SE Iowa History Articles By O.A. Garretson

A Lincoln Pole Raising

The presidential campaign of 1860 is interesting not only on account of its importance but also because of the election methods employed. Both of the great political parties organized bands, marching squadrons, and glee clubs in the principal cities of Iowa, while in the rural communities and smaller towns the enthusiasm was scarcely less manifest. Rallies, processions, picnics, and barbecues were the order of the day throughout the State. The raising of a Lincoln flagpole furnished the opportunity for an outburst of enthusiasm and a celebration not to be surpassed by any of the more common political activities.

On July 28, 1860, approximately two thousand people gathered in Jackson Township, Henry County, Iowa, for the purpose of promoting Lincoln's candidacy by the erection of a flagpole. Republican farmers of the neighborhood, chief among whom were William F. Jones and W. C. Woodworth, sponsored the celebration. The place selected was the convenient spot on the old Burlington to Agency military highway at the junction with the road leading to Hugh Boyle's grist mill on the Skunk River a mile north. At that central point the people were accustomed to assemble for the celebration of the Fourth of July, and there was the rendezvous of the home guards during the Civil War. So intense was the excitement in 1860 and so earnest were the people that they came from miles around to attend this political rally at the important country crossroads where north and south traffic between Mount Pleasant and Lee County towns crossed the artery of the east and west travel to and from Burlington. Lincoln Poles were erected in many towns but the raising of one in the country was unique. A newspaper reported that "many ladies

graced the occasion with their presence, good looks and smiles of approval."

Primitive pioneer methods were used in constructing and raising the pole. Four perfectly

straight trees of different sizes were selected so as to form a strong, uniformly tapering pole when spliced. The ends of the trees were then hewn at a long angle and laid together. Through the splices two-inch auger holes were bored into which wooden pins were driven. Strong iron bands of the proper sizes were then slipped over the small end of the pole and pounded down over the tapering splices. A heavy log, about twelve or fifteen feet in length, was used for the base, into which the lower section of the pole was mortised and firmly braced laterally. When the pole was finished, a trench, long and wide enough to admit the base log, was dug to the depth of about eight feet. This contrivance was designed to prevent the pole from swinging sideways or overbalancing as it was being raised.

Long pikes with iron spikes in the end were provided for the men who were to do the actual work of raising the pole. Ropes were attached to the top of the pole for the purpose of steadying it in the course of erection. A heavy, forked pole was also ready to be used for steering the flagpole and holding it in place between hoists.

When all was in readiness a captain was chosen and the work of raising began. The small end of the pole was lifted from the ground, the pikes were jabbed in, the ropes were manned, and the guide pole put in place. "Heave, O heave!" cried the captain. All together the pike men heaved with all their might. The great pole raised a few feet, the guide pole was slid farther down to bear the weight, and the men rested from their strenuous efforts. Again and again this process was repeated. Gradually the base log slipped into the trench and at last the pole stood erect with the earth tamped firmly around the base.

How the eager throng cheered when the work was done! From the top, a hundred feet above the ground, floated a large American flag about eight by fifteen feet in dimensions. Inscribed on the banner in large letters were the names of Lincoln and Hamlin.

In raising the pole one error was made. When the guy ropes were attached to the top no one thought of tying them so they could be loosened from the ground. After the pole was in place the guy ropes were still hanging from the top, and a means of releasing them became the problem of the hour. Finally, John Hall, who lived in the vicinity, volunteered to climb the pole. He ascended to the top, using nothing but his bare hands and feet, released the ropes, dropped them to the ground, and descended without injury to himself, although he was much exhausted. Later, young Hall enlisted in the Union army, and never returned.

After the pole raising had been completed, a bounteous picnic dinner was spread by the

women, and all were invited to partake freely. Dinner over, the speaking began. A large

"Wigwam" had been previously erected, in which the meeting was held. Samuel McFarland of Mount Pleasant was the principal orator of the day. His vigorous speech, described as "one of his very best," caused great enthusiasm. McFarland afterward became lieutenant colonel of the Nineteenth Iowa Infantry and was killed in 1862 at the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.

Two or three days after the big rally, some miscreant, probably under the guise of

campaigning for the Democratic party, razed the Lincoln Pole to the ground. This act of

vandalism so far violated approved methods of campaigning that it was criticised even by

followers of "The Little Giant", while among Republicans it was universally denounced. G. W. Edwards, editor of the Mount Pleasant Home Journal, commented as follows: "We learn that some villainous Douglasite has bored down the Pole raised by the Jackson Township Republicans. We should be very sorry to trust a flock of sheep near the residence of a man who would be guilty of such an act, and it is to be hoped that the perpetrator will be discovered and held up to the contempt of the community, as he deserves to be."

Not disheartened by the loss of their Lincoln Pole, erected with so much labor, the Jackson Township Republicans made another pole, taller and better than the first, and held a second celebration. I shall never forget the erection of that Lincoln Pole. As a small boy, I went with my father, Joel C. Garretson, and William F. Jones to the Prairie Creek bottoms to cut the forked steering pole to be used in hoisting the flagpole. A suitable tree was soon secured. As it was being dragged along, the front end struck a stump or a stone and the other end swung around suddenly, hit me with terrific force, and threw me to the ground. Mr. Jones pulled me from under the tree, examined my leg, and remarked that there wasn't any bone in it or it would have been broken. One leg was so badly lacerated, however, that a scar remained as a permanent reminder of Lincoln Poles and the campaign of 1860.

The second pole raising was characterized by even more enthusiasm than the first. Invitations were extended to Republicans of the surrounding towns, many of whom responded. Mount Pleasant "turned out a delegation about a hundred strong, including the Wide Awakers", while Salem was represented by three or four hundred men and women. Pilot Grove, Primrose, and other places to the south in Lee County sent large delegations. By noon of August 9th, almost "one thousand persons were on the ground." Some came on foot, others on horseback, but most of them rode in farm wagons. One six-horse team and several four-horse teams were there, bedecked with American flags.

Two bands and the Wide Awake Glee Club added materially to the entertainment. Several Wide Awake marching clubs attracted considerable attention. They wore black oilcloth caps and shoulder capes. Usually officered by a veteran of the Mexican War, they were drilled according to the infantry manual of that day. At the pole raising they presented a rather spectacular appearance as they went through their maneuvers. One spectator voiced a sentiment that must have been in the minds of many that day, "This looks like war, and I believe we are going to have war."

The first attempt to hoist the pole failed. When it was partly up, the middle splice broke and the top half came down with a crash. No one was hurt, however, and in about an hour the pole was respliced. The second attempt succeeded without accident. This pole was fully eighteen inches in diameter at the base and extended a hundred and twenty feet into the air "as straight as an arrow." When the flag was run up, the crowd gave three cheers "and three groans for the scamp who bored down the other pole."

"A free dinner was prepared by the ladies of the neighborhood, of which the multitude

partook with a will." After dinner, Rufus L. B. Clark of Mount Pleasant delivered an address. He spoke for about an hour and those who heard him said that he made a "capital speech." When he concluded, six cheers were given for the speaker and three more for "Honest Abe."

The second Lincoln Pole was not molested, and stood until after the election. When the first news of Lincoln's victory came, a large placard was tacked to the pole bearing the well-known words of Commodore Perry: "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

Time effaces all things. The Lincoln Pole was soon destroyed and forgotten. The historic

Burlington and Agency road, over which government troops once marched to their outposts on the border, was later one of the thoroughfares of western migration. Thousands of prairie schooners lumbered along that route. To-day it is merely a side road used only by local citizens. Hugh Boyle's famous mill, once the nucleus of an important industry in that region, is no more. But at the site of the pole raising, the old oaken base log probably still lies buried where it was placed by the zealous adherents of Abraham Lincoln almost sixty-five years ago.


A Famous War Horse

In the spring of 1864 the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry participated in the Red River campaign. The Second Brigade, of which the Fourteenth Iowa was a unit, was commanded by Colonel William T. Shaw of the Fourteenth, while Lieutenant Colonel J. H. Newbold of Hillsboro, Iowa, was in command of the regiment. When General N. P. Banks organized his expedition to ascend the Red River and capture large stores of cotton which the Confederates had assembled at various ports along the river, Colonel Shaw's brigade was ordered to join the other forces in Louisiana.

On the tenth of March, Colonel Shaw's brigade left Vicksburg as a part of the First Division of the Sixteenth Army Corps, and proceeded to Alexandria, Louisiana, encountering some resistance on the way. After a brief rest, the detachment broke camp at Alexandria and marched to Cotile Landing up the Red River, where it embarked on transports and was conveyed to Grand Ecore. On April 9th the brigade reported to General Banks at Pleasant Hill.

During this campaign, the horse that Colonel Newbold was riding got infected eyes and it

was feared that he was going blind. On the twenty mile march from Alexandria to Cotile

Landing, a squad of soldiers of the Fourteenth from Hillsboro, Iowa, neighbors of Colonel Newbold, were out on a foraging expedition. In the course of their search for supplies, they arrived at a very aristocratic plantation and decided at once to see what they could find. In the barn they discovered a beautiful white horse. Here was a real prize, just such a horse as the colonel needed to take the place of the one he was riding.

Just as they were leading the horse from the barn, however, the lady of the house came

rushing out greatly excited. She told the soldiers that she was Mrs. Taylor, the wife of General Richard Taylor, who was the son of Zachary Taylor, former President of the United States. The white horse they were taking was the one that General Taylor had captured from a Mexican officer and had ridden during most of his campaigns in the Mexican War. She did not tell them, however, that her husband was even then preparing to attack the Union forces at Sabine Crossroads and Pleasant Hill.

When the Iowa soldiers persisted in seizing the General's horse, Mrs. Taylor pleaded with

them to take anything else on the plantation but to leave "Old Whitey". The horse was old, she said, and could do them but little good, while he was highly prized by the Taylor family because of his military record. Mrs. Taylor was a woman of prepossessing appearance and made a strong appeal, but not quite strong enough to convince the Hillsboro boys that they did not need the famous war horse more than the Taylor family did. Consequently they marched away with their prize and presented him to Colonel Newbold who accepted the gift. The horse was henceforth reckoned as his property.

When Colonel Shaw reported to General Banks at Pleasant Hill he was ordered to march his brigade to the front and relieve General J. W. McMillan's brigade which had been engaged in covering the retreat of the Union forces after their decisive repulse on the previous day at Sabine Crossroads. The position occupied by the Fourteenth Iowa was in the front line where skirmishing was hottest all day. About five o'clock in the afternoon the Confederates attacked in force, hoping to rout General Banks's army completely.

Within half an hour the brigades on both sides were forced back by the determined charges of the enemy, until Colonel Shaw's regiments were exposed on three sides. At one time the Thirty-second Iowa, on the extreme left of the brigade, was completely surrounded, but succeeded in fighting through the encircling gray lines.

Meanwhile Colonel Newbold, mounted upon the old white war horse that belonged to the

commanding general of the enemy, rode through the thick brush urging his men to hold their ground. Presently a swift cavalry charge sent a protecting battery hurrying pell-mell to the rear and left the Fourteenth Iowa to receive the full force of the attack. The cavalry was repulsed, but immediately two lines of infantry advanced. The first contingent was checked in front but the second line shifted to the right and opened a terrific cross-fire. Just when the fighting was hottest, Colonel Newbold was shot and fell from his horse mortally wounded.

Thereupon Captain Warren C. Jones of Mount Pleasant assumed command of the Fourteenth Iowa and rode the white horse through the rest of the battle. Eventually Colonel Shaw received orders to fall back. Other troops were brought into the fight and after two hours of constant battle, the Confederates were forced to retreat in considerable disorder. Instead of following up the victory, however, the Union commander continued to withdraw down the river.

Soon after the battle at Pleasant Hill, General Taylor's white horse was sent by boat to

Keokuk and thence to Mount Pleasant where the wife of Colonel Newbold then resided. A few days later he was taken to the Newbold farm in Van Buren County about two miles from Hillsboro. There the horse was kept by Cyrus M. Newbold, a brother of Colonel Newbold and of Governor J. G. Newbold. Cyrus Newbold taught the old war horse how to work on the farm, a service which it had never before performed.

After a period of two years on the Newbold farm, the horse was sold to John Moxley, a

horseman of considerable note living four miles west of Salem. Moxley, however, kept the horse but a short time when he sold him to Captain Warren C. Jones, who had ridden him at the battle of Pleasant Hill. Captain Jones tenderly cared for "Old Whitey" as long as the thoroughbred lived, and at the end buried him with military honors a mile and a half north of Mount Pleasant.


An Incident of the Civil War

On April 6, 1862, the first great battle of the Civil War in the West was fought at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, afterward known as the battle of Shiloh. The Federal armies after disembarking at Pittsburg Landing formed their lines of battle in a semi-circle facing south and southwest, as the only foe they were likely to encounter was the Confederate troops at Corinth more than twenty-five miles away. General Benjamin M. Prentiss's division was placed at the extreme left end of the line and faced nearly south. The brigade in which the fourteenth Iowa Infantry was a unit, afterward known as the Hornets Nest brigade, occupied a central position in the division line. Company I, of the Fourteenth Iowa, largely recruited from Mount Pleasant, Salem, Hillsboro, and adjacent communities, was posted in a thick clump of timber through which ran a wagon road. Travel and erosion had worn the soil down so that the bottom of the road was much lower than the surrounding land. The Iowans were armed with old-fashioned, muzzle-loading muskets with steel ramrods.

Albert S. Johnston, who commanded the Confederate Army at Corinth, learning of the

intention of the Federal Army to cross the Tennessee River at Pittsburg Landing and march upon Corinth, decided not to await the arrival of the Federals at Corinth, but made a hurried march toward Pittsburg Landing with the intent of surprising the Union forces and overwhelming them before they could be well organized. Early on the morning of the sixth of April, the Confederates opened their attack upon the Federal forces in two lines several hundred feet apart. General Prentiss's division was the first to feel the shock of battle.

The Fourteenth Iowa, lying in the sunken road, was ordered not to fire until the enemy was within thirty paces. When, at last, the Iowans opened fire, the volley entirely destroyed the first line of the Confederates. But the enemy was not halted. Hurriedly the men began reloading to meet the shock of the second advancing line. In his excitement, Private Joshua Campbell of Glasgow in Company I forgot to remove the ramrod from his musket and, leveling his gun at the enemy, fired ramrod and all. As the rod shot out, small end first, instead of going straight at the enemy, it took a slant upward and the little end was driven several inches into an oak tree about twenty feet from the ground. The heavy end swung around, bending the ramrod almost double. John E. Mitchell of Keokuk and Corporal Milton Rhodes lay beside Campbell in the sunken road and saw him fire his ramrod into the oak tree. The Hornets Nest brigade and the Fourteenth Iowa held this position throughout the day, but lost contact with the rest of the division. Toward evening, it was found that both wings of the Federal Army had been driven back and that the Confederates were in strong force between the Iowans and the river and the rest of the army. It seemed useless to make any further sacrifice of human life and so the troops surrendered as prisoners of war.

Fifty years after the battle, John E. Mitchell and Milton Rhodes, while attending a soldiers' reunion on the battlefield of Shiloh, went to the location of Company I in the sunken road and, looking up into the trees, saw the ramrod that Joshua Campbell had fired fifty years before, still sticking in the tree. Perhaps no one had discovered it, but, if so, had refrained from removing it.

In July, 1929, when I visited the battlefield of Shiloh, our guide pointed out the location of the Hornets Nest and the sunken road. I asked the guide if anything was known of a ramrod that had been fired into an oak tree in that locality. He replied that the ramrod had been found. The tree had died, but a section of the trunk containing the ramrod had been cut out and kept by the curator of the battlefield. I visited the museum and there saw the ramrod just as the tree had preserved it for sixty-seven years.

Joshua Campbell has long since passed away. His body lies buried in the lonely Leambert

cemetery northwest of Salem and he has been forgotten by the community, but the ramrod which, in his haste, he fired at the enemy, remains as a fitting memorial of his military service.


Indian Jim

The region of the lower Skunk River and its tributaries, so scientists say, offers one of the

most fertile fields in Iowa for archeological research. Evidence of the occupation by prehistoric man may be found everywhere. Both upon the hilltops, which afford an unobstructed view, and on the stream terraces, mounds give eloquent testimony of the character and customs of men who lived there long ago. Stone implements of various forms and uses are to be found in abundance, all clearly explaining the life and activities of the primitive people who possessed the land before the incursion of the whites began.

In the early historic period the tribe of Ioways, with their principal village a few miles to the southwest on the Des Moines River, roamed over these choice hunting grounds. After them came the Sacs and Foxes, whose attachment to this beautiful country led to the Black Hawk War.

It is not strange that tribes living in a land so favorable for the existence of primitive man

should leave it only under the stress of dire compulsion; nor is it strange that here and there an individual of the ejected tribe should, as has frequently happened in the history of Iowa, linger among the old haunts and the scenes of his ancestors, for a lifetime perhaps, an anomaly among a people who have displaced his race.

When James Box settled in Henry County in 1834 about three hundred Sac and Fox Indians were living in the southeast corner. Their village was located on the north side of the river in a sheltered nook about one mile above the present town of Lowell.

Black Hawk was a familiar figure. He and his son were well known to the early pioneers.

When the tribe was moved from the Black Hawk Purchase farther toward the interior of the State, a lone Indian known as Indian Jim remained behind among the pioneers of Lowell. Just why he absented himself from his tribe to live with the whites is not known. He built his cabin on the south side of the river one and one-half miles above the town of Lowell on the southeast quarter of section twenty, afterwards owned by William Archibald. There he lived by hunting, trapping, pearl fishing, and selling lead ore. Interest in Indian Jim centered in his lead ore traffic.

