HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
During the winter of 1860-1 we, in common with all the north,
felt the unrest and uncertainty that hung like a nightmare
over us, while state after state was seceding, and a large
element among us was in full sympathy with the movement, when
the president's proclamation for prayers proved unavailing;
when the president-elect had to proceed by stealth to the
capital we realized that the inevitable was close by and began
to cast about as to what could be done in our small way at
Nor was the spirit of secession confined to the political
world. Up to this time Brigham Young had been the recognized
head of the Mormon Church, but a schism had crept in and had
grown until the non-polygamists came out openly, repudiating
Brigham Young and the Utah hierarchy and organized under the
leadership of Joseph Smith, son of the prophet who was murdered
in the Carthage jail in Illinois by the mob. The first meeting
under the new organization was held on the 4th of January,
1861, which continued for several days, and many converts
were baptized, and the construction of a church building ordered;
and although the local society has not grown to large dimensions,
it contains among its adherents as good citizens as we have
in the community, and one of its peculiarities is that it
is self-sustaining. Its members are never seen soliciting
funds or getting up fairs or other schemes to get outside
help. Although, as already stated, the local society is not
large, it has quite a large membership in many counties in
Iowa as well as in other states.
With the advent of Mr. Lincoln's administration, his conservative,
kindly yet admonitory inaugural address, many still hoped
that actual war might be averted. Our local affairs were conducted
as usual. Not until the firing on Sumter did our entire people
fully realize that the worst was upon us; but the effect was
magical. Old party lines were ignored and it became Union
or "Copperhead," as those in sympathy with secession
were termed. G. M. Dodge, who had already organized a company,
tendered its services to Governor Kirkwood, but he, believing
it imprudent to leave the frontier unprotected, declined to
accept its service at that time, as the regulars at the frontier
forts were being drawn in for the defense of Washington.
We at this distance got our first glimpse of actual preparation
for war one day as a battalion of regulars who had come by
steamboat from Fort Randall. As warning had been sent by General
Dodge--of probable difficulty in their passing through Missouri,
they landed here and marched across the state to Eddyville,
the nearest point to strike a railroad. There were four companies
and they had a fine band, and as they marched up Broadway
to the tune of "Dixie" with the regular swing peculiar
to disciplined troops, they made a fine appearance; and three
or four of our boys were so charmed that they joined them.
Nebraska promptly raised a regiment of cavalry to protect
the frontier on the withdrawal of the regulars, and Captain
Dodge was authorized to raise a regiment, which he proceeded
to do by opening a recruiting station in the Bluffs and establishing
Camp Kirkwood on a beautiful spot just south
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
of the city limits. Dr. S. H. Craig, who was sheriff of Pottawattamie
county, resigned his office and proceeded to raise a company.
Captain English was the first to report with a full company
from Mills county, which became Company A, and Captain Craig,
assisted by W. H. Kinsman, was next in with Company B, recruited
largely from the city and almost wholly from within the county.
It must be remembered that at that time the entire population
of the county did not exceed five thousand and that, as now,
that of the city constituted about one-half; so that raising
a regiment was an entirely different proposition from what
it would be now with its sixty thousand, and the entire southwestern
part of the state had to be drawn upon to fill the different
regiments and companies organized here, while at different
times we were drawn upon to fill quotas in other parts of
the state; and while we are justly proud of the achievements
of our Pottawattamie county boys we do not wish to withhold
our praise from their fellow soldiers from other parts of
the state or country at large.
Nor is it the purpose of this little history to follow our
citizen soldiers through their long terms of service, their
suffering in hospitals and rebel prisons. This has already
been done by abler writers. Suffice it to say that we have
no apologies to make. From General Dodge to the private soldier,
we simply wish to record our approval of their every act and
joy that a grateful country remembers them.
While the Iowa Fourth was being filled, N. T. Spoor, who
had been postmaster during Buchanan's administration, received
authority to raise an artillery company. He also opened a
rendezvous at Camp Kirkwood, and this brings to us another
person who was destined to become a prominent figure later
on. Joseph R. Reed, a young lawyer of Dallas county, had started
to raise a company and had thirty-six men enlisted. He came
with them and, combining these with those recruited by Spoor,
and securing a few more recruits, a full company was formed
and organized as the Second Iowa Battery, with N. T. Spoor
as captain, Joseph R. Reed first lieutenant, Charles F. Reed
second lieutenant. Subsequently Daniel T. Walling was commissioned
junior first lieutenant and served one year. Captain Spoor
served three years as captain and, on being mustered out,
Lieutenant J. R. Reed became captain September 1, 1864. At
the same time John W. Coons, of Dallas county, became first
lieutenant, and John Burke second.
During the four years of service the total number of enlistments
in the battery was over one hundred and fifty, among which
were a number from Council Bluffs and various other parts
of the state. It was mustered out at Davenport, Iowa, August
7, 1865, after exactly four years' service.
The record of the Fourth Iowa is a glorious one. From here
they went to St. Louis, then to Rolla; from there they joined
the army under command of General Curtis, participating in
the battle of Pea Ridge, then marched across the states of
Missouri and Arkansas to Helena; were in at the capture of
Arkansas post, the long seige and final capture of Vicksburg.
From here they moved to Corinth and from there to Chattanooga,
where they, with the brigade of which they formed a part,
were assigned to General Hooker's command, and carried the
point of Lookout Mountain in the famous battle
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
above the clouds. After the battle of Pea Ridge they were
commanded by their lieutenant-colonel, James A. Williamson,
Dodge having been promoted to brigadier-general and assigned
to a higher and different command.
