Homer Howard Field.

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

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October 22. ]S00. and, by a strange coincide nee. in the same house and room
in which the Hon. Walter I. Smith was born many years before. Thus, one
member of Congress was bom and another died in the same room.

During this summer the first brick schoolhouse in the city was erected
on the northwest corner of Pierce and Stutsman streets. The contract was
let to G. P. Smith for $6,000, being only a two-room house. Later, when
the large Pierce streel schoolhouse was built, tin- was -old. and is now- owned
and used as a dwelling by Mr. Bell. After the visit of Mr. Lincoln to the
city, the great hill on which was the old Mormon burying ground was given
by common consent tbe name of Mt. Lincoln, ami this year a company was
formed and the ground bought and platted a- tbe Fairview Cemetery, and,
as its name implies, is one of the most charming sites in the country.

It was during this summer that a horse-thief was brought from Harri-
son county and Lodged in the old Cottonwood jail, only to be taken out and
bung on a tree in the eastern part of the city, where be was found the next
morning. No effort was made to learn who were the Lynchers.

Notwithstanding Pottawattamie county had sent most of her young men
to the front, the commands to which tiny were attached had been reduced to
the extent that some of the regiments could muster but four or five hundred


rank and file, and a draft was ordered, and the quota assigned for Potta-
wattamie county was sixty.

It is probable that if it could have been credited with all that went into
regiments in other states Iowa would have been exempt, but the determination
to end the war left no time for parleying, and the draft came. That for the
eastern part of the fifth district was held at Des Moines and that of eight
counties in the western part at Council Bluffs. It was conducted in the
room over what is now the Pierce shoe store, on the corner of Main and
Broadway. It was done by towns and townships. The names of all liable
for military duty were written on cards and placed in a revolving cylinder, and
after it had made several revolutions a ticket was drawn by a person blind-
folded, and the man whose name was on that ticket was duly drawn. This was
repeated till the required number was secured. If any citizen was present
belonging to the precinct being drawn upon he was invited to draw, and in
one instance a man drew his own son. Five days' notice then had to be
served on each drafted man, and if he failed to appear at the rendezvous
within that time he was considered a deserter and subject to arrest. Nearly
all came forward, but a few jumped the country. The same assistance was
extended to the families of these as to those of the enlisted men, and, although
it was a serious matter, they started for the front cheerfully, like true Ameri-
cans that they were.

The draft at Des Moines was conducted by Provost Marshal S. C.
Browned and at the Bluffs by H. H. Field, deputy.

The presidential election followed immediately on the heels of the draft
and although party feeling ran pretty high it passed off without any violence.
It commenced snowing in the morning and continued for forty-eight hours
and the weather was cold for three weeks, which made it pretty severe for
the drafted men, who were coming in rapidly; but a requisition had been
made for blankets, which arrived in time, and detachments were forwarded
daily, until by the 25th the last of our quota were on their way to Davenport,
that being the rendezvous for Iowa. At this time the railroad had only
reached Grinnell.

The draft took some curious freaks. For instance, it took ten men out
of the first ward, and two out of the block where it was conducted. It was no
respecter of persons. It caught A. J. Bell, our representative in the legis-
lature, and it took Charles, son of L. W. Babbitt, editor of the Bugle.

People supposed he would put in a substitute, but he declared he was
able to do his own fighting and went, and ever since has been fighting for
the government right in the city of Washington. In looking back to those
exciting times, it is pleasing to remember that through it all moderation
prevailed, and at no time was violence resorted to. In fact, some of the best
friends of the writer were what were at that time called Copperheads.

The most trying time was on receipt of the news of the assassination of
Lincoln. Even then, although there w T ere a few cases of rudeness, modera-
tion prevailed and nothing approached violence.

During the winter of 1864-5 fairs and festivals were held and quite large
sums of money were raised to assist the families of the soldiers.



