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 17 of 56)
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They also played on the circus grounds near the Third ward school-
house. Another club here at this time was the Key City. This was
the first year that matched games were played.

The old cemetery at Dubuque consisted of twenty acres, about
one-half of which was laid out into lots. It was not well drained,
because a circular tract in the middle was lower than the surround-
ings. It was thus thought best to secure another 20-acre tract
lying immediately west and contiguous to the old yard. It was
arranged that 70 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of lots should
be paid to the owner of the land, and the other 30 per cent go to
the treasury to be used in laying out the ground, fencing it, etc.
To Alderman Kiene was due this successful plan of securing the
new tract. Mr. Norris laid out the lots, etc. The cemetery thus
laid out and expanded consisted of forty acres in a regular square,
beautifully situated and commanding a view both of the Mississvi:)pi


and the city. The price of the lots was fixed at sums varying from
$5 to $25 eacli. About four acres were set apart for a potter's field.
The cemeteiy was named "Linwood" by the city council.

In July, 1863, drovers began to drive large numbers of cattle
across the river to Dunleith for shipment to Chicago. Immense
herds of sheep passed through Dubuque, bound for farms to the
westward. A hunting party in July killed over 100 woodcock on
the upper river and another party returned from northern Iowa
with over 300 prairie chickens. C. Brownson established a big
tobacco factory here in July. At this time the following com-
manded the highest prices ever known here — timothy hay, $18;
best prairie hay, $15; slough hay, $12.

"Certain parties in town are figuring for the establishment of a
national bank. If they succeed there will be two after the first of
January next,- as other parties have the same object in view." —
(Herald, August 24, 1863.)

Late in July, 1863, boats under necessary restrictions passed down
the river to Vicksburg and New Orleans. Considerable beer was
sent down by Dubuque brewers ; no mails were permitted on the
boats. In September, 1863, during the fair the streets were lighted
with gas and the press asked to have it made permanent. Several
fast horses were at the fair: Young Bashaw, Tom Hyer, Kitty
Hunt, Grey Hawk Morgan, May Day, Abe Lincoln, etc.

In October, 1863, Professor Steiner ascended in a balloon on
Main street, between Seventh and Eighth ; reached an altitude of
10,000 feet, passed southeastward down the river, was visible for
forty minutes, and landed safely near Bellevue ; he used city gas to
carry him aloft. A complete set of counterfeiters' tools was
unearthed at White and Thirteenth streets in October; they doubt-
less belonged to a gang that was convicted in 1859 and sent to the
penitentiary. Telegraph poles were erected in November; they
were for the new line west to Cedar Falls, etc. A large grey eagle
was shot near Dubuque ; it fell into the river and was secured. The
new postoffice and custom-house was about half finished in No-
vember. The Brothers of New Milleray sold many fat hogs here
and at Dyersville — no such in November brought them $412. A
panther appeared near Dubuque in the fall of 1863, and killed pigs,
chickens, calves, tore a bull terrier to pieces, frightened women and
children; it evaded hunters who went after it and left the neighbor-
hood ; it had been seen near Stewart's place. The southern part of
Dubuque was called Dublin, the northern part Germany, and the
center was called Babel. A carload of twelve fine elks passed
through here in November, 1863, bound for the stock preserves of
Victor Emanuel of Italy and brought $1,500 put down in New
York; buffaloes and antelopes were also shipped thus later.

"National Bank. — We learn that a national bank is to be started


in tills city after January next by parties who generally succeed in
what they undertake." — {Herald, November 29, 1863.)

On December 3, 1863, the telegraph line to Cedar Falls was
finished. The freight blockade late in 1863 caused great loss to
Dubuque business men. Mass meetings failed to improve matters.
The old plan to drain the adjacent mines to secure pure water were
again considered at this time.

The year 1863 saw much improvement in the city, more in repairs
and ornamentation than in new buildings. There were no vacant
houses. Among the improvements were buildings by Emerson
Shields & Co. (Peosta House), Bishop Smyth, General Hodgdon,
Capt. J. W. Parker, Richard O'Brien. Custom House, Dr. E. L.
Clark, engine house at Washington Park, Woodworth & Jaeger's
brewery on Lake Peosta, round-house for the railway, Plenis &
Beach's soap factory, etc. Late in 1863 Dubuque newspapers
received telegraphic dispatches several hours ahead of Chicago.

The large panther was again seen in Stewart's grove late in
December, 1863; several hunters went after it but it had left the
neighborhood. On January 7, 1864, the first mail from the East
for a week arri\-ed : there had fallen deep snows and the cold was

The coldest period since 1856 extended from December 29, 1863,
to January 2, 1864. On the 29th it was 4 degrees below at 3 p. m.,
10 below at dark, and 15 below at 10 p. m. ; on the 30th it was 29
below in the morning, 20 below at 3 p. m., and 15 below at dark;
on the 31st it was 21 below in the morning, and below all the rest
of the day ; on January i it was near zero all day, but always below ;
on the 2d it was 13 below at sunrise, 2 below at 2 p. m., and 6 below
at 6 p. m. The 2d was the severest as a cutting wind blew almost
a gale.

The Gelpcke case against the city and county for $650,000 and
interest at 10 per cent went to the supreme court of the United
States. It was on the railroad bonds issued in the fifties by both
city and county. The recent decisions in the Iowa courts had led
the people to expect that the bonds would be declared unconstitu-
tional by the highest court. The case came up in January, 1864,
and the supreme court of the United States held that the bonds
were valid in the hands of bona fide purchasers. Several other cases
of a similar nature were decided at this time — all mantaining the
validity of such bonds. It was now seen that the city and the county
of Dubuque would have to pay these bonds and accumulated
interest ; this caused much despondency and in a measure checked
the growth of the city. City and county were tlius large stock-
holders in the roads.

Hose Company No. i disbanded January 8, 1864. The North
American Fur Company advertised for $20,000 worth of furs. The
first mail from the West in six days arrived January 5. Eighteen


tons of wild game passed through to Chicago in one lot. Sporting
men held several cock fights here in January. Two large wolves
were seen near the city. Horses were raced on Lake Peosta.

Hogs packed in 1862-3 :

Brackett & Morse 5,935

J. Hughes 1 ,600

H. Brinknian & Co 1,100

Mullally & Walsh 500

Quigley & Brown 500

Coates 600

Rosenberg 350

Strobel & Rath 1,000

W. Lawther 100

F. Weigle 700

Tutwiler 200

Hogs packed in 1863-4:

Brackett & Morse 8,000

Curtiss & Parker i ,700

Strobel & Rath i ,000

F. Weigle & Co 700

H. Brinkman & Co : 600

Coates & Roberts, Nagle & Co., Dunn, Flynn & Conway. . . . 1,200


Bought and shipped from Dubuque 25,800

Number barrels pork packed 3,500

Number tierces lard 1,300

Packed 1861-2 8,315


A produce dealer here early in 1864 estimated the following
receipts by wagon in this city for 1863: Wheat, 250,000 bushels;
oats, 50,000 bushels; flour, 25,000 barrels; dressed hogs, 20,000;
pork, 5,000 barrels. — {Herald, January 26, 1864.)

Thirty tons of prairie chickens passed on to Chicago; they were
worth $1.60 per dozen; they retailed here for 6 cents each. Tschirgi
& Schwind doubled the capacity of their brewery in January, 1864.
In February the Herald was enlarged to eight columns.

On February 9, 1864, county warrants were 95 to 98 cents; city
scrip dull at 30 cents ; treasury notes at i/o per cent premium ;
national bank notes at a slight discount, because it could not be used
in paying taxes; gold, $1.57; silver, $1.47; demand notes, $1.58;
Chicago exchange at par; New York exchange, ^ of i per cent


Professor Agassiz delivered several lectures here on natural his-
tory in February. On March i, 1864, Mahony, Hutchins and
Hodnett left the Herald permanently; Robb and Ham took their
places as editors and managers. "I need not say with what mingled
feelings of pleasure and pain I make the announcements-pleasure
that I am no longer obliged to fight a profitless battle, pain that I
thus become virtually separated from so many brave, consistent,
self-sacrificing Democrats," said Mr. Hutchins. "We do not enter
upon the undertaking without some reluctance and a full apjjrecia-
tion of the duties, difficulties and responsibilities which the position
involves. We shall endeavor to make the Herald thoroughly Demo-
cratic in its principles and usages, dignified in its tone, candid in its
opinions, reliable in its statements and particularly valuable for its
news, always seeking the harmony and welfare of the party and the
preser\-ation of our free republican institutions," said the three new
managers, Patrick Robb, F. M. Ziebach and M. M. Ham. Under
the new editors the Herald was mild and agreeable to what it had

"First National Bank. — We understand that a national bank is
about to be started in this city in Molony's block where the State
Bank formerly was. F. Hinds is to be president and H. M. King-
man, cashier." — {Herald, March 4, 1864.)

