submitted by Neal Carter, Sept. 2, 2007


Sudden Death of Chester Weed under Peculiar Circumstances

Journal – Dec. 1, 1874. Many times have our citizens been shocked by the sudden and mysterious visitations of that grim messenger, Death, in their midst, but never more so than this morning on hearing the announcement of the death of Chester Weed. The news at first seemed incredible, so sudden and unexpected did it come, and when at last it became generally known it produced the most profound sensation. Mr. Weed, died at about 6 o’clock at his residence, corner of Second and Linn streets. For several weeks past he has seemed troubled and worried, laboring at times under mental excitement, and again being depressed in spirits. Yesterday he appeared in usual health, attending the Congregational church last evening and retiring at his customary hour. He was nervous and excited all night, getting up at frequent intervals and at about 4½ o’clock he complained of suffering considerably. Mrs. Weed, becoming alarmed, hastened to call Mr. Alex. Jackson, living near by, who at once went to the house and tendered all possible assistance. Dr. McKennan was also sent for, but did not arrive till about 6 o’clock. --- Meantime Mr. Weed’s symptoms grew more alarming. He had several spasms and seemed failing rapidly, and at the hour named he sank quietly and peacefully into that sleep that knows no waking. He was conscious to the last, and recognized and talked with his wife and friends present.

Mr. Weed came to Muscatine from Connecticut in 1841, being then but 21 years of age, and he was therefore one of our oldest residents. He was born in Canton, Connecticut, March 16, 1819, which made his age 55 years, 4 months and 9 days. After coming west he was in the daguerrean business a short time, both here and at Iowa City, and next began clerking for Joseph Bennett, for whom he was employed about two years, in 1842 and 1843. Joseph Bridgman, his brother-in-law, then coming West, he formed a partnership with him in the fall of 1843, the style of the firm being Bridgman & Weed, and opened a general store. With the exception of a year or two, Mr. Bridgman, from that time, was his associate in business until the day of his death, though the style of the firm changed several times, from Mr. Kent taking an interest and other causes. Mr. Weed, meantime, also took the agency of the AEtna Phoenix and one or two other prominent insurance companies, for which he built up a large local business. During the past twenty years of his life, his especial duties in connection with the business of the firm called him mostly on the streets, buying grain, pork, etc., and on this account no one in the county, probably, had a more extensive acquaintance among the farming community. In addition to his other cares, Mr. Weed was one of the more active Directors of the Muscatine National Bank. Latterly he had acquired another important interest, being one-half of the Muscatine Mills.

No man, unless the late Hon. Jacob Butler, was more prominently or largely identified with the interests of Muscatine than Chester Weed. He was an extensive property holder, and was an active and leading spirit in every enterprise that he deemed would be of benefit to the public and the city. Though not connected with any church, he was friendly to churches generally and frequently contributed towards their support, and though entertaining peculiar views, he always showed himself ready to assist any object he thought worthy of assistance. As a strictly business man, managing successfully several interests at once, he showed a capacity, a keenness of perception, a quickness of thought and action, and a judgment rarely met with. It was only by these qualifications, and an energy that was unflagging and constant industry, that he accumulated such worldly goods as he possessed. A close observer of men and things, and having traveled and read extensively, he was no less prominent in social than business circles from his unusual intelligence in conversation and his extensive and entertaining fund of information. He had lived a bachelor until August 6, 1873, when he espoused Miss Cora Chaplin.

The relatives left by Mr. Weed are his wife, his brother, Dr. James Weed, his sister Mrs. Joseph Bridgman and an uncle in the east. We shall not attempt to depict the anguish of his stricken wife and his bereaved brother and sister – theirs is a grief too deep and sacred to admit of intrusion. We can only say that in the death of Mr. Weed Muscatine has lost one of her most enterprising citizens – one of who has had few equals in building up her material interests and contributing generally to her welfare.

