The Nuckols Family of Davenport

In celebration of this year’s Black History Month theme, “The Black Family,” we return to Davenporter of Note Albert Nuckols, this time exploring his family relationships. Many details of his life suggested by local newspapers articles have proven difficult to verify, the absence of records being a typical challenge in the pursuit of genealogical information about African Americans. Nevertheless, we offer what pieces of Nuckols’ story we can, along with the questions they raise, in hopes of providing a Davenport example of Black families’ experiences in the Northern states in the years surrounding the Civil War.

Albert Nuckols was born about 1815 in or around Frankfort, Kentucky. His father was an “eminent Kentuckian” and his mother an enslaved woman. (1) His Democrat obituary attributed his “gifts” to the fact that he was “…a scion of a proud Kentucky family…” whose “head was one of the greatest statesmen in America.” (2) Albert and his sister Emma were two of fourteen children. (5)

Albert later became the property of R.C. Nuckols, working for him as a foreman in a Missouri iron mill. (1) There he met, and in 1849 married, an enslaved woman named Anna. She was the property of a Mrs. Elam, who had moved to Missouri from Virginia in 1847 because her late husband had a “large interest in the mines.” (2)

Like her husband, Anna Nuckols was mixed-race, the child of an enslaved woman and a man said to have served as a judge on the Supreme Court of Virginia. (2) After their marriage, Albert was able to purchase both his and his wife’s freedom from R.C. Nuckols for $1600. (It is possible he was still paying off the debt after he had moved Davenport: “In the office of the county recorder are the documents — the only instruments in existence to show ‘Prince Albert’ was a slave.” (3) Sadly, the grantor/grantee index for Scott County does not include Albert Nuckols’ name.

Albert and Anna’s daughter Eudora was born in Missouri on January 1st, 1850. When she was four years old, her mother died and her father decided to follow George L. Nuckols/Nickolls, son of his former master, to Davenport, Iowa.

Unfortunately, we find neither Albert nor Eudora in either the 1856 Iowa Census or the 1860 U.S. Census records, though newspaper items show Albert was renting a room in the Nickolls Block (George L.’s property) on 2nd and Brady Streets. The 1870 U.S. Census for Davenport shows a 20-year-old “Eudora Knuckels” living with James G. and Caledonia Garland and their children, suggesting she may have been raised in the household of another family of color (all are identified as “M” for “mulatto” in the race column of the census).

Eudora attended the high school in Davenport, graduating in June of 1873 with the distinction of being the “first of her race” to do so. At the commencement exercises, she read a “brief but very fine” essay entitled “What Shall My Song be Today,” at the conclusion of which “…Miss N. was rapturously applauded, and received a perfect storm of bouquets.” (4) She was surprised to be presented with a gold watch on behalf of forty Davenport lawyers and other gentlemen whose rooms her father cleaned. (1) The dedication read: “‘recognizing the worth, ability and perseverance of Miss Eudora Nuckolls, who being born a slave, nevertheless graduates this day from the High School of this city and desiring to express our appreciation of one, who, under such circumstances, proves herself and thereby the colored race, even under adverse circumstances, capable of intellectual culture and of education, equally with those of a fairer skin to whom the avenues of education and improvement have never closed…” (4)

According to one of his obituaries, Albert Nuckols was very proud of his only daughter; he had “bright hopes” that she “…should be of benefit to her people in the south in their schools.” He was “nearly heartbroken” when in October of the same year she married Walter S. Garland (in whose family home she had lived) who could “…hardly read, much less write…” We know little of Walter but that he worked alongside his father-in-law Albert as a janitor, bill-poster, and white-washer. (1) According to the 1880 U.S. Census, the couple lived at 319 West 10th Street; they were at 630 Main Street in the 1885 Iowa Census.

Eudora died on July 1, 1886 and was buried in Davenport’s Oakdale Cemetery. She hoped to provide for her father and husband with the returns of a $2500 life insurance policy purchased from a company in Waterloo, Iowa. (6) Her father passed away in 1889 of pneumonia and was buried with her.

