Plenty of drama to Austin’s creator

Published 10:21 am Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another gem from the Austin Daily Herald’s 1956 Centennial issue:

“Chauncey Leverich was almost a legendary character. Although he was the founder of Austin, he lived here only two years. Historians failed to record from whence he came, and it was only recently that the Austin Daily Herald traced him to Vinton, Iowa. Even the location of his grave was a mystery for almost a century.

Leverich was struck down by a murderer before he was yet 30 years old, but the two years he spent in Austin were packed with action. At the time of his death in August 1856, he had purchased the first claim in the city, per-emptied 160 acres of land, built a saw mill, erected the first frame house in Austin, and started this city off to its official career.

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Early historians, it seems, failed to preserve even a tintype or sketch of him, although a few of the older residents recall some sort of picture. Word has been handed down through the years that Chauncey was tall and powerfully built. He had flowing black hair and sideburns, ruthless eyes and a strong face. His large frame was activated by an agile mind that not only dreamed up a city on the banks of the Cedar River, but put that dream into the form of city lots, streets and buildings…

When Leverich came to Austin in 1854, he probably brought his young wife with him, for there is no record of their having been married here. Present-day historians believe he crossed the Mississippi at Dubuque, coming north along the Cedar. This was the customary route from the East in those days.”

 This Week at the HHH

• Foodie Throwdown, a “Top Chef”-style competition (new): Cuisines of the World on, from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 10. Come sample food from around the world, and vote for your favorite team.

Teams lead by Howie Crawford, Jane Arhart, Gareth Hataye, Diane Sherman and Kristine Merten.

Tickets are $30 through the HHH. Only 200 tickets sold.

Details are availbable at

•Social Concerns: Bullying in our Schools by Danielle Nesvold of Community Against Bullying on Tuesday, March 20 at 10 a.m.

Register at 433-4243 by Monday, March 19.