HISTORY OF DAVENPORT AND SCOTT COUNTY
THE SALAD COURSE
IN THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ALMOST EVERYTHING ASIDE FROM THE ITEM THE READER IS SEARCHING FOR - THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT WILL PROVE OF INTEREST TO SOMEBODY - OTHER THINGS THAT EVERYBODY KNOWS - SOME INCIDENTS ARE UNUSUAL AND OTHERS JUST SO-SO - THERE SEEMED TO BE A NECESSITY FOR THIS SORT OF CHAPTER.
Washington Irving saw Black Hawk at Jefferson Barracks in 1832 and wrote of him: "He has a fine head, a Roman style of face, and a prepossessing countenance."
THE PIONEER BALL
Franc Wilkie has written of the pioneer ball of Davenport which took place January 8, 1836, at Antoine LeClaire's "big house," which had been built on the treat site, - "Some forty couples were present consisting of frontiersmen, officers from the Island and others. The music was furnished by fiddles, from which no contemptible strains were occasionally drawn by Mr. LeClaire himself. Prominent among the merry dancers were G. C. R. Mitchell, A. McGregor, G. L. Davenport, Joe Conway and last but not least, and by far the lightest dancer in the room, the now portly figure of A. LeClaire. Most of the frontiersmen wore the coarsest species of 'stogy boots,' 'making,' as our informant says, 'a most internal clatter.' The dresses of the ladies were generally rather more calculated to promote comfort than ostentation. The party danced till sunrise, and then broke up - the gentlemen being, as a general thing, as genial as all the 'punches' they could possibly contain could make them. Joe Conway, eccentric in his cups as well as in his actions, upon reaching the ice to cross the river, found himself unable either to stand still or walk - he very ingeniously therefore compromised the matter by striking a sinuous and uncertain 'dog-trot' and heading for all points of the Island, miscellaneously. It is mistily believed by his companions that he succeeded in reaching it, although somewhat out of his original bearings."
In the Sun, Andrew Logan, the pioneer printer, told of Scott county's fertility to induce immigration. Here is a sample: "We yesterday saw a watermelon, raised about one and a half miles west of the village which measured four feet one way and three and a half the other, and weighted forty and a half pounds. Another gentleman has a pumpkin vine on which, he says, he counted sixty-eight good sized pumpkins."
The bluff near Farnam and Sixth streets was the target for the soldiers at Fort Armstrong when they wished to test the artillery. The iron mine so planted has probably turned to rust by this time.
In 1868 Allan Pinkerton, the well known detective, published a pamphlet in New York city in which he gives great credit to Timothy Webster for discovering and making known to the proper authorities the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln when on his way to Washington in 1861. Many old Davenport citizens knew Timothy Webster as J. R. Reed when he was engaged as a detective in ferreting out the perpetrators of the attempts to burn the first railroad bridge. So well did he recommend himself to his fellow townsmen that J. R. Reed was qualify for the office. Allen Pinkerton has this to say of his friend Timothy Webster in the pamphlet referred to above: "Timothy Webster, one of my detective force, accompanied me upon this eventful occasion. He served faithfully as a detective among the secessionists of Maryland and acquired many valuable and important secrets. He among all the force who went with me deserves the credit of saving the life of Mr. Lincoln, even more than I do. He was a native of Princeton, N. J., a life-long democrat, but he felt and realized with Jackson that the Union must and should be preserved. He continued in my detective service and after I assumed charge of the secret service of the army of the Potomac under Major General McClellan Mr. Webster was most of the time within the rebel lines. True he was called a spy, and martial law says that a spy when convicted must die. Still spies are necessary in war, ever have been and ever will be. Timothy Webster was arrested in Richmond and upon the testimony of members of a secesh family in Washington named Levi, for whom I had done some acts of kindness. He was convicted as a spy and executed by Jefferson Davis, April 30, 1862. His name is unknown to fame, but few were truer or more devoted to the Union cause than was Timothy Webster."
In 1856 the Gazette notes that in one week the sales of one real estate agent were $118,450.
In the Gazette of October 18, 1853, appeared an editorial advocating the establishment of a plant here for the fabrication of locomotives. At that time the suggestion fell on deaf ears, but fifty years later Davenport had the factory.
