Homer Howard Field.

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

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intendent, F. C. Childs; coroner, Henry Faul; Eli Clayton and E. L. Shu-
gart, supervisors.

A.- early as 1872 steps were taken to build what Ls now known as the
Wabash line to St. Louis. This was the incorporation of the St. Louls,
Council Bluffs & Omaha Railroad Company. The object being to secure
a short line from St. Louis by way of Brunswick and Chillicothe. General
J. H. Hammond was the active promoter of this enterprise, but the panic
of 1873 put a quietus on it for a time, but in '78 work was resumed and in
1878 the road was in operation to the city, and a consolidation with the
Wabash took place, under which name it ha.- ever since been operated. Also
the Union Pacific Railroad Company had built and opened their depot and
transfer hotel. The business at the transfer brought many families into
that vicinity, ami the number of children increased until it became neces-
sary to build another schoolhouse, and during the year a four-room house,
known a- the Eighth Avenue School, was built.

Al the city election in April. 1878, N. 1>. Lawrence was elected mayor;
F. A. Burke, recorder; 0. M. Brown, treasurer; R. C. Hubbard, assessor; G.
A. Eolmes, attorney; engineer, 1.. P. Judson; marshal, B. F. Baldwin. The
aldermen were Henry Dawson, A. C. Graham, John Epeneter, \Y. S. Petti-
bone, .1. W. Rodifer, G. II. Tabor and George II. Bicknell.

During this summer the greenback party held their convention at
Council Bluffs and nominated William Hick-, of Montgomery county, for
congress. Colonel Sapp was nominated by the republicans withoul opposi-
tion, and Colonel John II. Keatley by the democrats. Colonel Sapp was
elected by a large majority over both candidates.

'I'bc subject of spiritualism bad for some time been attracting consid-
erable attention. Mediums of all degrees appeared ami gave exhibitions,
cabinet seances, etc., thai seemed to be satisfactory to the believers, which
included many of oiir besl citizen-. Eminent lecturers appeared here as
elsewhere, and a large society was organized, ami mediums, both male and
female, flourished. As fa-t as one trick was exposed a new one would be
devised, until the delusion bad .-pent it- force. The turning point here
being from 1875 to 1880, alter which it declined about a- rapidly as it bad
advanced, until with the opening of the new century it had practically dis-

At tin- regular election laid October 8, L878, Fit/. Henry Warren was
elected clerk of the districi court. J. I'. Goulden, recorder, and Robert Kirk-
wood, supervisor.

The wonderful discovery of silver in Colorado, together with the resump-
tion nf specie payment ami coinage of millions of silver dollars; gave a boom
Id all kinds ,,f business. Evidently previous to this the volume of money
bad not been sufficient or in proportion to the requirements of business.
Many of our citizens caught the mining fever ami rushed to the Leadville
and other camps to try their luck, but few. if any. were among the fortunate


During January, 1878, our people were shocked by one of the most
horrible murders ever committed in any country. Mr. Frank Smith was
living on a farm just east of the city limits. He had in his employ a half-
breed Wyandotte Indian. Mr. Smith had occasion to go to Omaha, and the
day being very pleasant, he took the two oldest children with him, leaving
two smaller ones and a babe at home. The Indian had always conducted
himself like any civilized man, and was treated as one of the family. The
dav was one of those we occasionally have, like Indian summer, and after-
dinner the children went out to play at the barn, and on returning to the
house and not finding their mother, they started to the nearest neighbors,
only a few rods away, thinking to find her there, but hearing the baby cry, they
stopped and followed the sound back to a cave cellar in the rear of the
house, where they found their mother dead, her throat being cut from ear
to ear, and the babe was creeping in her blood. They ran to the neighbors
and the alarm was given. A large posse scoured the timber, while men were
started on each road on horseback and telegrams sent to all point-. I ml to
no purpose. The funeral was largely attended and the services were most
impressive. On the day following the funeral something could be seen in
the well, and on getting hooks and drawing it up, it proved to be the Indian.
The reasonable conclusion was that, when he approached her, she fled
with her babe out the back door and that he forced her into the cellar where
she was found, that he then went to the well to draw water to wash the
blood from his clothes. The well was provided with the common buckets
over a wheel, with a very low curb, and that in his haste and excitement
he pitched in head first and doubled down below the surface of the water
until decomposition caused the body to rise. To add to the horror, many
of the people attending the funeral, a- well a- those keeping the house, had
been drinking the water for three day-. Had the Indian been caught alive,
he would never have seen the inside of the jail. This was one of the mildest
winters for years, so much so that securing ice was quite a problem.