At the January. 1835, meeting of the board of supervisors E. McBride
was elected chairman; A. E. Clarendon was appointed county superintendent
to till the vacancy caused by the resignation of L. S. Axtel. At the city
election N. S. Bates was elected mayor, T. P. Treynor, recorder, H. P. Warren.
treasurer, and A. J. Bump, marshal; H. H. Field. Richard Rogers, C. P.
Johnson, J. M. Phillips, Thomas Jeffries and John Hammer, aldermen. At
the spring school election a four-room brick school building was author-
ized on the ground now occupied by the Bloomer school. At that time it
was thought to be ample but was soon outgrown, but did duty until 1880,
when it was supplanted by the present nine-room structure. This was mis-
named the Bloomer.

The old High School building should have been named for him, as it
became a religion with him to get it placed there, and it became a subject of
contention ever after and at tbis day it stand.- idle, representing $100,000,
"with none so poor to do it reverence."

On the b'lli hi April came the dispatch announcing the assassination of
Lincoln, and for a time we were almost dazed. Business was suspended,
meetings were called and resolutions passed condemning it, even by those
whose teachings for year.- had led up to it.

A few persons who bad openly been in sympathy with the rebellion
were notified to leave by self-constituted committees, but, as before stated,
there was no actual violence.

Many persons feared that disbanding so many soldiers at the close of
the war might result in lawlessness, but the million of trained soldiers re-
turned to civil pursuits with the same alacrity that they came to the front
when needed.

At the June meeting of the board of supervisors Sheriff Voorhis resigned
and II. II. Field was appointed to till the vacancy.

In August the Council Bluffs branch of the Slate Bank of Iowa was
transformed into the First National Bank of Council Bluffs, with Captain
A. L. Deming a- president and Moses II. Deming as cashier.

September 21 was set apart by the citizens a- a testimonial to tin- men
who had gone into the military service and returned at the close of the war
to resume their peaceful avocations, The testimonial was in the shape of a
banquet, and all the citizen? vied with each other in thus expressing their
gratitude to the men who had -o cheerfully done their duty.

At the fall election Colonel W. V. Sapp was elected to the state legisla-
ture. Thomas Tostevin, county treasurer, and II. II. Field, sheriff.

In the latter part of November ground was broken on the west side of
the river in commencing the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, and
many went over from Council Bluffs to participate in the exercises, which
consisted in throwing a few shovels of earth, when all adjourned to the Hern-
don Hotel to a banquet, after which speeches by eminent men were listened to
and all concluding with a dance in which the elite of both cities partici-


After the burning of Concert Hall, there was no suitable room in the
city for any public assembly and in the fall of 1865 Henry Burhop made the
excavation preparatory to erecting a fine hall, but could get only brick for
the cellar wall- until the following spring when it was hurried to completion.
It was 42x80 feet, with two ante-rooms. It was well adapted for balls, lec-
tures and dramatic performances. Bayard Taylor was the first person of note
to occupy the platform. It immediately became in great demand. Terms
of the district court were held in the day time and balls at night, and church
services on Sunday, while the bar on the ground floor did duty all the

During the winter of lN('>(i-7 it was used constantly as a theatre, and as
good plays were presented there as have been at any time since.

In January. L866, the move to build a. courthouse look active shape. A
committee of the board of supervisors reported a plan and estimates, and the
site where the courthouse now stands was purchased at a cost of $3,500. A
committee consisting of Thos. Officer, J. M. Phillip- and William Ward was
appointed to let the contract and supervise the construction of the court-
house. On the 15th of January, 1866, the contract was let according to plans
and specifications prepared by William Ward, the architect, to John Hammer
and F. T. C. Johnson, contractors and builder-, the cost not to exceed $42,000,
bonds of the county having been authorized to meet the cost. The work
progressed so that il wa- enclosed and the jail, which was in the basement,
fitted up and offices on the first floor completed, but the court room was not
finished until the winter of 1868, when il was formally opened with a ban-
quet given by the contractors, and at last the Goddess of Justice had a temple
of her own.

During this time a two-room brick schoolhouse had been built on the
Washington avenue grounds, as had also been the Presbyterian Church on
the corner of Seventh street and Willow avenue.

The pastor. Rev. .lames H. Clark, had held revival meetings during the
winter and succeeded in getting a large addition to its membership, among
whom were a number of the most prominent men of the city, when his con-
gregation was shocked and humiliated to learn that he was guilty of gross
immorality, and he was promptly dismissed.

