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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Indian Troubles!

We have talked a lot about a lot of things. Some of which are dry, statistics, however, they were important to note of the early settlers.
Today we are going to talk about Indian Troubles, of which one of my ancestors had some interaction years and years ago.
Remember again, please that the words I type are the words that I am reading from this old old encyclopedia.
By a treaty made between the United States and the Sioux Indians, July 15, 1815, almost three-quarters of a century ago, this tribe was duly considered at peace with the whites.  Their treat made at Portage des Sioux of Minnesota and Upper Iowa, by William Clark and Ninan Edwards, Indian Commissioners, was merely a treaty of peace and friendship on the part of these Indians toward the United States Government at the termination of the War of 1812.
We now come to speak of the Great Spirit Lake Massacre of 1857, which, even after thirty years, sends a thrill of terror through one's veins. Its history is too well known and recorded in various Iowa historical works to be enlarged upon here, only so far as the causes which, indirectly, lead to it and to causes which, indirectly lead to it and to immediate effect it had upon the settlement of Cherokee County.  After carefully studying these causes, it must be said that the imprudence and bad faith of our white race brought on that series of depredations and inhuman outrages which finally culminated in the Spirit Lake trouble, causing data for one of the bloodies chapter in the history of Indian ferocity. If the whites at no other time broke faith with the treat made to the Indians in July, 1815 in this one instance they did. Not as a government, by any means, but personally was this too true.  While there is more of poetry and romance regarding the truly noble and honorable conduct of Lo! the poor Indian that of real truth, yet it must be admitted that even a civilized, Christian people have from time to time acted in bad faith and virtually forfeited all protection and right under their various treaties of peace.
Sometime during the month of February, 1857, a hunting party of Sioux Indians passed down the Little Sioux River.  They made a short but quite friendly stop at the Cherokee settlement and then proceeded to Smithland, in Woodbury County.  Here the whites demanded of the Indians where they were journeying and insisted on knowing something concerning their business before allowing them to go by.  The Sioux replied that they were going down to shake hands with the Omahas; at this the whites made the Indians give up their guns---which is to the savage what virtue is to a woman--the last thing she will compromise.  Their surrendering arms enrages the Indian band, who turned upstream breathing vengeance upon the whites. White men stole their guns and now white men must make restitution, which would only be satisfied in the sacrifice of human blood.
Consequently they entered every cabin home, insulting the helpless inmates and taking what guns they possessed.  Arriving at Cherokee, furious with passion for the wrongs they had sustained, they acted in a brutal manner. What arms they had picked up before arriving at this point were directed against the settlers to frighten them into giving up more and also to suffer and indignity that an uncivilized race might conceive of. Cattle were stolen and scanty provisions seized and devoured by them, standing the while with cocked guns to enforce any command.  They remained feasting for three days, seeming to debate whether to murder the whole settlement or not.  These were the longest days and nights ever experience by the "colony".
The experiences of these poor people are hard to imagine. Comparing those to the folks in the Middle East is the only way I can imagine it.
Next time we will continue on with more Indian and settler problems. (Problems) sound like such a weak word doesn't it?


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Education Part 4

This chapter is about the education that my mother and grandmother took part in at one point; The Normal Institute.

By an act passed by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa in 1873, the county superintendents were required to commence and each year hold a teachers' institute at some convenient point in each county, for the drill of those who were teachers or who intended to teach.

The design was to furnish teachers an opportunity to review and enlarge their knowledge of the branches to be taught, to acquaint themselves with improved methods of instruction, etc; also to awaken an increased desire for self-improvement in knowledge and skill and power to control others, and to give them more confidence and ability in managing the affairs of the public schools.  For the purpose of defraying the expenses incident to such gatherings, the institute fund was created, to which the State pays $50 a year, the balance being made up by the $100 examination fees paid to the superintendent. While there is no law compelling teachers to attend these Normal Institutes, yet each applicant for  teacher's certificate is required to give good and sufficient reason for not being in attendance.
These Normals have always been well attended and admirably conducted by superior instructors.  It is owing to this fact, with others, that the grade of teachers in this county is what we find it today-high in point of excellence. The teachers go forth from their training school, and profiting by what they have learned from the experience of others, they are better fitted to do good service in their own school room.
In conclusion, it may be added that the schools of our country have wonderfully improved since our fathers and mothers were school children. While the old log cabin school room with its puncheon floor and rough slabs for seats, and the back log brightly burning in the fireplace, afforded much for the pen of the poet, we are only too glad to be educated in a milder manner.  The easy school desks and seats, the light, warm and airy school house of today, are a decided improvement.  The poet may sing of the vine and the brook, and our fathers may tell of the fearful flogging they had in the eastern and middle states; of the teacher "boarding around," and schools paid for by subscription, but give us the modern Iowa public school system, wherein boys and girls are managed by intellect and not by brute force, and where all may be educated by a public fund.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Education Part 3

