Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 5 - Page 15-18 Submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, May 29, 2012

Page 15

These days of Our Years . . .

Much has been written about the history of Muscatine, from its pioneer oriin as a trading post along the Mississippi to its present stature. Most of the essential chapters in its growth are contained in this edition of The Journal in story form.

Following is a brief “thumb nail” sketch of the important historical happenings of the past 107 years which have been Muscatine’s heritage, written in condensed form for the reader who likes his history “at a glance.”

* * *

1834 – The first settlement in the present limits of Muscatine county was made by Benjamin Nye at the mouth of Pine creek in the spring of the year. Mr. Nye laid off a town at a point about 12 miles east of the present city of Muscatine and called it Montpelier. In July, Col. Davenport, then residing in Rock Island, established a trading post on the site of the present city of Muscatine and left a small stock of goods in charge of an agent who erected a small log cabin near the site of the present rock Island railroad station.

1835 – A settlement was made by James W. Kasey a short distance below the trading post of Col. Davenport, which was known as “Kasey’s Woodyard” or Newburg. Dr. Eli Reynolds settled at a point on the river three miles east of here and laid off a town he called Geneva.

1836 – The town of Bloomington, later to become Muscatine, was established by Col. John Vanatta, who arrived here with his family. The first survey of lots was made in August.

1837 – Muscatine county (first spelled “Musquitine”) was organized and Bloomington made the county seat by an act of the Wisconsin territorial legislature approved Jan. 8. At the first session of the legislature, 1837-38, Dr. Eli Reynolds, who then represented the district, succeeded in getting a bill passed removing the county seat to Geneva, but the bill was vetoed by Gov. Dodge. This was the year the steamer Dubuque exploded about seven miles below Bloomington with a loss of 22 lives. Seventeen of the dead were buried in one grave at the spot where the old Jefferson school still stands. The Iowa House, first hotel in the city, was opened.

1838 – The river was the main means of transportation and when winter set in unusually early in the winter the town was cut off from needed supplies which had to be conveyed overland in wagons from St. Louis. Two barrels of flour – all there was in Bloomington – sold for $25.

1839 – Bloomington was incorporated as a town of the second grade in February, and on May 6 Joseph Williams was chosen as the first president. The population in February was 71, mostly males, with only four or five children. Thirty-three buildings were standing in the town.

1840 – Erection of the first Muscatine county court house was started, but the structure was not completed until the next year at a cost of $15,000. First issues of the Iowa Standard and the Bloomington Herald appeared.

1841 – The first brick hotel was built and opened by Josiah Parvin. Records show the town’s first gunsmith to be Henry Molis; the first hatter, A. M. Hare; and the operator of the first tinner’s shop and stove store, James Brentlinger.

1842 – A change in the name of Bloomington to Muscatine was first proposed at a meeting of citizens, but no action was taken when considerable opposition to the move was voiced.

1843 – The winter of 1842-43 proved to be probably the most severe in the history of the city. The river was frozen over a thickness of from two feet to 30 inches practically the entire time from Nov. 26 to April 9, with the stream closed a total of 133 days.

1844 – A hurricane swept through the northern part of the county, devastating forests, fields and houses. The home of Mr. Randall in Centre Grove was blown down, killing his wife and maiming his son.

1845 – Muscatine Island and the mainland were united by a dam constructed across the head of the slough by the Muscatine Co.

1846 – Iowa was admitted into the Union, and J. Scott Richman was the delegate from Muscatine county to the convention which framed the state constitution. Muscatine county raised a company of volunteers for the war with Mexico, under Captain John R. Bennett.

1847 – Citizens became embroiled with John Phillips, operator of the ferry, in a wide-open controversy and operated their own free ferry in competition with the man.

1848 – The telegraph line was completed and the first dispatch received at Bloomington on Aug. 23 by O. H. Kelley, operator. Bennett’s steam flour mill, an imposing five-story structure, was erected on the site of the old Oat Meal Mill.

1849 – The name of Bloomington was changed to Muscatine by an order in district court here, following presentation of a petition of local citizens.

1850 – Cholera struck Muscatine with terrific violence, almost paralyzing local business, and claimed between 30 and 40 lives.

1851 – Muscatine became a city upon adoption by citizens of a charter previously approved by the state legislature. Z. Washburn was elected the first mayor, March 5. Bennett’s mill and four or five adjoining buildings were destroyed by fire at a loss of $40,000. Three bridges in town were swept away and a woman and her three children drowned by a Papoose creek flood.

1852 – The first exclusive hardware store was opened here by Brent, Miller and Co.

1853 – Muscatine county became “railroad conscious,” voting $55,000 loan to the Iowa Western Railroad Co. to aid in construction of a railroad from Muscatine to Oskaloosa in April, and $150,000 in October for a combined building of three lines, to Oskaloosa, Davenport and Cedar Rapids.

1854 – Ground broken Feb. 6 on the Muscatine-Oskaloosa railroad line by the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Co.

1855 – A building “boom” struck Muscatine and more than 40 business houses and 200 dwellings were erected. Business increased and all in all it was the most prosperous year in the city’s history up to that time. A new era dawned as the first railroad opened in Iowa, from Davenport to Muscatine, was completed, and a gigantic celebration hailed the arrival of the first passenger train here on Nov. 20.

1856 – Miss Sallie St. Clair and her St. Louis theatrical troupe came to town – “and how!” Frederic Stone organized a stock company and opened the Muscatine Academy which was later known as Greenwood Academy. Burglars overran the town.

1857 – Muscatine county voted on two important issues of the day: Negro suffrage, for 194, against 1,405; licensing of all liquors, 1,227 for, 356 against.

1858 – Muscatine’s first counterfeiter was taken into custody with more than $100 in spurious coins in his possession, but escaped from the county jail by cutting a hole through the roof.

1859 – Good business and bumper crops marked the year. On the sordid side, were two murders, those of Charles S. Bean and J. W.Ballard, both farmers.

1860 – Political excitement fanned the county, and the republicans organized a “Wide Awake” company, with Hugh J.Campbell as president.

1861 – With the outbreak of the Civil war, Muscatine hurried to enlist, the county sending more men to the conflict than any other county in the state, despite the fact that some of the others were much more populous.

1862 – High cost of coffee and hard times brought out this substitute for coffee which was used by rich and poor alike: “Boil a quality of corn until it is soft, then dry and brown it well and make as other coffee.”

1863 – A little steamer built by Benjamin Middleton exploded just below the city fatally injuring five persons and scalding and maiming six others. “The Skunk River War,” so called because a group of rebel sympathizers collected on the banks of the Skunk river, was settled without bloodshed after a company led by Capt. George A. Satterlee of Muscatine had been sent to the site.

1864 – Muscatine escaped the draft for soldiers by filling her quota on March 1. A big fair sponsored by the Ladies Aid Society raised several thousand dollars for sanitary work among soldiers of the union. A boiler in the Nevada mill, corner Iowa avenue and Third street, exploded, killing a child and injuring another person.

1865 – Soldiers began returning home from the war. The railroad reached Des Moines, opening up new possibilities of transportation.

1866 – Prosperity struck a high note; the growth in population was the heaviest in 10 years; and between 200 and 300 new buildings were erected, including the brick structure put up by L. W. Olds at the corner of Second street and Iowa avenue which was hailed as “one of the finest in the Northwest.”

1867 – Work was commenced on the Muscatine, Tipton and Anamosa railroad. The lumber trade grew by leaps and bounds, 33,000,000 feet being sold here. During the winter, two lynx, ten wildcats and 50 wolves were killed in the county, a total of $4,294 in bounties on wild animals being paid by the county.

1868 – The No. 1 school house was destroyed by lightning. Grasshoppers invaded farms, in some cases devastating whole fields. Cor ...

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… ner stones for the new Methodist church in Muscatine and the new Catholic church at Wilton were laid.

1869 – The new third ward schoolhouse, one of the finest in the state, was dedicated. Cost of the building was $25,000. Dr. Christian Hershe, a prominent local resident, was murdered, and the slayer narrowly escaped lynching before he could be spirited away to jail by Sheriff Keith.

1870 – The Mississippi river rose to a new high of 17 feet above low water mark, and on April 25 the Island levee broke in three places, carrying away the railroad bridge a mile below the Hershey mill and submerging the greater part of the Island. Whereas five years ago there was not a foot of pavement in the city and but few sidewalks, the end of 1870 saw every principal street paved and walks constructed, leading to every part of the city.

1871 – A special election on the question of donating a five per cent tax to construct the Muscatine Western Railroad carried by a 1,096 majority in Bloomington township, including the city of Muscatine. The tax realized was nearly $150,000.

