In 1838, a whaling captain from New York City rode a horse to Iowa, eventually settling in Iowa City. F.M. Irish became an early mover and shaker of the city, serving as one of Iowa City’s first historians, writing a lengthy, first-hand account in 1868.
Some records indicate that Irish was present on May 1, 1839 at John Gilbert’s Trading House when Chauncey Swan and John Ronalds started their “official” search for Iowa Territory’s new capital city. Other records show him as the man who built the Lean Back Hall which housed the many men who came to Iowa City in the fall of 1839 to purchase land. F.M. Irish also built his own cabin on land north and east of the city, a cabin that eventually served as the temporary court house for Johnson County (1839-1842).
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