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the range of their rifles. Lott succeeded in getting about four white
settlers, and Johnnie Green and twenty-six of his band, who were
then camped at Elk Rapids, to go north with him to chastise the
Sioux Indians. The next evening after the settlers had met at the
house of John M. Crooks they saw Lott and his Indian confederates
coming across the neck of prairie from Pea's Point, and not knowing
there were any Indians camped south of them, they at once took
them to be the Sioux Indians, who were coming to attack them.
They took up their rifles and made ready to defend themselves till
the last man should die. As they approached, one Indian made a
dash upon his pony toward the house in advance of the others, and
as he approached John M. Crooks raised his rifle to his shoulder and
was in the act of firing when John Pea, his father-in-law, recognized
Henry Lott among the Indians as they approached. This convinced
the settlers that the Indians were of a friendly tribe and not the
murderous Sioux. The expected battle was now over, but one inno-
cent Indian came near losing his life. This was the nearest to a battle
between the settler and the Indians that ever occurred in the county.

The next day Lott and the friendly Indians and five of the settlers
went to the mouth of Boone River to chastise the Sioux Indians,
but when they arrived there Si-dom-i-na-do-tah and his band were
many miles from the scene of the Lott tragedy. The outcome of
the raid of the Sioux Indians will be found in an article elsewhere in
this work under the head of the Milton Lott Tragedy.

In 1848 and 1849 Dr. James Hull, John M. Wane, Samuel A.
Hull, James Carrel, William Thomas, John Thomas, Jonathan God-
den all settled in the township. A number of the above named
voted at the organizing election in 1849. Three of them, R. S.


Clark, Samuel H. Bowers and John M. Wane, were elected to
county offices.

From 1849 to 1851 a large number of settlers came, all of whom
were homeseekers and nearly all settled upon claims. They built log
houses and commenced the improvement of their farms. Some of
these were William Mcintosh, W. L. Pilcher, W. M. Boone, Joshua
Wheeler, Jeremiah Gordon, Wesley, William and Samuel Carrel,
and William Webster. These were all good citizens.

The first schoolhouse built in Des Moines Township was located
in Honey Creek bottom, in section 33, township 84, range 26. It
was built in 1850. From that time until the county seat was located
the board of county commissioners met in this schoolhouse to transact
their official business.

The first school in the township was taught here in this school-
house by S. B. McCall. Solomon McCall, a young brother of the
teacher, was one of the pupils. Strange to say, this pupil is still
living in Des Moines Township and his residence is about one block
from the Milwaukee depot in Boone.

The first murder in the county was committed in Des Moines
Township. It occurred at the house of Montgomery McCall, in
February, 1850. A quarrel arose between Jacob Pea, son of John
Pea, the pioneer, and a man by the name of Lewis Jewett. An
encounter between the two young men ensued, in which Jewett
stabbed Pea, from the efifect of which he died.

The first postoffice in the present limits of Des Moines Township
was located in the north part of section 33, township 84, range 26,
only a short distance south of the corporate limits of the present City
of Boone. It was established August 28, 1850, The postoffice was
named Booneville and Samuel H. Bowers was appointed postmaster.
He was the first postmaster in Des Moines Township and the third
to be appointed in the county. On July 9, 1851, the county seat was
located and on November 29, 1851, the Booneville postoffice was
moved to Boonesboro and Jonathan F. Rice was appointed post-
master. It will be seen from the above dates that the postoffice at
Booneville remained there one year and three months. At the date
the Booneville postoffice was established, it was further north than
any other postoffice in the Des Moines Valley. At this date also
the first mail carrier between the Booneville office and Des Moines
was appointed. It does not appear that any particular mail route
was at that time established, but it does appear that the carrier took
the most suitable route he could find. As the mail over this forty


miles was carried on horseback the best route to supply the other
postoffices on the line could be more easily chosen. The country
was about all unfenced at that time. Ihe name of the hrst mail
carrier was Solomon McCall, who at that time was a boy of only
fourteen years. Mr. McCall has always been mentioned as one who
attended the first school taught in Des Moines Township and in the
hrst schoolhouse built within its borders. It is very remarkable that
Mr. McCall, one of the first school boys in the township and the
first mail carrier between the Booneville postoffice and the present
capital city, is still a citizen of Des"Moiues Township. Sixty-four
years have come and gone since these events" occurred.