1872 – A bill authorizing the construction of a bridge over the Mississippi river at Muscatine was introduced in congress. W. F. Brannan was appointed district court judge. The last rail on the Muscatine Western railroad to Nichols was laid on July 2.

1873 – The new high school building on Iowa avenue was completed. Largest lumber sale in history of city was consummated when C. Cadle sold 400,000 feet of lumber, lath shingles and pickets to an Omaha, Nebr., firm.

1874 – Chambers Bros. lower sawmill and warehouse burned with loss of $75,000. A $70,000 fire at Wilton destroyed two elevators, one church and 20 other buildings.

1875 – Twenty-eight new business enterprises were inaugurated during the year, and the total cost of building improvements was $169,000. The soldiers monument in the court house square was dedicated July 2, with an address by ex-Gov. Kirkwood.

1876 – Total lumber business for the year was 100,000,000 feet. Building improvements cost $274,100. The city hall, corner of Sycamore and Third streets, was purchased for municipal purposes.

1877 – A year of great religious awakening, culminating in the conversion of hundreds of souls in the various churches and of unprecedented farm building. The Y. M. C. A. was organized.

1878 – Building improvements totaled $200,000 and included: Webster’s block, $8,000; first ward schoolhouse, $20,000; repairs to jail and court house, $5,000; Hershey’s creamery, and $20,000 in improvements to Musser’s mill.

1879 – The Muscatine Oat Meal Co. was organized. First bridge over the Cedar river was built at Lord’s ferry. Muscatine Island gardening came into prominence, and $127,500 in produce was sold. T. Cowell purchased the Muscatine gas works of H. T.Coverdale for $55,000.

1880 – Cadle and Mulford’s mill burned, loss $20,000. Salisbury bridge over Cedar completed. Scarlet fever scourge accounted for 65 deaths. First train ran from Muscatine to Montezuma, and construction of the river road between Davenport and Muscatine was commenced.

1881 – Benjamin Hershey bought the Burdick lumber mill and stock, estimated cost $100,000; and Musser and Co. purchased the entire plant of the Dessaint Mill and Lumber Co. at estimated price of $70,000 to $100,000. Muscatine hook and ladder company won the state championship for the third time at Council Bluffs. Telephone system inaugurated here.

1882 – Telephone communication was established with Tri Cities, also with Geneseo and Cambridge, Ill., and DeWitt and Lyons, Ia. New bridge was built across Papoose creek on Front street.

1883 – Contract let for building levee along Mississippi across the island for $32,000. A heavy rainstorm sent Mad Creek on rampage, washing out Second street wagon bridge and railroad bridge on Wilton branch.

1884 – Muscatine Mutual Aid Society organized. Hotel Webster opened to the public at brilliant entertainment. The Muscatine Manufacturing Company’s building was burned at a loss of $20,000.

1885 – The Turner Opera House was completed at a cost of $19,000 and dedicated, and work was finished on the new Lutheran church. Front street was macadamized, and the Muscatine County Temperance Alliance launched a drive to raise $5,000 for enforcement of the liquor prohibition law in the county.

1886 – The most disastrous fire in the history of the city broke out on June 12 in a lath pile at the Muscatine Lumber co., causing total loss estimated at $200,000.

1887 – Excitement marked attempts to enforce the prohibitory law, and a public meeting was held in the court house to protest against its enforcement. A statement showed 196 business establishments in the city, with 2,560 employees.

1888 – A pretentious July 4 celebration fizzled out when a balloon ascension failed and a severe storm sank a boat loaded with hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks. Establishment of a sugar beet factory was proposed here.

1889 – Local residents voted 1,464 to 197 in favor of a three per cent tax on the proposed high bridge, and the Muscatine Bridge Co. was reorganized to carry out plans for the venture. Work was begun on July 15.

1890 – The city council passed an ordinance conveying the cemetery to the city. Barnum’s circus visited Muscatine and drew the largest crowd in the history of the city.

1891 – Articles of incorporation were filed by the Muscatine, Rock Island and Peoria railroad. The first fatal accident occurred on the new high bridge.

1892 – Muscatine raised $190,000 for a proposed beet sugar factory. A temporary organization of the Muscatine Commercial club was perfected, and the new United Brethren church was dedicated.

