber goods of him from which the coats were made for the boys in camp at East St. Louis. I first met Capt. Grant in 1850 in the Galena market square. He was buying dressed hogs to ship to his father in Ohio. He had on a soldiers blue overcoat. I inquired who he was and was told he was a son of Mr. Jesse Grant. He then lived in a small frame tenement on the hill, a quiet reticent man then, but little known. He came to Galena from St. Louis in the fall of 1857. He had been trying to make a living on n farm a few miles out of St. Louis given him by his father-in-law, Mr. Dent. While on the farm, in the winter season he would haul wood into St. Louis and sell it. A St. Louis merchant, a friend of mine told me he bought a number of cords of him. In conversation with R. H. McClellan, of Galena, he said that he had received a military education at West Point and that in this contest for the existance of our free institutions he felt that his services were due to his country. Mr. McClellan was a member of the state legislature and he gave him a letter to Governor Dick Yates. He set him to work drilling the new regiments of volunteers that had gathered at Springfield. He was soon after given the command of that wild unruly regiment, that he led to Missouri. He had no money to buy a horse and equipments, and he applied to E. A. Collins, who had been a partner with his father in the Galena
195store, who learned him $200 for his outfit. E. A. Collins done this much for the Union cause and as the sequel proved, this little act of kindness to the son of his former partner had far reaching consequences. But I am sorry to say that neighbor Collins was so far carried away by his party sympathy with the democracy of the South that he was considered one of the leaders of the rebel element of Galena. That there was a strong rebel element in and around Galena, some of the Southern leaders were led to believe by the representations made to them through a correspondence that was opened with Mr. Boteller, a member of congress from Virginia by M.Y. Johnson. It is said that he told Boteller that quite a strong number of people about Galena sympathized with the South. This was about the time that some of the rebel leaders who were in Canada, tried to organize a force to liberate and arm the rebel prisoners in Chicago, and also the large number of prisoners confined at the barracks on Rock Island. There is no doubt that there was a well concocted conspiracy organized by the rebels for this object. M.Y. Johnson, who was a pronounced rebel, in his bragging, boasting way trying to show his importance, no doubt led the rebel leaders, some of them at least, to believe that he could make a large diversion in their favor in this section. The day we received the news of the death of that brave leader, Lyon, in Southwest Missouri, I heard Johnson
196say he was glad of it, and that he wished all the soldiers who were there to invade Missouri were hung, or that, they ought to be.
There were a large number of Irish Catholics in Galena. They were so carried away by their love of Democracy that the large mass of them sympathized with the South. One of their number however, William Ryan, a strong union man, and a man of great influence among them, commenced raising a company of volunteers in 1863 and induced a large number of the most rough and unruly ones to join, and a full company was made up from Galena and vicinity. I think they went to Chicago and became part of the regiment under Milligan or Corcoran. Mr. Ryan's efforts were untiring, sparing neither time or means in getting this unruly element away to where they might be of service to his country's cause. At one time during the war things looked so threatening with us in consequence of the attitude of the rebel element among us that the loyal men were furnished with arms by the state, and a company was formed of a hundred or more who met on the hill once or twice a week for the purpose of drills, and our Union League met often in our hall. In 1861 when I was in St. Louis I bought and forwarded to my friend Huntington, some 20 to 30 Henry 16 shooter rifles costing $50 each, sending one to be used by myself. In 1863 the county was offering a bounty for volunteers to fill up the
19796th regiment. There was a large crowd collected around the headquarters of the recruiting station, and there was considerable excitement. A burly Englishman from the country was very noisy and boisterous in his rebel talk, saying the county would not pay the bounty, that they had no right to offer a bounty. I said to him you will be arrested if you keep up this talk, discouraging enlistments, I stood close to him, he drew off to strike me, but my good friend Scribe Harris stood just behind me. He struck the burly Englishman over my shoulder and he lay prostrated at my feet. This affray led to the arrest of the Englishmen for discouraging enlistments and a little German corporal, who had been discharged from his company, and had been talking about the enlisments was also arrested. The next day the United States marshall, J. Russel Jones came over and arrested M.Y. Johnson and David Sheean. They were transported to Fort Lafayette and serving their country there a short time, they were set a liberty. The rebel element was tolerable quiet after this until 1861 when the assembled, Democracy at Chicago declared "the war a failure," and nominated their favorite McClelland, one of the greatest failures as a leader of armies that was thrown to the surface during the war. I wish I could recall his boasting words in his address to his little army on their return from West Virginia where they had been engaged in a
198few skirmishes, which could hardly be called battles. In this address he aped the style of the great Napoleon in his famous addresses to his troops whose battles decided the fate of nations. During this fall the rebel portion of the Democracy were very out-spoken and aggressive in the North. It was at this time, when I was living in St. Louis that I sent up the rifles. We raised a fund of some $2,000 for the support of the destitute families of the volunteers who had enlisted. This fund was distributed to their families by I.A. Packard and myself. When the soldiers in Capt. Conner's company received their pay, the captain sent it to me and I paid it over to their families. The captain, who was an uncle of Major McKenzie of Rock Island, was killed in the battle at Pittsburg Landing. He was a noble, brave man, the soul of honor. Sanitary stores were gathered in from Galena and surrounding country and forwarded to the different regiments composed in part of Jo Daviess Co., volunteers. In 1862 Mr. Washburn obtained commissions for the officers of a regiment called the Leadmine regiment. It was the 15th. John A. Rawlins was Colonel, J. A. Maltby, Lieutenant Colonel, and John E. Smith, was Major. The regiment was soon filled up and it was distinguished as a crack regiment in the siege of Vicksburg. As is well known, John A. Rawlins was selected by Gen. Grant as his chief of staff and his right hand man all through the war. His
199father was a charcoal burner out in the wooded hills of Jon Daviess, He was often seen in the streets of Galena supplying the blacksmiths with charcoal. His son who had received a good education came into Galena a few years before the war and commenced the study and practice of law. He acquired the reputation of being in the way of becoming a successful lawyer. John E. Smith the genial, fun loving neighbor of mine was a great favorite of Gen. Grant and rose to the rank of brigadier-general. William E. Rowley who went out from Galena as a captain in the 12th regiment became afterwards a member of Gen. Grant's staff. He had been the clerk of the circuit court of Jo Daviess county for a few years before the war.
In looking back over the history of the great contest for liberty, how often do we find men of low degree coming up from the ranks taking the foremost positions before the close of the war, and some of the officers of the regular army proving to be utter failures. The apparently strong, distanced and beaten by the weak things of this world.
When the news came to us of the fall of Vicksburg we had a glorious celebration, large delegations came in from the country and from Iowa. Bands of music and banners waving filled the streets.
I might as well give a sketch of what I knew of
200the life Gen. Grant in connection with Galena. After he passed through Missouri we next hear of him dealing telling blows to the rebels at Belmont, in Missouri, a few miles below Cairo. He is next permitted to organize a force to penetrate Tennessee. Forts Henry and Donaldson are quickly captured by this swift moving little captain. Next comes the two days of bloody battle of Pittsburg Landing, where by his unflinching pertinacity he turned apparent defeat into victory. Soon after this a strong systematic effort was made to crush him because he did not make daily reports to headquarters, at St. Louis and Washington; red tape required it, and he had the audacity to make a trip of reconnoissance up the Tennessee to Nashvillle to look at the situation there, and gave an opinion that it might easily be taken if moved on at once. He does this without consulting Gen. McClelland. He was temporarily suspended. He became discouraged and asked repeatedly to be relieved of his command. He would have been crushed had it not been for the powerful influence of E. B. Washburn. I saw and read all the dispatches that passed between him and the department about a month after the battle of Pittsburg Landing, in which he says at three different times, "I asked to be relieved." Copies of all these dispatches were sent to his friends in Galena to hold as his vindication in the future. This silent swift moving man
201well knew that he had done his duty, and the country began to see it too. Four years after he left Galena, soon after the fall of Vicksburg he visited his old home and what a rousing reception we gave him. The citizens of Galena had purchased for him a comfortable brick house on the East Side of the river and had furnished it with everything to make it agreeable and cosy. When he went through the house and saw what his kind Galena lady friends had done for his comfort and convenience, as he came out of the house silent tears rolled down his cheeks. The reflection also no doubt effected him in contrasting his present situation with that of only four short years ago. He was then poor and almost unknown, and now he was the foremost hero of the war.
A day was set in which he would receive all who wished to see him at his new home. Immense crowds came to see him, and greet and welcome the hero. As he sat on the lawn in front of his house, I came along leading my little daughter by the hand. He called her to him and held her in his lap for some time. Like all truly great men he was passionatly fond of children. He was not the stoical impasable man that many thought him to be, but was loving and sympathetic. He always had a warm affection for his old Galena friends, and if he could have chosen would no doubt have ended his days in his
202quiet little home on the hill. In the evening there was a reception given in the post office building at which General Chetlain standing at his side introduced the crowds that called to take him by the hand.
Gen. John C. Smith, who enlisted in the 96th regiment and was elected Capt. of his company was a Galena carpenter. He made a good record during the war attaining the rank of brigadier general at its close. He was the leading member of the masonic fraternity of Illinois. He was elected state treasurer, and now is living in Chicago
George Hicks another Galena boy, a great favorite of H. H. Houghton as well us of others, enlisted in the 96th regiment and was elected captain. He was a lawyer and at the close of the war he went to Freeport and opened a law office with Gen. Atkins. Some years later he to went Jamaica in the West Indias, where he was elected superintendent of schools of that Island. He made a visit to his old home in 1893.
Noted Leading Man of Galena.
Among the many old time Galena merchants of that day were B. H. Campbell. J. Russel Jones, James Rood, J. A. Packard, W. I. Quann and Edward Hempstead, all of whom moved to Chicago many years ago, and they all have taken
203a leading part in the business of that city. Among the old time lawyers were E. A. Small, J. M. Douglas, Thomas Hoyne, Vanhiggins, Thomas Drummond and E. M. Bradly. All these men of mark left Galena many years ago and settled in Chicago, they have all made a good record in the city of their adoption. J. M. Douglas, who went there in 1858, in 1856 when the Illinois Central railroad reached Galena, at the reception given the officer's at the DeSoto House made the speech of welcome to them. They were so well pleased with the marked ability he displayed in this address, that soon after they tendered him the appointment of general attorney of the road with headquarters at Chicago, and a salary of $10,000. He was afterwards elected president of the road and served in that capacity some years. Another young lawyer who left Galena many years ago and settled in Chicago and attained prominence there was J. N. Jewett. He married a daughter of my old friend Major John R. Roundtree, of Platteville, Wisconsin. There are many other of lesser note who emigrated to Chicago years ago whose sons have become famous. Mayor George B. Swift, the two Kohlsatt boys, and Scott the editor of the Herald. I knew the fathers of these boys well. Not only has Chicago taken in and absorbed a large number of the leading citizens of Galena, but nearly every town in the great West has or had its sprinkling of old
204time Galenians. Galena may well be called the seedground of the West. In 1848 some of our citizens wrote to Ed. Baker, the silver tounged orator of Illinois who then lived at Springfield to come and settle in Galena, the object of the invitation was to give him the nomination for Congress. He came and received the nomination and was elected with Gen. Zachary Taylor. He made his home at Galena for two or three years then went to Oregon and was I think elected a senator from that state. At the breaking out of the war he resigned his position as senator making an eloquent stirring speech in the senate at the time. He served as colonel sometime, and lost his life at that disastrous conflict at Balls Bluff. He was the most eloquent man I ever heard. As a legislator he was not a success. He lacked application and business energy. His flight of oratory were marvelous, soaring up to the heavens swaying the multitudes who listened to him as no other public speaker that I ever heard could.
Galena at one time was famous for its many talented clergymen. Rev. Arthur Swazey who was pastor of the Presbyterian church was a very able and affable gentleman. He went to Chicago and was the editor-in-chief of the Interior. J. H. Vincent a bright eloquent young man was pastor of the Methodist church for three years. We first heard him preach at a conference held in Galena.
205He took his hearers all by storm by his kind loving manner, and my good friend Huntington had influence enough to get him as pastor at Galena the next year. He has since been noted for his work at Chautauqua. He is now one of the most influential of the bishops of the Methodists. Mr. Magoon another strong eloquent logical preacher came to Galena a young man, from a seminary of learning at Platteville, Wisconsin. He entered upon his first charge as pastor of the Second Presbyterian church. Preaching here a few years he was called to take the presidency of Grindell college in Iowa. He is now I believe at the head of some institution of learning in New York.
Galena in 1856.
In 1856 Galena had reached the culminating point of her prosperity. She owned and controlled a large share of the steamboat interest on the upper Mississippi. Had a daily line of packets running to Rock Island another daily line running between the rapids, besides holding large shares of stock in a daily line of boats plying between St. Louis and St. Paul. All their lines with the magnificent fleet of boats engaged in the St. Paul trade formed such a combination for navigating the waters of the great river as I fear alas I will never again be seen. Galena at this time
206had a large number wholesale houses in nearly all departments of trade. Nearly all of them making their purchases in the east, and at New Orleans, doing little or no business with Chicago, some with St. Louis. Her merchants supplied the whole northwest including Northern Iowa, Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Nearly all the lumber interests of Western and middle Wisconsin, including the valley of the Wisconsin obtained their supplies of goods and money advances from Galena. With the extension of the Illinois Central and other railroads to the Mississippi and the rapid growth of that young giant city on Lake Michigan, her trade gradually fell off until she only had the trade lying contiguous to her on the north. The country around is well settled and she still has a very good retail trade, and any one who is fond of wild picturesque scenery and is fond of a quiet, peaceful life can find a pleasant home still in dear old Galena.
One other incident connected with the civil war. In 1861 or '62 the powder mill at Platteville sent in 200 kegs or more of powder to be shipped to St. Louis. It was stored on the landing below town in front of my pork house. I think it was just before the camp Jackson affair, when the rebels had control in St. Louis. The agent for the powder mills said it was for blasting powder in the mines of Southwest Missouri, but we knew it could be used for war purposes. Some
207of my neighbors said it ought not to be allowed to go on the boat, I said let a dozen of us go down and I would tell the captain, whom I knew, that it must not go. The boat had already taken some on board. It did not go, but was taken back to the powder mill. In a few days we heard that the powder in the powder house above St. Louis belonging to the Lafllins to whom this powder was consigned, was taken and used by the rebels.
