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 42 of 56)
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Democrats swept the county with majorities ranging from 712 to
1,611. Taylor and Dodge townships were carried by the Repub-
licans. This was the first time Julien township was separated from
the city of Dulnique. The Herald often referred in a jocular way
to "Dubuque Copperheads."

In 1868, Solomon Turck was nominated for mayor by the Demo-
crats, and William Westphal by the Republicans. The fomier
received 1,792 \otes and the latter 1,220. The Democrats elected
their whole city ticket except marslial. The council ordered an
investigation of the administration of Mayor Graves; he was
charged with having distorted figures, etc.

In June, 1868, a Grant and Colfax club was organized at
Dubuque. In the summer, J. K. Graves made desperate efforts to


wrest the nomination for Congress from Mr. Allison, but failed in
convention, 221 to 207 votes. This contest almost divided the
party. The nomination of Seymour and Blair was ratified by
Dubuque Democrats. For Congress Allison received in Dubuque
county 2,251 votes. Mills (D. ) 4.328, Thomas (Ind.) no.

In 1868, John H. O'Neill was a delegate to the Democratic
national convention. The presidential contest of 1868 was filled
with bitter personalities and savage partisan attacks. At the
November election the Grant electors received 2,583 votes and the
Seymour electors 4,088 votes in Dubuque county. Five constitu-
tional amendments were voted on : { i ) Negroes to vote in Iowa ^
(2) negroes to be enrolled as militia; (3) negroes to be counted
in the census; (4) negroes to be counted in the apportionment for
senators and representatives; (5) negroes to occupy any office in
the state. Dubuque county polled heavy majorities against all five
amendments — 4,341 to 2,292. There was much excitement and
bitterness in the vote on these amendments. It was said that a
negro formerly a slave in Alabama and part white voted the straight
Democratic ticket at Peosta in November, 1868.


1864 3,375 2,223

1865 2,842 1,554

1866 3,151 2,086

1867 3,340 1,950

1868 4,092 2,633

"Iowa has undoubtedly elected the nigger. It is triumph of
which to be proud. In Dubuque the nigger runs ahead of Allison.
In the state the nigger is but little behind the other radical candi-
dates." — {Herald, November 7, 1868.)

"The election has renewed power to radicalism. One of the first
things pledged by the radical party is to pay the bondholders in
coin. The majority of Congress is sufficient, and Grant is equally
pledged with Congress. The people have declared by their ballots
that such payment is what they desire. The outrage is promised
and endorsed. Let it be consummated speedily."- — {Herald,
November 7, 1868.)

In the spring of 1869 the Democrats nominated George W. Jones
for mayor, but he declined and they then named W. J. Knight.
The Republicans nominated C. J. Cummings, but upon his declina-
tion they nominated H. S. Hetherington. Still the paramount
question was the paym.ent of the city indebtedness. In this contest
the old Allison-Graves feud appeared because the Allison faction
slashed Morheiser for marshal and the Graves faction knifed
Hetherington. The result was that the Democrats had the largest
majority they secured for many years. Knight (D. ) received


1,706, and Hetherington (R. ) 1,108. The Democratic majorities
ranged from 546 to 697. This was the first election at w hich the
negroes generally were permitted to vote. It was said at the time
that they nearly all voted the straight Democratic ticket, but some
allowance should be made for this statement. At the October
election (1869) Gillaspy (D. ) received for governor 3,367 votes
and Merrill (R. ) 1,927 in Dubuque county. Taylor and Dodge
townships and the Third and iMiurth wards, Dubuque, went

In January, 1870, W. B. Allison was a candidate for the United
States Senate, but was defeated before the legislature. His dele-
gation returned to Dubuque "sorry and sad." In March. 1870, the
newspapers of both parties praised the administration of Mayor
Knight, who had accomplished wonders in untangling the city debt
and putting it in the way of certain ultimate extinction. .-\Iderman
A. F. Jaeger was likewise praised. The Democrats renominated
Knight for mayor and the Republicans named Mr. Kingman, who
was in reality the nominee of the Graves faction, which bitterly
assailed the alleged Allison ring. Kingman a few years before had
been terribly defeated by John Thompson in the mayoralty race.
Knight (D. ) received 1,994 votes and Kingman (R.) 742. Gener-
ally, the whole Democratic ticket was successful. This surprising
victory was an acknowledgment and endorsement of the Knight
administration, many Republicans voting with the Democrats.