He claimed to know, and many pioneers believed he knew, the location of a lead mine near the hamlet of Lowell. He was always supplied with a quantity of ore of excellent quality which he traded to settlers for fire water and other things that he deemed necessary for his comfort. When his supply of ore was exhausted he would absent himself and in a few hours would return with a new supply. He stoutly maintained that there was a "mine" near by, but he never would reveal the location.

It became the ambition of every pioneer to discover the location of the Indian's lead deposit, for they all believed the alleged mine to be a fact. Diligent search was made through all the hills and vales near Lowell, but to no effect. Watching parties were organized to follow the movements of Indian Jim, but the red man was too wary for them all. On one occasion the watchers found him on his return with a fresh supply of ore. His clothes were wet, which indicated that he had crossed the river from his home. This is the only fact ever elicited in regard to the location of the Indian's secret "mine"

All the pioneers of Lowell were acquainted with the Indian, but he became especially

attached to a colored man named Lewis Collins. Collins was an industrious and respected negro, who was employed in the housing mills at Lowell. Indian Jim grew very intimate with Collins and promised to reveal to him the location of his lead ore cache. The day was set when they were to start on the journey but Collins became ill and was unable to go. Before he had sufficiently recovered to make another effort, Indian Jim decided to visit his tribe at the Sac and Fox Agency, on the site of the present town of Agency. Before his departure, however, he promised Collins that when he returned they would make a trip to his "mine". That was in 1839.

The red man never returned. Like most members of his race he was a lover of the pernicious fire water, and in some altercation, caused by excessive drink, he was slain by members of his tribe.

The people of Lowell who had been living in high anticipation of the day when their town would enjoy the riches of the "mine" were sadly disappointed. So strongly had the thought become fixed in the minds of the settlers that many were the efforts made to uncover the much sought treasure. But all was in vain. Whether the supply of lead ore was a cache of the ancient mound builders or more recent tribes, whether it was an unusual glacial deposit, or whether it was the cargo of a sunken barge from the Mines of Spain at Dubuque is entirely a matter of conjecture. The secret "lead mine" of Indian Jim remains a secret still.



It is commonly accepted that Marquette and Joliet were the first Europeans to see the plains of Iowa, but the finding of certain relics in Henry and Jefferson counties may indicate that long before the English founded Jamestown, Spanish pioneers had explored the Iowa country.

The story begins with the expedition of Juan de Onate into what is now the central area of the United States. Onate was born in Zacatecas, Mexico. His father was the owner of the richest mines in Mexico, and Juan was reared in luxury, but he preferred the strenuous life of an explorer rather than the ease which luxury gives.

Following the brilliant Coronado's failure to plant a permanent colony in New Mexico, the Spanish government refused to bear the expense of further attempts at settlement or exploration. After years of negotiations, however, Onate obtained permission from the Spanish Viceroy to colonize and explore New Mexico at his own expense. At a cost of two million dollars he organized an expedition to colonize and explore this unknown land. His expedition consisted of four hundred persons, men, women, and children, including two hundred soldiers and a number of clergymen or priests. He also took large herds of cattle, horses, sheep, and hogs. He made the first permanent settlement in New Mexico in the vicinity of Santa Fe and this colony was made the base for exploring expeditions to different parts of the country. In 1600 Onate led an expedition into the country which is now the State of Nebraska. He named the Platte River the river Jesus Maria. In 1606 he led an expedition far to the northeast. The records of this expedition have not yet been found. It is of record that Onate returned, but the particulars of his

explorations are not known.

It was the custom of these Spanish explorers to take with them a priest who was generally the historian of the party. If the historian's life should be lost, there was no record of the expedition. Even if the historian made his report, it was sent to the Spanish government in Spain, and might be buried in the archives.

It was this expedition far to the northeast that the writer believes left its mark in Iowa, but it is also quite probable that Coronado reached the borders of Iowa. When Coronado's expedition reached the Canadian River, in what is now Oklahoma, he sent the main body of his command back to New Mexico while he with thirty picked followers proceeded north for further explorations. The record is clear that he went as far as northeastern Kansas, and there are fragmentary reported that at this point he crossed a broad river and entered a country where the soil was black and an abundance of wild fruit was growing. This may have been northwestern Missouri or southwestern Iowa. There is no proof that he penetrated into the interior of what is now the State of Iowa.

There is also a possibility that another expedition may have entered the territory of Iowa.

When the Spanish learned that the English had founded Jamestown, the pioneers of New Mexico organized a force to march across the continent and drive the English into the sea. What became of this expedition the writer has not been able to determine. The entire force may have been exterminated or the scribe of the expedition killed. In this case, there would be no record. As the histories of these explorations were always sent to Spain the record of this exploit may now be mouldering in some Spanish library.

But all evidence points to the fact that it was the explorer Juan de Onate who left his mark in Iowa. Cedar Bluffs on Skunk River on the eastern border of Jefferson County appears to have been the terminal point of his journey. It would seem that in this locality, he was assailed by the aborigines. He took a position upon a high ridge where he could command the view from all directions Here he erected some kind of a fortification to shield his followers. At the base of the ridge is a never failing spring of water where his comrades could renew their supply of water which the Spanish pioneers carried in abundance, a habit which they acquired in traversing the arid plains. The early settlers of this region claimed that there was evidence that some kind of a building had once been erected on the crest of this ridge.

Numerous lead balls, supposed to be from the Spanish harquebus, were found scattered over this field and continue to reveal themselves to the plowman. Flint arrow points are equally numerous scattered over the same territory.

Just across the river from this battle ground, on the brow of the cliff that borders the river,

three feet beneath the surface and under the roots of a large walnut tree, a Spanish ax was found. The walnut tree had sprouted and grown within the stump of a giant oak that had long since perished and the ax was found beneath the roots of both. This ax was of bronze steel of peculiar form and in an excellent state of preservation. The writer recognized the ax at once as being of Spanish origin.

To make sure of its relative age, he visited the museums of New Orleans and St. Augustine where many Spanish relics are preserved. In the oldest house in St. Augustine, now a museum, he found an ax of the identical pattern of the one found at Cedar Bluffs. This ax was used in founding St. Augustine which corresponds very closely to the time Juan de Onate was exploring Iowa in the early years of the seventeenth century. Near the site where the ax was found, a lance head was uncovered in an Indian grave. This lance head is of the form and pattern of those used by Cortez in the conquest of Mexico. It is a matter of record that lances were a part of the armament of the Onate expedition to New Mexico. The lance head in question was probably one of the trophies of the battle fought at Cedar Bluffs and was so highly prized by the Indian warrior that when he died the trophy was buried with him in the grave, as was the custom with many tribes. In the same vicinity several small articles have been found that may or may not be of significance—the image of a frog carved from stone with a cross upon its back, an image of the Virgin Mary, and some small iron crosses. Quite recently, a bronze coin was found, of Roman pattern or rather of a province of Rome. On the obverse side is the bust of the ruler of the province while on the reverse side is the Roman eagle.

The writer is not sufficiently versed in numismatics to know whether this is an original coin or a reproduction, but it has all the appearance of being original. There are, of course, many ways that these small articles could be lost in the soil of Iowa, but being found in close proximity to well-known Spanish relics, it is reasonable to believe that they too are of Spanish origin.

On the same ridge, and not far from the supposed Spanish fortification, a stone grave was

found by Herman Elgar of the Henry County Historical Society, and Frank Johnson, a resident of that locality. This grave was explored by the Henry County Historical Society. It was found to be different from any other grave ever seen in this part of Iowa. This grave was lined with flag stones and over the top flag stones were laid, and over this a mound of earth was raised. At the head a beautiful stone of peculiar pattern was erected. It is not believed that this head-stone is of artificial design, but rather the work of erosion, but it served well the purpose for which it was used. It has been suggested that this might be the grave of a Spaniard killed in battle.

When Onate left his fortified position at Cedar Bluffs on his return journey, he went south down the river to the mouth of Big Cedar Creek which comes in from the southwest, and the river turns abruptly to the east. After ascending Big Cedar Creek for a few miles, he was again assailed by the Indians. In this engagement, the Spaniards appear to have lost heavily.

In a ravine on the hillside where erosion had cut a deep channel in the soil a gun barrel was found protruding from the earth. The position of this gun was such as to indicate that it had been buried for centuries and was only brought to light by the deep erosion of the soil.

In the deep woods of the Big Cedar Valley some heavy irons, curiously wrought, were found by the early pioneers. These irons were a puzzle to the finders but were finally identified as being part of a gun carriage. It is a well known fact that the early Spanish explorers always took with them one or more light cannon with which to defend themselves and terrify the Indians. This gun carriage being disabled was, apparently, abandoned in the woods and all parts disappeared except the heavy irons.

On the top of the bluff near this battle ground two stone graves were found. These graves

were opened more than fifty years ago by curious citizens and no scientific investigation was ever made. Recent careful examination by the writer reveals the fact that these graves were very similar, if not identical, with the grave at Cedar Bluffs. Such are the facts upon which we base our claim that the Spanish pioneers were the first white men to view the plains of Iowa.

It might be suggested that these Spanish relics might have been brought in the course of trade with the Indians. The writer is aware that the Indians carried on commerce with distant tribes, but it must be remembered that these were relics of the sixteenth century. There were no Europeans in what is now the United States at that date except the Spanish of New Mexico. Such a thing as a trade or commerce with the Spanish at that time was absolutely unknown to the Indian tribes.

In regard to the stone graves, there is room for a difference of opinion. It is well known that the Indians of the Hopewell Culture sometimes buried their dead in stone graves. Some of these graves were found in Ohio and adjacent States, and many of them were found in Tennessee, but not to the writer's knowledge has any grave been found in Iowa that corresponds to the grave on Cedar Bluffs. A stone grave has recently been discovered in western Oklahoma identical with the graves of Iowa. This grave was found on the trail of Coronado when he visited northeastern Kansas. This grave is hundreds of miles from any known grave of the Hopewell Culture. If these Iowa burials are not of Spanish origin, it is a curious coincidence that they are found adjacent to what was apparently a Spanish battle ground, and that the corresponding graves in Oklahoma are

on the Coronado trail a thousand miles from any other graves of that kind.

The writer has tried to identify the Iowa burials with the Spanish burials in the fifteenth or sixteenth century in New Mexico, but little could be found about the manner of disposing of the dead. Enough was learned, however, to indicate that the Spanish settlers laid the body close to the surface, covered it with stone, and then heaped dirt upon the stone.

In studying these early Spanish expeditions, it should be clearly borne in mind that they were carefully organized, efficiently officered, and sent out under strict orders from the Spanish crown. The reports of these expeditions were made either directly to the Spanish court or through the Viceroy of Mexico and were retained in Spain. For almost three hundred years, the history of the Onate expedition was unknown to the people of America. In recent years, an American scholar engaged in historical research uncovered in the archives of Seville the full report of Onate's march to New Mexico. This report was complete in every detail. It included an inventory of all the property taken with the expedition and a record of all the soldiers enlisted, how they were armed, their names and the names of their fathers, their stature, and even the color of their hair and eyes. A similar description was given of the men, women, and children who went as colonists.

In still more recent times a French historian brought to light in Paris a complete history of the destruction of Vellasar's Spanish army on the Platte River by the French and Oto Indians in 1720. Only traditions of this expedition had previously been known.

In view of these facts, may it not be possible that before many years some scholar, engaged in historical research in the libraries of Spain, will bring to light the full history of Onate's expedition through the territory of Iowa?

In setting forth the foregoing facts and the claim that the Spaniards were the first to explore the Iowa country, the writer is well aware that he is disputing the records of historians for several generations. Historians have written history from all the available records they had at their command in regard to Iowa and the public has accepted these writings as facts and is loath to believe that these time honored stories are not complete.

However, when new facts and new records are brought to light the true historian must modify his view and aid in keeping history straight. To impress this view upon the public the writer makes the following summary.

The records show that Juan de Onate's soldiers were armed with light artillery, muskets or harquebuses, lances, and axes. Specimens of these implements of that date are still preserved in the museums. It is of record that Onate made an expedition far to the northeast of Nebraska. The history of this expedition has not yet been found, but the fact that he left the implements of the Sixteenth Century scattered along his trail and the musket balls still revealing themselves on the field of his defense are more positive proof of his explorations than any written record could possibly be. The proof is as positive that the Spaniards were here as it is positive that the mastodon was here and left his bones in the alluvial valleys of Iowa.




In the southeastern part of Henry County in Baltimore Township, where the Skunk or

Chicanqua River winds its way among the wooded hills, lies the quiet and peaceful village of Lowell, nestling in the valley beside the flowing river.

In the pioneer days, Lowell was one of the important industrial centers in rural Iowa.

Scarcely had the Black Hawk Purchase been concluded before numerous settlers came pouring into Iowa to make their future homes. The first settlers in the vicinity of Lowell arrived in 1834, and to this location were attracted many men of energy and enterprise in the years that followed.

The river was the making of the town. At this point, where the river channel is narrow and the current swift, the enterprising pioneers quickly saw the opportunity to develop extensive water power, a factor much needed in the growth of a new country. Flour and meal were prime necessities among the pioneers. While game, vegetables, and wild

fruit were abundant, bread stuffs were scarce and at first could only be obtained by a long trip over ungraded roads to mills in Illinois. Hence, the grinding of grain and the making of flour were the first industries to claim the attention of the settlers. The river offered a splendid opportunity at this point.

In 1838, William Smith and Thomas Angel built a dam across the river and began the

erection of a four mill to serve the needs of the people. The demand for labor caused by this enterprise attracted many settlers, and soon a prosperous village was formed. Among the prominent families that settled in the locality were the Boxes, the Archibalds, the Smiths, the Jackmans, the Stevensons, the McFarlands, and the Browns, all enterprising people whose influence and energy brought prosperity to the community. The flour mill proved a success from the start, and when completed was patronized by the people for many miles around.

As interest centered in this locality, other industries were developed. Since lumber was in

great demand to supplement the log-cabin homes of the settlers, sawmills were established to supply the necessary material. Justice Clark, observing that corn was plentiful and of little market value, built a distillery in 1840 which consumed much of the surplus corn. It ran for four years, and free whisky was kept on tap for all who cared to partake.

The original town was platted by a man named McCarver and was first called McCarversville. About 1840, however, the town site came into the possession of Edward

Archibald, an enterprising man from the East. Because the water power seemed to give promise of great manufacturing possibilities, Archibald changed the name of the town to Lowell, hoping that some day it would rival the industrial city of Massachusetts for which it was named.

In 1839 the United States government began the construction of a military road from

Burlington to the Indian Agency on the Des Moines River. This road went through the new village. When it was completed an immense emigration followed this route and as a consequence hotels or taverns were opened at Lowell and many points along the road.

In 1852, Joseph Brown built a grist- and sawmill on the south side of the river to serve the rapidly settling country. This mill soon acquired a fine reputation and was patronized by farmers from a distance of fifty miles. At all hours the mill yards were filled with wagons and teams waiting for their grist. In order to meet the demand of their customers, both mills in Lowell were operated night and day. In connection with one of the grist-mills, carding machines were operated where the farmers could have wool carded into rolls.

The heavy traffic on the Agency road and the coming of so many people to patronize the

mills, required the establishment of mercantile houses and blacksmith shops. R. J. McFarland operated a tannery for many years, and manufactured a goodly quantity of leather which was in great demand by the pioneers.

On the wooded hills around Lowell was a fine forest growth of white oak trees suitable for cooperage purposes. This business was early established, and shops were started not only in the town but on many of the homesteads in the vicinity. Lowell became the headquarters for all kinds of barrels and kegs and general cooperage, and held this distinction for many years after the Civil War.

Another industry that was started and prospered for a time was the manufacture of spinning wheels, warping bars, and all kinds of weaver's supplies. This industry soon perished, however, because of the growth of great textile mills that rapidly superseded hand weaving.

An extensive pottery business, though not established in the town itself, was yet so closely related to it that it gave life and strength to the community. Dennis and Edward Melcher, two men of German birth, discovered a fine stratum of potters' clay about three miles east of Lowell. These men, being familiar with the art of making pottery, proceeded to develop the industry. Large kilns were built for burning and glazing the ware, which proved to be of fine quality. The Melcher wares soon gained a wide reputation and all southeastern Iowa was supplied with crockery from the Melcher kilns. This industry continued for many years, but finally faded as the problems of trade and commerce changed.

The citizens of Lowell, though gathered from all parts of the nation, were on the whole a

peaceful and honorable people. The claim has often been made that no citizen of Lowell or Baltimore Township was ever convicted of a felony. Whether this immunity from conviction arose from the character of the citizenship of the community or from the failure to detect and punish the derelict might be a mooted question. Certain it is that crimes were committed, and it is equally certain that the criminals were never brought to justice.

In 1864 the people of Lowell were thrown into a fever of excitement by the report that

outlaws had entered the home of Edward Folsom, living one mile east of the village, and

deliberately shot him as he lay peacefully in bed, then seized two of his horses and hastily fled. Folsom's wife and child, who were unmolested, ran to Lowell and gave the alarm. A posse was quickly gathered and went to the Folsom home, but no sound could be heard from within except the groans of the dangerously wounded man. His horses were found abandoned near Burlington, but no trace of the outlaws was discovered. It has been alleged by some that Folsom knew the man who shot him, but feared to reveal his identity until he learned of his death at the hands of a vigilance committee, in Missouri.

Perhaps no political campaign in the history of Iowa was prosecuted with such vigor and

energy as the struggle between the followers of Lincoln and Douglas in 1860. In every town and hamlet the partisans of Lincoln were organized into marching clubs and commanded and drilled by some officer or veteran of the Mexican War who was acquainted with the manual of arms. These marching companies were equipped with oilcloth caps and capes and double-wicked oil lamps attached by swivel to the end of a staff so that the lamp would always hang in an upright position no matter what the angle of the staff. These marching companies were called Wide Awakes and when marching at night made a very spectacular appearance. The followers of the "Little Giant" were also organized into marching companies and were officered and drilled in a similar manner. They were equipped with a heavy hickory staff, one end of which was crowned with a bunch of red, white, and blue ribbons. These clubs bore the cognomen of Hickories in

honor of "Old Hickory" Jackson.

The rivalry between the two organizations was very intense. Many of the early pioneers of Lowell were emigrants or descendants of emigrants from the southern States, who were strongly proslavery in sentiment and hated the "abolitionists", as Lincoln's supporters were called. In this regard the people of Lowell and Salem were strongly arrayed against each other. During the progress of the campaign, numerous rallies were held by the respective parties where the drilled companies marched and countermarched amidst the plaudits of their admirers. It so happened that the Wide Awakes of Salem and the Hickories of Lowell were scheduled to march at Lowell on the same evening. So bitter was the feeling between the two communities, it was greatly feared that a militant encounter might occur between the two organizations. In such a contingency the heavy clubs with which the Hickories were equipped would make very formidable weapons, while the Wide Awakes with their oil lamps and light supporting staffs would be no match for their assailants. To be prepared for any emergency that might arise, the Wide Awakes of Salem provided themselves with hatchets and butcher knives and other

implements of defense, suspended or concealed beneath their oilcloth capes. Wise counsel prevailed, however, and the two rallies occurred without friction, much to the relief of the friends of the respective companies.

Among the pioneers of Lowell were a number of noted characters. Edward Archibald came from New England to Lowell at an early date, and entered at once into the business enterprises of the town. Being possessed of considerable means he was a conspicuous figure in the community. Before leaving his eastern home, he had studied medicine, but it is not known that he was a graduate of any particular school. He opened an office in Lowell and continued the practice of medicine to the end of his career. Dr. Archibald gained such a wide reputation in the treatment of diphtheria that he was called long distances to treat that malady. It is doubtful, however, if the pioneer physician distinguished between diphtheria and tonsillitis, since both diseases in those days were called putrid sore throat and given the same treatment.

John S. Stevenson was another man that left his mark upon the Lowell community.

Stevenson came to Lowell in 1836, and settled in the woods near the river. Four years later he moved to the prairie in Jackson Township where he built a palatial home. In 1845 and 1846 he represented Henry County in the Territorial assembly at Iowa City. Afterward he opened a general store at Boyl's mill which he conducted for several years, but the enterprise was not successful and in 1856 he returned to Lowell to spend the remainder of his life in that village.

One of the most versatile and unique characters among Iowa pioneers was the first settler of Lowell. James Box was born in South Carolina and emigrated with his parents to Tennessee and Kentucky. In 1834 he settled in Henry County, Iowa, one mile southwest of the site of Lowell. He was in the fullest sense of the word a child of the forest. Unlearned in the books of the day, innocent of school attendance, yet he was splendidly equipped with worldly knowledge which enabled him to maintain an independent existence on the fringe of civilization. A master in the woodcraft of his generation and familiar with the ways of the frontier, he was well able to cope with the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life. James Box was not one of those adventurous spirits that sought fame and fortune in the new Territory, but came instead to establish a home where he could live a quiet, independent life among his fellows regardless of what race or nationality they might be. The most peculiar characteristic of this queer person was his ability to fabricate strange and extravagant stories. So renowned did he become in this regard that he early acquired the name of being the biggest liar in the Territory of Iowa, a distinction which seemed to please him.

My father, Joel C. Garretson, settled in Henry County in 1837 about six miles from the home of Mr. Box. The two men soon met and father learned something of his neighbor's

characteristics. Not long afterward, Mr. Box appeared at my father's cabin but not finding him at home he placed his hands on the door casing and, addressing my mother in his slow deliberate fashion, said, "Well, Mrs. Garretson, I don't suppose you know who I am, but I am the biggest liar in the Territory of Iowa."

"Good morning, Mr. Box", replied my mother without a moment's hesitation, much to the

delight of the caller.

The following incident will illustrate the remarkable temperament of this unusual man. One morning, Mr. Box was walking along the road carrying a small stick in his hand, when he met a neighbor and his wife driving toward the village. After having passed the usual greetings, his friend said, "Tell us a lie this morning, Uncle Jimmie."

"Oh, I haven't time this morning," Mr. Box replied. "Our neighbor's child died last night."

And, holding up his little stick, he added, "I am going up to take the measure for the coffin."

Shocked and grieved at the sad news, the man and his wife turned around and drove back to the stricken home to offer sympathy and assistance. But when they arrived they learned, much to their relief, that Uncle Jimmie had told them the lie they had requested.

After the Indians were removed from the Black Hawk Purchase, small bands often returned to the vicinity of Lowell on hunting expeditions. On the occasion of one of these visits a member of the hunting party, known as Indian Jim, decided to remain permanently. For some time his activities were watched with great solicitude by the early residents of the community but they gradually became accustomed to his presence. He erected his hut in an isolated spot and made his living by hunting, trapping, and selling lead ore to his pale-faced neighbors.

Herein lies the principal interest of the pioneers in Indian Jim. He claimed to know the

location of a lead mine from which he obtained his lead ore, but he kept the location of his mine a profound secret. The quality of the ore was fine, and the Indian seemed to be able to furnish any quantity of it to his neighbors. The people, not being versed in the geological formations of the territory, firmly believed that he had a real lead mine. This aroused their cupidity and curiosity to such a degree that the country was thoroughly searched for any trace of the coveted mine. Parties were organized to watch the movements of the Indian, hoping thus to solve the mystery, but Indian Jim was too wary for them all and kept his secret unrevealed. Just before going on a visit to his tribe at the Agency, he promised Lewis Collins, with whom he was intimate that when he returned he would show him the source of his lead supply. But Indian Jim never returned. The great wealth for which Lowell had so fondly hoped was never discovered, and the secret lead mine of Indian Jim remains a secret still.

A very peculiar character among the people of Lowell was Lewis Collins, a free negro. He was a miller by trade and was employed in the flour mills. Although a majority of the people of the community were proslavery in sentiment, Collins held the respect of his neighbors. It is alleged that several plots to sell him into slavery were frustrated by the people of Lowell.

Before he was employed in the Lowell mills, Collins operated a small grist-mill on Prairie Creek a few miles west of the town. In those days, millers received their pay for grinding by taking toll of the grist. In this way large quantities of corn were accumulated for which there was small cash market, so it was customary for millers to keep a herd of hogs to consume the accumulated toll. One summer Collins had a fine herd of young hogs that fed daily at the mill, but ran at liberty in the open woods. About the middle of September, these hogs were missing and failed to return. Collins searched the woods in vain. About two miles from the mill in the Skunk River bottom, there lived a man whose reputation was a little shady. While searching in this vicinity for his missing pigs, Collins came upon a pen in the middle of his neighbor's cornfield, and there, carefully concealed, was his herd of hogs.

Here was a problem. Should he report the case to the officers and have his neighbor arrested for the theft of his property? The negro did nothing of the kind. He was a diplomat of no mean ability. Seeing that his hogs were being well cared for, he went quietly home and said nothing, but kept watch over his property. Late in the fall, several farmers in the neighborhood prepared to drive their hogs to market at Burlington. Collins announced that he had a herd ready to go and proposed joining in the drive. On the day designated for the trip, he calmly went to his neighbor's cornfield and drove his hogs away to market. The potential thief did not dare to protest.

The founders of Lowell never realized their expectations. The town was doomed because of its location and changes in the currents of trade The advent of new inventions, the integration of industry, the introduction of improved means of transportation, and the modifications of the domestic requirements of the people sapped the foundations of the community. Like many another bustling pioneer village, Lowell now lies dreaming of the past and what it might have been. The river, whose power once turned the busy wheels of mills and factories is as free as it was the day the first explorer gazed upon its rippling waters. The descendants of the pioneers now live in quiet solitude beside the flowing stream, thinking of the energy and enterprise of their ancestors, realizing how futile was their hope that Lowell would rival its eastern namesake, yet conscious that this pioneer village fulfilled its destiny well in the days when the foundations of the Commonwealth were being laid.

O. A. Garretson

Pilot Grove

During the Illinoian glaciation the present channel of the Mississippi River was obstructed by ice. Its waters were diverted from their natural course and swept southward along the western boundary of Henry County through the present valleys of the Skunk River and Big Cedar Creek, thence southeast up the channel of Little Cedar Creek, and across the prairies of southern Henry and northern Lee counties to the valley of Sugar Creek, whence the Mississippi returned to its former course below the present site of Fort Madison.

Where this stream passed over the prairies between Little Cedar and Sugar creeks, it excavated a wide channel now known as the Grand Valley. A branch of this valley heads in the eastern part of Marion Township in Lee County and extends westward to the middle of the township. There it turns south and connects with the Grand Valley. On the promontory partially encompassed by this crescent valley is the site of the once prosperous village of Pilot Grove.

The name Pilot Grove is significant. On the crest of the promontory, far removed from any forest growth, was a beautiful grove of elm trees. In the midst of this grove stood a giant elm, a veritable monarch, towering above the stately trees that surrounded it. This grove could be seen for many miles across the prairies and served as a guide to the pioneer who journeyed over the plains to seek a home nearer to the setting sun. Hence the name of Pilot Grove. Many early settlers were guided to their destination by this friendly and unerring pilot.

Perhaps the first white man to discover this noted landmark was Alexander Cruikshank, a

worthy pioneer of 1834. The discovery of the grove can best be told in the language of his son, J.P. Cruikshank of Fort Madison:

"My father on March the fourth 1834 procured a canoe at the town of Commerce, now

Nauvoo, Illinois, and took aboard a few personal effects and provisions. Being a sailor of fifteen years experience, he readily rigged up a mast and using a blanket for a sail, he easily sailed up the river eight miles, landing at the site of Old Fort Madison, marked by two of the old stone chimneys, the barracks having been destroyed by fire over twenty years before. There were two or three cabins at the landing, occupied by settlers, some of whom had made settlement before the country was opened for that purpose, and had been removed a year previously by government dragoons. Remaining over night at the fort, my father the next morning boldly started for the interior wilderness, afoot and alone, selecting a site for his future home in a point of timber jutting into the windswept prairies on the headwaters of Sutton Creek, fifteen miles northwest of the old fort and about three miles south of the present village of Lowell on Skunk River.

"My father being unsatisfied with his location, began after he had planted his small crop to reconnoiter for one where the soil was more fertile and the water facilities better. He had learned from an Indian who had stopped over night at his cabin of a fine spring of water about seven miles southwest. Taking my father to a high point on the prairies nearby he pointed in the direction of the spring and to a grove that stood boldly out on the prairie about five miles due west. Four miles to the south the Indian called his attention to a high point of timber (the site of the present town of West Point). By means of broken English, signs, grunts and gestures in which an Indian is past master in making himself understood, he made it clear to my father that in order to find the spring he must follow the course pointed out, keeping the elm grove to the right and the point of timber to the left, about equally distant from the course line; after crossing Big Sugar Creek, he would see another grove or point of timber ahead, where he would find the flowing spring.

"Not long after this occurrence father started in quest of what he feared might turn out to be another fabled fountain of youth with which the Indians lured the early Spanish adventurers....The land on which the elm grove stood is about the highest point in Lee county, and could be seen for miles around. Keeping the grove to the right and crossing Sugar Creek at a point now known as Pilot Grove station, my father found the spring in the edge of the point of timber just as the Indian had described. Here father made his second claim, on which he built another cabin on the exact site now enclosed and known as the Clay Grove or Howard cemetery, where he, my mother and other members of the family lie buried."

From that time on the high elm grove became generally known as Pilot Grove. The early

settlers' trail from Fort Madison to the Aaron Street settlement at Salem and the trail from

Burlington to a settlement on the Des Moines River crossed at or near Pilot Grove. Long before the advent of the white men the aborigines used this grove as a guide.

Iowa settlers were not slow in discovering the beauties of such locations and their natural

advantages for the founding of villages. Jonathan Jones, an enterprising and thrifty pioneer, claimed the land on the promontory in 1837 and acquired title to the same in 1840. At this early date, when all around was a trackless plain, Mr. Jones was imbued with the idea of founding a town. He planted a grove of black locust trees in the form of a square, the trees being arranged in regular order, and he enclosed this grove with a fence of elaborate design. Near the grove he set apart a plot of land for a cemetery and there Mrs. Jones was the first to be buried. In 1851 the government established a postoffice, giving it the name of Pilot Grove and Jonathan Jones became the first postmaster. Attracted by the beauty of the location and the richness of the surrounding prairie many settlers established their homes nearby. On March 20,1858, the town was regularly laid out and platted by George Berry, deputy county surveyor. This plat is on section 10, township 69, range 6. The platting was approved by J. A. Goodrich, acting county

judge, and was filed in the office of the county recorder on April 16,1858.

The town grew rapidly: George E. Moon and son opened a store for general merchandise, E.B. Ringland soon followed with a dry goods store, Townsend Hubb established a shop for the manufacture of wagons, buggies, and farm implements, and Enos Neal set up as a blacksmith. Schools and churches were established and Pilot Grove became the community center for the surrounding country. The park with its ample grove of shade trees furnished a delightful place for all outdoor meetings. Here the Fourth of July was celebrated in real pioneer fashion. Speakers of note fired hot oratorical shot into British tyranny and lauded the virtues of the American patriots.

Pilot Grove was the focus of the intellectual activities of the surrounding communities.

Literary societies were organized where the younger generations practiced the art of elocution, and local orators discussed many problems of government and philosophy in the forum of debate.

In ante-bellum days, Professor Belding, an elocutionist and reader of considerable ability,

conducted schools of elocution at Salem, Chestnut Hill, Lowell, Pilot Grove, Dover, and other points. At the close of these schools a grand contest for championship was to be held. No more fitting place could be found for such a gathering than the public park of Pilot Grove. Great interest was manifested in these exercises. The day set for this occasion proved to be ideal and people from the surrounding country came to the park in large numbers. The audience was estimated to have included from six hundred to a thousand people. Judge John Van Valkenburg of Fort Madison, Joel C. Garretson of Henry County, and Joseph D. Hoag of Chestnut Hill were chosen as judges of the contest. The audience was highly entertained and the honors were fairly distributed. Miss Lizzie Mitchell of Salem received first prize. Her selection was "Hiawatha". "Regulus", rendered by Caleb Weir of Pilot Grove, was given second place. Lydia Ellen Townsend, also of Pilot Grove, received third place. Miss Lizzie Wiggins of Salem was given the premium for making the best appearance on the platform. She spoke Poe's "Raven". John E. Mitchell and Miss Sue Wiggins received honorable mention.

The population of Pilot Grove never exceeded three hundred people, but its importance as a community center was out of proportion to its population. Here the farmers for miles around received their mail, went to church, talked politics, did their trading, and found a market for the stock and produce of the farm.

Four church organizations were maintained in the town: Baptist, Presbyterian, Friends, and Universalist. Only two church buildings were erected, however—Baptist and Quaker. The Presbyterians held their services in the Baptist church while the Universalists occupied the public hall. The town was well supplied with ministers. Samuel Pickard and Zehn Leweling taught that immersion was essential to salvation. Reverend McNight preached the time-honored doctrine of election, while at the head of the Quaker meeting sat Ephraim B. Ratliff who on occasion when the spirit moved him to utterance proclaimed the glad tidings of peace on earth and good will to men. Joshua Hicks and Joel C. Garretson believed that as Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost He would through God's infinite love finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness. Thus the various phases of religious thought had their adherents and

devoted champions.

Pilot Grove also presented a field for political activity. In the ever memorable campaign of 1860 the picturesque "Wide-awakes" from various towns with their oil cloth caps and capes and their greasy lamps marched and countermarched. Here also the followers of the "Little Giant", their hickory clubs bedecked with ribbons of the national colors, gave their spectacular parades, while venders of refreshments openly sold "Douglas whiskey" and cider to the thirsty throng. No political campaign was complete without a grand rally at Pilot Grove.

During the Civil War the political feeling was very intense. An anecdote will illustrate the spirit of the times. One evening in the fall of 1862 several hundred men had gathered at the schoolhouse to listen to orators from Keokuk uphold the Union cause and hear the glee club from Fort Madison sing the war songs of the hour. After the meeting was over and the men had assembled in the yard one enthusiastic citizen drew a pistol from his pocket and fired at random in the air. This seemed to be a signal for a moment the place resounded with pistol shots from the whole assembly. It seemed as if every man was armed and ready for immediate action should occasion arise.

About 1867 a high school was established and Professor Morrison instructed the youth in the higher branches of learning. Morrison was followed Eli Beard of sainted memory. Beard was an educator of wide experience and was much beloved by pupils. A monument erected to his memory at Milo, Iowa, by his former pupils stands a witness to

love and esteem in which he was held. In 1871 the schoolhouse was destroyed by a tornado. The enterprising citizens soon replaced the structure with a more commodious building and the high school was again opened with C. M. Frazier and Belle Coleman Frazier, his wife, as instructors. The school prospered for a time but the citizenship of the surrounding country changed and the school was finally closed. Frazier entered the law and afterwards became Attorney General of Arizona.

