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Alton, Illinois, Newspaper Clippings

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser




Source: Sangamo Journal, May 25, 1833
The subscriber is now opening in Alton a large and general assortment of merchandise, which have been purchased with cash, and will be sold very low for cash or country produce. Indeed, this business being but auxiliary to other objects in which the subscriber is engaged, and it being essential to the success of the latter, that it should be seen that goods can be retailed as low in Alton as in any town or city in the western country, he will for this purpose sell at an advance too low to admit of the casualties of crediting, even with those of the most undoubted responsibility and punctuality.
Signed, Ninian Edwards, by J. S. Lane.
Lower Alton, April 26, 1833


Source: Sangamo Journal, June 1, 1833
For sale – a first-rate female house servant, now in Alton, and two valuable indentured servants (man and his wife). Enquire of the Editor of the Alton Spectator. April 23, 1833.


Source: Alton Spectator, July 2, 1833
Mr. Editor - It is with unfeigned pleasure that as I lately passed through your town, I learned its real and contemplated improvements. Two years ago, in traveling along the Mississippi, scarcely a house was to be seen. Since that time, a flourishing village of many hundred inhabitants has sprung up as by enchantment, and the whole aspect of the town convinces me that the same vigor and enterprise that commenced its existence is pushing it onward. The prosperity of your new and wild, but flourishing town, is a source of gratification to me, and I doubt not (as it should be) to the citizens of the state. The citizens of no part of Illinois can, or should be, jealous of its growth. Besides, it must be a matter of state pride with our spirited and independent population, to have a metropolis of its own. While we rejoice in the prosperity of sister states, we certainly do not wish to build them up at the expense of our own. There is no one but is gratified to hear it said of his town, state, or metropolis of his state, as populous, respectable and prosperous. The citizens of Illinois cannot be destitute of its feeling, and it gives me pleasure to state that gratification is within their reach. Our territory is extensive and fertile, population already large, made up of the best material, and rapidly increasing. There are many states with less population than ours that can boast of their cities of thirty, forty, of fifty thousand inhabitants, and these cities are sources of pride and prosperity to their states. But Illinois, with a population of nearly or quite two hundred thousand free citizens cannot name a single city, nor even a village, containing two thousand inhabitants. It seems hardly possible, but it is so. I can account for this no other way than by supposing the want of an effort, and that citizens have been busy in building up the towns and villages in their immediate vicinity without reference to the interest and character of the state, and as this they have unquestionably been successful. No one who has traveled through the same can deny that we have many beautiful and flourishing villages and small towns. Out state has no metropolis. Shall it have one? It depends upon its citizens to answer. No one doubts our capability, our resources. A city in another state now reaps the harvest, which one in this state should gather. St. Louis has been principally built up and is now too great a measure supported by the profits of business derived from the state. Let this business be diverted and applied to our own benefit, and a city would soon spring up on the Illinois shore. Then our citizens would not be obliged to pay out their thousands every year, to ferrymen, for the privilege of carrying their surplus produce to the market of St. Louis. Your town seems to be the location pitched upon, and it now begins to feel the beneficial impulse. Your harbor is excellent, navigation is always unimpeded, except a small portion of the winter season, as ____ central, a bend of the river throwing it considerably into the interior of the state; building materials abundant, and of the best quality, and the county around it high, dry and fertile. I have only to hope for your own, and for the credit and interior of the state, that your present favorable prospects will be fully realized. Signed Illinois.


Source: The Evening Journal, Albany, New York, July 9, 1833
(Extract of a letter from a merchant at Alton, Illinois, dated June 21rst, 1833)
"The first case of cholera that occurred here was one quarry man, a moderate drinker. He died in 12 hours. Second case, a quarry man, intemperate, died in a few hours. 3rd, Mrs. Elijah Haydon, after premonitory symptoms, take at noon, died at night. 4th, Mrs. Pierre, wife of the Representative for Greene co., taken at noon, died in four hours. Mr. Wilson, a temperate man, lingered several days and then died. A German, intemperate, remained two days in collapse, and died. Child of J. Thomas, and Mrs. David Miller, died in a few hours. The last death was our highly esteemed friend, Dr. Barrett, formerly of Massachusetts. His was the most violent case I have seen. In three quarters of an hour after he was attacked, he was speechless - and died in three or four hours. In all these cases a diarrhea preceded the attack. Doctor Barrett, though not well, had been out all night with the sick, fatiguing himself very much. We have had several cases which have been found manageable. There are now three or four cases on the recovery. So, we think the worst is passed. Confidence is now partially restored."

Source: The Evening Journal, Albany, New York, June 30, 1835
The Alton (Illinois) Spectator says upwards of 20 deaths have taken place in that town within two weeks. The disease, however, was taking a milder form, and hopes were entertained that it would soon take its departure. The Spectator adds that Cholera prevails to a greater or lesser extent in Edwardsville, the American Bottom, through the towns on the Illinois river, and various other places in the State.


Source: The Daily Evening Herald, Missouri, September 18, 1835
St. Louis & Alton Packet. The steam boat Tiskilwa will commence her daily trips between this place and Alton on Tuesday next. She will start from the foot of Oak Street, opposite Vatrin & Reel's store, at 9 o'clock A. M. precisely. Leave Alton daily at half past 3 o'clock P.M. All freight must be delivered on board at least half an hour before starting, as the time of departure will be strictly adhered to. For freight or passage apply on board or to Bray & Baily, Agents at St. Louis. Townsend & Co. - Agents at Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 9, 1836
The steamboat Tiskilwa has been purchased by a company of our merchants for the purpose of continuing her as a regular packet between Alton and St. Louis. she will probably commence her daily trips about the first of April, leaving this every morning and returning in the afternoon, Sundays excepted. After this trip, she will, we are informed, go into the dry dock for thorough repairs. It is the intention of the proprietors to remove the lower cabin and finish a neat and commodious upper cabin with berths, which will accommodate such transient persons as cannot probably get accommodated at the taverns, with supper, bed and breakfast, ______ number of such persons is now found nightly to amount from 10 to 20, and this number is constantly increasing.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 23, 1836
The steam ferry boat, on this ferry, having been snagged and lost early in the winter, the public are informed that a new and superior boat is contracted for, which will make the trip in three or four minutes, and will be out from the Ohio in May. Until then, the company will run a scow and skiffs. For the ferry master, apply at Townsend & Co.'s warehouse, or to Joel Foster, Ferry Master, Foot of State Street.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 20, 1836
Just received per steamers Boonslick and Far West, an addition to my stock of goods, which with those before on hand, gives me the largest assortment of wooden ware and chairs ever offered in this place, consisting of 113 doz. painted pails, 28 doz 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1836
From the Jacksonville Patriot. Alton - We recently visited this young and flourishing town. The business that has been transacted in it the present season greatly exceeds in amount the anticipations of its warmest friends. The Legislature, in its liberality to provide a suitable place for the reception of convicts, erected the State Penitentiary on a hill near the present site of Alton, and no doubt supposed that such a large stone structure would stand unrivalled by any buildings the Altonians might think proper to erect. But the individual enterprise of the merchants in putting up large, four and five story stone warehouses, bears indomitable evidence that they are determined not to be outdone in this particular. In fact, the foundations for a large commercial city are already laid in Alton, and all the forced ridicule and unfair opposition that the citizens of St. Louis may array against it cannot keep it down. The merchants of Alton are, generally, a liberal minded, fair dealing set of men, and as such we commend them to the patronage of our country leaders.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1836
We understand that a number of persons with malicious and riotous intentions, on Saturday night last, resorted to the room of Mr. Schweighoffer, the magical professor, &c., who has for several nights been exhibiting his feats of legerdemain [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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1836
We copy the following extract of a letter from the St. Louis Observer. The writer had visited Alton and was on his way East. When the writer says, "a beautiful town will yet be made of Alton," he speaks but the sentiments of all who look at the subject with candor and impartiality. "It is too early in the season for Illinois to appear in her beauty. A few weeks hence, her prairies will be one immense flower garden; her cultivated lands covered with the luxuriant growth of a most prolific soil; and her whole length and breadth spreading out the finest body of land to be found in these United States. Alton is a broken, ugly place. I remember one passenger asked another if he resided in Alton, and being answered in the affirmative, replied, "I pity you." Whether a person comes down the river or goes up the river, he can hardly persuade himself that this is the very Alton of which he has heard so much. But let him enter Alton by land, going up from Saint Louis, and if his childhood like mind was nurtured among the mountains, the hills of Alton will look like friends. Ascend these hills and the prospect is delightful. The Missouri is full in view, pouring its mighty waters into the majestic Mississippi. The loaded steamboats fast stemming the current, and the town below you is bustling with the business that throngs her. A beautiful town will yet be made of Alton. But Alton's greatest, fairest prospects are in the character of her population. Her men of influence are public spirited, virtuous, religious. The foundations for her greatness are laid in her college, her schools, her churches. The industrious, the intelligent, the sober, the pious, will find a congenial home in Alton. The intemperate and licentious had better go elsewhere. They may mingle with the herd that now infests the town and which must soon pass away, but they can gain no permanent home here."


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1836
There is no one thing that tells more forcibly for the public spirit and enterprise of a town than the number and elegance of its public buildings. They are the first to attract the notice of the stranger, on entering a place, and the last to recede from his view on leaving it. Nor are they an inconsiderable index of the moral character of a population. For it is proverbially true, that where public institutions such as Academics, Lyceum halls, churches, and the like, abound, there do we find a population virtuous, intelligent, refined and happy. It is on this account that we are pleased to record every new effort to erect Seminaries and churches. We doubt if the place can be found of its size in our country, where the institutions of religion and learning receives greater patronage than in Alton, or where at this moment, greater improvements are in contemplation. Besides the present neat and commodious Presbyterian, Baptist, and Reformed Methodist churches, we learn that the Episcopal congregation are making preparations to build a handsome church in the course of the summer - that the Episcopal Methodist congregation have recently purchased the house recently owned by the Baptists, and that the Baptist congregation will soon erect a house which for beauty and elegance will not suffer in comparison with any church in the western country. In addition to these, we learn that two churches (Baptist and Presbyterian), and the college buildings, are in progress at Upper Alton, and the Female Seminary, projected and founded by the munificence of our esteemed fellow citizen, B. Godfrey, Esq., in the vicinity of this place, is commenced and will be completed during the present season. We hope, before long, to present our readers with an outline of the plan upon which this seminary is to be conducted; and judging from the character of the gentleman who is to superintend it, no doubt exists but it will be established on principles the most liberal and correct.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 15, 1836
It is with pleasure we announce the arrival of the new and beautiful steam, Benjamin Ives Gilman, which has been built by the enterprise of our citizens, in connection with Capt. Green, expressly for plying between this place and the different ports on the Illinois River. This boat is of novel construction, and has been built with particular reference to the Illinois trade. Our merchants have hitherto found great difficulty in shipping their goods regularly up the river - the boats from below being generally unable or unwilling to receive their freight. We therefore hope the enterprising proprietors of the B. I. Gilman will be largely rewarded for this very important acquisition to our business facilities with our sister towns on the Illinois river. The internal arrangements of the boat are very tasty - not surpassed, if equaled, by any boat on the upper waters. Capt. Green has been long and favorably known on the river as a careful and attentive commander, and passengers on board his boat may rely upon every exertion to render their stay pleasant and agreeable.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 29, 1836
About thirteen miles of this road, we learn, has been opened and is now in traveling order for wagons and carriages. Arrangements are being made for its continuation to Hillsborough, with the pleasing prospect of a speedy completion to that place. The enterprising citizens of Shelby county will no doubt do their part towards carrying the road through to their seat of justice, and thus afford facilities of intercourse with us which have not been hitherto enjoyed.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 29, 1836
A stage line has been established to run twice a week between this place [Alton] and St. Charles, Mo., by Mr. S. L. Watson. This arrangement has long been needed, and for the want of which, our citizens have not as frequently visited our neighbors on the other side of the river as they would have done, had traveling facilities been afforded. We learn that the road from this to St. Charles is almost a perfect level, and during a great portion of the year is in excellent traveling order. We intend ourselves to take the first leisure season to visit the delightful village of St. Charles, and will then tell our readers more about it than our present knowledge of it will enable us to do.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 13, 1836
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That Benjamin Godfrey, Calvin Riley, J. A. Townsend, W. S. Gilman, S. Ryder, Jonathan T. Hudson, Mark Pierson, Isaac Negus, Nathaniel Buckmaster, Stephen Griggs, A. O. Hankinson, Hezekiah Hawley, Sherman W. Robbins, Isaac I. Foster, and their associates, successors and assigns, be, and they are hereby incorporated into a body corporate and politic, by the name and style of "The Alton Marine and Fire Insurance Company," to have continuance for and during the term of twenty years from and after the passage of this act, and by such corporate name and style, shall be, for the term aforesaid, able and capable, in law and in equity, to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered unto, defend and be defended, in all manner of suits, actions, pleas, causes, matters and demands, of whatever kind and nature they may be, in as full and effectual a manner as any person or persons, bodies corporate and politic may or can do; and may have a common seal, which they may alter or revoke at pleasure, and may purchase, hold, and convey and estate, real or personal, for the use of said company, Provided that said corporation shall not, at any one time, hold real estate exceeding the value of five thousand dollars, excepting such as may be taken for debt, or held as collateral security for money due to said company.

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

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 31, 1836
We owe an apology, as registers of "passing events," for omitting to mention some weeks since, the organization in this place of a society of the "Independent Order of Odd Fellows," to be known as the "Western Star Lodge No. 1," and the imposing ceremony of dedicating their hall for that purpose by the St. Louis Lodge of the same order. The members from St. Louis, in full costume of the Order, accompanied by an excellent band of music, were in attendance by previous invitation and arrangement. At three o'clock on Thursday, the 11th inst., the procession moved to the Baptist Church, where an oration was pronounced by Mr. Charles Keemle, a member of the Society from St. Louis. The oration as a literary production was highly creditable to the author, and was listened to by a crowded assembly with the most profound attention. The exercises at the church were closed with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Ives of the Baptist church. The procession moved from the church to the hall, where of course we could not follow them, not being in the secrets of the order. We learn, however, that the Society are prospering in a high degree, and that their increase has exceeded the expectations of the most sanguine of its friends. We regret that the slumbers of some of our citizens were disturbed on the night of the organization, and that the Society from St. Louis are, by some, implicated in the disturbance. We state, however, in justice to those gentlemen, that they were all engaged in the object of their visit, until the time of their departure, about midnight. Upon the "serenading party," we are credibly informed, must rest the responsibility of all the disturbance.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 14, 1836
Yesterday morning, the daughter of Mr. G. M. T._____ [not named], one of the most respectable inhabitants of East Broadway, absconded from home, in company with a man who, it is believed, from certain information which has been received by the distracted parent, is a hackney coachman, but whose vacation or calling is not positively known. The unfortunate and deluded girl is about sixteen years of age, of very amiable and exemplary disposition, and until the occurrences of the present unhappy event was always considered to be extremely diffident, unassuming, and averse to familiarities or intercourse with the male sex. Up to last evening, no tidings had been received of the fugitive, save that she was seen riding up the Bowery in a hack carriage in company with the individual in question, and an application was made at the police office by the wretched father for the aid of officers to assist him in rescuing his child from the ruin and perdition which threatened her. Two of the most active officers connected with the establishment started in pursuit, and it is to be hoped that their efforts will be crowned with the same eminent success which has heretofore generally attended their enterprise and industry.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 21, 1836
Our town presents the most animating appearance - the Fall business has commenced, and on every side, nothing but the bustle and noise of trade is to be heard. Alton at no former period gave stronger evidences of rapid growth. In a very few years, Water Street [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, Macadamizing and paving the streets. If this was done, no place in the West would be more healthy, no more desirable residence could be found, than Alton.

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 19, 1836
This institution, which was established about a year ago, we are gratified to learn, is about being revived. A meeting of the Society was held on Friday evening last, when an address was delivered by a member, which we have understood was a very creditable performance. It is proposed, in order to give the society greater efficiency, and more promptly to engage the attention of our young men, to have an entire re-organization. For this purpose, another meeting has been appointed to be held on Friday evening next at the Baptist Church, at which time and place we trust every young man in Alton will be found, ready and willing to adopt any and every measure which may be necessary to secure the efficient prosecution of the Society's objects.


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

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


[Less than a year before his death at the hands of a mob.]
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. Bricklayers 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. Bricks 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.) [Captain Benjamin Godfrey] has given $10,000 dollars towards the erection and endowment of a female seminary at Monticello, five miles north of the town, to the superintendence of which a most accomplished lady has been called from the celebrated institute at Ipswich, Mass.

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


Source: Alton Observer, December 29, 1836
This prominent point of attraction on the Mississippi is situated on its east bank, 24 miles above St. Louis and 3 above the mouth of the Missouri river. The principal business landing is a natural wharf of rock, lined with massive stone warehouses, at the very doors of which, in high water, steamboats lie and discharge their cargoes. This advantage, to the same degree, is possessed by no other place on the Mississippi, and cannot fail, at first sight, to attract the especial notice of the traveler.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 22, 1837
I am more than surprised, after exploring Alton in all its parts, to see such neglect in your corporation, with a population of about 6,000, as is supposed, without a Market House or any place where they can go to meet their daily supplies from the farmers; and no point at which the farmers with their produce can congregate, to know or meet the wants of the citizens. Now, have you ever thought of the loss of time, in such a condition of things, both to farmer and citizen; the one in passing about your street to find purchasers at all times of the day and the other in hunting up all over the town such articles as he may need; would not the time thus lost in the last year alone have built two such markets as are now necessary for the accommodation of both classes. I am sure your Trustees could not have reflected on the importance of this matter, or they could not so long have delayed the erection of some Public Market. The farmers justly complain of it, and many I understand refuse to carry their produce to Alton at all on account of this want of accommodation to them. A Visitor.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 22, 1837
The steamboat Tiskilwa was run into by the Wisconsin on Friday last, near the mouth of the Illinois, and sunk in about two minutes. A family had been taken aboard the night previous, consisting of a husband, wife and three children, who were drowned, with five or six other deck passengers. The cargo was a valuable one, and was covered with an open policy. The boat was insured to the amount of $3,000 by the Alton Marine and Fire Insurance Company; she was computed to be worth $8,000. We have been informed by authority which we can rely upon that the Captain of the Wisconsin acted very improperly, both before and after the accident. It was with great difficulty that he was persuaded to render any assistance to the distressed passengers and crew of the Tiskilwa; he then took them aboard and carried them ashore, where he landed them, ladies and gentlemen, in their night dresses and barefooted. We did not think that we had such a monster in the western country.

Source: Steamboat Disasters and Railroad Accidents by S. A. Howland, 1840
On March 18, 1837, on the Illinois River about five miles from the mouth of the river, lives were lost (more than twenty) and the freight and baggage entirely destroyed aboard the steamer Tiskilwa. The captain of the steamboat Wisconsin, which was ascending the river, repeatedly stated that if he should meet the Tiskilwa and her captain, he would not give him a clear channel and would run her down. This provoked the captain of the Tiskilwa, and he was determined not to turn out of his course.

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 12, 1837
New cabinet warehouse and manufactory on Third Street near the corner of State Street. Edmund Beall, late of Cincinnati, respectfully inform the citizens of Alton and the surrounding country that he has commenced the above business in this place. He has on hand of his own manufacture an assortment of furniture, consisting of bureaus, tables, bedsteads, etc., which he is disposed to sell on very reasonable terms, and to which he invites the attention of all who wish to purchase. Orders for the manufacture of every description of cabinet furniture will be thankfully received and faithfully executed. The subscriber hopes by strict attention to business to merit a share of public patronage.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 31, 1837
We regret to state that one of the new two-story brick buildings on Second street (Broadway), the property of Messrs. Godfrey, Gillman & Co., was burnt down on last Thursday afternoon. The manner in which the fire originated is not certainly known - the house being still in an unfinished state, and unoccupied - but it is presumed to have been communicated by means of some shavings, which a person had been employed in burning at a distance. So soon as it was discovered, the Fire Company and citizens hastened to the spot; but it being evident that no human means could avail to save the building in question, it was abandoned to its fate, and the exertions of those present confined to the preservation of the adjoining houses; which was happily effected without any material damage. As the above is the first fire which is believed to have ever occurred here [Alton], it is not surprising that we should have been but imperfectly prepared to contend against it. The only cause for surprise, on the contrary, is that so much should have been effected with such limited means, and at so short a notice. But as the probability of future and more extensive conflagrations must increase in proportion to the growth of our town, it is to be hoped that measures will be immediately taken to place the Fire Department on a more efficient footing, and the subject is respectfully submitted to the Board of Trustees for their consideration.


America’s Eminent Statesman
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 21, 1837
This eminent statesman, accompanied by his lady and daughter, reached Alton at one o'clock p.m. on Wednesday last [June 14, 1837], in the steamboat “United States,” attended 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. Cyrus 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.

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.

Daniel Webster was an eminent American statesman, Congressman, Secretary of State, and prominent attorney. Throughout his career he was a member of the Federalist Party, the Republican Party, and the Whig Party. Webster became a leading opponent of President Andrew Jackson’s domestic policies, and his Second Reply to Hayne speech is widely regarded as one of the greatest speeches ever delivered in Congress. He died October 24, 1852 at the age of 70. A monument to Webster stands in Central Park, New York City, with “Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable” written on the base.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 9, 1837
The first anniversary of the Alton Total Abstinence Society was held on 31st ult., at the Episcopal Church. After the transaction of some preliminary business, the society went into an election for officers for the ensuing year, which resulted as follows: J. R. Woods, President; Stephen Griggs, 1st Vice President; Charles Howard, 2d Vice President; Lawson A. Parks, Secretary; Samuel Avis, W. S. Gilman, W. L. Chappell, James Mansfield, Royal Weiler, and O. Lovejoy, Directors. On motion, voted that the Constitution and By-Laws, together with the proceedings of the meeting, be published. The society then adjourned. James Mansfield, President. J. R. Woods, Secretary.

1. Any person may become a member of this society by signing the Constitution.
2. (Same as pledge in Temperance Herald)
3. Any member may withdraw from this society by leaving notice with the Secretary.
4. The officers of this society shall consist of a President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary and six Directors, all of whom shall be chosen annually.

1. The duties of the President shall be to preside at all meetings of this society, and perform such duties as usually devolve on presiding officers of such associations; in case of his absence, the Vice President shall take his place.
2. The Secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of this society. He shall be the organ of communication between this society and others. He shall also act as Treasurer.
3. The Board of Directors shall procure suitable places for meetings, and obtain competent persons to deliver addresses.
4. This Society shall hold its stated meetings on the last Friday evening of every month.
5. Any member of this society having sufficient evidence of another member violating the second article of this Constitution shall report the same to the President, whose duty it shall be to privately admonish him in a manner calculated to bring him to reflection; but if, after the remonstrance, he still persists in his course of delinquency, his name shall be publicly erased from the Constitution.
6. Any seven members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
7. All elections of this society shall be by ballot.
8. This Constitution and By-Laws may be altered by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at any meeting.

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 23, 1837
It becomes our painful duty, this week, to record the loss of upwards of twenty lives by one of those accidents of which the history of steamboat navigation on the western waters affords so many melancholy instances. It occurred on the Dubuque, while on her way up from St. Louis to Galena, at an early hour in the morning of the 15th inst. This unfortunate boat was towed down from Bloomington - about eight miles above the spot where the disaster happened - by the "Smelter," and reached our wharf on the morning of Friday last, on her return to St. Louis. Never shall we forget the sad spectacle presented by the four unhappy sufferers, who then alone survived out of nearly thirty injured, and of the recovery of whom, with a single exception, but faint hopes can reasonably be entertain. One of these, Michael Shaughnessy, had a wife and infant on board, who were involved in the general destruction. The latter expired a few hours only after the disaster; the mother lived almost until the arrival of the boat at this place, and was interred in our cemetery [Alton City Cemetery]; and as for the wretched father and husband, his condition was such, when he reached our town [Alton], that we could hardly wish for the further prolongation of his miserable existence. In addition to the particulars of the heart-rending calamity, given in the following letter from our respected fellow-citizen, D. A. Spaulding, Esq., a passenger on board of the Dubuque, we learn that the boat had taken in wood about two miles below the scene of the melancholy occurrence - that the cabin passengers, being asleep in their berths, escaped uninjured, except one, who had his feet scalded - that the deck passengers were also lying down toward the stern of the boiler deck; but so tremendous was the explosion that, although they were separated from the machinery by a quantity of freight and other materials, the steam forced its way through every obstacle, scalding most of them very severely, and throwing the others overboard. The accident is attributed to a defect in the iron of which the collapsed flu was constructed; there being a full supply of water in the boilers at the time of the accident, which, so far as we have been able to learn, could not have been prevented by ordinary foresight. This mark * is affixed to the names of such of the sufferers as were still living when the Dubuque arrived here. It was the intention of the Captain to take them, if possible, to the St. Louis Hospital, for the purpose of medical attendance. All the others had died, except the Engineer, who although severely wounded, not by the steam but by pieces of iron, was not considered in danger.

"To the Editor of the Telegraph, Bloomington, 15th August, 1837:
This morning, about three o'clock, the steamboat Dubuque, commanded by Capt. Smoker, when alongside of Musquetin Island, and about eight miles below this place, on her way to Galena, while under an ordinary head of steam, collapsed the flue of her starboard boiler, scalding all the deck passengers, and some of the burns so severely, that ten are now dead, and it is probable, and even certain, that five or six more will die. A few others were thrown overboard and drowned. At the time the accident happened, the boat was about 50 yards from the west bank, and a landing was easily effected. Bloomington being the nearest point from which assistance could be obtained, six men were dispatched with the yawl, who returned in about four hours with two physicians; when everything which human ingenuity and skill could devise for the relief of the unfortunate sufferers was promptly done. Several of them were so badly scalded, that half of their skin came off before the arrival of the physicians. At eleven o'clock, the steamboat Adventure, Capt. Vanhouten, bound to Galena, came up and took the Dubuque in tow as far as this place. It is due to Capt. Smoker, as well as to the Captain of the Adventure, the physicians, and some of the citizens of Bloomington, to say, that they did everything in their power to mitigate the sufferings of the unhappy victims, and render their situation as comfortable as possible. The following is a list of the persons injured, so far as known:

John Littleton, 2d Engineer, badly wounded in the head by a piece or pieces of iron.
Isaac Deal, fireman, of Pittsburgh
Felix Pope, fireman, of Kaskaskia
*Charles Kelley, deck hand, Ohio
*Noah Swain, deck hand, Quincy
Jesse Johnson, cook, colored man, thrown overboard and drowned
Benjamin Messer, 2d cook, colored man, thrown overboard and drowned, of Cincinnati
James C. Carr, deck passenger, St. Clair, Ill.
George McMurray, deck passenger, St. Clair, Ill.
Francis Pleasant, deck passenger, St. Clair, Ill., colored man
Henry H. Carr, deck passenger, St. Clair, Ill.
James C. Hamilton, deck passenger, Dubuque
Joseph Brady, deck passenger, Dubuque
Josiah L. Sams, deck passenger, Clay County, Ill.
L. B. Sams, deck passenger, Clay County, Ill.
George Clix, deck passenger, Galena
John Boland, deck passenger, New York
David Francour, deck passenger, France
*Martin Shaughnessy, deck passenger, St. Louis
*Michael Shaughnessy, wife and infant, deck passengers

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 27, 1837
We understand that the Alton Ferry Company have completed a horse-boat, which is now constantly running from the Penitentiary landing to the Missouri shore. They intend to build a new steam ferry boat, to be in readiness by the opening of spring; so that both boats may be kept running if necessary. As it is intended that one shall be constantly plying, no detention or difficulty through the want of ferry boats need hereafter be apprehended by those desirous of crossing the river.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 21, 1838
The subscriber having purchased the stock in trade of B. Delaplain, consisting of dry goods, groceries, hardware, Queensware, wooden ware, &c. &c., respectfully invites all who like good bargains to give him a call. Most kinds of country produce, and even good bank notes and specie, taken in exchanges, if insisted upon by the purchaser. Store, corner of Second and State Streets. Alton, February 14, 1838. H. P. Hulbert.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 28, 1838
We regret to learn that the store of Mr. A. Conlee, in the fourth Ward of this city [Middletown] was broken into on last Saturday night, and merchandise of the estimated value of between seven and eight hundred dollars stolen therefrom. The perpetrators, we understand, still remain undiscovered.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 14, 1838
On Friday night last, the silversmith and jeweler's shop of Mr. J. S. Clarke, on Second street, was feloniously entered into by means of a false key, and twenty-nine watches, together with sundry articles of jewelry, taken therefrom. A reward of $100 has been offered by the Mayor for the discovery of the perpetrators.


(The Altonian printed only three papers)
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 21, 1838
A new weekly paper, bearing the above title, made its appearance in this city on Wednesday of last week. It is published by Messrs. Parks & Breath, and presents a handsome appearance. So far as it shall be found to support the real interests of this city, the state, and the Union generally, we hope it will meet all desirable encouragement. We take this fitting occasion to return our acknowledgments to the editors for the kind sympathy which they have been pleased to express for our "misfortunes," in the loss of a few of our Abolition subscribers; and as we are unwilling to permit any obligation whatever to remain unrequited, when it is in our power to cancel it, we beg leave to condone with our worthy neighbors, on account of the rejection of their paper by a number of the Whigs to whom it was sent. Although gratified at the patronage of the Abolitionists, when voluntarily and unconditionally tendered, and ready at all times to render them full and impartial justice, we nevertheless freely admit that inasmuch as we do not concur in their peculiar views, we have no better claim on their support as a party than our friends of the Altonian have on that of the Whigs; and most certainly have no right "to compel" them to take our paper, "whether they will or no." In this respect, the two publications stand on equal ground; with this trifling difference, that the Telegraph fights openly, under its own colors, without profession to be what it is not. So far as the regret expressed by our neighbors, that there should be, in this city, an Editor whose course, in relation to the fatal affair of the 7th of November last, "required explanation," may be intended or considered as a reflection upon us, we deem it proper to observe, once for all, that during the entire period of our connection with the senior publisher of the Altonian, no Editorial article on the exciting subject of Abolition and the matters connected with it ever appeared in the Telegraph, without having been previously submitted to his perusal, and obtained his express sanction. If, therefore, too much has been said, he is not less to blame than we are for having failed to interpose his veto; if too little, he is equally consurable for having neglected to supply the deficiency.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1838
The office of the Alton Telegraph will be removed, in the course of a few days, to the room formerly occupied by the Observer office, in the stone building near Piasa creek bridge on Second street [Broadway], where all orders in the printing line will be thankfully received and promptly executed.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1838
On last Thursday afternoon, this city [Alton] and neighborhood were visited by a hail storm of unusual severity, accompanied with wind, rain, lightning and thunder. Most of the hailstones, which continued falling for ten or fifteen minutes, were of the size of large walnuts, and some of them nearly, if not quite as big as hen eggs; and being driven with some violence by the force of the wind, they did considerable damage by stripping trees of their leaves, destroying tender plants and vegetables, and breaking thousands of panes of glass in this city and Upper Alton. We have not heard how far the storm extended its ravages in any direction; but hope they were confined within a limited space.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1838
The Branch of the Bank of Illinois, recently established in this city [Alton], went into operation last week and discounted moderately. We understand that it is the intention of the directors to loan out small sums only. They will thus have it in their power to grant accommodations to the greatest practicable number of citizens, and to afford as much relief to the community as can be reasonably anticipated under existing circumstances. It should, however, be strictly borne in mind that bank facilities, however useful and indispensable they may be to business men, and however much, when judiciously distributed, they may contribute to the development of the resources of a country like ours, and hasten the speed of its onward march, will not stand as a substitute for industry and enterprise, and that the only permanent remedy which can be applied to the existing evils is unremitted diligence and frugality. These, properly exerted together with the completion of the great work of political reform now in progress, unquestionably soon will restore us to our former prosperity, and effectually remove the embarrassments and difficulties under which the American people have so extensively labored for some time past.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1838
We understand that Colonel Nathaniel Buckmaster has been appointed Postmaster in this city, in the place of J. C. Bruner, Esq. removed. As both of these gentlemen are supporters of the existing administration, we know of no substantial reason for the change, unless it be that the latter is strongly suspected of having exercised the right of suffrage on a recent occasion agreeably to the dictates of his own conscience, an "unpardonable sin," in these days of moral degradation and political subserviency.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1838
Fellow Citizens: Having been, without any cause with which I am acquainted, deprived of the post office, which has been my main dependence for the support of my family, and having been earnestly solicited by many of my friends and fellow citizens from all parts of the county, who have known me for many years, to became a candidate for Sheriff of Madison County, I have consented, and will serve them in that capacity if honored with their suffrages at the next August election. J. C. Bruner.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1838
The shock of an earthquake was very sensibly felt in this city and the neighborhood, on last Saturday morning at about nine o'clock. It was preceded by a rumbling noise, resembling distant thunder, and the oscillation was such as to cause the windows, doors, &c., of buildings to shake violently and induce many persons to rush into the open air, under the apprehension of the fall of their respective dwellings. We are not able to state its duration with 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1838
For two or three weeks past, the weather here has been excessively warm - the thermometer, at different times, having ranged considerably over 100, and been seldom as low as 80. So far as our information extends, the crops, generally, are most abundant, not only in this state, but also throughout the Union; for which unbounded gratitude is justly due to the beneficent Author of our existence. As the blessing of a plentiful harvest is one, of which the mischievous and selfish policy of our rulers cannot deprive the American people, they may rejoice in the anticipation of it without any fear that their reasonable expectations will be disappointed.


Source: Sangamo Journal, July 14, 1838
Simeon Ryder & Co. – wholesale dealers in dry goods, hardware, iron and steel, castings, hats, caps, boots, shoes, groceries, &c. Also forwarding and commission merchants, Alton, Illinois.
Signed Simeon Ryder – C. L. Frost


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 15, 1838
An undivided fourth part of the Steam Saw Mill, situated on Shields' Branch, Alton, together with stable and outhouses, in fine order for an extensive business. Also a new dwelling house situated in Middletown, built and formerly occupied by John R. Gale, situated on N. W. Quarter of Block No. 10, fronting 8 rods on Washington Street, and comprising 2 lots of 1-4 of an acre each. Said house is well finished, pleasantly situated, and has a good stable and well of water, &c. Terms favorable. Apply to S. Griggs or B. F. Edwards.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1838
The steamboat Missouri Fulton - one of the regular traders between St. Louis and Galena - unfortunately ran on a snag on Wednesday evening last near the head of Chouteau's Island, about eighteen miles below this city, and sunk immediately in ten feet water. As the cargo consists principally of lead, the most of it will probably be saved, but it is feared that the boat may be a total loss, as she is lying in a dangerous situation.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 10, 1838
The periodical phenomenon of the shooting stars - which attracted such general attention throughout the United States on the morning of November 13, 1833, and has been visible in a greater or less degree on each succeeding anniversary - may perhaps be expected to make its appearance between midnight and sunrise on next Tuesday morning. Those desirous of observing this grand display of natural fireworks will therefore do well to be on the lookout.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 17, 1838
Gilders are exposed to the diseases following the absorption of mercury and the inhalation of its vapors, since it is by the aid of this metal that the process of gilding is performed. The union of mercury and gold by means of heat, which disengages largely the fumes of the former, will give rise in persons exposed to them, to giddiness, asthma, partial palsy, and a death-like paleness of visage. Preceding these constitutional effects, are the more common ones of ulcers in the mouth, salivation, universal languor, and trembling, by which the person affected is unable to raise his hand to his mouth, and even the act of swallowing is rendered convulsive. On recovering in a degree from extreme debility and exhaustion, there remains great irritability, and an especial intolerance of sound. At times there is an insufferable stammering produced by the deleterious action of mercury.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 24, 1838
To General Charles Gratiot, Chief Engineer, U. S. Army, Alton, Ill., October 15, 1838
At the request of a number of gentlemen of Alton, I have made a partial examination of the bank of the Mississippi River, from that city to Smeltzer's Ferry, one and a quarter miles above it, and of the river at the Ferry, with a view to the construction of a road along the bank, and a bridge at or near the Ferry, across the Mississippi; and I here take the liberty of communicating the result of my observations and reflections on the subject to you, as it may possibly have some bearing upon the future location of the National Road from this state into the state of Missouri.

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

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

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

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 1, 1838
Several large droves of hogs have arrived in this city within the last two weeks, and we understand that between five and six hundred head, some of them of a very large size, are cut-up daily, on an average, in our two packing houses. Among those slaughtered at Mr. Cory's establishment during the present week was one weighing 640 lbs., net; another weighed 500; several 400; and a large number over 300. Our hogs this year are generally fatter and heavier than at any former period, and Beeves, of which many are also brought here, are likewise much better than usual. The present price of pork varies, from four to five dollars per hundred, according to the size and quality; and is reported to command about the same prices at St. Louis. At Cincinnati, it is quoted at five dollars and fifty cents.



Source: Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois, 1812-1912
The Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the oldest fire insurance company in the state, was chartered in Alton, February 23, 1839, and organized April 4, 1839, with Benjamin Franklin Long as president, and M. G. Atwood secretary, and soon attained a high rank. In 1845 the directors were: John Atwood, Samuel G. Bailey, John Bailhache, Alfred Dow, M. G. Atwood, B. F. Edwards, O. M. Adams, B. K. Hart, JOhn James, B. F. Long, Elias Hibbard, Robert Smith, G. W. Long, William F. Dewolf, and George B. Arnold. The officers were: B. F. Long, president; M. G. Atwood, secretary; George B. Arnold, treasurer. In 1866, the officers were: M. G. Atwood, president; John Atwood, secretary; H. W. Billings, counselor; L. Kellenberger, treasurer; with Samuel Wade, Henry Lea, Lyman Trumbull, F. A. Hoffman, J. W. Schweppe, C. A. Caldwell, M. H. Topping, and M. G. Dale added to or replacing others in the directorate. The company had agencies all over the state, and for many years was a flourishing institution. It built a fine office in Middletown, and around it were grouped the residences of the officials. The locality was locally called "Insuranceville." The office was subsequently moved by 1867 to what is now the Masonic building on State street. It extended its operations and entered the insurance field in Chicago where it met its fate. It was wiped out by the great conflagration of 1871, which destroyed the great part of that city. Many other insurance companies were swept out of existence by the same unprecedented calamity.


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


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 23, 1839
200 Cast Steel Rifles and Shotguns!!! A large assortment just received from the manufactory, of all lengths and sizes, from five to sixteen pounds weight, embossed with brass, silver and gold, both single and double barrel, with shot gun to fit on the same stock - some very fine, put up with apparatus complete, in mahogany and leather cases. Also, REPEATERS, which may be discharged eight times without reloading. They are all very superior to the common kind; carry a ball much more accurately, and to double the distance; they are more easily cleaned, and the locks very simple and of superior quality, the hammer being on the under side, prevents injury from the raps exploding. The United States and the Canadian Governments have them now in use, and consider them superior in every respect in all others. The subscriber having now received the agency for this State, is enabled to keep a much larger assortment, and to sell them at very low prices, and solicits an examination from those who wish to purchase for sporting, for the Army, or to fit out Rifle Companies. He will have them made to order, of any kind or dimensions. Signed, H. G. VanWagenen.


Second Street [Broadway], Alton, Illinois
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 8, 1839
H. Tanner would inform his western friends that he is now laying in an extensive assortment of stoves for the season, at wholesale or retail, among which are the following kinds, viz: Premium stove of Pittsburgh and Troy Castings; German Tin Plate, trimmed for cooking; Plate Stoves with one and two boilers; Rotary; Saddle Bag; and Phelps' Patent. Also, common ten plate and parlour stoves of the latest fashions; Franklins, for wood or coal; and every description of heating stoves ever used in the west......Also, Simmons' best cast steel chopping axes, Kentucky and Yankee patterns; broad axes, hand axes, pruning, shingling, and claw hatchets; house and ship carpenter's axes; mincing knives, &c., warranted to be inferior to none manufactured in the world. The subscriber has the exclusive agency of this establishment for the State of Illinois, and is prepared to supply, wholesale or retail, merchants with these desirable tools in any quantities, and at the shortest notice, direct from the manufacturers, and will warrant and make good all defects, if any can be found. 200 boxes of various sizes and patterns, now on hand at his establishment in Alton, where merchants can always examine and prove them by the side of any others, to their own satisfaction (come and look). The subscriber has likewise connected with his other business, the Oil and Candle business, at wholesale and retail; where he intends keeping on hand all kinds and qualities of oil, and a full supply of sperm candles. These articles are received direct from the eastern manufacturers, and will always be sold at a small advance from their prices. He flatters himself that his knowledge of the oil business will afford him a decided advantage over others in buying this article; and consequently, will insure to those who trade with him the same advantage in proportion.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 13, 1839
We were presented, on Saturday last, by our worthy Mayor, Charles Howard, Esq., with an apple picked in his garden in this city [Alton], which measured ten inches in circumference one way, and about nine inches and a half the other way. It was fully ripe, of a rich crimson color, and without exception, the handsomest and best-flavored apple we ever have seen or tasted so early in the season. It grew on a young and thriving tree, grafts from which, we understand, may be obtained the ensuing spring by such as may desire it, on application to the proprietor.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 17, 1839
The following brief description of Alton, from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Humphrey, President of one of the Eastern colleges, who recently paid a flying visit to the Western states, will doubtless be read with interest by such of our readers as may not previously have seen it. So far as it goes, its accuracy cannot be questioned:

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 14, 1839
We are much gratified to learn that the Iron Foundry and Machine Shop, the erection of which was commenced not long since by our worthy fellow citizen, Major C. W. Hunter, conjointly with Mr. Hurlbert of New York, are in a state of great forwardness. The gentleman last named has just returned from the East, with the implements and machinery required for both establishments; which, it is expected, will be ready to go into operation in the course of a few weeks. There is probably no branch of human industry better calculated than the above to hasten the growth and advance the prosperity of a new town, and we hope that this laudable enterprise will prove not less profitable to the worthy projectors, than advantageous to our city and her inhabitants.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 5, 1839
Between the hours of twelve and one on Thursday morning last, the people of this city were aroused from their slumbers by the cry of fire!, which was found to proceed from a frame building on the east side of State street, between Third and Fourth, owned by Mr. J. W. Buffum, in which sundry packages of dry goods, recently received by this gentleman, who was about to open a wholesale store, had been deposited a few days previous. The fire company and citizens promptly repaired to the spot, but such was the rapidity with which the flames ran from one house to the other - the whole being of wood and very dry - that every exertion to arrest their progress was found unavailing until they had totally consumed every edifice on the west half of the square. The buildings on the east half, which were separated from those destroyed by an alley ten feet wide, except in one place where they nearly touched each other, although in the most imminent danger, were nevertheless saved by the unremitting exertions of the persons present, favored by the stillness of the atmosphere, as were likewise the furniture and other property in the houses consumed, with the exception of Mr. Buffum's goods and part of the books, &c. in the Bible, Tract, and Sabbath School Depository. The total loss is estimated at about $20,000, and falls principally on the following gentlemen:

J. W. Buffum - goods, first cost $5,104; building $2,000
I. I. Foster - livery stable, &c. $2,500
John Rowe - building $2,500
W. A. Wentworth - building $2,000
T. & T. L. Waples - building $1,200
W. S. Gilman - building $1,000
L. H. Aldrich - building $1,000
American & Illinois Bible Society, American Tract Society, Illinois Sunday School Union, and Illinois Temperance Society - books $2,000
Fessenden & Co. - books $500

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

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 12, 1839
Mr. Editor - The fire which destroyed a large portion of our city some few nights ago seems to excite very little attention, but sir, it is one of the deepest interest, and ought to be spoken of with more feeling than it is. At half past 12 o'clock at night, the fire broke out in the store of J. W. Buffum. It appears to be a mystery how the fire originated, but there is no doubt but it was set on fire by some brutal, cold-blooded man for the purpose of unhallowed gain. When the alarm of fire was given, at an hour when all are asleep, it appeared to be almost impossible to get the citizens of Alton together, and before the could assemble so as to help protect the building, it was all in flames, and it burned with such rapidity that it was almost impossible to save anything. Before our engine could get there, that it did little good. There was a great scarcity of water, and it was difficult to get any. It was a time in which the citizens of Alton labored, and were obliged to do their utmost, or probably the whole town would have burned, but we may thank Providence we got off as well as we did. At about three o'clock in the morning, after the fire had been somewhat extinguished, after two and a half hours of the hardest labor, we were kindly invited by two of the families of Alton to take (as I suppose we must call it) an early breakfast, which was very refreshing to the firemen. And to those families (M. Pierson and W. L. Chappell) we all are exceedingly thankful, and always in case of fire or danger, we will do our best to protect them. Signed, A Fireman.


Source: 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.


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


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 11, 1840
Mr. Editor: We are all aware, and doubtless some can speak from experience, of the disagreeableness of walking through the mud. I wish to make some remarks in regard to our pavements being blockaded - they are so filled in some parts of the streets, that persons are sometimes, and often, obliged to leave the pavement and go in the street to get along. This is very disagreeable, especially for the ladies. When ladies are so scarce as they are here, and visit our streets so seldom, we ought certainly to have our pavements in some fit condition for them to pass. Besides it being a great hindrance and nuisance, it is very dangerous. Persons passing through the streets at night, not well acquainted with every little obstacle, would be in great danger of running against some old boxes, barrels, or some other thing, and injuring themselves very severely. There are not only boxes and barrels, but also cellar doors - some opened, some half opened, and some raised just high enough to catch an unguarded person's toes, as he passes, and thus tumble him headlong into the mud. Having their cellar doors opened makes it exceedingly dangerous, for any person, no matter how well he may know the walk, he is in great danger of being pitched down the cellar, which would, in all probability, be attended with fracturing some of his or her feeble limbs.

The places particularly referred to are on the north side of Second Street [Broadway], commencing near the Telegraph office. As we proceed up the street, there are several cellar doors just before some vacated houses which are often times either open or broken, and are very apt to let a person drop down before he knows it. Old grease barrels, some in the street and some on the sidewalk - some old chicken coops, hog pens &c. In other places, salt barrels are left in the streets at night, which often cause persons to take a roll in the mud. I for one have had several tumbles over them, which induces me, more than anything else, to speak of it. If the law does not prohibit the blockading of streets, I think it would be far better for the Common Council to pass an ordinance to that effect, than the ten-hog law; for if either is a nuisance, the one which I refer to is the greatest. Signed M.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 1, 1840
We have been requested to give notice that a general meeting of the citizens of Alton and the vicinity, friendly to the nominations recently made by the National Convention at Harrisburg, will be held in the old courtroom (Riley's building) on Second street [Broadway], at two o'clock this afternoon. It is expected the sundry addresses will be delivered on this occasion. The "Tippecanoe Boys," one and all, are respectfully invited to attend.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 8, 1840
Alba R. Smith, a youth about 12 years of age, left his father's house on Scarritt's Prairie, Madison County, Illinois, about the 20th of July last, and has never been heard from since. His complexion is light, and his form rather slender. It is apprehended that he took a steamboat at Alton, probably in the capacity of a cabin boy, and may now be onboard of some boat on the western waters, if his life has been spared. This advertisement is the last hope of his afflicted parents, that it may lead to some discovery of the fate of their poor boy, and they trust it may meet the eye of kind _____ in the principal ports on the western waters, who will interest themselves in looking after their lost child. Any information directed to Capt. George Smith, near Alton, or to S. Ryder in Alton, will be most thankfully received.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1840
The subscriber offers for rent one of the large and convenient stone warehouses occupied by the late firm of B. Godfrey & Co., situated at the upper steamboat landing, and one of the best locations in this city for the forwarding business. Apply to Benjamin Godfrey.


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


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1840
A little before twelve o'clock on last Wednesday night, the citizens of Alton were aroused from their slumbers by an explosion incomparably louder, as well as by far more destructive, than the discharge of one hundred pieces of the heaviest ordnance. Hundreds immediately hurried towards State Street, from the direction of which the report seemed to have proceeded; when it was ascertained that it was occasioned by the blowing up of the Powder Magazine [building designed to hold explosive powder in barrels], situated on the southern declivity of the bluff, a few rods [one rod is 16.5 feet] west of the Penitentiary, and containing at the time upwards of six tons of powder. To describe with some degree of minuteness the damage done by this catastrophe, would fill several columns of our journal. Suffice it, therefore, to remark in general terms, that scarcely one single building within the thickly settled part of the city remains uninjured, and that some of those nearest the site of the magazine have been literally reduced to a heap of ruins. Chimneys demolished - roofs started, and nearly blown off - windows and window frames shivered to atoms - are among the results of the explosion. But, although fragments of the stones of which the magazine had been constructed were hurled with resistless force in every direction, some of them to the distance of upwards of a mile, perforating houses and overthrowing 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.


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.


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.


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 [steamboat], 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 not 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 not 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 17, 1840.”

*Originally named the Equal Rights Party, the Loco-Foco Party was the radical wing of the Democrats, founded in 1835 in New York City. It was made up of working men and reformers who were opposed to State banks, monopolies, paper money, and tariffs. Later the term was applied by opponents to all Democrats. The term Loco-Foco was given when the Democrat Party regulars in New York turned off the gaslights to oust the radicals from a Tammany Hall nominating meeting. The radicals responded by lighting candles with the new self-igniting friction matches known as locofocos. The party reached their peak when President Van Buren urged, and Congress passed (1840) the Independent Treasury Act, which fulfilled the primary Loco-Foco aim – complete separation of government from banking.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 26, 1840
We regret to state that on last Saturday evening, about eight o'clock, as the steamboat Pike was going down the river, she came in violent contact with the Fayette, then on her way up. The collision took place near the mouth of the Missouri, five or six miles below this city [Alton]; when the Pike, which was of small size and heavily laden, being struck forward of the wheelhouse, went down immediately. She was crowded with passengers, both in the cabin and on deck, many of whom were thrown overboard, but most of them were picked up by the Fayette, which was run into the wreck, and rescued those who still remained on it from their imminently perilous situation. considering the hour and the circumstances under which the accident happened, the number of lives lost - supposed not to exceed two - was much smaller than might have been apprehended. The passengers on board of each boat have severally issued cards, in which they exonerate their respective commanders from all censure, and indirectly attribute the catastrophe to the course pursued on the opposite boat. Which side gives the fairest and most accurate statement, we have no means of ascertaining; and therefore deem it improper to notice either.


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


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1840
Since the 19th of last October, two thousand, three hundred and seventy-three beeves (cattle) have been slaughtered by some of the enterprising citizens of Alton, packed and sent down the river. The pens are yet nearly full, awaiting the knife. The slaughtering of hogs has likewise commenced, and appearances seem to indicate that this business will be prosecuted with spirit during the season.


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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 23, 1841
Within the last eight or nine days, we have had almost all sorts of weather. At two o'clock in the afternoon of the 15th inst., the mercury, exposed to the sun, stood as high as 90 above; and on the night of the 16th, it was as low as 14 below zero - being a difference, in the short space of about thirty-six hours, of only 104 degrees! On the 17th and 18th, the cold was very severe; but the weather has since become quite moderate and pleasant. The river, however, is completely closed up just above the landing, and passengers cross backwards and forwards from the Missouri shore without difficulty.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 24, 1841
At twelve o'clock noon, the national flag was displayed at half-mast from the top of the city hall, minute guns were fired from the public square, the bells of the different churches tolled a mournful peal, the numerous stores, offices, and other places of business were closed; and the deep-seated anguish depicted in every countenance clearly showed that those external marks of sorrow were in perfect unison with the real feelings of the heart. All mourned, because all felt that a gallant soldier, a wise statesman, an incorruptible patriot, and a virtuous citizen had been taken from among us at a time when the country seemed to stand the most in need of his invaluable services. At half after three o'clock, the citizens proceeded to the Baptist Church, the pulpit and choir of which had been tastefully clothed with appropriate emblems of mourning, when a fervent and impressive address to the Throne of Grace was offered by the worthy Pastor, the Rev. Dr. G. B. Perry. A very chaste and appropriate eulogium on the great and good man whom we have lost, in which his public services and private virtues were briefly but faithfully delineated, was then pronounced by William S. Lincoln, Esq. - the intervals between the different exercises being filled by the singing of funeral anthems from the choir. Additional solemnity was imparted to the mournful ceremonies by the appearance of a very accurate and striking portrait of our late beloved President, painted in December last by Chester Harding, Esq., which was hung immediately under the pulpit, and being readily recognized by those who had ever seen the lamented original, attracted universal and sympathetic attention. It is with extreme regret that we add that owing to some cause for which we cannot account satisfactorily, Messrs. John Adams and William Sheets, inhabitants of this place, while engaged with others in firing the minute guns were severely injured by two premature discharges - the former having his right arm carried off, and being otherwise badly hurt; and the latter suffering the loss of his left arm and a part of his right hand. They are both believed to be doing as well as could be reasonably expected, and the hope is confidently indulged that ample provision will be made for their comfort under their present truly painful and helpless condition.

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


Source: 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.


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


Source: 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.


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.


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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 6, 1841
Mr. E. Marsh, of the firm of Marsh, Hankinson & Co., Druggists, of this city [Alton], has commenced the manufacture of Castor Oil at this place. This will afford to the farmers in the vicinity a cash market for another article of their product easily raised - the Castor Bean.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 27, 1841
It always affords us unfeigned gratification to direct the public attention to all manufacturing establishments, either in our city or State. We visited this week the repository of Mr. Robert P. Todd, in this city, and were astonished to find carriages of the neatness, beauty, and durability of structure of various kinds, that had been built by him during the present Fall. We will venture the assertion that as handsome and cheap an article can be purchased of him, as is to be found west of the Alleghany mountains. And having been at great trouble and expense in procuring the best of workmen from the Eastern manufactories, we trust he will receive the patronage his exertions so richly entitle him to. Instead, therefore, of going to St. Louis, or sending to the East for a carriage of any kind, we hope our citizens will patronize their men mechanics by first giving Mr. Todd a call.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1842
The store of Mr. D. W. Havens, in this city, was entered on Wednesday evening last, while Mr. Havens and his clerk were both at tea, by forcing open the front door and robbed of what loose money there was in the drawer, amounting to forty dollars.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1842
This morning, about 1 o'clock, fire was discovered in the grocery store of Mr. N. Bemiss, on Third Street, at the New Market. The store and stock of goods were entirely consumed. The loss upon the goods was about $3000; no insurance, no part of the goods were saved - from thence the fire communicated to the store occupied by C. W. Cootes & Bro's. Their loss is about $1500, upon which there is insurance of $1200. A Confectioner shop and a Restor____ adjoining was also consumed; from thence the fire communicated to the store and building of Mr. John Leach, which was also consumed. His loss including his stock and buildings is supposed to be about $8000, upon which there was insurance at the Citizens and Floating Dock Offices, in the amount of $4,500; he also lost a package of money amounting to $250. The extensive Carriage Depository of Mr. T. B. Edgar, which is situated immediately in the rear of Mr. Leach's stores, and for some time was in great danger of being destroyed; but owing to the prompt and ___thing exertion of the firemen, was saved. Mr. Edgar's loss is estimated at $1,550. The ______ of Mr. S. .....[rest unreadable].


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 8, 1842
To the Editor: In setting forth the advantages of this city for the location of the Western Armory, which I have heretofore endeavored partially to do, it cannot be deemed impertinent to the subject to indulge in a few remarks in relation to the history and growth of the place and the surrounding settlements, as an earnest of its future destiny; and to show at least that we do not consider ourselves so much in obscurity from the great world as to be entirely overlooked and set aside.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 28, 1842
On Wednesday last, as some boys were playing on the riverbank, they discovered, near the mouth of the cave at the foot of the bluff, a few rods above the steam mill, a large leather trunk, about half-worn, filled with bedclothes and other articles, the property of some unknown person. The trunk was unlocked, and secured by a rope fastened around it. Among its various contents nothing was found by which to identify the owner, except it be a small memorandum book with a blue paper cover, giving various items of expenditure from which it appears that the owner visited in succession the following places, viz: Marion City, Quincy, Keokuk, Montrose, Madison, Oquawka, Millersburgh, Stephenson, Savannah, Albany, Galena, Plattsville, Lancaster, and Prairie du Chien; and as provisions for a family, and feed for cattle, are included among these items, it would seem that he did not travel alone. It likewise appears that the passage .....[unreadable] to Keokuk was made on a steam ....... down at $12 in one single item. But no name or date is discoverable either in the memorandum book or on any of the articles found in the trunk. This notice is given in the hope that it may lead to the elucidation of the mystery in which the affair is now enveloped. The trunk, &c., may be seen at Messrs. Broughton & Ferguson's store in this city.


Source: Alton Telegraph, 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 salutes 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.

Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782, and was an American statesman who served as America’s eighth President. He was one of the founders of the Democratic Party, and served as President from 1837 – 1841. Van Buren was raised speaking Dutch, and spoke English as a second language. He became a lawyer, and then won election to the New York State Senate. He was elected to the U. S. Senate in 1821. Van Buren’s major political goal was to re-establish a two-party system with partisan differences based on ideology rather than personalities or differences in ideas. He responded to the Panic of 1837 by centering on his Independent Treasury system, where the Federal government would store its funds in vaults rather than banks. He continued the Jackson policy of Indian removal, and denied Texas admission to the Union. In the 1840 election, the Whigs rallied around Harrison, and Van Buren was voted out of office. He died July 24, 1862.


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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 9, 1842
We deeply regret to state that the steamboat Edna, Captain Martin, bound from St. Louis to the Upper Missouri, collapsed her flues on Sunday morning last near the mouth of the river, five miles from the city [Alton], scattering the scalding steam among the unfortunate deck passengers, most of whom were in the act of getting out of their berths. Of these, it is believed that five or six were killed outright; and between sixty and seventy wounded. Fifty-five of the latter had been buried at the last accounts; and of those who still lived, but few were expected to survive. How the accident originated does not appear to be certainly known; and many conjectures are afloat on the subject. The sufferers were mostly immigrants from the neighborhood of Dusseldorf, in the kingdom of Prussia.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 6, 1842
It affords us much gratification to inform our citizens and the public in general that a pottery for the manufacture of all kinds of earthen and Chinaware has been established permanently in this city. A company of five just arrived from the best potteries in Europe, have taken a lease of the property near Cave Spring for the term of five years, and have commenced already the manufacture of ware. Will not a number of our citizens join us in ordering from Mr. Croxton a full dinner set for their own use? Nothing would afford us more pride than to be furnished with a full dinner set manufactured in our city and state. So, Mr. Croxton, put us down for a set and do your best.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 12, 1842
The shock of an earthquake was sensibly felt in this city and its vicinity between twelve and one o'clock on Friday the 4th inst. It lasted about half a minute, and caused the windows, &c. of sundry buildings - that in which this office is kept, included - to rattle with some violence. A slight shock was experienced about two hours afterwards.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 7, 1843
For sale - The large brick building at the corner of Second [Broadway] and Walnut [Central] Streets, now occupied by William Miller as a Public House, together with a large new stable, 30 by 70 feet, and a large wagon yard with a high-class board fence, so as to secure safely all that is left therein. Attached in the premises is an excellent garden newly 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


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 28, 1843
At about 4 o'clock on Sunday morning, the 22d inst., a fire broke out in the one-story wooden building, situated on the north side of Short Street, and occupied by Messrs. Thompson & Co., as a lard house. Owing to the combustible material in this building, everything in it and appertaining to it, being saturated with lard, the fire spread with fearful rapidity; and in a few minutes, communicated to the adjoining buildings upon each side. The one on the west was a two-story frame building, owned and occupied by Mr. Arba Nelson as a stove and hardware store and tinner's shop. The one on the east was also a two-story frame building owned by Mr. Simeon F. Leonard; the first floor of which was occupied by him as a grocery store. The front part of the upper story was occupied by Messrs. Whitcomb & Solomon, gunsmiths; in the rear was the office of "The People's Miscellany," owned by Mr. Lawson A. Parks. These buildings with a part of their contents were soon destroyed. Although there was but very little wind, yet the flames from these buildings curled upon the roof of the large, three-story brick building on the corner of State and Short Streets. The unbroken brick wall on the west end of this building, for some time, presented a barrier to the fire, but, having only one engine, it was found impossible to stop its progress at this point. This fine building, and also the next two stores above it, upon State Street, with the livery stable adjoining and a small stable in the rear of the same, were also burned down.

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

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 4, 1843
Left at the house of Mrs. Kennedy in Alton on the night of the 21th inst., a bay mare, 18 hands high, nearly blind in the left eye, a white ring on the left fore foot, above the hoof, about one inch wide, right hind leg white nearly to the hoof, otherwise black legs, mane and tail, a small star in the forehead, and supposed to be eight years old. Said mare was left by a boy from eleven to fourteen years old, with long flaxen hair; he had on a fur cap much worn, and an old frock coat much in the same situation, said he lived at or near Jacksonville, and had with him two shirts and a piece of fulted linsey cloth. The owner of said mare is desired to prove property, pay charges, and take her away from my stable. Signed Mark Dickson.


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


Source: Alton Telegraph, 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.]


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 14, 1843
For some time past, we have witnessed with gratification the gradual, but safe revival of business in our city. A more healthy state of things exists here at present than at any former period since Alton took a start. The vast amount of produce brought to this market, for which the farmer receives his cash or its equivalent, and the quantity of goods sold by our merchants, and for which they get their pay, all go to prove the healthy state of things that exists among us. Our merchants have all provided themselves with large, well-selected stocks of goods, and are determined to sell as low as can be purchased at any other place in the valley. Purchasers can, therefore, visit our market, with the certainty of obtaining every article of merchandise that they may want, and at prices corresponding with the times. In addition to the old stores - most if not all of which have recently received new and well-selected supplies of merchandise, E. C. March, Esq. has opened at the late stand of Bowman, Neef & Co. in this city, one of the largest, choicest, and best selected stocks of goods ever brought to this market. It embraces almost every article needed by our farmers, who cannot better consult their interest than by giving him a call. We have also heard of some two or three other new concerns, who have it in contemplation opening large stocks of goods here this fall, provided they can procure stores. If, then, our citizens will act a little more in unison, than they have for the last few years, and set upon the principle of "live and let live," we may with confidence look forward to the early period when extensive and permanent improvements will be seen progressing in every section of the city. There is no place on the east side of the Mississippi for which, in point of great natural advantages, Providence has done more than Alton. We are blessed with one of the finest, most fertile back countries in the world, and if Alton does not go ahead, the only cause for it will be found among her own citizens.


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


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 4, 1843
On last Saturday morning, about two o'clock, the citizens of this place were aroused from their slumbers by the appalling cry of Fire! It was found to proceed from a frame building on State Street, part of which was occupied as shops, and the remainder by two or three families. The different fire companies hastened to the spot with all practicable expedition, but the flames had made such progress before their arrival that their exertions were necessarily confined to the preservation of the adjacent houses, the destruction of which, at one time, appeared almost inevitable. Happily, however, there was but little wind, and this circumstance, together with the efforts of the firemen and the pulling down of a small tenement next to that in which the fire originated, prevented the conflagration from spreading any farther. The building, which we believe belonged to Captain Benjamin Godfrey, and was uninsured, was totally consumed, but the inmates succeeded to saving the greater part of their property.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 4, 1843
Many of our city and county readers have doubtless heard something of the Sulphur Spring on the farm of Major G. W. Long of this vicinity. We are not sufficiently acquainted with such matters, to be competent to speak of its value from personal knowledge, but the subjoined letter from a scientific gentleman of St. Louis, to whom a specimen of the water has been sent for examination, shows that it will compare favorably with some of the most esteemed mineral springs in the United States. We hope that the proper steps will be taken at an early day, to make it available for the public use.

"St. Louis, 16th Oct. 1843
My Dear Sir - The sulphur water which you had the kindness to submit for my opinion turns out to be a valuable water. It is superior to the sulphur spring water near St. Louis, and will compare favorably with the white sulphur and Winchester Springs in Virginia. With much regard, I am Your ob't servant, B. B. Brown, M.D."


