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 19 of 56)
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cents on the dollar. The city began in earnest early in 1870 to
consider a system of water works; other cities were visited by the
council committees and the various water systems were inspected ;
the Holly system was popular. Kiene and Jaeger were active in
this movement. Early in 1870 the members of St. Raphael's, St.
Mary's and St. Patrick's churches and of St. Raphael's Cemetery
Association petitioned the council to surrender to them the cemetery
on Third street in view of their right to the same under the claim of
Patrick Quigley. After consideration the council stated that the
title to the cemetery was in the city, but the graves would not be
disturbed unless satisfactory to the Catholics. Miners endeavored
to secure the right to dig under the cemetery for mineral.

Andrew Keesecker, "Nestor of the Iowa press," died in Dubuque
in April, 1870. He was born in Virginia in 1810 and in early life
was a sailor, visiting many lands. He served in the Greek revolu-
tion of 1822-27. He early learned the printing business at Balti-
more and New Orleans. In 1832 or 1833 he came to the lead mines
and was first connected with the Galenian under Dr. Phileo. He
often composed his editorials at the case. In 1836 he joined Judge
King in establishing the Dubuque Visitor, the first newspaper in
Iowa, and set up "The Linwoods," a story, the first copy given out



in liie slate. He was the first pressman witli an old Smith Cin-
cinnati press. In 1842 he was associated with D. S. Wilson in
founding the Miners' Express. Ever afterward until his death he
was connected with the press of Dubuque. He had spent thirty-
seven years in Dubuque. His wife was formerly Clara Roberg, of
Dubuque. Suitable resolutions were passed by the printers and
early settlers at his death.

A change of city administration caused the city printing in 1870
to pass to the Times and the National Dcnwkrat, thus rousing the
ire of the Herald and F. A. Gniffke. Edwin Forrest appeared here
in 1870 as Richelieu and other plays. In April. 1870, the council
levied a special tax to pay off the Corcoran interest judgment of
$76,716.05. A general system to improve cross streets was adopted
at this time. Fourteenth street to the bluff was opened in 1870. On
June 29, 1870, it was 102 degrees in the shade here. In 1S70
authority to lay water pipes in the streets was granted ; the city
agreed to take 100 hydrants. Of the water company John Thomp-
son was president ; the company had a capital of $300,000. The
war between France and Germany stirred up the foreigners here
from those countries.

It was noted in the Herald August 18, 1870, that after a fire
alarm had been sounded, it took from one-half to three-quarters of
an hour before the engines were ready for work; the horses v.ere
kept out on the levee, far away from the engines. "It is sickening
to hear the bell ring 'ding dong' for half an hour while valuable
property is being destroyed."

The Dubuque County Woman's Suffrage Association was in
existence in 1870 and met regularly in Good Templars' hall. The
old Lorimier house down the river was burned in 1870. In Octolier,
1870, the total city debt was estimated at $1,095,077.89, of which
$226,019.27 was in judgments and $38,357.28 in interest on judg-
ments. The population of the city in 1870 was 18,432. of wb.ich
12,071 were natives and 6.361 foreigners; there were 3,619 dwell-
ings and 3,506 families. In i860 the city population was 12.926.
In October, 1870, the water company was disbanded — had made
a failure. Almost immediately afterward another water company
was organized, with Mr. Chamberlain among its officials.

The Julien theater, built in 1856 by McKinley & Poor at a cost
of $17,000, stood at Locust and Fifth. In 1858 the People's theater
was built, but did not pay and was occupied as lawyers' offices.
Later the Young Men's Association used it. In November, 1870,
a prize fight between Mike O'Connor and J. C. Clark was fought
across the river at Boat Yard Hollow. Clark was whipped in four

It was charged by the press late in 1870 that a conspiracy existed
to buy up the city debt from creditors at a great reduction and


then force the city to pay par; it was charged that the bondholders
here were connected with this intrigue.

Baseball flourished in 1870. The "Key City" was the name
chosen. Charles Hathaway was president; N. A. Mills, secretary;
H. M. Kingman, treasurer. The leading nine were Parker, Rob-
ison, Gibbs, Seaman, A. Clark, Leach, Jaeger, Gregoire and How-
ard. Games were played on the old fair grounds. In August the
Key Citys defeated the Baltics of Chicago, 39 to 23, but in a return
game they lost, 18 to 4. They defeated the Excelsiors of Man-
chester, 18 to 8, but were defeated in the return game, 60 to 43. In
September they defeated the Crescents of Galena, 44 to 24, and
again 50 to 15. They were defeated by the Actives of Clinton,
26 to 18. They also defeated the Forest City club of Rockford
by 79 to I ; they made thirty scores in the first inning. Late in
1870 they made a tour of the state and won nearly every game;
they were almost up to the standard of professionals. The Excel-
siors were another club here.

