Franklin T Oldt.

History of Dubuque County, Iowa; being a general survey of Dubuque County history, including a history of the city of Dubuque and special account of districts throughout the county, from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryFranklin T OldtHistory of Dubuque County, Iowa; being a general survey of Dubuque County history, including a history of the city of Dubuque and special account of districts throughout the county, from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 56)
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Iowa City, Bellevue, Andrew, Tipton, Delhi, Colesburg, Garnavillo
and Muscatine. Major Mobley was connected with the Telegraph
early in 1850 ; so was John B. Hogan. Mobley was a leading Whig,
as also was George L. Nightingale ; they quarreled ovev government

C. C. Hewitt, who had lived here many years, upon leaving for



California in 1850, was thanked by the council for his untiring and
fearless efforts to suppress cholera in 1849. B. M. Samuels was
city attorney in 1849-50. J. H. Emerson was elected mayor in
April, 1850. In April the register informed the council that he
was instructed "to allow the constituted authorities of the city to
enter certain tracts in front of it," whereupon the steps to enter
such tracts were at once taken. At this time an ordinance giving
justices of the peace concurrent jurisdiction with the mayor was
passed. The smallpox was here again in 1850, but was checked at
once. The old powder house stood on Eighth street. In June,
1850, the council ordered a complete survey from Lorimier's fur-
nace up the inner slough, through the lake and across to Eagle
Point, with a view of building a canal along the whole city front.
Three members of the council and fifteen other citizens were placed
in charge of this movement. They were E. Langworthy, L. D.
Randall and H. V. Gildea, aldermen, and P. A. Lorimier, William
Waples, M. McNamara, C. H. Booth, W. J. Barney, J. G. Shields,
J. H. Thedinga, Peter Kiene, T. M. Craney, Mathias Ham, R.
Plumbe, H. A. Wiltse, B. J. O'Halloran, H. S. Hethrington and
Timothy Fanning. A steamboat channel sixty feet wide and four
feet below low water was contemplated. Large quantities of fresh
lime were scattered throughout the city in 1850 and all public places
were cleansed. The powder house was ordered sold at public auc-
tion to the highest bidder in August, 1850. Four public cisterns
were ordered built for protection against fires. An election was
ordered in 1850 on the question of borrowing $20,000 for use on
the steamboat channel from Lorimier's up to Eagle Point. Six fire
ladders and four fire hooks were bought in November, 1850. A
meeting of the citizens was held and a fire company was organized
at this time. They called themselves the "Hook and Ladder Fire
Company." The vote on the question of securing a loan of $20,000
for the proposed steamboat channel was — for the loan 315. against
the loan 14. D. Murphy was granted the privilege of mining in
the graveyard upon paying to the city one-fifth of the mineral
raised. M. McNear was allowed the same privilege on Fifth street.
A harbor tax was ordered levied to meet the $20,000 authorized for
harbor improvement. Abel Havvley was the contractor for the
steamboat channel. It was found necessary to buy for $10,000 a
large dredge boat to be used on the proposed steamboat channel.

In April, 1850, the citizens voted down the proposition to secure
a loan of $10,000 for harbor improvement. Boats passed through
Barney's cut to the wharf. "We announce the defeat of this meas-
ure as we do the death of a friend — briefly and sorrowfully. On
the first day of April, a majority of the citizens of Dubuque decided
that they would have no harbor unless someone would make it for
them." — (Miners' Express, April 3, 1850.)

The Western hotel was burned in April, 1850; the city was with-


out fire apparatus or fire orgauization. In April, 1850, the Dubuque
Emigrating Association consisted of fifty-four men and twenty
wagons bound for California. The organization occurred at Coun-
cil Blufifs. Pratt & Co. owned the Catfish Mills. Mr. Codding, the
mesmerist, then called "biologist," was here in June, 1850, and
astonished all by his performances. The famous Dubuque Nursery
stood about two hundred yards north of the city limits and embraced
four acres on which, in' 1850, were 12,000 apple trees; the pro-
prietor was W. L. Johnson. Already much of the trade of the
southwest was lost to Dubuque— the settlers going to Muscatine.
The land office was reopened in October, 1850, with Mobley and
McKnight in charge.

"A Town Full — The city of Dubuque is literally filled. There
has been a greater call for houses within the last two months than
ever before known. Houses are being finished every day, but are all
engaged long before they are complete. More are building, how-
ever ; don't be discouraged."— (M/»rr/ Express, October 23, 1850.)

