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City of Keokuk in 1856.

Officials of the City of Keokuk.

Officers of the City of Keokuk.

Recorder — B. S. MERRIAM.
Marshal — JOHN T. GRIFFEY.
Deputy Marshals — JAMES LYNCH, W. H. MCPHERSON.
Treasurer — JOHN A. GRAHAM.
Wharf Master — JOHN R. COPELIN.
Assessor — W. W. BELKNAP.
Street Supervisor — E. J. FOLSOM.
Engineer — L. HUTCHINSON.
Market Master — J. BORLAND.
Inspector and Measurer of Wood — J. BORLAND.
Collector — C. C. STEVENS.
Aldermen — 1st Ward — Chas. Parsons, President pro tem.
" C. F. Conn.
2d Ward — M. P. Sharts, Wm. Timberman.
3d Ward — J. M. Billings, G. W. Pittman.
4th Ward — Wm. Patterson, Hawkins Taylor.

Board of Health.

Dr. JOHN R. ALLEN, President.
Dr. J. J. PAGE.

Officers of Keokuk School District.

President — ELIHU GUNN.
Secretary — W. M. G. TORRENCE.
Treasurer — A. BRIDGMAN.


City of Keokuk.

Keokuk, the commercial metropolis of Iowa, is situated on the West bank of the Mississippi, at the foot of the Lower Rapids, about half a mile above the confluence of the Des Moines with the Mississippi, two hundred miles above St. Louis, and 1400 miles above New Orleans, in a healthy climate, in North lat. 40° 20 min., and lon. 14° 20 min. west from Washington, on a high, commanding, and beautiful site, surrounded on all sides by a remarkably rich and productive soil.

The plat of the village of Keokuk was laid out in the spring of 1837, and in the ensuing June a public sale of town lots was held, and attended by a very large crowd. One boat was chartered in St. Louis, and numbers came up on other boats. Only two or three lots, the South-west corner of Main street and the Levee, and one or two others lying contiguous, were sold. The corner lot went for $1,500, and the New York Company still hold a deed of trust on it to secure the payment.

In 1840 the main portion of Keokuk was a dense forest, and where Main street now is, were thick timber and underbrush. It was so swampy and rough between Third and Fourth streets, as to be rather dangerous riding on horseback after a heavy rain. About a dozen cabins comprised all the improvements. In the spring of 1847 a census of the place gave a population of 620. Owing to the unsettled state of the titles but little progress was made till 1849. From that time to the present it has had a rapid and healthy growth.


A general view of the present condition and prospects of Keokuk, cannot be better given than in the Inaugural Address of Mayor Curtis, which we here insert:

Inaugural Address of Mayor Curtiss.



The policy of my worthy predecessor, of presenting to the Council and public an Inaugural Address on the occasion of assuming the office of Mayor, is so obviously worthy of imitation, that I willingly conform to it by giving expression to my views of the condition, policy, and prospects of our growing city.

Those who participate in the municipal government of old, staid, and well organized states and cities, have only a particular, well defined class of duties to perform, and a beaten path to pursue; but those who engage in the management of young and prosperous communities of the West, have a changing, increasing, uncertain accumulation of duties to perform, and their plans and policy must not only contemplate present infantile existence, but probable, future growth and wide expansion. The application of steam to commercial and agricultural purposes; has suddenly augmented the value of Western lands, brought the rich prairies of the West in contact with the markets of the East, causing a flood of emigration to the rich delta formed by the Mississippi and Missouri, where cities rise suddenly into being and beauty, with prospects of future wealth and grandeur that may hereafter rival many of the great cities of ancient and modern times. Those who establish their lines, and guide their destiny, exercise a fearful responsibility, since their labors must affect, the interests and attract the scrutiny of future generations and indefinite masses. The past five years of progress in Keokuk, is sufficient to awaken reflections of a foreshadowing future which dazzles and bewilders the imagination, and baffles the most sagacious attempt at solution. To make rules that are neither too narrow nor too wide, too stringent nor too lenient, that will apply to-day, and in future, defies human intelligence, and only admits of approximate success. Fully sensible of my own frailty, and the delicate task and doubtful issues before me, I shall exercise my best judgment and exertions in the fulfillment of a station that has been acquired under circumstances flattering


to my feelings, and commanding my gratitude and devotion to your service.

Keokuk, situated on the West bank of our great American River, the greatest in the world, at the foot of the first or Lower Rapids, in a healthy climate, in N. Lat. 40°, a high, commanding and beautiful site, surrounded on all sides by a remarkably rich, and productive soil, why should we marvel at her progress during the few years that have transpired since her titles have been established, and the country has become partially developed? This great river, like an inland sea, divides this continent in halves. On her long extended shores, the commerce of a thousand miles is arrested in its progress, to crowd the floating steamers that drift it to remote regions, of the world. If there be any remarkable or salient point on this great central commercial channel, any point specially attractive to the approaching commerce, it is here at the central point, where the rock bed of the river, the great rapids, and vast water-power, are first found in ascending from the Gulf of Mexico towards its source. It is here that the nominal character of the river changes; here changes the character of boats; here, science and genius must strive, at great expense, to overcome natural obstructions; here an emigrant bridge, high above steamboats can safely and conveniently be constructed; and here is the confluence of the great and beautiful Des Moines, that drains the largest portion of the Mississippi and Missouri "divide," which is the richest domain that can be found on the face of the earth. Is it strange that such a point should already attract a large share of the enterprise, wealth, and growing commerce of the West? Is it strange that Keokuk has, in a few years, become, to a great extent, the wholesale and commercial emporium of the State of Iowa? Is it strange that in six or seven years it has risen from one to ten thousand in population? Is it, in view of her natural advantages, her past short, eventful history, and her present prosperity, unreasonable to predict that in seven years more she will contain thirty or forty thousand inhabitants?

With deference to neighboring cities, which being our seniors in age, have excelled us in the past, we have no reason to envy their progress, or doubt our equality. In the future march of Western cities, we claim position in the front rank, and with the prestige of a few past years, we may confidently strive with them for pre-eminence in commerce, manufactures, wealth, worth and population.

Taking this view of the present and future of Keokuk, I


submit my views or some matters which relate to her present and future interests, with a view of directing the Council to their special consideration.

The Extension of the City Limits.

The old city limits have been entirely surrounded with additions that are rapidly extending, and already contain a large portion of the population that actually participate in all our associated interests. The same wharf, the same approach to the river, the same advantage of markets, the same churches, the same schools; and even the gas lights reflect upon us similar advantages. The additions are equally interested in our future prosperity, and I trust the proprietors and inhabitants of these exterior portions will cordially approve of any law that will at an early day incorporate them with us, so that they may share the toil, expense and honor of our struggle with distinguished and untiring rival cities. To secure a fair and full enumeration, to give scope to wholesome; police regulations, to extend street improvements so as to increase the convenience of egress and ingress, we should have all the surrounding additions included in the corporate limits; and I submit to the Council an early examination of the laws which seem to require special Legislative revision, in order to secure this extension, which all must regard as just and expedient.

Grades of the City.

My views in regard to the grades have been already publicly expressed, yet such is the general desire for a settlement of the matter, that I present it specially on this occasion.

A complete grade map is being made of the whole city, and the best possible contour must be established, consistent with our present and future prospects. In determining such a system of grades, we must provide for easy approaches to the river, wherever such approaches can be constructed at a reasonable cost, as the river will always be our greatest commercial channel. Railroad depots roust also be of easy access, and the great leading avenues to and from the surrounding country require easy grades, and early attention. Convenience of water works, sewer and surface drainage, as well as the beauty and elegance of the city, must also be carefully regarded. While all these matters are considered, it is by no means right to forget economy, or to alarm strangers and citizens with the prospect of immense cuts and fills, and consequent vast expense,


debts, and grievous taxes. Neither business nor beauty require a flat, monotonous surface to a city, and modern science applied to the health and the drainage of cities, has clearly developed the advantages of variations in the general surface, which I hope will not be overlooked in establishing a general system of our city grades.

Street Improvements.

