Homer Howard Field.

History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) online

. (page 4 of 59)
Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and Pusey, jewelry store of Lafferty and Back, drug store of Dillin and
Doughty, a shoe store of Samuel Knepper, drug store of Finley Gusman, and
we reach the Pacific House, John Jones, manager, Western stage office, bank
of Henn, Williams and Hooten, dry goods store of B. B. Brown, which ends
the business.

Continuing on are several dwellings, among which are those of Thomas
Officer. S. N. Porterfield, Mr. Kellogg, and Broadway degenerates into a
crooked trail through a sea of prairie grass and sun-flowers for three miles
to the ferry, and upper steamboat landing. The residence portion of the
city was bounded substantially by Washington avenue on the north, by Frank
street on the east, Bloomer street and Fifth avenue on the south and Ninth
street on the west. There were a few dwellings beyond, but not enough to
notice. Only a few warehouses, the Waverly House, an unsightly hotel, and
a half dozen small dwellings were the extent of the improvements on South
Main, with about as many on each of North Main and Pearl streets. The
church was not very aggressive at this time. The Congregationalists had
built a small brick church on Pearl street, about where Peregov & Moore's


wholesale store is situated: the Methodists a small frame on Pierce street, back
of where the Ogden now stands, while the Presbyterians worshipped in a
room in second story of one of the rooms in the Empire block.

During this year quite an amount of improvement was made. Broad-
way was only a crooked mud road with some of the houses .jutting from six
to ten feet into the street. These were ordered moved back and Broadway
brought to its present shape. The city mill at the corner of Bryant street
and Washington avenue was built by a man by the name of Jackson, but •
was sold by him to Baldwin and Dodge, and by them used in manufactur-
ing Hour, which was shipped by ox teams to the government forts and reser-
vations for some years, then -old by them to Officer and Pusey, and by them
to J. C Hoffmayr during the '70s.

Be caused it to be improved by taking out the antiquated machinery.
adding another story and storage room, besides installing the roller system.
It was conducted under this management until the Last few years, when Mr.
Hoffmayr retired, -nice which time it has remained idle. Lately the
machinery has been removed and the building condemned. And so a vener-
able land mark of half a century must give way to something modern. But
this applies to all of us as well as to inanimate things.

During this year J. M. Palmer built a three-story brick Mock of four
-tore rooms on the northwest corner of Broadway and Scott street thai for
many year- was the home of the Nonpareil. L. W. Babbitt also built a
three-story Mock adjoining the Phoenix on the west, and the Hagg brothers
a two-ion one a half square farther west. In the second story of this build-
ing one or two term- of the district court was held, after abandoning the
old log one on First street, and later, one term was held by Judge Lynch, of
which more will be related hereafter.

During this summer a finely uniformed military company was organ-
ized, called the Council Bluffs Guards, with 6. M. Dodo,, for captain, but
he being absent, so much of his time being taken up in surveying, the com-
mand devolved upon Lieutenants Craig and Dunn. A brass hand was also
formed and instructed by < '. C. Kuhn. It- construction was substantially

as follow-: E flat bugle. Whitaker; E flat saxhorns, X. T. Spoor and

D. W. Griffey; B flat, Conductor C. C. Kuhn and C. E. Haggerty; E flat
alto, G. F. Smith; B flat trombone. Sidney Smith: B flat bass, James Orton;
E flat tuba. John Huntington: snare drum, Dr. Alex Shoemaker: bass drum
and cymbals, Samuel Perrin. During the summer they made such progreai
that they could render plain music in a creditable manner.

Sioux City was now forging to the fronl and boats were frequently pi
Lag up, and during the latter part of summer, arrangements were made with
the captain of the steamer Emmigrant, that was bound up for that place, to
take on a large excursion party of Council Bluffs and Omaha people, and the
band by invitation went along, and played at Landing places as customary.
The boat landed at the Omaha agency and Laid up for the night.

The music of the band, as it played from the boiler deck, was 8
tion to the Indians.




t- 1



During the evening there was a dance in the cabin and many Indians
came down and looked on. One buck that appeared to admire one of the
beautiful ladies, on being asked how much he would give for the white
squaw. He answered quickly, "Four Horses." But as no one seemed
authorized to act, the trade was not consummated. We were royally welcomed
at Sioux City, this being the first appearance of a band this far up, unless
there were some at the forts above.

