A project of Genealogy Trails
HISTORY OF IOWA
By WILLIAM J. PETERSEN, Ph. D.
Research Associcte, State Historical Society of lowa
Lecturer in History, University of Iowa
The written history of Iowa, based on the white man's record, not on the legends or fugitive accounts of the dusky red man, began on June 17, 1673, when Joliet and Marquette drifted out of the mouth of the Wisconsin River into the broad expanse of the Mississippi. All incidents prior to this important event are termed "prehistoric." Indeed, the first historical record of the Indian in Iowa is gleaned from Marquette's journal of his visit to the Illinois villages at the mouth of the Iowa River on June 25, 1673.
Measured in terms of ancient Babylon, the history of Iowa is unquestionably recent. When one thinks in terms of American history, however, the story of Iowa is not so young. Thus, the advent of Joliet and Marquette occurred only a half a century after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and nine years before William Penn brought his colonists to Pennsylvania
Although Iowa is very young in terms of the history of man, the land itself is very, very old - old as the earth itself. Conservative geologists compute that a half billion years have passed since the rocks that are exposed in Iowa began to be formed. But the real beginnings of geologic times go back for beyond the record as it is revealed in the hills, valleys, and rolling prairies of our beautiful land - Scientists estimate that the earth's bed rock is almost two billion years old.
The story of Iowa geology may be gleaned from its rocks and soil. Experts have learned to decipher this romantic tale accurately as they turn the pages of the gigantic book that constitutes their laboratory. From the limestone ramparts along the Father of Waters to the low-lying loess hills along the Big Muddy, they can reconstruct chapters from four of the five great geological eras. Only the Archeozoic is unexposed in Iowa.
The first act in our Iowa geology involves a mighty struggle between land and sea. Millions of years ago the ocean covered what is now the Mississippi Volley. During ensuing eons the land and the waters contended for mastery of this mighty stage. Victory favored first one contestant and then the other. Mute testimony of this titanic struggle is revealed by the lovers of exposed rock in Iowa.
The oldest page in the book of Iowa geology is the red quartzite found around Gitchie Manito Park in north-western Iowa. This outcropping of the Proterozoic era is more than a thousand feet thick! Millions of years were required to form this valuable quartzite which has been used extensively as building material, as well as paving blocks and railway ballast, The sandstone cliffs of Allamakee County constitute another chapter in this unfolding story. The limestone bluffs of the "Switzerland" of Iowa, the Anamosa limestone of famed Stone City, the rock with which the Old Stone Capitol at Iowa City was built, each represent chapters in the epic story. For Iowa's valuable limestone deposits were formed as countless shell-covered animals collected on the bottoms of the receding seas and were gradually overlaid by sand and clay. As eons of time elapsed and the pressure increased, these animal deposits become limestone, while the clay turned to shale and the sand into sandstone.
During one period of elevation above the sea, water percolating through the rocks in the vicinity of Dubuque left particles of lead in the crevices, forming the deposits of lead ore which were to become a magnet for the first pioneers in the Block Hawk Purchase. The coal of the Des Moines Volley was formed during on era of tropical heat which lasted through many millions of years. Subsequently, during another enormous sweep of geologic time in which the Appalachian Mountains were rising in the East, great salt lakes and inland seas covered the Mississippi Valley. Near the conclusion of this era the gypsum deposits of Webster County were formed. The battle between land and sea ended when the Rocky Mountains rose in the West. The earth at lost was victorious.
Throughout this epic struggle the rocks reveal a gradual evolution in plant and animal life. Archeozoic rocks are not exposed in Iowa and the slight outcropping of the Proterozoic strata in northwestern Iowa discloses no fossils in the Sioux quartzite. During the Paleozoic era, which lasted some 340 million years, animal life evolved from worms and sponges to fishes and huge lizards. Plants developed correspondingly from the simplest algae to enormous ferns and the ancestors of pine trees. Moreover, both plants and animals learned to live on land during this era. The age of the dinosaurs followed, embracing much of the Mesozoic era. Many kinds of insects flourished - dragon flies, beetles, grasshoppers, cockroaches, moths, flies, and ants. Forests began to take on a modern form as magnolia, poplar, and evergreen vied with maple, oak, and elm in seeking the warm rays of the blazing sun.
After another sweep of geologic time the temperate climate ended and a new epoch was born in lowa - the ice age of the Cenozoic. Ponderous glaciers appeared, half a mile or more in depth, covering essentiallv all of what is now the Hawkeye State. As each crunching ice sheet melted, it left a deposit of powdered rock, sprinkled here and there with granite boulders. In the intervals between these great ice sheets, plants grew and their remains mingled with the glacial deposit to make the deep, rich soil of Iowa. Probably a hundred thousand years have sped by since the last glacier visited north-central Iowa.
It was during the glacial period that mankind come into existence, but no man trod Iowa soil until after the lost glacier was gone. Compared with the immeasurable eons of time since the first Iowa rocks were formed, it was only yesterday that the mound builders raised their landmarks in Iowa and the Mississippi Valley.
When the first pioneers entered the Mississippi Valley they found the remains of great mounds and earthworks of prehistoric man. These pioneers almost spontaneously formed the opinion that the country had once upon a time been occupied by a race of mound builders, a race for superior to the marauding redskins who continually threatened their westward advance. Most of these mounds were confined to the eastern half of the continent, from southern Canada to the Gulf and from the Alleghenies to the eastern border of the Great Plains. The original number of mounds is unknown, but it was probably well in excess of one hundred thousand.
The great majority of prehistoric mounds were "conicals," rising in a gentle curve from a round base to a rounded apex. Their height varied from two to seventy feet and their base diameter ranged from twenty to two hundred feet or more. Although Iowa had many of these conical mounds, Ohio is best known for this type because of the many objects of human handicraft that have been extracted from them in the Buckeye State.
The "truncated-pyramid" mound constitutes a second class, found largely in the southern states. The largest pyramidal mound is Monks Mound near East St. Louis, which rises to a height of 100 feet and is larger in point of cubic yards of content than the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt.
The third most notable class of mounds is the animal-shaped type found in northeastern Iowa and the adjacent area in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. These mounds are built from two to six feet high and range in length from seventy to over three hundred feet. They represent generally a variety of animals, birds, and reptiles, and are accompanied frequently by conical and linear mounds. Most of these "effigy mounds" have been defaced or obliterated by the plow and other agencies, but those that remain in northeastern Iowa are among the most interesting and important antiquities still preserved within the boundaries of the United States.
When the first mounds were opened in Ohio during the 1840's the excavators were astounded and confused by the finely wrought implements and ornaments of stone, shell, pearl, and copper that were found therein. Here, many urged, was incontestable proof that this vanished race was far superior to the Indians of historic times. Such judgements, however, were based on prejudice and superficial observation, for archeologists today are agreed that it was the American Indian and not a vanished race that built the mounds.
Evidence of the presence of prehistoric man in Iowa is attested in the large number of ancient sites. Village and camp sites have been found throughout Iowa, usually along the second terraces of streams although occasionally along the summit of hills overlooking streams. No other Iowa river equals the Little Sioux in the number of ancient village sites. Coves and rock Shelters have been discovered along the gorges and ravines of the Cedar River and neighboring streams. Enclosures, agricultural plots and garden beds, pits, shell heaps, caches, workshops, cemeteries, mounds, boulder effigies, trails, spirit places, rock carvings and paintings, stone dams or fish traps, and quarries have been found in various sections of the Hawkeye State.
Five distinct prehistoric Indian cultures have been identified in Iowa by Dr. Charles Reuben Keyes. The most widely-spread culture was the Algonkian, whose archeological remains may be found over almost every section of Iowa. The Algonkians were woodland Indians whose Villages were hidden away in what was once heavy forests skirting the rivers and smaller streams of Iowa. They were also a canoe people, doing much of their travel by water. Their culture is identified by the predominance of stone implements and ornaments; their craftsmanship in stone was of the most amazing variety and often exquisitely executed. It is said that their grooved axes are unsurpassed by any others found on this continent. Over one hundred and twenty types of chipped implements have been distinguished. Coarse granite and shells were mixed with clay for the pots and jars in which they stored food.
The Hopewell or "mound builder" culture may be found along the bluffs and terraces of the Mississippi between the mouth of the Iowa River and the Upper Iowa in Allamakee County. This culture received its name from a family dwelling near Chillicothe, Ohio, on whose form the best-known works of this highly specialized Algonkian culture stand. It is distinguished by its lavish use of copper for both weapons and ornaments, of necklaces strung from fresh water pearls, and of finely-sculptured stone tobacco pipes. The antiquity of this culture in Iowa is attested by the fact that it provides the only example of culture stratification found in the Hawkeye State. In 1934 Dr. Charles Reuben Keyes found the Sioux culture superimposed upon the Hopewell culture on a terrace of the Upper Iowa River near its mouth.
A culture very different from the Hopewell is the Oneota, named in honor of the Oneota or Upper Iowa River along which it is most fully represented and has longest been known. These prehistoric men erected their large skin tepees in the open prairie. They used small flake scrapers and triangular arrowheads. The clay of their pottery was tempered with shells. They smoked small calumet pipes of red pipestone. They decorated the nearby cliffs and cove walls with pictographs of birds, fish, and various unknown objects. On and near some of their village sites stood earthen enclosures. The Oneota culture possesses many of the characteristics of the culture of the Plains Indians. It has been suggested that these bold village sites may have been the former homes of the Ioways and Omahas. At any rate, the Oneata culture is almost certainly Siouan.
Twelve ancient villages overlooking the Little Sioux River and its tributaries in Cherokee, O'Brien, and Buena Vista counties represent a culture entirely different from those already mentioned. These Indians lived in compact villages containing from twelve to twenty-two earth lodges and surrounded by stockades similar to those erected by the Mandan lndians on the Upper Missouri. Their spoons and pipes were mode of clay; their pottery was very distinctive and quite unlike the Oneota culture Which could be found close at hand. Although resembling the Mandan and undoubtedly Siouan, this culture has been designated as the Mill Creek culture because of the great concentration of villages on the terraces of Mill Creek, a tributary of the Little Sioux.
A fifth culture area in Iowa extends from the vicinity of Dubuque to the Minnesota line. It comprises a group of widely scattered linear and effigy mounds and accordingly has been designated as the Effigy-Mound culture. This culture is, undoubtedly, a part of a similar effigy-mound area found in southern Wisconsin and to a lesser degree in adjoining Minnesota and Illinois. These strange monuments of antiquity are in the shape of enormous animals and birds, some of them three hundred feet in length. A group of two linear mounds, three birds, and an imposing procession of ten bears constitutes the best monument of the Effigy-Mound culture in Iowa. Standing on the summit of a towering bluff overlooking the Mississippi about a mile above Marquette, this particular group of effigies has been described as "one of the finest mound groups in all America."
Although our knowledge of prehistoric man still remains fragmentary, much information has been wrung from the various ancient sites that dot the hills and prairies of Iowa. Another generation may reap the rewards accruing from the persistent efforts of such men as Dr. Charles Reuben Keyes and Ellison Orr in seeking to solve the riddle of the mounds.
The Indians of Iowa
The story of the red man in Iowa begins with the visit of Joliet and Marquette to the Illinois Indian villages at the mouth of the Iowa River On June 25, 1673. Nobody knows how long the Indians had occupied Iowa before the coming of the white man. It is almost certain that they
appeared long after the lost ice sheet disappeared and probably hundreds of years before the white men come.
Although the exact number of tribes that have inhabited Iowa is not known, at least seventeen different ones have lived within the confines of the Hawkeye State since the advent of Joliet and Marquette in 1673. Some of these tribes spent only a transitory moment in Iowa. Thus the Illinois Indians, who Marquette recorded had been driven across the Mississippi by the Iroquois, spent only a few years here. So, too, the Miami Indians who in 1690 importuned Nicholas Perrot to help them mine lead, had been pushed westward by these some war-like savages. Other tribes, like the Winnebago and the Potawatomi, sojourned in Iowa but a short time during pioneer days, having agreed to move into lowaland by treaties concluded with the American government in 1832 and 1833. Only the Ioway Indians are known to have spent a long time in the State that bears their name, maintaining a permanent residence in the area for one hundred and fifty years.
The Indians who contended for the possession of Iowa represented two great stocks. Some belonged to the Dakotoh or Siouan notion of nearly fifty tribes; others were members of the Algonkian stock of approximately seventy tribes. Siouan Indians are often referred to as the Plains Indians while the Algonkians are described as Woodland Indians. The two stocks are divided thus on the basis of language, each tribe speaking a dialect of the parent tongue. Thus, the Ioway, Winnebago, Osage, Oto, Missouri, Omaha, Ponca, Sisseton, and Wahpeton belonged to the Dakotah or Siouan stock. On the other hand the Souk and Fox, the Illinois, the Ottowa, and the Huron, the Miami, the Kickapoo, and the Mascoutin, the Chippewa and the Potawatomi belonged to the Algonkian or Woodland stock.
For a century and a half the Indian played on important role in the economic life of lowaland. French and Spanish, English and American, each enlisted the red man in the fur trade. The business of such organizations as the American Fur Company, the Columbia Fur Company, and the Missouri Fur Company, was largely dependent upon the seasonal catch of the Indian. The red man, on the other hand, became more and more dependent upon his white brother for guns and powder, traps, percussion cops, knives, blankets tobacco, rum, earbobs, wrist bonds, and scores of miscellaneous items for brave and squaw. The profits of individual traders and fur companies were often immense, every effort being mode to exploit the "noble" red man. The Indian was on easy victim of chiconery and the accumulated debts often rose to fabulous sums. Unfortunately for the Indian the fur trader invariably presented (and the Indian generally acknowledged) such debts whenever commissioners drew up treaties involving cessions of land. The debts of the Indians were usually paid on such occasions, and the terms were included in the treaty. The names of George Davenport, Russell Farnham, and Hercules L. Dousman loom large among the fur-traders on the Upper Mississippi. Manuel Lisa, Joseph Robidoux, and Peter A Sarpy were among the numerous important traders on the Missouri River.
