DAVENPORT PAST AND PRESENT
A picture of James Thorington is included with this chapter. Please go to the Scott County Main page and click on Pictures/Documents to view this picture.
The foregoing, although including the prominent men of Davenport, does not contain all who are prominent, either from long residence, the possession of ability, public spirit, or such other qualities as entitle their possessors to prominence in any community. There are others here whose biographies would confer honor upon any work - among whom are Dr. Barrows, Hon. John P. Cook, Ebenezer Cook, Hon. James Grant, Gen. Geo. B. Sargent, D. C. Eldridge, John Forrest, Andrew Logan, J. M. D. Burrows, Harvey Leonard, and not a few others. Circumstances, however, forbid a lengthened mention, however much each deserves it.
The following are the names of settlers who came to Scott county on and previous to 1840, with hte year of their coming:
SETTLERS OF 1836
DEAD AND NON-RESIDENT.
SETTLERS OF 1837
DEAD AND NON-RESIDENT.
SETTLERS OF 1838
DEAD AND NON-RESIDENT.
SETTLERS OF 1839
DEAD AND NON-RESIDENT.
SETTLERS OF 1840
DIED AND NON-RESIDENT.
Appropriate and pertinent to the Biographies, are the proceedings of the PIONEER SETTLERS ASSOCIATION OF SCOTT COUNTY, and their First ANNUAL FESTIVAL, held on Monday evening of February 22d, at the Burtis House, in the city of Davenport.
At a meeting of old settlers of Scott county, who became residents prior to December 31, 1840, held in LeClaire Hall, Davenport, pursuant to a notice in the daily papers, on the evening of Saturday, January 28, 1858, some sixty persons were assembled. The meeting was called to order by Duncan C. Eldridge, Esq., whereupon Ebenezer Cook, Esp., was elected Chariman, and John Coffin, Secretary, of the meeting.
The Chairman, on taking his seat, expressed, with a few happy remarks, the pleasure which it gave him to meet so many of his old friends on this occasion, and alluded to the warm interest he had always felt in those who had stood side by side with him in the hardships and struggles incident to the early settlement of this county. He said, "that if there was anything of good about him, if he had ever been of any service to this community, and in fact for all he was at this day, he felt himself indebted to the early settlers of this county, who had always stood by him; that he had always been willing to divide the last crust of bread with any one of them that needed, and he prayed to God, that as long as he lived, he might be disposed to divide with them the last shirt on his back, if any one of them required it."
On motion of James Mcintosh, Esq., a Committee of five was appointed by the Chair to draft a Preamble and Resolutions for organizing the Association.
The Chair appointed James McIntosh, Willard Barrows, John F. Dillon, D. C. Eldridge, and Edward Ricker, Esquires, said Committee.
While the Committee was absent, the meeting was entertained by Wm. McCammon, Esq., and by the Hon. John P. Cook.
The Committee then presented the following Preamble and Resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
WHEREAS, it was our destiny, as American citizens, excited by a spirit of laudable enterprise, to be the pioneers in the settlement of this fair and fertile section of our State: and, whereas, it seems desirable that we should perpetuate the memory of that settlement, and from time to time recall the history of the past, so rich in incident of great and varied interest, therefore, be it -
Resolved, That all those who became residents of the Territory, now known as Scott county, in Iowa, prior to December 31, 1840, form themselves into a society, the object of which shall be to extend the right hand of fellowship to all those who have lived through the honorable conflict of the past to share and enjoy the prosperity of the present, and to interchange congratulations, that their early struggles and hardships have resulted in a growth and development almost without a parallel.
Resolved, That this Association be known by the name of ________
Resolved, That its officers shall consist of a President, ten Vice Presidents, a Secretary and Treasurer; and an Executive Committee of five members, said committee to be appointed by the President.
Resolved, That a committee of three members be appointed by the Chair, to draft a Constitution and By-Laws to be submitted for adoption at the next meeting.
Resolved, That a committee of five members be appointed to make arrangements for a festival to be held in this city, on the 22d day of February, 1858.
Resolved, That tickets of invitation be sent to all "Pioneer Settlers" who have since become non-residents of this county.
Considerable discussion on the subject of a name, and the word "Pioneer," having to the mids of many present a sacredness in this connection, it was moved by the Hon. Juo. P. Cook, and voted, that the blank be filled, so that the resolution as framed, stands thus:
Resolved, That this Association be known by the name of "The Pioneer Settlers' Association of Scott county."
The chair appointed Judge Weston, Jno. F. Dillon, and C. C. Alvord, Esquires, committee on Constitution and By-Laws; and appointed Willard Barrows, A. H. Owens, James McIntosh, Geo. L. Davenport, and D. C. Eldridge, Esquires, a committee on the festival.
The Association then proceeded to elect its first officers, which resulted in the choice of the following named gentlemen:
Tickets having been issued, including Old Settlers, Press, Clergy, and Author and Publishers of "Davenport Past and Present," there was on Monday night of the 22nd of February, a crowded assemblage in the magnificent Halls and Parlors of the "Burtis House." A happier crowd, and one whose sympathies and affections were so freely and harmoniously developed, never, perhaps, assembled in such numbers. Formality, caste, old feuds, dislikes, and all unkindnesses, were merged, and disappeared in the joyous friendliness that filled each heart - lips were wreathed in smiles, white locks were haloed with the sunshine of the occasion - hard, stern features, that for years had scowled upon life's difficulties, lost their rigidity, and reflected only happiness. It was more, in all respects, like an assembling of loving brothers around the household hearth after long years of separtation - there was the same cordial warmth of greeting, the same affectionate enquiries, and the same happy yielding to the spirit of the occasion. Not less, perhaps, than eight hundred were present - the oldest of whom was Mr. ELIHU ALVORD, who had attained the ripe old age of eighty-three.
The assembly was called to order by EBENEZER COOK, Esq., and the President, ANTOIN LECLAIRE, took his seat. After the Davenport Brass Band had discoursed a fine piece of music, a cane presentation took place. The cane was of native hickory, mounted with a costly gold head, upon which was engraved - "Pioneer Settlers' Association of Scott county, organized January, 1858." On the lower part of the head was engraved the name of the first President, Antoine LeClaire, with space for the name of all succeeding ones-as the cane is to be handed down from President to President until the last Old Settler has departed to another life. The presentation was made by JOHN F. DILLON, accompanied by a short speech in his felicitous and poetical style. He said-
MR. PRESIDENT:-I am charged with the grateful duty of presenting you with this insignia of your office. You, who were the first to pioneer the way to this lovely spot, lovelier and richer than the land "flowng with milk and honey." You, who have used the wealth it has been your good fortune to acquire, in constant endeavors to promote the growth and advance the interests of our city and country-you, who are confessed first in the esteem of all old pioneers, have been unanimously elected our first President. Happy are we, that your life has been bounteously lengthened out to behold this night. Happy that we are able to bestow upon you this testimonial of our regard.
What endeared recollections, and thronging visions this occasion must call up and inspire. Who would not foundly "give the hope of years" to enjoy the satisfaction and delight that must to-night be yours! A thousand incidents strike the electric chain of memory, and in the light of its corruscations the past comes back again, and glows vividly before you! How pleasant, at times, to retouch memories that are being moss-grown, to retint the fast fading pictures of life!
The changes you have seen, how astonishing! The like whereof will be sought for in vain, in the realities of history, and in the dreams of poetry.
Since the world began, it has never in any age or country exhibited a growth so solid, and a develpment so amazing as that which you yourself have witnessed. So rapid and thorough is the progress of improvement, that the memorials of our early setlement are fast passing away. Scarcely a trace or vestige of the primitive log-cabin remains; and the inquiry might be pertinently raised, not "have we a Bourbon," but "have we a log-cabin among us?" These have been succeeded by comfortable and elegant dwellings-but why specify changes when specification were endless. All, all is changed, save the unchanging sky above us, and the changeless river that rolls by us; magnificent river!
"Time writes no wrinkles on thine azure brow,
and without avouching its geological accuracy let me add -
Such as creation's dawn behold thou rollest now."
How often in the quiet watches of the night, when I have beheld the glory of the one, refected in and increased by that of the other, has my heart melted with gratitude, that aspiring man could not reach the heavens to cover them with signs and placards, or mar the beauty of eath's glorious water courses. Especially have you observed, sir, with intense interest, the growth of our fair and proud young city.
This interest has not been the indifferent interest of a mere spectator, but with you it has pertaken of a warmer nature; it has claimed kindred with a paternal solicitude, and witout demur has had its claim allowed.
Our feeble infancy-our slow growth-our precarious situation-our gloomy prospects awakened for awhile the most tender concern and anxious forebodings. These dark days happily have passed away, we trust, to return never more; and Davenport to-day, in size and beauty, stand peerless among rivals,-the "Queen City" of Iowa. Well may we rejoice to-night with you, in the triumphs of a faith in our destiny, that has suffered all things, endured all things, hoped all things even unto the end. But these exultant feelings and grateful reflections come to us mingled, and tinged, and softened and subdued with those of a sadder nature. While we have been busy, time and death have not been idle.
But I may not further indulge in reflections that crowd for utterance, save to say, that this cane, made from a stick of native growth, and skillfully fashioned by the hand of a member of our Association, is the distinctive, and we think fitting and appropriate badge of your office. As such, it is intended to be preserved with jealous care, and to be transmitted successively from President to President, until our Society shall be no more.
On it will be found engraved your own name-the name of our Association, and the date of its organization.
It affords me unfeigned pleasure, sir, in behalf of the Pioneer Settlers' Association of Scott county,' to present this ensign of office and honor to you - the first President, wondering, who, of those present, shall enjoy the enviable, yet melancholy distinction of being the last.
This effort was highly applauded, after which the President, through E. Cook, Esq., responded as follows:
"Mr. Dillon:-I receive this cane, the ensignia of my office, as President of the "Pioneer Settlers' Association of Scott County," with great pleasure, not alone because I shall take pride in its exhibition, not alone because of its beautiful and skilful workmanship, not alone for the very flattering remarks attendant upon its presentation, either of which causes would justify the feeling, but chiefly because it is, and is intended by the Association as a tangible memento of the past, and of the early history of the settlement of our country, to be handed down, I trust, to future generations, to be preserved for all time; to be exhibitied to thousands upon thousands of our descendents, yet unborn, as having been designed, made, and handled by their forefathers, the first settlers of Scott county.
