Iowa News from across the
- 1919 -
Caldwell, Noble co., Ohio
January 1, 1919
Floyd SHEPPARD and wife, of Prescott, Iowa, are visiting his brother, Gilmore and wife.
[transcribed by J.F., Sept. 2003]
Noble County Leader
Caldwell, Noble co. Ohio
Wednesday, January 1, 1919
Litutenant Guy WILKINSON, a member of the Fifth regiment, Second division of the marines, who was in the famous battle of Chateau-Thierry, along with Adison CLEARY, Edward HARTLEY, Forest RACEY, Dean BOWRON and Erwin DANFORD, Noble county boys, was recently greeted by a large audience in the Caldwell Presbyterian church. Seated on the platform with him were First Lieutenant BLAKE, of Fort Dodge, Iowa; Second Lieutenant Donald HARKINS, of Camp Hancock, Georgia; Corporal James McADAMS, of the Ohio Military Training school at Cincinnati, and Seaman BATES, of the Athens Training School. Lieutenant WILKINSON tell an interesting story of the Chateau-Thierry battle which lasted eighteen days and in which he was wounded in the left arm. Noble county is certainly proud of all her boys who participated in this noted engagement.
[transcribed by J.F., Sept. 2003]
January 13, 1919
Washington, Jan 13 -- Names of three officers and 160 enlisted men of the army, who have been reported returned to France from German prison camps and hospitals were made public today by the war department. the enlisted men include: S.E. Bert Little, Dunnegan, Mo; James E. O'Hara, Lineville, Ia; Walter H. Henry, Eldorado, Ill; Bert M. Grimes, Whitehall, Ill; Richard J. Capstick, Panama, Ill; Joseph B. Skidmore, Westervelt, Ill; Henry W. Ulrich, Grand Chain, Ill; Burton R. Ryan, Cambria, Ia; Herschell Scott, Mound City, Ill; Joe Scully, Ottumwa, Ia; Glen A. Hagen, Waukon, Ia; Fred. E. Hanson, Crys-Waukon, Ia [note: typed as in article]; Alfred Zygmund, Madison, Ill; David C. Young, Green Valley, Ill; John L.W. Klinker, Deloit, Ia; Charles J. Carlson, Charles, Ill; Nelson E. Challe, Chicago.
[transcribed by S.F., August 2006]
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
March 10, 1919
Funeral Services for Mrs. Leary Tomorrow
Mrs. William H. Leary, wife of William H. Leary, dean of the University of Utah law school, died Friday as a result of an operation. Mrs. Leary was born in Sioux City, Ia., the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Lynch. She was a graduate of the University of Iowa and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa. She was also a school teacher in her native town after her graduation from college. Mr. and Mrs. Leary were married six years ago. She is survived by five small children, besides her parents and her husband. The funeral will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Cathedral of the Madeline, where requiem high mass will be sung. The Rev. W.J. Flynn will officiate, while the honorary pallbearers will be members of the dean's council. They are Dr. J.A. Widtsoe, Dr. Kingsbury, Dr. James Gibson, Dr. Snow, Dr. M. Bennion and Dr. Joseph Merrill. The parents of the deceased will be in attendance from Sioux City, Ia. Interment will be in Calvary cemetery.
[note: full name is Alice Marie Leary; transcribed by S.F., August 2015]
July 12, 1919
STORIES of AMERICAN CITIES
Red Cross Canteen Wedding Eloquently Pictured
Chicago - Married at 3 p.m. in the Red Cross canteen; Miss Luella Irene Powell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Powell of Casey, Ia., to Sergt. Don T. Deal of Cedar Rapids. Let Elmer Douglas, the staff photographer, tell of the wedding which was celebrated at the lake front hut. Elmer was there. He took the pictures, he ate some of the wedding cake, and, did he kiss the bride? We pause for a reply.
"You see the bridegroom passed through Chicago some time ago on his way back to Iowa when he got out of the war," says Elmer. "The Red Cross girls gave him such a good time in the canteen that he thought he'd like to spend the happiest day of his life there. So he wrote and asked them if he couldn't come back and be married there and they said yes. Sergeant Deal is going to be a high school teacher at Fort Dodge, Ia.
