Mayflower 400: The Wampanoag and the Myth of the First Thanksgiving

The story of the first successful harvest and the celebratory feast that followed is told by Edward Winslow in a letter he wrote to a friend in 1621. This letter is part of a pamphlet that was published in London in 1622 that is often called Mourt’s Relation or A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plimoth in New England.

“our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain, and others.  And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

Edward Winslow’s letter to a friend in England, December 11, 1621

This story was republished in the book Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers by Alexander Young in 1841. In the annotations, he refers to this event as “the first Thanksgiving.”

The Wampanoag: People of the First Light

The Wampanoag people have lived in North America for 12,000 years. They believe it is an island on the back of a turtle shell. They are a matriarchal society, each community having a clan mother. The word for “mother” translates to “she who has the final say.” The women would grow and gather corn, beans, squashes, nuts, roots, shoots, berries, and eggs, which made up most of their diet.

In Wampanoag culture, the town archives are kept by families of storytellers. This includes oral records, pictures, belts, and weavings that are passed down through the family for generations.

The Great Dying

When the Pilgrims arrived in Patuxet in 1620, they found the remains of a Wampanoag community which had been decimated by disease. There was no one to care for the sick and no one to bury the dead. An estimated 90% of Wampanoag people died of a mysterious plague known as “The Great Dying” between 1614-1619. It was brought to the new world by European fishermen, traders, and explorers who frequented the area.

In 1614 Captain Thomas Hunt took 20 Wampanoag people to sell as slaves in Spain and England. One of these men was Tisquantum, who was given his freedom in 1619 and returned to Patuxent by Captain Thomas Dermer. Because of Tisquantum’s experience as Dermer’s interpreter, he was able to communicate with the Pilgrims.

Who was Massasoit?

Massasoit Ousamequin (Yellow Feather) was the sachem of the Wampanoag community at Pokanoket (now Bristol, RI), which was 2 days walk from Patuxet (Plymouth Colony). He was invited to the Plymouth Plantation by Tisquantum to establish a war alliance/peace treaty with the Pilgrims in March 1621. The terms of the treaty stated Massasoit’s men would not harm the Pilgrims or else they would be sent to the Pilgrims for punishment, and that the Pilgrims would aid Massasoit in the event of an unjust war against them. They also agreed that, when trading, the Wampanoag would not bring bows and arrows and the Pilgrims would not bring their guns.

National Day of Mourning

In 1970 Wamsutta, an Aquinnah Wampanoag was invited to speak at a Mayflower 350th anniversary dinner. When the organizers read a copy of his speech they rescinded the invitation. He instead gave his speech on Thanksgiving day at noon on Cole’s Hill and declared it as a National Day of Mourning. For the last 50 years, the United American Indians of New England have gathered at Plymouth on the 4th Thursday in November to demonstrate against the Pilgrim mythology.

Learn more about the Wampanoag then and now:

(posted by Cristina)

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Turkey Notes for 2020

Large family gatherings for Thanksgiving may be canceled this year, but Turkey Notes will trot on forever! Here is our annual batch of poultry poems submitted by subscribers of our bi-monthly eNewsletter.

Turkey gobbler
Turkey stuffed
Turkey, I say
Gobble you up!

from Gretchen

Turkey Green
Turkey Grey
Have a Happy
Thanksgiving Day
Turkey red
Turkey blue
You are my grandma
And I love you
Turkey red
Turkey blue
Turkey says
Eat beef stew

Turkey green
Turkey pink
Life goes by
Just as you blink
Turkey green
Turkey pink
Your dirty dishes
Go in the sink
Turkey blue
Turkey gold
In making you
They broke the mold

Turkey yellow
Turkey black
Hawkeye colors
 Are what you lack
Turkey orange
Turkey pink
Clean those dishes
In the sink
Turkey orange
Turkey yellow
Eat your yams
With marshmallows

Turkey orange
Turkey white
Turkey says
“Have a good night”
Turkey red
Turkey navy
Keep your sleeves
Out of the gravy
Turkey red
Turkey green
Don’t forget to 
Floss between

Turkey blue
Turkey green
Lick your plate 
And wash it clean
Turkey red
Turkey gold
Cover your mouth
Don’t share a cold
Turkey green
Turkey red
Let’s eat turkey
And go to bed

Turkey blue
Turkey green
Lick your plate 
And wash it clean
Turkey red
Turkey gold
Cover your mouth
Don’t share a cold
Turkey green
Turkey red
Let’s eat turkey
And go to bed

Turkey red
Turkey white
Save on energy
Turn out the light
Turkey green
Turkey white
Life goes fast
So hold on tight
Turkey red
Turkey yellow
Mind your manners
And eat your jello

Turkey yellow
Turkey teal
Let’s give thanks
For our meal
Turkey blue
Turkey red
Turkey says
Use your head.
Turkey blue
Turkey gold
You are my grandpa
On you I’m sold

from Susan

(posted by Cristina)

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In Memoriam: Dr. Roald D. Tweet

If you were to ask a local Quad Cities resident what Roald Tweet did for a living, you would probably get several answers. A college professor. An author. A radio personality. Each of those answers would be correct, but he was so much more to many of us.

Dr. Roald Dahl Tweet passed away on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 leaving behind an amazing legacy and impressive body of work that will educate and entertain us for years to come.

Born September 1, 1933 in Fountain City, Wisconsin to Reuben and Dorothy (Dahl) Tweet. The family moved to Jackson, Minnesota when he was very young. A younger brother, David, was born in Minnesota in 1938. By junior high, the family had moved to nearby Mountain Lake, Minnesota where Roald graduated from Mountain Lake High School in 1951.

