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Delaware County, Iowa


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History of Delaware County, 1878

History of Delaware County, Iowa,, Page 336-337

Published by Western Historical Co., Chicago, Illinois. 1878




Page 336


     Mr. Moreland and his "colony" came from Uniontown, Fayette County, Penn. For eighteen years, Mr. Moreland had managed the stage line between Wheeling, Washington and Baltimore, and, in 1833, when Black Hawk was taken to Washington, he was transported from Wheeling in one of Moreland's coaches. In the Spring of 1839, he and his colony chartered the small steamboat, "Fayette," Capt. Benedict Kimball, for $1,500, from Brownsville to Cassville. On this boat they loaded their household goods, supplies, farming implements, wagons, stock, etc., and steamed down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi to Cassville. Here they landed, and came across the country to the where they located. They were thus enabled to to bring more of the conveniences of their Eastern homes than were enjoyed by any other family in the Delaware settlements at that time. They immediately commenced operations, breaking prairie and building cabins, sleeping in their wagons, which were covered with oil-cloth, and cooking in the open air until their cabins were completed. Judge Bailey went up and broke some prairie for them that Spring. Missouri Dickson and family came in July, and settled at White Oak Grove, about four miles southwest of Moreland's. Samuel Dickson came about the same time. The Dicksons were hunters, withal, and many of their adventures are related. Hon. Eliphalet Price, in some sketches of early history, recently published, relates the following, of which Missouri Dickson was the hero:


   "A short distance from the mouth of the Volga, there is a tributary known as Bear Creek, which receives its name from the following hunting incident. Missouri Dickson and his brother Samuel, having started a large bear in the timber of Turkey River, late in the Fall of 1889, followed its footprints in the snow until they reached the vicinity of the stream, when they separated, Missouri following the trail, and his brother making a circuit, in the hope of heading off the retreat of the animal. Soon after they had parted, Missouri came up with the bear, which had curled down to sleep beneath an overhanging rock. He fired his rifle and wounded the bear, when it immediately turned upon him, and he fled in the direction of the creek. Dickson was wont to tell his adventure thus: "Fur half a mile or so, there wuz suthin' more'n daylight atween us, an' if Sam hadn't afired just as I wuz hoovin' it across the crik, there'd abeen one old bear hunter a considerably spiled." 


     Wellington Wiltse, Thomas Cole, James Cole, Albert Baker, A. J. Blackman, James Rutherford and, perhaps others, located near Moreland's. Some authorities state that Wellington Wiltse built a cabin on Section 4, Township 90, Range 3, in 1838, and that Thomas Cole, Albert Baker and Gilmore made claims in that year. Judge Bailey states that; when he was breaking prairie two weeks for Moreland, in June, 1839, only Gilmore and John Nagle wee there. Nagle was just over the line in Clayton County.

     Gilbert D. Dillion settled in the east part of Township 88, Range 3, near Kibbee's, in the Spring of 1839, and built the first frame house in the county. So far as is known, he was the first Justice of the Peace in Delaware. Mr. Dillion is said to have been the first banker in Iowa. He settled in Dubuque in 1837, and in connection with citizens of that place, established the Miners' Bank, of which ------ Lockwood was President and Dillion, Cashier. They applied to the Legislature for a charter, and, in order to show sufficient reserve, Mr. Dillion went to Galena and borrowed $5,000, which was returned after a few days. The President and other stockholders soon borrowed the money they had put in, and appeared to be anxious to obtain Dillion's, also ----- some $5,000 or $6,000 in gold ---- leaving him to run the business with the deposits alone. He refused to discount any more of their paper, whereupon they secretly held another meeting and elected another Cashier. Dillion hearing of their action, promptly buried the gold he had put in, and, when called upon, meekly gave up keys to the safe, but the new Cashier found the bank destitute of funds.


Page 337


Lockwood and his associates secured some wild-cat money and resumed business. Afterward, at the instance of Lockwood and Langworthy, Dillion was indicted for perjury, in swearing to a false statement of assets, but Messrs. McKnight and Gratiot staunchly stood by him, and the prosecution was abandoned.

      Jacob Schwartz settled on the banks of Plum Creek, east of the lake, on Congressional Township 88 --- 3, probably on or near Section 20, in the timber, in the early Spring of 1839.

      Roland Aubrey, a Kentuckian by birth, went from Missouri to Illinois and enlisted as a volunteer, to serve in the Black Hawk war in 1832. His brother ----- Aubrey (Auberry, in the History of Jo Davis County, Illinois),   was murdered and scalped by the Winnebago Indians, at Blue Mound, Wisconsin, in June 1832. After the was, Roland married his brother's widow and settled in Southwestern Wisconsin. He states that in August, 1839, he came to Delaware County, Iowa, built a cabin near the center of Township 88 ---- 3, a short distance northeast of Schwartz's, made some hay, returned to Wisconsin and removed to his new home with his family in the Fall. Mr. Aubrey is still (1878) living near his original claim, hale and hearty, about 70 years of age, and in full possession of a jovial, genial, rollicking Western frontiersman, and was very popular among the early settlers. Mr. Aubrey relates that in the Winter of 1839-40, he went to Schwartz's, early one morning. The snow, he says, was "crotch deep." Schwartz's boys, while he was there, took their axes, and called up three big dogs, saying that they were going out to kill a deer. One of the boys soon came to the door, his eyes as big as saucers, saying they had just killed a panther. Schwartz and Aubrey followed the boy and saw that it was indeed true. The dogs had found the animal in a tree, whence he sprang among them. Before he could gather himself they seized him, and while struggling with the dogs one of the boys ran up and dispatched the panther by crushing his skull with his axe. Aubrey says it was a full grown specimen.

       Robert B. Hutson, John Clark ad Michael H. Hingst settled near Eads' Grove. The Land Office records show that Ebenezer Taylor and William Davis entered land in the vicinity of the Eads settlement in 1839, and it is proper to remark that, for several years from 1839, lands were entered in various parts of the county by parties who never became actual settlers.

      John Corbin and his wife, from Ohio, settled, this year, on Plum Creek, about four miles southeast of Penn's cabin.

      Samuel P. Whittaker located in Township 87 north, Range 4 west (Union), in 1839. His claim was southwest of the present town of Hopkinton.

      Hawley Lowe and Jefferson Lowe settled west of Kibbee's.

      Thomas Nicholson died in 1839, and was the first adult death in the county.  


~ The History of Delaware County, Iowa, Pages 336-337. Published by Chicago: Western Historical Co., 1878.

~ Contributed by Debbie Clough Gerischer

~ transcribed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb