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

Section 7 - Page 5 & 6, Submitted by Shirley Plumb, July 1, 2012

Page 5

Local Unit Responds As War Threatens
Stirring Scene Enacted When Soldiers Leave

(Compiled by the Muscatine Office of the Iowa Writers’ Program.)

Photo of a large send-off for Company C Muscatine’s volunteer unit who were about to depart from the city for service in the Spanish-American war. ~ Tense feeling throughout the United States preceded declaration of the Spanish-American war by President McKinley in April 1898. The excitement was felt in Muscatine perhaps as much as any other part of the country. The Journal of that year gave a prominent place to all news from Cuba.

When the time came for Company C of Muscatine to embark, on April 25, the city gave it a ringing sendoff. If there was any of the usual solemnity of going to war on that occasion it was well concealed. The event was more like a Fourth of July celebration. Said the Journal:

    “Amid blowing whistles, ringing bells, playing bands, cannons roaring and the populace cheering, the boys marched to the train on Front Street where they embarked for Des Moines.”
Their return was similar. Five months later, on Sept. 21, the company returned home. They changed trains at Wilton and the local which brought them to Muscatine was gaily decorated with flags and “festoons” according to newspaper accounts. In Muscatine, which had declared a half holiday, they were greeted with bands and cheering and that evening a reception was held.

As early as Jan. 1898 when the Cuban insurrection had been going on for three years, donations for Cuban relief were asked in America, and the platform of Republican national convention in St. Louis in June of that year contained a “Cuban plank.”

Early that year the United States warship “Maine” steamed into port in Havana where already a British warship, a French warship and a German cruiser rode at anchor. On Feb. 9 Senator Cannon of Utah offered resolutions in Congress that the war in Cuba end by March 4 and Senator Mason of Illinois offered the following:

    “Resolved, that the President of the United States be and is hereby requested to notify Spain and the insurrectionists of Cub that the war (so called) must at once cease and be discontinued and that the United States of America hereby declare and maintain peace on the Island of Cuba.”

The Illinois solon’s resolution was preceded by a long preamble which declared that the war between Spain and the insurgents of Cuba “has continued until all Christendom is shocked by its barbarities.”

Before these resolutions could be acted upon the nation was shocked at news that on Feb. 15 the Maine had sunk with a total of 263 sailors lost or missing. On Feb. 17 came news there was a hole in the hull of the ship and two days later the Journal editorial column contained:

    “The burden of proof rests on Spain to show that its government is not responsible for the Maine disaster. This is the conclusion of opinion in this county.”

    In the Journal issued Feb. 21, however, the editorial was a little calmer, though longer, Headed “A Demand for Truth” it read:

    “Capt. Sigsbee (commander of the Maine) was sensible when in his first telegram announcing the awful affair in the harbor of Havana he asked or suspension of judgment. That should still be the attitude of our people. The theory of accidents should not be abandoned till there is proof to the contrary. Our authorities at Washington are acting on this theory by ordering an impartial and thorough investigation. The government is doing its full duty and the people should patiently await developments. The whole matter may safely be left to the constituted authorities to deal with according to their discretion, unaided, or rather unembarrassed by sensational meddling or by insane outbursts of popular frenzy. Let judgment still be held in abeyance. Above all, let there be no more inflammatory raving about war. No cause for war or war talk has yet been found; while it must be obvious to everyone that there are in the present situation some of the strongest arguments against both war and war talk that could possibly be framed.

    “…It is true that there is not now and never has been in a hundred years an authentic instance of the destruction of a regularly commissioned ship of war in the United States by the accidental ignition of her magazine…”

    “There are two reasons why Spain might welcome a war with the United States. It would rid her of Cuba, and it would unite her people, now very much disunited and dissatisfied. It would be less galling to Spanish pride to have Cuba taken at the point of American bayonets than to be forced to yield the island at the demand of the half-equipped and half-fed insurgents.

    “Let us, at all events, act rationally and with caution and yet with firmness. If it shall be found that Spain is responsible for this indignity the people of the United States will demand speedy and sufficient indemnity or there will be war. First of all, however, the truth and the whole truth—and that at the earliest possible moment.

