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 20 of 56)
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who expected to raise the price and thus clear up a large sum of
money. It was charged that agents of the council sent East to
accomplish this result in the interests of the city, proved false to the
trust and secured about $276,000 city bonds for about $69,000 for
local speculators (among whom were two ex-mayors of Dubuque)
who immediately raised the price of the bonds to par and in the
end managed to obtain therefor at about par new 6 per cent twenty-
five year bonds. Several of the so-called best men of the city were
charged with this offense. A number of bitter controversies grew
out of this transaction.

In October, 1875, the citizens voted on the question of turning
Linwood cemetery over to a private association, as follows: For
sale, 697; against sale, 308. At the big exposition and fair in
October, 1875, the receipts were $34,187.13 ; expenses the same less
$476.96 on hand. The grounds were bought of Stout and Peabody
for $5,000, but in the end with all improvements cost $33,894.48.
This fair was really a credit to the city. In 1875 the Dubuque
liquor dealers petitioned the Legislature to abandon prohibition and
adopt license in its place. In November, 1875, the Dubuque County
Bank was organized, with W. G. Stewart president ; A. Lumback,
vice president ; E. A. Lull, cashier ; capital, $50,000.

The Central Island case embraced the following points : ( i ) The
city sold the company island property ; (2) the company gave the city
its" bonds for the property; (3) the individual members of the com-
pany indorsed the bonds; (4) the city put its guaranty on the back
of the bonds; (5) the bonds were sold to outsiders; (6) no interest
was paid on the bonds; (7) the company became insolvent, but its
individual members were rich; (8) these individuals, to save them-
selves, bought up the bonds at about 25 cents on the dollar; (9) the
city had warranted the title to the company; (10) Jesup & Co., who
held a prior mortgage on this island property, foreclosed the same
and the property was sold to H. L. Stout, who secured a deed. The
island company now contended that the city was bound to take care
of the mortgage, because the title had been warranted and therefore
now sued the city for $33,000. This amount the city finally
agreed to pay, partlv because in doing so it could secure a with-
drawal of the suit for $550,000. In the suit on the guaranty the



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HISTORY OF DUBUQUE COUNTY 177

Supreme court decided that the city had no power to make the
guaranty and therefore the decision was in its favor.

A large prairie wolf and a full-sized catamount were killed near
Dubuque late in 1875. Late in 1875 a temperance crusade secured
400 signers to the pledge. In December, 1875, the total debt of
the city was as follows :

Seven per cent bonds $153-539-45

Six per cent bonds 649,099.10

Ten per cent bonds 25,000.00

Total $827,638.55

Or the same as follows :

Twenty-five year bonds $802,638.55

Three, four and five year bonds. . . . 25,000.00

Total $827,638.55

The Hyde Clark baseball club of 1875 played good ball. Water-
loo defeated them in September by 10 to 7. The leading nine were
Sullivan, Dalrymple. Spoor, Colford, Byrne, Cooney, Bissell, Robi-
son and Clark.

Dubuque was prosperous in 1875. Among the improvements
were Connolly's carriage factory ; Armstrong's same ; Wunderlich's
same ; Young's same ; Duddy's wireworks ; deed's brewery ; Carr,
Austin & Co.'s planing mill; Schmidt's brewery; Peabody block.
Eagle block, Finley block and several fine private residences. The
number of business blocks built was twenty-eight; dwellings and
other buildings, 181. Street improvement cost $13,020; school-
houses and grounds, $14,000; city hall and engine house improve-
ments, $2,490. In the livery business alone Dubuque had $129,715
invested. The bricks made numbered 8,400,000; in this industry
were Knai)p, Graham, O'Neill, Taltz, Platz, Keim and Ham.

In Januarv. 1876, the board of trade was reorganized, with
H. S. Hetherington president. Many suits against the city for
accidents to indi\-iduals were commenced in 1875-76. Senator
Allison introduced a bill in Congress in 1876 giving Washington
square to the county for courthouse purposes. Many here opposed
this bill, because the county could afford to buy it.

