ELDRIDGE: Duncan CAMPBELL obituary and list of Firsts in the Davenport Iowa Democrat newspaper 3 Oct 1882
A Landmark Fallen
Death of Duncan C. ELDRIDGE
The Oldest Remaining Male Settler of the City of Davenport - The First Miller, One of the First Merchants and the Builder of the First Brick House, The Postmaster for Thirteen Years. An Industrious Life - The Patriarch's Career - The Funeral
A landmark has fallen! The venerable Duncan CAMPBELL ELDRIDGE, who was teh only man of the old settlers who became residents of Davenport in 1835 who was still remaining among us, is dead. He fell asleep at 11-1/2 o'clock this forenoon. The fatal ailment was paralysis. On Saturday September 23d, while in the Christian chapel attending to his duties as member of committee on repairs, the stroke came, and prostrated him - his whole right side being paralyzed while the left side seemed strong as ever. He lost his power of speech at the same time. He was borne to his home, 214 west Fifth street, and it was soon discovered that he must now journey rapidly toward the dark river. As old asthmatic trouble asserted itself, and aided in theweakening process. He could take little or no nourishment, and so he lay awaiting death with calm resignation. Old settlers would call upon him, and he would give them a warm clasp of the hand, the tears would well up into his eyes, he must part from his old friends - but he was ready. He isgone - one of the spirited citizen, teh philanthropic and charitable neighbor and friend, the kindly, tender-hearted old man, gone to his reward. His widow is the only remaining person of the group of people who settled here immediately after the town was laid out in 1835. There are those still living - may they abide with us many years - who settled some distance outside the limits of the town, but not another person beside Mr. ELDRIDGE who were the first settlers in the original village is living here.
MR. ELDRIDGE'S CAREER WAS PARTICULARLY INTERESTING
Duncan CAMPBELL ELDRIDGE was born, son of Josiah [and Sarah MIDDLETON] ELDRIDGE in Haddonfield, New Jersey, six miles from Philadelphia, on the 3d day of August, 1801. His parents were Quakers of the strictest sort. He received a good common school education and learned the trade of brick-layer and plasterer. He worked at his trade in his native town and in Philadelphia til the summer of 1824 when he went to Rocheswter, NY and stayed there, in that then growing place, til 1828, when losing his first wife [Rachel BROWN], he returned to Philadelphia - but moved that very year to Cincinnati. He worked at his trade there - and there he met Miss Rebecca LIPPINCOTT, whom he had known in his youth, back in Haddonfield - an own cousin of the great Philadelphia publishers - and the twain became one flesh in a few months after renewing their acquaintance. In Cincinnati Mr. Eldridge met Antoine LeCLAIRE and "Col." [honorary not military] George DAVENPORT, who described to him the beauty of the country opposite Fort Armstrong [on Rock Island Arsenal Island] and the village of Stephenson,[Rock Island] Illinois. [Davenport, Iowa was still part of the Michigan Territory]. LeCLAIRE and DAVENPORT met Duncan ELDRIDGE in Cincinnati on a supply trip and told him a town had been laid out there in the Spring to be called Davenport, and thought it would be a good thing for ELDRIDGE to move out there. He took their advice. He and Mrs. Eldridge [and 5 yo son Charles Henry b 26 Jul 1830 in Cincinnati] left Cincinnati early in September 1835. [see 'float boat' story in Micajah Lippincott ELDRIDGE blog].
The only dwelling house on this side of the river was one occupied by Antoine LECLAIRE, the ferryman, the site of which was near where the present freight depot of the C.R.I. & P. railroad stands. Mr. ELDRIDGE brought enough lumber from Cincinnati to erect a shanty as he called it, and in that shanty they passed the winter, their neighbors being the LECLAIRES and two or three families who landed soon after the ELDRIDGES did. In that shanty the first girl baby born in Davenport saw the light [Sarah Elizabeth ELDRIDGE b. 3 May 1837. First white male child - no name - was son of Levi S. COLTON, born Autumn of 1836, died in Indian village - mother was Native American]. Sarah is deceased six years since.
The next year Mr. E. went to Cincinnati andpurchased a stock of goods for a general store, which he opened in a frame building on the northeast corner of Ripley and Front [River Drive] Streets which that winter became known as "brimstone corner', because revival meetings were held in the second story of it, the Methodist preacher who officiated preaching the lake of fire all the time.
