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   Read more on Alton's History here






Source: Alton Spectator, July 2, 1833

Mr. Editor - It is with unfeigned pleasure that as I lately passed through your town, I learned its real and contemplated improvements. Two years ago, in traveling along the Mississippi, scarcely a house was to be seen. Since that time, a flourishing village of many hundred inhabitants has sprung up as by enchantment, and the whole aspect of the town convinces me that the same vigor and enterprise that commenced its existence is pushing it onward. The prosperity of your new and wild, but flourishing town, is a source of gratification to me, and I doubt not (as it should be) to the citizens of the state. The citizens of no part of Illinois can, or should be, jealous of its growth. Besides, it must be a matter of state pride with our spirited and independent population, to have a metropolis of its own. While we rejoice in the prosperity of sister states, we certainly do not wish to build them up at the expense of our own. There is no one but is gratified to hear it said of his town, state, or metropolis of his state, as populous, respectable and prosperous. The citizens of Illinois cannot be destitute of its feeling, and it gives me pleasure to state that gratification is within their reach. Our territory is extensive and fertile, population already large, made up of the best material, and rapidly increasing. There are many states with less population than ours that can boast of their cities of thirty, forty, of fifty thousand inhabitants, and these cities are sources of pride and prosperity to their states. But Illinois, with a population of nearly or quite two hundred thousand free citizens cannot name a single city, nor even a village, containing two thousand inhabitants. It seems hardly possible, but it is so. I can account for this no other way than by supposing the want of an effort, and that citizens have been busy in building up the towns and villages in their immediate vicinity without reference to the interest and character of the state, and as this they have unquestionably been successful. No one who has traveled through the same can deny that we have many beautiful and flourishing villages and small towns. Out state has no metropolis. Shall it have one? It depends upon its citizens to answer. No one doubts our capability, our resources. A city in another state now reaps the harvest, which one in this state should gather. St. Louis has been principally built up and is now too great a measure supported by the profits of business derived from the state. Let this business be diverted and applied to our own benefit, and a city would soon spring up on the Illinois shore. Then our citizens would not be obliged to pay out their thousands every year, to ferrymen, for the privilege of carrying their surplus produce to the market of St. Louis. Your town seems to be the location pitched upon, and it now begins to feel the beneficial impulse. Your harbor is excellent, navigation is always unimpeded, except a small portion of the winter season, as ____ central, a bend of the river throwing it considerably into the interior of the state; building materials abundant, and of the best quality, and the county around it high, dry and fertile. I have only to hope for your own, and for the credit and interior of the state, that your present favorable prospects will be fully realized.  Signed Illinois.




Source: The Evening Journal, Albany, New York,  July 9, 1833     (Extract of a letter from a merchant at Alton, Illinois, dated June 21rst, 1833.)

"The first case of cholera that occurred here was one quarry man, a moderate drinker. He died in 12 hours. Second case, a quarry man, intemperate, died in a few hours. 3rd, Mrs. Elijah Haydon, after premonitory symptoms, take at noon, died at night.   4th, Mrs. Pierre, wife of the Representative for Greene co., taken at noon, died in four hours. Mr. Wilson, a temperate man, lingered several days and then died. A German, intemperate, remained two days in collapse, and died.  Child of J. Thomas, and Mrs. David Miller, died in a few hours. The last death was our highly esteemed friend, Dr. Barrett, formerly of Massachusetts. His was the most violent case I have seen. In three quarters of an hour after he was attacked, he was speechless - and died in three or four hours. In all these cases a diarrhea preceded the attack. Doctor Barrett, though not well, had been out all night with the sick, fatiguing himself very much. We have had several cases which have been found manageable. There are now three or four cases on the recovery. So we think the worst is passed. Confidence is now partially restored."




Source: The Evening Journal, Albany, New York, June 30, 1835

The Alton (Illinois) Spectator says upwards of 20 deaths have taken place in that town within two weeks. The disease, however, was taking a milder form, and hopes were entertained that it would soon take its departure. The Spectator adds that Cholera prevails to a greater or lesser extent in Edwardsville, the American Bottom, through the towns on the Illinois river, and various other places in the State.




Source: The Daily Evening Herald, Missouri, September 18, 1835

St. Louis & Alton Packet.  The steam boat Tiskilwa will commence her daily trips between this place and Alton on Tuesday next. She will start from the foot of Oak Street, opposite Vatrin & Reel's store, at 9 o'clock A. M. precisely. Leave Alton daily at half past 3 o'clock P.M. All freight must be delivered on board at least half an hour before starting, as the time of departure will be strictly adhered to. For freight or passage apply on board or to Bray & Baily, Agents at St. Louis.    Townsend & Co. - Agents at Alton.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 9, 1836

The steamboat Tiskilwa has been purchased by a company of our merchants for the purpose of continuing her as a regular packet between Alton and St. Louis. she will probably commence her daily trips about the first of April, leaving this every morning and returning in the afternoon, Sundays excepted. After this trip, she will, we are informed, go into the dry dock for thorough repairs. It is the intention of the proprietors to remove the lower cabin and finish a neat and commodious upper cabin with berths, which will accommodate such transient persons as cannot probably get accommodated at the taverns, with supper, bed and breakfast, ______ number of such persons is now found nightly to amount from 10 to 20, and this number is constantly increasing.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 6, 1836

Notice:  I wish to contract immediately for grading Front Street in Alton, from the State landing below the steam mill to Market Street, of a sufficient width to make a good landing the whole distance, contracts for the filling up will be let from one to ten thousand cubic yards to suit applicants. Also, I wish to contract for setting about one thousand feet curbstone and paving the gutters in Second street between Piasa and State streets.  S. C. Pierce, Street Commissioner.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 23, 1836

The steam ferry boat, on this ferry, having been snagged and lost early in the winter, the public are informed that a new and superior boat is contracted for, which will make the trip in three or four minutes, and will be out from the Ohio in May. Until then, the company will run a scow and skiffs. For the ferry master, apply at Townsend & Co.'s warehouse, or to Joel Foster, Ferry Master, Foot of State Street.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 20, 1836

Just received per steamers Boonslick and Far West, an addition to my stock of goods, which with those before on hand, gives me the largest assortment of wooden ware and chairs ever offered in this place, consisting of 113 doz. painted pails, 28 doz waggon pails, 10 doz superior painted tubs, 30 doz. superior unpainted tubs, 11 doz. small painted oval tubs or keelers, 6 doz. turned maple tubs, 15 doz can puits, 30 doz. sugar boxes, 8 doz chaires, 250 nests measures, 5 doz baskets, 5 doz barrel covers, 20 doz common wood seat chairs, 10 doz imitation wood seat chairs, 5 doz flagg seat wood chairs, 4 doz cane seat Grocian chairs, 3 doz low and high children's chairs, 1 doz willow waggons and oradies(sp?).  Dippers, frays, washboards, taps and faucits, wooden bowls, clothes pins, rolling pins, ____ starts, axe halves, fancy and common bellows; 11 dozen scythes, hoes and handles, 5 doz scythe, scathes, 8 doz hay rakes, and a general assortment of groceries, which will be sold at wholesale or retail, at as low prices as can be purchased at any place in this section of the country. Country traders are invited to call and examine for themselves at the store formerly occupied by Aldrich & Buffum, two doors west of the bridge. Alton, April 6.    S. A. Aplin Jr.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1836

From the Jacksonville Patriot.  Alton - We recently visited this young and flourishing town. The business that has been transacted in it the present season greatly exceeds in amount the anticipations of its warmest friends. The Legislature, in its liberality to provide a suitable place for the reception of convicts, erected the State Penitentiary on a hill near the present site of Alton, and no doubt supposed that such a large stone structure would stand unrivalled by any buildings the Altonians might think proper to erect. But the individual enterprise of the merchants in putting up large, four and five story stone warehouses, bears indomitable evidence that they are determined not to be outdone in this particular. In fact, the foundations for a large commercial city are already laid in Alton, and all the forced ridicule and unfair opposition that the citizens of St. Louis may array against it cannot keep it down. The merchants of Alton are, generally, a liberal minded, fair dealing set of men, and as such we commend them to the patronage of our country leaders.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1836

We understand that a number of persons with malicious and riotous intentions, on Saturday night last, resorted to the room of Mr. Schweighoffer, the magical professor, &c., who has for several nights been exhibiting his feats of legerdemain [slight of hand] for the gratification of the curious, and without ceremony proceeded to demolish his apparatus which had been erected for the exhibition - the result of which was that the audience were dispersed, and considerable loss sustained by Mr. S.  We learn, however, that complaint was instantly made, and the offenders were on Monday arraigned before Justice Martin, and a very intelligent jury, who found a verdict of $100 against William Van Deuser, as principal in the riot. The verdict given was the extent of the law on the subject, and we congratulate our community that such a verdict was found against the first symptoms of riot and disorder which have appeared among us. We believe this the largest verdict of the kind ever given in the county of Madison, and it augurs well for a healthy state of public sentiment. It cannot be too deeply impressed upon the mind of every citizen, that the least injury inflicted upon the laws - the first note of defiance - is an evil of incalculable moment to our best and dearest interests. In this light we rejoice at the verdict, and hope its effect will be salutary upon this community.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1836

We copy the following extract of a letter from the St. Louis Observer. The writer had visited Alton and was on his way East. When the writer says, "a beautiful town will yet be made of Alton," he speaks but the sentiments of all who look at the subject with candor and impartiality.  "It is too early in the season for Illinois to appear in her beauty. A few weeks hence, her prairies will be one immense flower garden; her cultivated lands covered with the luxuriant growth of a most prolific soil; and her whole length and breadth spreading out the finest body of land to be found in these United States. Alton is a broken, ugly place. I remember one passenger asked another if he resided in Alton, and being answered in the affirmative, replied, "I pity you." Whether a person comes down the river or goes up the river, he can hardly persuade himself that this is the very Alton of which he has heard so much. But let him enter Alton by land, going up from Saint Louis, and if his childhood like mind was nurtured among the mountains, the hills of Alton will look like friends. Ascend these hills and the prospect is delightful. The Missouri is full in view, pouring its mighty waters into the majestic Mississippi. The loaded steamboats fast stemming the current, and the town below you is bustling with the business that throngs her. A beautiful town will yet be made of Alton. But Alton's greatest, fairest prospects are in the character of her population. Her men of influence are public spirited, virtuous, religious. The foundations for her greatness are laid in her college, her schools, her churches. The industrious, the intelligent, the sober, the pious, will find a congenial home in Alton. The intemperate and licentious had better go elsewhere. They may mingle with the herd that now infests the town and which must soon pass away, but they can gain no permanent home here."




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1836

There is no one thing that tells more forcibly for the public spirit and enterprise of a town than the number and elegance of its public buildings. They are the first to attract the notice of the stranger, on entering a place, and the last to recede from his view on leaving it. Nor are they an inconsiderable index of the moral character of a population. For it is proverbially true, that where public institutions such as Academics, Lyceum halls, churches, and the like, abound, there do we find a population virtuous, intelligent, refined and happy. It is on this account that we are pleased to record every new effort to erect Seminaries and churches. We doubt if the place can be found of its size in our country, where the institutions of religion and learning receives greater patronage than in Alton, or where at this moment, greater improvements are in contemplation. Besides the present neat and commodious Presbyterian, Baptist, and Reformed Methodist churches, we learn that the Episcopal congregation are making preparations to build a handsome church in the course of the summer - that the Episcopal Methodist congregation have recently purchased the house recently owned by the Baptists, and that the Baptist congregation will soon erect a house which for beauty and elegance will not suffer in comparison with any church in the western country. In addition to these, we learn that two churches (Baptist and Presbyterian), and the college buildings, are in progress at Upper Alton, and the Female Seminary, projected and founded by the munificence of our esteemed fellow citizen, B. Godfrey, Esq., in the vicinity of this place, is commenced and will be completed during the present season. We hope, before long, to present our readers with an outline of the plan upon which this seminary is to be conducted; and judging from the character of the gentleman who is to superintend it, no doubt exists but it will be established on principles the most liberal and correct.



Source: Alton Telegraph, May 25, 1836
Notice: A meeting will be held at the Lyceum Hall on Thursday evening, 26th inst., for the purpose of ascertaining what is, or where is, the grade of 2d, 3d, 4th, Market, Alby and Alton Streets. In consequence of contemplated improvements, it is the interest of those who hold property on the above streets to be informed. The Trustees of the town are invited to attend, and they will confer a favor by furnishing to the meeting the town plat, with the grade marked, &c.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 15, 1836

It is with pleasure we announce the arrival of the new and beautiful steam, Benjamin Ives Gilman, which has been built by the enterprise of our citizens, in connection with Capt. Green, expressly for plying between this place and the different ports on the Illinois River. This boat is of novel construction, and has been built with particular reference to the Illinois trade. Our merchants have hitherto found great difficulty in shipping their goods regularly up the river - the boats from below being generally unable or unwilling to receive their freight. We therefore hope the enterprising proprietors of the B. I. Gilman will be largely rewarded for this very important acquisition to our business facilities with our sister towns on the Illinois river. The internal arrangements of the boat are very tasty - not surpassed, if equaled, by any boat on the upper waters. Capt. Green has been long and favorably known on the river as a careful and attentive commander, and passengers on board his boat may rely upon every exertion to render their stay pleasant and agreeable.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 15, 1836

Take 1 quart of West India molasses, 20 drops oil of spruce, 15 drops oil of wintergreen, 10 drops oil of sassafras. Fill the pail with hot water, mix them well, and let it stand until it has become blood warm - then add 1 pint yeast. Let it remain 10 or 12 hours - bottle it, and in 3 hours it is fit for use and first rate.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 29, 1836

About thirteen miles of this road, we learn, has been opened and is now in traveling order for wagons and carriages. Arrangements are being made for its continuation to Hillsborough, with the pleasing prospect of a speedy completion to that place. The enterprising citizens of Shelby county will no doubt do their part towards carrying the road through to their seat of justice, and thus afford facilities of intercourse with us which have not been hitherto enjoyed.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 29, 1836

A stage line has been established to run twice a week between this place [Alton] and St. Charles, Mo., by Mr. S. L. Watson. This arrangement has long been needed, and for the want of which, our citizens have not as frequently visited our neighbors on the other side of the river as they would have done, had traveling facilities been afforded. We learn that the road from this to St. Charles is almost a perfect level, and during a great portion of the year is in excellent traveling order. We intend ourselves to take the first leisure season to visit the delightful village of St. Charles, and will then tell our readers more about it than our present knowledge of it will enable us to do.







From the Edwardsville Spectator, February 19, 1822

"R. & J. Pogue advertise for rent 'that large and elegant Mansion House in Lower Alton, lately occupied by Charles W. Hunter, containing eight rooms and other convenient outhouses attached to same.'"



Source: Alton Telegraph, June 29, 1836

We are happy to announce to the citizens of Alton and the public generally, that Col. Alexander Botkin has this day opened his large, well furnished, and pleasantly situated State Street Mansion House. From our knowledge of the competency and gentlemanly deportmant of its proprietor, we feel no hesitation in recommending this establishment to the patronage of our citizens, travelers, and all who may desire good living and comfortable quarters.



Source: Alton Telegraph, August 24, 1836

At a large and respectable meeting of the citizens of Alton, friendly to the election of Gen. William Henry Harrison of Ohio, convened, pursuant to public notice, at the Mansion House of Col. Botkin, on the 13th inst. On motion, Samuel L. Miller presided, and John R. Woods was appointed Secretary. On motion of John Hogan, Esq., Representative elect for Madison County. Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed to prepare resolutions for this meeting. Whereupon the Chair appointed William McBride, Col. A. Botkin and William K. Grimsley, who reported the following preamble and resolutions, which were read in a spirited and emphatic manner by Mr. McBride......


Resolved, That a Committee of five be appointed to hold correspondence with individuals and meetings throughout the State, friendly to the election of Gen. Harrison.  John Hogan, Esq.; F. B. Murdoch; Col. Alex Botkin; Col. John Bostwick; William McBride.....



Source: Alton Observer, March 9, 1837

The Mansion House of the subscriber in Lower Alton is offered for sale, but if not sold soon, will be much improved and leased for a term of years. The situation presents a desirable point, as a business stand, being on the main street of the town, and at the corner where the road turns to Upper Alton. Terms will be liberal and possession given on the first day of April next. Apply to C. W. Hunter, Alton, March 9th, 1837.



Source: Alton Telegraph, March 29, 1837

Travelers, and the public generally, are respectfully informed that the subscriber, having taken the afore well known stand, on State Street, Alton, is now ready for the reception of travelers, as the house has undergone many necessary repairs to make it comfortable. To those who may favor him with a call, he pledges himself, on the post of his beds and table, that every exertion will be used for the comfort and satisfaction of his guests. Its situation is the most convenient of any public house in the place for travelers ascending or descending the Mississippi, being a few rods from the steamboat landing, on a beautiful eminence, commanding a splendid view of the town, country around, and Mississippi river, as far as the mouth of the Missouri. The subscriber, having been favored with the St. Louis and Springfield stages, travelers can at all times be accommodated with sc___. There is a livery stable attached to the house, where the greatest attention will be paid to horses intrusted to the care of the proprietors of the stable, and horses, gigs, carriages at all days to hire; in short, a call on the subscriber, one and all, will results in attention.  William Harned.



Source: Alton Observer, July 27, 1837

Mr. Editor - I had occasion the other day to visit the "Mansion House," formerly kept by Col. Botkin, and was highly delighted, and indeed somewhat astonished, to find such a great change for the better, in the extensive enlargement and beautiful appearance of the building. The present proprietor and owner of this establishment, I humbly conceive sir, deserves great commendation, as well as a liberal share of patronage, for his unremitting exertions, and the great expense to which he has been at in erecting and completely furnishing such a commodious and convenient house for the comfortable accommodation of his friends and fellow citizens. Those, therefore, who may chance to visit the city of Alton, either on business or otherwise, will find it at present (the "Alton House" having been destroyed by fire) more agreeable to spend their time comfortably and quietly at the "Mansion House" on State street, at present kept by Mr. John Harnard, who is himself a temperance man, and who keeps to all intents and purposes a well-organized Temperance House. I have made these remarks without the knowledge of Mr. H., and hope that they will be received and considered as entirely disinterested, (except so far as the general good is concerned) and as coming from one who seldom speaks either for or against any person without just and plausible reasons for so doing.  W.



Source: The Telegraph newspaper articles
Mansion House, the oldest boarding house in Alton, was located at 506 State Street in downtown Alton. It was built by Capt. Botkin, and was a three-story building. The second proprietor was Louis Kellenberger, and the third was William Harned. Harned remodeled Mansion House, and boasted "large airy bedrooms; private sitting rooms, carpeted and furnished with the latest periodicals; the best table the market can afford; proximity to steamboat landing and the business district of Alton; and it was the best hotel in Alton. William Harned was a follower of Elijah Parris Lovejoy, and was a member of the "60 Militant Friends" of Lovejoy. Harned donated a first-story room in the Mansion House for the last Lovejoy meeting, held the evening before Lovejoy was assassinated. William Harned's son, John Wesley Harned, was also an eyewitness of the Lovejoy tragedy.

The ghost legend concerns Tom Boothby, a veteran of the Indian campaigns, who had fought in the Black Hawk War of 1831-32 against the Indians. Boothby came to the Mansion House to stay in about 1836. He seemed to have plenty of money, but was closed-mouthed about his past life. Boothby had only one arm, and an Indian arrow had put out one of his eyes. He was of advanced age when he came to Alton, and legend says he never left the Mansion House after his arrival until his body was carried out for burial in 1838. He was supposed to have occupied the southwest corner room on the second floor.

After he had been in the Mansion House a short time, his mind became affected, and he became obsessed with the idea that an Indian was after him and would torture him to death. He screamed when these spells came on, and told his listeners that this Indian would strangle him so that his soul would never leave the body (an Indian curse in which Boothby believed).

Boothby was in his room during the last Lovejoy meeting, and had one of his spells. He became so loud and unruly, that Mr. Harned went to his room to quiet him.

Between his spells Tom Boothby was likeable, and spent his time spinning yarns for the children of the downtown district. One night a fit seized him that was more violent than the others. He screamed the Indian had found him and was strangling him. Harned rushed to his room, but the old man had died of fright, his one eye staring as though he still could see, and his hands at his throat as though to pull hands away.

After he was buried, people claimed the Indian spirit had found Boothby and strangled him, and that Tom Boothby would never have any rest. This story spread throughout Alton and became one of the best known ghost stories of that day. For that reason, Boothby's old room was unoccupied for some time. During storms of high winds, folks declared they heard Boothby’s ghost crying out, and his frantic footsteps up and down the hall. In time Boothby was forgotten, and the place of his burial is not known. The hotel business took a downturn, and Mansion House was closed by Harned in 1839. It opened again as a hotel from 1849 to 1855. In about 1856 the Daughters of Charity took over Mansion House and conducted a school there, boarding students. In time the sisters left, but they re-occupied Mansion House in 1864 when nurses of the order were sent to Alton to care for the sick and wounded at the military prison. At the close of the war the sisters remained and started the hospital in Mansion House that was in later years St. Joseph's Hospital.

Mansion House was torn down following a devastating fire on January 14, 2010. The building at that time was used as an apartment house.





Source: Alton Telegraph, June 29, 1836

The procession will form at 11 o'clock a.m. on the angle of Second [Broadway] and State Streets, the right on Second Street, opposite the store of John Bugan & Co.'s., extending west on Second Street to State Street, thence northwardly on State Street to the rear in the following order: 


1st, Artillery Companies and ordinance

2d, Uniform company's according to their respective grades

3d, The respective Merchants  Societies with their mottos

4th, Citizens of Alton and vicinity

5th, Revolutionary Soldiers and Soldiers of the late war

6th, State officers and judges of the supreme, circuit and county courts

7th, Members of the Bar

8th, Physicians of Alton and vicinity

9th, Band of Music

10th, Chaplains and other clergy

11th, Orator and Reader

12th, Committee of Arrangements


In the above order the procession will move in double file by the right down Second to Market Street, down Market to Front, down Front to Alton Street, thence up Alton to Second, thence up Second to the Public Square, then across the square to Third Street, thence up Third Street to the Presbyterian Church and hall, with the right resting at the entrance of the church. The column will then face toward in open order, when the rear of the procession will fill in alternately and march up the center into the church. The same order will be observed in returning from the church. The procession will then march down Third Street to the Public Square, thence down the square to Front Street, thence down Front Street to the Alton House, where a dinner will be prepared, and then the procession dismissed. The church will be open from 10 o'clock until the procession arrives for the reception of ladies only, under the direction of officers appointed for that purpose.  N. Buckmaster, Marshal.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 6, 1836

The sixtieth anniversary of our national independence was celebrated by our citizens with unusual pomp and manifestations of patriotic joy. At 11 o'clock, the citizens assembled in Second street, and then fell into rank according to the order and arrangement under the direction of Col. Buckmaster and Col. Botkins, who officiated as marshals of the day. Inspired by the event, they assembled to commemorate and by the performance of an excellent of musicians brought expressly for the occasion from St. Louis, the citizens marched through some of the principal streets of the town to the Presbyterian Church. The ceremony in the church was of the most interesting and inspiring kind, calculated to awaken all the grateful and patriotic feelings of our nature. It commenced with the thrilling notes of the band of music, after which an appropriate and fervent prayer was offered up to Heaven by the Rev. Mr. Graves. The Rev. Mr. Hogan, after some excellent prefatory remarks, read the Declaration of Independence, and Samuel G. Bailey, Esq., delivered an interesting oration. Several beautiful national hymns were sung by the assembly, and being at length dismissed by the invocation of a blessing by the Rev. Mr. Graves, the assembly left the church and formed in procession and proceeded to the "Alton House," where a sumptuous and most plentiful repast was provided by Mr. Delaplain. J. A. Townsend, Esq., was appointed President; William Martin, Esq., 1st Vice President, and Dr. H. Beall, 2d Vice President. After the removal of the cloth, the following toasts were drunk:

1st, The day we celebrate - The birthday of constitutional freedom.

2d, The patriots of Revolutionary memory - Men who were as jealous of their political rights as of their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. May their descendants ever be as watchful.

3d, The President of the United States - As a warrior dauntless, as a statesman able and dignified.

4th, The Constitution of the Federal Government - The cement of our Union, the fountain of our power and prosperity, and the guarantee of our liberty and independence.

5th, The memory of Washington and LaFayette - The former a name at which monarchs tremble. The latter our country and freedoms friend.

6th, The memory of Adams, Jefferson, and Monroe - On the anniversary of their glory and their death, may the remembrance of their patriotism be thrice hallowed in every heart.

7th, The state of Illinois - Now in her infancy, when time shall ripen her to maturer years, her intelligence and power may not be surpassed by either of the old thirteen, the thirteen since made, or thirteen to come. And may she never change her birthright or discant from the principles as dictated to her sons by Washington and Jefferson.

8th, Internal Improvements - The veins and arteries of our system - May our state encourage and extend its vigor to every portion of its fertile plains and prairies.

9th, The early settlers of Illinois - Heroic examples of fortitude, perseverance and personal bravery.

10th, The glorious tea party of November 16th, 1773 - When we first determined that there was no road to our coffers but through our affections.

11th, To the memory of Robert Fulton - His genius co-equal in importance to the commercial interests of the west, with that of Jefferson to the political interest of our Union.

12th, Reserved rights - In all national improvements directly involving the interests and welfare of our people, while we endeavor to exercise our duties in harmony with the Federal Government, we will never forget the rights reserved to us as a separate sovereignty.

13th, The Fair - Their charms in raptures strike the eye, Their merits win the heart.


Volunteer Toasts:

By Judge Hawley, who from illness was obliged to resign the chair as President of the day. An appropriate letter for the occasion was received with the following toast: The Heroies of the Revolution - They won their honors well, and many have won them long.

By Samuel G. Bailey, Esq., orator of the day: The spirit of Liberty - We inhaled it at birth. We will cherish it through life, and transmit it unimpaired to our posterity.

By the acting President of the day, J. A. Townsend: The Fathers of New England - Men who knew their rights and dared to maintain and defend them. May their sons prove worthy of such sires.

By J. B. Handley, Esq.: Alton - The abode of industry, hospitality and enterprise. She is sure - she is right - and goes ahead!

By J. Huntington, Esq., after a few but animated remarks of the character and liberal spirit of the queen of Spain in appropriating her private fortunes in the outfit of Columbus, he offered as a toast: The memory of Isabella, Queen of Spain - Whose exclusive patronage enabled Christopher Columbus to discover America.

By William L. Harrison: Our National Council - May it ever be mindful that virtue, intelligence and skilful industry are the substantial pillars on which free republics rest.

By John Hogan, Esq., who by a most appropriate speech well suited for the occasion of the birth day of liberty and our rights, offered the following toast: Illinois - Great in her agricultural resources - her mineral wealth - in the excellency of her commercial advantages. May she also be great in the enterprise of her citizens, the morality of her people, and in the councils of the republic.

By a volunteer: The Mechanics of the United States: May they never be ashamed of their several professions or too proud to follow them, but remember that their primeval ancestor who sewed fig leaves together, though lord of the world, was a taylor.

By a Gentleman: If in the best days of the Roman Republic, it were honorable to say, "We are Roman citizens," how much more pride and glory in the exclamation, "We are Americans."







Source: Alton Telegraph, July 13, 1836

Sec. 1.  Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That Benjamin Godfrey, Calvin Riley, J. A. Townsend, W. S. Gilman, S. Ryder, Jonathan T. Hudson, Mark Pierson, Isaac Negus, Nathaniel Buckmaster, Stephen Griggs, A. O. Hankinson, Hezekiah Hawley, Sherman W. Robbins, Isaac I. Foster, and their associates, successors and assigns, be, and they are hereby incorporated into a body corporate and politic, by the name and style of "The Alton Marine and Fire Insurance Company," to have continuance for and during the term of twenty years from and after the passage of this act, and by such corporate name and style, shall be, for the term aforesaid, able and capable, in law and in equity, to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered unto, defend and be defended, in all manner of suits, actions, pleas, causes, matters and demands, of whatever kind and nature they may be, in as full and effectual a manner as any person or persons, bodies corporate and politic may or can do; and may have a common seal, which they may alter or revoke at pleasure, and may purchase, hold, and convey and estate, real or personal, for the use of said company, Provided that said corporation shall not, at any one time, hold real estate exceeding the value of five thousand dollars, excepting such as may be taken for debt, or held as collateral security for money due to said company.

Sec. 2.  The capital stock of said company, exclusive of premiums, notes, and profits arising from business, shall be twenty-five thousand dollars, and shall be divided into shares of fifty dollars each; fifty per centum of which shall be paid in money within six months after the first meeting of said company, and the residue in money, to be paid, twenty-five per centum thereof in twelve months, and twenty-five per centum in eighteen months from and after said first meeting, under such penalties as the president and directors may, in their discretion, order and appoint.

Sec. 3. The said capital stock may hereafter be increased to an amount not exceeding two hundred thousand dollars, should a majority of the stockholders deem it advisable, and the additional stock be subscribed, and fifty per centum thereof paid in, within twelve months after the said company shall have commenced operations. The said stock shall be teemed personal property, and assignable and transferable, on the books of the corporation; but no stockholder, indebted to the corporation, shall be permitted to make a transfer until such debt be paid, or secured to the satisfaction of the directors.

Sec. 4. Jonathan T. Hudson, Nathaniel Buckmaster, Calvin Riley, Winthrop S. Gilman, J. A. Townsend, S. C. Pierce, Isaac I. Foster, and Stephen Griggs are hereby appointed commissioners for procuring subscriptions to said capital stock; and said commissioners, or a majority of them, shall open one or more subscription books for said stock, on such days, and at such places, as they shall deem expedient .....




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 24, 1836

  1. Any person may become a member of this Society by signing the Constitution.

  2. The members of this Society severally agree not to use intoxicating liquor as a drink; nor provide it as an article of refreshment for their friends, nor for persons in their employment, nor will they use, manufacture, or traffic in the same, except for chemical, mechanical, medicinal, and sacramental purposes.

  3. Any member may withdraw from this Society by leaving notice with the Secretary.

  4. The officers of this Society shall consist of a President, two Vice-Presidents, six Directors, and a Secretary, all to be chosen annually.

  5. Of the By-Laws - Any member of this Society, having sufficient evidence of a brother member violating the 2d article of the Constitution, shall report such misdemeanor to the president, who, under such circumstances, shall privately admonish to a manner calculated to bring him to reflection, but if after the remonstrance he still continues in his course of delinquency, his name shall be publicly erased from the constitution.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 31, 1836

We owe an apology, as registers of "passing events," for omitting to mention some weeks since, the organization in this place of a society of the "Independent Order of Odd Fellows," to be known as the "Western Star Lodge No. 1," and the imposing ceremony of dedicating their hall for that purpose by the St. Louis Lodge of the same order. The members from St. Louis, in full costume of the Order, accompanied by an excellent band of music, were in attendance by previous invitation and arrangement. At three o'clock on Thursday, the 11th inst., the procession moved to the Baptist Church, where an oration was pronounced by Mr. Charles Keemle, a member of the Society from St. Louis. The oration as a literary production was highly creditable to the author, and was listened to by a crowded assembly with the most profound attention. The exercises at the church were closed with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Ives of the Baptist church. The procession moved from the church to the hall, where of course we could not follow them, not being in the secrets of the order. We learn, however, that the Society are prospering in a high degree, and that their increase has exceeded the expectations of the most sanguine of its friends. We regret that the slumbers of some of our citizens were disturbed on the night of the organization, and that the Society from St. Louis are, by some, implicated in the disturbance. We state, however, in justice to those gentlemen, that they were all engaged in the object of their visit, until the time of their departure, about midnight. Upon the "serenading party," we are credibly informed, must rest the responsibility of all the disturbance.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 7, 1836

At a meeting of the citizens of Alton, held at the Alton House on the 1st inst., to take measures to procure subscriptions to the stock of the Alton and Mount Carmel Railroad. H. Hawley, Esq. was called to the chair and J. M. Krum was appointed secretary. The chairman explained the object of the meeting - whereupon the following resolutions were offered by Mr. John Hogan, and unanimously adopted.

Resolved, That in this age of improvement when our young state is making rapid strides to greatness, and emulating the enterprise of her sisters, it is the duty of every citizen to aid in the construction of works of internal improvement.

Resolved, That we recognize the Alton and Mount Carmel Railroad, as one of the numerous similar works projected by our state.

Resolved, That we view with peculiar pleasure, the opportunity of grasping with the hand of enterprise and friendship, our fellow-citizens of the Wabash country, and behold in the union of the eastern and western portions of our state, in works beneficial alike to both, a certain road to the future greatness of the state.


J. Gillespie, Esq., of Edwardsville, offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That as our fellow-citizens of the eastern portions of our state have evinced the most praiseworthy zeal in this enterprise, by the subscription of stock, and in sending their able and efficient delegate, Mr. Flower, to the counties bordering upon the route, it is our bounden duty to be equally zealous in subscribing the stock to the above object.


J. M. Krum offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That it be recommended by this meeting to the citizens of Madison county, to call meetings wherever it may be deemed advisable, for the purpose of obtaining subscriptions to the stock of the Alton and Mount Carmel Railroad.


J. Hogan offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting by signed by the chairman and secretary, and published in the newspapers of this town and Mount Carmel, and such other papers as are friendly to the enterprise.


The meeting adjourned.  H. Hawley, chairman.   J. M. Krum, secretary.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 14, 1836

Yesterday morning, the daughter of Mr. G. M. T._____ [not named], one of the most respectable inhabitants of East Broadway, absconded from home, in company with a man who, it is believed, from certain information which has been received by the distracted parent, is a hackney coachman, but whose vacation or calling is not positively known. The unfortunate and deluded girl is about sixteen years of age, of very amiable and exemplary disposition, and until the occurrences of the present unhappy event was always considered to be extremely diffident, unassuming, and averse to familiarities or intercourse with the male sex. Up to last evening, no tidings had been received of the fugitive, save that she was seen riding up the Bowery in a hack carriage in company with the individual in question, and an application was made at the police office by the wretched father for the aid of officers to assist him in rescuing his child from the ruin and perdition which threatened her. Two of the most active officers connected with the establishment started in pursuit, and it is to be hoped that their efforts will be crowned with the same eminent success which has heretofore generally attended their enterprise and industry.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 21, 1836

Our town presents the most animating appearance - the fall business has commenced, and on every side, nothing but the bustle and noise of trade is to be heard. Alton at no former period gave stronger evidences of rapid growth. In a very few years, Water Street [possibly changed later to Front Street] will present a more imposing and beautiful front than any other of the cities on the western waters. The store houses erected are large, commodious, and we might say, beautiful, if the term ought to be applied to buildings intended for the inciting and laborious employment of commerce. The houses going up in the commercial part of the town are all of the best kind, and probably all of them will be three stories high. Second [Broadway] and State Streets are rapidly improving - on the latter, a large hotel [the Alton House - the first building had been destroyed by fire] has been commenced and will probably be completed next year - it will be the Astor house of Alton for many years.


Between 80 and 100 buildings have been put under contract and commenced this season, many of which will be completed. The imports and exports of the town greatly exceed that of any other town on the western rivers in proportion to the population. In addition to the very extensive wholesale establishments already existing, there are five or six mercantile firms about opening here, whose goods have arrived. Our country merchants may visit Alton with the assurance that every article they may require can be had as cheap as at St. Louis. And we have no doubt the spirit of rivalry will induce them to sell many articles cheaper than they can be had there.  The trade in lead and pork is greater than the trade of any other town on the Mississippi in these articles; in the latter we will soon outstrip Cincinnati, famed for her pork houses. It is said that there was packed here last fall and winter, half the quantity of pork packed at Cincinnati, and from present appearances, we should judge, that notwithstanding the great pressure in the money market, the amount of beef and pork contemplated to be packed in this town and vicinity, the present season will equal, if not greatly exceed, that of the last. Our country friends may be assured of a ready market and fair prices for their produce.


We have already three handsome churches - a Presbyterian, Baptist and a Protestant Methodist - the Episcopal Methodist having purchased the old Baptist church, the Baptist society are now erecting another large church - and in another year, the Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Unitarian societies will probably erect churches for their respective congregations.


A market house is much required - and it is strange something has not been done towards providing a building so necessary to the convenience and comfort of the citizens. But above all, it is important that the town council should provide for speedily grading, McAdamising and paving the streets. If this was done, no place in the West would be more healthy, no more desirable residence could be found, than Alton.


Society would improve and social feeling be extended and increased. At present, many of our citizens keep their families in the east and the consequence is a great want of female society. This is much to be regretted, not only on account of the loss of social enjoyment, but because we think the moral feeling of society would be chastened and elevated by frequent social intercourse with the gentler and purer portion of society. Such scenes as social private parties have hitherto been rare in Alton. In consequence of this state of things, our young men soon permit their affections to be absorbed in the love of acquiring wealth; and all the sordid and avaricious feelings of nature, so foreign to purity and elevation of thought, will grow upon them and stump their degrading form upon their character. Against this incalculable evil, there is no antidote so effective, as the society of intelligent women, pure and innocent in thought and life.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 5, 1836

Messrs. Editors - The condition of some of our public streets is intolerable. Where are our Trustees, and what are they doing for the improvement of the streets long since ordered to be graded and McAdamized? My object in this communication is merely to urge upon them the propriety of some immediate action in regard to the portion of Second [Broadway], west of State street. Is there a citizen of Alton who has not felt ashamed of the place, when passing along in that part of the town during the last week or ten days? What are we to expect during the wet and inclement weather of the coming fall and winter, if the rains of summer have rendered the streets almost impassable.  A Citizen


We publish the above from one of our citizens in regard to the state of our streets, and the exceeding negligence of the Trustees of the town in providing for the improvement of the place. We think indeed, that the citizens have much cause to complain of the inefficiency of the present board of Trustees, and have no doubt but that at the spring election, they will bear it in remembrance. The streets most used are Second [Broadway] and State streets, and surely something ought to be done towards extending the improvements upon them. We have seen after a day's rain, a four ox team stick fast at the very junction of 2nd and State streets, and at all times it is most difficult and often impossible for teams to ascend the hill at the Mansion House [State Street] with an ordinary load without additional power. A small part of 2nd street is McAdamized, but it is blocked up, not only with the necessary materials in the construction of the buildings now going up, but by other obstructions, which merchants and others permit to remain in the street, that it is difficult sometimes to get along. Some of the merchants have not yet put doors to their cellars. This we regard as a great and unjustifiable neglect, and if injury should happen to any in consequence of these places not being closed, we think no small share of censure would fall on the board for neglecting to enforce a removal of this just cause of complaint.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 19, 1836

This institution, which was established about a year ago, we are gratified to learn, is about being revived. A meeting of the Society was held on Friday evening last, when an address was delivered by a member, which we have understood was a very creditable performance. It is proposed, in order to give the society greater efficiency, and more promptly to engage the attention of our young men, to have an entire re-organization. For this purpose, another meeting has been appointed to be held on Friday evening next at the Baptist Church, at which time and place we trust every young man in Alton will be found, ready and willing to adopt any and every measure which may be necessary to secure the efficient prosecution of the Society's objects.



Source: Alton Telegraph, November 16, 1836
For the Telegraph: The growing importance of Alton demands an improvement in our advertising and news facilities, and it occurs to me we could now, if we would, support a semi-weekly newspaper in Alton, and I further believe we would do so if you would give us the opportunity. What say you gentlemen, will you agree to make the trial? A semi-weekly newspaper is now needed because your legislature will soon meet, and the people will look to you for information in reference to its doings, as well as the movements in Congress the coming winter. Please, gentlemen, to give us your opinion on the subject and oblige. A Merchant.

The above communication we found upon our table a day or two since, and take pleasure in giving it to our readers. The subject is one which has occupied much of our attention for some time past, and we are free to confess that we are inclined to the belief that the project would meet the wishes of our citizens, and by them be honorably sustained. We are aware of the increase it would make in our expenses, care and responsibilities, but these we cheerfully assume and are willing to sustain, and when we remember (and we do it with feelings of gratitude), the ready support and encouragement which has been extended to us since the establishment of the Telegraph, we cannot doubt that the same liberality will be extended to us in our further efforts in extending the facilities for news and advertising to a semi-weekly issue. Relying, therefore, upon the patronage and cooperation of our friends, we have determined to issue the Telegraph semi-weekly, as early in December next, as the necessary arrangements can be made. By this arrangement, our country readers will receive a much larger share of reading matter in the weekly Telegraph, than is now furnished by any paper in the State of Illinois. And here it may not be improper to remark, that we look with solicitude and earnestness to our town and country friends to aid us in extending the circulation of the Telegraph. True, we are under many and great obligations for the interest which has been manifested by many in our behalf thus far, and we hope our humble efforts have been approved of by the friends of the country at large. What the Telegraph has been, it will continue to be, and though our course may not be wholly acceptable to the lukewarm in political matters, we still must believe that strong language, and strong measures are necessary to convince the people that their institutions are endangered - their rights trampled upon and denied - and unless a speedy check is given to the unhallowed ambition of those who now hold the reins of government, still stronger means and measures will be necessary to effect a reform. We mean not by these remarks to place undue vain upon our labors; but we mean to deal plainly. We have ever opposed the doctrines of the present (or late) dominant party, as destructive of the interests of the people, and so long as these results are manifest, we promise to oppose them. With these views, we urge our friends to sustain us. They have done so most signally, and we repeat, we are grateful for it. We shall endeavor to give the earliest and most full reports of the proceedings of the Legislature of this State soon to assemble, and of Congress, and no effort on our part shall be wanting to render the Telegraph every way worthy the support of our fellow citizens.

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 16, 1836
Alton, Wednesday, 12 o'clock. We have kept our paper open until this hour, waiting the arrival of the mail from the North. It has again FAILED, which makes us eight days without a mail from the North. Three successive failures in the arrival of the mail is of so rare an occurrence, that we are constrained to consider it as ominous of an entire defeat of the spoils party.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 28, 1836

Of the early origin of Alton I omitted to inquire, but it is two years only since public attention seemed to be turned to it as a great commercial emporium. Until then, it contained but a dozen or two houses and a steam mill. The latter, with the penitentiary, was erected in 1832. The population is now estimated at 2,500, and the number of houses 300. Since the spirit of improvement began, it has met with nothing to retard it; but employment has been given to every building mechanic that could be procured. A large proportion of the buildings are of the most substantial kind, massive stone warehouses. Many of the private residences are of finely wrought stone or brick, and highly ornamental, though the larger portion of both business and dwelling houses are temporary frames of one story. The streets are generally 40 to 60 feet wide, and State street (the principle one running at right angles from the river) is 80. The rates of building are as high, probably, as in any part of the union; yet rents are much higher in proportion; every house bringing from 15 to 30 percent upon its cost, including the price of the lot. Of this fact, which is the best evidence of the prosperity of the place, there can be no mistake. I learnt incidentally, from a highly responsible source, that an extensive land proprietor, who has announced a sale of between three and four hundred lots, to take place in November, will insure to every purchaser who may erect a building thereon an annual rent of 25 percent upon the entire outlay.  The following enumeration will give some idea of the business of the place:


There are twenty wholesale stores, one of which (Stone & Co.) imports directly from Europe, one of the firm, as I understand, residing in Boston for that purpose. There are in addition, 32 retail stores, some of which sell also at wholesale. The various branches of the mechanic arts are also carried on, though the greater portion of articles used are brought from abroad. There are 8 attorneys, 7 physicians, and 8 clergymen, attached to the following denominations, viz: 3 Protestant Methodists, 2 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopal, and 1 Episcopal Methodist. These have a church for each denomination, some of which in their appearance would do credit to the oldest towns in the west. There are 4 hotels, and 2 others building, one of which of stone, will be 60(?) feet by 175. Besides these, there are 9 boarding houses, all of which are crowded with sojourners, either temporary or permanent. The public institutions are a bank (branch of the State Bank of Illinois) insurance offices, lyceum, Masonic lodge, lodge of independent odd fellows, and two schools. The lyceum attracts the greater portion of the young men of the town, who engage in the public discussion of questions, and hear lectures from gentlemen of science who are also its members.


The steam mill does a very large business, and arrangements are making to engage extensively in putting to pork, it being the intention of the proprietors to make Alton a depot for these great staples of the state, worthy of the growing importance of the latter in the union. In two or three years it will, in this branch of business, be second only to Cincinnati.


Building mechanics of all kinds are constantly wanted. The following wages are paid. Bricklay are $2.50 to 3 dollars per day; stone masons $2 to 2.50; laborers $1.50. Where the men are boarded by the employer, a deduction of 50 cents per day is made from these rates. Board at the hotels is $3 to 4 dollars per week, without lodging; for lodging $1 to 1.50 additional, at the boarding houses $2.50 to 3, lodging included. Brick at the kiln sell for 7 to 9 dollars per M; pine boards 25 to 40 per M (they are brought from the Ohio river), wood for fuel 3 per cord; coal 2 cents per bushel. The latter is obtained from the hills in the rear of the town, and both wood and coal can be got for very little more than the cost of cutting, digging and hauling. The comparatively high price at which both sell will furnish another evidence of the high prices of labor, and assure eastern laborers, who are working at this season of the year for forty cents a day, that here they may soon realize a little fortune. Among the car men whom I saw hauling sand for building, was one whom I had known for many years as a master papermaker in Virginia. He came here last spring, purchased two carts, and was making four dollars a day with each - thus clearing more in a month, I will venture to say, than he ever did in a year in Virginia, on a capital of eight or ten thousand dollars.


The number of buildings erected the present year I could not ascertain. One enterprising citizen (the Hon. H. Hawley) has put up twenty, among them a splendid hotel containing 75 rooms. There are two temperance societies, one on the total abstinence plan, which is the most popular, and is daily becoming more so. There are five newspapers, viz.: The Alton Spectator, Alton Telegraph, Alton Observer, Temperance Herald, and Voice of Illinois. The last is understood to be an ephemeral publication, to be discontinued at the November election.


Eight steamboats are owned here in whole or in part, and some of them are heavily freighted at each departure with the exports of the town alone. The boat in which I absconded the Mississippi from St. Louis, here received the greater portion of her cargo. These exports must increase as the back country continues to fill up; and this country is represented as unsurpassed in beauty, fertility, and facility of cultivation. To add to its resources, two railroads will shortly be made, one leading to Springfield, 70 miles, the stock of which has been subscribed - the other leading to Mount Carmel on the Wabash, the stock of which has been taken in part. It is known also that the legislature of Illinois has memorialized congress to continue the great national road through the state to Alton. The inhabitants of Alton are principally from New York and New England; and this may be said of all the business men, with two or three exceptions. Next to these are Virginians.


The river here is about one mile wide. A steam ferry boat plies constantly. The following are the rates of toll: Footman, 12 1/2 cents; horse, 12 1/2; wagon and horses, 12 1/2 for each wheel and each horse - thus for a 4-horse wagon, $1; 2 horse, 75 cents; families belonging to moving wagons go free. These rates are said to be one-fourth less than are charged by any other ferry on the river. The usual price at the ferries above in flat boats is about $3 dollars for a 4-horse wagon.


The market is well supplied with provisions from the back country - prices those of St. Louis. The meats and vegetables are excellent, and cultivated fruit is pretty abundant. The wild fruits are plums, crab apples, persimmons, paw paws, hickory nuts and pecans. Wild game is also abundant, viz: deer, pheasants, prairie hens, partridges, with the various kinds of water fowl. The fish are cat, perch and buffalo.


Such is a hasty view of Alton as it now is. Its rapid growth is an evidence of what enterprise can effect in contending against nature herself. Scarcely a town site could have been selected on the Mississippi more unpromising in its appearance; and yet in five years, probably, it will attract the admiration of every beholder. Already the "little hills have fallen on every side" - the valleys have been raised - and within the time mentioned, the city will present to the spectator from the river the idea of a vast amphitheatre, the streets ranging above each other in exact uniformity, while from each mountain top in the distance will glitter the abodes of wealth and independence.


The foundations of its prosperity are laid on the broad basis of public morals and Christian benevolence. Its churches are its most prominent and costly edifices, and claim the tribute of praise from every beholder. "Three temples of His grace, How beautiful they stand, The honors of our native place, And bulwarks of our land."  No people cherish the sentiment conveyed in these lines more than do those of Alton; not a town in the Union, of its population, has been so liberal in its contributions to every measure of Christian benevolence. The amount subscribed the present year probably exceeds $10,000 dollars; one item in which is the subscription, by two gentlemen, of $1,000 dollars each, to employ a temperance lecturer for this portion of the state. In addition to this, one of the same gentlemen (B. G. Esq.) [Benjamin Godfrey] has given $10,000 dollars towards the erection and endowment of a female seminary at Monticello, five miles north of the town, to the superintendence of which a most accomplished lady has been called from the celebrated institute at Ipswich, Mass.


As I have taken the liberty thus to allude to one of the prominent gentlemen of Alton, I trust I shall be excused if I relate an anecdote communicated to me, in one of the eastern cities, as further illustrative of his character. It is a practice of all the western steamboats, I believe, to run on the Sabbath, and deliver freight at their various stopping places. Soon after the removal to Alton of the gentleman alluded to, he was waited upon on the Sabbath by the clerk of a steamboat, and told that he had just landed a number of boxes to his address, for the receipt of which he asked his acknowledgment. The gentleman promptly replied that he did not receive goods on the Sabbath. "What then is to be done?" asked the clerk. "That is not for me to say," replied the gentlemen, "On a business day you will find me at the warehouse, ready to attend to you." The consequence was, the boat had to remain at the wharf till the morning, and ever after that the gentleman was not intruded upon on the Sabbath. Were the prominent business men in the towns on the Mississippi and Ohio to come to the same determination, it is easy to see that not a steamboat would be found violating the great command of the Decalogue, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."




Source: Alton Observer, December 29, 1836

This prominent point of attraction on the Mississippi is situated on its east bank, 24 miles above St. Louis and 3 above the mouth of the Missouri river. The principal business landing is a natural wharf of rock, lined with massive stone warehouses, at the very doors of which, in high water, steamboats lie and discharge their cargoes. This advantage, to the same degree, is possessed by no other place on the Mississippi, and cannot fail, at first sight, to attract the especial notice of the traveler.


Of the early origin of the town I omitted to inquire, but it is two years only since public attention seemed to be turned to it as a great commercial emporium. Until then it contained but a dozen or two houses and a steam mill. The latter, with the penitentiary, was erected in 1832. The number of houses is now 252, and the population is estimated at 2,000. Since the spirit of improvement began, it has met with nothing to retard it; but employment has generally been given to every building mechanic that offered. A good proportion of the buildings are of the most substantial kind - massive stone warehouses. Some of the private residences are of finely wrought stone or brick, and highly ornamental, though a large portion of both business and dwelling houses are frames of one story. The streets running from the river are generally 80 feet wide, though Market street is 130, and those which cross them are 45 and 60.


The rates of building are as high, probably, as in any part of the union; yet rents are much higher in proportion; every house bringing from 15 to 30 percent upon its cost, including the price of the lot. Of this fact, which is strong evidence of the prosperity of the place, there can be no mistake. I am assured that an extensive land proprietor, who offered between three and four hundred lots for sale in November, will insure to every purchaser who may erect a building thereon, an annual rent of 25 percent upon the entire outlay.


There are 6 hotels, and one (of stone) building, which will be 66 feet by 166. Besides these there are 9 boarding houses, all of which are crowded. Clerks and professional men only are not wanted. Of all these there seems to be no scarcity in any part of the west. A firm in St. Louis advertised recently for a clerk to go up the river, and on the same day had forty-two applications for the situation.


The steam mill has four run of stones, and does a fair business. A company has recently engaged in the business of putting up beef and pork, and it is their intention to make Alton a depot for these great staples of the state, worthy of the growing importance of the latter in the union. In two or three years, it will, in this branch of business, be second only to Cincinnati.


The public institutions are a bank (branch of the State Bank of Illinois), insurance office, lyceum, lodge of independent odd fellows, benevolent society, and two schools. The lyceum attracts the greater portion of the young men of the town, who engage in the public discussion of questions, and hear lectures from gentlemen of science, who are also its members.


There are four newspapers, viz. the Alton Telegraph, Alton Spectator, Alton Observer, and Illinois Temperance Herald. Of these, the Telegraph will shortly be issued semi-weekly; the Spectator and Observer are published weekly, and the Herald monthly. The latter has a circulation of 5,000 copies, and the Observer 1,500. Of the subscription to the others, I am not advised, but have no doubt that it is creditable to the intelligence and public spirit of this part of the state.


Eleven steamboats are owned here in whole or in part, and some of them are heavily freighted at each departure with the exports of the town alone. These exports must increase as the back country continues to fill up; and this country is represented to be unsurpassed in beauty, fertility, and facility of cultivation. To add to its resources, two railroads will shortly be made, one leading to Springfield, 70 miles, the stock of which has been subscribed - the other leading to Mount Carmel, on the Wabash, the stock of which has been taken in part. It is known also that the legislature of Illinois has memorialized congress to continue the great national road through the state to Alton. In addition to the foregoing, the legislature have determined to make three great railroads, crossing the state in its length and breadth, one of which must terminate here. It will doubtless be designated by law during the present session.


The inhabitants of Alton are principally from New York and New England; and this may be said of all the business men, with two or three exceptions. Next to these are Pennsylvanians. The population is almost exclusively white, there being but 20 or 30 colored persons.


It should here be remarked that there is a universal suspension of business on the Sabbath, in every department, and in none more than the reception or shipment of goods in steamboats. All the commercial houses have set their faces "as a flint" against this practice, so common on the Mississippi; and the prediction is now made with confidence, that when the railroads here spoken of shall be completed, Alton will show to the nation that she will regard, above pecuniary gain, the great command of the Decalogue, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."


The river here is about one mile wide. A steam ferry boat plies constantly. The following are the rates of toll: Footman 12 1/2 cents; horse 12 1/2; wagon and horses, 12 1/2 cents for each wheel and each horse - thus for a 4-horse wagon $1, 2-horse wagon 75 cents; families belonging to moving wagons go free. These rates are said to be one-fourth less than are charged by any other ferry on the river. The usual price at the ferries above, in flat boats, is about $3 for a 4-horse wagon. I may here add that it takes two cords of wood a day to run a steam ferry boat, and from two to four hands. Wood costs about $2.50 per cord; wages of two hands 1.25 each; total cost per day $7.50. When the proprietors, however, employ men to cut the wood, it does not cost more than 1.50 per cord, delivered at the ferry. A state tax is levied on all ferries, according to their grade. At Alton, the tax paid to Illinois is $20, and to Missouri $15, making $35 per year. A steam ferry boat will cost from 5,000 to 11,000 dollars. That at Louisville is said to have cost the latter sum. A year or two ago they could have been built for little more than half the sums now demanded.


Land five miles back of the town sells from 10 to 40 dollars per acre, according to the improvements. At a greater distance it is much cheaper, and is settling rapidly. The productions are wheat, corn, beef, pork, horses and cattle. I am here reminded of having met, in September, east of the mountains, the venerable Dr. Blackburn of Macoupin county (adjoining this), who proposed entering government land for eastern residents at $2 per acre - the excess beyond $1.25 being appropriated by him towards the endowment of a theological seminary; and I here take occasion to remark that, as an investment for speculation merely, probably few better ones could be made in the western country.


A gentlemen has, alone, undertaken to erect, at a cost of from 25,000 to 30,000 dollars, suitable buildings for a female seminary at Monticello, five miles north of Alton, to the superintendence of which a most accomplished lady has been called from the celebrated institute at Ipswich, Mass.  The buildings will be finished next season.


[Note: The entire article was not transcribed as it was extremely lengthy, but most of the interesting facts were recorded above.]



Source: Alton Telegraph, February 22, 1837
For the Telegraph: Mr. Editor: In your last paper you said something about the driver of the eastern mail arriving in this place drunk, and therefore, I thought the following facts would be interesting to your readers in these days of reform. Which are these: As some of our citizens were returning from Edwardsville on the 13th inst., they found the Mail Stage one mile from this place, with the driver so drunk as to have fallen from the stage twice; the mail bags hanging out at the side as a check to the wheels; on seeing the state of the concern, a merchant of Upper Alton made out to stow away the driver under the seats; and drove the stage into Upper Alton. The Post Master at that place drove it down here. So you see, that by the creditable course of some of our citizens, we are indebted nowadays for the delivery of the mail, and the driver for the care of his horses. Amos Kendall.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 22, 1837

I am more than surprised, after exploring Alton in all its parts, to see such neglect in your corporation, with a population of about 6,000, as is supposed, without a Market House or any place where they can go to meet their daily supplies from the farmers; and no point at which the farmers with their produce can congregate, to know or meet the wants of the citizens. Now, have you ever thought of the loss of time, in such a condition of things, both to farmer and citizen; the one in passing about your street to find purchasers at all times of the day and the other in hunting up all over the town such articles as he may need; would not the time thus lost in the last year alone have built two such markets as are now necessary for the accommodation of both classes. I am sure your Trustees could not have reflected on the importance of this matter, or they could not so long have delayed the erection of some Public Market. The farmers justly complain of it, and many I understand refuse to carry their produce to Alton at all on account of this want of accommodation to them.  A Visitor.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 22, 1837

The steamboat Tiskilwa was run into by the Wisconsin on Friday last, near the mouth of the Illinois, and sunk in about two minutes. A family had been taken aboard the night previous, consisting of a husband, wife and three children, who were drowned, with five or six other deck passengers. The cargo was a valuable one, and was covered with an open policy. The boat was insured to the amount of $3,000 by the Alton Marine and Fire Insurance Company; she was computed to be worth $8,000. We have been informed by authority which we can rely upon that the Captain of the Wisconsin acted very improperly, both before and after the accident. It was with great difficulty that he was persuaded to render any assistance to the distressed passengers and crew of the Tiskilwa; he then took them aboard and carried them ashore, where he landed them, ladies and gentlemen, in their night dresses and barefooted. We did not think that we had such a monster in the western country.



Source: Steamboat Disasters and Railroad Accidents by S. A. Howland, 1840

On March 18, 1837, on the Illinois River about five miles from the mouth of the river, lives were lost (more than twenty) and the freight and baggage entirely destroyed aboard the steamer Tiskilwa. The captain of the steamboat Wisconsin, which was ascending the river, repeatedly stated that if he should meet the Tiskilwa and her captain, he would not give him a clear channel and would run her down. This provoked the captain of the Tiskilwa, and he was determined not to turn out of his course.

The steamboats met about 5am - when all passengers were in their berths - and they steered directly at each other until with only a few rods, when the captain of the Tiskilwa tried to turn from his course. He managed to avoid a head-on collision, but was broadsided by the Wisconsin, taking a hit just behind the wheel. The Tiskilwa sank in less than three minutes. Those who had been in their berths sleeping were awakened by the screams of the crew down below, who were drowning. Without putting on their clothes, the passengers jumped through the windows of the cabin, and some managed to swim to safety. In a deposition given during the investigation, Laurent Provencal and Casetan Levesque stated that Charles Becket had told them that he sank the steamboat Tiskilwa for one hundred dollars, paid him by the captain of the Wisconsin.







Source: Alton Telegraph, April 12, 1837

Mrs. L. Wait begs leave most respectfully to inform her friends and the traveling community generally that she has taken the large and commodious house know by the name and style of the "Piasa House," on the corner of Piasa and Fourth Street, where she is prepared for their reception and comfortable accommodation. Feeling fully confident that every necessary arrangement will continue to be made which will ensure success to the establishment, she respectfully solicits and fondly anticipates a reasonable share of the public patronage. 





Source: Alton Telegraph, April 12, 1837

New cabinet warehouse and manufactory on Third Street near the corner of State Street. Edmund Beall, late of Cincinnati, respectfully inform the citizens of Alton and the surrounding country that he has commenced the above business in this place. He has on hand of his own manufacture an assortment of furniture, consisting of bureaus, tables, bedsteads, etc., which he is disposed to sell on very reasonable terms, and to which he invites the attention of all who wish to purchase. Orders for the manufacture of every description of cabinet furniture will be thankfully received and faithfully executed. The subscriber hopes by strict attention to business to merit a share of public patronage.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 31, 1837

We regret to state that one of the new two-story brick buildings on Second street (Broadway), the property of Messrs. Godfrey, Gillman & Co., was burnt down on last Thursday afternoon. The manner in which the fire originated is not certainly known - the house being still in an unfinished state, and unoccupied - but it is presumed to have been communicated by means of some shavings, which a person had been employed in burning at a distance. So soon as it was discovered, the Fire Company and citizens hastened to the spot; but it being evident that no human means could avail to save the building in question, it was abandoned to its fate, and the exertions of those present confined to the preservation of the adjoining houses; which was happily effected without any material damage. As the above is the first fire which is believed to have ever occurred here [Alton], it is not surprising that we should have been but imperfectly prepared to contend against it. The only cause for surprise, on the contrary, is that so much should have been effected with such limited means, and at so short a notice. But as the probability of future and more extensive conflagrations must increase in proportion to the growth of our town, it is to be hoped that measures will be immediately taken to place the Fire Department on a more efficient footing, and the subject is respectfully submitted to the Board of Trustees for their consideration.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 31, 1837

We understand that this distinguished statesman reached Lexington on the 19th inst. He was expected to remain two or three days in that place; after which he intended to proceed on his contemplated tour to the West by way of Cincinnati and Louisville. It is supposed that he will arrive at St. Louis in the course of this week, and probably reach our town in six or eight days. Mr. Webster is understood to be accompanied by the Hon. Henry Clay. A public meeting, in relation to the expected visit of these eminent citizens, was held at the Alton House on Monday afternoon; at which the following proceedings took place:


At a meeting of the citizens of Alton, preparatory to the invitation and reception of the Hon. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, and the Hon. Henry Clay of Kentucky, On motion,

B. I. Gilman was called to the chair, and George H. Walworth appointed Secretary. On motion of B. Clifford Jr., the following preamble and resolution were adopted:

Whereas information having reached us that our distinguished fellow citizens, the Hon. Daniel Webster of Mass., and the Hon. Henry Clay of Kentucky, are expected to visit this portion of the west; and feeling desirous of extending to them the hospitalities of our infant town, Therefore,


Be it Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed in behalf of the citizens of Alton to repair to St. Louis on the arrival there of those distinguished gentlemen, and invite them to visit us during their western tour.


On motion, Voted, That said committee be appointed by the chair. Whereupon the following gentlemen were appointed:

H. Hawley, T. M. Hope, Alfred Cowles, A. Alexander, S. Griggs, C. W. Hunter, John Hogan.


On Motion, Resolved, That a committee of fifteen be appointed to make suitable arrangements for their reception by a public dinner or otherwise; and that said committee be appointed by the chair. Whereupon, the following gentlemen were appointed:

B. Clifford Jr., S. Ryder, E. Cock, C. Stone, T. S. Fay, W. Libby, E. North, J. S. Noble, S. Wade, George H. Walworth, George H. Whitney, William S. Emerson, J. Bailhache, J. Morse, Dr. Henton.


On motion, The chairman was added to the committee.

On motion, Voted, That the respective committees have power to fill vacancies, and that the proceedings of this meeting, signed by the chairman and secretary, be published.  B. I. Gilman, chairman.  George H. Walworth, Secretary.



Source: Alton Telegraph, June 14, 1837

This distinguished statesman is expected to reach Alton some time this forenoon. We understand that it is his intention of spending the remainder of the day in this town, to proceed early tomorrow morning towards Detroit, by way of Carrolton, Jacksonville, Peoria, &c.  Lodgings have been provided for him at the Piasa House; and our fellow-citizens are making preparations to give him a plain, but cordial reception.



Source: Alton Telegraph, June 21, 1837 This eminent statesman, accompanied by his lady and daughter, reached this town at one o'clock p.m. on Wednesday last, in the steamboat United States, attending by a committee from St. Louis and the Alton committee of invitation. His arrival was announced by the ringing of the bells and the firing of a salute from a battery of solid rock, the blasting of which produced a novel and very striking effect, the reports being as loud and nearly as regular as those from a well-served piece of ordinance. After landing amidst the shouts of the surrounding multitude, he was conducted in a carriage to the "Piasa House," where suitable rooms had been prepared for his accommodation. Here, the members of the committee of Arrangements were presented to him; after which the Hon. Cyrus Edwards, in the name of the citizens, bade him welcome in the following words:


"Permit me, sir, in the name and on behalf of the citizens of Alton, of Madison county, and I am sure I may add, of the people of Illinois, to tender to you a warm and cordial greeting - a greeting prompted by no servile spirit of man worship, stimulated by no mercenary regard for office or the emoluments of office; but offered as a testimonial of respect for exalted private worth and eminent public services - services which have characterized you as the champion of universal freedom, whether its triumphs are to be achieved on the plains of Greece, or in whatever other quarter of the globe - services marked with a deep devotion to our admirable civil institutions; to the perpetuity of our sacred union; to the preservation of that glorious charter, so often, so ably, and so patriotically vindicated, as to have secured for yourself the distinguished title of "The Defender of the Constitution." Among the foremost in the great struggle to maintain the supremacy of this Constitution and of the laws, we have witnessed with pride and exultation, your untiring efforts for the limitation of the corrupting patronage of the Government; your powerful rebukes of party subserviencey, your unyielding resistance to legislative encroachment and to executive usurpation, whether directed against the honor and dignity of the Senate of the United States, or displayed in the frequent unwarranted exercise of the veto power, or in the unauthorized removal of the deposits, or in the illegal issuing of the Treasury Circular, or in whatever measures may have tended to the derangement of the currency, the disturbance of exchange, and the consequent bankruptcy and ruin which now overspread our once happy and prosperous republic. For these services, sir, and for the display of these broad, liberal, and enlightened principles of legislation, so aptly embodied in your truly American sentiment of "One Country, One constitution, and One Destiny;' we offer you the unbought, the voluntary, grateful plandits(?) of a free people. And, again, we say, welcome, thrice welcome to the shores of Illinois."


Mr. Webster made a brief, and very appropriate reply to this address; in which he expressed his hearty thanks to his fellow citizens of Alton and of Illinois, for the very cordial and friendly reception given him on this, his first visit to their thriving State - observed that, although far from his usual place of residence, he still felt himself at home, among friends and countrymen, whose interests and destinies were identified with his own - made a happy allusion to the mighty river which flows in front of our town, and waters a territory of almost boundless extent, and unequaled fertility - and concluded by stating that, to the end of his life, he would remember, with pleasure and gratitude, the affectionate kindness with which he had been received in this place. Many of the citizens were then successively introduced to him. Immediately after dinner, he made a flying visit to Upper Alton, at the pressing invitation of the inhabitants, in company with a number of gentlemen in carriages and on horseback. On his return, at four o'clock, a procession was formed; when our distinguished guest, accompanied by the Hon. C. Edwards, President of the day, in a baroache, and followed by the St. Louis committee, the Trustees of the town of Alton, and the gentlemen of the bar, in carriages, and the members of the committee of Arrangements and other citizens on foot, proceeding to a handsome grove, on the declivity of a gently-sloping hill, at the lower end of the town, where he sat down to a collation, provided in elegant style by Mr. Libby of the "Alton House," at which the following toasts were drank, amidst the cheers of the company:


1st. Our Country - Not less dear to her children when overshadowed by the clouds of adversity, than when the sun of uninterrupted prosperity sheds its benign and refreshing influences of her shores. "With all her faults, we love her still."


2nd.  The American People - Brave, liberal, and magnanimous; their "very failings lean to virtue's side." Let their cruel deceivers prepare to render a strict account of their doings.


3rd. Our glorious Constitution - The charter of our rights. Let none henceforward assume the "responsibility" of laying unhallowed hands on its sacred page.


4th. The Union of the States - "Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."


5th. Our Revolutionary Fathers - If we would honor their memory, we must follow their example.


6th. Massachusetts - The home of Warren and Webster. True to the principles which she formerly avowed in Faneuil Hall, and gloriously defended at Lexington and Bunker's Hill, she still remains the uncompromising enemy of arbitrary power, and the intrepid champion of the rights of man.


7th. Illinois - In size a giant, though in years a child. Under a wise and prudent administration, she will not fail to accomplish her high destinies.


8th. Our honored Guest - Daniel Webster - To name him, is to speak his praise. Welcome! Thrice welcome in our State.


9th. The National Senate - Although deprived of some of its brightest ornaments by the ruthless violence of party spirit; yet, so long as the voice of Webster, Clay, Calhoun, and their illustrious friends and colleagues shall be heard within its sacred walls, we never will despair of the republic.


10th. The Experiment - Doctor Sangrado's medical theory practically applied to the national credit. Let the patient alone, and he will quickly recover his health.


11th. The Currency Tinkers - Wretched and ignorant Alchemists. By their absurd attempt to transmit bank paper into gold, they have turned all the gold in the country into shinplasters. Verily, they shall have their reward.


12th. The American Youth - The pride and hope of our common country. May they be found worthy of their glorious inheritance.


13th. Woman - "Heaven's last best gift." Her sweetest smiles are reserved for the true patriot.


Volunteer. By the Hon. C. Edwards, President of the day. "One Country, one Constitution, and one Destiny." The sentiment of our distinguished guest - a sentiment worthy of an American statesman.


After the cheering which following the announcement of the eighth toast subsided, Mr. Webster rose, and returned his acknowledgements for the honor conferred upon him this occasion, in an eloquent speech, which occupied above an hour and a half. As it was delivered without any previous preparation whatever, and as it was impracticable, under the circumstances, to take down any part of it, we shall not attempt to give even its substance. Let it suffice to observe, that one of the principal points to which the speaker referred was the identity of interest which exists between the different sections of our widely extended country. He said that although about two thousand miles distant from Boston and Faneuil Hall, he was fully persuaded that the prosperity of those he was addressing, on the shores of the Mississippi, was indissolubly connected with his own - that his and their destiny, for good or for evil, were the same - that their and his children were born to the same inheritance, and would share the same fate - that no member of our great political system could be injured or benefited without the participation of the others - and that although indebted to the partiality of Massachusetts for the station he filled in the national councils, she would entirely discard him, as unworthy of her, if he were base enough to attempt to promote her local interests, at the expense of those of the whole country, &c.  In allusion to the existing embarrassments, he remarked that, as he had steadily and perseveringly opposed all the schemes of the dominant party since 1832, and especially those in relation to the currency, he was free to admit that, if the "experiment" had worked well - if all the advantages anticipated from it by its advocates had been realized - if our country was now in an eminently prosperous and happy condition - then he could claim no credit for having contributed to it. But, if on the other hand, the reverse was actually the case - if the policy of the Administration had reduced this great Republic, in the course of a few years, from a state of unrivaled prosperity to one of universal bankruptcy and ruin - if our credit was destroyed, our commerce annihilated, our currency good for nothing, and every branch of industry and enterprise paralyzed - if, in fact, his worst anticipations had actually come to pass - then, in this case, he would look confidently for a verdict of acquittal. He concluded by observing that, as neither himself nor his political friends had in the last contributed to bring about the present state of things, but on the contrary, had labored zealously but ineffectually to prevent it, it was not their duty, but that of the party now in power, to propose a remedy for the evils which were now everywhere acknowledged to exist; that he would, however, cordially cooperate with them in any measure which might appear calculated to effect this truly desirable object; but that he thought our currency could never be restored to a sound and healthy condition without the aid of a national institution of some kind. At the close of his remarks, he gave a toast, highly complimentary to the State of Illinois and her citizens, the precise language of which we are unable to repeat.


Of the number of persons present on this interesting occasion, we can form no estimate. It was, however, much larger than could have been reasonably anticipated in a town so new as Alton. The day was very fine; and the proceedings were conducted, throughout, in a manner highly creditable to our citizens - not the smallest accident or disturbance having occurred to mar the festivities of the occasion. If we were disposed to boast, we might add with truth, that at no place which he has visited during his present tour has Mr. Webster been more cordially or more kindly greeted than here; and that we have reason to believe that both himself and his family were highly gratified at the respectful attentions shown to them.


After the entertainment in the grove, the procession was again formed, and conducted our honored guest back to his lodgings. The next morning, after breakfast, he resumed his tour by land, attended by part of the committee, and reached Carrollton, thirty-five miles distant, the same afternoon; having been met on the road by a committee from the citizens of that place. On Friday he proceeded to Jacksonville, where he was doubtless entertained in handsome style; extensive preparations having been made there for his reception.



Source: Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle, March 22, 1890

A correspondent of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, in giving an account of the visit by Daniel Webster to the city of Alton, Ill. in 1837, says that there being no cannon in the place from which a salute could be fired, his father had a large hole drilled into the bluff on the bank of the Mississippi, into which four kegs of powder were poured and well tamped. When the steamboat with the great orator and a distinguished party on board arrived at the Alton wharf, a man stationed on the bluff fired the fuse and a tremendous explosion followed, making a noise that could be heard many miles, and dislodging many tons of rock and earth. This was the heaviest and biggest gun fired off in honor of Daniel Webster on his whole tour.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 28, 1837

At a meeting of the citizens of Alton, held at the home of Mr. J. Smith, for the purpose of inquiring into the expediary of obtaining a City Charter, Mr. J. M. Krum offered the following resolutions, which were adopted:


Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, it is expedient for the citizens of Alton to apply to the next session of the General Assembly for a City Charter.


Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed by the Chairman, to investigate and report to this meeting on the 28th inst., at 4 o'clock p.m. on the following subjects -


1st. A City Charter - incorporating the citizens within such limits as shall be defined - to be denominated the "City of Alton."

2nd. To provide in said Charter for the organization of a Municipal Court, giving such Court concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit Court of Madison county, and such other municipal regulations as to them may seem necessary and proper.

3d. That said committee inquire and report what extent of territory will be most expedient to embrace within the limits of said City.


Resolved, That the proceedings be signed by the Chairman and Secretary, and published in the Alton papers; and that this meeting stand adjourned to the time mentioned in the first resolution. The following named gentlemen were appointed the committee provided for in the second resolution, to wit: J. M. Krum, William Martin, B. I. Gilman, Thomas G. Hawley, J. W.  Hudson, Charles Howard, and S. C. Pierce. Upon motion of Mr. Hudson, Resolved, That the Chairman be added to the committee. Whereupon the meeting adjourned to meet next in the Market House, B. K. Hart, Chairman.  J. W. Ruffum(?), Secretary




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 19, 1837

We are sorry to state that the Alton House in this place, occupied as a hotel by Mr. W. Libby, was burnt down at an early hour on Sunday morning last. A fire had been discovered on the afternoon of Saturday, in the garret of a back building attached to the establishment, and promptly subdued by the energetic and well directed exertions of the firemen and citizens, without doing any material damage except to the roof, which was partially consumed. Between two and three o'clock the next morning, however, it broke out afresh in an upper part of the main edifice, at some distance from the spot where it had previously occurred; and so rapid and destructive were its progress, that in spite of all that could be done to arrest its destructive career, it was not checked until after the whole house, with the exception of the kitchen and the part injured on the preceding day, were reduced to a heap of ruins. We understand that the building, as well as the furniture - a part of which was saved - were fully insured. We much regret to add that Mr. Underhill, one of Messrs. Godfrey & Gilman's Clerks, who was sleeping in an upper room in the warehouse of these gentlemen, on hearing the cry of fire, sprang out of bed in order to ascertain the cause; and missing his way, fell through an open scuttle into the cellar, breaking one of his thighs, and otherwise sustaining much injury. As he was alone in the building, his situation was not discovered until after the conflagration was over; consequently he must have suffered intensely before he obtained any relief.   P. S. We regret to state that Mr. Underhill died this morning about half past 3 o'clock.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 19, 1837

At a meeting held, agreeable to prior notice, at the Union Hall in this place, on the evening of the 17th inst., for the purpose of organizing a second Fire Company, forty-four gentlemen presenting themselves for membership, the meeting proceeded to organize as follows: On motion,


Resolved, That this Company be known by the name of "the Merbanics Fire Company of Alton - No. 2."

Resolved, That the officers of this Company shall consist of a president, two vice-presidents, a chief engineer (who may appoint two assistants), a treasurer and secretary, whose several duties shall be detailed in the constitution and by-laws. On motions, The following gentlemen were elected officers of said Company:


Col. A. Botkin, President

B. Clifford, Vice President

S. W. Robbins, Second Vice President

S. L. Miller, Chief Engineer

George Ruddins, Treasurer

William Carr, Secretary


On motion, the following committees were appointed by the Chair: B. Clifford, James Fulton and S. L. Miller, a committee to draft a constitution and by-laws. On motion, the president was added to said committee. Messrs. S. W. Robbins, John Chaney, W. T. Miller, H. Morrison, W. McBride, a committee to solicit subscriptions from the people of Alton for the purchase of an engine and apparatus. Messrs. B. Clifford, J. C. Bruner, J. B. Morrison, a committee to correspond with the Trustees of the town for their assistance.  Messrs. George McBride, J. H. Foster, D. P. Berry, George Allrom, William Arundle, and George Robbins, a committee to wait on the Pioneer Company, and tender the service of this Company, should occasion require, and to solicit the loan of their engine, &c., for the purpose of practice.  Messrs. Sharp, Wendl, and Whitaker, a committee to inquire where, when and at what price suitable badges can be obtained for said company.


Resolved, That the several committees report progress at the next meeting.


On motion of Mr. S. W. Robbins,


Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the president and secretary, and published in the Alton Telegraph and Spectator.


On motion, the meeting adjourned to meet at the Union Hall on Monday evening, 21st inst., at 7 o'clock.  A. Botkin, Chairman. William Carn, Secretary.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 9, 1837

The first anniversary of the Alton Total Abstinence Society was held on 31st ult., at the Episcopal Church. After the transaction of some preliminary business, the society went into an election for officers for the ensuing year, which resulted as follows:  J. R. Woods, President; Stephen Griggs, 1st Vice President; Charles Howard, 2d Vice President; Lawson A. Parks, Secretary; Samuel Avis, W. S. Gilman, W. L. Chappell, James Mansfield, Royal Weiler, and O. Lovejoy, Directors.  On motion, voted that the Constitution and By-Laws, together with the proceedings of the meeting, be published. The society then adjourned. James Mansfield, President.  J. R. Woods, Secretary.



1. Any person may become a member of this society by signing the Constitution.

2. (Same as pledge in Temperance Herald)

3. Any member may withdraw from this society by leaving notice with the Secretary.

4. The officers of this society shall consist of a President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary and six Directors, all of whom shall be chosen annually.



1. The duties of the President shall be to preside at all meetings of this society, and perform such duties as usually devolve on presiding officers of such associations; in case of his absence, the Vice President shall take his place.

2. The Secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of this society. He shall be the organ of communication between this society and others. He shall also act as Treasurer.

3. The Board of Directors shall procure suitable places for meetings, and obtain competent persons to deliver addresses.

4. This Society shall hold its stated meetings on the last Friday evening of every month.

5. Any member of this society having sufficient evidence of another member violating the second article of this Constitution shall report the same to the President, whose duty it shall be to privately admonish him in a manner calculated to bring him to reflection; but if, after the remonstrance, he still persists in his course of delinquency, his name shall be publicly erased from the Constitution.

6. Any seven members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

7. All elections of this society shall be by ballot.

8. This Constitution and By-Laws may be altered by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at any meeting.


To the above Constitution, are amended the names of 118 ladies and 253 gentlemen.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 23, 1837

It becomes our painful duty, this week, to record the loss of upwards of twenty lives by one of those accidents of which the history of steamboat navigation on the western waters affords so many melancholy instances. It occurred on the Dubuque, while on her way up from St. Louis to Galena, at an early hour in the morning of the 15th inst.  This unfortunate boat was towed down from Bloomington - about eight miles above the spot where the disaster happened - by the "Smelter," and reached our wharf on the morning of Friday last, on her return to St. Louis. Never shall we forget the sad spectacle presented by the four unhappy sufferers, who then alone survived out of nearly thirty injured, and of the recovery of whom, with a single exception, but faint hopes can reasonably be entertain. One of these, Michael Shaughnessy, had a wife and infant on board, who were involved in the general destruction. The latter expired a few hours only after the disaster; the mother lived almost until the arrival of the boat at this place, and was interred in our cemetery [Alton City Cemetery]; and as for the wretched father and husband, his condition was such, when he reached our town [Alton], that we could hardly wish for the further prolongation of his miserable existence. In addition to the particulars of the heart-rending calamity, given in the following letter from our respected fellow-citizen, D. A. Spaulding, Esq., a passenger on board of the Dubuque, we learn that the boat had taken in wood about two miles below the scene of the melancholy occurrence - that the cabin passengers, being asleep in their berths, escaped uninjured, except one, who had his feet scalded - that the deck passengers were also lying down toward the stern of the boiler deck; but so tremendous was the explosion that, although they were separated from the machinery by a quantity of freight and other materials, the steam forced its way through every obstacle, scalding most of them very severely, and throwing the others overboard. The accident is attributed to a defect in the iron of which the collapsed flu was constructed; there being a full supply of water in the boilers at the time of the accident, which, so far as we have been able to learn, could not have been prevented by ordinary foresight. This mark * is affixed to the names of such of the sufferers as were still living when the Dubuque arrived here. It was the intention of the Captain to take them, if possible, to the St. Louis Hospital, for the purpose of medical attendance. All the others had died, except the Engineer, who although severely wounded, not by the steam but by pieces of iron, was not considered in danger.


"To the Editor of the Telegraph, Bloomington, 15th August, 1837:

This morning, about three o'clock, the steamboat Dubuque, commanded by Capt. Smoker, when alongside of Musquetin Island, and about eight miles below this place, on her way to Galena, while under an ordinary head of steam, collapsed the flue of her starboard boiler, scalding all the deck passengers, and some of the burns so severely, that ten are now dead, and it is probable, and even certain, that five or six more will die. A few others were thrown overboard and drowned. At the time the accident happened, the boat was about 50 yards from the west bank, and a landing was easily effected. Bloomington being the nearest point from which assistance could be obtained, six men were dispatched with the yawl, who returned in about four hours with two physicians; when everything which human ingenuity and skill could devise for the relief of the unfortunate sufferers was promptly done. Several of them were so badly scalded, that half of their skin came off before the arrival of the physicians. At eleven o'clock, the steamboat Adventure, Capt. Vanhouten, bound to Galena, came up and took the Dubuque in tow as far as this place. It is due to Capt. Smoker, as well as to the Captain of the Adventure, the physicians, and some of the citizens of Bloomington, to say, that they did everything in their power to mitigate the sufferings of the unhappy victims, and render their situation as comfortable as possible. The following is a list of the persons injured, so far as known:


John Littleton, 2d Engineer, badly wounded in the head by a piece or pieces of iron.

Isaac Deal, fireman, of Pittsburgh

Felix Pope, fireman, of Kaskaskia

*Charles Kelley, deck hand, Ohio

*Noah Swain, deck hand, Quincy

Jesse Johnson, cook, colored man, thrown overboard and drowned

Benjamin Messer, 2d cook, colored man, thrown overboard and drowned, of Cincinnati

James C. Carr, deck passenger, St. Clair, Ill.

George McMurray, deck passenger, St. Clair, Ill.

Francis Pleasant, deck passenger, St. Clair, Ill., colored man

Henry H. Carr, deck passenger, St. Clair, Ill.

James C. Hamilton, deck passenger, Dubuque

Joseph Brady, deck passenger, Dubuque

Josiah L. Sams, deck passenger,  Clay County, Ill.

L. B. Sams, deck passenger, Clay County, Ill.

George Clix, deck passenger, Galena

John Boland, deck passenger, New York

David Francour, deck passenger, France

*Martin Shaughnessy, deck passenger, St. Louis

*Michael Shaughnessy, wife and infant, deck passengers


In addition to the above, three young men, deck passengers, names unknown, are supposed to have been thrown overboard and drowned; and it is feared that some others, whose names are also unknown, have shared the same fate. The cabin passengers escaped with little or no injury; and have subscribed the following statement:


'The undersigned cabin passengers, on board the steamboat Dubuque, when the above unfortunate accident happened, feel it their duty to say that they do not attach any blame to the Captain or other officers or hands on the boat; but view it as one that could not have been prevented by any foresight or care on their part. We cannot conclude without bearing testimony to the gentlemanly conduct of the Captain towards us, and the kind interest manifested in relieving the unfortunate sufferers.  Signed by D. A. Spaulidng, Alton; Josiah Gordon, Louisiana; Joseph S. Monro, New York; C. M. Allen, Louisiana, Mo.; Jesse Yount, Dubuque; C. Cassedy; J. R. Ellis, U. C.; John Souls, U. C.; Benjamin C. Pearce, Dubuque; George Woods, Hancock County; and J. D. Scott, Dubuque.'"





John Marshall Krum, first Mayor of Alton, IL



Source: Alton Telegraph, August 30, 1837

At the election for city officers, held on Monday last [August 28, 1837], the following gentlemen were elected to fill the offices annexed to their names respectively:

For Mayor - **John M. Krum

Aldermen - 1st Ward: *Samuel Wade, **T. G. Hawley, **S. W. Robbins

Aldermen - 2nd Ward: *William McBride, **John Quigley, *George Heaton (***)

Aldermen - 3rd Ward: *D. P. Berry, *John King, *John Green

Aldermen - 4th Ward: *Andrew Miller, *Thomas Wallace, **J. T. Hutton

Register - **H. G. McClintock

Treasurer - *John H. Sparr

Collector - **S. C. Pierce

Street Commissioner - **J. B. Hundley

Assessors - *William G. Pinckard, **Beal Howard, **William Post

Constable - *Samuel L. Miller


Those with this mark * are Whigs; and those with this mark ** Administration men. It will be observed that politics had but little to do in deciding the election - other questions, principally local, having influenced the result. The honors of the day have been divided pretty equally between the two opposing parties - the Van Burenites having obtained the Mayor, four Aldermen, the Register, Collector, Street Commissioner, and two Assessors; and the Whigs eight Aldermen, the Treasurer, one of the Assessors, and the Constable. 


***There is some doubt with regard to the validity of this gentlemen's election (***George Heaton), on account of his residence. Should it be decided that he was not eligible, Dr. J. A. Halderstan, the next highest candidate, also a Whig, will of course take his place in the Board.



Source: Alton Telegraph, September 20, 1837

Fellow Citizens and Gentlemen of the Common Council:

I feel myself landed on this occasion with embarrassments of no ordinary character. The kind partiality of my fellow citizens having called me now to execute an official duty, I assume it with diffidence and distrust. Deeply conscious of my own fallibility, and fully appreciating the solemn obligation imposed by your charter, I should shrink from responsibilities of such magnitude, but for the cheering reflection that I may confide in the liberality and charity of my fellow citizens.


I trust I shall not be considered as indulging in fulsome flattery, or accused of aping the demagogue, when I assure you that I shall ever be proud to merit the confidence and approbation of an intelligent, virtuous, and liberal community. I cannot forbear expressing to the citizens of Alton, my most sincere gratitude for this mark of their confidence; with a fervent hope that I may be clothed with fortitude and uncompromising integrity, while acting in the discharge of my executive duties; and that I may be enabled to return the sacred trust to their hands, pure and uncontaminated.


If party prejudice, political rancor, or personal pique have given sentiments and opinions which do not belong to me, I hail this as a most favorable moment to state publicly, what are, and what are not, my opinions, on any and all subjects that may come within the scope of my official duties. Whatever differences of opinion may exist among our fellow citizens on leading political questions, i sincerely hope on questions of formal interest, and connected with the growth and prosperity of our infant city, that we can all meet on common ground; uniting force to force - energy to energy. Having in common with you, publicly and individually, a deep interest in the improvement and prosperity of Alton, it will be my most zealous purpose to discharge such duties as may rest on me, promptly, impartially and most for the public good - alike free from bias and political or personal influences.


With these considerations, I ask your indulgence while I call your attention to some of the many important subjects which will merit your serious deliberations at an early day. No subject probably could be presented, which will require more of your attention, and none more difficult to manage and direct, than our city improvements. It is important that our improvements should be based on a broad, permanent, and liberal foundation; not only that we may guard against a useless and wasteful expenditure of the public money, but also that the fleeting year shall not carry with it the result of our labors.


I would recommend, therefore, that a due regard should be had to the establishing of permanent grades of the public streets, in such parts of the city as are not already established. The advantages to be anticipated from establishing permanent grades will be seen and felt, not only by property holders and those desirous of improving their real estate, but it would be acknowledged by the public generally. It would not only save many of our citizens from frequent and burdensome expenditures for changes in their buildings and sidewalks - but would save the public treasury from appropriations, which could be more beneficially employed.


Intimately connected with this subject, is that of the public landing. I need not offer considerations with a view to convince you that this subject should receive your serious attention. Located on one of the most extensive and beautiful rivers in the world, the great thoroughfare of the whole "valley of the Mississippi," with thousands of steamboats floating upon her surface; the importance to Alton of a convenient landing for her watercraft will readily be perceived. The natural and local advantages which Alton possesses as a commercial depot, are readily perceived and acknowledged by all who are not interested in robbing her of the fair notoriety she has attained. By taking early measures for the improvement of the public landing, our natural and local advantages may be rendered of vast importance and benefit to our citizens. Having a due regard to the state of our finances, and such public improvements as are now in progress or in anticipation, I hope you will devote such attention to this subject as its importance seems to demand.


That portion of the public landing east of Market Street, and usually denominated "Reserved Landing," received the early attention of your predecessors, in a manner worthy the character for intelligence and industry, which the gentlemen who composed that body so deservedly merit. By reference to your files and records, you will perceive that legal measures have been resorted to, and are now pending, for the purpose of removing the obstructions already erected, and to prevent obstructions to future. I commend this branch of the public landing to your special consideration. It is of vast importance to the public, and also to owners of real estate immediately in rear of the disputed ground, that this question should be settled as speedily as justice to all concerned will permit; and I trust you will leave no means untried, which the law will justify, to secure the ground in question, unobstructed, for the use of the public.


As the extent of our improvements must necessarily depend upon the amount of our revenue, much of your attention will necessarily be directed to the state of our finances. The annual revenue arising from taxation on real estate, at the maximum of half of one per contain allowed by your charter, at $10,000 to $18,000. Your predecessors, at no time to my knowledge, considered it expedient to levy a tax on personal property owned within our corporate limits. In view, however, of the recent change in our municipal regulations, and in view of the necessarily increased expenses of our city government - if no other considerations influenced me - I should call the attention of the Common Council to the expediency of such a measure. There are considerations, as I view the subject, of far greater weight and importance. By the 9th section of the charter, it is made incumbent on the city authorities to support and maintain all paupers within its corporate limits. By the 12th section, authority is conferred on the Common Council to establish Elementary Schools for the instruction of youth in the elementary branches of English education. I would, therefore, suggest for your consideration, the propriety of levying a tax on personal property, to an amount sufficient to defray the expenses of the city government, the expenses of pauperism, and the support of elementary schools. The personal property owned within our corporate limits, including stock in trade, at a very moderate per centum, would be sufficient to raise the amount necessary for the last named purposes.


On this subject I am aware differences of opinion exist, as to the expediency and justness of levying a higher per centum on real than on personal property. To my mind, however, the reasons in favor of the proposition seem reasonable and well grounded. Personal property is more perishable in its nature - the owner is a citizen, probably out of nine cases in ten, and runs the hazard and risk of trade, destruction by the elements, &c. The owner too, of personal property, being in most cases (as is fair to conclude) a citizen of Alton, he is in many other respects constantly contributing to the business, growth and improvements of our city. On the other hand, the owner of real estate is in a measure relieved from perils and casualties of this nature; and inasmuch as the revenue arising from real estate is generally more directly applied to the improvement of streets, &c., he can better afford to pay a higher tax. The fact that a very large amount of real estate is owned by non-residents, who contribute nothing directly to the support of the very authorities engaged in making their property more valuable - except the tax on real estate - affords an additional reason in support of the proposition. Satisfied on the correctness of this view of the subject, I leave it to your determination......[he goes on to talk of money and suggests the city fathers negotiate a bank loan, not to exceed $100,000, for city improvements, using money from taxes on real estate to pay the interest.]


The power to establish Elementary Schools in the manner so amply provided for by our charter, should be ranked as one of the most prominent subjects of your duty. As faithful representatives and guardians of the public welfare, you cannot bestow too much consideration on this subject. There is nothing perhaps in the wide range of your official duties, which will lend so directly to the advancement of our real interests, as the establishment of permanent schools for the instruction of the young in the elementary branches of an English education. The happy influence of education upon the young in a moral, political, or any other view, is so universally acknowledged, that I deem it idle, to extend remarks in support of the proposition.


By affording means to the orphan and the indigent, to acquire useful knowledge, you at once rob the haunts of vice, sin and iniquity of many a victim, and lay a broad foundation for the moral culture and future usefulness of the young. Nothing is of so much importance to the young as early and proper instruction; and the framers of your charter cannot be too highly applauded for the very wise and salutary provisions, which give to the authorities of this city the power and the means of protecting the orphan, the poor, and the young, from the inroads of ignorance and vice. Too much cannot be said on this important subject; and as you value education - as you prize the liberty of speech and the press - as you estimate the future prospects of Alton - and as American citizens, I conjure you to devote your unified energies to this noble purpose; the praises of thousands who will reap the benefit of your labors, the gratitude of posterity, and an approving conscience will be your reward......[he goes on to talk on rules for granting licenses to merchants, grocers, and those who sell liquor]


That the great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be perpetuated - that our citizens may be secure in their persons and possessions - and that the natural and indefensible right to act and speak according to the dictates of conscience may be guaranteed to all - it is of vital importance that early attention should be given to a well regulated police. It is among the great and essential principles of our government, that every person should find a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs he may receive in his person, property or character. Every individual, however humble, should receive right and justice freely, promptly, and without delay; and no human authority, in no case whatever, should be permitted to control or interfere with the rights of conscience. I am aware of the difficulties you will necessarily encounter in attempting to provide for the many breaches of order and law that may be anticipated as likely to occur. It appears to me, however, that you will find no difficulty in rendering the laws salutary and efficient in protecting our citizens and their possessions from unlawful violation and depredation. Little, if any, further legislation on the part of the Common Council will be necessary to enable your Executive officers to sustain the dignity and supremacy of the laws. By the 10th division of our criminal code, wise, salutary and most rigid provisions are found to punish offenses against the public peace and tranquility. In the same code, at the 11th division, provision is made for the punishment of offences against the public morality, health, and police. Probably in no State in the union (if indeed any can be found in the enlightened world) do we find so many crimes and offenses coumerated as in the criminal code of Illinois; and the most rigorous and condign punishment is provided for all who may offend against its provisions. I would suggest, therefore, that as far as practicable, our State laws should be considered as the governing laws of our city. The charter gives you ample powers to supply by ordinances, any provision that may be deemed necessary to secure order and quietude, more effectually. Whatever regulations you may see proper to ordain, if in accordance with the principles of liberty, free government, and our constitution, I shall hold myself in readiness at all times and under all circumstances, as your Executive officer, to enforce and sustain the dignity and supremacy of our laws.


In conclusion, permit me to express the hope that you will cast the mantle of charity over the errors and imperfections of your presiding officer; and that mutual forbearance, kindness and harmony may pervade your deliberations.  John M. Krum, Mayor.  Alton, September 2, 1837




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 27, 1837

We understand that the Alton Ferry Company have completed a horse-boat, which is now constantly running from the Penitentiary landing to the Missouri shore. They intend to build a new steam ferry boat, to be in readiness by the opening of spring; so that both boats may be kept running if necessary. As it is intended that one shall be constantly plying, no detention or difficulty through the want of ferry boats need hereafter be apprehended by those desirous of crossing the river.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 4, 1837

Mr. Abel Haper, an intelligent farmer of Gilead, Calhoun County, sent us, a few days since, a Pippin, measuring fifteen and a half inches in circumference, and weighing twenty-four ounces. We never have seen a larger or finer apple, and while we return thanks to the worthy donor for his handsome present, we must be permitted to express the wish that he may always have an abundance of all kinds of fruit, of as fair a quality, with which to treat himself and his friends.  Editors of The Telegraph.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 11, 1837

We regret to state that Mr. Stevens of the firm of Stevens & Trenchery, of this city, had his right hand so much injured by the bursting of his piece, while on a gunning excusion a few days since, as to render the amputation of two fingers necessary. The other fingers were likewise severely incerated, but it is hoped they will be save.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 1, 1837

Mr. Editor: In perusing the October No. of the Illinois Temperance Herald, my attention was called to the review of the Mayor's Inaugural Address under the Editorial department of that valuable journal. I commence the article with a foreboding interest - - fearful that our young and worthy Chief Magistrate [Krum], in the noon-day of popular favor and personal regard, had in an evil hour fallen a victim to the evils of intemperance.  I confess, sir, when I read column after column, and the names of some of the most distinguished Judges, Jurists, Statesmen, Physicians, and Divines, in juxtaposition to the views contained in the Mayor's Address, I trembled, lest an evil day had come upon our city - but on a more careful perusal of the Editor's remarks and the authorities quoted by him, I became reconciled, and came to the conclusion that no good citizen would take exception to them - not even the Mayor himself.


I do not address you with a view of cumpinining [sic] of the remarks of the Editor of the Herald; on the contrary, I rejoice that the friends of temperance are watchful - that they are vigilant in their warfare against a commonenciny [sic]. My object is to do justice - to correct an impression that might grow out of the Herald's remarks, that Mr. Krum is anti-temperance.


I do not suppose for a moment that his remarks were intended to give any such impression. Captious and envious persons, however, by possibility might direct the Editor's remarks into a channel different from the one intended. The paragraph in the Mayor's Address which contains the exceptionable words is as follow:


"The history of past ages, and other cities, exhibits the necessity of imposing some additional restraints upon the retailer, in small quantities, of spirituous liquors and wines. The inducements to engage in this kind of business are so alluring, and the effect of suffering persons to engage in it without proper restraints, are too palpable to require further comment. The good order and well being of society seem to demand that wholesome restraints should be imposed on all who wish to engage in this frolic. It will not be expected that you will do more than to regulate this species of trade. Business of this character has its benefits and its evils - - its friends and its foes - - and while all lament and deprecate the vice, poverty and crime that may in too many instances be truced to the tempting indulgence of appetite, which it affords - you can scarcely expect to exterminate such evils by rigid enactments and ordinances only. You can, however, by wise and statutory  ordinances, regulate this species of trade by holding out inducements to those engaged in it in respect the laws, and the well being os society, and mitigate in a very great degree the evils complained of."


 I repeat, that my purpose is to do justice to the Editor as well as to Mr. K.  Our citizens know Mr. Krum too well; and he is esteemed too highly for any person to attempt to tarnish his fair and unblemished character by an unmerited and unjustifiable attack. The Editor, I am satisfied, had no such intention. He should, however, in my humble opinion, have qualified his remarks, so as to leave no room for his readers to distrust the Mayor's temperance principles. Should the impression be received that the Mayor of our infant City is opposed to temperance, it would certainly be highly prejudicial to him, and tend to discourage the work of reform, now as auspicious. That the Mayor did not intend his remarks to have any other application than in a business point of view - confined to matters of trade and individual "benefits" - is apparent from the reading of the whole paragraph. He, I think, did not intend that they should have the broad application which the Editor has given them. By applying the remarks of the Mayor as they were evidently intended, and as every careful and candid reader must understand them, I cannot take any particular exception to the paragraph.


That Mr. Krum is a friend of temperance, by precept and example, I, with hundreds of our fellow-citizens, can bear ample testimony. As a further proof of this fact, I have noticed within the last year, the publication in the Herald, of three or four extracts, clothed in powerful and feeling language on that subject, which I know personally to be from his pen. But sir, I need not attempt a defense of our worthy Mayor - his daily deportment carries with it its own commendation. I speak from no party or political motives. My influence was found against Mr. K. in the political scene. I submit cheerfully to the choice of the majority. The character and worth of Mr. K. placed him in the Executive Chair of our City. With his elevation, I hope to see our City elevated. His capability, integrity and industry need no comment from my pen. Our citizens will appreciate and judge him righteously. The above remarks are made in kindness, and I hope will be appreciated and properly understood.     A Friend of Temperance.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1837

The reader will observe, by a notice in another column, that this establishment, which was burnt down last summer, has been rebuilt, and is now again open for the reception of the public, under the superintendence of Messrs. Miller & Fish. Although the main building is still unfinished, the accommodations are nevertheless excellent; and when we say that the senior member of the present firm is the same gentleman who had charge of the Alton House a few years since, we need not add that nothing is omitted which can contribute to the comfort and satisfaction of the guests. The situation commands an extensive view of the river, and is at a convenient distance from the public landing; and after the completion of the principal part of the edifice - which is of brick, presents a very handsome appearance, and is in a state of great forwardness - we think the establishment will compare advantageously with any other in this section of the Union.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 21, 1838

The subscriber having purchased the stock in trade of B. Delaplain, consisting of dry goods, groceries, hardware, Queensware, wooden ware, &c. &c., respectfully invites all who like good bargains to give him a call. Most kinds of country produce, and even good bank notes and specie, taken in exchanges, if insisted upon by the purchaser. Store, corner of Second and State Streets. Alton, February 14, 1838.  H. P. Hulbert.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 28, 1838

We regret to learn that the store of Mr. A. Conlee, in the fourth Ward of this city [Middletown] was broken into on last Saturday night, and merchandise of the estimated value of between seven and eight hundred dollars stolen therefrom. The perpetrators, we understand, still remain undiscovered.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 28, 1838

James Reno (formerly of Carrollton) would inform his friends and the public that this House has been refined and opened under his superintendence; and to the traveling community he tenders accommodations neat and convenient to themselves, and good stabling for their horses. A few permanent boarders, either families or single gentlemen, can be furnished with commodious apartments, and all who honor his house with their patronage may be assured of receiving unremitting attention to promote their comfort.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 14, 1838

On Friday night last, the silversmith and jeweler's shop of Mr. J. S. Clarke, on Second street, was feloniously entered into by means of a false key, and twenty-nine watches, together with sundry articles of jewelry, taken therefrom. A reward of $100 has been offered by the Mayor for the discovery of the perpetrators.




(The Altonian printed only three papers)

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 21, 1838

A new weekly paper, bearing the above title, made its appearance in this city on Wednesday of last week. It is published by Messrs. Parks & Breath, and presents a handsome appearance. So far as it shall be found to support the real interests of this city, the state, and the Union generally, we hope it will meet all desirable encouragement. We take this fitting occasion to return our acknowledgments to the editors for the kind sympathy which they have been pleased to express for our "misfortunes," in the loss of a few of our Abolition subscribers; and as we are unwilling to permit any obligation whatever to remain unrequited, when it is in our power to cancel it, we beg leave to condone with our worthy neighbors, on account of the rejection of their paper by a number of the Whigs to whom it was sent. Although gratified at the patronage of the Abolitionists, when voluntarily and unconditionally tendered, and ready at all times to render them full and impartial justice, we nevertheless freely admit that inasmuch as we do not concur in their peculiar views, we have no better claim on their support as a party than our friends of the Altonian have on that of the Whigs; and most certainly have no right "to compel" them to take our paper, "whether they will or no." In this respect, the two publications stand on equal ground; with this trifling difference, that the Telegraph fights openly, under its own colors, without profession to be what it is not. So far as the regret expressed by our neighbors, that there should be, in this city, an Editor whose course, in relation to the fatal affair of the 7th of November last, "required explanation," may be intended or considered as a reflection upon us, we deem it proper to observe, once for all, that during the entire period of our connection with the senior publisher of the Altonian, no Editorial article on the exciting subject of Abolition and the matters connected with it ever appeared in the Telegraph, without having been previously submitted to his perusal, and obtained his express sanction. If, therefore, too much has been said, he is not less to blame than we are for having failed to interpose his veto; if too little, he is equally consurable for having neglected to supply the deficiency.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1838

The office of the Alton Telegraph will be removed, in the course of a few days, to the room formerly occupied by the Observer office, in the stone building near Piasa creek bridge on Second street [Broadway], where all orders in the printing line will be thankfully received and promptly executed.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 25, 1838

Sec. 1.  Be it ordained by the Common Council of the city of Alton, that from and after the passage of this ordinance, it shall and may be lawful for the Mayor, by and with the advice and consent of the Common Council, to select and appoint six able-bodied men in the First Ward, four in the Second Ward, two in the Third Ward, and two in the Fourth Ward of said city; who shall be denominated "Police Officers." Said police officers shall be commissioned by the Mayor and hold their offices for one year, and shall be subject to removal from office at the pleasure of the Common Council.

Sec. 2.  Be it further ordained that said police officers shall at all times obey the lawful commands of the Mayor, or any other conservator of the peace in said city. They shall assemble at such times and places, and perform such services for the preservation of good order, peace and tranquility, and for the protection of property, as the Mayor, City Constable, or any other peace officer may order and direct. And in case either of said officers shall become disabled by sickness or casualty, he shall report the same to the Mayor forthwith.

Sec. 3.  Be it further ordained, that it shall be lawful for the Mayor at any time, when in his opinion, the safety and property of the citizens of Alton and the public peace and tranquility render it necessary and expedient, to appoint as many additional police officers as he may think proper, who shall in like manner obey all the lawful commands of the Mayor, or any other peace officer of said city. Such additional police officers shall have the same powers and be subject to the same liabilities and penalties as the regular police officers, which appointments, when made by the Mayor as aforesaid, shall be considered as pro tempore, and shall terminate at the pleasure of the Mayor or Common Council.

Sec. 4. Be it further ordained, that each and every police officer shall be entitled to receive one dollar for every 12 hours actual service in the discharge of the duties of said office, and each and every regular police officer shall be exempt from serving on any grand or petit jury, and he exempt from any road tax in said city; Provided that no police officer shall be entitled to receive pay for his services until he shall verify the truth thereof, by his own oath, or the oath of some other person.

Sec. 5. Be it further ordained, that said police officers shall be conservators of the peace, and shall have full power and authority in all respects; and it is hereby made their duty to suppress riots, tumult, quarrels and disturbances, and to disperse any and all ___isy and tumultuous assemblies. Said police officers shall have power to arrest any and all persons guilty of any breach of the peace, and take them before the Mayor or any justice of the peace for trial, or commit them to the city jail, as the case may require. And in general, said police officers shall severly have the same powers and authority in all respects at the City Constable now has, or may have, by virtue of any law of this state, or by virtue of any ordinance of the city of Alton.

Sec. 6. Be it further ordained, that any police officer who shall neglect or fail to perform the duties of his office, or who shall neglect or fail to the best of his ability to obey the lawful commands of the Mayor or any other conservator of the peace in said city, shall forfeit and pay a fine of not less than five dollars, nor exceeding fifty dollars, at the discretion of the Court trying the same, which fine shall be recovered in the name of the city of Alton, before any court having jurisdiction thereof.

Passed in Common Council, the 30th day of March, 1838.  John M. Krum, Pres. Common Council




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 16, 1838

The steam flouring mill, situated in this city [Alton], on the bank of the Mississippi, having four pair of stones of a fine quality, and other apparatus, is offered for sale or rent, on very moderate terms for one or more years. Also, a cooper's shop, large enough for the use of 10 hands; and two tenements, for families, on the premises. The superior location of this mill for the collection of wheat, by water, from the Illinois river and the adjacent wheat districts of Missouri and Illinois, the abundance of coal within a short distance, and the large home markets now found in the lead country above, and in the wants of emigrants, present a fine opportunity for any one or more persons who are enterprising and industrious to make a fortune. It is an object for the proprietors to have the mill in motion, and they will give a bargain to those who are disposed to do well for themselves. For other particulars, apply to the agent and treasurer, S. Griggs.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1838

On last Thursday afternoon, this city [Alton] and neighborhood were visited by a hail storm of unusual severity, accompanied with wind, rain, lightning and thunder. Most of the hailstones, which continued falling for ten or fifteen minutes, were of the size of large walnuts, and some of them nearly, if not quite as big as hen eggs; and being driven with some violence by the force of the wind, they did considerable damage by stripping trees of their leaves, destroying tender plants and vegetables, and breaking thousands of panes of glass in this city and Upper Alton. We have not heard how far the storm extended its ravages in any direction; but hope they were confined within a limited space.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1838

The Branch of the Bank of Illinois, recently established in this city [Alton], went into operation last week and discounted moderately. We understand that it is the intention of the directors to loan out small sums only. They will thus have it in their power to grant accommodations to the greatest practicable number of citizens, and to afford as much relief to the community as can be reasonably anticipated under existing circumstances. It should, however, be strictly borne in mind that bank facilities, however useful and indispensable they may be to business men, and however much, when judiciously distributed, they may contribute to the development of the resources of a country like ours, and hasten the speed of its onward march, will not stand as a substitute for industry and enterprise, and that the only permanent remedy which can be applied to the existing evils is unremitted diligence and frugality. These, properly exerted together with the completion of the great work of political reform now in progress, unquestionably soon will restore us to our former prosperity, and effectually remove the embarrassments and difficulties under which the American people have so extensively labored for some time past.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1838

We understand that Colonel Nathaniel Buckmaster has been appointed Postmaster in this city, in the place of J. C. Bruner, Esq. removed. As both of these gentlemen are supporters of the existing administration, we know of no substantial reason for the change, unless it be that the latter is strongly suspected of having exercised the right of suffrage on a recent occasion agreeably to the dictates of his own conscience, an "unpardonable sin," in these days of moral degradation and political subserviency.



Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1838

Fellow Citizens: Having been, without any cause with which I am acquainted, deprived of the post office, which has been my main dependence for the support of my family, and having been earnestly solicited by many of my friends and fellow citizens from all parts of the county, who have known me for many years, to became a candidate for Sheriff of Madison County, I have consented, and will serve them in that capacity if honored with their suffrages at the next August election.  J. C. Bruner.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1838

The shock of an earthquake was very sensibly felt in this city and the neighborhood, on last Saturday morning at about nine o'clock. It was preceded by a rumbling noise, resembling distant thunder, and the oscillation was such as to cause the windows, doors, &c., of buildings to shake violently and induce many persons to rush into the open air, under the apprehension of the fall of their respective dwellings. We are not able to state its duration with any thing like certainty, but to us, it seemed to last about fifteen or twenty seconds. Others estimate it at from thirty seconds to one minute or upwards. The weather was very close and sultry; and there was a pretty severe storm of lightning, thunder and rain in the afternoon. We are informed that at St. Louis, the shock was severe - a number of chimneys having been thrown down and other damage done to sundry buildings.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1838

For two or three weeks past, the weather here has been excessively warm - the thermometer, at different times, having ranged considerably over 100, and been seldom as low as 80. So far as our information extends, the crops, generally, are most abundant, not only in this state, but also throughout the Union; for which unbounded gratitude is justly due to the beneficent Author of our existence. As the blessing of a plentiful harvest is one, of which the mischievous and selfish policy of our rulers cannot deprive the American people, they may rejoice in the anticipation of it without any fear that their reasonable expectations will be disappointed.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1838

The late anniversary of our National Independence was celebrated in a handsome manner in this city. In conformity with previous arrangements, the citizens began to assemble near the corner of Second [Broadway] and State streets in considerable numbers at about half past ten o'clock. But information having been received that a number of the members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows were coming up from St. Louis for the purpose of joining in the ceremonies with their brethren of Alton, the procession was not formed until after their arrival in the Eagle, with a number of other gentlemen, a little before one o'clock. It then moved on with the utmost regularity to the Baptist Church, where the exercises of the day were performed in the order heretofore prescribed, and in a style highly creditable to the talent and good taste of those who participated therein. Of the Oration by George W. Olney, Esq., it is necessary only to remark that it was worthy of the speaker and of the great event which it was intended to commemorate. We hope to be able to obtain a copy for publication in our next number. The music - the reading of the Declaration of Independence - indeed, the whole of the ceremonies - were performed in a manner calculated to afford unmingled gratification to the immense crowd in attendance. Towards the close of the exercises in the church, the beautiful steamboat Burlington hove in sight, having onboard the St. Louis Grays, accompanied by a fine band, and a number of ladies and gentlemen from our sister city. The company landed amidst the cheers of the citizens present, and proceeded at once to the church, where they arrived in time to escort the Odd Fellows back to the Lodge Room. We never have seen anywhere better looking men than the Grays. Their fine military bearing, neat uniform, and gentlemanly deportment excited universal admiration; and it was a source of general regret that the shortness of their stay prevented them from accepting the invitation given them to visit the Cave Spring, and with a number of gentlemen of this city, partake of a dinner provided for the occasion. The Odd Fellows, likewise, with their splendid trappings and grave demeanor, excited much attention, and so far as our knowledge extends, the whole day passed off without the occurrence of anything calculated to mar its enjoyments or disturb the general festivity.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 15, 1838

An undivided fourth part of the Steam Saw Mill, situated on Shields' Branch, Alton, together with stable and outhouses, in fine order for an extensive business. Also a new dwelling house situated in Middletown, built and formerly occupied by John R. Gale, situated on N. W. Quarter of Block No. 10, fronting 8 rods on Washington Street, and comprising 2 lots of 1-4 of an acre each. Said house is well finished, pleasantly situated, and has a good stable and well of water, &c. Terms favorable.  Apply to S. Griggs or B. F. Edwards.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1838

[The first election took place in 1837, and those officers were elected for one year.]

The following is an abstract of the votes given in the several wards of this city at the annual charter election on Monday last. For the information of distant readers, it may, perhaps, be proper to state that this election, although warmly contested, had nothing whatever to do with politics - the two candidates for the mayor's office being both members of the Whig party.


Mayor - Charles Howard

Collector - S. C. Pierce

Register - J. E. Starr

Treasurer - T. G. Hawley

Street Commissioner - J. B. Hundley

Constable - J. D. Smith




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1838

The steamboat Missouri Fulton - one of the regular traders between St. Louis and Galena - unfortunately ran on a snag on Wednesday evening last near the head of Chouteau's Island, about eighteen miles below this city, and sunk immediately in ten feet water. As the cargo consists principally of lead, the most of it will probably be saved, but it is feared that the boat may be a total loss, as she is lying in a dangerous situation.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1838

Under the protection of an all-wise Providence, our worthy predecessors have conducted our city through its first municipal year; and by the voice of our respected community, we have been called to manage its affairs for the next twelve months. That you, and our fellow citizens generally, as well as myself, feel grateful to the Supreme Ruler of all things for His guardian care, with which we have been favored during the eventful period through which we have passed, I dare not doubt; and that we are greatly indebted to our constituents for the confidence they have reposed in us, we must all unfeignedly acknowledge.


We are now installed; and I believe that all of us clearly perceive that ponderous responsibilities devolve upon us - responsibilities which, perhaps, none of us, at present can fully comprehend, and which the march of time alone can fairly develop. We may, it is true, look forward and discover a great amount of labor demanding our immediate attention; such as grading and paving our landing and streets, establishing a system of common schools, and regulating our police. But in the accomplishment of these great objects, no doubt, from their complex characters and diversified interests, many adventitious circumstances, which we cannot now foresee, will intervene to render our duties arduous, intricate and perplexing; and unless we are strongly armed with prudence, and wholly divested of prejudice and partiality, we shall not be prepared to meet them. It behooves us, therefore, to be watchful over our own hearts, and over the general interests of our city, and prompt and diligent in the discharge of all the duties which are imposed upon us by virtue of our respective offices. Then, if we fail to accomplish the great objects for which we have been elected, we shall at least have the approbation of our own consciences when we shall have ended our public career. As your Executive officer, this will be my only aim. Whether I shall attain it or not, time alone can prove; for I know that I am frail and fallible, and I take my office with a trembling hand, and with a great distrust in my feeble abilities. But yet, by the talent, the honesty of intention, and the love for Alton, which I believe are concentrated in the honorable Common Council over whose deliberations I shall have the honor to preside, and from whom I believe I shall receive aid and direction in the hour of danger and of difficulty, I am inspired with a hope that I shall obtain the object of my pursuit.


I deem it necessary for me, at this time, to recommend to your notice any particular measure. The wants and wishes of our constituents are as well known to you as they are to myself; and I most respectfully submit them to you without further remarks, knowing that you will give them that early and liberal consideration which their importance demands. And now, with a hope that we may be guided in all we do, by the Supreme Ruler of cities, and with an ardent desire that all our actions may be marked with wisdom, prudence, and harmony, I am, your obedient servant, Charles Howard.


[Note:  Charles Howard was the son of Beall Howard. Beall Howard erected the first frame house in Alton, on the site of the Presbyterian Church on Market Street. It was two stories high, and was occupied as early as 1829.  Charles Howard put up a small dwelling just opposite Alton House, which was at the corner of Front and Alby Streets. Charles was on the committee to obtain the Alton City Charter. He was also Vice-President of the Alton Total Abstinence Society, and was the first Master of the Masonic Alton Franklin Lodge, No. 25 (the first Masonic Lodge in Madison County).  After the close of his term, Charles Howard studied theology and became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church.]




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1838

Sportsmen, desirous of providing themselves with guns of a superior quality, would do well to visit the store of Mr. Van Wagenen on Second Street [Broadway], where they may find an extensive assortment of all sizes and descriptions, some of which are beautifully mounted and of exquisite workmanship. We are not sufficiently well versed in such matters to undertake to describe the articles referred to, and will therefore only invite those wishing to purchase to call and examine for themselves.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 10, 1838

The periodical phenomenon of the shooting stars - which attracted such general attention throughout the United States on the morning of November 13, 1833, and has been visible in a greater or less degree on each succeeding anniversary - may perhaps be expected to make its appearance between midnight and sunrise on next Tuesday morning. Those desirous of observing this grand display of natural fireworks will therefore do well to be on the lookout.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 17, 1838

Gilders are exposed to the diseases following the absorption of mercury and the inhalation of its vapors, since it is by the aid of this metal that the process of gilding is performed. The union of mercury and gold by means of heat, which disengages largely the fumes of the former, will give rise in persons exposed to them, to giddiness, asthma, partial palsy, and a death-like paleness of visage. Preceding these constitutional effects, are the more common ones of ulcers in the mouth, salivation, universal languor, and trembling, by which the person affected is unable to raise his hand to his mouth, and even the act of swallowing is rendered convulsive. On recovering in a degree from extreme debility and exhaustion, there remains great irritability, and an especial intolerance of sound. At times there is an insufferable stammering produced by the deleterious action of mercury.


Miners cannot work for a longer period than three years in quicksilver mines, nor more than six days at a time. Convulsions, tremors, palsy, and vertigo are said to be the consequence of exposure in this way; asthma is to this class a very common harassing and fatal disease. We read in the transactions of the Royal Society for 1835, that one of the workmen, having been so rash as to continue six months in succession in this employment, was so thoroughly impregnated with the mercury, that on placing a piece of copper on his lips, or on rubbing it with his fingers, it was whitened in a short time.


Glaziers of pottery making use of lead largely for their manufacture, are subject to nearly a similar train of evils as those just enumerated, together with enlarged spleen (ague cake), dropsical swellings, and the loss of their teeth. Their faces are cadaverous and leaden like the metal they employ. Palsy of the limbs, and more particularly of the arms, together with that of the right side, the muscles of which potters more continually exercise, are among the effects of the vapors from the lead. Consumption of the lungs is also frequent from the same cause.


Makers of glass are subject to disease caused by sudden vicissitudes of temperature - great heat followed by a cool air. They are generally thin and feeble, liable to violent or acute disease or protracted remittent fever. Their eyes are weak and inflamed, and their skin irritated by various eruptions; of course pleurisies, asthma, and fixed catarrh are common effects of their exposure. A role prevails in some glass manufactories, and ought to be generally adopted, that the workmen shall be employed only six months in the year, winter and spring, and that after forty years of age they retire from the occupation.


Stone cutters and quarrymen suffer by inhaling the volatilized particles given out in cutting and quarrying stone, and if they continue regularly at this kind of work, they fall victims to sundry diseases of the lungs before they have passed the maturity of life.


Blacksmiths, locksmiths, gunners, and founders are subject to diseases dependent on the extremes of temperature to which they are exposed, the constrained attitude which they are frequently obliged to keep, and the light and heat, and the metallic particles given out from the iron on which they work. Hence inflammations of the eyes, and diseases of the lungs, together with indigestion and all its consequences are common among them.


Plasterers and makers of lime suffer from the gases disengaged as well as from the great moisture attracted by the lime. Plasterers also must feel the bad effects of the excessive dampness of the rooms which they are employed on. They are affected with laborious breathing, have a wan, pallid visage, and digest badly.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 24, 1838

To General Charles Gratiot, Chief Engineer, U. S. Army, Alton, Ill., October 15, 1838

At the request of a number of gentlemen of Alton, I have made a partial examination of the bank of the Mississippi River, from that city to Smeltzer's Ferry, one and a quarter miles above it, and of the river at the Ferry, with a view to the construction of a road along the bank, and a bridge at or near the Ferry, across the Mississippi; and I here take the liberty of communicating the result of my observations and reflections on the subject to you, as it may possibly have some bearing upon the future location of the National Road from this state into the state of Missouri.


Nearly the whole distance from Alton to the Ferry, about half of the bank to the elevation of the country back is a perpendicular wall of solid argillaceous limestone, and the remainder consists of a slope to the water's edge, varying from sixty to two hundred feet in width. To construct a road, therefore, along the bank at any desirable grade, would be an easy work - having such a superabundance of the requisite materials on hand.


The river at the Ferry is estimated at about fourteen hundred yards in width. The first hundred of which on the Illinois side presents a rocky bottom with from fifteen to twenty-five feet of water; and from thence to within about the same distance of the Missouri side is a quicksand, with the same depth of water, and extending down below what I had means of measuring; and on the Missouri side, at present, is a channel of thirty feet water, with a dark clay bottom.


It seems to be the character of quicksands, that when they become stationary and permanent, they form a substantial foundation for the heaviest structures - and by constructing a break-water of stone thrown into and quite across the channel, up to a grade of twenty feet below low water mark, the sand that would deposit below, mixed with stone to be thrown in with it, it is believed will furnish a good foundation for piers for a bridge. It is believed, further, that the depth of the sand, considering the convenience of the stone it would require, is not so great as to render the expense of this work too great for the object to be attained. At all events, the subject merits some further consideration and attention, and a more thorough survey and examination than I have had it in my power to make, and which might lead to useful results.


From the foundation thus obtained, it is believed that filling up for the base of the piers, with loose stone to the level of low water mark, in the manner of the foundation of Castle Calhoun at the Rip Raps, Hampton Roads, will afford ample foundation for them, the current being moderate at this place.


To render the bridge free from obstructing the navigation of the river, it may start on the Illinois side fifty feet above high water mark, and be constructed on a slope to the opposite bank for steamboats to pass freely under it at all times. The grade of the road will be easily suited to this elevation; and the landing on the Missouri side would be at the commencement of a ridge of high ground that leads out from the river and is free from inundations at high water, and a point at such stages of the river where the Alton ferry boat has to seek a landing. I remain, most respectfully, Your obedient servant, George W. Long, Civil Engineer.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 1, 1838

Several large droves of hogs have arrived in this city within the last two weeks, and we understand that between five and six hundred head, some of them of a very large size, are cut-up daily, on an average, in our two packing houses. Among those slaughtered at Mr. Cory's establishment during the present week was one weighing 640 lbs., net; another weighed 500; several 400; and a large number over 300. Our hogs this year are generally fatter and heavier than at any former period, and Beeves, of which many are also brought here, are likewise much better than usual. The present price of pork varies, from four to five dollars per hundred, according to the size and quality; and is reported to command about the same prices at St. Louis. At Cincinnati, it is quoted at five dollars and fifty cents.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, December 20, 1838

Notice. A lecture will be delivered before the Alton Literary Society on Friday evening, December 21st by Alfred Stevens, Esq'r., on the fall of Poland. Citizens are invited to attend. N. G. Edwards, Sec. December 20, 1838.







Source: Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois, 1812-1912

The Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the oldest fire insurance company in the state, was chartered in Alton, February 23, 1839, and organized April 4, 1839, with Benjamin Franklin Long as president, and M. G. Atwood secretary, and soon attained a high rank. In 1845 the directors were: John Atwood, Samuel G. Bailey, John Bailhache, Alfred Dow, M. G. Atwood, B. F. Edwards, O. M. Adams, B. K. Hart, JOhn James, B. F. Long, Elias Hibbard, Robert Smith, G. W. Long, William F. Dewolf, and George B. Arnold. The officers were: B. F. Long, president; M. G. Atwood, secretary; George B. Arnold, treasurer.  In 1866, the officers were: M. G. Atwood, president; John Atwood, secretary; H. W. Billings, counselor; L. Kellenberger, treasurer; with Samuel Wade, Henry Lea, Lyman Trumbull, F. A. Hoffman, J. W. Schweppe, C. A. Caldwell, M. H. Topping, and M. G. Dale added to or replacing others in the directorate.  The company had agencies all over the state, and for many years was a flourishing institution. It built a fine office in Middletown, and around it were grouped the residences of the officials. The locality was locally called "Insuranceville."  The office was subsequently moved by 1867 to what is now the Masonic building on State street. It extended its operations and entered the insurance field in Chicago where it met its fate. It was wiped out by the great conflagration of 1871, which destroyed the great part of that city. Many other insurance companies were swept out of existence by the same unprecedented calamity.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 10, 1868

The elegant building in Middletown, formerly occupied as the home office of the Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance Company, is offered for sale at a bargain. The building can easily be converted into a beautiful and convenient residence. The surrounding grounds are attractive and are adorned with valuable shrubbery.





Source: Alton Telegraph, January 2, 1839

The subscribers having taken this spacious building, are now ready to accommodate travelers and the public generally, and no pains will be spared which will contribute to the comfort of those who may favor them will a call. The senior partner having formerly kept the Alton House, and received a large share of public patronage, would tender his thanks for past favors, and hopes that they will be continued to the present firm.  Signed Miller and Fish.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, January 18, 1839

Notice. All Citizens who wish to sign the memorial to the State Legislature, to abolish the Municipal Court of this city, are requested to call at the Alton House, Piasa House or at the store of Messrs. Stevens & Trenchery, where the petition has been placed. Any person having signed the same, and wishing to have his name erased, can do so by calling at the Alton House, where the original has been left for that purpose.   Alton, January 18, 1839.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 23, 1839

200 Cast Steel Rifles and Shotguns!!! A large assortment just received from the manufactory, of all lengths and sizes, from five to sixteen pounds weight, embossed with brass, silver and gold, both single and double barrel, with shot gun to fit on the same stock - some very fine, put up with apparatus complete, in mahogany and leather cases. Also, REPEATERS, which may be discharged eight times without reloading. They are all very superior to the common kind; carry a ball much more accurately, and to double the distance; they are more easily cleaned, and the locks very simple and of superior quality, the hammer being on the under side, prevents injury from the raps exploding. The United States and the Canadian Governments have them now in use, and consider them superior in every respect in all others. The subscriber having now received the agency for this State, is enabled to keep a much larger assortment, and to sell them at very low prices, and solicits an examination from those who wish to purchase for sporting, for the Army, or to fit out Rifle Companies. He will have them made to order, of any kind or dimensions. 

H. G. VanWagenen.




Second Street [Broadway], Alton, Illinois

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 8, 1839

H. Tanner would inform his western friends that he is now laying in an extensive assortment of stoves for the season, at wholesale or retail, among which are the following kinds, viz: Premium stove of Pittsburgh and Troy Castings; German Tin Plate, trimmed for cooking; Plate Stoves with one and two boilers; Rotary; Saddle Bag; and Phelps' Patent. Also, common ten plate and parlour stoves of the latest fashions; Franklins, for wood or coal; and every description of heating stoves ever used in the west......Also, Simmons' best cast steel chopping axes, Kentucky and Yankee patterns; broad axes, hand axes, pruning, shingling, and claw hatchets; house and ship carpenter's axes; mincing knives, &c., warranted to be inferior to none manufactured in the world. The subscriber has the exclusive agency of this establishment for the State of Illinois, and is prepared to supply, wholesale or retail, merchants with these desirable tools in any quantities, and at the shortest notice, direct from the manufacturers, and will warrant and make good all defects, if any can be found. 200 boxes of various sizes and patterns, now on hand at his establishment in Alton, where merchants can always examine and prove them by the side of any others, to their own satisfaction (come and look). The subscriber has likewise connected with his other business, the Oil and Candle business, at wholesale and retail; where he intends keeping on hand all kinds and qualities of oil, and a full supply of sperm candles. These articles are received direct from the eastern manufacturers, and will always be sold at a small advance from their prices. He flatters himself that his knowledge of the oil business will afford him a decided advantage over others in buying this article; and consequently will insure to those who trade with him the same advantage in proportion.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 8, 1839

We are gratified to learn that Messrs. Wise, Riley & Co., experienced millers from Maryland, have leased for a term of years the Steam Flouring Mill of the Alton Manufacturing Company, and are now engaged in putting the machinery in order with a view to commence business on an extensive scale. These gentlemen, we understand, are already purchasing wheat for cash, and expect to be prepared to manufacture largely from the new crop. This will give an additional stimulus to the industry and enterprise of the farmers and agriculturists in this part of the state, increase the business and trade of our young and growing city, and, we trust, prove a source of profit and advantage to the worthy manufacturers.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 6, 1839

The citizens of this place [Alton] and those of Upper Alton united on Thursday last in a joint celebration of the sixty-third anniversary of the Declaration of our National Independence, in conformity with previous arrangements. The day was ushered in by a national salute of thirteen guns; and another of twenty-six guns at nine o'clock. At eleven, a procession was formed in front of Mr. Nutter's Hotel in Upper Alton, under the direction of Col. Hundley as Marshal, aided by four assistants, and preceded by an elegant military band from St. Louis, repaired to the Baptist church, where the exercises of the day were commenced by a fervent and appropriate address to the Throne of Grace from the Chaplain, the Rev. O. Howard. The Declaration of Independence was then read by John M. Krum, Esquire, after which a chaste and eloquent oration - which may be expected in our next - was delivered by N. D. Strong, Esquire - the whole interspersed with excellent music. The procession was then again formed and proceeded to a handsome bower erected on the Public Square, where the company, to the number of between three and four hundred, including many ladies, sat down to a sumptuous dinner, prepared for the occasion by Mr. J. P. Owens, at which the Hon. H. Hawley presided, assisted by Elias Hibbard and Robert Smith, Esqrs. After the dinner was over the gentlemen complimented their fair guests with the following appropriate sentiment: "The Fair - We shall ever be free while they countenance us with their presence and smiles on this glorious anniversary."  The ladies then retired, when toasts were drank, accompanied with appropriate music and the discharge of cannon; after which the company returned highly gratified and in good order to their respective homes. The weather was remarkably fine and pleasant; the different exercises and ceremonies were performed in a style truly creditable to all concerned; and nothing occurred to mar the festivities of the day or disturb the enjoyment of those who participated therein.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 13, 1839

We were presented, on Saturday last, by our worthy Mayor, Charles Howard, Esq., with an apple picked in his garden in this city [Alton], which measured ten inches in circumference one way, and about nine inches and a half the other way. It was fully ripe, of a rich crimson color, and without exception, the handsomest and best-flavored apple we ever have seen or tasted so early in the season. It grew on a young and thriving tree, grafts from which, we understand, may be obtained the ensuing spring by such as may desire it, on application to the proprietor.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 18, 1839

This is the day of a nation's birth. Pressed by the weight of a despot's power, our fathers panted for liberty - and in General Congress, on this day, 1776, dared to assert their independence and pledged their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor to maintain it. Guided by Providence, they gained it, and have handed it to us. Now an effort is making to concentrate in the hands of our own Executive the very power which was wrested from a foreign King. Sons of the sires who fought at Bunker Hill, at Brandywine, and at the Cowpens - what say you? Will you surrender up the liberties your fathers bled for? Freemen of Illinois, arouse! Your country calls you. The ballot box is the guardian of our liberties. By it we call back our servants to a recollection of the People's intelligence and power. Wake up! By eternal vigilance only is liberty maintained. "Power is always stealing from the many to the few." And what is the Sub-Treasury but a concentration of power in the hands of the President? Money united with the sword robbed Rome of liberty. As soon as both centered in the hands of Caesar, the guardian angel of Rome departed and left her an Emperor. It may be so with us; but as 'tis still in our own hands, let us shake ourselves from our slumbers, and make one bold effort to maintain our liberties.


By the Sub-Treasury scheme, a great Government bank is to be established, exclusively under the control of the President and officers by him appointed. The public treasure may be used cautiously at first. But when once in full operation, such will be the power of the President, it will be but for him to give the word to his "Receivers General," stationed at the most prominent parts, and quick as thought the whole band are moved, then who can resist? 'Tis too late, liberty will have fled; and if the People would be free again, there must be a revolution.


Freemen - stop it in the bud. Arouse now! Every man to the polls and place the veto of intelligent freemen "on such an effort to enlarge Executive power."




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, August 3, 1839

To the people of the city of Alton: Since the report of the Select Committee of the Common Council, on the subject of the expenses and receipts of the Municipal Court was printed, an important error has been discovered in the amount stated to have been paid to Grand and Petit Jurors up to April 1, 1839; which amount, instead of $332.50 as stated, should have been set down at $1,502.75; being a difference against the Court of $1,170.25. The true balance against the Court, therefore, on the supposition that every dollar due the city for fees, fines, &c., has been actually collected and paid into the Treasury, amounts to $3,124.28; or, after deducting the entire receipts, together with the sums still in the hands of the Clerk and Sheriffs, $5,279.01: or, after deducting the actual receipts from the whole expenditures, $5,821.00.   Andrew Miller, Chairman Committee. August 3, 1839.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 17, 1839

The following brief description of Alton, from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Humphrey, President of one of the Eastern colleges, who recently paid a flying visit to the Western states, will doubtless be read with interest by such of our readers as may not previously have seen it. So far as it goes, its accuracy cannot be questioned:


"This is the first town of any importance above St. Louis. It is situated on the slope of a fine rise upon the Illinois shore, and shows to the best advantage as you ascend the river. It is expected that Alton, from its location, will become one of the largest commercial towns in the state, and it is now a place of a good deal of business. Some of the houses on the declivity are well built, and it is said that there are some fine situations farther back. It will require a great deal of work to grade the streets and ornament the slope of the hill with gardens, shade trees, &c., but it is capable of being made a very beautiful town. There is no site on the Illinois side to be compared with it anywhere. A high bluff commences close to the upper warehouses, and extends along for several miles, presenting a precipitous rocky bulwark, in many places more than a hundred feet high. In one place, the rocks rise so much like the towers of some mighty fortification, at nearly equal distances from each other, it is difficult to persuade yourself that the hand of nature ever placed them there, and wrought them into their present symmetrical proportions. A little higher up the river, the bluffs give place to a handsome receding swell of about the same elevation, and presenting a green summit, shaded by noble trees, constituting something like a continuous park, and offering some of the finest sites for country seats in the world. I could imagine how charmingly they will overlook the broad Mississippi a century hence."




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 24, 1839

The following testimony to the excellent accommodations &c., to be found at the above establishment, was enclosed to us a few days since by the writer, who is now on a visit to the western states, with an earnest request that it might appear in our paper. It is entirely correct and fully confirmed by every traveler who has occasion to call at the Alton House. This city is now very well provided for the entertainment of visitors and others - two or three very good hotels, besides the above, having been established here within the last twelve months.


To the Editor of the Telegraph -

Sir - In my tour through the Great West, I had the pleasure of visiting your city for a few days. I cannot with justice to the public and the attentive proprietor of the Alton House, leave your city without acquainting travelers and the public generally with the accommodations to be found in the above hotel for comfort, a well supplied table, the best the country can afford, polite and attentive servants, and though last not least, good clean beds, rarity to be met with even in your much boasted St. Louis. I have no hesitation in saying it is decidedly one of the best conducted establishments of the kind west of the Alleghany mountains. I am sir, with respect, your obedient servant, A Traveler.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 14, 1839

The annual election for city officers was held in this place on Monday last, and resulted in the choice of the following gentlemen. It was conducted very quietly, and the Mayor, Treasurer, Collector, and Street Commissioner were severally elected without opposition.


Mayor - John King

Aldermen, First Ward - William Pope, S. W. Robbins, Charles Ubert

Aldermen, Second Ward - J. R. Bullock, B. K. Hart, Andrew Miller

Aldermen, Third Ward - S. G. Bailey, William Martin, William G. Pinckard

Aldermen, Fourth Ward - M. G. Atwood, O. M. Adams, B. F. Edwards

Treasurer - Mark Pierson

Register - J. E. Starr

Collector - Samuel C. Pierce

Street Commissioner - J. B. Hundley

City Constable - J. D. Smith

Assessors - Beal Howard, Peter Whitaker, Samuel Wade




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 14, 1839

We are much gratified to learn that the Iron Foundry and Machine Shop, the erection of which was commenced not long since by our worthy fellow citizen, Major C. W. Hunter, conjointly with Mr. Hurlbert of New York, are in a state of great forwardness. The gentleman last named has just returned from the East, with the implements and machinery required for both establishments; which, it is expected, will be ready to go into operation in the course of a few weeks. There is probably no branch of human industry better calculated than the above to hasten the growth and advance the prosperity of a new town, and we hope that this laudable enterprise will prove not less profitable to the worthy projectors, than advantageous to our city and her inhabitants.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 5, 1839

Between the hours of twelve and one on Thursday morning last, the people of this city were aroused from their slumbers by the cry of fire!, which was found to proceed from a frame building on the east side of State street, between Third and Fourth, owned by Mr. J. W. Buffum, in which sundry packages of dry goods, recently received by this gentleman, who was about to open a wholesale store, had been deposited a few days previous. The fire company and citizens promptly repaired to the spot, but such was the rapidity with which the flames ran from one house to the other - the whole being of wood and very dry - that every exertion to arrest their progress was found unavailing until they had totally consumed every edifice on the west half of the square. The buildings on the east half, which were separated from those destroyed by an alley ten feet wide, except in one place where they nearly touched each other, although in the most imminent danger, were nevertheless saved by the unremitting exertions of the persons present, favored by the stillness of the atmosphere, as were likewise the furniture and other property in the houses consumed, with the exception of Mr. Buffum's goods and part of the books, &c. in the Bible, Tract, and Sabbath School Depository. The total loss is estimated at about $20,000, and falls principally on the following gentlemen:


J. W. Buffum - goods, first cost $5,104; building $2,000

I. I. Foster - livery stable, &c. $2,500

John Rowe - building $2,500

W. A. Wentworth - building $2,000

T. & T. L. Waples - building $1,200

W. S. Gilman - building $1,000

L. H. Aldrich - building $1,000

American & Illinois Bible Society, American Tract Society, Illinois Sunday School Union, and Illinois Temperance Society - books $2,000

Fessenden & Co. - books $500


Of the buildings consumed, those of Messieurs T. & T. L. Waples were insured to nearly their full value. The others, we deeply regret to add, have sustained a total loss. A concatenation [series]  of circumstances, not necessary to be stated here, seem to prove beyond a doubt that Mr. Buffum's goods have not been consumed, but stolen, and that the building in which they had been deposited was subsequently fired for the express purpose of concealing the robbery, and enabling the perpetrators to carry off their ill-gotten booty without molestation. The hope is entertained that a part at least may be recovered, and the miscreants brought to the bar of offended justice. Should not our fire department be immediately reorganized, and placed on an efficient footing? Or, must we wait for another and still more serious warning before the first step is taken towards the accomplishment of this indispensable object?


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 12, 1839

Mr. Editor - The fire which destroyed a large portion of our city some few nights ago seems to excite very little attention, but sir, it is one of the deepest interest, and ought to be spoken of with more feeling than it is. At half past 12 o'clock at night, the fire broke out in the store of J. W. Buffum. It appears to be a mystery how the fire originated, but there is no doubt but it was set on fire by some brutal, cold-blooded man for the purpose of unhallowed gain. When the alarm of fire was given, at an hour when all are asleep, it appeared to be almost impossible to get the citizens of Alton together, and before the could assemble so as to help protect the building, it was all in flames, and it burned with such rapidity that it was almost impossible to save anything. Before our engine could get there, that it did little good. There was a great scarcity of water, and it was difficult to get any. It was a time in which the citizens of Alton labored, and were obliged to do their utmost, or probably the whole town would have burned, but we may thank Providence we got off as well as we did. At about three o'clock in the morning, after the fire had been somewhat extinguished, after two and a half hours of the hardest labor, we were kindly invited by two of the families of Alton to take (as I suppose we must call it) an early breakfast, which was very refreshing to the firemen. And to those families (M. Pierson and W. L. Chappell) we all are exceedingly thankful, and always in case of fire or danger, we will do our best to protect them.  Signed, A Fireman.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, December 16, 1839

The subscriber lost in the city of Alton, or on the road from thence by way of the river to Chippewa, on Saturday last, a dark blue Morocco pocket book, figured on the outside, containing about ten or twelve dollars in bank bills; and two notes of hand, one drawn by A. R. Skidmore for $43.52; and the other drawn by Silas Reed, for $35.00; bot made payable to the subscriber. Also, some other papers, of no value to any person but myself. Any person returning the same, or any information respecting it, to the subscriber at Chippewa, or to A. Botkin, Alton, shall be liberally rewarded for the same.   J. W. Call, December 16, 1839.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 28, 1839

Some days since, when crossing the Piasa bridge, two or three rods from this office, we observed an ox team in a position strikingly emblematical of the critical condition to which our present rulers have brought the country. The sides of the bridge - which is elevated some fifteen feet above the bed of the creek, and at the same time on a level with the street - are protected by a paling, which, however, does not extend across the eastern abutment, on the side fronting the Mississippi, probably because its position is such as to render it apparently impossible for anyone to tumble off of it except designedly. At this point, however, the teamster, whether from sheer imbecility or for the purpose of showing the "some things can be done as well as other," had contrived to buck his team at right angles over the abutment. But fortunately, a long and stout sapling had been previously attached to the wagon and projected several feet beyond it; so that when the whole went over backwards, the end of the sapling struck the bottom just as the centre of the fore wheels reached the extreme edge of the abutment, and being firmly fastened by substantial log-chains, supported the falling vehicle and kept it from any farther descent. When we came to the spot, the wagon was suspended almost perpendicularly against the abutment - the hind-wheels and body supported by the sapling - the fore wheels half way across the edge, and apparently just going over - the oxen on the bank, and in imminent danger of being dragged down into the bed of the creek, should the sapling break asunder, or the fastening five way - and the teamster quite as much astounded at his surprising feat of charioteering as the existing Administration are at the result of their notable experiments on the currency. In fact, he was so bewildered that he could not tell how he had got into his unpleasant situation - his oxen being very docile, and the street wide enough to allow him a free and safe passage without approaching the abutment, which was at least one rod off the direct road, and consequently entirely out of his way. How he got out, we are unable to say; but as he acknowledge candidly that he was wholly unable to extricate himself without assistance, we suppose some of his acquaintances came to his relief. Mr. Van Buren may profit by his example.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 28, 1839

An ordinance, entitled "An Ordinance for the New Organization of the Fire Department of the city of Alton."


Sec. 1. It shall be the duty of the Fire Warden to enroll fifty citizens between the age of 20 and 40 years, who, when enrolled, shall constitute a Fire Company, to be attached to the Fire Engine now belonging to the city; and for this purpose the Fire Warden is hereby authorized to give public notice that he will, at a time and place therein stated, receive applications for such enrollment.


Sec. 2. When such enrollment is fully made, it shall be the duty of said Fire Warden to notify said Fire Company to meet at their Engine House, at a time not more than five days after this Ordinance shall take effect, for the purpose of organization; and said company, when met, or a majority of them shall have power, and it shall be their duty, to elect their Captain and subordinate officers, and to enact such bylaws, not inconsistent with the Ordinances of the city, or the laws of this State, as are necessary for the accomplishment of the objects for which they are organized.


Sec. 3. It shall also be the duty of the Fire Warden, when such Fire Company is so organized, to deliver to the Captain of said company a true copy of the list of its members, who shall, when called upon, deliver to them a certificate of their membership, which certificate, when presented to the supervisor of the ward in which the member resides, shall excuse him from performing road labor, or paving any lot in lieu thereof.


Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the Captain of said Fire Company to keep said Engine, at all times, in good repair, at the expense of the city; and for this service shall receive such compensation as the Common Council shall deem reasonable. 


Passed in Common Council, 21st Dec. 1839.  William G. Pinckard, Mayor.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, January 6, 1840

To the public: Some time about the 1st or 2d of December last, a young man by the name of A. C. Manning left this city with a stock of goods for the purpose of peddling. About the 10th or 12th ult., he was at Greenville, Bond County, which place he left with a view of returning to Alton; since which he has not been heard from. Some anxiety being felt, lest all should not be right, any person will confer a great favor, and be liberally rewarded, who will inform his friends, through the Telegraph Office, where and when he was last seen. The young man was about 21 years of age, rather below the middling size, and feeble health. Drove a large gray mare, harness new, blue worsted lines, open wagon, not painted, with cast iron hubs.  Alton, January 6, 1840.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 11, 1840

Mr. Editor: We are all aware, and doubtless some can speak from experience, of the disagreeableness of walking through the mud. I wish to make some remarks in regard to our pavements being blockaded; they are so filled in some parts of the streets, that persons are sometimes, and often, obliged to leave the pavement and go in the street to get along. This is very disagreeable, especially for the ladies. When ladies are so scarce as they are here, and visit our streets so seldom, we ought certainly to have our pavements in some fit condition for them to pass. Besides it being a great hindrance and nuisance, it is very dangerous. Persons passing through the streets at night, not well acquainted with every little obstacle, would be in great danger of running against some old boxes, barrels, or some other thing, and injuring themselves very severely. There are not only boxes and barrels, but also cellar doors - some opened, some half opened, and some raised just high enough to catch an unguarded person's toes, as he passes, and thus tumble him headlong into the mud. Having their cellar doors opened makes it exceedingly dangerous; for any person, no matter how well he may know the walk, he is in great danger of being pitched down the cellar; which would, in all probability, be attended with fracturing some of his or her feeble limbs. the places particularly referred to are on the north side of Second Street [Broadway], commencing near the Telegraph office. As we proceed up the street, there are several cellar doors just before some vacated houses which are often times either open or broken, and are very apt to let a person drop down before he knows it. Old grease barrels, some in the street and some on the sidewalk - some old chicken coops, hog pens &c. In other places, salt barrels are left in the streets at night, which often cause persons to take a roll in the mud. I for one have had several tumbles ove4r them, which induces me, more than anything else, to speak of it. If the law does not prohibit the blockading of streets, I think it would be far better for the Common Council to pass an ordinance to that effect, than the ten hog law; for if either is a nuisance, the one which I refer to is the greatest.  Signed M.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 25, 1840

We understand that the new Fire Company, raised under a late Ordinance of the City Council, met at the old courtroom on Wednesday evening last, adopted a constitution and by-laws, and made choice of the following gentlemen as their officers, viz: 


Samuel Wade, Captain

W. B. Little, 1st Foreman

J. G. Wolford, 2d Foreman

J. H. Alexander, Secretary

E. W. Keating, Treasurer


The Company is composed of fifty men, all young, active, and resolute; and so organized as to secure the greatest possible efficiency in cases of fire. We hope there will be no necessity to call them out, except for practice; but should they be required to content against the destructive element, they will doubtless be found equal to any emergency.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 1, 1840

We have been requested to give notice that a general meeting of the citizens of Alton and the vicinity, friendly to the nominations recently made by the National Convention at Harrisburg, will be held in the old courtroom (Riley's building) on Second street [Broadway], at two o'clock this afternoon. It is expected the sundry addresses will be delivered on this occasion. The "Tippecanoe Boys," one and all, are respectfully invited to attend.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, February 8, 1840

10,000 Morus Multicaulis Trees at auction!! by Hawley & Dunlap. Will be sold in front of their store on Second Street, on Saturday, Feb. 15th, 1840, at 12 o'clock. A large lot of genuine Morus Multicaulis trees, of a good size, and in good order. Sale positive - terms cash. Alton, February 8, 1840.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 8, 1840

Alba R. Smith, a youth about 12 years of age, left his father's house on Scarritt's Prairie, Madison County, Illinois, about the 20th of July last, and has never been heard from since. His complexion is light, and his form rather slender. It is apprehended that he took a steamboat at Alton, probably in the capacity of a cabin boy, and may now be onboard of some boat on the western waters, if his life has been spared. This advertisement is the last hope of his afflicted parents, that it may lead to some discovery of the fate of their poor boy, and they trust it may meet the eye of kind _____ in the principal ports on the western waters, who will interest themselves in looking after their lost child. Any information directed to Capt. George Smith, near Alton, or to S. Ryder in Alton, will be most thankfully received.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1840

The subscriber offers for rent one of the large and convenient stone warehouses occupied by the late firm of B. Godfrey & Co., situated at the upper steamboat landing, and one of the best locations in this city for the forwarding business.  Apply to Benjamin Godfrey.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 18, 1840

The subscribers, having thoroughly repaired and fitted up the Eagle Tavern (formerly Piasa House), corner of Piasa and Fourth Streets, Alton, Illinois, feel justified in assuming their friends and the traveling public, who may favor them with a call, that their recommendations are such as will give entire satisfaction to the most ________(?). Their table will always be supplied with the very best that the season and the markets will afford, and as they have employed a cook of long experience and indisputable _____(?), they feel no hesitation in saying that the tastes of everyone will be gratified. Their servants are obedient and attentive. Their bar will be at all times stocked with the choicest wines and liquors. Attached to the house is an excellent stable, and good and sufficient carriage houses. Drays will always be in readiness to convey baggage for travelers to and from steamboats, free of charge. A share of public patronage is respectfully solicited. Rate of Faire:  Board per week, with lodging - $4.00.  Board per week without lodging - $3.00.  Board per day - $1.25.  Signed, Post & Wentworth.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, May 13, 1840

To the Public!! Strayed from the subscriber, on or about the first of May, a gray horse, about 15 1-2 or 16 hands high; dark legs, and white snip; about 8 or 9 years of age. Whoever will return said horse to the subscriber in Alton, or secure him so he can get him, will receive a liberal reward. Joseph Lappell, May 13, 1840.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, May 16, 1840

5 Dollars! Reward!! Broke out, on the night of the 15th instant, from the pasture of Major C. W. Hunter, Alton, 1 yoke of oxen! Yoked together. Both oxen are nearly white - one has a black head - the other has a black head except the face, which is white - both some black on the hips. The off ox had an iron bow-key. The above reward will be given to any one who will take them up and deliver them to A. C. Robinson, Upper Alton, or Absalom Baker, Pettingill's Mill. Nathan Shaw, May 16, 1840. Printed at the "Telegraph" Office - Alton.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, May 19, 1840

To the Log Cabin Boys: You are one and all invited to attend a meeting of the friends of Harrison & Reform, at the Old Court Room (Riley's Building), on Saturday evening next, at half past seven, to perfect the arrangements necessary for the Springfield Convention, and also to attend to other important business. Citizens of Upper Alton, of Madison county, and all other Log Cabin Boys are particularly invited to be present.  J. A. Noble, Sec'ry Com. of Arrange., Alton, May 19, 1840.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1840

A little before twelve o'clock on last Wednesday night, the citizens of Alton were aroused from their slumbers by an explosion incomparably louder, as well as by far more destructive, than the discharge of one hundred pieces of the heaviest ordnance. Hundreds immediately hurried towards State Street, from the direction of which the report seemed to have proceeded; when it was ascertained that it was occasioned by the blowing up of the Powder Magazine [building designed to hold explosive powder in barrels], situated on the southern declivity of the bluff, a few rods [one rod is 16.5 feet] west of the Penitentiary, and containing at the time upwards of six tons of powder. To describe with some degree of minuteness the damage done by this catastrophe, would fill several columns of our journal. Suffice it, therefore, to remark in general terms, that scarcely one single building within the thickly settled part of the city remains uninjured, and that some of those nearest the site of the magazine have been literally reduced to a heap of ruins. Chimneys demolished - roofs started, and nearly blown off - windows and window frames shivered to atoms - are among the results of the explosion. But, although fragments of the stones of which the magazine had been constructed were hurled with resistless force in every direction, some of them to the distance of upwards of a mile, perforating houses and overthrowing every thing which stood in their way, no life has been lost, nor, so far as our information extends, has any serious injury been done to the person of anyone. Of the many hair-breadth escapes which have come to our knowledge, we may briefly notice the following: Mr. J. H. Hodges and his wife were sleeping in their house on Market Street, about one-third of a mile from the magazine. A piece of stone, supposed to weigh about fifty pounds, perforated the roof of their dwelling, and forcing its way through the garret floor, descended in a slanting direction within a few inches of their beds, and broke through the partition into an adjoining room without doing either of them the least injury. Mrs. Tomlinson and her daughter were in like manner asleep in the same bed at their residence on Third Street, having between them a child about two years old, belonging to a gentleman of this place who had lost his wife, of whom Mrs. T. was taking care. Seeing the flash, the worthy woman, alarmed for the safety of her precious charge, immediately snatched it up and hugged it to her bosom, when a heavy stone, bursting through the building, fell between mother and daughter, in the very place previously occupied by the child, without touching either of them. Another large fragment of stone forced its way in like manner through the building occupied by the family of Mr. T. Clifford on State Street, and fell in the corner of a lower room where his children had slept for several months past, but his wife, by some unaccountable impulse, having moved their bed a few hours previously to a different part of the house, they all escaped unhurt. Two young girls, whose names we have not heard, were also sleeping in the same bed in another part of the city, when a heavy stone fell immediately between them, slightly grazing the limbs of one, but inflicting no material injury on either. The belief universally prevails that the explosion was the work of some desperate villain or villains, but although every exertion has been used for the detection of the perpetrators, they still remain undiscovered. Two individuals were taken up on suspicion on Thursday, but discharged after having been subjected to a rigid examination - no evidence sufficient to justify their detention being brought forward against them. It will be observed, by an advertisement in another column, that a reward of $500 has been offered by the Common Council for the apprehension and conviction of the offenders. The damages done to buildings and other property by the explosion are estimated at not less than $25,000.



Source: Centennial history of Madison County, Illinois, and its people, 1812 to 1912, 1914, page 222
The most serious stirring-up the people of Madison county have experienced was occasioned not by an earthquake shock but by the explosion of the powder magazine at Alton, on the 20th of May 1840. The explosion was described in the Alton Telegraph, by Judge Bailhache, as "incomparably louder and far more destructive than the discharge of a hundred pieces of the heaviest artillery." The powder magazine was situated on the bluffs, a few rods west of the penitentiary, and contained at the time six tons of powder. Judge Bailhache writes: "To describe with some degree of minuteness the damage done by this explosion would require columns of our journal; suffice it therefore to remark that scarcely one single building within the thickly settled part of our city remains uninjured, and that some of those nearest the site of the magazine have been literally reduced to heaps of ruins; chimneys demolished, roofs started and nearly blown off, windows and frames shivered to atoms are among the results of the explosion. But although fragments of stone of which the magazine was built were hurled with resistless force in every direction, some of them to the distance of nearly a mile, perforating houses and overthrowing everything in their way, no life has been lost so far as our information extends, nor any serious injury done to the person of anyone." The writer proceeds to narrate a series of hair-breadth escapes that were so remarkable as to be almost unbelievable. The belief was universal that the explosion was the work of some villain, but for what object could not be conjectured. The offender, or offenders, were never discovered although the common council offered $500 reward for their apprehension. The damage done to buildings was estimated at over $25,000.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1840

It is no wonder that the French, who first explored the beautiful shores of the Mississippi, believed that they had found a terrestrial paradise. A warm and sprightly imagination is easily excited to lively admiration by scenes so grand and lovely - but how much greater cause for admiration had those pioneers in civilization, who first witnessed these magnificent panoramas of nature in all their wildness, as then presented to them in this boundless wilderness of woods and flowers.


Making one of a small party of ladies and gentlemen, who a few days since took a short excursion for the purpose of enjoying the beauty of a spring day, I was enchanted with the scenery from the bluffs a few miles above Alton. Having since caught a glimpse at the common-place book of one of the ladies of our party, and finding therein an account of our picnic, with a vivid description of one of the most picturesque sports imaginable, I have taken the liberty to make an extract therefrom, believing it will interest some who can spend a few moments from the all-engrossing topics of the day:


"We started at 11 a.m. in high spirits for our picnic ground, which, by the way, was not selected; indeed there was but one who knew what direction we proposed to take. Our refreshments simple, yet wholesome and delicious, were packed in two baskets, together with plenty of white napkins, tablecloths, and other useful articles. By the time we started, every appearance of the rain, with which we had been threatened, had vanished, and the sky, softly and beautifully blue, when seen, was skimmed over nearly all day with light feathery clouds, screening us in the most friendly manner from the otherwise scorching rays of the sun. We rode five miles through a delightfully wooded region, profusely flowered with the flax, geranium, painted-cup, and moccasin flower. Our road, which had hitherto lain along the ridge between ravines, now descended the bluffs, and we found ourselves on the banks of the Mississippi. Here we left our carriages, took each a portion of the necessary articles, and commenced the ascent of another bluff - Mr. ______ and myself preceding our friends by several rods as a committee of selection. We climbed the hill for half a mile, and as we rose, that rose before us; now a little opening burst on us, shaded by overhanging oaks; now we were bending beneath their sweeping branches. Gradually, as we ascended, the prospect grew wider, until at length, when the summit was fairly attained, a scene opened upon us magnificent beyond description. 'Eureka!' exclaimed my friend, and we both felt that farther search would be vain. On the very pinnacle of the bluff, the east side of which was thickly wooded, and the west opening upon the river, we found a little shaded nook, just large enough to admit our number. Hero, after the underbrush was cleared away by the gentlemen, we spread our refreshments; and the committee on water, having been sent out, returned in due time with a report, which being in the shape of a dripping pail full of the purest and coldest spring water, was thankfully accepted. Seating ourselves in true oriental style around the cloth, the sparkling beverage in the centre, we took our first lunch. Stories followed, and songs, accompanied by the flageolet and flute; and when the cloth had been removed, chess boards were put in requisition by some, while others strolled out to enjoy the prospect.


Behind lay the deep, still woods, into the green recesses of which the young members of our party strayed in search of flowers, and whatever else of rare and beautiful might be found. Before, and far below us, the Mississippi rolled its majestic waters, its surface dotted with green islands, seeming in the distance, emeralds dropped in molten silver. It had been to our childish years an almost fabled wonder. A far away soil had given us birth; a far away clime had lighted our early days; we had read of the great rivers, and suspended our breath in wonder at their magnitude; but had not dreamed that ours would be the favored eyes to look upon them. Now one was sweeping its silent way two hundred feet below us, and the other rolling its turbid waters onward, through the dark, deep forest, only a mile from the opposite shore. To the left, on the Illinois side, bold, rocky bluffs overhung the waters, in which they had been mirrored for thousands of centuries. To the right, the outline of the horizon stretched away in the faint sunlight, until the eye was pained in the endeavor to define it; and the Mississippi was seen, like a silver line, threading at intervals this otherwise unbroken mass of foliage. A blue haze was resting on the far-off hills, mellowing and softening the landscape with that peculiar tinting which only the hand of nature can impart. Nothing could be imagined more magnificent than the entire view, while in our immediate vicinity the bluffs were alternately piled into high conical hills, and hollowed into deep ravines, laden with vegetation, which, tossed upon the winds, lent a peculiar grace and changefulness to the landscape, forming one of its most beautiful features, as well as relieving the wearied eye. Beneath us, a precipice, two hundred feet high, overhung the water. Its face hollowed in so deeply that it was only by a somewhat dangerous experiment that one of the gentlemen, laying himself down on a rock and looking over, could see its whole height. On the very brow of the precipice, a deep-worn, narrow track told of the wanderings of the Indian. Many a light-hearted troop had filed along that dizzy height, conscious of perfect security, while our tamer blood curdled in our veins if an individual approached too near its brink.


I could not but reflect upon the time gone by when the light canoe skimmed those majestic waters; when from all the surrounding heights the council fires of a mystery-loving and sanguinary race flashed against the evening sky, and lithe and dusky forms trod with free step the unsoiled turf. Of sublime nature must thy glory forever continue to fade away before the hand of man? Why may not civilization swell in the deep, still forest, and refinement in the green temples! Around us, on the different summits were evidences that, gay and free as they were, mortality had reigned among them as among us. Rude graves were piled around, which had been closed for long years over their stricken tenants; on one a solitary wild rosebud was unfolding its delicate petals to the sunbeam. But a blight had fallen on the parent stem as on the mysterious race whose existence it shadowed forth. The bright and glowing green had faded away, while it was yet spring, into the sickly yellow. The spirit of the departed had breathed over it in sadness and in sorrow; no kind hand was near to cherish, or remove the cankering rust, and the fair rose was already numbered among the fallen. A beautiful tale told that single blighted bud, of a race that had passed away - of a people free as the waters beneath us, and swift as the winds playing around us, who had trodden the very spot where we were seated, who had gazed upon the varying landscape, the bright river, and the far hills, with a delight we could not know, who had scaled the cliff and mocked the eagle in his flight, whose war-shout rang through the wild wood and over the water and whose songs, once heard there, were now forever hushed. Sad recollection!


As the afternoon glided on, the white signal of a steamer curled gaily upon the gentle breeze, and faded away in delicate wreath as it met the sunbeam's warmth. The sparkling waters glittered around her prow, and though at first she appeared a mere speck, as he neared us we found her a boat of the largest size. At the nearest point our distance from her was still so great that her name appeared like a fine black line drawn across the wheelhouse. This led to some speculation, and in order to measure our height from the water, the gentlemen threw several stones, but one of which could be made to reach the water - the others fell at the foot of the precipice.


We took a second lunch about half-past three, for which, however, few of us had much appetite. We had been so entirely happy through the day, the consciousness of mere existence had been such an enjoyment, that few of us felt a disposition to partake of the cheer. Our meal was enlivened with wit and sentiment. The deep, old woods rang with our merriment. Lunch over, as the shadows were lengthening across the landscape, and the sun began to peep under the arch of our leafy bower, we commenced preparations for our return. After making all ready, we seated ourselves on the turf for a parting song. "Rosin, the Bow" was first sung in full choir, and by way of contrast followed by the beautiful hymn, "God is good."  We then bade adieu to the fairy spot. I left it with deep regret. I did not expect ever to visit it again, but I knew I could never forget its rare beauty. Taking up the line of march in the trail in true Indian style, we descended the bluff - satisfied our burning thirst at a rocky spring - piled ourselves into carriages, and were soon on our way homeward. The evening was very fine, and I believe that each of us felt, as we retraced our steps, that the day had been among the happiest of our lives. As we were recounting its adventures and enjoyments upon our return, a person present remarked that as every sweet had its bitter, he had waited to hear what ours would be - we had none. The very elements had conspired to give us the best combination possible for such an occasion. Such a day is an era in the life of the happiest mortal. At ten we retired, just enough fatigued to appreciate the luxury of quiet and a bed."       Signed, Middletown, May 23, 1840.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, June 20, 1840

To the people of Madison County: The expected reply of Mr. G. T. M. Davis, author of the address to the people of Madison County, of the 23d of April, on the approaching elections of August and November, to Mr. Krum's attack upon that address, will be made this evening, at the Old Court Room (Riley's Building). An early attendance is requested. The citizens of Madison county generally are respectfully invited to attend. B. Clifford, Jr., Chairman Executive Committee. Alton, June 20, 1840.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, August 4, 1840

$10 reward! Lost, either in Alton city, or on the road between this place and Upper Alton, yesterday, a calf skin pocket book, containing a lot of notes and accounts. The notes were mostly drawn payable to myself. These papers are of no use to any but the owner. Any person having found the same by returning to me, or to William E. Cock, will receive the above reward. All persons are cautioned against trading for or purchasing the said notes; the payment thereof to any one but myself having been stopped. Lewis J. Clawson, Alton, August 4, 1840.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 22, 1840

The following account of a trip to Alton by a correspondent of the St. Louis Bulletin appeared in the Alton Telegraph:


Proceeding on the principle that a trip to the country is good for both health and spirits, I hurriedly snatched up my cane on Friday afternoon, put a little of the circulating medium into my pocket, which everybody knows is rather scarce at present, and determined to make a tour of observation - not in search of a wife, but rather somewhat in the style of Dr. Syntax, in search of the sublime. Seating myself in the cabin of the Rosalie, musing on the glories of the Mississippi, and letting the reins of my fancy quite loose, I thought upon the past, the present and the future state of this great country, and felt inclined to adore that beneficent hand who has bestowed upon it so many rich blessings. A short time carried us to Alton, at which place I landed, prepared to spend a day or two in it and its environs. I must say I was agreeably disappointed with Alton. It is decidedly a fine location, with a number of good substantial buildings, and symptoms of enterprise and capital. The repairs that are going on at the landing will make it very convenient for those stores near the wharf to make shipment of their goods; and it strikes me that a good business might always be conducted in that city in the produce way.


I could not think of leaving the city without going into the Penitentiary, which I found to be a scene of activity, and possessing a population of seventy-seven souls. They were all as busy as bees, and doubtless happier at work than at mischief. An addition of four was expected that evening to join the establishment, and it is a good thing to have such a place for the reception of the "lawless and the disobedient." May they reform.


The hospitality of the Altonians I will not forget. Dr. Johnson has said that a dinner is the most important work a man has to perform during the day, and a better dinner than an Alton one you will not easily find. To sit at a well-covered table, loaded with good cheer, with the windows up, and gazing on a fine day, at the Mississippi and its beautiful banks, was enough to affect the heart of a Loco-Foco, and dispossess it of its corrupt nature.


I next found my way to Upper Alton, and here again I was disappointed. It is a beautiful place, and were all its buildings concentrated, it would form a town of considerable magnitude. The scenery is fine, and there is something about the appearance of Upper Alton very inviting. For churches, schools and seminaries, it is well off; and the splendid mansion of Mr. Bostwick - at one time a merchant of New Orleans - gives the place an air of consequence. I was told sixty thousand dollars were expended in the erection of the building, and it appears to have been done with taste. I left Upper Alton with emotions of pleasure, and frequently, when sitting in a corner of my room in St. Louis, mused upon the beauty of its scenery, and wish I had the pen of a poet to describe its varied but beautiful irregularity.  Yours truly, Perambulator, St. Louis, August 17th, 1840.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1840

The Charter election, held in this city on Monday last, results in the choice of the following gentlemen, viz:


Mayor - Stephen Griggs

Aldermen - 1st Ward - George Heaton, M. W. Carroll, Robert Dunlap

Aldermen - 2nd Ward - Effingham Cock, William B. Little, Thomas G. Starr

Aldermen - 3rd Ward - Thomas Middleton, William Martin, W. K. Levis

Aldermen - 4th Ward - B. F. Edwards, Joel Neff, M. G. Atwood

Collector - Charles Skillman

Register - O. M. Adams

Treasurer - M. Pierson

Street Commissioner - B. Howard

Assessors - John Chaney, William McBride, E. Marsh

Constable - Thomas B. Staines




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 26, 1840

We regret to state that on last Saturday evening, about eight o'clock, as the steamboat Pike was going down the river, she came in violent contact with the Fayette, then on her way up. The collision took place near the mouth of the Missouri, five or six miles below this city [Alton]; when the Pike, which was of small size and heavily laden, being struck forward of the wheelhouse, went down immediately. She was crowded with passengers, both in the cabin and on deck, many of whom were thrown overboard, but most of them were picked up by the Fayette, which was run into the wreck, and rescued those who still remained on it from their imminently perilous situation. considering the hour and the circumstances under which the accident happened, the number of lives lost - supposed not to exceed two - was much smaller than might have been apprehended. The passengers on board of each boat have severally issued cards, in which they exonerate their respective commanders from all censure, and indirectly attribute the catastrophe to the course pursued on the opposite boat. Which side gives the fairest and most accurate statement, we have no means of ascertaining; and therefore deem it improper to notice either.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, October 22, 1840

Slaughtering - Samuel Work; on his own hook. Alton, Illinois. The subscriber has erected a large and convenient house and pens in the city of Alton near Shields' Branch, for the purpose of carrying on the slaughtering and dressing of beef, hogs, and other stock for packing. His pens are made of plank, high, and close, so as to render it impossible for any kind of stock to break out or escape; and are situated high, dry, and on better ground than any other establishment in the country. His houses are more spacious than any in the city, and from the fact of his being by profession a butcher, and having had an experience of many years in the city of Cincinnati, and the last four year in the city of Alton, engaged in the above business, he assures all those who may favor him with their killing and dressing, that it shall be done with dispatch and in the very best manner. He has also made arrangements, and will have at all times plenty of grain and provender to feed stock at the pens, at the market prices. Call and try work once, and your work shall be well done. Plenty of teams engaged to do the hauling, with dispatch, to any packing house in the city. Alton, October 22, 1840. Samuel Work, Proprietor.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1840

Since the 19th of last October, two thousand, three hundred and seventy-three beeves (cattle) have been slaughtered by some of the enterprising citizens of Alton, packed and sent down the river. The pens are yet nearly full, awaiting the knife. The slaughtering of hogs has likewise commence, and appearances seem to indicate that this business will be prosecuted with spirit during the season.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, November 16, 1840

Lost! Strayed from the house of the subscriber, on Sunday evening, the 15th instant, a young Setter dog! He has on a chain collar, with the owners name thereon. The dog was about 4 months old; and was fawn coloured and white. A liberal reward will be given to any one who will return him to William F. D'Wolf.  Alton, November 16, 1840.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, December 12, 1840

Lost Money!! Lost, on Monday last, either in the city of Alton or on the road leading to Springfield, via Carlinville, a sum of money, consisting principally of bills of the State Bank of Illinois, of the denominations of $20 and $10 - the whole amounting to $202. Whoever may have found the same, and will leave it, or give such information as shall lead to its recovery, either to the undersigned at Chatham, Sangamon County, 10 miles south of Springfield; to Samuel Kellar, Esq., Carlinville; or to Messrs. Post & Wentworth, Alton, shall be liberally rewarded. Samuel M. Parsons, December 12, 1840.




Source: The Evening Journal, Albany, New York,

The Cincinnati Republican states that a duel was fought at Alton, Illinois on the 4th inst. between Judge Smith of the Illinois Supreme Court, and Mr. McClernard late Secretary of State of Illinois. They fought with rifles, distance fifty paces. Judge Smith was the challenger, and was killed on the spot. The St. Louis Gazette contradicts the above statement, and says the parties were arrested before they reached the ground.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 23, 1841

Within the last eight or nine days, we have had almost all sorts of weather. At two o'clock in the afternoon of the 15th inst., the mercury, exposed to the sun, stood as high as 90 above; and on the night of the 16th, it was as low as 14 below zero - being a difference, in the short space of about thirty-six hours, of only 104 degrees! On the 17th and 18th, the cold was very severe; but the weather has since become quite moderate and pleasant. The river, however, is completely closed up just above the landing, and passengers cross backwards and forwards from the Missouri shore without difficulty.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, February 12, 1841(?)

Alton Institute - A lecture will be delivered this evening, at the Baptist church, by the Rev. G. B. Perry. subject - "Elevated Intelligence Conducive to Pure Morality." The public are invited to attend. Per order, J. W. Lincoln, Sec'y. Feb. 12.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 27, 1841

We understand that a splendid Ball will be given at the Alton House in this city, on Thursday evening next, in honor of the Inauguration of "the people's President." This memorable event will also be celebrated in the same mode at Mr. Squire's Hotel, Six Mile; and in almost every city, town, and village throughout the Union.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, March 27, 1841

A public meeting of the citizens of Alton will be held at the city hall on Monday next, at ten o'clock a.m. to hear the report of the Committee of Gentlemen appointed to confer with the Citizens of Springfield, and the State Bank of Illinois, as to the measures to be adopted to complete a railroad from Alton to Springfield. A general attendance is requested. Alton, March 27, 1841.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 3, 1841

Mr. A. L. Corson, the new proprietor of the Alton House, has thoroughly repaired the same throughout, and his unremitting attention to the traveling public, together with his excellent and bountifully supplied table, renders the Alton House among the best in the western country. We wish him that success, which his exertions to please so richly merits.



President William Henry Harrison



Source: Alton Telegraph, April 24, 1841

At twelve o'clock noon, the national flag was displayed at half-mast from the top of the city hall, minute guns were fired from the public square, the bells of the different churches tolled a mournful peal, the numerous stores, offices, and other places of business were closed; and the deep-seated anguish depicted in every countenance clearly showed that those external marks of sorrow were in perfect unison with the real feelings of the heart. All mourned, because all felt that a gallant soldier, a wise statesman, an incorruptible patriot, and a virtuous citizen had been taken from among us at a time when the country seemed to stand the most in need of his invaluable services. At half after three o'clock, the citizens proceeded to the Baptist Church, the pulpit and choir of which had been tastefully clothed with appropriate emblems of mourning, when a fervent and impressive address to the Throne of Grace was offered by the worthy Pastor, the Rev. Dr. G. B. Perry. A very chaste and appropriate eulogium on the great and good man whom we have lost, in which his public services and private virtues were briefly but faithfully delineated, was then pronounced by William S. Lincoln, Esq. - the intervals between the different exercises being filled by the singing of funeral anthems from the choir. Additional solemnity was imparted to the mournful ceremonies by the appearance of a very accurate and striking portrait of our late beloved President, painted in December last by Chester Harding, Esq., which was hung immediately under the pulpit, and being readily recognized by those who had ever seen the lamented original, attracted universal and sympathetic attention.  It is with extreme regret that we add that owing to some cause for which we cannot account satisfactorily, Messrs. John Adams and William Sheets, inhabitants of this place, while engaged with others in firing the minute guns were severely injured by two premature discharges - the former having his right arm carried off, and being otherwise badly hurt; and the latter suffering the loss of his left arm and a part of his right hand. They are both believed to be doing as well as could be reasonably expected, and the hope is confidently indulged that ample provision will be made for their comfort under their present truly painful and helpless condition.



President William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on March 4, 1841, a cold and wet day. He wore neither an overcoat nor hat, and rode on horseback to the ceremony rather than in the closed carriage that had been offered him. He delivered the longest inaugural address in American history. At 8,445 words, it took him nearly two hours to read, although his friend and fellow Whig Daniel Webster had edited it for length. Harrison then rode through the streets in the inaugural parade, and that evening attended three inaugural balls. Three weeks after the inauguration, Harrison became ill with a cold. His doctors tried several cures, such as applying opium, castor oil, leeches, and Virginia snakeweed, but he only became worse. He died nine days later, with his doctor listing the cause as pneumonia. Using medical records from his doctor, an analysis was made in 2014 that he likely died of septic shock due to enteric fever.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 8, 1841

The Circuit Court of this county is still in session, with but one-half of the cases on the docket disposed of. During the first week, twelve indictments were tried, which results as follows:  George Small, indicted for larceny, found guilty and sentenced to 5 years confinement in the Penitentiary, J. Gillespie, Esq. for prisoner; James C. Manneman, indicted for burglary, found guilty and sentenced to the penitentiary 1 year, W. L. Sloss, Esq. for prisoner; John Morgan, indicted for larceny, found guilty and sentenced to the penitentiary 4 years, N. D. Strong, Esq. for prisoner; Philip Aldrich, indicted for larceny, acquitted, George T. M. Davis, Esq, for prisoner; John Morrison, indicted for larceny, found guilty and sentenced to 30 days confinement in the jail of the county, and to pay a fine of $6, and costs of prosecution, A. Botkin, Esq. for prisoner; James Harris, indicted for larceny, found guilty and sentenced to 30 days confinement in the jail of the county, to pay a fine of $8, and costs of prosecution, A. Botkin, Esq. for prisoner; Henry Thiene, indicted for larceny, found guilty and sentenced to the penitentiary for 3 years, S. G. Bailey, Esq. for prisoner; William A. Hamilton, indicted for malicious mischief, found guilty and judgment arrested,  A. Botkin, Esq. for prisoner; John Tisdale, indicted for larceny, found guilty and sentenced to one hour's confinement in the jail of the county, to pay a fine of $5, and costs of prosecution, A. Botkin, Esq. for prisoner; John Adams, indicted for larceny, found guilty and sentenced to the penitentiary for 3 years, W. L. Sloss, Esq. for prisoner; William Montgomery, indicted for riot, acquitted, W. Martin, Esq. for defendant; L. H. Aldrich, indicted for perjury, acquitted, George T. M. Davis and J. R. Bullock, Esq'rs. for defendant.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 15, 1841

The subscriber, grateful for the patronage extended him while in the Eagle Tavern, takes this method to inform the public that he has taken the Central Hotel, late Virginia House, at the corner of Main and Market Sts. [southeast corner of Market & Broadway Streets], immediately in front of the river, where he intends keeping a public house. All those who may honor him with a call may be assured no pains will be spared to make them comfortable, and themselves agreeable.  William A. Wentworth.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, June 12, 1841

Notice. The undersigned, having chartered the steamboat Eagle, for the purpose of accommodating all the citizens of Alton and the vicinity, who may wish to see the murderers hung at St. Louis, on the 9th day of July next, would inform the public that the boat will leave this place at seven o'clock, a.m., and leave St. Louis at about four, p.m., so as to reach home the same evening. The boat will be repaired and fitted up for the occasion; and every attention will be paid to the comfort of passengers. Fare for the trip to St. Louis and back will be $1.50.  W. A. Wentworth, and P. M. Pinckard.  N.B.  A band of music may be expected to accompany the boat.  Alton, June 12, 1841.


NOTE: In April 1841, four black men broke into the Collier & Pettis (Exchange Brokers) and Simons & Morrison (Commission Merchants) Bank in St. Louis, and tried to steal the $200,000 cash that was in the vault. In the process, two clerks were killed, by the name of Weaver and Baker. The thieves were not successful in the robbery, and set fire to the bank. They were captured and tried, and sentenced to hang. The names of the men that were hung were: Brown, Warrick, Sewall, and Madison. Brown and Madison admitted to also trying to rob the Galena Bank and burned it to the ground.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, June 26, 1841

The regular annual meeting of the members of the Alton Institute will be holden on Monday, June 28th, at 8 o'clock p.m. The Executive Committee take this occasion to invite a general attendance, inasmuch as, in connection with the choice of officers for the ensuing year, measures affecting the future prosperity of the Institute, will, of necessity, be considered. Per order: J. W. Lincoln, Rec. Sec., Alton, June 26, 1841.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, September 11, 1841

Ladies' Fair to be held in Alton, September 16, 17 & 18. The Ladies' Centenary Fair will open at the Old Court Room on Thursday & Friday next, at 4 o'clock p.m., and on Saturday at 10 a.m. for the whole day!   Alton, September 11, 1841




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, September 11, 1841

$25 Reward!! Stolen from the shop of the subscriber, in Alton, on Thursday, the 8th instant, some 80 or 100 finger rings! Of almost every quality, worth from $8, down as low as 50 cents each. There is a private mark on the principal part of the rings; and some of the letters in the words 'sell for gain' will be found on the inner side of the rings. The above reward will be paid for the recovery of the rings; or a proportionate part for any quantity of them.  John Hatch. Alton, September 11, 1841



Circus in Alton, Sept. 11, 1841


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 11, 1841

Splendid and combined attraction of equestrian and gymnastic performances, with a beautiful collection of living wild animals - comprising the stupendous giraffe, the elephant, and every variety of wild beasts, birds, and reptiles! June, Titus, Angevine & Co., proprietors of the Bowery Amphi-Theater, New York, R. Sands, Equestrian Manager.  The proprietors of the above named establishment have the honor to announce to the citizens of Alton and vicinity, that their unequalled troupe of equestrians and splendid caravan of wild animals will exhibit at Alton on Wednesday and Thursday, September 15th and 16th, 1841. The public are also respectfully informed that the equestrian troupe, under the management of Mr. R. Sands, is composed of the most extensive and talented artists, comprising several of the most far-famed Rivers Family of Astley's Amphi-Theater, London, who incredible performances have caused so much excitement wherever they have appeared, besides other in every department of the Olympic Exercises. The manager pledges himself that his exhibition shall be of a strictly moral character, and free from the many objections frequently made to entertainments of this description.  An extensive and splendid band of musicians are engaged, who will accompany the performances with a choice selection of the most popular airs, marches, overtures, and waltzes. Prices of admission to both - 50 cents - children half price.  The menagerie of animals is attended by intelligent and obliging keepers, who will take great pains in responding to the wishes of the audience. Will also be at Carrollton, September 15; at Jerseyville, Sept. 14; and at Edwardsville, Sept. 17.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, September 13, 1841

New Cheap Store!! Boot, Shoe & Slipper Manufactory. The subscriber would inform the citizens of Alton, and vicinity, that he has taken the store under the "Telegraph" office, Second Street, where he has on hand a good assortment of groceries, boots & shoes, of all kinds and qualities; and will be receiving fresh goods from time to time; and manufacturing boots, shoes, and slippers daily: so that he will be able to keep a supply constantly on hand, to accommodate all those who may favor him with their patronage. Prices low, in accordance with the times. N. B. Those who wish to economize these hard times, will please to call at the sign of the "Golden Slipper" where I shall sell very low for cash or country produce; and all goods are warranted, and rips mended gratis. Alton, September 13, 1841.  Samuel Lesure.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, October 1841

J. L. Roberts - Merchant Tailor, has just returned from Philadelphia where he has purchased a stock of clothes, &c. at the present low prices; which he selected from recent importation, and of the most fashionable styles. He is prepared to furnish his customers with any article in his line, upon much more favorable terms than have ever before been offered in this place. Among his goods may be found the following: Beaver Cloths - black, blue, and invisible green. Among which are the new and fashionable styles of diamond, waved, and barred. Also -- Green and Waved.  Asphaltuno Cloth, a new article for overcoats.  Broadcloths: Superfine wool dyed blue black, blue, invisible green, and bronze olive broad cloths of every variety and quality. Cassimeres: Superfine blue, brown and green waved and diamond cassimeres; also, superfine wool-dyed black do.; with a variety of plain and fancy do.  Satinets: Black and dark mixed; together with a general variety of satinets. Vestings: Buff Cassimere; silk and woolen velvet, of various styles; also, plain and fancy figured satin vestings. A choice assortment of embroidered cashmere vestings. Globes, Crabats, Linens, &c. English silk handk'fs; a superior article; American Silk, White Linen Cambric Handk'fs, Fancy Linen Cambric, Cravata - Satin & Silk, various colors, Italian Silk, Irish Linens -- Fine and superfine. Gloves - Super black and fancy Hoskin; beaver, a great variety. Drawers & shirts - silk, a fine article, worsted and cotton. Suspenders - A large assortment; Hosiery - Woolen, worsted and cotton; Tailor's Tape Measures. Also, A large and excellent assortment of tailor's trimmings - all of which will be sold very low for cash! Stocks and gentlemen's linens, made to order.  Alton, October 1841.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, October 9, 1841

A regular meeting of the Washington Temperance Society will be held at the old Court Room, on Tuesday evening next, October 12th, 1841, at 7 o'clock. The members of the Washington Temperance Society of Upper Alton, of Middletown, and of the Young Men's Temp. Society of this city, will be in attendance, upon invitation. Several addresses may be expected. The ladies, and all others, who are friends of good order and morality, are respectfully invited to attend. Per order of the Society - J. W. Calvin, Rec. Secretary.



Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1841
The following is a list of the criminal cases that were tried:
Thomas Moore - indicted for gaming, acquitted.
James Hoxey and others - indicted for nuisance, convicted, and new trial granted. W. E. Starr for defendants.
Thomas Carlin and Sarah Mize - indicted for adultery, acquitted. George T. M. Davis for defendants.
Wilke, a boy of color - indicted for poisoning the family of Cyrus Edwards, Esq., convicted and sentenced to five years in the Penitentiary. J. M. Krum for defendant.
Nathaniel Howard - indicted for burglary, convicted and sentenced for one year to the Penitentiary. George T. M. Davis for defendant.
Hiram Sweesey and Martin Benson - indicted for larceny, convicted and sentenced for one year to the Penitentiary. U. F. Linder and J. Gillespie for defendants.
George Loos - indicted for larceny, convicted and new trial awarded. George T. M. Davis for defendant.

Most of the citizens of this place will recollect that about two years ago, Mr. ----, then a resident of this place, caused William W. Carey, a young man who had been living with him, but had left him, to be arrested on a pretended charge of larceny. Carey, after a careful examination by two justices of our city [Alton], was triumphantly acquitted; and it appearing to all who heard the examination that it was purely a malicious prosecution, the lad, by a near friend, instituted a suit against --------- for malicious prosecution. The cause was tried last week, in which the jury rendered a verdict for the plaintiff, and assessed his damages at one thousand dollars. On a motion for a new trial, his Honor, Judge Breese, after refusing the same, stated that in his opinion not the slightest cause existed for the step taken by ----------; and although the damages were higher than he, as a juror, should have given, still he would not interfere with the verdict. We make this statement out of sheer justice to Carey, who has always sustained an irreproachable character since his residence in this city, enjoying to an unlimited degree the confidence and esteem of all who know him. Counsel for Carey, S. T. Sawyer and George T. M. Davis, Esqurs.



Source: Alton Telegraph, November 6, 1841

Mr. E. Marsh, of the firm of Marsh, Hankinson & Co., Druggists, of this city [Alton], has commenced the manufacture of Castor Oil at this place. This will afford to the farmers in the vicinity a cash market for another article of their product easily raised - the Castor Bean.




Source:  Alton Telegraph, November 13, 1841

It will doubtless prove a source of gratification, not only to the citizens of this place, but to the farmers of the surrounding country, to learn that another extensive flouring mill will be put in operation in Alton during the ensuing spring. A company of gentlemen have purchased the two large stone warehouses formerly occupied by Messrs. Godfrey, Gilman & Co., together with a vacant lot, from the State Bank of Illinois, with a view of converting the same into a flouring mill. One of the firm is now absent, procuring his machinery &c., and the work will be progressed with as rapidly as circumstances will permit. The mill is to contain four run of five and a half feet burr stones, with one smaller one, which will enable them to average about 150 barrels of flour every twenty-four hours. This arrangement will always insure competition in the purchase of wheat at Alton, and a good price to the farmer. There will not be less than 200,000 bushels of wheat (in addition to what is ground here) shipped from this point this season, to be manufactured at Cincinnati and in the eastern states. This is an unnatural and an unwholesome state of things. It would be far better to have our grain manufactured at home, and send the bread-stuffs to other markets for sale, than to suffer the grain to go abroad and allow others to reap the profits arising from its manufacture. The vast quantity of wheat that will be bought and shipped from Alton this season will satisfy the most skeptical that their attention could not be directed to a better spot than this to engage in the flouring business; and we yet hope that some of the capitalists who have this season tested the extent of the Alton market for the purchase of wheat, will in another year be induced to erect mills and go into the manufacture of flour themselves. There is as great an opening here now, so far as the abundant supply of wheat is concerned, as though we had no mills among us. And from present indications, there will be next season nearly double the crop that there was this. We say nothing of our superior facilities over the Ohio, Upper Mississippi, and Illinois rivers, for shipping at all seasons of the year. This is a matter too well established to require argument.


This flour mill was founded by a group of Boston capitalists, who were incorporated by an act of the State Legislature under the name of the Alton Manufacturing Company. During the mill’s existence, it was operated by S. & P. Wise, McElroy, Libby & Co., J. Brown & Co., and others. The stone warehouse used by the flour mill was the one owned by Godfrey & Gilman, where Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered four years earlier. The Sparks Mill was later located here, when it was purchased from the Wise Brothers in 1869. At the northwest corner of the mill, during later excavations, is where the frame from the Lovejoy press was found.



Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, November 17, 1841

Slaughtering of Beef and Pork at Alton, Illinois. The undersigned [late of Cincinnati, Ohio] respectfully inform the farmers & packers that they have established a slaughter house at Alton, and are well provided with good pens; and are ready to slaughter cattle & hogs in the very best manner. Having long experience in the slaughtering business, they pledge themselves to give satisfaction to those may favor them with their patronage. Their establishment is the one formerly occupied by Mr. Work, on Shields' Branch. Thornton & Kirby, Alton, November 17, 1841.




The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, November 22, 1841

$100 reward. The above reward will be given for the apprehension and conviction of the rascal or rascals, who entered the office of the undersigned on the night of Saturday, the 20th instant, and attempted to force open their iron safe.  Bullock & Keating. Alton, November 22, 1841.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 27, 1841

It always affords us unfeigned gratification to direct the public attention to all manufacturing establishments, either in our city or State. We visited this week the repository of Mr. Robert P. Todd, in this city, and were astonished to find carriages of the neatness, beauty, and durability of structure of various kinds, that had been built by him during the present Fall. We will venture the assertion that as handsome and cheap an article can be purchased of him, as is to be found west of the Alleghany mountains. And having been at great trouble and expense in procuring the best of workmen from the Eastern manufactories, we trust he will receive the patronage his exertions so richly entitle him to. Instead, therefore, of going to St. Louis, or sending to the East for a carriage of any kind, we hope our citizens will patronize their men mechanics by first giving Mr. Todd a call.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1842

The store of Mr. D. W. Havens, in this city, was entered on Wednesday evening last, while Mr. Havens and his clerk were both at tea, by forcing open the front door and robbed of what loose money there was in the drawer, amounting to forty dollars.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1842

This morning, about 1 o'clock, fire was discovered in the grocery store of Mr. N. Bemiss, on Third Street, at the New Market. The store and stock of goods were entirely consumed. The loss upon the goods was about $3000; no insurance, no part of the goods were saved - from thence the fire communicated to the store occupied by C. W. Cootes & Bro's. Their loss is about $1500, upon which there is insurance of $1200.  A Confectioner shop and a Restor____ adjoining was also consumed; from thence the fire communicated to the store and building of Mr. John Leach, which was also consumed. His loss including his stock and buildings is supposed to be about $8000, upon which there was insurance at the Citizens and Floating Dock Offices, in the amount of $4,500; he also lost a package of money amounting to $250. The extensive Carriage Depository of Mr. T. B. Edgar, which is situated immediately in the rear of Mr. Leach's stores, and for some time was in great danger of being destroyed; but owing to the prompt and ___thing exertion of the firemen, was saved. Mr. Edgar's loss is estimated at $1,550. The ______ of Mr. S. .....[rest unreadable].




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 8, 1842

To the Editor:  In setting forth the advantages of this city for the location of the Western Armory, which I have heretofore endeavored partially to do, it cannot be deemed impertinent to the subject to indulge in a few remarks in relation to the history and growth of the place and the surrounding settlements, as an earnest of its future destiny; and to show at least that we do not consider ourselves so much in obscurity from the great world as to be entirely overlooked and set aside.


We have not many years to go back to the period when the U. S. Land Surveyors were employed in marking off our very town, for sale by the quarter section; and up to the year 1829, the settlements of the surrounding country consisted of a few and far between log cabins, barely suited for shelter. This thriving and busy village was then but a desolate landing, covered with a thicket of bushes, with but two or three structures in the shape of houses in sight. At that time, the trade of Alton was comparatively nothing; the consumption of the country about being equal to the products of its soil, and but few goods were wanted by the hardy pioneers who first broke ground for tillage. But how different is the picture after a lapse of but twelve short years! We have a town of heavy business, as the sequel will show, and with full prospects of an undiminished ratio of increase hereafter that we have had in the past. The country around is filling up rapidly with industrious farmers, with all of the purtenances that betoken thrift, plenty and comfort. The rich farming soil requites the husbandmen bountifully for his cares and toil; affording a large surplus of products above his wants to exchange for articles of taste and comfort from the handicraft of other nations or of the growth of other climates, which the unparalleled facilities of transportation and trade, for a place so far inland from the ocean, enables him to do.


With such advantages of soil, climate and commerce, there can be but one opinion, as to the destination of this section of country so favored by nature, on the score of populousness and wealth; and its advance is in rapid progress, to that state, which will render it inviting and desirable for those of a refined taste who wish establishments connected with the benefits of good society, comfort, and beauty of landscape.


To estimate the full importance of this place, it is necessary to detail some of the leading staple articles of exports of the country with their amounts, which find here their outlet. Pork is as yet the leading article. The amount estimated for this year's exports is 8,800,000 lbs., which averaged at two cents per lb., gives $176,000. Wheat has become the next in amount, and is of much greater benefit to the place than the above on account of its being the product of the country nearer about and the proceeds of the sales being mostly expended here in trade. The crop of the past year is estimated at 200,000 bushels, which at an average price of 75 cents, is $150,000, and from the best information derived from the country, that pitched for the coming season is about three times the amount of the last. It has been estimated that 100,000 bushels of corn, and 20,000 of oats have been shipped yearly for the last four or five years. Beef also affords a large item of exports; as many as 6,000 beeves having been slaughtered here in a single year.


With these acquisitions of exports in the term of but about twelve years, and mostly from our immediate neighborhood, it is not at all unreasonable to expect that another equal space of time will find us with business capital sufficient not only for our domestic trade, but to afford a wholesome competition for the upriver traders to be suited with an assortment of goods and prices, as well as to pass our doors to seek their supplies elsewhere. Our conveniences for such a trade are certainly not inferior to any other point on the big highway of western navigation.


The products for the supply of home market, it is not designed here to enumerate; but suffice it to say, there is a superabundance for the present wants, and in all probability will be for the future, whatever they may be. The items of fruit, which go far to set off a market, we have also a prospect of a most abundant supply, and that too of a superior quality. Apples, peaches, pears and plums, are of the most luxuriant growth, and are produced in the greatest perfection, and all other fruits of the climate are also equally cultivated and productive.


Our institutions for education, present other strong reasons in favor of this place, for the location of an institution like the Western Armory, making it desirable for mechanics who would be required for the service. We have in one direction and nearby, a Female Seminary, accommodating eighty-five boarders, besides the Principal and Teachers; and in Upper Alton is Shurtleff College, with buildings erected sufficient for one hundred and fifty students. Moreover, we have already in operation primary schools, not only in the city, but also in the country, for eight or ten miles around; giving evidence of the good character of the population of the country as far as already settled, and having a controlling influence to maintain a good state of society hereafter. From a familiar acquaintance with the Mississippi River from the mouth to the falls of St. Anthony, I can see only in this halfway port, the head of the low country trade and the most convenient point for the terminus of the other; the point of meeting of import supplies and the staples of the country for exports; the most fit and proper place for the location of a national institution, which is to operate for both extremes, as well as on our western and northern borders, at a point too where navigation is obstructed only a few weeks in the coldest part of the winter of each year, and especially when we can furnish such conveniences in harbor, and all other natural and agricultural products as have here been enumerated.  Respectfully yours, G. W. L.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, April 21, 1842

Public Meeting - The Whigs of Alton Precinct are requested to meet on Saturday evening next, at 7 o'clock, in the Old Court Room, (Riley's Building), for the purpose of choosing delegates to represent said Precinct in the County Convention to be held at Edwardsville on Wednesday, the 27th inst. A general attendance is solicited. Alton, April 21, 1842.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 19, 1842


To Kittinger, our thanks we raise,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

To Gordon, too, let's give due praise,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

To all who would with us engage,

Come up, O! come, and sign the pledge;

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!


Our hearts for rum no longer burn,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

To temp'rance now our steps we turn,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

Farewell to wine, and all its kin,

Farewell to brandy, whisky, gin;

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!


Behold a happy home appears,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

The joyful wife no more in tears,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

Our children now with joy we greet,

When we turn from labor sweet;

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!


No more we drink, no more we fight,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

At home we now do spend the night,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

We've broke the chains that bound us down,

We stand erect, with freedom crowned;

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!


A temp'rate army now we stand,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

United in a happy land,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah;

To all who would with us engage,

Come up, O! come, and sign the pledge;

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah,

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 14, 1842

The following cases were disposed of:

William Torrence and Harrison Torrence - indicated for malicious mischief; acquitted. George T. M. Davis for defendants.

James Krager - Larceny; convicted and sentenced to the Penitentiary for 2 years and 4 months. S. G. Bailey for defendant.

James Knight, William Hopewell, and James Graley - Highway robbery; convicted and sentenced to the Penitentiary for 12 years. J. G. Cameron and G. T. M. Davis for defendants.

George Loos - Larceny; acquitted. G. T. M. Davis for defendant.

Joseph Spelts - Forgery; acquitted. G. T. M. Davis for defendant.

George Yoakum - Larceny; discharged. G. T. M. Davis for defendant.

Silas Brooks - Larceny; venue changed to Bond County. G. T. M. Davis for defendant.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 28, 1842

On Wednesday last, as some boys were playing on the riverbank, they discovered, near the mouth of the cave at the foot of the bluff, a few rods above the steam mill, a large leather trunk, about half-worn, filled with bedclothes and other articles, the property of some unknown person. The trunk was unlocked, and secured by a rope fastened around it. Among its various contents nothing was found by which to identify the owner, except it be a small memorandum book with a blue paper cover, giving various items of expenditure from which it appears that the owner visited in succession the following places, viz: Marion City, Quincy, Keokuk, Montrose, Madison, Oquawka, Millersburgh, Stephenson, Savannah, Albany, Galena, Plattsville, Lancaster, and Prairie du Chien; and as provisions for a family, and feed for cattle, are included among these items, it would seem that he did not travel alone. It likewise appears that the passage .....[unreadable] to Keokuk was made on a steam ....... down at $12 in one single item. But no name or date is discoverable either in the memorandum book or on any of the articles found in the trunk. This notice is given in the hope that it may lead to the elucidation of the mystery in which the affair is now enveloped. The trunk, &c., may be seen at Messrs. Broughton & Ferguson's store in this city.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 11, 1842

We were gratified in seeing the millwrights at work on the new flouring mill being erected in the warehouses formerly occupied by Godfrey, Gilman & Co.  We understand they are bound by their contract to have it completed by the first day of October next. It is to contain four run of the largest size burr stones.



U. S. President Martin Van Buren



Source: Alton Telegraph, July 2, 1842

Martin Van Buren, late President of the United States, arrived in this city on Friday afternoon, June 24, in the steamboat Lebanon, Captain Jefferies, which had been chartered for the purpose of bringing him up, together with his suite, from St. Louis, where he had spent the three preceding days. He was accompanied by Mr. Paulding, late Secretary of the Navy, Gen. Whitcomb, late Commissioner of the General Land Office, a number of gentlemen from  St. Louis, and a committee from the citizens of Alton. So soon as the Lebanon came in sight of the city, she fired a gun, which was promptly returned from the shore, and the solutes were continued on both sides until the boat reached the wharf - the excellent band on board playing suitable airs. The members of the committee of Arrangements were then severally presented to the Ex-President, and escorted him and his suite to the Alton House, where he was welcomed in the name of the people of this city and vicinity by Dr. B. K. Hart, in a very neat and chaste address, to which he returned an appropriate reply. A large number of persons, including many of the gentler sex, were then presented to him, after which he paid a flying visit to Upper and Middle Alton. Upon his return, he partook of some refreshments, provided by the obliging host of the Alton House, where he remained until between eight and nine o'clock, when he embarked, together with his suite, on the steamboat Glaucus, with the view going to Peoria. Mr. Van Buren expressed much gratification at his visit to this place. The cordiality with which he was greeted by the people of Alton and its neighborhood, without distinction of party, evidently made a very favorable impression upon his mind, and he seemed highly pleased with the appearance of our rising city and the surrounding country. Notwithstanding the immense crowd which thronged the wharf at the moment of his arrival, and filled the streets through which he passed on his way to the Alton House, not the least accident or disturbance took place. All the proceedings were conducted quietly, and with the utmost order and decorum; and if the presence of the Ex-President among us excited no enthusiasm or any particular demonstrations of affection, it certainly gave rise to none of personal dislike or inconsistent with the rites of hospitality. In person, Mr. Van Buren differs in some respects from the portraits drawn of him by party writers on both sides. Although not tall, he is a larger man, as well as more plain in his dress and general appearance, than he has been commonly reported to be by his political opponents; while there is nothing perceptible about him indicative of superior abilities or calculated to strike the casual observer. His manners are courteous and gentlemanly, and to one unacquainted with his past career, he would seem better fitted to figure in a drawing room to an to preside over the affairs of a great nation. Mr. Paulding, whose health is extremely feeble, has a head apparently far more intellectual, and is evidently a man of greater genius; although the Ex-President probably exceeds him in adroitness, tact, and activity.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 9, 1842

[From the St. Charles, Missouri Advertiser]

Alton - This city has suffered much by the pressure of the times, and the disastrous condition of our currency, but still she does a large business in merchandising and in receiving and shipping produce. Immense quantities of beef and pork are annually slaughtered and packed at this point; and it is probably the greatest meat market on the Mississippi River. Large quantities of wheat and other grain ______ market at Alton; and its situation with relation to a very large and fertile por____ of the State of Illinois will always re____ it a place of commercial important. The excellent landing, its ample supply of building materials, stone coal and materials for manufacture, will be permanently beneficial to it. It is the first really good landing and town site on the Illinois shore, from the mouth of the Mississippi upwards, and the small number of good situation for towns on the Illinois side of the Mississippi river will give to those that do exist, very great advantages, when the immense quantities of the richest land in the State shall be generally brought into cultivation. If the State had prospered in her p_____ enterprises, and her internal improvements had gone into successful operations, Alton would speedily have become an important city; but the embarrassments and failure of the State of Illinois in her ___ grown enterprises will delay and po_____ the prosperity of Alton, but cannot prevent its becoming a flourishing and commercial city. It will certainly be the point at which several railroads will in future approach the Mississippi river; and when the National road shall be c_____, it is highly probably that it will cross at that point. The interests of the State of Illinois and of the Northern part of Missouri will require it to cross at that place. As a manufacturing place, it possesses many advantages, and will gradually obtain the notice of enterprising men of various occupations. When the canal shall be finished from the Lakes to the Mississippi, Alton will share largely in the immense stream of trade that will come down the Illinois, and her continuity to a considerable portion of the upper part of Missouri will enable her to participate in its commerce. A due share of the lead trade has hitherto been taken the Alton ______, and her position will enable her to carry on a lucrative commerce with Wisconsin and Iowa. The inhabitants of Alton have been noted for their commercial enterprise; and although they, like other parts of the country, have overtraded in prosperous times, still their industry and the advantages of the location will in time restore them to a prosperous condition. Illinois has frequently shown a disposition to foster the interests of her commercial towns, and there is reasonable ground to believe that the same policy will be pursued hereafter. Although the debt of the State is very large, it will be impossible to suppress the energies, or prevent the growth of a country containing so large a quantity of the richest kind of soil, such great manufacturing and agricultural resources, and such valuable commercial facilities.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 9, 1842

We deeply regret to state that the steamboat Edna, Captain Martin, bound from St. Louis to the Upper Missouri, collapsed her flues on Sunday morning last near the mouth of the river, five miles from the city [Alton], scattering the scalding steam among the unfortunate deck passengers, most of whom were in the act of getting out of their berths. Of these, it is believed that five or six were killed outright; and between sixty and seventy wounded. Fifty-five of the latter had been buried at the last accounts; and of those who still lived, but few were expected to survive. How the accident originated does not appear to be certainly known; and many conjectures are afloat on the subject. The sufferers were mostly immigrants from the neighborhood of Dusseldorf, in the kingdom of Prussia.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 6, 1842

It affords us much gratification to inform our citizens and the public in general that a pottery for the manufacture of all kinds of earthen and Chinaware has been established permanently in this city. A company of five just arrived from the best potteries in Europe, have taken a lease of the property near Cave Spring for the term of five years, and have commenced already the manufacture of ware. Will not a number of our citizens join us in ordering from Mr. Croxton a full dinner set for their own use? Nothing would afford us more pride than to be furnished with a full dinner set manufactured in our city and state. So, Mr. Croxton, put us down for a set and do your best.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 15, 1842

After slight frosts in the forepart of the present week, that most beautiful of all seasons - Indian Summer - has appeared among us, with its soft, balmy atmosphere and other attendant deloights. Alas! for the poor persecuted quails! They are most abundant, not only in the neighborhood, but even in the thickly settled parts of the city; and the way they are hunted down, in all sorts of fashions, by boys of every age, is "a caution." A flock of these birds flew against the writer's dwelling house in the second ward a few evenings since, supplying his family with a plentiful repast, without the expenditure of either powder, time, or money. The boys hawk them about our streets at the rate of twenty-five cents per dozen, or less.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 15, 1842

The new flouring mill, erected by the Messrs. Wise, in conjunction with J. H. Lea, Esq., of this city, is now in successful operation. It is one of the best constructed mills we have ever seen, and does great credit not only to the millwright who superintended its construction - Mr. A. L. Whiteside - but to the worthy and enterprising owners who erected it. It is capable of turning out 100 barrels of flour every twenty-four hours. We trust it may prove a source of great profit to its owners, as well as of benefit to this community. A more particular account of this mill, and its superior advantages, will be given in a future number.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 12, 1842

The shock of an earthquake was sensibly felt in this city and its vicinity between twelve and one o'clock on Friday the 4th inst.  It lasted about half a minute, and caused the windows, &c. of sundry buildings - that in which this office is kept, included - to rattle with some violence. A slight shock was experienced about two hours afterwards.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 7, 1843

For sale - The large brick building at the corner of Second [Broadway] and Walnut [Central] Streets, now occupied by William Miller as a Public House, together with a large new stable, 30 by 70 feet, and a large wagon yard with a high class board fence, so as to secure safely all that is left therein. Attached in the premises is an excellent garden newly inclosed, and several acres of cultivated land, may be rented, together with meadow ground, if desired. Should the property not be sold early in March, I will lease it for a term of years at a reasonable rent, if a suitable tenant offers. Two thousand dollars may remain on mortgage, at the discretion of the purchaser; the remainder may be paid in State Bank Paper, at par value. The property will be sold at a bargain! Apply to the subscriber on the premises.  Charles W. Hunter




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 28, 1843

At about 4 o'clock on Sunday morning, the 22d inst., a fire broke out in the one story wooden building, situated on the north side of Short Street, and occupied by Messrs. Thompson & Co., as a lard house. Owing to the combustible material in this building, everything in it and appertaining to it, being saturated with lard, the fire spread with fearful rapidity; and in a few minutes, communicated to the adjoining buildings upon each side. The one on the west was a two-story frame building, owned and occupied by Mr. Arba Nelson as a stove and hardware store and tinner's shop. The one on the east was also a two-story frame building owned by Mr. Simeon F. Leonard; the first floor of which was occupied by him as a grocery store. The front part of the upper story was occupied by Messrs. Whitcomb & Solomon, gunsmiths; in the rear was the office of "The People's Miscellany," owned by Mr. Lawson A. Parks. These buildings with a part of their contents were soon destroyed. Although there was but very little wind,  yet the flames from these buildings curled upon the roof of the large, three-story brick building on the corner of State and Short Streets. The unbroken brick wall on the west end of this building, for some time, presented a barrier to the fire, but, having only one engine, it was found impossible to stop its progress at this point. This fine building, and also the next two stores above it, upon State Street, with the livery stable adjoining and a small stable in the rear of the same, were also burned down.


The progress of the fire was here arrested on State Street by the pulling down of Mr. T. Brown's blacksmith shop. Two buildings in the area of those destroyed, one a stable and the other a smokehouse filled with meat, were saved by the pulling down of a large salt house. The ground floor of the brick building destroyed, was occupied by A. S. Barry & Co., Druggists, and also, as the office of the Alton Marine and Fire Insurance Company. The second story was occupied by Dr. Hart and by Dr. Skillman, as offices. The third story was used for storage. The ownership of the building is in dispute. The next building, burnt upon State Street, was owned and occupied by Mr. Thomas Clifford as a grocery store, and the one adjoining was owned, it is said, by the Messrs. Wells of Providence, Rhode Island, both two story frames. In the store last named, there was a stock of goods on storage, owned by a house in New York.


The lard house, in which the fire originated, was owned by Mr. Daniel Homer. It is said to have contained about four hundred dollars worth of lard, belonging to Mr. Webster of Springfield. A large part of Mr. Nelson's stock was more or less damaged. Mr. Leonard's stock is a total loss. Mr. Parks lost a large part of his type and fixtures, and his press was considerably damaged. Messrs. Whitcomb & Solomon saved nearly all of their tools. Messrs. Barry & Co.'s stock was mostly saved, and nearly all of the furniture and the property of the occupants of the brick building. Mr. Clifford lost a part of his stock. The greater part of the goods on storage in the Messrs. Wells' building were saved. Mr. Thomas Brown occupied the chamber of this store as a dwelling; part of his furniture was lost or damaged. The livery stable was owned by the Alton Marine and Fire Insurance Company, and the stable in the rear by S. G. Bailey, Esq.  The total loss in buildings and stock is probably at the present valuation, from twelve to fifteen thousand dollars, about one quarter part of which is covered by insurance; being mainly upon the stock and store of Mr. Nelson, and upon A. S. Barry & Co.'s stock, insured in part in the Illinois Mutual.


In addition to the individual losses by this disastrous fire, some of which strongly appeal to the sympathy and benevolence of the public, it is a great calamity to the place. Although it would seem that the destruction, in these times, of so handsome a portion of the business part of our city could not soon be remedied, yet we understand that measures are already in progress for the erection of several new buildings upon the ruins.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 4, 1843

Left at the house of Mrs. Kennedy in Alton on the night of the 21th inst., a bay mare, 18 hands high, nearly blind in the left eye, a white ring on the left fore foot, above the hoof, about one inch wide, right hind leg white nearly to the hoof, otherwise black legs, mane and tail, a small star in the forehead, and supposed to be eight years old. Said mare was left by a boy from eleven to fourteen years old, with long flaxen hair; he had on a fur cap much worn, and an old frock coat much in the same situation, said he lived at or near Jacksonville, and had with him two shirts and a piece of fulted linsey cloth. The owner of said mare is desired to prove property, pay charges, and take her away from my stable.  Signed Mark Dickson.



Source: Alton Telegraph, February 11, 1843
The steam sawmill, in this city, known as the "Whetstone Mill," was discovered to be on fire at about 4 o'clock on Sunday morning last. Upon the arrival of the citizens, the flames had made too much progress to be arrested by any efforts that could then be made. The mill was entirely destroyed. It is said to have been owned by Mr. John Levis of this city, and to have been insured in whole or in part at Cincinnati.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 1, 1843

The old flouring mill in this city [Alton], formerly occupied by Messrs. Wise, Riley & Col, has been leased to two practical men, who have the means and ability to keep it in successful operation. We understand it is their design to put this mill in thorough repair, and have it ready for operation previous to the ensuing harvest. Competition is the life of business, and the wheat growers in the surrounding country will be glad to learn that they will have this additional opportunity of disposing of their wheat at Alton.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 22, 1843

Between one and two o'clock on last Thursday morning, a fire was discovered breaking out of the roof of the building at the angle between Front and Second [Broadway] Streets, generally designated as "the Virginia House," in this city. The alarm was promptly given, and the different fire companies immediately hastened to the spot. The devouring element, however, had made so much progress that in spite of all their exertions, it was found impracticable to check its ravages until the entire building was consumed. It was at the time occupied by nine families, numbering fifty or sixty persons, all of whom succeeded in effecting their escape, some of them not without difficulty, and with the loss of their goods. The others saved the most of their effects. The building, although large, was of comparatively little value, and was partly owned by the State Bank, and partly by S. G. Bailey, Esq. The loss of the tenants, although inconsiderable in amount, is large to them, as most of them are poor. Fortunately, the efforts of the fire companies were seconded by the wind, which blew the flames from the adjacent buildings, and consequently the fire was confined to the tenement in which it originated. It is supposed to be the result of accident.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 10, 1843

We are now using a barrel of flour of Atkinson & Co's brand made in this city [Alton]. It is a superior article and will stand the test of any market in the Union. The brands of Wise, Lea & Co., and Atkinson & Co. of this place, cannot be surpassed in the Western country. All that astonishes us is that there are not one or two more mills in existence at this point. There is no better location for flouring mills in the West.




Programme of the Order of Procession for July 4th, 1843

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 1, 1843

Escort: Lafayette Greens, under command of Capt. Brooks.



First Division:

Edwardsville Band; Chief Marshal; and Two Aides.

Committee of Arrangements.

Orator and Reader of the Declaration of Independence.

Chaplain and the Revered Clergy.

Mayor and Common Council.

Musical Class, under Mr. Munson.

Sabbath Schools, under their respective teachers.


Second Division:

Neptune Fire  Company, No. 3; Under Captain Starr.

Alton Fire Company, No. 2; Under Captain Hayden.

Hose Carriage and Company of No. 2

Pioneer Fire Company, No. 1; Under Captain Pitts

Hose Carriage and Company of No. 1


Third Division: (Citizens)

The several Companies are requested to choose their own Marshals. The procession will form precisely at 10 o'clock a.m. The Companies and other bodies will appear at the place of general rendezvous, in readiness to fall into line of march at 10 o'clock precisely. The general Rendezvous will be upon the State Street Square, by the hay scales. The Marshals will appear in dark costs and white pants, with a blue and white baton. The procession, when formed, will leave the Square and march to the Baptist Church. After the services in the church, the procession will reform under the direction of the Marshal, and march to Middletown to partake of a collation.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1843

This operating was performed by Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards, at his residence in this city [Alton], on Tuesday morning last, in the presence of a number of spectators. The patient is a young lady about 18 years of age, the daughter of Mr. Eyres of Upper Alton. The wen [boil] was situated upon the left side of her face; the base of it was one inch and seven-eighths in length by one inch and five-eights in width; the upper part of it being just opposite and near the opening of the ear. It commenced forming when she was about two years old, and has been gradually increasing. Several months since, she applied to Dr. Edwards for advice in regard to having it taken out. He then informed her that if he could succeed in placing her in the mesmeric state, he could remove the wen without pain. A few subsequent experiments convinced the Doctor that Miss E. was susceptible of the mesmeric influence to a degree sufficient to warrant him to attempt its removal in this state, of which she was accordingly informed. Circumstances, however, prevented her at that time from submitting to the operation, and for some months past she has been residing at Springfield. Her great desire to have the wen removed, and from the fact that it was becoming painful, induced her to return for the purpose of having it taken out. The patient had been considerably agitated during the morning. She was seated in a room in which there were a number of gentlemen, most of whom were strangers to her, and Dr. E. placed her under mesmeric influence in about five minutes. After ascertaining that she was in a profound sleep, an incision was made one inch and three-eights in length, and the tumor was removed. Although the operation was necessarily prolonged to nearly fifteen minutes, the Doctor not being able to use, freely, but one hand, as it was necessary for him to act at the same time in the double capacity of mesmerizer and operator, yet the patient sat with the hands quietly resting in the lap, the countenance was placid and serene, and the whole attitude that of repose, not the slightest trace of mental emotion was perceptible, not a twinge or movement of any kind was visible, or the last change in respiration. She was kept in the mesmeric state just one hour. Previous to waking her, the Doctor excited the organs of tune and of mirthfulness, to both of which responses were obtained. She was also put in communication with Mr. G., whom she immediately recognized, and in answer to his question, whether she had felt any pain from the operation, replied that she had not. As soon as she was awakened, she placed her hand upon the bandages and asked, "What is this?" The Doctor fearing that she might disturb them, immediately removed her hand and replied, "I have taken out your wen." She looked about in perfect astonishment, and interrogatingly repeated, "Taken out my wen?" "Yes," replied the doctor, "You know that I told you I would take it out without your feeling it?" "I know that you told me you could," she laughingly replied, "but I did not believe it." She appeared to have no remembrance of anything that had taken place. It would be difficult to determine which party evinced the most delight and astonishment - the one having witnessed this novel and most astounding phenomenon, or the other who had been unconsciously and almost magically relieved from an increasing and troublesome tumor. Numerous cases of surgical operations without pain, in the mesmeric state, have been reported in England; several, also, have been reported in this country, but this is believed to be the first that has been performed west of the Alleghenies.


[Note:  Letters followed the above article, in testimony of the truth of this event.  The following men were witnesses to the surgery:  S. Griggs, L. Kellenberger, O. M. Adams, A. S. Barry, M. G. Atwood, and W. S. Gilman.]




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 9, 1843

From the preparations being made by our packers, we should judge that a more extensive business will be done this fall and the ensuing winter, in pork, than at any previous season. Extensive additions will be made to several of the old establishments, and some two or three new ones will be erected. At one house that we know of, the enterprising proprietor intends being able to kill and cut from three to five hundred hogs per day, as circumstances may require. The stock of salt on hand is large, and barrels, kegs, and hogsheads can be procured in any quantity. The quality of the pork in the surrounding country cannot be surpassed by any state west of the Alleghany mountains, and the quantity will be equal to any reasonable demand at anything like a fair price. Persons, therefore, from abroad, desiring to procure a first-rate article put up in a manner that will vie with any other place in the Union, and suitable for any market in the world, with sure navigation at any season of the year, to New Orleans, would do well to direct their attention to Alton. Sure we are that by so doing they will, in a preeminent degree, consult their own interest. We desire no better evidence of the advantage that this place possesses over any other on either the Mississippi or Illinois rivers, than the fact that those who put up produce here once are always sure to return.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 7, 1843

Mr. Editor - Although a fad in drunkenness, it is with gratification that I notice the neat, tasteful, and well-conducted bar, lately opened by F. Gray, Esq., connected with the well-known Alton HOuse. Strangers and others visiting our city, who love good cigars "or a little wine for the stomach's sake," can there find every variety of the choicest refreshments appertaining to such establishments. The habits of the day are such as in courtesy to strangers who visit us demand one such bar in the city, and no better location could be made therefore than at the Alton House.  Signed H.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 14, 1843

For some time past we have witnessed with gratification the gradual, but safe revival of business in our city. A more healthy state of things exists here at present than at any former period since Alton took a start. The vast amount of produce brought to this market, for which the farmer receives his cash or its equivalent, and the quantity of goods sold by our merchants, and for which they get their pay, all go to prove the healthy state of things that exists among us. Our merchants have all provided themselves with large, well-selected stocks of goods, and are determined to sell as low as can be purchased at any other place in the valley. Purchasers can, therefore, visit our market, with the certainty of obtaining every article of merchandise that they may want, and at prices corresponding with the times. In addition to the old stores - most if not all of which have recently received new and well-selected supplies of merchandise, E. C. March, Esq. has opened at the late stand of Bowman, Neef & Co. in this city, one of the largest, choicest, and best selected stocks of goods ever brought to this market. It embraces almost every article needed by our farmers, who cannot better consult their interest than by giving him a call. We have also heard of some two or three other new concerns, who have it in contemplation opening large stocks of goods here this fall, provided they can procure stores. If, then, our citizens will act a little more in unison, than they have for the last few years, and set upon the principle of "live and let live," we may with confidence look forward to the early period when extensive and permanent improvements will be seen progressing in every section of the city. There is no place on the east side of the Mississippi for which, in point of great natural advantages, Providence has done more than Alton. We are blessed with one of the finest, most fertile back countries in the world, and if Alton does not go ahead, the only cause for it will be found among her own citizens.




Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Advertisement, October 28, 1843

Cash will be paid by the undersigned for a few thousand head of corn fed hogs, if delivered early in the season, at their packing house in Alton. They also give notice that having provided themselves with the most extensive packing house in the place, they will be prepared to appropriate one half of the house for a commission business. They would farther remark, that one of the firm has been engaged in the packing business on the Ohio River, upwards of twenty years; which has established him a high reputation in the southern and eastern markets, and whose brand is extensively known, and in high repute. With these considerations, they flatter themselves that they can hold out inducements which will secure to them a liberal patronage. The house is also prepared to make liberal cash advances, to the farmers and drovers, for their pork, and will pack and ship the same on commission to their house in New Orleans, to be sold on account of the owners; only charging a reasonable commission for said advances.  Alton, October 28, 1843.  Hibbard, Echols, & Co.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 4, 1843

On last Saturday morning, about two o'clock, the citizens of this place were aroused from their slumbers by the appalling cry of Fire! It was found to proceed from a frame building on State Street, part of which was occupied as shops, and the remainder by two or three families. The different fire companies hastened to the spot with all practicable expedition, but the flames had made such progress before their arrival that their exertions were necessarily confined to the preservation of the adjacent houses, the destruction of which, at one time, appeared almost inevitable. Happily, however, there was but little wind, and this circumstance, together with the efforts of the firemen and the pulling down of a small tenement next to that in which the fire originated, prevented the conflagration from spreading any farther. The building, which we believe belonged to Captain Benjamin Godfrey, and was uninsured, was totally consumed, but the inmates succeeded to saving the greater part of their property.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 4, 1843

Many of our city and county readers have doubtless heard something of the Sulphur Spring on the farm of Major G. W. Long of this vicinity. We are not sufficiently acquainted with such matters, to be competent to speak of its value from personal knowledge, but the subjoined letter from a scientific gentleman of St. Louis, to whom a specimen of the water has been sent for examination, shows that it will compare favorably with some of the most esteemed mineral springs in the United States. We hope that the proper steps will be taken at an early day, to make it available for the public use.


"St. Louis, 16th Oct. 1843

My Dear Sir - The sulphur water which you had the kindness to submit for my opinion turns out to be a valuable water. It is superior to the sulphur spring water near St. Louis, and will compare favorably with the white sulphur and Winchester Springs in Virginia.  With much regard, I am Your ob't servant, B. B. Brown, M.D."




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 11, 1843

In this city, business has again revived. During the past summer, several good brick buildings were commenced, which are now nearly finished. The preparations made this fall for packing beef and pork exceed those of any previous year since Alton assumed a name. The city is filled with persons who command foreign capital, that is seeking investment in the staple products of the country at such prices as to insure a profitable return. We have two flouring mills now in operation, each having four run of stones that can daily turn off 320 barrels of flour, equal in quality to any made in the United States. We have now several active, prudent, industrious merchants, who are ready to sell to farmers and other consumers at low prices, merchandise of every description. Almost every dwelling house and store in the city is now occupied, and the demand for more seems daily to increase. The future prosperity of the place depends, in a great degree, upon our merchants and those who locate here to purchase produce. There is a large scope of country north and northeast, from this point, whose inhabitants desire to trade at Alton. Now is the time, through their trade, to lay the foundation for a permanent business. Our merchants buy their goods low for cash, and they can sell them low and make good profit. Let it be understood that here the farmer can procure the highest price in cash for his products; that he can buy what he needs at St. Louis prices; and we shall soon actually reach that point of commercial prosperity to which we once arrived, only in anticipation.  Signed by A.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1843

We understand that Capt. Lamothe's new steamboat, the Luella, which was launched a few weeks ago, will commence running on the first of December next, and as she has been built expressly for the Alton and St. Louis trade, and for no other purpose whatever, and will run daily or twice a day as business may require, between the two cities, we trust that our fellow citizens, and all others, whom business of pleasure may call from one place to the other, will deem it not only a duty, but a privilege, to patronize her and her gentlemanly and enterprising commander. The following are the dimensions of the Luella:  Extreme length on deck, 148 feet; extreme breadth, 40 feet; length of keel, 130 feet; breadth of beam, 21 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 4 feet 6 inches clear. She is furnished with three double-flue boilers, 24 feet long and 38 inches in diameter; 8 feet stroke engine; 22 1/2 inch cylinder; water wheels, 20 feet diameter; length of bucket, 8 feet 8 inches. The construction of the boat is such as to combine both strength and speed; and it is expected that she will run as fast as any on the Upper Mississippi. Success attend her!




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 2, 1843

The Alton City Band, composed of a number of our most estimable citizens, paid us a visit at Middletown one evening last week. We were as gratified with their performance as surprised by their call. All we regret is that we had not some previous intimation of their design, that we might have had it in our power to have "treated them" upon strictly temperance principles, with a cup of hot coffee and a piece of pie. They certainly deserve great credit for the proficiency they have made, and merit the encouragement and support of our citizens. They have our warmest wishes for their success and prosperity.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 13, 1844

The final examination of James Dougherty Jr. and Andrew Johns for their recent assault on Franklin Fruit took place on Monday and Tuesday last, before George T. Brown, Esquire; when, after a full hearing, Dougherty was bound over in the sum of $500, to appear before the next Circuit Court for this county, and answer to such charges as shall then and there be preferred against him, and Johns was discharged. The cause, which excited much interest, was very ably argued by A. Cowles, J. W. Lincoln, and N. G. Edwards, Esqrs., for the prosecution, and by W. S. Lincoln and E. Kasting, Esqrs., for the defense. We are gratified to be able to state that Mr. Fruit, although still suffering from the injuries he sustained in the affray, is getting well.




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 20, 1844

Sparr and Green, former proprietors of the Virginia Hotel on Vine Street, tender their thanks to their numerous patrons for favors heretofore conferred, and respectfully inform them that they have removed to the corner of Main [W. 9th from Belle to State] and Prune[?] Streets, where they are prepared to receive guests under their old sign. Their hotel has received extensive additions, and is now capable of accommodating 150 persons; the old rooms have been thoroughly repaired and newly papered and furnished, and that guests may receive proper attention, are all hung with bells, and are spacious and well ventilated. Their table will at all times be provided with the best that the market may afford, and their cellar supplied with the best of wines and liquors. The location of this hotel being in the immediate vicinity of the best steamboat landing (only 100 yards), adapts it in a pre-eminent degree to the convenience of the traveling community, and the proprietors are determined to spare no pains or expense which may add to the comfort of their guests, and place their house on equal footing with the best hotels in the west. They, therefore, respectfully solicit a continuance of the patronage of their friends and the public. Their rates of charges are:  Board, without lodging, per month, $12.00.  Board and lodging, with fire, per month, $22.00.  Board per day, $1.00.  Signed by Sparr & Green.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 24, 1844

The title to which has for years been involved in doubt by the claim set up to it by Betsy Moore, as the heir at law of John Bates, has been finally settled by the highest tribunal of this state, the decision of Judge Shields dismissing the bill of Archibald D. Moore and wife against William Russell and Charles W. Hunter, to recover the land in question, being affirmed by the Supreme Court. Involving, as this suit did, a large part of this city [Alton], in which the interests of hundreds were at stake, its results cannot but be gratifying to those concerned at least, and the decision is the more important, as it removes the only doubt that existed against the title of this part of the city of Alton, rendering it as safe for purchasers to buy property in Hunter's Addition as in any other part of the city. The cause was argued on the part of Moore and wife by L. Trumbull and J. Gillespie, Esqs., and on the part of Russell and Hunter by George T. M. Davis, William Martin, and N. D. Strong, Esqs.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 16, 1844

From present indications, there can exist little or no doubt but that a number of buildings will be erected during the approaching season in Alton. Our growth hereafter, although it may not be as rapid as during the visionary days of 1835-36, will nevertheless be upon a surer basis, and equal to that of any other place in the state. There is one great difficulty with which we have to contend; and which, for the prosperity of Alton, we wish was otherwise. Much of the desirable property of Alton is held by those who are always willing to sell, but only at such a price that no man of prudence can buy and improve. The result is, the property remains unimproved, and many enterprising citizens are driven to seek a location elsewhere, and where a greater degree of liberality and public spirit exists among the property holders. Lately several valuable lots have exchanged hands, most of which will be improved, and if persons holding large quantities of real estate in the city will only consent to sell a small portion of what they own, to actual settlers and for improvement, we entertain no doubt but that a number of permanent, valuable buildings will go up the ensuing season. But if the moment this section of country is revisited with prosperity and emigrants recommence seeking a location in the West, our property holders put the inflated and unjustifiable value upon real estate, that they asked during the speculating manic of 1835-36, they must expect their property to remain unsold, and unimproved, and to witness emigrants pass by this place to others where a different state of things exist.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 16, 1844

We regret to state that on Tuesday morning last, between ten and eleven o'clock, a fire broke out in the smokehouse attached to the extensive pork packing establishment of our enterprising fellow-citizen, Major H. A. Amelung. The several fire companies immediately hurried to the spot, but the building being constructed of wooden materials, and filled at the time with about 100,000 pounds of pork, undergoing the process of curing, it was found utterly impracticable to save it from destruction. All the attention of the firemen, therefore, was directed exclusively to the preservation of the packing houses adjoining, also occupied by Major Amelung, containing an immense quantity of beef and pork, in hogsheads, barrels, and in bulk, in which we are happy to say they were entirely successful, although the building consumed was not more than ten or twelve feet from those which were saved. The engines performed well, and greater activity and perseverance was never displayed by the different companies than on this occasion. We understand that the loss, which is estimated at about $4,000, is covered by insurance. From the very great care with which all the business of the establishment is conducted, and other circumstances, it is believed that the fire originated in spontaneous combustion.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 6, 1844

Mr. Editor: Within a few days past, some circumstances have come within my knowledge which have led me still farther to make inquiries touching the association, the name of which stands at the head of this article. Ever since its formation, which occurred some time during the last summer, insinuations have frequently been thrown out derogatory to the character and intents of its members, the tendency of which could not be otherwise than to the production of disagreeable sensations on their minds. A word concerning the history of this band, for which I have good authority. Previous to its formation, frequent regrets were expressed by many of our citizens that we had not in our possession the means of listening occasionally to instrumental music, and that we were compelled to be dependent upon foreign aid whenever an occasion occurred when music would be requisite or desirable. In view of this necessity, if I may be allowed the term, some sixteen persons united themselves, formed a band, and employed a teacher. They have thus far incurred an expense of four hundred dollars, including the purchase of instruments and the payment of their instruction. Of this sum, fifteen dollars were contributed by citizens not of the band. Beside, much time has been expended in gaining a knowledge of music and the use of the instruments. And what has been paid to these individuals by this _uticy of time and money? A portion of our community express their gratification in view of this circumstance, and by words, add encouragement to the band in their attempts towards a degree of proficiency; but very many, whose influence is supposed to be not inconsiderable, refer to the association with a sneer, and express their scorn and contempt that such a vile concern should exist amongst us. Ask them why they speak thus, and they reply, "We have listened to Kendall's and to Johnson's Bands, or to the players to Queen Victoria, or to the French King, and their music, when compared with the grating noises of the Alton Band, is as honey to gall." Admit this: but are these critical judges aware that in no time under the sun is the ability to perform at once with taste and correctness indigenous. They forget that by degrees, and by a long course of instruction, they themselves learned to read, write and converse. Assuming the opinions of better judges than myself, I freely challenge the production of any equal number of persons, who, under similar circumstances, and with the same amount of instruction and experience, can exhibit a greater degree of proficiency than does this band. Others, again, conceive the influence of this exercise to be extremely demoralizing. Whence do they derive such opinion? Simply from the fact that some musicians, who make this their calling, are immoral men. Some are attached to theatres, some to encusses and menageries, and to the strains of others is tripped "the light fantastic toe." sound logic. Then let us eschew music in churches, at family worship, and at the social circle. True, the music of bands is usually of less sacred character than church music, and is precisely the same as that taught our daughters upon the piano forte. But shall we peruse no other book than the Bible or treatises upon Divinity? Shall we read no other versification than that of Dr. Watts? Again, divers influential people refuse to associate with members of the band, now they are thus contemptibly connected. What lofty sense of honor and regard for character is here manifested! The measurer of tape and the dealer out of sugar and coffee, should immediately discard his occupation because the nobility of England avoid intimacy with the merchant. The artisan, the trader, the lawyer, the physician, all are willing and anxious to serve the most humble of mankind for gain, but those who exercise their skill in an occasional attempt at pleasing the ear with music, in the capacity of a band, and without reward for the attendant expense, are mean, low, gravaling, and unfit associates for the respectable. These hints, Messrs. Editors, are suggested for the purpose of pointing out the justice, propriety, and liberality of the invidious remarks hazarded by those persons who so contemptuously regard this disinterested enterprise of a few of our young men, and which, I am happy to say, is encouraged by those whose good opinion is most to be desired. Permit me, also, to suggest to the members of the band the sensibilities of many of whom, I am aware, have been wounded by heartless and misjudged criticisms, that they give no heed to these ill-advised persons, and that they have for their encouragement the best wishes of the respectable Lovers of Music.



"Death on the Pale Horse"



Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1844

This celebrated painting - the production of Sir Benjamin West - is now exhibiting in the Old Court Room, Riley's building, in this city. It contains 40 figures, on a surface of more than 200 feet of canvas; and gives a living representation of the sublime and awful scenes described in Revelations, Chapter 6, ver. 2-8. We shall not attempt to describe it, for, although we understand that the room in which it is exhibited is much too low, as well as not sufficiently spacious to present it in the most favorable light, it must be seen and leisurely examined to be properly appreciated. As it is but seldom that our fellow citizens have it in their power to witness any of the noblest efforts of human genius, we need not invite them to avail themselves of an opportunity which is not likely to occur again, to see this truly sublime conception of the great historical painter. We are informed that it will remain here until Saturday evening.



["Death on the Pale Horse" was painted by Benjamin West in 1817. West based this work on the Book of Revelation 6:8, in which the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence - ravage the earth. The biblical narrative of the painting was considered to be so complex that it was originally exhibited with an explanatory pamphlet, and even inspired a 114-page analysis by William Carey in 1836.  "And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."   Rev. 6:8]




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 22, 1844

Thursday morning. The water continues to rise with alarming rapidity. We are now, undoubtedly being visited by one of the most disastrous floods that has ever occurred in the Mississippi Valley. We learn from the Captain of the Munge Park [steamboat], which arrived on Wednesday evening from the Illinois, that that river is now higher than it has ever been known to be since 1805. Its present average width, from Peoria to the mouth, is judged to be at least eight miles; causing immense damage to buildings, crops, &c. At this place [Alton], the water has risen several feet since our last paper, submerging not only our entire levee, but a great portion of Second Street [Broadway], covering the floors of a number of the stores several inches, and in a few instances, where the floors are below the present grade of the street, the occupants have been obliged to remove their stocks.


12 o'clock noon. The river has risen 3 inches since 7 o'clock this morning. The only means of passing, dry-shod, over the sidewalk through Second Street is on planks placed upon dry goods boxes, and the street is crossed by skiffs. Two large flat boats, loaded with staves, lie in State Street, at its junction with Second, one of which draws three feet of water. Were it not for the tops of the trees opposite this city, we should have an unobstructed view across a sheet of water at least nine miles in width.


We had a few minutes conversation this morning with Samuel Squires, Esq., from Six Mile [Granite City area]. He informs us that Madison is completely inundated. The citizens have been obliged to leave their homes, and many of them have taken refuge in their church, the ground about it being somewhat higher than the adjacent land. Many cattle have been lost, and incalculable damage is being done to fences, crops, &c.  Mr. Squires came up in the Madison steam ferryboat, which was filled with families who are driven from their homes by the flood. The boat crossed over prairie and farms without difficulty. Mr. Squires reports that the river is running with great force across into Long Lake at the "Junction House," and it was the general opinion of those on board the boat that the water has cut a channel across at that point. The whole of Six Mile with all the farms adjacent are flooded. The ferryboat will continue her trips, taking off the families as fast as possible. We learn also that the inhabitants at Venice, as well as those at Illinoistown [East St. Louis], have been compelled to leave their dwellings. St. Louis comes in for a full share in this general calamity. All the houses on Front Street from the intersection of Market to the northern end of the levee have more or less water in them. Those between Locust and Oak Streets have from two to three feet on the first floors; the levee and sidewalks are completely unde4r water and impassible. The high water has put nearly an entire stop to all business connected with the river.


4 o'clock p.m.  The river continues rising at the rate of half an inch per hour. We have just seen a gentleman from the Upper Mississippi who came down on the Iowa. He reports a considerable rise at Quincy - which is yet to reach us - and that the water is doing much damage above to towns and farms. The destruction of cattle is great, as the water is covering islands that were never before known to be inundated. It is believed that within the last sixty days, more rain has fallen than there has in the aggregate within the previous two years.


Friday morning, 8 o'clock. The river still continues to rise at the rate of about three quarters of an inch per hour. Business of all kinds has been stopped on Second Street, and the most of our merchants are engaged in removing their goods upstairs. We learn from the delegates just returned from the Peoria Convention that the Illinois River at that point was at a stand when they left yesterday morning, but appeared to be rising below that point. Naples, Meredosia and Beardstown are completely inundated.




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 29, 1844

Since our last paper was issued, the Mississippi has continued to rise at the rate of about half an inch per hour on an average, and is now higher than it has ever been since the first settlement of the state. The Missouri is equally high, if not higher, and having broken into the former river at and below Portage des Sioux, about eight miles above this place, its yellow water now forms nearly one-third of the mighty stream which is rushing past our landing, contrasting strongly with the bluish appearance of the Mississippi.


Of the damage done, it is impossible to offer any estimate. It is incalculable. On the Missouri, from Weston to the mouth, the bottoms are generally inundated, the crops destroyed, the cattle, sheep, hogs, &c. drowned, and the inhabitants have been compelled to abandon their dwellings, many of which have been swept away, in order to take refuge on the highlands, or on steam or flatboats. The same is the case with the Mississippi, the Illinois, and their tributaries; and the whole of the great "American Bottom," from this point to Cairo, containing about 288,000 acres of the finest land in the world, some of which is in a high state of cultivation, is believed to be under water and perhaps nearly ruined.


It is hardly necessary to state that nearly all the thriving villages and flourishing plantations on the banks of the above rivers are entirely submerged. For several days past, boats have been employed by our fellow citizens in rescuing the neighboring settlers, and such of their effects as weere within reach, from the imminent dangers which threatened them; and many of these unfortunate people, houseless, and in some cases, deprived of their all, have been brought to this city and to the neighboring village of Upper Alton, where everything has been done, and is still doing, for their relief. The people of St. Louis have likewise used every exertion in their power to succor the sufferers, and although the destruction of property is immense, we have not, up to this hour, heard with certainty that any human life has been lost.


This city [Alton], from her favorable location, has comparatively suffered but little, but Second Street, where nearly all our commercial business is transacted, is covered with water to the depth of from four to six feet, and since Thursday of last week, boats have been constantly engaged is conveying passengers from one point to the other. All the goods, &c. have been removed from the lower stores, and some of our merchants are selling goods from their second floors, and some in Col. Bostwick's pork house, which is filled with all sorts of things. The Telegraph office being kept in the second story of the highest building, and at the point nearest the dry land, is the only place on the south side of the street which can be reached without a boat, and is kept accessible by means of a bridge or causeway of trees, &c., which extends a little beyond the east edge of Piasa Street, and affords temporary accommodation to a few of our less fortunate neighbors. At the hour of writing this - half past ten - the river appears to be nearly at a stand, and it is hoped will not rise any higher.


We have been called upon to witness, since our last publication, renders us almost incompetent to pen a line, and the heart rending scenes through which we have passed weigh us down with a gloom almost insupportable. We have met with man after man from the "Bottom," in this county - those to whom we are bound by the strongest ties of friendship - men of the most industrious, enterprising, persevering habits, who a few days since were basking in the sunshine of prosperity, enjoying the fruits of years and years of toil and labor, that are now reduced to penury [destitution] and left with nothing save a few articles of clothing and household furniture. We have seen those who were forced to witness their dwelling houses, stock and personal property swept away from them by the impetuous torrent of the Mississippi and Missouri, without the least power to help themselves. Others have told us their tale of woe - how, as a last resort to save themselves and children from a watery grave, they were compelled to seek refuge upon the roofs of their buildings until taken off by the kindness of citizens of this place and St. Louis, who had manned boats and gone to their succor. Some, in the depths of their sorrow, have exclaimed, "I am left penniless, but thank God, the lives of myself and family are spared, and we are thrown among a Christian people."  We might fill columns with scenes of this character, but the fullness of our hearts forbid. Deeply - most deeply - do we sympathize with our unfortunate fellow citizens, and fervently hope, through the liberality and assistance of those who have escaped, all may be enabled again to enter with fair prospects of success upon the busy scenes of life.


The extent of the loss visited upon this county, as well as the whole "American Bottom," cannot be calculated, and weeks will transpire before the dark catalogue of human suffering and misery visited upon our neighbors by the most fearful flood ever known within the recollection of man, is ascertained. Out citizens, as well as those of Upper Alton, have acted as become Christians and philanthropists. The hundreds and hundreds that have fled to our city and vicinity for refuge have generally been provided with homes, and the wants of those incapable of assisting themselves supplied. Captain Lamothe of the Luella, kindly rendered the use of his packet on Sunday last, and was the means of saving much life and property. On the other hand, those who have been secured, express themselves with feelings of the deepest gratitude towards all who have exte3nded to them the least relief. God forbid our eyes shall ever again behold what they have been compelled to look upon during the last four days. There are hundreds who have determined to abandon their farms in the "Bottom" and never return. Where all this will end, who can tell?


The channel cut through the "Bottom" by the farm of T. Elliott, Esq., is 15 feet deep. His extensive and fine buildings are all destroyed and his loss is very great. The buildings of Mr. James Wood below Elliott's, including his residence, storehouse, &c., are all gone. He informs us he is entirely ruined. There is also a deep channel cut through by the residence of Mr. Hume, opposite the mouth of the Missouri, at least 10 feet deep. What will be the effect of all this cannot be ascertained until the river falls. Many suppose that it will so change the bed of the Mississippi as to leave St. Louis an inland city. Of this, however, we are by no means certain, and shall require far more testimony than we now possess before giving the rumor credit. Many of the best improved farms on the "Bottom" are entirely ruined.


Some eight or ten skiffs have found constant employment in ferrying our citizens from the bridge at the lower end of Second Street [Broadway] to "terra firma" on State Street. Many of them have earned five or six dollars a day each. The charge is five cents the trip.


Mr. Joseph Papin, one of the oldest citizens of the city of St. Louis, says that the present rise in the river opposite that city is nearly a foot higher than that of 1785. The New Era observes that Mr. Papin well recollects that event, and has means of comparing the state of the water at this time with that great and unprecedented rise.


On Sunday last, five houses floated by our city [Alton] from some point above us. Many others have passed down since the commencement of the present flood.


Great praise is due to the kind and benevolent Mayor of St. Louis for his exertions in procuring boats and sending them to the assistance of many of the sufferers at Illinoistown [East St. Louis], Brooklyn, and Venice. He has endeared himself to them by ties that death alone can sever.



More About the Flood

Two or three articles in relation to the present great rise in the Mississippi River, written at different periods between our last publication and Tuesday of this week, will be found on our first page. We shall here continue to note such other incidents, connected with this all-absorbing subject, as may come to our knowledge.


Tuesday, June 25. The river rose but little last night - say, not quite one inch - and as the weather has been fair for some days past, the hope is indulged that it is nearly at its height. It is believed that the greater part of the buildings on the "Bottom" below this city have been swept away, and after making every proper allowance for exaggeration, there is but too much cause to fear that many of the beautiful farms between Alton and St. Louis are entirely ruined. Skiffs continue to ply briskly up and down Second Street, and timber, &c., in small quantities still floats down the river. About four p.m., a skiff, containing two men, came to the landing near this office, followed by three fine black hogs, which had swam about six miles from some point above on the Missouri shore, before they could find the dry land. They appeared but little fatigued with the exertion, but continued to follow one of the men referred to - their owner, who had been in search of them - after reaching the shore, just like dogs, until he conducted them to a place where they could be provided for. We had a light rain at half past twelve, and a pretty heavy shower at six in the afternoon.


Wednesday, June 26. Several very heavy showers fell last night, accompanied by lightning and thunder. The river this morning appears to be receding very slowly, having fallen about one eighth of an inch since last evening. We have heard of no new case of distress within the last twenty-four hours - most of the sufferers on the "Bottom" having been rescued; some with a portion of their moveables, and many with nothing but their clothing. About five hundred of these unfortunate people are said to be in St. Louis; many are here; some in Upper Alton, and other have found an asylum among their friends or acquaintances in the country. A frame or log house, of which nothing but the upper part of the roof was visible above the water, came floating down the river between three and four in the afternoon, and was towed ashore by two men who left the wharf in a skill for the purpose. We had a very heavy rain, accompanied with lightning and thunder in the forenoon; a lighter shower in the afternoon; and a moderate one towards evening. The fall in the river during the day is barely perceptible.


Thursday, June 27.  Much rain fell last night, and the river has recoiled but little - scarcely half an inch - within the last twenty-four hours. A gentleman who left Quincy yesterday morning informs us that it had fallen about two feet, but was said to be again rising above. The Missouri is reported to have fallen one foot, and the Illinois is believed to be also falling slowly. We believe no further rise need be apprehended, but, unless a change in the weather should take place very soon, the Mississippi will probably remain near its present height for some days to come. Sufferers from the "Bottom" and other submerged places, continue to be brought in daily, and the basement story of the Baptist Church is crowded with them, as are also sundry other buildings in this city and the neighborhood. It is reported that Mr. William Snyder of "Six Mile" was drowned yesterday morning while attempting to drive his horses, cattle, &c. to the bluff, but some hope is entertained that the report is incorrect. The Editor of the St. Louis Democrat estimates the total linear measurement of the present inundation on the Mississippi, the Missouri, and their tributaries at 2,400 miles in length, by 2 1/2 miles average breadth, and the extent of country usually dry, but now under water, at 6,000 square miles, or 3,840,000 acres of land, of which about 150,000 acres were under cultivation on the first of May last. The value of the crops destroyed, exclusive of the stock, buildings, fences, &c. is suppose to have been worth, in cash, nearly or quite two millions of dollars. But, the heart sickens at the melancholy details, and we must forbear. Between nine and ten o'clock in the forenoon, the weather cleared up and has since remained fair. The total fall in the river since it first began to recede on Wednesday morning, up to five this afternoon, is 2 1/4 inches.


Atrocious Villainy

We regret to be compelled to state that while many of the citizens of St. Louis, Alton, and other places on or near the river, have used every exertion in their power for the rescue of the persons and property of those exposed to the ravages of the impetuous and irresistible flood, wretches have been found mean and heartless enough to plunder some of the sufferers of the little which had escaped the general destruction. Live hogs, poultry, provisions, and other articles which had been put on, or had rescued, places of comparative safety on sheds, boards, timber, &c., have been thus carried off even under the eyes of the helpless owners, and in some instances, houses, temporarily abandoned, and in which considerable property had been necessarily left, have been stripped of everything. This has been the case especially in the "Six Mile" settlement, and the depredators, who had provided themselves with skiffs or canoes under pretense of a desire to succor such as might stand in need of assistance, are believed to be from St. Louis.  It is hoped that the police will keep a sharp lookout for them, and that their outrageous violation of every principle of humanity will not long remain "unwhipt of justice."




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 6, 1844

From the St. Louis Democrat

The year 1844, we need not repeat, will be memorable in the annals of the inhabitants of the West. Early in May commenced a period remarkable for the heavy rains which fell in the interval, and which continued with slight intermissions until the 20th of June. For upwards of forty days successively, there were but a few hours in which the city was not clouded. It now appears that these rains visited a large extent of country in both Missouri and Illinois, and they fell too, at or near the time of the regular rise in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The consequences we have seen in a flood of greater extent and longer duration than has ever been known before in this section of the country.


Taking into view the whole region within the range of the inundation, we find that the length of the line affected by it is on the Missouri, 500 miles; on the Illinois, 150; on the Upper and Lower Mississippi, 1,500; and on the several affluents of the Missouri such as the Knasas, Osage, Grand River, &c., some 300 more; making the total of linear measurement not less than 2,400 miles. This length, multiplied by 2 1/2 miles, which expresses the average breadth of the flood, would give for the whole country - usually dry but laid under water - a superficies of 6,000 square miles, or three million, eight hundred and forty thousand acres. If we suppose a twenty fifth part of this surface, to be cultivated, it will follow that the crops destroyed this year extend over 150,000 acres. The bottom lands are invariably rich; acre for acre producing far above the average yield, either as to quantity or description of product. So that if we estimate the total money value of the crops lost this season at nearly two millions of dollars, we shall not be thought extravagant. Nor does this show the entire loss on these bottoms. Stock of all kinds - cattle, hogs and horses, &c., have been swept away and drowned. Fences and buildings have been carried off. The loss in cord wood, farming utensils, and produce on hand, &c., forms no small item. And from presumable heavy deposits of sand and wretched matter upon the soil as well as from the constipating effect upon it of the long continued pressure of so great a weight of water, it is but reasonable to anticipate a great deal of damage which cannot be repaired for many years. Many villages have been wholly abandoned, as well as hundreds of farm houses. Probably ten thousand persons have been compelled to leave their homes and seek shelter abroad. The loss of property incurred by these fugitives - the expense of their removal and cost of their maintenance in situations where, probably, it is for the most part all outgo and no income, cannot be reckoned at less than $25,600; which, in addition to the immense loss in crops, is so much abstracted from the wealth of the community, and chiefly from the means of the immediate sufferers, many of whom are now or will shortly be reduced to a state little short of beggary, and to whose condition the brief statement we are now making will, we hope, draw the attention of the humane and the benevolent in this city.


The effect of this inundation will be to impair the sense of security heretofore felt by those residing on bottom lands, once supposed to be far out of the reach of the highest floods - and another effect will be to permanently depress the value of our bottom lands, generally.


If a hot and humid atmosphere, assisted by decaying vegetable matter, are the conditions most favorable to the generation of disease, those who have been driven away by the flood cannot return to their homes the present season without great risk in their health. We can only vaguely guess at the amount of pecuniary damage suffered by this city. We believe that very few goods have been destroyed - as the most of them at all endangered had been seasonably removed to places of safety. But much injury must be sustained by our merchants, owing to the long suspension of business; and it is obvious that the great loss in crops must be felt in the trade of the city.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 20, 1844

The number of dead hogs and cattle on the "Bottom," between this place and St. Louis, and opposite to the latter city, is incredible. We apprehend a great deal of sickness arising from their decomposition in conjunction with other causes. Too much caro cannot be taken by our citizens in regard to their cellars and buildings, which have been inundated by the late flood. 




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 20, 1844

Will sell at public auction to the highest bidder, on the 30th inst., the steam sawmill started in front of block No. 1 in Hunter's addition to Alton, with all its fixtures and apertures, together with the lease of ground for five years. Twenty percent of the amount bid to be paid in cash, the balance in four equal semi-annual installments, bearing 10 percent interest. For further information, apply to Charles W. Hunter.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 3, 1844

The undersigned will lease, for a term of years, that well known and valuable stand in the city of Alton called The Alton House. It is believed that this establishment offers greater advantages to an attentive and experienced landlord, than any other in Southern and Western Illinois, and the present is an opportunity such as seldom offers to an active and enterprising businessman to realize a competency, with a small outlay, in the course of a few years. The terms will be easy and accommodating. The furniture, most of which is new and in good order, will be sold cheap.  Signed by Amos L. Corson.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 10, 1844

The Alton City Mills, we are much gratified to state, have recommenced operations, and are now busily engaged in the manufacture of flour. The hope is indulged that the business of the remainder of the year will be such as to afford the enterprising proprietors some remuneration for the very heavy losses they have sustained by reason of the tremendous and long continued flood, which has so recently desolated this section of the country.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 17, 1844

Having occasion, a few days since, to purchase some flour, we procured a barrel manufactured from new wheat by Messieurs Atkinson and McElroy, at the upper mioll in this city, and found it to be of a very excellent quality. Those who want a superior article for family use would do well to give them a call.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 12, 1844

On last Saturday night, between nine and ten o'clock, a fire broke out in a new frame dwelling house, situated in the lower part of the city, and so rapid was the progress of the devouring element, that although the fire companies promptly repaired to the spot, no human effort could save the building from total destruction. It was two stories high, neatly finished, and owned by S. Stewart, an industrious colored man who intended to move into it on the Monday following. As no fire had been used in or near the house, the fire was doubtless the work of some heartless incendiary. It will be observed by a notice in another column, that the Mayor, by the advice of the Common Council, has offered a reward of fifty dollars for the discovery and conviction of the offender. We hope he will be detected and punished, and that such aid will be extended to the poor man, who has thus, in a moment, been deprived of the fruit of many years industry by the act of a villain - as shall enable him, in some manner, to repair his loss and provide a home for his family.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 7, 1844

We reget to state that the sawmill on Shields' Branch, generally known as Pattingill's, was burnt down on last Sunday night. As it was out of repair, and had not been in operation for some time past, its destruction was doubtless the work of an incendiary. It was owned, we understand, by Mr. Sanborn of St. Louis.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 1, 1845

The anniversary of the birthday of Washington was celebrated in this place [Alton] on Saturday the 22d ult. by the Washington Temperance Societies of this city and neighborhood, in a very suitable manner, and in conformity with the programme published in our last. Although the streets were somewhat muddy, owing to the rain which had fallen on the preceding night, the procession was quite large; and the Baptist Church, in which the exercises were held, was much crowded. It was particularly gratifying to observe the great number of young lads between the ages of 10 and 15 - from Upper Alton and this city - who wore the badge of Temperance and took a part in the ceremonies, thereby testifying before the world that they have enlisted in this noble cause. The oration, by the Rev. Mr. Grabbs of the Methodist E. Church, although delivered almost without premeditation and on the sput of the moment, was chaste and appropriate, and all the exercises of the day well calculated to make a favorable impression on all those who participated therein, as well as the numerous spectators.




Try to Destroy the City of Alton

From Editors J. Bailhache and G. T. M. Davis

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 28, 1845

Prompted by a strong and imperative sense of the duty we owe, not only as conductors of a public press, but as citizens of the community among whom we live, we feel constrained to allude to the past and present condition of Alton, with a view of exposing what we have for a long time believed existed - a most unholy crusade against this city and its future prosperity. In doing this, we are actuated by the single purpose of disabusing the public mind, and settling the occurrences to which we shall be compelled to allude, fairly and impartially before the public. Far from us be the desire or design either to awaken prejudices at home, which by the lapse of time may have to a great extent subsided, or to furnish any ground or cause for renewed excitement. But, believing the evil to which we allude requires an immediate remedy, and that this remedy can be applied only by the exercise of the utmost candor, we shall discharge what we believe to be our duty, unpleasant as may prove the result of our undertaking. All we ask it the patient hearing of our readers, and their fair and impartial judgment upon that hearing.


From the year 1832, when we first became a resident of Alton, down to 1838, there was no place in the West that advanced with greater rapidity, or bid more fair to become an important point. Of the common desolation that was visited, as it were, upon the whole nation, in consequence of the abuse of the credit system, and the rapid and unprecedented revulsion in the commercial affairs of the Union, Alton, of course, received its share, though its effect upon us was no greater at the time than was experienced by a thousand other towns or cities in all sections of our country. Other places, however, have since that period gradually recovered from the shock, and prosperity and enterprise returned to their people, while we, who possess far greater local advantages than any other community near us, except St. Louis, have remained nearly in status quo.


For this unnatural, and to many unaccountable, state of things, there must be some cause. To us it appears evident that this cause is to be found in the fact that a systematized attack upon Alton has been kept up throughout the United States by the Abolitionists, as a sect, whose united influence has at all times, and under all circumstances, been exerted to prevent emigration to, and oppose the prosperity of, this place. We are assured of this, not only by the uniform practice of the Abolition paper at Chicago, as well as other journals of the same stamp throughout the Union, of denouncing Alton as the "city of blood" - her citizens as "mobocrats and murderers," and holding up the place as one that was to be avoided as a pestilence; but also, from the fast that scarcely a day passes in which we do not hear of, or meet with, those who have been deterred from coming to Alton by the most gross and basely wicked misrepresentation, as to the health of the city, the character of its citizens, and their regard for law and order. In nine cases out of ten, these misrepresentation, upon steamboats, in the streets, or wherever they may occur, are traced directly to Abolitionists; and so frequently has this been noticed, not only by the writer, but by other citizens, that the conclusion is both rational and irresistible that this continued tirade of abuse and vituperation is the result of design, and not of accident.


It may be asked why the Abolitionists should pursue this course towards Alton? We reply, for the obvious reason of keeping up excitement, and by pointing to this place as having ceased to improve since the melancholy catastrophe in 1837 [the murder of Elijah Lovejoy], use that circumstance as an evidence of the holiness of the Abolition cause, and the displeasure of Heaven against its opposers. In this we cannot be mistaken.   Facts within our knowledge substantiate it beyond controversy. The rehearsal of a few of them will satisfy the most skeptical. When a prominent ultra-Abolitionist of this city was inquired of by one of our citizens, why they held their late Convention in this place, "Oh!" says he, "excitement! excitement!"  When, by the advice of a celebrated physician, the widow of the lamented Lovejoy, who life was almost despaired of, was urged to go for a season out of the United States until her constitution and nervous system could to some extent be healed, the Abolitionists objected to it. The heartless ground of their objection was that her presence was necessary in different sections of the country to keep up excitement - to fan the flames of fanaticism and to advance their cause. So, during the sitting of their recent Convention here - notwithstanding the doors of some of our citizens were thrown open to them and that too by those who abhorred their doctrines - a resolution was introduced to the effect that "they thanked God an Abolition meeting could be held in Alton without their being mobbed!"  It is true, through the effort of one of our citizens who repelled the insult thus offered, and subsequently withdrew from their association, the resolution was voted down. Yet, the design of it was the same as in the previous instances enumerated - "excitement - excitement." Without excitement, Abolitionism, like its prototype, Anti-Masonry, would long since have expended itself by its own fury, and if the causes of excitement among its votaries were removed, their dissolution as a sect would soon follow.


Thus, we think, it is rationally accounted for, why Alton, being unfortunately connected with the death of Mr. Lovejoy, should be made the target at which the Abolitionists throughout the land so unceasingly fire. But this is not the worst. While the Abolitionists, from the motives above set forth, do all in their power against this place, the citizens of Slaveholding states are prejudiced against us through the groundless apprehension that Alton is the head and front of Abolitionism in this State. Than this, nothing is farther from the truth. There are not to exceed a dozen Abolitionists that we know of in Alton - most or all of whom are law-abiding citizens, who would scorn to sustain their principles by any illegal or other improper means - and of that number, several, we learn, have withdrawn since the meeting of their late Convention. We trust, therefore, that the public mind will become disabused in regard to this city, and all we desire it that those who have any idea of settling here, will rather come and examine for themselves, than to take the misrepresentations of those who are constantly vilifying the place for the basest and most selfish purposes. If strangers hear Alton denounced, just let them put the inquiry to the calumniator - "Are you not an Anti-Slavery man?" and see what would be the reply. In our opinion, in twenty-nine cases out of thirty, they would either get no reply at all, or it would be in the affirmative.


We cannot, in justice to the subject, close our remarks on this point without alluding to a fact connected with the tragical affair of November 1837, which is not, we presume, generally known, and which came within the personal knowledge of the Senior Editor. A few evenings before the fatal riot, just one week if recollection is not at fault, Mr. Lovejoy called at the office and inquired of Mr. Bailhache whether a short communication could appear in the Telegraph, which was to be issued early the ensuing morning. Upon being told that it was too late, as the paper was then ready for the press, the former remarked that he thought when the Editor had examined the article, he would not hesitate to give it a place, even at the expense of a little extra trouble, and immediately submitted it to his inspection. It was found to be a Card from Mr. Lovejoy, stating in substance that he was weary of contention, and that, in order to contribute all in his power to the restoration of harmony and good feeling among the community, he had determined to discontinue his connection with the Alton Observer. Being fully persuaded that the publication of the article would, if anything could, allay the then prevailing excitement, the Editor handed it to the foreman of the office, the late Mr. William A. Beaty, with directions to make room for it. But before it was all in type, a leading Abolitionist then in this city, whose name will be given if required, called for it, stating that "the friends" wished to see it before it appeared in the Telegraph, and declaring that it should be returned in a few minutes. On the faith of this promise, and the supposition from the known intimacy of the gentleman who gave it with Mr. Lovejoy, that the application was made with the approbation of the writer, it was unhesitatingly complied with. What disposition was made of "the peace offering" in question, we know not. After waiting for its expected return as long as it was practicable, the paper was finally issued without it. The sequel was soon afterwards written in letters of blood, and an intelligent and impartial community, after the perusal of this "plain, unvarnished tale," can be at no loss to judge whose hands the purple stream has stained.


A few words, in relation to the health of Alton, and we shall take leave of the subject. It will, we think, be admitted that to resolve a doubt or settle a disputed point, one single fact, well established, is worth more than one hundred speculative theories. Let the salubrity of our city, then, be subjected to this test, and show what is the result. In the first place, although our location at one of the most frequented points on the east bank of the Mississippi, necessarily exposes us to the visits of persons peculiarly liable to disease, our bills of mortality from year to year will compare not unfavorably with those of any other town of the same size in any part of the Union. Further, one of the Editors has been a citizen of Alton for the space of eight years and upwards. During the whole of this period, no member of his family has been afflicted by serious disease. On the contrary, their general health has uniformly been decidedly better than it ever was before, during the same length of time, although residing in places reputed to be quite healthy. The other Editor has resided here upwards of thirteen years, and his experience, as to the health of Alton, is the same as expressed above. The local advantages of Alton may be spoken of in a future number.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 12, 1845

Pretty full accounts of the celebration of the late anniversary of the Declaration of our National Independence in Alton, Monticello [Godfrey], and Wood River - furnished by gentlemen officially connected with the ceremonies - will be found in another column. To these, we take the liberty of adding a few words, so far as regards the proceedings in Alton, in which we had the honor of participating, as one of the invited guests of our Fire Department.


The day, which was remarkably fine, was ushered in by a National Salute from two pieces of ordnance stationed for the purpose on Church Hill [Christian Hill?].  Some time before the arrival of our St. Louis friends, the members of the Pioneer and Neptune Fire Companies, and the Hook and Ladder Company, all in handsome uniforms, assembled on the Landing, together with a large number of citizens, to await their expected guests who were received with all the warmth and cordiality becoming the parties and the occasion. The different streets through which the procession passed, on their way to the Baptist Church, as well as the windows, doors &c. of the various dwelling houses and stores, were, in many places, tastefully decorated with flags, wreaths of flowers, evergreens, and devices, and crowded with delighted spectators. Of the exercises in the church we need only say that they were highly interesting. The prayer by the jRev. Mr. Hackett was appropriate and fervent. The music, both vocal and instrumental, very fine, the reading of the Declaration by Mr. Barry, solemn and impressive, and the Oration by Mr. Parsons chaste, eloquent, and well-delivered.


After the conclusion of the exercises, our St. Louis friends were conducted through a shady and romantic road to Middle Alton, and thence by way of Market and Front Streets to the place where dinner had been provided. During the march, which was enlivened by excellent music from the St. Louis and Edwardsville bands, wreaths of flowers and evergreens, with suitable mottoes, were showered upon the firemen as they passed along, and acknowledged by loud cheers for the fair donors. Of the dinner we can say with truth that it was most abundant in quantity and excellent in quality. The building in which it was served was handsomely decorated, and seemed admirably adapted to the purpose, for although about three hundred persons were seated at the same time, there was ample room for the accommodation of all, as well as for the necessary attendants, and the company partook of the good things set before them with a heartiness and relish no wise diminished by their long march, but without the least disorder or confusion.


In the evening, a ball was given at the same place by our fire department, to their St. Louis guests and others. Being somewhat fatigued by the preceding exercises, and having moreover no particular taste for this kind of amusement, we did not attend it. Those present, however, inform us that the attendance was very large, that the evening passed off very pleasantly, and that the company seemed greatly to enjoy themselves until the lateness of the hour warned them that it was time to separate. Upon the whole, we have participated in between twenty and thirty Fourth of July celebrations, and never have been present at one better conducted or which appeared to give more universal satisfaction than that of which we have been speaking. Notwithstanding the excitement inseparable from such an occasion, everything connected with the festival was "done decently and in order." Good feeling and harmony prevailed throughout, and neither drunkenness, nor rioting, nor accident of any kind occurred to mar the general enjoyment.


The St. Louis Company, composed principally of young men of the first respectability, with their neat uniform and excellent band, made a very handsome appearance, while their genteel and orderly deportment commanded universal admiration. Several ladies and gentlemen from our sister city accompanied them, and contributed by their presence to the pleasures of the day. The fire department of Alton also acquitted themselves very creditably, and presented a goodly array, although one of the companies, composed principally of elderly citizens who seldom turn out unless their services are required to check the progress of the devouring element, did not join in the procession. The Pioneer mustered very strong, and its fine uniform so nearly resembled that of the St. Louis guests that it was difficult to distinguish them. The Neptune, composed chiefly of youths between the ages of 18 and 22, in their handsome and striking uniform, also looked extremely well, and their deportment showed that they were worthy of uniting with their elder brethren in either putting out a fire or in the more pleasing duty of doing honor to the occasion.


The Hook and Ladder Company, likewise, consisting of men with stout hearts and active hands, fully prepared for any emergency, with their appropriate costume, contributed not a little to the interest of the scene, while the elegant and tasteful decorations of the Apparatus, which accompanied the different companies in the procession, added to the general beauty and richness of the spectacle. In fact, the Fourth of July 1845 will be long remembered for its gratifying incidents and pleasing associations, not only by those who directly participated in the festivities, but also by the people of Alton in general.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 30, 1845

We visited the foundry of Mr. G. Smith in Alton, a few days since, and were much pleased with the quality of the castings manufactured by him. Although commenced upon a limited scale, owing to the want of capital, enough has already been done to satisfy any person that no more profitable business could be embarked in at Alton than a foundry on an extensive scale. We wish that a few of our citizens having capital would visit this establishment, and then determine whether they could invest a few hundred dollars a piece in any way as profitably, as by aiding in extending this branch of manufacture among us. We must aid each other in matters of this kind if we wish to see Alton prosper and go ahead. There is no better point for manufacturing than here, and by extending to each other that aid and encouragement, which is practiced in other flourishing places, we would soon reap the reward by the rapid improvement of our own city.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 6, 1845

We understand that our enterprising fellow citizens, Messrs. Wises & Lea, have purchased the large stone building in the Third Ward, originally erected for a foundry but never used as such, with the view of going extensively into the business of distilling, kiln-drying, and exporting corn, &c.  They intend to put it into immediate operation, and expect to be ready to commence business by the last of November next. It is estimated that the establishment will consume daily from 600 to 1,000 bushels of corn, and from 150 to 200 bushels of rye, yielding from 50 to 80 barrels of whisky. Barley will likewise be required to a certain extent, and thus a constant cash market for the stample products of this part of the country will be created, to the great advantage of the farming interest.





(Owned by Nathaniel Hanson, Emerson, and Libbey)


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1842
Thrashing Machines - The undersigned have established a shop in the city of Alton, one door east of the Baptist church, for the manufacture of Pitts' Machine for thrashing and winnowing grain; where they will at all times exhibit them to persons wishing to purchase machines of this kind. Either two or four horse powers can be furnished with the thrasher and winnower. These machines have been used and are now owned in several counties in this part of the State, and have given entire satisfaction to all wheat growers who have tried them. They need no other recommendation than their own performance, and the public are invited to examine and judge for themselves. Libbey & Hanson.

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 22, 1843
The firm of Libbey & Hanson expired by limitation on the first day of February last, and whereby dissolved. All persons indebted to said firm, are requested to make payment to either of its ____members. The name of the firm will be used alone in liquidating the debts due from and ___ing to the late firm. Nathaniel Hanson.

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 1, 1843
On Second street [Broadway] near the Baptist church - The subscribers would respectfully inform the public that they are now prepared to supply all orders for Pitts Separator, for threshing and cleaning grain, together with an improved horse power. We feel confident in recommending these machines as meeting the entire satisfaction of the community. Pitts Separator, attached to the common thrasher, and warranted. All kinds of farming implements made in order. Also - Daniel's patent planing machines, which are very useful for all kinds of work; such as squaring out stuff for machinery, all kinds of mill work, timbers of all kinds, floors and all other kinds of boards, bedsteads, tables, bureau, and door stuff, &c., All orders thankfully received and promptly attended to. N. B. All kinds of jobbing, repairing machinery, &c., done at the shortest notice. Hanson & Emerson.



Source: Alton Telegraph, September 6, 1845

Messrs. Hanson & Emerson, the sole manufacturers in this state of Pitts' unrivaled threshing machines, intend building an extensive factory in this city during this fall, the machinery of which is to be propelled by steam. This has become necessary from the rapidly increasing demand for these machines, which thus far, the manufacturers have not been able to supply as fast as they were ordered. The extension of their establishment, and the application of steam to propelling their machinery, will for the future enable them to meet promptly all calls upon them for these invaluable threshing machines.



Source: Alton Telegraph, November 22, 1845

Messrs. Hanson & Emerson of Alton have raised their large building, intended as a manufactory for Pitts' unrivaled threshing machines, and are progressing rapidly with its completion. The machinery is to be driven by steam power. The territory for which they have the exclusive right of manufacturing these machines is Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa Territory.



Source: Alton Telegraph, May 16, 1846

We took occasion a few days since to visit the new building just erected for a foundry and machine shop, by our enterprising fellow-citizens, Messrs. Hanson & Emerson, on Front Street, a few steps below the Alton House, and were much pleased at the evidence it affords of their industry and perseverance. The building is of three stories - the first containing the engine and foundry; the second, three iron turning lathes, a planing machine, a screw cutting machine, and two circular saws; and the third, an upright and a circular saw, a boring machine, and a wood turning lathe - all in operation and working admirably. Messrs. Hanson & Emerson have been engaged for some years past in the manufacture of Pitts' Patent Threshing Machines, which are in high esteem in this and the neighboring states, and daily increasing in demand, and it is in part to enable them to extend their operations in this important branch of industry that they have erected the building. But although this is their principal business, they are also prepared to execute all orders for castings of every description, to finish iron in any way in which it may be required, and to manufacture all kinds of machines and machinery - pledging themselves that every article made at their establishment will be as good, and furnished on terms as reasonable, as any to be obtained at St. Louis. The foundry can turn out 2500 lbs. of castings of the best quality every twenty-four hours, and the engine, which is about twenty horse power, is very neat, and works exceedingly well. In fact, everything connected with the establishment appears admirably adapted to the purpose for which it is designed, and speaks highly of the talents and management of the proprietors and of the mechanical skill and industry of the workmen, who are said to excel in their respective departments. The people of Illinois, and especially those of this vicinity, are greatly indebted to Messrs. Hanson & Emerson for having introduced this important branch of business amongst us, and we trust that their enterprise and perseverance will be abundantly rewarded.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 26, 1857
N. Hanson & Co.'s Machine Shop - To the gentlemanly junior partner, Mr. John M. Pearson, by whom we were escorted through this extensive establishment, we are indebted for many items - so intimately connected with, and so strikingly demonstrative of the steady advancement of the city towards that absolute supremacy, in point of superiority in manufactures, over any other city in the State, and perhaps we might say in the West, which the favorable location of the city, and her facilities for communication, afforded either by railroad or water, towards almost every point of the compass, warrant her citizens in anticipating - that they cannot fail to be of interest to all persons interested in the growth of Alton. The buildings occupied by Messrs. Hanson & Co., front two hundred and forty feet on Front street, two hundred feet on George street, and one hundred and eighty feet on Second street. This machine shop was first established in 1842, and is probably of as old, if not older standing than any other shop for the manufacture of agricultural machines and implements in the State. Since its first establishment up to the present time, its business has been steadily increasing until it has a reputation wider, and more flattering to the enterprise of its present proprietors than any other establishment of its class in the West. The proprietors employ in their finishing department - the ground floor of the main building, one hundred feet long by fifty feet wide - thirty-five men, who are constantly employed at lathes, planers, drills, punches, &c., &c., in preparing rough castings for the threshing machines, which are the principle article of manufacture by this establishment. The immediate superintendent of this department is Mr. Lewis B. Hubbell. The engine by which the machinery in this establishment is run is of eighty horse power, and is a very superior piece of machinery, of regular and noiseless motion, having been manufactured expressly for this shop at Lawrence, Massachusetts. The foundry is sixty-five feet long by forty-five feet wide, is furnished with a furnace, running three tons of iron per day. Mr. William Denny, who is the immediate superintendent of this department, employs eleven moulders and eight helpers. In the blacksmith shop, which is under the superintendence of Mr. S. Force, there are six forges, occupied by twelve workman. After leaving this department, we were conducted to the wood department which is superintended by Mr. Joseph Gottlob. This department embraces the second and third stories of the main building, and is furnished with all the implements necessary for planing, morticing, sawing, boring, and fitting all the wood work of the machines manufactured in the shop, which gives constant employment to fifty experienced workmen. Mr. Pearson called our attention to a dry house, which, he informs us, is heated by steam and is capable of seasoning lumber as perfectly in six weeks as it could be done by the sun in one year. It will hold from ten to fifteen thousand feet of lumber. The proprietors of this establishment inform us that they expect to turn out this year five hundred of their superior Threshing Machines, to do which they will have to make an addition of from fifteen to twenty workmen to their present number, which is one hundred and fifteen. Their expenses during the present year, for labor alone, will probably reach $50,000, in addition to which they will use about one hundred and twenty-five thousand feet of pine and two hundred and fifty thousand feet of oak lumber. By Mr. S. M. Connor, the gentlemanly and obliging clerk, who has been connected with the establishment for some time, we are informed that Messrs. Hanson & Co.'s facilities for shipping are very extensive, as they have arrangements, not only with the railroads and steamers from this point, but also with Missouri river steamers to receive their Machines at this port and discharge them at any point on their route of travel.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 10, 1877
This establishment, which makes a specialty of the manufacture of horse powers and separators, is one of the oldest in the city, and one that many years ago did the largest business in this line of any in the United States. It has entered upon a new era of prosperity and promises to achieve results of which the successes of the past were but a precursor. The "Works" are situated on George street, with the main front of about 300 feet on Front street, and extending through the block to Second [Broadway] street. The business was first started about thirty-six years ago, by the late Nathaniel Hanson, Esq., in a one-story building back of the old Baptist church, which was located on Second street, on the ground now occupied by the Kendall cracker factory. After a few years the present brick buildings, consisting of four stories, were erected, and later the frame addition, with stone basement, extending to Second street.

When one enters the machine shop on the ground floor, he is confused by the sight of turning wheels, rolling bands, the clank and whirr of machinery in rapid motion, while a number of workmen are engaged in their various duties, making a very interesting picture. East of this is the blacksmith shop, in which the firm manufactures the iron teeth of the cylinders of the separators, and all the other iron work used about the establishment. They also have facilities for making their own wagon work for the separators; also the brass castings, frame work, &c., required by the various parts of the machines. A shed to the east of the blacksmith shop is used for the storage of horse powers and steam engines. The latter are imported from eastern establishments, and are the only things used by the firm in connection with their machines that are not manufactured by themselves.

They have great quantities of lumber on hand, which is ordered one or two years in advance, in order that it may be thoroughly seasoned, and in order to facilitate this process they have a drying room in a rear building. Although the greater part of the lumber is very dry, they use a portion in some parts of the machine while green, in order that as it shrinks it may rust the nails, and thus confine them securely.

In the foundry, the firm make their own castings, taking off an average of about two heats a week. In this department they use, in connection with the patterns, a mixture of coal dust and sand, resembling fine gunpowder, for making castings. The iron work is all done on the ground floor. The second story is used for the wood workers, while the slats and belts are put up in the third story. There is a small room in this story used for storing belting, while the fourth floor is used as a store room for material that may be needed from time to time.

The Company have just finished four of Pitts' Improved "Champion" Separators for W. N. Ayers & Co., of Fort Smith, Arkansas. They have one machine on hand, with an improved stacker attached, that has been tested with splendid effect, and which promises to be an improvement, especially in transportation, over any yet invented.

The room fronting on Second street is crowded with the finished Separators, and in this place the finishing touches are put on by means of paint of various rich colors, and elegant pictures consisting of the beauties of the stage, fine landscapes, and other works of art. Mr. R. M. Mather is foreman of this department, and his taste and skill are such that he renders the finished machine "a thing of beauty," such as would serve as an article of ornament as well as utility.

The proprietors of the Alton Agricultural Works are favored with an able and skillful corps of workmen throughout all the departments. The foreman of the machine shop, Mr. Charles P. Rader, is a thoroughly competent mechanic, who learned his trade in the establishment, and is qualified by ability and long experience to do first class work. Mr. Frank Pelot is overseer of the woodwork department, and contributes greatly to the success of the undertaking. The foundry has for foreman Mr. John Lawless, than whom no better could be found, while Mr. F. Manning, an English mechanic, has added some improvements to the horse powers that greatly facilitate the ease with which they can be operated.

In addition to the departments we have mentioned, the building on the west side of George street is stored, full of finished machinery of various kinds. The firm have orders on hand, one hundred per cent in excess of any they have had, at this season, for the past five years, or since the concern has been under its present management. The proprietors are energetic enterprising, working men, and intend to win success if it can be done by faithful persistent effort, and a due regard for the best interests of their patrons. To this end they will spare no pains to make their machines the best in construction and the most attractive in appearance of any that can be procured, and will also afford them at the most reasonable rates. The establishment has the capacity to turn out from two hundred and fifty to three hundred complete machines in a season.

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 25, 1880
This establishment, one of the oldest in the city and one widely and favorably known, has been in operation more than forty years, though with several changes of proprietors. The Works were first started on a comparatively small scale by the late Mr. Nathaniel Hanson, in a building yet standing, adjoining Daniels, Bayle & Co.'s Cracker Factory on the east. He commenced the manufacture of threshers and separators, the same class of agricultural machinery since made famous by the establishment. Mr. Hanson was an energetic, enterprising man, and after running his business where it was first started for four or five years, built a shop on the levee, near the foot of George street. This was burned in 1851, after which Mr. H. commenced work on the present establishment, which is located on George street, and now occupies the whole of the western portion of the block from Front to Second [Broadway] streets, fronting 50 feet on Second and including Foundry, Blacksmith shop and storehouse, extending 200 feet on Front street, considerable additions having been made as the increase of business required. Mr. Hanson died in 1864, and after his death the business was conducted until 1871 under the same firm name, by Mr. S. F. Connor. The establishment was purchased in December 1874 by Charles G. Lea, J. B. Lathy, R. W. Atwood and A. T. Hawley, by whom it has been successfully conducted until December 1879 when Mr. Lea retired.

The various departments connected with the Works are: the Foundry, Machine shop, Blacksmith shop, Woodwork room, and Paint shop, the entire work on the Threshers and Separators, brass fixtures, casting, cleaning, etc., being done on the premises; the leather belts only being purchased in a finished state. The demand for the implements manufactured by the firm has generally exceeded the supply. The present year, for instance, the stock was entirely cleaned out; people called who were anxious to buy, and were willing to take unpainted machines, yet could not be accommodated. The orders from one agent alone, in this immediate vicinity, could only be partially met. In face, the trade in the "Champion Threshing Machine," extends from Texas to Dacotah, as many as 500 Separators and Horse Powers having been manufactured in one year, the average value of each being $600. From fifty to one hundred men are employed during the busy season, the demand for the machines varying according to the state of the wheat crop. Nineteen engines were disposed of by the firm the present season; the most of them traction engines, that is self propellers, only needing horses to guide them in their course. The Champion Thresher and Separator, threshes the grain and cleans it from chaff, dust, straw and all extraneous substances, only requiring some person to throw in the bundles. Some years ago, within the lifetime of the present generation, wheat was threshed with flails, after which it was taken where a strong breeze was blowing and tossed into the air, a man using a light wooden self, suspended from his shoulders to catch the grain as it descended, the chaff, being blown to the four winds. The next improvement was in using "horse power" for threshing, the sheaves being spread in a circle on the ground or on a barn floor, while horses were ridden over it until the wheat was all dislodged, the straw being thrown aside with pitch forks. Hand fanning mills were used for cleaning. From these comparatively rude methods to the finished machines turned out by the Alton Agricultural Works, the improvements have been many and great. Messrs. Lathy, Hawley and Atwood are enterprising gentlemen of the varied business tact and ability, necessary to conduct the establishment, Mr. Lathy being a practical machinist, consequently their customers can rely on having machines manufactured of the best material in the most substantial manner and finely finished. The indications already are that the trade in agricultural implements for the next season will be unusually large, although this, of course, is dependent on a number of future contingencies. The average production of the establishment of late years has been from $250,000 to $300,000.





Source: Syracuse, New York Onondaga Standard, October 1, 1845

At an election held in the city of Alton, Ill., on Monday the 7th, G. T. M. Davis, Whig, was elected Mayor by a majority, over T. M. Hope, late Tyler U. S. Marshal, and now one of the Loco Foco (sp?) editors of the papers in that city. This Davis was once a resident of this place, a flaming democrat, and receiver of salt duties when he but his pocket book, etc. Now he is full of whiggery as a dog is of fleas. So the world wags.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 22, 1845

Messrs. Kenyon & Pomeroy have completed the stone and brick work of their large distillery in Alton, and in a few days will have it entirely covered in.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1845

The Alton Telegraph was commenced in January 1836 by Messrs. Treadway and Parks, who were joined by Mr. Bailey some months afterwards. Mr. Treadway dying at the expiration of the first year, a dissolution of the firm took place - Mr. Bailhache, then of Columbus, Ohio, becoming the purchaser of one half of the establishment, and Mr. Parks, one of the original proprietors, retaining the other part. In January 1838, the latter sold out his moiety to the former, who then became, and has since remained, the sole proprietor. The paper is now conducted by Messrs. Bailhache and Davis, and published by Messrs. Bailhache and Dolbee, is Whig in its principles, has a general circulation in Madison County, and a large one in Jersey, Greene, Macoupin, and Bond, and is one of the very few political journals published in Illinois, which is sustained exclusively by its own means, and subject to no control other than the judgment and discretion of the editors.


Alton is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi at the point where the curve of the river penetrates the farthest into the state, and about four miles above the mouth of the Missouri. It has the best landing for steamboats on the Illinois side, from the mouth of the Ohio to the rapids, and enjoys commercial advantages, equaled by few towns in the west. During its short existence prior to 1837, its growth was almost without a parallel, but in the revulsion which soon followed [the murder of Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy], it sustained a shock from which it is just beginning to recover. Being the principal, if not the only outlet for a large region of country, equal to any on the globe in point of fertility, and having a very healthy location, its business, especially in the produce line, is very large and rapidly on the increase, and notwithstanding the great reverses it encountered in 1837 and the succeeding years, no doubt now exists but that it is destined, at no distant day, to become one of the largest and most populous, as it actually is, in proportion to the number of its inhabitants, one of the most enterprising and prosperous places on the mighty stream which constitutes its southern boundary. Its present population is estimated at nearly 3,000, being an increase of about twenty percent within the last twelve months. Upper Alton, which adjoins it on the northeast, contains about 1,200 souls in addition.




Source: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1845

A New Year's Ball to be given at the Alton House on Wednesday evening, December 31, 1845. Managers: G. T. M. Davis, William Martin, W. C. McElroy, Norton Johnson, C. P. Heaton, N. G. Edwards, Lewis Parsons, Mark Dickson, H. P. Hulbert, J. A. Buckmaster, J. E. Broughton, W. Libbey, Robert Dunlop, A. Clifford, G. W. Prickett, G. C. Lusk, Charles Murray, John Campbell, James Frost, Thomas Carroll, J. J. Gillham, Jeremiah Job, Laurist Robbins, J. L. Ferguson, E. S. Brown.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 7, 1846

We regret to state that on Saturday evening last, between ten and eleven o'clock, a fire broke out in the Oil Mill of C. M. Adams, Esq., a short distance from the Baptist Church [southeast corner of Easton and Broadway]. The firemen and citizens promptly repaired to the spot, but owing to the combustible nature of the materials, it was found impossible to save the mill, which with its contents and a stable adjoining, was entirely consumed. Fortunately, all the oil previously manufactured had been removed in the morning, so that only a few barrels and a small quantity of beans which happened to be in the building were lost. The bean house adjoining, although in great danger, was saved through the exertions of the firemen. Mr. Adams, we understand, continues to purchase beans as usual. His loss is estimated at about $800, and is covered by insurance in the Columbus, Ohio Office. The cause of the fire is not certainly known, but it is supposed to have originated in the chimney.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1846

We understand that Messrs. Hardy and Carpenter have just completed their new ferry boat, which commenced running on Wednesday, and performs admirably. They intend to keep it constantly in prime order, and in readiness at all times to accommodate those desiring to cross the Mississippi without the least delay, and on about the same terms as the St. Louis ferry boats. As Alton is much the best crossing point for those wishing to visit the upper Missouri, we hope a liberal patronage will be extended to this new enterprise.




Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1846

It will be observed by a notice in another column that Mr. Peter Delaplaine has just opened a new store in the stone building formerly occupied by Messrs. W. W. Thompson & Co., a few doors above this office, where a great variety of goods of almost every description are offered for sale on accommodating terms. Those wishing to purchase will do well to give him a call.



Source: Alton Telegraph, June 6, 1846
The celebrated Campanologian Band of Swiss Bell Ringers, whose surprising performances have been received with enthusiastic applause in all the principal cities of Europe and America, and have received the highest encomiums from the leading journals of both continents, will give two grand concerts on Monday and Tuesday evenings, June 8th and 9th. Admission 50 cents; Children under 12 years of age, half price. Doors open at 7 1/2 o'clock. Commence at 8. No postponement on account of weather. Change of programme each evening.



Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

Although the late anniversary of our national birthday was not celebrated here in the usual mode, it was far from being passed over without notice. On the evening of Friday the 3d instant, previously substituted for Saturday in order to guard against the desecration of the Sabbath, a Military and Citizens' Ball was given at the Alton House, which is represented by those in attendance as much the most splendid affair of the kind ever witnessed in this place on any other occasion. On the morning of the glorious Fourth, at a very early hour, the people from the neighborhood began to pour into the city in carriages and wagons, on foot and on horseback, in vast numbers, until every square, street, and avenue were literally crammed with the countless multitude. Some time in the forenoon, the favorite steamers - the Lueller and the La Clede - lashed together, came up from St. Louis, crowded with several hundred gaily dressed ladies and gentlemen on a visit to this place, who together with the four regiments of volunteers and the immense concourse of strangers and citizens already on the ground, presented a scene as varied, animated, and picturesque as can well be imagined. In a promiscuous assemblage of this description, it is obvious that little method or arrangement could be adopted or preserved, and so far as we know, none was attempted. All were permitted to amuse and enjoy themselves in their own way. Every hotel and house of entertainment, as well as the steamboats at the wharf, of course, were fitted to overflowing, while the different thoroughfares were at the same time so thronged that it was no easy matter to proceed from one point to another. But notwithstanding all this, although no police officers were on the ground to enforce order, although men of all callings, parties and modes of thinking were thus crowded together in a comparatively small space, although much the greater number of those then congregated here had never before met together and probably never will see one another again, although the occasion, the excessive heat of the weather, and the "pomp and circumstance" of war which were everywhere visible, were all calculated to produce intense excitement, yet, to the infinite credit of all assembled here be it said, not the least disturbance whatever occurred. No drunkenness, no quarreling was witnessed. Each one appeared willing that his neighbor for the time being should enjoy himself as he thought best, and all seemed cheerfully to labor to promote the general amusement, as well as to avoid everything calculated to mar the festivities of a day, which every true American honors.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 30, 1846

We took occasion, a few days since, to pay a short visit to the Star Mill in this city, now owned and occupied by Messrs. Joseph Brown & Co., and witnessed with much gratification the perfect order in which it is kept, and the excellence of its internal arrangements. This establishment, we understand, turns out daily about 150 barrels of superfine flour, intended for distant markets, in addition to what it retails for home consumption, and appears to be doing a very good business. Of its flour, we need only say that we have four it, upon trial, of a very superior quality, and quite equal to the best which has ever passed under our notice, either here or elsewhere. Among the wheat in the mill, we saw some, received on the day of our visit, which weighed 67 1/2 pounds to the bushel - being one-eighth above the standard weight. The flour manufactured at the Alton mill, from wheat grown in Illinois, will favorably compare with the finest made in any other part of the globe.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 27, 1846

A small, but very neat and substantially framed sailing craft has been lying at our wharf for two or three days past. She has been built by and for our enterprising fellow citizen, Mr. William Wallace, and is intended for the Gulf trade. As all her component parts - timbers, masts, sails, blocks, rigging, anchors, &c. - are made from materials the growth of this city, or manufactured here, she is very properly called the Alton Creole, and is one of the handsomest vessels of her class we have seen for many a day. She is laden with about 1,300 bushels of Indian corn, in sacks, and draws a little over three feet water. It is calculated that she will carry about 40 tons. Her present cargo is designed for the New Orleans market. She is expected to leave this day, but as the river is very low, she will not probably use her sails until after she shall have run below the mouth of the Ohio. Success atte4nd her and her worthy owner!




Source: Alton Telegraph, January 15, 1847

On Tuesday morning last, about daylight, as one of the daily stages to St. Louis was leaving this place, the horses took fright just below the Alton House, and making a sudden turn, upset the vehicle, which contained several persons. The driver soon succeeded in stopping the horses, and then hastened to the relief of the passengers, one of whom, we learn, had his arm badly sprained near the wrist, and one or two others received pretty severe contusions. None, however, were dangerously injured, and most of them were able to continue their journey after a short delay. The stage sustained no damage.




Source: Alton Telegraph, April 30, 1847

We take great pleasure in laying before the public the following report from the committee appointed at the general meeting of the citizens of Alton, held in this place on the 4th inst., for the purpose of aiding in the relief of the sufferers by famine in Ireland and Scotland. The sum contributed for this praise-worthy purpose is very creditable to the active sympathy of the people of this city and the neighborhood, and the hope may be indulged that the provisions purchased and forwarded will be instrumental in rescuing many a worthy destitute family from the horrors of starvation. The disposition which the committee propose to make of the small amount of money and flour, which still remains in their hands, will, we believe, meet the general approbation of the generous contributors. Our position has put it in our power to become acquainted with the proceedings of the "Ladies Benevolent Society," and we know that their funds have generally been judiciously appropriated, and that considering the limited means at their disposal, the number of cases in which they have administered relief to the truly necessitous is quite large, and embraces many of those "ready to perish." They are consequently worthy of the confidence of the community and the distribution of the unappropriated surplus cannot be entrusted to better hands.



A committee, with John Bailhache, Esq. as chairman, raised the sum of $920.00, which included donations from the Catholic, Methodist and Baptist Churches in Alton, together with collections made by Dr. Staunton and those made at Upper Alton. The committee purchased and shipped to Ireland and Scotland 144 barrels of flour and two barrels of beef. The committee included Michael Carroll, A. G. Barrett, George T. Brown, John Muledy, and William Martin. 


The Great Famine of Ireland (also called the Irish Potato Famine, was a period of mass starvation and disease, between 1845 and 1852. During the famine approximately one million people died, and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the population to fall by between 20 - 25%.  The cause of the famine was potato blight, which destroyed potato crops throughout Europe. One third of the population of Ireland was dependent on the potato for food and income.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 9, 1847

The celebration of the anniversary of our National Independence, on Saturday last, by the Sons of Temperance, will long be remembered among the proudest and most interesting events in the history of our growing city. At ten o'clock in the forenoon, the Alton Division No. 4, and the Upper Alton Division No. 11, arrayed in their neat badges, paraded on Front Street, under the direction of Edward Keating, Esq., Chief Marshal, assisted by his Aides, Messrs. P. Delaplaine, L. S. Metcalf, and M. Gorsuch; the whole presenting a very handsome and striking appearance. The splendid banner of the Alton Division, painted by Messrs. Blair and Riley of this place, excited much attention - the appropriateness of the design, and the excellence of the execution, conferring the highest credit upon the artists. About eleven, the Washingtonian Division No. 3 of St. Louis, who had been invited to unite in the celebration, came up on the Luella [steamboat], with their beautiful banner and badges; and on their arrival at the wharf, were welcomed by the Chief Marshal in an exceedingly neat and impressive address, to which General Learned returned a brief and appropriate reply. The Neptune Fire Company, composed of the youth of Alton, were also on the ground in their handsome uniforms, and together with a large crowd of citizens, contributed to the interest and animation of the scene.  Upon the conclusion of the ceremonies at the landing, the three divisions, accompanied by two excellent bands, proceeded to the Baptist Church, in which a large number of ladies and gentlemen were already assembled, and where a fervent prayer to the Father of Mercies was offered by the Rev. George J. Barrett of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Portions of the Holy Scriptures, suited to the occasion, were then read by the Rev. A. T. Norton of the Presbyterian Church, and the Temperance Declaration of Independence, by John R. Woods, Esquire; after which a very eloquent address, admirably adapted to the day and the occasion, was delivered by the Rev. A. Van Court of St. Louis - the whole interspersed with choice music from the band, and from the choir. At the close of the exercises in the church, which were in the highest degree solemn and impressive, the procession was again formed and marched up through some of the principal streets to Middle Alton. Here, in a handsom e grove, a substantial dinner had been prepared in very good style of Messrs. Dow and Roberts, of which the brethren and their guests, together with a number of other persons, partook, and which was finished by sundry neat and appropriate toasts, drank by the company with pure cold water, to the evident satisfaction of all.  At the conclusion of the dinner, the procession was once more formed, and the Alton Divisions escorted their St. Louis guests to the wharf, where the Luella was in waiting to receive them; when, after a brief farewell and exchanging sundry hearty cheeers, our friends proceeded on their way home, much gratified with their visit and the attentions paid to them, followed by the respect and good wishes, not only of their brethren of the order, but also of the citizens generally. The day, although warm, was fair and pleasant - the ceremonies on the landing, in the church, on the march, and at the dinner table were conducted in perfect order and propriety - no accident, or disagreeable occurrence of any kind intervened to mar the festivities of the day - and all citizens and strangers seemed to enjoy, unalloyed, all the pleasure which can flow from excellent health, favorable weather, innocent recreation, a rich abundance of all the necessaries of life, the glorious associations connected with the day, and the consciousness that they were engaged in promoting the cause of Temperance. The thanks of the community are justly due to the committee of Arrangements, the Marshals, and the other gentlemen, who superintended the celebration, for the very able and satisfactory manner in which they respectively discharged their arduous duties.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 27, 1847

We came into this place at a snail's pace, although the road was down hill. The hill was so steep that it would have been dangerous for all of us if the wheels of the coach had not been locked hard enough to oblige the horses to draw. On the top of the last hill I had my first glimpse of the Mississippi River - apparently a calm, sluggish stream, as smooth as plate glass, with a bright polish which reflected the rays of the burning sun with dazzling splendor - it was painful to look at it. I found afterwards that it was not so sluggish, but that it ran at the rate of about four or five miles an hour. When one is on its banks, it is a much more attractive sheet of water, and although differing from the St. Lawrence in its whole character, it is perhaps quite as interesting to contemplate. Opposite to the city is a large island [later called Sunflower, Smallpox, or McPike Island] which prevents a view of the Missouri shore, but on the bluffs one can see over the low land and its trees, and have an uninterrupted sight of the hills of the neighbor state.


This place is somewhat celebrated for the abolition riots which occurred here some years ago, and my general impression was that it was rather a rowdy city; but I find the people of an entirely different character. It is situated much like our New England towns, and instead of having all the residences collected together near the center of business, they are scattered all round among the hills and over an extent of country embracing many miles. The principal portion of the inhabitants are New England people, and many were originally from Boston - men who came out to this country some twelve or fifteen years ago, and have, under all the fluctuations of trade, all the chages from rich to poor and poor to rich, maintained their integrity, and are now, although Alton is not the thriving place it once was, doing good business and are mostly well off in this world's goods. As a friend remarked a few days ago, Illinois, of all the states in the Union, is the poor man's country. Its resources are unbounded, and wherever an industrious man plants his foot or digs the soil, he is sure to be remunerated for his trouble. The prairies once presented a vast expanse of waste land, covered with grass and flowers of all the colors of the rainbow. Only a few years have been devoted to their cultivation, and now they are covered with corn and wheat and oats, potatoes, hemp, and trees. Time was when there were no trees, except on the borders of the streams; now the locust is to be seen everywhere, and the farmers have planted that and many other descriptions of trees on the borders of their lots in groves, and before their dwellings. There are a number of Dutch farmers settled in this neighborhood, and they have profited by the facility which the ground affords to become rich. As we approached Alton, the crops were more advanced than we had seen them in other places, and the large and substantial barns are getting to be well filled.


A railroad is now to be built from Alton to Springfield, which cannot fail to be an investment of great profit to the stockholders. The company have a very favorable charter, and the state gives its aid in the shape of a free grant of such portions of a formerly graded road as they may need or can use to advantage. The road will have for its terminus the capital of the state, and will open to the towns and the farms of the interior a means of communication with the seaboard, or rather with navigation, which must be immensely profitable. Alton is so situated that boats of the largest class can come up to its levee and load at all seasons of the year; it is the head of navigation for freighting vessels, and the completion of this railroad will be the means of increasing its trade to an almost incalculable amount.


Alton has, in its immediate vicinity, five extensive flour mills and a large number of stores. The steamboats from the lower part of the Upper Mississippi are continually passing, and last night the snorting and belching of the engines, the ringing of the bells of the boats, was to be heard every four minutes. The warehouses are built of stone and brick. There is an abundance of limestone to be found in the town, close down to the edge of the river. The State Penitentiary stands on a high bluff overlooking the town, the river, and the neighboring part of the state of Missouri. The prisoners are employed now in manufacturing hemp; they used to be engaged in all sorts of mechanical labor, but on a remonstrance to the legislature, setting forth that they underworked the regular mechanics, a law was passed obliging the overseers to put them to a kind of work that would not interfere with the industry of more honest people.


General Semple, the author of the famous post office report, of which the readers of the Courier have heard something before, lives at Alton; but I understand that he is disgusted with politics and is now devoting his time and talents to the construction of a steam car, that he expects will travel over the prairies with or without the aid of roads. I lost an opportunity to see this new machine a few days ago, in consequence of the forgetfulness of a friend, but I am informed that it is almost as visionary a thing as the report to which I have before alluded. It will probably be able to carry the mails through the Pacific Ocean, as soon as it is ready to carry passengers across the continent of America.


I rode out a few miles in the neighborhood, this afternoon, with a friend, to see the country. The continued dry and hot weather has made the roads very dusty, and everything now appears to less advantage than usual, but the sites for dwellings, the houses and farms now improved, and the indications of prosperous industry everywhere apparent, give one a favorable idea of what the citizens may become in a short time. North Alton [Upper Alton] is at a short distance, and besides being a place of considerable farming, is the residence of a great number of coopers, who make a large quantity of barrels for flour and provisions. It has two churches, which look rather out of character for want of paint. In this village, on a pretty spot, is situated the college which was endowed by the late Dr. Shurtleff of Boston, and which bears his name.


A short distance from Alton we came to the lowland called the American Bottom, which at times, when the river is highest, is generally overflowed; it is rich soil, richer than any other in the world. This bottomland extends on both sides of the river for nearly a hundred miles, and has proved to be inexhaustible - it never wears out.


A few miles from Alton, I believe only three, is the mouth of the Missouri, a yellow-colored water, which empties into the Mississippi, but does not mix with it for miles and miles in its course. The difference in the two streams is marked so strongly, that while one is on the clearer waters of the latter, the waters of the other, running only a few feet distance from the boat, look like a sandbar extended along on the side. After we proceed some miles, the two become united, but after all it is like the amalgamation of milk and molasses, with a streak of light and a streak of dark. The Mississippi, however, never again becomes the clear, bright water that it is in the regions above. The bottom lands are well wooded, and the foliage of the trees is the most dense I have ever seen. I believe that oaks and elms, and maple and locust, and walnut, are the most abundant, although other varieties are interspersed. Occasionally you will see a Lombardy poplar, but it is where somebody has planted it - it is not natural to the soil. There are no chestnuts and no pines.




Source: Alton Telegraph, August 27, 1847

We regret to state that as Miss Susannah, daughter of our respected neighbor, Mr. John Quigley, was returning from Upper Alton on Monday last in a buggy driven by a young lad, and had reached the upper part of Middletown, the horse suddenly took fright and ran off at full speed. After going a short distance, the carriage was brought into contact with a tree, the shock from which precipitated Miss Quigley and the drive with great violence to the ground. The driver sustained but little injury, but the young lady was picked up senseless - having had both bones of one of her arms broken about midway between the wrist and elbow, and received a severe contusion on the head, besides sundry other bruises. The best surgical aid was immediately procured, and we are happy to add that she is now doing as well as can be expected, and it is hoped in a fair way to a speedy recovery. We understand that the horse, in his headlong career, ran over two young children of Mr. Kendall, but providentially, they sustained no serious injury.



Source: Alton Telegraph, October 8, 1847
I have just returned from a visit to the greatest curiosity in the vicinity of Alton. Perhaps most of your readers are aware that the Piasa Legend is connected with a cave a few miles up the river from here. To this cave, tradition says the winged monster used to carry the red man to devour him, and some modern traveler, or one who has visited the place within the last few years, declares that the cave still contains vast numbers of human skeletons. I have not learned whether this applies to the cave which I have just visited, two miles up the river from here, or to another, called the Great Piasa, some five miles further up. Of the latter, I have no knowledge, only what I have heard.

After a pleasant walk of two miles along the edge of the water, in which I picked up many pieces of cornelia, hornblends, agate, and other interesings specimens of mineralogy, together with many curiosities in conchology, and most of all, saw the famous rock - long since a subject of interesting discussion among the learned in Europe - having in it two human footprints, impressed, beyond doubt, by the red man of some remote period, when it was just assuming the solid form, we arrived at the cave. I had expected to find it nearly on a level with the river, but on reaching it, I found it nearly one hundred feet higher. The ascent is difficult, and to weak nerves, even dangerous. The cave has the appearance of a most complete excavation in the solid limestone, wrought by human hands. I understand it has never yet been fathomed, though it has been penetrated several hundred feet. At the entrance, you are met by a gushing stream of pure water. Its singular transparency brought at once to my mind the beautiful tributaries of the Holstein in East Tennessee, in which the fisher man commonly takes fish by spearing or gigging them in water from fifteen to twenty feet deep. Nor was it only beautiful, on tasting it I decided at once that I had never tasted better water, either colder or purer, in the valleys of Virginia or any where else.

The thought at once presented itself. How much would it contribute to the health and comfort of Alton, could this be conducted in pipes to a reservoir on the top of the hill near Sempletown, and thence distributed over the city; presenting itself at all hours at every door, pure as it runs from the cave? The ice business would then, of course, cease, for with such water as this, there could be no use for ice. The only question is - is it practicable? Let us make an estimate of the cost. The spring is, at this time, lower than usual, but I think it discharges near two gallons per minute, which is nearly three thousand gallons every twenty four hours. At ordinary times, I understand it produces much more. This will be quite sufficient for Alton, as it would not be used, I presume, for washing clothes, the rain water being better. Is it practicable at this time, or is it not?  Signed by M.




Source: Alton Telegraph, October 8, 1847

On Sunday evening last, between eight and nine o'clock, the cry of "fire" accompanied with the ringing of the bells was heard to resound through our streets, while a bright sheet of flame was seen to issue out of some large building in that part of the city known by the name of "Sempletown." The different fire companies and citizens promptly hastened to the spot, when the scene of the conflagration was found to be the unfinished frame building owned for several years past by General Semple, but never completed, and which at the time of the fire, contained a few tons of hay, the property of Mr. Harris. Owing to the combustible nature of the materials, nothing could be done to save the building or its contents; the whole of which was consumed. The fire is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary. We are unable to give as estimate of the loss, but as the building destroyed, although very large, was a mere shell, and rapidly going to decay, it was of comparatively little value.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 12, 1847

We are much gratified to be able to state that everything about us indicates that the thick cloud which for nearly ten years past [due to the murder of Elijah P. Lovejoy] has hovered over this city, has at length entirely disappeared and given place to a bright and prosperous day. Judging from present indications, the operations in beef and pork will be fare more extensive the approaching season than at any preceding period - the necessary arrangements for the erection of a new steam mill on Second Street [Broadway], early the ensuing Spring, have been completed - many new and substantial buildings have been erected, and other commenced during the past summer and fall. Our stores are supplied with larger stocks of goods, and of a better quality then they have ever heretofore been. The various products of the surrounding country are abundant, and in demand at very fair prices, and industry and attention in every branch of business are liberally and promptly rewarded. Alton now seems in a fair way to realize all the benefits originally hoped for from her unriveled local position, and there is probably no place in the entire West which offers greater inducements to capitalism for safe and lucrative investments, or more encouragement to enterprising and intelligent men in the various departments of trade and industry. Let those who doubt this pay us a visit and judge for themselves.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 11, 1848

For the last ten years there has been no period at which our city has exhibited the same degree of prosperity as the present. This induces us to notice the contemplated improvements during the ensuing year.


There are already in progress of completion two very extensive distilleries; a very large flouring mill, being the fourth in Alton, which according to the advertisement of its proprietors, will alone consume twelve hundred bushels of wheat every twenty-four hours; two saw mills; a second foundry; a brewery; and an extensive planing factory. This latter establishment we desire to bring to the especial notice of our citizens and of the surrounding country. Its enterprising proprietor, Mr. Bailey, in consequence of the monopoly held by Mr. McGuire of St. Louis, who refuses to give anyone the right to use said machine for a term exceeding a month at a time, added to other causes unnecessary here to enumerate, has purchased the right of said patent for Alton and its vicinity, and removed from St. Louis to this place a few days since. He is now engaged in erecting his machine shop, which when completed will enable him to furnish any quantity of planed flooring or any other stuff under twenty-two inches in width that may be desired. In addition to this is an upright saw, constructed for the purpose of furnishing panel stuff in any quantity; also, facilities for the manufacture of dry good, soap, and candle boxes, upon a large scale. In the attic of the building is to be an extensive sash factory, under the management of Messrs. Hayden & Pierson; the whole to be propelled by steam. The engine will be constructed at the foundry and machine shop of Messrs. Hanson & Emerson, whose facilities for the ensuing year will enable them to supply the demand in this section of the state, and thus supersede entirely the necessity of going to St. Louis for any such work. The very fact that Mr. Bailey, a practical man, immediately from St. Louis, where he has resided several years, has engaged his engine of Messrs. Hanson & Emerson in the best evidence we can offer that such work can be procured here of as good quality and upon as favorable terms as in St. Louis. If we are correctly informed, this planing factory will be in successful operation by the middle of April.


The number of buildings under contract to be put up so soon as the weather will admit we cannot with accuracy assert, but are justified in the statement that it will greatly exceed that of any two years during the period first above named. The Corporation also have it in contemplation greatly to extend the improvements of the streets, which if accomplished, will add more to the appearance and future improvement of Alton than any other single thing that could be done.


We desire no better evidence of the permanent prosperity of Alton that the fact that within the last few months, several farmers have invested a portion of their means in the purchase and improvement of property in this city. The reason for this is satisfactorily explained by one of the wealthiest of the class to whom we allude, and who heretofore was in the habit of loaning his money at ten and twelve percent. The Legislature of our state have, as is well known, reduced the rate of interest from twelve to six percent. Upon inquiring, he found that by buying property in Alton and building upon it, the rents that he could realize therefrom would pay him an interest upon the capital invested equal to ten or twelve percent. Being satisfied of this, he did not hesitate to make the adventure, and thus far his expectations have been fully realized; so much so that he contemplates this Spring putting up several more buildings.


The emigration to Alton is of the healthiest, and most desirable kind, which would be more than doubled if there were houses that could be obtained for the accommodation of the new comers. This evil, however, we hope to see remedied to some extent in the number of dwellings that will be erected this season. Our merchants are supplying themselves with stocks of goods heavier than at any other period, and groceries, we are assured, can and will be furnished to retailers at St. Louis wholesale prices. We would particularly call the attention of country dealers to the desirable stock of groceries of Messrs. Bowman & Johnson, I. Scarritt & Co., Wise & Lea, C. Phinney, and H. C. Sweetzer; and to the very extensive wholesale stock of boots and shoes of Messrs. E. L. Dimmock & Co.  At all four of the lumber yards in this city, there will also be found on the opening of navigation in the Spring, very large stocks of all kinds of pine lumber and shingles, either of which will meet the demand from the country at St. Louis prices, if not under; and on the opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, the quantity of every kind of pine lumber, at all times to be found in this city, will be greatly augmented.


The extension of the Telegraph wires from Louisville to this city give to our merchants every advantage that can be derived from this greatest improvement of the age, and when they shall be continued across the river to St. Louis, will still add to the facilities and advantages we already enjoy. To all these improvements is to be added the favorable prospects of the early construction of the Alton and Springfield Railroad, which when completed, will add more rapidity to the immediate improvement of Alton than any other thing that can be accomplished.


These hastily conceived remarks will enable the public abroad to decide for themselves, whether Alton does not present inducements to the emigrant equal in all respects to those held out by any city or town in the valley of the Mississippi. The health of Alton, which we maintain is far better than that of any other place in the valley that we know of, we shall, in a future number of our paper, make a special object of investigation.  Signed by D.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 11, 1848

This well-known and old established hotel, kept for some years past by Mr. A. L. Corson, has passed into the hands of Mr. A. M. Blackburn, late of Woodburn, Macoupin County, who has put it in complete order and is now prepared to entertain his former friends and customers in his usual good style. This city is provided with two first-rate hotels, besides several others conducted on a smaller scale, which likewise afford excellent accommodations on moderate terms; and travelers, or transient persons, desirous of spending a few days, weeks, or months in the neighborhood of the Mississippi, can nowhere find a more pleasant and healthy residence or more comfortable quarters than in Alton.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 25, 1848

We regret to state that the smokehouse of Messrs. A. corey & Co., in Alton, was completely consumed by fire on Tuesday morning inst.  It contained at the time about 110,000 pounds of ham and other meat, partly cured, the most of which was either destroyed or much injured, and the loss, which falls principally on Messrs. Corey & Co. and Mr. H. Fishback, is estimated at about $3,000. The fire, which is attributed to accident, broke out a little after two o'clock, but although our intrepid firemen, as usual, were early on the ground and very energetic and persevering in their exertions, they succeeded only in rescuing a part of the meat in a damaged state, without being able to save the building.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 3, 1848

We regret to stae that on Saturday morning last, between the hours of one and two o'clock, a fire broke out in the small frame building on the north side of Second Street [Broadway], near the Piasa bridge, occupied by Miss Henry as a Fancy Store, and by F. Livers as a barber shop. Our energetic firemen promptly repaired to the spot, and their untiring exertions, favored by the stillness of the wind, succeeded in confining the ravages of the devouring element within the building in which it originated, which was entirely consumed, with most of its contents. The frame building adjoining on the east, owned and occupied as a clothing establishment by Mr. T. L. Waples, and filled with valuable goods, although in imminent danger, was almost miraculously preserved from injury, as was also the store edifice on the west, belonging the Cyrus Edwards, Esq., in which the post office is kept. We are unable to state the amount of the loss with precision, but it probably does not exceed $1,000, and with the exception of that sustained by the barber, which is inconsiderable, is covered by insurance. Too much commendation cannot be given to the firemen for their valuable services on this and all other similar occasions.




Source: Alton Telegraph, March 17, 1848

Our esteemed fellow-citizen, Mr. E. D. Topping, having changed his business, has just opened at his old stand on Second Street [Broadway] a new and complete stock of hardware, comprising every article in that line, to which he intends henceforward to devote his exclusive attention. As he designs selling at the lowest rates, and to keep a good assortment always on hand, those wishing to purchase will do well to give him a call.



Source: Albany, New York Evening Journal, August 8, 1849

At Alton, Ill. there were but five deaths from cholera last week.







Source: Alton Telegraph, January 24, 1851

We are gratified to observe that the people of this portion of our State are at last beginning to realize the necessity and importance of Plank Roads, in preference to the common dirt roads. They are the very thing for this State, as they can be easily and cheaply constructed; and, it has been found, pay well as an investment. We hear that the citizens of Carrollton are talking of building one of these roads from their beautiful town to the Illinois river; and in Jerseyville they are agitating the subject of construction a similar road to some point on the Mississippi (either to Grafton or to this place, we believe [Alton]). Now, we would respectfully suggest to the citizens of the above flourishing towns, and the counties in which they are located, whether a road from Carrollton directly to Alton, via Jerseyville, would not best promote the interests of all concerned, as well as the speedy commencement of the enterprise. Such a road would, in our opinion, be a very great accommodation to the public, do much business, pay large dividends, and moreover, have the advantage of a terminus at a point from which navigation is never suspended. This last fact should be well considered before an enterprise of that character is begun. Its object should be to open an outlet for the products of the country at all seasons of the year. The very time at which produce bears the highest price, is the time when the roads are generally in the worst condition, and when navigation above this place is suspended. Another consideration in favor of this project is that a large proportion of the stock for building this road would be taken by citizens of Alton. This they were ready to do some time since, but the project did not appear to meet the approbation of the people of Jerseyville. Let a company be organized for the building of a plank road from Carrollton, via Jerseyville, to this city [Alton], and let the subscription books be opened at once; and we think we can safely pledge our citizens for one-fourth of the whole cost of the road. If it be energetically taken hold of, the organization might be effected, the stock subscribed, and everything ready for the commencement of the enterprise upon the opening of Spring, and thus secure its completion next season. No one who is at all acquainted with the amount of travel upon this line of road can doubt that it would pay a very handsome percentage upon its cost. We should be glad to hear the views of our friends in Jersey and Greene upon this question. What say you?



Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1851

The Alton and Jersey Plank Road Company commenced laying down the plank upon the road last Saturday on Belle street, at its intersection with Fourth, and are rapidly prosecuting the work. It is expected the plank will be laid as far as the south line of Adams' addition, by Thursday next.



Source: Alton Telegraph, June 18, 1852

A bill incorporating the Alton and Jerseyville Plank Road Company was introduced by Mr. Buckmaster, of the committee on Incorporations, and passed the House, without opposition. The capital stock is $75,000, divided into shares of $100 each. The Company is authorized to borrow money, not exceeding the amount paid in.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 17, 1852

Five miles of this road are now completed at a cost of about $15,000 - which is something more than the average cost of such roads, owing to the high price of lumber in this vicinity, and the uneven surface of the ground near Alton, which made the grading expensive. The first half, or three quarters of a mile of the road, up to O. M. Adam's addition, belongs to the city and is free. On the balance of the road, the company have put up two gates; one near the city and the other in the vicinity of Buck Inn. The following table with which we have been kindly furnished, will show the rates of toll established at each gate, and also what the toll would have been if fixed at the limit of the law:


  Gate No. 1 (kept by Dillon) Gate No. 2 (kept by Black) Through Tickets
Drawn by one animal 2 cents 4 cents 5 cents
Drawn by two animals 3 cents 7 cents 8 cents
Drawn by four animals 4 cents 10 cents 12 cents
Drawn by six animals 5 cents 12 cents 15 cents
For every ten of neat cattle 1 cent 2 cents 3  cents
For every ten of sheep or swine 1 cent 2 cents 3 cents
Every horse and rider, or led horse 1 cent 2 cents 3 cents


The tolls charged are about two thirds of what the law allows, but it is hoped that the vast amount of travel on this great thoroughfare will be sufficient, even at these rates, to pay a reasonable dividend on the cost of the road. Should this prove to be the case, and the road meet with public favor, early steps will no doubt be taken to extend it to Jerseyville. Some object has, we understand, been made by persons passing over the road, that they are compelled to pay tolls on a road which was before free. If the objection is a valid one, it is because a free dirt road is better for the public than a plank road on which toll is charged, even at two thirds the rates allowed by law. If this be so, surely no plank roads will or ever ought to be built, but the public should continue as heretofore to travel over bad roads and through the mud as in years past. Experience has shown wherever plank roads have been fairly tested, that it is a great benefit for farmers to have a plank road over which to haul their produce to market, although they have tolls to pay. The advantage consists in the saving of time, in the wear and tear of wagon and team, but above all in the additional weight which the same team can haul. To illustrate: It would be a day's work for a loaded two-horse team to make two trips to Alton and back from the Brighton road in a day,, and a ton would have been about a fair load on the old road when in good order for such a team. Now the same team would make the trip over the plank road in considerably less, probably in two thirds the time, and would certainly haul two tons at a load quite as easily as one over the dirt road. Thus, two day's work are done in one, and the saving is the value of the team and driver for a day, less the tolls, to say nothing of the other advantages. The value of the team and driver per day would be $2, and the tolls for the two trips in and out would be 32 cents. The actual benefit to be derived from the plank road by the former, having four tons of produce to haul from the Brighton road to Alton, would therefore be $1.08, even supposing his team returned without a load, and to say nothing of the fact that the plank road would be good for the whole year round, thus enabling him to choose his time for going to market and to take advantage of it, instead of being compelled to go as heretofore when the roads were passable. If these facts are true, and they seem capable of demonstration, it is certainly a great advantage to all having produce to haul from the Brighton road to Alton, that the plank road is built, and there ought to be no complaint that it is constructed on the old highway, when it would be for every man's interest to travel it, even if the old highway remained. It is to be hoped that the public, particularly the farming community, will take the right view of this matter, and that they will come forward and help to extend the road. It is a mistaken notion to suppose that a plank road is a tax to those who have to travel over it. As well might it be contended that the money paid out by a farmer for a plough was a tax, and yet what would be thought of a man who should undertake to dig up his fields with his fingers or a stick, rather than purchase a plough to do it with? In the first instance, he would have to make an advance to obtain the plough, but he would receive it back many fold in the advantage which the plough would give him in tilling his ground, and just so it is with the man who is required to pay tolls for passing over plank roads. The truth is he receives back more than four fold the amount he pays in the advantages he receives. It may not be amiss to remark that the law imposes a penalty of $25 for forcibly passing a toll gate without having paid the legal toll, and without the permission of the toll collector; and a fine of $10 for turning off and passing round any toll gate, or four leaving the road when the terminal of the journey is on different sides of the toll gate, without paying the regular toll, whether formerly demanded or not.








Source: Alton Telegraph, August 15, 1851

The hull of the new packet, Altona, was launched at Memphis on Wednesday last. She may be expected up at St. Louis, to receive her machinery, in a few days.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 12, 1851

The Altona has commenced her regular trips between this city and St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 19, 1851

Notice to shippers of hogs: The steamer Altona will carry any quantity of live hogs; the lower deck having been fitted up expressly for the purpose.  D. D. Ryrie & Co., Agents.



Source: Alton Telegraph, April 23, 1852

The splendid packet Altona made the run from the docks at St. Louis to her landing at our Levee on Thursday evening last, in the unparalleled space of one hour and forty-three minutes! as time by several disinterested persons. Her time from the city limits of St. Louis to the city limits of Alton was one hour and twenty eight minutes!



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 25, 1852

It will be seen by the advertisement in today's paper that Capt. Brown of the Altona will try the experiment of making two trips a day, commencing on Monday next. The Altona can make the time with perfect ease, but we doubt whether the experiment will be a paying one.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 25, 1852

Yesterday morning the steamers New England, Connecticut, and Altona left our levee at about the same time, the Altona in the rear, for St. Louis. The black smoke rolled out from their chimneys, as though some tall traveling was to be performed. We learn that the Altona passed them in a little less than no time.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 20, 1853

The fleet Altona made her two trips yesterday with perfect ease. She left at 6 1-2 o'clock in the morning, and was back again with the mails and railroad passengers, at half past 0. She carries two sets of hands, and will perform this double duty for a few days, until the Cornelia is out again. The Altona made the run up, 25 miles, on Saturday evening, in one hour and thirty-seven minutes. Several hats, &c., were bet that she would do it in one hour and a half. A gentleman who was on board informs us that had she not ran so close over a long bar, the suction of which somewhat impeded her, she would have gained still more on time. She was so hot when she arrived at our levee, that it was deemed advisable to run her upstream some farther, to allow her boilers to cool somewhat before landing. The Altona can run fast enough for all practical purposes, and we hope she will not be pushed beyond the bounds of prudence.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 18, 1854

This fleet packet - the pride of the Western waters - is gone! The breaking of the ice was the knell of her owners' hopes. Her bare hull - once the type of perfection, and its builder's pride - now lies an unsightly hulk beneath the swelling waters whose smooth surface had so often yielded to her handsome prow - upon whose bosom, gliding with an arrow's speed, she has borne thousands upon their way to meet the "Iron horse" in his harness at our sister city, vying even with the "smoke breathing charger" in his efforts to annihilate time and distance.


The Altona is no more! - and many there are to whom a retrospective glance will conjure up remembrances of pleasant times in connection with her. The aged and the youthful - the stripling school-boy and the rosy lass, will think of her with kind feelings, as each remembers those delightful moonlight rides to the Barracks, or elsewhere, when gayety and gladness ruled the hour, and sweet music lent its cultivating strains to "charm the ear with sweetest melodies," while busy feet kept time to the pleasant sounds, and bright eyes kept up a scattering cross-fire at 'eyes that spoke again.' The traveler to the Atlantic seaboard will remember with pleasure the powerful strokes of her waterwheels, as she bore him swiftly up the broad stream of the Father of Waters in her resistless course, bidding proud defiance to his swelling flood, while rival craft were lost to view in the dim distance. All those who knew her in the days of her glory will think of her with mingled feelings of pleasure and regret; and those who once flinched from an encounter with her on the crystal water of "la Belle Riviere" for the horns, cannot fail to respect her memory, though they feared to meet her. The Altona was a little more than two years old, was built at this port, and has been running regularly ever since she was launched as an Alton packet. She struck a rock on the "Chain," a short distance below Alton, on the night of the 31st of December last, and sunk; but until recently it was hoped that she would be raised. The ice, however, on its breaking up, came down with such force as to cut her cabin and upper work to pieces, and she is now past hope of being raised. Of her it might truly be said, "she walked the waters like a thing of life," for she was the swiftest boat on our Western rivers. Our St. Louis mechanics are famous for building swift boats, but we fear they will not soon replace her with an equal, for, "take her all in all," we doubt whether "her like will o'er be seen again."  Missouri Republican.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 15, 1900

A bell that is said to be the bell carried by the steamer Altona, the most famous boat ever on the Mississippi river, which has for many years forsaken the calling for which it was designed and has been used to summon the Presbyterians of the church at Shipman to divine worship, may in a very short time return to the river and fulfill the destiny it was intended for. The Altona was the fastest boat, rivermen say, that ever turned a paddle on the Mississippi river, and it is doubted that any boat ever was built that could throw water on its bow. It is a tradition of river men that the Altona made the trip from Alton to St. Louis in 55 minutes, and that she made the return trip in 97 minutes. Steamboats are not built now, the old river men say, that can make such time as that, and the river is not in a condition to permit the speed being made if the boats were capable of doing it. The Altona sank in 1854 and ended her career. The boat was then the property of the Mitchells, and the Altona's bell was subsequently given by some member of the family to the Presbyterians at Shipman for use as a church bell. Since that time the bell has pealed forth the call to Sunday services and has performed its duties well. The Eagle Packet Co. is a corporation with a soul and some sentiment, notwithstanding the general opinion that corporations have no sentiment. Hearing of the bell being on the church and learning that the church building was about to be abandoned, they sent Mr. S. H. Gregory to Shipman today to investigate the genuineness of the bell and to buy it if the present owners could be persuaded to sell it. It is the intention of the Eagle Packed Co. to place the bell on some one of its steamers, probably the Spread Eagle, and it may pass many more years in service on the Mississippi.




Source: Amenia, New York Times, 1852

A raft floated by Alton, Ill. a few days since, which contained 800,000 ft of lumber, besides 200,000 lathes, and 160,000 shingles. It was the largest raft that ever floated down the Mississippi.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, Friday, June 4, 1852

Few places possess advantages equal to this for a residence. The city is healthy, its citizens enterprising, and distinguished for the unanimity and zeal with which they engage in all enterprises calculated to promote the prosperity of the place, and the welfare of its inhabitants. Churches of all the leading denominations in the country are to be found here, well sustained; the public schools are in a flourishing condition, and the moral tone and sentiment of the people are not behind those of any place of its size in New England. Its location upon the banks of the Mississippi river, which is navigable to this point at all times when boats can reach St. Louis, in fact we may say at all seasons of the year, makes it comparatively easy of access even at this time; but so soon as the Alton and Sangamon, and the Alton and Terre Haute railroads are completed, it can be reached with the greatest facility from all parts of the country, and at all times. In the vicinity of Alton, about four miles distant, is the Monticello Female Seminary, one of the very best female institutions in the United States. It is delightfully situated in the midst of a most beautiful country, which is highly improved. The Seminary building, which was erected through the munificence of Captain Benjamin Godfrey, to whom the people of this section of country owe a vast debt of gratitude - is calculated to accommodate about one hundred young ladies, and is constantly filled to its utmost capacity. At Upper Alton, about two miles from the city, is Shurtleff college, an institution of very respectable standing, and at this time in a flourishing condition. The country in the immediate vicinity of Alton is broken, and the city itself is built in the midst of hills and hollows, so that the whole place cannot be seen from any one point. Hence persons passing on the river, or who only stop near the landing, are apt to, from very inadequate ideas of the business and extent of the city. No portion of either Middletown or Sempletown, the most delightful portions of the city for residences, and where many of the best improved places are situated, are to be seen from either of these points. To obtain anything like a correct view of the extent of the place, a person should ascend the bluff north of the city, or some other of the many elevated points around it, from which he can see a large portion of the city itself, and have a most magnificent view of the river for many miles. Hitherto there has been but few pleasant rides out of Alton, but now, by the construction of the plank road up the valley, leading back into the country and past Monticello, the people are being furnished with a pleasant and agreeable way of riding out of town. Indeed we scarcely know of a more beautiful and picturesque road for the same distance, than that over the plank road from the city to the Buck Inn. All things considered, we know of no place, east or west, to be preferred to Alton as a residence for families as well as for business men.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, Friday, June 4, 1852

We were very agreeably surprised, yesterday, on stepping into the establishment of Mr. George Thorp, on Third street, between State and Belle streets, to see a small but very finely constructed steam engine, in actual operation, he having received it but a couple of hours before from the boat. Its power is equal, it is said, to about six men, although when we saw it in place it appeared as if an able-bodied man might pick it up and carry it off. Mr. Thorp purchased it in New York, and intends to make use of it in charging the various soda fountains in the city.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, Friday, June 4, 1852

Franklin House, State St., Alton, Illinois. E. Bliss, Proprietor (formerly of American House, Springfield, Ill., would respectfully inform the citizens of Alton and vicinity, and the traveling community, that he has taken the above named House, which has recently undergone a thorough repair, and an extensive addition, and that he has furnished it entirely with new furniture suitable for the wants and comforts of his guests. The House is situated in the most central part of the city, and is now open for the accommodation of boarders and transient customers. The proprietor flatters himself from past experience in Hotel keeping, and from a strict personal attention to the wants and comfort of his guests, that he will be enabled to accommodate all who call upon him in a satisfactory manner. There is also in connection with the house, a large and commodious stable, where traveler's horses will receive proper attention; also, Carriages, Buggies, and Saddle Horses furnished at the shortest notice.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 4, 1852

As the Northern stage was leaving town yesterday, the driver carelessly run the stage against a wagon standing in Second street [Broadway], belonging to Mr. Hollowell, who lives a few miles from town, and injured his little son, who was taking care of the horse, very severely. Mr. Hollowell's horse then started and turned up State street and from thence to Third street, starting two other teams, one of which ran up Belle street, and the other was caught before it got under full headway. Many of the stage drivers have been in the habit of showing their skill to our citizens by their rapid driving through town, to the great danger of the teams traversing the street, as well as of human life; and it is high time a stop was put to all such practices. We hope our indefatigable City Marshal will look to the matter.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 13, 1852

Mr. Editor - I witnessed today on Second street a specimen of the effects of our license system, and such a scene I hope I shall never again be called to look upon. A man, his wife and little girl, the inmates of one of those filthy, low whisky shops that infest our city, and another person unknown, were engaged in one of the most disgraceful rows that ever tarnished the name of our city. When the two men had fairly come to blows, the woman and her little girl rushed into the street, with oaths too horrible to repeat, and mingled with the combatants. Then came "the tug of war." Pell mell, tumbling and plunging they went, through the mud, while oaths, loud and rapid filled the air. But worse than all, two of our council members (I refrain, though, with reluctance to give their names), stood by their sides almost splitting with laughter at the anything else but laughable scene. No doubt but they were enjoying with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction the fruits of their work! Sir, what else can we expect, when such men hold and rule the destinies of our prospering city? Can we look for anything else? Do we not daily see the most disgusting scenes of drunkenness in our streets? Are not respectable men and women, forced daily to step from the sidewalks into the muddy street, to give way to a reeling and staggering man, made drunk and senseless as a brute, by this infernal license system. And who does the blame rest upon? The liquor vender, the drinkers, or the Council? Yes the Council! and it alone is answerable for the drunkenness and crime of our city. These things should be seen to.   Juan.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 21, 1853

In accordance with the invitation of our city, Gov. Matteson, the members of the Legislature, and the Judges of the Supreme Court, came down yesterday, upon the [rail] cars. They turned out en masse, and notwithstanding the day was not of the finest, they had a very comfortable and pleasant ride. The cars were well filled, but not to excess. and the sage law-makers of Suckerdom unbent their brows a trifle, and indulged in the well told anecdote, the keen repartee, and the hearty laugh, like common folks. New beginners improvised new campaigns, while the older members "wept o'er their wounds," and "showed how fields were won." Arrived at Alton, our guests were escorted to the Franklin House, and set down to the groaning tables of Mr. Bliss, that were heaped with all the luxuries and delicacies of the season. We saw the tables, before the guests had taken their seats, and they presented a truly splendid appearance, and fully satisfied us that the worthy host was master of the art gastronomic, and has a fine eye in decorating and setting off a public table. His effort was creditable to himself and to the city. After having taken the "rough edge" off from hearty appetites, the following regular toasts were offered by H. S. Baker, Esq., of Alton, and were received with enthusiastic applause:  [Their toasts:]

  1. Our Guests - The pride and talent of our State - a cheerful welcome makes a hearty feast. Drank with applause.

  2. Illinois - The Prairie State of our Union - rich in soil, and rich in minerals - with steam, water, horse, and intellectual powers, may she never sell her birthright for a mess of pottage. Drank with applause.

  3. The Governor of Illinois - Chosen for his wisdom, and honored for his virtues - In his first official act there is seen the index of the giant map of things to come at large. Gov. Matteson responded, by offering, as a toast, the continued prosperity of our beloved State, &c.

  4. The Members of our Legislature - Administrators de bonus nom of 1836 - may they settle up the estate so as to leave something to their heirs. Applause.

  5. Ex-Gov. John Reynolds - Speaker of the House of Representatives - though often honored by his fellow-citizens, yet honored not enough with a hearty and a hale old age, he is not without that respect which should attend it. The "Old Ranger" responded in a happy off-hand style; stated that he had lived many years in Illinois, and in dark days, and times of but little seeming hope. But now he was witnessing the realization of all his hopes, and the fruition of good to his loved Prairie State.

  6. Illinois Railroads - With judgment, wisdom, and discrimination they are destined to place us in the vanguard of the commercial world. Mr. Egan, of Cook county, made some happy remarks, in which he complimented Alton, and was responded to by Mayor Hope.

  7. The Judiciary - The expounders of our Laws - upright, intelligent, and independent - the strongest bulwark of our liberties. Judge Caton being called upon, very cleverly "shifted the responsibility" upon Judge Trumbull, and the latter made such a handsome little speech, as we all know he can make, whenever called upon .

Several other toasts were offered, but which, owing to the "jam" of the occasion, and the lateness of the hour, we were unable to procure. Very happy remarks were made by Messrs. Denio, Snyder, and others, in response to toasts - and it is not out of place to state that Col. Buckmaster was loudly called upon, and brought down the house completely, by his original, off-hand sallies. The supper having passed off, another state of things came to pass. The fine band of Postelwaite, of St. Louis, struck up in the dancing hall, and erelong the "light fantastic toe" was tripping it in fine style. The ladies of Alton and vicinity were there, and were as charming and sociable as ever. The beaux had remarkably neat gloves and upright collars; all were in good estimation with themselves; the ball was light and roomy, and the music was fine - therefore what was to prevent enjoying one's self? At the time we write this - among the "small hours" - the music and tread of feet is still heard in the adjoining building (the Franklin House). Our pen can hardly preserve its equanimity the while, and we must bid our labors, and the subject, good morning. Our honored guests, we hope, have enjoyed their visit at least one half as well as have our citizens. If so, they are well repaid for the trip. They return to Springfield this morning, and will attend the levee of Senator Douglas, at that place, tonight. They hear the best wishes of the people of Alton




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 28, 1853

Franklin House - State street, Alton, Illinois - E. Bliss, Proprietor (formerly of the American House, Springfield, Ill.) would respectfully inform the citizens of Alton and vicinity, and the traveling community, that he has taken the above named house, which has recently undergone a thorough repair, and an extensive addition, and that he has furnished it entirely with new furniture, suitable for the wants and comforts of his guests. The House is situated in the most central part of the city, and is now open for the accommodation of boarders and transient customers. The Proprietor flatters himself, from past experience in hotel keeping, and from a strict personal attention to the wants and comfort of his guests, that he will be enabled to accommodate all who call upon him in a satisfactory manner. There is also in connection with the house a large and commodious stable, where travelers' horses will receive proper attention, also, carriages, buggies, and saddle horses furnished at the slightest notion.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 28, 1853

Alton House - Amos L. Corson, Proprietor. The undersigned, grateful for the very liberal patronage heretofore extended in the above well known and long established Hotel, respectfully informs the traveling public and the community in general, that he is still prepared to entertain them at all hours, in the very best manner, and on the most reasonable terms. His table will be constantly supplied with the choicest delicacies to be procured in the market; and no pains or attention, on the part of the proprietor, or his able assistant, Captain Pilts, will be omitted to give entire satisfaction to all who may favor him with a call. Connected with the establishment is a large and commodious stable, where a good stock of horses, carriages and buggies will always be kept in readiness for the accommodation of travelers and others. Funerals will also be attended to at short notice, and in the best and finest style.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 1, 1853

There are three large grain mills in this city, a full description of either of which would comprise a lengthy article. We have space for a brief notice of but one at this time, and some statistics with regard to it. The oldest of these mills, and the first ever built in Alton, is the one now owned by Messrs. Mitchell & Garnier. It was erected about the year 1830 by the Alton Manufacturing Company. It has changed hands several times since that period, and has made money and lost money, alternately, as is incident to that trade and the fluctuating prices of flour and grain. In 1839 this mill came into the possession of the Messrs. Wise, who run it three years. Other parties then run it, among whom were Messrs. McElroy & Atchinson. In 1849 this mill came into the possession of the present proprietors, and in 1850-51 it was fitted up in part as a distillery. It has a powerful steam engine, with three large boilers, and comprises four run of stones. The following is a correct statement of its capacities, and general business:


Amount of flour made per day

150 bbls

Amount of whisky made per day

40 bbls

Amount of wheat ground per day

700 bushels

Amount of corn made per day

400 bushels

Amount of coal burned per day

300 bushels

Number of hogs fattened per year


Number of steers fattened per year


Number of bales of hops used


Number of bushels of malt



To show more fully the extensive business of this mill, we estimate the yearly average work at 300 days, whereby we find that 45,000 bbls of flour are manufactured, and 12,000 bbls of whisky. This requires that number of new barrels, and consumes 210,000 bushels of wheat, 130,000 bushels of corn, and 60,000 bushels of coal. Messrs. Mitchell & Garnier are now driving their establishment to its full capacity, and are doubtless transacting a most profitable business. It runs night and day, and its rolling machinery ceases only from twelve o'clock on Saturday night to 12 o'clock on Sunday night. The profits of the distilling and slop feeding business are immense. The whisky produced from the corn pays all expenses, it is stated, and leaves an average profit of 2 cts. per gallon. The feeding of hogs and cattle is therefore so much clear gain. We will notice the other mills hereafter.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 8, 1853

A few days since we noticed the milling establishment of Messrs. Mitchell & Garnier. Today we give a few items respecting the mills now owned by the Messrs. Wise. Their "old mill" on the Levee, fronting the Penitentiary, was started in 1842. Previous to that time the building was occupied as a store, by Messrs. Godfrey, Gilman & Co. This mill is fitted up with four run of stones, a powerful steam engine, and two large boilers. It turns out 250 bbls. of superior flour per day, of twenty-four hours, and requiring 1200 bushels of wheat. 200 bushels of coal are consumed per day. This mill has been run constantly for years past, and its excellent flour has gained a wide-spread reputation. During the past year its supplies of wheat have come almost entirely from the Illinois river, owing to a failure of crops in this section.  The "Madison Mill" was established some five years since, by Messrs. Lea, Lamb & Co., and was purchased by Messrs. Wise and others last year. This fine mill has four run of stones and heavy steam works and machinery. It can turn out with ease 350 bbls. of flour per day, grinds 1575 bushels of wheat, and consuming 300 bushels of coal. This mill has been idle the past season because of the failure and scarcity of wheat during the winter. It will be fitted up in good repair, and run constantly this coming season by its present proprietors. It is needless to enter into calculations, respecting the amount of wheat thus ground, and flour turned out per year by the Alton mills. All can see that it is immense. The wheat market of Alton is extensive, owing to the fine range of wheat country in Illinois surrounding us, and these facts relative to our mills must be interesting. There has been much speculating and shaving in our wheat market, heretofore (and in what market has there not?), but now the commercial facilities are becoming so open as to bring capitalist buyers and speculators here to purchase. The railroads now contemplated and in progress once finished, Alton is destined to become one of the grain marts of the country. Get the grain here, and no danger of a want of capital or men to buy it, at the best going prices. It may be well, in closing this brief notice of the Alton mills, to pay our respects to the Messrs. Wise, who are doubtless the founders of this extensive business. By their skill and energy they have built up handsome fortunes for themselves, and for years conducted a business very honorable and beneficial to the city. They are strict and punctual business men, and may be seen daily super-intending their mills personally. A grip of their friendly hand is no less cordial though it be hardened by manual labor, and their white-dusted garments, as they pass through our streets, are an insignia of Democracy far more pleasing than the silk hats and kid gloves of a generation of distilled dandyism.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 29, 1853

The Messrs. Barey & Co. and Messrs. Lesure & Co., Druggists, commenced preparation for moving into other buildings, as "the old corner" is to be torn down the 1st of next May. Messrs. Lesure & Co. will occupy the building on State street next door to Messrs. Hoaglan, Wise & Co.'s Clothing Store, and Messrs. Barey & Co. the store under the Franklin House. They will be thus situated for about two months, when they will remove back to their old locations, but in fine brick buildings. We notice that our fellow citizen, D. E. Brown, Esq., Watch and Clock dealer and Jeweler, has removed to his new stand on Third street, immediately opposite the plank road. Mr. Brown has purchased the building he now occupies, of Mr. J. Quarton, and has fitted it up in excellent style. He has a very neat and tasty shop, and a good assortment of stock. Third street is "coming out."




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 6, 1853

It was announced some time ago that a Bookbindery and Blank Book Manufactory was about to be established in Alton. We are gratified to be able to say that it is now established and that bookbinding in all its varieties can now be had at home. The necessity of such an establishment in Alton has long been felt. Scarcely a citizen of the City and neighborhood but have some volumes to be bound, and for blank books, our citizens have been compelled to go out of the State, or travel far into the interior at an expense and inconvenience far beyond the value of the work to be done. The business in Alton is an experiment, it is true, but those interested feel sanguine that it will succeed and are confident that our citizens and those of the surrounding counties will do everything in their power to sustain it.





Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 23, 1853

Third street, opposite the Post Office.  Are prepared to engage in the auction and commission business. Will attend to the sale of furniture and all kinds of household goods; real estate, horses, cattle, groceries, dry goods, books, and everything else. Returns will be promptly and honestly made, and the whole conduct of the business shall be in the satisfaction of all parties. Consignments of all kinds solicited. We are authorized to refer to the following gentlemen, long residents of this city: John Bailhache & Co, Editors "Alton Telegraph," G. T. Brown & Co., Editors "Alton Courier," T. Souther, Postmaster; Isaac Scarritt, Merchant; Dr. Benj. K. Hart; John R. Woods, Esq.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 27, 1853

The residents of the 4th Ward of this city [Alton] are circulating a petition, we learn, praying the City Council to order the opening of many streets in Middletown, which have been fenced up by adjoining land owners for pasture. It appears that the petitioners want the roads opened for pasture also.




Source: June 3, 1853

The lumber season has fairly commenced in this city, large quantities having arrived the past few days. About two million feet has already arrived in rafts from the Upper Mississippi, for our various lumber dealers. Their present intention is to bring into the Alton market, this season, five million feet of "lumber," (which term includes, in this region, everything except shingles and lath). Several million of shingles and lath will also be brought into the various yards. This is a larger amount of lumber than was ever before brought into this market in one season. And besides this, there is a new lumber firm established in the lower of the city whose of purchases or expected sales we are not advised, and there is a prospect of still another yard being established in this city, ere long. As regards prices, we learn that our lumber merchants are compelled to pay from $1.00 to $1.50 per thousand feet more, this season, than last year at this time. Common stuff, bought last year for $11 per thousand, new commands $12 to $13. This same difference will extend to purchasers at the yards. The fleet of lumber rafts now at our levee are what is called "the first run" from Black and Chippewa rivers near St. Anthony's Falls. The Upper Mississippi is now falling, but should it again arise or continue at the present fair stage, the "second run" of rafts will be enabled to get down and meet the demand of this lower country. In this connection we may be allowed to speak of "lumbering" in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Many young men came down on these rafts and from them we have picked up an item or two. In the summer time the sawmills of that northern region, situated on small, never failing streams, are running incessantly, cutting up the tall pines for the southern market. Many men are employed in the "pinery," in this business, the year through. In the fall and during the winter, the lumber is hauled to the Mississippi, a distance ranging from half a mile to three miles, and there made up into rafts. In mid winter the rafts are often constructed upon the ice, and are thus carried off by the spring freshet. At this time also, the teams are kept busy sledding the logs into the mill for next summer's sawing. Thus it is, in that far off wilderness, when winter seems to have wrapt all in its cold embrace, the lumbermen are wide awake and buffeting among the snowy drifts. So, at "freshet" time in the spring, the boss lumber man, and his gang of hands, mount their treasured rafts and push out for the South. They are from four to six weeks floating down to this point. This is to them a season alike of jolity, enjoyment, and hard times. They sing, fiddle, shoot and fish, and at times have to pull at their oars with all their might to keep clear of "tow heads," points and bars. A rain storm comes up - they are soaked; the sun is hot, and they fry under it. The wind blows hard, on to shore, and they have to paddle like mad. No wonder they, "the jolly raftsmen," arrive at our levee the toughest, merriest, and most sun-burnt and rugged set of fellows to be found. The boss owes many of these hands quite large sums - some $100, some $75, some $50, &c., for their past winter services. And so the boss must have his money instanter for his lumber. Therefore, so soon as his raft is tied, he "walks up to the captain's office to settle." Last Tuesday Messrs. Miller & Switzer bought an ordinary raft, paying its owner $4,500 in cash, as soon as it arrived, and was tied to shore, some $500 more remaining to be paid when the raft was taken out upon land, and accurately measured. (It is seen, hereby, that capital is required to carry on the lumber business.) The proprietor proceeds to settle with his hands and they scatter through our streets upon a land voyage among the stores. Soon we can observe them emerge from clothing stores, completely refitted "from top to toe" and as fine a looking set of young men as we generally see. It is hardly worth while to dilate, or prognosticate, upon the future lumber trade of this city. The subject will not suffer, if we simply dismiss it by stating that the agreeable odor of pine lumber will be more observable than ever in Alton this season.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 10, 1853

Several worthy farmers, residing in the country near Wood River, and therenbouts, who often haul wood to town, complain to us that they are compelled to have their wood measured by a city measurer, at a low grocery, or doggery, below the bridge in Hunterstown. They state that there is usually a drunken crowd about there, and drinking, fighting, and swearing constantly going on, which to them is very annoying. If this is the case, it should be remedied instanter. We do not know who the wood measurer or grocery keeper is, and we have no design to injure them, but such a state of case is disreputable to our city and should be looked to. Will the City Council inquire into this matter?




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 17, 1853

We learn that it is the intention of the owner of the Alton House, or its leasee, Mr. Corson, to build a large brick addition, or wing, to the main building this season. The business of this hotel has been very heavy the past winter and spring, and fully justifies this enlargement. The Franklin House also has been doing a large business during the time mentioned, and, under the control of Mr. Bliss, and his right-hand man, Mr. Lestre (sp?), is conducted in excellent style. During several months past, many a night have we seen Mr. Bliss compelled to apologize to travelers for the want of the wherewith to accommodate them - his rooms, beds, sofas, blankets and buffalo robes being occupied by guests, many of whom were compelled to sleep on the floor. Were the Franklin House located differently, so as to admit of enlargement, its press business would imperatively demand it. The Piasa House is doing a good business, we should judge. Mr. Harry Hart, its landlord, is well versed in his duties, and has a host of friends. He has just erected a balcony around his hotel, which greatly adds to its appearance, and makes a cool and pleasant shade for the weary traveler. The City Hotel has its many patrons, and we believe is doing well, judging from appearances. There is a need for another and larger hotel, we believe. The Chicago and Mississippi road will be connected through to Chicago soon, and also cars [railroad] will be running to Hillsboro on the Terre Haute road, and the increase of travel through our city will be great. The present business overruns our hotels at times, and a new and large one is certainly very desirable, and would be a good investment. There are two fine locations for such a hotel now in our mind. One of them is the corner of State and Third streets, a large lot, cornering, and facing on both streets. It is owned by the Edwards estate, and is to be sold at public sale on the 15th of this month (next Wednesday). The other lot to which we refer is owned by O. M. Adams, Esq., and located opposite the Madison Mill. Mr. A. has long intended this spot for that purpose. Such a hotel as we have reference to would be a great benefit and credit to the city.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 24, 1853

We are pleased to learn that the Hibernian Benevolent Society [an Irish-Catholic fraternal organization] of Alton have determined to celebrate the coming National Anniversary in a very appropriate manner. They intend preparing an immense tent, or covering of tarpaulins, upon the high bluffs of our city (probably the high point above the Penitentiary), and will have a fine dinner. Good speakers have been invited, and Gen. Shields and Hon. D. L. Gregg are expected to be present. The Hibernian Societies of St. Louis have been invited, and will be up, and a band of music has been secured. This is a grand movement, and the Hibernians of our city will do the affair up right. They by no means intend to confine the celebration to themselves, but invite the other Benevolent Societies, and the people generally, to meet with them. We hope the Altonians will not be backward, but celebrate the Fourth in the joyous, good old-fashioned way. Let the stores, shops and warehouses be closed, and all determine to make it a holiday.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 12, 1853

We took a stroll about the lime works, under the bluffs, a day or two since, and collected some facts and figures that we think will be of interest to our readers. The lime business is thought to be considerable, but we are not prepared to find it carried on as extensively as appears by the following:  The principal lime manufacturers of Alton and Messrs. C.Trumbull, John Lock, and some gentlemen in Hunterstown, their agents being Messrs. Mitchell & Hollister. Mr. Trumbull takes out about 800 bbls., Mr. Lock 300, and Mitchell & Hollister about 300 per week - a total of 1400 bbls. of lime per week, during the season. Up to July 30th, Mr. Lock has taken out of his kilns 8,000 bbls, and has burnt 680 cords of wood. Mr. Trumbull has burned over 15,000 bbl.; other manufacturers in proportion. Lime barrels are required in large numbers and are furnished from Upper Alton, Jerseyville, Kane and Wood river. Mr. Lock has also a cooperage connected with his shop. Barrels are scarce, and rising in price. The manufacture of these barrels requires many workmen, and affords a sale for all the refuse stock of the cooperages, which would not answer for "tight work," as flour and pork barrels. The price of lime will average 95 cts. per barrel the year through. It is a cash business, and the capital employed very quickly tuned - at least once per month. The profits are very fair. In fact, at 80 cts per bbl., and at present prices for wood, empty barrels and labor, the business would be at least ordinarily profitable. The demand has so far, exceeded the supply this season by more than two thirds. The manufacturers have now orders in hand from Minnesota, New Orleans, Memphis, Vicksburg, and many towns on the Mississippi, Illinois and upper Mississippi rivers, more than they can fill this season. Low water has cut off the up-river trade, or at least delayed it, and the lime is now shipped as fast as burned by cars and by New Orleans and Missouri river boats; nearly 2,000 barrels having gone up by the latter route recently. The city and adjacent country demand is also very heavy at this time, and large quantities are retailed at the kilns daily. The limestone of our city is remarkably pure, and almost entirely free from flint and other extraneous combinations of rock. Geologists have so pronounced it, and the lime has acquired a high reputation for purity and excellence throughout the West. In fact, we know of no location in the Union where such large quantities of the pure article is manufactured, with such case, and afforded so cheaply. The rock lies in regular parallel layers in a bluff about 100 feet high, and the layers thickening towards the bottom until they seem to be lost, and large masses could be got out, like granite. The kilns are built immediately against the rock, and thus blasting, breaking up, pitching into the tops of the kilns, burning, hauling wood and draiyng [sic] barrels, both empty and full, is being done at the same time and presents at times a very busy scene in that locality. During this season there will be from 80 to 100,000 bbls. of lime burnt in and about Alton, requiring from 7 to 9,000 cords of wood, When we count up the cost of the latter, and reflect upon the number of hands employed in barrel making, blasting, hauling, and about the kilns, we can somewhat appreciate the extent of the business - and which is yet in its infancy. Another year greater exertions will be put forth, and new kilns are about being constructed, of a new plan, in which fires will be kept up constantly, drawing from them the lime as fast as burned, while in full heat. Thus a great waste of heat in cooling off is avoided.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 26, 1853

Yesterday a company of workmen commenced to tear down the old frame houses, and dig out the cellars for two fine brick stores, on this street, immediately opposite Mr. Dibbard's tall building, and adjoining the premises of Judge Martin. This makes seven new stores now in progress of erection in this street. One year hence this street will present a very handsome appearance. Business is gradually working into this and other streets, back from the river.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 7, 1853

In no other branch of business is the growth and prosperity of Alton more manifest than in the furniture trade. A few years ago a single establishment, with quite a small stock, supplied all the demand. Now we have several large furniture establishments, and they find it difficult to supply the great demand. We stepped into Matzy's Furniture Establishment yesterday, and were both surprised and pleased to see the very large stock of fine and costly furniture he had on hand. Everything in the furniture line from the finest parlor furniture, and running through the different grades, in style and price, can here be found, besides many articles usually found in the house furnishing line. With such stocks of furniture as may now be found in Alton, there is no occasion for going elsewhere to purchase. Give him a call.






Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 6, 1853

The workmen attached to the Car Manufactory arrived last week, and it is estimated that this business will bring 50 additional families into our city eventually, from the East and elsewhere. It is a safe statement to make that the increase of mechanical work in Alton, from last January to next January, will bring to this city over 100 families.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 14, 1853

We were favored with a visit, yesterday, to the Car Building Establishment in Hunterstown, and found it in full tide of operation. The wood workers, machinists, blacksmiths, moulders and carpenters, were all busy in their respective apartments, and their operations, together with the rolling machinery, produced a compound of noises, and gave a busy look to the premises. The finishing touches are now being made to twenty burthen cars, some fifteen of which were mounted and outdoors, upon the railroad track, in running order. The proprietors of the establishment have contracted to build 150 of these cars, together with all the switches, and this contract will furnish employment for the next ten months. Sixty men are employed in and about the premises. Everything about the cars are manufactured there, except the axles of the cars, and the India rubber springs. Some of these cars now finished were being fitted up with sleeping bunks, and others with stoves, and other family conveniences - to be used as boarding houses by the workmen employed along the road. So pressed with business is the Car Establishment that the proprietors have been unable to do work offered them by the Chicago and Mississippi Railroad Company and by others. So soon as a portion of the Terre Haute is completed sufficient to demand it, passenger cars will be put on, made at this shop. This business will be extended, in time, by the present energetic proprietors, to become one of the most extensive branches of manufacture in the city. They can easily make additions to their buildings, and can obtain timber, lumber, fuel and workmen, with less trouble, and outlay, than elsewhere in this section of country. As it is, this car building has brought a large capital, and a round number of mechanics and laborers into our city.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 2, 1853

Early on Thursday morning a young man, a drayman [man who drives a cart], was stabbed during a drunken row by another man, supposed to be a drayman. The occurrence took place at the grocery on the corner of Third and Piasa streets. The wounded man lived about twelve hours after the affray. An examination was held on Thursday, before Justice Pinckard, and was continued over to yesterday, in order to await the verdict of the Coroner's jury; and which was, that the deceased was willfully murdered. The Coroner's jury also signed a document addressed to the City Council, petitioning that the grocery where the murder was committed should be shut up. The accused party was remanded to jail, to await trial. His name is Flannagan. The name of the deceased was Causley.




Source: The New York Times, November 29, 1859

The Alton (Ill.) Courier calls the attention of the authorities of that city to the shifting of the channel of the river, which is growing more serious every day, and threatens, if not checked, to make Alton an inland city. The Courier says that a stick of wood thrown into the stream, near Mitchel's mill, will drift rapidly almost directly across to the opposite shore, going down between the island and the Missouri shore. Besides this, the bar in front of the lower part of the city is constantly growing larger, and extending upwards, and if this process of accretion continues, there is a prospect that the channel will be thrown permanently to the opposite shore, leaving first a chute, then a slough, and finally a strip of dry land between the city and the distant bank of the river.




Source:  The Quincy Daily Whig, Illinois, December 9, 1852
From the most authentic information it seems that the explosion on this ill-fated boat was from powder and not the explosion of the boilers. The engineer and clerk both state that there was a large lot of powder stowed away in the hold of the boat, forward of the hatch; the planks forming the gangway to the shore being wet and slippery, large quantities of hot ashes, mingled with coals, were brought from the furnace and strewed upon them, to enable the men to keep their footing while ascending to the bank and descending with the wood. It is thought that some of the coals or sparks were blown by the wind into the hold, causing the powder to ignite and blow up the boat. Some of the surviving officers say that they saw the boilers after the explosion, and that the flues were not collapsed. The body of Capt. Deane was found on Saturday, on the wreck of the cabin, about eight miles below Alton, and taken to St. Louis for interment. It was greatly disfigured, but there was no difficulty in recognizing his face, and his watch and papers were found upon his person. His funeral took place on Monday. Capt. J. J. Perry, Master of the Geneva, died on Sunday morning, from the injuries he had received. His remains are to be taken to Pittsburgh, where his wife resides, for interment.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 14, 1853

As we rarely have a fire in Alton, thanks to kind fortune, we must make the most out of the fire alarm, night before last. After running ourself clear out of breath, over Second street hill, in the wake of "der machine," to catch an item, fresh and warm, it shall go hard but that we make something out of it. The fire caught in a closet, under the stair way on the first floor. It was some time before its whereabouts could be ascertained. The "Sucker" engine boys were early on the ground - part of them mounted the house, part took possession of the fence, and the balance sealed the front door. An axe was made to ply among the shingles of the roof, and soon introduced star light among the rafters - but no fire was found. A ladder was placed against the outside, and some of the weather boarding removed, but the hunt after the "devouring element" was unsuccessful. The party inside the house cut open the floor, but no fire burst forth. They continued their peregrinations, however, convinced that where there was so much smoke there must be a little fire, and upon opening the closet, found it filled with flame. A few buckets of water quenched it. Before this, however, the "Sucker" boys had gathered around their "machine," quietly waiting to see whether there was going to be any fire, before they made any preparations. The damage to the building was inconsiderable. The neat rooms of the lady of the house were much soiled, by water, smoke, and muddy boots. The feminines of the neighborhood were considerably flattered, a damage however very easily repaired. The "Sucker" boys returned home, invincible, and we, in sure possession of our item.




Source: The New York Times, February 24, 1853

The Alton (Ill.) Telegraph gives the following account of Western travel, in these unfortunate localities not yet blessed with the Iron Horse: "The stage came in yesterday in a deplorable fix, from Jacksonville; the body and hind wheels were left behind, perhaps in some mud hole up the country, opposite an anti-railroad man's door. Upon the front axle tree was lashed a crockery crate, which contained the Jehu, his mails and three passengers. The whole concern looked as though it had searched the bottom of every quagmire in the country, and brought away a sample of its compost and fertilizing qualities."




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 15, 1853

Mr. Editor: It appears from a communication in yesterday's Telegraph that there is a slight prospect of a duel to come off some time between now and frost. Being a connoisseur in such matters, having been "second" a few times, and having held the handkerchief and bottle for pugilists, I propose to take charge of this "affair of Honor." I would, in that case, arrange that the Mayor take his "site" from the Bluffs, on this side the river, and that you select an easy crotch of a tall tree on the other side - each to be armed with superior dueling pistols, warranted to hold up to forty yards. There you can "pepper" each other to your heart's content, you "seconds" and attending friends being allowed to while away the time by swimming and fishing. Experienced surgeons and cooks will be on the ground. Also, an eminent legal gentleman, to investigate the validity of the Mayor's resignation. No spirits allowed on the ground, but coffee - except in case of accident. Should this honorable affair terminate fatally, the services of Col. Crane's St. Louis Battalion will be called upon to do the funeral honors. In short, Mr. Editor, if this affair is committed to my charge, I promise you it shall go off like hot cakes, and greatly to the renown and glory of all concerned.  Yours, Undertaker. Alton, July 8, 1853.




Source: Oswego, New York Daily Times, November 7, 1853

The public will rejoice at the announcement that a continuous railway track is now open from this city [New York] to Alton, Illinois, on the Mississippi, twenty miles above St. Louis. These two great cities are thus brought within about forty-eight hours of each other, traveling time, and passengers are ticketed through from New York to Alton and St. Louis, at the Michigan Southern Railroad office in this city. We congratulate our friends at the that the "close of navigation" will no obstruction this winter, to travel.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 27, 1854

Judge Niles, editor of the Belleville Advocate, was here a few days ago, and in his paper of Wednesday last, speaks in very encouraging and flattering terms of the improvements and prospects of our city. We ought to say that the statements are nearly correct - our city schools not yet being free, although rapidly approaching to that state, and the position of the Courier on the Nebraska Question has been positive neutrality, and not positive and downright opposition. We copy the editor's remarks:


Alton and Her Progress - A recent visit to the city of Alton and a sojourn of two days among her enterprising and public spirited citizens, has left a strong impression on our mind of her present prosperity and future growth. The city proper, or Lower Alton, with her suburbs, Hunter's Town, Upper Alton, Middle Alton and Semple Town, making one extensive city, are all advancing with wonderful progress. We were astonished to see the houses built and building in all directions on the hills which form the site of this really promising city. The railroads have done much to raise her to the commanding position which she is now rapidly assuming. One railroad, connecting with Chicago, has been in operation about two years; another, the Alton and Terre Haute, is completed for eighteen miles out from Alton, and is in process of rapid completion throughout. Three other roads are projected - one from Alton to Illinoistown, connecting with the Belleville road, and now building; one from Jacksonville to Alton, and a continuation of this last to Illinoistown, which will make two parallel roads between the two last-named points. Alton is secure in three railroads, pointing North, East and South, in less than a year, and connecting her within a brief period with all the Eastern and Southern cities. The appreciation of property, and rapid increase of her population and wealth, are explained by these facts. All branches of business appear to be thriving. There is one, however, the success of which is highly creditable to Alton, viz: her newspaper publications. As nearly connected with this branch, it is most proper to state, to the high praise of Alton, that she has established free public schools in every quarter of her city, so that every child can be educated at the cost of the city and State. What the State Fund does not furnish for this patriotic purpose is contributed freely by the tax-payers. There are two daily papers, the Courier and Telegraph, which issue weekly editions. The latter issues a tri-weekly, also. These papers are conducted with marked ability and talent. The Courier (Dem.) is edited by George T. Brown, and the Telegraph, of opposite politics, by Messrs. Bailhache and Edward Baker. The printing office of the Courier has cost its proprietor $40,000. He has one of the largest sized steam presses, of Hoe's patent, which cost $3,700, and which turns off thirty-two impressions per minute, or 1,800 per hour. The bold enterprise shown in the establishment of the Alton Courier deserves success, and we have no doubt, will attain it. We add with pleasure that both of these papers are against the Nebraska Bill of Mr. Douglas, though the Whig is more positive and downright in his opposition than the Democrat. These facilities for education and public mental improvement are most worthy accompaniments of the increasing prosperity of this thriving city. In these particulars our own city, with an equal or a more numerous population, and not inferior in wealth, if far behind our neighbor. In schools and journals we compare most unfavorably with Alton. We hope that a new spirit will arise here, and that this contrast, so much to our disadvantage, may be made to disappear or be reversed. The tax which is now proposed will do much toward this object. The efforts of Alton in behalf of education, and in support of her newspapers, are the best return she can make for the legislative favors which she has enjoyed. We sincerely rejoice in her prosperity, and wish its continuance step by step with the grand progress which the State of Illinois is now making.




Source: Evening Chronicle, Syracuse, New York, June 16, 1854

We copy the following notice of an Anti-Nebraska meeting held at Alton, Illinois, on the 2d inst., from the Telegraph, a leading paper published in that city :
"The mass meeting of the citizens of Alton and the vicinity, on last Friday evening, to express their sentiments against the recent passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, was one of the largest and most enthusiastic which has been held in this city for many a day. The meeting was composed of all classes: and Democrats, Whigs and Free Soilers, Germans, Irish and Americans, met together with one common impulse, and, forgetting all other considerations, seemed to be moved only by a strong and deep-seated indignation against the authors of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. The utmost unanimity prevailed throughout; and if we may judge with any accuracy of the sentiment upon that subject, from what was said and done on the occasion, four-fifths of our entire community are opposed to Judge Douglas and his bill.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 13, 1854

Mr. Wills, one of the largest lumber manufacturers of the North, and who has supplied our lumber merchants with a large part of their lumber for several years, has rented a part of Block 53, between Piasa and Market streets, for the purpose of opening a lumber yard. Mr. Wills has been engaged in the lumber business for many years, and looks upon Alton as the best point on the river for a yard. He will have a million of feet piled on the ground within a few days. Success to him.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 13, 1854

The bridge constructed across Wood river, about four miles from this city, by the Alton and Terre Haute Railroad Company, was burned down on Tuesday night. It is supposed to be the work of an incendiary. Some of the timbers remain, and it will be rebuilt as speedily as possible, but the road will be delayed considerably, as the Company were transporting iron for laying the track across this bridge, and that work will necessarily be suspended until it is replaced. The cost of the bridge was something over $3,000.




Source: The Daily Standard, Syracuse, New York, August 18, 1854

One of the greatest triumphs of the invention for cutting staves out of solid, blocks of timber that could be split, is the use of cotton wood - hitherto considered one of the most worthless, yet most common tree of the west, and one that grows more rapidly than any other. The wood is sweet and sufficiently strong for flour barrels and all dry casks. It is considerably used in the neighborhood of Alton, Illinois.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 24, 1854

The new buildings in process of erection on Third, Second and Piasa streets are progressing as fast as could be expected, and some of them are rapidly approaching completion. Cook's building on the south side of Third street is a very commodious structure, with an iron front, manufactured by Stigleman & Johnson. The building is eighty-five feet long, and twenty-five feet wide. The first story is twelve feet high. The entire story will be occupied as a book store. The second story is eleven feet high, and is to be used as a furniture store. The third story is eleven feet high, has two sky lights, one near each end, and is designed for a Daguerrean gallery. The building will be ready for occupants in a few weeks. The masonry was executed by Messrs. Veitch & Gray, of this city. Z. Lowe, Esq., of Upper Alton, executed the carpentry. The building of U. Baker, Esq., on the corner of Third and Belle streets, is approaching completion and is a very fine building. Its dimensions are as follows: length, ninety feet; width, twenty-five feet. It has an iron front, manufactured by N. Hanson, Esq. The first story is twelve feet eight inches high and is divided into two rooms. The room fronting on Third street will be sixty-four feet deep and will be occupied, we understand, as a drug store. The second story is eleven feet ten inches high. The front extending sixty-four feet will be divided into offices. The third story is ten feet high, and is designed as a composing room for our neighbors of the Telegraph, who will also occupy the north end of the second and first stories and cellar, as a printing establishment. The masonry was executed by Mr. Braznell, and the carpentry by G. Evans, Esq., of our city. On the corner of Second and Piasa streets, T. L. Waples, Esq., is erecting a substantial three story building, fifty feet in length and thirty feet wide. The first story is to be twelve feet six inches high. Both will be occupied as a clothing store. The third story will be nine feet six inches high. We have not learned the purpose for which it will be occupied. There are several other valuable buildings going up on Third street and in that vicinity, which we will notice hereafter. Messrs. Vale & Paul are erecting a fine two story building on State street, on the west side, on the lot next north of the store of J. Lock & Bro. It is seventy-five feet long and twenty-five feet wide. The first story is designed for sheltering carriages, and will be twelve feet high. The second story will be ten feet high and will be rented to mechanics. The basement will be ten feet deep and finished off as a saloon. Besides the buildings particularly noticed today and yesterday, Messrs. Platt & Keating are erecting a fine three story brick building on the north side of Third street. Messrs. J. H. & A. G. Smith are about to erect a three story building on Piasa street, between Second and Third, and T. L. Waples, Esq., has the foundations ready to erect three more buildings on the same block, fronting on Piasa street. We understand that Judge Martin is about to erect a fine dwelling house on the north side of Second street, east of the Baptist Church. Sundry other improvements are in process in the central part of the city, which we will notice as the plans and purposes for erection are made apparent.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 7, 1854

We understand that this newly organized company is rapidly perfecting all necessary arrangements, and will soon be ready to appear in full uniform. The uniform adopted is blue, trimmed with gold lace. The company will be armed with muskets, which have been sent for and will arrive in due time. their Armory on Third Street, in the third story over the Custom House, has been admirably furnished with lamps, arm chairs, and every convenience necessary for the accommodation of the Company. The following is the list of officers:


Captain W. H. Turner; First Lieutenant M. M. Dutro; Second Lieutenant J. P. Ash; Third Lieutenant Henry Platt; O. Sergeant T. G. Starr; 2nd Sergeant Joseph Lawrence; 3rd Sergeant W. R. Harrison; 4th Sergeant J. D. Brown; 1st Corporal W. W. Clark; 2nd Corporal Louis Souther; 3rd Corporal W. R. Thomas; 4th Corporal J. W. Ash.


The following constitute the Board of Directors, to whom application for membership should be made:

T. G. Starr, President; W. B. Buckmaster, Vice-President; Samuel Avis, Treasurer; J. M. Pierson, Secretary; J. L. Roberts, S. M. Breath, R. T. Sargent, J. B. Gould, R. G. Lesure, Directors.


Regular Company drill every Monday evening at the Armory.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 14, 1854

It appears from an advertisement in our columns this morning that some person or persons entered the graveyard near Upper Alton on the night of the 5th inst., and attempted the diabolical outrage of exhuming the body of Mrs. Dunlap, whose death was announced in our paper a few weeks since. Those whose souls are so callous as (for any purpose except what the affection of relatives may dictate) to disturb the remains of the honored dead, and open afresh and mercilessly the aching wounds of hearts already grief-stricken, deserve neither the rites of burial or the tears of affliction at their decease. We sincerely hope the perpetrators of this cruelty will be brought to justice and so punished that if the world holds others so heartless, they may be deterred by the example made.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 12, 1855

A shock of an earthquake was perceptible in this city between eight and nine o'clock on Wednesday night. It was of very short continuance, but was very sensibly felt in several parts of the city. One man, living in Sempletown, states that his house rocked with a motion like that of a ship on the waves.




Source: Syracuse, New York Evening Chronicle, March 28, 1855

Last week, 500 Kansas emigrants reached Alton, Ill. An equal number were expected at the same point on Saturday last. Last Thursday, 130 Germans marched through the streets of Cincinnati, headed by a band of music, and took passage, with their families, for the same destination. 600 others in the same city were waiting for a boat. A Kentucky party (200) had chartered a boat, and were to have left on Friday. Others of the same associations, would soon follow. Five hundred families are enrolled in Indiana, and thousands are preparing, on their own boat, to leave during the summer. There is a movement for Kansas also in this city. One or two meetings have already been held, and a company is being formed for emigration. To balance these northern movement we have word that ten thousand emigrants will go from Missouri and stay long enough to settle the coming election in favor of Slavery. The election takes place on Friday of this week.


[The term "Bleeding Kansas" is used to describe the violent political battle between anti-slavery Free-Staters and pro-slavery "Border Ruffians" that took place in the Kansas Territory between 1854 and 1861 over the issue of whether slavery would be permissible in the territory.

On March 30, 1855, an election was held in Kansas to elect representatives to the legislature. Thousands of people immigrated to Kansas (especially from Missouri) - not to settle in a new area permanently, but rather to change the results of the election. If people believed a candidate or ideological position was going to fail in a certain state, people would move to that state, claim residency and voted there, to change the results of the election. In this particular case, the election resulted in favor of the Pro-Slavery party in Kansas. The Alton Daily Telegraph reported that the St. Louis Republican newspaper was an "apologist" of the proceedings, and saw nothing wrong in hundreds of "actual settlers" daily moving from the western counties of Missouri to Kansas, and insisted that they intended to remain there to make it their home. In reality, however, the immigrants returned to their former home after the election.

Territorial Governor Andrew Reeder invalidated the results in five voting districts, because of concerns about voter fraud, and a special election was held on May 22, 1855, to elect replacements. In the summer of 1855 around 1,200 anti-slavery New Englanders emigrated to Kansas Territory. Abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher armed many of them with Sharps rifles, which came to be known as "Beecher's Bibles." To address the rising tension, Congress sent a special committee to Kansas Territory in 1856. The committee report concluded that if the election on March 30, 1855, had been limited to "actual settlers" it would have elected a Free-State legislature.]



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 17, 1855

The house of Patrick Develin, situated on Henry st., near the Lutheran Church, was entered on the night of the 7th inst., between 1 and 2 o'clock a.m. The thief entered the house through a window, and, notwithstanding the repeated efforts of Mrs. Develin to awaken her husband, the thief escaped with seventy dollars in money, and two silver watches valued at thirty-five dollars. The moon shone brightly into the room, so that Mrs. D. could distinctly see the features of the man; so strongly were they impressed upon her mind, that on walking through Second st. the day following, in company with her husband, she recognized the fellow while passing them. An officer was called, who arrested him and took him before Justices Pinckard and McPike. The evidence being conclusive, he was held to bail in the sum of three hundred dollars. His name is James T. Fulton. He is a native of England, and has been in this city but a short time.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier May 24, 1855

On Thursday afternoon, at 3 o'clock, two men named Patrick Hennessey and John Tierney were seriously injured by the giving way of about 50 tons of overhanging rock on the bluffs, adjoining Russell & Shelley's Lime Kiln. It was considered unsafe by Mr. Russell, the superintendent of the work, who had sent the men to prepare for blasting off the dangerous portion of the rock, and while so engaged, it suddenly gave way, precipitating the men to a depth of about forty feet. Doctor Post arrived immediately on the spot, and finding their injuries to be severe, had them removed to their residences. Mr. Russell rendering every assistance to mitigate their sufferings. To what extent they are injured, we are unable to learn; but Dr. Post thought, from the examination he had made, Hennessey cannot live. The other man, Tierny, although badly hurt internally from the concussion, it is likely will recover. Hennessey has a wife and two children in St. Louis. He is a steady, sober, and industrious man.  P.S. - Shortly after the above was written, Hennessey died. Tierney is so badly injured that no hopes are entertained of his recovery.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 14, 1855

To the Editor of the Courier: For some months past, I have intended to call the attention of our citizens to the importance of having a ferry, in regular and constant operation, across the Mississippi river between Alton and the Missouri shore. All former attempts to establish a ferry across the river at this point have been prompted by individual enterprise; but, proving unprofitable as a business speculation, have been abandoned. There are some kinds of business that, if properly conducted, would be a source of great convenience to the public, and of profit too, in the aggregate, but which would not justify an individual in prosecuting as a means of emolument to himself. This is the fact in relation to the establishment of a ferry across the river from this city. It is not probable that a ferry could be sustained here without a loss to the proprietor - at least for the first year or two - yet the experiment may be worth the sacrifice it would require, if that sacrifice were made by those who would share the general benefit. That a very desirable and constantly increasing trade with our neighbors across the river might be made available, if reliable facilities were offered them for visiting the city, will not be doubted, and that this route might soon be made a thoroughfare for travelers, is scarcely less probably. If, then, a ferry cannot be sustained by individual enterprise, how shall it be done? I will make a suggestion: Let the citizens of Alton, by petition, or in public assembly, solicit the City Council for a sufficient appropriation to purchase a good steam ferry boat, not larger than is required for the purpose, and an annual appropriation thereafter, to keep it in operation, and I am satisfied that in less than a year from the commencement of the ferry privileges, the advantages resulting from the enterprise would be too palpable to admit of its discontinuance. It is not improbable that its maintenance a single year would make it a source of revenue to the city, in addition to the advantages the public would derive from it. I am informed that Mr. John Mullady, one of our most industrious, energetic and enterprising citizens, stands ready to take an interest in the project, and incur a share of the risk by an investment, if the city authorities, or our business men, or both, shall render the required assistance to insure its successful prosecution. No man who knows Mr. Mullady will doubt his qualifications for the business; and it is hoped that our City Council, or some of our prominent citizens, will take the incipient steps to ascertain the feasibility of any plan that he or any other enterprising and competent man may propose, to carry into effect the views herein suggested. Respectfully yours, Free Trade.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 12, 1855

The National Anniversary passed of pleasantly and joyfully, and without an accident of any kind in this city or neighborhood, to detract from the festivities of the occasion. A more quiet and orderly holiday we never saw in town, and in whatever direction our citizens went, all agree in saying that the day was spent pleasantly, and much more rationally in many cases, than heretofore. There was little or no drunkenness, no fighting or quarrelling that we heard of. Our citizens having some sad experience of the use of cannon by inexperienced persons on like occasions, wisely refrained from any such dangerous demonstrations, and the money thus heretofore expended in a few discharges of artillery was spent in a series of beautiful fireworks in the evenings, delighting the young and gratifying the old, by the most brilliant display we have witnessed for many years. Between 8 and 10 o'clock, a large number of family parties could be seen wending their way to some cool and shady grove a few miles off, previously selected, with well filled baskets of "that which nourisheth," and as the day was cool and a fine breeze sprung up in the morning, it seemed to us that no fitter celebration could be had, and that there, while the father of the family recounted to his children the history of the birth of our nation, the trials and sufferings of our revolutionary fathers, and contrasted the then problem with the present, the fruition of their hopes, how the young heart must have swelled with gratitude to God and fervent prayer ascended for the continuance of this glorious union. The German Yagers, under the command of that excellent officer, Capt. G. H. Weigler, had determined on a celebration and picnic in the beautiful grove north of Cave Spring. They appeared on Third street about 10 o'clock, in full dress, preceded by their splendid Brass Band, and made an exceedingly handsome and soldier-like appearance. During their march through the principal streets, they performed some very difficult evolutions, showing them to be in a high state of training, and reflecting great credit on their officers. Shortly after 11 o'clock the company, preceded by their pioneers, some thirty or forty German boys carrying flags, and a large number of our citizens, proceeded to the grove, where they were addressed by Capt. Weigler in a patriotic speech, and by several others, after which the company sat down to a splendid dinner, where speeches, song and sentiment abounded. After the dinner, the dance commenced and continued with but little intermission till near midnight, all appearing to enjoy themselves in the greatest degree, and everywhere good order and peace predominating. It was expected by many that the Mayflower would be here and make a pleasure trip to the mouth of the Illinois, but she did not arrive till 3 o'clock, and did not intend to proceed further. In the evening there were beautiful and brilliant displays of fireworks, one from near the residence of A. S. Barry, Esq., on Semple's Hill, and the other near the residence of J. E. Starr, on the Middletown Hill. It was intended, we understood, to represent the bombardment of Sebastopol, and the way the white, red, blue and green rockets rushed up in the air and across the valley, showed great energy on the part of the Allies, and a very determined resistance on the part of the Russians. Rockets were not the only weapons used by the armies. Every few minutes some "infernal machine" would be exhibited in a blaze, throwing its projectiles far into the air, and descending into the valley in beautiful colored globes of fire, which would be answered from the other hill with some new and startling device. We ___ ___ ___ near enough to the scene of conflict to ascertain what hill the Allies were in possession of and what hill represented Sebastopol, but we judged the Russians occupied Semple's hill, for the fire appeared to slacken and grow fitful, while Middletown hill continued in a blaze, and ever and anon came along the night air the sound as of victory. We will only add that Pelissier Starr, Raglan Caldwell, and Canrobert Kellenberger commanded the Allies, while Mentschikoff Barry, Tombnoffstonekoff Beaumont and Gortschakoff Platt commanded the Russians!! The trip to Hillsboro was a pleasant one in all respects, but as our Assistant represented us there, we will let him speak for himself.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 13, 1855

We take pleasure in announcing that we have at last a regularly organized fire company in our city, fully equipped and ready "on call" to protect our property from the devouring element. It has been long needed and loudly called for, and some of our citizens have suffered materially within the past three or four years for the want of it. The organization is as follows: Henry Platt, Captain; J. P. Ash, Secretary; Samuel Pitts, 1st Engineer; William Pitts, 2d Engineer; M. Brooks, Captain of hose; W. H. Turner, Treasurer. The fire engine and equipments have been placed in their hands by vote of the Council. The company contains 56 members. They meet every Thursday evening at the Council room. We can assure the company that our citizens appreciate their public spirit. We can now look with hope to a new and more reliable source for protection, when the fiery element gleams on the midnight air and envelopes our dwellings or places of business in its destructive folds. We hope the members of the company may enjoy many long years of peace and prosperity in the midst of a grateful people, and never have occasion to appear in the active discharge of their duty as firemen.




Source: The New York Times, September 15, 1855

Alton, Ill., Friday, Sept. 14.  The Charter election here, yesterday, resulted in the choice of Samuel Wades, Whig, without opposition.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, November 21, 1855

Mr. William Gray has opened a carpenter shop on Front street, corner of Alby, and respectfully solicits orders for work of every description in his line. We can vouch for him as a skillful workman, whose work and promises can be relied on. In times like the present, when workmen are so scarce, and demands for them are loud, it gives us pleasure to be able to make the above statement. Mr. Gray has recently located in our city, and we hope he may find such encouragement as will induce him to remain.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 6, 1855

A new manufactory of tallow candles has lately been started at Upper Alton by Mr. Alexander Pringle, who manufactures a splendid article, upon a new plan. While the wick is in the mould, it is kept strained, thereby securing it always in the centre of the candle, and the wick itself is counter twisted, while at the same time it is kept soft and pliable. The candles has been tested and pronounced superior to any in the market.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 6, 1855

On Monday night the horse belonging to Monticello Seminary was stolen from the stable and has not yet been recovered. On Tuesday evening the horse of Cashier Caldwell was stolen from his stable in Middletown. Mr. Caldwell started for St. Louis yesterday morning, found the horse, and telegraphed back in the afternoon to that effect. On the same night, a dwelling house was entered and a watch and some jewelry stolen. The particulars we could not learn. Quite a number of Penitentiary birds have lately been let loose, their sentences having expired. This may account for the frequent robberies lately. However, our citizens cannot be too guarded in securing their dwellings.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 17, 1856

Jan. 11 -- On yesterday morning, as the A.M. freight train, coming to this city [Alton] on the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad, had nearly arrived at Dorsey's Station, about fifteen miles from here, it met with a terrible accident, by the breaking of one of the wheels of the track supporting the locomotive, by whic the engine was thrown from the track, the tender turned upside down on the other side of the track, and five men killed by one of the freight cars running up on the engine. Those on the engine at the time of the accident were Conductor Wyman of this city; Mr. King, the engineer; Wesley Davis, the fireman, also of this city; John Morrison, an engineer from Dunkirk, New York who had been employed by the Company and was going over the road for the first time; and R. Bales and ______ Doak, both from Decatur, Macon county, the owners of the hogs which composed the freight of the train. Just previous to the smash, Mr. Wyman, the Conductor, observed the engine leaning to one side, and jumped off just in time to save himself. He received no injury whatever. The other five remained on the engine, four of whom were instantly killed, and the other, Mr. King, the engineer, lived three or four hours. As soon as the accident was known here, Superintendent Sargent took out a special train, accompanied by Drs. Williams, Metcalf and Allen, Messrs. Warren and Corson, of this city, but it arrived too late to render any aid to the engineer. He had passed to another world. Mr. St. John, the President of the Company, also arrived at the scene of the disaster a short time after it occurred. The relief train brought in the bodies in the afternoon, upon whom coroner Pinckard proceeded to hold an inquest, which he adjourned until this afternoon. The officers of the Company have also ordered a searching enquiry into the causes which produced the accident. Although not upon the ground, we made diligent inquiry and could not find that anybody was to blame. It seems to be one of these accidents which baffle all human foresight.




Source: The New York Times, January 24, 1856

We learn from the Alton (Ill.) Courier, that at a meeting of the Alton Horticultural Society on Saturday last, it was stated by Dr. Hall, others confirming the statement, that on examination of the fruit buds of peach trees, in that vicinity, it had been found that the recent severe cold weather has destroyed the promise of a yield of luscious fruit the coming season.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 24, 1856

The above Institute, we are pleased to hear, have rented the second and third stories of the building on the corner of Third and Piasa streets. The designs of this organization can be better understood from its Constitution. The necessity and utility of free instruction to our young men and mechanics must be apparent to every mind. We understand Mechanical drawing, Architecture, Mathematics, Bookkeeping, Penmanship, Elocution, and Rhetoric will, on successive evenings during the week, be taught; the recitation room being the third story of the above building. There will be a reading room in the second story of same building, where all the newspapers, magazines, &c., of the country will be kept for the use of the public. A large collection of geological and other specimens, and such other things as can be obtained, birds, beasts and reptiles, will be added to the museum department.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 13, 1856

We spent yesterday in looking through the principal flouring mills of our city, which form an important feature in the business of the place. We called first at the large frame mill at the north end of Second street, now owned and operated by Messrs. J. J. & W. Mitchell; this is the oldest steam-flouring mill in Illinois which is yet in operation. It was erected about the year 1831 by a company of Boston capitalists, who were incorporated by an act of the State Legislature, under the name of the "Alton Manufacturing Company." While owned by that company it was, at different times, in charge of and operated by themselves, S. & P. Wise, McElroy, Libby & Co., J. Brown & Co., and others. The present proprietors took charge of it and began to buy in the shares of the different stockholders as much as ten years ago, and for the last five years have owned it all. It is one of the most convenient and desirable locations for a business of this kind we have ever seen, and is a very valuable piece of property. The building is about eighty feet square, and five stories high. The engine is about two hundred horsepower, and is supplied with steam from three boilers, each twenty-eight feet long, and there are five run of stones. The mill runs day and night all the year round, and is capable of manufacturing two hundred and fifty barrels of flour every twenty-four hours. The company employs constantly about fourteen hands, to whom they pay aggregate wages of one hundred dollars per week. Since last harvest they have had on hand all the time from thirty to sixty thousand bushels of wheat. The active capital necessary in the management of their business is between thirty and forty thousand dollars. Our next visit was to the "Madison Mills," situated on Piasa street, and extending from Front to Second. The building is of stone, is one hundred and thirteen feet long, fifty-five feet wide, and four stories high. This mill was first put in operation by Joseph Brown, Henry Lea and J. G. Lamb, in the year 1848. Since then there has been a change in the firm, and it is now owned and managed by Lea, Weaver & Co. They have two good steam engines, with fourteen inch cylinders having four feet stroke; there are three boilers, each forty-two inches in diameter and thirty-six feet long. They run five pair of burrs and can manufacture from two hundred and seventy-five to three hundred barrels of flour in twenty-four hours. They have twelve hands regularly employed, to whom they pay about one hundred dollars a week. They use about twelve thousand dollars of active capital, and do a business amounting to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. We next proceeded to call at Mr. J. D. Bruner's mill on Second street. This establishment is not so large as some of the others, but is kept in excellent order and is doing a very good business. It was first established in 1847 by J. A. & J. D. Bruner, expressly for the manufacture of corn meal, rye and buck wheat flour, and feed; it succeeded very well, and in 1849 Mr. W. H. Bruner became associated in the business, and a new boiler and engine was procured. In the Fall of 1849 they purchased the lot they had before occupied, removed the frame building that was on it and in seventy days they had erected and finished a fine three story building, with iron front and iron doors. Sixty feet of the first story was finished up for a retail grocery store, and the balance of the building was used for the mill. In 1854, they put in machinery for manufacturing an extra article of family flour for home use, which some stood high in this as also in the southern market; the demand for home consumption, however, was such that they could fill no orders from abroad. In the Fall of 1854, they purchased the patent right for a hominy mill, and immediately built one; they found it to work to their entire satisfaction. It makes excellent hominy, and when clean and sound corn is used, the hominy will keep in any climate as long as the corn will. In March of 1855, J. D. Bruner bought J. A. Bruner's interest in the business, and in August following, he made a further purchase of the interest of W. H. Bruner, since which, he has been sole owner and proprietor. The mill has two three foot burrs; one for corn and one for wheat; is capable of making twenty barrels of extra flour in twelve hours, or two hundred bushels of corn meal in the same time. It has one boiler, double flued, twenty-two feet long, and forty inches in diameter; engine is eight inch bore, twenty-eight inch stroke, and is fourteen horse power; it requires three men to run it. He has an extensive corn sheller, which shells with ease one thousand bushels of corn per day. It is run by steam, is fed by two men with scoop shovels, and shells and cleans the corn at the same time. The hominy mill turns out twenty-five bushels of hominy every twelve hours. When grinding wheat, it takes about two hundred dollars a day to keep the mill in motion, and when grinding corn about one hundred dollars. There is another mill on Second street, above State, belonging to the Messrs. Wise, who have long been engaged in the milling business in our city. We called there for the purpose of sketching its history and condition, but Mr. Wise begged us not to say anything until he gets his new mill - which he is preparing to build this season, and of which we gave an advance sketch a few days ago - in operation; he thinks the less that is said about his old mill the better. It is true the mill is in a very old and shabby looking one stone building, but it manufactures a great deal of very good flour. Their brand has always stood No. 1 in the market.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 13, 1856

Yesterday afternoon we visited this large establishment, and were shown through it by the gentlemanly proprietors with every mark of respect and attention. We found them engaged in the business on a much larger scale than we expected; their establishment is a credit to their own enterprise, and an honor to the city. Their manufactory is in a large three story building on Second street, the lower floor of which is used for a sale room; the two floors above, with three floors in adjoining buildings are used for manufacturing and storing their goods. This business was first established here in 1847 by Mr. G. D. Sidway; in 1853 Mr. Sidway's son became associated in the business, and the firm was entitled G. D. & L. B. Sidway; in December of 1855 Capt. William H. Turner purchased the father's interest, and the business has been since, and still is, conducted by Messrs. Turner & Sidway. They manufacture every variety of saddles, harness, horse collars, and trunks. Their horse collars took the first premium at the State Fair in Springfield in 1854. They use an active capital of seventeen thousand dollars, and do a yearly business of about one hundred thousand dollars. They employ between thirty-five and forty hands, to whom they pay about three hundred and fifty dollars a week. They manufacture and sell each year about two thousand dozen horse collars; about one thousand sets of harness; eight hundred saddles, and one hundred and twenty-five dozen trunks. They will make this year one hundred and fifty dozens steel spring trunks. They do a general retail and jobbing business. They sell a large quantity of goods at their store, but by far the largest share of their manufactures - at least four-fifths - are shipped in various directions to their wholesale customers up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and out on the different railroads. They supply retail dealers as far up the Mississippi as St. Paul. The manufacturing department of the business is, we believe, under the care of Mr. Sidway, who is a practical mechanic, and who worked many years at the bench, who gives it his constant personal attention, which is an ample guarantee that none but the very best quality of work will be turned out. Capt. Turner is always at his desk or behind the counter, but we need say nothing about him, for everybody knows him as well as we do.



This is a new establishment, also on Second street, and having been but recently started, it as yet does a light business. It was established in NOvember of 1855 by the present proprietor, Mr. J. H. Welch. Mr. Welch showed us some specimens of his work, and as far as we are capable of judging, it will compare favorably with any other in the same line. He confines himself to the manufacture of saddles and harness, a stock of which he keeps on hand, as well as being prepared to make and repair to order.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 20, 1856

The packing of beef and pork has always been and is still a very important feature in the business of our city. The location of Alton is such as to make it the most convenient point for the packing of meats and the shipping of produce for a very large and very productive portion of our State. We have every reason to believe that there always will be a large amount of beef and pork packed here. We spent a part of a day in visiting the different packing houses in Alton, and gathering statistical information in relation to the business done by each. Our first call was at the large beef and pork packing establishment of Messrs. H. Fay & Co., which is situated on Front street, a little below the Alton House. This is much the largest packing house in Alton, and is a branch of the celebrated Harrison Fay & Co.'s packing house and provision store of Boston; the members of the firm having control of both houses are Harrison Fay, S. P. Greenwood and Edward Read. We were received by Mr. Greenwood, the resident partner here, who, with the strictest and most systematic business habits, combines the amiable deportment of a perfect gentleman; he led us through the different departments of their large establishment, and furnished us with all the information we desired. The main building is of brick, one hundred feet long, eighty feet wide, and two stories high; the lard house is the same height, and is forty feet long and twenty-six feet wide. The buildings and lot are worth about ten thousand dollars. This establishment was erected, and the business commenced here in 1850 by Mr. Aaron Corey, and was occupied by him for four years, when it fell into the hands of its present proprietors. Mr. Greenwood informs us that they have packed, this season, twelve hundred beeves, and nine thousand hogs. Since the first of October they have paid out one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which is about the amount of active capital they have in use in this branch of their business. They pack almost exclusively for their Boston house. The average number of their employees is about thirty. During the busy season they pay out about five hundred dollars a week to their hands. This year they have done their own slaughtering. Their slaughter house has been managed by Mr. John Challacombe, a gentleman of experience in the business. In consequence of the suspension of navigation, they have an immense quantity of pork, beef, lard, tallow, &c., &c., on hand, which will be shipped to Boston in a few days. Our next visit was to the old and extensive establishment of Messrs. S. Wade & Co., next door below. This house has been doing business here about fifteen years; its shipments are made to New Orleans, New York and Boston. The building occupied is one hundred by one hundred and twenty feet in size, and is well arranged for the business. They have packed here this season about nine thousand five hundred hogs, mostly on commission. This is the oldest packing house in our city, and we would be glad to give a history of its origin and progress, and a full sketch of its present condition, but the proprietor declined giving us the necessary statistical information. Still farther down on Front street there is another packing house which was put in operation some ten years ago by Mr. William McBride. It now belongs to Messrs. George Hagan & Co., of St. Louis, who packed here, this season, five thousand four hundred hogs. Messrs. J. J. & W. H. Mitchell, who own the large frame mill at the head of Second street, packed four thousand five hundred hogs this season. These hogs averaged two hundred and twenty pounds each. They have about $38,000 now invested in pork, ready to be shipped.




Source: Albany, New York Evening Journal, April 9, 1856

A committee from Kansas is in St. Louis, delegated by a number of the businessmen of that Territory to take steps for the establishment of a line of steamers from Alton, Ill. to Kansas for the transportation of northern emigrants and merchandise. The committee will proceed to Chicago, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh for the purpose of perfecting the arrangements.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 17, 1856

Yesterday morning we paid a visit to Mr. John B. Beaumont's Marble Yard on the north side of Belle street, between Third and Fourth, and examined some specimens of his superior work. Mr. Beaumont established himself here in his present vocation in the year 1849. His business was very light at first - almost nothing at all. He received very few orders for marble, and nearly all he did was a little work in common native stone. Mr. B.'s energy and exceeding good taste in the execution of his work soon brought it into popular favor, and changed the nature of his business so as to give sale to his fine marble work. He has recently associated with him in business Mr. Alex Milne, a gentleman of long experience in the business and as skillful a letterer and carver he can be found in the United States. We examined some of his work, and are free to admit that it is about the best we ever saw in this country. Mr. Beaumont's business has been steadily increasing ever since he began, and is now more prosperous than ever before. He now sells about seven thousand dollars worth of marble, and about two thousand barrels of cement and plaster each year. We are glad to see these evidences of his prosperity, for he is an energetic and public spirited man, and deserves to prosper.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 24, 1856

The drug business is a very important branch of the trade of Alton, and there are several houses largely engaged in it, both wholesale and retail. We made the circuit of some of these houses yesterday, and found all of them in a very prosperous condition. The first at which we called was that of Messrs. D. C. Martin & Co., on Second street. This house was established in the year 1852 by Messrs. Murphys & Martin, and was managed by them until February of the present year, when the change was made that gave to the firm its present title. Their stock comprises every possible variety and quality of such articles as are usually kept in wholesale and retail drug stores. Their retail trade is very large and very profitable, but their principal business is in the jobbing line. They expect to sell about forty thousand dollars worth during the present year. They are sole agents for the sale of Dr. Leeds' celebrated Quinine Substitute, of which they sold about twenty-five hundred dollars worth last year. This medicine, as its name indicates, is intended to supersede the use of quinine, as it is designed to be used in all cases where quinine has heretofore been considered the only reliable remedy. Dr. Martin, the business partner in this house, is a gentleman who has had many years experience, and has a thorough knowledge of the business in which he is engaged. The other members of the firm are gentlemen of energy and capital. We next came round to the drug store of D. Simms & Co., on Third street, second door from the corner of Piasa. This house was established by the present proprietors in the year 1853, since which its business has been steadily increasing at the rate of about twenty-five per cent a year. They are just now receiving a very large stock for their spring and summer trade, and the variety and excellence of their assortment is well worthy the attention of purchasers. They keep a full supply of drugs, medicines, and everything that goes to constitute the stock of a well appointed drug store. They claim to have the largest and best assorted stock of perfumery, combs, brushes &c., that can be found in Alton. Of cigars, they have a very large and fine assortment, and they sell a great many. They showed us some of as fine flavored Havanas as we ever saw. This house does quite a large wholesale business, but devotes a great deal of attention to its very extensive retail custom. It is a very popular house, and its popularity is constantly on the increase. Our next call was at the old established drug store of Messrs. A. S. Barry & Co., on the corner of Second and State streets. In 1842 this firm bought out Messrs. Marsh, Hankinson & Co., and have ever since continued the business without any change in the style of their firm. At first their sales were very small, amounting to only three thousand dollars for the first year. The increase has been gradual, steady, and with an advancing ratio. Their sales for the present year will amount to about sixty thousand dollars. This house does a very large wholesale business, but does not neglect the retail department, in which it has a full share of custom. Their stock, which their large cash capital enables them to keep at all times full and complete, comprises every kind and variety of drugs, medicines, paints, oils, gas, perfumery and fancy goods, cigars, with everything necessary to make full and complete the stock of a wholesale and retail drug store. They are agents for the sale of all the popular patent medicines, which they sell at manufacturers' prices. They called our especial attention to Shallenberger's Fever and Ague Antidote, which is warranted to cure in all cases. This is the oldest drug store in Alton, and it has established a reputation which rivalry cannot impair. Its proprietors are well known for their business energy and integrity. They have recently diverted a part of their large capital into other avenues of trade, to which they are giving their personal attention. In the meantime, our old friend, Captain James E. Starr, who is well known not only here, but all over the State, occupies the counting room and manages the business in the drug store.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 1, 1856

Yesterday evening we went round on Second street and paid a visit to Mr. E. Trenchery's Piano Forte and Music Rooms, over A. T. Hawley's store. Mr. Trenchery established himself in business here something over five years since, since which his trade has been gradually but steadily increasing. He keeps a general assortment of organs, piano fortes, melodeons, &c., for sale or to rent. He is also agent for some of the best piano and melodeon manufactories in the United States. Among these I must mention Lamuel Gilbert's celebrated Boudoir piano, for the sale of which Mr. Trenchery is agent. These pianos are much shorter and narrower than the old style, and possess a power and richness of tone that is truly wonderful. They occupy but little space, and can be taken apart and removed with great facility. Mr. Trenchery has, at present, a number of second hand instruments for sale; he also keeps a general assortment of the popular sheet music of the day. He gives lessons in music, both vocal and instrumental, in which branch of his business he has about as much as he can attend to. We heard him perform several very difficult pieces on the piano in a style that we have seldom heard equaled.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 29, 1856

A man named Dennison was arrested on Sunday last, in the American Bottom, about eight miles below this city for horse stealing. He had taken one horse from near Jerseyville, and one from the stable at the Franklin House, in this city, and a saddle and bridle from Mather's livery stable. He went to a house in the Bottom and stole a coat, provisions for himself, and corn for his horses.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 17, 1856

Jul. 7, 1856, Alton -- To the Editor of the Alton Courier:  When Alton was yet a village, by common content and for the time being, a temporary Market house was thrown up on Market street, between Second and Third streets, and in front of and immediately in the neighborhood of some of the best residence and building sites in Alton. This was permitted by the property holders in the neighborhood (though the City Council had no more right to obstruct the street at this place than the humblest citizen of the place) for the time being, with the understanding that it was only temporary. And what has been the result: Still it is there, though it has been remonstrated against by the citizens in the neighborhood time and again. A miserable looking affair, at first - now more hideous than ever; temporary at first - now rotten, filthy, stinking, smeared a little with whitewash, but a great deal more with blood, guts and filth, strewn all over the neighborhood; yes, literally paved with beef bones, hogs and sheeps feet and the like. The programme of the evening begins with the angry howling of dogs, as they contend for choice of bones, until near midnight, when the clatter of the wheels of the butchers' wagons scares them from their feast. The noise of the saw and meat axe begin about 11 o'clock - as they grind and crush among the bodies and meat, where life is scarcely yet extinct, mingled with the boisterous laugh, or more frequently, the horrid oaths of some of the butchers - the rehearsal of whose obscene jests would defile the paper on which it was written. In this way is spent the night, till break of day, when the noise of buyer and seller grows fast and furious. What chance for sleep amid such scenes as these; and, as has been the case, the sick and dying have lain and been compelled to listen to all, and much more than this. This is not all. Was there comfort in the day, the night might be borne. Our houses in the heat of summer have to be shut up well night air tight, else the swarms of green flies that are bred in, and infest the market, adjourn at 9 o'clock to our parlors and sitting rooms, and make them uninhabitable. How long is this state of things to last? How long is our property (that is taxed to all it will bear) to be made and kept uninhabitable? Will not the Council take some steps in the matter! A former Council declared this same hideous collection of boards - saturated with filth - a nuisance. Why is it not removed! Some of us have offered one hundred dollars each to have it removed - still it is there. We have petitioned, begged, plead, offered to pay, done everything, said everything - still it is there, a mass of corruption. It has no right there. It is an outrage to the neighborhood.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 11, 1856

If our citizens will just step into the large store of our friend George S. Ferguson, Esq., on Second street, and look at his splendid stock of clothing and furnishing goods, they will satisfy themselves that it is not only one of the largest, but the finest stock of that description of goods ever brought West. If you want a loose beaver, a military overcoat, a Raglan or a splendid Kaffetan, there they are in endless variety of style and price. You will also find the regular black dress and frock, and a great variety of match suits. For the chamber, you will find several varieties of dressing gowns and of hats and caps, the styles are too numerous to be mentioned. Of shirts and other underclothing, he has a large stock, and of gloves, &c., you can find every thing in great variety, including the heavy gauntlet, finished with the finest fur. The fact that such fine goods are brought here for sale in such large quantities by one of Mr. Ferguson's experience, is evidence of a great change in the character of the demand. Those who would realize the change have only to give Mr. Ferguson a call, examine his stock and test his prices.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 1, 1856


"Now each visitor shall confess,

The dim valley's restlessness;

Nothing there is motionless,

Nothing, save the sins that brood

Over the magic solitudes."


To the Editor of the Alton Courier:

The middle watch of a night last June found me, the recorder of the following legendary fragment, seated upon a little knoll that pertaineth to the above mentioned locality. From the top of the knoll, looking upwards through the gnarled branches of the oaks that arched above me, narrow stripe of moonlight clouds seemed entangle, and floating in the very tree tops. To the left, the waters of the great Mississippi wrapped in a mantle of silver sheen, went sweeping solemnly by, and beyond stretched the dim outlines of Missouri woods. And to the right, my gaze wandered up a pathway and the course of the rivulet, whose waters came bubbling between their grassy banks from the hidden recesses of the glade. As I thus sat, listening to the noise that the brook made, rushing over the pebbles, and that the river made beating against the shore, thinking of the "long ago," and wondering what had then and there happened, to give a name, and a fame to the scenery about me, I had well nigh lost myself in a daze. But a noise around me, the faint sound of dripping oars, gave a new direction to my thoughts.


Looking towards the river, I saw a small boat approaching the shore, and presently, as it touched upon the bank, someone stepped out, and having secured it to a log, started up the path leading towards me. As the distance lessened between us, I discovered the newcomer to be a man very diminutive in stature, and attired in a very odd costume. He was old, too, as well as diminutive, as his feeble step and scant gray hair pushed smoothly back and twisted into a queue behind, abundantly testified. I noticed too that he had a hobbling sort of a gain that bespoke some defect in his limbs. Yet it was evident that he carried a gay heart in his old body, for even in the moonlight one could see a merry twinkle in his eye and a smile upon his pinched features. And besides that, under his arm he carried a violin, with the bow of which he gesticulated violently as he walked along. He has the air of a Frenchman, said I to myself. But what possible business could bring such a personage to such a place, at such an hour of the night, with a violin under his arm, I had not determined as the figure came directly opposite and was about to pass me. "Good evening, Sir," I ventured to say with a show of confidence that I did not really feel. "Mon Dieu!" exclaimed the old man in a shrill piping voice, as he started back in consternation, and hastily made the sign of the cross, "In'est ce qui je vols? Est il un esprite, un diable?"  "Parley l'anglais si vous plaisey, Monsieur," rejoined I with a villainous accent in my pronunciation. "Ah! You are a man then," came slowly yet in good English from his lips. And with a sigh of wonderful relief, he seated himself by my side. "Probably enjoying in a quiet way the beauty of the evening?" he further questioned. I at once admitted the truth of his conjecture, adding at the same time as I eyed him pretty sharply "that his own presence there might be more difficult to account for." 


"Well Monsieur," he replied after a pause. "I believe I can give you an explanation satisfactory to you - instructive too, perhaps." (And those last words were made emphatic by a nod, and a mysterious smile.)  Sixty years ago there came up the Mississippi several families of French, who formed a settlement at Portage des Sioux, and sixty years ago a certain Indian tribe, in the summer time, had their villages upon these bluffs. As one among the former was myself, upon whose head sat the dignity of twenty years, and whose heart was the banquet hall of love and pleasure. Among the latter was a maiden, whose beauty was the burden of unnumbered songs, and the idol, worshipped by unnumbered braves. Many were the greasy scalp-locks torn from each other's pates by contending rivals for her favors. Many were the copper-colored visages, marred by the hands of her jealous suitors.


Well, in process of time I came to know this "child of nature," the peerless O-li-min-wah, "flower of the prairie," and the consequence was that I was soon deeper in love with her than the veriest Indian of them all; and, in truth, my love did not seem unrequited. You laugh, eh, at the idea that the image of such as I could rest on a young girl's heart? But sixty years ago, there were not many comlier figures or glibber tongues than mine, and beside that, I had the assurance of the devil, and there are few female hearts, more amis, that refuse admittance to Monsieur Assurance when he knocks boldly at the door. At any rate, in the moonlight, summer nights, here upon this very bank, O-le-min-wah and I used to sit, very much like lovers; for I used to whisper to her, praises of her beauty; used to take her hand, and as her head rested on my shoulder, used to swear by her eyes' mystic light to eternal faithfulness. As I think of her now, I seem to see again her matchless form, the smile of her sweet lips, the luster of her eyes; I hear again her steps, I feel her warm breath on my cheek. Oh, O-le-min-wah, thou wert indeed perfect in thy loveliness, thy memory ever is as the sound of pleasant melodies! Here the old man paused, and I saw a tear glisten in his eye as he stooped over and touched lightly with his fingers the strings of his violin. But the dampness of the night air seemed to effect the poor instrument unfavorably, and there came forth so dissonant, dismal, dolrous a groan, that I was forced to laugh outright, contrasting the sound with the pathos of the Frenchman's words. Yet, he did not seem offended at my ill-timed mirth, but presently, with a smile half sad, half comical, resumed:


"That's a prelude to the remainder of the story monsieur; for, you see, so captivated was I by this love of mine, that I even believed her without these failings which all know to be essential in the composition of female character. I went further than this in my madness, I resolved that I would prove her perfect - unfortunate that I was. You know the spring just above us here? One of the old Indians, called a Medicine man, had told me once a secret concerning its waters. What the charm it possessed was, I did not know exactly; but, said I to myself, this will give me the needful test, this will prove her superiority. So one evening, as we were sitting here together alone, in a very solemn and impressive tone I said, O-le-min-wah, I have something to tell you that you must never reveal, a command to give that you must never disobey: you must never dip your right foot in the waters of yonder spring when the moon is shining; you must never speak of what I have told you to the maidens or to the young braves. She promised to keep the secret, and to be obedient, monsieur, and looked so artless and smiled so confidingly, that I would have sworn by the beard of the Prophet and staked my life upon an oath that she would have kept her promise. But I was very young then, and a fool too, or I never would dared to have held honor or life by so brittle a thread as a woman's constancy. Well, a few evenings after that, coming here an hour earlier than the usual time, as I walked up the pathway I saw yonder on the grass plot near the spring a number of figures moving about, whispering and laughing quietly among themselves. I was not frightened at all, I assure you, but a queer feeling (it might have been surprise, or it might have been jealousy, or it might have been a little of both) came upon me and took away my strength and sight, so that I was forced to lean against this ole sycamore for support, and when I ventured to look again, while my heart was thumping in my very throat, with staring eyes, I saw six females arrange themselves in a row, and marching to the spring, each in succession plunge her bared right foot into the sparkling water. Last of the six came O-le-man-wah, and as she poised her delicate foot upon the water's edge, I even fancied there was a shade of sorrow and penitence on her brow, but in a moment more, the foot was splashing and glancing in the waters, deeper than any of the others, and she and they raised a laugh that caused my heart to beat more rapidly still, and made my eyes protrude still farther from their sockets. But the picture was not yet complete; for directly six brawny male copper skins emerged from the shade and thrust their feet into the spring, and then they and the maidens engaged in an uncouth Indian dance. As for me, I was by that time flat upon the ground, for my heart was so heavy with anger that my limbs were unable to bear me up. So  in impotent rage, with clenched hands and closed lips, I lay looking at them, and hoping that some terrible vengeance would come upon them as I watched, I fancied that they moved more rapidly than at first, and I noticed an unusual awkwardness in their moments; in a moment more I saw they were moving on a single foot, yet for all that, they kept whirling faster and faster, faster and faster, without change or pause. Presently one of the braves, exhausted and groaning, fell to the ground. Upon that, to my great joy, the wretches yelled lustily for help, and I saw with satisfaction that their faces were distorted and hideous with fear, yet they had no power to stop, but continued flying round and round with accelerated velocity. I could contain myself no longer. I thought, with a chuckle, that my triumph was complete. With a laugh and a shout I jumped to my feet. How I encouraged them, clapping my hands! Chasey, croisey, Allimandi, Puissi. I shouted derisively in a perfect ecstasy of joy. But just then, there came from the neighborhood an snswer to their cries, and my flow of spirits was turned slightly away on seeing a number of the tribe, headed by the Medicine man, who had told me the secret, rush down the hill yonder. "What does this mean! Who has betrayed me? shouted in the Indian tongue the old copper-skin, who held the medicine bag and the sacred rattles. Then the braves, and the maidens, as straight as circumstances allowed them to, pointed to O-le-men-wah, and groaned in dismal concert. The Medicine man advanced towards her. Love conquered resentment and prudence, and I sprang to her aid. But, ah, unfortunate that I was, and am, in my haste, I too slipped my foot into the fatal spring. In a moment more she was in my arms and driven by some resistless power, upon but two feet, we went whisking and whirling about upon the green award. "Hateful secret! Vile spring! Shall I never have rest from this accursed hop?" I groaned, but the ground and trees seemed only to spin round the faster for my question, and when directly I found myself growing unconscious, the only sound I heard was the words "accursed hop," "accursed hop," echoing far up the hollow.


After a time I came to my senses, but all the company had disappeared except the Medicine man, who stood over me with a scowl on his painted face, and i thought, too, that I heard a melancholy voice sigh "accursed hop." When I ventured to ask the Medicine man what all this meant, in a gruff growl he told me that he had changed the girl O-le-man-wah into a spirit, and that for a punishment he condemned her to wander about the valley and over the bluffs in the neighborhood for a hundred years. And he said, too, that at certain times she should cast a spell over the valley, making everything therein restless, and unquiet, and that the very name of the place should be the chronicle of her folly. "By the way," continued the Frenchman, turning suddenly towards me and looking me fully in the face, "It may be, mon ami, you can tell me how this sentence has been executed." "Oh, yes," I eagerly responded, "I could tell you of many times, when the maidenly beauty and manly grace of a neighboring city have been forced by this same spell, in cotillion, rigadom or waltz, to keep time to sprightly music. And as to the 'chemish,' this place is known through all this region as Hop Hollow. "Ah, woman," I sighed, leaning my head pensively upon my hand, "ah, woman, thy name is frailty," and your story teaches us, old man, and this name reminds us that whether her name is O-le-man-wah or Mehitable or Jane, she can never keep a secret. Her natural disposition is unfortunately. But just here, in the midst of my moralizing, I was startled by a sound between a laugh and a gurgle, and looking around to see whence it proceeded, to my surprise and indignation I discovered that the old man, instead of listening to my reflections, had abstracted my flask from my pocket, and was regaling himself with its precious contents. What will you take for yourself (hic), he inquired of me, with tipsy gravity. I informed him that I did not comprehend his meaning. Perhaps you are sold (hic) already (hic), he continued with a wicked wink. The trust flashed upon my mind. Do you mean to intimate, you gray deceiver, that the story you have told me is a base fabrication of your brain, stimulated by stolen liquor, I shouted, but the gray deceiver merely touched the flask to his lips, and his thumb to the extremity of his nose, and started on a rickety trot towards the river. I pursued him, but the pursuit was unsuccessful, and presently I saw him in his boat with the flask glittering in the moonlight, and heard him in a thick tone cry, O-le-men-wah, Hop Hollow, and I think (although I am not positive) I heard a faint, though expressive, chuckle proceeding from the boat.


Signed, Theta.




Immense Gathering! Tremendous Enthusiasm!

[This was for the 1856 election for President and Vice-President.  For President - John C. Fremont of California (Republican); for Vice-President - William L. Dayton of New Jersey. The Republican Party condemned the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and decried the expansion of slavery. James Buchanan, the Democratic Nominee, warned that the Republicans were extremists whose victory would lead to civil war. The Democrats endorsed popular sovereignty as the method to determine slavery's legality for newly admitted states.  Buchanan won the election.]

Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 9, 1856

The demonstration last night far surpassed the anticipations of the most ardent friends of freedom. Hon. A. Lincoln, finding it necessary to return by the evening train, spoke in the afternoon to a large audience in front of the Presbyterian Church. He made, as he always does, an earnest, argumentative, patriotic and exceedingly able speech. The crowd continued to increase till the conclusion of his speech, and the cheers that went up for free labor, free territory, and Freemont, were an unequivocal certificate that the hearts of the masses are right on the issue. At half past six o'clock, the procession was formed at the Fremont Club Room, the torches were lighted, and the streets, for nearly a mile, seemed all in a blaze. Hundreds of Fremonters joined the procession without torches, as there were not enough to supply them, and the procession was in many places from four to six abreast. Hundreds more Fremonters lined the streets, and cheer after cheer went up for the pathfinder and the pioneer of liberty, from the crowds outside of the procession. No demonstration of the kind ever before made in this State would bear in extent a shadow of comparison with that torch light procession. The Buchanan men had hardly sufficient left to raise a cheer. We cannot attempt to state the number of torches carried, or banners and mottos for liberty displayed at short intervals all along the line. That must be deferred to another day. After passing through the principal streets of the city, the immense procession drew up in Market street, thronging that broad avenue from Front to Third Street. As the crowd in the procession, joined by thousands who awaited their arrival, gathered around the stands erected for the speakers, enthusiastic cheers rent the air for Fremont and Bissell. The stand in front of the Presbyterian Church was surrounded by banners both appropriate and significant. A full length portrait of Fremont was raised in front of the multitude, which drew forth the most enthusiastic applause. The two porches and the orchestra in the church, and the space around the stand, were crowded with ladies who joined, by gracefully waving their handkerchiefs, in the general enthusiasm. The first speaker introduced was Hon. D. K. Carter of Ohio, who held the vast audience for more than two hours, in rapt attention. He made a telling speech and was greeted with loud applause. He was followed by Judge Trumbull, who in his earnest, candid, logical and eloquent way, held the crowd to a late hour, while he showed clearly how the Buchanan party are driving the country to anarchy and disunion. A large crowd of German Fremonters gathered in front of the Editor's residence, and were ably addressed, if we may judge by the vociferous applause, by Mr. Zinn, of New York City, Mr. Schlaeger of Chicago, and Mr. Grimm, Editor of the Belleville Zeitung. We cannot particularize further at this late hour of writing, but will do so at length when we have time and space.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 9, 1856

Last evening was largely attended. It was addressed by Hon. Joseph Gillespie of this county, and by Dr. McDowell from St. Louis, a gentleman from Mississippi, and perhaps other, of whom we have not had notice. It struck us as a little singular, that the Fillmoreites, who in the North are undoubtedly in the main for free Kansas, should rely mainly for speakers upon men from Slave States, who come over to lull them to sleep, or divert their attention from the tragedy which the Buchanan party, aided by Southern Fillmorites, are enacting in Kansas. Their course reminds us of Nero, who fiddled while Rome was burning.


As the noise and confusion incident to the State Fair subsides, we improve the first hour of comparative quiet to give an account of the grand demonstration for Fremont and Dayton, Bissell and Wood, which came off in this city on Thursday evening, October 2d, in accordance with our premise at the time. Although the preparations for a large meeting had been made, they were far from being equal to the occasion. In the afternoon at four o'clock, an impromptu meeting assembled in front of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Millard of the Chicago Press first took the stand, and spoke for about half an hour in a very eloquent and forcible manner. He presented ably the all-absorbing issue of the campaign. He closed by invoking the spirit of General Jackson, Southern man though he was, to open the Missouri River, punish the invaders of Kansas, protect the people of the territory, and the United States mail from plunder, and vindicate the honor of the American flag. The crowd cheered this finale most enthusiastically. During this speech the audience continued to increase rapidly, and when Mr. Lincoln rose to speak, a very large number had assembled, and crowds continued dropping in until he closed. He made a closely argumentative and able speech, fully convincing the old line Whigs, who acknowledge him as their leader in this state, that the position of the Fremont party is the only position occupied by any of the parties of the day on the slavery question, consistent with the platforms of past years, presented by the two great national parties. When Lincoln closed, the crowd was very large. As they returned from the place of speaking, they gave the most enthusiastic cheers for Fremont and Bissell.


We take occasion publicly to acknowledge the compliment of three rousing cheers for the Courier office. It is a source of satisfaction to us to know that while government officers are leagued to prevent our paper from reaching our subscribers, the people are with us in sympathy, and that better times are near at hand.


The great rally of the people was in the evening. At half past six, the grand torch light procession was formed on Third Street. It contained an imposing army of torch bearers, and hundreds applied for more after the supply was exhausted. Large numbers of Fremonters fell into the procession without torches, and hundreds upon hundreds on the sidewalks hurrahed for Fremont as the procession passed.


When the procession was completed, it extended some distance on Piasa Street, the entire length of the business part of Third Street, between Piasa and State Streets, and up State Street to a considerable distance. Banners with patriotic and noble inscriptions, expressing the principles for which the party are contending, were displayed at short intervals throughout the procession. This vast and imposing army of freemen, preceded by a superb band of music, marched up State Street under the guidance of the Marshal, John Trible, Esq., and his deputies, to the intersection of State and William Streets, down William to Fifth Street, down Fifth to State Street, down State Street to Second Street [Broadway], down Second to Langdon Street, down Langdon to Front Street, and returned on Front Street to the places appointed for public speaking on Market Street. Wherever the procession passed, the houses, balconies and sidewalks were thronged with ladies, men and children, waving handkerchiefs and cheering for Fremont. True, occasional cheers for Buchanan and Fillmore were given by a few of the outsiders, but most of those parties stood and gazed in mute astonishment, as if a flood of light had burst upon their mental vision, proving beyond a chance for cavil, that the people have risen in their might and right, in a mighty army to take again to themselves as the constitution provides, the power of the government, and are determined to use it to put down usurpers, and delegate it to those who will wield it in accordance with the policy of Washington and Jefferson, to make our territories free.


It was truly an imposing sight as the vast multitude drew up as near as its greatness would permit, in front of the speakers' stands. Market Street, which is one hundred and forty feet wide, was densely packed from Front to Third Street, a distance of two entire blocks, and large numbers of ladies were crowded into the two porches, and the orchestra of the Presbyterian Church.


The stand in front of the church was literally enclosed with banners, and transparencies and torches innumerable lighted up the vast concourse in every part, revealing the majesty of the spectacle as if by magical process the day had been revived. The stand was thronged with champions for freedom, a few of whom only could have time to speak on this great occasion. The first speaker introduced was Hon. D. K. Carter from Ohio, who spoke for two hours, eloquently depicting the aggressive invasion of the rights of the North by the slave power. When he spoke of the destruction by the South, of the ballot box, the main spring of our liberties, the butchery of Northern men, because they dared to vote and establish schools, churches, printing presses, and sawmills on the Territories solemnly consecrated to freedom; when he spoke of the Missouri River, a great national highway, blockaded against the North by "murderers," the indignation of the assembled thousands burst forth in thunder tones.


Senator Trumbull, who so fearlessly and faithfully, alone in the Senate in the face of the bitterest opposition, contended for the ceded rights of the free State of Illinois in the territories during the late fearful struggles in Congress, followed Mr. Carter. In purity and propriety of language, he is a model speaker, while the force, clearness and fairness of his logic, mark both the eminent jurist and the honest, patriotic Statesman. He understands, and can and will vindicate the rights of his fellow citizens, who have been insulted, robbed and murdered by the slave power in the free territory of Kansas. He made a convincing speech, such as few can make, and his honest, manly bearing made a deep impression upon the hearts of the assembled thousands. The day of triumph for him and his compatriots in the cause of human liberty is rapidly dawning, and next November it will be fully ushered in. The sons of the free from every hill from Maine to Oregon hail with shouts this auspicious dawning, and the daughters of the free are swelling a glad, a universal chorus to the glorious promises of the coming year.


After Senator Trumbull concluded, speeches were made by Mr. Bross of the Chicago Press, and Mr. Vaughan of the Chicago Tribune, and another gentleman, whose name we do not remember. These speeches were all excellent, highly patriotic, and told with great effect upon the crowd, who showed its appreciation by loud and continued cheering. We were delighted to hear our brethren of the press so able and eloquent.


Another division of the vast audience was composed of Germans, who were out in their strength from various parts of the State, and joined enthusiastically in the procession. They were addressed from the balcony of the editor's residence, by Mr. Zinn of New York, Mr. Schaleger of Chicago, and Mr. Grimm, editor of the Belleville Zeifung. We know nothing of the tenor of their speeches, but judging from the tremendous applause which reached our ears almost constantly from that direction, the heats of the patriotic Germans were effectually reached.


The speaking at both stands continued until 1 o'clock on Friday morning, when the crowd dispersed and the grand demonstration was over. But its power is still seen and felt. It is seen in the elongated countenances of Buchanier captains and corporals, who fully appreciate the augury. It is seen in the industrious efforts of our opponents to break its power by misrepresentation.


It is emphatically true that all parties, including our own, were astonished at the extent and enthusiasm of this vast multitude. The power of this demonstration is felt in the renewed energy and activity that pervades the friends of freedom and Fremont, throughout this region and throughout the State. That night the star of liberty gained the ascendancy, and it will continue to rise till it reaches its meridian in November, where it will continue to shine in undimmed effulgence, while generation after generation will rise up to bless its light.


Men of the North give us your aid. Egypt is enlightened on the issue, and the rod of the oppressor is broken. Her freemen, with your aid, will redeem our State from the odium of having raised a "ruthless hand" to strike down the Missouri Compromise by showing a hearty repentance for having placed the power of the State in such a hand. Political oblivion to compromise breakers and honor to those who are true to the policy of Washington, Jefferson and Clay, who were instrumental in consecrating the Territories to freedom. The ordinances of 1789 and 1820 are graven on the hearts of the American people alongside of the names of these great statesmen, and palsied be the arm that dare efface those ordinances from our statute books, and forever silenced the tongue that dares defame their authors.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 9, 1856

Judge Douglas spoke yesterday near the fairgrounds to a slim audience. The highest estimate of the audience we heard was 500. In view of the facts that his handbills were distributed throughout the fairground, and a crier was sent round the ring, where thousands upon thousands were assembled, announcing the hour and place of speaking, and giving him more laudatory superlatives than is justifiable in auctioneers' parlance, it is apparent that our Senator, whose name was once "dear to fame," has lost his power with the people. Such is always the meed of those who betray confidence. After this has been done, glazing words can never call back the influence wielded in years forever gone by. The fact is also significant that Douglas evaded the appointment made for him weeks ago, by his party organs, to speak here on Wednesday, and resorted to the game of attempting to occupy time which his opponents had designated for their demonstration. His signal failure to call out the people shows that they understood and properly appreciated his intrigue.




Source: The Evening Journal, Albany, New York, October 9, 1856

Douglas was brought out to speak recently at Alton, Illinois, after much parade, preparation and drumming up recruits. He spoke adjacent to the Fair Ground, - in the best possible situation to draw a crowd - to a little squad of people, variously estimated at 300 to 600 persons. The "Little Giant" has lost his power in Illinois.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, November 20, 1856

William Brudon - Undertaker, at his old stand on the northwest corner of Market and Second streets, coffin manufacturer and funeral undertaker. N. B. - I also have a vault in Alton Cemetery and will accommodate any person who wish to deposite their deceased friends, on reasonable terms. Also patent metallic burial cases.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 25, 1856

An Irishman named McAffee or McVey, was stabbed on Wednesday night at the grocery known as the Light House on the Northwest corner of State and Front streets. He was taken to the hospital. We have not learned the extent of his injury, or his prospects of recovery. It is difficult to ascertain who gave the wound, as several were engaged in the quarrel.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 22, 1857

We learn that Dr. E. S. Hull, the President of the Illinois Horticultural Society, has purchased a tract of land known as the Hunter tract, adjoining, on the north, that part of our city called Hunterstown, and is preparing the ground with a view to open a grand horticultural farm. The tract consists of a hundred and one acres, and includes hillside exposures, sloping in every direction. The greater portion of this land can be cultivated without difficulty, and all of it can be so cultivated as to produce fruit. Dr. Hull has a great variety and splendid supply of shrubbery, fruit trees, evergreens, &c., which will be transplanted in the grounds of the Horticultural farm as soon as spring opens. This plan, in extent of design, is the embryo of what will be in Dr. Hull's hands, the most magnificent enterprise of the kind in this part of the country.




Source: The New York Times, March 9, 1857

From the Alton Democrat.  Our readers will be surprised, perhaps, to hear that there are 150 Mormons in Alton; that they own a small church building and hold regular Sunday exercises, and that they have their elders and other usual church leaders. The number is constantly increasing by foreigners arriving, and were it not that a body of them leaves every Spring, this sect would surpass any other in Alton. We are informed that some thirty or forty families will leave Alton thus in April next. Of the personal character of these Mormons we cannot speak from very intimate acquaintance. But so far as we have seen or heard, they are honest, sober, and quite industrious people. They are from nearly every European country, and not an American born is to be found among them. They are mostly very illiterate - drawn from the lowest degree of humanity, as regards wealth and social position.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 23, 1857

Further Particulars of the Fire - The planing mill in which the fire was first discovered was owned and carried on by Messrs. Morrison, Beall, Parks and McDowal. The gentlemen of the firm are very confident that the fire was the work of an incendiary, as two of them examined the premises at a late hour in the night - which they have regularly been accustomed to do - and saw that there was not a spark of fire in any of the departments of the establishment. Contrary to what we stated as being understood Wednesday night, we are today informed by a member of the firm that there was no portion of the property insured. It is understood that the energetic gentlemen of the firm will commence making arrangements on Monday next for the immediate erection of a new planing mill on the site of the one destroyed. We learn that the insurance on the house belonging to the estate of J. Flannagan was $300. That on the Methodist church was $3,500. On the parsonage $1,500. The insurance on the frame houses adjoining the parsonage on Fourth street, and which belonged to Messrs. Chouteau & McPike, was $600. We neglected to mention in our article of yesterday that Messrs. Gallion & Co.'s paint shop was in one of the buildings destroyed. They had no insurance upon their stock, about $300 worth of which, we are informed by Mr. Gallion, was destroyed. We have not as yet been able to avail ourselves of a reliable estimate of the entire loss, but as soon as we can do so we will lay it before our readers. We learn that during the prevalence of the fire, unsuccessful attempts were made to enter a number of our business houses by parties unknown, undoubtedly in search of plunder. We cannot leave this subject without again speaking of the disgraceful neglect of the City Council to use the means in their power for securing the property, as well as the lives of our citizens against the ravages of the fiery elements. All are willing to acknowledge, had the fire department been as efficient as it ought to be, the flames on Wednesday night would have been checked before they had communicated to the third building. Is it not a disgrace to the city that she will not take a sufficient interest in the preservation of the property - to say nothing of the risk of life attendant upon fires - of her citizens to support a reliable and efficient fire department? We have engines - one new one - but they are not kept in order. Instead of being furnished with engine houses, they have been kept for the last six weeks under the eaves of the market house, exposed to all kinds of weather. Why have we no fire department? Simply because the City Council will not make the necessary appropriations to sustain one. There are numbers of citizens - young and middle-aged - strong and determined - who would organize themselves into fire companies, if the city authorities would not shamefully withhold their support. Fire companies have been formed, but have been compelled to disband because the Council would not make the necessary appropriations to put and keep the engines in working order. Should a fire break out tomorrow, there is not an engine in the city in a sufficient state of perfection to render effective service - for which the Council is to blame. What stranger who was at the fire on Wednesday night and witnessed the disconcerted action of the citizens, and the palpable inefficiency of the fire department, would not, if he had previously entertained any idea of purchasing property and becoming a citizen here, at once relinquish it, at such palpable proof of the flagrant carelessness of the authorities in regard to the protection of the lives and property of the citizens. This matter calls loudly for reform, and reform we must have if we wish to induce the outlay of more capital and increase of population in Alton.


Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Courier, April 19, 1857

A fire occurred at Alton, Ill., on the night of the 15th, which destroyed the planning mill of Messrs. Morrison, Beale & Co., the adjoining Methodist Church and three dwellings. Loss twenty-five to forty thousand dollars. - Insurance small.


Source: Bloomington, Illinois Weekly Pantagraph, April 22, 1857

A destructive fire took place at Alton last Wednesday night, beginning in the Planing Mill of Morrison & Beal, which was entirely destroyed, together with the Methodist church and parsonage, a two-story frame house adjoining the latter, and several stables and other outbuildings. The Waverly House, Piasa House, and a large brick warehouse belonging to Mr. Brown of the Courier, were several times on fire, but were saved. The fire is believed to have been the work of an incendiary. Several attempts were made to enter business houses during the fire. Later in the night, the large warehouse was again set on fire but was saved.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 7, 1857

We called on yesterday and examined Messrs. Beaumont & Milne's large stock of American and Foreign Marble, Marble Dust, White Sand, Cement, Plaster Paris, and Plastering Hair, than which we venture to say there is none superior in beauty and excellence in this or any other Western city. This Marble Yard was first established in 1849 by Mr. John Beaumont, who in 1856 associated with himself, Mr. Alex Milne, a thorough-going business man, and as skillful a letterer and carver as can be found in the United States. Under the energetic control of these two gentlemen, their business, which at first was very small, has increased until it has become not only a most important, but also a very profitable branch of business. The Sculpture, Statuary and Monumental work turned out by Messrs. Beaumont & Milne, for beauty and taste in design and execution, is not surpassed by any like house in the West. These gentlemen are always prepared to fill all orders for work to the entire satisfaction of their patrons, and to furnish other articles of their trade, of as fine quality, at as liberal prices as they can be procured elsewhere.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 14, 1857

In January 1853, on a very small capital, Mr. Goulding opened a small jewelry store on the north side of Third Street. At first his business was very small, but by close and prompt attention to business and the demands of his customers, he gained the confidence of the community and now enjoys a prominence among the business men of the city for honesty, integrity, and extent of business, which numbers have in vain strives for years to attain. Mr. Goulding's stock for superiority of material and manufacture, variety, and elegance of style, is not surpassed by any stock of goods ever brought to the city. It consists of the very finest qualities and latest styles of useful and ornamental jewelry. Ladies and gentlemen's superior gold and silver watches, watch chains, finger rings, lockets, gold and silver pen and pencil cases, silver spoons, knives and forks, clocks, musical instruments, &c.  These goods are sold at the very lowest figures, and are sold for just what they are and nothing more. Mr. Goulding keeps constantly in his employ the very best of workmen, by whom watches, clocks and jewelry will be cleaned and repaired to order.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 14, 1857

When the 10 o'clock freight train over the Terra Haute, Alton & St. Louis Railroad arrived at the junction four miles below the city on Friday night, it was discovered that one of the brakemen, named Jerome ?eads was missing. A car being sent back along the track, the missing man was found upon the track near a bridge a short distance this side of Bethalto, his body being cut in two and his head badly bruised in such a manner as to indicate that he had fallen between the cars while they were in motion, and his body been passed over by the wheels. A jury being summoned by Coroner Wright, and an examination into the circumstances made, a verdict in accordance with the above facts was rendered. The railroad company provided a coffin, .... respectably buried at .... [unreadable]




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 14, 1857

About ten months ago a marble yard was established in this city [Alton] by Messrs. Clement & Raymond, who were at that time almost entire strangers to the citizens. Of course their business was at first small, but by the uniform gentlemanly conduct and energy of the proprietors, and the superior taste and promptness with which they filled all orders left with them, they won the confidence of the community, which betrays itself in their books by the footing up of their business for ten months, in the snug and quite material form of rising $13,000. After examining their stock of marble and some of their work, we do not find ourselves at a loss to account for this extraordinary success. Their stock of marble is very large and is from the best American and Italian quarries, and from it, through the assistance of five of the most experienced and skillful engravers and letterers in the West, whose services they have secured at great expense, they are prepared to furnish their customers with any quantity or quality of work they may desire. Some of the work which we examined, in both American and Italian marble, is such as we have rarely, if ever, seen surpassed for elegance of taste in conception and execution. Messrs. Clement & Raymond confine themselves entirely to the marble business, lettering and putting up tombstones and monuments, furnishing and preparing slabs for counters, centre tables, &c.  For the furtherance of their business, they employ a traveling agent who receives and transmits to them orders from the surrounding country. In the pursuance of their business, Messrs. C. & R. display an energy which gives them a great prominence in the respect of the business community, and points them out as worthy of success.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 4, 1857

A man who had been going round this town, evidently crazy, having attacked several of the citizens with stones, clubs, &c., was finally locked up in jail on Monday night last. Next morning the jailer found him dead on the floor. The deceased had torn off a strip of plank, and having tied his handkerchief round his neck, had, by means of this stick, twisted his handkerchief till he had literally choked himself to death. This was certainly a strange way of committing suicide, and only worthy the ingenuity of a crazy man. An inquest was held on the body, and a verdict rendered in accordance with the above facts. Name of deceased unknown.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 9, 1857

Although there was no concert of action or organized preparation among our citizens for the festivities that are always expected to occur on each return of the anniversary of our nation's natal day, and consequently no noisy or showy demonstration in the way of a celebration, we believe the day was very generally honored and observed in a proper and becoming manner. Our citizens generally seemed animated by a commendable feeling of patriotic gratitude, which prompted them to do all possible honor to the memory of the times to which, and the men to whom, we owe the civil and religious liberties and the high degree of prosperity which we now enjoy. Nearly all the business houses of the city were closed for the day, and all our citizens abandoned themselves to some kind of recreation or enjoyment.


Although, as we said before, there was no large central celebration, the different organizations and societies of the city, together with private parties, turned out in different directions and for different exercises, but all for the purpose of celebrating and enjoying "the Fourth." Every possible facility of transit was afforded these parties by our railroads and packet line. Capt. Brown kept his two fine steamers, "Reindeer" and "Baltimore," busily plying between here and St. Louis all day - touching at the picnic grounds at the mouth of Wood River, both going and coming. These steamers were handsomely and gaily decorated with flags and streamers and green boughs of trees, and on board of each was a fine band of music with every appliance for making the excursion pleasant. The railroad trains also were very prettily decorated with flags and green boughs.


The day was mild and pleasant. A cloudless sky greeted the rays of the morning sun, and for awhile we feared it would be disagreeably warm towards noon; but during the most of the day after ten o'clock, the clouds afforded an almost perfect protection from the rays of the sun. The juveniles were out in full force, of course. Whoever knew them to be absent when "the Fourth of July" came round, or to be deficient in patriotism of their peculiar kind. Armed with magazines of firecrackers and hand rockets, they could be seen in swarms on every corner, whence they disseminated their artillery in such a manner as to frighten the greatest possible number of horses to the imminent risk of the necks and limbs of their riders and drivers.


At an early hour we heard the inspiring notes of the martial fife and drum just below our office, and on looking out we saw the "Alton National Guards," fully uniformed and equipped, marching up State street. With the name or sight of the National Guards at once arises the good looking image of Capt. W. H. Turner, for he had much to do with their organization and early history, and to him the company is indebted for that course of systematic training which has won for it the well-merited reputation of being one of the best drilled and finest looking companies in Southern Illinois; but when we looked for him at the head of the company, we discovered he was not there. It will be remembered that he resigned his office of Captain just one year ago, and having been re-elected only last week, his new uniform is not yet ready, and he could not take his station. The company was under command of Lieutenants Platt and Souther, who seemed to thoroughly understand what they were about. The arms and accoutrements of the company were in fine order, and as they paraded through the streets preceded by a fine band of music, we thought they looked very much like soldiers.


The Alton Jargurs - This well-drilled German Military Company, with their usual promptness to acknowledge the importance of the anniversary of the independence of the country they have adopted for their own, appeared upon the street in front of their armory, at an early hour, arrayed in their tasteful uniforms, ready for a day of pleasure. At the word of command from Capt. Weigler, they moved up Second street to State, up State to Third, where they were reviewed by Maj. Stringrant, an officer in the late war with Mexico. Their evolutions were accomplished with a rapidity, precision and grace, which did them credit as a company, and must have been highly gratifying to their officers as it was to the spectators who thronged around them on both sides of the street. After their review, at the "forward" from their Captain, they moved off to the lively notes of their excellent band down Third street to Piasa, down Piasa to Water, and down Water to Hunterstown. Returning, they came up Second street to Piasa, up Piasa to Third, up Third to Belle, and up Belle to the beautiful Grove above the cave spring, where they were joined by a large number of their fellow citizens. After the company had stacked their arms, and spent a short time in social intercourse with their friends, the assembly was called to order, and listened to appropriate speeches from several gentlemen who were called out. With the usual profusion which is so characteristic of the Germans in their festivities, a sumptuous dinner was spread, to which, after the speaking, all who chose sat down, and while listening to the rich tones of the band music as it swept up amid the trees and was wafted over their waving tops upon the wings of the gentle breeze that dallied sportively with their pendant boughs, engaged themselves, for something fore than an hour, in the very pleasant occupations of gratifying the cravings of the physical man by consuming the varieties of good things on the hospitable board, singing and entering generally into social enjoyments with a merriment and zest that could only be born of hearts and minds for the time being free from the cares and vexations of business. After the repast, a large number of gentlemen and ladies, engaged in dancing and various other social pastimes upon the grace sward during the remainder of the afternoon and evening until about 11 o'clock at night, when all retired to their homes much pleased with those enjoyments in which they had taken so much delight. Altogether, the day, as spent by the members of the company and their numerous friends who were present, was one of the pleasantest. Not a single occurrence transpired to mar the harmony and good feeling that existed throughout the whole extent of the merry re-union.


The Sucker Fire Company - At 1 1/2 o'clock p.m., this large and well organized company, under command of Capt. J. P. Ash, and accompanied by Murray's excellent brass band, proceeded from their engine house with their machine, which was handsomely decorated with flowers and evergreens, and paraded in their beautiful uniforms through Third, up State street, to a picnic, where they were entertained for something near an hour, after which they again returned along State street to Third, from Third to Belle, up Belle to Ninth and up Ninth to the Office of the Illinois Mutual Insurance Company, where they were received by the Messrs. Atwood, who politely escorted them through the different departments of the Insurance building, and afterward to the private residence of Mr. M. G. Atwood, where they were seated at a board laden with the choicest delicacies and viands of the season, in rich profession, of which they partook freely, frequently toasting their hospitable entertainers, who it appeared were for the time being, endowed with ubiquity, being at each member's elbow at the same time urging them to partake of some one of the yet untasted fruits or delicacies, until their capacity proving unequal to the occasion, they were compelled to leave the bounteously laden board, not more than half lightened of its load, and returning their thanks to their hospitable entertainers, in three rousing cheers, started for their homes, proceeding down Henry, up Second, and through Piasa and Third streets to their engine house. The day was one long to be remembered by the Sucker boys. Many a bright smile was bestowed upon them, and many a wreath and garland was thrown into their ranks and upon their tastefully decorated engine, from the bevys of ladies who came out to look at their handsome faces, and well-knit limbs and manly forms, so well displayed by their beautiful uniforms, as they passed along the streets. At a meeting of the Sucker company, held yesterday evening, the following short but expressive resolution was unanimously adopted with vociferous cheers:  Resolved, That we return to Messrs. M. G. & J. Atwood, who extended to us such munificent hospitality on the Fourth, our sincere and heartfelt thanks.


The School Convention - The convention of the public schools of the city at 3 o'clock in the afternoon in the grove between Twelfth and Thirteenth, and Langdon and Henry streets, we may say was well attended when we consider the many adverse circumstances under which it was held. Some three or four hundred people in all, assembled, consisting of delegations from the several schools and the prominent friends of education in the city, including the entire visiting board, the chairman and the members of the executive board from the Fourth Ward, and a majority of the teachers in the public schools. The medals for proficiency and punctuality were conferred by the chairman of the visiting board upon the pupils who had been designated by the teachers of the several schools as entitled to them, except in a few cases, and those were confined to one school, where the absence of the pupils designated prevented. The medals were silver, of half dollar size, very neatly executed and appropriately inscribed. These medals were the gift of the City, by vote of the City Council. Fifteen of the eighteen pupils designated were present, and their looks of timid, grateful joy as they received the "awards of merit," evinced the interest which the pupils of the public schools feel in the notice which the City Council have been pleased to extend to them. An elegant green satin banner, the gift of the worthy Chairman of the Executive or Council Board, Mr. Scarritt, was presented to the intermediate department of School No. 3, taught by Miss Richmond, it having, in the judgment of the Visiting Board, furnished the best evidence of punctuality during the last six months. On one side of this Banner was inscribed in golden letter, "Punctuality Wins the Prize," and on the reverse, "Alton City School." We learn that this banner will be left in the possession of the School for six months, at the expiration of which time it will be again awarded to such school as shall merit it for the same reason.  The Declaration of Independence was read in a very spirited and creditable manner by Masters James McMasters and David Stanton, pupils in the public schools. "The Flag of our Union" was well recited by Master William Catts. Several volunteer addresses were made by intelligent gentlemen present. The Sucker Fire Company, coming up during the exercises, halted while the medals were being conferred, and their band discoursed very excellent music, adding very much to the pleasure of the company. To those who did not know the adverse circumstances attending this convention, it would appear to be a failure. Had one-half the pupils of the public schools been in attendance, they would have been equal in numbers to the entire concourse there present. A serious mistake was made in the appointment. While a laudable interest is manifested by our citizens in the public schools, it would be unreasonable to suppose that the boys and girls who attend them would leave the festivities and numerous amusements and attractions of the great national holiday to attend a gathering that would be equally appropriate on any other day of the year, and was in its nature akin to and connected with their every day avocations. Again, it was very unfortunate that the place appointed for the gathering by public notice in all the schools was changed, and the notice of the change was insufficient. It appears to us that change should have been announced from the several pulpits of the city. Again, the time was in the midst of the vacation, when a great proportion of the teachers were absent. Again, there was no programme of exercises, and everything was necessarily impromptu. Extemporaneous speeches on such occasions we prefer, but various other arrangements were necessary which could not well be made without conference between the teachers and the committee. Contrast this demonstration with the Wood River "picnic," and the advantages of previous systematic arrangements will be clearly seen. There, while the mayor presided, the earnest cooperation of all the teachers was solicited and secured. It appears to us that this convention need not have been a failure had it been held on the last day of the term, and had a little more forethought been given to the programme. The chairman of the council board had made the arrangements devolving upon him and so performed his part as to reflect credit upon his reputed good judgment. We think that if a similar demonstration should be made next year, and a proper time is fixed, and judicious arrangements are made, a demonstration may be made that will call out the schools in their full strength and will awaken a deep interest in the minds of the friends of the public schools.


The [Alton Weekly] Courier Picnic - Closely confined within brick walls day and night, six days out of every week, the member of our establishment determined that for one day at least they would escape from the heat and dust and noise and confined atmosphere of the city, and have a ramble in the woods, roll upon the grass and fill their lungs with the fresh pure air of heaven. Actuated by a common motive, they made common cause of the enterprise and united together from every department - old and young, great and small - in getting up a Pic Nic Party for the mouth of Wood River. Provided with everything necessary to secure the comfort and contribute to the amusement of all concerned, and accompanied by their families and a number of invited guests, our party, to the number of about one hundred, took passage on the Reindeer [steamer], and in a few minutes we were all safely landed at the beautiful grove selected as the scene of our recreation. The National Guards, together with a large number of other citizens, accompanied us to the ground, and spent an hour or so in rambling over the fresh green award, returning on the next boat, which brought a crowd of pleasure seekers from St. Louis. Being provided with the necessary material, we erected a table upon which the ladies of our party very soon arranged the substantials and delicacies of our feast, while some of the young men busied themselves in icing sundry pitchers of Mississippi water and manufacturing a barrel of lemonade. Everything being in readiness, we charged upon the edibles in solid phalanx, and the entire squadron of roast chicken, boiled ham and tongue, cakes, pies, pickles, nuts, candies, confectionaries, ice cream, &c, &c. suffered a worse than Waterloo defeat; the destruction was awful. The dinner was finally disposed of, and each one was compelled to reluctantly acknowledge that he was physically incapable of eating any more; the gentlemen each smoked a cigar while the ladies finished sipping their ice cream, after which everybody "went in" for a general "free frolic." Several swings had been erected, in which the ladies by turns indulged in airy flights towards the tops of the trees. Sentimental young couples promenaded around just far enough off to be out of hearing, while the more lively ones ran foot-races in every direction, or rolled and tumbled on the soft green grass. Shouts of laughter, with every other possible demonstration of merriment and hilarity, resounded on all sides. So passed the whole afternoon. About five o'clock, just as the Reindeer, which was expected to call for us, hove in sight, a smart shower of rain came up - just enough to drive the ladies under the trees like a flock of frightened partridges, but not enough to do any harm. By the time the boat reached the landing, the shower ceased, we all got safe on board, and in a very short time reached our levee and our homes, a great deal more than satisfied with our day's festivities.


The Moonlight Excursion and Ball - In the evening, the Reindeer made a moonlight excursion up the river, leaving our levee a little after eight o'clock, with a party of some forty or fifty couples on board. The evening was cool and pleasant, the moon shone brightly, and everything conspired to render the excursion as pleasant as it could possibly be. Scarce had the boat left the wharf ere the music struck up, the dancing commenced and was continued with great animation until she returned to our levee a few minutes before twelve. Altogether, this Fourth passed off very much to the satisfaction of all our citizens, so far as we could ascertain, and we think nearly all will remember it with feelings of unalloyed pleasure.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 27, 1857

A fire occurred last night about twelve o'clock in the kitchen of the building on Third street, near Henry, occupied by the Rev. R. R. Coon, which soon communicated to the adjoining tenement occupied by R. Packard, Esq., both of which were entirely consumed in a short time. For a while the residences of Mrs. Hood and D. D. Ryrie, Esq., were in considerable danger, but were saved. The Rev. Mr. Coon saved the most of his furniture, library, &c., and Mr. Packard saved the most of his furniture, but both were in a damaged condition. The building was owned by Mrs. Hood, and was worth about $3,500. There was an insurance upon it for $1,700 in the Illinois Mutual Office. The heavy grade of the streets in that neighborhood prevented the Engines reaching there in time to save the building. Both the Sucker and Pioneer were on the ground as soon as possible, and did all which was in the power of any engines to accomplish. They worked with a hearty good will and showed themselves both ready and willing at the call of duty. The Chief Engineer was promptly on the ground and took the general direction.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 17, 1857

Every city has its dens of infamy and its hot beds of crime where the hardened sinner is continued in his evil ways and the young and growing trained up to follow in the footsteps of their fathers. We have many such in our midst, but none so deserving of notice and condemnation as the miserable row of drinking houses that flank the west side of State street, between Short street and the Levee. In the course of our daily rounds, we often pass them, always unwillingly, and there we invariably see things that almost make us doubt whether man is not indeed a higher type of some brute, whether the progressive theory is not the true one. Constantly lounging around are seen the battered hulks of humanity, that started smilingly on the voyage of life, and not yet having reached their port, are drifting hither and thither without compass, helm or chart. Not in the storms inevitable to a life of sober honesty have they thus been wrecked, but in the eddies and whirlpools, whither none but fool-hardy voyagers would venture. But these wrecks are not the only objects of commiseration mingled with a feeling of loathsome disgust that meet our eyes there. Young and beardless boys, over whom the watchful care of a mother ought yet to be extended, are seen just wetting their feet in this pool of vice and crime, or boldly plunging into its midst. And why should they not with the unceasing example before them? The very atmosphere of the place is redolent of vileness, ever burdened with the scent of villianous compounds, mockingly called liquors, always bearing on it the echoes of curses and blasphemies, unfit for the ear of decency and morality. No one can pass by without having his moral asture shocked and outraged, unless he himself be part and parcel of the place, and the community that dwells therein. Now we have one simple question to ask. Why should these things be? Good natured, care-nothing people may shake their heads and tell us they are the inevitable concomitants of a large community dwelling together in one place. What? - drunkenness, disgusting language, and brutal conduct necessary evils, which we must endure and cannot cure or restrain? We are not so credulous. We believe that something can be done if the will be not wanting. And should not something be done? Go ye doubting ones take there your stand, and for one short hour listen to all that is said and see all that is done and if you are not then convinced, no words, no new arguments can convince you; nothing but the coming home of the arrow to your own breast. No longer ago than last evening, two of our worthy citizens, Messrs. John Lock and Harvey Burnett, complained to us of the disgusting state of things around that locality. Within a distance of fifty feet they counted four men laying on or near the sidewalk, beastly drunk, and another lying inside a cellar way covered with blood. Where is the City Marshall?




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 24, 1857

It always affords us unqualified pleasure to chronicle the business success of those of our businessmen who located here long years ago, when our city was in its infancy; who started with it in its struggle for prosperity, and have remained faithful to its interests, striving to promote its growth in the dark hours of its adversity as perseveringly as in the sunshine of its prosperity. In this class, most of our readers will at once recognize the justice of ranking Messrs. J. W. & H. Schweppe, dealers in ready made clothing and all kinds of furnishing goods, foreign and domestic dry goods, hats and caps, boots and shoes, &c., &c., who have been engaged in the same business at the same stand in our city for more than seventeen years last past without change of any kind except a steady, rapid, wholesome growth and expansion of business, as year followed year, consequent upon the fair, liberal and honorable course of dealing which has ever characterized their business transactions. No firm in our city is more generally known or more highly respected than the Messrs. Schweppe. And such is their popularity, their sales have steadily increased until they now do as large a retail trade as, perhaps, any other house in the West. We yesterday took a look through their store on Second street (running clear through in Front) and were astonished at seeing the immense stock of goods they have just opened for the fall and winter trade, and could scarcely credit the assurance that it would all be sold by retail, and the most of it to regular customers. We have been in many jobbing houses that could not boast a larger or better stock of goods than that recently opened by the Messrs. Schweppe for their retail trade. It is not worth while for us to undertake to toll our readers what they have, for their assortment comprises everything that can be called for in the way of clothing or furnishing goods, from the coarsest to the finest fabrics, and at any price desired, from five dollars to fifty for a full suit. Their stock of dry goods, hats and caps, boots and shoes, trunks &c., also, is perfect and complete. Persons desiring anything in their line will do well to call on the Messrs. Schweppe, who can suit them in goods and prices, if it can be done at all. See their advertisement in another part of this paper.




Source: The Daily Palladium, Oswego, New York, November 13, 1857

The slaughter and packing establishment of John Smith, of Alton, Illinois, was completely destroyed on the 3d instant, by the explosion of a tank of lard! Steam being let' into it by the engineer, it exploded with such force as to throw it up perpendicularly, through two floors and the roof to a considerable height above the building, whence it fell again, nearly as perpendicularly as it rose and struck the ground not more than ten feet from the place originally occupied by it. Of the bricks composing the walls, not five hundred were left one upon another; the roof was broken into innumerable pieces; the stone foundation was so racked that it was rendered totally useless, in short the whole building was an entire ruin. What won't explode, now?




Source: St. Louis Christian Advocate, November 19, 1857

Friday, 13th - On last evening the steamboat "Reindeer," used for some years past as a regular packet between this and Alton, struck a snag and sunk, about five miles this side of Alton. It is said the boat will be a total loss. She was valued at fifteen thousand dollars. No insurance. No lives were lost, and the freight and furniture saved.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 10, 1857

The improvement of the streets suspended by the cold weather, is being rapidly resumed. A large force of workmen were yesterday engaged on Henry street, digging down and carting away the hill. When the grading of this street is finished, it will be one of the best in the city.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 7, 1858

We learn that a company is now being formed under the charter granted by the last Legislature for the purpose of erecting Water Works to supply the city with an abundance of pure water. Propositions to supply the pipe, of the most favorable character, have been received, and a member of the company is now engaged in selecting a suitable location for the reservoir, which will be placed so high that the upper stories of the highest dwelling in Middle Alton can be supplied. It is intended to commence operations in the spring, and to have the machinery and reservoir finished, and also the main pipe laid in the principal streets, by the 1st of October next. At the elevation at which it is proposed to place the reservoir, by merely attaching a pipe to a street hydrant, the water would force itself over the roof of the highest house in the business part of the city, making property far more secure than it is now, and greatly reducing the present tax for insurance. Aside from the extra insurance thus saved, the luxury and convenience of constantly having a full supply of pure water in every house cannot be over estimated. Over one half of the families in Alton have no regular supply of water. The other half are dependent on cisterns and wells, which are frequently empty. Then comes an appeal to the water cart, which is both expensive and unsatisfactory. With Water Works there is some expense also, but it is very trifling and the convenience cannot be computed in dollars and cents.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 11, 1858

Feeling confident that the "ups and downs" of our city must possess a peculiar ______ to her people, we took a miscellaneous journey, on yesterday, over the picturesque hills and through the romantic vales with which the beautiful hand of Nature has so lavishly endowed us - the object of our voyage being to ascertain the extent of the improvements which have been so industriously pushed forward during the past year. Alton, despite the ruggedness of her appearance, possesses attractions which the eye of a native or an old resident perhaps can alone appreciate. Her rock-based hills, which to strangers seem to be so many repelling and discouraging frowns from Nature, to us possess all that charm which ever attaches to the surroundings of home, and when they finally fall, as fall they must, before the steady march of progress, the void created by their overthrow, though its slow but sure approach may have rendered its appearance familiar to those who have grown with its growth, will be one which older citizens will regard with mingled feelings of pride and regret, as memory recalls the ancient and much-loved hills, which once rose in its place. However, our tramp yesterday was not made for the purpose of gathering material for an elegy on these troublesome hills; dear as they are, we desire to chronicle their partial downfall. In every direction, from east to west, from north to south, they are out through and through by the busy hand of man. Henry street, which was once "somewhere out east," has been carried right through a constant succession of hills, and now forms an uninterrupted though somewhat indirect connection between Middletown and the business parts of the city. The next street west of Henry is Langdon, which has been "dug out" from Front to Third streets. From Third to Fifth occurs what in history would be called an interregnum, in which the most remarkable objects are a hill, a pond, and another hill. At fifth street the thread is again resumed, and takes passengers by a good road to Middle Alton. George and Alton streets have both been excavated as far back as Fifth, and Easton street is in passable order to Fourth. Alby street has been cut clear through to Twelfth, and Market is navigable as far as Sixth. Third street, which from its width and position, will probably become in time the principal thoroughfare of the city, has absorbed a great deal of labor, and the grading upon it is almost wholly complete from Easton street to its junction with Second street, below Henry. Fourth street presents a very respectable appearance from Langdon street to Easton; from Piasa to Easton, however, there is an elevation which any one desirous of emulating Napoleon's ascent of the Alps, would do well to select as a suitable subject for the experiment. It should be graded as soon as practicable, as it is essential to the safety of passengers along Market street either on horseback or in vehicle. Notwithstanding some slight deficiencies, however, which it has been impossible to obviate in the brief time during which the work has been so vigorously carried forward, the condition of most of our principal streets at this time is a wonderful improvement on what it was twelve months ago, and, while it reflects abundant credit on the energy and skill of those who have had control of our public improvements, gives substantial promise of what they will yet do to increase the wealth and prosperity of our city. Alton never had more reason to be proud of the present, and sanguine of the future, than she has now.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 6, 1858

Last night about ten o'clock, a light in the upper end of the city raised an alarm of fire; when, proceeding in that direction, it was discovered that the steamboat, Jacob D. Early, which has been laid up for several weeks, a short distance above town, was on fire. By the time the firemen reached the ground she was too far gone to permit a hope of saving her. They, however, did good service by driving the fire back from her lines, and thus preventing her burning loose from the shore and floating past the city, by which much damage might have been done, as the wind set to the Illinois shore, and there were several boats at the levee. The flames spread rapidly at first, and in a short time the hurricane roof fell in and the boat was completely enveloped in flames. Although it was impossible to extinguish the fire, yet the firemen were able to keep it subdued and prevent its communication with the timber on shore. She burned rather slowly, but the fire did not cease until it had reached the water's edge. Jacob D. Early was five years old, valued at eight thousand dollars, was owned by Captain Hollister and others, and was insured in Cincinnati for five thousand dollars. The origin of the fire is not known. It was first discovered in the roof of the chambermaid's room, and it is thought it may have caught from the sparks from some passing boat. The boat had just been undergoing repairs at St. Louis at an expense of two thousand dollars. The books, papers, and everything of a combustible nature on board of her was lost. It is thought that the hull will be saved though in a damaged condition. The Pioneer Company are entitled to much credit for their promptness, and the untiring energy with which they labored to check the flames. They were the only company of the ground, and were instrumental in preventing much damage. The Washington Company, owing to the great distance at which their engine house is located from the scene of the conflagration, were late in reaching the scene. The Hook and Ladder Company, though out with their usual promptness, were unable to pass through a narrow passage in the road with their carriage, and had to leave it behind. The company went on however, and did efficient service.   Additional in Regard to the Burning of the "Jacob D. Early:"  We are happy to learn that the hull of this ill-fated boat was but little, if at all, damaged; the deck being burned through in one or two places only, and the boilers and shafts are still standing. This result - a very rare occurrence in steamboat fires - is owing entirely to the steady efforts and hard work of our Fire Department, the member of which, for four hours, fought the flames inch by inch, and finally conquered them. Had the burning boat escaped from its fastenings and drifted past our levee, the damage which would have been done can scarcely be estimated.


[NOTES: Captain Edward Hollister salvaged the steamboat and used part of the railing for rails on the second floor balcony of the house he built in 1860. The steamboat was named after Jacob D. Early, one of the most respected pioneers of Terre Haute, Indiana. I could find no photos of the steamboat.]




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 27, 1858

We are pained to have to record the occurrence yesterday of another of those disgraceful scenes known as "Prize Fights," on an island a short distance above our city. The parties were from St. Louis, and came up on the steamer Equinox, which they had chartered for that purpose, and which was filled with a crowd of just such men as one would expect to see on such an occasion. Towards evening the boat returned on its way back to St. Louis, and we heard that the brutal contest had actually taken place, but we obtained no particulars, and if we had we would not disgust our readers with a repetition of them. Nearly a year has elapsed since the last prize fight occurred in this vicinity, and we hope the time is not far distant when such debasing and degrading exhibitions will be unknown.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 17, 1858

The Annual Parade of the Fire Department of Alton, which has been postponed so often and so long on account of the weather and for other reasons, came off yesterday. Fortunately, the day was very fine. Clear and dry without being oppressively warm, our gallant firemen could not have desired more pleasant weather for their celebration. At an early hour, our sidewalks were lined with the members of the different companies, in their holiday uniforms, hurrying each to the respective rendezvous of his company. The exercises of the day were commenced by a banner presentation, which came off in front of the residence of Capt. T. G. Starr, where Mr. Richard Ennis, on behalf of the ladies of Alton, presented a beautiful banner to "Altona Engine Company No. 1," accompanying the presentation with a very neat and appropriate speech. John Trible, Esq., on the part of the Company, received the gift and in a few well-timed remarks, acknowledged the honor, and returned the thanks of his gallant brother firemen. The gift, made by the hands of the fair donors themselves, was a beautiful banner of blue silk, bearing on its front, in gilt letters - "Presented to Engine Company No. 1, Organized 1835, by the Ladies of Alton," and on the reverse a handsomely illuminated figure of a fireman in full uniform. At the close of the presentation, Mr. Cornelius Ryan, Chief Engineer of the Alton Fire Department, aided by Mr. Thomas Dimmock, Assistant Engineer, formed the procession, which marched through the principal streets in the following order:


Lafayette Hook and Ladder No. 1.

Their carriage drawn by a splendid pair of white horses, and the members of the company properly arranged under Capt. B. A. Carpenter, Foreman, and Mr. Calvin D. Caldwell, Assistant. Although this company was not out in full force, less than half their number being in the procession, they made a very fine appearance. Their uniform is a red shirt and black pantaloons.


Altona Hose, No. 1

Under Mr. George R. Hopkins, Foreman, followed by:


Altona Engine Company, No. 1

Under the guidance of Mr. Lewis B. Hubble, Foreman, and Mr. L. S. Briggs, Assistant. Although the member of this company were not nearly all out, they made a very fine appearance in their neat uniform of red shirts with blue collars and black pants. Between the Altona Hose and Engine companies was stationed Murphy's Brass Band, which discoursed excellent and enlivening music in its usual superior style.


Washington Engine Company No. 2

Capt. Joseph Gutzweiller, Foreman, and Mr. Phillip Mather, Assistant, their engine drawn by four horses. This company turned out in greater numbers than any other in the procession; their uniform is also a red shirt with black pantaloons.


Pioneer Hose Company No. 3

Of which Mr. William G. Gallion is Foreman. Immediately behind this gallant little band came:


Pioneer Engine Company, No. 3

Mr. Jared P. Ash, Foreman, and Mr. J. Regan, Assistant. This company is composed exclusively of young men, many of these being mere lads. But, although they are but boys in stature and age, they are as manly a looking set of boys as can be often seen; and managed their engine as well as older men and older companies. Their uniform is a red shirt with white pantaloons, in which they looked extremely well.


The Review:

On Third street - reaching clear from Piasa to State - the procession was halted, where Chief Engineer Ryan, accompanied by Assistant Dimmock, proceeded to make the annual review or inspection required of his office. After the review, the music struck up a lively march, and the procession proceeded on in the course prescribed for it, and which we published in our last issue.


The Collation and the Dinner:

In passing through Middletown, and when opposite the office of the Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the procession was met by Moses G. Atwood, Esq., the popular Secretary of that Company, and invited into the large Hall of their new building, where he had prepared a welcome for them in the shape of a fine, cold collation. Here "the boys" spent a very pleasant half hour resting themselves and refreshing the physical man with the good things so generously and so bountifully provided. Resuming their line of march, they arrived, about one o'clock, at the "Cave Spring Grove," where they had ordered a dinner to be spread, which they proceeded to dispatch.


The Speeches:

Their hunger being appeased, speeches were decided to be in order. The first call was upon Mr. C. Ryan, the popular Chief Engineer of the Department. He responded briefly but pointedly, in some well-timed and happy remarks. Calls were then made upon and responded to by Mr. Dimmock, Assistant Engineer; Alderman L. S. Metcalf; and Messrs, Richard Ennis, R. P. Tansey, John Fitch, and Dr. R. W. English. The speeches were all short, as they should be in such cases, but exceedingly appropriate to the occasion, and some of them very happily pointed.


The Trial:

After the procession had returned to the city, the Engines were taken to Piasa street between Front and Third, where a trial of power and skill was had. The first trial was by the "washing out" process. In this, the new engine - the "Altona" - was found to work admirably. It was proved to be much more than a match for either of the others, and almost equal to both of them. It was then withdrawn, and the contest remained between the "Washington" and the Pioneer," the latter of which, after three or four hard-fought contests, came off victorious. Owing to an accident or two, and some other causes, all of which operated against the "Washington," the test was by no means a fair one, and did not give the members of that excellent company an opportunity to do themselves justice. Had it been otherwise, the result would probably have been different.


The next trial was to prove which engine could throw to the greatest altitude, in which all three did well, each throwing entirely over the highest point of the cornice of the Illinois Iron Works. Perhaps no trial of the kind was ever more evenly matched. For a long time it seemed impossible to decide which would excel, and the gallant Fireman worked with a power and a perseverance that awakened the liveliest admiration among the immense crowd of spectators, who were almost as much excited as themselves. So close was the contest that spectators, who watched with eager interest, differed as to which engine had thrown water the highest. Our own careful observation left the impression on our mind that the "Washington" gained a little the highest point, and that the "Pioneer" came next. In this view a majority of the disinterested spectators, with whom we have conversed, agree with us, although all admit the contest to have been so close as to almost make it a "draw game."



Altogether ....our firemen have proved t our .....[unreadable] stores, the windows of their houses, and almost every available standing place, to witness the magnificent display made by the procession, and the still more interesting trial of prowess and skill, that we have in Alton as good looking, as orderly, and as effective a force of Firemen as can be found anywhere in the West, and three very excellent and very reliable engines.


The new "Altona" is a beautiful engine, and works well. It has, so far, given entire satisfaction. It has immense power, as it proved yesterday by "washing out" the other engines so speedily, and by throwing two streams within a very small fraction of as high as the other engines, or even itself, could throw one. It is in the hands, too, of as brave and reliable a company as ever manned a pair of brakes, and will do noble and effective service whenever occasion requires.


The "Washington" Engine has been many years in Alton, and although small, is known to possess immense power. It is manned by a large company, composed exclusively of our German fellow citizens, and we must say that we have never seen a more orderly, better disciplined, or more effective-looking company anywhere. Their deportment, as well as their exhibition of skill on yesterday, reflects great credit upon them, and we are but re-echoing the opinion we have heard expressed by a large number of our leading citizens, when we say that they are deserving of the very highest mead of praise. They go about their duty with a prompt alacrity, an energetic firmness, and pursue it with a determined perseverance, which prove that when Firemen's services are really needed by our citizens, theirs cannot be dispensed with.


Of the "Pioneer" Engine's power and capacity, we have often given a description, for it is the oldest engine in our city. Of the gallant little Company who now have it in charge, we can only repeat what we have said before, that they evidently know what they are about, and though most of them are young in years, they are "pluck from the heels of their boots up."


The Hook and Ladder Company gave some exhibitions of their skill in putting up and taking down their ladders, and in ascending and descending them; but, as they had no competition, the trial created less excitement than did that of the engines.


We observed that all the carriages had flags and banners flying, and that they were all beautifully and tastefully ornamented with wreaths and festoons of evergreens and flowers. On each of the Engines, on several of the Hose Carriages, and on the Hook and Ladder Carriage, we observed small boys - some of them not over four or five years old - dressed in the uniforms of the respective Companies. They seemed very proud of a position of which they certainly were an ornament.


Towards the close of the procession march, we observed that many of the gallant young Firemen wore beautiful wreaths over their shoulders, or around their hats, or carried handsome and fragrant bouquets in their hands. From the many beautiful and animated faces we had seen at the windows and doors of almost every house as the procession moved past, we were at no loss to surmise where these graceful gifts came from; and the idea occurred to us that, on certain occasions and under certain circumstance, it must be very pleasant to be a fireman.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 15, 1858

About twelve o'clock last night fire was discovered bursting through the front of Mr. Brudon's Coffin Manufactory on market street, a few doors north of Second street. It was some time before any of the engines reached the ground, and in the meantime the building, which was of wood and filled with the most combustible materials, was completely enveloped in flames. The fire then spread to the dwelling house next north of the manufactory, and to the store room and residence of Mr. Brudon, south of the manufactory, and thence to the frame adjoining, all of which were entirely consumed. Mr. Brudon owned the manufactory and the two story frame buildings south of it, and were occupied by him. His stock in the manufactory was entirely consumed. His household furniture and stock in the corner frame building were saved in a damaged condition. Mr. Wolford, since the high water, has occupied one of the stores. His goods were saved, but somewhat damaged. Mr. McArdle occupied the next store west, on Second street, as a tailor shop. His stock was removed with but little loss. Adjoining and west of him was occupied by Mr. Senior, as a shoe and boot shop. His stock and household furniture were removed in a damaged condition. Next west of him, the adjoining tenement was occupied by Mr. Casey as a bakery. His stock was principally saved. Next adjoining and west, were the stores of Messrs. Adams and King. Their stocks were removed and suffered some damage. On Market street, the back dwelling house next north of the Coffin Manufactory was occupied by Mr. Wilson, who saved his furniture, although somewhat damaged. The building was owned by Mr. J. P. Ash, Esq., who had insurance for $400 in the Illinois Mutual. Mr. Brudon had an insurance for $1,260 in the same office on his building and stock. We could not hear of any other insurance. There is no doubt the coffin manufactory was set on fire. At three o'clock this morning there were rumors of several robberies, but we could not trace them to any reliable source. Great exertions were made to save Wilson's stable, not so much on account of its intrinsic worth, as of its serving for a protection to the buildings of the Illinois Iron Works. The efforts made were successful. The Fire Department were on hand, and rendered efficient service. The want of more good hose was painfully apparent. The Lafayette Hook and Ladder Company, under the command of Captain Carpenter, were present and performed effective duty.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 5, 1858

The work on this fine city building is progressing steadily. Yesterday we observed that the brick work of the third story - the second above the stone basement - is entirely completed and the joists placed upon it. The brick work of the fourth, or last story, will be commenced in a day or two, and pushed forward with all possible dispatch. As this story is the one to be used as a public hall, it will be the highest one in the building. Mr. Carter informs us that it will be twenty feet between timbers. We observed that the lathe and other lumber for the inside work are already on the ground, ready to be used as soon as the roof is put on.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 5, 1858

Our young friend, William G. Pinckard, Jr., has removed his Family Grocery Store from his old stand on Third street to the Messrs. Harts' new brick building on the corner of Fourth and Belle, where he opened yesterday....The building is entirely new, the ground story - which, with the cellar, is all occupied by Mr. Pinckard - is high, airy and beautifully lighted; his counters and shelving are tastefully arranged, and his goods so disposed as to present a more attractive appearance than we thought possible in a grocery store....His customer will, at all times find in his store, a full and general supply of everything that can with propriety be classed under the head of Family Groceries and Provisions; also cigars and tobacco of every brand and variety; confectioneries and tropical fruits; all kinds of domestic fruits and vegetables in their season, &c.......Mr. Pinckard has also made an arrangement with the United States Express Company by which he receives twice a week a shipment of White Fish and Trout from Lake Michigan. These come packed in ice, through from Chicago in twelve hours, arriving here by the 10:30 A.M. train every Tuesday and Friday, and are opened and for sale in his store by eleven o'clock on those days.....Although Mr. Pickard is yet quite a young man and has been in business for himself but a few months, the business is one in which he had had much previous experience, and one for which he seems to be eminently fitted.....




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 12, 1858

About eleven o'clock of Tuesday night, the steamboat Pembinaw landed at our wharf, and acting Coroner W. G. Pinckard, Esq., was sent for to hold an inquest upon the body of a man who had been killed on the boat after it had left St. Louis. Summoning a jury, 'Squire Pinkard proceeded immediately to the boat and found the body of the murdered man lying upon the after part of the deck, where the hands and deck passengers lodge. A rigid investigation was immediately entered into, and continued about two hours, during which nearly twenty witnesses were sworn and examined. The witnesses were the watchman, carpenter, and a number of the hands belonging to the boat, and one cabin and several deck passengers. An examination of the body showed a ghastly wound in the stomach just above and to the left of the naval evidently made by a long dirk or knife, from which the unfortunate man's intestines had protruded in a most horrible manner; a severe bruise on the back of the head, made by a blow from a billet of wood or capstan bar; two or three slight wounds about the throat and breast, one of which indicated, beyond a doubt, that an attempt had been made to cut his throat; a severe bruise or cut in the lower lip, and two or three other slight bruises and cuts about the face. His intestines had been restored to their place, and the wound had been sewed up by an old lady who was a cabin passenger. The testimony of the witnesses, which was not very connected nor lucid, showed that the deceased was a raftsman; that his name was William Fitzpatrick; that he had gone from Quincy to St. Louis on a raft about three weeks ago; that he had been on a drunken spree in St. Louis, and that he had been engaged in at least one murderous fight while there; that he was often drunk, and when so, very quarrelsome; that he had taken deck passage on the Pembinaw for the upper Mississippi on the afternoon of Tuesday, before which time only one witness - a raftsman, who testified to the above facts in relation to his character and previous history - knew him. It appeared, further, that the deceased was about "half drunk" when he came onboard the boat just before she left St. Louis, and that very soon after the boat started, he picked a quarrel with two other raftsmen (of which class of men there were twenty or thirty on board as deck passengers), who were eating their suppers, and presently struck one of them. A general promiscuous fight then ensued, without, however, much damage being done, as no weapons were used. After fight some time with his fists, the deceased went to his carpetbag and took from thence a large and broad hunting knife or dirk, swearing that he would kill somebody if not everybody. One of the boat hands stepped up behind him, caught him round the body and arms, and held him, calling to the bystanders to take the knife away from him. Just then some man - none of the witnesses seemed to know who - struck the deceased on the back of the head with a stick of wood or a capatan bar. The blow knocked him loose from the grasp of the man who was holding him, he fell forward into one of the "hunke," from which he rolled down upon the floor or deck beneath the "hunks." From this incident until the watchman found him about half an hour afterwards, lying in a pool of his own blood in a dying condition, none of the witnesses seemed to know anything about him; soon after which he breathed his last. He talked some before he died to two or three of the witnesses, but his mind seemed to be wandering and he gave no connected account of anything. From the mass of testimony taken, the jury sifted enough to satisfy themselves that the man was killed by one or more of the raftsmen who were his fellow passengers, and with whom he had been quarreling; but it was found to be impossible to obtain any testimony that would justify an arrest. The body was brought on shore, and yesterday morning was buried by order of the Acting Coroner. Much praise is due to Captain Griffith and the other officers of the Pembinaw for the prompt and prudent course they pursued. Before the boat landed, guards of trust-worthy men were stationed around the deck with strict orders to allow no one to leave the boat until the inquest was concluded. The jury were fully satisfied that no one in any way connected with the boat had anything to do with the commission of the crime, or knew anything about it further than what they stated in their testimony. No money was found about the person of the deceased, and he left no effects of any material value. In his pockets were found the scabbard of the dirk with which it is supposed he was killed (the dirk itself could no where be found, and no one seemed to know anything at all about it); a common pocketknife, a comb, and two or three pieces of tobacco. He had a carpetbag which contained a quantity of clothing, such as raftsmen generally have, a knife, a pair of scissors, and several other unimportant articles of no value whatever. In the carpetbag was found a daguerreotype likeness of a young, rather good looking and well-dressed woman. It could not be ascertained whether he had any family or friends, or not.


Another incident:  Active Coroner Pinckard held an inquest yesterday morning upon the dead body of a man exhibited to him on the levee at the foot of State street. The testimony given before the jury exhibited the following facts:  The name of the deceased is Thomas Hetherington; he has recently lived somewhere in the neighborhood of Buck Inn on the Plank Road between Alton and Monticello. He has been addicted to intemperate habits, and has lately been on a spree which ended in an attack of the delirium tremens, up in Calhoun county. Two of his friends up there started to bring him home in a skiff; but he grew rapidly worse and he died on the way down in all the horrible agonies of that dreadful disease. Verdict in accordance with the above facts.






Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 14, 1858

City Hall - The work on this splendid building is progressing with great rapidity. About half the floors are down and half the roof covered with tin. The main stairway to the second story is up, and gas pipe is being laid to all parts of the house. For rent, beside the rooms in the basement, there will be two stores on Second street, front of first story, and five offices in the second story, all of which will be supplied with independent gas pipes for the use of those occupying. In looking over this really fine building, it appeared to us that the very large and fine room on the first floor, occupying about two-thirds of the entire floor, would make an excellent Court Room. In the second story, just north of the Council chamber, will be a large and fine room, which we trust will be given to the Library Association. It would be central and convenient, and would be encouraging an institution second only to our public schools, in its influence upon the citizens. Although controlled by a private association, all can avail themselves of its advantages, and the city should give it a helping hand.


In noticing improvements about the city, we are called upon to mention that Messrs. A. & F. X. Joerger of the Kossuth House are excavating a cellar upon the north side of Second street, between George and Langdon streets. They intend erecting a two story brick building, 60 feet front and 34 feet deep - the lower story of which will be divided into two store rooms. Several hands are at work and the job will be pushed forward as rapidly as possible. Mr. Leopold Helmle is the Architect. Directly opposite this, Mr. Busch has almost completed a fine two story brick building of about 30 feet front, the lower room of which will also be occupied as a store. A little further down the street, upon the north side, Mr. J. A. Miller finished, some time ago, two cellars, but was compelled to suspend further operations for a time. We are glad to notice that work upon them is now resumed; and we may expect to see a couple of fine buildings there before long.


November 4, 1858

Real, true, substantial progress is our theme. We do not propose to write a homily - we only wish to speak of the present condition of some of the improvements going on in the city. And first of the City Hall and Market building. The roof is finished, and all the outside work complete except the cupola, which, however, is in a good state of forwardness. Inside, the gas pipes are in their places, and throughout the whole building a large part of the first coat of plaster is one. "Many hands make quick work," says the old adage. The application is that this building - this ornament to the city - will soon be finished.




Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 30, 1858

Saturday was a beautiful - a model Christmas day, with a crisp, cold, bracing air, partially frozen ground and bright sun. The shops and stores were generally closed, except the saloons, cigar stands, and toy shops, and the streets were filled all day long with crowds, in the enjoyment of the grateful holiday. The pyrotechnic celebration of the day was wanting in the deafening detonations, explosions and big noises that generally characterize the occasion. Gun powder scarcely entered, even, into young Alton's plans of jollification; and the streets were unexpectedly and delightfully quiet. Within doors, around bright fires, was the chief field of festivity, and we hope all our readers enjoyed themselves to their hearts' content. We have not heard that public religious services were held anywhere in town, except in the Catholic Cathedral, where - as is always the case in churches of that denomination, upon Christmas day - the services were of the most impressive and imposing character. We have heard of no accident having occurred to mar the enjoyment of the occasion, and no exciting incident occurred during the entire day - except the burning of a small switch house on the Terre Haute, Alton & St. Louis Railroad, towards Hunterstown, which did no material damage, and gave our gallant firemen a good excuse for a jolly run.



ALTON TORNADO - June 3, 1860

Source:  Vincent's Semi-annual U. S. Register, Jan-Jun 1860, pages 486-489

This day [June 3, 1860], a dreadful storm broke out over the town of Alton, Ill. The Alton "Courier," describing it, says -

The most destructive storm in this section of the country that has occurred within the memory of anyone, broke upon our city Saturday evening and in a matter of minutes destroyed property to the amount of scores of thousands of dollars. The track of the storm through the business part of the city lies between Belle and Henry streets. On and west of State street the damage done to building is very slight, confined to the throwing down of two or three chimneys and one or two stables. Here as well as elsewhere the shrubbery, fruit-trees, shade trees, etc. suffered to a considerable extent. The "Courier" office, for which so much apprehension was felt, escaped uninjured. Our loss is confined to the bindery, and is but slight, occasioned by the tearing open of a trap-door in the roof. Farther up the street, beyond the Piasa Foundry, was the principal scene of disaster on Belle street. Here, in the creek-bottom, are about twenty small houses, occupied by twenty-five or thirty families, mostly Irish. At sunset there was scarcely enough water in the creek to make a current; when the storm was at it's height the water must have been at least ten to twelve feet deep, tearing on with almost resistless force. Some three or four of these houses were torn in pieces, three or four more swept from their foundations, and all of them filled with water and mud. The affrighted families fled with what they could carry, in very few cases saving more than three-quarters of their household effects, and in some instances hardly escaping with their lives. Still farther up the road in the neighborhood of the toll gate, some damage was done by water, but very little done by hail or wind. The road is very much washed in all places, all the way to the Buck Inn. In the insurance office neighborhood, the traces of hail first began to be much apparent, the insurance office having very many panes of glass broken out, and other houses having suffered in this respect to some extent. We remarked two or three chimneys down, also a stable near the house of Dr. Wood. The main damage hereabouts is upon the shrubbery and fruit and other trees, and it is very severe, not to be estimated in dollars and cents. Dr. Wood, Mr. Kellenberger, Mr. Moses Atwood, Robert Smith, John Atwood, Judge Billings, Capt. Adams, H. I. Baker, Mr. Wade, Dr. Marsh, Mr. Metcalf - all these, and, in fact, everybody in this neighborhood, have lost much in this respect. Mr. Smith's yard and garden particularly are very much damaged. The house building for cashier Caldwell lost it's chimney and part of its roofing.  In Hunterstown, the German Catholic Church, corner of Third and Henry streets, built last year at an expense of about $6000, is almost a complete wreck, the basement and part of the front wall alone standing. From the two story brick building standing directly opposite, belonging to Mr. Coppiner, the roof was partially lifted, and a small frame building near it was damaged by a falling tree. Farther up Henry Street, opposite the German Protestant Church, a frame story-and-a-half house, about finished, for John Callacombe, was torn completely to pieces. Lower Middleton suffered considerably, both by hail and by wind.  Captain James Starr's house lost a couple of chimneys. James Newman lost a chimney and a stable. J.C. Underwood lost a stable, and had both gables of his house blown out, damage say $800. A new story-and-a-half frame house opposite Mr. Dimmock's was badly wrenched, but not blown down. A story brick house, also opposite, occupied by Mr. Spreen, is a wreck: loss $1000. Seth T. Sawyer's house lost it's roof and part of the back side-wall: $500. Mr. Johnson's house lost a couple of chimneys. Joseph Spray, porter of De Bow & Son, living back of the African church, had the upper story of his house taken off, and a part of it carried two hundred and fifty or three hundred feet: loss $350. A small stable near by was wrecked. A small frame house in front of, and a short distance from, the church building for Mr. Waples by Mr. McCorcle, was blown from it's foundation and badly sprung. Thomas S. Coffey's house suffers, by loss of it roof and other wise to the amount of $500. Mr. Coon's house has damage, $150. Mr. Waple's home has a chimney and one corner down. Dr. Hope's stable was scattered over an acre of ground. All through this section of the city there is no small loss of trees and shrubbery, very few property owners escaping. There are also several houses damaged to the amount of from $20 to $50 or $60, by falling limbs or parts of other houses.  In Second Street, the residence of Dr. De Leuw, a short distance above Henry Street, has a chimney down and also the front of a one-story wing. Arnes's new brick store and residence has the lower gable-end out. Kohler's seed-store has part of its front down. One of the old shells in Cary's Row is demolished. The lower gable-end of Joerges' fine brick house is out. One of the back gable-ends of the Alton house is out. The Baptist Society were burned out but a short time ago, and now are out again. Ryder's three-story building lost its upper story, in which the society have been worshipping for several weeks. It is said that this building was struck by lighting.  The city building lost more than half of it's tin roof. The front firewall of the building occupied by Blair, Ballinger & Co., Adams & Collett, and Ferguson & Gawley, was partly blown off. The river gable-end of the store formerly occupied by Adams & Collett was blown out. Part of the river front of Pickard's store is down, as is also, one gable of Malachi Holland's Liquor Store. The steeple was blown off of the Episcopal Church. It is said that the church is almost a total loss, the walls being very much sprung and cracked. The church cost about $12,000. The organ is ruined. The steeple was also blown from the Methodist Church. The roof was considerably hurt by it's fall, and the interior is also somewhat damaged. The loss cannot be less that $3000. The house of D. Simms was also completely crushed by the falling steeple of the Methodist Church. It was worth $1800. The back end of the Depot is blown in. The destruction of awnings, signs, &c., in the entire business part of the city is very great. A dozen houses or more in this part of the city, the names of whose owners we did not learn, lost chimneys. The front gable-end of the Illinois Iron-works is blown out, and the building is slightly damaged otherwise.  No loss in the city is commented upon with more and warmer expressions of sympathy than that of "The Democrat" office. The building was new, yet hardly finished, and Mr. Fitch moved into it only a week ago, just a week ago on Saturday evening, opening it with a gathering of his friends. And it is now all gone, the most complete wreck we ever saw. We know how Mr. Fitch has labored early and late in his profession here and elsewhere for many years, through what discouragements he had attained his position as head of the leading Democratic paper in this section of the state; and, knowing all this, and appreciating the public spirit which led him to put up so fine a building in these times, we share the general sympathy felt for him. The building, presses, engine, and stock, and all is completely wrecked: the entire loss must be at least $8000. The Geo Bachter Office was moved into the building on Saturday, as was also the German Bindery; and of course the entire stock of these establishments is a complete loss.


Source: Bloomington, Illinois Weekly Pantagraph, June 6, 1860

A friend has kindly allowed us to copy an extract from a private letter, written at Alton, where the storm was very severe, as will be seen by the said extract. As the letter was written soon after the storm, the writer did not know whether or not there was any insurance, nor, if any, to what extent upon the property destroyed:


"We were visited by the most terrific storm, accompanied by hail and rain, which I have ever seen. It came very near taking Starr's roof off. It tore up the studding which supported the roof, and broke down more or less of the plastering in all his rooms. There was a great deal of damage done in town.


The Democrat office (Fitch's new three story building) was leveled to the ground; not a stone or brick left standing. The gable end of Charles Dimmick's house was blown in. Sawyer's was unroofed, so was Coffee's; the brick house opposite Charles Dimmick's was destroyed; the German Catholic Church was destroyed, and quite a number of new buildings in different parts of the town. Stigleman's Foundry had the gable end blown in; Rider's building, where the ladies had their party, had the third story carried away; the City Hall was unroofed, the gable of the Alton House wing was blown in, the spires of the Episcopal and Methodist Churches were blown down. The spire and bell of the Methodist Church fell into Simm's house, but no one killed or wounded. Nearly every house that had windows on the north side, without blinds, had all the glass broken, and the rain and hail beat in so as to damage ceilings, furniture, &c. Lightning rods blow down - gardens destroyed - everything cut to pieces with the hail - looks like December - apple and peach trees torn up by the roots and broken in pieces - apples and peaches scattered all over the ground - the storm was terrible. Fitch is the heaviest loser I have heard of. I suppose his loss is over $7,000. The David Tatum had her chimneys blown down. These are only a few of the worst accidents; there is any quantity of minor ones in nearly every house."




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1862

The front of the building known as the old Post office building on Belle street, has been removed and there is to be an additional story added, and a new brick front. The lower story will contain two business rooms, and the two upper stories will be fitted up amiably for dwellings.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1862

We learn there was a very pleasant picnic at the "old Stone Spring," between Middletown and Upper Alton yesterday. There can be found no more pleasant place in our vicinity; and we are informed that the day was spent most pleasantly and delightfully in dancing, strolling, singing and other pastimes, by those so fortunate as to be in attendance.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1862

For a number of years for some reason, our citizens have had no general celebration on the Fourth of July. Why this was the case we shall not attempt to state. Yesterday we had a general celebration which was participated in by a great majority of our citizens. About sunrise a salute of thirty-four guns was fired, awaking many from sound slumbers, to view the bright sunshine of the eight-sixth anniversary of our national birthday. The steamer Runyan, clean and neat as a pin, with flags and streamers flying, about nine pushed out from the levee for Portage with the excursion for the benefit of the Ursuline Convent; crowded with both ladies and gentlemen; having with them all the necessary items to make themselves comfortable, and insure a pleasant and profitable trip. The bells of the churches were rung some fifteen minutes, which added much to the excitement in the city. The streets were crowded with people, wagons, horses, &c., long before the hour appointed for the procession to move, and many grew very impatient of the delay, much of which was absolutely necessary, owing to the numberless items of arrangement which the managers had to attend to, and of which the people and citizens generally, are ignorant on such occasions. The procession was at length formed in the following order, as per programme: Martial Band, 13th Regiment U. S. Infantry, Bass and Tenor Drum, Lafayette Hook and Ladder Company, Washington Engine Company, Jerseyville Band, Carriage containing the Orator and others, Masons, Car containing 18 little girls, Odd Fellows, Car containing 34 young misses, Citizens in carriages, Citizens on horseback, Citizens on foot.  The military under command of Captain Washington, made a very fine appearance, being handsomely equipped. Brightly burnished muskets and glistening bayonets, in the hands of well-dressed and soldierly men, always proves an attractive feature; and on this occasion was no exception in the general rule. We cannot but congratulate the officers of this excellent regiment upon the fine state of discipline, and the perfection of drill, to which they have brought the soldiers under their ..... [unreadable]. The car containing thirteen little girls, representing the original thirteen colonies, was superintended by Miss Ellen Funte; and to her patriotic and ca??, as well as excellent insto, is chiefly due the success of this feature. Having several patriotic songs to sing, during the exercises at the grove, the greater part of a week past was spent in rehearsing and practicing the several places. The car containing the Goddess of Liberty, Miss Emma Webb, and thirty-four young misses, representing the thirty-four States of the Union, was superintended by M. J. Lee, Esq., in a highly credible manner; and was a very attractive feature of this procession. In fact, the two cars were, aside from the military, the attractive feature of the day. We were sorry to see our Fire Department make such a poor display; the Lafayette Hook and Ladder Company, and the Washington Engine Company, being the only ones in the procession. The appearance of the Lafayette was fine, being gaily trimmed with flags, etc.  The hose carriage of the Washington company was also very neat and pretty, trimmed with ribbons, flowers, etc.  The Jerseyville Band added greatly to the pleasure and enjoyment of the day, and the members are good muscians. The Masons and Odd Fellows turned out quite strong, and made an imposing appearance, dressed in the appropriate regalias of those orders. The citizens in carriages comprised a large portion of the procession; but the intense heat, the dust and the long walk compelled most of those on foot to leave the procession and take the short cuts and by-ways; and the road was absolutely lined with people from the country, people from the city, and people from St. Louis, and other places. From every direction came a perfect stronin(?) of human beings. On reaching the grove, the following programme was filled: Singing "Independence Day," by the little "Thirteen." Prayer by Rev. Mr. Jameson. Music by the Jerseyville Band. Singing "Hail Columbia" by the thirty-four young misses. Reading Declaration of Independence by Levi Davis, Esq. Music. Address by Rev. Mr. C. H. Taylor, orator of the day. Music. Singing "Christian Hero," by the thirty-four young misses. Music. Lunch......The afternoon was spent in sauntering over the hills, loitering in shady nooks, all making merry and enjoying themselves as best suited each. At night an immense crowd was in attendance on "Church Hill," to witness the fireworks. The first and largest, unfortunately, caught fire and was consumed before it reached any considerable height; but the next and all the rest, some four or five, ascended beautifully. The beautiful moonlight night destroyed much of the brilliancy of the fireworks, but nevertheless, the display was magnificent. We do not think the committee could have found a more central location, or better place for the display than that selected.....




Source: Poughkeepsie, New York Daily Eagle, April 8, 1863

A fire occurred at Alton, Ill. on Wednesday night, consuming a warehouse on the levee occupied by Simpson & Ketchum, filled with hay and other produce, besides besides the adjoining buildings occupied by Wipping Bros & Co., hardware dealers, and Calvin & Rissale, auction store. Loss about $100,000. Insured for $60,000.




Source: October 16, 1863

In accordance with the proclamation of the President of the United States (President Abraham Lincoln), and the time-honored usage of this Commonwealth, I, Richard Yates, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby appoint the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God for his great mercies during the past year, in that he has blessed us with abundance of harvests, fruits and flocks, in that he has preserved us from pestilence or widespread disease, especially in that he has spared our State in a season of great danger from the dreadful calamities of insurrection and invasion [Civil War]. Let us thank God for the immortal triumphs of our arms in battle and in siege, and the indomitable fortitude of our soldiery in reverses. Let us thank God for the free institutions transmitted to us from our fathers for so long a period of unexampled domestic tranquility and prosperity. Let us thank God that in spite of foreign hatred and plotting treason, and the fearful shock of arms, we still have a country, and the glorious hope of a country laden with unspeakable blessings for our children and our children's children; and while we rejoice together over victories won and prospects daily brightening. Let us also remember the widow and orphan, who in desolate homes mourn for the heroic dead. Let us acknowledge in contrition before God our many and grievous sins as a people, and with patient trust commit our cause to Him in whose hands are the destinies of nations.


By the Governor, Richard Yates.

O. M. Hatch, Secretary of State







Source: Alton Telegraph, November 13, 1863

We are certainly gratified to be able to state that the Alton Woolen Mill Company have been so prospered since they have established themselves in this city, as to lead them to make a permanent investment. They have just purchased the buildings and grounds lately occupied by the Piasa Foundry, and have removed their machinery from the Illinois Iron Works to that building, and will be ready to commence operations again within a few days. It will be seen by a notice in another part of our paper that they wish to purchase wool, pelts, &c., for which they will pay the highest market price, either in cash or in exchange for cloth at their manufactory. Let it be remembered that they do not manufacture any shoddy, but cloth, which will stand the test of time. Their place of business is now on Belle Street, opposite the Gas Works.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 9, 1900

A suit to foreclose a mortgage for $10,000 and interest amounting to nearly $3,000 on the Alton Piasa Woolen Mill Company was instituted in the Circuit Court today by William Sountag, trustee. The suit was filed by the attorney for the trustee, J. F. McGinnis. It is understood there will be no contest, and that the foreclosure is merely a step taken by the persons holding stock in the company to cause the property to be sold in order that they may realize something on their investment. The property will be sold and owners of woolen mills from all parts of the country will be invited to come here to bid on the property. It is hoped some outsiders will get the plant as in that event it might be set in operation and its wonted industry revived. The property has been inoperative since the Wilson tariff law went into effect, cutting down the profits on woolen goods so that the mill became unprofitable. It is a valuable piece of property, being built of Alton limestone, and one of the most substantial buildings that can be built. It is filled with valuable machinery, and Mr. A. Neermann, who is a chief stockholder, estimates the value of the property at $75,900. There will probably be no objection to the sale of the property and the sale will be set for the latter part of April.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 26, 1900

The property of the Piasa Woolen Mill Company on Belle street was sold at master's sale today by Master in Chancery W. M. Warnock, and was bought in by A. Neermann for $9,886.78, that being the amount of claims against the property. The mill property will probably never again be used as a woolen mill. It was thought at first the property might be bid in by someone who would set the mill in operation, but there were no bidders with this object in view, and Mr. Neermann took it at the price named. He will probably remove the machinery from the building. The building was erected in 1857-8 by Nathan Johnson and Richard Emerson for a foundry, machine and boiler shop, and was run for that purpose until 1861, when the war caused the proprietors to fail. About the close of the war it was purchased by the Nichols Woolen Mill Company, and was conducted on a large scale by that company until the death of Mr. Nichols. Some years afterwards Messrs. Neermann, Boals and Teasdale purchased the property and conducted it as a woolen mill until the business was killed in 1893 or '94 by Cleveland's Democratic Wilson Tariff bill.


[See Illinois Shoe Company]








Source: Madison County Gazette, 1866

Patterson's Iron Works were established by Stigleman & Co. some years since as the Illinois Iron Works. They came into the possession of Mr. James Patterson in 1863, and the name changed as above. The Works occupy a large brick building, 100x45 ft. and four stories high, as a machine shop, a second 75x45 as a foundry, with a smith shop 50x28 ft., with a capacity for the employment of one hundred workmen. Mr. Patterson now employs about forty workmen in the manufacture of threshers, engines, sugar mills, saw mills, and all kinds of mill machinery. He has recently purchased the right of an excellent thresher that is already becoming very popular among the farmers of the West.



Source: Alton Telegraph, April 29, 1864

Patterson's Iron Works, Piasa Street between Second [Broadway] and Third Streets.  This large manufactory of steam engines and machinery of all descriptions, owned and superintended by Mr. James Patterson, is again in full blast. Since the accidental explosion of the boiler in October last, the engine and machinery has gone through a series of alterations and improvements, by which the faculties for filling orders for engines and all other work in their line has been greatly increased. Thirty men are now constantly employed in the various departments of the building. The foreman, Mr. Daniel Brooks, is one of those men of whom we can say, "he is the right man in the right place," and thoroughly understanding all the minutia of the endless variety of work embraced in a general foundry business, Mr. Patterson is fortunate in having him at the head of his workmen. He informs us that he could employ in the whole building, one hundred and twenty-five men if necessary, and at the rapid rate which his business is increasing, we would not be surprised soon to see the building crowded with workmen to its utmost capacity. There are seven large lathes and two large planers on the ground floor in constant employment, turning the innumerable rough castings into the finished and polished portions of steam engines and other works. The whole machinery is driven by a fine forty-horse power engine, which is a model at superior workmanship. There are now in the building ten engines in the course of completion. Six of these are each about thirty-five horsepower, and are being built for Mr. H. M. Woodward of St. Louis. This certainly is a great compliment to Mr. Patterson and his assistants, and it should also be a matter of pride to our city. Citizens of St. Louis find it to their interest and advantage to come to Alton for their steam engines. The proprietor is determined not to be excelled by any manufactory in the West in the quality and finish of his machinery. There is also one for Messrs. H. Sampson & Co., of Germantown, on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, of sixty horsepower, which is to be a masterpiece. This is another order which is in direct competition with Saint Louis work. Mr. C. Soule has also a beautiful sixty horsepower steam engine in course of construction, and it may be seen in the room. Messrs. C. & J. Weer, of the Carlinville Mill, have a seventy-five horsepower steam engine in the hands of the mechanics. Mr. J. D. Martin of the Gillespie Mill has an engine, sixty horsepower, under orders and in course of completion and finish. These are all to be engines of the very best quality, and cannot be surpassed in any city in the Union. Our millers, and others using steam engines or in want of castings or machinery of any kind, cannot be better suited in the West. Go to Mr. Patterson's Works and look round, and we are satisfied he will do your work.







Source: Alton Telegraph, March 17, 1865

F. Shelly - This gentleman is the new proprietor of the lime works in this city [Alton], lately owned by D. Martin & Co. Having been a member of the firm for several years, he will be recognized at once by all of the old customers. Mr. Shelly informs us that he manufactured in his kilns during the past year over 100,000 bushels of lime, and paid as high as $170 per month Government tax on the manufacture of lime alone. He has in operation three of Page's Patent Kilns capable of turning out $2,000 worth of lime per week, and can make 300 bushels per day, and has loaded 14 cars in one week. Employs, at times, as high as 50 hands, and constantly about 20. The lime of his manufacture is used extensively in Springfield, Bloomington, Peoria, Terre Haute, St. Louis, and in fact at all points in the Valley of the Mississippi. Customers can be assured of liberal dealing at the hands of Mr. Shelly. Give him a call.



Source: Alton Telegraph, November 23, 1866

Mr. F. Shelly also has a cooper shop in connection with his lime kilns, and during the year, 10,133 lime barrels were made at his factory, though these were but a small proportion of the number used in his business.



Source: Alton Telegraph, May 8, 1868

During several years past, Mr. F. Shelly has been one of the best known lime dealers in the city, and by his business tact and skill and his facilities for manufacturing and shipping, has built up a very extensive and prosperous trade. His leading rival has been the firm of J. Lock & Bro., and these firms have for some time past been the heaviest dealers in the vicinity. We learn, however, that negotiations have been closed between the two firms, which have been some time in progress, by which Mr. Shelly has purchased the entire interest of Lock & Bro. in the business, for $30,000, and will hereafter carry on the trade of both firms. The purchase embraces six large kilns, with a large amount of other property, fixtures and appurtenances. Mr. Shelly has now facilities for burning 2,000 bushels of lime per day, which is double the amount of any other manufacturer in the West. He also intends to erect additional kilns immediately, which will increase his facilities for manufacturing to three thousand bushels per day, or three times the amount of any other western dealer. His advantages for shipping are superior to those of any dealer in other cities. His kilns are located immediately upon the river bank, under the limestone bluffs, from whence his material is derived. He can, therefore, ship directly upon the steamers to any point upon the Mississippi or its tributaries. In addition to this advantage, the levee track extends to his kilns, by which means he can load directly into the cars, in bulk or otherwise, and ship to any place upon the Chicago, the Jacksonville, or the Terre Haute railroad. Thus his shipment both by river and rail are made without expense for cartage; and of this saving his customers get the benefit. Mr. Shelly has now some $80,000 invested in the business, and as we have stated, intends to largely increase the amount. The great skill and energy which he has manifested in its conduct are of great benefit to the city, and must lead to large returns to himself.



Source: Alton Telegraph, December 15, 1871

Mr. F. Shelly has purchased of Maj. George S. Roper and Mr. J. W. McMillan, the fine residence and grounds on State street known as the Keating property [at the corner of State and Dry Streets]. The price paid was $7,500. This property is very desirable, both as regards location and intrinsic value. Mr. Shelly intends occupying it himself.



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, April 11, 1878

At the solicitation of many voters of the First ward, Mr. Fred. Shelly has consented to become a candidate for alderman from that ward. We are glad to make this announcement. Mr. Shelly has long been one of our leading manufacturers, and has done much for the prosperity of the city. His ability and integrity are unquestioned, and he will receive a strong support.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 9, 1878

Yesterday morning, early, a gang of men appeared on the levee near the waterworks building, with a carload of rails and ties, with the intention, as alleged, of laying a track leading to Mr. F. Shelly's lime kilns. Owing to the inclemency of the weather yesterday, the work was not done. This morning, Messrs. Coppinger & Biggins, who claim a portion of the land over which it was intended to run the track, fenced in their claim extending across the public highway, which leads from Short street up the river. The place was only partially enclosed, leaving passageway between the posts for wagons and other vehicles. City Engineer Hodge claims that the 'fence' encloses or obstructs the public street or highway. Mr. Shelly obtained permission of the City Council to lay a track on the levee in the County Road to his lime kiln. The permission was granted January 10, 1876. The matter will come before the Council tomorrow.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 11, 1878

Why is it that Mr. Shelly is required to give bond before laying a side track to his lime kilns above the Water Works, when other gentlemen, who have side tracks on their premises in other parts of the city, are not required to do the same thing? In other words, why this discrimination against Mr. Shelly?



Alton Daily Telegraph, April 18, 1890

Mr. F. Shelly, now of St. Louis, has purchased Mr. John Armstrong's lime kiln under the bluffs and took possession of the property today. Mr. Shelly is a practical and experienced lime burner, having formerly been engaged in that business in this city, and afterwards in Quincy. He will remove his family here. The Telegraph welcomes Mr. S. back to his old home.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 4, 1896

Mr. F. Shelly, a former resident of Alton but now of St. Louis, is visiting friends in this city.





Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, June 23, 1865

Colonel Solomon Pruitt, now in his 74th year, called upon us a day or two since, from whom we gathered the following information: He came from Tennessee to this State in the year 1807, and settled near the junction of the Alton and Terre Haute Railroad, in the neighborhood of which he still resides. He has walked all over the site where Alton now stands, long before there was a house erected, or the slightest sign of human habitation visible. Wild game of every kind was at that time, very abundant, and he sustained his family for two years after settling there almost exclusively upon it. He took an active part as a soldier in the War of 1812, and also in the war with Black Hawk. He was chosen Colonel by a regiment which went from this part of the State to take part in the latter war. He raised a large family and although becoming quite feeble physically, he yet retains in vigorous exercise all of his mental faculties and has taken an active interest in behalf of his country during the last conflict for its life and against the traitors who were trying to destroy its true institutions. He voted against the introduction of slavery into this State when it was first organized and he still abhors the system of human slavery with all its attendant _______ and _________ influences.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 16, 1866

About one o'clock this afternoon fire was discovered in the large tobacco factory of Messrs. Myers & Drummond, on Second Street [Broadway]. But a short time elapsed after the alarm was given until the engines were on the ground. The wind, which had been high all the forenoon, blew almost due east, and owing to the extreme cold, it was found that but little could be done by the engines, and all supposed the buildings adjoining on the east would be consumed. They were cleared of everything movable and given up for lost, while the attention of the firemen was directed more especially to the buildings on Third street. Several of these were in a blaze at different times, but by the activity of the firemen and citizens, they were saved. The falling of the front and side walls and the strength and thickness of the fire wall between the factory and the next building saved all the block from the factory to Piasa Street. Messrs. Topping & Co.'s fine warehouse was in very great danger for some time, but through strenuous exertion it escaped with the loss of the window glass in the front, and some trifling scorches. Mr. John Seaton's copper and sheet iron works were destroyed, although some of the tools, &c., were taken out. The loss will fall heavily upon Messrs. Myers & Drummond, who were but partially insured. We were not about to learn further particulars in time for this issue. The buildings destroyed were of the best on Second Street.


We have been informed since the above was in type that Messrs. Myers & Drummond were insured on Tobacco Manufactory in:

Lamar Company, N. Y. - $4,000.00

Hartford Fire, Connecticut - $2,000.00

Underwriters, N. Y. - $4,000


The Misses Smith, on building:

Alton Mutual - $3,500


John Seaton, on stock and tools:

Home, N. Y. - $500.00


Source: The Evening Courier and Republic, Buffalo, New York, February 21, 1866

The tobacco factory of Meyers & Drummond, Alton, Illinois, and one or two adjoining buildings were burned last Saturday. Loss about $30,000. Insurance $14,000.




Source: Utica, New York Daily Observer, September 28, 1866

The charter election of the city of Alton was held September 13. Notwithstanding the fierce resolution of the Radicals, and their efforts to rule and ruin, the Democratic Conservative ticket was triumphantly elected. It was a perfect Waterloo victory. The Mayor and Common Council are Democratic; the register, collector, treasurer, attorney, marshal, harbor master, commissioner, and assessor, are all Democrats.



Source:  New York Times, New York, March 19, 1867
The flouring mill of Church & Coffey, at Alton, Ill., was burned Saturday morning. Loss, $12,000. Insurance, $8,000.



Source: New York, NY Clipper, June 29, 1867

The steamer Robert E. Lee, running on the lower Mississippi trade, which recently made the trip from Memphis to Cairo in the unequalled time of 17 hours and 12 minutes, has just eclipsed this performance, making the run between those points in nearly two hours less time than any other boat. She left Memphis on Saturday, June 15th, at 10 o'clock A. M., arriving at Cairo on Sunday at 2.43 AM. The quickest run ever made by any steamer between the two points before the Lee made her first quick trip was made by the City of Alton in seventeen hours and fifty minutes, winning the horns from the Mollie Able, which made the run in 19 hours 10 minutes. The horns are a large pair of elk horns, finely gilt, supporting a Union shield, bearing the inscription "Time from Memphis  to Cairo 19 hours 40 min." Bearing this message upon the horns, "Steamer Mollie Able" on the other side, "Time from Memphis to Cairo, 17h. 50m. Beat this and take back the horns,  Steamer City of Alton."  The Lee sports the antlers.



Source: Alton Telegraph, December 13, 1867

The supper and festival at the Alton House last evening in honor of the completion of the Alton & Upper Alton Horse Railroad, was largely attended by citizens of both places, and a most delightful season was enjoyed. The gathering was select. Many ladies, especially from Upper Alton, graced the occasion by their presence. Hon. Cyrus Edwards presided with his usual suavity, and Judge Billings acted as vice President. The banquet is spoken of in enthusiastic terms. It comprised every delicacy, in season and out of season, and was served in admirable style. The host of the Alton House certainly added to his laurels as a public caterer, on this occasion. The toasts proposed at the table and the responses thereto were equally felicitous, and added in no small degree to the pleasures and sociability of the evening. The following is a list of the toasts offered, as furnished us by the committee:

1. Motive and Locomotive Power: In celebrating the event that calls us together, let due credit be given to the gentlemen who exerted the motive power that caused the Alton & Upper Alton Horse Railway to be built - Messrs. Edwards and Clawson.

2. Horse Railway Carriages: Coaches for the people - in which the poor as well as the rich can ride at the same cost.

3. The Altons: May the union by bands of iron lend to a more perfect union under one city charter.

4. The Alton Sisters: Now unified by a cord of iron; may it be bound as impolitic to sever this union as it would the cord that connects the Siam brothers.

5. Railing Between the Altons: May it be so profitable to both places as to end all other unprofitable railing.

6. Our Stockholders: May the upper and nether Alton railway - like the upper and nether millstones - grind them out a good grist of dividends.

7. Railroads and the Magnetic Telegraph: The two greatest inventions for the increase of comfort and wealthy in this century.

8. The New Viaduct Between the Altons: The natural chasm having been spanned may the social one no longer exist.

9. Alton and Upper Alton: Now that they are united by a two-horse railway, let them no longer be named as one-horse places.

10. To the Board of Directors of A. & U. A. H. R. R.: The citizens of both places tender their most grateful thanks.

11. The Horse Railway Charter: Let the "sp____" [unreadable] clause, which provides for extending the web of rails over both Alton's not be forgotten.




Source:  The New York Times, New York, February 19, 1868

Feb. 18. Flackenecker's grocery-store, and three or four adjoining buildings in Alton, Ill., were burned on Sunday night. The loss is about $15,000. The insurance has not been ascertained.


[This was probably Leonard Flackenecker, who also owned an Upholstery Store on "Third Street, opposite Belle Street", in Alton, in 1852. He was also listed as an "old settler" of Alton in 1874, and was born August 29, 1804 in Germany.]



Source:  Alton Weekly Telegraph, Alton, IL, May 1, 1868

About half-past five o'clock yesterday afternoon the brick "drying house" of the Wooden Ware Works was discovered to be on fire. The alarm was at once sounded, and in a few moments the Alton engine was on the ground, and was vigorously at work. A large number of men were, also, engaged in deluging the house with water from buckets, but no amount of water seemed to have the slightest influence on the flames.  The house contained six separate compartments, or kilns (each of which was filled with staves and headings) and the walls were with out windows, hence it was found almost impossible to get at the fire, so as to play upon it effectually. In about an hour from the time of the first alarm the Washington engine arrived on the ground, and was station at the pond near the Methodist Church, where it rendered efficient service. But although three streams of fire were kept playing upon the fire constantly, still the dense volumes of smoke and steam issuing from the building showed that the flames were but little effected by the deluge of water. At nine o'clock the roof of the building fell in, after which time the firemen were able to play with more effect upon the dense mass of fire within. But it was not until after twelve o'clock that the flames were so far subdued as to render it same for the engines to leave their posts.  At one time it was feared that the fire would be communicated to the main building, but owing to the wind's being from the south and to the great exertions of the firemen and citizens, this great calamity was obviated. Too much praise cannot be awarded to the firemen, and the citizens who assisted them, for the perseverance and energy they manifested throughout. Hour after hour the brakes went steadily up and down without a moments cessation, until the labor was no longer necessary. And there was no excitement about this "manning of the brakes," but it was hard, monotonous work, where grip and grit were alike needed. We take pleasure, also, in testifying to the efficiency and zeal of Chief Engineer Pfeiffenberger and his assistants in directing the operations of the firemen and citizens. It is a difficult matter to ascertain exactly the amount of the loss, as it will be mostly, indirect. The building was divided into six kilns, and in each kiln were 2,000 feet of prepared, or 12,000 staves in all, almost ready for use. The value of this material was about $1,200. The building cannot be replaced for less than $2,500. There was no insurance. The great loss, however, is in the suspension of business which will be necessary on account of the disaster. Very nearly all the dry material that the factory had on hand was consumed, and consequently no work can be done until a new "drying house" can be built and new material prepared. This will require at least a month, all of which is a dead loss of time. The company have the sympathy of the community in their loss, especially as it is the third time the have suffered in a similar manner. They have won the reputation of making the best wooden ware in the west, and the entire trade will regret to learn of their misfortune.


[The Wooden Ware Works was established by Althoff and Stigleman at 7th and Piasa Streets, in a building 112x80 feet, three stories, two of stone and one of brick. It had one tub and one bucket lathe, and other corresponding machinery, with forty to fifty workmen employed. Located at Seventh and Piasa Streets in Alton, IL. Later, in 1873, this building housed the Hughes and White Roofing Tile Factory.]




Source: Alton Telegraph, June 5, 1868

The ceremony of decorating with wreaths and flowers the graves of the soldiers buried in the cemeteries of Alton and Upper Alton took place on Saturday last [May 30, 1868], under the auspices of the Alton Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was a most interesting and eventful occasion. For several days the arrangements for the ceremonies have been in progress, and the Union citizens tendered those engaged in the preparations every assistance in their power. The loyal ladies of the place had contributed for the occasion the choicest of spring flowers, which their tasteful hands had fashioned into the most beautiful of wreaths, bouquets, and garlands.


The Alton Post of the Grand Army of the Republic is but newly organized and is still weak in numbers, but on its rolls are found the names of as gallant heroes as the war called forth. The names of men are there who answered to the roll call under the beleaguered batteries of Vicksburg; upon the shores of the Gulf; on the "march to the sea;" and on the plains of Virginia.


The procession was formed about ten o'clock a.m. at the hall of the Post. First in order came the band; next the members of the Post, clad in their handsome Zouave uniform, and armed and equipped; then followed in carriages and barouches the invited guests, and many ladies and young girls. Flags and banners were numerous, and the whole display was extremely creditable. The soldierly bearing and fine appearance of the soldiers were especially noticeable. The line of march was then taken up to Middletown, and from thence through the principal streets of the city; after which they returned to their hall where a lunch was partaken of. The procession was then reformed, and proceeded to the cemetery. The ceremonies at this place were opened with prayer by the Post Chaplain, Lieut. William Cousley, after which the ladies proceeded to decorate with the wreaths and flowers the last resting places of the patriot dead. About 110 graves received this tribute of attention. A martial salute was then fired over the graves by the soldiers. Eloquent and impressive addresses, appropriate to the occasion, were then delivered by Capt. Flannigan, Commander of the Post, Prof. Mitchell of Upper Alton, Captain Keith of Indiana, and other gentlemen.


After leaving the cemetery, the procession proceeded to Upper Alton, where it marched through the principal streets and then proceeded to the cemetery of that place, where the same impressive ceremonies were performed, and speeches were made by Rev. Dr. Frazer of this city, and Rev. Mr. Root of Upper Alton. At Upper Alton the participants in the exercises were most cordially received by the inhabitants, and every assistance possible rendered them in the performance of their sacred duty. On the conclusion of the exercises at this cemetery, the procession returned to Alton and dispersed.


One of the pleasantest incidents of the day was the call made upon Captain Johnson of Upper Alton. This gentleman was desperately wounded at Atlanta four years ago, and has ever since been confined to his bed. The character of his wound is such that he is compelled to lie constantly in one position - upon his face. The members of the Post testified their sympathy for this long-suffering hero by visiting him, giving him each a hand clasp and a kindly word, and then uniting in patriotic songs, together with music by the band.


The day was a beautiful one, and all the ceremonies passed off in a manner befitting the solemnity of the occasion. We trust that the tendering of this graceful and tender tribute to the memory of our slain heroes will be continued from year to year, as long as the country endures for which they sacrificed their all. It will serve to keep green the remembrance of how great has been the price paid for the maintenance of free institutions; and also, it will serve to keep alive the memory of the gratitude due the survivors of the Republic's defenders, and the widows and orphans of those of who have fallen.




Source: Courier and Union, Syracuse, New York, October 14, 1868

A comb factory, said to be the finest in the West, has just been started at Alton, Illinois.



Alton First National Bank, founded 1865




Source: The New York Times, November 2, 1868

From St. Louis, Mo., Saturday, Oct. 31.   Five men attempted to rob the First National Bank at Alton, Ill., early this morning. While they were at work drilling the vault, Mr. H. Filley, a private watchman, arrested one of the parties, who was outside watching, when the remainder of them attacked the officer, cut his head dreadfully with a steel bar and shot him through the heart, causing instant death. The robbers then escaped, leaving behind them all their tools. One thousand dollars reward is offered for the arrest of the murderers.



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, November 6, 1868

Friday night [October 31, 1868] was one long to be remembered in this city. There were at least five or six distinct attempts at burglary; the last one, at the First National Bank, ending in a terrible tragedy: the death of Mr. M. H. Filley, the private night watchman for that locality.


At about four o'clock this morning, several persons in the vicinity of the First National Bank had their attention aroused by cries of "murder," and by the discharge of firearms, and some two or three on looking from their windows, saw a struggle going off between several men near the side door of the bank. The first persons who reached the spot found night-watchman Filley lying in the street in a dying condition, and saw three men making their escape with all the haste possible.


It appears that the burglars had forced open the side door of the bank, and also the iron doors of the vault, but had been unable to open the safe. Mr. Filley, it is presumed, while on his beat, had heard them at work and had gone round to the side entrance, when one of the villains rushed from the building and attacked him. Mr. Filley succeeded in overpowering him, and had thrown him to the ground, when the noise of the struggle brought the other burglars to the scene, and they joined in the assault. Some three or four shots were fired at him by the two men who last came up, on of which took effect in his breast. The robbers then fled in different directions. One of them was tracked quite a distance up Short street [western end of W. Broadway] by pools of blood, which led to the supposition that he had been injured in the encounter with Mr. Filley. An overcoat was thrown aside in the street by one of them, which also was bloody.


It is thought that the two men who came to the first burglar's assistance were not in the building, but were on the watch outside. It was found, on examination, that Mr. Filley's revolver had not been removed from the holster, hence he must have wounded the burglar in some other way.  Mr. F. lived but about eight minutes after assistance came, and was unable to give any account of the affair. His body was taken to the Franklin House, where a post mortem examination was held this morning, which show that death had ... beaten on his ... and the back part of his head with a crowbar. A Coroner's inquest was held this morning by Justice Quarton, but the jury, after hearing the evidence and examining the remains, adjourned until tomorrow to await further evidence, before rendering a verdict.


Mr. Filley was a faithful and reliable watchman, of excellent private character, and his terrible and brutal murder, while in the discharge of his duty, has shocked the whole community.


To return to the burglars: Every effort was at once made to catch the murderers, but they effected their escape. It is supposed that they went down the river, as someone stole a skiff from some fishermen on the riverbank. Besides the overcoat dropped in the street, two other ones were left in the bank, together with a large black carpet-sack, containing a complete set of burglar implements. Nothing was obtained at the bank but a small quantity of nickel coin.


In addition to the above tragedy, the store of J. H. Maupin on Belle street was entered, the thieves effecting an entrance by removing a pane of glass from a back window. In this case, the burglars had made a prolonged but unsuccessful effort to open the safe, and had finally taken their departure through the back door without, so far as Mr. Maupin can discover, taking a thing. The next attempt seems to have been made at the rear of Sneeringer & Templeton's store, where a shutter was taken off a window, but no entrance effected. The residence also of Mr. John S. Topping was entered, but nothing was known of the affair until this morning when the doors were found standing open. The thieves had ranged through the lower part of the house, but Mr. Topping's family have so far missed nothing. An attempt was made to enter the residence of Mr. Drummond, which was unsuccessful.


Funeral of M. H. Filley

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 2, 1868

The funeral of Mr. M. H. Filley, which occurred yesterday from his late residence on State Street, was the largest which ever took place in this city. The ceremonies were under the charge of the Odd Fellows, of which the deceased was a member. Rev. Mr. Jameson officiated. The procession to the Cemetery was very long. It was preceded by the band, playing a funeral march. The Fire Department was largely represented, and the Mayor and Common Council attended in a body. The grief-stricken family of the deceased have the sympathy of the entire community.


Coroner's Verdict

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 2, 1868

The following is the verdict of the jury summoned by Justice Quarton to hold an inquest over the remains of M. H. Filley:

"We, the undersigned, members of the Coroner's jury, investigating the cause of death of M. H. Filley, which occurred about four o'clock a.m., October 31st, near the corner of State and Short streets near the First National Bank, come to the conclusion that the cause of his death was from a pistol shot, the bullet passing through the heart, necessarily causing death in a few moments. The same being done by parties unknown to the jury."  J. J. Mitchell, Foreman


Source: The New York Times, November 20, 1868
From the Missouri Democrat, Nov. 16. Marshal Keck of Kansas City, and Detective Wright reached Alton with their prisoners, St. Clair and Kelley, on Saturday evening, lodging them in jail without trouble, although St. Clair himself was much exercised for fear Judge Lynch would get hold of him. It is not claimed that Kelley had a hand in this bank robbery and the murder of the private watchman, but he is known to have been cognizant of the circumstances, and it was surmised either a confederate or friend of the parties implicated, consequently his arrest. St. Clair made a confession after his arrival in Alton, to the effect that four men were engaged in the robbery; three were at work inside the bank proper, on the safe, while one was standing guard or watching outside; the private watchman came along, and a struggle ensued, during which he was shot. St. Clair asserts that Bill Ayres fired the fatal shot. Had the watchman not appeared on the scene, in a few minutes the safe would have been opened and all its valuable contents secured; they had done such jobs before, and knew how to go to work. As already known, the four only secured some $800 in stamps and nickels before making their escape. From Alton they came down the river in a skiff to St. Louis, and from thence proceeded to Kansas City, where they had a "job already put up," but they were afraid to attempt it at once, and the arrest of St. Clair cut short his career in the burglar line. From Kansas City the quartette were to have gone to Atlanta, Ga., where another "job" awaited their execution. On Saturday, as stated in our Alton letter, St. Clair was arraigned for preliminary examination, but entered a waiver, which virtually means, in this instance, a plea of guilty as a participant in the burglary, but, as stated, he stoutly denies any hand in the murder. The man Kelley was held as a witness in the sum of $2,000, and in default of bail was committed to jail. Marshal Keck received a receipt from the Mayor of Alton to the effect that he had delivered to the authorities St. Clair, known to be and properly identified as one of the men wanted and for whom the $1,000 reward was offered, but the reward was not paid, though it probably will be. As he has spent considerable time and money in the affair, it would certainly be an act of injustice not to pay him the promised reward.

In 1903, 35 years later, a bag of coins (3 cent pieces bearing the date of 1865) was found near the Alton levee by George Finkenkiller of Upper Alton, while assisting in building the foundations of the new Bluff Line passenger station. It was theorized that these coins were dropped by the robbers in 1868. The newly discovered coins were returned to circulation.


According to the 1866 Madison County Gazetteer, the First National Bank in Alton took over the Alton Mutual Insurance and Savings Company, and was located at the northwest corner of State and Broadway [then called Short Street]. Later, the Alton National Bank bought them out, and located to a new building at the northeast corner of Third and State Streets. Morrison's Irish Pub, as shown on the Google Earth photo, was currently occupying the old First National Bank building.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 5, 1868

Last evening a woman arrived in this city from Springfield, on the Chicago train, and put up at the Alton House. She registered her name as Mrs. Frazer. This morning she did not make her appearance at breakfast, and an attachee of the hotel was sent to call her. As she did not respond to the call, the door was opened and she was found lying dead in her bed. A jury was summoned by Justice Quarton, consisting of Messrs. A Breath (foreman), A. L. Chouteau, H. C. Sweetser, James Barr, James Meachen, M. P. Caldwell, Albert Wade, M. P. Breckinridge, Richard Flagg, T. M. Boyle, I. E. Hardy, M. D., and John W. Hart, who returned a verdict that the deceased came to her death by convulsions, the immediate cause of which was unknown to the jury. It appears from evidence furnished by a young man who was in her company, which was confirmed by a Springfield gentleman, that she had been spending the last few days in Springfield; that she represented herself as the wife of a rebel General Frazer of Louisiana, now in Europe. These representations, it is judged, are correct. It was found, through documents in the possession of the deceased, that she had two children at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, St. Louis. Justice Quarton has telegraphed to that institution of the event. The deceased was a woman of about thirty-five years of age; she was small of stature, but it was difficult to tell much of her personal appearance on account of her face being distorted by her struggles in the convulsions. The remains were taken in charge of by William Brudon, undertaker, and placed temporarily in the Cemetery vault.


Source: Library of Congress; Nashville Union and American, Nashville, TN, November 10, 1868

From the St. Louis Republican, Nov. 6 - On Wednesday evening last, a lady, apparently thirty-five or forty years of age, left the southward bound Chicago train at this point [St. Louis] and went to the Alton House. She had no baggage, except a small handbag, and was accompanied by a man of respectable appearance, who seemed to be acting as her escort. After some conversation with him in the parlor, she was shown to her room on the second floor of the hotel, and is supposed to have retired at an early hour. One of the boarders stated that in passing the door of the apartment which she occupied, about 9 o'clock, he saw a light burning and heard voices inside. But beyond this nothing is definitely known of what transpired within. Yesterday morning the servant knocked at the door several times, but elicited no reply, and on trying it found that it was locked or bolted. Calling the proprietor, an examination was made by looking through the transom light, when the woman was discovered in bed and so wrapped up in the clothes as to hide her face completely. Obtaining no answer to his questions, and fearing that something was wrong, Mr. Siemens then procured a ladder and entered the room from the outer court through a rear window. The unfortunate inmate was found dead, and from indications must have been so several hours. Her body was drawn up, the features horribly distorted, the hands partially clenched, and she appeared to have died in the midst of a sudden and violent convulsion, produced by some unknown cause. Justice Quarton was immediately notified, and summoning a coroner's jury, an inquest was held upon the remains. The companion of the deceased, a Mr. Roberts, was sworn, and testified substantially that he had met the lady in Springfield, Illinois at the St. Nicholas Hotel a few days before, and there for the first time made her acquaintance; that she represented herself to him as the wife of General Frazier of the Confederate army; that her husband was in Europe, and that she had two daughters in the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Louis. He stated that she had procured money from the Catholic clergy in Quincy as well as in Springfield, to pay her expenses to St. Louis; also that he took a walk with her to Oak Ridge Cemetery and elsewhere, during their sojourn at the St. Nicholas. According to his account he left Springfield on the same train with her, but did not know she was onboard until his arrival at Carlinville, when she spoke to him on the platform, and expressed her pleasure at meeting him again. He says that she urged him to stop off at Alton and continue his journey with her to St. Louis in the morning, and that he finally consented to do so. Previous to retiring for the night, she complained to him of feeling ill, but that he saw nothing more of her from the time she left the parlor until he was informed of her death next morning.  Roberts gave the jury most accurate information in regard to the effects of Mrs. Frazier, money, jewelry, etc., etc., which subsequent investigation proved to be correct. Nor was anything brought forward to invalidate the remainder of the testimony or to connect him in any way with her decease. There were no traces of violence on the body, and no signs of poison having been administered, and Dr. Hardy, City Physician, gave his opinion that she died of convulsions. The jury rendered a similar verdict, and the corpse was conveyed to the receiving vault of the city cemetery to await further developments. One hundred and one dollars in currency, a number of railway passes, a quantity of Catholic relics, crosses, etc., etc., were found among her clothing, but nothing which could lead to a complete identification. A telegram has been sent to the ladies of the Sacred Heart, asking that the children might be brought here; and should they arrive, it is to be hoped some clue may be found to unravel this melancholy and mysterious case.



This is one mystery I have been unable to solve, as many of the Telegraph newspapers are missing in this time period. However, the newspaper did believe that she was the wife of Confederate General John Wesley Frazer. She is still buried in the Alton City Cemetery. The name in the newspaper articles was spelled both Frazer and Frazier.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 28, 1868

Yesterday afternoon as a lady was walking along Second street, she stepped upon the iron covering of a cistern under the pavement, which had been carelessly left unfastened. The covering gave way beneath her, and she slipped into the opening as far as her waist. Help was at hand, and she quickly succeeded in extricating herself from her perilous position. Although not seriously injured, she received some severe bruises. The cistern was very deep and contained several feet of water, and had she not succeeded in arresting her fall, the consequences would have been serious. Had a child stepped upon the covering, it would almost inevitably have fallen clear through and been drowned. The carelessness which would leave such a place exposed should be severely punished. About half-past four o'clock, a sad accident took place on the corner of Second and Market streets. Four ladies from Monticello were driving down Market street in the Seminary carriage, when the horse took fright and ran away, overturning the carriage at the place mentioned, and throwing the inmates out. All the ladies were severely hurt, but none seriously. They were promptly taken to Dr. Williams' office, where every attention was paid them. A similar accident occurred to three other ladies from Monticello, yesterday, in Upper Alton. They were out driving in a private conveyance, and in their case, also, the horse took fright, ran away, and threw them all out, but they also escaped without serious injury, although greatly unnerved.




PATTERSON IRON WORKS (southeast corner of Piasa and Third Streets)



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 17, 1868

The Alton Foundry and Steam Engine Manufactory, and the celebrated Patterson Iron Works are rival houses in the manufacture of steam engines, boilers, castings, and machinery of every description.



Source: Buffalo, New York Evening Courier, September 8, 1869
ALTON, Ill., Sept. 8. The party were received here by a dense mass of persons, many of whom were from the surrounding country and from St. Louis and other cities. Salutes were fired and the greatest possible excitement prevailed. The excursionists were conducted to a stand previously erected, where the President. Gen. Grant, Admiral Farragut, Secretary Seward, Secretary Welles were introduced. The Mayor of Alton extended a cordial welcome to the President and the statesmen, and he accompanied him, in a neat speech. The President responded briefly. He was frequently interrupted by applause. Mr. Seward was then vociferously called. The party was then squeezed through a dense mass of human beings to the deck of the steamers Andy Johnson. Cheers were frequently repeated by the excited multitude. The President was formally introduced to Mayor Thomas and escorted to the steamer Ruth, when the bells commenced ringing for the fleet to turn their heads homeward. The steamers Andy Johnson, Ruth and Olive Branch, lashed together, made the first move forward, closely followed by as many other boats us there were original States in the Union. As soon as the fleet of steamers was under wav, the Presidential party crossed over from the Andy Johnson to the Ruth, and passed up to the cabin escorted by a detachment of Knights Templars, At this point Captain Bart Abel suggested that as the boats were about to pass the Missouri River the party should be escorted to the upper deck. The President and party were then escorted to the hurricane deck of the Ruth where they passed an hour in a most agreeable manner. Gen. Grant was kept busy in acknowledging the congratulations that were heaped upon him.




Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, Thursday, January 20, 1870

From the Alton Telegraph, Jan. 14 - - One of the most disastrous conflagrations which ever visited this city took place this morning in the destruction of the Alton House, one of the largest, oldest and most popular hotels in the Western country. The fire broke out about eight o'clock and was first discovered on the roof of the east wing, at a chimney, near the cupola [dome], and undoubtedly, originated from some defect in the flue. When first seen, the flames had already made considerable progress and were sweeping rapidly over the dry shingles of the roof. Attempts were at first made to extinguish the flames with buckets of water, but it was soon found that this method would be of no avail. The alarm was promptly sounded all over the city, and as the report spread from one to another, "the Alton House is on fire!" multitudes hastened to the scene. The engines and the Hook and Ladder were promptly on the ground, but the morning was bitterly cold and some delay was occasional from that cause, in getting the engines in operation. Still, it was apparent, from the first, that it would be impossible to save the building, and the work of removing the furniture, fixtures, etc., was soon commenced. A large number of citizens entered the burning building and commenced the removal of all that was movable. The furniture of the office, parlors, dining room, kitchen, and of nearly all the apartments on the first and second floors was removed out doors, though much of it was in a damaged condition. A part, also, of the furniture was removed from the third and fourth floors - some carried down, some lowered, or thrown, from the windows. More of the furniture of these upper stories could have been saved had not the main stairways soon taken fire and cut off access thereto. Meanwhile, the engines were playing full streams wherever they could do so most effectively, and firemen and citizens were exerting themselves to the utmost in noble efforts to stay the course of the conflagration, or to save valuable property. The Washington engine was stationed on Alby street at a cistern on Capt. Ryder's premises, and the Altona at the cistern in Jarrett's stables. So cold was the atmosphere that the water turned to ice whenever it struck outside the burning building. Many of the firemen were completely coated with ice from the spray freezing on their clothing. The wind was blowing at the time from the northwest, carrying the greater part of the sparks and cinders towards the river. This was a fortunate circumstance, for the residences north of the hotel would otherwise have been much endangered. In spite of all efforts, however, the fire slowly and surely fought its way downwards, from story to story. The flames made slow progress from the fact that they burned downwards and against the wind, and it was not until about eleven o'clock that they reached the basement floor, having destroyed every vestige of woodwork in their progress. The livery stables of William Jarrett adjoining the Alton House on the east, were in imminent danger during the entire progress of the fire, but the main portion of them were saved by tearing away the stable adjoining the House. This was thoroughly and effectually accomplished by the Hook & Ladder Company, aided by citizens. The roofs of the stables, also, were kept well saturated with water. Mr. Jarrett's horses were all promptly removed to a place of safety, and his rolling stock taken into the street. Of the Hotel, nothing was saved but one or two out-buildings. The fire demon made the work of destruction complete. On the north, a dwelling house, belonging to Mrs. John Mullady, had a narrow escape. It was saved by being kept deluged with water. It was occupied by a man named Hogan. All the furniture was removed from it, with but little damage. The Alton House was a spacious and convenient edifice, with ample and comfortable accommodations for two hundred guests, and has, in times past, accommodated three hundred. Under the able management of Mr. Siemens, the host and lessee, it had acquired a wide spread and enviable reputation for the excellence of its accommodations. It was owned by Hon. B. T. Burke, of Carlinville, who valued it at $40,000 [note: in 2008 this would be $673,080.90]; some place the value at $50,000. The loss on the building is total. Insured for $16,000. Mr. Siemens states that the furniture he had in the house cost him between $13,000 and 16,000. Insured for $7,000.




Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, April 1, 1870

A large cave has been discovered underneath the city of Alton, Illinois. It is in places seven feet high, and has the usual characteristics of caves. It has already been traversed some hundreds of feet, and a full exploration has not yet been made.




Source:  Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, May 14, 1871

The Alton Telegraph of the 10th says:
"The tornado that desolated East St. Louis on Wednesday, swept northward through the county, inflicting immense damage on the farming community. Everything in its path was swept away, or destroyed. The main track of the tornado was about midway between here and Edwardsville. The house of Mr. John W. Kendall was struck by the tornado, the roof blown off and carried a distance of 300 yards, and the whole building completely wrecked. The furniture was broken to pieces: clothing and bed coverings were blown away and lost. A pocketbook containing $100, which was in a wardrobe, was blown away and lost. All the outbuildings on the farm were torn to pieces and the fences carried off: a valuable peach orchard was reduced to a pile of brush. The residences of Mr. Cox, Mr. Roesch, and Mr. Morrison were all unroofed and badly damaged, and their stables, outbuildings, fences, granaries, hay-stacks, stock, etc., utterly destroyed. The loss is extremely heavy. Where the tornado struck, nothing was spared. Strange to say, none of the inmates of residences named were seriously injured. About the most startling statement is yet to come: Mr. Kendall informs us that his premises are strewn with fragments of steamboats, strips of tin roofing, and pieces of boards torn from buildings, which had evidently been blown from East St. Louis. As Mr. Kendall's house is no less than eighteen miles north of St. Louis in an air-line, the fact seems almost incredible, but is none the less true. These fragments of buildings were found by Mr. K, three miles north of his farm."



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, August 4, 1871

We understand that the valuable stone quarry on the river bank, back of the old penitentiary, is to be re-opened and extensively worked. It has excellent shipping facilities, both by river and rail, and will, doubtless, be profitable.







Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 22, 1871

Mr. William Armstrong, who owns the frame building corner of Fifth and Piasa streets, formerly a planing mill, is fitting it up as a barrel factory, on an extensive scale.



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, October 28, 1875

Armstrong Bros.' barrel factory, situated on Piasa street, is one of the institutions of Alton, and has a capacity for turning out 800 barrels a day. A specialty is made in the manufacture of the ventilated fruit barrel, of which large numbers have been shipped this season to Northern points.



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 2, 1875

Armstrong Bros. are fitting up a new barrel factory and warehouse on Piasa street, opposite the C. & A. freight depot.






Source: The New York Times, February 11, 1872

The Rockford, Rock Island, and St. Louis Railroad Company have offered a reward of $500 for the apprehension of Fred Baker and Pat Halpin, the conductor and engineer of the freight train which collided with the passenger train near Alton on Wednesday last.







Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, April 26, 1872

The stone business is active this season. Watson's quarry employs a large force of laborers, and is the liveliest place in town at present.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 16, 1889

The Bluff Line has put a side track to Watson's quarry, and made connection with the river-side track, where ties are transferred from barges.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, September 13, 1872

We have been informed that there are from twenty to thirty dead cattle lying in Hop Hollow, within a mile or a mile and a half of this city [Alton], and that the stench arising from them is almost intolerable, and will soon produce a pestilence unless it is abated. It should be the duty of someone to see that this offensive nuisance is removed without delay. We also learn that there are several carcases of dead cattle lying unburied in several of the sink holes in Sempletown, The Board of Health of the city should give this matter early attention.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 6, 1872

A conference took place on Monday afternoon at the office of Mayor Pfeiffenberger, between the Citizens' committee and the St. Louis manufacturers, heretofore spoken of, in regard to the location of a screw and cotton press factory in this city. The representations made by the St. Louis gentlemen were to the effect that they had $57,000 cash to put into the concern, and patterns, patents, etc., to the amount of $18,000 more, making a total of $75,000 stock. The Citizens' committee, consisting of Hon. J. T. Drummond, Hon. L. Pfeiffenberger and George A. Smith, Esq., then made the following proposition to the manufactures, as an inducement to locate in Alton:


"That they would organize an independent joint stock company; purchase the Patterson Iron Works buildings, and place it at the disposal of the manufacturers for five years, free of taxes and insurance."


The manufacturers, however, while acknowledging the liberality of the proposition, stated that they preferred to own the buildings themselves, even without being exempt from taxes and insurance, and would, therefore, make the following counter-proposition, viz:


"They would agree to purchase the Patterson Foundry buildings and establish a factory here with $75,000 capital, providing the citizens of Alton would put the buildings in proper repair."


The cost of the necessary repairs would be from $2,500 to $3,000. There the matter rested, and the Alton committee agreed to submit the matter to the consideration of our citizens for their action. In regard to this offer we have only this to say: If the manufacturers are reliable, upright men who will carry out their proposition in good faith, the investment of $3,000 to secure an increase of $75,000 active capital in our midst, and a factory employing from 50 to 100 operatives, will be an excellent one. As to the reliability referred to, we presume the committee are prepared to give the necessary information.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, January 10, 1873

The street railroad is again in operation, and cars are making regular trips. The horses have almost all recovered from the epizootic. The public will appreciate the restoration of regular communication between this city [Alton] and Upper Alton.




Source: Waterville, New York Times, February 20, 1873

The Missouri Republican is responsible for the following:

"Once on a time there dwelt in our sister city of Alton a worthy but rather irritable gentleman, who was the host of a famous hotel there, known as the Franklin House. Numerous citizens daily drew their rations from his liberally furnished table, and not a few visitors from the rural districts preferred the substantial fare of the Franklin House to the more pretentious board of the Alton House. One d a y, in addition to all the good things with which the dinner table was loaded, there was at the lower end a nice roast pig that would have tickled the palate of the gentle "Elia," who discourses so eloquently of that savory visited. At the conclusion of the meal, this roast pig remained intact, when along came a belated drover, who sat down beside it, and having a good, wholesome appetite, soon devoured the whole of it. The landlord looked on amazed, and was puzzled to see where his profit was to come in after deducting a dollar and-a-half-pig from a fifty cent dinner ticket. Giving vent to his disgust, he said very sarcastically to the drover, "Isn't there something else you would like to be helped to?" "Wal - yes" drawled out the drover, "I don't care if I take another of them little hogs.'' This was too much for the equanimity of the landlord, and to keep himself from "spontaneously combusting," like Dorothea, he was compelled to rush out in the open air, where he could give vent to a few unorthodox expressions without being overheard by the elect, of which he was one.




Source:  New York Times, New York, February 28, 1873

A fire at Alton, Ill., on Tuesday night, destroyed the shoe-store of Smiley brothers, the dry-goods store of Richard Flagg, and the drug-store of H. W. Chamberlain. The loss is from $40,000 to $50,000, and the property is mostly covered by insurance.



Source: The Deseret News, November 12, 1873

An Alton, Illinois woman recently threw a brick at a dog and hit her husband, who stood fifty feet behind her.







Source: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1872

We are informed that the Alton Screw and Manufacturing Co., through H. H. Bingham, have closed negotiations with H. G. McPike and F. Hewit, agents, for the purchase of the Patterson Foundry Works in this city. The above company is made up of the St. Louis manufacturers, of whom we have before spoken.



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, January 10, 1873

The representatives of this company from St. Louis were in town on Tuesday in conference with the Citizens' committee, in regard to the details of their location in Alton. The company have filed their certificate of organization with the Secretary of State, arranged for the purchase of the Patterson Iron Works on Piasa Street, and have accepted the conditions offered by said Citizens' committee, consisting of Mayor Pfeiffenberger, ex-Mayor Drummond, and George A. Smith, Esq. The conditions are that our citizens shall donate the company $3,000 to repair the Patterson buildings, payable when the new works are in running order, stocked with machinery, and $50,000 stock paid in. The company have given the Citizens' committee satisfactory evidence of their entire reliability, and of that fact that they mean business. They have sent to Boston to complete the negotiations for the transfer of the buildings (whose owner resides there), their books are open for further subscription in St. Louis and the full amount of $50,000 will be paid in within ten days. Mayor Pfeiffenberger assures us that the company are all right and are entitled to public confidence. The Citizens' committee will shortly commence canvassing for the $3,000 fund to repair the buildings ready for the reception of machinery. As the money is not to be paid over until the works are in operation with a paid up capital of $50,000, there is, of course, no fear that the money of the Alton subscribers can be misapplied. The importance of such a manufacturing establishment to Alton, employing at once from 50 to 100 hands, will be understood and appreciated by all, without further remarks. Let us give the new company a generous reception and every assistance possible. The time has past for the manifestation of any narrow-minded prejudice. We must all work together for the common good.





Source: Utica, New York Daily Observer, 1874

About 6 o'clock the sky was half obscured by the dense mass of clouds; then, what seemed to be lighter clouds were detached from the upper mass and swept through the air with inconceivable rapidity, while the atmosphere on the surface of the ground was almost perfectly still.  At 6:10 a heavy cloud, in the shape of a funnel, fell, apparently from the great mass, swept across the river as quick as a flash of lightning, the small end of the funnel dragging along the surface of the water. In a second the cloud struck the river front, swept by in  flash, bounded like a ball, passed over the hills, toward the northeast, rose again, and broke into fragments. When it struck the buildings, a terrible rambling; crash resounded, which was distinctly heard a mile distant, then came the rush and roar, of the tempest, blinding rain and rattling hail; the air seemed ail in a swirl, almost total darkness closed in and hid the scene of destruction. The time occupied by the passage of the whirlwind from the river through the valley was not over two seconds, and all the damage was done within that time. The only part of the town touched by the tornado was the main business part, directly in the valley. The coarse of the storm-cloud was most erratic. It was, as we have said, funnel-shaped, small end down. Whatever object that small end touched was smashed to atoms. It rose, fell, darted here and there, and finally rose up and broke into fragments. The diameter of the small end of the funnel was only a few feet. The storm cloud, as it swept over the river, was of a greenish-white tinge, but when it rose again into the air it was densely black, like a column of ink.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, March 13, 1874

About 1 o'clock Tuesday night, the Washington engine house on Sixth street, between Henry and Langdon, was discovered to be on fire, and was soon entirely consumed, together with its contents. The building was of frame, and the flames made such rapid progress that it was impossible to save either the fire engine or the hose carriage. The origin of the fire is unknown, but it is supposed to have been incendiary, as there had been no fire in the building since the previous Saturday. The loss is about $3,500; insurance on building, $1,000; on engine, $500; on furniture, $75 - total, $1,575. The Washington company greatly regret the loss of their house and engine. The latter was one of the best hand engines in the State. It was formerly called the Altona, and has done much valuable service at many fire.







Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, March 13, 1874

Among the most important and prosperous manufacturing industries of this city [Alton] is the extensive and famous carriage factory of Mr. Chas. Rodemeyer on Third street, between Piasa and Market. This factory has been a successful and prosperous establishment for many years, adding no little to the business and manufacturing importance of the city. The proprietor is one of our oldest and most respected citizens, and is well known as an experienced and skillful mechanic and a successful business man. What he does not know about carriage and wagon making is not worth inquiring about. The secret of his success lies in his always turning out the best of work. Nothing is slighted. He is careful in selecting the best of raw material, and in making it up in the most substantial manner, which his long experience can suggest. Consequently, when a customer purchases a Rodemeyer carriage or wagon, he knows that he has got the worth of his money, a vehicle that will last and be useful for many years. The factory is a very beehive of industry, and is divided into several distinct departments, so that work can be prosecuted with the greatest dispatch. Each department attends to some particular detail, such as the woodwork, the iron work, the trimming, upholstering, painting, etc. The number of workmen is so proportioned that there is no delay. The vehicle in different stages of completion passes rapidly from one set of hands to another until finished. Thirty-five workmen are now employed in the factory. The carriage repository is a separate building, three stories high, where the completed work is displayed for sale, and it is safe to say that no similar showroom in St. Louis or Chicago can make a finer display of rolling stock. The basement is occupied by the popular Rodemeyer wagons, for the use of farmers, coal haulers, and others. They are strong and substantial, and have a well-established reputation. On the second floor is a beautiful display of carriages, phaetons [light, 4-wheeled carriage with 1 or 2 seats], rockaways [light, 4-wheeled carriage with 2 or 3 seats and a fixed top], and buggies. These are elegantly painted and trimmed, and upholstered in various styles. The painting of some of these buggies is a marvel of beauty and good taste. These vehicles combine all the latest improvements in sliding seats, shifting tops, new styles of bodies, several of them being covered by valuable patents for which Mr. R. has purchased the right. The third floor is occupied by an equally fine assortment of open buggies, spring wagons, "sundowns," etc. A visit to this repository, whether one is intending to purchase or not, is well worth the time. A good idea of the extent of Mr. Rodemeyer's business and the popularity of his vehicles is shown by the fact that during 1873, he turned out 180 carriages, buggies and light wagons; and 250 wagons, total 430, or an average of nearly 1 1/2 for each working day. These facts speak for themselves and need no comment.



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, July 4, 1878

We were shown, last Saturday, at Mr. Charles Rodemeyer's Carriage Repository, corner of Third and Market Streets, one of the finest top buggies ever seen in this city. It was manufactured for Dr. W. A. Haskell, is a new style called the Saladee triple spring buggy, so arranged that wherever the load may be placed, the weight is equalized and falls on all the springs alike. The buggy is elegantly finished in plain style and shines like a mirror. Another new feature peculiar to it is a patent leather protector, to be placed over each side of the bed in front of the seat, to prevent injury to the highly polished surface from the foot of anyone mounting or dismounting. Dr. Haskell's monogram is artistically put on the side of the vehicle in gold. The buggy is so elegant and attractive in appearance, that orders have already been received from Jerseyville for two of a similar pattern. Another fine vehicle, almost finished, is a Brewater improved sidebar buggy, for a gentleman living in Jerseyville. In fact, this manufactory is getting up great numbers of fine carriages of various styles, that cannot be excelled for fine workmanship, superior finish and durability.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, August 13, 1880

The firm of Charles Rodemeyer & Bros., carriage manufacturers, was mutually dissolved on the 4th of August 1880. Charles Rodemeyer assumes the payment of all the liabilities of the firm, and he alone is authorized to collect and receipt for all the outstanding demands of the firm.  Charles Rodemeyer.  William Rodemeyer.



Source: Alton Telegraph, December 16, 1897

The Rodemeyer Carriage Factory has been sold by Mr. Chas. Rodemeyer to Mr. John Karel, who has long been a partner in the business. Mr. Rodemeyer has conducted the business at the present location for many years. The Rodemeyer Carriage Factory is one of the oldest institutions in Alton.







Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, August 6, 1874

Two of the three buildings destroyed by the fire on the 30th ult., on the corner of Alby and Second [Broadway] Streets, were famous old landmarks that had been standing over forty years, having been erected in 1832. In the early history of the city they were quite noted on several accounts. As originally built, the corner building was only two stories high, and the one adjoining on the east, one story; but, subsequently, after the street was graded, a basement story of stone was built under both houses. Other changes were also made, but none affecting the integrity of the original buildings, which being strong and substantial remained but little changed by time until their cremation. In the second story of the corner building was a hall which was quite a famous place of resort in early times. There, a lyceum used to hold regular meetings, and there some of our old citizens settled the fate of the country in glowing rhetoric that would have put Dick Oglesby to the blush. In this hall the first Lodge of Odd Fellows organized in Illinois was constituted in the summer of 1836. Western Star Lodge No. 1 is still in existence, and doubtless, many of its members looked with sadness upon the destruction of the birthplace of their organization. Prominent among the gentlemen who organized this Lodge were W. T. Miller of Alton; S. L. Miller, now of Bethalto; and the late Col. John R. Woods and Major J. D. Burns. The Baptist church was organized in the hall of that building in 1833, and the members worshipped there until their first church, on the corner of Third and Alby streets, was completed. The Presbyterian denomination also occupied the hall until their church was completed, which was in 1834, on the site now occupied by the Episcopal church. The M. E. church of this city [Alton] worshipped in that place in 1836-7, and, we think, was also organized there. The first floor of this corner building was occupied by the Alton Telegraph printing office, from January 8, 1836 until the spring of 1837, and there on the 15th of January 1836, the first number of the Telegraph was printed by the founders Treadway and Parks. And so the Telegraph, as well as Western Star Lodge, mourns the loss of its birthplace. We are aware that a few reflections would be appropriate here, but are not inclined today to take a sentimental retrospect. At the same time that the Telegraph occupied the quarters referred to, its rival, the Alton Spectator, occupied the building adjoining. It was then published by J. T. Hudson, and edited by the late Dr. B. K. Hart. It afterwards passed into the hands of Hessin and Sawyer. The Spectator, having died while still in swaddling clothes, does not mourn very vigorously over the destruction of its birthplace. Perhaps Mr. S. T. Sawyer, however, dropped a silent tear last evening as he saw the old landmark rising to the skies on the wings of the wind to rejoin the Spectator in the land where all good papers go when they "go up."





Source:  The Daily Observer, Utica, New York, September 14, 1874

Boys will be boys - at Alton, Illinois, a teacher asked Sunday School scholars to stand up who intended to visit the wicked, soul-destroying circus. All but a lame girl stood up.




Source: Alton Telegraph, February 25, 1875

On Tuesday, the 16th instant, Captain Lamothe drove into town in a buggy bed mounted on runners. While he was standing on Second street, a few feet from his sleigh, his horse, a fast mare, took fright and ran away before the Capt. could catch the reins. On Short street the animal collided with a pile of lumber and left the buggy bed. She then ran up the hill by the penitentiary and fell off an embankment nearly thirty feet high; but picked herself up and rushed ahead up the road towards the saw mills, with the shafts and runners still attached. She crossed the river on the ice, opposite the upper sawmill, and ran along on the ice near the Missouri shore until near Portage, when her mad career was stayed by her falling into an air-hole where the water was twenty feet deep. Some men saw the occurrence and succeeded in pulling the frightened animal out, with the shafts and runners still attached. Strange to say, the horse was not injured by her mad spree. The Captain says she must have run nearly eight miles before stopping.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, June 3, 1875

Of all the reminders of the late war, none are more significant, none more fragrant of tender memories, none more eloquent of the nation's sacrifice, than the annual observance of Decoration Day. The suggestion of such a memorial of respect for departed valor was an inspiration not alone of love and affection, but of patriotism as well. It is a grander monument to the memory of our loved and lost than any reared of granite or marble. Marble shafts are raised over the dead, and then, perhaps, those who sleep beneath them are forgotten. But the strewing of fresh flowers upon the graves of the soldiers of the Republic, on a set day every year, is an eloquent assertion that our remembrance of the departed is as perennial, and our love for them as fragrant, as the fresh spring flowers we strew on their graves. Saturday was a delightful day for the anniversary, bright sunshine and cool, invigorating atmosphere. We regret to say, however, that the interest in the observance was less general than has been usually manifested, still quite a large company gathered at the cemetery in the afternoon, in response to the Mayor's recommendation, to participate in the services. All brought their floral tributes with them, but owing to the lateness of the season, flowers were scarce. Mayor Pfeiffenberger was present, and opened the exercises with a few suitable remarks, when prayer was offered by the Rev. Mr. Morrison. Rev. Mr. West of the Congregational church made a brief and appropriate address, followed by Revs. Chase of the Episcopal church, and Morrison of the Methodist church. All the addresses were characterized by fervent patriotism and a tender remembrance of the heroism and sacrifice of the fallen heroes. The exercises were interspersed with singing, after which the decking of the graves with flowers took place. Owing to the fact that the flowers were few and the graves many, this part of the service was not as complete as could have been desired. There are over 250 soldiers buried in that cemetery, and to decorate the graves of all requires a large supply of flowers.


The Rev. Mr. West, in his address, strongly advocated the decking of the graves of the Confederate soldiers also. The Telegraph has previously warmly favored this course, believing that the time had come to bury all animosities, and that such action would not necessarily cause the people to lose sight of the fact that there was a right and a wrong involved in the great struggle. But when a man, even though greatly mistaken, is willing to give his life for a cause he believes to be just, he is entitled, at least, to the respect due to valor and self-sacrifice, even though we may battle all our lives against the principles for which he died. And further: A common sorrow makes all men akin. And are not our charity and sympathy broad enough to deck the graves of those whose friends far away cannot bestow this tribute of affection? Many others coincide with the Telegraph in this opinion and had not the Confederate Cemetery been two miles distance from that where the Union soldiers are buried, we have no doubt that the commemoration would have been extended to their last resting places also.




Source: Alton Telegraph, November 4, 1875

Re-Printed from the Inter-Ocean, October 30.

This Monday evening the whirligig of time brings one of those time-honored festivals which our Scottish forefathers delighted to honor, and which the old and young ones of the present generation still cherish as the special night throughout the year.   When fairies light on Cassilis Downans and dance Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze On sprightly coursers prance.


The night is devoted to fortune-telling, nut burning, love tests, and "touz'ling." Hallowe'en, or All Hallow's Eve, is regarded in Scotland as the night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands, particularly those aerial people, the fairies. Taking its origin from the religious festival of All Saint's Day among the Presbyterians of Scotland, Hallowe'en came to be recognized as a night to be devoted to fun and jollity. It is the last night of October, the closing of the summer and the autumn; and, standing upon the threshold of winter, warm-hearted lads and lassies were wont to gather round the ingle nook, To burn their nits an pou' their stocks, And haud their Hallowe'en.


The first ceremony of Hallowe'en, according to ancient custom, was the pulling of a stock, or plant of kail. Two lassies went out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pulled the first they met with; its being big or little, straight or crooked, being prophetic of the size and shape of their future husband. Should any earth stick to the root, that was fortune, and the taste of the costec - the heart of the stem - indicative of natural disposition. The stems or rants were placed above the head of the door, and the Christian names of the people whom chance brought into the house supposed to be the names in question. The lassies then went to the barnyard and pulled each, at three several times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wanted a ton-pickle, the chances were that the young lady might become a matron ere the marriage ring had touched her finger.


Burning nuts is another famous charm. As the nuts which are named for some particular pair of sweethearts burn quietly together, or start up the "lum," so will the fortunes of the lovers be.


Another method of showing one's fate is to take a candle and go alone to a looking-glass, cut an apple before it, and comb the hair; the face of the coming man will show itself in the glass. Sowing hemp seed is still another old-fashioned mode of "looking back into futurity."


It was also the custom in Burns' time to go to a south running stream where three lairds' lauds met, and dip the left shirt sleeve. The lad was then required to go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang his wet sleeve up to dry. Some time near midnight, an apparition of the desired object would come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side.


Then there was the dish-test, clean water in one, foul in another, and the third empty. The person being blindfolded was led to the dishes; if he or she touched the clean water, a maid or bachelor would be the favored fate; if the foul, a widow or widower; if the empty dish was touched there would be no marriage at all.


Such are a few of the old customs which gave its humor to Burns' famous poem. While people have become too sensible in these practical days to believe in omens and "ghosts," there was just as much sense in the old love-tests of Hallowe'en as in the modern devotion to Spiritualism, for while the former caused the lassies' hearts to thump, the latter turns their heads. The night is observed this year upon Monday, owing to the last day of October falling upon a Sunday. While in the cities the old folks are not perhaps so much inclined to encourage "such foolishness," away in many a comfortable farm-steading the lads and lassies will gather as did their forebears across the sea around the kindly fireside, and while the rafters re-echo with their loud, infectious laughter, the minds of the auld anes [ones] will wander back to the days of langsyne, when they too burned their nuts and pulled their stocks and held their Hallowe'en.


[Reference to Robert Burns poem, "Halloween."]




Source: The Phelps County New Era, [Rolla, Missouri] December 4, 1875

Rolla, Mo., Nov. 29th, 1875. Editor New Era: Having recently arrived from a trip through Illinois and a portion of this State, and thinking that a few items concerning the people, crops, etc., might be of interest to your readers, here goes: Alton, a city of between 14 and 15 thousand inhabitants was our starting place. It is situated on the Mississippi River, about 25 miles from St. Louis, and is surrounded by some of the finest farming lands in the "Prairie State." Its educational facilities are unsurpassed, it having two colleges for the instruction of young men, two academies for the education of young ladies, two Primary Schools (Public), two intermediate and one High School, besides numerous private schools. The Catholics also have recently erected a magnificent building for the instruction of the youth of that denomination. There are three papers published here representing both political parties, and one, a German paper remaining neutral. There are several mills, flouring, woolen and planing. Here, also, is located the large plow manufactory of Hapgood & Co., and the threshing machine manufactory of Hanson & Co. The citizens have recently improved their city by the acquisition of Water Works. Its citizens are sociable and charitable and are essentially a working people. The only drawback to the rapid growth of the city is that it is burdened by a set of moneyed fogies, who make it their especial business to cry down every projected improvement and by reason of their wealth and influence are enabled to greatly retard the advancements of the interests of the people. The crops, with the exception of wheat, were unusually good, and consequently the Grangers are all happy. Alton furnishes them a market place for their produce at St. Louis prices, which is attested by the fact that farmers from Jersey, Calhoun and other surrounding counties bring their grain and much of their stock to this place. The crumbling walls of the old State Prison may be seen looking like the remains of some ancient feudal castle. A trip through the cells above and beneath the ground will well repay one's trouble. Taking the train at Alton, our road led through immense fields of corn, with here and there large fields of wheat just emerging from the ground. When near Chicago no grain of any importance was to be seen, that portion of the State being confined chiefly to the production of cheese. The country for miles around Chicago is studded with palatial residences around which were grounds resembling miniature paradises. Throughout the course of our travels we found the people sociable, well education and refined; all the farmers rejoicing over the good crops of this year, and making preparations for sowing larger crops in the Spring. We left Chicago and Illinois with the impression that she is indeed a happy State. Fearing to tire your readers, we will close for the present with the intention of continuing if this prove acceptable.  Lorme.




Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, September 30, 1875

Coppinger & Biggins have commenced the erection of a large lime kiln at their quarries under the bluff, and will soon be adding largely to the lime production of the city. The quarries have been stripped in getting out the MacAdam for the Venice contract, which leaves the entire face of the bluff in good condition for the kiln, without the usual expense attached to stripping and handling the rock. The capacity of this new lime manufacturing company can not be stated, as their facilities will enable them to increase the production to any extent the demand will warrant. The reputation of Alton lime is of the very best character and from present indications we may expect to see this the largest lime market in the west. The price of lime has been very low all this season, owing to sharp competition among the dealers here, and a large trade has been built up all over the west that is adding much to the commercial advantages of the city, in various ways, and this industry bids fair to receive a still greater impetus from the competition stimulated by this new company.






Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 2, 1875

Messrs. Brunner & Duncan have fitted up the building opposite the C. & A. freight depot on Piasa street, belonging to the Allen estate, as an iron foundry, and have begun operations, the preliminary heat having been run off on Friday last, and the second cast on Tuesday afternoon. The first orders filled at the new works were a quantity of plow casting for the Hapgood Plow Works of this city, a number of street plates for the Water Works, and iron castings for seats, etc., for M. H. Boals' planing mill. The building occupied has a dimension of 30x70 feet, and is fitted up with engines and the necessary machinery used in the manufacture of engines, flouring mills, saw mills, coal mining machinery, house fronts, sash weights, boiler fronts, grate bars, pulleys and shafting, lift and force pumps, brass work, and fittings of all kinds. They also manufacture the Bingham & Hunt flour, meal and grain dryer. These gentlemen have been interested in the foundry business in Alton for several years, and have only recently removed from the corner of Front and Henry streets to their present desirable location, where they will, undoubtedly, meet with that success which long experience and careful attention to the wants of the trade, usually ensure; and the growing importance of Alton will assuredly afford them an ample filled for expansion, as its manufacturing and industrial interests grow and flourish.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 30, 1875

Brunner & Duncan shipped 600 pounds of casting to Louisiana on the steamer "Addie Johnston" from their new foundry and machine shop.




Source: Alton Telegraph, July 12, 1877

On the Fourth, as Mr. A. W. Hardy, accompanied by his wife and three children, was driving down the hill at the junction of Seventeenth and Piasa streets, the wagon tilted so much that he fell out. His wife, in attempting to catch him, was dragged out also, with the oldest daughter. Mr. Hardy fell in such a position that a wheel of the wagon stopped directly on his neck, and he raised the wheel with his own hands and thus became free. No one was particularly injured, which was a very fortunate circumstance.




ARMORY HALL  (Alton's National Guard unit opened the Armory Hall on Third Street in 1877. The Hall may have been located in the Mercantile Building.)



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, October 4, 1877

This fine Hall is finished, and was open for inspection today. It has a wide entrance on Third street, and near the rear of the building, where two large doors finely painted and grained, open to a broad stairway leading to the Hall, which is whitened, painted and ornamented in a manner to make it a very pleasant and attractive resort. The rifles are stowed in the large upright showcase, which is arranged with numbers from 1 to 96. The cartridge boxes and other accoutrements are arranged in closets at the base.



Source: Alton Telegraph, October 18, 1877

Mr. L. E. Houghton has given Armory Hall, corner of Third and Piasa streets, two coats of paint, of a grey or stone color. When it receives another of the same color, it will present a vastly improved appearance.








Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 9, 1878

Armstrong Bro's have laid a side track at the corner of Sixth and Piasa streets, leading to the place where their lime kiln is to be erected.







Source: Alton Telegraph, March 13, 1879

Messrs. Dixon & Powell of the Hop Hollow Stone Quarry company, arrived in town Tuesday from Logansport, Indiana with a carload of machinery, including a steam engine and saws, for getting out stone which they intend having in full blast in a month. Mr. Powell carries a specimen of the stone, procured at Hop Hollow, finely finished and beautifully polished, resembling marble of the best quality.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 22, 1879

The Massive Stone Company of the Hop Hollow Quarry have orders for more stone than they can fill. They have just made a contract with the Grafton Quarry Company to furnish them dimension stone for their contract at Rock Island.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 22, 1879

Wanted - Ten quarrymen at Hop Hollow immediately.  Massive Stone Company.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 28, 1879

The steam saws from cutting up the stone procured for this quarry were started yesterday afternoon. Nine blades were at work cutting four inches each per hour. The "saws" are without teeth, run by means of a steam engine, and are supplied with fine sand and water, the process being that of grinding, rather than sawing. A blast took place yesterday afternoon, and one solid mass of rock without an apparent crack or crevice was dislodged, weighing by calculation over 28,500 pounds. It was afterwards split in two pieces by means of a little drilling, and the introduction of some wedges. The various processes were viewed with great interest by a large number of picnicers. A railway track connects the quarry with the Mississippi River, which is but a few hundred yards distant.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, July 16, 1879

A small barge, rigged with a hoisting apparatus, loaded with stone from the Hop Hollow Quarry, is at the levee. The most of the stone is for shipment. One large block will be used in the City Cemetery.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 28, 1882

On invitation of the Massive Stone Company, a party of citizens, including the Mayor and several members of the Council, went up to Hop Hollow yesterday afternoon on the ferry boat, to inspect the company's quarries at Hop Hollow. After a pleasant ride, the visitors landed at the mouth of the Hollow, and proceeded to the quarries which have been opened a few hundred yards from the river bank. The company have already gone to a heavy expense in their operations, and are prepared for work on an extensive scale. They have erected a large building in which the stone is sawed into slabs by steam power; have a powerful steam sawing machine at work in the quarry, and a narrow gauge railroad to convey their product to the river bank. The ledge of stone they are now working is eighteen feet thick, of unknown length, and extends back through the bluff until it outcrops again on the river bank. The ledge is well termed "Massive Stone," being without seam or break, and enabling the company to saw out blocks of any required length or thickness. Blocks of stone as long as an Egyptian obelisk could be sawed out if desired, without seam or flaw. The stone is of a light cream color, of fine texture, close grain, and takes a splendid polish. It is much harder and in every way superior to the Grafton stone. By means of their complete mechanical appliances, the company can furnish the stone in any desired form or size for building purposes: in massive and uniform blocks for walls, in window sills, window caps, in slabs for wall-fronts or sidewalks, or in any shape, size or style desired. The blocks are cut out from the ledge by the machine referred to, and if for immediate shipment, are raised by derricks, loaded on platform cars and run down to the river; if for cutting up into slabs or sills, the blocks are transferred to trucks and run into the shop on tramways where they are sawed into the desired form. The saws are long bands of soft iron, run by steam power, which cut at the rate of two inches per hour, but the large number of saws in operation at once renders it possible to cut out a great many slabs in the course of a day. The quarry is yet only partially developed. As the work progresses further into the hill, there is every reason to expect that the ledges will prove thicker and finer than that now being worked. Hon. Z. B. Job pronounces it the finest ledge of building stone in the State. It is called Oolitic limestone [limestone composed mainly of calcium carbonate "oolites," small spheres formed by the concentric precipitation of calcium carbonate on a sand grain or shell fragment] and closely resembles the famous Bedford stone of Indiana. This variety of limestone consists of round grains as small as the roe of a fish. In quantity, it is inexhaustible. The company have a tract of 76 acres, lying on both sides of the hollow, with a river front of over half a mile. The company, although completely equipped for work, are much hampered by their inadequate shipping facilities. The way they are now situated their product is first loaded on their own cars, run down to the river bank, unloaded into barges, towed down to Alton by their steamer, unloaded into wagons, and then loaded again onto cars. It is easy to see that so much expensive handling makes a big hole in the profits. The company have a bonanza in their quarry, providing they can induce a railroad company to extend its line to, or through, Hop Hollow, so that they can load directly onto the cars. So important do they deem this matter, that they offer a bonus of $6,000 to any railroad that will run a line to their quarries. Other property owners along the line would, doubtless, also subscribe liberally. The Altonians were satisfied from the inspection made that the Hop Hollow quarries are extremely valuable, and that if railroad facilities can be obtained, a force of 500 or 1,000 men would soon be at work in the quarries, affording a heavy business to the railroads at once. If the C. B. & Q. railroad would extend its line from Bright to Alton, via Hop Hollow, it would reap an immense profit in time by the extension; or if the C. & A. or I. & St. L. would extend a switch to the quarries, they would make it pay in a business point of view. It is to the interest of Alton to see these great quarries developed and everything possible should be done by the Council and citizens to aid the Stone company in obtaining the needed facilities. The offers of the company are J. C. Huff, President, and I. W. Crawford, Secretary. They understand their business and are anxious to develop it to the greatest possible extent. Among those participating in the excusion yesterday were: Mayor Pfeiffenberger, Aldermen Hobart, Curdie, Clifford, Bruch and Bissinger; Messrs. J. W. Schweppe, A. R. McKinney, W. P. Noble, H. G. McPike, S. F. Connor, W. N. Danvers, J. Quarton, Z. B. Job, H. Stanford, A. Breath, J. W. Hart, F. H. Rabe, James Bannon, George McNulty, F. H. Ullrich, Frank Cunningham, D. Busse, James E. Dunnegan, S. S. Foster, R. S. Sawyer, Dr. Hardy, H. Behrens, Philip Peters, W. H. Temple, L. Stohr, representatives of the Sentinel, Democrat and Telegraph, and others. The result of the inspection was to impress all present with great value and extent of these quarries, and the importance of railway facilities to develop them properly. The extension from this city to the quarries is, at least, easy and practicable. There is no grade to overcome, and the material for ballasting the track is right on hand. The cost would be small compared with the advantages to be gained.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1884

Mr. J. C. Huff, President of the Massive Stone Company, says that their Hop Hollow Quarry is constantly improving the farther it is developed. The ledge now being worked is eighteen feet thick and of superior quality. The company is greatly hampered in its operations by the lack of railroad facilities and is able to accept only a small part of the orders it could otherwise fill. Mr. Huff says that their business is such that with a railroad along under the bluff, the company could work 200 men to advantage.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 11, 1889

To a representative of this paper, Mr. E. D. Babbitt, proprietor of the Hop Hollow Stone Quarry Co., made the following statement: When the Bluff Line contractors came within a short distance of his property, he found that graders had camped near his ground with the intention of building the track on his land, without asking his permission. He immediately wrote Mr. Fisher that he would object to such proceedings. Mr. Fisher came to Alton, and a contract was made out and signed by Mr. Babbitt and Mr. Fisher, wherein Mr. Babbitt agreed to give the right of way over his land in consideration that the railroad company would build and maintain a side track from its main track to the stone quarry and mill where the stone was sawed into dimensions. Mr. Babbitt further agreed to furnish the railroad company with $200 worth of stone on the cars, on side track, five months after date of contract, which was signed by both parties on March 23rd, 1888. The road bed was built and the track laid over the land of the Stone Quarry Co., but from that day to this, Mr. B. has not been able to get the railroad company to build the side track or pay him for the use of his land. Mr. Fisher offered to relinquish the road's claim to the $200 worth of stone if Mr. B. would pay for the ties used in the side track. This was agreed to by the latter, but the company failed to keep its offer. The Bluff Line has possession, and in Mr. Fisher's own words, demands "a new deal." This "new deal," says Mr. Babbitt, was that he should pay for the filling of the roadbed, about 2000 yards of earth, costing about $300, and pay 6 per cent interest per annum on cost of rails. Mr. Babbitt declined this proposition. By this violation of contract on the part of the Railroad company, Mr. Babbitt is not able to operate his quarry. He has no facilities for getting his stone to market. The old county road by which he hauled the stone to the river and placed it on barges, has been blocked by the track of the Bluff Line, and he can no longer haul stone that way. Mr. Babbitt could have sold his quarry and machinery if he could have obtained side tracks as agreed to in the contract; he has been offered money sufficient from abroad to increase the capacity of his works on the same conditions; he has been obliged to refuse contracts for work, as under existing circumstances, he must operate at a loss to himself, and so he has closed the works. Mr. B. says his works have been effectually sealed up by the failure of the railroad company to keep its contract. When contractors Johnson & Co. reached Mr. Babbitt's grounds, they said they would put in the frogs and switches, etc., and take Mr. Fisher for it, but he declined saying he could do it cheaper with his section men. By this statement of Mr. Babbitt's, it will be seen that Mr. Watson is not the only one who has had difficulty with the Bluff Line in regard to promises and written agreements made by its officials, and we are reliably informed that a similar state of affairs exists at various points along the line of the road. Alton business men are friendly to the Bluff Line, but if it wishes to further its own interests, it will fulfill its agreements to the letter.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 20, 1891

Mr. William Huff of Bremen, Indiana was in town today looking after his interest in the Hop Hollow stone quarry.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 27, 1893

Work at Watson's Hop Hollow quarry is being prosecuted vigorously, and 50 or 75 men have been given employment.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 20, 1900

Contractor Joseph Golike opened up the Hollow stone quarries today to take out stone for a government contract he has secured. The quarry to be operated is the one operated by Golike and Rust several years ago on the river bank, and the stone will be loaded into barges for shipment to the Chain of Rocks, where the government is making extensive improvements. Mr. Golike said today that he has secured a sub-contract for furnishing 14,000 yards of rip-rap on barges. He will employ 60 men until the contract is fulfilled. The quarter boat of Contractor Golike has been stationed at Hop Hollow, and work will be pushed until cold weather stops it.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 9, 1900

The big red quarterboat of Joseph Golike, which is used to provide sleeping and living quarters for the men in the employ of Golike at the Hop Hollow quarries, was destroyed by fire at 5 o'clock Thursday night, and burned to the water's edge. Golike is working the Hop Hollow quarries, and is using the stone down the river, where he has a contract to furnish rip-rap for river improvements at the Chain of Rocks. He keeps the quarterboat at Hop Hollow for his men, and a spark from the hoisting engine blew in the window and set fire to the interior of the boat. In a short time, the boat was in flames and was soon destroyed. The New Haven has been lying across the river, and Friday morning she was steamed up and taken to Hop Hollow to provide a place for the homeless men who were burned out. Mr. Golike will continue with his work.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 23, 1905

Hop Hollow will become an important stone producing place within a few months. A lease has been signed up by a firm from Savannah, Mo., for the old quarry at Hop Hollow, formerly worked by Golike and Rust, and a big crusher will be set up having a capacity the same as some of the larger crushers at Alton. The company has signed contracts with the Bluff Line railroad for furnishing crushed stone for railroad construction work, it is said, and will engage in the stone business on a large scale. The Hop Hollow quarries were one time scenes of active industry, but they have fallen into disuse in recent years.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 20, 1906

The Hop Hollow Quarry Company intends installing another crusher at their plant, and business will be livelier than ever next summer in the hollow.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 16, 1915

The Hop Hollow quarry has not been in operation for the past three months on account of the high water. The high water made it impossible to use the stone at the East St. Louis levee, and the quarry was therefore closed down. A number of other Alton industries have suffered from the high water.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 7, 1939  (in copyright)

The abandoned quarry at Hop Hollow filled with clear water, and provided a swimming hole for young boys. The water was said to be 20 to 30 feet deep, and was fed by springs. This was later called "The Blue Pool."





Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879

Captain Starr's ferry boat made an excursion trip to the mouth of Wood River yesterday, with a large party of ladies and gentlemen onboard, including the members of the Alton Hunting Club, under whose auspices the excursion was made. Gossrau's Band was in attendance and furnished good music. The party spent the day in a fine shady grove on the west bank of Wood River, about half a mile from the Mississippi, where a picnic dinner was partaken of with appetites sharpened by open air exercise. The ferry boat had a barge in tow. Captain Largent, with a party of twelve onboard the swift running little Truant, also went to the same locality with a skiff in tow, with which to explore the shallow places. The Truant went up Wood River about half a mile to a quiet spot, where the gentlemen onboard explored the depths of the stream under the drifts and secured some fine large black bass, croppies, and other fish. The champion cook of the party prepared some of the catch, and with coffee and other accompaniments, the Truants had a feast.


The steamer Calhoun made an excursion from St. Louis yesterday with a military company onboard to Hop Hollow. We understand that there was a little disturbance at that place during the afternoon, but nothing serious resulted.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879

One of the most successful and of course the busiest places in Alton is the dry goods house known as the Bee Hive, established in April 1874 by R. Henry Flagg. His store is shown in the engraving of Third Street, and is correctly named the Bee Hive. Mr. Flagg is a born dry goods man, takes to the business as naturally as a duck to water, likes the trade, and constaantly enters into it with a zeal that insures success. Always buying carefully, selling at bottom figures and keeping none but the gest goods, his trade has grown from a small store to a stock of many thousands in value, and commands trade from many counties in Illinois and over the river in Missouri. Mr. Flagg served in the dry goods trade many years in larger cities, and graduated in such establishments as Field, Letter & Co., Chicago, and John Schillito, Cincinnati, and with his thorough understanding of the business, is enabled to buy the best goods for the least money, and his patrons are thereby benefitted by his extensive experience. Mr. Flagg has lately added to the Bee Hive a house furnishing department in the basement of his store, which has proved the greatest hit of the season, and has already nearly doubled the trade of the house. Many useful articles are sold for from five cents to twenty-five cents, which heretofore have cost three or four times that amount. New housekeepers, especially, find this department a Godsend.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879

A good steam ferry, owned and operated by Captain H. B. Starr, plies continually between the city and Missouri Point on the Missouri side of the river, by means of which a fine trade is obtained from Missouri amounting to tens of thousands of dollars annually. The receipts of this ferry yearly amount to $6,000 to $9,000, and 10,000 to 15,000 persons and 4,000 to 5,000 teams cross the river by it, mostly with farm produce for the Alton market.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879

The Union Hotel is well kept, and the proprietor, Mr. H. C. Dresser, is in every way alive to the comforts of his guests, and there is no better table set anywhere. There should be a large hotel built in Alton and placed in the hands of Mr. Dresser, and we will vouch for it that no traveler would ever come and go and have aught to say but praise of Mr. Dresser as a first-class hotel man.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879

We present a very accurate engraving of D. Miller's carriage manufactory. This institution employs 25 to 30 hands, and turns out $25,000 worth of carriages, buggies, light spring wagons, etc., yearly. Mr. Miller frequently makes to order complete outfits for livery stables, including all the varieties of vehicles used in the business.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879

At an alarm of fire, the hose companies immediately make attachments to the nearest hydrants, and then have the whole river as a water supply. There is no delay for the purpose of raising steam as is the case with fire engines. Since the water works were established, there has not been a destructive fire in Alton, and never can be under the present system. Both as a fire protection and as a water supply, the water works of Alton are unsurpassed in efficiency in the country. The direct pressur engines and machinery for pumping are located in the water works. The reservoir is situated on the bluffs, half a mile distance from the river bank. The engines keep the reservoir pumped full of water, and are also started at full power at the first sound of a fire alarm. There are 87 fire hydrants distributed over the city, forming a complete system of fire protection. Each one of these hydrants is supplied with two hose connections and is equal to two steam fire engines.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 31, 1879

"With a cheer on the tongue and a tear in the eye,

With songs on the lip, while the heart hides a sigh,

With gladness we come though in spirit we're weeping,

To garland the graves where our heroes are sleeping."


About three o'clock the Guards left Armory Hall [downtown Alton] for the Cemetery. Colonels Cooper and Brenholt, Major Davis and Adjutant Crane, of the 15th Battalion, were in attendance, the three first named on horseback. The Guards, under command of Captain Brueggemann, marched in fine order, with their magnificent banner furled and appropriately draped, in advance of the company. Bluff City Band and the Drum Corps rendered music alternately during the march. A large number of citizens in carriages were in line and the procession was large and imposing. Upon arriving at the gate of the new division of the cemetery, the military with arms reversed, accompanied by the musicians, marched in slow time to the eastern part of the old cemetery where Col. Cooper, Officer of the Day, called the assemblage to order and read the following introductory address:


"Comrades and Fellow Citizens:  We have assembled again in this silent and solemn city of the dead for the observance of this day, set apart by custom as Memorial Day, to pay another tribute of respect to the memory of those whose lives have been a heroic and patriotic sacrifice that our great and good nation might live. And while we are permitted to live to enjoy what they died to preserve and transmit to us, our hearts cannot feel nor our actions express too deeply the great debt of gratitude and obligation we owe to their memory. While they sleep the sleep that knows no waking, we can show by our words and actions, that their memory is kept alive in grateful remembrance by all citizens of this great and glorious nation. To the patriot's heart, this is not a day for the performance of an idle ceremony, but is a time for memory and for tears - tears that shall water the graves of our heroic dead - tears through which we can see the beautiful bow of promise for the future of our loved country. And as we are about to deposit our floral tributes, and drop the sympathetic tear on the graves of our soldier dead, let us all, comrades and fellow citizens, attend to this solemn duty in that spirit of patriotic solemnity and pathos which the occasion requires."


Prayer was then offered by Rev. L. A. Abbott, and after music, "Shall we gather at the River?" by the band, Rev. Fred L. Thomson, orator of the day, delivered an eloquent address. He compared the anxious hours of hope deferred in the days of the siege of Vicksburg, the march to the sea, and other critical moments of the war, to the present time when we can meet in peace to honor our dead heroes. This is no partisan movement; this day, set apart to the memory of those who gave their lives for the Union, is not a day for party feeling; for love of country is above all sentiments or motives that are controlled by party lines. If, however, love for the stars and stripes, and devotion to principles symbolized by our country's colors be partisan, then let us all be partisans to the fullest extent, for this is the principle for which our soldiers gave their lives. The speaker closed with a stiring appeal to the military to ever stand firm for right, truth and justice, feeling that it is an honor to be a citizen-soldier of the great Republic.


At the close of Mr. Thomson's address, which was listened to with the most rapt attention by the vast throng, the Guards, under command of Capt. Brueggemann, fired three volleys, each sounding almost as one report. The soldiers' graves in the eastern part of the Cemetery were then decorated, while the band performed a dirge. The military then marched to the northeast part of the cemetery, where after prayer by Dr. Armstrong and three volleys by the Guards, the graves in that part of the grounds were decorated. The services closed with the benediction by Rev. David Caughlan of East St. Louis. After the exercises were over, the military marched to the south part of the cemetery, where two barrels of ice water were in readiness to slake the thirst of those who at that time felt the need of the cooling beverage. The line of march was then taken up, and the Guards returned to Armory Hall where they disbanded.


The observance, taken as a whole, was a grand success. Thanks to the officers of the Fifteenth Battalion, to the Guards and their office4rs, who managed the affair so well, everything went off in perfect order. The people were present in large numbers, everyone seemed deeply interested, a solemn quiet prevailed and the vast quantity of beautiful, fragrant flowers, proved that the great object of the day was not forgotten. A great many of the business houses of the city were closed and the observance seemed more general than ever before.




Source: Alton [Weekly] Telegraph, January 22, 1880

About 2:30 o'clock this morning a policeman discovered smoke coming from the cellar in the western portion of the building occupied by Mr. R. B. Smith, the wholesale druggist, by the Telegraph newspaper establishment and by Beall & Danvers Book and Job Printers. Mr. Smith and two of his clerks, Messrs. John Laird and Clark, were asleep in the building, second story, and when awakened, escaped with difficulty by a ladder from a second story front window, the building being filled with a dense smoke. The firemen were on hand with unexampled alacrity, under the direction of Chief Engineer Henick, who, though very unwell, worked faithfully and efficiently. The fire seemed to have originated in the cellar under the western half of the establishment, a place largely occupied by cans and oil barrels on tap. The flames extended from story to story of the part of the house first attacked, the combustible nature of a large portion of the drug store stock making a fierce heat and rendering the floods of water of little avail for a considerable time. The floors were all burned out in the center of the house in the western half, also parts of the stairways, leaving portions at the north and south ends almost intact, the presses on the second floor retaining their positions though utterly ruined by the heat. The eastern half of the building, which was a large, double brick, the property of Mr. Smith, was not very much burned, owing to the determined efforts of the firemen, but the stock and fixtures, owing to the smoke, heat and water, were a mass of almost chaotic ruin, a discouraging sight to the owner. The eastern cellar, with its large stock of oils &c., was not reached .... [unreadable] burning ....., which was a very fortunate circumstance, else the horrors of an explosion might have been added to the list of disasters. The devouring element was well under control by daylight, but fire was breaking out at different points until 10 or 11 o'clock, although the place had been literally flooded for hours. The principal books and accounts of Holden & Norton, being in a safe, were secured in good order; also the books of Beall & Danvers, though the material stock, fixtures, presses, etc., of both firms, were destroyed or rendered useless. The files of the Telegraph, for 25 years back, were all destroyed, which is a loss to the whole community as well as the owners. The list of subscribers to both Daily and Weekly Telegraph was fortunately saved