The town of Pilot Grove was also doomed. Two causes contributed directly to its decline.

About two and one-half miles southeast a settlement of German Catholics was established about the village of St. Paul. These Germans were an industrious and frugal people. They rapidly extended their holdings and soon absorbed the surrounding land. The interests of these people were not at Pilot Grove but were centered in the village and church of St. Paul. The children were sent to the parochial school and public education was abandoned.

Pilot Grove had flourished without a railroad. In 1880 a branch of the Burlington road was constructed from Keokuk to Mt. Pleasant, passing four miles to the westward. A few years later another branch of the Burlington extending from Fort Madison to Ottumwa was located two miles south of the village - the final cause that ended the career of Pilot Grove. The trade of the country was naturally diverted to the shipping points on these roads, and Pilot Grove was left without adequate financial support. To add insult to injury a station on the Ottumwa line now bears the name of Pilot Grove.

To-day the original village is no more: the buildings have long since been wrecked, and the streets and alleys have become a part of the adjacent farms. The public park - the one time pride of the village - is unenclosed and only a few straggling and ragged trees remain to tell the glories of the past. The historic and stately elms that played such an important part in the days of the pioneers have succumbed to the ruthless hand of utility. This beauty spot of nature, once vibrant with life and energy, is as silent to-day as it was when the stranger guided his footsteps by the lofty pilot of the plains.

O. A. Garretson

The Battle of Athens

While the southern boundary of Iowa was the nominal dividing line between the forces of

unionism and secession west of the Mississippi River, the people on either side of this line were far from being in full accord. Many residents of Iowa openly expressed their sympathy with the secession movement, while on the Missouri side many citizens stoutly adhered to the Union and stated their views in vigorous terms. It is hardly possible for the people of this generation to realize the heat of the conflict as it raged along the border during the summer of 1861. Ties of friendship were rent asunder. Family was arrayed against family, brother against brother and father against son. Even the school children took up the quarrel of their seniors and waged fierce battle in defense of their respective views.

In a school near Athens, Missouri, the pupils were about equally divided on the subject of

secession. Their enmity became so great that finally each faction lined up on the opposite sides of a ditch and fought to a finish, using fists and feet and stones and sticks against their antagonists. After several had been severely hurt, the Union forces won, but this juvenile battle effectually closed the school until after the Civil War. The teacher, who had been instructing the pupils to honor the Southern Confederacy, was visited by a committee of loyal citizens. Upon the approach of the incensed Unionists, he is said to have appreciated his plight and fled, never to return.

The feeling on the border was extremely tense. Neighbor suspected neighbor and no one

knew whom to trust. Iowa was suspicious of Missouri, fearing that bands of guerrillas would cross the line to plunder and destroy. To meet this anticipated danger, men in almost every community organized into companies of Home Guards for the purpose of defending their respective communities and acting in concert with other companies should occasion demand.

Salem, in Henry County, Iowa, had been a prominent station on the underground railroad and consequently was hated by all the slave-holding interests of northern Missouri. Even in ante-bellum days the Missourians had threatened to burn the town because of its anti-slavery sentiment. This community in particular had just reason to fear violence if the secession element should cross the border in force.

Such were the conditions of apprehension when, early in August, 1861, word was received that Colonel Martin E. Green with a large force of heavily armed Secessionists was marching northward with the intention of invading Iowa. News of the threatening raid spread rapidly through the southeastern counties. The wildest rumors were afloat. Couriers rode in every direction warning the people and gathering such arms as the country possessed.

At Salem the rumor ran that Green had crossed the Des Moines River and was advancing on the town. Salem was excited. The citizens hastily organized for self-protection. Horsemen were stationed a mile apart along the road to the south so that the latest news could be relayed rapidly. To be sure, Green had not yet crossed the river, but there was no doubt of his approach in Missouri. It was only a matter of time until every loyal citizen would be called upon to take up arms in defense of his home.

Isaac Garretson was hastily dispatched to Fairfield to procure a six-pound brass cannon. A little one-pound cannon, made by a local blacksmith firm was brought into service and sent forward to meet the enemy. Meanwhile, A. J. Withrow, of Salem carried the word of the invasion to Mount Pleasant and reported to Captain Samuel McFarland. It took three hours for Captain C. F. Spearman's company of Home Guards from the Liberty neighborhood east of the town and Captain W. F. Leehew's company from Marion Township to mobilize and start for the field. Following the Home Guards wagonloads of unorganized men, armed with squirrel rifles, shotguns, and pistols.

Word came to the excited populace of Salem and vicinity that the troops were going to try to hold the enemy at the river, but failing in that they would fall back and make their final stand at Salem. Men and boys were sent in every direction to gather such arms as the country afforded. All kinds of guns— long rifles, short rifles, double-barrelled shotguns, squirrel guns, revolvers, and horse pistols—were called into requisition. Four hundred men thus armed went from Henry County to the defense of Iowa. Home Guards and citizens of Lee and Van Buren counties were marshaled in a similar manner and hastened forward to meet the enemy.

Meanwhile Colonel Green's army of Missouri guerrillas had reached Athens, a small town on the Missouri side of the Des Moines River, defended by a regiment of loyal men from northeastern Missouri, under the command of Colonel David Moore, a veteran of the Mexican War. Athens was strategically located. Though on Missouri soil, the town was just opposite Croton, Iowa, a station on the Des Moines Valley Railroad where supplies could be readily obtained. Moreover, reinforcements from the Federal recruiting stations at Keokuk and Burlington were within easy reach if needed. Green's

natural objective was the capture of this vantage point, together with considerable military equipment, valuable commissary supplies, and large stores of flour in the flouring mills at Croton.

At about sunrise on August 5, 1861, the Secessionists attacked the Union outposts and

advanced upon the town. Colonel Green had divided his force of five or six hundred men

(currently reported as numbering fifteen hundred) into three parties. The right wing, sheltered by a cornfield, moved northwest along the river; Colonel Green himself commanded the center which faced north; while the third section swung around to the left and closed in toward the river, thus practically surrounding the town. The engagement began with some rapid artillery fire from two or three small cannons directed down the main street at the Union position about three hundred yards away. The aim of the Secessionists was very bad, however, and most of the solid shot hurtled high overhead and fell harmlessly into the river or lodged in the hillsides beyond. A few balls passed through houses in Croton, but no one was injured by them.

The Confederates, though mounted, had left their horses in the timber at the rear and were deployed as infantry. Presently the fighting became general and for some time the rattle of small arms mingled with the crash and roar of the cannon.

At the first rush the enemy some of the Home Guards faltered, but most of them stood their ground, firing steadily. The Secessionists, being also unseasoned in battle, were rather disconcerted at this rough reception. Blood began to flow. Men fell, seriously wounded. Dazed, the advancing line stopped and stood irresolute. Quick to take advantage of the momentary hesitation of the enemy, Colonel Moore, in a voice that could be heard by both sides above the noise of battle, gave the order to charge with fixed bayonets. That was the turning point of the fight. With a shout the Unionists sprang forward and the Secessionists fled in confusion. Some did not even stop to get their horses, while others mounted the first they came to and galloped away.

Finding himself in possession of the field, Colonel Moore dispatched a company to pursue the enemy and gather up the fruits of victory. A number of horses were brought in and no end of guns, revolvers, and abandoned equipment, but Colonel Green's army had vanished. That was the end of the fighting in northeastern Missouri, though for several weeks thereafter general apprehension of renewed hostilities prevailed along the border.

Two young men, John E. Mitchell and Edward Millspaugh, were returning to Salem from

Missouri when they met several of Green's would-be raiders hastening southward and were informed that a great battle had been fought at Athens. Changing their course they drove rapidly to Farmington, crossed the river, and went down the north side to report to Colonel Moore for duty. They were assigned the task of guarding a ford several miles up the river. In the shelter of a pit formed by the uprooting of a large tree, they kept their eager vigil. About the middle of the night they heard the sound of splashing water at the ford. Sure that the time for action had arrived, they looked to the priming of their guns and breathlessly awaited the nearer approach of the enemy. But the raiders were only some harmless cattle that had come down to the river to drink.

There was great excitement in Keokuk when news of the fighting reached that city. Among the men of the fifth and sixth regiments of Iowa volunteers, who had just been mustered into Federal service and were stationed at Keokuk awaiting orders to move south, the proximity of war was something of a shock. Detachments from these regiments were hastily entrained and sent to Croton to reinforce Colonel Moore, but the fight was practically over before they arrived.

The battle of Athens was the military climax of the divided opinion in northeastern Missouri and southeastern Iowa on the question of secession. All spring and summer the opposing factions had been organizing as their hostility grew. So the day came when men found themselves arrayed in battle against former friends. A citizen of Dover, who was wounded in the affray, declared that an Iowa neighbor had fired the shot that hit him. Even families were divided. Dr. William Moore, a son of the leader of the Union Home Guards, commanded a company of the Secessionists. Later in the war, it is said, father and son met again on the battlefield The elder Moore ordered his men to charge upon some Confederates who were holding a patch of timber. Hearing his father's command, the son turned to his comrades in gray and said, "Boys, it's time to go. When dad says charge he means business". Perhaps that lesson was learned at Athens.

Most of the Home Guards exhibited remarkable courage in the skirmish at Athens, but when the Confederates emerged from the cornfield in apparently overwhelming numbers, a certain Captain Callahan and several men of his command fled precipitantly, forded the shallow river below the mill dam, and kept on running northward into Iowa, spreading consternation in their path. They reported that all was lost, that Colonel Moore's army was all cut to pieces, and that the rebels were crossing the river in great force. When they reached Montrose, the gallant Captain Purcell seized his rifle and, summoning about forty of his neighbors, boarded the evening train for Keokuk to procure arms and assist in repelling the invasion. Not until he reached Keokuk did he learn of the successful battle and the defeat of the invaders.

The flight of Callahan and his reports of disaster and danger sent another thrill of excitement through the country, and another hasty search for arms was begun. Home Guards and unorganized patriots, with their non-de-script armaments, began to pour into Croton, all eager for the fray, but pleased to know that the invasion had already been repelled. It was estimated that eight thousand men, composed of Home Guards and other volunteer citizens, gathered to assist Colonel Moore.

Many of the men and boys from the rural villages and homes of Iowa, that helped to make up the motley throng at Croton had never seen an army officer in uniform. Colonel Moore, wearing the uniform of a Mexican War colonel, appeared to them the grandest figure they had ever beheld. Not many months passed, however, until many of these young men were themselves wearing the uniform and insignia of officers in the Union army.

After the battle of Athens, the lines of loyalty were more closely drawn than ever. So far as military control was concerned the engagement was a decisive victory for the northern cause, but the success of arms by no means settled the issue in that section or reconciled the opposing factions. Knights of the Golden Circle endeavored to aid the South, while Union leagues were organized in every community to keep a systematic watch over every one suspected of harboring secession convictions. Most of those who favored the southern cause sought a more congenial residence or learned to keep their own counsel and give no open manifestation of their true sentiment. It became a common occurrence for Secessionists in both Missouri and Iowa to be arrested and forced to take an oath of allegiance to the Union.

Many amusing anecdotes have been told about the attitude of the non-resisting Quakers in this time of turmoil and danger. Many of these people about Salem were excellent hunters and owners of good firearms. During the search for military equipment Captain Milton Rhodes went one night to a good Friend, named Hammer, told him of the rebel invasion, and asked for the use of his rifle in the defense of Iowa. Mr. Hammer replied, "My gun is on the rack above the kitchen door but I would advise thee not to go down there. Thee might get hurt."

Captain Rhodes told him it was his duty, that he and many others were making every

preparation to go at the earliest moment.

"Now Milton, thee had better not go. Thee might kill somebody, and then thee would regret it."

Mr. Rhodes went into the kitchen, nevertheless, and found the rifle. He called to Mr.

Hammer, who had not arisen from his bed, told him he had the gun, and was going to take it.

"Did thee get the powder and bullets?" Hammer asked.

Rhodes replied in the negative, whereupon the good Quaker said, "Thee can't do any good without the powder and bullets. Thee will find them hanging on the wall below where thee found the gun, but I think thee had better not go."

At another point about five miles northeast of Salem, a group of excited citizens had gathered at the home of Thomas Pickard to discuss means of defense and plans to collect every available gun in the community. A faithful Quaker, Absalom Grey, was known to be the owner of a good gun. Elwood Pickard, a fourteen year old boy, was sent in haste to get the rifle. When he arrived and told the nature of his mission—that the rebels had invaded Iowa and that he had been sent by the council of citizens gathered at his father's house to get Mr. Grey's gun —the Quaker replied, "My gun is in the kitchen shed but I won't lend my gun to kill people with."

The boy returned to report his failure in procuring the gun and received instructions to go

back and get the gun. When he came again asking for the firearm, Grey said, "I told thee I

wouldn't lend my gun to kill people with, but if thee must have it, thee knows where it is and thee will find the powder and balls hanging beside the gun. But I tell thee I won't lend my gun to kill people with."

Joel C. Garretson was a man not easily excited. Although he had loaned several guns to be used in repelling the invasion, he had reserved for himself a small seventeen-gauge single-barrelled shotgun which was used for killing birds and other small game. When Callahan made his inglorious flight from the field of battle and told his tale of dire disaster, another hasty search was made for additional firearms. Jehu Lewelling, an able and talented man, reared under the tenets of the Society of Friends but later converted to the Baptist faith, came in eager haste to the home of Mr. Garretson and called for the remaining gun. Mr. Garretson, not sharing the fear of his neighbors, saw an opportunity for a little levity and said to the excited minister, "What do you want to do with the gun? You are not going to kill anybody are you Jehu?"

Mr. Lewelling, who had a peculiar way of introducing a "d" sound in some words, replied, "It don't make a bit of difference, Mr. Garretson, I want your gun." Needless to say he got the weapon, and so the little old bird gun went to the defense of Iowa, carried by a Baptist preacher who had been reared a Quaker.

No event in American history ever produced such antagonism between the people of

different sections as the secession of the South from the Union of States. Men have differed in religious thought and quarreled over religious principles; they have been divided into political parties and differed widely on policies of government. Each group has, nevertheless, usually recognized the patriotism of the other. But when the blow was struck that would sever the Union and destroy the government of the Fathers, anger knew no bounds. Trust and confidence gave way to uncurbed hatred and revenge, and the different forces rushed to the conflict. Even now, after the lapse of more than sixty years, these fires still burn in the hearts of those who took part in the conflict.



The pioneers of Iowa were possessed of unusual courage and self reliance. There was no

place among them for the weak and timid. Among the pioneers who gathered their belongings into covered wagons and traveled for hundreds of miles into an unknown land was Henderson Lewelling and family who came from Indiana to Iowa in 1837, and in the southern part of the town of Salem in Henry County a large substantial two-story stone dwelling still stands as a monument to the energy and enterprise of this man.

Henderson Lewelling, a skilled nurseryman, was soon supplying southeastern Iowa with the choicest of trees and vines. After ten busy years in Iowa, he again assumed the role of an adventurous pioneer and moved to Oregon where in his zeal as a nurseryman he helped lay the foundations for the great fruit industry of the Pacific northwest.

The Lewelling family originated in Wales and early history speaks of the members of this

family as noted and powerful lords of the kingdom. They were a sturdy, independent clan who successfully resisted the progress of the Roman legions at the time of the Roman invasion, and in later days fought against the tyranny of the English kings.

At just what date the Lewelling family emigrated to America is not known, but there are

traditions of the family in America for several generations prior to any recorded history of their activities. When the record of the Lewellings begins in North Carolina they were not like the chivalrous and warlike clans of Wales. Although they possessed many of the characteristics of noblemen, like William Penn, they had been converted to the peaceful ways of the Society of Friends or Quakers, and were living according to the tenets of that benevolent society.

The grandfather of Henderson Lewelling was said to have been a pious, God-fearing man, well versed in Biblical literature. He named his three sons Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego. Meshack was the father of Henderson Lewelling, the Salem pioneer.

Meshack Lewelling was a practicing physician and a professional nurseryman; at the same time he also engaged in general farming. He rode on horseback to visit his patients and carried his remedies in his saddle bags as was the custom in those days. What the occupation of Meshack's ancestors was is not recorded, but it is believed that they were nurserymen for several generations. The Lewellings were located in Randolph County, North Carolina, which is in the southwestern part of the State. Many of the finest apples in the world are now being shipped to various markets from this locality, and doubtless the foundation stock of these orchards came from the Lewelling nurseries.

In 1825, Meshack Lewelling and a number of his neighbors, attracted by the glowing reports of the country in Indiana, disposed of their holdings in North Carolina and started on the long and dangerous trail over the mountains and through the Cumberland gap to the promised land of Indiana. Contrary to the general rule among the Quakers, Meshack Lewelling was a holder of slaves. When he sold the rest of his property in North Carolina, instead of selling his human chattels, he took them with him to Indiana and set them free.

Another member of the family inherited two slave children in Louisiana. He went to that State, obtained possession of his human property, took them with him to Indiana, and gave them their liberty. These acts were consistent with the traditions and spirit of the Lewellings.

When Meshack Lewelling arrived in Indiana, he purchased land, started in the nursery

business, and resumed the practice of medicine, which he followed to the end of his career.

Henderson Lewelling was sixteen years of age when he arrived in Indiana with his family. He assisted on his father's farm and in the nursery for several years. On December 30,1830, at the age of 22, he married Miss Elizabeth Presnell, who came from North Carolina and was also a Quaker. He established a home of his own and in 1835 he and his brother John, who owned adjoining land, went into the nursery business together. Shortly after this the brothers heard glowing accounts of the Black Hawk Purchase in Iowa. Ever alert for something better, Henderson Lewelling determined to move to Iowa. This change was made in 1837 and he and his brother John secured land near the new town of Salem and opened up a nursery there.