Indians were associated with almost every significant episode occurring in Iowa land prior to the beginnings of permanent settlement. They fought on the British side during the Revolutionary War, capturing and guarding the Dubuque lead mines. During the War of 1812 they plotted the Bottle of Campbell's Island, helped the British repulse Zachary Taylor at Credit Island, and laid siege to and caused the destruction of Fort Madison. The outbreak of the Block Hawk War represented their last desperate effort to stem the flood of pioneers to the banks of the Mississippi. The tragedy at Bad Axe not only eliminated the red man from Illinois but actually wrenched the first land cession in Iowa from the vanquished warriors.
Although the Louisiana Purchase had extinguished all foreign claims to what is now Iowa, it left unchanged the title which the Indians held in the land. Between April 30, 1803, and the outbreak of the Black Hawk War several treaties were made relating to the Iowa country. As early as November 3, 1804, Governor William Henry Harrison of Indiana signed a treaty with the Sauk and Fox Indians at St. Louis, the provisions of which were an underlying cause for the Black Hawk War. Black Hawk recalls he reluctantly touched the "goose quill" to the treaty of 1816, thereby confirming the treaty of 1804.
It was not until August 4, 1824, however, that the first treaty was signed which definitely set aside a portion of what is now Iowa as a reservation for the half-breeds of the Sauk and Fox notions. This Half-breed Tract embraced 119,000 acres of land lying in the triangle formed by the confluence of the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers, now a port of Lee County. Destined to serve as a cradle of historic beginnings in Iowa, the title to the Half-breed Tract was long a bone of contention, one of the claimants being a New York land company represented by Francis Scott Key, author of the "Star Spangled Bonner."
In 1825 a grand council was held at Prairie du Chien, establishing the Neutral line between the Sauk and Fox Indians and their war-like enemies - the Sioux. This line was enlarged in 1830 to include a strip of land forty miles wide known as the Neutral Ground. The Winnebago Indians were removed into a portion of the Neutral Ground during the late 1830's. The Indian school on Yellow River and historic Fort Atkinson are reminders of the days when the dusky Winnebago lived in Iowaland.
The first actual cession of Indian land in Iowa was made following the defeat of Black Hawk at Bad Axe. On September 21, 1832, Major General Winfield Scott concluded a treaty whereby the confederated tribes of Souk and Fox surrendered a strip of land fifty miles wide along the west bank of the Mississippi between the Half-breed Tract and the Neutral Ground. This cession was commonly coiled Scott's Purchase, or the Black Hawk Purchase. During the next decode the Sauk and Fox signed treaties relinquishing all claims to Iowaland: the Keokuk Reserve was acquired in 1836, the Second Block Hawk Purchase negotiated in 1837, and all central Iowa was ceded by a treaty signed in 1842. The Winnebago agreed to remove from the Neutral Ground in 1846 while the Potawatomi moved from the Missouri slope the same year. The Sioux gave up their hunting grounds in northern Iowa In 1851 - the lost Indian cession in the Hawkeye State. A total of approximately $2,877,547.87 was paid to the Indians for their beautiful lands, or a little more than eight cents per acre.
Two notable incidents connect the Indians with the subsequent history of Iowa. One of these was the Spirit lake Massacre which occurred during the spring of 1857. Thirty-two men, women, and children were brutally slain between March 8th and 13th and four other women were carried off captive by the small band of marauding Sioux under Inkpaduta. Two of the captive women were killed, one was released through the mediation of friendly Indians, and Abbie Gardner (who wrote a harrowing account of her experience), was also finally ransomed. A relief expedition which set out from Fort Dodge under Major William Williams on March 24th suffered frightful privations, but succeeded only in finding and burying the dead. A detachment from Fort Ridgely in Minnesota also failed to overtake Inkpaduta, who died a natural death years later. On July 25, 1895, the State of Iowa dedicated a monument in memory of the victims of the Spirit Lake Massacre.
About the same time as the Spirit Lake Massacre a band of friendly Sauk and Fox Indians returned to their beloved Iowa to hunt and fish on unoccupied grounds. In 1856 the General Assembly passed a law permitting a bond of these homesick Indians to remain in Tama County. The following year the Indians bought eighty acres of land for one thousand dollars, the money being a portion of the annuities which they received from the United States government. In 1940 there were almost four hundred Indians, mostly Foxes or Mesquakies, who occupied about 4,000 acres of land along the Iowa River, known today as the Tama Indian Reservation. Actually the tract is not a reservation, for the Indians own the land in fee simple, the government merely acting as trustee. For more than a quarter of a century the Tama Indians have held a pow-wow each fall, their red cousins from neighboring tribes appearing with the Mesquakies to present their Indian songs and dances.
The Struggle for Territory
It was on June 17, 1673, that Joliet and Marquette and their five rugged voyageurs paddled into the broad Father at Waters, just below the site of modern McGregor. "We safely entered Mississippi on The 17th of June with a Joy that I cannot Express," Marquette records in his journal. Directly across the river the intrepid priest noted "A large Chain of very high Mountains." The Mississippi was "Divided by Islands" and as the Frenchmen "gently followed its Course" Marquette observed that the mountains gradually fell away, the islands seemed "more beautiful" and studded with fine trees while the prairies were fairly covered with deer and cattle." For eight days they continued down stream "without discovering anything except animals and birds." One "monstrous fish" struck Marquette's frail croft "with such violence" that he thought it was a "great tree, about to break the Canoe to pieces." On another occasion he saw a "monster with the head of a tiger, a sharp nose Like That of a wildcat, with whiskers and straight, Erect ears". When they reached the Illinois villages on June 25th they were greeted kindly, the Indians preparing a feast of fish, dog, and buffalo meat, and sagamite, which was a "meal of indian corn boiled in water, and seasoned with fat." Joliet and Marquette spent six days with the Illinois before Continuing downstream to the mouth of the Arkansas.
During the years that followed the French lost no time in tightening their grip on the land drained by the Father of Waters. The most daring of all French explorers LaSalle received permission from Louis XIV to explore the western wilderness and follow the Mississippi to its mouth. On April 9, 1682, LaSalle formally annexed the lands drained by the Mississippi in the name of his king, naming it Louisiana in honor of Louis XIV. Two years previously, In 1680, La Salle had sent on expedition under Michel Aco to the headwaters of the Mississippi. Louis Hennepin and Antoine Auguel were sent along as Aco's companions. These three men were the first to travel along the entire eastern border of what is now Iowa, for Joliet and Marquette had seen only that part which lay below the mouth of the Wisconsin River. Captured by the war-like Sioux, Aco and his two companions were finally rescued by Sieur Daniel du Luth and escaped down the Mississippi.
Close on the heels of the explorers come the voyageurs and coureurs des bois. Adventurous, hardy, courageous, these sturdy fur traders ventured deep into the wilderness in quest of pelts. They built trading posts and often married Indian women. It was through such daring men that France was able to build up on empire in the Mississippi Valley. Often the fur trader governed vast areas with on iron hand. Such a man was Nicholas Perrot who, following his appointment as Commandant of the West In 1685, established Fort St. Nicholas at the mouth of the Wisconsin River. Perrot agreed to teach the Miami Indians how to mine lead in the Galena-Dubuque area in 1690, almost a century before the advent of Julien Dubuque. He was also responsible for sending the Miami buffalo hunting in Iowa, when their chief was anxious to set out on the warpath against the Sioux. An explorer, fur trader, interpreter, miner, and military commander, Nicholas Perrot illustrates the character of the empire builders who shaped the destinies of the Upper Mississippi Volley during the French regime.
No nation was more successful than the French in gaining the friendship and good will of the Indians; among the western tribes only the war-like Foxes remained their implacable foes. This fierce tribe blocked the path of the French along the Fox-Wisconsin highway, using the scalping knife so freely upon the Indians friendly to the French that they almost ruined the fur trade. Angered by their attacks, the French faught the Faxes for half a century, on one occasion putting two hundred of them to death at Detroit without mercy. By 1730 the Foxes were almost wiped out and were forced to flee beyond the Mississippi. There they were joined by the Sauk, one of whom had shot a French officer. In the fall of 1734, Captain Joseph des Noyelles set out from Montreal to punish the Sauk and separate the two tribes. On April 19, 1735, Des Noyelles and his men fought a pitched battle with the Sauk and Fox at the Raccoon Fork of the Des Moines On the present site of the State capitol. It was the only battle between the red man and the white man to occur on Iowa soil, taking place exactly forty years before the bottle of Lexington and Concord. This incident strengthened the confederation between the Sauk and Fox Indians.
The French had long dreamed of a chain of forts to strengthen their hold on the Upper Mississippi Valley. Following the Des Nayelles expedition they hoped to induce the Sauk to return to Wisconsin. Accordingly, Pierre Paul Marin was sent in 1738 to erect a post on the banks of the Mississippi in what is now Clayton County. Marin's trading post was the first fort built in Iowa, preceding the erection of American-built Fort Madison by exactly seventy years. Marin is also said to have erected other military posts in the Iowa country. Thus, the Sioux called on him at his fort at the mouth of the Wapsipinicon. His chief past, however, was said to have been located at the mouth of the Rock River across the Mississippi from modern Davenport.
Despite her best efforts, France was destined to lose her title to the sprawling wilderness flanking both banks of the Mississippi. She retained possession of the whole of Louisiana until 1762 when she secretly ceded to Spain the island an which New Orleans stood and all her territory west of the Mississippi including what is now Iowa. The following year, at the conclusion of the French and Indian War, eastern Louisiana was surrendered to England.
Spain did not secure actual possession of Louisiana for seven years after the acquisition of the territory from France. Her first governor, Don Antonio de Ulloa, was driven out by the irate inhabitants of New Orleans in 1768, after two years of tumultuous opposition. This so angered Charles III of Spain that he sent Don Alexander O'Reilly to take over the reigns of government. In the three succeeding decades Spain's interest was focused on the Mississippi between New Orleans and St. Louis. Little attention was paid to the Iowa country despite the efforts of Spanish governors to secure funds to establish a military post near the mouth of the Des Moines to ward off trespassing English fur traders. The remote situation of the country and the high cost of erecting and maintaining a fort apparently served as retarding factors.
Nevertheless, Spanish Louisiana and Iowa were destined play a dramatic role in the American Revolution. During the spring of 1780 the English captured an armed barge manned by Spanish and Americans at the mouth of the Turkey River. They then proceeded to the leod mines where Jean Marie Cardinal and a group of men were mining lead for the American forces. Many of the miners were captured but Cardinal and a few of his companions managed to escape down the Mississippi in time to warn the inhabitants of St. Louis of the impending danger. When the British and their dusky Indian allies launched their attack on May 25, 1780, Cardinal lost his life while valiantly fighting to defend St. Louis. Jean Marie Cardinal is probably the only Iowan to give his life in the couse of American independence.
More significant in Iowa history were the Spanish land grants. The first permanent settler in Iowa was Julien Dubuque, who received permission from the Fox Indians to work the lead mines around present-day Dubuque on September 22, 1788. On November 10, 1796, Governor General Carondelet supported Dubuque's petition to work his "Mines of Spain" by granting him a princely tract of land stretching some twenty-one miles along the Mississippi and extending inland about nine miles. Dubuque died on March 24, 1810, after residing twenty-two consecutive years in Iowa. Meanwhile, Auguste Chouteau d acquired the title to most of Dubuque's land. After the Black Hawk Purchase was opened to settlers on June 1, 1833, the heirs of Chouteau carried an a losing fight to establish their claims based on the Spanish grant to Dubuque. Their right to it was finally denied by a decision of the United States Supreme Court, handed down in Decernber, 1853.
Two other Spanish land grants were made in what is now Iowa. Louis Honore Tesson was granted a tract of land in what is now Lee County by Zenon Trudeau, acting-Governor of Upper Louisiana on March 30, 1799. Tesson took immediate possession of the tract and planted his famous apple orchard. The Tesson tract, by a decision of the United States Supreme Court, has the distinction of being the oldest legal land title in the State of Iowa.
On November 20, 1800, Governor Charles Dehault Delossus of Upper Louisiana granted 6808 1/2 arpents of land in Clayton County to Basil Giard. The town of Marquette and port of McGregor are now located on a portion of this tract. The Giard grant was upheld by the Recorder of Land Titles at St. Louis in 1816.
The Louisiana Purchase
The Spanish retained possession of Louisiana from July 24, 1769, until October 1, 1800, when Napoleon, during a brief lull in his continental struggle, forced Spain sign the treaty of Son Ildefonso retroceding the Isle of Orleans and all territory west of the Mississippi to France. The ink on the treaty of San Ildefonso had hardly dried, however, when Napoleon's dream of an empire in the West was rudely broken by the prospects of a fresh war with England. The "Little Corporal" wanted on immediate purchaser to prevent England from seizing Louisiana so Thomas Jefferson, alarmed at the possibility of a powerful French Empire to the rear and mumbling all the while about "marrying" the United States to the "British fleet and nation," acquired Louisiana in a treaty signed at Paris on April 30, 1803, France transferred Lower Louisiana the United States in a colorful ceremony at New Orleans on December 20th. The following spring, On March 10, 1804, Upper Louisiana was turned over to the United States at St. Louis.
American Exploration of Iowaland
President Thomas Jefferson lost no time in finding out about the vast domain the United States had just acquired. On May 14, 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition set out up the Missouri River from their winter camp in Illinois. They had been ordered to explore the Missouri River and its branches, to discover what the French had failed to find - a transcontinental waterway to the Pacific Ocean; and to observe and keep a journal of the routes, Soil, Indians, plants, and wild life of the region. The expedition traveled over 6600 miles and passed through eleven future states. From July 18 to August 21, 1804, Lewis and Clark traveled up the Big Muddy along the western border of Iowa, taking full and accurate account of what they saw. A council was held with the Oto Indians a few miles above the present city of Omaha. Council Bluffs in Iowa was named in honor of this event. On August 20, 1804, Sergeant Charles Floyd died near what is now Sioux City, the only man to meet death during the expedition. A handsome monument now overlooks the Missouri at the mouth of the Floyd River, commemorating both the expedition and the first white man known to have died in Iowa. Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific Coast in November, 1805, and returned to St. Louis on September 23, 1806.
