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 24 of 56)
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failed to provide a steam ferry as provided in his charter. In
185 1 there were 353 arrivals and 352 departures of steamboats.
By January, 1852, there had been subscribed for stock in the new
packet line 242 shares of stock. Bogy's steam ferryboat was in
full operation in April, 1852.

Early in June, 185 1, the fine steamer Di Vernon passed Du-
buque with a large excursion party for St. Anthony's Falls. A
group of Dubuquers joined the merry-makers. The boats at Du-
biKine in June and July, 1851, were: Franklin No. 2, Captain Har-


lis; Wisconsin, Captain Griffith; Planter; Minnesota, Captain
Smith ; Nominee, Captain Smith ; Enterprise, Captain Humber-
stone ; Excelsior, Captain Ward ; Robert Fulton, Captain Philips ;
Oneonta, Captain Tuppy.

A new dredge boat for Abel Hawley, harbor contractor, was
launched in the summer of 1851. Among the steamers in 1851
were : Uncle Toby, Capt. V. R. Rout, of the Dubuque and St.
Paul Line ; Lamartine, Nominee, Dr. Franklin Nos. i and 2, En-
terprise, Martha No. 2, Bon Accord, Minnesota, Wisconsin, G. W.
Sparhawk, from Wheeling, Virginia; Oneonta, Captain Tuppy;
Tiger, Capt. J. P. Anderson ; Emperor, Captain Hopkins.

Thus far the steamers used on the upper Mississippi were small
and more or less rude affairs, though spoken of as "elegant,"
"handsome," etc. In March, 1852, the business men here sent an
agent to St. Louis to secure from one or more of the boat lines
steamers of a higher, heavier and more refined grade, suitable to
the improved order of affairs. Dubuque grew very rapidly in
1852 ; thousands of homeseekers and capitalists landed from the
steamers. In April, 1852, Timothy Fanning building here a steam
ferryboat, the newspapers observed that there was no reason why
Dubuque should not become a boat-building center. Gregoire's
new steam ferryboat was called the Utah ; it ran every hour from
the lower ferry landing. The St. Paul, a fine new packet, was
active in 1852.

"Bogy's splendid new steam ferryboat is doing the most rush-
ing business of the season. She is puffing and blowing all the
time. She is a perfect godsend to California emigrants. If the
number of wagons that she brings across in a day had to abide the
tardiness of the old-fashioned horseboat, they would not reach this
side in a week." — (Daily Miners' Express, April 24, 1852.)

The St. Paul, a new and very fast steamer, was saluted by artil-
lery upon its arrival here early in 1852 ; she made the round trip
from Galena to St. Paul in two days and sixteen hours, landing
en route twenty-one times. In June, 1852, the dredgeboat, which
had cost $8,000, was sold to T. Levens for $1,000. Ben Campbell
was a new steamer. Dr. Franklin and Nominee were regular
United States mail steamers in 1852. In August, upon the request
of Mr. Adams, a boat yard was located at the foot of Dodge street
for five years ; there any boat could be constructed. The J. W.
McKee was a mail steamer of the Keokuk Packet Line ; the La-
martine, Captain Harlow, belonged to the St. Louis and St. Peters
Packet Company, and the Excelsior, Captain Ward, belonged to
the St. Louis, Galena, Dubuque and St. Peters Packet Company.
Bogy's ferryboat landed at Second street.

In March, 1853, Dr. Franklin No. 2 took away at one load over
4,000 pigs of lead. The spring of 1853 saw the largest arrival of
boats ever witnessed here. As high as ten or a dozen were here


at one time^ — Ben Campbell, Excelsior, Nominee, Asia, Lamartine,
Martha No. 2, Enterprise, Swamp Fox, West Newton, Emperor,
Wisconsin, Canada, Adelia, Pearl, Minnehaha, Golden Era.

The old floating dock was sold in August. Later in 1853 the
Golden Era struck a snag near Hannibal, Missouri, and sank
quickly to the boiler deck. She was soon raised. In December,
Charles Gregoire was given a ten years' extension of his ferry
contract. In 1853 the United States Supreme Court decided that
rafts on navigable rivers were not subject to salvage; this decision
settled a matter that had troubled river men for years.