"Never has there been a more positive damage to the interests
of the city of Dubuque than those gatherings known as public
meetings. The city would have been better off in that it would
todav have had a debt less by half a million than it now has. These
meetings have created more ill feeling and bad temper among citi-
zens than most other causes combined. During the flush times of
1856-57 they recommended and voted away hundred of thousands



178 HISTORY OF DUBUQUE COUNTY

of dollars of city bonds in aid of railroads, few of wliicli were ever
built. After the crash of 1858 and when it was found impossible to
pay interest on the bonds, the public meetings were just as unani-
mous that the debt should be repudiated. The Supreme court of
the state had made a tlecision that the bonds were not good : the
city charter alleged that no tax of more than i per cent could be
levied ; so the public meetings told the creditors to whistle and
hooted at anybody who belie\ed the city would have to pay. After
the war, when our whole city debt could have been com])romised
on an average of 20 to 25 cents on the dollar, the pul)lic meetings
said not a cent on the dollar. Had public meetings then said what
they should ha\e said, our indebtedness now would be no more than
$250,000 instead of $800,000. Who does not remember the wagon
bridge meetings in 1868 that gave rise to so much angry contro-
versy and bad blood? — the Third street cemetery meetings: the
home creditor meetings in 1869 and 1870: the reform meetings of
1873, and the small results from them. A year ago there was a
taxpayers' meeting at which it was seriously proposed to organize a
combined resistance to tax paying. On Monday we had a public
meeting to see about the celebration of the Fourth of July, which
was just about on a par with all the rest." — (Herald. Februarv ^.
1876.)

The Second National bank was organized late in 1873, ^^''''''
W. L. Bradley, president ; W. P. Large, vice president ; G. V. Smock,
cashier; capital, $100,000. The citizens here generally opposed
the pending bill for the repeal of the railway tarifif. This sentiment
caused the Illinois Central Railway to make threats which were
resented by the citizens. The city receipts from all sources in
1875-76 were $207,631.70; expenses. $196,896.93; from saloon
licenses. $8,196.40 was received. The suit of William Hentrager
against Bishop Hennessy was conspicuous at this date; the Bisb.o].
won in the end. In March. 1876. the Board of Trade ga\e a
public banquet to Graves, O'Donnell and Lyon, Dubuque members
of the Legislature, for their efforts at Des Moines to retain the
railroad tariff'. In 1875 Myers, Tice & Co. paid the government
$77,188.20 tobacco revenue. A thorough survey for a new sewer
sii'stem was made early in 1876. .\t this time there was a general
demand that the street railway .system should be extended to the
bluffs. There were in use at this date 148 city public lamps.

A terrible storm early in July, 1876, practically destroyed Rock-
dale and caused the loss of several lives. The Gleason, Knajip and
Bradbury children and others were drowned. The origmal mill
there was built in 1834-5 ; it was first a log structure, but in a year
or two a small frame took its place; it was built by David and Wil-
liam Hutton ; this is said to have been the first grist mill in Iowa.
For many years it was known as the "Catfish Mill." Later under
Pmtt & Manson it was called "Rockdale IMills." In the forties its



HISTORY OF DUBUQUE COUNTY 179

capacity was fift)- barrels a day, but in tlie fifties it was increased
to 250 barrels a day. For many years it liad a monopoly of the
miners' trade.

In 1876 there were tinxe distilleries here with a capital of $100,-
000 — J. Wimmer, John Glab and I. Beekman. Four wholesale
houses did an annual business of 700,000; 138 saloons paid city
license; total saloon capital, $100,000; retail liquor dealers sold
here annually $150,000 worth of product.

Notwitlistanding the hard times and the strikes and political and
financial upheavals, the year 1876 was fairly prosperous in Du-
buque. Over $300,000 was spent in building; the Ingram, Kennedy
& Day saw mill cost $30,000; poorhouse, $13,500; Linwood ceme-
ter}', $10,000; Fair Association, $20,000, and the churches and
railway spent large sums.