John continued the business in Indiana, while Henderson operated the Salem enterprise. The joint enterprise thus continued until 1841 when John disposed of their interests in Indiana and joined his brother at Salem. Here the business prospered. The country was rapidly being settled by the home building Quakers, and other citizens of like character who planted large orchards of apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, and fruit shrubs.

Almost every homestead in the southern part of Henry County and the northern part of Lee County was bountifully supplied with fruit trees from the Lewelling nurseries.

The Lewellings were conscientious men, who took pride in their business, and during the ten years that Henderson Lewelling operated a nursery in Salem, he made fourteen trips to Indiana and the nurseries of the East to secure the finest fruit trees and plants then-known to the science of horticulture.

As the result of the work of the Lewellings, almost every homestead within a radius of many miles of Salem had in a few years an orchard filled with the choicest varieties of apples and other fruits. So abundant was the apple crop of this section, that the local market could not absorb the yield. Fortunately other markets were not too far away to be reached by ordinary wagon traffic. The hauling of apples became a regular business for teamsters from August to the freezing weather of winter. As soon as the summer apples began to ripen, the roads would be lined with covered wagons hauling the fruit to Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, Newton, Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids, and intermediate points. Thus the fruit grower had a good market for his product, and the teamster an opportunity to engage in a profitable business.

After the coming of Henderson and John Lewelling to Iowa, other members of the family

followed. An older brother, William, settled in Salem and engaged in teaching. He was a

preacher among the Quakers and a public speaker of great merit. A nephew, Jehu Lewelling, and a niece, Jane Lewelling Votaw, also came to Salem. Jehu was a Baptist minister, and Jane Votaw was a preacher for the Quakers.

The Lewellings became opponents of the institution of slavery, as were many members of the Society of Friends. The controlling body of the church was too indifferent to the demands of the anti-slavery element, and a separation in the church took place, caused by the difference of views on the attitude which the church should adopt on the slavery question. The new branch of the church was called the Anti-slavery Friends. The Lewellings were prominent leaders of this group. A branch of the new church was established in Salem, and Henderson Lewelling sat as head of the meeting.

William Lewelling, the older brother, was also a powerful advocate of the abolition of

slavery. While in Indiana, engaged in lecturing on his constant theme, he was taken ill. He arose from a sick bed to fill an engagement. It is alleged that he addressed the audience with great power and energy, after which he immediately took to his bed from which he never arose.

William Lewelling left a family of small children who were reared by the widow and

relatives. The youngest son, Lorenzo Dow Lewelling, became one of the most illustrious

members of the family. After a severe struggle for an education, and a short career in the army, he became a teacher in Whittier College at Salem. He was a reader of great ability. His powers of elocution and impersonation were unusual, and he was in great demand at all literary entertainments. His friends believed that if he had gone upon the stage he would have become a great actor; but having been reared in the Society of Friends, a career upon the stage was unthinkable.

The writer was a friend of Lorenzo Lewelling, and assisted him in many of his endeavors.

Like most men of distinction, he met with many amusing incidents in his career. On one

occasion we were giving an entertainment at a country church in the vicinity of Salem. The audience was large and appreciative. Lewelling was reciting a pathetic poem entitled "The Wounded Soldier" in which the attitude of the wounded during the battle was vividly portrayed. He was rendering this with wonderful skill and had produced a profound impression on the audience. When he reached the stanza which reads, "Raise me up, comrades, we have conquered I know, up, up, on my feet with my face to the foe", Lewelling unwittingly transposed a sentence, and rendered it thus, "Raise me up, comrades, we have conquered I know, up—up on my face with feet to the foe". No one saw the error quicker than he, but it was too late. The ridiculous attitude of the wounded was too much for the audience, and all the pathetic effect of the speaker was lost in a gale of laughter.

Later he was appointed superintendent of the girls' department of the State reform school. He held this position for several years, and then moved to Wichita, Kansas. During the Populist uprising in 1892, he was elected Governor of the State, and served in this capacity with great distinction. L. D. Lewelling would doubtless have had a brilliant career, but in the height of his triumphs, he died.

During the time that Henderson Lewelling engaged in the nursery business at Salem, he

prospered, and acquired an adequate competence. He built the stone dwelling, already

mentioned, and was a leading and influential citizen of the community. But this was not enough. He had read with deep interest accounts of the travels of Lewis and Clark in the Oregon country and of the later expeditions of John C. Fremont, and emigrants' reports of the wonders of the Willamette Valley. As early as 1845 he determined to go to Oregon. He began to dispose of his property with the thought of starting the following year, but not being able to close out his business until the season was-too far advanced, the starting was postponed until the following spring.

The writer's father, Joel C. Garretson, was a warm personal friend of Henderson Lewelling. They had worked together in the anti-slavery cause, and both had suffered the abuse heaped upon the abolitionists of that period. When Garretson learned of Lewelling's intention of going on the Oregon trip, he went to him and told him, in the way of mild reproach, that he thought that a man who had prospered as he had, and surrounded himself with so many of the comforts and luxuries of life, should be content to remain in his present situation. Lewelling replied in that plain deliberate fashion, peculiar to the Quaker, "Well, Joel, it makes no difference how much a man has around him if he is not satisfied he will go off and leave it." His face was set toward the West, and no argument or persuasion would avail. The time of starting was delayed by circumstances, but his mind was firmly fixed. It was during this period of delay that Lewelling conceived the idea of carrying living grafted fruit trees to the Willamette Valley, and the Pacific coast. The following account of the preparation for this enterprise has been related by his son, Alfred Lewelling.

"When the next spring came, he (Henderson Lewelling) had secured the cooperation of a

neighbor John Fisher for the prosecution of his plans to take the fruit trees. They had procured a stout wagon and made two boxes twelve inches deep and of sufficient length and breadth, that set in the wagon box side by side they filled it full. These boxes were filled with a compost consisting principally of charcoal and earth, into which about 700 trees and shrubs, embracing most, if not all of the best varieties in cultivation in that section of the country were planted. The trees were from twenty inches to four feet high and protected from stock by light stripe of hickory bolted to posts set in staples on the wagon box. Three yoke of good cattle drew that wagon, and all other arrangements being completed we started on the 17th day of April, and traveled about fifteen miles a day through the southwestern part of Iowa and northwestern Missouri, reaching the Missouri river ten miles above St. Joseph on the 17th day of May. Our train thus far consisted of three wagons for our family and goods, one for Mr. Fisher's family, two for the Nathan Hocket family, and the nursery making seven wagons in all."

Soon after crossing the Missouri River, the Salem expedition joined a train commanded by a Captain Whitcomb, and traveled with it for several days, but this organization soon dissolved, and the Lewellings joined Captain John Bonser's part of the train, and traveled with it to the Platte River, where Mr. Fisher died. His death was a severe blow to the enterprise as Mr. Fisher had agreed to assist in caring for the nursery. Mr. Lewelling now had charge of the nursery wagon, and decided to carry it through in his own way and time, as he had already been criticized by some of his friends for attempting to haul that heavy load across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains. The trees had to be watered every day if possible, and thus the maximum weight of the load remained the same throughout the entire journey.

To all who sought to persuade him to abandon his "traveling nursery" Lewelling invariably replied that as long as it did not endanger the health and life of his family he would stick to his fruit trees. The following note from Alfred Lewelling will illustrate the firm and determined character of the man who was promoting this enterprise: "The last time I recollect any one trying to discourage him about the nursery wagon was on North Platte. The Rev. Mr. White suggested that it would be better for him to leave it as the cattle were becoming weary and foot sore, and that the continued weight of that load would kill all of his cattle and prevent him from getting through. Father's answer was such an emphatic 'No' that he was allowed to follow his own course after that without much remonstrance".

After this Lewelling decided it was best for the Salem group to travel alone or nearly so

rather than in large companies. Subsequent events proved the wisdom of this decision.

The story of the trip across the mountains has been related by his son as follows: "Instead of standing guard at night, we put bells on the cattle and watched them evenings until they had fed and would lie down, and father would invariably hear the first tinkle of the bell in the morning.

"I have no doubt that father devoted himself to the enterprise with as much watchfulness as any man that crossed the plains that year. "After losing two oxen on the Sweetwater River, one by poison and the other by inflammation caused by sore feet, we traveled pretty much alone; and our cattle began to improve, as two of the loads, being largely provisions and feed, were becoming perceptibly lighter.

"After passing over the great back bone of the continent at Pacific Springs, we crossed the desert to Green River, thence via Hams Fork to Bear River, passing Soda Springs and crossing the lava beds or volcanic district, we passed Hot Springs and over the Portneuf Mountains to Fort Hall. Then down through the sandy sage brush plains, crossing the Snake River twice, and through the Malheur and Powder River valleys, then through the Grande Ronde valley and over the Blue Mountains to the Umatilla River.

"Here we met Dr. Marcus Whitman who piloted us over by way of Birch and Butter Creeks and Well Springs to Rock Creek.

"There we changed the fruit trees to a lighter and better running wagon, by removing the two small boxes, and left the heavy wagon, doubling the teams in such a way that enabled us to get along quite comfortably, and thus to continue our journey, reaching the Dalles about the first of October. I do not remember the exact date.

"There father joined with others and constructed two boats to bring the wagons and other

goods, as well as their several families, down to the Willamette Valley.

"The boats were completed, loaded and started down the Columbia River, about the first of November. They went down as far as Wind River, where they were unloaded and used to ferry our cattle and horses across to the north side of the Columbia River, then reloaded and taken to the Upper Cascades, again the boats were unloaded and the wagons set up and hauled to the Lower Cascades. The boats having been turned adrift at the Upper Cascades went bumping and tossing down the scathing current and were captured below. (As the Salem expedition carried no row boats, it has been suggested by later writers that Indians with their canoes were employed to capture the heavy barges.)

"At the Lower Cascades the boats were reloaded and worked down the Columbia River to a point opposite Fort Vancouver, reaching there the 17th day of November, just seven months from the day of starting. Those of us who drove the cattle down the trail did not get there until the 20th of November.

"The fruit trees were taken out of the boxes when the boats were ready to start from the

Dalles, and carefully wrapped in cloth to protect them in the various handlings, and from the frosty nights."

Lewelling had now reached the goal of his expedition. He had arrived in the long cherished Willamette Valley with his cargo of precious trees. The story of his journey shows with what matchless energy he persevered in his enterprise, and what infinite care he bestowed upon his trees.

He next had to find a home for his family and a permanent lodgment for his traveling

nursery. He spent several days exploring the country and on the 10th of December moved his family into a cabin opposite Portland, now East Portland. From here he made another survey of the valley, and finally purchased a tract of land where some clearing had been done adjoining the town site at Milwaukee.

On February 5th, he moved his family to this place and began the making of a permanent

home. The land was densely covered with heavy fir trees, but by a vigorous application of the ax and torch, a clearing was soon made sufficiently large to plant the orchard and nursery.

Lewelling's ambition was now fully realized. He had brought his cargo of living trees across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains to the Willamette Valley, the first cultivated, or grafted fruit to reach the Pacific Northwest.

About half the trees he loaded at Salem, Iowa, survived the arduous transportation, and were now securely planted in the soil of Oregon. Lewelling's fame and fortune were assured. Emigrants were rapidly pouring into the Willamette Valley and around the Puget Sound, and the demand for fruit trees was unlimited. He was in a position to supply this demand with the choicest fruit trees America could furnish. He had taken the pains to transfer to Oregon the same variety of apples that had proven so popular in Iowa. There can be but little doubt that the superior quality of the apples supplied by his nurseries established the reputation of the Oregon fruits, and helped lay the foundation of the great apple industry of Oregon and Washington.

A few years ago, when the writer was touring Oregon, he was shown the locality of the

original Lewelling nursery, and he found growing in that vicinity the same varieties of apples he had known when a child in his father's orchard near Salem, Iowa.

Prior to his emigration to Oregon, Henderson Lewelling had watched with great interest the controversy between the United States and Great Britain over the Oregon question. It will be remembered that the boundary line between the British possessions and this country was in dispute for many years. It was greatly feared that the controversy might result in war. The Hudson Bay Company, which was a British organization, had established forts and trapping and trading stations throughout the country, and Britain claimed possession on that ground. The claim of the United States was founded in part upon the discovery of the Columbia River by Robert Gray, an American navigator, who had sailed up the stream for many miles and had taken possession of the country in the name of the United States. A very strong element in the United States claimed that 54 degrees 40 minutes was the rightful northern boundary and raised the uncompromising slogan, "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight".

Lewelling, who like his friend, Dr. Marcus Whitman, the missionary, knew the value of the region, was a strong advocate of securing as much of the Oregon country as was possible to obtain by fair and honorable means. He was not, however, one of those who raised the cry "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight". His Quaker training led him to believe there was a better way. He was greatly pleased when the final settlement secured to our country the Puget Sound, for he believed that these waters would some day be a powerful factor in the commerce of the world.

Soon after he established himself in Oregon, Lewelling formed a partnership with William Meek, a man from Bonaparte, Iowa, who had crossed the plains the same year, but not in the same train. This firm not only engaged extensively in the nursery business, but organized the Milwaukee Milling Company, and operated several saw and grist mills. At the same time they carried on several other enterprises.

When Lewelling and Meek were selling trees in all parts of Oregon and Washington, John Lewelling left Salem, Iowa, in 1850, and located in California, buying property at San Lorenzo, Alameda County. Here he started in the nursery business, obtaining his foundation stock from the Henderson Lewelling nursery, at Milwaukee, Oregon. The enterprise was successful. He reared his family here, and his descendants are occupying prominent positions throughout the State to-day.

In 1853, Henderson Lewelling sold all of his interests in Oregon to his partner William

Meek, and he and his son Alfred moved to California, purchased land in Alameda County, and engaged in the fruit and nursery business. Alfred named the locality Fruitvale. Soon a large population gathered in that locality, and Fruitvale became a beautiful little city adjoining Oakland.

Henderson and Alfred Lewelling sent out from this place not only thousands, but hundreds of thousands of fruit trees all over California. Again Henderson Lewelling was in no small measure responsible for the beginning of the great fruit industry of another Pacific Coast State—an industry which has brought more wealth to California than all the gold the State has produced. Henderson Lewelling built a fine residence in Fruitvale which in later years was occupied by a Governor of the State.

After these achievements, and having acquired for himself both wealth and an enviable

reputation, he seemed to have reached the limitations of his work on the Pacific Coast. But he could not be content to stand still, and look back upon past achievements. He must still press forward, and be a leader among men.

About 1858, he conceived the idea of founding a colony in Central America. He had crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1851 in his travels back and forth to the eastern States. He was much impressed by the mild climate, the cheap land, and the luxuriant growth of vegetation in that semi-tropical climate. He enlisted several others in the project, and in 1859 sold his valuable property in Fruitvale, purchased a ship and all necessary supplies, and he and his two younger sons together with his partners and their families, embarked for Honduras.

Prior to this, Lewelling had been successful in his every undertaking, but in this project he met defeat. The enterprise was a disastrous failure. He was the principal capitalist in the scheme and he lost heavily. Returning to California, he engaged in the fruit business again; but by this time he had lost his former vigor, and he never regained his former financial standing. A part of the Lewelling estate in Fruitvale was sold to a man by the name of Diamond. This tract was later donated to the city, and is now known as Diamond Park.

On February 23, 1924, a memorial meeting, sponsored by the Women's Clubs of California, was held in Diamond Park in commemoration of the great work of Luther Burbank, the plant wizard then living, and Henderson Lewelling, the nurseryman long since passed away. Appropriate speeches were made to the assembled throng, and a Sequoia or Redwood tree was planted for each of the two men and suitable tablets erected to commemorate their unselfish work.

Prominent among the pictures hanging on the walls of the rooms of the State Historical

Society of Oregon will be found the portraits of Henderson, Seth, and Alfred Lewelling, all pioneers of Iowa, who moved on to wider fields of usefulness in the undeveloped West.

Other members of the family in later years followed the pioneers to the western coast. Asa Lewelling, a nephew of Henderson and a brother of L. D. Lewelling, the Governor of Kansas, was superintendent for a number of years of the boys' department of the Oregon State Reformatory. Jonathan and Jane Lewelling Votaw moved to Washington. A son, Henry L. Votaw, became postmaster of Tacoma. Another son, Moses, entered the banking business, and became a prominent citizen of the State.

How many of the original trees carried by Henderson Lewelling from Salem over the plains and mountains to Oregon still survive is difficult to ascertain. There is one tree, however, whose history has been accurately recorded and is worthy of mention here. In 1845, Lewelling planted a cherry pit which sprouted and grew. In 1846, he grafted this seedling with a Black Tartarion Scion. In 1847, he carried this tree on his seven months journey to the Willamette Valley. In the spring of 1848 this tree was planted in the soil of Oregon at Milwaukee. In 1849 the tree was sold to David Chamberlain for five dollars. Mr. Chamberlain carried the tree by canoe, down the Willamette River to the Columbia River, then down the Columbia to the mouth of the Cowlitz, thence to Cowlitz landing where Toledo now stands, thence by horseback, seventy miles to Chambers Prairie, four miles from Olympia, Washington. Here the tree was planted and it is still bearing fruit. It is an immense tree now, and three feet from the ground it measures nine feet in circumference. Its limbs have a spread of sixty feet.