With this cane, shall go down, I trust, the records of our Association, and if the members are faithful, and furnish, as required by the Constitution, the leading incidents of their lives, connected with their settlement and habitation in this county, to be placed upon the records, how interesting to those who come after us will be this cane, as a tangible memorial of their forefathers, long since crumbled into the dust from which they came, and whose history, to a greater or less extent, is written in the records before them.
Methinks, as I look into the far, far future, I see within the limits of our county, a noble Building, dedicated to some noble Public objects, and there, in some suitable and proper place, are deposited the records and testimonials of this Association. Within its walls is a living crowd, pressing forward, eager to see and persue the record, to see and touch the memorials handed down with it, and I hear them say, "These were sent down to us from our forefathers-here is written a history of the first settlement of htis beautiful land, of the trials and hardships endured, and of the triumphs won by them. Let them be perserved forever."
Ladies and gentlemen, members of this Association, let me charge upon you that you impress upon your children, and childrens' children, that they hold it as a sacred duty, when we shall all have passed away from earth, to preserve, intact, the records and memorials of our Association, and to transmit them unimpaired to future generations.
You have been pleased, sir, to allude in very flattering terms to me, personally. If I have, in the course of a long life spent here, entitled myself to, and won the respect of my fellow men, particularly the Old Settlers of the county, I am amply repaid for any and all exertions I may have been able to make to aid in advancing the interests and prosperity of our beloved city and county.
If I have acquired wealth, it is to the settlement of the country that I am indebted for it, for of what value would have been the land on which this city and the city of LeClaire is built, except from the fact that you, gentlemen, of this Association, settled upon and improved the lands of the county, and thereby enabled us to build up a city? So that, gentlemen, we see that we are dependent, to a greater or less extent, upon one another, and when we so act as to confer a benefit upon the community, we really are benefitting ourselves.
The Association has been pleased to elect me their first President. I take this, the first opportunity afforded me to return my sincere and heartfelt thanks for this expression of confidence and respect. The object and aim of this organization is so eminently and apparently proper, that it is needless for me here to advert to it, other than to say that I am rejoiced that the step has been taken, and that there is the interest manifested in the subject that is apparent here to-night, and I trust that interest will be kept up and maintained by every member so long as he shall live.
This cane, made as you say, from a stick of native growth, is a fit and proper emblem of the office for which it is designed, for in the ordinary course of things it is to be presumed that your Presidents will be men advanced in years, who will require its aid and support. It is, too, a fit and proper emblem, as it will remind your future Presidents tha their predecessors who have leaned upon it for support, have passed down the vale of time into eternity, whither they must soon follow, and surrender it again to aid and support some other aged man down the same path, until, at last, the last man of your Association shall grasp it, and in the performance of his sad duty, provide for it, and other memorials, a place of deposit, which we trust shall be kept sacred forever."
"After the ceremony of the Cane Presentation was concluded, the "First Annual Address" was dilivered by Hon. John P. Cook. It is a splendid production, and presents in its combinations the finest blending of philosophy, humor, wit, and pathos, that ever was delivered in Davenport. We give it entire, although it lacks the forcible expression, easy emphasis, and generally graceful oratory of the speaker:
"Mr. President, and Ladies and Gentlemen:
Through the politeness of the committee appointed to arrange for this occssion, it has befallen to my lot to address your association, on this the first festival of the Pioneers of Scott county.
The interest manifested in this organization, this large assembly, and the familiar nod of recognition passing from one to another, attest the perfect happiness we all feel in this union, made genial by the hardships of the past, the joy of the present, and hopes for the future.
In the West such a society is neither new nor uncommon. The first settlers of Illinois, Wisconsin, and of many of the older counties in our own beautiful Iowa, have been drawn together by that fraternal regard which is always warm in the nonest heart of an "old pioneer."
If, in the excitement of business, and the duties of life, we have hitherto neglected to come together, as the pioneers of Scott county, the greater reason now exists, that we should nourish this infant association, and make it promotive of every good and noble sympathy of the heart.
Our organization is now complete, our names are enrolled, and with the exception of absentees, and such as have not yet joined, although entitled to membership our ranks are full, and under our constitution there can be no accession to our number, other than exceptions named. With a just appreciation of the memory of the dead, you have procured the names of those who settled in this county prior to 1840, but who now no longer live, so that your records will perpetuate their names, who have "acted well their part," and now sleep beneath the cold clods of the valley, as ours, who have survived to consummate this organization. In thus recording the names of the dead, who were our companions in frontier life, we but open a record that will soon contain the names of all who now stand recorded as living member so this association.
For a moment give free scope to the imagination, and go with me to a period thirty, forty, perhaps fifty years hence, and behold here a city of two hundred thousand inhabitants, all eager to act their part in the business of life, running hither and thither, jostling each other in the crowd, some seeking the profits of commerce, some collecting the news of the day, some chasing pleasure, some bent on mischief, some bound for the station house of a balloon about to be wafted across the continent with a full load of human beings, who expect to dine in New York on the same day, some about to seat themselves in the cars of an atmospheric railway, advertised to go through to the seaboard in two hours, without change of cars, and amid the confusion, splendor and enterprise, let us, on the 22d day of that February, enter the spacious building on Twenty-Fifth street, and see congregated the last of the Scott county pioneers. There sits the President, surrounded by the survivors, numbering five, perhaps more, faithful hearts, whose whitened locks, and trembling limbs, denote them children of a century, past and gone.
They are looking back over the last years, and with vivid recollections of the early history of our own country, are recounting many of the hardships and incidents of frontier life; they recall the first festival of the association, and mention the names, and drop tears to the memory of many assembled here to-day; they have before them the record of the association, and it tells of your annual meetings and festivals - your official doings - the names of your officers - and it faithfully preserves the history of many incidents in the existence of your association.
Some venerable patriarch selected from that little band delivers the annual address, and he wants not matters of interest, appropriate to the occasion, to talk about, and with which to hold the attention of his hearers.
"Fond memory brings the light Of other days around them."
Is that the last festival? Another year rolls around, and that cane supports the aged frame of the President to the Festive Hall, where he meets friends young and old; but one, a solitary one shall grasp his hand, and exclaim -
"We two alone remain, the rest are gone, all gone!"
In the ordinary course of nature, it is reasonable to suppose, that the younger members of the association will be among the last survivors of our number, and upon them will fall the duty of closing our records, and providing a depository for everything pertaining to the association.
Young man! that duty may be yours; act well your part through life, that we may have a worthy representative in closing an association so suspiciously commenced.
Teach your children to venerate the land they are to inhabit, and impress upon them the duty they owe to their native home, and their pioneer forefathers.
Leave to them as a rich legacy the pleasing duty of providing a fitting receptacle for the records and memorials of the association, that they, and their children's children, may ever find a faithful history of the early pioneers, and of the settlement of the country.
Admonish them, that when the spirit of the last one of us takes its flight from earthly scenes-the sad and interesting duty will devolve upon them, to follow the remains to their last resting place; to perform the closing scenes in our history, and to write the last chapter of our record.
To the minds of some, such an association may seem of small importance and doubtful existence; but I doubt whether a society could be organized in the West with stronger ties of friendship and sympathy than one will find among the "Old Settlers."
We have all had our strifes, our political, local, and social disagreements, and shall doubtless continue to have them; but they are soon forgiven and forgotten, and we turn to the bright side of the picture, and call to mind the early scenes in our settlement here, while the generous promptings of the heart bind us more closely together.
There is no period in man's life at which he is not more or less dependent upon his fellow man, and the experience of every day admonishes us that we should cultivate the christian virtues and neighborly kindness-and while we should manifest these towards all who come in contact with us, they are doubly due to those who shared our early tolls and privations, and have ever been ready to lend a helping hand to the "Old Settlers."
The history of the early settlement of Scott county is replete with interesting incidents, and to those of us who first "squatted" and located our claims upon "Uncles Sam's" land, it is a satisfaction to look back to that period, and compare Scott county then with Scott county now. No one here to-day can claim a settlement anterior to that of our worthy President, and certainly no one has done more than he is aiding and encouraging the first settlers; and I may be permitted thus publicly to record the humble acknowledgments of my father's family to him, who was the first to extend his hand, to offer hospitality, and to welcome us to our prairie home. I was but a boy then, yet how well do I remember the scene when I landed one bright May morning in 1836, within four squares of the spot where we are now assembled.
The ground upon which "mine host" of the Burtis House has erected this spacious hotel, was a corn field, and two cabins below Main street constituted the improvements of the embryo "City of Davenport;" some half a dozen houses across the river in the then village of Stephenson marked the spot where now stans our twin sister city.
The booming of the morning gun from Fort Armstrong warned the red man that Uncle Sam's troops were in possession of their island home, and assured the pioneer of protection and safety. The daily movements of noble steamers upon the bosom of our majestic river told us that the way was opened to immigration; while the unclaimed acres invited the husbandman to one of the finest soils ever warmed by the sun of Heaven.
Need we wonder that the old chieftain, Black Hawk, and his noble band, refused to yield up the country to their white brethren? Can we blame them for clinging to this lovely spot, and for lingering around the graves of their dead?
"O'er the fate of the Indian,
The Great Spirit has cast
The spell of the white man,
His glory is past.
While we may not stay the arm of destiny, that is fast sweeping away the aborigines of this continent as a distinctive race, we may question the policy that would exterminate them, and should throw the broad mantle of charity over their acts.
While bounteous nature had done fully her share in making this country an inviting field for the immigrant, it required the genius and enterprise of man to develop its resources, and plant its towns and villages.
Towns in those days were laid out with reference to natural advantages presented by the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and hence every spot of ground along the river above high water mark (and some below,) was surveyed, platted, pictured, and named.
I will not undertake the task of recalling the names even of all the early cities in Scott county, but I must not pass in silence the contest for supremacy between Davenport and Rockinham. The history of this struggle for the county seat of Scott is so fresh in my memory that I can almost hear one of the "old guard" singing-
"Here we are, a happy, happy band,
On the banks of Rockingham."
Davenport claimed the seat of justice, because of her central locality, her high and dry site, her beautiful surroundings, and her many other natural advantages, which we all now concede and realize-while Rockingham expected to become the great centrepot of commerce in consequence of the rich trade that was destined (as she supposed,) to flow from the fertile valley of Rock River.
No one, in those days, expected to live long enough to see the iron horse flying over this western prairie, with its freights of human life, rich merchandize from the East, and the still more valuable products of the West.