On January 1, 1864, the Fourth Iowa re-enlisted and on February
26 they started for home on veteran furlough and arrived in
Des Moines on March 9. The city gave them a royal reception,
and the legislature then in session adopted the following
"Whereas, We have learned that the veterans of the Fourth
Iowa have re-enlisted for three years or during the war, and
that they are on their way to this city on furlough to enjoy
for a short time the blessings of the domestic circle, and
the citizens of Des Moines are preparing to give them a proper
reception, and deeming it our duty as their representatives
to express our appreciation of their gallantry and their services
in the suppression of the rebellion; therefore, be it
Resolved by the General Assembly of the state of Iowa, That
we have watched with pride and admiration the Fourth Iowa
Infantry, as step by step they have borne the ensign of the
free on the memorable fields of Pea Ridge, Chickasaw Bayou,
Arkansas Post, Jackson, Vicksburg siege and assault, Cherokee,
Caney Creek, Tuscumbia, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge
and Ringgold, and in their long and weary marches, enduring
all the hardships and privations of a soldier's life, they
have toiled on and fought for home and kindred until the mute
graves of their comrades in arms point with sadness to remnants
of brave men who have honored their state and added to the
glory of the nation.
Resolved, That in the re-enlistment of said regiment we have
the strongest proof of their loyalty to the principles of
civil liberty; and that their love of country is paramount
to all other considerations and entitles them to the lasting
honor and gratitude of those whose firesides have been protected
by their arms.
Resolved, That as a token of our confidence and regard for
the distinguished services of that regiment, we will adjourn
and attend in a body-the reception of the veterans on their
return to the city.
Resolved, That the Governor be requested to present them
with a copy of these resolutions, and on behalf of the members
of this General Assembly bid them welcome to the capital of
the state whose honor they have kept so sacredly untarnished."
On the expiration of their furlough. they returned and rejoined
their brigade, taking part in the campaign which resulted
in the taking of Atlanta, the march to the sea and capture
of Savannah and the march northward through the Carolinas
and Virginia, taking their place in the grand review at Washington.
The regiment was finally discharged at Louisville, Kentucky,
on the 24th of July, 1865.
It is proper in this connection to refer to one who took
an active part in raising Company B of this regiment. This
was W. H. Kinsman. He was a native of Nova Scotia, who had
drifted into this county, taught school near the old Wicks'
mill, was a newspaper correspondent, became first lieutenant
in Company B, where he served until in organizing the Twenty-third
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
fantry he was commissioned lieutenant colonel in August,
1862, and colonel in September of same year; was killed at
the head of his regiment during seige of Vicksburg and was
buried on the field, where he rested forty years, when his
grave was identified and his remains brought to Council Bluffs
and reinterred in the soldiers' ground in Fairview Cemetery
and a suitable monument erected to his memory.
During the years of 1861, 1862 and 1863 the raising of troops
seemed to be the principal business.
After the Fourth Infantry and Second Battery had gone to
the front, there seemed to be no abatement in the zeal for
carrying on the war. D. B. Clark, a pioneer farmer, opened
a recruiting office and with the assistance of Steven W. King,
of Pottawattamie, and John A. Donelson, of Harrison county,
raised a company for the Fifteenth Infantry. W. T. Burke later
raised seventeen men for the Seventeenth Infantry and was
made first lieutenant of Company H, and J. C. Linieger raised
twenty-three men and took them into the Twenty-third Regiment
and was made captain of Company E.
On looking back, one is inclined to wonder where so many
soldiers could be recruited from in the then thinly settled
portion of Iowa, but they came just the same and more were
destined to follow. .
With the enlistment constantly going on, prosecution of the
war became more and more popular and any man opposed to it
had little show of election to any office.
The ladies of Council Bluffs were not behindhand in aiding
the country in its great struggle. At an early period of the
war they organized a Soldiers' Aid Society that did excellent
work, and on March 22, 1862, was merged into a branch of the
Army Sanitary Commission of Iowa that did a great work in
supplying hospitals and prisons with needful articles which
could not always be furnished by the War Department.
During the summer of 1862 Thomas H. Benton, Jr., nephew of
Senator Benton, of Missouri, who had been a banker previous
to the crash of 1857, received authority to raise a regiment
of infantry and, although this territory had been pretty well
drained of its young men, a rendezvous was opened a little
south of Camp Kirkwood, on the same beautiful table land,
and named Camp Dodge in honor of the general who had already
become renowned. Sheriff J. P. Williams, like his predecessor,
S. H. Craig, resigned and started a recruiting station and
succeeded in raising Company A, nearly all of the members
of which were from Pottawattamie county, and a large part
from the city. In organizing the company J. P. Williams was
made captain; first lieutenant, George A. Haines; second lieutenant,
R. R. Kirkpatrick; orderly sergeant, C. V. Gardner. By December
the regiment was organized and ready to take the field. Of
the regimental officers the following were from Pottawattamie
county: Colonel, Thos. Benton, Jr.; quartermaster, W. W. Wilson;
surgeon, Dr. W. S. Grimes; adjutant, Joseph Lyman. Lyman had
enlisted at the forming of the Fourth Iowa and for meritorious
service was commissioned a lieutenant by Governor Kirkwood
and assigned to the Twenty-ninth and served as adjutant and
later became major. This regie-
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
ment went through the whole of Dixey and were stationed for
some months on the Rio Grande, observing the movements of
the French in Mexico after the rebellion had collapsed. It
was mustered out at New Orleans on the 10th of August, 1865,
and on the arrival of Company A at the Bluffs they were given
a royal reception. Many are still with us, and many more have
joined the great majority. Among the latter are all of the
field and staff officers.
