IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Li'l Bits
updated 09/16/2017


Bits of Information
from various newspapers
1859 - 1899

undated clippings


Lansing Postoffice burglary, 1859
On the night of the 23d of February last, the Post Office in Lansing, Alamakee County, was entered burglariously and the mail bags stolen. Circumstances led to the suspicion that one Bill Faulkner and a negro named Peter Montgomery were parties to the crime, and they were accordingly arrested and taken before Justice Merrill, of Lansing, for examination. After his arrest the negro made a full confession, showing Faulkner had been the principal. The amount of booty obtained by the robbery was $2 mailed in Wisconsin for Mr. Coil, of Dorchester, and a package of postage stamps amounting to [?]. The stamps were found concealed after the arrests in a board pile near Faulkner's house. Faulkner was committed in default of bail, and the negro was detained as a witness. -Burlington Hawkeye and Telegraph, March 15, 1859
~Contributed by Cathy Joynt Labath
Wolves, Burlington Weekly Hawkeye, June 30, 1860
From the Waukon Journal we learn that a Mr. James Reed, living near that place, tracked some wolves from his farm to a cave, and then had some rare sport in burning them out. He collected a large lot of birch bark, and placing it in the mouth of the den, set fire to it, thus roasting several of them. Just as he was applying the torch, two young ones came home. One of them he caught while the other scrambled over his back into the cave.
~Contributed by Cindy Bray Lovell
A Brute in Lansing, Burlington Hawk Eye, July 16, 1864
Considerable excitement was lately stirred up in Lansing by the act of a man by the name of Hoberg who whipped an orphan girl, a resident in his family. It is a good long distance from this place to Lansing; but from this remote stand point we take the liberty to call Mr. Hoberg a brute.
~Contributed by S. Ferrall
Murder, Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, April 22, 1865
Gov. Stone has offered a reward of $300 for the apprehension of Garrit Riley, who murdered Thomas Cunningham near Rossville, in Alamakee county, on the 6th day of March, A.D. 1865.  Riley is an Irishman, speaks with some brogue -- about forty years of age, five feet eleven inches high, weight, about one hundred and seventy, dark brown hair, small blue eyes, light yellow complexion, pock-marked in the face, walks straight, and full breast.  He is a terrible villain.
~Contributed by S. Ferrall (transcriber's note:  I believe that Thomas Cunningham is buried in the Cherry Mound cemetery, Linton twp.)
Murder! Waukon Standard, January 28, 1869
On Monday evening two cousins, or as some say, a nephew and uncle, by the name of May, living near New Galena, in this county, go into a quarrel about some land, or the crops growing thereon. Frank and Charles May had taken land to work on shares, but Charles thinking he could do better on the river, took to boating, the agreement being that they would equally divide the proceeds of both the land and the boating season. In the autumn Charles returned, but with no money, yet claiming his full share of the crops of the arm. This Frank thought unjust and threatened Charles. The latter from time to time removed a part of the grain, but on going to take the last load, Monday, a quarrel ensued, during which Charles was shot dead, as Frank says in self-defense. He went to Lansing and consulted Watts, attorney at law, who advised him to surrender himself to the proper authorities. He said he would do so, but changed his mind and decamped. He will probably soon be arrested.
~contributed by Errin Wilker

Another Cold Blooded Murder, Dubuque Daily Times, Sunday, January 31, 1869, page: 4
A Man Shot Dead by His Cousin-Escape of the Murderer-The Person Who Assisted Him to Escape Arrested and Imprisoned (From the Lansing Mirror)
Allamakee County is becoming notorious for the numerous murders and stabbings affrays which so frequently occur within her borders. The latest bloody tragedy was enacted yesterday afternoon on the farm of Mr. John Dignan, about ten miles north of this city, near the mouth of Iowa River. The particulars, as we obtained them this morning from policeman White, are as follows:

Two cousins named Frank May and Charley May, rented the Dignan farm last season and were to work it in partnership. After the spring crops were planted, Charley May took a notion to work on the river during the summer, and an agreement was made between the parties to the effect that Frank should receive one-half of Charley’s earnings while on the river, and Charley should receive one-half of the products of the farm. Charley, it seems, did not succeed in obtaining much wealth while boating, but returned home after the close of navigation without much surplus funds. He, however, claimed his share of the crops which had been raised on the farm. Frank though him unreasonable on his claims, and remonstrated with him, and tried to convince him that he was unjust in his demands, after the hard labor he had undergone in securing the crops &c. Charley was still persistent in his claims and went so far as to remove some of the grain from time to time. Yesterday he went after the last load of corn, and Frank, exasperated by his conduct, deliberately shot him dead. The murderer came into town last evening, and called upon Mr. Watts, one of our lawyers, and had informed him of what he had done, and asking advise as what he should do. Mr. Watts, of course, told him to place himself in the custody of some of our officers. He concluded, we believe, to do so, but it seems that afterwards he changed his mind, and concluded to attempt escape, which he did, through the assistance of Peter Banks, who resides in this city. Officers were at once notified of his escape, and immediately started in pursuit. No trace of him can be had. Banks was taken into custody this morning, and will be held to answer for assisting the murderer to make his escape.
~contributed by Cheryl Moonen

A Man Kills his Nephew in a Quarrel about the Division of Grain; Sacramento Daily Union, February 17, 1869
On Monday, the 24th, Lansing, in Allamakee county, was the scene of a blood affray, resulting in the murder of a man by his uncle. The particulars of the affair, especially telegraphed to us, are as follows:
Frank and Charles May, Englishmen, who have resided in Lansing for the past ten or twelve years, are farmers, owning and working a large tract of land on the Iowa river, about six miles from Lansing. Frank May is a man of about forty years of age, and Charles, his nephew, about thirty. Another nephew has been associated with them, we learn, in their farming operations, but was not engaged in the difficulty which on Monday resulted in the death of Charles May. In addition to their own land the Mays have been in the habit of leasing farms in their neighborhood, and being men of capital, have carried on a large business. They have also at times purchased grain in the Lansing market. During the past year they rented a farm on the Iowa river, and worked it in partnership. In dividing the grain recently a dispute arose between Frank and Charles as to a fair division. On Monday Charles went over to remove the last of the corn. The dispute was renewed, and Frank shot him, killing him almost instantly. Frank then went to Lansing, but on Monday night put out, and since then no trace has been found of him. As soon as the murder was known officers started in pursuit of the murderer.

The particulars of the murder are not definitely known, and there are various rumors afloat, one to the effect that Charles first fired upon Frank, and that the latter killed his nephew in self-defense. A reward of $200 has been offered by the friends of the murdered man for the arrest of the murderer. As we have stated, the parties to this bloody affair were old citizens of Allamakee county, and possessed wealth and influence. A gentleman who has known them for several years informs us that they were generally accounted dangerous men, especially when in liquor, or under the influence of passion. It was rare for them to go to Lansing without becoming intoxicated, and then they were sure to raise a disturbance. Because of this quarrelsome disposition, they were frequently arrested and fined by the local authorities, and were disliked pretty generally. The guilt of the murderer has attached to one, and a violent death overtaken another, in consequence of the disposition which made them unpopular and feared among their neighbors.
~contributed by Errin Wilker

Tiny bits of news items abstracted from the Waukon Standard 1869-1875
April 22, 1869 p. 4 - a mean man - G.W. Allen
July 21, 1870 - storm - J. Shaff
Sept 7, 1871, p. 3 - Delinquent Tax Sale - Shaff, E NW NW sec27 40 acres, 6.95 tax, 1.04 int, 20 cost, 8.19 total, delinq 1870
Oct 27, 1871 - married at Ludlow at ME parsonage by Rev J B Camreon - Mr H.R. [or E. Wood] and Sophia Kirschman
Nov 9, 1871, Thurs. - Board of Supervisors, James Shaff, Trustee, School Fund Loans
May 30, 1872, Tues. - Center School, Ludlow Twp, Mr. James Shaff Director
December 12, 1872 - Emmett Allen of Rossville - died - via Rev J. Hanna
February 26, 1874 - John Barker, engr on D & M RR was around this way for a brief visit with friends
Thursday April 23, 1874, p. 1 - Mrs Lydia Barker sold to A. S. Cochrane NE 28-97-6 $200
March 25, 1875 - Transactions of Real Estate filed in County Recorder during week ending 3-20-1875: Waukon Burying Ground Assn to M. G. Wood - Lot #231 of Burying Ground $10
~Contributed by 'Marie'
Senator Kinne, Dubuque Herald, July 4, 1872
Senator Kinne, of Allamakee County, arrived in this city from Lansing, yesterday, and left on last night's train enroute for the Baltimore Convention.
~contributed by Cheryl Locher Moonen
A 'bad son' from Ludlow twp., Waukon Standard, March 5, 1874 & April 23, 1874
Out in Ludlow township lives a wealthy farmer worth from $10,000 to $15,000. He owns a fine farm and good buildings.  But one thing he does not possess, or the following would not be facts.  For some time past his father, 84 years of age, and his mother 84 years of age, have been inmates of our county poor house.  Last week the old gentleman died.  Word was sent to the wealthy son, with the expectation that he would come and at least give his aged father a respectable burial.  The son came to the poor house, and sat for an hour without expressing any intention on the subject.  He was finally asked if he was going to take his father away, when he said not, that they might bury his father there in the paupers grave.  They did so, the son in the meantime staying in the house enjoying himself by the fire until the job was done.  He then took his mother home for a visit, stipulating with Mr Conkey, however, that he would not take her name off the books, so he could return her to the kind care of the county.  His reason for this conduct is that he had not house room enough to keep the old folks at home.  Comment is unnecessary. ----
Board of Supervisors Meeting April 6th, 1874 session - On motion, O. S. Conkey, was authorized to make a bill for keeping Mr. and Mrs. Shaff at the poor house and all expenses connected therewith, and present the same to James Shaff, son of Mr. and Mrs. Shaff, and demand payment thereof in behalf of the County.
~Contributed by 'Marie' - Marie's note:  in the above articles the elderly couple are Moses and Sarah Shaff, and their son James Shaff.
Fire in Village Creek, Chicago Tribune, May 22, 1875
A Tribune special from McGregor, Iowa, says the Village Creek woolen mills, near Lansing, Iowa, owned by Howard, Carroll & Ratcliff, were destroyed by fire last night. Loss $30,000. The fire is supposed to have been incendiary.
~Contributed by Sharyl Ferrall
Waukon Standard, 1875
Transaction of Real Estate filed in County Recorder June 10, 1875, Mr. G.M. Wood to B.M. Wood NW NW 13-97-6 $800
~Contributed by 'Marie'
State vs. Misner, Burlington Hawkeye, July 8, 1875
In the case of the State vs. Misner, the defendant being a teacher of Allamakee county who had with some severity whipped Ida Benner, the court gave the following instructions: " If you find from the evidence that defendant committed an assault and battery upon the prosecutrix : and you further find from the evidence that at the time of the assault the prosecutrix had attained the age of twenty-one years, you are instructed that defendant had not the lawful right to make the assault and battery as a punishment for disobedience of the orders of the teacher, or of the rules of the school." The jury found the defendant guilty, and now the case goes to the Supreme Court.
~Contributed by Cindy Bray Lovell
Waukon Standard, 1875 & 1876
Transaction of Real Estate filed in County Recorder November 4, 1875, B. M. Wood to Moses Wood - NW NW 13-97-6 $950
Transaction of Real Estate filed in County Recorder July 13, 1876, US to Wm Shuff N 1/2 NE 31-97-4
~Contributed by 'Marie'
Bold Robbery in the City of Lansing; Dubuque Daily Times, Friday, September 15, 1876, pg 1
Harper’s Ferry, Sept. 14th - As Mr. H. Stott, a well-known grain dealer of this place, was locking his warehouse doors last night, three unknown men who had been lying in wait for him, seized him, and strangled him by throwing a rope over his head, thus rendering it impossible for him to give any alarm. They then forcibly chloroformed him into insensibility, rifled his pockets of between six and seven hundred dollars cash, and left him lying in the midst of a driving rain storm, insensible, gagged and bound, under a large tree, where he was discovered several hours after by friends, who became alarmed at his long absence, had at Mrs. Stott’s request started in search of him. He is apparently but little injured, and will be alright in a few days. No clue is known in capturing the perpetrators of this bold and daring outrage, who evidently knew their victim carried on this occasion a plethoric purse – a thing unusual with him. How they became possessed of this information is a mystery.
~Contributed by Cheryl Moonen
Edgar Van Hooser Arrested, Elkader Register, Fri., December 15, 1882
From the Dubuque dailies we learn that Edgar Van Hooser, son of Warren and a cousin of Sheppard Van Hooser, who are now serving terms at Anamosa for counterfeiting, was arrested at Osage, Monday, for "shoving the queer." The officers who arrested him also secured about forty counterfeit silver dollars, which were so neatly executed as to almost defy detection. Van Hooser is now in the Dubuque jail in default of bail in the sum of $2,000. These Van Hoosers formerly resided at Postville, and were always considered a hard lot.

~Contributed by Reid R. Johnson
Frink Residence Burned, Elkader Register, Fri., March 9, 1883 - from an undated Allamakee Co. newspaper
The residence of Merrit Frink, near Rossville, was burned on the 25th ult. Everything was lost, but it was covered by insurance.
~Contributed by Reid R. Johnson
Powers Residence Burned, Elkader Register, Fri., March 23, 1883 - from an undated Allamakee Co. newspaper
William Powers' residence near Lansing, was entirely burned to the ground on the 14th.
~Contributed by Reid R. Johnson
Postville's Centennarian, Postville Review; July 12, 1884
One hundred years ago not far from the banks and braes of Bonny Doon, near the castles of Montgomery, Scotland, a child was born, fair, plump and pretty we are told and in due time was christened, getting the plain simple name of John LAIRD. The lapse of three fourths of a century brings him to Iowa, and now at the age of 100 years he resides among us able to walk, talk and sing his song. Mr. and Mrs. LAIRD are happy as little children, and still welcome all with much cordiality.
~Contributed by S. Ferrall
Excerpts from the Waukon Standard; 1885, misc dates
Thurs, July 2, 1885:
Mrs. Knudt TOBIASON, of Hanover, was brought to Waukon Tuesday to be examined by the insane commission, being considered in a deranged condition. Since writing the above examination has been made, and while her mind seems somewhat affected, whe has given an apparently clear and correct history of her past life. Last fall she had the misfortune to break both bones of a leg in a very bad manner. TOBIASON never called a physician or took any decent care of her and we are told has abandoned her, roaming about the country according to his own selfish desires. There was a mortgage on the place on which she lived, which he permitted to be foreclosed and she turned out of house and home, he making no attempt to provide for her. No wonder her mind is a little demoralized under the inhuman treatment she has suffered at TOBIASON's hands.
--
Thurs August 20, 1885:
-The household of Dr. BOWEN rejoices in the presence of an infant daughter since Friday last.
-Miss Agnes RYAN returned to White Lake, Dakota, last Friday.
--
Thursday, July 2, 1885:
Local and Miscellaneous Waukon Junction, Friday, June 26, 1885.
About 1 o'clock p. m. to-day the house of Esq. HULSE was discovered to be on fire, and was burned to the ground in about thirty minutes. Most all the furniture and goods downstairs saved; about everything upstairs lost. Total loss estimated at about $700 insured for $450 with U. M. BACON's companies, of Lansing. Mr. HULSE is a poor man, has a large family to support, and has the sympathy of the community.
(transcriber's note: I don't know which HULSE this is talking about, but would probably have to be Silas HULSE or Squire HULSE.)
--
Thursday, August 27, 1885
From Frankville: Katy RYAN is living in a very critical condition. Very little hope is given for her recovery.
~Contributed by Patricia Hamarstrom
Marshal Robey, Waukon Republican, February 16, 1893
Marshall John Clark Robey was exercising the tramps in the jail digging snow and ice out of the street gutters Monday. A good thing to do.
~contributed by Connie Ellis
Oldest Man in Iowa, Morning World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, February 20, 1893
Mason City, Ia., Feb. 19. -- The oldest man in Iowa and probably in the west, is Mr. Charles L. Pool of Allamakee county, who will celebrate his 107th birthday on the 15th of the coming month. He was born in Congrasbury, Somersetshire, England, in 1786. He was thrice married, his first wife living but nine years. In England his business was farming and speculating in teasles, and after coming to this country he was engaged in farming as he was able to work at all. In 185? he came to this country with his wife and ten children, leaving his oldest son in England. He settled first in Kane county, Illinois, where in 1850 his wife died. In 1851 he removed to Allamakee county, which has since been his home, although he has spent one year in Dakota. Although so advance in years, Mr. Pool can walk about, and with the aid of his glasses can read the tinest print. Two years ago he was hurt by a fall, since which time he uses a cane to assist him in walking. Mr. Pool has seventy living descendants, seven children and sixty-three grandchildren.
~Contributed by S. Ferrall (transcriber's note: Charles L. Pool, 99 years, Iowa township, Allamakee county - from the 1885 Iowa census)
News Clippings, September 1, 1893
-Bryce L. Baldwin is the name of the gentlemen who succeeds to the management of the Postville Graphic. He is an original writer, knows much about the trottin’ hoss and appears to be a hard worker.
-Believe all reports you hear about the dust these days.  They can’t be overdrawn.  It is like riding through a sand bank every where.  A ride in the country with Coroner Nopper Tuesday, convinces us fully that the traveler has a hard time of it now, something similar to driving through blinding snow.