Our ideas about traveling and commerce had not advanced beyond a light draught steamer, and John Frink's mud wagon. The wisdom and forsight of the statesmen of Illinois were directed to producing slack water navigation in Rock River, and a very decided amount of capital, energy, and enterprise, was devoted to building up Rockingham, in order that she might reap the benefit of the prosperous trade about to be opened with the Suckers in the rich valley of that river.
I think I see the steamer Gipsey, with the boys on board, ready to start out on an experimental trip from the port of Rockingham, bound for Fox River, with a cargo of sundries, consisting chiefly of scoo-ti-op-o, " corn bread and common doins;" Scoo-ti-op-o, "chickin fizins and uncommon doins." Captain Gray mounts the hurricane deck, rings the bell, and gives the word to the natives on shore to "cast off the starn hawser." The old Gipsey moves; that ponderous pile of green oak lumber fastened to her stern slowly revolves, reminding one of the current wheels we sometimes see on the rapids of a river. Away she goes, and the crowd on her decks give us three cheers at parting' while young Rockingham returns nine yells and a whoop.
Such an event as opening the navigation of Rock River, with a stern-wheeler, was one of too much importance in its local bearing upon the future of corner lots, for Davenport to wish the Gipsey a safe trip, and the first impediment to the voyage, and the place where Davenport hopes centered, was at the rapids near Vandruf's Island.
While the "old Gipsey" slowly ploughed her way through the waters of Rock River, a delegation of Davenporters cut across by land to the Vandruf rapids, to witness the experiment. The old steamer pushed on, and boldly approached the rushing waters, and fearful boulders ahead, to the tune of Yankee Doodle, whistled by the wind instruments on board, with the variations. The Davenporters lay in ambush, watching the movements of the steamer, and wondering if such a craft could possibly ascend such a current. Oh, unfortunate Miss Gipsey! why did you run your nose between those sunken boulders, and bring everything up standing? Why destroy the precious stores laid in for the trip, by smashing up glass and stone ware, thus rendering your passengers and crew forlorn and spiritless? Will you give it up so? A yell from the "sepoys" in ambush decides the question. The order is given, and all hands boldly jump overboard, and never tire or faint until their craft has cleared the treacherous rocks, and is once more in smooth water.
I think I see around me some of the mariners who helped "work the ship" on that occasion, and who made the round trip, and returned wiser, if not better, fresh water coveys.
Who among you, recollecting the incidents of those stirring times, will ever forget the first county-seat question? Certainly, not the prominent actors on either side, many of whom are with us to-day? The "border ruffians" of Missouri did not originate the idea of invading an adjoining territory in order to help their friends at an important election; nor can Mr. Calhoun claim to be the first man to record names whose owners were not at the ballot box. We had a "border" and a "Delaware crossing" long before Kansas was thought of, and, to use an expression of one of my pioneer friends, there was some "tall doings" on our borders, and on our crossing.
The Suckers furnished a goodly number for both parties, but the delegations from "Snake Diggins" and Moscow, (former headed by a two-fisted miner, and the latter by the "old bogus coon,") increased the population of Scott county in one day to a number that astonished the unsophisticated, and threatened the depopulation of some of our sister counties.
Five days before the election, both parties were certain of success, for each party supposed that it had outwitted the other in importing voters. The day of election arrived, and so did the imported parties, rejoicing in the glorious principles of "squatter sovereignty," and believing in the regulation of domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the party that could poll the most votes, and make the returns show it.
The result of this election indicated a very respectable population in the county in point of numbers, and proved that Davenport had colonized the most votes. The returns were made to the Governor, who refused to issue a certificate, in consequence of alleged illegal voting, and the Legislature again provided for another election, and that the result should be recorded on the records of hte Commissioners of Dubuque county.
The election came off, and Rockingham claimed the victory-while Davenport declared that the whole thing was illegal and void. From the popular arena the contest was transferred before the Commissioners of Dubuque county, thence to the Courts, thence to the Legislature, and finally back again to the ordeal of "popular sovereignty."
Immediate preparations were made for another struggle, and now three or four different points were brought before the people for the prize. Rockingham saw that she stood no chance in a triangular fight with her old competitor, and at once determined to form an alliance with another rival candidate, located near the mouth of Duck Creek, so that the last contest was really between Davenport and the Duck Creek cornfield.
The records of this county show that Davenprot was triumphant, and the question was thus forever settled. The important incidents of this last election were not of sufficient interest to me at the time, to impress my mind with more than one idea about them. I saw something "going up," and broke for "old Cedar."
Rockingham no longer rivals Davenport, but in vindication of the truth of History, in justice to those who once inhabited the place, and in honor of two of the "old Rockingham guard," who still cling to her soil, I may be permitted to say, that she was once a great place, and well watered.
During the time of the contest for the county seat, an event transpired which must not be omitted, in speaking of the history of our settlement. A dispute arose between the State of Missouri, and the then Territory of Iowa as to the boundary line between them, and so determined were the authorties on both sides to exercise jurisdiction over the disputed territory, that it resulted, in what is known to the Old Settlers, as the "Missouri War."
There were warriors in those days; and I should do injustice to the patriotism of that period, if I neglected to notice the military daring of the volunteers, who rushed to the standard (and rations) of the commander-in-chief, in obedience to his call.
The Sheriff of a border county in Iowa undertook to enforce the collection of taxes in the disputed Territory. He was arrested by the authorities of Missouri. The executive of Iowa demanded his release. It was refused; and to rescue this Sheriff, Governor Lucas ordered out the militia, and called for volunteers. "My voice is now for war" - was the patriotic response of every true "Hawkeye." The county seat question was forgotten in the more important duty of driving the invaders from our soil. Davenport and Rockingham men met, embraced, buckled on their armor, and side by side shouted their war cry - "death to the 'Pukes!" The officers in command held a council of war, and it was decided that Davenport should be the head quarters of the Scott County Army, in order that the troops might be inspired by the sight of old Fort Armstrong, and at the same time occupy a position so near the Fort, that a safe retreat would be at hand, in case of an attack from the enemy.
On the day appointed for the first drill, the whole country marched to the standard of the gallant Colonel in command, and Davenport witnessed one of the most spirited military reviews that ever took place within her limits. The line was formed on the bank of the river, fronting toward the enemy's country, the right resting against a cotton wood tree, the left in close proximity to the Ferry House. There they stood, veterans of iron nerve and dauntless courage, presenting a sight that would have daunted the most desperate foe, and assuring the women and children that they would defind their homes to the death, against the "border ruffians" from the Des Moines River.
The weapons, carried by some of these volunteer patriots, were not satisfactory to the commanding officers, and about one-fourth of the army were ordered out of the ranks, and their services dispensed with, unless they would procure others of a different character, and more in accordance with the Army regulations. The objectionable weapons consisted of a plough-colter, carried in a link of a large log-chain, which the valiant soldier had over his shoulder. Another was a sheet iron sword about six feet in length, fastened to a rope strap. Another was an old-fashioned tin sausage stuffer. Another an old musket without a lock, and the balance of like character.
The order was given for the owners of these mondescript weapons to march out of the ranks three steps. The order was obeyed. The ranks closed up, and the offending soldiers were discharged with a reprimand.
I am not prepared to say that the commanding officer was justified, in thus summarily discharging so many men, who were ready and anxious to serve their country; and the result proved, that the amount of bravery dismissed was equal to the retained; for no sooner were the discharged soldiers clear of the line of the regiment, than they formed a company of cavalry, a company of dragoons, and a company which they called the "Squad," and then, under the superior generalship of their leader, the knight of the six foot sword, they made a bold charge upon the regulars, broke their line, drove not a few of them into the river, some into, and some around the Ferry House, some into the grocery, and some out of town; thus defeating and dispersing the regular army without the loss of a man on either side.
This conflict was disastrous in its results to the regular army, and before the forces could again be collected, peace was declared and the army disbanded.
This unlooked for cessation of hostilities was a severe blow to the military aspirations of the "Hawkeyes," and disappointed the just expectations of those who had hoped to distinguish themselves in the defence of our Territorial rights. The disappointment was not felt by the army of Scott county alone. Numerous companies had been formed elsewhere, and had started for the seat of war, with supplies for the campaign.
A company of about thirty left an adjoining county, under the leadership of a chieftain, who often used to say that he could "whip his weight in wild cats," and who has since represented you in the National Congress-has been upon your Supreme Bench, and has also been Chief Justice of California.
He started out with thirty men, and six baggage wagons, well loaded with supplies for his little army, and, being determined to keep up the spirits of his men, he freighted five of his wagons with whisky.
The question of boundary was subsequently submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the disputed Territory given to Iowa.
At the commencement of the year 1840, this county contained about twenty-five hundred inhabitants, of which number, about five hundred resided in Davenport. To-day your county boasts of a population of thirty thousand, and this city claims eighteen thousand of that number.
In 1840, at the head of the Rock Island Rapids, on the spot where now stands the city of LeClaire, with a population of twenty-five hundred, grew a dense forest.
In 1840, the fertile, beautiful prairies of old Scott were lying undistrubed by the husbandman; to-day they are teeming with industious, happy owners of the soil.
In 1840, there was but one steam-engine in operation within the borders of your county, and that one was at Rockingham. To-day you may count them by hundreds along the bank of your river, from Buffalo to Princeton, on our prairies, and in our groves.
In 1840, every face you met was a familiar one, and the greeting a greeting of recognition. To-day the oldest inhabitant hardly knows his next door neighbor.
In 1840, it took from three to five days to go to Chicago, and thirteen to New York. To-day the lightning train puts you in Chicago in eight hours, and in New York in forty.
In 1840, the young men of this Association were happy children, sporting upon the village green, and making the welkin ring with merry laughter and innocent joy. To-day they are men aspiring to a possition in life, that shall give them honor among their fellow men.
In 1840, the mothers and daughters of Scott county were happy in their cabin homes, and could pass in and out through the cabin doors. To-day the mothers and daughters occupy no more space in this open country-than the dear good creatures are entitled to.
In 1840, we were looking forward to a time when our then territory should become strong enough to add another member to the Federal Union, and convince our Eastern friends of the truth of "Westward the star of empire takes its way." To-day our most sauguine expectations are far more than realized, and we regard with pride our noble State, its prospective future, and the inducements it holds out to the thousands at the East, who still cling to that "Old Fogy" three inch soil, which, with patient cultivation, yields white beans, buckwheat cakes, and pumpkin pies.
Mr. President-This day is the anniversary of the birth day of George Washington-our Washington-and we have chosen it as the day for our present and future festivals.