Grades being established, their construction must be the work of years. The necessity of a convenient wharf and an easy approach to the river, justified the commencement of street work on the credit system. That work was absolutely necessary to our existence as a city. Subsequent operations are urgent, and must proceed as buildings progress, and new necessities arise; but there is no such imperious necessity of their immediate construction as to justify the accumulation of a burden of debt or tax that would stifle the growth of any city. Any attempt to grade streets for the mere purpose of increasing the value of adjacent lots should be made a private enterprise, the cost of which should fall on those who expect to derive the profit. This would save the city from a species of debt which brings no immediate profit, and often creates expenditures that could well be deferred. To throw this burden on those who desire grades in view of speculative advantages, it is the custom in some cities to require the work to be done when a majority of three-fourths of a street or district petition for it. The cost is then apportioned according to front adjacent feet, so as to pay both expense and damage, as justice and equity seem to require. Such a system may perhaps be adopted in this city to the convenience of those who desire immediate grades, and to the relief of others who are not at present prepared to incur the expense. If such a system of special tax be not resorted to, the plan, of letting work payable in city bonds, should be entirely abandoned. If any credit is to be used, it is better for the city to sell the bonds, than the contractor, because in the sale by the city, any discount is ascertained, but when the discount is thrown upon a contractor, it is covered by high prices, and the exact loss to the city is concealed, and public opinion may thus be deprived of its timely expression. Sell your bonds, or raise means by taxation, before you do the work, if you desire to hold in check the accumulation of too large a debt for street improvements. There is no work of a city so constantly urging a city government to the accumulation of a doubtful or needless extravagance,


as that of street improvements; and after great avenues and necessary commercial advantages are accomplished, I doubt exceedingly the expediency of any further resort to credit for the purpose of street improvements. They can wait the progress of special and general taxation, rather than create a debt to discredit and embarrass a city. If the city credit is extended to one, it will soon be demanded for each and all the streets; and who does not perceive the danger of a ruinous increased extravagance.

Water and Gas.

The proprietors of our Gas Works, Messrs. Kilbourne & Herrick, have, under circumstances peculiarly unfavorable, accomplished their construction with extraordinary success. They commenced on the 14th of September, and illuminated our streets on the 1st of January, and such is the excellence and abundance of the gas which they have constantly furnished, that I deem their achievement worthy of special and honorable mention. Their success in affording us one of the luxuries of city life has stimulated a desire for water works, which is still more important to our welfare and happiness. From my own knowledge, without any careful estimate, I would state the probable cost of water-works adequate to our city, at two hundred thousand dollars. The plan recently adopted in Europe, and in some of our neighboring cities, which employs towers and tanks, instead of large reservoirs, may considerably lessen the necessary cost. Although our population and wealth may not justify the immediate commencement of the requisite works, yet it is time that the plan was being considered, as it is of great importance to the city to secure an economical and successful plan, in order that the greatest abundance of water should be afforded to every tenement, at the least possible cost. I hope that during the year this matter may be brought before the Council in a more tangible and practical form.

The City Finances.

The reports of the Recorder and Treasurer, which will accompany this communication, will give a very plain statement of the details of our receipts and expenditures for the past year.

The debt of the city which has accumulated for the work on the wharf, streets, and other city improvements, that bring no direct dividends in return, amounts to — $93,915 66
Our railroad subscriptions are, to the Keokuk, Ft. Des Moines and Minnesota Railroad, — 400,000 00
To the Keokuk, Mt. Pleasant and Muscatine Railroad, — $100,000 00
Making our entire debt, — $593,915 66


For the Railroad bonds, we have Railroad stock; and if there ever will be any good paying roads in Iowa, it would seem to me that ours are sure to be among the number. The Railroad stock will therefore most likely pay the Railroad debt, thereby leaving the present considerable aggregate no cause for future anxiety. The peculiar location of this city at the foot of the rapids, will hereafter give us a considerable income from our wharf; and there will be a constant increase in various other channels. The assessment of property in the city amounts to nearly four millions. If our city limits were fairly extended, the assessment would probably amount to six millions. There is an irregular strip of ground between the lot line and the river line in front of our city, which some have supposed belonged to adjacent lots, while others suppose it is merely sufficient for a street and wharf. This ground, on the contrary, no more belongs to adjacent owners than to those of us who own lots in other parts of the city, and those grants to adjacent owners for a release of their rights in the remainder, have been transfers of city property of considerable value for an infinitesimal sum. It is the property of the city, constantly increasing in quantity and value, and should be protected and recovered for use or sale, as our interest may hereafter seem to require. The accretions from washings of the city, natural debri, and cellar excavations, will not only fill the levee, but augment this strip of ground, which now amounts to sufficient for a strip of lots three thousand feet long, one hundred feet deep, after giving ample room for a wharf. At a hundred dollars a foot this would amount to $300,000, and this is not a high average for such property on our city levee.

The lots upon which the market house is temporarily located, are also becoming exceedingly valuable; and it would be an easy matter to show, that aside from the income of taxation, the railroad stocks and city property are equal in value to the public debt. In view of these facts, with the universal determination which prevails to guard our public credit, by using, if necessary, any portion of the revenues arising from taxation, there is no reason to doubt the ability of our Railroad Companies, and other bondholders, to realize nearly the par value of the city bonds, if it be found necessary to subject them to sale in a foreign market.

Improvement of the Mississippi Rapids.

In speaking of the rapids improvement, it is mainly my purpose


on this occasion to show its bearing on the interests of our city. I have so often expressed my views of the erroneous plan of attempting to blow out a navigable channel in the solid rock bed of the river, and years of toil; and treasure have been so unsuccessfully expended here in your presence, that it would seem useless for me to advert to it, in this Community. Yet it is important for you to note, that just so far as any success might follow that plan, it would have a tendency to draw the water from the Iowa to the Illinois shore, and so far tend to injure our harbor. We might with propriety object to a plan that attempts to divert our channel from this point, where commerce is concentrated, to an opposite point, where none naturally exists. Other harbors on the river have obtained aid from Government for their improvement. It cannot be that the same Government would disregard this port of entry which has grown up into importance since that plan was devised, and during its attempted progress. Keokuk has not, and will no interpose an objection to any reasonable plan and effort that is designed to improve the commercial advantages of the Mississippi. Any thing that will advance her commerce, will advance Keokuk, and more than compensate for the petty income that arises from the lighting and towing business that is shared by this place and Montrose. But we may respectfully ask for a reconsideration of plans that seem not only inimical to us, but entirely useless to the Government.

In view, of a change of plan, that sooner or later is sure to be effected, I trust the change will result in the construction of a steamboat and hydraulic canal on the Iowa shore. Engineers, experienced in similar and more difficult works, have concurred in expressing their conviction that it is comparatively an easy matter to construct a broad canal, that will secure safe, certain and speedy passage of boats over these rapids, at all hours and seasons when the river is not frozen over. Such a canal would secure continuous lines of commerce, and vastly increase the river business. Instead of a thousand steamboat arrivals, it is my opinion we would immediately have two thousand a year. All the cities above and below, and all the vast country drained by this river, would participate in the advantages of such a work. Besides sharing in these wide and equally distributed advantages, which Keokuk fully appreciates, there are other consequences that will tend still more to our local and national welfare. Such a canal would include sufficient width to serve as a great steamboat harbor. It would extend to Montrose, twelve miles, and be sufficient to safely moor all the steamboats of the upper Mississippi. Here in still water they would be safe from floating ice, and from the terrible effects of floating


burning boats. Millions lave been expended on ocean and lake harbors, and we have reason to hope that Congress will ultimately favor our interior waters. When such improvements are commenced on this river, where can they so wisely apply means as here, on a solid foundation, where the fall in the river affords such facilities for improvement? Besides the convenience as a harbor, the canal will also furnish convenient arrangements for building and repairing boats. Chambers can be constructed on the upper side of the canal, and the water drawn off below the bed, leaving boats on ways where they can be cheaply and safely repaired or constructed. Such dry docks on the seashore have been built by the Government, at great expense. On this canal they would cost comparatively a trifle, and be a great convenience to our commerce. We would thus have dry docks and a harbor where a floating city of steamboat palaces would be collected in the winter, which would in the opening spring renew their migratory flight to all the branches of our great river.

As a matter of great interest to our city, and no inconvenience to others, we could apply a small portion of the water power that would be here accumulated, as a means for furnishing our city with a supply of water. After paying the canal a fair price for the power, our water-works would be curtailed in their cost one half. A small, simple construction would pump the water up into towers and tanks, erected on our hills, from whence it could be distributed to all parts of our city.

But more than all the rest, here would be accumulated a vast water power which could be applied to a thousand useful mechanical purposes. A fall of twenty-four feet, located on rook, and conveniently applied, who can estimate the value of such a source of wealth to the western country? Here the grain and wool of the North and surrounding section of country, can be collected, manufactured, and cheaply distributed to different parts of our country. Here the heavy products of slave labor can be conveniently transported, and here manufacturing masses can be accumulated to man the engines, thread the spindle, fly the shuttle, and weave them into useful and ornamental fabrics, which can again be sent by our great rivers to various parts of the world. Surely the latent advantages of the Mississippi rapids will be developed, and will far exceed those which are patent and palpable. There is no place in America where a million of dollars would produce such stupendous results.

