Homer Howard Field.

History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) online

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ment ami settled on a reservation some seventy miles north. This embraced
-nine of the !ine-t land- iii the territory. The projectors of thi- town were
mainly the incorporators of the ferry company, whose name- were given
ibove, ami with our or two exceptions residents of Pottawattamie county.
Even at thi- early day railroad men were casting about for ultimately reach-
ing California by rail, ami already a line had been surveyed from Rock
I-land lo Council Bluffs, and the Platte valley seemed to be the mo-t natural
route. Tie- line surveyed was known a- the Mississippi and Missouri, and
was tl ne mainly adopted in the final construction of thai road across the


During the summer of 1854 Sylvanus Dodge with hi- family moved out
from Massachusetts and located on a beautiful trad of land on the Elkhorn
river in Nebraska, lie had two sons, Granville M. and Nathan I'.. who were
destined to play conspicuous pari.-. The former not only in Pottawattamie
county, hut in the affairs of tin- state and nation. The Indian- becoming
troublesome, they settled in Council Bluffs where the sons engaged in bank-
ing, the former becoming a member of the firm of Baldwin & Dodge,
while in addition to thi- he continued hi- surveying and engineering as
occasion required; while Nathan 1'. managed their banking and real estate
business. Both of these men are so well known by the entire communitj
to make anything -aid by the writer at thi- time superfluous. Both are
living and active though having passed their three score ami ten year-.

The winter of 1854-5 was a remarkably mild one. much of the time like '
Indian Sun iiner. so much so that on Christmas a party of young people were
starting ou1 from the Robinson House for a horseback ride, when it came to
a sad end by one of the young ladies being thrown from her horse, which
resulted in her death in a few hour-. Year- afterward, old timer-, in speak-
ing of the mild winters, would refer to thi- a- the Ann Floyd winter, that .
being the name of the lady.

During the preceding year a number of substantia] people arrived
and bought out claims and became permaneni residents, among which were
1*. 1>. Clark, A. J. Bump and J. J. Johnson, who went into farming ex-
tensively from two to four miles east of the city, while another number
settled a lew mill- northeast, convenient to the Wick- mill.

Some of these were Mormons, hut remained after the exodus. Among



these were William ami Henry Garner, George Scorbld, Simeon Graybill,
Alex Follett and Alexander Mar-hall.

These all secured good farms and became wealthy. A mail route was
now established between Des Moines and the Bluffs, the mail being carried
in a small two-horse hack that made the round trip once a week. The first
station east being at Silver Creek, the second at Wheeler's Grove, the latter
being kept by Noah 1). Wheeler, and the third just east of the county line
at a little settlement called Indian Town.

Up to this time there were but three voting precincts in the county,
those being Council Bluffs, Wheeler's Grove and one in what is now Rock-
ford township.

The first marriage of gentiles in Kanesville was that of M. D. Hardin
and Miss Harriet Joiner, January 26, 1852, by Rev. E. E. Rice. This was
appropriate. Mr. Hardin, son of Davis Hardin, being the first white boy
to locate permanently here. Mrs. Hardin is still with us, Mr. Hardin hav-
ing died in 1893.

The marriage of James A. Jackson and Miss Henrietta Cook soon fol-
lowed, also that of William II. Robinson and Miss Mary Ann Lafferty.

Nebraska, was rapidly settling up and although tin- history relates to
Pottawattamie county, it i- so closely interwoven with that of those ad-
joining, both in Iowa and Nebraska, that we are compelled to step over the
line occasionally. Claims were being made constantly by persons from this
side, frequently resulting in violence and bloodshed. A case of this kind
occurred at the old site of Fort Calhoun. A party consisting of Hadley D.
Johnson, Addison Cochran, A. J. Poppleton, Jas. C. Milchel. J. P. Casady,
II. C. Purple, A. V. Larimer, and a number of others of Council Bluffs, all
prominent men, had made a claim for a town site. Sherman (loss, of Rock-
ford township, was also associated with them. Word came that their claim
had been jumped. It has never been legally determined which claimant
was in the right, but it was true, another party was in actual possession
of the cabin, and was making improvements, and it was resolved to dislodge
him. peaceably if possible, forcibly if necessary, and, organizing themselves
into a little army, well armed, with Mr. Goss for their captain, they took up
the march. Arriving; they found they had been correctly informed. The
fortress was occupied, but the strength of the garrison was not known, but
chinking had been removed from between the logs, forming good embrazures.
Halting within a few rods of the cabin, a command to surrender was made,
to which, after a parley, the commandant refused, whereon an order to
charge was made, and as the storming party got within a few feet the gar-
rison opened fire and Captain Goss fell dead, with two shot- in the brea
and Mr. Purple lost an arm; and a spectator declared the retreat was th£
most masterly previous to that of Bull Run. A little later Council Bluffs
parties had a conflict over a claim over on the Elkhom in Nebraska. The
claimants were R. P. Snow on the one side and Jesse Winn on the other.
They met in the cabin and a quarrel ensued, in which Mr. Snow was severely
cut and Winn killed. The Snow side of the story is, that Winn cut him
with a knife and his father-in-law, Mr. Tabor, shot Winn in defense of his.


son-in-law. Winn being dead, hi- .-lory could not be heard, and their cause
has long ago gone to a higher court than any here, as all the parties have
passed over.

A. J. Poppleton. mentioned in connection with the Fort Calhoun affair,
came to the Bluffs in 1854 from the state of New York. He opened a law
office here and boarded at the Pacific House, where he formed the acquaint-
ance of -Mi— Sears, a relative of the proprietor, which resulted in their mar-
riage in 1856, after which he moved to Omaha, where he rose to the head
of hi- profession ami when the Union Pacific was built he became its
general solicitor.


We have now passed the occupation by the Pottawattamies, and also that
of the Mormons, lor. although many -till remained, thev were in the minor-
ity. The great California emigration had subsided, when another great move-
ment was I line, up in which Pottawattamie county would be largely

interested, viz organizing the Territory of Nebraska.

In the winter of 1853 General A. C. Dodge, one of the Iowa senators,
was traveling through Fremont county on horseback on a tour of investiga-
tion of the condition of western Iowa, it- settlement, and the character of
the country west of tin- Missouri. lie became impressed with the importance
of organizing all the country now included in Kansas and Nebraska as
Nebraska Territory, and on his return to Washington he introduced such a
hill. When it came back from the committee on territories, of which Sena-
tor Douglas was chairman, it was so amended as to provide for the organizing
of two territories, one to be called Kansas and the other Nebraska. The
passage of this bill was the mo-t momentous evenl in it^ consequences since
the purchase of Louisiana, if nni since the Declaration of Independence.

It was conceded from the first, that whatever the result, in Kansas,
Nebraska would become a ire.' state and only a few -lave- as house servants
were ever brought into the territory. During the perilous time- of the con-
ie-i in Kansas, a person on coming up the river througb Missouri would feel
a sense of relict when they began to breathe the glorious free air of Iowa and
Nebraska; and although Pottawattamie county wa- at that time strongly
democratic and believed in the doctrine of squatter sovereignty, these demo-
crat would have been quick to exercise it in excluding slavery from among
themselves. In fact, there were a few men that went to the other extreme to
the extent <>t aiding -lave- to escape. Of this class wa- one Calvin Bradway,
in the eastern end of the county, that for a long time kept an underground
station and constructed a large cave cellar in hi- corn field, and when enough
were received for a load he would take them to the next station, which was
at or near Lewi-, in ('a.— county; and although hi.- neighbors did not approve
of ii. he seemed to like to show his hatred of the institution by sometimes
taking them through boldly by daylight. He wa- violent and fanatical in
Other ways, and killed a man named Fair-lcin over business trouble, lied the
country and. after some three or four years, returned and gave himself ir
to Sheriff Field in open court. Judge Fay presiding, and after being in


custody two or three days, and no probability of finding any witnesses, his
case was dismissed on motion of the prosecuting attorney. He finally met
his death while sitting in the house of a neighbor in the evening by a shot
through the window. His slayer was never known.

With the organizing of the Territory o*f Nebraska, it became a matter of
importance to the people of Council Bluffs that the capital should be located
at Omaha and after a pretty brisk contest it was accomplished, although a
majority of the population was south of the Platte river and made an effort
to take it there, but influence was too strong for them, and for a short time
the government of Nebraska though nominally in Omaha was actually in
Council Bluffs.

