Isaiah Drury and Priscilla Reynolds moved the large Drury clan to Rock Island County in the early 1830s and got busy building homes and businesses. One of their sons, Stewart Reynolds Drury, established the first steamboat landing, which is why the spot became known as Drury’s Landing (when it wasn’t called The Landing or The Pint). Boats stopped at Drury’s Landing to resupply wood for fuel and drop off passengers looking to begin new lives in the area. Stewart Reynolds Drury also ran a busy store and post office (a letter cost .25 cents to mail).
Stewart Reynolds Drury platted a village called Richmond in 1843 (it was a single block deep and five blocks long) that was soon subsumed into Drury’s Landing. He was known for being tough, stubborn, and grouchy, but he did have a softer side. He would often share meals with strangers and neighbors. If you happened to be in his store when the dinner bell rang, you’d probably be invited to join his family at the table; he never charged anyone for it, either.
He had many offers to sell his land, but he refused them all, even to sell just a portion, which made a lot of folks very angry and probably killed the village’s chances of ever being anything other than a footnote in history. When the Corps of Engineers shifted the main channel to the Iowa side of the river, boats no longer stopped at his landing, and his business essentially ended. He eventually lost all his land to the county in 1892 when his unpaid tax bill got too high. Stewart Reynolds Drury died the following year in the Rock Island County Infirmary. Drury’s Landing became a ghost town after the land forfeiture, but a few of the original frame buildings survived into the 1980s.
© Dean Klinkenberg, 2015