In May 1840 – just as Iowa City was one year old – author and explorer John B. Newhall paid a visit to our fair community – writing up his delightful findings in The Burlington Hawkeye and Iowa Patriot. Calling Iowa City “magical,” Newhall went on to give Johnson County and Iowa City six full pages in his 1841 guidebook – Sketches of Iowa. And it was this volume that catapulted J.B. to national fame, making him one of Iowa’s earliest celebrities and a traveling spokesman on behalf of Iowa Territory.
In the 1840’s, Massachusetts’ native John B. Newhall – who was known to his Burlington Hawk-Eye readers as Che-Mo-Ko-Mon – became nothing short of a regional celebrity, authoring two more guidebooks that proved to be invaluable to those who were relocating to this beautiful “This Is The Place” land called Iowa.
In 1844 – his second guidebook – The British Emigrants’ Hand Book, And Guide to the New States of America, Particularly Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin – was published in London and was sold as Newhall traveled around Europe, convincing folks to relocate to America’s new West.
In 1846 – his third and final guidebook – A Glimpse of Iowa – became Newhall’s best known work – selling 3,000 copies just as Iowa was becoming the 29th state in the Union.
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