THE SECOND BUILDING
The second building to be erected in Davenport was razed in 1885. It was made of oak, sleepers, rafters, beams, joists and lath. It was a forge shop built for the repair of arms when General Scott's soldiers were encamped here, treaty times. It stood near the LeClaire ferry long after Indians and soldiers had gone. When the ferry was moved to Ripley street the old oaken house went too and was planted near that triumph of architecture, the Davenport hotel, on Ripley street. After it stayed there ten or fifteen years somebody put it on rollers and numbered 516 West SEcond street it did duty as a dwelling until it was destroyed to make room for a better structure.
In an address, February 24, 1860, before the Pioneer Settler's association Alfred Sanders told of a transient Yankee who bluffed an early Davenport crowd by offering to back himself for $100 for a foot race with any one in the city, until Antoine LeClaire appeared and covered the money and later ran off the stakes, handily.
In the published assessments for taxation, August 8, 1855, these names appear: A. LeClaire, $335,634; Cook & Sargent and Cook, Sargent & Co., $228,967; G. C. R. Mitchell, $88,840; G. L. Davenport, $88,320; J. M. D. Burrows and Burrows & Prettyman, $87,790; A. C. Fulton, $83,870; N. Fejervary, $69,938; A. Churchill, $47,270. The explanation follows that property was taxed on about three-fourths of true valuation, so that the foregoing figures are a fraction of the real values. In commenting on the list the newspaper man says that Messrs. Burrows, Fulton and Fejervary were heavy owners of land in Muscatine county. He considered it also interesting to note that Mr. Fulton four years before had been rated as worth nothing, and in 1855 easily $100,000.
THE OXFORD FLATS
"The work on the new engine house on Brady street above Fifth street is progressing finely, and it will be a remarkably good institution. The cistern which is underneath it is capable of holding hundreds of barrels of water. The roof is to be surmounted with a cupola and bell. It will be completed next month." From the Democrat, July 25, 1857.
Jefferson Davis was a lieutenant in a cavalry regiment at Fort Crawford in 1828. He was a lieutenant of an infantry regiment in the Black Hawk war. After the war he was sent with a detachment of soldiers to Dubuque to remove squatters who were occupying land belonging to the Indians. He was also sent against squatters at Flint Hills now Burlington and burned their cabins, under orders from his superior officers.
THE PENNSYLVANIA HOUSES
The multiplicity of hotels bearing the name of the Keystone state has been puzzling to late comers to Davenport. The first Pennsylvania house, which was opened in 1850, was situated on Second street west of Main and was fairly popular in early days, suffering several enlargements. The next Pennsylvania house was a much more pretentious affair and was located on the corner of Fourth and Iowa streets near the Burtis house. This Pennsylvania house was of stone and five stories high, had a frontage of 64 feet and a depth of 130 feet, boasting 120 rooms. One of the features of this hotel was a well, 150 feet in the solid rock which cost $1,000. The third Pennsylvania house was on Iowa and Third streets, northeast corner, an unpretentious affair which was razed to make way for the Y of the elevated road. Another early hotel on Third street east of Perry street had a curious history. It was first a convent, then a dwelling, then a hotel, the Worden house, afterward the Ackley house, and the American house, and finally was incorporated with the Central house to make the Downs hotel, now the Saratoga.
Among the officials of the state government who have resided in Scott county have been Ansel Briggs, the first governor, Nicholas J. Rusch, Matt Parrott and Benjamin F. Gue who have served in the chair of lieutenant governor. W. C. Hayward is the present secretary of state, and there never was a better one. John Herriott was treasurer of state and A. S. Kissell superintendent of public instruction. Judge James Grant served as speaker of the house of representatives in 1852. William S. Coles was the first state binder, and later Mr. Parrott held that office. J. H. Harrison served on the state pharmacy board. George Metzgar was custodian of pubic buildings and property. Drs. Henry Hatthey and George E. Decker have been members of the state board of health. Charles Francis is engineer to the board of health. Dr. R. J. Farquharson was secretary of that body from 1881 to 1885.
The first temperance society was organized in 1838 after a series of addresses by Rev. Asa Turner. Rodolphus Bennett, the first mayor of Davenport, was its first president.
The Davenport Lyceum which met in Pere Pelamourgues' church was an important factor in the social life of early days. The critical editor of the Sun deplores the level of its divinations and comments: "Our Lyceum is becoming the subject of ridicule to many persons in our village. No subject, they say, can be discussed but such as will tickle the fancy of weak females. Our Lyceum, it is true, converts what should be a hall of science into a room to panegyrize the ladies; and indeed, we have heard the most fulsome eulogies passed upon their character in order to acquire the approving smiles of those present. If courtship is a science, then indeed is our Lyceum a most excellent school."