It would be interesting to know how many of that parly are living
to-day. So far as the band is concerned, it is known Captain N. T. Spoor.
of St. Louis, is the only one. He was with us at the last reunion of the
Army of the Tennessee, and although his hair is white a- snow, his face is
as kindly as ever.

It will be remembered that up to this time bank.- of issue were not per-
mitted in Iowa, but there were kindly disposed men on this side of the river
as well as on the Nebraska side that w : ere too generous to see us struggling
along without money, and accordingly they proceeded to establish hanks at
every steamboat landing on the west side. The reader will bear in mind
these place- were cities, there being no town- or villages at this date. These
bank- issued most beautifully engraved notes, and they went like hot cake-.
circulated freely, and like all new banks were on a strictly sound basis, so
we had plenty of money and as a result good times. The summer of 1856
was pretty dry and warm, but the crops were good, and we were a happy

The winter set in in dead earnest December 1 with a fifty-hour blizzard
and when it subsided there was probably three feet of snow where it was
not drifted. Many of the fences were covered, and quite a while was re-
quired to get the roads opened, and then another would follow. On the
18th of January, 1857, the mercury reached thirty-six below zero. The
hardest job was to get wood, that being the only fuel.

Mr. G. A. Slocum, of what is now Belknap township, in describing the
severity of the storm and extent of the drifting, stated that he had a small
flock of sheep that were missing after the storm had subsided, and after
about a week, seeing some strain coming up from a huge drift, that had
entirely filled a deep ravine, he began investigating, and found his sheep.
They had huddled together and tramped the snow down, but the drifting
formed a complete cover, and they were eating each other's wool, but were
otherwise all right.

But for the known resemblance of the relator to George Washington, this
might be doubted. However, a person was justifiable in believing anything
of that winter. It gave us a farewell benefit April 18, 1857, with eight
inches of snow and two degrees below zero, and all severe winters since have
been by old settlers measured by that.

AVhen .spring came at last and boats began to arrive, business began to
look up. Immigration was coming in, though not as rapidly as in the pre-
ceding spring. Boats were arriving almost daily during the summer with
large stocks of goods. Building commenced in good earnest, railroads were
headed this way and all seemed lovely. In the meantime the surrounding.


country was being settled, but bad not got to raising produce sufficient for
home consumption, let alone to ship, consequently, the gold and silver was
gradually being drained away, and the pretty notes of the Nebraska banks
came in to fill the vacuum and for a time all went well. Among the im-
provements started during the summer were what is still known as the James
block, on the southeast corner of Main and Broadway, by Judge W. C. James
and Milton Rogers, a large public hall by J. M. Palmer, a large hotel near
the present pumping station called the River house, and a large brick hotel
where the Congregational church now stands. These last two were started
by companies with the view of bringing city lots adjacent to them into the

The River house was completed and opened with a grand ball, but was
not a success, as persons going west would cross to Omaha, and those going
east would keep on up town. It was a frame and after -landing useless
for a year or two it was moved up town and used as a public schoolhouse,
and finally the River house was built in front, and it still forms the rear of
thai hostelry. While the big hotel, the walls of which had risen four stories,
was torn down and the material used in other buildings Later on. Work on
the James liloek and concert hall was suspended, and all owing to a money
panic in the east, that kepi on and struck us early in the fall. Our cherished
Nebraska lulls dropped out of sighl and we waked up one morning and
discovered we had no money, ami the people on tin.' other side of the river
were in no better condition. Thomas II. Benton, of banking house of Green,
Ware & Benton, had built a large dwelling in Glendale. It was not quite com-
pleted, hut he moved into it on Saturday, and on the following Monday the
hank failed to open, but he had availed himself of the benefit of the home-
stead law. We were all in the same boat and had to make the besl of it.
Merchants struggled to accommodate their customers, issued pasteboard chips
good for ten. twenty-five and fifty cents, took what the farmers had to sell,
while they went ragged and burnt ten-cent corn for fuel.

