THE TWO CHIEF TOWNS OF
History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties
Explanatory NoteThe history of Waukon and Lansing, which should more properly follow immediately after the general history of Allamakee County, necessarily appears in this order of location, the MSS. Having been received by the Publishers too late for earlier insertion. This arrangement, while in a measure out of harmony with the technical classification of the work, will be found to in nowise detract from the completeness of its historical value.The Editor.
By DICK HANEY
Lansing, the largest town of Allamakee county, is situated on the Mississippi river, twelve miles south of the Minnesota state line, and eighty-one miles north of Dubuque, in a valley which is about one mile in width, and through which flows a beautiful stream called Clear creek. The business portion of the town is built upon a high bench of ground at the foot of Mt. Hosmer, one of the most noted bluffs on the river.
The town, when viewed from the river, appears to be entirely surrounded by rugged hills. In summer, when these hills are clothed in garments of richest green, the town lies half hidden among its shade trees, and the shadows of the bluffs, as beautiful a place to look upon as can be found anywhere in the Mississippi valley. The high ground upon which the principal portion of the town is built, runs down to the river, leaving a bold, rocky shore, along which flows the main channel of the river, affording at all seasons of navigation an ample supply of water, and landing places for all kinds of upper river steamboats.
This truly beautiful town site was first occupied in 1848 by a man by the name of Garrison, who had made a claim, and was living in a small cabin where the town now is, when, in the fall of that year, John Haney, Sr., came to the place, in company with his son James. Soon after Mr. H.H. Houghton, of Galena, Ill., purchased Garrison's claim, and in company with John Haney, Sr., secured all the land lying in this beautiful valley for a distance of three or four miles, and in 1851 he and Mr. Haney laid out the town of Lansing.
Among the early settlers were: James Haney, John Haney, Jr., G.W. Gray, G.W. Hays, James I. Gilbert, W. Ballou, F.D. Cowles, J.W. Remine, A.L. Battles, I.B. Place, H.M. Travis J.I. Taylor, E. Hale, and G.H. Battles.
The first marriage in the place was that of James Haney and Rachel W. Hurton, which occurred Feb. 5, 1852.
The first white male child born in the place was Frank Cowles. The first female child Alberta Hale. The first death was that of Fanny Haney, the daughter of John Haney, Sr., who died April 19, 1850. The first merchant who located in the new town was F.D. Cowles; the first lawyer was J.W. Remine; the first doctor, J.I. Taylor.
The first hotel was kept by Dr. Houghton in a little log building on Front street, just north of Williams street. The first frame building was a store erected by F.D. Cowles in Aug., 1851. It stood on the corner of Front and Main streets, north of Main.
The first frame house eerected in the town was the "Lansing House," which is still standing on Front street, north of Main, and is occupied as a hotel. It was built by Abraham Bush in the fall of 1851. F.D. Cowles opened the first stock of goods in the fall of 1851. The first drug store was kept by I.B. Place on Front street, near the Lansing House. It was opened in the fall of 1852. The first justice of the peace was an Englishman named Luckins.
From its earliest settlement Lansing grew steadily, and enjoyed a prosperity not surpassed by any town in the west. It was known to have one of the best steamboat landings on the river, and in a few years after its first settlement became the supply point for a vast tract of country in northeastern Iowa and southern Minnesota, which was then being rapidly settled. Emigrants from the east and all parts of Europe came by hundreds, seeking homes among the then beautiful valleys of Allamakee, and on the prairies beyond. These people came by boat and made their way west with ox-teams, or on foot, as best they could. Soon the fertile soil of this new land began to yield its harvests of golden grain. For a distance of more than one hundred miles west, and nearly as far north and south, wheat and other kinds of grain came pouring into Lansing, to be transported by boat to the markets of the world. The commerce of the place in those olden times--in the times of wheat--was enormous, Lansing being for a number of years the best wheat market on the Mississippi river.
During these years the town increased wonderfully in population. Substantial business blocks were erected, elegant residences built, and many fine fortunes were made. In 1872 a railroad reached Lansing from Dubuque, constructed along the west bank of the river. To this enterprise the citizens contributed liberally, besides voting a five-per cent tax in its aid. The road is now controlled by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul R'y Co. The completion of this road to Lansing was an important event in its history.
Prior to this time the river was the only means of communication between Lansing and the world. With the closing of navigation each year this means of communication was removed, and until spring again restored it, such business as was done had to be carried on by teams driven on the ice from Lansing to Prairie du Chien, the nearest railroad town. The ice was always uncertain; hence the mails, and all kinds of business depending upon transportation to and from the eastern centers of commerce, were largely dependent upon that most uncertain of all institutions, the weather. During these early, ante-railroad days numerous efforts were made to construct an ice-boat, engine, or machine, that would supply the much-needed means of transportation between Lansing and Prairie du Chien. Parties at the latter place, at one time, constructed a huge iron monster, resembling a steamboat and locomotive combined, which they prepared to launch on the ice at Prairie du Chien, having given due notice to the towns and wood-boat landings above, just at what precise hour the wonderful invention might be confidently expected to arrive at their respective ports. A large portion of the population of Lansing remained awake for two nights anxiously watching and waiting for the arrival of the ice-boat, car, or what not it was called. But they waited in vain. It never came. And the complete or partial ice embargo of each winter was not removed from the trade of Lansing until the construction of the railroad before mentioned. This road, the Chicago, Dubuque and Minnesota Railroad Company, originally the Dubuque and Minnesota Railroad Company, was incorporated Dec. 16th , 1867. The names of the incorporators were: J.K. Graves, J.M. Merrill, Platt Smith, E.H. Williams, and Joseph Herod. On the 27th of January, 1869, J.E. Ainsworth reported his reconnoisance of the proposed line, and the next year capital was invested in the enterprise. The ground was first broken, with appropriate ceremonies, at Eagle Point, at 3 o'clock, Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 18th, 1870. Two years later the cars were running into Lansing. In recognition of the work that had been accomplished, and the many beneficial results which were expected to follow its completion, the citizens of Lansing prepared for a grand
Wednesday May 8th was set apart as the day for the ovation. Invitations were extended to representative delegations from all the towns on the line of the road and elsewhere. To enable people to accept the invitations the railroad provided a special excurtion train which left Dubuque at 8:30 A.M. drawn by two engines, the "Lansing" and the "J.K. Graves," both appropriately trimmed with flags and evergreens. There were over one thousand excursionists on the train, accompanied by the Germania Band, of Dubuque.
The train arrived at Lansing in safety at 2:15 P.M. and was received in royal style by salutes of cannon from the bluffs, and music by the Lansing Cornet Band. A reception committee consisting of Hon. L.E. Fellows, Capt. E.B. Bascom, Jos. T. Metclaf, Gustave Kerndt and Theodore Steidle met the party at the foot of Main street and escorted them to Concert Hall, where a magnificent banquet was spread. The movements of the vast crowd of strangers were admirably managed by Capt. E.B. Bascom, chief marshal, assisted by Maj. Samuel W. Hemenway, Capt. James Ruth and Capt. S.O. Smith. Concert Hall was beautifully decorated. The tables were arranged on either side of the hall, the ends towards the center carried around towards the stage.
On the stage and in the center was the Press table, arranged by Mr. C.W. Hufschmidt. The newspaper men who enjoyed its many luxuries reported at the time that "it presented a more tempting sight than editor, reporter or printer had ever seen. That it was a 'fat take' all around." Just below the footlights was the Railroad table presided over by Hon. S.H. Kinne, then State Senator from Allamakee county, and his accomplished wife. Everything connected with this table was fully in accord with the Senator's known reputation for hospitality. At the right of the stage the mayor and council of Dubuque occupied table No. 3, arranged by mayor Nielander, of Lansing, and arranged with entire satisfaction to the tastes and capacities of the parties occupying it. Table No. 5, was nicely arranged by Mr. R.P. Spencer for citizens of Dubuque, next to this was table No. 7, arranged by George H. Bryant for Dubuque guests. Then came table No. 9, arranged by Theo. Nachtwey for guests from Guttenburg. Table No. 11, was arranged for guests from Clayton by Mr. W.A. Travis. Next to this was table No. 13, arranged by J.W. Thomas for guests from Waukon. The guests from Decorah were seated at table No. 15 presided over by Mrs. S.H. Hazleton. No. 17, next to the door was arranged by Mrs. Purdy for the guests from Harper's Ferry, DeSoto and Dorchester. The first table on the right as you enter the hall, was No. 14, arranged by Mr. Pearson for the county officials. Next came No. 12, arranged by Capt. E.B. Bascom for general guests. Then came No. 10, where citizens of McGregor and Dubuque were seated, arranged by Mr. N.A. Nelson. Next to this was No. 8, arranged by Mr. Wenst for guests from McGregor. And then came No. 6, for the use of Dubuque officials, arranged by Mr. Shaw. At the end of the stage on this side, table No. 4, was arranged for the use of the mayor and council of Galena by Dr. J.W. Davis. Two hundred and fifty-six guests were seated at a time, and five sittings were given.
Dinner over, the meeting was called to order by his honor Mayor Nielander, who spoke as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen: The citizens of Lansing, through me, tender you a hearty and sincere welcome, in which I cordially join them. I hope that the union of our cities and towns by this iron chain may be also the means of uniting and binding more firmly our personal and business relations. Those whom I have the honor to represent have used their utmost exertions to make your visit pleasant and agreeable, and we sincerely hope that you will enjoy our hospitality with the liberality with which we offer it to you. Citizens of Lansing--I have the honor of introducing to you these distinguished visitors, with their accompanying friends, who have honored our city with their presence.
These remarks were responded to by Mayor Turk, of Dubuque in a few well chosen words, when Hon. L.E. Fellows was introduced, who delivered the following
Fellow Citizens: The citizens of Lansing, through their officials, the Mayor and Council, bid me extend a formal welcome in their behalf to you who are here to-day. We cordially greet you as representatives of great railroad and commercial interests, alike important to our citizens and the citizens of our sister cities and towns so well represented on this occasion. To the officers and members of the Chicago, Dubuque, and Minnesota Railroad Company, who had the nerve, courage and energy to inaugurate and carry forward the great railroad enterprise that has to-day placed our young city in close connection with the commercial metropolis of our grand and beautiful Iowa--who have with oaken ties and iron bands linked together in close business and social relations, all the thriving Mississippi river cities and towns of Northern Iowa, and made them tributary to that thriving city, Dubuque, of which we feel justly proud--we extend our hearty congratulations that so great a measure of success had crowned your efforts, and while we rejoice to-day over the completion of the railroad to Lansing, in view of the benefits we expect to derive from it, in view of the great benefit it will surely be to all Northwestern Iowa, we do not forget that it is a work of more than local importance. It is a most important link in that great line of railway that will shortly follow the banks of the Mississippi river from where it is spanned by the Northern Pacific Railroad down to its delta--a railway second in importance to none in America, traversing a country unrivalled for its natural advantages, its agricultural, mineral and manufacturing resources, the salubrity and healthfulness of its climate, its varied and magnificent scenery, alike inviting to the farmer, the miner, the mechanic, the merchant, the manufacturer and the tourist.
The rapid settlement of the Mississippi valley, marvelous as it has been, is due to its wonderful natural advantages, the building of railroads and the power of the newspaper press. I see before me citizens yet in the vigor of manhood who were pioneers here when the most populous of our cities and towns had scarcely ceased to be rude Indian villages; when the present State of Iowa, with a population of a million and a half, and more than three thousand miles of railroad, had not a mile of railroad nor even a territorial government. Iowa, but a quarter of a century old, is the eighth in population of the States of our Union--what will be her rank at the end of another quarter of a century? Who will attempt to designate the States that will then surpass her in wealth and population? But the time and occasion admonish me not to dwell upon this inviting theme. The occasion is one of greeting to the citizens of Dubuque, Guttenburg, Clayton City, McGregor, Harper's Ferry, and our friends from off the immediate line of the railroad--from Galena, Waukon, Decorah, and other points, to join you in awarding honor to the active promoters of this railroad enterprise. We desire you not only to accept our hospitality but to become acquainted with our citizens. We wish to convince your business men that it is for their interest to become acquainted with our business men. We desire to show you that our citizens are not only hospitable, but that we have a business here worthy of the attention not only of our railroad friends, but of the business men of Dubuque; that we can and do here gather up and ship to eastern and southern markets an immense amount of produce; that with the facilities for shipment at all seasons afforded by railroad, our advantages as a market will be greatly increased; that we have a large and fertile territory tributary to Lansing, enabling our merchants to sustain a very large retail trade; that we have good manufacturing establishments and excellent openings for more of them; in a work, that we have the material and advantages for a respectable and thriving city, and the will and determination to make one. We want the business men of Dubuque and McGregor to show our business men that it is for their interest to visit you and trade with you; that it is possible for the great distributing point of the Northwest to be located on the western bank of the Mississippi river, rather than upon the shores of Lake Michigan. And why should it not be so? With our network of railroads, a water line to the Gulf of Mexico, and prospective water lines to the Atlantic seaboard, why should there not be earnest and united action by us as Iowa man to build up and promote Iowa interests by concentrating the business of Iowa in Iowa, rather than in an eastern city.