Four streams rise in Des Moines I'ownship, but all of them empty
into the Des Moines River outside of its borders. These are Big
Creek, Pea's Branch, Honey Creek and Polecat Creek. There is a
small creek which rises at the point of timber north of Boone near
the east line of section 8, township 84, range 26, and empties into the
river opposite the Town of Centerville. The interurban high bridge
now spans this creek near its mouth. The point of timber above
mentioned was first called Henry Fisher's Point, later Gordon's
Point, and still later, Bass' Point. The name was changed as the
land at the point changed owners, Henry Fisher being the first
settler there.

Lawrence Wahl, Fritz Wahl, S. D. Jewett, J. M. Thrift and
Henry Goetzman were early settlers near this point of timber.

Des Moines Township is well adapted to farming, except that
part of it which lies in the hills of the Des Moines River. These
are good pasture lands. The farmers of the township have well
improved farms and have nice homes. They are up-to-date in their
methods of farming and raise the best of crops. They have also
shown themselves to be friends of common-scliool education, in the
fact that they have established nine school districts and built nine
schoolhouses, which they keep in good repair. Eight months of
school is held each year and the best of teachers are employed. This
speaks well for their progress and intelligence.

The farmers and their families are supplied with daily mail bv
the rural routes and they are in communication with their neighbors
through the medium of the telephone lines. It does not seem there
is anything to prevent them from living happy and contented lives.

All that part of Des Moines Township situated in the great bend
of the river west of Boone was originally underlaid with beds of
coal. For over forty years mining on an extensive scale has been


done in this part of the township and the work is still in progress.
In time other coal beds in the township will be developed and mil-
lions of tons of coal will be mined.

The present officers of the township are as follows: Justices of
the peace, Samuel McBirnie and William J. Carswell; constables,
John Dickson, E. C. Snedeker; clerk, W. M. Bass; assessor, J. N.
Ross; trustees, A. P. Alsin, Simon Kemmerer, Claus Anderson.

To give a list of the number of citizens of Des Moines Township
who have held office in the county from the first election in 1849
to the present time would make a very long list. It has been sixty-
six years since the first election in the county was held. Very few
elections have been held during that time in which from one to four
citizens of Des Moines Township were not elected to county offices.
The list would be too long to insert here in this write-up. The
reader is referred to the general list which will be found in another
part of this history.

According to the census of 1910 the population of Des Moines
Township, exclusive of the City of Boone, was 1,557. I" 1900 the
population was 1,785, and in 1890 it was 1,399. The census to be
taken by the state next year will probably make a different showing.
The number of miners has varied from time to time.

The following are the names of the citizens of Des Moines Town-
ship who enlisted and took part in the Civil war: S. B. McCall, John
H. Smith, W. H. Cummings, James Mitchell, N. G. Martin, S. W.
Cree, J. B. White, A. Draper, J. V. Doran, C. L. Holcomb, Peter
Joice, W. D. Templin, J. H. Upton, Edward Wilson, M. V. Barnes,
C. W. Williams, John Miller, Thomas Parr, C. W. Summer, J. M.
Thrift, J. M. Barnes, A. N. Stringer, W. D. Kinkade, Austin War-
wick, M. Pettibone, N. P. Rogers, Samuel Andrews, I. B. Cummins,
T. E. Dooley, J. B. Dooley, C. A. Eversole, George Fox, R. M.
Gwinn, Nicholas Harter, D. M. Bass, James Diel, George Hofifman,
Samuel Parks, Levi Parks, Samuel Remington, Albert Wilson, Theo-
dore DeTar, W. D. Templin, R. J. Shannon, J. G. Miller, J. W.
Holmes, John Herron, F. W. Hull, J. F. Joice, C. Leflfers, John
Merrick, Thomas Payne, James Shufling, E. D. Strunk, John E.
Wright, W. C. Ainsworth, D. U. Parker, J. W. Webster, J. J. Adams,
W. F. Boggs, A. Messmore, E. W. Caldwell, W. H. Decker, Henry
Godden, W. S. Kintzley, W. W. Kintzley, D. M. Parks, R. S. Parker
and Bird Webster.