Railroad building that had been suspended during the war was now
resumed. The old contracts for construction of the St. Joseph and Council
Bluff- Railroad were surrendered and a new one entered into with Henry
W. Phelps, of Massachusetts, for the completion of the road by January 1,
1867, and all the stock in the company held by the city and county was
transferred to Willis Phelps, as one of the inducements to a resumption of
the work, and under this arrangement work was vigorously resumed. A loco-
motive (the Wahbonsy) was brought by steamer and landed at St. Marys,
twelve miles below the city, and put to construction work and was the first
to enter the city, but the connection was not made so as to form a through
line until the following spring, while the Cedar Rapids or Northwestern
entered as per agreement before the first of January. 1867, making the first
through line. Colonel H. C. Nutt now entered into the business of trans-


ferring the freight destined for the west. This was all-important, as the
Union Pacific was dependent upon it for the material for its own construc-
tion. A temporary bridge was constructed by piling through the ice over
which traffic was maintained until the ice bridge went out and a car ferry
was established, which was continued until completion of the bridge.

AVhile matters were being pushed in this locality, people were not idle
"up town." The rivalry before mentioned still existed between the two sec-
tions, and believing a good hotel would assist in holding trade it was deter-
mined to erect one, and after conferring as to location, that of the old City
Hotel was agreed upon and finally William Garner, Charles Baughn and John
Hammer agreed with a committee to build a hotel according to plans and
specifications submitted by the architect (Cook), providing the committee
would raise $10,000, which was done by subscription, and the Ogden House
was launched.

Alter the dismissal of Rev. James H. Clark, the Rev. Thomas H. Cleland
was called to the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church and. after the
usual trial, was duly installed and remained as such pastor until May. 1882,
when he resigned to take the pulpit of Westminster Presbyterian Church,
of Keokuk, Iowa.

The old Ocean Wave saloon, having been on the decline since the palmy
days of the California and Pikes Peak emigration, was at last .-truck by
lightning and burned t<i the ground. Many of the good people thought it
a good opportunity to get even with the Devil by erecting a church on its
ruins. This was accomplished by Rev. Joseph Knotts, backed and assisted
by the active members of the Methodist Church, and a pretty fair church
was erected and. although detective architecturally speaking, ii did duty
until supplanted by the present larger and more elaborate structure.

In January. 1866, L. W. Babbitt sold the Bugle to W. T. Giles, of Free-
port, 111., who conducted the paper until October, 1867, when he resold it to
Colonel Babbitt and returned to Illinois.

A change also took place in the management of the Nonpareil by W. S.
Burke retiring December 26, L866, and YV. W. Maynard and J. W. Chapman
taking control, the former being the editor and the latter manager. Several
other changes were made from this time until 1870, when the oilier interests
were absorbed by Mr. Chapman, then county treasurer, Thos. I'. Tivvnor and
Spencer Smith, and was incorporated as the Nonpareil Printing Company
and under that name continued to do business for many year-.

Up to this time the state had been using temporary quarters at Iowa
City in maintaining an Institute for the Deaf. Colonel Sapp, as a member
of the House from this county, backed by leading citizens, secured a pre-
liminary appropriation for the erection of suitable buildings for such an
institute at Council Bluffs.

During this year Thomas C. Durant. vice-president of the Union Pacific
Railroad Company, on behalf of himself and other members of the company,
purchased a large body of land in the western part of the city to be used

for railroad purposes, and on which were later i structed their terminal

depot and transfer mounds, round houses, ear sheds, etc.


At the spring election of 1867 Judge Frank Street was elected mayor,
his opponent being L. W. Babbitt, and A. J. Bump was again elected mar-

On the 24th of June the Empire block was destroyed by fire. There was
no fire department at that time and nothing could be done to save the prop-
erty. The loss was fully $100,000. The type, press and material of the
Nonpareil were totally destroyed, as well as the young men's library.

