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Grand Junction Globe Free Press Newspaper Archives Jul 10 1969, Page 5

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Grand Junction Globe Free Press (Newspaper) - July 10, 1969, Grand Junction, Iowa Wagon Wagon wheels turning to carry me Home to juju Wagon trails Lead to the prairies1849-1869 the paleface comes to Greene county the year was 1849. The weathered Prairie Schooner creaked and groaned As it jolted along behind the plodding oxen. Startled Quail and Prairie chickens arose from the tall grasses and scores of shy ground creatures skittered off to a Safe distance As the unfamiliar Wagon approached. For Truman and Mary Davis it was the last Lap of the Long Long journey to their a promised land a journey begun Over two years before in far away Ohio. Any moment now the new Home would be in sight. Eagerly their eyes peered ahead and they smiled As the older children ran ahead of the oxen each trying to be the first to glimpse the new Home. It had been a Long Road. Truman l. Davis was born in the state of new York while Mary Fulks was a native of Pennsylvania. They first met in Cleveland Ohio and it was there they were married. Like so Many other Young people in the older Well settled Eastern states at that time they began to dream of new horizons a place where a Man might find new beginnings and a Chance to carve his own future in a new land where he might build with his own hands a heritage for those who came after him. So it was that a few years later they decided to join the Stream of pioneers a going West preparations were soon underway. A Prairie Schooner and a Yoke of oxen were purchased and in 1847 they loaded their possessions and their family of five children into the Wagon said goodbye to family and friends and turned their faces Westward toward the land of their dreams. Many months and hundreds of rough wearisome Miles later they arrived in Sullivan county Missouri where they remained for two years. Here their sixth child a son John p. Davis was born. The pioneering fever was still urging them to seek farther. They still had not found the land which they had Visioned. Then they heard of the treaty made by Congress with the indians whereby the vast Iowa territory was thrown open to settlers Iowa Beautiful land the indians called it Many were the tales they heard of the Fertile soil of it s great Prairies. Once again they loaded their belongings into the old Schooner pulled by the oxen and started out with Iowa As their destination. One cow one horse twelve chickens eight sheep two pigs one dog and six children completed their inventory. They headed for fort Des Moines where they arrived several weeks later and stopped for a few Days rest the next Stop was Adel a a a Village of Twenty inhabitants counting dogs Quot one of the Davis sons recalled in after years. There was one Small store. Here the Davies made friends with a family on a nearby Homestead. They unloaded the household goods and leaving Mary and the four younger children there Truman took the two older sons and started northward to locate a Homestead site and to build a Cabin. As they journeyed to the North Truman was More and More impressed by the vastness of the acres and acres of in slowed Prairie. Mile after mile As far As the Eye could see the Lush Prairie grasses higher than a Many a head waved in the summer Breeze. On every hand were myriads of Quail Prairie chickens wild geese and ducks and the sloughs and Ponds a a swarmed with the Muskrat Otter and Beaver. With every passing mile Davis grew surer that this indeed the a promised land of which he and Mary had so Long dreamed. Going North along the East Side of the Raccoon River he and the boys came at last to a place near the River which had a Good flowing Spring in a Beautiful Grove of Maple and Oak Trees. They would look no farther. This was it1 the site they chose was located in what was to later become the Northwest Corner of Washington township at that time Greene county had not yet been organized. Truman and the boys stuck the stakes to locate the Homestead and immediately set to work cutting the logs to build a Cabin. Soon they raised a Cabin 12 x 16 feet and 7 feet in height. By splitting the Oak timbers into thin boards they made clapboard siding. The doors and window shutters were made of the same materials. For the floor they split the logs and placed them with the Flat Side up. Spaces Between the logs were chunked and plastered with Clay. A fireplace was built in one end of the Cabin the Hearth and firewall being made of native Flat Rock and the Chimney being built of Sticks and plastered with Clay. When the Cabin was completed the father returned to Adel. There for one final time the family possessions were loaded into the now travel scarred old Schooner hitched to the oxen and with assorted Stock and poultry trailing behind started out. This time toward Home it was on a Golden autumn Day october i 1849, that the Davis family arrived at their new Home in the Raccoon Valley the first White settlers in what was to later become Greene county. Their nearest neighbors were at Adel 35 Miles away. Their nearest Post office was fort Des Moines some 60 Miles Distant and the Mill was 4 Miles beyond the fort. Supplies of provisions must come from even farther away in Warren Mahaska or Marion county. The coming of the Davies to this undeveloped Prairie territory led the Way for other settlers who were seeking a new life in a new land. The newcomers always found the Latch string out at the Davis Cabin. It was Only natural that they Stop Over there while locating a claim of their own. Thus it came about that no matter How Many Miles Distant a new settler might establish his claim he was still considered a a neighbor a especially in times of sickness of birth and death or when the circuit riders Rode in to hold a meeting. The second family to arrive As pioneers of Greene county was that of Enos buttock who had been former neighbors of the Davies in Missouri. They arrived late in that fall of 1849. Upon arriving at Adel the buttocks were told the general direction in which the Davis claim was located and they set out at once hoping to be Able to find their friends Homestead before Winter closed Down. Great was the rejoicing by both families when the buttocks arrived. With no maps no trails they might Well have missed the Lone Cabin on the Raccoon it being so late in the fall Enos quickly decided to build a Cabin near his friends so that the buttock family might be sheltered for the Winter. The site he chose was on the Bank of the Creek which today bears his name. More neighbors arrive it was soon after the two families were settled in for the Winter that they noticed a band of indians near by. Investigation proved them to be Friendly indians from the Pottawatomie a. The settlers soon made friends with the chief Johnny Green a Friendship that was to last until chief Johnny Green s death in 1868. For several years the indians camped along the Raccoon and the Little creeks which flow into it during the Hunting season. From them the settlers often Learned valuable bits of information which helped them survive those first rugged years Here on the wild Prairie. The third family to join the tiny settlement was the Richard Hardin family who located near still another nearby Creek and gave it their name. In the Spring the family of Valentine Crabb arrived to be followed later in the year by the George Watsons the Columbus peaks and the pulleys. How eagerly the Little settlement awaited that first Spring of 1850 they were so eager to Plant their first Crons. The Virgin Prairie soil proved too resistant to the Iron plows the pioneers had brought so they ended up making the holes in the ground with an a and planting the Corn and Beans and pumpkins in these holes just As their Indian friends had done not until a neighbouring settler came from Illinois bringing a self scouring John Deere plow was there a plow available that would handle the Iowa soil. You get an idea of the value of that plow when you learn that one settler offered the Illinois Man a half Section of land in return for breaking a Section for him. So the Little settlement grew and with its growth came the first death that of Thomas Davis son of the Truman Davies. The birth of a daughter to Truman and Mary Davis was the first birth. Somehow it seemed natural that the Davis Home be the one where social or political meetings or preaching services be held. In the very earliest years a methodist circuit rider would ride up from Des Moines every six weeks or so to hold services. Quite often while he was at the settlement he was called on to perform a marriage preach a funeral Sermon or hold a a a baptizing a after a year or two As the population increased the travelling preacher came every three weeks and eventually every two weeks stopping at the various settlements that grew up in the area which became a part of the Greene Mission circuit. One of these very first circuit riders was the Rev. Joseph Cadwallader and his fellow pastor the Rev. Ezra Rathbun. These men often brought flour for the settlers and also the mail when they made the Long journey up from Des Moines. Thus they ministered to the physical As Well As the spiritual needs of their Pioneer flock and How eagerly the settlers awaited the coming of the preacher too so that they might hear news of that other world a world

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