The above is thought to be a reasonably correct list of the volun-
teers who went from Des Moines Township to the Civil war.


The following speech delivered by C. L. Lucas at an old settlers'
meeting, held on the courthouse square in Boone on tlie i itii day of
August, 1911, contains some very interesting incidents which occurred
in Des Moines Township and they are here given in full:

"It affords me sincere pleasure to be here at this meeting. 1 am
glad to meet with the old settlers of Boone County and to have the
pleasure of clasping hands with them (jnce more.

"We are here today on historic ground. We are here today where
the county government had its beginning and where the county rec-
ords are kept.

"During the short time allotted to me here today I shall talk but
little of anytliing except what has come under my own observation.

"I never come into the Fifth Ward that my mind does not run
back to the hrst time 1 visited the place. This was in 1853. It \\as
then a town of itself. It was then the county seat; it was then Boones-
boro. The stake driven by the commissioners authorized to locate
the county seat was yet visible, but there is no man now who can point
out the exact spot on which it was driven. It was a sacrilegious
omission of duty not to have kept the place marked and I charge this
omission as much to myself as I do to any one whose duty it was to
have watched after it. Every historic landmark should be sacredlv

"Curator Harlan, as you all know, has recently gone over the old
trail made bv the Mormons in their exit from Navoo across the State
of Iowa on their way to Salt Lake. It is his purpose to relocate and
preserve this historic trail. It will cost the taxpayers of the state
something to relocate and mark the old trail.

"This efifort should incite us to keep and perpetuate our own
local landmarks.

"When I came here in 1853 there were three stores in Boonesboro.
Diagonally across from the southwest corner of this square there was
a store kept by William and Wesley Carrel. Across the street east
from the square there was a store kept by John A. McFarland, Boone
County's first banker, who also kept the postofhce. On the southeast
corner of the block just north of this square was a store kept by John
Houser. These were the business houses of the place at that date.

"During the year of 18153 an affair which caused considerable
excitement took place between John A. McFarland and John Houser.
Houser came into the postofTice to register a letter. This was the
only way there was at that time to transmit money through the mails
as nobody could get a money order or a bank draft at that time.


"Postmaster McFarland took the letter, and seeing the return
was on properly, he gave Houser a receipt for it and was just in the
act of finishing the registry of the letter when a customer came in
for some goods. He laid the letter on his desk and waited on his
customer. When he came back to finish up Houser had taken his
receipt and gone out and the letter was also gone. So he went to
Houser's place of business and asked him if he had taken the letter
back with him. He was assured by Houser that he had not. 'What
did the letter contain?' asked the postmaster. The answer was that
it contained $20.00. 'I suppose then,' said the postmaster, 'that, as I
cannot find the letter and receipted you for it, I will have to pay
you the $20.00.'

" 'To be sure,' said Houser, 'I shall expect you to make good
your failure to find the letter, or in other words your failure to send
it through the mails.' McFarland paid the $20.00, took back
the receipt and returned to his place of business. But after thinking
the matter over carefully, he arrived at the conclusion that Houser
had taken the letter from the desk and had carried it away when he
went from the postoffice. As he meditated upon this his anger arose
to such a pitch that he secured a cowhide and went again to Houser's
place of business, called him out in front of the building and laid
upon his back many stripes. McFarland was arrested, tried and
found guilty of assault and battery and was fined $4.50.