A. H. Davenport of LeClaire used to tell of calling upon Major Gordon, one of the incorporators of Davenport, to borrow some money. "Help yourself, said the major, pointing to an inverted tub in the corner of the room. Mr. Davenport lifted the tub and found his friend's available wealth, some fifty or sixty dollars.
In 1849 a river improvement convention was held in Davenport in which four states and one territory were represented. One resolution recommended a plan of improvement devised by Major Robert E. Lee, and asked that he be given charge of the work on the rapids.
From August 1, 1856, to the close of the year 1857 over 1,300 houses were erected in Davenport; two miles of street were macadamized, four and a half miles of gas main laid, 250 street lamps erected and twenty miles of sidewalk laid.
An unpleasent condition occurred in 1858 when the city council provided by ordinance that certain offices in the fire department be filled without direct vote of the firemen. The latter rebelled, refused to attend fires and held meetings of protest. The council was firm. Mayor Sargent was almost mobbed when he appeared at a fire but was protected by the same firemen who had been unfriendly. After that matters quieted down and peace reigned.
Scott county was constituted December 21, 1837, from the counties of Dubuque and Cook, with a little from Muscatine county.
"We understand that there was a row in the Sixth ward day before yesterday which was occasioned by the teacher punishing a scholar. The enraged parent proceeded to the schoolhouse and a hand-to-hand, fisticuff, rough and tumble performance took place." From the Democrat, of January 22, 1859.
A man named Presott built on the corner of Fourth and Perry streets an edifice to be used for a school. It was built to stand with oak taken from the near-by timber. When in 1903 J. L. Mason remodeled the building for a garage he found the floors packed with sawdust to mellow the noise of the school below for the inhabitants above.
THE FIRST COLORED SCHOOL
In December, 1859, before Abraham Lincoln had declared that the colored man was a man and a brother and school board of Davenport moved thereto by the petitions of residents established a separate school for colored children. A room was set apart at No. 3, Sixth and Warren streets, and there the school was taught. It did not succeed and another trial was made in some rooms in the basement of the Baptist church at Fourth and Perry streets, but this school, also, was short-lived.
THE FIRST WHITE CHILD
Uncle Joe Mounts, who died in 1882 at Blue Grass, always claimed that his daughter Harriet, later Mrs. Harriet Fridley, who was born September 2, 1835, should have been accorded the honor of being the first white child born in Scott county. Mr. Mounts helped set out the first orchard in Scott county on what is known as the Moorehead farm in Buffalo township.
D. A. Burrows, an early miller, used to tell of hauling bran by the ton out on the ice in the winter and dumping it to go down stream in the spring. There was sale of flour, and the better grades of feed, but bran was a drug on the market. The boilers would not burn it; nobody wanted it, and so it went to the finish.
NOT NECESSARY TO MOVE
Captain W. L. Clark has this to say of his residence: "Since boyhood I have lived in the territory known as the Louisiana Purchase, state of Illinois, Michigan territory, Wisconsin territory, Minnesota territory, Black Hawk Purchase, Iowa territory, and the state of Iowa, and all this time only moved one mile. I might add that I have a friend, 'Timber Woods,' of Burlington, Iowa, whose oldest son was born in Michigan territory, his second son in Wisconsin territory, his third son in Iowa territory and his fourth son in the state of Iowa, and all were born in the same log cabin, standing all the time on the same spot.
JUST HALF MARRIED
Captain W. L. Clark tells a story of a wedding party in early days who crossed the river from Buffalo to Andalusia in Illinois to be married by the late Daniel Edgington, at that time a justice of the peace and a bashful one. John Cooper and Jane Fay were the young couple matrimonially inclined. The young justice was completely stampeded by the novelty of his first ceremony and after putting a few questions to the bride pronounced them husband and wife. Mr. Cooper who lived many years in Buffalo always claimed he was only half married. The story is also told of a young pair of pioneers who in default of any other authority persuaded Colonel Davenport to make them one through virtue of his postmaster's commission.
LIKED THE STARLIGHT
The first ordinance regulating street lamps was adopted at the council meeting of April 2, 1857. It specified that the lamps were not to be lighted on "clear nights." Starlight was plenty good in those days. In 1855 Antoine LeClaire erected street lights as a public benefaction at an expense of from $35 to $40 apiece. J. M. D. Burrows, and perhaps others, did the same later.