Another expedition set out from St. Louis under lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike on August 9, 1805. Pike was ordered to explore the headwaters of the Upper Mississippi, select sites for military posts, tell the Indians about their new Great White Father in Washington, and warn the British traders on American soil that they must respect and obey the laws of the United States. The dashing young army officer suggested the present site at Burlington and the towering bluff commanding the mouth of the Wisconsin River as suitable sites for a fort. Black Hawk tells of Pike's visit at Saukenuk. Lieutenant Pike visited with Julien Dubuque at the mouth of Catfish Creek and held a conference with Chief Wabasha and his band of Sioux at the mouth of the Upper Iowa River, but he failed to discover the source of the Mississippi, and returned down the Mississippi to St. Louis the following spring.
In the years that followed the Iowa country remained almost unsettled, Forts were established along the Mississippi and Missouri, the first American fort in Iowaland being Fort Madison. Established in 1808, this poorly located military post was deserted and burned down during the War of 1812. Fort Edwards was built opposite the mouth of the Des Moines in 1815, Fort Armstrong was located on Rock Island in 1816, and Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien the same year. The first Fort Des Moines was set up on the present site of Montrose in 1834; a second by the same name was erected at the mouth of the Raccoon Fork in 1843. Other noted military posts were Fort Atkinson in Winneshiek County; Fort Clarke in Webster County, and Fort Croghan on the Missouri River in Pottawattamie County.
Political Jurisdiction, 1804 - 1834
On March 26, 1804, Congress provided for the government of the newly acquired territory between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains by dividing it into two separate jurisdictions - the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana. The Iowa country formed a part of the District of Louisiana, which was placed under the jurisdiction of the Governor and Judges of the Territory of Indiana. A little later, in 1812, Iowa was included in the Territory of Missouri where it remained until Missouri was admitted into the Union in 1821. For the next thirteen years, Iowa was a political orphan, without a government of any kind. The real political history of lowa, in so far as it related to the establishment of counties, districts, judges, and actual representation of white inhabitants in Congress, begins with its attachment to the Territory of Michigan on June 28, 1834.
Iowaland Through Many Eyes
During the three decades ending in 1834, military expeditions traveled far and wide through Iowaland. The names of Stephen H. Long, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, Stephen Watts Kearny, and Henry Atkinson loom large among the military chroniclers of Iowaland. Army posts were established where records were kept of the climatology of the region as well as the routine events at the isolated military establishments. Fugitive manuscripts tell of the activity of fur traders who ranged the rivers and streams of Iowaland. Missionary labors were performed in this far-flung frontier; adventurous travelers record their wanderings in the wilderness. Thus, Giacomo C. Beltrami voyaged up the Mississippi on the Virginia in 1823 and Celeb Atwater churned as far as Prairie du Chien aboard the Red Rover in 1829. George Catlin, the talented Americon artist, traveled up the Missouri River in 1832, painting pictures of the red man in his native haunt and writing vivid descriptions of the land and its people. Catlin later painted many pictures on the Upper Mississippi. John Bradbury, J. N. Nicollet, Pierre De Smet and Maximillion - Prince of Wied are but a few of the many travelers who described the western border of Iowa.
Such records ore of vital significance in the history of 1owa. They form, first of all, the only source of information before the advent of the settlers and the press. Furthermore. the observers were usually competent and well-qualified men whose descriptions were unprejudiced, at least so far as significant details were concerned. Without these records there would be little to recount of the period prior to permanent settlement. Indeed it must be remembered that for thirty-three years after it become a part of the United Stores, the land now included in the State of Iowa lacked even a name. It was not until 1836 that Albert M. Lea used the term "Iowa District" for the region traversed by Colonel Stephen Watts Kearny and his United State dragoons in 1835. Lieutenant Lea's book was entitled "Notes on the Wisconsin Territory; Particularly with Reference to the Iowa District, or Black Hawk Purchase." It was the first volume devoted exclusively to Iowa and served to make Iowa at least a "geographical expression."
Attempts to Settle Iowa Before 1833
A number of attempts were made to settle Iowa prior to June 1, 1833. The heirs of Auguste Chouteau endeavored to work the lead mines after Julien Dubuque's death in 1810 but were driven out by the Fox Indians. Other white men sought to occupy the lead district only to be repelled by the Indians or ejected by United States troops. During the course of one of these incursions into the mineral region the Miners' Compact was adopted and signed by a group of men who vainly hoped to work the lead mines. Sometimes referred to as the Mayflower Compact of Iowa, the Miner's Compact was the first written constitution drown up in Iowa. Actually only permanent settlements before 1833 were made in the Half-breed Tract in Lee County. Even here the pioneers were unable to buy the land from the half-breeds until after 1834.
Territory at Michigan The influx of settlers into the Black Hawk Purchase on June 1, 1833, marks the beginnings of permanent settlement in Iowa. These first settlers found themselves without government or laws of any kind. The lawless nature of many of the newcomers, particularly in the mineral region, made it imperative thot some form of civil government be instituted. After Patrick O'Connor was hanged for murder at Dubuque on June 20, 1834, Congress finally approved on act on June 28th attaching the land west of the Mississippi to the Territory of Michigan "for purposes of government."
Territory of Wisconsin
Michigan soon applied for admission into the Union. The Territory of Wisconsin was accordingly created in 1836 - an immense wilderness induding all of present-day Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, and over half of the Dakotas. President Jackson appointed Henry Dodge governor of this inland empire, whose copitol was located at Belmont. The first census, in 1836, showed 10,531 people living west of the Mississippi in the Black Howk Purchase.
When the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin convened at Belmont the legislators found themselves in on unattractive capitol. Pending the establishment of suitable buildings at Madison, they agreed to hold their next session at Burlington on the west bank of the Mississippi. Thus, with the opening of the second session of the First Territorial Assembly at Burlington on November 6, 1837, the first legislative body convened in Iowa.
Territory of Iowa
By 1838 the country on the west side of the river had grown so rapidly that the settlers petitioned Congress to create a separate Territory. Proponents of a separate organization argued that the Territory of Wisconsin was too large; that it did not possess geographical unity, and that historical traditions favored the separation of the land east of the Mississippi from that west of the Father of Waters. The increasing and widely scattered population, coupled with the prospective removal of the capitol to Madison, were also cogent arguments. Finally, the persistent bombardment of Washington with letters, resolutions, and memorials by settlers in the Black Hawk Purchase doubtless hastened the measure through Congress and gained the signature of President Van Buren on June 12, 1838. It was in accordance with this act that the Territory of Iowa was born on July 4, 1838. Robert Lucas a former soldier, legislator, and Governor of Ohio, was appointed by President Van Buren to serve as first Governor of the new Territory.
The establishment of the Territory of Iowa was of great importance to the people west of the Mississippi. In the first place it resulted in more intimate government for the Iowa country. Secondly, Immigrants were bound to be impressed with a region whose rapid development had allowed it to become a part of three different Territories within a space of less than six years. Neither Michigan nor Wisconsin could point to such phenomenal growth. Furthermore, with the creation of the new Territory west of the Mississippi the word Iowa become a household expression for the first time, the name appearing constantly thereafter in census figures, gazetteers, congressional debates, and newspaper editorials. The importance of this event in its bearing on westward expansion and the slavery question must not be overlooked. Finally the period of the Territory of Iowa was the common, inheritance of three other States - Minnesoto, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Three men served as Governors of the Territory of Iowa between 1838 and 1846. Governor Robert Lucas held office until 1841 when John Chambers of Kentucky took his place as the choice of President William Henry Harrison. The third and last Territorial Governor - James Clarke - was appointed by James K. Polk and served from 1845 to 1846. A former editor of a Burlington newspaper, Clark was the first resident of the Territory to receive this honor. Three men - Charles Mason, Joseph Williams, and Thomas S. Wilson - served as justices of the Territorial Supreme Court throughout this same eight year period. Augustus Caesar Dodge, son of Henry Dodge, was Delegate to Congress from the Territory of Iowa from 1840 to 1846.
Some Beginnings in Iowa
The period from 1833 to 1838 is one of beginnings in Iowa. The first murders and executions took place. The first Cities, townships, and counties were established. The first schools, academies, and seminaries were founded. The first lyceums, churches, and temperance societies sprang into existence. The first newspapers, banks, jewelry stores, bakery shops, and drug stores were begun The first public surveys were made in 1837; land offices were established at Dubuque and Burlington the following year. Forests were cleared, soil broken, land plowed, seed sown, crops harvested. Infant industries had their beginnings - printing and publishing, blacksmith, gunsmith, and cooperage establishments, brick works, clay works, blast furnaces, saw mills, grist mills, all attested the growth of the Black Hawk Purchase.
Many of the first homes were built of logs, but rough lumber was soon made in the rude saw mills located along the streams of Iowa. An Iowa City pioneer declared that five days before he occupied his log cabin, the lumber used in it was growing in the forests. The few brick and stone houses that were erected prior to 1839 were objects of pride for local citizens and newspapers. Food in Iowa was plentiful - wild game abounded in the forests and the streams were well-stocked with fish. The soil yielded abundantly while livestock was allowed to run wild. The simplicity of life as it existed in the 1830's was destined to see its counterpart through well nigh two generations. For northwestern Iowa was still unsettled area in 1870; it was not until 1880 that the American frontier had moved westward into the Dakotas.
Dramatic Episodes: 1838 - 1846
Although the Territorial pioneers were engaged primarily in making a living, they took a keen interest in the activities about them. The period was one of the most colorful in the history of the Hawkeye State. The Missouri Boundory War, the Bellevue War, the selection of Iowa City as the Territorial capital, the coming of the Iowa Band, the agitation for statehood, the Constitutional Conventions of 1844 and 1846, the Mormon trek across southern Iowa, and the outbreak of the Mexican War, these were but a few of the many notable incidents which occurred between 1838 and 1846. Throughout this period the population grew from 22,859 to 102,000 as pioneers poured in from the twenty-seven States of the Union.
Scarcely had the Territory of Iowa been organized when it became involved in a dispute with the State of Missouri over the location of its southern boundary. Governor Robert Lucas insisted that the boundary was the socalled Sullivan Line, projected eastward in 1816 through the Des Moines Rapids in the Mississippi River. Missouri claimed a line drawn in 1837 by J. C. Brown, a surveyor appointed by the Missouri legislature to determine the correct boundary. Both sides mobilized their militia, Governor Lucas winning the admiration of his constituents by his prompt and firm action in behalf of the youthful Territory. The decision was finally left to the United States Supreme Court, which, in 1849, decided in favor of Iowa.
Every frontier has served as a haven for the lawless: pioneer Iowa had its share of gamblers, horse thieves, robbers, and claim jumpers. Such gangs as the Rainsbargers of Hardin County and the Brodys in Benton and Linn counties, were largely responsible for the organization of Regulators or vigilance committees. These vigilance committees existed in practically all sections of the State during the forties and fifties but were most active in eastern Iowa, particularly along the Des Moines, Cedar, Iowa, and Wapsipinicon rivers.
One of the most dramatic episodes in Iowa history occurred in gangster-lnfested Jackson County in 1840. A large number of lawless men had located ot Bellevue where they headquartered ot a tavern owned by their leader, a man named William Brown. The law-abiding element of Bellevue finally captured most of the lawbreakers after a bloody battle in which several citizens were killed. By a close vote, they determined on horse-whipping as punishment instead of hanging. The desperadoes were soundly whipped and sent down the Mississippi in boats with rations enough for three days.
Iowa City and Old Capitol
The problem of choosing a permanent, centrally located capitol confronted the legislators at the Territory of Iowa when they met at Burlington in the fall of 1838. The intense rivalry for the honor is attested by the fact that more than a score of towns were considered as possible sites It was finally decided to locate the capital in Johnson County and name it Iowa City. Three commissioners selected the site in May of 1839, and the cornerstone of the capitol was laid by Governor Robert Lucas on July 4, 1840. Designed by John F. Rogue of Springfield, Illinois, the building housed its first legislature in 1842. During the next fifteen years the Territorial and State legislators met beneath its classic dome. The Constitutional Conventions of 1844, 1846 and 1857 convened within its limestone walls. In this now famous structure the State of Iowa was born in 1846, the State University of Iowa founded in 1847, the Republican party formed in 1856, and the State Historical Society of Iowa organized in 1857. The Old Stone Capitol at Iowa City is the most historic building in the Hawkeye State.
The Movement Toward Statehood
The dominant political issue between 1840 and 1846 was the achievement of statehood. The movement began in November, 1839, when Governor Robert Lucas urged the legislature to memorialize Congress for an Enabling Act. Lucas also recommended the passage of a law calling for a constitutional convention. The legislature failed to follow these recommendations, however, and in August, 1840, when the people had on opportunity to express themselves on the calling of a constitutional convention, they defeated the plan by a vote of 2,907 to 937. In 1842 the Iowa pioneers again defeated the proposal by a vote of 6,825 to 4,129.
The arguments advanced for and against the calling of a constitutional convention in 1842 reveal the attitude of the early settlers toward self-government during this period. Statehood, it was argued, would result in increased immigration, give Iowa greater influence in Washington, and place the Hawkeyes on an equal footing with older States. It would allow the people to choose their own Governor and also give them a voice in electing a President in 1844. Proponents warned that if Iowa did not apply for admission, the slave State of Florida would be paired with Wisconsin. To those fearful of increased taxes it was pointed out that Congress had passed a Distribution Act whereby the funds received from the sale of public lands were distributed pro rata among the States. In addition to this the new bill provided for a 500,000 acre grant of land for internal improvements to each new State. The benefits of the Distribution Act would more than balance the increased taxation. Proponents also claimed that statehood "would promote character, foster independence, engender state pride, and inspire dignity." Finally they urged Iowans to follow the example of the Father of the Revolution: "The freemen of lowa should rise and strike for Independence."
Opponents of statehood declared that the Territorial government was good enough and that there was no need for a change. They were certain that increased taxatian would result from statehood, contending that the operations of the Distribution Act could not be predicted with certainty. It was also felt that the new Territory was too young and its resources too limited to warrant seeking statehood. Furthermore, there were not enough eminent men in the Territory fitted for State office. Finally, they branded the entire movement as one inspired by Democratic job-seekers.
These some arguments were used by opposing sides in 1844 when the electorate was faced with the issue and the population had increased to seventy-five thousand. The division was once more along party lines and the outcome showed a large majority in favor of the measure. The final vote stood 6,719 for a convention and 3,974 against One.