Grave of Eudora and Albert Nuckols, Oakdale Cemetery, Davenport, Iowa
Eudora Nuckols’ epitaph

Although Eudora died childless, ending Albert Nuckols’ direct line, there are more family connections yet to explore. There is Albert’s sister, Emma, who had married a man named Kane and settled in Versailles, Kentucky by the time she visited her brother and niece in 1881. (5) There is also the family of Eudora’s grandfather and Anna’s father, “Judge” Elam of Virginia. And in Davenport, there is the Garland family to trace.

If we expand the definition of “the family,” however, there are many more possibilities. J.H. Warwick/Warrick was the barber who helped Albert Nuckols when he first arrived in Davenport and remained his friend for life; F. L. Dodge witnessed Eudora’s will (as well as her mother-in-law Caledonia Garland and Emily (her aunt Emma?) Kane. There are many that joined “Prince Albert” as orators in the various Emancipation celebrations, in addition to the families in the audience. There are preachers who invited him to speak, and fellow Black men who engaged in politics. There are the neighbors of the Garlands in 1870, and of Eudora and Walter in 1880 and 1885.

Scott County, Iowa, Will Record No. 2, page 554

Stay tuned as we work to widen the circle to include more connections made by Albert Nuckols and his family members. There is much more yet to tell of the history of the African American community in Davenport.

(posted by Katie)

  1. Davenport Morning Democrat, 31 Jan 1889.
  2. Davenport Democrat, 14 Sep 1886.
  3. Davenport Democrat-Gazette, 01 Feb 1889.
  4. Daily Davenport Democrat, 28 Jun 1873.
  5. Davenport Democrat, 09 Mar 1881.
  6. Scott County Will Record No. 2, page 553.

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Davenport High School: Making room for the Freshmen

By 1900, education was changing in Davenport, Iowa. The idea of continuing education past the 8th grade was becoming more accessible as stable work opportunities for adults meant their children did not need to leave school as early to help support the family.

As attendance rose in Davenport High School a new problem soon emerged – overcrowding in the classrooms. Some classes so crowded, according to teachers, that any additional students would have to stand in the back to learn as no more space existed for additional desks.

The three-story high school building dedicated in 1875 had simply become too crowded. The Davenport Community School District needed to find a solution quickly.

Davenport High School in 1887. Located at 7th Street and Rock Island Street (now Pershing Street). First Album of the City of Davenport. SC Oversize 917.7769 Huebi.

The school board quickly set their eyes on a property that ran from 11th – 12th Streets and Main to Harrison Streets. It seemed a perfect solution. The property was a block long and was once Iowa College (now Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa) and then Griswold College (please click here to learn more about the history of the property).

The site housed three buildings. Griswold College building, also called Wolfe Hall, was built in 1856. The three story structure plus basement had housed a men’s dormitory on the top floor, classrooms, library, dining hall, and recitation halls on the first two floors during its college days.

A collage of Griswold College photos and other properties owned by the Protectant Episcopalian Diocese of Iowa in 1887. First Album of the City of Davenport. SC Oversize 917.7769 Huebi.

Kemper Hall on the property had been a boys preparatory school for many years. Not as large as Wolfe Hall, it was still an impressive building that could be used by the school board. A third smaller residence was located near the other two buildings.

A deal was struck to purchase the land and buildings for $53,000. A vote was put to the public in March 1900 and passed. A new high school was planned with construction estimated to start in 1904 after finances and building plans were gathered and approved.

What to do until then? A temporary solution was quickly found. The freshman class of Davenport High School would be moved into Wolfe Hall. Kemper Hall and the small residence would be rented out for income for the school district. Once the decision was made to move the freshmen, things began to move quickly.

A close up view of Wolfe Hall from the collage above. First Album of the City of Davenport. SC Oversize 917.7769 Huebi.