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 11, 1843
In this city, business has again revived. During the past summer, several good brick buildings were commenced, which are now nearly finished. The preparations made this fall for packing beef and pork exceed those of any previous year since Alton assumed a name. The city is filled with persons who command foreign capital, that is seeking investment in the staple products of the country at such prices as to insure a profitable return. We have two flouring mills now in operation, each having four run of stones that can daily turn off 320 barrels of flour, equal in quality to any made in the United States. We have now several active, prudent, industrious merchants, who are ready to sell to farmers and other consumers at low prices, merchandise of every description. Almost every dwelling house and store in the city is now occupied, and the demand for more seems daily to increase. The future prosperity of the place depends, in a great degree, upon our merchants and those who locate here to purchase produce. There is a large scope of country north and northeast, from this point, whose inhabitants desire to trade at Alton. Now is the time, through their trade, to lay the foundation for a permanent business. Our merchants buy their goods low for cash, and they can sell them low and make good profit. Let it be understood that here the farmer can procure the highest price in cash for his products; that he can buy what he needs at St. Louis prices; and we shall soon actually reach that point of commercial prosperity to which we once arrived, only in anticipation. Signed by A.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1843
We understand that Capt. Lamothe's new steamboat, the Luella, which was launched a few weeks ago, will commence running on the first of December next, and as she has been built expressly for the Alton and St. Louis trade, and for no other purpose whatever, and will run daily or twice a day as business may require, between the two cities, we trust that our fellow citizens, and all others, whom business of pleasure may call from one place to the other, will deem it not only a duty, but a privilege, to patronize her and her gentlemanly and enterprising commander. The following are the dimensions of the Luella: Extreme length on deck, 148 feet; extreme breadth, 40 feet; length of keel, 130 feet; breadth of beam, 21 feet 6 inches; depth of hold, 4 feet 6 inches clear. She is furnished with three double-flue boilers, 24 feet long and 38 inches in diameter; 8 feet stroke engine; 22 1/2-inch cylinder; water wheels, 20 feet diameter; length of bucket, 8 feet 8 inches. The construction of the boat is such as to combine both strength and speed; and it is expected that she will run as fast as any on the Upper Mississippi. Success attend her!


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 2, 1843
The Alton City Band, composed of a number of our most estimable citizens, paid us a visit at Middletown one evening last week. We were as gratified with their performance as surprised by their call. All we regret is that we had not some previous intimation of their design, that we might have had it in our power to have "treated them" upon strictly temperance principles, with a cup of hot coffee and a piece of pie. They certainly deserve great credit for the proficiency they have made, and merit the encouragement and support of our citizens. They have our warmest wishes for their success and prosperity.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 24, 1844
The title to which has for years been involved in doubt by the claim set up to it by Betsy Moore, as the heir at law of John Bates, has been finally settled by the highest tribunal of this state, the decision of Judge Shields dismissing the bill of Archibald D. Moore and wife against William Russell and Charles W. Hunter, to recover the land in question, being affirmed by the Supreme Court. Involving, as this suit did, a large part of this city [Alton], in which the interests of hundreds were at stake, its results cannot but be gratifying to those concerned at least, and the decision is the more important, as it removes the only doubt that existed against the title of this part of the city of Alton, rendering it as safe for purchasers to buy property in Hunter's Addition as in any other part of the city. The cause was argued on the part of Moore and wife by L. Trumbull and J. Gillespie, Esqs., and on the part of Russell and Hunter by George T. M. Davis, William Martin, and N. D. Strong, Esqs.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 16, 1844
From present indications, there can exist little or no doubt but that a number of buildings will be erected during the approaching season in Alton. Our growth hereafter, although it may not be as rapid as during the visionary days of 1835-36, will nevertheless be upon a surer basis, and equal to that of any other place in the state. There is one great difficulty with which we have to contend; and which, for the prosperity of Alton, we wish was otherwise. Much of the desirable property of Alton is held by those who are always willing to sell, but only at such a price that no man of prudence can buy and improve. The result is, the property remains unimproved, and many enterprising citizens are driven to seek a location elsewhere, and where a greater degree of liberality and public spirit exists among the property holders. Lately several valuable lots have exchanged hands, most of which will be improved, and if persons holding large quantities of real estate in the city will only consent to sell a small portion of what they own, to actual settlers and for improvement, we entertain no doubt but that a number of permanent, valuable buildings will go up the ensuing season. But if the moment this section of country is revisited with prosperity and emigrants recommence seeking a location in the West, our property holders put the inflated and unjustifiable value upon real estate, that they asked during the speculating manic of 1835-36, they must expect their property to remain unsold, and unimproved, and to witness emigrants pass by this place to others where a different state of things exist.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 16, 1844
We regret to state that on Tuesday morning last, between ten and eleven o'clock, a fire broke out in the smokehouse attached to the extensive pork packing establishment of our enterprising fellow-citizen, Major H. A. Amelung. The several fire companies immediately hurried to the spot, but the building being constructed of wooden materials, and filled at the time with about 100,000 pounds of pork, undergoing the process of curing, it was found utterly impracticable to save it from destruction. All the attention of the firemen, therefore, was directed exclusively to the preservation of the packing houses adjoining, also occupied by Major Amelung, containing an immense quantity of beef and pork, in hogsheads, barrels, and in bulk, in which we are happy to say they were entirely successful, although the building consumed was not more than ten or twelve feet from those which were saved. The engines performed well, and greater activity and perseverance was never displayed by the different companies than on this occasion. We understand that the loss, which is estimated at about $4,000, is covered by insurance. From the very great care with which all the business of the establishment is conducted, and other circumstances, it is believed that the fire originated in spontaneous combustion.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 6, 1844
Mr. Editor: Within a few days past, some circumstances have come within my knowledge which have led me still farther to make inquiries touching the association, the name of which stands at the head of this article. Ever since its formation, which occurred 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 11, 1844
This celebrated painting - the production of Sir Benjamin West - is now exhibiting in the Old Court Room, Riley's building, in this city. It contains 40 figures, on a surface of more than 200 feet of canvas; and gives a living representation of the sublime and awful scenes described in Revelations, Chapter 6, ver. 2-8. We shall not attempt to describe it, for, although we understand that the room in which it is exhibited is much too low, as well as not sufficiently spacious to present it in the most favorable light, it must be seen and leisurely examined to be properly appreciated. As it is but seldom that our fellow citizens have it in their power to witness any of the noblest efforts of human genius, we need not invite them to avail themselves of an opportunity which is not likely to occur again, to see this truly sublime conception of the great historical painter. We are informed that it will remain here until Saturday evening.

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 22, 1844
Thursday morning. The water continues to rise with alarming rapidity. We are now, undoubtedly being visited by one of the most disastrous floods that has ever occurred in the Mississippi Valley. We learn from the Captain of the Munge Park [steamboat], which arrived on Wednesday evening from the Illinois, that that river is now higher than it has ever been known to be since 1805. Its present average width, from Peoria to the mouth, is judged to be at least eight miles; causing immense damage to buildings, crops, &c. At this place [Alton], the water has risen several feet since our last paper, submerging not only our entire levee, but a great portion of Second Street [Broadway], covering the floors of a number of the stores several inches, and in a few instances, where the floors are below the present grade of the street, the occupants have been obliged to remove their stocks.

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

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

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 29, 1844
Since our last paper was issued, the Mississippi has continued to rise at the rate of about half an inch per hour on an average, and is now higher than it has ever been since the first settlement of the state. The Missouri is equally high, if not higher, and having broken into the former river at and below Portage des Sioux, about eight miles above this place, its yellow water now forms nearly one-third of the mighty stream which is rushing past our landing, contrasting strongly with the bluish appearance of the Mississippi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 20, 1844
The number of dead hogs and cattle on the "Bottom," between this place and St. Louis, and opposite to the latter city, is incredible. We apprehend a great deal of sickness arising from their decomposition in conjunction with other causes. Too much caro cannot be taken by our citizens in regard to their cellars and buildings, which have been inundated by the late flood.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 20, 1844
Will sell at public auction to the highest bidder, on the 30th inst., the steam sawmill started in front of block No. 1 in Hunter's addition to Alton, with all its fixtures and apertures, together with the lease of ground for five years. Twenty percent of the amount bid to be paid in cash, the balance in four equal semi-annual installments, bearing 10 percent interest. For further information, apply to Charles W. Hunter.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 12, 1844
On last Saturday night, between nine and ten o'clock, a fire broke out in a new frame dwelling house, situated in the lower part of the city, and so rapid was the progress of the devouring element, that although the fire companies promptly repaired to the spot, no human effort could save the building from total destruction. It was two stories high, neatly finished, and owned by S. Stewart, an industrious colored man who intended to move into it on the Monday following. As no fire had been used in or near the house, the fire was doubtless the work of some heartless incendiary. It will be observed by a notice in another column, that the Mayor, by the advice of the Common Council, has offered a reward of fifty dollars for the discovery and conviction of the offender. We hope he will be detected and punished, and that such aid will be extended to the poor man, who has thus, in a moment, been deprived of the fruit of many years industry by the act of a villain - as shall enable him, in some manner, to repair his loss and provide a home for his family.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 7, 1844
We reget to state that the sawmill on Shields' Branch, generally known as Pattingill’s, was burnt down on last Sunday night. As it was out of repair, and had not been in operation for some time past, its destruction was doubtless the work of an incendiary. It was owned, we understand, by Mr. Sanborn of St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 1, 1845
The anniversary of the birthday of Washington was celebrated in this place [Alton] on Saturday the 22d ult. by the Washington Temperance Societies of this city and neighborhood, in a very suitable manner, and in conformity with the programme published in our last. Although the streets were somewhat muddy, owing to the rain which had fallen on the preceding night, the procession was quite large; and the Baptist Church, in which the exercises were held, was much crowded. It was particularly gratifying to observe the great number of young lads between the ages of 10 and 15 - from Upper Alton and this city - who wore the badge of Temperance and took a part in the ceremonies, thereby testifying before the world that they have enlisted in this noble cause. The oration, by the Rev. Mr. Grabbs of the Methodist E. Church, although delivered almost without premeditation and on the sput of the moment, was chaste and appropriate, and all the exercises of the day well calculated to make a favorable impression on all those who participated therein, as well as the numerous spectators.


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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 6, 1845
We understand that our enterprising fellow citizens, Messrs. Wises & Lea, have purchased the large stone building in the Third Ward, originally erected for a foundry but never used as such, with the view of going extensively into the business of distilling, kiln-drying, and exporting corn, &c. They intend to put it into immediate operation, and expect to be ready to commence business by the last of November next. It is estimated that the establishment will consume daily from 600 to 1,000 bushels of corn, and from 150 to 200 bushels of rye, yielding from 50 to 80 barrels of whisky. Barley will likewise be required to a certain extent, and thus a constant cash market for the stample products of this part of the country will be created, to the great advantage of the farming interest.


(Owned by Nathaniel Hanson, Emerson, and Libbey)

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

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

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

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 6, 1845
Messrs. Hanson & Emerson, the sole manufacturers in this state of Pitts' unrivaled threshing machines, intend building an extensive factory in this city during this fall, the machinery of which is to be propelled by steam. This has become necessary from the rapidly increasing demand for these machines, which thus far, the manufacturers have not been able to supply as fast as they were ordered. The extension of their establishment, and the application of steam to propelling their machinery, will for the future enable them to meet promptly all calls upon them for these invaluable threshing machines.

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 22, 1845
Messrs. Hanson & Emerson of Alton have raised their large building, intended as a manufactory for Pitts' unrivaled threshing machines, and are progressing rapidly with its completion. The machinery is to be driven by steam power. The territory for which they have the exclusive right of manufacturing these machines is Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa Territory.

Source: Alton Telegraph, May 16, 1846
We took occasion a few days since to visit the new building just erected for a foundry and machine shop, by our enterprising fellow-citizens, Messrs. Hanson & Emerson, on Front Street, a few steps below the Alton House, and were much pleased at the evidence it affords of their industry and perseverance. The building is of three stories - the first containing the engine and foundry; the second, three iron turning lathes, a planing machine, a screw cutting machine, and two circular saws; and the third, an upright and a circular saw, a boring machine, and a wood turning lathe - all in operation and working admirably. Messrs. Hanson & Emerson have been engaged for some years past in the manufacture of Pitts' Patent Threshing Machines, which are in high esteem in this and the neighboring states, and daily increasing in demand, and it is in part to enable them to extend their operations in this important branch of industry that they have erected the building. But although this is their principal business, they are also prepared to execute all orders for castings of every description, to finish iron in any way in which it may be required, and to manufacture all kinds of machines and machinery - pledging themselves that every article made at their establishment will be as good, and furnished on terms as reasonable, as any to be obtained at St. Louis. The foundry can turn out 2500 lbs. of castings of the best quality every twenty-four hours, and the engine, which is about twenty horse power, is very neat, and works exceedingly well. In fact, everything connected with the establishment appears admirably adapted to the purpose for which it is designed, and speaks highly of the talents and management of the proprietors and of the mechanical skill and industry of the workmen, who are said to excel in their respective departments. The people of Illinois, and especially those of this vicinity, are greatly indebted to Messrs. Hanson & Emerson for having introduced this important branch of business amongst us, and we trust that their enterprise and perseverance will be abundantly rewarded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The various departments connected with the Works are: the Foundry, Machine shop, Blacksmith shop, Woodwork room, and Paint shop, the entire work on the Threshers and Separators, brass fixtures, casting, cleaning, etc., being done on the premises; the leather belts only being purchased in a finished state. The demand for the implements manufactured by the firm has generally exceeded the supply. The present year, for instance, the stock was entirely cleaned out; people called who were anxious to buy, and were willing to take unpainted machines, yet could not be accommodated. The orders from one agent alone, in this immediate vicinity, could only be partially met. In face, the trade in the "Champion Threshing Machine," extends from Texas to 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 22, 1845
Messrs. Kenyon & Pomeroy have completed the stone and brick work of their large distillery in Alton, and in a few days will have it entirely covered in.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1845
The Alton Telegraph was commenced in January 1836 by Messrs. Treadway and Parks, who were joined by Mr. Bailey some months afterwards. Mr. Treadway dying at the expiration of the first year, a dissolution of the firm took place - Mr. Bailhache, then of Columbus, Ohio, becoming the purchaser of one half of the establishment, and Mr. Parks, one of the original proprietors, retaining the other part. In January 1838, the latter sold out his moiety to the former, who then became, and has since remained, the sole proprietor. The paper is now conducted by Messrs. Bailhache and Davis, and published by Messrs. Bailhache and Dolbee, is Whig in its principles, has a general circulation in Madison County, and a large one in Jersey, Greene, Macoupin, and Bond, and is one of the very few political journals published in Illinois, which is sustained exclusively by its own means, and subject to no control other than the judgment and discretion of the editors.

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 7, 1846
We regret to state that on Saturday evening last, between ten and eleven o'clock, a fire broke out in the Oil Mill of C. M. Adams, Esq., a short distance from the Baptist Church [southeast corner of Easton and Broadway]. The firemen and citizens promptly repaired to the spot, but owing to the combustible nature of the materials, it was found impossible to save the mill, which with its contents and a stable adjoining, was entirely consumed. Fortunately, all the oil previously manufactured had been removed in the morning, so that only a few barrels and a small quantity of beans which happened to be in the building were lost. The bean house adjoining, although in great danger, was saved through the exertions of the firemen. Mr. Adams, we understand, continues to purchase beans as usual. His loss is estimated at about $800, and is covered by insurance in the Columbus, Ohio Office. The cause of the fire is not certainly known, but it is supposed to have originated in the chimney.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 14, 1846
Messrs. Editors: Two men in our neighborhood have died lately of the cold, and another came so near his end that it was with difficulty he was rubbed into warmth and life. A fourth was dragged through the snow for miles, holding by one arm around the hinder beam of a sled. It is a wonder he did not share the fate of the first two. Want of whisky was no doubt the cause of their freezing, for if they had drunken enough, they might not have frozen, though it is true, a little more would have extinguished life without the aid of old hoar frost. I understand you are making ample preparations about Alton to keep a portion of your population from freezing. Your remedy does the business, or will do it, before the refrigerating process has time to make an impression. Money will be abundant in Upper Alton, as I learn your Coroner resides there, when your anti-freezing system gets into warm operation, for he will probably pick up one or two every morning between the "Brag City," Milton, Wood River Bridge, and the Buck Inn. If the victims are too poor to remunerate the Coroner, the cash comes in the shape of County Orders, so that the Upper town will be greatly enriched. Signed Toxication. From Our Prairie, March 1846.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 4, 1846
We understand that Messrs. Hardy and Carpenter have just completed their new ferry boat, which commenced running on Wednesday, and performs admirably. They intend to keep it constantly in prime order, and in readiness at all times to accommodate those desiring to cross the Mississippi without the least delay, and on about the same terms as the St. Louis ferry boats. As Alton is much the best crossing point for those wishing to visit the upper Missouri, we hope a liberal patronage will be extended to this new enterprise.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1846
It will be observed by a notice in another column that Mr. Peter Delaplaine has just opened a new store in the stone building formerly occupied by Messrs. W. W. Thompson & Co., a few doors above this office, where a great variety of goods of almost every description are offered for sale on accommodating terms. Those wishing to purchase will do well to give him a call.


Source: Alton Telegraph, 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 attend her and her worthy owner!


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 15, 1847
On Tuesday morning last, about daylight, as one of the daily stages to St. Louis was leaving this place, the horses took fright just below the Alton House, and making a sudden turn, upset the vehicle, which contained several persons. The driver soon succeeded in stopping the horses, and then hastened to the relief of the passengers, one of whom, we learn, had his arm badly sprained near the wrist, and one or two others received pretty severe contusions. None, however, were dangerously injured, and most of them were able to continue their journey after a short delay. The stage sustained no damage.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 30, 1847
We take great pleasure in laying before the public the following report from the committee appointed at the general meeting of the citizens of Alton, held in this place on the 4th inst., for the purpose of aiding in the relief of the sufferers by famine in Ireland and Scotland. The sum contributed for this praise-worthy purpose is very creditable to the active sympathy of the people of this city and the neighborhood, and the hope may be indulged that the provisions purchased and forwarded will be instrumental in rescuing many a worthy destitute family from the horrors of starvation. The disposition which the committee propose to make of the small amount of money and flour, which still remains in their hands, will, we believe, meet the general approbation of the generous contributors. Our position has put it in our power to become acquainted with the proceedings of the "Ladies Benevolent Society," and we know that their funds have generally been judiciously appropriated, and that considering the limited means at their disposal, the number of cases in which they have administered relief to the truly necessitous is quite large, and embraces many of those "ready to perish." They are consequently worthy of the confidence of the community and the distribution of the unappropriated surplus cannot be entrusted to better hands.

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 27, 1847
We regret to state that as Miss Susannah, daughter of our respected neighbor, Mr. John Quigley, was returning from Upper Alton on Monday last in a buggy driven by a young lad, and had reached the upper part of Middletown, the horse suddenly took fright and ran off at full speed. After going a short distance, the carriage was brought into contact with a tree, the shock from which precipitated Miss Quigley and the drive with great violence to the ground. The driver sustained but little injury, but the young lady was picked up senseless - having had both bones of one of her arms broken about midway between the wrist and elbow, and received a severe contusion on the head, besides sundry other bruises. The best surgical aid was immediately procured, and we are happy to add that she is now doing as well as can be expected, and it is hoped in a fair way to a speedy recovery. We understand that the horse, in his headlong career, ran over two young children of Mr. Kendall, but providentially, they sustained no serious injury.


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

After a pleasant walk of two miles along the edge of the water, in which I picked up many pieces of cornelia, 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 8, 1847
On Sunday evening last, between eight and nine o'clock, the cry of "fire" accompanied with the ringing of the bells was heard to resound through our streets, while a bright sheet of flame was seen to issue out of some large building in that part of the city known by the name of "Sempletown." The different fire companies and citizens promptly hastened to the spot, when the scene of the conflagration was found to be the unfinished frame building owned for several years past by General Semple, but never completed, and which at the time of the fire, contained a few tons of hay, the property of Mr. Harris. Owing to the combustible nature of the materials, nothing could be done to save the building or its contents; the whole of which was consumed. The fire is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary. We are unable to give as estimate of the loss, but as the building destroyed, although very large, was a mere shell, and rapidly going to decay, it was of comparatively little value.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 12, 1847
We are much gratified to be able to state that everything about us indicates that the thick cloud which for nearly ten years past [due to the murder of Elijah P. Lovejoy] has hovered over this city, has at length entirely disappeared and given place to a bright and prosperous day. Judging from present indications, the operations in beef and pork will be fare more extensive the approaching season than at any preceding period - the necessary arrangements for the erection of a new steam mill on Second Street [Broadway], early the ensuing Spring, have been completed - many new and substantial buildings have been erected, and other commenced during the past summer and fall. Our stores are supplied with larger stocks of goods, and of a better quality then they have ever heretofore been. The various products of the surrounding country are abundant, and in demand at very fair prices, and industry and attention in every branch of business are liberally and promptly rewarded. Alton now seems in a fair way to realize all the benefits originally hoped for from her unriveled local position, and there is probably no place in the entire West which offers greater inducements to capitalism for safe and lucrative investments, or more encouragement to enterprising and intelligent men in the various departments of trade and industry. Let those who doubt this pay us a visit and judge for themselves.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 11, 1848
For the last ten years there has been no period at which our city has exhibited the same degree of prosperity as the present. This induces us to notice the contemplated improvements during the ensuing year.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 25, 1848
We regret to state that the smokehouse of Messrs. A. Corey & Co., in Alton, was completely consumed by fire on Tuesday morning inst. It contained at the time about 110,000 pounds of ham and other meat, partly cured, the most of which was either destroyed or much injured, and the loss, which falls principally on Messrs. Corey & Co. and Mr. H. Fishback, is estimated at about $3,000. The fire, which is attributed to accident, broke out a little after two o'clock, but although our intrepid firemen, as usual, were early on the ground and very energetic and persevering in their exertions, they succeeded only in rescuing a part of the meat in a damaged state, without being able to save the building.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 3, 1848
We regret to 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 17, 1848
Our esteemed fellow-citizen, Mr. E. D. Topping, having changed his business, has just opened at his old stand on Second Street [Broadway] a new and complete stock of hardware, comprising every article in that line, to which he intends henceforward to devote his exclusive attention. As he designs selling at the lowest rates, and to keep a good assortment always on hand, those wishing to purchase will do well to give him a call.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 10, 1848
A Lewis Cass [Democrat] meeting was held in Alton on Monday evening last, in front of the post office on Second Street [Broadway], at two o’clock in the afternoon, and was followed immediately afterwards by a meeting of the friends of “Old Rough and Ready.” These meetings, at which some stirring speeches had been made, had occasioned some little excitement, which was kept alive by a call for a barn burner meeting to be held in the evening at Concert Hall. About sundown, it became very cloudy and a little snow fell, accompanied by a sharp breeze, threatening a disagreeable and somewhat inclement night. By seven, however, the weather had, contrary to all previous indications, became clear and serene – the moon shone with great brilliancy – the wind had subsided, and an uncomfortable day had been succeeded by a most beautiful evening. Soon after the above hour, the Whigs began to gather in large numbers at the corner of State and Second Streets, torches and bonfires were lighted, and a temporary stand was erected near the drugstore of Messrs. A. S. Barry & Co., from which the assembled crowd were addressed with great eloquence and power, in behalf of General Zachary Taylor [Whig Party], by a number of gentlemen of Alton. The friends of General Cass, unwilling to be outdone, promptly set up an opposition stand on the other side of the street, which was immediately occupied, and for some hours, spirit-stirring appeals, frequently interrupted by long and repeated cheers, were made to the people from each of the stands, and also from Concert Hall, where the orators of the third-party were haranguing their adherents. The cloudless sky, the brilliant moon, the sparkling torches, the brightly burning fires, the thrilling addresses, the responding shouts of the surrounding multitude, the almost incessant explosion of crackers among the crowd – formed altogether a very exhilarating spectacle. It affords us much pleasure to be able to add that, notwithstanding the excitement of the scene, the close proximity of the meetings, the vehemence of some of the speakers, and the deep interest felt in the issue of the great contest which was to take place in the course of a few hours, nothing of an unpleasant character occurred, and the different meetings were begun, conducted, and brought to a close with the utmost order, and as if, instead of being divided in sentiment, all those present had had the same object in view. No greater praise than this can be awarded to any community, nor can a higher tribute be paid to the influence of our Republican institutions over the public morals. [NOTE: General Zachary Taylor won the Presidential election of 1848.]


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 29, 1848
A new foundry and machine shop has been erected in Alton by Messrs. Stigleman, Johnson & Co., and is now in operation. We took occasion to step into the building yesterday forenoon, and the hasty inspection we gave to the work then in progress was more than satisfactory. We are not sufficiently acquainted with machinery to give a detailed description of what we saw. Let it suffice to observe that such of the different branches in superintended by one of the proprietors – all of whom are experienced, practical men – and that everything seemed to go on like clockwork. The engine, which set the whole in motion, is different from any we have hitherto seen. It stands in an upright position, occupies but little room, is easily kept in order, and works admirable. This new establishment – and Messrs. Hanson & E_____’s well known and extensive foundry and machine shop, which has been in successful operation three or four years, will supply every demand for any kind of machinery, and of a superior quality – and believed equal to that used in the celebrated foundries at Troy, New York – is found here in abundance.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 29, 1848
The ceremony of dedicating the new and handsome hall, recently fitted up for the use of Alton Division No. 4, Sons of Temperance, in the third story of the large brick building on State Street, just erected by our enterprising fellow-citizen, Mr. Mark Dixon, took place on Tuesday last, being the second anniversary of the organization of the Division. At eleven o’clock, the members assembled in their old hall on Second Street [Broadway], and a procession being formed under the direction of the Marshal and his aide, they marched down Second Street, and thence up Market to Third, where they were joined by Piasa Section No. 6, Cadets of Temperance. The united bodies then continued their march up Third Street to Alby, down Alby to Second, up Second to State, and up State to the new hall, which was already partly occupied by a number of persons of both sexes. The ceremonies of the day were introduced by the singing of the Opening Ode, followed by the reading of suitable passages of Scripture by the Rev. E. F. Ellis of the Baptist Church; after which the dedication was solemnly pronounced in most beautiful and appropriate language, by our esteemed fellow-citizen, Edward Keating, Esq., G. W. P. of the Order in the State of Illinois. A fervent Supplication to the Throne of Grace was then offered by the Rev. A. T. Norton of the Presbyterian Church, which was succeeded by a very eloquent address, delivered impromptu by the Rev. S. Y. McMasters of the Episcopal Church – the Rev. J. H. Lino(?) of St. Louis, who had been expected to officiate on this occasion, having failed to attend. This was followed by a few neat and pertinent remarks from the Rev. Mr. Ellis, and the ceremonies were closed by singing the customary Ode, and the Benediction pronounced by the Rev. Mr. Norton.

The Hall is a large and beautiful apartment, 68 feet by 31 in the clear, exclusive of the ante rooms, very tastefully decorated, and admirable adapted to the noble purpose for which it is designed. It is believed to be, in all respects, the handsomest of which the Order can boast, either in this State or in Missouri. The presence of many ladies and gentlemen – the neat appearance of the Sons and Cadets, with their respective banners and regalia – the solemn and appropriate character of the various ceremonies connected with the dedication – the excellent order which uniformly prevailed – and the deep interest which evidently animated the entire assembly – all were well calculated to produce a strong impression in favor of the great cause of Temperance, which, we are happy to add, is still progressing in this place and the vicinity, and includes a large proporti8on of our most estimable citizens among its friends and advocates. The day was very pleasant, and nothing is to be regretted among the incidents of the occasion.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 15, 1849
We take this occasion to notice what should have been mentioned before – that a fine new Omnibus of superior finish was, a few weeks since, put on the track between Alton and the neighboring town of Upper Alton – making the third now running constantly between the two places. When the first omnibus was put on the line, about this time last year, many doubted whether it would receive sufficient encouragement to support it. Now the experiment has been fairly tested, and the result is, to give the enterprising proprietor a flourishing business, and the public a great accommodation.

A gentleman of Monticello [Godfrey] is also about to establish an Omnibus line between that beautiful settlement and Alton, which we hope will prove equally successful as the above. He proposes to make three trips per week between the two points, or oftener if the business should require it. This will also be of great advantage to the people of both places, and we trust the intercourse between them will so increase as to render daily trips indispensable at an early day.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 10, 1849
It will be observed that the total number of deaths, during June 29 – August 8, 1849, amounts to 118, of which 80 were from cholera – 28 of these being non-residents. Full three-fourths of the victims of the pestilence were persons born out of the United States, and several of the cholera cases might properly be classed with the deaths from other causes, the fatal termination having occurred after the disease had assumed a different type. The greatest number of deaths, it will be seen, occurred during the week ending on the 19th of July, while none from cholera has taken place since the first of the present month. We believe no case of the disease now exists within the city limited.

Although the people of this place have to deplore the loss of many very deer friends and valuable members of society, yet the above facts will show that, in proportion to her population, Alton has suffered much less than most of the cities and towns which have been visited by cholera, for which the most fervent gratitude is due to Almighty God, by whom we have thus been mercifully spared. It is also worthy of notice that although our physicians have been tasked to the utmost – having been allowed scarcely any rest, either night or day during the whole of last month, they all have been preserved in tolerable health, and enabled to attend to the numerous calls made upon them. The same may also be said of our clergymen, many of whom have devoted themselves almost exclusively to the care of the sick, the relief of the afflicted, and the administration of the consolations of religion to the dying, and all of whom we believe have escaped a serious attack.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 17, 1849
It has often struck us with surprise that while this city [Alton] is provided with almost everything necessary for private comfort or public convenience, she should so long remain destitute of a bathing establishment. True, a few citizens have appropriated rooms in their respective dwellings to the above purpose, but these are designed for their own exclusive use, and as, for obvious reasons, a small number only can enjoy this advantage, it necessarily results that the great mass of our population must be wholly deprived of it, and consequently obliged to resort to imperfect and inconvenient substitutes.

Now it is generally admitted that frequent ablations, especially in the Summer season, are essential to the preservation of health. They are particularly recommended by eminent medical men, as among the surest and most effectual safeguards against attacks from cholera, and although we have good ground to hope that this fearful disease has now left us, yet it may, and probably will, return, if not the present season or next year, at least at some future period. It is, therefore, the counsel of prudence, to neglect nothing which appears calculated to check or limit its ravages. Besides, even if we were sure never again to be visited by the same scourge, a bathing establishment of sufficient dimensions to accommodate our increasing population would be desirable, not only as a great public convenience, but as a certain means of promoting the general health.

With one of the largest rivers on the globe immediately in front of our city, and every desirable facility for the erection of the requisite building, we are persuaded that a neat, commodious, and substantial bathing house could be put into operation here at little cost, and that it would yield a very fair percent, upon the investment. We further believe that the City Council would readily grant to any person willing to engage in the enterprise, permission to erect one on the public landing, or at some other suitable point where water may be easily obtained, as well as afford him such other proper encouragement as may be desirable to ensure his success.

We are aware that it is now somewhat too late in the season to think of putting up such an establishment in time to be used the present year. But we throw out these hints in the hope that they may attract the attention of someone disposed to try the experiment, and that such arrangements and preparations may be commenced this Fall as shall ensure the completion of the undertaking early in the ensuing Spring. This may, indeed, be considered a small business, but it may become important, as it is almost certain to become ultimately profitable. It has proved such in most of the places where the attempt has been made, and no good reason exists why it should be less so at Alton.

Public baths originated from a communal need for cleanliness at a time when most people did not have access to private bathing facilities. They become incorporated into the social system as meeting places. Public bathing does not refer only to bathing – they could include saunas, massages and relaxation therapies. Members of the society considered it as a place to meet and socialize. Public bathing could be compared to the spa of modern times.

The first reference I could find in the old newspapers in Madison County regarding a public bathhouse was in June 1853, when Dr. Thomas M. Hope advertised his soon-to-be-opened bathhouse in Alton. The patrons could enjoy a bath or shower in clear, cool water.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 5, 1849
About two o’clock this morning the extensive distillery of Mr. Beckwith was discovered to be in flames, and the whole was soon a mass of ruins. The general impression is that it was the work of an incendiary. Loss about $25,000, which is supposed to be partially covered by insurance.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 5, 1849
About half past seven o’clock on Tuesday morning last, the alarm of fire rang through our streets, and upon repairing to the spot, we discovered the extensive livery stable of M. Dixon, Esq., on State Street, enveloped in flames. The adjoining frame building occupied by Messrs. Shattuck & Force, as a carriage manufactory and also part of Messrs. Woods & Stratton’s Plow Manufactory were immediately torn down, and the further progress of the fire arrested at once. The loss is estimated at about $1,000, and there was no insurance.

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 26, 1849
Messrs. Shattuck & Force, who were burnt out about three weeks since, have rebuilt their carriage manufactory with brick, and are now at work at their old stand.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 23, 1849
We find the following in relation to this improvement in the last Lebanon Journal, and transfer it to our columns with the following correction. Instead of the ravine running east and west as there stated, it runs north and south, being at right angles with the river at this point.

“Alton is divided into two parts by a deep ravine passing through it east and west [north and south] to the river. In the bottom of this the corporation is constructing a tunnel or aqueduct of strong mason work, sufficiently capacious to carry off the water. Over this, a road will be constructed, the ravine filled up by ploughing down the hills, and a valuable street opened. This work is costing the city $7.50 a foot, but the lots(?) erected will be worth ten times the cost of tunneling and filling up, and besides, the appearance of the city will be greatly improved.

Alton has great facilities for a prosperous town. It is now quite certain that a railroad connected it with Springfield will be speedily completed, and ultimately this will run on to Chicago, Property is destined to greatly advance. Those having money to invest, and who can wait a few years for productive returns, would do well to purchase at Alton. In ten years, it would double.”

The culvert under Piasa Street is now about completed. The water of the creek was turned into it the day before yesterday. We hope the lot owners along the line of this improvement will not be backward in doing their duty in regard to paving the sidewalks before winter sets in, as it would be a great public convenience to have it completed at once, and it could probably be done at less expense now than in the Spring.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 24, 1850
Mr. E. Beall has removed his extensive furniture establishment into the building formerly occupied by Colonel J. O. Ketcham, which has been recently improved in many respects, and is now one of the best on Second Street [Broadway]. Without intending any disparagement to the other furniture stores in the city, which are likewise very well supplied, we may state that Mr. Beall’s rooms are filled with new and beautiful articles, and those wishing to make purchases in his line will do well to give him a call.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 31, 1850
This establishment has met with severe disadvantages the past two weeks. A case of smallpox occurred in it, which terminated fatally. The boarders fled from the house, leaving it almost empty. The proprietors, the Messrs. Siemgrandis (sp?), stuck faithfully to the sick man, and no expense nor pains was spared to make the sufferer’s condition as comfortable as possible.

Boarders and travelers will now see their interest in patronizing this house, for if they fall sick here, they will find it emphatically a home. The clothes of the deceased and every article used in his sickness, including bed and bedding, have been consumed by fire, and the house has undergone a thorough cleansing and ventilation. Although the expenses of the deceased were met by his friends, yet it is said the city council, regarding the house, for the time being, as a city hospital, will make an appropriation for the benefit of the generous and noble-spirited proprietors. As a proof of public estimation, this house is being refitted with numerous and profitable boarders, as it richly deserves. Citizens are discussing the propriety of building a city hospital. It is surely a duty the council owe to the people at this time, to provide so desirable an establishment at a convenient distance from the city, where all contagious cases of disease may be sent, having ____ such superintendents as the proprietors of the above house. It may be well to state that the case of smallpox mentioned was contracted out of Alton, being the first case, and it is hoped the last, of that loathsome disease. Signed A Citizen.  [Note: This hotel could have been the Alton House, the Mansion House, or the Franklin House.]


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 12, 1850
Fairmount Spring is the name given by our intelligent correspondent, whose favor will be found in another column, to the beautiful spring, situated upon the side of the bluff near the river, about two miles above Alton. The water of this spring is the most delicious we have ever tasted, and as there is now no difficulty in approaching it by means of carriages, &c., we think it would be a pleasant place of resort for small parties who wish to escape for an hour or two from the heat and dust of the city, towards the close of these long summer days.

(Article written by “M”)
To the Ladies of Alton:
Be it known that a good carriage way is now open from Alton to the bluff spring, which may, as well as not, be called Fairmount. This spring, the equal of which is hardly to be met with in the Mississippi Valley, is in the bluff, some two miles above Alton [near Hop Hollow], and has an elevation of near one hundred feet above the river. It has hitherto been visited by very few, as it has been thought accessible only from the river, from which the ascent is quite difficult. Late observations, however, have shown that it is easy of access from the top of the bluff, and a good track has been found, formerly used by wood-wagons, leading from the head of the spring, directly to the city.

To such as may feel disposed to cool off toward the close of a summer day, we would beg leave to say that no point in the vicinity presents so many attractions. The water is clear as crystal, and quite as cold as ordinary ice water. Besides, it approaches very near to being entirely soft, having but little lime, and none of the sulphates and sulphurets which are constantly met with in our wells.

The way to ride there is to go through Sempletown, and after passing Smith’s brick house, called the “Farmer’s Home,” turn to the left around the field. Keep the plainest road past an isolated little cornfield on the left, at the far corner of which you take the left. Next you come into a barren, or large opening, the timber of which has been removed by the wood-choppers. Soon after entering this, the road forks – take the right. Near the far side of it, another fork. There take the left (the right-hand prong is obstructed at this time by wood piles). A quarter of a mile further, and you are on the bluff. On coming to a good-sized white oak, blazed, and a small hickory trimmed up, and the under shrubs cut away, you will please light and hitch your horse. Then, descending the gorge or ravine, through an opening you will see a blazed oak, then a succession of glazes will guide you to the living fountain. The path around the shelf is narrow, and may alarm some, but the ladies will find no inconvenience in getting down and back.

Fairmount Spring (so named by “M”) was located in the back (or west) of what is today, “Fairmount Addition,” off of State Street in Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 6, 1850
As is pretty generally known hereabouts, our city landing has for some year’s past been in dispute – the greater part of it having been claimed as individual property. To decide the question of title, two suits were, some time ago, instituted in the Madison County Circuit Court – one by Captain Benjamin Godfrey against the city, and the other by the city of Alton against the Illinois Transportation Company. The former involved the title to that part of the Landing in front of block 92, between State Street and the Penitentiary ground; and by the Circuit Court was decided in favor of the public. The latter, involving the title to the part below Market Street, extending to “the Promenade or Common,” immediately above Henry Street, was, by the same Court, decided against the city. From these decisions, appeals were prosecuted to the Supreme Court by the respective parties against whom they were rendered. Both the cases were argued at the term of the Supreme Court, lately held at Mount Vernon, and each case has been decided by the unanimous opinion of the judges in favor of the city. These decisions, we understand, will settle the right of the public to the whole of the Landing in front of the city, and forever quiet all individual pretensions to any part of the same. Alton, therefore, can now go on to improve and regulate this important interest, as shall be deemed most for the public advantage and accommodation, without incurring the risk of molestation or disturbance from any quarter.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 10, 1851
The process of removing the logs, which now form the covering over Piasa Street, between Second Street [Broadway] and the river, in the central part of our city, was commenced a few days since, and will soon be completed. This will be a valuable improvement.



Source: Alton Telegraph, January 24, 1851
We are gratified to observe that the people of this portion of our State are at last beginning to realize the necessity and importance of Plank Roads, in preference to the common dirt roads. They are the very thing for this State, as they can be easily and cheaply constructed; and, it has been found, pay well as an investment. We hear that the citizens of Carrollton are talking of building one of these roads from their beautiful town to the Illinois river; and in Jerseyville they are agitating the subject of construction a similar road to some point on the Mississippi (either to Grafton or to this place, we believe [Alton]). Now, we would respectfully suggest to the citizens of the above flourishing towns, and the counties in which they are located, whether a road from Carrollton directly to Alton, via Jerseyville, would not best promote the interests of all concerned, as well as the speedy commencement of the enterprise. Such a road would, in our opinion, be a very great accommodation to the public, do much business, pay large dividends, and moreover, have the advantage of a terminus at a point from which navigation is never suspended. This last fact should be well considered before an enterprise of that character is begun. Its object should be to open an outlet for the products of the country at all seasons of the year. The very time at which produce bears the highest price, is the time when the roads are generally in the worst condition, and when navigation above this place is suspended. Another consideration in favor of this project is that a large proportion of the stock for building this road would be taken by citizens of Alton. This they were ready to do some time since, but the project did not appear to meet the approbation of the people of Jerseyville. Let a company be organized for the building of a plank road from Carrollton, via Jerseyville, to this city [Alton], and let the subscription books be opened at once; and we think we can safely pledge our citizens for one-fourth of the whole cost of the road. If it be energetically taken hold of, the organization might be effected, the stock subscribed, and everything ready for the commencement of the enterprise upon the opening of Spring, and thus secure its completion next season. No one who is at all acquainted with the amount of travel upon this line of road can doubt that it would pay a very handsome percentage upon its cost. We should be glad to hear the views of our friends in Jersey and Greene upon this question. What say you?

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1851
The Alton and Jersey Plank Road Company commenced laying down the plank upon the road last Saturday on Belle street, at its intersection with Fourth, and are rapidly prosecuting the work. It is expected the plank will be laid as far as the south line of Adams' addition, by Thursday next.

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 18, 1852
A bill incorporating the Alton and Jerseyville Plank Road Company was introduced by Mr. Buckmaster, of the committee on Incorporations, and passed the House, without opposition. The capital stock is $75,000, divided into shares of $100 each. The Company is authorized to borrow money, not exceeding the amount paid in.

Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 17, 1852
Five miles of this road are now completed at a cost of about $15,000 - which is something more than the average cost of such roads, owing to the high price of lumber in this vicinity, and the uneven surface of the ground near Alton, which made the grading expensive. The first half, or three quarters of a mile of the road, up to O. M. Adam's addition, belongs to the city and is free. On the balance of the road, the company have put up two gates; one near the city and the other in the vicinity of Buck Inn. The following table with which we have been kindly furnished, will show the rates of toll established at each gate, and also what the toll would have been if fixed at the limit of the law:

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

The tolls charged are about two thirds of what the law allows, but it is hoped that the vast amount of travel on this great thoroughfare will be sufficient, even at these rates, to pay a reasonable dividend on the cost of the road. Should this prove to be the case, and the road meet with public favor, early steps will no doubt be taken to extend it to Jerseyville. Some object has, we understand, been made by persons passing over the road, that they are compelled to pay tolls on a road which was before free. If the objection is a valid one, it is because a free dirt road is better for the public than a plank road on which toll is charged, even at two thirds the rates allowed by law. If this be so, surely no plank roads will or ever ought to be built, but the public should continue as heretofore to travel over bad roads and through the mud as in years past. Experience has shown wherever plank roads have been fairly tested, that it is a great benefit for farmers to have a plank road over which to haul their produce to market, although they have tolls to pay. The advantage consists in the saving of time, in the wear and tear of wagon and team, but above all in the additional weight which the same team can haul. To illustrate: It would be a day's work for a loaded two-horse team to make two trips to Alton and back from the Brighton road in a day, and a ton would have been about a fair load on the old road when in good order for such a team. Now the same team would make the trip over the plank road in considerably less, probably in two thirds the time, and would certainly haul two tons at a load quite as easily as one over the dirt road. Thus, two day's work are done in one, and the saving is the value of the team and driver for a day, less the tolls, to say nothing of the other advantages. The value of the team and driver per day would be $2, and the tolls for the two trips in and out would be 32 cents. The actual benefit to be derived from the plank road by the former, having four tons of produce to haul from the Brighton road to Alton, would therefore be $1.08, even supposing his team returned without a load, and to say nothing of the fact that the plank road would be good for the whole year round, thus enabling him to choose his time for going to market and to take advantage of it, instead of being compelled to go as heretofore when the roads were passable. If these facts are true, and they seem capable of demonstration, it is certainly a great advantage to all having produce to haul from the Brighton road to Alton, that the plank road is built, and there ought to be no complaint that it is constructed on the old highway, when it would be for every man's interest to travel it, even if the old highway remained. It is to be hoped that the public, particularly the farming community, will take the right view of this matter, and that they will come forward and help to extend the road. It is a mistaken notion to suppose that a plank road is a tax to those who have to travel over it. As well might it be contended that the money paid out by a farmer for a plough was a tax, and yet what would be thought of a man who should undertake to dig up his fields with his fingers or a stick, rather than purchase a plough to do it with? In the first instance, he would have to make an advance to obtain the plough, but he would receive it back many fold in the advantage which the plough would give him in tilling his ground, and just so it is with the man who is required to pay tolls for passing over plank roads. The truth is he receives back more than 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 20, 1851
We would respectfully, but earnestly call the attention of the Board of Health or other proper officers, to the condition of the lots upon the west side of Piasa Street, between Second and Fourth. Since the grading of the streets in that quarter, the lots in the old bed of Piasa Creek have remained as before, a great depth below the grade, and become the receptacle for the deposit of filth from the streets and stables in the vicinity. The back water from the river having passed through the sewer of Piasa Creek into these low places, has for some days caused a most sickening effluvia to arise therefrom, rendering them a great nuisance to the public convenience, if not an actual provocation of disease. This state of things calls loudly for a remedy, and that right speedily. Perhaps it may be best, when the water falls, to fill the lots. At present, a quantity of lime and other purifying agents can be used to advantage.



Source: Alton Telegraph, August 15, 1851
The hull of the new packet, Altona, was launched at Memphis on Wednesday last. She may be expected up at St. Louis, to receive her machinery, in a few days.

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 12, 1851
The Altona has commenced her regular trips between this city and St. Louis.

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 19, 1851
Notice to shippers of hogs: The steamer Altona will carry any quantity of live hogs; the lower deck having been fitted up expressly for the purpose. D. D. Ryrie & Co., Agents.

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 23, 1852
The splendid packet Altona made the run from the docks at St. Louis to her landing at our Levee on Thursday evening last, in the unparalleled space of one hour and forty-three minutes! as time by several disinterested persons. Her time from the city limits of St. Louis to the city limits of Alton was one hour and twenty eight minutes!

Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 25, 1852
It will be seen by the advertisement in today's paper that Capt. Brown of the Altona will try the experiment of making two trips a day, commencing on Monday next. The Altona can make the time with perfect ease, but we doubt whether the experiment will be a paying one.

Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 25, 1852
Yesterday morning the steamers New England, Connecticut, and Altona left our levee at about the same time, the Altona in the rear, for St. Louis. The black smoke rolled out from their chimneys, as though some tall traveling was to be performed. We learn that the Altona passed them in a little less than no time.

Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 20, 1853
The fleet Altona made her two trips yesterday with perfect ease. She left at 6 1-2 o'clock in the morning, and was back again with the mails and railroad passengers, at half past 0. She carries two sets of hands, and will perform this double duty for a few days, until the Cornelia is out again. The Altona made the run up, 25 miles, on Saturday evening, in one hour and thirty-seven minutes. Several hats, &c., were bet that she would do it in one hour and a half. A gentleman who was on board informs us that had she not ran so close over a long bar, the suction of which somewhat impeded her, she would have gained still more on time. She was so hot when she arrived at our levee, that it was deemed advisable to run her upstream some farther, to allow her boilers to cool somewhat before landing. The Altona can run fast enough for all practical purposes, and we hope she will not be pushed beyond the bounds of prudence.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 18, 1854
This fleet packet - the pride of the Western waters - is gone! The breaking of the ice was the knell of her owners' hopes. Her bare hull - once the type of perfection, and its builder's pride - now lies an unsightly hulk beneath the swelling waters whose smooth surface had so often yielded to her handsome prow - upon whose bosom, gliding with an arrow's speed, she has borne thousands upon their way to meet the "Iron horse" in his harness at our sister city, vying even with the "smoke breathing charger" in his efforts to annihilate time and distance.

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

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 15, 1900
A bell that is said to be the bell carried by the steamer Altona, the most famous boat ever on the Mississippi river, which has for many years forsaken the calling for which it was designed and has been used to summon the Presbyterians of the church at Shipman to divine worship, may in a very short time return to the river and fulfill the destiny it was intended for. The Altona was the fastest boat, rivermen say, that ever turned a paddle on the Mississippi river, and it is doubted that any boat ever was built that could throw water on its bow. It is a tradition of river men that the Altona made the trip from Alton to St. Louis in 55 minutes, and that she made the return trip in 97 minutes. Steamboats are not built now, the old river men say, that can make such time as that, and the river is not in a condition to permit the speed being made if the boats were capable of doing it. The Altona sank in 1854 and ended her career. The boat was then the property of the Mitchells, and the Altona's bell was subsequently given by some member of the family to the Presbyterians at Shipman for use as a church bell. Since that time the bell has pealed forth the call to Sunday services and has performed its duties well. The Eagle Packet Co. is a corporation with a soul and some sentiment, notwithstanding the general opinion that corporations have no sentiment. Hearing of the bell being on the church and learning that the church building was about to be abandoned, they sent Mr. S. H. Gregory to Shipman today to investigate the genuineness of the bell and to buy it if the present owners could be persuaded to sell it. It is the intention of the Eagle Packed Co. to place the bell on some one of its steamers, probably the Spread Eagle, and it may pass many more years in service on the Mississippi.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 22, 1851
On Friday night last, two or three rogues made several unsuccessful attempts to effect an entrance into the clothing store of Mr. T. L. Waples, and were finally frightened away by the discharge of a pistol by the clerk, who was sleeping within, which unfortunately did not take effect. A subsequent attempt at the provision store of Mr. William Watts proved more successful, the gentry having obtained entrance through the back door, helped themselves to a small amount of goods and some loose change, which was in the drawer. On the following moring, three persons, who gave their names as George Sheffield, Eli Macom, and J. T. Johnson, were arrested by Constable Worrall, and brought before Justice Robbins, charged with burglary and larceny, and after examination, ordered to give bail in the sum of $300 each. Being unable to procure it, a mittimus issued, and these worthies were committed to the county jail yesterday morning, to take their trial at the next term of the Circuit Court. A portion of the goods taken from Watts’ store was found upon them, and they probably belong to a gang of rascals who have been preying upon the people of Alton and neighborhood for some time past. If so, they are now in a fair way to meet their reward.

In Upper Alton, a very expert robbery was committed at the house of Robert Dunlap, Esq. While the family were at dinner, two rogues entered a bedroom on the first floor, and turning the key after the, rifled the drawers of their valuable contents, consisting of about $80 in money, and $40 or $50 worth of jewelry. On Sunday night, a horse and two saddles were stolen from Captain Littell of Upper Alton.

In Monticello [Godfrey], Mrs. Boyd’s store was entered Saturday night, and some $75 worth of fancy goods taken therefrom.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1851
In taking a stroll through Edwardsville the other day, we were much pleased at the many evidences of improvement which meet the eye upon every hand. During the season there have been a number of new dwellings erected, and others are now in process of completion. The construction of a plank sidewalk along the principal thoroughfare will add greatly to the comfort and convenience of pedestrians, and efforts should be made to secure its extension the entire length of the street. We were informed that houses are in great demand, thus giving good evidence that the population is gradually, though slowly, upon the increase, and the citizens anticipate a very considerable accession to business and population upon the completion of the plankroad to St. Louis.

We will venture one suggestion, while upon this subject, which if carried out would add greatly to the appearance and character of the town, and be calculated to leave a better impression upon the minds of strangers visiting it. Remove or burn down those unsightly old buildings which may be seen near the principal street, and look like so many relics of the last century; paint your meeting houses and schoolhouses anew, and restore the broken glass, &c.; pay a little more general attention to the planting of shade trees, and your town will soon present a handsome and inviting appearance.

One can hardly visit Alton now-a-days without noticing some new and important improvements. Hills are being leveled, valleys filled up, old buildings torn down and replaced with new ones, and everything indicates the prevalence of the go-ahead spirit. The merchants there are getting in extensive stocks of goods, and say they are determined to offer country merchants as good an assortment, at as low prices, as they can find anywhere. With the increased trade, which will flow in her lap upon the completion of the rail and plank roads, Alton will be upon the highway to metropolitan greatness.

We had occasion to visit Collinsville a few days since, and were gratified to see the progress already made to connect this delightful village with St. Louis by a plank road. The whole distance hence to Collinsville is ten miles, and we traveled over about six miles of the road completed. The whole cost of the road, when completed, is estimated at about $28,000 to $30,000. We understand that it lacks about $3,000 to fill up the stock, or the cost of a little over a mile. The citizens of Madison County have subscribed liberally to the stock, and it seems to us, independent of the question of its being a good paying stock, that it is manifestly to the interest of St. Louis to lend a helping hand to complete this road.


Thirty to Forty Lives Lost
Source: Alton Telegraph, November 28, 1851
Passengers who arrived in Alton today, upon the Die Vernon, bring accounts of a collision which occurred some 23 miles above Alton, in the Mississippi River, between that boat and the Archer, about one o’clock this morning, by which it is supposed that from thirty to forty lives were lost. It appears that the Die Vernon was descending, and the Archer ascending. The night was extremely dark, and their proximity to one another was not discovered, as they say, in time to prevent the accident. The Die Vernon struck the Archer about midship, and in about ten minutes, the latter boat sunk in fifteen to twenty feet of water. The scene is described as truly heartrending, there being some sixty persons on board the Archer, principally deck passengers, more than half of whom were thus, without any warning, roused from their slumbers to meet the cold embrace of death in the Father of Waters. Although the usual cry of “no blame” is heard in this case, as in all others of a similar nature, we hope the affair will undergo the strictest investigation, and the guilty, if any there be, punished with the utmost severity of the law.

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 4, 1851
Since the accident, the Die Vernon has reached this port [St. Louis], and I have learned some of the particulars. The Archer was cut through to the water’s edge and sunk in less than twenty minutes to the cabin floor. Report says, and it is well authenticated, that from 28 to 30 lives were lost on board of her. Ten women and children of two families who were on deck are missing. The Archer had no cabin, and consequently no cabin passengers. Her officers are all safe. The Die Vernon sustained no injury. Of those lost on the Archer, a family of the name of Smyers, from Western Pennsylvania, were peculiarly unfortunate. The father, mother, and six out of seven children were drowned. The Pilots of both boats are out in the evening papers of this date, endeavoring to explain away the causes of the disaster. Many think it the result of sheer negligence.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 2, 1852
A beautiful creation of one of our own citizens was exhibited on Tuesday night. It is truly a magnificent affair. And however high Mr. Blair may have stood in public estimation as an artist, this great work will take even the lover of fine paintings by surprise. We venture the prediction that it will give Mr. Blair a place among the very first artists of this, or any other age. It must have unbounded popularity throughout our country in a very shor time. On Tuesday evening the Hall was full to overflowing by a delighted audience, who, as the life-like scenes of the panorama passed, gave continued demonstrations of the highest appreciation of this work. Rev. W. F. Bovakin explained the diagrams and paintings illustrative of the geological periods, and formations of the earth, and Rev. A. T. Norton gave explanations on all the balance of the panorama, adding very much to the interest of the exhibition. This will reflect, wherever exhibited, very favorably on the character of Western genius. We wish Mr. Blair great success in this panorama, and congratulate him, that such is the present prospects.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 6, 1852
About 10 o’clock last Thursday night the extensive foundry and machine shop of Mr. Nathaniel Hanson, situated upon Front Street below the Alton House, was discovered to be on fire. Owing to the combustible nature of the buildings and contents, all efforts to save them proved fruitless. Loess estimated at from $20,000 to $25,000, upon which there was an insurance of $5,000 in the Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance Company. A strong wind was blowing from the south, which seriously threatened the destruction of the entire block of buildings upon the opposite side of the street, but owing to the noble exertions of the firemen and citizens generally, who acquitted themselves admirably, the destructive element was subdued without making further progress. It is not known how the fire originated.

We have since learned that Mr. Hanson sets down his loss at $15,000, exclusive of insurance. Various conjectures are afloat as to the origin of the fire, and it is not improbable that it was the work of an incendiary, as very great care has always been exercised, and the proprietor had gone his customary round after the workmen left, to see that all was right, a short time before it was discovered. Not the least unfortunate result connected with this catastrophe is the fact that some thirty hands are thrown at once out of steady and profitable employment. We hope speedy measures will be taken to rebuilt the establishment.

Source: Alton Telegraph, February 6, 1852
We learn that Mr. Hanson is making preparations for the reconstruction of his machine shop, destroyed by the fire last Thursday night.

Hanson Foundry Rebuilt
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 5, 1852
About one month since the extensive machine shop and foundry of Mr. N. Hanson of Alton was laid in ruins by a devastating fire, we are happy to state that through the indomitable energy of the proprietor, the establishment has been rebuilt, and is now again in full blast. The fires were built in the furnaces some days since, being less than four weeks from the night of its destruction.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 13, 1852
Having spent a few days in your city for the purpose of seeking out a spot to settle on, I admire much the energy of the citizens and the enterprising character they display in the recent improvement of the streets. I must say, the work on Third Street cannot be surpassed by any place on the Mississippi, and the plank and railroads only at present serve to point to your city’s future prosperity. But upon inquiry of a certain person where the poor house was, the answer was, “We have no poor,” I was rejoiced at the news, glorious Alton, thought I, no poor, no one of whom the chilly hand of charity needs be extended. I rejoiced, but my joy was of short duration, for my eye was soon attracted by an object of pity enquiring for the city doctor – then the thought struck me, where is the hospital? None – I was petrified with astonishment – a city like Alton, and no place of refuge for the poor, sick stranger, who may be cast upon your shore? What can your city authorities be thinking of, not to provide some suitable asylum for the destitute, while they so liberally provide for the rising generation by building new schoolhouses. They neglect the one thing needful. Let them drop for the future the idea of spending thousands for new schoolhouses, and contemplated market houses, and rear a home for the wretched, who are overtaken with disease and death, and have not where to lay their heads, save an engine house. Now I would ask, is this in accordance with the prosperity of your thriving city? Are there not five hundred well disposed persons to be found in Alton, who would give five dollars each to erect a frame building suitable for the present emergencies? This would add a little to the credit of Alton. Signed by Homo.

Response by a Citizen of Alton:
It is well known that Alton has a poorhouse, large and commodious, that is comfortably furnished, and where the poor and destitute of our city are well taken care of – where every necessary is provided them. A physician is also employed by the city with a salary, who is always at the service of the poor and destitute. No city or town in the State of Illinois expends more money for the relief of the suffering than the city of Alton for the past ten years.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 20, 1852
We are glad to notice that the extensive foundry and machine shop of Mr. N. Hanson, which was destroyed by fire on the night of January 20, is in progress of reconstruction, and from present appearances, will very shortly be ready for operations. Mr. Hanson’s loss has been heavy, and for the resolution and energy he displays, he deserves the good wishes of all, and merits, as we hope he will receive a continuance of the very liberal patronage heretofore extended to him.

We understand the building he is now erecting is intended for temporary use only, and that he contemplates, before another year, of putting up in some other part of the city a permanent foundry and machine shop, upon altogether a larger scale. Alton should see to it that every facility and assistance is afforded him in an enterprise so praiseworthy. She has a far greater interest in this matter than some of our citizens are willing to believe. Manufactories have been the making of many a city, which had none of the natural advantages of Alton, and the best location amounts to but little if manufactories do not find their way there to build it up. Other causes may assist, very materially assist, but our word for it, the ultimate prosperity of our city, will depend in a very great measure upon her manufactures. They are the heart, hand and sinews of improvement and population, and Alton, if she is true to herself, will do everything in her power to foster and encourage them.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 20, 1852
I am highly gratified with the views of some of your correspondents as expressed in your paper from time to time, upon the subject of building a Market House and City Hall on the south side of Second Street [Broadway], between Market and Piasa Streets. I coincide with them exactly in the opinion that it is a praise-worthy enterprise and loudly called for by the commanding position and increasing wants of Alton and vicinity. Under other circumstances, it probably would be proper for the city, in its corporate capacity, to erect this building, but she has already “two many irons in the fire,” and it would be both imprudent and unjust for her, at this time, by means of increased taxation, to embark in such an undertaking. While the city cannot do anything in this enterprise herself, I have no doubt she will willingly and gladly lend her aid to those who are able to push it through to a speedy completion. The benefits she will derive from the erection of such a building are too apparent to be mentioned in this connection, but the terms she may impose, should be as easy as her benefits will be great.

In the present state of the city finances, I know of no mode of constructing a Market House and City Hall, at once so feasible and so certain, as by subscription. In this way, no one will feel the burden of an onerous tax imposed by the city. In the payment of subscriptions, those who are unable to advance money can advance its equivalent – work. Masons, bricklayers, joiners, painters, and mechanics are ready to subscribe upon these terms. “Draypin” estimates the cost of such a building at $8,500. I think, myself, that this sum is amply sufficient, but let us take $10,000 as the probably cost of construction. One hundred and fifty-five subscribers are all that are required. Upon this scheme, I verily believe the whole amount of stock can be taken in less than a week. Signed by Public Spirit.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 12, 1852
Agreeably to my promise, I will give you, through the columns of this spicy little sheet, a slight idea of our Masquerade and Fancy Dress Ball, which came off last evening at the Franklin House. Though the weather was rather unfavorable, yet nearly all of the beauty and fashion of Alton were present. The ladies – and I defy any city in our Union to produce fairer – by their beauty and grace, lent additional attraction to the unique and brilliant costumes. The music, imported from St. Louis, was excellent, and the supper exquisite, which is ever the case when under the superintendence of Mr. Bliss.

The maskers acquitted themselves admirably, and sustained their several characters to perfection. Among them, I particularly noticed the fair Miss M----, in the piquant dress of Marie, La Fille du Regiment. The costume was not strictly that of Marie, the tri-colored skirt and little canteen were wanting, but the velvet jacket and dark waving plumes were exceedingly becoming to the fair wearer. The dark eyed Mrs. B---- was disguised most effectually in a gray domino. The modest Mrs. D---- also appeared in a very elegant costume. But I really cannot designate the ladies as I would like to do, owing to the circumstance of my being so much a stranger, their appearance is traced upon my mind by memory’s faithful pencil, in ineffaceable characters.

Among the “lords of creation,” Hamlet, admirably personated by Mr. B----, stalked by with funeral plumes and gloomy brow, as if awaiting the ghost of his father. The young and handsome Mr. H---, in his military dress, would have more aptly represented “Dan Cupid.” He has doubtless pierced many a maiden’s heart. Mr. C----, too, made a most excellent quaker, and Mr. H----, I believe, personated a most amusing “Paddy from Cork.” Among the stars, there was present one, who is, I understand, about to leave the galaxy and become a wandering, or “shooting star.” His loss will be deeply deplored in the social and festive circle. The handsome and graceful Mr. M----, disdaining disguise, appeared in plain citizen’s dress, and by his gentlemanly deportment and winning address, made himself quite conspicuous. Mr. T----, Mr. H----, Mr. N----, Mr. R----, and many others whom I have not time to designate, also shone to much advantage.

In fact, it was an evening which will not soon be forgotten. The strictest order and decorum were preserved, and not a single faux pas committed. Romeo bowed gracefully to Falstaff – French Courtiers and Yankee Peddlers danced vis a vis – the painted Warrior strode through groups of fairy-like maidens, without causing a single tremor – the Mexican Don chatted gaily with a sweet little Bloomer, and all went “merry as a marriage bell,” until quite a late hour.