"The steam ferry Utah made an unsuccessful effort last even-
ing to reach the levee. The ice in the inner slough was too firm for
her to force her way through it." — (Express, March 11, 1854.)

In 1854 there was a daily line past Dubuque to St. Paul, with
the following steamers : New St. Paul, Captain Bissell ; George
W. Sparhawk, Captain Greene : Ben Campbell, Captain Matson ;
York State, Captain Griffith ; Golden Era, Captain Bersie ; Lady
Franklin, Captain Morehouse. Late in 1853 Thomas H. Benton,
Jr., Lucius H. Langworthy and George Greene were sent as dele-
gates to the river improvement convention at Memphis. Every
steamer bound up the river was loaded to the guards with emi-
grants and their belongings. Numerous rafts arrived here in May
and June, 1854. Other boats in 1854 were Shenandoah, Royal
Arch, Minnesota Belle, Caleb Cope, Globe, May C, Gossamer,
Lamartine, New St. Paul, Arabic, Admiral, Hindoo, Henrietta,
Sparhawk, Galena, Golden Era, Grand Prairie, Excelsior, Fugitive
Slave, Gray Cloud, Lady Franklin, War Eagle, Flag of Pittsburg,
Greek Slave. Nominee, Blackhawk, etc.

A line of boats connecting Dubuque and St. Paul had been de-
sired for several years; late in 1854, eft'orts to establish such a line
were made. In 1854 Dubuque was made a port of entry and was
annexed to the port of New Orleans. In August, 1854, William
H. Merritt was appointed surveyor of the port of Dubuque. Late
in 1854, Messrs. Mobley, Barney, Benton, O'Halloran and Hall
were appointed a citizens' committee to solicit stock subscriptions
to a St. Paul steamboat line.

The steamboat Blackhawk about November i, 1854, began to
make regular trips between Dubuque and Galena twice a day to
connect with the railway trains. The boat drew so little water
that it could navigate Fever river.

A team and wagon loaded with stone broke through the ice in
January, 1855; all except the driver was lost. In April, 1855,
Lillie & McDonald asked for ship yards on the island ; granted,
just below the Barney Cut. At this date Galena owned eight or
ten fine steamers; Dulnique owned two or three. Why? it was
asked. There was plenty of talk about such a line, but business
men would not invest. The Illinois Central Railway, the Galena


Packet Company and the ferry companies seemed united at this
date to force Dubuque to pay exorbitant rates of transportation.
In April, 1855, the City Belle, Galena, Kentucky, Navigator, York
State, Berlin, Gical and Hamburg were here at the same time.
The spring travel and trade were enormous. Dubuque had almost
doubled in population in two years. At this time Galena was so
envious of Dubuque's wonderful growth that it did all it could
to injure the latter. The Galena Packet Company assisted Galena,
finally refusing to allow its boats to touch at Dubuque. This step
at last roused Dubuque. A. P. Champlin was master of the
Navigator. Time and Tide was commanded by Capt. Louis Rob-
erts, and the Reveille by Capt. J. W. Markle.

In November, 1855, the steamer A. F. Gregoire connected both
evening and morning with the mail arriving at Dunleith. It waited
thirty minutes in case the mails were late; after that the mail was
brought over in yawlboats at any hour of the day or night.

"We learn by the Excelsior, which returned yesterday from her
last trip up the river, that a boat cannot pass through Lake Pepin
on account of the ice. She first encountered ice below La Crosse
on the 2 1 St, and was obliged to leave her barge and part of her
freight at that place and then proceeded to Winona, where the rest
of her cargo was discharged. The Adelia reached Reed's Landing
on the same night and also returned yesterday. The Cumberland
Valley lies at Winona. The Dubuque and Kate Cassel are still up
the river. The Galena packets are laid up and probably no boats
will attempt an up-river trip after this week." — (Express and
Herald, November 24, 1855.)

"The steamer Endeavor left Dubuque last evening for La Crosse
and will probably be the last boat up the river this season. The
usual high price for freight and passage for the last trips has been
charged by the boats for some days, as high as $15 to La Crosse
and $1 per hundred for freight." — (Express and Herald, Novem-
ber 29, 1855.)