Addison Cochran was elected mayor; R. C. Hubbard, recorder; 0. M.
Brown, treasurer, B. F. Baldwin, marshal; engineer, L. P. Judson; attorney,
G. A. Holmes.

For some time the question of establishing a system of waterworks had
been agitated, and it entered largely into the spring campaign, also the creat-
ing of Union avenue.

During this spring Council Bluffs experienced the greatest temperance
revival in its history. A man named Dart, a reformed drunkard, came
among us and, although not a very good speaker, he had the faculty of
drawing and enlisting talent. It was called the Blue Ribbon movement,
and meetings were held nightly for several weeks. Nearly all the clergy
and a host of ladies, as well as many of our best public speakers, assisted,
and for a time it seemed as though all were to lie captured.

During this summer several good buildings were erected, among which


was Weise & Clausen's block on the corner of Broadway and Pierce; also one
by William Pyper on the corner of Broadway and Second street.-.

Since tbe early settlement of the city its topography has been materially
changed by cutting down the hills and tilling the low ground. The sharp
bluff at the southeast of Fifth avenue and Third street originally reached
down to Fourth street and Willow avenue and where the houses of Mr. Van
Brunt and Mr. Bennett are now standing il was as high or higher than the
top of their houses at present. The high bluff away above the Pierce street-
school formerly extended clear down to Broadway, with Fort Crogan located
near the present site of Mrs. Clausen's residence. .Much of this was used
in filling Broadway, which was some four feet below the present grade, and
was corduroyed for some distance.

The bluff on the wesl side "i Oakland avenue was from ten to fifteen
feet higher than now. and the road i" Fairview cemetery ran along the crest,
the ascent commencing in front of the Washington avenue schoolhouse.
What is now Oakland avenue was a gully some ten or fifteen feet deeper
than now. with a trail up through Hazel brush and was dignified by the
name of Valley street.

All the valley of Indian creek above the Masonic Temple and the Wa.-h-
ington avenue school was originally called Miller's hollow. The valley pene-
trated by Park and (lien avenue- was called Hang hollow, that by Benton
and Harrison. Muck hollow, Broadway above Oak became Mini hollow, ami
Franklin avenue above Platner street became Irish hollow, the first settlers
having been of that nationality.

Two squares of this hollow have probably turned out a larger number
of men thai have become prominenl than any locality of like extent in the
city or county.

To begin, at the entrance we encounter George Carson, who has held
ai differenl time- the offices of justice of the peace, judge of the circuit court,
member of the Legislature, mayor of the city and judge of the district court.
On the opposite corner wa- II. 11. Field, who was for -ix term- alderman
of the first ward, then deputj sheriff, next provost marshal during the war,
then sheriff, three terms member of the broad of education, two terms chief
of police ami two terms justice of the peace. Just above on Grace street Nick
O'Brien was bom. who grew to manhood, and a- deputy sheriff while arresting
a desperado was -hot through and through, hut recovered, and is an active busi-
ness man at this day. Ascending the hollow, next above Judge Carson we come
to 'Squire !вАҐ',. 15. (iardner, who ha- filled the role of printer, merchant, police
sergeant and justice of the peace. A little farther up we come to the Wickhams.
The Wickham brothers commenced at the bottom, with the hod. a half century
ago, and by industry and strict integrity have risen to become the largest
contractor- in mason work in all it< branches in the city. James, the senior
partner, although seventy, ami the father of twenty-two children, was never
sick a 'lay in his life, and doe.- not appear over fifty. While the girls are
accomplished ladies, the boy- are rustlers. Bernard and E. A., the eldest, in
addition to the mile- of street and sidewalk paving, are Large railroad contractors.
At this writing they have just completed a one-hundred-mile contract from


Chamberlain to Rapid City, in which four hundred teams and six hundred
men were employed, at a cost of .$1,000,000. And wherever you see greal
piles of earth, rock, brick, sand and lime, you can be pretty sure of finding
a Wickham close by.