The Constitutional Convention of 1844
In August of 1844 the voters of the Territory of Iowa went to the polls and elected 72 delegates to a Constitutional Convention. The election was fought On purely partison grounds - the Democrats naming Over two-thirds of the delegates. The delegates met in what is now the Old Stone Capitol at lowa City on October 7, 1844. They elected Shepherd Leffler of Des Moines County as president and appointed eleven standing committees.
The composition of the Convention disclosed 51 Democrats and 21 Whigs. Twenty-six members were born in the South, twenty-three in the Middle States, ten in New England, and ten in the States carved from the Old Northwest Territory. A German, a Scotchman, and on Irishman completed the roster of delegates. The delegates were comparatively young men - the oldest being 66, the youngest 27; and their average age about 40. A tabulation of the occupations or professions of the delegates revealed 46 farmers, 9 lawyers, 5 physicians, 3 merchants, 2 mechanics, 2 miners, 2 millwrights, a printer a miller and a civil engineer. The convention postponed action on a resolution to open each session with prayer, voted low salaries, opposed banks and kindred corporations, debated loudly on the question of the position and power of the Governor, deliberated sagely on the method of choosing Supreme. Court and District Judges. The Convention of 1844 adjourned on November first after a twenty-six day session, having produced a Constitution at a cost of scarcely eight thousand dollars.
The Constitution of 1844
The Constitution of 1844 opened with a preamble similar to that of the Federal Constitution and contained an elaborate Bill of Rights. The boundaries adapted were known as the Lucas Boundaries. The Mississippi and Missouri rivers formed the eastern and western limits while the State of Missouri served as the southern boundary. The northern boundary alone differed from Iowa as we know it today. It began with a straight line drawn from the mouth of the Big Sioux to the Minnesota River at Mankato. Thence it followed the main channel of the Minnesota to its confluence with the Mississippi at Fort Snelling, whence it continued down the Father of Waters to the mouth of the Des Moines. With such generous boundaries Iowa would have included such Minnesota towns of Austin and Albert Lea, Fairmont and Faribault, Mankato and Winona, Rochester and Red Wing, as well as portions of Saint Paul.
Congress mode short shrift of the proposal to form a State of such immense proportions, offering in its stead the Nicollet Boundaries. These would have eliminated the Missouri River by substituting all that port of the Territory of Iowa south of the parallel running through the mouth of the Blue Earth River at Mankato and east of the meridion 17 degrees and 30 minutes west of Washington. Such a western boundary would have included very little of present-day Iowa west of Boone. Incensed at the loss of the Missouri as a boundary, the voters twice rejected the Constitution of 1844.
The Constitutional Convention of 1846
In April of 1846 the citizens of the Territory of Iowa elected twenty-two Democrats and ten Whigs to a new convention which met in the Old Stone Capitol an May 4, 1846. In the short space of fifteen days this convention drew up a Constitution providing for a State with the present-day boundaries of Iowa. The convention cost only $2,844; and the Constitution it adopted was destined to last eleven years. Congress accepted the proposed boundaries and the people voted in favor of this Constitution by the slim margin of 9,492 to 9,036. President James K. Polk signed the bill admitting Iowa into the Union on December 28, 1846.
Iowa Under the Control of the Democrats
During the first eight years of statehood the Democratic party was in control of Iowa. Ansel Briggs of Jackson County served the first four-year term as Governor of the Hawkeye State. He was succeeded by Stephen Hempstead of Dubuque County in 1850. Both these men were Democrats and most of the State and National figures were chosen from that party. The vote was generally very close, however. Thus, the first State legislature was composed of 11 Democrats and 8 Whigs in the Senate and 19 Democrats and 20 Whigs in the House. The vote for the Presidency was equally close.
|Democrat ||Whig ||Free Soil |
|Cass ||12,093 ||Taylor ||11,144 ||Van Buren ||1,126 |
|Pierce ||17,762 ||Scott ||15,856 ||Hale ||1,606 |
The Slavery Issue
While state and local problems deeply interested Iowans, an all-consuming national issue was fomenting unrest in the Hawkeye State. This was the slavery question - an issue destined to disrupt the Whig party and give rise to the Republican party. The birth of the Republican party represented the most for-reaching political upheaval in Iowa between 1854 and 1932.
The Republican party in Iowa grew out of the gubernatorial compaign of 1854. Both State and National issues were crystallizing by 1854 and the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act was having on all-powerful effect on the northern immigrants who had been arriving in Iowa in ever increasing numbers. The Democrats nominated Curtis Bates for Governor in 1854 while the Whig banner was carried aloft by James W. Grimes, a brilliant young Burlington lawyer who had resided in the Hawkeye State since 1836. Grimes made a vigorous campaign, touring the State in a two-horse buggy and fighting relentlessly against the further extension of slavery into free territory. His Own party associates shunned Grimes' company because of his outspoken heresy: all but one of these timid souls were defeated while Grimes himself won a smashing triumph with a majority of 2,486, the first Whig to be elected Governor of the State of Iowa.
Birth of the Republican Party
The election of James W. Grimes was scarcely a victory for the Whig party for that political organization had disavowed him, its craven members fearing to express the real thoughts of the populace. A new party was needed and Grimes (now a national figure) was among the first in the Middle West to "wipe their hands of Whiggery" His activity by personal letters and through the patronage, coupled with the demands of the press for a new organization, led to the union of many groups under the aegis of the Republican party. In January of 1856 a card appeared in Iowa newspapers signed "Many Citizens" which called for a meeting to be held in Iowa City on February 22, 1856, "for the purpose of organizing a Republican party, to make common cause with a similar party already formed in several of the other States of the Union."
On the day named about four hundred delegates from thirty-nine counties assembled in the Capitol at Iowa City. Among the delegates present were Samuel J. Kirkwood, Benj. F. Gue, William M. Stone, Josiah B. Grinnell, and Francis Springer. Not less than twenty resolutions for party platforms were proposed but all were rejected, including those endeavoring to secure endorsement of naturalization lows and a temperance plank. The convention completely ignored State and local issues. It simply adopted unanimously a platform of three hundred words and seven planks restricted to the slavery question and then adjourned. In the fall of 1856 the new party elected majorities in both houses of the General Assembly and sent two Representatives to Congress. It also elected four electors for John C. Fremont for President.
So overwhelming was the Republican triumph in Iowa that a leading Democrat, Henry Clay Dean, was constrained to remark: "The negro question, with which we have legitimately nothing under the Heavens to do, has cost us two Governors, two United States Senators, four Congressmen, the whole of the Supreme Bench, and both Houses of the Legislature, for three successive sessions. . . We have nothing left us but our party platform and political integrity."
Political History: 1856-1940
On only two occasions between 1854 and 1940 have the Democrats regained the ascendancy. Thus, in 1890, Horace Boies was elected over his Republican opponent, largely on the basis of his sparkling personality, his opposition to prohibition, and the financial support of disgruntled railroad men who believed "a licking would be a good thing for the Republican party". Boies was re-elected in 1892. Again, in 1932, Clyde L. Herring was elected to the gubernatorial chair. Re-elected in 1934, Herring was succeeded by Nelson Kraschel in 1936 when Roosevelt and his New Deal won another thumping victory in the Hawkeye State, In 1938, however, the State returned once more to the Republican fold by electing George A. Wilson as its chief executive.
Much the some political pattern has been followed in senatorial elections. Iowa failed to elect Senators in 1847 because of a deadlock in the General Assembly between the Whigs and Democrats. On December 7, 1848, however, the Democrats held a majority in both houses and Augustus Caesar Dodge and George Wallace Jones were promptly elected. James Harlon wrested the senatorship from Dodge in 1854, while James W. Grimes won the seat held by Jones, taking office in 1859. The list of United States Senators from lowa is not long-since 1848 only twenty-three Iowans have held the office. The seat which fell to Senator Dodge in 1848 has had only nine incumbents in 92 years - A. C. Dodge, James Harlan, Samuel J. Kirkwood, William B. Allison, Albert B. Cummins, David W. Stewart, Smith W. Brookhart, Louis Murphy, and Guy M. Gillette. Allison was elected Senator six times, serving with distinction from 1873 to 1908. Between 1859 and 1932 only one Democrat has held the office of United States Senator - Daniel F. Steck from 1926 to 1931. With the inauguration of the New Deal, however, the Democrats gained possession of both seats in the Senate and have cantinued to hold them through 1940.
One hundred and forty-four different men have represented Iowa in the United States House of Representatives between 1846 and 1940. For the first seventeen years, 1846 to 1863, Iowa was entitled to only two representatives. There were six representatives from 1863 to 1873, and nine from 1873 to 1883. The Iowa delegation in the House stood at eleven between 1883 and 1933, despite the fact that the total membership of the House increased from 332 to 435 during this period. The failure of Iowa to keep pace in population growth with the rest of the nation has led to a reduction of her representation to nine in 1933.
The number of terms served in the House by individual members varies widely. Fifty-three representatives, constituting more than one-third of the total number from Iowa, have had only a single term of office. Thirty-six men have served two terms while twenty-three have served three terms. The names of some of those who served more than five terms reads like a Who's Who of Iowa's immortal great. Jonathan P. Dolliver cnd John A Kasson each serve six terms; James W Good and Horace M. Towner eight terms; David B. Henderson and J. A. T. Hull ten terms; W. P. Hepburn and Cassius C. Dowell eleven terms and Gilbert N. Haugen sixteen consecutive terms! Govemors, Senators, and members of the President's cabinet have begun as humble representatives. The name of Gilbert N Haugen must always be associated with the McNary-Haugen bill. William P. Hepburn must be remembered for his constructive statesmanship, particularly on railroad and pure food measures; David B. Henderson for his yeoman service as Speaker of the House. Two orators of national repute - Jonathan P. Dolliver and Robert G. Cousins - represented Iowa in the Fifty-fourth Congress.
Since the days when Abraham Lincoln nominated Senator James Harlan as his Secretory of the Interior, citizens of Iowa have held high rank in the councils of the notion. Prior to 1932 ten Iowans had been appointed to thot select circle that constitutes the President's cabinet. Leslie M. Show served as Secretary of the Treasury; Frank Hatton as Postmaster General; James Harlan and Samuel J. Kirkwood as Secretary of the Interior, William W. Belknap, George W. McCrory, and James W. Good as Secretary of War; James Wilson, E. T. Meredith, and Henry C. Wallace as Secretary of Agriculture. Franklin Delano Roosevelt has added to this list by appointing Henry A. Wallace as Secretory of Agriculture and naming Harry Hopkins as Secretary of Commerce. Three other Iowa-born men have held cabinet posts as appointees from other States. Herbert Hoover served as Secretory of Commerce before becoming President of the United States. Curtis Dwight Wilbur acted as Secretary of the Navy and Roy Lyman Wilbur as Secretary of the Interior. "Tama Jim" Wilson occupies the most distinguished role as presidential adviser his record of sixteen years service under McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft, being unsurpassed by any other cabinet member. Iowans have served as Secretary of Agriculture for twenty-seven years - or over half the time since the creation of the Deportment In 1889.
Iowa And War
The settlement of Iowa grew out of the Block Hawk War. Almost a century before that conflict, however, on April 19, 1735 the first clash between the Indian and the white man had occured on Iowa soil. Subsequently there were reverberations of both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 along the eastern border of Iowa. The Black Hawk War itself was fought largely by Illinois militia and United States troops for settlement in Iowa did not begin until after that conflict. It was not until 1846 that Iowa had the opportunity to join her Sister States In a major struggle - the Mexican War.
The Mexican War
Since there were only one hundred thousand people in Iowa when the United States declared war on Mexico in 1846, the Hawkeye State was destined to play only a minor role in this conflict. Her quota of one regiment was quickly filled but was never summoned into active service. An independent company, however, was recruited in Burlington and Fort Madison by Frederick D. Mills and Edwin Guthrie. This unit was attached to the Fifteenth United States Infantry as Company K. The Iowa volunteers steamed down the Mississippi to New Orleans, crossed the Gulf of Mexico to Vera Cruz, and bravely fought their way to Mexico City. Both Major Mills and Captain Guthrie were killed in action and almost half their company failed to return. Mills and Guthrie counties were named in honor of these heroic soldiers.
Another Iowan, Captain Benjamin S. Roberts of Fort Madison, distinguished himself in the Mexican War. Roberts helped capture Cerro Gordo and was given the honor of raising the American flag over the palace in Mexico City.
Still another incident should be mentioned. It was in 1846 that the Mormons were trekking westward across southern Iowa from Nauvoo to what is now Council Bluffs. Captain James Allen gained the consent of Brigham Young to recruit five hundred men at the various Camps of Israel in Iowa upon assuring Brigham Young that the men would be mustered out in California and that a bounty of $20,000 would be paid. The exploits of the Mormon Battalion on its two thousand mile march from the Missouri through Santa Fe to California is one of the most stirring dramas in American military annals.
The interest of Iowans in the Mexican War is attested by the number of place names in the Hawkeye State commemorating that struggle. In addition to Mills and Guthrie counties, Butler, Taylor, Hardin, Ringgold Yell, and Risley counties were named for men who distinguished themselves in the Mexican War. Bueno Vista, Cerro Gordo, and Palo Alto counties commemorate famous battles. Yell and Risley were later united to form Webster County.
The Civil War
The outbreak: of the Civil War found Iowa with her militia unorganized, her citizens with scarcely any military training, her few Independent companys without proper arms and equipment. The handful of military organizations that existed, such as the Burlington Zouaves, the Washington Light Guards, and the Governor's Greys of Dubuque, were prepared for social activity rather than fighting.
Despite these shortcomings Iowa responded enthusiastically and loyaly to the call to arms. During the struggle the Hawkeye State furnished forty-eight regiments of infantry, nine regiments of cavalry, four batteries, a colored infantry, and a few sailors. Almost eighty thousand men, a number representing approximately one-half of the able-bodied men of the state and more than one-tenth of the total population, rallied to the colors This was more than Washington had in his armies and also more than the original 75,000 volunteers Abraham Lincoln called for in his proclamation of April 15, 1861. The draft system did not go into effect until March, 1863, when troops were raised by drawing lot, unless the men volunteered. To be drafted was regarded as a kind of disgrace--only about four thousand Iowa men had to be drafted.
