A Mr. O'Brien formerly resided a few rods from Goose Lake, on the Maquoketa road. One day in September, 1962. Mrs. O'Brien called upon a neighbor, who lived but a short distance from her house, accompanied by her little daughter, who was three years of age. Several children were playing about, and she did not give any particular attention to the little one until she was ready for her return home, when, not seeing the child. she was told by the children in answer to her inquires, that the little girl had gone home. The mother, upon reaching home, could not find her child. Soon the alarm was given, the neighborhood turned out and made a general search, which was continued for several days. Every nook and gully in the prairie was peered into and every field closely scrutinized, but without success. The father was inconsolable, and for more than two months. spent his whole time in endeavors to find his little daughter or some trace of her. It became a general impression that the child had been kidnapped. It was upon a road over which many emigrant wagons passed, and, of course, there were those who could remember the suspicious looks of some which had passed the day the child disappeared. About this time, the since notorious Tennessee Claflin came to Lyons, and was pretending by magnetic power to heal disease, to discover hidden property and the like. Catching, like a frowning man, at a straw, the disconsolate father consulted her, and, was assured of her ability to reveal the whereabouts of his lost child. He cheerfully paid in advance the required fee of $25. Tennessee, without a moment's hesitation or a question, minutely related to him the fact that he had lost a little girl in September, described her, told him that several emigrant wagons had passed his house the day of the child's disappearance, and that a man and woman riding in a covered wagon, driving a brown and a white horse, had picked up the child and carried it away with them; that they were now living across a river that looked to her very muddy; that there were Indians there and that the child was well, etc.

The father returned home full of hope and began preparations for an immediate journey in pursuit of his child as indicated by the gifted "second-sight" seeress. The excitement among the neighbors over this wonderful unfolding of the mystery which surrounded the child's loss was great. Meanwhile, the anxiety, grief and later excitement of the father induced a fever and delirium. Before his recovery, the winter had set in and the shallow lake had frozen over. One day, an old man, who was hunting for mink along the shore, discovered among the tall grass and weeds that grew in the water the dress of a child partly above the ice. He broke the ice, and, carefully removing it, brought the body of the little one remarkably preserved.

It may be further added that a threatened prosecution of Tennesse by Mr. O'Brien, under the special statue of vagrancy, together with a prosecution which was actually commenced against her, induced her hast exit from the State, but not, however, as is believed, by those who are conversant with the facts, before she had duped residents of the county out of something like $3,000 during her three months' career in Lyons.

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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