It is the privilege and duty of our city to present this matter of the rapids improvement in its true light before Congress, with a


view of securing to us a great harbor, with other conveniences, without detriment to the public elsewhere. I am certain if the matter were fully understood, plans would be so modified as to secure great national and local advantages.


The most important element now producing revolutionary changes in society, is the application of steam to useful purposes. Agriculture is extended, remote provinces are developed, commerce finds new channels, communities are brought into close and frequent intercourse, and social systems are shifting, changing, and forming new compounds, to harmonize with the introduction of this new disturbing element. Railroads wield the power of men and cities. They command, and commerce obeys. They can create and destroy, restrain and enlarge. They increase the products of agriculture and develop new markets. They widen the circle of human action, and increase the tendency to aggregation. Remote districts augment great remote cities, and intermediate villages are transported to build up great terminating depots. Without Railroads, Keokuk would sicken and dwindle down to a local village; but with the success of the system which she has projected, she will become a great commercial emporium. Railroads are therefore of vital interest to our city, and the success of every election on the question of subscribing stock, shows the deep interest taken by our citizens in the early commencement and diligent prosecution of this character of work. The Road leading West, up the valley of the Des Moines, — the Keokuk, Ft. Des Moines and Minnesota Railroad, — is rapidly progressing on the first section of thirty miles, preparatory to receiving the iron, which is purchased and probably on its way to our city. The road leading North, — the Keokuk, Mt. Pleasant and Muscatine Railroad, — has also made arrangements for iron, and the first section, extending to the head of the rapids, is about ready for laying the track. On the opposite side of the river, two roads are contracted, one leading up the river to a junction with the Burlington and Chicago road, the other leading more directly East, and destined to open a way also to the South-east. These Eastern roads are the works of our enterprising neighbors of Warsaw, but they are so located as to serve as Eastern and Northern connections for both cities. Our city will participate in the advantage, and our citizens should therefore participate in their construction. The road to the junction on the Burlington road is in the most advanced condition, and offers the best prospect of an early Eastern connection. This work, which was commenced some


years since, has been recently resumed and is now vigorously progressing. The section of the Wabash and Mississippi road recently let, extending to Carthage is easily graded, part of it having been done many years since. It is already commenced under favorable prospects for an early completion. Our city has made a conditional subscription to the road last mentioned, and through that trunk we expect to secure a connection with the Wabash valley, and also with a line of roads leading through the capitals of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and thence to the capital of the United States. We have therefore four lines of road, commenced and progressing in four different directions, very advantageous in their locations for the future welfare of our city. They all approach the foot of the rapids, where they connect with our great Mississippi lines of steamboats, and all bid fair to become good paying roads. But all these roads are in their infancy. The shrill notes of the locomotive have not yet disturbed our valleys and hills. Although our city has subscribed liberally, she may yet have to do more. The county, city and individual effort will have to be strained to the utmost before all these arms can be extended where they can be grasped by exterior interests and prolonged indefinitely. Such is the vital importance of Railroads to our success, that I present their interests as prior and paramount to all others. If need be, let other matters delay; let us submit to inconvenience; let us defer other works of importance, and acts of munificence; let us exercise stringent economy, for the purpose of putting our Railroads beyond the reach of doubt or danger. Upon the success of our roads, — upon their progress this year, — will depend the future prosperity or adversity of our city. My occupation for years past has given me an opportunity of viewing Keokuk from different positions. I know something of her strength, and something of the struggle against her interests; and I am convinced that upon this year's success hang such fearful issues that I present it as a crisis in our history. I know that this feeling is entertained by our citizens generally, who have laid aside party and personal considerations for the purpose of securing those to the city councils who are presumed to comprehend and desire the best policy in relation to our public improvements. In acknowledgment of the delicate trust, I rely on the hearty co-operation of the Council, the Railroad Companies, and every city officer. Honest devotion to the public welfare, and untiring exertions, are especially needed and expected during this present year. The business of the season has commenced under propitious auspices, and a struggle of a


year will most likely result in entire success. With anxious desire to advance the public interest, and an undivided affection for the place of my adopted home, I shall apply my energies to your interest, trusting results to that overruling Providence which guides our destiny and will determine our future peace and prosperity.

While we thus seek to advance the physical proportions and prosperity of our young city, it is more important that we should carefully promote the Arts and Sciences, Religion and Morality, which we trust will secure to us a distinguished and spotless name, as imperishable as that of the ancient cities of Greece and Rome.

I submit herewith the reports of the Treasurer, Recorder and Harbormaster, which I recommend shall be preserved among our city archives, so that posterity may compare the realities of maturity with the hopes of our infancy.



Iron Manufactures.

We follow up Mayor Curtis's Address by a statistical statement of the business of the city. And first, of

Iron Manufactures.

Atwood & Estes' Stove Foundry commenced operating June 1st, 1855. Their business has been at the rate of 4,000 stoves per annum, valued at $56,000 — using 400 tons of iron and 8,000 bushels of coal per year, and employing 30 hands. By the 1st of September next the capacity of the Foundry will be increased to 8,000 stoves per annum.

Thomas Wickersham & Son's (Pennsylvania) Foundry has manufactured in the last year forty steam engines and saw mills, besides a large amount of mill machinery and brass work. They employed on an average sixty hands, and consumed 350 tons of pig iron, 32 tons of wrought iron, 60 tons of anthracite coal, 3,600 bushels of bituminous coal, 600 bushels of charcoal, and 200 cords of wood.

The manufacture of boilers was commenced by Edward Welchman the first of September last. Since then he has made 35 boilers, besides other work — worth $18,000. He will use about 150 tons of boiler plate, and 1200 bushels of coal per annum. He employs from 15 to 20 men.


Another boiler manufactory was commenced about the middle of May, 1856, by Holloway, Meirs & Evans. They employ at present 11 hands.

S. S. Vail & Co. have an expensive Foundry. They consume about 200 tons of iron per annum; made 25 steam engines and saw mills last year, besides a large amount of machinery for water mills, and other work. Work 30 hands, and turned out about $60,000 worth of work during the year.

Beatty, Long & Co. commenced the manufacture of steam engines and mill machinery of every description on the 1st of March last. They now employ 25 hands, but are prepared to work on a large scale, and expect, when fairly under way, to employ from 75 to 100 hands.

Wood Manufactures.

S. C. & S. Carter have a Sash and Blind Factory, in a building three stories high, and thirty by sixty feet. Their machinery is propelled by twelve-horse steam power, but is to be increased to twenty-five. Capital employee, $10,000; number of hands employed, 10. Amount of lumber used annually, 150,000 feet. Value of manufactured work, $15,000.

Daniel Copson has a Blind and Door Factory, using $4,000 worth of lumber per annum, and employing eight to ten hands. It is driven by steam.

The principal business in F. Knowles' Wagon and Plow Manufactory is wagon-making. Five a week are now made by 25 men. Mr. Knowles is putting up an additional two-story building, 75 by 25 feet, in the rear of his present factory, and so soon as it is completed will add to his machinery and increase the number of hands to 30, when he intends to make a wagon a day, and from 200 to 500 plows per year.

Hiatt & Harbine run two engines, driving one up and down saw and one circular saw, together cutting 16,000 to 20,000 feet of lumber per day. In connection are a surfacing machine, a


planing machine, a tongue and grooving machine, a splitting machine, and a shingle machine.

The Keokuk Furniture Manufactory of Kilbourne & Davis has just commenced operations in a new stone building three stories high, 70 feet long and 40 wide. Their engine is 25 horse power, and the machinery very complete, with all the modern improvements. They expect to work about 70 hands.

L. W. O'Brian & Co., Carriage and Buggy Manufacturers, have been engaged during the past year principally on job work. They employ 19 hands.

Calvin Coats, carriage and buggy manufacturer, made in 1855, 50 vehicles, — value about $10,000. He employs 9 hands.

A Corn-Planter Manufactory commenced operations this spring, with the design of extending it to the manufacture of other agricultural implements and machinery.

Hawkins Taylor's steam saw mill runs one muley saw, cutting about 5,000 feet of lumber per day.

Farrar & Haines are making arrangements for erecting immediately a Planing Mill, with which will be connected a Sash, Blind and Door Factory. Steam power, about 25 horse.


Bissell & Co. are building a Linseed Oil Manufactory in Kilbourne's Addition, which will be in operation this summer. It will be on a very large scale, and there will be connected with it three burrs of stone, for the manufacture of flour. The motive power will be steam.

S. B. Ayres & Son have put up a two story building for the manufacture of alcohol, spirit gas and camphene.

A firm from Cincinnati has purchased a lot in the hollow near Conn's pork house, and is procuring machinery for the manufacture of white and red lead, for paints.

Two Mattrass and Upholstery Manufactories are in operation each doing a fair and increasing amount of business.

Messrs. Coker & Kemble, of St. Francisville, Clark county,


Mo., having built the hull of a small steamboat at St. Francisville, brought her here to be finished and supplied with machinery. She is stern wheel, 110 feet long, and 20 feet beam, with one boiler, 42 inches diameter, and 26 feet long, which, as well as the engine, were made here. Power about 40 horse; 12 1/2 inch cylinder; 4 feet, 2 inches stroke. Her draft is 10 inches, and with a load of 75 tons will be 22 inches. She is intended for the Des Moines river trade, and will run between Keokuk and Alexandria and Ft. Des Moines. Her name is "Demoine Valley."

In the construction of Kilbourne & Herrick's Gas Works, the first shovel full of earth was thrown out on the 14th of last September, and by the 28th of December they were making gas; and the streets were lighted on the 4th of January. About 480,000 bricks were used in putting up the works, all of which were laid after the 20th of October. Over four miles of street main pipe have been laid. The gasometer holds 40,000 cubic feet of gas, and the tank holds 8,000 barrels of water. They will use about 20,000 bushels of coal the first year. The works are of sufficient capacity for a city of 75,000 inhabitants.

There are 23 brick yards in operation, employing in the aggregate 246 hands. They expect to make over twenty millions of bricks this season. This would be sufficient to build 400 houses of 50,000 brick each. It would be almost impracticable to ascertain the exact number of houses contracted to be built, because carpenters are employed out on buildings so constantly. In passing over the city on the 21st of May, we counted sixty-nine good frame dwellings, and over half a dozen frame business houses, in an unfinished state, and in progress of erection or completion. These are exclusive of shanties, out houses, and additions of new buildings to old ones. Now, from appearances, we should think that thirty-three or fifty per cent more might be counted, and probably even a larger per cent.


Commerce and Trade.

We begin this department with a statement of the fact that the Wharf Register's books show the number of steamboat arrivals in 1855, embracing a period of about eight months, to have been 1076. The average tonnage of these vessels was 250, making in the aggregate 269,000 tons. During the month of May, 1856, the number of arrivals was 258, with an average tonnage, in round numbers, of 304 tons, the aggregate tonnage being 74,400 tons. Wharfage $611,50.

To show that the trade of 1855 was an increase over that of 1854, we present the following comparative statements of a few leading departments, taken from the merchants' books:

AMOUNT SOLD BY 1854. 1855.
9 Wholesale Groceries $799,515 $1,106,793
4 Retail " 95,000 151,000
7 Wholesale Dry Goods Houses, 502,000 766,980
7 Retail " " 245,000 274,500
3 Furniture Establishments, 58,000 104,000
4 Wholesale Boot and Shoe Stores, 67,000 154,000
2 Book and Stationery Houses 17,000  
3 " " "   35,380
5 Stove and Tinware Houses, 97,000 187,000
2 Iron Foundries and Machine Shops, which manufactured and sold 39 steam engines in 1854, and 65 in 1855, 80,000 134,000
23,000 Hogs sold, 250,000  
31,000 "   356,500
Totals, $2,210,515 $3,270,153

In the foregoing statement, iron was put down among the groceries sold in 1854, and 1855, because it was sold by wholesale grocers. In 1855 the amount of iron sold by four houses was $85,000.

The month of April was so rainy as to seriously affect trade in some departments, particularly heavy goods, and the late


opening of the river delayed receipts, in most instances, to the middle of April. We give, however, the business of some of the houses for one month:

    April, 1856.
Amount sold by 8 Wholesale Groceries, $120,622
" " 8 " Dry Goods Houses, 209,872
" " 3 Retail Dry Goods Houses, 15,873
" " 5 Wholesale Boot and Shoe Stores, 54,000
" " 3 Hardware Houses, 21,420
" " 5 Stove and Tinware Houses, 26,782
Total, $448,569

The amount received and forwarded was, in 1855, by 6 houses, 18,606 tons; in April, 1856, by 7 houses, 4,967 tons.

There are in Keokuk 11 wholesale groceries, 10 of which are exclusively wholesale; 12 wholesale dry goods stores, 9 of which are exclusively wholesale; 2 exclusively wholesale notion and fancy dry goods stores; 5 exclusively wholesale boot and shoe stores; 3 wholesale furniture stores; 4 wholesale stove and tinner's stock stores; 2 wholesale queensware stores; 1 exclusively wholesale cigar and tobacco store; 6 hardware stores; 1 leather and saddlery hardware store; 1 saddlery hardware and harness store; 2 solely storage and commission houses; 3 confectionery manufactories; 8 drug stores; 1 agricultural warehouse: 2 book stores; 1 iron store exclusively, and 5 wholesale groceries that sell iron; 1 printer's stock and stationary agency, which has sold from the 15th of last October up to the 1st of May, newspaper and type to the amount of, $7,413 50, and $120 worth of printers' ink since the 1st of last February; 34 retail groceries; all dealing more or less in produce; 17 retail dry goods stores; 3 retail furniture stores; 3 retail stove and tinware stores; 13 retail confectionery and fruit stores; 4 retail boot and shoe stores; 2 toy and variety shops; 1 music store; 1 seed and flower store, 8 cigar and tobacco stores; 15 clothing stores; 3 hat and cap stores; 8 tailors, 6 of whom are merchant tailors; 4 auction and commission houses; 5 jewelry and watch-making establishments; 5 millinery establishments; 6 dress-making establishments; 6


wholesale groceries that have storage and commission business connected with them, and several retail groceries having a commission business in connection; 7 boot and shoe shops; 1 ladies' shoe shop in which is used a sewing machine; 3 furniture manufactories; one of which is operated by steam; 26 carpenters' shops; 15 blacksmith's shops; 23 brick yards; 3 manufactories of engines and mill machinery; 1 manufacturer of mineral water; 1 wagon and plow factory; 1 wagon and blacksmith shop; 1 corn planter factory; 1 chair maker's shop; 8 bakeries; 1 stove foundry; 3 sash and blind factories; 3 breweries; 1 alcohol, spirit gas and camphene manufactory; 1 door plate engraver; 2 boiler manufactories; 1 rope walk: 1 copper smith; 1 wood sawing machine; 1 dyer; 1 dyer and scourer; 2 mattrass manufactories; 2 steam flour mills; 2 steam saw mills, 1 of which has planing, tongue and grooving, splitting and shingle machines attached; 1 picture gallery; 1 cement roofer; 2 machine cracker bakeries; 7 painters; 3 glaziers and paper hangers; 1 dressed lumber establishment; 1 gas fitter; 1 gas works; 1 marble and stone works; 2 coopers' shops; 1 house mover; 2 carriage and buggy manufactories; 1 undertaker; 2 daguerreotypists, 3 offices in which are printed daily and weekly newspapers, with book and job offices attached; 1 book and job office; 2 book binderies; 2 parent medicine manufacturers; 1 tin and sheet iron shop; 8 lumber yards; 6 real estate agencies; 2 dealers in real estate; 4 civil engineers offices; 3 architects; 1 theatre; 1 horse farrier; 5 barbers; 6 livery stables; 5 bankers and brokers; 1 stage office; 2 express offices, 14 hotels and houses of entertainment; 23 lawyers; 24 physicians; 12 notaries public, 4 insurance agencies; 2 home insurance companies, 1 fire and 1 marine; 19 stone quarries; 6 principal schools; 1 commercial school; 12 churches; 6 music teachers; 2 railroad ticket offices, 1 packet depot; 4 justices of the peace; 4 dentists; 1 collector of the customs; 1 cabinet and turning shop; 2 nurseries; 4 meat shops; 10 butchers; 1 bath house; 2 gymnasiums; 2 gunsmiths; 1 chandler and soap maker; 3 public halls; 2 medical colleges; 1 soda factory; 2 pork packing establishment


1 literary and newspaper depot; 40 drays, and more being made for the Fall trade; 1 street sprinkler.

In the above enumeration the word "wholesale" is used for those whose principal business is wholesale or jobbing. Many houses are put down without any descriptive words annexed, which do a large jobbing as well as retail business, and a number placed under the head of "retail," do considerable jobbing.