My Sojourn in St. Louis Building Grain Elevators.
I had closed up most of my business in 1858 and when the war broke out I did not feel like entering into any business. Did not like speculating on the wants of my country in her peril. I devoted the most of my time in different ways in trying to help along the interests of the boys engaged in the great struggle. I was fifty years old, too old and frail for active service in the field. In the fall of 1863, some of my St. Louis friends urged and requested me as I was in no active business to come down and organize a company for the construction of a grain elevator The boats of the northern line in which I had an interest as well as other boats engaged in carrying grain to the St. Louis market, felt the want of elevators to assist in handling the large amount of grain that was brought down in sacks. So I went
208down in October and had some talk with the millers and commission men who all seemed to favor the project if the right to put one up on the levee could be obtained. The city had hertofore prevented anything being put up on the levee, stretching along the river nearly two miles, and that it must be held sacred for the landing of boats. We organized a company of corporators, and before going to the legislation I made a conditional agreement with the Lindell heirs to perchase 200 feet of ground fronting on the river. I then went to the legislature which was in session at Jefferson City, and with the help of some radical friends who were in the majority in the legislature, I succeeded in getting passed such a charter as we required, with a capital stock of $500,000. The company was organized and some stock was taken. Theadore Lanville and myself each taking $20,000. We found it very difficult to get the stock taken, as trade in St. Louis was much depressed owing to the war and then being cut off in part from the Southern trade. There was an extra session of the legislature called in January 1864, Chancey O. Filley, the mayor and his engineer went up to Jefferson secretly and induced the legislature to adopt an amendment to our charter, giving the mayor the right to accept or reject our plans for an elevator on the levee. When I allowed him our plans, he had one that was wholly impracticable. A few days after this,
209as luck would have it one of our directors, who was a member of the city council happened to be acting mayor one day and signed our plans. A. W. Fagan remarking as he signed it, "The pen is more powerful than the sword." Thus the little mayor's scheme for blackmail was thwarted. I was very materially assisted in my efforts to get the stock taken by my old New York friends, Dr. Vanzant and Judge Krum. I was elected president of the company and I. H. Alexander, secretary of the board of trade, was elected secretary and cashier. We found it very difficult to get the stock taken, with the exception of some $70,000 which I succeeded in having taken outside, the rest was taken by the millers and commission men. When we had got all taken after a thorough canvass of the city it amounted to about 260,000. When the building was completed having 1,000,000 of bushels capacity it cost $500,000. Everything was at its highest notch with gold at 150 to 200. When finished we borrowed $200,000 issuing bonds for the same. Sometime in 1864 I resigned my position as president to give place to A. W., Fagan, who was a man of means and influence, and it was thought he might by giving his personal attention to the affairs of the institution obtain more subscriptions to the stock. I stopped at the Lindell hotel during all my stay in St. Louis of over two years. When it was finished and in successful operation,
210I returned to Galena in the spring of 1866. I had the satisfaction of causing the erection of the first grain elevator in St. Louis. I put in over two years of hard anxious work receiving but a meager compensation for the same and but small dividends for some years after, still in the long run it paid a fair interest on the money invested, and besides I had a new and varied experience in this old fogy city. I sold the last stock I had in this elevator in the winter of 1893 just in time to avoid the depression in all stock of this kind.
In the fall of 1864 during the McClelland campaign a large mass meeting of the Democracy was held at the court house in the upper hall. I attended with a number of other Republicans. A number of speeches were made, landing McClelland and congratulating the Democracy that the reign of the Republicans would soon end. They were mostly quiet and moderate in their remarks except one, made by a lawyer by the name of Lachland, a pronounced out-spoken rebel. He made a most violent speech, denouncing the union cause in the most bitter terms. Saying they would soon be free men and that the reign of tyrany under the Republicans would soon be over. While he was in the midst of his treasonable tirade, some one down below in the rotunda called out in a loud voice, "Fort Gratiot!" "Fort Gratiot!" He cooled down at once. The next morning sure enough he was cooling his secession
211ardour in the cool recesses of the military prison.
Just before the election, the Democracy organed an immense demonstration, a street parade, with all sorts of banners, transparancies, head lights with mottoes about the war being a failure, the reign of tyrants is almost over etc. When they were passing up Washington street in front of the Lindell hotel, I saw from where I stood on the upper balcony a number of boys in blue, not more than forty picking up the stones from the newly paved street. They at once commenced throwing stones at these offensive transparancies banners and head lights. In less than ten minutes, their aim was so true, that all these offensive mottoes were lying at the feet of their bearers, and the whole procession was broken, many of them taking to their heels. Near where I was standing a firey young Southerner shielding himself behind a pillar drew his pistol and said he would shoot the d — d rascals across the street. The bystanders siezed him and took his pistol away, the landlord Parks saying he did not want his hotel bombarded. Soon a squad of guards who had heard the disturbance rushed into the hotel with fixed bayonets ready for a charge. A man standing near where they came, near a window, leaped out through the window crashing the glass, and into an open cellar way, on the stone steps and broke his neck. This was the only fatal
212casualty growing out of this abortive demonstration in St. Louis. This small squad of soldiers belonged to the Jayhawkers of Kansas, who probably had, many of them, suffered in the past from the incursions of the Missourians into their state a few years before. This perhaps ought to excuse them for breaking up this political demonstration of the Democracy. While boarding at the Lindell I met many of our prominent men identified with the union cause. Here I first met Gen. Sherman. I could find no one of my acquaintances who knew him so I introduced myself as a Galenian, a townsman of Gen. Grant. He received me very cordially and entered into conversation with me. His wife and little girls lived in the Lindell some months and almost daily we went up the elevator together, I met Mrs. Grant with Mrs. Sherman one day in the parlor of the hotel.
Gen. Rosencranz also boarded at this hotel while he had the command in St. Louis. He was much petted by the rebel sympathisers and was often called on by them for a speech on any and all occasions to which he always responded making weak wandering speeches, I did not admire him at all, and I found that some who had served under him did not think much of him as a general.
Near the last of October in 1863 James B. Eades invited me, together with a number of others to
213take a trial trip on the first of the many turreted gun boats that he built for the government for the defense of the Mississippi, which he built at St. Louis. We steamed down the river for some miles. The Winnebago the name of this first boat seemed to work satisfactorily. This was the first work of this kind that Capt. Eades had ever done for the government. He and his partner had been doing a good share of the work in removing snags from the lower Mississippi for a few years back. As is well known his next great work was superintending the construction of the great bridge across the river at St. Louis. A work involving the highest engineering skill, owing to the difficulty in securing a foundation for the massive structure. Having to go down seventy feet in depth through the quick sands, in order to find a safe foundation for the heavy granite piers used in the construction. His next great work was building the jetties below New Orleans in which he showed the same wonderful engineering talent in overcoming what was considered to be unsurmountable obstacles, making the strong current of the lower Mississippi dredge out a deep channel into the deep waters of the gulf. As I have before stated his father and family lived in early days, two miles above LeClair. Capt. Bersie my old time friend was a very firm friend of James B. Eades, lending him money from time to time before the war, all of which amounting to $17,000, he paid back to
214me as executor of the estate after the close of the war. When we were taking this trial trip a furious blinding snow storm came up. The snow fell to the depth of six or eight inches. At night it turned quite cold and the streets of St. Louis were covered with frozen snow and ice in the morning. On my return to Galena I found we had been having mild weather, no snow, no frosts. I picked my crop of apples on my farm just out of town. I have often noticed that sometimes in the latitude of St. Louis, a cold wave strikes that section much earlier than it does further north. My theory about it is that a cold wave comes down along the base of the Rocky Mountains from the north and when it strikes the latitude of St. Louis, it is met with westerly winds and diverged east along the base of the 0zark Mountains. This latitude seems to be subject to great extremes of heat and cold. One day in mid summer when I was at dinner in the Lindell House, the windows were all open, I suddenly felt intense heat, as if the winter furnace and all the stoves in the house were in full blast. As I went out into the street on my way up to the elevator I felt hot blasts striking my face, so hot and strong coming from the west that I used my handkerchief to shield my face from the sirocco-like blast. This intense hot blast coming from the sandy plains of the west kept up for some hours. When the elevator was completed and
215in successful operation I returned to Galena in the spring of 1866. Still retaining my position as a director until 1867, when I resigned my office of director to give place to I. L. Higby, of Milwaukee, whom I had induced to take stock to the amount of $20,000 in 1865; he came to St. Louis in 1868 and was elected president, of the board and undertook the supervision of the grain elevator. Two or three years later he went to New Orleans and built the first elevator in that city.
The Return From Galena in 1866 to Rock Island.
Closing my connection with the active operations of the St. Louis elevator in the spring of 1866 I returned to Galena. During my work in St. Louis I usually returned home about every four or six weeks to visit my family. My old home, Galena, since 1856, when the Illinois Central railroad was extended to Dunleith opposite Dubuque had been going down. The steamboat interest of Galena attempted to retain their commerce on the river by erecting a large warehouse at Dunleith for the reception of the freight for the Central and the offices for the transaction of their business were held there for some years. Some of our merchants opened branch houses there. A large commodious hotel called the Argyle house was built by parties interested in the railroad. I
216found that many of our business men and others had gone to Chicago and other points. Very many of my nearest and best friends had left. The out look for a further residence in Galena did not look very inviting to me, still I much disliked to break up and sever the many pleasant associations connected with my residence of over a quarter of a century in the dear old town. As I have before stated I purchased of Hibbard M. Moore in 1857 the place that I now occupy on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Elm or 30th streets. This interest as well as the larger one my wife had in the Brook's estate, made me turn my face to Rock Island, where I had spent five years of my life in the West, and where I had married my good wife. We had partially kept up our associations with the early settlers of Rock Island by making visits to my wife's people quite often. The parents of my wife had in the meantime passed away as well as her brother, George, leaving of the family only her brother, William, and herself.
I sold my farm lying near the Portage for some $2,000 less than I paid for it a few years before. My house I fortunately found a customer for who paid me the price I paid for it years before. My other property, the mill interest and the packing house, candle and soap factory I had disposed of a short time before. Settling up with every one, we packed up our household goods and shipped them on a steamboat for Rock Island, moving into my
217present home which Capt. Jerry Woods had recently vacated. My place at this time was one of the most beautiful spots in Rock Island. Mr. Hibbard Moore from whom I bought it was very fond of fruit and flowers and the whole of the two acres was covered with fruit trees, vines and shrubs which the carelessness of tenants had not been able to impair or distroy. Cherry, apple, plum and pear trees I found in full bearing. I have all through my life been a great admirer and lover of nature in all its wonderful forms and manifestations. A lonely walk in the woods always had more attractions for me than a stroll through the crowded thoroughfare of a city. The scenes that greeted me at my homestead and in and about the wooded hills of Rock Island as well as some of the winter scenes that I have often witnessed in this northern land of bright beautiful summer weather and its bitting healthy frosts of winter, I have endeavored to depict in the following faint description. In so far as beauty is manifested either in organic or inorganic nature it is the same. Both are alike beautiful. Nature in all its forms and manifestations whether in the bright dew drop of early morn, in the many hued tints of the rainbow, in the glorious vision of the setting sun shining through fleecy mists or the mighty billows of old ocean as they come rolling and tumbling to the shore is full of beauty. A home scene in early spring. A May morning, a
218soft clear atmosphere, balmy with the break of spring. All around is a circle of beauty, a dense grove of apple and cherry trees laden with a wealth of pure white and rose colored blossoms. The busy bees and the glad carol of birds returning to their accustomed haunts falls upon the ear. The scarlet Tanager like a flash of light and fire and the Baltimore Oriole flies in and out from the flower laden trees. The delicate pale green of the just opening leaves of the maple, the tiny leaves of grass just awakening and springing into renewed life from the long winter's sleep. All these things are and ought to be sources of enjoyment to us, and will be if our hearts are open to receive them. Go out into the woods on a bright October day, a hazy atmosphere, see the ripe leaves, many tinted, gently falling to the ground. Look up and see what a wealth of splendor clothes the maple, ash and linn, and even the homely oak puts on a robe of many tints of brown. This is a scene, a feast we may all enjoy if we have the time and taste to take a ramble over the wooded hills. A winter scene a bright clear morning, during the night a slight rain or mist has been falling, freezing as it fell, covering every little leaf, every little twig and limb of the trees with a coating of ice. The sun comes up, clear and shining. Every little point becomes irrideseent with rainbow hues. The whole earth is a jewell of gleaming crystals hung between two heavens, beautiful alike in
219sunshine and star light, glorious and beautiful beyond description. Even the dullest soul will exclaim. "Oh how beautiful!" Another scene from nature found in central Wisconsin. A small beautiful lake hemmed in and surrounded by high towering cliffs. The rock standing up in splintered columns. The steep sides are clothed with a growth of pine and other trees. The water is clear, cold, pure and as soft as distilled water. It is without visible inlet or outlet. A line let down on the north shore 175 feet found no bottom. The top of the quartzite bluffs are 800 feet above the level of the Wisconsin river. So pure and clear are the waters of this picturesque lake, that the steep precipitous rocks and the evergreen trees that line its shores are reflected in its crystal depths. Take a row and go out on a clear starlight night, along the north shores, gaze down into its clear depths and see the trees, the tall columnar rocks reflected in the bright water. Look up and see the starry hosts, Gods crown jewels, diamonds of suns and worlds, great and small. Then look down in the depths and see a double world of reflected beauty. This beautiful lake is only six miles in circumference and lies 40 miles west of Madison on the line of the Northwestern railroad. Ascend the highest point 800 feet above the Wisconsin overlooking the valley enclosed by steep rocky bluffs that pass out towards the river and you see in the distance rounded hills
220and fertile valleys. Go back into the woods and you find the wintergreen and huckelberry whose usual home is much further north. You also find on one of the high points overlooking the lake a colossal figure looking much like the huge form of a reclining elephant carved out and fashioned either by the elements or by a prehistoric race of mound builders. Near the highest point just at your foot you look down into the pot holes deep worn into the hard quartzite rock. How came they there? Some ages ago there must have been an upheavel here accompanied by intense heats converting the soft sand stone into quartzite as hard as granite. Before this era an immense glazier must have plowed its way through the lake depression, extending from the east and terminating a in large moraine at the west end of the lake some 75 feet high, and one-half mile long. The top of this moraine is thickly strewn with granite boulders, but on this moraine are found no fragments of the quartzite rocks, showing clearly that the upheaval of this large tract of country lying in between the great detour of the Wisconsin and the Barraboo rivers occurred after the glazial era. This quartzite formation extends up the Barraboo for many miles, forming the high cliffs that line the shores of this wild little river.
