Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by Cyndy Cox
State Coordinator: Ron Nielson
“The first settlers in the Black Hawk Purchase* were largely from the immediate valley of the Ohio River and Missouri. Many came to a land dedicated by the Missouri Compromise to freedom from slavery because of its dedication to freedom. They preferred homes where labor was honorable and bore no badge of abject servitude to a class exempt from toil.
While many of them retained prejudices imbibed from environment in early life which found expression in legislative acts in pioneer years as the immigration from New England, New York, northern Ohio and Michigan increased the policy of local government and free schools gradually became engrafted upon the statute books. Race prejudice was slowly overcome, liberal support was given to education by public funds, a sound banking system devised and the restrictions to corporations so modified as to encourage works of internal improvement. The pioneers found a vast domain of wild prairie and woodland fertile soil navigable rivers abundant water power and a genial climate. The foundation was here for a great and prosperous State. It devolved upon them to develop its boundless resources frame a Constitution and a system of laws.” (Source: History of Iowa from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the ..., Volume 4, Benjamin F. Gue, p. xvi)
*The Black Hawk Purchase, sometimes called the Forty-Mile Strip or Scott's Purchase, was a land acquisition made in what is now Iowa. The purchase was made for $640,000 on September 21, 1832 and was named for the chief Black Hawk, who was held prisoner at the time the purchase was completed.