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 3 of 56)
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found to exist from the cap rock down to living water about sixty
feet below. At the termination of one drift the crevice was about
eight feet wide and completely filled with ore. J. F. Rebman about
the same time discovered on the old Stout farm a number of heavy
zinc deposits ; his cre\'ice was about forty feet wide. From Rhom-
berg hill to the Western brewery Trieb & Company and Trieb,


Southwell & Brunskill discovered and worked valuable deposits;
they were considered the most extensive zinc mines west of the
river. Burt, McNulty & Cooper worked the "Ave Top" mine on
Julien avenue near Nevada street ; it had turned out nearly 2.000,000
pounds of lead, but in the eighties was worked for zinc by Hird,
Oatey & Watters, and paid. Mr. Goldthorpe mined a lot of drybone
at Center and Fourteenth street. Many men and teams in the
eighties were thus employed. It was thought that with a home
reducing plant and full time worked the Dubuque drybone mines
would yield from 100 to 200 tons per day. One mine in 1890
offered to contract to deliver twenty-five to fifty tons a day.

In 1899 there was a revival of zinc mining in Dubuque county.
Considerable was found near Buncombe — Rowley mine, mill and
roaster ; Northwestern mine and mill ; Buncombe Hill mine and
Big Dad mine. In nearly all the old lead mining districts drybone
has been found, often in paying quantities.

Among other rich strikes in the sixties was one in August, 1868,
on the hill south of the French brewery, near Langworthy Hollow.
Lead ore to the amount of 100,000 pounds had been taken out there
many years before.

In 1867 there was found in the old Kelly cabin $4,000 in gold;
later a boy in kicking over a tin can at the cabin uncovered $1,800
in gold; search revealed $1,500 more in an old tea canister. These
discoveries caused a thorough search to be made, but no more gold
was found. The search, however, led to several discoveries of lead
ore in the old Kelly mines.

In 1875-6 Collins & Rooney shipped large quantities of lead ore,
often from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds a day. Edwards & Luther's old
mine, though eleven years old, seemed to grow better and better
in 1876.

The Dubuque Ore Concentrating Company was organized in
1892 with the following ofBcers : John Babcock, president ; E. E.
Jones, vice president; S. J. Southwell, secretary; Philip Pier, Sr.,
treasurer. By this date (1892) considerable drybone was being
mined in this county, but as yet there was no reduction plant here.
The above company laid plans to mine drybone, black jack and
galena on an extensive scale ; its plant was on Southern avenue.
Early in 1893 the Dubuque Zinc Company, with a capital of
$100,000, prepared to manufacture zinc from drybone on an exten-
sive scale. E. T. Goldthorpe, in 1891, operated one mine near
Durango and three near Dubuque ; in that year he shipped fifty
carloads of ore, the freight charges on which were $r,6oo. In four
years previous to 1892 he shipped over $100,000 worth of zinc and
lead ore from this vicinity to Mineral Point for reduction.


It is related on unknown authority that some time after Du-
buque's death, an Indian fighter and pioneer, John T. Smith, took
possession of the works and attempted to carry on mining and
smelting, but received no encouragement, and soon encountered
open opposition from the chief Pi-a-nos-ky, who, with a band of
warriors, tore down his buildings and drove him and his com-
panions across the river.

The Avenue Top Company in recent years; their mine in Du-
bucjue township yielded about $150,000 in lead ore, then $25 in dry
bone, and later o\er $100,000 in blackjack. The old Rarrick mine
yielded over $500,000 worth of lead ore; Bartlett & Stewart raised
about $150,000 worth; Levins, about $250,000; Burton, Jarrett &
Glab, $200,000, and others. Many "bunches" were formed worth
$10,000 to $20,000. The Stewart cave is about 900 feet long and
in one place it is 100 feet wide. Sunflower cave at Kaufifman ave-
nue is forty feet wide, 800 feet long and sixty feet high in places.
West Dubuque has numerous other caves.

