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Chapter III (1818-1902)
The town of the Coots

During the period between Cornelius Coot's takeover of Fort Drakeborough in 1818 and the arrival of $crooge McDuck in 1902, the Coots - lead by the founder of the town, Cornelius Coot and his son Clinton Coot, seem to have been the leading family in the district. At the time this chapter starts, the once "mountain-man" Cornelius Coot has just become the owner of his own fort and its appurtenant ten-acre hill. His next few steps is exploring and defending his new property...

Discovery of the lost library
Illustration 3.1
Illustration 3.1 - HD&L reveal the secrets of the JW Guidebook.

After taking over the fort Cornelius Coot explored its facilities, and at some point he revealed the secret underground room, where Fenton Penworthy once sealed himself inside in order to protect Drake's library. At this point all the books in the shelves had been destroyed after being exposed to hungry rats for centuries. The only intact book was a single one that was kept in a tight box. Apparently the just fled British garrison never discovered this room, because if they had done so they would most certainly have kept the book with the extract of the lost library themselves. As the first one to discover the hidden room, Cornelius Coot seems to be the one who buried the remains of Fenton Penworthy in there. The reason for placing the grave inside the room could be that a grave somewhere outside could look suspicious. It's not unlikely that he considered the room for being the safest place to keep the book. It thus may have remained there all the time until he finally handed it over to his son Clinton Coot - leaving the box and Penworthy's notes back there, as they apparently wasn't a part of the gift.

The rise of a new settlement
It seems that there where other pioneers around early after Cornelius Coots took over the fort. When asked about the early settlers in the area around Fort Drakeborough Don Rosa explains: "Most all non-natives on the west coast of America prior to about 1850 would have to arrive there by sea. People didn't generally travel cross-country until the mid-late 1800's... [Even then] people would usually not know where they were heading when they packed up their wagons and headed west. There was no reliable information about what things were like, what towns were growing, what land was for sale. I guess some people passed through Duckburg and decided to stay..."

During the first few months after Cornelius Coot's takeover of the fort, he and whoever else lived in the area lived with a fear that the Spanish would make another attempt to conquer the fort. That problem however disappeared in the following years, when Spain lost most of its American colonies. On September 27th 1821 the northernmost parts of the Spanish colonial wealth in America, including the Calisota area, declared its independence and became Mexico.

The foundation of the Woodchuck militia

Illustration 3.2 Illustration 3.3
Illustration 3.2 - The Woodchuck militia in action.
Illustration 3.3 - An ice-statue which looks like a General Crow.


A small society of pioneers had begun to rise around the now civilian fort. As a consequence a local defense force was needed, and ca. 1820 Cornelius Coot and other local pioneers formed the Woodchuck Militia, to defend the area against all kind of threats. The militia existed for approximately 80 years. Their most memorable moment was however when they rode together with then Colonel Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt during the charge up San Juan Hill on July 1st 1898. The Woodchuck militia was finally disbanded ca. 1900. Later The Junior Woodchucks of the World (JWW) organization was named after the Woodchuck Militia. In the Barks classic Statues of Limitations / Ice Statues (1957) a General Crow that looked very much like Cornelius (but was a bit thicker) is mentioned. He was probably one of the Duckburg pioneers, maybe even a leader of the Woodchuck militia. It's not known if the militia used military grades in the pioneer days - Crow could as well be a veteran officer from the US-British war of 1812.

In addition to this we don't know much about Cornelius Coot. But in The Day Duckburg Got Dyed / Gyro's Super-Dye (1957) Carl Barks tell us that once Cornelius Coot piped mountain water to Duckburg.

Into the USA
An important event in the history of Calisota occurred in 1848 when large areas on the American western coast including Calisota, was turned over from Mexico to the USA. In 1850 the new western territories finally joined the union and become ordinary states of the USA.

The Battle on Battlement Hill
Illustration 3.4
Illustration 3.4 - Battle on Battlement Hill is mentioned.

In "The Willage Blacksmith" (1960) it is said that in 1860 a general Stonewall Duck fought the battle that saved Duckburg, from his position on the top of the Battlement hill... Even though very little is known about this battle - the description given by Barks indicates that it was both very epic and very decisive battle. When asked about this battle Don Rosa replies: Given the name "General Stonewall Duck" and the year of 1860, it Would seem that Barks had the Civil War in mind (even though 1860 is a year too early). There were some Civil War battles of a sort fought on the West Coast.. Don Rosa won't to decide on any details about these events unless it's needed for a story, but he admits that the Duckburgian defense force led by General Stonewall Duck must have been (or have included) the Woodchuck Militia. He also admits that the then ca. 30 years old Clinton Coot very like was involved in the battle.

When asked about the position of Calisota and the Coots during the American civil war (1861-1865), Don Rosa replies: I would not involve Calisota in the Civil War... they were neutral as were other western territories.

The Coots in the late 19th century

Illustration 3.5
Illustration 3.5 - Grandma Duck tells about Coot's Emporium.

There is yet not known much about Duckburg and the Coots in the late 19th century. However in "A little something special" Don Rosa tells us that in this period Clinton Coot, the son of Cornelius Coot, run the store "Coot's Emporium" and that one of his specialties was ice-cream. It also seems that Clinton Coot's two children inherited some Coot estates long before the death, maybe directly from their grandfather Cornelius Coot. The Son Casey got the ten-acre Killmule Hill including the fort there, while the daughter Elvira got some farmland outside Duckburg - probably with some of the houses already there. Later she and her family moved to another farm close to the centre of the settlement.

