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Annals of Iowa

January, 1863, Number I

Willard Barrows, Esq., the writer of the following history, was born at Munson, Massachusetts, in 1806. He received a thorough education in the Common Schools and Academies of New England. In 1827, he settled in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, where he taught school for several years; and was married in 1832. Selecting the pursuit of engineering and surveying, he engaged in a contract with the Government to finish the surveys of the Choctaw Indian Purchase, in the cypress swamps and cane-brakes on the Yo-zoo and Sunfiower rivers, in the region where the North-western army and navy of the United States have lately operated. By the sudden rise of the Mississippi river, which overflowed all the country except the ridges, his party were cut off from all inhabitants and supplies, during the winter of 1836-7, reducing them to short allowance, and even to the fruit of the persimmon tree and the flesh of the opossum for food. All other animals fled, except that a hawk or an owl was occasionally killed. About the first of
March, the flood so far subsided, that they went by canoes to Vicksburg and Natches; and he proceeded to Jackson, Mississippi, to report there to the Surveyor General.

In 1837, he was occupied in the first surveys of Iowa by the Government, and spent the winter on the Wapsipinicon river. And in July, 1838, he settled with his family in Rockingham, five miles below Davenport.

In 1840, Mr. Barrows surveyed the Islands of the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Rock river to Quincy, Illinois. In 1841-2, the public surveys being suspended, he engaged in farming, and held the office of Justice of the Peace, of Postmaster and Notary Public, at Rockingham, in which he continued till 1843, when he entered upon the survey of the Kickapoo country, North of the Wisconsin river. There the Winnebago Indians stole the provisions of the party, and he was compelled to go to Prairie Du Chien for
supplies. On his return, his way was obstructed by prostrate timber hurled in every direction by a terrific tornado, through which, with the help of indolent Indians, he was able to cut a passage only two and a half miles in two days. Forced to send his provisions up the Kickapoo by the Indians in canoes, he followed on by land, till they were past the track of the whirlwind. The supplies were landed and the Indians dismissed. He then carried the provisions a half mile and concealed them. The next day, early, he took a bag of flour and a little pork on a single pack-horse, and hastened to relieve his men, as fast as he could, through the wilderness, over the “Sugar loaves of Wisconsin,” as the region is called, where Col. Atchison, in 1832, in pursuit of Blackhawk and his Indian warriors, was obliged to leave his wagons and
baggage with the loss of many horses. On the fourth day, he came upon one starving man of his party; and, after refreshing him, he pressed on to the camp, where the rest, neglecting to rescue themselves when they were able, and supposing him to be murdered by the Indians, were sunken in despair. Cheered by his arrival, and strengthened with food, they all started for the depot of provisions on the Kickapoo, and reached the place, to find them all stolen again by the Indians. The only means of saving their lives, then, was to ascend the Kickapoo to a ford, and thence go to Prairie Du Chien.  On the third day after, they reached a settlement, where they stayed a week and recruited; and when arrived at Prairie Du Chien, they found many articles of their clothing in the liquor shops, that the Root Indians had stolen and sold. Their horses had previously been scattered during the tornado so that the party had been compelled to eat their two dogs, at the camp, making soup of the bones and nettles, and boiling part of their harness, for food, instead of horse-flesh.

Afterwards, Mr. Barrows traversed Northern Iowa, then in possession of the Indian tribes, with a view to a knowledge of the region. He visited the Mission School, then at Fort Atchison, where he got a passport over that section of the country from Rev. Mr. Lowrey, then in charge of the Mission.

“Barrows’ New Map of Iowa, with Notes”, was published in 1854, by Doolittle & Munson, Cincinnati;
and it was considered of so much importance that the Legislature of Iowa ordered copies of it for the members of both Houses, and also for the State officers. This work, together with letters published in the Davenport Democrat, from California, whither he went in 1850, by the overland route, enduring almost incredible hardships, and returning by Mexico and Cuba, and also some communications for the press
of a scientific character, constitute, along with the history that hero follows, the chief literary productions of Mr. Barrows, all descriptive of new parts of our country.

At intervals, Mr. Barrows has turned his attention to land business, with success. His suburban residence and grounds are conspicuous to every person passing in the cars, South-west of Davenport, where he enjoys the fruits of his past activity and enterprise.

