Muscatine County Iowa

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album, Muscatine County, Iowa, 1889, pages 634-653


Along the Mississippi River from it's head to it's mouth are many beautiful cities, but none present a finer appearance than that of the city of Muscatine. It's location is unsurpassed. Richard Cobdin, the famous English statesman, in 1855, as he gazed upon the bold and rugged bluffs, thus wrote of the city: "When the boat came around the point above, and the ampitheatre of the town came in view, with a sight of those beautiful residences suspended by the high bluff above the river, I thought the picturesque Rhine had not the equal of that picture." The views of Cobdin have been re-echoed over and over again by others who have visited the place or have passed by on one of the magnificent packets that have gone up and down the river.

George Davenport, who was trading with the Indians at Rock Island in the summer of 1833, sent a man named Farnham and two assistants to erect a log trading-post at "Sandstone Bluffs," the present site of Muscatine. A two-roomed log building was erected by these men, in which a small stock of goods was opened for sale by Farnham at a little later period. The house was built on the river-bank, just above where Iowa Avenue touches the shore. Mr. Farnham continued to sell goods there until the fall of 1835, when he died in Stephenson, now Rock Island, Ill.

In the winter following the death of Mr. Farnham, John Vanatta, who had visited this region some time previously, negotiated with Major Davenport for the claim and the trading-post at this point, and on the 20th of February, 1836, quit-claim deeds were issued by Davenport in favor of Vanatta and Capt. Benjamin Clark for $200. The claim was one-half mile square, extending along the river-bank a half mile, and a half mile inland.

Maj. William Gordon, then a resident of Rock Island, in May, 1836, was employed by the proprietors to survey a town on their claim. The name Newburg was first given the town, but it was soon changed to that of Bloomington, by which name it was known for about twelve years. Owing to the proximity of Bloomington, Ill., mail matter was frequently sent astray, and to avoid that difficulty the name was changed to correspond with that of the county. During this year a number of lots were disposed of and a number of persons removed into the place.

In September, 1836, William Gordon came to Bloomington and soon after erected the first frame bulding in the place. It was designed as a hotel and used for that purpose many years. It was erected for R. C. Kinney. At that time there were but two buildings in the place. Among those Mr. Gordon found living here were William St. John, Giles and Jonathan Pettibone, J. Craig, John Champ, Norman Fullington, Moses Couch, Lyman C. Hine, Suel Foster, John Vanatta, James W. Casey, Adam Ogilvie, T. M. Isett, Mr. Norton and wife, and R. C. Kinney and wife.

The second frame building erected in Bloomington was in the spring of 1837, and was built by Mr. Gordon for John Vanatta, who opened a tavern therein as soon as it was completed. During this year Adam Ogilvie opened the second store in the place. Joseph Bridgeman also soon after opened a store for general merchandise. William Gordon, Henry Reece, and H. H. Hine were the first carpenters. While this album was in course of preparation an old settler of Muscatine presented to the Daily News the following list of names of those who first began business in this city:

     Carpenters--Joseph Hoopes, Edward Ballard, H. H. Hine, D. C. Cloud, Reece Brothers, William Gordon,
Lyman Hine, Richard Cadle, Edward Olmstead, Abraham Smalley. Blacksmiths--Hiram Blanchard, Tyler Smalley, George Babcock, John Mikesell. Gunsmiths--Henry Molis, Daniel Smith. Tinsmith--James Bretlinger. Shoemakers--George Hutchinson, John Seiler, John Evry, Robert Farnham. Tailors--Andrew Fimple, George Earl, Silas Heaton, Robert Tillard, M. M. Berkshire. Cabinet-makers--John Fitten, J. P. Freeman, David Ingels. Harness-makers--J. M. Kane, Alex. Jackson. Painters--Moses Couch, Chris Houser, Sam Houser. Brick and Stone Masons--Miram Ward, David Petrikan, Ethan Allen, Turner Israel, Charles Ogilvie,
Daniel Mauck, Hiram Matthews. Coopers--Walter S. Benner. Watchmakers--William Sherwood, Noah Fieock. Hatter--A. M. Hine. Wagon-makers-- William Horsley, John Garvan, Horace Candee. Plasterers--Jacob Israel, Alfred Purcell, D. G. McCloud, Jacob Wallaker, Norman S Dunbar. Bakers--Henry Funck, Aaron Plummer, Adam Reuling. Millwright--Isaac Magoon.

The town of Bloomington grew slowly, but in 1839 it was thought best to incorporate, and so an act was passed by the Territorial Legislature, approved Jan. 23, 1839, for it's incorporation. At that time it contained a population of seventy-one souls, and had thirty-three buildings on the town plat. The original description was "all that part or tract of land in township 76 north, range 2 west, and township 77 north, range 2 west, which has been surveyed and laid off into town lots for commercial purposes." About this time John Vanatta, Aaron Usher, and Err Thornton, County Commissioners, selected the southeast quarter of section 35, township 77,range 2 west, under the act of Congress donation to each county a quarter section of land for the purpose of erecting county buildings.This land now lies nearly in the center of the city. At the first election for town officers the Hon. Joseph Williams was elected President; and Arthur Washburn, Henry Reece, B. P. Howland, Trustees. Moses Couch was elected Recorder. At the first meeting of the Board, held May 10, 1839, the foregoing officers were sworn in. On the 16th of May Moses Couch was appointed City Treasurer; John Mabla, Marshal; John J. Reece,Street Commissioner; Charles H. Fish, Assessor.

In 1851 a special city charter was granted the city of Muscatine, it's first election being held in March of that year. Zephaniah Washburn was elected mayor, but, resigning, A. Macauley was elected in his place. From that time Muscatine has been under the city government, and as a general thing the official acts of it's officers have met with public approval. Few cities of it's size represent a more attractive appearance. Its police department is well managed, and its fire department is one of the best in the State. It was first organized in 1875, by the Champion Hose Company, since which time other companies have been organized, and its service systematized. Its hose companies and its hook and ladder companies have taken several premiums at State Associations.

Although Bloomington was laid out in 1836, no post-office was established at this point until 1839. At this time an office was established, and a Mr. Stowell was appointed Postmaster, but before his commission arrived he left the place. Edward E. Fay was then appointed, and has the honor of being the first Postmaster of Bloomington or Muscatine. Mr. Fay died in 1840, and was succeeded in office by his brother Pliny Fay, who continued to serve through the Harrison and Tyler administrations. The election of James K. Polk necessitated a change in the post-office, and George Earll received the appointment. He established the office in a small frame building, on the site of the old Tremont Hall. Mr. Earll soon died of consumption, and his daughter Lucy was subsequently appointed. In 1849, on the installation of Gen. Taylor, Nathan L. Stout was appointed Postmaster. At that time he was editor of the Bloomington Herald. He removed the office to a new frame building which stood on the site of A. M. Winn's store. The quarters were more commodious than ever before; but Mr. Stout served less than a year, and Richard Cadle took the office. He served acceptably for the remainder of the term, moving the office to the lower room in Freeman's Block, at Pappoose Creek Bridge on Second street. In 1853 President Pierce appointed Henry Reece Postmaster. A portion of the time Mr. Reece retained the rooms in which he found the office, but finally removed to the Boston House on Iowa avenue. Mr. Reece opposed the Nebraska bill, and was removed from office after three years of service. John A. McCormick succeeded to the place, and removed the office to the east end of Second street. In 1860 Robert Williams was appointed by President Buchanan, but the change in administration, one year later, caused a change also in office. John Mahin became Postmaster in 1861. In the spring of that year he removed the office to Iowa avenue. In 1869 R. W. H. Brent was appointed to the office by President Grant. The office was removed to Butler's Block, Iowa avenue. In 1873 John Mahin was re-appointed, and under his administration the office was established in the spacious quarters still occupied on Second street, between Iowa avenue and Chestnut street, called Stein's building, or more latterly, the Post-office building. It is one of the finest offices in the State. In 1878 B. Beach was appointed Postmaster, and is still serving in that capacity.


The religious interests of Muscatine are represented by many of the leading religious denominations of the day. The Methodists were the pioneers in this city. In the fall of 1837 Rev. Norris Hobert, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church began holding services in this place. He was succeeded by Rev. Barton H. Cartwright, who held services in the bar-room of the Iowa House--the first hotel in the place. In the spring of 1839 Rev. Brace was sent by the Rock River Conference, and in July of that year organized the first class, consisting of seven members. The first quarterly meeting of which there is any record, was held at Bloomington, Oct. 3, 1840. From this time on the church gradually grew in numbers, and has succeeded in accomplishing much good work in the commuity. In 1840 a building was erected for school and religious purposes, which was used alternately by the Methodists and Presbyterians until 1846, when the former society obtained exclusive control of it. In 1860 a large and commodious church edifice was erected under the supervision of Rev.W. E. Cowles. The church is now well organized in its various departments, and is at present enjoying the ministrations of Rev.G.W.Wilson as pastor.

The Musserville Methodist Episcopal Church was erected, during 1875, previous to the organization of its society. It was dedicated in the fall of the same year, and was known as Muscatine Circuit Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. A.V. Francis was appointed to the pastorate, and remained three years, during which time the church was in a very prosperous condition. It has continued to prosper, and has done much good in that part of the city in which it is located.

