Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2017

Getting to know Lowell

Aug 08, 2017

Reserve Sunday, Aug. 13, at 1:30 p.m. Elsie Williams and Marilyn Buchholz will present a program at the Dover Museum in New London. Stories told by descendants of original settlers and longtime residents provide a view that is unique and crucial to our understanding of the Westward Movement.

There is a great deal of emphasis on the progression of settlers from Burlington west. Actually, the location of Lowell along the Skunk River resulted in an important road named Agency. A mail stage ran on Agency from Burlington to Lowell crossing the river at Smith’s Mill and then on to Salem and Keosauqua.

Lowell has had three names. These names tell the history of the community in an interesting way. It was first named Smith’s Mills, then McCarverstown and lastly Lowell.

Hiram Smith and his family came to the territory from Kentucky in 1832. Upon crossing the river at Ft. Madison, they heard about a solid bed of rock in a stream west of the Fort. They traveled to the Chicaqua River (now called the Skunk). Since they had actually entered Indian Territory, the soldiers from the fort arrived at their new home, burned it to the ground, and forced them back across the river until the treaty was signed. The truth is they returned to the site before the legal settlement date but were left alone.

Smith built a mill on each side of the river, and relatives from Kentucky soon arrived. In 1840, the name was changed to McCarverstown. McCarver hired the county surveyor to lay out the town. At this time land began to change hands. Edmund Archibald of Lowell Massachusetts had arrived. In 1843, Mr. Archibald petitioned the State Legislature to change the name of the town to Lowell. The petition was approved. Signs just outside Lowell commemorate these dates.

Lowell was an extremely busy town. Interestingly enough, its first hotel was name “Hawkeye Inn.” One of the fascinating things about studying the early days is that one always finds more questions. In the publication “Some Historic Markers in Iowa” in 1943, it mentions that the Mt. Pleasant and New London chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a bronze marker on the original millstone, which was brought to this country in 1837 and was placed in the original mill one year later.

The location of the monument is described as being on the right bank of Skunk River, some 20 miles from its mouth in what is now southeastern Henry County. Perhaps someone knows what has happened to the marker. The inscription read:

THIS FRENCH BUHR MILL STONE,

MARKS THE SITE OF THE FIRST FLOUR MILL 1838-1901

BUILT IN HENRY COUNTY.

ACROSS THE RIVER WAS THE FIRST CORN AND SAW MILL

1837-1911 BUILT AND OPERATED BY

HIRAM C. SMITH AND JAMES C. CAUDILL.

PLACED BY

JAMES HARLAN CHAPTER D. A. R.

JOHN SEE CHAPTER D. A. R. 1930

Please bring any Lowell memorabilia you might have to share with the audience this Sunday. Dover will have a display of Lowell items and information. There will be time for questions and sharing stories. Refreshments will be served.

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