The county was provided with 132 frame and two brick school buildings 134, which valued at $92,555, Apparatus, $3,961/
Indeed this a true record, which any county in the Union of forty-two states cannot excel and of which any may well be proud  "A school house on every hill top and no saloon within the valleys!"
Great has been the change and material improvement in education facilities in Iowa since Cherokee County was first settled.  And it is a pleasing fact to record, that the lady teachers are ardent, successful competitors in the race as instructors.  Women's vallue was seen impressed on the mind of our General Assemblies years ago, and finally culminated in that enactment which grants woman the next right to that of casting a ballot- namely, the right to be ballotted for. 
In Iowa now. a lady can hold the important offices of recorder of deeds, school superintendent, school director, etc.  In justice to her sex it should be said that the books of record, reports, etc. of the ladies who have been elected to such offices, have been especially well kept.  Iowa has been generous in enacting laws for the advancement of women, and now woman is doing her part nobly toward purifying politics.  It will be observed by a glance at the report given above that all of the teachers in the hundred and thirty schools in Cherokee County are women, except sixty seven.
Two hundred and one ladies teaching in the public schools of this county!
Again, no finer set of county records can be found in all Iowa than those now being kept by Miss Eva L. Gregg, the efficient lady superintendent of schools in Cherokee County, whose efforts are advancing the educational matters of the county to a high degree.
My mother and grandmother were both teachers for a short time before they married in Cherokee.  In those days, my mother told me that ladies were supposed to be teachers, married or bookkeepers, NEVER a nurse that which my mother wanted to be. My mother did go to school when she was in her fifties to become a nurse.
I thought I would insert a photo of Helen Keller, age 8 and her teacher, Anne Sullivan. I think that Helen's teacher signifies the importance of all teachers. In my blog a few years ago I wrote about favorite teachers. Mine was Miss Fransisco. She always had a smile and above all patience with a little girl that just could not "get" long division. Helen Keller was so disabled that without Anne I am sure, she would have withered away into herself.
Next time we will talk about Normal Schools for those that were for teachers or for those that wanted to teach.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Educational Part 2

It is conceded by all thinking minds that the safety and perpetuity of our highly prized republican institutions depend upon the diffusion of intelligence among the masses of the people--for we are a self-governed people. The statistics from prisons and almshouses throughout our American domain furnish the most abundant proof that education is the best and cheapest care for crime and pauperism.  Again, education is the great equalizer of human rights and conditions. It places the poor and the rich on a more even footing, both social and legally.  It subjects the evil passions and morbid appetites of the rich to the restraint of sense and reason, and thus prepares the two classes for positions of usefulness and honor. Every consideration, therefore, impels us to sustain and improve our common-school system to the highest possible degree of efficiency.
Not unlike their Puritan ancestors, the little band known as the Milford Colony, together with the Ohio Colony, who effected the first settlement in Cherokee 
County, forgot not the benefits of the public schools, but at once established the same here in Iowa.
They came to the State when every act of the Legislature, for a series of years, tended to foster and encourage the public schools.
The Twelfth section of the act of Congress, establishing the Territory of Iowa shall enjoy all the rights and privileges hitherto granted to the domain of Wisconsin , from which it was taken."
This then brings us within the rights given by the third article of the ordinance granted by Congress July 13 1787--"That religious, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind,schools and all the means of education shall be forever encouraged." 
The people of Cherokee County have ever been in accord with these broad and liberal views concerning educational matters.
The "book" gives pages of reports of voting by township for the record by the School Superintendent Miss Eval L. Gregg's Annual Report made in October 31, 1888.
Next time we will visit about the males and females attending and what the school houses materials were made of.


Friday, February 27, 2015


This next post to me, is hysterical.  I am going to stereotype for a minute, but in my mind's eye I see a sweet tiny lady with a bun on the top of her head, a pencil behind her ear, a high neck long sleeve blouse and a long dress. I can almost smell the ink in the presses and see the old wooden floors.
Ok, from now on, I am going to show quotes from the book exactly how the author says them. You, I am sure, will love this. Now remember, this is an encyclopedia.
"As well informed as scholars are in this the noon-day of the nineteenth century, none are well enough versed in ancient day history to trace out the first school system (if such it may have been styled), that at the very dawn of civilization and human intelligence undertook to instruct the young. It appears like some fixed star, which has been for ages lost in the far-away sky of mythology and is today obscure in the shadows of the dim and misty past.  We Know something of the history of the schools of old Babylon, at least 3,000 years before the advent of the Christian era---schools of medicine-schools of science--even in the Chinese Empire.  We have a fair idea of the schools in Egypt in Moses' time, and the schools and lyceums of Greece, back to the siege of Troy.  However, but comparatively little is now known of the mode of teaching in those earlier days, and not until the fifteenth century does it appear there was much in the way of intelligent effort toward the instruction of the masses.The history of education has been a varied one.  The Puritans had no sooner landed and established themselves on the wave-washed and stormy coast of a wild New England shore than they planted the precious seeds, the germ of which is the vital part of our great free public school system.  These seeds  were sown deep, and  roots were far-reaching and sufficiently strong to enable them to endure the storms and trials of two and a half centuries, yet unshaken, not disturbed or interrupted in its onward course, or in the least caused to lesson its grip on the free and native soil.
This system, with such modifications as time and surroundings dictated, was brought from that far-away shore the land of our forefathers, where they turned their faces toward the setting sun; and some of these precious seeds, thus sown, have found lodge-ment in the great State of Iowa, which today ranks first in point of education among the galaxy of forty-two brilliant State-stars, now comprising our Union!"
For now I will quit quoting the "book".  The author goes on some more about the prized subject of Education. We will continue next time about that and our Cherokee County education.
Just a thought about how the internet would write about the education of Cherokee County and it's origin. 