The time for the funeral has not yet been fixed, though we understand it will be Wednesday or Thursday. --- Meantime the absent friends of the family have been telegraphed for.


MEETING OF OLD SETTLERS. ---- At a meeting of Old Settlers, held at 2 p. m., Dec. 7, 1874, Moses Couch being called to the chair, D. C. Cloud stated the object of the meeting to be to take some action on the death of Chester Weed.

On motion, Messrs. Van Horne, Funck and Winn were made a committee on resolutions to report at Cloud & Broomhall’s office to-morrow, at 3 p. m.

Messrs. J. G. Gordon and P. Jackson were made a committee to confer with the family of the deceased and arrange for the Old Settlers at the funeral.

, That the Old Settlers be requested to attend the funeral and walk in procession to the graveyard.
M. COUCH, Prest.


The meeting of the Old Settlers, adjourned to 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon, was held in Cloud & Broomhall’s office, and called to order, by Moses Couch at the appointed hour. On motion John Mahin was appointed Secretary pro tem. Mr. Van Horne from the committee on resolutions reported as follows:

    Beckoned by the hand of a mysterious Providence, the Old Settlers of Muscatine county are assembled to do honor to the memory of him who stood but yesterday the most prominent of our number. The strong and stately pillar, shattered by an untimely bolt, lies prostrate. He whose industry made industry for hundreds; whose own abundant resources filled our avenues with prosperous barter and exchange; whose name was a synonym for all the world holds permanent and desirable; whose genial wit shone with such radiance by the fire-side and the assembly, and lighted even the marts of commerce with its lambent flame, --- has left us suddenly, as in a night, and the mourners go about the street because he is not.

    The Old Settlers so, instantly bereft of their companion and friend, and standing so near his grave, feel that no eulogy can express their sorrow, or measure the public sense of loss; but in memory of this sad event we place the following resolutions and preamble, upon the record of the society:

    Resolved, That in the death of Chester Weed, which occurred Dec, 7, 1874, the Old Settlers mourn the loss of one, who, for thirty-three years, had been the great friend of Muscatine city and county, helpful in all enterprises tending to the public weal, and contributing by his own unexampled activity to the growth and prosperity of the whole community.

    Resolved, That we tender to the widow and relatives of deceased a sympathy which is not limited by our fast diminishing numbers, but which, in an humble degree, is indicative of the great sorrow of the whole people.

    Resolved, That we tender to the widow and relatives of deceased a sympathy which is not limited by our fast diminishing numbers, but which, in an humble degree, is indicative of the great sorrow of the whole people.

    Resolved, That the committee heretofore appointed request permission for our attendance of the funeral in a body. That we will unite in paying our last sad office of friendship by marching in procession to the grave.

    Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be given to the widow, sister and brother of the deceased, and that a copy be handed to the press of the county for publication.

    M. WINN
On motion of J. J. Hoopes, the report was adopted, and it was ordered that it be placed on the records of the society.

Remarks were made by Suel Foster, Samuel Sinnett and Marx Block upon the long and intimated relations which had subsisted between the deceased and Muscatine city and county. Mr. Sinnett spoke very feelingly upon his forty years friendship with Mr. Weed, reaching back to old Connecticut, revived in the far west, and bearing fruit in pleasant intercourse among the scenes of the old world.

Mr. Block alluded to the multitudinous character of the transactions he had had with deceased the last dozen years, and paid a warm tribute to his ever obliging disposition as also to his integrity.

Peter Jackson, from the committee of arrangements, reported that the committee had been unable to see Mrs. Chester Weed, but had waited upon other near relatives and expressed the condolence of the society, and offered the services of its members in any manner that might be acceptable. The committee had also informed Mr. Alex. Jackson, who had charge of the ceremonies, that the Old Settlers would be pleased to have a place given them in the procession to the grave.

On motion of Marx Block, adjourned to meet at the residence, this morning, at 10 o’clock.

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