THE NEW FAIR GROUND
"The best way to reach the fair ground is to go out Brady street to Locust, and proceeded up the latter about a mile till the Bird farm is passed, when a board enclosure and road leading to it may be seen."
The firemen of Davenport, Rock Island and Moline assembled for a trial of the fire fighting machinery November 14, 1857. Moline threw first water, at the Presbyterian church, 167 feet high. Davenport came next, but a large nozzle and a fateful wind kept them from scoring, while Rock Island won the match. There was a spread afterward at the Rock Island engine house and R. M. Littler presented a new broom to be again competed for. The Davenport company was escorted to the ferry and the affair ended in many hurrahs.
When the railroad had been completed to Walcott from Davenport an excursion was run by capitalists who owned property there August 22, 1855. Those who attended were sanguine and the sale was a success, nearly $12,000 being realized. The auctioneer was a young Davenporter named Hallet Kilbourne. Years afterward he proved a most contumacious witness before a congressional investigating committee and his name went the country over.
In 1851 a Mr. Russell purchased the 245 acres known as the McClellan Heights tract for $2,500. The land is worth more now. A year later A. C. Fulton bought the 200 acres of which he made many additions for $10,000.
President Fillmore just out of office was one of the large excursion party who came from Chicago to celebrate the completion of the Chicago and Rock Island road. Davenport laid out a new street that year and called it Fillmore street. The six steamboats on which the distinguished company of excursionists left for St. Paul came to the Iowa shore, made a landing, and the ex-president made an address. He was accompanied to the boat Golden Era by Ebenezer Cook. On the return from up the river there was a reception at the Davenport hotel at Front and Ripley streets. Judge James Grant was mayor of the city at that time and introduced to President Fillmore Col. George Davenport as the man after whom the city was named.
The people of Davenport were sure in early days that the place could not be considered metropolitan until the stray hogs could be corralled. In the first directory which bears date of 1855 the public spirited publisher says: "Something should be done to rid our streets of the multitudinous throngs of dogs and swine which infest our city." Two years later the editor of the Democrat talks to the point: "If the city marshal will take up two vicious spotted hogs that are annoying the citizens on Iowa street and LeClaire street above Sixth he will confer a favor."
THE BURTIS OPERA HOUSE
After Dr. J. J. Burtis had created a hotel which was the equal of anything in the west he turned his attention to a playhouse and made something as fine for those days. Indeed it has served the people of the city from that day to this. It was December 27, 1867, that the new theater was opened. There was an address by Hon. A. H. Bennett, a reply by Dr. Burtis, music by Strasser's orchestra and the Silver band, the Mendelssohn society, Miss Belle Hart, the Turner society, Miss Maggie Rowse, now Mrs. G. M. Christian of Grinnell, Mrs. Johanna Claussen, Mrs. J. S. Altman and J. C. Wallace. The house was crowded and all the performers came in for a share of the honors. The Davenporters who attended were sure that there was no playhouse like theirs and those present from Peoria and other neighboring cities wished that this temple of amusement could be duplicated in their locations.
DAVENPORT'S FRENCH SETTLERS
Davenport was first settled by people from St. Louis and Cincinnati. For some years the settlers came in such numbers from the latter city that Davenport was known as a Cincinnati colony. Then came the Germans, and in 1854-56 the French. They received a warm welcome from Antoine LeClaire, himself a French-Canadian, and he saw that they were comfortably located near the parish churches of Pere Pelamourgues and Pere Trevis. Some of the French contingent tarried at Nauvoo on their way to Davenport, where M. Cabet had established an Icarian colony three years after Joseph Smith and his followers had made their hegira to the westward. In 1856 another French contingent came direct form France by way of New Orleans and the Mississippi river. By some slight detour they reached Davenport by way of the railroad and were upon the first train that crossed the new bridge in April, 1856. These families settled in this city, some remaining, others later dispersing to various Iowa settlements of promise. The French aided in the city's prosperity, showing adaptation to conditions and turning a hand readily to any line of effort that promised reward.
Fort Armstrong was named for President Madison's secretary of war.
Bailey Davenport used to say that Black Hawk's trip to Malden to confer with his British patrons was an annual event, dating back to the war of 1812, and along down to the Black Hawk war. The British purpose was to retain the Indians as bloody allies. The annual British gifts were munificent. Black Hawk called his tribe the British band.