Iowa troops were especially prominent in such battles as Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, Shiloh, Iuka, Corinth, the siege of Vicksburg, the capture of Fort Donelson, and the numerous skirmishes and battles fought during Sherman's march to the sea. Four Iowans - Samuel R. Curtis, Grenville M. Dodge, Frederick Steele, and Francis J. Herron - served as major generals. lowa could also point with pride to thirteen brevet major generals, six brigadier generals, and thirty-six brevet brigadier generals. Over 12,000 Iowa men were killed during the course of the bloody conflict, a number equal to one-fourth of the total American losses during the World War. In addition to this, nearly 9,000 Iowans were wounded in bottle and another 10,000 were discharged because of Ill-health.
Yeoman service was also performed by Iowans behind the lines and at home. A chain of troops guarded the northwest border from Indian attack. Mrs. Annie Turner Wittenmyer of Keokuk won notional renown when she installed diet kitchens in military hospitals. Relief work received much attention in Iowa. Sanitary fairs assisted in providing funds and women's aid societies worked heroically to care for the men in service, for the sick and wounded, and for the soldiers' orphans. The expression of disloyal sentiments by copperheads (southern sympathizers) was distinctly unpopular and sometimes dangerous. D. A. Mahony, a newspaper editor of Dubuque, and Henry Clay Dean, who lived in southeastern Iowa, were both placed under arrest. The Skunk River or Tally War ended in the shooting of George C. Tally by patriotic citizens. Few States have left a more glorious record than did Iowa in the Civil War
The Spanish-American War
The Sinking of the battleship Maine in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, on February 15 1898, set the war spirit aflame in the United Stores. On the floor of the House, Congressman Robert G. Cousins of Iowa delivered speech that thrilled the nation and may have helped bring on the war. At any rate Congress declared war on April 25 1898, and the following morning the Iowa National Guard started to pour into Des Moines. Four regiments of infantry - the Forty-ninth, Fiftieth, Fifty-first, and Fifty-second - two batteries of artillery, a signal corps unit, and a company of colored soldiers represent Iowa's contribution to the Spanish-American War. Thw fifty-second did not get out of the United States. The Forty-ninth reached Cuba in time to watch the evacuation of Havana by the Spanish troops. The Fifty-first saw service in the Phillippines developing into veteran troopers as the as they engaged in guerrilla warfare with Aguinaldo. Only one Iowa man was killed and thirty-eight wounded in the Spanish-American War but one-hundred and sixty-three soldiers died of disease. Almost one-half of the latter were men who never left the United States. Poor food and inadequate sanitation, not rifle balls, were responsible for Iowa losses in the War with Spain. The Battleship Iowa performed distinguished service in the naval engagements around Cuba. It Was Sunk in target practice a quarter of century later.
The World War
When the United States entered the World War on April 6, 1917, Iowa once more played a steller role. Although the allied nations looked to Iowa for food (and her farms yieled abundantly of their harvest) the Hawkeye State furnished her quota of men to the fierce struggle. Hundreds of patriotic young men stopped their education and quit their jobs in order to enlist in the army, navy, or the marine corps. At the same time (between June 5, 1917, and September 12, 1918), 523,478 Iowans between the ages of 18 and 45 were registered for service. This represented fully one-fourth of the total population. The number of volunteers and drafted men who entered various branches of the service totalled 113,000.
The tragedy of the World War was flashed home all too soon when word was received that Private Merle Hay of Glidden, lowa, with two comrades from other States, had been killed in action on November 3, 1917. The three men represented the first American casualties of the World War. Grateful tributes were paid the three soldiers by distinguished French officers. In Iowa the Merle Hay Highway perpetuates the name of this World War hero.
Other casualties were to be suffered. The Third Iowa National Guard regiment, with additions from the other two regiments, had been included in the Forty-second or Rainbow Division as the 168th United States Infantry. It reached France in December, 1917. By the end of February these troops were ready to be moved into the front line trenches of Badonviller in Lorraine. Commanded by lieutenant Colonel Mathew A. Tinley, they repulsed a strong German advance on March 5, 1918, but at a cost of twenty-one Iowa lives. The "Fighting 168th" remained at its front fine post 110 days, or longer than any other American regiment in France. Iowans fought with courage in some of the heaviest engagements of the World War - the second battle of the Marne, St. Mihiel, St. Benoit, the Argonne, Chatillon.
Not all World War activity took place at the front. Camp Dodge, situated a short distance out of Des Moines, was a veritable bee-hive of military training. Iowa-born Herbert Hoover made his name a household expression when he left his Belgium relief work to assume the office of American Food Administrator. Meatless days, wheatless days, and sugarless days were interspersed with countless speeches by "Three-Minute Men", and with Red Cross campaigns and Liberty Bond drives. The use of all foreign languages was forbidden in Iowa by gubernatorial proclamation. The people of Berlin, Iowa, had to change the name of their town to Lincoln More than two thousand Iowa soldiers and sailors were killed or died of disease during the World War.
When news finally was flashed of the Signing of the Armistice, pandemonium broke out everywhere. A heavy weight had been lifted from the hearts of Iowans; the "silver lining" could at last shine through the dark war clouds.
Four days after the American Legion was formally organized at St. Louis, on May 12, 1919, veterans of Glen Pedersen Post, of Spencer, hurried to Des Moines with a charter signed by fifteen veterans, Adjutant John MacVicar promptly chartered them as the "No. 1" American Legion Post of Iowa. Council Bluffs, Ottumwa, Hubbard, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, and Carroll followed in quick succession; within a month fifty-one posts had been chartered in the Hawkeye State. The first state convention was held at Des Moines on September 4, 1919. Matthew A. Tinley of Council Bluffs was elected the first state commander.
In the yeors. that followed the American legion in Iowa assumed a steadily mounting role in community, state, and nation. Two Iawans - Hanfard MacNider and J. Ray Murpyh - have held the post of national commander. In its rosiest days the State membership has exceeded over 44,000 members. In 1940 the American legion was still "going great guns" in Iowa, 558 posts in the Hawkeye State. The American Legion has exceeded in membership the Grand Army of the Republic in Iowa; the peak membership of G. A. R. reaching 20,324 in 1890. A total of 519 G. A. R. posts were chartered in Iowa, the peak in the number of posts being 449 In 1893. The influence of such veteran organizations can scarcely be overestimated. Though four great wars - the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the World War, - the men of Iowa have stood ready to answer the call of their country.
The some patriotic spirit exists in 1940 as American looks out upon a war-torn world. The National Guard (which con trace its history back to the creation of the office of Adjutant General in 1839) still stands ready to render service in peace or in war. Units Were called out to preserve law and order during the "Cow War" in Cedar, Henry, Des Moines, and. Jefferson counties in 1931; during the "Farm Holidays" activities at Denison and Le Mars in 1933; during the disastrous Remsen fire of 1936; and during the Maytag washing machine strike at Newton and the Sioux City Packing house strike in 1938, With modern wars being fought by airplanes and tanks, the Iowa National Guard is likely to take on a streamlined appearance as President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the measure mobilizing the various Guard units throughout the nation.
Transportation and Communication
The development of transportation and communication has always been a primary objective of any people. The pioneers were familar with. the steamboat, the stagecoach, and the covered wagon. The Virginia made the first steamboat trip up the Mississippi post the eastern border of Iowa to Fort Snelling in 1823. Ten years later, in 1833, the pioneer settlers in the Black Hawk Purchase found eighteen steamboats plying as far north as the Galena-Dubuque lead mining country. Until 1850 lead was the chief cargo carried: between 1850 and 1870 the passenger traffic predominated as hordes of immigrants swarmed into the Upper Mississippi Valley. The era of the seventies ushered in the grain trade, the direct result of immigration. The names of Joseph Throckmorton, Daniel Smith Harris, William F. Davidson and his White Collar Line, and Joseph Reynolds and his Diamond Jo Line are boldly written in the annals of Upper Mississippi steamboating. Around 1890 steamboating began an era of decline culminating in the sale of the Diamond Jo Line to the Streckfus Company in 1911. In 1927 the Federal Barge line was inaugurated on the Upper Mississippi: by 1938 it was carrying 483,510 tons of freight. At the same time private companies had commenced towing immense quantities of coal and oil to Upper Mississippi ports, ushering in a new era of steamboating.
Rafting on the Upper Mississippi rose to tremendous volume in the decades following the Civil War. The pioneers of Wisconsin and Minnesota furnished the lumber that made thriving manufacturing centers of such river towns as Dubuque, Clinton, Davenport, Muscatine, Burlington, Fort Madison, and Keokuk. By 1910 the era of "Come end Get It" was no more, the last raft being towed down to Fort Madison in 1915.
The Western Engineer made the first steamboat voyage up the Missouri above present-day Omaha in 1819. Council Bluffs was on important port of call until after the arrival of the iron horse in 1867. Straggling Sioux City began to flourish in 1856 when the steamboat Omaha arrived with a sawmill, lumber, drygoods, hardware, and other commodities, the total valued at $70,000. It cost $24,000 to bring this freight upstream from St. Louis. The Dakotas and Montana depended on steamboats that used Sioux City as a supply base after the Civil War. As the iron horse reached the various parts above Sioux City this traffic was quickly snuffed out. For two generations citizens dwelling on the Upper Missouri saw nothing but ferry boats and engineering craft. At last, in 1940, Sioux City hailed with rejoicing its first tow of freight in many years.
Although a few steamboats plied the Iowa and Cedar rivers, and a number of small craft were built on the Maquoketa, traffic on such streams was negligible. A considerable amount of commerce was once carried on the Des Moines, a steamboat actually churning to Fort Dodge. The arrival of the railroads quickly eliminated any prospect of waterways development within Iowa.
Roads and Highways
The first settlers in the Black Hawk Purchase were intensely interested in roads, devoting much space in the Territorial laws to the subject of roads, ferries, and bridges. The early roads frequentlv followed the old buffalo trails and Indian paths, skirting the tops of hills and ridges where it was dry. The first road marked on a map was the Chemin des Voyageurs found on Willam Delisle's maps of 1703 and 1718. This road of the French fur traders crossed northern Iowa from the mouth of the Wisconsin to the Big Sioux some distance above its junction with the Missouri River. It may be designated as the first river-to-river road in Iowa.
The first public road in Iowa was provided for in an act of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin in 1836. Between 1838 and 1846 nearly two hundred special legislative acts were passed authorizing the location of roads. During this same period the legislators passed ten general acts laying down rules for viewing, surveying, locating, constructing, and maintaining these early highways. Military roads were provided for by Congressional appropriation. In 1839 twenty thousand dollars was set aside for a military rood from Dubuque to the Missouri line by way of Cascade, Monticello, Anamosa, and Iowa City.
The graded and plank road system , was in vogue during the first few years of Statehood. The "Good Roads" movement was inaugurated in 1884; thirty years later Iowa had over 100,000 miles of roadway established and maintained by county and township officials. The creation of the Iowa State Highway Commision in 1904 was an important step on the movement toward a uniform road system. The Commission was strengthened in 1913. In 1919 a law was passed making all main thoroughfares between towns of 1000 population or more primary roads. Hard surface highways developed out of the substitution of the automobile for "Old Dobbin".
Since most Iowans lived in towns or along the primary system, the work of improvement naturally began on these roads. In 1920 there were only twenty-five miles of paved roads, 624 miles of graveled roads, and 800 miles of graded road in the Hawkeye State. The big paving program began in 1927, a total of 3400 miles being paved between that year and 1932. On January 1, 1940, the Iowa Primary System embraced 5209 miles of paved roads, 671 miles of bituminous surfaced rood, 2592 miles of graveled highway and 84 miles of earth road. In addition to this approximately 30,000 miles of country roods had been surfaced, Thus, with one-third of lowa out of the mud, the Hawkeye State ranks high among the States of the Union in paved and surfaced highway.
Scarcely, had the pioneers entered the Black Hawk Purchase when they began to dream and talk of railroads. At Dubuque, visionary John Plumbe, Jr., proposed a railroad from the Great Lakes through Dubuque to the Pacific Ocean. George Wallace Jones, Delegate to Congress from the Territory of Wisconsin even presented a petition in the House of Representatives on May 21, 1838, praying for the survey of a route between Dubuque and Milwaukee. It was not until February 22, 1854, however, that first railroad (the Rock Island) reached the Mississippi River opposite Iowa. The citizens of Davenport and Scott County were the chief supporters of this project which represented the first continuous iron link between the Mississippi and the Atlantic seaboard. In 1855 railroads topped the Father of Waters at Dubuque, Clinton, and Burlington. Two years later the iron horse slaked its thirst in the Mississippi opposite McGregor. Five of the ten railroads linking the Mississippi with the Atlantic before the Civil War reached the Father of Waters opposite Iowa.
Ground was broken for the first railroad in Iowa at Davenport in 1853. By 1860 there were over 500 miles of track in the Hawkeye State. The Civil War halted railroad construction but work was resumed after 1865. A mad race across the state ensued as the railroads sought to make connections with the Union Pacific at Council Bluffs. The race was won by the North Western on January 22, 1867. Two years later, in 1869, the Rock Island and Burlington roads reached Council Bluffs. The Illinois Central, which arrived at Sioux City in 1870, made connections with the Union Pacific the following year.
After the main river-to-river railroads were completed, thousands of miles of track were laid in a giant web in Iowa. Between 1880 and 1890 alone fully 3,435 miles were constructed. During this era of rapid expansion the railroads were charged with many abuses. Although they had been given about one-ninth of the total area of the state to aid them in construction, and notwithstanding the fact that counties, cities, and private individuals had purchased stocks or bonds, and granted lands and valuable right-of-way privileges, the railroads soon were charging high rates, indulging in ruthless competition, discriminating against towns and shippers, and flagrantly violating all just practice through the long and short haul clauses. The Granger Law, the establishment or a Railway Commission in 1878, and the work of Governor William Larrabee are but a few highlights in the fight against these corporations.
By 1914, the peak year in railroad mileage, there were more than 10 000 miles of railroad tracks in Iowa, but since that time the mileage has slightly decreased. Of the 9216 miles of track in Iowa in 1936, the following railroods ranked highest:
|Railroad ||Miles of Track |
|Rock Island ||2,138 |
|Milwaukee ||1,817 |
|Northwestern ||1,520 |
|Burlington ||1,200 |
|Great Western ||757 |
|Illinois Central ||715 |
|Minneapolis & St. Louis ||708 |
Bridges across the Mississippi and Missouri were required to link the Atlantic and Pacific with one continuous ribbon of iron. The first bridge across the Mississippi was not built at New Orleans or St. Louis but at Davenport in 1856. Shortly afterwards, when the steamboat Effie Afton was wrecked on this bridge, Abraham Lincoln was called to represent the railroad men against the steamboat men. Soon bridges spanned the Mississippi at many points. Clinton had its first railroad bridge in 1865; similar structures spanned the Mississippi at Burlington and Dubuque in 1868. A combination railroad and wagon bridge was constructed at Keokuk in 1870. Four years after the Golden Spike was driven at Promontory Point in Utah, the Big Muddy was successfully spanned at Council Bluffs in 1873. The construction of railroad and highway bridges across the rivers and streams of Iowa was a costly but important step in the development of transportation and communication.
Probably no other single invention did more to link Iowa with the outside world than did the telegraph. In 1844, two years before Iowa was admitted into the Union, the first telegraph message streaked between Washing ton and Baltimore. In 1848, two years after statehood, the first telegraph wires United Iowa with the east, Keokuk, Burlington, Bloomington (now Muscatine), and Dubuque were the first towns in Iowa to boast telegraphic connection with the Atlantic seaboard. In bold type the press proudly acclaimed that the Hawkeye State was as well informed as to the news of the day as any eastern State. Such bold statements had no small influence in precipitating toward Iowa the mighty avalanche of settlers that rose to flood-tide after 1848. Before 1860 telegraph construction was limited to the eastern border at Iowa and service was exceedingly poor. Telegraph towers, flimsily constructed of wood, were frequently blown down in storms. All too often the poor wire broke, isolating communities for weeks. At such times many people were heard to pine wistfully for the good old days when the stagecoach and the steamboat brought the news.
When the Civil War broke out Council Bluffs was left stranded without telegraphic communication with St. Louis, the Confederates having cut down all wires in Missouri. So a line was built eastward from the Missouri through Des Moines, Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids, and on to Clinton. Completed on January 7, 1862, this Council Bluffs and Clinton telegraph line was the first river-to-river line in Iowa. By 1930 there were ten thousand miles of telegraph lines in Iowa with a total taxable value of a million and a half dollars. The Western Union embraces almost three-fourths of the total mileage.
The first telephone lines were constructed in Iowa around 1878: Davenport and Clinton inaugurating local service that year; Iowa City followed in 1879. The spread of this novel invention was so rapid that by 1882 the State was called upon for legislation regulating it. From a small beginning (Davenport's first directory contained 35 names compared with over 19,000 phones in use In 1939) the telephone has increased to tremendous importance. Almost nine-tenths of the farms in Iowa are equipped with phones, Iowa ranking first In the United States and in the world in rural telephone development. Upwards of a half million phones are in use in the Hawkeye State, or approximately one for every five persons.
Aviation and Radio
As the twentieth century advanced two new fields of transportation and communication became common in Iowa - aviation and radio. In October of 1910, Thomas S. Baldwin made several short flights in his flying machine over the Johnson County Fair Grounds at Iowa City. Baldwin was probably the first successful aviator to fly over Iowa. That very year William C. (Billy) Robinson of Grinnell exhibited his newly built airplane before a circus in his home town. Although he was not able to fly in it, Robinson's airplane created so much interest that when the circus left town Billy went with it. After studying aviation, Billy returned to Grinnell and made many flights. His greatest success came on October 17, 1914, when he made a record long-distance non-stop flight from Des Moines to Kentland, Indiana. On March 11, 1916, he lost his life while attempting to set an altitude record.
During the Wor1d War giant strides were made in aviation. Iowans took great pride when a native son, Clarence 0: Chamberlin, flew the Atlantic from New York to Germany in 1927. Chamberlin, a Denison lad, made the flight less than two weeks after Lindbergh's sensational hop to Paris.
Since 1927 the development in aviation has been extraordinary. Scores of cities have airports, those at Des Moines and Iowa City being among the finest in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on these two airports alone. By 1929 the Iowa legislature was passing laws regulating air traffic. Today airplanes are common in every community. Huge transport planes drone across the Hawkeye State loaded with passengers, mail, and freight.
The radio has become on even more popular mode of information, amusement, and instruction. Powerful and expensive radio stations have been erected in lowa, Station WHO in Des Moines having 50,000 watt power. Comparatively few Iowans are without a radio today; three-fourths of the farms in the Hawkeye State being equipped with radios.
Iowa is predominantly an agricultural State. Farmers dominated the constitutional convention of 1846, formed the first agricultural societies in 1852, held the first state fair in 1854, founded an agricultural college in 1858 and established what developed into the State dairy association in 1877. In an era of Republican supremacy, many Iowa formers supported third party movements. Thus. James B. Weaver was twice nominated for the presidency - on the Greenback ticket in 1880 and on the Populist ticket in 1892. With the exception of William Boyd Allison, the Iowa farm vote has generally tended to send liberal United States Senators to Washington. When they become too conservative, as did Albert B. Cummins in 1926, the voters frequently have sent men like Smith W. Brookhart to fill their shoes. Recognition of Iowa's agricultural leadership is attested by the fact that four Iowans have been chosen to serve as Secretary of Agriculture.
It is not particularly strange that farming should be the most important industry for lowa possesses one-fourth of the Grade A farm land of the United States. Indeed, it was the rich farm land which attracted the first pioneers to the Black Hawk Purchase. When Captain Frederick Marryat traveled through the Upper Mississipi Valley in 1837, he found the "district of Ioway" a land. where the timber did not have to be cleared off, there being just enough for use or ornament. "Prairie of fine rich grass". Marryat records, "upon which cattle fatten in three or four months, lay spread in every direction. The soil is so fertile that have but to turn it up to make it yield grain to any extent.
On August 26, 1837, the editor of the Iowa News at Dubuque substantiated the English novelist's optimistic report. "Taking all things Into consideration , he declared, "perhaps this country is not equalled as on agricultural one. One farmer expects about 6000 bussels of corn - a yield of 60 or 65 bu. per acre; and says he did not cultivate it with anything like care. Another says he expects 100 bushels an acre; this field being cultivated with care. Wheat, rye, buckwheat also yield abundantly; and as for potatoes they cannot be excelled in quantity or quailitv."
The census of 1840 confirmed the many sanguine accounts of this rich land that veritably flowed with milk and honey. Nearly eighty per cent of the people employed in the Territory of Iowa were engaged in agriculture. The major crop was "Indian corn", of which 1,406,241 bushels were produced in 1839. Corn was still King a century later, 468,923,000 bushels being harvested in 1938, or 45.5 bushels per acre. Pototoes ranked second in 1839 with 216,385 bushels; a century later this crop stood eighth, although 5,684,000 bushels were dug from the fertile soil. In 1839 Qnly 154,693 bushels of oats were raised; a hundred years later 198,086,000 bushels were produced. The total valuation of agricultural crops was a mere bagatelle in 1839 compared to the $310,212,000 estimated valuation at the score of different farm crops produced in 1938.
The some contrasts held to regard to poultry; in 1839 poultry of all kinds was valued at $16,539; on January 1, 1939, chickens on Iowa farms were valued at $20,215,000 while the income from chickens and eggs grossed $59,637,000 in 1938. The gross agricultural income from crops, chickens and eggs, milk and wool, totalled $446,775,000 in 1938. Between 1924 and 1928 Iowa led all states in the value of her farm crops, livestock, and livestock products, averaging $1,086,308,000 for the five-year period!
The increase in the number as well as in the improvement of the breeds of livestock during the post century has been nothing short of phenomenal. The growth in numbers may be gleaned from the following figures:
| ||On Farms in 1839 ||On Farms 1-1-1939 ||Valuation |
|Horses ||10,794 ||783,000 ||$66,013,000 |
|Mules ||Included above ||55,000 ||$5,332,000 |
|Cattle ||38,049 ||4,465,500 ||$188,180,000 |
|Sheep ||15,354 ||1,710,000 ||$10,911,000 |
|Hogs ||104,899 ||8,179,000 ||$116,489,000 |
The significance of livestock is attested in many ways. Thus in 1850 Iowa ranked twenty-fourth among the States in the production of horses. Before 1890 more than a million horses were being used on Iowa farms. Since around 1900 the Hawkeye State has led the nation in horses. Again, a steady improvement in hogs has been made since the day when the old razorback variety scoured the woods to search of food - witness the fine herds of Poland Chinos. Berkshires, Chester Whites, and Duroc Jerseys, in Iowa today. Iowa produces 19 per cent of all the hogs in the United States, or 26 1/2 per cent of all the Federally inspected slaughtered hogs. Cattle likewise have increased in numbers and breeding, the money derived from beef and dairy products reaching staggering totals. Thus, the gross Income from milk totalled $75,180,000 in 1938.
It is a for cry from the scythe, the flail, and the cradle, to the modern combine which cuts and threshes the grain at the same time. The gasoline consuming tractor has reduced the amount of labor required to produce a bushel of wheat from more than three hours to less than ten minutes. When the first settlers entered the Black Hawk Purchase, farming was not unlike that practiced at Jamestown or even in the Nile Valley. The evolution of scientific farming during the past century may be studied to advantage in the Hawkeye State.
Life on the average Iowa farm has changed greatly since pioneer days. In 1838 a l60-acre farm could be staked out and purchased for $1.25 per acre; a century later the average value of land was around $88 an acre. In 1838 the log cabin was raised in the Black Hawk Purchase at virtually no cost sarve the labor of the pioneer and his neighbors. In 1930 the average farm dwelling in Davis County cost $1676 while that in Scott County cost $3266. The State Fair, the many fine regional and county fairs, the Waterloo Dairy Cattle Congress the Iowa Beef Producers' Association, the numerous breed associations the Iowa Dairy Association, the Iowa Poultry Association the Corn and Small Grain Growers' Association, these and many kindred organizations bring pleasure as well as profitable knowledge to the highly specialized Iowa farmer.
Further outlets may be found in such organizations as the Iowa Granges, the Farmers' Institutes the Farm Bureau Federation, the 4-H Club work for both boys and girls, and the Christian Rural Fellowship. Iowa farm publications such as Wallaces' Farmer and Successful Farming are widely read. The Experiment Station and the Extension Service at Ames are performing yeoman work for the Hawkeye farmer. Radio stations allocate much of their time to a numerous farm audience. Paved and all-weather roads no longer leave the former isolated. Up to 1930 the Federal Census showed on alarming movement away from the farm and into the larger metropolitan areas. The census of 1940 will show a steady movement back to the farm. This movement cannot be ascribed to the depression alone; the radio, paved roads, and improved farm methods have done much to brighten agriculturel life.
The industrial beginnings of pioneer Iowa may be traced back to Territoria1 days. The census of 1840 revealed 1629 persons in the Territory of Iowa engaged in manufacturing and trades. The thirty-seven grist mills and seventy-five sawmills reported in the Black Hawk Purchase employed 154 men, and represented the most extensive manufacturing industry. A scattering of men were employed at such tasks as candle-making, carpentering, brick laying, printing and publishing, tanning and pottery production. Newspapers continually editorialized on the need of labor and capital. As a result skilled artisans made their way slowly westward, attracted by the high wages and the opportunity for a better life on the frontier. Lack of regular transportation and communication and its remote position from the center of population were important retarding factors. It should also be pointed out that most pioneers were virtually self-sufficient, providing for their needs by their own labor. What little money they could acquire was needed to buy land.
Lumbering stood high among the early industries. Sawmills were pioneer necessities. The first sawmill in Iowa was built on the Yellow River in 1829 by soldiers from Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien. Jefferson Davis, later President of the Confederacy, operated this mill for a time. The steady growth in population caused on increasing demand for lumber. Pine logs were floated (and later pushed by raftboats) down the Mississippi to be sawed into lumber at Iowa's flourishing Mississippi River towns. In 1840 only a little more than $50,000 worth of lumber was produced in Iowa. By 1860 this had increased to $2,000,000. The annual output by 1890 was 560,000,000 feet of lumber valued at $12,000,000. Production had shrunk by 1900 and a decade later most of the sawmills had shut down.
Out of the lumber industry grow the planing mills which reached their peak in 1923. In 1929 the 65 planing mills in Iowa employed over four thousand men and manufactured products valued at $18,055,506. The industry was not limited to sash, doors, and blinds. The furniture industry, which sprang up because of the easy acccss to lumber, employs almost half as many men as the planing mills and produces goods valued at over seven million dollars. Today these woodworking factories must be furnished with lumber brought from points thousands of miles away.
Just as lumber manufacturing was established in the Mississippi River towns because of easy proximity to raw material, so Iowa's leading industry today has developed for the same reason. Meat packing goes bock to Territorial days: in 1840 J. M. D. Burrows at Davenport was buying dressed hogs from farmers. Later Burrows started a "pork house" and by the winter of 1853-1854 Was packing 19,000 hogs annually. For a score of years, or until 1874, over half the pork packed in Iowa come from Keokuk, Burlington, and Muscatine. Meanwhile, however, the industry was already moving westword - Cedar Rapids, Ottumwa, Des Moines, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Mason City, Council Bluffs, and Sioux City becoming Important packing centers. Since 1901 Sioux City has led all Iowa towns and is the fourth largest meat packing center in the United States. Her prowess has made the Hawkeye State fourth in meat packing among the States of the Union since 1923. In 1929 one-tenth of all Iowa factory workers were employed in the industry, the value of their products constituting more than a fourth of the value of all Iowa manufactures. Since 1914 meat packing has been Iowa's fastest growing industry.
Other industries have been established in Iowa because of the presence of raw materials. Fort Dodge and Centerville are noted for their gypsum products, Iowa being second only to New York in output. The output. The presence of clams in the Mississippi and its tributary streams has made Muscatine one of the world's leading botton manufacturing Cities. The Quaker Oats Company at Cedar Rapids is still another illustration of on industry locating at the source of its raw material. Coal is mined in the Des Moines Valley, cement manufactured at Mason City, Gilmore City, Davenport, Des Moines, and West Des Moines. Cloy products. are manufactured at a number of points in Iowa.