This brilliant scene will oft re-visit me in bright phanta-magoria, when imagination revels in the past. The mind is a curious concern, dear ------. Last night, full of romance, visions of Italy, “the land of song,” floating confusedly through my brain – her delightful carnivals, and dark-eyed dames. Today, seated in my sanctum with plenty of daylight to keep me within the sphere of sober, dull reality, I feel the dream is past, and I am ready to exclaim with Clio, “Happiness is but a name – a flying bubble – an empty metaphor.” Still, take it all in all, this is a pleasant world, if we would but glance at it through a Claude Lorraine glass, but a truce to moralizing, all things must have an end, so must your patience and this letter. The last ball of the season is over, so adieu, and believe me, Always yours, --------.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 7, 1852
We learn from good authority that a banking institution, with a capital of $500,000, divided into 1,000 shares of $500 each, is about to be established in Alton under the above title. It is to be based on Illinois State Stocks, and is expected to commence business on or about the first of July next. Messrs. Sebastian Wise, Peter Wise, J. J. Mitchell, William H. Mitchell, and J. H. Lea – gentlemen well known in Alton and throughout the State for their ample resources and financial abilities – are the principal shareholders, and the bills of any bank owned and controlled by them will at once command the unreserved confidence of the community. We doubt not that the businessmen in this part of Illinois will view the establishment of the Alton City Bank with unmingled satisfaction.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 21, 1852
The rapid increase of business at this establishment affords gratifying evidence of the general prosperity, and is at the same time a well-merited compliment to the skill of its enterprising proprietors. A lot of twenty coal cars for the Alton and Sangamon Railroad are now being completed at this foundry, for which they will receive $5,500 from the company. They are calculated to carry from 100 to 125 bushels of coal each, and with the exception of the axles and gutta percha springs, are the workmanship of this establishment, and a very creditable specimen too, the wheels and other castings comparing favorably with those manufactured at the East.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 28, 1852
In pursuance of a design entertained for a year past, we this morning commence the publication of the Daily Alton Telegraph, and now present the first number to the people of Alton and vicinity. This enterprise has not been undertaken with a view to present pecuniary advantage. To meet the increasing wants of an intelligent and prosperous community, and render such of our fellow-citizens as choose to avail themselves of it, by supplying them with reliable news at home is our chief, if not only motive. We have made arrangements to obtain, at the earliest moment, through the two lines of electric telegraph now in operation here, all the important news, foreign and domestic, which can be procured, and will thus be enabled to furnish the same to our readers before it can be received from any other quarter. The Daily Telegraph now appears upon a small sheet. We could not make it larger at this time, without much inconvenience, and a large additional outlay, and we think it will be found of sufficient dimensions to meet the present wants of the community.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 28, 1852
The farm of Mr. Bigger J. Head, situated about two miles from town on the Alton road, has been purchased for the purpose of serving as the abode of poor and others, who are thrown upon the county for support. The selection is, we think, a good one, it being at the same time a convenient location, and sufficiently remote from town to prevent any danger to the general health in case diseases of a contagious nature should occur among its inmates.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, Friday, June 4, 1852
Few places possess advantages equal to this for a residence. The city is healthy, its citizens enterprising, and distinguished for the unanimity and zeal with which they engage in all enterprises calculated to promote the prosperity of the place, and the welfare of its inhabitants. Churches of all the leading denominations in the country are to be found here, well sustained; the public schools are in a flourishing condition, and the moral tone and sentiment of the people are not behind those of any place of its size in New England. Its location upon the banks of the Mississippi river, which is navigable to this point at all times when boats can reach St. Louis, in fact we may say at all seasons of the year, makes it comparatively easy of access even at this time; but so soon as the Alton and Sangamon, and the Alton and Terre Haute railroads are completed, it can be reached with the greatest facility from all parts of the country, and at all times. In the vicinity of Alton, about four miles distant, is the Monticello Female Seminary, one of the very best female institutions in the United States. It is delightfully situated in the midst of a most beautiful country, which is highly improved. The Seminary building, which was erected through the munificence of Captain Benjamin Godfrey, to whom the people of this section of country owe a vast debt of gratitude - is calculated to accommodate about one hundred young ladies, and is constantly filled to its utmost capacity. At Upper Alton, about two miles from the city, is Shurtleff college, an institution of very respectable standing, and at this time in a flourishing condition. The country in the immediate vicinity of Alton is broken, and the city itself is built in the midst of hills and hollows, so that the whole place cannot be seen from any one point. Hence persons passing on the river, or who only stop near the landing, are apt to, from very inadequate ideas of the business and extent of the city. No portion of either Middletown or Sempletown, the most delightful portions of the city for residences, and where many of the best improved places are situated, are to be seen from either of these points. To obtain anything like a correct view of the extent of the place, a person should ascend the bluff north of the city, or some other of the many elevated points around it, from which he can see a large portion of the city itself, and have a most magnificent view of the river for many miles. Hitherto there has been but few pleasant rides out of Alton, but now, by the construction of the plank road up the valley, leading back into the country and past Monticello, the people are being furnished with a pleasant and agreeable way of riding out of town. Indeed we scarcely know of a more beautiful and picturesque road for the same distance, than that over the plank road from the city to the Buck Inn. All things considered, we know of no place, east or west, to be preferred to Alton as a residence for families as well as for business men.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, Friday, June 4, 1852
We were very agreeably surprised, yesterday, on stepping into the establishment of Mr. George Thorp, on Third street, between State and Belle streets, to see a small but very finely constructed steam engine, in actual operation, he having received it but a couple of hours before from the boat. Its power is equal, it is said, to about six men, although when we saw it in place it appeared as if an able-bodied man might pick it up and carry it off. Mr. Thorp purchased it in New York, and intends to make use of it in charging the various soda fountains in the city.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 11, 1852
We regret to state that as the light wagon of Mr. E. Hollowell of Monticello [Godfrey] was standing on Second [Broadway], near State Street, yesterday forenoon, in charge of his son (a youth about twelve years old), one of the mail stages carelessly ran against it and frightened the horse, which started off at full speed, overturned the wagon with the lad in it, and scattered its contents about the street. The boy received a severe cut on the side of the head, but we are gratified to add, sustained no serious injury, and the wagon was broken to pieces. Similar acts of recklessness on the part of stage drivers have heretofore taken place in our streets, and are deserving of the severest reprehension.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 18, 1852
We regret to learn that as Mr. J. C. Hayner was going to his room last Tuesday night, he accidentally stepped over the edge of a hatchway in the third story of the building, and fell down into the cellar. He fortunately escaped with a few slight bruises.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 25, 1852
Samuel A. Buckmaster has been elected to the Legislature in Madison County, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Nelson G. Edwards, Esq. Mr. Buckmaster is a Democrat, but was elected by a large majority.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 16, 1852
The city of Alton is beginning to manifest signs of a very general and rapid improvement. Alton was laid out into a town in 1818, but up to the year 1832, it contained only two or three dozen houses and a steam mill. Its situation, however, upon the East bank of the Mississippi River, eighteen miles below the mouth of the Illinois, and two miles above the mouth of the Missouri River, upon the first high and eligible ground for an extend of over one hundred miles along the river, clearly designated the emporium and shipping point of a very extensive tract of country. Alton has met with the most discouraging drawbacks, and has had to contend against obstacles of the most serious nature, but the strong faith of her shrewd and enterprising population has never been abandoned in the most embarrassing emergencies.

The dark days, however, which succeeded the visionary schemes and speculations of 1836, did not destroy its spirit or its energy. That was an ordeal of the most trying nature, but the lesson of practical wisdom which it taught has not been lost upon our citizens. The prospects and ultimate prosperity of Alton are now placed upon a sure and healthy foundation. The confidence of the community is not only restored, but strengthened, and business meets with hearty encouragement, and obtains certain and successful rewards.

Alton must become one of the important cities of the West. It is growing more rapidly than any place in the State. The attention of Eastern capitalists, and business men generally, is beginning to be directed here, and real estate, which but a few years ago, could not be sold at any price, is now in very general demand.

The advantages which Alton presents are of no ordinary character. The city is surrounded for several miles in extent with one of the finest bodies of timber in the State. Bituminous coal is found in great quantities almost within the limits of the town. Inexhaustible beds of limestone for building purposes bud out in all directions. Lime of the very best quality for water cement is obtained in great abundance, and finer clay for the manufacture of bricks cannot be found in the West. The health of Alton is proverbial, and attracts during the summer months large numbers from the city of St. Louis.

When we add to these considerations the facilities of access which now are offered to the public by the daily packet boats, the Alton and Jerseyville plank road, the Alton, Carrollton, and Jacksonville Railroad, the Alton and Springfield Railroad with its extension to Chicago, and the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad, it may well be affirmed that in thrift, business and enterprise, Alton will speedily rank with the most flourishing cities in the Mississippi Valley.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 23, 1852
We learn that the Madison Mill property, situated at the corner of Second [Broadway] and Piasa Streets, has recently changed hands. Messrs. Wises, J. H. Lea, and Mitchell were the purchasers – the price has not transpired.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 23, 1852
Messrs. Wise, Lea & Mitchell opened their new banking house on State Street, one door from Second [Broadway], yesterday, and we suppose are prepared to receive deposits, sell exchange, etc.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 4, 1852
As the Northern stage was leaving town yesterday, the driver carelessly run the stage against a wagon standing in Second street [Broadway], belonging to Mr. Hollowell, who lives a few miles from town, and injured his little son, who was taking care of the horse, very severely. Mr. Hollowell's horse then started and turned up State street and from thence to Third street, starting two other teams, one of which ran up Belle street, and the other was caught before it got under full headway. Many of the stage drivers have been in the habit of showing their skill to our citizens by their rapid driving through town, to the great danger of the teams traversing the street, as well as of human life; and it is high time a stop was put to all such practices. We hope our indefatigable City Marshal will look to the matter.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 13, 1852
Mr. Editor - I witnessed today on Second street a specimen of the effects of our license system, and such a scene I hope I shall never again be called to look upon. A man, his wife and little girl, the inmates of one of those filthy, low whisky shops that infest our city, and another person unknown, were engaged in one of the most disgraceful rows that ever tarnished the name of our city. When the two men had fairly come to blows, the woman and her little girl rushed into the street, with oaths too horrible to repeat, and mingled with the combatants. Then came "the tug of war." Pell mell, tumbling and plunging they went, through the mud, while oaths, loud and rapid filled the air. But worse than all, two of our council members (I refrain, though, with reluctance to give their names), stood by their sides almost splitting with laughter at the anything else but laughable scene. No doubt but they were enjoying with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction the fruits of their work! Sir, what else can we expect, when such men hold and rule the destinies of our prospering city? Can we look for anything else? Do we not daily see the most disgusting scenes of drunkenness in our streets? Are not respectable men and women, forced daily to step from the sidewalks into the muddy street, to give way to a reeling and staggering man, made drunk and senseless as a brute, by this infernal license system. And who does the blame rest upon? The liquor vender, the drinkers, or the Council? Yes the Council! and it alone is answerable for the drunkenness and crime of our city. These things should be seen to. Juan.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 13, 1852
The night of Thursday, August 5, will long be remembered with feelings of gratification by the numerous assembly of ladies and gentlemen, who had the good fortune to participate in the “moonlight excursion” on the Altona. The ceremony of embarkation concluded, which by the way, was no inconsiderable matter, when it is recollected that the party was composed of some fifty couples, our magnificent steamer and merry company took leave of the city, and proceeded up the river with little difficulty, until arriving near Eminence, some ten miles above Alton, we ran “full tilt” against a sand bar and were compelled to change our course. Returning, we glided past the city, and landed opposite the mouth of the turbid Missouri River, where the vessel lay for an hour or two, after which we again touched the wharf at Alton.

The evening was delightful, clear and cool, and tempered with a refreshing breeze, wafted over the Father of Waters, laden with the sweet perfume of a thousand wild flowers, and imparting an invigorating influence to such as had become over excited in the pursuit of their pleasant exercise. On one hand, we had the frowning bluffs of the Illinois shore, and on the other, the lowlands of Missouri spread out for miles in the distance; while above was the clear and starry heavens, and below the deep, yet bright and clear Mississippi – a scene for the romantic and sentimental. Space, however, forbids us to dwell. During the whole trip, the utmost good feeling and hilarity prevailed, and nothing occurred to mar the pleasure of the evening. A splendid band on board discoursed sweet music, and what with chatting, and promenading, interspersed with suitable refreshments, and for such as preferred it, dancing – that most harmless, and at the same time, healthful of all amusement, when moderately indulged in – the evening passed almost unconsciously away, and it was not until the “wee short hours ayant the twal,” warned of the coming day, that the company began to disperse.

We cannot close this brief notice without an allusion to the courtesy of Captain Brown, who did all in his power to render the trip agreeable and satisfactory to all concerned, in which we are sure he was quite successful. Although the occasion was rather a novel one to most of the participants, we hope it may be the forerunner of many more of a similar character.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 20, 1852
Among the number of business houses at present in course of erection, there are several, which for their size and style, will add very greatly to the appearance of the place, and compare favorably with any we have seen elsewhere. First in the list of these are the extensive buildings of Mr. Nathaniel Hanson, now going up on the corner of George and Front Streets, intended to be used by him as a machine shop and foundry. The main building measures fifty feet front by one hundred feet deep, and is three stories high, fireproof, with cast iron fronts. The first story will be twelve feet in height; the second, eleven; and the third, nine and a half. The foundry, separated from the main building by an alley twenty-five feet wide, is forty feet front by seventy-five feet deep. The entire machinery, engines, tools, and paraphernalia are to be in every respect new, and of the most approved kind and finish. The energy and enterprise which Mr. Hanson is manifesting in our midst, notwithstanding his recent heavy losses by fire, deserves the warm commendation of our citizens. There is no kind of industry which gives more character to a place than manufactures, and it behooves our city to encourage their establishment and foster their growth.

Upon Third Street, a very general improvement is going on, and that locality begins to present a bustling and business-like appearance. On the South side, opposite Belle Street, in course of erection, are the brick buildings of Messrs. Smith, Hibbard, and Miller. The warehouse of Mr. George Smith is twenty-four feet front by eighty feet deep, and is to be three stories in height. Adjoining is the building of Mr. M. Miller, eighteen feet front by forty feet deep, also to be three stories in height.

The warehouse of Mr. Elias Hibbard is twenty-five feet front by eighty-six feet deep. It has cast iron fronts, and is to be raised four stories. The first story will be twelve feet high; the second, eleven; the third, ten; and the fourth, twelve. This building is intended to be one of the most perfect and complete in the city, and will set off Third Street to very good advantage.

Nearly opposite are the two large three-story brick warehouses of Messrs. Bowman & Johnson, making a total front of fifty-two feet on Third Street by eighty-two feet deep. The first story is twelve feet high; the second, ten; and the third, twelve in front and eight in the rear. The cellars are so arranged as to be perfectly dry at all times, and lead out under the sidewalk into large coal vaults, with grating over the area.

Almost on the northeast corner of Third and State Streets is the large, three story brick building of Mr. William Watts, now already finished and occupied. On the corner of Fourth and Piasa Streets, is the extensive two-story brick building of Messrs. Breath and Brown, twenty-five feet on Piasa by one hundred feet on Fourth.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 17, 1852
A difficulty occurred on Saturday night between a couple of Irishmen, and Mr. Gallee, keeper of a tippling house on Second Street [Broadway], in which the latter received a severe stab in the region of the heart, which it is feared may prove fatal. One of the parties concerned was arrested yesterday, and lodged in the calaboose, but the other succeeded in making his escape.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 8, 1852
On Sunday night, between 9 and 10 o’clock, the substantial new brick dwelling house of our esteemed fellow-citizen, S. W. Robbins, Esq., situated in the lower part of Alton near the bridge over Shields’ Branch, was discovered to be on fire, and the flames having made considerable progress, the main building was in a very short time entirely consumed. It was erected the present season, and had just been completed, the family having intended to occupy it yesterday. There is not a doubt but that this was the work of an incendiary, as the building was locked up, and no fire had been used in or near it. Those first upon the spot observed that a window had been raised, and fire set in two places – at the foot of the stairs leading into the dining room, which they succeeded in subduing, but soon after it burst out from a closet at the head of the stairs, and became entirely unmanageable. The loss is stated at about $1,000, upon which there was no insurance. A wretch vile enough to commit a deliberate crime like the above is deserving of no mercy, and we trust he will be speedily overtaken, and have justice meted out to him to the full extent of the law.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 17, 1852
A bold attempt at robbery, which came near being successful, occurred on Friday night last at the jewelry store of Mr. David E. Brown on State Street. It appears that a couple of light-fingered gentry took advantage of Mr. Brown’s temporary absence in an adjoining store, to force a board off the side ofhis shop, where a new building is in process of erection, and having entered and appropriated the principal contents of the showcase, consisting of valuable watches, chains, rings &c., were taking their leave when Mr. Brown returned and saw them walking across the foundation above alluded to, and having a suspicion that all was not right, he looked into his shop and discovered his loss. Immediately concluding that the worthies he had just seen in the vicinity were the thieves, he mentioned the circumstances to a friend, and they went in pursuit and found them proceeding very leisurely up Third Street, and having overtaken them, a short scuffle took place in which they succeeded in arresting the principal offender, and securing a large portion of the property. About forty-seven watches were found in his pockets, and a large number of rings, &c. His accomplice made off, but was subsequently arrested. They were both brought before Justice Robbins on Saturday morning, and the evidence being strong and conclusive, fully committed for trial. Marshal Pinckard escorted them to their new quarters in the county jail on Saturday.


9 Deckhands, Clerk, and Captains Killed
Source: Alton Telegraph, December 10, 1852
On Friday evening, as the sternwheel boat Geneva, bound for the Illinois River, was effecting a landing at a wood yard about four miles below Alton, near the mouth of the Wood River, a dreadful explosion took place, shattering the forward part of the boat entirely to pieces, and dealing death and destruction on all sides. The cabin immediately parted from the hull and floated down the stream about five miles, where it burned to the water’s edge. The hull sank immediately, a short distance from the scene of the disaster.

At the moment of the explosion, the deckhands were most of them on shore, tying the boat, or in a barge alongside, and consequently nine were killed. Only three are supposed to be injured, one having his arm broken. The two engineers, two cooks, four cabin boys, and the steward were all, more or less, scalded, though all of them probably will recover. We have not learned their names.

In the cabin, the effects of the explosion were far more destructive. Captain Perry, master, was dreadfully burned, and otherwise injured internally, so that his recovery is despaired of. The pilot, Mr. Gall, was also badly burned by the flames of the cabin, but will probably survive. The clerk, W. C. Johnson, has since died from the effects of his wounds. The second clerk, watchman, and barkeeper, are supposed to have been blown overboard and lost. The only passenger on board was Captain W. Deane of St. Louis, who was instantly killed.

The steamer Hibernia came up with the wreck about an hour after the explosion, and brought the dead and wounded to Alton. Drs. Metcalf and Randle dressed the wounds of those surviving, and did everything in their power to ameliorate their sufferings. The Amazonia came down shortly afterwards, and took the unfortunates to St. Louis.

Different causes are assigned for the explosion. At first it was supposed the boilers of the boat collapsed their flues on account of scarcity of water. We have since understood that there was a large quantity of gunpowder in the forecastle of the boat, which caught fire from sparks falling from a burning torch. We do not know which, if either, of these reports are true. We are inclined to the opinion, however, that there was gross carelessness in someone, and that the explosion was the result of it. We hope the matter may be investigated.

We learn from the officers of the Cornelia that Captain Perry, who was so severely injured by the explosion of the Geneva, died from the effect of his wounds at the St. Louis Hospital early on Sunday morning. His physical system was so entirely shattered, and his body so paralyzed, that from the time of the explosion until his death, he was unable to move a limb. It is thought he inhaled a portion of the scalding steam. His remains have been placed on board the steamer Manchester, and are to be taken for interment to Pittsburgh, where his friends reside. Captain Perry is spoken of as having been a most estimable gentleman, and an efficient steamboat man.

The body of Captain Deane, recovered from the wreck of the Geneva, was buried in St. Louis on yesterday, with appropriate honors, under the charge of the Odd Fellows of that city, of which order he was a worthy and acceptable member. Captain Deane was well known in Alton as an excellent man and an accomplished gentleman. For many years, he was engaged in the Keokuk packet trade, both as clerk and captain, and enjoyed the entire confidence and esteem of all who had dealings with him. At the time of his death, he was a member of the house of Carson & Deane. We learn that he leaves a wife and three children. A few weeks since, he insured his life in an Eastern office for $5,000.

Alex Kelsey, engineer of the Geneva, is the same person who blew up the Saluda on the Missouri River. The St. Louis papers contradict this report, and deny that Mr. Kelsey was ever on the Saluda. The impression seems to be gaining ground that the boilers of the Geneva did not explode at all, but that the disaster was caused by powder in the hold. It is said that the decks were not sound, and that sparks from the torch light, as well as from the furnace, communicated to a large quantity of gun powder in the forecastle, and caused the explosion. We hope the matter may be fully investigated, and if this statement is true, that the blame which at present attaches to Mr. Kelsey may be transferred to the shoulders of those to whom it belongs.

According to the Quincy Daily Whig of December 7, 1852, those killed in the explosion were Captain Charles Dean (formerly of the steamboat Lucy Bertram) and Captain Willis C. Johnson (formerly Captain of the steamboats New England and the Ocean Wave).

The St. Louis papers reported that one of the boilers exploded, and then the steamboat burned. The boat was owned by Captain Perry, her commander, and the first clerk, Captain Willis C. Johnson. The Geneva formerly ran the Ohio River. It was first reported that Captain Dean’s body was not recovered, but it was a few days later, and he was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, MO. Dean was 33 years of age, and left behind a wife and three children. Captain Willis C. Johnson was part owner of the Geneva, and had assumed the post of clerk. He lived only a short time after the explosion. He was buried in Palmyra, Missouri. Captain Perry was standing on the hurricane deck at the time of the accident, and fell with the wreck to the deck below.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 17, 1852
We learn that Mr. W. T. B. Read has purchased lots and commenced the erection on the Plank Road, near the Cave Spring, of a machine shop for the manufacture of an improved reaping machine in Alton. His buildings will soon be erected, and operations immediately thereafter commenced.


Governor of Illinois joel Aldrich MattesonSTATE LEGISLATURE VISITS ALTON
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 21, 1853
In accordance with the invitation of our city, Governor 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 Colonel 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 ere long the "light fantastic toe" was tripping it in fine style. The ladies of Alton and vicinity were there, and were as charming and sociable as ever. The beaux had remarkably neat gloves and upright collars; all were in good estimation with themselves; the ball was light and roomy, and the music was fine - therefore what was to prevent enjoying one's self? At the time we write this - among the "small hours" - the music and tread of feet is still heard in the adjoining building (the Franklin House). Our pen can hardly preserve its equanimity the while, and we must bid our labors, and the subject, good morning. Our honored guests, we hope, have enjoyed their visit at least one half as well as have our citizens. If so, they are well repaid for the trip. They return to Springfield this morning, and will attend the levee of Senator Douglas, at that place, tonight. They hear the best wishes of the people of Alton.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, January 31, 1853
The Alton Bank has commenced operations under the provisions of the General Banking law of this State, and began issuing notes a few days since. Its bills are of the various denominations of one, two, three, and five dollars, and are signed by E. Marsh, President, Charles A. Caldwell, Cashier, and countersigned by S. Niles, Registrar. In point of beauty, they will compare favorably with those of any bank in the United States, and we trust that they will soon drive away from our midst the dirty, ragged, and often irresponsible and worthless trash, which for some time past, has constituted part of our circulating medium. The capital stock of the institution is $250,000, but it has commenced operations upon interest-paying bonds of Illinois and Missouri of the estimated value of $50,000, which will be increased from time to time as required by the demands of business.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 4, 1853
The growth of manufactures in our midst we have ever regarded as one of the most desirable means of increasing the population, wealth, and business importance of Alton. It is but a few years since the first machine shop was set in motion here. The ensuing Spring will witness four extensive shops for the manufacture of machinery of various kinds in successful operation. It is of the oldest of these, long known as the “Alton Machine Shop,” of which we would now speak.

The enterprising proprietor, Mr. Nathaniel Hanson, as is well known to our readers, suffered the loss of almost his entire establishment, situated on the river bank, by fire, just about one year since. He immediately erected a temporary building upon the old site for the prosecution of his business, and last Fall began the construction of the extensive buildings which he has just began to occupy. We had the pleasure of going through this establishment on Tuesday, and will furnish the reader with some of the results of our observations.

The buildings are located upon the corner of Front and George Streets, two squares below the Alton House, and make a very handsome appearance, particularly as seen from the river. The main shop is of brick, three stories high, 50 feet front by 100 deep, of which the first floor is devoted entirely to turning lathes, &c., and the second and upper floors are used for the preparation of the lumber, and the finishing of the machines. The shop is well stocked with machinery, some of which is equal to the finest in use anywhere. On the ground floor is a capacious cistern, to serve in case of fire. The building has iron fronts, caps and sills, and is roofed with slate, rendering it very safe from fire. We observed that smoking is strictly prohibited in the establishment.

An open court lies between this structure and the foundry. The latter building is also of brick, 40 feet front by 75 deep, contains a cupola furnace of the largest class, and everything necessary to carry on the business very extensively.

Mr. Hanson is principally engaged in the manufacture of Pitts Patent Separators or Thrashing Machines, for which the patent was recently extended seven years by act of Congress. These machines have acquired a just celebrity throughout the West, as being better adapted to the purpose for which they are used, than any in the market. Employment is here given to about forty-five men, on an average, the year round, at a weekly pay of from $6 to $12. During the year, some 75,000 feet of pine and 60,000 feet of oak lumber are consumed; also, about 100 tons of pig iron and wrought iron to the value of $4,000. Annual cost of fuel, $600; drayage, $350. Value of machines, castings, &c., turned out annually - $50,000.

A well has been sunk in the yard to the depth of 46 feet, most of the distance by blasting through the solid rock, and although it has attained a depth of several feet below the bed of the river, a vein of sufficient size has not yet been struck.

The establishment, as a whole, is one of the best appointed in the West, and a credit to our city. The cost will, doubtless, exceed $20,000, and the beneficial influence of this and smaller establishments upon the prosperity of Alton cannot be overestimated. Success, say we, to the worthy proprietor.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 11, 1853
It affords us much satisfaction to speak of various improvements in progress in our midst, and in this class may be included the quarrying of rock in the vicinity of the upper mill, which affords constant employment to a large number of men, and from which an inexhaustible supply of superior lime, and of the finest building stone to be found perhaps anywhere in the West, is easily procured. Some splendid pieces of this stone, recently quarried for Samuel A. Buckmaster, Esq., are now lying in front of the lot on Short Street [West Broadway], on which he is about to erect a large warehouse, which appear worthy of a passing notice.

These stones are from twelve to fourteen feet long, from one to five feet wide, and twenty-two inches deep, and not less worthy of attention for beauty than for size. As many others, equally perfect in every respect, may be readily obtained at the same place, would it not be well for the citizens of Alton to procure a block of the requisite dimensions, and forward it to Washington City to be placed in the great National Monument now in progress there, as a contribution from the patriotic inhabitants of this city? We understand that, if application were made for this purpose, the block would be furnished, in the rough, free of charge.

We observe that the bluff, from which these quarryings are made, is gradually wearing away, and space will soon be offered for the erection of stores or other buildings on ground recently covered with solid limestone rock one hundred feet in height. We understand that some $16,000 was expended during the past season in the payment of quarry men, laborers, barrel makers, draymen, and others, employed in that single branch of industry, the greater part of which was expended in Alton, while the manufactured articles such as lime, dressed stone, &c., were principally sold to non-residents. Mr. Charles Trumbull, who now carries on the works, informs us that it is his intention still to keep up a large supply of lime – for the excellence of which his brand is so generally noted – but that, owing to the great advance in the price of labor, over last year’s rates, in consequence of the increased demand for laborers, the price of this article will necessarily be from five to ten cents per barrel higher than it was last season. Such is the high reputation the lime manufactured by Mr. Trumbull has attained, that it commands the highest prices at New Orleans, Memphis, and other places in the West. He has lately filled an order for one hundred barrels, to be shipped to Pittsburgh for the use of one of the most extensive glass manufactories in that flourishing city. Success to him, and to every other enterprising citizen of Alton.


Alton Women Sew Clothing to Sell
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 17, 1853
It is not generally known that this benevolent organization has already, at its depository on the corner of Third and Belle Streets, a large stock of read-made clothing, consisting of shirts of every quality – from the coarsest hickory to the finest linen – drawers, flannel under clothes, children’s clothing, bed covers, and numerous other articles which it offers for sale on as reasonable terms as any of the clothing stores of the city. As it is desirable that the money should be turned over as often as possible, we take particular pleasure in recommending it to all persons wishing to purchase clothing.

The ladies have been most happy to find that of the larger number of women who have taken work, scarcely any have failed to return it in a condition altogether satisfactory, and they can safely recommend it, as inferior to no work of the best home manufactures. We hope to see their store liberally patronized, as the effect will be to give to the purchaser on liberal terms a superior article of clothing, and at the same time, to encourage a truly benevolent work.

Some forty or fifty women, wholly dependent on their needle for support, have already received “material aid” from this society, and the number of applicants, we learn, is daily increasing. All that is wanting to enable the enterprise to go on prosperously is a prompt sale of the clothing on hand. Let the community hear this in mind, and the Society must perform a glorious work.

It is also desirable that all persons having sewing of any kind to “put out,” should not forget that job work of every description is taken in at the store, and will be promptly made up to order. Let is also be borne in mind, that the store is kept in the small frame shed, attached to the stone building formerly occupied by Dr. Skillman, on the corner of Third and Belle Streets, nearly opposite the post office.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 24, 1853
Between five and six o’clock yesterday morning, it was discovered that the Carpenter Shop on the corner of State and William Streets was on fire, which owing to a high wind prevailing at the time, was soon communicated to the dwelling a few rods below, occupied by Mr. L. P. Spear. The engines were promptly on the ground, but the extreme cold, together with a high wind, rendered vain all efforts to stop the progress of the flames, and both the shop and dwelling were speedily consumed; not, however, until the family and the principal portion of the furniture and other movables were removed.

All the burning houses were surrounded by streets on every side, the work of destruction was happily confined to the block in which it began, although at one time, serious danger was apprehended. The buildings were owned by Mr. Spear, and his loss is estimated at $1,000 – fully covered by insurance in the Illinois Mutual Company. The loss of Mr. Gill and his workmen, in tools, is about $300.

It seems difficult to account for the cause of this fire, as it has been established that there was no fire about the shop at nine o’clock on Tuesday night. Those first on the ground discovered that the shavings had been heaped against the door, however, and a woman suspected of being guilty of the act was brought before Justice Robbins for examination, but as nothing definite could be proved against her, she was released.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 25, 1853
We learn that the woman, Jane Floyd, to whom allusion has already been made in connection with the burning of Mr. Spear’s dwelling on Wednesday morning, was arrested a second time and brought before Justices Robbins and Woods yesterday. It seems that additional testimony had been obtained, after hearing which, she was held to bail in the sum of $300, and not being able to obtain it, was committed to the Edwardsville jail to await her trial.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, March 1, 1853
We have already mentioned that on August 31, 1852, an act was passed by Congress and approved by the President, constituting the city of Alton a port of delivery. The act has just been published among the laws of Congress. It places Alton as a port of delivery, under the same regulations and restrictions as other ports of delivery in the United States, and provides for the appointment of a Surveyor of Customs to reside here. This officer, in addition to his own duties, is required to perform the duties, and is to receive the salary and emoluments of Surveyors, prescribed in the act of Congress, approved on March 2, 1831, providing for the payment of duties on imported goods at the cities of Pittsburg, Wheeling, Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis. By the act, Alton is annexed to and made a part of the collection district of New Orleans, and all the facilities and privileges afforded by the act of March 2, 1831 are extended to this port. This will doubtless afford an additional stimulus to the industry and enterprise which have characterized the people of Alton, and assist in the development of the vast resources of this part of Illinois.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, March 17, 1853
The triangular block at the intersection of William and State Streets has been purchased by the city, assisted by the property holders in the immediate vicinity, for the purpose of a public square. For the sake of a name, it has been christened “Union Place.” We understand it is the intention of those immediately interested to have it improved and set out with trees and shrubbery. It can be made a very pleasant resort.

Speaking of public squares, we have frequently been astonished at the little regard that those who lay out our Western towns pay to those essentials of health, happiness, convenience, and beauty. It is well for all Western cities, whose inhabitants and wealth are increasing to make ample provision for the comfort and pleasure of their citizens and those who come after them. In these respects, St. Louis, Louisville, and Cincinnati are sadly deficient.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 20, 1853
The Presbyterian Church of Alton is entirely too small to accommodate the congregation which worships there, and the trustees have at last taken active measures for its enlargement. The workmen are already busy in tearing away the portico, preparatory to building an addition in front. We understand it is their intention to add about twenty feet to the length of the present building, and something will also be added to its height in order to retain its proportion and symmetry.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 29, 1853
The Messrs. Barey & Co. and Messrs. Lesure & Co., Druggists, commenced preparation for moving into other buildings, as "the old corner" is to be torn down the 1st of next May. Messrs. Lesure & Co. will occupy the building on State street next door to Messrs. Hoaglan, Wise & Co.'s Clothing Store, and Messrs. Barey & Co. the store under the Franklin House. They will be thus situated for about two months, when they will remove back to their old locations, but in fine brick buildings. We notice that our fellow citizen, D. E. Brown, Esq., Watch and Clock dealer and Jeweler, has removed to his new stand on Third street, immediately opposite the plank road. Mr. Brown has purchased the building he now occupies, of Mr. J. Quarton, and has fitted it up in excellent style. He has a very neat and tasty shop, and a good assortment of stock. Third street is "coming out."


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 30, 1853
The new Masonic Hall has received it furniture, and was occupied last evening for the first time. It is carpeted, and fitted up in magnificent style with sofas, arm chairs, &c., and a splendid chandelier is suspended from the dome in the center of the hall. Altogether, it reflects credit upon the fraternity, and gives evidence of good taste on the part of those concerned in its internal arrangement.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 17, 1853
Another affray took place at the brewery near the City Cemetery on Sunday evening, between about a dozen Germans and an equal number of Irishmen, in which two or three on either side were severely cut by throwing tumblers and other missiles. How long must this disgrace be tolerated? It is high time that the strong arm of the law should interfere to prevent a repetition of such outrage upon common decency. [Note: The Union Brewery, located on Pearl Street, was later sold and renamed Bluff City Brewery.]


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 21, 1853
Yesterday, D. A. Spaulding, Esq., in company with a number of our citizens, traced the lines of the County Road, leading under the bluff to Smeltzer’s old ferry. Over twenty years ago this road was surveyed and located by Mr. Spaulding, then County surveyor, and yet, in spite of the changes wrought since then by time and improvement, the old landmarks and stations were readily discovered. We understand that the Committee on Streets, Roads, and Bridges are making immediate arrangements to open it and have it worked.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 23, 1853
Third street, opposite the Post Office. Are prepared to engage in the auction and commission business. Will attend to the sale of furniture and all kinds of household goods; real estate, horses, cattle, groceries, dry goods, books, and everything else. Returns will be promptly and honestly made, and the whole conduct of the business shall be in the satisfaction of all parties. Consignments of all kinds solicited. We are authorized to refer to the following gentlemen, long residents of this city: John Bailhache & Co, Editors "Alton Telegraph," G. T. Brown & Co., Editors "Alton Courier," T. Souther, Postmaster; Isaac Scarritt, Merchant; Dr. Benj. K. Hart; John R. Woods, Esq.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 25, 1853
Mr. W. W. Cary has removed his jewelry establishment to the new, two-story brick building on the east side of State Street, between Second [Broadway] and Third, nearly opposite the Alton Bank. Having taken a lease upon this building for a number of years, Mr. Cary has fitted it up in a most tasteful and convenient style, far superior to any similar establishment ever opened in this city.

His stock of clocks, watches, jewelry, silverware, shotguns, &c., is large and complete, and worthy the attention of purchasers, both in city and country. Gold and silver watches, and pencils, elegant gold lockets, bracelets, plus rings, chains, necklaces &c. in endless variety; a large stock of silver spoons of every size; Britannia ware, besides many other things, too tedious to mention, may be found in Mr. Cary’s well-filled showcases.

Here the sportsman will also be able to satisfy all his wants in the shape of an outfit. A large assortment of shotguns, rifles, pistols, and hunter’s accoutrements of every variety and finish, and at prices to salt the purse of every customer, can always be found at Mr. Cary’s. Some of these articles are of the very best manufacture to be obtained anywhere, and well worthy the attention of dealers and those wishing to purchase. In addition to the above, a small stock of fine razors and bed knives make up an enumeration of the principal articles to be found at the above store, and as the enterprising proprietor has been at great expertise in fitting up an establishment, which at once reflects credit upon our city as well as himself, we hope a corresponding increase in business will follow.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 27, 1853
The residents of the 4th Ward of this city [Alton] are circulating a petition, we learn, praying the City Council to order the opening of many streets in Middletown, which have been fenced up by adjoining land owners for pasture. It appears that the petitioners want the roads opened for pasture also.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 3, 1853
The lumber season has fairly commenced in Alton, large quantities having arrived the past few days. About two million feet has already arrived on 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 [Minnesota]. 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 summertime 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 [thaw]. 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.

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 jollity, 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 "towheads," 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.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 4, 1853
We have heard it intimated that the calaboose, which is designed as a receptacle for offenders within the city, is in a most foul and filthy condition, unfit for the incarceration of the lowest of the brute creation – much less such of our fellow beings as are unfortunate enough to be consigned to it for safe keeping. There is no means of ingress for either light or fresh air, except such as can be admitted through a small aperture in the door, which is entirely inadequate. If these things be so, common humanity would seem to call for some improvement in that quarter.


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?


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 13, 1853
We well remember in 1842, when this establishment first went into operation in Alton, and the many fears which were expressed at the time that after lingering through a sickly existence, it would eventually close its doors for want of sufficient patronage. How entirely different has been its fate! From the rough frame building adjoining the Baptist Church, where it was worked by horse power, it was first enlarged and removed to the banks of the Mississippi. There, the establishment burned down a few years ago, but was immediately rebuilt, and continued cramped up in that little shop till last Fall, when it was removed to the large and commodious buildings, erected expressly for the purpose, on the corner of Front and George Streets. Even these, however, have proved insufficient for its increasing business. Still more room is required, and the grounds immediately North, running up to Second Street [Broadway], have recently been purchased and additional buildings are shortly to go up, which when completed, will make the establishment one of the largest and most extensive of the kind in the Western states.

We had the pleasure on Saturday, in company with the enterprising proprietor, Nathaniel Hanson, Esq., of going through and examining the various departments of the establishment, and do not know when we have been better entertained or instructed. It always has been a wonder and delight to us, to witness the working of machinery and the practical application of mechanical principles, but we were not prepared to see such a complication of wheels, pulleys, drums, furnaces, forges, and lathes, moving harmoniously together under the guidance of experienced hands, as we encountered in all the compartments of the establishment. Mr. Hanson is a most thorough machinist himself, well acquainted with the construction and running of machinery, and has in many instances simplified and improved upon the ordinary means of giving direction to motion and regulating its application.

We are not sufficiently acquainted with the working of machinery to give an intelligible account of these improvements, but we advise those of our citizens who have a leisure half hour, to go and examine the establishment for themselves. In all its arrangements, from the furnace room, where the castings are made to the upper story, where the woodwork is prepared, they will find much to admire and command.

As we have stated, the business of the Alton Foundry and Machine Shop has, from its commencement, continued to increase in a most astonishing manner, and the fame of Pitt’s Patent Separator and Horse Power, in the manufacture of which Mr. Hanson is largely engaged, has gone throughout every county in Illinois, and to many parts of the States of Missouri and Iowa. Besides these machines, however, the establishment turns out almost every other variety of work, and keeps upwards of fifty workmen constantly employed in its various departments. We are gratified at the evidences of prosperity which this, as well as the other manufacturing establishments of our city are manifesting, and know so surer sign of our progress and prosperity that that which they afford. It is, after all, mainly to her manufactories that Alton must look for wealth and greatness, and it is with no little pride that we see them springing up and prospering in our midst.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 14, 1853
We have frequently had occasion of late to refer to the riotous manner in which the Holy Sabbath is spent by the drunken crowd who regularly congregate at Yakel’s Brewery establishment in the neighborhood of Hunterstown. Fighting, quarreling, and blasphemy have grown so common in that vicinity, that it is scarcely safe any longer to venture there. The Alton Cemetery, which adjoins the brewery, is continually outraged and desecrated by these disgraceful proceedings, and no longer affords the quiet Sunday afternoon retreat which it formerly did. On last Sunday, these fights were even more numerous and noisy than usual, and were indulged in through half the afternoon at the very entrance to the graveyard, while the neighborhood for half a mile around was disturbed by the yelling and cursing of the drunken persons there assembled. It is high time that a stop were put to these proceedings, and if there is no other remedy for them, we think it the duty of the city to provide a special Sunday police for that particular neighborhood.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 15, 1853
It is a melancholy, but nevertheless a very palpable fact, that the public morals of our city are sadly and rapidly growing from bad to worse, and we question whether any place of its size in the West exhibits a much more unfortunate state of morality than does Alton at the present time. There was a period in our history when in all the elements of temperance, sobriety, quietness and peace, we regarded this city as a paragon of excellence, but those days are rapidly, if they have not already, passed away, and we are now continually called upon to witness all manner of drunkenness, rioting, fighting, shooting and disorderly conduct. These disgraceful scenes are not confined to the week days, but are acted over, Sabbath after Sabbath, in our midst, until common decency is outraged and morality blushes and shrinks away in affright.

There is more drunkenness, more violence, more open immorality, and more breaches of the public peace every day occurring in our city, than formerly could be witnessed in a month. Every public street is filled with these outrages, and they stare us in the face at every corner. We believe our churches are as crowded, and our Sunday Schools are as well attended as they ever were, but they have not progressed with the population of our city, and there is yet a wide field for the labor of the missionary and the earnest concern of our citizens. These outrages are not confined to men, but boys in battalions are growing up among us, who are learning to have no respect for morality or religion, and will speedily, if they continue in their present progression of sin, be fit subjects for the State’s prison or the gallows. With a well-directed effort, many of them might be reclaimed and be made good and honest citizens, but the opportunity is passing, and ere long they will be beyond the pale of reclamation.

The sad state of morals of which we speak may be accounted for in a measure by the promiscuous and rapidly increasing population, which is brought here from all parts of the country by the numerous public works, which are in the course of construction in this vicinity, and for which we are not entirely responsible. But certainly, we have it in our power to check it, by the exercise of wholesome restraints, and it is our duty and should be our endeavor as a city to do so, if our present ordinances are not broad enough for the purpose, let us make them broader. If our city police is not large enough or active enough to enforce these ordinances, let them be increased. If open drunkenness can be stopped and rioting and fighting can be abolished from our midst, let us not hesitate to move in the matter. The good order of our city urgently demands a reform, and all good citizens should give it their attention and assistance.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, July 2, 1853
On Thursday evening, the imposing ceremony of dedicating, according to ancient usage, the new Masonic Lodge was performed in the presence of a large and intelligent assemblage of the Fraternity and of ladies and gentlemen. The hall was handsomely decorated with evergreens and festoons of flowers, and lit up with its large and splendid lamp, suspended from the dome in the center, presented a most beautiful appearance. The dedication services were conducted by the Rt. W. Bro. Elias Hibbard, P. D. G. M., of the State of Illinois, who received the corn, wine and the oil, and poured them out in token, and as emblematic of the high, holy, and charitable name of the order. After prayer by the Rev. R. H. Harrison, Chaplain of the Lodge, an eloquent and very appropriate discourse was delivered by the Rev. Br. S. Y. McMasters, from the text, “The glory of the latter house shall be greater than of the former.” The exercises were throughout of a very interesting character, and produced a favorable impression upon the entire audience.


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.


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.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 7, 1853
In no other branch of business is the growth and prosperity of Alton more manifest than in the furniture trade. A few years ago a single establishment, with quite a small stock, supplied all the demand. Now we have several large furniture establishments, and they find it difficult to supply the great demand. We stepped into Matzy's Furniture Establishment yesterday, and were both surprised and pleased to see the very large stock of fine and costly furniture he had on hand. Everything in the furniture line from the finest parlor furniture, and running through the different grades, in style and price, can here be found, besides many articles usually found in the house furnishing line. With such stocks of furniture as may now be found in Alton, there is no occasion for going elsewhere to purchase. Give him a call.



Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 6, 1853
The workmen attached to the Car Manufactory arrived last week, and it is estimated that this business will bring 50 additional families into our city eventually, from the East and elsewhere. It is a safe statement to make that the increase of mechanical work in Alton, from last January to next January, will bring to this city over 100 families.

Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 14, 1853
We were favored with a visit, yesterday, to the Car Building Establishment in Hunterstown, and found it in full tide of operation. The wood workers, machinists, blacksmiths, moulders and carpenters, were all busy in their respective apartments, and their operations, together with the rolling machinery, produced a compound of noises, and gave a busy look to the premises. The finishing touches are now being made to twenty burthen cars, some fifteen of which were mounted and outdoors, upon the railroad track, in running order. The proprietors of the establishment have contracted to build 150 of these cars, together with all the switches, and this contract will furnish employment for the next ten months. Sixty men are employed in and about the premises. Everything about the cars are manufactured there, except the axles of the cars, and the India rubber springs. Some of these cars now finished were being fitted up with sleeping bunks, and others with stoves, and other family conveniences - to be used as boarding houses by the workmen employed along the road. So pressed with business is the Car Establishment that the proprietors have been unable to do work offered them by the Chicago and Mississippi Railroad Company and by others. So soon as a portion of the Terre Haute is completed sufficient to demand it, passenger cars will be put on, made at this shop. This business will be extended, in time, by the present energetic proprietors, to become one of the most extensive branches of manufacture in the city. They can easily make additions to their buildings, and can obtain timber, lumber, fuel and workmen, with less trouble, and outlay, than elsewhere in this section of country. As it is, this car building has brought a large capital, and a round number of mechanics and laborers into our city.


Source: The New York Times, November 29, 1859
The Alton (Ill.) Courier calls the attention of the authorities of that city to the shifting of the channel of the river, which is growing more serious every day, and threatens, if not checked, to make Alton an inland city. The Courier says that a stick of wood thrown into the stream, near Mitchel's mill, will drift rapidly almost directly across to the opposite shore, going down between the island and the Missouri shore. Besides this, the bar in front of the lower part of the city is constantly growing larger, and extending upwards, and if this process of accretion continues, there is a prospect that the channel will be thrown permanently to the opposite shore, leaving first a chute, then a slough, and finally a strip of dry land between the city and the distant bank of the river.


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


Source: The New York Times, February 24, 1853
The Alton (Ill.) Telegraph gives the following account of Western travel, in these unfortunate localities not yet blessed with the Iron Horse: "The stage came in yesterday in a deplorable fix, from Jacksonville; the body and hind wheels were left behind, perhaps in some mud hole up the country, opposite an anti-railroad man's door. Upon the front axle tree was lashed a crockery crate, which contained the Jehu, his mails and three passengers. The whole concern looked as though it had searched the bottom of every quagmire in the country, and brought away a sample of its compost and fertilizing qualities."


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 5, 1853
A Council of Free Masons has just been organized in Alton under a dispensation from the Grand Council of Kentucky. The following are the names of the officers: George T. Brown, T. I. G. M.; H. H. Hibbard, D. I. G. M.; P. W. Randle, P. C. O. W.; George H. Weigler, C. G.; William H. Turner, Recorder; John Bailhache, Treasurer.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 7, 1853
Among the numerous improvements which are springing up in our city in every direction, our attention has recently been called to the Cave Spring Foundry and Machine Shop of Mr. W. T. B. Read. It is located on the Jerseyville Plank Road, in the immediate vicinity of Cave Spring, and is accessible at all times either from the country or from the river. The buildings are just finished, and fire was started in the furnaces for the first time on Monday. In a few days, the machinery will be in full blast, and that heretofore the neighborhood will thenceforth resound with hustle and business.

The main building is of wood, and is two stories high – the second floor conveniently opening upon the hillside in the rear. Its length is one hundred feet, and breadth thirty-two. The lower floor is fitted up for the finishing shop, is thirty-two by seventy feet, and is furnished with lathe for turning all kinds of iron, screw cutting machines, punches, &c. In the rear of this is the engine room and furnaces, so arranged that the power can be readily applied to any part of the machinery at pleasure. There is also attached to the furnaces an apparatus for seasoning lumber.

The second story is arranged for the woodwork, and occupies the whole extent of the building. It is furnished with machinery for mortising, tenoning, boring, and planing, and is provided, besides, with a wood lathe, an upright and a circular saw. Adjoining the finishing shop is the foundry – a large building, twenty-five by forty feet, with a spacious court in front. Beyond this is the blacksmith shop, furnished with two forges. The office is upon the street, immediately in front of the main building. In all its arrangements, the Cave Spring Foundry and Machine Shop is admirably adapted for doing a large and profitable business, and we hope it will prove a good investment to its enterprising proprietor.

The shop will be constantly employed in the manufacture of the latest improved reaping and mowing machines, with Read’s Patent Cutter attached. These have been proved by actual trial to be the best grass and grain cutting machines now in use, and are well worthy the attention of farmers and the public generally. One hundred were sold during last season, and we understand orders have already been received from different parts of the country, for as many more for the coming harvest. Besides the manufacture of these machines, the Cave Spring Foundry has superior facilities for turning out every variety of wood and iron work, and particular attention will be paid to this kind of business. The progress of our city must ever in a great measure depend upon her manufacturing and mechanic facilities. Their beneficial influence upon all departments of business cannot be overestimated, and we hail with pleasure their establishment in our midst, as indicative of increasing wealth and prosperity.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 12, 1853
In our notice of the new foundry and machine shop near the Cave Spring by Mr. W. T. B. Head, we omitted to state that the engine and shaft work were manufactured at the Piasa Foundry, and are very creditable to that establishment. We observe that the Piasa Foundry is turning out a lot of handsome and substantial iron fronts for the new block of buildings soon to be erected on Second Street [Broadway], by Dr. Hart and Mr. J. W. Schweppe.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 9, 1853
A frame house belonging to Mr. Daniel Sullivan, situated on State Street, fell down on yesterday, and made a general crash of household furniture, looking glasses, and crockery ware. It was occasioned by the grading of the lot below it, by which it was so undermined that the back gave way, and the house with it. The loss, we understand, is considerable.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 12, 1853
The Free Masons of Alton have recently leased, for a term of years, the fourth story of the extensive building of E. Hibbard, Esq., on Third Street, and are now having it fitted up in most admirable taste. The length of the Hall is sixty-eight feet, and the width is twenty-four; its height at each end is twelve, and in the center, fifteen feet. It is surmounted by a dome and skylight, which adds much to its general appearance. The Hall is approached from the South, and has a suite of ante rooms on each side of the passage. The furniture is in every respect to be of the most magnificent style. When completed, the Hall will, without any doubt, to point of size, finish and comfort, surpass any lodge room in the State. The several lodges of Alton are, we understand, in a most prosperous condition, and are rapidly increasing in numbers and influence.


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.


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.


Source: Evening Chronicle, Syracuse, New York, June 16, 1854
We copy the following notice of an Anti-Nebraska meeting held at Alton, Illinois, on the 2d inst., from the Telegraph, a leading paper published in that city :

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


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 13, 1854
Mr. Wills, one of the largest lumber manufacturers of the North, and who has supplied our lumber merchants with a large part of their lumber for several years, has rented a part of Block 53, between Piasa and Market streets, for the purpose of opening a lumber yard. Mr. Wills has been engaged in the lumber business for many years, and looks upon Alton as the best point on the river for a yard. He will have a million of feet piled on the ground within a few days. Success to him.


Source: The Daily Standard, Syracuse, New York, August 18, 1854
One of the greatest triumphs of the invention for cutting staves out of solid, blocks of timber that could be split, is the use of cotton wood - hitherto considered one of the most worthless, yet most common tree of the west, and one that grows more rapidly than any other. The wood is sweet and sufficiently strong for flour barrels and all dry casks. It is considerably used in the neighborhood of Alton, Illinois.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 24, 1854
The new buildings in process of erection on Third, Second and Piasa streets are progressing as fast as could be expected, and some of them are rapidly approaching completion. Cook's building on the south side of Third Street is a very commodious structure, with an iron front, manufactured by Stigleman & Johnson. The building is eighty-five feet long, and twenty-five feet wide. The first story is twelve feet high. The entire story will be occupied as a book store. The second story is eleven feet high, and is to be used as a furniture store. The third story is eleven feet high, has two sky lights, one near each end, and is designed for a Daguerrean gallery. The building will be ready for occupants in a few weeks. The masonry was executed by Messrs. Veitch & Gray, of this city. Z. Lowe, Esq., of Upper Alton, executed the carpentry. The building of U. Baker, Esq., on the corner of Third and Belle streets, is approaching completion and is a very fine building. Its dimensions are as follows: length, ninety feet; width, twenty-five feet. It has an iron front, manufactured by N. Hanson, Esq. The first story is twelve feet eight inches high and is divided into two rooms. The room fronting on Third street will be sixty-four feet deep and will be occupied, we understand, as a drug store. The second story is eleven feet ten inches high. The front extending sixty-four feet will be divided into offices. The third story is ten feet high, and is designed as a composing room for our neighbors of the Telegraph, who will also occupy the north end of the second and first stories and cellar, as a printing establishment. The masonry was executed by Mr. Braznell, and the carpentry by G. Evans, Esq., of our city. On the corner of Second and Piasa streets, T. L. Waples, Esq., is erecting a substantial three-story building, fifty feet in length and thirty feet wide. The first story is to be twelve feet six inches high. Both will be occupied as a clothing store. The third story will be nine feet six inches high. We have not learned the purpose for which it will be occupied. There are several other valuable buildings going up on Third street and in that vicinity, which we will notice hereafter. Messrs. Vale & Paul are erecting a fine two-story building on State street, on the west side, on the lot next north of the store of J. Lock & Bro. It is seventy-five feet long and twenty-five feet wide. The first story is designed for sheltering carriages, and will be twelve feet high. The second story will be ten feet high and will be rented to mechanics. The basement will be ten feet deep and finished off as a saloon. Besides the buildings particularly noticed today and yesterday, Messrs. Platt & Keating are erecting a fine three-story brick building on the north side of Third street. Messrs. J. H. & A. G. Smith are about to erect a three-story building on Piasa street, between Second and Third, and T. L. Waples, Esq., has the foundations ready to erect three more buildings on the same block, fronting on Piasa street. We understand that Judge Martin is about to erect a fine dwelling house on the north side of Second street, east of the Baptist Church. Sundry other improvements are in process in the central part of the city, which we will notice as the plans and purposes for erection are made apparent.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 7, 1854
We understand that this newly organized company is rapidly perfecting all necessary arrangements, and will soon be ready to appear in full uniform. The uniform adopted is blue, trimmed with gold lace. The company will be armed with muskets, which have been sent for and will arrive in due time. their Armory on Third Street, in the third story over the Custom House, has been admirably furnished with lamps, arm chairs, and every convenience necessary for the accommodation of the Company. The following is the list of officers:

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

The following constitute the Board of Directors, to whom application for membership should be made:
T. G. Starr, President; W. B. Buckmaster, Vice-President; Samuel Avis, Treasurer; J. M. Pierson, Secretary; J. L. Roberts, S. M. Breath, R. T. Sargent, J. B. Gould, R. G. Lesure, Directors.

Regular Company drill every Monday evening at the Armory.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 14, 1854
It appears from an advertisement in our columns this morning that some person or persons entered the graveyard near Upper Alton on the night of the 5th inst., and attempted the diabolical outrage of exhuming the body of Mrs. Dunlap, whose death was announced in our paper a few weeks since. Those whose souls are so callous as (for any purpose except what the affection of relatives may dictate) to disturb the remains of the honored dead, and open afresh and mercilessly the aching wounds of hearts already grief-stricken, deserve neither the rites of burial or the tears of affliction at their decease. We sincerely hope the perpetrators of this cruelty will be brought to justice and so punished that if the world holds others so heartless, they may be deterred by the example made.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 12, 1855
A shock of an earthquake was perceptible in this city between eight and nine o'clock on Wednesday night. It was of very short continuance, but was very sensibly felt in several parts of the city. One man, living in Sempletown, states that his house rocked with a motion like that of a ship on the waves.


Source: Syracuse, New York Evening Chronicle, March 28, 1855
Last week, 500 Kansas emigrants reached Alton, Ill. An equal number were expected at the same point on Saturday last. Last Thursday, 130 Germans marched through the streets of Cincinnati, headed by a band of music, and took passage, with their families, for the same destination. 600 others in the same city were waiting for a boat. A Kentucky party (200) had chartered a boat, and were to have left on Friday. Others of the same associations, would soon follow. Five hundred families are enrolled in Indiana, and thousands are preparing, on their own boat, to leave during the summer. There is a movement for Kansas also in this city. One or two meetings have already been held, and a company is being formed for emigration. To balance these northern movement, we have word that ten thousand emigrants will go from Missouri and stay long enough to settle the coming election in favor of Slavery. The election takes place on Friday of this week.

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

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

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


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 17, 1855
The house of Patrick Develin, situated on Henry st., near the Lutheran Church, was entered on the night of the 7th inst., between 1 and 2 o'clock a.m. The thief entered the house through a window, and, notwithstanding the repeated efforts of Mrs. Develin to awaken her husband, the thief escaped with seventy dollars in money, and two silver watches valued at thirty-five dollars. The moon shone brightly into the room, so that Mrs. D. could distinctly see the features of the man; so strongly were they impressed upon her mind, that on walking through Second st. the day following, in company with her husband, she recognized the fellow while passing them. An officer was called, who arrested him and took him before Justices Pinckard and McPike. The evidence being conclusive, he was held to bail in the sum of three hundred dollars. His name is James T. Fulton. He is a native of England, and has been in this city but a short time.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier May 24, 1855
On Thursday afternoon, at 3 o'clock, two men named Patrick Hennessey and John Tierney were seriously injured by the giving way of about 50 tons of overhanging rock on the bluffs, adjoining Russell & Shelley's Lime Kiln. It was considered unsafe by Mr. Russell, the superintendent of the work, who had sent the men to prepare for blasting off the dangerous portion of the rock, and while so engaged, it suddenly gave way, precipitating the men to a depth of about forty feet. Doctor Post arrived immediately on the spot, and finding their injuries to be severe, had them removed to their residences. Mr. Russell rendering every assistance to mitigate their sufferings. To what extent they are injured, we are unable to learn; but Dr. Post thought, from the examination he had made, Hennessey cannot live. The other man, Tierny, although badly hurt internally from the concussion, it is likely will recover. Hennessey has a wife and two children in St. Louis. He is a steady, sober, and industrious man. P.S. - Shortly after the above was written, Hennessey died. Tierney is so badly injured that no hopes are entertained of his recovery.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 14, 1855
To the Editor of the Courier: For some months past, I have intended to call the attention of our citizens to the importance of having a ferry, in regular and constant operation, across the Mississippi river between Alton and the Missouri shore. All former attempts to establish a ferry across the river at this point have been prompted by individual enterprise; but, proving unprofitable as a business speculation, have been abandoned. There are some kinds of business that, if properly conducted, would be a source of great convenience to the public, and of profit too, in the aggregate, but which would not justify an individual in prosecuting as a means of emolument to himself. This is the fact in relation to the establishment of a ferry across the river from this city. It is not probable that a ferry could be sustained here without a loss to the proprietor - at least for the first year or two - yet the experiment may be worth the sacrifice it would require, if that sacrifice were made by those who would share the general benefit. That a very desirable and constantly increasing trade with our neighbors across the river might be made available, if reliable facilities were offered them for visiting the city, will not be doubted, and that this route might soon be made a thoroughfare for travelers, is scarcely less probably. If, then, a ferry cannot be sustained by individual enterprise, how shall it be done? I will make a suggestion: Let the citizens of Alton, by petition, or in public assembly, solicit the City Council for a sufficient appropriation to purchase a good steam ferry boat, not larger than is required for the purpose, and an annual appropriation thereafter, to keep it in operation, and I am satisfied that in less than a year from the commencement of the ferry privileges, the advantages resulting from the enterprise would be too palpable to admit of its discontinuance. It is not improbable that its maintenance a single year would make it a source of revenue to the city, in addition to the advantages the public would derive from it. I am informed that Mr. John Mullady, one of our most industrious, energetic and enterprising citizens, stands ready to take an interest in the project, and incur a share of the risk by an investment, if the city authorities, or our business men, or both, shall render the required assistance to insure its successful prosecution. No man who knows Mr. Mullady will doubt his qualifications for the business; and it is hoped that our City Council, or some of our prominent citizens, will take the incipient steps to ascertain the feasibility of any plan that he or any other enterprising and competent man may propose, to carry into effect the views herein suggested. Respectfully yours, Free Trade.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, November 21, 1855
Mr. William Gray has opened a carpenter shop on Front street, corner of Alby, and respectfully solicits orders for work of every description in his line. We can vouch for him as a skillful workman, whose work and promises can be relied on. In times like the present, when workmen are so scarce, and demands for them are loud, it gives us pleasure to be able to make the above statement. Mr. Gray has recently located in our city, and we hope he may find such encouragement as will induce him to remain.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 6, 1855
A new manufactory of tallow candles has lately been started at Upper Alton by Mr. Alexander Pringle, who manufactures a splendid article, upon a new plan. While the wick is in the mould, it is kept strained, thereby securing it always in the centre of the candle, and the wick itself is counter twisted, while at the same time it is kept soft and pliable. The candles have been tested and pronounced superior to any in the market.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 6, 1855
On Monday night the horse belonging to Monticello Seminary was stolen from the stable and has not yet been recovered. On Tuesday evening the horse of Cashier Caldwell was stolen from his stable in Middletown. Mr. Caldwell started for St. Louis yesterday morning, found the horse, and telegraphed back in the afternoon to that effect. On the same night, a dwelling house was entered and a watch and some jewelry stolen. The particulars we could not learn. Quite a number of Penitentiary birds have lately been let loose, their sentences having expired. This may account for the frequent robberies lately. However, our citizens cannot be too guarded in securing their dwellings.


Source: The New York Times, January 24, 1856
We learn from the Alton (Ill.) Courier, that at a meeting of the Alton Horticultural Society on Saturday last, it was stated by Dr. Hall, others confirming the statement, that on examination of the fruit buds of peach trees, in that vicinity, it had been found that the recent severe cold weather has destroyed the promise of a yield of luscious fruit the coming season.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 24, 1856
The above Institute, we are pleased to hear, have rented the second and third stories of the building on the corner of Third and Piasa streets. The designs of this organization can be better understood from its Constitution. The necessity and utility of free instruction to our young men and mechanics must be apparent to every mind. We understand Mechanical drawing, Architecture, Mathematics, Bookkeeping, Penmanship, Elocution, and Rhetoric will, on successive evenings during the week, be taught; the recitation room being the third story of the above building. There will be a reading room in the second story of same building, where all the newspapers, magazines, &c., of the country will be kept for the use of the public. A large collection of geological and other specimens, and such other things as can be obtained, birds, beasts and reptiles, will be added to the museum department.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 13, 1856
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.