Among the Republican speakers to appear here in the fall of
1870 were Henry O'Connor, W. B. Allison, Chester C. Cole, J. S.
Clarkson, Charles Aldrich and James Harlan. At the October
election (1870) Doerr (D. ) received 2,535 votes for secretary of
state and Wright (R. ), 1,439. For a constitutional convention. 225;
against it, 1,815 : for an increase in county supervisors. 771 : against
such increase. 2,223. ^^- B. Mulkern was state senator.

Both parties in the spring of 1871 held stirring conventions and
named full municipal tickets. Mayor Knight had made enemies
by his honest energy and zeal for the city's welfare. Few men in
the face of such obstacles as then existed could have accomplished
so much. His legal ability and integrity had greatly advanced the
city's credit and made all business pursuits prosperous. But a
change was wanted, evidently. It was shown that his honest policy
eiubraced the payment at par of the city debt, regardless of the fact
that many of the bondholders who resided in Dubuque had iiur-
chased the bonds in the East at about 25 cents on the dollar.
Apparently the majority of the voters wanted the mayor to force
the bondholders to take much less than 100 cents on the dollar ; thus
in this election the taxpayers generally voted down the bondholders.

"We have met the enemy and have come so near to being theirs
that not nuich pleasure can be derived from the escape. The whole
Democratic city ticket is elected witli the exception of mayor.


where Mr. Knight is defeated by Judge Burt by about ^^J majority.
The RepubHcans have also elected a majority of the city council,
carrying four of the five aldermen, so that the ne.xt council will
stand, with the holdovers, six Republicans to four Democrats." —
{Herald, April 4, 1871.)

In 1 87 1 B. B. Richards was nominated for the state senate by
the Democracy, and M. M. Ham, of the Dubuque Herald, was
nominated for lieutenant-governor. All Republican movements and
nominations in the fall of 1871 were made with the view of Mr.
Allison's candidacy for the United States Senate ; the Graves fac-
tion had subsided ; Allison men were chosen for everything, for
popular effect. Torbert, Shiras, Henderson, Beach, Ballou et al.
of the "Allison ring" ruled the party here. The vote in the county
in October was: For governor, Knapp (D.) 3,287, Carpenter (R.)
1,986; county treasurer, Stewart (D. ) 2,617, Jarrett (R. ) 2,455;
for lieutenant-governor, Ham (D.) 3,311, Bulls (R.) 1,951.
Richard's majority over Burden was 652. C. H. Booth was
elected to the House by 162 majority.

In January, 1872, Mr. Allison was elected to the United States
Senate. Upon his return here, all citizens, irrespective of party,
gave him a notable and cordial public reception. C. Wullweber
made the welcoming speech; H. L. Stout was chairman. About
this time, Mr. Mahony, having roused the wrath of M. M. Ham,
of the Herald, was "roasted" in the following fashion:

"Mahony believes in blackmailing as a principle. He puts him-
self up at auction and strikes himself off to anybody who will bid.
If people decline to buy the goods, not believing him worth the
buying, then his idea is to 'go for 'em,' lie about them, traduce them,
vilify them, poison the public mind against them, do anything or
everything against them ; it serves them right, for they might have
complied with his reasonable demands! This has always been his
rule of action. Because General Jones did not give him a sur-
veying contract years ago, he has been abusing him ever since. He
was for a while partner with Doctor Holt in the newspaper busi-
ness, and succeeded in ruining him. He was then with Dorr for a
while, and would have ruined him had not Dorr got rid of him.
About this time he was around the county treasury and turned up
a defaulter, and the people of Dubuque county are suffering from
it in their taxes to this day. In 1862 he besought Governor Kirk-
woofl to allow him to raise an Irish regiment of which he was to be
colonel. He was then a rampant war man, but when Kirkwood —
knowing him too well — refused his application, he at once turned
upon him, abused him, and from being a terrible war man he became
a terrible peace man. Soon after, the Republicans were foolish
enough to arrest him. which made a great man of him, greater than
he ever was before or ever will be again. After his return home
he liked to ha\e ruined the paper with his dogmatical and dicta-


torial manner, until Hutchins, to get rid of him. leased his interest
in the office and got him out and soon after shoved him upon the
long-sufifering people of Dubuque county as sheriff. In 1866,
Hutchins and Hodnett started the St. Louis Times, out of which they
have each made an indejjendent fortune. In their good nature they
gave Mahony an interest, but inside of a year they had to put him
out again. He repaid Hutchins by abusing him for years. In 186S
he was first a rampant anti-bridge man, then as rampant for it.
A present of $2,000 stock wrought the change. Ask Allison, Stout.
Graves or Booth. He subscribed for a large amount of stock in
the first water-works company and then abused John Thompson
because he would not give him money to pay with. His recent
spiteful, cowardly and vengeful attacks on L. D. Randall were
because the latter would not be blackmailed out of $500; tlie same
regarding his attacks on the county board and W. G. Stewart, in
the latter case endeavoring to excite religious feuds in our midst:
on Peter Kiene, Joe Rhomberg, J. K. Graves, the railroad com-
pany — in fact, on everybody who refuses to have money extorted
from them to silence him. Such is Dennis Mahony." — (Herald,
January 26, 1872.)

In February. 1872, B. B. Richards, Fred O'Donnell and John
Christoph in the legislature opposed woman suffrage; General
Booth there supported the movement. Cliristoph was chosen at a
special election to succeed Martin Kaier. deceased. The Democrats
renominated their city officers except mayor: they named Solomon
Turck. The Republicans nominated H. O. Ward. The Herald
called the latter the "ten-pin ticket" because it was put up to be
knocked down. Closing the saloons on Sundays and cleaning the
streets were issues. Turck (D. ) received 1.572 votes and Ward
(R.) 1,483. The Republicans and railways fought Turck for
alleged former grievances. The city debt was being refunded in
6 per cent twenty-five-year bonds.

Grant's renomination for the Presidency suited the stalwart
Republicans of this county. However, the "reform" movement of
the so-called "liberal Republicans" carried away about 200 of the
leading members of the regular Republican party. The Times
])romptly condemned the defection and urged the party to support

"In this work before us we should meet liberal Republicans as we
would fellow citizens in an hour of peril. Our purposes are one,
and let us not imperil the result by feeding ancient grudges with
bitter words. Part\- has been swallowed up by patriotism, and we
should feel prouder than ever of our grand old party, that it has
made such a sacrifice for the seeming good of the country. As
between Grant and the notorious corruption which he feeds, and
Greeley and the reforms which he embodies, fhere should be no
hesitation which to choose." — (Herald, July 11. 1872.)


The fall campaign in 1872 was enthusiastic in the extreme on
the part of the liberal Republicans. All the best local speakers of
both parties took the stump and analyzed to applauding crowds the
national issues. All voters were required to register. John H.
O'Neill, who had gone to reside at St. Louis but had returned,
came out for Grant and Wilson.