Omaha continued to hold it for year-, notwithstanding the majority of
the population as well as representatives in the Legislature were south of that
river, and it was currently rep nidi thai -nllieien! South Platte representa-
tives had to be fixed at each session to h ild it. Be this as it may, Council
Bluffs had men well versed in making locations, as appeared a little later
when two of her leading citizens were largely instrumental in locating the
Iowa capita] at East DesMoines, in which, even at that early day. graft was
suspected of playing a conspicuous part.


Among the men that came t:> Council Bluffs during 1854 and 1855 wen
John Hammer and J. 1'. William-, both large contractors and builders. The
buildings constructed by them during a long series of years would make a
pretty respectable town of itself. They also took an active part in public
affairs, were members of the city council more term- than any. except J. B.
Lewi.-, >ince the organization of the city. The former, in connection with
|F. T. C. Johnson, built the brick courthouse in IS is, the Ogden House in
1869, of which he (Hammer) was one-third part owner. Burhop's Hall,

esides other public and private buildings too numerous to mention; while
Mr. William- has done an immense amount of building, has filled the office

if sheriff, which he resigned during the war and raised and commanded
Company A of the Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry, and, the best of it is, that
at this writing they are both with us. well and hearty in their eighty-third
■ year.

Another one worthy of notice who came here in 1855 was Dr. Seth H.
iCraig. He, like all great men, was born in Ohio, in 1825, worked his way
iwest, was in the Mexican war one year, studied medicine, came to Van Buren
'county in an early day, volunteered in time of boundary dispute with Mis-
souri, was elected sheriff of Pottawattamie county on the democratic ticket in
1859 over H. H. Field, republican, and George Doughty, independent, re-
ceiving more votes than both of them. He was holding this office when the
war broke out and resigned, raised Company B in the Fourth Iowa, served
in that capacity until detailed on staff duty, when his first lieutenant, Kins-
nan, became captain and afterward colonel of the Twenty-third, and finally
fell at the Battle of Black River, Mississippi. After the war he became


warden of the penitentiary at Fort Madison, later postmaster at Wymore,
Nebraska ; moved back to Council Bluffs and died August 1, 1905.

About this time a great temperance wave that was -weeping over the
country struck Council Bluffs and resulted in organizing a lodge known as
the Sons of Temperance, with Thomas Tostevin as its chief officer, and it
had among its membership Judge Frank Street and Thomas P. Treynor.
The latter now commenced forging to the front. He held the office of city
recorder for six years, was appointed postmaster and served during the Grant
administration, became associated with the Nonpareil, was county commit-
teeman and as such became a power in western [owa. His sons appear to be
following closely in his footsteps, one having succeeded him as postmaster
throu,e]i two administrations, another was connected with the Nonpareil in
different capacity 3 for more than a quarter of a century, while a third studied
medicine, built up a large practice and ha- been coroner for two or three

The first lodge of Ancienl Free and Accepted Masons was constituted
July 21. 1855, under the name of Bluff City Lodge. No. 71. It.- first master
was L. L. Brown, the other officers were Dr. J'. .1. McMahon, Judge Samuel H.
Riddle, Samuel Ruepper, A. \V. Hollister, J. C. Fargo and Dr. S. W. Wil-
liams. Among the earliest members were Joseph Weirich, W. W. Maynard,
Judge A. V. Larimer. John Keller. Indue \V. <\ .lame-, Guy Benton and
Leonard Sears.

Among the buildings erected this year was the Phoenix Block, a three-
story brick on Upper Broadway, in which a large stock of goods were kept by
Babbitl & Robinson, the former being the owner. The United State- land
office was in the second story, with I.. W. Babbitt as register and L. S. Hills
his deputy.

Another old citizen that must not 1 verlooked was .Judge A. S. Bryan .

He came here during the Mormon occupation and, although nol a Mormo
himself, was very popular with them, as well as with everyone thai knei
him, as was also Ids wife, Aunt Puss, as all her friends called her. This
venerable couple lived for several year- after their golden wedding. 'I
had no children. As early as L852 be was elected to the legislature bj tl
Mormon vote, though, as before stated, he was oo< one himself. His im
ments proved profitable. He became quite wealthy, built two hotel- at dif-
ferent times, became interested in stores, laid oul and platted Bryant and
Clark's addition to Council Bluffs, and was also interested in a .-tone quarn
in Sarpy county, Nebraska. Although from Missouri, he was strongly anti-
slavery, and when the republican party was bun he cast his lot with it and
continued to act with it to the end of his days.

