NATIVITY OF IOWANS

-extracted from The Nativity of the Pioneers of Iowa by F.I. Herriott, Professor of Economica and Political Science, Drake University; full article appeared in the 1911/12 Iowa Official Register.

The first white settlers in Polk county came in when the second Fort Des Moines, at the "Raccoon Forks" was garrisoned in 1843. Among the troops and the attaches of the garrison were a number who remained permanently in the region, and one finds southern blood common, coming in directly or indirectly through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The government contractors, the brothers John B. and W.A. Scott, came via Indiana from North Carolina stock. The tailor of the fort, J.M. Thrift, was the son of a Virginia slave owner and Baptist preacher who took his slaves to Ohio and gave them their freedom, whose grandson is now (1906) adjutant general of Iowa's militia. Peter Newcomer, who was granted permission to take a claim at Agency Prairie on cindition that he would build a bridge over Four Mile creek, was a Marylander.

One of the first trappers along the Des Moines was Landon Hamilton, a Virginian, who a few years since left his estate to the city of Des Moines and to the State of Iowa. Among the southern stock that came in later was James C. Jordan, a Virginian, afterwards state senator, whose home just west of Des MOines became a noted station on the Undergound railway.

Another Virginian was John H. Given, father of Mrs. Pauline Given Swalm, and another was Thos. N. Napier, a county judge under the law of 1851. M.D. McHenry, an attorney and later State senator and Jas. A. Williamson were prominent Kentuckians.

In the development of the transportational facilities of Des Moines were Dr. M.P. Turner, a Missourian, who became interested first in the ferry franchises and later inaugurated the first street car system, and Jefferson S. Polk, a Kentuckian, who upon graduation from Georgetown College entered upon the practice of law in Des Moines in 1856 since the early nineties he has been the manager and chief owner of the electric railways of Des Moines.

Des Moines and Polk county was settled by great numbers of Indianians and Ohioans whose ancestors came from south of Mason and Dixon's line and the Ohio river. Many names of men of note might be mentioned; a few may be cited Thomas J. Saylor and Alexander C. Bondurant, after whom Saylorville and Bondurant were named, Senators P.M. Casady and Col. C.H. Gatch, Col. Isaac W. Griffith and Gen. Ed. Wright, Judge Wm. H. McHenry, St., and Tacitus Hussey.



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