The average number of cattle killed for city consumption by nine butchers, is 36 per week the year through. The cattle killed by one butcher, for steamboats, average ten per week through the season of seven or eight months — sometimes 20 per week are killed. The whole number of cattle slaughtered for city and steamboat consumption may be set down in round numbers at 2,000 per annum.

There are eight lumber yards. Since the opening of navigation in the Spring, nearly two millions feet of lumber have been brought here in rafts from the Upper Mississippi, and fully two millions brought round from the Ohio river. Still, the market is not yet half supplied.

The St. Louis and Keokuk Packet Company has lately purchased the Thos. Swan and Baltimore, and put them into the trade, and the Quincy, a new boat, is nearly finished, so that the St. Louis and Keokuk regular line of packets consists of the following nine boats: — Thos. Swan, Baltimore, Die Vernon, Jeannie Deans, Westerner, Keokuk, Samuel Gaty, Conewago and Quincy.

The Ben Campbell and J. McKee constitute the Keokuk and Rock Island daily line.

The Skipper has recently commenced running as a regular packet between Keokuk and Burlington.

A new boat, built to run regularly between Keokuk and New Orleans, is to be put into the trade this season.

The Keokuk and Hamilton Ferry Company has just built the new and large double engine ferry boat, Gate City — 135 feet in length, 35 feet in width, with deck room and capacity sufficient to carry teams and stock equal to 200 tons burthen. She will run in connection with the former steam ferry boat, Salena.


Buildings — Schools Churches.


We have not space to notice more than a very small proportion of the buildings already commenced.

Mr. Guy Wells is building a residence of sand stone, on the corner of Sixth and Timea, in the Italian villa style — cost about $5,000. John B. Lodge, architect.

Messrs. Burns & Rentgen are excavating for a stone business house on the Levee, between Blondeau and Concert — 100 feet front by 100 feet deep. It will be two stories high, but the walls so arranged that two stories can be hereafter added.

Under the direction of Mr. D. W. Kilbourne, for his friend Mr. John Bertram, of Salem, Mass., will be commenced immediately, on the south side of Main, between Fifth and Sixth streets, five four story brick business houses, with ornamental iron fronts — each 20 feet front by 120 feet deep.

Dr. J. R. Allen is excavating for a four story stone business house on the south-west corner of Johnson street and the Levee, 50 feet front by 100 feet deep — cost $8,000 or $10,000.

Messrs. J. F. Daugherty & Bro. are digging the foundation for a three story brick, with stone trimmings, on Johnson street between Second and Third, to be used for a machine cracker bakery — size 40 feet front by 80 deep.

Mr. Hugh T. Reid will build a brick dwelling house this Summer, on the corner of Third and High streets, in the Italian


style. The main building will be 45 by 57 feet, with wings and piazzas, and an ell — cost about $15,000. W. A. Rice, architect.

Mr. H. S. Farrar is constructing a residence on the corner of Fourth and Orleans streets, with ten principal rooms, besides small rooms — Elizabethan style — main building 41 1/2 feet front, by 45 1/2 feet deep, with piazzas and wings. Robt. Haines, architect.

Mr. T. J. Rice is erecting a large business house on the corner of Fourth and Main streets, 40 by 100 feet — three story brick with stone trimmings. Cost about $12,000. W. A. Rice, architect.

Mr. C. F. Conn has had a dwelling house designed, 46 feet front by 50 deep — Italian style — stone — cost about $6,000 — corner of Concert and First streets.

Messrs. Hardesty & Triplett are building on the corner of Seventh and Main streets, two fine stores, with pressed brick and fine cut stone front, arched windows, and stone caps, and three stories in height. There will be a Hall over both stores, 20 feet high, and 90 by 43 feet in size, to be called "Oak Hall."

Messrs. Cleghorn & Harrison are excavating on the Levee, between Main and Johnson, for a four story stone warehouse, 50 feet front by 100 deep — cost $8,000 to $10,000.

The Council has recently instructed the City Engineer to advertise for proposals for building a market house and Hall on the corner of Fourth and Johnson streets. Hall 50 by 140 feet.

The object in pointing out the above houses is to convey a correct idea of the taste our citizens are disposed to display in erecting residences, and the extent of business house room required by the growing prosperity of the place. In other places than those named we have noticed foundations on a large scale, and it is quite probable that other houses, both for residence and business purposes, as fine, handsome and large as those referred to, will be erected during the Summer. Mr. John Hamilton's dwelling, which will cost $3,000; Mr. Belknap's brick business house, with iron front, on Second street; three brick business houses next to Hardesty & Triplett's, and numerous other


substantial and valuable residences and business houses already commenced, testify to the fact that we have made no attempt to call attention to all the houses being built, or any more than a very small proportion.


Of the more prominent schools we notice first the "Public School." The house is 50 by 60 feet, and three stories in height. Board of Directors: — Rev. Elihu Gunn, Mr. A. Bridgman, and Mr. W. M. G. Torrence. Teachers employed, and their salaries: — Prof. Kimball, Principal, and Lady, First Assistant Teacher, $1,300 per year; Miss S. J. Hessin, $25 per month; Miss S. Blair, $25; Miss M. Gilbreath, $25; Miss M. Benedict, $25; Miss L. Benedict, $20; Miss M. Wadsworth, $20. Six hundred pupils are enrolled, and the average attendance is about four hundred.

"Academy of the Visitation, St. Mary." There are now in this academy between 45 and 50 pupils. The building is brick, 85 by 35 feet, three stories high, situated on the south-east corner of Seventh and Timea, with six lots enclosed. The present building is used temporarily for a convent, also, but a convent will probably be erected in front.

The "Keokuk Classical Institute" has over sixty pupils. Mrs. F. B. A. Johnson and Mrs. M. V. Johnson, have each excellent schools; and there are other schools which we have not room to name.


The Unitarian Church, Rev. Leonard Whitney, Pastor, now occupies a hall on Fourth street, near Main. They have a church in course of erection, which will be finished by the 1st of September. It will be of brick, 42 by 72 feet, on the corner of Fourth and High streets. Cost, about $10,000.

Methodist Episcopal Church — Rev. W. F. Cowles, Paster, meet in a hall in Mechanics' Block, on Main street, between


Eighth and Ninth. They are now building a brick church on Chatham Square, corner of Seventh and Morgan streets. It is 50 by 86 feet, and will have a tower 125 feet high, the brick work of which will be 75 feet in height. The audience room will be 25 feet high. Cost of church, about $15,000.

The Westminster (Old School) Presbyterian Church, Rev. J. T. Umsted, Pastor, is using at present a frame building on Fifth, between Main and Blondeau streets. They are building a temporary stone church, with dressed front, 40 by 80 feet, on the west side of Seventh, between Main and Blondeau streets.

The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church has purchased the building at present occupied by the last named church, on Fifth street, between Main and Blondeau, and will add a basement. Rev. Wm. Boyce, Pastor.

The Associate Presbyterian Church meet in a hall over Huston, Hawkins & Huston's store, on Main street, between Fourth and Fifth. Rev. James Brown, Pastor.

Roman Catholic Church south-east corner of Second and Blondeau streets. During the coming Fall those members of the Roman Catholic Church who speak the English language, some sixteen hundred of whom reside in this city, will lay the foundation of a brick church, 76 by 140 feet, which will be a very fine one, and probably built in the cathedral style — cost $18,000 to $20,000. Rev. J. M. Villars, Pastor.

The German members of the Roman Catholic Church, numbering between, four and five hundred, have completed the basement story of a brick church on the corner of Ninth and Exchange streets, 35 by 75 feet, which will probably be finished some time in the month of August. Rev. W. Emonds, Pastor.

The Congregational Church, Rev. J. B. Kimball, Pastor, meet at present in O. C. Isbell's Music Rooms, 52 Main street, but a stone chapel, in the Norman style of architecture, is to be commenced immediately. The ground plan measures 35 by 55 feet; wall 16 feet high above the underpinning. To the rear of the chapel will be joined two rooms for a library and study, for the use of the Pastor. These rooms will together be about 15


by 28 feet. The location, if nothing occur to change the purpose of the Committee, will be on the corner of High and Sixth streets. This chapel will be used for a year or two, and so arranged that a church may be joined to it. The cost of the chapel and rooms will be about $5,000. W. A. Rice, architect.

The Episcopal Church is on the corner of Fourth and Concert streets. Rev. Geo. Dennison, Rector.

