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. . . about Maquoketa, Iowa

1878 - Maquoketa, from a Jackson County Gazetteer

1879 - Maquoketa, from a Jackson County History

1800's - News Items

1920 - Reminder - Unlawful to keep hogs in the city limits!

From Jackson County, Iowa 1878 Gazetteer


Maquoketa, or "Timber City," the county seat of Jackson County, situated near the southern boundary and on the river of the same name, is the northern terminus of the Davenport & North-Western Railway (Maquoketa Branch), midway between Davenport and Dubuque, the two principal cities of Iowa.

In 1838, Mr. John E. Goodenow emigrated from Warren County, New York, crossed the Mississippi at Sabula, then called Charleston, and found a family located there of the name of Wood, with a son-in-law named Steen. In the spring of the same year Mr. Goodenow moved west until he came to the Forks of the Maquoketa, where the unusual fertility of the soil, as well as its many other natural advantages, induced him to choose this spot for his future residence.

Between here and Davenport there was only one family, named Wheeler, located at De Witt, and Mr. Goodenow, in company with an acquaintance named Bates, who was living with him, desiring to go to Davenport, had to drag a load of brush to break down the grass, and thus leave a trail by which to return. At this time there was only one family between Maquoketa and Dubuque-a widow Mullin and her boys, and an old hermit-like fellow named Dixon, and only one tavern in Dubuque, and that built of logs, and two or three stores at which trading was done.

In 1842 the land excitement came to fever heat, and many towns sprang into existence (on paper), among others Bridge port, laid out by Col. Cox, about two miles and half from where Maquoketa now stands. Another named Lowell, but it was not until 1844, when Mr. Goodenow induced a man named Marr to open a general store, that this became the center around which congregated several families, who formed the nucleus of the future city of Maquoketa. In 1842, the first school house was erected of brick, manufactured for the purpose by Mr. Goodenow. In 1846 he also erected another large building, which became known as Goodenow's Hotel, or half-way house between Davenport and Dubuque.

The first attempt at a school was in an old building, formerly used as a blacksmith shop, which by patching up with sods and mud, was rendered habitable. This was used until 1846, when Mr. Goodenow, having dedicated one of the most beautiful squares of ground in the city, a large and commodious brick building was erected and called "The Academy." Dr. Lake, at present an honored resident of the city, was the first teacher.

One of the early settlers was John Shaw, who purchased a claim of eighty acres in 1837, cornering where the Stephens stone block now stands, and who settled on it in 1841. He was one of the most active and energetic men of the place, and died in 1853. His family still reside in Maquoketa, and his son is editor of the Excelsior, one of the leading newspapers.

The first white child born within the corporate limits of the town was Wesley Nims, his birth occurring in 1840.

The Rev. M. Salter was the first minister who preached, and his first discourse was delivered in 1839.

We herewith present a sketch written by Russell Perham, a worthy and esteemed citizen of Maquoketa, who has long been a resident of the place:

"In March 1838, or forty years ago the coming March, Mr. John E. Goodenow and Lyman Bates, of Warren county, New York, made the first permanent settlement in Maquoketa. They found a Mr. Phillips on a claim one mile north of town, on land now owned by the Sears Brothers, and S. Burleson, William Vosburgh, and Calvin Teeple on claims six miles west of town, they having come in the year before, or in 1837. Of the latter, Mr. Burleson and Mr. Teeple still live on the lands then selected. Mr. Goodenow made a claim on the south-east corner of Main and Platt streets, and Mr. Bates of the land on which he now lives one and one-half miles south. Mr. Goodenow built a log cabin on the north-west corner of his claim, upon the ground on which Cohn's store now stands. This he resolved was to be the future home of himself and prospective family. Here he remained, making that home as comfortable as possible under the circumstances, until the latter part of the summer of 1839, when he returned to New York, and in September following married Miss Eliza Wright, and with her and Thomas Wright and wife, and Amasa Nims and wife, returned to this, the wild western home of his choice. About this time John Clark and Jonas, his brother, together with Z. Livermore, John Shaw, Charles, William and Achilus Gordon, and A. Spaulding came into the neighborhood. Mr. Livermore made a claim on what is now the north-east corner of Main and Platte streets, Mr. Spaulding on the north-west corner, Mr. Shaw on the south-west corner, Mr. Goodenow already having the south-east corner. Each built their temporary home on their claims. John Clarke built a log house in the timber in the south-east portion, known as the Arnold place. Charles Gordon built a blacksmith shop on Mr. Livermore's claim, where the post office now stands, and a man by the name of Ab. Montgomery had made a claim and was living on the place now owned by J. Trout in the extreme southwestern part of town. Thomas Wright took a claim three miles west of the town, and A. Nims located about four miles south. J. Pangborn had also located on the land where he now lives, on the corner of .Main and West Summit streets. There were now eight or nine houses within a radius of two miles and a few more, further out. A post office was established here in 1840, which was called after the name of the place, Springfield; but after Harrison's election to the Presidency, it was removed to Bridgeport, and there remained for about two years.