George R. Haines, Curator of the Oregon State Historical Society, in speaking of this tree

said: "I stood under its branches in 1853. In 1854 I ate cherries from the tree, and for many years thereafter. In 1895 it bore a crop of forty bushels of cherries. In 1920, the crop was 1200 pounds."

Moses Votaw, a great nephew of Henderson Lewelling, visited this tree in July, 1928. It was after the cherry season, but he found many dried cherries still hanging to the branches, and many dried cherries on the ground. One of the lower limbs had been removed by the saw. A measurement across the saw kerf showed that the limb had a diameter of sixteen inches.

That this little cherry sprout, originating at Salem, should withstand the risks of

transportation across the continent and the hazards of frequent transplanting, and still live, a towering monument to commemorate the energy and enterprise of a Salem pioneer, is to the writer a fact stranger than fiction.




Although slavery was much discussed in Iowa prior to the Civil War, the people here came in direct contact with the institution only along the Missouri border. Here came the fugitive slave, endeavoring to escape from bondage, and the slave owner or his representative in pursuit of the fleeing chattel. To assist a slave to escape from his lawful owner was contrary to the law of the United States and any one found guilty of this so-called crime was subject to a heavy fine or imprisonment. Thus it happened that to many of the settlers in southern Iowa there came this problem. Should they assist the slave and thus violate the laws of the United States or return the fugitive to his master?

For some this choice had no difficulties; they felt that slavery was a justifiable if not a

necessary institution and the return of an escaping slave was to them the plain duty of a

law-abiding citizen. The holding of slaves, in their opinion, was not inconsistent with high standards of morals or religion.

This opinion was doubtless strengthened for many of the Iowans along the border by their

observation of slavery as it existed in Missouri. Compared with the far South where the

demoralization due to slavery had become much more evident and the slave power dominated the church as well as the State, the condition of the slaves in Missouri did not arouse great opposition to the institution. As a rule slaves in Missouri were treated with humane consideration; and, occasionally, some slave owner would become conscience stricken and free his slaves, giving them homes in a free State. Children of the master and the children of slaves played together in their childish sports. Slaves were often allowed a tract of land on which to raise a marketable crop, the proceeds of which they could use at their own discretion. Slaves and slave masters attended the same church, listened to the same services, and worshipped the same God. The congregation was divided, however, the masters and their families occupying one side of the church and the servants the other. It was sometimes said that the slaves and their families formed the most gaily dressed portion of the congregation.

But there were other settlers along the southern boundary of Iowa who were opposed to

slavery, whether the condition of the slave was good or bad. So strong was their opposition to the institution that, though they were law-abiding citizens, they felt that obedience to the fugitive slave law was a violation of the law of God and accordingly refused to assist in the return of fugitive slaves. Indeed many actively aided the colored fugitives, risking arrest and punishment for the sake of conscience. They agreed with Whittier when he wrote:

Than garbled text or parchment law I own a statute higher; And God is true, though every

book And every man's a liar!

Partly because of its geographic position and partly because of the news which percolated

through slave circles in Missouri that there were friends in Iowa who would assist them, runaway slaves from Missouri were frequently seen in southern Iowa. The owners knew that a slave who disappeared had probably crossed the line into Iowa and advertisements offering rewards for the return of fugitive slaves were frequently printed. The following advertisement which appeared in the Keokuk Argus in 1846 is typical of those which so aroused the opposition of anti-slavery settlers in southern Iowa:

Run away on Sunday the thirty-first of May 1846 from the subscriber, living in Waterloo

Clark Co., Mo., a negro woman named Lucy about 36 years old, very stout and heavy made, very black, very large feet and hands, had on when she left a blue calico dress and a sunbonnet, no other clothing. It is believed that she will be conducted to the territory of Iowa in the direction of Keosauqua or beyond that place to a settlement of free negroes that was set free by theirs living in Tully, Lewis Co., Missouri some years ago. Any person apprehending said slave and returning her to me, or securing her so that I can get her again I will pay a liberal reward and pay all reasonable expenses. Give information to Daniel Hines, Keokuk, or James T. Death, Farmington, Iowa.


Prior to the activity of John Brown in Iowa the chief centers of anti-slavery sentiment in Iowa and especially of opposition to the return of fugitive slaves to their masters were Salem, the Quaker settlement, and Denmark, the New England village set down in Iowa.


Salem, the center of Quakerism in southern Iowa, was first settled in 1835 when Isaac

Pidgeon with his family crossed the Mississippi River to find a home in the unknown prairies to the westward and finally ended his search on what is now known as Little Cedar Creek, in Salem Township, Henry County, Iowa.

The new settler was a member of the Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers, and he reported to his acquaintances in the East the richness of the Iowa territory and the advantages of the beautiful Black Hawk Purchase as a home. In the spring of 1837 he was joined by the families of Reuben, Henry, and Abraham P. Joy, Gideon, Stephen, and Thomas Frazier, Thomas Cook, and Levi Commack, also Quakers. Being well grounded in the faith of their ancestors, they soon organized a meeting where they could assemble and worship in their own peculiar ways. Salem being thus founded became the Mecca of all emigrant Quakers who crossed the great river into southern Iowa.

The Quakers were a peace-loving people and generally engaged in the pursuits of agriculture. Settlements were made and meetings established in several places around Salem. Some four miles to the northwest was Cedar Creek meeting; to the south was Chestnut Hill; while to the east in what is now Jackson Township was the meeting of East Grove. In Lee County at a point about equally distant from Salem and Denmark was established the meeting of New Garden, which played an important part in the working of the so-called Underground Railroad.

Many of these Quakers or their ancestors had first settled in North Carolina, where they came into actual contact with slavery, an institution that was obnoxious to the soul of all ardent Quakers, whose cardinal faith was the love of justice and equality among men. To free themselves from this unwholesome environment, the Quakers emigrated to Ohio and Indiana, and thence to the free, open prairies of Iowa. The knowledge of slavery acquired by actual contact made the Quakers of Salem the natural enemies of the slaveholders of the adjoining State of Missouri and it was difficult for them to restrain their indignation at the institution.

It may seem strange to many that such law-abiding, peace-loving people should be found

boldly and persistently violating the laws of the land. A knowledge of some of the fundamental principles of the Friends, however, will explain this seeming contradiction. " The one corner-stone of belief upon which the Society of Friends is built", says one writer, "is the conviction that God does indeed communicate with each one of the spirits He has made, in a direct and living in breathing of some measure of the breath of His own life; that He never leaves Himself without a witness in the heart as well as in the surroundings of man". On this theme of the "inner light" William Penn wrote: "That which the people called Quakers lay down as a main fundamental in religion is this—That God, through Christ, hath placed a principle in every man, to inform him of his duty, and to enable him to do it; and that those that live up to this principle are the people of God, and those that live in disobeyance to it, are not God's people, whatever name they may bear, or profession they may make of religion."

The reader can now see that upon this principle of the "inner light" the Quaker relied for

guidance. He did not carry his Bible into the pulpit or read the scriptures in his public worship: the Bible had been handed down through the hand of man and might contain the imperfections of man, but the message received by direct communion with the Holy Spirit was always true and righteous altogether. Relying on this principle the Quakers were often brought into conflict with the rules established by society and tile statute laws enacted by the governments. For this they were often persecuted, banished, and sometimes hanged; but they persisted in their ways and quietly suffered persecutions for conscience sake. As every human being, of whatever sex, race, or tongue, possessed the "inner light", every person stood on an exact equality in the sight of God. Acting on this thought, the Quaker refused to remove his hat in the presence of court or king, priest or potentate, because this would be an act of servility; he never addressed another as "Mister" (master), for this implied superiority in the one and servility in the other; he never addressed another as "you", for this was the language of a servant to his lord. He used the words " thou " and " thee " which signified equality among men. The reader can readily see from these precepts why the Quakers, of all men, were opposed to bondage or slavery.

From this foundation principle of the "inner light" was developed another precept or

"testimony" as the Quakers called it. They refused to bear arms even in war or engage in

personal combat. This principle of non-resistance developed in the Quaker a characteristic that distinguished him from most other men. As he could not carry out his designs by force, he developed a sort of cunning or strategy which carried him safely through many a dangerous situation. This superiority in strategic power is what made the Quaker so successful in assisting the fugitive to elude the grasp of his pursuer. Who but a Quaker would have thought of driving to a distant flouring mill and after purchasing a load of bran drive boldly along the highway, while beneath his sacks of bran was concealed a cargo of human freight, whose destination was the land of freedom; or of loading hay on a wagon and leaving a hollow interior where human beings could be concealed and carried in comfort and security; or of clothing a fugitive slave in the garb of a Quaker woman, with bonnet and veil, placing him in a carriage, and driving fearlessly along the public road to friends and security! Such were the tactics of the Quaker with which he won his bloodless battle.

Since this work of liberation was of necessity carried on in secret, no record of the work

could be made and, all the original actors in the drama having passed to their reward, it is

difficult to get accurate information in regard to names and dates. It will, therefore, be necessary to rely largely on tradition for a history of those stirring days. Some of these anecdotes illustrate the methods of traveling on the Underground Railroad.

At the home of Joel C. Garretson, five miles southeast of Salem, a fugitive slave tapped

lightly at the cabin door in the early hours of the night. Mrs. Garretson opened the door and saw a colored man before her. The negro gave her to understand that he was a fugitive and was closely followed. Not wishing to arouse the curiosity of her own children and those of a neighbor who were present, she, by a wave of the hand, directed him to a peach orchard which stood near by. The negro lay down around the base of a bushy tree around which the grass and weeds had grown until they almost touched the spreading branches of the tree, and awaited the outcome. It was well for him that he found this hiding place as quickly as he did. In a few minutes his pursuers arrived, for Joel C. Garretson was an open advocate of the emancipation of the slave, and his home was the natural place to look for the fleeing property of the slaveholders. The pursuers came to the house and cautiously inspected the premises, and looked in at the windows, but made no attempt to enter the house. They carefully searched the orchard passing back and forth among the trees almost in reach of the breathless fugitive who lay silently beneath his leafy shelter, until the hunters, failing to find their prey, quietly departed, and were seen no more.

Mr. Garretson was not at home on this occasion and Mrs. Garretson was left to her own

resources. She was a woman of unflinching courage, however, and entirely devoid of fear. As soon as the slave hunters were gone and the children asleep, she went to the home of Joseph D. Hoag on the opposite side of the road and about an eighth of a mile to the east. Mr. Hoag secured some provisions and together they sought the famished negro and gave him food and drink.

Near the center of the farm then occupied by Mr. Hoag there is a high ridge from which the ground slopes in every direction except to the southwest which is toward the open prairie. On this ridge was a cluster of hazel brush and small jack oak trees. When Mr. Garretson returned, he piloted the fugitive to this thicket and concealed him where he could have a fair view in every direction. Here the fugitive was fed for some time by Garretson and Hoag until his wife and child, who had been hiding elsewhere, were brought to him. They were then taken in charge by Nathan Kellum of New Garden who conveyed them along by-ways toward Denmark.

When the rescue party met the men from Denmark who were to pilot them on it was so near morning that the fugitives were concealed in a ravine and the conducting parties returned to their respective homes. On the following night the negro family was conveyed to Denmark where they were cared for by unfaltering friends.

Joel C. Garretson, who was associated with many of the events which happened on the

Underground Railroad at Salem, was not a Quaker. He had been reared, however, under the tenets of that Society and adhered to many of its precepts. He believed in the absolute equality of every man before his Maker and the law. While a youth, yet in his teens, he was traveling over Price's Mountain in the State of Virginia, where he met a column of slaves, consisting of twenty negroes, marching in double file. Between the files was a heavy chain to which the handcuffed slaves were chained. Behind them rode the slave driver on horseback, whip in hand, while in the holster of his saddle were his pistols, ready for action. This sight so impressed the youthful mind of Joel Garretson that he vowed then and there that if ever he had an opportunity to strike this hated institution a blow, he would do it with all his energy.

In 1837, after he had reached his majority, Mr. Garretson emigrated to Iowa. Here he became a public speaker of no mean ability and freely and fearlessly used his powers to create a sentiment against the institution he so much abhorred. He helped to organize the Free Soil party of Henry County, and he and Samuel L. Howe became the candidates of that party for the legislature. In the campaign he vigorously stumped the county in the interests of his party, although he had no more hope of being elected than of being translated.

Joel Garretson was also one of the little group, including Dr. Curtis Shed and Eli Jessup,

which met at Iowa City to organize the Free Soil party in Iowa. An opponent of the movement ridiculed the meeting, declaring that the whole State convention of the new party was organized and engineered by a dozen men. "Oh", said Dr. Shed, "that is a lie, there were only half a dozen of us."

One of the escaped slaves who came to Salem was concealed in the hotel, kept by D. W.

Henderson. Some clothing of Rachel Hobson was secretly taken to the hotel and the negro was carefully dressed in these garments, which were of plain Quaker design, including shaker bonnet and veil. Peter Hobson then drove his buggy up in front of the hotel and said to the landlord, "I wish thee would tell Rachel to make haste or we will be too late for the meeting." The supposed Rachel soon appeared and stepping into the buggy was driven to safety while his pursuer stood in front of the hotel quietly watching the departure of the Quaker and his pseudo-wife.

This negro was taken to the woods on Fish Creek, four miles northeast of town, where he

was concealed and cared for until he could be transported in safety to another station on the road.

The fleeing slaves that came to Iowa were seldom armed, but in a few instances they

possessed some crude implement of defense. Two fugitives, a man and wife, were concealed in a corn shock on the southeast quarter of section thirty-three, in Jackson Township, Henry County. They remained there for several days, being cared for by sympathizing friends until they could be taken elsewhere. After their departure, a dagger was found beneath the shock. This dagger was about ten inches long with a blade six inches in length, two-edged, and running to a sharp point. This knife is the property of the writer and is one of the few relics that remain to tell the story of those days.

Many strange and pathetic scenes were witnessed by the workers on this unseen railroad. It was not uncommon for families to become separated in their hasty flight. On one occasion, a man and his wife, who had reached the vicinity of Salem, were forced by hot pursuit to tree in different directions, and thus became lost to each other. The man was concealed in the famous hiding place on the farm of Joseph Hoag and cared for while search was made for the lost wife. She was finally located and the news was carried to the husband by Joel Garretson. On hearing the report, he sprang to his feet and waving his arms violently shouted, " Glory to God, Glory to God, I have been praying all night that she might be found. "

The actors in this secret work met with various types of fugitives who were guiding their

footsteps by the light of the polar star. Not all of these fleeing bondmen would confide in the friendship of those who offered them assistance. They knew that they were in the country of their friends, but some of them realized that there might be those who would betray them to their masters.

At one time a stalwart and athletic negro was found in hiding on the farm of Joel Garretson. He was armed with a heavy club and a dangerous looking knife, and permitted no one to approach within reaching distance of him. He would accept food offered him if placed where he could reach it without coming in contact with the donor, but he always kept a safe distance between himself and would-be friends. In vain did Garretson and Hoag try to convince him that they would give him aid if he would trust in them: he departed as he came, unseen by friend or foe, determined to fight his own way to his intended refuge.

In The Quakers of Iowa, by Louis T. Jones, the statement is made that no fugitive who

reached Salem was ever returned to bondage. This may be true of the town of Salem, but it is not correct in regard to the communities around Salem. A negro fugitive from Missouri who was being assisted by Friends in the New Garden community, the half way station between Salem and Denmark, was concealed in the barn of Nathan Bond, awaiting an opportunity to proceed to Denmark. Here he was discovered and apprehended by two brothers by the name of Berry who returned him to his master. For this the Berry brothers received a reward of two hundred dollars but their act aroused the indignation of almost the entire community. Many citizens remonstrated against their actions, and some of the more zealous warned them that the judgment of the Lord would surely be visited upon them for their perfidy. According to the reports of many pioneers,

this prophecy became an actual fact: while the farms around them were yielding abundant

harvests, the crops on the Berry farm dwindled and failed. This condition continued as long as the property was owned by the Berry brothers. After the farm had passed to other hands it produced abundantly.

Joseph D. Hoag was a pioneer minister of the Society of Friends, who settled on the northeast one-fourth of section thirty-three, township seventy, range six, in Henry County, five miles southeast of Salem. Here he built his home and lived for many years. In 1847 Mr. Hoag was appointed one of the commissioners to relocate the capital of the State of Iowa, Monroe City being the choice of the commissioners.

Mr. Hoag was an ardent worker in the cause of liberty and when he built his house, he

constructed a secret closet beneath the stairway that led to the upper rooms of the dwelling. This house faces to the south and in front of it passed the historic Burlington and Agency road, constructed by General A. a. Dodge for military purposes. The stairway began about the middle of the north wall of the front room and went west, rising to about two-thirds of the height of the room where there was a landing. It then turned to the south at right angles. Beneath the landing of the stairway was constructed a cupboard facing the south, but the back wall of the cupboard was only about one-half of the distance to the north wall of the room, thus leaving a considerable space back of the cupboard into which there was no apparent opening. Anyone looking into the cupboard would never suspect that back of this was another space. On the landing of the stairway

was a neatly fitted trap door which opened into this unseen closet. Tradition has it, and many pioneers repeated the story, that in this secret hiding place Joseph D. Hoag concealed many fugitive slaves. The house is still standing and is the property of the writer. The secret closet may yet be seen and it is still called "the nigger hole", as it was for three generations past.

