ELDRIDGE: Jacob Mullen, mover-and-shaker son of Duncan and Rachel BROWN ELDRIDGE, had 3 wives and 9 children
There are many stories about Jacob who never let grass grow and saw many business and personal opportunites to better life in Davenport, Scott, Iowa. Jacob is this writer's legacy through his daughter, Jennie, who married George Washington BAWDEN.
JACOB MULLEN ELDRIDGE (Duncan Campbell and Rachel BROWN3, Josiah2, William1) was born 20 November 1824 in Haddonfield, Camden, New Jersey, the only surviving child of Duncan and Rachel BROWN ELDRIDGE (no BMD). There were 2 others born in Rochester, NY who died shortly after birth.
The History of Scott County, IA 1882 p. 827 is the most accurate account of Jacob because he was 58 yo, and it can be assumed the info was given by Jacob.
“His mother died when he was four years old and he went to live with his grandmother [Rebecca LIPPINCOTT ELDRIDGE who was widowed]. He became self-supporting at the age of 13 and followed teaming until he was 19, when he sold his team and traveled one winter, visiting Washington and called on President John TYLER. He engaged in the grain business in Camden, New York one year, then started for the West and landed at Rock Island, IL Dec 23, 1845, after a journey of 2 mos hard travel from Philadelphia. The next day he came to Davenport, Scott, IA, then a city of 500 inhabitants where his father had resided since 1838. He concluded to make this city his home, and entered land three mi. northeast of Davenport paying $1.25/A and sold it for $125 in 1872 realizing 10,000 per cent on the investment. On 12 Feb 1846, he returned to Philadelphia, settled up his business there and came back to Davenport on Nov 20 ”.
His land purchase was on Jersey Ridge Road, so named by him because it reminded him of his home in Haddonfield. He was one of the first land agents and continued to make land and railroad development his business for the rest of his life. He owned 1000s of acres in undeveloped land in Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakota Territory, and an interest in a 3,000A farm near Eldridge, ND which was called “Davenport Farm”. [Dtr Kate and husband Circuit Judge Samuel LYTER GLASPELL].
On 2 July 1871, the plat of Eldridge Junction (now the town of Eldridge, Scott, IA) was filed in the Scott County Court House by Jacob M. ELDRIDGE. The town lay in Sheridan Township at the junction of the Maquoketa and Milwaukee/St. Paul RRs intersected. There was a large element of speculation on the city’s growth. Many predicted Rockingham Twnshp (sw Davenport along the river) and even Buffalo further down the river. There was much rivalry between LeClaire and Davenport as river posts so it was not strange that Jacob should choose a site north, with a bit of advanced information, which was being opened by the Davenport and St. Paul Railroad. He understood that the division point and roundhouses were to be located here. He purchased a farm, planned and built a village which he named Eldridge and hoped to make a fortune. Overnight the roundhouses were moved farther north, the bubble burst and the rapid growth of the town ceased. Davenport Democrat 31 May 1936.
He was prominent in attracting a number of railroads to cross the Mississippi River at Davenport as they headed west through Iowa. He was a member of the company that built the second railroad bridge across the Mississippi, and the Davenport Street Car lines were established largely through his efforts.
He was a Republican and was present at Iowa City, Johnson County, in 1856 when the party was organized. In 1872 he was a delegate to the liberal Republican convention at Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio, where Horace GREELEY was nominated for US president. Jacob was reputed to have put the words “Go West young Man’ into the mouth of Horace GREELEY.
Jacob was a leading member of the Christian Church which his father and the band of pioneers had instituted in Davenport. At his death he was the oldest member of the Sons of Temperance in Iowa, an organization he joined in 1847.
Jacob first married Mary Louise WOODWARD on 1 June 1848 in Davenport, dtr of Joseph SMITH and Mary FORMAN WOODWARD. She was born 31 Aug 1822 in Burlington, Burlington, NJ. She died after 18 mo in December 1849 in Davenport and is buried in Davenport’s Oakdale Memorial Gardens on the Woodward-Morgan lot. Mary Louise(a) WOODWARD is the sister of Benjamin BECKWITH WOODWARD, father of Stephen Douglas BAWDEN’s wife, Mary Ella WOODWARD.
He married Mary HIGH WILLIAMS on 25 June 1851 in Davenport, dtr of Charles CLARK and Eliza MILLER WILLIAMS born in Newark, Essex, NJ. The WILLIAMS came to Davenport in 1844 and were among the early members of the Presbyterian Church.
Jacob and Mary’s Jersey Ridge fruit farm was where all 9 children were born. Distance to Davenport and poor enterprise [filed for bankrupcy] necessitated the move into the city in a house at 1530 Farnam. The children could get to school easily, Jacob could run his real estate and insurance business office on Brady St. The family lived here until after Jacob’s death. Mary suffered ill health for many years. According to dtr Jennie, her mother became an invalid because of “nervous prostration”. Mary died 10 June 1885 and is buried in Oakdale Memorial Gardens.
Jacob married third on 28 September 1886 in Davenport, Miss Agnes SMITH, dtr of Robert and Margaret (maiden?) SMITH. Agnes was born 4 Feb 1840 in Perth. Quebec, Canada. The SMITHs came to Scott County in 1854 settling on a farm near Long Grove. In 1864 they moved to Davenport where they were members of the Christian Church.
Jacob died of “exhaustion” 8 Jun 1902 in his Farnam St. home. Agnes died 26 Jan 1937 in her sister’s home 1614 LeClaire St. They are buried in Oakdale.
All born in Davenport, Scott, IA: 6 of 9 have seperate pages**.
1. Elizabeth b 3 Apr 1852**
2. Charles b. 1854, d 26 Apr 1854, buried Oakdale
3. Katherine “Kate” b. 9 Mar 1855**
4. Frank W. b 29 July 1858**
5. William V. b14 Feb 1860, d 19 Mar 1866 of typhoid
6. Minnie b 20 July 1862**
7. Jennie b 15 Jul 1865. This is my heritage**
8. George Wallace b 16 Jan 1868**
9. Emily M. b 23 Jan 1870, d. 23 Oct 1876 of diphtheria buried Oakdale