But keeping along a little farther up the hollow, we come to Judge
Scott, of the superior court, and a little farther up we come to the home of
C. Hafer, the lumber king.

Mud hollow was for many years the home of L. W. Babbitt, a man
prominent in all the affairs of early days, having been at different times
register in the United States land office, a leading merchant, publisher and
editor of the Bugle, the first Democratic paper, and, although on the wrong
side during our great war, we must not judge him harshly. He believed
what he said and wrote and his integrity was never doubted. Judge S. II.
Riddle was another of the same stamp, both of whom have passed away.

At the regular city election of 1880 W. C. James was elected mayor; F.
A. Burke, recorder; L. W. Babbitt, city marshal; attorney. E. E. Aylesworth;
treasurer, O. M. Brown; engineer, L. P. Judson; assessor, J. W. Grassland.
The following persons were elected aldermen: John A. Churchill. W. S.
Mayne, G. H. Jackson, W. G. Unthank, Henry Dawson. A. G. Graham, X. C.
Phillips and Jacob Williams.

During this year the Bloomer schoolhouse was erected, being by far
the of any except the high school building.

About this time the roller skate craze struck tins city as well as the
smaller ones of the county. The building now used by the Dodge Light
Guards as their armory was built and used as a rink. For a time it seemed
as though it would supersede dancing as an amusement. It was apparently
a harmless and graceful exercise and became very popular; but for some
unknown cause it stopped suddenly all over the country, bankrupting those
that had gone into the manufacture of the skates and leaving hundreds of
vacant rinks and a year later a roller skate could not be found anywhere.

At the regular election held October 11, 1881, H. O. Seiffert and J. C.
Morgan were elected representatives; auditor, T. A. Kirkland; treasurer, John
Bennett; sheriff. Theodore Guittar; surveyor. Samuel Denton; county super-
intendent. J. K. Cooper; coroner, Henry Faul; supervisor, S. G. Underwood.

At the spring election, 1881, W. R. Vaughan was elected mayor; F. A.
Burke, recorder; A. T. Elwell, treasurer; C. E. Stone, assessor; G. A. Holmes,
attorney: L. P. Judson, engineer; M. D. Hardin, street commissioner; P.
Lacy, chief engineer of fire department, and H. II. Field, chief of police.

John A. Churchill, S. S. Keller, F. W. Spetman, Nathan Phillips, E.
R. Fonda. W. C. Unthank. T. E. Gavin and Henry Dawson were elected

For two or three years the question of establishing city waterworks had
been agitated. As early as 1879 this became the "paramount issue," and
Colonel Cochran was elected mayor largely on account of his favoring the
enterprise. It took practical shape when, on January 24, 1881, the council
passed an ordinance granting to the American Construction Company, of


New York, a pretty well guarded franchise extending for twenty-five years,
and under which our water supply has been furnished up to the present time,
viz., 1907.

FLOOD OF 1881.

The spring of 1881 was remarkable on account of a flood, the most
remarkable ever experienced here. Unusually warm weather in Montana
during the month of March caused the Missouri to open up at the head
before the ice had gone out below. This gave us a double portion. Fortu-
nately, we had warning from points above so that most persons then living
on tbe low ground could prepare. .Some by moving to higher ground, while
the courthouse, halls, schoolhouses and even churches were thrown open
for the refugees, and everything in the shape of a boat was put in requisi-
tion to relieve such a- were unable In move. After a few days the water
began to subside and people began to return to their homes, when word
came of still higher water above, which proved to lie true. This time if came
to Eighth street on Broadway and from the smith it came up to Seventh
avenue. It came even with the platforms at the Northwestern depot, and
boats could run from there to Omaha. A pari of Street's addition and Cen-
tral sub, also a small section where the subsiding reservoir now is, were
not covered. Fortunately the current outside the river proper was not swift
and hut few houses were moved from their foundations, ami no loss "f life
was reported. By the first of June normal condition- were restored.