During 1870 business in Dubuque was unusually prosperous.
There were sold here 2,500 sewing machines; sales of sash, doors
and blinds, $518,000; brewery products, $201,600; wagons, etc.,
$285,615; bricks, $125,000; engines, $220,000. Already the city
was celebrated for its manufactures. Total fire loss was $274,250;
insurance, $171,950. The thirteen lumber firms sold 60,564,056
feet of lumber.

In a prize fight at Boat Yard Hollow, January 20, 1871, Mike
O'Connor defeated E. St. Clair in twenty rounds. There was
trouble over city bonds between the council and Mr. Thompson
and others. It was at this date, at last, that the local bondholders
united and demanded 100 cents on the dollar. The city refused
temporarily to pay anything. It had become so firmly fixed in the
minds of the city fathers that they could get a great reduction from
creditors, that this action took them by surprise, dumfounded them,
and they required time to collect their scattered senses. It was
claimed that bondholders had bought the bonds at 25 cents on the
dollar and now demanded 100 cents. Among the city bondholders
here were P. A. Lorimier, Richard Bronson, J. T. Hancock, J. S.
Randall, H. L. Stout, W. L. Bradley, R. A. Babbage, John Hodg-
don, L. D. Randall & Co., Edward Langworthy, Alexander Levi
and W. G. Stewart. These men in mass meeting announced their
intentions to have 100 cents on the dollar. A resolution of Mr.
Thompson was finally adopted by the mass meeting, viz. : To accept
in lieu of their city bonds new 6 per cent twenty-five year bonds on
the same conditions granted to outside creditors. The council
refused to accept, and ordered suit brought for the recovery of
the Thompson bonds, which, it was alleged, had been fraudulently
transferred. In January, 1871, the old Corcoran debt was merged
into new 7 per cent twenty-five year bonds. East Dubuque was


between Fourteenth and Seventeenth streets. By tlie middle of
February, 1871, the new water works company was in full opera-
tion, taking subscriptions and preparing plans. When their new
hall in the Julien theater building was ready, the Masons held
memorable ceremonies and festivities in February, 1871. On Feb-
ruary 14, 1871, Anna Dickinson lectured here on "Jeanne d'Arc."
Her powerful appeals for the uplifting of women were not lost
upon the packed house which heard her. During the Civil war the
Herald had denounced her in scathing terms for favoring abolition-
ism and woman suffrage.

Pork Packing in 1870-71.

Ryan 30,000

Strobel 2,800

Walters & Co 2,700

Zumhoff 2,334

Brinkman 2,01 5

Rath 2,000

C. Schloth 1,500

F. Schloth 1,000

Total 44,349

Butchers and private parties cuts were not included; fully 45,000
in all.

The annual report of the Young Men's Library Association in
March, 1871, showed 7,426 books on hand. They received from
the Anna Dickinson lecture $258.25 ; but the expenses were $250.40.
The expenses of the city for the fiscal year 1870-71 were $93,947.21,
of which $37,332.38 was an old debt and interest: $16,007.49 on
roads and bridges, $7,580.93, fire department ; $3,329.80, poor
relief; $10,785.18, officers' salaries.

On March 13, 1871, Mike O'Connor and Danny Carr fought a
prize fight near Dubuque for $500 a side, under London prize ring
rules. Carr trained here. The packet Claudie Rogers conveyed the
crowd for $2 each to the ground on the Wisconsin shore, a little
above Eagle Point. The location was purposely kept secret until
the last minute, and when the steamer started the river was alive
with small boats of all descriptions loaded with men determined
to see the "mill." Carr was the favorite at odds of 50 to 40 and
later 2 to i. Carr got the worst of it, but managed to win a draw.
O'Connor surprised all by his gameness, wind and staying qualities.

