TFI #3 – Fur-Trader Stephen Sumner ‘Hawkeye’ Phelps – 1832.

Fur-Trader Stephen Sumner ‘Hawkeye’ Phelps

Fur traders were the first European pioneers to travel up the uncharted inland waters of the Mississippi River. One entrepreneur from Illinois, who had a striking resemblance to another man from the Prairie State – can you guess who? – was one of the first white men to set foot – around 1832 – in what would soon become Johnson County – establishing trade with the Meskwaki tribes living on the Iowa River. A good friend and fair trading partner with the Sauk & Fox people, Stephen Sumner Phelps‘ Native American nickname was Wah-wash-e-ne-qua – an Algonquin word that translates – Hawkeye! While Phelps never settled in Johnson County, he certainly can be credited as the earliest Iowa pioneer who befriended Poweshiek and his tribe, opening doors for others to follow in his example.

CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE BLOG SERIES – Iowa City’s Top 50 Influencers – Part I

Back in 1979 – The Iowa City Press Citizen ran a special seven-page section called Chronology 1841/1979 and it featured Iowa City’s famed historian – Irving Weber – and his look at 25 People Who Left Their Stamp On Iowa City. So, here we are – forty-four years later – and now, I’m offering these two posts – dedicated to those who have greatly influenced our city over the first 100 years or so. This page features the First 25, and as you can see, each of the 25 names has a brief overview with a link(s) to read more, if you like. Enjoy!

Did you know? is an Our Iowa Heritage blog series that offers you a little bit of Iowa trivia from a large selection of stories on our website. Subscribe to this FREE blog and you’ll get a new email from us every Monday – Wednesday – Friday.

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