Mountain Lake High School Yearbook, Mountain Lake, Minnesota, 1951.

After high school, he attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Upon graduation, he briefly taught English at St. Olaf. While teaching there, he married his college sweetheart, Margaret Knudson, in 1957.  By 1960, he moved his small family to Rock Island, Illinois and began teaching English at Augustana College.

Augustana College Yearbook, 1963.

In 1967, Roald completed his doctorate in American Literature from the University of Chicago. He would teach at Augustana from 1960 through 1999. He was a celebrated teacher known for his humor and creativity. Many of his students remember his support and encouragement to be themselves and never stop writing.

Upon retirement, Dr. Tweet would receive the recognition of Professor Emeritus of English at Augustana College. Some highlights from his years at Augustana include:

  • English department chair from 1967 – 1984.
  • In 1998, appointed to the Conrad Bergendoff Chair in the Humanities.
  • Served on the faculty for the graduate program in regional studies.
  • Faculty advisor for the Observer and the Writer’s Club.
  • 1990 recipient of the Sear-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award.

Throughout his years in Minnesota and the Quad Cities, Roald was surrounded by water, specifically the Mississippi River and its tributaries. He embraced the river and its history in both his writing and later on his radio show, Rock Island Lines, which ran on WVIK, Augustana’s National Public Radio station.

In 1999, Dr. Tweet retired from Augustana but remained busy with speaking engagements, writing, and many other projects. He was a well-respected source of information on the Quad Cities and the Mississippi River.

Some of his works held in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center at the Davenport Public Library – Main Street branch include:

  • A History of the Rock Island District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1866 -1983. SC 977-3393 Twe
  • The Quad Cities: An American Mosaic. SC 977-7 Twe.
  • Colonial Davenport Historical Foundation Wildcats Wily inner: a Pourquoi story from the Shawnee Indians. SC Fic Col Dav.
  • A History of the Rock Island District Corps of Engineers. 186 – 1975. SC 977-3393 Twe.
  • Joined By a River: Quad Cities. SC 977.7 Qua.
  • Taming the Des Moines River. SC 627.1 Twe.
  • Rock Island Lines. SC CD NF 977.3393 Tweet ROA

In honor of all his work, in 2006, Dr. Tweet received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award from the Illinois Humanities Council. Recipients for this prestigious award are nominated by mayors across the state of Illinois.

We offer our condolences to his family on his passing. And we thank Dr. Roald Tweet for his amazing legacy. He taught his students well, those in the college classrooms, and those who learned through his many books, articles, radio show, and speeches.

He was a wonderful teacher and we are all his grateful students.


  • Augustana College.
  • The Dispatch-Argus, November 5, 2020.

(posted by Amy D.)

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Celebrating Family History & American Archives Months

The month of October allows the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center to celebrate its genealogical collections and its local history collections because it is both Family History Month and American Archives Month. Many archives, libraries, and museums celebrate these months to highlight their collections, their services, and more. The Special Collections staff would like to share a few resources that they have found useful for their work and research.

Cristina’s Picks

J. B. Hostetler Glass Negatives on Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive

One of the most visually appealing resource are our glass negatives. This collection was created in the Hostetler Studio in the early 20th century. It features portraiture of local residents, panoramic photographs of organizations, and more. We have digitized these negatives to make them accessible on the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive (UMVDIA). On the site, one will find a digital scan, a description, and more information about the image for your perusing and research pleasure!

City Directories on HeritageQuest Online

City Directories are always one our go-to resources. When you unable to go to a library to use these materials, there are options to view them online. One way Davenport Public Library patrons can access city directories is through HeritageQuest Online.

Karen’s Picks

Archival Research Guide from the Mina Rees Library, City University of New York

This is a helpful website for someone not too familiar with archives: It has compiled many resources and guides for novices and experts.

Resources in the Family!

During the upcoming holidays, with COVID-19 still present, families could use Facetime or Zoom to talk to family members about old pictures of family members past and present. Also, it is a great time encourage grandparents to talk about past family traditions and memories. Sharing these stories and histories now is even more important to help us stay connected!

Katie’s Picks

The Ament, Inc. Early Scott County, Iowa surveys and plats, Accession#2010-01  

The block- and lot-level survey plats of Davenport in this collection visually represent city properties described only in words in the Scott County deed books. These are useful for understanding a family’s acquisition of “Town Lots” for residences and businesses over time in relation to the growth of the city as a whole!  An example is LeClaire’s 7th Addition Subdivision.

Amy’s Picks

Annual Reports of the City Officers of the City of Davenport, Iowa. SC 352.0777 Dav

A great way to quickly look into local government history. You will find the names of city officials and committee members along with changes to local government over the years.

Cross-checking Tip!

Always cross-check obituary burial information when possible. We have found several instances in older obituaries of burial information not matching where the actual burial took place. You can cross-check bound copies of cemetery listings created by headstone readings and burial logs. Also, death records sometimes contain the cemetery.

Kathryn’s Picks

Angeline Petskeyes Personal Items, Accession #2006-03

In this collection, there are several dairies created by Davenport resident Angeline Petskeyes. They span the years 1943-1972. They provide a unique glimpse into her life and what life was like in Davenport during that time. Dairies are great examples of manuscripts and primary sources!

New England Genealogical Resources

In Special Collections, we have genealogical resources broken into geographical regions by the Dewey Decimal Classification we use for our call numbers. I would like to feature one section SC 974 about the New England or Northeastern, United States region. These books are great resource for those of us with ancestors from this region or are interested in its history. In addition, this year we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony.

Next time you are online or visiting Special Collections by appointment, make a point to check out these great resource to help celebrate Family History and American Archives Months!

(posted by Kathryn)

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Mayflower Families: Myles Standish

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony. Commemorative publications, programs, and tours are planned in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands by various organizations, including the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Plymouth 400, Inc.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about our resources for different Mayflower families throughout the year. This month we’ll explore the family of the Mayflower’s military captain, Myles Standish! 

Myles Standish was born ca. 1584 in Lancashire, UK. He was stationed in Holland as part of Queen Elizabeth’s army and was hired by the pilgrims to be their military captain.

Myles and his wife Rose were passengers of the Mayflower. The couple did not have any children and sadly, Rose did not survive the first winter at Plymouth colony. Myles then married Barbara (last name unknown) who arrived on the Anne in 1623.

Standish helped care for the sick and dying during that first winter in the colony. He organized the deployment of cannons and construction of the first fort in Plymouth colony. He led trading and military expeditions with the Native-American tribes.

Standish was one of the founders of the town of Duxbury. He was deputy governor from 1624-1633 and was colony treasurer from 1644-1656.

Myles Standish died on October 3, 1656, in Duxbury.

The first generation of Myles Standish descendants:

  1. Charles, born in Plymouth ca. 1624, died ca. 1634.
  2. Alexander, born in Plymouth ca. 1626, married Sarah Alden ca. 1660, then married Desire Doty Sherman Holmes ca. 1688, died July 6, 1702, in Duxbury.
  3. John, born in Plymouth ca. 1627, died ca. 1650, unmarried.
  4. Myles, born in Plymouth ca. 1629, married Sarah Winslow on July 19, 1660, in Boston, died at sea after 1661.
  5. Lora, born in Plymouth ca. 1631, died ca. 1655, unmarried. 
  6. Josiah, born in Plymouth ca. 1633, married Mary Dingley on December 19, 1654, in Mansfield, then married Sarah Allen after 1655, died in Connecticut on March 19, 1890. 
  7. Charles, born in Plymouth ca. 1635, died ca. 1655, unmarried.

Want to learn more about Myles Standish’s descendants? Stop by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and browse through volume 14 of Mayflower Families through five generations (SC 929.2 May)


(posted by Cristina)

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The Last Patrol of Officer Raymond Costigan

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Monday, October 18, 1920. Pg. 13

It was just past twelve-thirty in the morning on Sunday, October 17, 1920. Downtown Davenport was filled with people leaving the local fraternal organizations and dance halls. Fourth Street in front of the Col Ballroom was particularly busy as a dance attended by hundreds of people was ending.

Pedestrians crowded the sidewalk as they walked home, returned to their cars or wagons, or caught a seat on the crowded trolleys.

In the midst of the cheerful chaos, Davenport Police Officer Raymond Costigan was heading west down Fourth Street; returning to Beat No. 4 from his “lunch” break.

Officer Costigan was working the night shift from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on foot patrol that ran from Marquette Street to Howell Street between West Davenport and the downtown district. Beat No. 4 was part of the 400 plus blocks of Davenport that had been divided into eleven sections by the police department. The entire area largely patrolled by officers on foot.

The police department operated with two twelve-hour shifts. Officers rotating monthly between day and night shifts. There was talk of moving to an eight-hour day with three shifts, but those were still ideas for officials to talk about.

It was a long walk back to Beat No. 4 from the downtown district. Most nights, a police officer would be able to hop on a passing trolley and ride for free back to their respective beat. But that was only allowed if the trolleys were not filled to capacity. This night, with crowds filling the streets, Costigan and other officers would have to walk back to their assigned areas.

It is on this long walk back that Costigan ran into a friend, Walter Petersen. Petersen, with a new Empire Sport model automobile, offered Costigan and two other acquaintances a ride. As the men walked west on Fourth Street; they had no idea Raymond Costigan only had a few more hours to live.

Raymond E. Costigan was born July 13, 1895, in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa to John and Sadie (Powers) Costigan. A sister, Ella, was born in 1903. His father, John, was a fireman for the Davenport Fire Department and moved up the ranks to Assistant Chief.

Costigan attended St. Mary’s parochial school, Davenport High School, and was involved in the early days of independent football teams as both a manager and football player. After leaving school, Ray worked at the Rock Island Arsenal and continued playing/managing local teams.

Shortly before his twenty-second birthday, the United States entered World War I. Ray’s draft card from June 5, 1917, lists him as a single man employed at the Arsenal. His physical description is of a tall man of medium build with light brown hair and blue eyes.

On August 3, 1917, local newspapers released the names of the first men picked in the national draft. Costigan’s name was on the list of those to report before the Scott County exemption board to pass physical and mental exams to enter the United States Army.

On August 22, 1917, Raymond married Marie C. Quinn of Davenport. Their wedding at St. Mary’s Catholic Church was featured in the newspapers along with the announcement of their two-week honeymoon near Chicago and the lake area.

Raymond Costigan reported to the Scott County War board offices on September 19, 1917, and left the following day on the 12:30 p.m. train to Des Moines, Iowa, and Fort Dodge. Originally assigned to a machine gun division; Costigan was quickly reassigned to the 351st Infantry Ordnance Detachment which was part of the 88th Infantry Division.

On May 15, 1918 while stationed at Fort Dodge, Raymond became a father with the birth of his daughter Mary Rita Costigan. On August 15, 1918, he shipped out to France on the SS Saxon. Around September 1, 1918, Costigan’s unit was in Cherbourg, France, and making their way to “No Man’s Land” at the Haute-Alsace front.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, September 2, 1918. Pg. 3.

Along the way, the unit faced their first real test when they held off a German raid at Schnoholz Woods. They soon arrived at the front to be faced with barbed wire, flooded and collapsed trenches, Influenza, gas attacks, and bombings. While the 351st did lose men in battle and sickness, they were proud that they did not lose a single man to gas attacks. They had trained extensively in putting on masks before arriving at the front and that training paid off.

With the November 11, 1918 Armistice, the 351st was moved around France as needed before sailing for home on May 20, 1919, aboard the U.S.S. Mercury. Back in Des Moines, Iowa, and Camp Dodge in early June, the infantry was met with a large parade and on June 6th the men were officially mustered out of the Army and Raymond Costigan was free to return home and return to civilian life.

We next learn about Costigan when on October 7, 1919, The Davenport Democrat and Leader announced he and Joe LaGrange passed the semi-annual police examination. On March 8, 1920, the Costigan’s welcomed a son, John Joseph, into the family. Costigan was then appointed to the Davenport Police Department on April 5, 1920.

Acc. # 1990-04 Police Roll Call Register, January 1918 – August 1924.

April of 1920 was a month of change within the Davenport Police Department. Chief Packey Phelan asked to be moved back into the ranks of officers. Mayor Barewald appointed a long-time officer, Charles Boettcher, to the position. Boettcher had previously been Chief of Police from 1916 – 1918.

Chief Boettcher stated in newspaper articles that he wanted to increase department efficiency and increase enforcement of traffic regulations. He also moved officers to new patrols with Raymond Costigan moving from the No. 11 “Sawdust” beat along East River Street to patrol the No. 7 Northwest section of Davenport.

The Davenport Democrat and Leader on May 17, 1920, printed an article about Chief Boettcher moving long-time officer Walter Wiese to Costigan’s Northwest Davenport patrol while Costigan was being moved to Wiese’s former spot on the No. 4 beat from Marquette to Howell Streets. This move was in response to Costigan’s good work since joining the department stated the Chief.

From studying newspaper articles, the outer patrols were usually assigned to newer officers or officers needing improvement. The downtown patrols were for officers considered to be excelling at their job. Any movement closer to downtown beats would have been considered a sign that your work was regarded well. For an officer barely two months on the job it would most likely have been seen as approval on job performance.

By 1920, the Davenport Police Department still patrolled mainly on foot. Their transportation was a mix of horses and wagons, a handful of older cars, and a few motorcycles that patrolled during the day. The war had prevented many cities from fully changing from animal power to automobiles.

Officer Costigan remained on the No. 4 patrol through the summer and into the autumn months. Never taking a sick day, an unexcused absence, or suspended from duty according to the Police Roll Call Ledger covering April – October 1920.

Our knowledge of what took place on October 17, 1920, has been gathered from local newspaper articles and transcripts of the inquest that followed.

While returning to his beat from his “lunch” break, Officer Costigan met Walter Petersen and accepted a ride from his old friend. Costigan was on foot and the trolley cars were filled at the time. Costigan asked Petersen to wait a moment as he needed to step inside the Coliseum Ballroom to speak to the officers on duty. The Coliseum being just outside his patrol area.

As Costigan headed towards the Coliseum, Petersen ran into two other men and he offered rides to them. Ed Richter and Art Swindle joined Petersen at his car. Petersen getting into the driver’s seat with Richter and Swindle getting in the back seat. The front passenger seat saved for Raymond Costigan.

Inside the Coliseum, Costigan spoke with Officers William Ruhl and George Rogers who had been covering the event during their off-duty hours. Costigan spoke briefly with Rogers and said he had been at his meal and was returning to his beat. Costigan was asking how everything had been going that night and if there was anything to be aware of. Both Officers said Costigan was there for a short period of time (under 15 minutes) and left when Walter Petersen stopped for him.

Ed Richter testified in the inquest that Costigan said something to Petersen as he got into the car about “burning up the road” and “license”. Richter was talking to Art Swindell at the time and did not catch the full conversation. His assumption was Costigan had seen a speeding vehicle as he got into the car and wanted to follow it to catch the license plate number under an electric light farther up the road.

This strikes us as unusual today to have a police officer ask a civilian driver to follow a speeding car, but this was a normal practice in the early twentieth century. Most police departments found themselves without the vehicles to follow speeding cars and respond to incidents. Searching through newspapers, we located several articles from the late-nineteenth century into the 1920s in which Davenport (and other local police departments) used civilian wagons, carriages, and automobiles to follow speeding vehicles or reach accident or crime scenes.

According to Swindell and Richter, Petersen started the car and began driving west on Fourth Street. Less than half a block later they were at the intersection of Fourth and Marquette Streets. Richter said they entered the intersection and he suddenly saw headlights of an oncoming car heading south on Marquette. He said he braced for the impact and felt Petersen swerve to try to avoid the car. Swindell, who was on the right rear passenger side was turned to talk to Richter and had his back to the approaching car.

The car coming towards them was an older Velie auto both larger and heavier than the Empire Sport driven by Petersen. Stephen Giles was driving the borrowed vehicle. Mae Helgerman was sitting beside him while Arthur Bivans and Minnie Porske were in the rear passenger seats. The top was down as they drove from the Northwest Turner Hall down Marquette Street. They planned to turn on Third Street and drive down to the Rock Island Arsenal Bridge to return to their respective homes in Rock Island and Moline.

Raymond Costigan, Walter Petersen, Art Swindell, and Ed Richter were all thrown from their car on impact. Swindell and Richter sustained minor injuries, but Costigan and Petersen were both seriously hurt. Costigan was unconscious.