1893 – Homes of John Mahin, E. M. Kessinger and n. Rosenberger were blown up by dynamite following activities against saloons, and a $5,000 reward was immediately pledged at a mass meeting to apprehend the criminals. Articles of incorporation were filed by the Muscatine North and South railroad, with capital stock of $10,000,000. Muscatine went republican for the first time in 12 years.

1894 – Plans for a sewerage system were set in motion, and a contract for the Cedar street sewer was awarded at a price of $9,350. The city council ordered two miles of brick paving on Mulberry avenue, Iowa avenue and Second street.

1895 – The Rolling Mill was sold by the receiver to L. M. Bollinger for $35,000. Mrs. Elizabeth Hershey donated $10,000 to Iowa Wesleyan college for erection of Elizabeth Hershey Hall.

1896 – Policeman Jacob Neibert was assassinated, supposedly by tramps. The German Lutheran Home was dedicated, and at a special election called for the issuance of $15,000 high school bonds, the vote went 2,170 for and 184 against. An estimated 1,000 women voted.

1897 – Err Thornton, 90, claimed by some to be Muscatine county’s first settler, died on Jan. 11. Hotel Grand was dedicated, and $15,000 was appropriated for a harbor at Muscatine. First Methodist church was destroyed by fire with loss of $15,000.

1898 – Company C left here in response to orders to take part in the Spanish-American war but had returned within four months after seeing no action. First Muscatine, North and South train arrived at Wapello.

1899 – Two horses were killed and several persons narrowly escaped when a span of the high bridge collapsed. Dr. James Weed donated 60 acres of land on East Hill for a park. The German American Savings bank was organized, and the Muscatine public library was formally opened in the basement of the high school building.

1900 – The city voted in favor of municipal ownership of the waterworks. Fire at the Huttig plant caused $100,000 damage. P. M. Musser offered the gift of a library to the city, and erection of the greenwood chapel was begun.

1901 – Carrie Nation, famous crusader against liquor, visited Muscatine without her hatchet. Work was started on Hershey hospital and on construction of the Milwaukee cut-off.

1902 – A $40,000 fund was pledged for construction of a Y. M. C. A. building, and the Geneva Golf and Country Club house was formally opened. D. V. Jackson was nominated as judge of the district court.

1903 – Citizens’ Railway park was opened, and a Muscatine resident, Fay Bennison, broke the world’s record for the shot put. Fire destroyed the car barns and cars entailing a loss of about $53,000. The city council provided for installation of 300 gas and gasoline street lights.

1904 – Henry Jayne purchased the Muscatine North and South Railway for the bond-holders for $104,000. Michael Godrey and son, Leith, and Grover Eis were drowned in the Mississippi river. The first class of nurses to receive diplomas in Muscatine was graduated from Hershey hospital.

1905 – Dedication of the new $30,000 Lutheran old folks home was held, and Mrs. James Weed offered to convey title to Weed park to the city. William Jennings Bryan spoke at the Opera House.

1906 – Roach Timber Co. was incorporated for $1,000,000. The American Pearl Novelty Co. for $100,000. The Muscatine County Bar association was formed. Plans were announced by H. J. Heinz, who visited the city, for extensive enlargement of the local factory.

1907 – Mulford Congregational church was dedicated, and flames ruined the First Congregational church. James J. Corbett, ex-heavyweight boxing champion, visited Muscatine. A proposition to erect a new court house and jail carried.

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1908 – Muscatine welcomed the new year by going dry, all saloons being closed indefinitely by the Law Enforcement League. Knights of Columbus lodge was organized here, and the Musctine tourist baseball team returned from a victorious continental tour.

1909 – The Ziegler canning company located here, and work started on the new Cook-Musser building. Plans were announced for extending the Muscatine North and South railroad to Burlington, and fire damaged the Fisch building, occupied by the Citizens Railway Co., to the extent of $35,000.

1910 – I. S. Pepper of Muscatine was elected to congress on the democratic ticket. The U. S. government allotted $50,000 for work on the Muscatine Island levee, and $40,000 for the Fairport biological station. Construction of the new St. Mathias church and First National bank building was started.

1911 – Muscatine was torn by a button workers strike which necessitated calling out of the state militia before order could be restored. Work on the Muscatine-davenport interurban line was begun, and the telephone company made a $42,000 improvement here.