I know that I speak the sentiments of my fellow-citizens of Lansing, when I say that we rejoice at the growth and prosperity of the cities and towns on this line of road, and of all the country around us; and especially do we rejoice that we have here in northern Iowa the leading city in the state. We watch with interest the efforts of the citizens of Dubuque to reach out in all directions for the commerce and trade of northern Iowa and to open new outlets to the east and south. We scan the columns of your able and enterprising newspapers for notes of private and public improvements. We hail each new enterprise of your citizens with pride. We rejoice to-day that we are bought in such close commuication with you, and believe this connection will be of benefit to all. We thank you for visiting us on this occasion. We thank the railroad company most heartily for bringing you here. We trust your visit will be as pleasant as our desire is sincere that it shall be so. Believe me when I say the citizens of Lansing, one and all, bid you all welcome--thrice welcome!
Addresses were delivered by Gen. Wm. Vandever, Hon. Wm. B. Allison, Judge T.S. Wilson, J.O. Crosby, J.K. Graves, and others. Several letters from distinguished guests who had been prevented from attending were read. The ceremonies at the hall concluded with the presentation by the young ladies of Lansing to Engineer Brough of two beautiful cushions for his iron horse, the "Lansing." These were presented to Mr. Brough by Miss Frankie Shaw, now Mrs. George H. Markley, with the following remarks:
"In behalf of the young ladies of Lansing I present you these cushions as a slight token of their regard for the honor conferred upon our city in naming one of the locomotives, the "Lansing." I trust, sir, that no accident may ever happen to you or to your locomotive, and that these cushions may ever remind you of the happy event of to-day, and of the kindly feeling of our citizens, and particularly of those in whose behalf I make this presentation for yourself and the noble and powerful engine now under your control."
Thus ended a red-letter day in the history of Lansing. At this time the town was very prosperous. Real estate sold readily at high prices, and the town seemed destined to enjoy a future of unexampled prosperity.
But the farming community upon which the town had to depend largely for its support had, up to this time, relied almost entirely upon raising wheat. When, soon after 1872, the wheat crops began to fail and continued to be failures year after year, the effect began to be observed in Lansing. Year after year the farmers clung to the delusive hope that the next year would surely be a good year for wheat, until many of them were bankrupted and compelled to lose their farms and begin life again farther west with nothing. During these same years came the contraction in values incident to the resumption of specie payments, and many who had contracted debts supposing the fictitious values following the war period would always continue, found themselves wholly unable to pay the mortagages on their land; especially as they had lost the art or power of raising wheat. This unhappy state of affairs, of course, operated to injure Lansing, and for some years the town lost its usual business activitiy and prosperity. But in the last few years the farmers in the territory contributory to the town have turned thier attention more to stock raising, dairying, and other crops than wheat, and this year (1882) finds them unusually prosperous and contented, and the business prospects of Lansing brighter than they have been before for ten years.
The population of Lansing according to the U.S. census of 1880 was 1,811. Theis enumeration was taken during the crisis of business depression in the town and vicinity, and does not fully represent the present population of the place, which is certainly over two thousand.
Lansing was incorporated as a town in 1864, and organized under the general State laws as a city of the second class by decree of the Allamakee county court July 1st, 1867.
The first municipal election was held in "Hays Hall" September 17th, 1867, and resulted in the election of the following officers: Mayor, S.V. Shaw; solicitor, John S. Monk; treasurer, G. Kerndt; marshal, Thomas Spurrior; trustees, G. Kerndt, S.H. Kinne, Geo. Hewit, C.C. Bates, James Coard, S.B. Johnstone, Jacob Haas, and A.H. Woodruff.
The present city officers are: Robert Hufschmidt mayor; J.W. Thomas treasurer; John S. Mobley assessor; James Clancey marshall; and John Dunlevy clerk.
The following named gentlemen have held the office of mayor; S.V. Shaw, from September, 1867, to March, 1869; Samuel H. Kinne, from March, 1869, to March, 1872; Henry Nielander, from March, 1872, to March, 1873; William H. Burford from March, 1873, to March, 1874; Theodore Nachtwey, from March, 1874, to March, 1876; Samuel W. Hemenway, from March, 1876, to time of his death, May 6th, 1877. (From May 7th, 1877, until May 9th, 1877, Philip Bockfinger held the position of mayor pro tem, when E.A. Blum was appointed mayor pro tem. by the council and retained the position until the special election of July 2d, 1877, when he was chosen mayor and continued in office until March, 1878.) John M. Hancock from March, 1878, to March, 1880. (Mr. Hancock resigned March 24th, and Mr. S.H. Kinne was appointed mayor pro tem, until the election of Mr. Hufschmidt, April 26th.) Robert Hufschmidt from April 26th, 1880 to the present time. His term of office will expire March 1883.
A meeting was held at the office of Mayor W.H. Burford February 25th, 1871, for the purpose of organizing a fire company. Mayor Burford presided and S.P. Darling acted as secretary. Proper committees were appointed and the meeting adjourned to meet at the same place on the evening of March 2d, 1871. At the adjourned meeting Mayor Burford presided and Mr. S.P. Darling acted as secretary. This meeting and several adjourned meetings immediately following it, resulted in the organization of a fire company, known as "Hope Fire Company No. 1," with the following officers:
R.V. Shurley, foreman; P.H. Pierson, first assistant foreman; Sam'l W. Hemenway, second assistant foreman; W. H. Burford, secretary; Herman Schurholtz, treasurer; W.J. Bort, first pipman, and Phil. Degnan second pipeman. December 3d, 1873, the department was thoroughly reorganized, the name of the company changed to "Rescue Fire Company No. 1," and the following officers were elected: Capt. E.B. Bascom, foreman; Jacob Schaach first assistant foreman; John Correll, second assistant of Rescue No. 1, have always responded cheerfully when called upon to battle with the fire fiend; that they have often been called upon and have always conducted themselves in a mannar deserving of the gratitude and praise of the people. The force includes some of the most expert and daring firemen who ever belonged to any organizatian of the kind.
THE WATER SUPPLY
In the spring of 1871, through the persistent efforts of Capt. Samuel W. Hemenway, whose life was sacrificed in the enterprise, a stock company was organized in Lansing, for the purpose of securing a water supply for the city and the citizens. The company was duly incorporated as the Lansing Artesian Well Company of Lansing. The Swan Brothers, of Boscobel, Wis., were employed to do the drilling, and operations were begun early in the spring by drilling a well on Main street, at the intersection of North Third.
Subsequently attempts were made to sink wells at the west end of Main street, and on Front street at the foot of Main. The west end well was a complete failure, owing to the alleged fact that the drillers struck granite before reaching any considerable amount of water. The well was abandoned, and soon afterward closed up by means of wooden plugs. The Front street well developed a fine flow of water, but because of a defect in piping it, or for some unknown cause, the company have been unable to prevent underground leakage. This well is sill flowing under the surface, but is not used by the company, and is of no value.