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


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 20, 1856
The packing of beef and pork has always been and is still a very important feature in the business of our city. The location of Alton is such as to make it the most convenient point for the packing of meats and the shipping of produce for a very large and very productive portion of our State. We have every reason to believe that there always will be a large amount of beef and pork packed here. We spent a part of a day in visiting the different packing houses in Alton, and gathering statistical information in relation to the business done by each. Our first call was at the large beef and pork packing establishment of Messrs. H. Fay & Co., which is situated on Front street, a little below the Alton House. This is much the largest packing house in Alton, and is a branch of the celebrated Harrison Fay & Co.'s packing house and provision store of Boston; the members of the firm having control of both houses are Harrison Fay, S. P. Greenwood and Edward Read. We were received by Mr. Greenwood, the resident partner here, who, with the strictest and most systematic business habits, combines the amiable deportment of a perfect gentleman; he led us through the different departments of their large establishment, and furnished us with all the information we desired. The main building is of brick, one hundred feet long, eighty feet wide, and two stories high; the lard house is the same height, and is forty feet long and twenty-six feet wide. The buildings and lot are worth about ten thousand dollars. This establishment was erected, and the business commenced here in 1850 by Mr. Aaron Corey, and was occupied by him for four years, when it fell into the hands of its present proprietors. Mr. Greenwood informs us that they have packed, this season, twelve hundred beeves, and nine thousand hogs. Since the first of October they have paid out one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which is about the amount of active capital they have in use in this branch of their business. They pack almost exclusively for their Boston house. The average number of their employees is about thirty. During the busy season they pay out about five hundred dollars a week to their hands. This year they have done their own slaughtering. Their slaughter house has been managed by Mr. John Challacombe, a gentleman of experience in the business. In consequence of the suspension of navigation, they have an immense quantity of pork, beef, lard, tallow, &c., &c., on hand, which will be shipped to Boston in a few days. Our next visit was to the old and extensive establishment of Messrs. S. Wade & Co., next door below. This house has been doing business here about fifteen years; its shipments are made to New Orleans, New York and Boston. The building occupied is one hundred by one hundred and twenty feet in size, and is well arranged for the business. They have packed here this season about nine thousand five hundred hogs, mostly on commission. This is the oldest packing house in our city, and we would be glad to give a history of its origin and progress, and a full sketch of its present condition, but the proprietor declined giving us the necessary statistical information. Still farther down on Front street there is another packing house which was put in operation some ten years ago by Mr. William McBride. It now belongs to Messrs. George Hagan & Co., of St. Louis, who packed here, this season, five thousand four hundred hogs. Messrs. J. J. & W. H. Mitchell, who own the large frame mill at the head of Second street, packed four thousand five hundred hogs this season. These hogs averaged two hundred and twenty pounds each. They have about $38,000 now invested in pork, ready to be shipped.


Source: Albany, New York Evening Journal, April 9, 1856
A committee from Kansas is in St. Louis, delegated by a number of the businessmen of that Territory to take steps for the establishment of a line of steamers from Alton, Ill. to Kansas for the transportation of northern emigrants and merchandise. The committee will proceed to Chicago, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh for the purpose of perfecting the arrangements.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 17, 1856
Yesterday morning we paid a visit to Mr. John B. Beaumont's Marble Yard on the north side of Belle street, between Third and Fourth, and examined some specimens of his superior work. Mr. Beaumont established himself here in his present vocation in the year 1849. His business was very light at first - almost nothing at all. He received very few orders for marble, and nearly all he did was a little work in common native stone. Mr. B.'s energy and exceeding good taste in the execution of his work soon brought it into popular favor, and changed the nature of his business so as to give sale to his fine marble work. He has recently associated with him in business Mr. Alex Milne, a gentleman of long experience in the business and as skillful a letterer and carver he can be found in the United States. We examined some of his work, and are free to admit that it is about the best we ever saw in this country. Mr. Beaumont's business has been steadily increasing ever since he began, and is now more prosperous than ever before. He now sells about seven thousand dollars’ worth of marble, and about two thousand barrels of cement and plaster each year. We are glad to see these evidences of his prosperity, for he is an energetic and public-spirited man, and deserves to prosper.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 24, 1856
The drug business is a very important branch of the trade of Alton, and there are several houses largely engaged in it, both wholesale and retail. We made the circuit of some of these houses yesterday, and found all of them in a very prosperous condition. The first at which we called was that of Messrs. D. C. Martin & Co., on Second street. This house was established in the year 1852 by Messrs. Murphys & Martin, and was managed by them until February of the present year, when the change was made that gave to the firm its present title. Their stock comprises every possible variety and quality of such articles as are usually kept in wholesale and retail drug stores. Their retail trade is very large and very profitable, but their principal business is in the jobbing line. They expect to sell about forty thousand dollars’ worth during the present year. They are sole agents for the sale of Dr. Leeds' celebrated Quinine Substitute, of which they sold about twenty-five hundred dollars’ worth last year. This medicine, as its name indicates, is intended to supersede the use of quinine, as it is designed to be used in all cases where quinine has heretofore been considered the only reliable remedy. Dr. Martin, the business partner in this house, is a gentleman who has had many years experience, and has a thorough knowledge of the business in which he is engaged. The other members of the firm are gentlemen of energy and capital. We next came round to the drug store of D. Simms & Co., on Third street, second door from the corner of Piasa. This house was established by the present proprietors in the year 1853, since which its business has been steadily increasing at the rate of about twenty-five per cent a year. They are just now receiving a very large stock for their spring and summer trade, and the variety and excellence of their assortment is well 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.


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.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 29, 1856
A man named Dennison was arrested on Sunday last, in the American Bottom, about eight miles below this city for horse stealing. He had taken one horse from near Jerseyville, and one from the stable at the Franklin House, in this city, and a saddle and bridle from Mather's livery stable. He went to a house in the Bottom and stole a coat, provisions for himself, and corn for his horses.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 17, 1856
Jul. 7, 1856, Alton -- To the Editor of the Alton Courier: When Alton was yet a village, by common content and for the time being, a temporary Market house was thrown up on Market street, between Second and Third streets, and in front of and immediately in the neighborhood of some of the best residence and building sites in Alton. This was permitted by the property holders in the neighborhood (though the City Council had no more right to obstruct the street at this place than the humblest citizen of the place) for the time being, with the understanding that it was only temporary. And what has been the result: Still it is there, though it has been remonstrated against by the citizens in the neighborhood time and again. A miserable looking affair, at first - now more hideous than ever; temporary at first - now rotten, filthy, stinking, smeared a little with whitewash, but a great deal more with blood, guts and filth, strewn all over the neighborhood; yes, literally paved with beef bones, hogs and 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.


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.


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

Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 9, 1856
Last evening was largely attended. It was addressed by Hon. Joseph Gillespie of this county, and by Dr. McDowell from St. Louis, a gentleman from Mississippi, and perhaps other, of whom we have not had notice. It struck us as a little singular, that the Fillmoreites, who in the North are undoubtedly in the main for free Kansas, should rely mainly for speakers upon men from Slave States, who come over to lull them to sleep, or divert their attention from the tragedy which the Buchanan party, aided by Southern Fillmorites, are enacting in Kansas. Their course reminds us of Nero, who fiddled while Rome was burning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 9, 1856
Judge Douglas spoke yesterday near the fairgrounds to a slim audience. The highest estimate of the audience we heard was 500. In view of the facts that his handbills were distributed throughout the fairground, and a crier was sent round the ring, where thousands upon thousands were assembled, announcing the hour and place of speaking, and giving him more laudatory superlatives than is justifiable in auctioneers' parlance, it is apparent that our Senator, whose name was once "dear to fame," has lost his power with the people. Such is always the meed of those who betray confidence. After this has been done, glazing words can never call back the influence wielded in years forever gone by. The fact is also significant that Douglas evaded the appointment made for him weeks ago, by his party organs, to speak here on Wednesday, and resorted to the game of attempting to occupy time which his opponents had designated for their demonstration. His signal failure to call out the people shows that they understood and properly appreciated his intrigue.

Source: The Evening Journal, Albany, New York, October 9, 1856
Douglas was brought out to speak recently at Alton, Illinois, after much parade, preparation and drumming up recruits. He spoke adjacent to the Fair Ground, - in the best possible situation to draw a crowd - to a little squad of people, variously estimated at 300 to 600 persons. The "Little Giant" has lost his power in Illinois.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, November 20, 1856
William Brudon - Undertaker, at his old stand on the northwest corner of Market and Second streets, coffin manufacturer and funeral undertaker. N. B. - I also have a vault in Alton Cemetery and will accommodate any person who wish to deposit their deceased friends, on reasonable terms. Also patent metallic burial cases.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 25, 1856
An Irishman named McAffee or McVey, was stabbed on Wednesday night at the grocery known as the Light House on the Northwest corner of State and Front streets. He was taken to the hospital. We have not learned the extent of his injury, or his prospects of recovery. It is difficult to ascertain who gave the wound, as several were engaged in the quarrel.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 22, 1857
We learn that Dr. E. S. Hull, the President of the Illinois Horticultural Society, has purchased a tract of land known as the Hunter tract, adjoining, on the north, that part of our city called Hunterstown, and is preparing the ground with a view to open a grand horticultural farm. The tract consists of a hundred and one acres, and includes hillside exposures, sloping in every direction. The greater portion of this land can be cultivated without difficulty, and all of it can be so cultivated as to produce fruit. Dr. Hull has a great variety and splendid supply of shrubbery, fruit trees, evergreens, &c., which will be transplanted in the grounds of the Horticultural farm as soon as spring opens. This plan, in extent of design, is the embryo of what will be in Dr. Hull's hands, the most magnificent enterprise of the kind in this part of the country.


Source: The New York Times, March 9, 1857
From the Alton Democrat. Our readers will be surprised, perhaps, to hear that there are 150 Mormons in Alton; that they own a small church building and hold regular Sunday exercises, and that they have their elders and other usual church leaders. The number is constantly increasing by foreigners arriving, and were it not that a body of them leaves every Spring, this sect would surpass any other in Alton. We are informed that some thirty or forty families will leave Alton thus in April next. Of the personal character of these Mormons we cannot speak from very intimate acquaintance. But so far as we have seen or heard, they are honest, sober, and quite industrious people. They are from nearly every European country, and not an American born is to be found among them. They are mostly very illiterate - drawn from the lowest degree of humanity, as regards wealth and social position.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, April 23, 1857
Further Particulars of the Fire - The planing mill in which the fire was first discovered was owned and carried on by Messrs. Morrison, Beall, Parks and McDowal. The gentlemen of the firm are very confident that the fire was the work of an incendiary, as two of them examined the premises at a late hour in the night - which they have regularly been accustomed to do - and saw that there was not a spark of fire in any of the departments of the establishment. Contrary to what we stated as being understood Wednesday night, we are today informed by a member of the firm that there was no portion of the property insured. It is understood that the energetic gentlemen of the firm will commence making arrangements on Monday next for the immediate erection of a new planing mill on the site of the one destroyed. We learn that the insurance on the house belonging to the estate of J. Flannagan was $300. That on the Methodist church was $3,500. On the parsonage $1,500. The insurance on the frame houses adjoining the parsonage on Fourth street, and which belonged to Messrs. Chouteau & McPike, was $600. We neglected to mention in our article of yesterday that Messrs. Gallion & Co.'s paint shop was in one of the buildings destroyed. They had no insurance upon their stock, about $300 worth of which, we are informed by Mr. Gallion, was destroyed. We have not as yet been able to avail ourselves of a reliable estimate of the entire loss, but as soon as we can do so we will lay it before our readers. We learn that during the prevalence of the fire, unsuccessful attempts were made to enter a number of our business houses by parties unknown, undoubtedly in search of plunder. We cannot leave this subject without again speaking of the disgraceful neglect of the City Council to use the means in their power for securing the property, as well as the lives of our citizens against the ravages of the fiery elements. All are willing to acknowledge, had the fire department been as efficient as it ought to be, the flames on Wednesday night would have been checked before they had communicated to the third building. Is it not a disgrace to the city that she will not take a sufficient interest in the preservation of the property - to say nothing of the risk of life attendant upon fires - of her citizens to support a reliable and efficient fire department? We have engines - one new one - but they are not kept in order. Instead of being furnished with engine houses, they have been kept for the last six weeks under the eaves of the market house, exposed to all kinds of weather. Why have we no fire department? Simply because the City Council will not make the necessary appropriations to sustain one. There are numbers of citizens - young and middle-aged - strong and determined - who would organize themselves into fire companies, if the city authorities would not shamefully withhold their support. Fire companies have been formed, but have been compelled to disband because the Council would not make the necessary appropriations to put and keep the engines in working order. Should a fire break out tomorrow, there is not an engine in the city in a sufficient state of perfection to render effective service - for which the Council is to blame. What stranger who was at the fire on Wednesday night and witnessed the disconcerted action of the citizens, and the palpable inefficiency of the fire department, would not, if he had previously entertained any idea of purchasing property and becoming a citizen here, at once relinquish it, at such palpable proof of the flagrant carelessness of the authorities in regard to the protection of the lives and property of the citizens. This matter calls loudly for reform, and reform we must have if we wish to induce the outlay of more capital and increase of population in Alton.

Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Courier, April 19, 1857
A fire occurred at Alton, Ill., on the night of the 15th, which destroyed the planning mill of Messrs. Morrison, Beale & Co., the adjoining Methodist Church and three dwellings. Loss twenty-five to forty thousand dollars. - Insurance small.

Source: Bloomington, Illinois Weekly Pantagraph, April 22, 1857
A destructive fire took place at Alton last Wednesday night, beginning in the Planing Mill of Morrison & Beal, which was entirely destroyed, together with the Methodist church and parsonage, a two-story frame house adjoining the latter, and several stables and other outbuildings. The Waverly House, Piasa House, and a large brick warehouse belonging to Mr. Brown of the Courier, were several times on fire, but were saved. The fire is believed to have been the work of an incendiary. Several attempts were made to enter business houses during the fire. Later in the night, the large warehouse was again set on fire but was saved.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 7, 1857
We called on yesterday and examined Messrs. Beaumont & Milne's large stock of American and Foreign Marble, Marble Dust, White Sand, Cement, Plaster Paris, and Plastering Hair, than which we venture to say there is none superior in beauty and excellence in this or any other Western city. This Marble Yard was first established in 1849 by Mr. John Beaumont, who in 1856 associated with himself, Mr. Alex Milne, a thorough-going business man, and as skillful a letterer and carver as can be found in the United States. Under the energetic control of these two gentlemen, their business, which at first was very small, has increased until it has become not only a most important, but also a very profitable branch of business. The Sculpture, Statuary and Monumental work turned out by Messrs. Beaumont & Milne, for beauty and taste in design and execution, is not surpassed by any like house in the West. These gentlemen are always prepared to fill all orders for work to the entire satisfaction of their patrons, and to furnish other articles of their trade, of as fine quality, at as liberal prices as they can be procured elsewhere.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 14, 1857
In January 1853, on a very small capital, Mr. Goulding opened a small jewelry store on the north side of Third Street. At first his business was very small, but by close and prompt attention to business and the demands of his customers, he gained the confidence of the community and now enjoys a prominence among the business men of the city for honesty, integrity, and extent of business, which numbers have in vain strives for years to attain. Mr. Goulding's stock for superiority of material and manufacture, variety, and elegance of style, is not surpassed by any stock of goods ever brought to the city. It consists of the very finest qualities and latest styles of useful and ornamental jewelry. Ladies and gentlemen's superior gold and silver watches, watch chains, finger rings, lockets, gold and silver pen and pencil cases, silver spoons, knives and forks, clocks, musical instruments, &c. These goods are sold at the very lowest figures, and are sold for just what they are and nothing more. Mr. Goulding keeps constantly in his employ the very best of workmen, by whom watches, clocks and jewelry will be cleaned and repaired to order.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 14, 1857
About ten months ago a marble yard was established in this city [Alton] by Messrs. Clement & Raymond, who were at that time almost entire strangers to the citizens. Of course, their business was at first small, but by the uniform gentlemanly conduct and energy of the proprietors, and the superior taste and promptness with which they filled all orders left with them, they won the confidence of the community, which betrays itself in their books by the footing up of their business for ten months, in the snug and quite material form of rising $13,000. After examining their stock of marble and some of their work, we do not find ourselves at a loss to account for this extraordinary success. Their stock of marble is very large and is from the best American and Italian quarries, and from it, through the assistance of five of the most experienced and skillful engravers and letterers in the West, whose services they have secured at great expense, they are prepared to furnish their customers with any quantity or quality of work they may desire. Some of the work which we examined, in both American and Italian marble, is such as we have rarely, if ever, seen surpassed for elegance of taste in conception and execution. Messrs. Clement & Raymond confine themselves entirely to the marble business, lettering and putting up tombstones and monuments, furnishing and preparing slabs for counters, centre tables, &c. For the furtherance of their business, they employ a traveling agent who receives and transmits to them orders from the surrounding country. In the pursuance of their business, Messrs. C. & R. display an energy which gives them a great prominence in the respect of the business community, and points them out as worthy of success.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 4, 1857
A man who had been going round this town, evidently crazy, having attacked several of the citizens with stones, clubs, &c., was finally locked up in jail on Monday night last. Next morning the jailer found him dead on the floor. The deceased had torn off a strip of plank, and having tied his handkerchief round his neck, had, by means of this stick, twisted his handkerchief till he had literally choked himself to death. This was certainly a strange way of committing suicide, and only worthy the ingenuity of a crazy man. An inquest was held on the body, and a verdict rendered in accordance with the above facts. Name of deceased unknown.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 6, 1857
The new planning mill of Messrs. Morrison, Seeley & Co., on Henry Street, is rapidly progressing. The builders have now reached the top of the first story, and expect to finish the brick work in about two weeks, after which it will be easy to get ready for operations. The mill is much needed, and will be a valuable acquisition.   [Note: The original planning mill, on Belle Street, was destroyed by fire in April 1857.]


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 27, 1857
A fire occurred last night about twelve o'clock in the kitchen of the building on Third street, near Henry, occupied by the Rev. R. R. Coon, which soon communicated to the adjoining tenement occupied by R. Packard, Esq., both of which were entirely consumed in a short time. For a while the residences of Mrs. Hood and D. D. Ryrie, Esq., were in considerable danger, but were saved. The Rev. Mr. Coon saved the most of his furniture, library, &c., and Mr. Packard saved the most of his furniture, but both were in a damaged condition. The building was owned by Mrs. Hood, and was worth about $3,500. There was an insurance upon it for $1,700 in the Illinois Mutual Office. The heavy grade of the streets in that neighborhood prevented the Engines reaching there in time to save the building. Both the Sucker and Pioneer were on the ground as soon as possible, and did all which was in the power of any engines to accomplish. They worked with a hearty good will and showed themselves both ready and willing at the call of duty. The Chief Engineer was promptly on the ground and took the general direction.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, September 17, 1857
Every city has its dens of infamy and its hot beds of crime where the hardened sinner is continued in his evil ways and the young and growing trained up to follow in the footsteps of their fathers. We have many such in our midst, but none so deserving of notice and condemnation as the miserable row of drinking houses that flank the west side of State street, between Short street and the Levee. In the course of our daily rounds, we often pass them, always unwillingly, and there we invariably see things that almost make us doubt whether man is not indeed a higher type of some brute, whether the progressive theory is not the true one. Constantly lounging around are seen the battered hulks of humanity, that started smilingly on the voyage of life, and not yet having reached their port, are drifting hither and thither without compass, helm or chart. Not in the storms inevitable to a life of sober honesty have they thus been wrecked, but in the eddies and whirlpools, whither none but fool-hardy voyagers would venture. But these wrecks are not the only objects of commiseration mingled with a feeling of loathsome disgust that meet our eyes there. Young and beardless boys, over whom the watchful care of a mother ought yet to be extended, are seen just wetting their feet in this pool of vice and crime, or boldly plunging into its midst. And why should they not with the unceasing example before them? The very atmosphere of the place is redolent of vileness, ever burdened with the scent of 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?


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.


Source: The Daily Palladium, Oswego, New York, November 13, 1857
The slaughter and packing establishment of John Smith, of Alton, Illinois, was completely destroyed on the 3d instant, by the explosion of a tank of lard! Steam being let' into it by the engineer, it exploded with such force as to throw it up perpendicularly, through two floors and the roof to a considerable height above the building, whence it fell again, nearly as perpendicularly as it rose and struck the ground not more than ten feet from the place originally occupied by it. Of the bricks composing the walls, not five hundred were left one upon another; the roof was broken into innumerable pieces; the stone foundation was so racked that it was rendered totally useless, in short the whole building was an entire ruin. What won't explode, now?


Source: St. Louis Christian Advocate, November 19, 1857
Friday, 13th - On last evening the steamboat "Reindeer," used for some years past as a regular packet between this and Alton, struck a snag and sunk, about five miles this side of Alton. It is said the boat will be a total loss. She was valued at fifteen thousand dollars. No insurance. No lives were lost, and the freight and furniture saved.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, December 10, 1857
The improvement of the streets suspended by the cold weather, is being rapidly resumed. A large force of workmen 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.


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.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, March 11, 1858
Feeling confident that the "ups and downs" of our city must possess a peculiar ______ to her people, we took a miscellaneous journey, on yesterday, over the picturesque hills and through the romantic vales with which the beautiful hand of Nature has so lavishly endowed us - the object of our voyage being to ascertain the extent of the improvements which have been so industriously pushed forward during the past year. Alton, despite the ruggedness of her appearance, possesses attractions which the eye of a native or an old resident perhaps can alone appreciate. Her rock-based hills, which to strangers seem to be so many repelling and discouraging frowns from Nature, to us possess all that charm which ever attaches to the surroundings of home, and when they finally fall, as fall they must, before the steady march of progress, the void created by their overthrow, though its slow but sure approach may have rendered its appearance familiar to those who have grown with its growth, will be one which older citizens will regard with mingled feelings of pride and regret, as memory recalls the ancient and much-loved hills, which once rose in its place. However, our tramp yesterday was not made for the purpose of gathering material for an elegy on these troublesome hills; dear as they are, we desire to chronicle their partial downfall. In every direction, from east to west, from north to south, they are out through and through by the busy hand of man. Henry street, which was once "somewhere out east," has been carried right through a constant succession of hills, and now forms an uninterrupted though somewhat indirect connection between Middletown and the business parts of the city. The next street west of Henry is Langdon, which has been "dug out" from Front to Third streets. From Third to Fifth occurs what in history would be called an interregnum, in which the most remarkable objects are a hill, a pond, and another hill. At fifth street the thread is again resumed, and takes passengers by a good road to Middle Alton. George and Alton streets have both been excavated as far back as Fifth, and Easton street is in passable order to Fourth. Alby street has been cut clear through to Twelfth, and Market is navigable as far as Sixth. Third street, which from its width and position, will probably become in time the principal thoroughfare of the city, has absorbed a great deal of labor, and the grading upon it is almost wholly complete from Easton street to its junction with Second street, below Henry. Fourth street presents a very respectable appearance from Langdon street to Easton; from Piasa to Easton, however, there is an elevation which any one desirous of emulating Napoleon's ascent of the Alps, would do well to select as a suitable subject for the experiment. It should be graded as soon as practicable, as it is essential to the safety of passengers along Market street either on horseback or in vehicle. Notwithstanding some slight deficiencies, however, which it has been impossible to obviate in the brief time during which the work has been so vigorously carried forward, the condition of most of our principal streets at this time is a wonderful improvement on what it was twelve months ago, and, while it reflects abundant credit on the energy and skill of those who have had control of our public improvements, gives substantial promise of what they will yet do to increase the wealth and prosperity of our city. Alton never had more reason to be proud of the present, and sanguine of the future, than she has now.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 6, 1858
Last night about ten o'clock, a light in the upper end of the city raised an alarm of fire; when, proceeding in that direction, it was discovered that the steamboat, Jacob D. Early, which has been laid up for several weeks, a short distance above town, was on fire. By the time the firemen reached the ground she was too far gone to permit a hope of saving her. They, however, did good service by driving the fire back from her lines, and thus preventing her burning loose from the shore and floating past the city, by which much damage might have been done, as the wind set to the Illinois shore, and there were several boats at the levee. The flames spread rapidly at first, and in a short time the hurricane roof fell in and the boat was completely enveloped in flames. Although it was impossible to extinguish the fire, yet the firemen were able to keep it subdued and prevent its communication with the timber on shore. She burned rather slowly, but the fire did not cease until it had reached the water's edge. Jacob D. Early was five years old, valued at eight thousand dollars, was owned by Captain Hollister and others, and was insured in Cincinnati for five thousand dollars. The origin of the fire is not known. It was first discovered in the roof of the chambermaid's room, and it is thought it may have caught from the sparks from some passing boat. The boat had just been undergoing repairs at St. Louis at an expense of two thousand dollars. The books, papers, and everything of a combustible nature on board of her was lost. It is thought that the hull will be saved though in a damaged condition. The Pioneer Company are entitled to much credit for their promptness, and the untiring energy with which they labored to check the flames. They were the only company of the ground, and were instrumental in preventing much damage. The Washington Company, owing to the great distance at which their engine house is located from the scene of the conflagration, were late in reaching the scene. The Hook and Ladder Company, though out with their usual promptness, were unable to pass through a narrow passage in the road with their carriage, and had to leave it behind. The company went on however, and did efficient service. Additional in Regard to the Burning of the "Jacob D. Early:" We are happy to learn that the hull of this ill-fated boat was but little, if at all, damaged; the deck being burned through in one or two places only, and the boilers and shafts are still standing. This result - a very rare occurrence in steamboat fires - is owing entirely to the steady efforts and hard work of our Fire Department, the member of which, for four hours, fought the flames inch by inch, and finally conquered them. Had the burning boat escaped from its fastenings and drifted past our levee, the damage which would have been done can scarcely be estimated.

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


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, May 27, 1858
We are pained to have to record the occurrence yesterday of another of those disgraceful scenes known as "Prize Fights," on an island a short distance above our city. The parties were from St. Louis, and came up on the steamer Equinox, which they had chartered for that purpose, and which was filled with a crowd of just such men as one would expect to see on such an occasion. Towards evening the boat returned on its way back to St. Louis, and we heard that the brutal contest had actually taken place, but we obtained no particulars, and if we had we would not disgust our readers with a repetition of them. Nearly a year has elapsed since the last prize fight occurred in this vicinity, and we hope the time is not far distant when such debasing and degrading exhibitions will be unknown.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 15, 1858
About twelve o'clock last night fire was discovered bursting through the front of Mr. Brudon's Coffin Manufactory on market street, a few doors north of Second street. It was some time before any of the engines reached the ground, and in the meantime the building, which was of wood and filled with the most combustible materials, was completely enveloped in flames. The fire then spread to the dwelling house next north of the manufactory, and to the store room and residence of Mr. Brudon, south of the manufactory, and thence to the frame adjoining, all of which were entirely consumed. Mr. Brudon owned the manufactory and the two-story frame buildings south of it, and were occupied by him. His stock in the manufactory was entirely consumed. His household furniture and stock in the corner frame building were saved in a damaged condition. Mr. Wolford, since the high water, has occupied one of the stores. His goods were saved, but somewhat damaged. Mr. McArdle occupied the next store west, on Second street, as a tailor shop. His stock was removed with but little loss. Adjoining and west of him was occupied by Mr. Senior, as a shoe and boot shop. His stock and household furniture were removed in a damaged condition. Next west of him, the adjoining tenement was occupied by Mr. Casey as a bakery. His stock was principally saved. Next adjoining and west, were the stores of Messrs. Adams and King. Their stocks were removed and suffered some damage. On Market street, the back dwelling house next north of the Coffin Manufactory was occupied by Mr. Wilson, who saved his furniture, although somewhat damaged. The building was owned by Mr. J. P. Ash, Esq., who had insurance for $400 in the Illinois Mutual. Mr. Brudon had an insurance for $1,260 in the same office on his building and stock. We could not hear of any other insurance. There is no doubt the coffin manufactory was set on fire. At three o'clock this morning there were rumors of several robberies, but we could not trace them to any reliable source. Great exertions were made to save Wilson's stable, not so much on account of its intrinsic worth, as of its serving for a protection to the buildings of the Illinois Iron Works. The efforts made were successful. The Fire Department were on hand, and rendered efficient service. The want of more good hose was painfully apparent. The Lafayette Hook and Ladder Company, under the command of Captain Carpenter, were present and performed effective duty.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 5, 1858
The work on this fine city building is progressing steadily. Yesterday we observed that the brick work of the third story - the second above the stone basement - is entirely completed and the joists placed upon it. The brick work of the fourth, or last story, will be commenced in a day or two, and pushed forward with all possible dispatch. As this story is the one to be used as a public hall, it will be the highest one in the building. Mr. Carter informs us that it will be twenty feet between timbers. We observed that the lathe and other lumber for the inside work are already on the ground, ready to be used as soon as the roof is put on.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 5, 1858
Our young friend, William G. Pinckard, Jr., has removed his Family Grocery Store from his old stand on Third street to the Messrs. Harts' new brick building on the corner of Fourth and Belle, where he opened yesterday....The building is entirely new, the ground story - which, with the cellar, is all occupied by Mr. Pinckard - is high, airy and beautifully lighted; his counters and shelving are tastefully arranged, and his goods so disposed as to present a more attractive appearance than we thought possible in a grocery store....His customer will, at all times find in his store, a full and general supply of everything that can with propriety be classed under the head of Family Groceries and Provisions; also cigars and tobacco of every brand and variety; confectioneries and tropical fruits; all kinds of domestic fruits and vegetables in their season, &c.......Mr. Pinckard has also made an arrangement with the United States Express Company by which he receives twice a week a shipment of White Fish and Trout from Lake Michigan. These come packed in ice, through from Chicago in twelve hours, arriving here by the 10:30 A.M. train every Tuesday and Friday, and are opened and for sale in his store by eleven o'clock on those days.....Although Mr. Pickard is yet quite a young man and has been in business for himself but a few months, the business is one in which he had had much previous experience, and one for which he seems to be eminently fitted.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 12, 1858
About eleven o'clock of Tuesday night, the steamboat Pembinaw landed at our wharf, and acting Coroner W. G. Pinckard, Esq., was sent for to hold an inquest upon the body of a man who had been killed on the boat after it had left St. Louis. Summoning a jury, 'Squire Pinkard proceeded immediately to the boat and found the body of the murdered man lying upon the after part of the deck, where the hands and deck passengers lodge. A rigid investigation was immediately entered into, and continued about two hours, during which nearly twenty witnesses were sworn and examined. The witnesses were the watchman, carpenter, and a number of the hands belonging to the boat, and one cabin and several deck passengers. An examination of the body showed a ghastly wound in the stomach just above and to the left of the naval evidently made by a long dirk or knife, from which the unfortunate man's intestines had protruded in a most horrible manner; a severe bruise on the back of the head, made by a blow from a billet of wood or capstan bar; two or three slight wounds about the throat and breast, one of which indicated, beyond a doubt, that an attempt had been made to cut his throat; a severe bruise or cut in the lower lip, and two or three other slight bruises and cuts about the face. His intestines had been restored to their place, and the wound had been sewed up by an old lady who was a cabin passenger. The testimony of the witnesses, which was not very connected nor lucid, showed that the deceased was a raftsman; that his name was William Fitzpatrick; that he had gone from Quincy to St. Louis on a raft about three weeks ago; that he had been on a drunken spree in St. Louis, and that he had been engaged in at least one murderous fight while there; that he was often drunk, and when so, very quarrelsome; that he had taken deck passage on the Pembinaw for the upper Mississippi on the afternoon of Tuesday, before which time only one witness - a raftsman, who testified to the above facts in relation to his character and previous history - knew him. It appeared, further, that the deceased was about "half drunk" when he came onboard the boat just before she left St. Louis, and that very soon after the boat started, he picked a quarrel with two other raftsmen (of which class of men there were twenty or thirty on board as deck passengers), who were eating their suppers, and presently struck one of them. A general promiscuous fight then ensued, without, however, much damage being done, as no weapons were used. After fight some time with his fists, the deceased went to his carpetbag and took from thence a large and broad hunting knife or dirk, swearing that he would kill somebody if not everybody. One of the boat hands stepped up behind him, caught him round the body and arms, and held him, calling to the bystanders to take the knife away from him. Just then some man - none of the witnesses seemed to know who - struck the deceased on the back of the head with a stick of wood or a capatan bar. The blow knocked him loose from the grasp of the man who was holding him, he fell forward into one of the "hunke," from which he rolled down upon the floor or deck beneath the "hunks." From this incident until the watchman found him about half an hour afterwards, lying in a pool of his own blood in a dying condition, none of the witnesses seemed to know anything about him; soon after which he breathed his last. He talked some before he died to two or three of the witnesses, but his mind seemed to be wandering and he gave no connected account of anything. From the mass of testimony taken, the jury sifted enough to satisfy themselves that the man was killed by one or more of the raftsmen who were his fellow passengers, and with whom he had been quarreling; but it was found to be impossible to obtain any testimony that would justify an arrest. The body was brought on shore, and yesterday morning was buried by order of the Acting Coroner. Much praise is due to Captain Griffith and the other officers of the Pembinaw for the prompt and prudent course they pursued. Before the boat landed, guards of trust-worthy men were stationed around the deck with strict orders to allow no one to leave the boat until the inquest was concluded. The jury were fully satisfied that no one in any way connected with the boat had anything to do with the commission of the crime, or knew anything about it further than what they stated in their testimony. No money was found about the person of the deceased, and he left no effects of any material value. In his pockets were found the scabbard of the dirk with which it is supposed he was killed (the dirk itself could 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.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 14, 1858
The German Catholics of our city [Alton] have commenced the erection of a church upon the corner of Henry and Third Streets. It is to be of the Grecian style of architecture, 90 feet in length by 40 feet in width. The basement walls are to be of stone, and the walls of the main part of brick. The top of the cross crowning the tower will be 110 feet from the ground. The basement, which will be 11 feet in height, will be divided into two schoolrooms, and rooms for the residence of the Priest. The body will be 20 feet high, and furnished with seats for 410 persons. Mr. James A. Miller is the architect, and Mr. J. A. Cooley does the brick work. Already the walls of the basement are about up, and the job will be pushed forward with rapidity – twelve or thirteen men being at present actively engaged upon it.


Source: Vincent's Semi-Annual U. S. Register, Jan-Jun 1860
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 2, 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 its 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 [at Piasa and E. 16th Street], 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 [North Alton].

In the insurance office neighborhood [Liberty and Grove Streets], 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, Captain 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 its chimney and part of its roofing.

In Hunterstown [East of Henry Street], 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 its 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 its 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.

On Second Street [Broadway], 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 [Hotel] is out. The Baptist Society were burned out but a short time ago, and now are out again. Ryder's three-story building [where My Just Desserts is located today] 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 [city hall] lost more than half of its 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 its 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 Union 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 [southeast corner of Third and Piasa] 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 newspaper in this section of the State; and, knowing all this, and appreciating the public spirit which led him to put up so fine a building in these times, we share the general sympathy felt for him. The building, presses, engine, and stock, and all is completely wrecked: the entire loss must be at least $8000. The Geo Bachter Office was moved into the building on Saturday, as was also the German Bindery; and of course, the entire stock of these establishments is a complete loss.

Source: Bloomington, Illinois Weekly Pantagraph, June 6, 1860
A friend has kindly allowed us to copy an extract from a private letter, written at Alton, where the storm was very severe, as will be seen by the said extract. As the letter was written soon after the storm, the writer did not know whether or not there was any insurance, nor, if any, to what extent upon the property destroyed:

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

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


Source: Fairfield, Iowa Ledger, June 8, 1860
The lower part of Alton was visited on Thursday night, or rather yesterday morning, by the most destructive fire it has ever known – destroying nine buildings, only one of which, however, was of much value. The row of buildings on the north side of the street just below the bridge across Shield’s Branch, together with that on the west side of the street from the railroad to Upper Alton, with the exception of one house, is in ruins. The buildings were three dwelling houses, a saloon, and a warehouse fronting on Second Street [Broadway], the store on the corner, a small wooden warehouse, a blacksmith shop, and a very large and fine brick building fronting on the Upper Alton road [Washington Avenue]. The buildings were owned by John Rowe, who loses $400; Leonard Stutts, $3,000; Mitchell Minnie, $1,500; Mr. Rider, $300; James Bozza, $5,000.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 26, 1861
If any of our readers or their friends want anything in the line of machinery, castings or agricultural machinery, the place to get it is Hanson & Co.’s. There is an old established business firm, and they have every convenience and facility for filling the orders of their customers. They made the first casting and turned the first piece of iron in this city. They are the manufacturers of the justly celebrated threshing machine of the Pitts’ patent. They have sold all they have made during the past year, and have new orders for more than they can supply. They manufactured a corn sheller, which is just the thing for farmers, millers, &c. Corn planters, grain drills and other like things too numerous to mention are also gotten up by them in tip-top style. In short, as we said in the beginning, if you or any of your friends want anything of the kind, the place for you to go is Hanson’s. You will find what you want, and can get it on more liberal terms than any other establishment offers. Then again, you will have accommodating and obliging gentlemen to deal with, which is by no means a small inducement. Don’t go by without calling in.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 23, 1861
Late on Saturday night the stable of Mr. James Allen, near the City Cemetery, took fire, consuming the building, horse, harness, saddles &c. Loss estimated at about $300. It is supposed the fire originated from a fire some boys had made in the vicinity in the early part of the evening.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 4, 1861
On Saturday evening last, about 7 o’clock, as one of our citizens was passing near the corner of 9th and Alby Streets, he was horrified at hearing loud screams, apparently from a woman and child in great pain. He entered the house from which the noise proceeded, and beheld a brute of a fellow with a chair upraised over the prostrate form of a woman, who was endeavoring to screen herself and an infant from the blows which were being inflicted on her. As our informant entered, the fellow dropped the chair and left the house. Our city Marshal was soon made acquainted with the circumstances, and we hope that he will see that the fellow gets his desserts.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 6, 1861
About 8 o’clock yesterday morning, the house occupied by Mr. Armstrong on the corner of 3rd and Market Street was discovered to be on fire, it having caught by sparks from the chimney. By the timely assistance of neighbors and citizens, the fire was extinguished in time to prevent serious damage.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 2, 1862
This noon, a team that was receiving a load at Pierson & Co.’s lumberyard broke and ran down State Street. The wagon passed over the driver, but he received but little injury, we understand. The team kept on down the street, and finally came up against Messrs. Whippe & Tunnel’s show window, smashing it to pieces and driving a man through it. We have not learned the name of the man thus treated, but have been told that he was injured to some extent, but how badly we have not ascertained.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 17, 1862
We have watched the progress of the work on this street from day to day with a great deal of interest. At first, many days of hard labor were devoted to excavating the rock and preparing the street for the reception of the McAdam. But at last a little of the latter made its appearance, and has since been gradually creeping up the hill, until now it reaches nearly half way to the top, and as for as it has gone, it looks well. There is one peculiarity about this street which particularly pleases us – we mean the comfortable width of the pavement. We know of no other street in the city that can compare with it in this respect.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 17, 1862
We this morning visited the facility of the Round House of the Chicago, Alton, & St. Louis Railroad in Alton, which was burned a few weeks ago, and found a large number of mechanics and laborers at work, excavating and laying the foundation of a new structure. We were shown the plans of the new building by our friend Charley West, and from him received the following particulars relating to it. The building will be nearly twice the capacity of the former one, will be built of stone, and be covered with a perfectly fireproof roof. The front is to be of cut stone. Every part of the structure will be of the best material and workmanship, and as near fireproof as it is possible to make it. A blacksmith and machine shop will be erected in connection with it, fitted up with all the conveniences necessary for the repair of the railing stock of this end of the road. In the meantime, for the protection of the locomotives from the weather until the new building is completed, the old passenger depot has been fitted up for their reception, and also as a temporary shop for repairing, etc.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 7, 1862
About half-past two o’clock yesterday afternoon, the boiler connected with Cooper Bro.’s Cream Ale Brewery exploded, and immediately afterwards the building took fire and burned to the ground. The following are the particulars in relation to the destruction of this establishment, as we learned them last evening from Mr. Richard Cooper, whom we met at the scene of disaster.

The engineer on duty at the time was Mr. Dan Sullivan (who by the way has the reputation of being a very careful and prudent man), and had received orders from Mr. Cooper about half-past one o’clock to dampen the fire under the boiler, as there would be no need of steam for two hours. Just before the explosion took place, Mr. Cooper, as was his custom, entered the engine room to try the water in the boiler, and see that everything was right. He found on a trial of the gauges what he supposed to be an unusual pressure of steam in the boiler, but was not in the least alarmed, as the gauges indicated plenty of water. He, however, concluded that it would be prudent to draw off some of the steam into the scald tubs, to relieve the boiler of the pressure of steam. He had not proceeded ten steps from the engine room, however, when the explosion took place, and he found himself buried among the broken timbers of the fallen building. About one third of the boiler had been driven entirely through the brewery, immediately over his head, and one of the large tubs in the third story fell directly over the spot where he was standing. Providentially, he was between two rows of empty ale barrels, and the rubbish falling across these formed an arch over him, thus protecting him from instant death. He managed to crawl out of his perilous position, and found his fine establishment a complete wreck. One after another the workmen emerged from the ruins, and strange to relate, not a single one of them had received any injury beyond a few trifling bruises. The engineer was struck on the head by the falling timbers, but was able to ride into the city on a dray to have his wounds dressed. Not a single person was scalded in the slightest degree. It is proper to state here that the engineer was not at his post when Mr. Cooper went into the engine room to try the water in the boiler.

The head of the boiler, with parts of the flue attached, were driven through the front of the building to the west; another portion through the south side, and nearly the whole side of the boiler was driven to the north, entirely through the main building; the rear end of the boiler was driven to the east, and in this direction the main force of the explosion appears to have spent itself, as far as the eye could reach, in this direction appeared a black trail on the snow, with here and there bricks, timbers and shingles scattered about. Where the boiler was located, not a particle of the iron or brick work is left; spokes from the flywheel of the engine were picked up some distance from the building.

It is really a great wonder that persons in the vicinity escaped with their lives. One little boy who was some distance from the building was picked up and thrown several yards, striking the frozen ground on his head. He escaped with only a few scratches on his face and hands. Other parties were blown out of the windows and doors, terribly frightened, but not seriously hurt.

The explosion was distinctly heard at the distance of a mile from the scene, and many persons supposed it to be an earthquake. The Messrs. Cooper estimate their loss at not far short of $16,000, and no insurance. It is extremely doubtful whether the establishment will be rebuilt, at least until the termination of our national troubles.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1862
Our enterprising fellow citizen, M. D. Davis, has added another important branch to his confectionery store, in the shape of a bread bakery. Like everything that Mize puts his hand to, we are assured his bread will be of the very best quality, and fresh at all times. The need of such a convenience has long been felt by our citizens.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 6, 1862
Messrs. Patterson & Travis give notice in our advertising columns today that they are now fully prepared to attend to all work in their line of business that offers. They have facilities for doing as good work as any foundry in the country. They have also in their employ a set of merchants that can’t be beast. Of the proprietors of this establishment it is needless for us to speak, their reputation as businessmen is a fixed fact in this community. Persons having any kind of work in their line from the smallest casting to the finest and most intricate piece of machinery, will save both time and money by calling on Messrs. Patterson and Travis. We shall, in a few days, give a description of a sugar mill (the invention of Mr. Travis) that is now being brought out at this establishment, that we believe will do much towards stimulating the cultivation of sorghum in this section of the country.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1862
Wanted – for one month – an expert hand to hoist the flag on Christian Hill. To such, the thanks of that part of the city will be given. Enquire at Headquarters, Alton, June 7, 1862.

We have been requested to publish the above by a very worthy citizen, and we presume those interested will understand it. The Christian Hill alluded to is between Market and Henry Streets. We don’t much like the idea, however, of our friend appropriating the name of another locality. The hill he alludes to is historically known as “Heathen Hill,” whether appropriately named or not we leave to others to say.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1862
The residence of Mr. Gus Platt on State Street was broken into last night by some person or persons, and two gold watches, a small sum of money, and a suit of clothes were stolen. The thief forced open the window blind with a hatchet, and then broke a pane of glass, thus gaining access to the latching of the window. Our citizens will do well to keep a sharp lookout for these gentry. The rascals also attempted to enter the residence of Mr. Hayner, but becoming alarmed, they left without effecting an entrance.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1862
All who wish to buy dry goods cheap for cash, will please call on Mr. N. G. Hatheway, at his fine new store on Third Street, opposite Messrs. Phinney & Barr’s Grocery Store. The ladies of our city and vicinity will find a fine stock of choice goods to select from at this establishment, and a very accommodating and gentlemanly man to wait upon them. See Mr. Hatheway’s advertisements in another column.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1862
The front of the building known as the old Post office building on Belle street, has been removed and there is to be an additional story added, and a new brick front. The lower story will contain two business rooms, and the two upper stories will be fitted up amiably for dwellings.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1862
Persons often wonder why Belle Street has not been opened through to 2nd Street [Broadway] and thence to the river. It is natural that they should be somewhat surprised thereof, but if they circulate among our citizens a few hours, they will be informed that to order in upon street, the boot and shoe store of R. T. Wood would have to be removed, thereby causing an unreasonable amount of inconvenience to the consumers of shoe leather. Should Dick be compelled to remove, where could we find gaiters, shoes, slippers and boots so cheap and good? If you want the latest styles of, say articles in the line of a first-class shoe dealer, just take the shortest cut to R. T. Wood’s City Shoe Store, opposite Belle Street on Third, and you will be suited without fail.


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 suitably for dwellings.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1862
Last evening soon after the train from the junction on the Terre Haute Road had arrived, a little son of A. L. Corson, Esq., of the Alton House, had his leg broken. The particulars of the accident as told to us are as follows: The engine had been detached from the car, and those employed were pushing it by hand further up on the track, when this boy, who had his hand on the car, slipped and fell directly underneath with his body across the track. He kicked and floundered around, and succeeded in getting from the track, not quite far enough to save himself, as the wheel caught his pants and drew his leg under, thereby breaking one of the bones in his leg, just below the knee. He is not dangerously hurt, but will in a short time be out again, we hope. No blame is attached to those on the road, for the boy had no business there. We hope the boys who are in the habit of jumping on and off the cars will heed the warning before it is too late.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 26, 1862
Miss I. Douglas & Company have removed from their old stand on Second Street [Broadway] to the beautiful storeroom which has lately been erected on Belle Street by the Messrs. Hart, where one of the finest stocks of goods in their line can be found that is in Alton. As Miss Douglas has been in business for some years in Alton, it is not necessary for us to do more than simply mention the fact of her removal to a new stand, to insure her the patronage of all her old customers, and as she now has one of the best locations in the city for her business, we have no doubt but her business will be greatly increased.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 24, 1862
Our enterprising and wide-awake friend, C. D. Caldwell, has purchased the property on the corner of Fourth and State Streets, and has remodeled the buildings, making two excellent and large storerooms, and otherwise thoroughly repairing the houses. He has moved his large and well-assorted grocery stock into his new storerooms, where everything looks as neat and as bright as a new pin. We wish him much success in his present location.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1862
Our attention has been called lately to some improvements which have been made in the packing house of S. Wade & Company. An almost entire renovation has taken place, and one scarcely knows whether they are in the old house or not, until they meet Mr. Marshall Caldwell, the man and manager of the establishment. The old smokehouse that formerly occupied the rear of the building has been torn out, and a new one will be built some few rods directly east of Hanson’s Machine Shop. The business office has also been transferred from the second story to the first, which will be much more convenient for the transaction of business. A new brick front has been substituted for the old frame, between the two packing houses. Some more changes will be made during the coming summer. The season having so far advanced that necessarily the work for the present should stop, so that all needed preparations might be made to begin in good earnest.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 14, 1862
We are pleased to see signs of improvement on Belle Street. Our fellow-citizen, A. K. Root, is preparing foundations for two fine business houses, ninety-feet deep, which when finished, will be a credit and an ornament to the city. It will be well for our Third Street property owners to look out for their laurels – there are many shanties on that street that would look and pay better replaced by good business houses. Rents are high and will pay well for all good improvements.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 5, 1862
Our business community has been greatly perplexed for the want of change to transact their ordinary business, and to meet the emergency many expedients have been tried - such as issuing checks for small sums, redeemable in goods. This has been very extensively practiced. The most convenient and also the most satisfactory plan yet adopted, however, has been by the Alton Building and Savings Institution, issuing checks of all denominations under one dollar to be redeemed by the bank whenever presented, so as to be paid in dollar bills.

Some of our citizens appear to be anxious that the Common Council should issue scrip for change, but we hope our city fathers will be guilty of no such folly. The time is now near at hand when the government will be able to furnish, in the way of stamps, all the change that the country may need. Just as soon as that is done, it will be the imperative duty of every good citizen to discountenance and utterly refuse to receive any of the shinplasters now in circulation. In such a case, it will be much easier for individuals to draw in their issues, than for the Common Council to do it. Our city was induced once before to try to furnish a currency for the people, and it is to be hoped that the experience which we then gained will be sufficient to prevent a repetition of the same folly and wickedness. What the people want for money is something that will not depreciate on their hands, and the issues of the United States Treasury and gold and silver are the only currency that they can have any assurance will not do that.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 19, 1862
This extensive dry goods establishment has been removed from its old stand on Third Street near Piasa, to the fine storeroom lately fitted up in splendid style expressly for it, a few doors from State Street on Third. We take pleasure in calling the attention of the reader to the removal of this popular establishment, and would invite all to call and see the manager in his new rooms, and examine the extensive stock of goods on hand.


Source: Poughkeepsie, New York Daily Eagle, April 8, 1863
A fire occurred at Alton, Ill. on Wednesday night, consuming a warehouse on the levee occupied by Simpson & Ketchum, filled with hay and other produce, besides besides the adjoining buildings occupied by Wipping Bros & Co., hardware dealers, and Calvin & Rissale, auction store. Loss about $100,000. Insured for $60,000.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1863
This morning about six o’clock, the boiler of the Illinois Iron Works exploded, creating a severe shock, which was felt in all parts of the city. On arriving at the scene of the disaster, which we did a short time after the accident occurred, we beheld one man lying terribly mangled and lifeless, and the building very much shattered. The engine house was entirely blown down, and one end of the main building considerably injured, and the sash and glass were all blown out of nearly every window. On inquiry, we ascertained that the machinery in the main building was not materially injured.

The building was owned and partly occupied by Mr. James Patterson, as a machine shop and foundry, the upper part being occupied by Mr. Nichols, as a woolen factory.

We are not fully advised as to the number of hands employed in the two establishments, but suppose there must have been sixty or seventy. Fortunately, however, but few of them had arrived when the explosion took place, or the loss of life would have been shocking. James McLaughlin, the engineer, who had just started the engine, was blown some distance and was found entirely lifeless. He is spoken of as being a very careful, industrious, sober and skillful engineer, and has left a family to deplore his sad fate. John Campbell, the dyer of the woolen factory, was missing, and it was soon ascertained that he was in the dying establishment a few moments previous to the explosion. On receiving this information, Chief Engineer Seaton, called the firemen together, and commenced removing the rubbish, and after laboring a considerable time, the lifeless body of the poor man was found. He, being a member of the Hook and Ladder Company, that praise-worthy and benevolent body of men, took the corpse in charge, and had it removed to his late residence, and will superintend its burial. He has also left a family. The entire loss will probably not fall short of 6,000 or 8,000 dollars, nearly all of which will fall upon Mr. Patterson. The cause of the accident has not yet been ascertained.

The Illinois Iron Works was founded in about 1853, on the southeast corner of Third and Piasa Streets in Alton. Part of the building was occupied by the James Patterson Machine Shop and Foundry, and the Nichols Woolen Mill. After this explosion, the woolen mill moved to Belle Street. Mr. Patterson repaired the building and took control of the Iron Works under the name of Patterson Iron Works. In 1873, the Western Screw & Manufacturing Co., owned by St. Louis businessmen, purchased the business. In 1907, the Sessels Clothing Store (and later Lyttons and then Myers Clothing) was located in the building. The building still stands, and is occupied by The Telegraph and a chiropractor.

James McLaughlin, the engineer, was buried in the St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Godfrey. John Campbell, who worked at the woolen mill, was buried in the Alton City Cemetery.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 6, 1863
A fire broke out yesterday afternoon in Mr. Filley’s stable on State Street, which very soon communicated to his house, and also to some tenements on the other side of the stable, belonging to S. Wade, Esq., all of which was soon consumed. The firemen and citizens who were present, by their active efforts, kept the flames from consuming the city schoolhouse, adjoining Mr. Filley’s house on the south. Nearly all the furniture and other valuables were saved from Mr. Filley’s house. But we understand that one of the tenants in Mr. Wade’s house lost all of his furniture, and $300 in money. We did not learn as to the furniture of the other family. The fire originated from some small boys playing with matches in the stable. We have heard that Mr. Wade was insured in the Illinois Mutual for $800, which will very near cover the loss. Mr. Filley was insured in the same company for $600, besides something on his furniture – the amount we did not learn.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 13, 1863
The presses for the Telegraph office have for the last few weeks been driven by steam. The engine and boiler were built at the Patterson Iron Works in Alton, under the supervision of Mr. Brooks, the superintendent of that establishment. The engine is six-inch stroke, secured to an iron frame, which encloses the boiler, and the whole apparatus occupies the small space of three feet seven and a half inches by three feet and is five feet in height. It is computed to be of two and a half horsepower, and driven our two presses with ease at a pressure of steam not exceeding twenty pounds, to the square inch. The boiler is from the hands of J. Newsham, and is capable of sustaining a pressure of 150 pounds to the square inch, with perfect safety. The expense of running the engine is very small, it consuming no more fuel than an ordinary heating stove. The Patterson Iron Works has attained an enviable reputation in building steam engines, which for economy, power and ease of motion, are the wonder of all who see them. They have now orders from parties in St. Louis for twelve large engines, besides other orders from various parts of the country. Much of the credit of the success of this establishment is due to the efforts and practical experience of Mr. D. Brooks, who superintends the mechanical part of the establishment in all its departments. When Mr. Patterson started these works, it was with the determination to spare no expense to attain reputation second to no shop in the country, for turning out superior work, and he has already built up a business which has taken other establishments years to obtain.



Source: Alton Telegraph, November 13, 1863
We are certainly gratified to be able to state that the Alton Woolen Mill Company have been so prospered since they have established themselves in this city, as to lead them to make a permanent investment. They have just purchased the buildings and grounds lately occupied by the Piasa Foundry, and have removed their machinery from the Illinois Iron Works to that building, and will be ready to commence operations again within a few days. It will be seen by a notice in another part of our paper that they wish to purchase wool, pelts, &c., for which they will pay the highest market price, either in cash or in exchange for cloth at their manufactory. Let it be remembered that they do not manufacture any shoddy, but cloth, which will stand the test of time. Their place of business is now on Belle Street, opposite the Gas Works.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 9, 1900
A suit to foreclose a mortgage for $10,000 and interest amounting to nearly $3,000 on the Alton Piasa Woolen Mill Company was instituted in the Circuit Court today by William Sountag, trustee. The suit was filed by the attorney for the trustee, J. F. McGinnis. It is understood there will be no contest, and that the foreclosure is merely a step taken by the persons holding stock in the company to cause the property to be sold in order that they may realize something on their investment. The property will be sold and owners of woolen mills from all parts of the country will be invited to come here to bid on the property. It is hoped some outsiders will get the plant as in that event it might be set in operation and its wonted industry revived. The property has been inoperative since the Wilson tariff law went into effect, cutting down the profits on woolen goods so that the mill became unprofitable. It is a valuable piece of property, being built of Alton limestone, and one of the most substantial buildings that can be built. It is filled with valuable machinery, and Mr. A. Neermann, who is a chief stockholder, estimates the value of the property at $75,900. There will probably be no objection to the sale of the property and the sale will be set for the latter part of April.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 26, 1900
The property of the Piasa Woolen Mill Company on Belle street was sold at master's sale today by Master in Chancery W. M. Warnock, and was bought in by A. Neermann for $9,886.78, that being the amount of claims against the property. The mill property will probably never again be used as a woolen mill. It was thought at first the property might be bid in by someone who would set the mill in operation, but there were no bidders with this object in view, and Mr. Neermann took it at the price named. He will probably remove the machinery from the building. The building was erected in 1857-8 by Nathan Johnson and Richard Emerson for a foundry, machine and boiler shop, and was run for that purpose until 1861, when the war caused the proprietors to fail. About the close of the war it was purchased by the Nichols Woolen Mill Company, and was conducted on a large scale by that company until the death of Mr. Nichols. Some years afterwards Messrs. Neermann, Boals and Teasdale purchased the property and conducted it as a woolen mill until the business was killed in 1893 or '94 by Cleveland's Democratic Wilson Tariff bill.

[See Illinois Shoe Company]


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 8, 1864
Our esteemed friend, M. G. Atwood, Esq., of Middle Alton, who takes some pains to keep himself posted in such matters, communicated the following to us this morning, under date of January 1, 1864. Last night was the coldest we have had in this city for twenty-five years. My self-registering thermometer indicated 25 degrees below zero, as the coldest during the night. The mercury stood at 20 degrees below zero at 8 o’clock this morning; 18 degrees below at 10 a.m.; and 12 degrees below at noon. It stood at zero from 5 o’clock until 9 last evening. Yesterday was the 12th snow that has fallen since October 22nd, making in the aggregate about 36 inches.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 12, 1864
Yesterday morning the old gentleman that feeds the prisoners in the calaboose was made a victim of misplaced confidence in the following manner:

For some time past, he has permitted one of the inmates of the prison (a colored woman) to carry the sweeping of the cells out into the street, while he was employed in dealing out rations to the other prisoners. Yesterday morning, the woman took it into her head to reward the confidence of the keeper by turning the key in the lock after she had got out, and then made tracks for parts unknown. The old man suffered a confinement of two or three hours before the state of the case was discovered.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 4, 1864
Alton was visited on Saturday afternoon last with a storm of rain, attended with vivid lightning and heavy thunder. The temporary steeple on the Cathedral on State Street was struck, and considerably shattered, although there was not very much damage done. A carpenter shop on Piasa Street was also struck – damage very slight. There were several persons in the building at the time, but none of them were injured. There was a stable set on fire by the lightning at the same time, near Alby Street, and before the flames could be subdued, it, with an adjoining stable, was consumed. We believe they belonged to Messrs. D. C. Martin and James Newman.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
About 7:30 o’clock last evening, fire was discovered in the large stone building owned by Mrs. Kate Mitchell on the levee. The fire spread rapidly, and the wind being strong from the south or southeast, the above-named building, as well as Captain Ryder’s adjoining, were soon wrapped in flames. Sparks flew in showers across Second Street [Broadway] and some distance up State Street, setting fire to several buildings, which were promptly extinguished by persons on the roofs. For a time, it seemed almost impossible to save the north side of Second Street, but the Altona Engine No. 1, arriving on the ground, manned by her ever-ready boys, soon placed a damper on the flames. Still, it was only by the utmost exertion that the fire was confined to the three buildings immediately adjoining. L. J. Clawson’s new warehouse was on fire in two or three places, but was extinguished by vinegar, a barrel of which was broken open and thrown on the flames. The buildings burned were very old, being among the first warehouses built in the city.

The building in which the fire originated was owned by Mrs. Kate Mitchell, and occupied in front by S. B. Catts, as a leather store, and the rear by J. C. Ketchum as a grain warehouse. There was a quantity of hay in the building. The adjoining building was owned by Captain Ryder, and has been occupied by Messrs. Topping Brothers & Co., for many years. They had a large stock of goods in store, and their loss is heavy. The next building was owned by the heirs of Mr. Robert Ferguson, and occupied by Messrs. Calvin & Wissore as an auction store. Their stock was mostly removed, but in a very damaged condition.

We must mention here that the soldiers were untiring in their endeavors to stop the flames, and in removing goods from the burning and threatened buildings. Our citizens are under lasting obligations to them for their vigilance and energy. Our firemen also did nobly, but we think they should have more efficient engines at their command.

This is much the largest fire that has occurred in Alton for several years. As to the origin of the fire, there is some difference of opinion, but nothing certain is known. There had been no fire in the building, we understand, since 4 o’clock in the afternoon.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
Calvin & Wissore, who were burnt out on Second Street [Broadway] last evening, have removed their remaining stock to the store formerly occupied by them on State Street, one door below the Franklin House. They are, or will be, in a day or two, ready for work. They will have their regular Auction Sale on Saturday morning at 10 o’clock.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
This morning, about 4 o’clock, the Engine No. 17 on the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Road, blew up, killing the engineer, M. B. Culbertson, and dangerously wounding the fireman. The engineer was a single man, but the fireman has a wife and three children. The engineer was literally torn to pieces. Persons were awakened out of sound sleep in all parts of the city by the noise of the explosion.

An inquest was held upon the body of the engineer by W. G. Pinckard, Esq., at which the following verdict was rendered: “We, the Jurors, called together by W. G. Pinckard, to hold an inquest on the body of M. B. Culbertson, do agree that he came to his death by the bursting of Locomotive No. 17. We also agree that the boiler of said engine had a flaw that made the engine unsafe for running.” Signed by T. H. Rawlings, Foreman


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 11, 1864
A fire broke out between three and four o’clock this morning in a two-story frame house on Market Street. The alarm was given, but the firemen did not arrive in time to save the building, but by their wise and judicious exertions they saved a good house, which was only a few feet removed from it. It is thought that the building must have been set on fire, as it originated on the outside of the house. Most of the furniture was saved, but in a very damaged condition. The house belonged to Mrs. Jane Hopping, and was insured, we have learned, for $600. Mrs. Hopping wished us to give her thanks to the firemen and citizens for their successful efforts in saving the building in which she resides, and for their uniform kindness in attending to her interests.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 29, 1864
About 11 o’clock last night, our citizens were awakened from their slumbers by the furious ringing of the bell of the Woolen Mill. Soon other bells were clanging forth the fire alarm, and citizens rushed through mud and slush to find the location of the conflagration. The firemen, always on hand, had the engines out in a jiffy, and after considerable discussion as to the nearest route to the fire, the location of which was not known, the Altona hose company ran up Belle Street to Dr. Hart’s residence, when they found the alarm was the doings of a crazy man, formerly a weaver in the Woolen Mill. He was evidently in earnest, as it is seldom we hear a fire bell ring with such earnest, hearty good will, as was that.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 29, 1864
Patterson's Iron Works, Piasa Street between Second [Broadway] and Third Streets. This large manufactory of steam engines and machinery of all descriptions, owned and superintended by Mr. James Patterson, is again in full blast. Since the accidental explosion of the boiler in October last, the engine and machinery has gone through a series of alterations and improvements, by which the faculties for filling orders for engines and all other work in their line has been greatly increased. Thirty men are now constantly employed in the various departments of the building. The foreman, Mr. Daniel Brooks, is one of those men of whom we can say, "he is the right man in the right place," and thoroughly understanding all the minutia of the endless variety of work embraced in a general foundry business, Mr. Patterson is fortunate in having him at the head of his workmen. He informs us that he could employ in the whole building, one hundred and twenty-five men if necessary, and at the rapid rate which his business is increasing, we would not be surprised soon to see the building crowded with workmen to its utmost capacity. There are seven large lathes and two large planers on the ground floor in constant employment, turning the innumerable rough castings into the finished and polished portions of steam engines and other works. The whole machinery is driven by a fine forty-horse power engine, which is a model at superior workmanship. There are now in the building ten engines in the course of completion. Six of these are each about thirty-five horsepower, and are being built for Mr. H. M. Woodward of St. Louis. This certainly is a great compliment to Mr. Patterson and his assistants, and it should also be a matter of pride to our city. Citizens of St. Louis find it to their interest and advantage to come to Alton for their steam engines. The proprietor is determined not to be excelled by any manufactory in the West in the quality and finish of his machinery. There is also one for Messrs. H. Sampson & Co., of Germantown, on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, of sixty horsepower, which is to be a masterpiece. This is another order which is in direct competition with Saint Louis work. Mr. C. Soule has also a beautiful sixty horsepower steam engine in course of construction, and it may be seen in the room. Messrs. C. & J. Weer, of the Carlinville Mill, have a seventy-five horsepower steam engine in the hands of the mechanics. Mr. J. D. Martin of the Gillespie Mill has an engine, sixty horsepower, under orders and in course of completion and finish. These are all to be engines of the very best quality, and cannot be surpassed in any city in the Union. Our millers, and others using steam engines or in want of castings or machinery of any kind, cannot be better suited in the West. Go to Mr. Patterson's Works and look round, and we are satisfied he will do your work.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 6, 1864
The building formerly known as the Piasa Foundry has undergone a great change within the last few months. Mr. F. K. Nichols, the outgoing and gentlemanly proprietor, has been in the woolen manufacturing business for the last thirty years, and has one of the best arranged establishments in the town. Although he has only been engaged in the business here a short time, his trade has so much increased that he has been compelled to more than double the facilities he now has. The machinery to accomplish this has been ordered, and will be in operation in a short time. A large and complete machine for finishing goods will soon arrive. This will be a great addition to the facilities of the house. Five large carding machines do that important portion of the work now, and three additional ones of more than double the capacity are to be added. A wool picker, a machine of great size, has a room all to itself on the second floor, and it literally “makes the wool fly.”