"At the time of which we write, Iowa was a Territory of the Government of the United States. Its lands were not in market and were not put on sale until1845, the year prior to its admission as a State. This district, subject to entry at Dubuque, had been surveyed, and the settlers made their claims from this original survey under the auspices of a claim society composed of the first permanent settlers of Dubuque, Jackson and Clinton counties. The object of this society was to protect its members in a peaceable possession and enjoyment of their respective claims, against those who might come at a later date, covet and seek to deprive them by unfair means of their chosen homes. Each member, by the rules of the society, was allowed to claim and hold until the lands came into market, three hundred and twenty acres in a homestead.

"This society in its day was of great benefit to its members, inasmuch as its rules and regulations were the only law known, except the Territorial, which at that time was of but little benefit, for the reason that its executors were so remote and inaccessible. Many an industrious and enterprising pioneer was compelled to appeal to it for protection against the encroachments of a worthless class of squatters, whose sole business was the securing and sale of the choice claims of the county. This society when appealed to through its officers would gather enmasse, organize a court from its own members, hear the evidence in the case, notify the intruder of its findings, and unless its decision was voluntarily complied with, it was carried into effect by brave hearts and stout hands. This was the only security of the people at this time, and many of this worthless class of vagabonds were compelled to seek new tramping grounds or suffer the righteous indignation of the injured settlers.

"Under such circumstances was the first permanent settlement made here, and year after year new accessions were made to their numbers. About this time, 1840, it becoming apparent that a little business place must spring up in this vicinity, quite a rivalry was manifested as to its location. Some were in favor of Springfield, some of Bridgeport, and others of the place on which the Rockville mills now stand. The post office having been removed to Bridgeport that seemed to be the favored locality, and Jonas Clark got timber on the ground preparatory to the erection of a small store building at that point. At the same time Thomas Wright and Z. Livermore built a saw mill on the present site of the Rockville mills, where afterwards Mr. Wright built a wool-carding and cloth-dressing mill. Mr. Clark, changing his views as to location, removed his material, built the house now occupied by Mrs. S. D. Tubbs, and opened a store at that point, in which he did business for about two years. In the mean time Mr. Goodenow finding his little corn-cracker under his shed adjoining his cabin, and run by horse-power, was inadequate to the wants of the people, secured the claim on which McCloy's mill now stands, of Ab. Montgomery, at an expense of $25, threw a dam across the stream, a portion of which is still standing, and built a mill, putting in his own corn-crackers. There being no bolts the people were obliged to use their flour, bran and all, unless they sifted it out by a mill seive. At this time there was no mill where bolted flour could be obtained, nearer than Sage's mill, on the little Maquoketa, six miles north of Dubuque.

" As an illustration of the rustic manner in which many of the first settlers were obliged to live, we will mention the name of John Riggs, who located three miles south of town. He put up the body of a log house, covered it with poles laid crosswise, and piled prairie grass on top of these for a roof. He moved into this rude tenement and set up his stove, but where was his chimney to carry away the smoke. It would not do to build one through the grass covered roof for fear of fire. But a happy thought struck him-he would cut a hole through each of the four sides of his cabin and run the pipe out through these, changing it from one to the other as the wind changed. This is not an isolated case, for very many of the early settlers occupied homes of no greater pretensions, and their diet was as simple as their homes were cheerless.

"In 1842 the post office at Bridgeport was re-located at Springfield, J. E. Goodenow, postmaster, and the name of the office and place changed to Maquoketa, an Indian name signifying 'Bear River.' Mr. John Shaw had finished off a room in his block house, located on the present site of Mrs. Shaw's brick dwelling house, and put in a small stock of goods. Maquoketa was now triumphant. She had a mill, a store, a post office and a blacksmith shop. Rockville and Bridgeport surrendered, and Jonas Clark, after a severe skirmish with his partner, over the question of removing their stock of goods to Maquoketa, in which revolvers were drawn, finally became master of the situation and established himself on the corner of Main and Platt streets. Mr. Platt Smith about this time, bought the mill erected by Mr. Goodenow, put in bolts, made bolted flour, and the wants of the people seemed almost satisfied. Thus matters moved on, new settlers came in, older ones broke their prairie, fenced their improvements and replaced their old cabins by new and more commodious ones built of hard wood.