I will now return to my prosy narative of passing current events, after this short wandering into the realms of fancy. I may occasionally as
221I proceed in narrating what I have seen and know of persons and events on the upper Mississippi insert for the sake of variety an account of some of the communications I have from time to time published in our local papers within the last twenty years.
The growth of Rock Island had been very gradual for the last twenty years. When the Chicago and Rock Island railroad readied here, there was quite a perceptible improvement for a few years, particularly in the upper part of the city along the line of Fifth avenue, a number of fine residences were put up below the present 30th street. The Boyle place now occupied by J. H. Wilson; the two residences built by Ben Harper, now occupied by Milo Lee and John Warner; the house so long occupied by Thos. Salpaugh; the house occupied by J. B. Hawley, who was postmaster at Rock Island and for two terms of congress was the industrious able representative of this congressional district, the large beautiful mansion built by Lemuel Andrews and at present and for many years past occupied by P. L. Cable with its handsome well kept grounds. Mr. Cable came to the city some forty years ago with only moderate means and was for a while engaged in banking with P. L. Mitchell. He afterwards became interested in the coal mines at coal valley, buying out Ben Harper, Homer Hakes, S. S. Guyer and others who had been operating the mines for some
222time with varying success. Cable was fortunate in taking hold of these mines at this time, as the river steamboats and railroads had just begun to find out that coal was less expensive than wood as, fuel. P. L. Cable was a very shrewd far seeing business man, and soon he had an almost exclusive monopoly of the coal trade for this whole region, This being the most northern outcrop of coal in the state, and the mining being almost surface mining, could be more easily and cheaply mined than places farther south where the first strata of coal had to be raised two to five hundred feet. He had a very wise arrangement with his miners (as I have before stated) in which he made them his partners, giving them one-third of the output and thus preventing any strikes. He after a while obtained control of the Peoria & Rock Island railroad which passed through the mines at coal valley. He also in his charter of the road had a provision by which he could transport his coal, fifty cents less price on the ton, which gave him practically the control of all the mines in that section owned by other parties. As the business and the manufactories of the country increased the demand for the Rock Island coal assumed large proportions. One winter some fifteen years ago when there was a strike in the Hampton mines, Mr. Cable told me he was shipping a large number of cars each day, and was making $400 each day for about one month. He
223usually fixed his price in the fall and did not vary from it, charging rich and poor alike, without regard to the quantity used. His mines at coal valley becoming exhausted he bought mines in Mercer County and built a good substantial railroad to them, and continued to operate them successfully until his death. He amassed a large fortune by following the one thing exclusively. He always held more or less stock in the Chicago and Rock Island railroad from which he received large dividends for many years.
Some few manufactories had been established. I have often thought if our people had been possessed of some of the energy and foresight that our Moline neighbors have displayed, Rock Island might have become a great manufacturing center instead of Moline. A better water power with more fall than at Moline might have been made at the Rocky point at the Barnes or Gorden place. If we only had a genius like David B. Sears it might have been done. Unfortunately all or nearly all of our manufacturing enterprises have proven abortive. Probably more from want of unity and concerted action than anything else. Quite a number have been started, but the bulk of them have ended in failure. The lumber interest is almost the only one that proved successful. When I came here twenty-eight years ago, Weyerhauser and Denekman were comparitively poor men. I think Mr. Weyerhauser was running a
224small saw mill at Coal Valley. Soon after, he and his brother-in-law started a small saw mill in the lower part, of the city, they next took an interest in the old Barnes mill operated by Gray, Anawalt & Co., and then in the mill next below in which J. H. Wilson and J. S. Keator had an interest, now they have all three of these besides one in Davenport. Fred Weyerhauser, who owns an immense amount of pine lands in Wisconsin and Minnesota and any number of saw mills along the Mississippi and Chippewa rivers is recognized as the great lumber king of the northwest. He is a man of indomitable energy, far seeing in his views. There seems to be no bounds to his ambition and daring. I think he has large tracts of pine lands in Canada. Soon we shall hear of his trying to absorb the pine lands and lumber trade of the Pacific coast. He is a genial man of pleasant and agreeable manners, and we regret that he has left our old fogy town for St. Paul as being nearer the center of his immense operations.
The plow manufactory started in the lower part of the city by Charles Buford many years ago and after his death carried on by his sons done a very large prosperous business for many years until quite recently when the concern became somewhat embarrassed. A new company was organized and is now doing a successful business. Among the many merchants who were doing a large business twenty-five year ago were
225Bayley & Boyle; McAlister & Steele. Mr. Bayley was mayor of the city and under his administration the city took charge and built the bridges over Rock River at Milan, and have been collecting tolls on the same for over thirty years. Expending large sums from time to time in building and keeping the bridges in repair. About twenty years ago $22,000 was expended in building a macadam road from Rock Island to Rock river. It is very doubtful whether the large outlay made at different times has been of a corresponding benefit to the city. The population of the city in 1867 was a little less than 7,000, by actual ennumeration although we had been claiming 10,000 to 12,000. The ferry established between Rock Island and Davenport by old man Wilson, and since run by his heirs and successors was a good paying institution and has always been well kept up under the judicious management of late years by Capt. T. J. Robinson.
In 1857 the Moline and Rock Island horse railway company was organized, Chas Atkinson of Moline obtained the charter. The incorporators were Chas. Atkinson, S. W. McMastor, Ben Harper, T. J. Robinson and Henry Dast. The directors chosen by the stock holders were the same parties with the exception of Chas. Atkinson, who declined to serve, and J. S. Keator was chosen in his place. The contract was let to Mr. Hathaway of St. Louis. He was to finish the road and stock
226it complete ready for running for $58,000. He taking $28,000 of the stock. The contract was a very favorable one for the contractor and probably for two of our directors who no doubt were interested with him as they bought his stock soon after the completion of the road. Among, the principal stockholders were John Deere, J. S. Keator, Wm. E. Brooks, S. W. McMaster, Ross. Mills and Alanson Sennett, T. J. Robinson and Ben Harper. The road was very prosperous for a number of years, paying yearly dividends of ten to fifteen per cent. Some few years after the organization of the road, John Warren bought out Ben Harper's stock in the road amounting to $10,000, and he was elected president and continued to act in that capacity for some years. The road from some cause, perhaps because so much of the business between the three cities was done by Telephone, commenced running down. Very small dividends were paid and the road needed new cars and general repairs, and had no means to do it unless the stockholders were assessed. In this dilemma the Holmes syndicate from Chicago came here and bought out all the horse railroad interests in the three cities, paying par for all the stock in the Moline and Rock Island. The stock had so run down in value that there was no demand for it, and some of the holders offered to sell at 75 cents on the dollar without getting any bidders. This new company who seemed to have
227unlimited means put on new cars at once and put the road in thorough repair. In the second year of their management they put on electric cars on all their lines except between Rock Island and Davenport across the government bridge. This connection was made during the year of 1894. With their immense power house in Rock Island they run the whole system in the three cities as well as the line to Black Hawk's Tower. The many improvements this company have made has been of great advantage to Rock Island and has done more to put new life into the old sleepy town than any other cause. They have spent large sums in paving the streets along their lines. Our very progressive city dads under our present system of making all street and sewer improvements by special tax or assessment, (as a rule they have little or no property to assess) seem to take pains to pass ordinances for paving streets where this company has lines, trying as hard as they can to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. And now at this writing when we are struggling in the throes of a financial crisis, when hundreds of poor men who have in the last few years bought lots and erected little homes for themselves, upon which they still owe money to the loan associations are called upon by the unwise legislation of our city council to pay for paving, sewer and sidewalk assessments. Hardly a meeting of the council is held but there is some ordinance introduced
228to add still more to the burden of poor tax payers. In this time of such dire distress that prevails among poor and destitute of our city, all industry is paralyzed. It is now time that our city council should cease their effort to add still farther to our burthens. But alas! what else can we expect from A city infested and corrupted with some sixty or seventy saloons and some ten to twelve wholesale liquor houses with their baleful influence, the voters of the city controlling and putting in power men of their own stripe. Both parties pander more or less to the foreign vote. It is seldom that any American finds a seat in our city council. He must be a German or an Irishmen to be elected. Notwithstanding the large additions that have been made to the taxable property of the city in the last two years in the many new houses erected, and that tax payers pay for all street and other improvements by special taxation, our tax rate for all purposes is 8 per cent. This on a small house of $1,000 valued at one-third would amount to $26.66. A heavy tax for a poor man with a large family to support to pay. There are a number of families of this kind in our city who not only will be obliged to pay this tax, but to pay in addition additional assessments for sewers, sidewalks and paving. Some of these men who impose these heavy burthens upon the poor will say, "if they can't pay let them get out and give place to others." This seems to be the
229spirit animating the average aldermen of the day.
The large amount spent by the government on the Island improvements and other things connected there with has added materially to the prosperity of Rock Island as well as to that of our sister cities of Davenport and Moline, and a condensed account of the history of the Island from its first purchase by the United States from the Indians should have a place in this narative of past events; much of this account is taken from Col. Flaglers history of Rock Island Arsenal, published in 1878. The United States acquired the title to the Island in 1804. A treaty was made with the Sac and Fox Indians by Gen. W. Henry Harrison at St. Louis. From this time until 1814, nothing was said or done, or much known about this far away Western point. In that year before the close of the war of 1812, Lieut. Campbell left St. Louis with a boat and two loaded barges for Prairie Du Chion with a small force of men some 110 in all, intending to go there and fortify that point against the incursions of the British and Indians. They made their way up the river without much difficulty until they readied Campbell's Island on the upper rapids, some eight miles above Rock Island. They saw swarms of Indians all along the Illinois shore, but were not molested until one of the barges got aground when the Indians attacked the boat in strong force killing a number of the men. The rangers,
230a part of the force under Capt. Rogers who were on the other boat came to the rescue, opening fire upon the Indians with a six pound cannon. These rangers were mostly Frenchmen and with their bravo captain showed great daring in coming to the rescue of their comrades. They succeeded in driving the savages away. It was a very sanguinary contest, there were thirty-six killed and wounded in the battle. It was in this contest that an old colored man who worked around my house in Galena, who we called Commodore Perry, took a part. It was said that he with a billit of wool, whenever the Indians took hold of the sides of the boat, would strike their hands and swearing at them, telling them to keep off the boat. Poor old honest, faithful Commodore carried a reminisence of the fierce fight by a bullet wound in his leg, making him lame until his death some 35 years ago. The shattered remnant made their way back to St. Louis after much suffering. In the fall of the same year a much larger force, some 350 men and officers under the command of Capt. Zachary Taylor left St. Louis to punish the Indians for their treachery. It was the intention of the troops to go up Rock river to the Indian village and shell them and drive them out, but they found the river to low for them. They then came up the river to the Willow Islands, just below Davenport nearly opposite the lower saw mills of Rock Island. While
231there they were attacked by the combined forces of the British and Indians, firing upon the boats with cannon and small arms. Capt. Rector opened on them with his artilery. Our troops finding that the enemy was too strong for them, one of their shots passing through Leiut. Hempstead's boat, commenced drifting down stream, followed by the enemy some two or three miles, who were 9,000 strong, and were armed with artilery. Capt. Taylor after a consultation with his officers thought it best to retreat down the river. This ended the Indian war at Rock Island for the present. A treaty of peace was signed at Portage de Sioux between the Indians and the United States. In September 1815 Col. Nichols left St. Louis with a regiment of troops to come to Rock Island and establish a fort. He came only as far as the mouth of the Des Moines and went into camp, owing to the early setting in of the winter. In the spring of 1816 Gen. Thomas A. Smith in command, came up to establish the fort, and selected the rocky point on the west end of the island as a site for a fort. The point of the Island at this time was covered with a heavy growth of timber, oak, ash and linn, from which was constructed a strong abattes for defense. Gen. Smith continued on up the river with a portion of his force to establish forts at Prairie Du Chein, (Fort Crawford,) and on the upper river at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, (Fort Snelling),
232named in honor of the old army officer Col. Snelling. The eighth infantry was left in command of Col. Lawrence, to construct the fort called Armstrong, in honor of the general of that name. The fort was 100 feet square, the lower part was constructed of stone. The upper part of hewn timber, all the materials were obtained on the island. Convenient officers quarters and barracks were constructed. A beautiful tall flag staff was erected a few years after.
From this time until after the close of the Black Hawk war in 1832 a regiment or more of troops was kept on the island, and various attempts were made to get possession of the island by squatters from Rock Island and Moline, fortunately without success. No soldiers were kept on the island until the breaking out of the Civil war. A man by the name of Baxter had charge for a few years, after this I. B. Danforth was in charge for sometime. in the winter of 1862 and 63, a large number of rebel prisoners were sent here, some 13,000 in all. It taxed the energies of this whole section of country to provide them with winter quarters and supplies for this large accession suddenly thrown upon us. Immense barracks were hastily constructed of rough lumber, and made as comfortable as possible for the Southern prisoners. That they must have suffered a good deal was inevitable, coming here in this cold winter weather from a much warmer climate. The mortality
233was very heavy as any one can see who visits the graveyard on the island where they were buried. Some 1300 or 10 per cent of the whole number lie buried there in nameless graves. But they were treated with kindness, and had enough to eat, probably more and better than they had most of the time in the rebel service. Some of our people who perhaps sympathized with their cause were severely criticised because they would occasionally send them some little comforts in the way of refreshments etc. But this was all right, they could do no less, and were to be commended, not for sympathizing with the rebel cause, but for helping brothers in their need.