The German Methodist Church was organized by Rev. Henry Feigenbaum amd John Plank. Its first house of worship was completed in 1852, at a cost of $1,050. It was used until 1871, when it was sold, and the present church edifice was erected and dedicated to the service of Almighty God on the 25th day of August, 1872. The cost of the building was $7,000.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church, like the other societies of this denomination in this city is in a very flourishing condition. It dates its organization since 1848.

The first Presbyterian Church was organized, July 6, 1839, by Rev. John Stocker, who was in the employ of the American Home Missionary Society. It was organized as the "First Presbyterian Church of Muscatine County, Iowa Ter." In the winter of 1841-42, a majority of the church, including both elders, voted for a New School connection, while a minority of eleven determined on joining the Old School body. These, without any formal re-organization, claiming the succession, chose new officers and perpetuated a church, which now bears the name of the First Presbyterian Church of Muscatine, Iowa. In 1843 a portion of this church united with others in organizing a Congregational, by which the New School Presbyterian was absorbed. The First Presbyterian Church, after disposing of their original house of worship, erected a commodious one on the corner of Fourth street and Iowa avenue, at a cost of about $20,000. Rev. S.H.Parvin is the present pastor of this church, and under his efficient administration the body is in a most flourishing condition.

The First German Presbyterian Church was organized June 1, 1855; but previous to this time meetings were held in the various parts of the city by those of German nationality, who believed in the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church. In 1857 the congregation purchased the old Methodist Church on Third street, which they afterward sold to the city, and erected a more commodious house on Second street.

The First Baptist Church of Muscatine dates its organization to the fall of 1841. A meeting was held Oct. 2, 1841, by those of the Baptist faith, for the purpose of taking into consideration the propirety of becoming a constituted church; and after mature deliberations resolved to request a council, and appointed a committee to draft a constitution, covenant and articles of faith, and report to the next meeting. On the 17th day of October, 1841, the committee reported, and it was resolved to invite Elder E. Fisher, and such other aid as might be secured, for the organization of a church. On the 30th day of the same month the church was formally organized, and took the name of the "First Baptist Church of Bloomington, Muscatine Co.,Iowa Ter." Stephen Headly was elected Deacon. Elder Fisher was employed as pastor for one- fourth his time, at a salary of $100. Until February, 1843, all meetings were held in private houses, after which the congregation met for worship in the court-house. In 1844 the church voted to become a corporate body, and also resolved to establish and support a Sabbath-school, with four Superintendents, who directed said school alternately in each month. In 1850 the first house of worship was completed. This was used until 1868, when a new church edifice was completed and November 8 of that year it was dedicated. Rev. S.E.Wilcox is the present pastor of the church.

The German Baptist Church was organized Feb.20, 1859, with an original membership of thirty. Until October, 1864, the congregation worshiped in a school-house, when a house of worship was erected and dedicated the last Sunday in September; Rev.J.F.Gubalman, of St. Louis, preaching the sermon. Rev. Henry Hilzinger is the present pastor of the church, which is located on the corner of Walnut and Sixth streets.

The Congregational Church of Muscatine was organized on the 29th of November, 1843, with articles of faith, covenant and by-laws, according to the Congregational order. There were twenty-six members included in its organization. Rev. A. B. Robbins, of Salem, Mass., a missionary of the American Home Missionary Society, served the church as acting pastor until January, 1853, and was then installed as pastor. This relation continues to the present time, Mr. Robbins being the oldest pastor in the point of service in the State of Iowa. The church erected its first house of worship during the years 1843 and 1844. During the existance of slavery in the United States the church was radical in its opposition to the "peculiar institution." It has also been prominent in the advocacy of the principles of total abstinence from the traffic and use of intoxicating drinks. Its present house of worship is on Chestnut street, between Second and Third streets. The church is in a very flourishing condition.

The German Congregational Church was organized in 1854, and erected a house of worship in 1855. The church is located on Cedar, betweenSecond and Third streets. Rev.J.Fath is the present pastor.

Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church was organized in 1839, and in 1841 built a house of worship in connection with the Masonic fraternity,which used the upper story of it for a lodge-room. The society now worships in a stone church, built in Gothic style, in 1852, and enlarged into a cruciform building in 1855, located on Second, between Walnut and Mulberry streets. Rev. E.C.Padget is the present rector of the church.

St Matthias Roman Catholic Church is located on eighth, between Chestnut and Linn streets. The first edifice in which the Catholics of Muscatine worshiped was a frame house, 20x30 feet, made in Prairie du Chien, Wis., by order of Bishop Matthias Loras of Dubuque, and rafted down the Mississippi River to Bloomington, Iowa, where it was erected, in 1842, on the corner of Second and Cedar streets. The church soon became too small, and was added to at different periods, but the number of members increasing more and more, and the place proving inadequate, it was sold--building and lot--in 1856, for $6,500, and out of the proceeds of the sale a block was bought of Reece Hooper, on Eighth, between Pine and Chestnut streets, and a building erected, 80x40 feet, and 27 feet high in the clear. Up to 1851 the congregation was under the charge of missionary priests, who visited it occasionally from Dubuque, Davenport, and Iowa City. In 1851, the first resident priest, Rev.P.T.McCormick, was sent here, but remained only a few months. In November of the same year Rev. P. Laurent took charge of the congregation, and is yet at the same post. The school attached to the church was founded in 1862, and is under the charge of nine Sisters of Charity, of the Order of the Blessed Virgin. The average number of scholars is 300, divided into four class-rooms, including the select school. All branches of a common English education are taught in this school, together with the German language and the higher branches of the select school. The congregation of St. Matthias was an assemblage of people of many nations and languages, the English predominating. The Germans were to the Irish as one is to three. In 1854 the church of St. Malachy, in township 76, was built by this congregation; in 1857 the first Catholic Church at Wilton was built by the same means; and finally, in 1875, the church at Nichols was built by the people of that place. In 1876 St. Mary's Church was erected by the people of St. Matthias congregation, and given to the Germans. Notwithstanding these different branches, the Church of St. Matthias still numbers 200 families on Irish, Americans, French, and Germans. The language of the church is English. St. Matthias Church is a gem inside, and reminds one of the Annunciado of Genoa. In 1868 the church was improved by the addition of a sanctuary, built in the rear part; and in 1880 by the erection of a tower 100 feet high. In this tower is a clock which strikes the hours and the quarters. The bells used in connection with it weigh in the aggregate 10,000 pounds; and the whole structure, on one of Muscatine's most romantic hills, makes an appearance not surpassed by any place in this beautiful city.

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church has been in existance about fourteen years. During the spring of the year 1875 the Rev. Father P. Laurent purchased of G. Schultz, of St. Louis, Mo., five acres of land for the sum of $2000, which he deeded to the German-American Beneficial Society of Muscatine, with the understanding that in the case of the sale of a portion of the ground, they make a deed to the purchaser according to the former's directions. Eventually some two acres of the land were sold to John and George Schaefer, of this city, for $1,945. The remaining ground was deeded to the Right Rev. Bishop John Hennessey, of Dubuque. During the same year Father Laurent obtained permission from the Bishop to build a church on the premises referred to. A subscription was subsequently taken up, added to the amount realized on the sale of the two acres, and, in 1876, the erection of the church edifice was commenced, being completed in 1877. The building stood idle until January, 1879, when Rev. Father J.I.Greiser was appointed by the Bishop to preside over the church, and during the same month the congregation was regularly organized, with a membership of over 100 families.

The German Independent Lutheran Church was organized in 1848, and has property valued at $4,000.

The Church of the United Brethren in Christ was organized in 1850, and built a house of worship in 1851. Rev. L.B.Hicks is the present pastor.

The Society of Friends organized a branch of the Iowa Yearly Meeting at Muscatine in 1852. Indulged meetings had been held through the summer by the families of this society for some time, and in September of the year mentioned the preparative meeting was started, which was held in private houses until 1856, at which time a regular house of worship was erected. Mrs. Amelia Darling was the first minister of the Muscatine meetings. Rev. John Fry is the present minister.


The public schools of Muscatine are the pride of its citizens. The first school was taught by J. A. Parvin, who rented a small cabin for $8, and in May, 1839, commenced the first term. In the history of Muscatine County, published by the Western Historical Company, is a very complete history of the public schools furnished by the Hon. G. B. Dennison, to which the reader's attention is called. For some years the superintendency of the schools have been under the management of F. M. Witter, who ranks among the best teachers in the State of Iowa.


Muscatine is well supplied with secret and benevolent societies, including Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, United Workman, Iowa Legion of Honor, American Legion of Honor, Northwestern Legion of Honor, V. A. S., Royal Arcanum, Knights of Honor, U. A. O. D., Mechanic's Aid Society, St. Joseph Benevolent Society, and Muscatine Turner Society, and Modern Workmen of America.