In August, 1894, Kimball Goldthorpe discovered a rich lead of
ore in West Dubuque. At the depth of 190 feet he found two solid
sheets. In 1895, ^leehan, at the depth of 130 feet, struck a valu-
able lead on Southern a\'enue. The Shearn mine was one of the
richest ever struck here; during the summer of 1895 about 400,000
pounds of ore were raised. The Goldthorpe, Jones & Kimball mine,
near the old Karrick diggings, was very valuable ; at one time 10,000
pounds were taken out daily. Three mines — Karrick's. Shearn's
and Sloan's — have yielded a total of approximately 15,000,000
pounds. Cheney's, Levins', Horton's, Emery's and Bartlett's mines
have been successful. In 1896 large quantities of "ore dust" were
shipped from Durango ; it was used for smelting purposes. J. W.
Halpin & Company made a valuable strike in 1898; they took out
20,000 pounds of ore in a week in West Dubuque. The Pike's Peak
and Alpine street mines were valuable.

The Dubuque Ore Development Company was incorporated in
1905. Large beds of blackjack were found in 1906 at Pike's Peak.
The Key West Mining Company had valuable mines in 1906; this
year rich discoveries of ore were made on Southern avenue and on
Cascade road. This year, also, the Avenue Top Mining Company
found large quantities of pure resin jack. This company sold five
carloads of zinc ore in January, 1908. In July the richest strike of
blackjack yet made here was unearthed on the Miller farm. West
Dubuque. The Harriman Company was organized in 1906. The
Tri-State Mining Company is a recent organization. The Goose-
born Mining made important discoveries on Grand View avenue.

Other valuable discoveries are in progress, and the end of ore
wealth is not in sight.


THE conveyance of the Fox Indians to Julien Dubuque in
1788 was as follows: "Copy of the council held by the
Foxes, that is to say, of the branch of five villages, with
the approbation of the rest of their people, explained
to Mr. Quinantotaye, deputied by them, in their presence, and in
the presence of us, the undersigned: that is to say, the Foxes
permit Mr. Julien Dubuque, called by them the Little Cloud, to
work at the mines as long as he shall please and to withdraw
from it without specifying any term to him; moreover, that they
sell and abandon to him all the coast and the contents of the
mine discovered by the wife of Peosta, so that no white man
or Indian shall make any pretension to it, without the consent of
Mr. Julien Dubuque; and in case he shall find nothing within, he
shall be free to search wherever he may think proper to do so, and
to work peaceably without anyone hurting him or doing him any
prejudice in his labors. Thus we chief and braves, by the voice
of our villages, have agreed with Julien Dubuque, selling and
delivering to him this day as above mentioned, in presence of the
Frenchmen who attend us, who are witnesses to this writing.

"At the Prairie du Chien, in full council, the 226. September,


Ala Austin (his X mark).


"Basil Teren (his X mark), ^

Blondeau D'Ouirneau, 1- Witnesses."

Joseph Fontigny." J '

On the day this document was executed Dubuque is said to have
delivered goods to the Indians in payment for the tract of land,
which this writing purported to lease or convey; and a few days
afterward, it was also said, the Indian chiefs, in the presence of
Dubuque, allowed monuments to be erected at the mouths of Little
Maquoketa and Tete des Morts rivers as boundaries of the tract
along the river.

The petition of Julien Dubuque to Governor Carondelet was as
follows: "The most humble petitioner to your excellency, who is
called Julien Dubuque, having formed a habitation upon the fron-
tiers of your government, in the midst of the savage tribes that



are tlie inhabitants of the country, has purchased a tract of land
from these Indians, and the mines which it contains ; and through
his perseverance in surmounting all the obstacles arising as well
from dangers as heavy expenses, has at length succeeded, after
many troubles, in being the peaceful owner of a tract of land situated
on the western bank of the Mississippi river, to which he has given
the name of the 'Mines d'Espagne' (Mines of Spain or Spanish
Mines), in honor of the government to which they belong. As the
locality of the habitation is but a point and the different mines he
works are sparsely spread, and at a distance of three leagues from
each other, the most humble petitioner prays your excellency to be
pleased to grant him the peaceful possession of the said land and
mines; that is from the upper hills of the small river Maquauquitois
to the Mesquabynonques hills, which is about seven leagues upon the
western bank of the Mississippi, by three leagues in depth; which
demand the petitioner hopes to obtain from your goodness. I pray
the same goodness, which makes the happiness of so many subjects,
to excuse my style and to be willing to accept of the pure simplicity
of my heart for want of my eloquence. With all my power I
beseech heaven to preserve you, and to pour all favors upon you,
and I am and shall be all the days of my life, of your excellency
the most humble, obedient and submissi\'e subject."

"J- Dubuque."

