Burlington – Iowa’s First Capital City 1837-1840. As Iowa Territory got its start, separating from the much larger Wisconsin Territory, Burlington was named the first territorial capital. Read more about this beautiful city on the banks of the Mississippi River in southeast Iowa.
Burlington & The Hawkeye State. Without a doubt, the nickname, Hawkeye, goes with Iowa like summer sweet corn goes with butter. So, how did the name come about? We’ve got the facts, (well, sort of) . . . and they date back to the late 1830’s in Burlington, Iowa.
J.B. Newhall – Iowa’s First Rock Star. In 1834, Massachusetts’ native John B. Newhall arrived in Burlington, opening up a general store with two relatives. Over the next fifteen years, Newhall – who was known to his Burlington Hawk-Eye readers as Che-Mo-Ko-Mon – became nothing short of a regional celebrity, authoring three guidebooks that proved to be invaluable to those who were relocating to this beautiful “This Is The Place” land called Iowa.
Charles T. Mason – Here Comes The Judge. In 1837, a lawyer from New York makes his way to Burlington, just in time for the explosive growth surrounding Iowa’s new territorial capital. Soon, he is appointed as Iowa’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, making some land-mark decisions that truly bolster the abolitionist movement in Iowa.
Iowa Territory 1838-1846. On July 4, 1838, the U.S. Congress established the Territory of Iowa. President Martin Van Buren appointed Robert Lucas governor of the territory, which at the time had 22 counties and a population of 23,242. Within months, thousands began flocking into this new land, and slowly, the open prairies became rich farmland and little villages became thriving communities.
Welcome to Iowa, Governor Lucas. When Iowa finally became its own U.S. Territory, President Martin Van Buren looked to the great state of Ohio to pick our first governor. On August 15th of 1838, the new Territorial Governor and his small traveling party arrived by steamboat in Burlington. Over the next three years, Lucas moved the capital to Iowa City, establishing Iowa as one of the most progressive territories in the West.
Oliver Cock – Burlington’s Pioneer Mason. In the late 1830’s, a New York City man relocated to Burlington, Iowa. A godly young man, Cock ended up being elected as the first Grand Marshall of the Masons in Iowa, serving as County Clerk for Des Moines County, and helping start a new church. It’s his connection with “the father of the public school system in Kentucky” that first peaked our interest.
A Burlington Hawkeye Keepsake. As long as we’re talking about Burlington, in April of 1850, the board of Christ Episcopal Church wrote to New York City asking for continue support of their pastor John Batchelder. One of the signers of the letter was Judge David Rorer, one of the founding fathers of Burlington and co-originator of the Hawkeye nickname.
Iowa Celebrates Three Sesquicentennials. It’s time to celebrate the 150th anniversaries of Iowa Territory (1838-1988), Iowa City (1839-1989) and Iowa Statehood (1846-1996). Grant Wood’s Young Corn was chosen to grace the USPS commemorative celebrating this year-long Iowa Statehood party (1995-1996).