submitted by Neal Carter, Sept. 28, 2007

A Splendid Semi-Centennial

June 1st 1883

Most of the Muscatine delegation to the celebration at Burlington of the semi-centennial anniversary of Iowa, returned on the special train, arriving home at 3 o’clock this morning. The following are the names of those attending from this city and county:

(By boat Thursday evening)

Mrs. R Musser Sam M B McKibben
Mrs. S L Waide Frank Hautsch
Mrs. J B Mark Hart Fitzgerald
Cass Lewis Frank Geiger
Joe Chaplin Emil Kranz
Lou Steinmetz Doug McKibben
Miss Sue Musser Mrs. D M Lambert
Miss Emma Dickerhoff L L Lane
Miss Emma Hendel Mrs. Henry Geiss

(By special train, Friday morning.)

Suel Foster John Binhoffer
Thomas Bowlsby E Borger
A A Keith and lady George Baer
H Wallingford J B Hunt
Lizzie Persell J B Lee
J Bridgman N Neyens
Yettie Tuerk Minie Turk
Henry Funck Amanda Foster
Mrs. Daut Cora Foster
J P Walton and two daughters Alex Jackson
Mrs. Benj Mull Mrs. Hine
Mrs. Fred Barnhardt, jr Geo McCloud
George Mette Mrs. Fred Barnhardt, sr
Samuel Lewis Richard T Wallace
Johnny Powers O Steinmetz
Mr. and Mrs. Amos Schott George Richie
Mrs. Mary B. Hass B F Neidig
Peter Jackson Dr. W S Robertson
Mrs. Charles McBride John Byrne
Mrs. and Fred Geisler Miss Al Varner
John Tomney Miss Annie Musser
Mrs. Peter Musser Chas Zeitler
Mrs. Calia Dougherty H Stolzenan
Lewis Dewein, wife and
three children
Charley Franz
Frank Mahin  


W H Hazlett, wife and son  
Mrs. Sam’l McNutt Miss Annie McCloud


Hon. Asa Gregg J M Ball
Ira Nichols and wife wife W S Denham and wife
Hon. W C Evans and wife John Larrue
T O Manfull and wife Hon. Pliny Nichols and wife
L A Bowlsby and wife William Henderson
Mrs. C F Regnier M Thompson
S T Chesebro Jont Maxon, P M
Eli Elliott E Feustermaker
T W Rogers, Mayor J L Brooke
Geo O Shipman Geo W Baxter

There were also ten tickets sold at Nichols, making a grand total of one hundred and eighteen delegates from Muscatine county.

Of the party from this city, eight came to Iowa before 1840.

Fifty-six passengers joined the excursion at Columbus Junction and numerous parties all along the line, so that Suel Foster’s special, for which he guaranteed 50 passengers, rolled into Burlington at 10:15 a. m. with six coaches filled with over 500 excursionists.

Of the returning party we have not met one who is not enthusiastic over the pleasure and events of the day, and full of praise of Burlington’s noble appreciation of the honor conferred upon her. They found “Flint Hills” waving with banners, the streets everywhere festooned and hung with the national colors and spanned with memorial arches, and here and there monuments of tasteful construction and historic meaning adding to the magnificent scene. The Hawkeye and Gazette’s offices were especially decorated with emblems and mottoes and indeed all the public buildings and private residences, were clothed in the rainbow beauty of the Stars and Stripes.

There was a parade of Burlington’s fire department at 10 a. m. and a display of the city water works at 11, both of which were very creditable to the city and were highly complimented by the tens of thousands of spectators. At 12 o’clock, the grand procession was formed for marching to the park and is described as twelve blocks in length. There were nearly a thousand members of secret and civil societies in the line of march in their bright and glittering regalia. The Burlington traveling salesmen gripsack brigade, turned out en masse, there being almost one hundred and eighty in the line of march. The Aledo Ladies’ brass band in bright and attractive uniforms headed the procession and discoursed sweet music. The entire route was black with humanity, it being estimated that there were from 30,000 to 50,000 strangers in the city.

At the Grand stand in the park the meeting was presided over by Hon. A. C. Dodge, Iowa’s first elected U. S. Senator and prayer was offered by Rev. Wm. Salter of the Congregational church, on, of the “Iowa Band.”

Hon. John H. Craig was the orator of the day and our Muscatine delegates describe his address as a masterly effort and worthy of the perusal and study of every man, woman and child in Iowa. It is published in full in the Burlington papers.

At the west stand there were speeches by Governor Sherman, Gen. Belknap, Judge Davis, Col. Parrot of Keokuk, Col. Langer of Desmoines, Hon. Suel Foster of this city, Dr. Shafer of Fairfield, and other speakers.

The speeches at both stands were interspersed with music.

The exersises at the park being concluded, the tide of travel turned towards the city. The bands marched through the streets playing lively airs, and everybody appeared joyous and happy. Early at evening the fireworks began their exhibition and are prononnced as splendid for color and variegated beauty. “Washington on horseback,” surrounded with purple, ruby, amber, crimson, green, orange and blue stars and silver streams, was a grand piece of work, and elicited the applause of the vast crowd. Other displays were equally meritorious, which was testified to by murmurs of admiration that ran through the mass of humanity. The whole was beautiful, and for an hour the air was filled with colors brilliant beyond description.

There was a regatta during the day, and a grand hall was inaugurated at the close of the pyrotechnics, a number of Muscatine ladies and gentlemen being mentioned by the Hawkeyes as present at this closing festival.

The special train left on its return at 11 o’clock, arriving at Muscatine, as we have said, at 3 this morning.

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