A large faction of the Society of Friends became so exercised over the subject of slavery that it became restless because of the tolerant attitude of the church at large, and a separation of the two factions was the result. A meeting of the anti-slavery branch was established at Salem under the leadership of Thomas Frazier, Eli Jessup, and others. The original body of the church held that their duty as Christian citizens would be fulfilled by entering a solemn protest against this detested institution and by using every reasonable means to create a sentiment against it. The radical element, while holding kindred ideas, also held that it was their duty to assist in liberating the bondmen wherever found. Clinging firmly to these views they became aggressive in their actions and doubtless sent emissaries to Missouri to inform the slaves of their readiness to assist them in gaining their liberty.

Such a menace had this propaganda of the Quakers become to the slaveholders of Missouri that they adopted the expedient of patrolling the Des Moines River to prevent the crossing of fugitives to Iowa, and to keep a check on all strangers who crossed from the northern shore, but this plan availed them little and they became greatly incensed at the Quakers.

It is said that Elihu Frazier of Salem, when in Missouri supposedly on a mission in the

interests of the slaves, was captured by some of these patrolmen and hanged to make him confess the nature of his mission. However, they secured no information of value, and Frazier was finally released and returned home but little the worse for his rough experience.

One of the episodes of interest in this period was the escape and attempted capture of several slaves belonging to Ruel Daggs. In 1835, Daggs, who was a man of character and influence and possessed of ample means, moved from the State of Virginia and settled in Clark County, Missouri, locating a few miles west of where the town of Kahoka now stands. He brought with him sixteen slaves and engaged extensively in farming. It is not alleged that Ruel Daggs was cruel to his slaves: on the contrary there is every reason to believe that he was a humane man. A number of his descendants still live in Missouri, and are ranked among the leading citizens of that Commonwealth.

Slaves brought in contact with the free atmosphere of the undeveloped West, however, could not long remain docile and contented even under humane treatment for the spirit of liberty is implanted in every human soul and can not be eradicated. Ruel Daggs finally realized the difficulty of holding slaves so near the free State of Iowa and contemplated selling his slaves south so that he would be free from the necessity of keeping a constant guard on valuable property. Nothing was more repugnant to the negroes of the border States than the thought of being "sold south" and as soon as the slaves of Mr. Daggs learned that their master was planning to dispose of them in this manner, nine of them—three men, four women, and two children— determined to make an attempt to escape to Iowa before it was too late.

The story of the escape and attempted capture of these nine slaves has been told by an

educated and intelligent negro named Sam Webster. Webster was born of free parents but was bound to a man by the name of Dick Leggens, whose father had been an extensive slaveholder but had sold his slaves and quit the business. This Dick Leggens was an eccentric character who resided in a dense woods a great distance from any other habitation. With him was the free negro boy, Sam Webster. To this lonely dwelling on Thursday night or Friday morning early in June, 1848, came the nine negroes from the plantation of Ruel Daggs. Without doubt they had been informed that if they could reach Salem, twenty-five miles north of the Missouri border, they would receive assistance. No sooner had they arrived at this home, than a terrific rain set in and they were compelled to stay all the next day and part of the following night. The negro's heart is naturally gay and he seeks amusement. The negro boy, Sam Webster, played the violin, while the fugitives danced to while away the time.

Sometime Friday night, the rains having ceased, the negroes started for the north

accompanied by their host. On reaching the Des Moines River, however, the stream was found to be so swollen that its passage was difficult and a long delay ensued. Finally, by the assistance of Mr. Leggens, they procured or constructed a raft and successfully passed to the northern shore, not far from the town of Farmington. How the fugitives reached Salem from Farmington is not known, but in all probability they were in touch with sympathizing friends who aided in their transportation.

On Monday, following the escape of the negroes, two men, Samuel Slaughter and a Mr.

McClure, who were searching for the negroes and heading their course toward Salem, saw a covered wagon being driven rapidly several miles ahead of them. They increased their speed and on arriving at the woods, about a mile south of Salem, they found the wagon in the bushes near the roadside, while scattered through the near-by woods were the supposed slaves of Ruel Daggs. The horses hitched to this wagon were the property of John Pickering, an active worker in the antislavery cause, and the team was driven by Jonathan Frazier, a son of Thomas Frazier, the noted pioneer preacher and leader of the anti-slavery Friends of Iowa.

The fugitives were immediately seized by the slave catchers who immediately prepared to return with them to Missouri. Almost at once, however, they were confronted by three solid citizens of the community, Elihu Frazier, Thomas Clarkson Frazier, and Henry Johnson, who demanded that the negroes be taken before an officer and the rights of property proven before they were taken away. So insistent were the three Quakers in their demands, that Slaughter and McClure were compelled to yield.

The fugitives were taken before Nelson Gibbs, justice of the peace, whose office was in the great stone house of Henderson Lewelling. The unusual sight of slave and slave master appearing for trial before a legal tribunal created much excitement. The news spread rapidly and in a short time such a crowd had assembled that the justice's office could not accommodate the people. By common consent the proceedings were transferred to the anti-slavery meeting house of the Society of Friends. Although Salem was considered a Quaker village, there were many citizens of other denominations, or no denomination at all, whose sympathies were as strong for the bondmen as those of the Quakers themselves.

In their feverish excitement, men were swearing and women praying, while others were

denouncing the slave catchers or uttering threats of violence. So great was the tumult that Henry Darland, the village school master, who was held in high regard, attempted to pour oil on the troubled waters by haranguing the people and urging them to be quiet and orderly, and do nothing to compromise themselves in the eyes of the law. Quiet was finally restored and the trial duly held.

It soon appeared that the two slave catchers were not personally acquainted with the fugitives and claimed them only by the description which had been sent out. Justice Gibbs decided that the claimants had proven neither their ownership or their authority to detain the defendants, and that he, as justice of the peace, had no jurisdiction to hold the negroes. So far as he knew they were as free as any other citizens.

Meanwhile, the members of the Underground Railroad, who had doubtless anticipated the decision of the court, had not been idle. A number of horses had been tied to the hitching racks and other convenient points near the meeting house. As soon as Justice Gibbs rendered his decision, Paul Way, a determined citizen, mounted one of the horses near by and started out of town. Doubtless by prearranged plan one of the released bondmen mounted one of the other horses and taking up a child started after him. All the while Paul Way was shouting to the crowd in a stentorian voice, "Stop them riggers, don't let them riggers follow me." He rode out of town at a rapid pace with the "niggers " in hot pursuit. The negroes soon eluded the sight of their pursuers and were safely concealed by trusted friends.

Joseph Hobson, an eye witness to this stirring scene, thus describes the appearance of Paul Way. He was an old man clothed in the working garb of the pioneer, with long chin whiskers and wore a pointed topped, lopped down felt hat. He came into town riding an old sorrel mare with a sheep skin for a saddle, and led another horse. When the negro and child were brought from the trial, Paul Way was in front of the building. He mounted the sorrel mare, and the negro sprang upon the other horse. A man by the name of Gilcherson handed him up the child. When Way started out of town, some one kicked the horse on which the negro man and child were seated and it started in hot pursuit of the old sorrel mare. Way went northwest, across the public square, which at that time was unenclosed, then north toward his home on what is now known as the Harvey Derbyshire farm. When he reached the bushes on the head of the waters of Fish Creek, he turned east into the woods, and the fugitives were forever lost to their pursuers. The remaining negroes were later assisted on their way to freedom.

Baffled in their attempt to secure their prey, and enraged by the attitude of the people,

Slaughter and McClure left for their homes, swearing vengeance upon the Quaker city. A few days later, a large company of mounted men from Missouri, heavily armed, and variously estimated at from one to two hundred in number, appeared at Salem and surrounded the town. They placed a guard on every street leading out of the village and refused to allow anyone to leave or enter the place. They offered a reward of five hundred dollars each for the heads of Joel Garretson and Eli Jessup, who had publicly advocated the emancipation of the slaves and were thought by the Missourians to be the instigators of the plot to free their slaves. They proceeded to send squads of men to search the houses both in town and country. In most cases they were quietly allowed to search the premises, but in others, they met with firm resistance.

Dr. Theodore Shriner lived on the west side of the square and kept the post office in his

home. When the searchers appeared at his domicile, he refused them entrance. They persisted in their demands, but the doctor told them in vigorous terms that if they entered his home they would have first to pass over his dead body. They desisted from entering.

When they arrived at the home of Paul Way, they found a ladder reaching from the ground to the attic. Way appeared armed with two heavy pistols, and told the searchers that there were fugitive slaves in that attic, and if they wanted them they could get them, but he warned the pursuers that the first man that set a foot on that ladder would be shot. They wisely decided to make no further search. It was well for them that they made this decision, for Paul Way was a cool, determined man who had engaged in many a gun play on the western frontier, and would have fearlessly carried his threat into execution.

Squads of men were sent to the country to capture Joel Garretson who lived five miles

southeast in the East Grove community. Garretson was a man of great physical courage, an athlete by nature, and would have been a match for any man in personal combat. He was the owner of a horse of great speed and endurance that had proven his powers by being used to run down wolves on the open prairies. On this horse Mr. Garretson relied for safety. Southwest of his home was a broad and open prairie known as the Grand Valley, where one's vision would extend for many miles. Taking his trusted horse, he went to the middle of this prairie and quietly awaited results. He knew that should the mob appear from any direction, this horse would easily carry him to safety. The Missourians promptly appeared at his home and carefully searched the premises, but he himself was not molested.

Eli Jessup, for whose head a reward was also offered, was a Quaker preacher. He concealed himself in a private cave and was not found.

Meanwhile, the citizens of Denmark had been apprised of what was being done at Salem and the ire of these Puritans was at once aroused. A large company of mounted men, hastily assembled and armed with rifles, marched rapidly to Salem determined to raise the siege. The Missourians offered no resistance to their entering the town and the newcomers placed themselves in strategic positions to assist the citizens should any violence be attempted. The attitude of the besiegers immediately changed: they quickly realized that discretion was the better part of valor and hastily departed for their native State. Cowed by the determined attitude of the Denmark ridemen, the slave masters from Missouri never again attempted an armed invasion of the free soil of Iowa.

The slaves of Ruel Daggs were never captured, but the people of Salem who had laid

themselves open to the charge that they had assisted the slaves to escape were not yet done with Daggs. Mr. Daggs took advantage of this situation and brought suit for damages. This suit was entered in the Federal court at Burlington in 1850 and is entitled Ruel Daggs v. Elihu Frazier and others, the following persons being named as parties to the suit: Elihu Frazier, Thomas Clarkson Frazier, John Pickering, William Johnson, John Comer, Paul Way, and others. The slaves alleged to have escaped were Sam, forty to forty-five years old (black); Walker, twenty-two to twenty-three (yellow); Dorcas, Sam's wife; Mary, Walker's wife; Julia, eighteen years old; Martha, ten years; William, a small boy, and two young children name unknown. The value placed on these slaves was as follows: the men, nine hundred to a thousand dollars; the women, six hundred to seven hundred dollars; Martha, two hundred and fifty to three hundred dollars; and William, two hundred dollars. The small children were not valued.

Ruel Daggs never appeared in person either at Salem or at the trial in Burlington, but was

represented in the Federal courts by his son, George Daggs. Two of the most distinguished lawyers of the pioneer days of Iowa opposed each other in this case. Judge David Rorer represented the prosecution and Judge J. C. Hall appeared for the defense. The suit created intense interest and many people of Salem attended the trial. The evidence produced in this case was strictly circumstantial and rested largely on suspicion. When Slaughter and McClure found the fugitives in the bushes, they were alone. Elihu Frazier, Clarkson Frazier, and William Johnson soon appeared upon the scene and opposed the plaintiffs in their decision to return the negroes. The wagon, which the pursuers had seen driven rapidly across the prairies, was found standing by the side of the road. The team hitched to the wagon was the property of John Pickering. The driver of the team was Jonathan Frazier. The Fraziers were the sons of Thomas Frazier, the leader of the anti-slavery Friends of Iowa. John Pickering was a noted sympathizer with the negro bondmen. Eli Jessup had borrowed the horses from Pickering to take a Methodist preacher to Farmington. Jessup openly advocated the emancipation of the slaves. At the hearing before Justice Gibbs, numerous persons expressed sympathy for the fugitives and the whole population of Salem was a hotbed of abolitionism. John Pickering was seen to hold a conversation with one of the fugitives. Paul Way rode out of town followed by a negro and child. Such was the nature of the testimony against the defendants. Nothing material was proven, but many circumstances were set forth which gave room for strong suspicion.

Judge Rorer in his plea to the jury enlarged upon the importance of the case, not only to

Iowa, but to the United States in general. Iowa had recently become a member of the sisterhood of States and had obligated herself to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution and the statute laws of Congress sanctioned and upheld slavery, and it was the duty of the people of Iowa to sustain the laws. To hold slaves was the privilege of every citizen of Missouri. Negro slaves were absolute property, the same as a horse or an ox, and the owner had a right to claim his property wherever found. Any person who prevented him from exercising this right was held liable to the owner for the damage done. Judge Rorer told the jury that the evidence in the case was so clear that there could be no reasonable doubt of the guilt of the defendants. He was a shrewd and eloquent barrister and had the power in an eminent degree to make suspicion appear to be actual fact. Rorer based his plea to the jury on the ground that Salem was an abolition town Ruel Daggs had lost negroes, men, women, and children men, women, and children were found near Salem. The people of Salem largely sympathized with the fugitives; therefore, the Fraziers, John Pickering, and others must pay the damages.

J. C. Hall appeared for the defendants. He also pointed out the importance of the procedure. It was the first case of its kind to be tried in the new State of Iowa. The whole country was interested in the outcome. The case was peculiar inasmuch as it was not being tried under the laws of Iowa, but under the Federal statutes. Hall attacked the position of Rorer on the rights of property. He pointed out that the Federal authorities could exercise only such rights as had been delegated to Congress by the several States. Any right not delegated to Congress was reserved to the States or the people, and that the rights of property were reserved to the States. What was property depended on the laws of the several States. What was property in one State might not be property in another State. Negro slaves were recognized as property under the laws of Missouri but in Iowa no such recognition was ever given. Under the laws of Missouri, every negro was presumed to be a slave, while under the laws of Iowa every human being was presumed to be free until he was shown to be a bondman. Therefore, the citizens of Salem had a right to express sympathy and give aid and comfort to any needy human being found within the borders of Iowa, unless it was made known to them that they were assisting a fugitive slave.

As Slaughter and McClure could not show that these negroes were slaves, or show any

authority to detain them, the people of Salem had a right to assume that they were free people. Neither Slaughter nor McClure knew the negroes, or knew them to be the property of Ruel Daggs. The testimony showed that Daggs lost nine slaves—men, women, and children. Hall suggested that this description would cover almost any group of people. Men, women, and children could be found in almost any hamlet or household. Because men, women, and children were missing from a plantation in Missouri, and men, women, and children were found in Iowa did not prove that they were the same people. Neither Daggs nor his sons nor any other person had identified the negroes as the property of Ruel Daggs.

Rarely, if ever, was a defendant found guilty on such purely circumstantial evidence. No

overt act was proven against the defendants. It was alleged that William Johnson told Walker, the yellow man, to knock Slaughter down if he touched him again. It was proven that it was Henry Johnson and not William Johnson who gave this advice. Henry Johnson was not prosecuted. After the hearing at the anti-slavery meeting house, a man by the name of Gilcherson untied a horse that stood near by and threw the reins over its head. The negro Sam mounted the horse and Gilcherson handed up the negro child. Gilcherson was not named as one of the defendants. It was not shown that any one of the defendants committed any act or gave any advice that would assist the fugitives to make their escape.

In those days, however, the pro-slavery sentiment was very strong and the minds of many

people were deeply prejudiced against the abolitionist. As the people of Salem were outspoken in their views, it was not difficult for the silver tongued Rorer to convince the jury that any suspicious circumstances that occurred among them were proof of their guilt. The jury found the defendants guilty and judgment was rendered according to the prayer of the plaintiff.

The mulcting of these good citizens in heavy damages did not cool the ardor of the people of Salem in this work: they continued and increased their efforts until the Civil War put an end to this irrepressible conflict.

Walter Shriner, a son of the Dr. Theodore Shriner before mentioned in these pages, a boy

about town in these stirring days, relates the following incident which probably occurred about the beginning of the Civil War, when fugitives were not closely followed by their masters.

On the south side of the square in an open lot in the rear of the John Garretson home and of the Congregationalist church, he at different times saw several companies of negro fugitives being fed. A large pot or kettle would be hung over a fire and in this would be cooked corn mush or pudding. Each person was supplied with a small crock of milk and a spoon and served from the great pot of pudding. Mr. Shriner also relates that John Garretson was the owner of a carriage or hack which had an oil cloth covering, and was entirely closed except in front where the driver sat. On several occasions he saw negroes discharged from this hack and fed in the manner and place before mentioned. After this repast, they would be reloaded and taken away to parts unknown.

Nathan Hellum of the New Garden meeting, whose work has heretofore been mentioned, was one of the shrewdest men that ever operated a train on the Underground Railroad. So cunning was he and so full of resources, that he operated quietly and efficiently without arousing the suspicion or resentment of the pro-slavery element of the community. He successfully carried out some of the boldest enterprises ever attempted in southern Iowa It is alleged that he transported a surrey, filled with negro fugitives, in open daylight from Salem to Denmark along the public highway, past friend and foe, unsuspected by all. He is said to have adopted the following method.

Many of the Quakers of his day had carriages not unlike the farmer's surrey of recent days, in which they were accustomed to drive from meeting to meeting. At Salem, he caused the fugitives to be dressed in the accustomed garb of the Quaker women with shaker bonnet and black veils. The supposed Quaker women were then openly seated in his carriage and boldly driven to safety without arousing suspicion.

