Ellen Bromley

[copy of this is in alphabetical pack 3-30-44] Rock Island, Ill. Sept. 24, 1917.

I called on Mrs. Ellen Bromley, widow of John Bromley, at her residence, 1040-22nd St., R. I. She said, "Father Turner came from N. Y. City in 1838. Mother came in 1837 and they were married in 1838. He started his business of shoemaking in a two-room house which stood on 2nd Avenue between 13th and 14th Sts., directly opposite the present house of the priest for St. Joseph's church. [R.I.] Rent was so high mother said she'd keep house in the back room, the front room being used as a shoe shop, and they slept in the attic. This was the first shoe shop in Rock Island.

This house is still in use on 10th street next north of No. 419. It stands back a little from the adjoining houses and has no house number on it. A family lives in it now, the lean- to part must have been added since father Turner's time.

The Bromley's had the first jewelry store in Rock Island. Old George Bromley moved to the farm at the south end of the Moline-Rock [River] bridge but the farmers brought so many watches and clocks to him for rapairs that he returned to the city.

In the same way my father, after moving to the farm, near W. W. Warner's in Henry County, Ill., in 1844 had so many come for boots and shoes and re[pa]ir work he said he couldn't work night and day farming and shoemaking. So he moved back to Rock Island - in about 1846, having been on the farm a couple of years or so. We were living on the farm at the time of the murder of Colonel Davenport. While living on the farm there was an indian with some french blood in him called "Indian Jim". He spoke English, French and Indian, and he worked among the farmers at various kinds of work, splitting rails. He was staying at our house one time when a number of indians came to see him. I believe Shabbona was one of them because I've heard the name "[S]habbona". Those indians wanted to stay overnight with us but mother was afraid of indians and pursuaded father not to keep them.

The next day Uncle Joe Turner went to town and his dog made such a fuss, uncle got out to see what the trouble was. It was Indian Jim. They had shot him. It was presumed that the indians did not like his becoming familiar with the whites and doing white man's work.

The indians were arrested and brought to trial. Attorney Joe Knox of Rock Island defended them and they were acquitted. It is probable that the papers in this case are at the County seat of Henry County about 1844-1846. Knox got a good fee for defending them.

Mother and father used to give indians who came along something to eat. I had a large rag doll and it pleased one of the indians. He said "little pappoose with a little pappoose" and he wanted to take the doll but mother wouldn't let him. Indian Jim was a very well behaved indian.

We lived near Warner's while we were farming. Father sold the place afterwards to Sidley and his son-in-law has the place now. We were four miles from James Glenn's who lived on the "Geneseo Road" in Colona Township. Mother said the Glenn's were so hospitable. Mother was very lonesome and homesick on the farm and Mrs. Glenn had her come over and stay a week with them just to make her contented. Mrs. Glenn doctored the neighbor women and was always helpful. She would keep her [B]ible in the kitchen and read it while making her biscuit. One time someone came along and asked "Why are you planting apple trees when you never will live to eat from them?" She answered "I reckon if I don't some one else will." I guess she did live to eat apples from those trees herself.

Father went to California to hunt gold in 1849. He joined the Masonic Lodge that year. He made [$]100.00 a week for every week he was in California. He got the ague there. They were so short of vegetables some of the men got scurvey. He came back by way of the sea and New Orleans. When mother wrote to him she would have [me] to go to the school teacher's to have her fold it and seal it with sealing wax. We had no envelopes.

On his return he built a shoe shop again in "Palace row" - the block opposite the present Post Office. He always had a partiality for that block.

At the time of the celebration of the first railroad train coming to Rock Island the people illuminated their homes by having candles in the windows.

The Washburn's were our neighbors in the country and were well-to-do. Mrs. W. W. Warner was a Washburn and she was sent off to boarding school and got a fine education. She taught school afterwards.

Rock Island's first jail was just back of where the Priest's house is, at St. Joseph's church (2nd Ave between 13 and 14th Sts). It was a log house with the jail up-stairs and the sheriff, I think it was Tom Spencer, lived down stairs. The little building back of the M. W. A. building was the second jail or maybe we should say the first building to be used exclusively for a jail. I don't know where the Davenport murderer's hanging was.

I remember the crowd at the Stoddard hanging - a terrible cloud of dust and men and horses. It was a public hanging.

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