In September, 1877, the Dubuque Charity Hospital was duly
incorporated. In September the bar in front of the city was
removed by dredge boats. The shot tower northwest of the city
burned in 1877.

In 1877, though the aggregate amount spent in Dubuque for
buildings fell ofif somewhat from former years, advancement, how-
ever, was in that and other respects on a large and permanent scale.
Linwood cemetery was improved about $17,381 ; Illinois Central,
$28,000; opera house by Eighmey & Waller, $25,000; St. Patrick's
church, $25,000; Episcopal church, $30,000; Dubuque shot tower,
$3,000; poorhouse, $2,000; waterworks, $7,000; sanitarium by Dr.
E. A. Guilbert, $1,600; harbor improA'ements, $12,000; school
buildings, $5,000; Key City hotel, by J. N. Hill, $13,000; Dubuque
and Dunleith bridge, $4,000 ; Alexander Young's dwelling, $20,000 ;
Richard Bonson's dwelling, $15,000; Hill street railway and build-
ings, $25,000; W. J. Knight, on dwelling, $10,000; C. C. D. & M.
railway, $100,000; on streets, alleys and highways, $53,766; parks',
pagodas, etc., $3,000; sidewalks, $15,000. All told on buildings,
streets, walks, industries, etc., $1,005,917. Over $700,000 of this
was spent within the city limits. The completion and success of the
hill or bluff railway was pointed to with pride. Not a business
house had failed during this eventful year of strikes, turmoil and
financial disaster. Not a bank here experienced serious trouble,
though elsewhere scores went down, never to rise again.

The law of 1878 authorized cities to build bridges over the Mis-
sissippi or to allow them to be built ; Mr. O'Donnell introduced the
bill. The Dubuque Ladies' Literary Association held its second
anniversary meeting in January, 1878. An immense temperance
movement was conducted here early this year. A special commit-
tee of the Board of Trade appointed to investigate, reported that
a large saving annually could be made from present city receipts.
The annual interest on the city debt was about $60,000, the city
debt being $829,118 late in 1877. In 1877-78 the city spent on



i8o HISTORY OF DUBUQUE COUNTY

streets $43,578.17; this was declared by many to be too much: I)ut
others decmetl it necessary. Mrs. Livermore lectured to tiie temper-
ance people in February, 1878; during tlie crusade over 500 took the
pledge; this was a remarkable fight. On January 13 the artesian
well in Linwood cemetery was down 1,040 feet; the water came up
to within forty-nine feet of the surface. Electricity in city light-
ing was demanded in March. The Herald thougiit three lights
would be sufficient to illuminate the whole city.

Dubuque wanted railroads taxed, because this meant about
$20,000 annual revenue to the city. The stock restraining ordi-
nance was enforced more generally. There was a small reduction
in police and fire expenses Eagle Point anrl Windsor avenues were
improved. Secret sessions of the council as a committee of the
whole were generally condemned. Dubuque tax dodgers were
relentlessly pursued.

In June, 1878, the Dubuque Harbor Company decided to go out
of business — sell all of its property in September; it had large hold-
ings, including about 5,000 feet frontage on Main street south, and
several blocks covered with buildings. There were sold 1,678 lots,
which were bought by Cooley, Stout, Bonson, Bush, Shields, Wal-
ler, Staples, Langworthy and others ; the two days' sale brought over
$100,000. There were 130 saloon licenses out in 1S78.

Mayor Burch said in his valedictory : "Our street expenses have
been much more than any of us intended they should be during
the past year, but it appeared to be necessary in order to give our
laboring men employment. At least such a course was advised by
some of our large tax payers during the time some of the Eastern
cities were infested with rioters and our own city overrun with
tramps and many of our laboring men out of employment."

