Muscatine County, Iowa


Submitted by Lynn McCleary August 28, 2021
Muscatine Journal & News Tribune, February 11, 1938, page 5
Muscatine Woman recalls Famous Lincoln and Douglas Debate at Freeport 75 Years Ago

    A gay-hearted little girl of 10, wearing a crisp white dress and blue sash, stood on tip-toe at the edge of an old street in Freeport, Ill., watching the parade which heralded the arrival of Abraham Lincoln and the United States senator, Stephen A. Douglas, for one of their now-famous debates.

    She thrilled to the stirring music of the band as a large carriage drawn by prancing black horses approached the place where she was standing. The carriage opened in the middle, and there sat Lincoln and Douglas, with his heavy black hair, was much handsomer than Mr. Lincoln, whose towering six feet and four inches looked somewhat ungainly in the fine carriage. Both men wore light tan beaver “stove-pipe” hats, which only added to Lincoln’s height. The coachmen were dressed in uniform, the little girl noted.

    After parading through the streets in the afternoon, Douglas and Lincoln held one of their famous debates in the evening, speaking from a platform built outside the town hotel. As Lincoln came onto the platform he reached over and shook hands with all the children standing in front.

     Such is the story as vividly recalled by Mrs. J. R. Hanley of Muscatine, now 85 years of age, who was the “little girl” mentioned above. With a remarkable memory, Mrs. Hanley can tell every detail of that day, and remembers well the campaign which followed for the election of Mr. Lincoln to the presidency, when she road in a wagon in one of the parades.

    Her brother, William Rhodes, was one of the children with whom Mr. Lincoln shook hands from the platform in Freeport, that night of his debate. Mr. Rhodes, now 94 years of age and living in Wichita, Kas., still corresponds frequently with his sister. Although Mrs. Hanley was too young at the time to comprehend what was said in the debate, Mr. Rhodes remembers it quite well. He fought in the Civil war und Lincoln.

    When, several years later, news came of the assassination of the beloved president as he sat in his box in the theater, Mrs. Hanley recalls how excited her family and the little town of Freeport became. The news was carried by men riding through the neighborhood on horseback, and the Muscatine woman tells how her father immediately got ready and went to town.

    Mrs. Hanley, whose remarkable memory can tell such a vivid story of 75 years back, comes from a remarkable family, six of the seven children being still alive. The oldest is her brother, 94, and the youngest is 72. Her parents also lived to an old age, her mother being 88 and her father 94 when they died.

    With her parents she lived in Chicago when that town was only a tiny village, her father operated a meat market in what is now the loop. When in Galena on one occasion Mrs. Haney saw General Grant.

    Upon coming to Muscatine 60 years ago she had talked with an old man who had seen George Washington.

    Mrs. Hanley has two sons in public life, the Rev. Joe R. Hanley, a member of the New Your legislature, and Charles Hanley a Muscatine Attorney.

    Another local resident who heard the Lincoln-Douglas debate in Freeport is John G. Dermedy of the Hotel Grand.

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Muscatine Journal & News Tribune, July 1, 1944, page 1
Mrs. Kate R. Hanley Dies: Rites Sunday

    Mrs. Kate Rhodes Hanley, 92, widow of J. R. Hanley and mother of Joe R. Hanley, lieutenant governor of the state of New York, died at 7:30 p.m. Friday at her home, 110 1-2 East Second street. Mrs. Hanley, who had spent the greater of her life in Muscatine, had been seriously ill for three weeks. Complications resulting from her advanced age caused death.

    The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rhodes, she was born in Chicago, Ill., June 5, 1852, and lived in Davenport before coming to Muscatine 66 years ago. She had since resided here.

    She was married to John R. Hanley on May 28, 1870 in Freeport, Ill. She was a member of the First Methodist Church.

    Surviving are two sons, Lt. Gov. Joe R. Hanley, of Perry, N. Y., and Atty. Charles P. Hanley of Muscatine; brother, John Rhodes, of Santa Ana, Calif., a sister, Mrs. William Miller, of National City, Calif., and the following grandchildren, Lieut. James A. Hanley and Sgt. Julian R. Hanley, of the United States Army; Mrs. Kenneth Wilcox, of Albany, N.Y., Mrs. Charles Morris of Glendale, Calif., and Eugene E. Williamson, M. M. 1/c of the United States Navy. Seven great grandchildren also survive.

    Proceeding her in death were her parents, her husband, one daughter, Ellen, two sisters and three brothers.

    The body is at the Geo. M. Wittich Funeral home where services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Rev P. M. Conant, retired Methodist minister of Muscatine will be in charge. Burial will be in Greenwood cemetery.

    Lt. Gov. Hanley who has remained in Chicago since the close of the national republican convention, was scheduled to reach Davenport at 4 p.m. today and will come directly to Muscatine.

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