ELDRIDGE: Micajah LIPPINCOTT gives a story in 1920 to the Davenport Democrat and Leader newspaper about his father, Duncan CAMPBELL ELDRIDGE
This was an article dated 22 Aug 1920, quoting the youngest child of Duncan CAMPBELL and Rebecca LIPPINCOTT ELDRIDGE: It appears in the appendix of The ELDRIDGE-BAWDEN Families noted in comments.
AN OLD SETTLER OF SCOTT COUNTY BECOMES REMINISCENT
M. L. ELDRIDGE is 75 years old today. He tells of some of the first beginnings in Davenport [Scott County, Iowa]: "I have heard my father tell of living in Cincinati [Ohio], and that in 1835 he built a floatboat with a house cabin on it; he put in a stock of groceries and provisions [along with enough wood to build a shanty] and together with his wife and baby [Charles Henry b 26 Jul 1830 in Cincinnati] journeyed down the Ohio River to the Mississippi thence was towed up the river to Galena, Illinois - not liking it there, he bargained with the steam boat captain to tow him back to St. Louis. The winter was setting in early and very cold, the ice formed so fast that a little later the captain in order to save his boat cut loose from the flat boat in order to fun faster, leaving the ELDRIDGE outfit to its fate, the flat boat floated along with the ice during that day and night. Toward morning the cold was intense. When daylight came the ice had stopped moving and the flat boat and cargo was frozen in the middle of the river opposite the site of Davenport [town of Stephenson, Illinois, now Rock Island].
A little later several settlers came to the river bank and called saying to have ptience and when it was safe they would come out and help to get them ashore. The boat was torn to pieces, the lumber was used toward building a cabin.
When the lumber dried out, large cracks appeard. Mother made paste with flour and pasted old newspapers 9mostly illustrated) over the cracks, the settlers would come in and stand or sit on a box and enjoy the pictures and reading matter--a Bible and a few books that mother had brought along constituted the first library and reading room. Mother baked bread and made dried apple pies for the settlers (no Federal Bakery here then) and father sold groceries and provisions, the first grocery and bakery; it was located on the corner of Front [River Drive now] and Ripley Streets.
Antoine LeCLAIRE was the first postmaster and carried the mail in his pocket. He tired of the job and put father in charge of the mail, so that the cabin became the first post office. In the same cabin was preached the first sermon by E. M. GAVET, a Methodist minister.
In 1837 father put up a small mill to crack corn, a horse was the motive power. "Old Joe" TOPIN, an old discharged soldier was the miller and he rolled out the bread stuff by the quart. This was the first grist mill.
During the summer of 1838 the first brick house was erected by father, who was a practical brick mason. It was located on the northeast corner of Main and Third Streets, now the Masonic temple. [no longer exists] on a lot bought of Antoine LeCLAIRE. It was in his corn field and a row of corn was purchased and cut out to form a road to haul the brick. A few years later, in 1845, I was born in that first brick house. My recollection of the event is somewhat clouded but I know I was there just the same.
The same year that he [father] built the brick dwelling he was appointed postmaster. Mr. LeCLAIRE having resigned. Then he [father] built a small brick building on the same lot for a post office. This was the first postoffice building in Iowa. Postage was twenty-vife cents, paid by the recipient. No stamps yet. In 1839 the LeCLAIRE house, built of brick, a grand hotel in those days, was erected by Antoine LECLAIRE at a cost of $35,000. It was located on the northeast corner of Main and Second, now teh PUTNAM block. Father did the brickwork. July 4, 1845, "Colonel" Davenport was murdered and robbed in his residence on the island [Rock Island Arsenal on the Mississippi River - still exists]. The same year, 1845, Iowa became a state [Dec 28, 1846]. I was born that same year [22 Aug 1845], just like we were twins but Iowa has outgrown me.
I remember the horse ferry boat, before the steam ferry appeared. It was a flat boat with side paddle wheels; a horse on each side of the boat working on an inclined tread mill to make the 'wheels go round'. The steam ferry commenced 5 May 1852.
September 21, 1854, I saw the first stone -- the corner stone -- laid for the first bridge across the Mississippi. The bridge was about 1600 ft. long from the Iowa shore to the Island [Rock Island Arsenal]. The abutment is still standing on both sides.
INFO from author-compiler Alice Richardson Sloane, C.G.
2. According to several accounts, D. C. ELDRIDGE built or helped to build 34 houses in the town of Davenport. He is supposed to have lived in each of the 34 houses. This may be true but difficult to prove since city directories for the period are oncomplete and house numbers and street names were changed periodically. Listed are excerpts from existing (years listed)Davenport City Directories which list the residences of D. C. ELDRIDGE:
1856 - 4th & Rock Island Street (now Pershing Ave)
1861 - 14 E. 14th St.
1862 - 22 E. 3rd St.
1863 - NW Corner 9th and Farnam Street
1866 - 3rd btw Harrison and Main
1867 - 3 ss 1e College Ave (possibly built by A. C. FULTON, 1863, NE c Front [River Drive] and College Ave. E.D. [was B&B but is now for sale 2012]
1868 - 13th NW corner Perry Street
1873 - 13th NW corner Perry Street
1874 - 304 Rock Island Street (Pershing Avenue)
1876-89 - 214 W. 5th St.