"In 1847 David Sears and Pierce Mitchell came in with a stock of goods and opened their store in the building until recently occupied by Chas. E. Northrop as a cabinet wareroom. Mr. Sears had been here a year or so prior to this and had bought for the firm of Sears & Munson quite a large tract of land just north of town. He now built a dam across the South Fork of the Maquoketa River about one mile north of the crossing of Main and Platt streets, and built a saw mill. He had platted and laid out a town at this point which he called Lowell, and brought on from Cincinnati fine lithograph maps of the projected town. Several of these lots were sold and afterwards built upon. He built for himself quite a fine brick dwelling and commenced the erection of a brick flouring mill, which was completed in the fall of 1849, and called the Lowell Merchant Mills. Thomas Wright removed his cloth-dressing establishment to this place, and between this and the two mills this became quite a place of business. But in a few years this treacherous stream cut across lots above his mill, leaving it high and dry and in a dilapidated condition, when all the machinery was finally removed and the whole went to decay. Mr. Sears now had additional cause for damning the stream more essentially than ever before, for it had floated away his visions of wealth in his mills and projected town. A wag having passed the place a short time after the mill was demolished, remarked to a friend he met in regard to the general appearance of the place, said 'he saw a dam by a mill site, but saw no mill by a damn' d sight.'

"From 1849 to 1854 nothing of special interest occurred. The remaining Government lands in the vicinity were mostly entered and undergoing improvements by permanent settlers of some means, and the town, keeping pace with the country tributary, increased in business importance. At this time the products of the farm, which was chiefly wheat, found no ready market here, and farmers were compelled to go to Davenport, Camanche, Bellevue or Dubuque with it, and as a general thing, realized only about fifty cents per bushel for it, after spending two days in getting thirty to market.

"In the summer of 1854 the Iowa Central Air Line R. R. Co., was organized and received its charter, with S. S. Jones, of St. Charles, Ill., as its President, and John E. Goodenow as our resident director. Its eastern connections were located at Sabula, Lyons and Clinton, on the Mississippi River, to run thence westerly to Hauntown, forming a junction, and from there to Maquoketa. This project gave a new impetus and importance to us as a business point, and its improvement became more rapid and of a more substantial character. In 1856 the company received from Congress a grant of $12,000,000 worth of Government lands, on condition that the company complete the road to Maquoketa by January 1st, 1858. In September, 1857, the road bed was in such a state of forwardness as to commence laying the iron, and the parties who were to furnish it, were telegraphed to forward it. But at this inopportune moment the Ohio Trust Company, through whose credit it was to be furnished, failed, and the result was, the iron manufacturers refused to fill their contract and the whole scheme was defeated.

"In 1860 a project for navigating the Maquoketa river was started, and a steamboat was built expressly for that purpose; but this, too, failed, and we were again disappointed.

"On September 3d, 1870, the Davenport & St. Paul R. R. was completed from Davenport to this place, and the Iowa Midland from Clinton to Delmar, and on that day trains on each of these roads ran into Maquoketa for the first time that on the Midland running in from Delmar on the Davenport track. This was a proud day for our citizens. What they had been so long striving for was at last accomplished, and Maquoketa from that day became the leading market place for a large section of country.

"The Davenport & North-Western Railway is now doing a vast and increasing business, under the efficient management of John E. Henry, Esq., and the thoroughly popular and gentlemanly General Ticket Agent, Mr. J. L. Kellogg. The passenger train is conducted under the supervision of that genial king of punchers, Mr. Charles Mitchell, whose attention to patrons and fidelity to the interests of the Company has popularized him with all.

"In 1873 the county seat of .Jackson County was located here by the popular vote of the county, and this gave increased importance to the place, and from that day it has been the leading business point in the county. Situated as it is, on the Maquoketa river, midway between five excellent water powers; having to the north, and extending many miles east and west, as heavy a body of as fine timber as grows in any country, consisting principally of white, red, yellow and black oak, maple, hickory, black walnut, butternut, basswood and cottonwood, with several other varieties; while on the south, east and west, and extending for twenty miles or more, lies a prairie country as beautiful to look upon, and of as fine a quality of soil as the sun ever shone upon, and all under a good state of cultivation. With no competing business place within twenty miles, there is no reason why under a just and liberal business policy by our business men, it should not maintain its supremacy in the future as it has in the past, and continue to be the center of trade for this rich and flourishing section of Iowa."


On January 27th, 1857, Maquoketa was incorporated as a city, by a special act of the Legislature. The charter was published March 31st, 1857 and adopted on the 26th of April following. On the 4th day of May the first city officials were elected, and the city government was inaugurated three days afterwards, with John E. Goodenow, as Mayor; John Pope, Recorder; Z. Livermore, Daniel Rhodes, A. Hall, J. N. Viall and P. Mitchell, Aldermen.


The population of Maquoketa has been variously stated. The State Census compiled in 1873-4, gives it a population of 2,112, but the great increase in the progress and prosperity of the place since that time, as well as a very careful estimate from the resources at our command, warrant us in claiming for the city of Maquoketa a population of 3, 000.


The city at present has an indebtedness of $5,000, incurred by the erection of the Court House, which was presented by the city of Maquoketa to the county of Jackson.


Maquoketa has a graded school system, which embraces every public school in the city. Well may Maquoketa be proud of her high school, one of the handsomest and stately edifices in the State. It stands on a rising eminence in a beautiful square, commanding a magnificent view of the city and surrounding country. It was erected in 1876, at a cost of $23,000. This school is divided into six grades or rooms, each with a competent teacher; the whole being under the immediate supervision of the efficient superintendent, Prof. C. C. Dudley. There are four other primary schools, one in each ward.


Over the Iowa Midland Railway, from Nov. 30, 1875, to Nov. 30, 1876:

Number of bushels of Wheat 30,000
Number of bushels of Oats 28,000
Number of bushels of Corn 8,000
Number of Cattle 550
Number of Hogs 8,500
Number of pounds of Merchandise 1,500,000
Number of pounds of Butter 400,000
Over the Iowa Midland R. R., from Oct. 31st, 1876, to Oct. 31st, 1877:
Hogs 8,540
Cattle 1,450
Horses 82
Oats, bush 27,800
Wheat, bush 12,900
Rye, bush 2,500
Corn, bush 2,600


There are two well conducted banking institutions: the Exchange Bank of Maquoketa, and the First National; both doing a safe and extensive business.


The business houses and residences are all of a substantial and generally handsome order, several being especially noticeable for their beauty of design and architecture, such as the Harris Opera House; Centennial Hall and Block, erected in 1876 by Messrs. Field & Sutherland; Exchange Block, corner of Main and Pleasant streets; Union Block occupied by S. Williams; T. E. Cannell's Building erected in 1872, at a cost of $3,500; Excelsior Block and Merchants Block. During the year 1877 it is estimated that over $75,000 was expended in building.

The new Decker House, now about completed, built by James Decker, formerly of Watertown, N. Y., is one of the finest hotel buildings in this part of the State. Its dimensions are 45x140 feet, three stories high, besides basement and attic; well and substantially built of brick, and on a heavy and permanent stone foundation, and will cost when finished, about $30,000. The basement is 10 feet in the clear, the first story 14, the second 13, the third 10, and the attic 7. The house contains 100 rooms and all finished after the modern style. Few if any cities of its size in the State can boast of as good school buildings, churches, taken all together, court house, stores, hotels, when the new Decker House is completed and opened, and none can compare in the amount of good sidewalks. In a few years more, when the fruits of the spirit of enterprise which now animates our citizens shall have time to be realized, we believe a place containing more pleasant and attractive residences cannot be found. That the spirit to accomplish this is already at work in our midst, can be seen by all who will take a walk around our streets. In the list given below we have only attempted to give the amount of the new buildings and additions of some importance, erected. Aside from this there has been a large amount expended in repairing dwellings, other buildings and for other purposes of which we have taken no account that would make the total run still larger.

The figures given are the actual amount expended as given by parties owning buildings, and are not fancy figures made for the occasion to swell the total. In our visits we have found that already many are making preparations for building next year, which shows that the work has not yet been so much overdone this year as to cause a standstill next year.

James Decker, finishing and completing Decker House, commenced last year $15,000
Barnes Bro's extension to machine shop on East Platt street 4,000
A. S. Carter, house on Pleasant street 7,000
Wm. Elsner, saloon, corner of Platt and Second streets 5,000
Field & Sutherland, store on Main street, occupied by Tinker Bros 8,000
Wm. Speith, saloon on West Platt street 8,000
Austin Munger, house on Maple street 2,500
E. D. Shinkle, house on Prospect street 2,500
Lee Shrigley, house on Otto street 1,800
Dexter Field, finishing house on West Pleasant street 1,500
J. E. Goodenow, store on East Platt street, now used as saloon 1,500
Evangelical Society, remodeling building on East Platt street into church and parsonage 1,800
Wm. Gurius, house on Eliza Street 1,100
J. Whitfield & Son, addition to woolen factory 1,000
J. T. Sargent, addition to house on East Maple street 1,000
James Culverwell, house 800
H. Taubman, remodeling house on South Main street 600
Smith Warren, house on Niagara street 500
Hugh Cravens, repairing and building addition to house on East Pleasant street 500
Geo. Earle, addition to house on South Main street 500
C. M. Dunbar, repairing house on Main street 500
Same, new house on Decker street 800
Same, addition to house on East Platt street 200
Tom Berkley, house on Vermont street 450
D. M. Hubbell, repairing house on East Pleasant street 450
Jacob Becker, addition to hotel on West Platt street 450
Paul Edinger, barn on East Platt street 400
James Wolff upright part to house, Eddy's addition 400
Dostal & Hoffmann, ice house at brewery 400
James Ralston house on Second street 350
D. C. Clary, remodeling school house into dwelling 300
D. & St. P.R. R., new engine house 300
H. A. Warren, barn 300
E. C. Warren, barn 300
Wm. Hancock, house on Eddy street 300
Louis Anderson, house on East Maple street 800
Mr. Henry, house 300
G. W. Wise, addition to house 250
A. J. House, addition to house on Mattison Avenue 250
C. C. Young, barn on Eddy street 250
S. W. Hazard, foundation for house on Niagara street 250
John Billups, addition to house, Eddy street 200
King Steear, barn on Summit street 200
Mr. Mosher, barn 175
Alfred Rowe, foundation, Eddy street 175
A. G. Hess, barn 150
Andrew Clement, house on Otto street 160
James O'Carr, addition to house, Summit street 100
Dalzell & Culverwell, buildings on East Platt street 100
Nathan Hatfield, wood-shed 75
J. W. Fleming, barn100
Frank Miller; barn on North Main street 100
D. H. Anderson, addition to house 75
F. Amos, barn 75
A. G. Hess, ice house 75
John Odgers, addition to house 75
Alex. Miller, addition to house 50
Miss Hoyt, addition to house, East Platt street 50
Geo. Isbell, addition to harness shop 50
Roger Bros., blacksmith shop, Pleasant street 40
Alex. Organ, buggy house 35
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $63,150


The Jackson Sentinel was established in 1854 by W. C. Swigart, who continued to conduct it consecutively till the fall of 1862. At that time, Mr. Henderson, who was the printer in the office, went into the army, leaving an edition partly set up, which remained in that condition for about two years. Several attempts were made about that time to revive the Sentinel, but they were unsuccessful, and it was finally sold to G. W. Hunt, who removed it to Le Claire, Scott County, in 1866.

Through the encouragement and patronage of the Democratic party, Mr. Swigart re-established the Jackson Sentinel in the Spring of 1868, under the designation of a "new series," and has since conducted it successfully as a Democratic organ of the county.

The Sentinel is a well-conducted and ably-edited weekly in quarto form, and has a good circulation.

The Maquoketa Excelsior, Republican in politics, was established in March, 1856, by Peter Moriarty. In the Spring of 1869, Colonel Woods, the then proprietor, sold to W. S. Beldon who retained possession until the 1st of March, 1876, when his interest was bought by Messrs. Shaw & Matthews, the present editors and proprietors.

The Excelsior has always been a Republican paper. It is an ably-conducted six-column quarto, and enjoys a good patronage. The Maquoketa Clipper P. R. Bailey editor and proprietor, is a live, spicy little sheet, recently removed from Preston, where it was long known as "Bailey's Clipper." The Clipper is sharp, pungent, newsy, and withal "independent as a hog on ice."


We herewith present a list of the various business establishments of the city:
6 Dry Goods Stores.
4 Drug Stores.
4 Holiday Goods and Notions.
4 Book Stores.
1 Music Store.
2 Dentists' Rooms.
10 Grocery Stores.
3 Hardware Stores.
4 Clothing Stores.
3 Boot and Shoe Stores.
6 Milliner Shops.
2 Agricultural Implement Houses.
4 Art Galleries.
3 Printing Offices.
2 Banks.
8 Law Offices and Firms.
6 Physicians.
1 Bakery and Restaurant.
4 Watchmakers.
3 Cabinet Shops.
2 Butter Packers.
5 Shoe Shops.
11 Blacksmith Shops.
2 Pump Factories.
7 Wagon and Carriage Shops.
2 Foundry and Machine Shops.
1 Marble Shop.
4 Harness Shops.
1 Woolen Mill.
2 Cooper Shops.
3 Livery Stables.
3 Lumber Yards.
4 Flouring Mills.
3 Saw Mills.
4 Butcher Stalls.
2 Brick Yards.
1 Gunsmith.
3 Barber Shops.
And there may be other branches of business overlooked.
In public buildings we have
5 Churches.
1 Court House.
5 Hotels.
4 School Buildings.
2 Public Halls.
12 Saloons.