"By cracky! it was the prettiest wedding I ever saw. So sweet and simple and everybody was so nice. the had all the fills, too, you can bet. The bride was dressed beautifully with white dress, a big bunch of flowers, and a veil, and everyting. First, though, I must tell you how the Red Cross girls all lined up, a double row, for the couple to pass between. Maj. S.C. Stanton of the Red Cross gave the bride away and then he lent her his beautiful gold sword to cut the wedding cake with. One of the Red Cross ladies had baked it, and it was some cake. It's the first time they've ever had a wedding in a Red Cross canteen."
[transcribed by S.F., Sept 2007]
July 19, 1919
Soldier Sues the Government
Sioux City, Ia. - Leo L. Covey, of Cherokee, Iowa, who was seriously wounded at Chateau Thierry, has filed suit in the federal court here against the United States government for $22,950.40 damages alleged to have been guaranteed him under the war risk insurance act.
[transcribed by S.F., Sept 2007]
July 29, 1919
Dr. Edna W. Brown, of Gilmore, Iowa, is visiting Mr. and Mrs. M.H. Whitcomb at their home on Park Hill. Dr. Brown has been engaged for the past year as a surgeon in the war prison barracks, at Fort Oglethorpe. She expects to spend some time here before returning home.
[transcribed by S.F., April 2006]
September 16, 1919
Mrs. Maggie Frank and daughter, Juanita, little son, Leslie, and Mrs. Fannie Hale and daughter Beulah, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, are visiting Mrs. J.H. Murphy, of Bloomingdale, Tenn. They visited Kingsport Saturday, accompanied by J.H. Murphy. They will leave Saturday for their home at Fort Dodge.
[transcribed by S.F., April 2006]
St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul, Minnesota
September 23, 1919
SLAYS WIFE WITH AX, SURRENDERS
South St. Paul Man Splits Womans Head After Beating Her With Heavy Iron
DIVORCE ACTION THOUGHT CAUSE OF ATTACK
Slayer Goes Immediately After Crime to Police and Confesses Guilt -- Rushed
to County Jail.
John Schwarz, an employee of a South St. Paul packing plant, slew his wife
with an ax yesterday afternoon following a series of quarrels which had
culminated the day before in the serving of divorce papers on the husband.
Schwarz went directly from his little cottage at Sixth avenue and Dwane
street, South St. Paul, to the police station and confessed his crime. The
facts were verified by Patrolman Andrew Robinson and Coroner J.B. Lewis, and
an hour after the slaying Schwarz had pleaded guilty to first degree murder
before Municipal Court Judge Schulz and was on his way to the Dakota County
jail in Hastings.
Joe Kahlstorf, father of Mrs. Schwarz, and who is well known in St. Paul,
having on many occasions impersonated Uncle Sam in festivals and pageants,
declared last night that the couple had quarreled almost since the day of
their marriage five years ago. Kahlstorf gave Schwarz and his wife the
little cottage for a home as a wedding present on condition that they permit
him to live with them during his life time, he said. Less than a week after
the wedding Schwarz began to abuse his bride and to complain about the
father living with them, Kahlstorf asserted. This was the cause of nearly
all their quarrels, the father said.
Wields Heavy Iron Bar
Recently the wife decided that she could no longer live with Schwarz and
started divorce proceedings. Wednesday the papers were served.
At 4:30 P.M. yesterday, Schwarz left the packing plant and went home. He
found his wife canning fruit in the kitchen. Schwarz did not speak to her,
but went to all the doors and windows and made them secure. Then he went to
a tool kit in a kitchen cupboard and selected the iron stand for a shoemakers
last. With this he approached his wife.
Then he upbraided her for seeking a divorce. The wife replied angrily.
Schwarz swung the iron bar and felled her. The woman staggered to her feet,
sank to her knees again and then dragged herself, dazed and bleeding to the
little bedroom at one side of the kitchen.
