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 45 of 56)
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changed by the judges of the county court of said county."

South of Dubuque to the Missouri line was Demoine county,
which was constituted the township of Flint Hill. An election of
township officers in Julien township was ordered held the first
Monday of November, 1834, and all elections in the county of Du-
buque were directed to be held at Lorimier's store in the village of
Dubuque ; at Gebhon's store in the village of Peru ; at the dwelling
of Hosea T. Camp near the head of Catfish creek and at Lore's
dwelling on the Muskoketa.

This act was to be in force and take effect on and after October
I, 1834, and the township officers elected were to hold ofifice until
the first Monday in April, 1835. The act was approved September
6, 1834. By the act of December 9, 1834, the oaths of office ad-
ministered to the clerk of Dubuque county and the oaths that had
been administered by him to the officers of the county for the pur-
pose of organizing the same were declared legal and valid. The
courts of Dubuque county were ordered held in .April and Septem-
ber of each year and all laws in force in Iowa county, Wisconsin
Territory, were declared applicable to Dubuque county. All legal
processes could run from Iowa county into Dubuque county. In
January, 1835, Ezekiel Lockwood, who had been appointed pro-
bate judge, held court. No court of general jurisdiction was held
until 1837. No county commissioners met until 1836.

The first meeting of the county supervisors was held May 13,


1836. Present, Francis Gehon, William Smith and John Paul.
Warner Lewis was appointed clerk. The treasurer was ordered
charged with the amount of the territorial taxes for 1835, to the
amount of $280; he was likewise charged with the county tax of
$1,952.78, and with $176 of territorial tax on persons who had
commenced business after the first quarter of 1835 ; grocers and
victualling houses were taxed $10 per year. The treasurer was
also charged with the territorial tax. Among those charged with
merchants' and grocers' licenses were Patrick Ouigley, Kelly &
Worthington, Fassett & Sherman, Morrison & Prentice, O'Ferrall
& Cox, Alexander Levi, Pease & Cain, E. Lockwood, Mr. See-
thal, George Straper, J. D. Bush, Jones & Scott, F. Everett, H.
Simplot, William Burk, A. Pasguen, C. Stowell, M. Norton, A.
Coriell, John Levi, Sleator & Smoker, E. Mattox, S. Cottenback,
L. Reander, Charles Markle, A. Weatherford, A. Power, Mr.
Pease, P. O'Marra, Francis Gairin. R. C. Bourne, Francis Gehon,
Cyrus Harper, Baptiste Lapage, Emerson & Cryder, Badger & Car-
dinal, Blythe & Thompson and Mr. Gotrell.

William Myers, overseer of the poor, was paid $29.13 for taking"
care of Josiah Mix, a lunatic. Henry Futzer was paid $6.70 for
the same service. Alexander Butterworth and Samuel L. Clifton
were ordered paid $577.25 for the jail building. Plans for the
court house were ordered published in the Visitor in June, 1836.
It was to be a hev^ed log house, seven inches thick, 20x26 feet in
size, the first story nine feet high and the second story five feet
high to the commencement of the roof, all to be covered with
shingles. The upper story was to be divided into three rooms, all
with suitable windows, doors and staircases. C. H. Gratiot was
county treasurer.

In June, John A. Wright became assessor and collector, vice H.
H. Pease, resigned. At the August meeting the order for building
a court house was rescinded. The assessor reported the county as-
sessable property at $202,365. The rate of tax was three-fourths
of one per cent, and the whole county tax $1,517.73. To this was
added $868.56 delinquent tax, making the total revenue $2,386.29.
William W. Chapman, attorney, was employed to sue Alexander
Butterworth and Samuel L. Clifton on their jail contract; he was
allowed a fee of $100.

Under the act of December 9, 1836, George W. Cummins,
sheriff, took the census of Dubuque county and was paid therefor
$450 ; the work included advertising elections and making returns.

In September, 1836, the population of Dubuque county (then
comprising all north of the latitude of Rock Island and west of the
Mississippi) was 4,272, and of Demoine county, 6,295; total, 10,-
567. The survey of the Blackhawk purchase was begun about the
middle of November, 1836, and demands that a land office should


be established in Dubuque were at once made. "Why not?" asked
the Visitor.

In 1836 Warner Lewis was a justice of tlie peace in this county.
Tlie first legislature of Wisconsin Territory convened at Belmont
(then and now in Wisconsin) in October, 1836. In June, 1836,
260 head of cattle were driven here from Missouri ; they were
stock cattle, were sold to the pioneers for miles around, com-
manded good prices, and were a godsend to the community. It
was not stated who brought them here. (See Visitor, June, 1836).
The act of December 7, 1836, ordered laid out a road from Du-
buque to Wapello and divided Demoine county into Lee, Vari
Buren, Des Moines, Henry, Louisa, Muscatine and Cook.