In July, 1878, Rev. Dewitt C. Talmage lectured here on the
"Bright Side of Things," in the Congregational church. In August
the artesian well at Linwood was abandoned at a depth of 1,667
feet; water came within twenty-six feet of the surface. The low-
water mark in the river here was 610 feet above the sea level and
the surface of the hill was 197 feet above low water mark. The
Fair here in 1878 was one of the best and most successful ever held
in the West; as high as 15,000 people were present on the third
day. Rarus, the famous trotter, tried to beat 2 :20, but made only
2:2oJ4- Lulu trotted a mile in 2:20^^. The total receipts were
$23,963.24, and expenses about the same; the total assets of the
Fair A.ssociation were $29,097.21.

The boiler of the Dubuque Planing Mill exploded in September,
killing one person and injuring several others. A Dubuque book,
the Waverly Dictionary, was issued by May Rogers in September.
In September, 1878, greenbacks were at par with gold in this city.

The Rockdale mills were destroyed by fire late in December,
1878 ; it was caused by an explosion of gas generated by the mid-



HISTORY OF DUBUQUE COUNTY i8i

dlings purifier used. The year 1878 gave continued prosperity to
Dubuque ; over $700,000 was spent on improvements of all kinds ;
the largest sums were spent by the Diamond Jo line, Bush, Hosford,
Young, Robinson, Ryan the packer, Bishop Hennessy, Simplot,
cracker factory, the railways, street extension. The banks paid out
gold freely on January i, 1879.

The baseball club was thoroughly organized early in 1878. The
leading players were O'Rourke, pitcher ; Comiskey, catcher ; Brady,
second base: Burns, left field; Colford, third base; Byrne, center
field; Sullivan, shortstop: Cooney, first base: Phalen, right field.
Two Chicago players were hired to drill the club. It was one of
the best clubs in the West and was considered semi-professional.
The Milwaukee club beat it twice, 6 to o and 15 to 4. Davenport
beat it 6 to 4 in thirteen innings. It divided victories with the
Oaklands, was defeated by Peoria, 12 to i ; defeated Davenport,
2 to o; defeated Nashua, 20 to i and 13 to 5: defeated Galena,
9 to 2 ; but was defeated by Peoria again, 3 to i : divided victories
with Rockford, 9 to 4 and 9 to 13. In the Peoria club were nine
professionals; in the Dubuque club were three professionals and
six home boys. The club played twenty-one games. Sullivan was
best batter and fielder : then came Dolan, Brady and Comiskey.
They were called Red Stockings, and were backed by R. H. Graves,
H. E. Tredway, B. H. Trumbull, T. P. Sullivan, C. D. Ham, C. T.
Hancock, C. M. Peaslee, T. G. Lewis and others.

There were several business failures in 1878-79. Congress in
1878 gave Dubuque authority to build a pontoon bridge over the
river. In January, 1879, George W. Jones and his wife, who was
formerly Josephine Gregoire, celebrated their golden wedding;
great honor was shown the distinguished couple at the Lorimier
House. M. M. Ham addressed the couple and General Jones replied.
In 1878 the phonograph was exhibited here for the first time.
Croxie, a Dubuque mare trained by J. H. Lawson, won large sums
in the trotting races of this year; she was in the 2 129 class. A fire
alarm telegraph was installed in 1878. In the spring of 1879 Dun-
leith changed its name to East Dubuque. Heating the city from a
common center was considered in 1879. The year 1879 was very
prosperous here. The trade in dry goods, boots and shoes, clothing,
groceries, hats and caps, hardware, cigars, leather, notions, horse
collars, shirts, overalls, etc., was almost double that in 1878. Among
the largest expenditures were St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital, Farley,
Loetscher & Co., oat meal factory. Steam Supply Company, Dia-
mond Jo line, Farley residcTice, Norwegian Plow Factory ; the rail-
ways ; city improvements.