Bathrooms needed to be installed in the basement, electricity updated, and spaces adapted into classrooms with desks and blackboards. The school board was able to make changes and additions for a little over $1,000.

Finally, the building was ready. The first semester of the 1900-1901 school year ended on January 25, 1901. On January 28, 1901, the first day of the second semester, the freshmen classes of Davenport High School reported to their new building. Classes in Algebra, Latin, English, History, and Botany were part of the freshmen curriculum.

As for the sophomores, juniors, and seniors at the high school; we are sure they breathed a sigh of relief as there was no longer the fear of having to stand in the classrooms due to overcrowding.

This solution lasted until the spring of 1904 when the freshmen were moved to an empty school on Eight Street. It was time for the new high school construction to begin. One of the first things that needed to be done was to demolish Wolfe Hall as it stood directly where the new high school was to be built.

The structure had served its purpose. Educating Davenport and Scott County youth in various ways for 48 years. In its place still stands Davenport High School, now known as Central High School, that replaced it. The building still proudly serving the Davenport community for 114 years.


  • First Album of the City of Davenport. SC Oversize 917.7769 Huebi.
  • The Morning Democrat, July 23, 1886. Pg. 3.
  • The Davenport Sunday Democrat, May 30, 1886. Pg. 4.
  • The Davenport Weekly Republican, February 17, 1900. Pg. 5.
  • The Davenport Sunday Democrat, March 11, 1900. Pg. 5.
  • The Davenport Democrat, May 23, 1900. Pg. 5.
  • The Davenport Democrat, October 9, 1900. Pg. 5.
  • The Daily Times, January 7, 1901. Pg. 3.
  • The Davenport Democrat, January 11, 1901. Pg. 4.
  • The Davenport Morning Star, January 26, 1901. Pg. 8.
  • The Davenport Sunday Democrat, January 27, 1901. Pg. 5.
  • The Daily Times, August 26, 1901. Pg. 6.
  • The Daily Times, August 26, 1904. Pg. 6.

(posted by Amy D.)

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Becoming Iowa: Iowa History 101

2021 marks the 175th anniversary of Iowa’s statehood. On December 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state admitted into the Union. Commemorative publications, programs, and other events are planned by the Iowa Department of Culture Affairs and communities across the state.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about different areas of Iowa history and culture throughout the year. This week we’ll explore the history basics every Iowan should know.

For many non-Iowans, the people and land that make up this state are a mystery surrounded by corn, pigs, and Midwestern friendliness. But as the people who live in Iowa, it is a state full of history, stories, and interesting places. For those who don’t know or need a refresher, we will share the fundamental state facts and then showcase one of our Closed Stacks materials.

As mentioned before, Iowa is the 29th state admitted into the Union on December 28, 1846. It was part of the Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, and lastly the Wisconsin Territory before Iowa became a territory itself with Robert Lucas as governor. At the time of statehood, Iowa City was named as capital with the first state university chartered there. The young state grew with more European immigrants setting and making their home in towns and cities like New Buda (Hungarians in 1850), Pella (Dutch in 1847), and the Amana Colonies (Germans in 1855). In 1856, Davenport was the site of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River. A year later, the state capital moved to Des Moines.

These facts and more can be found in Iowa Profile: Quick Facts About Iowa. The University of Northern Iowa created a timeline for those wishing to learn more about Iowa history.

For those wishing to test their knowledge, the Text and Workbook in the History of Iowa by Carl H. Erbe and published by the Holst Printing Company located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, would help that curious student of history.

This textbooks was intended for use by sixth and seventh graders, although it had many other possible uses including independent study by pupils. It used modern pedagogy of the time to develop skills and knowledge of students.

Below are a few sample pages of this compact Iowa history textbook:

We found some press written in Iowa newspaper about this wonderful little textbook.

We hope we whet your appetite for more this Iowa in the coming months.

(posted by Kathryn)

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JoAnna Lund’s Healthy Exchanges

It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life.