The John A. Dix was the engine which was brought across the Mississippi river on the ice, the wheels being removed and the engine placed on a large sled which was drawn by oxen over the river up Main street to Fifth, where it was placed upon the track. It was the seventh M. & M. engine to reach Davenport, not the first, as is so often said.
The first locomotive to haul a train in Iowa was named the Antoine LeClaire. When the Rock Island commenced numbering its engines the "Tony" became No. 79. It was landed from a flatboat at the foot of Brady street, in July, 1855, and ran on a temporary track to Fifth. First in the passenger service of the road the old machine was afterward put to pulling freight. In April, 1882, this good old Paterson locomotive was sold to the St. Louis, Ft. Scott & Wichita road and sent to Kansas. When the engineer turned to the southwest leaving the city he turned on the whistle that the pioneer locomotive could bid farewell to the scenes of twenty-seven years before. Some of those who saw the "Tony" land place the location as the end of Fourth street, where the fill for the first bridge can be seen.
Rather a neat little speech that President Fillmore made when the six boatloads of excursionists reached Davenport. The Gazette of June 10, 1854, quotes him: "In this excursion I have visited many beautiful scenes on the Mississippi river, which have excited my admiration and surprise, but after having taken a view from one of your beautiful hills of the river and surrounding scenery, I must say that if there is a paradise on earth, it is here." Fellow passengers on the trip were Senator John A. Dix, Epes Sargent, Col. William Davenport, Bancroft, the historian, and other notable people.
The first cars reached Iowa City over the M. & M. at 11 p. m., on the night of January 1, 1856, after a tremendous effort in very cold weather and night work to save the $60,000 subscription of stock. It was intensely cold. Men worked all night of December 31st.
The early editor was a little particular. After a Sunday stroll he remarks in his paper of November 13, 1855: "The locomotive was running on Sunday. We are not advised of any particular necessity to call it forth that day. We hope Mr. C. may be enabled to finish his contract without infringing on the day."
Byron S. Hall, who grew to manhood in Davenport is quoted as follows: "After the M. & M. was built and before the bridge was built cars were transferred on flatboats with tracks. Tracks were laid to the river at Fourth and Front, also on the Rock Island side. The flats were towed across the river by a steamboat. This was done for a year, and was resumed at the time the bridge was burned by the Effie Afton. There was an incident of a runaway car which broke from a train at the top of the grade out of West Davenport which at that time had not been lowered, and the track was the height of the bridge on West Locust street. This car got away, and as the people saw it coming they got out of the way, and the car ran clear into the river." Byron was the right size to take the trip to Walcott when the lots were auctioned by Hallet Kilbourne. He ate roasting ears out of a field to keep alive until the returning train should bring him within hailing distance of the maternal cupboard.
What a Davenporter Secretary W. B. Conway would have made had death spared him. The Sun tells us that in 1838 this enthusiastic citizen wrote several letters to the secretary of war urging the establishment of an armory and arsenal on Rock island. He received assurance that the island would be retained for national purposes.
THE MEANING OF IOWA
T. S. Parvin quotes Antoine LeClaire as to the meaning of the word Iowa in an article in the Annals of Iowa. April, 1864 - "This is the place." And the meaning is derived as follows: A tribe of Sac and Fox Indians wandering or hunting were in search of a home, and when they crossed the Mississippi, not the Iowa, they reached a point they admired, and finding all they wished they exclaimed, "Iowa-this is the place." No man had better knowledge of Indian dialects than Antoine LeClaire, and his translation is authoritative.
THE FIRST COUNTIES
The Black Hawk Purchase was divided into two counties, a line extending west from the Mississippi river opposite the lower end of Rock island dividing them. The north side of this line was called Julian township and Dubuque county, the south side, Flint Hills township and Des Moines county. The then small village, now the city of Davenport, was in the latter jurisdiction.
The first piece of land sold in Scott county of which there is any record was a quarter section sold by Joseph M. Robertson, and filed for record June 2, 1838. Thirteen days later D. C. Eldridge sold some fractions of lots and the buildings at Front and Ripley streets to a St. Louis firm. The third transfer was that of a quarter section now located in Blue Grass township, George B. Sargent to James Grant. The consideration was $100. That sum does not buy an acre of Blue Grass land these days.
The papers of 1861 note that each officer and private leaving Camp McClellan for the front was presented with a neatly bound copy of the scriptures by Willard Barrows, president of the Scott County Bible society.