The First Presbyterian (New School) Church is on the east side of Second, between Blondeau and Concert streets.

Exchange street Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Sanford Haines, Pastor, north side of Exchange, between Third and Fourth streets.

The Baptist Church is on the east side of Third street, between Concert and High. Rev. Elihu Gunn, Pastor

The Bible Repository is kept at R. B. Ogden's Book Store, 52 Main street.

Population of the City.

A census by the County Assessor, just taken, shows a population within the mile square, constituting the original city limits, of over 11,000. This shows a larger population on one mile square, it is said, than can be found on the same area in any other town in the State. It will be noticed, also, that this census is by a county officer, and therefore under no sort of city influence that could induce any motive to exaggeration. The Mayor, in his Inaugural, puts down the population at 10,000, but the census has been taken since, and proves his estimate to be far below the mark. We understand that Mr. Curts, the Assessor, estimates the whole population, including the Additions, at between 13,000 and 14,000. These Additions will be annexed in July, and between 13,000 and 14,000 will then constitute the population of the city of Keokuk.



Keokuk, Ft. Des Moines and Minnesota Railroad.

[Engineers' Office in Kilbourne's Block.]


HUGH T. REID, President.
WM. LEIGHTON, Secretary and Treasurer.
S. D. EATON, Chief Engineer.
SAMUEL R. CURTIS, Executive Committee.

Keokuk, Mt. Pleasant and Muscatine Railroad.

[Engineers' Office in Atheneum Building.]

LAURIN DEWEY, Mt. Pleasant,
D. W. KILBOURNE, Keokuk,
J. M. HIATT, "
SAM'L SPRINGER, Columbus City
JOHN A. PARVIN, Muscatine.

LAURIN DEWEY, President.
CHAUNCY NASH, Secretary.
J. A. McDOWELL, Engineer.
J. K. HORNISH, General Agent.
J. M. HIATT, Executive Committee.


Wabash and Mississippi Railroad.

The Western Division of which embraces that portion of the line from Warsaw up the east bank of the Mississippi river to a point opposite Keokuk — thence via Carthage to the intersection of the Northern Cross Railroad — which is now under contract, and being constructed under the direction and control of a Special Board of Commissioners, consisting of Messrs. J. W. Ingersoll, of Canton, Ill., M. T. Hunt, of Warsaw, Ill, and H. W. Sample, of Keokuk, Iowa. This portion of the line and connection is by contract to be completed by the 1st day of May, 1857.

Des Moines Navigation and Railroad Company.

CAPITAL, — $3,000,000.

[Engineers' Office in Kilbourne's Block.]

EDWIN C. LITCHFIELD, of New York City,
ORVILLE CLARK, Sandy Hill, N.Y.,
PORTER KIBBEE, Detroit, Michigan,
HENRY O'RIELLY, Ottumwa, Iowa.

ALVAH HUNT, Treasurer.
EDW'D H. TRACY, Chief Engineer
WILLIAM J. McALPINE, Consulting Engineer
GEO. R. PERKINS, Land Agent.

Insurance Companies.

CAPITAL, — $100,000.

CAPITAL, — $200,000


The Navigation and Hydraulic Company of the Mississippi Rapids.

Capital, — $1,000,000.



SAMUEL R. CURTIS, President.

Lawrence Coal Company.

[Office over Ford, Gorham & Ford's Bank.]




E. R. FORD, President.
D. W. FORD, Treasurer.

Keokuk Gas Light and Coke Company.

Capital — $100,000.

[Office on 2d street, between Main and Blondeau.]


E. H. BUELL,Secretary.


The Black Hawk War, and the Half Breed Tract.

In 1804, four Indian chiefs and head men, who were, as Black Hawk asserts, without authority to act for their nation, entered into a treaty with the United States, by which they sold all the claim of the united nations of the Sacs and Foxes, to the immense tract of country lying between the Mississippi, Illinois, Fox River of Illinois, and Wisconsin rivers, comprehending about fifty millions of acres. The consideration given was the protection of the United States, and goods delivered at the value of two thousand two hundred and thirty-four dollars and fifty cents, and an annuity of one thousand dollars ($600 to the Sacs and $400 to the Foxes) forever. An article in this treaty provided that, as long as the United States remained the owner of the land, "the Indians belonging to the said tribes shall enjoy the privilege of living and hunting" on said land.

Notwithstanding the lack of authority on the part of the Indians, who made that vast surrender on such trivial considerations, the United States at every subsequent treaty forced the Sacs and Foxes to re-affirm the treaty of 1804. It was alleged to have been violated by those tribes who joined the British in


the last war with Great Britain, and in 1816 was renewed and re-enacted.

Black Hawk, who was a recognized Chief of the nation, and always had their love, controlled a large portion of his people. Refusing to attend the negotiations of 1816, he went to Canada, proclaimed himself and his tribe British subjects, and received presents from that quarter. These visits were continued many years.

Another treaty was made by ten regularly delegated chiefs and head men, and Gov. Clark, on the part of the United States, in Washington City, the 4th of August, 1824. In this treaty they sell for a valuable consideration, all their title to the northern portion of the State of Missouri, from the Mississippi to the western boundary of that State. By the same treaty 119,000 acres were reserved for the use of the Half Breeds of the Sac and Fox nation, and was called the "Half Breed Tract." It occupies the strip of country between the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers, and south of a line drawn from a point on the Des Moines River, about one mile below Farmington, east to the Mississippi River, and at the lower end of Ft. Madison, including Keokuk, and all the land between said line and the junction of the rivers. The title which the Half Breeds received from the General Government for this tract, was the same as other Indian titles, the United States retaining a reversionary interest, which deprived the Indians of the power to sell. But in 1834 Congress passed an act relinquishing to the Half Breeds the reversionary interest of the


United States, and thus they became possessed of a fee simple title, and the right to sell and convey. It was the manner of this relinquishment that gave rise to the troubles about titles, inasmuch as the right to sell was not given to individuals by name, but to the Half Breeds as a class, which opened a wide door for innumerable frauds.

It was not long before the question came up — "Who are the Half Breeds for whom this Tract was reserved?" Originally the reservation was intended for the Half Breeds living among the whites in St. Louis and other places, who did not "wear the blanket," and could not enjoy the annuities; but yet had Indian blood in their veins. It was made on the suggestion of an Indian orator, named Morgan. The resident Half Breeds who attended the convention were pointedly asked to take their choice between the annuities and the land. They chose the annuities: "For," said they, "we are Indians, and we will ‘wear the blanket,’ and live among the Indians." But speculation in the Half Breed Tract afterward springing up, they were sought out by speculators, and induced to claim shares, and there being nothing in the language of the reservation to inhibit them, their claims were allowed, and sometimes went by the name of the "Blanket Claims." One of the most active dealers in this sort of claims was an Indian trader at Agency, now Agency City, in Wapello County; and in those days it was commonly asserted and believed that he could buy a Half Breed claim for a horse and a barrel of whisky. The consideration was given to Keokuk for a certificate as chief, that some yellow-looking savage was a Half Breed, entitled to a share, and then it was only necessary to make the Indian drunk to obtain his signature to any sort of paper. A "Blanket Claim" thus cheaply bought, the trader would sell to speculators for two or three thousand dollars.

Naturally enough, difficulties about titles began after awhile to overshadow the "Half Breed Tract." As no names were mentioned in the act of Congress giving the Half Breeds the power to sell, it became difficult to fix with, any approach to certainty upon the real owners. Most of them had sold out their interests before a


partition was effected; sometimes a full-blooded Indian sold; sometimes a Half Breed of some other tribe palmed himself off for a Half Breed Sac or Fox, and made sales; occasionally the same tract was sold to several persons successively; at other times individuals sold more than really belonged to them. From these causes the original claims had swelled to a large and indefinite number, in which it was almost impossible to detect the counterfeit, and titles became involved in bewildering confusion. Add to all this, that many persons had settled upon the lands with the idea that there was no title vested in any person; while many others supposed that the land still belonged to the General Government, and that they would be entitled to pre-emption rights as first settlers. Owing to these views there was already a numerous population on the lands when the Decree of Partition was made, who held defective titles, but who in numbers as well as determination, were too formidable to be hastily removed. It may be easily conceived that instances of resistance to legal process were no unheard of events, and that fierce excitements, violent mobocratic outbreaks; and even miniature battles, occasionally marked in vivid characters the extent to which men's passions may be aroused when their all becomes entangled in the meshes of inexorable law. Thus Keokuk came into existence amid confusion and discord, and through obstinate obstructions fought her way to prosperity.