Schwarz threw the bar into a corner and unlocking the back door, rushed to
the barn, fifty feet away. He returned on the run with an ax. He found his
wife half conscious, attempting to crawl from the floor to the bed. She
turned and gazed in terror at him. He swung the ax full over his head and
brought it down on her forehead. Her head was cleaved nearly to the
shoulders when the police found the body.
Tossing the ax on the bed, Schwarz left the cottage and walked directly to
the police station.
The Dakota county grand jury now is holding a special session and it may
take up the case at once, Chief Chelburg said last night.
Schwarz Native of Austria
Schwarz who is 32 years old, is a native of Austria. Mrs. Schwarz was 30
years old. She had been married when she was 15 years old to Chris Herman
who then lived in St. Paul. They were divorced six years ago and Herman now
has their 14 year-old son with him in Mason City, Iowa. She had no children
Schwarz, according to Kahlstorf, frequently had threatened to kill his wife,
and three years ago lined up an array of five knives on a table with the
avowed intention of using them to end her life, but was dissuaded from his
The body of Mrs. Schwarz was taken to Hurleys undertaking rooms on order of
Coroner Lewis. It is probable that funeral services will take place from the
German Lutheran church in South St. Paul and that the body will be sent to
her former home in Clayton county, Iowa, for burial.
South St. Paul Daily Reporter
St. Paul, Minnesota
September 26, 1919
Life Term in State Prison Before South Park Man Who Killed Pretty Wife With Ax
John Schwarz Rushed to County Seat After Committing One of Most Brutal Murders in History of State at Family Home on Dwane Street and Sixth Avenue North Thursday EveningHis Ill Treatment of Wife Lead Latter to Seek Divorce This WeekWoman Struck Down in Cold Blood as She Prepared Evening Meal.Bound Over to Grand Jury
With a signed confession of the killing of his young wife at their home here last night in the possession of Judge W.A. Schultz of the municipal court, John Schwarz will await the regular term of the Dakota county grand jury. This special term called to consider the case of the three Mendota bandits was adjourned last night after indictments of robbery in the first degree were returned against the trio and the court will not be convened again in special session, it was stated by district court officials today. Relatives of the deceased woman are arranging funeral plans today. Services will be held from the home at South Park at 7 p.m. Saturday, after which the body will be removed to Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa, the old family home, for burial. Carrying out in most ghastly manner an oft-repeated threat, John Schwarz, a local packinghouse employee last night killed his beautiful young wife, Fredena Kahlstorf Schwarz, 30, at their home at Sixth avenue north and Dwane street, South Park and then went directly to the South St. Paul jail and surrendered himself to Dan Luey, Jailer. The deed which was committed shortly after 5 oclock last evening, was the sequel to more than five years of bullying and threats which had finally forced the wife to serve papers in a divorce suit charging cruel and inhuman treatment against the man early this week. Resentment of her action in doing this or her unwillingness to convey to him the major share of their property in the divorce settlement are believed to have been the immediate cause of the murderous frenzy which seized him when he returned from his days work, and led him to commit the terrible crime. Back of that, however, lies a record of ill treatment and terrorizing of the wife extending almost from the date of their marriage over five years ago, according to Joe Kahlstorf, father of the murdered woman who has lived with the couple for years and who is familiarly known in South St. Paul as Uncle Sam which character he has impersonated on a number of public and patriotic occasions.
Father Relates Story
Circumstances and events leading up to the tragedy were related to a representative of the REPORTER last night by the aged father at the scene of the murder where the bloody evidences of the crime remained in all their sickening freshness. In brief it seems to have been a case where the ungrateful and brutal husband had wished to have his father-in-law removed from their home, which the latter had deeded to the couple soon after their marriage on condition that they should provide him shelter the remainder of his life. Schwarz began to show ill will towards his wifes father very soon after the latter had taken up his abode with them and since tried in every conceivable way to drive him out. Mr. Kahlstorf had long since discontinued eating with them but retained a room there so as not to forfeit his legal rights to care during his life, and his daughter had undertaken to keep the agreement with her father as best she could.