The first floor is used as a falling, finishing, receiving, and storeroom. The second story is the carding and spinning room. The third story is the weaving room, and the fourth is the drying room. Through the whole building, resounds the busy hum of the spinning and carding machines, and the whirr and clatter of the loom shuttle. About thirty persons are constantly employed in the establishment, and if help could be obtained, as many more could find work. In a wing of the building is a dyeing room, fitted up in the most convenient manner. A water tank is located in this room, which holds 30,000 gallons, from which p_____ to the dye tubs, where the water can be heated by steam pipes conveniently arranged. A large repair shop is now being conveniently arranged and furnished, in which all repairs of the machinery and works will be made. The engine is sixty horsepower, and the proprietor contemplates increasing this also.

The whole arrangement of this establishment indicates that Mr. Nichols is determined to make it a complete woolen factory in every sense of the word. He now has a contract for furnishing a house in Boston with 10,000 or 12,000 yards of flannel, and some 2,000 pounds of stocking yarn before the first of August next. He can sell goose at much less than others pay for them in Boston, and our merchants would do well to patronize home manufactories. Enterprising manufacturers should be sustained by our citizens, and everything that enables us to compete with larger manufacturing towns is certainly of great benefit to each and every citizen.

The Woolen Mill was located at the southwest corner of Belle and W. 8th Streets. The stone building was originally erected in 1857-8 by Nathan Johnson and Richard Emerson for a foundry, machine and boiler shop [named Piasa Foundry], and it operated until 1861, when the Civil War caused the business to fail. In 1861, the foundry was purchased by Mr. Francis K. Nichols for a woolen mill. Nichols, who had been in the business for 30 years, enlarged the mill and brought in new machinery. In June 1878, a new firm was organized under Francis K., Henry L. (a son), and C. H. Nichols, under the name of Nichols Woolen Mill Company. The mill was later bought out by another concern, and renamed the Piasa Woolen Mill. As far as I know, no photo of the building exists.

Mr. Nichols died in July 1878 in Vermont, where he had gone for health reasons. He had previously been engaged in the manufacturing and mercantile business, and was at one time the proprietor of the largest woolen mill in Vermont. He was buried in Springfield, Illinois.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 3, 1864
Messrs. Topping Bros. & Co., are putting up a large brick warehouse on the south side of Second Street (Broadway) to accommodate their extensive and constantly increasing hardware trade. Mr. Joesting is putting up a neat and substantial brick building on the south side of Third Street, which will be occupied by E. F. Sneeringer & Co. Mr. A. K. Root is having the foundation laid for a large brick storehouse on the north side of Third Street, which from the looks of the foundation, will be one of the most substantial business houses in Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 10, 1864
Louis Haagan is putting up a large brick storehouse on the corner of Second [Broadway] and Piasa Streets. It is on the site of the old “public well,” so long occupied by the “old oaken bucket.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 10, 1864
About two o’clock this morning, a night watchman discovered several men in Mr. S. B. Davis’ store, and immediately gave the alarm. The villains broke from the store and ran, hotly pursued by the watchman, and he succeeded in catching one of them, and says he put a ball in another one. There were five of the burglars in all, and the one captured is a member of the 17th Illinois Cavalry, and it is almost positively known that the others were soldiers and members of the same regiment. The military patrol also fired at the rascals as they ran, but missed them. They entered the store over the front door, through the transom, and then threw the door wide open. A general onslaught was made upon sardines, pickles, etc. Some $30 to $40 was taken from the drawer in change. The value of goods stolen cannot be arrived at certainly. Part of a box of tobacco was found on the corner of 4th and State Streets, and other articles were strewn promiscuously around.

Great credit is due the watchman for his action in the affair, but it is a pretty large contract for one man to watch the city of Alton and prevent burglaries. It is expected that the officers in command of the 17th will use every means in their power to bring the persons engaged in this raid to proper punishment.

P. S. Since the above was written, we learn that two more of the soldiers have been caught.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 1, 1864
These are the times in which all are compelled to go where they can get the most for their money. Mr. E. H. Goulding on Third Street enjoys a well-earned reputation for fair and liberal dealing, which is second to nine in this portion of Illinois. An excellent jeweler, and keeping on hand a large stock of all varieties of the best jewelry, no better place to trade can be found in Alton. He keeps constantly on hand the finest watches, clocks, silverware, and ornamental jewelry of all varieties. Having had much experience in the spectacle trade, he is able to give the fullest satisfaction. Give him a call. He is also agent for the “Florence” sewing machine, of which he has sold a large number in this city and vicinity; and the “Wilcox and Gibbs” sewing machine, said to be the best single-thread machine in use. Our advertising columns today set forth the peculiar advantages of each.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 29, 1864
Two men were discovered in rather suspicious movements in Sugar Alley, in the rear of Messrs. Phinney & Barr’s store last night, by the watchman, but upon his appearance, they fled. They had effected an entrance, and had collected a quantity of tobacco, which they intended to carry off, but being taken by surprise, they did not make much of a lift. We understand that an attempt was also made to enter R. L. King’s store, which failed.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 5, 1864
Henry Joesting & Schwarzbecker, having purchased the establishment at the corner of Second [Broadway] and Market Streets, opposite City Hall, formerly kept by Ned White, will be ready to receive the calls of their friends and the public generally on Thursday morning.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
The Altona House. William Achenbach, Proprietor. This beer saloon and garden will be opened to the public on Sunday, the 4th inst. The public are requested to call. The accommodations are superior, and the proprietor will endeavor to make all agreeable and welcome to his guests.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 16, 1864
Last night the Soap Factory of A. P. Werner, in the vicinity of the roundhouse of the Terre Haute Road, was discovered to be on fire. The flames had gained such headway, that all the exertions of citizens were unavailing to suppress them. The Washington firehouse fought to put out the smoldering embers, and the Altona engine did not reach the place at all, although the hose was promptly on hand. The loss of Mr. Werner is about $1,500, upon which there is some $800 insurance in the Hartford City Company. The fire is supposed to have originated from coals of the locomotives.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 13, 1865
Messrs. Dunford & Brooks have built a large and commodious foundry and machine shop on the corner of Front and Henry Streets [in Alton], and are now fairly at work. We took a tour through the building yesterday, escorted by Mr. Brooks, and must say we were astonished at the work the proprietors have accomplished in so short a time. It is but a few weeks since the foundation was laid, and now they have a busy hive of the best workmen, toiling at the heavy castings and mill machinery.

The building is two stories high, and cost nearly $20,000, and is situated in close proximity to the different railroads, and convenient for shipping work. The dimensions of the machine shop is 32x80 feet. Nine lathes, two planers, two drillers, and a screw cutter are located here, each with a competent workman at the command. The foundry is a well-arranged and convenient room, 44x60 feet. The engine, of some twenty horsepower, is located here, and is a beautiful piece of workmanship. Mr. Brooks informed us that by a peculiar arrangement of his own, they can melt six thousand pounds of metal per hour in the cupola, with half the coke ordinarily used, and this of itself is a great item. The blacksmith shop, 24x48 feet, is also fitted up with all the necessary tools for the rapid and economical execution of all work.

Twenty-two workmen – the best to be found – are constantly employed, and the firm have contracts for seven or right steam engines, from 20 to 150 horsepower. Messrs. Shosler has contracted with them for a 150-horsepower engine, for their mills in this city. Mr. Nichols of the Alton Woolen Mills has also contracted for an 80-horsepower engine. A large amount of sawmill work for parties at Potosi, Missouri is also in a state of completion.

Being the proprietors of the justly celebrated “Pravis Patent Governor,” their engines are much sought after, and many are ordering these governors for engines of other make. With present facilities, they can turn out fifteen hundred or two thousand dollars’ worth per week, and the capacity can be increased to any amount. The whole arrangements are made to the rapid and perfect execution of all orders, and the lathes, drills, etc., are from the celebrated “New Haven Manufacturing Company,” and are most beautiful specimens of workmanship. The upper story is large and roomy, and is devoted to pattern making and millwright work. The long experience of Mr. Brooks to the business is a guarantee that he will give satisfaction to all who may order work of them. Messrs. Dunford & Brooks deserve great credit for their enterprise in this branch of trade, and we hope they will receive a full pecuniary compensation for their investment.

Thomas Dunford was one of the pioneer settlers in the area. He was known as one of Illinois first nurseryman, and was one of the first coal operators on the Coal Branch (near North Alton). He accumulated large holdings of real estate. Dunford erected a Baptist Church at Coal Branch, where a revival swept over the neighborhood. He was also one of the builders of the Chicago and Alton Railroad, and had the first contract to supply the railroad with coal after its completion. He and his wife (Elizabeth Mixon Dunford) lived in Alton, and kept their money in the cellar of their home, hauling gold to the first bank in Alton with an ox team. Dunford went into business with Mr. Brooks (and later a Mr. Davis), and founded a foundry and machine shop at the corner of Front and Henry Streets in Alton. They manufactured engines, boilers, grates, and portable grist mills. The business later failed, and Dunford lost a considerable amount of money. Dunford died in Alton on August 18, 1873, at the age of 67, and is buried in the Alton City Cemetery. In 1876, the Hapgood Plow Company was located on the former Dunford foundry property.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 10, 1865
Mr. James Patterson, proprietor of the Patterson Iron Works, on the corner of 3rd and Piasa Streets, seems to be equal to any and every emergency which may arise. Having the high reputation of manufacturing the best engines in the West to sustain, he has procured the services of Mr. Albert Dwelle for the past seven years foreman of the Fulton Iron Works, St. Louis, and a mechanic of 35 years’ experience, as superintendent of his manufactory in Alton. This, with the knowledge that 25 to 30 of the best mechanics of the country are constantly employed in this establishment, will be sufficient to convince those wanting steam engines, or mill machinery of any kind, that their work will be done well and done quickly.

The celebrated Travis Patent Governor is applied to all engines of Mr. Patterson’s make, and give universal satisfaction to all who have used them. They are doubtless the best governor in use. A contract of several engines, for H. M. Woodward of St. Louis, is about being finished in this shop, and better work has never been turned out in the West. Orders from the remote counties of this and adjoining States are constantly arriving, and work is being turned out daily.

The proprietor informs us that he intends to manufacture a new threshing machine in time for the next harvest, which will be far superior to any now in use. It will be called the “Star of the West,” and one of them will shortly be finished for the inspection of the public. This will be welcome news to our farmers in Illinois, and the patentees will speedily be remunerated for their heavy outlay in perfecting this valuable thresher.

Mr. Patterson has the largest stock of patterns in the State, and all the patterns of the firm of Stigleman & Johnson are in his possession. He is prepared to furnish iron or brass castings at short notice. Jobbing of all kinds, sheet iron work, etc, done on the most liberal terms and on the shortest notice. To all, we would say, “don’t fail to give Mr. Patterson a call before contracting elsewhere.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 17, 1865
F. Shelly is now proprietor of the lime works in 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 customfers. 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 at 50 hands, and constantly about 20. The lime of his manufacture is used extensively in Springfield, Bloomington, Peoria, Terre Haute, St. Louis, and in fact, at all points in the valley of the Mississippi. Customers can be assured of liberal dealing at the hands of Mr. Shelly. Give him a call.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 23, 1865
The man that was arrested some days since for stealing, was yesterday allowed to run in the corridor of the jail, by the keeper, because of the heat of the cell. No sooner was out, than he made a deadly assault upon Mr. Fish, cutting him in several places with a knife which he had procured by some means. The cries of Mr. Fish for help were heard by Messrs. Frank Ferguson, Fische, and Carr, who went to the door and rescued the poor victim from the murderous villain. As soon as the facts became known, great excitement took place, and some few advocated lynching, but better counsels prevailed. No knife has yet been discovered, and it is not known what the prisoner did with it. He doubtless expected to kill Mr. Fish and then make his escape.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 7, 1865
And as a preliminary, the old burnt walls upon the lots were this morning coming down. The third lot (the Baker lot) has also been purchased, and lumber is being hauled upon the ground. Thus, becomes certain and visible the erection of another fine mill, of dimensions equal to the notable “Wise Mill.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 11, 1865
The heavy rain of Saturday last was accompanied by thunder and lightning, and the lightning took advantage of the occasion to perform some queer antics. The dwelling of Mr. C. W. Dimmock, on Alby Street in Alton, was struck at the chimney on the northwest corner of the house, the electric fluid passing down along the firewall until it reached the tin roof of the kitchen, which it crossed to the east end of the house, running down the water pipe to where the pipe had been disconnected with the cistern, passed into the cistern pipe through a tin cap without making a hole in it, and made a hole some inch in length, through which to leave it. It seems that the fluid scattered upon leaving the pipe, as Mrs. Dimmock and daughter, in the house, and a colored man in the woodshed were all simultaneously shocked by it. Mrs. Dimmock first felt the shock in her left hand, but almost immediately it extended to her limbs and face, strangely effecting one of her eyes. Upon recovering somewhat, she found her left hand clasped in her right, and a numb, helplessness pervading her libs. She saw her daughter, fourteen or fifteen years of age, leaning against the side of the house, and upon speaking to her, was answered, but the girl could not move. She went to her and found her breathing, and called for help. The electricity had struck the toe of the girl’s shoe, and completely torn it to pieces, giving her a very severe shock. The foot was cold and lifeless as marble, but after a bath in cold water and rubbing, it was fully restored. The colored man in the woodshed was shocked so that he could not move, although he could speak. Altogether, this is one of the most singular freaks of lightning that we have ever heard of, and the escape of the family with their lives is almost miraculous.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 29, 1865
We had the pleasure of a stroll through the establishment of Mr. Charles Rodemeyer on Saturday last. We found the large force of workmen busily employed in the various branches of the carriage and wagon manufacturing, while on every hand were buggies, rockaways, carriages and wagons, finished or receiving the finishing touches.

The building is four stories in height. The first story is used as the blacksmith shop and depository for material. The forges are constantly going, and the sparks flying in every direction from the strokes of the stalwart and skillful smiths. Here are fashioned all the various iron portions of vehicles, and large quantities of iron are used up.

The second story is occupied by the wood workmen, and is large, airy and roomy, and furnished with all the facilities for the execution of the fine woodwork of the beautiful buggies and carriages for which this establishment is so famous. The very best of timber is used here, and none other, by the best workmen that are to be had in the country.

In the third story are the finishing rooms. The painting, varnishing, and trimming is done on this floor, and the arrangements are most complete for giving the buggies and carriages the last finishing touches. The varnish room is one of the best in the country – not a particle of dust is allowed to accumulate, and not a speck mars the beauty of the final polish put upon the beautiful carriages. Here, also, the best workmen only are employed.

The fourth story is used for a stockroom, and is constantly replenished with the best material.

The large establishment has turned out many hundred vehicles during the past few years, and the work of Charles Rodemeyer is everywhere spoken of in terms of praise and commendation. Some 20 hands are constantly employed, and the demand for his buggies, rockaways, and wagons is constantly increasing. Those wishing good work on short notice, at reasonable cash prices, will do well to call at Rodemeyer’s. Mr. William Rodemeyer will be found constantly in the office, and customers can be assured of polite and gentlemanly dealing by either the proprietor or son. Give them a call.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 13, 1865
Riding on horseback is a useful, as well as graceful means of exercise too much neglected by young ladies. A canter for a few miles is a most admirable promoter of female beauty and health. The cheeks, the eyes, the lips, and every feature of the fair equestrian when she dismounts possesses that fresh and sparkling grace, which is one of the most important requisites of female loveliness, and which can be imparted only by the purity of the blood and its brisk and equal circulation, which are produced by temperance [no alcohol] and exercise. The pale, sickly, languid countenance of that lady whose hours of leisure have been passed without occupation in her chamber or to listlessly lounging upon a sofa or couch may present attractions to such as have selected their standard of beauty from among the victurns of a fashionable round of dissipation, but every man of sense and genuine taste will prefer the ruddy glow of health, the active, agile step and exuberant gaiety of her who is accustomed to spend some time every day in active exercise on foot or on horseback in the open air.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 8, 1865
Mr. E. H. Goulding has moved his jewelry establishment from Third Street to the Mercantile Hall Building on Belle Street. The new store occupies one of the large rooms on the first floor, and is arranged in the most graceful and convenient manner. Large and handsome showcases have been added to his former furniture, and a very large and fashionable assortment of jewelry and silverware, ordered for the new store, has arrived and now fill them. Mr. Goulding is one of our oldest and most successful jewelers, and his enterprise and taste in fitting up so fine an establishment in Alton will be appreciated by our citizens, and we hope his heavy expense in so doing may be returned to him a thousand-fold. If you want a nice present for a wife or friend, call at E. H. Goulding’s new store on Belle Street.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 29, 1865
Early last evening, a colored girl by the name of Missouri Barrett, employed as a servant in the family of Captain George Cockrell, residing on State Street in Alton, was most terribly burned. The circumstances, as related to us by one who was present, is about as follows:

Mr. Cockrell, in lighting a lamp in the dining room, threw the match on the floor and returned to the parlor. It is supposed that the match must have continued to blaze, and falling under the clothing of the girl, who was in the room at the time, setting them on fire, and very soon afterwards she went out into the yard, when almost in a moment she was enveloped in flames from the burning of her clothing. In her fright, she ran into the house, and then through the hall into the kitchen again. By this time, she was nothing but a livid sheet of flame. As a matter of course, she was most terribly burned, nearly all the skin on her body pealing off as soon as touched. In a short time, however, through the kindness of neighbors and the physician who soon reached the house, she was carefully wrapped in flour and cotton batting, and was still living when we last heard from her, which was about 10 o’clock this morning, though there was but little hope of her recovery.

She was moved soon after the accident occurred, in a wagon or carriage, to her home, nearly a mile distant. There was probably some urgent reason for this step, but it certainly was a very hazardous one to take under all the circumstances.

We were glad to learn this morning from Captain Cockrell, that the girl, which we mentioned as being badly burned, is in a fair way of recovery. She was moved from his house at her own urgent solicitation, and is now with her mother, and is in all respects as comfortable and well cared for as she possibly could be anywhere.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 29, 1865
The most prominent of our old-established fruit growers are Messrs. Long, Dr. Hull, Messrs. Starr, Kendall, Brown, Curtis, and many others. Year after year has added evidence that upon the high river bluffs above Alton, the fruit crop is almost invariably certain and excellent. From this cause alone, therefore, those lands have become desirable – otherwise their extreme roughness of surface and thinness of soil would render them of but little value for ordinary agricultural purposes. Thus it is that lands which were purchased by the Messrs. Wise for eight dollars per acre, now sell for one hundred and fifty dollars per acres. While fruit growing is a great success in other vicinities, such as Monticello, Brighton, and upon the Sand Ridge – the bluffs extending from Alton to Grafton are regarded as fruit locality par excellence.

Dr. Hull was one of the bluff pioneers. His house now overlooks the grand Mississippi from an altitude of two hundred feet. He has an orchard of over one thousand peach trees in one body, besides pears, apples, cherries, grapes, etc. He is not a nurseryman, but is a practical and continually experimenting, producer. He produced peaches and pears the past season, and grapes which were a marvel to behold. He purchased a large tract of these bluff lands. He subsequently sold off tracks to W. C. Flagg, Esq., and to Major Long. Each of these gentlemen propose to enter upon growing to a large extent upon these lands, in addition to their extensive fruit farms.

Our worthy Mayor, Captain Hollister, has purchased a fine tract of these lands – perhaps one hundred acres – and is now clearing and fencing, and has several hundred fruit trees purchased and “heeled in” upon the ground, for early spring setting. This tract is upon the river bluff, immediately above “Hop Hollow,” and was purchased at $50 per acres – a very reasonable rate.

We learn of the sale of a small portion of Major Long’s fruit farm to Lieut. Howard, at $150 per acre, the trees being full grown and valuable.

A large sale of bluff lands has recently occurred as follows: Joseph Wise, Esq., has sold to his uncle, Peter Wise, Esq., his inherited portion of these lands – about 135 acres – for the round sum of $20,000 cash. The latter gentleman is now entering upon fruit culture vigorously.

The Grafton road, leading out of Alton, is lined with fruit farms, and now tracts are thus opening annually. Our enterprising young citizen, Andrew Hawley, Esq., is now clearing off a tract of high timberland, and from where he is now selling hundreds of cord of wood, he will ere long be producing for market hundreds of bushels of fruit.

We learn of another quite recent purchase of 22 acres of land in Sempletown, and within the city limits. John Fitch, Esq., of fame editorial, is the purchaser, at the very reasonable rate of about $100 per acre. It adjoins his home. The land is hilly, but well adapted for trees and vines, and our friend Fitch intends planting trees and vines by the thousand in the spring. At present, he is rushing the cord wood business heavily, for a city farmer, and comes into our office with stout mittens and red face, and talks of “a life in the woods for me.” As he usually makes his promises good, we rely upon that sample of fruit he is to bring us during these coming summers.

We hear of a large sale of lands and mill property quite recently – the saw mill and bluff lands of Mr. Soule to Messrs. Wells and Wise, for the sum of $20,000. The tract embraces some 50 acres, and borders in part on the river bluff. We learn that the new owners propose to sell this land, in tracts, to citizens who desire suburban residences and fruit orchards.

These sales indicate a most healthy and sound growth of Alton. The time was, a few years since, when the rough outlands of Alton were held too high by speculators, both resident and non-residents. Not long since, the tract purchased by John Fitch, Esq., of J. B. Danforth, N. 3, was held at more than double the sum he paid. The true value of these lands is their worth as land, and not as imaginative town lots. A vast amount of real estate, in the suburbs of Alton, has passed into the possession of actual occupants, within the past few years, owing mainly to the decease of the original speculative holders, and the future of Alton, as a fine, healthy, wealthy city, is brighter than ever before. Lands thus held by speculators are stumbling blocks to progress, and there are yet a few such tracts in and about our city, which we hope to see pass into other hands, speedily. The call for more houses – more dwelling places – is daily made in our streets.


Source: Madison County Gazette, 1866
Patterson's Iron Works were established by Stigleman & Co. some years since as the Illinois Iron Works. They came into the possession of Mr. James Patterson in 1863, and the name changed as above. The Works occupy a large brick building, 100x45 ft. and four stories high, as a machine shop, a second 75x45 as a foundry, with a smith shop 50x28 ft., with a capacity for the employment of one hundred workmen. Mr. Patterson now employs about forty workmen in the manufacture of threshers, engines, sugar mills, saw mills, and all kinds of mill machinery. He has recently purchased the right of an excellent thresher that is already becoming very popular among the farmers of the West.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 16, 1864
The Lodge of Good Templar’s dedicated their beautiful Hall on Belle Street in Root’s building, by appropriate ceremonies last evening. After which the Rev. Mr. Carr made a brief address to the members of the organization, and was followed by the Rev. Mr. Robinson, pastor of the Methodist Church, and Rev. Mr. Jameson of the Baptist Church, in some timely and pertinent remarks, encouraging the members to persevere in their arduous and self-denying labors of love in behalf of the poor inebriate, in which they were now so commendably engaged.

The first speaker then introduced the following resolutions, and discussed them at some length, when they were adopted by a unanimous vote of the members of the Lodge:

Resolved, That in view of the wide spread and increasing evil of intemperance, especially among men in high stations of trust and honor, it becomes us as Christians to awake and put forth our energies to aid those now engaged in the work of Temperance.

Resolved, That the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages, as such, is a crime against the morality of any people, corrupting the heart, destroying the body, polluting the morals, demoralizing the character, debauching and debasing whole classes of society, and should be ranked with other crimes punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary.

Resolved, That licensing the sale of intoxicating drinks is but legalizing crime, and that the absence of mobs, riots, &c., at our recent Presidential election is but the earnest of what we might expect every day of the year, were the sale of such drinks prohibited.

This organization is yet comparatively small in our city, but now that it has fitted up such a beautiful hall, so convenient to the great body of our citizens, and as it has many active, devoted, and working members, its prospects for usefulness in the future are very promising. It is to be hoped that it may reach and interest the great mass of our young people, who will have some social recreation, and if they do not find it among the temperate and moral will be sure to seek it in the haunts of the dissipated and vicious. It is a great mistake of society that more efforts are not put forth to furnish innocent amusements for the young, as it is natural that they should desire something of the kind, and it is a notorious fact that our drunkards are generally manufactured out of the most noble and genial portion of our young men. Whereas, if these same individuals could have found places of innocent social intercourse, they might have been saved from the terrible Charldom of a drunkard’s appetite, and become ornaments and useful members of society. This is a subject at least worthy of being seriously pondered by the Christian and philanthropist.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 13, 1865
Messrs. Dunford & Brooks have built a large and commodious foundry and machine shop on the corner of Front and Henry Streets, and are now fairly at work. We took a tour through the building yesterday, escorted by Mr. Brooks, and must say we were astonished at the work the proprietors have accomplished in so short a time. It is but a few weeks since the foundation was laid, and now they have a busy hive of the best workmen, toiling at the heavy castings and mill machinery.

The building is two stories high, and cost nearly $20,000, and is situated in close proximity to the different railroads, and convenient for shipping work. The dimensions of the machine shop is 32x80 feet. Nine lathes, two planers, two drillers, and a screw cutter are located here, each with a competent workman at the command. The foundry is a well-arranged and convenient room, 44x60 feet. The engine, of some twenty horsepower, is located here, and is a beautiful piece of workmanship. Mr. Brooks informed us that by a peculiar arrangement of his own, they can melt six thousand pounds of metal per hour in the cupola, with half the coke ordinarily used, and this of itself is a great item. The blacksmith shop, 24x48 feet, is also fitted up with all the necessary tools for the rapid and economical execution of all work.

Twenty-two workmen – the best to be found – are constantly employed, and the firm have contracts for seven or right steam engines, from 20 to 150 horsepower. Messrs. Shosler has contracted with them for a 150-horsepower engine, for their mills in this city. Mr. Nichols of the Alton Woolen Mills has also contracted for an 80-horsepower engine. A large amount of sawmill work for parties at Potosi, Missouri is also in a state of completion.

Being the proprietors of the justly celebrated “Pravis Patent Governor,” their engines are much sought after, and many are ordering these governors for engines of other make. With present facilities, they can turn out fifteen hundred or two thousand dollars’ worth per week, and the capacity can be increased to any amount. The whole arrangements are made to the rapid and perfect execution of all orders, and the lathes, drills, etc., are from the celebrated “New Haven Manufacturing Company,” and are most beautiful specimens of workmanship. The upper story is large and roomy, and is devoted to pattern making and millwright work. The long experience of Mr. Brooks to the business is a guarantee that he will give satisfaction to all who may order work of them. Messrs. Dunford & Brooks deserve great credit for their enterprise in this branch of trade, and we hope they will receive a full pecuniary compensation for their investment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 10, 1865
Mr. James Patterson, proprietor of the Patterson Iron Works, on the corner of Third and Piasa Streets, seems to be equal to any and every emergency which may arise. Having the high reputation of manufacturing the best engines in the West to sustain, he has procured the services of Mr. Albert Dwelle for the past seven years foreman of the Fulton Iron Works, St. Louis, and a mechanic of 35 years’ experience, as superintendent of his manufactory in Alton. This, with the knowledge that 25 to 30 of the best mechanics of the country are constantly employed in this establishment, will be sufficient to convince those wanting steam engines, or mill machinery of any kind, that their work will be done well and done quickly.

The celebrated Travis Patent Governor is applied to all engines of Mr. Patterson’s make, and give universal satisfaction to all who have used them. They are doubtless the best governor in use. A contract of several engines, for H. M. Woodward of St. Louis, is about being finished in this shop, and better work has never been turned out in the West. Orders from the remote counties of this and adjoining States are constantly arriving, and work is being turned out daily.

The proprietor informs us that he intends to manufacture a new threshing machine in time for the next harvest, which will be far superior to any now in use. It will be called the “Star of the West,” and one of them will shortly be finished for the inspection of the public. This will be welcome news to our farmers in Illinois, and the patentees will speedily be remunerated for their heavy outlay in perfecting this valuable thresher.

Mr. Patterson has the largest stock of patterns in the State, and all the patterns of the firm of Stigleman & Johnson are in his possession. He is prepared to furnish iron or brass castings at short notice. Jobbing of all kinds, sheet iron work, etc, done on the most liberal terms and on the shortest notice. To all, we would say, “don’t fail to give Mr. Patterson a call before contracting elsewhere.”

The James Patterson Iron Works was located on the southeast corner of Third and Piasa Streets in downtown Alton. The building was formerly the Illinois Iron Works, which was founded in about 1853 by Stigleman & Co. Part of the building was occupied by James Patterson Machine Shop and Foundry and the Nichols Woolen Mill. After an explosion in the building in 1863, the woolen mill moved to Belle Street. Patterson repaired the building and took control of the Iron Works until 1873, when the Western Screw & Manufacturing Co. took over the building. Patterson had been forced to file for bankruptcy. In 1907, the Sessel Clothing Store located there.

The Patterson Iron Works manufactured the steam engine and boiler which drove the presses for the Alton Telegraph. They also manufactured castings and machinery of every type.

In 1854, James Patterson purchased a home at 1516 State Street in Alton. The house was built in 1837-38 by William Post, a steamboat captain who later became mayor of Alton. The brick and limestone house was designed in the Greek Revival style. Patterson may have added the iron porch railing.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 24, 1865
Mr. L. Flacheneker has opened a well-stocked grocery and provision store on Second Street [Broadway], opposite the City Hall, where he will be glad to see the housekeepers of Alton early and late. The freshest of butter, eggs, etc., and the best of sugar, coffee, hams, tea, and the general stock of goods usually kept in his line, are constantly on hand. Call on Mr. Flachenecker.



Source: Alton Telegraph, March 17, 1865
F. Shelly - This gentleman is the new proprietor of the lime works in this city [Alton], lately owned by D. Martin & Co. Having been a member of the firm for several years, he will be recognized at once by all of the old customers. Mr. Shelly informs us that he manufactured in his kilns during the past year over 100,000 bushels of lime, and paid as high as $170 per month Government tax on the manufacture of lime alone. He has in operation three of Page's Patent Kilns capable of turning out $2,000 worth of lime per week, and can make 300 bushels per day, and has loaded 14 cars in one week. Employs, at times, as high as 50 hands, and constantly about 20. The lime of his manufacture is used extensively in Springfield, Bloomington, Peoria, Terre Haute, St. Louis, and in fact at all points in the Valley of the Mississippi. Customers can be assured of liberal dealing at the hands of Mr. Shelly. Give him a call.

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 23, 1866
Mr. F. Shelly also has a cooper shop in connection with his lime kilns, and during the year, 10,133 lime barrels were made at his factory, though these were but a small proportion of the number used in his business.

Source: Alton Telegraph, May 8, 1868
During several years past, Mr. F. Shelly has been one of the best-known lime dealers in the city, and by his business tact and skill and his facilities for manufacturing and shipping, has built up a very extensive and prosperous trade. His leading rival has been the firm of J. Lock & Bro., and these firms have for some time past been the heaviest dealers in the vicinity. We learn, however, that negotiations have been closed between the two firms, which have been some time in progress, by which Mr. Shelly has purchased the entire interest of Lock & Bro. in the business, for $30,000, and will hereafter carry on the trade of both firms. The purchase embraces six large kilns, with a large amount of other property, fixtures and appurtenances. Mr. Shelly has now facilities for burning 2,000 bushels of lime per day, which is double the amount of any other manufacturer in the West. He also intends to erect additional kilns immediately, which will increase his facilities for manufacturing to three thousand bushels per day, or three times the amount of any other western dealer. His advantages for shipping are superior to those of any dealer in other cities. His kilns are located immediately upon the river bank, under the limestone bluffs, from whence his material is derived. He can, therefore, ship directly upon the steamers to any point upon the Mississippi or its tributaries. In addition to this advantage, the levee track extends to his kilns, by which means he can load directly into the cars, in bulk or otherwise, and ship to any place upon the Chicago, the Jacksonville, or the Terre Haute railroad. Thus his shipment both by river and rail are made without expense for cartage; and of this saving his customers get the benefit. Mr. Shelly has now some $80,000 invested in the business, and as we have stated, intends to largely increase the amount. The great skill and energy which he has manifested in its conduct are of great benefit to the city, and must lead to large returns to himself.

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 15, 1871
Mr. F. Shelly has purchased of Maj. George S. Roper and Mr. J. W. McMillan, the fine residence and grounds on State street known as the Keating property [at the corner of State and Dry Streets]. The price paid was $7,500. This property is very desirable, both as regards location and intrinsic value. Mr. Shelly intends occupying it himself.

Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, April 11, 1878
At the solicitation of many voters of the First ward, Mr. Fred. Shelly has consented to become a candidate for alderman from that ward. We are glad to make this announcement. Mr. Shelly has long been one of our leading manufacturers, and has done much for the prosperity of the city. His ability and integrity are unquestioned, and he will receive a strong support.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 9, 1878
Yesterday morning, early, a gang of men appeared on the levee near the waterworks building, with a carload of rails and ties, with the intention, as alleged, of laying a track leading to Mr. F. Shelly's lime kilns. Owing to the inclemency of the weather yesterday, the work was not done. This morning, Messrs. Coppinger & Biggins, who claim a portion of the land over which it was intended to run the track, fenced in their claim extending across the public highway, which leads from Short street up the river. The place was only partially enclosed, leaving passageway between the posts for wagons and other vehicles. City Engineer Hodge claims that the 'fence' encloses or obstructs the public street or highway. Mr. Shelly obtained permission of the City Council to lay a track on the levee in the County Road to his lime kiln. The permission was granted January 10, 1876. The matter will come before the Council tomorrow.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 11, 1878
Why is it that Mr. Shelly is required to give bond before laying a side track to his lime kilns above the Water Works, when other gentlemen, who have side tracks on their premises in other parts of the city, are not required to do the same thing? In other words, why this discrimination against Mr. Shelly?

Alton Daily Telegraph, April 18, 1890
Mr. F. Shelly, now of St. Louis, has purchased Mr. John Armstrong's lime kiln under the bluffs and took possession of the property today. Mr. Shelly is a practical and experienced lime burner, having formerly been engaged in that business in this city, and afterwards in Quincy. He will remove his family here. The Telegraph welcomes Mr. S. back to his old home.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 4, 1896
Mr. F. Shelly, a former resident of Alton but now of St. Louis, is visiting friends in this city.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 24, 1865
Among the farmers of Central Illinois, this firm has been quite familiar as being one of those in Alton with which it is both a pleasure and a profit to deal. Keeping a very large supply of those agricultural implements which have been proved by actual use (to be all they are represented), the farmer can make his selections without loss of time or experiment, and be accommodated on the most liberal term. For the approaching season, they are better prepared than ever before, and will be able to fill all orders promptly. Among their farming implements are the Wood’s patent Reaper and Mower combined – self-raker, proved to be one of the best ever used. They are also agents for the “Uncle Sam Separator.” This machine is said to be, by experienced farmers, the best Separator and Fanning Mill ever made. They have the very best testimonials from prominent and well-known farmers, that it gives the very best satisfaction upon every occasion. This mill was awarded the First Premium at the Illinois State Fair, held at Decatur in 18??, over all competitors. The mill cleans all kinds of grain and seeds, separating oats from Spring wheat at the rate of from sixty to seventy-five bushels per hour. The Chicago Board of Trade says: “We pronounce it the most thorough and practical Separator for general use that we have seen operate.”

They keep, also, all the most valuable implements made for the convenience of farms, such as corn planters, cultivators, plows, harrows, etc. they have a very large stock of saddlery, hardware, leather, shoemakers’ findings, saddles, bridles, harness, and everything usually kept in a saddlery and leather establishment. It will well replay farmers to call on them and make a tour through their large and well-filled premises on Short Street [Broadway]. The long experience of the gentlemen of the firm enables them to announce that, knowing the wants of the farmers of Illinois, the intend keeping on hand the coming season a stock of Seed and Agricultural implements that cannot be surpassed in the State. The largest variety of garden seed now on hand, for sale. Ladies will find all the appliances for floriculture at Drury, Caine & Co. Give them a call.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 24, 1865
The immense lime trade of Alton is rapidly removing the grand old rocks, and transmuting them into lime, putting it in barrels and shipping it to hundreds of less-favored localities. Great changes have taken place within a few years’ past. The pictured rocks, with the rough sketches of the Piasa Bird and the Elk, and the point of rocks at the old Mill, where poor Seaman committed suicide, and the old Mill itself, are all among the things that were. The quarrymen have gradually wrought away the solid rock, until space for a fine levee has made its appearance, and visions of large warehouses and an extensive shipping business, in the not very distant future, arise before you. Who can foretell the probable extent of trade which may one day be transacted upon the former site of those grand old cliffs of bygone days? Energy and enterprise will surmount all difficulties. Speed the day when our citizens may be infused with a small portion of each.


Patterson’s Iron Works
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 31, 1865
Through the kindness of Mr. James Patterson, proprietor of Patterson’s Iron Works, we had the pleasure of witnessing the first trial of this new thresher and separator. The test took place on the farm of Mr. J. R. Isett at Godfrey. When we arrived, the machine was running freely – the gearing working as smoothly as could be wished. The whole arrangement worked in the most perfect order and regularity, and after some slight changes, the cleaning was done in the most satisfactory manner. It threshed and cleaned fifty bushels of wheat in one hour, with but six horses – and four of them perfectly unused to the work.

Gentlemen who have been acquainted with the management and use of either machine, for the past ten years, gave their free and unhesitating opinion as to the superiority of the “Star of the West” over all others. The machine combines the good qualities of some other threshers with improvements made by Mr. C. B. Brown of Alton, and bids fair to become a great favorite with farmers. The fact that the workmen stand upon the ground, instead of being elevated upon a high platform as in other machines, and the horizontal gearing of the power are considered great improvements. The sides of the machine are solid and permanent, and will be very durable. The work of threshing and separating was most thoroughly and well done. Mr. James Patterson has the contract for building them, and intends having them ready for the coming harvest. We believe they will soon become very popular with our country friends.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 7, 1865
Mr. John Simpson on Second Street [Broadway] keeps four of the finest billiard tables in the West, and they are well kept. We often hear the remark made that if you want a quiet, social game of billiards, call upon John Simpson on Second Street, and you will be suited. The bar is supplied with the very best of wines, liquors and cigars. The whole saloon is a cook, pleasant retreat. If you want a pleasant hour at billiards, go and see John.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 7, 1865
Mr. W. S. Betts has fitted up rooms in the basement of the U. S. Express building on State Street, where he will keep constantly on hand a large and excellent stock of Wines, Whisky, Ale, and a full variety of liquors, cigars, etc.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 7, 1865
Mr. P. B. Whipple has been many years a dry goods dealer in Alton, and most of these years he has occupied the same stand on the corner of Third and State Streets. Through all the changes which have taken place in other firms in that trade, he has occupied the same stand. Thousands have passed through the portals of the old brick corner to stand before his counter and have their various wants, in his line, satisfied. We never heard of one who regretted the thought that induced them to enter there. On the other hand, we have heard numbers speak of the liberal and gentlemanly dealing of the proprietors. Mr. Whipple is now receiving his Spring stock of goods, which have been bought within the past ten days under the most favorable circumstances, and which he will sell at retail at greatly reduced prices. The ladies of Alton and vicinity will find a most beautiful assortment of the latest styles of all articles of which they may stand in need. Besides the personal supervision of Mr. Whipple, the well-known gentleman, Mr. Joseph Briggs, and a corps of polite and experienced clerks will be in constant attendance upon customers. Don’t pass by the corner of Third and State without calling on P. B. Whipple & Co.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 21, 1865
Mr. H. B. Bowman on Third Street is the oldest dry goods merchant of Alton. For the past twenty-five years, he has been continuously in the dry goods trade in Alton. For many years his stand was on Second Street [Broadway], but as the march of improvement progressed, he removed to his present stand, where he has always kept a very large stock of superior goods. He has just received his spring and summer stock of dry goods, notions, carpets, oil cloths, ladies and children’s shoes, gaiters, etc., selected by the most experienced hands. Mr. Richard Clement, late of St. Louis, has become interested in this house, and Mr. Bowman and Mr. Clement, assisted by a polite and gentlemanly corps of clerks, will be ever ready to supply the wants of either ladies or gentlemen, on the most favorable terms. We would advise our readers to call at Mr. Bowman’s, and look at his new stock, as it is no trouble to show goods. See their handsome advertisement in this issue.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 21, 1865
By invitation of our friend, Connor, we had the pleasure yesterday of a ramble through the extensive agricultural manufacturing works of Messrs. Hanson & Co., on Front Street. We found a large force of workmen – the best the country affords – all busy, each upon their appropriate position of the several machines of which the proprietors are manufacturers. Threshing machines in all the various stages of completion were visible, while cultivators and fanning mills were also being placed together and rapidly approaching completion. It is well worth the while of any person to visit these extensive works and take a stroll through them.

The first and principal machine made there is the celebrated Pitts’ Patent or Champion Separator. This machine has been manufactured in this shop for the past 12 or 14 years, and the arrangements for manufacture are of the most complete and convenient character. A great improvement has been added this season in a new gearing, for which the proprietors have applied for a patent. It is said to be the best in use. The machine is also improved in many other respects, and we are informed that the firm feels certain of filling all orders for these excellent machines and their no less celebrated horsepowers, at short notice. The “Uncle Sam Separator” is also manufactured here. This separator needs only a trial by any intelligent farmer to insure him as a purchaser. It is durably and well made of the best materials, and performs the work of separating seed with the greatest satisfaction. This is destined to become – in fact, is already – a great favorite with the farmers of the West. They have already filled several large orders, and are now filling one for one hundred of these valuable labor-saving implements.

They are manufacturing this season a number of Leeper & Kidder’s Patent Corn Cultivators, one of the greatest labor-saving agricultural machines of this or any other age. The demand is great for them, and orders must be sent in early to insure a supply. Hundreds of this cultivator have been sold in Illinois, and they have everywhere given the greatest satisfaction.

There are constantly employed in all departments of the works, about 60 men. By a variety of improvements made this season in their tools and machinery, double the work is done by the same number of hands. The entire works are driven by an excellent and beautiful 80-horsepower steam engine, which has driven the works constantly for the past ten years, and is more steady and reliable than many much younger. The foundry is most perfect, and supplied with the very best workmen that can be found. A heat(?) takes place every other day, in which the endless variety of castings are made for the different machines. The blacksmith furnaces are all supplied with air from a fan running by steam. A large trip hammer for the manufacture of teeth for the threshing machine cylinder is also located in this department, and does the work of many hands. The lathes for iron work are all situated on the lower floor in the main building, and comprise all the improvement of the day. This is verily a busy, noisy room. The upper floors are occupied by the woodwork and finishing departments, all in the best and most convenient condition for the manufacture of agricultural implements. The yard and sheds are filled with timber, all ready to be put together in the different machines. With their present facilities, the proprietors can fill orders for an almost unlimited number of threshers, fanning mills, and corn cultivators. The public will find the gentlemen of the firm of Hanson & Co. always punctual and liberal in their dealings, and will find their machines inferior to none in the Union.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 28, 1865
The Franklin Marine and Fire Insurance Co. has recently been organized in Alton with a paid up and amply secured capital of one hundred thousand dollars. The Directors are among our most influential citizens, and are also Directors of the Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the office of which will also be the principal office of this company, and the business will be conducted by the same officers. Owing to the increase of insurable property, application for amount of insurance in the Illinois Mutual is frequently in excess of the sum allowed by the charter to be taken in one risk. The Directors design to accommodate such applicants with reliable insurance in the amount desired, by placing such excess in the Franklin.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 12, 1865
Mr. Jack Williams, well known to our citizens, has bought out Mr. C. Barbour, and will hereafter conduct the Mercantile himself. The location is well known to all who have had occasion to visit our city for the past few years, and entering there, none go away hungry. The billiard tables are of the best make and kept in fine order. Mr. Williams will be assisted by H. D. King, Esq., and between them customers will be faithfully and well attended to. Success, say we, to Jack Williams and the Mercantile.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 19, 1865
The rooms occupied by Captain Fry, A. Q. M., and clerks, at Mrs. Avis’, were entered last night by burglars, and all the money, jewelry, pistols, knives, trunk keys, &c., taken from the clothing of the persons sleeping in the rooms. The keys to the office safe were taken, the office entered afterwards, and twelve thousand, five hundred dollars in public funds stolen. It was a bold robbery, and most successfully executed. The key to the office was missed night before last, but was supposed to be mislaid. A person was heard to go upstairs to the room where they slept, in Mrs. Avis’ house, last night about 8:30 o’clock, but it was supposed at the time that it was one of the inmates of the room, and it is probably the person was secreted under one of the beds, when the clerks retired about 11:00 o’clock. Captain Fry was in St. Louis, and has not yet returned.

Mr. Munger lost a gold hunting case ladies watch, for which he offers $50 reward if returned, and no questions asked. The number of the watch is “16,802 – Fred Nicond maker.”

Immediate steps were taken to detect the robbers. The event has created quite a sensation, and elicited many speculations as to who the burglars were, but at this present writing, no trace of the culprits had been discovered.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 26, 1865
There is much excitement on the corner of Alby and Fifth Streets this afternoon. It seems that this morning a little boy picked up a roll of greenbacks at the edge of the pond at the corner of the streets above named, and a short time after, a pocket book containing a small amount of money was picked up in the same locality. The energetic Provost Marshal of the Post, Captain Newstadt, at once had a squad of prisoners detailed to drain the pond, and they are now diligently at work. It is supposed that the money found is a portion of the government funds stolen from Captain T. W. Fry’s office on the night of the 11th instant.

A large crowd gathered in the afternoon yesterday, to watch the proceedings of the military authorities in draining a pond on the corner of Fifty and Alby Streets. The water ran quite rapidly through the channel cut across the road, and washed a deep rut through Fifth Street to Market, where is poured into a sewer, and thence under that street down into the square opposite the railroad depot, and into the culvert. Although there was a constant stream running, the water in the pond did not fall to the level of the channel until near 12 o’clock at night, up to which time a number of persons were stirring about the premises. A military guard was stationed around the pond all night. About daylight, the crowd again commenced gathering, and as soon as it became light, the body of a man was discovered lying face downward in the water, a short distance from the road. A number of tracks, evidently made by him in entering the water, were …. [unreadable] … in the mud. Various surmises ……. to the mystery.

About 8 o’clock, Coroner …….. summoned a jury, and the corpse ….. from the water. Upon examination ….., it was found that several …. Had been inflicted upon the deceased about the face, but in his opinion, some of them were sufficient to cause death. The jury, Mr. R. W. Atwood, foreman, held an inquest upon the body, and closely examined the tracks, made by the deceased, as is supposed, and then adjourned until 3 o’clock this afternoon to give time for summoning witnesses in the case. At that time, the jury again met, and at this present writing are proceeding with the investigation. We defer further remarks until after the verdict of the jury is brought in.

The Pond Mystery – Verdict of the Jury
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 26, 1865
We give below the verdict of the Coroner’s Jury, in regard to the man found in the pond on the corner of Alby and Fifth Streets. The man was buried in a plain coffin by the coroner, P. F. Regan, Esq.

“We, the undersigned, appointed by Patrick F. Regan, Coroner of Madison County, Illinois, a jury, to hold an inquest over the dead body of an unknown man found in the pond at the corner of Alby and Fifth Streets in the city of Alton, Illinois, this (Saturday) morning, make the following report, viz:

The body appears to the jury to be that of an Irishman, about 40 years of age; about five feet, ten inches in height; broad shoulders; stout frame; estimated to weigh 185 pounds; coarse, dark hair; blue eyes; smooth shaven face; left upper front tooth gone; and appears to the jury to have been in the water some two or three days. Deceased is clad in a red, woolen overshirt, plaided with black stripes about one half inch apart; white agate buttons. Beneath this is a woolen undershirt of clay color, with dim, drab stripes running lengthwise, about one-half inch apart, with lavender-colored agate buttons. Dark cassimere pants, buttoned around waist, with a yellowish-brown stripe (ribbed) running lengthwise; patches on both knees. Beneath these a pair of coarse, knit, gray woolen drawers. No other clothing. Three marks of violence were found upon the head, apparently made with a sharpish instrument, penetrating to, but not puncturing the skull – one in the center of the back of head, one a little to the left of center of forehead, the other in corner of cavity of the eye, between right eyebrow and base of nose.

After testimony of Thomas Biggins, Mary Goodall, Angeline Mack, Margaret Thompkins, William Cooper, James O’Brien, Barney Riley, James Gibson, and James Chandler, and the report of the examining surgeon, Dr. Skillman, ‘that the wounds were insufficient to cause death,’ we, the jury, find a verdict that deceased came to his death by means unknown to us.”  Signed Roger W. Atwood, Foreman; Mich Steiner, Edwin Clement, Lawrence Duno, J. W. Van Cleve, James Kidwell, James Gray, C. O’Connell, John Leyser, L. Flacheneker, Paul Walter, and John R. Nesbit.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, June 23, 1865
Colonel Solomon Pruitt, now in his 74th year, called upon us a day or two since, from whom we gathered the following information: He came from Tennessee to this State in the year 1807, and settled near the junction of the Alton and Terre Haute Railroad, in the neighborhood of which he still resides. He has walked all over the site where Alton now stands, long before there was a house erected, or the slightest sign of human habitation visible. Wild game of every kind was at that time, very abundant, and he sustained his family for two years after settling there almost exclusively upon it. He took an active part as a soldier in the War of 1812, and also in the war with Black Hawk. He was chosen Colonel by a regiment which went from this part of the State to take part in the latter war. He raised a large family and although becoming quite feeble physically, he yet retains in vigorous exercise all of his mental faculties and has taken an active interest in behalf of his country during the last conflict for its life and against the traitors who were trying to destroy its true institutions. He voted against the introduction of slavery into this State when it was first organized and he still abhors the system of human slavery with all its attendant _______ and _________ influences.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 18, 1865
Two persons, one named Myers, accused of stealing from E. H. Goulding, and the other, named Taylor, horse thief, confined in the same cell in the city jail, sawed through the grated door of the cell last night and gained the large room, but while trying to force the outer door, were overheard and secured. The saw was furnished to the prisoners by Taylor’s wife, and she was today arrested and tried before Squire Regan, and bound over to the next term of court.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 25, 1865
Dr. S. Hull was robbed last night of his pocket book, containing about $50.00. ….. [ unreadable ] …. House and stated that he was sick and wished to stop. The Doctor kindly supplied his wants, nursed and doctored him, and he grew better under the treatment. He gave his name as Walter Banks, and said he had been a member of the 1st Missouri Cavalry. Last night, he left the premises, taking with him all the money the Doctor had about him. A reward of $25 will be paid for the arrest of the thief and securing of the money. A neighbor of the Doctor’s was robbed of $45 the night previous, and it is now supposed that the same man committed both robberies. He is about 22 years of age, 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, pale complexion, and thin from recent sickness, sandy hair, one eye has been injured by a shot and the sight is totally destroyed. Had on a round top black hat, blue blouse, butternut pants and half-worn calf boots.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 25, 1865
Alton yesterday evening seemed to be filled with drunken men, who were very noisy and boilsterous. We noticed one in particular, as we were passing the confectionery store of Mr. Joesting on Second Street [Broadway]. Two men came into his store about 7 o’clock – one dressed in what appeared to us to be a cavalry suit, the other as a citizen – and called for something to drink. On being informed that there was no liquor kept there, the former grew very abusive, calling the clerk everything he could think of, using the most vulgar and indecent language possible, and on being requested to go out of the store, dared the clerk to undertake to put him out, at the same time drawing a revolver, and flourishing it around in a very careless manner. He finally went out and vented his rage on some little children, who were standing in front of the store, by throwing rocks at them, after which he passed down the street, cursing at every step. We think it is time that something was done in regard to drunken men on our streets. If men will furnish them liquor, they should at least be made to provide sufficient straw for them to roll in until they become sober.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 22, 1865
There was a woman strolling about yesterday, between Belle and State Streets, on Seventh Street, in a most beastly state of intoxication. It is sufficiently painful and humiliating to behold a man in a state of inebrincy, but it is much more so to see a woman in that condition. But King Alcohol is no respecter of person. He treats all alike who serve him, whether they be high or low, rich or poor, male or female, white or black. The only way to escape his devasting and terrible demoralizing influence is by scrupulously avoiding his charmed and fascinating dominations.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 13, 1865
Riding on horseback is a useful, as well as graceful means of exercise too much neglected by young ladies. A canter for a few miles is a most admirable promoter of female beauty and health. The cheeks, the eyes, the lips, and every feature of the fair equestrian when she dismounts possesses that fresh and sparkling grace, which is one of the most important requisites of female loveliness, and which can be imparted only by the purity of the blood and its brisk and equal circulation, which are produced by temperance [no alcohol] and exercise. The pale, sickly, languid countenance of that lady whose hours of leisure have been passed without occupation in her chamber or to listlessly lounging upon a sofa or couch may present attractions to such as have selected their standard of beauty from among the victurns of a fashionable round of dissipation, but every man of sense and genuine taste will prefer the ruddy glow of health, the active, agile step and exuberant gaiety of her who is accustomed to spend some time every day in active exercise on foot or on horseback in the open air.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 24, 1865
It is now generally believed that if Alton is ever to become a city of any considerable size and importance, it must be brought about by making it, to a large extent, a manufacturing center. It possesses many rare advantages for enterprises of this character, and those who have engaged in them have been successful.

The old and well-known firm of Hanson & Co., the manufacturers of Pitts Thresher and Separators, have been engaged in business here for more than twenty-five years, and their work is to be found in all parts of this State, Iowa, and Missouri, and has proved highly remunerative to the proprietors. They have now one of the most complete and perfect machine shops to be found this side of Chicago, and furnish employment to a large number of hands.

The Illinois Iron Works, carried on by our enterprising and worthy fellow-citizen, James Patterson, is doing an extensive business, and as its reputation for executing good work becomes better known, its patronage increases, until he now has all the work which he has machinery and capacity for doing.

Messrs. Dunford & Brooks Foundry and Machine Shop, although but very recently commenced and on a very large and extensive scale, has more work than the proprietors know how to get through with.

The Alton Woolen Factory, by Mr. Nichols, although it has been running but comparatively a short time, is doing an immense business, and is turning out as fine cloth as can be purchased anywhere in the country. Owing to the large demand for goods from this establishment, the proprietors have made, during the last summer, very extensive additions to their buildings and machinery, but still they cannot supply the increased demand for their fabrics.

It is not necessary for us to speak of the success of those engaged in the milling, brewing, and distilling business, for all of our readers know these enterprises have proved preeminently successful, and those engaged in them have accumulated large fortunes.

The tobacco manufactory of Messrs. Meyers & Drummond, although comparatively new, is doing a large and remunerative business, and has already become one of the institutions of our city.

But time would fail us to speak particularly of all the manufactories in our city, but we will say, in brief, that so far as we are informed, everything of the kind attempted in Alton is doing remarkably well, and the demand for the work turned out by them is constantly on the increase. There is no place in the West which has better facilities for shipping manufactured articles than Alton. We have communications by the Mississippi River to all points south; to the north and the northwest by the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers; and the west by the Missouri. Our railroad facilities are also very great, and are unsurpassed by few places in the country. The Alton and Chicago Railroad opens up to us all of the interior of the State, between this and Chicago, and by its connecting as it does with the Great Western Road, our manufactured articles can reach all the eastern portion of the State in that direction. By the Alton & Terre Haute Road, with its connections with the Illinois Central, we have an outlet to the borders of Indiana, and from Pana through all that fine section of country to Cairo, in the South. To the South, we have communications to St. Louis and Belleville almost every hour in the day. And now, in addition to these important facilities, we have just had opened to us, or soon will have, all that fine and productive section of country lying between this place and Jacksonville; and it will not be long before we shall be directly connected by railroad communication with Peoria and Rock Island.

With such facilities for shipping as we have thus furnished to us, added to our other great advantages for manufacturing, such as the cheapness of fuel, house rent, and opportunities for cheaply and readily getting the raw material, we never should permit one bushel of wheat, corn or rye to be shipped from this point until after it is manufactured. The same also may be said in reference to the immense quantities of wool, which is now being produced in this vicinity. Neither is there any necessity for shipping cotton directly by here to an eastern market, and then going there and ordering it back in a manufactured state. The people of the West, by their lack of enterprise in this respect, are impoverishing themselves and enriching the eastern manufacturers. We have the facilities, and the capital, and there is no reason under the sun why we should not be able to manufacture all of our cotton domestics cheaper than it can be done in the East. There is a fortune for any enterprising firm which will commence a cotton mill in Alton. Who will step forward and claim it?


Source: Madison County Gazette, 1866
Patterson's Iron Works were established by Stigleman & Co. some years since as the Illinois Iron Works. They came into the possession of Mr. James Patterson in 1863, and the name changed as above. The Works occupy a large brick building, 100x45 ft. and four stories high, as a machine shop, a second 75x45 as a foundry, with a smith shop 50x28 ft., with a capacity for the employment of one hundred workmen. Mr. Patterson now employs about forty workmen in the manufacture of threshers, engines, sugar mills, saw mills, and all kinds of mill machinery. He has recently purchased the right of an excellent thresher that is already becoming very popular among the farmers of the West.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 26, 1866
The Steam Crackery Bakery of Mr. H. N. Kendall is now in complete operation throughout, and is turning out a choice variety of crackers. Our merchants generally obtain their supplies at this house, and private families find it very convenient to have the best of fresh crackers so handy. The enterprise of Mr. Kendall deserves a large pecuniary return, and we are satisfied our citizens and the people of the surrounding country are inclined to patronize home manufactures.


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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 16, 1866
At about half past one o’clock this morning, a fire broke out in the second or third story of the three-story brick building on the northwest corner of Third and Piasa Streets, and consumed the building with nearly all its contents, and also the frame carpenter shop on the north. The cellar and first story of the brick building contained David Simms’ stock of drugs, &c. The second story was occupied in front by the Democrat editorial office, and in the rear by the Beobachter editorial and printing office, and the third story as a printing office, in connection with the Democrat. The brick building belonged to Ninian W. Edwards, Esq., of Springfield, and the carpenter shop to Messrs. Armstrong & Pfeiffenberger, and contained a quantity of unfinished work.

Isaac Scarritt & Co.’s stock of goods in the adjoining building was all removed to the opposite side of the street, but sustained no further damage than that incident to the removal. For a time, the danger to the property between Piasa and Belle Streets, on the North side of Third Street, was imminent, but the timely and efficient aid of the Altona and Washington Engines, especially the former, and the falling of the printing press from the third story, crushing the floors and carrying with it most of the combustible material, prevented such a catastrophe.

The cool, energetic, and judicious efforts of the firemen on this occasion merits the warmest commendation of the city, and we hope the City Council will give it expression.

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 2, 1866
We learn that the owners of the ground contemplate the erection of two new buildings on the corner of Third and Piasa Streets, formerly occupied by Simms Drugstore. We have not been informed as to the details, but presume the buildings will be such as to reflect credit upon the city and builders. The corner building, we understand, is to be re-erected by N. W. Edwards of Springfield, and the adjoining one by Messrs. Armstrong & Pfeiffenberger of Alton.

Source: Alton Telegraph, May 4, 1866
Our old and well-known druggist, David Simms, has now got his new store thoroughly fitted up, and everything in perfect apple pie order. He has also, as will be seen by a notice in another column, just received a very complete and new stock of goods, and is better prepared to accommodate his old friends and the public generally, than ever before. Be sure and give him a call at his new store on State, directly opposite Third Street.

The owner of the building on the northwest corner of Piasa & Third Streets was Ninian Wirt Edwards Jr., son of Ninian Wirt Edwards Sr., former Governor of Illinois Territory, Illinois Senator, and Governor of Illinois (and whom Edwardsville is named after). Ninian Jr. served as Attorney General of Illinois, Illinois Representative, and Illinois Senator. He erected a new building on the site. Gouldings Jewelry Store occupied the new building from 1870 – 1895. In later years, Vogue Clothing Store was located on the corner, and recently, Tony’s Restaurant.  The Simms Drugstore was moved to State Street, directly opposite Third Street.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 23, 1866
We heard this morning of a most fiendish attack on Monday night in Alton, by a husband, while intoxicated, on his wife – with intent to kill. The facts as we learned them are about as follows (we suppress the names of the parties for the sake of the feelings of the wife, who is a highly educated and worthy lady):

The husband came into the room where the wife was sitting with an infant in her arms, and after a few words, used several abusive epithets, and then drew a pistol from his pocket and swore that he intended to kill her. She jumped up and endeavored to make her escape, when he struck her across the head with the pistol, which inflicted a severe wound. She succeeded, however, in giving the alarm. Assistance came, but it was with great difficulty he was prevented from accomplishing his murderous purpose. There not being sufficient help at hand to arrest him, he was ejected from the house, and two writs issued for his arrest – one by the wife and one by the occupant of the house where the assault was committed. But he has not as yet been arrested, although it is said that he is still in the neighborhood, and swears that he will yet kill her.

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 2, 1866
[Note: about half of this article was missing.]
We are informed by Marshal Steiner that he succeeded on last evening in arresting the man of whom we gave an account yesterday, as having attempted to take the life of his wife. The Marshal saw him walking up Piasa Street, and called the man to stop, but instead of doing this, ….. to his heels and ran into the ….. opposite the Chicago ….. the Marshal followed as _____ as possible, but found the ______ revolver drawn as if to shoot. ______ immediately seized him ____ with one hand, and pointed the pistol at the fellow headed ______ submitted, and was _____ night to await his trial.

Since the above was ____ that a trial was had _____ after hearing the _____ was bound over in ______bonds, to stand his _____ term of court, for as _____ with intent to kill. _______ he was com_______ await his trial. We did not ____________,


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 9, 1866
It gives us pleasure to state that our deserving and enterprising fellow-citizens, Messrs. Myers & Drummond, whose factory was destroyed by fire a few weeks since, have succeeded in purchasing the large and commodious building just below the Alton House, and generally known as the Walker Pork House, and intend fitting it up at once for their business. We congratulate them on getting such a good location for their manufactory, and our citizens on having this extensive business re-opened in our city. Alton could not well afford to lose a firm who employ as many hands and bring as much business here as this extensive manufactory.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 23, 1866
In addition to some larger manufactories, we understand that Messrs. Althoff & Sneeringer will commence the manufacture of tubs, buckets, and all other kinds of wooden ware, usually made in such establishments. Their machinery has already been purchased and is now on its way here. We have not yet learned definitely where they will locate their establishment, but have understood that they anticipate taking John H. Smith’s large packing house on Piasa Street for that purpose.

Mr. T. M. Boyle has just removed his extensive stock of boots and shoes into the building lately occupied by Messrs. Phinney & Barr on Third Street, and contemplates opening in the upper stories of the building an extensive manufactory of boots and shoes. Such an establishment in Alton has long been needed, and we hope the enterprising gentleman who has undertaken it may succeed beyond his most sanguine anticipations.

The manufacturing of carriages by Mr. Rodemeyer on Third Street, between Piasa and Market, and by Mr. Purdy, on Belle Street, is prosecuted on a very extensive scale, and they have a large number of skillful men in their employ. This kind of work, until a short time back, was all done in the old penitentiary.