Iowa Lodge No. 2, A.F.&.A.M., was instituted at Bloomington, Iowa Territory, by letters of dispensation granted by Deputy Grand Master Joseph Foster, of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, Feb. 15, 1841. The first officers were : Ansel Humphrey, W. M.; John Lilly, Jr., S. W.; B. S. Olds, J. W.; P. J. Jean, Tyler. A charter was granted Jan. 8, 1844, by the most Worshipful Grand Master Oliver Cock, of the Grand Lodge of Iowa Territory, to Theodore S. Parvin, W. M.; F. O. Beckett, J. W.; and others. The present officers of the lodge are; C. R. Connor, W. M.; August Schmidt, S. W.; J. F. Rosemunt, J. W.; Samuel Cohn, Treas.; D. H. Block, Sec.; Robert Carter, S. D.; J. S. Nietzel,J. D.; K. Dunn, Tyler. The present membership of the lodge is sixty-one, and the value of the lodge property $800.

Hawkeye Lodge No. 30, A.F. & A.M., was organized by dispensation under the name of Humphrey Lodge No.30, in September, 1851. In June, 1852, a charter was granted to E. Kline,W. M.; H. D. LaCossitt, S. W.; L. D. Palmer,J. W.; and others. At a meeting held May 31, 1854, the name was changed to Hawkeye Lodge No. 30. The last meeting under the old name was held June 6, 1854, and the first meeting under the new name June 13, 1854. The lodge has had a very prosperous existence, and has a present membership of 120.

Washington Chapter No.4, R. A. M., was organized under dispensation, and a charter granted Sept. 17, 1852. The first officers were: Ansel Humphreys,M.E.H.P.; Theodore S. Parvin, King; George W. Wilkerson, Scribe; J. D. Byers, C. of H.; William Williams, P. S.; L. A. Williams, R. A. C.; Josiah Parvin, M. of 3d Veil; Brooks, M.of 2d Veil; G. W. Madden, of 1st. Veil. The present officers are: H. M. Dean, H. P.; William A. McCampbell, King; G. D. Lezott, Scribe; James Morrison, Treas. The present membership is seventy.

DeMolay Commandery No.1, K.T., was instituted under dispensation from the Grand Commandery of the United States, represented by Sir Knight W. B. Hubbard, General Grand Master of the General Grand Encampment, March 14, 1855. The first officers were: Theodore S. Parvin, C. O.M.D.; J. L. Dazin, Generalissimo; William Reynolds, Captain-General; William Leffingwell, M. E. T.; L. D.Palmer,S. W.; William Gorgon, J. W.; J. B. Dougherty, Treas.; J. H. Wallace, Recorder; J. R. Hotsock, Sword Bearer; Henry Hoover,Warden. A charter was granted in September, 1856. The commandery has had a flourishing existence, and has numbered among its members some of the best citizens of Muscatine and surrounding country. The present membership of the commandery is eighty-two.

Electa Chapter, of the Order of the Eastern Star, was organized Jan.10, 1874, growing out of the "Constancy Family," a lodge of the same Order, which owed its prosperity to Hon. P. A. Brumfield, then Deputy Grand Patron. The charter members were: P.A.Burmfield and wife, W. B. Langridge, S. C. Dunn and wife, J.P.Walton and wife, J. Morrison, C.Page and wife, H. Madden and wife, M. Block and wife, R. Hawley and wife, E.B.Lewis, J. Schumaker and wife, W. Leffingwell, Mrs. H. E. Bitzer, Mrs. R. Dunn, Mrs. H. E. Parmalee, Mrs. R. B. Ewing, Mrs. R. Miller and Miss Morrison. The following were charter officers: W. B. Langridge,W. P.; Mrs. S. Block, W.M.; Mrs. H. Brumfield, A.M.; Mrs. A. Hawley, Treas.; Mrs. H.E.Bitzer, Sec.; Mrs. J,Dunn, Cond.; Mrs. J.P.Walton,A.C.; Mrs.P.Pyatt,W.; Mr. G.Winn,S.; Mrs. H.E.Parmalee,A.;Miss L. Morrison, R.; Mrs. R. Dunn, E.; Mrs. R. Miller, M.; Mrs. R.Ewing,E. The officers were: W.B.Langridge,W.P.; Mrs. H.E.Parmalee, W.M.; Mrs. S.C.Dunn,A.M.; Mrs. R.Dunn, Treas.;Miss E.C.Parmalee,Sec.; Miss M.Frazier,Cond.; Mrs.C.Fox,Asst. Cond.; Mrs. P. Murphy, Sentinel; Mrs.H.E.Bitzer, A.; Mrs.N.Ewing, R.; Mrs. F.Sprague, E.; Mrs. E.B.Lewis,M.; Mrs. S. Wymer, E.

The present membership consists of eighty or ninety persons, many who were members having removed to other places. The place of meeting is in Masonic hall, Second street. A few words in regard to the origin and objects of the order may not be amiss. The Order of the Eastern Star is an Adoptive rite, so called from having originated and been adopted by the members of the Masonic fraternity , as a means of social enjoyment, whereby the the wives, mothers, widows, sisters and daughters of Master Masons in good standing, may work together in the common cause of humanity, to assist in ameliorating the condition of the sick and needy, to reach forth the hand of sympathy in the hour of trial, and especially to give aid to strangers who may need assistance, and who are proven, by the secret signs of the order, to be worthy members. Electa Chapter has not been backward in its deeds of charity, and has the testimony of not only many in our midst, but also of strangers, to prove this fact.

The present officers are: Fred Geisler, W.P.; Mrs. Emma Dean, W. M.; and Mrs. H.E. Bitzer,A.M.; Mrs. Emma C. Smith, Sec.; Mrs. S. A. Fox, Treas.' Mrs. L.E.Geisler, Cond.; Mrs. Wymer, A.C.; D.P.Hebbard, Warden; George C. Winn, Sentinel; Miss H.E.Parmalee, A.; Miss Ida Marvis, R.; Mrs. Ella R Frazier, E.; Mrs. M.A.Hebbard, M.; Miss Ida Appel, C.

Muscatine Lodge No.40, I.O.O.F., was instituted March 23, 1846. Its charter was granted Oct. 22, 1852, with E. H. Albie, N.G.; R Cadle, D.G.; Hosea John, Sec,; Pliny Fay, Treas. The lodge has been prosperous, and now numbers sixty-seven members. Its officers are: G. Bitzer, N.G.; T.T.Fitzpatrick, D.G.; Barney Beil, Treas. Ezra Goodrich, Sec.; J. Bridgeman, Permanent Sec.

Prairie Encampment No. 4, I. O. O. F., was instituted in 1853. After the lapse of several years, for certain causes, the charter, books, and papers were surrendered to the Grand Scribe. The books have never been returned, but a new charter was granted Nov. 19, 1869. The first officers elected then were: Joseph Bridgeman, C. P.; W. B. Keeler, H.P.; S.G.Stein, S.W.; H.M.Hine,J.W.; Ed. Hock, Scribe; M. Block, Sec. The present membership of the encampment is thirty, with E.M.Kessinger, C.P.; Joseph Bridgeman,H.P.; J. Earb, S.W.; Will Appel, J.W.; G. Bitzer, Scribe; J.P.Lewis, Treas.

Miriam Lodge No.27, Daughters of Rebecca, I.O.O.F., was instituted March 11, 1870, with S.G.Stein and and Mrs. A.C.Stein, W.B. Keeler and H. H. Hine and Mrs. U.Hine, M.Block and Mrs. S. Block, Joseph Bridgeman and Mrs J. Bridgeman, W.B.Reynolds and Mrs. H. Reynolds, Ed Hock and Mrs. Sarah Hock, John Lemp, R. Musser, C. R. Fox, B. Beach, P.Stein, J. A. Reuling and Mrs. Reuling, W. B. Langridge and Mrs. S. Langridge. The present officers of the lodge are: Mrs. Charles R. Fox, N. G.; Mrs. Gertie Anson, D. G.; Miss Ida Appel, Sec.; Mrs. G. Bitzer, Treas. Its membership is about fifty.

Eagle Lodge No.10, A.O.U.W., was organized under charter granted June 9, 1875. It has has a very prosperous existence, and has a present membership of 197. Its present officers are: M. Bowlby,Foreman; L. R. Frutig, Overseer; W. F. Eichoff,Recorder; J.E.Engel, Financier; C. Hetzel, Receiver; Cal. W. Smith, George E. Lezotte, and E.K. Tyler, Medical Examiners.

Muscatine Lodge No. 99, A.O.U.W., was organized Feb. 16, 1877, with forty-three charter members. It now has a membership of 100, with D.B.Hoffman,P.M.W.; F.M.Hadley, M.W.; T. Brown, Foreman; M.C.Mayes, Overseer; C.F.Cadle, Recorder; A. H. Carpenter, Financier; John Stockdale, Receiver; W.J. Lowhr.

The V.A.S.fraternity was organized May19, 1880, with twenty-nine charter members, which have been increased to forty-six. The present officers are: J.F. Beard, Rector; H. B. McCabe, Vice Rector; T. B. Prosser, Treas.; William Molis, Scribe.

Muscatine Council No. 360, Royal Arcanum March 22,1881. It has a present membership of eighteen, with H. J. Lauder,Regent; William C. Schenck, Sec.; S. Cohn, Treas.; Cal. W. Smith, Col.; Cal. W. Smith, Medical Examiner.

