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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Lysander W. Babbitt

LYSANDER W. BABBITT was one of the pioneers of Iowa. He was born in Seneca County, New York, January 31, 1812, and came to the Mississippi valley in 1836, locating at Burlington, which was then in Michigan Territory. In 1838 he was appointed by General Henry Dodge adjutant of a regiment organized to protect the frontier. In 1842 he explored the upper valley of the Des Moines River and while camped at the mouth of the Raccoon, predicted that the future capital of the State would be located in that vicinity. In 1844 he journeyed with an ox team to Knoxville where he built a mill and opened a store. In 1848 he was elected on the Democratic ticket, Representative in the Legislature for the district composed of Marion, Jasper, Polk and Dallas, and all of the counties in that tier to the Missouri River. He served two terms in the House. While a member he introduced and urged the passage of a bill to remove the capital from Iowa City to Des Moines, then a new town laid out upon the spot where he had camped six years before. In 1853 he was appointed Register of the United States Land Office at Council Bluffs and removed to that place. In 1857 he purchased the Council Bluffs Bugle, one of the leading journals of his party in the State. In 1859 he was the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant-Governor but was defeated. In 1867 he was again elected to the Legislature. He removed to Arkansas in 1881 where he died October 4, 1885. He had been one of the influential leaders of the Democratic party of Iowa for half a century.