The Velie tipped to its right side with Bivans and Porske jumping out of the car as it went over and Giles and Helgerman being able to remove themselves after. Only minor injuries were sustained. The worse being a sprained wrist.

Immediately after the accident, neighbors ran from their houses to help the injured. A passing taxi stopped and picked up the unconscious Costigan. Officers Ruhl and Rogers both heard the accident and responded quickly. Ruhl going with Costigan to Mercy Hospital and Rogers attending those at the accident.

Giles and Bivans were both arrested at the scene. This was normal procedure for accidents involving out of town drivers. Rogers also stated both men were uncooperative in assisting those hurt and cursing at the scene.

Raymond Costigan was taken to Mercy Hospital shortly after 1:00 a.m. He never regained consciousness. Dr. E. C. Ficke attended him and soon realized Costigan was dying.

Officer Raymond E. Costigan died at 5:00 a.m.

Acc. # 1990-04 Police Roll Call Register, January 1918 – August 1924.

An autopsy showed only minor cuts and bruises on his outward appearance. The right side of his skull was fractured in two places and a blood clot the size of an orange found on the left side of his brain.

Walter Petersen was unconscious for a period of time. He was found to have a broken collarbone, two broken ribs, and a sprained back/hip. When he was first admitted to Mercy Hospital it was not known if he would live or die.

The evening of October 18, 1920, an inquest was held into the accident and death of Officer Raymond Costigan. Except for Costigan and Petersen (who was in the hospital and unable to speak according to the inquest notes), the other driver and passengers were questioned along with Officers Ruhl and Rogers, Dr. Lamb who performed the autopsy, Dr. Ficke who attended Costigan, and John Martens who lived near the accident scene and had seen the vehicles afterward.

During the inquest, occupants of both cars said their respective drivers were not speeding. The intersection of Fourth and Marquette Streets was known for its blind intersection, no stop signs, and lack of lighting at night.

The question came down to the right of way in an intersection. Officer Ruhl was a traffic officer for the police department. When asked about the right of way at an intersection, Ruhl replied that according to the State of Iowa the car to the right has the right of way (a law that took place in January 1920). Ruhl was not able to respond when asked who has the right of way when one car was already in the intersection. The laws were not clear on that.

The end result was, based on the inquest, a fatal accident with no one at blame.

It appears as though Petersen’s Empire Sport auto had entered the intersection as Giles’ Velie approached. Neither car could see the other until the Empire Sport was in the intersection. Both the Assistant Scott County Attorney and the Coroner visited the accident scene later that day with the cars still in place.

They decided by the condition of the cars that the Velie driven by Giles had struck a blow to the right rear side of the Empire Sport driven by Petersen. The Velie had only slight damage to its fenders and the left front wheel spokes were broken. The Empire Sport had severe damage with broken fenders, a gash in the right side where struck, damage to the right rear tire spokes, and the top and windshield had broken away as if the car was flipped.

While the conclusion of the inquest may seem surprising to us; traffic laws were only just being created officially. Animal pulled transportation competed with automobiles and motorcycles on the roads. In a smaller town like Davenport, stop signs were few in 1920. During the day, police officers directed traffic at busy intersections. At night there was no supervision and few rules.

We also researched the intersection of Fourth and Marquette Streets to see if other accidents had occurred there. Between 1919 and 1921 we found many accidents involving automobiles hitting other automobiles, trolleys, wagons, and pedestrians. The blame always the same. It was a blind intersection with buildings blocking the line of vision until it was too late.

On October 19, 1920, Davenport Police Officer Raymond Costigan was laid to rest at St. Marguerite’s Cemetery (now Mt. Calvary Cemetery) in Davenport. Both the American Legion and Davenport Police Department escorted the body from a crowded St. Mary’s church to the cemetery. The Davenport Police Department and the community mourned the up and coming officer and the station was draped in black bunting.

Officer Costigan left behind his wife Marie, daughter Mary Rita, and son John Joseph along with his parents and sister, Ella.

His co-workers at the Davenport Police Department requested and were given permission to hold a benefit dance for his widow and children. $1,689.10 was raised for his family at the December 1, 1920 event.

The response to the benefit held was so great within the community that the benefit committee had to rent the Coliseum for the event. The largest dance hall in the city.

And also, by tragic coincidence, the last spot Raymond Costigan was seen alive before the accident on October 17th.

Grave of Raymond E. Costigan. Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Davenport, Iowa. Photo by Amy D.


  • 88th Division – 351st Infantry – Historical Notes 1917 – 1919. C. F. Brantner, Published 1919.
  • The 88th Division. Iowa in the Great War 1914 – 1919. Transcribed by Sharon R. Becker.
  • The Rock Island Argus, August 22, 1917. Pg. 8.
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, September 2, 1918. Pg. 3.
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, April 6, 1919. Pg. 34.
  • The Daily Times, June 6, 1919. Pg. 1.
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, October 7, 1919. Pg. 10.
  • The Daily Times, April 27, 1920. Pg. 8.
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, May 17, 1920. Pg. 11.
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, October 17, 1920. Pg. 1.
  • Moline Dispatch, October 18, 1920. Pg. 4.
  • The Daily Times, October 18, 1920. Pg. 1.
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, October 18, 1920. Pg. 12.
  • The Daily Times, October 19, 1920. Pg. 9.
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, October 19, 1920. Pg. 14.
  • The Daily Time, October 19, 1920. Pg. 8.
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, October 19, 1920. Pg. 3.
  • The Daily Times, October 27, 1920. Pg. 8
  • The Davenport Democrat & Leader, December 13, 1920. Pg. 7.