"This was the end of the first case of cowhiding in the county.
In 1856 there was a case of horse whipping on the street east of this
square. Elisha Bowman claimed that William Francis had cap-
tured, killed and used for meat in his family a pet elk which belonged
to him, and he demanded pay for the same. Francis contended that
the elk was running wild and at large, and that it was not a pet and
never had been, and for this reason he should not give him a cent
for it. Bowman went away, secured a horse whip and as he went
south on the street found Francis standing in front of the old Parker
House. Without form or ceremony he commenced plying his whip
to the shoulders and back of Francis. The latter undertook to make
his escape by fiight, but Bowman kept up with him, giving him a
hard stroke every few steps as thev went. When Francis reached the
allev at the center of the block he saw an a\e in a wood pile a few
feet east of the street and with one bound he seized the a.\e and
turned upon Bowman with the ferocity of a Bengal tiger. Bowman
turned and went up the street faster than he came down it, with
Francis after him, having the axe raised in a striking attitude. When


Bowman reached the barroom of the Parker House he made a hurried
entry while others headed Francis off, ended the fracas of the pet
elk, and took the a.\e from him. Ihis was the first case of horse
whipping in the county.

"The ne.\t thrilling incident I shall call attention to took place
between two prominent individuals, both of whom at the time
occupied official positions. One of them was C. J. McFarland, \yho
at the time was judge of the District Court, and the other was Hon.
Cornelius Beal, at the time a member (jf the State Legislature. For
some reason these officials had a spite one against the other.

"The action which Beal took in support of the bill redistricting
the state under the Constitution of 1857 met the disapproval of
judge McFarland and greatly intensified his anger toward Repre-
sentative Beal. This was in the year 1857. One day they were both
at home, and free for that day from official duties. They met acci-
dentally in front of the Parker House about where the Bowman-
Francis encounter commenced. Judge McFarland was a large man
with long, luxuriant whiskers and of very prepossessing personal
appearance. Beal was a small man but very quick of motion. Mc-
Farland commenced the action by aiming a blow at Beal with his
list, which, if the latter had not succeeded in dodging, would have
brought him to ground. Beal then made a quick lunge and caught
a handfull of the judge's whiskers, and pulled with all his might
until he separated a good bunch of them from the judge's face. By
this time friends of both these men came up and separated them and
thus the encounter ended.

"There is a little piece of history connected with the election of
Judge McFarland which is very interesting. It will be remembered
that he was first appointed to fill a vacancy in 1854, by Governor
Hempstead, and in April, 1855, he was elected for a full term.
The district was very evenly divided as to party strength. Polk
County was then in this judicial district, and W. W. Williamson,
who lived in Des Moines, was the opposing candidate. When the
votes were counted it developed that one precinct in one of the
sparsely settled counties of the district had not held their election
in the way prescribed by law, but had held it in a new and novel
way. This precinct had not been furnished with a ballot box, poll
books or tickets. So on election day they met, elected a president
and secretary. The president called for every man who wanted to
vote for McFarland to stand up in a row on his right hand side, and
all who wished to vote for Williamson to stand up on his left hand

• v^g T :c •':: ' " ! Oia AXII flO.T L'DOC'J


side. It appears that nearly all of them voted in this way for Mc-
Farland. The secretary took note of all the proceedings and sent in
the names of all the voters and the persons voted for to the county

"Immediately there was a dispute as to whether or not these votes
should be counted. It so happened that if these votes were counted
McFarland would be elected and if thrown out Williamson would
be elected. So here was a contest of a very interesting character.

"Those who had the count in charge decided the matter in favor
of Williamson. McFarland appealed from the decision of this
count and the court decided that unless it could be shown that there
was fraud practiced in casting the votes in the precinct above referred
to, they should be counted, for these voters were citizens of the state
and entitled to their elective franchise. This gave the office to Judge
McFarland, because no claim of fraud was ever made.

"In the year 1858 there was an incident which occurred on the
streets of the Town of Boonesboro which is now entirely forgotten so
far as I know. There was a place up the street east from the corner,
where a large amount of whiskey and beer was sold and drank.
Boonesboro was not then incorporated and there did not seem to be
any easy way to stop this place from doing business. Finally the
women of the town to the number of about twenty-five met and or-
ganized themselves into an executive committee of which Mrs. Ben-
jamin Brunning was chairman. They marched in a body to the
place where the evil spirits were sold and there they found, as usual,
a good number of men gathered. They were surprised at the sight
of so many ladies in a saloon, and they gave place to them.

"The committee rolled the beer kegs into the street, took the
bottles from the shelves and carried them out and all were emptied
of their contents upon the ground. This action caused intense excite-
ment but Boonesboro was a dry town for several weeks afterward.
When the committee was through with its work of casting out the
evil spirits, Mrs. Brunning made a speech, thanking the committee
for its triumphant action and then the committee adjourned subject
to the call of the chairman.

"Take notice that this took place long before Carrie Nation was
heard of."


The pioneers of the healing art in Boone County were the
guardians of a widely dispersed population. Aside from their pro-
fessional duties, they contributed their full share to the material
development of a newly opened country. Some were men of culture,
who had gained their medical education in college. Others were of
limited educational attainments, whose professional knowledge had
been acquired in the offices of established practitioners of more or
less ability in the sections from which they emigrated. Of either
class, almost without exception, they were practical men of great
force of character who gave cheerful and efficacious assistance to the
suffering, daily journeying on horseback scores of miles, over a
country almost destitute of roads and encountering swollen, unbridged
streams, without waterproof garments or other now common protec-
tion against the elements. Out of necessity the pioneer physician
developed rare quickness of perception and self-reliance. A specialist
was then unknown, and the physician was called upon to treat every
phase of bodily ailment, serving as physician, surgeon, oculist and
dentist. His books were few and there were no practitioners of more
ability than himself with whom he might consult. His medicines
were simple and carried on his person and every preparation of pill
or solution was the work of his own hands.

During the summer and autumn of 1837 cases of bilious remitting
fever occurred, which readily vielded to treatment. The winter
following several cases of bilious pneumonia demanded prompt at-
tendance and special vigilance in the observance of changes indicative
of greater danger. These were the diseases and the principal ones
which called for medical help up to the year 1849. Since that
year, or from that period, the summer and autumnal fevers ceased to
be epidemical and pneumonia became less frequent. It may be well
to mention here that the fevers of 1849 after the third or fourth day
assumed a typhoid character, the remission hardly observable, and
the nervous depression occasioning great anxiety.



It was probably Doctor Rush of Philadelphia — a great name up to
about 1825 — who said the lancet was a "sheet anchor" in all inflam-
matory diseases, so it might have been said of quinine, as used in
remittent and intermittent fevers, in both the Mississippi and Mis-
souri valleys from 1830 up to 1850. During that period 120.000
square miles west of the Mississippi and north of St. Louis became
populated and all of it more or less malari(;us. In some of these
years the demand for quinine was so great that the supply in the
American market became exhausted. "Sappington's pills" were in-
directly the power which worked steamboats up the river from 1835
to 1843. They were, verily, the "sheet • anchor" not only aboard
boats but in many households. Doctor Sappington was a regular
allopathic physician of considerable ability residing up the Missouri
River, who thought it would be a benefaction to the new civilization
of the West to prepare quinine ready to be taken in the form of pills.
Bo.xes of his pills contained four dozen each and the pellets two
grains each. The direction on the box was to take from two to
twenty as the urgency of the case seemed to require, without reference
to the stage of the paroxysm.


George W. Crooks makes the statement from memory that Dr.
James Hull was the first physician to practice medicine in Boone
County. He lived southeast, in Des Moines Township, and traveled
all over this section of the country. James Hull was known as a
botanical doctor and practiced at intervals when not needed on his

According to Mr. Crooks' recollection, the first regular practi-
tioner in Boonesboro was Dr. D. S. Holton, who settled in the com-
munity before the town was laid out. His practice was not very
extensive. His residence at Pea's Point was known as the first
country hotel in Boone County. It was two miles southeast of the
City of Boone and was erected in 1851. This house was long known
as the Boone County House, being a hostelry where the wayfarer and
traveler was given a hearty welcome and a bounteous entertainment.
Doctor Holton arrived in the communitv about 1849 and boarded
with John Pea. The doctor was a Frenchman and was a surgeon in
the British army. He came here from Canada and while a member
of the Pea family married Nancy, a daughter. He first established
an office in the house of his father-in-law and then went to the county


seat, where he hung out a shingle and there practiced until the
spring of 1852, when he and his wife crossed the plains to Oregon
and he there rose to prominence not only in the practice of his

Online LibraryNathan Edward GoldthwaitHistory of Boone County, Iowa (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 49)