The Third street well was, however, in all respects a perfect sucess. Its depth is 778 feet. At the time of its completion it was estimated to discharge 372 gallons per minute. The water is at all seasons of uniform temperature, agreeable to the taste, and considered to possess superior medicinal properties. It is supplied to citizens, and the city for fire purposes, by means of an extensive system of iron pipes laid in the streets in the most approved manner; and affords a most abundant supply of pure and cool water for all purposes, having sufficient head to force itself into the second story of buildings in the principal portion of town. During the summer drinking fountains are maintained by the city on Main street, where this excellent water can be obtained by all, as "free as the air we breathe."
Beyond question the artesian well has proved itself to be one of the most important enterprises ever attempted by the citizens of Lansing. Its usefulness cannot be overestimated. As stated, its gratifying results were almost wholly due to the individual efforts of Capt. Samuel W. Hemenway, who first suggested the drilling of an artesian well; who demonstrated by means of his superior skill and knowledge of such subjects, the certainty of success, and who, when success had been attained, and the people were rejoicing in the spendid result, lost his life while superintending the completion of the magnificent public work his ability, energy, and perseverance had produced. So intimately is his memory interwoven with the history of this public work, that it seems impossible to leave the subject without a brief review of his life and the painful circumstances attending his tragic death.
On the afternoon of Thursday, May 3, 1877, the Third street well being then an assured success, Capt. Hemenway entered a deep cut on Main street to personally superintend the joining of sections of the main water pipe to be employed in supplying water from the new well. While thus engaged the embankment on the north side gave way, and the unfortunate man was literally buried alive. Assistance was instantly at hand, but some little time was required to remove the large quantity of earth and rocks that had fallen upon him. When rescued from his perilous position it was found that one limb was broken in several places, and that he had probably sustained severe internal injuries. The gravest apprehension proved too true, and, notwithstanding the best medical skill and kindest attention of friends and neighbors were bestowed upon him, with a community's united prayers for his recovery, he died on the following Sunday, May 6th, 1877.
His funeral, which occurred on Tuesday, May 8th, was attended by the municipal authorities, all the civic societies in the city, delegates from neighboring Masonic organizations, and the largest concourse of people ever assembled in Lansing to perform the last sad rites for one of its citizens.
Mr. Hemenway was born on the 19th of February 1839, at Potsdam, St. Lawrence county, N.Y. His earlier years were spent in that vicinity. In 1855 he become a resident of Lansing, and was foreman in the agricultural implement factory of his brother, H.H. Hemenway, until the year 1862, when he entered the service of his country, as a member of Co. B, 27th Regt. Io. Vol. Inft. He was commissioned captain by Gov. Kirkwood, October 3, 1862. For faithful service he was promoted to the office of major, and was mustered out at Clinton, August 8th, 1865, having served three years without the loss of a single day by leave of absence. Mr. Hemenway was a republican in politics. As chairman of the republican county central committee in the campaign of 1876, he achieved a remarkable victory and had he lived would have received deserved recognition at the hands of his political associates. At the time of his death he was mayor of the city, superintendent of the well company, a leading member of the masonic organizations of the city, and in all respects the most active, enterprising and useful citizen of Lansing.
On May 30th, 1877, Decoration Day was for the first time formally observed by the people of Lansing. Coming as it did so soon after the fateful death of Mr. Hemenway, who had himself been a faithful soldier, and whose new made grave was then especially entitled to receive an offering of flowers, the occasion was rendered peculiarly impressive. From the oration of Dick Harvey, Esq., who spoke with intense feeling upon the occasion, the following extract is subjoined:
"Of those upon whose graves will soon be strewn our floral offerings, I deem it adequate to say that when living they were soldiers, all of them brave boys, who, from time to time, have stacked their arms, done with life's relentless warfare, and now are peacefully reposing in the grand encampment of the dead.
'How sleep the brave who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest!
When spring with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallowed mould;
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Than fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung;
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There honor comes a pilgrim gray.
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And freedom shall a while repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there.
With the memory of one among these noble dead, because of long and near acquaintance my heart prompts me to linger. One so lately gone the closing scene still haunts us like some hateful vision. One who had survived the perils of three long years on the tented field, but to reach the meridan of a peerless manhood and then to perish in an hour of peaceful toil, where the possibility of danger was undreamed. Oh, strange and cruel fate! Dumb, in the shadow of this dark mystery, I stand with lifted hands, and vainly strive to comprehend its meaning.
Even had I power to free my prisoned thoughts, language to reveal the sullen gloom which hangs over the troubled waters of my soul, it were better to be silent, for God knows I would not by the slightest imperfection of expression wound one poor aching heart within the hearing of my voice! Only this much then: He was my friend, strong in intellect and purpose, possessed of wondrous personal power and faultless courage, an impetuous unflinching soldier. Self-taught in the severe school of disappointment and adversity he had developed a bold, decisive character, and had stored a most comprehensive mind with practical knowledge and useful facts. A clear head, large heart and untiring industry combined to render him recognized and respected among all with whom he mingled. Struggling upward against obstacles which baffle ordinary men, the dawn of a brighter day seemed breaking, the earnest of a usefull and success crowned career, when alas the ill-fated hour! That treacherous bank must fall and crush out the life of him whose efforts had upreared it!
Oh what a noble heart was here undone
When science's self destroyed her favorite son.
Yes! She too much indulged thy fond pursuit
She sow'd the seed but death has reap'd the fruit,
'Twas thine own genius gave the final blow,
And help'd to plant the wound that laid thee low;
So the struck eagle, stretched upon the plain,
No more through rolling clouds to soar again.
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart,
And winged the shaft which quivered in his heart;
Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel.
He nursed the pinion which impelled the steel,
While the same plumage that had warmed his nest,
Drank the last life-drop of his bleeding breast!
Doubtless Samuel was not dearer to his friends than were the others to those who knew and loved them best. They all were soldiers, and in full round measure worthy of the offerings we bring them here to-day."
The first newspaper office established in Lansing was owned by H.H. Houghton, of Galena, Ill. The name of the paper was the Lansing Intelligencer, and was edited by W.H. Sumner. Vol. 1, No. 1, of this paper was issued Tuesday, Nov. 23, 1852. The office has continued to exist until the present, although the name of the paper has several times changed. It is now the Lansing Mirror, published by Messrs. Woodward & Metcalf, Earl M. Woodward being editor, and George W. Metcalf, a most excellent practical printer, the superintendent of the mechanical department. No. 1 of Vol. 30 was issued Oct. 13, 1882. It is now sold upon the same terms that were advertised in the first issue of the Intelligencer. Among the business cards contained in Lansing's first paper, only one name appears which is now familiar to residents of the city, that of the Lansing House, which is still standing and occupied as a hotel. It was then owned and managed by J. and J. Grant, and they promised the public among many other matters to have "porters always in attendance to convey passengers' baggage to and from boats free of charge." This old landmark is now owned by J.W. Bates, and leased by Frank Howe.