In April, 1864, the local bankers, in mass meeting, agreed as had
been done in Chicago to throw out all wild-cat issues after May i ;
there were a few exceptions. The city was under Democratic rule
in 1862 and under Republican rule in 1863. On March 31 wood
was worth from $10 to $12 a cord — the highest price by far on
record. At this date Congress appropriated $30,000 for the com-
pletion of the custom house. City scrip was 40 cents on the dollar
in March. Early in 1864 the canal convention was an important
event ; it passed resolutions fa\'oring a canal to connect Lake Mich-
igan with the Mississippi. "Has the county a right to tax the city
to secure a fund to be used in building bridges within the city
limits?" was the main question early in 1864. Plans to commence
a negro school were prepared in June. J. K. Graves bought the
interest of Charles Aldrich in the Times in June.

"The First National Bank of this city opened today for business
and issued its notes." — (Herald, June 20, 1864.) Franklin Hinds
was president and H. M. Kingman cashier. The first quarterly
report, issued July 4, 18G4. was as follows:


United States bonds $128,150.00

Due from banks 1,793.22

Circulation on hand 54,400.00

Loans and discounts 2,000.00

Specie and other lawful money 22,654.89


Furniture and fixtures paid 1,987.75

Exchange paid 37i-3i

Total $211,357.17


Capital stock $100,000.00

Circulating notes received 90,000.00

Deposits 17,395.61

Due to banks 3,906.90

Other items 54-66

Total $21 1,357.17

For the month of July, 1864, Mr. Jaeger paid a government tax
of $12,573 o" 1'''^ distillery product. In the summer of 1864 it was
proposed to issue new bonds to take up the interest and floating
debt and thus reduce the city obligations to system and order with a
view to future liquidation.

"All that is now necessary to reduce the indebtedness within
limits that can be readily met and liquidated is for the capitalists
of the city to come forward and take the $180,000 or $200,000 in
bonds which the Council proposes to issue and with which they can
place our finances in a healthy and comparatively easy condition.
These bonds bear 8 per cent interest and one-half of the city tax is
pledged each year to payment of the interest, which is ample for that
purpose." — (Herald, July 15, 1864.) This step was taken and the
new bonds were issued August 8. On August 22,, 1864, Mahony
and Crane, trustees, deposited with Babbage & Co., bankers,
$174,000 in railroad bonds and unmatured coupons. There were yet
to be surrendered $26,000.

"In natural advantages, enterprise and improvements Dubuque
has no equal in the state. Other things being equal, these are suf-
ficiently attractive to insure her a leading and commanding position.
But we are greatly and overwhelmingly in debt. Probably a million
of dollars would not liquidate our liabilities at their face. This
debt operates as an incumbrance in all property here or that comes
here, and if our citizens are wise and consult their own interests they
will not let matters rest in this condition any longer. Its principal
creditors now propose a compromise by which the entire indebted-
ness of the city can be paid with less than $200,000. But to do this
the requisite sum must soon be raised. This the Council proposes
to do by issuing bonds bearing 8 per cent interest and payable to
the amount of about $20,000 annually. The project is liberal, safe
and feasible and must not fail. About $80,000 in bonds have thus
far been subscribed for, while some of our heaviest capitalists have
as yet hardly stretched forth a helping hand. . . . The city


taxes now amount to about $80,000 annually. One-half of this is
pledged to the payment of the interest and maturing installments
of these bonds. The current expenses of the city are now reduced
to the greatest economy compatible with efficiency and will not
increase. Here then will be an iinconsumed tax of $30,000 coming
into the treasury annually not needed for either the current expenses
or the sums falling due on the bonds, and this amount could be
applied at once to the redemption of bonds before maturity. We
venture the opinion that when this arrangement is completed and
the city debt, all but this $200,000, is lifted, the aggregate value of
property in Dubucpie will be increased in a sum greater than the
amount of the bonds." — (Herald, August 7, 1864.)

Nearly all bills except greenbacks had disappeared by August 10,
1864. City scrip sold at 60 cents in August. There was a great
increase in crime at this date, due to an attempt to run the city
without adequate police protection. In this emergency the marshal
recommended an ordinance establishing a chain gang and his advice
was accepted.

"The wife of the market gardener residing at Eagle Point gave
birth in August, 1864, to twins which had heads and necks resem-
bling snakes. In other respects they were normal. The physicians
in attendance, it was said, let them bleed to death. A few months
before this date her husband had frightened her by throwing a
snake in her lap." — {Herald, August 21, 1864.) Later this event
was confirmed by the Herald, and was published throughout the
country. It was not generally known what became of the monsters.

Several baseball clubs were organized in 1864, but they did not
flourish as they had in 1863. Two were called Key City and

A committee of the city council in September, 1864, after due
examination and deliberation, reported that in its opinion it had no
authority to open a harbor on Third street as desired by officers of
a packet company. The council thereupon passed a resolution
instructing the harbor committee "to open a channel at the inter-
section of Third street with the slough leading into the inner harbor
and to build a bridge across said channel with a draw of sufficient
width to allow boats to pass up into the inner slough, thus giving
steamboats access to the inner harbor and levee, affording a safe
and convenient place for laying up steamboats and barges in winter
and also furnishing a convenient place for building barges and doing
all kinds of steamboat repairs; that the committee be also instructed
to take up the bridge which now crosses the inner slough at Third
street and to fill up the channel under said bridge."

On November 29, 1864, $11.76 was paid for fancy dressed hogs.
On December 9 the price jumped to $13.50. Five days later they
sold at $14.06. "Pork has reached such a high figure that it is a
luxury. Landlords talk of striking it from the bill of fare and


serving it only on important occasions. Who wouldn't be a hog?"
— {Herald, December 11, 1864.) The First National Bank's state-
ment of October 3 showed $208,837 in deposits; specie and legal
tenders on hand, $117,414.22. It was thus in a healthy condition.
In April, 1865, the German Savings Bank, with a capital of
$150,000, opened at 57 Main street. Its president was J. H.
Thedinga ; cashier, William Fuchs.

In 1864 Rhomberg & Co., distillers, operated sixteen fermenting
tubs, each with a capacity of 300 barrels; three high wine receivers
of 200 barrels' capacity each, and could handle when working at its
best 1,000 bushels of grain per day. This distillery was put in full
operation late in 1864. Soon after the war the famous suit of the
Government against J. H. Rhomberg & Co. for about $755,000 was
instituted. The claim was that the Rhomberg company had manu-
factured some 9,000 or 10,000 barrels of whisky or distilled spirits
upon which it had paid no revenue. The property of Mr. Rhomberg
was finally seized, but every step was fought in the courts. Other
seizures were made here by the government agents. The case finally
came up in the United States Circuit Court at Des Moines and a
judgment for $103,000 was secured against Mr. Rhomberg. Green
B. Raum, commissioner of internal revenue, said there was no do'ibt
as to the justness of the government's contention; but Mr. Rhom-
berg's friends here declared their belief in his innocence and assisted
him all in their power. The best legal talent obtainable was
employed in the case. In the end, after many years, the case was

Late in 1864 and early in 1865 the freight accommodations at
Dubuque were so burdensome and extortionate that there was a
general demand for a railroad bridge across the river. Numerous
meetings were held, protests registered, and relief was demanded.
The transfer system was robbery, it was declared. Numerous hold-
ups, burglaries and shootings at this time roused the city and caused
the council to take steps to end the reign of terror at all hazards.
Haas", Bissell's, Bradley's, Johnson's, Woodworth's, Scott's, Hodg-
den's, Taylor's and other residences were burglarized. The council
ordered removed by April 17, 1865, all bodies in the old cemetery
outside of the fence. During the fiscal year 1864-5 the Gelpcke
interest was settled ; revenues were increased ; the reign of terror
was ended, and better transfer facilities were secured from the
Illinois Central Railway Company.

On January 19, 1865, Dubuque was lighted with gas from Iowa
coal for the first time. At this time Woodworth & Jaeger planned
an immense distillery. The new Merchants' National Bank stock
was all subscribed late in January. F. H. W. Sheffield became
president and R. A. Babbage cashier; it began business May i.
The branch bank here had a circulation of $283,837 and total
resources of $859,465. Later this bank took steps to go out of


business and change to a national bank. Early in February the
stock of the Second National Bank was subscribed and a charter
was sought.

At the celebration of Washington's birthday in 1S65 the right
hand of George Higley was so mutilated by a premature discharge
of the cannon that it had to be amputated.

The amount received by the city treasurer for the fiscal year
ending March 31, 1865, from all sources was $50,208.53; total
dirl)ursements, $39,286.25. Of the expenses $9,894.59 was in old
debts, principal of bonds and scrip redeemed. The total amount of
old debt settled was $23,684.50.