1912 – John F. Boepple, founder of the freshwater pearl button industry, died at a local hospital. The new First Methodist Episcopal church, built at a cost of $112,000, was dedicated. The Barry company was completing a new $40,000 addition, and Buffalo Bill Cody paid his last visit to Muscatine.

1913 – Major construction work started or finished during the year included the West Hill fire station and water reservoir, Zion Lutheran school and the Palace theater. Some 200 Muscatine persons aboard the steamer Sydney were forced to remain on the boat overnight when it became marooned on a salad bar in the Mississippi near Buffalo.

1914 – One of the greatest construction years in the history of Muscatine, with improvements totaling a million dollars. The city bond issue passed, providing for erection of a $90,000 building at the site of the old Haymarket, and work was begun on Hotel Muscatine, one of the finest in the state.

1915 – The new $90,000 city hall and $50,000 armory building were opened. Articles of incorporation fixing capitalization at $500,000 were filed by the Barry Manufacturing Co. An attempt to wreck the Golden State Limited, three miles east of Muscatine, failed. The Moose held their state convention here. Four boys, John Gauthier, 14, Charles Becke, 13, Harry Davison, 16, and Glen Thompson, 14, were buried alive when a cave they were digging on West Hill collapsed, killing all of them.

1916 – The Lilly building was gutted by a $125,000 fire which threatened the entire business district. Battery C left for Camp Dodge to be mustered into service, and the Continental Serum Laboratories Co. opened here. The Mississippi went on a rampage, breaking through the Drury levee in Illinois, opposite Muscatine, to flood 5,000 acres of farm land, and rushing through the Island levee in a score of places to inundate hundreds of acres of ground.

1917 – Muskies defeated Oswego, N. Y., for the world’s professional basketball championship. The council voted $25,000 for river front improvements. Muscatine went “wet” by a thousand-vote majority, and the county subscribed $1,021,000 to the war loan.

1918 – Muscatine felt the real force of the World war – private Edward H. Bitzer, killed in action on Aug. 4, became the first actual war casualty . . . women took over the places of men in factories and stores as the draft claimed all eligible soldiers . . . Muscatine county overscribed its fourth liberty loan goal of $1,679,500 in one day . . . and then on Nov. 11 the town went delirious with joy as news of the Armistice was received. This was the year The Journal took over the Muscatine News-Tribune. The city fought against an attempt to operate street cars with only one motorman.

1919 – Two of Muscatine’s pioneer residents, P. M. Musser and John Mahin died. Land for the park which now bears his name was donated by Mr. Musser just before his death. The Journal moved to its new home at the corner of Third and Cedar streets, and work on the new Masonic temple was started. Three persons were killed and a dozen injured in a disastrous M. B. and S. motorcar wreck near here. Sale of stock in the Muscatine Packing Co., incorporated as a three million dollar outfit, was begun. Marriages reached a new high in the county for 485 for the year.

1920 – The new biological laboratory at Fairport was dedicated, and more than $90,000 was pledged for erection of a Y. W. C. A. building here. The federal census placed the population of Muscatine at 16,068 and of the county at 29,042. Voters rejected a proposed $425,000 new school bond issue. The Thermopak Co. was incorporated, with capital stock placed at $750,000.

1921 – Agitation was started here for securing a municipally owned electric plant. An attempt to rob the Hershey bank was frustrated and the new $20,000 weed park swimming pool was opened.

1922 – Work on the new $100,000 First Baptist church was commenced, and Swift and Co. announced plans for opening a $125,000 plant here. The municipal light plant issue authorizing the issuance of $350,000 in bonds carried by a two-to-one majority, and a $100,000 sewerage system was proposed for South Muscatine but later turned down.

1923 – Removal of mussels from the Mississippi river at Muscatine was stopped by federal authorities for a five year period. Work on the new $375,000 municipal electric plant was started, and a large street paving program was launched in the city. Fears were aroused by the escape of a giant python from a carnival here. The M. B. and S. railroad was ordered sold at referee’s sale.

1924 – A proposed $1,350,000 road bond issue designed to get Muscatine county “out of the mud” was swamped more than two-to-one. Work was launched on the $150,000 Heinz plant addition and on the $35,000 new nurses home and heating plant at Hershey hospital. Gabe Simons was sentenced to hang for the murder of Orton Ferguson in a West Liberty tourist camp.

