Scott Co, Iowa USGenWeb Project
HISTORY OF DAVENPORT TOWNSHIP
"From History of Scott County, Iowa 1882 Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co.
Surnames: LeClaire, Burrows, Wilson, Davenport, Friday, McGregor and Noel.
This township is the largest in the county, and its settlement dates back to 1834, with Antione Le Claire as the first settler. This township has bluff lands that are somewhat broken near the river, until a point is reached above the city of Davenport. The bluff, or timber line, between the river and prairie is from one to two miles wide, and was formerly well wooded. By the bluffs of the Mississippi River is not meant that they are an abrupt or perpendieular ascent, but a gentle rise from the river or bottom lands; not so steep but roads may be constructed up almost any part of them. The general elevation of these bluffs or high lands is about 100 feet above the waters of the Mississippi, and in many places of very gentle ascent, and covered with cultivated fields and gardens. But Davenport Township differs from all others upon the river in the beautiful rolling prairies, immediately back from the river, after passing the bluffs. These prairies are not broken, as is common with those that approach so near the river, but are susceptible of the highest cultivation. Back of the city of Davenport, the slope from the top of the bluff to Duck Creek, covered as it is with garden and fields, is one of uncommon beauty and richness.
Duck Creek, which passes through the whole length of this township, rises in Blue Grass, some 10 miles west of Davenport, and running east, empties into the Mississippi some five miles above the city. It affords an ample supply of water for stock, and is never dry in summer, being fed by numerous springs along its course. Its Indian name is Si-ka-ma-que Sepo, or Garcreek, instead of Duck Creek.
The history of Davenport Township is so closely identified with the history of the city that but little can be said without its being a repetition of what has already been written of the city. The first settlement was made within the present limits of the city, and the first land broken was also within its present limits.
"Among the settlers in the spring of 1836," says Willard Barrows, "was an old 'claim maker,' and commenced making a claim on the edge of the prairie, on the Blue Grass road from Davenport. The Indians who were then living on the Iowa River frequently came in here to the trading house of George Davenport, on the island. The trail passed directly across where Wilson was making his claim. He was cutting trees for logs, and had some two or three yoke of oxen hauling them together for the house when a company of Indians came along on the way to the trading house. They were a part of the disaffected band of Black Hawk, and, as usual, felt cross and bitter toward the white man, whom they looked upon as an intruder. They ordered Wilson to desist from making any improvements; told him that he should not live there, and that he must leave. 'Old Wild-Cat' who was used to Indians, with whom he often had difficulties, and most probably with some of this very band, took little head of what they said, but urged on his work without any fear of trouble from them. The Indians, after remaining in Davenport and on the island for a few days, left for their home, full of whisky and ripe for a quarrel. On arriving at Wilson's they rode up to the spring, near which the house was building. They got off and turned their ponies loose, laid off their blankets and deliberately prepared for a fight. Wilson and his two sons were all there were of the whites. Wilson was a short distance in the woods chopping. The attack was made upon James, who was driving the team. He ran for his father and Samuel. On their arrival, the old man, who never feared Indian or white man, bear or wild-cat, pitched in for a general fight. The Indians, some 12 or 14 in number, soon had 'Old Wild-Cat' down, when one of the boys, not having any weapon, unyoked an ox, and with the bow knocked down two or three of the Indians, which released his father, who, springing to his feet, caught his ax, which he had dropped in the first onset, and turning upon them struck an Indian in the back, splitting him open from the neck nearly to the small of the back. This dampened the ardor of the savages for a moment, when WIlson, calling on his boys to fight, and raising the 'Wild-Cat' yell, he made at them again, when they gathered up the wounded Indian and fled. He soon died, and the next Sunday the Indians gathered in great numbers in the neighborhood of Wilson's, with threatening aspects. Wilson, with his boys and a few neighborhood, was forted in John Friday's cabin, where the Indians kept them nearly all day. A runner was sent to Mr. LeClaire and Col. Davenport, who settled the matter with the Indians and cautioned them about traveling across the lands of 'Old Wild-Cat,' telling them of his threats: that he would scalp the first 'red skin' he caught upon that trail. The Indians made a new trail from Davenport running futher north, through Little's Grove, and were never known to pass Wilson's after that affair."
This is a small, unplatted village about two miles above Davenport, and has in it one general store, a hotel and two saloons. The villages and neighborhood are settled principally by Germans.
The religious history of the township is connected with that of the city, there being no churches outside of the city.
The first school in the township was about two miles below Davenport, and held as early as 1838. Several families living in the neighborhood clubbed together and hired a man named McGregor, an Irishman, who taught a three months' term.
The township of Davenport has now nine sub-districts, with eight frame and one stone school-house, valued at $15,000. In addition to which there are two independant districts, with good frame houses in each, one valued at $1,500, and the other at $2,500; making a total of $19,710 for the township.
Among the early settlers of the township was Adam Noel, who died in the city of Davenport, Aug. 20, 1872. A local paper of that day says of him:
"Adam Noel was born Jan. 10, 1880, in Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania. He removed to what was then styled the new purchase in the year 1835, locating in Dubuque Co., Wisconsin Territory, now Scott Co., Iowa. He first built his cabin in what is sometimes and better known among old settlers as Mitchell's Grove, a few hundred feet north of 'Mercy Hospital.' In the course of a year or so he entered 160 acres at $1.25 per acre, running from the present Brady street to Gaines street, and from Locust street, north, on a portion of which ground is the present Scott County Fair Grounds. He laid out two additions to the city of Davenport, the first on the west side of Brady street, the second on the east side and along Harrison street. His family consisted of wife, two sons and two daughters.
Adam Noel was a mechanic, being a carpenter and also a chairmaker, having established quite a large furniture manufactory in Pennsylvania, which he sold when struck with the "Western fever."
His first business after coming West was working as a carpenter on old Fort Armstrong, on Rock Island, and although he ranked among the farmers of the county, he never farmed until he came here. He lived and died in full faith with the Roman Catholic Church, being a member of St. Marguerite's Church, from which his funeral took place. He was all his life a firm, reliable Democrat. He was buried by the "Old Settlers."