In 1850 H. S. Hetherington built four cisterns for the city and
was paid $121.50. In November, 1850, corn was worth 20 to 25
cents, wheat 65 cents and live hogs $2.50 to $3. In November the
livery stable of Lyman & Shomo was burned and nine horses out
of sixteen perished. There were loud demands for a fire engine and
fire organizations. The canal committee recommended in 1850 a
steamboat channel from Lorimier furnace to Eagle Point through
Lake Peosta and the sloughs ; the council ordered 600 copies of the
report printed and distributed. The committee recommended a
channel 100 feet wide and four feet below the low water standard
of Captain Barney; total excavation to be 279,190 cubic yards;
length of improvement. 24,220 feet; cost of dredge, $8,000: two
flatboats, $300; channel to be extra wide in places to permit boats
to pass each other; the channel to skirt closely the inner shore
line of Dubuque; distance by river from Lorimier furnace to Eagle
Pomt, 25,800 feet; shortening of the line would cause a quicker cur-
rent ; stagnant water in the sloughs w-ould be drained ; $20,000 must
be raised to make this improvement, either by subscription or taxa-
tion ; completion of the canal would advance property at once 25 per
cent. At this date the steamboat arrivals were about 200 annually.
With a charge to each of only $5 for each landing the wharfage
would amount to $1,000 yearly. "Shall our city three years hence
be without a harbor and' out of debt or shall we, by creating the
debt, construct a harbor worth $250,000 the moment it is com-
pleted? Without a harbor or any facilities to overcome the want of
one, at an objectionable distance from the bank of the river and
this bank separated from the main river by a series of sloughs often
too shallow for steamboats, Dubuque has nevertheless derived her
existence and growth from the navigation of the Mississippi. With
these difficulties she has had constantly to struggle and by such


efforts she lias attained to sufficient size and capital to command
a harbor of unsurpassed excellence." — (Express, September 18,
1850; Report of the Harbor Committee.) The committee reported
against a boat canal from the main channel across the sloughs and
islands to the city shore proper — boats would have to go back after
coming in.

"The undersigned citizens of Dubuque and the adjoining counties
most respectfully solicit and earnestly request our honorable mem-
bers of Congress to obtain of the War Department the establish-
ment of a military road, commencing at Dubuque and terminating
at Fort Clark (Fort Dodge) on the Des Moines river:

M. M. Hayden, J. H. Emerson, J. M. Marsh, George M. Henry,
Henry S. Hetherington, William Donnellan, Peter Waples, Charles
Bogy, L. D. Randall, J. Sprague, Charles Corkeiy, Timothy Fan-
ning, E. D. Turner, S. R. West, C. H. Booth, F. V. Goodrich, E.
Langworthy, Owen Smith, I. E. Wootton, B. J. O'Halloran,
Michael Nolan, Patrick Byrne, J. J. E. Norman, W. J. Sullivan,
William Roche, Francis Mangold, J- L. Langworthy, A. H. Miller,
Michael O'Brien, John Palmer, J. P. Farley, Jacob Christman, A.
Linn and Dennis A. Mahony."

The object of this petition was, by opening such a road, to secure
to Dubuque the trade at Fort Clark and other points on the upper
Des Moines river ; that Fort previously had obtained all its supplies
from Keokuk, which was distant 280 miles ; Dubuque was distant
only 180 miles. J. J. Abert of the topographical engineers, said:
"By the Nicollet map the distance from Dubuque to Fort Clark is
about 180 miles, and the distance from Fort Clark to the mouth of
the Des Moines about 300 miles. This last distance is represented
as the usual traveled distance with supplies, making the difference
between the routes — both are land routes — of about 120 miles, the
route from Dubuque being that much shorter. This fact gives to
the Dubuque route great advantages. The only difference deserving
of notice is that to arrive at Dubuque, the Mississippi has to be
ascended about 200 miles; but as this distance during the season
when supplies are forwarded can be passed by steamboats, it reduces
a comparison of the difference on this account between the routes to
200 miles of steamboat navigation and 120 miles of land carriage.
This fact also gives to the Dubuque route great advantages. Under
all circumstances, therefore, the Dubuque route is much to be pre-
ferred and the making of a road on this route would cost but little
more than half for a road on the other route."

In 185 1 the public square was ordered rented to the highest
bidder; grocery (wet) license was fixed at $150, and beer license
at $75 per annimi in May, 185 1. Thomas S. Wilson was authorized
to sell the city's $20,000 bonds in New York city.

Proposals for furnishing a steam ferry to ply between Dubuque
and the Illinois shore were called for in June, 1851. At this time


a proposition to build a suspension bridge across the Mississippi
was received from A. G. Garver. The council considered building a
plank road from Blufif street to the western boundary of the city in
185 1. The proposition of S. L. Gregoire to furnish a steam ferry
was accepted. The offer of T. Davis of ten acres and a house to be
used as a hospital, at a cost of $625, was accepted by the council.
In August, 185 1, the ferry rates were fixed as follows: Footman,
10 cents; man and horse, 25 cents; wagon and two horses or oxen,
75 cents; one horse and wagon, 50 cents; minors under 16 years,
free; minors over 16, 5 cents; loose freight, 5 cents per 100 pounds;
cattle, per head, 10 cents; each hog, sheep or calf, 3 cents. It was
found necessary in August, 1851, to borrow more money to con-
tinue the work on the harbor. The northern boundary of the city
under the charter was ordered surveyed and marked. Early in Sep-
tember, the contract to dredge the steamboat channel was signed
with Abel Hawley. More city bonds were ordered issued to meet
the harbor improvement expenses. The new graveyard boundaries
were defined in October, 1851. The sum of $15 each was ordered
paid to the Dubuque delegates to the "Rapids Ci")nvention." The
cholera was here again in 185 1. In December, 1851, the harbor
bonds of $20,000 were cancelled and destroyed. In January, 1852,
George W. Burton and others were granted the riglit to cut a canal
through the island opposite First or Second street to intersect the
channel through which steamboats were then admitted from the
main river. The steam ferry boat of A. L. Gregoire was to be
ready by April 15, 1852.

George L. Dickinson kept a popular teinperance hotel in 185 1.
Cook, Sargent & Co. had an exchange banking iiouse and land
agency at this time. The land office and many land companies and
firms made this city the liveliest real estate center west of Chicago.

"It must be apparent to every observing man that our fair city
was never in a more flourishing condition. Strangers are constantly
pouring into the city from every quarter seeking opportunities for
investing capital. Property to the amount of thousands is changing
hands ; buildings going up in every direction ; and new business
firms opening on almost every square of Main street. * * *
The health of the city was never better." — (Express.)

In March, 185 1, the Daily Tribune, A. P. Wood, editor, made
its appearance, but after a year was discontinued, but was issued
again about 1854 by Adams and Hackley. The Daily Miners'
Express appeared first August 19, 185 1, under William H. Merritt
& Co.

"Cholera — We understand there have been one or two cases of
cholera in the city since our last issue. It behooves our citizens to
give diligent attention to all such means for the prevention of the
disease as have so frequently been recommended." — (Herald, July
14, 1851.)


In 185 1 new and better buildings in all directions were taking the
place of the pioneer structures. Never before were there to be seen
on the streets so many strangers looking for homes and business
opportunities. So rapidly were buildings going up, materials ran
out and artisans were lacking and thus operations were checked.
During 185 1 the dredge boat did excellent work on the harbor,
cutting through the island without trouble. Mexican war land
warrants for 160 acres were worth here $170 in 1851. T. L. Rivers
took daguerrotypes in September. A town clock was called for.
J. D. Jennings was connected with the Express in August. "Dubuque
is destined to be the Queen City of the Northwest, the opposition of
interested parties and rival towns to the contrary notwithstanding,"
said the Express, September 5. At this date the city had about
4,100 population. It had two fine hotels and many others; two
steam flour mills ; nine churches and two others going up ; one
Mason, three Odd Fellows and one Temperance lodges ; three fer-
ries — two in the city and one at Eagle Point ; one pottery yard ; one
marble yard ; two railways approaching from the east ; a railway
projected westward; many schools, etc. In 1851 the city was liter-
ally deluged with showers of shinplasters — many of doubtful value
and unknown parentage.

Late in September, 1851, work was begun by Abel Hawley of
Milwaukee to cut the channel from Lorimier's furnace to Eagle
Point, one hundred feet wide and four feet deep at low water, for
$24,300. Between Fifth and Sixth streets the channel was to be 200
feet wide. Late in 185 1 the work was pushed rapidly; Hawley was
paid by installments as the work progressed. B. J. O'Halloran,
Caleb H. Booth, Henry A. Wiltse and Edward Langworthy were
the committee of supervision. The work was to be completed in
two 3'ears. "The part of said improvement along the surveyed por-
tion of the city is to be constructed so as to leave a levee at least
one hundred feet wide between the lots fronting the water and the
extreme outer edge of said improvement."

The year 185 1 was wet and cold. High water prevailed the whole
year. There were landed here in 185 1 from steamboats 2,824 per-
sons. The numerous rains ruined crops and prevented mining.
Dubuque exported 4,287 tons of merchandise and imported 24,663
tons. Work on the Dubuque and Sageville plank road was com-
menced in September, 1851, under Joseph C. Jennings, engineer.
The road was to be completed by April, 1852. In September, 185 1,
exchange on New York was i^ per cent, St. Louis i per cent,
Chicago I per cent.

The Dubuque and Maquoketa plank road was projected in 185 1,
but languished ; it was the original intention to lay the planks as far
as Table Mound before winter set in. The Express, Herald and
Tribune were the dailies in 185 1. D. A. Mahony assisted Holt on
the Herald; so did A. A. White and W. A. Adams. The Dubuque


Atiienreiim was established in 185 1 under J. J. Dyer, president, and
P. W. Crawford, secretary.

The custom of the early settlers to enter and cut timber on gov-
ernment land for their own private gain had become so firmly
grounded in 1852 that when they were taken into court by govern-
ment agents they became indignant and in January of that year
held a large meeting at Dubuque to protest against any interference
with such custom. A steady revenue was obtained from the sale of
city lots ; this was a state of affairs not fully appreciated by the city
fathers, in view of the lack of such re\enues in other cities. In
April, 1852, an appropriation of $20 was made to pay for an oyster
supper to the city officers. At this time 300 forest trees for the
public square were contracted for. At the suggestion of Charles
Corkery the methods, or lack of methods, of keeping the city records
were reorganized and improved. A temporary quarantine hospital
was located a quarter of a mile south of Webb's old furnace below
Dirty Hollow. Bogy's steam ferry boat was required to land only
between Fourth and Fifth streets. Fanning's ferry landed at Sec-
ond and Fourth streets. The city calaboose was in the second story
of the market house. The temporary quarantine hospital was
opened about June i, 1852, and cost $325; mattresses cost $8. It
was agreed at this time that the government's plans for the harbor
and the city's plan conflicted in several important particulars. In
June, 1852, the city borrowed $10,000 and issued bonds for the
loan; the sum was used in street and sewer improvements. The
vote stood — For the loan 131, against it 46. There were found
shallow places in Barney's cut ; they were deepened. Fanning com-
menced suit against Gregoire and Bogy, alleging they were inter-
fering with his ferry rights. The council had granted to Gregoire
and Bogy ferry rights against the advice of the city attorney. James
Jones was warden of the temporary hospital. L". H. Langworthy
exchanged ten acres adjoining the hospital for a tract called "Grave-
yard" on the hill at the northern boundary. In 1852 the city becom-
ing delinquent in tlie payment of county ta.x on city lots, was ordered
by County Judge Lovell to make payment or take the consequences.
The $10,000 in city bonds sold for $10,438.89 in New York city;
the city received net $10,188.89.

"The improvements in Dubuque during the current year, includ-
ing dwelling, storehouses and offices, will not fall short'of one hun-
dred."— (Da//)' Miners' Express, July 27, 1852.) "Why is it that
property has advanced some 30 or 50 per cent within the last year
in this city and that so many married men are flocking to the place,
anxious to invest their means among us?" — {Dail\ Miners' Express,
May 20, 1852.) "Never did a spring open in Dubuque with more
flattering pro.spects of a healthy and lucrative trade. Our hotels are
crowded beyond their capacity to accommodate; our merchants,
builders and mechanics arc active: our smelting mills and foini-


dries, etc., are enjoying a season of the highest prosperity; our
streets are crowded with immigrant wagons; the demand for
dwellings and business houses is beyond the capacity of our prop-
erty holders to meet ; the best and fastest steam ferry boat on the
Mississippi is actively engaged ; the harbor improvement is pro-
gressing rapidly ; and everywhere is seen growth and prosperity." —
{Daily Miners' Express, April 9, 1S52. ) "Within a few months
there "has been established in this city a large foundry, rope works,
soa|-> and candle factory and steam saw mill, and there is now being
erected an additional steam saw mill." — {Express, August 12,

A strong temperance movement swept the city early in the fifties ;
the Maine liquor law was advocated by many. Steps to raise Locust
street above high water from Fifth south to the city limits were
taken in April, 1852. G. J. Adams was manager of the National
theater at this time; his rendition of Macbeth was praised. Mr.
Mobley's bank offered 6 per cent on all deposits of six months or
longer. Mount Pleasant and Air Hill were located back on the
bluffs. W. A. Jones sold his interest in the Express at this date.
At this time the land agencies of W. J. Barney & Co., Clark &
Bissell and Wiltse & Lovell did an enormous business. About
July I, 1852, Dennis A. Mahony bought Dr. Harrison Holt's inter-
est in the Herald ; F. J. Stanton later secured this interest. Mr.
Stanton's father lived at Dyersville, where later Mr. Stanton con-
ducted the Dyersville Mercury. The telegraph line which had long
been suspended resumed operations in July, 1852; the company
was the Illinois and Mississippi Telegraph Company, in which sev-
eral citizens of Dubuque held stock. Connected with the plank road
were J. J. Dyer, J. P. Farley, Piatt Smith, L. Maloney and H.
Thompson; three-inch oak plank were used and the cost was $3,175
per mile. The levee between Fourth and F"ifth streets was com-
pleted in August. The council of 1852-3 deserved and received
great credit for wide improvements to the city.

Treasurer O'Halloran, in October, 1852, roused the ire of the
council by making charges against them which reflected on their
integrity; a committee was appointed to see what action if any
should be taken. Several meetings were held and much difference
of opinion was expressed. A draft of the council was refused
payment by Mr. O'Halloran on a disputed point, whereupon he was
fined $100 by the unanimous vote of the council. The draft was
for $3,000, which called for 612 sovereigns at $4.90 each and
$1.20 in change. But the treasurer had only offered to give for
sovereigns $4.85 each, thereby causing a loss of $30.60 to the agent
or the city. The treasurer the next day claimed that the market
value of sovereigns in New York was only $4.85. Legal action
resulted, Mr. Burt serving as counsel for the city and Mr. Clark as
counsel for Mr. O'Halloran. Due charges were preferred against


the latter, to which Judge Clark demurred on the ground of want
of jurisdiction. The treasurer finally asked for a compromise on
a proposition suggested by one of the aldermen and approved by
the mayor. The council refused to accept the compromise offered.
Mr. Jennings, also representing the treasurer, appealed to the coun-
cil not to pass the expelling resolution, declaring that action was
taken "to save the treasurer harmless from loss in the receipt of
currency." The mayor and Mr. Stout, alderman, opposed the
resolution. Mr. Burt spoke at length for tiie city. The resolution
removing him from office passed, Mr. Stout alone voting in the
negative. Robert C. Waples, after a sharp contest in the council,
was chosen treasurer to succeed Mr. O'Halloran. The latter was
ordered to turn over all books, etc., belonging to the city and make
final report.

In 1 85 1 the city exports were 4,287 tons; in 1852 they were
13,284. The boat arrivals in 185 1 were 351 and in 1852 were 417.
A census of the city in February. 1852, showed over 5,000 inhabit-
ants; by January, 1853, the population was about 6,500. In 1852
about 100 new buildings of all kinds were erected, many of them
were large brick structures.

The new land districts of Chariton, Northern and Missouri river
in 1852 took much business away from Dubucjue. Sealed bids to
raise all streets in the southern section above high water were
called for in August. The capital of the Plank Road Company was
raised from $8,000 to $25,000, but the road languished and failed
to pay dividends. Permission to cut a channel through the outer
island opposite Barney's cut was granted to a number of citizens.
The lower part of Main street was paved in 1852. A new market
place for the northern section was established between Eleventh
and Twelfth streets on White; cost, $2,500. In the summer of

1852 cliolera again made its appearance here. Private individuals
claiming an extension of their lots into the public cemetery caused
contention and bitterness in 1852; there was a strong demand for
a new and better cemetery at once. A ten-acre tract bought of
Timothy Davis in 185 1 for a future cemetery was enclosed for
hospital purposes. The old graveyard at what is now Jackson park
was first laid out in 1833-34, and was fenced by subscription. In

1853 the new cemetery was first opened, lots were sold and
improvements were made. People whose fences had protected in
part the old cemetery now removed them, leaving the grax'es exposed
to cattle and hogs.

Early in 1853 the new territory brougiit within the city limits
was attached to the old wards. In b^ebruary. Colonel McHenry
was sent East to bu}' a fire engine. A loan of $20,000 was
desired to carry on the following improvements : To continue the
present harbor work ; to extend the work on the levee ; to improve
the main roads leading out of the city ; to secure grounds for public









building, including schoolhouses ; to purchase fire apparatus; to
improve streets; to put in operation a system of common schools as
per charter. In November, 1853, the five wards were bounded as

Online LibraryFranklin T OldtHistory of Dubuque County, Iowa; being a general survey of Dubuque County history, including a history of the city of Dubuque and special account of districts throughout the county, from the earliest settlement to the present time (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 56)