1925 – Five members of the Gus Dusenberry family at Fairport were drowned in the Mississippi. Iowa Thermopak history was ended on a sour note, with stockholders receiving 1.5 per cent of their original investment. The M. B. and S. was sold to E. L. Tobie of Monmouth, Ill., for $35,000. C. R. Rabedeaux was named publisher of The Journal succeeding L. P. Loomis who became business manager of the Mason City Globe Gazette. The Ku Klux Klan reared its head in Muscatine, controlling all republican nominations for the city election.

1926 – The state board of conservation approved creation of a state park of wild Cat Den. A $90,000 road program in Muscatine county carried. Settlement of the Will Jayne insurance suits involving more than $87,000 of insurance was announced. The police department suffered its most drastic shake-up in history when Mayor Bert C. Benham dismissed eight members of the force. A high wind caused thousands of dollars of damage to young Island crops.

1927 – Muscatine won the state high school basketball title, defeating Burlington 24-21 in the finals. The new Jefferson school was formally dedicated, and a brilliant new network of boulevard lights was installed. The I. C. C. authorized the Burlington, Muscatine and Northwestern to operate a railroad in the county.

1928 – Work on the new $75,000 Reinemund Memorial Bethany home at the Lutheran Homes here was commenced. The Moose lodge purchased the Hare building for $35,000, and erection of the new municipal office building at Third and Sycamore streets was under way.

1929 – Operations were started for the first highway paving job in Muscatine county, on Highway 61 from Muscatine to the Scott county line. The Barry Pulley Manufacturing Co. was organized with capital stock of $600,000, and an 80-acre farm in Moscow township sold for $225 an acre.

1930 – Muscatine was placed in the first Iowa congressional district. I. B. Richman wrote his famous “Ioway to Iowa.” Stephen Gatza was killed and three others, including Mayor H. G. Thompson and State Senator Ralph U. Thompson, burned in an explosion at the Thompson Motor Co. Highway 32 (now No. 6) was paved across the north end of the county, and concrete was laid on No. 61 from Muscatine west to the Louisa county line.

1931 – Gang war struck close to Muscatine when Angelo Kaloudis, Davenport bootlegger, was taken “for a ride” and his bullet-riddled body found in his car between Pleasant Prairie and Durant. The American Savings Bank went into receivership, and Marie Nester of Davenport was killed when her car plunged over Wyoming hill. State board of assessment and review checkers discovered eight million dollars of previously unlisted moneys and credits in the city, and Muscatine was defeated 16-11 by Boone in the finals for the state basketball tournament. The Texas-Chicago gas pipe-line was laid under the Mississippi just below the city.

1932 – Dorothy Greenwald, 13-year-old Muscatine girl, won the national spelling championship. Louis Spridgen was tried and acquitted of the murder of Nick Coin, Davenport bootlegger. A Davenport federal district court jury found for the defendant in the $500,000 libel suit of N. G. Baker against the American Medical Association. Two Cedar county farmers were sentenced to the state penitentiary as the result of charges growing out of the Cedar county “cattle war,” for obstruction of the bovine tuberculosis law.

1933 – Initial work was started on construction of lock and dam 16 in the Mississippi river, just above Muscatine. A general business holiday was proclaimed here by Mayor Herman Lord, and the city’s banking structure underwent a reorganization. A big parade hailed the inception of NRA, and unemployment relief and the CWA came into existence. Muscatine celebrated its centennial with a gala observance.

1934 – Doris Paul was named as national health champion. Liquor flowed legally here, with the opening of the new state liquor store. A freight train wreck at Fairport killed one and injured five. Reforms were instituted at the municipal light plant as control of the board of trustees changed hands. The murder of Martin Wolz, Oakville farmer, was solved with the arrest of three men – Eddie Tallent and Paul Hake who drew life sentences and Tony Thompson who was given the death penalty (later commuted to life imprisonment) in Louisa county court.

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1935 – An ouster suit against Mayor Herman Lord was squelched in district court. Muscatine high school students went on strike in protest of the board of education’s attempted ouster of three faculty members, and married women teachers, dropped by the school board, carried their fight for reinstatement into district court where it was lost. Vic Pahl, St. Ambrose college athletic star, was killed by a car on Highway 61 near Muscatine.