When it was proposed to separate Iowa territory from the remainder of Wisconsin territory the plan was strongly opposed by that forceful southern statesman John C. Calhoun, and the friends of the measure feared that his opposition would defeat their plans. Gen. George W. Jones is credited with blocking the Calhoun opposition at the right time. The General at that time was a great ladies' man and in setting his wits to work to prevent a speech from Mr. Calhoun when the bill should come up for passage he hit upon his acquaintance with a young lady relative of the South Carolina champion of states rights. To this young lady, then on a visit to the national capital Gen. Jones paid marked and ardent attention, and in return for his chivalrous efforts in her behalf she expressed the wish that she might at some time reciprocate in friendly sort. That was the opportunity the general had been seeking, and he said: "You can, if you will, do me the greatest favor in the world," and went on to explain the territorial bill and the opposition of Mr. Calhoun thereto. "Now," said the general, "It will come up on such a day. You be in the gallery, and when I send you my card, call out Mr. Calhoun, and on some pretext keep him out an hour or so." She consented, and carried out the arrangement, and during that absence the bill was passed, and Mr. Calhoun's opportunity to oppose was gone. At that time General Jones was representing the territory of Wisconsin of which he secured the organization when he was a delegate in congress representing Michigan territory. Later he served the state of Iowa for many years as senator.
During the time when thousands of captured confederate soldiers were confined on Rock island rumors of an uprising and raid were not infrequent. At one time the military authorities on the island appraised Gen. N. B. Baker of a plot which comprised the seizing of the railroad bridge and ferry, and a descent upon Davenport to seize the military stores there and weapons in magazine. Gen. Baker ordered out the militia, and the companies of Capts. Mueller, Peters, Frazier and Eldridge responded, and Company A of the Fourteenth regiment was sent down town from Camp McClellan. The draw was opened and the bridge guarded. Detachments were stationed at the National bank, the State bank, the United States express office, and the remainder of the troops kept under orders. Excitement was intense and many did not sleep all night.
CROSSING THE RIVERS
Before 1842 there were no less than twelve ferries chartered in Scott county, the most important one as shown by its longevity and volume of business being the Wilson ferry between Davenport and Rock Island. In a chapter of ferry history written by the late D. N. Richardson are these paragraphs: Among the improvements instituted by Mr. Wilson was the ferry alarm. In very primitive times in order to arouse the night ferryman on the opposite shore, benighted Stephensonites who had been over here to attend evening service and overstayed their time, or zealous Davenporters who after dark had occasion to visit Stephenson in the missionary cause had raised the war whoop. In order to discourage this relic of barbarism Mr. Wilson introduced the ferry triangle, an ungainly piece of triangular steel which when vigorously pounded with a club, sent forth from its gallows tree a most wretched clanging noise. But it brought the skiff, though it waked the whole town. That triangle was immortalized by Davenport's local bard - the same who is now grilling beneath a torrid sun in a far off consulate. In an inspired moment he ground out an epic or a lyric or something, in seven stanzas and from seven to seventeen poetic feet, from which we select as follows. We would produce it all, if we were quite certain that our readers were all prepared to die. Thus sang the bard:
Melodious and sweet instrument of sound,
Your tinkling notes are heard all over town.
There's various ways to give you the alarm,
Some gently; some by the full strength of the arm.
Once late at night I thought it was your last,
You were cut loose and thrown amongst the grass.
Ah, the ways of the wicked are hard; you were found,
And straight to the gallows again you were bound.
Great men live for honor, preferment and fame,
With Davenport you're sure to have a name.
Whether in or out, 'tis said labor's no sin,
'And you will find a trusty friend in Jim.
The old Davenport mansion on the island was overhauled and repaired in 1863 to accommodate the officers connected with the military prison. It furnished commodious office accommodations.
It required a fine brand of Davenport patriotic patience to excuse the pranks of the citizens who were being turned into soldiers at the various Davenport camps during the war of the rebellion. Considering the number of men who went to the front from these camps the mischief was slight, but at times it was annoying. When the soldiers on leave had taken on what is lately known as a goodly package their homeward route to the camp was likely to be illuminated by fireworks more or less vivid. The street lights suffered from good markmanship later to be utilized in the service of the country. Much noise was in order and an occasional shot through some slumbering residence was proof of complete absendmindedness on the part of some bibulous warrior. The people on upper Harrison street were especially grateful when the troopers of the cavalry at Camp Hendershott were moved to the suburban location now occupied by the Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' home. Good and brave men they were - let nothing be said against their service to their country, but their Davenport days of apprenticeship made life in a college town seem like a sound nap.