As an illustration of the spirit which prevailed at this
time, Mr. Curtis Burroughs, who had just built a neat cottage
in Glendale on a lot purchased on time, remarked that he would
go with this regiment if his lot was paid for, so he could
leave his family comfortably fixed. Old Captain Beal, his
creditor, says: "If you want to enlist, don't stop on
that account. Interest will stop while you are in the service
and if you die or get killed, your widow shall have a clear
title to the lot." He died at Helena, Arkansas, and old
Captain Beal kept his promise. Several of Council Bluffs'
boys fell in this campaign, among which were Geo. W. Fouman,
N. H. Folsom and Lawrence Smith, brother to Hon. Spencer Smith.
Captain J. P. Williams, who had to resign on account of failing
health, recovered and at eighty-two is living in comfortable
retirement, as is also his first lieutenant, Geo. A. Haines.
Second Lieutenant R. R. Kirkpatrick died in California some
years ago. C. V. Gardner, who became the last to command the
company, became one of the founders of Avoca and later of
Deadwood, Dakota. Among the members that are still with us
are Drum Major McFadden, Bugler Robt. Bucroft and Oliver Payne.
About October 25, 1862, W. G. Crawford received a captain's
commission from Governor Kirkwood to raise a company for the
Sixth Iowa Cavalry, being formed at Davenport. D. F. Eicher
and J. C. DeHaven enlisted and all three commenced recruiting
through the western part of the state. Notwithstanding the
territory had been pretty well drained, they succeeded in
raising a full company and in organizing. C. W. Lamb was elected
first lieutenant, D. F. Eicher second and J. C. DeHaven third.
Later the government dropped the third lieutenant from the
rolls and DeHaven was appointed orderly sergeant. The company
was transported by stage to Davenport. Captain Crawford's
health entirely failed, and he was compelled to resign. Lieutenant
Lamb also resigned, and Lieutenant Eicher became captain,
J. C. DeHaven first lieutenant and David El1ison second. Thus
organized they were incorporated in the Sixth Cavalry as Company
E and went into Camp Douglas for five months' drill and instruction
and were assigned to the command of General Sully for service
in the northwest, and marched across the state via Council
Bluffs and Sioux City, first camping between that city and
Yankton. The summer campaign was through the Dakotas, reaching
Fort Pierre in June, and continued marching north to the Cannon
Ball and Yellowstone. rivers, encountering the Indians and
defeating them in numerous battles and .skirmishes, in one
of which seventy-five Indians and eight soldiers were killed.
After service until August, 1865, they were relieved by regulars
find ordered to Davenport and mustered out, all returning
to their respective homes to resume their former occupations.
Among them belonging to the
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
Bluffs were Captain Eicher, Lieutenant DeHaven, William Marble,
Allen Spicer, Kade Rogers, and several others. The company
lost two men. Captain Crawford died before their return and
Captain Eicher in 1902.
Early in the spring of 1864 the draft was being used in places,
but Pottawattamie had done so well that department Marshal
Field received word from headquarters that if we would furnish
twenty good men within thirty days there would be no draft
Mayor Palmer called a meeting of the council and steps were
taken to get the board of supervisors to issue $2,000, so
us to make a cash bounty of $100. It was carried through promptly
and the men furnished. Provision was also made to assist the
families of all soldiers that were in need, this being accomplished
largely by the ladies. During this year W. F. Sapp came from
Omaha and formed a law partnership with Samuel Clinton. He
was a native of Knox county, Ohio, came to Omaha at an early
day and when the war drew the regulars in he became lieutenant-colonel
of the First Nebraska Cavalry and was for a time stationed
at Fort Kearney. On coming here he entered into an active
participation of affairs. As a lawyer he was an able advocate.
He was a man of commanding presence, being over six feet tall
and weighing 200 pounds; was a powerful stump speaker and
soon made himself prominent. He was a republican and was elected
to the legislature, where his influence was largely instrumental
in securing the location of the School for the Deaf at this
place. Later he became United States district attorney and
was twice elected to Congress. It was he and Judge A. V. Larimer
that originated and conducted the proceedings through the
courts to compel the Union Pacific Railroad Company to comply
with the terms of its charter in making its terminus at this
point. He had purchased a farm and contemplated retiring,
but was stricken down and died October 22, 1890, and, by a
strange coincidence, in the same house and room in which the
Hon. Walter I. Smith was born many years before. Thus, one
member of Congress was born and another died in the same room.
During this summer the first brick schoolhouse in the city
was erected on the northwest corner of Pierce and Stutsman
streets. The contract was let to G. of. Smith for $6,000,
being only a two-room house. Later, when the large Pierce
street schoolhouse was built, this was sold, and is now owned
and used as a dwelling by Mr. Bell. After the visit of Mr.
Lincoln to the city, the great hill on which was the old Mormon
burying ground was given by common consent the name of Mt.
Lincoln, and this year a company was formed and the ground
bought and platted as the Fairview Cemetery, and, as its name
implies, is one of the most charming sites in the country.
It was during this summer that a horse-thief was brought
from Harrison county and lodged in the old cottonwood jail,
only to be taken out and hung on a tree in the eastern part
of the city, where he was found the next morning. No effort
was made to learn who were the lynchers.
Notwithstanding Pottawattamie county had sent most of her
young men to the front, the commands to which they were attached
had been reduced to the extent that some of the regiments
could muster but four or five hundred
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
rank and file, and a draft was ordered, and the quota assigned
for Pottawattamie county was sixty.