There was formerly a small cave in the extreme west end of the rocky point of the island. The Indians had a tradition that it was the abode of a good spirit, who visited the cave in the shape of a large white bird. Black Hawk objected very strongly to the erection of the fort at this point. He said it would drive this good spirit away and bring misfortune to his people. Some twenty years ago a young man came here, who was the son of Tom Rosington, a genial, hard drinking Irishman. He married Mary Miller, a daughter, of John S. Miller, my old partner. This young man who had been engaged on some western newspaper, and was a graceful writer, while here, sent a communication to the Argus about this wonderful cave, describing it as extending some
234thousands of feet under the island, with many side caves and all filled with beautiful stalacties of the purest white, with figures and statutes of the animal gods of a prehistoric race, with heiroglific inscriptions, one of which he made out to deicipher. It said, "who so enters here and looks on me, shall never leave." It was written in glowing realistic language, something like the celebrated Moon Hoax, written by Hale years ago. Some of the people of Rock Island who had never noticed the cave behind it. The Reverend Dr. Patterson, of Chicago, wrote to a friend about it in Rock Island saying he would come over and see this wonderful cave if it was true that it was here. It was very cleverly written and many who were not familiar with the situation might well be led to believe it a true story. We often nowadays, read accounts of wonderful caves found in many out of the way places in the west that probably exist only in the imagination of the newspaper correspondents. It requires a great deal of fiction and padding in these days of Mammoth newspapers of 30 to 40 pages.
To return to the history of the Island improvement. The first building erected on the island for military purposes was the one that stands on the west end of the island. The walls are a yellow sand stone and came from the Leclair quarries. This building was erected under the superintendency of Major Kingsbury in 1864. Maj. J. T.
235Rodman succeeded Major Kingsbury in 1865. The act authorizing the construction of the arsenal was passed in 1862. This act and much of the later legislation for improvements on the island. was due largely to the influence of my old friend E. B. Washburne. He represented this congressional district for sometime and always took a deep interest in building up a great arsenal on the island, some years ago he wrote me a long letter giving in detail the various acts of congress in relation to this arsenal in which he took a prominent part. This letter was published in the Davenport Gazette at the time, but I have mislaid it. In Col. Flagler's history of the Rock Island arsenal, Mr. Washburn's name is not mentioned at all, but this is easily explained. The colonel gives the acts of congress as they were passed not knowing perhaps who originated them. The very wise judicious plans for the many massive stone buildings and the beautiful drives and avenues that are found surrounding and intersecting the island in every direction were planned and laid out by the government officers. A large share of this work was no doubt done under the direction of General Rodman under whose direction, these many beautiful drives were made and kept in such fine order for many years and the most of the buildings were constructed. The massive stone wing dam forming the water power of Moline and also the power to run the machinery on the island
236was constructed under his superintendency. The government has spent vast sums in making the various improvements on the island, for the bridges connecting the three cities with the same, as well as for improving the rapids in this neighborhood for making wing dams to divert a stronger force of water to the slough for keeping open the channel above Moline, digging and deepening the same. This channel since the wing dams have been built filled up very rapidly with the silt of the river. The sum total expended by the government on the island and surroundings under Gen. Rodman's administration up to 1876, announced to $5,833,000. The amount spent since that date must amount to at least another million or more. The appropriations for the last fifteen years have ranged all the way from $75,000 to $100,000 each year. Quite a large amount of this vast sum has been paid out for labor, which has been a very great help to the growth of the three cities. At this writing in the winter of 1894, 400 skilled artisans are employed in the various shops. The Island makes a beautiful park with its delightful drives passing along the well kept avenues and through shady groves. It is free and open to all well behaved persons, who by application to the commandant can get passes. Under Gen. Rodman's administration, the old settlers association were allowed to hold their annual fall gatherings on the island. The people
237of the three cities assembled on the 30th of May, of each year to strew flowers on the soldiers graves who are buried there. The old settlers association was organized in 1865. All persons and their children who settled in the county before 1846 were admitted as members upon signing the constitution and by-laws and paying a small annual fee. At first for some years they met in the winter and had a supper, another out door meeting was held in early October, as a basket picnic. Of late years the winter meeting has been abandoned, and only the fall picnic is held. Of the old pioneers of 1836, but a very few are left.
In Rock Island, David Hawes, Frazier Wilson, George Mexter and myself still survive. In Moline, Michael Hartzell, Ben Goble and Daniel Beal. Scattered about the county are a few others, Mrs. Weatherhead, whose name was Kate McNeal a sister to Henry McNeal, James Glenn and perhaps three or four others who live in the lower part of the county.
In 1870 my old friend B. H. Campbell, United States marshall for the northern district of Illinois appointed me one of his deputies to take the census of the eastern part of Rock Island county. This was the only public office that I ever held to which any pay was attached. I found it a very arduous undertaking and somewhat uncomfortable, riding over the long stretches in the upper part of the county, during the intense heat of that
238summer. In going from house to house I met many of the old settlers who had been customers and friends of mine, during the time I lived in Rock Island from 1836 to 1841. Meeting these old time friends and often staying with them two or three days while engaged in my work in the neighborhood, made it very pleasant, discussing the troubles and trials of pioneer life. This occupied my time from the middle of June until the 1st of October. My compensation for this work was about $700, I paying my own expenses out of this amount. This was the only money I ever received from Uncle Sam, except a small amount paid me for taking a census of persons liable to be drafted in 1863 in the neighborhood of Galena. In this work I had some amusing experiences and some that might have ended tragically among the foreign population. Frequently in going over the hills I would see some of the men dodging behind the fences, running and hiding, trying to avoid being listed, as they seemed to know what I was after. This dodging was mostly among the Irish population. In one or two instances in the town I was met by the woman of the house, brandishing a big butcher knife. In one neighborhood where they were very beligerent, I obtained the names of all those subject to draft, of a friend of mine, an Irishman, who knew them all. Afterwards many of these same men were induced by Wm. Ryan to enlist in an
239Irish company that he organized in Galena and the neighborhood. They made good soldiers and some of them when they came home said they would vote on the same side that they fought.
During this same year before I started out taking the census, I induced Wm. E. Brooks and Mrs. Robins to consent to open 38th street, 80 feet in width and also to open 7th avenue from the west line of the Robins tract to the east line of the Brooks farm, to open this avenue 100 feet wide. Some of the principal men of Rock Island agreeing that they would use their influence to have this avenue opened out the same width, down as far west as 23d street. This might have been done at that time without any difficulty as nearly all the territory along the line was vacant and owned mostly in large tracts. This implied promise was never kept, nor any attempt made to keep it. The next tract east of the Brooks farm belonged to Browning & Alday. They agreed to open it through their ground at the same width. The next tract extending east as far as the short double curve in the street car tract near the site of the foundry, I had under my control, as the agent of Daniel A. Barrows of Galena. I had this all surveyed and dedicated before the county supervisors court. There was some informality in these proceedings of which Alday and the parties owning the ground in the south side of the avenue took advantage and cut
240the avenue down to 70 feet. The Brooks farm at this time was included in the township of Moline. The trustees of that township put $300 into my hands to open up this new connection between the two cities. With this amount some grading was done and some three temporary bridges were built and the road was made passable, being most of the way over favorable ground. Two or three years later there was a contest between Rock Island and Moline for the possession of that part of Moline township occupied by the Brooks farm, and the Sinnett & Barnes property. Unfortunately for the owners of this property Rock Island won the game, and the fault rested largely with a majority of the owners of these large tracts who signed the petition with these large holdings, to be annexed to Rock Island. It was a most unjust steal and the people of Moline felt that they had been badly used. This annexation to Rock Island was a great detriment to the owners of this property. It would have all been built over ten to fifteen years ago, had it remained where it justly belonged. For the want of room Moline has been obliged to extend her borders on the bluff. The feeling of bitterness engendered by this steal has been an injury to the growth of both cities and possibly long ere this would have been united under one corporation. The owners of this property are reaping their reward for their short slightedness in going
241where they did not belong by having the first special tax imposed on them for the construction of a sewer down the line of 38th street, and after having paid taxes for many long years for the improvement of streets, for water and light, without having received any benefit therefrom, now under this new law of special taxation and assessment they are obliged to make all these themselves.
Steamers on the Upper Mississippi in Olden Times up to 1874.
A trip to the cool north in the midsummer on any of the many fine steamboats that were running on the upper Mississippi in 1874 was always a perpetual feast to me. The varied scenery that meets one all along the line of the great river; the bold rocky headlands that jut out from the shore; the deep wooded ravines stretching back into the country as far as the eye can reach; the steep hill sides clothed with a dense growth of foliage, with here and there only small level plats of ground along the shore, only large enough for a house and barn and small garden spot. The larger part of the shores on both sides of the river are so filled up with high rocky cliffs that the wild picturesque scenery now found along the banks of the river must remain the same for ages, unspoiled
242by the hand of man, where tourists from the South and other parts of the valley, can go during the hot summer months, if they wish to find quiet, rest and recreation not be found in the rapid railways that now wind their sinuous way along both sides of the river from Rock Island to St. Paul. In these pleasant summer excursions we always meet with many agreeable people and sometimes acquaintances are formed that last a lifetime. Seated out on the guards gazing at the ever varying scenery or engaging in conversation with some chance acquaintance, the time glides swiftly and pleasantly along, and, at the end of the voyage we part with regret from the many agreeable friends we have met and with whom we have held communion, during the swift passing week. I know of no trip, and I have taken many during my long life, by stage, by rail and boat, that is more delightful and restful to both body and mind than the old trips we used to take on the many fine boats that once ploughed the waters of this river. Everything was done by the obliging commanders of the boats for the comfort and enjoyment of their passengers. In the evening after sight seeing of the day was over and the long dining tables were set one side, the colored waiters, who almost always had three or more good Musicians among them, would give us a rich musical treat: If there were many young people on board, the evening's entertainment
243would usually end in a dance in which some of us older ones would participate. This exercise would always close promptly at 10 o'clock. Will this noble river ever again bear upon its bosom another such fleet of pleasant, excursion boats, carrying their thousands of passengers, who were satisfied to take life leisurely and enjoy it as they passed along? Should this happy day ever come, our fast progressive people would say, I suppose, that we were lapsing into barbarism, evolving backwards.
Harvest Hands Take Possession of a Steamboat.
Soon after the close of the war there were a great number of idle men in the border slave states, who were impoverished by the war and finding nothing to do at home, commenced drifting north, about the middle of June, to find work in the haying and harvest fields of the north, commencing first in Southern Illinois and Wisconsin. Working their way up the river to Iowa and Minnesota. Large and increasing numbers continued to come from year to year, until most of the boats going north when the harvest fields of Iowa and Minnesota were ready were often packed full. Of course in such crowds there would be found many rough lawless characters. In about 1875 a boat commanded on her way up by Capt. John Rhodes passed by here, up the river,
244without stopping here or at Davenport. It was noticed that the boat was crowded with this class of passengers and there seemed to be some disturbance on board. The conclusion was drawn that these men had possession of the boat. In some way the news was sent down here while the boat was on its way over the rapids that help was needed when the boat should reach Clinton. We had a military organization here, and under the command of Major James Beardsley, some forty or fifty armed men were shipped on a flat car on their way to Clinton to the rescue of the beleagured boat. They arrived there in time and took possession of the boat. It seems these men first took possession of the bar and treated all who joined them in the lawless work. Their next outrage was to commence abusing and beating the colored waiters and deck hands, throwing a number of them overboard, and three or four were drowned. They entered the pilot house and with pistols leveled at the pilots prevented them from landing. When they first commenced taking possession of the bar, it is probable, the captain by taking a resolute stand might have checked them and prevented the mutiny. They were brought back to the wharf at Rock Island and were marched down the gang plank, guarded on each side by our soldier boys. A bright mulatto, who had managed to escape their clutches by keeping out of the way stood at the end of the gang plank and
245identified those that he knew were in the riot. He would say, "dat man in de tuss." And dat man was arrested with some twenty others and marched off to jail. The others were allowed to proceed on their voyage up the river. When their trial came off they employed M. Y. Johnson, of Galena to defend them. It was found very difficult to bring proof enough against any one to insure a conviction, and they were all released No attempt of the kind has been made since by these harvesters.
The Rockford, Rock Island and St. Paul Railroad, its Origin and Progress.
About 1871 L. Abbott, of Cordova, and some of his neighbors were sitting around the stove one winter evening discussing the hard times and the little they could find to do in the quaint dull old town. Abbott says let us build a railroad, I have twenty-five cents in my pocket as a cash capital on which to commence operations. This quiet talk between these few men led to the building a railroad from Barstow to St. Louis by the way of Rock Island. A company was organized and a charter obtained. Some parties who had some capital, enough to set the project in motion, took hold with Abbott. They leased a large tract of coal lands on the line of the road in Rock Island and Henry counties. Had maps and
246drawings made of the route showing grades and the towns lying along the route, all gotten up in a very attractive form, accompanied with a glowing description of the beautiful productive country through which the projected road was to pass. A shrewd agent was employed to go to Europe and despose of the bonds issued for the construction of the road. He succeeded in making an agreement with some capitalists of Holland to take the bonds of the road to the amount of $20,000 for each mile built and equipped. Subscriptions to the stock were solicited from towns along the line of the road, and quite a large amount of available means were obtained by selling the bonds issued by these towns and counties, enough to start the road on its legs. Work was commenced on the eastern end. The coal bunks were opened, which was easily done, as the outcrop was near the surface and only required a little stripping. The right of way was purchased at normal prices and generally without the costs of arbitration until the canvassers reached Moline and Rock Island. Here wherever the right of way passed through private property the appraisers gave the owners a fair price for the same. They obtained the right of way on some of the streets in Moline and Rock Island and from Rock Island used the track of the Peoria, under a running arrangement, to Coal Valley. The dutch capitalists advancing money on the bonds as the
247work progressed until the road reached East St. Louis. It was a splendid successful scheme, if any enterprise founded on gas and fraud can be called successful. Some of the subcontractors and the many men employed to puff and work up the credit of the road may have made something. It was run a short time by the original projectors, and then the deceived bondholders sent over an agent to see after the delayed interest due on the bonds. This agent of the bondholders took charge of the road. He invited some one or two hundred of the business men of the three cities to take a trip to St. Louis. The St. Louis people treated us right royally, furnishing us carriages to visit the principal places of interest in the city. Within a year or so after the road was leased to R. R. Cable and others under the direction and control of Ransom R. Cable. This I believe was about the first railroading Mr. Cable had done. From this time on he became one of the foremost and most successful railroad men in the west, as president of the C. I. & P., railroad. The poor deceived bondholders were compelled finally to sell the road which cost them ten million of dollars, for one and a half millions. The Burlington & Quincy being the purchaser, and giving that road since the completion of the Northern to St. Paul a continuous line from St. Louis to St. Paul.