Muscatine’s only military organization t that time was a skeleton of Company “C” of the Iowa National guards under command of Col. D. V. Jackson. On April 20 a state of war was declared between the United States and Spain and on the same date the Journal reported:

    “Col. D. V. Jackson has received an important order from Adjutant General Bylers, notifying him to recruit Company C and the other companies to full 65 members and accordingly Capt. F. W. Bishop announced that the armory will be open this evening to receive recruits or volunteers, and meet again tomorrow night at the same place to drill the raw recruits. Capt. F. W. Bishop and Lieut. Frank T. Dolsen and J. E. Murphy were having a meeting this afternoon arranging plans for emergencies and also consulting Col. Jackson.

    “It looks as-if trouble will be on hand in a few days.”

    On April 23 the Journal printed:
    “Col. D. V. Jackson and Capt. F. W. Bishop received from Gov. Shaw the following letter this morning: “Be prepared to come to Des Moines on receipt of instructions by wire. Bring with you all state property and camp equipage, full dress uniform, packed separately and well markers. Bring only those who desire to go to the front and can probably pass an examination. Bring no new recruits unless well drilled. Expedite these arrangements as much as possible.”

    The same issue contained:
    “Nine members of Company C were obliged to drop out yesterday, four being minors whose parents objected, one because he had a family and four because of physical disabilities.

    “Major John Tillie was the first local guardsman to present himself to examining surgeon King yesterday for examinations and successfully passed the gauntlet. Of the 41 men examined yesterday only three failed in the physical test. The others were examined today.”

On April 25 President McKinley asked for 125,000 men and the following day, at 7:30 a.m. the Muscatine contingent left amid a holiday atmosphere, to be gone for about five months. Company C, which during the Spanish-American war became part of the Fiftieth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, saw no active service. Ordered into quarters at Camp McKinley, Des Moines, on April 25 it was mustered into the United States service on May 17 by Capt. J. A. Olmstead of the regular army. On May 21, 1898 Colonel Jackson received an order to proceed with his regiment by rail to Tampa, Fla. While en route, however, destination of the regiment was changed to Jacksonville, Fla. It arrived there May 24 and went into camp “Cuba Libre.”

On August 20, Col. Jackson tendered his resignation and retired from the service. Lieut. Colonel E. E. Lambert was promoted to Colonel and assumed command of the regiment. *** On Sept. 12 orders were received for the regiment to return to Iowa. The sick, of which there were many, owing to the season and climate, were placed on board a Pullman car and every arrangement made for their comfort during the journey home. A history of this regiment issued from the Adjutant General’s office, pays high tribute to …

(Continued on Page 6)

Page 6

... Major John Tillie in connection with this task.

The regiment was transported by rail and arrived at Des Moines on Sept. 17 where it was mustered out of service on Nov. 31, 1898 after members had received furloughs amounting to 40 days. Hence, when Company C returned to Muscatine, its members were still in the United States service, though never recalled to camp.

Members of the Fiftieth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, together with rank and place of enlistment follow:

Douglas V. Jackson, colonel; John Tillie, major; Frederick B. Munroe, adjutant; Charles W. Kemble, adjutant; William Lowry, H. Steward; Frank T. Dolsen, lieutenants; Fred A. Deutschmann, wagoner; Charles U. Frack, sergeant; Joseph R. Hanley, corporal, Benjamin R. Hannon, musician; James L Horton, sergeant; Chester A. S. Howard, sergeant; Ralph Lillibridge, corporal; Fred E. Norwood, sergeant; William Schoenig, corporal; Jacob L. Smeenk, lieutenant; William Schrock, sergeant; all from Muscatine.

Privates who enlisted from Muscatine were: George Albrand, Bert Ames, Edwin J. Anderson, Guy E. Baker, Charles A. Balvin, John W. Berry, Frank W. Bishop; Frederick Bogart, Fred H. Bosten, Chester C. Bridgman, Chester J. Baxter, Glen U. Carlisle, Lloyd B. Covertson, Earl Cromer, George M. Dallas, Emery M. Duncan.

James H. Earl, Bert Eldred, Lou S. Eldred, Edward A. Erb, Milton T. Frack, Clyde Frack, Henry A. Fuller, Fred W. Groth, Robert Hackett, George W. Halstead, Almon H. Haworth, William R. Heitmann, James B. Hill, William Hillmer, Frank O. Horton, Charles H. Hubbard.

Chris Jacobsen, Lee Jarboe, Louis C. Kante, Joseph C. King, Louis J. Knapp, Harry H. Knott, Benjamin F. Kramer, Paul E. Kretchmar, William H. Lamar, Henry J. Leiendecker, Otto Leiendecker, Harry J. Lemkau, Frank Lewis, Willard Lewis, John W. Lilly, Charles Lindner, Willard Lindsey, Andrew Link, Bert E. Lockwood, Wallace I. Longstreth, George Luckhardt.

