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

Section 6 - Page 22, Submitted by Shirley Plumb, June 18, 2012

12 Different Presidents and 40 Mayors Have Led City Through 100 Year Span

A total of 12 different presidents and 40 mayors have presided over the government of the town of Bloomington and the city of Muscatine since it was first incorporated back in 1839. The chief official of the town was known as a president back in the early days of Bloomington before the municipally received its charter as a city.

Joseph Williams was the first president of the town, assuming office in 1839. His term of office was for one year as was apparently that of all the succeeding presidents up to 1850. Other presidents of Bloomington and Muscatine who succeeded Williams were John Lilley in 1840, Thomas Darlington in 1841, David Clark in 1842, John A. Parvin in 1843, Stephen L. Foss in 1844, Charles Evans in 1845, Stephen L. Foss in 1846, J. M. Barlow in 1847, Thomas M., Isett in 1848, Elias Overman in 1849, the year in which the name of Bloomington was changed to Muscatine, and William D. Ament in 1850.

Zephaniah Washburn became the first mayor of Muscatine in 1851 when the town first became a full-fledged city as the result of being granted a charter by the state legislature. He was succeeded in the same year by Aulay Macauley. Others who have occupied the mayor’s chair since that time in Muscatine are:

1855—J. H. Wallace. 1890-91—Gustave Schmidt.
1856—William Leffingwell. 1892—R. T. Wallace.
1857—John G. Stine. 1893—John M. Gobble.
1858-61—George Meason. 1894—Edward B. Fulliam.
1863—Henry Funck. 1895—A. S. Lawrence.
1864—S. D. Viele. 1896-99—Edward B. Fulliam.
1865-66—Benjamin Hershey. 1900-01—Barney Schmidt.
1867—George Meason. 1902-05—Robert S. McNutt.
1868—E. Klein. 1906-07—Jacob Asthalter.
1869—William B. Keeler. 1908—Barney Schmidt.
1870-71—S. G. Stein. 1909—Barney Schmidt, William Grossklaus.
1872—73—J. P. Ament. 1910-11—W. S. Hill.
1874—Richard Musser. 1912-13—Conrad Koehler.
1875—Henry Molls. 1914-15—Harry Kern.
1876—J. P. Ament. 1916-23—Robert S. McNutt.
1877-78—Richard Musser. 1924-25—J. B. Miller.
1879-81—George W. Dillaway. 1926-27—B. C. Benham.
1882—T. R. Fitzgerald. 1928-31—Herbert G. Thompson.
1883-85—R. T. Wallace. 1932-35—Herman B. Lord.
1886-88—John M. Gobble. 1936-37—Carl P. Gunzenhauser.
1889—John M. Gobble, Gustave Schmidt. 1939-41—Samuel G. Bronner.

Treasurer, Auditor Posts Were Among First to Be Filled

The office of county auditor was not officially established by law until 1868, and Muscatine County’s first auditor after the office was created that year was R. H. Campbell.

In reality, though, the man who first performed the duties of auditor, although he bore neither the title nor performed all of the duties of the present day incumbent, with the exception of serving as secretary to the board of supervisors, was Edward Fay.

Fay was appointed clerk of the first county commissioner’s court in 1838 and from that office comes the present post of county auditor. Under the commission form of county government, in force prior to 1851, the commissioners employed a clerk whose duties included attendance at board meetings and keeping records of proceedings; to keep records and accounts of the county; attest all orders issued by the board for payment of funds and to keep records of such orders.

In 1842, the office of clerk was made elective. From 1850 to 1860, however, when the commissioner’s court was abolished and its duties placed in the hands of the county judge, certain duties of the commissioner’s clerk were assigned to the clerk of the district court.

When the board of supervisors came into being in 1860, the clerk of district court continued as secretary to the board until 1868 when the Twelfth General Assembly of Iowa established the office of county auditor. Following is the list of Muscatine County auditors since that time: (In the space of 72 years only 11 persons have occupied the office.):

1868-82—R. H. McCampbell. 1916-17—H. C. Schoemaker.
1883-94—W. H. Johnson. 1918-25—Fred W. Johnston.
1894-95—Bert Benham
(appointed to fill out unexpired term).
1926-31—Charles Pitchforth.
1896-01—E. C. Stocker. 1932-35—Kenneth Coder.
1902-05—A. C. Noble. 1936-37—B. F. Snyder.
1906-15—A. S. Lawrence. 1938-40—E. R. Swickard.

One of the oldest of county offices in Muscatine is that of county treasurer which was created when the present land of Iowa was still a part of the original territory of Wisconsin. Iowa continued the office when its own territorial organization was completed in 1838, with the provision that the county treasurer be elected every two years.

There was a gap though of about 17 years when the office did not exist in the county, and the duties of the county treasurer were taken over by the recorder who acted as ex-officio treasurer. This period began in 1847 when the first Iowa General Assembly passed an act pertaining to county officers which omitted that of county treasurer.