JoAnna Margaret McAndrews was born September 4, 1944, at Mercy Hospital in Davenport to Agnes Carrington and Jerome McAndrews. She graduated from Lost National High School in 1962, attended the American Institute of Commerce in Davenport, and graduated from the Moline Institute of Commerce.

JoAnna married Daniel Dierickx on June 4, 1966, in the Sacred Heart Church in Lost Nation, Iowa. The couple made their first home at 902 Bridge Avenue in Davenport and later lived in Wheatland and DeWitt. She married Clifford Lund on December 1, 1979, in DeWitt, Iowa.

JoAnna was a very crafty and creative young lady. She made all of her clothes herself, including her own wedding gown. She was style editor of the local Lost Nation paper in 1960. She probably inherited her creativity and talent from her mother, Agnes, who was an award-winning poet, collected and made her own hats, and kept a beautiful garden in front of her apartment on Brady Street.

JoAnna had an illustrious career with Iowa Mutual Insurance Co. in DeWitt as a commercial casualty-umbrella underwriter. Her professional certifications and designations included Certified Professional Insurance Woman, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Associate in Automation Management, and Associate in Premium Auditing. She was named Woman of the Year by the Quad-Cities Association of Insurance Women in 1983 and was elected president of that organization in 1985. She was named Insurance Professional of the Year by the Quad Cities Insurance Association in 1992.

In 1982, she co-edited the cookbook, Insure Your Christmas Cooking through the Davenport Association of Insurance Women, which they sold as stocking stuffers for $1. The book was so popular that they did a second printing the next year and published a second book, Premium Holiday Recipes, in 1984.

In 1991, the stress of having a son, daughter, and son-in-law in active duty during the Gulf War made her re-evaluate her lifestyle. She had gained a lot of weight from stress-eating and worried about being healthy for her kids when they returned. She started going for walks every day, joined Weight Watchers, and changed her eating habits by reducing fat and sugar in her diet.

She lost 101 pounds that year and published the Cookbook Healthy Exchanges. She reworked family favorites cutting the amount of fat and making substitutions when needed. For JoAnna, it was a way to combine her creative side and her analytical side. She experimented in her home kitchen on the weekends and brought meals for her coworkers to taste test. She exchanged recipes with women at her church and her Weight Watchers group.

Her cookbook and monthly subscription newsletter were so successful that she was able to quit her job to focus on creating recipes full time. Keys to her success were that all ingredients could easily be found in local stores and the cooking steps were kept to a minimum. She also included inspirational notes, words of encouragement, and healthy lifestyle advice.

JoAnna Lund went on to write over 40 books and sold over 2,000,000 copies during her lifetime. She hosted 2 national PBS TV Series, Help Yourself with Joanna Lund in 1997 and Cooking Healthy with the Family in Mind in 2000. She and her husband hosted the Healthy Exchanges weekly call-in radio program on WOC-AM. She was a frequent guest on QVC and sold more books than anyone in the history of the company. She hosted cooking segments on the TV show RV Today on the Outdoor Living Network and had an online cooking column in Trailer Life. She also wrote a syndicated column for King features in weekly newspapers, a monthly food column in senior papers, and wrote for Voice of the Diabetic newspaper.

JoAnna Lund died on May 20, 2006, at her home in DeWitt after a long, courageous battle with breast cancer.

In 2001, the FRIENDS of the Davenport Public Library awarded JoAnna Lund the “Author Achievement Award” at that year’s Salute to Authors program. She was a frequent participant of the annual program beginning shortly after her first book was published in 1992. After her death, a plaque in her owner was placed in the Cookbook section of the downtown library.

Cookbooks by JoAnna Lund in our collection.


