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As the news of the dire events in Dickinson County spread through the State, attempts were made at several places to organize military companies to go at once and lend aid towards punishing the recreant Indians and rescuing the captives. No records of these inchoate organizations have been preserved so far as known to the writer, but tradition supplies us with a few details of one that had a short existence at LaMotte, in the northern part of Jackson County. That was the former home of Elizabeth Blake, who there married J. Milton Thatcher, and she was one of those who endured the horrible fate of captivity among the inhuman savages. Her uncle, John Hodges, a farmer living near the little village of LaMotte, called for volunteers of mounted men as soon as the dread facts became known, and about twenty enrolled their names and met several times for drill before it was learned that the Governor had no power to raise and equip a military force. Hodges was duly recognized as Captain of the little company, and Brooks Weatherby, who had seen service in the Regular Army, conducted the drills. Weatherby rejoined the Regulars during the Civil War, and since, and is said to have been in the First Infantry only a few years ago. David Rhea, a native of Tennessee, who had recently married a sister of Mrs. Thatcher, bought a young black horse to use on the Expedition. He became a member of Company I, Twenty-fourth Iowa Infantry, in the Civil War, and still lives in Jackson County. Most of our knowledge of the company comes from him. Martin V. Smith, of Bellevue, afterwards a soldier in the Fifth Iowa Infantry, is another living witness, who confirms the story we are telling. Among the names given as having enrolled in this little band of volunteers, are: Henry and Frank Nobles, Alex and Henry McDole, Brad Canfield and George Bird of LaMotte; George and William Foster and Pat Nestor of Zwingle; William Cheeney and "Manny" Kimball of Perry Township, -and William H. Smith (afterwards in the Fifth Iowa Infantry) of Bellevue. Joseph B. Dorr, afterwards Quartermaster of the Twelfth Iowa Infantry, and Colonel of the Eighth Cavalry, who was the editor of the Dubuque Herald, but owned a farm near LaMotte, gave much encouragement and advice in the raising of the little company.
[In explanation of the spelling of proper names—used in the Historical Sketches of "Iowa in the Mexican War" and "The Spirit Lake Massacre"— which, in some instances, differs from published works on these subjects, would state that we have followed the copy, as furnished by Mr. Reid, in almost every instance.]
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