Librarys and Public Schools in Rock Island.
The first library established in Rock Island was called the Rock Island City Library and Reading Room. It was kept up by voluntary subscription, and it was organized in 1855. The association occupied rooms in Mitchell & Lynd's block at first, and later in Ben Harper's block, the present site of Harper's opera house. In 1872 the present public library was organized under the state law, authorizing cities and towns to open public libraries, and to levy a tax for their support. The books and other property belonging to the old library were turned over to the new institution. There were 2,000 volumes in all, turned over, Chicago was the first city to establish a free library and Moline and Rock Island were the next in the state. Rooms were secured in the postoffice block. The library has continued to occupy the same locality up to the present time, 1894. This whole block was rebuilt some two years ago and the library rooms were much enlarged and fitted up with new cases and fixtures in elegant style. There has been added from time to time usually as often as three or four times each year, the best new current literature of the day. The city council has generally appropriated from $2,500 to $3,500 each year. Of late years the public schools have been allowed to draw books on the order of the teachers for books connected
249with the studies for all grades from the 4th to the 12th. The teachers are much in favor of this late innovation and think it is a great help to the pupils in their studies. All the leading newspapers of the west are found on file in the library. Some fifteen to twenty of the best monthly magazines are taken, of these, two copies of the most popular are taken, one copy of which is for distribution to patrons under the supervision of the librarian. Miss Ellen Gale, the scholarly accomplished librarian had charge of the old library for three or four years before it \vas merged into the new one. She has been the chief librarian in charge for all these years up to this date, 1894. She is thoroughly posted in all her duties and is a competent judge of books, with the large knowledge she has of the best books, the selection is and has been mostly left to her. The library board consists of nine directors. The directors in 1877, were S. W. McMaster, president, E. D. Sweeney, secretary, Alexander Steel, C. W. O'Neil, Henry Curtis, W. H. Gest, Calvin Truesdale, C. Spedell and H. C. Connelly. H. C. Connelly, D. C. Truesdale, Henry Curtis. E. D. Sweeney, W. H. Gest and S. W. McMaster have served on the board many years both before and after the above date.
The first systematic effort made to establish a comprehensive system of graded schools in Rock Island was largely due to the efforts of George Mixter
250as I have stated elsewhere. He drafted a charter somewhat similar in its provisions to that of the school system prevailing in Massachusetts, with many favorable provisions, giving the trustees full power to levy taxes, employ teachers and build school houses. The limit of taxation under the state law is two per cent of the assessed valuation. The provisions of the charter are unusually favorable. The city council fortunately has no control whatever over the board of trustees. Thus far the election of trustees has been kept clear from political influence. The trustees have generally been selected for their fitness without regard to their political affiliations, with the exception of the election in 1893, when unfortunately the bigoted sectarianism of a few of our people raised the religious question as between Catholic and Protestants. A most unwise and foolish thing to do, for the reason that a large number of Catholic children attend our public schools, and it is very important for the best interests of the public schools as well as for the interests of our common country that this feeling of intolerance be kept down. The best means we have of amalgamating the foreign element and making good America citizens of them is found in our system of public schools. So I say, by all means let us do nothing to drive this class of our citizens away from the public schools. If a Catholic girl who has received her education in our public
251schools is well qualified to teach school, give her an equal chance with others. The board of education in 1874 was composed of the following gentlemen, S. W. McMaster, president, J. F. Everitt, clerk, Mile Lee, Calvin Truesdale, Jas. M. Buford and M. D. Merrill. Mr. J. F. Everitt was superintendent of the schools. Mr. Everitt came from Oscaloosa, Iowa, and was employed by the board a year or two before this date. He continued to act in that capacity, ten or twelve years and was succeeded by Mr. Kemble, who has been superintendent until the present time. Edward Burrall, H. C. Connelly, Dr. Truesdale, S. W. McMaster and J. M. Buford, served on the board for a number of years. Of late years younger men have taken their places. At this date some thirty teachers were employed and some nineteen hundred pupils were enrolled with school houses, mostly of an inferior order except the high school and the first ward building. The money raised for school purposes amounted to from $23,000 to $27,000 yearly from 1872 to 1878. As no new school houses were built during this time. At this date 1894, we have ten buildings used for school purposes, five of them now, all built within the last five or six years. The number of pupils now enrolled is 2,655. The number of teachers employed in all departments is fifty-eight. The monthly pay roll amounts to $4,100. The yearly expenditure for all purposes is about
252$55,000. A very large advance over the amount required, some fifteen years ago, the amount at that time and for some years amounted to from $25,000 to $30,000. The large cutlay is caused in part by the cost of the many new school houses recently erected as given below. The now central school building which is located on the old high school square is now nearly completed will cost about $60,000.
|The new No. 2 building costs about||$13,154|
|The new No. 5 building costs about||17,678|
|The new No. 6 building costs rebuilt||19,533|
|The new No. 7 building costs about||30,356|
|The new High school costs about||27,000|
A very large part of the above amount has been incurred within the last three years. School bonds have been issued bearing 5 per cent interest running three years, the limit under the state law. If funds are not ready to meet the bonds when due they can be renewed.
The Theological Department to Educate Young Men for the Ministry.
The Augustina college erected in the eastern part of the city was chartered in 1865. It is under the supervision and management of the Swedish Lutherian Augustina Synod of the
253United States. The object of the institution is to give the Swedish population of the west a good collegiate education. The large number of Swedes located in this section of the country, and the beauty and healthfulness of the location was a sufficient inducement for the synod to remove the institution from Paxton near Chicago. The theological department was for the purpose of educating their young men in theology for the pastors of the many Swedish settlements, found all over the west. In 1871 there were employed in the college, seven professors, and about 100 scholars were in attendance. The building, a time edifice, erected on a high eminence overlooking the three cities was erected at a cost of $35,000. The trustees before erecting the building, purchased twenty acres of ground, embracing the rough wooded hills in the rear of the college. The institution has been steadily increasing in popular favor and influence, adding from year to year to the number of students, and also the number of able professors in the different departments. They now have some 450 students and some 10 to 12 professors under the direction of President Ohlson. Some five or six years ago they found that they must have enlarged accommodations, for the large number of students that were applying for admission. The present magnificent building, erected a little west of the old one was commenced and partially completed when the trustees had exhausted all
254the means they could raise, and they felt that they could go no farther, they were completely discouraged, when help came to them from an outside source. One day while P. L. Cable was standing in Mitchell & Lynd's bank, President Hazelquist and another member of the college came into the bunk. Mr. Cable quietly handed the good old president a check for $25,000, saying, I heard that you needed funds to complete your building, and I give you this check to help you out. The member who was with Mr. Hazelquist was so overcome with this unexpected timely gift that he burst into tears. This munificent gift of my good neighbor Cable enabled the trustees to complete the beautiful building, which is an ornament to our city. As well as a great advantage to the educational interests, not only of our city, but of this whole section of the country. In the upper story of the building is a large library of many old rare books. Some of them in English, Latin and Swede. On the same floor is a museum with a rare collection of objects of interest as well as a large collection of fossils, mostly collected in this section of the country by Professors Lindhall and Udden. In the year 1893, the trustees purchased the ten acres of ground with the dwellings on the same lying in front of the college, of Henry Hull. The price paid was $20,000. It is designed for a campus or play ground for the students. The founding of this institution has been a great.
255advantage to Rock Island and in many ways, has been the means of building up that part, of the city. The students are a quiet, orderly set of young men; we do not hear of their doing anything out of the way, playing the pranks that many students do in other institutions of the kind.
The location of our water works in 1870 in the western part of the city was an unfortunate one in many respects, both financially and physically. In the first place the trenches were dug too shallow, only 3 to 4 feet deep. The first winter after the pipes were laid, the ground froze very hard bursting the pipes in many places. The whole had to be dug up and new pipes laid, involving more than double the expense of the first outlay. I do not know who was to blame for making this most disasterous location which proved so detrimental to the health of the city, being placed where the sewerage of three cities, at any rate, a large share of it, must inevitably be drawn into the section of the inlet pipe. In the winter if the river was closed over with ice the sewerage from Moline and our city floated along the shore and went into the suction pipe, contaminating and poisoning the water that we used. One winter a large number of our citizens had what was called winter cholera. Many of them were made very sick, and a few death's occurred from the disease. This all came from the impure water. The works were soon moved to the present location, but it was
256soon found that the sewerage from Moline passed most of it down the slough, and that the only way to avoid this new evil was to run an inlet to the point of the island and get the water direct from the foot of the rapids. The city being already in debt up to the legal limit, it could not further increase our indebtedness. In this dilemma P. L. Cable came to the rescue and generously donated $25,000 towards giving us at last as pure water as we could expect to get from the Mississippi. We have not been troubled with winter cholera since.
Whenever the river is very high, it becomes quite muddy and of course what water we all use (as it has no chance to settle) is not very clean. In order to remedy this defect Ben Cable some three years ago very generously donated $15,000 for the erection of a filter that it was supposed would give us good clear water. It made the water somewhat purer, but whether the filter was improperly constructed or that it was too small, it has not produced the desired effect. This does not in the least detract from the credit due to our good friend and neighbor Ben.
Among the leading lawyers in Rock Island in 1866 were John B. Hawley, who at this time was the postmaster here. He was afterwards elected as a member of congress from this district and served two terms receiving the nomination the second term. P. L. Cable who was absent in Europe at the time received the nomination of the
257Democrats. In his absence Ramsom R. Cable conducted the campaign for his uncle in which he developed rare qualities as a very successful political magnate. So close was the vote that neighbor Hawley came out ahead only 46 votes. Mr. Hawley was selected by Secretary Foster of the treasury department as his assistant and for some months during the absence and illness of Secretary Foster, was acting secretary of the treasury. Owing to a quarrel among the republicans of Rock Island Mr. Hawley failed to receive the nomination for the third term. He was a faithful and efficient representative for Rock Island and Moline, as well as for the whole congressional district.
W. H. Gest another prominent lawyer received the Republican nomination for congress during President Harrison's administration. He proved himself a good working efficient member. He succeeded in obtaining appropriations for the erection of a viaduct over the railroads leading to the bridge, to the island. The appropriation was $75,000. Also one for the erection of a government building in Rock Island, for a postoffice and for the engineer department under Major McKenzie. The amount appropriated was $75,000. This building seems to be in abeyance at present. Our very progressive Democratic regime seems to be out of funds. The whole country seems to be struck with paralysis since the second advent of
258Cleveland, backed up as he is with a large majority in both branches of congress. Manufactures of all kinds are parallyzed, gaunt hungry men roaming around, seeking in vain for something to do, to keep them and their families from starving. These dire results seem to be due to the policy that is being inaugurated by the Democrats since they have come into power. Back of all this, however, there has been much in the history of the last few years under Republican rule to gradually prepare for this disasterous state of things. But the Democratic party will have to bear the blame, and they will reap the fruits for their share in the distresses of the country and for their constant pandering to the free trade south, in a signal defeat in 1896.
W. H. Guest received the Republican nomination in 1892, but was badly snowed under by his Democratic opponent, Ben Cable, running behind some 2,000 votes. It was said that Ben's barrel had a good deal to do with the result. This is probably very doubtful as this tremendous political result occurred in many other districts all over the country. Judge Wilkinson, the veteran lawyer of Rock Island, who has been practicing here and in other circuits for the last forty years is still here, leading a quiet, but lonely bachelor life. Sweney & Jackson, who were here in 1865, an old established firm of lawyers are still here but are no longer partners. Judge George
259Pleasants who for many years has been on the bench, and is now associate judge with a more extensive jurisdiction, is still here. Henry C. Connelly, whose main business is collecting and office work, a quiet unobtrusive man, my friend and colleague for many years on the library and school boards, I found here in 1865. E. E. Parmenter, another quiet unassuming lawyer, who was elected states attorney for some two terms is very popular with his country clients because they think him honest.
Moline and its Water Power's Successful Growth.
In 1841 John W. Spencer, Spencer White and D. B. Scars, done the first work towards developing the water power and giving impetus to the growth of Moline. Under the direction of D. B. Sears they built a brush dam across the slough to the island. They built a flour and saw mill on the Moline side. In 1816, Chas. Atkinson built a saw mill and in connection with it a planing mill the first one of the kind north of St. Louis. These first small beginnings were the nuclus around which all the great manufacturing interests were developed in after years. These interests received a great impetus by the building of the immense dam constructed by the United States for the purpose of running the requisite machinery of the contemplated shops on the island.
The Moline water power company was organized in 1855, Its officers were Chas. Atkinson, president, John Deere, vice president, J. M. Gould,secretary. Members of the company were John Deere, D. C. Dimock, John Gould, R. K. Swann, J. S. Keator and S. W. Wheelock. All enterprising, thorough businessmen, all of whom during their long residence in Moline have taken a leading part in the upbuilding of the city of their adoption. To these men and some others like them, Moline for many years owed here exemption from the effects of the baleful liquor traffic. For many years there were no saloons allowed in the young city. In later years a few saloons have been licensed, but they are held to a strict account and are not allowed to do as they please, as they are in other towns in the neighborhood, debanching the young and keeping open doors seven days in the week.