Monday, February 23, 2015


Good morning!  It is so good to be back. On my second cup of coffee, all propped up on my chair, ready to go.  Today's topic is fun. Especially the way the "book"  phrases everything.
The political history of a country is always one of general interest, and especially is this true in a free land, where in the eyes of the law all are upon an equality, where it has been show that even the humblest  the rail splitter or the tow path boy can attain the highest honor within the gift of the American people. We delight to see merit rewarded;  we are pleased with the onward progress of one from the  walks of life, as step by step he mounts the ladder of fame. Every citizen has a kind of political ambition, and while he may never reach the highest pinnacle, there is a possibility that his children may.
There is an excitement about a political campaign which nearly every American citizen rather enjoys, and although personalities are often indulged in, as a general thing all yield gracefully to the verdict of the people, a majority vote, and submit themselves to the "powers that be".
The political history of Cherokee County is more fully and much more authentically shown in giving the abstract of votes for the various years than in any other manner.  The county has been Republican by large majorities ever since its organization; yet at times Democrats and Independent nominees have been elected by virtue of their own popularity, or at times by cross-fights between regular candidates in the county conventions.
It should here be recorded that with but few exceptions the Government affairs of Cherokee County have been well  taken care of. The bleak, wild prairies of   1856, when the Government survey was completed, have been developed; the angry and deceiving streams, which so greatly harassed the early settlers, have been bridged at numerous points; over 100 school buildings adorn the landscape and value to the county; over 2000 acres of artificial timber have been planted and cultivated; railroads have crossed and re-crossed the territory.  The prairie wilderness has been dotted with enterprising towns and cities, until today, standing thirty three years distant from the landing of the pioneer colony, we look out upon a fruitful, valuable landscape of agriculture, and observe the coming and going of upward of 16,000 prosperous and contented people.
There were many pages of votes cast for each township and I will not write those down, however, I will add something interesting here. There was a special election held June 27, 1882 the question as to whether the following should become an amendment to the 
State constitution of Iowa.:
No person shall manufacture for sale, or sell, or keep for sale, as a beverage, any intoxicating liquor whatsoever, including ale, wine and beer.
I can't help but think of all the old western movies and Victorian novels I have read where, wine, beer, and port were an everyday thing. I checked the votes and Cherokee Township was overwhelmingly positive no liquor!
Next time we will talk about educational things and issues for Cherokee County.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Church Property 1885

According to the record made in the State census of 1885, Cherokee County had the following religious denominations:  The same also gives value of church property (church buildings) and the seating capacity of each building belonging to the same:
Baptist, church property $2500 seating capacity 200.
Adventists church property $4000 seating capacity 200.
Christians, church property, $2500 seating capacity, 200.
Congregationalists, church property, $8,800 seating capacity 750.
Episcopal, church property, $2000 seating capacity, 175.
Methodist, church property, $18,980, seating capacity, 1520.
Presbyterian, church property, $7,000 seating capacity 350.
Roman Catholic church property, $13,800 seating capacity, 650.
Total church edifice property, $50,750.  Total seating capacity, 4,225. I realize that these numbers are for the whole county, but they are amazing to me. It just shows how important that religion was to these folks.
"Going to Church" not only provided spiritual solace, but a place to socialize with their neighbors, and for the children to picnic and play games after services. Many parents did not take no for an answer or "I'm too tired." 
The ministers were poorly paid, so the parish invited them to meals, carried meals to them as well as things from their gardens etc.
My grandmother's family Bible holds records for generations of deaths, baptisms, marriages, etc. It is huge and the pages are fragile. Hopefully, someone in my family will want to care for it. It is especially beautiful at Christmas time, because it has colorful pictures in it.
The next chapter in the book is boring to me. It tells about plats of land that are defunct and made active etc. 
So the subject that we will think about are the politics of the county. Fun chapter.
See you next time!