The Commercial National Bank was organized early in 1871 with
ten original subscribers. The first officers were R. E. Graves,
president; H. L. Stout, vice president: H. M. Kingman, cashier

W. J. Knight, mayor, was succeeded by James Burt in 1871 ;
he was credited with having given the city an excellent administra-


tion. In his valedictory he said ( i ) that the poHce force was
under a man unfit for the place and had been removed; (2) the
city treasurer was a defaulter; (3) the recorder used the name of
the city without authority; (4) a definite method to settle the city
debt had been adopted. The ordinary city expenses in 1869-70
were $36,167.87, and in 1870-71 were $38,572.79; all this was paid
in two years and in addition $107,389.58 in city debt was paid at
reduced rates, settling $231,505.19 claims against the city; also
$198,047.11 of debt had been refunded in twenty-five year bonds,
"making the aggregate between indebtedness paid by us and thus
discharged and that funded as explained a total of $431,064.05,
which cannot by any possibility trouble us," said Mr. Knight. As a
recognition of his honesty the council unanimously passed the fol-
lowing resolution :

"Resolved, That Mayor W. J. Knight alone has had the courage,
the will and ability, in grasping with this vexed question of indebt-
edness and by his energy and untiring industry he has succeeded in
the retirement of a large portion of our public debt, and his untiring
energy and zeal for the public welfare in preservation of order by
a faithful execution of laws entitle him to the lasting gratitude of
the citizens of Dubuque."

The spring of 1871 was unusually bright here; improved freight
facilities on the railways; new waterworks; great development of
wholesaling and manufacturing; and the adoption of a definite
method to pay the city debt filled the hearts of all with anticipation
and hope. Selah Chamberlain was president of the new water

Mrs. Livermore lectured here in 1871. Her first lecture here
was in 1861-62. She had been south with sanitary stores for the
soldiers and upon her return was invited to relate her experiences.
One earnest invitation came from Dubuque. She came here expect-
ing to meet about 200 ladies in a quiet hall. She reached the other
side of the river when that stream was thick with running ice and
the ferry had stopped for the winter. She tried to hire two men
to bring her over in a skiff, but they at first demurred because the
trip was dangerous, but they finally consented. She was astonished
and frightened to learn that she was expected to lecture to a large
audience in the Congregational church. She wavered and refused,
but finally consented to go on. Governor Kirkwood was present.
She said that for the first fifteen minutes she could see nothing
and could hear only her own voice. She was so filled with her sub-
ject that she spoke over two hours, which seemed not over twenty
minutes. She credited this event as her start as a lecturer. At the
conclusion of her address she had $1,200 for the soldiers, with
much more promised.

In March, 1871, the water company agreed to have six miles of
pipes laid in thirty days and the whole system in working order


in ninety days; their contract did not reach the bluffs. In May,
1871, T. S. Hinds, his wife Emma and son Robert were drowned
while crossing the Waquokela near Thompson's Mill. In the spring
and simimer of 1871 the council was served with mandamus to
levy tax to pay judgments against the city. In a suit the city
lost in its contention with the Central Island Company. Wash-
ington square was neglected and in very bad condition. On July 31,
1 87 1, the first water pipe in Iowa was laid between Main and Iowa
on Seventh. Weston, the walker, was here in 1871. In August
the German citizens planned a new opera house to cost $25,000.
In October the grand encampment of Odd Fellows assembled here.

The great fire at Chicago in October called out a big mass meet-
ing here; a thorough organization for relief was effected through-
out the whole county. Mayor Mason, of Chicago, wired here :
"Can you send us some bread and cheese for 100,000 people?" The
council appropriated $2,500 relief. By October 23 there had been
shipped from Dubuque 471 boxes and barrels, mostly clothing and
provisions. The new waterworks were fully completed in October,
1871, and tested; the capacity of the reservoir was 250,000 gallons;
its height above low water was 1291.^ feet. It was seen that a new
reservoir would be necessary and one holding 2,000,000 gallons
was planned. Early in November, 1871, the mayor and aldermen,
who had failed to levy the tax ordered by mandamus, were sum-
moned to appear at Des Moines to answer for their neglect. In
October, S. J. Arnot received judgment against the city for $86,379.
About 80,000,000 feet of lumber of all kinds were handled here in
1871. An annual levy paid the Corcoran debt from 1871 to 1874,
inclusive. Among the important impro\ements in 1871 were the
following :

(i) Railroad additions; (2) waterworks, eight miles of 8-, 10-
and 12-inch mains; (3) Fourth street improvement costing $16,-
184.37; (4) numerous fine residences and commodious business
blocks; (5) iron bridges over the inner slough, six spans of ninety-
six feet each.

It was about this time that steps to build a suitable monument to
Julien Dubuque were taken ; this had been talked of for many
years, but nothing definite was done until this time. Funds were
raised by subscription, but the monument was not yet erected.