Of those who advertised in the first issue of the Intelligencer, not one is now living in Lansing. They were then written up by the obliging editor in the following attractive style:
"James Peacock advertises a variety of goods, consisting of all the intermediates between a shawl and a coffee-mill, or a California hat and a wash-board. Give him a call.
"F.D. Cowles wants the 'staff of life.' Feed him, somebody.
"At the sign of the Elk Horn, E.P. Bircher displays many good things, which he offers to part with for a--'consideration.'
"T.E. Williams has a well stocked shop--as good as we have seen anywhere. Call on him and 'exchange tin.'
"Chas. J. McGee is prepared to fill your houses with furniture, plain or ornamental, costly or cheap, according to the fancy of the purchaser, or the size of his 'pile.'
"Miss A.M. Battles hopes to receive calls from the ladies--and the amount of their milliner's bills from their obedient lords.
"James I. Gilbert comes in for his share of the 'dimes,' and offers lumber as an equivalent.
"Dr. J.I. Taylor is, we believe, a successful physician, and is supposed to cure 'all the ills that flesh is heir to.' Personally we we hope to have no need of his services.
"Geo. W. Camp, and Remine, and Shaw, lawyers, are ready for business, and if any of our friends are so unfortunate as to 'go to law,' we have no doubt that either of these gentlemen will 'suit' them."
This paper has been republican in politics since its establishment. In 1861 it was published by G.W. Haislet, who sold the paper to T.C. Medary, and in 1870 it was purchased by Metcalf & Co. In July, 1874, James T. Metcalf bought the interest of his copartner, John T. Metcalf, and conducted it alone until July 1, 1881, when the present publishers, Woodward & Metcalf, assumed control of it. The Mirror office is well supplied with all the modern improvements, and under the management of Geo. W. Metcalf, one of the most skillful printers in the west, the press-work, job printing, and everything connected with the mechanical department of the office are done in a most excellent manner.
Under the editorial management of Mr. James T. Metcalf, this
paper assumed a prominent position, and has for years exerted a most decided influence upon public opinion, both in the republican party and out of it. During the time Mr. Metcalf controlled the paper he was always true to republican principles, never allowing personal consideration to endanger the success of the party. Prudent, far-sighted, usually conservative, but aggressive when he thought it best, Mr. James T. Metclaf without any doubt did more than any other one man for the republican party in Allamakee, while editor of the Mirror. He now has a government office, inspector postoffice department, money order system. Earl M. Woodward, his successor as editor of the Mirror, was born at Truxton, Cortland Co., N.Y., Dec. 16, 1848. Served as private in Co. C, 142d Ill. Vol. Inf., during the rebellion. Graduated from the Albany Law School, May, 1874, and came to Allamakee county, Oct. 4, 1874. He practiced law in Lansing and New Albin until July 1, 1881, when he became editor of the Mirror, with the exception of a few months' residence at Manchester, Io. Mr. Woodward is an industrious, painstaking editor, who has fully sustained the former reputation of the Mirror.
The North Iowa Journal, Democratic in politics, was the first Democratic paper started in Lansing. It was established in February, 1860 by McElroy and Parker, and called the Democrat. They were succeeded by Christian Lomann, who changed the name to The Argus, and published it by that name for about six months. in 1862 J.G. Armstong changed the name back to North Iowa Journal and published it for about three years, when he sold it to Taylor & Haislet, who changed the name to The Chronicle, which was conducted as an independent paper until the office was burned in 1871. The material, however, was saved and sold to the publishers of The Mirror. The Allamakee Democrat was started in the summer of 1870 by R.V. Shurley. He conducted it about one year and sold out to the Sherburns, who in a few months sold the office to T.C. Medary, who gave the paper the old name, North Iowa Journal, which he published until December, 1879, when he removed to Mason City Iowa. He was succeeded by the Dunlevy Brothers, who issued the first number of the Lansing Journal in January, 1880. The Dunlevy Brothers, John J. and Thomas, are excellent practical printers, and both of them able editors. The Lansing Journal has been, since its establishment in 1880, devoted to the interests of Lansing and the Democratic party. Its editors are reliable, industrious and intelligent. As a local paper the Journal is without a superior in Northeastern Iowa, and is by many considered without an equal in that portion of the State.
The first religious services held in Lansing were conducted by Rev. Mann, in a log cabin on what is now Front street, then the house of John Haney, Sr., in the winter of 1848-49. There are now nine religious societies, each having a church building all completed, except the Congregational church, which will be when finished, the finest one in the city.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by the Rev. R.A. Bishop, in 1852. A Sunday School was then organized in connection with the church, and George H. Battles was chosen Superintendent. Bev. Bishop preached his first sermon in 1851, in the house of Elijah Hale, one of Lansing's early settlers. Mr. Bishop was then traveling a circuit, including the valley of Turkey River, and all of Iowa northeast of it. When the M.E. society was organized, it was composed of nineteen members and probationers, among whom were William Hemingway, George H. Battles and S.M. Baldwin, three old-fashioned pioneer methodists, and three as good men as ever made their homes in Iowa. The first building used by this society was erected in 1857, under the leadership of Rev. H.W. Houghton, the first stationed preacher of the M.E. Church in Lansing. It was a frame building, and situated on Platt street. In 1866 the society exchanged this for a new and much larger frame building, situated on Main street, which was built by the society during that year, and dedicated in November. The church is out of debt and prosperous. The following gentlemen have occupied the position of pastor since the church was organized, in the order named as to time: H.W. Houghton, V.X. Miller, A.H. Ames, C.W. Brewer, F.C. Mathews, H.W. Houghton, B.D. Alden, F.C. Wolfe, J. Riddlington, C.F. McLean, M.H. Smith, J.N. Kerr, J.T. Wilcox, T.E. Fleming, George Elliott, George W. Pratt, H.W. Houghton, Thomas Oliver, D.M. Parker. Rev. Houghton was pastor in '57 and '58; Wolfe, Reddlington, McLean, and Elliott held the position each for two consecutive years. Rev. Parker was appointed in the fall of 1880, and is now near the close of his second year. The others were pastors for one year each.