The wagon making business is also being very extensively carried on in Alton at this time. The Messrs. Mellin have very extensive facilities for their manufacture, and also for that of plows and other agricultural implements. Mr. Richardson on Belle Street also turns out a great many wagons from his shop. This business was also, up to a short time since, monopolized by the penitentiary. We shall speak further on this subject at some future time.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 6, 1866
We yesterday visited the building which Messrs. Sneeringer & Althoff are fixing up for their Wooden Ware Manufactory on Piasa Street. They are completely overhauling the entire building, repairing and renovating it from bottom to top. It was certainly an Augean stable, but industry, perseverance, and the whitewash brush will prove sufficient to the task.

They are also engaged in preparing for putting up their machinery, which was purchased in the East, and is of the very best make in the country. It is now on its way out. But the enterprising and deserving proprietors will not be thoroughly prepared to commence operations before the middle of June. It is their expectation to employ from seventy-five to one hundred hands in the business.

This will be a very important enterprise for Alton, and we hope our people will take particular pains to make everything as pleasant and agreeable as possible to all those who show a willingness to build up our city, if the facilities which it affords for extensive manufactories of almost every kind is only improved as they ought to be.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 13, 1866
We would call the attention of the Cemetery Committee of the Common Council to the fact that the city burying ground is frequented by large flocks of chickens daily, which are playing havoc with the flowers and shrubbery which are planted in the lots. Something must be done, and at once, to stop this outrage on the feelings of the afflicted. It cannot, and should not be expected that the friends of the dead will take pains to make the grounds attractive and pleasant, if they are thus foiled in their labors of love. The Assistant Superintendent of the cemetery ought to be clothed with such legal authority as would enable him to apply some radical remedy which will effectually abate the nuisance. We hope this matter will receive the attention of the proper authorities immediately.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 1, 1866
It is with much pleasure that we direct the attention of the public to the advertisement of this establishment, to be found in another column. It will be seen that its proprietors are now prepared to receive wool, and manufacture by the yard or on shares, and that they have $50,000 worth of woolen goods on hand which they will exchange for wool on very liberal terms. Consisting of cloths, cassimeres, kerseys, satinets, jeans, linseys, shirting, sheeting, flannel, blankets, and balmoral skirts, etc., which they propse to sell cheaper than they can be bought for in the Eastern markets.

We have lately examined some of the cloths manufactured at this establishment, and find them fully equal in finish and texture to any goods imported from the East, and far more durable. A farmer told us some time since that he had been purchasing all his wearing material for several months from the mill, and that he felt safe in saying that owing to its much greater durability, it was cheaper to buy there, even if he had to pay double the price, than to purchase the shoddy imported from the East.

The proprietors of this establishment deserve much credit for being the first to practically demonstrate the face that good and desirable woolen goods can be manufactured so as to be sold cheaper on the banks of the Mississippi than it can in New England. Be sure and read the advertisement referred to.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 15, 1866
In the proceedings of our City Council on the 4th inst., I notice a formal whereas and resolve in regard to the condition of our Harbor, resulting in the appointment of a committee to examine the matter and report a plan of improvement. This is not the first time that this question has been agitated in our City Council, and a committee have been appointed who paddled about the harbor and sounded the channel to no purpose. Is any person so stupid as to suppose that our bankrupt city can afford to force the current to hug our shore and curve around the obstructions that have been for years, and are now being thrown into the river at and above the site of Mitchell’s Mill?

Suppose there was a city on the Missouri shore, opposite Alton, that needed deep water at the landing, and twelve old women of that city were called upon to devise means to improve the harbor – would they not conclude at once that all they had to do was to remain quiet, as long as there were fifty men, at the point of rocks above our landing, throwing rock, lime and ashes into the river, because that was just the thing that would destroy our landing and improve their own – they could even afford to pay Alton liberally for these deposits, and these sensible old women would see it at once.

Any person that knows anything about the Mississippi River knows that all our city had to do was to fill in and make the levee according to Hunt’s survey, as established by ordinance, commencing (as the city has) at the Penitentiary landing, running on a straight line southeast to a point wide out on the sandbar below Henry Street, filling in a wide levee below and prohibiting any filling above, then the river would have been assisted to hug our shore, as it always has done from its own accord before white men set foot in Alton. I am aware that according as the river is high or low, there will be sandbars made and washed away, but I contend there is no reason for believing that the channel would leave our landing if we would leave to the bare native rocks to guide it, which the drift and its waters have made smooth by rubbing and washing for thousands of years.

It is nonsense to query and counsel how to remedy an evil that has grown out of our own neglect. The nutshell question of the whole matter is – is it the duty of the City Council, for the accommodation of a stone quarry and lime kiln, to suffer our landing (that has cost the city many thousands) to be ruined?

General Jackson was right when he said that the President and Congress should guard the interest of the whole people, and that crafty and selfish individuals must take care of themselves. Signed, “A Resident.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 17, 1866
We had the pleasure of visiting this morning the extensive wagon and carriage manufactory of Charles Rodemeyer on Third Street, between Piasa and Market. We knew that Mr. Rodemeyer had the most complete establishment of the kind in Southern Illinois, but had no adequate idea of the extent and capacity of his factory until this morning.

It is an establishment that Alton may well be proud of, both on account of its extend and the class of vehicles here manufactured. We were conducted through all the buildings, and beheld in every room specimens of workmanship which displayed the unrivaled skill and enterprise of the proprietor. In the showroom, our attention was particularly called to an elegant and beautifully finished carriage which they have just made to order. This carriage, in all its appointments, is complete. The inside is lined with silk, the cushions are covered with the same material and stuffing with hair, and in short, it is as convenient and luxurious as could be desired. It will be a running advertisement of the skill of the builder for years.

Mr. Rodemeyer employs a force of twenty-five skillful workmen, and all work done by him is warranted. His buildings are commodious and convenient, and his arrangements for executing orders are complete.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 19, 1866
Last night, about half past twelve o’clock, a fire broke out in a small building on Second Street [Broadway], adjoining Weigler’s Hall, and at the time, untenanted. The flames soon spread to two frame buildings adjoining, one of which was occupied by Mr. C. Long as a grocery store, and the other was used as a barber shop. These buildings were entirely consumed. A two-story brick building, occupied by Mr. Rogan as a saloon, was also badly damaged by the flames, but by the exertions of the firemen, was saved from being consumed. One of the houses burned belonged to Mr. L. Bickel, the other two to Mr. McArdle.

The buildings were probably not worth more than five or six hundred dollars apiece, and we understand were insured. Mr. Long lost the most of his stock, but was insured to some extent. The occupant of the barbershop, we did not learn his name, lost everything, including $150 in greenbacks. Mr. Rogan’s stock was considerably damaged by the hasty removal. He is insured in the Illinois Mutual. The fire was no doubt the work of an incendiary.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 19, 1866
At the meeting of the Common Council yesterday, Mr. F. Wendt, Chairman of the Pauper Committee, made a report in regard to the paupers, in which, among other things, was an agreement by the Sisters of Charity to take charge of the city paupers at $14 per month, and a recommendation that they and the poor house be placed under their charge, using our new edifice, erected for the poor, as a “pest” house. He also offered a resolution adopting the report – which was carried on the following vote: Ayes – Coppinger, Wendt, Biggins, Stultz, and Simms. Nays – McPike, Crossman, Atwood, and Seaton.

To show the significance of this vote, we will state that at the time this bill was passed, there were two bids from responsible parties lying on the table, offering to take charge of the paupers for $12 per month.

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 26, 1866
We were informed by two members of the Common Council that the yeas and nays were called on the passage of the resolution authorizing the Pauper Committee to remove the inmates of the Poor House to the Sisters’ of Charity Hospital, and were by them furnished with the names of those voting in the affirmative and negative. As the proceedings of the Council as printed failed to give this vote, we criticized the omission in suitable terms. But we observe that the City Clerk, Mr. F. Ferguson, in a card in the Democrat, denies that the yeas and nays were called. This is a matter for him and our informants to settle between themselves as best they may. For if the yeas and nays were called, as asserted by our informants, then our comments were just and proper; and if not, we would have taken great pleasure in setting the matter right before the public, when convinced that we had been misinformed, without the necessity of the concluding remark of Mr. Ferguson, who will probably find out as he grows older that it always looks and pays best to act like a gentleman.

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 26, 1866
Many of our citizens feel indignant at the passage of a resolution in the Common Council, proposing to make a pest house out of the building erected on the cemetery grounds, for the use of the paupers. But it has been suggested that, inasmuch as a Catholic priest in Hunterstown, declared a short time since, that no Christians were buried in the cemetery, but nothing except carrion, and as a majority of the Council, judging from their late acts, sympathize with him in this declaration, it would be unreasonable to expect they will have any more respect or regard for the living who visit those grounds, than they have for the dead who are buried there. If this is so, it is not surprising that they are willing to scatter the seeds of disease, pestilence, and death among those who are in the habit of frequenting those grounds, by taking patients there who have the cholera, smallpox, or other noxious and contagious diseases. It is certainly a new thing under the sun to establish a pest house within the city limits.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 26, 1866
Among the many recent improvements which will add greatly to the present and future prosperity of Alton, we know of none of more importance than the Alton City Mills, recently erected upon Second Street [Broadway] and Levee, by Messrs. Silas W. Farber and Captain Abraham McPike. The building is four stories high, and is one hundred feet in length by seventy-seven feet in width.

The mill is elegantly fitted up with all the modern improvements which the long experience and mechanical skill of the proprietors could suggest. The building has a very prepossessing exterior, and cost, with its milling appurtenances, $75,000. It is conveniently arranged for the receiving of grain from wagons, their being a passage through the mill, by means of which teams can enter at the south entrance, discharge their load, and pass out at the opposite door. The grain from the wagons is discharged into four weighing hoppers, which are arranged along the passageway. These hoppers are all connected with a general receiver below. This receiver is connected with an elevator.

The mill contains five run of burr, with a diameter of four feet, four inches, and capable of turning out 450 barrels of the best brand of flour per day. All the machinery and the arrangements for the receiving and elevating of grain, filling of barrels, &c., are the most complete that could be devised. The engines and boilers are located in the basement story.

Mr. Farber informs us that the mill is doing an excellent business, and from what we saw, we should judge that milling was an extremely profitable pursuit if well conducted. The large force of workmen, seemed this morning to have all they could do to keep up with the demands upon their skill.

We are happy to notice such evidences of the business prosperity of Alton, and trust that the enterprising proprietors will be eminently successful in their undertaking. Alton certainly has peculiar advantages for the prosecution of the milling business, and there is not doubt that those who follow it with energy and diligence will be amply financially rewarded.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 9, 1866
We noticed a few weeks since that the Messrs. Weaver had purchased the large brick building on the levee, opposite the old penitentiary, and were fitting it up as a grain elevator. We are now happy to state that this new enterprise has been completed, and that the elevator is in successful operation. The building is four stories in height, including the basement, and is admirably fitted up for accomplishing the work designed. The machinery is of the most approved pattern, with all the recent improvements which have been found of use in large elevators. The grain is received upon the first floor, where it is weighed and then passed down into the basement from whence it is raised to the highest story. The machinery is capable of elevating 5,000 bushels in twelve hours, and the building has an immense storage capacity. The proprietors are busy perfection their arrangements so as to commence shipping grain in bulk by the river, in the course of two or three weeks.

We are glad to chronicle the inauguration of this enterprise, and have no doubt of its proving an entire success. There is no point on the Mississippi with as great advantages, natural and acquired, for the shipment of grain in bulk as Alton, and the Messrs. Weaver deserve credit for their business tact in acting upon this fact. The St. Louis papers have lately been strongly advocating the establishment of elevators at East St. Louis, and any intelligent man can see that every argument for their erection at that point will apply with tenfold force to this city. Let our business men make a note of this fact. We believe we are correct in stating that the elevator just established here is the only one in the State located upon the Mississippi.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 23, 1866
Yesterday morning, about 6 o’clock, flames were discovered issuing from the brick buildings on Third Street, adjoining the Alton National Bank, and in spite of the efforts of the firemen and citizens, they were, in the course of two hours, entirely consumed. The buildings were occupied upon the first floor by J. A. Hart, clothier; Messrs. Gottlieb, dry goods dealers; and J. D. Sicher, also dealer in dry goods. The second floor was occupied by Messrs. Chaney & Levis, furniture dealers, in connection with their house on Belle Street. They were the property of Dr. Thomas M. Hope. The buildings were connected in the rear with the three-story building on Belle Street, next to the bank, and also owned by Dr. Hope. This building was occupied on the first floor by Mr. Kleinpeter as a saloon, and the adjoining storeroom was vacant. The second story consisted of offices, and the third story was the Hall of the order of Odd Fellows, English and German Lodges. This building was badly injured internally by the fire – the third story and part of the second being entirely gutted – but, by the unparalleled exertions of the firemen and citizens, was finally saved.

The bank, the building occupied by Clarkson & Co. on Belle Street, and the new building immediately adjoining these burned on the east, were in imminent danger. The bank, however, on account of having a fireproof wall and roof, was uninjured, but the deposits and valuables were removed as a precautionary measure. Messrs. Clarkson & Co. packed up some of their goods, but did not find it necessary to remove them. Mr. Kleinpeter removed his stock. The books and papers of Mr. W. C. Flagg, Collector, were also removed, as was the property in several offices of the buildings endangered.

The loss of Dr. Hope was very heavy, partially covered by an insurance of $10,000. The stock of Mr. J. A. Hart was valued at about $17,000, insured for $8,000. Mr. Sicher’s loss was reported very heavy. We did not learn the amount of his insurance. The loss of Messrs. Gottleib is also heavy, with a small insurance of about $4,500.

Messrs. Chaney & Levis lost about $10,000 in stock, and were insured for about the same amount. Messrs. Clarkson & Co.’s loss is slight – insured. Mr. Kleinpeter’s loss not ascertained. It is impossible as yet to accurately give the full amount of the loss, the insurance officers not having as yet completed their estimates, but sufficient is known to rank it among the most disastrous fires that have visited the city for a long period.

On account of the situation of the burning buildings, it was only by the most strenuous exertions that the buildings in the vicinity were saved. Too much praise cannot be accorded to the firemen and citizens for their unwearied efforts to subdue the flames. The skill and gallantry of the firemen was the theme of universal comment. The members of the Altona, Washington, and Hook & Ladder Companies all did their duty nobly. The old Pioneer engine was also pressed into the work, and rendered very valuable and effective service.

The foresight and wisdom of the Common Council, in building those large cisterns on Third Street, were abundantly demonstrated on this occasion. Had it not been for the ample supply of water thus furnished, there is no telling how disastrous the fire might have proved. They undoubtedly saved a large part of the business portion of the city from destruction.

We are pleased to learn that Dr. Hope has already made arrangements to replace the buildings destroyed on an enlarged scale – his enterprise and promptness are worthy of commendation. The cause of the fire is involved in mystery. There is even a dispute as to which of the stores upon Third Street the fire originated. An investigation will probably make this point clear before long. We shall endeavor to give a correct account of the losses as soon as the insurance officers have completed their estimates.

The officers of the Alton National Bank, this morning, presented the Altona and Washington Engine Companies, and the Hook and Ladder Company, with a check for $50 each, as a token of their appreciation of their invaluable services at the fire yesterday morning.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 23, 1866
Last night, about 12 o’clock, the magnificent three-story brick building on Third Street, recently erected by Messrs. Kirsch & Scheiss, fell to the ground with a tremendous crash, and was rendered a complete wreck. Part of the west wall of the building, to the height of two stories, rested upon the east wall of the building adjoining, which was destroyed by fire on Sunday morning. This wall having been weakened by the fire, and the burning out of the supporting joists, proved not strong enough to bear the great pressure of the new building, and last night it gave way, and the whole building, in consequence, fell to the ground.

The building had been completed without, but was not entirely finished within. The cost was $10,000, and the loss must be very nearly total. The proprietors have an insurance upon it of $7,000, but we understand that there is some discussion as to whether the insurance policy will hold good in this case, although the destruction of the building was certainly caused, primarily, by the fire on last Sunday morning.

The fall of the building caused considerable damage to the adjoining house, just fitted up by Mr. Trenchery as a music store. The balconies in the rear were demolished, and the roof badly damaged. Most of the debris, however, fell upon the ruins of the buildings destroyed on Sunday morning, and into the street. It is fortunate that the accident did not occur in the daytime, as loss of life would almost inevitably have resulted to passersby.

It is to be hoped that builders and others will learn a much-needed lesson from this disaster, and that is to erect their buildings with walls independent of other structures. The walls of the Alton Bank were independent and fireproof, which accounts in a great measure for its escape from injury when the fire raged upon two sides of it. One great cause of the spread of conflagrations in the same block is that the fire is communicated from one building to another by means of the joists, in adjoining structures, resting upon the same wall. The total destruction of this splendid building was owing entirely to its west wall not being an independent one. The warning thus given is certainly grave enough to lead to an investigation as to the general safety of buildings thus constructed.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 30, 1866
On Saturday night last, as Mr. Aldried Kingsley, a workman in the employ of Mr. G. D. Sidway, was on his way to his boarding house, when near Henry Street, he was suddenly assailed by an unknown man, who before resistance could be offered, cut his throat from ear to ear, and then escaped. The wounded man was kindly cared for, and we learned this morning that there was some hope of his recovery. He is an unmarried man, and is entirely ignorant of any reason why he should be thus attacked. We are glad to learn from the proceedings of the Common Council that the city authorities are using their best endeavors to detect the perpetrator of this horrible outrage. No effort should be spared to secure the arrest and conviction of the guilty party.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 14, 1866
Messrs. Maupin and Quigley, the enterprising proprietors of the popular house on Belle Street known as China Hall, are determined not to be outdone by no establishment in the West, in the style, variety, elegance, and durability of their assortment of house furnishing goods. We were pleasantly surprised at noticing the extent of their stock and its adaptability in the wants of the Western trade. Their assortment of Chinaware ranges from sets of desirable stone china to the most stylish services. Their stock of cutlery is complete, and of the best materials. Of general house furnishing goods, they have a great variety of just such as are needed in every family. They are also well supplied with skates, sleds, etc. The public will do well to give Messrs. Maupin & Quigley a call.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 14, 1866
A most terrible calamity occurred yesterday afternoon at the pond near the State Street schoolhouse, by which three school children were drowned. The pond was covered with a thin coating of ice, and at the afternoon recess, some of the boys ventured upon the ice, and two of them – John J. Montie, aged ten years, and Robert B. Smiley, aged nine years, broke in. On hearing her brother’s cry for help, Orlan M. Montie rushed to the opening where he sank, and caught hold of him. Just then, the ice gave way under her, and she, too, sank. Although assistance was immediately summoned and every effort made by neighbors and passersby to rescue the children, they had been in the water fully half an hour before they could be gotten out. Two of the children were taken to the residence of Anson Platt, Esq., and every possible measure employed by physicians and friends to resuscitate them, but everything was in vain.

This is one of the saddest accidents we have ever had to record, and the sympathy of the whole community for the afflicted families has been excited by the calamity. The noble heroism of the girl, in endeavoring to rescue her drowning brother and losing her own life in the attempt, is above all praise. The sad fate of these children should be a warning to all, not to venture upon the ice while there is a doubt of its safety. We sincerely hope never again to be called upon to chronicle such a sorrowful occurrence.

The three children were all members of the Methodist Sunday School, and their funerals, together with that of another pupil of the school – a daughter of Mr. Henry Wissore – took place this afternoon from the Methodist Church. Dr. Frazier, the pastor, being absent, Rev. Mr. Jameson officiated, assisted by Rev. Dr. Taylor. Thus, four members of the Sunday School were buried at one and the same time.

The scholars from the public schools where the children attended came to the church in a body, as well as many pupils from other schools. The great number of children present, together with friends and neighbors, crowded the church to its utmost capacity. There were twenty-four pallbearers in all, eighteen from the Methodist Sunday School, and six from the public school. A sadder funeral has seldom been witnessed in Alton, and its lesson will probably be long impressed upon the minds of the children who were present.

[Notes: Burials of Robert B. Smiley, Orlan and John Monti, and the daughter of Henry Wissore, were in the Alton City Cemetery.]


Fire Destroys
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 25, 1867
Alton was last night visited by another disastrous conflagration. The buildings destroyed were two three-story houses on Second Street [Broadway], near Piasa – one of them owned by Mr. T. Biggins, and occupied by Mr. H. Slipe as a tobacco factory, and the other owned by Mr. A. G. Smith, and occupied on the first floor by Mr. A. L. Brennan as a billiard saloon. The second floor of this building was known as Liberty Hall, and the third was occupied by Mr. John Ratterton as a paint shop.

The fire broke out about midnight, and originated in the tobacco factory, but we have been unable to ascertain in what manner. The engines were promptly on the ground, but on account of the intense cold, it was some time before they could commence playing upon the flames, and such a headway had the fire by that time, that the buildings were soon totally consumed, in spite of all the efforts of citizens and firemen.

It is fortunate that the air was perectly still at the time, for had there been any wind, the conflagration would have doubtless spread to other buildings immediately adjoining, and in the vicinity. As it was, it was only by great exertions that the fire was prevented from crossing the alley and communicating to the buildings upon Third Street. The loss is very heavy, and partially covered by insurance. Most of the parties who suffered by the fire were insured with Messrs. Kellenberger & Dolbee.

Building to be Erected After Fire
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 8, 1867
Workmen this morning commenced the work of erecting buildings on Third Street, on the site of those destroyed by the fire, and preparations are also being made to rebuilt the fine business house of Messrs. Kirsch & Scheiss, which was destroyed by the falling of the walls. Dr. Hope, we understand, intends erecting two fine, three-story buildings in place of those burned, and we presume that the building of Messrs. Kirsch & Schweiss will be fully equal in appearance to the one destroyed. When these buildings are completed, they will add much to the appearance of Third Street, as well as assist in accommodating the demand for business houses. We hope to chronicle the erection of many more substantial and imposing edifices during the coming building season.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 25, 1867
We have been visited with a heavier fall of snow than that veracious individual, “the oldest inhabitant,” ever remembers to have seen before in Alton. The storm commenced on Saturday morning, and the snow fell steadily from that time until late last night, and this morning found the ground covered with some fifteen inches of snow on a level, giving to the city a decidedly arctic appearance. Our telegraphic reports state that the storm was very extensive, and was the heaviest of the season. The delays occasioned to railroad trains are innumerable, and it will probably be some days yet before the roads are entirely unobstructed. The yesterday evening’s train for Chicago did not leave St. Louis. The streets on Sunday were almost impassible for pedestrians, consequently the number of church goers was very small, and the evening service in most of the churches was suspended.

The possessors of fast horses and stylish cutters will doubtless enjoy several gala days before the snow departs. For the benefit of those of our readers who are not fortunate enough to own sleighs, we publish the following old substitute for a sleigh ride, which everyone can enjoy, viz: “Sit down in your hall in your night clothes, with both doors open, to secure a draft; put your feet in a tub of ice water, hold an icicle in each hand, shut your eyes and ring the dinner bell, and you can’t tell the difference between this operation and the original.”

The sleighing is all that the most exacting could desire. From morning till night, the streets are filled with every description of sleigh, from a dry goods box mounted upon runners, to the stylish cutter and the great four-horse sleigh. The evening air re-echoes with the joyous swells of the musical bells and the merry shouts of the pleasure seekers. The jangle of the sleigh bells and the peals of laughter blend more beautifully on a winter’s night, than did ever the voice of a serenade with the notes of his “light guitar.” But we had no intention of becoming sentimental, and will simply advise anyone who is skeptical on the subject of the pleasures of sleighing to try it.

Male and female relations may be judged accurately by their way of riding in a cutter. For instance, if you meet a couple, one of whom is a female and the other ‘aint, and the one that ‘aint trying to make figures with a whip on the snow, and squirting tobacco juice into the circles, while the woman looks straight ahead or leans a little t’other way, it may be safely set down as a man and wife of some time standing. If two youthful heads are bent down over some pretended curiosity on the robe, while the horse has the getting ahead wholly left to his own discretion, this indicates the first symptoms of a softening of the heart and generally of the brain. When you meet a dashing pair, with a team that is equally on the dash, ribbons all around the driver’s arms, with a mighty long whip in the socket, they may be set down as somebody else’s wife taking an airing with somebody else’s husband. When you see a blooming young widow snugging up to a beaver overcoat like a sick kitten to a hot brick, this means a wedding – if the widow can have her way about it.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 29, 1867
We had the pleasure yesterday of looking through the extensive hardware establishment of Messrs. Topping Bros. & Co., No. 26 and 27 Second Street [Broadway], and found that we had had but a very faint conception of the great extent of the business transacted by this house. The main building is three and a half stories high, exclusive of the basement, and is filled from cellar to garret with every description of goods pertaining to the hardware trade. Besides this, there are two buildings located on either side, one of them three stories in height, in each of which are stored large amounts of the timber used in wagon making, and the more bulky class of hardware. To give an adequate idea of the extent and variety of their stock is impossible in the limits of this notice, our readers can, however, form some idea of it from out statement of the amount of storage room it requires, and from the fact that it is by far the largest assortment of hardware, cutlery, and carriage and wagon materials to be found in the West. Even in Chicago and St. Louis there is no establishment that has a stock that can compare with this.

Messrs. Topping Bros. & Co.’s supply of pocket and table cutlery is imported directly from the manufacturers in England, and is unexcelled. Of mechanics’ and carpenters’ tools, farmers’ and gardeners’ implements, they have an endless variety – all direct from the manufacturers and of the best workmanship.

Some conception of the extent of their carriage and wagon stock can be formed from the statement that in this branch alone, they require the entire product of three large factories in Indiana. Of carriage trimmings and hardware, a large and complete assortment is kept, while of iron and steel of every description, they have a stock that is unrivaled in quality and variety.

This house has won an enviable reputation throughout the West, and we advise any of our readers who are skeptical in regard to Alton’s being a good point for transacting a profitable wholesale business to visit it and examine the extent of its stock, and note the enterprise and energy of its proprietors.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 19, 1867
About three o’clock this morning, flames were discovered issuing from the Real Estate and Insurance office of J. T. Rice in the City Hall building. The alarm was promptly sounded, and hose was laid to the fire from the cistern in the Altona Engine House, and water was forced through it without the engine’s being moved from the building. In this way, the flames were speedily subdued, and the magnificent edifice saved from destruction. The office was damaged to the amount of about three hundred dollars, and the furniture, &c., to about the same amount. Fortunately, all of Mr. Rice’s valuable papers were uninjured. It is thought that the fire originated from a large wooden spittoon, filled with sawdust, into which cigar stumps were sometimes thrown.

This was an exceedingly narrow escape for the city building, as the delay of a few moments on the part of the firemen, or the inability to obtain water at once, would inevitably have resulted in its destruction.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 26, 1867
A fire broke out this morning about four o’clock in the two-story brick building on Belle Street, near the corner of Fifth Street, occupied by Messrs. Chandler & Valkel as a candy manufactory, and also by Mr. P. M. Smith, who had therein a stock of notions and fancy dry goods. So great headway had the flames made when discovered, that it was impossible to save the building. The second story was occupied by Mr. Chandler and his family as a dwelling, and so rapid was the progress of the flames, that the inmates were obliged to make their escape in their night clothes, through the upper windows, by means of the ladders of the Hook and Ladder Company. Mr. Chandler himself jumped from a window to the ground, and sprained his ankle severely.

Through the great exertions of the firemen and their skillful handling of their apparatus, the buildings upon either side of the one destroyed were save, although they were in the greatest danger, and were several times in flames. We would learn nothing in regard to the probably origin of the fire.

The entire loss on the building and stock is estimated at not less than $10,000. The insurance is very small – Mr. chandler had $2,000 on the building, and nothing on his furniture and stock. Mr. Smith had an insurance of $1,000 on his stock. Much sympathy is expressed for Mr. Chandler in his great loss.

Thus, the record of another fire is added to the many that have visited our city within the last eight months, and although our fire companies use their hand machines with rare skill and success, still it certainly seems as if the City Council should lose no time in procuring a steam fire engine, and thus do what lies in their power to stay the course of the carnival of fire that has been going on in our midst for the last few months.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 3, 1867
One of the oldest and most extensive dry goods houses in Alton is that of P. B. Whipple & Co., corner of State and Third Streets. The store has recently been refitted and rearranged in the most convenient and agreeable style, and customers cannot find a pleasanter place in which to deal.

The Spring and Summer stock of goods of this establishment, now arriving, is unusually large, and comprises everything required to meet the demands of the local and country trade. All the goods have been selected with care, and are especially adapted to meet the wants of this community. To those of our readers who have a weakness for the best of goods at the lowest prices, we take pleasure in recommending this house.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 3, 1867
A young woman by the name of Mary Franklin, about twenty years of age, from Sparta, Randolph County, was on her way to Atlanta in this State, and reached Alton on the Terre Haute Railroad about sundown, on Monday night. On getting off the cars, she inquired the way to the Chicago & Alton Depot, and on reaching it, found that the train had gone, and that she could not leave until the next morning. Her next object was to find a boarding house where she could remain until the morning train, her means not being sufficient to justify her in going to a hotel. She therefore inquired of a young man she met if he could direct her to a boarding house. He told her that there was one above the Round House, and that he would show her the way, or words to that effect. She, suspecting no harm, accompanied him. After reaching the vicinity of the Round House, he managed, by refusing to give her her carpet sack, to detain her for a few minutes until he was joined by a companion, when the two – it being now quite dark – suddenly assaulted her, grasping her by the throat to prevent her from crying for help, and each in turn violated her person. They then robbed her of what little money she had and left her. Although almost crazed, she managed to reach the house of some persons living in the vicinity, where she was kindly cared for.

Yesterday, two young men named, respectively, James Motley and George Gent, were arrested on suspicion of having done the deed. Gent was tried in the afternoon before Justices Middleton and Quarton, when he was fully identified by the girl as one of the villains, and his guilt clearly established. He was sent to jail to await his trial next week before the Circuit Court at Edwardsville. Motley was tried this morning, but discharged, no evidence appearing against him. But meanwhile, another man by the name of James Gibbons, had been arrested, and as soon as he was brought into court, was identified by the girl as the other party, and his guilt clearly proven. He also was sent to jail to await his trial at the same time with Gent.

The utmost indignation is felt against the perpetrators of this fiendish outrage, and it is hoped that they will receive a life term in the penitentiary. The greatest sympathy is expressed for the young woman, who is a respectable, unassuming country girl, and she will be properly cared for until the time of the trial comes off.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 3, 1867
We understand that the Colored Methodists in Alton are about erecting a church edifice for the use of their denomination. It is to be located upon Fourth Street, one block east of Henry – a convenient and desirable location.


Source: New York, NY Clipper, June 29, 1867
The steamer Robert E. Lee, running on the lower Mississippi trade, which recently made the trip from Memphis to Cairo in the unequalled time of 17 hours and 12 minutes, has just eclipsed this performance, making the run between those points in nearly two hours less time than any other boat. She left Memphis on Saturday, June 15th, at 10 o'clock A. M., arriving at Cairo on Sunday at 2.43 AM. The quickest run ever made by any steamer between the two points before the Lee made her first quick trip was made by the City of Alton in seventeen hours and fifty minutes, winning the horns from the Mollie Able, which made the run in 19 hours 10 minutes. The horns are a large pair of elk horns, finely gilt, supporting a Union shield, bearing the inscription "Time from Memphis to Cairo 19 hours 40 min." Bearing this message upon the horns, "Steamer Mollie Able" on the other side, "Time from Memphis to Cairo, 17h. 50m. Beat this and take back the horns, Steamer City of Alton." The Lee sports the antlers.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 5, 1867
The dedication today of the Odd Fellows’ new Hall on Third Street was an imposing demonstration. The procession was formed upon Third Street about half past ten o’clock, and the different Lodges, clad in their rich and elegant regalia, presented a fine appearance. The procession extended from Piasa to State Street, with the members standing in close order in double ranks. In front of the procession was a large and richly decorated car drawn by four horses, and in which were three beautiful young ladies representing Faith, Hope, and Charity. Towards the rear of the line was also another car containing an elegant velvet pavilion, within which was seated one of the leading members of the Order. Mr. M. M. Hyatt acted as Grand Marshal, and the music on the occasion was furnished by Murphy’s Silver Cornet Band.

After marching through the principal streets of the city and up into Middletown, the members of the organization repaired to their Hall, where the dedicatory services took placed, conducted by Past Grand Sire Isaac M. Veitch of St. Louis, at the close of which the procession moved to the City Hall, where the oration was delivered by Grand Secretary Willard of Springfield, Illinois. Besides the Lodges in Alton, which were out in force, the following Lodges from neighboring cities and towns were represented:

Germania Lodge No. 3, I. O. O. F.; Excelsior Lodge No. 13; Wingmund No. 27; Pride of the West No. 108; Mound City Encampment No. 19; St. Louis Degree Lodge No. 1, all of St. Louis.

Elsah Lodge No. 269, Elsah Jersey County; Jerseyville Lodge No. 53, Jerseyville; Charter Oak Lodge No. 258, Bunker Hill; Edwardsville Lodge No. 46, Edwardsville; Six Mile Lodge No. 86, Venice; Macoupin Lodge No. 107, Carlinville; Ridly Encampment No. 9, Jacksonville.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 23, 1867
This organization contemplates erecting a church building on Fourth Street, just below Henry, which will be a credit to the church, and no doubt tend greatly to its growth and usefulness. They expect to place a building in that locality which will cost, when finished, some four or five thousand dollars. The members of the church and congregation are making great sacrifices for its accomplishment, but still it will be seen by an advertisement in another column that they feel called upon to appeal to the public for additional aid. It is a deserving and worthy enterprise, and we hope they will meet with a hearty response from our citizens.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 30, 1867
The meeting of the Board of Trade yesterday evening was more numerously attended than usual. A principal part of the interest of the meeting was centered in the statements of Mr. C. Colne of Washington, in regard to the establishment of Glass Works in Alton. His design is to form a stock company for this purpose. The Board were so well pleased with his statements and plans that they appointed a committee, consisting of Messrs. Drummond, Washburne, Chouteau, and Miller, to introduce Mr. Colne to our citizens, and further his object by every means in their power. The amount of stock required is small, and we hope it will be subscribed and the factory established. Several citizens, we understand, have already pledged themselves to take a part of the stock.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 27, 1867
A barge arrived at the levee this morning, loaded with large blocks of marble from the Grafton quarries. The marble is for the front of the costly building now being erected on State Street by Mr. H. Busse. This will be the first building, we believe, ever erected in Alton in which this famous material has been used to any extent.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, October 17, 1867
About half past ten o’clock this morning, a wooden building in the rear of Chaney & Levis’s and Maupin & Quigley’s stores was discovered to be on fire. So combustible was its material, that in a few moments it was wrapped in flames and gave forth an intense heat. So quickly did the flames spread, that in short time, the stores occupied by Chaney & Levis, Maupin & Quigley, M. I. Lee & Co., and E. Trenchery were on fire. Everyone saw that nothing but the most determined efforts could save the city from a terrible conflagration, the citizens therefore went to work with a vim and energy we have never seen equaled, to stay course of the fire. At first, water was carried by hand, but soon the “Pioneer” engine arrived on the ground and took her station at the cistern opposite Root & Platt’s. In a moment, the hose was laid and the engine was playing upon the flames. In a few moments more, the “Washington” arrived, and took her station at Holten’s cistern on Belle Street, from whence the hose was carried through one of the stores, from whence water was thrown directly on the flames. During all this time, the citizens were working manfully, and it soon became evident that the buildings would be saved.

Chief Engineer Pfeiffenberger was everywhere at once, directing and advising, and his skillful efforts produced the best results. Messrs. Seaton and Dimmock, as well as other prominent citizens, rendered most valuable assistance. The Altona engine was being repaired at Hanson & Co.’s, and was not on the ground till late, but after the engines had all got fairly at work, the flames were quickly subdued.

The old frame building destroyed was less than valueless, but Messrs. Chaney & Levis’ building was damaged to the amount of $200. Messrs. Hart & Son’s building, occupied by Maupin & Quigley, was damaged to about the same amount, and the stock of Messrs. Maupin & Quigley also damaged slightly. The damage of Mr. C. Rodemeyer’s building, occupied by M. I. Lee & Co., was slight. Mr. E. Trenchery estimates his los son stock and building at $600. All the losses are covered by insurance, we believe.

Mercantile Hall was in much danger, as were all the buildings in the vicinity. Messrs. Kirsch & Scheiss’ building was protected by iron shutters and was unharmed. It was only by the most determined efforts that we were saved from a great conflagration. The outhouse is the one which many citizens petitioned the council at its last meeting to remove, but the matter was by them referred to the Committee on Fire Department. The fire was doubtless the work of an incendiary.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 8, 1867
The new packet now being built on the Ohio by the Alton Packet Company will be one of the most spacious and elegant on the Mississippi. She is also designed to surpass in swiftness as the famous steamer, Altona, which has long plied between Alton and St. Louis. The new steamer is to be called the Belle of Alton, or Alton Belle – the latter, we think is rather the more euphonias. We are indebted to Captain Bruner for the following description of the new steamer: length over 235 feet; beam 34 feet; depth of the hold, six feet in the clear; floor, 34 feet; two engines, 7 feet stroke by 24 inches bore; water wheels, 12 feet; bucket, 28 feet in diameter; saloon cabin with nursery.

We presume that the new steamer will be able to land passengers from Alton at the St. Louis levee in about the same time as the trains on the Chicago Railroad.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 15, 1867
We had the pleasure this morning of visiting the historical room and museum just opened in Mercantile Hall Building, Belle Street, by Mr. John Robinson. We found the large room in which the museum is located well filled with a great variety of objects of interest, arranged with taste and judgment. The collection is from many different parts of the world, and consists of stones and minerals, relics from the ruins of “Herculaneum and Pompeii;” weapons of war from different nations; beautiful birds and curious fish; cloth and other articles made by Indians and Chinese; a choice collection of shells; weapons captured during the wars; a large collection of fossils and fossil impressions; choice coral formations; a large coral cup from Singapore; and a rare specimen of the Polypus. Reading matter and Stereoscopic views are also at hand for the use of visitors without extra charge. Admission 25 cents; children 15 cents. Tickets can be obtained at the bookstores.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 20, 1867
A brewery located near the Alton City Cemetery, and owned by a German named Miessner, has been seized by Collector Flagg for violating several sections of the Internal Revenue Law. The sale of the effects of the establishment takes placed on January 12.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 20, 1867
The Cave Spring property, recently purchased by Mr. Myers, of the firm of Myers & Drummond, has been enclosed with a substantial fence. It comprises some ten or eleven acres, and embraces the handsomest residence site in the city of Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 20, 1867
The members of the German Lutheran Church have purchased a bell for their fine edifice on Henry Street. It has an excellent tone, and can be heard at a great distance.


Young Men’s Christian Association
Source: Alton Telegraph, December 20, 1867
The Hunterstown Mission Sabbath School was organized in the year 1858, under the auspices of the Young Men’s Christian Association. It, like all other useful institutions, has had its difficulties to overcome and hard work to perform, but those who have been mainly responsible for its management have never faltered or yielded to these difficulties for a moment. The result has been that the school continued constantly to increase in numbers and usefulness. It is not now, nor never has been, denominational in its character, but its doors have been wide open for all to enter it, without regard to their religious belief, nationality, or pecuniary circumstances. It has likewise always been regarded as an open field for all to labor, as teachers, who love the Lord Jesus Christ, and desire to do good to the rising generation.

For several years’ past, this school has been held in Esquire Weigler’s large hall on the corner of Henry and Second [Broadway] Streets. But about a year since, some large-hearted and benevolent gentlemen, who felt that the school ought to have for its highest usefulness, a room under its control, undertook with such aid as the friends of the school could give, the erection of a home for it. The building was undertaken in the summer, and was pushed forward with all practicable haste, and is now finished and ready for occupancy. It is located on a large and beautiful lot on the corner of Henry and Sixth Street, in the center of four or five thousand inhabitants, many of whom have no other religious privileges except such as are afforded them in that school. The building is 66 feet long by 36 feet in width, and is built of brick in a substantial manner, with large windows. The room in the inside is 18 feet from floor to ceiling, making as handsome and comfortable a room as can be found in any of our church edifices in the city. It is as yet, however, only furnished with temporary seats. The entire cost, when completed as contemplated, will amount to nearly $5,000.

Yesterday was the time fixed for dedicating this building to God for religious purposes, and in connection with these exercises, the Monthly Union Sabbath School concert of the different churches was invited to meet there. At an early hour, the room was filled to its utmost capacity. The exercises were opened by one of the teachers in the Mission School, after which the audience was addressed by the following gentlemen in ten-minute speeches, viz:

The Rev. Mr. Jameson, Pastor of the Baptist Church; Mr. Isaac Scarritt, Superintendent of the Presbyterian Sabbath School; Rev. Mr. Coulter of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; Rev. Dr. Taylor, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church; Rev. Dr. Frazer, Pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church; and Mr. Greenwood, Superintendent of the Cumberland Presbyterian Sabbath School, in very appropriate and interesting remarks, interspersed with some excellent singing by the teachers and members of the school. Mr. James Newman, who has long been the active and efficient Superintendent of the Mission School, then gave the audience a brief and interesting history of the school, and closed with some stirring, practical remarks. Dr. Frazer was then called upon to dedicate the edifice to the worship of God by solemn prayer, after which the audience was dismissed by the Rev. Dr. Taylor.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 24, 1868
In the rear of Second Street [Broadway], nearly opposite the City Hall, is the oldest house in this section of country, and as it is now about to be torn down to make room for Messrs. Kirsch & Schiess’ new building, perhaps a short sketch of it may be of interest to our older citizens. It has for many years been concealed from view by a brick building standing directly in front of it, but within a day or two, this brick building has been torn down for the above-named purpose, and the bare logs and gaunt rafters of the old house now stand revealed to the passersby. But workmen have commenced tearing down its ancient walls also, and we therefore advise those of our citizens who are interested in old landmarks to visit the place at once.

The original town of Alton was laid out early in 1817 by Colonel Easton. A few log cabins had previously been built, none of which are now standing. Late in 1818, Colonel Easton made a contract with William G. Pinckard and Daniel Crume for the building of four log cabins on different parts of the town site. The plan was subsequently changed so as to unite two of these int one, which was put up, and is the house referred to above. It was built of hewn white oak logs, and in after years, was covered with weather boarding and various additions added. It was for many years known as the Hawley House, and in early days was the hotel of the place. Many of the first settlers of Alton made it their headquarters on their arrival. We visited the building today, and found that the dimensions of the original house, exclusive of subsequent additions, were 24x36, and was one story and a half in height. The white oak timbers, of which it was built, are still in a good state of preservation. In a new country like this, a house which has been standing within a few months of fifty years, is an object of rare interest, and everyone should take a look at this one before it is demolished, as they may never look upon as ancient a one again.

Source: Alton Telegraph, January 31, 1868
Several of the early settlers of Alton, who have a reverence for “old times,” have, within the past few days, during the demolition of the old “Hawley House,” visited the premises and provided themselves with various pieces of the ancient logs, to be made into canes and other articles, and kept as relics. We were yesterday shown a cane made from one of the timbers, which was perfectly solid and substantial, and no one would have suspected that it had been exposed to the winds and storms of half a century.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 24, 1868
On Saturday, a serious row took place at the “Hotel de Ireland,” on Piasa Street, between Third and Fourth Streets. It originated in a quarrel, which took place on the ice during the day between two of the boarders – ice-cutters. In the evening, they met again at the hotel, and the difficulty was renewed. They soon came to blows. A third party then joined in, and on a fourth party’s attempting to separate the combatants, a general melee took place. Knives were used freely, and three of the parties were stabbed about the head and face. The man who interfered to stop the row was also cut in the hand while trying to wrest a knife from one of the combatants. Four of the parties engaged were arrested and lodged in jail. None of the wounds inflicted are dangerous, although one man is severely stabbed.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 7, 1868
A leap year skating party is an event so rare in its occurrence, and so enjoyable in its participation, that it is certainly worthy of being chronicled. For a day or two past, it was noticed that several ladies, mostly of Middletown, were engaged in preparations for some mysterious event, the details of which were carefully concealed from their gentlemen friends. The latter only knew that something strange and wonderful was about to take place, in which they were interested, but knew not what to expect. The problem, however, was solved in artful style in which the ladies adjusted (or tried to) the skates of the gentlemen, or how they showered upon them a multitude of those delicate attentions supposed to be the prerogatives of the sterner sex. Under these circumstances that the evening should pass delightfully was a matter of course, and that the gentlemen should discover new and unthought of attractions in moonlight skating, was also to be supposed. But the surprise of the masculines can be imagined, when they were, about ten o’clock, escorted from the ice to Conway Barbour’s Hotel [top floor of the Union Station Depot near Front Street in Alton], where private parlors and a sumptuous oyster supper awaited them. And here we will drop the curtain, only revealing the fact that the ladies presided over their banquet with charming dignity, and afterwards saw that the gentlemen reached their homes in safety.

We add, in closing, that so pleasant did the gentlemen present find the attentions lavished upon them, that they have each and every one become at long advocates of woman’s rights, at least where parties and excursions are concerned.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 14, 1868
We have never seen an audience more highly pleased than was the one which assembled on last Tuesday evening at the Mercantile Hall, to listen to the lecture of Frederick Douglass on “Reconstruction.” At an early hour, the large hall was filled to overflowing with as intelligent and refined audience we have ever seen assembled at a public gathering in Alton. Quite a large number of colored persons were present, who had gathered to hear the remarks of the great champion of the rights of their race.

Mr. Douglass is, in every respect, a remarkable man. Born a slave, he was 22 years old before he shook off the shackles of bondage, and asserted his right to his own manhood. Since that time, struggling against prejudices and difficulties, which few of a more favored race can appreciate, he has fairly won his place among the front rank of American orators, and is the recognized leader and defender of his race in this country. In person, he is tall and graceful, with a commanding presence. His head is covered with a profusion of iron-gray hair, and his face bears that unmistakable imprint of genius, which no darkness of the complexion can conceal. Mr. Douglass’ diction is elegant and forcible, and his appearance and gestures those of the finished and cultivated orator.

The lecturer was introduced to the audience by a colored gentleman of Alton, Mr. Richardson, and for two hours he held the audience spellbound by the force of his logic and the power of his eloquence. At one moment, all were shouting with laughter at some brilliant flash of wit, and at the next, they were hushed into almost breathless silence as the speaker propounded some royal truth or elaborated a convincing argument.

Our space forbids even a resume of his arguments, and we can only say that all his positions were well chosen and utterly impregnable. He advocated, with great ability, the policy of making several radical changes in our Constitution and form of government – the most important of which were the taking from the President the power of removing office holders without the consent of the Senate, the abolishment of the veto power, and the abolition of the office of Vice-President. His arguments for the second of these measures, drawn mainly from the practice of the British government, were peculiarly strong, while those in favor of the abolition of the Vice-President, drawn from its practical workings, were perfectly unanswerable.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 21, 1868
A sad accident took place this morning about half past eleven o’clock, at Kendall’s Steam Bakery, by which two employees of the establishment, named Henry Hancock and William Nierman, were badly injured. The two men ascended to the third story of the building on the elevator, for the purpose of lowering barrels of flour to the basement. They placed six barrels upon the elevator, and then commenced descending. When about two-thirds of the way down, the rope broke, and the loaded elevator was precipitated with a crash to the basement of the building. Both the men were terribly bruised by the fall. Hancock, besides minor bruises, had a severe cut on the back of his head, but the skull was not broken. Up to last accounts, he remained insensible. Nierman, in addition to cuts about the head, had, it was thought, both shoulders fractured. The wounded men were skillfully attended by Dr. Williams, and it is presumed will recover. Both of them have families.

No blame is attached to the proprietor in the matter, as it was against the rules of the establishment to lower more than four barrels of flour at once, and the men had overloaded the elevator by putting six barrels upon it.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 21, 1868
Sunday night, about fifteen minutes after eleven o’clock, the watchman at the City Hall, Mr. William Agne, discovered fire in the cellar of Mr. L. Flackenecker’s Grocery Store on Second Street [Broadway]. He at once gave the alarm, and in a short time several citizens were aroused and on the ground. The fire had originated in a barrel in the cellar, and communicated to surrounding articles. A fire also was discovered on the first floor of the grocery store, we are informed by gentlemen who were first at the scene, but through the exertions of citizens and the assistance of the Altona Engine Company, the flames were entirely subdued. Just after the firemen had returned to the engine house with the machine, another fire, however, was discovered issuing from the third story windows of the same building, and on rushing upstairs, the whole room was found to be in a blaze. From this time, the flames spread so rapidly that all efforts to check them proved unavailing, and in a short time the store in which the fire originated, and the other buildings of Brudon’s row, were entirely consumed. During the conflagration, an explosion of gun powder took place in Flackenecker’s store, which blew down a portion of the brick wall, and materially hastened the progress of the flames. Mr. Brudon’s undertaking establishment was saved with difficulty, but all his stock was removed.

The corner store was occupied by Mr. David Simms, druggist. Almost his entire stock was destroyed. His loss will not fall short of $1,000. No insurance. This is the second time Mr. Simms has been burned out within two years, and he has the sympathy of the community in his misfortune. Both this building and the adjoining one, occupied by Mr. Charles Gillespie as a confectionery store, were owned by Mr. William Brudon. The upper stories were occupied as a residence by this gentleman and his family. He has an insurance of $1,000 on the building. His household furniture was almost totally destroyed. No insurance. The furniture of his son, Mr. Charles Brudon, was destroyed. Insured for $500. Mr. Brudon’s stock, damaged by removal, was fully insured. Mr. Gillespie lost about his entire stock.

L. Flackenecker owned and occupied the next building, and scarcely none of his goods were saved. He was absent from town at the time, and the store was in charge of his brother. There was also a meat market in this building.

The adjoining building was owned by J. C. Ronshausen, and occupied by himself as a shoemaker’s shop. The last building destroyed was owned by John Fernow, and occupied by a Mr. Hund as a saloon.

Mr. Charles Brudon, while endeavoring to reach an upper story of the burning building, was thrown violently down by the fall of the ladder, and had one of his limbs severely sprained. Mr. Henry Senior and Mr. R. Graham were also severely bruised by the falling of the front wall when the powder exploded.

Market Street, this morning, presented a curious and rather ghastly spectacle, nearly the whole surface of it, between Second of Third Streets, being covered with coffins that had hastily been taken from Mr. Brudon’s undertaking establishment and thrown down wherever convenient, and in every conceivable position. As on all such occasions, considerable petty thieving was carried on, and it is stated that one man was caught carrying off a coffin under one arm, and a keg of beer under the other. We do not vouch for its truth, however.

Court Fails to Convict Flachenecker or Bruden
Source: Alton Telegraph, April 24, 1868
The Grand Jury of the city court have failed to find bills of indictment against either young Flachenecker, suspected of setting fire to Brudon’s row, or against Charles Bruden, suspected of embezzling the funds of the Merchants’ Union Express Company. They have been cleared of the charges brought against them.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 10, 1868
Read’s Foundry and Machine Shop at Cave Spring, on the plank road, will be sold at auction by S. R. Dolbee, real estate agent, on Wednesday, April 15, at 11 o’clock a.m. This is a splendid chance to secure a bargain.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 24, 1868
Preparations have been commenced by the owners of the vacant lots on the levee, on either side of City Mills, to put up fine store buildings on them at once. The fine, three-story brick of Mr. Charles Phinney, adjoining Nelson & Hayner’s new building, is being pushed rapidly forward to completion. We are also informed that the owner of the vacant lot adjoining Mr. Phinney’s building intends building upon it this season. These will all be substantial and valuable improvements, and will add much to the appearance of that portion of the business part of the town, seen from the river.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 24, 1868
A Post of the Grand Army of the Republic has been organized in Alton, a charter for the same having been received from the State headquarters of the organization at Springfield. It is designated as Post 305, Department of Illinois. Its meetings are held every Thursday evening, at a hall in Weigler’s building, Hunterstown. The Post Commander is C. J. Flannigan, land the Post Adjutant, A. F. Miller. All honorably discharged soldiers and sailors, without reference to their time of service, are eligible to membership.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, 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 Altona 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 upon 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 stationed at the pond near the Methodist Church, where it rendered efficient service. But although three streams of water 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 affected by the deluge of water. At nine o’clock, the roof of the building fell in, after which time the firemen were enabled 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 safe 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 being from the South, and to the great exertions of 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 grit and grip 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 which 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 has the sympathy of the community in their loss, especially as it is the third time they 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. By May 29, 1868, it was reported that the company had rebuilt the drying house. Later, in 1873, this building housed the Hughes and White Roofing Tile Factory.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 15, 1868
This magnificent new steamer, whose advent has been so eagerly looked for, made his first trip from St. Louis to Alton on Saturday afternoon last, arriving at Alton at about 7 o’clock. The new packet is as elegant a specimen of marine architecture as ever floated upon western waters, and she was built with especial reference to the wants of the passenger trade between Alton and St. Louis. The hull is the perfection of grace and symmetry, and its outlines are pronounced by competent judges to be such as to ensure as high a rate of speed as was ever attained by any steamer on the Mississippi.

The cabin of the boat is painted white, and beautifully finished in Gothic style. There are no staterooms in the gentlemen’s cabin, and but three on each side in the lady’s saloon; hence both apartments are unusually spacious. They are furnished magnificently, and the floor is adorned by splendid Brussels carpeting. A new and attractive feature of the boat is the restaurant, which is situated on the starboard side of the boat, immediately forward of the wheel. It is neatly and conveniently fitted up, and is under the supervision of the experienced caterer, Mr. C. Barbour of Alton. During the trip on Saturday, meals were served on call in sumptuous style. This arrangement is entirely new, and destined to be universally popular.

The boat is 237 feet in length, with a breadth of beam of 34 feet, and floor 30 feet, depth of hold 6 ½ feet. The engines are 24 ½ inches in diameter, with seven feet stroke, working a waterwheel 29 feet in diameter with 12 ½ feet length of bucket – power enough to drive her through the water at a rate of speed fast enough to satisfy the most impatient. She is provided with 4 five-flued boilers, 42 inches in diameter, and 26 feet long, besides a secondary boiler for hoisting freight, etc. The whole boat is splendidly furnished throughout, and the ornamental work especially is noticeable for its tastefulness.

The “Belle” is the property of the Alton and St. Louis Packet Company, the directors of which are John A. Bruner, R. Tunstall, and R. J. Holine. The total cost was about $70,000, showing that no expense was spared in her construction. The officers are: John A. Bruner, master; “Dick” Blennerhassett (late in command of the “Comet”), clerk; S. J. Owings, pilot.

On invitation of Captain Bruner, we had the pleasure of making the trip from St. Louis to Alton onboard the new steamer, in company with a large party of citizens of Alton and St. Louis. The trip passed off delightfully, the time occupied being only two hours and twenty minutes, though no effort whatsoever was made to test her speed. A large crowd assembled at St. Louis to witness the “Bell’s” departure, and her speed and elegance, as she sped from the wharf with banners flying, were loudly applauded by the observers. On passing Madison, the inhabitants turned out en masse, cheering frantically, and displaying the stars and stripes. Their enthusiastic greeting was returned by a salute of cannon from the steamer.

Before the arrival at Alton, a meeting of the passenge4rs was called, over which Mr. S. P. Greenwood presided, and at which the following resolutions, offered by President Read, were adopted:

Resolved, That the thanks of the citizens of Alton and St. Louis are due to the directors of the packet company for their energy and enterprise in building so magnificent a steamer as the “Belle of Alton.”

Resolved, That the citizens of Alton appreciate the compliment paid their city by naming this beautiful packet the “Belle of Alton.”

Resolved, That we tender our thanks to Captain Bruner for his liberality in granting free passage to all on board.

Resolved, That the editors of the Alton papers be requested to publish these resolutions.

The booming of cannon and an answering salute from the shore, now announced the arrival of the boat at the Alton levee, where an immense crowd had assembled to witness her coming. Murphy’s Silver Cornet Band was also on hand, and discoursed music appropriate to the occasion. The boat had no sooner landed, than she was boarded by hundreds of persons eager to inspect her many excellencies.

Thus ended the first regular trip of the “Belle of Alton.” That she will attain to great speed is proved by the fact that on her trial trip at St. Louis on Saturday morning, her time from the shot tower to Laflin’s powder magazine at Bissell’s Point was 17 ¼ minutes – only about one minute more than the fastest run ever made. On a first attempt at running, no such result was expected, and all were surprised and agreeably disappointed at such an unlooked-for display of race horse qualities.

The Belle of Alton was built and owned by Captain John A. Bruner. The steamboat originally ran between Alton and St. Louis, and later ran to New Orleans. On March 27, 1871, the Belle of Alton was destroyed by fire at the landing where she was taken for repairs in New Orleans. William W. Marsh, engineer of the steamboat, was charged with the destruction of the steamboat by fire. The arrest was made after accusations by watchman John Nixon, who was a known alcoholic. Marsh was placed in jail and held for trial without bond. A judge later released him with bond. A jury found that there was no evidence Marsh burned the steamboat, and he was released.  The wreck of the Belle was sold at auction in New Orleans for $3583. The hull was repaired, and the boat was used as a barge.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 5, 1868
Yesterday morning, as a little girl only seven years old, whose name we suppress, was on her way to school, she was accosted on Henry Street by a middle aged man, who enticed her into a cut near the German Catholic Church, and drawing a knife, threatened to kill her if she resisted him or made any outcry. Fortunately, however, just at this juncture, the alarm was given by another little girl who witnessed the proceeding, and the scoundrel fled without accomplishing his dastardly purpose. About 10 o’clock, the villain again made his appearance on Henry Street, and attempted to entice away another young girl about thirteen years old, whom he met, but could not induce her to follow him. He then disappeared, and has not since been seen, although parties have been searching for him ever since – among them the father of the first named girl. The scoundrel’s description, as near as we can obtain it, is as follows: Medium height, heavily built, sandy hair with moustache and goatee of same color. Had on a short, black coat, black pants and white hat, and was thought to be a German. We trust he may be caught. There is no punishment too great for so infamous and abominable a villain.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 12, 1868
A man who has long been an inmate of the Poor House, yesterday went before Justice Quarton, and swore out an affidavit charging the keepers of the institution, Michael McCarthy and wife, with a long catalogue of misdemeanors. It embraces revolting cruelties to idiotic and sickly paupers; misappropriations of the fuel, liquors, medicines and food, furnished for the use of the paupers; the feeding of persons not connected with the institution; the immoral conduct of the keepers, etc.

The matter is something with which Justice Quarton has, of course, nothing to do officially, but as the affidavit is sworn to the city authorities are bound to make a thorough investigation of the charge. It would certainly seem as if there was a screw loose somewhere in our pauper system, as we cannot be made to believe that fully one-fourth of the revenue of the city is legitimately absorbed in taking care of the city poor. While this leak is going on, it is not strange that the city is so poor to keep her roads in repair, or to take any steps in the way of public improvement.

We call for an investigation of the conduct of the Poor House for three reasons: First, that its abuses may be corrected; Second, that the people may know what is being done with the public funds; Third, in order that the Chairman of the Pauper Committee, who we believe to be an upright and honorable gentleman, may be exonerated from blame in the matter.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 3, 1868
We spend a pleasant half hour this morning at the Art Studio of Mr. Richard Connor, in the third story of the city hall building, in looking over numerous portrait and landscape paintings, sketches, pencil and crayon drawings and other specimens of his artistic skill. All the pictures were admirable, showing true artistic taste and skill, but the portraits especially were characterized by that naturalness of coloring and vividness of expression, which the inspiration of true genius alone can impart to the canvass.

Mr. Connor was formerly a resident of St. Louis, but has now located in Alton. He is an artist of acknowledged talent, and is only a short time returned from Europe, where he spent seven years in studying under the best German masters, and in reproducing the great works which adorn the art galleries of Europe.

We understand that he is now prepared to fill orders for painting portraits, landscapes, and also, for executing all kinds of engraving. His specialty, however, will be portrait painting. Instruction will also be given in drawing and painting. This will be an admirable opportunity for our citizens to obtain either family portraits or sketches and paintings of the many romantic and beautiful local views which abound amid our bluffs and hills.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 10, 1868
It is rarely that we announce the formation of a new business with such gratification as we do that of Messrs. W. A. Holton & Co., druggist and apothecaries, for it is seldom that a business firm is formed which promises to be of so great public benefit. The members of the firm, Mr. W. A. Holton and Prof. E. Marsh Jr., are both well known to the public, the former as one of our most successful business men; the latter as one of the most scientific and practical chemists in the West, with a wide experience obtained both in German and European Universities. Prof. Marsh will also give attention to analysis of minerals, earths, oils, &c. the stock of goods now on hand at this establishment is unsurpassed, either in extent, variety, or quality, as a perusal of the new advertisement will prove.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 24, 1868
From the hours of eight to ten p.m., about one-third of the male population of Alton are engaged in the cool employment of bathing. The riverbank from the saw mill to the lower end of Hunterstown is lined with an almost incalculable amount of nudity. The ferryboat crosses the river at about eight o’clock, for the purpose of accommodating any who may wish to bathe near the Missouri shore, or on the sandbar.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 24, 1868
Bozzatown will soon be happy in the possession of a new flouring and cornmeal mill. There are few, if any, better locations for that branch of manufacturing industry.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 24, 1868
Last night, about half past ten o’clock, a pile of lumber on the river bank, near the foot of Henry Street, belonging to Captain H. C. Sweetser, was discovered to be on fire. The alarm was at once given, but before the engines arrived, the fire had gained such headway that water seemed to have but little effect upon it. The fire soon communicated to an adjoining lumber pile, and despite the exertions of the Altona and Washington Fire Companies, both piles were destroyed. The lumber consumed was valued at $1,100. No insurance.

There was also a heavy loss occasioned by the tearing down of other piles of lumber in order to save them. The fire was not subdued until about 3 o’clock this morning.

The origin of the fire is unknown. Some think it was the work of an incendiary; others that it caught from the sparks of a locomotive. The fire companies were not in the best humor with each other, and finally a somewhat serious altercation took place between them. We regret to make this statement, as the only rivalry between the different companies should be to see which can do the most effective work.

Another fire took place yesterday morning, between two and three o’clock. Some miscreant went to the house of a poor colored woman named Mitchell, living in the upper part of Middletown, set fire to the front door, and destroyed the whole building. The flames spread so rapidly, that Mrs. Mitchell had difficulty in getting out of the house. All her furniture and household fixtures, together with $90 in money, were lost. There was an insurance of $400 on the building. Mrs. Mitchell is represented as being a quiet, inoffensive woman, and it is thought that the incendiary intended to set fire to another building. Whatever was the intention, the act was most infamous and dastardly, and we trust that the perpetrator will meet with punishment.

This morning, about four o’clock, soon after the burning of Captain Sweetser’s lumber had been subdued, a man was seen passing along down the riverbank with some shavings under his arm. Nothing was thought of it, however, until when the smell of burning pine was discerned, and persons followed the route the man had taken, and found he had deposited the shavings in a pile of lumber in Warren’s lumberyard, set fire to them, and disappeared. When discovered, the flames had made considerable headway, but by vigorous efforts, were subdued. In a few moments more, a most terrible and disastrous conflagration must have ensued. The man was recognized as a carpet bagger, who yesterday was seen washing his clothes on a raft at the foot of Henry Street. This attempt at incendiarism was a bold one, and it is certainly to be regretted that the scoundrel engaged in it was not captured. Citizens cannot be too much on their guard against these traveling villains, who just now seem to be infesting the place. In warm weather, hundreds of desperate characters leave St. Louis, and favor smaller places with their presence. Look out for them.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 31, 1868
The prisoners in the city jail, five in number, yesterday afternoon effected their escape under the following circumstances. They were all confined in the large room of the jail. About two o’clock, Deputy Sheriff Cooper was in the jail, and noticed that the prisoners were partially undressed, but supposed they were rehearsing the “Black Crook,” on account of the heat [The “Black Crook” was deemed by many as the first musical. It debuted in New York in 1866, with an evil German Count seeking to marry a lovely village girl. He made a pact with the devil, and enlisted the help of a master of black magic (the “black crook”). The cast was clothed in skimpy costumes, hence the reference of the partially undressed prisoners to the musical.]

