The life of the early settlers, compared with the pioneers in Eastern forests, was quiet and uneventful. It has been well said, " Happy is the people that has no history," and the relative freedom of early Iowa from turmoil and adventure, was one of the principal causes of the rapidity and stability of its prosperity. The red man had vanished years before, leaving scarcely a relic behind, and never again to revisit his old haunts, such as the picturesque bluff above Lyons, except as an exile or captive. Perhaps social life would have been more intense had there been a common enemy to knit the settlers fraternally together for the general defense. But none of them would have been likely to consider that a compensation for the "terror by night and the arrow that flieth by day," that on other frontiers afflicted the pioneers of civilization.
Nor were many popular amusements of the sections whence those came who first located in Clinton County thoroughly naturalized with them beyond the Mississippi. Many of the conditions of life were too completely changed. The fertile acres, with soil inviting the plow, prevented there being in any occasions for neighborly clearing-bees or log-rolings, as well as permitting settlers to improve larger claims. However, in the very earliest days, "raisings " were frequent and jolly occasions. Corn was so plenty that it would have been absurd to stack or house the stalks, so that the husking or "shucking' bee was rarely transplanted to Clinton County. But, in the winter time, social gatherings were frequent and merry. Though many of the elders disapproved of dancing, the frolicsome juniors managed to console themselves with lively kissing games. so that, as the night wore on, the romping and the fun grew fast and furious, the evolutions of' youthful feet more rhythmical, keeping time to vocal music in the absence of orchestral strains, till it became impossible for the most watchful observer to tell where "carrying-on " ended and dancing began. Distance was nothing when a frolic was on hand. Spirited young men, and gay young ladies as well, thought nothing of riding a dozen miles to a sportive gathering. With it all there was a freedom from care, an absolute equality and freedom from snobbishness and hearty enjoyment of the hour's merriment, that those who participated regretfully aver are now absent from such gatherings. And that idea is not an illusion, due entirely to the glamour of by-gone days, but is a fact due to the changed conditions of social life and the differentiation of even rural communities into classes.
To sketch the social development of a community requires the consideration of so many complex elements that any historian less brilliant than Macaulay, Green or Taine may well pause before undertaking it. Especially must it be difficult to portray the changes in a peaceful community like Clinton County, where they have been almost imperceptible in their stages, like the growth of a tree or animal. There has been a visible development, not by leaps, but by a steady upward and forward movement. Without attempting an elaborate and full analysis of all the factors that have made Clinton County what it is, it is not unprofitable to examine some of the causes that have not only made the county what it is, but have also given the family of Iowa commonwealths to which it belongs, their distinguishing characteristics.
While the vast distances of the flat and rolling Western prairies cannot help affecting the human mind, the development of the American inhabiting them has been materially modified by other circumstances. The Spanish European who settled on South America's grassy oceans, the pampas or llanos of La Plata, has degenerated into the Guacho scarcely less savage than the Indian he has dispossessed, but whose habits he has acquired. A matchless horseman and master, of wild cattle, lie is incapable of progress. The wildness of nature and the isolated and roaming condition of his life have. been too strong not to quench the desire for the habits and conditions of civilization; so that the Argentine Republic is still a comparative wilderness, while the prairies of Iowa and the Northwest present the highest average civilization to be observed on the globe. Part of this is due to race, but, if such close observers and able philosophers as Prof. John W. Draper and H. A. Tame are to be trusted, man is as helplessly molded by nature and surroundings as metal by the die.
Had the tide of emigration been turned elsewhere, or cut off so that Clinton County for many years would have remained sparsely settled, and with an exclusively agricultural population, without markets for their surplus, or to supply their wants being accessible, residents could not well have helped suffering the fate of other isolated and bucolic peoples to a certain extent, even though not sinking to the level of the South American, Beer or French Canadian. Happily, however, everything conspired to make the transition period of Clinton County from frontier to a fully-developed commonwealth as short as possible.
Had Iowa been settled many years before the introduction of railroads, so that several generations could have had time to grow up comparatively isolated, it is evident that in the sections remote from water communications would have grown up communities not unlike those who inhabit the inaccessible mountain districts of the South. But before the children of the pioneers had time to grow up, they were awakened by the tread of the locomotive; rattle of the printing press and the click of the telegraph, to take their position in the advance guard of progress. Iowa, and especially Clinton County, could not have been settled at a time more auspicious for being peopled not only by a prosperous and contented but an aspiring and cultivated people.
In the plain regions of the Old World and in South America, man has been dwarfed and depressed by the illimitable and monotonous expanse. Hence many of the characteristics of the peoples that inhabit the steppes of Asia, the boundless southern plains of Russia. Indolence, sloth, conservatism there contrast with the reverse qualities in the counties of the Northwest. The railroad enabling man to scorn distance, is one of the principal reasons that the energy of the immigrant to the Northwest has been augmented rather than diminished. The general introduction of horse-power and steam farming implements has likewise contributed to the mental emancipation of the farmers of Clinton County, by releasing them from the thralldom of exhausting and excessive physical labor to which their fathers were subjected, and made it possible for them to, till an amount of land that would have been impossible for them to handle With hand labor. Few inventions have been more opportune than the reaper, threshing machine and improved plows. Had any of these elements been lacking, a plentiful 
food supply, a healthy and reasonably regular climate, cheap Water and swift railway communication, abundant and cheap building material, labor-saving implements, abundant books and newspapers, the civilization of this county would have been less complete. Or had these benefits not been realized and utilized by faithful, courageous and industrious men and women, undisturbed by foreign or domestic enemies, Clinton County would not in one generation have made such rapid advance toward the golden goal toward which enlightened humanity is ever pressing.

SOURCE: Allen, L. P., History of Clinton County, Iowa, Containing A History of the County, it's Cities, Towns, Etc. and Biographical Sketches of Citizens, War Record of it's Volunteers in the late Rebellion, General and Local Statistics, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, History of the Northwest, History of Iowa, Map of Clinton County, Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters, &c, &c., Illustrated. Chicago IL; Western Historical Company, 1879


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