"The pleasant weather is extending the time of up-river navi-
gation later in the season than usual. The Kate Cassel returned
yesterday from Reed's Landing and reports the head of Lake
Pepin closed by ice. The Ben Coursin also returned yesterday
from Winona. Two boats are expected from below — the Hen-
rietta and the Emma Harron. Two boats also leave today for La
Crosse." — (Express and Herald, December 6, 1855.) The Lang-
worthys sold the ferryboat Queen City for $6,000 in December,
1855. They designed putting on a new and better boat.

"The steamers Ben Coursin, Kate Cassel and Excelsior have
laid up here for the season, as navigation is now considered
closed." — (Express and Herald, December 12, 1855.) "The river
is full of running ice and the sloughs are frozen over, so that the
boys have commenced their winter sport of skating." — (Same.)


Among the steamboats of 1855 were the Dan Convers, Colonel
Morgan, Audubon, Falls City, Fannie Harris, Latobe and Cone-

In 1856 the Dubuque, Minnesota & Wisconsin Packet Com-
pany, with Mr. Farley as president, was in operation. They bought
the steamer Golden State for $14,000; it was a side-wheeler of
277 tons. The Dubuque Packet Company was fully organized and
at work in March, 1856. It had bought several new boats — Excel-
sior, Captain Kingman ; Fanny Harris, Captain W'orden ; Kate
Cassel, Captain Harlow ; Golden State. The organization of this
company was due to the hostility of Galena and the Galena Packet

Tlie Galena Packet Company operated the following boats:
War Eagle, Captain Harris ; Golden Era, Captain Parker ; Royal
Arch, Captain Smith ; Galena, Capt. K. Lodwick ; Northern Belle,
P. Lodwick ; Schambra, Captain Gabbert ; Greek Slave, Captain
Gaul; Lady Franklin, Captain Lucas; Ocean Wave, Captain
Gleim ;. Tishomingo was a very fast boat of the Winona Packet
Line. \\''aples Cut was entirely dry in August, 1856; no boats
could reach the inner levee. By this time the ferryboat Utah,
which was large enough three years before, had become too small,
and was remo\ed to Hastings and Point Douglas.

The steamer "Lady Franklin," Captain Lucas, was injured and
sank in the river in October, 1856. Several passengers were
drowned and the captain was severely censured for his conduct. —
(Express and Herald, October 29, 1856.) After the river had
been verv low for some time, the news that it was rapidly rising
above was always cheering and heralded widecast.

Winter set in early in 1856-7 and many up-river merchants did
not receive the stocks ordered and expected. "Although every
exertion has been made by the Illinois Central Railroad and the
forwarding merchants of Dubuque and Dunleith, yet they have
been utterly unable to send forward goods as fast as they arrived,
notwithstanding the steamboat tonnage has been very large. The
Galena Packet Line, tlie Dulnique Packet Line and a large num-
ber of independent boats ha\'e all been overtaxed and compelled to
refuse a large amount of freight. The season is now so far ad-
vanced that packet boats do not consider it safe to sign bills of
lading only to a short distance up, and the independent boats, as
fast as they come down, are drawing off and going to more sunny
climes. — [Express and Herald, November 19, 1856.)

The steamer Tishomingo had great difficulty in escaping her
creditors and much of the time in 1856 remained tied up at various
ports. The steamer A. G. Mason became frozen in the ice six
miles above Hastings in November. The Kate Cassel arrived here
November 18 and reported ice gorges above. Navigation was
about closed.


The Galena, Dubuque, Dunleith & Minnesota Packet Company,
in 1856, owned the following boats plying between Galena and
St. Paul : War Eagle, Capt. D. S. Harris ; Galena, Capt. Kennedy
Lodwick; Northern Belle, Capt. Preston Lodw-ick; Golden Era,
Capt. J. W. Parker; Lady Franklin, Capt. M. E. Lucas; Ocean
Wave, Capt. E. H. Gleim; City of Belle, Capt. A. T. Champlin;
Granite State, Capt. J. Y. Hurd ; Alhambra, Capt. W. H. Gabbert ;
and also the following running between Galena and Rock Island :
Royal Arch, Capt. J- J- Smith, and Greek Slave, Capt. C. Goll.

Early in December, 1856, the Kate Cassel by an extra effort
went up to Hastings with an enormous load of freight for the
upper country. Log of the steamer Flora: "Left Dunleith the
2ist with nearly 400 passengers and a heavy freight; met Golden
State below Guttenburg ; Envoy passed down ; met Northern BeHe
the 22d ; met Fannie Harris at Coon Slough ; met Kate Cassel
below La Crosse, evening 22d ; met Gossamer at La Crosse ; snowed
all night; met Alhambra below Winona ; fine sleighing here; met
Falls City below Fountain City ; got aground on Beef Slough and
remained there Sunday night ; went through Lake Pepin the 24th ;
reached Red Wing at 1 1 p. m. ; snowing like great guns ; reached
Hastings morning of 25th ; river gorged with ice for seven miles
above and weather cold ; left Hastings Tuesday ; met Resolute
Wednesday morning below Beef Slough ; Progress there and could
iiot get over ; she returned to Winona and discharged her cargo ;
met J. Traber at Winona and Ben Coursin below La Crosse." * * *
"The Flora brought down 250 passengers and went into winter
quarters at the upper landing, Dubuque." — (Express and Herald,
December 3, 1856.)

The Key City, a new packet, Capt. Jones Worden, was put on
in 1857. The Golden State, Hamburg, James Lyon, Mansfield,
Cumberland Valley, Brazil, Adelia, Sam Young, Falls City were
here early in 1857.

Freight rates in the spring of 1857 were as follows: Dubuque
to McGregor and Prairie du Chien, 20 cents per hundred; Lan-
sing, 22 cents; La Crosse, 25 cents; Dacotah and Trempeauleau,
26 cents; Reed's Landing, 30 cents; Red Wing, 31 cents; Pres-
cott and Hastings, ^;^ cents ; St. Paul, 35 cents.

The following was the list of a daily line of packets from Du-
buque to St. Paul for the season of 1857: Gray Eagle, Capt.
Smith Harris ; Key City, Capt. Jones Worden ; War Eagle, Capt.
A. T. Kingman; Golden State, Capt. Samuel R. Harlow; Golden
Era, Capt. John Scott ; Fanny Harris, Capt. Robert Anderson.

Lake Pepin was still covered with ice by April 22, 1857, but it
was then rotting fast. The steamer Itasca, called "a floating pal-
ace," arrived here April 21, 1857. It belonged to the Prairie du
Chien and St. Paul line. It was 220 feet long and had capacity
for 500 tons of freight. Its captain was David Whitten. The


first steamboats to pass through Lake Pepin for a number of years
were as follows:

Otter, Captain Harris, April 6, 1844.
Otter, Captain Harris, April 5, 1845.
Lynx, Captain Atchison, March 21, 1846.
Cora, Captain Throckmorton, April 7, 1847.
Highland Mary, Captain Atchison, April 10, 1848.
Nominee, Captain Smith, April 4, 185 1.
Nominee, Captain Smith, April 16, 1852.
West Newton, Captain Harris, April 11, 1853.
Nominee, Captain Blakely, April 8, 1854.
War Eagle, Captain Harris, April 17, 1855.
Lady Franklin, Captain Lucas, April 18, 1856.

The War Eagle carried up the river two and one-half tons of
mail late in April, 1857. Mr. Hills, agent of the Minnesota
Packet Company, reported that prior to May 6, 1857, he had dis-
patched up the river 4,000 tons of freight, largely to St. Paul. It
was learned here, upon the arrival of the steamer Audubon from
Reed's Landing, that eighteen boats were then in Lake Pepin,
contending with the ice. The Galena first forced her way twelve
miles and then went ashore. The War Eagle was damaged in
the same attempt. The Falls City was aground with four feet of
water in her hold. Seventeen boats were at Reed's Landing when
the Audubon left. A prize of $3,000 had been offered for the
first boat to reach St. Paul and $300 to the pilot bringing her in.
The excitement at Reed's Landing was intense. The hotels there
were crowded.