It is probable that if it could have been credited with all
that went into regiments in other states Iowa would have been
exempt, but the determination to end the war left no time
for parleying, and the draft came. That for the eastern part
of the fifth district was held at Des Moines and that of eight
counties in the western part at Council Bluffs. It was conducted
in the room over what is now the Pierce shoe store, on the
corner of Main and Broadway. It was done by towns and townships.
The names of all liable for military duty were written on
cards and placed in a revolving cylinder, and after it had
made several revolutions a ticket was drawn by a person blindfolded,
and the man whose name was on that ticket was duly drawn.
This was repeated till the required number was secured. If
any citizen was present belonging to the precinct being drawn
upon he was invited to draw, and in one instance a man drew
his own son. Five days' notice then had to be served on each
drafted man, and if he failed to appear at the rendezvous
within that time he was considered a deserter and subject
to arrest. Nearly all came forward, but a few jumped the country.
The same assistance was extended to the families of these
as to those of the enlisted men, and, although it was a serious
matter, they started for the front cheerfully, like true Americans
that they were.
The draft at Des Moines was conducted by Provost Marshal
S. C. Brownell and at the Bluffs by H. H. Field, deputy.
The presidential election followed immediately on the heels
of the draft and although party feeling ran pretty high it
passed off without any violence. It commenced snowing in the
morning and continued for forty-eight hours and the weather
was cold for three weeks, which made it pretty severe for
the drafted men, who were coming in rapidly; but a requisition
had been made for blankets, which arrived in time, and detachments
were forwarded daily, until by the 20th the last of our quota
were on their way to Davenport, that being the rendezvous
for Iowa. At this time the railroad had only reached Grinnell.
The draft took some curious freaks. For instance, it took
ten men out of the first ward, and two out of the block where
it was conducted. It was no respecter of persons. It caught
A. J. Bell, our representative in the legislature, and it
took Charles, son of L. W. Babbitt, editor of the Bugle.
People supposed he would put in a substitute, but he declared
he was able to do his own fighting and went, and ever since
has been fighting for the government right in the city of
Washington, In looking back to those exciting times, it is
pleasing to remember that through it all moderation prevailed,
and at no time was violence resorted to. In fact, some of
the best friends of the writer were what were at that time
The most trying time was on receipt of the news of the assassination
of Lincoln. Even then, although there were a few cases of
rudeness, moderation prevailed and nothing approached violence.
During the winter of 1864-5 fairs and festivals were held
and quite large sums of money were raised to assist the families
of the soldiers.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
At the January, 1835, meeting of the board of supervisors
E. McBride was elected chairman; A. E. Clarendon was appointed
county superintendent to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation
of L. S. Axtel. At the city election N. S. Bates was elected
mayor, T. P. Treynor, recorder, H. P. Warren, treasurer, and
A. J. Bump, marshal; H. H. Field, Richard Rogers, C. P. Johnson,
J. M. Phillips, Thomas Jeffries and John Hammer, aldermen.
At the spring school election a four-room brick school building
was authorized on the ground now occupied by the Bloomer school.
At that time it was thought to be ample but was soon outgrown,
but did duty until 1880, when it was supplanted by the present
nine-room structure. This was misnamed the Bloomer.
The old High School building should have been named for him,
as it became a religion with him to get it placed there, and
it became a subject of contention ever after and at this day
it stands idle, representing $100,000, "with none so
poor to do it reverence."
On the 15th of April came the dispatch announcing the assassination
of Lincoln, and for a time we were almost dazed. Business
was suspended, meetings were called and resolutions passed
condemning it, even by those whose teachings for years had
led up to it.
A few persons who had openly been in sympathy with the rebellion
were notified to leave by self-constituted committees, but,
as before stated, there was no actual violence.
Many persons feared that disbanding so many soldiers at the
close of the war might result in lawlessness, but the million
of trained soldiers returned to civil pursuits with the same
alacrity that they came to the front when needed.
At the June meeting of the board of supervisors Sheriff Voorhis
resigned and H. H. Field was appointed to fill the vacancy.
In August the Council Bluffs branch of the State Bank of
Iowa was transformed into the First National Bank of Council
Bluffs, with Captain A. L. Deming as president and Moses H.
Deming as cashier.
September 21 was set apart by the citizens as a testimonial
to the men who had gone into the military service and returned
at the close of the war to resume their peaceful avocations.
The testimonial was in the shape of a banquet, and all the
citizens vied with each other in thus expressing their gratitude
to the men who had so cheerfully done their duty.
At the fall election Colonel W. F. Sapp was elected to the
state legislature, Thomas Tostevin, county treasurer, and
H. H. Field, sheriff.
In the latter part of November ground was broken on the west
side of the river in commencing the construction of the Union
Pacific Railroad, and many went over from Council Bluffs to
participate in the exercises, which consisted in throwing
a few shovels of earth, when all adjourned to the Herndon
Hotel to a banquet, after which speeches by eminent men were
listened to and all concluding with a dance in which the elite
of both cities participated.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
After the burning of Concert Hall, there was no suitable
room in the city for any public assembly and in the fall of
1865 Henry Burhop made the excavation preparatory to erecting
a fine hall, but could get only brick for the cellar walls
until the following spring when it was hurried to completion.