"Among the brave soldiers at Camp McClellan awaiting transportation to their regiments is a youth of only eighty-two years of age, a private in the Grey Beards. He is very anxious to join his regiment, which, he understands, has left St. Louis for the seat of war. So restless is this juvenile that it is with some difficulty that he can be kept in camp. He says that 'if the cars ain't ready, he will walk down.'" The Democrat, January 12, 1863.
A TINNERS' STRIKE
Walter Hender used to have a story of how he lost his roofing force when the Eighth regiment marched down the street on the way to the front to the seductive rhythm of their martial band. "At the time of their departure," said Mr. Hender, "we were putting a new tin roof on the Hiram Price house, situated on the southeast corner of Seventh and Brady streets, now the Berryhill property. As the regiment came marching down Brady street headed by their band, the man on the roof were filled with enthusiasm and the spirit of the hour. Dropping their tools they left the roof unfinished, hurried down the street, and joined the marching men, and marched with them down to the boat landing where they boarded the boat which carried them to Keokuk, at which place they enlisted. My brother Matthew who was in charge of the workmen on the roof went with them."
J. S. Drake, a newspaper man and therefore supposed to be on the inside, says that the first $25 which was contributed to found the first Y. M. C. A. in Davenport was a pot made up by five young men who were far from being in sympathy with the purposes and objects of that association.
TO AID THE POOR
Back in the times when Davenport was young, men had an idea that the work of relief should be administered by them. Later the idea got about that it was better to let the women do the work. The first meeting of the Davenport Relief association was held in November, 1857, at the office of Justice Eagal, Austin Corbin was president and donated his salary as alderman to the fund. John johns was secretary and T. D. Eagal secretary. At this meeting it was reported that $700 had been expended during the year closing. Ward committees were named - First ward, Edward Jennings, John O'Brien, John Schutt; Harvey Leonard, H. W. Mitchell, F. X. Fitzpatrick; Fourth ward, R. M. Littler, Dr. John M. Adler; Fifth ward, Peter Kerker, John Lillis, Louis Hebert; Sixth ward, I. H. Sears, John Guy, W. H. Hildreth.
In 1861 the soldiers quartered in the city needed bedding. Of course it was somebody's business to see that the men slept warm, but there was a hitch somewhere. A committee appointed procured donations of over 300 blankets. and comforters. One old lady told them she had but two comforts in the house, but warm weather was coming on and before next winter she could probably get some more. Let it be hoped that her trust in Providence was not misplaced.
October 13, 1855, the Young Men's Literary association announced a course of lectures through its secretary, J. W. Guiteau. The lecturers were R. W. Emerson, Parke Godwin, J. G. Saxe and others.
At a meeting held at the home of Willard Barrows February 1, 1859, an organization known as the Young Settlers' association was formed. Edward E. Cook was its first president and David L. LeClaire its secretary. Among those participating were Byron Hall, B. H. Barrows, F. H. LeClaire, Edward Finley and George C. Sanders.
The Davenport Literary society met October 14, 1848, at the school room of W. P. Campbell and elected officers - Alfred Sanders, president; William Guy, vice president; V. M. Firor, secretary; Wm. S. Collins, curator. The debate was on question: "In organizing the territories ought the Wilmot proviso to be incorporated?" D. P. McKown and W. P. Campbell upheld the affirmative and J. F. Dillon and V. M. Firor the negative. At the meetings of the Davenport Lyceum which met in Pere Pelamourgues church in 1840 a range of topics came up for consideration. November 16th it was "Is love or revenge the stronger passion?" December 7th they wrestled with the query. "Has civilization tended to increase the general happiness of mankind?"
Judge John F. Dillon is quoted: "In the campaign of 1840, 'Tippecanoe and Tyler, too,' General Harrison was elected president on the alluring cry of 'two dollars and roast beef.' Davenport thrilled with the excitement of the hard cider campaign, built a log cabin at the southeast corner of Harrison and Third streets, which was afterward used as a schoolhouse and where I attended school."
In the Gazette of July 31, 1845, there appeared a notice inviting all Odd Fellows living in Davenport, Rock Island or vicinity to meet at Mr. Brook's store in Rock Island to consider the propriety of establishing a lodge.
