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Dubuque County
October, 1863

 ~ Contributed by Julia Krapfl ~


"He (Governor Kirkwood) delivered himself of his usual bravado about the draft, told what he was going to do if any resistance were offered, and generally deported himself as would be expected of a filthy, low-lived creature accidentally elevated to power. There isn't a humble laborer in Dubuque who by hard toil bridges over his week's indebtedness by his week's income that has not more honor, more decency, more respect for his word, more sense of obligation to his oath, and who is not better fitted for governor of Iowa than Samuel J. Kirkwood. * * * There does not live a man in Iowa so rich in lucre and with such an utter poverty of character as the blustering, sweltering and doubtless cowardly governor of Iowa. He is a pitiful partisan without a redeeming trait."

--(Dubuque Herald, October 3, 1863)


In September, 1863, the Dubuque Herald favored the organization here of a lodge of the Knights of the Golden Circle to oppose the action of the Union Leagues; but Bishop Smyth opposed this step by advising all Irish-Catholics not to join the proposed organization. At this time there was great suffering here among the families of soldiers. The following resolution introduced by Mr. Cort was passed by the county board: Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to examine into the propriety of this board making the necessary provisions by the issuing of bonds or otherwise by the county for the payment of $300, either in whole or in part, for the relief of such persons who are not able to pay the amount required by the conscription act if drafted." Carried, 14 to 4.

A large sum for their relief was raised by a gymnastic parade of 100 ladies and gentlemen under the auspices of the Ladies' Aid Society; it was held at City Hall; 25 cents was the price of admission and a large crowd attended.

"The Dubuque Daily Times says that the resolution of the county board of supervisors to exempt poor men from the draft is a weak scheme to make the county pay their exemption fee for them. That is just what the board meant to do and no poor man who knows his interest will fail to support the board at the polls. Mr. Knoll, Mr. Cort and Mr. O'Brien, who are running on the Democratic ticket, voted for it, while Mr. Miller and Mr. Bonson, who voted against it, are running on the Republican ticket. Every man in Dubuque county who votes the Republican ticket votes for the draft and against the exempting of drafted men by a tax. Every man who votes the Democratic ticket votes for the conscription to be paid by property and not by blood. Now, which ticket will the poor man vote? Which ticket should he vote?"

--(Dubuque Herald, October 11, 1863)


In September, 1863, Dr. N. B. Mathews, of Peosta, was captain of a Union League company or lodge. The Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society netted at the State Fair here in September $503.90, The Dubuque Herald denounced and derided the colored regiment that was at this time being formed in Iowa. The old ferry-boat Peosta became Gunboat 36 in 1863. A home for soldiers was established in the fall of 1863 at a meeting held in the Congregational church, of which George L. Mathews was chairman and D. N. Cooley secretary. Doctor Guilbert, from a committee previously appointed, reported a plan, which was adopted. The board of control were Mrs. D. N. Cooley, Mrs. Solon Langworthy, Mrs. J. W. Robinson, Mrs. F. W. H. Sheffield, Mrs. L. D. McKenzie, Mr. J. H. Thedinga. Mr. H. L. Stout, George L. Mathews and L. A. Thomas. Mrs. Hancock was one of the vice-presidents of the Woman's State Sanitary Society. A large quantity of supplies was sent to the Chicago Sanitary Fair. His friends here presented Colonel Dorr with a fine horse. The west storeroom of the Tremont House was converted into the Soldiers' Home; the hotel furnished the meals, which were paid for by the society. When D. A. Mahony undertook to lecture to the Teachers' Institute at Epworth in October, opposition was encountered and he was informed by a strong delegation that he was not wanted. The society asked the county board for $200 down and $100 per month for the soldiers and their families. Mr. Bonson, of the board, moved that $190 be paid at once and $90 a month thereafter as requested; on this motion the vote stood as follows: Yeas--Bonson, Hetherington, Metcalf and Miller; nays--Bucknam, Cort, Donovan, Duggan, Heber, Kile, Macomber, McAleer, McCarron, Moore, O'Brien, Squires, Sweeney, Wilder and chairman. Later the amount was fixed at $100.

"This the board has been compelled to refuse, because if the county should once commence giving aid to associations formed for the dispensation of charity there would be no end to the applications made to them. They have therefore wisely abstained from making special appropriations, but at the same time have given the superintendent of the county poor additional instructions for relieving the wants of those in need wherever such cases are found, and the charity will be dispensed to soldiers as freely as to others."

--(Dubuque Herald, October 23, 1863)


"Whereas, The board of supervisors of Dubuque county at their last session were respectfully solicited to make an appropriation of money for the use and benefit of the Soldiers' Home in this city, by a petition signed by the officers of such association, which petition clearly stated the objects and aims of the enterprise, and "Whereas, This board with only four dissenting votes refused all aid, except upon the conditions that it be expended in the support of paupers and under the direction of the county officers having in charge this duty thus compelling our sick, suffering and destitute soldiers to receive such aid as common paupers, or be denied it entirely; now, therefore, believing as we do that this action of the board of supervisors is ungenerous, ungrateful and unjust and justly merits the scorn and contempt of all patriotic men and also demonstrates more clearly than language can the real intentions of the board, which we believe to have been the proscription of our patriot soldiers who have suffered and endured so much to transmit to us the inheritance bought by the blood of our fathers, that we take this opportunity to tender to all our soldiers our warmest gratitude for what they have done and are doing to crush this wicked rebellion and make the flag of our country honored and respected at home and abroad, and we pledge them our constant aid and sympathy in sickness and health, and we also pledge them that the Soldiers' Home in this city shall furnish all reasonable comfort to those sick, suffering and destitute soldiers as long as there is one dollar in the treasury subject to our control; therefore,

"Resolved, That an order be drawn on the city expense fund for $100 for the support of the Soldiers' Home in this city and that the same be delivered to the mayor of this city, who is the president of said board, to be used in such manner as in his judgment may become necessary."

These resolutions of the city council of Dubuque were denounced by Aldermen Mulkern, Quigley and Kiene, the former of whom moved that all the preamble be struck out. Those voting yea were Christman, Kiene, Mulkern, Quigley and Treanor; nays--Cummings, Mathews, Russ, Schmidt and Stout. There being a tie, Mayor Thedinga voted so that the whole series was adopted.

"The Hypocrites.--The Copperhead farmers of this county, who bring their grain and other products here to sell, heap the foulest abuse on the administration and all connected with it, as only ignorance can abuse that which it doesn't understand. When they receive their pay they won't take anything but the "Dirty Greenbacks," as they call them, to carry home. This a fair sample of the shameless hypocrisy of the party which controls the politics of the county."

--(Dubuque Daily Times, October 30, 1863)


"About two thousand hard-fisted, hard-working honest men who helped to make Dubuque just what she is and without whom her merchants could not live a month, who clog her granaries with grain and her markets with produce, are the subjects of this petty slanderer's abuse. The very life and trade of Dubuque city is thus attempted to be rendered contemptible and driven from her. We ask the merchants of Dubuque what they think of it. We know some of them whose advertisements appear in the Dubuque Daily Times regularly, who depend entirely on this 'ignorant class' of 'shameless hypocrites' for their trade."

--(Dubuque Herald, October 31, 1863)




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