It was 42x80 feet, with two ante-rooms. It was well adapted
for balls, lectures and dramatic performances. Bayard Taylor
was the first person of note to occupy the platform. It immediately
became in great demand. Terms of the district court were held
in the day time and balls at night, and church services on
Sunday, while the bar on the ground floor did duty all the
During the winter of 1866-7 it was used constantly as a theatre,
and as good plays were presented there as have been at any
In January, 1866, the move to build a courthouse took active
shape. A committee of the board of supervisors reported a
plan and estimates; and the site where the courthouse now
stands was purchased at a cost of $3,500. A committee consisting
of Thos. Officer, J. M. Phillips and William Ward was appointed
to let the contract and supervise the construction of the
courthouse. On the 15th of January, 1866, the contract was
let according to plans and specifications prepared by William
Ward, the architect, to John Hammer and F. T. C. Johnson,
contractors and builders, the cost not to exceed $42,000,
bonds of the county having been authorized to meet the cost.
The work progressed so that it was enclosed and the jail,
which was in the basement, fitted up and offices on the first
floor completed, but the court room was not finished until
the winter of 1868, when it was formally opened with a banquet
given by the contractors, and at last the Goddess of Justice
had a temple of her own.
During this time a two-room brick schoolhouse had been built
on the Washington avenue grounds., as had also been the Presbyterian
Church on the corner of Seventh street and Willow avenue.
The pastor, Rev. James H. Clark, had held revival meetings
during the winter and succeeded in getting a large addition
to its membership, among whom were a number of the most prominent
men of the city, when his congregation was shocked and humiliated
to learn that he was guilty of gross immorality, and he was
Railroad building that had been suspended during the war
was now resumed. The old contracts for construction of the
St. Joseph and Council Bluffs Railroad were surrendered and
a new one entered into with Henry W. Phelps, of Massachusetts,
for the completion of the road by January 1, 1867, and all
the stock in the company held by the city and county was transferred
to Willis Phelps, as one of the inducements to a resumption
of the work, and under this arrangement work was vigorously
resumed. A locomotive (the Wahbonsy) was brought by steamer
and landed at St. Marys, twelve miles below the city, and
put to construction work and was the first to enter the city,
but the connection was not made so as to form a through line
until the following spring, while the Cedar Rapids or Northwestern
entered as per agreement before the first of January, 1867,
making the first through line. Colonel H. C. Nutt now entered
into the business of trans-
HISTORY OF POTTA W ATTAMIE COUNTY
ferring the freight destined for the west. This was all-important,
as the Union Pacific was dependent upon it for the material
for its own construction. A temporary bridge was constructed
by piling through the ice over which traffic was maintained
until the ice bridge went out and a car ferry was established,
which was continued until completion of the bridge.
While matters were being pushed in this locality, people
were not idle "up town.'" The rivalry before mentioned
still existed between the two sections, and believing a good
hotel would assist in holding trade it was determined to erect
one, and after conferring as to location, that of the old
City Hotel was agreed upon and finally William Garner, Charles
Baughn and John Hammer agreed with a committee to build a
hotel according to plans and specifications submitted by the
architect (Cook), providing the committee would raise $10,000,
which was done by subscription, and the Ogden House was launched.
After the dismissal of Rev. James H. Clark, the Rev. Thomas
H. Cleland was called to the pastorate of the First Presbyterian
Church and, after the usual trial, was duly installed and
remained as such pastor until May, 1882, when he resigned
to take the pulpit of Westminster Presbyterian Church, of
The old Ocean Wave saloon, having been on the decline since
the palmy days of the California and Pikes Peak emigration,
was at last struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
Many of the good people thought it a good opportunity to get
even with the Devil by erecting a church on its ruins. This
was accomplished by Rev. Joseph Knotts, backed and assisted
by the active members of the Methodist Church, and a pretty
fair church was erected and, although defective architecturally
speaking, it did duty until supplanted by the present larger
and more elaborate structure.
In January, 1866, L. W. Babbitt sold the Bugle to W. T. Giles,
of Freeport, Ill, who conducted the paper until October, 1867,
when he resold it to Colonel Babbitt and returned to Illinois.
A change also took place in the management of the Nonpareil
by W. S. Burke retiring December 26, 1866, and W. W. Maynard
and J. W. Chapman taking control, the former being the editor
and the latter manager. Several other changes were made from
this time until 1870, when the other interests were absorbed
by Mr. Chapman, then county treasurer, Thos. P. Treynor and
Spencer Smith, and was incorporated as the Nonpareil Printing
Company and under that name continued to do business for many
Up to this time the state had been using temporary quarters
at Iowa City in maintaining an Institute for the Deaf. Colonel
Sapp, as a member of the House from this county, backed by
leading citizens, secured a preliminary appropriation for
the erection of suitable buildings for such an institute at
During this year Thomas C. Durant, vice-president of the
Union Pacific Railroad Company; on behalf of himself and other
members of the company, purchased a large body of land in
the western part of the city to be used for railroad purposes,
and on which were later constructed their terminal depot and
transfer grounds, round houses, car sheds, etc.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
At the spring election of 1867 Judge Frank Street was elected
mayor, his opponent being L. W. Babbitt, and A. J. Bump was
again elected marshal.
On the 24th of June the Empire block was destroyed by fire.
There was no .fire department at that time and nothing could
be done to save the property. The loss was fully $100,000.
The type, press and material of the Nonpareil were totally
destroyed, as well as the young men's library.
On May 3 a new democratic newspaper was launched, called
the Daily Democrat, under the management of Alf S. Kierolf
& Co. Mr. Kierolf was a sensational political writer,
after the manner of Brick Pomeroy, with the result that a
bitter rivalry sprang up between his paper and the Bugle that
nearly disrupted the party.
