In the fall of 1836, Philip Clark and his friend – Eli Myers – rode their horses from Elkhart, Indiana to Fort Armstrong (Rock Island, Illinois), understanding that a new land agreement was about to be signed between the United States and the Sauk and Fox nations. Once there, the men met John Gilbert, who persuaded them to come see the new Iowa land that was becoming available. By the following spring (1837), Clark & Myers and their families had become some of Johnson County’s first white settlers. One year later – on May 1, 1839 – three Territorial commissioners were to report to Johnson County, with the assignment of picking the location for the new Iowa capital city. By mid-day, only one man – Chauncey Swan – had arrived, leaving the good people of the county seat of Napoleon wondering if the whole project would be lost. Thankfully, a 35-year-old farmer named Philip Clark saved the day! He mounted his horse, made a 35-mile trip through the wilderness, fetching a second commissioner – John Ronalds. They arrived in the nick of time – saving the future hopes of Johnson County before the strike of midnight.
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!
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