ON TO FORT MADISON
Thursday, April 4, 1850
John App and Jake arrived in Fort Madison, Iowa on April 2nd and are still there today (the 4th). It has been raining (and raining) which has caused some delay. Having been on the trail 9 days, they are about 100 miles (160 km) from home in Pekin, Illinois today.
Located in the extreme southeast corner of Iowa and on the Mississippi River, Fort Madison had a population of about 1,500 people in 1850 making it the 6th largest city in Iowa at the time. They are visiting a familiar family, the Rineharts, who were undoubtedly old friends of John’s parents and who were also from the same home area of Pennsylvania before settling in Pekin. Now they are living in Fort Madison where Dr. William Rinehart (age 47), a well known local physician and his wife, Mary (age 37), are raising their two young daughters Clara and Valeria. The family welcomed John and Jake into their home and they talked at length about all the recent news from Pekin.
Stopping Point: City of Fort Madison, Iowa
Approximate Miles Traveled: 0 (did not travel this day)
GPS Latitude: 40° 37.749′ N; Longitude: 91° 18.714′ W
Thursday Evenig April 4th – waked up this moring found it Cloudy and raining. rained all day pritty much we Expected to start this moring, But their was no getting away until it stoped raining- Therefore we Concluded as we wer doing so well, to stop one more day. this day went off rather Better than Yesterday Clarissa favoured us with several good tunes on the piana, she plays very well, is now taking lessons from an Eccellent Teacher, we chatted and talked about Every thing that was going on in Pekin, so that we Killed Time very fast, this Evening I amused the girls and the old Lady By giveing them drawings of our first Encampment and our misfortune the time the Hoggs ran off with our grub & I will also give You a few of them if I have time. good night- –
Catching up with his previous three days’ diary entries:
Stopping Point: 5 miles east of La Harpe, Illinois
Approximate Miles Traveled: 10
GPS Latitude: 40° 34.651′ N; Longitude: 90° 51.950′ W
April 1st – waked up this morning and found it raining very fast and to my astonishment found not a drop of water in the Tent, we slept as dry as if we had been in the Best House. Next we got up a fire in our stove and in a few minutes it was so warm that we had to throw open the door, and let out the heat, we cooked our Breakfast and Eat it with as much comfort as can be Imaginable, nothing to disturb us, only when we went out, we passed off the day in reading writing _____ till noon when it slacked raining then we harnessed our mules pulled up stakes and left, But by the time we got ready to start it began to rain again very fast, I then called on the Old major for the first time, (My Old Great Coat I mean when I say major) and mounted Fan (the saddle mule) and away we went singing Old Langsyne, through the rain, rained all after noon but the Old major kept me dry, we camped 5 miles East of Layharp, Travelled only 10 miles. Every thing is comfortable now Jake is parching Coffee and I think the rain is over, taking this day up one side and down on the other, it was rather wooley I think.
Tuesday April 2d – This morning we found It clear, fed our mules, got our Breakfast Harnessed our mules pulled up stakes, and Left, supposing the rain to over with, we got along fine till about 11 oclock then it Began to rain again like Fury, I Immediately Called on the old major, (as I had him on the top of the wagon drying out yesterdays rain) got him on my Back, and I on the mule, and away we went, rained all afternoon, But as we set our stakes this morning to be in Fort Madison Iowa, this Evening we pushed ahead and stoped for nothing, and are now Camped in the City of Fort Madison. we had not much Trouble in Crossing the Ferry, we come about 25 miles this day, to day was much wors than Yesterday muddyer, and rained Faster, pitched our Tent after dark and as soon as we got our Tent up then we were at home again, all things are done up now, and ready to go to roost, it has Just stoped raining
April 3 – waked up this morning and found it Cloudy and Threatning rain, as it did rain pritty much all day, fed our mules got our Breakfast, and then as soon as I got the Tent Clear of the crowd of men and Boys changed my shirt, and concluded to visit doct Rhinehart and Family, I started But Before I got to the House I met a messenger after she saying that Mrs Rhineheart, said that we should come up to their House Immediately, as I was on the road at the time it did not take me long to get there; the first person I Saw was Mrs Rhineheart comeing out of the gate to meet me, “well Indeed now John, I did not think it was You.” I was ushered into the House immediately, Vally was at school, But Immediately sent for. School, work, and every thing Els, was laid to one side, and we must pull up stakes and come to their House right away, no Excuse would answer, and the doctor went with me to the Tent and Helped us to pull up stakes, and move to their House, We soon moved and are now in the doctors House, Have spent a very Pleasant day notwithstanding it rained all day, Enjoyed myself very much felt Perfectly at Home had all the attention paid us Imaginable, Ft. Madison is rather a flourishing Place, and when we wer Encamped had a great many visitors, the doct has a very Fine House and Lots, A Beautiful situation, he is not Liveing in his new house as Yet but soon will, he has his lots filled full of all Kind of trees, Roses, Shrubbery &, thinks he never will Leave this place, he is doing a very good Business, he has been Called upon,