The annual election for city officers was held on the 10th
of March, and resulted in the choice of Thomas Tostevin for
mayor. The school election was held on the same day 'and Mr.
Bloomer was again chosen president of the school board.
A special election was held on the 25th day of June, appropriating
$20,000 of the $60,000 loan for the purpose of purchasing
a steam fire engine. A Silsbe steamer was purchased, and Bluff
City Engine Company organized to manage the steamer. An engine
house was erected in the rear of the City building on Glen
avenue, and the steamer arrived on the 17th of September.
F. T. C. Johnson was made chief and Council Bluffs became
for the first time possessed of a fire department.
Among the new enterprises was the establishment of a German
newspaper, which first saw the light as the Free Press under
the direction of Messrs. Wenbore and Worden in September.
For a time it was prosperous, being patronized by the business
men of the city and the German farmers of Pottawattamie and
Mills counties. It changed hands with varying success until
in 1880 it passed into the hands of a man by the name of Peiffer,
who conducted it ably and placed it on. a paying basis.
The summer of 1868 was a very active one. The location of
the Union Pacific bridge, after thorough soundings had been
made for quite a distance along the river, was finally fixed
by General Dodge, chief engineer, at the point which it now
occupies, and in consideration of this and location of proper
depot and terminal facilities, the city agreed to donate its
bonds to the amount of $205,000.
During this year the building known as Bloom's hall was erected
by General Dodge and Solomon Bloom, the third story of which
was a hall 50x100 feet, with a stage across the Main street
end. This was a popular place for lectures, concerts, balls
and dramatic performances for many years.
July, 1868, marked the completion of the Council Bluffs &
St. Joseph Railroad. This connecting with the Hannibal &
St. Joseph gave us another outlet to the east. During this
year efforts were made to advance and improve the public schools.
Professor Adam Armstrong, a graduate of Springfield (Ohio)
College, was employed as city superintendent and a graded
system established. During this summer the Sixth street schoolhouse
was built, being the sixth brick schoolhouse.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
The summer of 1868 was an extremely lively one. On the 30th
of July General Grant, candidate for president, accompanied
by Generals Sherman and Sheridan, who had been on a visit
to military posts, came to the city on their way east, and,
having an hour or two before the St. Joseph train was to leave,
they took a spin through the city and down to the depot, where
they were met by a large crowd anxious to pay their respects,
regardless of party feeling.
As the, season advanced political excitement increased. Farmers'
clubs were organized by the republicans and Seymour clubs
by the democrats, who held their meetings in Burhop's Hall.
A large amount of building was done during this summer, among
which were three large store rooms belonging to Mr. Keller,
J. M. Phillips and Mrs. Knepper, on the south side of Broadway,
between Main and Fourth streets; also the three-story brick
on the southwest corner of Main and Broadway now the First
National Bank. Conrad Geise erected a large brewery, but did
not commence brewing until the spring of 1869.
As the time of the election drew near the enthusiasm increased
until it resembled, if not excelled, the log cabin campaign
It culminated October 22, so far as the republican party
was- concerned, in a grand rally to which the people of the
entire county were invited and consisted of a big dinner served
continuously from 10 a. m. to 10 p. m. and a grand procession.
The dinner was served in the three new buildings just erected
by Mrs. Knepper and Messrs. Keller and Phillips, each having
two tables their entire length kept loaded with substantials
that had been donated from all parts of the county until their
storage room resembled a commissary's store for an army. At
the same time C. L. D. Crockwell was installed in an adjacent
building with a sugar boiler making coffee, of which fifteen
barrels were consumed.
An arch spanned Broadway at the angle where the Hamilton
shoe store now is, on the supporting columns of which the
names of soldiers of the county who had lost their lives in
the war were inscribed, while on the arch itself were many
of those of the state, and in the center of which was that
of Lincoln. The tables were served by a committee of a hundred
men and a like number of women, divided into reliefs, each
of which served two hours.
At one o'clock a grand procession was formed, with Colonel
W. F. Sapp as marshal with a large detail of mounted aides.
In the column nearly every institution was represented-the
army by returned veterans, the navy by a gunboat, manned,
and discharging rockets; the several states by girls dressed
in white, with blue and red trimmings; mothers and wives of
deceased soldiers in carriages. Some features were beautiful,
others comical. Among the latter was that of Grant's tannery,
designed and conducted by Captain J. P. Williams, in which
were hanging dressed hides of leather representing Lee, Buckner
and Pemberton, while opposite hung the green hides of Seymour
and Blair waiting their turn to be tanned.
As the long column uncovered in passing under the arch the
effect was impressive, and not easily forgotten. In the evening
the pageant was repeated, to which was added a monitor and
a large delegation from Omaha
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
with a gunboat and brass band. On the whole this far excelled
any political demonstration pulled off here, before or since.
During this year the old Dohany Opera House was built, being
the upper story of a livery barn and, although the odor arising
from the stable became pretty strong at times, it was for
years the most popular hall in the city. Among the celebrities
that have appeared on its stage were Ole Bull, Janausheck,
Remenyi, Camille Urso, Henry Ward Beecher, Victoria Woodhull,
Clara Louise and Fanny Kellogg, R. J. Ingersoll, and a host
of others. The old building is still standing, but its glory
has long since departed.
During this year Conrad Geise erected a brewery on the north
side of Upper Broadway, but did not commence the business
until the spring of 1869.
The city having purchased an engine and a fire company having
been organized, it became necessary to have water, and the
plan was adopted of constructing immense cisterns at intervals
along the business streets and filling them from Indian creek,
using the steamer for this purpose, as well as exhausting
them in time of fire.