In December, 1879, General Grant was here as the guest of John
Thompson. A large procession escorted him to the residence of
Mr. Thompson. Governor and Mrs. Gear were present at the recep-
tion given to 700 guests ; the whole city was decorated in honor of



i82 HISTORY OF DUBUQUE COUNTY

the event and the schools were dismissed. General Vandever wel-
comed the distinguished guest to the city. General Grant replied
as follows :

"General — I thank tlie citizens of Dubuque and yourself for the
kind welcome which you liave extended to me. I shall not attempt
to make any remarks further than to say tiiat I most heartily tliank
you. After an absence of two and a half \cars I have returned
to our country, appreciating it more highly than ever."

"General Grant extended his white-gloved hand to all who were
presented to him and the best looking ladies he greeted with an
osculatory salutation, which perhaps he would have declined had
Mrs. Grant been present. But some of the ladies thought him so
stoically sweet thai they could not resist being kissed b}' an ex-
President and a general." — {Herald, December 2, 1879.)

The Dubuque baseljall club in 1879 was even better tlian it had
been in 1878; they were called "Red Stockings." as in 1S78, and
were backed by wealthy men here. They were members of the
Northwestern league of four clubs: Davenport, Rockford, Omaha
and Dubuque. Early in the year the players were Thomas Sullivan,
catcher; Lawrence P. Reis, pitclier; W. B. Lapham, first base;
Thomas J. Loftus, captain and left field : John Gleason, third base ;
William Gleason, .shortstop; Charles Comiskey, second base; Charles
Radburne. right field and pitcher; William Taylor, center field.
They beat the Rock fords 8 to o in May. Later they beat Chicago
T to o in a famous game. Thev were \'ery successful.

Late in 1879 Wendell Phillips lectured here on "Daniel O'Con-
nell." A large audience heard this wonderful piece of oratory.
O'Connell was declared to have been the greatest orator since
Demosthenes — greater than Webster, Clay or Calhoun.

The Irish patriots and orators, Parnell and Dillon, came here in
l-'ebruary, 1880; they were met at McGregor by a special committee
sent to receive them — J- K- Graves, F. T. Walker, Fred O'Donnell
and G. B. Busch. As the train appeared a salute was fired at Eagle
Point by Hayden's battery. They were received with great cere-
mony and escorted to the Julicn House. That evening at the opera
house they were welcomed by a packed room and by a speech from
Mr. Graves. Parnell's address was especially pleasing. The total
receipts were $743.10; net, $637.50.

The total receipts in 1879-80 were $196,128.46; expenses, $192,-
290.61. On March i, 1880, the total bonded debt was $790,434.21.
In April, 1880. there were in the Young Men's Library 10.029
books. General Grant was here again in May. 1880, to see a few
friends; the visit was informal; his wife accompanied him. The
wholesale business in 1879 was larger than ever before. The lum-
ber trade aggregated $5,000,000; groceries, $2,500,000; hardware,
$2,000,000, and dry goods, boots and shoes and crockery reached
$1,000,000 each; the total trade was approximately $16,000,000.



HISTORY OF DUBUQUE COUNTY 183

City improvements aggregated $600,000. Among the largest items
were Eagle Point boatways, St. Francis' convent, St. Joseph's acad-
emy. Novelty Iron Works, Ryan, packer. Linseed Oil Works, Mc-
Donald's pump works, Peabody's residence, Andrew & Tredway
block. Brown's block. Globe building, Milwaukee & St. Paul shops.
Chamberlain's Plow Works, street improvements, etc. In 1879
there were made here by six breweries 25,639 barrels of beer; in
1880 there were made 39.553 barrels. In February, 1880, the deep-
est snow in twenty years blocked every transportation line.

In April, 1880,' the Chicago baseball club defeated the Dubuque
club in four games, as follows: 27 to o, 10 to i, 22 to 2, 9 to 4;
later the Cleveland's defeated the Dubuques 5 to i ; the Dubuque's
beat the St. Louis Reds 4 to i.