During the summer the state firemen's tournament was held here, com-
mencing June 7 ami ending on the loth. The tire department of Council
Bluffs, under the management of Thomas Bowman, IS. Newman. 1'. Lacy,
,). X. Beckley, G. A. Bolmes, and others, made ample preparation for the
event. A splendid track sixty feet wide by three hundred yards long was
prepared on which speed trials were had and were enclosed. The entire city
blossomed with flags

The meeting of the state association was held at Burhop's hall on the
7th. and on the 8th occurred the' grand parade, in which forty-six fire organi-
zation- participated. The column was more than a mile long, with John H.
Keattey a- chid' marshal. The afternoons of each day were given up to
trials of speed by hose companies, trials of engines. At night the city was
illuminated and Governor John 11. Gear addressed the firemen in the park.
A grand hall was given by the Council Bluffs firemen to their comrades
from abroad.

Among the victors were the Rescues of the Bluffs and I.lwff City, both
taking first prize-.

At the election of state officers General Lyman Banks, of Muscatine,
was elected president, and that city was selected as the place for meeting in
1882. The event closed without an accident or an unpleasant incident to
mar its pleasures.

For some time there had been a disposition on the pari of many to
change the form of the city government by abandoning its special charter
and coming in under the general incorporation law. A petition signed by


the requisite number of voters was presented to the council, and they ap-
pointed the third clay of October on which the abandonment should be
decided, and the proposition carried by a handsome majority.

The 26th of September was an eventful day in Council Bluffs, being
set apart for suitable memorial services on the day of the funeral of President
Garfield. At noon a salute was fired, but during one of the discharges Joseph
Spaulding, an ex-soldier, who was serving the gun, had an arm shattered so
that amputation at the shoulder became necessary. Fortunately he recov-
ered, was appointed by Postmaster Armour in the mail service, where he
served several years, and later held the office of constable, and at this writ-
ing is an inmate of the soldiers' home at Leavenworth.

In the afternoon the Grand Army post and civic societies assembled
in Bayless' park, where appropriate services were held, among them being
an eloquent eulogy by John N. Baldwin. Scarcely had the people left the
park when the entire city was startled by a most terrific explosion and,
on looking in the direction of the sound, a dense cloud was rising. The
cause proved to be burning of a car loaded with giant powder standing in
the Rock Island yard. How it caught has ever been a mystery, but
fortunately it was seen by one who knew the contents of the car and gave
the alarm, enabling all to flee and escape before the lire reached the powder.
The explosion was so terrific that whole trains of car- standing near were
reduced to kindling, windows a half mile away were broken, and teamsters
blown off from their wagons. Where the car stood was a pit as large as a
circus ring and twelve feet deep, but not a vestige of the car, cither wood or
iron, was to be seen. A pair of truck- came crashing through a house a
square away, in which was an invalid in bed, but fright from which she
soon recovered, was the only injury received by anyone.

The spring election of '82 was a most spirited one. Mayor Vaughan
was a candidate for re-election. N. D. Lawrence was the republican candi-
date for mayor, and Thomas Bowman the democratic candidate. Politics
did not appear to cut much figure in this election, the result turning on
the personal preference of the voters. The result was the election of Thomas
Bowman, mayor; auditor, F. A. Burke: treasurer, John Clausen; marshal,
E. W. Jackson; engineer, Thomas Tostevin; weighmaster, J. P. Williams;
aldermen-at-large, William Seidentopf, long term, J. P. Goulden, short
term; ward aldermen. F. C. Nuel, P. F. Eicher, Alex Wood, E. L. Shugart,
one year; for two years, W. C. James and M. Keating: judge of superior court,
E. E. Aylesworth: assessor, Hiram Shoemaker; street commissioner, A. E.
Avery: city clerk, A. C. Savacool; chief engineer of the fire department, C. D.

During the summer of 1882 the Driving Park A-sociation made especial
efforts for its fall meeting, to begin on the 18th of September. In addition
to the mile track made the year before, the association constructed a half-mile
track inside of the other, and made the grounds attractive in every respect.

Arrangements were made for holding of a county fair at the date of
the fall meeting, and this was conducted successfully owing to the admirable
management of Dr. A. B. McCune, W. S. Pettibone, N. M. Pusey, L. C.



Baldwin and J. W. Peregoy, directors of the association. The fair -was
success, not only in numbers but in display, and financially, the daily
attendance during four days of fair and races being over ten thousand.