On May 3 a new democratic newspaper was launched, called the Daily
Democrat, under the management of Alf S. Kierolf & Co. Mr. Kierolf was
a sensational political writer, after the manner of Brick Pomeroy, with the
result that a bitter rivalry sprang up between his paper and the Bugle that
nearly disrupted the party.

The annual election for city officers was held on the 10th of March, and
resulted in the choice of Thomas Tostevin for mayor. The school election
was held on the same day and Mr. Bloomer was again chosen president of the
school board.

A special election was held on the 25th day of June, appropriating
$20,000 of the $60,000 loan for the purpose of purchasing a steam fire
engine. A Silsbe steamer was purchased, and Bluff City Engine Company
organized to manage the steamer. An engine house was erected in the rear
of the City building on Glen avenue, and the steamer arrived on the 17th of
September. F. T. C. Johnson was made chief and Council Bluffs became
for the first time possessed of a fire department.

Among the new enterprises was the establishment of a German news-
paper, which first saw the light as the Frei I'resse under the direction of
Messrs. Wenbore and Worden in September. For a time it was prosperous,
being patronized by the business men of the city and the German farmers of
Pottawattamie and Mills counties. It changed hands with varying success
until in 1880 it passed into the hands of a man by the name of Peiffer, who
conducted it ably and placed it on a paying basis.

The summer of 1868 was a very active one. The location of the Union
Pacific bridge, after thorough soundings had been made for quite a distance
along the river, was finally fixed by General Dodge, chief engineer, at the
point wdiich it now occupies, and in consideration of this and location of
proper depot and terminal facilities, the city agreed to donate its bonds to
the amount of $205,000.

During this year the building known as Bloom's hall w r as erected by Gen-
eral Dodge and Solomon Bloom, the third story of which was a hall 50x100
feet, with a stage across the Main street end. This was a popular place for
lectures, concerts, balls and dramatic performances for many years.

July, 1868, marked the completion of the Council Bluffs & St. Joseph
Railroad. This connecting with the Hannibal & St. Joseph gave us another
outlet to the east. During this year efforts were made to advance and im-
prove the public schools. Professor Adam Armstrong, a graduate of Spring-
field (Ohio) College, was employed as city superintendent and a graded sys-
tem established. During this summer the Sixth street schoolhouse was built,
being the sixth brick schoolhouse.


The summer of 1868 was an extremely lively one. On the 30th of July
General Grant, candidate for president, accompanied by Generals Sherman
and Sheridan, who had been on a visit to military posts, came to the city
on their way east, and. having an hour or two before the St. Joseph train
was In leave, they took a spin through the city and down to the depot, where
they were met by a large crowd anxious to pay their respects, regardless of
party feeling.

As the season advanced political excitement increased. Farmers' clubs
were organized by the republicans and Seymour clubs by the democrats.
who held their meetings in Burhop's Hall.

A large amount of building was done during this summer, among which
were three large store rooms belonging to Mr. Keller. J. M. Phillips and Mr.-.
Knepper, on the south side of Broadway, between Main and Fourth streets:
also the three-story brick on the southwest corner of Main and Broadway
now the First National Bank. Conrad Geise erected a large brewery, hut did
not commence brewing until the spring of L869.

A- the time of the election drew near the enthusiasm increased until it
resembled, if not excelled, the lou cabin campaign of L840.

It culminated October 22. so far as the republican party was concerned,
in a grand rally to which the people of the entire county were invited and
consisted of a big dinner served continuously from 10 a. m. to 10 p. m. and
a grand procession. The dinner was served in the three new buildings just
erected by Mrs. Knepper and Messrs. Keller and Phillips, each having two
tables their entire length kepi loaded with substantial that had been donated
from all parts of the county until their storage room resembled a commis-
sary's store for an army. At the same time C. L. P. Crockwell was installed
in an adjacent building with a sugar boiler making coffee, of which fifteen
barrels were consumed.

An arch spanned Broadway at the angle where the Hamilton shoe store
now is, on the supporting columns of which the names of soldiers of the
county who had lost their lives in the war were inscribed, while on the arch
itself were many of those of the state, and in the center of which was that of
Lincoln. The tables were served by a committee of a hundred men and a
like number of women, divided into reliefs, each of which served two hours.