American Legion of Honor was organized in 1861, with sixty charter members. Its present officers are: S.M.Cobb, C.; Cal.W. Smith, Col.;Fred Reppert, Treas.; Ella C. Smith, Sec.; Dr. S. M. Cobb and Dr. Cal. W. Smith, Medical Examiners.

The Iowa Legion of Honor is represented by Argus Lodge No. 17, which was organized May 20, 1859, with fifty charter members. It has a present membership of 102, Thomas Watson, Pres.; R. B. Huff, Vice Pres.; Amos C. Hopkinson, Rec.Sec.; E. H. Dolson, Fin. Sec.; W. G. Blocks, Sec.; George O. Brinn, Chap.; J. W. John,Usher.; David Herwig, Doorkeeper; O. Pressler, Sent.

Excelsior Circle No. 2 Northwestern Legion of Honor, was instituted May 9, 1878. It has a present membership of forty. with George Schneider, Did.; F. Grade, Sec; J. Rauling, Per.Sec.; Charles Graffe, Sr., Treas.

Wyoming Lodge No. 76, Knights of Pythias, was instituted May 18, 1882. Its first officers were: J. H. Pickler, P. C.; R. B. Huff, C. C.; George R. Cloud, B. C.; C. H. Sterneman, P.; W. L. Sharp,K. of R.and S.; E. H. Dolsen, M. of F.; E. C. Cook, M.of E.; H.J.Lauder, A.; A.N. Garlock, I.G.; Joe F. Beard, O.G. Its present officers are: Philip Snyder, P.C.; James St. John, C.C.; Harry C. Madden, V.C.; Oscar Grosheim, P.; W.D. Hine, M. of E.; E. H. Dolsen, M.of F.; J. R. Reuling, K.of R.and S.; J. Reitz, M. at A.; Paul Steinmetz, I. G.; J. R. Hanley, O. G.

Muscatine Division No. 12, Knights of Pythias, was instituted Aug. 27, 1884, and has had a very flourishing existence.

Muscatine Grove, No. 6, U.A.O.D., was organized Feb. 4, 1876, with thirteen charter members. It now has a membership of thirteen, with John Grott, N.A.; George Volger, V. A.; John Hartman, P. A.; William Graffe, Sec; A. Fischer, Treas.; William Hildebrandt, I. G.; J. M. Becky, O. G.

The Muscatine Turner Society was organized April 21, 1859, and re-organized in May, 1866. The object of the organization is physical culture. It owns the Turner Opera House, a fine and commodious structure on the corner of Sixth street and Iowa avenue; the lot and building cost $20,800. It was erected in 1885. The gymnasium was equipped at a cost of about $2,000. The present membership of the society is sixty.

The Muscatine Catholic Mutual Aid Society was organized July, 1, 1871, with a membership of thirty, and has had a prosperous existence.

The St. Joseph Mutual Aid Society was organized in 1859, and incorporated under the name of German-American Roman Catholic Beneficial Society. Its name was subsequently changed without any re-organization. In case of death of a member $20 are allowed for funeral expenses. The sick benefits are $3 per week; and in case of death the widow and orphans receive$4 per month for five years. The present membership of the society is 260.

Muscatine Tent No. 9,K.O.T.M., was instituted Aug. 25, 1887. Its present membership is seventy-two, with T.N.Brown, P.C.; G.M.Titus, C.; L.C.Crossman,L.T.Com.; J.R.Reuling, R.K.; H.J.Fitzgerald, F.K.; A.Lawrence, Pre.; H.M.Dean, Cal.W. Smith, G. D. Lezotte, Physicians; William M. Narvis, Sergt.; P. Steinmetz, M. at A.; O. Grosheim, 1st M.of G.; J. Felger, 2d M.of G.; H. Gremmel, Sent.; J. Chaplin,Picket.

Shelby Norman Post No. 231, G.A.R., was organized Aug. 29, 1883, and has had a very flourishing existence. Its present officers are: Gal. Bitzer, Com.; G. M. Scott, S. V. C.; Gus Schmidt, J. V.C.; N. M. Brown, Adj.; J. E. Coe, U. M.; S. M. Cobb,Surg.; Rev. Jacob Fath, Chaplin; A. B. Carpenter, O.D.

The Muscatine Medical Association was organized in 1867, and re-organized June 12, 1874. Meetings are regularly held, and are participated in very generally by the best physicians of the county.

The Muscatine Loan and Building Association was incorporated on June 19, 1877, since which time it has done much good in the improvement of the city.

The Muscatine Cemetery Association was organized in December, 1873, and purchased grounds adjoining the old city cemetery. Under wise management the "city of the dead" presents a handsome appearance.

St. Mary's Cemetery Association was incorporated by resident Catholics of Muscatine, and is located on a beautiful knoll within the city limits.

The Muscatine Academy of Science has had an organized existence of almost two decades; its moving spirit in its incipiency being Prof. F. M. Witter. Much interest has been manifested by its members, and much good has been done in the community by means of public lectures secured by the Association. Many of the best informed people of the city have been and are now connected with it. In the fall of 1888 the following named composed its officers: F. M. Witter, Pres.; G. W. Coverstan, V. P.; F. Reppert, Cor. Sec.; S. Plumley, Rec.Sec.; Dr. J. Hardman, Curator; and J. P. Walton, Treas.


In 1882, the people of Muscatine, realizing that the city had grown to such proportions that it needed a street railway, began to lay plans to that end. In 1883 a company was organized for the purpose of building and operating a railway, and the following officers were elected : Peter Musser, President; George Dillaway, Vice President; T. R. Fitzgerald, Secretary; Orange Chapman, Superintendent and Treasurer. In accordance with the wishes of the citizens, the organization constructed the road which is now two and a half miles in length. Seven cars are run continually, ten men are employed, and twenty-eight head of stock, mostly mules, are used in driving. The present officers of the company are : Fred Dant, President; Hon. J. Carskaddan, Vice President; A. G. Butler, Secretary; Samuel Hughes, Treasurer; and Melville Gardner, Superintendent.


The admirable system of water works now in operation in this city was first suggested by William C. Wier, who is now deceased. He visited the city in the summer of 1875, with a view of enlisting the capitalists in such an enterprise, and in the fall a stock-company was organized; while in December, the Muscatine Water Works Company was authorized by the City Council to become incorporated under the laws of the State. The leading men in the undertaking were J. A. Bishop, G. W. Dillaway, S. and L. Cohn, W. W. Webster, W. S. Robertson, R. M. Burnett, W. C. Wier, R. Musser, R. M. Baker, J. T. Krehe, S. G. Stein, L. W. Olds, H. Funk, J. Rublemann, and P. Stein. The charter which the company received was for twenty-five years, and covered all points essential to the completion of the works. On the 6th of November, 1875, the company was organized, and on the 12thday of that month, the following Provisional Board of Directors was chosen; G. W. Dillaway, R. Musser, J. A. Bishop, A. Jackson, H. W. Moore, R. M. Burnett, J. Carskaddan, G. A. Garretson, and W. S. Robertson. In 1876, the board elected as their officers; G. W. Dillaway, President; R. Musser, Vice President; H. W. Moore, Treasurer; J. Carskaddan, Secretary.

In order to give a sketch of the detailed progress of the work, we here insert the Secretary's report to the corporation, submitted May 2, 1876. Mr. Carskaddan reported as follows:

     " To the Stock-holders of of the Muscatine Water Works Company :
     "The provisional Board of Directors of said company respectfully
submit the following report:
     " On the 3d of September, 1875, and shortly after the organization of this company, an ordinance was passed
by the City Council of Muscatine, granting to this company the exclusive right to construct and maintain the
water works for protection from fire, and domestic uses; and contains guards, provisions, and restrictions which
are deemed necessary for the preservation alike of the rights of the city and company. The ordinance was formerly
accepted by the company, on the 6th of December, 1875, and by its terms became a contract between the parties. "It was considered advisable by the directors and the stock-holders and the public generally, that the work
should be commenced and pushed to a completion as soon as possible, and in order to gain some practical knowledge
of the subject, a committee of the board visited the works at Davenport, Rock Island, Lyons, and Clinton. This
committee was very favorably impressed with the style and operation of the works at Clinton, and especially with
the merits of the pumping machinery there used; and it was finely determined to model our own on a similar
though much cheaper plan. "On the 22d of December, 1875, a meeting was held for the purpose of considering bids and porpositions for the
construction of the work. Several propositions were submitted and considered, but that of William C. Wier, the
engineer who had drawn various plans and specifications for the works was deemed the best, and it was also the
lowest bid submitted for the construction of the entier works without the reservoir; and the contract was awarded
to him; the contract price being $31,138, provided piston pumps were used; and $ 32,138 if plunger pumps were
selected. The plunger pump was decided to be preferable, and the latter adopted at the contract price. Subsequently
the contract was executed between the company and Messrs. William C. Wier & T. Cowell, as contractors, the latter
named gentleman being associated with Mr. Wier, and joining in the contract subsequent to the letting. The contract
bears date: Dec. 29, 1875, and the contractors executed a bond for the faithful performance of their contract
in a penal sum of $5,000, with J. R. Maxwell of the Cape & Maxwell Manufacturing Company, of Hamilton, Ohio,
as security. " The contract provides, in brief, for the sinking and anchoring in the bed of the Mississippi River, for a
distance of 700 feet from the shore, between the elevator and North Line warehouse, of a wooden conduit similar to
that adopted at Clinton to convey the water from the channel of the river, and where it is believed that the
water will be free from the impurities of the shore, in which a filter is to be placed, and into which water
will be drawn from the conduit, and from which the water will be drawn to the pumps; the construction of a
pumping-house and smoke-stack on the levee about eighty feet from the shore with the necessary pumps,
boilers, and machinery therein, and the laying of the twelve-inch street-main or water-pipe from the pumping-house
across the levee, and up Chestnut street to Second street, and the connection with a circuit of street mains which
extend from Broadway on the west side to Oak street on the east, and includes the main lines on Second and Fifth
streets, and the necessary connections by cross streets, and the setting of a hydrant for fire purposes at each
street crossing, with several valves or gates by means of which the water can be shut off from any given
section of the pipe for the purpose of tapping, repairs, etc.; in short the contract covers and includes all the
main work and material necessary for furnishing water by direct pressure; and by its terms
the contractors undertook to furnish all the material and do the work. "The street-mains and special castings were furnished by the celebrated iron house of Dennis, Long & Co., of
Louisville Ky., and are of excellent quality. The fire hydrants and valves are from the house of S. Cummings & Son,
Cincinnati, Ohio. The boilers were made by John Baker & Co., of Muscatine, which is a sufficient guarantee of
their quality. The pumping machinery was built, placed in position, and connected with the pipes, ready for use,
by the Cape & Maxwell Manufacturing Company of Hamilton, Ohio. The pumps are similar to those of the Clinton
water works, having a capacity of 1,500,000 gallons in twenty-four hours. "The public test and trial of the works, made on the 12th of April, demonstrated the entire efficiency of the
pumping machinery, the strength of the pipes, and the thoroughness of the manner in which all the work had been
done. Upon the strength of that test, the pumping machinery was formerly accepted by the directors. "At a special meeting of the City Council, held on the 15th of April, the council was formerly notified by the
Board that the water works were so far completed as to enable the company to afford the necessary fire protection,
and that the rental of the fire hydrant as provided by the city ordinance should begin at that date. This
communication was referred to the council as a committee of the whole, and at a subsequent meeting was
approved and assented to. The rental here referred to, is the sum of $4,000 per year for the
hydrants on the present line of pipe; being thirty in all."

In the summer of 1876, the reservoir was completed with a capacity of 1,500,000 gallons, and is located upon the public square at the northwestern part of the city. From 1876, until the present time, there have been seven extensions to main pipes laid, making in all six miles of pipe now in use. Other improvements have also been made, including the grading, fencing, sodding and planting of trees and shrubbery on the public square, making it one of the finest pleasure resorts in the city. The reservoir is situated about three-fourths of a mile from the pumping works, and at a height of 185 feet from pumps, giving the city a pressure from sixty-five to eighty pounds, which is used for all domestic and fire purposes. The company has located on the line sixty-two double-discharge hydrants for fire purposes. The supply of water is now obtained from the Mississippi River through an eighteen-inch cast-iron pipe running into the river 700 feet, the old wooden conduit having been abandoned. The quality of the water is as good as any in the State. In order to increase the facilities for obtaining water-supply, a new well was sunk in the fall of 1888, depth thirty feet, diameter twenty feet, and with two foot brick wall.

The present officers of the company are : A. Jackson, President; R. Musser, Vice President; J. Carskaddan, Secretary; H. W. Moore, Treasurer; William Moles, Superintendent; Charles Moles, Assistant and Engineer. The Directord are : A. Jackson, R. Musser, J. Carskaddan, H. W. Moore, S. G. Stein, L. W. Olds, P. M .Musser, S. Cohn, and F. Kaufman. The capital stock of the company is $44,000.


Since Farnham opened his first stock of goods at this point, the business and manufacturing interests of the place have been constantly on the increase. Year by year some new manufactory or mercantile business is established, or some interests already established are enlarged, until at present no city of equal population in the State does the same amount of business. In this connection special notices are given of some of the leading industries of the city.

The Hershey Lumber Company, of Muscatine, was incorporated in September, , 1875, with a capital stock of $200,000. Benjamin Hershey was elected President and Treasurer; S. G. Stein, Vice President; and William Ewert, Secretary. The local plant of the company comprises two saw-mills, a planing-mill with dry-kilns, and the most improved facilities for the manufacture of lumber, both rough and dressed, including lath, shingles. dressed flooring, siding, boards, and everything in the way of building material in the line of lumber. This business was established by Benjamin Hershey, who settled at Muscatine in 1852, and the following year rented a saw-mill, which was situated on the site of the present company's upper mill. This he bought two years later. He operated the old mill until 1857, when he built the present one, which has since been re-built and improved until it now has a capacity for cutting 225,000 feet of lumber per day, and for making a proportionate amount of lath and shingles. The business was carried on alone by Mr. Hershey until September, 1875, when it was incorporated. The principle stockholders are Benjamin Hershey, Thomas Irvine, S. G. Stein, H. W. Moore, and G. A. Garretson. A few other parties have small interests, but three-fourths of all the stock is owned by the original proprietor, Mr. Hershey. In addition to the upper mill, they have a second mill lower down which they bought in 1881, that has a cutting capacity of 130,000 feet of lumber a day. The lumber from the east-named mill is run into the river and rafted, eighty men being employed in this occupation; while at the mills and yards of the company at Muscatine over 750 man are employed, making a total of 830. This company is largely interested in the Mississippi River Logging Company, and the Chippawa Logging and Boom Company, two immense corporations which are conducted under one management. Mr. Hershey was one of the founders of these companies, with which he has maintained his connection ever since. He is also President of Hershey-Ewert Lumber Company, of Sargent, Mo., a distinct and separate business organization, of which Mr. Hershey is the principal owner. This company has a saw-mill having a capacity for sawing 80,000 feet a day, with a planing mill attached, and employs a force of over 100 men. The mill is situated in the yellow or hard-pine region, where, from the nature of the timber, the products are much smaller in proportion to the number of men than would be the case in a soft-pine country. The amount of business done by the Hershey Lumber Company, including the Stillwater and Muscatine mills, is valued at the round sum of $1,000,000 annually. The company is possessed of several thousand acres of pine land in the Chippawa (Wis.) and Minnesota pineries, from which they got their supply of timber. The bulk of the timber is owned by the logging companies.

The Musser Lumber Company of Muscatine, was incorporated in February, 1881, with a capital stock of $200,000. Peter Musser was elected President; Richard Musser, Vise President; P. M. Musser, Secretary and Treasurer; C. R. Fox, Yard and Planing-mill Superintendent. This company is a outgrowth of the pioneer lumber firm of R.. Musser & Co., which was established by Peter and Richard Musser, and Edward Hoch, in 1855. These gentlemen began by buying rafts of lumber in the river, which they yarded and sold by retail and wholesale. They also established a lumber-yard at Iowa City in 1856, where Peter Musser resided, it being managed by that gentleman until he went to California, in April, 1864. Mr. Hoch continued in the firm but three years, or until 1858, when he retired, and the firm became R. Musser & Co. In 1864 P. M. Musser, the present Secretary and Treasurer, bought into the business without any change of firm name. He assumed charge of the Iowa City yard, which he conducted until 1873, when he and John Porter purchased the interest of R. Musser & Co., in the branch yard at Iowa City, which they carried on under the firm name of Musser & Porter, Mr. Musser still retaining his interest in the business at Muscatine. In 1870, having returned from California, Peter Musser joined his brother Richard, together with C. R. Fox, a former employee, and P. M. Musser, in the organization of the firm of Musser & Co., for the purpose of building and operating a saw-mill, and carrying on the lumber business at Muscatine. In the spring of 1871, they completed their mill at a point on the Mississippi River, since known as Musserville, and now included in the corporate limits of the city of Muscatine, and began the manufacture of lumber. The mill cut about 11,000,000 feet of lumber a year, and was a good mill in its day. In 1873 Richard Musser retired from the business, selling his interest to P. M. Musser, and the firm became P. M. Musser & Co. Three years later Richard renewed his connection with the company, and the firm name of Musser & Co. was again adopted. In 1877 the company rebuilt their mill, putting in improved machinery and increasing its capacity materially. Four years later, the business having attained important proportions, the proprietors decided to organize under an act of incorporation, which was done in February, 1881, under the name of Musser Lumber Company, the incorporators being the original proprietors, and the officers elected being the same as given in this article. During the same year the company rebuilt and enlarged the mill, which they fitted with the most modern machinery, making it one of the most complete and capacious sawmills on the Mississippi. It has a capacity for manufacturing 50,000,000, feet of lumber, 12, 000,000 of lath, and 12,000,000 of shingles for the working season, and its annual manufacture is placed at those figures. The power is furnished by two engines, the combined force of which equals 500 horse-power. In 1882, the company erected a planing-mill, detached from the saw-mill, which affords ample facilities for dressing lumber, and the manufacture of flooring, siding, and boards to the extent of their trade. The business of this company is strictly wholesale, and their trade lies principally in the States of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, and Dakota. The number of hands employed by this company at their mills and yards is about 300, not including the employment which iis given indirectly to a large force which is engaged in getting out and rafting logs to supply their mill.

The Musser Lumber Company owns large tracts of pine lands in the Chippawa pinery of Wisconsin, and the Minnesota lumber region. Their logs are cut by contract, and are rafted by the Chippawa Logging and Boom Company, and the Mississippi River logging Company, two immense lumber corporations, in which the Musser Lumber Company was one of the incorporators, and is yet a large stockholder. For the last twelve years this company has owned and operated its own rafting steamers, it having operated the " Silver Wave' and " Le Clare Belle" during all that time, and the new steamer "Musser" for the past two years. All were sold during the season of 1888 to Capt. S. R. Van Zant. The company's plant covers an area of thirty-five acres, and the yards are stocked, according to the season of the year, to the amount of from 8,000,000 to 25,000,000 feet of lumber, and a proportional amount of lath and shingles. To convey an idea of the growth of the business from the date of its origin with the firm of Hoch & Musser, it may be stated that the amount of business done the first year was about $100,000, while the present annual business exceeds $750,000. This corporation has its own system of water works, which was established in 1872. A Cameron pump of the largest capacity is used, and the supply of water and force is equal to any emergency that is likely to arise. The gentlemen composing this corporation are enterprising, energetic business men, who have been identified with Muscatine County for over a third of a century, and have built up a business that has been a potent factor in the prosperous growth of the community. In all these years, through good times and bad, they have held the even tenor of their way, and have maintained an enviable reputation for uprightness and integrity that is beyond reproach.

The Muscatine Manufacturing Company, of Muscatine was incorporated in 1885. The Borad of Directors consists of C. R. Fox, President; Z. W. Hutchinson, Vice President and Secretary; S. B. Cook, Treasurer; Ed. J. Brent, General Manager; R. Musser, W. Hoffman, and W. A. Neavitt. This company does a general business as manufacturers and jobbers of sash, doors, blinds, moldings, screen-doors and windows, also inside hard-wood finish, porch and stair work. Their principal market is Iowa, Nebraska , Kansas, and Missouri, and they also have a branch house at Atchison, Kan., which was established Jan, 1, 1888. The company employs about 100 hands at their works in Muscatine, and do an annual business of $250,000. This important industry is now recognized as one of the substantial and leading industries of Muscatine. It is the outgrowth of a manufacturing business originally founded in 1873, by the Brent Bros., of whom Ed. J. Brent , its present efficient manager, was one, and while under their ownership the factory was three times burned, and twice the warehouse was consumed, and as there was but little insurance their losses were heavy. Though started on a modest scale it has grown to important proportions and reflects credit upon its founders and management.

J. M. Gobble & Co., wholesale dealers in groceries, successors to G. A. Garretson, purchased the business in 1880. It had been started by My. Garretson previous to the war, and in 1880 he sold out to Gobble Bros. who continued the management until 1883,when the present firm was established. They carry a full and complete stock in their line, and their sales extend over Iowa, Southern Minnesota, and Northern Missouri. The firm employs five traveling salesman, one city salesman, and five in their store in Muscatine. The building occupied is 40x120 feet, three stories in height, and is used entirely by the company. The members of the firm are young, enterprising business men, and by close attention to their work, and to the need of their patrons, they are meeting their increasing trade, and their territory steadily continues to widen. The company also own and operate the Muscatine spice mills, located at No. 208 West Second street, which are under the management of Mr. James O'Meara, Superintendent, late of Chicago. They do a general business in maunfacturing and wholesaling coffee, spices, mustards, cream tartar,baking powders,etc.

The Muscatine Oatmeal Company was organized in June, 1879, with a capital of $18,000, which has been increased to to $48,000. The incorporators were : S. G. Stein, President; S. P. Sawyer, Vice President, William Huttig, Secretary; Fred Huttig, H. W. Moore, and F. D. Holcomb. The business has been very successful, the mill being the largest west of Ohio, and the third largest in the United States, having a capacity of 300 barrels per day. The trade of the company extends to nearly every State in the Union. Of the original organization Mr. Stein is the only one left. In 1884 F. P. Sawyer bought his father's interests, since which time he has been Secretary and Treasurer.

The Royal Canning Company, of Muscatine, Iowa, was established in 1880. with a cash capital of $20,000, by the following enterprising business men: Fred Daut, S. P. Cook, P. M. Musser, Peter Jackson, and Charles Mull. On its organization Charles L. Mull was elected President; Fred Daut, Vice President; George White, Secretary; C. Lillibridge, Treasurer, and A. Kimball, Superintendent, and the term of office was to be for one year. During the first year of its existence the company lost thirty to thirty-five percent, of the capital invested. Nothing daunted, however, the following year the capital was increased to $30,000, and the work carried forward under the following officers; Fred Daut, President; W. D. Burke, Vice President; W. H. Faylee, Secretary; and E. C. Cook, Treasurer. Since the second year the progress and porsperity of the enterprise had been uninterrupted, and it is now one of the leading industries of the county; and to the parties who, notwithstanding the failure of the first year, carried on the business, much credit is due, and they well deserve to prosper in the undertaking.

The purpose of this organization was for the canning and shipping of goods, including both fruit and vegetables, though it makes a specialty of canning corn and tomatoes. The main building in use by the company is 60x140 feet, the packing room is 60x60 feet, while the corn sheds are 120x120 feet. During the busy season from 220 to 225 men, women, and children are employed in the various departments.


There are at present four banking institutions, the First National, formerly the Merchant's Exchange National Bank; Cook, Musser & Co.; C. A. Garretson & Co.; and the Muscatine Savings bank.

The Merchant's Exchange Bank was organized Sept.20, 1865, and authorized to commence business on the 25th of November following. The bank had an authorized capital of $50,000, which has since been increased.

The banking house of Cook, Musser & Co. was organized in 1870, by Cook, Silverman & Co. About 1876 P. M . Musser became a member of the firm, and the firm name was changed as at present.

The banking house of G. A. Garretson & Co. is the sucessor to the Muscatine National Bank, which was changed to a private concern about 1879.

The Muscatine Savings Bank was incorporated Feb. 4, 1880, its charter bearing date of February 19, of the same year. It was organized with a capital stock of $10,000, which has been increased to $30,000. The first officers were : H. W. Moore, Pres.; J. B. Dougherty, Vice Pres.; R. T. Thompson,Cashier. Mr. Moore and Mr. Dougherty still hold their respective offices, with S. M. Hughes as Cashier. The average deposits of the bank are about $225,000, which certainly shows that it has the confidence of the community.

All these banks are managed by men who have the confidence of the people of Muscatine and surrounding country, and are regarded among the safest in Iowa.


The fire department of Muscatine is one in which its citizens take a just pride. It dates its organization from 1875, when, on the 7th day of January, the Champion Hose Company No. 1 was organized, with Gus. Schmidt as President and Mr. Saal Foreman. Other companies have since been organized, and the department perfected in every way. Rescue Hose Company No. 2 was organized April 27, 1878, and Excelsior Hose Company No. 3, May, 1876; Relief and Hook Ladder Company, April 12, 1877; Relief Hose Company No.4, May 1, 1888; Champion Hook and Ladder Company, in 1884; Hershey Independent Hose Company, Sept.20, 1880; Brent Hose Company, organized in September, 1885, and re-organized in May, 1887.

The various companies are well supplied, and are among the best-drilled companies in the West. In competition with companies from other cities they have captured the prizes on more than one occasion.


When the newcomer stepped from the steam-boat near the foot of Chestnut street he frequently stopped with Robert C. Kinney, whose hotel, the Iowa House, was located on the west corner of Front and Chestnut streets.

It is said that a stranger stopped with him one night and in the morning asked Landlord Kinney where he should wash; who, turning to his customer, inquired if he had a handkerchief, and receiving an affirmative answer, said; "Well, there is the river. Wash there, and wipe on your handkerchief."

Bob Kinney, as he was called, commenced his hotel in 1836, by building the rear part, in size 20x30 feet, one and a half stories high. This was undoubtedly, the largest building in the city at the time. In a couple of years he had enlarged it by building on a front, which had a two-story porch extending its whole length. This porch was a very popular place for genteel loafing, the gentleman using the lower porch and the upper one being reserved for the lady guests. This building was removed in 1880, after standing forty-four years. During the time of removing we observed the floor joists were mostly made of hewed black walnut logs, from eight to twelve inches in diameter, and quite sound. Bob Kinney kept most of the bachelor boarders of our town, such as Hon. S. C. Hastings, Dr. Blaydes, Suel Foster, and others. Kinney concluded at one time he would rent his tavern to a man by the name of William Fry, commonly known as Capt. Fry. Kinney thought he had better have a lease drawn up by a lawyer ( they were all in debt to him for board ), so he went to Hastings to get the lease made. He said he wanted a very strong one---one that would hold the " infernal regions." Hastings was his man. He too owed a board bill, and was glad of a chance to square it in that way. He went to work, commencing on his old English law forms, and writing, and re-writing, iterating, and re-iterating all the legal terms known in the calendar, until twenty pages of legal cap were written over. Kinney came in and the document was reiterated ( Hastings says read ) to his entire satisfaction. Hastings thus paid some $50 of his board bill. This lease was used in renting to Fry. Kinney moved into a small building on Second street, near where Fischer's hardware store now stands. Soon the country became too old for him, and he began to look for a newer one. One night about midnight he was taken very sick, and sent for Dr. C. O. Waters to come and see him. The doctor found him sitting up and refusing to go to bed. All he wanted of the doctor was to know if he knew anything about Northwestern Texas. I don't know if the doctor paid any back board or not by this visit. At all events the doctor was a bachelor at this time. Kinney shortly after left for Oregon, where he lived for many years. If the newcomer could not be accommodated at Kinney's he would frequently stop at "Captain Jim's," the next hotel; it was where the post-office now stands.

Capt. James Palmer, known as " Capt. Jim," was a large, rather fat old man. He was a good customer at his own bar. Here is a sample of his advertisement in the Bloomington Herald of 1841:


Whereas, I, Capt. Jim, long a dispenser of food to the hungry and a couch to the weary, as well as a "horn" to the dry, having taken possession of the large and commodious house on Second street, Bloomington, Iowa, formerly the residence of His Hon. J. Williams, do hereby declare and make known to the world that I am now prepared, at the sign of "Capt. Jim," to accommodate those who may call upon me in a satisfactory manner, otherwise they go scot free. That this statement may the more prove fully true, I hereby declare and make known that the following are my charges, for all of which the best the market can afford are furnished; Single meal, 25 cents; board per day, with lodging, 75 cents; three days, per day, 62 1/2 cents; per week, $3; one horse feed, 12 1/2 cents; horse, per night, 25 cents; horse per week, $1.62 1/2 cents.

All other bills in proportion. I, the said Capt. Jim, do hereby further declare to those indebted to me for eating, sleeping, drinking, or upon contract of any kind whatsoever, that unless they come forward immediately and make settlement, Michael Scott was never in Scotland if I don't sent a constable after them to bring them to "taw." so look out for Conklin or Ward.

Thankful for past favors, he hopes to receive a share of public patronage corresponding with his efforts to minister to the tastes and render comfortable those who may favor him with their patronage. Capt. Jim Palmer Bloomington, Dec. 3, 1841.--6tf.

Pardon me for relating an anecdote told by Dan Rice, the noted showman. He says that when he first started out he visited Bloomington, and stopped with " Capt. Jim," and had his exhibition at his hotel. "Capt. Jim" insisted on having his pay in advance, but he compromised by making the Captain door-keeper. At the close of the entertainment he reported no money. Dan inquired how it came. The Captain's reply was, " he had so many friends that he had to invite whom he could not charge, and thus he received no money." This left Dan $6 in debt, and no money to pay with. We had still another hotel in town.

In the spring of 1839 Josiah Parvin occupied the old wooden building that stood on the corner where Cook, Musser & Co.'s bank now stands, and kept a hotel there until his new one was built.., I think in 1840, and which is now a part of the Eastern House, on the west corner of Walnut and Second streets. Mr. Parvin was one of the best-hearted men that ever came to a new country; too much so for his own good. He was very excitable, and many amusing anecdotes are told of him. He was very fond of hunting, like most of the Parvins, and while out hunting he once fell over a log, jumped up and commenced kicking himself with the following ejaculations: "Fall over a log ! Deserve to be kicked, and I'll do it." So at it he went. Josiah Parvin set the best table, and had the best boarders. Gov. Lucas boarded there. Govs. Dodge and Grimes were among the patrons. Parvins new hotel proved too much for him. He had to give it up, as most of the occupants have since done, without taking away much money.

A fourth hotel was started in the spring of 1841 by T. S. Battelle. It was located where Old's Opera House now stands. It was called the American House. This was the leading hotel in the place for a long time. During the winter season while the travel was suspended on the river and the old-fashioned stage-caoch was made to take its place, this hotel was in its glory. It was no uncommon thing for a dozen coaches to start out at a, time all heavily loaded. In this hotel we danced out first cotillon, in the winter of 1842-3. Here the first attempt was made to return a fugitive slave to slavery. We are indebted to Mrs. S. E. Hughes and Mr. Alexander Clark for most of the following particulars. A colored boy, Jim White, belonging to Dr. Merry, who then lived on a farm about thirteen miles up the river. When Dr. Merry removed from St. Louis to Iowa he left this boy with his daughter, Mrs. Hughes, at St. Louis. Jim was hired on a steamboat on the lower Mississippi, and was to have his freedom in two years. But he got into a fracas with the steward of the boat and got his head badly hurt, so he was sent north to Dr. Merry for treatment. He soon became so impudent that he doctor ordered him off the farm. Jim concluded that he did not like country life, and simply followed out the doctor's orders. He left " Massa Merry" and came to town, and commenced working at the hotel for Mr. James Borland, the proprietor at the time. The Merry family concluded that if Jim did not want to stay with the doctor he had better go to St. Louis where he could be available. Accordingly an officer from St. Louis was sent after Jim. He found him at the hotel, and attempted to arrest him without judge or jury. Perhaps he would have succeeded if the proprietor, Mr. Borland, had not interfered. He disarmed the dective of his pistols by main force. In the meantime the boy took shelter with Mr. Clark, who had the St. Louis man arrested for kidnapping. One of our old citizens , who is still residing here, Fred Phelps, went his security. The Merry family had the boy arrested according to law by one of our officers. he was arraigned before D. C. Cloud, then the Justice of the Peace; with Stephen Wicher and R.P. Lowe for the prosecution, and Jacob Butler , W. G. Woodward; and J. S, Richman for the defense. The trial was held and the boy released on the ground that Dr. Merry had brought, or permitted the boy to come, within the bounds of a free State, and which act freed the boy from all liability to be returned. This was before the noted Dred Scott decision. The boy was not safe, as the leading Southern sympathizers were determined to take him without law. While the excitement was still high, Michael Greene went to Uncle Ben Matthews and Aunt Nellie, his mother, and said he was going to Chicago with a team and that he would take the boy with him. This was reported to Mr. Clark, who now had the boy snugly stowed away in his garret. It was arranged that Greene was to cross the river before night and go out to the third bridge and wait for the boy, who was to cross in a skiff as soon as it was dark. Mr. Clark, although not so old as he is now, was too smart to be gulled by such an old villain as Greene; he having known something of his previous record. Clark started as soon as it was dark in company with the boy and two other persons, to cross the river in a skiff. When out on the river so far as not to be noticed from shore, they quietly let the skiff float down the river. They soon heard three different boats crossing above them. They quietly went home and went to bed. The parties in the other three boats spent the night in the bottom on the other side of the river, looking through the woods after Jim, whom Mr. Clark had stowed away for the night. In the morning Green returned without going to Chicago. After waiting for two or three days, the St Louis man concluded he would not get Jim by stealth, so he went to Dubuque to obtain a warrant from the United States Judge for his arrest. It was generally understood that the United States Courts were intensely pro-slavery at this time, and that Jim would stand a poor chance there. This pleased the pro-slavery side immensely; so much so they could not keep it secret. When the man got back from Dubuque, which occupied three of four days, Jim was arrested the second time. A writ of habeas corpus was obtained from Hon. S. C. Hastings, then acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of this State, who released him. Jim stayed around Bloomington, joined the colored Methodist Church, and became a great shouter.

The American House was the stopping place for nearly all the traveling entertainments. In its earliest days but little else besides circuses came around. The artistic minstrel troop did not make its appearance until after the old hotel had lost its prestige.

Mr. Battelle, the first proprietor, succeeded well in the hotel financially. He raised a large family, lost his wife and married Aunty, his wife's sister. Becoming dissatisfied with the hotel he sold out and bought a steamboat, the "Oswego." He lost considerable money trying to run it, and after sinking the boat once or twice finally left for Oregon.

In the rear of his hotel, where the Journal Office now stands, was a frame building about 20x40 feet, originally built for a school-house, but used by the Methodist Church. This building was also used for various purposes, such as political conventions, lyceums, and other public meetings. In this building we attended out first political meeting. Hon. G. W. Woodward was a candidate. We recollect seeing him there in a rough looking costume; something remarkable for him. He was successful all the same.

In the winter of 1842-43 a lyceum was organized. Here the professional and the non-professional met in debate. We remember hearing a very interesting lecture from a prominent lawyer, following another on plagiarism. This lecture was remembered for years by both of them. I think they were exceptions to the ordinary lawyers. At another meeting one of the same lawyers got into a dispute, that ended in blows, with a doctor who is still living in this city.

When the Methodist people built a new church ( the present city hall) and vacated the old building, it was converted into a stable.

In the year 1841 the Episcopal Society united with the Masons in erecting a church and lodgeroom. This was the first building erected in this county for church purposes, The Masons occupying the upper or second story. The lower or first story was seated for church purposes, with high back seats made of choice black walnut, painted white. This building was located on the rear of the lot where the present stone church now stands. It was our lot of many years afterward to purchase the old building. We took one-half and made a stable, which is at present owned by David Rothschild. It stands on the rear of his present dwelling on Eighth street. There seems to be a singular coincidence that the first two buildings of our city which were used for religious worship should have each been converted into a stable.

Ther stands an old frame building on the rear of the lot occupied by Dr. Graham's drug-store. This building was originally erected at Prairie Du Chien, and was used for a Catholic Church. It was taken down and rafted down the river under the direction of the Catholic Bishop, Loras--I think-- in the year 1842. The Catholic congregation did not number more than half a dozen at that time. But the missionary spirit of their bishop provided them with a church. This church was used for many years until St. Matthias was built.

The presbyterians had a church organization, but no building of their own. They held meetings in the Episcopal Church. Their old bell was a present from an Eastern foundry, and was placed on the roof of the little side vestry-room. The bell was removed to their first church on Mulberry street, east of the court-house, the walls of which are still standing, and used for blacksmith shops. This bell was one of two bells sent to Iowa. The other passed into history as Hummel's bell at Iowa City.

The Congregational Society erected a church on the hill, as it then was, near where Mr. Semple's dwelling now stands on the corner of Fourth and Sycamore streets. This was a small brick building about 20x40 feet. It had a rough wooden bell-tower erected on the back or rear end, which gave it the name of the "stern-wheel church." In this tower was hung the bell that now calls the Congregational people together. It is the oldest bell in our city. I am not able to give its history. It is sufficient to say we obeyed its call to meeting way back in the forties.

The presbyterian bell that came here earlier was broken and removed six or eight years ago. The Catholic Church has a small bell at a very early day. I should think it would weigh about fifty pounds, and it was possibly the first in town. It was afterward mounted on the Old Number One School-house for a bell. Very likely some of our hearers have watched its motion for fear of being tardy. We say watched its motion, for it was mounted on the top of a high tower. One could see it further than it could be heard. It was finally burned with the school-house and rendered worthless as a bell.

The Congregational Church was the progressive church of the town. The other churches charged it with being aristocratic, as they considered that it rather infringed on their territory, but the attendance proved it to be rather a good society. The exterior of the building looked like a country school-house. We well recollect how the inside looked at the time of our first visit. We had frequently attended the Methodist meeting where the main aisle was a dividing line between the sexes, at least during meeting time; the men occupying the right and the women the left side. It never entered our mind that there could be any other manner of seating. We went early. The sexton was at the rear ringing the bell when we entered. The room was empty, and we sat down in the end (farthest from the aisle) of a seat on the right side near the middle of the church, not thinking but we would be among the men. In a short time in walked Hon. Stephen Whicher and wife; Mrs Whicher sitting down close to us to make room for the others who came. Very soon, the seats were full, and we were the only boy in that part of the church sitting among the substantial ladies of the church. We were considerably embarrassed at getting into the wrong pew, and did not make that mistake a second time.

The four described churches may well be called the pioneer churches, as no others were erected for some time afterward. The Baptists had a church organization, but did not build until 1846 or 1847. We remember working on the interior of their church-building in the winter of 1847-48. I think they had occupied the basement for church purposes for at least a year. The Baptists had a preacher named Seely, a very small man in stature, but a large man in expectations. We recollect attending one of his missionary meetings at Drury's Landing. It was a beautiful summer afternoon. While Rev. Seely was discoursing in the house to the women, the men stayed outside. On one side of the door in the shade, four of the ungodly amused themselves playing cards. On the other side the remainder were engaged in pitching horse-shoes. Rev. Seely did not continue his missionary work at Drury's Landing much longer.

As the newcomer wandered toward the northern part of town the court-house and jail would attract his attention. The court-house was built in 1840, with the proceeds from the sale of lots on the commissioner's quarters, as it was called. This was a quarter-section of land donated to counties to sell, the proceeds to be applied in public buildings. The court-house was built then, was almost identical with the front part of the present one, although the walls were once burned out and the wood-work rebuilt. The ground in front of it has been considerably filled up, so much so as to bury four or five steps that run along the front porch.

The jail has disappeared. It was located on the west corner of the court-house square. A brief discription of its architecture will not be found out of place. A wooden building 20x40 feet, two stories high, with an outside stairway leading up to the narrow front-door of the second story. The building was erected in 1838 or ' 39. It was built of oak timber 12x12 inches, notched together at the corners and made of two thicknesses, with a space of ten inches between filled with broken stone. The inside wall of timber was lined with two inch planks having a 20-penny nail driven in at every square inch, The top and bottom of the first story being lined with the same. The jailer occupied the second story. Communication was held between the two stories through a trap-door and by use of a ladder let down through the hole. When once in the prisoner was considered tolerably safe. We are of the opinion that a larger percentage escape from the present structure than ever did from that old log jail. We removed this old jail in the spring of 1857. We still preserve the old key, weighing about a pound, in our cabinet as a curiosity.

On the west corner of Fourth and Mulberry streets sstands a three story brick building. The two upper stories of the front part were built by Mr. Fred Miller in the year 1848, and called the Muscatine Hotel. This was the farmer's tavern of the town. It was a stopping-place for the farmer when he brought his produse to market. In those days Bloomington was the frontier market-place of the West. Produce from Johnson, Linn,Cedar, and Benton Counties found an outlet at Bloomington. When the farmer brought in his load of produce for forty of fifty miles he generally stopped at the first place, which was Miller's. He gave them plenty to eat, but not a particle of style. It was no uncommon occurence to see twenty or thirty teams here at one tme. On one of these occasions his large stable took fire and several farmer's horses were burned. When the railroad began to carry on the business of the " back counties" this hotel was no longer needed.

Within the town limits there were two or three mills. The first mill was a water-mill, owned by David R. and Asberry O. Warfield. It stood on Mad Creek, about 100 feet above Ninth street bridge. The dam was some 300 feet above the mill. This dam washed out at least three or four times. This mill sawed a considerable amount of lumber. It passed into the Brookes Brothers hands, and was run with profit to the owners until the big flood of 1851, when the dam washed out so completely that it was never rebuilt.

In the spring of 1843 J. M. Barlow erected a very creditable steam flouring-mill. It stood on the west corner of Second and Sycamore streets, where Clapp's hardware store now stands. This was a great improvement to Bloomington. This mill had for miller John Seely, well remembered by many of our citizens; and Zephaniah Washburn, one of Muscatine's early mayors, was fireman. The story of his election runs about this way: Politics did not enter into the contest; everybody was permitted to run just as well as he could. The "boys" got Zeph's name announced and some of the high-toned society talked quite contemptibly of their candidate. But the boys went to work and Zeph was elected. After election the boys went to the mill and taking him to the harness-shop they got a lot of brushes and brushed him off. They told him he was mayor, and that he must reflect credit on the office.

On the south side of Second street, near where the railroad water-tank now stands, there stood a steam sawmill, which was first erected at Geneva, three miles up the river, and removed to Bloomington. It had been operated by differnt parties. John G. Deshler and John Vanatta were among the early owners. John Vanatta was a large-sized, heavy-built man, a Captain in the Black Hawk War, and was well calculated to fight his way through everything. His partner, a much younger man, was six feet high, spuare built, weighing about 200 pounds, and struck out well at the shoulder; in fact, a scientific boxer. One day they had a disagreement. Vanatta thought he would whip Deshler (the most common way of settling disputes in those days). Deshler was willing, so Vanatta started for Deshler, who kept backing off and hitting in the face. In a short time Vanatta was the worst punished man in town without being able to touch Deshler. The fight furnished material for local talk for some time.

At another date this mill was owned by Robert and Samuel Kinney. Sam attended to getting the logs and outside work; Bob to running the engine and tending. The boiler was old and leaky. One day it sprung a leak over the fire, the water ran down into the hot ashes and completely dusted the engineer, Bob, a fat, clumsy old fellow. He started to run when, falling on his hands and feet, he went on all-fours, shouting: "Sam, Sam, run; the boiler is burst!" Sam seeing the dust and ashes joined in the race. The panic spread to the hands and there was a general tumbling among the logs. The boiler was shortly replaced by another. The mill was afterward converted into a stave and barrel factory, and was lastly worked by Coe & Wells, but has long disappeared.

The first lumber-yard was started by F. H. Stone and Jack Richmond in the fall on 1839. They purchased a hardwood raft of lumber that was sawed on the Maquoketa River, of about 60,000 feet. It was composed of black walnut, oak, and linn. They had the privilege of buying one-half or all. Stone asked Henry Reece, a carpenter, what kind would sell best if they should take but one-half of the raft. Reece said: Take the walnut, it will be wanted for coffins." It was quite sickly in those times. They took all, and while it was being carried out they had a shed erected to sit under and count the boards, the limber having been measured and marked in the mill before rafting. Stone worked one day and had the ague the next, when, Richmond who had it, but on alternate days, took his place, which was a great accommodation to their business.

One fo the most noted places was Tiley Smalley's blacksmith shop. It was the gymnasium of the town. Here the Hon. Ralph P. Lowe, his law partner John G. Deshler, Michael Greene, Ozra Phelphs, "Pap Mathews" (Hiram Mathews), Reuben Warren, and a dozen others of less muscular ability met to test their strength. One could not pass the shop, that stood near where Dillaway's store now stands, without finding from six to twelve either engaged in such tests of strength or listening to some story from "Pap Mathews," who was an expert in this line.

Back to 1889 History of Muscatine Co. Index Page

Back to the Muscatine Co. IAGenWeb Index Page