Following the fair and beginning on the 28th of September, was the
reunion of the Veteran Association of Southwestern Iowa and Northwestern
Missouri. The Driving Park Association gave the use of the fair grounds
to the reunion. Through the aid of Congressman Hepburn the war depart-
ment loaned the association one hundred and fifty hospital tents. The first
morning was clear and cool, and the first trains brought veterans by the
hundred, and by night three thousand of them were comfortably quartered
in camp.

Colonel John II. Keatley was commandant, aided by Colonel D. B.
Dailey, chief of staff. General G. M. Dodge, former commander of Six-
teenth Army Corps and first colonel of the Fourth Iowa, was on a visit home
from New York to meet the old regiment and take part in the reunion. On
the afternoon of the first day the veterans were organized into two battalions,
tlie one called the Wabash battalion, under command of Colonel Ellis, of
Villisca, and the other, the Northwestern battalion, commanded by Colonel
J. C. Cook, of Carrol]. Both battalions gave dress parades at five o'clock
thai evening, witnessed by thousands of spectators.

On tlie second morning at nine o'clock the column formed at the fair
grounds and marched into the city for parade and review. Old tattered and
torn battle flags were borne by the column as ii marched up Broadway by
platoon.- to First street, ami counter-marching. General Dodge took position
at the intersection of fourth street while the column passed in review and
retiring when the last veteran had passed. The scene was affecting, not only
to the participants, hut to the thousands of spectators that lined the street.
The afternoon was occupied by speeches by Colonel Hepburn, Major Ander-
son ami others to their comrades, and at evening, when on dress parade.
congratulatory dispatches were read from Generals Grant, Sherman, Sheri-
dan and Howard. At aighl the city was illuminated in honor of the veterans
and General Dodge threw his house and grounds open, giving a reception
to the veterans and public generally.

The reunion closed on Saturday after election of officers for the ensuing
year, with farewell greetings, and fixing the next place of meeting at Marys-
ville. Mo.

At the election held November 7. 1882, S. D. Street was elected clerk;
J. F. Rroadheck. county surveyor: S. B. Frum and R. Kirkwood. super-

During the years L881-2-3 a large amount of building was done. Among
these was the Mueller Music Hall.

For this he had labored for a quarter of a century. It was complete
in its appointments, the first story being the sale room for all supplies be-
longing to the trade, with repair room and elevator in the rear. While the


second story, reached by both elevator and stairway, was used as a store-room
for pianos, and the third was a concert hall.

In 1882 the four-story building of the Empkie Shugart Hardware Com-
pany was built, as was also the Shugart block and the Twentieth avenue

During September, 1883, the people were startled by the report that Dr.
A. B. McCune had been killed by Dr. Cross.

The former was a very popular physician with an extensive practice.
There had been ill feeling for some time between them, each accusing the
other of unprofessional conduct.

Finally Cross was instrumental in getting McCune indicted for criminal
practice. Unfortunately both lived on the same street, Cross where the
Elks' club house now stands and McCune one square west, and meeting .just
at dark, the tragedy occurred. McCune died before his statement could be
taken. The theory of the prosecution was that Cross was lying in wait
for his victim near the front of his dwelling, while Cross declared that
McCune overtook him and struck him from behind a terrible blow, remark-
ing at the same time, "I've got you now." They evidently had a struggle, as
Cross had shot through his own left hand in the fray. On hearing the
report, Chief Field started for the place and overtaking Sheriff Guittar both
went to the house, where they found Cross already in custody of Policemen
Brooks and Cusic. He was bathing hi- wounded hand. A great crowd had
gathered around the house, but Cross was not in the least excited. After
bathing his hand he directed his wife where to get the proper dressing and
assisted in applying the bandage.

Chief Field then asked him if he understo '1 that he was under arrest.
He replied, "Yes. I will he ready in a minute." A friend who was in the
house suggested that as there was a great crowd in front, that we go out
the back way. He replied that lie had done nothing of which he was
ashamed and would go the front way. Kissing his wife and telling her not
to worry, he said he .was ready and walked down to the jail.

When the grand jury met he was indicted and held without bail, took a
change of venue to Mills county, was convicted and sentenced to death, but
on appeal to the supreme court, the decision was reversed on error in instruc-
tion and admission of evidence, and when cause was set for hearing, a change
of venue was again taken to Montgomery county, where he was finally
acquitted. It has been reported that Dr. Cross has recently died.

During 'this year another tragedy occurred of a darker color than the

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 8 of 59)