Of the many manufacturing establishments we will enumerate only a few of the largest. The Deere plow company's works are the largest of any in the United Slates. These plows and cultivators are shipped to almost all parts of the civilized world. The Moline plow company is also a very extensive concern. Some of the workmen engaged in the Deere company with a number of Moline capitalists started the new concern in about 1864. S. W. Wheelock was a large stockholder in the new concern and was president for some
261years. He also owned most of the stock in the extensive Moline paper mill. He built the first post office building, in the upper part of which he finished off a large hall and two other large convenient rooms for a library and reading room. These he donated to the city of Moline in perpetuity for a free library and reading room. He was a very liberal public spirited man and was elected mayor for a number of terms. He and uncle John Deere were at the head of the rival plow companies and both have gone to that better land where rivalry and jealousy cease.
The Moline wagon company from a small concern in 1870, started by James Furst, Morris Rosenfield and others, has become one of the most extensive concerns in the northwest under the wise, judicious management of Mr. Rosenfield, who now is the principal owner, controlling most of the stock.
Barnard Lease & company keep all sorts of mill machinery for which they find an extensive market all over the United States and ship largely of these improved mill machinery to South America, England and Germany.
Dimock, Gould & company, heavy dealers in lumber, planing mill products, wood, paper, tubs and buckets, are an old reliable firm in the upper part of the city. Williams, White & company dealers in foundry machinery, engines etc., are the leading manufactures in their line in the three
262cities. The concern is now under the control of Mr. Ainsworth, who controls most of the stock.
J. S. Keator, who at one time was largely interested in the lumber trade in all three of the cities, who built the Keator house, the principal hotel in Moline, is no longer in active business. He has always been recognized as one of the most enterprising citizens of Moline.
There are well established malable iron works, two organ factories, pump and scale works and wind mill works, all have been doing a fair prosperous trade for the last few years.
Among the more recent manufactories are the Wilson buggy works owned and controlled by J. H. Wilson, the extensive Sickler buggy works, the wheel works, the furniture and electric power works, which supplies the three cities with electric light, under the management of the Davis brothers. All of these last mentioned concerns are found in the lower part of the city. The young city has a number of first class stores, some five or six well constructed modern school buildings. A good free public library with some 6,000 to 7,000 volumes of well selected books. The population is about 15,000.
A Short Notice of Some of the Early Settlers in the Southern Part of Rock Island County. Their Trials and Difficulties.
There was quite a large emigration to Edgington township, most of those early pioneers came here from 1834 to 1840. Daniel Edgington, James Robinson, Joseph D. Dunlap and John Edgington came here in 1834, later on came Chas. Eberhart, the Titteringtons, John and Charles Moses. In 1836 the Montgomeries, Daniel and the Rev. John, located on the prairie. In 1838 the Parmesters, Lorenzo, George and Allen, H. H. Parks and a number of others were added to the young settlement. Most of these emigrants came from Pennsylvania and Ohio attracted by the beauty and fertility of the rich, fertile prairie soil. The gently rolling landscape and the wooded hills covered with a heavy growth of limber attracted a large number of emigrants. Coperas and Mill creeks pass through the township and numerous springs of pure water are found in abundance. Game was plenty, deer, wild turkeys and prairie chickens were abundant. One great drawback to these early settlers was the want of mills to grind their bread stuffs. The nearest mill was forty-five miles away, at Hendersonville, Knox County, having to cross creeks and sloughs without any bridges and rough roads. They resorted to many expedients to assist them in reducing
264their corn and wheat in a shape to make bread, pulverizing the grain in iron kettles or pounding it out on rocks. Corn in all the various ways in which it can be prepared for food, was utilized to eke out the supplies of bread. Joseph Dunlap, who was quite a mechanical genius finally constructed a rude mill; using granite boulders that were scattered over the prairie for burr stones. To the lower stone was attached an iron shaft and pulley, which was driven by a horse-power consisting of a heavy upright shaft of timber, held in position by a large beam resting on the crotches of two oak trees. Arms projected from this shaft like the spokes of a wheel and within their circle a horse was hitched to one of the spokes hitched to a raw hide band. Its capacity for grinding was fifty bushels per day Bolting was done with a hand sieve when required, but the meal was mostly used unbolted. No toll was taken, the persons using the mill furnishing the team. Some people from Iowa would come across the river in the winter on the ice and use this primitive mill. Such was the way these hardy pioneers managed to surmount the many difficulties that surrounded them. But they as well as thousands of others scattered all along the Rock river and all over the northwest country toiled along with indomitable energy until they, by perseverence and pluck, have developed one of the fairest of the portions of our broad land into
265what we see to day a land teeming with well cultivated farms and well built cities and villages. Nearly all of these emigrants brought more or less ready means with them. Spending them in opening up their fanny, erecting houses, barns, etc.
In about 1840, after the great financial revolution of 1837, and from that date until 1848, all business seemed to be parallyzed. Farmers had by 1840 commenced to raise a surplus of produce but there was no market; no money to buy what they had to sell. Wheat, was 35 cents, corn 6Ë to 10 cents and even at these low prices the farmer could get no money, not enough to pay their taxes, not enough sometimes to pay the postage on a letter, which cost 25 cents then. All necessaries such as dry goods, clothing, hardware, etc., were under the almost free importation of foreign goods of that day very high. The best calico 25 to 35 cents per yard, common strong muslin 15 to 20 cents and everything else in proportion in the time of dry goods. Occasionally a farmer would take a load of wheat to Chicago and get 37Ë cents per bushel and load back sometimes with salt and other heavy commodities. The return he would get after paying his expenses was small indeed. Pork was from 1 to 1Ë cents per pound. In 1842 I well recollect a farmer who lived near Prophetstown on Rock river brought a load of as fine young Berkshirepigs as I ever saw to Galena.
266He went through the streets trying to sell his load at $1.25 per 100 pounds, some Irish women and men were following him around, offering him one cent per pound. Towards night he had been imbibing pretty freely and commenced crying "show me a decent Irishmen and I will give him a pig." This was in Galena where there was money to buy anything that was offered if wanted.
From this we can form some estimate of the stringency of the times in less favored sections of the country.
This story is told of Henry Eberhart, who was one of the early settlers of Edgington township. He brought a load of wheat of 40 bushels into Rock Island and sold it at 35 cents per bushel, taking his pay in dry goods. Meeting some friends he took a little too much of tangle foot and towards night his team getting tired of waiting broke loose and started for home. When he found his team gone, he started off on foot towards home with his bundle of dry goods slung over his shoulder. Meeting some one who knew him they asked him what he was carrying. He replied, "I am carrying 40 bushels of wheat." Laboring men received not to exceed fifty cents per day and were usually paid in an order for goods on a store. We complain of the hard times of the present, when a days wages for common labor is from $1.25 to $1.75, and everything except meats and groceries is less than one-half the prices paid
267in these early days. In my long sojourn in the valley of the upper Mississippi I have passed through three or four financial crisises, but I must say that the present one upon us differs altogether from any other in the past history of the country. It is not from the want of money, the country is looming with surplus capital seeking investment, but finding none owing to distrust of the future. It is not for the want of food supplies, we have an abundant overflowing surplus which we cannot sell. Manufactured goods are abundant and cheaper then we have ever known heretofore, with all this abundant supply, of all that is needed. It would seem ought to give us prosperous times, thousands of laborers all over our seemingly prosperous country are thrown out of employment. The wheels of manufacturing industry are still, all classes in our country are looking on in amazement and dismay at this paralysis of the whole business of the country. It is said that Nero was fiddling and rejoicing when Rome was burning. The majority in our two houses of congress are playing the role of Nero in still persisting in trying to carry out their policy, in passing their tariff and siegnorage bills. Notwithstanding the protests that are coming to them from every manufacturing interest in the northern states. They must carry out their free trade platform. Must obey the behests of the southern agricultural states.
This is somewhat of a digression from my narrative of passing events, in part going over ground treated in the earlier part of my life.
The Old Canal and the Hennepin.
In 1836 our state inaugurated the wild and extravagant system of internal improvements in which they proposed to make every small river in the state a navigable stream, and commenced the construction of railroads in many parts of the state, one of which was the Illinois Central starting at Cairo and terminating at Galena. On this road a large amount of work was done from Savanna to Galena, which has been partly utilized since by the Burlington. At the same time a canal was commenced on Vandruff's Island and also at Sterling to improve the rapids at that point. Some 200 men were employed on the island in excavating a ditch for the purpose of making Rock river a navigable stream. Canal script, state script and state bonds, were issued to carry on this vast system of improvements which was to benefit every county in the state. Those counties, which from their location could receive no direct benefit from these contemplated improvements, were to receive money or state script. The legislature seemed to think their means and credit were unlimited. They even passed an act making state bank money a lawful tender for government
269land. Lieut. Governor Menard, an old Frenchman, says to them, "you can pass him, but I bet one tollar Uncle Sam no take de state monish." Towards fall in 1836 the bubble burst. The script was paid out to the men employed on the various works at 50 cents on the dollar in a few weeks it was selling at 25 cents. Many men who thought themselves rich suddenly found themselves bankrupt. All the banks of the state suspended specie payments. The state during this craze had incurred a debt of $29,000,000. For some years the tide of emigration which had been flowing into the state suddenly ceased. Emigrants feared the excessive taxation that must be laid upon the people to rid themselves of this vast debt for a young undeveloped state. So much for these disasterous times brought on in part by the suicidal policy of the Jackson administration in wielding the whole power of the government against the United states bank breaking it down, and making the state banks the depositors of the government funds, and thus encouraging speculation, as I have stated in the earlier part of my narrative. To return to the canal, some remains of this ancient work still remain to be seen on the north side of the island. The idea of building a canal from Hennepin to Rock Island uniting the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, was first advocated about 1854. I think Major Allen, of Geneseo, was the first one who took a
270leading part in urging its importance on the country. He was for many years the county clerk of Henry County. Since that time many conventions have been held at Rock Island and other points to influence the congress of the United States to order surveys of the proposed route and to make an appropriation for building it. A bill for the accomplishment of this project was drafted and at every session of congress since, attempts have been made to have action taken about it by the members of congress for our own district, and also by the representative from Iowa, by the senators from our state and Iowa. Delegations of citizens from our city and from Davenport and Moline have been sent to Washington to try and help lobby it through. Whether they done anything towards helping along the project is a matter of doubt, but they had a good time generally, without any expense to themselves, and some of them tried to accomplish a good stroke of business for themselves, while acting for the public, and came very near accomplishing a measure affecting the interests of all this section of country most disasterously. Fortunately the project was nipped in the bud. The great bridge connecting the three cities still remains a free highway for all the people of this section.
A few years before the first appropriation of $500,000 was made by congress there was a good deal
271of contention about the termination of the proposed canal, which had a tendency to retard action by congress. Clinton and Lyons wished it to terminate on the Mississippi by way of the Meridocia, above the rapids. Moline had a project for its termination on the rapids at Watertown, bringing it down the rapids by a canal and slack water to Moline. Moline spent considerably money in having surveys made of the route proposed and sending delegates to congress. The engineers employed by the government after looking over all the routes finally decided that the terminus should be at the mouth of Rock River. Then arose a contention between Rock Island and Davenport as to which side of the river should have the preference. Rock Island wished it to follow the north bank and a slough running along side of the Mississippi to a point just below the city line. This no doubt would have been the route selected as all the surveys that had been made were on the north bank. But private greed stepped in asking an extravagant price for some land on Vandruff Island and defeated this pet measure of Rock Island. A new survey was ordered on the south side, and was found to be less expensive and to give a good terminus in deep water on the Mississippi. Work was commenced and has been prosecuted vigorously under the able management and direction of Mr. Wheeler, the engineer in charge. The earth and rock
272excavation, the two massive locks for the work are nearly all completed for a distance of about five miles to Carr's island.
Now as to the question whether the building of this canal which will cost when completed according to the estimates some $8,000,000 will ever be of any real benefit to the commerce of the country. It will be many years even under the most favorable auspices before it can be finished, as there will always be a strong opposition in congress against making large or even any appropriation to this doubtful measure.
When it is finished (if it ever is) what valuable purpose will it serve in the interests of commerce. Our noble river as being used less and less from year to year for commercial purposes. The main and principal use now is for transportation of lumber rafts from the upper Mississippi. The pine forests from which these rafts are supplied are being fast denuded and already the larger share of logs are used there, cut in the upper country. Only a few small sized stern wheeled boats are now engaged in carrying passengers and what little freight is offered. A few excursion boats plying between the villages and cities along the river. The numerous raft boats will soon be no more. Railroads crossing the Mississippi at this point will not re-ship their freight on the canal. About all the traffic that will seek canal route will be such heavy articles as iron and salt coming by the lakes. The
273many improvements being made in the navigation of the upper Mississippi costing many millions from St. Louis and St. Paul will sooner or later be discontinued as an useless expenditure of money. This seems to be an inevitable result growing out of the present tendency of things. A result much to be deplored by those who have from year to year noticed the falling off of the business by the way of the river. When we look back a few years when our magnificent steamers were plowing their way up and down the river loaded with freight and passengers. The freight for transportation to the gulf of Mexico, by the Way of New Orleans. And now alas! where are they? The iron horse with its net work of lines quartering the northwest in every direction Paralyzing and throttling the river, Anaconda like on both side, destroying its usefulness for commercial purposes. But the grand beautiful river still will flow on, ever blessing the inhabitants of its banks with its glorious and beautiful scenery. We can still, if we will, take an occasional excursion up or down the river for a short distance, enjoying the fine scenery found all along its shores.
My Old Galena Home for a Quarter of a Century.
I visit Galena, my place of residence for so many years, almost every year. I still find there
274a few warm friends whom I knew during the last years of my sojourn there. But alas, of the many dear friends that I knew in the days of my youth when I first arrived, only three remain alive. Gen. G. Jones, Mrs. Jas. G. Soulard and Mrs. A. G. S. Wight. They are all close on to 90 years of age.
But the rugged picturesque hills of this old "Lead City of the Hills" still remain the same as they were during the days of its commercial glory. It still has about the same population that it had 30 years ago. It has the same well built brick stores strung along the upper part of its narrow Main street filled with well selected Stocks of goods for the retail country trade. Many substantial brick dwellings are scattered along Bench street, whose occupants can look down into the upper stories of their neighbors living on Main street. There are many beautiful homes scattered along and near the crest of the steep hill sides, the foundations for which have been litterly hewn out of the solid rocks. Their small yards filled with a wealth of beautiful flowers and shrubs and shady groves of evergreen trees. Nearly all the yards, even the humble cabins have a little spot devoted to roses and other flowers. The many church spires are gathered together in a small semi-circle on Bench street, their tall spires reaching only half way up the street bluff. There are many stairways, up which the people living on the hill make their toil some ascent of 300 feet.
275At the termination of one of these stairways on the highest crest of the hills is the High School building, a massive brick structure overlooking the little city. This building was erected in 1856 under my administration and direction as superintendent of the public schools during its erection.
But the crowning attraction in old Galena, is the Grant Park containing the Grant and Soldier's monuments. The park contains about ten acres. stretching along and overlooking the river facing West Galena. The ground around the monument is a level gravelled plat, with an elevation of about fifty feet above the river, The rest of the park is undulating ground, sloping away in every direction, filled with many flower beds, young evergreens, a few native trees of oak and hickory. The outlook from the park is very picturesque and grand in every direction. On the north lies the quaint little city resting in a semi-circle of hills, on the south and east is East Galena with its setting of hills deeply wooded. In the distance are seen many mounds rising some 300 feet above the general level of the country.
This mining region is the highest land in the state. The glaziers during the ice period seem to have passed around the whole lead mine district, embracing an area of some fifty miles in each direction, leaving it undenuded. No granite boulders or drift in found in the mining district. High peaks are found scattered all over this section.
276Pilot Knob just south of Galena, with its outlook for many miles up and down the great river; Waddle's and Hinkley's Mounds a short distance east of Galena. The sloping, beautiful Platteville Mound and the Blue Mounds in Wisconsin. They all stand as sentinels overlooking the country and it would seem to indicate that it must have been ages and ages ago, that another and older ice period which denuded this lead mine district, left these lonely peaks of mountain lime stone undenuded. Occasionally beds of shells are found in mineral holes and walls in this section. Galenians are justly proud of their record in the past, as having been the commercial center of the Northwest. They also speak with pride of the many strong men who have gone out from these rugged hills, who have made their mark in every city and village from Chicago to the Pacific coast.
Galena is still a pleasant place in which to spend ones declining years. It's a cheap place in which to live. The market square where all the farmers and hucksters congregate twice a week, is well supplied with every thing needed, coming in from the well cultivated farms in the neighborhood. This market is one of the sights of Galena worth seeing, with its array in the fall season of choice vegetables and fruit. Where the housekeeper can go and purchase all the wants for the table.
277Galena has an artisian well with an abundant flow of excellent pure water. The supply is sufficient for fire purposes and is carried all over the city, being forced up the hills by steam power. It's source is found in the St. Peters sand stone formation at a depth of 1,300 feet.
In June, 1891, I attended the unveiling of the grand monument of Gen. Grant, so generously donated by Mr. Kohlsatt, of Chicago, whose boyhood life was passed in Galena. The occasion drew an immense crowd from all parts of the West. Chicago was well represented by many of the friends of the dead hero, who had formerly lived in Galena. Chauncey M. Depew was the orator of the day and held the vast crowd spell bound by his splendid effort. It was one of the gala days of old Galena, and will long be remembered by those who were there.
Geology of Rock Island County.
The geological strata underlying this county and coming to the surface is somewhat singular. It is the northern outcrop of the lower strata of the coal measures. The upper Devonian, the Hamilton series underlay all the middle and lower portions of the county. The Niagura or upper siluria is found in the upper portion of the county cropping out at Port Byron. A portion
278of three of the great systems of the earth's crust coming to the surface all within the space of 15 to 20 miles. All of these systems are rich in the different fossils peculiar to their formations. Affording an ample field for the geologist.
That portion of the country lying south and cast of the Mississippi and Rock river ranges of bluffs, is underlaid with the coal measures. The coal being found in pockets or basins, and the larger portions of these deposits are mostly exhausted. The largest coal deposits are found south of Rock River in the neighborhood of Coal Valley, from which an immense amount of coal has been taken in the past. There are still mines there that are being worked, but the mines worked there by P. L. Cable are exhausted. Chas. Eames and William Books were the first pioneers in the coal industry. They opened the mines cropping out of the bluffs, a little west of Carbon cliff. They commenced this work in 1836. The deposit did not prove to be very extensive and was exhausted in a few years. A Galena man, Samuel D. Carpenter worked these mines a short time in 1838, and the large tract of land embracing the mines finally fell into the hands of Henry Corwith, of Galena. The next mines opened were found just north of Black Hawk's town, and were first opened by Lemuel Andrews while we were partners. This was in 1839. These mines have been worked since by different parties, but in late
279years by Bailey Davenport, the owner of the land. The Coal Valley mines were opened later and were at first operated by Ben Harper, S. S. Guyer & Henry Hakes. They were operating them as late as 1850. I bought a large load at that time of Mr. Hakes, for the use of the War Eagle Mills at Galena paying 12Ë cents per bushel delivered. The mines finally fell into the hands of P. L. Cable, who worked them successfully making a large profit from them, as I stated before in my narrative. The coal industry became a very important one to Rock Island, when the steamboats in their palmy days commenced using coal instead of wood for most of their fuel. This became their principal coaling point above St. Louis. Steamboats usually took on a supply for going both up the river and down. The amount of tons mined in the county in 1880 was about 3,000, amounting at the mines to some $550,000. This estimate did not include the large amount brought in by teams for domestic use, from the Porter Bowles and other mines lying north of Rock River.
The Naigura limestone found at Port Byron and Cordova makes an excellent limo, and in early days was shipped largely to all parts of the upper Mississippi. It was one of the leading industries of these two river towns. The limestone quarries found in the county are used mostly for common work, building cellars mostly, not being fit for finer use.
The Death of the Great Hungarian Patriot.
A telegram from Turin, Italy, dated March, 21st, 1894, announces the death of Louis Kossuth, the distinguished Hungarian patriot and orator, at the advanced age of 92. Thus the great men of a past age are passing away one by one.
In the great revolutionary upheaval of 1848 when the oppressed people nearly all over Europe arose in their might, and attempted to throw off the yoke of their oppressors, when thrones of Kings tottered and many of the little princelets of Germany were obliged to flee to save their lives from the wrath of outraged people, when Italy under the load of the brave Garibaldi threw off the hated yoke of Austria and the fatal domination of the hierarchy of Rome and would have succeeded but for the interference of Napolean the III "The Little;" When poor down trodden Ireland caught anew the revolutionary spirit and attempted to throw off the domination of England, ending as all similar attempts heretofore have done in defeat and the imprisonment and banishment of many of her talented sons. It was at the time of the great uprising of the oppressed people of Europe that Louis Kossuth and his compatriots attempted to throw off the yoke of the double headed eagle of Austria, and assert their independence as a free people. The Austrians were driven out of the county in a very short time by the
281Hungarians under the lead of the brave Kossuth, Gen. Bem and other leaders. But at this juncture the Bear of the North, the Czar of Russia, with his horde of Cossacks appeared and interfered with an overwhelming force. The brave Hungarians were driven from their strong-holds one after the other. Their last stand was made at Comorn, which resisted the combined attack of Austrians and Russians for a number of weeks, but was obliged to succumb at last. I well recollect hearing the silver tounged, talented orator, Ed. Baker, who was our whig candidate for congress in the Galena district, describe in glowing words the terrible contest raging at this time around the strong walls of the beleagured fortress of Comorn. This attempt by Hungary for a separate political existence failed, and Louis Kossuth and a number of other patriots were driven into exile. Kossuth has remained an exile ever since, refusing to return to his native country while it was united to Austria. He was often invited to do so, but always refused. One of these patriotic Hungarians, Count Harasty came to this section of the country settling first at Aztalan on the upper waters of Rock river, where he built a small steamboat, bringing it down the river and taking it to Galena and from there up the Wisconsin river to Prairie DuSae, where he settled permanently. While the count was in Galena he borrowed some money of an excentric old German,
282and pledged his gold embroidered coat as security. He did not redeem it. Whenever the old man had taken too much beer, he would put on this bespangled coat and march up and down the streets of Galena.
Louis Kossuth came to this country and was euthusiasticly received everywhere, visiting many of the chief cities of the north. He was permitted to address congress on the subject that engrossed all of his thoughts. The great wrong done his beloved country by the interference of Russia in coming to the assistance of Austria. The object of his mission to this country and to England was to create a public sentiment against this kind of interference by outside nations against people struggling for liberty to manage their own affairs. His speeches made at the points he visited were all reported in the New York Tribune. They were models of pure chaste English, eloquent and charming. He must have had a wonderful retentive memory. In all the speeches that he made in the different cities he would recite all the principal events that had occurred during the period of their revolutionary history. It was simply marvelous how he could in so short a time between his visits from one city to the other, master and give so correctly all the details connected with each one.
A Hungarian fund was raised through the New York Tribune to which I contributed $10, receiving
283for the same a neatly engraved note having the great Hungarian's picture, to be paid the first year after the declaration of Hungarian independence. I have it at this time, still in my possession. This is somewhat of a digression from my narative, but I give it as a tribute to the memory of a truly great man, one of the heroes of this century.
The Prince Delonville and Duc Des Chartres, sons of Louis Philip of France, passed through Galena in 1842, stopping over there one day on their way down the river to New Orleans. They had been to Green Bay to visit the missionary, Williams, who claimed to be the dauhpin of France, the son of Queen Maria Antionette who soon after the death of the King and Queen by guillotine during the first terrible days of the French revolution of 1798, was secretly taken by a faithful servant of the family and carried to New Orleans where he remained some years under the care of this guardian and was finally taken to Green Bay where there was a large French settlement. He was, as he alleged, taken there for safety after Louisiana was transferred to France by Spain, at the time of the conquest of Spain by Napoleon Bonaparte. Mr. Williams at the time of their visit was a Catholic missionary to the Oneida Indians, one of the confederate tribes of the six nations of New York who were settled on a reservation some five miles east of Green Bay. The report had readied Louis
284Philip of the claim of Williams to be the dauphin and it was supposed that the princes were sent out to ascertain if there was any foundation to his claim. Whether they ascertained that he was an imposter or not, was never known to the outside world, as no report of the result was ever made public. Mr. Williams died many years ago. In 1852 I went to Green Bay to visit Wm. E. Thomas, a former editor of the Galena Gazette, while there we went out to the scene of Mr. William's labors among these Indians. We went out to church and found a good sized chapel and listened to a discourse by an Indian pastor. The Indians were mostly dressed in our costumes. There was a large settlement with many farms, fairly well cultivated and with good comfortable dwellings.
This grand Old French settlement had many things of interest. It stretched along up the Fox River. The little holdings of land outside of the village were only about 300 feet fronting on the Fox river extending back nearly two miles in length to another small river, giving each settler so many arpents fronting on both streams. Senator Howe lived at this time in Green Bay.
Moral Extracts From Various Authors and Comments — To be Read or Skipped as may Suit the Reader.
"How tedious and how tasteless the hours,
When Jesus no longer I see.
Sweet birds, sweet prospects, sweet flowers
Have all lost their charms for me."
This, an extract from an old hymn, is the refrain of a soul who has lost communion with God in nature, who no longer sees the hand of a kind, loving Father in all His works, who watches over and will see to the final happiness and well being of all the sentient beings He has created.
"When man lives with God his voice shall be sweet as the murmur of brooks, or the rustle of corn."
"The soul of man is not an organ but animates
and exercises all the organs. Is not a function
like the power of memory or calculation of
comparison, but uses them as hands and feet. Is
not a faculty but a light. Is not intellect or will,
but the master of intellect and will. Is the
vast back ground of our being in which they
lie, an immensity not possessed, that cannot be
possessed." — Emerson on our soul.
"Love is Heaven's highest law, the synonym
of God. God builds his temple in the ruins of
churches and creeds. Clear of the blots of human
ignorance and superstition from our church
creeds and catechisms and sacred biographies,
our theological treatises, makes them to be more
in accordance with the spirit of the Divine Master,
the essence of which is love and good will to
all the race."
"Woe to the churches that look backward like
Lot's wife. They will in the future become
mere monuments of death." — Pere Hyacinth.
"The revelation of organic law is Love, from
which results the order of the Universe. The
gravitation of atoms, the attraction of seas and
worlds, the union of all created things, from
the highest star to the tiniest plant. From the
crawling insect to man who walks with his brow
elevated towards Heaven in search of the great
author of his being." — Santaine in Piccola.
"Nature with its flowers and fruits, its perfumes
and spices, blooms and gems, its woods, and
streams, skies and seas, its quivering warmth
and tenderness under the familar sunlight, and
its cool solemn stillness under the glittering
stars, awakens feelings of awe and devotion
for the Great Creator of this world of beauty." — Henry M. Alden.
"Man is so made he must believe in the invisible
and adore the supreme. If he has no God
he will resort to witchcraft, spiritualism, hypnotism
and kindred delusions. Only the reverent
and devout can learn how to know. Life of every
kind in all its manifestations is God's love." — Philip Brooks.
Newspapers of Rock Island.