"As soon as we entered Lake Pepin we began to see the wrecks
of the steamboats. The first lay about a mile below North Pepin,
sunk above the guards. Two others were near, one apparently
broken in two and the other inclined on the beach. Two other
boats were seen farther up, hemmed in with ice. Another near was
inclined on the beach. The boats said to be sunk were: Fanny
Harris, Fire Canoe, Cremona, Steel and Falls City. We met Min-
nesota Belle and Itasca coming down." — (Cor. Express and Her-
ald, May 13, 1857.)

According to a passenger, the Northern Light, when it arrived
at St. Paul, May 4, 1857, found eighteen steamboats lying beside
each other diagonally with the line of the levee. Minute guns
were fired from a cannon lashed to the capstan. "The boat was
made fast to the sterns of several steamers, and the passengers
reached shore by crossing over the decks of some of the other
boats." The Xortliern Light was 240 feet long and was com-
manded by Captain Lodwick. She could carry nearly 1,000 tons
of freight. The other boats at St. Paul were: Messenger, Orb,


Golden State, Equator, Key Stone, Sam Young, Saracen, Mans-
field, Ocean Wave, Red Wing, Golden Era, Minnesota, Kate
French, Connewago, Time and Tide, Hamburg, Wave, Excelsior,
W. L. Ewing.

So great had been the trouble for the boats to get through Lake
Pepin, the press of St. Paul agitated the construction and use of
an iceboat to open that body of water every spring. It would cost
about $20,000 and require $5,000 annually to keep it up.

The Galena and War Eagle were the first boats to pass through
Lake Pepin and reach St. Paul. The real struggle was between
the Galena, War Eagle, Golden State and Montauk. All got
through about 7 o'clock p. m. on Thursday. "Here a race ensued
in which Captain Laughton of the Galena came off No. i. passing
the Golden State at Bullards and the Eagle above Red Wing. The
latter maintained her position within a few lengths until a lamenta-
ble accident occurred just above Hastings, throwing her behind.
The boat checked up to rescue a deck hand who had fallen over-
board, but could not find him. This gave the Galena eighteen
minutes the start, by which she beat the Eagle to the St. Paul
levee." On Lake Pepin were the Areola, broken in two; the
Courier with hull under water and dangerously careened ; the St.
Croix had been raised unhurt — by May 13, 1857.

On May 10, 1857, the river was the highest it had been since
1 851; the levee was covered with water; houses filled, lumber
afloat, and the Seventh street embankment top nearly reached. At
this time the gas company received in one load 20,000 bushels of
coal from Pittsburg. About July i, the new steam ferryboat
Peosta was put at work. The steamer Rosalie sank near the mouth
of Waples Cut in June with a valuable cargo.

The Galena, Dunleith and Minnesota Packet Company having
become arbitrary, exacting and unaccommodating, the press of Du-
buque and St. Paul called it sharply to task in July, 1857. "They
treat the public in the most contemptuous manner, swindle the
commercial and traveling community, and are independent and
insolent in all things and at all times, when they have the power,"
said the Express and Herald of July 15, 1857.

The boiler of the old steamer Dubuque exploded August 18,
1857, eleven miles below Muscatine, causing the loss of twenty-
two lives, all deck passengers. The sight of the scalded and man-
gled passengers was heartrending, said observers; assistance was
furnished from Muscatine. In October the Ben Coursin was struck
and sunk by the Key City, above La Crosse, and about seven lives
were lost, three of them being women. The Henry Clay was in
service in 1857.

In 1858 the Minnesota Transportation Company, a new steam-
boat line, was in operation ; John Loraine was president ; the Fred
Lorenz and Adelia were two of their boats. The Fulton City


Company ran a daily line from Fulton City to St. Paul. The
Winona Packet Line was a combination of several St. Louis and
St. Paul packet companies and had a tri-weekly line. Forty boats
were advertised to leave St. Louis March 30, 1858. Among the
boats were Key City, Metropolitan, Henry Clay, Sucker State, Can-
ada, Sam Young, Northern Belle, Milwaukee, Hawkeye State, Ga-
lena, Northern Light, Ocean Wave, Dew Drop, Kate Cassel, Lake
City, Alhambra, James Lyon, Lucie May, Pembina, Sultan, Flora,
Resolute, Courier, Aunt Letty, Pembina, Envoy, Gray Eagle, Chip-
pewa Falls, Conewago, Tishomingo, Eolian, etc. The old Areola
hull was used as a float.

