Former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray died July 8 at the age of 89. Ray, a Republican, was respected by people in his party and Democrats because of his bipartisan approach to governing. Test your knowledge on some of the other chief executives who have served the state during its history.
Lake Mills residents were very excited on October 10, 1896, when word spread around town that a desperate and dangerous bank robber had been captured. Everybody believed he was one of two bandits who had robbed a bank in Sherburn, Minnesota, a few days before. Two innocent bystanders had been killed as the robbers sped out of town on Elgin Model A bicycles they had stolen from the hardware store. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is the author of non-fiction books for young people.
For about $100 a man could secure all the necessary articles he needed in Sioux City, Iowa, to outfit himself for a gold digging expedition to the Black Hills in 1874. Items included a rifle, revolver, flour, salt, ammunition, blankets, cooking utensils, a pick, shovel and gold pan. This was valuable information for a group of 26 men and one woman with her 10-year-old boy, who were preparing to make the trek into the Dakotas in search of riches. Charles Collins, editor of the Sioux City Times, was organizing the expedition, along with an experienced frontiersman named Thomas H. Russell. Eph Witcher and John Gordon were leading the group from Sioux City to the Black Hills.
An estimated 17 Native American tribes have lived in Iowa, according to Iowa’s Official Register, a 2011 document by the State Library of Iowa. How familiar are you with the history surrounding the tribes that lived in Iowa?
A group of soldiers gathered at an artillery field on the grounds of Fort Monroe, Virginia, on Monday, Feb. 7, 1870. The U.S. government had authorized the Army to carry out the testing of a new product designed by an Iowa man.
“A lot of fellows tried to drive the bull into the wires with him on it,” J.H. Harrington described an incident that had occurred at the Delaware County fair at Delhi in 1859. When a “somewhat intoxicated” fair goer hopped on a bull’s back and rode around a track enclosed by a strange looking fence, Harrington took notice.
It was about 1:30 in the morning on October 28, 1902, when Prairie City dentist, Dr. S. B. Gidford, woke up in his room across the street from the bank. As he stuck his head out a window, a “loaded 44-caliber Colt” was “presented to his face” by a stranger who told him his life was “worth less than 30 cents.”