When Nixon “Nick” Denton died in January 1878, his friends in Manchester, Iowa, reminded people of a story Nick liked to tell about an encounter he had with a man who became president of the United States. Nick had been involved in the building of the Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR) through Iowa in the 1850s. He had been hired by the company to survey land, and he was superintendent of construction of the lines. He had a sterling reputation, and a newspaper described him as “one of the noblest looking men in the state.”
Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager.