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 12 of 56)
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880; cattle, 650; household furniture, 720; potatoes, 480; wheat,
540; dry goods, 265. All were valued at $1,573,408. The total
number of tons exported from Dubuque on the Mississippi river
for 1853 was 7,482 ; value, $1,006,710. The same tonnage for 1854
was as above, 11,736, value, $1,573,408. In 1854, 38,400 men,
women and children crossed the ferry at Dubuque; wagons, 4,300;
carriages, 2,100; cattle, 9,518; sheep, 2,708; hogs, 6,630. In 1853
the number of persons who crossed the river was 6,200 ; wagons,
2,404; carriages, 3.010; horses, 6,821; cattle, 5,506; sheep, 300;
hogs, 520. In 1854 about 9,000 of the persons crossing were Iowa
emigrants. The steamer arrivals in 1854 were 672; departures,
670, an increase of about 175 over 1853. Navigator, Hamburgh,
United States dredge boat G. W. Jones, ferry boats A. L. Gregoire,
Utah, Dora and Eagle wintered at Dubuque 1854-5 ; also several
flats and barges. In 1854 the steamboat lines had all done a good
business. The remarkable number of t,t,t, new buildings were
erected in Dubuque in 1854, of which 37 were stores, 107 dwellings,
3 churches, 12 schoolhouses, i market house, 3 hotels, 3 wagon
shops, 2 breweries, 2 warehouses, etc. At the close of 1854 the
city had 1 1 churches, i female college, i college, 5 select or summer
schools, 28 dry goods stores, 22 groceries, 5 hardware stores, 7
drug stores, 14 clothing stores, 7 boot and shoe stores, 8 hotels, 5
warehouses, 10 millinery shops, 18 land agency offices, 24 law
offices, 14 medical offices, 13 beer houses and all other branches of
business ; 1,520 mechanics, 38 lawyers, 23 doctors. Nine stages left
Dubuque daily. Total value of Dubuque county property for taxa-
tion, $5,390,230; city tax, $17,000; total county tax, $57,000. —
(Statistics furnished the papers by G. R. West, January 8, 1855.)


During the winter of 1854-5 business men suffered great incon-
venience and loss at Dunleith by freiglit liandlers who purposely
delayed goods in order to obtain freight charges and who when
they advanced the freight to the railway charged 5 per cent for
such service. These and the ferry and dray charges were too heavy
to be borne with patience and the business men justly held indigna-
tion meetings.

There were several business failures early in 1855. In February
the city was almost wholly without fire fighting apparatus. Efforts
to form a new company were made. In the spring of 1855 the
Sisters' hospital was used by the city. In 1855 W. Langworthy
sold fruit trees at Pleasant Hill nursery back of the city. In
January, 1855, H. L. Stout and sixteen others, upon petition, were
granted the exclusive privilege of supplying the city with water by
water works. Seventy-five citizens petitioned to have Sixth street
extended to the river, but this was evaded or refused and the council
called for proposals to extend First and Seventh streets to the river.
The council offered a reward of $500 for information leading to the
con\'iction of any person guilty of arson within the city limits. A
bill for the suppression of intemperance was opposed in the legisla-
ture by Representative Samuels on constitutional grounds; this
prohibitory law was passed in February, 1855. City scrip at this
date was worth 90 cents on the dollar. In January, 1855, the
proposition of a company of citizens to fill in lands on the front
upon certain conditions was refused by the council. As public sen-
timent and judgment favored some such plan at this time, the
council finally called for plans to extend Seventh street to the river.
The city received four proposals to extend Seventh street to the
river: I. J. H. Emerson and others; 2. Jolm D. Bush & Co.; 3.
Alfred McDaniel, and 4. M. Mobley and others.

The Mobley proposal, which was substantially accepted, planned
to fill up Seventh street extension and bridge the sloughs with double
track bridges in three months or fifteen months at the most ; fill up
Seventh street forty feet on top in twenty months ; build a levee 320
feet long and sixty-four feet wide. Consideration was to be a strip
of ground one block wide out to the river on one side of Seventh
street extended, blocks to be 206 feet deep, as soon as the work
was half done; also alternate blocks on the other side; also tlie right
to use the dredge boat for three years. This organization was
known as the Harbor Improvement Company. In it were M.
Mobley, Lincoln Clark, L. H. Langworthy, J. L. Langworthy, T. S.
Wilson and James Ogilliy. Anotlier company, called Dubuque
Harbor Company, composed of Charles Gregoirc, H. L. Stout and
eight others, agreed to build a similar causeway south of Waples'
cut, the consideration to be all the city land south of the cut except
enough for streets, alleys, etc. They agreed to extend Jones or
Dodge street to the river. Both of tlie above propositions were


accepted by the city council, and tlius Second and Seventh streets
were to be extended to the river. In short, the Gregoire Company
was to build 800 feet of levee to be used as a public highway. They
completed their contract within one year, and were incorporated in
February, 1856, as the Dubuque Harbor Company; their land
extended from the Waples' cut southward about 3,400 feet. The
city reserved the frontage on the river and on Waples' cut. The
railroad owned a small tract below the cut ; they exchanged this for
ten acres farther south and extending from the river to Main street.
The Dubuque Harbor Company sold many lots at good prices to
private individuals.

Any bridges between Barney's cut and Waples' cut were to be
draw bridges ; all bridges above Barney's cut and below Waples' cut
were to be fixtures. Thus boats passing in at either cut could go on
through the canal and out at the other cut. From time to time
changes were made in the original contracts with these companies.
The lower company built a railroad from the bluffs to the sloughs to
convey earth, stone, etc.

In the spring of 1855 Washington Fire Company No. i raised
the means to buy a new fire engine and 500 feet of hose. In March,
1855, when the Bishop of Dubuque issued a communication to his
clergymen favoring the passage of the Iowa Prohibition law, the
Tribune, really a Knownothing sheet, commended the act in wami
terms, while the Herald laughed at the incongruity ; the latter pub-
lished twenty-five objections to the law. Immense temperance
meetings were held here while the bill was pending. One of the
big meetings of Protestants thanked Bishop Loras for his letter to
the Catholics of Iowa. Rev. W. Guernsey, a fiery Congregational
minister, called Ben. M. Samuels, who had opposed the prohibitory
law in the legislature, the "gutter champion." The Bishop later
said he favored no political party — was simply in favor of tem-
perance and against the liquor interests. The Germans of Dubuque
did all they could to defeat the prohibitory law. They held mass
meetings and passed resolutions denouncing the bill.

In March, 1855, Horace Greeley lectured at the Congregational
church on "Henry Clay." In April, 1855, A. W. Hackley was
editor and proprietor of the Daily Tribune. General Jesup wrote
for local newspapers his memoirs of forty-five years in the army.
April 10, 1855, there was about $20,000 city scrip in circulation and
not a dollar in the city treasury with which to redeem it.

"It Opens Well. — The spring business never before opened with
such flattering prospects as it does this season. Dubuque is unmis-
takably going ahead. It is as much as we can do to keep posted on
the progress of the place." — (Express and Herald, April 12, 1855.)

The first city gas lamps were erected April 23, 1855, one at the
corner of Main and Fifth streets being the first ; it stood in front of
the Globe building. The posts were of cast iron and were made by


Farley & Rouse. For the fiscal year 1854-5 the total recei])ts were
$35,162, and the total expenses $35,923 ; the total city debt in .Vpril,
1855, was $51,167.40. Of this sum the two items of $10,000 and
$20,000 were bonded and were taken by Jesup & Co. and sold in the
East. Alderman Bissell gave his legal advice to the council in
1854-5, refused compensation therefor and was thanked by the
council. Several mad dogs and madder citizens were seen upon the
streets in 1855. C. C. Childs issued a city directory this year. In
1855-6 the council paid $200 for the use of Glol)e hall. George W.
Jones asked to have Lorimier hollow road widened and the name
changed to Appian Way. Alderman Samuels objected and had the
street named Julien a\'enue. The buildings on Main street were
numbered in April. Theatrical performances were rendered in
Globe hall. In ^lay a joint stock company was formed to build a
theater. Allen Leathers was granted exclusive onmibus privileges ;
he ran a bus every thirty minutes the whole length of Main street.

In 1855 the city council passed an ordinance against steamboats
receiving or discharging freight here on Sundays ; many objected to
this ordinance and asked, "Why not stop ferry whistles and close
all shops?"

"Yesterday morning about half past seven o'clock the construc-
tion train of the Illinois Central railroad came through to the
terminus of the road opposite this city. Passenger trains will com-
inence running regularly to and from Dubuque and Dunleith on
Monday next. This event should be commemorated by our citi-
zens." — {Express and Herald, June 2, 1855.)

"There is now a bridge across the slough and connecting the
main island with the business part of the city. Boats are now
landing on the outer island and hacks and carts are running to and
from Main street to the deep water of the Mississippi. This is an
important fact for Dubuque. Seventh street also will soon be com-
pleted to the deep water of the main ri\er." — {Express and Herald,
June 13, 1855.)

At Globe hall in 1855 were presented Othello, Lady of Lyons,
Merchant of Venice, Richard III., The Drunkard, King of the
People, The Wife, etc.

In June, 1855, the council appropriated $500 to celebrate the
completion of the railroad to Dunleith and the introduction of gas
in the city. On June 22, eleven steamboats arrived here ; there
were from four to six arrivals every day. Mrs. McCready, dramatic
reader, was here and was assisted by Miss Nellie Bishop. Mahony
and Dorr were state printers from 1853 to 1855 inclusive. In 1855
the bodies in the okl cemetery were removed by H. Krohl to the
new cemetery. In 1855 the mayor who had no veto power was
granted the right to file his objections to any act he was compelled
to sign. The liquor license was $150. Caroline Lee Phelps was
secretary of the Female Union Benevolent Society in 1854; Mrs.


J. C. Higginson succeeded her in 1S55, at which time Mrs. F. V.
Goodrich was president. The first train arrived at Dunleith June
26, 1855, and on July 18 the event was celebrated here. General
Tripp was marshal of the day. At sunrise a salute was fired from
the bluff, during which the right arm and left hand of a James Best
were badly mangled; this frightful accident marred the whole day.
A subscription was raised for him ; he had four little children.
Many prominent men were invited to be present. Delegations came
from Cleveland, Chicago and other cities. The Masons, Odd Fel-
lows, city and county officials, workingmen and others paraded.
Lincoln Clark welcomed the guests. Stephen A. Douglas, Mayor
Cook of Buffalo, Ben M. Samuels, George L. Nightingale, Judge
T. S. Wilson and others addressed the audience at Washington
Park. There was much complaint in 1855 because the council did
not take definite action concerning the public schools. Action
against liquor dealers who violated the Iowa prohibitory law was
taken in July, 1855, by the seizure of liquors. On August 2t,
Brooks ascended in the balloon Comet from the hill near General
Jones' ; crossed the river into Illinois and landed safely far down
the stream. A large crowd saw the ascension. An old lady present
exclaimed, "What a happy man he is to get so near heaven ; bless
the Lord!" By the last of August, 1855, the bridges over the
sloughs on Jones and Seventh streets were almost completed. Jones
street was hurriedly graded at both ends so that teams could reach
the levee. The north half of the island between the river and outer
slough and above Barney's cut went to the Dubuque & Pacific rail-

After September 23, 1855, passenger trains over the Illinois
Central railway ran regularly to and from Dunleith ; the ferry
ran in connection with the trains, but there was much complaint
over delays and unfair tactics. A general plan to widen and
improve all the streets and adjacent roads was set in operation
late in 1855. The leading hotels were: City Hotel, by C. C.
Hewitt & Co. ; Julien House, by Kingman & Rhodes ; Peaslee
House, by A. H. Peaslee ; Key City House, by O. H. Lockwood,
and Washington House, by Lee and Gray.

"Indian trails and miners' paths there were through Dirty hollow,
over Whisky and Hamilton hills, through the tortuous windings of
Madden hollow, over the rugged ascent of Lorimier hollow, naw
Julien avenue, and through several other wild ravines and over the
craggy steeps of the bluffs around the city. The only unobstructed
approach to the city was by way of what is called the Couler at the
upper end of town. Farmers, of course, complained, but their com-
plaints were for some time unheeded. They had to watch the
opportunity of fair weather to come to town and wait for each other
at the foot of the hills to double and sometimes treble teams to help
each other through. This process went on for years until other


markets superseded this largely. Galena enterprise put a ferry
across the river at Tete des Mortes and secured much of the trade
of Jackson and southern Dubuque counties. Other points — Bellevue,
Muscatine and Davenport — drew from the county west. It was
then realized that Dubuque would have to improve its Indian trails
and miners' paths." — (Express and Herald, October 24, 1855.)

Mahony and Dorr had business difficulties in the Express and
Herald which were settled by the courts, Dorr remaining in pos-
session. An immense coal yard, one of the first, was established
here in October, 1855 ; coal was worth 30 cents a bushel and wood
$5 a cord. In October, 1855, city scrip was worth only 75 cents on
the dollar. Immense public works were under contract and the city
needed at once $100,000. The Dubuque Library Association was
organized late in 1855 with Piatt Smith president; Austin Adams,
vice president ; J. S. Blatchle\-, librarian. The object was to collect
a library of general literature. In October, 1855, a special census
showed 12,056 population in the city. Mandel Brothers (after-
wards of Chicago) were prominent merchants in 1855. In a vote
for the issuance of $100,000 in city bunils for general improvements
the result was ninety-seven for the loan and forty-seven against it —
a very light and unsatisfactory vote. The measure carried, being
over two-thirds of all the votes polled. Protection Fire Company
No. 2 was organized November 6 with thirty members under J. A.
Parker, foreman. The Express and Herald under Dorr was less
abusive, personal and libelous than it had been under Mahony. The
city had over 12,000 inhabitants, but no efficient apparatus to fight
fire. Two boxes sent from the land office here to New York and
supposed to contain $25,000 in gold was found in New York to
contain buck shot, pressed balls and sheet lead. The express com-
pany offered $10,000 for the reco\'ery of the money and $15,000
for the arrest and conviction of the thieves. On November 16,
1855, the suspended Dubuque Literary Institute was reorganized
with John Hodgdon president ; a series of lectures was planned
On November 24 C. C. Flint began the publication of the daily and
weekly Republican.

James L. Langworthy, Edward Langworthy, Lucius H. Lang-
worthy and Solon M. Langworthy did a large banking business in
Dubuque in 1855 under the name of "J. L. Langworthy & Brothers.
Exchange Bankers." They ofifered to enter land for any one in the
Dubuque, Decorah, Brownsville and Winona land offices on time.
They received deposits and sold exchange on the East. They dealt
in real estate.

"Many of us remember and some of us exult over the victory
obtained by the people in their contest with the Miners' Bank of
Dubuque, yet most of us meanly submit to be swindled by less
responsible financiers than were the heads of the monster which
the people have exultingly slain. Why was it that the Mmcrs' B;nik


was put down while tlie notes of other banks are circulated amur.g
us as money ? There is no reason for making this distinction — for
preferring the notes of the Bank of Galena, for example, to those
of Major Mobley." The editor ended by appealing to the citizens
"to get rid of the lying, swindling promises to pay that have driven
from us the eagles, half eagles and sovereigns and we shall soon
again be gratified with the sight of old friends who never break
their promise. It is an injustice to our fellow citizens who have
the peculiar talent for the business of financiering to place them
under a ban, while strangers are given the preference."

"Dubuque Loan. — The city and county of Dubucjue have nego-
tiated a loan of $400,000 by Marie and Kanz, of New York, and
F. S. Jesup & Co., of Dubuque. The loan was made to pay the
subscriptions of the city and county to the Dubuque & Pacific rail-
road. The coupons are payable in Berlin, Prussia, and the bonds
bear 8 per cent interest. They are guaranteed by an equal amount
of the stock of the road." — {E. & H., Noveniber, 1855.)

In 1855 the future prospects of Dubuque were bright and
auspicious. Settlers were pouring by the thousands into Iowa, and
in fact into the entire West. Chicago was growing with astonish-
ing rapidity, as indeed were hundreds of other villages, towns and
cities in the Mississippi valley. It was believed here that Dubuque
was certain to become one of the greatest, if not the greatest, cities
in the United States at no distant date — fifteen years, said the
Express and Herald of November 27. It was noted that never
before had the prospects of the city been so promising. "A person
cannot take a minute's walk through this city now without having
his attention engaged by evidences of progress and commercial
prosperity, no matter in what direction he may turn his eyes. In
anticipation of what Dubuque is destined to be every dollar that
can be spared is invested in real estate." It was advised that all
lead of this region should be manufactured here into lead products,
and the same of wheat, which was not the case at that time. "Here
in the midst of the lead region Dubuque ought not to send away a
pig of lead except in the shape of white lead, shot, etc. ; but instead
of this being the case, this city exports the raw material to be
manufactured elsewhere and brings back the same lead manufac-
tured into shot, white lead, leaden pipe and other commodities.
Not a bushel of wheat ought to be exported from this place, except
as manufactured into flour; yet it is notorious that vast quantities
of wheat find its way to the eastern and southern markets from this
city." Many new business houses and buildings were promised for
1856. At this time five different railways had reached or practically
reached the Mississippi river from the East, and it was firmly
believed here that with proper efifort Dubuque could be made the
metropolis of the Mississippi valley. And the citizens prepared to


make such effort. In one day in November at Dubuque applications
were filed for 200,000 acres.

"Yesterday ]\Ir. Quigley, son of the receiver of public moneys at
Dubuque, deposited with the sub-treasurer the sum of $300,000
received in payment for public lands. The money was conveyed on
the Illinois Central and the Oliio & Mississippi railroads in the
charge of five persons employed for the purpose." The express
company was angry and made unwarranted exactions that caused
sharp criticism.

'"A larger number of good, substantial buildings have been erected
in Dubuque this season than in any previous year." — {Express and
Herald, November 30, 1855.) Buildings by Doyle & Shine, Peaslee
& House, Kniest & Lenssen, J. P. Farley and forty to fifty others of
less note, among which was that of John D. Jennings, called "Com-
mercial Row," containing a dozen or so of business occupants
were erected. "The number of new firms is alone sufficient testi-
mony of the rapid expansion of every branch of business. The ad-
ditional number of houses does not at all diminish the business of
those already established." — (Express and Herald, December i,


In 1854 the exports were 11,736 tons and the imports 97,633
tons; in 1855 the exports were 24,237 tons and the imports 276.690
tons. The value of each had nearly tripled. Men, women and chil-
dren crossing the ferry in 1854 were 21,020; the number in 1855
was 38,400. The steamboat arrivals in 1855 were 846. In 1854
333 new buildings of all kinds were erected; in 1855 471 were
erected, among which were one college, one church, twenty-seven
stores, three hotels. At the close of 1855 the city had twelve
churches, seven common or select schools, forty-one dry goods
stores, thirty-two groceries, ten warehouses, twelve hotels, five
breweries, ten drinking saloons, twenty-four land agencies, twenty-
eight law offices, sixteen medical offices, forty-eight lawyers, thirty-
one doctors and 2,600 dwellings. From April to January the city
spent $23,565 on streets. The city assessment in 1854 was
$4,323,530; tax, $32,006. In 1855 the tax was $50,006; licenses
alone brought $18,000. — (G. R. West's statistics.)

"City Improvements. — Strangers visiting this city are struck
with surprise at the rapid growth and enterprise manifested here.
In every part of the city is heard the carpenter's hammer and the
voice and din of business. Dubuque certainly has a bright and
glorious prospect for the future, and nothing will impede its prog-
ress but the want of enterprise and public spirit." — (Express and
Herald. December 6, 1855.)

In January, 1855, the Express and Herald installed an Adams
book and news steam press of the largest size, weighing about six
tons. Owing to ulterior reasons this press was not operated in
1855. In the meantime, in November, 1855, the Davenport Ga::ette











also established and put in operation a large steam press. Thus,
though Dubuque was the first to install, it was second in putting in
operation the first steam press in the state. G. W. Rogers built a
shot tower here late in 1855. Graded common schools were estab-
lished in 1855. The famous Hutchinson family of singers were
here late in 1855 — Judson, John and Asa.

On December 18, 1855, Washington Fire Company No. i, with
their new engine, "threw three streams at once over the flouring mill
of Nadeau & Rodgers, nearly eighty feet in height — each pipe
having 100 feet of hose. They then tried their engine on Main
street and threw a stream about ten feet over the flag staff of the
Julien House." — {Express and Herald, December 19, 1855.)

Lorimier Hall was not built by Peter Lorimier. It was erected
by Coates & Wilde and christened in honor of P. A. Lorimier, one
of the oldest citizens of Dubuque. The policy of having the city
pay half the cost of paving the streets in vogue here was ridiculed
and denounced here in December, 1855. It was demanded that the
lot owners should pay the whole cost in proportion to their front-
ages. Late in 1855 Odd Fellows Hall buikling was projected, to
cost $40,000, and to be located at Eighth and Bluff streets.

The Northwestern Express Company (J. C. Burbank & Co.)
had been in existence here for many years. They dispatched pas-
sengers and freight to St. Paul, etc. E. Hayden was local agent in
December, 1855.

At a meeting of the board of trade December 22, 1855, it was
decided that on January 10, 1856, the merchants and business men
of Dubuque should commence to reject the issues of the Georgia,
Tennessee and Nebraska banks. The best men of the city to the
number of 120 signed the refusal. — {Express and Herald, December

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 12 of 56)