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Alton, Illinois Newspaper Clippings

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

ALTON - A PROSPECTIVE TOWN
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.

 

ALTON CHOLERA
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.

 

STEAM BOAT PACKET ESTABLISHED BETWEEN ALTON AND ST. LOUIS
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.

 

STEAMBOAT TISKILWA PURCHASED BY ALTON MERCHANTS
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.

 

ALTON FERRY
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.

 

ALTON - ADVERTISEMENT
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 wagon 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 chairs, 250 nests measures, 5 doz baskets, 5 doz barrel covers, 20 doz common wood seat chairs, 10 doz imitation wood seat chairs, 5 doz flag seat wood chairs, 4 doz cane seat Grocian chairs, 3 doz low and high children's chairs, 1 doz willow wagons 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.

 

ALTON - A YOUNG AND FLOURISHING TOWN
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.

 

JUSTICE SERVED IN ALTON
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 [sleight 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.

 

A LOOK AT ALTON - 1836
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."

 

THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS OF ALTON
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.

 

STEAMER BENJAMIN IVES GILMAN
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.

 

ALTON AND HILLSBOROUGH ROAD
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.

 

STAGE LINE ESTABLISHED FROM ALTON TO ST. CHARLES, MO
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.

 

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION AT ALTON
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. Nathaniel Buckmaster, Marshal.

 

60TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATED
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 mature 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 descant 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."

 

THE ALTON MARINE AND FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY

INCORPORATION OF ALTON MARINE AND FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY
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.

 

INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS (WESTERN STAR LODGE NO. 1) ESTABLISHED
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.

 

AN ELOPEMENT IN ALTON
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.

 

ALTON - OUR TOWN - 1836
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.

 

ALTON LITERARY SOCIETY
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.

 

THE TELEGRAPH TO GO SEMI-WEEKLY
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.

 

ALTON, MADISON COUNTY, ILLINOIS - FROM THE OBSERVER (Elijah P. Lovejoy, editor)
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 amphitheater, 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."

 

A LOOK AT ALTON - WRITTEN BY S. H. DAVIS, FORMER EDITOR OF THE WHEELING GAZETTE
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.

 

STAGECOACH DRIVER ARRIVES DRUNK
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.

 

MARKET HOUSE NEEDED IN ALTON
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.

 

FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE TISKILWA
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.

THE SINKING OF THE STEAMER TISKILWA
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.

 

EDMUND BEALL CABINET WAREHOUSE AND MANUFACTORY
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.

 

GODFREY & GILLMAN BUILDING BURNED
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.

 

DANIEL WEBSTER TO VISIT ALTON
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.

DANIEL WEBSTER
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 14, 1837
This distinguished statesman is expected to reach Alton sometime 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.

DANIEL WEBSTER VISITS ALTON AND UPPER ALTON
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 plaudits 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 barouche, 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 complementary 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.

ALTON - DANIEL WEBSTER VISITS IN 1837
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.

 

FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE ALTON TOTAL ABSTINENCE SOCIETY
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.

Constitution:
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.

By-Laws:
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.

 

THE "DUBUQUE" STEAMBOAT DISASTER
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.'"

 

ALTON FERRY
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.

 

HULBERT BUYS DELEPLAIN DRY GOODS STORE
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.

 

A. CONLEE'S STORE ROBBED
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.

 

ROBBERY
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.

 

NEW WEEKLY PAPER - THE ALTONIAN
(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.

 

ALTON TELEGRAPH TO MOVE
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.

 

HAIL STORM
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.

 

BRANCH OF THE BANK OF ILLINOIS OPENS IN ALTON
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.

 

NEW POSTMASTER
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.

 

RESPONSE FROM J. C. BRUNER
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.

 

EARTHQUAKE
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 anything 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.

 

WEATHER IN ALTON AREA
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.

 

JULY 4th CELEBRATION IN ALTON
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.

 

STEAM SAWMILL AND HOUSE FOR SALE
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.

 

STEAMBOAT MISSOURI FULTON SINKS
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.

 

FALLING STARS
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.

 

DISEASES OF ARTISANS
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.

 

SURVEY OF LAND TO SMELTZER'S FERRY AT ALTON
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.

 

THE ALTON PORK BUSINESS
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.

 

ILLINOIS MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY - FOUNDED IN 1839 IN ALTON

THE FOUNDING OF THE ILLINOIS MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY - 1839
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.

BUILDING FOR SALE
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.

 

ALTON - PETITION TO ABOLISH ALTON MUNICIPAL COURT
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.

 

ALTON - ADVERTISEMENT
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. Signed, H. G. VanWagenen.

 

ALTON STOVE AND CASTING STOVE, TIN, COPPER & SHEET IRONWARE MANUFACTORY
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.

 

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATED
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.

 

MAYOR GROWS APPLE 10 INCHES IN CIRCUMFERENCE
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.

 

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATED
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."

 

DESCRIPTION OF ALTON - 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."

 

IRON FOUNDRY AND MACHINE SHOP ESTABLISHED IN ALTON
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.

 

ROBBERS SET FIRE TO BUILDING AFTER STEALING GOODS
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.

 

CARELESS CHARIOTEER
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 acknowledges 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.

 

ALTON - MANNING MISSING
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.

 

LETTER REGARDING ALTON STREETS
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.

 

PUBLIC MEETING IN OLD COURTROOM
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.

 

LOST CHILD - ALBA R. SMITH MISSING
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.

 

GODFREY WAREHOUSE FOR RENT
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.

 

ALTON - MEETING OF THE FRIENDS OF HARRISON & REFORM
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.

 

TREMENDOUS EXPLOSION IN ALTON
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 everything 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.

Alton Explosion of Powder Magazine
Source: Centennial history of Madison County, Illinois, and its people, 1812 to 1912, 1914
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.

 

PICNIC OF THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI - 1840
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 faraway 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.

 

GEORGE T. M. DAVIS RESPONDS TO KRUM'S ATTACK
Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, 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.

 

A VISIT TO ALTON AND UPPER ALTON
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.

 

STEAMBOAT DISASTER
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.

 

ALTON - SLAUGHTERING AND DRESSING OF BEEF & HOGS
Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, 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.

 

ALTON MARKET NEWS
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 commenced, and appearances seem to indicate that this business will be prosecuted with spirit during the season.

 

ALTON DUEL
Source: The Evening Journal, Albany, New York, 1840 or 1841
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.

 

WEATHER REPORT
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.

 

A TRIBUTE OF RESPECT TO THE LATE 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.

NOTES:
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.

 

ALTON - STEAMBOAT TO ST. LOUIS CHARTERED TO WATCH HANGING
Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, 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.

 

ALTON INSTITUTE MEETING
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.

 

CIRCUS COMING TO ALTON - FIRST LIVING GIRAFFE EVER EXHIBITED IN THIS COUNTRY!
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 Amphitheater, 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.

 

ALTON - NEW CHEAP STORE!!
Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, 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.

 

ALTON - J. L. ROBERTS OPENS STORE
Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, 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.

 

ALTON CASTOR OIL FACTORY
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.

 

ROBERT P. TODD CARRIAGE FACTORY
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.

 

STORE ROBBED
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.

 

BEMISS GROCERY STORE FIRE
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].

 

A LOOK AT ALTON, 1842
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.

 

SOMETHING MYSTERIOUS FOUND IN BLUFF CAVE
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.

 

FORMER PRESIDENT MARTIN VAN BUREN VISITS ALTON
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.

 

A LOOK AT ALTON - 1842
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 situations 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.

 

STEAMER EDNA ACCIDENT
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.

 

POTTERY MANUFACTORY ESTABLISHED
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.

 

EARTHQUAKE!
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.

 

HUNTER'S TAVERN FOR SALE
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 enclosed, 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

 

DESTRUCTIVE FIRE IN ALTON
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.

 

HORSE STOLEN!
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.

 

FIRE AT THE STEAM SAWMILL
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.

 

FOURTH OF JULY "FIREMEN'S CELEBRATION"
Programme of the Order of Procession for July 4th, 1843
Source: Alton Telegraph, July 1, 1843
Escort: Lafayette Greens, under command of Capt. Brooks.

Procession:
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.

 

DR. BENJAMIN F. EDWARDS PERFORMS SURGERY, WITH THE PATIENT IN THE STATE OF MESMERISM [Hypnosis]
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-eighths 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-eighths 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.]

 

PORK INDUSTRY IN ALTON
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.

 

REVIVAL OF BUSINESS IN ALTON
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.

 

ALTON - PACKING HOUSE ADVERTISEMENT
Source: The Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, 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.

 

FIRE ON STATE STREET
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.

 

MINERAL SPRING FOUND ON MAJOR G. W. LONG FARM
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."

 

BUSINESS IN ALTON
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.

 

NEW PACKET
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!

 

ALTON CITY BAND
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.

 

HUNTER'S ADDITION TO ALTON
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.

 

PROSPERITY OF ALTON
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.

 

DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT PORK PACKING PLANT
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.

 

THE ALTON CITY BAND
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 sometime 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. Besides, 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, graveling, 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 ON DISPLAY IN ALTON
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.

NOTE:
["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]

 

THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1844
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.

 

THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1844
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.

Also,
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 supposed 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."

THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1844
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 Kansas, 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 million 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.

DEAD HOGS AND CATTLE IN THE BOTTOMS (DUE TO THE GREAT FLOOD)
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.

 

STEAM SAWMILL FOR SALE
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.

 

FIRE DESTROYS HOME IN ALTON
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.

 

PATTINGILLS SAWMILL ON SHIELDS BRANCH BURNS
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.

 

WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED
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.

 

THE GLORIOUS FOURTH OF JULY
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?]. Sometime 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.

 

G. SMITH FOUNDRY
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 apiece 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.

 

WISE & LEA DISTILLING, KILN-DRYING, AND EXPORTING CORN
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.

 

ALTON MACHINE SHOP - ALTON AGRICULTURAL WORKS
(Owned by Nathaniel Hanson, Emerson, and Libbey)

ALTON MACHINE SHOP
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.

DISSOLUTION OF FIRM
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.

ALTON MACHINE SHOP
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.

ALTON MACHINE SHOP TO BE CONSTRUCTED
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.

ALTON MACHINE SHOP NEW BUILDING
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.

NEW FOUNDRY IN ALTON
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.

ALTON MACHINE SHOP
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.

ALTON AGRICULTURAL WORKS, FORMERLY ESTABLISHED BY NATHANIEL HANSON
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.

ALTON AGRICULTURAL WORKS
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 Dakota, 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.

 

KENYON & POMEROY DISTILLERY
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.

 

THE ALTON TELEGRAPH
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.

 

OIL MILL FIRE
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.

 

NEW FERRY BOAT IN ALTON
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.

 

NEW STORE IN ALTON
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.

 

THE GLORIOUS FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION IN ALTON
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. Sometime 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.

 

THE ALTON CREOLE
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!

 

STAGECOACH ACCIDENT AT ALTON
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.

 

ALTON CITIZENS SEND RELIEF TO IRELAND DURING FAMINE
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.

NOTES:
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.

 

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION IN ALTON
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 handsome 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 cheers, 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.

 

JOURNEY TO ALTON - WRITTEN BY J. H. TUCKINGHAM AS HE TRAVELED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 27, 1847
We came into this place at a snail's pace, although the road was downhill. 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 changes 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.

 

MISS SUSANNAH QUIGLEY HAS FEARFUL ACCIDENT
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.

 

PURE WATER FOR ALTON
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, hornblendes, agate, and other interesting 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 anywhere 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.

 

FIRE IN SEMPLETOWN
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.

 

CLOUD LIFTS FROM BUSINESS AFFAIRS OF ALTON
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.

 

PROSPERITY OF ALTON
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.

 

SMOKEHOUSE DESTROYED BY FIRE
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.

 

MISS HENRY FANCY STORE AND LIVERS BARBER SHOP DESTROYED BY FIRE
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 3, 1848
We regret to state 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.

 

E. D. TOPPING OPENS NEW HARDWARE STORE IN ALTON
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.

 

ALTON - CHOLERA
Source: Albany, New York Evening Journal, August 8, 1849
At Alton, Ill. there were but five deaths from cholera last week.

 

THE PLANK ROAD

APPEAL FOR A PLANK ROAD TO BE BUILT
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?

LAYING THE PLANK
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.

BILL PASSED TO INCORPORATE ALTON AND JERSEYVILLE PLANK ROAD COMPANY
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.

FIVE MILES OF PLANK ROAD NOW COMPLETED
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 fourfold 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.

 

THE ALTONA - FASTEST STEAMER ON THE MISSISSIPPI

THE ALTONA
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.

BEST TIME YET!
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!

TWO TRIPS A DAY TO ST. LOUIS
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.

WARM AND FAST
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.

SPEED RECORD
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.

THE ALTONA - THE PRIDE OF THE WESTERN WATERS - IS GONE!
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.

EAGLE PACKET COMPANY TRYING TO PURCHASE FAMOUS STEAMBOAT BELL
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.

 

ALTON - LARGE RAFT FLOATS DOWN 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.

 

ALTON - AS A RESIDENCE
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.

 

ALTON - STEAM ENGINE USE AT THORP'S
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.

 

STAGECOACH INJURES CHILD AS IT LEAVES TOWN
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.

 

ALTON - EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
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.

 

THE VISIT OF THE LEGISLATURE TO ALTON
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.

 

NEWS OF ALTON STORES
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."

 

ALTON BOOKBINDERY
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.

 

ALTON - GEORGE THORP & COMPANY AUCTION AND COMMISSION
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.

 

ALTON - STREETS ENCLOSED AS PASTURE
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.

 

ALTON LUMBER TRADE
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 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 wrapped 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 worthwhile 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.

 

ALTON - DRUNKARDS NEAR HUNTERSTOWN ANNOY WOOD RIVER FARMERS
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 10, 1853
Several worthy farmers, residing in the country near Wood River, and thereabouts, 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?

 

ALTON'S FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION
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.

 

ALTON'S LIME TRADE
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 new 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 exertion 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.

 

ALTON - BUILDING PROGRESS ON THIRD STREET
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. Hibbard'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.

 

ALTON FURNITURE BUSINESS
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.

 

HUNTERSTOWN [RAILROAD] CAR MANUFACTORY

CAR MANUFACTORY
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.

ALTON - HUNTERSTOWN [RAILROAD] CAR BUILDING
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.

 

ALTON - MURDER ON THE CORNER OF THIRD AND PIASA
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.

 

ALTON - RIVER CHANNEL SHIFTING
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.

 

ALTON - STEAMER GENEVA WRECK
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.

 

ALTON - STAGE COACH STATUS
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."

 

ALTON – “DUEL" BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND THE EDITOR OF THE COURIER
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 sometime 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.

 

ALTON'S PROGRESS
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 [East St. Louis], 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.

 

ALTON - ANTI-NEBRASKA BILL SENTIMENT
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.

 

ALTON - NEW LUMBER YARD
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.

 

ALTON - COTTONWOOD STAVES
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.

 

ALTON - CITY IMPROVEMENTS
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.

 

NATIONAL GUARDS
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.

 

ALTON - SACRILEGIOUS OUTRAGE
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.

 

ALTON - EARTHQUAKE
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.

 

ALTON - 500 KANSAS EMIGRANTS ARRIVE
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.]

 

ALTON - ROBBERY
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.

 

ALTON - SERIOUS ACCIDENT
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.

 

ALTON FERRY NEEDED
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.

 

ALTON CELEBRATION OF THE FOURTH OF JULY
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.

 

ALTON - NEW CARPENTER SHOP
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.

 

ALTON - TALLOW CANDLE MANUFACTORY
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 have been tested and pronounced superior to any in the market.

 

ALTON - HORSE THIEVES
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.

 

ALTON - COLD WEATHER DESTROYS PEACHES
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.

 

ALTON POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE
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.

 

TURNER AND SIDWAY'S SADDLE, HARNESS AND TRUNK MANUFACTORY
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 dozen 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.

 

J. H. WELCH'S SADDLE AND HARNESS MANUFACTORY:
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.

 

ALTON PACKING HOUSES
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.

 

ALTON - STEAMERS
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.

 

ALTON MARBLE YARD
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.

 

ALTON DRUG STORES
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 worth 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.

 

ALTON MUSIC STORE
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 1, 1856
Yesterday evening we went round on Second Street [Broadway] 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.

 

ALTON - HORSE STEALING
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.

 

ALTON - A MOST DESIRABLE NEIGHBORHOOD MANY YEARS AGO
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 sheep’s 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.

 

FINE CLOTHING AND FURNISHING GOODS
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 everything 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.

 

THE GREAT DEMONSTRATION FOR FREMONT AND DAYTON
Immense Gathering! Tremendous Enthusiasm!
[This political rally 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.

THE GREAT FILLMORE DEMONSTRATION
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.

JUDGE STEPHEN DOUGLAS SPEAKS AT FAIRGROUNDS
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.

ALTON - DOUGLAS SPEECH
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.

 

ALTON UNDERTAKER AD
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 deposit their deceased friends, on reasonable terms. Also patent metallic burial cases.

 

ALTON STABBING
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.

 

ALTON - NEW AND PROMISING ENTERPRISE BY DR. E. S. HULL
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.

 

MORMONS IN ALTON
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.

 

ALTON PLANING MILL FIRE
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.

 

BEAUMONT & MILNE MARBLE WORKS
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.

 

E. H. GOULDING'S JEWELRY STORE
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.

 

CLEMENT & RAYMOND MARBLE YARD ESTABLISHED
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.

 

SUICIDE IN THE ALTON JAIL
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.

 

CELEBRATING INDEPENDENCE DAY
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 everyday 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 anymore; 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.

 

ALTON - FIRE ON THIRD STREET
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.

 

ALTON HOT BEDS OF CRIME
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 villainous 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?

 

J. W. & H. SCHWEPPE STORE
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 readymade 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 worthwhile 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.

 

ALTON LARD TANK EXPLOSION
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?

 

STEAMBOAT "REINDEER" SINKS
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.

 

ALTON - IMPROVEMENT OF HENRY STREET HILL
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 was 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.

 

ALTON WATER WORKS IN THE MAKING
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 overestimated. 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.

 

ALTON - STREET IMPROVEMENTS
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.

 

THE BURNING OF THE JACOB D. EARLY STEAMBOAT
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.]

 

ALTON - PRIZE FIGHT
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.

 

ALTON COFFIN MANUFACTORY ON FIRE
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.

 

ALTON MARKET HOUSE
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.

 

ALTON - PINCKARD GROCERY STORE MOVES TO NEW BUILDING
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.

 

RAFTSMAN MURDERED ON THE STEAMER PEMBINAW
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 nowhere 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.

 

CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS
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
From the Alton Courier
The most destructive storm in this section of the country that has occurred within the memory of anyone, broke upon our city Saturday evening [June 3, 1860] 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 $6,000, 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 nearby 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 lightning. 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 than $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."

 

ALTON - CHANGE IN THE OLD POST OFFICE BUILDING
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.

 

ALTON - FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION
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.

 

ALTON - WAREHOUSE FIRE
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.

 

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING CELEBRATED AS A NATIONAL HOLIDAY
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

 

ALTON PIASA WOOLEN MILL COMPANY

WOOLEN MILL COMPANY
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.

ALTON PIASA WOOLEN MILL TO BE SOLD
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.

PIASA WOOLEN MILL SOLD
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]
SHOE FACTORY TO BE STARTED IN OLD PIASA WOOLEN MILL
(ILLINOIS SHOE COMPANY). 1900.

 

PATTERSON'S IRON WORKS

PATTERSON IRON WORKS
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.

PATTERSON IRON WORKS
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.

 

FREDERICK SHELLY LIME WORKS

SHELLY LIME WORKS
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.

COOPER SHOP
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.

SHELLY BUYS LOCK & BRO.
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.

F. SHELLY BUYS KEATING PROPERTY
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.

SHELLY TO BECOME ALDERMAN OF THE FIRST WARD
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.

EXCITEMENT ON THE LEVEE
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.

[FREDERICK] SHELLY REQUIRED TO GIVE BOND
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?

SHELLY BUYS ARMSTRONG LIME KILN
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.

SHELLY VISITING ALTON
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.

 

ALTON - OLD PIONEER
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.

 

MEYERS & DRUMMOND TOBACCO FACTORY BURNS
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.

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.

 

ALTON - STEAMBOATS COMPETE FOR FASTEST TIME
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.

 

HORSE RAILROAD FESTIVAL HELD AT THE ALTON HOUSE
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 [horse-drawn streetcar], 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.

 

ALTON FLACKENECKER'S GROCERY STORE FIRE
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 in 1852 on "Third Street, opposite Belle Street," in Alton. He was also listed as an "old settler" of Alton in 1874, and was born August 29, 1804 in Germany.]

 

ALTON WOODEN WARE WORKS FIRE
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 without 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 moment’s 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.]

 

ALTON'S FIRST DECORATION DAY (MEMORIAL DAY)
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.

 

ALTON COMB FACTORY
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 ROBBERY AND MURDER ON HALLOWEEN
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.

Great Excitement in Alton!
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 around 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, came 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

Alton Bank Robbery and Murder Confession
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.

NOTES:
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.

 

ALTON ACCIDENTS
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)

PATTERSON IRON WORKS
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.

 

ALTON - PRESIDENT GRANT STOPS IN ALTON FOLLOWING END OF CIVIL WAR
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.

 

ALTON - LARGE CAVE DISCOVERED
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.

 

ALTON TORNADO, May 1871
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."

 

ALTON QUARRY TO BE RE-OPENED
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.

 

ARMSTRONG BARREL FACTORY

BARREL FACTORY
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.

BARREL FACTORY
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.

BARREL FACTORY
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.

 

ALTON ACCIDENT
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.

 

HENRY WATSON STONE QUARRY

STONE BUSINESS ACTIVE
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.

BLUFF LINE INSTALLS SIDE TRACK
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.

 

DEAD CATTLE LYING IN HOP HOLLOW
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.

 

CONFERENCE WITH MANUFACTURERS
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.

 

STREET RAILROAD OPERATING AGAIN
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.

 

ALTON SHOE STORE FIRE
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.

 

ALTON HUMOR
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.

 

ALTON SCREW AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY

NEGOTIATIONS CLOSED
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.

WESTERN SCREW AND MANUFACTURING CO.
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.

 

A WESTERN TORNADO
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 course 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.

 

CHARLES RODEMEYER CARRIAGE FACTORY

AN IMPORTANT INDUSTRY
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.

RODEMEYER BUGGIES
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.

DISSOLUTION NOTICE
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.

CARRIAGE FACTORY SOLD
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.

 

ALTON CIRCUS - SOUL DESTROYING?
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.

 

ALTON - CAPTAIN LAMOTHE'S HORSE TAKES FRIGHT
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.

 

DECORATION DAY (MEMORIAL DAY) IN ALTON
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.

 

HALLOWEEN TALES
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. Sometime 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."]

 

A LOOK AT ALTON IN 1875
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.

 

COPPINGER & BIGGINS LIME KILN
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 cannot 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.

 

BRUNNER AND DUNCAN FOUNDRY (LATER DUNCAN FOUNDRY)

NEW FOUNDRY AND MACHINE SHOP - BRUNNER & DUNCAN
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.

 

ALTON - MR. A. W. HARDY HAS WAGON ACCIDENT
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.)

ARMORY HALL IS FINISHED
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.

ARMORY HALL PAINTED
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.

 

ARMSTRONG LIME KILN

SIDE TRACK LAID FOR LIME KILN
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.

 

HOP HOLLOW QUARRY

CAR LOAD OF MACHINERY ARRIVES
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.

MASSIVE STONE COMPANY
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.

WANTED
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 22, 1879
Wanted - Ten quarrymen at Hop Hollow immediately. Massive Stone Company.

HOP HOLLOW STONE QUARRY
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.

BARGE LOADED WITH STONE
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.

MASSIVE STONE QUARRIES
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 excursion 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.

MASSIVE STONE COMPANY
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.

HOP HOLLOW STONE QUARRY vs. THE BLUFF LINE
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.

HOP HOLLOW STONE QUARRY
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.

WATSON'S HOP HOLLOW 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.

HOP HOLLOW QUARRIES TO BE STARTED
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.

QUARTERBOAT DESTROYED BY FIRE AT HOP HOLLOW QUARRY
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.

OLD QUARRY INDUSTRY WILL BE REVIVED AGAIN
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 scene of active industry, but they have fallen into disuse in recent years.

HOP HOLLOW QUARRY
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.

HIGH WATER CAUSES QUARRY CLOSURE
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.

SWIMMING AT HOP HOLLOW QUARRY
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."

 

CAPTAIN STARR'S FERRY EXCURSION
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.

 

R. HENRY FLAGG'S "BEE HIVE" DRY GOODS
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 constantly 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.

 

CAPTAIN STARR'S STEAM FERRY
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.

 

DANIEL MILLER'S CARRIAGE FACTORY
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.

 

ALTON WATER WORKS
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.

 

DECORATION DAY (MEMORIAL DAY) IN ALTON
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.

 

TELEGRAPH OFFICE CONSUMED BY FIRE, BEALL & DANVERS' PRINTING HOUSE DESTROYED, R. B. SMITH'S DRUG EMPORIUM DESTROYED
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. The total loss by the fire is estimated to be ......[unreadable], with the following insurance: R. B. Smith had with the agency of McPike & Atwood, on stock, the following amounts: Imperial of London, $5,000; London Assurance, $2,500; London and Lancashire, $5,000; Manufacturers Bon, $2,000; Amazon, Cincinnati, $2,500; Farmers, York, Pa., $1,000; total $18,000. Mr. Smith had with Whipple & Smiley, on stock: North British, $2,500; Commercial Union, $2,500; Glenn's Falls, N. Y., $2,500; Franklin, Philadelphia, $2,500; Phoenix, Hartford, $1,000; American, Canada, $1,000; St. Paul, $1,000; total, $14,500. In the German American, on fixtures, $1,000; on the building; North American, Philadelphia, $2,500; Hartford, $2,000; Weston Assurance, Toronto, Canada, $2,000; Scottish Commercial, $1,500; total $8,000. Holden & Norton have $1,307.50 on stock with Whipple & Smiley, while Beall & Danvers have in the Continental, N. Y., $1,000; North American, Philadelphia, $1,000; Girard, Philadelphia, $1,000, making a total for the latter firm of $3,000, which they estimate will about half cover their loss. Whipple & Smiley's total risks on the fire amount to $27,807.50. Rudershausen's & Sonntag's Agency carried the following for Mr. Smith: National, Hartford, Conn., $2,000 on furniture and fixtures; Springfield, Mass., $2,000; Phoenix Brooklyn, N. Y., $5,000; Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, $2,000; Meriden, Conn., $500, total on drug store, $11,500.00, Holden & Norton, Springfield, Mass., $1,307.50, making their total insurance $2,615.00, which will not half cover their loss. The total risks of Rudershausen & Sonntag were $12,807.50. Dr. McKinney has risks to the amount of $28,500.00 on the stock of drug store; $3,000 on the building. The total amount of insurance on the drug store stock and fixtures is $84,500; Holden & Norton $2,615; Beall & Danvers, $3,000, making a grand total of $89,115.00; all in good companies.

Great sympathy is expressed for Mr. R. B. Smith in his lamentable misfortune. At an immense outlay of money, he had fitted up the most tasteful, beautiful and spacious drug emporium in the west, and had just fairly embarked in an extensive and flourishing business, when the fire fiend swept the palatial edifice with the besom of destruction. The elegant salesrooms that were but yesterday the admiration of every beholder are today a chaos of ruin and desolation. It is sad, indeed, to see such enterprise and public spirit as Mr. Smith has displayed so disastrously checked; but he is not a man to be crushed by misfortune, and though we do not know his future plans, it is safe to say that he has the pluck and energy to rise superior to even greater calamities than the one just experienced.

[The Telegraph was moved into the Mercantile Hall building, second floor, first door to the left. No type, presses, or furniture were moved. The Telegraph was burned out, but said they were "not suppressed." The Telegraph would be published, but in a very "contracted form" until they have time to purchase a new press, material and fixtures.]

ALTON DRUG STORE AND NEWSPAPER OFFICE FIRE
Source: The New York Times, New York, NY, January 23, 1880
Alton, Ill., Jan. 22.-Flames were seen issuing, about 2:30 a.m. to-day, from the cellar of the wholesale drug store of Robert E. Smith, on Second-street. The store was a large double brick structure. The east half and the third floor of the west half were occupied by Mr. Smith, and the second and third stories of the west half by Holden & Morten, proprietors of the Alton Telegraph, and Beall & Denvers, job printers. Owing to the oils and large amount of inflammable material stored in the building, the flames spread with great rapidity, and soon the entire interior was burning. The fire department was on the ground promptly, and after several hours' hard work subdues the flames. The walls only are standing. Nothing of any value was saved from the stock. Mr. Smith's store was the handsomest and most spacious drug-house in the West. The total loss is about $110,000. The total insurance is $89,000. R. B. Smith is insured as follows: Imperial, of London, $5,000; London Assurance, $2,500; London and Lancashire, $5,000; Manufacturer's, Boston, $2,000; Amazon, Cincinnati, $2,500; Farmers', York, Penn., $1,000; North British, $2,500; Commercial Union, $2,500; Glens Falls, N. Y., $2,500; Franklin, Philadelphia, $2,500; Phoenix, Hartford, $1,000; American Central, St. Louis, $1,500; British American, Canada, $1,000; St. Paul, $1,000; German American, $1,000; North American, Philadelphia, $2,500; Hartford, $2,000; Western Assurance, Toronto, $2,000; Scottish Commercial, $1,500; National, Hartford, $2,000; Springfield, Mass., $2,000; Phoenix, Brooklyn, $5,000; Pennsylvania, $2,000; Meriden, $500. In addition Mr. SMITH had $30,500 insurance divided among the following companies: Fire Association of Philadelphia, Lamar, North German, Orient, Connecticut, La Caisse Generale, Westchester, Board of Underwriters, People's of Trenton. Holden and Morten, of the Telegraph, had $13,000 in the Springfield, Mass., and $13,000 in the Hartford. Their loss is total and not half covered by insurance. Beall & Denvers had $10,000 insurance in the Continental, $1,000 in the North American, Philadelphia, and $1,000 in the Girard of Philadelphia, which will not cover their loss. The Telegraph appeared as usual this evening. In reduced form, printed on the type obtained at Malcolm & McIneay's job office. The files of the Telegraph for over 25 years were destroyed.

ALTON TELEGRAPH DESTROYED BY FIRE
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 26, 1880
The Alton Telegraph, one of the best papers in the State, was burned out entirely last week, losing all the type, presses and printing material, and among other things, the entire file of the paper for twenty-five years. We sympathize with Messrs. Holden & Norton, but we know the stuff they are made of, and it will be but a short time until they will be putting out a better sheet, if possible, than ever. We hope so at all events, for we have no exchange we value more highly than the Alton Telegraph. From Mason City.

From Carlinville - One night last week the entire establishment of the Alton Telegraph was destroyed by fire, together with the job office of Beall & Danvers. With true journalistic grit, the Telegraph folks issued their daily the same evening and have been doing so since - although, of course, on a small scale. We sympathize with them in their loss.

From the Madison County Sentinel - On last Wednesday night the large drug store of R. B. Smith, on Second and Piasa streets, and the Alton Telegraph, were destroyed by fire. The Telegraph, however, immediately made arrangements at this office for the publication of a small daily sheet, and was on the street the same evening at its usual time.

 

ALTON - TRAMPS ARRESTED
Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, June 25, 1880
Alton, Ill., June 19 - Twelve tramps were arrested on Thursday night for violently taking possession of a freight train on the Chicago & Alton road and threatening the employees. They were tried this morning in the Police Court, and ten of them were fined $20 each and committed to the county jail.

 

ANDREW CLIFFORD WHOLESALE & RETAIL GROCER
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 8, 1880
Mr. A. Clifford, the live grocer, advertises Northern oats, potatoes and onions. Large consignments just received and for sale cheap.

 

ALTON CELEBRATES THE ELECTION OF REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT JAMES A. GARFIELD
Source: Alton Telegraph, November 11, 1880
(From Daily of Friday, Nov.6) At an early hour last evening the hosts began gathering from near and from far, intent on joining in the parade and carnival of fun and jollity. The line of march was formed on State Street at 7:30 o'clock. In the advance was Dr. Haskell's calcium light, engineered by R. Johnson & Son, shedding a brilliant effulgence over the muddy thoroughfare for a long distance in advance. The two Chief Marshals of the previous Republican and Democratic parades, Dr. Haskell and Mr. F. H. Ferguson, according to previous arrangement, were mounted on a fine black charger, decorated with a large flag, the Republican Marshal in front. Near the head of the procession was Gossrau's Band. In line were the Alton Cornet band, Hunter's band and a number of martial bands. In addition to these were "329" bands of various sizes and various degrees of excellence. Owing to the multiplicity of instruments and the short time allowed for practice, an occasional false note was heard, but this was overlooked in the general good feeling that prevailed. The outriders and scouts skirmished in the advance and on the flanks with miscellaneous noises appropriate to the occasion.

The principal features in the procession were Barnum's mule; transparencies representing Garfield mounted on an elephant bound for the White House; "After the election;" "Democratic Nightmare, ______, ______;" a tombstone, with the inscription, "The Democracy died November 2d, 1880." In a large Glass Works wagon, was an immense quantity of fireworks, which were let off continuously during the march, forming the grandest and most imposing pyrotechnic display ever witnessed in Alton. On the sides of the wagon were "United North. 329. Solid South." There were a number of vehicles with bands of all kinds. The one that capped the climax however was Jarrett's band wagon in which was a band of Chinese musicians. They were led by Prof. Hop Lee Bealsing, and conducted by High Panjundrum, Prince John Gee Chungstrong. They greatly distinguished themselves, and when they struck the loud cymbal, the gong, the tom tom, the howgag, the triangle, rang the bell, blew the clarinet and the horn, the whole town was electrified and all others in their vicinity were silent from sheer amazement except an occasional sickly toot from some presumptuous rival. This band was composed only of "genuine" heathen Chinese and as a proof they wore blouses and queues procured expressly for the occasion.

The illuminations were splendid, embracing about the same residences of which we have heretofore published a list after former parades, and hundreds of others. The line of march was changed at some points on account of the muddy streets. Owing to the fearful state of the weather, there was but a small turnout from the surrounding towns. Upper Alton, Wood River, North Alton, Rocky Fork and other places were represented by small delegations, and 30 Republicans from Portage des Sioux braved the storm and came down and joined in the jollification.

After arriving at Market Street on the return, the companies were halted between Second [Broadway] and Third Streets, and, after quelling the "music," by a great effort, Marshal Haskell proposed "Three cheers for Frank Ferguson." These were given with a will. Then Marshal Ferguson called for "Three cheers for the next President of the United States." This of course was followed by a great outburst from the hundreds in the vicinity. The best of feeling prevailed amongst the crowd, all were good natured and ready to laugh at the various amusing scenes and incidents that were witnessed. The heavens were red during the entire evening with the fireworks and bonfires all over the city. Red lights were burned at a number of places, giving a strange, weird character to the advancing throng as they tramped steadily through the mud.

The illuminations were brilliant and beautiful beyond description. We shall not attempt to give a complete list for the reason that we have neither the space nor the facilities for doing it. When the fact is taken into consideration that the house of nearly every Republican in town, rich or poor, was illuminated, it will be realized that it would require the facilities of the Globe-Democrat to give a fitting report. Suffice it to say that those who had illuminated on previous occasions surpassed their former efforts, while hundreds of others, including some prominent Democrats, added gorgeous illuminations and brilliant decorations, to the general splendor. State Street hill was ablaze with lights from the lowest slope to the crowing height; while from Piasa Street to Middletown, the effect of thousands of gleaming lights was dazzling. We never expected to witness a scene more like an immense kaleidoscope of light and color than that Alton presented to the spectators on the corner of Main and State Streets. There were many elegant displays - windows were draped with flags, some decorated with red, white and blue paper; other windows had an appearance as though the glass was frosted with variegated hues; immense bonfires on State Street, Hope's hill and in Middletown, lit up the city. Red lights glowed from various quarters, while from the abundance of rockets and Roman candles, it appeared as though the air was full of meteors. Never was public joy and satisfaction more generally displayed or in a more enthusiastic manner.

 

ALTON - AN OLD LANDMARK, ERECTED IN 1832
Source: Alton Telegraph, Thursday, September 8, 1881
The building now being repaired and added to, by Dr. Gibson, near the corner of Third and Market streets, was used as a bank in 1835, and for several succeeding years, a branch of the State Bank of Illinois, being conducted at that place. Mr. James H. Lea, now of Atchison, Kansas, who arrived here about the date mentioned above, was one of the first, if not the first, Cashier of the bank, Mr. S. Griggs being President. The building in question was erected in 1832, by Mr. L. J. Clawson (who then resided at Upper Alton, at the place he still occupies) who built the house for Albert Coles, and was by him rented to the banking company.

 

THE GLOBE DRY GOODS STORE
Source: Alton Telegraph, November 17, 1881
For 16 years Mr. W. A. Hildebrand, proprietor of the well and widely known "Globe Store," has been engaged in the dry goods business in this city and Upper Alton, commencing at the latter place in a rather limited way, and by strict integrity and attention to business, building up a trade of almost colossal extent. Mr. Hildebrand now occupies a store of metropolitan proportions in two buildings, three stories high, on the north side of Third Street, between Belle and State, the two lower rooms thrown into one by removing the partition wall, giving a space 50 by 85 feet on the ground floor. On the west side the shelving, showcases, and counters are loaded and crowded with immense piles of dry goods, notions, woolen goods, &c., the rear portion is occupied with a large assortment of boots and shoes. In the room immediately above this, conveniently arranged, is the wholesale stock of notions, also bed blankets and comforters in almost unlimited variety. The western department of the establishment on the lower floor, being dedicated more especially to articles for ladies' use, contains, in addition to things already mentioned, a stock of furs of the most fashionable and useful varieties. The eastern department contains an immense stock of clothing, hats, caps, furnishing goods and trunks. At the rear is the millinery branch of the "Globe," where the ladies can be supplied with the latest fashions in bonnets and hats, by a lady of rare skill and taste and the requisite experience. The upper stories, in addition to the room mentioned, are used as storehouses for surplus goods until they are needed. Mr. Hildebrand not only has large, well-assorted stocks of goods at low prices, but he has a staff of polite, accommodating and intelligent clerks, both ladies and gentlemen, so that all who call on him may be assured that they will be served promptly and faithfully.

 

ALTON - MAGNOLIA RESTAURANT
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 19, 1881
Ed White has opened a new, first class restaurant on State street, just above Third, where he will furnish meals at all hours at 35 cents, with reductions to regular customers. Oysters served in every style. Board furnished at $4 per week. Everything first class.

 

ALTON - COAL FAMINE
Source: Oswego, New York Daily Times, May 5, 1884
The coal famine has reached this city. The flour mills and glass factory may be compelled to shut down.

 

ALTON GLASS WORKS

ALTON GLASS WORKS
Source: Oswego, New York Daily Times, June 20, 1884
ALTON, Ill., June 20. - Factories Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9 of the Illinois Glass company have resumed operations. A good supply of coal has been secured, and will be pushed to catch up in orders. It has also been decided to operate one-half of the factories all summer in order to make up for the frequent stoppages caused by the strike. This will be the first time in the history of the Illinois Glass company when any of its factories have been operated in the summer.

LARGEST BOTTLE FACTORY
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 3, 1888
Work on the new glass factory is being pushed, and the new building is nearly completed. It will employ nearly 200 more hands. When this building is completed, the Alton Glass Works will be the most extensive bottle factory in the United States.

 

ALTON BOX COMPANY

ALTON BOX MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Source: (Book) The History of Madison County, Illinois, 1882. Publishers W. R. Brink & Co., Edwardsville, IL
The box factory, now operated by this company on the Mississippi above Alton, was established by John E. Hayner in 1872, and in 1877 the present company was formed, and in 1880 was incorporated with a capital stock of thirty thousand dollars. The president is G. R. Allen, the secretary, J. M. Ryrie, and the treasurer, John E. Hayner. The company also owns a saw mill, which partly furnishes the lumber used in the manufacture of boxes. Forty-five hands are employed in the saw mill, and three million five hundred thousand feet of sycamore and cottonwood lumber are sawn annually. In the box factory, from eighty to one hundred hands are kept at work. Boxes of sycamore for plug tobacco are the principal goods manufactured, though tobacco butts, cracker boxes and barrel headings are also turned out. This is one of the largest box factories in the West, and the boxes are shipped to towns along the Mississippi river from Burlington to New Orleans.

 

BILL ALLOWED BY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 20, 1887
Board of Education. The following bills were severally allowed, to wit: Alton Box Manufacturing Co., kindling, $12.50.

 

SYCAMORE LOGS FOR ALTON BOX MANUFACTURING CO.
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 17, 1882
Capt. William Hutchinson and Pilot Love brought down a raft of sycamore logs for the Alton Box Manufacturing Co. today.

 

ALTON BOX COMPANY TO GO OUT OF BUSINESS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 17, 1899
The Alton Box Company is about to pass out of existence as a result of the sale of the plant of the Drummond Tobacco Co., to the trust. A meeting of the stockholders of the company is called for June 24, at the office of the Drummond Realty and Investment Company in the Rialto building in St. Louis, for the purpose of "voting upon the proposition whether or not the company shall proceed to wind up its affairs, sell its property, pay its debts (if any), and distribute its assets among the stockholders, cease doing business, and dissolve its corporate existence." The passing of the Alton Box Co. is of more than ordinary interest in Alton. The institution was located in Alton originally, on the riverbank near the old saw mill, which also belonged to the company. When the box factory was destroyed by fire, James T. Drummond of the Drummond Tobacco Co., secured its removal from Alton to St. Louis. The old box factory chimney is still standing on the river bank where the factory stood, and is a well known mark for river men. The saw mill is still in its old location. The Alton Box Co. had the contract for making all the boxes used by the Drummond Tobacco Co., and it was to hold this contract that the removal to St. Louis was brought about. The late James T. Drummond purchased a third interest in it, and the firm was George R. Allen, J. M. Ryrie and J. T. Drummond. Mr. Ryrie retired from the firm a year ago. The call for the meeting is signed by George R. Allen, President, James T. Drummond, Secretary, and John N. Drummond, representing a majority of the stock. The sale of the plant is the direct result of the sale of the Drummond plant to the trust. It is understood that the decision of the stockholders will be that the company wind up its affairs, sell its property and divide its assets among the stockholders.

 

BLUFF LINE BUYS OLD ALTON BOX COMPANY SITE FOR YARDS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 1, 1899
A deal has been practically closed by the Bluff Line for the purchase of the land formerly the property of the Alton Box Co., which was the site of the old box factory and where is now standing the old saw mill. The land will be used as a place for the Bluff Line yards, and work of tearing down the old saw mill has been started. The Bluff Line has been long trying to secure room for yards and has made attempts to buy a large tract east of the city and also to buy the Biggins quarry property near the old pumping station of the water works. The deals fell through, and as a last resort the Bluff Line secured an option on the Alton Box Co. site. The property will be filled up and a mile and one half of track for siding will be laid to provide yard room. The Bluff Line never has had enough track room in its yards under the bluffs, and new yards became an absolute necessity. The old saw mill which must be torn down to give the Bluff Line the room it requires is an old landmark that has stood on the river bank for almost forty years. It was last owned by the Alton Box Co., and before the destruction of the box factory by fire ten years ago, it was one of the most thriving institutions in the city. It has been unused since the fire and has been going to wreck rapidly. When the Alton Box Co. went out of existence a short time ago, the property was transferred to G. H. Smiley, and the negotiations for the sale to the Bluff Line have been made with him. Mr. Smiley admitted today that the sale had practically been agreed upon, but said a third party had negotiated for the Bluff Line and he does not know the Bluff Line in the deal. He also said no deeds have been transferred, but the transfer will soon take place. It is officially stated that the Bluff Line has plans drawn up and will at once consummate the deal and begin to fill up the ground preparatory to laying rails for its new yards. It is understood that the party who negotiated the deal is Mr. James Duncan.