About five o’clock, the Marshal went to the jail to incarcerate a man accused of horse stealing, and on opening the door, found that the prisoners had escaped. They had succeeded in breaking off one of the bars of the cell, which they used as a crowbar in prying up the flagging, then dug down into the ground and through the foundation into the cellar under the beer saloon, from whence they quickly made their exit through a window. It is supposed that they made their escape immediately after the visit of the Sheriff. When he was in the cell, the hole was covered up with a mattress, and the dirt with their clothes. Up to last accounts, none of the prisoners had been recaptured.

We are indebted to Mr. Frank Ferguson, City Clerk, for the names of those escaping: Samuel Hamilton and John Briggs, accused of stealing watches; Mike Kelley, stealing clothing from the Washington House; and Ed Wilson and David Kelles, stealing boots from Roushausen. Hamilton and Briggs are desperate scoundrels, and are generally supposed to have committed most of the late burglaries. Every effort should be made to recapture them. It is time that Alton had a jail which will hold criminals. We have had enough of bad locks and pasteboard walls.

Later: One of the prisoners who escaped from jail on Wednesday returned last night and gave himself up to the authorities. He stated that after getting out of jail, the prisoners all separated in different directions. He made his way to Madison, and from thence to St. Louis, but not liking his quarters in that city, concluded to return to Alton and give himself up. The returning prodigal is but a boy, and stands accused of stealing a pair of boots from Roushausen’s shoe shop. We presume the authorities will “kill for him the fatted calf, put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet,” and increase the luxuries in the bill of fare to such an extent that he will have no further temptation to take a vacation before his trial comes off.

At this time the Alton jail was located in the basement of the city hall, located in the current Lincoln-Douglas Square, at the foot of Market Street.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 7, 1868
The new hall of Post 305, Grand Army of the Republic, was dedicated Monday evening by a grand ball. The hall is in the third story of Mrs. B. K. Hart’s new building on Third Street, and is one of the finest in the city. It is about the size of the Mercantile, is beautifully finished, and has two large withdrawing rooms on either side of the entrance.

The spacious apartment, last evening, presented a scene of bewildering beauty, the decoration being beyond question the most tasteful and appropriate we have ever seen in Alton on alike occasion. The evergreens extended from side to side of the room in graceful festoons, and arches, while numberless wreaths and garlands, and scores of flags and banner were displayed or draped in different parts of the room and on the chandaliers. Upon the walls were the names of twelve favorite generals, each surrounded by a wreath, an emblem of these days of peace when the illustrious leaders of the Union hosts have exchanged the sword for the olive branch. The general effect of these decorations are extremely fine, and should have been seen to be appropriate to the gentlemen who arranged and executed the work.

About half past nine o’clock, the dancing commenced. Rutledge’s famous string band was in attendance, and discoursed delightful music, while the many brave veterans, with their wives or sweethearts, glided through the dizzy mazes and kept step with as much precision as when they marched to the music of the Union. The occasion was highly enjoyed by the large number in attendance, and the dancing was kept up until the “small hours.” We are happy to chronicle so auspicious and delightful a dedication.

This Post of the Grand Army is growing rapidly in numbers. From a small beginning a few weeks since, it now numbers seventy-five active members. The Post Commander, Captain C. J. Flanagan, not only served bravely during the rebellion, but was for eleven years a soldier in the regular army, where he reached the grade of Lieutenant. The present officers of the Post are: C. J. Flanagan, Post Commander; J. P. Ash, Senior Post Commander; Henry Casswell, Junion Post Commander; A. F. Miller, Post Adjutant; J. Trendall, Post Quartermaster; E. Guelick, Post Surgeon; William S. Robinson, Post Chaplin; J. H. F. Joesting, Sergeant-Major; William Gottlob, Quartermaster Sergeant.

The loyal citizens of Alton will be glad to hear of the continued maintenance and success of this organization.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 11, 1868
The event of the month in mercantile circles in Alton will be the grand opening tomorrow of the new Dry Goods Palace of Messrs. Sneeringer & Templeton, in Mrs. Hart’s splendid building on Third Street. This new storeroom has been elegantly fitted up, regardless of cost, and in convenience, beauty, and extent is worthy of its name. The fall stock of goods is now on hand, and has been chosen with special reference to the demands of such an establishment. Messrs. Sneeringer & Templeton are among the best known of our Alton merchants. Their business abilities are too well appreciated by the public to need our endorsement; while the energy and public spirit manifested in establishing so important an enterprise are worthy of great commendation.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 18, 1868
The dry goods establishment of Hawkins, Auten, and Leech, on Third Street, is a noted resort for all persons in search of the latest and most fashionable goods. Their fall stock is very complete, and embraces all the new novelties in dress goods, silks, poplins, chameleon poplins, the “Buffalo brand” of ____. Of cloaks, they have the newest, including the chinchilla cloaking, celebrated far and wide for its warmth and durability. Fall and winter shawls of beautiful and fashionable styles can be found here in great variety. The flannels, domestics, table damasks, etc., are represented by the best articles of their class.

The business knowledge and enterprise of Messrs. Hawkins, Autin & Leech, their politeness and attention to customers, and their constant efforts to meet the wants of the public certainly entitle them to the success they are evidently attaining.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 18, 1868
The large hall now in process of erection on Spring Street, for the use of the German Turverien Association, is a convenient building, two stories in height. It will present a very fine appearance when completed.


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.


Great Excitement in Alton!
Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, November 6, 1868
Friday night [October 31, 1868] was one long to be remembered in Alton. 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. Marcellus 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, one of which took effect in his breast. The robbers then fled in different directions. One of the robbers 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 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. Filley 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 postmortem examination was held this morning, which show that death had occurred from being beaten on his ... [unreadable] 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.

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.

Marcellus H. Filley, the night watchman, lived on State Street in Alton. He was buried in the Alton City Cemetery. According to the Coroner’s report, Filley was killed by a bullet passing through the heart. He had also received a severe beating with a crowbar. He had lost his first wife, Ann W. (Turner) Filley, in 1845. He remarried to Martha J. Filley (1826-1913), who survived him. They had five children, four of whom died before their mother.

Two men by the names of St. Clair and Kelley were arrested for the crime. It was said that St. Clair had knowledge of the crime, and after his arrival in Alton, he confessed that four men were engaged in the robbery – three inside the bank, and one outside standing guard. A struggle ensued when the night watchman appeared, and then Filley was shot. St. Clair asserted that a man by the name of Bill Ayres fired the fatal shot. They men were just about to open the safe when this occurred. They were only able to steal $800 in stamps and nickels before making their escape. The men stole a skiff, and took it down the river to St. Louis. They then went to Kansas City, where they had planned to commit another robbery, but held off because of the publicity they were getting from the robbery in Alton. St. Clair entered a plea of guilty as a participant in the burglary but denied having a part in the murder. Kelley was held in jail as a witness. It is unknown if the other men were ever captured and convicted.

In 1903, a bag of coins was found near the Alton levee during the construction of the Bluff Line depot. It was believed that these coins were dropped by the robbers during the Halloween night robbery in 1868. The coins were returned to circulation.

The First National Bank in Alton was located at the northwest corner of State and Broadway (then called Short Street). This bank was later bought out by the Alton National Bank and moved to a new building at the northeast corner of Third and State Streets. The old bank building still stands, and is currently home to Morrison’s Irish Pub.
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.


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.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 10, 1868
The elegant building in Middletown, formerly occupied as the home office of the Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance Company, is offered for sale at a bargain. The building can easily be converted into a beautiful and convenient residence. The surrounding grounds are attractive and are adorned with valuable shrubbery.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 11, 1868
About 1:30 o’clock Wednesday morning, a fire broke out in the paint shop of J. G. Purdy’s Carriage Manufactory on Belle Street, opposite the residence of Mrs. B. K. Hart. The alarm was promptly sounded, and the Altona engine was soon on the ground, but it was found impossible to obtain any water in the vicinity, with which to play upon the flames. The building was of wood, and owing to the large amount of paint, varnish, &c., there stored, the fire spread rapidly through the building and to the adjoining blacksmith shop of James Millen, to the blacksmith shop of Mr. Purdy, and to a small building in the rear of the paint shop. These were all totally destroyed, together with a great part of their contents. In the paint shop, second story, Mr. Purdy had quite a number of valuable carriages and buggies stored, the most of which were destroyed. In the blacksmith shops were the usual assortments of tools and stock, only a small part of which were saved.

The fire was undoubtedly the work of an incendiary. It was started in the cellar of the paint shop, where there had been no fire for months. Mr. Purdy is the principal loser. His stock destroyed he estimates at $3,500. He has an insurance of $1,800. His paint shop was owned by Mr. J. Challacombe, as was also the small building in the rear. Mr. Challacombe loses some $1,200. Mr. Purdy’s blacksmith shop was owned by Captain Hawley. It was of small value, and had, we believe, no insurance. Mr. Millen owned the building he occupied. He has an insurance of $500 on the building and stock. The large brick warehouse of Mr. Challacombe, adjoining the buildings destroyed, was in great danger, but was only slightly injured by the heat.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 17, 1868
The Alton Foundry and Steam Engine Manufactory, and the celebrated Patterson Iron Works are rival houses in the manufacture of steam engines, boilers, castings, and machinery of every description.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 25, 1868
From the Bloomington Pantagraph, December 24, 1868:
A few items in relation to the city of Alton may not be uninteresting to the people of Central Illinois. The removal of the Penitentiary, instead of proving a drawback, has rather been a blessing; for since that time, notwithstanding the efforts of her formidable rival (St. Louis), Alton has more than doubled in population, numbering today about fifteen thousand, while every material interest, public and private, religious, educational, mercantile, and manufacturing has prospered beyond the most sanguine hopes of her citizens. And now, her long rows of three and four-story brick wholesale and commission houses, the black, smoking chimneys of mills, foundries and machine shops, the rambling of drays, wagons, and streetcars, her handsome and capacious school edifices and tall church spires with hundreds of beautiful residences scattered over his hills, attest alike the solidity of her business men, their enterprise and prosperity. Connected with us by two lines of railroad, we look with pride and pleasure upon our fair sister as being worthy a high place among the cities of our grand and beautiful State of which Bloomington is the railroad and commercial center.

The steam cracker factory of H. N. Kendall & Co., established less than three years ago, has already a State reputation. The Alton Agricultural Works, Hanson & Co., proprietors, established in 1839, manufacturers of the world-renowned “Champion Threshers,” as well as of all kinds of farm machinery, is worth a gold mine to the city. 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. The operations of these houses extend all over the central and southern parts of the State, and far into the West, while their popularity at home and abroad is universal. At the latter establishment, the celebrated, “Star of the West Thresher and Separator” is manufactured.

Martin & Boal’s Planing Mill, and Sweetser & Priest’s Lumberyard are monsters in their way, and supply some half-dozen counties.

The beautiful granite monuments just introduced by Clement & Flynn of the Alton Marble Works, for style and durability are unsurpassed. These might be introduced with profit and taste in the Bloomington cemetery.

As representatives of the wholesale trade of the city, we find Messrs. Blair & Atwood, grocers; Messrs. Quigley, Hopkins & Lea, and Messrs. Breckinridge & Evart, druggists. The latter firm are the proprietors of the celebrated Walton’s stomach bitters, an article of genuine worth. J. W. Cary & Co., jewelers and dealers in sportsman’s goods; C. M. Crandall, crockery and glassware. Mr. Crandall imports his goods direct from Europe, thus insuring genuineness.

Among the institutions of which the citizens of Alton may justly feel proud is the Illinois Mutual Insurance Company. It was organized in 1839, and during the thirty years of its existence, has paid over 2,000 losses, amounting in the aggregate to $1,500,000. Most of its success is due to President Moses G. Atwood and Secretary John Atwood, who have devoted their time and talents almost exclusively to the work. The company’s building, on State Street, is handsomely and substantially fitted up, and every department of its immense business is conducted with mathematical regularity.

Alton has two daily papers (Telegraph and Democrat), and two hotels (Alton House and Franklin House).


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 25, 1868
The residence on the corner of Ninth and Piasa Streets, recently purchased by Mr. Henry Watson from R. Flagg, Esq., is one of the oldest in the city. The price paid was $2,500.


Source: Buffalo, New York Evening Courier, September 8, 1869
Alton, Illinois, September 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 President 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 steamer 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 as there were original States in the Union. As soon as the fleet of steamers was underway, 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. President Grant was kept busy in acknowledging the congratulations that were heaped upon him.


Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, April 1, 1870
A large cave has been discovered underneath the city of Alton, Illinois. It is in places seven feet high, and has the usual characteristics of caves. It has already been traversed some hundreds of feet, and a full exploration has not yet been made.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 13, 1871
John Sutter and A. F. Howard have formed a co-partnership under the firm name of Sutter & Howard, for the purpose of carrying on the furniture manufacturing business. Their new and extensive factory is located on Belle Street, near Cave Spring.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 20, 1871
The heavy fall of sleet in the great storm of Friday and Saturday test the strength of the roofs of houses. The most serious accident occasioned was at the old glass works building on Belle Street, near Cave Spring. At that building, the weight of the sleet crushed in a section of the roof, measuring about 40x50 feet. The outer wall, fronting the street, was forced outward by the accident, and now leans over in a dangerous position. All the outer walls were so weakened and shattered by the fall of the roof, that the portion of the building can only be repaired by being rebuilt. The property belongs to Mr. C. H. Frick. The loss is considerable, but we cannot give a correct estimate.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 27, 1871
It is well known to our readers that some months since very temporary arrangements were made by a cooperative company of practical glass manufacturers to establish works in Alton. The glass made by them proved superior to any manufactured in this country, and it was likewise demonstrated by them that it could be manufactured cheaper at this point than anywhere else in the United States. But owing to the lack of business qualifications and close application to business by the proprietors, the concern broke up in a short time after commencing operations. Nothing further was said or done about the matter until within a few weeks past, when Mr. S. B. Woolfolk of Virden, Illinois, who is well known to many of our business men in connection with two practical glass manufacturers of much experience in their line of business, have been looking into the subject with a view of establishing a manufactory in Alton. The former of these gentlemen called at our office yesterday, from whom we have gathered the following particulars in regard to the matter, which will be of interest to many of our citizens.

It is his intention, if he meets with sufficient encouragement, in connection with the gentlemen heretofore referred to, to establish at Alton an “eight-pot” manufactory, which will furnish employment for about thirty-two operatives. He and his partners propose to take a good share of the stock necessary to put the works in operation, and give it their personal attention, provided a sufficient amount is subscribed by other parties to place it on a permanent financial basis. He estimates the sum necessary to carry it on successfully to be about $15,000.

He has ascertained to his satisfaction, from figures furnished by the practical gentlemen, that all the material necessary for the manufacturing of glass can be procured at this point, of a better quality and at less cost than at any other point in the United States, with the exception of coal, which can be procured at Pittsburg cheaper and better than here, but in all other respects Alton has the advantage over that point. He has likewise satisfied himself that a better quality of glass can be manufactured here than at any other point, and with a much larger margin for profit.

As Mr. Woolfolk will, in all probability, call upon those of our business men most likely to be interested in the subject, and present in full all the facts and figures pertaining to the subject, we shall not here stop to give them in detail, but will simply commend the subject, as one well worthy the careful and thorough investigation of our capitalists, and all directly interested in the growth and prosperity of Alton. For there is no concealing the fact that unless something is done to develop the manufacturing interests here, that real estate will depreciate in value, and our city will lose its relative importance among the large cities of the State.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 27, 1871
The exhibition and trial of the new steam fire engine, recently purchased, was an interesting and pleasant occasion. An immense crowd was present on Third Street to witness the trial. The new engine was placed in charge of the officers and members of the fire department companies. In order to show the contrast between the present and past, Captain Samuel Pitts and a few of the original members of the old Pioneer Engine Company obtained possession of that machine and added it to the attractions of the procession on the occasion. The old fire engine of the Pioneer Engine Company was built in 1833, and was received in Alton shortly after. It has been in active service for over a generation, and has made a glorious record at hundreds of fires. It could still be made to perform as good service as almost any other hand machine. In 1836, Captain Samuel Pitts took command of the Pioneer, and served in that position for a number of years. In fact, Captain Pitts has been connected with fire departments in the East and West for 53 years, having first joined a fire company when 16 years of age. Among those who were member of the old Pioneer Company in 1836-7, the following gentlemen still survive, and are residents of Alton: Captain Samuel Pitts, John Atwood, A. S. Barry, J. W. Schweppe, M. H. Topping, J. M. Morgan, L. A. Parks, Dr. W. C. Quigley, T. G. Starr, W. T. Miller, W. F. Ferguson, and Rev. P. M. Pinckard of St. Louis. These were then all young and active men, recent settlers in the new city. Their present position in society is well known to every reader of the Telegraph. On Saturday afternoon, several of these original members marched in the procession and assisted at the ropes as in old times. The procession was headed by Murphy’s Silver Cornet Band. Following it came the old Pioneer, labeled “As we used to be,” and next the magnificent new steamer and hose carriages, all under the charge of Chief Engineer Pfeiffenberger, and the officers and members of the existing fire companies. The procession made but a short march, on account of the muddy condition of the streets, and then halted at the public cisterns on Third Street, where the trial took place. The new steamer is appropriately named “James T. Drummond,” in honor of our efficient and popular Mayor.

The time consumed in raising steam, that is the interval between the lighting of the fire and the throwing of water from the nozzle, was 4 minutes and 3 seconds, and this wonderfully quick time was made under disadvantageous circumstances. Under more favorable ones, the engine has raised steam in three minutes. The steamer threw two streams at once from inch nozzles to a perpendicular height of fully 110 feet. The horizontal streams were equally satisfactory, and although they were not measured at the time, it is well ascertained that the steamer can throw a single inch horizontal stream 280 feet.

The trial upon Third Street was very thorough and satisfied everyone that the engine was capable of performing even more than was claimed for it. The machine was afterwards taken to the river bank, where it forced water through 850 feet of hose, uphill, and threw a stream far over the Illinois Mutual building on State Street. It was then taken back to Third Street, and subjected to further severe tests until dark. In appearance, the “James T. Drummond” is as beautiful and finely finished a machine as can be found anywhere. It is supplied with the celebrated Latt’s Patent Boiler (a coil flue boiler), undoubtedly the best in use for steam-fire engines. It is comparatively light, and runs easily, but is equal in power and capacity to the largest size manufactured. Alton now has a fire engine which will be equal to almost any emergency, and in addition to its immense power and capacity, possesses the very important advantage of never “tiring out at the brakes.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 31, 1871
At a meeting of the stockholders of the Alton Glass Works on Tuesday evening, the following gentlemen were elected Directors: s. B. Woolfolk, F. W. Alt, Ralph Gray, R. I. Compton, Elias Hibbard, C. D. Caldwell, Thomas Dunford, Austin Seeley, and G. H. Weigler. The directors met on Wednesday morning and elected the following officers for the ensuing year: S. B. Woolfolk, President; Richard I Compton, Secretary; and Austin Seeley, Treasurer. The Works will be commenced immediately, some of the practical glassworkers being already in town.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 31, 1871
Private telegrams were received in Alton last evening, giving information of the entire destruction at New Orleans, on the 27th inst., of the favorite and beautiful steamer Belle of Alton. The Belle was one of the handsomest and swiftest packets on the Mississippi. She was built at Jefferson, Indiana, in the winter of 1867-68, and completed in St. Louis the following Spring.

The Belle was built for the St. Louis and Alton trade, and with special reference to speed. She was transferred to the Southern trade last Fall. Her original cost was $70,000. The principal owners of the Belle are, we understand, Tunstall & Holmes of St. Louis, and Captain John A. Bruner of Alton. The remaining owners are merchants and business men of Alton, who own, or did own, some $20,000 of preferred stock.

At the time of the disaster, Captain Bruner, the Belle’s old and popular master, was in command. The origin of the fire is as yet unknown. Captain Bruner is well known as one of the most skillful and efficient commanders on the Mississippi.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 24, 1871
The well-known and extensive business firms of Wise, Blake & Co., and Drury, Hayner & Co., dealers in hardware, iron, agricultural implements, etc., having been dissolved by the death of Mr. Arba Nelson, who was a partner in each, the surviving partners of the two houses have formed a co-partnership, and consolidated the business of both firms. The new firm will be known as J. E. Hayner & Co., and will continue the business at the former stands of the late firms.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 21, 1871
Alton was visited Tuesday night by a severe gale of wind, which in the eastern portion of the town, amounted to a tornado, and did considerable damage. About half-past two o’clock, the city Poor House, located south of the [Alton City] cemetery, was struck suddenly by a tornado, which tore off more than three-fourths of the roof. Hitting the south front of the upper story of the building, it wrenched off the cornice on all sides and did considerable other damage. The house was a strongly-built, two-story brick, about 40 feet long by 20 feet wide. A section of the roof, about twenty feet square, was carried through the air onto the cemetery fence, a distance of some 300 feet. The rest of the roof fell within the yard.

Several of the inmates of the institution were injured by the falling in of the front wall. In one of the front rooms, a young woman named Kate Huber was dying with the consumption. Mrs. Carty, the wife of the keeper of the house, was sitting up with her, not expecting her to live through the night. A large quantity of bricks and mortar fell upon the bed of the dying woman, breaking it down, and having her such a shock as to hasten her death, which took place almost immediately thereafter. Mrs. Carty was considerably bruised by the falling wall, but received no serious injury. In an adjoining room, two old men, named Peter Collins and James Riley, were sleeping, when the tornado struck the house. Each of their beds was covered with a cartload of brick and mortar, and both the inmates severely, but not dangerously, bruised about the head and body. One of them is not able to move today, while the other is able to be about. Another inmate, Peter Upright, was somewhat bruised by the falling fragments, and some others were slightly injured. The house is damaged to the extent of several hundred dollars.

A dwelling house at the foot of the hill, south of the Poor House, occupied by a man named John Gollaher, was unroofed at the same time. Half the roof was carried some 300 feet, and broken into fragments. A stable near the same place, belonging to a Mr. Mitchell, was blown down.

A small house on Second Street [Broadway[, was likewise unroofed. In addition, several outbuildings and a large amount of fencing in the vicinity of the Poor House were blown down and scattered.

The tornado was, as usual, confined to a narrow belt, and spent its force in one locality, lasting but a moment, although a heavy gale was blowing all night. It came directly from the South.

The location of the Alton Poor House was around E. 5th Street, just south of the Alton City Cemetery.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 21, 1871
The beautiful new chapel in Sempletown, erected by the members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, for the use of their Mission School in that locality, was dedicated on Sunday afternoon with impressive ceremonies. The services were conducted by Rt. Rev. Bishop Whitehouse and Rev. C. S. Abbott, the Rector. There was a very large attendance on the occasion, more than the chapel could accommodate.

The cost of the building, erected on ground donated by Messrs. J. J. & W. H. Mitchell, was $1,280. There was a balance due on the cost of $128, which amount was raised on the spot by voluntary subscriptions. The chapel is a very beautiful and convenient structure, neatly and tastefully finished. It is provided with comfortable, reversible pews. It is situated in a locality where there are no other church edifices, and religious services there cannot but accomplish much good.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 21, 1871
The News, a local paper just established at Virden, Illinois, by John Frank Jr., contains the following article on the Alton Glass Works:

“The city of Alton is soon to become the scene of a new industry, for which she will be largely indebted to a citizen of Virden. It is perhaps known to many of our citizens that since retiring from business here, Mr. S. B. Woolfolk has been engaged in endeavoring to interest men skilled in the business, and others who have money to invest in manufacturing enterprises, to form a company for the erection of glass works in Alton. He informs us he has succeeded, having already $40,000 subscribed, enough to insure the erection of the works. The stock will eventually be increased to $60,000. Nearly one half the amount is taken by six men, who are masters of as many departments of the business, of which they will have charge, each man of his specialty. Thus, every branch will be in the hands of a man who not only thoroughly understands it, but is interested as a partner in the enterprise, a consideration that will go largely to ensure its success. The company has been organized, and Mr. Woolfolk chosen President. He will see to the finances, and have general supervision.

The vicinity of Alton supplies all the main articles used in the manufacture of glass – sand, coal, and lime. A very fine, white, first-class glass sand is found in the bluffs at Capal Grisy, above Alton, whence it will be floated down in barges. The quality of the Alton lime is of wide notoriety. Magnesia and soda ash will be procured elsewhere, the soda ash an imported product and counting heavily in the bill of costs.

Window glass only will be made. Ten pots will be constructed, each capable of producing 18 boxes of glass per day, a total capacity of 160 boxes. The flattening ovens and blowing and smelting furnaces will be of the most improved modern patterns. We know our readers will unite with us in wishing Mr. Woolfolk and his associates the largest success in this enterprise.

In addition to the above, we will state that the officers of the company are now hard at work making arrangements for the commencement of business. They have purchased half an acre of ground in block 5, Hunter’s Addition, on the riverfront, and will begin the erection of their buildings at once. Both the Chicago & Alton and the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroads run directly through the block in which the works are located, which gives unequaled facilities for shipping in any direction. The lots for the use of the glass works were obtained by the company at extremely reasonable figures.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 5, 1871
The Alton Glass Works Company have staked and platted their ground in the Third Ward, preparatory to the erection of buildings. Mr. James Slim, Superintendent of the Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works, has started for Pittsburg to engage practical glass blowers for the Works in Alton. It is estimated that about three months will be required to finish the Alton Glass Works buildings, in the Third Ward, ready for active operations.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 19, 1871
Messrs. Flynn & Leuthner have now on exhibition at their marble works on the corner of Belle and Fifth Streets, a beautiful and costly monument of exquisite design and workmanship, and finished in the highest style of the art. It is erected in memory of the late Jacob Busch, one a prominent citizen of the American Bottom. The monument stands a little over seven feet in height, is of symmetrical proportions, and surmounted by a gracefully draped urn. It is an honor to the firm which executed it. Messrs. Flynn & Leuthner have in store a fine stock of American and Italian marbles, and are prepared to fill all orders for plain or ornamental work at the lowest rates.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 19, 1871
The ladies of the Alton Public Library having been granted by the council the use of the spacious apartment on the first floor of the city building for the use of their association, are fitting it up in a beautiful and convenient style. The dimensions of the room are about 40x40 feet. The ceiling is lofty, and the entire apartment admirably well lighted by windows on three sides. If a building had been put up specially for the purpose, it could not have been planned better internally for the purpose designed. The view of the river from the windows is remarkably fine. The changes and alterations necessary are being pushed forward as rapidly as possible, and will soon be completed.

When the library is transferred to its new home, the ladies of the association can pride themselves on having one of the most spacious, convenient, and delightful library rooms in the State. They are entitled to great praise for the judgment and good taste they have manifested in the improvements named, as well as for their liberality and philanthropy in thus advancing the interests of an association which is destined to play an important part in the dissemination of knowledge and information in this locality.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 9, 1871
It gives us pleasure to state that the insurance upon the Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works, recently destroyed by fire, has been promptly and satisfactorily adjusted by Mr. F. Hewit, the efficient agent of the Phoenix and Hartford Companies. Mr. F. Hewit gave his personal attention at once to securing a settlement, and the companies acted promptly and honorably in the matter.

We are also glad to state that Messrs. Barler & Slim, proprietors of the Glass Works, undeterred by their misfortune and heavy loss, will commence at once the re-building of their works on the same site. And not only that, but they intend putting up works od double the capacity of the former ones. In other words, they intend to put up twelve ovens instead of six. So well satisfied are these gentlemen that Glass Works will pay in Alton, that they are anxious to embark again in the business, and will use every endeavor to push forward their new works to speedy completion. Our citizens will be glad to learn that this enterprise, so important to the future growth of Alton, will soon be resumed. No trace has yet been discovered of the incendiary who fired the Glass Works buildings.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 16, 1871
The work of rebuilding the Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works is proceeding with energy. It is anticipated that the company will be ready to resume operations by July 10.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 16, 1871
On Thursday night, all the prisoners in the city jail escaped, and are still wandering at their own sweet will. We hoped, ere this, to have chronicled their recapture in the same paragraph with their escape, but up to the present time they have not been caught. During the warm weather, the prisoners have been allowed the liberty of the jail hall instead of being confined in the suffocating iron cells. Having been supplied by some confederate on the outside with a saw and auger, they availed themselves of the opportunity of cutting a hole through the ceiling into the room above, and thus escaped. The prisoners were: George Blacksmith, awaiting trial for larceny; Peter Gibbons, awaiting trial for attempting to murder Mr. Joseph Slim; and a third man, awaiting trial for burglarizing Boyle’s store. All were charged with offenses which would probably have sent them to the penitentiary.

The escape of three such abandoned criminals is peculiarly deplorable. The manner of their escape is the “old, old story” of the graduation of prisoners from the Alton jail. The jailer, from philanthropic motives, gives prisoners the range of the hall, and they betray his confidence with the basest ingratitude. The hall of that jail evidently needs to be made more secure. How would it answer to paper the walls and whitewash the ceiling?

The Alton city jail was located in the basement of the city hall.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 23, 1871
The Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works Company have filed articles of association with the Secretary of State. The officers are: John E. Hayner, President; E. A. Barler, Secretary; P. B. Whipple, Treasurer; Joseph Slim, Superintendent. The work of rebuilding the glass works is progressing rapidly.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 30, 1871
Patrons of the street railway will thank us for publishing the following rules of etiquette from an exchange:

First - Sit cross-legged, so as to obstruct the passage way. It is a handy and economical way of getting one’s boots cleaned.

Second – Chew tobacco vigorously and spit on the floor – a little to one side, so that the nastiness may be aid to another.

Third – In clearing the throat by a vigorous effort, be sure to spit on the floor. It has a quieting effect on the stomachs of the other passengers.

Fourth – If your clothes are covered with dust, flour, or lime, be sure to crowd in alongside the lady with a velvet sack, or a man with a black broadcloth cost. It serves them right.

Fifty – Sit sideways on your seat. In this way, you can keep plenty of room and compel the last arrivals to stand up. It will do them good.

Sixth – When it is dusty, or when the wind is raw or cold, raise the windows. It is so pleasant for the others.

Seventh – In windy weather, be sure to leave the door open, coming or going. Why should one care for any but himself?

Eighth – If you have a dog, bring him in the cars, especially if muddy or wet. It affords an opportunity for studying natural history.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 21, 1871
The new brick building just erected at Upper Alton Station, by Mr. James Bozza, is being fitted up for a drugstore, and will be occupied by Mr. A. G. Butler, late of Bethalto, Such an enterprise will doubtless be successful in that part of the city.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 28, 1871
On Thursday evening, about half past six o’clock, a fire broke out in the blacksmith shop of Rodemeyer’s Carriage Factory. Mr. J. P. Nisbett, who was passing by, first discovered the flames bursting through the roof over the forge. He broke open the door, and finding water near the forge in a barrel, succeeded in checking the fire. Others soon joined him, and the flames were extinguished with buckets of water. At the time the fire broke out, the proprietor had not been gone from the shop more than ten minutes. The flames evidently originated from a spark from the forge. Had not the fire been discovered in the “nick of time,” a disastrous conflagration would have occurred, as the building was very inflammable.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, August 4, 1871
We understand that the valuable stone quarry on the river bank, back of the old penitentiary, is to be re-opened and extensively worked. It has excellent shipping facilities, both by river and rail, and will, doubtless, be profitable.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 4, 1871
The Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works will be in operation on August 15. They will employ a large number of hands.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 11, 1871
J. M. Terry and William McAdam Jr., of Jersey County, who were appointed to view a new wagon road from Jersey Landing to Alton, have completed their labors and pronounced the route feasible. It runs down the Mississippi River, and will be several miles nearer than the old road.


From the Quincy Whig
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 18, 1871
Alton is situated about twenty-five miles from St. Louis by either land or water. Taking the Chicago & Alton Railroad at East St. Louis, you accomplish the distance in an hour. The prosperous old times of the St. Louis & Alton packets have long since passed, and the railroads now monopolize nearly the entire travel between the two places. The city of Alton is properly divided into two towns – formerly known as Alton and Lower Alton, now as Alton and Upper Alton, the lower town being much the larger and more important. They are about two miles apart, and connected by a street railway. The State Penitentiary, for many years a noted institution, no longer exists here. Joliet coveted and received the prize, and Alton was glad. The gloomy walls of the old Penitentiary still stand, however, plainly seen from the river and other points. It is now used as a city prison.

The city of Alton is situated on a succession of bluffs, with valleys between, and he who would see the town must undergo many “ups and downs.” The business portion is solidly built, with brick or stone, there being a great abundance of the latter material here. Alton lime is quite a noted export. There are some fine business blocks, handsome residences, commodious churches and schoolhouses, and a number of mills and manufactories. Glass works have recently been established here.

The population of Alton proper is about 12,000, and of Upper Alton 2,500. The horse railroad furnishes a pleasant ride, passing in full view of the cemetery – a beautiful spot – also by the splendid residence of H. A. Homeyer, Mr. Cooley, and H. C. Cole, all in Upper Alton.

A noted educational institution, Shurtleff College, under the auspices of the Baptist denomination, is located at Upper Alton. This is one of the oldest colleges in the West. Its charter was obtained in 1835, and the present college building erected in 1842. The building is of brick, 120 by 44 feet, and four stories high, containing 64 rooms, embracing students’ rooms, cabinet, library reading room, chemical laboratory, society and recitation rooms. The college grounds embrace six or seven acres, beautifully shaded with trees. There is also a commodious chapel nearby, which well seats 200 or 300 persons. Attached to it are also recitation rooms and the preparatory department.

The foundation for a new building was laid several years ago, but the war and other causes hindered the work, and the building has gone no further. An effort is to be made this year to complete the endowment of the theological department, and the completion of the new building will then receive attention. There is no living man or woman who has done so much for Shurtleff College as Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Gove of Quincy.

The number of students in attendance during the past year has been 108, of which 16 are students for the ministry. There will hereafter be an academic course of three years open to both males and females. There are two literary societies, the “Sigma Phi,” and “Alpha Zeta,” each of which have commodious and elegantly furnished society rooms, each containing a cabinet of specimens and a library. Your correspondent attended the annual exhibition of the “Sigma Phi,” a few months ago. The exercises, consisting of essays, declamation, debate and music were highly creditable to the performers and the society.

A monthly college paper is published called the “Qui Vive,” which was a circulation of 1,500, and has acquired a good reputation for ability. The college library numbers 4,000 volumes, many of them rare works. The reading room contains the principal newspapers and periodicals, etc. The chemical laboratory is well supplied with apparatus, and the cabinet has a rich supply of specimens, geological and otherwise, from all parts of the world, including some interesting mementoes of the war. The various professors and teachers of Shurtleff are gentlemen of extensive learning and long experience.

Opposite the college, and but a few rods off is Rural Park Seminary for young ladies, formerly the residence of H. N. Kendall, Esq., who still owns the premises. It is a spot of surpassing beauty. The building, a large and handsome brick, is perfect in its arrangements, and the grounds, embracing 56 acres, are most tastefully laid out, abounding in vales and landscapes and delightful views. They are planted with rare shrubs, flowers and trees, among which are the larch, linden, Norway maple, etc. Mr. Kendall has spent money without stint on the premises, and there is not a spot in the State that can exceed, if equal it, in beauty. The mansion and grounds are valued at $25,000. The school is under the same auspices as the college, but not being so successful as was desired, it will be discontinued as a separate institution and combined with the college. The building will revert to Mr. Kendall, who will re-occupy it. Mr. Kendall is well known as the great cracker manufacturer, his establishment at Alton being one of the largest in the West, and his trade very extensive. He hints at establishing a branch agency for the sale of his celebrated crackers at Quincy. We hope he may, as the enterprise would beyond doubt be successful.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 25, 1871
The Alton Woolen Mill is one of the great manufacturing establishments of the West, and has an extended and favorable reputation throughout this and neighboring States. In style and quality of goods, it is unsurpassed. Alton Woolen Mill goods, in fact, are made to last. The farmers of Madison County should buy their woolen goods direct from the manufactory, and thus save paying the retailer’s profit. The Messrs. Nichols will suit you both as to styles and prices.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 15, 1871
We have been requested to say that the new, extensive, and very complete glass works on Belle Street are now all finished, and that the company will be blowing tomorrow afternoon, at which time all who are interested in witnessing the operation are invited to be present. We shall, at a very early day, give a full and particular description of the works, which are very much more extensive and complete in all of its departments than most of our citizens have any idea.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 29, 1871
About one o’clock Friday night, the alarm of fire was sounded from the Washington Engine House. The cause proved to be the burning of a cooper shop in the Third Ward, near the lime kilns, belonging to Mr. Luke Brennan. Of course, the building and contents being so combustible, the fire spread rapidly, and the whole building was soon enveloped in flames. The fire soon communicated to a shed adjoining, filled with staves and headings, and thence to a frame dwelling house belonging to a Mr. Starkey of Pocahontas, Bond County, and occupied as a residence and saddler’s store by Mr. Adolph Detrich. This building was likewise totally consumed, but the family escaped, and most of their goods and furniture were removed. The Washington Engine Company arrived promptly on the ground with their apparatus, but as there was no water within a quarter of a mile, all the cisterns in the vicinity being dry, the engine was unable to render any service. The steam fire engine arrived on the ground about three quarters of an hour after the alarm was sounded, but as there was no water, and no buildings left to throw water upon, it right-about-faced and rolled solemnly homeward. The leisurely approach of the steamer arose probably from a misapprehension on the part of the driver, who perhaps imagined he was driving a hearse and going to a funeral instead of a fire.

The total loss was some $2,500. Mr. Brennan had a small insurance, but it will not begin to cover his loss. We could not learn whether Mr. Starkey was insured or not, as he is a non-resident. He had but recently purchased the property.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 29, 1871
The beautiful and extensive assortment of dry goods, recently opened by Messrs. I. Scarritt & Son, at their old stand on Belle Street, is attracting deserved attention, both from our own citizens and visitors from neighboring towns in the vicinity, as the throngs of purchasers at their counters testify. The tastefully arranged show-window of their establishment, where many stylish and fashionable goods are displayed, is a good index of the variety and beauty of the assortment of goods upon the shelves.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 29, 1871
An assortment of bottles from the Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works is on exhibition at the State Fair. The Works are now turning out some beautiful specimens of glassware.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 6, 1871
The Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works exhibited a fine assortment of bottles of different grades and sizes of their own manufacture at the Illinois State Fair in Du Quoin, which attracted deserved attention for their beauty and novelty. The assortment was awarded a Silver Medal, “as the best display of glassware manufactured in Illinois.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 13, 1871
We publish today the dissolution of the co-partnership of the well-known firm of W. A. Holton & Co., druggists, Mr. Holton retiring. The business will be continued by the junior partner, Mr. Ebenezer Marsh Jr. There will be general regret felt at the retirement of Mr. Holton from business, as few merchants in Alton were better known or more highly respected. He has been actively engaged in the drug business in Alton for about thirty-three years, longer, consecutively, than any other druggist in the State. His partner and successor, Prof. Ebenezer Marsh, Jr., is not only an experienced practical druggist, but a chemist of distinguished attainments, whose studies in that profession were pursued at the leading American and German Universities. His practical acquaintance with the chemical properties of medicines is, of course, invaluable in preparing prescriptions, and cannot fail of inspiring confidence in their correctness. Mr. Marsh will continue the business in all its details, and we feel assured will meet with even greater success than that enjoyed by the old firm.

Ebenezer Marsh Jr. was the son of Ebenezer Marsh Sr., who came to Alton in 1828, and taught at the Rock Spring Seminary (later called Shurtleff College) Marsh Sr. was also president of the First National Bank and the Alton Marine & Fire Insurance Company. The family lived at 1403 Henry Street in Alton. Marsh Sr. was married to Mary Stanford Caldwell Marsh (1814-1908), and they had the following children: Ebenezer Marsh Jr. (1833-1911); Ann Marsh Caldwell (1836-1915); and Mary Fanny Marsh Carr (1844-1923). Marsh Sr. died in 1877, at the age of about 70, and was buried in the Alton City Cemetery.

Ebenezer Marsh Jr. was born October 18, 1833, in Alton. He was educated in private schools, and then entered Shurtleff College. He graduated with honors in 1852. He then attended Harvard University, graduating with a degree in chemistry. In 1855, he visited Europe, and spent nearly three years in universities there, graduating in 1857 with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. At Harvard, he studied under such eminent teachers as Agassiz, a naturalist; Gray, the botanist; and Hossford, a natural scientist. Marsh returned to Alton and married Katherine Provost Foote. The couple lived in a large, spacious home on Seminary Street in Upper Alton, between the Western Military Academy and Shurtleff College. During the Civil War, he served a secretary of the Union League, a patriotic organization which combatted the Knights of the Gold Circle [Confederate sympathizers]. After working under W. A. Holton in the drug business, he became sole proprietor of the Marsh Drugstore, located at the northwest corner of Third and Belle Streets in Alton. He continued this business until right before his death in 1911, when he sold the drugstore to Robert and William Luly.

Ebenezer and Kate (Foote) Marsh had one son – Joseph V. E. Marsh, who was a well-known and successful attorney in Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 13, 1871
The announcement made in the Daily Telegraph of the 17th, of the suspension of business by this old and popular insurance company, took no one by surprise in Alton. Owing to the fact of its having, for many years, done a very large business in Chicago, it was generally believed that it would have to wind up its affairs after the terrible conflagration took place in that city. But the fact that it has been compelled to suspend its business is nonetheless regretted on that account.

The Illinois Mutual Fire Insurance Co. was chartered in 1838, and has ever since that time been doing a very large and extensive business, having its agents located in every county and town in the State, and has probably adjusted more losses in the State of Illinois than any other company in it, and during all this time its losses have been promptly met, without delay or litigation, except in cases where there was good evidence of fraud on the part of the insured. During all this period, its present efficient and popular Secretary, Mr. John Atwood, has had the immediate charge of its affairs, and has won the reputation of being one of the wisest and most judicious underwriters in the West. Several of the principal directors and clerks in the office in Alton have likewise been connected with the institution for nearly a quarter of a century. To these gentlemen, as well as to the other employees, the closing of the doors of the company must be a severe and sore trial, not only on account of their personal loss, but in the breaking up of associations of more than a quarter of a century’s standing. But the failure of the company will be felt by many in all parts of the State, who have never been insured in any other company, like the loss of a true and a tried friend. The writer, up to yesterday afternoon, had been insured in the Mutual ever since 1845, and there are thousands in Illinois who have had risks in it for an equal or a longer period of time. But on Alton and her citizens will the loss more particularly fall. It disbursed every month to its officers and employees quite a considerable amount of money, which, with other losses caused by the Chicago fire, will be sensibly felt.

We do not know the exact loss of the company by the late Chicago fire, but it is very heavy in proportion to its assets, and places it far beyond its ability ever to liquidate. But we are well assured that the officers of the company will meet honestly and faithfully every dollar of their liabilities so far as they have the means in their hands to do so. No one here feels disposed to censure, or even complain of the slight loss which he may suffer on account of the failure, but on the contrary, the officers, as well as all employed in the office, have the sympathy and good wishes of our entire community.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 30, 1871
Messrs. Atwood and Dye have been appointed agents for the Imperial Fire Insurance Company of London. This is unquestionably the strongest exclusively fire insurance company now doing business in this country, if not in the world.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 10, 1871
About half-past eight o’clock this morning, a fire broke out in the cellar of Mr. J. E. Coppinger’s elegant brick residence on Main Street [now W. 9th Street hill, which ends at State Street], the fire being communicated to a large quantity of kindling from sparks from the stove in the washroom. [The residence was probably near Coppinger Road, off of W. 9th Street.] The flames spread with great rapidity, and were soon bursting through the cellar windows and through the floor of the first story. The neighbors soon gathered and made every effort with buckets of water to stay the progress of the flames, and were successful in preventing their spread to the second story. Meantime, the steamer arrived on the ground very promptly, and was soon throwing water from a cistern, and when that was exhausted from a pond nearby. The Washington arrived on the ground quite late, owing to the distance of the engine house from the fire, but on account of an accident, was unable to be of service. The Hook and Ladder boys were promptly on the ground and did good service. The steamer worked admirably, and soon had the flames in subjection, throwing two streams a part of the time.

The damage to the building and contents, by fire and water, is very serious, and will aggregate about five thousand dollars. A part of the furniture was saved. The first story of the building was almost entirely burned out, and the second story considerably damaged. But the walls and roof are in good preservation.

There was a large crowd at the scene of the fire, many being influential citizens. Mr. Coppinger and son were absent at Edwardsville at the time of the fire. Mr. Coppinger’s residence was one of the finest in the city, and there is general sympathy expressed for him in his loss.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 22, 1871
Mr. William Armstrong, who owns the frame building corner of Fifth and Piasa streets, formerly a planing mill, is fitting it up as a barrel factory, on an extensive scale.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 12, 1872
The Grand Duke Alexis and suite were to pass through Alton on the way to St. Louis. By seven o’clock, a crowd numbering about 800, many of whom were ladies, had gathered at the depot to gaze upon a real, live Prince. The men were eager to see the Duke, and the ladies were eager to have the Duke see them. The crowd waited impatiently, and were greatly rejoiced when the pilot engine, “Major Nolton,” passed the depot, and was shortly followed by the train carrying the ducal party. The train was an elegant one, consisting of Engine 109, a baggage car, dining car, and two palace drawing room cars. The Duke and party were in the rear coach, and the crowd, as soon as the fact was ascertained, raised a faint cheer and made a rush in that direction, where a few had the felicity of gazing upon the party through the windows. When the train arrived, the ducal party were engaged in a social game of cards in one of the compartments. The portraits and pen pictures of the Duke have certainly been faithful, and there was no difficulty in distinguishing his stately, magnificent figure and handsome face from the rest of the party. He was plainly dressed in a dark frock coat and dark vest, with pants of seemingly nearly the same material. His features were regular and attractive, hair light brown, wears side whiskers, and a dawning moustache.

The train paused but a few moments, and then moved on. As the train pulled out, the street boys howled a faint farewell, and the crowd dispersed. Those of the ladies who saw the phenomenon were highly elated, but as only about one tenth of the crowd enjoyed that pleasure, the majority were indignant because the Duke did not “come out and show himself.” But as the night was dark as pitch, matters would not have been much improved if he had.

The Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia was born in 1850 in St. Petersburg. By the age of 20 he was appointed Lieutenant of the Imperial Russian Navy. In 1871, he was sent as a goodwill ambassador to the United States and Japan. He was received by President Ulysses S. Grant. He then toured the East coast and Canada, and then toured the Midwest where he viewed the ruins after the Chicago fire. After passing through Alton, he visited St. Louis, where he attended a burlesque show. He then traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was greeted by Buffalo Bill, General Sheridan, and Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer (who became a good friend). About 600 warriors of different Sioux tribes assembled to greet Alexei at a hunting camp. The Natives staged exercises of horsemanship, lance-throwing, and bow shooting, closing with a grand war dance. On his twenty-second birthday, Alexei was taken on a buffalo hunt. He rode Buffalo Bill’s horse, “Buckskin Joe,” which had been trained to ride at full gallop so the best shot could be made. Alexei took home a souvenir of a buffalo hide. From there he continued to Denver. He later toured southern States, where he visited New Orleans.

In 1883, he was appointed General Admiral of the Russian Navy, however after the Russian defeat in the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, he was relieved of his command. He died in Paris in 1908.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 12, 1872
The steamboat, City of Pekin, of the Alton Packet, broke up an ice gorge opposite Alton. The charges on the ice barricade continued vigorously all day, and were witnessed by a large crowd of spectators on the bank. The gorge was very solid, extending in many places to the bottom of the river. By the close of the afternoon, the boat had cut a wide channel almost to her landing, and at length, just at sunset, she struck the ice with tremendous force, midway in the river, and started the whole vast ice field from shore to shore. The boat backed out, and the ice floated downstream.

Of course, at the time the gorge gave way, there were a lot of boys on the ice (boys always are where they ought not to be), and if it had not been for the efforts of the crowd on shore, in running a long plank from the shore to the floating ice, the boys would have enjoyed a free sail down the river. As it was, one of them was so bewildered by fright that he ran in every direction but the right one, until a skiff put off from shore and brought him to land.

There is still another gorge above Alton, which Captain Starr intends to put the Pekin through on her return from St. Louis, and thus clear the river to Grafton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 16, 1872
The Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works are now about ready for business again. The new smelting furnace has been completed, and the fires were kindled a day or two since, but a week will elapse before “blowing” is commenced, as a new furnace has to be heated very gradually, in order to temper the material sufficiently to stand the intense heat required for smelting.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 16, 1872
A movement is now on foot in Alton for the establishment here of a window glass factory on an extensive scale. The gentlemen engaged in the enterprise are among our most prominent and wealthy citizens. It is to be conducted by a joint stock company. The capital stock has already been subscribed, and twice as much as is needed has been tendered. In addition, the enterprise is backed by an amount of capital that will render it one of the strongest glass corporations, financially, in the country. Mr. N. C. Hatheway and Prof. E. March Jr., who are interested in the enterprise, will leave town in a day or two on a trip to Pittsburgh, and other glass manufacturing points, to obtain such information and make such investigations as they think necessary. The company will be fully organized in a few days, when we will give a full statement of its organization and what it proposes to do. The location of the works has not yet been decided upon, and there will doubtless be a warm competition among the citizens of various parts of the city to obtain its location in their particular locality.

The success of the Hollow Ware Glass Works in Alton has demonstrated practically that any kind of glass manufactured in the U. S. can be made here as cheaply and of as good, if not better, quality than in any city in the country. We have the best of markets, the great growing West at our very door, while Pittsburg herself cannot compare with Alton in shipping facilities – either by river or rail.

From facts in our possession, we do not deem it an idle boast to say that we believe in five years Alton will be the headquarters of the glass manufacturing interests of the West. The benefit which will accrue to this city from the increase and fostering of manufacturing enterprises is simply incalculable. There is not a trade, a business, or a profession in Alton that will not be directly benefitted thereby. In the development of manufacturing interests lies the future prosperity of Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 15, 1872
About 12 o’clock on Saturday night, a fire broke out in J. Guertler’s saloon, The Orient, corner of Third and Piasa Streets, and spread so rapidly that in a few minutes, the entire interior of the saloon was on fire. The fire department were promptly on the ground, the steamer arriving in six minutes after the alarm was given, closely followed by the Hook & Ladder Company. The flames spread to the store of F. Brandeweide, tobacconist, adjoining to the west, and to the boot and shoe store of Weil and Pfeiffer, doing great damage. It also spread to the store of John Fernow, on the south. The steamer, aided by the Washington, soon had the fire under control, and succeeded finally in extinguishing it altogether, though not until damage to buildings and stocks had been done to the amount of several thousand dollars. The buildings can be repaired, with the exception of the corner saloon, which will, probably, have to come down, although the outer walls are still standing. Great damage was done to goods by water, almost as much, in some cases, as by fire. Mr. J. Guertler met with a total loss of his stock of liquors. He had insurance in the Orient to the amount of $600. The barbershop of Henry Sein, under Guertler’s saloon, was badly damaged. Mr. Sein has insurance to the amount of $400. Mr. Brandeweide’s loss by fire and water is almost total. Mr. John Fernow’s stock is badly damaged by fire and water, being of a perishable character. The adjoining building, occupied by Mrs. Toppecharr as a confectionery store, was somewhat damaged, but not materially. The five buildings damaged all belonged to the Waples estate, and were insured for $700 each. Had it not been for the noble service rendered by the steam fire engine, the fire, from the locality in which it occurred, would have resulted in a general and disastrous conflagration. The origin of the fire is unknown, and can only be conjectured. The loss is serious, but might have been much worse.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 15, 1872
We had the pleasure of a call this morning from Colonel John Utt of Jersey County, a veteran soldier of the War of 1812. He states that he was on the site of Alton soon after the close of that war, with a surveying party. The whole country was then a wilderness. A single log cabin had been erected in what is now Alton. It faced the river on the ground now occupied by Blair & Atwood’s wholesale grocery store. Colonel Utt is now 85 years old, but is still hale and hearty – a fine specimen of the old-time pioneer.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 12, 1872
The Hollow Ware Glass Works are now running to their full capacity, and are turning out large quantities of glass ware of excellent quality. The recent heavy advance in the price of glass has given a great impetus to all kinds of glass manufacture.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, April 26, 1872
The stone business is active this season. Watson's quarry employs a large force of laborers, and is the liveliest place in town at present.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 19, 1872
The proprietors of this well-known establishment have leased the Works to a St. Louis business house, the lease taking effect on July 1. The new proprietors intend to conduct the Works on as extensive a scale as heretofore, and will commence “blowing” next month. During the last few months, the Works have not only done an extensive but a very successful business, and they are only induced to retire from it by the pressure of other business. This company have demonstrated the fact that glass ware can be made in Alton at a handsome financial profit, and of as fine finish and quality as any in the market.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 6, 1872
W. W. Young & Son of St. Louis, the new proprietors of the Alton Hollow Ware Glass Works, have completely refitted the works, and will commence blowing glass next Monday. They are practical glass makers, and have large wholesale salesrooms in St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 6, 1872
The carcasses of more than twenty cows have been thrown into the river within the last four days, at points above the foot of Piasa Street. Several of them have been swept down by the current under the raft opposite the Union Depot, where they are now lodged. Unless they can be removed from that position, their decay will be a fearful nuisance.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 6, 1872
A terrible runaway took place on Fourth Street under the following circumstances: A team of horses, hitched to a farm wagon, became frightened and started down the street on the full run. When opposite the post office, they ran upon the sidewalk and collided with the mail wagon, which they demolished. This collision frightened them still more, and with redoubled speed, they dashed on. Just as they reached the corner of Piasa Street, an engine and two cars came along. The maddened animals rushed headlong against the side of the locomotive with fearful force. The shock turned the wagon completely over, made one horse execute a somersault, while the other hardly lost his footing. The horse that was down jumped up at once. Both animals stood still a moment as if dazed, and then started off on the run, dragging with them the fore-wheels of the wagon – the rest of the vehicle being smashed into toothpicks. The horses rushed down Piasa Street, then down Second [Broadway], and were not stopped until near Henry. Strange to say, they were but little hurt by their collision with the engine. One had a cut in the side, the other a cut on the leg, and both were bruised. It is a wonder they were not killed. The engine, likewise, will survive the disaster. The team belonged to Mr. Jones of Bethalto.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, September 13, 1872
We have been informed that there are from twenty to thirty dead cattle lying in Hop Hollow, within a mile or a mile and a half of this city [Alton], and that the stench arising from them is almost intolerable, and will soon produce a pestilence unless it is abated. It should be the duty of someone to see that this offensive nuisance is removed without delay. We also learn that there are several carcases of dead cattle lying unburied in several of the sink holes in Sempletown, The Board of Health of the city should give this matter early attention.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 20, 1872
Work has commenced on the government dyke [wall] across the head of Alton Slough, the engineers and a large force of workmen being on the ground. The party have two steam dredge boats, the steamer Innovator, and several barges, which have already commenced active service. The dyke is to be built from Ellis Island to the main Missouri shore, the point selected for the northern abutment being about 100 yards below the head of the island. The work is being done under the general direction of General Raynolds, Superintendent of Western River and Harbor Improvement, while Major Allen, Engineer McMath, and Lieutenant S. E. McGregory will have the superintendence of the details. Mr. McGregory is to have the immediate charge of construction.

The dyke is to be built of willow brush and stone. The brush is to be obtained from Tow Head Island (later called Smallpox Island), where it is already being out. The engineers will first dredge a channel 100 feet wide in the bottom of the slough, from shore to shore, for the foundation of the work. Long piles will then be driven in a row across the stream, after which the brush bound in bundles, will be sunk in the channel cut by the dredges. The brush embankment will be raised to low water mark, and then covered with stone. The whole dyke is to be built above low water mark, but the abutments are to be raised to high water mark, so that in future, if desirable, the whole dyke can be raised above high-water mark. The deepest water found along the line of the dyke is thirteen feet. The length of the embankment is nine hundred feet. The work will be completed this Fall, and we are assured from the experience and scientific ability of the engineers in charge, that it will be performed in a most thorough and workmanlike manner, and will result favorably in the improvement of the condition of the harbor.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 20, 1872
We were shown a cane, the other day, made of a log from the first house that was built in the city of Alton. The owner, Mr. Isaac Cox, Esq., remembers well when the entire population of Alton lived in one log house, and the great city of St. Louis contained but six small stores. He came to this county in 1800. The pleasure of a few hours’ conversation with him is more instructive than a volume of history.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 11, 1872
About six o’clock last evening, quite an accident occurred at the dental rooms of Dr. White, over the Alton National Bank. The doctor was engaged in preparing some of his work, which required the use of his steam vulcanizer, which fitted into the top of his stove. The gas had not been lit, and the room had grown so dark that the doctor could not see the figures on his thermometer distinctly, and permitted a greater heat to be generated than the machine could stand, and it suddenly exploded with a report so loud that it startled everyone in the vicinity. The stove, constructed of heavy cast iron, was blown into fragments, some parts being hurled up through the ceiling, others through the woodwork of the opposite wall, and the rest scattered all over the room inflecting great damage to the furniture. The doctor, fortunately, was standing behind a large sofa at the time and was uninjured, but the end of the sofa was broken to pieces. Had any one of the fragments struck him, it would have caused serious, or perhaps fatal injuries.

The fire from the stove was thrown all about the room, and but for the promptness of some citizens in hastening to the assistance of the doctor with buckets of water, a conflagration would have been added to the accident. After the fire was put out, over one hundred fragments of the stove were picked up about the room. The doctor is engaged today in repairing damages. He considers that he was very fortunate in escaping personal injury.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 11, 1872
The fine store building, corner of Third and Piasa Streets, formerly occupied by Breckinridge & Everts, is being refitted and remodeled for the use of Mr. E. H. Goulding, who on the completion of the alterations, will remove there his extensive jewelry store. It will make one of the handsomest establishments in the city. In addition to the interior improvements, an awning is being built in front.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 18, 1872
The value of manufactures to the growth of a city is evinced by the fact that the extensive Glass Works, now in operation here, employ over eighty hands. Below we insert some extracts from an article which appeared this morning in the St. Louis Democrat, in regard to the Glass Works in Alton. They will show how that establishment is regarded by those living outside of the city, and demonstrate the feasibility and importance of establishing additional works of the same kind. It is beyond all question the manifest destiny of Alton to become a large and extensive manufacturing town. It may take time to accomplish it, but it is just as certain to take place ultimately as it is that General Grant will become our next President, and that has ceased to be a controverted question. The writer says:

“Bottles are the most perishable of household vessels, and it requires the labor of many men and boys to supply the constantly increasing demand. Druggists use a great many bottles and jars of various sizes, and patent medicine dealers require immense numbers for their nostrums. Liquor and wine dealers use dark-colored bottles and flasks are made by the million.”

Quite an extended account of the way bottles is made is then given, after which it is added:

“It requires 20 or 30 men and boys to do the work at the Alton furnace. They are paid according to the work done, and make from $20 to $40 per week. The coal is brought from the mines, two miles distant, and costs about nine cents per bushel. The sand is obtained at Grafton, the fire clay at the Christy farm near St. Louis, and the soda ash is imported by way of New Orleans. The storehouse is in this city [St. Louis], and the furnace is kept in constant operation, filling the orders of our druggists, patent medicine dealers, and others. This glass factory is an important branch of our home manufactories, and will in time be reinforced by numerous similar establishments. Glass can be made here cheaper than at Pittsburg, because all the materials which enter into its composition are at our doors. Heretofore, the want of success in glass factories in Alton has been owing to the lack of skill in the workmen and experience in the management.”

It will be remembered by our readers that the Glass Works in Alton is now operated by a St. Louis firm. Three or four more establishments, especially for the manufacture if window glass in Alton, could find immediate and profitable sale, for all they could manufacture. In fact, the establishment of additional factories would be of great advantage to the one already in operation, if anything could increase the already extensive demand for all that it can possibly turn out.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 6, 1872
A conference took place on Monday afternoon at the office of Mayor Pfeiffenberger, between the Citizens' committee and the St. Louis manufacturers, heretofore spoken of, in regard to the location of a screw and cotton press factory in this city. The representations made by the St. Louis gentlemen were to the effect that they had $57,000 cash to put into the concern, and patterns, patents, etc., to the amount of $18,000 more, making a total of $75,000 stock. The Citizens' committee, consisting of Hon. J. T. Drummond, Hon. L. Pfeiffenberger and George A. Smith, Esq., then made the following proposition to the manufactures, as an inducement to locate in Alton:

"That they would organize an independent joint stock company; purchase the Patterson Iron Works buildings, and place it at the disposal of the manufacturers for five years, free of taxes and insurance."

The manufacturers, however, while acknowledging the liberality of the proposition, stated that they preferred to own the buildings themselves, even without being exempt from taxes and insurance, and would, therefore, make the following counter-proposition, viz:

"They would agree to purchase the Patterson Foundry buildings and establish a factory here with $75,000 capital, providing the citizens of Alton would put the buildings in proper repair."

The cost of the necessary repairs would be from $2,500 to $3,000. There the matter rested, and the Alton committee agreed to submit the matter to the consideration of our citizens for their action. In regard to this offer we have only this to say: If the manufacturers are reliable, upright men who will carry out their proposition in good faith, the investment of $3,000 to secure an increase of $75,000 active capital in our midst, and a factory employing from 50 to 100 operatives, will be an excellent one. As to the reliability referred to, we presume the committee are prepared to give the necessary information.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1872
We are informed that the Alton Screw and Manufacturing Co., through H. H. Bingham, have closed negotiations with H. G. McPike and F. Hewit, agents, for the purchase of the Patterson Foundry Works in this city. The above company is made up of the St. Louis manufacturers, of whom we have before spoken.


Source: Alton 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 has 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 Lucas 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 committee satisfactory evidence of their entire reliability, and of the 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 is 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 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.


Jail Break in Alton
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 24, 1873
Sunday morning, a man named William Farr, confined in the city jail on charge of larceny, made his escape through the aid of an outside accomplice. The jailer, Mr. P. Pickard, never allowed the prisoner outside his iron cell except in cases of necessity, but at some time, while in the corridor, the prisoner obtained a hammer and some acids, which an accomplice had slipped in through the grating of a window. With these, he went to work on the fastenings of his cell door. The acids were applied to the iron into which the bolt was slid, and in time, had so eaten into the material that a blow with the hammer was sufficient to break it off. This done, he drew back the bolt with a piece of wire, and walked out of his cell. When in the corridor, the prisoner took a shovel full of coals from the stove, climbed up to the ceiling (which is the floor of the entrance in the library room), and set it on fire – hanging his bed blanket around the flames to keep the light from being seen from the street. He next went to work with a saw, made from an iron spoon, and assisted by the fire, soon had a hole through the ceiling large enough to admit him to the room above. He then took a bucket of water, and put out the fire. Not, we suppose, for the sake of saving the building, but that he might crawl through the hole without being burned. Having reached the room above, all he had to do was to open the door and walk out a free man. He must have been engaged all night at the job, and Mr. Pickard thinks it was about seven o’clock in the morning when he finally got clear. The escape was discovered by Mr. Pickard when he came to the jail in the morning to feed the prisoners. Farr certainly manifested great ingenuity in effecting his escape. The same amount of genius, applied to any honest avocation, would have made his fortune. The escaped prisoner left all his tools behind him to tell the story of “how it was done.” He is doubtless by this time “over the hills and Farr away.”

The Alton jail was located in the basement of the city hall, which was located in the current Lincoln-Douglas Square, near the foot of Market Street.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 31, 1873
Messrs. Martin and Boals, proprietors of the Alton Planing Mills, have purchased the large brick machine shops owned by Mr. V. Warren, and built by the old Terre Haute Railroad Company. Messrs. Martin & Boals intend removing their planing mill to the buildings just purchased. They will there have far more room for their extensive business, the buildings having been originally designed for manufacturing purposes. We understand the amount paid for the buildings was $5,000.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 28, 1873
At 11 o’clock Tuesday night, the three-story store building on Third Street, occupied by the Smiley Bros. and owned by Thomas Biggins, was discovered to be on fire. The alarm was at once given, and the steamer was soon at the scene of action. The Hook and Ladder Company were also promptly on hand.

There are several theories in regard to the origin of the fire – the most probably of which seems to be that it caught from the stove. The flames spread very rapidly and enveloped the first floor of the building, and soon spread to the second. Mr. W. E. Smiley, who was asleep in his room on the second floor, had a narrow escape from being suffocated, and escaped only partially dressed. So rapid was the progress of the flames, that nothing whatever was saved, Smiley Bros. losing not only their entire stock of goods, but all their personal effects and their books and papers. The building was total consumed, though the front wall is still standing.

The flames spread to the adjoining four-story building on the East, also owned by Mr. Biggins. The first floor was occupied by Richard Flagg, dry goods merchant, the office of Kellenberger & Sons, and of Dr. McKinney were on the second floor; the third floor was used for storage; and the fourth was occupied by the Alton Gymnastic Society. Although this building was deluged with water, the two upper stories and roof were burned out, and the first and second floors badly damaged. The entire building will have to be rebuilt, though part of the walls will be available in reconstruction. Mr. Flagg’s stock was thoroughly soaked with water – his loss from that cause being greater than from fire. Kellenberger & Sons were damaged both by fire and water, and have suffered considerable loss, but their books and valuable papers are safe. The Alton Gymnastic Society won’t use their apparatus any more, and those who are not accomplished athletes at present will have to wait a while to perfect themselves.

The next building on the east, occupied by H. & W. E. Schweppe, was somewhat damaged, and the stock was considerably injured by water. The building on the west of Smiley Bros., owned by Judge Baker and occupied by H. W. Chamberlain, druggist, and Dr. Rohland, was on fire several times, but by the exertions of the firemen, the flames were extinguished, but the building suffered serious damage. Mr. Chamberlain suffered quite heavily, principally from water and removal of goods.

The Washington engine was not on the ground, but the steamer, Hook & Ladder, and Altona boys rendered splendid service under Mayor Pfeiffenberger and their officers, and were efficiently aided by a steady stream which was played from the stationary engine in the City Mills. The efficiency of the steamer was again strikingly exemplified. Had it not been for its work, the entire south side of Third Street, from State to Piasa, would probably have been destroyed. The steamer pumped the two public cisterns on Third Street dry, and then drew water from the river. She kept up two steady streams for nearly five hours. The fire broke out again about four o’clock in Baker’s building, but was speedily subdued.

This is the most destructive fire that has visited Alton for many years, but we trust that the buildings which were destroyed may soon be replaced. The ruins today are being visited by large crowds. Much sympathy is expressed for the losers.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 7, 1873
We have heretofore mentioned the purchase of the Seaton Foundry property in Alton, by Messrs. Hughes & Co. of St. Louis, for the purpose of establishing an extensive factory of roofing tile. We are now glad to add that they purchased today the large building on the corner of Seventh and Piasa Streets, owned by John H. Smith, Esq., and known as the Wooden Ware Works, which they intend to use for their business in connection with the Seaton property. The price paid to Mr. Smith was $7,000. Messrs. Hughes & Co. also purchased today all the brick from the ruins of the Alton House, which they intend to use in making additions to their new property. They likewise purchased two large boilers from Captain Berry, to be used in the factory. The new manufacturing enterprise is composed of wealthy and enterprising men who “mean business,” and will add greatly to the manufacturing importance of the city.

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 14, 1873
Workmen are busily engaged in refitting and repairing the Wooden Ware Works building, preparatory to occupancy by the Roofing Tile Company. The large boilers for the new factory were hauled up from the levee this morning to the building, where they will be placed in position.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 7, 1873
There was quite an excitement occasioned on the street this morning by the report that a man had been murdered last night near the elevator, and the body thrown into the river. The foundation of the report was the finding of the marks of a struggle on the riverbank, and the traces of something having been drawn down the bank and thrown into the water. There were also found traces of blood and a stone and club stained with blood, and to which coarse yellow hairs were sticking. The hairs were examined by Dr. Guelich under a microscope, and though not claiming to be an expert, he thought they came from a man’s whiskers. There were also found near the water’s edge a nickel, and a handkerchief marked “E. Andrews.” Up to three o’clock this afternoon, no further facts had transpired, but there are evidently grounds for suspecting foul play. The handkerchief and club are in the possession of Marshal Challacombe.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 14, 1873
Cotter’s new drugstore on Belle Street, adjoining the Alton National Bank, is being fitted up in a very attractive style. A full stock is being received of drugs, medicines, toilet articles, and fancy goods, including everything usually found in a first-class drugstore. Mr. L. F. Cotter, an experienced druggist, is in charge of the new establishment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 21, 1873
Part of the Seaton Foundry property is now in process of demolition, and the material is being transported across to the new Roofing Tile Factory, corner of Seventh and Piasa Streets.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 18, 1873
This extensive establishment has not been in operation for some weeks past, owing to the fact that very extensive repairs and improvements are being made, which are now nearly completed, and which will add greatly to the production of glass at less expense than it has been produced heretofore. This is now one of the most complete and perfect establishments of the kind in the West, but still it cannot begin to supply the demand for the manufactured article.

We have been informed that several extensive manufactories of the kind will be established either in St. Louis, East St. louis, or at this point during this summer. The Pittsburg manufacturers of glass are beginning to learn that they cannot compete with manufactories here, where every article required for the prosecution of the work, with the single exception of coal, is so much cheaper than it is there. Let them come – we have plenty of room for all who may desire to locate here.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 18, 1873
Mr. Matthew Wilkinson, a skillful and practical miller of many years experience in this and neighboring places, has purchased the Guetzwiller warehouse, fronting on Second Street [Broadway], and running through to the river, between Piasa and State, for the purpose of fitting it up for a mill. This is a move in the right direction, and we wish the enterprising gentleman abundant success in his undertaking. It is true that we already have four mills here in operation, some of them among the most extensive in the State, but we should have enough of them to convert every bushel of wheat raised in this vicinity into flour, instead of having it shipped to St. Louis to enrich the millers of that city.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 18, 1873
Messrs. G. L. Mcdonough & Co. have purchased the capacious building on Belle Street, just above the Glass Works, with a view of preparing themselves for carrying on their branch business much more extensively than heretofore. Both members of the firm are active and energetic young men, and have a practical knowledge of their business, and there is no doubt but with their greatly increased facilities for turning out work in their line, will make the enterprise a success.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 9, 1873
We publish today notice of the dissolution of the firm of Myers & Drummond, and the organization of a new firm composed of Henry Dausman of St. Louis, James T. and John N. Drummond of Alton, under the name and style of Dausman & Drummond. The new firm have capital, experience, and business talent. They are owners of one of the largest and most complete factories in the country, and will do an immense and profitable business.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, January 10, 1873
The representatives of this company from St. Louis were in town on Tuesday in conference with the Citizens' committee, in regard to the details of their location in Alton. The company have filed their certificate of organization with the Secretary of State, arranged for the purchase of the Patterson Iron Works on Piasa Street, and have accepted the conditions offered by said Citizens' committee, consisting of Mayor Pfeiffenberger, ex-Mayor Drummond, and George A. Smith, Esq. The conditions are that our citizens shall donate the company $3,000 to repair the Patterson buildings, payable when the new works are in running order, stocked with machinery, and $50,000 stock paid in. The company have given the Citizens' committee satisfactory evidence of their entire reliability, and of that fact that they mean business. They have sent to Boston to complete the negotiations for the transfer of the buildings (whose owner resides there), their books are open for further subscription in St. Louis and the full amount of $50,000 will be paid in within ten days. Mayor Pfeiffenberger assures us that the company are all right and are entitled to public confidence. The Citizens' committee will shortly commence canvassing for the $3,000 fund to repair the buildings ready for the reception of machinery. As the money is not to be paid over until the works are in operation with a paid-up capital of $50,000, there is, of course, no fear that the money of the Alton subscribers can be misapplied. The importance of such a manufacturing establishment to Alton, employing at once from 50 to 100 hands, will be understood and appreciated by all, without further remarks. Let us give the new company a generous reception and every assistance possible. The time has past for the manifestation of any narrow-minded prejudice. We must all work together for the common good.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 20, 1873
The most important of the manufacturing industries lately established in Alton is the Hughes & White Roofing Tile Factory, located in the large brick building, corner of Seventh and Piasa Streets, formerly known as the Alton Wooden Ware Works. This splendid property the company purchased of Mr. John Smith for $7,000. It is directly on the railroad, affording facilities for loading directly onto the cars, thus saving all cost of drayage. The works are now in complete operation. The clay used is obtained from land owned by the company at Buck Inn [North Alton], and consists of three grades which are mixed in equal proportions. It is hauled to the factory in wagons, and some 600 tons are now in store. The clay is first moistened with warm water in order to destroy any acids therein, and then crushed in a large circular mill, located on the first floor. It then passes into the grinding mill on the second floor, where it is ground as fine as powder. It next passes through the pressing mill, where it is moulded into ____ x 14 inches square, and … [unreadable].

The works are now turning out between ____ and 5,000 tile per day, and will soon largely increase the number. A force of forty hands is employed. The building is fitted up very conveniently for the business. The machinery is complete and remarkably ingenious. It is driven by a thirty-horse power engine. An elevator is being put in which will connect all three stories.

The tile manufactured here is certainly a most valuable roofing material. It is perfectly fireproof, and will last for hundreds of years without renewal. The cost per square of ten feet, everything included, is about equal to a square of shingle roof, and far less than either slate or tin. It is equally adapted to flat or steep roofs, as it is so constructed as to furnish its own pitch. The weight per square is from 600 to 700 pounds, though the tile can be made much lighter if desired. As a roofing material, it has been remarkably successful wherever introduced, and for business houses it seems destined to supersede all others in use on the score of cheapness, durability, safety, and efficiency. The company have already several smaller factories at different points, and intend establishing another at Kansas City, but at this point they are prepared to manufacture on a very extensive scale. The factory is operated by a stock company called the Hughes & White Roofing Tile Company. Mr. J. B. Hughes is the President and General Manager. He is proprietor of five combination patents, under which the manufacture is carried on. We wish the new enterprise abundant success.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 20, 1873
Dr. O. Easton, druggist, was on last Saturday arrested by the village constable, F. M. Randle, on a charge of threatening the life of his partner, G. W. Foster. He was bound over in a bond of $500 to keep the peace, failing to give the required security, he was taken to the hotel kept by Mr. Freide at the “Center.” Liquor was the cause, for the Doctor is a peaceable, quiet man at other times.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1873
The glass works have closed their works, as is customary in summer, and will not resume business until cooler weather.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 5, 1873
Among the most important and successful of our manufacturing industries is Kendall’s celebrated cracker house, located on the corner of Second [Broadway] and Easton Streets. This famous establishment, after a successful career extending over many years, is now more prosperous than ever, and doing a larger business. It manufactures crackers of every variety and of a brand equal, if not superior, to any in the country. In the West, certainly, no similar establishment is able to rival it in the quality or quantity of the goods manufactured. The spacious building is four stories high, including the basement, and is provided throughout with labor-saving machinery, driven by a forty horsepower engine. All the appointments of the factory are of the most comprehensive and convenient character, the product of long experience in the business.

The factory has a capacity of fifty barrels of flour per day, and is now being driven, by the demands of business, to the full extent of its capacity. Only the best grade of flour is used. It is in operation night and day without cessation, and two sets of hands, numbering thirty-seven in all, are constantly employed. A branch salesroom has recently been established in St. Louis, superintended by a member of the firm, in order to facilitate the transaction of business. The business of the firm extends over a large extent of territory. From New Orleans to St. Cloud on the Mississippi, and is bounded by Omaha on the west, Indianapolis on the east, and Chicago on the north. The sales amount to over $200,000 worth of goods per annum. The proprietors of the factory are Messrs. L. O. Kendall, A. L. Daniels, George A. and D. E. Bayle, all five energetic young men, who thoroughly understand their business and are prepared to satisfy the demands of the trade. Their great success is a public recognition not only of the superior quality of their goods, but of their business talent and energy.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 26, 1873
Mr. William Eliot Smith, President of the Illinois Glass Company, has just returned from a trip to northern Illinois and Minnesota. He reports every thing prosperous, and the atmosphere cool and bracing in that region.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 3, 1873
Mr. George D. Hayden’s new machine shop on Belle Street, although it has been in operation but a short time, is already doing a large jobbing business, and will prove an important addition to the manufacturing interest of the city. The shop is equipped with a mammoth planer, large and small lathes and other machinery necessary; together with a blacksmith’s forge. The machinery is driven by an ingenious vertical engine, built by Mr. Hayden. It is quite a novelty, performs its work admirably, and is in itself a testimonial to the maker’s mechanical skill. Among the work recently turned out by this shop is a tile machine, manufactured for a firm in Zanesville, Ohio. Mr. Hayden’s establishment seems to possess every facility for turning out general mechanical work with accuracy and promptitude. The large number of mills, factories, etc. in Alton render such a repair and jobbing shop an absolute necessity, and there is no doubt but that it will be well sustained.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 3, 1873
The works of this company, on Piasa Street, are now the scene of great activity. Although so recently started, and not yet as fully equipped with machinery as they intend to be, the company find themselves already overrun with orders for work. No better commentary on the need of such an establishment in this section, or the fitness of the location, could be made than this fact of the company’s not having to wait for business, but stepping at once into the full title of successful operation.

The buildings of the company, formerly the Patterson Iron Works, are among the most extensive and desirable in the West. Built with special reference to manufacturing purposes, all the arrangements and appointments are of the most convenient and labor-saving character. The main building is of large dimensions, as are also the foundries. The machine shop occupies the first floor of the former; on the upper floors are the carpenter shop, the finishing and japanning departments. In the carpenter shop the woodwork of the different varieties of presses is set up. The following is a list of the buildings, with their dimensions:

Main building – 46x100 feet, four stories.
Foundries – 46x80 feet, thirty feet high inside.
Core room – 20x20feet, core oven, 10x20 feet, small core oven, 5x6 feet.
Cupalo room – two stories, 20x20 feet.
Office – 20x20 feet, two stories.
Japanning room – 9x15 feet.
Ornamenting room – 10x24 feet.

The works front 160 feet on Piasa Street, by 100 feet deep on Third Street.

The variety of work the company are prepared to receive orders for is very large and comprehensive. The main article of manufacture, however, is the Ingalls’ Patent Screw, one of the most important mechanical inventions of the age. This screw can be applied to all varieties and kinds of presses, such as hay, cheese, cider, cotton, wool, tobacco, copying, wine, hide, lard, hop, etc. All these varieties of presses, and many others, the company is prepared to manufacture complete, and ship to any part of the country. Under this head also are made jack-screws of all descriptions, revolving chairs, stools, etc.; also screws of every size, shape, and form of thread, from one-fourth inch to the largest diameter. They are now manufacturing Bailey’s celebrated corn sheller, under direction of the inventor.

The company are likewise prepared to manufacture road scrapers, trucks, barrows, etc. Their foundry has facilities for turning out every description of fine castings, light and heavy. All the machinery used by the company is of the most improved description, driven by an engine of fifty horsepower.

The Superintendent, Colonel Ingalls, is a skillful and scientific mechanic and inventor, and a business man of fine abilities. The other officers are: F. P. Nimon, President; G. C. Letcher, Vice-President; Milo G. Dodd, Secretary and Treasurer – all of St. Louis. The directors and officers are among the leading business men of St. Louis, and have both the means and the ability to make the enterprise a grand success. Especially is this true of the affable and energetic President, Mr. Nimon, who has been extensively engaged in manufacturing in Pittsburgh, and has a practical knowledge of the business. The capital stock of the company is $50,000. Our citizens can rest assured that the Western Screw and Manufacturing Company is on a solid foundation and “means business.”


Source: Troy Weekly Bulletin, January 17, 1874
About 1 o’clock on Wednesday morning, a fire broke out in Alton. The flames were first discovered in the boot and shoe store of T. M. Boyle on Third Street. The wind was blowing a perfect gale, and the intense cold made the work of the firemen very difficult, and the buildings adjoining the shoe store on the east were soon a mass of flames. The fire swept along Piasa Street, south to the alley, burning every building in its way. The total loss is estimated at $57,000. The following is a list of the buildings:

The two-story brick building where the fire originated belonged to A. L. Chouteau, and was totally destroyed. The double, three-story brick belonging to the estate of the late B. K. Hart was also destroyed. The six brick stores belonging to the estate of T. S. Waples were burned. T. Biggins’ brick building on Piasa Street was slightly damaged, but the insurance is ample. Mr. Joesting’s two-story brick store, west of where the fire started, is slightly damaged, but it fully insured. The third story of the double brick, belonging to the estate of B. K. Hart, was fitted up by John E. Hayner, and known as “Kirkland Hall.” He had no insurance on the fixtures, and loses about $900. This hall has been used every night for five weeks for the Hammond meetings, and was completely full on the night of the fire until about 11 o’clock.

Source: Alton Telegraph, January 23, 1874
L. Haagen saved a portion of his stock from the late fire, and made new purchases and reopened his store, in the building formerly occupied by Mr. S. Cafky, nearly opposite the old stand, where will be found a full assortment. The Waples’ estate intend to rebuilt their property on Third and Piasa Street. Mrs. B. K. Hart also intends rebuilding on the site of Kirkland Hall. Mr. L. Haagen, who has purchased the Chouteau lot, will build at once. The burned district, therefore, will soon be entirely rebuilt.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 13, 1874
On Friday afternoon, Mr. Louis Ginter, while engaged in repairing a belt at the planing mill, was caught by a revolving shaft by his coat sleeve catching in a projection, and was instantly pinioned fast thereto his entire length, and whirled round and round with inconceivable rapidity, there being just enough room for his body to pass between the shaft and a large beam running parallel therefrom. No one saw the accident, but while revolving, his arm struck a belt passing up into the story above and loosened it, this attracted the attention of Mr. Wheelock, his partner, who at once rushed downstairs to see what was the matter. He was horrified at seeing the cause, but with great presence of mind, at once stopped the machinery and succeeded in rescuing Mr. Ginter from his perilous position. But so tightly was he bound to the shaft, that it was a matter of difficulty to disentangle him. When rescued, he was unconscious, but soon rallied. He was at once attended by Dr. A. S. Haskell, who found that although considerably bruised, he had no bones broken. His escape from instant death was one of the most remarkable on record. If Mr. Wheelock had not acted with such wonderful promptness, death would have inevitably ensued in a moment more from concussion of the brain caused by the swift revolutions, even if from no other cause.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, March 13, 1874
Among the most important and prosperous manufacturing industries of this city [Alton] is the extensive and famous carriage factory of Mr. Chas. Rodemeyer on Third street, between Piasa and Market. This factory has been a successful and prosperous establishment for many years, adding no little to the business and manufacturing importance of the city. The proprietor is one of our oldest and most respected citizens, and is well known as an experienced and skillful mechanic and a successful business man. What he does not know about carriage and wagon making is not worth inquiring about. The secret of his success lies in his always turning out the best of work. Nothing is slighted. He is careful in selecting the best of raw material, and in making it up in the most substantial manner, which his long experience can suggest. Consequently, when a customer purchases a Rodemeyer carriage or wagon, he knows that he has got the worth of his money, a vehicle that will last and be useful for many years. The factory is a very beehive of industry, and is divided into several distinct departments, so that work can be prosecuted with the greatest dispatch. Each department attends to some particular detail, such as the woodwork, the iron work, the trimming, upholstering, painting, etc. The number of workmen is so proportioned that there is no delay. The vehicle in different stages of completion passes rapidly from one set of hands to another until finished. Thirty-five workmen are now employed in the factory. The carriage repository is a separate building, three stories high, where the completed work is displayed for sale, and it is safe to say that no similar showroom in St. Louis or Chicago can make a finer display of rolling stock. The basement is occupied by the popular Rodemeyer wagons, for the use of farmers, coal haulers, and others. They are strong and substantial, and have a well-established reputation. On the second floor is a beautiful display of carriages, phaetons [light, 4-wheeled carriage with 1 or 2 seats], rockaways [light, 4-wheeled carriage with 2 or 3 seats and a fixed top], and buggies. These are elegantly painted and trimmed, and upholstered in various styles. The painting of some of these buggies is a marvel of beauty and good taste. These vehicles combine all the latest improvements in sliding seats, shifting tops, new styles of bodies, several of them being covered by valuable patents for which Mr. R. has purchased the right. The third floor is occupied by an equally fine assortment of open buggies, spring wagons, "sundowns," etc. A visit to this repository, whether one is intending to purchase or not, is well worth the time. A good idea of the extent of Mr. Rodemeyer's business and the popularity of his vehicles is shown by the fact that during 1873, he turned out 180 carriages, buggies and light wagons; and 250 wagons, total 430, or an average of nearly 1 1/2 for each working day. These facts speak for themselves and need no comment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 13, 1874
About 1 o’clock Tuesday night, the Washington Engine House on Sixth Street, between Henry and Langdon, was discovered to be on fire, and was soon entirely consumed, together with its contents. The building was of frame, and the flames made such rapid progress that it was impossible to save either the fire engine or the hose carriage. The origin of the fire is unknown, but it is supposed to have been incendiary, as there had been no fire in the building since the previous Saturday. The loss is about $3,500. The Washington Company greatly regret the loss of their house and engine. The latter was one of the best hand engines in the State. It was formerly called the Altona, and has done much valuable service at many fires.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 20, 1874
The great tornado which swept over Alton in 1860 was duplicated on Wednesday evening in one of the wildest, fiercest whirlwinds which ever occurred in the country. The weather during the day had been unseasonably warm and sultry, and the air was as hot and depressing as just before a July thunderstorm. Everything indicated an approaching war of the elements. About 5:30 o’clock, dark banks of threatening clouds commenced gathering in the southwest, accompanied by distant thunder and sharp flashes of lightning. The approach of the storm was a sublime spectacle, the grandeur and awfulness of which will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it, as did the writer, from the top of the hills. 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 ten minutes after six, a heavy cloud in the shape of a funnel fell from the great mass, swept across the river as quick as a flash of lightning, with the small end of the funnel dragging along the surface of the water. In a second, the cloud struck the riverfront, swept by in a flash, bounded like a ball, passed over the hills towards the northeast, rose again and broke into fragments. When it struck the buildings, a terrible rumbling 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 all 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. Of course, the greatest terror and consternation ensued among those in the section in the course of the whirlwind, and as soon as the storm subsided sufficiently, crowds sallied out to ascertain the extend of the loss, which was, in brief, as follows:

The East wall (two feet thick) of Farber’s Mill, from the roof to the second story, blown down, crushing Toppings’ storage sheds to the ground. Loss $600. One third of the roof of Toppings’ building blown off, loss $500. Fourth story and roof of the Western Screw Factory building [at Piasa and Third Streets] blown off, loss about $4,000. Carr’s Bakery, a two-story building opposite the Presbyterian Church, leveled to the ground, a total wreck, loss of building and stock about $3,500. The building belonged to Mr. L. Haagan. The entire roof was carried northward over three two-story buildings, without touching them, and landed against the residence of Captain Thompson. There was also a great destruction of chimneys, awnings, fences, etc. The total loss is not less than $12,000.

The most remarkable fact was that no one was seriously hurt, though there were some wonderful escapes. At the bakery, the workmen had just left. There was no one in the building but a boy, Jacob Rice. He was deposited in the cellar with the debris, but crawled out in a few moments unhurt.

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 against into the air, it was densely black, like a column of ink.

In Upper Alton, the only serious damage done by the storm was the pretty thorough demolition of the small brick schoolhouse, east of the college. The west gable was blown in, crushing through the ceiling, and racking the whole structure so as to render it probably unfit for rebuilding. The school formerly held in this building and taught by Miss Rising has been moved to the brick dwelling house known as the “Garreison place,” where it will probably be held for the remaining six or eight weeks of the session.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 10, 1874
Mr. D. Miller, proprietor of the Belle Street Carriage Factory, has just completed an elegant six-hundred-dollar barouche, which is now on exhibition at his factory. It is known as a platform barouche, a design now becoming deservedly popular. The body rests upon four main springs and a cross spring, an arrangement which will secure the utmost ease and comfort in riding. It is designed for two horses. The painting and ornamentation are in good taste, and produces a pleasing effect. The upholstering is in keeping with the general style of the barouche. As a specimen of superior mechanical skill, it is an excellent recommendation, and worthy a careful examination.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 1, 1874
The Illinois Glass Works of Alton has completed their new furnaces and other repairs, and started their fires again on Saturday. They run with a full force of hands, and will continue operations through the season. The striking hands resumed work on the old terms.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 12, 1874
The buildings for the new plow works on Front Street are being erected on an extensive scale. The buildings purchased from Mr. Basse are being remodeled and fitted with improved machinery. The blacksmith shop now building is a mammoth structure, 113x88 feet, and 27 feet high. It will contain a great deal of machinery, and most of the iron and steel work will be done therein. In the rear of this building a foundry and warehouse are to be erected. Adjoining the present main mill building on the west, a third large structure is to be built immediately. It will be 70x100 feet, and two stories high. This building and the present mill building are to be used for the wood work department, paint shop, etc. When all the buildings are erected, the factory will be an immense concern, covering the greater part of the block. The works will be in full operation by the first of next October, although enough work will be done during the summer to employ a small force of mechanics.

The proprietors of the works are the Hapgood Plow Manufacturing Company, a joint stock company of which Mr. C. H. Hapgood is President; John Lane, Superintendent, and George H. Lawton, Secretary. This is perhaps the most important and extensive manufacturing enterprise ever located in Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 17, 1874
Last Monday evening, a fire broke out in the building on Third Street, occupied by Mr. A. Tindall. The first floor is occupied by Mrs. Tindall as a millinery store, and the second and third stories by the family as a residence. When first discovered, the fire was bursting through the closet on the east side of a back room on the second floor, but spread through the rooms rapidly. The smoke was so dense that it was impossible to approach near enough to check the flames by throwing on water by hand. The steamer arrived about five minutes after the alarm was sounded, and soon deluged the building with water and speedily extinguished the flames. The Hook & Ladder truck was also promptly on hand and rendered good service.

All the goods were removed from Mrs. Tindall’s store with but little injury, but the household furniture and effects in the second and third stories received such damage from fire and water as to be almost a total loss. The building is owned by Mrs. Cabrilliac, and is damaged by fire and water to the amount of $600 or $700. Owing to the location of the building in the center of a business block, the fire would have been a serious matter but for the promptness of the firemen and the efficiency of the steamer.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 17, 1874
The city hall, since the completion of the repairs upon it, is one of the most spacious and inviting audience rooms in the State. It is finished in a very neat and attractive style, and seated with comfortable arm chairs. The ceiling is lofty, and there being windows on all sides, the ventilation is excellent. The stage has been greatly enlarged, and new conveniences added, making it especially desirable for concerts and exhibitions where there are a large number of performers. The improvements have all been of a permanent and substantial character, and the building has been so strengthened that there need be no apprehension regarding its safety no matter how large the audience crowded into the hall. The hall is now something to be proud of, and will henceforth be a source of revenue to the city. Alderman Whitehead and City Clerk Ferguson, who superintended the repairs, are entitled to credit for the thorough and tasteful manner in which they completed the work.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 17, 1874
The band of Gypsies now encamped in Middleton’s grove numbers about 100 persons, men, women and children. They live in tents and covered wagons. Their camping ground forms quite a picturesque scene. The band have a large number of wagons, carts, horses, and portable property. Several of their horses are remarkably fine-looking animals, showing good care and treatment. The men spend their time roaming the country trading horses, and the women in telling fortunes, making the grove their headquarters. Many persons visit the camp to have fortunes told, and of course, the predictions are infallible. The Gypsies seem quiet and orderly, so far not having disturbed those living in the neighborhood. On Wednesday evening, they had a grand dance, and kept up their festivities until a late hour. The same band was encamped there last season. That they are genuine Gypsies, their dark eyes and complexion, long black hair, and general appearance amply testify. How long they will remain we cannot tell.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 6, 1874
About 9 o’clock Monday evening a fire broke out in a frame building on the corner of Market and Nineteenth Streets, occupied by Mrs. O’Brien as a store and dwelling house. The family were absent at the time. The fire spread with great rapidity, owing to the presence of combustible articles in the store, and soon the entire building was wrapped in flames. None of the furniture nor stock were saved. The adjoining building on the south was a brick dwelling owned by Mr. A. Fletcher and occupied by Lewis Williams. This also caught fire and was destroyed, but the greater part of the furniture was saved in good condition. A third dwelling, occupied by Mr. Slater, was saved from burning only with great difficulty. The Hook & Ladder Company were on the ground promptly, and did good service. The steamer was late in arriving, and on reaching the scene was unable to effect anything on account of the absence of water. The frame dwelling destroyed as probably worth, with the contents, about $1,000. Mrs. O’Brien has an insurance of $300, which will cover the loss. The building was insured in favor of Mr. Henry Watson for _____. The brick dwelling was insured for $800, which will cover the loss, as the walls are still standing in fair condition. The fire is supposed to have originated from the explosion of a coal oil lamp.


Lyceum; Birthplace of the Alton Telegraph, Alton Spectator, Baptist and Presbyterian Churches
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 6, 1874
About 9 o’clock Thursday evening, a fire broke out in the rear of the three-story frame dwelling on Second Street [Broadway], near the corner of Alby, owned by the Standford estate and occupied by Captain Flanagan. The flames spread rapidly, and soon extended to the large double building on the corner of Alby, and before the engines arrived, the fire had got beyond control. The steamer first pumped the cistern at the cracker factory dry, and then moved down to the cistern at the corner of George and Second Streets, but it was impossible to save the buildings, the streams of water only serving to check the progress of the flames. The Washington hand engine, stationed in the rear of the burning buildings, rendered excellent service, and through efforts of firemen and citizens, the flames were prevented from extending to the stables nearby. The members of the Hook & Ladder were out in force, and worked like Trojans. There was an immense crowd present, who remained interested spectators of the scene. In the course of an hour and a half, the buildings were entirely consumed. Captain Flanagan succeeded in saving a portion of his furniture.

The first story of his residence was occupied by his wife as a millinery store. A part of the stock was saved. The corner building, which was formerly occupied by John Swaab as a saloon and boarding house, was empty at the time of the fire except one room, which was occupied by Mr. Horace Stanford. He saved most of his effects. The total loss is from $5,000 to $6,000.

Two of the three buildings destroyed by the fire on the corner of Alby and Second [Broadway] Streets were famous old landmarks that had been standing over forty years, having been erected in 1832. In the early history of the city, they were quite noted on several accounts. As originally built, the corner building was only two stories high, and the one adjoining on the east, one story. But subsequently, after the street was graded, a basement story of stone was built under both houses. Other changes were also made, but none affecting the integrity of the original buildings, which being strong and substantial, remained but little changed by time until their cremation.

In the second story of the corner building was a hall, which was quite a famous place of resort in early times. There, a lyceum used to hold regular meetings, and there some of our old citizens settled the fate of the country in glowing rhetoric that would have put Dick Oglesby to the blush. In this hall, the first Lodge of Odd Fellows organized in Illinois was constituted in the summer of 1836. Western Star Lodge No. 1 is still in existence, and doubtless many of its members looked with sadness upon the destruction of the birthplace of their organization. Prominent among the gentlemen who organized this Lodge were W. T. Miller of Alton; S. L. Miller, now of Bethalto; and the late Colonel John R. Woods and Major J. D. Burns.

The Baptist Church was organized in the hall of that building in 1833, and the members worshipped there until their first church, on the corner of Third and Alby Streets, was completed. The Presbyterian denomination also occupied the hall until their church was completed, which was in 1834, on the site now occupied by the Episcopal Church.

The first floor of this corner building was occupied by the Alton Telegraph printing office from January 8, 1836 until the Spring of 1837, and there on January 15, 1836, the first number of the Telegraph was printed by the founders Treadway and Parks. And so the Telegraph, as well as Western Star Lodge, mourns the loss of its birthplace. We are aware that a few reflections would be appropriate here, but are not inclined today to take a sentimental retrospect.

At the same time that the Telegraph occupied the quarters referred to, its rival, the Alton Spectator, occupied the building adjoining. It was then published by J. T. Hudson, and edited by the late Dr. B. K. Hart. It afterwards passed into the hands of Hessin & Sawyer. The Spectator, having died while still in swaddling clothes, does not mourn very vigorously over the destruction of its birthplace. Perhaps Mr. S. T. Sawyer, however, dropped a silent tear last evening as he saw the old landmark rising to the skies on the wings of the wind to rejoin the Spectator in the land where all good papers go when they “go up.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 6, 1874
About 9 o’clock Monday evening, a fire broke out in a frame building on the corner of Market and Nineteenth Streets, occupied by Mrs. O’Brien as a store and dwelling house. The family were absent at the time. The fire spread with great rapidity, owing to the presence of combustible articles in the store, and soon the entire building was wrapped in flames. None of the furniture nor stock were saved. The adjoining building on the south was a brick dwelling owned by Mr. A. Fletcher and occupied by Lewis Williams. This also caught fire and was destroyed, but the greater part of the furniture was saved in good condition. A third dwelling, occupied by Mr. Slater, was saved from burning only with great difficulty. The Hook & Ladder Company were on the ground promptly and did good service. The steamer was later in arriving, and on reaching the scene was unable to effect anything on account of the absence of water. The fire is supposed to have originated from the explosion of a coal oil lamp.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 6, 1874
Mr. L. Haagen’s new store on Third Street is now completed and was occupied on Monday. It is two stories high, and runs back to the alley. It is one of the most complete and well-finished buildings in town, provided with every facility for the transaction of business. On the first floor, the shelving, counters, drawers, cases, closets, racks, etc., for the storage and display of goods, are admirably arranged after plans which Mr. Haagen’s long experience in business suggested. Part of the second story is occupied by bins for grain, feather closet, etc. The basement is roomy and convenient. A new feature here introduced is a cool cellar, built of brick, for the storage of butter, lard, eggs, and other perishable articles. The building was erected under the superintendence of Mr. Lucas Pfeiffenberger, architect. The carpenter work was by Mr. E. Hugo; the brick work by Mr. H. Veech; the painting by W. H. Temple. The last work is in imitation of different hard woods, and is in excellent taste.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 13, 1874
The shipments of glassware from the Illinois Glass Works have averaged over 100 gross for the past month, mainly of fruit jars. The works are running to their full capacity, employing sixty-six hands, but yet cannot keep up with their orders.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 1, 1874
A barge load of white sand for the glass works has arrived at the landing.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 8, 1874
Mr. J. J. Boyd, for many years principal of Boyd’s famous Louisville Commercial College, and well known for his skill in the adjustment of intricate accounts, will on October 19, open a commercial school in Alton for the purpose of giving a thorough course of instruction in bookkeeping and its collateral sciences. He has secured the hall over Lampert & Hoaglan’s Store on Third Street, and is fitting it up in a convenient manner for the purpose designed. The hall will be open on next Monday, October 12, for the reception of visitors and the subscription to membership in class. This commercial school will be equal in advantages offered to any similar institution in the country, and at one-third the expense of attending college away from home.

Professor Boyd brings with him a large number of certificates as to his ability and integrity from many distinguished individuals, merchants, bankers, brokers, journalists, and others. He has also the signatures of several hundred of his former pupils, now occupying positions of trust and responsibility to a paper setting forth the practical benefits they derived from a course of his instruction. A large number of leading business men likewise recommend his as eminently qualified to fit young men for business.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 15, 1874
A golden wedding is an event so extremely rare, especially in the West, that when one occurs, it deserves more than a passing notice. In 1831, when Mr. William Hayden and his wife settled in Alton, the population of the State was 157,445. It is now nearly 3,000,000. At that time there was not a mile of railroad in the United States. Now Illinois has a mileage of over 7,000, greater than any State in the Union. Telegraphs were unknown for thirteen years thereafter. On October 7, 1824, in the historic city of Boston, William Hayden and Anna Robinson pronounced the vows that made them husband and wife. They were aged respectively 22 and 21 years at the time of their marriage. On October 7, 1874, the same bride and groom, the one a gray-haired man of 72, but still hale and stalwart, the other a woman of 71, but active and efficient, again stood up before a company of friends and neighbors and witnessed that they had kept the faith pledged to each other through the changes of a half century. Around them were children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, bound together in the deathless ties of reverence and affection.

To celebrate the happy occasion, there was a large party present, made up almost entirely of old settlers of the city, the early friends of the bride and groom, who had shared in their joys and divided their sorrows. Rev. Mr. Field conducted some appropriate exercises. He first read a letter from the Rev. Mr. Jameson, formerly pastor of the Baptist Church in Alton, now a missionary in Burmah, who wrote to the happy pair a genial letter of congratulation and friendship. This was followed by the reading by Captain W. H. Hayden, of a letter from the youngest son, Rev. Charles A. Hayden of Akron, Ohio, and his wife, who were unable to be present on the memorable occasion. The Rev. Mr. Field then made a pleasant address reviewing the leading incidents in the married life of the bridal pair, their marriage, their voyage by sea to New Orleans, accompanied by their eldest son, the incidents of the trip, the call upon the venerable Major Long of Grafton Road, then a young officer of Engineers stationed at a fort below New Orleans, the toilsome passage up the Father of Waters, past Vicksburg, Memphis, Cairo, St. Louis, and their landing at the village of Alton in 1831, their first night and day in this city, and the leading incidents of their subsequent honorable and useful career of forty-three years in Alton. He closed with prayer. Mr. John Robinson, the brother of the bride who was the groomsman at the wedding fifty years ago was present on this occasion. The bridesmaid, who died some years since, was a sister of the groom. Occupying a conspicuous place in the room was a portrait of the Rev. Dr. Baldwin, who officiated at the ceremony in 1824. He died many years ago. On a table were displayed many tokens of remembrance from relatives and friends. There was the flint and steel used by the bride and groom in their early married life in place of matches. About nine o’clock, the company were invited into the dining room, where a sumptuous repast awaited them. The greater part of the viands had been prepared by Mrs. Hayden herself.

Mr. and Mrs. Hayden are the parents of four children, viz: Captain William Henry Hayden of Springfield, born in Massachusetts, July 11, 1825; George Alvin Hayden, born in Alton, October 28, 1834, and died October 21, 1835; George Dwight Hayden, born October 7, 1836; and Rev. Charles Albert Hayden, born July 19, 1843. Of their lineal descendants, there were present their sons, Captain William H Hayden, George D. Hayden; their grandson, Albert Cohen Hayden; and granddaughter, son, and daughter of William Henry; their great-grandchildren, Willie, aged three years; and an infant, children of Albert Cohen Hayden. Of their relatives and connections, there were present Mrs. William Henry Hayden, Mrs. George D. Hayden, Mrs. Albert C. Hayden, Mrs. John Robinson, Mrs. Fred Hayden, Miss L. A. Hayden, Mrs. S. A. Lowe and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Shelly, and Miss Sarah Forbush.

Captain William Henry Hayden was married to Margaret E. Cohen, January 27, 1848. They have had seven children, five of whom survive.

George D. Hayden married Sarah Shelly, December 24, 1857.

Charles A. Hayden married in November 1873 to Miss Nellie Gunderson of West Newton Massachusetts.

Albert Cohen Hayden, grandson, was married September 15, 1870, to Miss Julia Vanhuff of Springfield.

The Hayden family is one of the oldest in the country, being descended in a direct line from the Hon. John Alden, one of the pilgrims of Leyden, who landed from the Mayflower at Plymouth in 1620, and married Priscilla, “the Puritan maiden.” Their genealogical tree is a stately and remarkable one.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 17, 1874
Among the rising factories of Alton is the machine-blacksmithing establishment of Millen & Beall on Belle Street. Owing to their rapidly increasing business, the firm found it necessary to enlarge their quarters, which they did by putting up a neat brick addition, 25x50 feet, one story high with basement. They are now occupying their new building, and their entire factory has a front of 50 feet on Belle Street. During the winter season, Millen & Beall devote all their time and facilities to the manufacture of miners’ picks and quarrymen’s tools, as well as the repairing of the same. This has become an extensive business, orders for miners’ tools being received from all parts of Southern Illinois, from Missouri, and from as far west as Kansas. So excellent is the reputation of their tools, that they cannot keep up with their orders.

In Spring and Summer, the firm make a specialty of the repairing of all kinds of agricultural machinery such as reapers, mowers, separators, etc. Their facilities for this branch of business are now so enlarged, that they will be able next season to accommodate all who call on them. Both members of the firm are practical machinists and skilled workmen, and their work always gives entire satisfaction.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 25, 1875
On Tuesday, the 16th instant, Captain Lamothe drove into town in a buggy bed mounted on runners. While he was standing on Second street, a few feet from his sleigh, his horse, a fast mare, took fright and ran away before the Capt. could catch the reins. On Short street the animal collided with a pile of lumber and left the buggy bed. She then ran up the hill by the penitentiary and fell off an embankment nearly thirty feet high; but picked herself up and rushed ahead up the road towards the saw mills, with the shafts and runners still attached. She crossed the river on the ice, opposite the upper sawmill, and ran along on the ice near the Missouri shore until near Portage, when her mad career was stayed by her falling into an air-hole where the water was twenty feet deep. Some men saw the occurrence and succeeded in pulling the frightened animal out, with the shafts and runners still attached. Strange to say, the horse was not injured by her mad spree. The Captain says she must have run nearly eight miles before stopping.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 25, 1875
Mr. Daniel Miller, the enterprising proprietor of the Belle Street Carriage Factory, informs us that he has purchased of William Watts the property on the southeast corner of Belle and Fifth Street, now partly occupied by Richardson’s Blacksmith Shops. As soon as he obtains possession, Mr. Miller intends to commence the erection of a large carriage factory, to accommodate his increasing business. The building will be of brick, two stories high, forty-four feet front on Belle Street, and ninety-five feet deep, running back to the alley. This will make a spacious and convenient factory.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 1, 1875
The plow works of the Hapgood Manufacturing Company in Alton is among the most important and valuable local industry. The works were established here last summer, the company purchasing therefore seven lots on Front, Langdon, and Second [Broadway] Streets, including the Basse Mill property. The buildings already erected were remodeled, and an immense blacksmith and machine shop added, with such other improvements as were necessary to commence operations. The warehouse of the company was located in St. Louis. The building formerly occupied as a mill is a substantial brick structure, two stories high, 45 feet front by 100 feet deep. The first floor has been converted into the woodwork department of the factory. On this floor, the framework of the plows is prepared. Here are a number of ingenius labor-saving machines, which under the management of skillful workmen, rapidly convert the raw material into the manufactured article. Here are planing machines, circular saws, lathes, shaping and mortising machines – all of the latest patterns. Especially noticeable is a new machine for setting up plow handles, which does the work of ten men, and renders all the work perfectly uniform in style and finish. It is the invention of Messrs. J. & E. J. Lane, and is a valuable acquisition to the labor-saving machinery of the establishment.

On the second floor is located the paint and finishing shops and the storage rooms, where the plows are either put up or prepared for shipment in duplicate. Here are seen, in their finished condition, the splendid implements manufactured by the company, in all the beauty of mechanical perfection, ready for the hand of the Granger (farmer).

But the blacksmith and machine shop of the factory is the object of the greatest interest. This is a lofty brick building, dimensions 90 x 112 feet, where all the iron work of the establishment is cut, forged, shaped, tempered, and polished, ready to be joined with the woodwork to form the completed plow. Here a large force of the swarthy sons of Vulcan are hard at work in the different departments of manufacture, while the air is filled with the hum of machinery, and the music of the anvil chorus. Ranged along the sides, and in the center of the immense shop, are eight forges and six large furnaces, representing forty fires. No less than fifty machines, for different classes of work, are also located here. Among them are the giant shears for cutting the plates of iron and steel; iron lathes; planing machines; immense trip-hammers; a drop press, working in duplicate; welding machines, etc. There are also eighteen grind stones and emery wheels for grinding and polishing. Almost all the work formerly done by files is now done by emery wheels. All this wilderness of machinery is, of course, run by steam power. So perfect is the system, and so wise the division of labor, that no time is lost, but the plate iron or steel passes rapidly from one stage of manufacture to another, until in an incredibly short time, the completed irons are turned out, ready to be attached to the woodwork.

The works employ about eighty experienced mechanics, and turn out the immense aggregate of one hundred complete plows per day. Several different kinds of light and heavy plows are manufactured. Also gang and sulky and shovel plows of improved make. The Clipper plow, lately patented, is another specialty which is attracting much attention. It is provided with the “bent standard,” and combines strength and simplicity in a degree that makes it extremely popular with farmers.

The Hapgood plows have a standard reputation for excellence, that is highly flattering to the proprietors. The preparation of the material for the iron and steel work unites several improved processes, invented by the Superintendent, Mr. Lane, which add largely to the durability of the metal and the value of the plow. As the plows are completed, they are shipped to the warehouse in St. Louis to be put on the market. The demand for them comes from all parts of the north, west, and south, and shipments are heavy in all directions.

The company proposes soon to enlarge the capacity of their works still further, by adding a foundry and also a warehouse. At present, they are cramped for storage room.

Mr. Charles H. Hapgood, the President of the company, having a general supervision of their business, resides in Alton, visiting their St. Louis office daily after a morning hour at the works. Mr. John Lane, the Superintendent of the works, is a practical mechanic and a distinguished inventor, who together with his son, is constantly devising new methods of manufacturing and adding improvements to the plows they put on the market. The business talent displayed by the officers of the company, their practical knowledge of the wants of the farming community and the excellence of the implements they manufacture, are assurances that the Hapgood Plow Works have a flattering career of increased prosperity and success before them. The great value of this establishment to Alton will be demonstrated from year to year in the impetus it will give to manufacturing interests generally, and consequent growth in wealth and population.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 22, 1875
The buildings of the Western Screw and Manufacturing Company, on the corner of Third and Piasa Streets in Alton, were sold on Friday under trust deed by Sheriff Cooper. The property was bought in for $6,500 by Mr. F. Hewit, for the original owners.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1875
Yesterday the site for the reservoir was selected and purchased by the contractors, consisting of 3.81 acres, situated on State Street, and known as the Armstrong tract. This point has an elevation of 175 feet above the business portion of the city, and the reservoir to be erected thereon will be of an additional height of 50 feet, giving ample head to carry the stream to any portion of the city, or to any height that may be desired. The reservoir will have a capacity for holding 5,000,000 gallons, and with the site, will cost about $6,000. The size of the water main leading to the reservoir from the engine house on the river bank has been enlarged to eight inches instead of six inches, as fixed in the original specifications. The work of excavation for the engine house, just above Basse’s mill, will begin Monday morning. This building will be constructed of brick and stone, the dimensions being 30x75 feet, in addition to this will be a coal and fuel room, 25x30 feet. The smokestack will be 80 feet high. The engines will be two in number of the duplex pattern, the same as selected for the new works at Peoria to replace the Holly system, having a capacity of service equal to supplying a city of 50,000 inhabitants. The city engineer is busily at work making the locations for putting down the mains on the principal streets, and work of laying the pipe will begin next week, and will be pushed forward with dispatch. The question of water works is settled, and the work has now actually begun that Alton has so long looked forward to.

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1875
Ground was broken Monday a.m. for the new water works on the site of the engine house. The first spadeful of earth was thrown by Anthony Solon.

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 26, 1875
The workmen engaged in excavating for the engine house of the water works have struck rock. The site of the old distillery was unearthed in making the excavation, and it was currently reported that whisky cocktails, straight – none of the present crooked distillation – were found, just as they were left in the great campaign of 1840.

Thirteen car loads of the iron pipes have arrived from Louisville via the Terre Haute Railroad, and the work of unloading and distributing has begun. A derrick will be erected for the purpose of unloading the mains from the cars to the wagons. Over a mile of the pipes are now here, and the special castings for the street crossings and other connecting points will be completed and ready for shipment the present week. Until these arrive, it will not be possible to push the work of excavation on the streets, but as soon as the connections are ready, the work will go steadily forward. One of the best and most experienced superintendents in St. Louis has been secured to oversee the laying of the pipes, which will require a good deal of experience and care in securing the exact pressure necessary under the various and extraordinary grades to be met with on the bluffs and hills. The city engineer returned from Louisville Saturday, where he had been to give the final instructions regarding the construction of the special castings adapted to the grades of the city.

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 16, 1875
Messrs. Watson and Taylor, the contractors and builders of the water works in Alton, are also engaged in several other large enterprises. Mr. Watson of Alton is widely known among railroad companies for whom he has erected a large number of shops, depots, &c. A few days since, the Telegraph contained an item stating that this gentleman had completed the contract for the new Union Depot at St. Louis, and the day following had entered into a contract for building the new and extensive machine shops, round houses, and repair works of the C. C. C. & I. R. R. at Indianapolis, in connection with Mr. H. Taylor of that city. Work will be commenced at once, and last night 30 men were sent to Indianapolis from Alton and St. Louis. Mr. Watson will superintend the construction of the water works in Alton, while Mr. Taylor will give his personal attention to the contract at Indianapolis.

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 7, 1875
The brick tower at the engine house, which will be one hundred feet in height, is now under way, and will soon be constructed. The river has fallen sufficiently to allow work to be resumed again on the tunnel and well. The pipes are being put down rapidly, and nearly four miles on the main streets are now laid.

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 21, 1875
The laying of the water mains on the streets, and the construction of the necessary engine house and reservoir have gone steadily forward during the past few weeks, and it is the intention of the contractors, Messrs. Watson & Taylor, to improve to the utmost the pleasant fall weather. Work has begun on the walls of the engine house, and the tower is progressing favorably. Over five miles of the mains are now in the ground, and the hydrants are being put in position.

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1875
The tower at the pumping works on the river bank has now reached a height of over 60 feet, and the walls of the engine house have reached the second story. A coffer dam has been sunk at the head of the aqueduct leading from the river to the works, and an elevator pumping apparatus is at work keeping the channel dry while being sunk below the surface of the river. This tunnel will be about 10 feet below the present stage of water in the river, and it is intended to give it sufficient depth to provide for any possible contingency in the future. Much of the tunnel has been excavated through solid rock, and considerable delay has also existed heretofore from high water, but good progress is now assured.

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 25, 1875
The Alton Water Works tank, which has been erected on State Street, is 30 feet in diameter at the base, and 16 feet deep. A tank 30 feet in diameter holds 5,300 gallons for each foot in depth. The surface of the ground on which the tank stands is 186.5 feet above high water of 1858. From the ground to the bottom of the tank is 34 feet, and the tank is 16 feet high, making the top 50 feet above the surface of the ground, or 236.5 feet above high water of 1858. Reckoning 12 feet of water in the tank, the surface of the water would be 232.5 feet above high water of 1858, which is taken as the basis for reckoning.

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 23, 1875
The pump for the water works now in position in the specious engine house of the riverbank, in connection with the double engines by which it is driven, is a complete and handsome machine of great power. In lowering the engines into position, one of them was broken by a heavy fall, and a new section thereof will have to be ordered. The pump is the celebrated Dean pump, manufactured by the Dean Bros. of Indianapolis. We defer a notice thereof until the works are in operation.

The coffer dam at the mouth of the water works aqueduct has been removed, and the work of filling in on the river front of the pumping works is progressing. The pumps and boilers are in position, and are being put together. The attachments will be made in a few days, between the pumps and mains, and we have the assurance that on Christmas, the contractors will set the pumping machinery in motion, although there still remains a number of details to be accomplished before the work is completed.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1875
The United Brothers of Friendship of Alton, an organization of colored citizens, celebrated the seventh anniversary of their order Thursday, at a grove near Godfrey. They went out on the morning train, and after marching through the streets of Godfrey, under direction of Marshal Frank Taylor, repaired to the grove where they were addressed by W. H. Ellsworth, Master of the Lodge, and by Elder DePugh. A fine dinner was served in the grove, and a pleasant time enjoyed. J. H. Kelley’s band furnished the music. There was a large attendance of the friends of the society. The company returned home on the evening train, and repaired to Turner Hall, accompanied by a large number of members of the order from St. Louis. At the hall, speeches were made by W. H. Ellsworth and William Walker, which were followed by a supper and ball, the latter being continued until a late hour. The U.B.O.F. in Alton numbers thirty-five members, and is in a flourishing condition.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 26, 1875
Mr. Joseph Gratian of Alton, the well-known pipe organ builder, has just finished a magnificent piece of workmanship for the Presbyterian Church of Hannibal, Missouri, that for beauty and quality of tone, as well as the general design, finish, and arrangements of the organ, throughout, reflects much credit upon the builder. Several new improvements have been made, original with Mr. Gratian, that give additional character and completeness to the tone, one of these never before in use. The pipes were made in Reading, Massachusetts, but the entire work and ornamentation was done by Mr. Gratian.

The case is made of solid black walnut, and the instrument is equal to the best in the country, and costs $2,600. The height is 20 feet, 12 inches width, and 4 ½ feet deep. It has 23 stops, 2 manuals and pedals, and contains all the latest improvements, including a new method of compounding a full organ. This consists of a stop having a knob, a little larger than the others, placed above the keys of the swell organ. It draws in a line with the player, not at right angles, as the other stops. It brings on the full organ, also couples swell to great, and great to pedals, instantly. This is an entirely new idea, original with the builder, and incorporated for the first time in this organ. The organ is built to suit the position of the church behind the pulpit, and is only four and a half feet deep, although really a large organ than most of the organs in this city.

Mr. Gratian has been in the business about seventeen years in Alton, and has gained a wide reputation for his work. The fine organ in Dr. Nicholl’s Church, the Second Presbyterian, St. Louis, those in the Trinity Methodist, the North Presbyterian, and the Pilgrim Congregation, and other churches in St. Louis have been constructed or remodeled by him, and reflect a great deal of credit on the skill and taste of the designer.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 26, 1875
Located on the corner of Fifth and Belle Streets is one of the finest establishments in the State, recently erected by Mr. Dan Miller, the well-known carriage manufacturer, to accommodate his increasing business. Mr. Miller commenced operations in 1869, nearly opposite his present commodious quarters. The new factory was begun on May 26 last, and by July 4, was in readiness for occupancy, although the building was not fully completed till some days afterward. The building has a front on Belle Street of 44 feet, and runs back to a depth of 64 feet on Fifth Street, and is three stories high. There is also a basement devoted to general storage purposes, and for two additional forges when required. The first floor is divided into three apartments – the blacksmith shop, being 24x42 feet and containing two forges; the woodwork room, in the rear of this is 22x26 feet; and the showroom or depository for finished work, being 20 feet in width, extending the full depth of the building, 64 feet. In front, on this floor, is the office.

There are two upper floors, the second story being divided into a main room for general work, a trimming room, and two varnish rooms – one for body work exclusively, is plastered and finished perfectly airtight; the other for painting the gearing. The third floor is used as a general storeroom for material of all kinds. Fourteen skilled workmen are at present employed. G. F. Renike, the well-known carriage painter, has charge of the painting department.

Some of the finest rigs in the State have been made and painted here. Among others, fine turnouts have recently been made for John E. Coppinger, Captain Eaton, John T. Drummond, and many others in the city. We noticed a fine vehicle called, “Miller’s Eureka,” that was going to a point near Springfield tonight. Several livery stables at Carlinville, White Hall, and other points come here for their outfits. The new factory is fitted with all the modern improvements, and was erected at a cost of about $7,000, and Mr. Miller assures us that he is able to compete with the best manufacturers in the State, and that no better work can be found than Alton can furnish.

Daniel Miller was born in Sembach, Germany, on September 15, 1834. He came to America in 1849, at the age of 16. He enlisted as a soldier in the 50th Georgia Regiment of the Confederate Army in 1861, and was captured at the battle of Missionary Ridge and was taken to the prison at Rock Island, Illinois, where he remained until April 1865. He came to Alton in 1868 to work at the Rodemeyer Carriage Shop, and soon won the heart of the owner's daughter, whom he married the following year. He founded a buggy factory on Belle Street, and the business grew and prospered. In 1875 he erected a new and larger factory at the corner of Belle and Fifth Streets. He died in June 1915, and is buried in the Upper Alton Oakwood Cemetery.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1875
The new building for the First National Bank is rising quite rapidly, and in a few weeks it will be under cover. The new structure already begins to add very much to the appearance of Third and State Streets, and with its massive cut-stone front and granite pillars, will have a tendency to make the era of improvement extend to all its neighbors.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1875
Among many improvements that would result in extending and perpetuating the growth of Alton, we know of none that would be more beneficial to the retail trade than a good wagon road under the bluffs along the river bank from here to Grafton. Such a road would tap the entire riverfront of Jersey County on the Mississippi, would largely increase the value of all the real estate along the line, and by developing the fine natural resources of that section, would inevitably increase our local trade. The finest fruit section in the State lies along the bluffs between here and Grafton, but only a small part of it is under cultivation because of its inaccessibility. A good Wagon road would remove this difficulty, and soon orchards and gardens would supersede the present heavy growth of timber.

Such a road could be built cheaply. The MacAdam is all on the ground. It would be firm and solid the year round. No mud blockade would ever affect it. The heaviest item of expense would be the building of a bridge over Piasa Creek. This road we regard as a public necessity. Its importance should be impressed on the authorities of Madison and Jersey Counties and this city, by the inhabitants “all along the shore,” and by our citizens. We are convinced that a wagon road over this route would be of more practical value to all concerned than a railroad.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 2, 1875
Messrs. Brunner and Duncan have fitted up the building opposite the Chicago & Alton 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 castings for the Hapgood Plow Works of Alton, 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: The Phelps County New Era, [Rolla, Missouri] December 4, 1875
Rolla, Mo., Nov. 29th, 1875. Editor New Era: Having recently arrived from a trip through Illinois and a portion of this State, and thinking that a few items concerning the people, crops, etc., might be of interest to your readers, here goes: Alton, a city of between 14 and 15 thousand inhabitants was our starting place. It is situated on the Mississippi River, about 25 miles from St. Louis, and is surrounded by some of the finest farming lands in the "Prairie State." Its educational facilities are unsurpassed, it having two colleges for the instruction of young men, two academies for the education of young ladies, two Primary Schools (Public), two intermediate and one High School, besides numerous private schools. The Catholics also have recently erected a magnificent building for the instruction of the youth of that denomination. There are three papers published here representing both political parties, and one, a German paper remaining neutral. There are several mills, flouring, woolen and planing. Here, also, is located the large plow manufactory of Hapgood & Co., and the threshing machine manufactory of Hanson & Co. The citizens have recently improved their city by the acquisition of Water Works. Its citizens are sociable and charitable and are essentially a working people. The only drawback to the rapid growth of the city is that it is burdened by a set of moneyed fogies, who make it their especial business to cry down every projected improvement and by reason of their wealth and influence are enabled to greatly retard the advancements of the interests of the people. The crops, with the exception of wheat, were unusually good, and consequently the Grangers are all happy. Alton furnishes them a market place for their produce at St. Louis prices, which is attested by the fact that farmers from Jersey, Calhoun and other surrounding counties bring their grain and much of their stock to this place. The crumbling walls of the old State Prison may be seen looking like the remains of some ancient feudal castle. A trip through the cells above and beneath the ground will well repay one's trouble. Taking the train at Alton, our road led through immense fields of corn, with here and there large fields of wheat just emerging from the ground. When near Chicago no grain of any importance was to be seen, that portion of the State being confined chiefly to the production of cheese. The country for miles around Chicago is studded with palatial residences around which were grounds resembling miniature paradises. Throughout the course of our travels we found the people sociable, well education and refined; all the farmers rejoicing over the good crops of this year, and making preparations for sowing larger crops in the Spring. We left Chicago and Illinois with the impression that she is indeed a happy State. Fearing to tire your readers, we will close for the present with the intention of continuing if this prove acceptable. Lorme.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, September 30, 1875
Coppinger & Biggins have commenced the erection of a large lime kiln at their quarries under the bluff, and will soon be adding largely to the lime production of the city. The quarries have been stripped in getting out the MacAdam for the Venice contract, which leaves the entire face of the bluff in good condition for the kiln, without the usual expense attached to stripping and handling the rock. The capacity of this new lime manufacturing company 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.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 14, 1875
One of the new industrial enterprises of Alton is the tannery, located in the old oil factory building in the northern part of Alton. The proprietors are Jenkins & Co. They give special attention to tanning sheep pelts, hog, goats and calf skins, and to the making of door mats, etc. They tan an average of 100 skins per day, which find ready sale in Chicago and St. Louis. Farmers having green hides and pelts to dispose of can find a market at this new tannery.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 21, 1875
The improvements and alterations of the Presbyterian Church, just finished, are of a very complete and substantial character, and have practically converted the building into a new edifice. Externally, the church has been painted an attractive stone color. The old windows have been replaced by Gothic windows of stained glass in various colors. The exterior of the basement portion of the church has been cemented, with the color corresponding with the main body of the building. A new entrance, surrounded by an iron railing, has also been made to the basement, which is a great improvement. The changes are such as to render the building externally a decidedly attractive edifice.

In the interior of the building, the changes have been ever more radical. The audience room has been entirely remodeled. A neat gallery for the singers has been built in front and around the organ, about four feet above the level of the floor. The pulpit platform is immediately in front of, and a little lower thanthe gallery. Thus, both the choir and the minister face the audience, the plan now universal in churches of modern style. The pews are curved, facing the pulpit, in the arc of a circle. The main entrances are at either side of the gallery. There is also a rear entrance on the north side of the building. The walls of the audience room have been repapered in pleasing style, and the ceiling frescoed to correspond. The gallery, the pulpit platform, and the wainscoting have been grained in French walnut in a very tasteful manner. The pews are entirely new, made in modern style of black walnut, and are cushioned throughout in uniform color. The entire floor, the stairways, and all the entrances are covered with elegant carpeting. The organ case has been varnished, the pipes illuminated, and the whole exterior appearance of the instrument made to harmonize with the graining of the surroundings. The effect is very fine, and adds much to the general appearance. The pulpit desk and furniture are of black walnut, neat and elegant. At either side of the platform are marble top stands. The entire audience room is a model of good taste, beauty and comfort. The whole arrangement and ornamentation of the room give the beholder a pleasant impression, and a home-like feeling. The audience room is brilliantly lighted by a reflector in the ceiling, provided with thirty gas jets, and also by neat gas fittings in the gallery and on the pulpit platform. An entirely new system of ventilation has been introduced, which works efficiently. Improvements have also been made in the system of heating by furnaces.

All the carpenter work was done by Mr. W. J. Ferguson, and the painting and graining was done by W. F. Ensinger, and in a manner which reflects credit on their skill and taste. The pews were made by Mr. M. H. Boals of Alton, and their merits speak for themselves. The wallpaper was furnished by M. I. Lee & Co; the carpeting was from Kennard & Sons of St. Louis; the pulpit stand from Sherwood & Co. of Chicago; the pulpit columns were made by W. J. Ferguson of Alton; the pulpit furniture from the Mitchell Furniture Co. of St. Louis; the cushions were made by Mr. A. Neerman of Alton. The organ repairing and improvements were by Mr. J. Gratian. The reflector and gas fittings were furnished by the Alton Gas Company. The window frames were made in excellent style by Wheelock & Ginter of Alton; the brick work, in setting the frames, and the stone work for the new entrance to the basement, and also the stone steps at the east entrance to the audience room are the work of Mr. Henry Watson. The large and highly orna