On June 10, 1865, the early settlers organized as the "Early
Settlers Association." The first members were P. A. Lorimier,
John Simplot, George W. Jones, Jesse M. Harrison, S. M. Lang-
worthy, A. McDaniel, Richard Bonson, J. R. Goodrich, N. V.
Descelles, Mathew McNear, A. B. Harrison, B. F. Emerson, S. M.
Lorimier, T. C. Roberts, A. Levi, T. S. Wilson, George O. Karrick,
J. D. Grafifort, Peter Wapies, H. A. Wiltse, John King, J. H.
Thedinga, Jacob Christman, M. McNamara, Joseph Ogilby, Nathan
Simpson, J. H. Emerson, John Goldthorpe and C. H. Booth. This
was the first list, but others were immediately added. Timothy
Mason was elected president of the association, and P. A. Lorimier,
Patrick Quigley, John King, Edward Langworthy and George W.
Jones, vice presidents ; J. H. Thedinga, treasurer, and C. Childs,
secretary. Eliphalet Price, of Clayton county; Ezekiel Lockwood,
of Washington, D. C, and Patrick Quigley, Thomas McKnight and
C. Childs, of Dubuque, were elected honorary members. They
passed suitable resolutions upon the death of Lucius H. Langworthy.
— (Herald, June 13, 1865.)

In June, 1865, J. Rich and G. T. Stewart became editors and
managers of the Times, the former becoming editor-in-chief. About
this time there were nearly 200 saloons in the city ; the license was
fixed at $15 every six months; as many did not pay up, suit was
threatened. A rainstorm of unusual violence late in June did
immense damage all over the county and several lives were lost ;
five bridges in Langworthy hollow alone were swept away. On
July 4, 1865, eighteen baseball players of Dubuque went to Free-
port, 111., to witness a game between the Empire club, of that city,
and the Empire club, of St. Louis ; the latter won by a small margin ;
it was pronounced a great game. The leading club here in 1865 v.^as
the Julien ; they had good grounds. In July, 1865, the Times was
controlled by W. S. Peterson, E. M. Newcombe, G. H. Marsh,
W. J. Gilbert and Philip Ryan. A large delegation went over to
Galena in August, 1865, to participate in the reception to General
Grant. At the head of this movement were W. B. Allison, John
Thompson, Henry A. Wiltse, H. L. Stout, George L. Mathews,


O. P. Shiras and others. In August, 1865, city scrip was worth 70
cents and county warrants 90 cents.

In 1865 the JuHen baseball club consisted of two nines, which
played several matched games. One of the games resulted as
follows :

Winning side 201391122 21

Losing side 023101122 12

Fly catches by winning side, 12; by losing side, 9; time of game,
2 hours and 15 minutes. The Herald said this was the best game
ever played in the city, if not the best west of the Mississippi. It
was the first time that there were full nine players on each side and
full nine innings played. Gen. Henry Wiltse was umpire at the
second game.

In 1865 John D. Bush proposed the laying out of Grand avenue,
commencing at Quiglc)' lane opposite the brewery on Julien avenue
and extending along the ridge road until its intersection with the
Military road on the top of Whisky hill. A real mad dog ran
through the streets on August 19. In the fall of 1865 '^'"'^ citizens
and press declared that the real future prosperity of the city
depended upon the wholesale interests and meetings were held to
expand business in this direction. The city was growing rapidly.

Late in September, 1865, the Empire baseball club, of St. Louis,
came here and defeated the best Julien nine by a score of 35 to 29.
Against the strong St. Louis team, Dubuque made a better showing
than had been anticipated. On September 29 the Empires, of St.
Louis, and the Empires, of Freeport, played a match game in
Dubuque for the prize of a silver ball ; the former won by a score of
12 to 5; S. J. Cox, of the Dubuque club, was umpire; the game
lasted three and one-half hours. On the 29th the Dubuque gave a
complimentary supper at the Tremont House to the St. Louis and
Freeport clubs. The next day the Empires, of St. Louis, defeated
the Juliens by 16 to 9.

In the threatened injunction case of the city against the county to
prevent the collection of bridge tax, the former agreed not to com-
mence such proceedings providing the county would allow a portion
of the expense of building bridges within the city limits. The
driving park, consisting of thirty acres, was up Couler avenue and
had a half-mile track; it was opened in November, 1865.


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 17 of 56)