1936 – Oran Pape, state highway patrolman and former University of Iowa football star, was fatally shot in a gun battle with a paroled convict. The new city water reservoir, post office addition, electric sub-station and pavement of Highway 61 through the city were major civic improvements. Gov. Alfred M. Landon, republican candidate for president, appeared here.

1937 – Electrification of farms began on an extensive scale with launching of the REA program in Muscatine county with an initial government loan of $100,000. Airplane crashes claimed the lives of three local residents, and the dread infantile paralysis struck the city. Cottages on Geneva Island were vacated with the impending creation of pool 16 by the new lock and dam.

1938 – river transportation came into its own here, with a shipment of more than five million bushels of grain by barge out of Muscatine which was dubbed “The Port City of the Corn Belt.” Ray Menely, restaurant cook, drew a life sentence for the fatal shooting of his wife. The Mississippi went on its worst fall rampage in history, touching an 18.6 foot crest, and work was started on the new half-million dollar high school building.

1939 – More than $600,000 was being spent to enlarge the city’s power plant and to double its electric generating capacity. A two-month strike at the Hawkeye Pearl Button Co. caused serious fears before a settlement was reached. Muscatine county’s AAA inquiry flared into the news, and the city showed a new civic spirit to go over the top in its drive for a $25,000 Community Chest goal.

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Generous With Gifts
(From The Muscatine Journal of April 6, 1885.)

A company of 60 or more ladies and gentlemen gathered at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Wilhelm on seventh street, Saturday evening, to assist in the celebration of the silver wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm.

A most enjoyable time was had by the company who left with the bride and groom the following souvenirs of the anniversary:

Silver pickle castor, Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Taylor, Chicago.
Four bushels of corn, John Miller.
Table cloth, Mr. and Mrs. L. Grandenburg, Tipton, Ia.
Tidy, Miss Bertha Fisk, Tipton.
Silver butter dish, Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Horton.
Bed spread, Mr. and Mrs. B. Wilhelm, Tipton.
Glass berry dish, Mrs. Philip Stein.
Dozen napkins, Miss Carrie Mull.
Table cloth, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Myers, Moscow.
Silver pie knife, Mr. and Mrs. P. T. Smith.
Water service, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jayne and Mrs. Minnie Betts.
Half dozen silver teaspoons, Mr. and Mrs. John Fisk, Tipton.
Silver sugar spoon and butter knife, Mrs. J. Dietz.
Table cloth, Mr. and Mrs. A. Campbell.
Pair towels, Miss Cassie Lamar.
Silver pickle castor, Mr. and Mrs. S. Shammo.
Tidy, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Leimkuehler, Moscow.
Silver butter knife, John D. Taylor, Tipton.
Pair towels, Mrs. Myers, Moscow.
Half dozen napkins, Mrs. Samuel Taylor, Tipton.
Silver castor, Mr. and Mrs. Erb, Mr. and Mrs. Snyde.
Table cloth, Mr. and Mrs. Mull.
Rug, Wm. O. Wilhelm.
Silver spoon holder, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Miller.
Silver sugar spoon and butter knife, Mr. and Mrs. Amerine.
Silver pickle castor, Mr. and Mrs. L. Maxon.
Glass cake stand, Miss Emma Braunworth.
Anderson’s Fairy Tales, Sarah Braunworth.
Silver cup, John C. Miller.
Pair silver napkin rings, Miss Louie Hopkinson.
Silver thimble, Miss Katie Kemptner.
Silver sugar spoon, Mrs. Lucinda Taylor, Tipton.
Majolica cake basket, Miss Ella Smith.
Pepper and salt duster, Mr. and Mrs. Geisler.
Pair towels, Mr. and Mrs. A. Campbell.
Silver thimble and butter knife, Mrs. Greenblade.
Silver napkin ring, Irvin Bodine.
Silver pickle castor, James O. Taylor, Davenport.
Silver cake basket, Mrs. Harriet Potter, Mrs. Bowman and Mrs. Blaksley.
Half dozen teaspoons, O. O. Wilhelm, Tipton.
Pair towels, Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Myers, Moscow.
Comb case, Mary Stein.
French candy, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Taylor.
Silver sugar spoon, Mrs. Barrick and Mrs. Frank Scott.
Silver butter dish, Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Townsend, Iowa City.