(posted by Amy D. )

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Latinx History in the QCA

Although National Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 (Sept. 15th-Oct. 15th) winds down this week, the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center invites you to explore the lives of Hispanic Americans in our local area at any time with our brand-new research guide, “Latinx History in the Quad-Cities.” Launch your own investigation into the Mexican-American communities that formed in Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa and Silvis, Illinois from this convenient gathering of primary and secondary sources available at the Center, the Davenport Public Library/other RiverShare Libraries, and online.

Here’s a sampling of some of the materials at the RSSC Center featured in the guide:

Iowa Stories 2000 Oral History Project: Mexican Americans – Acc.#2005-02

Cook’s Point Reunion Exhibit Materials – Acc.#2016-12

Cook’s Point Images – Acc.#2016-39

¡Hola! America: English/Spanish newspaper (2001-2012)

Interested in finding out more about your Hispanic ancestors, local or otherwise? The Latinx History guide links to “Hispanic Genealogy Research,” another new RSSC Center guide. Here you’ll find a list of books, websites, and other sources helpful for tracing family history to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Spain and Portugal. The latest addition to our periodical collection is the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America’s journal Nuestras Raíces = Our Roots:

In addition to the sources listed in these guides, we have a collection of local newspapers on microfilm and access to genealogy databases such as AncestryLibrary (available remotely to DPL cardholders through Dec. 31st), Fold3, and HeritageQuest.

Write or call for an appointment to view the RSSC Center’s resources on this topic or for assistance with your research! 563-326-7902

(posted by Katie)

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Stiamo festeggiando Italian-American Heritage Month!*

In celebration of the Italian-American Heritage Month, The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center would like to highlight materials relating to Italians and Italian genealogy.

In our collection, we hold an array of materials documenting the Italian population in Scott County. One collection documents immigrants becoming citizens of the United States.

The Scott County Naturalization records contains federal immigration records released from Iowa District Court of Scott County which include declarations of intent, petitions, affidavits of witnesses, correspondence, indexes. These records date from 1868 to 1929. Below we will feature some Italian immigrant stories.

Antonio D’Eramo

Antonio D’Eramo was born in Bugnara, Italy on April 8, 1887. He married Neva DiTommaso in Bugnara in 1920. Antonio came to Davenport in 1920 two years before his wife Neva and his daughter Lena. His declaration to become a citizen was made on December 6, 1921, and his petition signed on November 20, 1926. Neva became a citizen in 1942. He worked as a foreman steelworker for the International Harvester Company until 1947. He was also worked for the Bettendorf Company.

His daughter, Lena, married Frank J. Tomei of Davenport in 1947. In 1961, Antonio and his wife moved to Mesa, Arizona. He passed away on August 14, 1974 in Mesa, Arizona at the age of 87.

Giovanni Petruccelli

Giovanni (John) Petruccelli was born in Italy on November 22, 1888, to Donato and Maria Theresa (Calvella) Petruccelli. His last residence in Italy before migrating was Viggiana, Italy. In the naturalization documents below, his declaration was made on June 21, 1921, and his petition signed on December 16, 1926. He was married to his first wife, Marguerite (Margaret) Tronzo from 1925 to 1931. They had four children, Mrs. Mary Mason (husband Russell), Donato Angelo Francisco (Dan), Domenico J. Petro, Vincenzo J. On August 4, 1937, Giovianni married Josephine Elizabeth McKee. He and his two brothers, Vincenzo and Domenico, “established the Bay State Shoe Repair in the 200 block on Harrison Street and in 1948, the shop was moved to the 300 block on West Third Street” in Davenport (“Vincenzo” 5).

A interesting fact is that Giovanni was the uncle to Donato A. (Don) Petruccelli, who was Davenport Mayor from 1957-1961.

Santi Caturegli

Santi Caturegli was born in Pisa, Italy on May 18, 1881, to John and Alice (Vanniccia) Caturegli. He married Teresa Simonetti (or Scimanetti) in Pisa in 1903. They arrived in the United States through New York’s Ellis Island on June 10, 1907. Santi and Teresa had three children, two daughters, Mrs. Mary Meyer (husband Ervin) and Mrs. Laura Dean (Virgil) and one son, Hugo G. Caturegli. He worked at the Bettendorf Company and was a member of the Davenport Moose Lodge. Santi passed away on October 17, 1962.

The records below detail his naturalization to become a United States Citizen. His declaration was made on August 18, 1924, and his petition signed on December 15, 1926.

Another resource where we find information about Italian-Americans is the United States Census records. They will list the names of family members, their age, where they were born, where their parents were born, what languages they speak, and their occupation. This resource, like the city directories, is helpful for tracing ancestors.

Lastly, in our book collection, there are books about Italian genealogy and history. Here is a bibliography of Italian books in Special Collections.

Brockman, Terra, 1958-. A student’s guide to Italian American genealogy. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1996.
Call Number: SC 929.1089 BROCK TER
Burke, Carol Nutile, 1929-. The Nutile/DeMartino family of New Haven & North Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.: some ancestors and descendants, 1795-2000. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, 2004.
Call Number: SC 929.2 Nut
Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo, 1956-. Italian-American family history: a guide to researching and writing about your heritage. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., c1997.
Call Number: SC 929.1 Car
Cole, Trafford R. (Trafford Robertson), 1951-. Italian genealogical records: how to use Italian civil, ecclesiastical & other records in family history research. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, c1995.
Call Number: SC 945 COL
Colletta, John Philip, 1949-. Finding Italian roots: the complete guide for Americans. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical, c1993.
Call Number: SC 945 Col
Konrad, J. cn. Italian family research. Munroe Falls, Ohio: Summit Publications, c1990.
Call Number: SC 945 Kon
Melnyk, Marcia Yannizze, 1951- author. Tracing your Italian ancestors.
Call Number: SC 929.1072 MELNY MAR
Yans-McLaughlin, Virginia, 1943- cn. Family and community: Italian immigrants in Buffalo, 1880-1930. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982, c1977.
Call Number: SC 974.797 Yan

These records provide a glimpse into lives of Italian-Americans. We hope you enjoy researching our collections! Happy Italian-American Heritage Month! Ciao!

