« ForrigeFortsett »
inches in thickness, hollowed out like a soup plate, hand made, from a hard syenite stone, but sometimes from a common sandstone. The pestles are of three kinds and the most common kind are about the size of, and almost identical in shape with a large sized biscuit, being about three and a half inches in diameter by ore and three quarter inches in depth, can be readily clutched in the hand, and are worn off very smooth by constant abrasion; these are quite numerous. Another kind is similar to a common potato masher, except that the handle is a little larger and shorter, the whole instrument being eight or nine inches in length. Also one of a shape between these two with grooves for the fingers. This kind is very scarce. I have never known of but one being found here.
“The stone axes, celts, etc, are crude instruments when compared with ours; and yet they are crude in material more than in workmanship: There is a symmetry of form and a proportion of materials to the work to be done which invites our admiration, and suggests the question 'whether the civilized men of the present day placed in the same situation and with the same materials and tools could or would do any better'. The stone ax is much the size and shape of one of our axes with the steel worn away and blunted. Instead of an eye there is a groove cut around the head of the ax, around which the handle was withed. The Sioux Indians of the present day withe their handles on in this manner with strips of green rawhide, which on drying makes a firm and elastic handle. The material with which these axes were made is a very tough kind of porphyritic granite or green stone and is not found nearer than the Lake Superior region and the Canadas.
"Mr. John Haney informed me sometime since that many years ago, when he and his brothers first started their mill, that they very successfully used one of these wedges or celts of this materia! for a mill pick for dressing the buhr stones. The stone celts and skinning instruments are similar to the axes except that with the same cutting edge they have the top part rounded off to grasp with the hand or sink into a club. Some of these are quite diminuitive; I have some specimens that are not over two and a half inches in length, while others are as large as a blacksmith's sledge. Another specie of skinning instrument is a large flat stake; one of these found on the Iowa is about six inches in length by four and one-half in breadth, and three-fourths of an inch in thickness, and resembles very much one described in Harper's Magazine for September, 1875.
“A year or two ago a band of wandering Winnebagoes happened along the Iowa, fishing and begging as is their wont. The attention of one of the old men was called to an old vlllage site and he was asked what it was. He replied an Indian garden. His knowledge of this subject was coextensive with that of one of the same tribe to whom I showed a large mastodon bone, which was ex
humed near New Albin in grading the railroad. On asking him to what animal it belonged he answered “buffalo," that being the largest animal of which he had any knowledge.
"Before leaving the subject of these forts or village sites, I would say in this connection that on a trip over on the Kickapoo River in Wisconsin, last year, I found them quite numerous, and of peculiar shape. The engineer of the Narrow Gauge Railroad there surveyed and platted some of them, when to his surprise he found them take the shapes of a bear, birds and other animals, showing artistic design in their construction."
THE ADVENT OF THE WHITE MAN. The first permanent settlement within the boundaries of Allamakee County of which we have any record was at the old Government Indian Mission in Fairview township, which was opened in 1835 with Rev. David Lowrey and Col. Thomas in charge. The building was erected the previous year; and as early as 1828 a detail of men from Ft. Crawford (Prairie du Chien, which place was settled by Indian traders more than a century before) had built a saw mill on the Yellow River a short distance below this point to get out lumber for building purposes at the Fort. Indeed, it would have been strange if this region had not been well traversed by white hunters and trappers for many years previous to this time; and it is said that somewhere along our river border a white man had established his home as early as 1818, but had after a time abandoned it. Of this the writer has nothing authentic, however, and the earliest individual or private settlement of which we have knowledge was by one Henry Johnson, at the mouth of Paint Creek, about the year 1837-and this was the origin of "Johnsonport."
The third settlement was made by Mr. Joel Post and his wife, Zerniah, in 1841, they establishing a half way house of entertainment on the military road, between Ft. Crawford and Ft. Atkinson. Their place was in the extreme southwest corner of the county, and is now the thriving town of Postville. Mrs. Post is still living in that place, and her memory register preserves the names of many distinguished guests who have enjoyed the hospitality of her home. Among these may be mentioned Capt. N. Lyon, Lt. Alfred Pleasanton, Gen. Sumner, and other officers who afterwards became noted.
From this time on there seem to have been no other settlements made until the Indians were removed in 1848, although portions of the county were explored in 1847. When Reuben Smith located on Yellow River, in June, 1849, he reports that there were seven or eight settlers then near Mr. Post's.
In 1848 Patrick Keenan and Richard Cassiday settled in Makee township, and William Garrison and John Haney at Lansing.
In 1849 there were many new settlements made in various parts of the county, including those of Geo. C. Shattuck at Waukon, W. C. Thompson in Lafayette, some parties along Yellow River and others to the north of the Iowa, so that in the latter part of this year the population was enumerated and reported at 277. When Mr. Shattuck located at Waukon his nearest post office was Monona, just over the line in Clayton County. The only one in this county at that time was at Postville, established in January of that year.
From an interesting sketch of the early settlement of the county, prepared by G. M. Dean and read before the Early Settlers Association, of Makee township, in January, 1880, we make the following extract, as showing very clearly the condition of things in those days:
"In 1834 the United States, through its military authorities at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien, built on what is now section 19, township 96, range 3, called Fairview township, in this county, a mission school and farm. At this time Col. Zachary Taylor, afterwards President of the United States, commanded the post, and Jefferson Davis, since President of the so-called Southern Confederacy, was on duty there as Lieutenant. General Street was Indian agent; all the agents at that time being army officers, and the Indians being under the control of the Secretary of War. The mission was for the purpose of civilizing and christianizing the Indians, and was opened in the spring of 1835 with the Rev. David Lowrey, a Presbyterian in faith, as school teacher, and Col. Thomas as farmer. But the effort to make good farmers, scholars or christians out of these wandering tribes proved abortive, and poor 'Lo' remained as before, 'a child of nature,' content to dress in breech-clout and leggins, lay around the sloughs and streams, and make the squaws provide for the family.