In the midst of all these difficulties sales still proceeded, as the lands were sold for mere trifles, and speculators bought any sort of claim for the sake of obtaining a color of title.

A company was formed in New York, and a number of individuals in St. Louis, Palmyra, Mo., and other places, held the remainder of the shares.

In the year 1836 the Legislature of Wisconsin undertook to settle the Half Breed troubles by appointing Judges Johnson and Brigham, and Judge Wilson of Dubuque, Commissioners to investigate and adjudicate claims. The first two sat about two years at Montrose, commencing in the spring of 1837. Their labors were displeasing to the people, and Messrs. Hawkins Taylor and Col. Wm. Patterson, who were at that time members


of the Legislature, were appealed to by their constituents to interpose the Legislative power to rid them of the Commissioners. At the first session of the Iowa Territorial Legislature, in 1838-9, a repealing law was passed, which legislated the Commissioners out of office, and at the same session a partition law was enacted; and as soon as the new law took effect a suit for partition was brought by parties in St. Louis, and after nearly a year's litigation, an agreement was entered into by the parties litigant, compromising some matters, and referring others to the decision of the Court.

The decision of the Judges thereon, settled the vexed question in the position in which it has remained ever since. This decree was made in 1841, and decreed a judgment of partition among the several owners, which was known as the "Decree of Partition," or "Decree Title." In delivering the opinion it was staged by the Court that: "From all the light they could get, it found the number of Half Breeds to have been one hundred and one when their joint estate was severed, and that these one hundred and one shares had become and were the property of the persons named in the judgment." Accordingly the Decree named the owners of the one hundred and one shares, and of this number adjudged forty-one to belong to the New York, Company. The judgment designated Samuel B. Ayres, Harmon Booth and Joseph Webster as Commissioners to make the, partition into one hundred and one equal shares. Afterwards, when Iowa had become a State, the "Decree Title" was tested, in the District Court, and then in the Supreme Court of the State, and thence was taken up to the United States Supreme Court, and in every instance the "Decree Title" was sustained. Of this Mayor Kilbourne, in his Inaugural Address, delivered in the Spring of 1855, thus speaks:

"By a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, made in January last, the last cloud upon our title was removed, making what is commonly known as the Decree Title to Keokuk, and the whole Half Breed Sac and Fox reservation, indisputable, firm, and effectual forever."


The principal village of the Sacs and Foxes, for a long period of time, was on the north side of Rock River, near its junction with the Mississippi. It contained at one time upwards of sixty lodges, and was among the largest and most populous villages on the continent.

In the summer of 1822, the expediency of a removal of the whole of the Sacs and Foxes to the west side of the Mississippi, was urged upon them by the agent at Fort Armstrong. The principal Fox chief, as well as Keokuk, assented to the removal, and did remove with a portion of the tribe. Black Hawk, however, with a party of the Sacs, was opposed to the removal, and remained.

"During the following winter, while Black Hawk and his party were absent on a hunting expedition, several white families arrived at their village, destroyed some of their lodges and commenced making fences over their corn-fields. Black Hawk upon hearing of this movement, promptly returned to Rock river, and found his own lodge occupied by the whites. He crossed the Mississippi and traveled several days to converse with the Winnebago sub-agent, who concurred with the interpreter in advising the Sacs to remove to Keokuk's settlement on the Iowa. He then visited the prophet, Wabokieshiek, or White-Cloud, whose opinions were held in much respect by the Sacs and Winnebagoes. He urged Black Hawk not to remove, but to persuade, Keokuk and his party to return to Rock river, assuring them that if they remained quietly at their village, the whites would not venture to disturb them. He then rejoined his hunting party, and in the spring when they returned to their village, they found the white settlers still there, and that the greater part of their corn-fields had been enclosed by fences. About that time Keokuk visited Rock river and endeavored to persuade the remainder of the Sacs to follow him to the Iowa. He had accomplished nothing with the great chief at St. Louis, in regard to their remaining at their village, and as a matter of policy, that peace might be preserved, he was warmly in favor of the proposed removal. Black Hawk considered it an act of cowardice


to yield up their village and the graves of their fathers to strangers, who had no right to the soil, and the breach between Keokuk and himself was widened.

"The white immigrants continued to increase, and the Sac village was the great point of attraction them. It was situated on the neck of land formed by the junction of Rock river with the Mississippi, and had been the chief village of the tribe for sixty or seventy years. ‘Their women had broken the surface of the surrounding prairie with their hoes, and enclosed with a kind of flimsy pole fence, many fields which were annually cultivated by them, in the raising of corn, beans, potatoes and squashes. They had also erected several hundred houses of various dimensions, some probably an hundred feet in length by forty or fifty broad.’

"The whites who established themselves at this place, in violation of the laws of Congress, and the provisions of the treaty of 1804, committed various aggressions upon the Indians, such as destroying their corn, killing their domestic animals, and whipping the women and children. They carried with them, as articles of traffic, whisky and other intoxicating liquors, and by distributing them in the tribe, made drunkenness and scenes of debauchery common. Black Hawk and the other chiefs of the band, remonstrated against these encroachments, and especially in regard to the introduction of spirituous liquors among their people: and, upon one occasion, when a white man continued, openly, to sell whisky to them, the old chief, taking with him one or two companions, went to his house, rolled out the barrel of whisky, broke in the head, and emptied its contents upon the ground, in presence of the owner. This was done, as he alleges, from the fear that some of the white persons would be killed by his people when in a state of intoxication. Thus things wore on until 1827. During, that winter, while the Indians were making their periodical hunt some of the whites, in the hope of expediting their removal to the west side of the Mississippi, set on fire, in one day, about forty of their lodges a number of which were entirely consumed. When the Indians


returned in the spring and demanded satisfaction for the destruction of their property, they were met by new insults and outrages.

"Under the seventh article of the treaty made at St. Louis in 1804, it is provided that as long as the lands which are now ceded to the United States remain their property, the Indians belonging to the said, tribes shall enjoy the privilege of living and hunting upon them. It was not until the year 1829, that any part of the lands upon Rock river were brought into market by the United States. It follows as a matter of course, that all the white settlers upon them prior to this period, were trespassers, being there in violation of the laws of Congress, and the provisions of the treaty. Although the frontier settlements of Illinois had not approached within fifty or sixty miles of Rock river, and the lands for a still greater distance around it, had not been offered for sale, yet in this year, government was induced to make sale of a few quarter sections, at the mouth of Rock river, including the Sac village. The reason for this uncalled for measure is obvious — to evade the provisions of the foregoing treaty of cession, and create pretext for the immediate removal of the Indians to the west side of the Mississippi.

"In the spring of 1830, when Black Hawk and his band returned from their annual hurt, to occupy their lodges, and prepare as usual for raising their crop of vegetables, they found that the land in and around their village, had been brought into market, and that their old friend, the trader at Rock Island, had purchased a considerable part of it. Black Hawk, greatly disturbed at this new condition of things, appealed to the agent at that place, who informed him, that the lands having been sold by government to individuals, he and his party had no longer any right to remain upon then."

In the spring of 1831, the agent at Rock Island informed Black Hawk that, if he did not remove, he would be driven off. He offered to remove for the sum of six thousand dollars. This


was refused. To effect this removal, the United States afterwards gave two hundred American lives, and nearly two millions of dollars.

The squaws had now planted their corn, and it was beginning to grow, when the whites again commenced plowing it up. Black Hawk at last determined to put a stop to these aggressions upon his people, and accordingly gave notice to those who were perpetrating them, that they must remove, forthwith, from his village. Eight of the white settlers immediately sent a memorial to the Governor, enumerating a long list of outrages, which they declared had been committed upon them by Black Hawk, and asserting that he had threatened to kill them.

A large force was sent against the Indians, which alarmed Black Hawk, and on the night of the 25th of June, he passed with all his party to the west bank of the Mississippi. On the 30th of June a treaty of peace was entered into, in which the "British Band," as Black Hawk's party was termed, was required to submit to the chiefs of the Sac and Fox nations, who resided on the west side of the Mississippi.

The period of the removal of Black Hawk and his band to the west side of the Mississippi, was too late in the season to enable them to plant corn and beans a second lime; and before autumn was over they were without provisions. Some of them, one night, recrossed the river to steal roasting-ears from their own fields, — to quote the language of Black Hawk, — and were shot at by the whites, who made loud complaints of this depredation. They, in turn, were highly exasperated at having been fired upon for attempting to carry off the corn which they had raised, and which they insisted belonged to them.