This condition could not last long, however. The ten-cent corn was
raising Lots of cattle and hogs, and the following spring, when Johnson's
army was preparing for the Utah campaign, buyers arrived and money began
to reappear, and bridged us over until a year later, when the Pikes Peak
excitement filled the valleys with camper-, buying supplies and waiting for
the grass to grow before starting. We bad no immense packing houses, but
the merchants had been buying the dressed hogs oi the farmer.-, and packed
and cured, and having their cellar- and warehouses full, were in pretty good
shape, and this was the beginning of the large packing business that
developed later on.

At the spring election for city officers, to serve for the year 1858-9, the
following persons were elected Mayor. J. Smith Hooten ; recorder. Frank
Street; treasurer, C. W. Boyer; city engineer, Samuel Perrin; attorney, C.
E. Stone: marshal, C. W. Bryant; aldermen. Henry Allen. Dudlej S. Nye,
T. 1'. Treynor, J. I'. Casady, Addison Cochran, .1. lb Lewis, 1>. W. Carpenter.
Benedict llagg. Milton Rogers and Ales Shoemaker.



This was not strictly a party victory, although the head of the ticket
and half the aldermen were democratic. The balance were about equally
divided between democrats, whigs and republicans — for, although the whig
party had been dead since 1852, it .still struggled for recognition.

During Jhia summer a man appeared thai has, during his life, done
more for the cause (if music here than any one that preceded or has followed
him. This was Joseph Mueller. He had fled from Germany on account of
being connected with some revolutionary movement. He was without money
or friends, and with little knowledge of our language, but an indomitable
worker. He pitched into the first work he could find to do, which was that
of sawing wood. While engaged in this at the home of William Folsom,
the father of Amelia, afterwards Mrs. Brigham Young, he heard her and
some of her young lady friends playing the piano in the parlor, and his
quick ear detected an error in the playing. He stepped to the door and
said: "Skuse me, ladies, you make some ledle mistake. Shall I show you?"
Certainly, they said, anticipating some amusement, as he. in his rough
clothes, seated himself at the piano. After showing them the proper rendi-
tion of the passage, he could not resist the impulse to let himself out on
some heavy work, and their amusement was turned to astonishment, and his
career as a w 1 sawyer was closed.

He soon had all the pupils the few pianos in town could accommodate,
besides giving vocal instruction, organizing choruses and giving concerts.

During the spring of this year the Templeton troupe, a dramatic com-
pany, appeared and played a month to good houses. They were the first
to play Camille. East Lynne, The Stranger, etc.

Previous to thi- we had dramatic performances by home talent, but
this seemed tame after seeing the real thing once more.

During the year 1858 Charles H. Stephan -tailed a brewery a few doors
east of where the Ogden house now stand-. This seems to have been about
the first manufacturing after the City and Wicks mills. This was followed
the next year by one established at the angle of East Pierce street, where the
new residence of Oscar Keeline is being built, by Nicholas Hagg, one of
three brothel's of that name. They were bachelors, and two of them died,
leaving Benedict, the third brother, sole heir to the estate, which included a
large amount of property besides the brewery, and thereby hangs quite a
romance. It appears that a young German named Charles Bock and a
young woman named Louise Geise were engaged to be married, but for some
reason the engagement was broken off. Mr. Hagg wooed and married Miss
Geise, and Mr. Bock (Charlie, as they all called him) also married. In three
or four years Mr. Hagg died, as also did Mrs. Bock, and in due time the
old love revived and Charlie and Louise were married and lived happily.
with a plentiful share of this world's goods.

During the summer and fall of 1858 marvelous stories were circulating
of the discovery of gold in Colorado, which culminated in what was called
the Pikes Peak excitement, which, in the following spring, filled our valleys
with campers, and resembled the California emigration, ten years earlier.
During the summer, however, conflicting reports came back denying the



finding of gold, and for a time the return tide became so strong that the
column going west became discouraged, and turning about, joined the re-
treating host, some declaring the whole thing to be a scheme gotten up by
the Missouri river towns in order to sell supplies to the emigrants, and threats
were even made to burn this city and Omaha in revenge. There was prob-
ably no great danger of their doing this, still it was thought prudent to be
prepared, and accordingly the Council Bluffs Guards were ordered, and held
themselves in readiness to act if the emergency required. Fortunately, the
reports came more and more favorable until all doubt was removed, and the
great stream flowing west became permanent, as the reader will observe, with
the wonderful result of founding a great state, with populous and wealthy
cities, all within the life of one generation. Among those first in the push
were many from Pottawattamie county, and among these was Henry Allen,
ex-postmaster of Council Bluffs, who took his family along, and one of his
daughters and Mr. J. B. Atkins had the distinction of being the first couple
married in what is now the great city of Denver.