"After their removal, the government having no more use for the Mission, put it on the market and sold it to Thomas C. Linton, who occupied it as a farm a few years and sold it to Ira Perry, and on the death of Mr. Perry in 1868 it became the property of his son, Eugene Perry, the present owner. The building is a large two-story stone house, the chimney of which was taken for a 'witness tree when the Government survey of public lands was made at a later day. It is still standing in a good state of preservation, and has sheltered the families of its respective owners up to this date.
"This house has become historic in many respects. It is one of the very prominent land-marks in the history of the development of Allamakee County, and we earnestly hope its owners will let it stand as long as grass grows or water runs, and thus preserve to those who may come after us at least one thing that may be considered venerable.
"In the fall and winter of 1849 there were only three dwelling houses in the valley of the Yellow River. The Old Mission, called at this time the Linton House, the house of Mr. John S. Clark, on section fourteen in Franklin township, and the house of Reuben Smith on section eleven in Post township.
"It is a very difficult matter for us, who live in Allamakee County to-day, to conceive of the condition of things in the Mississippi Valley when this old Mission was first built in 1834, and it is still more difficult for the writer to convey a clear idea of it.
"There was at that time no Allamakee County, no Clayton County, no Winneshiek County, and in fact no Territory organization, but simply a wilderness waste. In 1836, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota was taken from Michigan and made 'Wisconsin Territory', and Iowa soon after divided all of her territory lying west of the Mississippi River into two counties, to-wit: Dubuque County and Des Moines County, the dividing lines being at the foot of Rock Island.
"The Indian tribes roamed over this whole region, and Jefferson Barracks, a military post about eight miles below St. Louis, Missouri, was headquarters for the military operations of the Mississippi Valley. Just think of it! This valley knew no railroads, no telegraphs and a very large per cent. of its present inhabitants were not then born. "The military post at Prairie du Chien had been established and when they wanted to utilize the resources of this wild region about them, they detailed soldiers for the work, and in 1828, being in want of lumber, they sent a part of the garrison over to Yellow River, and built a saw mill about two miles below what is now the old Mission House, the remains of which was burned down in 1839.
"In 1840, one Jesse Danley built a saw mill on the river about one mile below the Mission, but the floods came and took the dam away, and the proprietor meeting with one mishap after another, finally abandoned it, and in time it was torn down.
"The town of Johnsonsport, at the mouth of Paint Creek, was named after a soldier who served out his time at the Prairie, and was discharged and paid off in 1837. Now this man, Johnson being fond of Indian women, took several of them for wives, and spent his time between hanging around the post and living among the tribes, and finally settled near the river bank, somewhere between what is now Harper's Ferry and North McGregor. Some of our old residents still remember him and speak of him as Squaw Johnson, but he has been dead several years, and the writer has no knowledge of his descendants, if he left any.
"In 1839, Hiram Francis and family came from Prririe du Chien to the old Mission in the employ of the Government, and remained there until it ceased to be a Mission, and from him we learn that
his duties were to issue daily rations to such Indians as were fed at that place, and that in November, 1840, the last of them were removed to the Turkey River, and the school closed.
"In 1841, there lived at the Mission Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Rynerson, and there was born unto them a son, and this was thought to be the first wbite child born in the county.
"The earliest settlers in what is now Makee and Union Prairie townships, came in overland from the south, through Clayton County, there being no town then where Lansing is now. In conversation with the late Elias Topliff, when he was a citizen among us, he related to me that while living in Clayton County he, with several others, started out to hunt land on which to make a home; that they followed an Indian trail north across the Yellow River and on to the Iowa River somewhere, where the party camped over night and caught and cooked a splendid mess of speckled trout. He thought they traveled across what is now the prairie on which Waukon stands, but could not positively identify their old route,for at that time the country traveled over was in a state of nature, and there was not a white man to be seen on the trip after leaving the settlements of Clayton County. In the morning they retraced their steps and returned to Clayton county again, not finding a single foot of land that suited them. My recollection now is that the Judge located this trip in 1847.
"The first white settlers in Makee township were Patrick Keenan and his brother-in-law, Mr. Richard Cassiday. They lived together, and in October, 1848 settled on Makee Ridge, where they grubbed out and broke up about three acres of land, built a log cabin, and in 1849 abandoned it and made themselves farms ia Jefferson township, where they lived until they passed on to "the better country." Mr. Keenan was the first man in the county, of his nationality, ever made an American citizen through the naturalization law, the court at the time being held at Columbus, on the Mifsis-ippi river.* He died in March, 1878, leaving a large and respectable family and a handsome property, and was buried at Cherry Mound. Mr. Cassiday died in 1879 and was buried at the same place.
"In the spring of 1849 there was born to Mr. and Mrs. Cassiday a daughter, Margaret, now Mrs. Murphy, living in McGregor, and she was the first white child born in Jefferson township."
"In 1850 there was a small pair of buhrs near Decorah for grinding, but no bolt attached, and our settlers from this locality with their ox teams hauled their little grists up there; but soon after (summer of 1850) one Ellis put in a small pair of buhrs, without bolt, on Paint Creek, just around the bend below where Waterville now stands. The remains of this first mill in the county still stand in that place.
*We think Mr. Dean slightly in error here, as the date of this transaction was July, 1849, when there was no settlement at Columbus.