 

TERRIBLE CATASTROPHE OVER THE RIVER [ST. CHARLES AREA] –
ONE KILLED, SIX OR SEVEN WOUNDED
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 8, 1887
Soon after one o'clock this afternoon, a terrible calamity occurred at one of the new ice houses, in process of construction over the river, which resulted in the death of one man and the serious, if not fatal injury of several others. The scene of the accident was at the lower group of houses, about two miles from town. About 1:30 o'clock, two men came pulling wildly across the river, and on landing, told of a fearful accident by the fall of a truss beam at one of the ice houses, and the wounding of several men. Word was instantly sent to Dr. Haskell and Dr. Davis, who at once started for the scene of the disaster in skiffs, the ferry boat having gone up the river. It seems that the workmen were engaged in raising a truss beam some 18 feet above the floor. Eight of the men were standing on a scaffolding, inside the building, and were raising the beam by means of a derrick. They had just got it into its place when it turned and came down with a crash, smashing the scaffold to splinters and precipitating the unfortunate men to the floor in the midst of the general wreck. The scene that ensued was horrible. The wounded men lay bleeding and groaning in the saw dust, and so sudden and appalling was the disaster that it was some minutes before the other workmen could aid their injured comrades. Messengers were quickly dispatched to this side for doctors, who, as we stated, hastened at once to the scene. The names of those reported killed or injured are:

Killed - Fred Groshan of Upper Alton, a carpenter. Lived but a few minutes after the accident. Is a married man and has a family.

Wounded:
Washington Johnson, Alton, leg broken and otherwise injured.
James Murray, Upper Alton, hurt internally.
Dan Segraves, Missouri Point, hip injured.
Louis Struper, shoulder broken.
Louis Droz, Alton, head cut.
William Spellman, seriously injured.
William Meisenbach, also severely hurt.

Just how badly the wounded are injured cannot be told until the doctors can be seen, but the fall of eighteen feet would alone have been a serious matter, to say nothing of the falling beam. The timber which fell was 24 feet long and about 8x12 inches thick. The work was in charge of a man named Porter, from St. Louis. The old foreman, Peter LeChance, having left yesterday. Who was to blame for the accident, or whether anyone was, cannot be determined at this writing.

Later:
Dr. Davis returned at a quarter of 4, Dr. Haskell remaining with the wounded to accompany them back on the ferry boat, which started over at 4 o'clock. Dr. Davis says that all the wounded will recover eventually. The body of Fred Groshan will have to be left at the scene of the accident until the action of the St. Charles County Coroner.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 9, 1887
The Telegraph of last evening gave full particulars of all that could be obtained up to 4 o'clock, in regard to the terrible accident over the river. Later reports somewhat modified the first statements, two of the workmen at the house, Spellman and Meisenbach, reported injured, proving to be unhurt, and Reuben Shumake, being added to the list of wounded, making in all one killed and six wounded. Two of the victims, D. Seagraves and Louis Seubert, live over the river. Their injuries were not serious. But two men, in addition to those injured, Thomas Campbell and a man known as "Frenchy," witnessed the accident, that is they heard the crash and turned in time to see a mingled mass of falling timbers and human beings. An immense crowd gathered at the levee in the dusk of evening, as the boat with the victims of the accident approached the landing. The injured men were brought over in charge of Dr. Haskell. Every possible provision was made for their comfort. Each one was on a mattress and was covered with blankets. Light wagons were in waiting, and the wounded men were lifted by strong hands, carried off the boat and laid in the bottom of the vehicles, with the exception of Johnson, who was carried direct to the home of his mother, near the corner of Fourth and State Street. Louis Droz was taken to the house of his relative, Mr. E. Santschi, on Third Street between Market and Alby. Reuben Schumake was removed to St. Joseph's hospital. James Murray was taken to his home in Upper Alton. Although the victims were suffering intensely, no complaint escaped them during the transfer. Dr. Haskell says that the wounded are all doing as well as could be expected today. He considers that Louis Droz is the only one seriously injured, and that his is the only doubtful case, the recovery of the others being merely a question of time.

Fred Groshan, the unfortunate man who was instantly killed by the accident, was a German living in Upper Alton, where he had resided several years. He had recently bought a little home there and moved into it. He was a man of middle age, and was formerly a cavalry soldier in the regular army. He was with General Custer's regiment at the time that officer and the great part of his command were slaughtered by the Indians. Groshans was one of the few survivors of that terrible massacre. He leaves a wife and three little children. His wife's maiden name was Sarah Caldwell. She lived at the home of Mrs. Prof. Marsh for several years, and was married there.

James Murray, the other Upper Alton man who was injured, was reported resting quietly this afternoon. He is a married man with a wife and one or two children. He has resided in Upper Alton the last four or five years, and is a brother-in-law of the Reeder brothers.

Justice Valentine, of St. Charles county, acting as Coroner, impaneled a jury last evening and view the remains of Fred Groshan, and then adjourned the inquest until today. The body was then surrendered to the friends of the deceased and was brought over on the last trip of the ferry, at 7:30 o'clock, and taken to the family residence in Upper Alton. The ferry boat came over at 3:40 this afternoon, at which time the jury had not agreed upon a verdict, but the preponderating evidence was that the occurrence was a sheer accident, nothing out of place or out of order. The timbers sound and the machinery in good order. The accident was apparently caused by a misstep on the part of the man who met his death.

[Fred Groshan is buried in the Upper Alton Oakwood Cemetery.]

 

ALTON STEAM COOPERAGE COMPANY
Owned by HENRY and FREDERICK SCHAPPERKOTTER


STEAM BARREL FACTORY BURNS
Source: Auburn, New York Daily Bulletin, September 19, 1888
The barrel factory of H. Schapperkotter was burned yesterday. Loss $25,000.

STEAM BARREL FACTORY SHUT DOWN
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 22, 1889
The steam barrel factory on Second street [Broadway] near Walnut [Central Ave.] has shut down for a few days. This concern can produce 2,500 barrels daily, and has had a very busy season. It will start again in a day or two and will run all winter steadily, if their orders demand it. All of their barrels are used at home.

WAGES SETTLED
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 6, 1892
The Telegraph is pleased to state that Mr. Schoepperkoetter, of the steam barrel factory, notified his employees today that he would sign their scale of prices for another year. This is gratifying, and the coopers, of course, are well pleased.

ALTON STEAM COOPERAGE COMPANY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 15, 1932 (in copyright)
Henry Schaperkotter came to Alton with his son, Frederick W., in about 1887. Henry founded a cooperage plant, and together with his son built a good business. About 1907, Henry died, and Frederick continued the business until about 1930. The cooperage plant was built in Alton's early days when there were only five cooperage shops in Alton (one was owned by Sparks Milling Co). One by one these other plants went out of business, and from 1920, the Alton Steam Cooperage Company was the only one in operation. In March 1931, the Alton Steam Cooperage Company building at 1015 East Broadway in Alton was razed. The Henry Schapperkotter family lived at 1006 Pearl Street in Alton, in the former Rutherford House, built in 1860. The house was on the National Register of Historic Places, but was demolished in 1995. Frederick Schaperkotter died on January 15, 1932 at the family residence, 1006 Pearl Street. He was 66 years of age. He was born in St. Louis on August 7, 1865. Frederick is buried in the Bethlehem Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.

DETAILS ON THE ALTON STEAM COOPERAGE COMPANY
Henry Schaperkotter came to Alton with his son, Frederick W., in about 1887. Henry founded a cooperage plant at 1015 East Broadway, and with his son built a good business. Following a fire in 1888, the business was quickly rebuilt. The cooperage plant was built in Alton's early days when there were only five cooperage shops in Alton (one was owned by Sparks Milling Co). One by one these other plants went out of business, and from 1920, the Alton Steam Cooperage Company was the only one in operation. About 1907, Henry died, and Frederick continued the business until about 1930. In March 1931, the Alton Steam Cooperage Company building at 1015 East Broadway in Alton was razed (this was near Broadway and Central Ave). The Henry Schapperkotter family lived at 1006 Pearl Street in Alton, in the former Friend S. Rutherford House, built in 1860. The house was on the National Register of Historic Places, but was demolished in 1995. Frederick Schaperkotter died on January 15, 1932 at the family residence, 1006 Pearl Street. He was 66 years of age. Frederick was born in St. Louis on August 7, 1865. Frederick is buried in the Bethlehem Cemetery in St. Louis, MO. Home shown in the photo is the Rutherford/Schaperkotter home at 1006 Pearl Street in Alton. It no longer exists.

 

BLUFF LINE DISASTER
Two Men and a Boy Killed, Large Number Injured
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 16, 1890
A collision took place last night on the Bluff Line, about 6 o'clock. The two trains were the construction train containing the workmen engaged on the extension at Piasa, and the passenger train which leaves here for Springfield.

Roscoe Cutter was the engineer on the construction train, and Frank Lee was the engineer on the passenger train. The two trains were running at a high rate of speed, the construction train engine backing down ahead of the cars. It was the duty of the brakeman on the construction train to stand at the switch and signal the passenger whether the construction train had gone or not. Last night he left before the passenger train had arrived, and from this the engineer supposed that the train had passed, and he went on up the track. The construction train also pulled out about this time, and when about one and one-half miles above Clifton Terrace, while turning around a curve, the engines came together. Engineer Lee saw the train coming and put on the air brakes, and this prevented the cars from being telescoped. Both engineers saw the approaching accident, jumped from their engines toward the bluffs, and thus escaped serious injuries. The two engines came together with a crash and were completely demolished, the ties which were on the train were hurled over the cars upon the men, pinning some of them in a horrible manner. The men and passengers were hurled in confusion from the cars, and many lay helpless on the ground while their sobs and groans were terrible to hear. Supt. Seymour immediately came to Clifton and sent word to Alton, where a train was immediately sent up to the scene of the accident.

Little Charles McGee, aged 14 years, whose home is in Alton, was water boy for the men and was sitting on the pilot of the engine at the time of the collision. His head was cut entirely off, and parts of his body were strewn for many feet along the track. Peter Smith, an unmarried man from Springfield, fireman on the passenger engine, was caught between the boiler head and the tender of the engine, and partly scalded and partly roasted to death. He was putting in coal at the time, for his shovel was between his legs when found. He could not be gotten out until the coal was removed and the wood cut. The last one killed was John Murray, a laborer, who had a hole in his right side and over his heart was a bruise.

The wounded were: Mike Cantwell, hurt about the head seriously and also internally; C. J. Owens, postal clerk, was thrown through the partition and hurt on chest; Joe Daly, conducted on the construction train, supposed to be fatally injured, back and side wounds and hurt inwardly; Frank Conway, express messenger, bruised on left side, knocked out of the car by the tank of the passenger engine, telescoping the baggage car; Frank Lee, engineer on passenger train, sprained ankle from jumping and head bruised; Pat McElligot, left leg broken and hurt internally, thought to be seriously; Henry Unterbrink, fireman on construction train, cut in head and hurt in hips; Passengers wounded: Henry Miller of Fieldon was wounded in back; Frank Schattgen was thrown from his seat in the car to the platform on his head; Superintendent Seymour was bruised badly about the body, had one leg cut and nose broken.

Doctors Haskell, Gibson, Schuessler and Halliburton went up and did all that was in their power to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded. A company of ladies, on the passenger train, going to Jerseyville and Springfield, did excellent work in caring for the wounded.

It was indeed a sorrowful company which came back on the train at 10 o'clock last night carrying the dead and wounded. The depot was crowded with people who were looking for friends, and many tears were shed even by the stoutest. Nearly all the wounded were taken to the hospital where they were tenderly cared for by those in charge.

The engines are not materially damaged. It is estimated that $2,000 or $3,000 will make them all right. The track at the point of the wreck is higher on the south side than on the other, and this threw the train over toward the bluffs. This probably saved many lives, which would have been lost if the track had been level.

Mrs. Orville A. Snedeker and two boys, Miss Mamie Tyson, Miss Lucy Brownlee, and Messrs. Robert T. Brock, Harry Chapman, David Wykoff, Guy Edwards of Jerseyville, Misses H. R. Taylor, S. H. Taylor, and W. B. Baker of Springfield, Illinois were on the train but escaped with slight injuries. Many of the men speak in glowing terms and feel thankful to the ladies who so kindly rendered them all the assistance possible before the physicians got to the scene. They came to this city last night and took the train for their homes this morning.

Mr. Mike Cantwell, the section boss, who is supposed to be fatally injured, lives at Tallula in Menard county, where he has a wife and ten children dependent on him for support. He is an honest, industrious man, and remitted his wages regularly to his family. Postal Clerk C. J. Owen's escape from death was almost miraculous. The tender of the engine crashed through the baggage compartment and into the postal compartment, but not quite far enough to crush Owen, but he was hurled violently against the stove and is severely bruised all over. He is a crippled Union soldier, with a useless right arm, and this limb received additional injuries. He supposed Mr. Conway, the express agent who was in the forward compartment was killed, but as he lay helpless on the floor, Conway was the first man to come to his aid. The latter had heard the warning whistle and rushed to the back of the car in time to save his life. Owen was able to give directions about his mail, and the letters were placed in a sack and brought back to the Alton office on the train that brought down the wounded. This mail was worked by the Alton office and forwarded by other routes. It will be only slightly delayed. The Alton office also notified the Superintendent of Railway Mail Service of the accident, and the disposition made of the mail. Captain Owen was able to get up this morning and started for his home at Camp Point.

Conducted Burrell's daughter, standing in the aisle when the collision occurred, was thrown almost from one end of the car to the other, but not seriously hurt. Fireman Peter Smith was a genial, pleasant fellow, whose smiling face won him a host of friends. His tragic death brings sadness to many hearts. His body was not recovered from the wreck until about eleven o'clock.

It has been customary for the construction train to run the caboose car in ahead of the engine, but fortunately, this trip the engine was ahead. Had the train been made up as usual, the caboose would have been crushed between the two engines, and probably not one of the 40 or 50 section hands on board would have escaped death.

The Wabash wrecking train arrived at the scene of the disaster at 5 o'clock this morning. Conductor Burrill, who was so badly hurt last winter in a collision at Challacombe, escaped this time uninjured.

When Trainmaster Cooke received the telegram of the disaster, he immediately called on Agent Arnold of the Big Four, who wired St. Louis for permission to take an engine and car to the scene of the disaster. In two minutes, the permission came with instructions to do all he could for the unfortunates. It was only a brief period until Agent Arnold had his train ready, taking with him Samuel Miller, foreman of freight department, D. Bison, yard master, Gus Patterson, car inspector, and Charles Mulligan. These men worked with a will at the wreck until the dead were all taken out of the debris, and the wounded were safely placed in the hospital or their homes. They are entitled to the thanks of the community, as being employees of another road, there was no more obligation resting upon them than on other persons. They did good work in behalf of the victims of the disaster.

Ed Locke, a farmer living near the scene of the wreck, went home and loaded himself down with provisions and refreshments for the relief corps. His kind generosity was deeply appreciated by the recipients. The Relief Corps finished up its work and got back to Alton about 12 o'clock, bringing the dead body of the fireman with them. The wounded had previously been brought down and taken to the hospital. Charley Collins, Engineer Swift's assistant, made a good jump. He saw fireman Unterbrink leap from his engine, and taking it for granted that something was wrong, sprang from the train, lighting on the rocks below, with very slight damages.

 

ALTON MIDDLETON HOMESTEAD
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 7, 1891
The "Middleton homestead" on the corner of Second and Alby streets is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It has the honor of being the place where one of our bank presidents, now living, was born. There are but few of the old-time houses now standing, and this one has been kept in such excellent repair that it is now a comfortable and pleasant home. The old house where the Odd Fellows' organization saw the light of day, was just across the street, but has long since disappeared. Another venerable row of buildings is that fronting on Third street, just east of the Episcopal church. Many of the most prominent families in the city were occupants of these houses in their time. How many annals of the early days of Alton could be gathered from the walls of these houses if they could but speak?

 

ALTON BRICK WORKS
(ALTON PAVING BUILDING & FIRE BRICK COMPANY)
Founded in 1854 by Edward Rodgers

STOCK ISSUED FOR ALTON BRICK COMPANY
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, August 3, 1892
The directors of the brick company met yesterday, and organized by the election of Mr. Edward Rodgers as President and General Manager. Dr. H. T. Burnap was elected Secretary. No Treasurer was selected as a stock assessment has not been made. This will be done in a short time. Mr. C. H. Chamblin of Moberly, Missouri was elected Superintendent. Mr. Chamblin has been a railroad engineer most of his business career, but for the last three years has had a position in a brick yard at Moberly. This was the position which Mr. J. L. Routh of London Mills aspired to, but for reasons not made public, Mr. Routh's application was rejected by Mr. Rodgers, and Mr. Chamblin selected. There will be nothing done in the way of beginning work until Mr. Chamblin's arrival here, which will be about the 15th. The brick machine agents were here yesterday, but went away and will return when the new superintendent comes. The company will no doubt be ready to go to work in earnest in a few weeks, when it is hoped that some of the very best of paving and building brick will be made. The company have rented rooms in the Garstang Foundry building on Second Street, which will be opened very soon as an office.

IMPROVEMENTS AT THE BRICK WORKS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 21, 1900
President Ed Rodgers of the North Alton brick plant says that the plant will close down tomorrow for needed repairs. The brick works have had a good season, and is preparing for a better one next year. It is being planned to convert the present direct-fire kilns into gas consumers, the gas to be manufactured in the kiln and all the annoying smoke of the works will be done away with. The system will be similar to that employed in the tank furnaces at the glass works. As an experiment, some of the kilns were remodeled this season, and the gas system has been so satisfactory that all the kilns will be equipped. There will no longer be black clouds of smoke rising from the kilns when they are remodeled. A large force of men will be kept at work remodeling the plant.

SIX MILLION BRICKS MADE BY ALTON PAVING BUILDING & FIRE BRICK COMPANY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 2, 1906
President Edward Rodgers of the Alton Paving Building and Fire Brick Co. is authority for the statement that six million brick have been sold to the contractors and delivered in Alton for the various brick pavings. These bricks are laid end to end would reach from Alton to Buffalo, and if loaded on cars would make a train of 600 cars. An idea of the magnitude of the Alton paving improvements can be gathered from these figures and facts.

 

ALTON - FAMILY FEUD
Source: Auburn, New York Daily Bulletin, November 25, 1892
An old grudge and family feud terminated fatally here yesterday afternoon. Lawrence Farley shot and killed his brother-in-law, Mitchell Mimnaugh. Both are glass blowers. There were formerly in the saloon business together. About a year ago, they became enemies and yesterday Farley went into Mimnaugh's saloon and began shooting at him. Mimnaugh fired one shot in return. The murderer was arrested.

 

JESSE JAMES STILL ALIVE?
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 28, 1893
Jesse James was shot and killed several years ago in St. Joseph, Missouri, yet a gentleman registered at the Hotel Madison by that name last night.

 

ALTON - PRESIDENT CLEVELAND'S COUSIN DIES IN ALTON
Source: Syracuse, New York Evening Herald, March 15, 1893
Miss Lucy Cleveland died here suddenly yesterday afternoon at the home of her sister, Mrs. A. C. Britton. She was a cousin of President Cleveland.

 

ALTON JUNCTION - BURGLARY - SAFE BLOWN OPEN
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 4, 1893
Mr. William Henry's store at Alton Junction was ransacked last night by professional thieves and safe-crackers and $400 in money stolen. Mr. Henry, upon arising this morning, was astonished to find the things scattered over the store, the doors wide open and his safe missing. An investigation revealed the fact that his store had been entered by thieves. The safe stood in a corner of the store room, some distance from the door. The burglars took a pile of jeans pants from a shelf and carefully laid them on the floor from the safe to the door. Ropes were attached to the safe and it was drawn to the entrance. So carefully was this done that the family overhead was not aroused. The safe was a very small one and weighed but a hundred pounds. It was but little trouble to drag it a distance of a hundred feet to the rear of the stable, drill a hole near the lock and blow it up with dynamite. The money was mostly paper, there being about $330, the balance being in silver. The books, insurance policies, and other papers belonging to Mr. Henry were strewn about the ground. A dog belonging to Marian Chirak, living on the opposite side of the street made an uproar during the night. A member of the family got up and looked about, but was unable to see anything unusual. Shortly after a shot was fired which must have been the blowing of the safe. This occurred at 2 a.m. Mr. Henry has wired the surrounding towns to be on the lookout. He thinks that a pair of suspicious looking characters who watched him open the safe the morning before, after purchasing several articles, are the ones responsible for the robbery.

 

MAN KILLED AT HENRY STREET BY NORTHBOUND TRAIN
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, Tuesday, May 2, 1893
The Chicago and Alton northbound train, due here at 9:55 a.m. struck an unknown man at the foot of Henry street this morning, mangling him so that he lived but a short time. The train was in charge of Conductor Fox and was going at a rather slow rate. The engineer reversed the brakes as soon as he saw the man, but it was too late. The train came to a standstill and the unfortunate man was picked up in a dying condition and brought to Union Depot. Dr. Fisher was summoned and arrived as he was spasmodically breathing his last. He died a few minutes later. He was a large man with sandy hair and mustache and shabbily dressed. His injuries consisted of a fracture of the skull and mangled lower limbs. Coroner Kinder was notified and will arrive tonight to hold the inquest. He was identified this afternoon by William Dabona, a companion, as Patrick Gavin. Gavin had been ordered out of town by City Marshal Sworts several hours before and was evidently returning when struck.

 

ALTON - A NIGHT OF BURGLARIES
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 16, 1893
Misses Mary and Sarah Hall, living at 204 East Fourth street, attended the theatre last evening and shortly after they returned home, or about 11:30 o'clock, they heard a noise in the yard that caused them to look out of a window. They saw two men below, and one was busily engaged in trying to fit the key hole of the back door with some keys. The ladies asked what they wanted and the men slunk behind some bushes in the yard and remained concealed for some time and finally went away. The men were white, and pretty well dressed. About 2 o'clock this morning a burglar effected an entrance into Capt. Fred. Rudershausen's home on Eighth street by prying a parlor window. The window had been left unlocked and easily raised as was the wire screen. The burglar rummaged the room on the upper floor. Capt. Rudershausen was aroused by a noise near his bed and saw a man at his bedside in the act of searching his pantaloons. The burglar saw that he was awake and grabbing Mr. Rudershausen's clothes rushed out of the door slamming it after him. The clothes caught in the door and the man was cheated out of a little addition to his plunder. The man in his flight down stairs kicked a lighted lamp, which was standing on the stairway in the hall, to the foot of the stairs. Luckily it went out and nothing was set on fire. An investigation showed that the thief had appropriated $21 in paper money, $2.30 in silver and a $75 diamond stud, all the property of Mr. Rudershausen, Jr. This is the second time Mr. Rudershausen has lost a goodly amount, and is $170 out by the two raids. This morning he tracked the thief a short distance and calculated his rate of speed after leaving the window as 90 miles per hour. Some of the fellow's bounds measured fifteen feet (?) plainly marked by checked tennis shoes. Mr. H. J. Bowman was aroused early this morning by burglars trying to effect an entrance into his house. The men were on the porch at the rear of the house and were trying to unlock the door. Mr. Bowman arose and shot a revolver out of the window which had the desired effect of scaring the thieves. A night policeman put in an appearance promptly and in company with Mr. Bowman made a search of the premises, but the burglars had disappeared.

 

CRIVELLO FRUIT MARKET
(Opened 1892 by Gaspar and Anthony Crivello.
The brothers arrived in Alton from Italy and opened a fruit stand at Broadway and Piasa. They then purchased the Maupin Confectionary at 211 Piasa. In a few years, the second generation, Joseph B. and August M., were in charge of the business. Then three sons of Joseph's [David, Paul and Jack] opened a delicatessen in the same location.)

 

CRIVELLO SODA FOUNTAIN BURSTS
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, July 7, 1893
Soda water ran freely for a while this morning at the fruit store of Crivello & Co., because of the bursting of a soda fountain. Too much "gas" caused the trouble to the fountain, just as it often does to men similarly afflicted.

 

CRIVELLO FIRM DIVIDES
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 18, 1893
The firm of G. Crivello & Co. has been dissolved by mutual consent. M. [Mike] Crivello to take charge of the Piasa street store, and G. [Gus] Crivello to take charge of the Belle Street store.

ANTHONY CRIVELLO WILL RETIRE - SONS WILL TAKE OVER BUSINESS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 17, 1913
Anthony Crivello, who has conducted a fruit store in the Piasa street building on Piasa street, for the past twenty years, will retire from business February 1, and will be succeeded by his sons, Joseph Crivello, the well-known traveling salesman, and Augustus (Gus) Crivello, who has for years been in the store with his father. Both young men are among the most popular persons in Alton, and both have good business ability. They are ambitious too, and are loaded with faith in Alton and in Alton's future, just as their father believed in Alton's future when he began business here 22 years ago. The young men intend giving Alton her first delicatessen store, and the present quarters will be remodeled and refurnished completely. They have purchased some elegant fixtures that will be placed later, and the delicatessen and the fruit departments of the establishment will be all in white, and will be sanitary throughout. The delicatessen department will contain high grade canned goods of all kinds, and imported goods such as olive oil, macaroni, etc. The fruit department will be kept up-to-date also, and will contain at all times all varieties of fruits, nuts, candies, etc. The remodeling work and the equipping of the delicatessen store will require the expenditure of a great deal of money, and the operation of a store of that kind is something entirely new in Alton, and is in the nature of a venture in which they take chances of losing. They believe, however, that Alton is going metropolitanward rapidly, and certainly enough so to justify them in giving Alton a unique and metropolitan store and other businessmen with whom they have advised feel certain the young men will succeed. Mr. A. Crivello, who will retire, has not had a vacation in forty years, and will take a good one now. It is likely he and his wife will take a trip to the old country in the spring, but they intend returning to Alton to make their home. They have a third son here who has been operating a successful fruit store in the Madison hotel block for several years, and all members of that family stand high socially and in a business way in this city.

CRIVELLO BROS. OPEN NEW STORE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 8, 1913
The opening of Alton's new store - the Delicatessen - by the Crivello Bros., on Piasa Street, was held this afternoon and the beautiful, well stocked, handsomely arranged store was visited by scores of people during the afternoon, and more will call and inspect it this evening. There was music to help entertain, and souvenirs and flowers were handed out liberally.

 

ILLINOIS BOX FACTORY WILL BE ESTABLISHED
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 12, 1893
An old barn which is being removed is the only thing delaying the construction of the Illinois Box Factory near the glass works. The barn will be removed today and building operations will begin at once.

Alton Daily Telegraph, September 15, 1893
Under the energetic management of Contractor Mack, the Illinois Box Factory is beginning to assume a tangible shape.

 

ALTON - BLOOD SPILLED OVER POSTMASTERSHIP
Source: The New York Auburn Bulletin, December 2, 1893
A Consultation Over the Postmastership of Alton, Ill., End Disastrously
Dec. 2. - While Congressman W. S, Forman, of this district; John H. Coppinger, consul to Toronto, and Col. A. F. Rodgers, president of the Piasa Bluff association, - the Western Chautauqua - were in consultation yesterday over the postmastership, an old feud between the consul and Rodgers broke out. The consul struck Rodgers in the head and Rodgers floored the consul with a cane. The consul, in spite of Forman's efforts to restrain him, shot Rodgers in the thigh. The wound is serious. The belligerents were arrested.

 

THEN (1834) AND NOW (1894), BY V. P. RICHMOND
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 8, 1894
When Samuel H. Denton, the first warden of the Illinois Penitentiary, was living in Alton in a log house on what we then called Penitentiary Hill, with his one or two prisoners who he boarded in his own house and worked them during the day in preparing to build the penitentiary, I went first to see the picture of the "Piasa Bird" painted on the face of the rock that fronted the river from the top of the Penitentiary Hill, and then up the hill to see my old friend Denton. Though he was a man and I a boy, we were always warm friends. Leaving friend Denton, I went to the highest point of the bluff and this is a part of what I saw. Looking south was a few miles of river and a wooded island; to the west over the river was a dense forest, so dense that it was no unusual thing for hunters to lose themselves and spend a night in the woods. Sometimes in clear days the smoke from the blacksmith shops in St. Louis and St. Charles could be seen. There were no steam works in that day. To the left and southeast of the bluffs, the north end of the great American Bottom, with miles of prairie grass often as high as a man's head, and no house or farm in sight and more of the river. There was a high mound on the bluff a few miles northerly from Collinsville in plain sight. Milltown (Milton) was at that time quite as large as Alton, but could not be seen over the woods that were between the two. East and almost under me was the little Piasa valley, with a little muddy stream winding its way through to the river. A few houses on what is now Second street [Broadway] in the valley and a log tavern north of where the Town Hall now stands. I could look over the rock on which was the representation of the Piasa Bird. Shame to the citizens who allowed that rock to be destroyed. It ought to be there now as a relic of the Indians who held it in reverence. North and northeast there was nothing but trees on hills and trees in hollows and valleys. Then as a boy, I thought I should see from where I then stood a great town equal, if not large than St. Louis. We did not have many cities then. I was an Illinois boy, and wanted everything in Illinois to be the greatest and best.

Alton stopped in its growth for a good many years, for reasons which are not necessary to mention, because there is a great difference in opinion as to the reasons, but still it grew a little each year; it never went back. All these years I have watched it, hoping a start would come in my day, and the hope that a great city would be in my sight. It has taken a start. The great city is coming and rapidly, too. It cannot now be stopped. If I am in health in the spring or early summer, I want to stand as near the point as I stood when a boy and see what I shall see. Looking over the Piasa Rock I shall see a great block of mill buildings, and a long line of mills and business down the river, and a great railroad bridge spanning the Mississippi river, and railroads leading to the bridge and trains almost constantly crossing; boats coming and going, instead of the imperfect roads will be seen perfect, well-paved streets, and the American Bottoms will show farms, towns and railroads with trains nearly all the time in eight, but no tall grass. West, over the river, in place of the heavy timber will be seen good farms and farm buildings, railroads and soon there will be towns at each end of the railroad crossing the point between the two rivers, and St. Charles, Mo., and Bellefontaine, with the high bridge over the Missouri river.

North and northeast, will be seen beautiful residences that have crowded out the native trees and smaller growth, and replaced them with ornamental trees and shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous. A few of the natives are retained. The Piasa hollow is full of machine shops, woolen mill and the great roundhouse of the C. & A. railroad, which runs down the little Piasa Creek, which for some distance is arched over and the railroad immediately over it. The C. & A. railroad was the first real road in Illinois, and when I see it I am often reminded of Benjamin Godfrey, to whom we are indebted for its early completion. North Alton, Middletown and Upper Alton are all in sight and three street roads are soon to be electric roads.

The change is great from then to now, almost more than one can imagine. Who can say what will be the difference in sixty years to come? It is near about sixty years since I stood on that high hill and made the observations I have written and thought what Alton would be and what it should be. Alton has never stood still, but the growth was slow until the last few years. It is growing so fast now that nothing can stop it.

The time is not distant when another bridge will cross the river at Alton, and it will not be a drawbridge, and there will be a wagon bridge with it. Illinois is a great State, and Alton has got to be one of the great cities of Illinois. When I stood on that hill I only wanted to see Alton with as many houses as St. Louis then had; now it has more than doubled. Comparing "then and now" sixty years more and the difference will be that Alton is on the east bank of the Mississippi river and St. Louis on the west bank. Alton has increased in both population and business in proportion to what they both were sixty years ago, faster than St. Louis. If my health permits, I want to make the trip to that Penitentiary Hill when the weather is settled in the Spring, and if I do I will report what I have seen from its height.

 

CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN IN ALTON
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 1, 1894
Halloween celebration last night was general Every part of town had its crowd of "bad" boys that roamed about like cherry birds in May, bent on destruction. The police raid of last year, in which about twenty young men paid fines of $3 for dumping a wagon over a cliff, was not forgotten, and to some extent dampened the ardor of the bad boys. Gates, sidewalks, and tree boxes suffered. Long white-robed objects flitted about Middletown, which it was found was nothing worse than a dozen young ladies decked out in sheets.

At the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, a Halloween social was made exceedingly pleasant to the number who attended. A program of literary and musical selections was rendered and proved highly entertaining. Miss Sophia Wutzler and Master Oscar Tonsor received much applause for their part in the literary.

Mr. Guy Huskinson was the recipient of a pleasant surprise from his friends. They assembled at the home of his parents on Twelfth street, laden with lunch baskets and good intentions. That they had a huge time all agree that Guy's Halloween was a highly enjoyable one.

The Misses Walters invited their young lady friends to meet at their home en masque, so that in paying visits to their Middletown friends they might inspire awe. This they successfully accomplished. The guests came in long white robes and carried plates of alcohol-salt fire to look as much like witches as possible. They could only succeed in looking bewitching. After parading through Middletown and scaring the numerous people, they assembled at the home of the Misses Walters, where Halloween refreshments were served.

 

FOUR KILLED IN TRAIN WRECK
Sources: The News Frederick Maryland, April 6, 1895;
The Hamilton Daily Republican Ohio, April 6, 1895

In a freight wreck on the Chicago and Alton cut off at Wood River bridge, half a mile north of East Alton, four men were killed outright and two were fatally injured. A long and heavy train was coming down the grade when the middle of the train bulged out and fifteen cars were piled on top of each other.

The men killed were:
David Haffley of Watertown, Wisconsin
Frank Hareman or Hariman of Philadelphia
Charles Bell of Springfield, Illinois
Henry Blitz or Blihts of New Orleans or Kansas City

Fourteen men were injured more or less seriously. All who were killed or injured were tramps. The injured men were brought to the hospital in this city [Alton], and the inquest held at East Alton. Fourteen of the tramps were injured. Their names are Charles Custard, Lima, O.; Otto Schroeder, Argentine, Kan.; Theodore Hunt, St. Paul, Minn.; Thomas Cope, St. Louis; Harry Williams, Toledo; M. Hickens, Chicago; W. Willets, Dallas, Tex.; Ed Aulbeisht, Albany, N. Y.; Harry Glass, Chicago; James Hart, no residence; James Martin, Fall River, Mass.; John Howard, Cincinnati, Ohio; Robert Sell, New York; Winifred Garrison, Martinsville, Ohio. Several of the injured are not expected to live.

 

JULIA BUCKMASTER ALTON’S FIRST POSTMISTRESS
Source: The Alton Evening Telegraph, December 2, 1896
President Cleveland yesterday announced that he had appointed Miss Julia Buckmaster to succeed her brother as Postmaster in this city. Miss Buckmaster applied early to Senator Palmer. Her father, the late Col. Samuel A. Buckmaster, was an old-time friend of Senator Palmer's and now when he had an opportunity, he remembered his old friend, and endorsed the appointment of his daughter. A reporter of the Telegraph called at Miss Buckmaster's residence early this morning. When informed of it by the reporter, she showed unmistakable signs of pleasure. The Telegraph extends congratulations to Miss Buckmaster on her good fortune. For more than a month, it has almost been positively known by the best posted people in Alton that Mr. Milnor would not get the office, and that it was more than likely that Miss Buckmaster would be the fortunate individual. Miss Buckmaster will probably not be able to take possession of the office until after her confirmation by the Senate, which convenes next Monday. All appointments made during the session of Congress must be confirmed prior to the person becoming invested with the office, and as Congress meets in a few days, Miss B.'s appointment will undoubtedly be promptly confirmed. Charley Milnor, Miss B.'s chief opponent, is a good fellow and deserves almost any appointment he might aspire to. He was endorsed by the Democratic clubs in 1885 for postmaster, but another got it. He was a candidate and very popular four years ago, but failed again. Mr. Milnor did not have official influence on his side. This time a few of his backers were Republicans, some of whom went on a mission to Springfield, to Senator Palmer, for Mr. Milnor, but evidently, they had no more influence than his former Democratic "pushers."

 

THE LAURA BUILDING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 8, 1896
Captain Huntington Smith, owner of the new post office building, has decided to name it the "Laura Building" in honor of his noble wife, Mrs. Laura Griswold Smith, who is a lady of high musical talents, a celebrity in those circles in St. Louis. Contractor Weld went to St. Louis yesterday to procure the joists for the third story of the building, which will now be pushed to completion as rapidly as possible.

Y.M.C.A. WILL MOVE TO NEW LAURA BUILDING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 20, 1897
The Board of Directors of the Y.M.C.A. hold a special meeting tonight to complete arrangements for the removal of the Association rooms to the third story of the new Laura building.

 

THE CITY OF ALTON vs. JOHN WEMPEN - WASHINGTON STREET SALOONKEEPER
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 3, 1898
The City of Alton vs. John Wempen is the little legend that could be read on the docket of 'Squire Brandewiede's court, if it could be seen. At any rate, Honest John Wempen, the Washington Street saloonkeeper, was up in court Saturday to answer to a grave charge, namely violating the city ordinances relating to dram shop keepers, and the violating of the Sunday part of the ordinance in particular. The case is being conducted on the quiet, and Mr. Wempen was supposed to be in court on business of his own, and not city business. It is said that Joe Lock informed on Honest John, and behind this bare statement is a story of personal revenge, which will not bear publication. A continuance was granted until next Saturday.

 

SECOND STREET SIDEWALKS AGAIN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 4, 1898
David Ryan was awarded the contract for lowering sidewalks on the north side of Second Street [Broadway] from Alby to Henry streets today. Bids were advertised for to be opened at 10 o'clock this morning in the office of the City Clerk, and there was one bidder, Mr. Ryan. It was thought there would be several bids, but the hostile attitude of property owners along the streets frightened contractors so that they were afraid to bid for the work. The contract calls for the removal of the high sidewalks and steps and lowering of curbing wherever property owners have not done so. It is stated that some property owners will sue the city for damages to their property.

 

CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 1, 1898
Halloween was well observed last night by the young people, with parties and candy pulls. The boys were out too, and they observed the occasion in their accustomed way, in evidence of which many a gateless gateway and a state of general topsy-turvy of things movable gave mute testimony. At the home of the Misses Walker on Henry Street, there was a jolly gathering of young folks who had a most delightful time with their young hostesses. All the time-honored Halloween games were played, and with other amusements the young people passed away the hours until after midnight. Miss Mabel Neece was hostess of a party of young friends last evening at her home, Sixth and Easton streets. Dancing was the amusement of the evening. The party was a very pleasant one and all enjoyed the evening with the charming young hostess. Over in the East End, painters completed last night the painting of a house, putting on a white coat. During the night the celebrators of Halloween got hold of some red paint, and "painted the house red." This is malicious mischief which gives an exceedingly bad name to Halloween pranks. Miss Edna Schnell gave a euchre party last evening to a number of guests. There were eight tables, Miss Emily Degrand and Mr. Leo Sneeringer captured first prizes; Miss Schnell secured the lone hand, and Miss Alice Cremens and Mr. Will Dailey the consolation prizes. A social was given last evening at the Presbyterian church by the C. E. Society. Many of the young ladies were dressed in quaint costumes presenting an attractive appearance. Beside amusements of various kinds, a "candy pull" was indulged in, all making a very enjoyable evening.

 

FIRE DESTROYS PIERSON & CARR DRY GOODS STORE
H. J. BOWMAN & CO. BADLY DAMAGED
Source: Alton Telegraph, December 22, 1898
Fire destroyed the store of Pierson & Carr Dry Goods Co. Saturday morning, and the stock with the building is a total loss. The flames and heat spread to the adjoining buildings and did much damage to the stock and stores of H. J. Bowman & Co. and Pfeiffer & Bailey. Most of the damage was to the stock, all the stores being heavily stocked for the Christmas holidays. The origin of the fire is not certainly known, but it is thought to have started from a fire in the furnace in the cellar. At 5 o'clock, the store of Pierson & Carr Dry Goods Co. was discovered to be in flames, and an alarm was sent to the fire department through the telephone office. When the first wagon of the fire department arrived, the interior of the store was found to be a roaring furnace of flame in the first and second stories, and the third story, which was unused, was threatened. A second alarm was sent in and the reserve was called out to assist in fighting the fire. Six streams of water were soon playing on the flames, but the firemen were handicapped by a want of ladders. Fire Chief McDonald said, after it was over, that the fire could have been confined to Pierson & Carr's store had ladders been available with which to climb to the second story and pour water through the windows. The firemen climbed over the roofs of adjacent buildings with lines of hose, but found tin roofs preventing water from being effectively used. The flames fed upon the immense stock of dry goods in the Pierson & Carr store, and literally destroyed everything. A sky-light in the middle of the store furnished a way and a draught for the flames to go to the second story. The effect of the sky-light is plainly visible all around it, for nothing but ashes and other evidences of destruction remain of the building and stock for twenty feet. The first floor of the store had been decorated for the Christmas season with a light inflammable affair, constructed of light woodwork, handkerchiefs, fancy goods, etc., that soon was food to the flames, and made the damage worse than it might have been. The glass front of the store was broken by the intense heat, and the draught that there gained entrance increased the fury of the flames ten-fold. To make matters worse, the fire began to spread to neighboring stores and divided the attention of the fireman. Either heat or faulty construction of the building caused the fire to communicate to the buildings occupied by Pfeiffer & Bailey on the east, and H. J. Bowman & Co. on the west side. The joists of the floors took fire, and the bowman building was in a fair way to follow its neighbor when the firemen discovered the danger. Under the tin roof of the Bowman building, the fire raged fiercely and was extinguished only by a deluge of water that effectively ruined a very large part of the stock of dry goods in the store. In the store of Pfeiffer & Bailey, the joists of the ceiling caught fire and the fire department deluged the store with water, damaging the stock there to quite an extent. The last vestige of flames was extinguished at 9:30 o'clock. The scene in the Pierson & Carr dry goods store was one of destruction. Not a piece of goods in the store, apparently, had escaped scorching and drenching. The destruction was as near complete as it could possibly be, both to stock and building. The floors of the three stories were almost entirely destroyed, the wood work of the roof had been burned under the tin, and the whole had fallen in. Around the sky-light, the wood work of the floor, fixtures, etc., with the goods, were burned entirely. Fortunately, the safe containing the firm's valuable books was not in the worst of the fire, and everything was in good order inside of it. In the Bowman store the greatest damage was done by water and smoke, and in the Pfeiffer & Bailey store water alone did the damage. Mr. H. M. Carr, secretary of the company, stated to a Telegraph representative that the loss of the Pierson & Carr Co. would be about $30,000, fully covered by insurance. At this season of the year the stock is unusually large, and a rough estimate of its value would be about that amount. The building belongs to the estate of Norton Johnson of Philadelphia, and was a very old one. It can be replaced by a new one for about $6,000. The Pierson & Carr Dry Goods Co. had been in its present quarters twenty years last August, and has been in business since 1875, without interruption. It enjoys the reputation of being one of the first business houses of importance in this part of the country, and in its misfortune now will have many to offer sympathy and regrets. Mr. W. H. Humpidge of H. J. Bowman & Co. today estimated his firm's loss at $15,000, and insurance on the entire stock was about that amount. The Bowman store building is not much damaged except by water and the interruption of business will not be for long. It is owned by the Bowman estate. Mr. Pfeiffer said that his loss would amount to probably $5,000, and his insurance is $2,500. The office of Architect L. Pfeiffenberger over the store of Pfeiffer & Bailey was damaged to the extent of $1,000. Flames from the third story of Pierson & Carr's store entered the office, and water wet valuable papers and plans. Mr. Pfeiffenberger stated that his loss would be $1,000 on office property. The building is owned jointly by Mr. Pfeiffenberger and Shurtleff College. Some of the adjusters interested in the fires of last Saturday have arrived in town and are at work adjusting the loss. The task of adjusting the Bowman loss is quite a heavy one and may occupy much time. One insurance company has practically completed its adjustment of the Pierson & Carr loss and has allowed the full amount of the policy.

 

HOT NEW YEAR'S WAS BEGUN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 3, 1899
There was a varied array of cases on the docket in the police court today, and that particular mill of justice was kept busily engaged grinding out penalties for offenses of sundry character. The new year seems to have opened with a general carnival and disturbance among police court frequenters. Silas Bartonball began the new year by trying to kill an inoffensive saloon keeper on Upper Belle Street. In the police court, he was charged with threatening to shoot a man with a revolver, and facts in the case go to show that he did not do it because he did not have a chance. He was bound over to the grand jury. Al Terpening began the new year by creating a family row at his home. On the warrant, which his wife swore out, he is charged with threatening to dash out his child's brains with a club, and to further his threats of blood and murder, he said he would put ten bullets in his wife's head if the capacity of her head would permit. To further the cause of peace and good will on earth, he too was bound over. James Moore and Oscar Curtis began the new year with a fight, in which Curtis was being badly used up when police interfered. With their faces badly disfigured, both appeared before Justice Brandewiede today and were fined. Moore pleaded guilty, and as he was the aggressor, was fined $5 and costs. Curtis was fined $3 and costs. George Williams, colored, started out by abducting the fourteen years old daughter of William Johnson, and was arrested on complaint of the girl's father. The case was compromised.

