|Birth: ||Feb. 8, 1814|
|Death: ||Mar. 25, 1873|
Muscatine Journal, page 15, October 12, 1977; Muscatine, Muscatine County, Iowa:
Hattie Dotson remembers the pioneers;
Hallie Deam reminisces on early 1900's
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ninth in a series about historic Louisa County.
By NANCY BAUER Staff writer
NEWPORT -- Cattle, hogs, sheep -- that's what Newport claimed as it became a shipping and stockyard stop on the Iowa Central Railroad.
Founded In 1885 by Harriett H. Briggs, the small crossroads community thrived into the early 1900's with several houses, a store which housed the post office as well as selling groceries, and a depot, the stockyards and an elevator.
The town, which is now just a couple of houses on the intersection of U.S. 61 and Iowa 78, south of Wapello, was never very large - mainly because there were, and still are, several established communities in the immediate area, such as Bethel, Concord and Fairview.
One family of early settlers near Newport were Bazzle and Mary Dotson, and Bazzle's brother, David.
David and Bazzle Dotson were two of eight children of Thomas and Mary Sutton Dotson of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. And Thomas, according to family history, was the youngest of three children who, with their mother, sailed to America from Wales in the 1790's.
But in Newport, David's daughter, Hattie Kate Dotson, had a flair for writing things down.
She wrote "Memories of the Pioneers" in the 1940's for "the younger generation" and it has been saved by her family. It was about "how the pioneers worked and struggled, saved, and did without almost the necessities of life and now they are reaping the fruit of their labors in extravagant luxuries in the year 1940."
Pollution, politics and celebrations were all a part of the pioneer life as Hattie describes it: "We have heard so much talk about the hoppers (grasshoppers) the last few years but the early settlers had them to combat, too, though they did not spread poison over their fields nor lose stock as a result of it. Any reasonable person would know the way they put out poison there was danger of stock dying from eating it. They called it steeping sickness and maybe that is what it was, but its my guess it was caused from eating poison. I don't believe it right to scatter poison that way. It looks like defying God when he sends pestilence on them for their wickedness like they did in olden times."
Hattie celebrated the 1776 Independence Day celebrations. The one mentioned here was probably the Centennial in 1876. "I remember the celebration of 1776 (sic) though I was not old enough to realize what it meant. But I could see 1776 everywhere they went and I remember some of the older girls had calico school dresses with 1776 scattered over them. It was a mystery to me then, but I have never forgotten the time."
Hattie's father, David Dotson, helped elect William Henry Harrison to the Presidency. "I noticed one of the papers calls Wilke the nominee for President as a Democrat Republican. Father was one. He was raised a Democrat, but he said when Wm. Henry Harrison was nominated he cast his vote to help have him elected and remained a Republican ever since."
Bazzle Dotson was the first of the two brothers to come to Louisa county in the early 1840's, and David came from Pennsylvania in 1854, "though I guess they thought it was plenty, wild enough then," commented Hattie.
Bazzle settled north of Newport about a mile and built what is believed to be the first frame house in the county. All 12 children, and two who died in infancy, were raised on the same farm, at the same site that both Hallie Deam, Bazzle's granddaughter, lived and now Deam's great-granddaughter Natalie Foor lives.
Deam, 87, is the daughter of twin Mark Dotson, and remembers back at least 80 years.
"I can remember grandmother and grandfather (Mary and Bazzle)," she recalled. "After grandfather died, grandmother lived in part of the house and our family lived in the other part."
"After he married, my father built on to the original house so both families could live there, grandmother on her side and our family on the other," Deam noted.
"Grandmother used to tell us how they lived in the old days. And how she would stay up late at night making things by hand for the children. There must have been a lot of work with 14 children.
"I can remember when mother and I would walk to church (Bethel) and Sunday school, across the pastures. And that's the way I went to Bethel school, too."
Bethel church is still nestled in the fields west of U.S. Highway 61 at the top of Jamison hill. The school was converted into a machinery shed, directly southeast of the church along the highway.
The David Dotson family, which included writer Hattie Dotson, settled about a half mile south of where Newport is located, in a two-story brick house.
"The stage ran past our place and carried mail and passengers from Burlington and Wapello and further on I guess," the Hattie Dotson memories continue: "There was a post office one mile south of where Newport is now in a private house by folks by the name of Van Horn or Downer, I don't remember which but I think Van Horn. Then it was moved to Nate Linton's one-quarter mile north. Then after father moved to the farm north of Lintons, they got to keep the post office. I don't know how long they kept it, not more than a year or two I think, then they got Mrs. John Tull, a widow to take it. She lived three-quarter mile south of us and it was called Linton when Father died. She kept it for many years. Afterwards it was moved to the B.C.R. and N. (Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern) Railroad. It is called Garland now."
Hattie Dotson also recalled that there were no bridges over the river between Wapello and Burlington, and swamp land along the roads. "I remember seeing the stage coach horses when they were mired down in the slough south of T. G. Dotsons. Both horses were clear down.
"How little any of the pioneers thought the time would come when their descendents would be riding over the same road with every foot of the way paved and some of them in cars that cost more than all of the worldly possessions many of the pioneers owned.
"The pioneer men and women were a brave race and we will never know the privations, heartaches and disappointments or how they struggled," Hattie adds. "But it was not in vain for beautiful Iowa is a lasting memorial to the early pioneers and to their colonial ancestors for the early settlers of Iowa were descendants of them, at least most of them were."
(The article also came with a photograph of the family with the caption: "The Dotson children -- In 1849, Bazzle and Mary Davis on Dotson settled in Louisa County near the Bethel community, north of Newport, and raised 12 children, six boys and six girls - Oliver, twins Mark and David, Irving, George and Joseph, the eldest; Sarah Jane Turner, Adeline Felger, Eva Diehl, Suzanne Hamilton, Harriett Stephens and Carey Smith. George, a minister, settled in Ohio; Sarah in California; Adeline in western Iowa; and the remaining children still have descendents in the surrounding communities. The Dotsons had two other children who did not live to be adults.)
Daniel Dotson (1776 - 1840)
Mary Sutton Dotson (1784 - 1846)
Mary Davison Dotson (1817 - 1896)
Susannah Dotson Hamilton (1838 - 1900)*
David Dotson (1841 - 1906)*
Eva E Dotson Deihl (1861 - 1952)*
Samuel Dotson (1802 - 1866)*
Ester Ann Dotson White (1812 - 1901)*
Bazzel S Dotson (1814 - 1873)
David Dotson (1818 - 1898)*
GPS (lat/lon): 41.08721, -91.15027
Created by: DW Brumm
Record added: Nov 29, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 101434984