Maquoketa is a surprise to all visitors, as the casual observer cannot but notice, that business is the order of the day in the place, situated away from all the thoroughfares or through lines of railroads, and without any outside aid, it has grown to be the business centre of a large circle of surrounding country. As the country has developed the city has grown in wealth, business, population and commercial standing, and the merchants, as a class, are noted for their liberality and wide range of thought in everything pertaining to the future prosperity of their city. The surrounding country is peopled by an intelligent community of farmers and stock raisers who have in a few years attained comparative wealth and affluence. Right here, within a radius of a few blocks, is transacted more business than is generally done in many cities of double the size and of older settlement.

We can offer to the newcomer a location in a live and wealthy western city, with a light debt and low taxes. We can offer him real estate at low figures, and pledge him a cordial welcome from a liberal people, and all the social, educational and religious advantages to be desired.
[Owen's Gazetteer and Directory of Jackson County, Iowa, Owen Publishing Company, Davenport, Iowa, 1878. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

From The History of Jackson County Iowa, Published November 1879


Maquoketa, the county seat of Jackson County, is located on the line between Maquoketa and South Fork Townships, about one-half mile south of the Maquoketa River, and is, therefore, only two miles from the south county line.

The first building upon the present town plat was erected by John E. Goodenow, upon his arrival here in 1838. Mr. Goodenow, who is still an honored citizen of Maquoketa, was from Warren County, N. Y, though living in Essex County at the time of his emigration to Iowa. He had been preceded by Alfonzo Gowan, who located in this vicinity, and was in communication with his friend Goodenow. So, previous to his departure from the "Empire State," he had full knowledge of the country he was coming to, and the needs of a settler in these Western wilds.

Mr. Goodenow and Lyman Bates, who yet lives near Maquoketa, made the trip from New York together. They left there early in January, 1838, with a four-horse team and wagon. They had a heavy cargo, consisting largely of blacksmith's tools, hardware, boots and shoes, clothing, harness, etc. These were brought, partly because they were more easily to be obtained than money, and partly because their owners thought it would be a good investment to bring some goods on sale to this new country.

Some nine weeks were consumed in their journey. They arrived at the Mississippi March 9, and crossed that stream on the ice. At this time, Mr. Gowan had a small hut on the Maquoketa, just below the forks. It was a very small and crude aifair, being about ten by twelve feet, and just high enough for a pioneer to stand erect in. Here our adventurers stopped for a few days, until they could prepare for themselves other quarters.

One morning, not very long after the arrival of our party, when the spring thaw had commenced, the inhabitants of this shanty awoke to find eight to ten inches of water on the cabin floor; and only by means of a canoe anchored near the door on the bank of the river, were the settlers able to reach dry land in safety.

Mr. Goodenow already had his logs cut and on the ground for the erection of his cabin, which was under roof in a few days after, and which stood on the corner now occupied by Cohn's store, i. e., the southeast corner of Main and Platt streets in the present city.

Some time in the previous spring, in 1837, Messrs. Hooper, Peck & Scales, a firm then doing business in Galena, sent one Joseph Henry to this section to erect a saw-mill. He selected a location south of the river on Mill Creek. Owing to mismanagement and other causes, the project proved a failure, and was abandoned. This was unfortunate for the settlers in this vicinity, for, had this mill succeeded, it would have saved many weary miles of teaming, and would have given a very decided impetus to improvements in this part of the county.

S. Burleson, William Vosburgh and Calvin Teeple were then living on their claims about six miles west of this point. Mr. Burleson and Mr. Teeple still occupy the lands which they had then selected. One Phillips also lived on a claim about one mile north of Goodenow's. Hence we discover the founders of Maquoketa not to have been altogether without neighbors.

February 23, 1839, less than a year after the arrival of Goodenow and Bates, came from Warren County, N. Y., Mr. Thomas Wright and family, with a sister of Mr. Goodenow by the name of Adaline, and Amasa Nims. It might be well to mention here, parenthetically, that these latter two were married soon after their arrival and were, consequently, the bride and groom at Maquoketa's first wedding.

Soon after Mr. Goodenow's arrival, he arranged to run by horse-power a little corn-cracker, under the shed which adjoined his cabin. This proving inadequate to the wants of the community, he soon after secured from one Absalam Montgomery the claim which included what is now known as the McCloy mill site, at an expense of $25. Here he built a small dam, putting in his own corn-cracker. This mill had no bolts and the patrons were obliged to use Graham flour unless they sifted out the bran with a meal-sieve. At this time, no bolted flour could be obtained nearer than Sage's Mill, on the Maquoketa, six miles north of Dubuque.