At this time it was only a mining camp, with no one authorized to issue
license, but a preacher was found and the ceremony performed, which bound
the couple until death separated them in 190.'. by removing Mr. Atkins, who
had been a prominent and honorable citizen, as well as a Mason of high
standing in that order. Mrs. Atkins i- still with us, beloved by a large circle
of friends.

The opening up of this vast mining region made a demand for provis-
ions of all kind-, as well a.- for the necessary implements for working the
mine.-, and as a result long ox teams were constantly moving as lone, .1-
the grass on the plains lasted, and the Platte valley was the great natural

A company was formed in the Bluffs, consisting of John T. Baldwin,
G. M. Dodge, B. R. Pegram and John Warner, who engaged largely in the
business. Thev bought the City mill and kept it running to its full capacity
in furnishing Hour. Thus the Utah, California and Pikes Peak route paved
the way tor the greater enterprise to come later.

The opening up of the mines in Colorado was the cause of the establish-
ment of one of the lir-i "manufacturing industries here, as Charles Hendrie,
who was largely engaged in manufacturing mining machinery at Burling-
ton, came and built quite extensive work- on the comer of Main and Ninth
streets, where he and his son, and son-in-law. Mr. Cony, whom he had taken
into partnership, did an extensive business lor years, until finding it to their
interest to get nearer their customers, finally moved their plan! to Denver.
During all this time political feeling was becoming more and more in-
tense. The failure of the south to establish slavery in Kansas created a
bitter feeling in that section, in fact, the southern people felt that they had
been betrayed, while the great republican party was growing rapidly through
the north, and on looking back from this long distance, we can see that the
"Irrepressible Conflict" was already on. As for our locality, the democratic
party was largely in the majority, and Dougia.- was the idol, even as Bryan
became forty years later.


The republican party in Pottawattamie county was small, but in deadly
earnest. It was during this time that Lincoln visited Council Bluffs.

From this long distance we can look back and see conditions as they
actually were, and it appears now that the great tragedy was unavoidable.

Previous to this, the policy bad been to admit slates so as to keep them
about equally divided on the slavery issue, but now the preponderance of
the free states, both in population and wealth, became so marked as to cause
the slaveholders to fear for the safety of their peculiar institution. In addi-
tion to this, about this time, two books appeared that produced a wonderful
effect on the minds of the southern people and probably hastened the great
struggle. The one being Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
and the "Impending Crisis," by Rowan Hinton Helper, and although some
of our ablest statesmen strove to effeel compromise measures, as in the days
of Clay, their efforts were in vain, and freedo ■ slavery became the "para-
mount issue," and as the history of this greatest of modern wars has been
written by much abler hands, we shall, at the proper time, endeavor to record
only the part enacted by those of our county.

In the meantime men of note were coming among us, and among them
was one we take special pleasure in remembering, viz.. Judge Caleb Baldwin.
He was a giant, both in intellect and body, and modest as a woman. Soon
after coming here hi' was made city attorney, and in 1859 was elected to
the bench of the supreme court of Iowa, and by due process of law became
chief justice of that court. In 1865 be was appointed United States attorney
for the district of Iowa, He was also mayor of the city during 1866-67,
and afterwards formed a law partnership with George F. Wright, which
lasted until bis death in the winter of 1876.

After the treaty of Washington was ratified and the Geneva conven-
tion had determined the award to be paid by Great Britain for spoliation
by their privateers. Judge Baldwin was appointed one of the commissioners
to distribute the award. Socially, be was one of the most companionable
of men and loved fun like a boy, ami. notwithstanding his great size, he
was active as most men of medium build. Being six feet and six inches tall
and weighing four hundred pounds, he wee always conspicuous.