"When the war was raging and the life of the nation was at
stake, Mr. O'Neill was an outspoken secessionist and gave utterance
to sentiments which, were he tried for them before the proper
tribunal, would convict him of treason." — {Herald, September 17,

H. B. Foulke, of Dubuque, was elector-at-large on the liberal
Republican ticket. Dr. E. A. Guilbert, of Dubuque, was liberal
Republican candidate for secretary of state. M. M. Ham was chair-
man of the Greeley club. George W. Jones in a long letter deplor-
ing the course of recent politics, declared he was ready to march
out of the ranks of Democracy and ready to join the opposition.
At the November election the liberal Republican electors received
3,478 votes and the Republican electors 2,437 votes. The balance
of the ticket except for sheriff was about the same in Dubuque
county. For sheriff, Liddy (R. ) received 3,092 votes and Jarrett
(L. R.) 2,823. Greeley's death, late in November, called forth
suitable obituary notices.

In 1873 the Grangers organized and became a powerful force in
politics. The Herald deplored the "antics" of George W. Jones
in "marrying himself to the Republican party" at Des Moines early
in 1873. "Municipal reform" was the slogan of a large faction,
regardless of party, in April, 1873. It was a sudden movement
against the alleged high taxation necessary to pay the city debt
and current expenses. The movement proved the blindness of the
masses, because the tax was necessary to relieve them from a
greater burden. The "reformers" organized, joined the Repub-
licans, nominated H. P. Ward for mayor, and attacked the city
administration under Mayors Knight and Burt. The Grangers
organized at an immense meeting in the court room on March 28.
The Democrats nominated A. H. Peaslee for mayor. The Times
claimed at this time that the Democrats here were kept in power
by the Germans, who were kept in line by an occasional "plum."
The Democrats elected their city ticket, though the majorities were
small. For mayor, Peaslee (D. ) received 1,470 and Ward (R. )


In the fall of 1873, the Democrats, to win the favor of the
Grangers, called themselves "Anti-Monopolists," and the Repub-
licans used the term "People's ticket." Both conducted strong
and aggressive can;paigns. For governor. Carpenter (R.) received
in Dubuque county 2,153 votes and Vale (D. ) 3,566 votes. D. N.
Cooley (R.) unexpectedly received 3,088 votes for senator to


2,589 for the old favorite, B. B. Richards. For county auditor,
McLaughlin (R.) received 3,148 and Hempstead (D. ) 2,496.
For county treasurer, WiUiams (R.) received 3,299 and Rucgamer
(D. ) 2,402. These resuUs astonished the Democracy. They were
mainly due to the Granger movement.

In the spring of 1.874 the Democrats renominated A. H. Peaslee
for mayor and the Repuhlicans named Mr. Chapman. There were
no new issues. The result was Peaslee (D. ) 2,145 votes and
Chapman (R.) 901. For marshall, Reutzinger (R.) received 1,847
and Hardy (D. ) 1,183. Four Republican aldermen were elected
against two Democratic aldermen.

In October the Republicans made herculean efforts to elect two
out of three county supervisors in order to have a majority of the
board, but failed. For Congress, Ainsworth (D.) received 3,295
votes in Dubuque county and Granger (R.) 1,838. Ainsworth was
elected and was thus the first Democratic congressman from this
district for many years. For secretary of state, Morgan (D.)
received 3,258 and Young (R. ) 1,920. Restraining stock — yes,
1,150; no, 2,499; increasing county board to five members — yes,
1,948; no, 3.000. The Democrats, particularly at Dyersville, held
a very enthusiastic celebration of the election of Mr. Ainsworth.
His opponent (Granger) was hung in effigy.

In April, 1875, James Gushing (R. ) was chosen mayor over
W. G. Stewart (D. ) by 2,72, majority. D. E. Lyon (R.) was
chosen city attorney over T. S. Wilson (D. ) by about seventy- five

"Unusual care should be taken this fall to nominate men that
are exceptionally good, for during the past three years it has
become evident that a Democratic nomination by no means insures
an election. Of the five county officers at the court house, three
are men who were elected in opposition to the nominees of Demo-
cratic conventions — Williams, McLaughlin and Lewis. This county
now has a Republican senator, and though we had the three repre-
sentatives two years ago. yet they were elected by small majorities
of a couple of hundred or so. Of the three county supervisors
the Republicans have one and came near electing another. All this
is done in the face of the fact that Dubuque county is still as
strongly Democratic as ever." — {Herald, August 28, 1875.)