Previous to 1840, various settlers had arrived in this vicinity, among whom might be named John and Jonas Clark, Zalmon Livermore, John Shaw, the Gordons, Alonzo Spaulding and Mr. Pangborn. Mr. Livermore made a claim on the quarter-section cornering at the present junction of Main and Platt streets, and lying northeast of the same. Mr. Spaulding was on the northwest corner and Mr. Shaw on the southwest, the southeast quarter-section being occupied by Mr. Goodenow, as already mentioned.

Up to this time, there had been no talk of a town at this point, though there were prospective villages all around it. The first effort of this kind went by the name of New Rochester. It was planned in 1837, and located just north of the present city limits, by two men, Banner and Morse. Their quarrelsome disposition put an end to their attempts, and, under the circumstances, their departure was considered a good riddance by the peaceable settlers in the neighborhood. After this failure, an attempt was made by Col. Cox to establish a town called Bridgeport, on the Maquoketa, about two and one-half miles northeast of the present county seat, and which is now occupied by a few houses, forming a village known by that name. The project was short-lived, and was abandoned because it was a difficult matter to make a town but of a wilderness when nobody wanted to settle there.

In the spring of 1840, Messrs. Sears and Doolittle arrived from Covington, Ky., and purchased the claim of Joseph Henry, being the spot where the latter had made a failure in an atttempt to build a saw-mill, just above mentioned. After some litigation, they lost this claim and made another on the south fork of the Maquoketa, about one mile north of the present corner of Main and Platt streets. Subsequently they platted a town at this locality, to which they gave the name Lowell. Samuel B. Munson came to this point from Kentucky, and was taken into partnership. Munson was a good draughtsman and executed a gorgeous map of the new town, with public squares, broad avenues, etc., in gay colors, so as to look to Eastern capitalists, who were expected to invest heavily in corner lots, like a second New York or Philadelphia. Sometime later a brick dwelling was erected at this point, and then was commenced a brick flouring-mill, called the Lowell Merchant Mills. Thomas Wright moved his woolen-mill to this point, and between the two mills the town prospered for some time. But a few years later, the treacherous Maquoketa cut a new channel above the mills and left them high and dry, which circumstance was a death-blow to the city of Lowell. This event gave an opportunity to a clerical wit of the Methodist Church, who passed the abandoned site after the dam had been removed, with the remark that "that mill was not worth a dam." .

Another brief existence was breathed by a town called North Maquoketa, located on the north fork of the river by Thomas Wright and Zalmon Livermore, who had erected a saw-mill there. This project was thought by some to be the town, notwithstanding other failures, but it only lived to learn that sympathies and hopes were not so substantial materials out of which to make a town as bricks, mortar and lumber, with mechanics and money.

About 1840, a mail route on horseback was established from Davenport to Dubuque, and a post office was established at the point where Maquoketa now stands, called Springfield. John E. Goodenow was appointed first Postmaster. After Harrison came into the Presidency in 1841, the post office was changed to Bridgeport, where it remained only a few months, when it was changed back to its original location. A short experience developed the fact that there were too many Springfields for the convenience of the Post Office Department, and, to avoid confusion, the name was changed to Maquoketa, being the name of the stream near by.

At this point had been erected a blacksmith-shop by Mr. Goodenow soon after his arrival. This was converted into a schoolhouse about 1841, and a school was opened for the youth of the vicinity. Of this we will speak more particularly in recording the history of Maquoketa schools. About 1843, Goodenow and Spaulding platted a portion of their claims in a quiet way, without recording the same, and when any one came along who would build, they gave them a lot, describing the same by giving dimensions, etc., and making a deed therefor.

The first store in the village was kept by S. M. Marr, a refugee who came here from Nauvoo, Ill., with a stock of goods which he displayed in a little room which Mr. Goodenow had once used as a corn-crib, and which he fitted up for Marr. This building was 20x22 feet, and was subsequently the starting place for several merchants of Maquoketa. The building stands to this day. Sears & Mitchell, the junior partner of which firm was Peirce Mitchell, who is still a prosperous merchant of this city, began in 1847, in the frame building, recently burned, north of the Opera House. Marr had not remained many months in Maquoketa when he sold out to Dr. A. B. Malcolm, who was succeeded by a branch store established by Murphy & Burke, merchants of Dubuque.