The Congregational Church was organized may 15th, 1853, by Rev. Timothy Lyman, with the following members: Lorenzo Bushnell, Mrs. Melinda R. Bushnell, Mrs. Louisa Reed, Lyman C. Reed, Mrs. Fanny Haney, and Mrs. Sarah Cowles. The Congregational society was incorporated May 18th, '54, the incorporators being Timothy Lyman, Jos. I. Gilbert, John Haney, G.W. Gray, John W. Remine, G.W. Hays, F.D. Cowles, T.E. Williams, and S.H. Haines. The first church building erected by the society was occupied in 1854. On March 6th, 1877, this was consumed by fire. During the same year, a new and beautifully designed edifice was begun, which remains unfinished. The basement intended for Sabbath School purposes and lecture rooms was completed in 1877 and used by the society for several years as its place of worship. The church organization is still maintained, but the society is at present without a pastor. Revs. T. Lyman, Geo. Bent, D.N. Bordwell, James B. Gilbert, S.H. Canfield, Orlando Clark, A. Graves, P. Litts and C.H. Rogers, have, in the order named, occupied the position of pastor.
St. Luke's Protestant Episcopal Parish was organized August 26th, 1855, by Rev. G.W. Watson, of Clinton, Iowa. The wardens were: George W. Barker and J.I. Taylor; vestry, F.D. Cowles, John J. Shaw and T.E. Williams. In May, 1856, Rev. James Trimble was called to the parish for abut one year. During this year services were conducted in a school house. A church was built between '59 and '61, on Diagonal street. This was opened for worship on Advent Sunday, 1861, and consecrated by Bishop Lee, in 1862. July 23d, 1862, Rev. W.W. Estabrook D.D. delivered his first sermon, and was soon after appointed rector. Sunday, January 7th, 1866, the church was destroyed by fire. January 27th, 1867, a new church built on the corner of Center and Third streets was first occupied and consecrated by Rt. Rev. H.W. Lee, May 3d, 1868. Soon after this, W.W. Estabrook left the parish and was succeded July 5th, 1868, by T.J. Brookes, who accepted a call to rectorship in 1869, resigning his charge in the same year. Rev. Allen accepted a call to the rectorship October 9th, 1869, and remained about one year. Rev. Charles Canfield officiated for a few months in 1872, since which time the church has been occupied only occasionally, once or twice by Bishop Lee. Rev. James Bentley preached occasionally from 1858 to 1861. Rev. T. Hooker and Dr. Eddy were both connected with the church in the year 1862. The church organization is still maintained according to the laws and regulations of the church, but the building, the most favorably located house of worship in the city, begins to show indications of decay. The first couple married in Lansing according to the forms of this church, were Homer H. Hemenway and Amanda S. Gray. They were married, so the church record says, February 4th, 1857, and the witnesses were John Berry, G.W. Gray and Martha Haney. Among the early attendants and members of the church were, F.O. Cowles and family, Sarah Cowles, widow, and family, John I. Taylor and family, S.H. Kinee and family, Samuel B. Johnston and family, and H.H. Hemenway and family. George W. Camp, Esq., was secretary of the meeting of citizens called to organize the society. F.D. Cowles and J.I. Taylor were appointed delegates in May, 1856, to represent the parish in the convention of the Iowa Diocese.
In the spring and summer of 1865 frequent visits were made to Lansing by the Rev. James Frothingham, then settled in Caledonia, Minn. These visits resulted in the organization of a Presbyterian church. Mr. Frothingham, assisted by Elder Eben S. Albert, of Mt. Hope church, effected the organization Sunday, June 18, 1865. The services were conducted in the Episcopal church edifice on Diagonal street, subsequently destroyed by fire. The following persons presented certificates of membership and letters of dismission: Eben T. Albert, Mrs. Jane Albert, Sarah and Elizabeth Albert, and Mrs. Margaret Ratcliffe, from Mt. Hope Church, Allamakee Co., Io.; James and Jane Logan, Mrs. Annie Stafford, Miss Helen Gilchrist, Miss Rachael Elmendorf, and Mrs. G.W. Hayes, from other churches. Mr. A.W. Purdy, Mrs. Delia Delevan Purdy, and Mrs. Margaretta Macbay were admitted on confession of faith. These persons were formally declared organized as a church, and Mr. M.E. Albert was chosen Ruling Elder.
A meeting of the regular attendants on the services of the church was held in the parlor of the American House, on Monday evening May 7th, 1866, for the purpose of organizing a church society. A committee of three was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws for the society, in order to a proper incorporation. The committee consisted of Rev. James Frothingham, M.M. Webster, and Cyrus Watts. At a subsequent meeting held at the same place, the committee reported a constitution and by-laws, which were adopted. Articles of incorporation were duly adopted and recorded soon after this, and a church society duly organized according to the laws of Iowa and the Presbyterian church, to be known as the First Presbyterian Church, of Lansing. The first trustees were: Amos W. Purdy, Eben T. Albert, and William C. Macbay. February 7th, 1867, these gentlemen were reelected, Mr. Purdy for three years, Mr. Albert for two, and Mr. Macbay for one. January 6th, 1868, the term of service of W.C. McBay having expired, A.H. Woodruff was chosen trustee. Mr. E.T. Albert was reelected in January, 1869. At the annual meeting of the society, held January 3d, 1870, the method of electing trustees was changed, the changed by-law providing that three trustees should be annually chosen to serve for one year each. At this meeting E.T. Albert and A.H. Woodruff resigned. The term of A.W. Purdy expired. An election of trustees according to the new method resulted in the choice of Cyrus Watts, George D. Purdy and Glyken A. Rockwell.
In January, 1871, Cyrus Watts, S.O. Smith and George Albert were chosen trustees. W.H. Burford, G.A. Rockwell and Cyrus Watts were trustees in 1872. January 13th, 1873, Dr. N.S. Craig, Lewis Burton and J.W. Thomas were chosen. At a special meeting held January 23d, 1873, Messrs. Burton and Thomas declined to serve for reasons considered satisfactory by all, and C.T. Hart and Joseph Smith were chosen in their places. Dr. N.S. Craig, Storr Rockwell and Geo. W. Albert were trustees in 1874. Storr Rockwell, J.W. Thomas and M. McCormick in 1875 and 1876. January 3d, 1877, the time for holding the annual meetings of the society was changed from January to the first Monday of September in each year. M. McCormick, J.W. Thomas and Dr. N.S. Craig were chosen trustees to serve until the meeting in September, 1877. At that meeting the same gentlemen were elected. They were again reelected in September, 1878.
At a special meeting of the society held after evening service, August 3d, 1879, Rev. C.E. Schaible, having preached, was called to preside. The pastor, Rev. James Frothingham, requested the members of the church and congregation to unite with him in a request to the Presbytery to dissolve the pastoral relation. As, in consequence of ill-health, this seemed a necessity to the pastor, his desire was granted, and the congregation concurred in his request.