"During ten years the Democrats wiped out an indebtedness of
$433,000. They kept down taxation so that Dubuque has been
among the lightest taxed counties of the state. There was no
defalcation — no misappropriation of funds. County warrants were
brought up to par. No frauds have been committed. They have
had no credit mobiliers, no rings, no side-cuts, no salary grabs, no
back pay, no short terms of office and then retiring unaccountably
rich; yet in spite of a Democratic majority of 1,500, the people
have become tired of them and sought other rulers. Why is it?


The Republicans liave spent money and corrupted voters. Who has
forgotten the Graves campaign, the Cooley campaign or the Gushing
campaign?" — {Herald, August 28, 1875.)

In the fall of 1875 the Graves faction again became paramount.
The old Allison men — Shiras, Henderson, Lyon, Rich, Nightingale,
Ballou, Torbert, Crane and others — were shoved aside, and the
Graves adherents — Cooley, Rhomberg, Gushing, Coates, Howard,
Robinson, Walker, Taylor, Lewis, Kingman, Blumenauer, Trick,
Elmer Williams, Walker and others — assumed control of the Re-
publican convention. Allison was in the Senate and safely out of
the way. The vote in October, 1875, was : For governor. Kirk-
wood (R.) 2,124, Leffler (D.) 4,047. Two Republicans — Graves
and Johnson — were elected to the legislature. Williams (R. ) for
county treasurer defeated O'Brien (D.), 3,579 to 2,591. Internal
strife split the county Democracy.

Politics was demoralized in Dubuque county in 1876; people
were seeking a change. Both Democrats and Republicans nomi-
nated George B. Burch for mayor ; he was liberal and a good busi-
ness man. It is a remarkable fact that D. D. W. Carver, A. A.
Cooper, John Hodgdon, W. H. Peabody, M. M. Ham and W. W.
Woodward, all sound Democrats, refused to be nominated at this
time for mayor. The issues were unsatisfactory. Burch and the
Democratic ticket, except auditor, were elected by greatly varying
majorities. "Unite parties and pay the city debt," is the slogan
that won.

The presidential campaign in 1876 was very spirited in this
county. There was a great cry against waving the "bloody shirt."
"Tilden and reform" overran the county. Many able speakers
addressed Dubuque county audiences. Excitement ran high just
before the election. When it was first announced that Tilden was
elected, Dem.ocrats could not restrain themselves ; then they settled
down to await the result. The Tilden electors received 4,978 and
the Hayes electors 2,798 votes. The Democrats swept the county.

In 1877 the Democrats named James H. Shields for mayor, and
the Republicans again selected George B. Burch. The board of
trade attacked the Burch administration for its alleged high ex-
penses. The Herald, which had supported Burch, did not agree
with the board of trade, and again supported Burch as against the
regular Democratic nominee, Shields. With the Herald's aid the
Republicans won, thus — Burch (R.) 1,683, Shields (D. ) 1,579.
For auditor, Reynolds (D.) received 1,397 ^^d Brandt (R.) 1,954.
For assessor, Dowling (D. ) received 1,507, Anderson (R.) 1,643.
The issues were (i) reduced taxation; (2) reduced general ex-
penses; (3) reduced street expenses; (4) Seventeenth street
improvements to be continued ; ( 5 ) reduced saloon license.