It is a day on which every true American citizen does some act in honor, or gives some thought to the memory of the father of his contry. That memory is sacred heritage of the people he established, and no generation of that people shall pass away without leaving some memento that he was indeed first in the hearts of his countrymen.
Some one has truthfully written, that "the first word of American infancy should be mother; the second father; the third Washington." Although it is well that we, as American citizens, should, on this his anniversary day, linger for a while at his tomb, and renew our patriotism, yet, too, it is eminently fitting, that, assembled as pioneers, with the sympathies and feelings of pioneers all aroused within us, we should go to that tomb to-day, and remember that he, too, was a pioneer, and that in him burned strongly that bold, adventurous, perserving spirit that makes the pioneer; that he, too, endured pioneer hardships and privations, compared with which, ours sink into insignificance.
In his youth he was a pioneer surveyor in the then wilds of his native State, and many of the boundaries then established by him may be found to-day. In his early manhood he was selected by the Governor of Virginia as a pioneer envoy through the wilderness to the French Commandant on the Ohio. He was a pioneer in leading a little army against the French and Indians, in defence of the Virginia frontier, and thus early in his military career did he become known among his savage foes as the "spirit-protected man, who would be a chif of nations, for he could not die in battle." He was a pioneer in everything that tended to advance the prosperity and happiness of his native land.
He was the pioneer of freedom in our legislative halls; on the battle-field; through the long dark days of that terrible struggle; through the period of doubt and confusion that succeeded; and his wisdom and patriotism, equal to all emergencies, at last led us into the haven of rest, of peace, of prosperity.
His life is a part of his country's history; and as living he laid the corner stone of this vast confederation of States, that year by year is waxing greater among the nations of the earth, so, though dead, his maxims and example, if we adhere to the one, and imitate the other, shall produce a history more glorious than that of the past; shall nourish a greatness that time shall but add to and confirm; and the unborn generations shall rise up, and revere him as God's chosen instrument of blessing to their land. Let his wisdom and his patriotism ever prevade and guard the land he loved-let his spirit be with us to-day; and as each turning year brings round again our festival day, let us ever remember that it is also the day that marks the birth of GEORGE WASHINGTON.
After supper, Judge Grant proceeded to read the Regular Toasts as follows:
1. Washington! - No nation can claim, no country can appropriate him to itself. His fame is the common property of patriots throughout the civilized world.
2. The Early Pioneers of Scott County - The hardships and privations of a frontier life justly entitle them to the esteem of all those who enjoy the fruits of their early struggles; their posterity shall rise up and call them blessed.
It is a matter of regret that the former, and especially the latter of these was not responded to. No toast of the evening was worthy of more eloquence than "The Early Pioneers of Scott County" - their hardships, energy, influence, and all their character and surroundings were worthy of the best oratory of the evening.
3. The Pioneer Dead - May their names be preserved, their hardships remembered, and memories cherished, by their survivors, by their descendants, and by all who enjoy the goodly heritage to which they led the way. Responded to by Hon. James Grant, who said -
MR. CHAIRMAN: - I cannot respond to the sentiment just uttered, without interrupting, for a moment, the current of your joyous thoughts, while I ask you to drop a tear to the memory of the dead.
Of all this numerous assembly there are few, to whom death has not come nigh, since they first encountered the privations and toils of a settlement west of the great river.
Some have lost a father or a mother, some a brother or a sister, some a husband or a wife, and many, many have seen their children wither and fade as if struck by the hand of an avenging God.
It is no exaggeration, that, since we first came here, in a single season of great calamity, incident to the exposures of every new settlement, one-tenth of our then small population was swept away.
Death, sir, is ever terrible; whether he knocks at the palace or the cottage gate, at the bridal chamber, or when the mother, for the first time feels here first-born's breath -
The tear, the groan, the pail, the bier,
And all we know or dread or fear
Of agony are his.
But he came upon our departed friends when they were just entering a new world, upon the prairie land, before the spring flowers of prosperity were opened to their view; when the cabin was unthatched, and the physician, and the minister of God were far away.
They died on the spot where they were taking the place of the red man, and preparing a new theatre for civilization, arts, morals, and liberty.
Early they departed, but not till their eyes were greeted by the dawning of the day, and they beheld, in the dim mist of the morning, the budding promise of the wilderness, and friends, and sons, and daughters, to enjoy the goodly land which they had but seen.
Though too many of them the hand of 'angel woman ministered not in their last hour, yet the rough hand of manhood, softened by the sympathy of sorrow, was never wanted in the day of their calamity, and the pioneer, though not versed in the set phrases of cultivated society, was ever present, with gentle voice, and gentler deeds.
"To speak the last, the parting word,
Which, when all other sounds decay,
Is still like distant music heard,
That tender farewell on the shore
Of this rude world when all of o'er."
We know not if the dead visit this earth, or take note of our actions, but if they do, their spirits are hovering over us this night, and their hearts made glad, that God is smiling upon us, that we are permitted to live, and enjoy this pleasant hour; that we have reaped the reward of those toils and sufferings under which they were doomed to fall.
No storied urn or animated bust marks the spot where the pioneers sleep their last sleep. They are buried beneath the huge oak, whose shade they never see, or under the high head-land of the Mississippi, against which the whistling winds and warring tempests are silent to them.
Their good deeds should be their monument. The glory of their fair and virtuous actions is above all the escutcheons on the tombs of the great.
Honor, then, to the memory of those brave men, and brave women, who lost their lives in fighting the battle of civilization on the frontier.
They encountered no human foes; their last acts are not stained with blood; their conquests were made with the plough and the spade, and not with the cannon and the musket; and though they fell in the beginning of the conflict, and in the heat of the day, they won the battle, and left us to enjoy the victory.
Every smiling field and green meadow; every school, every college, every church, every village, this city, with all its wealth and pomp and pride, shall be their monuments, recalling their memory, heralding their triumph, and honoring their virtues.
"How sleep the good, who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallowed mould.
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Than fairy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands, their knell is rung.
By forms unseen their dirge is sung,
There honor comes a pilgrim grey
To bless the turf that wraps their clay,
And freedom shall awhile repair
To dwell a weeping hermit there."
4. The Star of Empire - When in its western progress its rays of light fell upon the virgin soil of Iowa, a new destiny was conceived, which in its birth, like the "Star in the East," has brought forth its wise men to worship.
Responded to by Rev. G. F. Magoun, who, after a few introductory remarks, read the following fine Poem - the production of a young lady-MISS MARY E. MEAD-an "old settler" by birthright:
As oft, at eve, by firesides bright and warm,
Some sailor group are gathered, while they tell
Of journeys far,--of conflict with the storm, --
Of dangers they have braved so long and well, --
So round this ample board we meet to-night,
And many a tale of Olden Time recite.
Once roamed the Indian all these vales among,
The deer sprung startled from his stealthy tread,
The fearful war-whoop through the forest rung,
The deadly arrow from its quiver sped;
But now we sit,-at twilight's soft decline,--
In peace beneath the shadow of the vine.
If e'er to conquering warrior has been owed
The glory of an honored, world-wide name;
If e'er on noble souls has been bestowed
That lofty homage which is truest fame;
If e'er in history's page or classic verse
Our country's Fathers have been justly praised;
In humbler strains we surely may rehearse
The deeds of those by whom our hearths were raised;
Who left their kindred to return no more,
And reared their altars on this wild-wood shore.
All are not here: Where sinks the emerald wave
In long, dull surges toward the glowing West,
Lies many a heart as noble and as brave
As e'er was laid beneath the sod to rest.
They dropped the acorn on the barren glade,--
At noon we rest beneath the oak tree's shade.
We meet again; the scattered band units
In social converse as in days of yore;
No! Not as when, withing the ruddy light
Of oak boughs blazing at the cabin door,
We sat and talked the winter night away,
Till morning streaked the Eastern hills with gray.
No more the Red Men round our dwelling prowl,
No foes lies ambushed in each leafy bower,
No more the wolf's swift spring or sudden howl
Startles the sleeper at the midnight hour;
Nor leaping flames before the rapid gale
Speed like the waves when wintry storms prevail.
From lonely ARMSTORNG'S now-dismantled fort
Down the still stream no martial strains are borne.
In stately towns where busy crowds resort,
The cheerful sounds of labor greet the morn.
From happy homes the voice of mirth floats by,
And plashing waves and laughing winds reply.
Oft have I heard the times recounted o'er,
When every cabin window was a door,
When corn was gournd upon a lantern's side,
And doors by latch-strings to the timbers tied;
Small was the store a lawless horde to tempt,
From thieves and robbers happily exempt.
Howe'er that be, of this there is no doubt
In those good times the latch-stings all hung out,
And neighboring friend and stranger guest might share
The roof tree's shelter and the simple fare;
E'en now the cabin ten by twelve is seen
Where on a time 'tis said there lodged fifteen!
But mingled with these recollections gay
There wakes a sadder, gentler strain for those
Who like some castle trumbling to decay
Were doomed to ruin when the new arose.
"Tis eve, the stars with silv'ry sheen
Rise sliently and slow,
The pallid moon looks out between,
The waves repose below,
And not the dipping of an oar
Breaks on the stillness of the shore.
Was it the whisper of the breeze
Sighing among the tangled grass?
Was it the moaning of the trees
When far above the storm clouds pass?
Oh no, in silence still and deep,
The tiniest flower is lulled to sleep.
But there are sounds,-I hear them now,
They swell along the plain;
'Tis not the mourner of the rill,
'Tis not the dash of rain,-
And can there be a foot so light
To stir the restling leaves to night?
There is,-along the slant hill-side
Where darksome forests bow,
Singly the dusky figures glide,-
Look you can see them now!
Pause! 'tis a band of Indian braves-
Who come to seek their chieftains' graves.
Disturb them not, as silently
These well known paths they trace,
Not long among us may there be
Remnamts of that old race.
They fade as fades the morning ray
Before the glowing eye of day.
A little time they linger here,
Uncared for and unknown,
To shed a solitary tear,
O'er comrades lost and gone,
Silent and sad they gather round
Some lonely, undistinguished mound,
Hark! all the solemn woods along,
A soft and saddened lay
As if some heart in plaintive song,
Would pour itself away.
List! while the mournful cadence awells
Clear as the tone of evening bells.
"Stil roll the river waves as blue
As when we launched the bark canoe,
Or when we plied the dripping oar
Beneath the shelter of the shore,
Still sings the lark a welcome guest,
Still folds the dove her wings to rest.
Still the green arching forests spread
Their boughs as widely overhead,
But 'neath their shadow now, alas!