Frank S. McCoy, Fred A. Martin, Lemuel J. Massey, Emil Moore, Joseph W. Morrison, Ralph Neidig, Joseph E. Norwood, William J. Powers, Arthur J. Rankin, Fred Reed, Glen Rehmel, Louis E. Robertson, Frederick J. Rohrback, Stephen I. Sawyer, William J. Steele, William B. Schenck, Hugo F. Schlipf, Winnie C. Strong.

Harry Thompson, Carl Tiecke, Charles Timm, Archibald E. Tyler, Henry Van Krog, Andrew Vetter, Garrett W. Wiggers, George M. Young.

Privates enlisted from other Muscatine county towns were: Chester J. Baxter, and Charles Burge, West Liberty: Samuel Eis, Montpelier; Fred W. Hogue, West Liberty; George Ingham, Wilton; Harry Kern, Wilton; Harry Lulow, Wilton; Pleasant R. Parrish, Montpelier; Albert E. Rawley, Nichols; and Derrick G. Barkalow, John E. Bartley, Robert H. Brown, Joe G. Jelly, Cyrus E. Kline, George S. Watters, Atalissa.

Muscatine county enlistments in the Fifty-first regiment were Joseph T. Davidson, adjutant, Muscatine; Willima H. Langenberg, musician, Muscatine; Alfred Bebb, private, Muscatine, and Ernest Dubell, private, West Liberty.

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City Hall Passes Quarter-Century Mark This Year

Photo of the City Hall. ~ This year marks the 25th anniversary of the completion of construction work on one of the most imposing public buildings in Muscatine. Just a quarter of a century has passed since contractors applied finishing touches to the city hall now standing at the corner of Sycamore and Third Streets.

In 1913, the area now occupied by the city administration building, was known as the city haymarket. It was regarded by many as an eyesore, and the construction of the new city hall was hailed far and wide as one of the most progressive steps in the city’s history.

The present city hall was constructed during the years of 1914 and 1915 at a cost of approximately $ 90,000. A description of the steps which led to the construction of the building was contained in the 1915 diamond jubilee edition of The Journal.

    “The new city hall was secured only after an agitation which extended over a period of years. Muscatine’s progressive citizen realized years ago that the municipality had outgrown its dingy quarters in the old building but the bugaboo of increased taxation frightened them from entering upon a special election. It had long been feared that a bond issue would go down to defeat, but the special election held in 1913 revealed that in this case as in all public projects the anti’s make farm more noise than the doers. The bond issue carried by the vote of the men alone, although even the most enthusiastic supporter of the proposition was confident that it would be up to the women to swing the election..

    “After almost a year of indecision as to the course to pursue in carrying out the expressed will of the people a second election was made necessary when the legality of the election was attacked in the courts. The second election brought forth a heavier vote in favor of the building and preferential site ballot resulted in the discovery that public sentiment favored the haymarket site and hence the council proceeded to carry along the delayed project.

    “The contact for the building was awarded to James Selden in the summer of 1914 and he at once proceeded with the improvements. Because of the presence of a giant trunk sewer beneath the surface of the property, an engineering problem was presented but this obstacle was readily overcome by modern structural genius and the building stands today as one of the most substantial in the entire state”.

Architectural work on the building was handled by J. E. Mills of Detroit, Mich., the same who supervised the construction of the Muscatine county court House.

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Congratulations Extended by Mayor Bronner

Photo of Mayor Samuel Bronner ~ Hailing the service rendered to the city of Muscatine and it citizens over the past century, Mayor Samuel G. Bronner, in a letter to C. R Rabedeaux, extended hearty best wishes for many more successful years ahead. Mayor Brenner’s letter reads:

    “Inseparably linked with the general welfare and well-being of the community is its newspaper, serving the city and its people unselfishly and unswervingly in a hundred different ways.

    “To me, The Muscatine Journal has always symbolized this essential element of service, and its record during the 100 years of its existence stands as a glorious testimonial to the highest standards of journalism to which it has always adhered.

    “Not only for myself, but in behalf of all the citizen of Muscatine, I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate The Journal, tis officers and employees, upon your centennial anniversary.

    “The gratitude of the entire community for your past century of service, and hearty best wishes for many more successful years ahead are yours,

                “Sincerely yours,
                "Samuel G. Bronner, Mayor, City of Muscatine.”

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