By March i, 1872, there had been issued $163,889.97 of the
new 6 per cent twenty-five year bonds in exchange for old bonds.
When the council of 1871 began their duties mandamus suits to the
amount of $175,000 and small judgments aggregating $100,000
more hung over them, the treasury was empty, but the citizens were
not without confidence. The sharply defined differences between the
bondholders and a large element of taxpayers was sufficient to
check permanent improvements. But during the year 1871-72 all
urgent demands were met and there was in the treasury at the close


$34,386.09. The town clock building collapsed in May, 1872,
killing Emma, wife of Herman Ellwanger; the clock and tower
had cost $3,000; the town clock movement was started by Dr. Asa
Horr in 1864. He had found the longitude of Jackson square to
be 6 degrees, 2 minutes and 39.38 seconds west ; and the latitude 42
degrees and 30 minutes north. In 1872 the city secured the few re-
maining lots necessary to complete Jackson square. A violent storm
on September 24 did $10,000 damage in Dubuque. In the fall of

1872 A. F. Jaeger succeeded Sol. Turck, resigned, as mayor. By the
fall of 1872 there had been refunded of the old city debt $606,-
177.04 in new 6 per cent twenty-five year bonds; of this $113,-
887.29 was refunded in four months, beginning late in May; there
was yet owed to home creditors $90,000.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science met
here in August, 1872, in the Congregational church. Dr. Asa
Grey, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was elected chairman. Wil-
liam B. Allison welcomed the scientists; he was answered by Dr.
Asa Grey. Prof. J. Lawrence Smith was elected president of the
association. "The delta of the Mississippi" was considered in
detail. George C. Dean was chairman of the finance committee
that raised $2,297 to defray local expenses.

In 1872 Graves and Rhomberg assumed charge of the street
railway and under their management "it became useful and orna-
mental to the city instead of being a nuisance and a disgrace as it
formerly was." The lumber sold here in 1872 was 51.707,195

The new water reservoir, completed in the spring of 1873, was
230x56 feet; walls, 18 feet high; walls, 6 feet at the base and 3
feet at the top; capacity, 2,000,000 gallons; cost, $22,000. The
epizootic, a horse disease, swept the city and county in 1872-73.
The aggregate building in 1872 was about $800,000. The city spent
in 1872 $13,270 for sidewalk construction. In 1873 the town clock
cost $1,686.50; the bells were raised in the tower in March. In

1873 boys had several baseball clubs here — "Live Oaks," "Modocs,"
"Lone Stars" and "Actives." In May, 1873, Joe Jefferson rendered
"Rip Van Winkle" at the Athenaeum. In 1873 for the first time a
signal station was established and regular meteorological reports
were made here. In 1873 the school census showed 22,002 whites
and 149 colored population in Dubuque. Grand View avenue was
opened in 1873, after almost open war between land owners and
the city authorities. Of about eighty residents on the proposed
avenue, only five or six objected to the damage awarded by the

The failure of Jay Cooke & Co. in September, 1873, precipitated
financial and business trouble here. About September 25 several
Chicago banks suspended. Grain markets in Dubuque became
demoralized; wheat declining 10 cents. On September 25 Dubuque


banks refused to discount all commercial paper except for small
amounts. Wheat continued to drop here until it had fallen 25
cents. A meeting of the bankers was held on the 25th. Shall the
banks here suspend? was the question discussed. The Merchants'
National voted to suspend ; the First National and the Commercial
voted not to suspend. The next morning the Merchants' National
closed its doors. A big crowd gathered, but no trouble occurred.
All the banks sustained a heavy run. Gen. C. H. Booth was
appointed custodian of the Merchants' National. At its last state-
ment it had shown larger deposits than any other bank here —
$298,239.49. An examination showed an enormous deficiency —
$329,000. F. W. H. Sheffield and R. A. Babbage were short this
amount ; the formed turned over his property and made good but
the .latter left the city and country. Their private property waa
sold at auction — buggies, sleighs, harness, blankets, horses, etc.
Many business men lost heavily, and some failures resulted. In less
than a week the other banks began to discount again on a small

In December, 1873, there was organized an association for the
encouragement of manufacturers, among the members being Lang-
worthy, Ryder, Stout, Burt, Howard, Amsden, Christman, Robin-
son, Kingman and others. Several meelings were held and great
enthusiasm was shown. The city receipts for the fiscal year
1872-73 were $217,976.95 and the expenses $205,782.80. In
1873-4 the receipts were $229,968.06 and the expenses $216,850.05.
In the latter year the street expenses were $16,109.46. Late in 1873
a wagon bridge was talked of.