No more our bounding warriors pass,
Silent where once their footsteps fell,
Land of our birth, farewell, farewell!"
Soft echo answers to the trembling lay;
'Neath heavy shadows glides the group away.
Oh! kindly sun! Oh! soft benigant day!
At thy glad dawn the darkness takes its fight,
The sombre hues of twilight melt away,
And sunrise bathes the Eastern hills with light,
So smiled the morn with beauty all aglow
On this fair land some twenty years ago!
Faint the light blushes up the dewy skies,
From cot and couch the cheerful dwellers rise,
The cabin windows open, wide fly the doors,
The frugal wife brings out her garnered stores,
The gleeful children, with their sun-browned hair,
Forsake the house and sport in open air,
While soon,-the duties of the morning done,-
Some stripling youth, with ready dog and gun,
Roams through the woods, if haply he may bring
From its far height the wild bird on the wing,
Or 'mid the rustling forest chance to hear
The short, sharp panting of the startled deer,
And proud, though weary, from the chase may bear
Back to his cot the noon and evening fare.
One seeks in pastures far the truant cow,
Another yokes the cattle to the plow,
Or marches slow the well trained pair beside;
(Plain wagon seats were then no bar to pride-
Well was the place of coach and four supplied!)
So glides the day until at eve they meet,
Children and sire, each in his 'customed seat,
While plenty smokes upon the cheerful board,
And clear cold wine the sparkling streams afford.
Well the day's ventures do the house beguile,
The dullest face oft wears a gladsome smile.
Now blue eyed "baby" sings herself to rest,
Safe cradled in an ancient, lidless chest,
Hark, from the farthest corner "Charlie's" call
Then comes the time for little hunter "Ben,"
To day he surely fond a lion's den.
But closed are "Allie's" eyes, her drooping head
Finds the soft pillow of her little bed.
The hours pass cheerly till all softly creep
Away to childhood's light, unconscious sleep,-
And starlight, peeping through the half-closed door,
Kisses the sleepers on the cabin floor.
No fled the years in humble scenes like these,
With much to sadden, more, far more to please,
And who shall tell, that in this later day--
When life has grown more earnest and less gay,--
A richer pleasure through its current thrills
Than in those cots among the breezy hills?
Simple their joys, their days in quiet spent--
Hope for a watchword, for a shield content,--
Till slow at length beneath their forming blows
A garden from the wilderness arose.
Lo! As we gaze along the slender piers
Which bear aloft the lengthening arch of years,
As we retrace the first faint morning ray
And glance rejoicing to this noon-tide day.
Glad hopes, bright visions o'er our bosoms throng,
And the full heart finds utterance in song.
Oh noble West! Oh mighty West!
Oh ever bright and free,--
Thy prairies by the breeze caressed,
Roll wave-like as the sea.
And through the long and tangled grass
The sunbeam's golden fingers pass.
Thy streams are like the streams of Time,--
Their sources we cannot see,
We only hear the water's chime
Break low and musically,
And hear the plashing waves, like rain,
Dash on the shore, then sink again.
No pilgrim comes with weary feet
O'er many a desert mile,
His prayer or promise to repeat
Beneath some sacred pile,
Nor counts the solitary hours
Beneath a city's ruined towers.
But in this world so fresh and young,
Which like the goddess from the foam
To life full grown and radiant sprung,
Lies that dear spot OUR HOME.
And round its portals Love and Truth
Shall wind the wreaths of endless youth.
Hushed is the song, a sadder strain were not for hours so bright,
Only the calm clear voice of Hope should whisper here to-night.
Glad faces are around us, sweet tones upon the air,
And the glances of found affection meets our greeting everywhere.
There are blessings from the aged, kind wishes from the young,
And joy her rosy radiance has o'er our gathering flung.
We will hail the fleeting moments where the Past and Present stand,
One with a darksome cypress wreath, one with a snow-white wand.
We will hail the glorious Furture with her cup of bliss unfried,
We will hail the white winged maiden Hope that blushes at her side.
And the rich delicious Present shall trip rejoicing by,
As lightly as the winged wind across a Southern sky.
OH! FRIENDS OF OLD! we meet again to night,
Our hopes and wishes as of yore to blend.
Thus will we keep the links of friendship bright,
Thus will we journey onward to the end.
And hand to hand in cordial greeting pressed,
We'll breathe a blessing on the gloious WEST.
5. The History of Scott County-When we open this book, we find inscribed on every page the gospel of both peace and plenty-proclaiming perennial blessings to all whose faith is accompanied by works.
Responded to by Mr. J. A. Birchard, of Pleasant Valley, in a brief address, in which he spoke as follows:
Mr. President:-The history of any new country must necessarily be one of trials, hardships, and privations. The pioneers have to leave the land of their brith, the home of their childhood, the hearthstone around which centered all their early joys and sorrows-the district school-house where they received the rudiments, if not the whole of their education-the village church where they assembled weekly to worship their Creator-the friends of their youth and early manhood. These must all be left, and it is like tearing a young sapling from its mother earth.
New associations must be formd, new homes must be made, new schoolhouses and churches built. But, compared with the trials and hardships of the first settlers in the states east of us, if we except those of our neighbor across the river, ours are not worth talking about.
There, many of them packed their goods and little ones two or three hundred miles on horseback through an almost trackless wilderness, and were four or five weeks in making the journey. Then their difficulties with the Indians-when I tell you that I was born in the valley of the Susquehanna, in the county where the massacre of Wyoming occurred, you will believe me, sir, when I tell you that many of the tales of suffering that I have heard are too horrible to relate. Before they could raise an ear of corn they had a heavy forest to remove, that took twenty or thirty hard days work to the acre. Then they had the rocks and stumps to contend with for years. I have serious doubts whether a merciful Creator, that always does all things well, ever intended the country for the habitation of civilized and christianized man. It is the natural home of the speckled trout, the wild deer, and the Indian.
For us a bountiful Providence had provided an excellent highway to get here, and when here a prolific soil ready for the plow, and pasturage sufficient for the flocks and herds of Labon and Jacob, and their sons, for a dozen generations.
It is true, that from 1839 to '44 we thought we had some rather hard times-when it took a bushel of wheat to buy a yard of calico, and a hundred pounds of pork to pay for as many of salt. But these were very different hard times from what they have in the old country; there it is starvation times that they call hard. If we could not get the two dollars a day, we could get the roast beef, and upon the whole, we had a pretty good time of it.
I first crossed the Mississippi in a canoe, nearly where the bridge now stands. This was in July 1836. I presume there were not more than three hundred inhabitants then in the county. You, Mr. President, and your ferryman, Mr. Colton, were the only settlers in Davenport, and Mr. Eleazer Parkhurst, the only one in LeClaire.
At that time there was not, to my knowledge, a single mile of Railroad between the Mississippi River and the Alleghany Mountains.
The iron horse, except at the portage road in Pennsylvania, had never tasted the waters that flow through our noble river to the Gulf. Now the amount that he consumes daily would have floated the entire navy of the United States at the time of the revolution; and the amount of produce that he moves from this fertile valley towards a market in the same time would make a full freight for it.
The last time that I crossed the river was upon my return last fall from a visit to my friends in my native State, and I crossed at the same place, but how differently. I crossed the great father of waters as it cannot be crossed at any other point from its source to its mouth-upon a noble structure, a proud monument to the enterprise and perseverance of the inhabitants of the twin cities. To the pioneers of Davenport belongs a very large share of the credit for this truly magnificent improvement.
The train upon which I crossed was brought over by a locomotive, named after one of our prominent pioneers. We landed where, when I first crossed the river, stood the lone cabin of our worthy President. What do I find now? A young city teeming with life, and containing a larger population and more wealth than was then contained in Galena, St. Louis and Chicago.
I think, sir, that we have proved our faith by our works, and if any man is skeptical upon the sentiment contained in the text, let him take a ride any pleasant day along the river, from Buffalo to Princeton, from thence through the prairie to Blue Grass, and he will become a convert to the "Gospel both of peace and plenty."
We have formed the new associations,-that they have been pleasant ones I have the best evidence in the world around me this evening.
We have transplanted the young sapling, it has taken deep root in a congenial soil and became a sturdy tree.
We have made the new homes, raised the new altars, built the new schoolhouses and churches. To do this required men; men of iron nerve, of strong arms and large hearts, and such were the pioneers of Scott county.
6. The City of Davenport - The Pet and the Pride of glorious "old Scott;" crown jewel of the Upper Mississippi; the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley.
Responded to by Hon. Jas Thorington, in whose off-hand remarks were mingled the humor and good sense which are so characteristic of the Speaker. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to obtain a copy of his remarks.
7. The Race that occupied the land before us - Men in physical ability, stoies in morals: They are our brothers.
Rev. Mr. Powers responded to this, and spoke as follows:
Mr. PRESIDENT: - It is fitting, amid the stirring, local and national associations of this hour, to remember that stern race whose fair heritage we posess. Their hunting grounds have become our harvest-fields; the sites of their wigwams are thriving settlements and industrious marts; household sounds and christian worship are heard where resounded their war cry; and on their trail the iron railway shoots toward the setting sun.
Though children of the wilderness, rude, sanguinary, and superstitious, still their savage humanity is redeemed by many heroic virtues. As magnanimous in friendship as they were implacable in revenge; as sagacious in council as dauntless in war-ever patient, intrepid, self-reliant, imperturbable in success or defeat, with their darkest traits are always blended lines of light, which revel the nobler qualities of the man.
Indian history, sir, is not barren of pathetic incident and brilliant example. Heroes and patriots live in its exciting chronicles. And whether we contemplate the noble constancy of King Philip, the magnanimity of Massasoit, the tenderness of Pocahontas, the eloquent enthusiasm of Garangula and Red Jacket, the chivalrous heroism of Tecumseh, or the fervid patriotism of Black Hawk, we recognize types of character which claim our sympathy, and command our admiration.
Though the Indian saw, in the trophies of advancing civilization, fruitful lands and peaceful arts, the ornaments and amenities of life, still we can honor that sentiment when inspired his devotion to the rude freedom of his native wilds, and porvoked resistance to the aggressive pioneer with all the arts of subtle strategy and force, even when the shadow of doom was dark upon him. Yes, we can honor him, for the land that we loved was the land of his fathers, and he felt that their voices spoke to him of duty and patriotism from their graves.
