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SOMEONE HAD TO DO IT - Thanks to Duncan's pioneer spirit, the framework for the City of Davenport, Scott County, Iowa, was firmly in place.


Get 'er Done - Davenport vs Rockingham Township

  • Davenport, Scott County, IA

In 1838, an election was held in order to decide the Scott County seat, which, you remember, was a political entity before the City of Davenport was actually incorporated in 1839. Both Davenport and Rockingham vied for the honor. Duncan Eldridge, Antoine LeClaire, George Davenport, and other prominent citizens waged a fierce campaign on behalf of Davenport. Both cities imported "legal residents" from surrounding territories.

Rockingham Township brought in 6 wagon loads of Dubuque coal miners - Cornish, Welsh, Irish, and German, with the promise of food, whiskey, and a dollar a day.. These were undesirables in character, dress and language.

Each group had it's prejudices against each other and English was not the common language.

On the west side of Rockingham Twnshp were several successful coal mines. The miners often loaded coal in their wagons to sell to Davenporters. [The mines are now filled with successive land owner's garbage]. That part of Scott County was called Jamestown or "Jimtown" and there is still a road with the current county designation and the original Jamestown Road.

Money was still territorial. Blackhawk was anti-white and hated the idea of settlement in his Saukenuk, a well-established village with longhouses, this territory stretching as far north as Wisconsin -  all part of Wisconsin Territory. Blackhawk was over 6 ft and 240 lbs. Keokuk was pro-white and a highly intelligent individual.

Governor Dodge annulled the elections twice due to "stupendous frauds". The third time . Davenport won.- Rockingham Township was becoming down-in-the-heels. Many people were leaving to make their homes in Davenport because it had become much more enterprising.

By 1860, Davenport's population had grown to 20,000. Money, at this point, was still regional.

The Stephen and Mary Terrill Bawden family from Redruth, Cornwall, England, arrived in the summer of 1860 to Rockingham Township with their 5 children, 3 of Stephen's sisters and a niece, and 2 adolescent servants (18-year-old Mary Douglas and 14-year-old Eliza White)...and a partridge in a pear tree. They missed the excitement of the Blackhawk War that lasted less than a year and ended in 1833. The treaty was signed in 1836 on land not far from the Village of East Davenport near what is now College Ave.

Jacob Eldridge, Duncan’s son, had a daughter, Jennie, who married my great-grandfather, George Washington Bawden. . Jacob started the town of Eldridge, and both the Jacob Eldridge family and George and Jennie lived on Kirkwood Blvd**. thanks to Jacob's wedding gift to the couple. Jacob named Jersey Ridge after his New Jersey childhood home , Jacob and Mary High Williams Eldridge, (and their 9 children) owned a farm house on Jersey Ridge. He decided that, inspite of the orchard farm, he had to move closer to town to get the kids educated in Davenport schools. Jersey Ridge Road was, at this point, 5 miles outside Davenport.

**1870 Sixteenth (16th) Street was named Kirkwood Blvd.

Governor Dodge was sworn into office on the lawn of the Mineral Point, Wisconsin, Court House. Mineral Point was full of Cornish tin miners, at one time over 16,000, who emigrated to find better economic and living conditions after the Potato Famine.

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