In 1837 the county board were William Smith, James Fanning,
and Brighton Bushee. George W. Cummins was sheriff. Many
small bills were paid. A territorial road from Famiington to
Prairie du Chien was surveyed at this time. George L. Nightin-
gale was county clerk. In 1837 the county tax was $2,538. Jury
rooms were rented of George W. Cummins.

In the spring of 1837, the surveyors were busy along the Catfish
and the Little Maquoketa. The spring was very backward, but by
August all crops looked well. The preemption law was on every-
body's tongue. Already, early in 1837, far out to the westward,
public meetings were held to consider the subdivision of Dubuque
into other counties. Such meetings were held on the upper waters
of the Turkey and Yellow rivers. At one meeting W. W. Coriell
was chairman and Eliphalet Price, secretary, according to the

The act of December 21, 1837, divided Dubuque county into
Dubuque, Clayton, Jackson, Benton, Linn, Jones, Clinton, Johnson,
Scott. Delaware, Buchanan, Cedar, Fayette and others. Under
this act Dubuque county was given the following boundaries :

"Beginning at a point in the main channel of the Mississippi
river where the fifth principal meridian intersects the same; thence
south along the said river to the line dividing townships 90 and 91
north ; thence west with the said line to the line dividing ranges 2
and 3 west ; thence south along said range line to the line dividing
townships 86 and 87 ; thence east along said line to the line dividing
ranges 2 and 3, east of the said meridian; thence north along said
range line to the line dividing townships 87 and 88 north ; thence
east along said line to the middle of the main channel of the
Mississippi river; thence north with the main channel of said river
to the place of beginning." Buchanan and Delaware were tempo-
rarily attached to Dubuque county.

"The sherifif of Dubuque county is hereby authorized and shall
proceed to collect the taxes now due and assessed in the original
county of Dubuque in the same maimer as if the county had not


been di\'ided — anything in any other law to the contrary notwith-

The following election precincts were established in Dubuque
county by proclamation of Sheriff George W. Cummins in Febru-
ary, 1838: In Dubuque, at the store of W. W. Coriell ; Peru, at
the house of John Paul : Big Maquoketa, at the house of Jacob
Little Maquoketa river, at the house of John R. Ewing; Catfish, at
the house of John Paul; Big Maquoketa, at the house of Jacob
Hamilton; Upper Catfish, at the house of John Regan.

The post routes established by Congress in the spring of 1838
were as follows : From Dubuque to the county seat of Delaware
county ; from Dubuque to West Liberty via Rochester ; from Du-
buque to Richfield, Point Pleasant and Davenport. An existing
route was from Galena and Sinsinnawa to Dubuque three times a
week in stages.

George L. Nightingale, clerk of the county commissioners, called
for proposals to be recei\ed at the Shakespeare coffee rooms "for
the boarding and lodging of Alice Annis, a pauper of Dubuque
county, one year."

Under the law the census of Iowa Territory was taken in June,
1838, and Dubuque county was shown to have 2,381 people and
the whole territory, 22,859 • sixteen counties were reported on.

It was rumored in August, 1838, that two of the county com-
missioners were aliens and therefore ineligible to office. Mr. Fan-
ning proved his citizenship, having made his original declaration in
Steubenville, Ohio, in 1832.

"The present jail is almost entirely useless and but a mockery of
what it should be ; it schools \illains in the art of making escapes
and makes them more hardened, impudent and ready to commit
crime." — (Iowa Nczvs. August, 1838.)

In 1838 the county board were James Fanning, P. A. Lorimier
and Andrew Bankson. George L. Nightingale was clerk. The
following were judges of election in 1838: Dubuque precinct,
George W. Harris, William Allen and John MacKenzie ; Peru pre-
cinct, Myram Patterson, Chester Sage and John W. Penn ; Du-
rango precinct, Presley Samuels, Joshua Flinn and Andrew Gil-
lespie ; Paul's precinct, Elias McMarks, Jacob Myers and John
Paul ; Regan's precinct, B. B. Lawless, Robert Fenin and Irwin
Boone ; Whitewater precinct, Nathan M. Hutton, John Laflesh and
Michael Leek. All persons making improvements on the public
square where the court house and jail then stood were ordered
away by the board. Alice Anderson was cared for by the county
in 1838. Myram Patterson was granted ferry license over the
Little Maquoketa at Peru. The sum of $42.50 was paid to eleven
men for services in guarding the prisoners. Singleton and Ducoste,
who were charged with the murder of an Indian squaw. Joseph
L. Hempstead was coroner.