In addition to these, Iowa has a number of nationally famous industries. Newton is noted for its One Minute and Maytag washing machines; Fort Madison is noted for its Sheaffer Fountain Pen Company; Red Oak and Iowa City for calendars; Waterloo for its farm machinery; Des Moines for its perfume and cosmetics, its periodicals and farm publications and Insurance companies. For the decade beginning in 1921 the Hawkeye State has ranked twentieth among the states in industry, the value of its manufactured products totalling $898,213,272 in 1929. At that time Sioux City ranked first with $133,000,000; Des Moines second with $98,000,000; Cedar Rapids third with $94,000,000; Waterloo fourth with $85,000,000; and Davenport fifth with $39,000,000.
Education: "Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." This Splendid statement in the Ordinance of 1787 although it referred particularly to the government of the Northwest Territory, may be termed the criterion by which all laws relating to education in Iowa were formulated. Counties and townships were created west of the Mississippi in 1834 to facilitate the establishment of schools. The first public school law passed by the legislature of the Territory of Iowa was approved by Governor Lucas on January 1, 1839.
Nine years previously, in the fall of 1830, the first school in Iowa was taught by Berrvman Jennings at Nashville in the Half-breed Tract. George Cubbage is said to have taught the first school at Dubuque In December of 1833. This is believed to be the first school in the Black Hawk Purchase. Despite the small and scattered population forty or more schools are known to have existed In Iowaland between the years 1834 and 1838. All were private schools taught by men end women of various ages, married and single.
Begining with 1839 schools began to be established in accordance with the terms set forth in the first public school law. Most of these were log cabin schools. When Iowa become a State in 1846 there were only about one hundred public schoolhouses, or not nearly enough to take care of the twenty thousand children of school age. During the first decade of statehood a little more than one-half of the school districts maintained public schools and less than half of the children of school age were enrolled. The present educational system was outlined in a bill approved March 12, 1858, a measure based largely on a report on Iowa's public schools submitted in 1856 by a commission of which Horace Mann was chairman. By 1870 Iowa led all States in literacy. So proud of his Hawkeye State was Orlando H. Manning editor of the Carroll Herald and a member of the state legislature, that he declared in a political speech: "Iowa, the state has a schoolhouse on every hill and no saloon in the valley." Manning's tribute become a slogan on every Iowan's tongue,
The pioneers were not slow to seek mare advanced education. The first public high school was started at Tipton in 1856. Dubuque opened a more elaborate three-year high school in 1858, offering English. Latin, German, Greek, French, history, algebra, geometry, bookkeeping, English composition, physiology, and botany. Similar advanced courses of study were soon offered in such towns as Burlington, Iowa City, Mount Pleasant, and Muscatine. The first consolidated school was established at Buffalo Center in 1896: it was not until 1911, however, that a new state law gave all children the right to free high school tuition no matter where they lived.
For almost a century the public school population of Iowa showed a steady upward trend. During the 1930's, however, this situation was reversed because of the shrinkage in grade school enrollment. The reason for this decline was attributed primarily to the drop in birth rate. During the school year 1938-1939 a total of 508,160 children attended the public grade and high schools of the State compared with the all-time high of 555,341 in the school year 1931-1932. The plight of the grade school was truly serious - the enrollment dropping from 437,426 in 1929-1930 to 369,264 during 1938-1939. High schools, on the other hand, continued to prosper during this period. During the years 1938-1939 fully 138,014 students were attending Iowa' public high schools, compared With the 117,229 who were enrolled during 1929-1930. This was a considerably larger number than the total population in Iowa in 1846.
The founding fathers did not forget higher education. Academies and seminaries were created by legislative act before the Territory of lowa was established. A number of Mechanic Institutes were also established: at Davenport in 1838, at Iowa City and Dubuque in 1842, and at Burllington In 1844. The first college in Iowa, the Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute, was started in 1843 with the Reverend Anstides J. Heustis as president. The first building, a plain two-story brick house, was erected in 1844. Classes were taught in the rooms on the first floor while President Heustis and his family lived upstairs. The building is still in use on the Iowa Wesleyan campus In 1940 and has come to be known as "Old Pioneer", the oldest college building in the Hawkeye State.
At least eleven institutions of higher learning (including the State University of Iowa) were established during the first decade of statehood. Seven of these were still functioning in 1940. Always obliged to rely on their own efforts, many private colleges in Iowa have now been forced to close their doors or become identified as Junior Colleges. A score of these institutions tenaciously persist, however, serving over ten thousand students. Measured in point of enrollment the five largest private institutions in 1939 were Drake with 1862 students, Coe with 820, Grinnell with 748, Cornell with 621, and Morningside with 553. The Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic colleges are the most numerous in lowa.
Only a few State universities had been established in the United States before Iowa achieved Statehood in 1846. It is not surprising, therefore, that most Iowa colleges were established either by Churches or citizens of local communities. The success of State universities elsewhere caused the First General Assembly to organize the State University of Iowa on February 25, 1847. Classes were not opened unttl 1855 and for many years the growth of the institution was slow. In the fall of 1939 over seven thousand students were going to classes in approximately fifty buildings having a total valuation of over $22,000,000. An agricultural college was created by legislative act in 1858, but a building was not erected and classes begun until 1868. Today Iowa State College at Ames is the leading agricultural school in the nation, enrolling 6449 students in 1939. The State Teachers College was established at Cedar Falls in 1876 and is now one of the top-rank institutions in the country. Sixty percent of the college students in Iowa attended the three State institutions in 1939. On the basis of the legislative appropriation the State spent approximately $325 a year per student.
The Libraries of Iowa: Few institutions afford a more valuable educational opportunity or a more wholesome recreational outlet than do the libraries of the State. Two episodes. illustrate the early Interest of the Iowa pioneers in libraries. On June 10, 1836, some Dubuque citizens met for the purpose of forming a Library Association, an institution whose "influence on the moral and Intellectual character at the inhabitants" was "universallv acknowledged. It is not certain that this first of attempt to form a library succeeded. In 1839, however, the Territorial legislature passed an act authorizing the formation of library associations. It was not until 1853, apparently, that the first library in Iowa was established at Fairfield. This was a subscription library like similar institutions soon founded at Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Keokuk, Council Bluffs, and. Des Moines. Until 1893 there were more subscription or association libraries than tax-supported libraries.
It was not until 1870 that the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the establishment of free public libraries upon the vote of the people. Independence established the first free library In 1873; Osage: opened a public library in 1875. By 1900 there were forty-eight free public libraries.
The first report of the Iowa Library Commission in 1903 revealed seventy-seven tax-supported libraries. On June 30, 1930, the Commission listed 171 tax-supported, one endowed, 95 association and 21 college libraries. The magnitude of the work of the average public library is attested by the five million books that were borrowed in 1939 from the libraries of the fourteen largest cities of Iowa. These some fourteen libraries contain over a million books on their shelves. The work of the traveling library, which was established in 1896, can scarcely be over-estimated. This important service furnishes books to schools and small towns unable to supply their own needs.
Religion in Iowa
Clergymen of many Faiths followed in the wake of the first settlers that crossed the Mississippi in 1833. Some were graduates of divinity schools while others got their religion at revival meetings and straightway went out to exhort their brethren to cast out the Devil. The circuit rider, the camp meeting, and the revival meeting were characteristic: of religious zeal a century ago. In a day when the pioneer had little time for recreation, revivals and camp meetings provided unusual opportunities for social intercourse with distant neighbors.
The first church in Iowa was erected by the Methodists at Dubuque in 1834. The historic structure, built of hewn logs, was "raised without spirits of any kind" at a cost of $255. The cornerstone of the first Catholic Church on Iowa was laid in Dubuque In 1835; the Presbyterians laid the cornerstone of their first Iowa church at Dubuque in 1836. By 1838 numerous denominations were present in the Block Hawk Purchase. The Baptists were, entrenched along the rivers and streams in Iowa having organized the Long Creek Baptist Church at what is now Danville an October 20, 1834. The first Quakers settled near what is now Salem In 1835, and set up their first monthly meeting on October 8, 1838. This same meeting then proceeded to conduct the first regular business of the Society of Friends west of the Mississippi. It was in 1836 that Asa Turner and Julius A. Reed organized the first Congregational Church in Iowa at Denmark.
Many famous preachers are identified with pioneer Iowa. Peter Cartwright, the mighty Methodist exhortor, used a bent sapling as his pulpit at Burlington in 1834. Fathe'r Samuel Mazzuchelli come to Dubuque in 1835 and founded several Catholic churches west of the Mississippi. Loras College was named in honor of Bishop Mathias Loras, who came to Dubuque in 1839 as the first Ramon Catholic Bishop of the Territory of Iowa. To the Reverend Asa Turner belongs the honor of bringing to the Hawkeye State the Iowa Band - eleven earnest young graduates of Andover Theologicol Seminary. Nine of the Iowa Band arrived in the Territory of Iowa in 1843. Together these men wielded a powerful religious, cultural, and moral influence. They founded churches, supported a college, served as temperance leaders, and urged the abolition of slavery. Grinnell College stands as a crowning monument to their labors.
The fruits of such zeolous missionary labors were revealed in the census of 1850. Measured by the number of churches established the Methodists led all others with seventy-one edifices. The Presbyterians were second with thirty-eight churches, the Baptists third with twenty, the Catholics fourth with eighteen, and the Congregationalists fifth with eleven. Many of the Germans and virtually all of the Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes who came to Iowa after 1850 were Lutheran, swelling the ranks of that faith so that they soon stood next to the Methodists among the Protestants. By 1890, when the first church membership census was taken in the United States, religion in Iowa was assuming its present-day complexion. The Roman Catholic church was the largest single church. The Methodists were still the largest Protestant church, being followed by the Lutherans,. Presbyterian, Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Congregationalist, United Brethren, Quaker, and Episcopal.
Iowa remains today a part of the Corn and Bible belt. To be sure, free-thinkers and non-church goers have always been present in the Hawkeye State. In 1834, for example, a young Dubuque miner asserted he would give a dollar for building a gambling house but nothing at all for a church. In 1839 the Pantheistic followers of Abner Kneeland excluded preachers from their town of Solubria in Lee County. In 1844 the Constitutional Convention refused to vote in favor of opening its sessions with prayer to Almighty God. The latest state census recorded over two hundred thousand in Iowa whose church affiliations were unknown. Large as this figure may seem it represents only one-tenth of the total population. The state census of 1925 revealed the following grand divisions of religious faith: Protestant 1,820,676 Roman Catholic 349,837 Jewish 12,180 Others 3,552 Unknown 233.682
Religion in Iowa during the past century has been noted for its fervor, its good judgment, its tolerance, and its emphasis on education. Its fervor may well be illustrated in Iowa-born Billy Sunday with his intense appeal to the religious emotions. Its good judgment and tolerance is manifested by the steadily increasing tendency toward consolidation among the smaller church groups, particularly in rural areas. There are even indications of union among the larger churches-the growth of the community church in certain localities, the conducting of union services or Eastertide, and the spirit of good will that has marked the observance of Harvest Sunday.
Lawyers: Lawyers were among the first professional men in the Black Hawk Purchase. When James W. Grimes landed at Burlington early in April, 1836, he found four lawyers already there. It "No minister in town", he wrote. "We had one but he died a few days ago" The presence of only one attorney at Dubuque in May, 1836, was considered a "good omen" by the Dubuque Visitor but before many months half a dozen had hung out their shingles. Twenty lawyers were admitted to the bar when the first Territorial Supreme Court met at Burlington on November 26, 1838.
While professional standards were not very high in 1838, a good many of the lawyers were men of genuine ability. The three men who constituted the Territorial Supreme Court - Charles Mason, Joseph Williams, and Thomas S. Wilson - served also as Justices of the first Supreme Court of the State of Iowa. Three future Governors (Hempstead, Grimes, and Lowe) were practicing law in Iowa by 1838 Daniel F. Miller, who came to Fort Madison in 1839, practiced law in Iowa for fifty-tour years becoming known as the "Nester" of the Iowa bar. Samuel Freeman Miller who began the practice of law at Keokuk in 1850, was appointed by Abraham Lincoln to the United States Supreme Court in 1862. Justice Miller served for 'twentry-eight years on the highest judicial bench in the land, the only Iowan to achieve this honor.
The legal profession has always wielded a powerful influence in the Hawkeye State. Fourteen of the thirty-six members of the Constitutional Convention of 1857 were lawyers; these men were largely responsible for drawing up a document that has served the people of Iowa to the present time, An amazingly large proportion of the men who have served in the General Assembly at Des Moines have also had legal training. Thus, in the Forty-seventh General Assembly sixteen of the one hundred and eight House members and thirteen of the fifty senate members were lawyers.
The Iowa pioneers were quick to recognize the need of legal training. During the early fifties Judge Thomas S. Wilson and Judge J. J. Dyer conducted a law school at Dubuque. Although numerous county and city bar associations had been formed prior to the Civil War, the Iowa State Bar Association was not organized until 1874. In 1940 there were over three thousand lawyers in the Hawkeye State, of whom approximately twenty-seven hundred were practicing law. About fifty per cent of these lawyers are graduates of the College of Law at the State University of Iowa of school that traces its beginnings bock to 1865. An excellent law school is located at Drake University.
Dentists: Three years before the first dental school was established in the United States, a representative of that profession was practicing at the Dubuque lead mines. Dr. R. O. Shaw advertised himself in 1836 as a surgeon dentist who performed "at the various and necessary operations on the teeth, gums, and mouth, viz: teeth and stumps neatly extracted on the most approved principles, so as not to couse one-haft of the pain or force required by the usual mode of practice - teeth filed, cleaned and pluged, and loose teeth fastened - also the most difficult cases of scurvy and scorbutick affections of the gums successfully treated." in addition to all this Dr. Shaw advertised "Porcelain incorruptible teeth inserted in stumps, or plates and springs, so as to completely resemble nature, and warranted not to decompose or alter their color."
Although many doctors doubtless extracted teeth, several professional dentists were practicing in Iowa by 1838. At Dubuque Dr. T. A. Livermore informed the public that his four years of practice at Galena had won for him many references for his skill as a surgeon-dentist. In extracting teeth Dr. Livermore generally used the "forceps" which gave far less pain than the "turnkey" . The doctor was prepared to wait upon persons at their own residence.
In Burlington, Dr. C. F. Rowell, a surgeon dentist, had taken a room at Mrs. Parrott's Hotel where he was prepared to wait on those needing his professional service. Dr. Rowell had a supply of "artificial teeth of superior Quality" which he fastened on pivots or gold plates as the occasion demanded. The durability of these teeth, which could be used for years without the "least change of colour", could not help but win general approbation. His long and successful experience as a dentist led Dr. Rowell to guarantee general satisfaction or no charges would be made for services.