 

ALTON UNFORTUNATES DIED FROM HUNGER AND EXPOSURE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 11, 1899
Riley Thorpe, one of the unfortunates who live down on the sandbar, died this morning in a wretched hovel from the effects of hunger and exposure. In the tent where Thorpe died, and on the bed beside his dead body, lay his wife weakened by sickness, cold and hunger, until she was not able to help herself or send for the assistance of her rough neighbors. Thorpe had been ill for some time and application for assistance for the family had been made to the Supervisor, but was refused. Left to care for themselves, there was nothing for the couple to do but die there in their dirt and poverty. A Telegraph reporter visited today the place that the Thorpe's called home. It was a wretched tent, full of holes and ample openings for the entrance of cold river winds. The body of the dead man was stretched out in a box outside, while inside was a scene of squalor and dirt that could not be worse. A small stove in the front by the open tent flaps where light entered was supplying heat, and the tent was filled with a half dozen neighbors. Thomas McNutt, who had discovered the plight of the family, told how the couple were dying from cold and starvation when he entered. The people on the bar have no money, and coal for a fire must be stolen to keep the sick people alive. All night McNutt did what he could, and the neighbors contributed of their scanty food supply to prevent the death of the couple. The old lady was, at the time of the reporter's visit, greedily gulping down some soup a neighbor had contributed. She ate as though she had not tasted food for days, and her condition was pitiable. Everything in the tent was filthy and even a dog would disdain to drink from a cup which the old woman took her soup in. Cold, starving, and with no friends unless the county helps her, there is nothing for her but to follow her husband. The other inhabitants of the bar are free-hearted, but they have nothing to spare beyond their own needs, and still they have denied themselves necessaries of life for the poor couple. In the midst of all this squalor and poverty, it was pleasant to find that humanity had not entirely deserted the breasts of the poor people down there, and that out of their scanty means they had done what they could for two of their unfortunate number.

 

ELECTRIC STREETCAR SHOCKING PASSENGERS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 12, 1899
During the last few days, an electric car on the Middletown system has developed shocking propensities that made it quite a dangerous conveyance. In some way a connection became established between the brass handle used by passengers to assist them in mounting, and the trolley wire above the car. A light shock was complained of by a number of passengers as they took hold of the handle, but today the full viciousness of the depraved car became apparent. As "Dad" Scovell was mounting the steps with two buckets of sand in his hands, he was shocked by the current that charged the iron steps under him. He dropped the buckets and was almost thrown to the ground. Other persons had similar experiences, and it was decided that the car should be retired until an investigation could be made and the fault corrected.

 

ALTON NAVAL RESERVES PLAN FOR THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF THEIR DIVISION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 16, 1899
A meeting of the members of the local division of the Naval Militia is called for Tuesday evening in the Armory for the purpose of making arrangements for the celebration of the third anniversary of the division. Of the entire list of charter members of the company, only thirteen now remain in the Alton division, all others having been granted discharges. The charter members enlisted as seamen whose terms will expire February 1, 1899, are F. S. Boals, George Parker, F. C. Riehl, E. H. Smith, W. W. Lane, Henry Kranz, J. H. Bruner, Will Chalk, H. E. Dudley, Terrence Reedy, W. A. Rice, C. G. Smith, Percy Rice. The next enlistments to expire will be those of W. F. Cobeck and W. F. Suppington, June 29. In the meantime, it is hoped that enough of recruits can be secured to keep the company above the mark required by the state. In another place, Lieut. Crossman calls for recruits for the Naval Militia. By all means, the division should be kept alive in Alton. The name and fame of the Alton Naval Reserves have been spread to all parts of the country in the doings of the Illinois Naval Reserves during the [Spanish American] war, and the division has done more than any one agency in bringing the city of Alton into prominence during the war. Every Altonian should feel a personal interest in the company and give to the boys any encouragement that may be given to keep up the company. In the trouble between the state authorities and the members of the Chicago reserve, the Alton division has remained neutral, and no division in the state can show a better record and few as good.

 

THE ALTON CURFEW - A RING FROM A BELL OR A BLAST FROM A WHISTLE?
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 16, 1899
The curfew ordinance will take effect next Friday, ten days after its passage. After 8 o'clock, no child under 15 years of age will be permitted on the streets. The curfew law is becoming popular in many of the smaller cities and towns. The object of the ordinance is without doubt for the benefit of the young. The youngsters have been asking, how shall we know when 8 o'clock comes? The time we have may be different from the police time? This is a pertinent pointer, and has suggested that some public notice be given when 8 o'clock is struck. In some places a bell is rung, which is in accord with the old curfew custom of ringing a bell at sunset. It has been suggested that a bell be bought and placed on City Hall, and that it be rung each night at 8. A bell large enough to be heard would cost considerable money, both in the purchase and erection. Another system is that some one of the factories be hired to blow a whistle at 8, and that all other whistle blowing be forbidden. If the latter should be adopted, there is no whistle that is more familiar, or has more volume than Bealls' Mining Tool Factory whistle. Everybody knows it. It blew first, last, constantly, for the American victories over the Spaniards [Spanish American War, 1898]. Its tones were heard o'er dale and hill, as far east as Bethalto, at Godfrey and Brighton, at West Alton, East Alton, and for miles around in the country, and everybody knew that American arms had won another victory. Its tones are familiar to all, and would be recognized by the small boy, and the small girl too, as the hour to scuttle off home. Bealls' curfew, now famous, would become the lullaby to woo sleep, and anxious mothers, as well as papas, would listen for its blasts as anxiously as they did last summer for announcement of American victories. Let the curfew blow.

 

ALTON PAPER COMPANY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 18, 1899
Mr. James C. Armstrong, now of St. Louis, but from early childhood to manhood a resident of Alton, has interested himself in the erection of a paper mill for the manufacture of strawboard in Alton. Mr. Armstrong has now progressed so far in his work that he can safely say that the building of the mill is settled. The business is one that will be of incalculable benefit to Alton. The business is a most profitable one, and promises to pay large dividends to the stockholders. Mr. Armstrong has been a paper manufacturer since he left Alton twelve or fifteen years ago. He is a thorough master of paper manufacturing, and has won flattering success both at Rochester, N. Y. and Appleton, Wisconsin. He has interested St. Louis capitalists in the enterprise, and Mr. Armstrong, accompanied by one of them who will take $25,000 of stock, was in Alton yesterday and interviewed some of Alton's capitalists. A majority of the stock will be held in Alton in order to control its affairs. Mr. Armstrong has positive assurance from Alton's leading capitalists that insures the financial success of the new mill. The mill will manufacture strawboard. The structure will cost from $75,000 to $80,000. The capacity will be 25 tons a day. About 40 persons will be employed. The building will be erected so that it can be easily enlarged, as it is anticipated that before a year its increased business will necessitate large capacity. The capitalists who have looked over Mr. Armstrong's propositions and have made inquiries as to his antecedents in Rochester and Appleton are enthusiastic for the enterprise. The building of the mill will be a splendid addition to the industries of Alton. It will not only give employment to a large number of hands, but will make a market in Alton for material from which the strawboard is manufactured, and will in other ways be of great advantage to our city. Mr. Armstrong will establish his office here just as soon as he can find a suitable place. By the way, many of our older citizens will recognize Mr. Armstrong as the son of the late Rev. Dr. C. S. Armstrong, for many years pastor of the Presbyterian church here. Mr. Armstrong will soon move his family to Alton and will be business manager of the mill.

 

ALTON'S RAILWAY AND ILLUMINATING COMPANY'S IMPROVEMENTS
$15,000 Car Sheds, Generator, Improved Gas Plant
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 20, 1899
The new car barns to be built by the Alton Railway & Illuminating Company adjacent to the power house will be most complete and up-to-date in design. The building is to be of brick, stone and iron. It is to be erected in the bottom of the quarry, and leading to it will be a track that will be laid on Market Street, down the incline at Seventh Street into the barn. The barn and all accessories will cost $15,000, so President Joseph F. Porter today said.

The new power generator for the power house will be here tomorrow, and will be set in place as soon as possible. The new generator will be used to furnish power for the additional cars to be put on the system when the Sixth Street line is built. In addition to this increase of power, Mr. Porter is authority for the statement, the owners of the plant have now under consideration the expenditure of a large sum of money on the gas system and the electric systems. If the east Alton line is built, it will make necessary an increase in power at the plant that will be quite expensive. The gas system now needs overhauling badly, as all the mains are too small or in a worn-out condition. Extension of the mains and relaying of those already in the ground will soon be begun.

 

KIRSCH PACKING COMPANY TO BUILD 40-TON PLANT
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 21, 1899
The Kirsch Packing Company has closed a contract with a Chicago manufacturer of the machines for a 40-ton ice machine to cost $30,000. H. Luetgert, a representative of the Chicago firm, was in town Friday and closed the contract with Mr. G. F. Kirsch. The plant is to be one of the finest in this part of the state, and it is claimed will turn out ice of a quality to be excelled by none. The plant will be installed in the building on Third Street, next to the Kirsch Company's ice house, in the building purchased by the company from C. Rodemeyer, and formerly used as a blacksmith shop of the carriage factory. Next to the ice plant will be the ice house to store surplus ice, and it is proposed to make the institution the most complete of its kind to be had. The building is large enough to permit the building of cold storage rooms, which will be done. With the new cold storage plant, Alton will have five ice manufactories and cold storage plants, all established in the last twelve years. The natural ice industry will now languish certainly, for artificial ice will glut the market formerly ruled by the natural product.

 

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY AT UNION STATION IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 21, 1899
The Alton will now beg for mercy at the hands of the robbers who have been persecuting it. Although Union Station is only one square from police headquarters, it has been entered by robbers twice in two weeks, and in both cases the author of the burglary is unknown and apparently undiscoverable. The second attempt took place last night and was fruitless. Entrance was effected through a window in the east side of the gentlemen's waiting room, which the burglar pried open with a file. The window was raised and then the burglar began operations against the window of the Alton ticket office. The window was secured by a brass lock and by an iron bolt driven into the casing through the sash. The burglar did not dare to cut the glass for fear of attracting the attention of the inmates of the Depot Hotel. The window was forced with the file used on the outside window, but could be raised only six or seven inches as the lock jammed in the sash and absolutely presented it being further raised. The burglar must have been frightened off, or dared not make further efforts to enter the ticket office. The burglar would have been meagerly rewarded for the work had he succeeded in entering. Mr. O. G. Norris, the agent, today said that ht customarily makes nightly remittances of receipts to headquarters, and the comparatively small amount retained by him for change was locked in the steel safe. The Big Four agent has a similar custom, but last night some large sales after the remittance was made left quite a sum of money in the office. This, too, was in a strong safe, and the thief would have been obliged to crack the strong box. The police suspect that the burglary was committed by the person who has made frequent midnight entrance to the C. B. & Q. station at Ridge Street. The burglaries there had become so frequent that nothing was left in the office at night, so the burglar was obliged to transfer his base of operations.

 

GILL BUILDING TO BE SOLD (northwest corner of Broadway & Oak Streets)
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 23, 1899
Negotiations having in view the change of ownership of the building situated at the corner of Second [Broadway] and Oak Streets, known as the Gill Building, are being carried on, and it is more than probably that in forty-eight hours’ time the property will pass into the possession of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. The Anheuser-Busch Company has long contemplated the purchase of a building in Alton and surrounding country. The Lemps long since established an agency here with cold storage rooms and the sharp rivalry between the companies required the Anheuser-Busch Company to do likewise. The latter has had its headquarters in the office of the Alton Packing Company, but must soon vacate there, and the negotiations for the purchase of the Gill building was begun through M. J. Gill. Mr. Will Busch and Mr. M. J. Gill came to Alton at 11:20 a.m. today, and were taken to the building that Mr. Busch might inspect it. The owners of the building, the Strubel heirs and others who held claims against it, ask $12,000 for the property. The building is a substantial brick one, three stories high, and is the finest in Alton. The investment was an unprofitable one, as business in the east end did not pay for the expense of the building. It has long been for sale, but the owners refused to take less than $12,000 for it on several occasions when offers of a less amount were made. Should the Anheuser-Busch Company take the building, extensive improvements will be made to accommodate the needs of the new owners. It is possible the building will be entirely remodeled, with a new front and interior arrangements.

 

BUNKER HILL DOCTOR ARRESTED IN ALTON FOR ARSON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 28, 1899
A deep scheming firebug in the person of Dr. D. D. Hays of Bunker Hill was arrested by the Alton police Friday evening, on the charge of incendiarism, and was taken to Bunker Hill at once by City Marshal Herbst of that place.

Hays was arrested in William Threde's Saloon, where he had been spending the early part of the evening. He is a man evidently about 45 years of age, and has been in an insane asylum, but for four years has practiced medicine. His methods were unique, but in addition to this feature they had that of being effective, and the firebug had an easy means of living by employing his incendiary talents. He has two fires to his credit, one entailing a loss of $20,000 in building and store stocks. On November 13, a business block in Bunker Hill was destroyed by a fire that seemed to originate in a room stored with belongings of Hays. The insurance on the property of Dr. Hays was quite heavy, and he collected it shortly after the fire. Next to Hays room was the local telephone exchange, and on the night of the fire the operator in the exchange heard in Dr. Hays' room footsteps, and then the sound of a match being scratched. The placed burned like tinder, and took with it the adjacent structures.

The subsequent doings of the doctor showed the cunning of a maniac, and few doubt that he was insane. He leased a room January 1, and took out heavy insurance on the property in the room. Thursday night a fire was discovered in the door, but was extinguished before any damage was done. Dr. Hays was gone from the city and had locked the doors to his room so that entrance must be made by firemen by breaking open the doors. When the room was open, a wonderful sight was before the men who entered. When carrying out furniture from the bedroom, a hole in each of the four walls was found. These holes were filled with kindling and paper soaked with oil. In a bureau, wardrobe and washstand from which all articles of value had been removed, were found oil-soaked paper and kindling. A long fuse filled with candle wicking saturated with coal oil was found leading from the rear of the washstand through a hole cut in the back to the inflammable substance within the walls. All this was connected by a train of saturated wicking leading to a lighted tallow candle, which was so fixed as to fire the fuse after a certain time.

Hays had left the village and came to Alton to disarm suspicion, but he over-reached himself. He intended to leave for Chicago on the early Saturday morning excursion train, and went to the Madiso [Hotel] to remain all night. He subsequently went to Threde's Saloon and was arrested just as the search for him was given up and City Marshal Herbts had gone to the depot.

A few days ago, Hays had two trunks containing all his surgical instruments shipped to Alton, and from here to Harrisburg, Pa., where it is thought he intended to locate. His intention was to deceive the insurance company, give the appearance of having lost all his property in the fire. He intended to lose nothing and collect insurance for all. Hays was educated in the East, where he was born and reared. His family is influential and distinguished.

 

THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF ALTON NAVAL MILITIA
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 1, 1899
The Third Division, Second Battalion, Naval Militia of Illinois, of Alton, was mustered into the service of the state on Saturday evening, February 1st, 1896, at the City Hall, Captain D. C. Daggett of Moline, then Commander of the Second Battalion, being mustering officer. He was accompanied by Lieutenant Commander J. H. Porter and several of the commissioned officers of the First and Second Divisions of Moline.

Prior to the mustering, there had been perfected (with a membership of forty young men) an organization that had banded themselves together under the name of the "Morrell Guards," and were fully officered, holding regular drill meetings in the McPike Building. The purpose of the organization was to be ready to fill any vacancy that might exist in the National Guard. While this was going on, several of our prominent citizens, headed by the late Senator C. A. Herb, were doing all in their power to obtain a position for the "Morrell Guards" in the Second Battalion, N. M. I. About January 24, 1896, word was received that Captain Daggett would muster the organization into the Naval Militia, and accordingly, this was done on February 1st, 1896. The officers elected at mustering were: George E. Wilkinson as Lieutenant Commanding; Edward V. Crossman, Lieutenant Junior Grade; H. Baker Ash, Ensign; H. Harold Hewitt, Second Ensign. The Petty Officers of today are: Boatswain's Mates George Parker and Charles Smith; Gunner's Mates Phillip Leyser, Wilbur Streeper, and Clay Butler; Quartermasters W. Lane, Frank Brice; Master-at-Arms William Montgomery, Charles Gildersleeve; Coxswains Charles Lyons, W. Gradolph, E. E. Johnson, and Allen Challacombe; Ship Writers Lucien Baker and Cyrus Maxfield.

On July 23d, 1896, Lieutenant Wilkinson, in view of his removal to Germany, tendered his resignation, which was accepted, and at the election ordered on August 16, 1896 to fill vacancy, Lieutenant Junior Edward V. Crossman was elected to the command of the company and rank of Lieutenant. Ensign Hewitt advanced to First Ensign. Quartermaster Ed C. Paul was elected from petty officer to be Second Ensign, and these officers are in charge of the company this date.

The Naval Reserves have won laurels for themselves on many occasions, never having been defeated for any prize they undertook to win, and as a result they are now in possession of the handsome "Daggett Silver Water Set," and the 1-pound Hotchkiss rapid fire cannon, both acquired by the excellence of the Signal Corps and Gun Crew during the camp tour of 1897 at Camp Stedman.

At camp in Chicago in 1896, in the Governor's inaugural parade at Springfield in 1897, and at the Madison County Jubilee in Edwardsville in 1897, they received honorable mention as being the best drilled organization that took part in these events.

During the three years, 134 men have been enlisted of which 56 enlisted especially for service in the Spanish-American War. The company today comprises 64 petty officers and men, and four commissioned officers.

Eighty-two of its members participated in the recent war, 65 in the navy, 12 in the army at Santiago, and 4 who were rejected here enlisted in the army at St. Louis, not forgetting "Little Sap" who went to Mobile and joined the navy. Two commissioned officers, Lt. W. L. Sparks and Ensign H. H. Hewitt also served in the navy.

During the six months that Commander Porter was absent at the front, Lieut. E. V. Crossman served as Commander of the Second Battalion, having head partners at Alton. Four of the members have, during the enlistment, been honored with appointment to Battalion Officer as follows: Dr. H. R. Lemen was appointed apothecary, and then succeeded to Battalion Surgeon. Charles Flachenecker succeeded Dr. Lemen as apothecary. F. S. Boals was appointed Chief Gunner's Mate. F. C. Riehl appointed as Chief Quartermaster. R. C. Wayne was appointed Ordnance Officer. W. L. Sparks succeeded Lieut. Wayne in 1897 with rank of Lieutenant.

The charter members still in the service besides the commissioned officers are: George Parker, E. Harris Smith, Ward Lane, H. Kranz, John H. Bruner, W. P. Chalk, H. Dudley, T. Reedy, W. A. Rice, C. G. Smith and Percy Rice.

It has been decided not to apply for any discharges for the men whose enlistment expires today, until it is ascertained what the state authorities propose to do. If the Governor encourages it, the organization will continue and take hold vigorously again; if not, the discharges will be granted, under which circumstances the company would disband.

 

SAFE BLOWN OPEN AT HAPGOOD PLOW
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 3, 1899
The private safe of Mr. C. H. Hapgood, in the office of the Hapgood Plow Company, was blown open during Thursday night by someone after money, but the labors of the cracksmen were scantily rewarded. As the safe is used only by Mr. Hapgood and no valuables are kept in it, nothing of value was taken. The safe is a small old-fashioned one that was set in a small closet and seldom unlocked. Mr. Hapgood keeps the key to it and whoever did the safe blowing thought it must contain many valuables. The large keyhole in the door was used for the insertion of powder, which dropped down between the outer and inner linings of the door. Then the hole was plugged with wood and the powder set off. The explosion broke open the door but did not damage the safe badly. Every drawer in the office desks was broken open and papers strewn around in the search of the burglar for money. The only things missing are a few postage stamps and $1 in specie taking from Mr. H. L. Black's private desk.

 

ALTON - TWO CHILDREN BURNED TO DEATH
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, February 7, 1899
Fire caused the death of two young children this morning. Singularly enough the accidents happened in different parts of the city. About 9:30 o'clock a.m. flames were seen issuing from a shanty boat on the river front just below the Union depot. In the boat was a sick child, Eva, the four-year-old daughter of a family named Beebe. The mother had gone out to a neighbor's to get someone to go with her for a physician to attend the sick child, and when the fire was first noticed it was too late to rescue the little girl. The shanty boat was soon consumed, and the body of the victim was almost cremated. Her face, hands, and legs were burned completely away, and the body was unrecognizable. The child was lying on a low pallet, and the supposition is a spark of fire ignited the clothes and started the flames. The family came to Alton in their shanty boat on Christmas day from Peoria, and have been here since that time. The father has been working on the ice across the river, and did not learn of the accident until five or six hours after it occurred. William Rush, better known as "Curly," made a brave effort at rescue. He broke in the door, but met with a sheet of flames, and was compelled to run out. His whiskers were almost burned off in the attempt. Beebe and his wife have seen better circumstances. The husband has been sick and the first work he has had since coming to Alton was the last three days. Supervisor Elbie will send the couple to Peoria tonight, where they have relatives. Beebe could not bear to look at his child, and it was buried without him seeing it. Coroner Bailey held an inquest and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death from burning.

The three years old son of Tim Hartigan, night watchman on the bridge, died at 3 o'clock this morning, at the home, Seventeenth and Belle streets, from injuries received Tuesday afternoon caused by its clothes catching on fire. The boy, in company with other children, was playing in the yard, where they had a fire. While standing near the fire, the child's clothes were ignited. Rushing into the house, the little fellow jumped into a bed, where Mr. George Timmermeier tore the burning clothes from its body. It was thought at first the burns were not serious, but after suffering great pain the victim died early this morning. The accident is a very sad one, and the parents have much sympathy in the terrible bereavement that has come upon them. Coroner Bailey held an inquest, with a verdict similar to the first mentioned accident. The funeral will be tomorrow at 2 p.m. from the Cathedral.

 

YOUTHFUL BANDIT (DAN KENNEDY) ROBS JOHN MERKLE SHOE STORE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Tuesday, February 21, 1899
Dan Kennedy, a young man only 19 years old, committed a daring robbery at 6 o'clock Monday evening in true wild western bandit fashion. His victim is John Merkle, who keeps a shoe store at 322 Ridge street, and the holdup took place in Merkle's store. Kennedy is the son of a neighbor of Mr. Merkle, and it was a customary thing for the boy to drop into the shoe store in the evenings and talk with Merkle, often spending an evening in this manner. He learned by observation and from conversation with his friend, Mr. Merkle, that often times large sums of money were taken in during the day in the little store and that the cash drawer would be an easy mark for any one left alone in the store. Kennedy was waiting in the store for an opportunity when the proprietor might leave the room or be engaged with a customer, and then he would have stolen whatever the cash drawer contained. Mr. Merkle gave him no opportunity as the time passed, so the young amateur bandit was forced to go about his work in true bandit fashion. After long conversation, rising to his feet as though he was about to leave, Kennedy suddenly pulled a revolver from his pocket, and leveling it at Merkle's face ordered him to throw up his hands and be quiet. Merkle was astounded and at first supposed the boy was in play. "You don't mean it, do you?" he asked. "Of course, I do; throw up your hands," was Kennedy's second command. Merkle's hands hurriedly described semi-circles in the air, and in a second were in the most approved hold-up position. Kennedy went behind the counter, opened the cash drawer, and took its entire contents, $70 in cash. The young bandit then backed to the store door and bolted down the street. Merkle called police so soon as he recovered his senses and could command himself. The police made a careful search for young Kennedy, but the lad had planned his course well and no doubt was well on his way out of the city when the police started the search. After committing the robbery, Kennedy hurried to East Alton, riding part of the way with a young man named Scovell, and was in a great hurry. He arrived at East Alton in time to catch the Big Four train going east, at 8:30 p.m. Chief of Police Starr telegraphed instructions along the road to officers to search the train and arrest the boy. The young man is the son of Mr. Dan Kennedy, who lives on Fourth street, near Henry street. The parents of the boy ascribe his deed to insanity, but others say it was the effect of reading too much cheap literature. Some time ago he bought a badge and commission from a fake detective agency and presented himself to Chief of Police Kuhn, asking that he be sworn in as a detective.

 

ALTON - NEW ELEVATOR TO BE BUILT ON WEST SECOND STREET
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Tuesday, March 7, 1899
An elevator in which corn, wheat and all other farm commodities may be stored is to be erected at once by a company of Alton men. The elevator is to follow a suggestion made in the Telegraph some time ago that a market where farmers might sell anything they might have to sell would be a very good thing for merchants and the city of Alton in general. The elevator is to be built by Peter Reyland and Joseph Luly and is to be located on Second Street on a vacant lot next to the shop of the George D. Hayden Machine Company [located near the corner of W. Broadway & Piasa Streets]. For many years farmers who have brought produce or agricultural products to Alton for sale have had great difficulty in disposing of them and have been obliged often to wait on the public square all day long and then sell their loads at whatever price could be obtained. When the new elevator is opened it will be a market for everything the farmer has to sell. It will create competition for the farm products brought to Alton and will attract here much country trade that has gone elsewhere to better markets. The elevator cannot but be an advantage to business men of Alton and a profitable venture for the company which is backing it. The merchants of Alton have long felt the country trade that might be in Alton was not coming here. The reason for the slipping away of the country trade was only too apparent when teams with wagon loads of produce could be seen standing on the public square all day. Many farmers east of Alton would go to Bunker Hill or Edwardsville and those north of Alton would go to Jerseyville. Thousands of dollars were thus spent away from Alton in towns that have not half the advantages of Alton. The elevator is a good thing.

 

THE NEW ELEVATOR
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 11, 1899
Preparations were made today for beginning work on the foundations for the new elevator to be erected on West Second street by Messrs. Peter Reyland and Joseph Luly. The stone work will be started Monday, and work on the building will be pushed to completion as rapidly as possible. A two-story structure will be erected, with accommodations for a commission store fronting on Second street, and the elevator in the rear. A driveway will run through the center of the elevator, and all modern conveniences, including a wagon dump and elevator hoist will be added. Architect Pfeiffenberger has the plans in hand, but they are not yet complete. The promoters are anxious to launch their new enterprise, and therefore will go ahead with the foundation. The elevator is bound to be a paying investment and will supply a long felt need in Alton. Messrs. Reyland and Luly have contracted with a St. Louis firm to have the lumber for the elevator sawed into a special size.

 

PETITION FOR SIDETRACK
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 1, 1899
Special Council Meeting - A petition from Peter Reyland and Joseph Luly was read, asking for the privilege of laying a sidetrack into their new elevator on Front street. The prayer of the petition was granted, and the matter referred to the Railroad and Levee committees, with instructions to use their influence with the railroads to have the track laid.

 

ALTON - PAPER MILL TO BE ESTABLISHED IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Tuesday, March 7, 1899
Mr. James C. Armstrong, who is interested in the organizing of a company for the purpose of running a paper mill in Alton, states that he has at last obtained an option on 15 acres of ground, belonging to Col. Fulkerson, of Jerseyville. The land lies just east of the Curdie & Maupin addition to Alton, and is favorably situated for the purpose of manufacturing. Mr. Armstrong now has assurances from eastern capitalists that all the money needed will be subscribed. The eastern capitalists are eager to become interested in the enterprise. The prospects now are that a fine plant will be erected, and possibly a larger one than was at first intended.

 

ALTON - ROMANTIC WEDDING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Monday, March 13, 1899
A wedding with a tinge of delightful romance was solemnized by Justice Brandewiede in the City Courtroom at 3:30 p.m. today. The groom was Herman Lippoldt of Torrington, Laramie county, Wyoming, and the bride was Miss Clara Ebbler, of Brighton. To a representative of the Telegraph, the groom told the story of his courtship and the long interval between the time when he first found favor and the day he was married. He was a young fellow 20 years ago who lived at Brighton and was well known there. He had played with Clara Ebbler as a child, and had good reason to think he was looked upon with favor. Fifteen years ago, he left for the west to make a fortune or a comfortable living so he could claim his chosen bride. He returned a few days ago, owner of thousands of heads of cattle and a big stock farm in Wyoming, Laramie county. He found his young sweetheart a woman grown to maturity and still waiting the return of her lover. They agreed to be married and came to Alton. They hunted up 'Squire Brandewiede after securing a license, and were made man and wife. Mr. and Mrs. Lippoldt will leave for Laramie this evening to make their home there.

 

ALTON - ILLINOIS GLASS COMPANY IMPROVEMENTS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Monday, March 13, 1899
In the yards of the Illinois Glass Co., work is now being pushed rapidly on the new warehouse and shipping department that was begun several weeks ago. The new building is to be a substantial one built mainly of stone and iron and is to be larger than the one now used alone. It is to be 92x400 feet, while the present one measures but 300x92. The foundations for the new structure are almost complete and the setting of the iron work will be begun at once. Some important improvements are to be made at the glass works during the coming summer. Changes similar to those made last year in No. 5 will be made in at least one of the green glass factories, transforming it into what is known as a Dutch flint. In the new factory coal is to be used instead of oil as fuel. The Illinois Glass Co. is confronted with a demand of the coal operators for a rise in the price of coal. Since the agreement between the operators and miners for a wage scale, the operators who had a contract with the glass company to supply them with coal have decided that the price must go up and are insisting on a rise. The payroll of the glass works foots up $1,500,000 per year.

 

ALTON - TWO BOYS NARROWLY ESCAPE DEATH
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 15, 1899
About 7:30 o'clock this morning, two boys, Joe Toole and William Brady, were caught in a fall of earth from a bank on the Seventh street side of the residence of A. J. Howell on the corner of State. There were some seven or eight boys playing under the bank at the time. They heard a noise and ran, all escaping except the two named. The alarm was given and soon a crowd of men were at work digging for the boys. After several minutes work, the head of one of the boys, William Brady, was uncovered, then all went to work again to discover the other. As soon as he was found, both were taken out. Neither were seriously injured, although they appeared dazed and somewhat suffocated. Joe Toole's tongue was cut and bleeding, evidently caused by his teeth biting the tongue when caught by the earth. Physicians were sent for at once, and boys were taken to their homes nearby and received whatever medical attention their condition needed. Mr. and Mrs. Howell have been greatly annoyed by the persistency with which the boys continued to play at the bank, digging in it. They have been warned away, threatened by the police, but the temptation was too strong for the little fellows to keep away. The owners of the property several months ago had contracted with Mr. E. J. Lockyer to remove the earth and build a stone wall, but the weather was such, and the frost so far in the ground, that the contractor found it necessary to cease work until the frost was gone. The bank was ten or twelve feet high, and only about six feet of it slid down. It was owing to this that the boys’ lives were saved. Had the entire ten or twelve feet of earth come down, the lads would have probably been killed outright. All parties are to be congratulated on the fortunate escape of the boys. It ought to be a warning to others to keep away from banks of earth when the frost is coming out of the ground.

 

ALTON - MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS CAUGHT AT WORK
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 18, 1899
Harry Clarke and Ed Scroggins, two characters of note in the police court, were arrested last night after robbing the grocery store of William Gerhardt at Seventh and Henry streets. Clarke has confessed his guilt and by his direction the police were able to locate the plunder which he had concealed. Scroggins still stoutly denies his guilt, notwithstanding the fact that he was caught with a large bundle of plunder in his hands. He declares it was given to him by another man. Scroggins was the first man caught and nothing was known of the burglary until Officer Coleman hailed him on Ridge street near the Manhattan club building. The officer noticed a man walking briskly ahead of him who seemed to be carrying a bundle on his shoulders. In response to the officer's hail, the thief started to run and was followed by the officer. The thief was overtaken and it was found that the bundle he was carrying consisted of a quantity of cigars, tobacco and canned goods. At the police station Scroggins was searched and he was found to be loaded down with plunder. He had in his pockets knives, scissors, tobacco, and in his bundle a quantity of canned goods. Capt. Allen demanded of Scroggins who his accomplice was and he finally informed him it was his brother-in-law, Harry Clarke. A search for Clarke was at once begun, but while the police were looking for him, Clarke walked into the police station and asked for Scroggins. The bold burglar was placed under arrest in solitary confinement, and this morning he confessed to Officer Long that he was guilty and told where the remaining plunder was hidden. Officer Long found the stuff in a sack where he had been directed by Clarke in an alley between Walnut and Cherry streets, between Third and Fourth streets. When Scroggins was arrested the police began an investigation to discover the place where the robbery was committed. The door of William Gerhardt's store was found broken open and the investigation revealed that it was the place where the burglary had been committed. No one had heard the burglars, although the house is occupied as a dwelling by Mr. F. A. Bierbaum. Clarke and Scroggins bear bad characters and have before been suspected with committing like offenses. The police think they have the men who robbed Strittmatter's store one week ago Sunday and may be able to substantiate their suspicions. The value of the goods stolen from the Gerhardt store is about $35.

 

TURKISH MUSEUM "BUSTED"
Manager John Daniels Skips Out with a Coochy Dancer
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 10, 1899
The Turkish theatre which has been doing business on Second Street since last Saturday, has gone to the wall. It suspended business last night and the treasurer, John Daniels, suspended payment and took one of the girls with him to parts unknown. A mournful situation confronted the attaches of the show this morning - no breakfast, no money, no treasurer. One of the dancers complained to the police last night that when she asked the treasurer for her money, Daniels' wife struck her on the neck. She wanted a warrant issued for the arrest of the couple. No warrant could be issued and this morning Daniels and the other dancer had left town. Daniels had everything of value with him and left all of his employees creditors to the amount of a week's salary. Madame Prence Sultana, as the star is known - her right name is unknown and one member of the company said she is rich in names - was creditor to the extent of $7 for seven days work. William Flemme and two daughters, S. Ezekiel, John Philip and George Managg, all attaches, were out hunting Daniels today. The departed treasurer took with him the bag pipes and reed pipes and all the gaudy finery of the show, leaving nothing as a remnant to buy a lunch for his deserted troupe.

 

SERVICES AT ALTON CEMETERY FOR MEMORIAL DAY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, May 31, 1899
Memorial Day was observed Tuesday with appropriate exercises at the city cemetery and the decoration of graves of Union dead. The line of march was from the City Hall on Second street to Ridge street, Ridge street to Fifth, and Fifth street to the cemetery. A party of the Naval Militia boys with their Hotchkiss gun and the Western Military Academy cadets with field artillery were in line with the old soldiers in the march to the burial ground of the soldier dead. The principal address at the cemetery was by Rev. Catt, of Jerseyville. Capt. D. R. Sparks also made an address and Mr. W. H. Catts of Granbury, Texas, read an original poem appropriate to the day and to the occasion of his return to visit Alton, his boyhood home. The addresses were listened to by a very large number of people. Rev. M. N. Powers offered opening prayer which was followed by the regular G. A. R. services for the dead. Flowers were scattered over the graves in the soldiers burying ground by children, assisted by the members of Alton Post, G. A. R. Rev. H. M. Chittenden pronounced the benediction. After the decorating of the soldiers graves, the salute was fired over the graves by the Naval Militia and the W. M. A. cadets.

 

ACCIDENT AT JOB'S QUARRY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Saturday, June 3, 1899
About 2:30 o'clock today three men, Jake Schreiber, foreman, Pat Gerlack and Owen Callahan, were quite severely injured at Job's quarry by a belated blast. They had prepared a blast which did not go off, and while trying to get the powder out of the holes, it was ignited and the explosion took place. The crowbar they were working with was blown a long distance. Jake Schreiber, the foreman, was nearest the blast. His face, hands and arms were badly burned with powder. His skin was filled with small particles of stone, dust and powder. His eyes are badly singed, both with powder and particles of stone and dust. Peter Gerlach was seriously injured, being badly hurt about the face and hands. His skin was filled with stone and dust. Owen Callahan was slightly burned, and his flesh cut with stone, and his skin filled with the flying particles. While Schreiber is the most severely injured, it is hoped that his eyes will be saved.

 

J. W. SCHMOELLER SHOE STORE RAIDED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Saturday, June 3, 1899
That Alton burglar is a fastidious fellow in his tastes. He wants nothing but the finest goods when he goes out stealing. He broke into the shoe store of J. W. Schmoeller in Hotel Madison building some time before midnight last night and stole eight pairs of the finest enameled leather shoes from the stock. Mr. Schmoeller entered the store last night about midnight and found empty shoe boxes strewn over the floor and knew at once he had been favored with a visit by the midnight visitor of Strittmatter's, Doering's, and other stores in the east end. Eight pairs of shoes of assorted sizes were missing. Investigation showed that the burglars had entered the store by prying open a window in the rear. The print of a burglar's jimmy was found on the window where the pry had been inserted. Neighbors say they heard a noise in the alley at 9:30 o'clock and it is supposed the burglar made his visit at that time. The shoes were stolen no doubt to sell in some "fence" in St. Louis. Chief of Police Volbracht is working on the case and will devote all his energies to the capture of the bold burglar.

 

BURGLAR ESCAPED DOWN LOVER'S LEAP
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, June 14, 1899
A burglar who had planned to rob the house of Mayor Young on Mill street had a run for his life last night, and a narrow escape from capture. He escaped by climbing down Lover's Leap while a posse of armed men were camping around him waiting for morning to come. When Mayor Young returned from the council meeting, he wanted a light lunch and Mrs. Young went to the pantry to get it. As she opened the pantry door, a man took her by the arm, she screamed for her husband. The Mayor hurried to her assistance but the burglar had left the pantry and was trying to make his escape from the house. He was heard going through a window downstairs, and was seen crossing back lots to Summit Street. Capt. Coleman saw the burglar there and fired two shots at him. In the meantime, half the police force and a posse of citizens were out hunting the man with shotguns and revolvers. The burglar skirted along the brow of the bluffs to Lover's Leap and there he was seen by Officer Welch and fired at twice. The posse of citizens and police drew up in line around the place where the burglar was last seen and watched there until 5 o'clock. When day dawned, search through the weeds and ravines near Lover's Leap was made, but the burglar had escaped by climbing down the perilous path over the face of the bluff at the "leap." The posse dissolved then and hunted their beds disgusted with the burglar who had the nerve to make a trip over the edge of the bluff at that point.

 

ALTON - MYSTERY SOLVED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Friday, June 16, 1899
A thief who stole a clothes-basket full of silverware 27 years ago in Alton came back the other day to visit the place, the first time since he committed the offense. He was a grisly old bum, but he had been somewhat of a thief in his younger days and was proud of it. An Alton man who was driving from Edwardsville to Alton met the bum traveling with two others, hard looking characters, at Edwardsville Crossing, and invited the tourists to drink. The grisly old bum became talkative after a glass and told of his last visit to this part of the country. It was almost thirty years since he had been here, he said, and the last time he was in Alton he stole a clothes basket full of silver "at a big house on a hill." He had a skiff down at the riverbank and he carried his plunder to the skiff and rowed across the river. When he examined his plunder, he found every piece engraved with the name "Hayden," so the silver was no good to him in that form. He built a big fire and melted down the silver to one chunk. He sold the chunk in St. Louis and never came back to Alton until the other day. Mr. George D. Hayden supplied the remaining part of the story. He said his place was destroyed by fire in 1872. A quantity of silverware was saved from the fire and Mrs. Hayden packed it in a basket and secreted it under the trees in an unfrequented spot on the place, while the fire was in progress. When she went to look for the silver, it had disappeared. Mr. Hayden offered at the time to pay full value for the silverware and to ask no questions, as the silver was a family heirloom and invaluable because of association. Nothing was ever heard from it until the thief turned up here the other day and explained the mystery. The time has long since passed when the thief could be prosecuted, so he was perfectly safe in telling his story.

 

BODY FOUND - END OF A DRUNKEN FROLIC
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Monday, June 19, 1899
The body of Albert Gray, a well-known brick layer, was found near the lower end of Bayliss Island Sunday morning by a fisherman, who at once reported to Chief of Police Volbracht. The findings of the body confirmed a rumor that had reached the chief that Gray had been drowned, and suspicion was that the three men who were arrested later knew more than they cared to tell. About 5 o'clock Friday afternoon, Gray, with Ventress, Johnson and Keyte, started from near the old vinegar factory in a skiff to go across the river. They had a jug of whisky with them, and Gray had money, having just received his week's pay, which furnishes a motive for the murder, if such it was. The crowd was going off on a drunken frolic across the river to last as long as Gray's money held out. People along the river bank say there were four man in the skiff and some say the whole party would take a drink of whisky about every hundred yards. The three men arrested returned Saturday, but Gray did not come home. When the rumor reached the police that Gray was drowned, Chief Volbracht started to investigate. Ventress said there were but three in the skiff, and so did Johnson, but they finally admitted there were four. Then they began to tell different stories. Ventress said Gray had been with them and was drowned. The whole party was put under arrest to await developments. When the finding of the body was reported, Officers Welch and Parker were sent in a skiff to identify it and bring it home. The body arrived at dusk and was taken in charge by Undertaker Bauer, while Dr. Fisher made an examination. On the head were marks apparently made by a blow from an oar and these marks are taken as conclusive evidence that Gray was murdered. Coroner Bailey held an inquest last night, and the three men with Gray in the skiff were allowed to tell their stories. Keyte was the first man examined. He said Johnson, Ventress and Gray met him Friday afternoon and he invited them to go across the river to his home with him. They took whisky with them and drank frequently. Below the bridge and near Bayliss Island, he said, Gray fell out and was drowned. He wanted to save him, but Johnson would not allow it. Ventress was called to the stand and was asked what he knew. He pretended at first to know nothing of Gray's fate. He fell out of the skiff, himself, he said, near Bayliss Island. The waves from the Spread Eagle, then passing the draw, rocked the skiff so he could not stay in. He swam to Bayliss Island and there laid down to sleep until Saturday morning. When asked if he had not first told of Gray's drowning to his brother, Ventress denied it, but the brother testified that he did. Johnson and the boat was swamped by the Spread Eagle and all were thrown into the water. He did not know what happened after that. He claimed that the three found themselves in the boat at Gabaret Island, near Chain of Rocks, yesterday. The inquest was adjourned Sunday night to 10 o'clock this morning and Dr. Fisher was directed by the Coroner, to make an examination of the body. A wound over the right temple of Gray was found where he had evidently received a violent blow which rendered him unconscious and knocked him into the water. Dr. Fisher thinks Gray was not killed by the blow, but was drowned after falling overboard. Wash Johnson says that he was so drunk when he told his first story to the police he did not know what he was saying. He sticks to his statement that Gray and Ventress were washed out of the boat by waves from a passing boat, but he and Keyte remained in the skiff in a drunken stupor. The four men had disposed of a gallon of whiskey and were so drunk they did not know what was going on. The coroner's jury rendered a verdict shortly after 11 o'clock which was in effect that James A. Gray came to his death by drowning June 16, and that a violent blow had been dealt him on the head which rendered him unconscious. One of the members of the jury was Louis Utt, a relative of Wash Johnson, but his relationship was not known when the jury was made up. Chief of Police Volbracht found additional evidence today that shows Gray to have been murdered. Ed Scheibe, Thomas Bates and a man named Holmes were standing on the shore near where Gray fell from the skiff and they say they saw Johnson strike him on the head with an oar and saw Gray fall into the water. A warrant charging Johnson with murder and Ventress and Keyte with being accessories was issued by Police Magistrate Few and the three men were held in custody.

[Note: According to the Alton Telegraph, Bayliss Island was opposite Alton. Sand was used from this island to provide a foundation for the highway leading from Missouri Point to the new Alton bridge in 1927. This would have been the old Clark Bridge. In 1906 the Polar Wave Ice Company owned the island, and cut down a lot of the trees for lumber. The island no longer exists.]

 

ALTON - FIGHT IN THE CITY CEMETERY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, June 21, 1899
There was a fierce fight in the city cemetery this morning, which resulted in the sexton, Joseph Klasner, being severely beaten by William Bray, the East Second Street grocer. Mr. Bray was one of the attendants at the funeral of Thomas Luttrell, the boy who was drowned at Riverside Park Sunday. Mr. Bray was in a buggy and attempted to drive into the cemetery, but was opposed by the sexton, who ordered him out, as vehicles are not allowed in the cemetery. Bray said he would not go out and the fight began. The sexton being older than his opponent was badly beaten. He declared he would have Bray arrested for assault and battery. It is a standing rule of the cemetery that buggies or carriages, other than those of the immediate family, shall not be allowed to enter the cemetery.

 

ALTON - FIRES GO OUT AT ILLINOIS GLASS WORKS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, Friday, June 30, 1899
The six green glass furnaces at the Illinois Glass works closed down tonight, shortly after five o'clock, for the regular summer stop. The furnaces that shut down tonight are pot furnaces Nos. 2 and 3, oil tank furnace No. 5 and continuous tank furnaces Nos. 8, 9 and 10. The time for resuming work is not known, as it depends altogether on the result of the conferences on the wage question, which will be held this summer after the national convention. Apprentices to the trade were selected this afternoon, but their names were withheld until the time for them to blow their first bottles, and could not be obtained this afternoon. No. 2 furnace will be entirely remodeled this summer, and when it starts up in the fall, it will do so as a tank furnace. This will leave but one green pot furnace, No. 3, and its future as a pot furnace depends entirely on the success of No. 2. No. 2 will be turned into an oil consuming furnace. Workmen began to tear down the outbuildings of No. 2 this morning, preparatory to beginning work of remodeling it just as soon as the fires go out and the brick piles cool. The flint houses will continue to run for two weeks at least, possibly four weeks, and perhaps longer. The men have agreed to forego two weeks of the regular vacation but will likely make up in the fall for any longer summer run than the two weeks allowed. It is now thought they will resume September 15, as the wage scale is settled. The Illinois Glass Works will be a busy place this summer with its flint houses running part of the time and the work of improvement going on on all sides. The Pittsburg Bridge Co. has completed the steel work of the new Illinois Terminal warehouse and the workmen will leave for their eastern homes this evening. The foreman, W. M. Addy, will be married in a few days to an Illinois girl, and will take her to Savannah, Ga.