"New Orleans, October 22, 1796.
"Let information be given by the merchant Don Andrew Todd
on the nature of this demand."

"The B.\ron de Carondelet."

The exact langaiage of Andrew Todd was in part as follows :
"I have to say that, as to the land for which he asks, nothing occurs
to me why it should not be granted if you find it convenient; with
the condition, nevertheless, that the grantee shall obser\'e the pro-
visions of his majesty relating to the trade with the Indians ; and
that this be absolutely prohibited to him, unless he shall have
consent in writing."

The board of commissioners for ascertaining and adjusting land
claims in the Territory of Louisiana sat at St. Louis, September 20,
1806; it was shown, and reported as follows:

"Julien Dubuque and Auguste Chouteau claim a tract of one
hundred and forty-eight thousand one hundred and seventy-six
arpents of land situated on the river Mississippi at a place called
the Spanish Mines, about four hundred and fortv miles from St.
Louis, forming in superficies an extent of about twenty-one leagues.
They produce, first, a petition by the said Julien Dubuque to the
Baron de Carondelet, praying for the peaceable ])ossession of an
e.xtent of land of alwmt seven leagues on the west side of the Missis-

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sippi, beginning at the heights of Mesquabynonques, being in front
on said river about seven leagues by a depth of three leagues — the
whole forming the said tract called the Spanish Mines ; together
with a reference by the Baron de Carondelet to one Andrew Todd,
an Indian trader, of the above demand, under the date of the 22d
of October, 1796, with the assent of said Andrew Todd to the
granting of the same provided the said petitioner should not inter-
fere with his trade, the same dated 29th October, same year."

The prayer of the petitioner was granted by Carondelet in the
following language : "Concedido como se solicita baxo las restric-
ciones que el comerciante Don Anstres Todd expresa en so in forme,
10 Noviembre, 1796" (Granted as it is demanded, tmder the restric-
tions mentioned by the merchant Don Andrew Todd in his infor-

"I, the undersigned, William Henry Harrison, governor of the
Territory of Indiana, and commissioner plenipotentiary of the
United States for treating with the Indian tribes northwest of the
Ohio, do hereby certify and declare that after the treaty which was
made with the Sacs and Foxes at St. Louis on the 3d day of
November, 1804, was drawn up and prepared for signing, I was
shown a grant from the governor general of Louisiana to a certain
Dubuque for a considerable quantity of land at some distance up the
Mississippi and where the said Dubuque has for many years resided.
Finding that this tract could be considered receded by the treaty as
it then stood, the additional article was written and submitted to the
Indians. They readily consented to it; and the undersigned
informed them that the intention of it was to embrace particularly
the claim of Dubuque, the validity of which they acknowledgecl.
Given under my hand and seal at Vincennes, the ist day of January,

"William Henry Harrlson."

The principal objection to the claim was as follows, in the lan-
guage of Mr. Gallatin, then secretary of the treasury : "The prin-
cipal question made on this claim is one which, perhaps, in the
whole history of Louisiana titles, is peculiar to itself. There is no
fraud imputed; no want of authority to make the supposed grant;
no uncertainty of its location. It is not challenged for want of being
possessed in good faith ; and no exception is taken to the capacity
of the grantee. But conceding all these facts it is objected, that, on
the face of the papers, in their purpose and meaning, no title of any
sort in the land v.'as intended or has been created; that the whole
transaction was but to obtain a personal privilege, or usufruct, at
will; and whatever of concession or stipulation there is, was but
for a temporary personal protection and which has not been other-
wise validated as a title" (See Vol. i. Laws United States, p. 562).
An adverse report of the Senate committee in 1841-2 (Senate Docs.,


Vol. V, No. 341 ) "assumes essentially the same ground as Mr.
Gallatin and regards the Indian contract as a personal privilege to
Dubuque to work the mines ; the governor's concession but an
affirmance of this power; that the right was acquired without con-
sideration, and died with the person ; that the Indians had no right
to sell the lands, and that it was the policy of the Spanish govern-
ment not to sell its mines, etc."

But the Senate committee found otherwise as follows : "That
no precedent or example can be found of such grant of personal
privilege in the use of lands being made up between the Indians and
the Spanish government in the whole history of the provincial
administration in Florida and Louisiana; that the Spanish authori-
ties indulged the Indians with a power of sale to individual white
men, subject to a ratification of title by the government authorities
of the province; that such sales had already been confirmed by the
boards of land commissioners, by Congress, and by the courts of the
United States ; that the article of sale to Dubuque by the Indians
contained the following language : 'That they sell and abandon to
him all the coast and the contents of the mine discovered by the wife
of Peosta, so that no white nitm or Indian shall make any pretension
to it, without the consent of the Sieur Julien Dubuque.' And the
article further said that 'In case he shall find nothing within (the
mine sold to him) he shall be free to search ivherei'er it shall seem
good to him, and to work peaceably without any hurting him, or
doing him any prejudice in his labors.'

"The committee readily acknowledge this part is but a personal
permission. But it is a permit beyond the sale and conveyance, not
purporting, as in the preceding, a sale and surrender of possession
with a covenant of warranty against all pretensions of the white man
or Indian; that this was intended to be a sale in fee so far as the
Indians could make it ; that Dubuque's application to Carondelet
must have been in order to secure a confirmation of his title, because
he already had held possession for over eight years."

"What Todd understood to be the object of Dubuque's requete
is too manifest to be disputed by any. Apprehending the motives
of the petitioner to be apparent and palpable he in plain and simple
brevity replied to the governor that 'As to the land for which he
(Dubuque) asks nothing occurs to me why it should not be
granted.' This information seems to have satisfied the governor;
and hence the conclusion is irresistible — the governor understood
Dubuque's requete as Todd did, viz. : a simple petition for a grant
of the lands specified and wliich had been purchased of the Indians.
The lead mines were an incident of the lands of so little importance
at that time, that Todd never alludes to them."

It was shown that on November 3, 1804, in a treaty made in St.
Louis between the government and the Sac and Fo.x nations of
Indians, "the general boundary line between the lands of the United


States and of the said Indian tribes shall be as follows, to-wit :
Beginning at a point on the Missouri river opposite to the mouth of
the Gasconade river; thence in a direct course so as to strike the
river Jeffrion at the distance of thirty miles from its mouth, and
down the said Jeffrion to the Mississippi ; thence up the Mississippi
to the mouth of the Wisconsin, and up the same to a point which
shall be thirty-six miles in a direct line from the mouth of said
river; thence by a direct line to the point where the Fox river (a
branch of the Illinois) leaves the small lake called Sakeagan; thence
down the Fox river to the Illinois river and down the same to the
Mississippi." The Indians ceded to the United States all the lands
mcluded within the above described boundary. In this treaty the
following language was used : "It is agreed that nothing in this
treaty shall affect the claim of any individual or individuals who
may have obtained grants of land from the Spanish government,
and which are not included within the general boundary line laid
down in this treaty, provided that such grants have at any time
been made known to the said tribes and recognized by them." In a
letter dated Vincennes, January 4, 18 16, and addressed to Auguste
Chouteau at St. Louis, William Henry Harrison used the following
language : "Enclosed you have the certificate on the subject of
Dubuque's claim. I hope it will be sufficient for your purpose.
I have no doubt of the validity of your claim and never had any."
On October 20, 1804, Dubuque sold to August Chouteau, 72,324
arpents of said land for $10,848.60, the undivided half or moiety of
which was afterward sold by the said Chouteau to John Mullanphy,
and on September 20, 1806, they presented their title papers to the
board of commissioners — Lucas, Penrose and Donaldson. Mr.
Lucas dissented from the opinion of a majority of the board "upon
the ground that it was not a perfect, but merely an inchoate and
incomplete title." The Senate committee said: "In reviewing the
decision of the board of 1806 in favor of the claim, the committee
are satisfied their decision was right and just in its general result,
but that the board erred in pronouncing it 'a complete Spanish
title.' It is obviously but a concession of land without a natural or
ascertained boundary. And for this reason a survey, the customary
prerequisite, was wanting, preparatory to executing the grant in
complete fomi. But the dissenting opinion of Mr. Lucas, for this
reason, is manifestly against all legal and equitable principle applica-
ble to the case. And regarding the claim as reported by him to be
'an incipient or imperfect title,' it is, as such, equally with perfect
titles, protected by the treaty ceding Louisiana, and therefore was
entitled to his decision in its favor (Am. St. Papers, Public Lands,
Vol. Ill, pp. 586-587).

The memorial or petition of Pierre Chouteau, J. Ferdinand Ken-
nett and others stated "That some time in the year 1774 Julien
Dubuque, a mineralogist, emigrated to the Province of Louisiana


and settled among the Sac and Fox nation of Indians, on the Missis-
sippi, near the site of tlie present town of Dubuque."