The county recorder was consequently named as ex-officio treasurer and took over his duties, keeping records of the two offices separate. This arrangement continued until 1864 when provision for election of a county treasurer was made by the Tenth General Assembly. Following is a list of county treasurers who have served Muscatine County:

1837—Lewis McKee. 1873-78—Joseph Morrison.
1839—Hezekiah Musgrove. 1879-82—Lyman Banks.
1841—John A. McCormick. 1883-94—G. M. Scott.
1843-46—T. S. Battelle. 1895-1900—S. L. Johnson.
1847-50—F. H. Stone. 1901—C. H. Gobble.
1851-54—A. T. Banks. 1903-09—E. C. Stocker.
1855-58—William G. Robb. 1910—A. C. Shiflet.
1859-62—John M. Lucas. 1912-21—R. E. Johnson.
1863—Brenton Darlington. 1922—F. B. Nesper.
1865—M. L. Miksell. 1924-31—Frances Rosenbaum.
1867-70—R. T. Thompson. 1932—R. A. Van Dyke.
1871—Henry Molis, Sr. 1933-40—Arthur J. Nicholson.

Clerk of the district court is another office which goes back to the origin of the county, and Robert McClaren was the first to hold the office in Muscatine County, having been appointed by the governor in February, 1837. He held the office until court convened in April, after which John S. Abbott took over the duties evidently on appointment of the judge.

Previous to the establishment of the first court in Muscatine County, the territorial governor had been empowered to name clerks of the county courts, but on Nov. 17, 1836 it was provided that judges of the district court were to appoint who “shall issue writs and processes and perform all duties property required” of him. On and after Dec. 8 of the same year, the clerk was further required to keep records of all proceedings of court.

When Iowa became a state in 1846, the state constitution provided the clerk of the district court should be elected every two years, and the office has continued without important changes since then. Those to hold the office in Muscatine County have been:

1837—Robert McClaren. 1882—S. M. Hughes.
1838—John S. Abbott. 1884—Hart J. Fitzgerald.
1838-43—J. G. Morrow. 1886-95—Will H. Hughes.
1844—47—John A. Parvin. 1896-01—Joseph W. Ells.
1848—Richard Cadle. 1902-07—Charles Richman.
1850-53—William Leffingwell. 1908-15—W. S. McKee.
1854-57—Richard Cadle. 1916-21—R. G. Tipton.
1858-61—Charles Foster. 1922—R. J. Wiley.
1862-65—John W. Jayne. 1924—S. C. Erwin.
1866-73—John D. Walker. 1938-40—Ballard B. Tipton.
1874-81—John H. Munroe.  

Muscatine’s first county recorder was originally referred to as a “recorder of deeds” and took office in 1838 under enactment of the Wisconsin Territorial legislature. When Iowa became a separate territory, the office was continued, with the provision that the office-holder be elected biennially to record deeds and papers in succession, as filed and presented.

For a time, the county recorder served as ex-officio county recorder, but was restored to the sole duties of recorder in 1864 and has continued as such until this time. Muscatine’s County recorders include:

1838—Lewis McKee. 1884-95—John B. Hudson.
1842-47—Irad C. Day. 1896-01—William C. Schnek.
1848-51—F. H. Stone. 1902—C. H. Reesink.
1852-55—A. T. Banks. 1906-11—Horace Shoemaker.
1856—W. G. Robb. 1912-15—H. S. Howe.
1858-61—John W. Lucas. 1916-19—W. D. Walton.
1862-65—Brinton Darlington. 1920—W. O. Harris.
1866—Charles S. Foster. 1922—Ruth Carlisle.
1868-73—W. M. Kennedy. 1924-35—G. Clyde Parks.
1874-81—S. E. Walcott. 1936-40—Ida E. Grimm.
1882—W. M. Kennedy.  

The office of sheriff came to Iowa Counties from the days when the state was still a part of the Michigan territory. The governor originally was given the power of appointment of the county sheriff when Iowa became a separate territory. But the office became elective under the Iowa Territorial laws of 1839-40.

When in 1838, the Wisconsin Territorial legislature divided the area that is now Iowa into two counties, Des Moines and Dubuque, most of the subsequent Muscatine County was in the former. James Davis was appointed sheriff of that half of what was later to become Iowa. Upon the establishment of Muscatine County, Denton J. Snyder became the first sheriff, serving until 1844. Others who have succeeded him are:

1844—George W. Humphrey. 1888-91—Thomas P. Gray.
1846-49—Lyman C. Hine. 1892—Daniel McCurdy.
1850—John J. Reece. 1894-99—H. E. Wiley.
1852-55—David G. McCloud. 1900—R. O. McGaughy
1856-59—William Gordon. 1902-07—J. D. Staurt.
1860-65—Harris H. Hine. 1908-11—Frank Benham.
1866-71—Alexander E. Keith. 1912-15—David Vanatta.
1872-75—James A. Eaton. 1916-25—R. J. Wiley.
1876-79—R. C. Jewett. 1926-29—Ed Sander.
1880-83—A. W. Snyder. 1930-40—Fred B. Nesper.
1884-87—W. W. Hartman.  

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Zoller Brewery Dates Back to 1860

The Zoller Brewing Company was established by the Zoller family 1860. At that time the brand sold was known as Blackhawk beer, and the name of the company in those early days was the Independent Brewing company. The present plant at Davenport was established in May of 1935.

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