The total receipts in 1880-81 were $244,477.52. The steam motor
on the hill failed to work during the cold weather in 1880-81 : the
council in a fit of indignation declared it a nuisance and revoked
the charter of the company. At a meeting of the citizens indigna-
tion at this procedure was expressed ; the road was declared to be a
great public improvement and worth continuance.

In April, 188 1, the new mayor, Mr. Linehan, declared that the
most important considerations for the coming year were ( i ) manu-
facturing enterprises: (2) a wagon bridge over the river; (3) an
inner or ice harbor; (4) water reservoir for fires on the bluffs:
(5) good men for office holders; (6) the collection of all taxes
possible; (7) equalization of assessments ; (8) economy in expenses;
(9) good streets and avenues: (10) floating debt must be paid;
(11) public health must be maintained.

In May the first electric light company was formed ; among its
incorporators were Glover, Booth, Cooper, Hinds, Hancock, Ryan
and Tredway; $12,000 was subscribed in a few days. In June the
council was petitioned to change the fair ground into a park. A
union slaughter house was proposed. In 1880 and 1881 consider-
able grain was shipped from the upper Mississippi to Liverpool —
to New Orleans in barges, then out in ocean steamers. The
Dubuque Cattle Company was incorporated in July. On August i,
1881, the bonded debt was $781,785.27; floating debt, $79,470.13;
total debt, $861,255.40. In December, 1881, Governor Hempstead
moved to Memphis to live with his son; two years later he died.
Among the large expenditures in 188 1 were those by Iowa Iron
Works, Carr, Ryder & Wheeler, Dubuque Building and Loan Asso-
ciation, Dubuque and East Dubuque bridge, Cabinet Makers' Asso-
ciation, Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul shops, city streets and
buildings and St. John's Episcopal church. Diamond Jo line, Illinois
Central, etc.

In December, 1881, Hon. T. P. O'Connor, Irish envoy, spoke in
the opera house to an audience that filled every seat. About this
time it was shown as a finality that Babbage was short $267,000



i84 HISTORY OF DUBUQUE COUNTY

and Sheffield $62,000 in tlie Merchants' National hank crash of a
few years before. Dubuque was very prosperous in 1881 ; among
the largest investments were by the Iowa & Minnesota Telegraph
Company, Dubuque & St. Louis Packet Company, and J. P. Farley
Manufacturing Company; Elevator Safety Gate Company.

Early in 1882 the Dubuque Opera Company was organized to
prepare and present "Martha" and "Bohemian Girl." A strong
anti-prohibition club was here in 1882; its object was to defeat the
proposed amendment to the prohibitory law of Iowa which would
amount to the practical confiscation of the property of saloon keep-
ers. In Marcli, 1882, the bonded debt was $774,625.27 and the float-
ing debt $67,466.16. The electric company began to use the Brush
electric light. Governor St. John of Kansas spoke here in the
Tabernacle on "Prohibition," in June. On the question of amend-
ing the proliibitory law the vote in Dubuque stood 1,223 for the
amendment; 6,283 against the amendment; the amendment was
carried in the state by a large majority. In August, 1882, Congress
appropriated $20,000 for an ice harbor here. In September, 1882,
the Industrial and Art Association was opened by Mr. Allison at
city hall; it was the grandest industrial display ever held in the
state. In December, 1882, the Novelty Iron Works were lighted
for the first time by electricity. The roller skating craze had
Dubuque in its relentless grasp in 1882. Among the big expendi-
tures in 1882 were those bv John Bell, A. A. Cooper, Cathedral
chapel, C. N. Clark, Paper' Mill, White Lead and Paint Works,
Oat Meal Mills, Diamond Jo line. Telephone Company, Iron and
Brass Works, Novelty Iron Works, Iowa Iron Works, Iowa Coffin
Company, Buggy Top factory, etc. The June races in 1882 were
popular and successful. The Iowa State Horticultural Society met
here in January, 1883. At this time the Supreme court declared the



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 20 of 56)