In the journal of his "voyage" to the sources of the Mississippi
in the years 1805 and 1806, Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike speaks of Julien
Dubuque. He commences by saying: "Sailed from my encamp-
ment near St. Louis, at 4 o'clock P. M., on Friday, the 9th of
August, 1805, with one sergeant, two corporals and seventeen pri-
vates, in a keel boat, 70 feet long, provisioned for four months ;
water very rapid. * * * First September, Sunday — Embarked
early; wind fair; arrived at the lead mines at 12 o'clock. * * *
We were saluted with a field piece and received with every mark of
attention by Monsieur Dubuque, the proprietor. There were no
horses at the house and it was six miles to where the mines were
worked; it was therefore impossible to make a report by actual
inspection. I therefore proposed ten queries, on the answers to
wliich my report was founded (see below). Dined with Mr. D.,
who informed me that the Sioux and Sauteurs (Chippewas) were
as warmly engaged in opposition as ever; that not long since the
former killed fifteen Sauteurs, also on the loth of August Sauteurs
killed ten Sioux at the entrance of the St. Peter's; and that a war
party composed of the Sacs, Reynards and Puants (Winnebagoes)
of two hundred warriors, had embarked on an expedition against
the Sauteurs, but that they had heard that the chief having had an
unfavorable dream, persuaded the party to return, and that I would
meet them on my voyage. At this place I was introduced to a chief
called the 'Ra\en of the Reynards.' He made a very flowery speech
on the occasion, which I answered in a few words, accompanied by a
small present. I had now given up all hopes of my two men (who
had strayed away and become lost), and was about to embark, when
a perogue arrived, in which they were, with a Mr. Blondeau and
two Indians whom that gentleman had engaged above the rapids of
Stony (Rock) river. The two soldiers had been six days without
anything to eat except muscles (clams), when they met Mr. James
Aird, by whose humanity and attention their strength and spirits
were in a measure restored, and they were enabled to reach the
Reynard village, where they met with Mr. B. The Indian chief
furnished them with corn and shoes and showed his friendship by
every possible attention. I immediately discharged the hire of the
Indians and gave Mr. Blondeau a passage to the Prairie Des Chiens.
Left the lead mines at 4 o'clock."

Having concluded their trip to the headwaters of the Mississippi
and been gone all winter, they returned down the river in the spring
of 1906. On the 15th they passed through Lake Pepin. They
arrived at Prairie Des Chiens on tlie i8th. Here Pike ilined with
Mr. Campbell in company with Messrs. W'ilmot, Blakely, Wood,
Rollet, Fisher, Frazer and Jearreau.

"April 2T), Wednesday — After closing my accounts, etc., at half


past 12 o'clock left tlie prairie ; at tiie lower end of it was saluted by
seventeen lodges of the Puants. Met a barge, by which I received a
letter from my lady. Further on met one batteaux and one canoe of
traders. Passed one trader's camp. Arrived at Mr. Dubucjue's at
10 o'clock at night, found some traders encamped at the entrance
with forty or fifty Indians; obtained some information from Mr. D.
and requested him to write me on certain points. After we had
boiled our victuals, I divided my men into four watches and put ofif
— wind ahead.


1. What is the date of your grant of the mines from the sav-
ages? Answer: The copy of the grant is in Mr. Soulard's office at
St. Louis.

2. What is the date of the confirmation by the Spaniards?
Answer : The same as to query first.

3. What is the extent of your grant? Answer; The same as

4. What is the extent of the mines? Answer ; Tw'enty-eight or
twenty-seven leagues long and from one to three broad.

5. Lead made per annum? Answer: From 20,000 to 40,000

6. Quantity of lead per cent of mineral? Answer: Seventy-five
per cent.

7. Quantity of lead in pigs? Answer: All he makes, as he
neither manufactures bar, sheet-lead, nor shot.

"Dubuque remained in the uninterrupted possession of the said
land from the time of its purchase from the Indians in 1788 until his
death, which occurred in the month of March, 18 10, during the
whole of which time he worked the mines and cultivated a portion
of the land. He died in possession and was buried upon the land on
a high bluff near the present town of Dubuque; and so great was the
veneration entertained for him by the Indians, that for many years

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 3 of 56)