William Burton, with his family, cam from Ohio in 1837, amd settled near De Witt, where he now resides. His wife, who died many years since, related to our informant, in after years, the following anecdote, illustrative of the privations of the time, and of woman's expedients in meeting them.
Mr. Lepper resided near Center Grove, where he farmed it and kept a hotel. Loading up his wagon with a miscellaneous cargo--a little wheat, a little corn, a few oats, and surmounted with a couple of dresses hogs, he drove to Camanche, where he disposed of his produce to Butcher & Dailey. Mr. Butcher had a friend, Charles Mallette, who was a slick-looking man, and who could deal faro "so that players would win, or so that they wouldn't win." Mr. Lepper stepped into the room where Mallette was entertaining "the boys," and soon laid down a quarter. It won. He laid down another, and was again the winner. After winning five or six dollars, he said: "This is the game I have been looking for. This is better than selling pork at $2.25; I am going to put out my team and try this game. Mr. Butcher gave him a cautionary word that "the game doesn't always run so smooth, Mr. Lepper;" but it did not do. After returning to the business of the hour, our friend soon found his luck changed, and his winnings and his load of produce was in the "banker's till. On his way home, he met Judge Leffingwell, when the following colloquy passed: 
"Judge, I have been down to Camanche, and the boys have got a new game. It's a slick one."
"What is the game, Mr. Lepper?"
"I don't rightly remember, Mr. Leffingwell, the name they call it; but it is a slick game. Why, it's the name of the old kings we read of in the Bible."
"Was it Moses?"
"No, that don't sound like it. Why, it's the fellow who was drowned in the river."
"Oh, the Red Sea, you mean; his name if Pharaoh."
"You've struck it, Mr. Leffingwell; Pharaoh's the game. It's a slick one."
Gen. N. B. Baker rendered the legend in the style of Hiawatha. Judge Dillon, while holding court at De Witt, adjourned and announced that the General would read the poem which he did, to the great amusement of all present.


"Jakey Lepper, with his horses,
Horses fierce and very pranky,
War-horse rushing on to battle,
'Midst the clouds of powder-smoke,
Started for the great Camanche.
Down upon the Mississippi,
Wigwams for the dusky Indians.
Where the islands once were covered
O'er with woods and wigwams,

"Jakey Lepper, with his horses, 
Had a wagon, very creaking. 
That the children of the neighbors 
Ran, in fright, across the prairies.

"But Jakey Lepper's journey ended,
Ended down at high Camanche,
Where he sold his load of farm-stuff,
Load of pork and wheat and such stuff.

"Then he found a place--a place to drink in,
Drink that kills at longest distance;
Whisky, known as "'forty fodder,'
'Tangle-foot' or 'bug-juice.'

"Soon he found the 'Camanche Chieftain,'
Butcher, calm as summer's morning,
Owner of the flatboat, 'Peggy,'
And the flag-ship 'Roaring Gimlet,'
Owner of the greatest grain-store;
Funny fellow, and a joker,
Joker, smiling, smooth and jolly.

"Ned proposed to go to Buster's,
Buster's where they had some toddy,
Charming for a weary fellow,
Fellow who had sold his produce
Just at highest price per bushel,
And his hogs upon a market rising.

"Here they had a little snifter,
Snifter good for weary persons
Who have traveled down from high Elvira,
Down through mud and through the water.

"Soon they saw a busy shuffling,
Shuffling of the cards--cards with 'pictures,'
Picture on a piece of pasteboard.

"Here, the legendary tale,
Tale of Lepper and his ventures,
Resteth, till, with wagon emptied,
He drives his horses pranky
O'er the trails of Center Grove

* * * * *

"When are reached the groves of Center,
Where stood the home of Jakey Lepper,
He was met by the friendly 'Willum.'
William, since for legal lore distinguished,
Who no longer, down in Center,
Plows the soil and hoes the 'tater.'

"Filled with the day's adventures was our hero,
Sad advebtures with the wild Camanches, 
And the conflict with the 'tiger,'
In the house of Richard Buster.

"'William,' spoke our 'busted' granger,
'William in the place that's kept by Buster,
A funny game I saw the boy's playing,
Playing never seen before.'
Such a game I never saw before,
Edward looked, and was amaz-ed,
Playing never seen before.

"One deck dealt from a box, the other spreaded,
Spreaded out like Butcher's searches
For lands of which he might be owner
When, with Judge's sign and mandate,
Sammy Brown caught the 'Chieftain,' and in durance kept him.

"Butcher soon saw what the game was,
Told me also what the scheme was,
Told me how I could learn it,
And how to place my coin to beat it.

"A quarter on that covered table put I,
Table where the spreaded cards lay,
Lay so pretty and seductive,
And I found in half a minute,
Brought my coin another with it.

"This repeated, soon within my pocket rested
Coins that, as I counted, happy made me.
Then thought I it will be better,
Better thus to earn some money
Than by selling wheat at only thirty,
Thirty cents and nothing more.

"So with larger coins I tried the faster
To gather from the cards thus spreaded
Gains I sometimes had dreamed of
But had never seen before.

"'In the stable put the horses pranky,'
Said I to the grinning hostler,
As his palm closed on the silver
Taken from my growing store.

"They called a fellow there a 'tiger,'
Greedy as the wolf in winter,
Winter when the storm goes howling,
Howling wild the prairies o'er.

"At the tiger then I buck-ed, Bucked with money hard-earned
Money got for all my farm load,
Farm load raised up in Elvira,
Elvira high, my prairie home.

"Then I bet a paper dollar,
Put it down, quite sure of winning,
Winning back a dollar more.
Now no longer ran the game so smoothly,
Smoothly as it ran before.

"Malette he won my wealth, in he raked it,
Raked it from the card there spreaded
Out on the table, where they lay
So pretty and seductive,
Seductive now no more.

"'Do you know him, William, know Mallette?
Mallette who Butcher says a 'heavy dog is?'
Heavy also in his "dealing."
Heavy in his cards and counters,
Heavy in his chip and checks, that is
What they call the thing he bets with.'

"In less time than I can tell you,
Tell you of my rapid losses,
Losses fighting that fierce tiger,
I was stripped of every shilling.

"That's a curus game, William, curus,
Curus in the way they play it,
Curus in the way you bet it,
Curus in the way you win it,
Curus in the way you lose it,
Curus in the way deal it,
Curus in any way you fix it.'

"William knew not what the game was,
And Jakey Lepper thus continued:

"'In the books of ancient story,
Stories told of ancient fellows,
Stories told somewhere in Scripture
In some place that you may know of,
It is told how some old monarch,
Monarch fierce and wrathy,
Chased some people or some children
O'er some creek, or muddy water,
Where the water in its fury,
Rising on the ones pursuing,
Swamped them, swamped them underneath it.'

"Then our spake William, learned in sacred lore,
'Why, Jacob, you must speak of Pharaoh,'

"'Pharaoh! Pharaoh, it's right; you struck it.
Struck it, William; the game's a slick one,
And itd name in Pharaoh.'"

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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