In January, 1874, M. S. Robinson, president of the ]\Ianufactur-
ers' Association, visited many Eastern cities in order to secure
manufacturing concerns for Dubuque and to see if a wagon bridge
coukl he financed. A large meeting assembled to hear from him
upon his return; he recommended a donation of land to desirable
manufacturers who should come here and announced that a wagon
bridge could be financed in the East. In 1873 there was collected in
the Dubuque revenue district $365,890.20. In February, 1874,
there was held here a grand reunion of old settlers. Suits against
the city in 1873-74 aggregated $185,000. A big temperance crusade
was started here in March, 1874; the liquor people united in oppo-
sition and demanded the license system. The crusaders demanded
the enforcement of the existing prohibitory law. In 1873 the liquor
trade here was about $500,000; should tliis be abolished Dubuque
finances would receive a deadly blow, it was stated. Many of the
best citizens resolved to back the liquor interests in their fight for
existence under a license system. Immense meetings were held by
both sides. The crusade did not succeed because it attacked liquor
selling and not intemperance. It assumed that it was a crime to use
intoxicating liquors. The law had the right to punish men for


becoming drunk, but not for drinking. Liquors were seized and
numerous suits resulted.

The Dubuque Art Gallery opened in June, 1874, with R. E.
Graves president ; over one hundred good paintings were exhibited
at the commencement. In 1874 the ball and chain gang could be
seen on the Dubuque streets. In August, 1874, the Dubuque Cen-
tral Improvement Company sued the city for $550,000. To obtain
its land the company in 1857 had assumed the Corcoran and Jesup
debts of about $200,000 ; later the city took back this debt providing
the company would make certain specified improvements.

A pontoon bridge was considered in 1874. The Harbor Com-
pany filled the slough at Jones and Iowa streets in 1874; W. G.
Stewart superintended this work. The old Globe building, built in
1848, was torn down in August, 1874. The new Driving park up
the Couler was opened in August ; the stalls sold for $1,160. A new
city charter was demanded at a large citizens' meeting, December
29, 1874; a reduction of taxes and new manufactures was
demanded ; too much money was spent on fancy streets, said Chair-
man D. A. Wilson. A similar meeting had been held in Novem-
ber. A. A. Cooper and D. A. Mahony were the principal speakers ;
the latter attacked the city, which was defended by Mr. Cooper.
It was realized that taxation could not be reduced much if the city
debt and the current expenses were to be paid. It was a mistake to
abuse the council, because they were simply trying to meet neces-
sary expenses. Undeserved charges of dishonesty were hurled
against the city by Mahony and others. "Can any council do bet-
ter?" was asked. Late in 1874 the city was paying at the rate of
about $6,000 a year for its water, and now began to consider buy-
ing the waterworks, but the big tax prevented. During 1874 a
large amount of filling on the river front was done. There was
talk of a union railway passenger station.

During 1874 there were many improvements. Railway branches
were extended ; the Driving park was opened ; sloughs on the front
were filled; two new schoolhouses were built; $23,000 was spent
on streets ; $700,000 was spent on buildings of all kinds ; a new
engine house was built at Locust and Fourth streets, etc. The fire-
fighting apparatus consisted of the "J. K. Graves" and "Sol. Turck"
engines, the hook and ladder truck and the Fifth ward hose com-
pany. D. A. Mahony was editor of the Telegraph in 1874-75; he
succeeded Michael Brady. In 1874 assessors began to pursue tax
dodgers in earnest for almost the first time. In 1874-75 they col-
lected $187,494 in delinquent tax. Engineers reported against a
pontoon bridge.

In 1875 the People's Savings Bank merged with the First Na-
tional. The total city receipts in 1874-75 were $228,845 ^"d the
total expenses $207,810; the current expenses were $71,327.84.
The police force was reorganized in June, 1875. ^ furious storm


did $15,000 damage to Dubuque Seiitember 9, 1875; Seventeenth
street was badly damaged. In June, W. B. Allison became presi-
dent of the Dubuque & Dunleith Bridge Company. The original
Linwood cemetery, twenty acres, was bought of Langworthy &
Davis; in 1875 nineteen acres more were purchased of Mr. Levi
and added.

What were known as the Gelpcke bonds had been compromised
with Jesup & Co. long before this time at the rate, it was alleged,
of 25 cents on the dollar, and were secured by local speculators

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 19 of 56)