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selected at Mount Pleasant, Henry County, and $500,000 appro-
priated for the buildings, which were commenced in October of that
year. One liundred patients were admitted within three months
after it was opened. The Legislature of 1867-68 provided measures
for an additional hospital for the insane and an appropriation of
$125,000 was made for tiie purpose. Independence was selected by
the commissioners as the most desirable location and 320 acres were
secured one mile from the town on the west side of the VVapsipinicon
River and about a mile from its banks. The hospital was opened
May I, 1873. The amount allowed for the support of these insti-
tutions is twelve dollars per niontli for each patient. All expenses
of the hospital except for special purposes are paid from the sum
so named and the amount is charged to the counties from which the
patients are sent.

soldiers' orphans' home

The Soldiers' Orphans' Home is located at Davenport and was
originated by Mrs. Anne \Vhittenmeyer, during the late rebellion
of the states. This noble hearted woman called a convention at
Muscatine, September 7, 1863, for the purpose of devising means
for the education and support of the orphan children of Iowa whose
fathers had lost their lives in the defense of their countrv's honor.
The public interest in the movement was so great that all parts of
the state were largely represented and an association was organized
called the Iowa State Orphan Asylum. The first meeting of the
trustees was held February 14, 1864, at Des Moines, when Governor
Kirkwood suggested that a home for disabled soldiers should be con-
nected with the asylum and arrangements were made for collecting
funds. At the next meeting in Davenport the following month, a
committee was appointed to lease a suitable building, solicit donations
and procure suitable furniture. This committee obtained a large
brick building in Lawrence, V^an Buren County, and engaged Mr.
Fuller at Mount Pleasant as steward. The work of preparation was


conducted so vigorously that July 13th following the executive com-
mittee announced it was ready to receive children. Within three
weeks twenty-one were admitted and in a little more than six months
seventy were in the home. Ihc home was sustained by voluntary
contributions until 1866, when it was taken charge of by the state.
The Legislature appropriated ten dollars per month for each orphan
actually supported and provided for the establishment of three
homes. The one in Cedar Falls was organized in 1865. An old
hotel building was fitted up for it and by the following January
there were ninety-six inmates. In October, 1869, the home was re-
moved to a large brick building about two miles west of Cedar Falls
and was very prosperous for several years, but in 1876 the Legislature
devoted this building to the State Normal School. The same year
the Legislature also devoted the buildings and grounds of the Soldiers'
Orphans' Home at Glenwood, Mills County, to an institution for the
support of feeble minded children. It also provided for the removal
of the soldiers' orphans at Glenwood and Cedar Falls homes to the
one located at Davenport. There is in connection with this institu-
tion a school building, pleasant, commodious and well lighted, and
it is the policy of the board to have the course of instruction of a
high standard. A kindergarten is (operated for the very young
pupils. The age limit to which children are kept in the home is
sixteen years. Fewer than twenty per cent remain to the age limit.
A library of well selected juvenile literature is a source of pleasure
and profitable entertainment to the children, as from necessity their
pleasures and pastimes are somewhat limited. It is the aim to pro-
vide the children with plenty of good, comfortable clothing and to
teach them to take good care of the same. Their clothing is all
manufactured at the home, the large girls assisting in the work. The
table is well supplied with a good variety of plain, wholesome food
and a reasonable amount of luxuries. The home is now supported by
a regular appropriation of twelve dollars per month for each inmate
and the actual transportation charges of the inmates to and from the
institution. Each county is liable to the state for the support of its
children to the extent of six dollars per month, except soldiers'
orphans, who are cared for at the expense of the state.


An act of the General Assembly, approved March 17, 1878,
provided for the establishment of an asylum for feeble minded


children at Glenwood, Mills County, and the buildings and grounds
of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home were taken for that purpose. The
asvlum was placed under the management of three trustees, one of
whom should be a resident of Mills County. Ihe institution was
opened September i, 1876. By November, 1877, the number of
pupils was eighty-seven. The purpose of this institution is to pro-
vide special methods of training for that class of children deficient
in mind or marked with such peculiarities as to deprive them of the
benefits and privileges provided for children with normal faculties.
The object is t(J make the child as nearly self-supporting as practicable
and to approach as nearly as possible the movements and actions of
normal people. It further aims to provide a home for those who
are not susceptible of mental culture, relying wholly on others to
supply their simple wants.


The Industrial School for Boys is established at Eldora. By
act approved March 31, 1868, the General Assembly established a
reform school at Salem, Henry County, and provided for a board of
trustees from each congressional district. The trustees immediately
leased the property of the Iowa Manual Labor Institute, and October
7th following the school received its first inmate. The law at first
provided for the admission of both sexes under eighteen years of
age. The trustees were directed to organize a separate school for
girls. In 1872 the school for boys was permanently located at
Eldora, Hardin Countv. and some time later the one for girls was
established at Mitchellville. There is appropriated for these schools
and their support the sum of thirteen dollars monthly for each boy,
and sixteen dollars monthlv for each girl inmate. The object of
the institution is the reformation of juvenile delinquents. It is not
a prison. It is a compulsory educational institution. It is a school
where wayward and criminal boys and girls are brought under the
influence of Christian instructors and taught by example as well as
precept the better ways of life. It is a training school, where the
moral, intellectual and industrial education of the child is carried
on at one and the same time.


The governor, bv an act approved January 25, 1839, was author-
ized to draw the sum of $20,000, appropriated by an act of


Congress in 1838, for public buildings in the Territory of Iowa and
establish a state penal institution. The act provided for a board of
directors, consisting of three persons, to be elected by the Legislature,
who should superintend the building of a penitentiary to be located
within a mile of the public square in the Town of Fort Madison,
Lee County, provided that the latter deeded a suitable tract of land
for the purpose, also a spring or stream of water for the use of the
penitentiary. The citizens of Fort Madison executed a deed of ten
acres of land for the building. The work was soon entered upon
and the main building and the warden's house were completed in
the fall of 1 841. It continued to meet with additions and improve-
ments until the arrangements were all completed according to the
designs of the directors. The labor of the convicts is let out to con-
tractors, who pay the state a stipulated sum for services rendered,
the state furnishing shops and necessary supervision in preserving
order. The Iowa Farming Tool Company and the Fort Madison
Chair Company are the present contractors.


The first steps toward the erection of a penitentiary at Anamosa,
Jones County, were taken in 1872, and by an act of the General
Assembly, approved April 23, 1884, when three commissioners were
selected to construct and control prison buildings. They met on
the 4th of June following and chose a site donated by the citizens of
Anamosa. Work on the building was commenced September 28,
1872. In 1873 a number of prisoners were transferred from the Fort
Madison prison to Anamosa. The labor of the convicts at this
penitentiary is employed in the erection and completion of the build-
ings. The labor of a small number is let to the American Cooperage
Company. This institution has a well equipped department for
female prisoners, also a department for the care of the criminal


A State historical society in connection with the university was
provided for by act of the General Assembly, January 25, 18^7.
At the commencement an appropriation of $250 was made, to be
expended in collecting and preserving a library of books, pamphlets,
papers, paintings and other materials illustrative of the history of


Iowa. There was appropriated $500 per annum to maintain this
society. Since its organization the society has published three dif-
ferent quarterly magazines. From 1863 to 1874 it published the
Annals of Iowa, twelve volumes, now called the first series. From
1885 to 1902 it published the Iowa Historical Record, eighteen
volumes. From 1903 to 1907 the society has published the Iowa
Journal of History and Politics, now in its fifth volume. Numerous
special publications have been issued by the society, the most im-
portant of which are the Messages and Proclamations of the Gover-
nors of Iowa, in seven volumes; the Executive Journal of Iowa,
1838-1843, and the Lucas Journal of the War of 1812.


The Iowa Soldiers' Home was built and occupied in 1888, at
Marshalltown. The first year it had 140 inmates. In 1907 there
were 794 inmates, including 1 12 women. The United States Govern-
ment pays to the state of Iowa the sum of $100 per year for each
inmate of the Soldiers' Home who served in any war in which the
United States was engaged, which amount is used as part of the sup-
port fund of the institution. Persons who have property or means
for their support, or who draw a pension sufficient therefor, will
not be admitted to the home, and if after admission an inmate of
the home shall receive a pension or other means sufficient for his
support, or shall recover his health so as to enable him to support
himself, he will be discharged from the home. Regular appropria-
tion by the state is fourteen dollars per month for each member and
ten dollars per month for each employe not a member of the home.


There are at Clarinda and Cherokee state hospitals for the insane
and one at Knoxville for the inebriate.

It is strange but true that in the great state of Iowa, with more
than si.xty per cent of her population engaged in agricultural pursuits
and stock-raising, it was not until the year 1900 that a department of
the state government was created in the interests of and for the
promotion of agriculture, animal industry, horticulture, manufac-
tures, etc. The Iowa department of agriculture was created by an
act of the twenty-eighth General Assembly. In 1892 the Iowa
Geological Survey was established and the law which provided


therefor outlined its work to be that of making "a complete survey
of the natural resources of the state in the natural and scientific
aspects, including the determination of the characteristics of the
various formations and the investigation of the different ores, coal,
clays, building stones and other useful materials." It is intended
to cooperate with the United States Geological Survey in the making
of topographical maps and those parts of the state whose coal re-
sources make such maps particularly desirable and useful. The
State Agricultural Society is one of the great promoters of the welfare
of the people. The society holds an annual fair which has occurred
at Des Moines since 1878. At its meetings subjects of the highest
interest and value are discussed and these proceedings are published
at the expense of the state.



In the year 1907 the State of Iowa closed the first half century
of existence under the Constitution of 1857. In April, 1906, the
General Assembly, looking forward to the suitable celebration of so
important an anniversary, passed an act appropriating $750 to be
used bv the State Historical Society of Iowa, in a commemoration
of the fiftieth anniversary of the Constitution of 1857. It was
eminently desirable that the celebration should occur at Iowa City,
for it was at that place, then the capital of the state, that the consti-
tutional convention of 1 857 was held. And it was particularly fitting
that the exercises should be placed under the auspices of the State
Historical Society of Iowa, for the same year, 1857, marks the birth
of the society. While the convention was drafting the fundamental
law of the state in a room on the lower floor of the Old Stone Capitol,
the sixth General Assembly in the legislative halls upstairs in the
same building passed an act providing for the organization of a
State Historical Society. Thus the event of 1907 became a celebra-
tion of the fiftieth anniversary of the State Historical Society as well
as a commemoration of the semi-centennial of the Constitution of

In due time plans were matured for a program covering four
days, beginning on Tuesday, March 19, and closing on Friday, March


22, 1907. It consisted of addresses bv men of prominent reputation
in constitutional and historical lines, together with conferences on
state historical subjects. On 'I'uesday evening Prof. Andrew C.
McLaughlin, of Chicago University, delivered an address upon "A
Written Constitution in Some of its Historical Aspects.'" He ilwelt
in a scholarly wav upon the growth of written constitutions, showing
the lines along which their historical development has progressed.

The speaker of Wednesday was Prof. Eugene Wambaugh, of the
Harvard Law School, one of the leading authorities in the country
upon (]uestions of constitutional law and formerly a member of the
faculty of the college of law of the University of Iowa. Professor
Wambaugh, taking for his subject, "'Idle Relation Between (General
History and the Historv of Law," outlined the history of the long
rivalry between the civil law of Rome and the common law in their
struggle for supremacy, both in the old world and the new. In clos-
ing, he referred to the constitution of Iowa as typical ot the efforts
of the American people to embody in fixed form the principles of
n'ght and justice.

Thursday morning was given over to a conference on the teaching
of history. Prof. Isaac A. Loos, of the State University of Iowa,
presided, and members of the faculties of a number of the colleges
and high schools of the state were present and participated in the
program. In the afternoon the conference of historical societies
convened, Dr. F. E. Horack, of the State Historical Society of Iowa,
presiding. Reports were read from the historical department at
Des Moines and from nearly all of the local historical societies of the
state. Methods and policies were discussed and much enthusiasm
was aroused looking toward the better preservation of the valuable
materials of local history.

The history of the Mississippi valley is replete with events of
romantic interest. From the time of the early French voyagers and
explorers, who paddled down the waters of the tributaries from the
North, down to the davs of the sturdy pioneers of Anglo-Saxon blood,
who squatted upon the fertile soil and staked out their claims on the
prairies, there attaches an interest that is scarcely equaled in the
annals of America. On Thursday evening. Dr. Reuben Gold-
thwaites, superintendent of the State Historical Society of Wiscon-
sin, now deceased, delivered an address upon "The Romance of
Mississippi Vallev History." He traced the lines of exploration
and immigration from the Northeast and East and drew interesting


pictures of the activities in the great river valley when the land was
young and the ways full of wonder to the pioneer adventurer.

Friday's program closed the session. On this day Gov. Albert
B. Cummins attended and participated in the celebration. At the
university armory, before a large gathering, he spoke briefly on the
constitution of the United States, paying it high tribute and at the
same time showing the need of amendment to fit present day needs.
He then introduced Judge Emlin McClain, of the Supreme Court
of Iowa, who delivered the principal address of the day. Judge
McClain took for his subject "The Constitutional Convention and
the Issues Before It." He told of that memorable gathering at the
Old Stone Capitol in Iowa City fifty years ago when thirty-six men
met in the supreme court room to draft the fundamental law for the

The members of the convention of 1857 were from various occu-
pations. The representatives of the legal profession led in numbers
with fourteen members, among whom were manv men of prominence.
\\'illiam Penn Clarke, Edward Johnstone and J. C. Hall were there.
James F. Wilson, afterward so prominent in national politics, was a
member, then only twenty-eight years of age. J. C. Hall was the
only delegate who had served in either of the preceding constitu-
tional conventions of the state, having represented Henry County in
the convention of 1844. There were twelve farmers in the conven-
tion of 1857 — rugged types of those men who settled upon land and
built into the early history of the state its elements of enduring
strength. Among the remaining members were merchants, bankers,
and various other tradesmen. They were a representative group of
men and they attacked the problems before them with characteristic
pioneer vigor.

The convention of 1857 chose for its presiding officer Francis
Springer, an able farmer and lawyer from Louisa County. Many
were the discussions that stirred the convention. One of the first
was over the proposition to move the convention bodily to Dubuque
or to Davenport. The Town of Iowa City it seems had not provided
satisfactory accommodations for the delegates and for hours the mem-
bers gave vent to their displeasure and argued the question of a
removal. But inertia won and the convention finally decided to
remain in Iowa City and settled down to the discussion of more
serious matters.

The Constitution of 1846 had prohibited banking corporations
in the state. But there was strong agitation for a change in this


respect, and so the convention of 1857 provided for botii a state bank
and for a system of free banks. The matter of corporations was a
prominent one before the convention. So also was tiic question of
the status of the negro. The issues were taken up with fairness and
argued upon their merits. 'l"he convention was republican in pro-
portion of twenty-one to fifteen. The delegates had been elected
upon a party basis. Yet they did not allow partisanship to control
their actions as members of a constituent assembly. On the 19th of
January tliey had come together and for a month and a half thev
remained in session. They adjourned March :5tii and dispersed to
their homes.

That the members of the conventicJii did their \\ork well is
evidenced by the fact that in the fifty years that have followed onlv
four times has the Constitution of 1S57 been amended. Nor did
these amendments embody changes, the need of which the men of
1857 could have well foreseen. The first two changes in the funda-
mental law were due to the changed status of the negro as a result
of the Civil war. In 1882 the prohibitory amendment was passed
but it was soon declared null bv the Supreme Court of Iowa because
of technicalities in its submission to the people and so did not become
a part of the constitution. The amendments of 1884 were concerned
largely with judicial matters and those of 1Q04 provided for biennial
election and increased the number of members of the House of

With these changes the work of the constitutional convention
of 1857 has come down to us. Fifty vears have passed and twice has
the convention been the subject of a celeb ration. In 1882, after a
quarter of a century, the surviving members met at Des Moines.
Francis Springer, then an old man, was present and presided at the
meeting. Out of the original thirty-six members, only twenty
responded to the roll call. Eight other members were alive but were
unable to attend. The remainder had given way to the inevit:ible
reaper. 'I'his was in 1882. In 1907 occurred the second celebra-
tion. This time it was not a reunion of the members of the con-
vention, for onlv one survivor appeared on the scene. It was rather
a commemoration of the fiftieth birthday of the constitution of the
state. Onlv one member of the con\'ention, John H. Peters, of
Manchester, Iowa, is reported to be now living.

The celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of our
fundamental law was marked bv a unique feature. There were
present and participated in the program three aged pioneers of the


State, a survivor of each of the three constitutional conventions. These
three conventions met in 1857, in 1846 and 1844 respectively, fifty,
sixty-one and sixty-three years ago. On the opening day of the cele-
bration, J. Scott Richman appeared upon the scene. Sixty-one years
ago he had come to Iowa City as a delegate of the convention of
1846. Eighty-eight years old, with patriarchal beard and slow step,
he came as the only living member of the convention that framed
the constitution under which Iowa entered the Union. On Thursday
there came from Marion, Samuel Durham, a tall pioneer ninety
years of age, the sole survivor of Iowa's first constitutional convention
— that of 1844. His memory ran back to the days of Iowa's first
governor, Robert Lucas, for he had reached Iowa from Indiana in
the year 1840. On the last day of the program these two old consti-
tution makers of 1844 and 1846 were joined by a third, John H.
Peters, who had come from Delaware County as a member of the
last constitutional convention of fifty years ago. They sat down
together at the luncheon on Friday noon and responded to toasts with
words that took the hearers back to the days when Iowa was the last
stopping place of the immigrant.

Thus the celebration was brought to an end. From every point
of view it was a success. Probably never again will the state see the
reunion of representatives of all three constitutional conventions.
Time must soon take away these lingering pioneers of two generations
ago, but the state will not soon forget their services, for they have
left their monument in the fundamental law of the commonwealth.

Vol. 1—4


That there was at some time in the ages gone by, a prehistoric
race called the Mound Builders, there is no doubt. That they were
far in advance of the Indian races, which succeeded them in the
occupancy of the country, in the manufacture of tools, vessels and
pottery, and in the erection of fortifications for their defense, is
plainly manifest.

From the evidence obtained by those who have made excavations
in these mounds, they had four kinds of mounds. One kind was used
for dwelling purposes, one for burial purposes, one for devotional
purposes and the fourth for defense.

There are unmistakable evidences of their ancient works in many
parts of our state. Some of these have been excavated, and human
skeletons, pottery and quaint kinds of tools and vessels have been

' It is not the purpose of this article to speak in particular of the
traces of the Mound Builders, except those found in Boone County.

The largest mound to be found within the bounds of Boone County
is Pilot Mound, in Pilot Mound Township. Some scientific men
have called this mound the western terminus of the Mineral Ridge,
but it bears such a close resemblance to the mounds of the prehistoric
race, which are found elsewhere, that it should be classed with them.

Online LibraryNathan Edward GoldthwaitHistory of Boone County, Iowa (Volume 1) → online text (page 5 of 49)