  • Quad-City Times, May 23, 2006
  • Quad-City Times, May 22, 2006
  • Quad-City Times, January 2, 2002
  • Quad-City Times, November 6, 1991
  • Quad-City Times, September 3, 1984
  • Quad-City Times, December 30, 1982
  • Sunday Times-Democrat, August 15, 1971
  • Sunday Times-Democrat, June 5, 1966
  • Sunday Times-Democrat, August 6, 1961
  • Morning Democrat, February 20, 1963
  • Des Moines Register, June 14, 1992
  • Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 12, 1992
  • Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 3, 1991

(posted by Cristina)

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Looking Back at 2020, Looking Forward to 2021

2020 began at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center as many years have done in the past: with a successful program. Along with the Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society, we presented the “Jump into Genealogy” beginning genealogy education series. We also made plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the 400th anniversary of the 1620 Mayflower voyage and subsequent founding of Plymouth Colony, and commemorations of other important historical events.

Over the following months the necessary closures challenged us to devise ways to offer safe remote access to our collections via online services, guides, and programs. Later, we adopted an appointment system in order to offer patrons safe access to our building and resources.

Despite these uncertainties, we were able to accomplish many goals and activities this year that we are proud to share with you all.

In July, the State Historical Society of Iowa awarded the FRIENDS of the Davenport Public Library with a $14,847 grant to digitize media from the Bix Beiderbecke Museum and World Archives Collection. The project involves digitizing media currently on inaccessible formats. The requested funds will be used to hire a professional digitization company to migrate 239 reel-to-reel tapes and other media formats to a more stable, accessible archival format. The media contains audio-visual content relating to Bix Beiderbecke and his jazz contemporaries. The project’s desired impact on the community will be to preserve and make accessible a piece of its musical history and influence. Once digitized and available for research, it will create educational opportunities for area primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions. This collection will bolster understanding of the history of Jazz in Iowa. The grant is supported by the Historical Resource Development Program (HRDP) and funded through Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP).

Currently, Media Transfer Services of Rochester, New York is migrating the data to a digital file format, giving future researchers the opportunity to study these reccordings. We are excited to continue this important project in 2021.

The Center also announced the launch of a new descriptive guide and search tool for its Archive and Manuscript Collections called ArchivesSpace. With this resource, the public can search hundreds of archival collection guides to learn about our holdings. It can be accessed at the following web address or by clicking on the image below:

Over the course of the year, Special Collections staff offered a variety of virtual programs which are available on the Library’s Calendar of Events and the Library’s YouTube Channel: Special Collections Playlist. We continued to send out our eNewsletter, sharing information and updates from the Special Collections Center.

2021, we hope, is a year in which we can offer more educational programs, and more opportunities for our community and beyond to engage and interact with the collections held at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. We appreciate your unwavering support and we look forward to sharing knowledge about our community’s wonderful history.

We’ve enjoyed seeing and chatting with those of you who have been in contact; we miss you all. If you wish to use Special Collections resources, please call or email us for assistance.

Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year! Start the year off with the fun of solving a jigsaw puzzle created from a photograph in our image collection. Click the image below to access it!

2003-09: Davenport Leisure Services & Facilities Parks Collection – Group of Silver Skaters winners holding trophies from [1950s]. Found in Box 75, Folder 771, Image 88.

(posted by Kathryn on behalf of the entire Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center Staff)

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In Memoriam: Loren “Ted” Sloane

It is with great sadness we bid farewell to Loren “Ted” Sloane, our benefactor and one-half of the genealogical research power couple he and wife Alice Richardson made. Yet it is with great joy we remember his dedication to the local community and its history.

Loren “Ted” Sloane was born in Davenport, Iowa on August 28 1928 to Leland and Grace Sloane. He attended the city schools; in high school, he was a member of the Boys Quartet, (he “majored” in music) and the golf team.

Ted graduated from Davenport High School in 1946 and served in the army at the end of the Second World War.

He attended St. Ambrose University for a time, then studied law at Drake University. There he was a member of the choir and the Young Republicans.

While a student at Drake, he married Alice Richardson at her parents’ home in Davenport on December 20th, 1949.

Davenport Daily Times, December 21, 1949

After graduating from Drake in 1953, Ted and his family returned to the Davenport area and he worked with his father in the insurance business.