To review slightly, we will name a few of Maquoketa's beginnings:

The first house on the present city plat was a log cabin built by John E. Goodenow on his arrival, and which was 20x26 feet, of hewn logs, with shingle roof and stove-pipe through the same for a chimney.
The first frame house was built by Zalmon Livermore.
The first brick dwelling was built by Daniel Rhodes.
The first brick kiln was burned by John E. Goodenow.
The first sermon was preached by Oliver Emerson, of Sabula, in 1838.
The first movement toward the organization of a church was the forming of a Methodist class in the house of Thomas Wright, in the spring of 1839.
This class was the nucleus of the Maquoketa M. E. Church.
The Methodists built the first meeting-house.
The first hotel was kept by John E. Goodenow in his cabin, with a signboard naming it the Maquoketa House.
The first building built for hotel purposes was a brick structure by D. Rhodes.
The first post office was kept by John E. Goodenow.
The first wedding in Maquoketa was the marriage of Amasa Nims to Adaline Goodenow, in 1839
The first child born on the town plat was Wesley Nims, son of the lastnamed, in 1840.
The first store was kept by S. M. Marr.
The first physician was Dr. A. B. Malcolm, though Thomas Wright, who had read medicine in New York, was from necessity called upon frequently, in the early days of the village.
The first bridge across the Maquoketa River was built near Maquoketa Town by A. Hall as contractor.
The first school was taught by a master named Steers in the frame schoolhouse already named.

Various improvements continued to be made, and Maquoketa threw the rival towns in the background. Rockville and Bridgeport surrendered, and Jonas Clark, after a quarrel with his partner over removing his stock of goods to Maquoketa, in which revolvers were drawn, finally became master of the situation, and removed his store from a point now occupied by the residence of Mrs. S. D. Tubbs to the corner of Main and Platt streets. The corn-crackers of Mr. Goodenow, on Mill Creek, passed into the hands of Platt Smith, and then to Joseph McCloy, who completed a regular flouring-mill in 1842.

These early days were trying ones. The products of the farm found no ready market here, and the settlers were compelled to haul their wheat, which in that day was the farming staple, to Dubuque, Bellevue or Davenport, and there dispose of it at 50 cents per bushel.

Most of the houses were of rude construction, especially those on surrounding farms. A crib of rough logs was occasionally laid up, poles placed across the top, and this covered with prairie grass; then a hole cut through each of the four sides of the cabin for the stove-pipe, and the latter, as well as the stove, were moved about whenever the wind changed.

In the villages, more pride was taken in the buildings. In 1849, in Maquoketa, Mr. John E. Goodenow commenced the erection of a fine brick building, to be used as a hotel. This was 64x32 feet, two and a half stories high, at first called the Goodenow House, and kept by Goodenow himself. This building was the making of Maquoketa. It presented a finer appearance than any other house for miles around, and the prospective settler would conclude that the village which could afford such a hotel was the one for him to settle in. This hotel was used for a good many years, and stood on the corner of Main and Platt streets. It rented at one time, about 1856, for $1,200 per year.

AS A TOWN The town of Maquoketa was platted October 1, 1850, and recorded on page 207, Book E of the Records of Jackson County. The town was surveyed by Surveyor Scarborough and recorded as platted by J. E. Goodenow, Alonzo Spaulding and Zalmon Livermore, the proprietors.

[The History of Jackson County Iowa, Published November 1879. Transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]

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In the first issue of the Sentinel, in 1854, the editor announced that there was one lack in the county, and that was the fact there was no barber. Therefore, he published an article describing this need announcing that he hoped the public would sympathize and supply a barber for the good people in this vicinity.

After several weeks the prayer was answered and a plodding German arrived on the scene, nailing a plank to the back of an ordinary chair, making thus a barber chair, and announced his trade to the general public. However, this good man, after remaining for several weeks suddenly disappeared, leaving upon his washstand the following note, explaining his sudden departure:

"I hope you will wonder that I left in such a hurry, I was compelt to do so. If I can't earn my board her, I tink it is high time to leave this place, I have to go to a place where Men git Shavet, not where they Shave themselves like they do here, where they haven't a dim to spair gittin' hair cut and shaved ant never pay for it.

"A shentlemen wouldent do so only some d--n Rascle wat will cut up sush tric. Shame for Maquokete to stit a poor Barber. Tat is the reasons I left this misprable hole, where I cant earn by board. A sit of fools in dis town.

"Goot bye to youre miserable set." [Source: The Jackson Sentinel, Maquoketa Iowa, Centennial Edition - 1938, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]


- It is unlawful to keep hogs in the city limits.
- To allow dogs or chickens to run at large.
- To keep bees in the city limits.
- To run bicycles or other conveyances of like character on the sidewalks.
- To use roller skates on side walks.
- To throw manure or any other offal in the alleys.
- To park wagons buggies or autos in alleys.

All persons violating the above are guilty of a misdemeanor and will be punished accordingly. Let us all obey the law and help clean up the city.

W. C. MORDEN, Mayor.
78 4t

Maquoketa Sentinel, Maquoketa, Iowa, Friday, April 2, 1920, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.

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