Saturday, May 30, 2020

Quad City Women Golfers Mrs. Edward C. Roberts & Mrs. Frank W. Bahnsen

 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 
20, 1916)
Quad City women golfers competed all summer for the Gold Friendship Circle Pin presented by the Western Golf Association. The tournament was held at the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Club.

When it was over, Mrs. Edward C. Putnam won the coveted pin. She made the lowest net average with a score of 87 1/4. Miss Elizabeth Putnam came in second with a score of 87 1/2. Mrs. Edward C. Roberts turned in a score of 89 1/4 to tie Mrs. Frank Mixter for third place, and Mrs. Frank W. Bahnsen came in fourth with a score of 90 1/4.

The previous year's champion,  Miss Elizabeth Allen could not compete due to an injury. She took charge of the tournament matches, instead.

The pin was presented at a tea party held at the Rock Island Arsenal Club House.

Des Moines Boosters Club - Button Day 1907

(from The Des Moines Register. January 19, 1907)
Here's an idea we could use today.

Back around the turn of the century, cities big and small had booster clubs, the purpose of which was to arouse people's interest in the town.

Des Moines sold shiny blue buttons its citizens were expected to wear to show their enthusiasm. A normal button cost 50 cents, and a plated one, $1.00. The button had an ear of corn emblazoned on it along with the words, "Des Moines Does Things."

At 11:00 a.m. on Button Day, everything came to a stop for ten minutes so that everyone could "concentrate his deepest thoughts on how to make it bigger and better," explained the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

"It was assumed that everybody who wore a button would feel in a way committed to the cause," reported The Des Moines Register. "The vital factor in the campaign is loyalty to Des Moines. The loyal booster is expected to quit knocking the town. He is required to believe that it is the best town of its size on earth, and is going to be better. He is expected to place the interests of the community above selfish individual considerations. He is expected to patronize home industries, spending his money in such a way that it will remain in circulation in Des Moines."

Friday, May 29, 2020

Clinton, Iowa Born Actress Lillian Russell

Fay Templeton, Joe Weber, Lew Fields, and Lillian Russell.
(Davenport Democrat and Leader. June 2, 1912)
Helen Louise Leonard--Nellie to her friends--Lillian Russell to her fans, was born in Clinton, Iowa in 1861. Her father, Charles Leonard, owned and operated the Clinton Herald before moving his family to Chicago when Helen was just a young girl.

Her first appearance on stage was uneventful. She played the part of a kidnapped child in a performance of The Gypsy, given by the sisters of the Sacred Heart Convent. She sang in the choir at St. John's Episcopal Church - once. She was asked not to return after cracking peanuts during a solo performance by the tenor.

After graduating from Mrs. Bates' school at age 16, Helen moved to New York with her mother and two sisters so she could study under Dr. Leopold Damrosch.

Not long after that, Tony Pastor arranged for her to sing at a nearby theater as Lillian Russell. She was an immediate success and her salary quickly jumped from $50 to $150 per week.

1907 University of Iowa Team Photo

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)

The University of Iowa Baseball Team won the Intercollegiate Championship in 1907. They won every one of their college league games for the season.

Early Automobile Advertisement from Scott County Mercantile Co. 1912

Couldn't resist adding one more early automobile advertisement. This one is from Scott County Mercantile Co. in Davenport, Iowa. The ad for the Maxwell Messenger shows an early grocery delivery truck from Elmer C. Zedder's grocery store. I wasn't able to verify if that was a local business. If anyone has any info, please leave a comment.

Huesing Bros. Automobile Advertisement 1912

(from The Daily Times. February 24, 1912)

Does anyone remember when A. D. Huesing sold automobiles instead of Pepsi? Soda must have proved a better seller.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Life And Death At the Rock Island Military Prison During the Civil War

Confederate prisoners working at Rock Island Military
Prison. (Public domain image sourced from 
Wikimedia Commons)
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.”

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]

The Bellevue War - An Incident of Frontier Iowa Life in 1840

Only known contemporary illustration of the Bellevue
War. (Colorized print from The Loyal West in the 
, by John W. Barber. Published in 1865)
In the late 1830’s the area surrounding Bellevue, Iowa served as a refuge for horse thieves, counterfeiters, gamblers, and robbers. The Burlington Hawkeye and Iowa Patriot blamed the rash of outlaws on the area's proximity to the Mississippi River. It drew the “very dregs of depravity into this country.” They would swoop out of their hideouts, grab their booty, then race back to the safety of William Brown’s hotel before anyone could identify them.

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.[1]

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.

Davenport Baseball Team of 1889

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.

Baseball didn't get a real start in Davenport until the 1889 season. There had been two previous attempts to bring the game to the area - in 1879, and again in 1888, but both leagues quickly fell apart.

The Interstate League reorganized in 1889 and included teams from eight area cities including: Davenport, Burlington, Peoria, Quincy, Terra Haute, Dubuque, Springfield, and Quincy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Barbershop Shootout in West Davenport

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)
Edward P. Cochran stopped by John Hassman’s barbershop at 804 West Second Street to ask if he needed another barber. Hassman laughed and said he didn’t look like a barber. Cochran slapped him in the face, then walked away. Hassman picked up a rock and threw it after him.

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 I got around to the back of Hassman’s shop, he came out and grabbed a brick and swore at me,” said Cochran. “I told him to stay where he was and not come any farther towards me with that brick, or I would shoot him.

“When he kept on coming, I pulled out my revolver and shot at him four or five times.” 

Muscatine Button Worker Strike and the Murder of Patrolman Theodore Gerischer

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. 

Murder of Herman Peetz in Rockingham, Iowa

Walter J. Hill received a 25-year sentence
for shooting and killing his one-time friend, 
Herman Peetz (pictured above) , at his
Rockingham  home.
(The Daily Times. November 25, 1918)
Walter J. Hill cursed the day he rented his house to Herman Peetz. At one time, the two men had been friends, but those days were long gone. Peetz didn’t appreciate anything Hill had done for him.

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.

Des Moines Aviation Meet Thrills Crowds in 1911

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)
Des Moines experienced its first Aviation Meet during the final days of May 1911 as French Aviators Rene Simon and Rene Barrier showed off their aeroplanes in a four-day exposition at the Hyperion Field and Motor Grounds. Tickets to the event cost fifty cents.

Barrier told the Des Moines Register he "wanted his monoplane entirely overhauled before the opening of the meet. The delicate mechanism is very sensitive to long and hard flights such as the noted altitude and cross country flyer has subjected it to and it is his desire to have it in the very tiptop condition for his altitude, cross country, and speed work here."

The paper went on to say Barrier had recently installed the new Gnome motor in his plane while flying at Sioux City and that "it is working like a charm."

A. H. Quessler to Manage 1911 Keokuk Baseball Club

The Keokuk baseball club hired 28-year-old A. H. Quessler to replace Frank belt as their manager for the 1911 season. He had previously managed the Independence, Kansas Club for one season. Quessler was a catcher for Waterloo the previous season, and was well-known in the Western League where he had previously played in Denver and Wichita. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

1912 -1913 Basketball Players

Found this clipping of some players from the 1912 - 1913 Davenport High School Basketball Team. The players include: Ross Tomson, Right Guard. Robert Kauffman, Left Guard. Frank Rhodes, Captain and Right Forward. John Hanssen, Left Forward.