At the city election on the first Monday in April, D. C.
Bloomer was elected mayor, F. A. Burke recorder, Mr. Treynor
having been appointed postmaster by President Grant. J. B.
Lewis, John T. Oliver, J. B. Atkins, L. L. Spooner, John Huntington
and L. W. Babbitt were elected aldermen.
A new code of ordinances was prepared under the supervision
of L. W. Ross, but not published until 1870. .
On the 2d day of February an ordinance was approved granting
to Wm. Cones and associates, acting under the style and title
of the Council Bluffs Gas Light Company, the exclusive franchise
for lighting the city with gas for a period of twenty years.
The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad having obtained
"the right-of-way of the M. _M., had steadily approached
the Bluffs, and as it became known that the first train would
enter on the 12th of May, it was decided to commemorate the
event by laying the corner-stone of the Ogden House, for which
preparation had been made. A great concourse of citizens,
with the fire company, civic societies, band and artillery
squad with gun, repaired to the grounds, where a temporary
depot had been erected, and as the train pulled in it was
given a royal welcome, being the third railroad to enter the
city. From here they repaired to the site of the Ogden foundation,
where Mayor Bloomer proceeded with the ceremony of laying
the corner stone, and the festivities concluded with a ball
that evening at the Pacific house attended by the elite of
During this summer a two-room addition was added to the Washington
avenue schoolhouse at a cost of $6,000.
On the 13th of May, Council Bluffs Lodge No. 49 occupied
their new hall in the third story of the new building on the
southwest corner of Broadway and Main streets.
On the first of July a public installation of its officers
took place at Bloom's Hall, the exercises being conducted
by Grand Master William Sharpe, of Ottumwa.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
Humboldt Lodge No. 174 was organized in October, 1869, and
Hawkeye Lodge No. 184, a lodge in English, was instituted.
Twin Brother Encampment was chartered October 20 and duly
At the fall election John Beresheim, republican, was elected
to the legislature over his democratic opponent, Robert Percival,
and John W. Chapman, republican, was elected county treasurer.
A beginning was made on the state school for the deaf during
'68, but no great amount of work was done until 1869. William
R. Craig, of Nebraska City, had the contract and pushed the
work, the east wing and center being first completed. William
Ward, of the Bluffs, was supervising architect. The plans
were altered so as to involve greater expense than was provided
by the appropriation, and when the contractor came to obtain
his pay, he was confronted with the objection that the changes
were not authorized. He was subjected to lawsuits by subcontractors
and for material furnished, and financially ruined.
Finally the legislature in 1878 made an appropriation that
enabled him to extricate himself from debt. The ninety-six
acres on which the institution stands was purchased by the
citizens and donated to the state as an inducement to locate
the institution at this point, and no finer site could have
been selected. A more complete history of the institution
will be found under the head of The Iowa School for the Deaf.
The first street railway was licensed early in '69 and the
track finished from First street west on Broadway to the river
by the first of December, where it connected with the ferry.
It remained and was operated here until the great bridge was
completed, when it was changed to run to the transfer grounds
along Union avenue. The cars were small and drawn by mules.
Masonry was in a flourishing condition at this time. Excelsior
Lodge was instituted in the winter of '68-9, and Star Chapter
about the same time.
In December, 1869, Ivanhoe Commandery of Knights Templar
The great social event of the winter was the opening of the
Ogden House. It was finished and on the 22d of December opened
with a banquet attended by nearly a thousand guests. It was
the finest hotel at that time between Chicago and San Francisco.
After a bounteous supper, toasts and responses, dancing, in
which between four and five hundred couples of the elite of
all nearby cities participated, was conducted in three different
halls, and the like has not been seen here since.
On the 4th of December the fourth railroad, being that of
the Chicago, Burlington & Missouri River, entered the
city by forming a junction with the Council Bluffs, &
St. Joseph at Pacific Junction and running in on its track.
The Daily Times office at this time was located in one of
the small buildings near where McGee's real estate office
now is, and two of the printers employed there had a quarrel.
The name of one was Austin, and the other Bell. It appeared
that Austin, being drunk, was renewing a quarrel that had
been patched up, and he was approaching Bell, when the latter
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
Austin straight in the forehead. This was on the sidewalk.
Austin fell and was carried into an adjoining room, where
he lay in a comatose state, breathing heavily. Doctors were
called and they probed the wound, endeavoring to locate the
bullet, without success. To the surprise of all, he rallied,
went about and conversed with friends, apparently without
suffering until the fifth day after the shooting, when he
rapidly sank, and died June 25. Bell was tried at the July
term of the district court, and was convicted of manslaughter
and sentenced to six years, but was pardoned after serving
During the trial, the defense tried to make it appear that
the probing by the doctors was as likely to have caused his
death as the shooting. Experts were examined, among them Dr.
Malcom. On his coming out of the court room he was asked what
they were trying to prove by him. He replied: "They are
trying to prove he was killed in the post mortem examination."
The first Unitarian church was organized this year, with
Rev. Mr. Chamberlain as pastor. The brick carpenter shop of
G. F. Smith was purchased and fitted up into a very neat chapel
and flourished for a year or two, but interest lagged and
it finally died out, and the place was sold, and a marble
works installed in its place.
In August the Iowa Editorial Association visited Council
Bluffs and was entertained with a banquet at the expense of
the city. The bill being something like a thousand dollars,
caused considerable kicking among the rank and file of the
The railroad lines between Kansas City and Council Bluffs
were consolidated under one corporation, thereafter known
as the Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Railroad
Company. George L. Bradbury had charge of the interests of
the new corporation at this end of the line.