The total expenses of the county for 1838 were $2,214.10, and
the total receipts were $2,097.82 ; balance against the county,
$116.28. The receipts were from the following sources: Terri-
torial tax, 1838, $827.25; county tax for 1838, $1,270.57. Among
the expense items were the following : luwin Reeves, district at-
torney, $80; G. W. Cummins, sheriff, rent for jury room, $io;
John Regan. John Wharton and Alfred McDaniels, road commis-
sioners, $45 ; Scott & Taylor, a stove for the jail, $35 ; Alice Ander-
son, pauper, her support. $20; Benjamin Gardopie, pursuit of
Singleton, charged with murder, $12; James Fanning, rent for
court room, $50; T. S. Wilson, district attorney for one year, $150;
J. V. Berry, district attorney, $150: T. R. Lurton, M. D., medical
aid to prisoner, $5 ; Cummins, board of prisoners in jail, $45 ; F. K.
O'Ferrall, rent for jury room, $5; election expenses, 1838, $205.50:
grand .ind petit jurors and witnesses, $360.58. — (Iowa Nca's, Feb-
ruary 16, 1839.)

The following were the rates of ferryage for Timothy Fanning's
ferry in April, 1839: Footman, 25 cents: man and horse, 50 cents:
wagon drawn by two horses or oxen, $1.50: one horse wagon and
driver, $1.25. A ferry license was granted to Peyton Vaughan at
Peru and Cedar Point.

Peter A. Lorimier was authorized to borrow for the county from
$1,000 to $2,000 to be expended on public buildings for the county.
An election precinct was established at the house of Joseph Hewitt
on the "Fall Fork" of the Big Maquoketa in August, 1839, and Pat-
rick Finn, James H. Kirkpatrick and Willis Thompson were
appointed judges. An election precinct was established at the house
of Jacob Dreibelbis, south of the Cattish, in 1838, and Jacob Drei-
belbis, James McKean and James Scott were appointed judges. The
counties separated from Dubuque were now organized, set up and
settled with. It was regarded as unfair that Dubuque county voters
should poll votes in the Scott county seat contest between Rocking-
ham and Davenport.

Iowa Territory was formed by the Act approved June 12, 1838.
In the fall following John R. Ewing, George W. Ames and Will-
iam Smith became county commissioners. They were the first
under the new Iowa Territorial Act. They appointed George L.
Nightingale clerk. J. Van Antwerp Berry was district attorney in
the fall of 1838. Joseph T. Fales was judge of probate. It was
at this date that the board adopted temporarily a county seal made
by pressing one cent or one dime on wax. Upon petition a county
road was ordered surveyed from Dubuque to the furnace on Little
Maquoketa ; thence up the middle fork to Andrew Gillespie's : thence
to Robert Scarce's farm: thence to John Floyd's, at the extreme
west end of the county. Alice Annis was still cared for by the

Chauncey Swan, of Dubuque county, was appointed one of the


three commissioners chosen to locate the seat of government and
superintend the erection of the public buildings at the capital of
Iowa Territory.

A bill in Congress in 1839 granted to Dubuque county a quarter
section of land to be disposed of to raise means to erect necessary
public buildings.

In December, 1839, Congress established post roads from Du-
buque on the territorial road to Keosauqua and to Palmyra, Mis-
rouri ; $20,000 had already been appropriated for its construction
by 1839. At this time, also, a road from Milwaukee to Dubuque
was projected, to pass through Madison; for it $15,000 was ap-

George L. Nightingale was appointed auctioneer of this county
by the governor.

An act of March 9, 1839, which divided Dubuque county into
many others provided that they should "liquidate and pay so
much of the debt now due and unpaid by the present county of
Dubuque as may be their legal and equitable proportion of the same,
according to the assessment values of the taxable property which
shall be made therein." It was further ordered "that the sherifif
of Dubuque county is hereby authorized and shall proceed to col-
lect the taxes now due and assessed in the original county of Du-
buque, in the same manner as if the county had not been divided —
anything in any other law to the contrary notwithstanding." All
suits which had been commenced were required to be prosecuted to
judgment as if no such division had been made.

Each of the following fractional townships was declared by the
registrar and receiver at Dubuque entitled to a quarter section of
land for school purposes: Township 91 north, range i east; town-
ship 88 north, range 4 east, both in Dubuque county and now parts
of Jefferson and Mosalem townships, respectively.