The winter of L855-6 was much colder than the one preceding it, and a
Mr. Barret, of Crescent township, being overtaken by a storm on the i
prairie, was frozen to death.

In the spring of 1856, at the city election. 1>. W. Price, dem
was elected mayor; J. E. Johnson, J. B. Lewis. .Tame- Orton, J. T. Baldwin
W. C. James, J. I). Test. Patrick Murphy and G. A. Robinson were i
aldermen; city recorder, F. E. Welch: marshal, II. D. Harl; treasurer B


Stutsman: engineer, Samuel Jacobs; assessor, David DeVol; city attorney.
R. L. Douglas.

This was a boom year. The great rush for California and Salt Lake
was over, but quite a large number were moving in for permanent settle-
ment. The counties adjoining us were settling up, as well as those across
the river. Boats arrived and departed almost daily, while the Great Western
Stage Company ran a tri-weekly line of four-horse coaches to and from
Des Moines, and there was a like line to and from St. Joseph, and a two-
horse hack line to Sioux City, while II. D. Harl ran a line of four-horse
buses to and from Omaha, going west in the forenoon and back in the
afternoon. Fare, fifty cents each way. These ran in connection with the
steam ferry boat Lizz Bayliss. Buyers came in from within a radius of sixty
or peventy miles, and trade' was good. The building up of Omaha had
necessitated an upper landing, giving us two, as the lower, where Manawa
now is, was still used. What would strike a stranger on arriving was the
inferior class of building-. Lumber was scarce and dear, and people were
compelled to make those vacated by the Mormons do, although a few brick
buildings were beginning to be in evidence. The city was moving west. A
brick three-story block was just completed. This consisted of four store-
rooms, which were being filled with large stocks of goods. This was called
the Empire Block and occupied the ground on the south side of Broadway,
between Main and -Pearl streets. Two of these firms had been in business
up town for years. Officer & Pusey had built a one-story frame on the corner
of Main and Broadway and had opened their bank. Thus a nucleus of
business was formed near the Pacific House and a great rivalry was the
result between up town and down town, which became so fierce as to affect
the people socially and resulted in up town and down town parties, balls, etc.
Horace Everett had opened his real estate office on the southwest corner of
Broadway and Pearl and the banking house of Green. Ware & Benton
was located about a hundred feet west in a brick two-story building. Dr. Enos
Lowe. United States receiver, having his office in the second story. Finley
Gusman had opened a drug store west of Officer & Pusey's bank and Dillin
& Doughty opened one during the summer next to the Pacific House, and
Henn, Williams & HoUten had started a bank next west of it. Also a dry
goods store was started on the corner of Scott street by B. B. Brown.
Casady & Test had opened their office at the angle where Hamilton Shoe
Store now stands. The business was divided nearly enough equally to make
the rivalry quite interesting, while between the two there were about two
squares of neutral ground without stores and but few dwellings. The
Phoenix block on Broadway, near First street, had been built and was occu-
pied by Babbit & Robinson with a large stock of goods. The postoffice, court-
house and land office were up town. Council Bluffs at this time contained
perhaps about three thousand people, but was doing the business of towns of
eight or ten thousand. There were five banks, and a tenderfoot on seeing
a little frame or log shanty with BANK in large letters would feel like
laughing, but if he went in he would see a big safe open and displaying
more gold and silver than he could carry. Similarly in passing an old log


house a feeling of compassion would steal over him for the poor inhabitants
of the wretched abode, but what would be his surprise on seeing elegantly
dressed ladies leaving, and as the door opened disclosing elegant furniture
and carpets, and perhaps hearing the notes of the piano, of which there
were now three or four in the city.

But, owing to lack of building material, it was the best they could do,
and most of them seemed to really enjoy it. The house first occupied by
General Dodge, and where his first child was born, was one of thLs kind.
A six-foot man could not enter the front door without stooping, the floor was
of puncheons, the roof of .-bakes, and for inside finish it was lined with
cheap muslin, and it is quite probable they enjoyed it as much as any they
have since occupied.