In person, as is indicated by his portrait in this number, Mr. Barrows is full and portly. In manners, he is courteous and genial. As a Christian "the highest style of man,” he is charitable and discreet. And, to use the words of the author of “ Davenport, Past and Present,” to which the reader is referred for fuller particulars, and from which these are drawn; ‘‘may many years yet be his portion, as happy and pleasant as his early life has been laborious and active.”
In compliance with a formal request of the Curators of the State Historical Society, I have undertaken the task of writing a full history of Scott county, Iowa; or more particularly, facts and incidents connected with its early history. A residence of twenty-five years in this county has given me an opportunity for observation, and a knowledge of the proper sources from which to obtain information.

Much care has been taken to gather information from the early settlers of the county; and a hearty response has come up from some parts. In many instances, difference of opinion has arisen as to dates and circumstances. In such cases, I have generally taken the decision of the majority.

It might be supposed that our existence as a county is so brief, not twenty-eight years, that the incidents connected with its settlement and growth would be fresh in the minds of all. Such may be the case with much of our history, while some important facts are lost. The early settler seldom finds time, if he has the ability, to record passing events, save in the memory. The unparalleled rapidity with which the West
has marched forward to greatness and power, is a sufficient excuse for the pioneer historian, when he fails, through want of facts, to give a full and perfect account of his first struggles.  The early emigrant to a new county finds that all his time and energies are required to provide even for the necessaries of life; the rude cabin must be raised, for a temporary abode at least; the virgin soil must be broken up and fenced, and numberless little requisites for the comfort of himself or family, crowd upon his attention, so that the new beginner is most emphatically his own “hewer of wood, and drawer of water.”

In collecting the material for this work, the author has often been doubly repaid for his labor in the pleasant meetings he has had with many an “old settler,” from whom the whirl and bustle of life had separated him for years. Such reunions are sweet and profitable, and these hardy sons of toil, meeting after many years of separation, like old soldiers, retire to some shady nook, there recount the scenes through which they have passed, and “fight their battles o’er again.” Although the trials and hardships of the pioneers of Scott county may not compare with the early settlement of Kentucky, Ohio, or some
other Western States, yet there are many incidents connected with its early history that are worthy of record, and should be gathered before they pass beyond our reach.
The County of ’Scott being situated on the Mississippi River, and having a water front of some thirty-five miles upon its South and Eastern boundary, has many natural advantages not found in more inland counties. Upon the North it is bounded by the Wau-bessa pinnecon Se-po, which in the Indian language signifies ‘the place of white potatoes,” The name is derived from the two Indian words “Waubessa,” white or swan like, and “ Pinne-ae,” a potato; Se-po being the Indian name for river. The river was probably so named from the fact of great quantities of the wild artichoke being found in that region.

This stream is some ten or twelve rods wide, with a swift clear current, and its banks generally skirted with timber. Its bottom lands are from a half to a mile or two wide, and arc subject to annual overflow', affording great pasturage for stock, not being in general dry enough for cultivation. The Western boundary of the county is upon rich rolling prairie extending along the fifth principal meridian, separating it from the counties of Cedar and Muscatine.

There is much in the early history of this country to Interest and excite the antiquarian and lover of research. Long before the discovery of the Great River by Marquette and Joliet, on the 17th of June, 1673, tradition tells us that the spot of ground now occupied by the city of Davenport, was a large and populous Indian village. There can be but little doubt, from the history of those early Pioneers, that it was here they first landed in their voyage down the Mississippi, after they entered it from the mouth of the Wisconsin, on the 17th of June.

The first landing made by them on record, was on the 21st,. four days after they entered the Mississippi, and was upon the Western bank, where, say they, “We discovered foot-prints of some fellow mortals, and a little path (trail) leading into a pleasant meadow.” Following the trail a short distance, they
heard the savages talking, and “making their presence known by a loud cry,” they wore led to a village of the “Illinies.”

There could not have been sufficient time between the 17th and 21st for the voyagers to have descended beyond this point, or to have reached the lower or lies Moines Rapids; which some historians claim to have been the landing places spoken of. There having been an Indian village here from time immemorial according to Indian tradition, fixes the fact most conclusively, that it was at this place, Davenport, that the soil of Iowa was first pressed by the foot of a white man. The legends of the Indians are lull of historic lore, pertaining to this beautiful spot, comprising Davenport, Rock Island and their surroundings.