But the memory of this peculiar race shall not pass away, though they have left no monuments in brass and marble to plead for them from ruin and decay. It is perpetuated in the appellations of mighty waters and everlasting lands. Their legends whisper in every wind, in falling leaf, and feathery snow, and in all the cadences of the woods and shores. And while our harvests ripen under auspicious suns, while the blue rivers bear our commerce to the sea, while a grateful people enjoy the blessings of the Great Father of us all, the story of their pastimes and their prowess, shall be repeated in the homes of the happy and the free.
8. Antoine LeClaire - First in settlement - first in efforts to make our city peerless among rivals - first in the esteem of his fellow citizens - first President of this society; may "his shadow never be less."
Responded to by E. Cook, Esq., who regretted that the reply had not been committed to abler men - a regret wholly uncalled for, as he did not fall in doing the subject full justice. His laudations of Mr. LeClaire were recognized as correct and merited.
9. Marquette and Joliet - The Pioneers of Pioneers. History, poetry, fiction, exhibit nowhere a heroism so lofty, a daring so noble, an ambition so pure, and faith so lovely, as may be found in the oft-neglected but simple and touching story of the first white men who trod the soil of Iowa.
Responded to by John F. Dillon, who said-
Mr. Chairman: - No sentiment has been offered to-night, to which I could more heartily respond, than to that. In my judgment it is eminently pertinent. I may possibly amplify, but can scarcely hope to add to the thoughts it concisely embraces. Its language is not that of exaggeration.
If I heard aright, Marquette and Joliet are styled "the Pioneers of Pioneers." Literally and strictly true. Beyond cavil, they were the first white men that set foot upon the soil of Iowa. nor was the advent of the pale face so recent as we are apt to imagine. About fifty years only after the landing of the Pilgrims-nearly sixty years prior to the founding and settlement of Georgia by the enlightened and chivalric Oglethorpe-almost ten years before William Penn made his famous treaty with the natives, distinguished as being almost the only treaty ever made with the ill-starred race,
"Never sworn to, and never broken."
did the illustrious Marquette and Joliet visit lovely Iowa,-the State we are proud to call our own! In strictest verity, then, they are the Pioneers of Pioneers.
Something, me thought I heard in the sentiment about their heroism and daring! and something about their unquestioning Faith and pure Ambition!
How gladly, under other circumstances, would I talk upon this interesting, this suggestive theme! But it would be vastly imprudent to risk an excursion to this Enchanted Ground, where one would infallibley be tempted to linger longer than the proprieties of the occasion, and the advanced hour of the night would warrant. A few words, then, and a few only, must suffice. We must be content to glance at, without entering upon, the delightful land.
The whole West, the Mississippi Valley, at the time of which I speak, was an unexplored wilderness. More than a century had elapsed since the discovery of the Mississippi by the romantic De Soto, who though he found not gold in its sands, most fittingly found a grave beneath its waters,-yet nothing more than its bare existence was known.
No European knew where it rose or where it discharged its mighty floods. Marquette knew of it only from the reports of the natives as the "Great River" lying somewhere in the distant West, and whose banks were reputed to be thronged with blood-thirsty savages, and whose waters were said to abound in distructive monsters.
He felt animated to attempt its discover; and nobly dared to brave every danger, and endure every hardship incident to the perilous undertaking.
Why did he seek it? and how?
He sought it not as thousands in our own day have sought a distant land in our own Continent, and a still more distant island in a distant ocean, for Gold! He sought it not for wordly fame, or worldly ends. He sought it as an humble Missionary for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel, and erecting the standard of Christianity among the tribes that be thought to find residing upon its banks. I see in imagination, Marquette and Joliet, with but five attendants, and two guides, leave the last white settlement, and boldly pushing forward they knew not where, among hostile and unknown tribes.
Their guides can aid them no further, and the guides return. Submitting to the guidance of Providence, with their light canoes upon their backs, they at length find the Wisconsin. Unlike the streams they had left behind, this flowed towards the setting sun. They patiently follow its current for an entire week, when lo! the long sought for River, as magnificent then as it is to-day, burst upon their enraptured vision.
Day after day they sailed down its waters. They certainly passed, mayhaps landed at the place where our flourishing city now stands.
Near the southern boundary of our State they saw foot prints on the sands of the river shore. They landed,-anticipating, but not dreading, death at every step, and kept upon the trail until it led to an Indian village upon the banks of the Des Moines.
Their courage and heroism faltered not for a moment. They boldly advanced, and Marquette proclaimed to the astonished natives God and the doctrines and mysteries of the faith which he taught.
The remarks of the eloquent gentleman who responded to number seven, remind me of the first words of these natives on the banks of the Des Moines, on beholding Marquette and his companions: "We are men," said they. And men they were. They are our brothers. They were recognized as such by Marquette "in his labors of love."
Do the departed look down upon us? If so, with what astonishment must these early Voyageurs behold the miraculous growth and development of the country they were the first to point out and visit.
We love to imagine, as they trod these shores, in the majestic solitudes of nature, that they heard the tramp of the coming millions! and had visions of the Empires that have since arisen so marvelously upon the banks of the Great River they were the first to explore.
They founded no cities. They left no permanent monuments behind them! Yet a generous posterity will not willingly let their names perish. So far as they, or their "simple and touching story" is concerned, no "Old Mortality" is needed by the "Pioneer Settlers" assembled here to-night. So long as your river flows, it will water their memories, and preserve them fresh and green!
10. The Pioneer Press of Scott County.
Mr. Andrew Logan was first called upon, and made some brief but pertinent remarks in regard to the reception and growth of the Press in Davenport. He was followed by Alfred Sanders, Esq., Senior Editor of the Gazette, who spoke as follows:
MR. CHAIRMAN:-In responding to that sentiment, permit me to express my pleasure in meeting so many of my fellow citizens, those whose features and voices have so long been familiar to me. I love to look upon their smiling faces, many of which, alas! since they first were familiar to my sight, have become worn and furrowed by time, while their locks have grown thin and blanched by age. But we are all passing away-we that were boys and girls a few years since, are now the fathers and mothers of boys and girls, and the score of years and our children will be the actors in the drama of life, and we either be spectators or have retired altogether from the stage of action.
When the portals of manhood first opened to me, and the wide world lay spread out, inviting me to select a locality, I started upon a tour of over two thousand miles. I viewed many towns on my route, but the one that presented the strongest attractions, that offered the most inducements for me to return and make it my home, was the then insignificant but beautiful town of Davenport, at that time a small village of some five hundred inhabitants.
In the same year of my life I came and declared my intention of becoming a citizen, and the next year returned and brought with me my press, my partner in business- I might almost add, my partner in life, as she immediately followed-as I planted my stakes for life.
We landed here on the 11th day of August, 1841, on one of the smallest steamers that ever ascended the Mississippi River. In crossing the Lower Rapids we had to pole over, the power of the engine not being sufficient to propel the little steamer against the current! We were four days thence in reaching the town of Davenport. As we landed here, the good people of the village crowded down to the wharf to see and aid in disembarking the new press, and so effectually did they succeed in the latter particular, that they managed before they got it ashore to bury it beneath the waves of the Father of Waters! Thus it was baptized, and I trust it never did discredit to the town it represented, the cause it advocated, nor-the ghostly fathers that administered the ordinance!
That we saw hard times for many years in the publication of the Gazette, every old settler from personal expericence knows to be the fact, but being blessed with a spirit that never says die, we presevered, and the paper now stands as one of the institutions of the West.
With pride I say it, Mr. Chairman,-as I presume it to be the only instance on record in the West-that although we had to purchase all our paper and materials in the East, and have them brought out by the slow and tedious course of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and although we had our paper sunk, and burned, and delayed by every accident incident to so long as transportation, and although my assistants were sick, and I alone had to fill every department of the paper, from writing its editorials, and setting the type, to working at press, and rolling for papers, yet, during the sixteen and a half years I have controlled the Gazette, it never missed a single number.
Of all those connected with the press in the State of Iowa, or in the entire region of country west of the Mississippi River, from its source to its outlet, at the time I commenced the publication of the Davenport Gazette, not a single one remains in that capacity-they are all gone, a few to other occupations, but the great majority of them to the bourned whence no traveler returns. I stand alone, and yet not alone-there are more editors this day in the city of Davenport than there were then in the entire State of Iowa, and throughout the West-who can number them?
I will but add, that if an accountability attaches to us old settlers, for our agency in inducing many persons to leave the comforts and luxuries of Eastern homes to take up their abode here, where they were denied those luxuries, that I will have full as much to answer for as any of you; but if I have no worse reflection to vex my last hours than the thought of my instrumentality in inducing good people to make Davenport their homes, I shall certainly depart in peace.
11. The Pioneer Children-They are now brave young men and fair young women; may their lives, if not as eventful, be as useful as those of their parents.
Responded to by G. W. Hoge, in very creditable speech. He said:
One of Scott County's Earliest Born,-it is with no little pleasure, Mr. President, that I respond to this call, which recognizes me as such; and to the toast, in which we, the "children of the soil," are so kindly remembered.
There are hours, sir, in the lives of all, which, from attendant circumstances, become eras-landmarks along the pathway of life, to which memory will ever revert, with undiminished interest. Such an one will the present occasion be; and by none will it be remembered with a truer, or more lasting pleasure, than by us, the junior members of this noble family-us, "the Pioneer Children of Scott County."
Born here, many of us, at a time when but a few scattered, and lowly dwellings, marked the site of the now populous and opulent city of Davenport-while our beauteous State, herself, was yet in embryo-our interest in Scott county has been no less deep, our affection for her no less fervent than their's who, emigrants from other States, came here to find a second home on our boundless prairies, or beside our noble river.
We, sir, had no scared ties to sever-no happy firesides in far Eastern homes to regret-here, was our first, our only home-we knew no other, and we cared for none. To us, the world was bounded on the East by the Mississippi, and Davenport was its Metropolis.
Scott county, sir, has been, as it were, our twin Sister; we have grown with her growth, and strengthened with her strength-her friends are our friends, and her prosperity our "chief joy."
Here, sir, has been the theatre of all our joys, and all our sorrows. Here, cradled in the arms of Pioneer mothers, the days of our early childhood passed as one bright, unbroken dream; and as days lengthened into years, and the babe became the boy, by the side of Pioneer fathers, we have explored, to us, the unbounded expanse of the seedland, or the harvest-field; happy, though we could not work, to carry the sickle, or the hoe; and wishing that we were men, that we, too, might hold the plough, or reap the grain, or drive a prairie team.
Or we have stood, while the "sounding aisles of the dim woods rang" to the strokes of the Pioneer's axe, and watched the big chips fly, until the mighty oak reeled-tottered-and fell, with a crash that woke the woodland echoes for many a rood. How we longed to be woodsmen then!
And here, sir, on many a long, bright Summer's day, we sat in the rustle school-house, striving to comprehend the mysteries of spelling book or primer, until released from study-gamboling in unrestrained freedom on nature's own green carpeting, spread before the door-a merry band, we shouted our delight, unrestricted by city ordinances.
And when the week slipped by, and Sabbath morning smiled, with reverence we sat in the little weather-beated church, while, in heartfelt terms, the Pioneers praised the name of their fathers' God for this their fair inheritance, and earnestly besought his choicest blessings on their prairie homes.
Such, sir, were our joys-we had our sorrows, too. For, ever and anon, a dark cloud of gloom gathered over the little settlement, as some loved one was taken from our midst by the hand of the destroyer.
A father, perhaps-well-beloved-stricken down in the pride of his manhood; or some tender mother is gone-leaving sad and desolate, a heretofore happy hearth. Or, perchance, the prattling babe-the light and sunshine of the cottage circle-unfolded its little wings, and soared, a white-robed cherub, to its starry home. Or the merry, light-hearted child-the joyous sharer in our youthful sports-left us, with aching hearts and quivering lips, to mourn his early grave.
But this is too sad a theme-there is another-a brighter one- to which we gladly turn.
The birth-right, sir, is not alone to us of the "sterner sex" - for I can look around me here to-night, and see many a sparkling eye, whose first bright glance lit up the loneliness of a settler's cabin-many a coral lip, whose first sweet smile gladened a Pioneer mother's heart. And the witchery of these bright glances has been round us ever. These sweet smiles-like the guerdon of the boy and man-gave zest to all our youthful pleasures, as to-night they throw enchantment round this festive scene.
And where, Mr. President-whether as now, gracing the crowded assembly, or in the home circle, filling and adorning alike the various stations of daughter, sister, wife, or all combined-where, I ask, will you find a lovelier galaxy than these, the pioneer daughters of Scott county? And, sir, all of this gentle sisterhood are not with us on this occasion.
The snow lies lightly o'er some well-remembered forms that sleep in yonder grave-yard. Some, for a time, have left us, whom we hope, are long, to greet again. Others-and we miss them all-on distant shrines have placed their household gods. But we feel assured, sir, that if these absent ones know of this, our social gathering, their hearts are with us in our joy; for while
"Through other scenes their footsteps roam,
Still hither must their hearts expand-
There is their loved-adopted homes-
This, This, is still their native land!"
What wonder then, Mr. President, that we love this soil, hallowed by such associations? What wonder, that in our eyes, Scott county is the "fairest land the sun shines on?"
We glory in this our birth-place. We glory in the noble stock from which we sprung. MAY, THEY, SIR, NEVER HAVE CAUSE TO BLUSH FOR US!
12. The City of LeClaire-Our young and prosperous rival. Let Davenport look well to her laurels.
Mr. Laurel Summers, Esq., of LeClaire, was to have responded to this toast, but was obliged to send a letter of regret. Judge Grant made some humorous remarks in comparison of Davenport and LeClaire, bringing in some excellent puns.
13. Woman-The pride and ornament of the proudest place-the joy and sunshine of the humblest cabin.
Hiram Price, Esq., responded in his usual felicitous style to this universally popular toast. He said:-
MR. CHAIRMAN:-I am called upon to respond to the sentiment, that "Woman is the pride and ornament of the proudest Place, and the joy and sunshine of the humblest Cabin."
Well, sir, nobody doubts that, do they? There is but one side to that subject, and consequently no chance for an argument. Woman! I rather like the name, it seems like coming back to first principles, and while I am well satisfied that she is justly entitled to an abler advocate, and better representstive than myself, yet I am bold to assert that the declaration contained in that toast is literally and emphatically true.
You might have gone further, sir, and added to the reading, the words-"and generally pretty hard to get ahead of." for certain I am, that all present will agree with me, when I say that it is daily becoming a more difficult task to get around them.
"The pride and ornament of the proudest Palace." Yes, sir, of this there can be no question, and yet what I may say upon this point, must of necessity be more the result of historical, than experimental knowledge. But, sir, when you talk of her as being the joy and sunshine of the humblest Cabin, I can speak from experience-on the subject of Cabins I am at home. I've been there-as boy and man I have builded them, and lived in them, and to-night memory runs back to the days of my boyhood, and calls up before my mental vision the image of my mother, as she appeared to me in those days, at once the joy and the sunshine of my cabin home.
Whether viewed from this stand point, or from one a little further down the stream of time, where with her who for near a quarter of a century has shared the lights and shades of life with me, and who accompanies me to this festive hall to-night, I commenced the battle of life in the world,-in either case, and from every point of observation, I am furnished with evidence to consclusively establish the fact, that Woman is not only the Pride of the Palace, but that she is emphatically the Joy and Sunshine of the Cabin.
The homes of America! Yea, the homes of the World, all proclaim with united voice that Woman is not only the Pride of the Palace, but that she is emphatically the Joy and Sunshine of the Cabin.
In this world, Palaces are for the few, Cabins for the million. Among the domicils of earth, Cabins are the rule, Palaces the exception. But whether in the Palace, or in the Cabin, it is the home circle that woman finds her proper sphere, her true element. It is from that centre that her influences radiate, revealing fountains of joy, and reservoirs of sunshine, wherever her voice is heard in the territory of christian organization, and much, very much of what the world possesses of happiness is attributable to that influence.
True, there have been occasional instances, where woman has stepped out of this sphere, and for a time has, with meteoric flashes, fixed the gaze, and attracted the attention of an astonished world. Such, for instance, as the Maid of Saragossa, Joan of Arc, and last, though not least, Florence Nightingale, the latter of whom was, and is, at once the pride of all Palaces, and the joy and sunshine of all Cabins; but these are exceptions to the rule, and only prove the rule to be that the home circle is woman's true kingdom. Without her, man would be a savage, a hairy faced, unshaven savage, for without her smooth and smiling face constantly before him, he would not have been sufficiently civilized to shave.
"Twas for these, among other reasons, that the declaration went forth from above, that it was not good for man to be alone. And, Mr. Chairman, it is but a few months since one of the christian powers of Europe was compelled to send out a ship load of women to one of their Island Colonies, to prevent their colonists from relapsing into barbarism. That, sir, was emphatically a ship load of joy and sunshine for the Cabins of that Colony.
It is true, sir, that without this influence,
"Man may climb the slippery steep,
Where wealth and honor lofty shine-
And love of gold may tempt the deep,
Or downward seek the Indian mine"-
but in all that enobles, all that elevates, all that raises from earth and points Heavenward, in all that feeds and fills his higher nature, he will be deficient. And even now, sir, I hear from afar the lamentation of one of earth's most favored and gifted sons, as from the exalted position to which he had climbed in search of happiness and fame, he exclaims-
"I miss thee, my mother, in the long Winter nights,
I remember the tales thou wouldst tell-
The romance of wild fancy, the legend of fright-
Ah! who could e'er tell them so well?
Thy corner's now vacant, they chair is removed-
It was kind to take that from my eye:
But the relics are round me, the loved and the prized
To call up the pure and the sorrowful sigh."
This, sir, speaks of an influence deep and high. An influence upon which more than any one human agency depends the destiny of our country. It speaks in language not to be mistaken, giving tone and shape and color to the Pulpit, the Press, and the Forum. It is the power behind the Throne greater than the Throne itself.
And now to the women present-the women of Scott county. In view of the extent and importance of their influence, may I not be allowed to say, in the language of one of the gifted of their own sex-
"Up woman to thy duty! Now's
The day, and now's the hour
To use thy boasted influence-
To prove thy magic power!
Unloose thy tongue-the word of truth
That would a household save,
If spoken well, perchance may snatch
A thousand from the grave!
On in thy work with strong free heart,
Thy mission's from above!
You cannot fail if you are true,
For all the work is love!
And "God is Love;" and woman's sphere
Of love and hope was given
To draw the wanderer from his sins,
And point him up to Heaven!"
To the "Pioneer Settlers," permit me, in closing, to say, that the sincere desire of my heart is, that you may never lack pride for your Palaces, or joy and sunshine for your Cabins, and may you live to enjoy many such happy reunions as this in future time, and when all shall be numbered with "Pioneer Dead," may you all have a brighter and a happier reunion in the land of the "Great Hereafter."
SENT BY LAUREL SUMMERS.
Scott County-Unsurpassed in beauty and fertility of soil; may her "Old Settlers live to enjoy their annual festivals.
Judge Grant introduced with very appropriate remarks, and a eulogy upon his subject-"The memory of Col. Davenport," which was drunk standing and in silence.
Willard Barrows, Esq., was next called upon, and made a few impromtu but heartfelt and pertinent remarks. The present gathering was, he said, the fruit of long cherished hope on his part, and there never before had been a moment in his life in which such emotions possessed him as at the present. It was a blending of the brightened joys, and softened sorrows and hardships of the Past, with the serene quietness and social sympathies of the Present. They were thirsty soldiers who had met by cool waters after the hot labor of a weary campaign of years. They were victors, scarred and toilworn, but secure of the future, and save a saddened memory, as here and there an old familiar face was wanting, and thought traced its upturned lineaments upon some distant battle field, there was no cause save for rejoicing.
Mr. Barrows spoke in a similar strain for a few moments, and closed his remarks by saying that he felt to-night like one of old who loved her friends, and whose memorable words of affection shall live forever: "Entreat me not to leave thee or forsake thee-for whither thou goest, I will go; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God-where thou diest I will die, and there will I be buried!" - and when I shall have gone to that "bourned from whence no traveler returns," the greatest boon I can ask is, that my grave may be surrounded by the "Pioneer Settlers Association of Scott County!" His modest fear of saying too much, unfortunately, overcame the wishes of his auditors to listen to him longer. It is, perhaps, owing to him more than any other that the idea of an "Old Settlers" reunion became a practical fact - shaped to the fair and goodly proportions which it possessed.
All honor to his efforts, which resulted so happily, and may scores of returning Festivals afford yearly gratitude to his name as well as to those of others who labored to originate them.
BY COL. T. C. EADS:
The Old Settlers of Scott County - Drawn together by the indissoluble ties of a common fate - a relationsship stronger than that of blood; no power, save Him who governs the world, shall sever the brotherhood till the last of the noble band shall sink into an honored grave, and leave posterity to say: He was a man.