To illustrate bis physical strength we will relate a little incident that
occurred when he was in his prime. Mr. Pusey and Dr. Honn, both men
of over two hundred pounds weight, were standing in front of Officer and
Pusey's bank, and one of them dropped a half dollar, and they were scuffling
to get it. Just then the judge came along and saying, "Boys, you must not
be quarreling on the street," picked up one under each arm and carried
them down the street, their feet sticking out behind like a pair of five-year-
old kids. His mantle seems to have fallen upon his son, John N., who was
born and reared in this city, and graduated at the old high school on the
hill, and has made for himself a national reputation as a. lawyer.

At the regular spring city election on the 14th of March. 1859, George
Doughty was elected mayor, Cornelius Voorhis. recorder, and J. C. Fargo,
marshal. J. B. Lewis. G. M. Dodge, J. AV. Damon, S. N. Porterfield, T.


P. Treynor, H. H. Oberholtzer, John Hammer and D. W. Carpenter were
elected aldermen, and Frank Street was made city attorney.

At this time John H. Sherman was county judge, and complaints became
general that graft had entered that office by the corrupt issuance of county
warrants. A committee was appointed to examine the affairs of his office,
with the result that he was indicted by the grand jury on the 18th of
February, and at the August term of the district court was convicted and
removed from office. So corrupt had affairs become that county warrants
were only worth thirty-five to forty cents on the dollar, and about all the
county had to show for it- outlay were .some bridges, constructed of poles
and slabs, across the little creek- by a favorite contractor at any price he
saw fit to name. J. P. Casady was appointed to fill the vacancy, but it took
a long time to get to a cash basis.

During this summer and fall Council Bluffs was visited by a number
of eminent men. chief among whom was Abraham Lincoln. He was ac-
companied by Judge Test, of Indiana, ami both addressed a large audience
at Concert Hall, and later in the same hall General A. C. Dodge and T. J.
Kirkwood, candidates for governor, held a joint debate. The democrats
also had a barbecue and ma-.- meeting, and were addressed by the eccentric
but eloquent Henry Clay Dean and Chester C. Cole. All parties were pre-
paring for the great event to transpire a year later.

Owing to the tardiness with which the railroad- were approaching from
the east, people began to look south with a view of connecting with the Han-
nibal & St. Joseph Railroad, which had already reached the latter city. On
the 9tb of November a vast concourse of our people turned out to witness
the breaking ground in the construction of the St. Joseph A' Council Bluffs
Railroad, anil in the evening a large meeting in Concert Hall was addressed
by Co] 1 Sam Black, territorial governor of Nebraska, and Colonel Pea-
body, chief engineer of the company. So thoroughly waked up were our
people iu the matter that a special election, held on the 8th of December,
tlie proposition to subscribe $25,000 of the city was carried by a large ma-
jority, and at a special county election, held on the 15th of February. 1860,
the measure was supplemented by the transfer of the proceed- of the -ale
of swamp lands to the same use to the amount of $40,000. The county held
this stock for several years and finally made an absolute donation of the
stock lo the men in control of the company.

At the regular fall election Judge S. II. Kiddle was elected representa-
tive, Dr. S. II. Craig, sheriff, and J. B. Rue, county superintendent of schools.
At the annual city election, held on March 12. 1880, P. W. Babbit! was
elected mayor. T. P. Treynor was elected city recorder for the second term.
Perry Smith, marshal, and the following named persons were elected alder-
men, to-wit : J. B. Lewis. John Jones. Milton Roger-. W. L. Bigg-. Addi-ou
Cochran and D. W. Carpenter.

During the summer of I860 the two great parties became very active,
and. as before stated, Dough'- was the idol of the grea! ma- of the Demo-
crats. This applied here in Pottawattamie county a- well a- elsewhere, and.


although a few old time whigs remained and clung to the old lime prin-
ciples of that party, they were not numerous enough to effect results, and
in like manner, there was a small party to whom Douglas was not accep-
table. This condition seemed to be general throughout the north.

The nomination of Lincoln struck a popular chord. He was a man of

the comn people, was hailed as the rail-splitter, and his logic seemed to

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 59)