In October, John P. Irish, candidate for governor, Kirkwood,
and Stubbs spoke at Dubuque. The Greenbackers were very strong


at this date. The Democrats made a clean sweep of the county.
Irish (D.) received for governor 3,415 votes, John H. Gear (R.)
1,587, and D. P. Stubbs (G. B. ) 406. For state senator, Mason M.
Ham (D. ), editor of the Herald, received 3,681 against 597 for his.
opponent, Moore (R.). This was the largest Democratic majority
ever polled in the county.

The silver and greenback questions were pronounced here in
1877 and 1878. All the parties were active and vigilant. The
Democrats named W. J. Knight for mayor and the Republicans
H. L. Stout. Public opinion in Dubuque did not sustain and
enforce the prohibitory law. Governor Kirkwood had favored local
option in 1875-6. In 1S77-8 the parties were divided on the license
and prohibitory questions.

Among the leading Greenbackers in 1878 were A. Y. McDonald,
S. P. Adams, C. S. Gaylord. Fred O'Donnell was nominated by
the Democrats for Congress. H. B. Foulke was Democratic can-
didate for prosecuting attorney of the Ninth judicial district. On
September 5, James G. Blaine spoke in Dubuque. Present also
were Clarkson, Runnells and Allison. An immense procession
paraded Main street under arches. The election resulted — Upde-
graff (R.) elected to Congress over O'Donnell (D.) and Spangler
(G. B.). Foulke was chosen district attorney. In the state, Weaver
and Gillette (G. B.) were elected to Congress. For secretary of
state, Farnsworth (D.) received in Dubuque county 4,169 votes
and Hull (R. ) 2,085. Taxation for a new court house — for, 487;
against, ..1,687; to restrain stock — yes, 2,038; no, 3,229.

In March, 1879, the Greenback Club in Dubuque endorsed the
actions of the Greenbackers in Congress. A. Y. McDonald repre-
sented Dubuque at the Greenback convention in Chicago in I\Iarch.
The Democrats nominated for mayor in 1879 W. J. Knight and
the Republicans ,'nominated H. S. Hetherington. TVIr. Knight
declined, whereupon John D. Bush was nominated. The entire
Democratic city ticket, except auditor, was elected. Bush advo-
cated a sinking fund to meet the city debt. Reduction of expenses
w-as the paramount question. A big meeting of the citizens imme-
diately after the election took steps to reduce expenses.

In 1879 the leading Greenbackers were A. Y. McDonald, S. P.
Adams, M. H. Moore, A. C. Peary, Thomas Faherty, Michael
McCarthv, Thomas Finn, John Carson, Michael Koonan, William
Ouigley, Jo.sepli Ogle, James Sears, Chris Denlinger, Joseph Gehrig,
joiin Muckern, Thomas Cox, Thomas McGinnis, Joel M. Higgins
and Owen McLaughlin.

The Greenbackers were strong in the county in 1879; they
named a ticket for the county offices. The Prohibitionists also
organized and presented a partial ticket. The result was: For
governor, Trimble (D.) 3.950, Gear (R.) 2,498, Campbell (G. B. )


707: Dungan (Pro.) 17. Generally, the Democrats carried the

In April, 1880, the Republicans nominated George B. Burch for
mayor ; the Democrats nominated Arthur McCann. John D. Bush
ran as an independent Democrat and was elected by 1,550 majority.
The Republican auditor, Brandt, was re-elected. Many Repub-
licans and Democrats were turned toward Bush. The issues were
almost wholly personal. The Herald opposed Bush ; McCann was
unjustly abused without stint.

The presidential campaign of 1880 was almost as exciting as
that of 1876. Garfield, Hancock and Weaver were the party
standard bearers. The Hancock electors received 4,580 votes;
Garfield electors, 3,007; Weaver electors, 257. For constitutional
amendment, 1,202; against it, 2,179; for constitutional convention,
706; against it, 2,756. In October, John P. Irish made "one of
tlie most brilliant speeches ever heard in Dubuque."

In 188 1, John J. Linehan (D.) was, elected mayor of Dubuque

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 42 of 56)