The husbands motive in wishing his father-in-law our of the house seems partly to have been to gain full possession of the property, but more particularly to have no one about who might have knowledge of the manner in which he abused his wife. This theory is supported by the fact that he also tried to oust two roomers from the house on several occasions after he suspected that they had heard him brow-beating and threatening his wife. On several occasions the father said that Schwarz had told his wife that he would kill her and on one occasion about three years ago Schwarz is said to have laid five knives out on a table to emphasize these threats. Both the woman and her father had lived in terror of the man and had found it necessary on previous occasions to appeal to the authorities, although so successfully did Schwarz cover up his actions and so thoroughly did he have the others in his household in fear of him that the immediate neighbors had no inkling that there was anything wrong. The latter as a consequence found the tragedy at their doors almost unbelievable.
Neighbors Praise Woman
Mrs. Schwarz enjoyed the reputation of being a splendid neighbor, a hard working and dutiful wife and of unimpeachable character, being industrious and thrifty to an unusual degree. At the time the first blow was struck last night she was in the act of putting up preserves and fruit for the coming winter, the kitchen table and stove being covered with jars and kettles with jell and jam in various stages of completion.A pan of water in which she had placed a number of potatoes preparatory to peeling them for the evening meal was also on the table while in an adjoining room a large rack of freshly ironed clothes, spotless except for the bloodstains she left in falling past them, indicated how busy she had been during the afternoon with her household duties. The rooms were immaculately clean and showed she had prided herself on making her home pleasant and comfortable.
Schwarz own story of the crime was to the effect that he went home from his work in the ham trimming department of Swift & Companys plant, went into the house, locked the doors and windows and demanded of his wife that she give up the house and three lots and about $900 which she had in the Stock Yards National bank. This she refused to do and he then said he would kill her. Proceeding immediately to carry out his threat, he grabbed the iron standard of a shoemakers last which stood beside the kitchen door and struck her over the head with it. The blow partially stunned her and as she staggered through the dinning-room and into a bed-room in the front of the house, he ran to the barn about three rods distant and obtained an axe.
Strikes Fatal Blow
Returning to the house he found her semi-conscious and cowering in the bed-room and struck her in the forehead with the axe, cutting the skull open and causing instant death. He then left the house and walked to the jail, on Grand Avenue and asked Jailer Lucy to lock him up, stating that he had killed his wife. Following Schwarz surrender, he made a signed statement concerning the affair to the above effect before Judge W.A. Schultz and Thos Kennedy, notary. His story was verified practically through the investigation made by Coroner J. B. Lewis and Patrolman Andy Robinson who went to the scene. Coroner Lewis ordered the body removed to the Hurley Undertaking establishment on the West Side. He had not decided late today whether to hold an inquest. Patrolman Robinson and Jailer Lucy took Schwarz to the county jail. The penalty for murder in the first degree is life imprisonment in Minnesota. The prisoner took the situation very calmly as he was being removed to the county jail.
Woman Twice Wed
Mrs. Schwarz had been married twice, the first time to Christ Herman who married her in St. Paul when she was 15 years old after having taken her from the family home which was then in Stevens county, Minnesota. A son was born to them and later the woman obtained a divorce, the father keeping the child who is now believed to be in the vicinity of Mason City, Iowa. Mrs. H.J. Bernstengel (Birnstengel), who resides one block north of the Schwarz home at South Park, is the only sister of the murdered woman and Henry Kahlstorf of LaPorte, Minnesota is her only brother. Mr. Bernstengel (Birnstengel) who is in South Dakota and Mr. Kahlstorf have been sent for and are expected to arrive tomorrow.Mrs. Schwarz is thought to have had considerable money of her own in addition to the several hundred dollars which she and her husband had in a joint account in a local bank. The husband wrote a check last night after the crime so as to make it possible for relatives to get the money for funeral and other expenses.