THE VILLAGE WAS INCORPORATED
In 1839 and Mr. ELDRIDGE was elected a member of the first board of trustees, with A. C. DONALDS
ON, John FORREST, Jonathan W. PARKER, John LETCH, and John OWENS. Rodolphus BENNETT was mayor, Frazer WILSON recorder, James M. BOWLING treasurer, George COLT marshal. In 1847 Mr. ELDRIDGE served as alderman of the Second Ward.
THE FIRST SERMON
Ever delivered in the town was preached in Mr. ELDRIDGE's house by the Rev. Mr. (nfn) GAVITT [also GAVET].
Antoine LeCLAIRE was the first postmaster but he turned over teh dities of theposition to Mr. E. who fulfilled them as deputy for a year and a half, when he was appointed postmaster, and thus his establishment was post office as well as general store. In a year he became postmaster, Mr. E sold his stock of goods and devoted his attention to post office business with matters of insurance and other doings he could attend to as well as not.
FIRST BRICK HOUSE
Mr. ELDRIDGE built it on the northeast corner of 3rd & Main [still existed at the obit date - not anymore]. Harvey LEONARD made teh brick and laid them for him. The quarters becoming too small as residence and post office. In fact since his residence, Mr. ELDRIDGE has built thirty-four houses [see Micajah Lippincott ELDRIDGE blog for partial list]. Thirty-five counting the spacious golden dining hall which was improvised for the celebradion of his golden wedding on the west side of the home. He remained Postmaster for thirteen years. He was a Whig - and after Franklin Pierce was inaugurated, Mr. A. F. MAST, Democrat, was appointed Duncan's successor.
DEALER IN DRUGS AND MEDICINE
In 1851, Mr. ELDRIDGE bought out the drug stores of Alfred SANDERS and John F. DILLON, andunited them in one store, next door west of what is now Wadsworth's block. He sold this store to Wm. WEBB who moved it to No. 105 W. Second Street - and is E. S. Ballard & Co's drug store now. Since his sale of drug stock Mr. E. has confined his business to insurance mostly, several years for himself and for the last twelve years with Mr. D. M. HARTWELL's now - HARTWELL and BEMIS Agency.
THE FIRST FLOURING MILL
Was introduced by Mr. Eldridge. IT was one of "GETTY's Patent Metallic mills". It was something of the style of the feedmills now ysed by farmers, and it's motive power was a strong horse.
Duncan was the oldest west of the Alleghanies. He was initiated a member of Kensington Lodge, in Philadelphia in May 1828, more than fifty-four years ago, and has been an affiliated member of the Order ever since, occupying the highest chairs in the subordinate lodges to which he has belonged. He belonged to Davenport Lodge, No. 7.
It was on the fourth day of November 1879 that Mr. and Mrs. ELDRIDGE celebrated their anniversary in their home on Fifth Street. The festivities were attended by a great number of people and the turnout of old settlers was so large as to be a compliment in itself.
THE PIONEER SETTLERS ASSOCIATION
Mr. Eldridge was one of the most active and influential supporters. He called the meeting held in LECLAIRE Hall in January 1858, for the purpose of organizing the association. He was, with James McINTOSH, Willard BARROWS, John F. DILLON and Edw RICHSER on the committee on organization; he was one of its first vice presidents, he was elected president in January 1861. Messrs. Antoine LeCLAIRE and Evenezer COOK having been his only predecessors in the office. Always he has been at the front in furthering the interests of the organization. The ASsociation will sadly miss him.
HIS FAMILY SURVIVORS
John M. Eldridge [brother] who came to Davenport in 1839; Mrs. Anna RUMBOLD [d-i-l by marriage] who lives near Plankinton, Dakota; William ELDRIDGE the younger brother who lives near Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey. He was like a father and brother us us all - especially to me said Mr. John ELDRIDGE today as his voice choked with emotion.
Mr. ELDRIDGE was the father of eleven children - four by his first wife [only Jacob survived]; and seven by her [Rebecca] who survives him, and has been for fifty-three eyars one of the most faithful of wives and best of mothers. Of these, Jacob M., Charles and Micajah are living, and are residents of Davenport, the number of grandchildren is nearly a score - while there are great grandchildren also. But within two days of the 47th anniversary of his landing in Davenport he passes away. Had he lived until Thursday next he would have seen that anniversary. But the patriarch has left us - passing away while his fellow townsmen cherished feelings of deepest respect for him.
THE FUNERAL takes place next Thursday afternoon, the 47th anniversary of the day of Mr. Eldridge's arrival in Davenport. Mr. Eldridge belong belonged to the Church of the Disciples (the Christian denomination) for more than fifty years, and in the Christian Chapel the services will be held at two o'clock.