-A man named Kaiser, employed on Nachtweys’s farm, while grubbing one day last week, cut off his two toes.  As the grub hoe had not done a very smooth job, Kaiser completed it by putting his foot on a stump and trimming the toes to suit his taste.  He then carried the amputated members in his pocket and came to the doctor to have the foot dressed.
~Contributed by Kathy Maurer
Clippings from a Waukon newspaper, June 1895
-We, (The Standard) have been asked to “advertise” a Sunday base ball game.  We cannot do that.  We are not opposed to base ball or other athletic games; we believe in them and cheerfully publish notices of coming games, or reports of past games; but we do not believe in the descecration of Sunday by such means, and must refuse to help along what we hold to be unlawful and very demoralizing to the public by advertising them.
-The motto for the Class of ’95 of the Waukon High School was “In Ourselves Our Future Lies.” Commencement exercises were held June 14, 1895, in Boomer Opera House.
 ~Contributed by Kathy Maurer
Lucky John Witmer, 1895
Des Moines, July 18 - John E. Witmer, a deputy sheriff, has secured 160 acres of land in Allamakee county under an original homestead entry made at the land office, and all the place cost him was $18, the usual fee for filing on the land.  The land is under cultivation and has been for twenty years.  It is on the Mississippi river bottoms, not more than four miles distant from the river and about the same distance from two railroad towns, and is worth at least $8,000.  A man who has been interested in the contest for a piece of land in the west part of the city in looking over the records found that two certificates had been issued for the same tract to the same man, and told Witmer of it.  He investigated and found that in 1847 the land was entered by an original settler under the old homestead laws, but that the entry was an error on the part of the clerks in the office, as he had taken and was living on another piece of land.  In 1861 the settler discovered the mistake and was permitted to correct his entry.  This left the title to the piece originally entered with the government, and no one seems to have discovered it until recently.  The land has been occupied all the time and it is presumed that some one bought it at a tax sale and thought they had a good title.  On April 10, Witmer called at the land office and made a demand to be permitted to enter the land and tendered the fees of $18.  The register and receiver doubted his right to enter it and refused to permit the entry to be made until they could look up the records.  An inspection of the records seemed to satisfy them that the land was subject to entry, but they preferred to have the department officials at Washington look into the matter and forwarded the papers to them.  They have just been returned with a decision to the effect that the land was subject to entry and Witmer made his original homestead entry. -Northwood Anchor, July 25, 1895
~Contributed by S. Ferrall, (transcriber's note: I can't find Mr. Witmer on any census in Allamakee co., he must have lived elsewhere)
Iowa's Centenarians, Fort Dodge Messenger, November 22, 1895
[extracted from the full article] The state of Iowa posses 508 people who are 90 years of age or over. Polk county has fifteen.  There are twenty-one in the state 100 years or over, none of whom reside in this county [Webster].  Eleven of the centenarians are women and ten are men. Elizabeth Paulson, Allamakee county,  102
~Contributed by Karen de Groote-Johnson
Iowa's Earthquake, Brooklyn Eagle, June 7, 1897
Lansing, IA., June 7 -- An earthquake startled many citizens of Lansing between 4 and 5 o'clock yesterday morning. The shock, which lasted several seconds, was accompanied by a rumbling noise heard at Waukon, eighteen miles away.
~Contributed by S. Ferrall
Klondike Gold Hunter, Waukon Standard Wednesday, March 9, 1898
Mrs. Belle WILLIAMS of St. Louis Park, Minn., is visiting the family of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. PRESCOTT. Mr. WILLIAMS becomes a Klondike gold hunter.
~Contributed by Patricia Hamarstrom
Tid-bits from the Waukon Standard Wednesday, March 16, 1898
New Albin Courier -Miss Anna HAMARSTROM of Lansing is vising the C. G. Bock family this week.
Lansing -Prof R. E. RICE of Dixon, Ill., arrived Saturday to attend the funeral of his father who died suddenly Friday morning, aged 79 years.
~Contributed by Patricia Hamarstrom
Grace Waukon, Cedar Rapids Gazette, March 21, 1898
Grace Waukon, a granddaughter of the Indian chief after whom the town of Waukon was named, is a teacher in the Indian school at Tomah, Wis.
~Contributed by Diana Henry Diedrich


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