More from Sunday’s ride.
This photo is from the bridge across the St. Joseph river on Farrand Road. The remains of a previous bridge can be seen in the background. Last time I was here (June 2007) some Amish fisherman were pulling their boat out of the water next to the bridge. The first time I was here, in June 1996, I stopped briefly and looked at those older bridge abutments, wondering about the history. I had read my first book about Black Hawk and was planning to stop in between ballgames at some Black Hawk places out in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Little did I then know that there were some connections to the Black Hawk story right along this road.
On the map below, from the 1872 county atlas, the current bridge is approximately at the place marked A. The location of the old bridge is shown nearby. The roads immediately next to the river have been re-routed slightly since then.
(Base map image provided by www.HistoricMapWorks.com. Click on the map to see the original.)
The “P” is where the big Phineas Farrand brick house is located — the land that was first purchased by George W. Brooks, who served in the Black Hawk militia. The green line marks Brandt Road, which passes through Goodrich Prairie, shown in a light goldenrod color. The blue area is the land that was purchased by the first land buyers in this area. L marks Lorancie Shellhous’s 40-acre land entry, and M marks the approximately 80 acres purchased by his brother, Martin G. Schellhous.
I was wondering why the heart of the prairie was left unpurchased by those who had first crack at it. That’s what motivated a bike ride to check it out. I can’t say I got any clues from my bike ride, but it’s possible that Lorancie and Martin were interested in land that had river frontage. Their main economic activities at first were not out here on Goodrich Prairie, but at Colon where there were good mill sites. BTW, Martin G. is listed on the Black Hawk militia rosters. Lorancie is not, but he was involved in the building of Fort Hogan (so to speak), a few miles to the west, in Section 6.
“C” marks the cemetery where the two Schellhous brothers and their family are buried.
The base map snippet for the above map is not from a photocopy in my possession. I got it from Historic Map Works, a place that has reproductions of a lot of the old county atlases available for sale. One can pay $30/year to browse the maps with their viewer, but for this month it’s free. I learned about it just recently. I’m going to ask them if they mind my using images from their collection this way. If so, I’ll definitely sign up, even though they don’t yet have a lot of the maps I’d like to have access to. And there exist some maps that aren’t even listed on their site — but it sounds as though they’ll be adding to their collection.
(Edited, 20-Mar-2008, to provide additional links to www.historicmapworks.com)