 

THE MURDER OF JOSEPH REILLY AND HATTIE WATSON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 7, 1899
Insanely jealous of a woman who feared but did not love him, James P. Bellenger fatally shot and wounded the woman, Mrs. Hattie E. Watson, and her lover, Joseph Reilly, Wednesday night about 8:30 o'clock. The shooting occurred in the living apartments of Hattie Watson over the Alton Novelty Company's place on Second Street [Broadway]. Bellenger claims to have done the shooting in self-defense. The scene of the tragedy was a small porch upon which a back window opened, and from which a flight of stairs led to the ground. The Watson woman was entertaining Reilly, and on account of the heat, they were sitting outside to keep cool. Reilly had taken off his shoes and coat. While the two were sitting there, Bellenger quietly went up the stairs, through the house, and looking out the back window, saw the couple. His footsteps were heard by Reilly and Mrs. Watson as he left, and a few minutes later he was heard returning. Bellenger had gone to his store, armed himself with his revolver and returned. When they heard him coming back, Reilly and Mrs. Watson made a desperate struggle to close the window and shutters leading out on the porch. Bellenger attempted to prevent the closing of the shutters, and a terrific struggle between the two men ensued. Both were physical giants, and the battle for life was a fierce one. Bellenger says he was struck over the eye, and bears the mark there to show for it. At that, he says, he drew his revolver and began firing. Reilly was struck twice in the breast, above and below the heart. Mrs. Watson was struck once in the abdomen, but it is thought Bellenger's intention was not to kill her, and that she stepped in his way to save her lover. The four shots fired drew a big crowd almost instantly, and the police were obliged to lock up the house. When the first assistance arrived, Mrs. Watson was found sitting up and supporting the head of her dying lover. Reilly was taken to St. Joseph's hospital and died as he was being carried into the place. Mrs. Watson was first cared for at her home, but was removed to the hospital by order of the attending physicians. Joseph Reilly was 36 years of age. He was the son of James Reilly, who was buried Tuesday. He had lived in Alton all his life and was engaged in the transfer business. He leaves a mother and six brothers and sisters - Ed. Reilly, James Reilly, Mrs. Mary Sweeney, Mrs. Mary Gaffney, Mrs. E. Coyne, and Miss Annie Reilly. The funeral will be Friday at 2 p.m. Services will be held in St. Patrick's church. After the shooting, Bellenger fled and the police were searching the country for him. He went to the home of his attorney, L. D. Yager, and by his advice surrendered himself to the police at about 10 o'clock. He was locked up in jail protesting bitterly against such indignity to a man of his own prominence in the city. By advice of his attorney, he declined to say anything of the killing, merely stating he had acted in self-defense. At St. Joseph's Hospital, Dr. Taphorn made an examination of Mrs. Watson and pronounced her wound not necessarily fatal. Chief of Police Volbracht and Mayor Young took Mrs. Watson's statement last night, which she signed. The story she told of the shooting is substantially as given above. She said also that since she entered the employ of Bellenger two years ago, he has repeatedly made advances to her on matrimonial subjects. Bellenger was deeply in love with her, and it is said it was on her account he secured the divorce from his wife, Lillian Bellenger, on Tuesday in the City Court. When the divorce was granted, Bellenger renewed his advances and urged her to accept him as a husband. Mrs. Watson says she feared him so she did not dare to become his wife and she put him off. He was returning last night to again renew his pleadings to her when the shooting occurred. When he found Reilly a more favored suitor than himself, his hot southern passion made him furious and he determined to kill his rival. She says she does not believe her death was part of Bellenger's design. Coroner Bailey impaneled a jury this morning and help an inquest in the police station. The taking of evidence was slow work. States Attorney Staats represented the State, and Yager and Brenholt represented Bellenger. The first witness examined was Officer Welch, who was one of the first to arrive on the scene of the shooting. He testified as to the character of Reilly, which he said was good so far as he knew. He stated the circumstances attending the finding of Reilly and Mrs. Watson which were according to what has been told. Mayor Young, who took Mrs. Watson's statement after the shooting, was the second witness. He told that Mrs. Watson said the shooting was preceded by a fierce fight. Bellenger was on the porch outside and Reilly was with her in the dining room. The fight started, she said, when Bellenger attempted to open the shutters which they had closed when he came up the back steps. During the fight Reilly struck Bellenger a fearful blow on the eye and the shooting began. Mrs. Watson's statement was taken this afternoon to verify obscure points in the first one. The statement is as follows: "We were in the room close to the window. Bellenger was outside on the porch. Reilly and myself had both gotten out on the porch before the shooting occurred. Reilly was helping me to keep Bellenger out. Mr. Bellenger said he would kill me before Joe should have me. He said this one month ago. Joe struck at Bellenger before he shot. This and my statement last night is my last, and I do not believe I will get well. My statements given are the truck. Hattie Watson."

C. Orrick Bishop, the eminent criminal lawyer of St. Louis, who is reputed to be one of the best posted men in the profession and the superior of Gov. C. P. Johnson, has accepted the offer of the Reilly family and will assist in the prosecution of James P. Bellenger for the murder of Joseph Reilly. Mr. Bishop was in Alton today conferring with members of the Reilly family with reference to the case. He visited the place where the killing occurred, and found that the scene of the tragedy was much altered since Bellenger killed Joseph Reilly and Hattie Watson. The porch which surmounted the stairway and upon which the shooting occurred has been torn down, and there remains not a vestige of it. Chief of Police Volbracht had photographs taken of the interior of the room facing the porch, and also of the porch at the time of the killing. Senator Brenholt has been retained by the brothers of Bellenger to defend him, and they will not spare money in trying to save the life of the accused murderer. The Reilly family is equally determined to bring Bellenger to punishment, and will not spare money to carry out their purpose.

Hattie Watson Is Dead
Alton Evening Telegraph, September 8, 1899
Hattie Watson, the woman who caused the fearful jealousy of J. P. Bellenger, died at St. Joseph's Hospital Thursday evening at 7:30 o'clock, after enduring fearful agony. She became much worse during the afternoon, and did not rally from the shock of her fearful experience. As long as she was conscious, she continued to heap fearful imprecations upon the head of the murderer of herself and Reilly, and her last efforts were used in making the final statement which she hoped would hang him. She was fully conscious her end was near, and talked of it freely when her last statement was taken. Bellenger has retained as his attorneys to conduct his defense, Senator J. J. Brenholt and L. D. Yager. He realizes he has a desperate fight to make for his life. He has a brother, W. C. Bellenger, of Gadsden, Alabama, who is reputed to be very wealthy, and to whom he has appealed for assistance. His brother wired back last night that he could not come on account of illness, but Senator Brenholt sent another dispatch this morning asking him to come at once at both victims of his brother's pistol are dead, and his presence here is imperative. Bellenger was taken to the county jail by Deputy Sheriff Batterton last night, where he will await the action of the grand jury of the Circuit Court, which meets the third Monday in October. Relatives of the dead woman arrived here this morning and are looking after the arrangements for the funeral. Mrs. Watson had money in the bank, and Undertaker Bauer was instructed by her sisters to spare no expense. The body will be shipped to Raymond, Illinois this evening. Coroner Bailey was to have held an inquest this afternoon, but was called to Nameoki and did not return until late. When Bellenger was locked up in jail, his nerve forsook him as a full realization of his awful deed dawned on his mind. Every effort will be made to secure for him a trial at a date as early as possible to determine his fate. He has turned over his business to M. Wilkinson, his landlord, who will dispose of the stock to protect himself from loss on money due.

Bellenger in the County Jail
Alton Evening Telegraph, September 16, 1899
The Edwardsville Intelligencer says that J. P. Bellenger, the Alton murderer, was photographed Tuesday by request of Attorney Yager. It was for the purpose of showing the discoloration on the left side of the face near the nose. This, it is thought, will establish the fact that Reilly struck Bellenger. After being "shot," the murderer was hurried back to his cell. The Edwardsville Republican relates this amusing incident: "The prisoners in the jail treated Bellenger to what they call a 'kangeroo' or mock trial on his entry. 'Skippy' Clark, a well-known Alton character, officiated as judge, taking special delight in acting in that capacity on account of a grudge held against Bellenger. 'Skippy' claims he bought $50 worth of furniture from Bellenger and after it was all paid but one dollar, the latter took the stuff from him. He fined Bellenger $2.50, but as he could not produce $1.50, reduced the judgment to $1 cash, which was spent for a supply of tobacco for the boys."

Wife of J. P. Bellenger Visits Jail
Alton Evening Telegraph, September 20, 1899
Mrs. Lillian Bellenger, the divorced wife of J. P. Bellenger, visited him in the county jail yesterday. She says Bellenger thinks his chances for being released are good, and the only remorse he has it caused by his thoughts of the injustice he did her in securing the divorce. Mrs. Bellenger says she has not been living in St. Louis, but has been with her people in the South, and will go from here to Bonne Terre, Missouri. Bellenger is very anxious to have her assistance in defending his case and is making an effort to have her promise to remarry him in case he escapes without punishment.

The Bellenger Case
Alton Evening Telegraph, November 10, 1899
It has been stated that the attorneys for the defense of J. P. Bellenger were in Edwardsville yesterday arranging for his trial in the county court, and that Mr. Bellenger's relatives would not help him. Persons charged with murder are tried only in the circuit court, instead of the county court. Mr. Bellenger's relatives will give him all the assistance in their power. The day for the trial has not been set, as the prisoner has not yet been arraigned. These statements are made by authority of Mr. Bellenger's counsel. Indeed, none of the persons indicted by the last report of the Grand Jury, including Bellenger and Yahncke, have been arraigned in court.

James P. Bellenger Dies in Prison
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 9, 1911
Colonel James H. Bellenger died in the penitentiary at Chester Wednesday night [March 8, 1911]. Bellenger was serving an indeterminate sentence for killing Hattie Watson, and still hanging over him was an indictment for the murder of Joseph Reilly in Alton at the same time. The killing happened September 6, 1899, in Alton. Bellenger was jealous of the attention showed the Watson woman by Reilly, and one night he killed both of them. He was indicted for murder, and Col. Brenholt, who defended him, says he had the hardest fight of his life to save him from hanging and get him a penal sentence. Bellenger's hair whitened and he became physically broken in prison. Recently his mind failed, and he was an inmate of the prison hospital all the time. He has no relatives who will do anything for him, so far as known. Col. Brenholt said today that at the trial of Bellenger, all his family forsook him and refused to contribute toward a fund for his defense. He is believed to have a son living at Gadsen, Alabama, and Col. Brenholt wired Warden Smith of the penitentiary to send word there. Until word is received from the son, if he is found, the body will be held. No attempt was ever made to get Bellenger out on parole, as the old charge of killing Joseph Reilly was still hanging over him. Bellenger conducted a time payment house in Alton up to the time of the double killing. Bellenger had been prominent in politics in Alton.

Bellenger's Will
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 20, 1911
The death of James P. Bellenger, in the penitentiary at Chester, was followed Monday by the filing of the will of Bellenger in the Probate Court this morning, for record. The provisions of Bellenger's will are interesting. The woman he killed was known as Hattie Watson, but it is evident her real name was Pitchford, as in the will Bellenger left her all his estate, with the exception of $2 he devised between his wife and his son. The will was written on a letter head of Bellenger's furniture business in Alton, and was signed by him in due form. It was signed up and dated August 7th, 1889, and about six weeks later Bellenger found it desirable to shoot and kill the woman to whom he had left his property. Whatever he had was spent in conducting his defense, so there will be no estate for anyone to have litigation over.

NOTES:
The location of the shooting was in the apartment above the Alton Novelty Mfg. Company, which was located on the north side of West Broadway, between State & Piasa Streets. Hattie Watson died the next day, September 8, 1899. She was buried in Raymond, Illinois where she had family. Joseph Reilly was buried in the Greenwood (St. Patrick's) Cemetery in Godfrey Township.

Bellenger was taken to the Madison County jail in Edwardsville. In the jail, the other prisoners held a "kangaroo," or mock court. In the mock court, Bellenger was fined $1 cash, which was spent on a supply of tobacco for the prisoners. Bellenger's former wife visited him in the jail, and indicated she would remarry him if he was found innocent.

Bellenger was tried for the murder of Hattie Watson and Joseph Reilly separately. For the murder of Hattie Watson, he was convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to an indeterminate term, and was taken to the Chester, IL penitentiary. During the trial he addressed the court, and stated he had advised Reilly and Mrs. Watson to get married, and that the shooting was as much a surprise and mystery to him as it had been to the people of Alton.

For the murder of Joseph Reilly, he was convicted of murder, but I could not find the sentencing.

On March 8, 1911, Colonel James H. Bellenger died in the penitentiary at Chester, Illinois. Colonel Brenholt, his attorney, stated he had the hardest fight of his life to save Bellenger from hanging. Bellenger's hair turned white while in prison, and he became physically broken. His mind failed him, and he was an inmate of the prison hospital most of the time. After the trials, Bellenger's family (some of whom were wealthy) all abandoned him. It was believed he had a son living in Alabama, but he was not to be found. Bellenger had conducted a "time payment house" in Alton at the time of the murders, had been prominent in politics in Alton, and had owned a furniture store in Alton. He may have been buried in the penitentiary cemetery in Chester, Illinois.

At the filing of the will for James Bellenger, it was discovered that he had left Hattie Watson all of his estate, except for $2 to be divided between his former wife and son. He listed Hattie Watson's name as Hattie Pitchford, and it was signed and dated August 7, 1899, about six weeks before he killed her. ~Bev Bauser

 

NEW WAREHOUSE AND OFFICE FOR BEALL BROS.
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 3, 1900
In this issue will be found the notice of Architect Pfeiffenberger calling for bids up to January 10 for the erection of a new warehouse and office for Beall Bros., for their new plant at the Garstang Foundry location. The new building will be erected on the east side of the present structure. It will be of frame, and will be 60x120 feet. It will contain a handsome office for the firm. A roadway 12 feet wide will separate the new from the present buildings. On this roadway will be a railway switch for loading and unloading cards. The warehouse will be most conveniently arranged not only for storing goods, but for shipping purposes. The Beall's will put in an electric light plant for their own use, which will generate electricity by power from the engines running the machinery. The machinery from the old shops is being rapidly removed to the new. By February 1 the Beall Bros. plant will be in full operation again, with greatly enlarged facilities and improvements generally.

 

FIREMAN HELPLESS AS JAMES COLEMAN'S HOUSE BURNS
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 4, 1900
Frozen water plugs caused the destruction of the seven-room frame dwelling of James Coleman on Summit street Tuesday a.m. A fire alarm was turned in at 10 o'clock and the firemen made good time to the fire, but the water plugs were frozen and it was fifty minutes before a feeble stream was procured from the plug at State and Prospect street, 1600 feet distant. When the plug at Summit and Prospect was found to be frozen, the hose was taken to Bond and Prospect. This plug was frozen also and both were broken in attempts of the firemen to secure a stream. In the meantime the building was being destroyed, and but one article of furniture was saved.

 

BISCUIT WAR PROMISED TO ALTON PEOPLE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 11, 1900
The people of Alton are promised a war between rival biscuit companies, and the probably result will be a reign of low prices in bakery goods. The Dozier Bakery Co. of St. Louis, one of the National Trust bakeries, will open a branch office in Alton within a few weeks and will employ agents to distribute its goods. The room at 132 West Second [Broadway] street in the building owned by C. F. Yeakel has been rented by the Dozier company, and arrangements are being made for beginning an interesting fight for the business of Alton and adjacent towns. The trust bakeries have decided on a fight with some of the non-trust bakeries, notably a Peoria firm which has been cutting deeply into the trust business. Trusts plan is to crush or force competitors to sell out their business. The Dozier company now controls a large share of the Alton business, but it is understood that grocers have given the preference to the goods not made by the trust. The name of the agent of the Dozier company will be announced in a few days, and it is reported it will be a well-known grocery man of Alton.

 

ENTERTAINMENT AT THE HOME OF CAPTAIN GRANDERSON W. HILL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 13, 1900
In strange contrast with the bleak, windy afternoon was the scene within the home of Capt. G. W. Hill on Thursday, when Mrs. Hill, assisted by her four daughters, Mesdames Gregory, McKinney, Hearne and Cunningham, received their friends from 2 until 5 o'clock. The elegant home with the broad halls, spacious rooms, handsome furnishings, where the soft light filtered through tinted globes, the heavy perfume of hot-house flowers, banked on mantles and tables, the warmth and color of the whole, rendered the occasion one to always dwell in the memory. The receiving party stood just within the front drawing room where the stately mother and her daughters gave a cordial welcome to each guest. Mrs. Carl Wuerker was stationed at the foot of the grand staircase to greet the ladies as they arrived. Mrs. Daniels and Miss Duncan led the way into the dining room, where one was fairly enchanted by the vision of beauty that met the eye. Around the snowy table, in whose center towered a vast shower pyramid of La France roses with ropes of Southern smilax, twined here and there, bon bons in cut glass, glistening under the glow of the mellow light shed through pink shaded candelabras, flitted about in their dainty robes were Misses Kellenberger, Long, Burbridge, Watson, Inglis and Montgomery, dispensing delicious refreshments consisting of ices in marvelous forms and various flavor, delicate cake and confections, supplemented by steaming chocolate served with salted almonds. Across directly from this charming vision, one entered another room of equal interest, where sat Misses Hearne and Pickard, behind a huge frappe bowl, constructed of ice and prettily decorated, containing coffee frappe, which these two young ladies in their snowy gowns made a fitting finish to the purity of the white table and its snowy contests. Hidden behind a floral drapery in a rear hall, the orchestra, adding greatly to the festive occasion by the subdued sweet strains that fell upon the ear, only rendering conversation the more enjoyable. It is safe to assert there were no regrets sent in answer to this hospitable invitation, the good old home being literally filled with Alton's best society.

[Note: This event was held at the home of Capt. Granderson Winfrey Hill, located at 320 Easton street in Alton. He died in 1911, and was a Riverboat Captain and one of the founders of the Eagle Packet Company. A steamer, the "G. W. Hill," was named after him. He moved to Alton from Hannibal, Missouri in 1885, first living in the home formerly occupied by A. T. Hawley at the corner of Henry and Union streets. In January of 1907 the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of General Robert E. Lee was celebrated by the Daughter of the Confederacy, and held at the home of Capt. G. W. Hill. The home no longer exists.]

To read more on the life of Granderson Hill and read his letters to his son, click here.

 

OLD VINEGAR FACTORY DISMANTLED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 20, 1900
The old vinegar factory is almost a thing of the past. The last bricks in the walls that have been a landmark for many years are being taken down, and another day will find the walls razed. D. Ryan, who had the contract for tearing down the old building and putting up the new one, has done quick work, and now the old building is almost leveled to the ground.

 

A CARD FROM GEORGE NOLL (NOLL BAKERY) - REGARDING UNION LABELS ON BREAD
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 24, 1900
East Las Vegas, N. M., Feb. 21, 1900 - To the Citizens of Alton: I have been notified by my bookkeeper that Adolph Metter had been notified by the Glassblowers Union, that if union labels were not on our bread by Sunday I would be boycotted. I wish to say that I object to labels on the bread, not because I am against organized labor, but I do not think the bread to be the proper article to be labeled. I am for organized labor and always have been, because I think prosperity in labor is prosperity to small business men. I have indeed never questioned a man whether he belonged to the union or not, but always paid him according to his work, and I would like very much to see that all of my bakers join the union as requested. But I should beg the union to exempt me from putting labels on the bread. As much as I can observe, there are a great many of my customers objecting to labels on bread, in which I think they are justified. I will, however, have large cards printed, which I will distribute among dealers of our goods, where customers can readily ascertain that our goods are made by union labor. When I was employed in St. Louis, I put labels on bread, and when we cut a loaf warm, it had a bitter taste where the label had been pasted. Will explain how labels are treated placing them on bread: They are placed on as soon as the dough is moulded into a loaf; while the loaf rises, from 60 to 90 minutes, there is a certain amount of moisture which will more or less saturate the labels. Then the bread is put into the oven which will bake it in plenty of steam. Bread going through this process will more or less taste like the labels where they are pasted, as some of the labels will certainly soak into the bread. Large advertising cards will do the same as labels, and will not affect the goods. Waiters and cooks have organized unions; would it be asking any more to have a label put in the soup, tea, coffee or milk, or on the beef or potatoes to show that one was waited on or his meal cooked by union labor? In my estimation it would be the same as putting labels on bread. Bread is consumed the same as a meal in the hotel or restaurant, with crust and all, and nothing is left of it, and I think it should be manufactured and kept clean as much as possible. We are in the business to please everybody as much as possible and produce goods so as they will be bought and relished by the consumer. I therefore beg again to exempt me from putting labels on bread. I will do anything the labor organizations may ask of me within reason, and wish very much that my bakers join the union. If I could have been at home and were not kept here by sickness, I would certainly have come to a satisfactory agreement with the unions long before this. Hoping that I have been informed correctly and that the matter may be settled satisfactory, I am yours truly, George Noll.

 

RESPONSE FROM C. F. SCHNELL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 26, 1900
To the labor unions, and anyone else whom it may concern in regard of the union labels on my bread: (1st) Mr. George Noll is against union labor because he does not want to employ good, first-class bakers, as you see by his letter. "He pays a man according his work." (2nd) He says "the labels are put on when the dough is moulded into a loaf," is all bosh. The label is a clean piece of white paper, tasteless, and put on the bread when baked. (3rd) There are large bakeries that use from 30,000 to 40,000 a day. There is no harm in the label. The only harm there is in any bakery to the public health is the inferior articles in bread and cakes. I invite the public to call any time and examine my bakery. C. F. Schnell

 

TERROR ON THE LEVEE - ICE FLOES ON THE MISSISSIPPI CAUSE DESTRUCTION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 8, 1900
A vast floe of ice, many acres in extent, came down the river in the dark last night at 10 o'clock and caused much damage to boat houses on the riverfront where it struck the Illinois shore. The floe was the biggest ever seen by Alton river men, and they cannot tell what was its starting place unless it was a field of ice that was floated off some dike above Alton by the rising water. On the Missouri shore great heaps of ice on the land show where the floe struck, and opposite, the boat houses along the river show its effect here. All the inhabitants of the boats were sleeping when the floe began grinding in the darkness and crushing the boats. The sleepers jumped from their beds and in their nightclothes escaped to the shore. Some of them stood on the bank screaming for fear their homes would be destroyed, but most of them were fortunate. Some of the boats were lifted to the top of the dike and stranded there. William Fluent's dock was sunk where it was fastened, and his houseboat was crowded to shore and sunk with a hole six feet long in its gunwale. One of his skiffs was carried off, but was recovered, and the loss will be comparatively light. Mrs. Fluent was in the houseboat at the time and escaped when the ice struck. All the boats along the levee were pushed to land, but no other damage was done.

 

BEALL BROTHERS WILL BUILD NEW WAREHOUSE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 9, 1900
Beall Bros. have ordered the immense billboard on Piasa street taken down. It is their intention to at once begin the erection of a mammoth warehouse for steel and other material, which they manufacture into mining tools, etc.

 

FIRE IN GIBERSON'S STORE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 16, 1900
The stock in Giberson's general merchandise store was badly damaged by fire this morning. The fire was discovered by Charles Miller, who lives across the street, at 2 o'clock, and an alarm was sent to the fire department. When the firemen arrived, they found the cellar a furnace of roaring flames, which were threatening every moment to burn through the floor and set fire to the room upstairs. The firemen at first could not enter the cellar because of the fierce heat and smoke, but Chief Hunt effected entrance at the levee side of the building. The whole cellar was filled with flames, and the firemen poured water on them for two hours. The flames burned through the floor and damaged seriously the stock on the first floor. Mr. Giberson today said his loss is about $7,000, with $5,000 insurance. The cellar was used as a storeroom for goods, but nothing highly combustible was kept there, and Mr. Giberson says the origin of the fire is a mystery to him, as no fire was kept there. The stock of groceries, ladies’ shoes and notions in the main store room was drenched with water and badly damaged. The damage to the building is not great, and can be repaired at a cost of less than $2,000. The building is owned by H. G. McPike. The firemen did good work to save the building and adjacent property, and they were covered with ice as the cold air struck them. The insurance was held by Frank Fisher, Palatine, England, $1,000; George H. Smiley, Phoenix of Hartford, $1,500; McKinney & Son, American, of Philadelphia, $1,00; R. M. Stamper, Orient of Hartford, $1,000; Sun of England, $500. Total, $5,000.

 

UNION STATION IN ALTON A POSSIBILITY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 20, 1900
The union passenger station, for which Alton people have been so long hoping may be had in the very near future, according to a report that was set afloat today. It has been learned that through the efforts of the Illinois Terminal, the Chicago and Alton railroad has consented to the transforming of the present passenger station of the Alton and Big Four into a union passenger station, which all the railroads in the city may use if they desire. It is proposed to have the Bluff Line abandon its intention of building a new station for itself, and the Burlington, and to pay its share toward remodeling Union Station for the use of all the railroads. The Terminal desires to enter at Union Station, and General Manager H. H. Ferguson has been working up the matter with all the interested railroads. He was out of the city today and could not be seen, but it is said, without confirmation, that he has received no definite reply from the Big Four. The city council committee has not accepted the plans submitted by the Bluff Line as the ones to be used for the new passenger station for Bluff Line and Burlington trains, and, it is thought, consent will not be given for building another depot on the levee when the present so-called union depot may be had for the joint use of all the railroads in Alton. The consent of the Bluff Line to enter a union station might be difficult to secure, but it is probably the matter can be arranged.

 

JUSTICE NATHAN WILL BUILD NEW MODERN COURT ROOM
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 27, 1900
Justice Barnett Nathan, who takes no little pride in the integrity of his decisions and feels that he is alone the model justice of the city, has determined upon having a model courtroom where the majesty of the law may hold full sway and the grand surroundings may inspire awe in the most irreverent. A new building is to be erected north of the Nisbett building by John Bauer and Mrs. Nisbett jointly, and in there will be installed the model court. Mr. Nathan says he will build a bench with a desk before and a rail behind, where he may sit elevated above his fellow mortals as he tries a case. Justice and wisdom will beam from a face surmounted by a cap of justice and bearing a long white beard that will scarcely show above the desk. The Squire may don a trial robe to lend an added dignity to the court, and he may have allegorical mural painting made showing blind justice bearing the features of the Judge, whiskers and all, a veritable bearded lady, as she weighs out equal justice to all. It will be an up-to-date and model court, and special attention will be given to marriages.

 

ALTON STORES HOLD THEIR SPRING OPENINGS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 5, 1900
Today was a day of "spring openings" with some of the stores downtown, and it is truthfully and exactly said that such handsome displays of spring pretty things was never duplicated in the city. Bowman's, Lehne's, The Globe, Wiseman and the Misses Picard all kept "open house" in their places and entertained their visitors in a manner such as is new to Alton stores. Bowman's pretty stores were enchantingly beautiful today in holiday dress and were thronged with gaily dressed ladies who were shown about by the clerks and hospitably entertained. The decorations were beautifully arranged in the store and the window display was gorgeous in Easter finery. An orchestra played in the back of the store behind a screen. At Lehne's, the visitors were shown about the store, upstairs and downstairs, where pretty displays of goods made most attractive shows that were most pleasing to the guests. Music was a feature there also. At the Globe was displayed especially the millinery that has been purchased for the Spring trade. Special attention was given to the decorations there also, and two pieces of music were played during the afternoon. Wiseman had a pretty opening at his new gallery on Belle street, where he displayed the latest in pictures. Palms were set about the place and Starr's orchestra furnished music. The Misses Pickard opened their millinery department today and they were shown much favor by the ladies.

 

VAGRANTS MUST LEAVE ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 9, 1900
The vagrants, bums and loafers in the city of Alton must go, according to an order issued by Mayor A. W. Young to the police this morning. The frequency of burglaries in the city and the large number of tramps and loafers hanging about the city, who even infest the downtown districts and beg money from citizens, aroused the ire of Mayor Young this morning and he issued the order to the police instructing them to use extreme measures to remedy this evil. The official order notifies the police that the city is overrun with tramps and vagrants who cause annoyance to citizens, and advises the officers to deal with these parties in a manner that will rid the city of their presence. The Mayor says there is plenty of work for all who desire it, and there is no excuse for men begging for food or money. The police must arrest all suspicious characters, habitual bums and beggars, and must prefer charges of vagrancy against them. The Mayor is opposed to working the vagrants on the streets, but some place will be provided for them to work. The order will be strictly enforced and it is hoped radical measures will put an end to the petty stealing and burglaries in the city.

 

MIDNIGHT FIRE AT THE MADISON - J. W. SCHMOELLER'S SHOE STORE BURNED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 10, 1900
Fire was discovered at midnight last night in the shoe store of J. W. Schmoeller & Son, in the Hotel Madison Building. The discovery was made in time to prevent the fire spreading through the building or even causing a total loss of Mr. Schmoeller's stock. The fire was burning briskly in the back of the store, having originated in the repairing department, which is screened from the main store by a partition. An alarm of fire was sent in, and in a short time the firemen were at work. The flames were extinguished in half an hour, but the heat, smoke and water caused great damage to the stock. Mr. Schmoeller said at first that his stock is a total loss, but it was thought later the loss will be less than one half. The damage to the building can be repaired for less than $800. The guests at the Madison had a bad scare, and many of them left their rooms without dressing and carrying their valuables. The smoke from the burning store poured into the corridors and rooms of the hotel, and it was thought the hotel proper was afire. There were many amusing incidents during the hasty flight of the guests, but a look at the fire reassured the people there would be no serious danger, and they hurried back to their rooms. The damage in the shoe store may reach $5,000, which is well insured. Some of the guests say they had an excellent fire drill as a result of the fire, and some of them who had no great confidence in themselves are pluming themselves as brave and tried firemen. Many kept their self-possession and devoted their time to saving property. When the fire was all over and the excitement had died down, the guests found they had made a curious selection of things to be saved and had left some of their most needed garments among the number to be lost.

 

GLASS WORKS IN A BAD FIX - THREATENED COAL MINER'S STRIKE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 16, 1900
The Illinois Glass Company is in a bad fix because of the threatened strike of the Illinois coal miners. The morning papers today contained news of a disagreement between the mine managers and operators, and announced that all the miners in the State may go out tonight. The order will not affect the Pana district. The announcement created consternation in the glass works for the factories are behind in their work and now is the time when it is possible for the greatest amount of work to be accomplished. An inventory of the stock of coal showed there is enough to last only 24 hours, and unless a new supply can be obtained, there may be necessity for an immediate shut down. Fourteen car loads of coal are required daily at the glass works, and it is thought great difficulty will be experienced in keeping the need satisfied. The mines at Edwardsville, where the glass works' coal is obtained if the strike is ordered, may be shut down tonight. Meetings of mine managers were held in many districts of the State yesterday, and in every case it was decided to make demand for the payment of the scale agreed upon by the State Association. In cases where the operators refuse to pay the scale, the mine managers will strike and the probably result will be that all the other employees of the mines will refuse to work.

[It was reported on April 19 that the miners did not strike, and coal was being sent to the glassworks.]

 

THIRD STREET TO BE ILLUMINATED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 20, 1900
The incandescent arc lights will be strung on Third street and will be put into use Saturday evening. The ten, 2,000 candle power lights will illuminate the street as day, and will be very pretty. Five lights of the same kind will be placed on Second Street [Broadway] between Weigler and Ridge streets next week.

NOTES:
The carbon arc lamp was the first widely-used type of electric light and the first commercially successful form of electric lamp. The super bright light was capable of lighting a large length of street or the interior of a factory. It was the only electric light available to light large areas from 1800-1901, and was cheaper to use than gas or oil lamps. Some of the disadvantages of using the arc lights were the carbon rods had to be replaced often, they created a buzzing sound and flickered as they burned, they were a fire hazard, and if used indoors, had carbon monoxide emissions.

For more information on the incandescent arc lamp, visit this website - it has a video on the history of the arc lamp and how it works. 

 

MOLDERS WALK OUT AT DUNCAN FOUNDRY AND MACHINE COMPANY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 24, 1900
The molders in the mold room of the Duncan Foundry and Machine Company laid down their tools and walked out on a strike at 6 o'clock last night, twenty strong. Only three of the employees in the shop returned to work this morning, and the strikers prevailed upon them at noon to stop work. The men were taking off a heat of molten iron when the 6 o'clock whistles blew. By a pre-arranged plan the men all laid down their ladies where they stood, some of them full of molten iron, and the tenders at the furnace left the fiery stream of iron running from the cupola. The strikers did not appear to go to work this morning, but served notice they will not work until the firm agreed to pay them for overtime. The leaders of the strike said today that they demand one and one-half times the regular pay for overtime work. The foreman of the shop is James Tierney, who has a contract and employs the men under him at whatever price he can get them. Tierney offered them regular pay for overtime, and the men refused to accept it. They are not organized in a union as the shop was an open shop, but the men said today they are resolved to remain away from the shop.

 

ADMIRAL GEORGE DEWEY RECEIVES CHEERS AT ALTON UNION DEPOT
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 4, 1900
A crowd numbering about 1,500 people assembled at Union Depot last evening to see Admiral Dewey and his special train go through the city. The train reached here ten minutes after the Limited went down, and awaiting its arrival were the impatient people that did not know the train schedule had been changed to cause it to follow the Limited instead of to precede it. When the Limited came there was a rush, but the red train was recognized and the crowd fell back to await the Special. There was great excitement as the Special slowed up and stopped. The Admiral was standing on the rear platform and everyone recognized him at once and a loud cheer was raised, the Admiral smiling in the meantime and bowing his thanks. Mrs. Dewey came out of the car to stand beside her husband and Lieut. Caldwell of Quincy, the Admiral's private secretary. The crowd cheered the bride, and she and the Admiral threw some big red roses into the crowd that were eagerly seized and torn to pieces by the people trying to get them. Some standing near the platform secured the fragments, which will no doubt be highly prized. Mr. Robert Curdie was the only person to have a handshake with Dewey. After a stop of a few moments at the station, the train moved on its way to St. Louis, the crowd cheering the party as it pulled out. The "Admiral's salute" of the naval militia was a disappointment, and developed to be only a salute to the Admiral, there being a fine distinction. It was intended to fire seventeen guns, but at the sixth the Hotchkiss gun of the naval militia, which was stationed on First street [Front Street] northeast of the depot, became out of order and would not fire the remaining eleven. As the train pulled out of the depot, the Admiral caught sight of the company of blue jackets and smiled his prettiest and bowed most gracefully to them.

[Note: Admiral George Dewey was the only person in U. S. history to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy, which was senior to the rank of Admiral, and was equal to Admiral of the Fleet in the British Royal Navy. Dewey served his country in the Civil War as Executive Lieutenant on the USS Mississippi. He is best known for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, during the Spanish-American War. Dewey sailed out from China aboard the USS Olympia with orders to attached the Spanish at Manila Bay. He gave the order to attack at first light by saying the now famous words, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." Within six hours he had sunk or captured the entire Spanish Pacific fleet, with only one life lost on the American side. Returning home, he received a hero's welcome with a two-day parade in New York City. Dewey died in Washington on January 16, 1917.]

 

OLD DRAY HORSE FALLS OFF EDGE OF BLUFFS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 7, 1900
An old dray horse that was formerly the property of Thomas Smith walked over the edge of the bluffs yesterday and broke its neck when it struck on the rocks seventy-five feet below. The animal had been turned out to graze on the bluffs, and being blind strayed too close to the edge.

 

ALTON NAVAL MILITIA RECEIVES EQUIPMENT
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 12, 1900
Lieut. E. V. Crossman today received the full equipment of revolvers and cutlasses for the members of the Alton division of Naval Militia, together with the holsters and belts that go with them. He also received single-sticks for use in practicing fencing, a supply of service ammunition, and saluting shells. A deck-mount, or tripod, for the Hotchkiss gun, to be used in armory drill, was in the equipment that arrived today. Drills with the new equipment will be started at once, and preparations for the annual encampment will be made.

 

RIVERVIEW ON THE BLUFFS - NEW SUBDIVISION PLATTED AND PLACED ON THE MARKET
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 12, 1900
Mr. Edward Mack, the enterprising real estate man, has purchased 63 acres on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, and has platted it into lots and streets and has placed it on the market. He has appropriately named it Riverview On the Bluffs. A prettier spot could not be wished for - we doubt if a finer view can be found anywhere in the west. The tract is located on a wide ridge and runs nearly to the edge of the bluffs. The ground is now covered with a fine coat of young bluegrass. Part of the tract is in forest trees. Mr. Mack has laid out about 130 beautiful lots, 40x120, the market price of which runs from $100 to $200, the cheapest lots to be found in the city, as well as the most handsome and attractive. Several streets run through the subdivision, connecting it with State street at two points. These are to be improved and put in good shape. Mr. Mack has had large experience in platting and selling subdivisions. He selects the land, and puts prices on lots that insure their speedy sale. Riverview on the Bluffs is the finest yet offered by Mr. Mack. His intentions are to put it in such condition as to make it easy of access. One feature is that the principal main from the water works runs through it, from which connections to all lots can be readily and cheaply made. We predict that there will be rapid sale for these lots, and that in a short time a large number of new houses will adorn the already beautiful site, where happy families will live and enjoy the fresh air, the bright sunshine, and the most perfect of river views.

 

EAGLE PACKET COMPANY TRYING TO PURCHASE FAMOUS STEAMBOAT BELLS
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 rivermen 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 rivermen 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. Another famous steamboat bell is now in the tower of the new Presbyterian church, although it is silent as the grave. It was more than forty years ago on an Ohio river steamer, and awoke the inhabitants of the towns and villages all the way from Cincinnati to St. Louis. Many long years ago the boat sold it, and it was purchased by Isaac Scarritt for the use of the then Presbyterian church, where the post office now is, and used to call the public to divine worship until the old building was sold, when it was removed. After the new church was completed, it was placed in the tower, where it is entombed and silent as the grave and will no doubt remain so until a spasm of remorse overtake the officers for permitting its silvery tones to remain unrung. It's notes floating over the hills on Sabbath morning would be a welcome sound to many of the residents of Alton.

 

NEW FREIGHT STATION OF THE C. P. & ST. L IS COMPLETED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 19, 1900
Work on the new freight station of the C. P. & St. L. is completed and preparations are being made to move the local headquarters of the road from the old shed on the levee to the new building. The old shed will be torn down as soon as the materials for road building stored there are moved out.

 

NEW ELECTRIC LINE TO CITY CEMETERY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 25, 1900
President J. F. Porter of the street railway company hopes to have the new line out Sixth street to the City Cemetery in operation tomorrow evening. The work of stringing the wires has been prosecuted rapidly since the arrival of the material for constructing the line, and it is probably the first car will make the trip out the new line Saturday evening. A new arrangement for running the cars has been decided upon. Cars going to the cemetery will go by way of Alby street, Twelfth street, and thence on Union street to the glass works. Cars to Upper Alton will run on Sixth street to Henry and up Henry by way of the Park line to Upper Alton. Cars on the Cemetery line will leave City Hall at the quarters after and to the hour.

 

INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS OF THE FOURTH OF JULY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1900
The Fourth of July, 1900, will be long remembered by many a person who suffered the usual consequences of venting his enthusiasm in the explosion of firecrackers and the flare of burning powder. The blank cartridge was a new feature of the day, and did a considerable share of damage during the day, many a person suffering from a wad being fired into his skin or by being burned by the weapon, being the flesh held in too close proximity for safety. Gus Meyer, who boards at L. Lundahl's boarding house, was delivering a parting salute to the day with a big cannon firecracker and forgot to place the cracker on the ground. When the explosion occurred, his right hand, in which he was holding the cracker, was shattered. Dr. Moore was called and he amputated one finger. It is thought the whole hand must be taken off. Joe Crivello was discharging fireworks on Piasa street, when a ball from a Roman candle struck him in the face, and his glasses only saved his eyes. Peter Fuchs shot the forefinger of his right hand with a revolver and severely injured himself. Fred Nicolet fell while bowling at Turner Hall and sustained a painful injury to his ankle. Dr. Bowman was called and attended to him. A Miss Hatheway of St. Louis was a passenger on the Bluff Line train that left Alton yesterday morning at 9:16 o'clock for Clifton Terrace. While on the train after leaving Alton, someone placed a revolver near her face and discharged a blank cartridge directly at her face. She was very badly injured and was taken to her home in St. Louis. The man responsible said he didn't intend to do it. An interesting feature of the Fourth was the Chinese celebration on State street. Hundreds of people gathered to take lessons of Pang Sue and his laundrymen in the art of making a perfect celebration. Pang and his washermen stretched ropes of firecrackers containing ten thousand of the little terrors manufactured in China and imported for the exclusive Chinese trade. One end of the rope was ignited and pandemonium broke loose, the noise filling many a boy's heart with envy, for the crackers were undeniably the best ever heard. As the firecrackers burned, a Chinese flag was slowly displayed and made a pretty picture. Hamilton Lane was painfully burned about the hands last night by the explosion of a big cannon cracker. The cracker had been lighted, and he, not seeing it, picked it up to light it again, and the explosion occurred while he was picking it up. Floyd Dunn fired a wad into his hand from a blank cartridge and sustained a severe flesh wound. Elmer Gaukrodger also suffered from a blank cartridge being fired at his hand.

 

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1900
The celebration of the 124th birthday anniversary of the nation was very enthusiastically observed in Alton, and the old people who have fallen into the habit of saying that the American people are neglecting the Fourth of July had their arguments very effectually disproved. At every place that was suited for a celebration there were assemblies of people who spent the day under a cloudless sky, and in a temperature that was truly typical of the Fourth of July. One of the largest celebrations was that at Turner Garden, where the jolly Turners, the Maennerchor and the White Hussars with their friends and families celebrated the recent rejuvenation of Turner Garden and the completion of the improvements there. A very large number of people assembled there and spent both afternoon and evening in various amusements. At the bowling alleys contests were held and the amusement was one of the principal features of the day. The band played and the chorus of 60 voices sang the old-time pieces. Dancing was kept up until a late hour and everyone had a delightful time. The Odd Fellows picnic at Reck's garden was a big success, and the attendance was large. All afternoon the Odd Fellows and their friends filled the garden and the dancing pavilion and the electric cars were kept busy all day carrying the crowds until late in the morning. At Rock Spring Park private picnic parties had possession, and scattered over the hills numerous parties spent the day and took dinner they had carried in baskets. For the first time in the history of the park there was no general celebration there. In the evening some of the picnic parties gave a big display of fireworks and the evening was closed most pleasantly. The people in the neighborhood of Seminary Square held a big display of fireworks last evening on the Square, and hundreds of people assembled to witness it. The fireworks were beautiful and expensive, and were the cause of much pleasure to many who did not have displays of their own.

 

OLD SMITH HOMESTEAD TO BE RAZED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 11, 1900
One of the oldest houses in the city of Alton, the old Smith homestead at Liberty and Fifteenth streets, will be torn down to make way for improvement. It was said today by a man well posted in the early history of Alton, that the house was first built by B. F. Edwards, and that the old original portion of it must be nearly 65 years of age. Many improvements were made to it subsequently, and the old house was remodeled, but part of the original building is still standing. The property was the homestead of Hon. Robert Smith, the only Congressman Alton ever had, who lived here until his death in the late sixties (1860s). It was the finest house in Alton for many years, as well as the largest, and was quite a wonder in its way. Mr. Smith was elected to fill the unexpired term of another Congressman. The property having been purchased by a syndicate, the buildings will be torn down and the land will be platted and placed on the market.

 

ILLINOIS SHOE COMPANY

SHOE FACTORY TO BE STARTED IN OLD PIASA WOOLEN MILL (ILLINOIS SHOE COMPANY)
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 14, 1900
A number of Alton capitalists have been interested lately in the formation of a company to invest in a manufacturing enterprise that is promised to be one of the most important institutions in the city before long. The gentlemen have been in consultation with an expert manufacturer of shoes who recently came west and has been working for a prominent firm in St. Louis. The gentleman comes with the best of financial backing and recommendations, and is said by those who know him to be one of the best men in the country in his line of business. It is proposed to start a factory in the old woolen mill building, which will be filled with the latest improved machinery in a short time. The gentlemen held a meeting yesterday to secure the signatures of investors on a paper subscribing toward the capital of the new concern and every man who subscribed may be numbered among the most substantial business men of Alton whose financial integrity is unquestioned. It is proposed to start a co-operative plant for the manufacture of a medium priced shoe for men. The promoter of the shoe factory says he will certainly have a prosperous factory in Alton and is well pleased with the old woolen mill building as a possible site for the factory. A meeting will be held Tuesday by the Alton investors to organize a company which will probably be capitalized to the amount of $40,000.