The first newspaper started in Rock Island was The Upper Mississippi in 1840, edited by Daniel Crist. It was a Whig paper in politics and advocated the election of Gen. Harrison. Dr. Silas Reed an able writer was an associate editor, he was afterwards appointed surveyor general for the state of Missouri and Illinois and made his headquarters at St. Louis. John G. Powars, the grandfather of young Henry Powars owned at one time a controlling interest in the paper. Dan'l G. Garnsey, who was formerly a member of congress in the state of New York and who had an interest in the Chicago or lower addition of Rock Island, occasionally contributed political articles. He and his son, Charles took a leading part in the political campaign that resulted in the election of Gen. Harrison. They were rewarded by receiving the appointment of receiver and register of the land office at Dixon, Ill. Under the Pierce administration, they were succeeded by my old time Democratic friends, George Mexter and John Dement, formerly of Galena. A number of persons were connected with its management until 1884, when the name was changed to the Rock Island Republican, when it passed under the management of Harman G. Reynolds, who had held the office of probate judge, under whose adroit manipulations the Miller estate was
288so managed by making large yearly allowances to the widow, that the creditors received nothing, and Miller's partner was left to settle the debts amounting to some $15,000, as best he could in after years. Mr. Reynolds held a number of offices in after years and was a leading Mason. In the narative furnished to the compilers of the history of Rock Island county by J. B. Danforth, this man Reynolds is highly eulogised. From Dunforth's account one would be led to suppose that he was one of the foremost men of the state. "Kindred spirits in evil are often wonderous kind to each other." In 1845 the Advertiser was established under the direction and management of Dr. Galchell. William Vandever was the leading editor for awhile, and continued his connection with the paper until the election of Gen. Taylor to the presidency in 1848. When he was appointed to a clerkship in Washington and afterwards received a government appointment at Dubuque, Iowa. He was a General during the war of the rebelion and distinguished himself at the battle of Pea Ridge in Missouri, under Gen. Curtis. He was elected twice as Representative to Congress from the Dubuque district. A few years after the close of the war he moved to California. He was elected a Member of Congress from there. He was a genial wholesouled gentlemen, always made friends wherever he went. He died in California, his adopted state only a few weeks ago, in 1893.
The Democrats were without any paper until from 1847 to 1857. Their paper was first called the Rock Island Republican until 1865 when the name was changed to the Rock Island Argus. The editor-in-chief was J. B. Danforth, a very able and talented writer, but very unscrupulous, a bitter partisan, always stirring up strife and breeding mischief. After a while, owing to some crooked work in financial matters in connection with the Argus and T. S. Drake, the business manager. He was ousted from his position. He then started the Rock Islander, a paper ostensibly devoted to the interests of the laboring man, but used mostly in venting his bitter feelings against his former friends and stirring up strife between classes; justifying the anarchists of Chicago. Fortunately for the peace of this community he severed his connection with the Rock Islander and took himself away to California. Where I learn he has recently taken to himself a wife in his old age.
The Argus has continued under the management of various parties in late years, H. C. Connelly, Robt. T. McNeal, J. S. Drake and others. At the present time the controlling interest is said to be owned by the Hon. Ben. T. Cable, ex-member of congress and the leading politician of the state. Mr. Potter, our present efficient postmaster, is editor-in-chief.
The Rock Island Union was started in 1862 by
290J. A. Kuck. In 1863 he sold his interest to M. S. Barnes, who published a daily evening edition. The daily has been published up to the present time, but as a morning paper since 1866, at which time it became the property of Capt. Havenstick. He was a vigorous, able writer. Some other parties became interested with him. M. D. Merill, Richard Crampton, and Oscar A. Bernhart all owned an interest in the paper at different times was organized with a capital stock of $20,000. L. M. Havenstick, president, Walter Johnson, secretary and treasurer. A number of other becamse interested afterward as stockholders and officers: H. C. Cleveland, J. J. Parks, A. A. Morey, W. N. Burdett and G. W. Lukins. Walter Johnson has recently been editor-in-chief and publishes a conservative, creditable newspaper.
Early Days in Southern Wisconsin — Sketches of Some of the Early Pioneers.
In the summer of 1893 I visited Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, one of the most beautiful cities of the North, located on a broad plateau, surrounded on three sides by the clear limped waters of the four lakes forming the headwaters of Rock River with its stately capitol, and court house, occupying the center of a large square, in the center of the city, with its streets radiating
291from each corner of the same, Madison may for its beauty and attractiveness be well called the Queen City of the Northwest. I was on my way to the Devils Lake, a famous place of summer resort. I spent a day or more there in seeing the sights. In the evening I was so fortunate as to hear Professor La Conte, the noted scientist, address the assembled scientists of the United States on "Mountain Building". During the following day I went through the various departments of the state under the guidance of one of the officers, a Platteville man, an old time acquaintance. A soldier of the famous 8th Wisconsin, who so long carried the old eagle perched on their regimental flag. I passed most of the time in the picture gallery where I found so many familiar faces that I had so often met either in a social or business way in olden times in Galena, between 1834 and 1850. Seeing these faces, many of these dear, departed friends called up vividly to my mind many reminiscences of the past, connected with their history. Some of these names and what little I knew of their career in the upbuilding and development of the state I will give. Henry Gratiot, whose daughter Adele, married the Hon. E. B. Washburn, settled at Gratiot's Grove near Shullsburg in 1826. The Winnebago Indians had opened the lead mines there and Henry Gratiot and his brother, J. P. U. Gratiot, induced the Indians to let them operate the mines by their
292paying them an agreed rent for the same. They soon built up quite a flourishing settlement among them, connected with the mining and smelting industries. They paid large amounts of rent to the Indians. A few years after the government agent at Galena exacted from the Gratiot's the usual rent due the United States, and they payed it under protest. Some years later, E. B. Washburn presented a claim against the United States for this rent unjustly paid for about $20,000, and it was allowed. Mrs. Henry Gratiot was one of the kinder and most motherly woman I ever knew. We used often to make up sleighing parties at Galena and go out there and have a dance. Mrs. Henry Gratiot was a sister of Chas. S. Hempstead, of Galena. In 1842, after the death of her husband, she moved into Galena and occupied rooms over my store.
Henry Dodge, the first Territorial Governor, settled at Dodgeville in 1830. He received his appointment under the administration of General Jackson, through the influence of General G. Jones, the fist territorial delegate from the Territory of Iowa and Wisconsin. I. P. Field was the first Secretary of State, in after years he went to New Orleans and became one of the foremost lawyers of the state. I met him after the close of the war at Devils Lake. He gave me a graphic description of the contest between Hays and Tilden for the vote of that state, going into the details of the
293frauds practiced by the secessionists. Governor Dodge was the first Senator from the new state. Agustus C. Dodge son of Henry Dodge, I knew well, both at Galena and in after years at Burlington, Iowa. He was chosen Senator from Iowa and was appointed Minister to Spain. Father and Son were both very dignified, honest men.
General G. Jones settled at Sinsinawa Mound some eleven miles from Galena in 1828. He was Surveyor General, the first territorial delegate and afterwards Representative and Senator from Iowa, appointed by Buchanan Minister to Bogotee, was recalled by Seward and sent to Fort LaFayette without any just cause. It all grew out of his giving a letter of introduction to his friend Jeff Davis, to his son, while Davis was Secretary of War under James Buchanan. I notice lately that the republican Governor of Iowa recommends to the legislature that he be made the "Guest of the State," a just tribute to him in his old age for the many services he has rendered the state in the past.
C. C. Washburn came to Rock Island in 1839, taught school here a few months and held the office of county surveyor to fill a vacancy. He went to Mineral Point in 1841 and went into business there with Cyrus Woodman in banking and other business. They erected a shot tower at Helena, on the Wisconsin River. They utilized a high, rocky, perpendicular cliff for the purpose.
294This was the first shot tower put in operation north of St. Louis. It was this banking firm and the Corwiths, bankers in Galena, that made George Smith take back-water with his Atlanta, Georgia, money, which he attempted to make them use, but did not succeed. He was a Major General in the War of the Rebellion. He had command of the fleet that attempted to open the way to Vicksburg by the way of the deadly Yazzo.
He was elected for five terms to Congress and twice as Governor of the State. He was a man of broad, liberal views and bequeathed large sums for literary and scientific purposes to the city and state of his adoption.
Col. H. L. Dousemann came to Prairie du Chien in 1828 and was for a long time the manager of the vast trade of the American Fair Co. A man of great energy and business capacity. He was a pioneer in opening the Prairie du Chien and McGregor railroad, and after the road was built, he took a leading interest in the three beautiful steamers that were built by the Minnesota Packet Co., for this trade, the "Itaska," "Milwaukee" and "Minnesota."
Col. W. S. Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, came to the Lead Mines in 1830 and commenced smelting and mining at Hamilton's Diggings, now called Wyota. He was a genial, wholesouled man, very much beloved; becoming somewhat embarrassed in his mining operations, he
295went to California in 1857 and died there many years ago. His aged mother I saw in Galena in 1815.
Charles Bracken came to Shullsburg in 1828. He was a Government Surveyor and became interested in mining, he organized a company of Capitalists and bought William Hempstead's interest in the Shullsburg mines for $80,000, but the company failed after the first payment was made and the mines reverted back to Mr. Hempstead.
Jas. H. Lockwood came to Prairie du Chien in 1819. He was an Indian trader for many years, and was County Judge in 1835. He owned a steamboat, which he was loading at the wharf in St. Louis, when he applied to me to take a position with him as clerk. I had just returned from a visit to Philadelphia. I acted in this capacity for one day, receiving the cargo, my first and last experience as a steamboat clerk. The firm of Petus and Morrison sent word to me that they wished to employ me and I turned my place over to a friend who proved to be a successful steamboat man in after years.
John P. Sheldon, a Pioneer of 1832, was Superintendent of the Lead Mines in Iowa and lived at Peru, a little hamlet a few miles North of DuBuque on the little Maquoketa. He afterwards moved to Willow Springs. He was appointed Register of the land office and had a position in
296one of the departments at Washington. I knew all the members of this interesting family well. His second son John, clerked for me a few years. The mother, an estimable lady and his daughters, Mrs. Chas. Gratiot, Mrs. Judge Drummond and Mrs. Nellie Blakely, I knew and often met.
I. S. Daniels, a talented young man, a lecturer on Geology and at one time State Geologist I think, I have often met at Galena and elsewhere. He was in command of a regiment who went through Northern Missouri in 1802, breaking up the roving bands of guerrillas that infested that section of the State.
John H. Rountree of Platteville, settled there in 1827. He was a Captain in the Black Hawk war, a member of the Legislature, and County Judge. A man of wide influence in his section of the State, and was interested in mining and smelting.
James Morrison settled in Wisconsin in 1828. He was long engaged in the Rocky Mountains as a fur trader. He was State Treasurer of Wisconsin. He came into Galena at one time soon after the election of General Taylor. He had bet heavily on the vote of Louisiana, which was carried by the Democrats through the frauds in the Pluckimin district, which returned over the number of votes there were in the district, counting men, women and children. He said "d — Pluckimin, It has plucked me."
Ed. D. Holton settled in Milwaukee in 1840.
297He was one of her most enterprising citizens. He took a leading part in building the first railroad going out from Milwaukee to Waupon, as well as other roads. A delegation of Galenians went to Milwaukee in 1857, in the interest of the road to connect Milwaukee with Galena. He invited us to take a trip on the first opening of the road to Waupon. He was a New Hampshire acquaintance of my wife, and whenever he came to Galena he was our guest.
William E. Kramer was for many years editor and principal manager of The Wisconsin, I have often met him and used occasionally to correspond with him in relation to our railroad connection with Milwaukee. He was very deaf and used an ear trumpet. I last met him in 1866 at the Lindell house in St. Louis. He was the first one to my knowledge, who advocated the nomination of Gen. Grant for president. He kept up the conversation on this subject until midnight. I think he is still living, but to his deafness has been added the further calamity of almost total blindness.
Ben C. Eastman of Platteville, settled there in 1840, a bright talented lawyer, he was elected a Member of Congress from his district for one term. I often met him in Galena.
J. Allen Barber settled at Lancaster in 1836, a lawyer who took a leading part in the affairs of his section of the state. He was elected a Member of Congress.
Nelson Dewey settled at Cassville in 1866. He was the founder of that now ancient dilapidated town and in an early day erected a large fine hotel. He was elected the first Governor of the State.
Moses Meeker one of the earliest pioneers of Galena came there in 1823 with the Harris family and with the Langworthy's of Dubuque, from western New York. He settled at Meekers Grove, a few miles north of Galena in Wisconsin. He was engaged in mining and smelting. All these names I have mentioned and many others whose name I have not mentioned, whose familiar faces seemed to look down with kindness upon me, are nearly all dead. Dead, no! There is no death! They still live in the memory of those who survive them, and in that better and brighter state of existence, the common heritage of the race.
Having brought my reminiscences of the past up to the present time, the first of April 1894, I may as well suspend my literary labors for the present. Bringing back to my mind the past occurrences of vanished years has helped to while away time during the last five months, which I have employed in jotting down my recollections of the past 60 years of my life. This work has been mostly done without referring to any other source, except my memory and I have no doubt made some mistakes in dates. Some of the facts
299of the early history of the state I have obtained from Ford's history of Illinois, some in relation to the Island from Col. Flagner's history of the same. I cannot close the imperfect hastily written sketch of past events better than in the words of one of America's greatest poets, J. G. Whittier, when he was about ready for his departure for the other side.
When on my day of life, the night is falling,
And in the winds from unsuned spaces blown,
I hear far voices out of darkness calling
My foot to paths unknown.
Thou who hast made my home of life so pleasant,
Leave not it's tenant when it's walls decay:
O, Love Divine, O, Helper ever present,
Be Thou my Strength and Stay.
Be near me when all else is from me drifting;
Earth, sky, homes' pictures, days of shade and shine
And kindly faces to my own uplifting
The love which answers mine.
I have but Thee, my Father; let Thy Spirit
Be with me then to comfort and uphold;
No gate of pearl, no branch of palm I merit,
Nor shining street of gold.
Suffice it, if — my good and ill unreconed,
And both forgiven through Thy abounding grace,
I find myself by hands familiar, beckoned
Unto my fitting place.
Some humble door among Thy many mansions;
Some sheltering shade where sin and striving cease,
And flows forever, heavens green expansions,
The river of Thy peace.
There, from the music round about me stealing,
I would fain learn the new, holy song,
And find at last beneath Thy trees of healing,
The life for which I long.