[transcribed by E.W., July 2007]
Breckenridge, Summit co. Colorado
October 11, 1919
Hidden Fortune Has Lured Men to Toil for Half Century on Iowa Farm - Tragedy Woven in Romance - Murder of Man 46 Years Ago Brongs Strange Characters Into a Court - Mystery Yet to Be Solved
Bedford, Ia. - The mystery of a hidden treasure, a mystery that has puzzled the people of southwestern Iowa for half a century, has been brought nearer solution by an investigation which has shown how a little group of picturesque characters of that section of the state toiled for years in quest of riches buried, according to tradition, on the Klondike farm. Lying 15 miles southwest of Bedford, Ia., is the Huntsman farm, and adjoining it is the Anderson homestead. Pitted with holes and scarred with many excavations, the farms prove the arduous toil of men driven by dreams of gold. First it was Dr. C.R. Huntsman and his brother, Bates, who searched for the treasure. Now it is Bates and his two sons and their families.
Searching for the Treasure.
Samuel Anderson moved to Iowa in the early seventies. Soon after he located on the farm Anderson received a call from the Huntsmans, who told him that there was a lot of gold buried on the place and that they wanted to dig for it. Anderson was asked to aid in the work. For nearly a quarter century the three dug, plowed and excavated.
One day 17 years ago the searchers uncovered three stakes set in a direct line pointing to a spring. Anderson, inspired by the vision of his share of the fortune, dug on feverishly. He first came onto some white sand that he knew was not common to that part of the country. Anderson then uncovered a big rock, under which was a metal box. One of the Huntsmans told Anderson that he could go, promising him his share of the fortune when the money was counted. He never saw the box again nor learned of its contents.
Soon after the discovery of the metal box the elder Huntsman died suddenly. Samuel Anderson, wearying of long waiting for his share of the treasure he believed he had uncovered, filed a suit against Bates Huntsman, asking pay for his years of toil. So peculiar was his story that state officials became interested. An investigation followed, and other persons acquainted with some of the circumstances of the affair were found. On of these was Maria Collins Porter of Quitman, Mo., who spent her girlhood in the vicinity.
The woman's story seemed to throw clear light on the source of the treasure the Huntsmans had sought so long. The story, too, seemed to link the treasure with the hoard found in the cabin of old Dr. A.M. Golliday of Bedford, whose body was found in his cabin 11 years ago. It was a story of a murder gang, of stolen thousands, of a crime committed so far back in time that even the identity of the victim was a matter of uncertainty.
Held on Murder Charge.
Following swiftly upon the story of Maria Collins Porter came the arrest of Bates Huntsman, Sam Scrivner, a rich farmer, and John and Hank Damewood. They were charged with the murder of a man of unknown identity, presumably a rich cattle buyer from Missouri, 46 years ago. Even before the trial began speculation as to the identity of the murdered man became rife. Although there were found to be many contradictions in the evidence presented by some of the witnesses the case of the state might have proceeded further but for one of the primary technicalities of the law of homicide. The state could not establish the existence of the man alleged to have been killed. The young attorney for the aged defendants only had to move that the case be dismissed to have this action taken.
[transcribed by S.F., May 2006]
Breckenridge, Summit co. Colorado
December 6, 1919
John Rouse, an Early Settler, Dies At Son's Home On Lower Blue
John Rouse, a well-known old-time resident of Summit and Park counties, died last Saturday at the home of his son, Arthur Rouse, of the ower Bine, very suddenly from heart failure. Mr. Rouse came to Summit county 21 years ago, having settled in Park county three years previously after coming from Iowa. He had lived in different parts of this county, having been engaged at teaming in Breckenridge before settling on a ranch on the Lower Blue about ten years ago. Following the death of his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Arthur Rouse, he made his home at his son's ranch where his time was turned to the care of his grandchildren.
Mr. Rouse was born in Perry, Iowa, on January 24, 1852. He married Miss Jane Allen in 1875 who, with three sons, William, Arthur and Charles, and two daughters, Florence and Mary, and his wife, survive him. William is a farmer in Perry, Iowa. Charles is at present a resident of Breckenridge and Florence and Mary with whom their mother is living, are in the Lower Blue country. Two brothers are living in Perry, Iowa, where the father of the deceased also lives. Funeral services were held from the Owens funeral chapel last Tuesday, Rev. Bowman officiating. Interment was made in the Breckenridge cemetery. Mr. Rouse was one of the most highly respected old settlers of the county. He was a hard working earnest man, rated by his neighbors as a substantial and honest citizen and a true friend.
[transcribed by S.F., May 2006]
December 14, 1919
AGED M'GREGOR WOMAN WITNESS OF RISE AND FALL OF RIVER ROMANCE.
Ninety Year Old Widow of Pioneer Has Vivid Memory. McGregor, Then the Portal Through Which the Northwest Was Opened up.
M'Gregor, Iowa -- Mrs. Cordelia McHose has just passed her ninetieth birthday at McGregor. There is probably no other living person, man or woman, who was so intimately intouch with the famous old river days of the upper Mississippi. As she tells the story it is the story of one who did not merely see but actually lived the picturesque life of those wonderful days when the great upper valley was just opening to settlement. Mrs. McHose has in her possession a picture of a tumbly old frame building. The picture dates back to civil war days. The shack itself departed this world half a century ago. But not until it had done yeoman service in making history for Iowa and Minnesota. In those days the upper story of the shack was home to Mrs. McHose, and her husband, Joseph McHose, did business on the first floor.
History of Old Building.
The history of the frame building dates a few years farther back, however. In the forties there came to Prairie du Chien, Wis., a bright and hustling young New Yorker of Scotch stock. Alexander McGregor. The government had built Fort Atkinson inland in Iowa and a military road from the west bank of the Mississippi leading to it. Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien was looking after Fort Atkinson, furnishing it soldiers, supplies and keeping the road safe from the Indians by policing it with mounted dragoons. This meant lots of business over the Mississippi and young McGregor saw a fine opening for an enterprising business man like himself. He bought up some land on the Iowa bank of the river, trading in "a poor real estate investment" he had in what is now the "Loop" in Chicago. Then he procured a god, steady mule, fixed up a flat boat and installed the mule as a propeller. With this outfit he went into the ferry business between Prairie du Chien and the landing on the Iowa side, which naturally came to be known as McGregor's Landing. Ten cents a head young Alexander used to get for transporting people. Business was lively, particularly in the freight line and it wasn't long before the ferry proprietor realized he must have some kind of a building at the Landing where supplies could be stored until the freighters could load up for Fort Atkinson. So he built a frame building near the water at the Iowa Landing. It was the first of its kind that far north on the west bank of the Mississippi. Pretty soon steamers with supplies for Fort Atkinson used to land at its front door.
McHose a Partner.
Then along in the early fifties, almost overnight came the great surge of immigration to northern Iowa and Minnesota breaking at Prairie du Chien and McGregor's Landing. In the first wave were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph McHose. Ferryman McGregor's business had grown to be quite immense by that time and he needed a partner badly. Young McHose joined fortunes with him, moved his family into the upper story of the "warehouse", rolled up his sleeves and went to work on the lower floor. First it was nearly all incoming freight he handled, but a couple of seasons after settlement started, wheat began coming in over the military road. Then followed big days for the McHose's. Their warehouse was the only one on the west of the river for awhile and had the monopoly of the wheat business for northern Iowa and Minnesota, probably handling almost as much grain in a season as one of the thousands of Iowa and Minnesota elevators does now in a couple weeks. Business increased fast though and in a few years there were fourteen warehouses along the river bank north of warehouse No. 1 "buildings that took grain in at the chimney and spouted it out again into boats on the other side." as somebody described them. But the McHose Forwarding and Commission concern did not lose prestige. It was a thrilling life that went on about the old shack, and Mrs. McHose tells many a tale of the things she saw from her "parlor" window.
Miles of Wheat Wagons.
