Quick Links
Skip to main contentSkip to navigation

City of Cascade

Historical Society


Ajax Loading Image


The Falls

Cascade's Native History

The following is an excerpt written by H.C. Baldwin that appeared on the back of a Cascade State Bank calendar in the early 1900’s.

Cascade was one of the last great battle grounds of the Vanishing Red Man. The Red Man knew this site of Cascade as The Falls up and unto the time we Whites came along, civilized the area and put The Falls into our common language as The Cascades; shortening it to Cascade later.

The Illanis tribes according to history as far back as is known populated this area in conjunction with the Foxes or Meskwaki – People of the Red Earth. They were a fierce warlike people when their territory was invaded. They knew the land, they loved it and died for it. They said “The South Country is too warm; the north country is too cold in winter. It is our wish to dwell here always near the Falls.” Pemusa, a great chief of the Meskwaki once voiced the prophetic warning in his language “Know ye that the Foxes (Meskwaki-Sacs) are immortal – the Falls will run forever!” Even the remnants of his race are still the proud people of the Tama (Iowa) reservation today!

There is a bit of legend of the Falls too; romantic if just lore or legend.

A semblance of historical data establishes the arrival of Robert de La Salle on the Mississippi after 1680 and comes the name of Jules Ampere on that record. Ampere disappeared from the “Mississippi” party “southwestward” the record states. Indian legend meets up with him next near a place known as The Falls. He aided and assisted as a friendly “alien” Chief Minto of the tribe of which charming Weenii was the winsome one, “a beautiful specimen of her race” as history speaks. Minto recognized the Frenchman’s ability, total inculcation and craft after several years of companionship. But love knew no bounds and since Minto and Ampere were rivals in love the duel with knives in canoes above The Falls was inevitable. It was custom and Ampere accepted the challenge. The friendly enemies met to the north of the Falls on the river. Watching from the ledge was Weenii. As the mortally wounded Ampere plunged to his certain death over the Falls, Weenii, too, dashed off the bluff to the rocks below and certain drowning in the torrent.

‘Tis legend but always upheld by the Indians and the by-pass of history.

There is only one Falls in this section of Eastern Iowa. Even though looted and desecrated by the White Man the Legend of the Bluffs could be true – and The Falls Is Cascade! Ruggedness, Beauty and Romance entwined.