Stiamo festeggiando means we are celebrating in Italian.


“Vincenzo Petruccelli, Mayor’s Father, Dies”. Morning Democrat. Davenport, Iowa: October 29, 1958, page 5.

(posted by Kathryn)

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Historic Places: “Riverview”

This month Gilda’s Club of the Quad Cities, the non-profit Cancer Support Community, announced they were moving out of the iconic mansion at 1234 East River Drive and would be relocating and expanding to 2 locations: Genesis West Campus in Davenport and Unity Point – Trinity Moline.

Let’s take a look at the history of this 150-year-old building and the families that have called it home.

Abner & Mary Emma Davison, 1852-1909

Abner Davison was born on January 3, 1820, in Oswego Co., NY to Chester and Lorena Davison. He attended Fredonia Academy and graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY in 1845. He moved to Davenport in 1852. He became one of the leading lawyers in Davenport, first with the firm of Davison & True (1854-1873) and later with Davison & Lane (1874-1900). Abner’s son Charles and James’s son Joe continued the law firm after their respective parents’ deaths, and the firm continues to this day as Lane & Waterman.

Abner Davison married his cousin Mary Emma Davison in January 1854 in Davenport. The couple had seven children: Ella, Charles, Alice, Frances (Mrs. C.A.) Ficke, William, Mary (Mrs. F.J.) Waltz, and Jessie (Mrs. W.R.) Weir.

Mary Emma Davison was born on February 28, 1835, in Cooperstown, N.Y. She died in Pasadena, California on February 28, 1909. Abner Davison died at his home on May 17, 1900.

The Davison home was built in the mid-1850s on Cottage Avenue (street name changed to Front Street in 1867, and River Drive in 1934) between Bridge & College Avenues in A.C. Fulton’s Addition to East Davenport and was platted as “Riverview.” It was originally a 2 story Tuscan Italiante style house made of brick with hipped-roof, tall narrow windows, a main entrance porch with fluted Doric columns and pilasters, and an ornate Victorian Gazebo near the southwest corner.

Davenport Democratic Banner, August 20, 1852
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1892
Davenport Democrat and Leader, October 25, 1909

Charles H. & Mary Gilchrist Crowe, 1910-1933

Charles Henry Crowe was born in Peterboro, Ontario, Canada on July 15, 1873, to Charles and Margaret Jane (Hall) Crowe. He married Miss Mary Gilchrist on October 15, 1908, in Davenport.

Mary Gilchrist Crowe was born in Rapids City, Illinois on March 13, 1881, to John W. and Caroline Gilchrist. The family moved to Davenport in 1900 and Mary attended St. Katharine’s school and the University of Illinois.

Mary died on November 19, 1933, at the family home. After his wife’s death, Charles lived with his brother-in-law, Charles Gilchrist at 812 Bridge Avenue. Charles H. Crowe died in Sacramento, California on November 30, 1937.

Mr. Crowe was a member of the Davenport Zoning Board and Commission, former president of the Rotary Club, was active in the Sunshine Club, Davenport Lodge No. 208, A.F. and A.M., Zarephath Consistory, and Kaaba Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Mrs. Crowe was a member of the Chi Omega sorority of the University of Illinois, the Davenport Garden Club, and the Tuesday Club.

The couple came back to Davenport in 1910 when Charles took a job as secretary of his father-in-law’s company, the Alden Coal Co. He purchased the Davison home, which was next door to his in-laws on East River Drive. During this time the home underwent a major renovation of the original rear wing, the addition of a west wing, prairie style windows, and gray stuccoed exterior.

Davenport Democrat and Leader, September 2, 1912
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1910-1950
Mary Gilchrist Crowe portrait by J.B. Hostetler, ca. 1910
City of Davenport Iowa Building Permits

C. Arthur Ruhl, 1934-1953

Mary Gilchrist Crowe’s sister and brother-in-law, Caroline “Midge” Gilchrist and Charles Arthur Ruhl moved into the home in 1934.

Charles Arthur Ruhl was born March 15, 1897, in Davenport to Mr. and Mrs. John Ruhl. He served as a 1st Lieutenant in Battery B 185th Field Artillery and served in the Mexican border in 1915-1916 and in the United States Army during WWI. In 1920 he became affiliated with the firm of Ruhl & Ruhl. He married Caroline “Midge” Gilchrist on January 25, 1924, in Davenport. The couple had 3 children: John G., Charles A., and Mary Challed.

Caroline “Midge” Gilchrist was born in Gilchrist, Ilinois to Mr. and Mrs. John W. Gilchrist. She graduated from St. Katharine’s school and attended National Domestic Arts and Sciences School in Washington, D.C. She died on November 13, 1973.

Mr. Ruhl was a senior member and president of the Blackhawk-Perry Corp, vice president of the First National Bank Corp., past president of the Davenport Association of Insurance Agents, past president of the Iowa Insurance Agents Association, a charter member of the Davenport Country Club, the Town Club, Davenport Club, 40 and 8, American Legion Post No. 26, the 720 Club, and the Outing Club. He died on January 21, 1959.

