THE QUAD CITIES
" Joined by a River"
Since the beginning Davenport and Rock Island have shared history.
The Quad Cities Metro Area consists of four counties, Scott County in Iowa and Henry, Mercer and Rock Island County in Iowa. The population is aproximatley 377,291.
In addition to the five large cities there are many smaller towns that are considered part of the QCA. In Illinois they are, Slvis, Milan, Andalusia, Carbon Cliff, Coal Valley, Colona, Geneseo, Port Byron and Rapid City. In Iowa they are Eldridge, Long Grove, Park View, Blue Grass, Buffalo, Walcott, Maysville, McCausland, Mt. Joy, New Liberty, Pleasant Valley, LeClaire, Princeton, Panorama Park and Riverdale.
The Black Hawk Historic Site preserves preserves part of historic Saukenuk, the principal village of the Sauk tribe and birthplace of it's chief Black Hawk In 1832, Sauk chief Keokuk and General Winfield Scott signed a treaty to end the Black Hawk War in Davenport. The treaty resulted in the United States gaining 6 million acres of land.
Scott County was named for Winfield Scott and Davenport was named for Col. George Davenport.
The first railroad bridge built across river that connected Davenport and Rock Island was built in 1856. It was built by the Rock Island Railroad Company. There was intense rivalry between the railroad and steamboat companies. Several attempts were made by the steamboat companies to destroy railroad bridges by ramming them with boats On May 6, 1856 just weeks after it was completed, an angry steamboater crashed the Effie Afton steamboat into the bridge. The owner of the Effie Afton, John Hurd, filed a lawsuit against The Rock Island Railroad Company. The Rock Island Railroad Company selected as their trial lawyer Abraham Linclon. It was a pivotal trial in Lincoln's career.
The Rock Island Rapids
The Rock Island Rapids proved to be a geographical formation of great importance to the settlement of the Quad City area. The rapids occupied 14 miles of the Mississippi River. Before attempts at control, the rapids provided a major obstacle to river traffic on the Upper Mississippi. So treacherous were the rapids that a special occupation "rapids pilots" were created. This pilot would have a thorough knowledge of the currents and formations and would be taken on board before the boat entered the rapids.
For some towns, such as LeClaire , Iowa , the economy was directly tied to the functions of the steamboat industry. In LeClaire's case, many of its residents were captains, pilots, engineers, and clerks in the river trade. It was at LeClaire where the "rapids pilot" was generally stationed to be taken on to navigate the Rock Island Rapids.
Settlements grew at the head and foot of the rapids as a result of the need for a place to dock steamboats before the rapids, and as a location for warehouses to store goods awaiting passage. These settlements eventually emerged into the Quad Cities.
For those of you with roots in Iowa here's a great cemetery web site. Bob Jones has done a lot of good work.
* Note-Many people in the Rock Island County area went across the Mississippi to get married in Davenport. so if you can't find your ancestors marriage in Rock Island, it might be worth a look. I know several of mine went there***
* If you have anything to conttribute to the history of Scott County, I'd love to hear from you!*
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