At the annual congregational meeting held September 1st, 1879, Dr. F.S. Craig, G.A. Rockwell and S.A. Rockwell were selected to prepare a paper expressing the sorrow of the church and congregation at the loss sustained in the severance of the pastoral relation between the church and Rev. James Frothingham. At a farewell reception given at the residence of J.W. Thomas on the evening of Sept. 3d, 1879, these gentlemen presented the following paper, which was fully approved by all present.
"WHEREAS, in the providence of God the relation existing for the past fourteen years between the Presbyterian church of Lansing, Iowa, and its beloved Pastor, Rev. James Frothingham, has now been severed; and,
WHEREAS, we deeply feel the loss which we sustain in his removal; therefore,
"Resolved, That we sincerely regret the necessity which compels him to leave this field of labor, wherein so many of the best years of his life have been passed, and whereon he has left the imprint of a firm, unyielding loyalty to the cause of his Master.
"Resolved, That though our hearts are saddened by this separation, we yet review with gratitude the blessed results of his ministry here, and desire to express our high appreciation thereof, and also the esteem, love and veneration in which he is held, not only by this church and congregation, but by the whole community.
"Resolved, That we invoke the blessing of God to follow him and his family to their new field of labor, and that we earnestly pray that God, in is infinite goodness, will grant him complete restoration to health, and abundantly bless his labors in the future, giving him renewed strength for continued service in is new abode.
"Resolved, That to himself and his estimable wife and family we owe a debt of gratitude for service in church, prayer meeting and Sabbath School, which we can never repay and shall never forget.
"Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be given to our retiring pastor and furnished to the press of the city for publication."
Rev. Charles E. Schaible occupied the pulpit from October 16th, 1879 until November 1st, 1881, part of the time as stated supply and the balance as pastor. He was followed by Rev. Joseph Gaston who began his labors January 1, 1882. He is now the pastor.
The society erected a house of worship on North Third street in 1866. It is constructed of brick, will seat about 300 persons, is nicely furnished and in all respects a most pleasant place of public worship. Ground was broken for the foundation July 4th, 1866. The first meeting in the church was held January 1st, 1867, and the first Sabbath service February 3d following. A Sabbath School was organized June 17th, 1866, which has since been maintained.
During the present year (1882), a fine pipe organ costing over $500, has been placed in the church. It is considered an excellent instrument. The church is out of debt and quite prosterous. The trustees elected October 4th, 1879, were: M. McCormick, H.H. Hemenway, James Ruth, James M. Thomson and N.S. Craig; September 16th, 1880, G.W. Albert, H.H. Hemenway, James Ruth, G.A. Rockwell and Earl M. Woodward were chosen. September 26th, 1881, these trustees were all re-elected. The present board, elected September 21st, 1882, consists of M. McCormick, James Ruth, H.H. Hemenway, H.J. Frothingham and G.W. Albert.
Lansing Lodge, No. 118, I.O.O.F., was organized April 16th, 1858. The charter members were: James W. Thomas, Homer H. Hemenway, John Haney, Jr., John J. Shaw, G.W. Gray, S.V. Shaw and A.H. Houghton. The charter of this lodge was dated October 14th, 1858. During the war of the rebellion the charter was suspended for a time for want of members. Subsequently the lodge was re-organized, and is now in a prosperous condition, having a beautifully furnished hall of its own in which several other lodges hold their meetings.
Evergreen Lodge, No. 144, A.F.A.M., was organized January 11th, 1859, under a dispensation and was duly chartered June 9th, 1859. the first officers were: G.W. Gray, W.M.; H.H. Hemenway, S.W.; G.W. Hays, J.W.; John C. Berry, Secretary pro tem.; John Gray, Treasurer pro tem.; Marshall Cass, S.D. pro tem.; Geo. M. Dean, J.D. pro tem.; W. Beale, Tyler pro tem. This lodge occupies a nicely furnished hall on Main street and continues to hold regular meetings.
Mt. Hosmer Lodge, No. 29, A.O.U.W., was chartered May 21st, 1875, with the following members: W.H. Burford, N.S. Craig, A.D. Cowles, S.H. Davis, Robert Hufschmidt, H.D. Spaulding, L.S. Tollefson, I.D. Fowler, James Ruth, M.V. Burdick, John Correll, L. Klewer, W.A. Travis, O.J. Mix, George Palmer and Edgar Hewit. The lodge now has fifty-two members and holds weekly meeting in Odd Fellos'w hall.
Humbolt Lodge, No. 61, A.O.U.W., was chartered April 11th 1876. The charter members were: Andrew Sandry, M. Simon, G. L. Saam, Jacob Zerbis, Charles Bergler, Peter Berdel, Dr. B. Erb. Brockhausen, M. Gruber, Paul Becker, Martin Englehorn, John Schaefer, John Pfaender, John Gruber, J.K. Englehorn, M. Hostert, V. Schaefer, Jacob Dormann, Thomas Gruber, Englehardt Bartheld, Charles Deitrich, H. Kroeme, John Miller and John Conrad. This lodge continues to prosper, the "work" being done in the German language.
Maple Lodge, No. 35, Iowa Legion of Honor, was chartered August 14th, 1869, with the following members: H.F. Fellows, Theodore Nachtwey, G.A. Rockwell, Theodore Groezinger, M. McCormick, N.S. Craig, H.D. Spaulding, Jas. T. Metcalf, Dick Haney, L.M. Elmendorf, C.A. Gardner, L.E. Fellows, John C. Barclay, Geo. H. Markley, W. H. Burford, T.G. Orr, C.L. Muller, Michael Healey, F. W. Wagner, H. Beusch, Alfred A. Bock, E. K. Maryatt, C.D. Purdy, L. Fuiks, I.D. Fowler, Dr. B. Erb Brckhausen, Earl M. Woodward, T.P. Grant and Robert Hufschmidt. The lodge at present has forty members and meets twice in each month in Odd Fellow's hall.
Lansing Collegium, No. 100, V.A.S. Fraternity, was organized June 16th, 1882, with the following charter members: Geo. H. Markley, S.H. Kinne, H.H. Hemenway, James Ruth, M. McCormick, J.W. Davis, J.F. Wier, John C. Barclay, Edward Coy, P.N. Smith, William Luth, Ed. C. Bellows, Theodore Nachtwey, Herman Gannitz, Jos. T. Metcalf, N.A. Nelson, H.P. Lane, Joseph Gaston, John B. Thorp, Robert Hufschmidt, Henry D. Spaulding, Edward Boechk, C.W. Hufschmidt, Jr., and Henry Bockfinger. This society occupies Masonic Hall.
Horace H. Houghton and John Haney, Sr., the original proprietors of Lansing were men of marked ability, integrity and goodness of heart. During times when schemes of doubtful propriety were aided and encouraged by men of the most pious professions, the founders of Lansing remained true to the dictates of the most unselfish and exalted morality. As co-partners in various business enterprises each relied on the other's honor and neither was ever for a moment dissatisfied with the result.
Whatever mistakes of management may be imputed to these gentlemen none can deny that each bequeathed to the community he helped to establish an example of moral excellence worthy of all imitation.
Horace H. Houghton was born in Springfield, Windsor county, Vermont, October 26, 1806, and died at Galena, Illinois, April 30, 1879, aged 73 years. He was the fourth of six children. His father died when he was six years old. From the age of twelve to eighteen he labored on a farm. He then apprenticed himself to Rufus Colton of Woodstock, Vt., where he learned the art of printing. He worked two years as a journeyman printer after attaining his majority, the most of the time for Messrs. J.and J. Harper, who were the proprietors of the house and firm of Harper Brothers, of New York. He then became proprietor of the Vermont Statesman, published at Castleton, Vt. While engaged in the publication of this paper he invented the method now so much in vogue, of printing one side of several papers on the same form; and while at Castleton he thus printed the outsides of papers published at Rutland, Middlebury, Vergenes and Springfield, Vt., with gratifying success. While here he invented a power press, an essential feature of which has entered into the construction of every successful power press which has since been manufactured. This press he sold to the then State printer at Albany for $6,000, on condition that its work should prove satisfactory after three months' trial. At the close of the time agreed upon he received notice that his money was ready for him. But this was prior to the age of railroads and telegraphs, and before Mr. Houghton could draw on the parties to whom he had sold his press and have the draft reach them, They had assigned all their effects, including his power press, to preferred creditors. This unexpected and undeserved misfortune had the effect of driving the young printer to seek new opportunities in the west. He crossed the Alleghanies with his effects in a pack on his back. Having spent a few months in St. Louis he one day observed a steamer advertised for the "Galena Lead Mines." Investing what money he had in corn he started with it for Galena, Ill. Here he worked in the mines for some months, when the editor of the Northwestern Gazette and Galena Advertiser having fought a duel, and being in consequence compelled to flee for his life, Mr. Houghton purchased the office and afterwards conducted the paper for nearly forty years. Galena was then and for many years afterwards, the chief city in the northwest in enterprise and commerce.
In politics Mr. Houghton was a whig, and because he was a whig, when party names changed he became a republican. His paper had a wide circulation and properly exerted a larger influence for a period than all the papers west of Chicago and north of St. Louis. At the first electon of Mr. Lincoln the four congressional districts in which Mr. Houghton's paper circulated gave the largest republican majorities of andy like territory in the Union.
Judge Drummond, Gov. Ramsey, Hon. E.B. Washburn and Gen. Grant were each his debtors, and they most cheerfully confessed it, the latter once remarking that Mr. Houghton was the only editor he had ever known who would always tell the truth without being paid for it. Mr. Houghton was at one time counsel to Lahina Haiwaian Islands for two years and postmaster at Galena four years. He valued the upbuilding of Lansing more than he valued gold, and he spent money lavishly in making improvements. He established the Lansing Mirror which still lives, having recently entered upon its thirtieth year of continued existence. He built the best warehouse in the town and largely contributed to the building of the first saw mill and the first flouring mill.
As a type-setter, for rapidity and accuracy, Mr. Houghton never found an equal. He published a daily paper for many years, his editorials were numerous in every issue; and it was his practice to compose them at the case, as he put them in type. He was a man of light weight, compactly built, with large brain and a benevolent countenance. His powers of endurance were wonderful. For many years he worked six days in each week, eighteen to twenty hours out of every twenty-four, very seldom seeking rest until after midnight. He was benevolent to a fault, always endeavoring to relieve the needy, not excepting the unworthy. To spend his life for the good of others seemed to be the aim and only pleasure of his own. He died a poor man, a martyr to his fidelity to duty, a christian, not leaving an enemy behind him.
John Haney, Sr., was born in Lafayette Co., Pa., Sept. 15th, 1798. When a lad of sixteen he became a pioneer in the forests of Ohio. From there in 1832 he removed to Illinois, and came to Iowa in 1848. He died at Lansing April 15, 1875. Hr. Haney was from early boyhood a pioneer. He was a quiet, modest, kind-hearted man, self-taught in the severe school of experience. He possessed a remarkable memory, and being an industrious reader was thoroughly acquainted with history and the current events of his time. Much of his leisure time was spent in the study of mathematics, in which science, although self-taught, he was probably without an equal in the State, all the higher branches of the study having been completely mastered by this modest student in his log cabin during the long night of our northern winters. His self-control was perfect and permitted no personal weaknesses or small vices, such as are generally considered quite pardonable. He was in his eating, drinking and speaking strictly temperate, and his private life was free from the slightest suspicion of any impurity. Having lived a large portion of his life among the Winnebago Indians, he was known by nearly all of them, and considered by them to be one of the best men who ever lived. This is not strange, for Mr. Haney never intentionally injured any human being. So sincere was his regard for others, and so strongly did he believe in the equality of all men, that every one who chanced to be at his home was compelled to sit with him at the table, whether negro, Indian or wandering trapper. He was an abolitionist of the blackest kind, and one of the stongest of Union men during the rebellion. He might have attained to high official position had he chosen to do so, but he preferred to do his duty as he saw it in the humble, unobserved walks of life. What would gratify him most, were he living, to have written of him, what he desired to be when living, more than best expressed in the simple statement. He was an honest man.
One of the early settlers in the vicinity of Lansing was "Wild Jim," a most peculiar person who lived for many years on the islands near town, engaged in fishing, hunting and trapping. He lived alone, never holding communicaton with anyone except when actually necessary. In 1869 an item was published in the Lansing Chronicle descriptive of his peculiar habits and hermit-like life, which found its way into the New York papers, there attracting the attention of the mysterious man's friends who corresponded with the postmaster in Lansing concerning him, from whom it was learned that his name was James Kinten; that he was from Herkimer county, N.Y., where a brother and sister then resided, highly respected and wealthy. They reported that his father had died some ten years before, leaving quite a sum of money to the missing son James, who had been supposed to be dead, as nothing had been heard from him for years. About this time the sister wrote the hermit but it is not known whether he ever replied. In April, 1870, he was found lying sick, helpless and alone in his cabin on the island, the rising water being three feet deep upon the floor. He was brought to Lansing where he died on the 7th of April, 1870. Countless romantic stories were related of this strange being, many reasons suggested for his unusual conduct, but the secret of his wild life died with him. It was supposed by many that he had accumulated considerable wealth, but if any was ever found the finder never revealed the fact.
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