In the early part of April, 1832, Black Hawk, with his whole party, rashly, and in violation of the treaty of the previous year, crossed to the east side of the Mississippi, for the avowed purpose of ascending Rock River, to the territory of their friends, the Winnebagoes, and raising a crop of corn and beans with them. General Armstrong, then stationed at Ft. Armstrong, with three hundred regulars and three hundred militia, ascended


Rock river in boats to Dixon's Ferry. But the first to come up with Black Hawk was Major Stillman, who, on the 14th of May, with two hundred and seventy-five mounted militia, arrived within eight miles of Black Hawk's camp. Black Hawk sent to him three young men with a flag of truce. The bearers were fired upon, and one killed. Upon learning this, Black Hawk desperately started to meet the enemy with about forty; nearly all his young men being absent — about ten miles off. He soon met Major Stillman's command, and charged upon them with such tremendous energy that they fled with the utmost consternation, and continued running such an astonishing length of time, that the battle ever after went by the name of "Stillman's Run."

War ensued. Three thousand Illinois militia marched to Rock River, where they were joined by the United States troops. Six hundred mounted men were also ordered out, while Gen. Scott, with nine companies of artillery, moved with such celerity, as to pass from Fort Monroe on the Chesapeake to Chicago — a distance of eighteen hundred miles, in eighteen days; but long before they reached the scene of action, the Western troops had closed the contest. After several battles had been fought, Black Hawk was taken on the 27th of August, and in September the Indian troubles were ended by a treaty, which relinquished to the white men six millions of acres of land, (for which stipulated annuities were to be paid,) constituting now the Eastern portion of the State of Iowa, and called the "Black Hawk Purchase." To Keokuk and his party a reservation of forty square miles (since purchased) was given, including his village, in consideration of his fidelity, while Black Hawk and his family were sent as hostages to Fort Monroe, where they remained till June, 1833.

Throughout the war Keokuk remained peaceful, and for peace controlled a portion, of his nation. His services in this respect, his character, and the fact that his name has been given to our city, invest him with a peculiar interest.

Keokuk often lost his popularity with his tribe, by his efforts to keep them at peace with the United States, and nothing but


his wonderful eloquence and tact sustained him. He was once deposed by his tribe, and a young chief elected in his place, but his people, to their chagrin, soon discovered their mistake. Keokuk still ruled and rapidly attained his former position.

Keokuk, "the Watchful Fox," was a native of the Sac nation of Indians, and was born about the year 1780. He was not a hereditary chief, but raised himself to that dignity by the force of talent and enterprise. He was a man of extraordinary eloquence in council; fertile in resources on the field of battle; possessed of desperate bravery; and never at a loss in any emergency. His style of thought and manner of speaking have been compared to that of a distinguished U.S. Senator from South Carolina, with gracefulness of action in Keokuk's favor. He had six wives, was fond of display, and on his visits of state to other tribes; moved, it is supposed, in more savage magnificence than any other chief on the continent.

Keokuk was a noble looking man about six feet high, portly, and would weigh over two hundred pounds. He had an eagle eye, a dignified bearing, and a manly, intelligent expression of countenance. He always painted, and dressed in Indian costume, with Indian head dress, leggins, breech clout, and sometimes a buckskin hunting shirt, but usually a blanket. He died in Missouri a year or two ago, and was succeeded as chief by his son — a sprightly youth.

Black Hawk was one of the noblest of Indians, and an able and patriotic chief. With the intelligence and power to plan a great project, and to execute it, he united the lofty spirit which secures the respect and confidence of a people. He was by birth a Sac, and born about the year 1767, on Rock River, Illinois.

Black Hawk loved his people, and fought for them with as true patriotism as ever animated any man's breast. "I liked my towns, my corn fields, and the home of my people — I fought for them," he said in his last speech in the last year of his life, in alluding to his difficulties with the whites.

He was about five feet eight inches high, with a stoop in his


shoulders, an aquiline nose, a retreating forehead, and eyes of a dark hazel color. His head was always shaved except a tuft at the crown. He was always polite and pleasant, but never seemed to forget the treatment he had met with from the whites.

Black Hawk, upon his return from captivity at Fort Monroe, was formally deposed from his authority as chief, before the whole tribe, and he was informed that the President wished him to listen and conform to Keokuk's counsels, and he was also given to understand that his band was thenceforth to be merged in that of Keokuk, whom the President would thereafter receive and acknowledge as the principal chief of the Sac and Fox nation. This was done at Ft. Armstrong, in August, 1833. Black Hawk and his family deeply felt this degradation, and afterwards associated but little with the other Indians. He thought his tribe ungrateful in permitting Keokuk to superscede him, who, he averred, excelled him in nothing but drinking whisky. Black Hawk himself was very temperate.

He never had but one wife, and she was the neatest and most provident woman of her tribe. He had a beautiful daughter, who was engaged to a Fort Madison merchant, but the match was broken off by the influence of a relation. He had also two, fine sons, the eldest of whom, Nash-e-as-kuk, accompanied him in his tour through the United States.

After Black Hawk's last return from the Eastern States, he passed the winter of 1837-8 in the county of Lee, on a small stream called Devil Creek. In the spring of 1838, he accompanied his tribe to a point on the Des Moines river, about eighty or ninety miles from its mouth, where he had a very comfortable bark cabin, which he furnished in imitation of the whites, with chairs, a table, a mirror, and mattrasses. His dress was that of the other chiefs, except a broad brimmed black hat, which he usually wore. In the summer he cultivated a few acres of land in corn, melons, and various kinds of vegetables. His death took place on the 3d of October, 1838, at 72 years of age.

The Sacs and Foxes have long resided together, and now constitute one people, although there are some internal regulations


among them which tend to preserve a distinctive name and language. The chiefs, on ceremonial occasions, claim to be representatives of independent tribes, but this distinction is nominal. For many years past the principal chief of the Sacs has been, in fact, the chief of the Foxes likewise. They are united in peace and war, speak the same language, claim the same territory, have similar manners and customs, and possess traditions which represent them as descended from a common origin.

As Montrose made some figure in the early history of the Half Breed Tract, it may be well enough to give it a passing notice. It was at first called Fort Des Moines, and troops were stationed at that point from 1834 to 1837. Some remains of their cantonment are still standing, and among them what is now cabled the "River House," then used by Kearney and Mason as their headquarters. First there was Lieut. Col. S. W. Kearney, who was afterwards relieved by Col. R. B. Mason. Their command consisted of three Companies of the first Regiment of U. S. Dragoons — Company B, Capt. E. V. Summer; Company H, Capt. Nathan Boone; and Company I, Capt. J. B. Browne. Kearney, Mason and Boone are all dead; Sumner is Colonel in command at Ft. Leavenworth; and Browne, now at the advanced age of 72 years, is performing the duties of Justice of the Peace, in this city.

As General Browne occupied some prominent positions in the early history of this State, a brief notice of his career will be appropriate.

He resigned his post as Captain in the regular army in 1837, and in 1838 Gov. Lucas appointed him Major General of militia. he was elected a member of the first General Assembly ever convened in the Territory of Iowa — which met at Burlington in 1838 — and had the honor of being the first President of the first Council. He was elected four times to the General Assembly, and was twice President of the Council, and twice Speaker of the House of Representatives.

In the spring of 1837 the troops were removed from Fort Des Moines to Fort Leavenworth, and soon afterwards Mr. D. W.


Kilbourne laid off a town at the former place, which he called Montrose — the name it now bears.

Iowa having been organized is a territory, July 4th, 1838, an election for members of the General Assembly took place in the fall of the same year, when Montrose polled 55 votes; Keokuk polling 21 at the same election.



1. Those who have read the "Annals of the West," by J. M. Peck, will observe that the account here given of the characters of Keokuk and Black Hawk and their true positions in the tribe to which they belonged as well as the causes of the "Black Hawk War," differs in many essential particulars from that of Mr. Peck. This is done on the authority of Hon. D. W. Kilbourne, ex-Mayor of Keokuk, who settled at Montrose, then called Ft. Des Moines in 1836. Black Hawk and Keokuk, with hundreds of their tribe were frequently at his house, and he was often Black Hawk's guest. He availed himself of the ample opportunities this afforded him as well as his acquaintance with distinguished early settlers, to become thoroughly acquainted with the true causes of the "Black Hawk War." We have also conversed with other early settlers, who agree in giving the same account of the character of Keokuk and Black Hawk, and their relations to and standing among their tribe. We have also consulted Ford's "History of Illinois," Frost's "Indian Wars," and Drake's "Life of Black Hawk."

2. Drake's Life of Black Hawk.