The great northeaster of 1897
In the Barks classic Northeaster on Cape Quack (1962) we can read then in 1897 the Duckburg area was hit by the most terrible northeaster hurricane in its history so far. On the worst, enormous waves rolled over the Cape Quack and reached high on the lighthouse there. The record wave of this hurricane wasn't beaten until 1962.

The sale of Killmule Hill

Illustration 3.6
Illustration 3.6 - $crooge telling his nephews about how he ended up in Duckburg.

Illustration 3.7
Illustration 3.7 - $crooge McDuck has just earned his first million $. The calendar on the wall in the bank (upper, right panel tells the time of this event).

Illustration 3.8
Illustration 3.8 - Casey Coot sells his deed to $crooge McDuck.

It seems that the power of the Coots declined in the late 1800s. Anyway, in the last years of the 1890's Casey Coot, the son of Clinton Coot went to Yukon to dig for gold. He didn't succeed and the only reason he still could afford to buy his ticket back home to Duckburg was that he sold the deed to Killmule Hill and Fort Duckburg (a total of 10 acres of land) for $200 to another gold prospector who just had earned his first million $. The new owner of Killmule Hill and Fort Duckburg thus became a Scotsman called $crooge McDuck, a distant relative to (and the reborn) Malcolm McDuck, the very first commander of Fort Drake Borough in 1579. The history of Duckburg was about to take a new turn...

The foundation of The Junior Woodchucks

Illustration 3.9
Illustration 3.9 - The foundation of "The Junior Woodchucks".

In 1901 Clinton Coot founded a new organization "...to teach young Duckburgians to uphold the ideals of doing good deeds, protection of the wild lands, and the preservation of knowledge". The name for this organization was taken from the near history of Duckburg, as the organization was named "The Junior Woodchucks of the World" after the earlier local defense force the "Woodchuck militia". Clinton Coot also gave The Junior Woodchucks the book his father Cornelius Coot once discovered in the secret room beneath the fort. Since the Woodchuck Militia was disbanded, the JW was allowed to use old Fort Duckburg as their headquarters.

Important incomers to Duckburg before 1902
Several families who would eventually take an important role in the 20th century Duckburg were incomers in the years/decades before 1902. In Lo$, part X: The Invader of Fort Duckburg (1993) Don Rosa shows that the Gearlooses were present in Duckburg when Scrooge McDuck and his sisters arrived in 1902, while the Beagle Boys were living outside the then still small settlement. Don Rosa says: "The Gearlooses were in Duckburg before $crooge. I figured that the Beagle Boys were homesteaders in the general area and were attracted to Duckburg when $crooge took up residence in the old fort. And I don't know if they left the area after that and moved back much later. Rockerduck was a millionaire long before $crooge and would NEVER live in a tiny village like pre-1902 Duckburg, he would have moved there decades later when it became a big city."


Biography:

Clinton Coot
(Ca. 1830-Ca. 1910)


Clinton Coot
Clinton Coot
(Ca. 1830-Ca. 1910)

The only known son of Duckburg's founder Cornelius Coot. His mother was probably an Indian squaw. Most likely, he was involved in the epic Battle on Battlement Hill in 1860. Later he took over "Coots Emporium" where he, among other stuff, sold ice-cream.

Clinton Coot appears to have been very interested in the nature, and in science. It's likely that he picked up knowledge about, and respect for the nature from his mothers' tribe, and interest for and knowledge about history and science from the old book with the essence of the lost library, he once got from his father. To promote his interests for the nature and to ensure that the book ended up in safe hands after his death, in 1901 he founded a new organization that was called "The Junior Woodchucks of the World" (named after the Woodchuck Militia). Like the old militia The Junior Woodchucks, used Fort Duckburg as their headquarters.

Clinton Coot was married to Gertrude Gadwall and got two children; the son Casey Coot who sold the ten-acre Killmule hill including Fort Duckburg, to the young Scotsman Scrooge McDuck, and the daughter Elvira "Elviry" Coot - later married Duck, and eventually known as Grandma Duck.


Illustrations:


Illustration 3.1
Don Rosa:
Guardians of the Lost Library (1992),
page 27, panels 1-4 + 8 (US-version). Panels 3 and 4 are replaced by an enlarged version of panel 3 in the European version. Panel 8 in the US-version is thus panel 7 in the European version.

Illustration 3.2
Don Rosa:
W.H.A.D.A.L.O.T.T.A.
J.A.R.G.O.N. (1997)
,
page 4, panel 2.

Illustration 3.3
Don Rosa:
Statues of Limitations /
Ice Statues (1957)
,
page 4, panel 8.

Illustration 3.4
Carl Barks:
The Village Blacksmith (1960),
page 6, panels 5-8.

Illustration 3.5
Don Rosa:
A little something special (1996),
page 19, panels 2-5.

Illustration 3.6
Don Rosa:
Cash Flow (1987),
page 1, panel 4.

Illustration 3.7
Don Rosa:
Last sled to Dawson (1988),
page 3, panels 1-4.

Illustration 3.8
Don Rosa:
Last sled to Dawson (1988),
page 3, panels 5-8 + page 4, panels 1-4.

Illustration 3.9
Don Rosa:
W.H.A.D.A.L.O.T.T.A.
J.A.R.G.O.N. (1997)
,
page 4, panels 3-4.

Clinton Coot
Don Rosa's Duck Family Three (1993).



©1999-2007 by Sigvald Grøsfjeld Jr.

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