SHOE FACTORY DEPENDS UPON SUBSCRIPTIONS OF ALTON PEOPLE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 1, 1900
A meeting of the subscribers to the capital stock of the Alton shoe factory was held here this afternoon for the purpose of making arrangements for organizing a company. Commissioners were appointed to apply to the Secretary of State for authority to organize the company as follows: W. F. Hoppe, B. Schiess and William Eliot Smith. The Executive committee consisting of J. F. Porter, A. Neermann and B. Schiess was instructed to carry on the work of preparing to start when the subscriptions to the bonus fund amount to $2500. It was decided that the organization of the company be dependent upon the raising of the $2,500 bonus by business men. The promoters of the company think the town should pay a small bonus to insure the success of the shoe factory, and it is said that the factory will not be started unless the bonus is raised. Mr. William Eliot Smith is one of the foremost in insisting that a bonus should be given, as the institution will benefit every property owner in Alton. A committee consisting W. F. Hoppe, A. R. McKinney, George H. Smiley, John Lock. H. R. Montgomery and J. F. Porter were appointed to solicit subscriptions as soon as possible. Application for a charter will be made at once, but it was said this afternoon that nothing will be done toward organizing the company unless $2,500 is raised.

SHOE FACTORY ASSURED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 13, 1900
The Alton shoe factory is assured. The subscription list was sent to the Secretary of State today, and permission to incorporate will be granted in a few days. Notices for a meeting to formally incorporate have been sent out, and the meeting will be held October 24. The machinery for the shoe factory is coming in now, and a force of men is engaged setting it up in the old woolen mill building and repairing the building. The old deserted structure is a busy place now, with the preparations for the starting of the new industry. It was stated today that the bonus is not complete, but that so confident are the promoters of the shoe factory that it will reach the required figure, preparations are being made for the factory to be under full headway within ten days. Mr. J. J. O'Connell is here from St. Louis superintending the work at the woolen mill. He says that if the bonus is raised, he will be making shoes inside of the time set.

LAST OF MACHINERY IS HERE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 16, 1900
The last of the machinery for the Illinois Shoe Company's factory has arrived and is being set in place today under the supervision of Mr. J. O'Connell, the superintendent. Part of the supplies of leather for the factory have been received, and work of cutting leather for sample shoes will be started Monday morning. The output of the factory will not be large at first, but the company will manufacture to supply the demand for shoes. Traveling men will be put out on the road at once, and the capacity of the plant increased as the demand for its product increases. The company will manufacture a medium grade of shoes for men only, and will make a feature of the fact that the product of the factory will bear the union label. The shoes will be put on sale in some of the Alton stores.

ILLINOIS SHOE COMPANY TO BE ESTABLISHED IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 22, 1901
A new shoe company will be organized in Alton, to be backed by Alton capital. Mr. Frank G'Sell, who has been assistant superintendent for the Illinois Shoe Company since the company started in business in the woolen mill, stated today that he will organize a company and will start a factory in Alton that will employ 150 hands, and will turn out 300 pairs of shoes a day. Mr. G'Sell resigned his position as assistant superintendent of the Illinois Shoe Company Tuesday, and since then he has been planning to start a new factory. He has secured promises of subscriptions from a number of people in Alton who would like to go into the scheme, and says he has the best of prospects in his new enterprise. It is proposed to organize a company with $15,000 capital stock, and Alton people will be given an opportunity to subscribe all if they desire to do so. Mr. G'Sell is an experienced shoe man who has done the greater part of the buying and much of the work of making the shoes that have been turned out by the company. Mr. G'Sell said that a building will be erected for the new company in Alton, and he is planning to have a very prosperous plant in a short time. He has made arrangements to dispose of his product and can keep his plant running steadily from the first. This he can do without interfering with the Illinois Shoe Company.

A THRIVING NEW INDUSTRY IN ALTON - ILLINOIS SHOE COMPANY ON BELLE STREET
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 13, 1901
Probably the most prosperous infant industry in Alton is the new Illinois Shoe Company's factory on Belle street, which is putting on strength in a most un-infant like manner, and will soon be able to hold its head up as high as any other full-grown man, so to speak, in the shoe manufacturing business. The growth of the concern has been healthy, and it is sure to be rapid and strong in the hereafter. Mr. O'Connell, the superintendent, is a believer in the old Davy Crockett maxim, and he makes sure he is in the right method and then he makes haste to go on with his undertaking. The result is that the line of samples turned out by the new factory created surprise in St. Louis among shoe men, and orders have been pouring in thick and fast from dealers who like our work here and think Alton a remarkably smart town when a new shoe factory started by us can make shoes that are good as those made in the cast where they have been fashioning shoes since the Pilgrims landed. A visitor at the shoe factory yesterday found the place humming with busy machinery and a force of men, boys and girls working away on fine new shoes. Alton people should interest themselves in the new industry and make a visit there. The shoes turned out are of the finest quality of enamel and patent leather down to the best quality of cheap shoes. Nothing but good stock is used, as Mr. O'Connell says he wants nothing to look back upon with regret nor anything to apologize for. Fifty hands are now employed and are making good wages. Mr. O'Connell says he wants Alton people to wear the shoes he is making, and will make it their advantage to do so. Special orders for shoes may be sent through dealers and shoes will be made that fit the wearer exactly. Mr. O'Connell is planning for a reception some day at the factory for the boys of Alton, and he will have every boy in the city there and will show him how to make some money by talking up Alton shoes. People should patronize a home industry, the superintendent thinks, when the goods are well worth the confidence. Orders have been received from some of the big shoe houses of St. Louis for special lines of shoes, and on these orders the factory is now working.

ILLINOIS SHOE COMPANY WILL ENLARGE
Source: Alton Telegraph, April 24, 1902
President August Schlafly of the Citizens National Bank said today that the Illinois Shoe Company has accepted a proposition from the Kelley Goodfellow Shoe Company of St. Louis, for combining the two shoe factories and establishing a big plant in Alton. The combine will be perfected if some important details can be re-arranged. The capital of the Illinois Shoe Company will be increased from $40,000 to $100,000 if possible, and subscriptions to the capital stock will be taken among Alton people and the present stockholders. The $200,000 capital stock of the Kelley-Goodfellow Co. will be added to this and a new factory site will be secured. It is desired to erect a factory on extensive grounds where all the factory can be on one floor, with four sides of the building having unobstructed light. It is proposed to manufacture two thousand pairs of shoes a day and to employ 400 hands. It the combination is effected, it will make an important addition to the manufacturing industries of Alton and will probably draw other shoe factories. The stockholders of the Alton shoe factory have found that the small factory here is not as profitable as it should be, and will expand. The official ratification of the proposed combine by the Kelly-Goodfellow Company is the only remaining detail to be accomplished.

ILLINOIS SHOE COMPANY CONSOLIDATION IN ABEYANCE
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 8, 1902
The directors of the Illinois Shoe Company decided yesterday not to consolidate their factory with the Kelley-Goodfellow Shoe Company of St. Louis, at least for the present. Difficulty in securing a factory site determined the directors to postpone the consolidation and formation of a $200,000 shoe company to operate a plant in Alton. The Alton company has $40,000 capital stock, and it was proposed to secure $60,000 additional subscriptions to the stock in Alton. Of this amount, $35,000 had been secured, and it was thought there would be no difficulty in securing the remainder of the stock. The St. Louis shoe company which was desirous of coming to Alton, instead of moving the factory from its present location desired to have a factory building erected by private individuals to be leased to the consolidated companies. As no one would erect the building on the terms proposed, it was decided to abandon the scheme for the present. Mr. August Schlafly resigned as president of the Illinois Shoe Company yesterday, and also left the directory. W. H. Huffnagel, who has been business manager of the company, was elected president. Mr. Huffnagel is a practical shoe man and it was because Mr. Schlafly thought a practical shoe man should be at the head of the company that he resigned.

ILLINOIS SHOE COMPANY ELECTS MANAGER
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 24, 1908
The Illinois Shoe Company directors yesterday elected William Hufnagel, one of the stockholders, manager of the Alton factory. The directors hope to get the shoe factory into good condition again and with conservative management of Mr. Huffnagel, will probably do so.

 

JOHN ROBINSON'S TEN BIG SHOWS ARRIVE IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 23, 1900
John Robinson's Ten Big Shows arrived in town early yesterday morning, and at once took possession of the circus grounds in the East End. The parade took place at 11 o'clock this morning. It was without doubt the finest, largest and most elegant street parade ever seen in Alton. The beautiful vans, the glittering cages, the magnificent horses and ponies, pretty women and fine bands of music made it a rare sight for the spectators. There were more than 200 horses in the parade, all of them fine animals. One team of 24 Shetland ponies was an attractive and interesting sight. Another team, the first of its kind ever seen in Alton, was 14 camels hauling a van. The camels needed no driving. They followed a leading camel, ridden by an attache of the circus. A half-dozen big elephants caught the eye as they leisurely plodded along. These ponderous animals are always objects of intense interest. Some of the vans were open and gave the street crowds an opportunity to see some of the rare specimens of beats and birds. Mr. Robinson has with him a most genial gentleman as Press Agent, Mr. Frank B. Wilson of New York City, who has had long experience in the show business. He is one of the most pleasant men with whom it has been our fortune to meet in the show business.

 

GERMAN ORDER OF HARUGARI STATE CONVENTION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 1, 1900
The regular state convention of the German Order of Harugari will be convened in this city [Alton] next Monday morning. The sessions will be held in the Odd Fellows Temple in Temple theatre building, and the grand lodge will be in Alton three or four days. The arrangements for entertaining the delegates are on an elaborate scale, and the program of amusements includes a big time on Sunday for the delegates who arrive here on that day. A street car ride over the electric lines in the afternoon and at night a grand reunion and banquet will be held at Turner hall, which will be free to all. The banquet will be served at 8 o'clock, and in the meantime there will be plenty of amusement furnished the delegates. The D. O. H. will be the guests of the Alton people, who have been preparing since last summer for the coming of the Grand Lodge. Three hundred people will be in attendance. The Alton lodges will hold meetings this evening to make preparations for the grand lodge.

 

ROW OF FLATS TO BE BUILT ON BELLE STREET ON LOCATION OF OLD BEALL MINING TOOL PLANT
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 27, 1900
Mr. Edmond Beall of the Beall Mining Tool Company, has bargained with his partners for their interest in the old location of their plant on Belle street. He has determined to erect on that location a row of tenement flats. Architect Pfeiffenberger has been engaged to draw the plans and when Mr. Beall returns from a business trip on which he started Sunday evening, he will enter upon the work of developing his plans for his row of flats. It is Mr. Beall's intention to rebuild the houses with a pressed brick front. There will be hard wood finish, hot water heat from Porter's system, toilet rooms, bath rooms, water and a janitor to look after the entire building. There will be eight flats, each one completely separate from the other. Mr. B's intention is to have these flats the finest homes in Alton, and the most desirable residences in the city. As it will be the first flats erected in this city, it is the intention of the proprietor to have everything first class. Mr. Beall has long had the reputation of being a model landlord. He believes in keeping his property in such condition as to draw the best of tenants. This idea will be adhered to in the new Beall flats on Belle street. The rent of each flat will be reasonable. This improvement will add much to Belle street as a residence street.

 

MALE CHORUS ORGANIZATION FORMED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 4, 1900
An organization was effected at a meeting of young men held in the Madison Hotel last evening for the formation of a male chorus to be conducted along the line of the Dominant Ninth Chorus. The attendance was good, and the young men of Alton, who are interested in music, have taken remarkable interest in the proposition to organize the chorus. Thirty-one charter members were taken in, and the chorus officers were elected. The following is the first set of officers which were elected: H. M. Schweppe, President; W. D. Armstrong, Vice-President; F. L. Taylor, Secretary; F. L. Boals, Treasurer. The chorus will begin work October 1, and will hold weekly rehearsals. Mrs. C. B. Rohlland will be the leader, and will school the young men in the better grade of music. It is proposed that the Dominant Ninth unite with the male chorus in giving musical events, which shall take place under the auspices of the two societies.

 

C. J. JACOBY & CO. PURCHASE STOCK OF BAUER & CO.
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 4, 1900
C. J. Jacoby & Co. have purchased the stock of Bauer & Co., the two stores adjoining, and will continue in the business. Mr. Bauer will have charge of the store for the new owners at present, and has made no definite plans for the future. He has been in business in Alton the past five years, and has made friends by his upright dealings and his uniform courtesy.

C. J. Jacoby & Co. yesterday purchased the entire stock and accounts of C. A. Bauer & Co. at 551 and 553 East Second street [Broadway]. The purchasers have leased the four stores, 551, 553, 555, and 557, for a term of years. This gives them a floor space of 10,000 square feet, and 105 feet of front, with five elegant plate glass show windows. The entire building will be remodeled in beautiful style. A handsome piano and organ room will be arranged for the piano and organs and other musical instruments. A room for the display of the undertaking goods, with the caskets in swinging cases will be arranged. One store room will be set apart for the elegant line of wallpaper and carpets. The remainder of the building, the basement, and first and second floors will be filled with all kinds of furniture, and every article necessary in housekeeping. The building will be fitted with a new elevator, and electric light and steam heat will be used through the entire building. Mr. C. J. Jacoby, the senior member of the firm, is a hustling business man. He has branch stores in Bunker Hill, Jerseyville and Nokomis, Illinois. He has been in business for the past 18 years, working himself up from the foot of the ladder. He has especially been successful in undertaking, being a graduate of several embalming colleges, and is a licensed embalmer and funeral director. L. F. Jacoby, the junior member of the firm, has been with C. J. Jacoby for ten years, and worked his way up from a polishing boy. He has by faithful and honest service gained the confidence of his employers and the public. He is an experienced embalmer and funeral director, and holds a diploma as such. Mr. C. H. Bauer will remain with the firm for a while, and will continue to receive his old friends for some time. Mr. Bauer has made a success of business in the thirty years he has been in it, and will later retire to rest up and enjoy life, attending to his private affairs. The new and monster store will have a crew of five clerks, and will, with good management, good service, and a complete stock of the goods they carry, build up a trade4 with the people in Alton.

 

55 APPRENTICES TO BE TAKEN AT ILLINOIS GLASS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 5, 1900
The new wage scales signed at the conferences between the manufacturers' and the glassworkers' unions this year will give the Illinois Glass Company a big increase in the number of apprentices to be taken in under the apprentice rules. Both unions made concessions in this respect, and the percentage of apprentices was increased. The green glassworkers consented to grant the manufacturers one apprentice to every ten blowers, and the flints granted one apprentice to every fifteen blowers. Mr. Frank Levis today figured the number of apprentices that will be allowed the Illinois Glass Company this fire under the new arrangement and is authority for the statement that there will be places for 55 apprentices this year. The greens will have 43 of this number, and the flints will be entitled to 12. The announcement of the increase in the number of apprentices will be good news to the young men who have been working and waiting for their turns to be taken in to begin serving their time. Five years will be the period which each one will be required to work before being admitted as full journeymen. Most, if not all, of the place will go to Alton boys, and home people will receive nearly all the benefit of the new arrangement. Mr. Levis said this morning that it is not necessary that the end of the fire be waited for to put on the apprentices, and that they may be put to work any time during the year. It is probably the fortunate young men will be put to work during the fire from time to time as they may be needed, and as the scarcity of blowers may render necessary. There is always great interest among the eligible young men as the time for putting on apprentices draws near, and there is always joy among the fortunate ones and disappointment among the ones not chosen. Under the new arrangement there will be more happy boys and less disappointed ones at the close of the fire. At the rate of apprentices allowed, the Illinois Glass Company will employ 430 green blowers and 180 flints this year. The payroll of the plant will include nearly 3206 persons.

 

"YELLOW" WATERS SOUGHT DEATH BY DRINKING GLASS IN WATER
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 8, 1900
Frank Waters, a colored youth known as "Yaller," attempted to kill himself in the city jail this noon before he left for Edwardsville to be put in the county jail. Last night he broke a window light in the city jail, and spent the night pounding the glass into fine bits. At noon he drank in a tin cup of water a portion of the glass, with suicidal intent. He was alive at last report, but on his way to Edwardsville he suffered intense pain as a result of his indigestible meal. "Yaller" said he preferred death to a term in the State Reformatory. He made his preparations for death in the presence of five boys, who are jailed with him.

 

DOMINANT NINTH CHORUS INCREASED IN NUMBER
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 1900
So popular has been the Dominant Ninth Chorus, that there was a great demand this season for memberships in the chorus, and it was found necessary to increase the number of members to 75 ladies. A meeting was held Monday afternoon to elect members of the chorus, and the following were placed on the waiting list from which the ranks of the chorus will be recruited: Misses Lucille Rodgers, Tillie Schless, Barbridge, Rudershausen, Bishop, Brenholt, McAdams, Drury, Watson, Links, Norton, Chittenden, Dennison, Misses Gillham, Baker, Phinney. Mesdames Eaton, Sparks also return for active memberships. The eagerness with which memberships in the organization are sought in Alton shows best in what esteem the chorus is held and that it is still prosperous as ever. It is one of the healthiest choruses in the country, and interest of the members never flags under the leadership of the organizer of the chorus, Mrs. C. B. Rohland.

 

THE FOREPAUGH AND SELLS BROTHERS CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 1900
The arrival of the Forepaugh and Sells Bros. show this morning was viewed with much interest by people of all ages in the city. The circus is the biggest and the best that ever visited Alton, and its display of animals, wild and tame, is magnificent. The circus arrived at 4 a.m. today from Jerseyville, where it played Monday to large audiences, afternoon and evening. The trains came in on the Alton tracks, and the cars were unloaded at the freight depot, where great crowds assembled to witness the operation. Hundreds saw the elephants and camels taken from the cars and walked through the streets to the circus grounds, east of the glassworks. There were seventeen elephants, large and small; a drove of camels; and a herd of buffalo. The show is made up of innumerable wild animals from the jungles of India, the wilds of Africa, the vast prairies of the West, the icebergs of the North, and the deep swamps of the South. Lions, tigers, bears, bison, elephants, zebras, boa constrictors and poisonous reptiles from every clime, jaguars, wild cats, buffalo, sea lions, alligators, hippopotamus and monstrosities from the depths of the sea, ostriches, bats, vampires, vultures, buzzards, eagles, golden-plumed birds from the tropics, and lead-colored winged creatures from craters and caves. A city of acres of canvas, containing scores of great rumbling wagon vans, hundreds of horses and a thousand employees, and representing a daily expenditure of $7,000. Along with it came the hippodrome of the old Roman empire, so popular under giant Caesar's reign: gladiators, athletes, jesters and the tinseled, bespangled world of entertainment with all its medieval atmosphere and modern wonder. Everybody was out to see the grand street parade, and most everybody will see the show. In passing comment upon the street display, 'tis but fair to state that it was the finest ever seen in this city. The wagons were brighter, the music better, the clowns funnier, the horses finer, and the wardrobe more magnificent than that of any other similar enterprise. There were nearly, or quite, 500 of men, not including the specialists, who appear only in spangles and in the glare of the ring. There are everywhere the same evidences of masterminds, who control all details and whose familiarity with their labors makes easy to them what would be Sphinx-like enigmas to others. Colonel Lewis Sells is always with the show, and he can tell at a glance if there is anything out of joint. Allen Sells is the general superintendent of the shows, and it would be hard to find a man who knows his business better. Frank Melville, a veteran ring man, who in times past has electrified thousands with his daring acts, has charge of the ring performances. He would be called the stage manager if he were running a theatre.

 

OLD STEAM ENGINE SENT TO MISSISSIPPI
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 14, 1900
One of the old dummy steam engines used on the street railway through Middletown before advent of electricity in the city, was shipped yesterday to a logging camp in Pearl River county, Mississippi, where it will be put into the service of hauling logs in place of horses. When the dummy came to Alton it was a fine thing and a big improvement, but its appearance on the streets now would be the signal for much hilarity.

 

LIVERY STABLE SOLD
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 14, 1900
James Mook has purchased the livery stable of James Bell on East Second street [East Broadway], and will put in a stock of livery vehicles and a stable of good horses.

 

CHICAGO & ALTON RXR BRIDGE AND DEPOT IMPROVEMENTS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 20, 1900
The Alton is planning some extensive improvements to the bridges and depots along the line. It was stated today by a representative of the road that all the depots along the road that are not up to the standard will be improved and beautified to make them first class. Among the stations to be improved is the Alton Union depot, and both the Alton and Big Four are now considering plans for repairing it and making it first class. The freight depot here will be remodeled, and work will be started in a short time. It is proposed to improve the old rock depot and to make new offices for the local force. Consulting Engineer Coone of the Alton was in the city today, and went to the Wood river to inspect the bridge there on the main line. The bridge was improved last fall, and it is now being planned to strengthen it by putting in new material.

 

WOMAN'S HOME RECEPTION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 22, 1900
At the Woman's Home this afternoon a reception was held by the directors in order to give the public an opportunity to see the work that is being accomplished there. Light refreshments were served, and the guests were hospitably entertained. The Home was established four years ago, when the present place was selected and rented. Since then it became necessary to buy the property, which the directors were able to do through the medium of the Building Association. The expense that must be met every month, in addition to the support of the inmates - an average number of 22 - amounts to forty dollars. These inmates are, for the most part, helpless, and must be clothed, fed and cared for, some of them as much as little children. For this purpose a matron and servants must be provided, and it is easily told how much money must be raised for the support of the home, which is entirely dependent on a charitable public. Every room has three occupants, and the house is comfortably furnished. Two directors are in charge each month, buy the supplies and visit the home twice each week, keeping in constant touch with the affair of the home. The Board of Directors are President Mrs. A. K. Root; Mesdames Brendholt, Black, Kolb, Demuth, Dixon, Golmer, Hopkins, Johnston, Jackson, Jameson, Kerr, Mathews, Randall, Ryrie, Sparks, Stanford, Watson, Wade, Wills and Misses Miner and NIshett.

 

SHOE FACTORY IN ALTON IS ASSURED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 29, 1900
The shoe factory is a sure thing in Alton. All the stock has been subscribed, and on the authority of Mr. A. Neermann and Mr. John J. O'Connell of St. Louis, who will manage the factory, being an experienced shoe man, it can be stated by the Telegraph today that a meeting of the subscribers to the stock will be held Monday for the purpose of effecting an organization. Delay has been caused by the absence of Mr. William Eliot Smith, who desired to subscribe, and the list was not closed until today. It has been decided to take the old woolen mill building on Belle street, and within 60 days the factory will be manufacturing a medium grade of men's shoes. A subscription list was started today to raise a bonus to assist the new industry in repairing the buildings of the woolen mill property, in order to enable the concern to get under headway with the best possible advantage. The Illinois Glass Company started the subscription list with a subscription of $500. The list will be presented to Alton business men within the next few days, and subscriptions to aid the new industry will be taken. Other liberal subscriptions are offered, and without doubt at least, $2,500 can be raised. The conditions of the gifts are to be that the shoe factory is in full operation within sixty days.

 

LEVI DAVIS SUBDIVIDES HIS PROPERTY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 4, 1900
Mr. Levi Davis has subdivided his home place, known as the Barry place many years ago on State street, and will name it Barry place. The fine grounds have been laid out by Swift and Long, and the lots will be put upon the market as an addition to the city. Mr. Davis said that he will have a street made through the property about 200 feet north of Bluff street, and extending west from State 530 feet. He will name the street Barry street, and is planning to pave it with brick, build sidewalks, sewers and lay curbing. The new Barry place will be a most attractive residence site.

 

GOVERNOR THEODORE ROOSEVELT TO SPEAK AT UNION STATION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 8, 1900
Hon. Theodore Roosevelt, Hon. Mark Hanna, Hon. S. M. Cullom, Gov. John R. Tanner, and others will arrive this evening by special train over the Big Four road, at 6:50 p.m. The car will be placed at Union Station, where Governor Roosevelt will speak. Possibly others will also speak. The naval militia will turn out in uniform, and fire a governor's salute in honor of Governor Roosevelt. The Western Military Academy cadets will attend in uniform, but owing to the torn-up condition of the Upper Alton streets, will not bring any of their guns with them. They will afterwards attend the Bryan meeting.

[Note: Roosevelt was the Governor of New York, Jan. 1, 1899 - December 31, 1900; Vice-President March 4, 1901 - September 14, 1901; and following the assassination of President McKinley, became the 26th President, holding office September 14, 1901 - March 4, 1909.

"TEDDY" AND COL. BRYAN EVOKE MUCH ENTHUSIASM IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 9, 1900
Roosevelt and Bryan in Alton in one evening were attractions that called forth the biggest crowd last evening ever assembled in the city of Alton. The delays of the special trains of the two candidates were vexing to the crowds, but the numbers showed no depreciation from the fact that the people who heard Roosevelt speak had been waiting from 6 o'clock in the evening until 9:30 o'clock. The crowd waited patiently for the coming of the Rough Rider and his train, and several times there was great excitement in the crowd as word was passed down the line that the train was at hand. When the train finally pulled in, a deafening uproar and cheering arose. Everyone was standing on tiptoe, trying to catch a glimpse of the Rough Rider as he stood on the platform doffing his hat and bowing, his tawny head and gleaming teeth identifying him as he stood on the platform. Gov. Roosevelt, on being introduced by Hon. George R. Hewitt, made a speech about fifteen minutes in length, which was heard by only a small part of the crowd. The crowd stretched along Front street, on Market street, extending out over the City Hall Square. It is estimated the number was fully 6,000 people. The uproar while "Teddy" was speaking was such as to prevent him being heard. The crowd was wild with enthusiasm, and kept up almost continual cheering. After the address by Gov. Roosevelt, Judge Richard Yates appeared on the platform and was given hearty cheers. Senator Cullom, Gov. Tanner, and other distinguished persons, were seen on the platform while Col. Roosevelt was speaking. Senator Brenholt, Hon. D. R. Sparks, Mr. Hewitt, G. H. Lane, and Dr. Worden escorted the Roosevelt party from Litchfield to Alton.

 

RUBBER COIL MANUFACTORY TO BEGIN IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 15, 1900
Mr. C. F. Yeakel today rented his building on Second Street [Broadway], opposite the Stanard Mills, to M. E. Briggs, who comes to Alton from San Francisco to start in the rubber coil manufacturing business. Mr. Briggs has been connected with a similar institution in the West, and having sold out there he comes to Alton well recommended to start up here. When the plant is under full headway, it will be a nice addition to Alton's industries.

 

FARMERS' INSTITUTE HELD IN ALTON CITY HALL BUILDING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 16, 1900
Madison's diversity and wealth of crops will be exemplified this week in the displays at the Farmers' Institute of the county and the Eighteenth Congressional district. Cit hall building is being filled up with tempting displays of fruits, flowers, grains, cookery, vegetables and curios with handsome fancy work and relics. It is the finest display ever given in the city of Alton, and hundreds of people called in the rooms where the exhibits are being arranged to view them. It was admitted on all sides that the displays are far better than was expected, and the abundance of articles entered in the cash prize competition was a general surprise. Mr. L. S. Dorsey said today that there were 1,000 entries at noon, and many more were coming in all afternoon. Comptroller Gossrau's office was besieged today by people who desired to enter some articles for the prize contests, and because of the valuable entries that are being made it was decided to accept all that come in as long as there is room. Downstairs in the old post office room is a display that would tempt the appetite of a dyspeptic. On the north side of the room is being hung and laid a display of the grains of the district, principally corn, and the variety is great. Fruits and vegetables are entered in great abundance by proud growers, and the specimens are of the best quality. Great luscious apples and peaches, big pears and bunches of grapes - - all kinds of fall fruits are entered in great profusion. Edwin Riehl has a fine show, and Mt. Lookout place has an attractive exhibit arranged by Hon. H. G. McPike. Great red apples are heaped up on plates and one man's exhibit consists of a big pile of red apples in the corner of the room. In a little room to one side is kept the cookery show, where proud housewives have entered the products of their hands and heads in a tempting display. It is all very incomplete now, the reported was informed, for many new additions are made to the entry list every hour. Bread and cake, pickles, preserves, and all kinds of cookery are entered and the corner is a favorite for the men and women alike. Upstairs in the Council Chamber are the exhibits of fancy goods and curios with the fine arts. The fancy goods displays are nice and beautiful. Hundreds of pieces of fancy work have been entered in the competitive lists, and some of the collections of curio-hunters have been turned over by the owners. Tonight the institute will be opened. The program will be interesting to the general public as well as the farmers, and as a small attendance of farmers is expected this evening, Alton people are urged to attend the first meeting. The institute is a strictly educational affair, and there will be no immoral or sensational features to it. Everyone is invited to attend the lectures that will be given during the week.

 

MERCHANTS' CARNIVAL AND PARADE IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 20, 1900
Alton has the tired feeling today. Yesterday the city had a gala day, and this morning comes the reaction and the sober realization that it is the day after, and that it is all over. The carnival last night was the best ever known in the city, and in cost and brilliancy the floats in the parade far excelled those in the carnival held five years ago. The city never saw such crowds as were out last night to see the show, and every one was pleased. All the neighboring towns contributed their share; Jerseyville, Edwardsville, and all cities of the neighborhood being well represented. The people of Alton have demonstrated that when they are determined to have a carnival, they can excel all others in that line, and "we must have more" is the expression of the general public after witnessing Friday night's pageant. In expense and beauty, the parade was the best that has been given by any city in this vicinity this year. In line there were over 75 floats of all kinds, and some of them were built at heavy expense. As a whole there was artistic merit, and it would have been difficult to have improved upon it. The merchants of the city are receiving congratulations on their successful effort, and the close of the week in Alton was a crowning glory. All along the line of march the illuminations were brilliant, and no expense was spared. The stores and residences along the line were lighted up, and almost the entire route was light as day.

The Parade
It was about 8 o'clock when the signal to start, a rocket sent up from City Hall square, was given, and at that time all the streets downtown were so densely crowded that a passageway for the procession was made by the police with difficulty. It was variously estimated that from 12,000 to 15,000 people witnessed the parade downtown, which other thousands scattered along the line of march saw it from other places. As the crowd waited for the parade to start, it became mad with the carnival spirit, and confetti, peas, beans and rubber balls thrown at one another kept everyone on the jump. Hundreds of Alton's most sedate and respected citizens made riot for an evening.

Colonel A. M. Jackson, as Grand Marshal, with his aides, led off the pageant. Rough Rider uniforms were in great favor. Following came the Naval Militia in full accoutrements, and made one of the best showings in the line. A nice effect was made by illuminating the boys with torches carried by a squad in the rear. The queen of the carnival, Miss Maggie Harper, followed in a gaily decorated carriage, seated upon an improvised throne. With her were her two maids of honor, Misses Mamie Wutzler and Adeline Zaugg. Miss Harper and her two maids made a very pretty appearance.

The Anheuser-Busch prize tally-ho came next with six horses and a load of men, guests of the company. Following it came the same company's stake wagon filled with young men. The Haagen float was a pretty thing. The effect was yellow and white, and the representation was a typical one. It attracted much attention. Following came the Knights of the Maccabees' float, with the court of the "Royal Bumper" - a goat on a pedestal surrounded by courtiers, a neat conception. The big plow of the Hapgood Plow Company on a wagon came next, and was followed by a platform wagon carrying the Building Trades' Council representation of all branches of the Council's work.

Casper Horn had a neat float upon which his little daughter rode in state. Snyder and Budde had a float representing the moon and stars that was prettily decorated. The Bluff City Brewery had a big wagon with young men drinking on it. H. Meyer had a representation of a soda water factory, the water being bottled on the wagon. The latter was very fine. The Olympias Bowling Club were in line in a carriage, and were followed by a pretty display made by T. Goudie, representing Chase & Sanborn's coffee. A big coffee pot was set on the wagon and was prettily decorated and set off with a grocery scene.

Herman Cole's float was a good one. A big chimney was giving forth clouds of smoke that was generated in a stove on the wagon. Probably the most complimented and the most novel thing in the procession was the H. M. Schweppe float. A toboggan slide upon which was a toboggan with a black tobogganist on it. It was followed by nine big elephants of tin that were propelled by men who walked in the elephants' shadow and were scarcely distinguishable. It was a good effect.

Charles Wade was represented with a quarry scene and men at work, which was followed by an ever-popular theme, Santa Clause, in which Hoppe was well represented. It was very popular with the little folk and attracted much attention. Joseph Miller had a coal wagon decorated with carnival colors in line, and then came a beautiful and artistic display of flowers and palms by Joseph Krug. A little girl on the wagon threw bouquets at the crowd.

Sonnberg Bros. had a pretty variety in a colored glee club that sang from an open carriage that was decorated in carnival colors. One of the prettiest floats was Morrissey Bros., a little boy riding in a big shoe and driving a team of butterflies, all in white, which attracted much attention. M. Rubenstein was not missing and had a representative float in line.

Goulding's sons had two unique representations of their place of business. Jim Chessen drove his fine stallion, Chessen Wilks, the pride of his stables, in a bike sulky. The Juvenile band came next, followed by the Western Military Academy, making a splendid appearance. Steck & Co. had a pretty float representing a grocery store with ladies prettily dressed in white upon it. A. H. Wuerker's float carried a paper mache horse attached to a sleigh carrying two men who were supposed to be enjoying a sleigh ride.

The Alton Roller Mill's float was "Aunty's Court," where a real old Aunty reigned supreme and her dignity was supported by LaBelle flour. Kellenberger had three illuminated wagons carrying houses that were very pretty. H. K. Johnston & Co. was represented by two wagons that were prettily decorated and carried some men dressed in comic costumes.

The Empire House was represented by a fat man eating supper and being served by a waiter boy. The Lemps baseball club was carried on a decorated wagon. Glassbrenner & Meisenheimer's float represented a barbershop, where an unlucky customer was being lathered and shaved with his head a mass of soap. Hoppe's China Hall was represented by a very pretty float carrying a big wash bowl and pitcher in which was seated a little girl. Seibold Bros. had a closed carriage covered with white cloth and decorated with chrysanthemums and a tandem team of calico horses.

One of the most striking effects of the parade was the floats of the Alton Railway Gas & Electric Company. One of the latest improved electric cars was decorated with electric lights and festooning, a pretty display being made. Behind it was one of the old horse cars drawn by two horses. On the horse car was the inscription, "Alton to Upper Alton, 10 cents a ride. Trips every half hour." It was a striking comment on the change from the old rider to the new, and on the advancement of the city of Alton. The electric cars were among the most attractive features of the parade.

 

HALLOWEEN PRANKS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 1, 1900
Halloween is becoming more popular every year with the boys, and the girls too are sharing in the fun that is derived from playing pranks upon their elders and making havoc for one night. In the crowds that paraded the streets last night in the residence districts, where the police come seldom, there were many girls and many boys who adopted the girl's costume for the night to protect themselves from too severe punishment in case they were caught in the act of making free with other people's property. Gates suffered wherever they were detachable from the fence, and everything loose was carried off by some of the bands of boys that patrolled the streets looking for something to destroy. The pea-shooter came into popularity last night, and is an additional means of making life miserable for old folks on Halloween night. The boy fills his mouth with dried peas, and placing the shooter in his mouth, he trains a rain of peas against a man's window or in his face, that seems to come from an inexhaustible source. It beats a tick-tack in popularity, on account of its effectiveness. At Lincoln school, some boys gained entrance to the building and the old school bell was kept tolling all evening. Nothing in the building was disturbed, and the boys were not interrupted in their fun.

 

JOHN WEMPEN SELLS SALOON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 9, 1900
John Wempen has sold his saloon on Washington street to Jacob Tuscher, and will retire from the saloon business after many years. He is planning a trip to Germany to be gone part of the winter, visiting his old home. He has not decided as to his business occupation in the future.

 

NEW MOLD SHOP AT ILLINOIS GLASS WORKS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 27, 1900
A large addition is being completed in the mold shops at the Illinois Glass Works. The size of the shops became inadequate to accommodate the business of the big plant, which has become very much larger by reason of the increase in the output of the new factories and the remodeled old ones. A second story has been added to the mold shop building, which will provide room for new machinery, and an increase in the working force in the mold rooms will be necessary. Some delay in getting the mold room ready for work is being caused by delay in the arrival of machinery. The shops will be put to work in a short time making molds and machinery. An order has been placed by the Illinois Glass Company for some new pumping machinery that will be used for supplying compressed air for glass blowing machines. Four machines are now in operation in flint furnace No. 5, which are built on a plan that is original with the Illinois Glass Company.

 

ALTON IS TO HAVE A NEW HALL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 30, 1900
Alton is to have an elegant new hall for entertainment purposes, it being the entire second floor of the Leiderkranz hall building, 610 East Second Street, of which Harry R. Getsinger is proprietor. He is having the place remodeled, painted and papered, and expects to have a grand opening there by the first of the year. It is intended more for the use of clubs and private parties than for general meetings.

 

NEW FIRM OF CROWE & CRIVELLO
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 3, 1900
Felix I. Crowe, the hustling State street commission merchant, has taken in a partner, and the firm name hereafter will be Crowe & Crivello, with Gus Crivello of Fourth and Belle streets being the partner. He will continue his fruit store at that place, and will put his son, Michael, in the State street house. The new firm has strong financial backing, and they intend to reach out after and secure the wholesale or store trade of Alton and vicinity. They will buy and sell everything raised on a farm. They will buy in car load lots, will get the best and consequently give the best to their patrons. Mr. Crivello, the new member, is a good business man, while Mr. Crowe has landed success several times in the face of some very great obstacles, together they ought to and will make a very successful business record.

 

HOME OF CHARLES STEINER ROBBED - TOOK EVERYTHING OF VALUE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 4, 1900
Charles Steiner reported to the police headquarters this morning that his house was visited by burglars this morning, and that everything of value in the house was taken. The burglars were discovered by Mr. Steiner's son, Magnus, who was returning home from work in the glass works. As the boy entered the house, the burglars fled, carrying with them the plunder they had gathered up. The young man says there were four burglars in the party that raided the home, and judging from the manner in which the household fittings were looted, the story must be correct. When an investigation was made after the robbery, it was found that Mr. Steiner's coat and vest with his watch were carried off. A search resulted in the discovery of the coat and vest at the corner of Fourth and Cherry streets, but the watch had been taken from the pocket of the vest. In his house, Mr. Steiner's children had $90 in savings, which was added to their loot by the burglars. The police were notified this morning of the burglary, and an effort was made to find the burglars, but the marauders had made their escape. Mr. Steiner made an investigation to discover what is missing, and he reports that everything moveable and of value to the four burglars was taken. Mr. Steiner thinks the burglars used chloroform to still the sleeping members of the family while they were robbing the house. In the kitchen, the burglars sat down to a meal, which they made of some sausages and pies that had been left there. Entrance to the house was by way of a back window, which was found open. Mr. Steiner said this morning that he lost two gold watches, a silver watch, the money, a necklace that had been a family heirloom 200 years, and nearly all the clothes he possessed, including underwear. The burglars must have been well loaded when they made their escape. They took all of Mr. Steiner's clothes in order to prevent his following them, and they also secured his revolver that was in a drawer in his bedroom. Mr. Steiner's son, Magnus, also lost heavily in clothes. A bad revolver was responsible for the escape of the burglars this morning at 5 o'clock. Officers Thomas and Green were sent out to scour the country in the vicinity of East Alton for the four burglars, and at Edwardsville Crossing they came upon two men who were in haste to avoid the officers. Officer Thomas commanded them to stop and attempted to shoot one of them, but his revolver did not go off, and before he could get another one from his pocket, the men had escaped in the darkness. While running away, the two men dropped a bundle that was found to be an overcoat and two coats stolen from the Steiner home. The remainder of the plunder was carried away by the two burglars. The officers followed the two men to Mitchell, where they gave up the chase. Mr. Steiner found a pair of his trousers, a pair of shoes, and a serviceable "jimmy" that the burglars discarded at a residence on Fourth street near Vine, where they attempted to force entrance but were frightened off because they aroused the members of the family in the house.

 

BOSTON STORE

BOSTON STORE IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 14, 1900
The Boston Store is open to the public with the greatest array of bargains in men's clothing, underwear, ladies' skirts, waists, underwear, hose, etc., at prices to please all. Remember we are here to stay. Everybody welcome to come whether they wish to buy or not. The Boston store entrances on west Second street.

 

SANTA WAGON INVOLVED IN A RUNAWAY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 24, 1900
The Santa Claus wagon of Hoppe's China Hall was in a runaway Saturday night. The horses attached started to run away on Washington Street hill, and turned the corner to go down Second street. They ran on the C. & A. tracks, and stopped just before the horses reached a deep culvert over Shield's branch. The boys who were in the wagon at the time were thrown out, but none were hurt.

 

ALTON LIQUOR STORE (KENT & CARR) FIRE
Source: Oswego Commercial Times, January 7, 1901
A fire at Alton, Illinois Friday night destroyed the liquor store of Kent & Carr, destroying that and nine adjoining buildings, embracing the whole block bounded by Short, Stato and Levee Streets. Loss $50,000; insurance $25,000. A German, whose name is unknown, was burned to death.

 

THE WILLOWS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 24, 1901
Engineer T. M. Long put in the day surveying the "made" land or accretions belonging to Z. B. Job, south of Front street and east of Henry between Henry and Spring streets. It is that section known as "the willows," and found to comprise about 200 acres with river frontage and in the city limits. Mr. Job lost about 1,000 acres through the encroachments of the river years ago near the mouth of Wood river, including the town of old Chippewa, and he says the river is only doing the square thing by paying some of this back.

 

BEALL BROTHERS WILL OPEN ALTON SHOVEL FACTORY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 2, 1901
That energetic and enterprising firm, Beall Bros., have determined to enlarge their business and will go extensively into the manufacture of shovels of all kinds, including hollow-back and plain-back. The Beall Bros. have for many years, purchased all the shovels sold by them [sic], and they are possibly the largest dealers in shovels in the United States. The new corporation will be known as "The Alton Shovel Company," and will be entirely separate from the mining tool corporation known as "The Beall Bros." The shareholders will be Charles Beal Sr., Edmond Beall, J. Wesley Beall and Charles L. Beall. The capital stock of the new corporation will be ample for the purpose, and the number of men employed will be large. Beall Bros have awarded the contract for the making of the machines needed, amounting to twenty large machines to manufacture the shovels and the handles. The wood is run through nine different machines and comes out complete handles. The capacity of the new machines will be 200 dozen shovels per day. Architect Pfeiffenberger is now at work on the plans of a building, 105 by 60 feet; it will be of wood. The contract will be let next Saturday and the building and machinery will be ready for operation in sixty days. The Beall Bros. have been contemplating this extension of their business for some years, but the fire of a year ago last winter retarded the plans of the company. The new building will take up all the unoccupied ground in the block now used by the firm, and as it will be necessary to store a large amount of lumber, the Beall Bros will ask permission of the City Council to use the south side of Fifth street, adjoining their property, for the storage of lumber. As this part of the street has never been used for public traffic, and is not likely to be, there is little doubt but the council will readily grant the request. The Bealls, of course, guarantee to remove their material at any time the city may desire to improve and use the street. This improvement will make a large addition to Alton's manufacturing industries, and will give employment to a large number of men. The new venture will be a success, for the Bealls have had for years a most profitable business in the sale of shovels all over the west and south.

 

HUNDREDS OF TRAMPS USE CAVES NEAR ALTON FOR SHELTER
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 16, 1901
The caves along the bluffs are reported to be a bum's paradise, and the population of the caves at present is large. Hundreds of tramps have been hanging out in these caves all winter, and the number is increasing as the warm weather comes and loosens up the joints of the travelers so that they can make haste to their favorite place of abode to avoid the shivering blasts of March.

 

OLD RELIC FOUND IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 9, 1901
Workmen who were digging foundations for an oil tank at the Beall Bros. plant this morning uncovered an old neck yoke that had been used many years ago for working oxen. The place where the excavation was being made was in the bottom of the old Piasa Creek, and is probably a yoke of a farmer's team that stopped at the old Piasa house grounds long ago.

 

PAWNEE BILL WILD WEST SHOW IN TOWN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 6, 1901
The Pawnee Bill Wild West show arrived in Alton yesterday, and is holding forth today in the rear of the baseball park. The show is accompanied by innumerable side shows that have been doing a big business all day near the circus grounds. Everything in the side show line that helps to make a big show popular is on exhibition. In the main part of the show there is a big display that is very interesting to all. Good horses and good riders are a principal feature, and well-known marksmen are there in abundance. The street parade in the morning made a fine impression. The main show is surrounded by a wall of canvas, the seats being ranged around the walls and they are covered by a canopy of canvas to protect the spectators from the elements. Pawnee Bill carries a good show with him, and there will be a big crowd tonight. A large number of people saw the afternoon performance.

NOTES:
Pawnee Bill was an American showman and performer who specialized in Wild West shows. He was born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1860. His family moved to Kansas after their flour mill burned down. Born Gordon William Lillie, he earned the nickname "Pawnee Bill" while serving as an interpreter with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, after working with the Pawnee Indian agency in Indian Territory at the age of 19. He developed a true love for the west. After marrying May Manning in 1886, they opened their own Wild West show, with May serving as the "Champion Girl Horseback Shot of the West." At first their show was a financial disaster, but after they re-organized a smaller operation it became popular and successful. They bought their own ranch, and later became involved in banking, real estate, and oil. In 1936, Pawnee Bill lost control of his car. As a result, his wife died of her injuries, and Pawnee Bill never fully recovered. He died on February 3, 1942.

 

41st ANNIVERSARY OF GREATEST STORM THAT EVER VISITED ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 3, 1901
Today is the 41st anniversary of the greatest storm which ever visited Alton. Saturday evening, June 3, 1860, about 7:30 o'clock, was the date. The new office of the Alton Democrat was demolished with its contents. The top story of the building in which the Telegraph is now located was blown off. St. Mary's German Catholic church was blown down, and the rector buried in the ruins, although he was taken out without a scratch. The steeples of the Methodist and Episcopal churches were blown down. The top story of the Ryder building was blown off. Many other buildings were more or less wrecked. The storm was accompanied by heavy hail, which demolished every window on the north side of all houses where the shutters were not closed. Singular to say, no one was injured.

 

FIRE DESTROYS HALF A BLOCK AT THIRD AND PIASA IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 30, 1901
One half the block bounded by Piasa, Third, Market and Fourth streets were destroyed by fire beginning shortly before noon today. After an hour of fighting the fiercest fire that occurred in many years, the firemen and many scores of hardworking volunteer assistants who sprung into service from the ranks of the onlookers, the fire was subdued and all danger of it spreading to the valuable property in the neighborhood was over. The losses were as follows:

John Snyder, $23,000; insurance $11,000
Charles Seibold, $8,000; insurance $4,500
Kirsch Company, $1,600; insurance $1,600
Mrs. Ellen Dwyer, $500; covered
George Ginter, $250; covered
T. N. Bechtold, $400; insurance $100
Millers Mutual Insurance Company, $200; covered
Fager estate, $500; total loss

The origin of the fire is not known definitely, but it is said to have been started by a boy smoking cigarettes in the back part of the Seibold stable and dropping sparks on a pile of hay and shavings. Before the fire was discovered the Seibold building was doomed, and in the subsequent hurry to get out the horses, no one at first thought of turning in a fire alarm. By great exertion and prompt action all but one of the horses in the stable, 22 belonging to Seibold and 30 boarders, were rescued and were taken outside. In the back of the stable was a valuable horse belonging to Mr. Seibold, registered stock and standard bred, valued at $400, which was burned. When the fire department arrived a second alarm was turned in, and the reserve company hurried to the fire. Notwithstanding the good work of the firemen, the flames spread because of the big start they had gained, and it appeared for a half hour that the whole block would be burned and the fire would spread to the first block south. Several thousand people were soon gathered at the place watching the firemen and rendered all assistance necessary. The Telegraph building across the street was threatened. From the Seibold building the flames went to that of John Snyder on one side and there from buildings on the other, occupied by Theodore Bechtold, Dr. J. C. Booker, and the stable of the Kirsch Company. It was feared the fire would leap Fourth street and destroy the Beall shops, but streams of water stopped them. Leaping the alley east of the Seibold and Snyder property, the fire caught in the office building of the Millers' Mutual Fire Insurance Co., and from there to the property next door owned by the Flachenecker estate. In neither building was much damage done because of the protective work done by the firefighters. The principal part of the conflagration was in the Seibold and Snyder buildings. In the Seibold stables was a large quantity of hay and shavings and other highly inflammable material. The building was soon a seething furnace, and the heat was so intense the firefighters were nearly overcome many times. All the buggies in the Seibold stable but four were saved by bystanders and the stable force. Mr. Seibold's office fixtures were destroyed. At the Snyder building the flames soon worked through the thin brick wall and by way of the roof, and it was evident that nothing could be saved. Not one piece of goods nor any of the firm's books were saved. The safe fell through into the cellar and at the same time the two-story brick wall fell with a crash, many firemen narrowly escaping injury. Mr. Snyder said after the fire that he canceled several insurance policies a few days ago because he was carrying a comparatively light stock in the store. He had $18,000 stock and his building being an old one, was worth about $5,000, including a stone building east of the store. The Bechtold dairy was burned slightly in one end, and the Kirsch building back of it was destroyed with some hogs that were kept in it. The Fager estate building occupied by Dr. J. C. Booker was a veterinary hospital was destroyed with Dr. Booker's private property, consisting of office fixtures and medicines. The house belonging to Mrs. E. Dwyer in the rear and on the opposite side of the alley was damaged on one end, but the firemen saved it from destruction. Louis Ginter's shop, the brick building next to the Seibold stable and in the vicinity where the fire started was comparatively slightly damaged. At 1 o'clock, about 80 minutes after the fire started, the firemen were playing on a heap of ruins, the flames having consumed everything inflammable. When the walls fell at the Snyder building, the firemen soon had the fire under control, as the fire in the stock was smothered by the bricks and plaster. It was a day of great danger for Alton's downtown district, as every building was dry and warped with the heat of the sun, and furnished swift food for the flames. New buildings will rise where the old ones were burned down, and they will be better ones than ever occupied either site. The fire is a heavy loss to the owners of the property, but it made room for improvements.

SNYDER TO REBUILD AFTER FIRE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 1, 1901
John Snyder will erect a three-story modern business building with elevators, steam heat, etc., on his property, and will begin the work as soon as the insurance adjusters get through with their work. He will occupy two stories himself with a stock of goods, and will make offices of the third story. It will be a handsome and creditable building.

 

CHINAMAN PROVIDES FOURTH OF JULY FIREWORKS FOR CITY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1901
Tong Hong, the Celestial laundryman, had the best and biggest display of fireworks in the city Thursday. Tong's Americanism may be measured by the cost of his purchases to celebrate the advent of the anniversary of our national birthday, and he certainly did cover himself with glory. His fireworks cost over $400. Many new and beautiful pieces were imported from China for the occasion by Tong Hong, and there was a large crowd to see the display. The roar and flash was terrific. Tong had three strings of firecrackers of 10,000 each, and each made a noise like a cannon. In addition to the 30,000 distinct cannon crackers, there were pretty American flags in fireworks, pretty mines and sky rockets that kept the big crowd amused all evening. Tong Hong was very proud of his display, and so excited he almost forgot to express his delight in English but lapsed into his native Chinese language. Tong Hong's and Pang Sue's fireworks will be a feature of all Fourth of Julys hereafter.

 

YOUTHFUL BURGLARS OF HOPPE TOY STORE CAUGHT
Four little boys under arrest
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 7, 1901
Four little negroes, "Yaller" Waters, Julius Kyles, "Rabbit" Sims, and James Douglas, were arrested today on a warrant charging them with committing a burglary at the Hoppe Toy Store Sunday morning. The boys are newsboys and bootblacks, and all are scarcely old enough to be held accountable for their offense. The police have suspected the boys of being the guilty ones, and Waters was arrested on suspicion. He told the story of the robbery after being sweated by Chief of Police Volbracht, and informed on his confederates in crime. In a short time, all but two of the boys were under arrest, and they broke down. Chief of Police Volbracht went to St. Louis this morning with Waters to look through the pawnshops where Waters sold the stolen goods. These boys are suspected of having committed many petty thefts and burglaries around the city, and they will be sent to the reform school. Rabbit Sims and Julius Kyle were put through a sweating process this afternoon in the police station, and they frankly admitted all that was charged against them and much more. They were shown some new revolvers, razors, knives and the Winchester rifle that were recovered in a store at 1412 Market street in St. Louis, and then they told all about their work in Alton. Rabbit Sims, who is 17, said the boys had robbed nearly every store in town. Every two weeks they made trips to St. Louis and sold their plunder to a man on Market street. The boys say he encouraged them to bring property to him. The store of Hermon Cole was robbed one week ago last Sunday, and the young burglars took six revolvers, ten knives, and a quantity of razors. They robbed Pitts & Hamill a short time ago and took a large quantity of cutlery, hair clippers, etc. The boys were adept in burglary. Kyle admitted being the smoothest in the bunch, and the boys say that he did all the planning. He is 13. His confederates say he will be the best burglar in the country before he is much older. Yaller Waters, they said, was not in the burglary and was not identified by the St. Louis man as one who sold goods to him. He was discharged. Other boys were in the burglary business and had been making a good living. Sims says they have been doing thieving since they were little boys, and always made a living at it in the summer when they were not working at the glassworks. They were implicated in some watch stealing last June, and several of them were sent to the reform school. The worst of the crowd was young Kyle, and he is accused of having planned and assisted in executing some of the most daring robberies the juvenile band of robbers committed. Sims says that Kyle has over $200 buried in his cellar, and that he made it all by stealing. Kyle, he said, always received the largest share as he was captain, although the smallest and youngest of the band.

 

NEW BEALL SHOVEL FACTORY BOOMING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 17, 1901
The new Beall Shovel factory is now running full blast, with every machine working to its utmost capacity. Several carloads of additional machinery for the factory have been ordered, duplicating some of the machines now running. The wood work department contains nine machines for transforming the lumber into shovel and pick handles. The Messrs. Beall have ordered the unsawed logs for sawing in their own works from which the handles will be made. In the iron department there are nearly a dozen machines for transferring the sheet iron into the complete and highly polished shovel. One machine cuts out a piece of iron for one shovel. This piece is then put into an oil furnace and heated to red heat, placed in another machine where it is again stamped by a 120,000 ton pressure and pressed in the exact shape of the shovel desired. From this machine the shovel is turned over to another for further shaping and fitting on the handle, and then to another for finishing touches such as grinding on the emery wheel, etc. The Beall's are rushed with orders, and it will take the entire capacity of the plant to turn out sufficient shovels to fill the orders. There is something like $30,000 now invested in the plant, with additions yet to be made. when it is remembered how the Beall's started some eighteen years ago on Belle street in one small shop with one small trip hammer, and the gigantic proportions of their present plant, a good idea of the business energy, enterprise and successful financiering manifested by the firm can be obtained. Another feature of the Beall's factory is that not a single article manufactured by them is sold in Alton, and every dollar of their net earnings is put into Alton either in the shape of machinery, enlarging their plant, or in-dwelling houses to accommodate the rapidly growing population of this city.

 

THE 1901 ALTON JUBILEE - LOUISIANA PURCHASE CELEBRATION:

Carnival Spirit Rampant/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 20, 1901
The Alton people entered with spirit into the carnival festivities, and the old town is being roused into the carnival fever with rollicking festivities. The first night was a great success. Thousands of people were downtown surging to and fro in great throngs, and everyone was entering into the season with a spirit that promises to make Alton hum before the end of the week. Everyone is mixing up with everyone else, elbowing each other through the crowds and having a good time. As the evening wore away, the crowd, impatient at the delay in the beginning of the attractions caused by the failure in making electric light connections, began to give full sway to the dominating carnival spirit, and there was a wild time until midnight. Everything done was given and taken in good part and there was none who did not enjoy himself. Some rode the camels and others threw confetti. The rubber ball merchant did a thriving business and there was a continual bombardment with the little carnival favorites on all sides. The din and uproar was deafening until a late hour. Occasionally the crowd that thronged the square gave way to a street car and then closed in again. The main shows and the free attractions were ready for business late in the evening. When the shows opened, there was a general rush for them, and the rush kept up until after 11 o'clock. The spiral tower act on Market street before the post office was a pretty one, and the display of fireworks was very entertaining. At Second and Spring streets the Frees Bros. will give a free trapeze performance at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily. At Washington street the Rozart Bros. and Frees barrel performance will take place at 2:30 and 9 p.m. daily. At Henry street the electric fountain gives a display in the evening at 8 p.m., which is free and last evening proved very popular. Tomorrow will be Macoupin county day, and the program will consist of the band concert by the White Hussars in the afternoon and the opening of the Midway at 1:30 p.m. The Phillion tower performance will be given in the afternoon also. In the evening the band will give a concert at 7 p.m., and the electric fountain will play at 8 p.m.

Edwardsville Coming to Jubilee/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 21, 1901
Preparations for the presence at the carnival of a large number from the county seat are well under way. Friday afternoon, which has been set aside for Edwardsvillians, will see a great delegation of the latter as guests of their west side neighbors. The miners' union, it is understood, has decided to attend, some 150 men; the tire company is going; the members of the Edwardsville Club, who were invited to be present on Club Day, will instead join the other townsmen on Edwardsville Day. A list has been circulated for signatures of merchants who would close their places of business for one afternoon, and all but one or two subscribed to the plan and will close up shop after noon on Friday. Tickets are being sold by several business men who have consented to help push the matter. They will be good on any train on Friday and cost 40 cents for the round trip, a great reduction from the regular rate. It is expected, however, that the great majority from the county seat will go over on the special train, which will leave the uptown depot at 1:45. Get a ticket and go over to see the show, thus giving yourself a good time and evincing a timely interest in our neighbor. Edwardsville should and will make a good showing at the Alton carnival. There will be no difficulty in returning, as that has been attended to, a special train leaving Alton at 10 o'clock at night. ~Edwardsville Intelligencer.

A Meritorious Entertainment/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 21, 1901
The Canton Carnival Company has come to Alton, the people have had an opportunity to pass upon the merits of the entertainment afforded and the unanimous verdict is that the street fair attractions are almost uniformly first class, and that a class of entertainment is afforded that is really worth many times the price of admission charged. The stories circulated against the company in Alton before its advent have been thoroughly disproved. The Streets of India is an entertainment that no one should miss. The features are all strong and the acrobatic specialties shown there have pleased and puzzled everyone who has seen them. Seemingly impossible feats were performed last evening before a large crowd of spectators, and every person there was well pleased with the entertainment. It is worth many times the price of admission. The wild animal show is an excellent attraction and vies with the midgets, the two little people who do wonderful things, as centers of attractions for the children and the old folks who take the children. The animals are well trained and are handsome specimens of their races. The electric theater, the flying lady, the stone lady and many others that are on exhibition behind the doors are very pleasing. The spiral tower act is very pretty and at the same time a hazardous exhibition. It attracts large crowds every time Phyllion makes his perilous trip up and down the tower. With perhaps one exception, there is none of the shows that cannot be seen by mixed audiences, and everyone is pleased by them. The visitors in town go away strong boosters for the street fair when they see the good attractions we have furnished, and Alton people are doing their best to boost. The streets last evening were again packed with people downtown and everyone abandoned himself to the wild carnival spirit. Alton people and their guests are having a good time at their street fair and everyone is becoming an earnest booster.

Alton Jubilee Continues to Increase Its Success and Crowds Growing/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 22, 1901
As the days of the Alton jubilee slip by, the popularity of the festivities is waxing. The attendance increases each day over the attendance of the day before. The crowds on the streets in the afternoons and evenings are larger and more hilarious. The people have a better time, notwithstanding the fact that they are being tired out. Last night, the streets were thronged with a gay multitude until nearly midnight. Everyone was in fine humor and confetti throwing, the rubber ball and noise-making apparatus were at the height of their glory. The streets of India continue to be very popular and entertain large crowds twice a day. The performers in the company are high grade artists and have pleased everyone. The animal show and the midgets vie in popularity, and both are favorite places. The crowds on the streets today were the largest since the jubilee began. The Big Four, Alton, Burlington, Bluff Line and the Illinois Terminal [railroads] brought thousands of people to town. The visitors began arriving early in the day, and before 9 o'clock the streets were thronged with people who were having a good time and were seeing the sights. The street fair attractions opened early and did a rushing business. Everyone was well patronized and the lunch counter men prospered. It was a great day for Alton. An estimate of the number of visitors in town today would be difficult to make as every wagon road was lined with vehicles coming in and all the public conveyances had more than they could conveniently attend to. The crowds were the greatest ever gathered at any time in Madison county. A meeting of citizens was called this morning to make final arrangements for meeting the St. Louis guests of honor at noon. The members of the committee appointed were: J. A. Cousley, J. J. McInerney, J. J. Brenholt, J. H. Raible, Will Joesting, George Colonius, C. A. Caldwell, Dr. G. Taphorn, H. K. Johnston, G. M. Levis, Ed Beall, J. D. McAdams, J. M. Rhoads, T. H. Kauffman, L. Pfeiffenberger, Judge A. W. Hope, A. Schlafly, O. S. Stowell, J. F. Porter, L. F. Schussler, John Dawson, D. R. Sparks. A sub-committee was appointed to meet the members of the South Broadway Merchants Association who arrived on the Burlington at noon. Hon. Henry G. McPike was appointed chairman of the Reception committee and had charge of the reception. The City of Providence with 3,500 people on board and the members of the board of directors of the World's Fair stuck hard on a sandbar at the Chain of Rocks and could not be taken off. The St. Louis harbor boat and another boat were dispatched to assist, but at late hour it seemed probable that the boat would not arrive. It was a great disappointment to the crowd gathered to help celebrate the day.

Keep Your Guns Loaded and Your Dogs Unmuzzled Tonight/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 24, 1901
Tonight being the last night of the Carnival, the danger of a general assault by thieves, house breakers, etc. becomes intensified, and Chief Volbracht desires to give special warning to our people and to urge them to use extra vigilance tonight. Bar doors and windows, he says, and keep lights burning all night. Thieves hate and fear the light. Leave someone at home if you come downtown. If you have no member of the family you can leave, hire somebody. You will be richer when you return home probably than you will be by doing some other way. "Nobody ever robbed me" is an all right assertion as far as it goes. You have been lucky, that's all, and there is a first time you know. Your first time may come tonight.

The Fools' Carnival - Thousands on the Streets Reveling in Carnival Sports/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 24, 1901
Of all the nights of the Twentieth Century Jubilee, last night was the wildest. The evening was supposed to be devoted to a fool's carnival, and the people were permitted to mask, but few did so. Most of the revelers preferred to go it without masks, the heat being too oppressive for disguises. Many thousands of people roamed the streets downtown and made the town uproarious. Everything but rubber balls was tolerated, and the new fad of powder throwing was carried to the extreme. All kinds of white powder was used, including flower, corn starch and borated talcum. Powder was thrown into the faces and eyes of the carnival revelers, and the only thing to be done was to retaliate. White stuff was in great demand, and the dealers' supply was exhausted. Until near midnight the streets were crowded and the revelers seemed loath to go home. Everyone was in the best of humor and even the most staid and dignified citizen invested in confetti and threw it in self-defense. Parties of young people paraded the streets deluging everyone in their path with the bits of paper and white stuff. Clothes were ruined for hundreds of people, and the cleaners will have more than they can attend to. The visitors had just as much fun as the home people, and everyone seemed to be pleased. The shows were well patronized all evening.

 

JOHN CULP OPENS WHOLESALE STORE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 27, 1901
John Culp & Son of Fosterburg have opened a wholesale store for the sale of straw, hay and grain, at Second and George Streets.

 

105 DAYS ON THE ROCK PILE FOR WISHING PRESIDENT McKINLEY DEAD
[McKinley had been shot by an assassin Sept. 6, and was clinging to life. He died Sept. 14.]
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 1901
Police Magistrate Few and City Attorney Lynn concluded this morning that 105 days on the rock pile is deserved punishment for a man who would say that he wished the President would die from the assassin's bullet. David Shields is the man who was fined this morning in the police court for this offense. The fine is $50 and costs, and the sentence imposed by the Police Magistrate is 105 days on the rock pile. Shields says his father was a soldier, and that his home is St. Louis. He was begging on the streets, using the pretext that he was crippled and unable to earn a living. Last night he insulted two ladies near Third and Piasa streets, and Officer Thomas, witnessing the offense, promptly placed Shields under arrest and was compelled to use physical punishment to force the man to go to the police station. On the way, Officer Thomas says, Shields became very abusive and expressed the wish that President McKinley would die from the effects of the wound he received at the hands of Czolgosz. The officer became so enraged at this offense that he added a few additional taps to the punishment he had administered, and then locked Shields in jail. This morning Shields begged piteously for mercy, but his record was looked up and it was found that he had been shown clemency before when accused of begging in the city. Police Magistrate Few said that he would fine the man $25 and costs for begging, and $25 for making the remark about the President. Shields begged again to be allowed to go free, but the heart of the Police Magistrate was steeled against him and he informed the culprit that he would have a boarding place until the frosts of winter come. Shields is a hearty looking individual, and excepting a slightly contorted hand, is able-bodied and will make a good workman on the city's rock pile gang.

 

FLAMES DESTROYED THE KREMER SALOON, BOWLING ALLEY AND RESTAURANT, AND BADLY DAMAGE ALTON SALOON BUILDING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 20, 1901
Chris Ulrich, night watchman at Beall Bros., discovered flames issuing from the Kremer buildings on Belle street between Fourth and Fifth streets at 3:20 o'clock this morning, and at once gave the alarm. All the fire companies responded, and by hard work prevented the destruction of the entire block. As it is, the bowling alleys and building, the Kremer saloon and the restaurant which has been conducted by Richard Eck, are in ruins, and the rear end of the Alton saloon, whose entrance is on Fourth street, is badly damaged, and the contents of the building, the upstairs part of which is occupied by the proprietor, Ben Miles, are practically ruined by dirt and water. the fire started in the rear part of the Kremer saloon it is said, and Mr. Kremer says was caused by a live wire, in all probability. Others say the fire started in the kitchen of the restaurant. This is denied by Mr. Eck, who says there was absolutely no fire left in the kitchen. He at first said he thought the fire was of incendiary origin, but later inclined to the live wire theory. He and his wife and four-year-old child were asleep upstairs at the time of the fire, and barely escaped with their lives and in their night clothes. He says he had $240 in cash under his pillow, which together with everything else in the rooms was destroyed. The Kremer saloon was one of the finest in the city, and its fixtures, etc., were of the most costly kind. Mr. Kremer owned the three buildings destroyed, and the damage will amount to $12,000 or $13,000 he says. The Miles property is damaged to the extent of $1,500. Mr. Kremer says he is carrying about $4,500 insurance, while Mr. Miles is carrying only about $700, it is said. Mayor Young was present all through the fire and made one of the best firefighters. Gus Miller was back in his firefighting clothes, and did excellent service. Hundreds of citizens were present also. The walls of all the Kremer buildings are left standing and in a good condition, and it is Mr. Kremer's intention to rebuild as soon as the adjusters finish their work. Considerable money was in the saloon part, but it was saved together with most of the contents. It was a bad fire, but it could have been very much worse, and for a time Morgenroth's place, Noll's Bakery, Raible's liquor house and the Seibold Bros.' stables appeared doomed. McKinney's agency had $500 loss in the fire. The adjuster of the company arrived in town this morning and adjusted the loss at once, and Mr. Kremer received a check for the loss in McKinney's agency before noon. [Note: The Kremer Bowling Alley was located at 409 Belle Street, near the current Hayner Library location.]

 

ANOTHER STORY ADDED TO ALTON SPALDING CLUB BUILDING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 21, 1901
The Board of Directors of the Spalding Club building on Belle street are more than pleased with the financial success that has attended the erection of that building from the start, and the managers are forced by progressing prosperity and the demands of the persistent would-be-patrons to enlarge the edifice, or erect a new one. They cannot enlarge the ground floor part, as the ground is not just now obtainable, and it has been decided practically to add another story, modernize it in every way, equip it with all accessories to comfort, including elevators, and make of the Spalding building one of the finest in the city. The Knights of Columbus, an organization which is growing rapidly, will occupy much, if not all of the third floor, and it will be modeled to suit their wants - with lodge halls, banquet rooms, ante chambers, cloak rooms, etc. Other organizations may use it, but it will belong to the Knights who are willing, it is said, to enter into a long lease contract. The addition of another story to the building will make the Spalding easily the most conspicuous building on Belle street, as well as the most profitable. The success of the directorate with the financial end of the proposition cannot but please Altonians generally, as it is confirmation strong that good, conveniently arranged buildings in Alton are paying investments, even though they are - like the Spalding - a little removed from the business center.

 

TELEPHONE COMPANY SETTING POLES BY MOONLIGHT - MUCH OPPOSITION TO PLACEMENT OF POLES HAS BEEN MADE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 26, 1901
The Kinloch telephone company had a force of men at work last night again, setting poles by moonlight. So much opposition has been made to the setting of poles in certain parts of the city [Alton], that it was found necessary to go about the work secretly. Last night a hole was dug on city hall square near the watering trough, and it was intended to raise a pole there. The night police notified the Chief of Police, and he ordered the work stopped. A watchman to prevent the placing of the pole on the square was stationed. Many poles were erected last night where property owners were opposed to them. The Kinloch company is acting in bad faith with both the city and the citizens. The franchise granted the company stipulated that the poles should be set under the direction of the city engineer. Now the employees of the company are going around at midnight and are putting their poles in places where they have no right, in hopes that when the poles are once in the city, the citizens will submit to their illegal work. The city council should see to it that its stipulations are carried out, or revoke the company's franchise. The Kinloch corporation should be willing to be decent, provided such a characteristic is in their makeup.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 26, 1901
The Kinloch Telephone Company, last night, sometime after midnight Mr. McPike says, erected a pole in front of the McPike building on Second, near Piasa street. They had been forbidden to do so by Mr. McPike, and once before he began legal proceedings against the company but dropped them after satisfactory assurances were given him that the obstructions should not be placed in front of his premises. Today he entered suit against the Kinloch Long Distance Company in Justice Nathan's court for $200 damages. He says he will also get out an injunction against the company. The trial is set for October 3, at 2 o'clock.

[NOTES: The Kinloch Telephone Company was very shrewd, in that they erected their telephone poles so that they stood among the wires of the electric light company, so that the felling of the telephone poles would cause electric wires to fall and endanger those who were trying to take them down. In the McPike suit for $200 damages, the telephone company agreed to move a pole that was placed in front of the Boston store entrance, which had been placed over a sewer, and the company would place a pole at the corner of Second [Broadway] and Piasa streets to be used by the street railway company and the telephone company. All damages to the sidewalk were to be repaired and all costs, including the attorney's fees, were to be paid by the telephone company. Others complained of the company cutting limbs from trees to make room for their lines and poles. Needless to say, the Kinloch Telephone Company did not have a good start in the community. However, the company finally opened their service on November 11, 1901, starting with service supplied to 225 telephones. The company was located in the Haagen Building in Alton. The company was later bought by Southwestern Bell.]

 

RUNAWAY COAL TRAIN IN ALTON - CREW BRAVELY RODE TO THE END
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 28, 1901
A train crew on the Alton had a perilous ride last night on a train of loaded coal cars that were running away with the engine. It was a hair-raising experience, and the men had a close call for death, but they stuck to their posts, and after doing all in their power to stop the runaway, they bravely stayed with their train, ready to jump if anything went wrong. The train consisted of seven coal cars, most of them the large, heavy ones of steel, and all of them heavily loaded. On the steep grade near the Summit, the train got away from the engine, that is the engine which was in front was unable to hold them back, and the mad ride started. Working in the reverse motion, the engine could not stay the great weight of the heavy cars on the incline, and in a few seconds, it had become a lottery in which the chances of life for the crew were less than equal with those of death. Down Piasa street the shrieking locomotive came, pushed onward by the momentum of the weight of coal and cars. The engineer and fireman stuck to the cab and the remainder of the crew, after trying to set the brakes, gathered at the back of the train ready to jump in case the cars should leave the tracks. Down Piasa street at midnight, running fully sixty miles an hour, the runaway dashed and rounded the curve, the whistle shrieking the signal to the man at the signal tower to line up the track. It was an awful moment of suspense for the crew until they saw as they approached near the inter-locking plant at Langdon street, that the switch had been thrown and the track lined up for the runaway. Had there been failure on the part of the tower man to be quick enough, or had he misunderstood the shrieks of alarm, it would have been all over with the train crew. Over the switches of the interlocker the train sped in safety, and after a long run the engine in the breeching succeeded in stopping the train. It was 45 minutes before the train could be brought back from the end of its wild run.

 

ALTON'S BIG FIRE - GREATEST LOSS IN THE CITY'S HISTORY
STANARD'S MILLS AND BIG ELEVATOR A PILE OF RUINS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 2, 1901
The hungry fire-fiend devoured almost the entire block of milling property and business houses bounded by Second [Broadway], State, Piasa streets and the levee this morning. The fire originated in the top floor of the Stanard mill, and is supposed to have been caused by the ignition of mill dust or by an electric wire. Within a few minutes after the fire was discovered at 10:20 o'clock, the mill was doomed and the entire block of valuable business property was threatened with destruction. A hundred volunteer firemen sprang from the numbers of onlookers and helped the firefighters effectively. Men climbed to the roof of the barrel house of the Stanard elevator, and with a hose disputed the progress of the flames until the firemen were driven down by the heat and smoke. From the Stanard mill the flames spread to the barrel house and from there to the big elevator. Within the elevator was stored 100,000 bushels of wheat. When the fire took the elevator, it was evident that the block of property could be saved only by heroic work and by the cessation of the fierce gale which was blowing out of the northwest. The firemen on the levee side of the block were driven from their posts of duty repeatedly by the onslaughts of smoke, flame and heat, but they returned as many times and renewed the fight. The building adjoining the Standard property on the west, owned by the Rider estate, was saved in a damaged condition by the wind and the work of the helpers of the firemen, together with assistance given by Mr. W. B. Pierce and his men. The buildings on the north side of Second street took fire repeatedly during the mill fire, but were saved with but little water damage. From the Stanard elevator the fire caught on the Hayden Machine Company's shops and the building adjoining it on the east, the Alton Electric Elevator & Milling Co. The flames fed on this building greedily, and soon the hope of saving it was abandoned and efforts to stay the fire were concentrated on the Meehan building next door. The top and back end of the building were destroyed and the front was saved, the stock of goods inside being almost a complete loss. On the south side of the block the high wind carried the fire to the double store building of M. Wilkinson and the rear end of the building occupied by Miessner's saloon was almost consumed. Here the firefighters made a new stand and concentrated their efforts anew to stopping the fire there. It was feared that nothing could be done to save the building of H. G. McPike, occupied by the Sentinel-Democrat, the Boston Store and J. H. McPike's corrugated paper plant. All the property in the building was removed in wagons, and while the loss on stock will be heavy, it will not be total. The sufferers by today's fire are the E. O. Stanard Milling Company, G. D. Hayden Machine Company, Alton Electric Roller Milling Company, J. Mechan, Emil Miessner, Stiritz & Rudershauson, Dennis Noonan, I. H. Kelly, Boston Store, J. H. McPike, and the Sentinel-Democrat. The losses to some will be slight, but all lost in their stock, and the insurance will be comparatively light. It is said by Mr. T. H. Kaffman that the Standard elevator contained fully 100,000 bushels of wheat, which is nearly covered by insurance. The elevator was worth about $40,000, and the milling property, consisting of a double mill, was worth about $100,000.

When word came that the St. Louis fire department would come to give help, the situation was almost hopeless. The high wind blowing from the northwest had carried the fire on the roofs of the buildings on the east side of the block, and the McPike building had begun to show smoke. The efforts of the firemen were not required to prevent the spread of the fire to the west side of the block, as the wind had done the work of protection, and not a particle of burning wood nor any water had done damage in the Alton Roller Mill and the Bowman building adjoining it on the west. It was a very fortunate escape for the two buildings and also for the H. K. Johnston Hardware Company's stores, which was in imminent danger of destruction for fully an hour. While the fire was at its height, the business men on Third street, fearing that the entire business part of the city would be destroyed, began carrying out portions of their stock and placing valuable papers in places of safety. Great vans of goods rushed to and fro among the onlookers, trying to carry off the property being taken from the buildings. Thousands of people stood on the streets and questioned as to what would happen within the next hour, and the suspense was dreadful. Firemen escaped from falling walls as if by miracle. One big section of the smoke stack on the Stanard mill fell shortly after the fire started, and dropped where a group of firemen had been standing when it started to fall. The men escaped by leaving the hose. Freight cars on the levee tracks were destroyed and their contents were burned. Switch engines saved many cars by pulling them to places of safety. The fire department left St. Louis at 11:50 and made the run to Alton in 27 minutes, coming by way of Eads bridge. The special train brought companies 18 and 39, in charge of Assistant Chief Busch and Ben Swingley, secretary of Chief Swingley. Two engines, two hose trucks and twenty men were in the two companies. The men had the fastest ride of their lives coming to Alton, as it was reported that the whole city was burning and the need was urgent. The St. Louis companies on their arrival here were taken to the river and Assistant Chief Busch soon had four powerful streams playing on the flames. By that time the fire was under control. The firemen at 1 o'clock had subdued the fire sufficiently to make all danger a thing of the past. It was found that the buildings of M. Wilkinson were not badly damaged, and that of J. Meehan not entirely destroyed. The wheat in the Stanard elevator still burned fiercely all afternoon, and Ben Swingley said that the wheat will probably burn a month. Owing to the compactness of the mass and its combustibility, the water has little effect.

The losses cannot be exactly ascertained, but as near as it is possible to estimate, the damage done will exceed $325,000. The following is a statement of the respective losses of the victims of the fire:

E. O. Stanard Milling Company $225,000
Alton Electric Elevator Company (including loss on building and stock) $25,000
J. C. Meehan $10,000
George D. Hayden Machine Company $7,000
M. Wilkinson $3,000
E. Miessner, saloon $500
Stiritz & Company, bowling alleys $1,000

In addition to these losses by fire directly, the loss to some of the people who removed their goods from the store and who suffered from water and smoke will be very heavy.

After playing on the flames until 3 o'clock, the St. Louis companies left the fire to the care of the Alton men and returned to their places in St. Louis.

An interesting incident of the fire was enacted in the engine room of the Stanard mill, where the flames were hottest and there was danger every minute that the walls would fall in. The engineer of the mill, John Edgar, after it was evident that nothing could save the mill, stuck by his engine in the basement and kept it running until he had filled the boilers with water, so that they might not be damaged by the heat and fire. The firemen called to him to come out, but he refused to do so, staying at his post of duty until his work was completed. In the meantime, the fire had taken possession and Mr. Edgar had a close call.

Captain Largent's packet shed and freight house on the levee caught fire and burned rapidly. Capt. Largent, who has been very ill in his room there, was lone and too weak to move or assist himself. He was thought of, however, and saved just in the nick of time. Several boxcars on the levee were destroyed and ties and other railroad property burned. The entire City Hall square was covered with goods of all description, taken from threatened buildings. Again and again the cry of "more pressure" was heard from the firemen. Men went white faced with fear that the entire business part of the city would be destroyed, and only that the wind did not veer is due the fact that Third street business houses are not now in ashes. It was an awful fire, and Alton fire department and the citizens who assisted deserve the greatest credit for having put it under control. It seemed an impossible thing to do. The loss of the Boston Store is about $8,000. Covered by insurance. Marshall Scovill brought down the Upper Alton fire department with fire-fighting apparatus, and the boys did a great deal of effective work. A great many of the merchants of Third street, fearing the fire would spread in that direction, secured all available teams and moved much of their stock to a place of safety. Fortunately, it was the "ounce of prevention" that was not needed. Alton is full of volunteer firemen just as the country is full of volunteer soldiers when they are needed.

The Stanard mills were built in 1866 by Silas W. Farber, and were conducted by Mr. Farber until his death. J. Q. Hurbridge purchased the mills from the Farber estate, and after a few years sold the plant to Gov. E. O. Stanard of St. Louis, who refitted, remodeled and placed in it the most approved machinery. He also a few years later erected an elevator with the capacity of 250,000 bushels of wheat. It was a fine warehouse, for the storage of flour was built between the mill and the elevator. This was well filled with flour which was awaiting shipment. Two years ago the mill machinery was changed and machinery for manufacturing spring (or hard) wheat was put in. The capacity of the mill was1,500 barrels per day. A new and more powerful engine from the Eagle mill in St. Louis was put into the mill here last spring, and the machinery was all in first-class condition and orders for flour were piling up in the office. The plant employed some fifty men, and the Alton people regret the misfortune which has befallen Gov. Stanard, whom they have always considered one of our people. The destruction of this fine property will be taken as personal loss by Altonians generally.

COUNTING THE COST OF FIRE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 3, 1901
The E. O. Stanard Milling company's property may be rebuilt, Gov. Stanard said yesterday in reply to an inquiry as to the intention of his company, that it was then too soon to make positive statement, and he declined to make any statement until a decision had been reached to rebuild the burned mill. Mr. W. K. Stanard was in Alton yesterday and said that the mill would probably be rebuilt. It has been one of the best paying pieces of mill property the company owned, and it has been kept running steadily while other mills belonging to the same company were closed. For this reason it is believed the mill will be again erected and will be built on more modern plans than the burned property was. The Stanard mills are one of the best industries in the city, and Alton people will be interested to learn when a decision regarding rebuilding has been reached. Mr. H. M. Schweppe said that his building, occupied by the Hayden Machine company, will be rebuilt and work will be started in a short time. Mr. Hayden's loss is almost total, as he carried about $8,000 worth of machinery and stock and only $800 insurance. The owners of the Electric Roller Mill Company are undecided what course to pursue. The plant was about to change owners, Mrs. Margaret Luly having all but closed a deal for the sale of the interest of her deceased husband, and the deal was to have been consummated yesterday. The loss is very heavy, as the insurance was comparatively light. Mr. Reyland was informed during the progress of the fire that several policies held by him had been canceled, but he had not bee notified, and it is probable that the insurance companies may be held responsible.

Today the victims of the big fire were preparing to make their claims against the various insurance companies. The heaviest loser is the McKinney agency. Dr. McKinney said today that the losses of companies represented by him will aggregate $400,000. The G. H. Smiley agency will be next, with $40,000 on the Stanard mill and $8,000 on the remaining property. The Stamper agency lost $26,00; the Blair agency $20,500; S. F. Connor agency $5,000; Sonntag $7,500; Frank Fisher $5,500. The Mahoney agency represented losses amounting to $40,000; C. A. Schlueter $2,000; F. S. Dodge $8,500. Mr. John Meehan will rebuild at once. His loss was $8,000 and his insurance was $4,000.

The Stanard damages total and the losses will be hardly covered by insurance. The insurance policies were collected today, and the total of insurance is $204,000. The milling company's net loss will be nearly $220,000, unless the hopes of some of the insurance men are realized. It is said by some of the men interested in the fire that one third of the wheat in the elevator can be saved. If this can be done, the net loss will be wiped out and the actual damages will be covered by insurance. Mr. E. O. Stanard was in Alton today, and he said that the wreck was the most complete he ever saw. He still declined to say whether the mill will be rebuilt, and reserved his decision until the loses by fire are adjusted by the insurance company. All the losses are so divided among the various companies that none will lose very heavily, fully seventy-five companies being interested in the fire. The adjusters began arriving in town today and began settling up the claims for small amounts. The owners of buildings on the north side of Second street have been settled with, and the larger claims will be adjusted within a few days.

All day today streams of water were kept playing on the still smoking ruins. Nothing has been done to clear the wreck. Some of the old walls are standing in a perilous condition, and will be pulled down, but people are barred from going on the street except at their own risk.

ATTEMPT MADE TO BURN DOWN RYDER BUILDING AND ROLLER MILL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 3, 1901
An attempt to set fire to the Ryder building adjoining the Alton Roller Mill on the east side, and which marks the extreme western limits of the fire line, was made this morning at 1 o'clock. George Redmond is in jail charged with being responsible for the attempt, and is being held until tomorrow, when the witnesses against him will have been secured. Redmond and Thomas Knight, a colored man, were employed during the fire yesterday, and last night were hired by the Alton Roller Milling company and Ira Garstang to watch the property and give notice of any further outbreaks of fire. Early in the evening fire broke out along the timbers on the first floor in the Ryder building, which had been occupied by the Alton Novelty Co. On this account it was feared fire might break out again, and the two watchmen were engaged to spend the night. Thomas Knight, the colored man, says that George Redmond ignited a pile of papers on the second floor of the Ryder estate building by using his lantern. Redmond says the lantern exploded, but this seems hardly probably as the globe was found entire in one place, the bowl in another, undamaged, and the wick of the lantern was in the burning pile of papers and straw. All the hose companies responded to the alarm of fire, and after the excitement had passed and the building was drenched with water, Knight's story was heard and Redmond was placed under arrest. Knight also is being detained as a witness. Mr. H. J. Bowman, trustee of the Ryder estate, and Mr. W. B. Pierce of the Alton Roller MIll, are indignant at the attempt to burn them out after they had escaped destruction during the big fire yesterday. Redmond will probably be prosecuted. The only reason to be assigned is that Redmond was very drunk or insane. Redmond was arrested by Officer Utt. He denied setting the building afire, but he told so many conflicting stories when taken in custody that Capt. Young of the night police decided to hold him. The burner of the lamp was found at the south end of the building, lying on the sidewalk, where it had been thrown, and the remainder of the lamp was found at the north end of the building.

ALTON THE PROBABLE SITE FOR THE NEW STANARD MILLS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 5, 1901
It is probable that Alton will again have the Stanard mills. It is said on good authority the new mill will be erected on the site of the old mill, but some concessions will be asked from the city of Alton, which will in all probability be granted. The plans for a new mill have been prepared, and it is intended to make the new property much larger than the old. The mill will have a capacity of 1,800 to 2,000 barrels a day, and will be constructed on most modern plans. The steel grain tanks that it is proposed to erect on the levee will greatly lessen the probable damage of a fire, and also will diminish the danger of a conflagration. The old mill will be much improved upon, and the new Stanard mills will be the finest in this part of the country. It is said that definite announcement of the plans of the Stanard Milling Company will be made this week. The city Council will, no doubt, grant to the Stanard Milling Company any reasonable concessions that may be asked in the way of privileges on the levee. Alton's levee is for the use of her manufacturing industries, and anything that will benefit them will be granted, if within the power of the City Council.

STANDARD MILLS WILL BE REBUILT IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 7, 1901
The Stanard Milling Company has decided to rebuild in Alton if it can obtain the following, which it will ask for at the next meeting of the city council: An extension of the Smith track on the levee past the mill, so as to give them another switch track; the privilege of erecting two steel grain tanks on the levee; and the privilege of running a water pipe across the levee from the mills to the river. All of these requests are easy and will be granted, excepting the Smith track extension, which will require some engineering and the consent of the Chicago & Alton. But this latter can be gained, it is thought.

THE NEW STANARD MILL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 8, 1901
It is stated that the new Stanard Mill will be five stories high and most complete and up-to-date in every particular. The warehouse will be three stories in height. It is the intention to have the engine and boiler on the ground floor, practically without a basement, as there is always danger when the river is high that water will damage everything in the cellar. It is proposed to erect, (if permission is given by the City Council, and indeed, the re-location of the mill here is based upon what the Council will do) a tank elevator on the levee for the storage of wheat. This will permit the delivery of wheat from steamboats on the south side, and from cars on the north side. As is said above, the re-location of the mill is largely dependent upon the public spirit manifested by the Council. The concessions asked by the owners of the Stanard Mill are conservative. There is nothing the city cannot readily grant. The two items of granting permission to locate the elevator on the levee and to run a water pipe to the river are very reasonable indeed. The levee is now practically a switching yard for the railroads. The extension of the "Smith track" to the mills is practically in the hands of the C. & A. railway, and as that road is now engaged in securing manufacturing institutions along its line, it will no doubt be ready to do its part towards extending the track, if the Council gives its permission. The Telegraph believes that the Council will be in line with public policy, and its act will be heartily approved by the people, to grant the requests of the Stanard Milling Co. That company in the past has paid from $500 to $700 per week wages. The new mill will have nearly double the capacity of the old, and no doubt its payroll will be almost doubled, to say nothing of the large sums paid out to farmers for wheat.

CONSTRUCTION OF NEW MILL WILL BE STARTED IN FOUR DAYS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 13, 1901
Hon. E. O. Stanard conferred with the Levee and Railroad committees of the City Council and Mayor Young, regarding the facilities on the levee and concessions, and at the close of the conference it was announced by Gov. Stanard that the mills will certainly be built here. Work will be started within a week, possibly in four days. The committees granted to Gov. Stanard permission to erect grain tanks on the levee. He then said that he does not desire to erect the grain tanks on the levee, if he can avoid it. He prefers to erect his elevators in the old place, and to have the switch track re-arranged on the levee to be more convenient. Either the Smith track will be extended or the other tracks re-arranged. A meeting of the railroads owning the tracks on the levee will be called to be held in this city next Wednesday to consider re-arranging the tracks. All the railroads are willing to rearrangement of shipping facilities. Permission was also given to lay a water pipe to the river. Gov. Stanard then said that he thanked the committee more than he could express. He said that the readiness with which all his requests were granted clinched the decision to rebuild the mill in Alton. He said no time will be lost, as it is desired to have the new mill building up at the earliest date possible.