Black Hawk was ever ready to tell of the traditions of his people, and often dwelt with much interest and excitement on the traditions of his fathers. he says they came from Gitche Gammee, “ the big water,” Lake Superior, and Indians that are yet living say that the home of their fathers was at Saukie Creek, that empties into Lake Superior, and that as they traveled westward, they encountered foes whom they fought and conquered, and that in turn they were conquered by their enemies, and tribe fought tribe for possession of the land, until they reached the great river, the Massa-Sepo, which signifies "The Father of Rivers.”

The tradition of the Saukies who have always lived upon the prairies is, that their name means “Man of the Prairie," or prairie Indian.

They also aver that their friends, the Musquakies, which signifies “Foxes,” were a sly and cunning people, and united with them for strength to light their enemies, the tribes of the Kickapoo and lllini, and that they have ever lived in peace, as one tribe and one people. These were the Indians in possession of the country when the United States assumed jurisdiction over it, and of whom it was purchased.

There were many traces of the aboriginees existing when the first settlers came to Iowa. Several Indian mounds, or burial places of quite large dimensions, were still used by wandering bands of Indians as late as 1835 and 1836, situated on the banks of the river, about two miles below this city, where was formerly the farm of the lion. E. Cook. Indian graves have been found in excavations about this city; and
relics of ancient date discovered, showing that this spot has been the home of the red man for centuries, and corroborating the testimony of Black Hawk and others, as to the traditions of their lathers.

The scenery presented, in ascending the Mississippi, taking in the whole view from the point of the bluff below Rockingham, as far up as Hampton, on the Illinois shore, is one of unexcelled beauty and loveliness. Its islands dotting the broad expanse of waters, the scenery of the bluffs upon the Iowa side and Rock Island with old Fort Armstrong, have been admired, and more sketches taken of this panoramic
view, by home and foreign artists, than any other portion of the Mississippi valley.

Of the early history of Scott county, we have a most vivid and truthful history, compiled from living witnesses.

At the close of the Black Hawk war, in 1832, there were no settlers upon this side of the river. The purchase from the Sac (or Sankie) and Fox tribe of Indians, of the soil of Scott county was made, in common with that of all the river counties, on the 15th of Sept., 1832, upon the ground now occupied by
the depot buildings of the Miss. & Mo. R.R. Company in this city. The treaty was held by Gen. Scott.

The cholera was raging among the troops at Fort Armstrong, at the time, and for prudential reasons it was thought best to meet the Indians upon this side of the river.

In this sale, the Indians reserved a section, (640 acres), and presented it to Antoine Le Clair, Esq., their interpreter. This reserve was located upon the river between Harrison street and Bridge Avenue, in Fulton’s addition to the city of Davenport, running back over the bluff to a line due East and West, a few
rod's this side of Locust street. They also gave Mr. Le Claire another section of land at the head of the rapids where the city of Le Clair now stands.

The treaty of Cen. Scott with the Indians was ratified by Congress at their session in the winter of 1833. Thus did the United States come into possession of the soil of Scott county.

Of the Indians from whom it was purchased, and of the tribes,who had been in possession in earlier days, we should like to give a mere extended notice than we are permitted, in this brief history of Scott county.

The Sacs and Foxes were provided with homes in Kansas, where they now reside. They are fast dwindling away; and but a remnant is left of the tribes of the Winnebagoes, the Chippewas, Pottawattamies, Ottawas, Menominees and other powerful bands that were in possession of all the country from the Lakes to the Missouri, at the termination of the American Revolution.  Where the sad remnants of any of these tribes are found, they present but a faint resemblance of their former
greatness and renown, or of their warlike and noble bearing. A few squalid families may be found loitering about the frontier towns, made beggars by the low and wasting vices of the white man.

But their destiny is written. The onward march of the Anglo-Saxon race tells, with unerring prophecy, the tale of the Red Man! Already have his haunts been broken up in the quiet dells of the Rocky Mountains; already have the plains of Utah drunk the blood of this ill-fated and, unhappy race and ere long his retreating foot-prints will be found along the shores of the Pacific, hastening to the spirit land, the ‘’Great

We now enter upon our history more in detail, considering each township, beginning with Buffalo.

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