We will -tart from the postoffice, a story-and-half log house, with the
Bugle office on the upper floor and Dan Carpenter working the old hand
press. This was on North First street, where Ex-mayor Vi< Jennings now
lives, and going south the next house i- the Yankee Notion, a kind of res-
taurant, then two or three dwellings, the grocery store of Mr. Clough and
some warehouses and the bookstore of Sanford A: Craig, where the Zaller
store now is, brings us to Broadway. Crossing, we come to the Ocean Wave
Saloon, and. although the glory of California emigration time- has
departed, it is still a pretty hard proposition, and the waves ran pretty high
al time-. Next to the Wave i< the jewelry store of Charles Luemler, the
drug store of X. T. Spoor, the general store of K. 1'. Snow, the stove and
tinware store of R. D. Amy. a ball alley and the large log boarding house of
Mrs. Amy brine.- u- n, Pierce street, and from here south are only dwellings.
Go another square south and cross over to the west side and we come to the
old log courthouse and cottonwood jail, then the Union Hotel, a huge log
partly weatherhoarded. and kept by YV. L. Biggs. A dozen or so of dwellings
bring us back to corner of Broadway, where we find the store of Thomas
Henshal. Going west on the south side we come to Sam Perrin's real estate
office, the Phoenix Saloon, -inre of Huntington & Pyper, stove 3tore of Milton
Roger-, county judge'- office, real, estate office of Louden Mullen, jewelry
store of Mr. Harris, and we come to the Robinson House, another huge log
partly weatherboarded and kept by <!. A. Robinson, a clothing -tore, drug
-tore of Emanuel Honn, Daguerrean gallery of .lob Damon, Broad Gauge
Saloon. This brings us to the Chronotype office. A few -mall dwellings
brings us to the City Hotel, another log, with long porch in which is a huge
triangle for calling guests to meal-. This i- where the Ogden House now
stands. Crossing, we come to the residence of A. ('. Ford. We now strike
the neutral belt, in which we find the law office of Judge A. V. Larimer, some
.-mall buildings, one of which had been used for Rev. Bice'- mission, and
find Thomas Tostevin's office on the angle formed by Broadway and Fourth,
or. a- it was called. Bancroft. Crossing over, we are supposed to be down

town. Here, where the ten-cent and two or thn ther .-ions were, was

the lumber yard of Keller & Bennett, and one or two shops bring us to
Guittar's Indian store, where the Pierce -hoe store now i<. Crossing Alain,
we come t,i the Flephatit store of Tootle & Jackson in the Empire block


the store of George Doughty, hardware store of C. J. Fox and general store of
McBride & Bowen brings us to Pearl. Crossing, we find Horace Everett in a
one-story frame where the oigar store now i-. the offices of Addison Cochran,
R. L. Douglas and J. M. Palmer, bank of Green, Ware & Benton, residences
of Joseph Bayliss and W. II. Robinson, Washington Hotel and some small
houses bring us to Sixth. Crossing, on 'the corner is the residence of Samuel
Jacobs, next the little brick of Enos Lowe. This is one of the claimants
for the distinction of being the first brick building. Both of these were
torn down to make room for the postoffice. Keeping west, we find the resi-
dence of R. L. Douglas, a story-and-half house, and on southwest corner of
Eighth street a little brick built by Moses Shinn brings us to the end on
that side. We will now return to the northwest corner of Broadway and
First, and take in the north side. On the corner is (lie brick store of Stuts-
man & Donnel, still standing and having a good trade; next Babbitt & Rob-
inson, with United States land office in second story, store of C. Voorhis,
a long frame sometimes called the Rope Walk, meat market of Debolt &
Ponder, bank of Baldwin & Dodge, barber shop of Robert Russcl. bank of
Pegram & Riddle, a dry goods store, drug store of J. Hann, grocery store of
Patrick Murphy, a saloon, H. D. Harl's bus office, harness shop of J. B. Lewis,
grocery store of John Poolman; Woodbine saloon and one or two small shops
bring us to Second street. Crossing, we conic to the Nebraska Hall saloon,
Beebee's hall and dwelling. Meridith's novelty works. Hepner and Graves liv-
ery stable, Noak's liquor store, S. N. Porteiiield's furniture store. Stein's res-
taurant, Oliver's tailor shop. We now come to the neutral belt with the
dwelling of Mrs. Brown and her daughter, Mrs. Perry, who is one of the
claimants for the distinction of bringing the first piano. A dwelling, and car-
penter shop of James Larue, bring us to the down town boundaries. Here
we strike the law and real estate office of Casady & Test, a saloon of .lames
Orton. another hard proposition, on the corner where the State Savings Bank
now is, and we come to Main street. Crossing, we take in the bank of Officer

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 59)