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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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LAWS. The first acts that could be considered laws in the future State of Iowa were written on June 17, 1830. James LANGWORTHY and a group of miners, allowed on the western shore of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER by the SAUK AND FOX, realized a need for some rules. According to legend they met by an old cottonwood drift-log and appointed a committee to write regulations.

Written by Langworthy on a half sheet of unruled, coarse paper laid on the log, the laws the miners agreed to were often regulations enforced on the eastern side of the river. There were two new additions to these regulations. Each miner could claim two hundred square yards of ground by working the area one day in six. Secondly, a person would be chosen to arbitrate disputes with the final power of decision. The person apparently given this power was Dr. Jarrot.