EXCAVATIONS BEGAN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 20, 1901
The Stanard Milling Company began work today making excavations for the foundation for the mill and the piers to support the structure. Gov. Stanard says that he expects the laying of the foundation stones to be started by next Tuesday.

STANARD MILL CONTRACT LET
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 9, 1901
An East St. Louis firm, the Southern Illinois Construction Company, captured the contract for erecting the building for the new Stanard mill, the accepted bid being $29,931. There were four bidders, James Stewart & Co., $32,600; C. F. Degenhardt, $32,000; E. J. Ash, $30,640. Mr. Ash represented a pool of Alton contractors who tried for the contract. The new mill building must be completed by March 15, ready for the machinery. For every day after that time the mill is incomplete, the contractors must pay a penalty of $50 a day; and for every day under that time the contractor will receive a bonus of $25. It is said all the material will be furnished by outsiders, and it is probable that much of the work will be done by outsiders also.

 

FEDERAL LEAD COMPANY WILL BE COMING TO ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 14, 1901
The success of the Federal Lead Company's deal for the purchase of a tract of 100 acres for a site for a smelter was assured this afternoon. The deal was being closed up at a late hour this afternoon by Messrs. G. M. Levis, J. F. Porter, James Duncan, and a representative of the Federal Lead Company, who met Mr. William Feldwisch today and made the bargain for the land. To put the deal through it was necessary to buy 124 acres of land, and this amount was taken. In the presence of J. F. Porter, James Duncan and G. M. Levis this afternoon, Mr. Feldwisch agreed to sell the 124 acres of land for $300 an acre. The accretions to the land also must be taken by the Federal Lead Co., and over these secretions there is a dispute as to title. It will be necessary to raise several thousands of dollars to buy these accretions, as they are claimed by two men, M. H. Boals and William Feldwisch, and they must be bought twice. Mr. Porter said this afternoon at 4:30 o'clock that he is certain the deal will go through. The Federal Lead Company will begin work at once on the buildings for its smelter, when the deeds are transferred.

 

RIVER PIRATES ROB BOSTON STORE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 17, 1901
A daring robbery was committed at the Boston Store last evening, shortly after 9 o'clock. A gang of river pirates, probably part of a gang that has been plundering stores and towns up the river the last year, dropped into Alton and after picking up two boatloads of clothing went on their way. Officer Thomas saw the robbers in the store shortly after 9 o'clock, and thinking that they were clerks connected with the store working in the stock, passed on without disturbing them. Later in the evening Mr. J. H. McPike was passing the levee side of the store and noticed the door had been broken open. A part of the glass in the door was broken out, and the key on the inside was turned by the robbers inserting a hand through the hole in the glass. The alarm was given, and the police made a search through the store. The stock was found in a state of wild disorder. Mr. Rolb(?) was summoned, and he says that 210 suits of boy's and men's clothing was stolen, also shoes, ladies silk waists and many other articles of apparel. A search of the cellar revealed a man lying covered under a pile of paper, pretending to be asleep. The man said he had been there several hours sleeping, and feigned intoxication. He was arrested. William Saul and another man complained to the police that their skiffs were stolen during the night and it was supposed that the robbers took the skiffs to transport their booty. It is believed that the man under arrest was one of the gang of robbers and that when the gang was discovered at work by Mr. J. H. McPike they fled. The man, who is under arrest, probably fell into the cellar, and fearing discovery, crawled under a pile of loose paper to hide, where he was discovered by Officer Thomas and J. H. McPike. Whole piles of clothing were carried away and many piles were pushed off the tables by the robbers in their hasty flight with their plunder. Saul is suspected by the police with having been implicated in the robbery. He was very drunk this morning and is being held until he sobers up and can tell a straight story. The other man found in the cellar and arrested by Officer Thomas is also being held and will be given a hearing tomorrow in the police court. Chief of Police Volbracht said today that he will be held, as Officer Utt saw the man talking to the men supposed to have committed the robbery, a short time before the robbery occurred, and he was standing near the Boston Store. The prisoner in jail, who was found in the cellar of the store, gives his name John Felder of Excelsior Springs, Mo.

 

MURDER MOST FOUL! HALLOWEEN PRANK IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 1, 1901
Early risers this morning in the vicinity of Sixth and Ridge streets were horrified to see the form of a man lying on the sidewalk in a big pool of blood, and to see also a stream of carmine [Red color] extending from the body along the sidewalk down to and into the gutter. A foul murder had been committed. There was no doubt of that, and some of the bravest ones made a sneak for the nearest telephone to call up the police. Then it was discovered that the "dead man" was a fake - a well stuffed dummy, and that the blood was red paint. "Red paint" of other varieties is not an entire stranger to Ridge street people, and their nerves speedily settled themselves, while their owners remembered that last night was Halloween.

 

ALTON POST OFFICE TO BE MOVED TO NEW BUILDING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 2, 1901
Postmaster Norton today received notice from Washington "that the bid of R. H. Levis has been accepted, in accordance with the recommendation of Assistant Superintendent Gould." There were several bids, among others those of Mr. Levis, H. J. Bowman, city of Alton; and Huntington Smith, owner of the Laura building. Mr. Levis had been considering plans for the erection of a neat business block on the property at Second [Broadway] and Alby streets. The plans prepared by Architect Pfeiffenberger call for a two-story building, 48 feet 6 inches in width, and 70 depth. The plans for the original building must be changed to make them conform with the specifications of the post office department. The new building can be erected in three months, with favorable weather, but it is probable that it will not be ready in that time.

 

ALTON'S OLD VINEGAR FACTORY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 21, 1901
The machinery of the old vinegar factory of W. Leo & Company has been taken out of the building in the old penitentiary plat. The building has been sold and the machinery is being shipped to Hamburg by W. Leo Jr., who will start in the cider and vinegar business at Hamburg. Mr. Leo was formerly a well-known young man of this city.

 

CONTRACT HAS BEEN LET FOR THE NEW FEDERAL LEAD COMPANY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 26, 1901
An officer of the Federal Lead Company said yesterday that the contract for the construction of the new lead smelter east of Alton on the Feldwisch tract has been let, and the cost of the new plant will exceed $450,000. The contract specifies that work on the smelter must be completed and the plant must be ready to begin operations by June 1, the time beginning December 1. A large force of men will be employed while the work of construction is in progress, and the site of the new plant of the Federal Lead Company east of Alton will be a busy place. Within ten days the preparations for starting the work of construction will be under way. The new smelter will be built on most modern plans and precaution will be taken to prevent the escape of the deadly fumes from the smokestacks, which have caused at other places great damage to vegetation in the adjacent fields. The smelter will be used to refine ore that has been partially refined, and consists of 75 percent of the pure lead. "The bridge arbitrary" is given by the St. Louis papers as the reason for the abandonment of St. Louis by the Smelter Company, which has purchased the Feldwisch farm east of the glassworks. The same papers state that the four railways, via: the Alton, the Big Four, the Bluff Line and the Illinois Terminal, pass the new location. So does the great Burlington system and the Missouri, Kansas and Taxes also has access to the grounds of the Federal Lead Company. Here are four of the greatest railway systems in the country, and the Illinois Terminal connects with the Wabash and Clover Leaf at Edwardsville, which certainly makes a marvelous shipping point, "one of the best in the west," as General Manager Levis of the glassworks put it.

 

NEW SNYDER STORE WILL BE READY IN TWO WEEKS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 3, 1901
Mr. John Snyder expects to be ready to occupy his new store building within two weeks. He will not engage in business alone, having taken in as equal partners Edward Kleinpeter and Joseph Snyder. Mr. Kleinpeter is a well-known young business man of Third street and has many friends. Mr. Joseph Snyder is a glassblower.

 

ALTON COAL COMPANY WILL DISSOLVE AND GO OUT OF BUSINESS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 5, 1901
The Alton Coal Company will dissolve and go out of business. The members of the company are T. J. Terrell and Patrick Maguire of Alton, and ex-Senator Paisley of Montgomery county. It is one of the oldest coal companies in the city, and for years did a very large business. Their determination to quit business will be a surprise to many of their friends, while to many more it has been known that the Alton members were very much dissatisfied with the Montgomery county and of the concern, and might cease business altogether in order to settle up things satisfactorily.

 

HOGS BROUGHT TO TOWN BY SLEIGHS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 18, 1901
Their Last Sleigh Ride - For the first time in many years farmers brought hogs to market today in sleighs. That is big hog racks were placed on sled runners filled with porkers, and scooted to the slaughtering pens.

 

SNYDER & CO. STORE WILL OPEN TOMORROW
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 20, 1901
[Note: The original store burned down June 30, 1901] The magnificent new store of John Snyder & Co. will be open to the public on and after Saturday, Dec. 21st, with the greatest offering of bargains ever presented to the people of Alton. Clothing at less than cost, also shoes at a great sacrifice. We mean what we say. We have been delayed in getting into our new building, but the goods must move. John Snyder & Co., Third and Piasa Streets

 

FIRST CHILD BORN IN ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 29, 1901
The nurses at St. Joseph's Hospital have been tenderly caring for a little frail piece of humanity since December 15, which first saw the light of day with its little eyes in St. Joseph's hospital. The hospital has been in existence over 35 years and never before was an infant born within its walls. The mother and child are doing well, and the mother, who is Mrs. U. G. Johnson of White Heath, Ill., will leave in a few days for her home in the northern part of the State. It is a matter of great interest in the hospital that the child was born there, as such a thing had never happened before. Mrs. Johnston came to the hospital for treatment, and while there the little son was born. He has not been named. The father was formerly stationed at Kane as pastor of the Methodist church, and was transferred to White Heath at the last session of the Southern Illinois conference in this city. The hospital nurses have become so interested in the little fellow they say they wish he could stay longer with them. The advent of the boy has settled one thing - he will not be the last stranger to see the light there.

 

FIRE IN SCHNELL'S BAKERY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 29, 1901
Fire did about $1,500 damage in the Schnell bakery on Second street [Broadway] Saturday at midnight. At no time was there danger that Hotel Madison would be burned, and there seemed to be no danger of the fire spreading to any of the buildings. When the hose companies arrived, the fire was in the boiler room of the bakery, where it had started from some unknown cause, and it spread forward to the elevator shaft, where it burned briskly. It was a bad fire for the firemen to fight, as its exact location could not be discovered, and volumes of suffocating smoke made the access of human beings to the fire impossible. At 2 o'clock the fire was out. The Singer sewing machine agency was threatened and the goods in there were carried out. Upstairs lived Miss Elsie McBride with her aunt, Miss Annie Wallendorf. Miss Wallendorf and her niece were awakened when the smoke was almost overcoming them and hurried from their home in their nightgowns. They were taken into the Madison hotel by Mr. Daniels and provided with quarters for the night, and firemen assisted by others recovered their clothing and valuables from the building that seemed about to be burned. Mr. Schnell, with characteristic energy, posted a notice Sunday that he would have bread today for his customers and is serving them.

 

HIDDEN CHAMBER DISCOVERED BY WORKMEN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 7, 1902
Workmen at the gas works who have been engaged in putting in the foundation for a new bench of six retorts in the gas manufacturing department were greatly surprised yesterday when they uncovered a subterranean cavern, the existence of which was never known before. The men nearly fell into the hole that yawned at their feet, about ten feet below the surface of the ground, and they made their escape in a hurry. The brick arch over the cavern fell in, and the men were able to see that they had uncovered a room that was walled up neatly and arched over the top. The room could have had no use in the manufacture of gas, and men working at the gas works many years never knew of the room being there. The room extends transversely over the sewer, but is no part of the sewer. The cave-in of the arch did not make a hole sufficiently large to allow a person to go through, but a cursory examination revealed a large, deep room. A pole 15 feet in length was run down, but the bottom of the room was not touched. It is a dark, suspicious looking place - a place fit for "treason, stratagem and spoils," and speculation is rife as to what it was built for, who did the job and what does it contain? It may be that the Hop Hollow buried treasure is there, or perhaps all the mysterious disappearances that have occurred in Alton for years past had their Alpha and Omega within those dark, danksome depths. Perhaps Pete McMullen, who shot Captain William Sweeney there one night several years ago and disappeared off the face of the earth, knew the secret entrance to this place and went in. It may have been even his treasure cave. The "old plank road" made history in early days, and the question arises, will the cavern disclose some new chapters? A thorough examination will be made of the cavern, tunnel or whatever it is, before the top is again walled in and concreted over.

January 8, 1902
The underground chamber at the gas works discovered a few days ago has been walled up by the workmen so as to admit of the completion of the work on the new bench of retorts that is being put in place there. The arch that was broken open was repaired and the retorts will be placed on top of the chamber. The men who made the discovery did not make an exploring tour inside the chamber as they found it too filthy to admit of a man's health being preserved while he made the trip.

 

ALTON PEST HOUSE SHAMEFUL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 19, 1902
An Alton man who was an inmate of the pest house kept by the city of Alton, and has been discharged from there, says that the conditions at the pest house are shameful. The place is filthy, there are no accommodations, and the social features are such that anyone would revolt at the suggestion of going there. The person interviewed voluntarily went to the pest house when he learned he had the smallpox, but he says that although he was willing to go, he would not have stayed there another day had the attending physician not discharged him. He says that the discharged patients are not fumigated or cleansed on leaving the place. This institution is costing the city enough to make it comfortable for the unfortunates who stay there. The inmates should be compelled to keep clean and the bedding should be properly attended to, which it is charged is not the case.

 

LULY DAIRY BARN IN RUINS - DESTROYED BY FIRE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 18, 1902
Fire destroyed the large barn at the dairy of Leonard Luly on Alby Street, this afternoon. The loss is very heavy. Appeals were sent to Alton for the assistance of the fire department, but the firemen were unable to give any help. Only company No. 1 responded to the call. The first alarm was sent in at 2:45 from a neighbor's telephone. It was said that the barn was doomed and the house threatened. Later advices received were that the barn had been destroyed and the house was threatened. The neighbors and members of the family stood by helplessly watching the fire consume the property. Leonard Luly, who was in a dangerous condition as the result of an accident and was undergoing a surgical operation, was carried from his home. None of the cattle in the barn were burned. The household goods of the Luly family were carried out by neighbors, but the house was only scorched and only the remoteness of other buildings prevented a greater destruction of property. The loss is estimated at $10,000. The fire was started by men who were trying to thaw out frozen water pipes in the barn. Luckily, the cattle and horses, numbering 67 head, had been turned out for the afternoon.

 

STRANGE LIGHTENING STRIKE AND TERRIFIC CRASH OF THUNDER
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 17, 1902
At 9 o'clock this morning the skies in the east were clear, the sun shining brightly; in the west, the skies were overcast and threatening. Suddenly from the clear sky came a vivid flash - two flashes in fact - of lightning, playing crisscross, and accompanied by a terrific crash. People on East Second street ran out of their houses and people on the streets ran panic-stricken in an endeavor to reach shelter. Some ran down into the cellars of stores, the doors of which were open. All were sure something nearly was demolished and they feared another bolt was due. Mrs. Fulton Seely was looking out of the window of an upstairs room of her dwelling at the corner of Alton and Second street, and saw the dirt fly in the vacant lot across the street as the lightning struck. Adjacent to the lot is the millinery store of Mrs. Peter Crolton, she with three girls were seated near the big glass window in the rear. Mrs. Crofton was knocked unconscious and the girls say it looked like a sheet of flames came through the window. All of the girls describing their sensations say that they felt terror-stricken and benumbed all over, except that it felt like coals of fire were rolling over their heads and through their hair. Mrs. Crolton was removed to Miss Lizzie O'Neill's boarding house next door, and Drs. L. F. Schussler and W. H. DAvis speedily responded to calls for medical assistance. The stricken woman recovered gradually, and while yet very weak and nervous is reported to be all right. Walter Welch of the Electric Light Company, with several others, went to the vacant lot and found a place where the surface of the earth was covered with a substance that looked like very finely crushed rock. It probably was a rock which the lightning struck and pulverized. He dug down and removed from the earth a substance resembling baked clay, bluish in color, about a foot in diameter and five or six inches long. A great many people secured small pieces of this and carried them away to be kept as souvenirs.

 

ALTON NOW HAS WOMAN PHYSICIAN AND SURGEON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 29, 1902
Alton has now a woman physician and surgeon - Dr. Nina Palson-Merritt, at 456 East Second street. Her husband is also a doctor. Both will practice their profession in this city.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 13, 1905
For the first time in its history, Alton township will have a woman as one of the county doctors. The county board yesterday accepted the bid of Drs. Merritt & Merritt of Alton, to attend all the indigent people in the township for the ensuing year. The members of the firm are Dr. C. H. Merritt and his wife, Dr. Nina P. Merritt.

 

ALTON - FLOOD
Source: Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle, June 30, 1902
Nearly all in-bound trains were greatly delayed today as a result of the storm, arriving from forty minutes to five or six hours late. Several washouts were reported and telegraph wires were down, so that the trains could not be located. One of the most disastrous floods in the history of Alton, Ill., and vicinity, resulted today from the heavy rains of Friday and Saturday. At 4 o'clock this afternoon, it was estimated that 10,000 acres have been covered by the overflow of Wood river, which m three to six miles wide. Most of this land is either occupied by manufacturing interests or planted in crops. The greatest single disaster caused by the flood was the destruction of the plant of the Stoneware Pipe Company at East Alton. The loss is estimated at $40,000. In East Alton the residents were compelled to use skiffs to get about the principal streets today. The station of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad was carried away by the flood to a field a quarter of a mile distant. The flood produced the worst railroad tie-up in recent years in the vicinity of the Altons.

 

FOURTH OF JULY CASUALTIES IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1902
Amid the deafening din of the cannon crackers, the explosions of the terrible toy cannon, the deadly revolver and the dangerous blank cartridge, carnage and destruction was waged in the path of the National birthday celebrants. The most serious accident of the day was the perhaps fatal injury of Arthur McDonald, who was shot by his playmate, Willie Bertier, Friday morning, and sustained a wound in the right breast. McDonald was showing a 32-calibre revolver to Bertier for the purpose of trying to make a sale. Bertier pointed it at McDonald's breast and snapped the trigger at a distance of two feet from his playmate. The bullet entered McDonald's breast between the first and second ribs, clipping the edge of the breastbone and lodging deep in the body of the boy. Drs. Taphorn and Shaff attended the wounded boy and pronounced his case so serious that probing for the ball was inadvisable. Little hope of the boy's recovery was held out to the parents. The Bertier boy was almost prostrated with grief at what he had accidentally done. The boys were 14 years old. McDonald is a son of former Fire Chief Andrew McDonald, and the family home is on Liberty, near Union street. Surgeons did a rushing business Friday caring for victims of toy cannons and the deadly cannon cracker. John Nelson was a victim of a cannon at Third and Walnut street. It blew up in his face and he will be disfigured for life. Dr. Smith was called to attend James Harris of Semple street who suffered a similar accident, and will be likewise disfigured by powder burns for the remainder of his life. Dr. Taphorn was called to attend James Brock, who while standing on a ladder at his home tacking up flags to decorate his place, fell with the ladder when it broke and plunged through a plate glass window. One of his arms was almost severed by the broken glass. Mrs. E. Bishop, boarding at the Coleman house, was struck on the face Friday at noon by a stray bullet which caused a flesh wound. She could not tell where the bullet came from. It was a 38 calibre ball, and it is considered she had a narrow escape, the bullet being deflected from her head by striking a bone.

 

CHICAGO, PEORIA & ST. LOUIS RAILROAD ADDING FACILITIES IN ALTON
Source: Jacksonville Daily Journal, July 19, 1902
The construction work on the new railway station at Alton is finished, and all that remains to be done in order that it may be ready for the public is the laying of the sidewalks surrounding it. The contract for this work has been let to P. E. Taintor of Springfield, who says that it will probably be completed in about two weeks. The railway this week commenced the work of building the new four-mile siding at Federal, the new station on the line. This siding will be used almost exclusively for the use of the Federal Lead company, which was instrumental in organizing the town of Federal.

 

ANOTHER ALTON LANDMARK BEING REMOVED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 15, 1902
Another old landmark that is being removed to make room for a modern building is Paul Robidou's old brick building just east of the Library on Fourth street, which was used as a horseshoeing shop for so many years that "the memory of man runneth not to the contrary."

 

ALTON WILL HAVE A MORGUE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 18, 1902
Allen Keiser will, it is said, make a morgue of the basement of the Ryder building at the corner of Second and Alby streets, which is now being fitted up for Messrs. Keiser & Dunlop, who will conduct a carpet and furniture store as well as undertaking establishment. Alton has long needed a morgue, the only one in the city being at St. Joseph's hospital, and that is not always the most convenient or most desirable, and besides is for the use of the hospital principally. It is said Mr. Keiser will have a room in the building equipped with an altar, Bible and other church accessories so that funeral services may be conducted there if desirable because of the weather or for any other reason.

 

ALTON WILL HAVE INDOOR BASEBALL IN CITY HALL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 21, 1902
An indoor baseball club is being organized in Alton among the young men who take active interest in athletic sports. The members of the indoor baseball club will probably be the members of the old Olympias, Imperials, Black Hawks and one other bowling club. The young men have secured permission to use the city hall, and last evening they held their first meeting in the hall to make preparations for beginning the games. The teams consist of eight players, there being no short-stop, but the teams will have a dozen players each in them from which to select men to make up the eight. There will be four clubs, and they will play a series of games for championship honors. Monday night the players had a practice game, and say they found the game a very good one. They have placed wire screens over the windows in the city hall to avoid breaking the glass, and they have laid out the floor for the games. The bases are 27 feet apart. The ball used is a large one, of soft material, and the game is played similarly to the national game of baseball. The young men who are interested in the formation of the indoor baseball league will hold a meeting next week to effect a permanent organization and to elect officers. The organizers of the indoor baseball league asked the permission of the City Council to use the city hall for the game this winter, and permission was given. Meetings will be held once a week, probably on Monday nights, and the only expense to the players will be the cost of replenishing the carbons in the electric lights.

 

WOMEN RIOT ON THE FERRYBOAT "ALTONIAN"
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 27, 1902
A masquerade frolic on McPike's Island, where a dancing pavilion is conducted by W. J. Fluent and J. Ernst, ended up in a wild riot Sunday morning shortly after midnight, and there are many sore heads and bruised bodies among the female frequenters of the resort. Capt. Fluent was obliged to draw his revolver and use the butt end of it on one woman who was fighting, and he also threatened their male friends to hold them at bay while he tried to settle the quarrel. It was necessary to land the boat and put some of the fighters off on the mudflat at the lower end of McPike Island to stop the trouble, and at that time the deck of the boat presented a bloody appearance. The trouble started on the dance floor between some of the female frequenters of the resort. Fiddler Pack stopped the music and took refuge in the pilot house of the Altonian when the dance began to have an ugly look. When the music stopped the fight became fast and furious. Women knocked each other down and tore hair. Capt. Fluent, to stop the fight, blew the whistle to summon the masqueraders to the boat for the last return trip. On the boat the fight was renewed and men who undertook to make peace were obliged to knock down the fighting women. It is said that few of the men were actually belligerents. When the boat arrived in Alton, the fighters became quarrelsome on the streets, and two of the women were arrested and placed in jail. One of the women bore a long gash in her shoulder, inflicted by another woman with a razor. Several of the fighters had long knives, and these were flourished in a threatening manner. There were on the boat at the time about 100 people, half of whom took refuge on the upper deck and in the cabin, leaving the lower deck to the rioters.

 

OLDEST VOTER IN ALTON CAME TO TOWN THE NIGHT LOVEJOY WAS ASSASSINATED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 28, 1902
Probably the oldest voter in Alton who registered himself personally was John B. Gould of Fifth and Alby streets. While hundreds of able-bodied voters in Alton do not take sufficient interest in the exercise of their franchise on election day to go to the polls and vote, Mr. Gould, 80 years of age, leaning on two canes and forced by weight of advancing years to slowly walk the distance from his home to the registration place, entered the place of registration this morning and asked if he was registered. Mr. Gould was 80 years old last Friday. His father and family, including Mr. Gould, came to Alton the night Lovejoy was assassinated in 1837. To a friend who remarked that one would not think Mr. Gould so old, judging from the interest in elections he takes, Mr. Gould replied that only his legs were 80 years old, the remainder of him being as good as ever.

 

McPIKE PAPER MILL

J. H. McPIKE TO OPEN PAPER MILL IN ALTON
[John H. McPike, son of Henry Guest McPike]
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 4, 1902
A lease by the city to J. H. McPike, of two blocks of land between Walnut and Cherry streets on the sand bar, was executed yesterday by city officials. Mr. McPike has procured the land as a site for a paper mill, which he hopes to have in Alton before long. Mr. McPike was approached by several institutions of the kind recently, but having no site that was satisfactory to offer to them, Alton did not get the industries. He now has a site well adapted to the needs of a paper factory, and he thinks that within a short time he will be shaping affairs so that this city will have a prosperous new industry. The proposed paper mill would furnish a market for all the straw grown in this vicinity, and it would be a great benefit to farmers near Alton and to businessmen. The product of the mill would find a ready sale in Alton and neighboring cities. The site leased to Mr. McPike is well located with reference to railroads and water could be had in unlimited quantities by sinking drive wells. Within the next generation Alton's waste of sand bar may be reclaimed and covered with thriving industries.

CONTRACT LET FOR NEW McPIKE PAPER MILL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 13, 1907
The contracts for the construction of a new building to be used as a mill and factory by the McPike Paper Company were let yesterday afternoon in the office of Architects L. Pfeiffenberger & Son. Henry Schuelle captured the general contract at $11,250, and David Wilson secured the stone work at $495.50. The building will be located on the old Alton House site on Front street, and construction work is to begin as soon as possible. Since J. H. McPike started his corrugated paper factory several years ago, he has made it a most successful business. He organized a few years ago a company, the members of which are all active business men, are hustlers and have money. Alton ought to be pleased with the evident success of one of her sons, and Altonians generally should help boost the factory and its products whenever and wherever possible.

McPIKE PAPER MILLS TO BE MOVED - RENT IS PROHIBITIVE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 2, 1911
The McPike paper mill, which has been conducted in the building at the corner of Second and State streets for several years, or since J. H. McPike sold out his interest in the Illinois paper company, is to be moved "bag and baggage" to St. Louis at once, and a great many Alton employees will be knocked out of employment unless they follow the plant to that city. J. H. McPike, the principal owner of the plant, told a Telegraph reporter that he was moving because the rent had been raised by the owners of the building he occupies here to a prohibitive point, and that he cannot get another suitable location in Alton. He said too that he can obtain in St. Louis a building perfectly suited to his needs for less money than he is paying here. The machinery is being packed now, and he says will be loaded into freight cars as soon as ready for shipment. When asked if he intended moving his family to St. Louis also, Mr. McPike said he had not decided that point yet; that he dislikes to move anything to St. Louis but that he has been forced to take this action as far as the paper mill plant is concerned. The going away of this plant will be learned with regret by Altonians. Mr. McPike has struggled hard to put the plant on its financial feet, and was meeting with success steadily. He gave employment to many persons at fairly good wages, and his plant has been the cause of distributing a great deal of money in business channels in the city. It is a regrettable fact that any factory should find it necessary to leave Alton, and particularly is it regrettable that an Altonian who has struggled hard to succeed in his native city should have to go elsewhere to attain that success in its greatest measure.

 

QUARRYMAN FINDS HUMAN SKELETON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 12, 1902
William Herrin, who is employed at Dan Maher's quarries on McGuan Street, while removing surface earth from the bedrock Tuesday afternoon, found a human skeleton at a depth of about ten feet from the top of the earth. He gathered the bones and took them to his home on Wharf street, where he expects to wire them together properly and let men learned in that way have a chance to determine whether the remains are those of a male or female, prehistoric personage or what is left of Ouatoga, the great Indian Chieftain who was the chief cause of the Piasa Bird being "killed dead." It is not likely, however, that the skeleton is that of an Indian, or more properly of a common, ordinary every day Indian, as the Indians do not place their dead that deep in the ground, if placed in the ground at all. Of course, in the case of a chieftain, they might have taken extra precautions in disposing of his remains. There never was a cemetery, so far as known, in the vicinity of Maher's quarry, and the chances are that what is known now is all that will ever be known of the skeleton.

 

HORSE SHOEING SHOP IN SAME LOCATION FOR 42 YEARS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 25, 1902
The Richardson horse shoeing shop has been in its present location on Belle street forty-two years, and Dave Richardson, the present proprietor, is making some improvements to the shop. While engaged in removing a portion of the old floor near a bellows yesterday, he found a silver coin which had been dropped by his father presumably thirty-five or forty years ago. It was a little black in the face, but otherwise good, and he will make a "good luck" piece out of it.

 

FIGHT IN THE [ALTON] CITY JAIL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 26, 1902
Four strangers in the Alton jail indulged in a hard-fought battle shortly after they were incarcerated. Officer Thomas had arrested the men and placed them in the calaboose, where a good fire was kept up. The fire and whisky had a bad effect, and the men began to fight. Chief of Police Young and Officers Thomas and Parker were obliged to beat the men almost to insensibility to force them to stop fighting. The four men were hanging together like fighting dogs and could not be torn apart. Officer Thomas broke a heavy cane over the head of one of the prisoners, and the other officers applied their clubs vigorously on their backs and heads before the men would desist. The four fighters were then locked up in the dungeon.

 

AFTER THREE DECADES OF BURIAL, 3 CENT PIECES PUT BACK IN CIRCULATION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 9, 1903
Mr. O. G. Norris, agent for the Alton, has been giving out at his office some discolored 3 cent pieces, which are being put in circulation now after three decades and more of burial. Over one year ago George Finkenkiller of Upper Alton, while assisting in building the foundations of the new Bluff Line passenger station, found a heap of coins deep in the ground. They had apparently been dropped about 35 years ago [abt. 1868] by someone walking along the levee. The remains of an old sack were found around the heap of coins, and this confirmed the theory that a sack of money had been lost. All the coins were found to be 3 cent pieces, and most of them bore the date 1865. Finkenkiller thought the coins had some value aside from their face value, but found they had none. He put them in a bank, and a few days ago Mr. Norris was asked by the bank to help put the coins in circulation. They have proved a nuisance to him, however, as people ask questions and some do not seem willing to accept the discolored coins because of the similarity they bear to dimes. A suggestion is made that these coins were part of the booty stolen from the First National bank in November 1868, when that institution was robbed. M. H. Filley, who was then night watchman, was murdered by one of the robbers and they escaped taking with them a number of sacks of small coins. So heavy was the burden found, the robbers discarded some of the sacks while they were running to the levee to take a skiff to the other side of the river in making their escape. Some of the bags were found, and it is supposed these coins may have been in one of them dropped by the fleeing robbers.

 

ALTON CITY COUNCIL CREATES OFFICE OF POLICE MATRON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 14, 1903
There were no absentees at the City Council meeting last night, and hitches in proceedings were pleasingly few. For a salary of not less than $600 per annum to be paid Mrs. Sophia Demuth for her services, she to be appointed Police Matron. The petition was signed by a large number of citizens. Alderman Hoffmann moved the petition be granted.....A protest from ladies of the Jennie D. Hayner library to the starting of a saloon by David Searles at the corner of Fourth and State streets was placed on file. There was no way to prevent Searles from engaging in the saloon business, it was stated.

 

SKELETON FOUND IN CELLAR OF ALTON POLICE STATION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 11, 1903
A skeleton of a dog, tied to a nail with a rope, was found in the cellar of the police station by Officer Pack this morning. The animal had died from disease or starvation while tied in the basement of the building and was forgotten there.

 

WILL DISMANTLE SCHULENBERG ICE HOUSES IN LOWER ALTON SLOUGH
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1903
The old Schulenburg group of ice houses on the lower Alton slough will be dismantled soon as they can be emptied of ice. The Huss & Loomis Company has decided to stop cutting ice on the lower slough because of the rapid filling in of the slough and the difficulty attending the getting of barges in to the ice houses in summer time to move the ice to market. There are eight large houses in the Schulenburg group, and they still have some ice in them. All the ice will be taken out during the hot weather, and the houses will be torn down and the lumber will be sent to St. Louis for use there. The houses immediately opposite Alton will be allowed to remain, and whenever it is possible to store a crop of ice they will be filled, the facilities for transportation from them being much better than at the Schulenburg group.

 

FEDERAL LEAD PLANT IS FINISHED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 11, 1903
Mr. E. H. Messiter, chief engineer of the Federal Lead Company for the Alton smelter, left this morning with his family for New York. With his wife and child, he had made his home at Hotel Madison. The $700,000 plant of the Federal Lead Company at Alton is practically completed. Mr. Messiter came to Alton early in the year of 1902 to begin work of constructing the big smelter of the company, and it was under his supervision that all the plans of the work were carried out and the buildings erected. There remains a few things to be done in the way of construction work, but nearly everything is complete and the plant is now in successful operation. It is reported that Mr. Messiter will take up the duties of a better position with the same company. When the plans were made for the smelter, provision was made for duplicating the plant in size whenever necessity arose for turning out a greater supply of smelted metal. Room has been left for putting up twice as many buildings as are now on the ground, and this may be done later.

 

PERCIVAL STORE BEING TORN DOWN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 11, 1903
The old Percival store building at the corner of State and Main streets is to be torn down, the work of wrecking to begin Monday, and Mrs. M. A. Percival will have erected on the site a handsome commodious and modern residence. The Percival store is an old landmark which must give way to modern conveniences.

 

INTERESTING COLLECTION DISPLAYED IN GALLERY AT W. H. WISEMAN'S
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 21, 1903
An interesting group of old people are pictured in the windows of the gallery of W. H. Wiseman on Belle street. Mr. Wiseman has collected photographs of some of Alton's oldest residents, and a glance over them recalls the fact that Alton has in it some of the oldest and most vigorous people to be found anywhere, and that some of them have led a very active life. Four of the persons who have been most prominent in the city are Mr. Charles Phinney, Mr. Z. B. Job Sr., Mr. John L. Blair and Patrick Ward. All of them are above 80 years of age, and at least three of them are still able to be around the streets, some of them actively engaged in business. Mr. Phinney has passed well beyond his four score and ten mark, but is still engaged in the wholesale grocery business and is probably the oldest business man in the state of Illinois who is able to give attention to minute details of his business affairs. Every day he is at his desk and is apparently good for many years more in the harness. Mr. Job is still able to attend to business, although well past eighty years of age. Anyone who would say Mr. Job is not able to attend to business would err indeed, and on that very point a few days ago the Circuit Court gave a decision that this old citizen of Alton was still of sound mind enough to make contracts and sign deeds. Mr. Job was one of the earliest residence of Madison county, and was at one time Sheriff. Mr. Blair was for many years a prominent business man in Alton, and was the father of Alton's public school system. He was a member and President of the Board of Education and has seen Alton's public school system become a thing of beauty and a pride to the city. Mr. Ward was best known for having held public office in Alton forty years. Pat is known to everybody who ever had business around the city hall in years gone by. In addition to the four men are Mrs. Frances L. Bevan of Upper Alton, well over the 90-year mark, who is still hale and much interested in the events of the day, and Mrs. Sarah Mahoney, an inmate of St. Joseph's hospital, who celebrated her century mark birthday last Christmas. Another picture is that of Mr. Henry Heide, a resident here for fifty years, who recently, wife his wife, celebrated his golden wedding anniversary in Alton.

 

TRAIN WRECK ON ALTON BRIDGE APPROACH
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 24, 1903
Five cars were wrecked on the Alton bridge approach this afternoon at about 1:30 o'clock at Henry street. The Alton bridge engine was pushing out on the approach of the bridge a string of 26 cars, most of them heavily loaded. The end car belonging to the Bluff Line left the rail and dragged off four other cars. The cars of coal and an empty rolled completely down the embankment, and two cars of glass bottles were turned over and left tottering on the edge of the embankment. The train was stopped before any more cars followed down the hill. The coal cars and empty box car were turned completely over in rolling down the hill. The train was a long one. The engine was far down east of the bridge approach and was behind the train. The cars were derailed just at the cross-over to the bridge tracks from Illinois Terminal.

 

OLD LUMBERYARD SOLD
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 6, 1903
Samuel Wade today sold to a syndicate of East End business men, headed by August Luer, the old lumberyard property at Second [Broadway] and Weigler Streets, consisting of six lots, for $16,500. The sale was consummated Wednesday evening. The syndicate of business men bought the property in order to best conserve the interests of the property they now own there. They have the utmost faith in the future of the East End as a business place, and think that property there is sure to be in great demand. They desire to have control over the property in order to put the right kind of business houses there. It is said that some good business institution will soon occupy the lumberyard site. The sale of the lumberyard is an interesting event in that it marks the passing of one of the oldest business concerns in Alton. For more than sixty years that place was used as a lumberyard. It belonged to Sweetser & Priest for many years, then was the property of H. O. Priest, and at his death was bought by Samuel Wade. The firm of Sweetser & Wade will go out of business as the result of the fire, the property being too valuable for the purposes it was being used for.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR ALTON'S DEVELOPMENT
Park in the Location of the Former Penitentiary Suggested
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 18, 1903
Editor - Alton, in her gigantic strides toward being a city, has yet one thing to possess to place her on an equal footing with other cities of her size. Mr. William Eliot Smith seemed to have recognized this fact in his travels, and in his great love for his native city has written back suggesting there be measures taken to beautify Alton by planting trees on her streets and giving her public parks. Upon this wise suggestion there has been a project, we understand, to convert the historical penitentiary plat into a city park. From its natural advantages there could be no point in or around Alton so susceptible for this purpose as this piece of ground, which is so prominent not only to the dwellers in the city, but to the vast throngs of sightseers and pleasure seekers who travel up and down the Father of Waters, whose waves almost lash the shores of this beautiful tract. Lying as it does at the foot of the bluffs, together with long stretches of level ground, one can easily imagine how pleasing to the eye it could be made with wide gravel walks and shade trees. Circuitous driveways and bridle paths would lead the tourists to Lovers Leap, that historical rock jutting out over the cliff on which the Piasa Bird of world renown was killed by the chief of his tribe many years ago. The greater part of this tract lies level, and dotted with shade trees laid off in winding walks, a rustic bridge here and there, beds of bright hued flowers would make this an ideal spot, allowing the one piece of masonry still standing marking the spot upon which the old Penitentiary stood, to remain as a monument to the tragic past. Our dear old town is full of historic interest, with its Lovejoy monument rearing its lofty figure from the summit of the East End, and with this beautiful city part at its West end, either of which could be seen for miles up and down and across the country. Could we not by public spirit in thus improving our city render it chief among the most attractive on the continent? It has also been suggested that the contemplated Confederate monument be erected on the most prominent point on the site of the old penitentiary grounds, the higher ground being well adapted for this purpose, would it not be more appropriate than placing it in North Alton where, from its location, few would see it? The small triangle on Court street and the reservation ground back of Hotel Madison are the only spots in Alton a tourist may feel at liberty to rest when visiting Alton for the day. During the summer hundreds of pleasure seekers have stopped here from those boat excursions preferring to spend a few hours in Alton, they would welcome a cool, green park, always fresh and invigorating, stirred by the breezes from the river which blow over the old plat and which is close at hand when one lands from the great city below us. We think this project as feasible, as beneficial in every way to Alton, and with enterprise and energy could be successfully carried out at once. If Alton intends getting into holiday attire for the great World's Fair, now is her opportunity. From C. T.

 

ANOTHER OLD LANDMARK DISAPPEARS Old Percival Store Torn Down
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 5, 1903
Another old landmark is being wrecked today. It is the old Percival store and residence building on State, near the junction with Main [Main Street was changed to West Ninth Street]. For 60 years or more, it is said, it was a tavern or store, and when State street was the "State Road," it sheltered and refreshed and fed hundreds of travelers. The old building is to be replaced by a 7-room, modern residence to be occupied by Mrs. Mary Percival and family.

 

DAWSON OVERALL FACTORY

DAWSON OVERALL FACTORY WILL OPEN IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 17, 1903
L. A., I. M. and B. E. Dawson have secured incorporation papers from the secretary of state and have organized the Dawson Overall Manufacturing Company. The capital stock is $2,500, and preparations for a speedy start are being made. The company will occupy the upper portions of the building at the corner of Fourth and Piasa streets.

WANTED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 18, 1903
Fifty operatives at the Dawson Overall Factory, 214 W. 2d street [Broadway].

GIRLS WANTED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 6, 1904
25 more girls at the Dawson Overall Manufacturing Company, 214 West Second Street, to work on electric power machines. Steady work.

DAWSON OVERALL COMPANY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 17, 1904
The four-story building to be erected by B. L. Dorsey, at Fourth and Piasa streets, on the property recently purchased by him of the Joe Fager estate, will be occupied in part by the Dawson Overall Company.

UNION WAGES
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 21, 1905
To the Public: We understand that it is reported in labor circles that our factory has ceased to be a Union Factory, and we desire to contradict this and say that we have never repudiated the Union. We are hiring nothing but Union help and paying Union wages, and every garment leaving our factory has the Union Label. - Dawson Overall Mfg Co.

WANTED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 14, 1907
100 girls to work at the Dawson Overall Manufacturing Company's plant, Third and Piasa Street. Experience not necessary. Wages paid while learning. Can earn from $4 to $12 per week when experienced. Power machines. Nice clean work.

LEASED MACHINERY TO W. L. CUNNINGHAM
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 27, 1934 (as reported July 27, 1909)
The Dawson Overall Company leased machinery in its building to W. L. Cunningham Manufacturing Co. Cunningham announced plans to begin operations in the old Armory by the middle of August [1909].

 

ANOTHER OLD ALTON LANDMARK DISAPPEARS - OLD FOREST TREES AND HOME DESTROYED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 24, 1903
Another old Alton landmark is to be given away to modern ideas, and 20th century progressiveness. The grand old forest trees under which perhaps the Indian Chief Ouatoga once ate his lunch of jerked venison and spring water, have been or will be uprooted, the ground upon which they grew for centuries graded and hauled away, the points and grades of modern engineers to tell when the work of despoiling has gone far enough. The place referred to is the former home of the late Judge Seth T. Sawyer, and now occupied by his sons, Ben. S. and Fred S. Sawyer, at 828 Alton street. The house was erected in the forties [1840s] by a Mrs. Podgen, and was for years a very stylish, up-to-date one, and the surroundings were most picturesque and attractive. The building will be wrecked at once and a modernly equipped edifice will take its place when the grading is finished. The Sawyer family will occupy Mrs. O'Haver's residence until the new one is ready.

 

WHEELOCK AND GINTER'S PLANING MILL BURNS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 28, 1903
Fire destroyed Wheelock & Ginter's planing mill and part of their lumber yard Saturday night. The origin of the fire is a mystery. It was discovered by Nicholas Seibold about 7:30 in the evening, and an alarm was sent in by Officer E. Lyons. When the fire department arrived, there was no chance to do anything but keep the fire from spreading to the adjoining houses in the block. A strong wind was blowing from the river, driving the flames and heat perilously near the dwellings on Second street. Large blazing brands were carried seven or eight blocks, and fell in showers in the vicinity of the fire. Men were on every roof putting out the brands, and the fire was confined to the lumber yard. The planing mill building was stocked with finished lumber, and also contained all the tools owned by the workmen in the mill, all of which were destroyed. The loss to the workmen will be heavy. Saturday evening the fires had been drawn from under the boiler, and there was none about the place. It was said that the fire was first seen in the opposite end of the building from the boiler house, and must have been due to other causes. The frightened people living in the neighboring houses were moving out their effects, fearing that the fire would spread, but the firemen, after a hard battle with fire and smoke, finally stopped the advance of the fire and about 11 had the last of it extinguished. The loss is estimated to be about $10,000, with $1,500 insurance. Wheelock & Ginter have not decided to resume business after the insurance companies have settled for their fire losses. Both men in the firm are old and reliable business men, and their reputation first-class, but on account of their age they are uncertain whether or not to make another start. They had been in business in the old planing mill thirty years. Mr. Ginter estimates their loss at $10,000 to $12,000. Owing to the high rate of premium asked by insurance companies, the company carried their own risk. While the fire was in progress, Charles Stalling, who boarded in a house on Second street across the street, was standing on the roof of the two-story house throwing water on burning brands that fell on the roof. He must have slipped on some ice on the roof, and in an instant shot down the steep declivity toward the cornice. There was nothing to stay his downward rust, and he shot over the cornice and down to the brick pavement 35 feet below, where he landed amid a crowd, striking on his left side and arm. One woman was standing near when Stalling struck the ground, his falling body just missing her. It was believed the man was killed, but he was picked up and carried to his room in the house from which he fell, and there he revived. Drs. Bowman and Shaff attended him and found that he had a fractured left elbow and compound fractures of his arm. He was moved to the hospital for treatment Saturday night. [Later] Stallings died in the hospital at 5 o'clock this morning from a ruptured blood vessel. He was 35 years old and leaves his wife and one son. The time of the funeral has not been set, as Mrs. Stallings is waiting to hear from her husband's relatives at Versailles, Ohio, where he formerly lived. The inquest will be held tonight or tomorrow by Deputy Coroner Streeper. Stallings had lived here since August.

 

KIRSCH BUILDING LEASED FOR CARRIAGE AND WAGON MAKING AND REPAIR SHOP
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 16, 1904
John Cassella and G. F. Roenicke have leased the Kirsch building at Third and Market streets for the purpose of starting up a carriage and wagon making and repair shop.

 

ALTON'S BIGGEST TAXPAYER - ALTON LIGHT AND TRACTION COMPANY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 19, 1904
The biggest taxpayer in Alton is the Alton Light and Traction Company, owning the street railway, electric lighting and gas and hot water heating systems in the city. The taxes of the company were paid today, and Collector Smith could smile a smile of satisfaction as he receipted for the check rendered him. The check called for a sum just a little short of $5,000. This tax will be a small part of the taxes to be paid by this company if the present plans for street improvement are carried out this year. The ordinances adopted by the city council call for paving on streets wherever the street car lines run - Market street from Third to Sixth; Sixth street from Market to Henry; Henry street from Second to Fifteenth; Fifteenth street from Henry to Liberty; Liberty street from Fifteenth to Grove; and Grove street from Liberty to Common; Alby street from Third to Twelfth; and Twelfth street from Alby to Henry. Nearly all this distance is along the street railway tracks, and the railway company must pay for paving its track.

 

ALTON ARTIST LIVES IN WRETCHED HOVEL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 23, 1904
On exhibition in the show window of H. M. Schweppe on Third street is a painting which might attract only passing attention as a work of art, but when one knows from whence came this bright bit of color and the undeniable artistic taste of the picture, interest in it becomes alive. The picture is a painting made by William Lapan, who lives in a wretched hovel on the sandbar. He is part Mexican by birth and speaks Spanish fluently. Lapan's acquaintances never guessed that he was an artist, but such he is. He made a copy of a poster picture on a Bluff Line calendar issued last year, representing the two Indian lovers preparing to make the leap from Lover's Leap. The coloring is well done and the copy is a very exact one. Lapan is now engaged making another study in oil of the little girl and a robin redbreast, which will be the effort of his life. Lapan is an ordinary laborer.

 

FIRST BRICK HOME IN ALTON TO BE TORN DOWN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 3, 1904
Bids were opened yesterday afternoon in the office of Pfeiffenberger & Son, and the contract for the erection of the new residence for John W. Koch was let to Tuller & Ruebel, their bid - the lowest - being $5,295.75. The plumbing was let to Curdie & Challacombe for $225. Construction work will start as soon as the old building can be wrecked. The house that now stands on the premises upon which the new building will be erected was probably the first brick house built in Alton. It was built by Rev. Beall Howard, a very prominent man at the time. The present house is nearly 70 years old. It was originally a four room building with an attic. In this house all of the Howard children were born, except the oldest son, Charles, who still lives in Alton. Mr. Howard was compelled to sell it on account of the great panic of 1837. In the early 1850s Utten Smith lived in the house for a number of years. It was afterwards purchased by Timothy L. Waples and was enlarged by him and beautified, where the family resided until all the children married, some years after Mr. Waples' death. Mr. Koch, the present owner, purchased the place from the Waples estate and still lives there.

[According to the Gazetteer of Madison County, the Beall Howard home was a frame building, built on the site of the Presbyterian Church on Market Street. It was two stories high, about thirty feet in length, and was occupied as early as November 1829, being the first frame dwelling on the site of Alton. This differs with the Telegraph statement that it was a brick home. It is possible that the frame dwelling was remodeled with brick. The title abstracts show that on September 4, 1829, Gershom Flagg made a deed of the east half of block 1 to Charles Howard (Beall Howard's son), who put up a small log dwelling just opposite the Alton House, which was located at the corner of Front and Alby Streets).]

 

ALTON - TALE OF THE DUNN COUNTERFEITING HOUSE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 25, 1904
Mr. Frank Davis of Worcester, Mass., brother of George H. Davis of Fourth street, this city [Alton], is now visiting here. The early years of his life were spent here, moving away in 1859. His father was connected with the old Cory packing house that used to stand on the river front in the early days. One day Mr. Davis Sr. to a 50-cent silver piece in change. It proved to be the product of a man named Dunn, who for some time carried on the business of making counterfeit coin. The older Davis gave it to his son, Frank, as a souvenir of an Alton crook's work. For fifty-one years the coin has been carried by Frank Davis, who sets such value upon it that he would not part with it for many times its real worth. Dunn, the counterfeiter, was well known at the time, and no one suspected him of connection with a counterfeiting. His home was one of the best in Alton. He was respected until discovered. He lived in a house now owned and occupied by Everett Clement on Grove street. Dunn had quite a plant in his cellar for the manufacture of spurious coin. Years ago, the house was known as the "Dunn counterfeiting house."

 

FOUR STEAMBOATS RACE FROM ST. LOUIS TO ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 1, 1904
River men said that Saturday night reminded them of days of old, when competition was strong between rival steamboat lines and big packets raced up and down the river with the roustabouts taking turns squatting on the safety valve to keep the steam supply up. The Diamond Jo line boat "Dubuque" for St. Paul, commanded by Captain Burke; the "Quincy" for Keokuk, commanded by Captain Murphy; the Eagle boat, "Grey Eagle," commanded by Captain Harry Leyhe; and the "Belle of Calhoun" commanded by Captain Ed Young, raced from St. Louis for Alton to get a position at the Alton wharf. The "Grey Eagle" slipped away from St. Louis first to get the start, and so anxious was Captain Harry Leyhe to reach Alton that he left with half a crew. Captain Burke lost no time in following with the "Dubuque," but he had not enough steam and could not pass the Grey Eagle, as he evidently tried to do several times. Captain Harry Leyhe had a full head of steam, and the "Grey Eagle" is a swift runner, so he had first choice at Alton. The "Quincy" came in third, and Captain Murphy had to nose in between the "Grey Eagle" and the "Spread Eagle" and unload his cargo across the bow of the "Spread Eagle," after hanging up out in the harbor for a half hour waiting for a chance to land. The "Belle of Calhoun" was unfortunate, coming in last, and it was over an hour before room could be made for her to touch the wharf boat and discharge her cargo. Over a thousand passengers were on the four boats and the excitement during the race was intense. They kept urging the Captains to crowd their boats a little, but every one of the packets was doing its level best as the racing blood of the Captains was up. It was great sport, and the finish was exciting, with the "Grey Eagle" a nose in the lead, and the "Dubuque" a close second, "Quincy" third, and "Belle of Calhoun" fourth. One of the passengers on the "Quincy" was Captain L. P. Lusk, general manager of the Diamond Jo fleet.

 

ALTON FATHER, DAUGHTER AND PLAYMATES DROWN IN MISSISSIPPI
Source: Syracuse, New York Post Standard, August 6, 1904
While bathing in the Mississippi river tonight, Michael Riley, his daughter and six of the latter's little girl friends were drowned. One child was rescued. Riley lived near the river in the southern part of the city and was accustomed to bathe on the beach in front of his home after his return from work. Tonight, his little daughter begged to go with him. and Riley took her and seven of her girlfriends to the beach with him. When they entered the water, Riley bade the children join hands and they all waded Into the river and walked along a sandbar which stretches out into the stream at that point. They had gone some distance from the shore, when suddenly the whole party disappeared beneath the water, having in the darkness stepped from the sandbar, into the deep channel. The children struggled and screamed, fighting desperately to reach the sandbar, where the water was only a foot or so in depth. Riley who is said to have been a good swimmer. Is thought to have been made helpless by the girls clinging to him and hampering his efforts to save them. The only one in the party to regain the sandbar was Mary Timiny, 8 years old. The child is unable to tell how she saved herself. Riley was 32 years old, and the ages of the children drowned ranged from 8 to 14 years. Four of the bodies have been recovered.

 

ALTON - LAST OF THE BOWLING ALLEYS TO BE DISMANTLED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 9, 1904
The once popular sport of bowling, which at one time occupied all the spare time of hundreds of young men in Alton, and gave support to half dozen bowling alleys, has fallen into such disuse that the last of the public alleys, the Kremer place on Belle street, will be dismantled. The pool room of Frank Boyle, which was in the third story of the Snyder building, will be moved to the room of the bowling alley on Belle street, and a business college will take place of the pool room.

 

THE FLACH BUILDING

HISTORY OF OLD BUILDING AT 224 EAST SECOND STREET
WAS LOG CABIN USED AS CHURCH, SCHOOL, AND BOARDING HOUSE
(LATER REFERRED TO AS THE FLACH BUILDING)
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 10, 1904
Many of the older citizens of Alton, in passing the building 224 East Second street, which is being repaired and improved by its owner, Louis Flach, the grocer, stop to look at the structure and to recall the days of 50 or more years ago when they assembled there either to worship, to study, or to eat, as the building in its time served as a church, a school, and boarding house. Few of the average passersby know that the structure is really a log cabin, a story and a half in height, as weather boards and the art of the modern painter hide that fact. But it is a log cabin erected some 80 years ago, it is said, and for very many years there was no other building near it. Travelers on the Springfield, Alton and St. Louis "old state road" stopped there for meals, and at that time the "hotel" was reached by a long flight of steps that ran up the bank from Second street. One time in 1831 or 1832 it bore the pretentious name of the "Alton Seminary," and was conducted by Mr. H. Davis, the pioneer teacher of this section, who died in 1834. The late Judge J. M. Krum of St. Louis was a teacher in the school, as was also a Mr. Bosworth, A. R. Cobbin, and Miss Relief V. Everett. Many Altonians now past the half century mark in age attended school there, and at times paid as "much as $10 per quarter for tuition." In 1852 ex-Chief of Police Volbracht says he was attending school there, and that year was known to all parents and pupils as "the castor bean epidemic year." "During the noon hour one day," says Mr. Volbracht, "we children, boys and girls, found a quantity of castor beans stored in the basement of the old log cabin (the basement being excavated a short time before and walled up) and we all ate heartily of them. A few hours afterwards we became deathly sick and remained sick all day and night, and it was several days before all the ill-effects of our castor bean banquet disappeared. It was known as an epidemic because the entire school was affected." The building was used as a Methodist meeting house for some years also - most early day school houses were so used on Sundays, and many a pioneer or some member of his family professed religion after attending meeting there. For many years recently, the basement has been used as a polling place for the residents of the old fourth ward - the new third - and taken altogether its history during the 80 years of its existence is a varied and interesting one.

 

FIRST TRAIN PULLS INTO ALTON – SEPTEMBER 9, 1852
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 10, 1904
Fifty-two years ago, September 9, 1852, the construction of the Chicago and Mississippi railroad, later the Alton and Sangamon, and still later the Chicago and Alton, was completed, and the first train went over the road. Mr. William Huskinson, who was actively engaged in the building operations of the road and who was for many years a roadmaster for the company, says the first train consisted of an engine and three coaches, and its arrival in Alton was welcomed most warmly by the people generally. The road terminated at the present freight depot, and passengers and freight were .....[unreadable] .... completion of the C. & A. extension in 1864. Times were good in Alton, and some of the old-time prosperity which existed previous to the financial crash of 1837 returned. Just before that crash, lots on the riverfront where the McPike building, the Boston store and all the buildings north to the old water works station sold for from $300 to $400 a front foot. Mr. Huskinson celebrated the anniversary quietly Friday, and in memory has gone back to those rushing, bustling, money-making days, when he was commanding men and building a road destined to become one of the greatest in the world. He came to Alton in 1847, and most of the years since then have been spent in Alton and in up-building and advancing the interests of Alton in every way he could. He frequently served the city in official capacities and always served it well. He is in good health, enjoys reading and likes to converse with his friends and of these he has a large host. Besides Mr. Huskinson, there is only one other person, so far as known, now living in the Altons who was engaged actively in the building of the road, and that is Mr. Thomas McGinnis Sr., of North Alton. The latter gentleman built the first house in almost all the towns between here and Springfield; the first house being a section house. He also built bridges, culverts, etc., for the road, and after its completion had charge of the fence building gangs. Although well on in years, he too is in fairly good health, and his mental faculties are wonderfully alive and bright.

 

CISTERN REFRIGERATORS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 12, 1904
The summer season of 1904 was not a red letter one for the ice man; it being cold enough most of the time to allow the housekeeper to economize greatly in the matter of ice consumption, and hundreds of families in Alton who own small or medium sized refrigerators did not ice them up at all, but kept meats, butter and perishable provender generally in most excellent condition, by placing in buckets or baskets, which were left suspended day and night in cisterns or wells. The cistern refrigerator requires far less work than the other kind, and the results are just as good.

 

ALTON'S UNORTHODOX METHOD OF OBTAINING ITS FIRST HOOK AND LADDER OUTFIT
[In about 1854]
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 17, 1904
Mr. James Webster, the veteran sewer repairer and all-around city man, was standing near the City Hall this morning and his thoughts were all in the past. "In there," he said, pointing to the basement of the city building, "is a machine in which I have a $25 cash interest, and with interest on that for more than 50 years. It is the old hook and ladder outfit, the first of its kind in Alton. It was secured by the old volunteer fire company, and there are only three of them left living, as far as I can recollect. These three are Ben Garde, Jake Maguire and myself. We bought that outfit from a St. Louis volunteer company, but when we went after it the city of St. Louis refused to give it up, as the municipality had paid for half or one-third of it, the firemen paying for the remainder. That is the way we paid for it also - Alton paying for one third, the boys donating the rest. That is how I happen to have $25 in it as my contribution amounted to that much cash. After St. Louis refused to give us the outfit, we came back to Alton to plan some way to secure the hook and ladder, and finally determined to go down and steal the apparatus bodily. Ten good men and true were selected to do the job, and we made arrangements with Captain George E. Hawley of the steamer Luella to have his boat handy at the St. Louis wharf and ready to pull out as soon as the outfit cleared the stage plank. The volunteer company in St. Louis were all right, as the boys had sold to us and thought we ought to have the goods, and they arranged to leave the doors unlocked and to absent themselves at the time designated. Out plans worked successfully; we got the apparatus, made a quick run to the levee, and the boat was half way to Alton before the St. Louis authorities discovered what had been done. Except for considerable rag chewing, nothing was done in the matter and we were never punished in any way. I am the only one now living of the ten who did the stealing more than a half-century ago, and I would like to get my $25 back again."

 

ONE OF THE OLDEST HOUSES IN ALTON - FLAG HOMESTEAD ON STAUNTON STREET - MAKE OF OAK AND WALNUT
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 29, 1904
An interesting old structure - just how old is lost in the mists of tradition - is that on the old "Flag homestead" on Staunton street [Alton]. It is now the property of Mr. John Werts the grocer, but he does not know how old the building is. He knows it was occupied 50 years before he purchased it, and it was said to be an old building before that 50 years occupancy was begun. It must have been a high-toned residence, for in those days all houses not built exclusively of logs were for the bon tons, the plutocrats. The timbers in the Werts house are of oak and walnut and are sound as the gold standard, as are the rafters. The weatherboards are of oak and consist of what is called clapboards. Clapboards are handmade and were the shingles of the pioneers, and it took a great many of them to build this house of four rooms in the substantial manner in which it was constructed. There are two fireplaces in the house, or rather there is what is called a double fireplace there, and another bit of corroborative evidence that it was built for some wealthy or prominent person is the fact that the fireplace and chimneys were built of fine handmade brick. Something of the size of the fireplaces may be judged by the fact that ordinary sized beds will fit in them, and with curtains placed over the mantles give no evidence that a spare bedroom is on each side and just below the mantles in each room. Mr. Werts says there are bricks enough in the chimney to build a two-room house, and he had more put in by walling up the fireplaces because a tenant wished it walled up. That the house was built before the days of machine-made nails is made certain by the fact that hand-fashioned nails were used, and these show no signs yet of letting go their grip on the timber.

 

SPARKING [Courting or kissing] IN PARK NOT ALLOWED!
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 15, 1904
People living in the neighborhood of the park back of the Madison hotel complained to Chief of Police Maxwell Friday and Saturday that several couples of boy and girls had been causing some annoyance by their ostentatious display of affection for each other in broad daylight in the park. Many passersby noticed the young people sitting there, and when the affair was renewed Saturday morning the chief of police made an investigation. He found two couples sitting there in full view of passersby on the street, apparently indifferent to the gaze of the interested people who chanced to go that way. The young men were told to go their way, and Chief Maxwell took charge of the girls and turned them over to Mrs. S. Demuth, police matron, who gave them a lecture and sent them home. The girls said they lived in North Alton on Alby street.

 

THIEVES ROB THE PEST HOUSE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 21, 1904
Mrs. S. Demuth, health officer, has made a startling discovery that thieves will not even respect property infected with smallpox germs. Someone broke into the Alton pest house sometime recently, and stole twelve chairs, a bedstead and bedding, and some other articles. Mrs. Demuth does not know just how much was taken. The lock was broken off the door and the furniture were missing. Probably the remainder of the furniture will be taken later, unless there is need for it. The place has not been fumigated when Mrs. Demuth made the discovery and she is wondering whether or not someone in Alton will not be taken down with smallpox. Mrs. Demuth went to the pest house yesterday, fumigated the place thoroughly, scrubbed it out herself, because she could not hire a man to do it, and has left the place clean and absolutely free of all disease germs. She has undertaken the building of some out-buildings, as there were none on the place, and a supply of coal will be sent there and put under lock and key for use, if the thieves who stole the smallpox infested furniture do not steal the coal too. Mrs. Demuth also made up all the beds, tidied up the place and now the pest house is more habitable, if not really attractive and inviting.

 

LIBERTY BELL IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1904
The Liberty Bell Special [railroad car] carrying the Liberty Bell from the World's Fair back to Philadelphia, will pass through Alton as second section of the Prairie State Express, Wednesday.

 

SCHNELL'S BAKERY SOLD
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1904
The Co-operative Bakery Company on Monday purchased from Charles F. Schnell his bakery plant, paying therefore $2,300. This will be a better arrangement than starting a fourth bakery, as that would cut the business to such an extent as to make the venture hazardous. The Co-operative Company will take charge of Schnell's plant tomorrow. While a superintendent for the new company has not been chosen, there are a number of applicants for the position.

 

MORPHINE EATERS ARE NUMEROUS IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 16, 1904
According to druggists and doctors, users of morphine and opium are numerous in Alton, and the numbers are increasing alarmingly. Many of those using it are confirmed fiends, and will do almost anything in order to secure a supply of their favorite drug. Very many of the victims are women, who began using the drug first for headache or some other kind of ache, and who after a while found themselves possessed of an appetite for the stuff that could not be appeased except by more drug. "Many men," said a druggist, "have quit drinking whisky and have taken to morphine or opium with the ideas that a drug drunk is more "genteel" than a whisky one, and that they can quit it at any time. There is where they make a mistake. It has a grip of steel, and the victim soon finds himself a moral and physical wreck. I won't sell morphine or opium to beginners at any price, and always advise against its use but our refusal and advice generally do no good as the drug is secured somewhere else." Another thing this druggist said was that if opium or morphine were sold to a customer on credit, it always remained "on credit," "dope fiends," he said, "never pay a bill of that kind."

 

W. H. WISEMAN WILL BUILD FINE PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 1, 1904
W. H. Wiseman today bought through the agency of Edward Yager, a piece of ground 30x90 feet off the southeast corner of block 9, city proper, from Dr. W. H. Enos for $2,000. Mr. Wiseman intends to erect on the property one of the finest photograph galleries in the state of Illinois. He has purchased some fine furnishings and fixtures at the World's Fair, and the gallery will be fixed up in a most artistic manner.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 7, 1905
Work on the construction of the elegant building, a portion of which is to be occupied by the Wiseman photograph gallery, at the corner of east Second [Broadway] and Easton Streets will begin at once. The ground for the foundations was staked off this morning.

Source: November 27, 1905
Contractor E. G. Yungck is doing the wood work on the new Wiseman photograph building on east Second Street, Alton.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 7, 1905
They call the fine new building erected by Photographer Wiseman on East Second Street "Ft. Wiseman," because he will take so many shots in it when it is completed.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 16, 1905
The Wiseman building on east Second Street is having the front placed in today - a front that attracts attention by its oddness. There is nothing like it in Alton, and it seems to be modeled after the Roycroft, Elbert Hubbard style of things. It is of wood, dark in color like walnut, and is carved and sculptured elaborately over the doors and windows are the words "Heart and Hand," and on the pillars of the doors and on the window jams are the words "Quaker Shops." For something new in architecture, Photographer Wiseman is certainly in the lead in Alton.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 21, 1906
W. H. Wiseman, Commander-in-Chief of "Fort Wiseman," the splendid new building erected by him on East Second street for a photograph gallery, was born in North Carolina and came by his proficiency and efficiency as a photographer naturally, as his father was one of the best artists in the southeast. He ....[unreadable] his father to Texas where he became a camera cowboy, and was constantly on the "shoot" with that weapon. As a result, he made many conquests, roped "many honors" and "branded" himself as one of the very best takers of other persons featured in the Lone Star state. He came to Alton in 1896 and his work attracted attention at once. He has grown and expanded until now he owns the finest photograph gallery in Illinois, and his reputation as being one of the best photographers in the state is growing constantly also. Some time ago the Daily Telegraph, in speaking of the new Wiseman building, called it "Ft. Wiseman," because there is so much shooting at people’s faces with the cameras there, and again because the building looks like a fort. "Mr. Wiseman has concluded to adopt the name given by the Telegraph, and "Ft. Wiseman" it will be in the future. The building itself is unique, but the furnishings are more so, and a trip through the building is a fairly good outing of itself. Mr. Wiseman will give a grand opening early in April.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 23, 1906
Mr. W. H. Wiseman of this city has arranged for an opening of his new studio and an art exhibition associated with which is Mr. Will Young of Upper Alton. To this exhibition Mr. Wiseman invites the local artists and local amateur photographers to contribute. All work will be exhibited and contributors will kindly have same at the studio, Second and George streets, not later than noon of Monday, Oct. 29th. Paintings and photographs will be on exhibition the entire week commencing Oct. 29th. The studio will be open every evening until 9 o'clock. This is something never before attempted in Alton, and the public is cordially invited to attend. Among the St. Louis artists who will exhibit works are Mr. Wurple and Dawson-Watson.

 

SALOON KEEPERS SELLING LOWER QUALITY WHISKY AT HIGHER PRICE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 14, 1904
Thirteen Alton saloon keepers will be required to pay heavy fines to the United States government because of some gross violations of the internal revenue laws in which they have been detected. Mr. Charles G. Rogers, an internal revenue officer representing the office of the internal revenue collector, Gen. W. H. Powell of East St. Louis, completed an inspection of the Alton saloons this morning and seized a large quantity of whisky which was being sold under false pretenses and in violation of the revenue laws of March 3, 1897. Mr. Rogers said to the Telegraph that the saloon keepers cannot plead innocent, as the violations were palpable and deliberate offenses, they having every means of knowing that the offenses were forbidden. The offense consists in refilling bottles with cheap whisky, which were originally filled with whisky of a much higher price that had been inspected, gauged and stamped in bond by the United States government. It has been a common practice, it seems, for saloon keepers to buy a few bottles of high-grade whisky and after the bottles had been emptied, to refill them. On every bottle appeared a government stamp, affixed at the bonded warehouses, and these bottles should not be used to contain any liquor after once emptied. The government stamp, which certifies that the contents of the bottles are 100 proof, are placed across the top of the bottles where they must be broken before the cork can be withdrawn from the neck of the bottle. On the side of the bottle printed in plain black type is a warning for which prohibits the use of the bottle a second time, and prescribes the penalty of the law for violations. The penalty is a fine from $100 to $1,000, or imprisonment for not more than two years, one or both. The law was enacted for the purpose of preventing swindling in the liquor business if possible. The government guarantees the goods thus stamped to be of a certain quality. The price of the goods originally in most of the bottles found by Mr. Rogers would be about $3.50, while the price of the stuff with which the bottles were refilled was about one half to one third that figure. The extend of the fraud which was perpetrated on the patrons of the saloons as well as on the government may be seen from this fact. Mr. Rogers arrived in Alton yesterday and started on a still hunt. He entered every saloon in Alton, demanded to see their bonded goods and as he found some of the stuff did not come up to the proof guaranteed by the stamp, he seized the bottles. He carried them to the Madison hotel where he had a big collection of bottles of various sizes and containing whisky of various quality, none of which was up to 100 proof. Every violator was told that he must appear before the United States commissioner at East St. Louis and make his plea of guilty there.

 

ALTON - WOULD REVOKE SALOON LICENSE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 27, 1904
A batch of warrants has been sworn out because of a saloon conducted by David Searles at Fourth and State street, opposite the Jennie D. Hayner Library. It is said by the police that shooting affrays are of nightly occurrence there and that occasionally the proprietor, Searles, would draw a revolver and discharge it indiscriminately to inspire respect for his courage in the minds of his patrons. Sunday morning there was a shooting affray in the saloon, and Monday evening there was another. In the latter, George Builson is said to have shot James Searles, the bullet striking Searles on the side of the head and passing around the skull to the other side without causing any worse than a scalp wound. The police will ask the mayor to revoke Searles' license on the ground it is a dangerous and disorderly resort.

 

NEW SKATING RINK IN ALTON
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 27, 1905
The old-time pastime of roller skating will again be in vogue when W. M. Sauvage throws open the doors of the New Crescent Skating Rink at Pioneer Hall on next Monday evening. The rink is equipped throughout, with the Richardson's latest improved ball bearing skates. Doors will open at 7:30 Monday. Admission, 10 cents.

 

INDIAN SKELETON DISCOVERED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 24, 1905
Walter Riehl discovered almost the entire skeleton of an Indian in a caved in bank on his father's place, Evergreen Heights, Sunday. Indian skeletons are becoming very scarce and few of those found are in good condition. The skull of this warrior was cleft with a tomahawk, showing plainly how the original owner of the skeleton came to his death.

 

OFFICERS CAPTURED SWIMMER'S CLOTHES - MAKES THE BOYS AGREE TO WEAR BATHING SUITS WHILE SWIMMING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1905
Officer Henry Tisius captured the clothes of a whole party of boys who were swimming in the river near Lover's Leap, Sunday afternoon, but to capture them he was compelled to adopt a clever ruse - he took their clothes - and the boys, being without garments to cover their nakedness so they could go home, were compelled to surrender, and standing on the burning railroad track without any clothing on them, they sued successfully for the return of the captured clothing. The clothes were returned on the agreement of the boys that they would stop bathing in the river in daytime without donning bathing suits. Especially on Sundays the river front is frequented by people, and the occupants of the pleasure boats passing up and down, as well as people standing on the banks, have been shocked by the nudity of most of the swimmers who were shameless in displaying themselves on the tops of the barges and boats tied up from State street to the water works. Chief of Police Maxwell has issued an order that all daylight swimmers must wear bathing suits, and the police have instructions to seize the clothes. Yesterday one of the swimmers surprised by Officer Tisius fled up the Bluff Line tracks a long distance, holding his clothes in his hands as he ran, and several others tried to scale Lover's Leap but were called back by the officer, who was more frightened than the climbers, as he feared they might fall and be hurt.

 

OLD GEORGE SIDWAY BUILDING ON SECOND STREET TORN DOWN - CHANGES 1844 HIGH WATER MARK
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 1, 1905
In tearing down the old George Sidway building on west Second street to make room for the addition to the H. K. Johnston building, a second floor was found under the top floor. This floor marks the old level of Second street, and it is supposed by some of the older residents that the 1844 high water mark on the mill building should have been sighted from this floor instead of from the floor laid years later. The high-water mark on the mill is said to be somewhat higher than the water really was, and Mr. Johnson, after talking to some of the old residents about it, thinks the '44 water mark was really at the first floor, or about four feet below the mark on the mill corner. If this be true, the high-water mark of 1892 was even higher than it was in 1844. Second street in 1844 was about four feet lower than at the present ..... [unreadable].

 

ILLINOIS GLASS MANUFACTURED OVER 145,524,928 BOTTLES
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 16, 1905
According to statistics, the greatest number of glass bottles ever manufactured in Alton was manufactured last season by the Illinois Glass Co. The total output aggregates over 145,524,928 bottles. Last year the output reached one million gross, and this year the production was vastly increased. The number of bottles made at Alton represents less than half the number sold by the Illinois Glass Co., as the company owns a plant at Chicago Heights, has an interest in several factories in Indiana, and purchases the output of many other factories throughout the country.

 

ALTON HAS TWO VETERAN RIVER PILOTS - CAPTAINS FRANK TESSON AND JAMES MONTGOMERY OLDEST TEAM OF HELMSMEN
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 23, 1905
Capt. Frank Tesson and Capt. James Montgomery, two Alton citizens, are probably the best illustration of the fallacy of the Osler theory that men are useless after they reach the age of 60. The two old river men are the pilots on the steamer Belle of Calhoun and the steamer is probably the only boat on the river employing such aged men to handle the boat. Although both have well advanced in years, neither has lost any of his ability as a pilot. The two pilots are almost twins in age, being in the 73rd year each, Capt. Tesson claims to have been a year longer in the business than his "kid" partner, as he puts it. Capt. Tesson is in his 49th year at the helm, and Capt. Montgomery is in his 48th. Capt. Tesson was asked if there was any truth in the story that both he and his wheel partner had become so used to running up and down the river that they could steer a boat with their eyes shut. "We have to keep our eyes open all the time," he said, "and that is one business at which a man must keep his eyes open when on duty." Capt. Tesson started with a relative in 1856 to learn the river. Capt. Montgomery started a year or two later. Neither has to depend on eyeglasses to help his vision, and neither has had a bad accident in his career. Both can tell many interesting tales of the river and can recall many stories of the early days. When asked how they accounted for their state of good preservation although both have passed the three score years and ten, Capt. Montgomery said, "Neither of us has tried to drink up all of the booze made, although we are river men." No doubt the Belle of Calhoun is in the hands of safe helmsmen, as both are tried and have been found trusty.

 

HEAD-ON COLLISION ON BLUFF LINE AT HOP HOLLOW
GEORGE SMITH, ENGINEER, DEAD
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 4, 1905
Killed: Engineer George Smith, Springfield, Ill. Leaves wife and family.
Injured: R. P. Foster, fireman, feet and legs badly scalded. Resides in Springfield; George Robbins, brakeman, deep cut over right eye; William Sherrer, engineer, right leg badly sprained.

Freight train No. 53, running south, and a work train out of Alton crashed into each other in a head-on collision on the Bluff Line at 6:40 o'clock this morning. The wreck occurred at the big curve at Hop Hollow. Both trains were under speed, and on account of the heavy fog, ran within fifty feet of each other before the train crews detected each other. There was no time to jump, and the train crews were caught at their posts. Engineer George Smith was crushed up against the boiler head by the coal from the tender being pushed forward, and his death must have been instantaneous. His body was badly scalded by the time it was freed from the wreck. Smith resides in Springfield, and has a wife and several small children. He was forty years of age. R. P. Foster, Smith's fireman, was caught in the wreckage, and his limbs from his hips down were terribly scalded and crushed. He was taken to his home in Springfield. George Robbins of Springfield, brakeman on train No. 53, received a deep gash over his right eye. His injuries are not serious. William Scherer, engineer of the work train, received a badly sprained right leg, and his fireman, Thomas Gildersleeve, was badly shaken up. John Cuthbertson, conductor on the work train, was uninjured. Conductor John Fitzgerald of train No. 53 had a miraculous escape and cannot explain it. He was sitting on the seat with engineer George Smith in the engine cab. When the crash came, Fitzgerald says his body was shot through the cab window and into the air. He landed on both feet, and found that he was in the river in water knee deep. Beside a few scratches he is not injured. Conductor Fitzgerald cannot explain why he was thrown from the engine cab, and Smith, who sat beside him, was pinched in a death clasp by the sliding coal, which was thrown forward by the momentum. The blame for the wreck has not been placed, but the trainmen say that they had no chance in the world, as the fog was so heavy you could not see fifty feet ahead of the engine. Conductor Cuthbertson, it is stated, said that he thought No. 53 had gone through. The train is due through Alton about 3 o'clock in the morning, and the conductor did not dream of its being so late. Mr. Cuthbertson refused to discuss the matter, and is deeply grieved over the death of Smith, as he was a warm friend of the engineer. The body of Engineer George Smith was brought to Alton this morning, and an inquest will be held by Coroner C. N. Streeper Thursday. The remains will then be shipped to Springfield for interment. A telegram was dispatched to the man's family soon after the wreck, bearing the sad news of his death. The death of George Smith, or "Skyrocket" Smith as he was known and called, will be regretted by all of the trainmen on the Bluff Line. Smith had always a cheerful smile and a gladsome greeting for his fellows, and was liked for his good cheer. A trainman who worked with Smith remarked this morning, "Nothing but such as this could have knocked the good cheer out of George Smith."

[Note: Hop Hollow was a heavily wooded area (which is now private property), which ran from the area of Blue Pool along the bluffs in Alton to North Alton (Confederate Cemetery area). It once had a wagon-trail road, which during the Civil War was used to take the bodies of Confederate prisoners to the burying ground - now the Confederate Cemetery. Today, the largest part of this road no longer exists. A faint trail is all that can be found leading away from the spot known as Blue Pool. It curves into a heavily wooded area and comes to an end at Holland Street. This was once a well-used road and beyond it, the remains of the road become Rozier Street, which passes by the Confederate Cemetery. How this area was named Hop Hollow: In early times, before 1830, there resided in Upper Alton a man by the name of Henry Hopkinson, who purchased the land on which was held the State agricultural exposition some years since, and north of that tract to the Jerret tract, and south to the Smeltser tract of land. He removed on this tract of land, built his house in the hollow, fifteen or twenty rods bellow the stone quarry and on the east side of the branch. He went by the sobriquet of "Old Hop," before removing to his purchase, and from this the hollow took its name. "Old Hop" supposedly buried thousands of dollars on his land, but it was never found.]

 

ALTON BROOM FACTORY

ALTON BROOM FACTORY BOOMING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 13, 1905
When the Newson broom factory was purchased by George Miller and moved from North Alton, a large factory building was erected on Madison street for the manufacture of brooms. The quality of the product was improved greatly, and there began to grow a demand for the Alton-made broom. The demand has continued to grow, and orders followed the demand so rapidly that Mr. Miller finds it necessary to increase his facilities. Carpenters are now at work building an addition 30x40 feet to the factory, more machinery has been purchased and the output is being increased greatly.

ALTON MADE BROOMS FOR FACTORY AND STREET SWEEPING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 9, 1912
George Miller, who conducts the Alton Broom Factory, has received a consignment of fibre (or rough straw) from New York City, which he will manufacture into brooms - the kind of brooms used in factories, mills, power houses, and for street sweeping purposes. The China grown fibre or straw is said to be very tough and a great dirt remover, but the brooms made from it cannot be used with safety on carpets, rugs, etc. He said the fibre was brought from China and sold by the dealer in New York to him for $2 per hundred. The railroads charged him eighty-five cents per hundred additional to bring the straw from New York to Alton, almost half as much as the entire cost of growing, cutting, curing, handling ground in China across the ocean to New York City and incidental expenses in the latter city. He says all kinds of brooms will be cheaper this year than for many years past, and that for the first time in four years he will manufacture a good broom that can be retailed at 25 cents. These brooms have been retailing for 40 cents each the last four years. Broom straw, which was $280 a ton, can now be bought at $90 or $100 per ton, he says, and there is an immense crop nearly ready for the harvest.

 

"CHALKEY" FOOTE DISMISSED FROM RAILROAD SERVICE
Man Who Figured in Jesse James Blue-Cut Robberies as Engineer of Train is Laid Off
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 16, 1905
Leroy Foote, better known as "Chalky," an engineer well known in the days of the Jesse James robberies in the famous Blue-Cut, when a C. and A. train was held up and robbed, has been suspended by the Bluff Line because of an alleged defect in his eyesight. Foote was engineer on the local freight running between Alton and Springfield, and had a layover in Alton. He has been in the railroad business for nearly fifty years. It is said that the Bluff Line general manager has slated about two dozen of the older men on the road for dismissal, and that the axe fell first on Chalky Foote. It is also said that the railway company may find a place for the old engineer, aside from one on the right side of the engine's cab. W. M. Demombreum, who was engineer on the "hill engine" has been dismissed from service too.

From FindAGrave.com:
"Mr. Foote had many varying experiences, but one of the greatest and one which brought him into the limelight was the Blue Cut robbery, when he was compelled to look down the muzzle of gleaming guns and talked with Jesse James, the most notorious train robber of this country. The Blue Cut robbery was the climax of the James boys' crimes and resulted in $60,000 in cash being taken from the express car of the Denver express. Mr. Foote was one of the train crew of the express. When Mr. Foote's train was flagged by the James boys he slowed down his speed as he would at the display of any danger signal. When the gang fell upon the train and its crew and passengers, Mr. Foote was forced to open the express door with his pick. After that Jesse James took him back to the engine and talked to him, while the gang, numbering sixteen, did the looting. For his act a silver dollar and a revolver were presented to him by Jesse James, which have been kept and are now in possession of the family."

An occasion of distinction for the ever-reliable engineer was pulling the pilot ahead of the Alton funeral train carrying the remains of Abraham Lincoln into Springfield from Chicago on Wednesday, May 3, 1865.

[Foote died in 1906 in Springfield, IL, and is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield.]

 

ALTON RELICS DESTROYED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1905
Many bundles of interesting old books and papers were being crated up and carted away today from the vaults in the McPike building at Second and Easton streets, which recorded the history of an old Alton institution that has passed away, but which survives still in the memory of many Alton people. The papers were all the books and papers of the old Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance building at Liberty and Grove started here by Hon. H. G. McPike. The company did a flourishing business in Alton and was in a condition that would have admitted of it growing to a large, healthy fire insurance company in the near future, but for an unfortunate questioning of its condition by the state auditor in 1891, which resulted in the company being wound up, at a time when it was doing well and paying salaries to many Alton people. The company was originally started in the early days of Alton by John Atwood, and the company had its offices in the building at Liberty and Grove streets. After the Chicago fire in 1871, the company went out of business, but its charter was still in existence. Hon. H. G. McPike obtained the charter, revived the company and was building up a flourishing business when the attack of the state auditor put it out of business. It was a remarkable commentary on the financial stability of the company that its affairs were wound up at heavy expense and the company paid dollar for dollar. After keeping the old documents for many years, Mr. McPike decided to get rid of them and men were put to work crating them up and hauling them to be disposed of to a paper factory. Among the relics was a picture on the back of which was the information that it had safely passed through the Chicago fire and was saved, intact, from the furnace that destroyed everything else around it. The picture was an early day advertisement of the old Illinois Mutual and was about all the company saved out of the wreck of the fire. Another relic is an old fashioned picture frame containing the pictures of the original board of directors of the Illinois Mutual. The frame is a large one, with gold leaf mountings and was a very costly piece of decorative work in its day. Some of these latter old relics will be spared, but the remainder will be shipped to a paper factory and but little will be left of the once well-known fire insurance company.

 

OLD RELIC DISCOVERED - LONG BURIED CORNERSTONE FOUND
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 5, 1905
An ancient landmark was uncovered by workmen who were excavating in Market street, between Fifth and Fourth Street today, laying a sewer to be connected from Miss Belle Mather's house to the Fifth street sewer. The workmen dug up a stone which was set there in the early days of Alton, doubtless, and has been buried out of sight for many a year. The stone was probably on the street level, but with the filling of the street it became covered and has been in disuse for a long time. The stone was marked "No. 12." George H. Davis, who was looking after the work, had the stone set back in place again by the workmen in order that its location might not be disturbed.

 

ALTON WILDCAT
Source: Auburn, New York Citizen, January 20, 1906
A large wildcat that has been filling the night air with hair raising sounds and the people in the vicinity with terror on the bluffs between Hop Hollow and Alton, was killed early yesterday morning by Henry Schwallensticher, an Alton stone mason, whose dogs treed the cat on Haskell Hill. Schwallensticher had gone coon hunting Sunday night and was returning home when the dogs started the wild cat inside the northern limits of the city of Alton. After a sharp chase, the animal ran up a large tree on Haskell Hill and the dogs howled and barked furiously until their master came up. The figure of the animal was outlined against the limb of the tree upon which it crouched and the hunter, thinking it was a coon, fired at the dark object. The aim was true, and the animal, giving a scream of pain, came tumbling to the ground. Dying as it was, the trained dogs had a hard fight, and many bad wounds from the cat, which is said to be the largest specimen ever seen in the vicinity.

 

GOSSRAU BAND IS REORGANIZED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 9, 1906
Some twenty years ago Alton possessed a musical organization called the Gossrau brass band, after its organizer and director, R. Gossrau, and unlike the modern brass bandists, these old timers not only played some instruments, but each one was a special star in some form of amusement, and their entertainments were always occasions of great joy to their friends and the public generally. Recently the question of reorganizing the band came up, and the "Big Four" of the combination, Joe Holl, John Elblie, George Mold and H. A. Wutzler, saw as many of the surviving members as possible, and it was decided to reorganize and give one of their old-time band concerts, including specialties of various kinds and to give the proceeds to charity. A meeting was held last evening, and the following officers were elected: John Elblie, president, H. A. Wutzler, vice-president; H. L. Winter, director; W. F. Hoppe, librarian; Jim Reilley, drum major. It was learned that at least three survivors of the old Bluff City Band, which was at its Zenith 35 years ago, still lived in Alton, and it was decided to admit them to membership in the reorganized aggregation. The three are Edmond Beall, S. H. Malcolm and Rudolph Maerdian. A meeting will be held next Wednesday evening at Turner Hall, when all former members are expected to be present and help make arrangements for the concert amalgamated concoction of fun, which will be given as soon as possible thereafter in Turner Hall, and which is guaranteed will be the leading public entertainment event of the season or of many seasons’ past.

 

GYPSIES CARRY MUCH GOLD IN CARAVAN
Bankers Astonished by Foreigners' Display of Yellow Treasure
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 12, 1906
Alton bankers were astonished today by the showing of gold made by members of a band of gypsies traveling in a dozen wagons, who have been going through the country and are now encamped on the outskirts of Alton waiting for the roads to harden sufficiently for them to pursue their way. The party consists of Brazilian gypsies, who are very numerous in this country now, and only a few of them speak English well. Representatives of the caravan have been negotiating with Alton banks trying to discover which of them will offer the best terms for a large quantity of gold in British and French coins, which the members of the caravan doubtless brought with them from Brazil. There is a demand for French gold and also for British gold from tourists and traders, and banks are eager to get it. Knowing this, the gypsies solicited all of them and asked for quotations on foreign gold. The representatives smelled like the inmates of hyena cages at a circus, and at each bank it was necessary to open doors after their departure. The gypsies had been carrying the money in their caravan and would probably have gone on with a large sum of yellow metal in their wagons, with no one any the wiser, but muddy roads made it desirable to dispense with all the weight they could possibly get rid of. The women and children carrying as much of their plunder as they could, walked all the way from Granite City to Alton, while four horses attached to each wagon had all they could do to pull the wagons through the mud. The aggregate of wealth carried by the party is estimated to be large, judging from what the gypsies said.

 

JAMES NEWMAN GOES TO PENITENTIARY
SAID TO BE ONE OF THE INFAMOUS DALTON GANG
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 15, 1906
James Newman, the labor agent for the glass works, was taken to Edwardsville today and will be taken down to Chester in a few days by Sheriff Crowe to begin serving an indeterminate sentence imposed upon him in the city court by Judge Dunnegan today...He was found guilty of a charge of assault with intent to commit rape, and the penalty is from one to fourteen years in the penitentiary.....The girl against whom he committed the assault is Juanita Dowdell, a Carrolton girl of 17 years whom he induced to come to Alton under promise that he would give her a job. There was a strong array of witnesses in Newman's behalf, but the jury preferred to believe the few witnesses who testified in behalf of the girl. According to Chief of Police Maxwell, James Newman is one of the famous Dalton gang. He received information to that effect some time ago, and he investigated Newman with the result that he found confirmation of his story. Newman always tried to make himself appear as young as possible, and he affected a style of dress that made him known throughout the city. He wore a Prince Albert coat and formerly always wore a mackintosh [waterproof raincoat], but in recent years discarded that. He wore a black wig and disguised himself or his age by dying his moustache black. He is said to have been a full cousin