In March, 1839, William Smitli was appointed to superintend
the procuring of materials for a new court house. Samuel Walker
drew the plans. Permission to vend merchandise in all parts of
the county was granted in 1838-9 to numerous persons. A road
was ordered surveyed from Dubuque to Center Grove, to William
Snodgrass. to McDowell's, to Henry Gardens', on section 7, town-
ship 89 north, range 2 west ; eighteen persons signed this petition.
A road from Parsons' ferry to Sage's mill was also surveyed. In
1839 there were in the county seven election precincts, as follows :
Dubuque, Peru, Scarce's (formerly Durango), Paul, Hewitt, White
Water and Ryan's. No special boundaries were fixed for these
precincts and hence it was possible, and no doubt was practiced, to
vote at more than one precinct.

The county commissioners' report for the year 1839 showed total
expenditures to be $10,996.94. The receipts were the same, less
$1,000. Among the receipts was $120 from William Hale for


eight months' hire of convicts. Among the items of expense were
$8 to Samuel Walker for a draught of the court house ; $22 to
Mrs. Dudley for boarding pauper; $9 to Edward O'Hair for room
rent ; $7 to T. Mason for room rent for jury : $5 to Samuel L.
Clifton for chains for prisoners: $7.50 to Young & Schullenberger
for ironing prisoners ; $38 to Henry Potser for boarding prisoners ;
$12 to James V. Campton for ironing prisoners; sums to Patrick
Finn for boarding paupers; $175 to Rogus & Anson for work done
on the new court house, etc. The total receipts in the county
treasury for 1839 were $4,128.87, total expenses $4,089.52, balance
on hand $39.35. Rogers & Anson completed their contract on the
new court house and were paid $1, 047.32^4- ^Ir. Ogilby, the ar-
chitect, was paid $150.

The county, in 1838-9, was laid out into road districts and super-
visors for each were appointed. The Schwarts precinct was estab-
lished in May, 1839, the polling place being the house of Mr.
Schwarts. Liquor license in the county was fixed at $100 per an-
num. John \'. Berry was district attorney in 1839. James L.
Langworthy furnished brick for the court house in 1839. Burton's
precinct was established in July: the house of Mr. Burton was the
polling place. Timothy Mason became clerk of the board in August.
1839. In August the board borrowed $1,000 of Horace Smead
and gave him a bond for that sum. Huldah Deane was supported
by the county.

In December, 1839. the board ordered the following sums to be
apportioned to the several counties cut ofif from Dubuque: Cedar
$133, Scott & Clinton %/2'/.t,t,. Jackson county $826.66, Clayton
$1 12.66. The debt of Dubuque county at the time of the separation
of these counties was $2,850; the separation occurred in 1837-8.
The above apportionment was in proportion to the assessment.
Dubuque's share of this debt was $1,050.33. Rogers & Anson
were allowed, from time to time, considerable sums for building
the court house.

After paying all outstanding orders the board had available a bal-
ance of $6,548.90: but of this sum it was estimated that $2,500
would never be obtained, as the delinquents had left the county.
The county tax list for 1839 was $3,152.82. Patrick Ouigley was
county treasurer. Mr. Ogilby was architect of the court house.
Thomas McCraney furnished lumber for the new court house. M.
W. Powers furnished lime. In February. 1840. George W. Ames
was sent to the other counties to secure a settlement of the sums due
Dubuque county. An insane person, not a resident of this county,
was ordered taken to his home in Galena at the expense of this
countv. Young & Newman furnished iron work for the court
house. The road from Davenport to Dubuque was laid out in
1839-40. In 1839 the Burton precinct was changed to Durango
precinct. The net amount of the county assessment in 1839 was


$2,604.49. John Sullivan was one of the workmen on the court
house in 1840.

A joint resolution of the Iowa Territorial legislature in January,
1840, recommended the establishment of a postofBce at the falls of
the Maquoketa in Dubuque county and the appointment of Arthur
Thomas as postmaster. The military road was laid out in 1839 and
already in 1840 was extensively tra\'eled. Albert G. Ellis was sur-
veyor-general of Wisconsin and Iowa territories in 1839-40.
George W. Jones succeeded A. G. Ellis as surveyor general of Wis-
consin and Iowa territories in February, 1840.