In 1858, Capt. D. S. Harris was credited by Governor Sibley,
of Minnesota, with having been the pioneer navigator by steam of
about all the tributaries of the Mississippi above the Des Moines
Rapids ; he was declared to have been the first to find the head
of navigation on the Iowa, Maquoketa and Minnesota rivers. — ■
(Express and Herald, April 2, 1858.)

The St. Louis and St. Paul Union Line owned the following
boats in 1858; Pembina, Captain Griffith; Canada, Captain Ward;
Henry Clay, Captain Campbell; Metropolitan, Captain Rhodes;
Minnesota Belle, Captain Hill ; W. L. Ewing, Captain Green ; Den-
mark, Captain Gra}' — all sidewheel and fine steamers.

The ferryboat Gregoire, Captain Bog)% was in service in 1858;
also the steam ferryboat Peosta. The Dubuque and Dunleith Ferry
Company began operations about 1846; by 1858 the company
claimed to have lost $8,273 ^ this was denied and argued in the

The Union Packet Line, in 1858, owned the following boats,
which ran regularly between St. Louis and St. Paul : Pembina,
Capt. Thomas H. Griffith ; Minnesota Belle, Capt. Thomas B. Hill ;
W. L. Ewing, Capt. Montroville Green; Canada, Capt. James
Ward ; Metropolitan, Capt. Thomas B. Rhodes ; Denmark, Capt.
Richard C. Gray. They left Dubuque for St. Paul every Monday,
Wednesday and Friday and for St. Louis every Tuesday, Thurs-
day and Saturday.

The fine packet Galena was totally burned at the landing in Red
Wing, June 30, 1858. The passengers landed, but the freight was

In August there was a hotly contested race from Dubuque to
St. Paul between the steamers War Eagle and the Itasca. The
former won by a small margin ; time, 24 hours and 40 minutes,
with 23 landings and 35 cords of wood taken aboard. Large quan-
tities of flour, grain and store supplies and large numbers of emi-
grants and excursionists passed constantly on the river. Immense
rafts passed down almost daily.

By the middle of March, 1859, river traffic was in full operation.
Chippewa, Dew Drop, Pembina, Minnesota Belle, Aunt Letty,


W. L. Ewing, Cedar Rapids, Fred Lorenz, Adelia, Canada, W. L.
Nelson, General Pike, St. Louis, Golden Era, E. A. Ogden, Key
City and War Eagle were here early. The latter was the first to
leave on the schedule of the new steamboat express line. Lake
Pepin was still closed March 25. The ferry began running here
March 5.

In March, 1859, the Dubuque and Dunleith Ferry Company
was required to run their boats thereafter from the foot of Third
street instead of from the foot of Jones street. Charles Gregoire
was president of the ferry company. Tlie levee was loaded with
all kinds of freight waiting shipment in March, 1859 — lead, pork,
beef, flour, merchandise, grain, etc.

Captain Worden of the Key City, in April, 1859, literally forced
his way through the almost impassable ice barriers of Lake Pepin.
The passengers passed resolutions praising his courage and skill.
In trying to force its way through the ice, the Aeolian was cut
so badly that she was sunk in thirty feet of water and four pas-
sengers were drowned. The Metropolitan rescued the others. The
loss was $10,000.

"The Key City came down last night with colors flying, having
come direct from St. Paul. The Key City was the first boat
through Lake Pepin. Hereafter boats will run regularly and our
merchants here will be able to fill their up-river orders." — {Express
and Herald, April 23, 1859.)

The Northern Packet Line owned and operated the following
sidewheel steamers : Pembina, Captain Griffith ; Minnesota Belle,
Captain Hill ; Denmark, Captain Gray ; Henry Clay, Captain ;
Stephenson; Canada, Captain Ward; Wm. L. Ewing, Captain

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 24 of 56)