STRONG FOR TEMPERANCE
Davenport was early a stronghold of temperance. The Scott County Temperance society was organized February 15, 1842. The first prohibitory liquor law in Iowa, passed by a democratic legislature, by the way, was conceived and put in legal form here in Davenport by Hiram Price, David S. Ture and John L. Davies. The Gazette of September 7, 1855, tells of the seizure of wine and beer in the shop of A. Offergeld and in the evening a demonstration which was dispersed by Marshal Parmele. Strange weapons ranging from pitchforks to ancient muskets made their appearance on this occasion. Later in making the arrest of the leader of this company Sheriff Leonard received a severe blow on the head from a club.
FULFILLMENT LONG DELAYED
In view of the recent incorporation of the Davenport Water Power Company and the efforts to finance this new project which seem to have been crowned with success this newspaper article is timely. It appeared in the Davenport Gazette issue of March 27, 1845:
"There is one advantage possessed by Davenport that must ultimately rank it among the most prosperous business places of the West. This is found in the almost illimitable water power furnished by the upper rapids which terminate at this place. It is remarkable that while so many water privileges of less availability situated in districts of country abounding in manufactures of every description are invested with so much importance and are the fruitful sources of expensive outlays, that a privilege of this character should be allowed to remain inactive and that too in a country the best adapted in the world for the rearing of sheep and the producing of hundreds of thousands of bushels of wheat with an ill supply of grist mills. * * * The upper rapids are about 18 miles in length with a fall of more than 23 feet. Four miles below the head of the rapids is situated Vanosdel's island, which rises above high-water mark, and has a foundation of solid rock. Between this island and the Iowa shore runs a branch of the Mississippi river about 100 yards in width. It is proposed to throw a dam across this branch near the foot of the island which will obtain a head of two feet of water at low tide, cut a canal race from this point to within a mile of Davenport where it can debouch into a large reservoir formed by nature to receive it where but a short dam will be required to retain it for hydraulic purposes.
"This, it is thought, will obtain a fall of 15 feet in descent of the race, or 17 feet, altogether. The land on which it is proposed to cut the race is very favorable, and will require but little deep cutting. Several small streams will have to be crossed and a few light veins of limestone cut through. From the contemplated reservoir to the town of Davenport the land rises from 15 feet to 20 feet above low water mark over a bed of limestone, rock, adapted and now used for all the purpose of building. Along this bank, secure from high water a line of factories might be erected fed by a never-failing supply of water. Eligible mill-seats with a sufficiency of water are very scarce in this part of the country."
Colonel T. N. Hooper has the honor of building the first street car that negotiated the Brady street hill. It was in 1870 and Mr. Hooper was not at that time the superintendent of the Davenport Water Company, but a member of the firm of Hooper & Smith in Rock Island.
In the Barrows history is recounted the organization of the Pioneer Settlers' association and mention is made of the hickory cane which was presented to the society by the sons of Ira Cook a pioneer of 1835, W. L. Cook, Ebenezer Cook, John P. Cook and Ira Cook. This cane has been the badge of the presidency for over fifty years and is now in the possession of the president for 1910, O. P. Nichols. The cane has a gold head with a suitable inscription and a gold band two inches in width encircled the wood at the presentation which was to receive the names of the presidents. This band has been filled with inscriptions, also a second, and now a third has been added. These are the names of the presidents inscribed: Antoine LeClaire, first president; Antoine LeClaire, second president; Ebenezer Cook, third president, 1860; D. C. Eldridge, fourth president, 1861; Willard Barrows, fifth president, 1862; John Owens, J. M. Bowling, Harvey Leonard, James McCosh, Israel Hall, James Grant, J. Parker, Charles Metteer, Dr. E. S. Barrows, William L. Cook, Dr. James Hall, C. G. Blood, Philip Suiter, W. S. Collins, Wm. VanTuyl, Horace Bradley, J. E. Burnside, Enoch Mead, Johnson Maw, Daniel Moore, John Evans, Jard D. Hitchcock, Alfred C. Billon, Backus Birchard, twenty-ninth president, 1886, James Thorington, Gen. Add H. Sanders, D. C. McKown, John Lambert, Captain W. L. Clark, Wm. M. Suiter, John Littig, Jacob M. Eldridge, John M. Lyter, George J. Hyde, Andrew Jack, A. C. Fulton, Henry Parmele, L. W. Clemons, Jesse L. 'Armil, James Dyer, Henry Karwath, James H. Davenport, J. H. Wilson, W. H. Gabbert, John F. Kelly, J. W. Olds, fifty-first president, Hugh Briceland, O. P. Nichols, fifty-third president, 1910.