"Farmers used to come from 150 and 200 miles with their wheat," she says, "and for a mile back from the levee the street would be packed solid with teams from daylight until dark waiting in line for their turn at the city scales. Captain Hoffman was in charge of the scales and four loads would be weighted at once. All around the scales were the buyers, agents of each of the warehouses, and representatives of Milwaukee and St. Louis firms. They would test the wheat by biting it and shaking a little in their hands, then call their bids. Mr. McHose used to put our little boy on top of a wagon and have him call for him. When a deal had been closed the farmer drove to the levee and unloaded at the warehouse. He usually had another long wait there, for the levee would be fairly black with teams. Steamers arrived almost every hour and used to load up every bit of space with the wheat, the commissions vying with each other for shipping space. With high water the steamers could come right up to the warehouses. There were chutes down from the buildings and the grain was run down these into the boats. Lots of the steamers had barges. I remember well watching one day a steamer back away from the levee, its hold and deck piled with sacks of grain and five barges in tow loaded so heavily with unsacked grain that they almost dipped water."
Gateway for Immigrants.
Mrs. McHose tells too of the cargo of human freight that the steamers brought, throngs of Scandinavians in their queer foreign dress. Just one English word they knew, "Minn-e-so-ty." Near the levee was a tavern where many of them spent the first night. A sign over the door said, "Father's House, Eat, Drink and be Merry for Tomorrow You Go to Minnesota." She remembers vividly the exciting races between the boats, the different steamboat companies competing with each other to make records for fast time. One particular race is recalled which thrilled the whole upper river country. That was when the Grey Eagle and the Itasca raced from Dunleith to St. Paul carrying Queen Victoria's message to President Buchanan on the completion of the Atlantic cable. The steamer captains heard the news while loading at Dunleith and a race historic in river annals followed. The Grey Eagle touched dock at St. Paul barely a boat's length ahead of the Itasca, but the message was already ashore. The captain of the Grey Eagle had tied it around a chunk of coal and thrown it to land from the upper deck. "But of all the fascinating life of the river none compared in interest," says Mrs. McHose, "with the rafts. The river was full of them. There was hardly a time during the summer when I could not see at least one of these drifting down, with their red-shirted crew pulling at the long oars to keep the rafts in the channel. One night I was awakened by singing and the sound of a fiddle. The river was bright as day almost with the light of full moon. I looked out of the window and found the singing was coming from a raft which was drifting past in the moonlight. The crew was dancing and singing around the fiddler. The fiddler stopped. One of the crew scrambled up on top of the little shanty on the float, struck the attitude of an old-time Methodist preacher and launched into an exhortation to righteous ways. His derisive harangue was greeted with boisterous laughter. As the laughing stopped the voice of a man at the oars suddenly sang out clear over the water, above the preaching, "Go, tell Aunt Rhody her old gray goose is dead." The preacher stopped and he and the whole crew took up the refrain. The song sounded lovely coming over the water and I listened as long as I could see them and hear the singing for the music and the beauty of the moonlit river fascinated me."
Wild Times Ashore.
Mrs. McHose remembers other things not so romantic when the floats tied up at the shore in a fog or storm and the crews broke loose. There were wild doings on shore then and at many other times, for that matter, when the town was packed with teamsters. A long line of saloons and dives stretched up the street and fights and stabbing affairs were common occurrences among the crowds that frequented them.
There is another picture Mrs. McHose has vivid in memory. That was when in the beginning of the war of the rebellion the companies of volunteers came in to McGregor from many inland settlements and took steamer for the south. From her window she watched them go aboard and the crowds of weeping women and children on the levee bidding them goodbye. Wheat Buyer McHose became very prosperous in the big days, for besides buying independently he was agent for "Diamond Jo" and his line of steamers. Warehouse No. 1 served its day of usefullness and a substantial brick building in later days was erected as the pioneer grain buyers' headquarters. It was next door to the office building of the grain firm of Bassett & Hunting, where Diamond Jo Reynolds used to have his headquarters in the many years he made his home at McGregor. Mrs. McHose knew intimately both Diamond Jo Reynolds and his wife and son. Her husband died a good many years ago, but Mrs. McHose still lives in the old town to which she came as a bride nearly seventy years ago. She enjoys the wealth acquired back in the days of Warehouse No. 1 and lives much in the stirring past of the old river days and its picturesque life.
[transcribed by S.F., April 2005]
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