By the time he opened his own law practice in 1961 (also in the First National Bank building), Ted and Alice were living in Pleasant Valley with their two children, Suzanne and David.

Ted Sloane was featured in the local newspapers participating in some of his favorite life-long hobbies and activities. In the photo below, he is shown playing golf at Crow Valley Country Club during a tournament.

Quad-City Times, September 25, 1973

In addition to having fun, he made connections through playing golf. Bill Wundram wrote about the Sloanes numerous times over the years.

Quad-City Times, September 22, 1985, page 2.

Ted worked as an attorney and investor until he retired in the mid-1980s. He then began working as a professional genealogist alongside his wife Alice. They had an office in the Village of East Davenport. According to an article in the April 13th, 2010, Quad-City Times, Ted began his genealogical research on his own family and discovered that his ancestor John Sloane was the first treasurer of the United States. His “knowledge of court documents” complemented Alice’s long experience as a genealogical researcher. His expertise in genealogical research was frequently sought by the local press. He offered advice about the use of computers in genealogy in the February 28, 1997 issue of the Quad-City Times.

Alice and Ted Sloane were the recipients of the 1990 Quad-Cities Heritage League Pioneer Award. The Sloanes always supported the library:

Quad-City Times, February 28, 1987

In 1999, Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center at Main Street Library opened:

In 2005, they advocated for the Scott County library consortium:

Quad-City Times, October 11, 2005, page 3.

Ted Sloane’s impact on the Quad-Cities and the Davenport Public Library will be remembered for years to come. He and his wife, Alice, were active members of the community who wanted to make their communities better.


The Blackhawk Yearbook. Davenport High School: Davenport, Iowa. 1946.

Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society Scrapbooks

(posted by Katie and Kathryn)

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Mayflower Families: Edward & Samuel Fuller

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 families of brothers Edward & Samuel Fuller! 

Edward Fuller was baptized in the Parish of Rodenhall, Co. Norfolk, England on September 4, 1575, to Robert and Sarah Dunthorne Fuller. He joined the Separatist Church in Leiden, Holland after his father’s death in 1614. He was married in England before 1605. His wife (name unknown) and son Samuel came with him on the Mayflower. Sadly, Edward and his wife died the first winter in Plymouth, ca. January 11, 1621.

The first generation of Edward Fuller descendants:

  1. Matthew, born ca. 1605, married Frances in England, died in Barnstable Co., MA in 1678.
  2. Samuel, born ca. 1608, married Jane Lothrop on April 8, 1635, died in Barnstable Co., MA ca. 1684. One of the last surviving Mayflower passengers.

Edward’s brother Samuel Fuller was born ca. 1580 in Redenhall, Co. Norfolk to Robert and Sarah Dunthorne Fuller. He was married three times; first to Alice Glascock ca. 1605, second to Agnes Carpenter in 1613 in Leiden, Holland; and third to Bridget Lee in 1617.

Samuel was a deacon of the Leiden Separatist church and studied medicine before his trip on the Mayflower. He became the colonists’ surgeon and physician, caring for the sick during the first winter and later epidemics. His wife arrived in 1623 aboard the Anne. Samuel went to Salem in 1629 to care for the sick and to help organize the local church. He was named an Assistant in the Governor’s Council in 1632. Unfortunately, Samuel Fuller died of smallpox in 1633.

The first generation of Samuel Fuller descendants:

  1. child, died in Leiden ca. 1624, died June 29, 1615.
  2. child, born in Leiden ca. 1618-1620.
  3. Mercy, born in Plymouth ca. 1627, died after 1650.
  4. Samuel, born in Plymouth ca. 1629, married between 1663-1667 to Elizabeth (Nichols) Bowen, died in Middleboro on August 24, 1695.