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Off for Picnic at Nesselbush Point

The Ida May carried away a party of 50 or more to Nesselbush Point this morning to enjoy the anniversary celebration of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, under the auspices of the First Iowa Infantry Veterans. There was quite a large number of ladies and children in the party, each of whom seemed to carry with them a package or basket, insuring a first class dinner. Watermelons, ice, and in fact everything to make the trip pleasant had been provided, even down to the bacon which Capt. John Anderson took pride in displaying. F. M. Heaton went him one better and procured a crock of beans, so that nothing was lacking, except possibly the genuine old “hard tack,” which was supplanted with something better. Thompsons and Hoffmaster with their fifes and drums made things lively, while Frank Geiger carried the colors of the regiment.

The day passed off pleasantly. Speeches were made by the various comrades and the day will long be remembered by all present.

Among those who were the guests of the “boys” was J. M. Haught, of Indianapolis, Ind., a relative of S. M. Batterson, and member of the Eighteenth Indiana. The regiment met at St. Louis by the First Iowa in 1861 on their return from the 90 days’ service. The Hoosiers were tired out on reaching St. Louis and the First Iowa boys, than whom there were no more gallant in the service, stood guard for the Eighteenth while they slept and refreshed themselves for the coming day. He was delighted to be able again to meet with the “boys” after a separation of 29 years, and spent the day pleasantly. – Aug. 3, 1890.

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Enjoyable Evening at Warfield Home

The party that went out to George A. Warfield’s last evening was a very enjoyable one, indeed. The party rendezvoused at Mrs. Thos. Hanna’s, and it was not a little amusing to see the ox team halt every time an urchin would yell “whoa!” Finally Eb. Terry, who had driven oxen before, got down from his lofty perch and walked along at the head of the bovines, who meandered along without much more difficulty. On reaching Mrs. Hanna’s the party got into the hay rack and Chas. H. Gobble was given the whip, and the fun began when Charlie began talking “Dutch” to the oxen. He “geed” and “hawed” them about successfully until the end of their destination was reached in safety. They were given a royal welcome by George Warfield, and the evening was spent in pleasant games and dances until a late hour, when the wagon was mounted again and the return home made successfully. It was a novel trip and one that will long be remembered by Mr. and Mrs. Martin Zimmerman, Mr. and Mrs. George Wiles, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Warfield, Mmes. D. M. Lambert and L. Ryan, Misses Jennie and Belle Hanna, Misses Kate and Grace Musser and Miss Mame Dillon, Messrs. Harry Huttig, Joe Williams, Robert McNutt, T. P. Gray, John Van Buren, C. H. Gobble and Will Lynn. – April 15, 1890.

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Program Given by Literary Groups

The High School Literary societies held their regular meetings last evening. The Crescent’s program consisted of a select reading by Miss Bertha Kulp, essay by Miss Helen Van Lent, a sketch by Arthur Hoffman, and a pronouncing bee, indulged in by the entire society. The Excelsiors were entertained with a select reading by Miss Mayme Bodman, a piano solo by Miss Nellie Corriell, essay by Miss Bessie Lewis, recitation, Miss Isa Greely, select reading by Miss Lottie Howard, and club swinging by Walter Martin, Sam Fox, Rita Berry, Nellie Corriell and Emma Howe. – May 24, 1890.

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This date saw the opening of the Grand Hotel, and plans for an opera house and post office building talked. A Mr. Webster owned the hotel. – April 18, 1883.

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“Pearce’s Paragraph Paper” is to be the alliterative name of a new Democratic weekly to be started in this city (about May 1)” – April 18, 1878.

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Cases against three saloon keepers, brought by the prosecuting committee of the Muscatine County Temperance Alliance in a fight on licensing of saloons, began in the circuit court. – April 17, 1885.

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“George F. Shafnit of Moscow township, commenced corn planting and several of his neighbors have done the same.” – April 20, 1878.

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“Another Chinese laundryman has made his appearance in our city.” – Muscatine Journal, April 12, 1878.”

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Born in Germany
Photo of Jacob Leibbrand and Mrs. Jacob Leibbrand

Germany was the birthplace of both Jacob Leibbrand and his wife, the former Dorothea Steve, who came to this district in the middle of the 19th century. Mr. Leibbrand was born near Stuttgart, Sept. 10, 1827, coming here in 1851. Mrs. Leibbrand was born near Cassel. They were married in 1885. He lived until Jan. 12, 1900. Her death is recorded as of Sept. 22, 1897.

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