Ai one o'clock a grand procession was formed, with Colonel W. F. Sapp
as marshal with a large detail of mounted aides. In the column nearly every
institution was represented вАФ the army by returned veterans, the navy by a
gunboat, manned, and discharging rockets: the several state- by girls dressed
in white, with blue and red trimmings: mother.- and wives of deceased sol-
dier- in carriages. Some feature- were beautiful, others comical. Anion- die
latter was that of Grant's tannery, designed and conducted by Captain T. P.
Williams, in which were hanging dressed hides of leather representing Lee,
Buckner and Pemberton. while opposite hung the green hides of Seymour
and Blair waiting their turn to be tanned.

As the long column uncovered in passing under the arch the effect was
impressive, and not easily forgotten. In the evening the pageant was
repeated, to which was added a monitor and a large delegation from Omaha


with a gunboat and brass band. On the whole this far excelled any political
demonstration pulled off here, before or since.

During this year the old Dohany Opera was built, being the upper
story of a livery barn and, although the odor arising from the stable became
pretty strong at times, it was for years the most popular hall in the city.
Among the celebrities that have appeared on its stage were Ole Bull,
Janausheck, Remenyi, Camille Urso, Henry Ward Beecher, Victoria Wood-
hull, Clara Louise and Fanny Kellogg, R. .1. Ingersoll, and a host of others.
The old building is still standing, but its glory has long since departed.

During this year Conrad Geise erected a brewery on the north side of
Upper Broadway, but did not commence the business until the spring of 1869.

The city having purchased an engine and a fire company having been
organized, it became necessary to have water, and the plan was adopted of
constructing immense cisterns at intervals along the business streets and filling
them from Indian creek, using the steamer for this purpose, as well as ex-
hausting them in time of fire.

At the city election on the first Monday in April, D. C. Bloomer was
elected mayor, F. A. Burke recorder, Mr. Treynor having been appointed
postmaster by President Grant. J. B. Lewis, John T. Oliver, J. B. Atkins,
L. L. Spooner, John Huntington and L. W. Babbitt were elected alder-

A new code of ordinances was prepared under the supervision of L. W.
Ross, but not published until 1870.

On the 2d day of February an ordinance was approved granting to Wm.
Cones and associates, acting under the style and title of the Council Bluffs
I ras Light Company, the exclusive franchise for lighting the city with gas
for a period of twenty years.

The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad having obtained the
right-of-way of the M. & M., had steadily approached the Bluffs, and as it
became known that the first train would enter on the 12th of May, it was
decided to commemorate the event by laying the corner-stone of the Ogden
House, for which preparation had been made. A great concourse of citizens,
with the fire company, civic societies, band and artillery squad with gun,
repaired to the grounds, where a temporary depot had been erected, and as
the train pulled in it was given a royal welcome, being the third railroad to
enter the city. From here they repaired to the site of the Ogden founda-
tion, where Mayor Bloomer proceeded with the ceremony of laying the corner
stone, and the festivities concluded with a ball that evening at the Pacific
house attended by the elite of the city.

During this summer a two-room addition was added to the Washington
avenue schoolhouse at a cost of $6,000.

On the 13th of May, Council Bluffs Lodge No. 49 occupied their new
hall in the third story of the new building on the southwest corner .of Broad-
way and Main streets.

On the first of July a public installation of its officers took place at
Bloom's Hall, the exercises being conducted by Grand Master William Sharpe,
of Ottumwa.


Humboldt Lodge No. 174 was organized in October, 1869, and Hawkeye
Lodge No. 184, a lodge in English, was instituted.

Twin Brother Encampment was chartered October 20 and duly instituted.

At the fall election John Beresheim, republican, was elected to the leg-
islature over his democratic opponent, Robert Percival, and John W. Chap-
man, republican, was elected county treasurer.

A beginning was made on the state school for the deaf during '68, but
no great amount of work was done until 1869. William R. Craig, of Nebraska.
City, had the contract and pushed the work, the east wing and center being
first completed. William Ward, of the Bluffs, was supervising architect. The
plans were altered so as to involve greater expense than was provided by the

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 6 of 59)