The Iowa State Dental Society was organized at Muscatine on July 14, 1863. Three years later, in 1866, a committee on legislation was formed but it was not until 1882 that the first dental law in Iowa was passed. Meanwhile dental education was begun through the establishment of a lectureship at the Medical College at Keokuk and the State University. The first lectures at the University were given in 1870 by Dr. I. P. Wilson of Burlington. It was not until 1882, however, that a dental department was established at the State University. Four dentists - L. C. Ingersoll, I. P. Wilson, A O. Hunt, and W. O. Kulp - constituted the first faculty. The first Iowa State Board of Dental Examiners was appointed by Governor Buren R. Sherman in 1882. Between that year and 1937 a total of 3771 licenses to practice have been issued.
Dentistry has made giant strides since the first practitioners entered the Black Hawk Purchase more than a century ago. In 1940 there were some eighteen hundred dentists practicing in Iowa, over half of whom were graduates of the College of Dentistry of the State University of Iowa.
Doctors: The first squatters in the Black Hawk Purchase were delighted with the salubrious climate. In such a Utopia the need of doctors, lawyers, and dentists must have been small. "We do not think it more strange", declared the DuBuque Visitor in 1836, "that physicians should be both scarce and lean in a healthy and salubrious clime, than that lawyers should be neither plenty nor fat, when a high state of moral purity and great regard for the rights of our fellow men exist."
Although the Indian medicine man was the first healer in Iowa, his pale-faced professional brothers were among the very first pioneers. As early as 1820, Dr. Samuel C. Muir gave up his post at Fort Edwards and built a log cabin on the present site of Keokuk in order that he might enjoy the company of his dusky Indian wife. In 1829, Dr. Isaac Galland moved across the Mississippi River from Illinois and established the town of Nashville at the head of the Lower Rapids. It was Dr. Galland who established the first school in Iowa in 1830. Dr. William R. Ross was a pioneer in the Black Hawk Purchase, arriving at Burlington in 1833. Ross was the first doctor, the first merchant, first surveyor, the first postmaster, the first benedict, and the first county clerk. Few Burlington settlers were more widely known than Dr. William R. Ross.
By 1836 John Stoddard, R. Murray, and John Finley were practicing medicine in Dubuque. Dr. Stoddard quoted his prices in the DuBuque Visitor in order to "prevent rnisunderstandinqs, and silence false reports". One dollar was charged for visits in town by day and double that amount for night calls. Simple "Medicines, Emetics and Cathartics" cost twenty-five cents, compound one dollar.
Not a1l doctors who crossed the Mississippi were graduates of medical schools. Some had obtained their education by "readinq" a few months with some older physician and assisting him in his practice. When they felt they knew enough these young Aesculapians would begin searching for openings, frequently choosing some new settlement on the frontier. Their stock of drugs and medicine was usually limited to a generous supply of calomel, some jalap, aloes, Dover's powder, costar all, and Peruvian bark. In case of fever a patient was generally bled, every physician carrying lancets for this purpose. If a drastic cathartic, followed by letting blood, and perhaps a "fly blister", did not improve the patient, the doctor "would look wise end trust to a rugged constitution to pull the sick man through."
Some of these pioneer doctors had been educated at the best medical schools in America and one at least in Europe. Dr. Plumbe, who was a graduate of the University of Leyden, Holland, informed Dubuque citizens that his "European plan of practice" would cure fever and ague "in a few hours, without the use of a single grain of Calomel." Another Dubuque physician, Dr. Frederick Andros, graduated from the Parsons Medical School of Brown University in 1826. Dr. Joel C. Walker of Fort Madison graduated from Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia 1836. Dr. Enos Lowe of Burlington was trained in the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati.
The contributions of doctors to the history of Iowa were not limited to the practice of medicine. Perhaps no better iIIustration can be used than the varied career of Dr. Enos Lowe. Born in North Carolina in 1804, Dr. Lowe come to Burlington in 1838. In 1844 he was elected a member of the first Constitutional Convention and presided over the Convention of 1846. When the United States land office was established at Iowa City he was appointed receiver. In 1853 he was named receiver at Council Bluffs, becoming one of the founders of Omaha that same year.
Despite an intensely active career, Dr. Lowe lived to the age of seventy-six and never forgot his medical practice. In 1850 he was elected president of the Iowa State Medical Society upon its organization of Burlington. Numerous county medical societies quickly sprouted - Clinton, Dubuque, Louisa, Polk, and Scott counties forming medical associations before the Civil War. The first medical college established in Iowa was located at Davenport 1849 under the title "College of Physicians and Surgeans of Upper Mississippi". The following year this school was removed to Keokuk and recognized as the Medical Department at the State University. In 1869 it was decided to locate the state medical school at Iowa City, the department going into active operation in 1870. In 1940 there were approximately twenty-eight hundred doctors practicing in Iowa, about one-third of whom were graduates of the College of Medicine of the State University of Iowa. Osteopaths are trained at Des Maines while the Palmer School of Chiropractic of Davenport had trained 14,976 students by 1939. Founded in 1895, the Palmer School was the first institution of its kind in the country.
Meanwhile Iowa did not forget the health and public welfare of her citizens. A landmark in Iowa health was made with the founding of the State Board of Health in 1880. The activities of this Boord were so great by 1940 that the lives of individual Iowans were affected in a score of different ways.
First Penitentiary: The first penitentiary located at Fort Madison in 1839. A Men's Reformatory was opened at Anamosa in 1873; a Women's Reformatory at Rockwell City in 1918. The Training School for Boys, now located at Eldora, received its first inmates in 1868 and the Training School for Girls was opened at Mitchellville in 1873 The Soldiers' Orphans' Home at Davenport traces its inception back to 1864; the State juvenile Home at Toledo was opened in 1920. Iowa has six institutions for the mentally defective, the first being opened at Mount Pleasant in 1861. Similar institutions are located at Independence, Clorinda, and Cherokee. A haven for feeble-minded children was opened at Glenwood and a home for epileptics at Woodward in 1917. The State also provides for the tubercular through its sanatorium at Oakdale. Hospital treatment for sick or crippled children of poor parents has been provided at Iowa City since 1915. Free medical and surgical treatment of indigent adults at the state university hospital was authorized in 1919, but is limited by the amount appropriated by the General Assembly.
Druggists: Many of the Iowa pioneers chose to prescribe their own medicine, aided no doubt by the numerous nostrums which were advertised as sure cures for all ailments. By 1838 a number of drug stores had been established west of the Mississippi. At Burlington Dr. J. M. Adreon, late of Baltimore, invited ailing citizens to visit his drug store on Water Street at the sign of the Golden Mortar where his large stock of personally selected drugs and medicines were for sole at the "most reasonable terms". All orders from the country were "neatly and accurately put up". In addition to drugs Dr. Adrean sold points, oil, dye-stuffs, perfumery, confectioneries, tobacco, "Segors", snuffs, end similar articles. He also offered citizens of Burlington and the vicinity his professional services in medicine and surgery.
Citizens of Fort Madison were invited through the columns of their local newspaper in 1838 to visit the new drug stare of William S. Edgar & Company at Burlington. Timothy Mason's Good Samaritan Drug Store at Dubuque advised the afflicted that Dr. John Sappington's Anti-Bilious Pills were a "certain remedy for the cure and prevention of Ague and Fever". The claims of such quack medicines were well nigh unlimited. According to the Iowa Territorial Gazette, they apparently could "create an appetite in the most delicate stomach, or physic a horse."
A century later many changes had taken place in pharmacy. The Iowa State Pharmaceutical Association was organized at Des Moines on February 10, 1880. The following year this "representative organization" numbered nearly five hundred members. The First Biennial Report of the Commissioners of Pharmacy was issued in 1881, a report devoted largely to flaying the "so-called druggist" for dispensing liquor to the public over the counters of their "handsome appearing drug stores." The College of Pharmacy was established at the State University in 1885. By 1938 there were almost thirteen hundred drug stores and 3513 pharmacists in the Hawkeye State.
Journalism in Iowa: The first newspaper in Iowa was issued at Dubuque on May 11, 1836. This pioneer paper was edited by John King and named the DuBuque Visitor. Its folio line read, "Truth Our Guide. The Public Good Our Aim". The pages measured twenty by twenty-six inches in size, and each of the four pages carried six columns. Although only a weekly news paper the subscription rate of the Visitor was three dollars a year in advance or four dollars if paid at the end of the year. In the prospectus the editors promised to "cherish and advocate republican principles" and "encourage and foster such measures as will perpetuate our happy form of Government, and promote the best Interests of the community". Foreign and domestic news would be printed and contributions were invited upon "moral, literary, and scientific subjects". The cause of virtue would be preserved and the paper rendered "useful to the Farmer, Mechanic, Miner, and Merchant."
A number of other newspapers were quickly established. The second newspaper in Iowa was The Western Adventurer and Herold of the Upper Mississippi, issued by Dr. Isaac Galland at Montrose on June 26, 1837. The Iowa Territorial Gazette and Burlington Advertiser was first printed at Burlington by James Clarke on July 20, 1837. The Fort Madison Patriot appeared on March 24, 1838, and the Iowa Sun and Davenport and Rock Island News was issued on August 5, 1936. During the decade between the publication of the Dubuque Visitor in 1836 and the achievement of Statehood in 1846, approximately two dozen newspapers were started. All were printed in towns along the Mississippi except those of Iowa City and Keosauqua. Ten of them still survived at the end of the Territorial period. They lived and died an politics. Although the Whigs formed a minority in this period they maintained as many papers as the Democrats.
Between 1836 and 1860 a total of 222 newspapers were established in the Hawkeye State of which 118 were discontinued. The census of 1860 revealed only 104 newspapers being published in Iowa. The changing political complexion of the state, the over zealous ambitions of young editors, the scattered population, the uncertainty of mail delivery, the small amount of advertising, the high subscription rates coupled With the failure of patrons to pay subscriptions, and the intense competition, combined to cause such heavy casualties.
Between 1860 and 1940 the press has continued to wield a powerful influence in the Hawkeye State. The names of Clark Dunham of the Burlington Hawkeye, D. A. Mahoney of the Dubuque Herald. John Mahin of the Muscatine Journal, Samuel Clark of the Keokuk Gate City, W. M. Richardson of the Davenport Democrat, John P. Irish of the Iowa City Press, A. B. F, Hildreth of the Charles City Intelligencer, Charles Aldrich of the Webster City Freeman, George D. Perkins of the Sioux City Journal, and James and Richard Clarkson of the Des Moines Register loom large in the history of Iowa journalism. Many small town editors might be added to swell the list; they too lent their individuality and personality to their newspapers and served as a driving force in every public movement.
The number of newspapers in Iowa reached its peak around 1907 when 934 newspapers were being printed, or one for every 2366 people. In 1917 this number had decreased to 806; in 1927 it had fallen to 565, or 1 for every 4283 people. In 1930 there were 690 publications printed in Iowa. Of this number 514 were weekly papers, 12 were issued twice-a-week, and 44 were dailies. This number has varied only slightly during the past decade.
In 1932 the Iowa Press Association established its Master Editor-Publisher award as a means of recognizing significant public service. Harvey Ingham of the Des Moines Register, Elmer E. Taylor of the Traer Star-Clipper, and Joseph G. Growe of the Bremer County Independent-Republican, were the first to be named Master Editors. The names of those who have received this honor during the past eight years is a true index to the great journalists of the Twentieth Century. They include Joseph F. Growe, Waverly; Elmer E. Taylor, Traer; Harvey Ingham, Des Moines; Ed. M. Smith, Winterset; W. G. Ray, Grinnell, (Deceased); William C. Jarnagin, Storm Lake; William P. Wortman, Malvern (Deceased); F. A. Moscrip, Marshalltown; G. L. Caswell, Des Moines; John C. Hartman, Waterloo; M. A. Aasgaard, Lake Mills; James R. Rhodes, Newton; K. F. Baldridge, Bloomfield; T. W. Purcell, Hampton; V. H. Lovejoy, Jefferson; E. P. Chase, Atlantic; H. W. Barnes, Eagle Grove; J. G. Lucas, Madrid; Orville Elder, Washington (Deceased) Scott Snyder, Adel; John M. Grimes, Osceola; Jesse M. Beck, Centerville; Paul Woods, Sheldon; Charles Rogers, Mt. Pleasant, and W. C. Dewel, Algona.
The quality of town journalism has received national recognition on more than one occasion during the post decode. E. P. Chase of the Atlantic News-Telegram. Verne Marshall of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and W. W. Waymack of the Des Moines Register, have each received a Pulitzer prize since 1934 for meritorious journalism.
In 1940 Who's Who in America listed 31,752 outstanding contemporary men and women, of whom 420 lived in the Hawkeye State. Moreover, hundreds of former Iowans now residing in other States are included in this book containing some of the best known names in America. It has always been thus. In 1908 Iowa ranked eighteenth among the states as the birthplace of persons distinguished enough to be listed in Who's Who. Twenty years later, in 1928, Iowa ranked seventh - compared with her position of nineteenth in population among the states of the Union. Since 1899 the Hawkeye State has increased from 1.83 percent of those listed in Who's Who who were born in Iowa to 4.42 percent in 1938 - the greatest gain of any State in the Union! Such figures truly suggest that lowa is a great State to which to be born, a great State in which to live. Small wonder that J. N. Darling, "Dinq", should thus explain his return from New York to Des Moines: "Out West we have to get our sea food canned. But rather canned sea food and fresh friendships than canned friendships and fresh sea food!"
In 1940 the Iowa Press Association is endeavoring to do for Iowa what Who's Who in America does for the Nation. Such compilations are valuable in mirroring the contemporary scene. Although Iowa ranks high in agriculture ard Industry, in transportation and communication, and in literacy and public education let us not overlook the fact that citizens of the Hawkeye State have played important roles in the national scene. Artists and actors, baseball players and billiard players musicians and novelists, preachers and poets, statesmen, scientists and scholars, may be found in the lists of men and women born on the rolling prairies of the Hawkeye State. Well might Sidney Foster declare of his native state in 1886: "In all that is good, Iowa affords the best."
The Iowa Press Association's Who's Who in Iowa, 1940: Submitted by cddd
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