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Iowa Frontier Guard

CAPTAIN H. B. MARTIN'S COMPANY FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE NORTHWESTERN FRONTIER

The terrible events of March, 1857, naturally created feelings of great apprehension among the settlers who gathered around the vicinity of the Dickinson County Lakes during the ensuing summer. Some of the earliest comers laid out a town on the present site of the city of Spirit Lake, and, among the first buildings erected, was one they called the "Fort," and it became, for the two years during which it stood, one of the landmarks of the locality. It was a log building, about twenty-four by thirty feet, built before any sawed lumber could be procured, having a "shake" roof and puncheon floor and doors. Around the outside of the building, at a distance of from six to ten feet, a stockade was erected formed of logs ten feet long and eight inches in diameter set on end in a trench from two and a half to three feet deep. (Smith's History of Dickinson County, Iowa, pp. 160, 161.)

Numerous alarms as to danger from hostile Indians came to the little bands of settlers at various times in the fall of 1857, and, later in the winter, a party near Peterson, in Clay County, had a brush with a small band of Indians, in which one or two were slightly wounded. Jareb Palmer, of Spirit Lake, who will be remembered as one of the defenders of Springfield, in March, and who was then mail-carrier to Sioux City, was one of the party. R. A. Smith, in the History of Dickinson County, says:

"This affair created considerable alarm, and it was decided to apply to the State for protection. A meeting was called at the 'old fort' to consider the situation, and a committee appointed to draw up a petition and present the matter to the State authorities. The legislature was in session. A statement of the affair and a petition to the legislature, asking immediate assistance, was drawn up. Mr. Jareb Palmer was selected to take the petition to Des Moines and lay it before the authorities.

"C. C. Carpenter represented the district. He took hold of the matter in earnest, and, in the shortest time possible, a bill was passed providing for the raising of a company of volunteers for the defense of the northwestern frontier. The company was raised principally in Hamilton and Webster Counties, though not entirely. Upon arriving at the Lakes the Captain was authorized to enlist ten additional men from the settlers here. The names of these additional enlistments were as follows: A. Kingman, J. Palmer, E. Palmer, W. Donnelson, J. D. Hawkins, George W. Rogers, Charles Clark, William Carsley, William Allen, and one other, whose name is unknown. It was organized by the election of Henry B. Martin, of Webster City, Captain; William L. Church, of Homer, First Lieutenant; and a Mr. Jewett, of Border Plains, Second Lieutenant. It was the wife of Lieutenant Church who acted so heroic a part in the defense of the cabin of Mr. Thomas, at Springfield, against the attack of the Indians the spring before.

"This company arrived upon the frontier about the last of February or first of March, and was divided into three squads; Captain Martin, with the main squad, making his headquarters at the old fort at Spirit Lake; Lieutenant Church, with one squad, at Peterson, and Lieutenant Jewett, with the remaining one, at Emmett. This force was kept on duty until about the first of July, when they were ordered off but not disbanded. In the fall of 1858, upon the earnest representations of a large majority of the inhabitants, they were again ordered into service and kept on duty along the frontier until the following spring, when they were discharged. This was the last of any military operations until the breaking out of the war, in 1861."

This company was regularly authorized by law, and that law required the Captain to file with the Governor a roster, and to report every two months. It was hoped, therefore, that the roster might be found in the official files at Des Moines, and be given a place in this volume.

Thorough search has been made by Record Clerk Thomas L. Stephens, not only among the files in the Adjutant General's office, but also among the Executive documents in the Hall of Archives, and neither its existence, nor that of any reports, has been disclosed; hence an interesting item in Iowa's early military history must be relegated to oblivion, and the recognition due to a body of brave and patriotic citizens must be withheld, except so far as R. A. Smith has preserved their names for us.

Since the above was in type, Mr. Cassius C. Stiles, Superintendent of the Department of Public Archives, has furnished the Adjutant General's Department with important documents, viz.: two original pay rolls of Captain H. B. Martin's Company for the defense of the Northwestern frontier, designated on the rolls as the "Iowa Frontier Guard." These papers came to the Archives Department with other documents turned over by the State Auditor's Office, but which had not been classified at the time search was made for rosters, reports, etc., as before stated. These rolls, while not giving all the information desired, are greatly appreciated, as furnishing an authentic roster of a company whose names Mr. Reid so unavailingly sought to obtain. The list, which is taken from the first bi-monthly pay roll (verified by signatures), dated Jan. 23, 1859, signed by Henry B. Martin, Captain, and certified to by Charles B. Richards, Commissary General, follows:

Captain H. B. Martin's Company for the Defense of the Northwestern Frontier ROSTER

Henry B. Martin. Captain. Age 25. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
William "L. Church, First Lieutenant. Age 31. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
David S. Jewett. Second Lieutenant. Age 28. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Jonas Ball. Surgeon. Age 53. Mustered into service Dec. 10, 1858.
William G. Grayson. First Sergeant. Age 24. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
William S. Before. Second Sergeant. Age 23. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Ezra M. Wilcox. Third Sergeant. Age 35. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Charles C. Stratton. Fourth Sergeant. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Thomas Mulvany. First Corporal. Age 24. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Andrew McPheeters.. Second Corporal. Age 24. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Franklin R. Mason. Third Corporal. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Lemuel McIntosh. Fourth Corporal. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Bates, Wells H. Private. Age 25. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Bellville, Archibald. Private. Age 36. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Bonebright, Thomas. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Davis, John W. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Estes, Lewis L. Private. Age 2 5. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Funk, William W. Private. Age 27. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Grant, Leslie. Private. Age 31. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Harlan, William B. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Hillock, Humphrey C. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Jones, George C. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Knapp, Jefferson W. Private. Age 23. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Leonard, Andrew S. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Lyon, John H. Private. Age 2 5. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Olcott, George. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Pelton, William E. Private. Age 30. Mustered into service Nov. 2 2, 1858.
Rapp, Jacob. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Reily, Peter P. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Skinner, George J. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Somers, William T. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Sweeney, Michael. Private. Age 30. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Turner, Robert P. Private. Age 21. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Upton, Richard. Private. Age 24. Mustered into service Nov. 22, 1858.
Barkman, William. Private. Age 28. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Blake, F. A. Private. Age 23. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Carsley, William D. Private. Age 26. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Clark, Charles W. Private. Age 25. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Donaldson, William. Private. Age 28. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Kingman, Alvarado. Private. Age 27. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Palmer, Eber. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Rogers, George W. Private. Age 22. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Schuneman, John H. Private. Age 36. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Smith, Guernsey. Private. Age 2 5. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.
Wheelock, Robert U. Private. Age 28. Mustered into service Dec. 3, 1858.

[The ten additional enlistments, named in the quotation from the History of Dickinson County, by R. A. Smith, do not agree with the above Roster, either in names or number. We make no attempt to reconcile the discrepancies, but publish the list as shown by the rolls.]


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