Not only were there attempts to return the slaves to their masters: even legally free negroes were in danger. One of these lived near Salem on a little wooded stream south of the town. That his true name was is not now known. He was always spoken of as " Old Hawk". His little cabin was located in a grove close beside the running brook. Old Hawk was regarded with awe and wonder by the small boys of the community and by some of the older people with superstitious fear, for he was supposed to possess the power of burning water. On quiet summer evenings, the boys would gather at his cabin and ask him to set the water of the creek on fire. On numerous occasions, he complied with their request, touching a fagot to the water, which would then burn with a steady flame until he saw fit to extinguish the blaze.

About 1857, some strangers appeared in the vicinity of Salem, and by various schemes

became very intimate with Old Hawk and gained his confidence. They offered him large rewards if he would go with them to Missouri, but cautioned him to keep this offer a secret and let no one know of his intended departure. Fortunately for the negro he had a friend in Salem in whom he had implicit confidence —Rev. Hemmenway, the Congregationalist minister. He was a friend of the oppressed and an ardent advocate of liberty. To this man Old Hawk told in confidence the story of his intended departure. The spirit of Rev. Hemmenway rose in fiery indignation. He told the negro it was a hellish plot to kidnap him and sell him into slavery, and for him to have nothing more to do with his new found friends. Old Hawk saw no more of his pretended benefactors.


Associated with the Quakers of Salem in this work of humanity was a very different type of people. Twenty miles to the southeast, in Lee County, is situated the town of Denmark. This town was founded by people from New England, descendants of the Pilgrims or adherents to the Pilgrim faith, and they inherited the virtues and the fortitude of the Puritans. Reared in the love of liberty and independence, and being the champions of personal freedom, the Puritans were the militant enemies of oppression. Unlike the peaceful and non-resistant Quaker, these Congregationalists were ready to defend their principles with sword and gun as well as through cunning and strategy. The fugitive slave, who had been rescued from his master by the strategy of the Salem Quaker, was delivered to the Puritans of Denmark who often guided him by armed force to Burlington, and on to eventual freedom.

Here is one of the strangest anomalies in history. It should be remembered that the ancestors of these Denmark Puritans were, in New England, the bitter enemies of the Quakers. They persecuted them in various ways, subjected them to severe whippings, tried them for witchcraft, threw them into prison, bored their ears, banished them from the colonies, and even resorted to hanging. The Quaker patiently endured these persecutions and persisted in the exercise of his religious rites until he gained a home and resting place in the destined land of freedom.

Here on the prairies of Iowa were the descendants of these Puritan persecutors and the

descendants of the persecuted Quakers working in friendly cooperation to liberate the bondmen of an alien race. The people of Denmark were a superior class of citizens, educated and cultured, versed in the principles of civil government as taught by their New England ancestors, and law-abiding and just in their dealings with men; but they had no respect for the supreme law of the land which proclaimed the right of one individual to hold another in bondage, and made it a criminal offense to assist a fugitive slave to gain his liberty, and they violated these laws without compunction. Moreover, they were ready to defend their principles by force of arms.

To understand fully the attitude of the Denmark Congregationalists, we will have to take a review of the distinctive doctrines of the Puritan faith. The following precepts will enable us to understand their attitude on this question of law and order. We quote " Every individual has immediate access to God, and in all the offices of the spirit is responsible to Him alone. As men are responsible to God alone, all are under a sacred obligation to insist on the right and duty of absolute mental freedom, unhindered by dictation from any human power. Above all other truths, Puritanism places God the Sovereign and then declares that before that Sovereign all men have equal rights. It never asks where he was from, what is his name or from what race he sprang." From these precepts, it can be seen that individual liberty, both mental and material, was a sacred principle that applies to all men, and must be defended at any cost. The reader can now understand why the Quaker and Puritan could work together in harmony: both believed in the "higher law" of conscience.

Any history of the Underground Railroad in Denmark would be incomplete without mention of Rev. Asa Turner. Born in New England of Puritan ancestry, he was imbued with the spirit of individual liberty to such a degree that any domination of one individual over the rights of another caused his soul to burn with righteous indignation. He was entirely and openly opposed to the national policy on the question of slavery, and he left no stone unturned to spread the doctrine he so ardently espoused. He not only advocated the cause of the bondmen in private and public gatherings, but he carried his doctrines to the pulpit and often preached against the slave system.

As a general rule his parishioners agreed with him; but it could not be expected that in the

age where pro-slavery sentiment was dominant that some discordant note would not be sounded, or some spirit of discontent aroused among his congregation. One aged member of his church wrote him an earnest letter advising him not to desecrate his pulpit by preaching the cause of abolitionism, to adhere strictly to the teachings of Christ as set forth in the Bible, and not to meddle with national political policies. But from a higher source of authority also came a note of protest. Bernhart Helm, a member of Congress from Iowa, wrote him an exhaustive letter protesting against his agitation of the slavery question. Congressman Henn expressed his belief that slavery was an injury to those who practiced it, but he had never considered it a moral wrong. He held with A. H. Stevens that the African was an inferior race and that slavery was his natural state; that to grant equal political privileges to the negro was warring against both God and nature. God had made one race to differ from another, even as he had made one star to differ from another in glory. It was futile to try to place on an equality races of men that had been created different.

Under all these weighty protests, Asa Turner never wavered from the course he had taken. He believed that he was right and, having faith in the right, he sought no further justification for his conduct. He further held that the fugitive slave law of his day was contrary to all the principles of right and justice; that it was contrary to the teachings of Christ, and the Holy Scriptures; and that the enactment of an unjust law by the national Congress was no reason he should abandon his ideals of justice.

With Asa Turner to believe was to act. Following the dictates of his conscience he never

turned the needy from his door or hesitated to assist the fugitive who was fleeing from bondage. Many former slaves owed their freedom to the timely action of Asa Turner. Although a great many fugitives were aided in gaining their liberty by the people of Denmark it is only possible at this late date to give a few instances of the manner in which these unfortunate people were assisted to freedom.

On one occasion, two negroes were attempting to escape by crossing the river to Illinois.

They were placed in the bottom of a wagon box and covered with farm produce, and in this way crossed the river on the same boat that carried their pursuers who were seeking them as their lawful property.

Theron Trowbridge was also a devout man and faithful in his attendance at the church where Asa Turner preached the gospel of Christ and liberty. He was bold and active in assisting slaves to elude their pursuers and so prominent had he become in this work that the Missourians offered a reward for his capture.

One Sunday morning, he had a number of negroes harboring in his home. He knew that their masters were in the vicinity searching for them with bloodhounds and he anticipated that the pursuers would be at his home that day. Faithful to his custom, however, Mr. Trowbridge repaired to his church to do homage to his Maker, but before going to church he prepared some biscuit to tempt a hungry hound. His son, J. B. Trowbridge, was left at home, with instructions to feed any of these dogs which came about the house. True to his expectations the dogs came, and as they appeared at the rear of the dwelling trailing the fugitives, the son fed the dogs the biscuit the elder Trowbridge had prepared. It is said that these bloodhounds gave up their lives at no great distance from the Trowbridge home.

Asa Turner often related with unrestrained glee the story of a little Quaker woman of Salem at whose home a negro fugitive was harboring. When the hunters came in search of their property, she pushed the husband, who was ill, aside and answered the door herself. When the searchers asked her if she knew where the "rigger" was, she promptly answered, "Yes, I do. He is not two hundred yards from this door, and if you had not been a set of fools, you would have found him long ago." They looked elsewhere for their man.


At the time of the Kansas border war, John Brown crossed Iowa several times on his way to Kansas or to the East. His object in going to Kansas was to assist the antislavery forces, not to establish a home, and as he passed through Iowa he established a line of travel for his fugitive slaves. Beginning in the west at Tabor, the line ran north and east to Madison and Dallas counties. This line passed through Earlham—a Quaker settlement—Des Moines, Grinnell, Washington, Crawfordsville, and Muscatine. Near Earlham, to which Quakers from Salem had carried the spirit of Thomas Frazier, Brown established one of his most trusted stations.

A narrative written by Herman Cook, who was a conductor on the road, tells some of the

incidents of travel along this section of the Underground Railroad.

"After John Brown came through Iowa, stations were known and accounted for. The train

started from Tabor, Fremont County, and crossed diagonally Adair County' striking Summit Grove, where Stewart is now located. From here, one line went east down Quaker Divide (Quaker Divide was a Quaker settlement and meeting known as Bear Creek, five miles northwest of Earlham) and the other crossed the Coon River near Redfield, then through Adel, both coming together in Des Moines.

"Many times colored men and women would be seen crossing the prairies from Middle River to Summit Grove— slaves running away to freedom. In the winter of 1859-60, Cook was going to Bear Creek driving a carriage, and in it were two young colored women. They were sisters and from the west border of Missouri. Their master was their father and they had both been reared in the family. War was apparent and their master decided to sell them 'down south'. They heard the plotting and found out that they were to go on the auction block, and made a run for the North Star. They had been on the road seven weeks when they arrived at A. W. L's at Summit Grove. (A. W. L's was Alysters W. Lewis.)

"Before daylight, they were housed at Uncle Martin 's. Two days later, one of the sisters, who had been out in the yard, came running in and told grandmother, 'Master is coming up the road.' Grandfather went out in front and sat down in his chair against the side of the door. By this time, a number of men had ridden up, and asked him if he had seen any slaves around. He told them that slaves were not known in Iowa. Then one of them said, 'I am told that you are an old Quaker, and have been suspected of harboring black folks as they ran away to Canada I have traced two girls across the country, and have reasons to believe that they have been here.' Grandfather said, 'I never turn anyone away who wants lodging, but I keep no slaves.' ' Then, I will come in and see,' said the man, and jumped off his horse and started for the house. Grandfather stood up with his cane in his hand, and stepped into the door when the man attempted to enter and said, 'Has thee a warrant to search my house!' 'No, I have not.' 'Then thee cannot do so.' 'But, I will show you', said the man. 'I will search for my girls.'

"While this parley was going on, and loud words were coming thick and fast, Grandmother came up and said, 'Father, if the man wants to look through the house let him do so. Thee ought to know he won't find any slaves here.' Grandfather turned and stared at her a minute, and then said, 'I ask thy forgiveness for speaking so harshly. Thee can go through the house if mother says so.'

"Grandfather showed him through all the rooms, but stayed close to him all the time. After satisfying himself that they were not there, he begged the old man's forgiveness, mounted his horse and rode away. When the coast was clear, it was found that when Maggie had rushed in and said 'Master is coming' grandmother hastily snatched off the large feather bed, spread it all over them, put on the covers and pillows, patted out the wrinkles, and BO no slaves were seen."

The party referred to in the foregoing narrative as Uncle Martin was Martin Cook, and

grandfather and grandmother referred to were John and Anna Cook, uncle and grandparents respectively of Herman Cook.

"One time a load was being taken down the south side of Coon River, and had reached the timber on the bluffs near Des Moines. About three o'clock in the morning, as the carriage was leisurely going along, the sound of distant hoofbeats were heard, coming behind. At first it was thought the carriage could out run the pursuers, but prudence forbade. A narrow road at one side was hastily followed a few rods, and the carriage stopped. The horseman passed on, swearing eternal vengeance on the whole 'caboodle' if captured. When sounds were lost in the distance, a dash was made for the depot in Des Moines, and all safely landed before daylight."

Mr. Cook relates that some months after this wild midnight ride, he was coming from Adel on horseback, opposite Mr. Murry's, east of Redfield. Here he saw old man Murry and a stranger back of the barn. He was beckoned over. The stranger proved to be Old John Brown of Osawatomie. Murry told Brown that this was the young man that came so near being caught on a trip to Des Moines. Brown said, "Young man, when you are on the Lord's business, you must be more discreet. You must always listen backwards as you are always followed." He told young Cook that he was responsible for that line of road, and he wanted his conductors to be more careful in the future. "Things are coming to a head," he said, "and somebody is going to get hurt."

Cook became a soldier in the Civil War, and in 1864, while at Memphis, in Tennessee, he

saw for the first time a regiment of colored soldiers. One of the lieutenants in this regiment was Henry, who was with him in that midnight run for the depot in Des Moines. The negro officer was also a trusted scout for the general of his division.

In addition to the route laid out by John Brown through Tabor, Des Moines, Grinnell, and

Muscatine, there was another through Fairfield, Richland, Clay, and Washington, which joined the other road at Crawfordsville, a small town in the southeastern part of Washington County. The road through Fairfield and Richland was in reality an extension of the work of Salem and Denmark.

Salem was the gateway through which all emigrant Quakers passed. Stopping at Salem for a season, until they could get their bearing, they pressed forward to the interior, and soon settlements were made at Pleasant Plain, Richland, and a little later on in Warren, Madison, and Dallas counties, centering around the town of Earlham. For many years, these communities looked to Salem as the fountain head of Quakerism in Iowa.

As Salem was the gateway of Quakerism, so Denmark was the Mecca of Congregationalism. From Denmark, missionaries were sent out into the interior to gather into flocks the scattered sheep of the fold, and also provide an abiding place for those who had no religious home. Churches were established at Fairfield and at a point called Clay near Pleasant Plain and Richland.

Here history repeated itself. The influence of Salem and Denmark abided with these

communities, and Congregationalists and Quakers were found working in harmony in this humanitarian cause. Fugitives who reached Fairfield were taken in charge by friends who would conduct them to Richland or Pleasant Plain, and then to Clay; from whence, they would be moved to Washington and on to Crawfordsville and Muscatine.

We are fortunate in being able to preserve the names of a number of the conductors on this route. Allen Stalker was the manager from Fairfield to Richland or Pleasant Plain; then, Henry Morgan and Manning Mills would convey the fugitives to Clay and on to Washington. Here they would be taken care of by John and Martin C. Kilgore.

Some amusing stories are still preserved of the happenings along this line of the

Underground Railroad. O. W. Basworth relates that when a small child, some slaves were

concealed in the loft of his father's barn. He of course did not know the secret, but as he was playing about the barn, he saw one of the negroes looking down at him. He ran to the house and told his folks that the black colt was up in the barn loft.

At another time, when Henry Morgan was conveying a load of fugitives from Clay to

Washington in a covered wagon, and was about to enter the ferry boat to cross the Skunk River, the slave masters rode up and prepared to look into the wagon. Morgan yelled, "We've got smallpox in there. " The pursuers wheeled and taking the back track were seen no more.

On account of the convergence of these two roads, the traffic from Crawfordsville to

Muscatine was very heavy. When John Kilgore and Martin C. Kilgore brought their fugitives from Washington, Colonel Rankin would receive them and conceal them in the loft of the "House of all Nations ". On the following night Colonel Rankin would take them out at the back door, to the barn, where he would place them in a covered wagon and drive them to Colonel Baily's house in Columbus City. On the following night Colonel Baily would go through a similar performance and land them safely at Muscatine. As many as thirteen fugitives were concealed in the "House of all Nations" at one time. Very few, if any, were ever captured.

The "House of all Nations" was a large, inartistic structure, built by Colonel Rankin for a

hotel and living house. One large room was used at times for a store room. It received its

cognomen from the numerous and different classes of people that had occupied it, and from the varied uses to which it was put.

Crawfordsville has a unique history, and it is fitting that it should be mentioned here. It was settled at an early date by the seceder branch of the Presbyterian Church whose influence dominated the community. These seceders would allow no musical instruments in their church, and sang nothing but psalms. In the strictest sense of the term, they "remembered the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." They assisted in the work of the Underground Railroad, but were not the leaders in the movement.

The high distinction that Crawfordsville enjoys arises from the fact that it has a claim to be considered the birthplace of the Republican party. In 1854, the Liberty party, Free Soil party, and similar organizations opposed to the extension of slavery began to unite. A State convention to which all these different organizations were invited was called at Crawfordsville, in February, 1854. The convention was held in the Seceders church on the exact location of the United Presbyterian Church of to-day. Since this was a mass convention, it is not possible to obtain the names of many of the delegates. From Mt. Pleasant went the noted educator, Samuel L. Howe, and his son Edward Howe; from Salem went Joel C. Garretson and Eli Jessup; and from Denmark, Dr. Curtis Shed.

Edward Howe was chairman of the Committee on Resolutions, which retired to the "House of all Nations" for their deliberations. This house stood on the spot now occupied by the Second National Bank. Miss Sarah Crawford, a daughter of Dr. Crawford, for whom the village was named, went with the committee to trim the lampwick and keep up the fire. Owing to the different organizations represented, and the divergence of views, the committee deliberated a number of hours before the members finally agreed and reported the platform to the convention. Here it was warmly discussed, amended, reamended, and adopted. It was well toward morning when the convention adjourned, and the child thus born was christened the "Republican party ".

I am not unmindful of the fact that the usual claim is that the Republican party was born at Ripon, Wisconsin, on March 20, 1854. The convention at Crawfordsville antedated the Ripon meeting at least one month, and as the union here perfected was named the Republican party, Crawfordsville is fairly entitled to the distinction of being the birthplace of this organization.



Collection of articles written by O.A. Garretson around the turn of the 20th century.  The articles were published in the Iowa Journal of History and Politics and the Palimpsest, a publication of Iowa history by the U of Iowa.  There is a real treasure trove of history in these articles.

A Lincoln Pole Raising

A Famous War Horse

An Incident of the Civil War

Indian Jim

Iowa and the Spanish Pioneers


Pilot Grove

The Battle of Athens

The Lewelling Family

Traveling on the Underground Railway