BY W. ALLEN:
The Pioneer Settlers of Scott County - may the noble spirit which prompted them to attempt the civilization of this magnificent widerness, to mould and energize the souls of their descendants, that the Creator's grand design in the settlement of this beautiful land may be speedily accomplished, and its results be manifested by the countless spires that shall direct to heaven, from every town and village, the thoughts of a free and happy people.
BY A LADY:
Dr. J. J. Burtis - The gentlemanly and agreeable proprietor of this palatial Hotel, may he be completely successful in his benevolent plan for public entertainment, and his brightest anticipations be more than realized.
BY C. C. ALVORD:
The Sons and Daughters of the Old Settlers - May they imitate us in perseverance, frugality and industry, and their seed not go begging bread.
The Matrons of this Association - Our help, comfort, and consolation in every time of need, and the fruits of their labor now follow them.
During these toasts three hearty cheers were given for Dr. Burtis, the host.
Bellaire, O., February 8, 1858
GENTLEMEN: - I feel much complimented by your remembrance of me, and the invitation to the Festival of the "Pioneer Settlers' Association," on the 22d inst. I regret very much that I cannot be with you on that occasion - the first re-union of those, still living, who were associated in the founding of society in your county, will be an event of unusual interest. The recollections awakened by it will have some things to sadden, but more to excite gratulation. Twenty years make but a short period in the history of communities; but it is a long one in individual experience, more especially when the succession of events is a truer guage of time than the change of seasons. More than twenty years have gone by since the most of those who can be denominated the Pioneers of Scott county, settled in what was then Wisconsin Territory. Since that time what changes have come to all-what trials to many! Some have passed away; but most of those remaining are able to claim that the occurrences which have built up the prosperity of your State, have dealt kindly with their individual fortunes, and repaid them for all the hardships and sacrifices they endured in the first ten years of their pioneer experience. These are the considerations which, with greater or less intensity, according to the respective fortunes that have attended the members of your association, will more obviously link themselves with the reminiscences of the Festival. But there is a moral point of view in which the retrospection will have less of individuality, and, therefore, a higher and more refined sense of gratulation. In the migration to that country, each of us had our individual purpose to accomplish - some possibly sordid and narrow - others, doubtless, broad and elevated, with visions of enlarged usefulness and a great future for the country they had adopted. But whatever may have been our motives or dreams, the seven years of hard times which succeeded 1837, (operating with peculiar severity upon a country so isolated from market as Iowa then was,) brought everything to the grinding standard of a struggle for bare subsistence. But through all this struggle and gloom a great purpose was being accomplished:
"There is a Providence that shapes our ends,
Rough hew them as we will."
The very difficulties of the country were preparing it for a brighter day. Every plough-furrow-every axe-stroke were unwitting but sure agencies in the development of the country, and in advancing it towards that day of awakening-that complete and active civilization of which the Locomotive is the true representative. Twenty years elapsed, and the struggling pioneers of Iowa found themselves the fathers of a great and prosperous State.
In the spring of 1835, I settled upon the Illinois shore, where Stephenson (now Rock Island,) was afterwards located. In 1836, I removed to the west side of the Mississippi, into what was then Michigan Territory, afterwards Wisconsin, and now Iowa. In 1840, I joined you in the organization of the Chocago & Rock Island Railroad Company. These epochs tell the history of my pioneership. In them I cannot boast that I accomplished much for myself; but I thank God that I have done something-or at least I hope so-for my fellow-man.
You have placed two periods, conspicuously different in themselves, in juxtaposition upon your card-1840 and 1858,-Iowas as it was, and Iowas as it is. What a contrast the two pictures present! The rapid colonization of Ohio and Kentucky were marvels in their day, but they are marvels no longer. Wisconsin may claim a parallel with Iowa; and Minnesota may boast a leap into Statehood of still greater apparent vigor; but not, when it is considered that for the want of railroad connection with the seaboard, the first ten years of Iowa were practicaly lost to her.
Allow me, in conclusion, to hope that there will be many and pleasant re-unions of the "Pioneer Settlers' Association."
Very truly yours, etc.,
J. H. SULLIVAN.
Fruit Hill Classical Institute, Mass.,
February 9th, 1858
GENTLEMEN:-Your note and invitation were transmitted to me by my father. I thank you very much for your kind invitation and welome. It is with much regret that I am obliged to inform you, that impossibilities, which cannot be surmounted, will prevent my joining you in the approaching festival. But although I cannot be present in person, still my best wishes are with you. I rejoice that I am a Hawkeye, and I feel proud of the State of my nativity-may she continue to advance as rapidly as she has for the past twenty years, till she shall become the leading State in the Union. The "Pioneer children"-may they always remain true to their native State, and never disgrace the land of their birth.
Wm. B. GROVER
Foxboro, February 15th, 1858.
GENTLEMEN:-I regret very much that circumstances are such that I cannot comply with your kind invitation to attend the first festival of the "Pioneer Settlers' Association of Scott County," Iowa; yet while absent in body, let me assure you I shall be with you in spirit. It is a long time since I lived among you, and then but eighteen months, yet I have always felt an interest in your prosperity, and have kept myself "posted up," by taking one of your good papers. My heart has often yearned for some of your "good things," and yet I have never felt that strong desire to be one day with you as I now do.
May the same God that has been with and highly blessed you, lead you safely through this world up to our home in the skies.
Jacksonville, Ill., Feb. 15, 1858
GENTLEMEN:-I recived a letter a few days since from Mr. W. Burrows, in which was enclosed a card of invitation to a grand festival of the "old folks at home." Nothing could afford me more pleasure, than for myself and family to be present with you on the occasion mentioned-to meet with friends of former years, especially the hardy pioneers whose energy, toil and efforts have caused such wonderful developments in all that contributes to the happiness of man, would be a source of enjoyment, which would produce feelings in my heart of the most delightful character; but circumstances beyond my control will prevent my being present-and with many thanks to the committee for their invitation, I close with the following sentiment: "The pioneers of the West"-they were men of strong nerve and warm hearts; by their sacrifice, toil, and efforts, they have caused the solitary places to be glad, and the wilderness to bloom and blossom as the rose-may their memory be sacred!
H. W. HIGGINGS.
Dubuque, Feb. 1, 1858
GENTLEMEN:-I have received an invitation from the Pioneer Settlers' Association, of Davenport, to be present at their approaching Festival, on the 22nd of February, and to respond to a toast in reference to the "Pioneer Dead." I regret that it will not be in my power to comply with the request, as my duties here will not allow me to be absent from home at that time. It would give me great pleasure to meet those who will assemble on that occasion, and to renew old acquaintanceship formed many years ago, while at the same time I should experience some pain from reminiscences of trials endured in former days, and from the absence of many former friends departed. It was at Davenport that I first trod the soil of my adopted State, about nineteen years ago. Your large and flourishing city was then but a hamlet, and no one could have rationally predicted its present prosperity from what was then visible. It is one of the most pleasant facts in my history, that I was enabled, with a few others, to found the Congregational Church, now so large and influential for good in your city. It is my sincere desire that the past success of the secular and religious enterprise of your citizens may be only a slight earnest of what is yet in store for them. With many thanks for the distinguished honor conferred upon me in assigning me a part in your anticipated exercises on the occasion referred to, I am,
Very respectfully yours,
JNO. C. HOLBROOK.
New York, Feb. 11, 1858.
GENTLEMEN:-Permit me to tender my grateful ackowledgment to the members of your association, for their kind remembrance of the "Absent Pioneers of Iowa."
I regret exceedingly that business will not permit my joining you on the interesting occasion of your first celebration, as it would give me intense pleasure to renew so many delightful reminiscences of the past, with those whom I have ever considered the advance-guard of your flourishing State, in her progress to her present greatness.
Although I cannot be with you in person, I shall be particularly interested in the event.
May Heaven crown your feast with gladness, and grant you a long lease of years, in which to enjoy the fruits of your early labors.
Very Truly Yours,
E. H. SHEPARD.
LeClaire, Feb. 20, 1858
HON. JAMES GRANT:-Dear Sir: I am fearful that I shall not be able to attend the festival of the old pioneers of Scott county on the 22d inst., in your city. I have a severe cold, and am quite unwell to-day-trust, however, I shall be better on Monday. If so, I shall certainly be down. After witnessing the struggles of the "Old Settlers" for nearly twenty-one years, I feel like rejoicing when they rejoice, feasting when they feast, and mourning when they mourn.
In the event that I am too indisposed to come down, and there should be no person from here to respond to the twelfth regular toast, please do so yourself. I know I am safe in saying that our people would feel safe with their interests confided to your hands.
I think a good many of our old citizens will be down, but very few of them are public speakers.
I send you a volunteer toast, to be read if I cannot come.
Danville, Pa., Feb. 15, 1858
GENTLEMEN:-Accept my thanks for the card of invitation to the "First Festival of the Pioneer Association," and also for your kind note accompanying it.
There are no memories more cherished and fresh in my heart than those of my residence among you, from 1837 to 1841; and it would afford me great pleasure to meet with my old friends on the occasion of the Festival, but I cannot. My heart will be there, however, beating in unison with your highest aspirations for the future prosperity of your beautiful city and county, and the long life and happiness of all the pioneers.
There is not in this great country a spot more sacred to my memory than Davenport. The beauty of its situation; its salubrity; the old associates, and familiar faces of friends are always present to my thoughts, and I never fail to speak favorably for them to friends here when the West is the subject of discourse. Living, as I do, on the banks of the Susquehanna, whose waters are like crystal, and surrounded by landscapes, the grandeur and beauty of which are perhaps unsurpassed, they seem to me not comparable to the scene from the bluffs below Davenport, looking south and east, and bringing into our view the Twin Cities, the upper Rapids of the great Mississippi, embracing the beautiful Rock Island, etc.
It is a cherished purpose of my heart to visit my once home at Davenport at as early a day as possible, when I hope to renew many of my old friendships.
I have also, in the name of my wife, and daughter born in Davenport, to thank you for the invitation, and assure you that it would afford them very great happiness to visit their old home, and join the festival.
May the sun of prosperity ever shine on all of you, until "gathered as a shock of corn fully ripe."
With sincere regard,
ANDREW L. RUSSELL.
In response to a loud call at the close of the Festival, John P. Cook, Esq., sang "Oft, in the Stilly Night." It was finely given, and warmly applauded. The sweet voices of fair women joined in from different parts of the hall, and the effect was delightful. Finally, at 1 o'clock, "Auld-Lang-Syne" was sung in general chorus, and the "Old Settlers' Festival" was a happy memory of the past.