On September 7, 1840, the election precincts of the county were
named and defined as follows : Ferguson, townships 87 and 88,
range 2 east and fractional township 88, range 3 east ; Dubuque,
township 89, range 2 east ; Peru, fractional township 90, range 2
east ; Durango, township 90, range i east, and fractional township
91, range i east; Paul, township 89, range i east; Regan's, town-
ship 88, range i east and township 87, range i east ; Whitewater,
township 87, range i west, township 87, range 2 west, township
88, range i west and township 88, range 2 west ; Hewitt, town-
ship 89, ranges i and 2 west and township 90, ranges i and 2 west.
These precincts were to be altered when a majority of the inhab-
itants should petition to that effect. In 1840 the trustees of the
Presbyterian church were paid for the use of their meeting house
for the spring term of the District court. In September, 1840, W.
J. A. Bradford was appointed agent to settle with the counties re-
cently separated from Dubuque. Samuel Walker furnished shingles
for the court house. John R. Harvey painted the building. Joseph
Ogilby furnished lumber. R. D. Watson, of St. Louis, furnished
glass. Emerson & Crider furnished nails. E. M. Birsell furnished
shingles. The fall term (1840) of the District court was held
in the Presbyterian church. Campton, Dunbar and Kurtsch were
confined in jail for several months in the fall of 1840. W. J. A.
Bradford, prosecuting attorney, was allowed a yearly salary of
$250 in 1840. A bounty of 50 cents was offered for wolf scalps at
this time.

The act of December 30, 1840, formed Dubuque county into
three commissioners' districts : ( i ) Regan's, Dreibelbis' and
Whitewater; (2) Dubuque precinct; (3) Peru, Durango, Paul's
and Hewitt's.

For the year 1840, paupers cost the county ^i^T^y.y^; assessing
the county, $60; laying out roads, $65.60; District court, $3,583.47;
on the court house, $3,862.69; total county expense, $10,804.62.
Grocery license brought $1,483.30; merchant license, $545; court
fines, $110; on hand at the beginning of the year, $6,548.90; bal-
ance against the county at the close of the year, $722.93. The
county expenses in 1840 exceeded those of 1839 by about $1,700.
There were still several outstanding claims against the county.


In April, 1841, the whole county was laid out into road districts
and supervisors were appointed ; in all, there were ten such dis-
tricts. Townships were not yet formed. At this time a road from
Duhuque to W. H. Morning's on the Little Maquoketa, thence to
the junction of the north and middle forks, thence to John Floyd's,
thence to the north line of the county was laid out. In 1841 Ead's
precinct, in Delaware county, was attached for election purposes
to this county. The precincts in 1841 were Ferguson, Regan,
Whitewater, Hewitt's, Durango, Peru, Duhuque, Eads, Schwarts
and Morland. In 1841, George W. Cummins was county assessor.
The note of the county for $2,160, due in ten years, was given
James L. Langworthy in 1841, in final settlement for his court house
contract. "Ordered that John Sullivan be charged with this amount,
$10.50, in his account with the county for 3,000 brick bats." Sulli-
van laid 244,518 bricks in the court house, was paid part by install-
ment and was given three notes of the county for $1,000 in final
settlement in June, 1841. W. J. A. Bradford was still county at-
torney in June, 1841. W. W. Coriell, of Dubuque, printed the
Iowa House journals in 1841 and was paid $900 for the job.

In 1841, Jacob Dreibelbis became a county commissioner in
place of Mr. Ames. In July a road was ordered laid out along
the ridge from the head of Dirty Hollow to Lorimier's furnace.
While Patterson was confined, $82.50 was paid for guarding the
jail. Washington Hyde and others were prisoners in November
and December, 1841, and were boarded and guarded at big ex-
pense — $402.50. A reward of $2 was offered for wolf scalps in
January, 1842. At this time William Smith was appointed superin-
tendent of the jail, to be built at once; contracts were called for.
The preemption law was approved by Congress September 4, 1841,
and at once quieted the settlers. The court house was built by the
county board. They contracted for so much lumber, shingles, lime,
stone, paint, glass, bricks, tinware, iron work, etc., with different
concerns, but entered into definite contracts for certain work only.

It was charged by the Miners' Express, late in 1842, that General
Wilson, the surveyor-general, had not resided at Dubuque since
June, 1842, and was neglecting his duty. When, in the spring of
1839, the office was moved from Cincinnati to Dubuque, the Iowa
News sharply lashed Albert G. Ellis for visiting Dubuque but
once in three months, and demanded that the incumbent of the office
should reside there and attend to his duties. Now. when Wilson
did no better, he was likewise criticised.

On the question of holding a territorial convention to take steps
for admission into the Union, Dubuque county, in August, 1842,
polled 115 votes for the convention and 477 votes against it.

In 1842, John Frink was mail carrier from Dubuque to Prairie
La Porte at $249; Nelson Plummer, from Dubuque to Davenport
(river route), at $900; Gilbreth & Campbell, from Dubuque to Iowa


City, at $480; Otto Hinton, Dubuque to Davenport (two-horse
coach twice a week), at $1,000. An act of February, 1842, pro-

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 45 of 56)