Want to learn more about Edward or Samuel’s descendants? Stop by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and browse through volumes 4 and 10 of Mayflower Families through five generations (SC 929.2 May)


(posted by Cristina)

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In Memoriam: Sgt. Frankie Wilson

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and volunteer Frankie Wilson, who passed away on November 25, 2020, at the University of Iowa Medical Center in Iowa City.

Frances Edna Wilson was born August 4, 1955, in Keokuk, Iowa. Her parents were David Eugene Wilson and Anna Bell Hootman. The family lived in Brighton, Washington Co. and Farmington, Van Buren Co., where Frankie graduated from Harmony High School in 1973.

Frankie had an impressive 30+ year career with the Davenport Police Department. She was one of 3 women sworn in on July 27, 1977, and was part of the last class to go through Davenport Police Department’s in-house cadet training school.

She worked all 3 shifts throughout her career, starting as an officer, promoted to corporal in 1984, and sergeant in 1994. She was assigned to the first bike path patrol in 1978, was a crime scene technician, and Records Bureau supervisor. She was also president of the Iowa Association of Women Police.

Sgt. Wilson received a B.A. from St. Ambrose University in 1981 and an M.A. from Western Illinois University. She was a nationally certified defense tactics instructor, a CPR instructor, and gave talks to the community on self-defense, street awareness, and simple survival skills. After retiring from the DPD she taught classes as an adjunct professor at Purdue University Global.

Frankie was one of our dedicated volunteers from the Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society. She used her incredible detective skills to help our patrons with their family history research questions. She was kind and generous, and a joy to be around. We will miss her terribly.

Courtesy of the Davenport Police Historic Association

(posted by Cristina)

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Black Hawk in the Artist’s Eye

The sheer number of sources on the Sauk leader Makataimeshekiakiah we’ve assembled for researchers and the library’s upcoming program on the contested whereabouts of his mortal remains testify to an enduring fascination with the man known as “Black Hawk.” This figure has not only piqued the curiosity of historians and biographers, but inspired these visual and literary artists as well.

These portraits are likely familiar; they have been reproduced often to accompany texts on  Makataimeshekiakiah, the Black Hawk War, Native Americans, and Quad-Cities-area history.

Charles Bird King, “Black Hawk (Sauk),” Thomas Loraine McKenney and James Hall. History of the Indian tribes of North America. Philadelphia: E. C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

James Otto Lewis, “MAC-CUT-I-MISH-E-CA-CU-CAC or Black Hawk; A Celebrated Sac Chief.” The Aboriginal Portfolio, 1835, hand-colored lithograph on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

From Benjamin Drake’s The Life and Adventures of Black Hawk, Cincinnati, 1838.

George Catlin, Múk-a-tah-mish-o-káh-kaik, Black Hawk, Prominent Sac Chief, 1832, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Robert M. Sully, Black Hawk, May 1833, Wisconsin Historical Society.

James Weshall Ford, Black Hawk, 1833, Special Collections, Library of Virginia.

John Jarvis, Black Hawk and His Son Whirling Thunder, 1833, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa.

The four others below appeared in this special issue of the Palimpsest:

The image on the lower left (the other three are unknown to this writer) appeared in Elbert Herring Smith’s Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, Or, Black Hawk, and Scenes in the West, New York, 1849.

The 1848 edition featured a rather grumpier Black Hawk:

Smith’s work is, as the subtitle reads, a “national poem in six cantos.” The artist’s image of Black Hawk is here evoked in epic verse.

Two other examples of long-form poetry detailing the exploits and character of Black Hawk may be found here at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. James Craighead’s Black Hawk: A Romance of the Black Hawk War (Creston, Iowa, 1930) is also inspired by Italian epic poetry by way of English poet Edmund Spenser. These pages from our copy show the use of the Spenserian nine-line stanza in a work heavier on the romance between an American officer and a Sauk maiden than a portrait of Black Hawk:

In contrast, Amer Mills Stocking’s 1926 poem employs a mishmash of styles and is meant as an accurate historical account. Note the use of footnotes!

(posted by Katie)

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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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