|(from the Davenport Democrat and Leader. May 21, 1911)|
Friday, June 19, 2020
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Saturday, May 30, 2020
| Mrs. Frank W. Bahnsen (left) and Mrs. Edward C.|
Roberts competed in the Western Golf Association
tournament at the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Club.
(The Davenport Democrat and Leader. September
|(from The Des Moines Register. January 19, 1907)|
Friday, May 29, 2020
|Fay Templeton, Joe Weber, Lew Fields, and Lillian Russell.|
(Davenport Democrat and Leader. June 2, 1912)
|Top row, left to right: Barton, Poyneer, Miller, Coach Storey, Daily, and Johanssen.|
Bottom Row: W. Kelley, Kirk, E. J. Kelley (Captain), Maurey Kent, and Wilson.
(from The Des Moines Register. June 9, 1907)
Thursday, May 28, 2020
During the Civil War
years, imprisonment in the Rock Island Military Prison was almost like
receiving a death sentence; only the execution was more prolonged and painful. Things there were so bad, people began to call Rock
Island the “Andersonville of the North.”
Confederate prisoners working at Rock Island Military
Prison. (Public domain image sourced from
Getting to the true story of life at the prison is almost impossible. Northern papers, notably The New York Herald and the Chicago Tribune, tended to write glowing articles about life at the camp as compared to the wretched treatment Northern boys received in Southern prison camps.
What they overlooked was the death rate at Rock Island. The camp’s first year of operation was the worst. Depending on which report you rely on, nearly a thousand prisoners died during its first six months of operations, half that number from diseases such as smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia.
In May 1864, the Muscatine Weekly Journal reported 6,586 prisoners were confined at the Rock Island prison. ”1132 have died, 668 have enlisted in the United States Naval Service, and 171 have been released by order of the President.”[i]
The Cedar Falls Gazette published a weekly tally of deaths at the camp. Forty-nine prisoners died in the first week of April 1864. “Since the 22nd of December (1863), there have been 969 deaths among the prisoners, 415 of which were from smallpox.”[ii]
|Only known contemporary illustration of the Bellevue |
War. (Colorized print from The Loyal West in the
Rebellion, by John W. Barber. Published in 1865)
Brown was one of the original settlers of Bellevue. He came to the area in 1836 or 1837 and purchased the hotel. In 1838 he ran for sheriff of Jackson County and lost to William W. Warren of Dubuque. In 1840 Brown ran for a seat in the Territorial Legislature and lost to Thomas Cox. That created bad feelings because Cox had accused him of illegal dealings during the campaign.
The band committing most of the robberies around Bellevue worked out of Elk Heart, Michigan. They focused on Iowa and the Rock River Valley in Illinois, though occasionally they ventured as far as Kentucky, Missouri, and the Cherokee Nation.
The way the band worked, they had spotters on location who passed on information about promising prospects. When the robbers hit, the spotters were careful to be with a neighbor who could vouch for their innocence. That way no blame could fall back on them.
Bellevue was a central point on their route.
|From left to right, upper row: Con Struthers, Whitaker, Routcliffe, Henry Schuhknecht. Middle row: Joe Kappel, Sammy Nichols,|
Bob Allen (captain), Charles Gessinger, Henry Kappel. Bottom Row: Jerry Harrington, Billy Rhines, Jack Fanning, Jack Lauier.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
|John Hassman’s barbershop at 804 West Second Street in |
Davenport, Iowa. Edward Cochran fired the shots that killed
him through the wooden fence.
(The Davenport Democrat and Leader. November 30, 1911)
Cochran scurried off to the Miller Hotel, where he ate breakfast. Before leaving, he stopped in his room and grabbed his gun—a Savage Automatic that held ten shells—nine in the chamber and one in the barrel.
“When he kept on coming, I pulled out my revolver and shot at him four or five times.”
The Muscatine pearl button industry got its start almost by mistake in 1890. John F. Boepple, a German immigrant, cut his foot on a clam shell while swimming in the Mississippi River. Rather than cry about his bad luck, Boepple gathered a handful of shells and took them home, where he cut them into buttons. A local merchant bought them for ten cents, and a new industry got its start.
Twenty years later, Muscatine found itself home to at least forty-three pearl button factories and cutteries. By 1910, the industry dominated the local economy. Over one-half of the city’s 3,500 wage earners labored as button workers.[i] Muscatine buttons accounted for 15 percent of the nation's button supply, and salaries from the industry contributed over one and a half million dollars a year to the local economy. An expert consulted by the Des Moines Register said the average worker earned $12 per week.[ii] But unionists claimed most workers made half that amount.
Pauline Lang, a Muscatine button worker, explained to the San Francisco Labor Council, “the men were receiving but from $6 to $7 per week, many of them toiling in water to their knees. The women and children received as low as $3 a week for toiling in rooms where the dust was so thick that many of them contracted blood poison and consumption.”[iii]
It was a dangerous, dirty job, worked by men, women, and children as young as fourteen. A typical workweek could run anywhere between 54 to 72 hours.
|Walter J. Hill received a 25-year sentence |
for shooting and killing his one-time friend,
Herman Peetz (pictured above) , at his
(The Daily Times. November 25, 1918)
Hill rented his house to Peetz for next to nothing, and how did he repay him? With a bill for some petty work, he’d done in the back yard.
No. It wasn’t right. He would show Peetz.
Hill bought a .38 caliber revolver and 50 rounds of ammunition, then told his neighbor, H. E. Ashcraft, that he was going to "get" Peetz.
Less than a week later, Hill shot Herman Peetz dead in his back yard at 423 Pearl Street in Rockingham (now the west end of Davenport).
In retrospect, the reasons for the shooting seemed petty or inconsequential.
Hill leaned a ladder up against Peetz’s house and dragged a roll of tar paper up to the roof. Then he went home to get a hammer and nails. When he came back, he discovered Peetz had taken the ladder down and tossed it in the yard.
|Rene Barrier seated in John B. Moisants Number 17|
Monoplane. He flew the plane during an exposition at
Des Moines Hyperion Field in 1911.
(Des Moines Register. May 28, 1911)