The History of Keokuk County, Iowa


The Old Settlers' Association of Keokuk county was organized in 1878. The following is the constitution:



This organization shall be called the Keokuk County Old Settlers' Association.


The officers shall consist of a president, five vice-presidents, a secretary, a treasurer and an executive committee of five. The committee to be chosen from among the youngest members of the association, and whose duty it shall be to provide places of meeting for the association; to see that members needing care shall receive the same, and to have the general management of the affairs to the association. The duty of the officers shall be those usually devolving upon such officers.


All old settlers who came to the county prior to 1858, and who are now residents of the county, may become members of the association by signing the constitution.


The Secretary shall keep a record of the name, age and residence of each member, together with the year in which he or she came to Iowa; and upon the death of a member he shall enter in a book—kept for that purpose—a suitable obituary notice, and report such death to the meeting at the next annual meeting.


The actual expenses of the association shall be defrayed by a pro rata assessment upon its members, and by voluntary contributions.


There shall be an annual meeting of the association, and such called meetings as the executive committee may deem necessary, and at each annual meeting the association shall determine the time and place of the next annual meeting.


This constitution may be altered or amended by a two-thirds vote at any annual meeting of the association.

The first reunion of the old settlers of the county, under the auspices of this association, was held at Sigourney, on the 10th of September, 1878. It was estimated that over seven thousand people were present on that occasion. The address of welcome was delivered by the president, Judge S. Harned. Gen. James A. Williamson delivered a lengthy address, a large part of which is published in a former part of this work. Short addresses were made by Capt. Heath and Col. Mackey, and S. A. James, the secretary .of the association, read a number of letters in response to invitations. Five minute speeches were then made by quite a number of old settlers, among whom were Maxon Randall, A. J. McNabb, A. H. Smith, Wm Bristow, Elijah McClanahan, George W. Hayes, Wm. Scearcy, Thos. H. Hicklin, D. N. Henderson, Win. Small, D. H. Drake and N. Littler.

Among the relics gathered on short notice we note the following: A 'coon, as an emblem of olden times, property of Wm. Covey. Spinning wheel, seventy-five years old, used by Mrs. Martin, great grandmother of Miss Ella Eckley.

Report of the commissioners appointed to decide the county-seat war between Lancaster and Sigourney, locating it at Sigourney.

An oil-painting, seventy-five years old, painted by Rev. Josiah Fisher, representing an evening view of his residence at Blackwell, Maine.

Needle-work on satin, seventy-five years old, property of Mrs. Thomas Beatty.

Hammer with which A. Covey made the first scouring plow ever used in Keokuk county.

Carpet-satchel, owned by Stephen A. Douglas, traded for in 1839, by William Jackson, Sen., at Burlington, Iowa.

Oil-painting by Rev. J. Fisher, October 20, 1820.

Old Ledger, owned by Milo Holcomb in 1836—property of Mrs. Buck. "Western Friend,"first newspaper published in the county, at Lancaster,

1854 Vol. 1 No. 1, by J. N. & J. L. Paschal—property of J. W. Havens.

Old-fashioned rolls—the kind our mothers carded—Wm. Veitch.

Old spinning-wheel.

Cradle in which Joe Shawhan was rocked in 1838.

High chair for child, 68 years old--property of Mrs. E. Baker.

Old cultivator shovel, made in 1815—Joel Long.

Flat-iron, purchased in 1846 by Joel Long.

Wolf-trap, made in 1844, by A. Covey. This trap caught the big wolf at the forks of Skunk River, in February, 1844, this being the sixteenth wolf caught in that month.

Broad-ax, used by the Mann family in the Cedar creek settlement in 1843. Old-fashioned Dutch oven, property of Mrs. R. Buck.

A challenge to fight a duel, to Samuel A. James and one Robinson, written by W. J. Heald, dated April 8th, 1848.

Silver ladle, 75 years old—property of B. R. Hogin.

Cow-bell, 50 years old—property of Mrs. R. Buck.

Powder-horn from an ox that hauled A. Covey to this country in 1843. Pocket-book, 78 years old—property of A. E. Lowe.

Indian spear-head.

Saucer from which Uncle Billy Wait was fed catnip tea when a baby, 64 years ago.

Old 'Testament, printed in 1668, property of William Jackson, Sen.

Flute, made in 1674, and brought to this country in 1750—property of F. Knape.

Sword, presented to Simon Deming when colonel of Ohio militia, 50 years ago.

Wool cards, 1835—Wm. Veitch.

Indian battle-ax—H. C. Adams.

Old book, printed in 1762—William Jackson.

Bottle, brought to this country from Ireland by Mrs. Wm. Wait's grandparents, 100 years ago.

Indian pipe, found on a battle-field in northern Arkansas—Wm. Jackson. Moccasins—Wm. Jackson.

Spoons, curiously wrought from horn, taken from a battle-field in northern Arkansas—Wm. Jackson.

Profile pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Dibilbiss, great-grandparents of Mrs. M. Warrington.

Profile pictures, same lady's great-grand aunt, and in some way related to H. C. Adams.

Old mortar, property of Mrs. E. B. Kerr, has been in the family 50 years.

Tom Eckley's spelling-book-50 years old.

Transcribed by Pat Wahl. Thank you, Pat!

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