The census taken under the auspices of the United States
gave us 10,020 inhabitants.
The building of the bridge over the Missouri was commenced.
The process was sinking immense iron cylinders through sand
and mud to the bed rock. These were set in pairs, each pair,
when joined, thoroughly braced and filled with concrete, formed
a pier. Upon eleven of these rested the super structure, which
was entirely of iron, the only wood being the ties. The work
was commenced under the immediate supervision of General Toney
In the meantime, while congress was in session, a bill passed
the house providing for the charter of a company to build
a railroad bridge to take the place of the one begun by the
Union Pacific Railroad Company. The Council Bluffs people
took the alarm, seeing in it a design to have the terminus
all the west side. An immense mass meeting Wag held and resolutions
passed denouncing the scheme, and Colonel Sapp was authorized
to convey the same to Washington with a view to have its passage
arrested in the senate.
Senator Harlan caused the bill to be amended providing that
the bridge corporation might borrow money on the bridge bonds,
providing that mortgages on the bridge should not attach to
the main line, but providing that
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
the Union Pacific should still operate the road in conjunction
with the bridge as one continuous line. Work had been suspended
for a time, but was resumed and completed under supervision
of T. E. Sickels, general superintendent of the Union Pacific,
according to plans devised by General Dodge before his resignation
as chief engineer of the road. The approach to the bridge
required an immense fill, which was made by taking earth from
the bluff south of the city. This involved the laying a track
and running trains of dumping cars loaded by steam shovel
continuously for over a year.
The entire structure was regarded as of sufficient strength
to withstand the action of wind, water or ice, yet on the
28th day of August, 1877, an electric storm wrenched two spans
from the east end of the bridge and hurled them into the river.
In the meantime traffic arrangements were made by which the
business of the Union Pacific Railroad was transferred to
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy route and the Burlington
& Missouri of Nebraska.
The Odd Fellows Grand Lodge of Iowa was held at Council Bluffs
this year, the session commencing October 26 and lasting two
days, and on the evening of the second day the fraternity
gave their visiting brothers a grand banquet.
The high school building was completed this year so that
it could be used by the" 18th of November, and on that
day it was formally dedicated by its being occupied, and by
appropriate ceremonies, in which Governor Merril and State
Superintendent Kissell took part and delivered addresses.
At the annual commencement of the high school on the 14th
of June the following young ladies graduated: Hattie Williams,
Mary Warren, Lizzie Oliver, Ida Kirkpatrick, Ingaletta Smith
and Verna Reynolds. These were the first of many that have
gone out of its walls to fill places of honor, and to adorn
homes all over our country from the Atlantic even to the Pacific.
Of these above named all are living but one, Miss Reynolds.
She chose the profession of teaching and continued to follow
it until called to higher work above.
Realizing the importance of manufacturing in advancing the
interests of the community, a number of our influential citizens,
on the 1st of November, formed an association for the purpose
of promoting such industries. General G. M. Dodge was made
president, G, W. Lininger, vice-president, S. Farnsworth and
E. L. Shugart, secretaries, and H. C. Nutt, treasurer. The
business of manufacturing agricultural implements was commenced
on North Main street and prospered for a time, and the company
built a large power building near the Rock Island freight
depot into which the business was moved.
The Patrons of Husbandry also organized a grange during the
same month, the leading members of which were D. B. Clark,
Wooster Fay, L. W. Babbitt, H. C. Raymond, H. A. Terry and
J. A. Sylvester. They held their meetings in one of the buildings
on Pearl street, between Broadway and First avenue.
During this year the three-story building known as the Brown
Bluffs; Looking west on Broadway - 1854
(click image for full size)
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
running through from Main to Pearl street, was built; also
the Center street four-room schoolhouse.
Just at the close of the year '71 death claimed two of our
prominent citizens, Sylvanus Dodge, the venerable father of
General and N. P. Dodge, on December 24, and Major McPherson,
U. S. attorney for this judicial district, December 29.
At the fall election .John Bereshinn, republican, was elected
to the legislature, and George Doughty, democrat, was elected
sheriff over Philip Armour, republican, while J. W. Chapman,
republican, was re-elected county treasurer over Vigo Badolett,
democrat. During this summer we were witness to a phenomenon
that at the time baffled the wisest. There was, and still
is, a little lake called Spoon lake near the Union Pacific
transfer, where the boys were in the habit of catching minnows
for fishing. Imagine their surprise, on going there to catch
some for bait, to find the lake literally alive with fish
weighing from one to twenty pounds. The news spread and people
came and took them out by wagon loads with pitchforks. In
a day or two they disappeared as mysteriously as they came.
None have appeared since.
A FALSE PROPHET.
Another phenomenon of a different kind appeared in the person
of a crank called Potter Christ, which he had tattooed on
his forehead. He would occasionally preach to crowds, and
finally made preparation to ascend to heaven. One morning
he appeared near the Methodist church on Upper Broadway arrayed
in a white robe, riding a mule and carrying a cross, and as
he rode down the street, strange as it may seem; he was followed
by quite a number of disciples. This pageant was preparatory
to his going on a forty-day fast, after which he was to ascend
to heaven. One thing is certain, he disappeared. An unbeliever
reported that while in the wilderness fasting he was found
sucking a cow; and another reported that he was caught up
encircled by an immense flock of blackbirds. Although the
truthfulness of these statements is doubted, there seems to
be no authentic record of his ending. Pathetic as his case
appears, the old nursery rhyme seems appropriate:
"Where he's gone or how he fares
No one knows and no one cares."