Caroline “Midge” Gilchrist Ruhl portrait by J.B. Hostetler, ca. 1917
The Daily Times, January 10, 1933
1940 Federal Census
City of Davenport Iowa Building Permits
The Daily Times, January 22, 1959

Don S. Challed, 1960-1972

Caroline Gilchrist and C. Arthur Ruhl’s daughter and son-in-law, Mary Ann Ruhl and Don Challed, moved into the home in 1960.

Don Challed was born on May 25, 1932, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Dr. Don and Olga Miller Challed. He attended McKinley High School in Cedar Rapids, Carleton and Coe Colleges, and the School of Business at Northwestern University. He began working for Ruhl & Ruhl Insurance in 1957 and retired in 1995 as past president and chairman of Ruhl & Ruhl Incorporated.

Don was married to Mary Ann Ruhl on October 29, 1955, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. The couple had 4 daughters: Catherine Ann McPeek, Caroline Anne Fix, Anne Marie Saveraid, and Elizabeth Mary Polaschek.

Mr. Challed was a charter life underwriter, past president of the Davenport Association of Insurance Agents, regional chairman of the Hartford Insurance Group, regional chairman of Continental Insurance Companies, past president of Rotary International Davenport Noon Rotary Club, Davenport Chamber of Commerce, Davenport Club, the Outing Club, Rod & Gun Club, Visiting Nurses Association of Davenport, Crow Valley Golf Club, and served on the vestry and as senior warden for Trinity Cathedral.

The Daily Times, October 29, 1955
City of Davenport Iowa Building Permits

David Cole, 1973-1979

The 1973-1979 Davenport City Directories list David Cole at 1234 East River Drive. All we’ve been able to find on David C. Cole is this photograph and a classified ad for a 1972 Ford Gran Torino that ran in the Quad-City Times from 1976-1979.

Quad-City Times, March 14, 1973


In the early 1980s, the house was advertised for rent by Ruhl & Ruhl. Names listed in the Davenport City Directories at this address during this time include Robert Q. DiVita, John D. Reynolds, William A. Knott, Louis L. Gunthorp, and Brenda L. Traylor.

Quad-City Times, June 25, 1984

River Oaks Inn B & B, 1987-1997

William & Suzanne Pohl and Ronald & Mary Jo Pohl purchased the home in 1986 and turned it into Davenport’s first Bed & Breakfast, River Oaks Inn. They also refurbished the carriage house behind the home into an auxiliary Bed & Breakfast.

William Frank Pohl was born July 29, 1943, in Davenport to Ernest Francis Pohl and Mary Marie (Farris) Pohl. He graduated from Assumption High School in 1961 and received a teaching degree from the University of Iowa. Bill married Suzanne A. Dessert on July 12, 1975, in Davenport.

Mr. Pohl taught at Monroe School in Davenport. He was an Air Force Veteran and Peace Corp volunteer stationed in Colombia. Mr. Pohl died on September 1, 2003.

Quad-CIty Times, March 4, 1986
Quad-City Times, August 3, 1986
Quad-City Times, February 7, 1991

Gilda’s Club, 1998-2020

On August 15, 1997, Ron & Mary Jo Pohl deeded the property to Gilda’s Club of the Quad Cities. Named in honor of comedienne Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer in 1989, the first Gilda’s Club opened in New York City in 1995.

Gilda’s Club of the Quad-Cities provides emotional and social support for people living with cancer, their families, and friends. They offer various support groups, lectures, art therapy, and social gatherings. In 2003 they added space just for kids called “Noogieland”. All of these services are offered free of charge.

Ephemera – Organizations – Gilda’s Club [2003]

(posted by Cristina)

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Mayflower Families: John Alden

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony. Commemorative publications, programs, and tours are planned in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands by various organizations, including the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Plymouth 400, Inc.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about our resources for different Mayflower families throughout the year. This month we’ll explore the family of the last surviving signer of the Mayflower Compact, John Alden! 

John Alden was born ca. 1599 in Harwich, Essex, England. He was hired to be a barrel maker (cooper) for the Mayflower.

Alden married Priscilla Mullins in 1622/23 at Plymouth. The Courtship of Miles Standish by Alden’s descendant Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, tells the tale of the love triangle between John Alden, Priscilla Mullins, and Myles Standish.

John Alden held many offices in the colony including Assistant to the Governor, Deputy to the Plymouth Court, Colony Treasurer, served in the committee to revise laws and the committee on Kennebec trade, and he was one of the founders of the town of Duxbury.

His home in Duxbury, built in 1653, is now a museum. The foundations of the first Alden home, built in 1627, are on this site.

John Alden died on September 12, 1687, in Duxbury at the age of 89.

The first generation of Henry Samson descendants:

  1. Elizabeth, born ca. 1624, married William Pabodie in December 1644 in Plymouth.
  2. John, born ca. 1626, married Elizabeth Phillips Everill on April 1, 1660, in Boston.
  3. Joseph, born ca. 1627, married Mary Simonson ca. 1660.
  4. Priscilla, born ca. 1630, unmarried.
  5. Jonathan, born ca. 1632, married Abigail Hallett on December 10, 1672, in Duxbury. 
  6. Sarah, born ca. 1634, married Alexander Standish ca. 166. 
  7. Ruth, born ca. 1636, married John Bass on February 3, 1857/8 in Braintree.
  8. Mary, born ca. 1638, unmarried.
  9. Rebecca, born ca.1640, married Thomas Delano ca. 1667.
  10. David, born ca. 1642, married Mary Southworth ca. 1674.

Want to learn more about John Alden’s descendants? Stop by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and browse through the 5 parts of volume 15 of Mayflower Families through five generations (SC 929.2 May)


(posted by Cristina)

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